Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Send 'Em Home Happy

Games 32 through 34 - Red Sox

Red Sox 13, Oakland A's 5
Red Sox 3, A's 2
Red Sox 6, A's 5
Record: 21-13

Apologies for the overlong hiatus, though the tidy 3-game set serves as a nice blognugget upon which to ruminate. Sweeps are neat. Sweeps of the A's are even better. Sweeps of the A's where that ritalin-deprived freak Eric Byrnes' heroics get obscured are fan-freaking-tastic.

Bit of the ridiculous and the sublime as the Sox drop the hammer on Octavio Dotel on back to back days to run their recent record to 10-3. Among the ridiculously sublime:

Kevin Millar's walkoff on Tuesday gave the Sox a win in a game that I'd conceded long before it was over. After Huston Street dominated the Sox in the late innings and the A's scratched a run off of Bronson Arroyo to take a 2-1 lead into the 9th, I sat passively, resigned to the loss and not all that upset about it. I even told my wife that the losses haven't been killing me as much this year. Right before Papi walked to lead off the 9th and I told her that Millar was going to end the game. "Good fastball hitter against a good fastball pitcher," I said. "He's taking him out." She nodded, patting me on the head, pretending she cared or even had any idea what I said. And then this blind squirrel found a nut.

Jason Varitek replicated Millar's heroics this afternoon, bailing Keith Foulke out and beating Dotel for the 2nd straight day. All manner of "Captain, My Captain" references burst forth from the assembled game thread masses at SoSH. Papi walked again to set up Varitek's heroics - I love that tall, dark and handsome man. I thought Florida Evans was hot, too.

Johnny Damon had hits in all three games of the A's series to run his hitting streak to 17. He's more locked in than lookalike Charles Manson. His streak is made more impressive by the fact that he's had multi-hit games in 12 of the 17, including a 3-for-3 on Tuesday. He leads the AL in batting with a .383 clip, and is in the top 5 in runs (26) and OBP (.421). He's the prime mover on the league's highest-scoring offense. I take back all that crap I said about Hollywood Johnny earlier in the season. Blind squirrels are, after all, blind.

The aforementioned Bronson Arroyo and his current pitch-alike, Matt Clement, are making Curt Schilling and David Wells luxury items, not must-haves. The 2 are 8-0 with a 2.99 ERA (and should be 9-0 after Keith Foulke ripped Clement's 5th win away by gacking a 3-run lead against the league's most inept offense this afternoon). Clement's given up 4 ER and 14 hits in his last 18 innings. Arroyo's gone him better, yielding 4 ER and 11 hits in his last 21 2/3 frames. Toss in Monday winner Timmy Wake's 4-1, 3.18 mark and Wade Miller's promising season debut, and you'd be forgiven if nos. 38 and 3 were fading from your memory.

On the just plain ridiculous-as-in-silly front, Manny Ramirez' sudden penchant for horsehide magnetism benched the slugging left-fielder for large portions of this series, after he was hit twice by A's pitchers. Good thing a .245-hitting, weak-fielder outfielder is easily replaced. We kid because we love, Manny. And because the Sox are 13 games over .500 without your bat.

Finally, the um-what-the-fuck-ridiculous stylings of Keith Foulke reared their ugly head this afternoon, as the Sox' "closer" allowed 4 runs on a single by Keith (.143) Ginter and a homer by the aforementioned turbospaz Byrnes. The A's leftfielder hustles like a crazy person - and made a handful of terrific plays in this series, including a flat spectacular diving catch to rob Trot Nixon on Tuesday - but doesn't he remind you of that kid in high school who tried just thismuch too hard?

And any major league pitcher that throws Mark Bellhorn anything but a sinking fastball under his hands should be taken out and shot. Bellhorn appears to have a Tourette's-like obsession that renders him unable to hold up on such a pitch, and he's damn well incapable of hitting it. It's maddening, frankly. Unlike Manny, we kid because you make us want to break things.

On a completely unrelated note, if our good friend ECA Mike thinks our recent pop culture references date us, just wait until I bust out the Lloyd Cole and the Commotions retrospective. Hell, Duran Duran had a top 20 album in 2004, for chrissakes. And 34 isn't exactly old, you whippersnapper. You should spend less time making fun of your elders, and more time cajoling your partner to contribute to our enjoyment of the blogosphere. And this time, we kid because we love.

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