Monday, September 03, 2007

Game 138: The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 13, Toronto Blue Jays 10

Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a big round of applause for the incredible pitching by the only two teams in the American League with ERAs under 4.00! That's right: the Red Sox and Blue Jays, home of some true pitching phenoms; can't you tell from the score? I mean, that's a low score for baseball, right? 13 to 10? Or was that football...

Actually, what really boggles my mind is that this game was a laugher, an out-of-reach cruise to victory for Boston that seemed unassailable. Dice-K was dealing, making everyone not named Matt Stairs look like a fool at the plate, Boston was tooling on Jays' starter Jesse Litch (seven runs on seven hits over 3.1 innings), reliever Joe Kennedy (three runs, one earned, over two-thirds of an inning) and old friend Josh "Faulty" Towers, who lived up to his nickname with a stellar three runs for three outs deal. 10 to 1, Boston leading and I made what was almost a mistake: I walked away from the game for a while. I put my trust in the pitching staff. I got overconfident.

When I came back, it was the bottom of the sixth and Boston was putting the finishing touches on their final rally of the evening, a rally that moved the game back into breathing territory after the eight runs of devastation Toronto unleashed in the top of the inning. Eight runs! How does this happen? Suddenly the endgame went from relaxing to a little tense, as the Sox found themselves using pitchers (Timlin; Okajima; Papelbon, of all people) who by all rights should be bound for the hotel when the Sox are up by nine runs. I guess we can count ourselves lucky to have won, but the middle of this game was nothing but ugly pitching.

Fortunately, like an opiate for the masses we have Mike Lowell and his god-like ways to distract us. The last time he didn't have a hit two days in a row was July 31; since then he's had two games with an 0-fer (and one of those was game two of a doubleheader, so I think it shouldn't count). He's got a sixteen game hitting streak, he's hitting over .400 for the past month plus and his OPS from August 1 to today probably topped 1.000 tonight. With Manny sidelined, Lowell's been the front line for driving in Ortiz, Pedroia, Crisp, Youkilis, etc. and the catalyst for so many rallies that win games, including the home run that got things started against Litsch tonight. I doubt the Sox will be the team paying Lowell's salary next year, but at least he's going out with a Fourth of July on the Charles River Esplanade-level fireworks display.