Game balls: Rating Game 310/08/2004 7:54 PM ET
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
MLB.com is awarding "game balls" -- or, in this case, Wally the Green Monster, to represent the Red Sox, and the Rally Monkey, the Angels' scoreboard cheerleader -- for performances in the 2004 American League Division Series.
Five Rally Monkeys: Thump that chest, you're king of the jungle
Four Rally Monkeys: Go ape and cause some delirium
Three Rally Monkeys: More fun than a barrel of ... well, you know
Two Rally Monkeys: Zoo life. Plenty of bananas, not much excitement
One Rally Monkeys: You're stuck working for a non-union organ grinder
Five Wallys: Wave the Red Sox flag high and mighty
Four Wallys: Makes Red Sox Nation feel good
Three Wallys: The fur could use a little fluffing
Two Wallys: Might be time to dry clean the outfit
One Wallys: You're stuck rallying the faithful in northern Maine
David Ortiz: One swing helped move Ortiz out of Manny's shadow, and it also helped the Red Sox clinch their berth in the ALCS. Ortiz hit a homer in the 10th, ending a game that could still be going on, otherwise. The rest of his game wasn't shabby: Ortiz struck out twice with runners on, but he also doubled twice.
Keith Foulke: Bases loaded and one out in the ninth? No sweat. Boston's closer got two punchouts to erase the threat and take things into the bottom half. Foulke got five big outs, but none were bigger than the final two. Now, the Sox are in the ALCS at least one full day ahead of their opponent. Golf, anyone?
Manny Ramirez: That's right. Three straight games, three straight game balls. If you can figure out how to stop the guy, you can get one too. Ramirez hit a sac fly to start the scoring in the three-run fourth, and he came back with a soft single to chase home Boston's sixth run. Some players just make noise -- Manny makes art out of every at-bat.
Mike Timlin: As a late-inning reliever, you have two assignments: Throw the ball over the plate and keep it in the ballpark. Usually effective for the Sox, Timlin violated both those commandments in the seventh. First, he walked a run in, making it a four-run game. Then he grooved one to Guerrero, allowing the slugger to park a game-tying grand slam.
Vladimir Guerrero: Admit it. With seven outs to go, you thought the Angels were on their last wings. They were, until Guerrero cranked a game-tying grand slam. Sure, Anaheim ended up losing -- getting swept, even. Guerrero delayed the inevitable and closed out his first career playoff series with a swing for the ages.
Brendan Donnelly: Relief work doesn't get any better than that. Seven batters faced and all of them outs, five by strikeout. Donnelly took the ball in a tight spot -- two outs, two runners on -- but he struck out David Ortiz on a full-count offering. Over the next six batters, Donnelly threw 17 strikes and three balls.
Chone Figgins: Anaheim's super-utility gadget made a key error Friday, his second of the series. Figgins also struck out with the bases loaded, and was batting under .100 for the series before a late single. The youngster's extremely valuable because of his ability to play several positions -- he just has to play them better to help his team.
Kelvim Escoboar: It's a numbers game, and these aren't pretty. Ten outs. Five hits, five walks and five runs. Needless to say, you won't win too often when your starter sports that line. Escobar threw 92 pitches and was gone with one out into the fourth inning, sinking his team into a desperate spot.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.