Games 88 through 90 - Red Sox
A's 15, Red Sox 3
Red Sox 7, A's 0
A's 8, Red Sox 1
Red Sox Nation and most of the Boston media spent the All-Star break in the throes of an epidemic of self-congratulatory blathering. Emergency rooms all over New England reported a series of dislocated shoulders and swollen lips from all the backpatting and horn-tooting. The AL East was a foregone conclusion - the only mystery was whether the Yankees would miss the playoffs or catch one of the teams that lead the Central for a Wild Card berth. Unfortunately, it sure as heck seems that the 25 men that actually have the most say in the matter believed the hype way too much and way too early.
The A's aren't a bad team, but they aren't as good as the Sox, either. In taking 3 of 4 in Fenway, though, they were certainly sounder than their hosts. If it weren't for a sterling and desperately needed performance by Curt Schilling on Saturday, the Sox would find themselves trailing the suddenly resurgent Yankees. The Sox' pitching troubles were once again exposed against the A's, as Ebby Calvin was shelled for 7 earned runs on Friday and Kyle Snyder couldn't get out of the 5th inning today. David Wells' suprising rehab progress passes for good news these days when it comes to the rotation, which puts the Boston 9 in a much more precarious position then last week's optimism may have anticipated.
I missed today's game because of family obligations, which is probably for the best. That said, I'm feeling fractionally less angst than I expected I might. The baseball season is a study in peaks and valleys, and even as I hurl invective screenward from my seat on the couch during games, I still remain condfident in the Sox' chances at making a run at the postseason. The A's series may serve as a much-needed wakeup call for a team that's 3-8 in its last 11 against AL opposition - the Fool's Gold of interleague play being the only reason they're still in first. Though that's undoubtedly true, the fact remains that the Sox are in first with time to right the ship.
If I'm back here in 3 days trying to rationalize a series loss to the Royals, you have my permission to send out a search party for the guy that's assumed my identity.