Monday, August 01, 2005

Games 102 - 104: Cruisin'

Final Score:

Game 102: Boston Red Sox 8, Minnesota Twins 5
Game 103: Boston Red Sox 6, Minnesota Twins 2
Game 104: Boston Red Sox 4, Minnesota Twins 3

And all of the sudden we've won five in a row, with our first sweep since taking three from the Phillies June 24 - 26. The furor and uncertainty of the trade deadline ended on Sunday with no deals made by the Red Sox except for picking up Jose Cruz, Jr. from Arizona for two minor leaguers, a result made conspicuous because last year's mid-year trade was so big. As Theo put it, though, you don't buy $5 milk for $100. Or something like that. Suffice it to say, no J.C. Romero, no A.J. Burnett, no Mike Cameron, no Aubrey Huff and (thank all that's holy) no Manny in a Mets uniform. The Sox will be making due with what they can grow on their own, including Jon Papelbon, who made an excellent major league debut on Sunday, giving up two runs on four hits in five and 1/3rd innings, striking out seven and walking five and Manny Delcarmen, who continues to impress - a walk and two strikeouts over an inning and 1/3rd.

Mannygate is gone: the slugger was booed on Friday, given the day off by Tito on Saturday to "clear his head" (with Jon Olerud, who hit a grand slam the night before to put the game firmly in Boston's corner, stepping up again by knocking in an additional three runs) and insisted he did not want to be traded in an impromptu press conference before Sunday's game, before coming in to a standing ovation and chants of "Manny! Manny!" in the eighth to drive in the game winning with a single over the pitcher's head into centerfield. It was big, it was beautiful, it was exactly what this team needed to start a real groove and solidify its hold over first place. Oh and Gabe Kapler's back and making wacky catches in right field. It's on, baby.

The Sox start a three game series against Kansas City today, but the team still needs to worry about the holes that were not filled by the trading deadline. The Herald has a good piece on the team's needs; the Sox also need to decide if they're going to stay with 12 pitchers or send someone in the bullpen back to Pawtucket. Part of the resolution depends on whether or not Wade Miller has something more than bicep tendinitis; if he does, then the only move may be to put Miller on the DL and put Papelbon in his spot. Hopefully that's not the case; Miller had his best start in a long time his last time out and it wouldn't help if he comes out now with shoulder trouble. Papelbon could also take Clement's spot if the 10 game winner doesn't recover fully from his shot to the head, although Clement feels well enough to pitch for tomorrow's start. According to Francona, he should be able to make his return on Thursday. Also, even though it's looking like Schilling is closer and closer to returning to the rotation and Keith Foulke should be back by mid-August, there are still questions about Foulke's effectiveness once he comes back. If the closer situation isn't dealt with through trades, I'm willing to bet it's because the Sox see something in Foulke's rehab that makes them think Keith will be back to form this year - without him, just like without a healthy Schilling, the team is in 2003-land all over again.

Wakefield versus Runelvys Hernandez tonight at 7:05. GO SOX!!!

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