Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Game 136: Them Rookies Again

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 3, Chicago White Sox 5

Note to any team who wants to beat the 2005 Sox in the post-season: send out a rookie, preferable someone who Boston hasn’t faced before, for every game.  You’ll sweep the series no problem.  The Red Sox problems with rookies continued again yesterday, as Brandon McCarthy threw 7 3-hit innings and kept the Sox scoreless.  Tony Graffanino helped Boston avoid ignominy of their fourth shutout by hitting a three run homer in the ninth with two outs, before Gabe Kapler ended the game with a hard hit ground ball.  

According to this article, my assessment about the chances of a rookie in the off-season against Boston might be a bit overrated, as Boston is 7 and 9 against previously-unseen starters, but clearly it takes more than two or three at-bats against a pitcher to get Boston’s offense going.  Also, Brandon McCarthy is SICK – he not only shut down Boston’s offense, but took down Texas like it weren’t no thing his last time out.  Andrew is right though – a massive pitch count on a 22 year old arm, especially when you’re going to be heading into the post-season and might need him to pitch, is pretty damn stupid.  

With Johnny Damon day to day with shoulder problems and Bill Mueller on a day off, the Sox played a version of the second string squad, with Youkilis leading off and Kapler in center.  Although Youkilis is a great player and hopefully has a fine future ahead of him, he’s no replacement for Damon in the leadoff spot.  I assume the move was made to avoid changing the rest of the lineup – making the worst of a bad situation, especially with the way McCarthy was pitching.

Two good things about yesterday that make the loss a lot easier to bear:
  1. Although Schilling may not be happy with his losing effort of 9 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks and 4 strike outs over 6 and 1/3rd innings, he’s looking better and better with each start.  The splitter is still playing tricks on him – every major hit Chicago picked up came off a splitter – but Curt seems to be on the road to being a great pitcher once again.  Whether or not he’ll be ready to really perform before the end of this year is a good question, but at least he isn’t done permanently.

  2. Keith Foulke really has turned things up a notch since returning from the DL – he’s given up one hit in his two outings and had a perfect inning and 2/3rds with a strike out yesterday.  His velocity isn’t as high as it was last year, but if he can fool hitters and keep building then the Sox will have their closer back again.

I’ll still laughing about this article for hours after I read it.  I hope the crow Celizic ate after Game 5, let alone Game 7 was delicious, because it came by the mouthful.  In a way, Boston winning it all last year was not just about ending the “1918” chants – it was about making arrogant sports journalists like this guy look really, really dumb.  And it makes me very happy.

The Stopper tonight against John Lackey in the first of a three game set against Anaheim.  Lackey is has a middling 3.51 ERA and a .277 OBA on the road, but the Sox hit him well last time they faced him: 3 runs and 9 hits in 6 innings.  GO SOX!!!

tags: baseball | red sox | keith foulke | curt schilling | tony graffanino