Monday, August 09, 2004

Games 107 - 109

Final Scores:

Game 107: Boston Red Sox 3, Detroit Tigers 4
Game 108: Boston Red Sox 7, Detroit Tigers 4
Game 109: Boston Red Sox 11, Detroit Tigers 9

A wild and wooly weekend. I was in the Pocanos for a weekend-long goodbye party for Ric, who's moving to Kansas. He tells me he'll be 25 minutes away from Kansas City, so there should be some saving grace - I do worry though that he'll be swallowed up by the corn and we'll never hear from him again. The upshot for this blog, though, was that I was away from all things baseball for the whole weekend and thus missed all of the fun. Even though I was in an extended roam area, I did have repeated urges to call anyone with acess to the Internet just to get an update on what was going on, but managed to resist the siren call of such foolishness and its associated 40 cents-a-minute charges. I'm so proud.

Anyway, the three big things from this weekend:

First, the Yankees may be on a tear, lengthening the lead to 10.5 games after this Friday's loss, but Texas has lost three in a row and is now tied with the Sox for the wildcard, with Anaheim half a game behind. As I write this, Texas is losing 6 - 2 in the top of the 7th in Baltimore and the Sox are playing Tampa Bay at home tonight with Schilling pitching. It's the little things that make me happy.

Second, Tim Wakefield ties a major league record of six homeruns given up in a game, which hasn't been done since September 24, 1940 (Philadelphia A's versus the Red Sox, the A's pitcher, George Caster, went on to lose the game), but the Sox still win the game, 11 - 9. While this record certainly isn't something to aspire to, the fact that Wakefield ended up getting the win anyway shows that at least this team doesn't freak out in a bad situation - or gets mad enough that they won't be held down, especially by the Tigers.

Third, Kevin Millar kindly confirmed what I've been saying for a month now: Terry Francona needs to do a better job defining the roles of his players. Of course, Millar then backed off from his attack on Sunday, which is probably better for team unity, but the point, I feel, was still made. To quote Sunshine himself:
"We need some consistency in this lineup one time. It's Aug. 7 and we're still checking the lineup to see who's playing and who's hitting where. We're in a dog fight now, but if we have to really go with 55 different lineups a week and stuff like that, we'll win two and lose three and win two." Couldn't have put it any better myself. Francona, of course, probably doesn't see it that way and an article in the Boston Globe focused more on the breakdown of the relationship between the players and the "player friendly" manager that the outburst from Millar represented. What I don't understand is, if this club plays .500 ball over 88 games, a situation that is universally acknowledged as a Problem by all concerned, why does Francona think that his current managing style still works well? Coming into this home stand after a long road trip, Francona is still all sunshine and roses about the future, according to the Globe. Where is the telling point here, when the organization realizes that staying the course will not fix the problem? When does everyone realize that the Red Sox manager has a worse case of optimism than the average Red Sox fan? I'm just hoping that these next few weeks will prove that I'm dead wrong and that the even-handed managing style of Terry Francona steers the Sox to a brighter, championship-filled future. YANKEES SUCK!