Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Recovering from a rough weekend

What’s worse than waking up with a Memorial Day hangover? Waking up half a game under those lovable but oh-so-frustrating rascals from Tampa Bay in the AL East standings, that’s what. That’s right, friends and lovers. Yesterday morning wasn’t pretty. Thankfully, a game against the 18-33 Seattle Seamen (heh) served as hair-o-the-dog for the Sox, who were able to get to Felix Hernandez in the 8th for the 5-3 win.You want to know how goddamn depressing the 2008 Mariners are? They don’t even have a sponsored page on Baseball-Reference.com.

And yet here we are, still half a game back in the division and significantly worse for the wear after this weekend. To blame for the sudden slip in standings? (Sexy!) A sweep by the youthfully good-looking Oakland A’s, who lured us out to McAfee Coliseum with the promise of Oatmeal Crème Pies and apple juice but had us staring down the business end of a broom before we even got seated on our mats. What do we look like, a Durham stripper? (Too soon?) The A’s look deceptively simple, what with those dorky white sneakers that make them look more like a mallwalkers’ club than a professional sporting outfit, but the tantalizing trio (tasty!) of Rich Harden, Joe Blanton, and Justin Duchscherer proved too hot for the Sox offense to handle. Oakland outscored Boston 17-6 on the weekend, capitalizing on an abysmal start from Tim Wakefield and a less-than spectacular outing from Jon Lester. Perhaps even more depressingly, Boston accrued 3 errors in Sunday’s loss, from Lester, Manny Ramirez, and (fucking duh) Julio Lugo (his 12th on the season. PUT IN JED LOWRIE). The Sox have historically struggled to win at the Coliseum, and we looked lame and offensively impotent this weekend as the A’s out-slugged, out-pitched, and straight up out-baseballed us.

It happens. The A’s are a hot young team with something to prove, and, aside from serving as great subject matter for 80s sports movies, such teams are probably likely to perform their best against the big names. Not to mention the obvious fact that we are knit and possibly dirty footwear, while they are elephants. NO FAIR, say I! Howevah, I think the obvious lesson from this weekend is that while no-hitters are nice and hot young pitching prospects are easy on the eyes, the Boston pitching rotation still leaves quite a bit to be desired, and will take some gelling before we’re ready to lock down the division in earnest. One ray of sunshine was the solid pitching performance from Beckett on Saturday; Beckett let up just two runs on 7 hits over 7.0 innings while fanning 9. Too bad the Red Sox apparently forgot the meaning of the phrase “run support.” IT MEANS YOU HIT BALLS SO YOUR TEAM CAN WIN THE GAME YOU DUMMIES. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done before the Sox find their Money Five for the season.