Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Games 78 - 81: Treading Water

Final Scores:

Game 78: Boston Red Sox 2, Toronto Blue Jays 15
Game 79: Boston Red Sox 6, Toronto Blue Jays 4
Game 80: Boston Red Sox 2, Toronto Blue Jays 5
Game 81: Boston Red Sox 5, Texas Rangers 6

I was out of contact the whole weekend, for a variety of reasons, so I missed pretty much everything except the end of last night's game. Robin, who's off in the country with his fiancee and her parents this week, sent me this reply after I emailed him last night cursing Keith Foulke for imploding yet again, like this year was some flashback of the 2003 bullpen:

So I am stuck listening to the game up in Cherry Valley NY with a dial up internet off a laptop that is older than most of the members of the Sox AA roster. It’s the 4th of July and I got sunburned watching fat chicks wave flags in some backwater parade... but at least I get the Sox at 8:00.

Well sorta. Dinner ran late and I miss the first 4 innings. Apparently I miss Miller sucking, Manny being Manny and a 3-2 Texas lead were a pass ball and a WALK count for the Sox 2 runs. OK. Well anyway after loading the bases twice (2x) Miller turns into CY Young and does a strike out clinic...too bad he’s up to 118 pitches by the 6th. ANYHOO Sox bats come alive...Trot ties it, Manny SMASHES a BOMB to go up 2 and its a 5-3 ballgame in the 7th. No problem. OH WAIT!!! This is the 2005 "NO LEAD IS SAFE" Red Sox and we GOT NOBODY TO COUNT ON. So Lenny (AAA) DiNardo shows up and gets 2.. one drop of pee in my pants. Then the forsaken body of John Halama come up and gets the LONGEST FREAKING OUT I HAVE EVER SEEN. Inning over... Sox offence goes away. Mike (I only let other pitchers runners score) Timlin shows up AND GIVES UP A FREAKING RUN. Then Embree comes in and my asshole clenches so tight that if I was &^*ting coal, I would have made diamonds. I am shaking the cord of the laptop in fear... but we get out of it. 5-4...Sox offence goes away.

OK, Last of the 9th. Here comes Foulk... gets one quick out and then turns into the guy we love to hate. I keep waiting for him to rip off this mask to reveal he’s Byung Young-Kim. Gives up a triple.. then a double (that’s tie game for those scoring at home) and then a FRICKING WALK... and now Soriano is up... a BAD ball chaser... and is down 0-2.... AND FOULK DRILLS HIM IN THE %&#*ING RIBS!!!! Are you &*%$ting me??? Bases loaded for Kevin Mench and a single later the game ends....

I close the laptop and unplug all the cords and prepare to throw it out the window when I remember it belongs to my future mother-in-law. So I put it back in its case and go into the den where the rest of the family is discussing some movie I skipped to listen to that forgone conclusion called Red Sox baseball. I enter and hear: "Wow you really got burned today. Your face is totally red." My reply: "Sorta... The Sox lost in the ninth." Them: "Oh... stop clenching your teeth. Its scary." So I sit my redder-than-a-baboons-ass face down and swear under my breath.

Seeing my anger, my future mother-in-law taught me how to hook rugs as
a way to cool down. Yes, rug hooking is to fill my evenings now. Rug Hooking.

I now renew my oath from earlier this year. No baseball until a week AFTER the Allstar Break if the Sox can't win on Tuesday. God help me if I end up learning how to crochet.

Couldn't have said it any better myself.

Oddly enough, after all this losing, Boston is still 2.5 games up on the AL East. Although it's been all inter-division games recently, the close standings make me wonder if the AL East might be the weakest part of the American League this year. I'm hoping it's more that most of the teams (by which I mean every team but Tampa Bay) are good enough to keep things competitive.

Clearly, there was more to meets the eye about Matt Mantei, as the reliever finally admitted to Terry Francona that his ankle hurts so badly that something will need to be done to fix the problem. If, as the Herald article suggests, this problem has been going on for a while, I give Mantei enormous props for trying to pitch through it, although his stubbornness may have cost the Sox a game or two. For now, Mantei's on the 15 day DL; time and the solution to the injury he picks will tell how long he's out.

In other bad news, Curt Schilling was less than impressed with his second rehab start versus Charlotteville at Pawtucket yesterday. Giving up eight hits, two walks and five runs in five innings and striking out eight, Schilling said he didn't feel bad at all during the outting, but was generally frustrated by his performance. After the game, Schilling rejoined the team in Texas, where he and the coaching staff will figure out if he needs to make an additional rehab start. If he did, it would push off the date of his return until after the All Star Break. That said, the quotes in the RedSox.com article don't make Schilling sound particularly comfortable with the idea of returning to the rotation just yet - although the ankle is no longer bothering him, he feels that his release mechanics still need work and he doesn't want to supplant a starter and drag the bullpen down by having to stick to a pitch count. Of course, if Theo and Francona decide to bring Schilling back now, that sixth starter (my guess is Arroyo right now) will be available to come in as long relief, so a pitch count situation would be possible and wouldn't wear out the setup men or force Boston to use Halama.

There may be no better demonstration of how there's something wrong with the Boston sports media than the point/counterpoint done in the Boston Herald over the weekend about Keith Foulke's Johnny Burger King comment where apparently neither writer spoke to the closer first.

Johnny Damon broke his personal record for hitting streaks on Saturday, hitting for his 18th game in a row. As of yesterday, he had hit safely in 20 straight games, which is why he, along with Ortiz, Manny and Varitek are all starting in the upcoming All Star Game in Detroit.
Maybe Kenny Rogers' appeal will come up sooner and the MLB's suspension will force him to back out. If so, Matt Clement could take his place and become the fifth Sox starter in the game. This year is the first time since 1949 and the third time ever the Sox have had four All Star starters.

Jeremi Gonzalez and Lenny DiNardo are up, Abe Alvarez and Ramon Vasquez are down. Alvarez came up from AAA on the 2nd when Mantei went on the disabled list, but went back down after the last game of the Blue Jays set without throwing a pitch. Vasquez, who's played in only 23 games this year and has not proven himself to be a useful contributer thus far, was optioned to Pawtucket for the first time, apparently to up his playing time so he'd be useful in a trade.

The Stoppers tonight at 8:05 versus Chris Young, who's done wonderful things for my fantasy team but won't be pitching for me tonight (personal fantasy baseball rule: no routing against your own team). I now have a nickname for every Sox starter except for Wade Miller. GO SOX!!!

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