We have heard all of the commentary on yesterday’s game, yet we will hear it all again. Why? Because yesterday was “same as it ever was” for the 2004 Boston Red Sox.
Bronson Arroyo pitches good enough to win… but gets tagged with another loss.
The Sox load the bases early with a chance to send the opposing starter to an early shower… but do not score.
The offense strings a few hits together… but the inning ends with a runner thrown out at the plate.
Francona brings in Timlin… and some lucky fan in the Monster seats gets a souvenir.
The Sox load the bases late… but do not score.
The Sox rally in the ninth… but fall a run short.
The White Sox starter, Mark Buehrle, threw 59 pitches in the first two innings. Keep in mind, he’s going on three days rest. In the third, they get to him again but Dale struck again. This guy would have waved Hitler right through Europe. Not only does Youkilis get gunned down at the plate, he is removed from the game with a bruised leg. X-rays were negative and he is listed as day-to-day, which in Red Sox injury time could be the rest of the season. This seemed to rip the heart out of the offense. Buehrle got the next six batters in order on a total of 15 pitches. Throw in a pair of strikeouts each from Manny and Ortiz, a couple of White Sox stolen bases (both which ended up scoring) and 11 LOB and you’ve got the Red Sox 2004 season neatly wrapped up into one-game.
There is something about this team that makes them the anti-2003 team. Both Friday night and yesterday were examples of games that last year the Red Sox would have won. They just don’t have a rally cry that unites the fans and inspires the players. Ridicule “Cowboy Up” all you want, but it was the essence of the 2003 team. And you’re a liar if you claim you never said it. Or is it something they added not something they’ve lost? Francona has certainly been under fire for questionable decisions and use of the position players and bullpen. But the recent antics of Dale Svuem have undeniably cost this team games. Maybe the time has come to make a move and send a message. We know it won’t be Francona that is let go – what about Svuem?
The obvious fact is the team cannot limp along playing .500 ball and expect to make the playoffs. Too many times we’ve thought that one event or another, most notably the Yankees brawl game, was going to set this team on fire. But it hasn’t happened. They are 12-8 since that game. Considering the level of opposition and the way they have lost many of those 8 games, it isn’t good enough. It is evident that the team will not self-ignite – they need a good old-fashioned boot in the ass. In the form of a new third-base coach?