Sunday, August 3, 2008

Royals Knock Sox Off Division Throne: Sox - Royals Game 3

It must’ve been the 6th when it had been decided that the game was over. It was time to make the most of it and get in some batting practice and to let the bench players catch some rays. No, there was no win from Cleveland to save us today. It was nice while it lasted, but the Royals finally took our first-place crown in a crushing 14-3 defeat. It took 3 hours, a beatdown, 5 ejections, 19 hits given up, and some awful news from Charlotte to make today probably the worst of the season.

Na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, hey, good bye, Clay Richard. I’ve taken the liberty to drop the –ton in his name, and he in turn took the liberty to throw every pitch right down the middle and in the perfect spot to be hit. The truth is that the only difference between his possibly last performance of the season today and in his last game was that this time, Clay didn’t bother to wait until the 5th to falter, but gave it all up in the second only to leave it up to someone else to turn the 5th into a disaster, showing little to no ability to get out of tough spots. I guess my little stray puppy has worms... He seems to be falling victim to the problems the rest of our bullpen are having. My, how far we’ve come. While in the first half, our pitching was spectacular and our batters struggled, it seems that our pitching are fighting an uphill battle for quality starts in this second half. If only our bullpen was as overcrowded as our outfield… [Life in the Cell has some comparisons for you.]

D.J. Carrasco, usually one of our most effective relievers, only threw 3 pitches today. The first was up and in, the second hit Miguel Olivo on the hands as he swung (it was called a foul ball), and the third hit Olivo in wrist. Olivo threw his helmet as Carrasco picked up the ball, then charged the mound. It was A.J. that stopped Olivo as Carrasco swatted at him defensively. Soon, both teams had barren dugouts and appeared to be brawling. In fact, it was a mass get-him-away-from-him-and-him-off-him-and-him-off-him-type situation, and only Miguel Olivo seemed to blame. After things began to settle down, Ozzie just began to get riled up. He, too was tossed, leaving T.V. watchers stumped. Why did he explode? It was over, no one was hurt (except, maybe Olivo, upon being hit by the pitch), and it was only after Ozzie’s ejection that it became clear he was fighting to keep Carrasco in the game. Carrasco, too was tossed. The Royals' manager, Hillman, was also tossed, but I don't remember the instance under which he was tossed.

The fight seemed to be over until Grienke accidentally on purpose hit Swish right in the hip. Grienke himself was taking revenge any way he could, perhaps remembering his last encounter with the Sox- the best first inning the Sox have ever seen, where 6 runs crossed home plate and 9 men touched base safely. Well, he was tossed, bringing the grand total to 5. While Swish (now in RF) griped about being in pain, he had to grin and bear it, as the only man left on the bench was Jim Thome. I kid you not, we had run out of OFs! Griffey was DH’ing earlier today, but had been replaced by Toby Hall after we had given up on the game, Anderson had already been moved to center field, Wise had already moved to left. Once Dye and TCQ were out, they were out. So, what had once been 6 were now 2.5 after Swish taking that pitch. No, Jim Thome would not play CF today. Or would he? Just one inning later, in the middle of a great, near-impossible catch, Anderson smashed hard into the fence and let the ball slip out of his glove as he fell down. Cora was out on the field soon (now in charge, after Ozzie’s ejection), but smelling salts had to be enough for Brian else Jim Thome would be in CF. Well, that or there would be need for some creative shuffling involving Thome and Konerko doing their best in the infield while Ramirez (now as SS, while Uribe was at 2B and Booger was in his rightful place, the 3B throne) would move to CF.

Anderson and Wise, the replacements, were the first hits to materialize into runs. It wasn’t pretty, but B.A. had a base hit, and after a triple by Wise, he ran home. A single by Hall brought Wise home, and a solo home run at the hands of Pierzynski brought the last run of the day home. A.J. had the most hits today (a whopping 2), while most (Cabrera, TCQ, Booger Fields, Dye, Konerko, Ramirez, and Uribe) had none.

And, now, for the awful, awful news. Damn me and my chick-counting tendencies! I had already paid for Booger’s ticket back to Charlotte tonight, but as luck would have it, it seems that he won’t be headed back after all. After scratching from the lineup yesterday due to a “twinge in his back,” they still felt Crede was on schedule to return for Wednesday’s game (not Tuesday, I lied). Today, Crede scratched again, and Ozzie felt it was time to have another talk with Josh. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with Crede’s back structurally, but now his muscles are inflamed… Find your way to your local wishing well and wish for a healthy Crede because as of right now, all we have is Booger Fields, now having collected an impressive 11 K’s over 8 games and proudly carrying a .182 average to add to his sub-par defense.

Will things get better for the Sox? Tomorrow is a day off, then the Sox will be at home with starter Gravin Floyd, looking to catch up to the first place Minnesota Twins.

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