Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Game 125 - Red Sox, or Sauerbeck is German for Stinky Beer Fart

A's 3, Red Sox 2
Record: 71-54
AL East: 6.5 GB NYY
Wild Card: 1 GB Oak

Games like this one make me long for the relative numbness of Oriole fandom. Why do I torture myself so much over a group of guys who don't even know I exist, or care really? Hell, I only really know 3 or 4 other real Sox fans, so why is it such a big deal to me? Why can't I root for a nice, comfortable group of schleps like Baltimore or Montreal? Wins would be nice, losses no big deal, beers at the ballpark cold, and the seats would all face the action. And expectations would be nil, so anything better than .500 would be a bonus. Hell, even Mets fans have it better at the moment - at least they're riding a 6-game winning streak, rather than a 4-8 skid.

Instead, I grind my teeth over this team of Red Sox, who took a huge step backward last night when they couldn't hold a 2-0 lead in the 7th inning. Scott Sauerbeck, who was brought in expressly to handle lefties, walked Eric Chavez and Erubiel Durazo in his brief stint. He was replaced by Scott Williamson, who has pitched well since coming from Cincinnati, but threw a 1-2 slider to Ramon Hernandez that didn't slide until it skidded off the roof of the stadium. Hello, 3-2, and goodbye Wild Card lead. Of course, it didn't help matters that the supposedly terrific offense couldn't scrape out a single run in 6 innings against a mediocre Oakland bullpen after chasing A's starter Mark Mulder with a hip injury in the 3rd inning.

I woke up at 5:00 a.m. today, seriously pissed off about last night's game. This Red Sox team is one of the two or three best in my lifetime from a talent perspective. If they fail to make the playoffs, it will hurt like few things short of the 1986 World Series. It will also be a clarion call for a drastic change of personality at the top. Grady Little is the classic player's manager, a laid-back, go along to get along sort of guy who is universally liked (but undoubtedly not feared) by his team. Failure in 2003 will almost certainly require the Sox management team to go out and get a fire-breathing, ball-busting, win-or-else gamer next year to try to shake this team by its collective necks.

Two more against Oakland, with pitching matchups that favor the Sox in both. It's not yet win or else time, but it's getting pretty damn close, and I'm getting tired of explaining that there's still time left. We may be looking at another blog boycott, and nobody wants that, least of all our tens of fans.

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