Did I miss the announcement that we had rehired Grady Little?
How in the fucking hell can Terry Francona sit on his ass in the dugout while Eric Gagne throws away this game? Seriously. (Did I read correctly at ThreadSox that Jonathan Papelbon wasn't even warming up?)
WTF? Was Bot totally off limits tonight? If so, who was going to pitch the ninth assuming Gagne was fine? Why not have MDC start the eighth?
What's Francoma's thought process? Did he keep Gagne out there on the mound -- throwing 14 balls in 19 pitches at one point with the Jays fans howling with glee -- with the irrational hope that he'd suddenly regain his confidence? Or did he not want to Gagne to think he had no faith in him? Is that important at this point?
Many SoSHers think that Tito is managing this series (and the Yankee series last weekend) as if the Red Sox have already clinched a playoff spot and he's playing out the string, not necessarily managing to win every single game. Tonight was a perfect example of that mindset.
Gagne retired Reed Johnson on a nifty 3-1 play to start the bottom of the eighth. Alex Rios lined out to shortstop. Two quick outs -- Sox still holding a 2-1 lead. Frank Thomas walked on five pitches, then Gagne fell apart.
Aaron Hill looked at two balls and singled through the infield to left. Matt Stairs fell behind 0-2, but then looked at four straight balls -- none of them even close to the strike zone. Bases loaded. And no one was warming up in the bullpen. No one!
Gregg Zaun looked like he had no intention of swinging the bat at all -- who could blame him? -- and he walked on five pitches, forcing in the tying run. And Gagne was still left out there to allow a line drive double to Russ Adams, which brought in two more runs. A possible third run on that play was cut down at the plate to end the inning.
Julio Lugo hit a two-out home run to left in the top of the ninth, but the Sox came no closer. Coupled with New York's 12-0 win against the Orioles, the East lead is down to 2.5 games.
And it is more than past time for Francona to get his thumb out of his ass, wake the fuck up, and start trying to win a few ballgames. His actions tonight are an absolute mystery. I can't imagine what excuse or reason he could give for what he did (or didn't do) tonight.
Jon Lester (4.86, 94 ERA+) / A. J. Burnett (3.42, 136 ERA+)
In his last seven starts, Burnett has a 1.78 ERA (he's allowed only one earned run in five of those seven starts).
This is Burnett's first start against Boston in 2007. Lester has never faced the Blue Jays.
We'll be sitting in Skydome Aisle 116, Row 18, Seats 5 and 6, so head over to ThreadSox for game chat.