Monday, June 30, 2008

Hideous Woe-kajima

Our lights-out 7th inning guy from last year is officially AWOL. Hideki Okajima once again served up a fat meatball for a key hit - this time to Astros' infielder Mark Loretta yesterday to help Houston take two of three from the Sox. Okajima has been downright hideous this year, especially when he comes in with runners on base. Since June 4, Okajima has given up 15 hits and six earned runs in just 7 2/3 innings of work. Something tells me Theo will be looking to shore up the bullpen at the trading deadline.

At any rate, the Sox lose to the Astros 3-2 yesterday, wasting yet another solid pitching performance from Josh Beckett. Manny went deep late in the game to tie it at 2, but the big story was the number of men left on base. Jason Varitek, by the way, is 12 for his last 91. Ouch. And on a side note, Dustin Pedroia is absolutely on fire right now. He must feel like he's in the Route 1 batting cages every time he comes up these days.

Speaking of Manny, news filtered out today that he got into an altercation on Saturday with Jack McCormick, the team's 66-year old traveling secretary. Supposedly Manny needed 16 tickets for the game that night, and didn't give McCormick much notice to allow him to do some digging. McCormick responded that he wasn't sure he'd be able to fulfill Manny's request and Manny responded back with an angry 'Just do your f'ng job' and a nice little push. Counting the Youkilis situation a few weeks back, this is now the second time Manny has been out of line. And as always, I'm sure this latest incident will be neatly swept under the rug. In fact, Tito Francona is already quoted today as saying, 'These things happen...'

Not exactly the wave of momentum the Sox need as they wake up this morning in lovely St. Petersburg, Florida, home of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays. While the Sox' bullpen was busy imploding in Houston, the for-real Rays took 2 of 3 from Pittsburgh and are riding high into this series, during which they'll start James Shields, Matt Garza and Scott Kazmir. They're playing with oodles of confidence, while the Sox are just shuffling along, trying to stay afloat. This series could get ugly. One thing that will be interesting is whether the fans show up for this series, and I'm not talking about the Red Sox transplants. If you're a baseball fan in the Tampa-St. Pete area and you're not supporting this team, shame on you. They have a legitimate chance to do some postseason damage, especially if they trade a few chits in July for another stud pitcher and maybe a big hitter.

Of course, the big back-story to this series is the brawl the two teams got into earlier this month. Coco is serving his suspension, so the prime instigator won't be around. Still, it will be interesting to see what level of warnings are issued prior to the game and whether the Sox abide by them. I mentioned in a recent post that I don't think you'll see any payback, but I just looked at the Sox' schedule and Tampa doesn't come back to Fenway until early September. That's a long time to let things simmer. So maybe we will see something. If I'm Jonny Gomes or Carl Crawford, I'm stepping into the batter's box feeling a little uneasy.

if the season ends today sox and rays get in....rumor has rays going after cc, the tube of goo cy young cc...thats kaz/shields/cc in the playoffs with the best era bull pen in the a.l......are u ready ms
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