Monday, June 02, 2008

Poor Richard's Almanac

Games 57 through 59 – Red Sox

Red Sox 5, Orioles 2 (13)
Red Sox 6, Orioles 3
Red Sox 9, Orioles 4
Record: 35-24

Ah, the cool, honeysuckle-fragrant, normally timed East Coast. As suspected, it is the balm that soothes. The surprise, even as it shouldn’t have been one, was the venue, as Oriole Park at Camden Yards stood in for Fenway Park. Yet again. (We’ve traveled this road before and won’t belabor our disdain for the O’s mismanagement.)

Though Jacoby Ellsbury’s legs, Manny Ramirez’ bat, Mike Lowell’s glove, and Craig Hansen’s suddenly resurgent right arm have healing properties of their own, it seems. The Sox did a lot of things right over the weekend (including having the good sense to let the Orioles do a lot of things wrong). The good guys had Friday’s game lost several times, but the O’s failed to come through when it mattered and then handed the game over on 3 13th-inning errors.

Manny’s 500th homer (and subsequent admiration thereof) was the signature moment in Saturday’s game, but Ellsbury’s second consecutive 3-steal outing was the spark. Oriole catchers may be forgiven an occasional night terror when the youngster’s visage creeps into their dreams.

Yesterday’s contest was a ho-hum drubbing, over for all intents and purposes by the 4th inning, which rendered my protestations against cleaning the garage fairly moot. In every silver lining, there lies a foreboding cloud.

Of all the glimmering signs over the weekend, the oft- and deservedly-maligned bullpen’s step-up performance was the biggest. The Sox’ bully threw 14 scoreless innings at the O’s, most of them in critical, high-leverage situations as the road team in close games. Nearly every arm in the pen chipped in, from David Aardsma all the way to Jonathan Papelbon. If that boomlet grows into a trend, this squad’s got something.

Big series against the Rays starting tomorrow at Fenway. It took me a while to type that sentence, as the muscle memory in my fingers fought it something fierce. But it’s nonetheless true. I must confess that a little part of me is rooting for good things to happen to the Rays. Just not this week.

And I’d be remiss if I don’t reach across the MLC aisle to send my good wishes towards my favorite non-Sox player, as Pedro Martinez returns to the hill tomorrow. Let’s go Mets.

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