Are they really this good, on track to sweep the last homestand before the All-Star Break and ensconce themselves in a far prettier position relative to the Yanks and fellow Wild Card chasers? Or are they just Boston’s biggest tease (with apologies to Natalie Drumvatowski of Everett who previously held this title), getting us all hot and bothered with a couple of stellar wins while setting up for full-on collapse when Texas rolls into town?
Either way, I just can’t let myself obsess about it anymore. It’s not helping me or my ulcer (thank you, Bill Buckner!) or my family or anyone else who has to deal with my cantankerous Irish ass every time the Sox take a dive. What I do know is that watching these last two games against Oakland have rekindled the spirits, re-juiced the enthusiasm, and reminded me of just how potent this line-up can be. Remember last year when no game was out of reach? When — unlike in, say, the Mike Lansing era — anyone stumbling to the plate was as likely to hit a game-tying grand slam as they were to ground out. And they did the former more often than the latter?
Those days are back. Or at least for now.
Last night, another drubbing of the A’s, who look like but a shadow of the team that came thisclose to ending our 2003 playoff aspirations. The Sox plated 7 runs by the end of the third inning and added four more by game’s end. When the dust cleared, we’d pounded out 15 hits, three of them home runs from Nomar, Bellhorn and you-know-who, and Pedro had pocketed his ninth win of the season.
The hits? They just keep on coming. Mueller, who is, as they say, “back,” had three. Damon, Nomar, Bellhorn, Tek and Kapler each had a pair. Christ, even Millar got one in. It was ruthless and precise and when they needed a hit, they got the hit. Just like last year.
More impressive is the fact that in the first two games of this series, Manny and Ortiz have gone a combined 1-for-18. If someone told you this last week, you’d have resigned yourself to the “L,” stocked up on Miller High Life and spent the night cruising the Internet for dates rather than subject yourself to what would surely be an ugly couple of evenings at the Fens. But something miraculous happened. Everyone else, like, woke up and shit. And started hitting. And it was good. Whether or not Randy Johnson shows up on Yawkey Way with his hat and glove shouting, “Let’s kick some ass,” it made us happy.
The cake had icing too, you see, because the Yankees have been losing. Yesterday, they dropped another to Detroit, and they’re in one of those “mini-slumps” that makes Steinbrenner crazy and makes us laugh and point our fingers and then behind closed doors we pray to the gods of baseball that the Sox can start tearing ass and make up a few games because you got to steal the lion’s meat when the lion’s in the net and the lion won’t be in the net for long and would someone please grab that muthafriggin’ meat cause it’s right there and we just need to snag it and haul ass so let’s go!
So. Tonight. Schilling. Yes! I hope it keeps up. I hope they really do take the 4 or 6 I’d dreamed of. Or — dare we even think it — sweep the A’s and Texas.
No. I won’t speak it. I’ll just sit back, Maalox in hand, and watch it unfold. See you in twelve hours.