September 18, 2003

The Sheriff described it best: Fugly. The 7-0 whitewash, coupled with Seattle's 5-1 win in Texas, cut Boston's wild card lead to 1½ games with 11 games left. ... Boston was without Damon (abdominal strain), Nixon (strained left calf), and Millar (food poisoning) last night, but Gump still found a way to make the junior varsity lineup worse than it had to be.
     Gump                Me

Brown cf Mueller 3b
Garciaparra ss Garciaparra ss
Walker 2b Ramirez lf
Ramirez lf Ortiz dh
Ortiz dh Varitek c
Mueller 3b Kapler rf
Varitek c Abad 1b
Abad 1b Walker 2b
Kapler rf Brown cf
Same guys (though why not McCarty at 1B and Jackson on the turf at 2B?), but it doesn't look quite so putrid. ... So Abad got his first major league hit; now can he go back to the bench? ... Although Boston was shutout for the first time at home this season, they set a new extra-base hit record; they now have 608 doubles, triples and home runs, one more than the 1996 Mariners.

Boston left 13 men on base, including the bases loaded in the 2nd and 5th. The 5th inning was a disgusting display that must have had Theo pounding his head on his desk: Brown walked on 5 pitches, Nomar fouled out on the first pitch, Walker walked on 5 pitches, Ramirez popped out on the first pitch, Ortiz walked on 9 pitches (loading the bases), Mueller fouled out on 5 pitches. Considering that Zambrano has walked more batters than anyone else in the AL, the hacking was indefensible. ... Read Hench on Mr. Garciapopup.

Return of the Speed Boys?: For the first time since 1914 the Red Sox have three players with 15 or more stolen bases. Damon has 28, Garciaparra 17 and Jackson 15. In 1914, Tris Speaker had 42, Hal Janvrin 29, Duffy Lewis 22, Harry Hooper 19 and Larry Gardner 16. ... Suppan's pitch count for the first five innings: 20-20-20-20-20! ... Red Sox players think about end-of-year awards.

Bob Ryan writes this is a "relaxed, confident team that enjoys coming to work" and "Two years ago at this time the Red Sox were battling with the media, their overmatched manager -- just exactly what was Dan Duquette thinking? -- and even themselves." Is the official line now -- that Jimy was overmatched? I can't recall the media questioning his moves at all when he was in Boston. And they have given Grady a free pass for two seasons when he has clearly been in over his head. He's worse than Jimy at bullpen management and in-game tactics, and while I'll take Grady's lineups over Jimy's, saying he's better at that than Mr. Weebles is hardly a ringing endorsement. ... Tony Massarotti discusses Little's contract status, adding: "By many accounts, Little is, at best, a marginal game manager, often taking far too long, for example, to pull troubled pitchers from a game. What most fans never can appreciate, however, is the challenge of managing a clubhouse ... In the clubhouse, Little excels."

In a Herald pay column, Michael Gee believes Grady "isn't giving his starters more rope because he trusts them all as much as he does the peerless Martinez or Derek Lowe. He simply has no faith in his bullpen whatsoever. ... Starters will be expected to cope with their own problems in a manly fashion. Relievers will enter only if said starters are being hammered to bits or are gassed beyond repair."

However, Grady must get over this fear/lack of faith before the playoffs. Shying away from the problem is no way to prepare for October. Grady's choice of pitchers last night shows he still doesn't know what he's doing. When Suppan was in trouble in the 3rd and 4th, Arroyo was up in the pen, but when Suppan began the top of the 6th, Sauerbeck was warming, and he came into the game three batters later. Sauerbeck was followed by Timlin, Lyon, Embree (1 pitch), Williamson and Kim (Jones also was up at one point). ... Sauerbeck was the only guy who had pitched since August 13, so this wasn't a matter of overwork. But 7 pitchers in a 7-0 loss?!? ... Why Sauerbeck instead of Fossum? It turns out Casey has a recurrence of tendinitis in his left shoulder.

BlogWatch: Musings: "Ten Things That Would Be Nice"; DirtDogs ponders a "Curse of the HBO"; Dewey's House looks at NL bullpens and best and worst managers; Guapo's Ghost: "if the Sox make the playoffs and go with more than 10 pitchers in the first round, it would be a huge roster blunder." ... You should be reading Mudville.

The Yankees are playing this afternoon in Baltimore as Hurricane Isabel closes in (as I post, it's 1-1 after 3). ... Seattle playing in Texas at 2pm. ... Wakefield/Bell at 7:05 pm.

No comments: