Thursday, July 21, 2005

Game 94: Beat Down

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 9, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4

With starter Mark Hendrickson leaving the game in the first after facing six batters and retiring no one, the Golden Buddha having another easy outing, the Sox offense setting the tone with a five run first inning and Tampa Bay third baseman Alex Gonzalez committing three errors, yesterday's game was basically a speed bump on the way to the four game series in Chicago this weekend. The Devil Rays did manage to get nine hits on the afternoon and reliever Dewon Brazelton put up a quality relief appearance, going five and 2/3rds innings with three runs (two earned) on six hits, but it was pretty much for naught. In fact, the biggest news of the game might have been
Christie Brinkley spotted enjoying the game from near the Red Sox dugout...full recap here.

I don't think I realized just how much this upcoming series in Chicago scared me until yesterday, when the White Sox probable pitchers were mentioned by Joe and Jerry on WEEI: Mark Buerhle, Jon Garland, Orlando Hernandez and Jose Contreras. The AL starter for the All-Star Game, the guy with the most wins in the AL and two guys who did pretty well against the Sox at the end of last year. The White Sox are the best team in the majors and that dominance is built mainly off their pitching. I'm a mite nervous. The Boston Herald has a good comparison of the match up, but the outcome will depend on two things: the Red Sox getting to the White Sox pitchers early and the Red Sox pitchers shutting down the White Sox offense. Fortunately for Boston, Chicago is light on hitting, so the second thing should be a bit easier to do than the first and I think we'll end up with a bunch of close games over the weekend. The presence of a starter in the closer role may make the difference.

Tonight's game features Mark Buerhle, the last of the string of lefty starters faced by Boston over the past six games. The last time the Red Sox faced six southpaws in a row was June 12 - 17, 1914.

The Mets are interested in Alan Embree, according to the New York Daily News baseball notebook. There's no mention of whether or not they'd try and make a deal with Boston, or just wait until Embree is released.

The newest Bronson Arroyo rumor has him going to Texas for Alfonso Soriano. A deal like that would mean three things:
  1. Mark Bellhorn would be done as the second baseman - no way he gets playing time over Soriano.
  2. Since the Sox lose a starter in the process, Curt Schilling must be pretty close to coming back to his starting role.
  3. The Sox will need another reliever to take Schilling's place in the 'pen until Keith Foulke comes back. That could be someone from Pawtucket, or the J.C. Romero deal for Bill Mueller may be going through after all and Kevin Youkilis will become the Sox permanent third baseman a bit early. In either case, Mike Timlin would seem the logical choice to take the closer role.
Gordon Edes has the full breakdown of the A. J. Burnett trade rumors. It sounds like Burnett may be going nowhere unless the Marlins drop Mike Lowell from the deal.

Tony Graffanino, who went 1 for 3 with a double in his first outing with the Red Sox, may not be the Bellhorn replacement he's being set up to be by the media (Boston Herald, Boston Dirt Dogs), or myself, for that matter. It seems like Graffanino, who's the epitome of the super-utility player, will be platooning with Alex "Don't Call Me Joey" Cora until Mark Bellhorn comes back from the DL. After that, he can be used anywhere - with Youkilis back in Pawtucket to clear up the roster overage and rumors continuing to swirl about Bill Mueller going to Minnesota, it's possible Tony could end up at third. He's also expressed interest in playing in the outfield, although with Adam Hyzdu Pawtucket-bound as soon as Gabe Kapler returns from the DL, I'm not sure how much time Graffanino would get. Maybe they'd use him in platoon with Kapler in right field when the Sox face lefties, reducing the chances of Trot Nixon hurting himself.

Red and White get ready to beat each other blue tonight at 8:05: Honest Abe versus Mark Buerhle. GO SOX!!!

Technorati tags: | | | |