Thursday, August 26, 2004

Games 120 through 125 - Red Sox
Ignorance is Bliss and Payback is a Bitch

Red Sox 10, White Sox 7
Red Sox 10, White Sox 1
Red Sox 6, White Sox 5*
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 0
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4
Red Sox 11, Blue Jays 5

Record: 72-53
August Record: 16-7

Looks like I should ignore this blog more often. Last year, I took an intentional sabbatical, and the Sox ran off 5 wins in 6 games. Last week, a combination of beach-side antics and the resulting catch-up days at work kept me away from MLC, and the Sox...ran off 5 wins in 6 games. I'm sensing a theme here.

(Random aside that has no relevance at all, but will ring true to Whitney: taking a vacation with two kids under the age of 3 is not relaxing. Not at all.)

The Sox are playing some top-notch baseball at the moment, right as the Mets are drawing the curtain on my friend's enthusiasm. If I recall correctly, he jumped squarely aboard the Sox bandwagon in the late stages of 2003. There's plenty of room in the Nation, my man, just make the call and I'll get you a good seat. We could use the luck you brought during the playoffs last year, because it looks like white-knuckle time could last a couple of months this season.

The final game of the White Sox series is denoted with an asterisk because it may well be the game we look back upon as a seminal moment in this season. The Sox spotted Derek Lowe a 4-0 lead, which he gave back on two mistakes - giving up homers to Paul Konerko in the 5th and Carlos Lee in the 7th. Boston trailed 5-4 as Manny came up to begin the top of the 8th. Two pitches later, the Sox led 6-5 on round-trippers by Ramirez and Ortiz. Mike Timlin was flat-out nails in relief, stranding the tying run to get out of a 1-out, 1st and 3rd jam.

Timlin did it again two nights ago against the Blue Jays, wriggling out of a bases-loaded, 0-out quagmire with 2 strikeouts and a groundout. He's having a fair-to-middling season, but his last 2 appearances bring back happy memories of his stone-cold assassinations of 2003 postseason opponents. If the Sox are going to do anything this season, he will be critical, along with Alan Embree, Keith Foulke, and...anyone, anyone, Mueller, anyone? Do you sense my concern about the depth of the Sox' pen? Does the fact that I'm holding out hope for Byung-Hyun Kim's successful return to Boston betray a savvy baseball mind, or a delusional moron? Don't answer that.

The next two weeks are capital-H Huge for the Sox, who face Detroit (4 games @ home), Anaheim (3 @ home), Texas (3 @ home), and Oakland (3 on the road) before closing the month with 14 games against Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore sandwiched around 6 against the Yankees. 8 wins in those 13 games are not inconceivable, and less than 7 will be a big setback.

And speaking of the Yankees, because it always comes back to them, don't look now, but a certain team is only 5 1/2 games behind the suddenly mortal-looking Bombers. As recently as last week, I wouldn't have thought that those 6 games in September would mean much - and they still may not - but I'm all aquiver (as are ticket "brokers" along the entire Eastern Seaboard) at the possibility that those 2 series' could decide the division.

In a minor housekeeping note, I added a link to Jose Melendez' Keys to the Game, a wickedly funny and long overdue blog by one of SOSH's cleverest posters. Jose's gameday Keys (posted in Sox game threads on SOSH) are by turns snarky, snappy, erudite, and beer-out-the-nostrils funny.

Finally, this item on the Mets' new policy against the wearing of paper bags over the heads of distraught fans at Shea struck me funny. Sorry for piling on, Whit.

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