Games 102 through 108 - Red Sox
Red Sox 14, Indians 9
Red Sox 7, Devil Rays 1
Red Sox 12, Devil Rays 6 (12)
Devil Rays 5, Red Sox 2
Orioles 5, Red Sox 3
Red Sox 5, Orioles 4
Red Sox 7, Orioles 4
In the words of Old 97s bassist Murry Hammond, "Hi, everybody!". Or, as Huey Lewis so poignantly sung, "gotta get back in time." Back I am, indeed, from a week spent in Monterey and San Francisco, two of the more agreeable locales for business travel. There's nothing quite so disappointing as that first breath of ghastly midsummer Atlantic Coast air after several mornings on the Monterey Peninsula.
I viewed somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 pitches over the course of the 7 games and 65 some-odd innings listed above, catching bits and pieces of the 14-9 win over the Indians (Wily Mo, goodness gracious) and watching Jonathan Papelbon surrender a game-tying homer to Jonny Gomes in the 12-6 extra-inning win over the Rays. Otherwise, the sum total of my Red Sox fandom since last week consists of furtive and frequent checks of my PDA web browser, emails from Whitney updating me on the trade deadline, and a few SportsCenter highlights.
Whit was kind enough to email me about the Sox' acquisition of Eric Gagne while I was gone. As I'd bounced from conference to happy hour to wine-soaked dinner for the 3 days prior, I had no earthly idea what had transpired in the real world. When he told me the Sox had received the reliever for Kason Gabbard and 2 outfielders, I replied, "Please tell me it wasn't Ellsbury. And please tell me it was Pena." Wrong on both counts, and as I told him then, I can live with that deal. I think the Sox sold high on Gabbard, who'll has an upside that tops out at serviceable major league lefty. (I'm holding my breath that John Tudor doesn't read that, but I know John Tudor, and Kason Gabbard's no John Tudor.)
The other positive that my admittedly distracted fanmind takes from the trade is that it signals good things about the Sox' evaluation of Curt Schilling's potential down the stretch. I don't think Theo and the gang let starting pitching depth go away unless they really believe that Schilling (and, for what it's worth, Jon Lester) will deliver over the next 3 months. If No. 38's truly back in form, he's arguably the best trade deadline pickup in the majors. We'll see on Sunday afternoon when he goes up against the Mariners.
As for Gagne, the only piece the Sox added from elsewhere, I guess I'm mostly pleased. He's clearly a very good relief pitcher, who seems to have bounced back from his recent injury troubles, posting a 1.05 WHIP and 29 Ks in 33 1/3 innings this season. He'll team with Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon to form one of the very best late-inning relief corps in baseball. My only quibble, and it's a microquibble - a quibblet, if you will - is that relief pitching wasn't the Sox' weak spot. They've been dominant all season long, among the league's top staffs since April. I would've preferred another bat, preferably a slugging right-handed outfielder. As the sage baseball people always affirm, though, you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much pitching. I'm neither too rich nor too thin, so I can attest to that wisdom. I'll leave it to the experts as it relates to pitching.
One final note and a promise to return to active blogging henceforth. I hope that Whit soon mentions the impending return of my favorite Met. Baseball needs Pedro Martinez, and it's terrific to see the jheri-curled wonder throwing pain-free innings in the minors. Here's hoping he and Schilling pitch equally well down the stretch.