No, folks, the title of today’s post isn’t another clever allusion to Johnny Damon’s girlfriend (though there’s a great but sadly backside-free photo of our favorite obsession on Dirt Dogs today).
It’s a reference to a comment made by David Ortiz after that bombastic extra-inning loss to the Braves on July 2: “The Bambino’s kicking our ass right now, but we’re going to get that ass back.”
After the team put the finishing touches on a 7-3 homestand with a 6-4 win over Toronto last night, it seems that said ass has been retrieved.
Tim Wakefield, who throughout much of this season has been serving up batting practice balls, was in effect, giving up five hits and two runs across eight innings. Another good sign: The offense seems to be back on last year’s autopilot setting. Bill Mueller — Christ, did we miss his bat earlier in the season — got three hits, with Damon, Millar (he of the 10 game hit streak and .307 average), OC and Mirabelli getting in on the action with one hit apiece. Earl Snyder, just up from Pawtucket, got his first hit as well.
Keith Foulke made it an adventure when he let the Jays back in the game in the ninth, giving up four hits and two runs and magically transforming a 6-2 cake walk into a 6-4 nail-biter. But when the dust cleared, we had the W. And that’s what counts. Because Toronto is the kind of team a $130 million payroll should be sweeping.
And what would a Red Sox game be without one of Dale Sveum’s gaffs, which are fast becoming the Sox’ equivalent of those Lenny and Squiggy entrances on Laverne & Shirley: You know it’s coming, it’s just a question of when. Last night’s Sveum Sacrifice was Mueller, who was out by a good eight feet. Is he doing it on purpose? He must be, right? I mean, this is getting to be a sort of vaudeville routine.
In spite of Sveum, however, the Sox have won three in a row, and remain tied with Texas for the Wild Card lead. This should be good enough for me. But it isn’t. I have to notice that the Yankees have just been swept by Minnesota. And the Sox are now eight games back in the AL East. A month ago, I thought six games was an insurmountable lead. Now, I’m not so sure. It’s crazy, and I don’t want to say it, I don’t even feel good about typing it. But I’m starting to think that the Sox could make a run for the division.
The Yankees are not playing well. Mike Mussina is not right. Kevin Brown risks throwing out his back every time he farts. The Boss is so desperate for pitching help, he tried to wrangle David Wells back from San Diego (a proposed but ultimately rejected trade which, according to The Gammons on last night’s Baseball Tonight, also involved Kenny Lofton and Jay Payton). Meanwhile, Varitek and Millar are hitting again. New guys Minty and OC are gelling. Foulke, tonight’s adventure notwithstanding, seems to have righted himself.
And we’ll be playing the Yankees six! more! times! in September.
It’s sick and twisted and makes me feel — I dunno — dirty just thinking about it. But perhaps we’re doing things differently this year, replacing the September swoon with the September surge.
In other news, ESPN, home of The Gammons, is giving you, Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public, the chance to win a dinner with Dick Vitale. Or you could just give yourself a hornet enema.