Games of Note: The Red Sox are hosting the Cleveland Indians for a one-game playoff to determine the American League pennant winner on this date in 1948. The two clubs are tied at 96-58, thanks to a second-half surge by Boston. On May 31, Boston was 11-1/2 games back of the lead, the furthest behind they would be all season, and were nine games under .500 as late as June 2. They would rattle off a 13-game win streak in July, though, and finish up the second half at 57-23, a .713 win percentage. This allowed them to catch the Indians to face them in this one-game playoff.
The Red Sox couldn't win that one extra game they needed to, though, and Cleveland took the contest 8-3. Leadoff hitter Dom DiMaggio went 0-for-4, and only the middle of the lineup made much noise at all, with the rest quieted by Gene Bearden, who threw a complete-game to secure the victory. Boston's Denny Galehouse gave up four runs in three innings, and Ellis Kinder did no better in relief of him.
These two clubs would meet again in 1995, when the Indians won a playoff game for the first time since '48. Cleveland was up 1-0 in the first-ever set of ALDS match-ups, and on October 4, they would also win game two. Orel Hershisher shuts out the league's second-best offense, while Erik Hanson gave up a two-run double in the fifth to Omar Vizquel, and then a two-run blast to Eddie Murray in the eighth. The complete-game wasn't enough, thanks to the quieted Boston bats.
Transactions: Brian Daubach was granted his free agency on this date in 2004. Daubach was in his second stint with the Red Sox, as he had played with them from 1999 through 2002, before heading to the White Sox for a year. Daubach was always hit or miss: there were years like 1999 and 2001, when he posted 127 and 122 OPS+, but there were also seasons like 2000, when he posted a .315 on-base percentage and sub-.500 slugging during baseball's greatest offense period ever. His 2004 campaign, his last in Boston, was a lot more like 2000 than the others, hence his not being on the playoff roster.
Birthdays: A pair of former Red Sox prospects, sent west during trades for the 2011 season, have a birthday today. San Diego Padre Casey Kelly turns 23, while Los Angeles Dodger Stephen Fife turns 26. It's also the birthday of former Red Sox manager Jimy Williams, who is 69 years old. Williams was originally signed by Boston, but never played for them, as the St. Louis Cardinals took him away in the Rule 5 draft when he was all of 21 years old. Williams would only play in the majors for two years, spending most of his time in the minors through 1975, when he was 31.
Williams would go on to manage the Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Astros. He led all Red Sox managers from the second half of the 20th century in wins, brought them to the playoffs in consecutive seasons, and took home manager of the year honors in 1999, but was still let go in 2001 in August, when Boston was just two games out of first place. Under pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, the Sox finished 13-1/2 back instead.