Monday, July 21, 2008

Road Kill

As you know by now, the Red Sox road woes continued this weekend as they dropped three straight to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Orange County (why couldn't they just keep 'California' Angels?). While I readily admit that Mike Scioscia (the Kevin Youkilis of managers in terms of whining) has a very good ballclub, these were winnable games and once again, the bullpen let us down. I'm talking to you Lopez and Delcarmen. Thankfully, Theo was sitting behind the plate during the series, no doubt taking stock of what he's got on the field so he can contemplate some potential trading-deadline moves.

The home/road splits for the Sox are incredible. They're 36-11 in the friendly confines, and 21-32 when staying in another town. Counting this lost weekend, they've now been swept six times this year on the road (Toronto, Tampa (twice), Baltimore (2-game series), Oakland and Anaheim). Conversely, they enjoyed a 13-game winning streak at Fenway from May 2 through June 5. It's downright maddening - reminiscent, in fact, of the Celtics' problems on the road during this past year's NBA postseason.

Bullpen aside, could a healthy David Ortiz have made a difference in some of these ugly road losses? Absolutely. Despite the temptation to activate Papi after he hit homers in three consecutive games down in Pawtucket, the organization is sticking to its original plan. Papi will be looking to hit a couple more bombs off Double-A pitching in Portland, Maine, this week. But the bullpen needs serious overhauling. Delcarmen has a nice fastball, but you have to wonder where his head is sometimes. The heater's his best pitch, and he throws some type of off-speed junk to Casey Kotchman yesterday, whose eyes light up as he ropes it for a game-winning 2-run double? This comes after a visit to the mound by pitching coach John Farrell?

On the flight to Seattle, Theo had to be doing a quick inventory of available relievers on the market as the deadline nears. Unfortunately, the price will be high, and the sting of trading David Murphy, Kason Gabbard, and a minor leaguer - Engel Beltre, who is tearing it up in AA ball - for tomato can Eric Gagne is still fresh. One hope is that Justin Masterson can be effective pitching in relief. The Sox recalled Masterson yesterday and he'll be called upon very soon to try to reverse this disturbing trend.

As they prepare to take on the Mariners tonight, the Sox find themselves a game and a half behind Tampa, and only three games up on the suddenly surging Yankees. Washington homeboy Jon Lester goes against Jarrod Washburn.

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