Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Halo Effect

Damn, it sure looks like the Angels are the team to beat this year. Have they finally got the pieces to put themselves over the hump? The addition of Torii Hunter has paid huge dividends for a team that's always been good defensively, but now has more offense. The Angels once again took the Sox and Dice-K to the woodshed last night, winning 7-5 in a game that Dice-K seemingly had in control until he unraveled in the sixth. These teams have now played each other seven times this year and the Sox have won one.

The good news for the Nation last night was that both the Rays and Yankees lost, so no ground gained by anyone. Another tough matchup tonight at Fenway with Clay Buchholz going against John Lackey.

As far as a Manny update, the talk continues to swirl but no news yet. As you probably know by now, Manny has come and said that he would agree to a trade 'if it helped the Red Sox.' How magnanimous of him. WEEI reported last night that the Dodgers, Mets and Diamondbacks have all dialed Theo's Blackberry to inquire. The concept of trading Manny seems to have sunk in around here - at the very least, people don't think the Sox will pick up his option for 2009 - but when you see him scald the ball like he did last night, it makes it that much more bittersweet. Ideally, you'd like to see the freak finish out his career here. But for circumstances that we'll probably never know for sure, it most likely isn't going to happen. I'd still love to see Teixeira in a Red Sox uniform so we could right a wrong.

By the way, Peter Gammons checked in with a damning entry on his blog yesterday (available only to those with an ESPN Insider subscription). The story was filled with negative "clubhouse quotes" on Manny, and pointed out the disturbing penchant the dreadlocked one has for conveniently skipping games against the game's best righties (Chamberlain twice, Felix Hernandez twice, Edinson Volquez and Justin Verlander). Makes you wonder a bit more about the non at-bat vs. Mariano Rivera, eh?

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