Thursday, May 03, 2007

Manny Party!!

Guess which one is Manny!

Its about time Manny showed up. I mean The Manny, not the Manny who's been sucking up outs like a vacuum cleaner in the middle of the Red Sox lineup.

After Diasuke Matsuzaka decided that, you know, the strike zone ain't where its at no more in the first inning, the Red Sox found themselves down 5-0. Matsuzaka tried to give the game away single-handedly in the inning employing such tactics as walking the bases loaded, and hitting a batter on an 0-2 pitch. Quite simply, he sucked.

To top it off Julio Lugo apparently had some of what Matsuzaka was smoking because in that same half inning he made two errors on consecutive chances, although one of them was later changed to a hit. The first was a grounder that he just didn't field properly. The second was a pop up into shallow center. Lugo got there, but the ball fell off the end of his glove. He should have had it, but in yet another example of why fielding percentage is a useless stat, they gave the hitter a hit.

Down 5-0 before even coming to the plate, the Sox showed that they have ecksteinium in their veins by rallying to tie the game in the second with a series of hits and a few walks sprinkled in. They even had the chance to take the lead, as Manny Ramirez came up with first and third and only one down. Unfortunately he grounded into a double play.

Manny atoned for this later in the game, hitting a two run homer to give the Sox the 7-5 lead. Then, after Matsuzaka saw fit to give that lead away as well, Manny atoned for the double play once again by hitting a second homer in the bottom of the eighth inning, this one a solo shot. That gave the Sox the lead, 8-7, and it was a lead they wouldn't give up, likely because Matsuzaka was out of the game at that point and therefore was unable to walk hitters from the clubhouse.

The bad news is that Matsuzaka has looked increasingly shaky in all his starts, culminating in this latest effort where he was horrible. Yes, his defense let him down a bit, and yes he wasn't getting the corners from the umpire, but none of that matters. Matsuzaka was just bad. Now, everyone is entitled to a bad game now and again. Hopefully that was Matsuzaka's bad game, because you can't have a pitcher walk the bases loaded consistently and still win. Matsuzaka has done this twice now, and somehow the Sox have won both games. That won't continue though. Diasuke has to get himself together out there, and pronto.
It looks like, while Matsuzaka is busy submarining his ERA, Manny Ramirez is beginning to remember how to hit. Thats the good news. Its hard to hit two homers and still be in a slump. Hopefully Manny's done with this hitting .200 thing and is ready to go on a tear through the league's better pitching staffs.

AL East: The Yankees swept a double-header in Texas (thanks a lot, stupid Rangers!) and picked up a half game on the division in the process. Also, Cleveland beat Toronto, and Tampa beat Minnesota. Baltimore had the night off. The Red Sox lead Tampa, Toronto, and the Yankees all by 5.5 games. The Orioles are 6.5 games back.
With their win, the Red Sox are now 18-9 on the season. They have the most wins in all of Major League Baseball. The Brewers have a better winning percentage.

Today: Boston visits Minnesota for the first time this season. Tim Wakefield vs. the surprisingly decent Carlos Silva. Game time 8:10 PM EST.

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