Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Behind the Wall of Sleep

Games 94 through 99 – Red Sox

Red Sox 6, Rangers 4
Red Sox 9, Mariners 4
Mariners 5, Red Sox 2
Mariners 9, Red Sox 8
Red Sox 7, A’s 3
Red Sox 13, A’s 5
Record: 61-38

I’m just now starting to feel like a human being after 4 days of liver-pickling, sun-worshipping, and face-stuffing on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. As always, my MLC compadre served as an incomparable host, providing a bucolic seaside venue for our always-rollicking festival. And, as nearly always, I spent the whole time in blissful ignorance of the Sox progress, save for a few minutes perusing the box scores in The Virginian-Pilot.

As a result of my coastal meanderings, I only caught one of the Sox’ previous 6 games, and boy, did I choose poorly. Sunday’s loss to the Mariners was marked by epic ineptitude by the outfield combo of Manny Ramirez and Coco Crisp, who conspired to provide the M’s with 3 crucial runs on a pair of the most comically absurd fielding efforts major league fans will see this year. Fortunately, I was so tired and hung over that I couldn’t muster enough energy to be more than mildly irritated.

The events of last week have elevated my mild concern about the pitching staff to the point where I’m actively searching for a way to lock the windows on the 2nd floor of my home to stop me from flinging myself into the back yard in dismay. Tim Wakefield went on the DL with an injury that’s variously been diagnosed as a back strain, broken rib, and muscle tear. Seems like the guys looking for WMD in Iraq had a better sense of their quarry than the Sox’ medical staff. Bygones.

Wake’s back/rib means he’ll be out at least a month, which leaves the Sox with 3 healthy starters, and one of those is a rookie with fewer than a dozen major league starts and a propensity to get himself into trouble just to see if he can get out of it. Kason Gabbard (called up from AA for an emergency start) and Kyle Snyder made starts for the Sox during the past week, with Snyder going again this afternoon. (Aside – did Roger Clemens have a hand in naming Gabbard?) I’m no Tim Kurkjian, except maybe in terms of size, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that championship-caliber squads don’t send the Snyders and Gabbards of the world to the hill with any sort of regularity.

The issue is exacerbated by the yawning dearth of attractive pitching options on the market, and with the first trade deadline coming on Monday, the Sox are in the fragile position of either hoping that some combination of David Wells, Matt Clement, and Wakefield can get them through the season’s final 2 months or overpaying for a mediocre 4/5 starter like Livan Hernandez or Odalis Perez. Based on the prospective cost associated with the latter option and the fact that Wells may actually take his turn in the rotation on Monday, I’ll choose door number 1 and cross my fingers. Given his long-demonstrated reluctance to trade young for old and longer-term strategy to make the Sox a mega-team in 2008, I think Theo’ll check his hand and place his trust in the offense.

Afternoon game today, which means I’ll actually be able to stay up late enough to watch it. If you’re good little boys and girls, I might actually cover it live for you. Of course, Kyle Snyder is starting, so the cursing may be a bit much for our more sensitive readers.

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