Sunday, July 22, 2007

Game 98: When Wakefield Wins, All Other Pitchers Suffer

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 8, Chicago White Sox 5

So, um...I guess it's a good thing that the Red Sox might have had their turning point this weekend and brought back their "we kill everything" offense, capable of eating lead and crapping bullets and scoring runs by the metric butt-load, or we might have a had problem seeing things through to a win. Seriously, what was with the pitching of everyone not named Wakefield (or Okajima) today? On the plus side, White Sox starter Jon Garland (remember when you had that one good year, Jon Garland? And that one other one? And you've been an average pitcher ever since?) was not up to today's task, surrendering three runs and the lead for the rest of the game to the Man-Ram in the first and three more runs in the fifth, while sacrificial lamb Charlie Haeger finished out the rest of the game with two runs of his own.

Meanwhile, Wakefield pitched great through six, but ran into some ugly trouble of the three run kind in the top of the seventh that ended his night after one out. So far, so good. Manny Delcarmen hits the stage to start the power trio action we've come to know and love and...well...let's just say that if someone told me that aliens had kidnapped MDC for the day and replaced him with a body double who couldn't find the strike zone, I wouldn't be surprised. It takes Delcarmen five batters to record an out; Francona pulls him for Okajima, who calmly takes the situation carefully in hand and gets the next four outs as easy as breathing. Ok, Papelbon time. The three run difference is no object. We're good, everything's cool, everything is...why is he giving up hits? Why are the bases loaded and nobody out and Jim Thome at the plate?

I must admit that I blacked out a bit here and I had to go back and watch Thome's at-bat again. I'm still not sure how Paps managed to blow that third pitch fastball by him, what with Thome sitting on speed with a 2-0 count, but I'm thinking that pitch might have been powered by pure awesome. After that, I guess Cinco Ocho took over, because neither Thome (strikeout) nor Konerko (game-ending double play) looked like they stood much of a chance. Three out of four games, ending a slump and a 21-run weekend? I'm a happy man.