Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Fitting Bottom 9

You know what the Red Sox' record is when Lackey or Beckett pitches since August 1st? 5 wins. 12 losses.

Think of where we'd be if you reversed that record.

Next year, those two veteran horse-types better take a look at the young guys in their locker room (the real #1 and #2) and learn a thing or two. No, just one thing: how to win the way they used to. The offense is no excuse for them either--the fill-ins did what they could. Those two would have found a way to lose those games even with an all-star team hitting for them. The horses are being horses' asses. Get those asses in gear in '11, mansion-boys.

So we lose, and everyone else wins. Nice. As a side note, the 9th inning was kind of a microcosm of NESN's recent woes. Sox down one, in what could turn out to be the last tiny bit of importance of the season. First batter makes an out, and they miss it. They cut back from a pitch-replay only to see the shortstop just catching a ball. Pitch missed, swing missed, suddenly there's an out. Then with two outs, fly ball to deep left center. The outfielders jump for it, the ball hits the wall with a loud thud and goes bouncing away--and Don has no idea what happened. I can never figure out why he's so often in the dark on what seem like obvious plays. Anyway, Victor gets to third on the play, but I feel like he might have had a shot to score. But when they go to a replay (after a mistaken cut to the blimp camera which is panning around haphazardly), instead of seeing Victor's journey around the bases, we get that shot where they cut from batter's swing to close-up of crowd in background. In this case, it's an acne-faced boy who looks out at the field. Yay. Even if they'd stayed with him long enough to see his reaction, it wouldn't have been that great because...wait a minute, see what I mean? Two outs in the ninth, tying run up, late September, and I'm stuck rating the quality of the fan close-up. You'd think by this point in the season they'd know how to do broadcast a game. So there's someone else that needs to buck up for 2011. You know what I blame, though? The ads. The whole network is so obsessed with sneaking in ads and spot all game long (in a game that has 18 fucking commercial breaks built into it anyway), it's probably pretty hard for everybody to do their jobs.

That ninth wasn't quite a 'cosm of the Sox' season, but I guess it did have a little of that "ohh...ahhh...wait!.....awwwww" we've come to know and pull our hair out over in 2010.

Yeah, the reason I couldn't get fully on the "We've Still Got a Shot!" Bandwagon" (I had one foot on on Friday morning, but without much enthusiasm) is that without Youks and Pedey, this team just doesn't look good enough. That's not a knock on the replacements; guys like McDonald and Nava and Hall have outperformed expectations. Rather, it's more a comment on the fact that the only way this team still had any shot was if they immediately went on a long winning streak, and there was simply no reason to believe that could happen with Beckett, Lackey and Dice-K still taking 3 more starts each...we can't outslug other teams enough with those three guys on the hill.

I am still very optimistic about the outlook for this team over the next 5 years: I think they've got a great shot at winning the division next year if they have better health and Theo fixes the bullpen. But the one thing that really concerns me about the roster is that we're gonna be stuck paying Lackey and Beckett way too much money for way too many years.

The killer on Saturday night was not being able to pinch-hot for Papi in the 7th inning when Gaston brought in the lefty; the outcome was predictable, and that was the game right there. I get that Tito didn't have any options except Lowell (who's not hitting much these days as he limps toward retirement) and that it would have probably pissed off Papi and created a media shit-show, but if you're trying to win the game it would have been the right thing to do.

And I kinda felt bad watching Wake doing mop-up work on Friday night, even though I really don't want to see him starting any more games. Kinda hoping he takes the gold watch and calls it a career this winter; it's certainly been a fantastic one.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States