Thursday, August 10, 2006

Time to Panic for RSN?

Sox lose another heartbreaker to lowly Royals, 5-4.
Another night, another blown lead and wasted chance for the Red Sox. They were pretty desperate for a win last night, having lost their last 3 games, to the Rays and Royals, and with Josh ("Gopher Ball") Beckett on the hill, a victory was no sure thing.
But thnks to a monster 1st inning 2-run homer by Man-Ram, which extended his hitting streak to 24 games, and a clutch @-run double (finally) from Javy Lopez that made the score 4-0 in the 4th, it looked as though that win would become a reality.
Alas the only thing that is a reality for the Bosox right now is poor pitching and blown leads, and that is what followed, starting in the bottom of the 4th.
That inning featured three Royal hits (the big blow a 2-run double by the immortal Mark Teahen) , 2 wild pitches and a passed ball. Now we know that no one can replace Captain Tek, but Javy, c'mon- you whined about not being allowed to catch in B'More, then you come here and proceed to look like Josh Bard did trying to catch Wake's flutterball. Sure he's still getting used to the pitching staff, blah blah blah, but hasn't he ever caught a 95mph heater in his career? He did catch Smoltz for a number of years, correct? He's going to HAVE to step it up if they have any hope of staying in this race. Oh yeah, his passed ball led to the third run of the inning, and all of a sudden it's a 4-3 game .

Meanwhile the Sox were squandering opportunities on the basepaths, tiwce grounding into double plays with the bases loaded (Loretta & Pena). Beckett exited after the 6th, having thrown 103 pitches, 67 for strikes. His line- 6IP, 6H, 3 (2ER) 0BB, 5K's and, most importantly, NO HR"S ALLOWED. For a man who has given up 23 of his 31 homers this year away from Fenway, that is cause for a celebration. Except there would be no celebrating, because here comes the beleagured Boston bullpen. Mattapan Manny Delcarmen entered first, and he actually pitched pretty well, for 2/3 of an inning. Then came Timlin, who has been like pure gasoline lately (4 HRs allowed in his past 5 inns), but this time he put out a couple of fires and kept the Sox in line for the win with 1 1/3 of 1 hit ball.
So they entered the bottom of the ninth with a 4-3 lead. I was at the Meltdown at The Trop on Sunday, when Paplebon blew the save by allowing a HR to Dionner Freakin' Navarro, so no way he gives up a one- run, 9th- inning lead tonight, right? Just three days later? Right? Wrong! As soon as you can say "nofreakingwaythisishappeningagain", the truly immortal Esteban German, he of the three career triples, promptly tags one into the gap that Coco misjudged or misplayed into , you guessed it, a triple. Now the Royals had the tying run on 3rd with no outs. Yikes! Okay, just just mow down the next three, end the rally, and take it to extras. Unfortunately, these times are tough even for the fireballing rookie sensation; he promptly surrendered a flyball, and Manny did his best Johnny Demon impersonation, throwing a wormkiller to the plate- next thing you know, tie score, blown save, and then that familiar feeling of dread was creeping into every member of the Red Sox Nation.
Still all Paps had to do was get two more outs to send it to extras. But in the midst of this slump (can we call it that now?) even Mr Automatic is coming up short. After Gathright struck out (shocker!), "Eye Chart" Grudzielanek smacked a double over Manny's head that looked like a home run but died at the wall, and the winning run was on second with with two out . Up to the plate steps Mike Sweeney, he of the balky back who had just been re-activated over the weekend. He promptly nails a 95mph heater to, who else, Man-Ram, who couldn't get the ball out of his glove, or else he was just tired of having so many balls hit his way in one inning, so he didn't even bother to attempt a throw home. Around comes Eye Chart to score, and the Sox have lost four in a row to the scourge of th A.L., fallen 3 games behind the Stanks in the East and 1 1/2 out of the Wild Card. Yes, there is cause for alarm in The Nation.
Good thing Schill is on the hill tonight, because they NEED a win desperately in order to stop the slide, restore some confidence, and hopefully stay within striking distance of those Stanks. Tough times, but we're used to it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jeff, just checking out your new web site that Theresa e-mailed me about. Lookin good man. Enjoyed your tribute to Chicago "Bubba" Keep up the nice work, Ken Salazar.