Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I’ll bet on the Sox in that situation every time. Needing one run to tie it up, the Sox have Lugo, a fast runner, on second, with no outs and the top of the Red Sox order up to bat. And not the Lugo/Crisp top of the order either, but the top of the order that actually, you know, gets on base.

This is a perfect example of why I don't bet on sports. The Sox had four shots to bring in the tying run yesterday and failed each time. Pedroia, who gets on base about 40% of the time and almost never strikes out, struck out on an 88 mph fastball. One out. Kevin Youkilis, who had crushed the ball twice in previous at-bats and who also gets on base at a 40% clip, swung and missed for strike three. Two outs. David Ortiz, who despite some injuries and a downturn in power (the two are likely related) is getting on base better this season than ever before, worked a walk. He became the potential winning run for Boston.

Next up: Manny Ramirez. Two on, two down, team down by one. A future Hall of Famer at teh plate. But Ramirez fell behind in the count 0-2 and, after fouling a few off, struck out as well.

Game over. Sox lose, 6-5.


Its tough to lose a game that, on paper, the Red Sox should have won. But, as well all know (and as Kenny Mayne used to say back in the day before SportsCenter became a steaming mound of rat feces) games aren’t played on paper, they’re played inside television sets.

Ultimately, the Sox couldn’t quite overcome the 6-0 deficit that Matsuzaka and luck put them in.
There was more than a little bit of role reversal at play here. While probably the best pitcher in the majors over the past two months struggled with his command (Matsuzaka was behind almost every hitter) and with the vagueness of luck, Andy Sonnanstine, of the 9.00-ERA-and-zero-wins-since-May Sonnanstines, cut through the Sox lineup as if he were a seasoned veteran.

Even when Sonnanstine gave up a base runner, he did it at an optimum time. To wit: every base runner the Red Sox got against him came with two outs. That’s a tough time to start a rally, even though the Sox did it in the seventh.

Of the seven hits Matszaka gave up in the first three innings (when the Rays scored five of their six runs), only three of them were well hit. The first, which was a hard hit single by Iwamora, the last, which was a smack into the left field corner by Carlos Pena, and the double off the wall that scored two runs in the third.

The others were dinky dunk hits that just eluded fielders. That’s not to say the Rays didn’t earn them, just that Matsuzaka wasn’t pitching quite as badly as someone who looks at the box score might think.

AL East: The resurgent Yankees de-surged last night against the Orioles, losing 6-3 in 10 innings. The Orioles entered the ninth up 3-0, but their bullpen
(SURPRISE!!) couldn’t hold the lead. The Yankees tied it up on a three run homer by future ex-Yankee Shelly Duncan.

After the Yankees finished taking their curtain calls for not losing to a crappy team at home in regulation, we go on to the tenth. Here we find The Great Mariano Rivera, the veritable inventor of the Save** itself, allowing consecutive doubles before topping himself by giving up a two run homer to Aubrey Huff. The Great Rivera then doffed his ballcap and three white doves few out. The crowd gave him a curtain call.

The Red Sox lead stays at 5.0 games.

Today (Thursday): The Red Sox are off today, but don’t fret my friends, there will be a double helping of Sox tomorrow starting at 1:05pm EST (More afternoon baseball! Yay!). The Angels, who kicked our collective butts so thoroughly in Anaheim, come to Boston to have us return the favor. Hopefully the Red Sox remember to wear their spikes with the steal toes.

The first game will be required watching for all Sox fans as phenom Clay Buchholz takes the mound for his major league debut. He’ll be opposed by one of the best pitchers in baseball in John Lackey.

In the second game, Josh Beckett will pitch a perfect game without throwing a pitch. Beckett will simply slap each Angel hitter once across the face, where upon the umpire will cry "OUT!" and the hitter will simply turn and walk slowly and sadly back to the dugout. (His inconsequential opponent will be Ervin Santana.)

In other news…

According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox will have to do some roster shuffling to get Buchholz onto the 25 man roster. There has been much speculation that Wily Mo Pena will be designated for assignment (i.e. released). That would be a shame, and if it happens I’ll elaborate about it here later. If Wily Mo isn’t the one to go then Kyle Snyder might be.

The Globe further states that after Buchholz pitches, he’ll be sent back down and Jacoby Ellsbury will be called up. This likely means one of two things. Either the player to be DFA’d is a back up outfielder (lending credence to the Wily Mo Will Go theory), or an outfielder is about to go on the Disabled List (DL).

Coco Crisp has been having problems with his quads and the Globe has described his legs as “tired” recently. J.D. Drew is perpetually hurt, so he could be a candidate as well. Losing him for fifteen days wouldn’t hurt the team at the plate.

I’d rather have Coco or J.D. go on the DL for fifteen days with Ellsbury taking their place than lose Wily Mo forever. We’ll have to see what happens.

**Copyright 1998, Rivera Industries, LLC. All rights reserved.

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