Recent history with Theo (as Gordon Edes of ESPN deftly points out) tells us he will do everything he can to get a quality reliever either at the deadline or during the August waiver period. Edes gives a very nice timeline back to 2003 of all the key relief pitching moves Epstein has made in his Sox tenure--many that were crucial pieces of playoff and World Series-winning teams--and moves that opened up roster spots for now-legends of Red Sox lore.
Edes reminded me of the Scott Williamson trade who had an amazing run in the playoffs in 2003 (and I'm still not sure why Grady Little didn't use him in place of Pedro in the ALCS game 7). He also reminded me of the Shea Hillenbrand trade to the D-backs that allowed David Ortiz to get more playing time. Don't forget about Myers in 2004 or Bradford in 2005 or Billy Wagner last year.
The problem is the team could have used one right before the West coast trip. The pen has a collective ERA of something like 4.44 (I read somewhere) and is the fourth worst in the league. You can't get to the playoffs with those kind of numbers.
With knowledge of how deeply invested the Sox are in starting pitching, the relief pitching has to be a real target. Can Theo stay that patient as close games are consistently being lost in the 8th and 9th innings? That debacle on Sunday with Oki and the pen was very troubling.
Some rumors are that Sox are courting Scott Downs of Toronto heavily (as are the Yankees).
My fears about this road trip are almost completely true. Some good starting pitching has been there, but not for the bullpen. At least V-Mart and Hermida are back. Buccholz pitched very nice last night, getting out of jams and going pretty deep with only one early home run given up.
Ellsbury played in the Gulf league and is due back with the team next week. Hopefully guys forget all the BS with where he rehabbed and welcome him back.
Still, even with the win lat night, the Yanks and Rays also won (Garza, the bastard, threw a no-hitter), so they're still 8 games back. Not 9 games back, but too damn close.
Lackey takes the hill tonight in his former home stadium in Anaheim. Should be a bit surreal for him--especially after he drills one of his former teammates in retaliation of a Fernando Rodney fastball in Beltre's back after Ortiz hit a 2-run homer last night off him. The umpire was way too quick to warn benches last night and Tito could visibly be seen saying either to Rodney or the umpire (probably both) "F U C K You!"
That was awesome.
I am always leery of guys who go back to their old stadiums, so I don't expect much from Lackey tonight. He'll probably get a mix of cheers and boos, though since it's Anaheim, he's bound to have a strong Red Sox following. I've been to that place many times and the Sox fans come out of the woodwork in the OC for that series.
Time for tortillas as frisbees and loud chants of "Let's go Red Sox!" and, of course, death to the rally monkey.