Friday, August 19, 2005

Game 119: ...And Fall

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 4, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 13

“It must be tough pitching with a huge fork sticking out of your back.”
- Joy of Sox on Mike Remlinger

I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it over and over again: I hate West Coast road trips.  Hate ‘em.  Schedules should be set up so that the Sox have to go out West once a year – a nine game road trip against Seattle, Oakland and Anaheim and then back into time zones closer to Boston’s for the rest of year.  If the Sox happen to be playing in NL West during Interleague, they can make that a separate trip, but we should only have the pleasure of 10:00 starts once a year.

As Soxholics pointed out though, if Boston was going to choke, at least they did it early.  And boy did they choke.  Colon was masterful.  The offense wasted opportunities, especially in the 2nd when they could have tied up the score 1-1 but stranded a runner at third.  The defense made costly errors.  Wake had the misfortune of taking a Casey Kotchman line drive off the meaty portion of his lower leg and had to leave the game, although X-rays revealed nothing more than a contusion and Tito had one of his usual pitching brain farts by bringing in Mike Myers to pitch to a righty, Juan Rivera, who promptly hit a three run homer to put the score out of reach.  Is the bullpen really in such tough shape that Francona is forced to bring in a LOOGY against a righty?  Doesn’t that go against basic common sense?  Maybe not, as Mike Remlinger went on to prove once again in the 7th that he’s not in any sort of shape to be throwing pitches, except maybe to his kids: two innings, six hits, five runs, including a homer.  I gave up after the top of the fifth with a headache and a growing sense of despair, but if you want to read the details of the whole sordid mess, Joy of Sox took the time to liveblog it.

Last night’s failures are a showcase of what’s wrong with this team right now: we’re holding onto the wrong players.  Kevin Millar and Mike Remlinger should not be playing for the Red Sox; they should be dusting off their resumes and looking for other lines of work.  It’s frustrating not because the problems exist, but because the solutions are right there, on the team right now.  Both John Olerud and Roberto Petagine can play first base and they can both hit for more power than Kevin Millar has generated at any time in the past several months.  Manny Delcarmen may not be a left-hander, but he gets guys out and he doesn’t give up runs to the extravagant level that Mike Remlinger does.  And if you don’t want him, you’ve got Jon Lester, who’s got the double fortune of being a southpaw and a good pitcher.  The keys are there; Theo and Tito need to make the switches and do so before the Sox enter a major slump and start to slip out of contention.  Thank God the Hansen promotion seems to be closer to reality every day.

I think if both Johnny Damon and Theo Epstein deny the steroid rumors as being not only patently false but deliberately inflammatory, they’re probably not true.  Not to mention denials by both the players union and major league baseball.  At least I hope so; I don’t think I could stand that kind of news or being lied to straight out, especially in the middle of a pennant race.  I think I understand a bit how Baltimore fans feel right now.  I guess In Theo We Trust is starting to get a bit too close to home at the moment.

Trot Nixon faces off against Keith Foulke today to determine whether or not the right fielder is ready to go and do a rehab assignment.  Remy and D.O. mentioned last night that Nixon has had a very quick recovery from his oblique injury, which is just as well, since he hurt himself through such aggravating and pedestrian circumstances.  The Sox pushed Wade Miller’s next throwing session back to next week in Kansan City.  I know I’ve read several stories where Miller denies that the injury is particularly serious or close in severity to the shoulder problems he had last year, but it’s a bit odd he’s getting this much rest.  Perhaps because Papelbon is proving himself such a boon to the pitching staff (and pitching about the same number of innings per game as Miller), the Sox are willing to give Miller some extra time to recover.  David Wells has started to recover from his stomach problems.

Honest Abe tonight versus John Lackey, hopefully minus Millar and Remlinger, but we’ll see.  GO SOX!!!

tags: baseball | red sox | roberto petagine | jon papelbon | manny delcarmen | mike remlinger | manny ramirez | kevin millar | john olerud | craig hansen | tim wakefield