The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 3

Boston Red Sox vs. Toronto Blue Jays

Monday, June 23, 1997 - 7:35pm


Toronto, Ontario CANADA

Pre-Game Report
 You would think that this matchup favors the Blue Jays. They have better pitchers, stronger hitters, and are playing on their home turf. But you can't take the boys from Beantown for granted. I went to two Red Sox games earlier this season and the Sox always found a way to win. They are a scrappy group, a little slow with the bats and a they have some holes in their pitching staff, but they never give up and rarely get blown out in a ballgame.

Stadium Stats - Stadium Name

Surface: Astroturf
Capacity: 50,516
Dimensions: Left Field: 328 feet, Center Field: 400 feet, Right Field: 328 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Red Sox Logo

Boston Red Sox

 I had the pleasure of watching the Boston Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards back in the first few weeks of the season. Sitting with the Red Sox faithful, it was demonstrated to me how the Red Sox, and manager Jimy Williams showcase some dynamite pitching and a potent young lineup.

 As expected, the offseason losses of pitching ace Roger Clemens, slugger Jose Canseco, and clubhouse leader Mike Greenwell have weakened this team both on the field and off. Starting pitchers Aaron Sele, Steve Avery, and left-hander Chris Hammond lead a strong pitching rotation and assuming he can avoid injury, Tim Wakefield will continue to baffle hitters with is magical knuckleball. Heathcliff Slocumb and Mike Maddux fill out a young bullpen but are ready to slam the door shut on American League East opponents.

 The Red Sox boast terrific balance between their offense and defense. Depending on which night you attend a game, the Red Sox outfield will be shared by a different battery of players. But, what the Sox lack in the outfield, they more than make up for with their infield. The combination of Mo Vaughn at first, John Valentin at second, Tim Naehring at third, and rookie of the year candidate Nomar Garciaparra (who blasted a game winning homer against the Orioles) at shortstop have given the Red Sox one of the most talented infields in baseball.

Blue Jays Logo

Toronto Blue Jays

 The American League East, with the defending World Champion New York Yankees and the always dangerous Baltimore Orioles, is arguably the toughest division in baseball. Unfortunately, despite some notable offseason moves, the Blue Jays still seem to lack the consistent power needed to be a contender.

 With addition of Roger Clemens, the Blue Jays now have one of the strongest rotations in baseball. In Clemens, Juan Guzman and Pat Hentgen, the Blue Jays send a former Cy Young Winner (Clemens owns three awards), the defending Cy Young Winner (Hentgen), the defending ERA champion and runner up (Guzman and Hentgen respectively) and the three pitchers that held batters to the lowest averages in the league last season. Joining them is Eric Hanson, who besides battling injuries has several good seasons left in him, and a bullpen led by Dan Plesac and Mike "the knife" Timlin.

 In addition to the strong pitching staff, the Jays have a strong defensive core. But, the loss of Roberto Alomar and John Olerud is being felt at the plate. Joe Carter's production has waned over the past few seasons, veteran catcher Benito Santiago is focused on his catching rather than his hitting, and the injury bug has sidelined most of the young prospects the Jays' were depending on for quick infusion of power. And, since neither Otis Nixon nor Orlando Merced are known as power hitters, the Blue Jays will have to look deeper for the power they will need.

Post-Game Report
 The Jays squandered a chance at victory and ended up losing to the Boston Red Sox on a beautiful evening at Skydome in Toronto. Click here to get all the details.

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