Saturday, August 26, 2006

Sox take 2 steps forward, 1 step back

Schilling fails in bid to win 15th, Sox lose 6-0 to Seattle

All it takes is a game like this one to erase all the good vibrations coming from the past two wins. Right from the start Boston was up against the 8-ball offensively, without Manny (knee) & Youk, who mysteriously missed the game due to illness (knowing his penchant for partying, I'd say 'hang over' was the illness). So Schill would have to make due with a patchwork offense, but he WAS going up against a rookie pitcher...anyway, these West Coast games are a killer-now I know how real writers feel with their deadlines on nights like this...gory details in the AM.

Back in the light of the day, this loss seems even more depressing. I know, Boston was playing shorthanded, and tell me if this lineup, minus Papi of course, would strike fear into any starting pitcher, even a greenhorn:

-Coco, .266 making fans pine for Judas more & more every day
-Loretta, .307 probably the most consistent non-star all year

-Papi, .287 M-V-P.
-WMP, .300 "Lil' Papi" has proven his value with all the injuries
-Lowell, .285 did the trade talk affect him ( hitting .235 since ASG)?

-Kappy, .219 we love & need Kappy, but c'mon dude
-Belli, .185 we love & need 'Belli, but c'mon dude
-Pedroia, .133 too soon to judge the kid, but c'mon dude
-Cora, .278 valuable utility man & respectable 9th hitter

I mean the lower third looks like the D-Rays lineup. When you have 3 guys hitting less than .220 batting 6-7-8 you might as well play with only 5 guys, cause the chances of those guys doing anything for you offensively are pretty slim.
So it was armed with that powerhouse lineup that Boston's best arm took the mound last night looking for win #15 (again- his 14th came on Aug 4th) against Jake Woods, a 26-year old making his 2nd career start. I had almost guaranteed the vet would truimph over this kid, but that was pitching- wise. I had not accounted for the pathetic lineup, one that could only manage 5 hits against the Mariners, 3 off Woods in 5 inns.

The Sox got down early when Schill gave up a single run in the 1st on a single and a double. And with Boston missing scoring opportunities in the 1st, 2nd, & 5th, leaving 2 men on in each frame,and their pathetic average with RISP lately continues to haunt them. But it stayed 1-0 until the 5th. That's when the wheels started to fall off for the hometown team.

The immortal Yunieski Betancourt hit a 1-out single to center. The next batter, Willie Bloomquist, hit a sinking liner to center that Coco seemed to think he could get to if he dove; he couldn't, and as the ball rolled past him and was retrieved by Kappy, Betancourt raced around to score the 2nd run and Bloom-
quist had himself a 'Coco-Triple'. That was it in that inning, but the tone was set, and in the next inning things got much worse.

The bottom of the 6th brought the seldom-seen Keystone Sox out of the woodwork and effectively put the game away for Seattle. A leadoff single by Lopez got things started, and then the fun began. Ibanez hit a sharp grounder to short that Cora tried to shovel but threw wide of Pedroia at 2nd, allowing Lopez to scoot to 3rd. But then Schill, who recovered the errant toss, threw wide of Lowell at 3rd attempting to get Lopez, and that allowed Lopez to score and Ibanez to get to 2nd. Next thing you know, Broussard doubled and Johjima singled, it was 5-0 Seattle, and the night was technically over.

It's one thing to lose; it's quite another when a no-name pitcher on a sub-.500 team beats your Hall-of Fame starter and have a lineup that can onbly muster 5 hits. Boston is now in a horrible 13-20 stretch since July 22nd when they lost the last 2 of a 3-game set here. They've lost to teams that are good (NY, DET) ,that are okay (OAK, ANA, SEA) and that are awful (TB,CLE,KC). So at least they are equal opportunity losers. But seriously now, things are VERY bleak as far as playoff hopes go for this squad right now. New York and Chicago lost last night (although Minnny took over the WC lead from CHI), so the distance back remains the same. But as this club is constructed right now, it's only a matter of time before they fall so far back that it we in The Nation bring back that old familiar Sox cry:

Up next: Tonight @ SEA, 10PM EST Wells (2-3, 5.40) vs. Meche (9-8, 4.66)

Pedroia tries but can't grab Cora's errant throw in the 6th inning last night

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