Saturday, July 20, 2002
Pedro Martinez (W, 12-2)
[insert favorite sound of exuberance]
"That was the best I've seen Pedro pitch," Soriano said. "Sometimes I look for his changeup and he throws the changeup, but it's still different than everybody else's. It's an unbelievable pitch"(McCarron, New York Daily News).
Friday, July 19, 2002
A Tale of Two Cities
And now it's off to New York.
I'm trying maintain an air of detachment about this series with the Bombers. But that will where off as the day goes on. By 7pm I'll be pacing the floors, making the dog nervous.
Every time the Red Sox head into the Bronx these lines from Dickens pop into my head:
IT WAS the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way
Today's NY Post headline: YOU'RE NEXT SOX!
Speaking of the Post, here's a bit asking us Boston fans why we are not outraged over the lack of a move to get Thome or Vaughn:
BY THE time new owners Tom Werner and John Henry get done with their subtle dismantling of the Red Sox, the team might want to consider changing its name to the Pink Sox
Many teams have legitimate gripes about all the competitive advantages of the Yankees. Increased revenue sharing is a must and even the Yankees can't argue that point.
Don't count the Red Sox among those with reason to feel as if they are shut out by the system. Count them among those not trying as hard as they can to beat the Yankees .
The Boston media, repeatedly lauded as the toughest in the country in this space, is so giddy over being rid of condescending, impersonal Dan Duquette they have given the new horse-meat peddlers a free pass and by doing so are contributing to the Yankees getting a free pass to yet another division title (Keegan).
A good point or Yankee propaganda?
Time again to sing the praises of our knuckleballer:
Tim Wakefield, scheduled to start Tuesday, rode out of the bullpen in the fifth and rescued the Sox.
"This guy," said manager Grady Little of his versatile pitcher, "is invaluable to this team. He does so much. He's not just giving us innings; he's giving us innings that help us win games."
Inheriting runners at first and second with none out in the fifth, Wakefield struck out Steve Cox and Aubrey Huff, then retired Toby Hall on a groundout to strand two. He added two more strikeouts in the sixth and another in the seventh to give him three nearly flawless innings, with the only baserunner against him a hit-batsman, the result of an overactive knuckler (McAdam, ProJo).
Thursday, July 18, 2002
After losing his last four starts, Lowe's performance last night went a long way toward getting me back on track.
His innings count this season now stands at 132, eight more than his previous major league total. With two-and-a-half months left in the season, Lowe said fans should look at yesterday's performance as reassurance for themselves as well (Silverman, The Boston Herald).
I'm going to have to get another pair of rose colored glasses!
To bastardize Browning:
The sinkerball is sinking,
D-Lowe's found his form,
God's in his heaven,
All's right with the world
Those of you able to tune in from work, don't forget that today's game against Tampa Bay has a 12:15pm start time.
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Long ball to the rescue!
Like so many of their predecessors, this Red Sox team relied on the grand, heroic homer to get the job done:
Manny Ramirez had a career-high five hits, including a go-ahead double in a five-run eighth capped by Trot Nixon's grand slam, and the Boston Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 9-4 Tuesday to stop a four-game losing streak (The Boston Herald).
I'll take it. Man, oh, man, was that win last night important.
The Sox needed a boost and they finally got one. ''Obviously, we've been in a little bit of a losing streak,'' Nixon said. ''Sometimes teams go into these little funks and it just takes a day like we had today to break out of it.''
Let's hope that this is part of "breaking out of it" and not just a single isolated occurrence of offensive power. Even the stock market has the occasional good day, but if you've looked at your 401k lately
Not trying to be a Grumpy Guss (heh heh) but like I said yesterday, I've flipped into prove it to me mode. My tank of giddy has run dry.
In a troubling reminder of their recent woes, the Sox appeared doomed when they mustered only one run in the sixth inning despite sending seven batters to the plate. In fact, they had two runners (Jason Varitek and Daubach) thrown out at the plate on grounders by Tony Clark and Johnny Damon (Hohler, The Boston Globe).
Troubling indeed But the win streak starts at one. Time to light another candle in my Red Sox shrine.
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
Oh, I'm flappable. (I'm completely flapped!)
I'll leave the calm under pressure to the professionals:
Unflappable, thy name is Grady Little - at least in public
"It's bothering me somewhat, but I'm not going to let you or anybody else see it because the next thing you know the players will see it and they have nothing to be worried about,'' Little said. ''We're just in a period right now where it's tough to win a game" (Hohler, The Boston Globe).
I'm pushing the panic button over here. I'm unhinged. I'm huffing and puffing. I'm yelling at the neighborhood kids to get to hell out of my yard. I'm wondering why I follow this godforsaken team cursed for eternity.
Flappable? I've got your flappable right here.
The rose colored glassed are off. I've stomped them to pieces.
``We can't hang our heads or feel sorry for ourselves,'' catcher Jason Varitek said. ``We've got to go out there and fight.''
Fight on, Mr. Varitek But excuse me if I remain skeptical.
I've followed the Red Sox like a leper following Mother Theresa for over 30 years, and in all that time I can only count two incidences in which the Red Sox have managed to win the fight, managed to pull off the improbable: The ALCS game 6 against Anaheim in '86 and the Morgan Miracle of '88. Hell, I'll even throw in one more: Pedro's victory over Cleveland in the '99 postseason.
But that's it just 3 times in my lifetime have the Red Sox managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And I need not remind anyone that the improbable victories alluded to above were quickly overshadowed by horrific defeat.
What are the chances they'll do so this year? Beat the Yankees? Are you friggin' kidding me? These guys can't beat Detroit and Toronto. Hell, I don't know if they can't beat Tampa Bay anymore.
Oh, I'll still be here 'til the bitter end, lighting candles, crossing fingers, hoping, hoping, hoping but I'm done with the optimism until proven otherwise.
Monday, July 15, 2002
No panic, just facts
OK. Every time I take a little break from posting, the Red Sox lose big time. First there was my Easter vacation occurring during the Opening Day drubbing by Toronto. Then there was my beach trip in which the Sox were swept by the Braves. And now this: loosing 3 in a row to the oh so mediocre Blue Jays.
Even as jinx happy as I can be, I know this is nothing more than pure coincidence, as it's becoming more and more obvious that the Red Sox aren't very good. Oh, they have the potential, but that's all they have right now.
If you're wondering if this sentiment is related to the Sox' losing performance here, the answer is yes. Of course. It would have been OK if the Sox had lost a game or two to the team with the undistinguished resume. When they lost three of four, they made themselves coverboys for the Cry For Help manual.
You just don't lose three straight to the Jays, not if you're serious about playing in the postseason. You don't lose three games to them when John Burkett, Derek Lowe, and Pedro Martinez pitch in the series (Holly, The Boston Globe).
I was already privately thinking that the Red Sox were playing for the wild card at this point, anyway, as I don't see them beating the Yankees to take the division. Now the wild card seems suspect. Or, if they do sneak in with the same team that took the field the past 3 days at Sky Dome, they'll be eliminated early and quietly in the postseason.
This is absolutely one of those do or die points in the 2002 season. No hyperbole intended.