Thursday, April 29, 2004

Game 19 - Red Sox
Invasion of the Body Snatchers?

Red Sox 6, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 0
Record: 13-6

The Sox are winning - dominating, really - on the strength of otherworldly pitching and solid defense. Where the hell is my favorite team? My Red Sox bash the ball all over the park, and win games by softball scores. My Red Sox are led by guys like Jim Rice, Carl Yastzremski, and Mo Vaughn. My Red Sox set the all-time record for slugging percentage in 2003, and still didn't win their division.

These Red Sox are working on a 23 inning scoreless streak, with back-to-back shutouts against the Yankees and Rays on the heels of 5 scoreless innings to close out another Yankee game. The Sox bullpen has a 26 inning scoreless streak, and an 11.1 inning hitless streak going. And before you ask, you should know that I am furiously knocking on wood. At present, there is simply not a weak link on the pitching staff, and there are no other teams in all of baseball that can say that. Long way to go and all that, but this team's makeup is sublime. I can't wait until the hitters catch up to their teammates on the mound.

Tuesday's rainout means that the Sox and Rays are playing a day/night doubleheader today. I love double-headers in concept - it's just a neat idea and a throwback to the old days when baseball was less a business and more a game, and revenues didn't drive scheduling. However, it's really hard to win two games on one day, for whatever reason. I have no empirical evidence of this - just my sense that winning the first game of a twinbill breeds a very human letdown going into the second game. I'm also a bit worried that 18 innings of baseball will tax the Sox bullpen in advance of a road series against the hot-hitting Texas Rangers.

On the plus side, Byun-Hyung Kim makes his 2004 debut for the Sox this afternoon. I'm rooting hard for Kim, because I believe he's got the potential to be a very, very good starter, and because I think he's received overly harsh criticism for perceived lack of clutch makeup. If he steps up and fills his role, the Sox pitching is that much better, which - needless to say - bodes well for the Sox and poorly for the rest of the American League.

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