The Good: Gabe Kapler. A brilliant catch in the field followed by a three-run homer to get Pedro off the hook, albeit for a short time. The list of “Good” ends there.
The Bad: The Dominican Trio. Manny and Ortiz combined to go 0-for-7 with three strike-outs. Pedro was terrible, more earned runs than strike-outs.
The Ugly: Johnny Damon. 0-for-4 at the plate is bad enough but what in Christly Heaven was he doing in the outfield? First, a magical line drive leaps out of the way of his glove, then that abomination of a play against the wall. Are you kidding? At least look at the ball and turn your glove in the right direction to make it look good.
To state the obvious, this team has problems. The all-star break came at the worst time and seems to have destroyed any momentum or chemistry the team was finding. Johnny Damon, who was playing the role of Superman going into the break, seems to have ingested lethal doses of Kryptonite. Manny is 3-for-12 since his hamstring “issue”. Varitek continues his run towards mediocrity. Millar was 1 for his last 15 going into last night. How he continues to crack the starting line-up each night is a mystery. Lowe continues to suck, although he’s added a new dimension to his suckiness. He’s seemingly decided to ignore runners on base and let them steal at will.
The problems are obvious, the solutions are not. The team has the talent and the on-paper statistics to rival the Yankees, yet they now sit 8 full games behind. Why? No sense of urgency, inconsistent defense, no timely hitting, and mainly no accountability for failure. Nobody is willing to step up and say “it was my fault, I lost the game for us”. Nobody is willing to take charge and say “it was ‘fill in player’s name’ fault”. That type of holding players to a standard of meeting expectations needs to start with the manager. The time has long passed that Francona can even attempt to instill that in his players. He has spent the past three-and-a-half months making excuses and covering for his players’ shortcomings. The cliches of “we need to work harder” and “we’ll get after it again tomorrow” are old and tired. The supply of tomorrows is running low. In short, it is time for a new manager.
Scapegoat? Maybe. But with a team as talented as this, the manager is the only common denominator to their inability to perform. The constant trend of changing the line-up every day, playing people out of their positions and leaving starting pitchers in too long is one we’ve seen before. Last time it took blowing game 7 of the ALCS to figure out the pattern, let’s hope it doesn’t take that long this year.
- Millar should not be in the line-up. Period.
- McCarty should be playing first at a more regular basis.
- Mirabelli should be catching twice through the rotation until Varitek realizes he’s not a switch-hitter and starts getting on base.
- Enough “days off”. The all-star break was less than a week ago and Nomar needs a rest?
- Straighten out the pitching rotation – skipping Pedro the first game after the break so that he faces Baltimore and misses the Yankees was sheer stupidity.
- Pedro, Schilling, Wakefield, Arroyo, Lowe. Unless you can find a better 5th starter or trade Lowe.
- Trade Nomar.
Update: 6-1 Baltimore in the 7th. Sox have 10 hits and 1 run.