The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 5

Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox

Thursday, June 26, 1997 - 7:35pm

Fenway Park

Boston, Massachusetts

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Pre-Game Report
 This is my second Red Sox game this week, and my fourth of the season. I can't tell you how, but they find a way to keep winning games. The Tigers on the other hand seem to have already given up on the first half of the season. They weren't expected to contend, but they don't seem to be having any fun while they are out of the field. Perhaps the beauty and history associated with Fenway Park will inspire them to play well and give the crowd something to cheer about.

Stadium Stats - Fenway Park

Surface: Grass
Capacity: 33,871
Dimensions: Left Field: 310 feet, Center Field: 390 feet, Deep Center: 410 feet, Right Field: 302 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Tiger's Logo

Detroit Tigers

 Tigers manager Buddy Bell is known around the league for having incredible patience. This season will certainly test his patience. The Detroit Tigers cleaned house over the past few years, off-loading (among others) Cecil Fielder, Ruben Sierra and Gregg Olson. And, the 75% turnover on their roster, and bargain basement talent, have left the team ready to make a run for the pennant...in 2006. Still, General Manager Randy Smith, who rebuilt the San Diego Padres at rock bottom prices, has put together a young, talented, albeit unknown lineup that will win enough games at key times to frustrate the leaders of the American League East.

 The Tigers, coming off a franchise record 109 defeats in 1996, have a mediocre starting rotation including Omar Olivares, Felipe Lira, Justin Thompson, Doug Brocail and Willie Blair. Both Blair and Brocail are young pitchers who bring little game experience to the mound and Lira went his final 13 starts of last season without a win. Thompson, who has the strongest arm on the team, and Olivares, who allowed only 169 hits in 160 innings or work despite lacking significant pitching talent, can bring the Tigers into the late innings, but have little support behind him in the bullpen. With the loss of any definite closer, the Tigers are forced to depend on Dan Miceli or Tood Jones, neither of which have shown ability as a closer in outings with other teams.

 Fortunately for the pitching staff, the Tigers offense has a lot of potential. Tony Clark, the 1990 first round draft pick has finally earned a permanent spot on the team and is expected to have a twenty homer season and Brian Hunter will be a constant lead-off hitter and base running threat. Left fielder Bobby Higginson has potential to be an all-star, Damion Easley has shown flashes of offensive brilliance, and Curtis Pride finished last season hitting above .300. Finally, Travis Fryman, despite moving to shortstop, remains a veteran producer on this otherwise in-experienced team.

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.

Post-Game Report
 The Red Sox scattered four errors in an ugly loss to the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park in Boston. Click here to get all the details.

Highlights from the Beantown

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