Sunday, June 29, 2003

Games 74 - 80 - Red Sox

Red Sox 3, Detroit Tigers 1
Red Sox 10, Tigers 1
Red Sox 11, Tigers 2
Red Sox 6, Tigers 4
Red Sox 25, Florida Marlins 8
Marlins 10, Red Sox 9
Red Sox 11, Marlins 7
Record: 47-33

The self-imposed hiatus is over, but it shouldn't be. This week, and Saturday's game against the Marlins in particular, has crystallized my feelings about this Sox team. The Sox have scored 75 runs in their last 7 games. 75 runs!!! Beer league softball teams don't score that often, especially ours. They have the single deepest, strongest, most versatile offense in all of baseball. This is not open to argument. They lead the major leagues in hits, runs, doubles, total bases, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging. Their team OPS (.860) is higher than Alfonso Soriano's (.855).

They also have one of the most suspect pitching staffs in all of baseball. They led the Marlins, 9-2, in the 8th inning of Saturday's game and found a way to blow it. They have given away at least a half-dozen games in the first half of the season through poor relief pitching and bad managerial decisions, and that's probably conservative. I'm not even counting the handful of games that Derek Lowe gave away in the season's first month. This team, with this offense and average pitching could easily be 55-25. Easily.

For all my pissing and moaning, the Sox are squarely in the middle of the playoff race, leading the AL Wild Card race by 1 game over the A's. Since the Yankees are treating my friend's Metropolitans like the randy bull treated the traitor in the cow suit in Top Secret, the division deficit has grown to 3.5 games (although the 3-run shot Jeremy Burnitz just touched off is a nice start to this game). Regardless, I still believe that the Yankees aged starting pitching will catch up to them during the heat of the summer, leaving the door open. If...

...the Sox go out and get one more stud arm. Here's what I believe: if the Sox get one more above-average pitcher - either a closer or a starter (at which point Kim moves to the closer role) - they will win the American League. If they don't, they will make a run at the playoffs, but probably fall short in the most exasperating manner possible. There are a bunch of names running through my mind - Wagner, Vazquez, Colon, Trachsel, Williamson, and yes, Benitez. I don't care which one, but the Sox must get somebody to stabilize this staff. The offense has battled too hard, and is too good to waste.

And, a hearty "Let's Go Mets" for the last time this season.

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