Monday, June 20, 2005

Games 66 - 68: Bucin' A Right

Final Scores:

Game 66: Boston Red Sox 6, Pittsburgh Pirates 5
Game 67: Boston Red Sox 0, Pittsburgh Pirates 2
Game 68: Boston Red Sox 8, Pittsburgh Pirates 0

A little bit of Priest, a little bit of graduation and a little bit of The Dark Knight and I end up missing pretty much all of all three games, so recaps here instead: Game 66, Game 67 and Game 68. I will say that during the party for that graduation on Saturday I did nip off a few times to check the score using Gameday and called Mantei giving up that run. That he, Embree (excellent performance yesterday notwithstanding) and Halama were at the center of the scoring debacle is not surprising to me, but of the three I feel that Mantei is the most expendable for three reasons:
  • Neither Embree nor Halama had worked in several days. They were rusty. Embree came in and hit a batter with a pitch and although that man came around to score, the scoring was just as much the responsibility of Mantei for not getting strikeouts when it would have been timely.
  • Halama was put in the wrong situation (again): mop up, long reliever guy put in as a stopper. Now it's true that Timlin has pitched a lot recently, but aren't you counting your chickens a bit by assuming you're going to need him in extra innings? Should you be relying on your long reliever in an extra innings situation at all? Wouldn't you go through Timlin and Foulke first and hope that some of the Sox offense figured out what the Pirates were throwing that day?
  • I still have this weird feeling Embree will pull out of his slump. Call me crazy.
Also, who the heck is Dave Williams? We dropped his ERA by a third of a run on Saturday. Woo. Although I suppose after Dave Borkowski last year, I shouldn't be surprised.

The mental image of Big Papi running a triple is hillarious, made even funnier by Francona's description of his return to the dugout.

Jay Payton wants out, but the ESPN rumor mill (quoting Peter Gammons) says that Gabe Kapler is interested in coming back from Japan. Since the site is subscribers only, I'll quote here:

"There is a good chance Gabe Kapler will return from Japan and rejoin the Red Sox, ESPN's Peter Gammons reports. Craig Shipley, assistant to GM Theo Epstein, is in Japan scouting, and one front office executive says he is working on a deal for Kapler's return."

Since Payton was signed as a Kapler replacement, the return of the Great Jewish Hope could be a good thing for the Sox - they get a fourth outfielder who wants to be there and can use Payton, who's been hot lately (six for his last eleven, four runs, three doubles, a homerun and two RBI) as trade bait for a quality right-handed reliever. Besides, who doesn't like Gabe Kapler? He was a good utility player, had decent speed and beat the crap out of Tanyen Sturze.

Golden Buddha tonight versus C. C. Sabathia for the start of a three game set in Cleveland. The Sox are on the road for the next two sets, then home again for another two, which is the pattern for games until the end of July. If the Sox can keep up a .500 road record and keep kickin' ass and takin' names at home, a playoff berth should be no problem. GO SOX!!!