Games 101 through 104 - Red Sox
Red Sox 8, A's 5
Red Sox 6, Orioles 5
Red Sox 4, Orioles 0
Red Sox 18, Orioles 10
Adam, we hardly knew ye.
In all the (highly justified) hoopla surrounding last week's trade deadline acquisition of Victor Martinez and (surprisingly underblown) fooferaw regarding Big (Pill) Papi, the Casey Kotchman for Adam Laroche deal barely registered. A few shoulder shrugs from the fans, a gracious and thoughtful quote from Laroche, and that was that - one of the game's worst goatees and his single American League homer was returned to the netherworld of Senior Circuit mediocrity. I, for one, will miss him. If only because he and Mike Lowell made a terrific tag team of sneakily Hispanic dudes.
As for Martinez, let me be the 1,783,458th Sox fan to say, 'hell, yeah'. Not only did the Sox get instantly better on offense (they will likely score at least 18 runs per game the rest of the way) by replacing many of Jason Varitek's at-bats with Martinez' shinier new version, they got substantially more versatile, with the latter's ability to play first base and Kevin Youkilis' proficiency at third giving Terry Francona a Garanimals-esque universe of lineup options. Martinez will also keep Varitek healthier down the stretch, a huge deal for an old catcher well past the extended warranty. On top of all that, Theo Epstein landed Martinez without sacrificing anything in the way of top prospects, sending the likable but just decent Justin Masterson and a pair of low-ceiling minor leaguers to Cleveland.
Of course, after yet another deer-in-the-headlights debacle from Clay Buchholz yesterday, you can count me among the relative minority of Sox fans that wish Theo had pulled the trigger on a Buchholz for Roy Halladay deal. Sure, Buchholz may turn out to be Roy Oswalt, but Roy Halladay makes the Sox odds-on favorites to win the World Series this year and next. I'd do that deal.
Bygones, though, as the Martinez deal came right in the middle of a much-needed reversal of fortune (for the Sox and the Yanks) that sets up a hellacious first week-plus of August. Deep breaths today before the Sox head to Tampa and New York for 6 games. If you want to give me a 3-3 week right now, I'll take it faster than Dave Roberts swiped second.
As an aside, I thought I was the MLC staffer on vacation last week. Must've goofed up my calendar.