Cross-posted on dicenation.com
Last night's loss to the Yankees was tough to stomach. Although it wasn't quite a gut punch game, it was definitely frustrating. Yes, the Sox are still 7 games up in the AL East -- a lead they will maintain with a win tonight or tomorrow -- but this game dredged up bad memories of past Yankee dominance.
To me, this game was reminiscent of 2003. Good starting pitching from both sides. A sprinkling of home runs shifting the balance of the game back and forth. A crushing blow in the 7th inning (in this case, a 2 run HR by Damon) and then a lights out performance by the Yank's pen. It's been a while since anyone not named Mariano Rivera (and even he has been shaky at times) has instilled fear into the hearts of batters in the bigs.
I've gotta tell you, new guy, Joba Chamberlain, can bring it. I was a little skeptical when I first heard that the Yanks were trading one of their arms (Proctor), for a bat (Betimet) with the assumption that Chamberlain would fill the void in the already leaky bullpen. Memories of Craig Hanson replacing dart throwing closer, Keith Foulke, came to mind. The kid has been darn good though and has brought an element of stability to the Yanks staff.
One has to feel for the Yankees fans just a little. Now I know that the season's not over and that the Yanks very well could be the entrant for the AL Wild Card, but they seem to be doing too little too late. After a serious ass kicking at the hands of Detroit (hello 16-0), they come back and play some serious baseball against the league leading Sox. If they had done a little more of that before the All Star break, the Sox would be in some serious poop right now.
With that said, I like the Sox odds tonight with the young Texan, Beckett, matching up against his idol and fellow Texan, Clemens. Clemens still has game left in him but I don't see him overpowering the Sox tonight. Having Manny out of the lineup tonight will hurt but with the way Papi, Lowell, Pedroia, Crisp and Lugo have been swinging the bats, we should be fine.
One can't help but wonder, however, if the Sox can stand to wait two more days for September call ups before promoting rookie phenom, Jacoby Ellsbury, to provide some pop in the outfield. Boston.com just reported that neither Manny nor Bobby Kielty will be available tonight so Lugo is the emergency 4th outfielder (ouch). On that happy note, go Sox!