Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Reality Check?

Another discouraging loss last night, and it's time to start wondering if this team just isn't made for a postseason run. I know we're knee-jerk reactors around here - a couple of wins and we'll be sucked right back in - but the trends are disturbing, and it isn't going to get any easier.

To start with, our two aces - Schilling and Beckett - have been anything but ace-like over the last couple of weeks. Schilling's been okay (he lost a tough one last night to Jeremy Bonderman and the Tigers), but Beckett has been an enigma. He's been able to stay completely healthy this year, but hitters have been teeing off on his flat fastball to disastrous results. The same old story with the bullpen has continued - try as he might, Terry Francona gets into situations where he has to use the twin gas cans - Rudy Seanez and Julian Tavarez - and quite honestly, neither should be on a major league roster. Though hard to quantify, the loss of Jason Varitek hurts big time. If Papi and Manny aren't hitting, we're in trouble. There's absolutely nobody who inspires confidence coming off the bench to pinch-hit. And over the last week or so, Francona has made some truly head-scratching moves, like letting Seanez pitch an extra inning Monday night against Detroit. If you get a clean 1-2-3 inning from Rudy, count your blessings and move on.

Can you tell we lost last night, and are now 3 games behind the Yankees? Even worse, the Yanks came from behind last night to beat the pathetic Orioles and Johnny Damon played a key role, hitting a big home run and a triple. It's getting ugly, and the Nation today is wondering: Will Theo do something - maybe as drastic as what Sports Illustrated suggests ths week (moving Papelbon into the rotation) - or will he continue to stubbornly refer back to his goddamn 'long term plan?' I'm all for development and scouting, but this town won't take kindly to being rubbed out of the race by the Yankees this coming weekend.

Tonight, the Sox try to salvage this series against Detroit - who very much looks for real, by the way - by hoping that David Wells can do what he did last time out. Then the Bombers come to town for the epic 5-game series that everyone's been talking about for the last month. Brace yourself, Red Sox fans. We're going to be seeing plenty of Jason Johnson, Kyle Snyder, Rudy Seanez, and Julian Tavarez against that potent Yankee offense, and honestly, I'm more nervous about Josh Beckett getting whiplash in his start from watching all the screaming line drives. I hate to say it, but unless several things turn around quickly, this team just doesn't have the horses to match up with the Yankees, Tigers and White Sox. Thank God for the Patriots. (Of course, a win tonight and I'll be back to my glass-is-half-full mentality).

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