Red Sox 8, Angels 4
Angels 7, Red Sox 5
Red Sox 10, Angels 5
Angels 3, Red Sox 1
Red Sox 6, Devil Rays 0
Talk about stealing my sunshine. I leave the bucolic and sun-splashed environs of Nags Head, NC for rain-plagued Northern Virginia. On top of that, I go away for 4 days and return to find Bobby Kielty batting third and somebody named Kevin Cash playing chase-the-knuckler behind Timmy Wake. I realize that I was probably overserved during the past several days and nights, but these hallucinations are a bitch. Next thing they’ll tell me is that the Sox roughed up Scott Kazmir.
The Kielty experiment wasn’t a ringing success, but the Mike Lowell & Tim Wakefield Show continued to play to boffo box office in St. Pete. Lowell’s murdering the Rays this year to the tune of .500/.568/.894/1.462 (AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS), 4 homers and 12 RBI – his 2-out, 2-run double kicked things off in the top of the 1st last night. Lowell remains the Sox’ RBI leader, which is a bit amazing. Wake’s now 19-2 lifetime against the Rays, and 9-0 at the Trop. That’s the kind of easy, peasy win that makes recovering from a hangover so much more pleasant.
All kinds of other doings while Whit and I were away, some good, some bad, and some that fell into that hazy middle ground. Of note:
- The Sox traded Wily Mo Pena to the Nationals for a PTBNL. I’m saddened a bit by this news, despite the fact that I had absolutely no confidence that Pena would ever contribute in a meaningful way. Wily Mo’s had a bit of a raw deal his entire professional career, never finding a situation that allowed him to develop his prodigious but so, so raw talent. And yet he never complained in Boston, even as it became more and more obvious that the team didn’t know what to do with him. If he could ever learn to recognize a breaking pitch and lay off the ones that miss that plate by 18 inches, he could be an All-Star. I’ll be rooting for him.
- Doug Mirabelli went on the 15-day DL with a leg injury, necessitating the call-up of the aforementioned Kevin Cash, he of the lifetime .170 major league average. Cash struggled quite a bit handling Wake last night, despite the fact that he catches Pawtucket knuckleballer Charlie Zink on a regular basis. The obvious conclusion is that this is a big blow – even as Mirabelli’s no Mike Piazza with the bat, he’s also no Mike Piazza with the glove. On the other hand, if Tito gets creative and gives Jason Varitek an opportunity to catch Wake a few times down the stretch, this really gives the Sox some lineup flexibility come October. Wake should pitch several postseason games, and the built-in rest in the playoffs reduces the need to get Varitek as much time off as he gets in the regular season – I’d be all for finding out whether he could handle Wake.
- Clay Buchholz won his major league debut, topping the Angels in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader. The highly-touted prospect has been tearing it up at Pawtucket, and while he walked 3 and allowed 8 hits in his 6 innings of work, he kept the Angels at bay and got help from his teammates. With Jon Lester and Buchholz showing signs of living up to their considerable promise, the future for Sox moundsmen looks solid to quite solid.
- I wish I could say the same thing about recent acquisition Eric Gagne, who was pressed into service in the second game of the Friday twinbill and spit the bit yet again, losing a 1-run 9th inning lead and the game. That’s 3 bad, putrid, horrid, gut-punch losses on Gagne’s resume over his first 4 weeks with the team, and 3 games in the standings that would look mighty nice in the other column.
MLB.tv’s Seth Everett made an extremely cogent point regarding the Sox on this morning’s First Team with Fox radio show (so much better than Mike & Mike, by the way, and I kinda like Mike & Mike). Asked whether the Sox needed to worry about the Yankees, Everett snidely and accurately responded that the Sox (and their fans) needed to worry about the Sox and stop obsessing about their New York rivals. As 90% of baseball is famously half-mental, Everett’s thesis is that the Sox are more talented than the Yankees and that they’ll win easily if they can get out of their own heads. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
(Late morning update, with new and improved Wily Mo information courtesy of Mister Irrelevant. On his way out of Boston, Wily Mo left Sox fans the following message:
‘To my sisters, brothers and fans of the Red Sox Nation. I want to take a moment to thank you and the entire Red Sox organization for your support during my time in Boston. Your constant passion for baseball and your beloved Red Sox is unmatched and has touched me deeply. I will always consider you with a special place in my heart. The Red Sox organization deserves only the best and the Red Sox Nation is just that. Peace in life, Wily Modesto Pena.’”
And he's hit 2 homers in his first 11 at-bats with the Nats. I really am rooting for that guy.)