Saturday, August 11, 2007


Okay, maybe another rant will help here. Last night's 6-5 loss to the Orioles in the Red Sox' cradle away from home has to be the most frustrating game of the season. And the lead bombthrower was our big trading deadline acquisition.

Allow me to set the ugly scene. Through 7 innings, we had an old-fashioned pitchers duel, with Dice-K pitching well, and Erik Bedard pitching even better. In the top of the 8th, the Sox finally broke through to tie the game at 1 after Wily Mo Pena capitalized on a horrible non-strike call by the home plate ump. The Sox then erupted for four more runs on hits by Julio Lugo, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramirez to take a (seemingly) comfortable 5-1 lead into the bottom of the 8th.

That's when Eric Gagne was summoned from the pen, and that's when Gagne did what we've all seen since we got him: absolutely nothing. The Orioles sat on his fastball and pretty much did whatever they liked. A big J.D. Drew error also contributed to the meltdown, as the giddy Sox fans at Camden grew increasingly silent. Even our binky, Hideki Okajima, got touched up for a couple of hits. The Orioles tied it up at 5 and then Nick Markakis drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th with a sac fly to Coco Crisp in short center. With speedy Brian Roberts on third, the weak-armed Coco had no shot. Game over, in a punch to the gut kind of way.

What is up with Gagne? After the Sox traded Kason Gabbard and two minor leaguers for him, we heard rumblings from some experts in the game that Gagne's stuff wasn't so hot this year, that his numbers weren't a true reflection of how he was pitching. Since he got to Boston, Gagne has faced 19 batters and given up a whopping 9 hits, and he's sporting a spiffy 16.20 ERA. That's Theo on the phone calling the Rangers GM and asking for a mulligan. Meanwhile, Jermaine Dye continues to hit home runs - but we've still got Manny Delcarmen.

I know, hindsight is easy. Maybe Gagne needs a little more time to settle into his new role. And considering the way they've pitched all year long, the bullpen certainly deserves a pass every now and then. But last night just plain sucked. You gotta hold a 4-run lead after you've scratched and clawed your way to get it.

The Yankees continued their torrid pace in Cleveland, knocking around Fausto Carmona, so the lead is down to 5 again.

Josh Beckett vs. Garrett Olson today in Baltimore on the Fox national game of the week. Game time: 4 p.m.

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