Thursday, September 04, 2003

Games 138 & 139 - Red Sox, Ortizzle, fo' Shizzle

Red Sox 2, White Sox 1
Red Sox 5, White Sox 4
Record: 81-58
AL East: 3 GB NYY
Wild Card: T1 - Sea

The Era of Positivity is paying some serious early dividends. The Sox are winning, the Yankees are losing, and my blood pressure is down. I could have blown a serious gasket several times last night while watching Johnny Damon drop a flyball that he catches 999 times out of 1000, or Manny loping around in left field, or Jose Valentin drive Mike Timlin's meatball into the cheap seats to tie the game at 4. I could have, but I didn't. I kept repeating my mantra: "Hey, it's baseball. Lotta game left.", until David Ortiz blasted a solo homer to left in the top of the 10th and the Bunger held on (precariously!) to close out the Pale Hose. While the Sox were winning, the Yankees, A's, and Mariners were all losing to inferior teams, so the Sox really stole one. (Edit for significant oversight: Derek Lowe was a man tonight, fighting through bad luck, bad defense, and bad umpiring to give the Sox a chance to win. He made great pitches with the bases loaded and 1 out in both the 5th and 7th innings to keep the game close. Shoulda' been rewarded with a W, but his "cowboying up" is a great sign for the rest of the season.)

I've not paid near enough homage to David Ortiz in this space, especially given the fact that he's been the Sox MVP since the All-Star break. His two-homer game last night was his 5th multi-tater game this year. He only had 2 in his entire career before this season. He's slugging .602(!) for the season, with 25 HR and 84 RBI - and he hasn't played full-time. Since the All-Star Game, he's batting .284 with a .412 OBP and a .682 SLG (1.084 OPS!), not to mention 15 HR and 38 RBI in 42 games. He's been timely, he's been huge, and he's been leading the Sox over their recent 10-3 run against the AL's best teams. On top of all that, he's widely praised as a terrific clubhouse influence - good friends with Pedro and Manny, and liked by everyone. Today's Boston Globe features a glowing puff piece about him, with quotes from Todd Walker and Todd Jones (notably, in Boston, honkies) about his value to the team on and off the field. Plus, he looks like Florida Evans from Good Times, which is, well, good times.

You may have missed it, gentle reader, but I did not err when I noted that the Sox were 10-3 over their last 13. Those 13 games were against Oakland (1-0), Seattle (4-0), Toronto (1-1), New York (1-2), Philadelphia (1-0), and Chicago (2-0). They've now played 20 of the 23 games against the league leaders in the much-feared August stretch noted earlier. They are 12-8 in those 20 games, and have actually gained ground on the Yankees. The final weeks of the season feature a steady diet of Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Cleveland - with three at home against the White Sox thrown in for spice. They are right where they need to be, so we're stoking the coals on the Positivity Express and throwing the hammer down.

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