Friday, September 01, 2006

We're a Happy Family

Games 131 through 134 - Red Sox

A's 9, Red Sox 0
A's 2, Red Sox 1
A's 7, Red Sox 2
Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 4
Record: 72-62

Tropical Storm Ernesto's on his way to Whit's neighborhood a day or so after thrashing my parents' house here in Myrtle Beach, SC. The damage here was relatively minor, but like baseball, it was a game of inches. A 20-foot Bradford pear tree was cleaved in half by the winds last night and toppled to the ground, missing my folks' house by about 6 inches and avoiding my car by about 6 feet.

Apologies to Sebastian Junger and to literary devices everywhere, but the last 5 weeks of the Sox season have been the perfect storm of bad luck and bad baseball. If my vacation to see my Mom and Dad were recast as the Sox' season since the trade deadline, that tree would've crushed the garage, ripped the gutter from its mooring, and continued on to demolish the front half of my Durango. Then, Gabe Kapler would've been forced to hit in the no. 5 spot - oh, wait, that part actually happened.

Here's the lineup that backed Curt Schilling on Sunday in Oakland:

Youkilis LF
Cora SS
Loretta DH
Lowell 3B
Kapler CF
Mirabelli C
Hinske RF
Pedroia 2B
Pena 1B

Those of you scoring at home will note that exactly 3 of those 9 players are regular starters, 1 of 9 are starting in their optimal spots in the field, and 1 of the 9 is taking his regular turn in the order. Missing and conspicuous in their absence are the names Ortiz, Ramirez, Nixon, Varitek, Gonzalez, and Crisp (though I could be convinced that his absence is less than completely conspicuous). Note further that Gabe Fucking Kapler batted 5th.

The ever-frantic Nation is casting far and wide to find a scapegoat for this season, with Theo Epstein and the front office leading the early returns. From where I sit, there's not much Sox fans can do except sit back, accept the fact that the Sox had some really, really, really fucking bad luck and enjoy baseball for baseball's sake for the next 6 weeks. Sure, Theo missed on a couple of bets this year, but if the only bad things that happened to the Sox in 2006 were Julian Tavarez and Rudy Seanez' implosions, the Olde Towners would be cruising to their first division title in years.

The Sox were 65-43 just a month ago, right before they dropped 5 straight to Tampa Bay and Kansas City. They've gone 7-19 since, losing one key cog after another. And there's not a damn thing they could have done about it. The pseudo experts in the media and the blogosphere have excoriated Epstein for not getting a starter at the deadline, but what starters of any consequence moved this year? The going rate was way too high, and the same guy that traded NL batting leader Freddy Sanchez for Jeff Suppan was right not to overpay when he knew (like the rest of us should have) that 1 starter would not likely have been enough to fill the increasingly large holes in the bullpen, the bench, and the lineup.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. And sometimes, despite your best efforts, it keeps raining and raining. As Whit's sage colleague from many years past once summed up, "Fuck it. Drive on." There's always next year.

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