Wednesday, August 30, 2006
What is really amazing to me is how fast this all fell apart. It took less than a month from being in first place, over 3 games up, to being out of the playoff race...that is freakin' crazy.
Does anyone remember a team falling apart that fast? I can't think of an equivalent.
Hard to believe that August isn't over, but our baseball season is.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I didn't want to say it after game 3 of the last series, I still didn't want to say it after game 4. But giving up game 5 (and any wild card optimism) started pushing me into it. And then to lose to Anaheim, something I was sure wouldn't happen even if they had sent Matt Clement out to pitch the game - just for the fact that giving up 5 in a row to the Yankees would light a hypothetical fire under the back side.
Well, it pushed me over the edge. I can't watch anymore, I can't do it. Maybe I'll watch a D.O. at-bat if I'm flipping through the channels and happen to notice. But...
It's football season, there I said it.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
Me: "So, can I tell you about something that happened?"
Me: "The Red Sox lost five games in a row to the Yankees."
Katie:...long pause... "That doesn't sound very good."
I couldn't have said it better myself...
Monday, August 14, 2006
Being a lifer, I have to bring up something less than positive though. Anyone else not feeling so great about Lester? I mean if he wasn't pegged as 'the guy' wouldn't we all be questioning him a lot more? Really, he's had one start where he made it past the 6th inning. One. And it was against the (sometimes-not-so) hapless Royals at Fenway. It's really the only start where he dominated.
His first string of wins were really shaky and easily could have gone the other way with one squeaker past the infield. People keep saying he gets out of a lot of jams. That's great, but what it really means is that he gets in a lot of jams. Watching the first few innings yesterday was painful. In the first he was very lucky to get away with only one run. And watching him give up the 4-1 lead in the second after the Lowell grand salami was brutal. I'm on pins and needles whenever he pitches. We were lucky that the mighty sox offense pulled through yesterday because that game was this close to getting away from us. It was a "win" for Lester yesterday, but that had to be the shakiest of all his shaky wins. I'm getting the jitters just writing about it.
On the flip-side he is 22. And I do think he has the potential to be a great pitcher. The potential. He ain't there yet. I'm surprised cranky sox fans haven't been coming down on him more, but I think it's just a symptom of the way we all fall in love with these prospects that you keep hearing about when they're still in the minors. I remember being totally bummed that Hanley Ramirez got traded and I had never seen the guy play a full game.
Back to Lester. His stuff just doesn't seem that great. Eck keeps saying his fastball doesn't have the life that you would expect. It certainly doesn't have that Papelbon action. Very nervous to see how he pulls through in September/October considering he's never pitched in a season this long. I can imagine a scenario where Lester comes into his own at the end of the season. And through the playoffs. Here's hoping that he is able to step it up and that I have to eat the above stated words...it's not like we have any other options.
Anyway, I'm very excited for these next two series and I think we will be back in sole possession of first place by the time the yankees leave town.
PS Wouldn't you like to see someone like Abe Alvarez up here, rather than watch another Jason Johnson start? What's up with that?
Saturday, August 12, 2006
So what's "that feeling" of which this blog post title speaks? It's what I told a co-worker yesterday morning when he walked in gloating about the fact that the Sox had just dropped 5 of 6 to two of the American League's bottom feeders. He's a Let's Go Mets fan -- not quite as bad as a Yankee fan, but pretty close. The Mets are on a five game win streak which is why he felt so comfortable about rubbing it in about the Sox losing streak. I said to him, "Derek, would you rather have your team hot right now or in September?" I also mentioned that in spite of their losing ways, the Sox were ready to rip off 12 wins in their next 15 games to re-take the lead vs. the Yanks. Well, they're less than 20% of the way to 12 wins but with two consecutive wins, they're off to a good start.
Why I'm so confident about the Sox getting hot right now is that they have the team to get hot. Everyone is hitting. The starting pitching is starting to come back around (what about Wells last night?) It's amazing what a difference having your starters last more than 4+ innings has on the rest of the team. More encouraging is the fact that we get Tim Wakefield back sometime in the next week or so. All of a sudden, the Sox 1-5 starters start looking pretty good -- Schilling, Beckett, Lester, Wells, and Wakie.
No offense to Jason Johnson but he is NOT the answer for a 5th starter. He could be of assistance in the bullpen, especially in long relief however. Who knows, maybe Snyder -- their current long relief guy -- can become a 6th or 7th inning "bridge" to Big Papelbon giving them another bullet beyond just Delcarmen, Hansen, and Timlin.
Side note to this blog entry... how beneficial do you think a 6-8 week vacation for Jason Varitek is going to be come late September/early October? Anyone can see that he's been scuffling as a result of pulling his glut muscle back in April during the World Baseball Classic. It didn't affect his defense much but it dramatically affected his hitting. I can see him coming back as a force and hitting 6-8 HRs/.300+ avg. in his last 80-100 ABs.
Getting Varitek hot in the five hole (huh.. huh... hmm... huh... huh... I said "five hole") would also make a huge difference to how opposing pitchers face the 2nd through 4th hitters. The Sox lack of production from the 5th spot in the lineup has been the Sox Achilles heel to the point that the D-Rays and Royals both realized that it wasn't the worst strategy in the world to walk Ortiz and Manny and take their chance on Youkilis or Lowell.
I know winning 10 games in the next 13, especially with 8 of thos games coming against the Yanks and Tigers, is a tall order but I've got a feeling. By August 26th, we'll have a pretty good idea whether or not there was anything behind that feeling. Who knows, maybe Manny will have passed Dom Dimaggio's record 34 game hitting streak by then too. We'll just have to wait and see...
Saturday, August 05, 2006
There’s a funny line that belated comic, Mitch Hedberg, used in his somewhat schitzofrenic monologues. He would deadpan, “yesterday I played tennis against a wall… that thing was fuckin’ relentless.” While I apologize for the colorful language, the reason that line comes to mind is that it reminds me of David Ortiz. After he hit his second HR last night to break a 2-2 tie (ultimately the game winner) the DRays, I turned to my dad and said, “that guy is freakin’ relentless.”
To bring my point home, if you're a pitcher and there is one guy in the American League you absolutely do NOT want to face with the game on the line, I’ll bet that 140 guys out of 140 guys (Sox pitchers included) would tell you that Ortiz is THAT guy. How could you not. The guy hits a home run every 10 at bats. The only guy who’s potentially more dangerous is Albert Pujols. Thank goodness the Cardinals locked him up for eternity, otherwise, you-know-who (rhymes with “fine tenor” would be paying him $60 million a year.
The thing that is crazy is that the Sox got Ortiz for nothing. You think the Twinkies wouldn’t trade their owner’s first-born child to get him back? In my mind, acquiring Big Papi wiped away any of the bad Karma that was left over from losing the Babe, trading Bagwell for Larry Anderson, and even losing Pedro and Johnny. After all, they did win the World Series two years after acquiring Ortiz, right?One last note before I sign off. I'm happy that the Yankees are winning right now. That's right, you heard me correctly. And no, I haven't lost my mind and switched over to the dark side. The reason I'm happy is that now is the time I want the Yankees to be winning. Let them get all pumped up. Let their fans get their swagger back. You know why -- because the Yankees are going down this year. When I say that, I mean they are NOT going to make the playoffs. Yes, that's a bold claim but I'll bet anyone $25 bucks that will happen. Sox win it all in the AL East by 3 games and the White Sox win the Wild Card.