8.12.02: The Sox fell to
4-17 in their last 21 one-run games with the loss to the Twins Friday night in
which the Twins made at least four dazzling plays and the Red Sox gaffed a popup
behind first base that led to two runs. Question for the defense: How does
Rey Sanchez not call Dauby off that play?
... While former Sox pick Aaron Hurang's victory in Fenway
Wednesday night might have triggered another outbreak of The One That Got Away
Fever in New England, the Mariners' acquisition of Jose Offerman should be
viewed as nothing if not palliative. Given the M's roster, where will Offy get
his innings and at-bats? Seattle has Gold Glovers at first and second and while
their bench might not be that deep, presumably they have live bodies who are
willing to play when asked. Let's see Offy refuse an order from Sweet Lou.
Would you really want this malcontent around the kids after the September
call-ups? What's he going to teach them? How to bunt the runner over? How to
turn the double play? Situational baserunning? Yuck.
... Not since Daniel Webster's address of March 7, 1850 has
pragmatism suffered such obloquy in Massachusetts. If you've dared suggest that
perhaps it would make sense to root for the Yankees against the Angels or A's,
you know what I'm talking about. But just as lifetime abolitionist Webster
hadn't turned soft on slavery in that Union-preserving speech, neither should it
be inferred that one's desire to see the Red Sox in the playoffs is in any way
an indication of said pragmatist's inveterate hatred for the Yankees being
diminished. Trust me, if there is a postseason, the Yankees will be there.
Forgive those who don't see the Red Sox having a winning percentage 100 points
higher than the Yankees over the last 47 games.
... In the top of the seventh in
Friday's game, the Twins Christian Guzman did exactly what Johnny Damon should
have attempted in the bottom of the fifth in Wednesday's one-run loss to the
A's: he bunted for a base hit with a runner on first. I can't figure out why
teams don't employ this strategy more often or even if the "bunt for a basehit"
sign exists. After Rey Sanchez led off the fifth with a walk with the Sox
leading 1-0 in what was destined to be a nailbiter, it would seem to me that the
best way of ensuring that that runner gets into scoring position without
voluntarily giving up an out would be to have your best bunter try to bunt for a
base hit. What's the downside? As it was, the Sox went quietly, Sanchez never
reached second and they lost by a run. Friday night Guzman pushed Rivas to
second, reached first ahead of Frank Castillo and set up the winning run.
... When Shea takes all those groundballs that have led to
his significant improvement at third does he back up on the ball as he did on
both his errors against Oakland? Tony Clark also let a routine chopper play him
in the third game in Texas, which led to two unearned runs, an error that was
upstaged by Hillenbrand's horrible throw in the eighth. Rick Burleson had a
simple philosophy: Charge everything. His thinking was that if it was hit too
hard to charge then you'd just make a reaction play, and if a ball was
charge-able you were better off dictating where you took the bounce.
... At the end of a 3-and-5 stretch that could easily have
been 6-2 if not for three botched routine plays against the Rangers, A's and
Twins, I feel like NESN play-by-play man Don Orsillo may be the team's best
clutch defensive player, having handled that pressure-packed chance early in the
season with aplomb under the withering gaze of partner Jerry Remy.
... There is no gallbladder-like organ to process the pain
that goes with being a Red Sox fan, so it justs sits there, waiting to be
inflamed by the latest calamity. Does it hurt more to break your foot than to
stub your toe? Sure. But Sox fans are forever stubbing an already broken
foot. Every metatarsal has been shattered in the last 84 years and still we
can't seem to avoid banging this foot against the legs of the dresser.
Some of us have to cope merely with Dent, Schiraldi, that
phenomenal 13-game playoff losing streak and a couple of horrendous calls in the
'99 ALCS. Our immediate forebears swallowed bitter seven-game Series losses in
'67 and '75, and their folks remember Pesky holding the ball in '46 and the
heartbreaks of '48 and '49. I can't say that I felt worse in '86 than I do
every time this narrow Pedro-provided window of opportunity closes another
millimeter. It's just one long pain-time continuum for which there is only one