Take a deep breath (Searching for positives edition)

August 30th, 2006 → 12:19 pm @ // No Comments

Well, it hasn’t been a good month. For real. To wit:

* The Sox record of 8-20 is the worst single-month record since John Henry and Tom Werner bought the team.
* The team has lost 12 of its last 14 games on the road, the worst stretch since 2001. (You remember 2001, right? Jimy Williams, Dan Duquette, and Carl Everett? Good times.)
* They Old Towne Team has lost 13 of its last 16 and 18 of its last 24 games. August is only the second time the Sox have lost more than 20 games in a month since 1966, and the first time the team’s had three losing streaks of five or more games in a single month since 1985. (On the overly optimistic side, that means that if precedent holds, Boston should be back in the Series next year.) Needless to say, the team has the worst record in baseball over the last month.
* August breaks a streak of 13 straight months of over-.500 ball.

It’s not likely to get better anytime soon: there’s not a day off until September 7, and 19 of the last 30 games are versus winning teams. If only the Sox could limit their games for the rest of the season to NL teams. And the Orioles.

Let’s see, what else? Four members of the starting nine are on the DL, and another — who happens to be the best righthanded batter of the past decade — is in the hospital for tests. David Ortiz, the best thing to happen to Boston baseball in a long while, has spent two nights over the past 10 days in Mass General due to an irregular heartbeat. (As Mark Loretta said yesterday, “In all my years you’ve seen injuries and you talk about how every team has injuries, but we’re well beyond that stage.”) The team’s best pitcher over the last month has a body that resembles Bill James‘s more than it does Billy Beane‘s…and he might be traded in the next 30 hours. The active roster is almost unrecognizable. Kyle Snyder, Bryan Corey, Mike Burns, Javy Lopez, Dustin Pedroia, Carlos Pena, Eric Hinske…is this the Red Sox or a reclamation league?

Yup, it’s bad. I’ll take a deeper look at all of this in the next couple of days, but right now I need to head out to an Indian restaurant for lunch (which I’m sure will put me in an even better mood).

In the meantime — and I know, this will be hard — I’ll seek out things to look forward to. Last night, Coco made a helluva catch to rob former clubhouse snake Jay Payton of a hit, which was doubly satisfying; maybe he’ll have some more of these and less of these. I love watching Pedroia. When Carlos Pena fell, headfirst, into the stands in the early innings of his first MLB game of the year, I held my breath — please, god, not another guy on the DL — but I also was weirdly heartened by that type of effort. Hopefully Ortiz will be okay and we can go back to watching him obliterate Jimmie Foxx’s Red Sox single-season HR record (50, 1938). Regardless of whether he has a chance to notch up any more saves this year, Papelbon is a the best baby-faced bulldog anyone’s seen in a while. It’s an open question as to whether the Sox will have more hits than Schilling will have strikeouts in tonight’s game, but Curt will hit 3,000 K’s. And after holding things together with spit and luck, the Sox are, finally, a team with nothing to lose. (Except for games, I mean.) If they pull of some weird, total eclipse string of wins it’ll be a comeback of 2004 proportions. And if not, well, that’s pretty much expected at this point.

So for those of you going to Thursday’s game, do a solid and give these guys a standing O. You can’t blame any of the guys who’ll take the field for what’s been happening, from Cora to Loretta to Youks to Lowell. If Manny and Ortiz (and WMP) come back, you sure as hell can’t blame them, either. (Fine: Coco’s been a disappointment. But if you boo him he might cry. And you don’t want to see him cry.) (You can boo Mike Timlin, but only once, and only for blowing all those games and making those idiotic comments about the offense. After that you need to think back to what he did for this team in ’03, ’04, and ’05.)

I’m not kidding. Give them a standing O. Trust me, you’ll feel better, both about the team and about yourself. We can — and I’m sure we will — go back to complaining and analyzing what went wrong soon enough.

Post Categories: Coco Crisp & Curt Schilling & Injuries

6 Comments → “Take a deep breath (Searching for positives edition)”

  1. yazdog8

    17 years ago

    I was at the Coliseum last night to cheer on the Sox.

    You missed a couple of positives:

    1 – Josh Beckett. Now this is the guy I thought we were getting in the off season instead of the guy that was absolutely horrid through early August. Josh knew that the lineup posted would be lucky to scratch together a run and threw an excellent game. Had it not been for both corner outfield positions being manned by first basemen, he just might have won the game 1 to 0.

    2 – Pedroia. I already love watching this kid play. He’s got a bit to learn at the ML level, but I am excited about the future of 2B for the Red Sox in the near future.

    3 – Manny Delcarmen. Looks like he’s starting to come into his own. Not quite ready to be a FT setup man yet, but you can see a big difference in his confidence level (or at least I could) from the last time he was in Oakland.

    Even though the Sox had a patchwork lineup together (Carlos Pena has the LONGEST swing I have ever seen) they never quit fighting. Small consolation at this juncture, but they’re out there still duking it out despite having no bodies available.

    This year is pretty much gone, time to start preparing for next….and hoping that the Dodgers are stupid enough to trade Matt Kemp to us for Wells…


  2. chargeMEup31

    17 years ago

    Well said about the standing O. Although, if i were at the game, id probably boo because hell, i am paying the same amount and am watching a minor-league club.


  3. Ogie Oglethorpe

    17 years ago

    Good call. No need to add insult to injury. Literally.


  4. max

    17 years ago

    It’s a good thing you’re heartened by Pena’s defense, because you’ll need the fortification for his ABs. I’ve been rooting for the guy since the A’s called him up, but he’s not a big-league hitter.


  5. james

    17 years ago

    It’s sad, but a little funny too, to think that [1] Pap might not make it to the Rookie saves record because the Sox might not win enough games between now and the end of the season and [2] the PawSox might have a stronger lineup on Friday than the Redsox.


  6. miles44

    17 years ago

    With all these statistics showing how bad the Sox have been in August, SportsCenter has been obsessed lately with the fact that the Red Sox have great records vs. the NL & Baltimore, but a less-than-.500 record vs. everyone else. First, it’s bizarre because the vague implication is that if Boston hadn’t done so well against Baltimore, they might be viewed as a better team. But second and more importantly, those numbers tell us nothing about the team. As Mark Twain once said, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.”

    As just one example … Detroit may SEEM like they’re tied for the best record in baseball. But Detroit is 26-4 vs. the NL and Kansas City. Against everyone else, they’re just 57-46, a winning percentage of .553. That wouldn’t even get them the wild card! What frauds.


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