Monday, May 10, 2004

Games 30 & 31 - Red Sox
Streak Ends and Look Out BeLowe

Red Sox 9, Royals 1
Royals 8, Red Sox 4
Record: 19-12

The Sox last 15 games (prior to yesterday's result - I'm trying to make a point) are a great illustration of how day-to-day examination of a baseball season can make a body certifiably bi-polar. A detached fan looks at the Sox' 10-5 record over that span and says, "Sweet". A more diehard fan (read: miserable lunatic) parses the stretch into a 6-game winning streak (okay, now we're talking), and 5-game losing streak (moving to the ledge now), and a subsequent 4-game winning run (and...we're up again).

All of which is to say that the beauty of the 162-game baseball season, with its variable but predictable rhythms, is easily lost on people like me, who live and die every day with their teams. Today's another example. The Sox are 19-12, in first place in the AL East, but I'm more down than up because they lost a winnable game against the mediocre Royals and the Yankees made their second 6-run comeback in a week to top the Mariners. (Another AL West team rolling over against New York. Not that I'm bitter or anything.)

Derek Lowe continues to confound, and really isn't making much of a case for a substantial raise in this, the last year of his contract. (His agent, Scott Boras, aka the Death of Baseball, will clearly disagree.) Lowe had two outs and a runner on second in the top of the 6th with the score tied at 2. He'd pitched pretty well to that point, but simply lost his command, walking the bases loaded and giving up a bleeder that opened the KC floodgates. One out and the Sox go on to win the game, because they could have leveraged the bullpen for the late stages of the contest. Instead, Lowe's now 3-3 with a 5.01 ERA, and easily the worst of the Sox starters.

Pokey Reese hit two homeruns in the middle game of the KC series, which means that we should all do the things that we've been putting off, because the world is about to end. Granted, one was an inside-the-park job aided and abetted by KC's Juan Gonzalez, who seemed to believe momentarily that the baseball was a hand grenade. After Pokey's second tater, Dave McCarty touched off his first homer of the season, which was disappointing because it may make Terry Francona believe that McCarty has any redeeming value. Which of course, we know to be demonstrably false.

Curt Schilling pitched a complete game to back Pokey's muscles, which was very cool to see after several seasons of holding my breath when Pedro goes over 100 pitches. I'm sure the bullpen was grateful, too, though they haven't had a ton of work of late. Good thing, because B.H. Kim goes tonight against the Indians, and he's on a limited pitch count.

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