Sunday, August 28, 2005

Why Does First Place Feel Like Rock Bottom?

Games 125 through 127 - Red Sox

Royals 7, Red Sox 4
Red Sox 9, Tigers 8
Tigers 12, Red Sox 8
Record: 73-54

If you're counting, that makes 3 losses in 4 games to the Royals and Tigers. Last night's gutshot loss, with Bronson Arroyo unable to hold a 6-0 lead combined with the Royals' Bad News Bears remake against the Yankees trimmed the Sox' lead to 1.5 games over the Bombers, and it feels like only a matter of time before the Sox' fade to 2nd place is complete. I'll say it again - this Sox team just isn't very good right now.

I suppose I've gone through phases like this in each of the past 2 seasons, where my faith has been tested by a run of indifferent play. Unlike those 2 seasons, and despite the fact that the Sox are leading the division in August, I have absolutely zero belief in this team. Last year, I went all-in on the Sox several times - it was either a literary crutch borne of a dearth of creativity or a true believer's mantra; I choose the latter. This year, I'm not folding, but I might be checking...despite the fact that I don't think the opponents are holding very good hands.

That truth is the only thing that's keeping me sane at the moment - the Sox are deeply, deeply flawed, with a truly mediocre (at best) pitching staff, but the '27 Yankees aren't walking through that door, either. That the Nation is holding out hope for 2005 draft pick Craig Hansen to be the bullpen savior come September 1 is either a sign of keen baseball insight or vast desperation. Sadly, again I choose the latter. That New York's key additions are Shawn Chacon and Matt Lawton bespeaks the Yankees' similarly addled situation. Today, though, the Yankee roster is performing at a much higher level than the Sox'.

I got to the point last night where I had to turn the game off - I tuned in just in time to watch Trot Nixon's homer sail into the seats, giving the Sox a 5-0, 3rd inning lead. I took 45 minutes to put my daughters to bed and returned to the telecast in time to watch the Tigers plate their 5th run of the top of the 4th. Several expletives and a handful of innings later, my TV was tuned permanently to Tommy Boy. And I'm here to tell you that I can stick my head in a cow's ass, but that doesn't mean the Sox didn't butcher last night's game.

One minor light note over the last 3 days came from the always entertaining Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo. Roving reporting Eric Frede was interviewing Boston native and Sox fan John O'Herlihy in the Fenway stands, when O'Herlihy introduced his wife by saying, "We've been married for almost 2 years now, but she still has that new wife smell." Remy and Orsillo went into spasms of schoolboy chortling - which lasted for the better part of the half-inning, and had me in tears with them by the end. The lesson: men are pigs. But we're funny pigs, at least to ourselves. Gotta laugh, I guess, because these Sox are making me want to cry.

No comments: