Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kenny Rogers and the Imploding Bullpen: Sox -Tigers Doubleheader

After 3 hours of rain delay (Okay, 2 days and 3 hours), the Sox pulled ahead of the Twins to a 1.5 game division lead, winning both games of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers. The Sox, with starting pitchers Javi Vazquez and John Danks won 4-2 and 11-7 in games 1 and 2, respectively.

There isn’t much to be said about the first game of the day. Not a lot of hitting. According to the Hawk, Javi is one of the nastiest pitchers out there. (Yeah, he’s dirty!) Well, he is quite unpleasant to the opposition on a good day such as today. He threw 7+ shutout innings. Picked up his 2000th career strikeout along the way. I mean, 3 hits in 8ish innings paired with 8 K’s? That is GREAT stuff. The Sox scraped together 4 runs. Thankfully, Wise had a great day and Ramirez homered. He seems to be off his cold streak. The real story today, though, was about the exploding bullpens. First there was Bobby Jenks in game one, giving up a 2-run homer after 8 shut-out innings by everyone else. Then Dotel in the 8th inning [of Game 2] (why does this sound familiar) gave up a home run with the bases loaded- er… a grand slam. Thankfully, the Tigers had a ‘pen malfunction as well, and Wise had a 2-out grand slam of his own, pinch hitting for Anderson in the 8th.

In fact, there have been problems with the ‘pen all evening. After 6 shut-out innings, the Sox had taken charge of 40-something Kenny Rogers and were leading 7-0. It seemed safe for Danks to grab a seat (perhaps resting in case he will have to pitch on 3 days’ rest), and Linebrink took over. I kinda wished he was that guy in blue they showed for most of the inning (Yeah, yeah, Zambrano had a no-no. Show me the real game!). Instead, he gave up a 2-run homer at some point. The only man the next pitcher, Boone Logan, had to retire got himself a solo home run. The score was 7-3. DJ Carrasco, who has been running out of gas lately had to leave after putting two men on base. Dotel (also known as Beardless Ozzie) walked the first batter he faced to get the bases loaded, (struck out a guy,) only to allow a game-tying grand slam. Thankfully for the Sox, Matt Thornton can still strike out anyone you’d like on a good day.

In other news, Brian Anderson got a start today. He did a lot of swinging for the fences, had too many low strikes called on him, but got a 2-run homer. Overall more productive than Nick Swisher? I’ll say. Jim Thome and his beard have been doing their best impression of Paul Konerko (He’s still out until Tuesday-ish, in case you were wondering). They also had an RBI base in the 1st and a homer in the 4th. Now, he has 32 for the year- the same as Dye. Who would’ve thought that he had this in him, still? “Not I,” said the Sox. I watched Rogers try to pick Ramirez off 1st base hit in the 4th inning for about ½ an hour. I completely lost track of the game, the batters, and wondered if anyone bothered to tell the Tigers that Ramirez is not the base thief his speed and nickname would suggest. Uribe had an RBI, too. Perhaps the return of the brighter than the sun goatee is good luck. And just random: Sheffield and his jiggly bat drive me crazy! And MacDougal and Wasserman look like twins (not the Minnesota kind) from a distance.

And in case you missed the excitement of the game the past couple of days with all the rain, there was plenty of news and gossip to keep Sox fans’ hearts pumping.

First of all, DJ (Jackson, not Carrasco) won’t be with the Sox next year. The thing is, I always thought better of DJ than Hawk. He’s clearly more intelligent, and he sort of has to make sure Hawk is coherent and such. What would you do if your boss said, “sit back, relax, and strap it down” every day before you started work? You’d let him take care of the crazy and you’d finish the sentences he can’t remember he started.

According to the press, Joe Crede’s locker has apparently been cleaned out- it isn’t even labeled with his name anymore. Something about his agent (“the devil himself,” Scott Boras) talking to the Angels. [Ha, devil talking to the Angels… unintentionally funny] I’ve certainly been very vigilant of the dugout today, looking for any sign of Joe. He certainly seems to be absent. There have been comments thrown around left and right and many have been making speculations like they’ve personally been talking to Joe. I think he knows better than anyone and until there is official word about anything, I’m going to continue with my moratorium on all Crede talk. I respect Crede as a baseball player too much to make speculations (whether negative or positive) about personal situations about him (as much as I’d like to).

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