Sunday, August 03, 2003

Games 108 & 109 - Red Sox

Orioles 2, Red Sox 1
Orioles 9, Red Sox 2
Record: 63-46

I'm now officially on the ledge. The Sox came out of last weekend on a massive high after an inspiring series win against the Yankees, looking ahead to 6 games against the lower class of the league. 4-2 was expected, 6-0 not out of the question. Now, the Sox must win today to avoid a 1-5 stretch heading into the season's most important two-week stretch, 4 consecutive series against Oakland and Seattle. I'm panicking, I'm pissed, I'm irritated, I'm no fun to be around, and I'm destroying stuff around my house at a record clip.

The Sox have lost three games to both the Yankees and A's this week, and stand a full 4.5 behind New York and a mere 0.5 ahead of the A's. They have been utterly flat, putting together 4 straight listless games going into this afternoon's contest against Baltimore. The offense has tallied a total of 8 runs against R.A. Dickey, Colby Lewis, Pat Hentgen and Rodrigo Lopez. Not exactly Curt Shilling and Randy Johnson, but they've all made the Sox look bad. I've had the bad fortune of watching the last two games live, which has convinced me even more that I really have no business purchasing the Extra Innings package. I am difficult to be around when the Sox are going badly, moreso when I get to watch the Sox going badly. For the sake of my family, I should avoid today's game at all costs.

Grady Little's done a pretty good job this season of maintaining an even keel, but I believe the events of this week call for a chair-tossing, cooler-smashing nutty from the Sox head man. This should be followed immediately by a lineup shakeup that sees Todd Walker moved well down the order. Walker's defensive liabilities are tolerable when he hits like he did until July 1. Not so much when he has a full month of .549 OPS as he did in July. Walker needs to be batting 8th or 9th when he's in the lineup, and Bill Mueller or Trot Nixon need to be in the 2 hole, depending upon the pitcher. To steal blatantly from the Boston Sports Guy, I will not argue about this. The entire batting order's been struggling this week, but Walker's been abysmal for a month, and needs to be moved where he can't bog down the offense.

The Sox are still well in the thick of the playoff race, but this skid has to end soon - for my sanity, if for nothing else.

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