Friday, October 3, 2008

They Gotta Have Less Cowbell: Sox - Rays Playoff Game 2

Every time the Sox play in Tropicana Field, the first thought that goes through my head is, “I have a fever. And the only prescription is more cowbell.” Well, I think the Sox are sick of cowbells and everything associated with Tropicana Field in general.

What do 12 hits (4 of which belonged to Dye), 2 walks and a grand total of 12 left on base tell you about a team? Would you say they’re not hitting well? They’re not running well? I would say the thing wrong with this picture is the lineup. OC, Swisher, Dye, Konerko, Thome, Ramirez, Pierzynski, Uribe, Anderson. In that order. There were plenty of hits with 2 outs, there were plenty of hits in general, enough bases taken and enough situations where the bases were loaded. The only problem was that the Sox couldn’t make a long ball happen and that the hits didn’t happen in the right sequence. It was like Minnesota, with Wise hitting in the lead-off spot. Except this time, instead of one player that wasn’t getting it done, Ozzie had penciled Nick Swisher in the lineup twice- In the 2 spot and in the 9 spot. Okay, so it wasn’t Nick Swisher; it was Nick Swisher and Brian Anderson, but aside from range in CF, they’re the same person- especially since they made Swish bat righty (which he happens to be even worse at). First you don’t play him, then you play him twice… excuse me if I don’t exactly understand your logic here, Oz.

As for the pitching, Mark Buehrle pitched 7 innings and a bit before handing the reins to Dotel and Thornton. He earned most of his runs, but suffered a bit because of Alexei’s error and some unfortunate plays that Uribe couldn’t get to. Who knows what would have happened if the double play would have been turned, and if the three outfielders giving that fly ball a stare-down would have made a call. Come on, Edmonds! Honestly, those Rays guys are just good hitters. They know how to find the gaps, they make contact. They’re not spectacular, they just get the job done.

So far, the Sox are 0-2 in the series with 3 games to go. Of which they must win all three in order to advance. This sounds a whole lot like last week. On the bright side, unlike our Northside counterparts, we’re playing the next 2 games at home, which gives the Sox that certain intangible advantage that The Cell provides. On the dim side (wouldn’t that be the opposite of the bright side?), we’re still playing the Rays, and they won’t make it easy on us. In fact, if/after we make it past the Rays, we are still headed for a meeting with the Red Sox or the Angels. No premature poultry enumeration here.

But back to my original ramblings, about Nick Swisher and Brian Anderson. I know I like to beat a dead horse over the head with this subject and talk in circles and say the same thing, but Kenny Williams was recently quoted as saying there is something mechanically wrong with Swish’s swing and they would have to wait until the post-season to fix it. I think Swish is digging himself into a hole. He goes from one extreme to the next, either swinging and missing or striking out looking. Two words for him: base hit. His goal every time he is at bat should be to get a single. And I’m sure he’s been told to stop swinging for the fences, to stop striking out looking… he doesn’t know what to do with himself. And the same is coming true for Brian Anderson. Like I said… you’re putting the same guy in the lineup twice.

Speaking of Brian, he took some time out of his busy schedule for some [Q & Anderson.] And, Brian… please don’t grow your hair out again. That only works if you’re name is Joe Crede and you’re doing it because you’re too busy winning to get a haircut (see 2005). And while I’m putting up links to things, you may or may not be amused to find out [Jim Thome hates America.]

Tomorrow, the Sox have an off day, and on Sunday, John Danks is taking on the Rays at home. The Sox are calling for a rolling blackout, hoping to have another couple of successful games at home and stay in the series.

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