Stress and the Sox

    Okay, I know, we’re reining world champions, but I am not at the point where I can take a loss or a slump without the inevitable question of whether or not we’re done. It is still as stressful as ever, I  think had we been no hit tonight, I might have given up on them for longer than 24 hours. I might have even gone a whole week. But in comes Pedroia on his shining white horse and his hot bad, come to chase to no-hitter away. And just so we weren’t shut-out, Youk knocks one into the monster seats. Do I feel bad about the Angel losing his no-hitter with one out in the ninth? Heck no. The only no-hitters I want to see in Fenway are the ones the home-team throws.

    Tonight highlighted all the reasons I hate it when Clay Buchholz pitches. He’s like the schizo pitcher. He’ll be lights out, then suddenly, its like he’s a whole different pitcher. Then he gets back to business. Tek, if you can hear me, can you figure out a way to fix that please?

    One good sign in this game that maybe we’re about to turn things around is the fact that Lackey only struck out four and gave out 2 free passes (one on a hit batter to Drew). So that means 21 of 27 outs came from fielding the ball, either with a ground-out or a pop-out or a line-out. We;re making contact, and as my coach would always say, that’s the first step. Its always better to make contact or walk than strike out. Okajima was on tonight, but the rest of the bull pen…shaky as ever. I was so glad Tito put Paps in during the 9th. I mean, if he could just be our designated 9th-inning guy (winning or not) At least until the bull pen pulls it together on a consistent basis.

    Speaking of Paps, I think 20 years from now, when we look back on it, we’ll be remembering a lot of greats from this team.  We’ll look back on Paps,  Nomar, Pedro,  Schilling, Tito, Wake and all of those guys and talk about them like we talk about Tony C, Fisk, and Bobby D. We’ll always remember Damon as a traitor (sorry, but that’s life), so long as Manny doesn’t do anything stupid and retires in Boston or goes out quietly somewhere other than the Yankees or another AL east rival, we’ll always remember Manny, but what happens after this year determines how fondly we’ll remember him. Lester? Give him a few years and we could be calling him one of the best ever. Youk? Um, its Youk. That’s it. We don’t even need to say any more. He’s a beast. If Ellsbury continues to develop (and I think he will) he could become one of the greatest base runners ever. We just have to get him on base. Mike Lowell is one of the most remarkable and likable guys to play the game, of course we’ll be telling our kids about how, at the end of the 2007 world series, hundreds of fans stayed behind to throw their support at Mike Lowell and let management know what they wanted.
 
    Then we have Papi. I mean, he’s Papi. We love Papi. Of course we’ll be telling our kids about the slugger. Drew? Maybe. If he sticks around long enough and plays well. We’ll certainly remember his grand slam forever.
   
    The guys I think we may be mentioning up there with Cy Young, Ted Williams, and Yaz someday are Pedroia and Varitek. (Note, Papi will be here too, but we already covered him) Tek could probably be in a hitting slump the rest of this year, and we’ll still be talking HOF. (In my book, anyway) Anyone who is named the Captain of his team, and then is their captain for TWO world series (and hopefully more!) wins and is one of the main reasons they didn’t get discouraged when they were down games in the ALCS (both times) is a Captain to be respected and proud of. He had one of the worst batting averages in the league and the players STILL wanted to honor him as an All-Star. That tells you something right there. And as for Pedroia, he has all the makings of a phenomenal player. Low on the errors, gets on base, a lot, fast, smart at the plate, and plays with a lot of heart. I’m not saying he’s playing at a HOF level now, I just see a lot of potential (do not let him go, Theo). Who else would have broken up the first possible no-hitter at Fenway since 1953? My money was on him or Papi.

    So now we’ve lost two series at Fenway. Can this be our home losing slump for the season and then we can be done with it? Please? We haven’t had a real good hot streak all year. We’re starting the hottest month of the year, maybe we could develop a streak to match the weather? (watch, as I say this, God is going to make it the mildest August ever)

    We are now back to two games behind Tampa Bay, but another Yankee loss puts them further in our rear-view mirror. (Thank goodness). I almost expected this, because if you compare the teams we’re playing to the teams the Rays are playing…they’re playing Toronto, who are just barely above .500, we played the Angels, who currently have the best record in baseball. But, as I say that, I have to say this: look at their division. Their only competition is Oakland, who are 12 games back. The last place team in the whole AL East is only 11.5 games back. The AL East is the only division in baseball where four teams are above .500. So right now, I don’t mind losing to the Angels. As long as we win when it counts, like when we fell out of shouting distance of first place and won five out of six (helped by a Rays 7-game losing streak) to get back into right before the break, I’m happy. And here’s a good thought to end this not-so-happy blog on: the Yankees, who were surging, have now lost three straight, two to the worst team in the AL East. How nice would it be to have the 9-2 loss on Sunday be the catalyst for the Yankee’s undoing? (I was raised to hate them, for better or worse, richer or poorer, ’til death do I stop)

Next up,  Beckett. He only allowed one run to the Yanks last time, but since no one felt like swinging the bat against the platypus (Joba C.), we lost. Maybe Becks will only give up one run this time  and we can actually do a little work on offense. Who knows. Here’s hoping for some good mojo. We certainly need it.

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