Sunday, July 01, 2007


Games 72 through 80 - Red Sox

Red Sox 2, San Diego Padres 1
Padres 6, Red Sox 1
Red Sox 4, Padres 2
Mariners 9, Red Sox 4
Mariners 8, Red Sox 7
Mariners 2, Red Sox 1
Red Sox 2, Rangers 1
Rangers 5, Red Sox 4
Rangers 2, Red Sox 1
Record: 49-31

Jesus, here I was thinking I was the one on vacation. All's quiet on the Metstern front, apparently. For me, everyday sunshine, despite a mediocre go of it by the Sox.

Speaking of that vacation, it's a reasonably good thing that I spent the last 9 days cozied by Cape Cod's timeless charms, ensconced in a 1930s vintage beach cottage with no cable television and only an old transistor radio with which to keep tabs on the Sox. Long days on the beach, lazy mornings with the Boston Globe, and too much shellfish and good, cold beer have a way of softening the edges on what would otherwise be a highly aggravating stretch of baseball.

The Sox missed a golden opportunity to bury their leading rivals, losing 5 of 6 and 6 of 9 while the Blue Jays went 1-4 and the Yankees cratered, losing 7 of 9. Overall, the Sox went 13-17 in June...and still lead the AL East by 10 1/2 games. Doctor Glasshalffull notes that the Sox will be hard-pressed to have another month that bad, while Mr. Glasshalfempty suggests that the pitching is carrying so much of the load at the moment that their due to stumble - and woe be unto the Sox if this offense has to lead the way.

It's not so much that the offense is failing (it is), but when the failures occur. The Sox were a reasonable 8th in the majors in OPS in June, but fell to 15th in OBP and all the way to 23rd in runs scored with 112 tallies in 30 games (less than 4 per, for you liberal arts majors). The terrific blog Yanksfan vs. Soxfan notes that the Sox posted a .318 (!) OPS with one extra-base hit with the bases loaded in June, and a .217/.328/.383 mark with runners in scoring position.

Anecdotally, my notes (drunkenly scribbled, stained with Long Trail IPA) from a week's worth of radio broadcasts capture the same exasperating inability to plate runners in the clutch with a bit more, um, color. After Mike Lowell failed to deliver with 2 outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 2nd last night, I was irrationally pissed - especially since the Sox led 4-0 at the time with Josh Beckett on the hill. As it turned out, my irrational is a lot more cogent than my rational, as the Sox never scored again, despite lead-off extra base hits by Alex Cora and J.D. Drew in separate innings.

Returning to those notes, let's see if I can read my writing well enough to recount the things I think I thought over the past week and a half (and I won't be talking about Starbucks):
  • In the case of Barry Bonds versus the New York Yankees, the jury has returned with a unanimous verdict. To wit, as the Giants' roid-monster stepped into the batter's box against the Pinstripes with the Yankees up by 2 in the late innings, I immediately and instinctively rooted for Head (Pants! Now!) to get a hit. I guess I hate the Yankees more than I do Bonds. Good to know.
  • Shooter died while I was on the Cape. Rod Beck wasn't with the Sox for all that long, and they weren't all that good while he was with the club after reaching the playoffs in 1999, but he had a whole lot of dirt dog in him, even before that term was an overused cliche. Fun to watch, even if I usually did it with one hand covering my eyes.
  • A local television station in Boston ran a 30-minute feature conflating the joint 40th Anniversaries of the Impossible Dream Red Sox and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In the midst of the special, Dave Roberts stole second in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS and my fist pumped instinctively and automatically.
  • Not to get all sepia-toned on you, but a baseball game on the radio is a pleasure to be savored and enjoyed.
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka can't get any love at all - he was a beast in June, giving up 6 ER and 22 hits in 34 innings, and only going 2-2 because his teammates can't hit (see above, and below and below and below). He was the Sox' best starter in the month, and nobody's talking about him. I think he (and I) likes it that way.
  • I went to my grandmother's 85th birthday while on the Cape, and talked Sox with all four of my grandparents. I'm not sure which is more remarkable, that two little old ladies have strong opinions about David Ortiz' struggles with the longball, or that all of my grandparents are alive and in reasonably good health. Maybe rabid Sox fandom is the fountain of youth.
Back to work tomorrow, with Kason Gabbard standing between the Sox and a series loss to the woeful Rangers. And they're still 10 1/2 games up in the East. Smoke, mirrors, and the kitchen sink - or just bad baseball by their competition. As one of Whit's noteworthy colleagues once opined, fuck it - drive on.


Whitney said...

That expression is best relayed by the curious intro: "You know what I always say... Fido... [super-extended pause]..."

I worked with that guy for three weeks in 1993, and somehow that quip still sticks around.

rob said...

13-17, 13-14 - eh, what's the difference. still sucks.