Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Games 96 - 99

Final Scores:

Game 96: Boston Red Sox 7, New York Yankees 8
Game 97: Boston Red Sox 11, New York Yankees 10
Game 98: Boston Red Sox 9, New York Yankees 6
Game 99: Boston Red Sox 12, Baltimore Orioles 5

To spark a winning streak, combine the following: a game lost in the ninth inning to an RBI single by A-Rod; a day of violence between Arroyo, A-Rod, Varitek, Tanyen Sturze, Gabe Kapler and Kenny Lofton; a few weird calls; a blown save by Mariano "Enter Sandman" Rivera; shining breakthroughs by Millar and Kapler; the solving of the Contreras enigma...and one of the most exciting weekends in baseball ever. Mix vigorously, then serve to all opposing teams red hot. Admittedly, I missed most of it except for Game 98, which I enjoyed a particular relish that comes with a defeat handed to a Yankees' starter who had supposedly figured himself out, while our "head case" pitcher pitched with incredible composure...and I consumed 28 ounces of Sam Adams. As Yankee fans are happy to point out, of course, the Sox are still 7.5 games back from first place and yes, they are. It's unlikely at this point that that'll change too much (of course, didn't they say that in 1978 too?), but the Sox are looking like they might go on a tear like the one back at the beginning of the month...and there's no All Star Break to screw up the momentum this time.

Most thrilling moment of the weekend: watching the highlights from the second game of the series the five or six times ESPN showed them that night, seeing Varitek take out A-Rod with that face-push to leg grab maneuver...then watching the Bill Mueller homerun. Makes me tear up just imagining it. I can empathize with Schilling's reaction after his poor performance on Friday - this stuff just inspires that sort of emotionality if you get into it enough.

On the injury front: I feel like I shouldn't even have to have a section on this topic, but it seems like a completely healthy team ain't in the cards this year. Reese is still on the DL, Williamson *might* be coming back for this weekend's festivities at Minneapolis and Trott...Trott is still the undeclared stage, with the current feeling being a break for anything from two weeks to the rest of the season. Kapler's hot right now and hopefully he'll stay that way, but it's always nice to have depth in a position. Hopefully this will be a best case scenario. Neither Damon or Varitek were hurt badly enough this weekend to stop playing.

Game two tonight versus Baltimore, with Wakefield facing off against old Red Sox nemesis Rodrigo Lopez. The Sox faced Lopez last week, during that ridiculous first game of the Thursday doubleheader which prompted my open letter to Francona, telling him how I feel about him.* I'm hoping for (or is it expecting?) a better performance from the Sox tonight. YANKEES SUCK!

*ESPN color commentator Rick(?) Sutcliffe told audiences on Sunday night that Francona had been an "excellent pickup" for the Sox. Micah, who was watching the game with me and I almost fell off the couch we laughed so hard. Sutcliffe also called Derek Jeter the William Wallace of baseball, prompting Nikki to ask me later if we could paint Jeter's face blue.