Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Show Me What You Got

"How can ya make love to a fella in a rush?
Pass me the keys to my truck."

So are the nerves kind of subsiding Red Sox Nation? Hello, we're still nine games up, and if tonight's score holds up (7-0 in the top of the third), then we'll be heading into the weekend series with the Padres with at least the same lead, if not, more. Due to the fact that I live down south, the number of unconcerned bi-partisans are a lot higher than they would be in say, oh I don't know, Cape Cod? Medfield? Dedham? In any event, countless people have asked me if I think the Sox can hang on (talk like I do, wear the stuff I wear, and put logo stickers from all four Boston teams, and even you can get stopped by complete strangers in mall parking lots!). First of all, they didn't confuse me for a New Yorker...nice. Ok, but anyway, for them to even ask that question to me is just a waste really. Do I think the Sox will hang on? Are you nuts? Look, I will say this: I submitted a rather large article about the recent success the Yanks have had, but understand something: In playing like .850 ball for the last three weeks, that has gotten the Yankees back 4 1/2 games, which is a pretty good run, and despite that, they are still nine games back. At this rate, if the Yankees continue to play where they lose once every six games, it will take them until around August to catch us, and let's face it, the Yankees have a good team...they're not nearly that good. I have absolutely no worries. Now, if the Sox start to come down with a flurry of injuries (knockin' on the wood that will eventually go in my fireplace), then what is there to be worried about? The team is only going to get better with time. Think of all of the prospects we have in the minors, and then think about all the great arms the Yanks have, like Phillip Hughes and...Phillip Hughes, who is suffering from a major arm injury. As the season wears on, tell me who you like in the stretch? If Lugo keeps stinking, we bench him and put Alex Cora at short. Any outfielder goes down, we have Wily Mo, who looks like he can actually hit an off-speed pitch now. We have depth everywhere! So, actually, I hope people do keep asking me that question...I enjoy when people think we can't outplay New York...

Oh yeah, we party it up big when it happens too...

Ok, so jumping ahead, the game just ended (at least in DVR land), and I have to say I was blown away by how good Tavarez looked tonight, and really, I can say that about the last couple of starts he's made. Since losing to Baltimore back on May 11, Tavarez has made seven starts, including going up against the Tigers, Yankees, and A's. In that time, Tavarez has gone 4-0 (team went 5-1), and during that time, recorded an ERA of 3.07, which lowered his season ERA from 6.60 to 4.50. Considering this was a guy who was probably projected to just be a "five inning" guy, Tavarez has pitched through seven innings on three occasions during this stretch, which has helped continue to give the 'pen some rest. I know in the past I had my doubts about Tavarez, but really, he just never looked right in a Sox uniform, and maybe I'm biased because he did pitch for the Cardinals in the '04 World Series, and oh by the way, he was the guy who gave up Bellhorn's winning homer in Game 1 of the Series too, so, yeah, I didn't really think the best move for the Sox was to bring in a guy who just gave up one of the biggest homers in Sox history. I mean, what if the Yankees started trying out Byung-Hyun Kim after they shelled him in the 2001 Series? Would Yankee fans be thinking "hey, this guy's got a great delivery, and he just saved 19 games, only blew four, and had a 2.64 ERA for his time as closer," or "are you kidding me? We just beat the bag out of this guy, and now you want him on this team? Bring me Cashman's head on a stick!" I'm going to go with the second one...maybe a little less devious, but still, the point remains that after you beat up a pitcher and rattle him, the first instinct shouldn't be "wow, he really blew that one...let's give him a two-year contract." Anyway, I've done some Julian bashing in the past because, well, he deserved it. And yes, I still don't think he looks right in a Sox jersey, but what can be said is that the Sox were not looking for a superstar in the five-spot, they simply needed someone to eat up some innings while the team attempted to rehab some injuries (most notably Jon Lester) and give more time to some of their young guns (Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden, and a few others) so they will have more innings under their belt when they make their inevitable stop on Yawkey Way.

There's pros and cons about gaining exposure, but I'm going to go straight into the biggest con: The more people you write for, the more often they will find mistakes, and that just never looks good. Don't get me wrong, I love that people are reading my stuff, it's just that you have to be a lot more careful about what you say, because now, I'm subject to a lot more scrutiny than using the wrong form of "legitimate." Anyway, recently, in my Asante Samuel piece, I wrote about how Tory James may have problems slipping and sliding on the grass, which would probably have been a decent observation if...well, ya know, they still played on grass. For some reason, I had a mental breakdown, and forgot about the switch to Field Turf last year right before the Bears' game, and thus, looked like a bafoon. I will say this right now: I am very opinionated, but every article that I write, I make sure to use as much factual information as possible. In addition, I spend time looking 99% of this stuff up just so this kind of thing wouldn't happen. I guess it's because I keep re-thinking about all those games in the slop last year, and then just completely forgetting they actually did something about it. So, what can I say? I totally muffed that, and I'm really sorry. I still assure you that if you read this page, you're going to get facts, and you're going to get opinions, but I am going to do everything in my power not to confuse the two.

Sorry to end with a public service announcement of sorts, but I don't want any first-time readers to think I'm some "hack" who knows nothing and is talking out of my...lack of knowledge (ESPNews ad reference there). I just want to keep spreading this to a lot of people, because I know there are a lot of people who really like reading this, and I don't want to scare off newcomers because of a lack of focus on my part. Anyway, I appreciate you guys spending time with me again. Be safe out there. Peace.


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