Will The Boston Red Sox Win The AL East Championship? Right Now, Who Knows??
I'll answer the above question after a quick recap of last night's game in Toronto. The listless and sleepy Boston team lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1. Tim Wakefield looked better than he did in his last two starts, but he was wrecked by a large gentleman who goes by the name of Frank Thomas. Thomas hit three home runs in the game, two off Timmy. Wakes went 6 innings and allowed 4 runs on 7 hits. Hardly a quality start. The offense, which is still REALLY hurting by the absence of Manny and Youk, whose hand is still very swollen and whose return date is still very much unknown, has been anemic at exactly the wrong times. With 11 games to go, the hitting must improve. Bigtime. Last night there were only 5 Sox hits in the entire game. But the story belonged to Toronto's pitcher Dustin McGowen, who pitched a complete game gem. Said the Sox catcher Kevin Cash.....
"That's about as good a stuff as you'll see," said Cash, who caught McGowan as a member of the Blue Jays organization in 2000-04. "I've caught him throwing 98 mph fastballs, but not down and away when he needed to go there.
"I think the slider is something he developed recently. It was really good. You don't like to say it's the best you've ever seen, but his combination of pitches tonight was as good as I've ever faced. He was tough. When you're throwing 98 in the ninth, that's pretty impressive."
Peter here, and Kevin is right. McGowen was often unhittable. Coupled with another Yankee victory, this time against the Orioles, the lead is down to 3 in the loss column. The Yankees might only lose 3 games the rest of the year. They have 12 left. The Red Sox? Here are some of their problems. I'll start with the starting rotation. Lester and Wakefield are erratic AT BEST, although Wakes could turn it around at any time. Daisuke is now NOT the pitcher he was in the first three months of the season. He has become an up and down, wild six inning hurler who throws too many pitches because of that wildness. Only Schilling and Beckett have continuously shined in this last month of the season. I go on.....the hitting is hurting, literally. Manny won't be back until the weekend, at the earliest, and Youk might be gone at least that long. Papi's knee is bothering him, as is Coco's back. With all that going on with the team that we love, don't be surprised if they finish two or three games behind those pinstripers. I DO NOT WANT THAT TO HAPPEN, but it might. The hitting has to turn around and the pitching must get better. Top to bottom, with the exception of Josh and Schill and the 'pen. Oh, the 'pen...it's nice to see Gagne pitching well, but we need the Okie that we knew and loved for the first 5 months of the season to return to form and be "that guy who shuts 'em down in the 8th."
Tonight it's Jon Lester, up and down and all around Lester, versus AJ Burnett, who has been pitching great. On a shining bright note, Clay Buchholz will be the starter Wednesday night. If he dazzles and delights, don't be surprised to see him on the hill in the post season. The Sox WILL get to the games of October, for the magic number for the wild card, with Detroit's loss yesterday, is down to five games. Root for Cleveland tonight, and of course, our team. And click on the title of this post for more details on Boston's sleepwalk in Toronto.
As always, thank you for being here. I couldn't or wouldn't do this without you, and I love ya for that! Comments? Will our Sox win the AL East Crown, or will they be the wild card team and be forced to play the Angels? I want to hear from you. Thanks.