Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Game 62: The New Nightmare

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 2, Minnesota Twins 5

Is this what other people see when Tavarez enters a close game?

Don’t look at the score. Just trust me when I say this was one of the best pitching duels I have ever seen. The starters Johan Santana and Curt Schilling both reached milestones (Santana 1000 Ks and Curt 3000 innings), both were awesome for 8 innings and both were not involved in the decision. Santana was un-freaking real. The button must have been on his side of the felt, because he was DEALING for the 8 innings he pitched. With 13 K, he looked untouchable until the 7th when Tek lined the first pitch he saw into the stands. You know what rocks? With the way Schilling was pitching, I thought that was going to be enough. He wasn’t as dominant as Santana, but with the Sox infield defense (3 DPs and about 6 other amazing plays) he was still blanking the Twins. However, he too ran into long ball trouble in the 7th. Cuddyer hit a solo shot that knotted it at 1-1. Oh and my guts…they were knotted too.

After that it was up to the pens for both teams. Paps was awesome for the 9th and 10th (with help from Manny defensively…yeah it was hard to watch and even harder to believe) and Timlin (fresh off the DL) was awesome for the 11th. Meanwhile the Sox were blanked by Nathan and Rincon, but managed to load the bases off Jesse “Ichabod” Crain in the 12th. Gonzo (amazingly 3 for 5 on the night) lines one up the middle to the shortstop and manages to beat out the double play. Run scores. 2-1 Sox. Just 3 outs away from a sweet victory.

Now here is the inherent problem. Who do you use in this situation? Foulke has elbow tendonitis (aka: the suck) and was put on the DL today. Riske is exactly what the simple pun about his name would have you believe. Seanez is so bad that I kept flinching when they showed shots of him in the dugout, Van Buren just got called up from AAA today and has never been anything but a serviceable long man. Delcarman would be nice, but he just pitched 2 innings on Sunday. Who’s left?

Only one man…Julian “I need a facial scrub” Tavarez. This Freddy Krueger looking nut job even managed to give me hope. He struck out the AL leader in BA Joe Mauer with a sick inside pitch and then he gets 2 strikes on Cuddyer. That’s one strike and one out away from a win if anyone was keeping track. Every action Tavarez did after this point dramatically affected my emotions in rapid succession.

Tavarez: Drills Cuddyer in the ribs.
Me: Confused and annoyed.
Tavarez: Gives up ground rule double to Morneau.
Me: Scared but relieved (tying run didn’t score).
Tavarez: IBB to Hunter.
Me: Nauseated and bewildered.
Tavarez: Gives up walk-off grand slam to Jason Kubel.
Me: Cidal…Both Homi and Sui.

What the hell is wrong with this guy? Sometimes he looks like the dominant setup guy he was in St. Louis. Sometimes he looks like a psycho who is just as likely to kill and eat a batter as he is to throw them a strike. And sometimes he just sucks so bad you rock back and forth, mumbling with “are you *bleeping* kidding me?” as your only audible words.

What do you do with this mess? The pen was supposed to be a strength, NOT an Achilles heel. I say we take the hit in the wallet, DFA Seanez and Tavarez and rely on some AAA guys. It gets those kids (Hansen, Pauley, etc.) some experience and…well…they couldn’t be any worse than what we got.

And another thing, who is Francona pitching tomorrow? Hurt Wake or hurt Clement? Oh, it's hurt Clement.. greaaaaaat. This road trip isn’t starting well. GO SOX.