Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Pleasantly Surprised

One more to 200! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

I hate to sound like a stereotype, but it’s almost difficult for me to embrace the idea that the Red Sox are doing so well right now.  To call the team “injury-plagued” isn’t so crazy.  Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill are out for the season.  Bobby Jenks is on and off the DL.  Carl Crawford, John Lackey, Darnell McDonald, Dan Wheeler, Matt Albers, and Marco Scutaro have all spent time on the DL this year and Jon Lester, starting pitcher tonight, had his own stint there.  Now JD Drew joins Jed Lowrie and Clay Buchholz on the DL.

(Unless I’ve forgotten someone, which is possible…) We’ve had 13 players from the 25-man roster on the DL this season.  Couple that with how the season began for the Red Sox (being swept by both the Tampa Bay Rays Texas Rangers (thanks, Jere!) and Cleveland Indians and then winning the three game series against the New York Yankees only to lose the next three games…winning only two games out of the first twelve of the season before going on a 9-5 run to end the month of April) and who can be blamed for being a little stunned at the way this team has been performing?

Back in March, I was one of a handful of bloggers Gordon Edes asked to make predictions for the upcoming season.  I’m not a fan of making predictions for the team, especially before the season begins, but was honored to be asked so I joined in.  Let’s revisit what I wrote, shall we?

When the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez in December and Carl Crawford signed on two days later, I have to admit that my mind went wild with the possibilities. If this team can stay healthy, we’ll see many high-scoring wins, especially against the other AL East teams. The Sox offense will dominate the East’s pitching. As far as the Red Sox go, their rotation will surprise folks. Lackey and Beckett definitely have the talent but need to show they still can still pitch to win. This will be the year they take out their frustrations of past seasons on the rest of the league. Lester and Buchholz will tear up the league as well and I have faith Matsuzaka will be as effective as the team needs. I expect the Red Sox to make the playoffs easily this year by ending the regular season with 100 wins.

Eesh. Well I guess, so far, I got some of it right. I played it safe on Daisuke and STILL got it wrong. Around mid-May it was pointed out to me that there was no way the Red Sox would touch 100 wins and today it looks like there’s a good possibility they could do just that. Baseball, she’s a funny game.

Someone I didn’t mention in my predictions was Tim Wakefield.  Yesterday, Wake notched his 199th win and 2000th strike out (with the Red Sox.  His career K number is 2110) and in one of the most surreal happenings I’ve seen at the ball park, after receiving a standing ovation and taking a curtain call for strike out number 2000, he came back into the game and gave up a grand slam.  Upon leaving the game for good, Wakefield received yet another standing ovation and tipped his cap to the crowd as he headed into the dugout.

If anyone can find another instance where a pitcher gets taken out of the game after giving up a grand slam and exits to a (legitimate) standing ovation (not mock cheers) I’d love to hear about it.  The Red Sox were still winning after the GS so it was a lot easier to be happy for the Red Sox fans at Fenway giving the “old man” his respect.  It made me happy to be a Red Sox fan.

Of course, it made most of the local sports media folks on Twitter and Facebook lose their shit, leading them to all start posting how terrible Tim’s stats are this season in spite of his 6-3 record.  (Wake has four no-decision in his 13 starts this season.)  Here’s my thing with Wake:  Given where he is in his career, I just want him to be able to hit the milestones he’s looking to hit without doing much damage to the Red Sox.  What he’s done, regardless of his season numbers, is help the Red Sox fill a position in the rotation.  His starts aren’t automatically checked into the L column (hello John Smoltz) and when he does come out with a win (or a milestone, or, like yesterday, both) it’s a feel-good story for the team and the fans.  Where’s the harm?  Right now, I’m just happy to see him do well without tanking the team.  So far, so good.

As happy as I was for the sweep this weekend, there was still an itty bit of me feeling sorry for the Mariners.  A 15-game losing streak has to be miserable for them and for their fans. Here’s hoping they decide to take their frustrations out on the Yankees this week and start a winning streak.

Sox get right back into it tonight with Jon Lester coming off the DL to pitch against the Kansas City Royals.  Jon once no-hit the Royals on a Monday night in May.  I’m not expecting a no-hitter (honestly, I’m a little squirmy about his pitching at all right now because I would have much preferred a rehab game or two before jumping right in, but what do I know?) but a W will make me happy.


July 25, 2011 - Posted by | 2011, Featured | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. The second standing O was a sweet Fenway moment, and I’m glad I was there for it.  The first standing O brought a tear to my eye.  I was thinking about the summer of ’95… I had just gotten my first car and I drove down from Maine with my brother, the first time I had gone to a game without my parents or a school trip to get me there.  I bought a Mo Vaughn shirt (and was instantly justified as he hit 2 HR that day).  I wish now I had bought a Wakefield shirt instead.  He was one of my favorites that year, but I think I thought of him as more of a flash-in-the-pan, whereas Mo was more of a long-term sure thing (or so I thought back then.)  But if I had, it would have outlasted not only the Vaughn shirt but all the Garciaparras and Martinezes that I accumulated in the years to come.  I guess it’s not too late to get one!

    Comment by Kristen | July 26, 2011 | Reply

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