Friday, August 26, 2005

Game 125: Home Sweet Home

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 4, Kansas City Royals 7

Thank GOD that road trip is over – after last night the Sox limped back home having won 4 out of 10 games, lost 1.5 games in the standings and failed to perform well against two of the weaker teams in the American League.  The offense is in a slump, hitting .251 with a .689 OPS over the past seven days.  A team with one of the weakest offenses in the majors hit Schilling hard last night, as the right-hander gave up 6 runs on 9 hits over 5 innings (86 pitches), walking 1 and striking out 5.

And yet, despite the squawkings of the media and with the exception of the slump and perhaps the failure to do well against KC, none of the things that happened on this road trip should come as much of a surprise.  The 2005 Red Sox are 34 and 35 on the road – a winning percentage not too far from the one Boston achieved on this road trip.  They hit .274 and have a .797 OPS on the road – better than they did on this road trip, but not as good as the .284 AVG and .834 OPS at home.  Like it or not, Curt Schilling is still a guy recovering from a difficult surgery.  Physically he may be fine, but he’s still got to go out there and get used to starting games – remember how poorly he did in his first outing as a closer.  He may not be the same Curt he was last year by the end of the season, but it’s foolish to write off his recovery or the Red Sox chances just yet.

Meanwhile, Boston’s reward for a season spent mostly on the road (69 away games versus 56 home games) has finally come: 25 of the last 37 games are home, including a 14 game stretch starting today against Detroit, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Chicago and Anaheim, part of a larger 30 game stretch until the Sox’ next day off.  With a league-leading 38 and 18 record at home, the idea of so many home games at such an important stretch is like sweet, sweet candy.  On the flip side, many of those games are against the AL East, against which Boston has a 22 and 26 record – not as good, but hopefully the balance is enough to keep the Sox on top.

Cool idea for a poll.  It seems that many of Boston’s fans (or those who read, anyway) agree on how Boston’s bullpen should be run, including that Craig Hansen should be pitching for Boston as a middle reliever, possibly in Remlinger’s place (about 11,000 people think that the Sox should ditch Remlinger posthaste).  Of course, keeping the fate of Cla Meredith and his on-going slump in AAA in mind, the Front Office may feel differently.  Unfortunately, Remlinger has been very inconsistent – 3 appearances with multiple runs, 3 with no runs, 1 with 1 run and not including his first two appearances, where he failed to get an out, an average of 1.2 innings per appearance.  If he was flat out terrible all the time, it would make sense to get rid of him and bring up someone like Matt Perisho in his place, but the jury still seems to be out on whether or not Remlinger will be an effective member of this team’s relief staff.  Perisho is not currently on the 40 man roster however and the Sox will have to do some juggling to call him up.

Tim Wakefield will be taking the mound in his stopper capacity once again tonight, going up against the Tigers’ Jason Johnson at 8:05 to give the grounds crew extra time to repair the field after the Rolling Stones concert.  GO SOX!!!

tags: baseball | red sox | curt schilling | craig hansen | manny delcarmen | mike remlinger