Late August Red Sox Blues

The Red Sox are 7 games behind the division leading Yankees (sound familiar), 5.5 back of the Devil Rays for the Wild Card. It’s late August.  Not many games left and I’m not too optimistic. It’s been a depressing season for Sox fans.

Big Papi got off to a rough start, and just when the team began to come together, the injury bug hit.  Ellsbury, Pedroia, JD Drew, Beltran, Youkilis, Beckett, Martinez, Varitek, have all been out for long stretches of time.  Ellsbury was one of the biggest disappointments.  Without his base stealing and run scoring potential, the Sox have not been an offensive threat.  With Ellsubury and Pedroia both on the DL, the Sox have lost their spirit, heart and soul.  Clay Bucholz has been about the only shining light for the team posting a 14-5 record and 2.31 ERA to date and maybe Bard too; Clay, Bard and the new guys – ok, add Beltre in there too.  The new guys – guys I’ve never heard of have have made huge contributions.  Hall, McDonald, Kalish, Navaro and Hermida really stepped up this season to keep the Sox within range.

Oh my, big Papi just hit a triple.  Unbelievable.  There may be hope yet!

Give a Little Bit Daisuke (Dice-K) Matsuzaka

Are there any Red Sox fans out there on WorpPress, I mean WordPress?  I was combing through the Boston Globe this morning and came across Amalie Benjamin’s piece on Dice-K Matsuzaka, the Red Sox hurler who strained his neck in Spring training and will make his 2010 debut Saturday after several rehab starts.  Dice-K doesn’t speak much English and his quotes are translated into English from Japanese.   I wonder if some of what he says or means is lost in translation.  If the translations are correct, you won’t find a more humble athlete.  As quoted in Benjamin’s article, Matsuzaka on target for Saturday, Dice-K says, “…I’ve been such a burden on this team…if by coming back I can help give the team any sort of little boost or change of momentum, I think that’s all that I can ask for…and I don’t mean that I single-handedly am going to make all the difference…” Mindful of the fact that the team has made a substantial investment in his arm, Dice-K said, “…I hope I can repay them a little bit, and hopefully do that throughout the rest of the season”.  I doubt he meant that literally, but if he did mean it, what is a little bit to a man who makes 8,333,333 a year?

When Dice-K goes out on the mound, the PA system should play the Supertramp song, “Give a Little Bit”.   At least 7 solid innings.

New Guys Save the Day for the Red Sox

The Red Sox finally win a home game and snap a 5 game losing streak in dramatic fashion.  And it was the new guys who provided the sparks.  Jeremy Hermida (HR in the 4th), Josh Reddick (2 RBI) and Superhero Darnell McDonald up from the minors for his first Red Sox appearance.  McDonald hit a 2 run homer in the 8th to tie the game and drove in the game winning run in the 9th.

For every bit of good news, there’s always some bad.  And for David Ortiz and J.D. the bad news seems to get worse every night.  Both struggled again last night.  Both struck out twice.  Drew is now batting a dismal .133; Ortiz .146.  Big Papi has been a Big Disappointment so far.  He can’t get around on a fastball and when he makes contact, he hits a grounder to first.  The only pop in his bat came after he popped up in the 6th and broke his bat over his leg, as if it were a pencil.  Papi struggled early last year too and finally picked it up in the second half of the season, but I don’t think Francona has the patience to wait until July for Papi to heat up.  We saw some of that last night when Francona pinch hit Mike Lowell for Ortiz in the 7th.  Ortiz was none to happy – Francona called him “prideful”.  He did high five Lowell when he came back in from the bases at the end of the inning, but I didn’t see him rush the field when McDonald hit the game winner.  And he was unavailable for comment after the game.

Umbrellas in the Outfield

Why is it that in baseball there are rain delays and postponements, but not in football?  Doesn’t make any sense to me.  Don’t say lighting has anything to do with it.   Are football players less at risk for lightening strikes?  And look at the San Diego Chargers – they say bring on the lightening bolts.

If baseball players with their guaranteed contracts are worried about getting wet,  MLB should outfit them with ponchos.  The guys could also wear those plastic slip on shoe covers over their cleats. Oh, and some umbrellas for the outfielders.