August 31, 2007

Question: When does being in first place with a 5-game lead heading into the last month of the season feel like second place?

Answer: When you’re the Boston Red Sox and you’ve just been swept in a 3-game series with the New York Yankees, that’s when.

I can’t figure out this team at all, and I can’t remember a season where they’ve been so successful (at least thus far), yet so frustrating to watch. Defensively, they’re OK – even a joy to watch at times, especially the glove-work of third baseman Mike Lowell (after a slow start) and second baseman Dustin Pedroia. First baseman Kevin Youkilis has also done a nice job in turning himself into a quality glove on the left side. Pitching-wise, they’re also OK as well both starting and bullpen wise, though I’m a little concerned about Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima, and feel they may be hitting the wall and feeling the effects of their first Major League Baseball season.

What’s so frustrating is their absolute inability to hit. And not only not hit, but to not try and generate runs by bunting and hit-and-running a little more. The problem is, the Sox are way too focused on taking pitches and working pitch counts up, and therefore have become (at least in my view) far too passive in their approach to hitting. As a result, they suck against good teams. Anybody can smash around crappy pitching staffs like the Chicago White Sox as they did last weekend, but to embarrass themselves offensively like they did against the Yankees this week shows an inherent weakness that will kill them, even if they make it into the post-season. The fact is, you can take pitches and work pitch counts all you want against sucky pitchers, but if you try to do that against good staffs, you’ll get mauled. As they did against the Yanks.

And don’t even get me started about the $14.4 Million Dollar Man, J.D. Drew. He swings like a girl, takes way too many pitches, and refuses to take the bat off his shoulder even when he has a two-strike count against him. Thanks a lot, Theo. Trot Nixon would look damned good in a Sox uniform at $8 mil per year right now.

Which brings me to my final point – this team has NO FIRE whatsoever. Outside of Varitek and Pedroia, all you have is bunch of “professional hitters” that go about their business, not getting too up, not getting too down. Take today, for example. Yanks’ reliever Joba Chamberlain throws two balls at Youkilis’ head, and I’m thinking, WHERE ARE THE FIREWORKS? Of course, with this team there were none. That wouldn’t have happened in the days of the so-called “idiots” and Johnny Damon and Kevin “Cowboy Up” Millar, I’ll tell you that. Those guys knew what it would take to get a team fired-up when it hit the dog days of late August-early September. Even were this team to continue to struggle as it is doing and drop out of first place, I guarantee you’d see no difference in the demeanor of manager Terry Francona or his players.

And to me, that’s almost as bad as watching them suck wind as bad as they did against the Bronx Bombers.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:06 | Comments (3)
  1. Right on about the hitting. This is the Bill James OBP team that they wanted. Works great against Chicago. Comes up a little short against the better teams, better pitching.

    However, the “passion” thing is over rated. Just got to be able to hit in the clutch. But it would be nice to have a rally guy like Millar on the team. At least it would be entertaining.

    Comment by Goose — August 31, 2007 @ 6:10 am

  2. Too add insult to injury you have Johnny Damon beating you guys up too. That sucks! If you guys blow a fourteen game lead it will be like the World Series win was just a dream!

    Hey I am surprised that the GWS let the anniversary of katrina slip by without pontification! I have heard rumors of his visits to the Crescent City. I myself will be getting married there on october 6. The ceremony and reception will be held in downtown New Orleans The thought just crossed my mind that maybe the GWS would like to be in attendance, since it doesn’t seem like his baseball calendar will be extending that far! Please rsvp via my email or give me a call!!

    Comment by Dollar Bill — August 31, 2007 @ 7:37 am

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. This past weekend shows that what happens during a Red Sox-Yankees series isn’t the end all and be all. The Yanks have stumbled since, and the Sox got to play the Orioles. But I still suspect their ability to hit good pitching. Let’s see what they do against a decent Blue Jays staff.

    As for you, Dollar Bill, great to hear from you. Drop me an e-mail at so we can chat!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — September 3, 2007 @ 5:08 pm

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