So if I were on $20,000 Pyramid …. Here are the clues I would be giving ……
The Credits Roll
The Berlin Wall Falls
Led Zeppelin’s Coda
“Pedroia back on the DL”
These clues are supposed to lead my game show partner to say ….. “things that tell you it’s OVER.”
Folks, I’d love to hold out a little longer. And I’d love to fight this one out until the very end. But I am afraid it’s over. This day has been coming and it finally arrived. So where is the white flag? We need to find it and hustle it up the mast because victory is no longer possible.
Last night’s 16-2 pounding, coming off Jon Lester and on the heels of more bad injury news, was the final straw for me. I had held out some hope that the staff could finally get hot and rip off two great turns through the rotation. As such, maybe they could have a 7-2 home stand and head down to Tampa and take two. With that, who knows? Down three or four with 30 to play and anything is possible, right? Sorry, it ain’t going to happen.
It is almost as if the news that Pedroia was headed back to the DL was the final straw. Because when that news broke, it seems like morale collapsed and fatalism set in. How else do you explain that effort last night? I guess you can chalk it to “one of those nights,” but I sense that something else was at work. And that something else was a recognition that this thing has finally come apart.
For weeks the mantra has been: “stay close until we get everyone back.” But a few things have destroyed that strategy. First, Youkilis was lost for the season and then Ellsbury got knocked out. Then there were a couple of wrenching road losses that left the Sox a little further back then they had hoped to be. And finally, Pedroia was lost yesterday, putting the Sox basically right back to where they were on August 1 as far as injuries go. All told, the Sox just don’t have the resources available to launch a final offensive and I think that recognition played a big role in last night’s shellacking.
There really isn’t much to say about last night’s game itself. Lester was abominable, the offense had the life sucked out of it early, Victor Martinez killed a couple of innings, Michael Bowden was horrifying, and MDC topped it all off with a nice cherry. Outside of watching Yamacio Navarro chalk up his first big league hit, there was nothing positive to come out of Fenway last night.
So I guess this Sox season has morphed into garbage time. And that means its time to start looking forward to next season. Play the kids. See what they got. Clear out the dead wood. Prepare for the future. It’s going to be a long six weeks where the biggest question will be …. can the Sox maintain that home sellout streak at Fenway?
* I was reading some comments yesterday from an interview that Hank Steinbrenner gave in 2008 when the Yanks were suffering through some injuries. His basic message was: the Sox and Rays would have had no shot if the Yankees hadn’t got banged up (Wang, Justin Chamberlian, Matsui). Well Hank, your health losses that year were about 55 percent of what Boston has suffered this season so does that mean your playoff appearance this year may deserve an asterisk?
* It bugs me a little that the Sox weren’t able to overcome these injuries because I was hoping – in fact, praying – to shove this season down’ Hank’s throat and remind him that there is never an excuse for a $200M team to miss the playoffs. Doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
* Michael Bowden will be out of options by year end, meaning he can’t be stored down in Pawtucket any longer. So he either makes the big club next year or has to be released. Does anyone think he can be an effective part of next year’s rotation? I certainly have my doubts and frankly, I think the only reason he gets an opportunity is because there are no bids out there for his services.
* Since the world fell in love with Ryan Kalish, he is 0-10 and not looked great doing it. Relax folks, he is the real deal.
* Fish hurler Annibel Sanchez moved last night to 10-8 with an ERA of 3.15. I wouldn’t give back the 2007 Series for anything but boy, I wouldn’t mind swapping Beckett back for Sanchez right now.
FARM REPORT: Last June, the Sox took a gamble and drafted a raw right-hander out of South Carolina named Madison Younginer. And by raw, I mean RAW. Younginer has a huge arm but he was a relief pitcher in HS so his resume was almost entirely bereft of experience. That being said, the Sox threw $975,000 at Younginer to skip college and he hit the bid. Now his first taste of pro ball was not exactly inspiring. In fact, through July 15th Younginer was being housed in Lowell’s burn ward. But things have begun to turn for Maddy and last night, the hard-thrower struck out eight in four innings of one-run ball. That brought his post-July 15th ERA to 2.48 ERA in 29 innings which is pretty constructive given his experience and the fact that he is pitching against plenty of college guys. Surely, Younginer is still figuring things out, but his work over the last month seems to be a positive sign and I now expect to see good things from Younginer when he gets to Greenville next year.