No harbor was his home."
After all of the years of pain and torment, did you honestly expect this would be easy?
Sure, I said that if we didn't win two of three against the Yankees, I would be pretty disappointed. So imagine how I'm feeling after we got swept at the "Boogie Down?" In any event, I'm extremely down, but at the same time, completely unsurprised that something like this happened. I hate to say it, but there's a reason the Yanks won 26 championships (by the way, if you ever happen to forget that number, pick an argument with a Yankees fan...it's bound to come up in the conversation). When it seems like all hope is lost, they seem to find something left in the bottom of their tank to will them back into contention. So, with the Stripes five games back, it's officially time to man-up for the Sox. Manny is going to be out for two weeks, the offense is really going to have to step it up.
So with a month left in the season, here's a breakdown of what is coming up for the Sox:
9/6-9/9: @ BAL
9/17-9/19: @ TOR
9/21-9/23: @ TB
Right now, in comparison to the first half, it seems that the Sox have definitely come back to Earth, which again, is something that, although you don't want to see, you should have been expecting given the past history of this team. These next two weeks are critical for the Sox. With two series against the O's, and Toronto and Tampa at home, the Sox need to set the bar high on how they do here. A reasonable goal is to simply win each series. They have dominated play against all three teams this year, and even though one of their best run producers will be sidelined, they should have just enough offense and pitching to be able to get by. I know it's tough to say the words "to get by" in September, especially since a playoff spot is not set in stone, but right now, it seems like the Sox are in "survival" mode. While all of Red Sox Nation has their collective eyes set on the magic number (24 if you're scoring at home...that's the number of Red Sox wins combined with Yankee losses that need to occur for the Sox to win the East), these next two weeks will give everyone a definitive answer as to how far the Sox can go this year. Remember how everyone thought that with Schill, Becks, and Dice, we had a rotation that could dominate a short series? Well, they all got losses in the Yanks series, and while they did not have their best stuff, a lot of the blame should be put on the offense, who were no-hit in each of the final two games of the series through five innings, meaning that a great deal of unnecessary pressure was put on the starters to make every pitch count. When you try to aim a ball as a pitcher, because of the fact that one run could be the difference in the game, usually, the results are horrible. After the White Sox series, when they scored 10+ runs in four straight for the first time in franchise history, and only the fourth occurance in baseball history, it was thought that the offense had finally come back. What was lost in the shuffle was the fact that the pitching staff allowed only seven runs in the entire series. With offense inevitably comes pitching. While the staff has been outstanding this year (only team with three guys at 14+ wins), you cannot simply sit back and expect the staff to bail them out of every single jam they get into. Despite everything that happened, I find myself thinking that the Yankees are only capable of really getting up for one team...us. So, I am tempted to think that there will be a slight let down in the coming days. This is when it really counts. The bats went silent, and the pitching wasn't all that great, but now, the focus needs to be there while we play the "lesser" opponents. I can see it all coming unraveled if the Sox are unable to provide some kind of consistency in terms of offense. I believe that, over the long haul, the pitching will be there, but it's the offense, much like it has been all year, that needs to really step it up over the next month.
Alright, had to work out some of the frustration there. Take care now. Peace.