Scarlet Fever

A teenage girl's perspective on the Red Sox and everything else.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Tables Turn

Yesterday's loss was painful. Plain and simple. Once the laughingstock of our pitching staff, Jason Johnson pitched by far his best start in a Red Sox uniform. He gave up a single earned run (and one unearned, though due to his own error) in six innings of work. He was getting ground-ball outs like he needed to, and our infield was doing what they needed to do. Big Papi blasted his 40th homer, and all was looking good for Red Sox Nation. Then came out a handful of usually-reliable pitchers from our dugout: the ever-maturing Manny Delcarmen, the once-ageless Mike Timlin, and the phenominal Jonathan Papelbon. Little Manny, though he gave up the most runs, had me the least worried. I have faith in this kid, and throughout the season we have seen him improve tremendously before our eyes. Mike Timlin seems to have been discintegrating in his past handful of appearances. His ERA has skyrocketed from around 1.50 to 3.29, and his home run total keeps growing. (Well, ok, it's only at 5, but it seems so much higher.) He looks his age, and I'm beginning to wonder whether he has a slight problem with mechanics, or he's just getting old. He had been the co-anchor of our bullpen, along with Papelbon, and he needs to get back to his first-half dominance or it will be a huge problem in our pen. Finally, Papelbon gave up just his fourth earned run of the season on a solo homer to tie it in the eighth. I'm too lazy to check and see if I'm correct, but I believe that most if not all of his earned runs have come when he was asked for more than one inning of work. I know he's young, and he was raised as a starter, but I think he should stick to either closing for the ninth only, or starting. If he only has three outs to get, his intensity is so focused on one little inning. If he has to spread out that intensity for more than that, his focus doesn't seem to be as strong. This is fine for a starter, who is asked to go six or seven innings and give up maybe 1 to 3 runs on an average start. As a closer, he needs to be lights-out. He's only brought in for save situations, so he can't give up any runs. He seems much better at this daunting task if he pitches only an inning.
Julian Tavarez was the one who blew it for us. I've come to expect this from him. When my mom sees him warming in the bullpen, she automatically writes us down as a loss. I'm sorry Kaylee, and I'm glad that he's such a great person and everything, but he sucks. It's baseball. It's Red Sox. Either perform or you get traded. Personality has nothing to do it.
And finally, I would like to point out a major difference I've noticed between Yankees and Red Sox fans. When the Yankees had all the injuries, all you heard from Yankee fans that they were barraged with injuries. They told you that this was the only reason their performance was subpar. It was their excuse. Now let's look at the Red Sox DL. The extensive list includes Tim Wakefield, Matt Clement, Lenny DiNardo, Keith Foulke, Trot Nixon, and Jason Varitek. In addition, Doug Mirabelli is out for a few days with a twisted ankle, as is Mike Lowell after fouling a ball off his foot, and David Wells, Coco Crisp, and Wily Mo Pena each had long DL stints as well. Yet (most) Red Sox fans aren't using it as an excuse. We are explaining our current .500 baseball with analyses of our active roster. Schill and Beckett need to stop giving up homers. Lester needs to lower his pitch count. Coco needs to heat up. Belli needs to start hitting.
And despite our mediocre playing, we still see the good. Manny has a career-best 22-game hitting streak. David Ortiz just made a franchise record with three straight 40-homer seasons. Curt Schilling was just the second pitcher with 14 wins. Wily Mo Pena has been rising to the challenge, both offensively and defensively. Coco's been hitting a little better.
This is what we do. We're Red Sox fans. We leave the excuses to the Yankees and we always look for the good. Our faith never dies. The Royals are coming to town tomorrow. I think that after an off-day, a pathetic team like Kansas City is just what we need to get a win streak going.


Post a Comment

<< Home