Sunday, May 15, 2005

Staying Up All Night...We Don't Do That Anymore

Games 35 & 36 - Red Sox

Mariners 14, Red Sox 7
Red Sox 6, Mariners 3
Record: 22-14

Welcome to a week of West Coast baseball, a sure sign of incompletely researched notions, half-baked concepts, and ramblings influenced by minimal facts. As far as I know, the Sox won Friday's game, 6-5, and lost last night's, 3-1. At least I got the record right.

A theme is beginning to take shape in my mind to define this Sox ballclub. Even in Friday's loss, as I watched them continue to come back and try to pick up the pieces of Jeremi Gonzalez' wreckage, one word kept popping into my mind: inexorable. This Sox lineup is wave after wave of patient, powerful, versatile hitters, advancing without remorse on the league's pitching staffs. Even as several of the leading threats perform slightly below their potential, the aggregate just...keeps...coming - they're like the Borg with personality. That's a testament to an organizational philosophy that preaches patience and control of the strike zone. Case in point: Ryan Franklin shut the Sox down through 5 1/3 innings last night, but threw his 100th pitch in the top of the 5th. Simple matter of time before the Sox got to hit against the soft underbelly of the M's bullpen, and when they did, Trot Nixon took J.J. Putz (is Poots really a better pronunciation than Putt-z? I think he should go with 'Williams') way deep with the bases loaded to give the Sox their winning margin. Lord help AL pitching staffs if Manny, Ortiz, Renteria, and Bellhorn start producing to their potential.

Wade Miller was sharp again last night, until blowing a bearing and spilling oil all over the bottom of the 6th. Even with the back-to-back longballs he gave up to Richie Sexson and Raul Ibanez, Miller showed once again that he should be a huge factor in the Sox' rotation. I particularly liked his reaction after Sexson's immense clout to center - as soon as the ball left the M's firstbaseman's bat, Miller straightened up in a full-body scream. No stoic acceptance for the Sox hurler, just fury. I dig it.

And if Miller is what he seems to be, the Sox have a 6-man rotation of Schilling, Miller, Arroyo, Clement, Wakefield, and Wells that is embarrassingly deep, if marked by some health questions. (Note to Boomer: take your time getting back. Really, it's okay.) That rotation in front of that offense...I mean, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to react to such prosperity. In the B.C. era, I'd look for dark clouds surrounding that silver lining - now, nothing but sunshine.

Screeching segue alert: if Met play-by-play geeble Ted Robinson doesn't stop bad-mouthing Trot Nixon, I'm coming after him with all the fury an obscure, lazy Soxblogger can muster. Teddy Ro was gleeful as he described Larry Walker's career stat breakdown on Friday, comparing the Cardinal rightfielder's Coors Field stats favorably with Ted Williams, then noting that Walker's stats in all other ballparks were exactly like Nixon's. He said it 3 times, as if Nixon were Endy Chavez. For the record, Teddy Douchebag, Trot Nixon - while no Ted Williams - has a career .869 OPS (.923 against RHP). You could do a lot worse (cough, Mike Cameron, cough, career .784 OPS, cough). End of pointless rant.

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