Game 111 - Red Sox
Red Sox 9, Mariners 2
Y'know, perhaps someone should take Mariners Executive Vice President Bill Bavasi aside a gently inform him that maybe it's not such a great idea to let a guy WEARING A FREAKING MASCOT SUIT WITH AN ENORMOUS MOOSE HEAD DRIVE AN ATV AROUND ATHLETES WITH MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACTS IN THE MIDST OF A PENNANT RACE!
In case you missed it yesterday, the Mariner Moose drove his motorized contraption into Coco Crisp's legs as the latter stepped out of the dugout on his way to centerfield. Only Coco's last-second recognition of the impending accident made the end result more comedy than tragedy, as the Moose had no idea he'd hit the Sox leadoff hitter. Stands to reason, I guess, he's quite probably got a field of vision comparable to the Blind Boys of Alabama (note - not necessarily all blind; it's a figure of speech) while wearing that giant fur head. And only Coco's mild demeanor saved the Moose from taking a bat to the head. If he'd hit Mike Timlin, his next sensation would've almost certainly been courtesy of an arrow to his chest.
Perhaps the M's were pulling out all the stops to try to win, as Coco continued his robust play with doubles in his first 2 plate appearances on the way to a 2-for-4, 2 run day. Josh Beckett picked up where Daisuke Matsuzaka left off on Saturday, striking out 9 in 6 2/3 innings and wriggling out of several minor jams to post his 14th win. The bats started slowly, only scoring 2 in the first 2 innings despite loading the bases in each frame - unfortunately a bit of an epidemic of late. They did come to life late, as the Sox posted 6 in the final 3 innings to make this one a laugher and get Papelbon some rest.
Even as the score was 3-1 in the 6th, though, I had very little doubt that the Sox would win, which is a pleasant byproduct of the makeup and consistency of their bullpen. That's perhaps the unheralded key to the Sox' success to date. The offense has been fine and the starting staff has performed at least up to expectations, if not better, but the bullpen has been sensational with very few exceptions.
Schilling gets the ball tonight against the Angels, with more than a few of us holding our breath slightly. The Yankees are only 1/2 game out in the Wild Card race, so whether or not they catch the Sox in the AL East, odds look pretty good for a third Sox/Yanks postseason lollapalooza in 4 years. Having a healthy and effective Schilling man a post in the rotation makes me a lot more optimistic about that matchup.