Wednesday, October 15, 2003

American League Championship Series - Games 4 & 5

Red Sox 3, Yankees 2
Yankees 4, Red Sox 2

Up, down, up, down, and where the hell are the bats. 10 games into this rollercoaster postseason and the Sox have scored a total of 32 runs. The best offense in the history of baseball - at least by some statistical measures - has averaged 3.2 runs per game. Some might argue that the pitching is better in the postseason, and they would be right, to a degree. But 3 runs a game better? Holding the Sox to a .190 batting average better? I think not.

Who would have thought that my final few entries of the season would bemoan the lack of offense, and praise the bullpen? (And don't get all negative on me - maximum, I've got 9 games left to discuss.) The Sox pitching staff has allowed 36 runs in 10 games, and the bullpen has been absolutely sick. The best offense in baseball? Nowhere to be found. Nomar Garciaparra has left man after man after man on base, and even when he finally drove in a run yesterday, he did it with a groundout. Manny Ramirez has failed time after time, including yesterday, when he flailed defensively at a David Wells curveball with the bases loaded and two outs to end the inning with a meek groundout. David Ortiz is batting .188. Kevin Millar, .156, but he looks worse than that. Johnny Damon, Todd Walker, and Trot Nixon are the only Sox who are producing, and that doesn't sustain victories.

The Sox face the Yankees today in the Bronx, with John Burkett taking the hill against Andy Pettitte. This is a colossal mismatch on paper.

But here's the thing:

Haven't we been on this ride long enough to know that this Sox team is at its best when the chips are down? Aren't the Sox bats due to wake up and rip off back to back double-digit outbursts? Jump on the Positivity Train, boys and girls, next stop Game 1 of the World Series. Lotta ball left. Stay on target.

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