Friday, July 4, 2008

Vazquez Still Wins Despite Loss: Sox - Oakland Game 1

I went to the Sox game today expecting a win. Of course, what I didn't realize was that their winning streak had hit "lucky number 7," a number that suggests that although we've won at least 70% of our last 10 games, the winning streak might not go on forever because you can't win 'em all. Even if the team loses tonight (Which they did. 2-3), that should be good enough. And while no one wants to see his/her team lose, I'll try to take this loss gracefully.

So, with that said, here are all the good things I could come up with about today's game: Vazquez has one of his best outings. There was only one walk (but, boy, did that walk cost us) and only a handful of hits. He finished the game and even got a little involved defensively. A.J. was the batting all-star for the second night in a row with at least one double (I don't know why I feel like he hit two, but who knows. There were people swearing, we had to make the cheer meter go all the way up to home run... it was complicated). Jermayne Dye also got two hits, one of which brought in the second and last run of the night. Other players that successfully got on base were Wise (Playing center field today and was the lead-off man while O.C. got a much-deserved day off), who hit the first home run of the game in the bottom of the first, Big Jim Thome, and the man with the haircut: Joe Crede.

I was listening to the radio on the way back from the game, and someone called in and said something that made my disappointment a little easier to handle: The Sox were up against 3 extremely good pitchers in the last 4 games and they won against 2 of the 3, plus managed to get out of 2 extremely unpleasant and sticky situations out of 3 says a lot about how much they've improved as a team this season. If they don't let this loss get them down, they'll be just fine. True enough. There has to be a reason why the team has kept its place leading the division. Every team and player has rough patches, right?

Another topic that the radio show touched upon was another sticky situation: the active roster's status once Paul Konerko is back. The “situation” is that Ozzie/Kenny want Paulie back, but to keep Anderson AND Wise as backups for CF (which will then have Swisher back). But considering that Uribe is a backup for second base, short stop, and third base, unless they send back one of the two, the other option of trading Uribe to a place where he would get more playing time and will feel more… “useful” will leave only Ozuna as a backup infielder in the lineup. Confused? So are they. We all know that, at least this year, no matter how badly Konerko is doing, he’s not the one that’s going to lose his job. Assuming they still want Swish out on the field, that leaves… everyone else. Now, I will say this flat out: no matter how well he does, what people say, what his nickname is ("Secret Weapon," my ass!), I will NEVER like Pablo Ozuna. Yeah, I'm spoiled because he's not even as talented as Crede's left shoe out on third, but the guy needs a couple of more years of experience. Preferably on another team. So… if you could somehow do this bit of juggling while managing to send Ozuna back to Charlotte (Ooh! Or the Twins. They need a Secret Weapon that would work to our advantage, too), that would be just lovely.

Honestly, this is a bit over my head. I see no good ending to this situation. My only plan isn’t going to make Ozzie happy… I’m thinking of maybe trading Uribe for a good infielder, sending Wise back to Charlotte, getting B.A. some serious batting practice/advice/coaching/prayers/steroids, and keeping Ozuna someplace in a dusty corner of the active roster. Or how about those mean rumors Crede haters are starting about Josh Fields taking over for Crede next year? Although it won’t happen, why don’t they mail Ozuna back, bring this miracle third baseman here and shove him in the dugout for awhile, let him play with the big boys?

I guess the decision is in the hands of the managers and up to the performance of all of these men.

Tomorrow, the Sox taken on Oakland again with Buehrle pitching.

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