06/29/07: Rangers 1, Red Sox 2
06/30/07: Rangers 5, Red Sox 4
07/01/07: Rangers 2, Red Sox 1
After the Safeco slump, winning the first game of this homestand was a pleasant and enlightening experience. We learned that Manny Delcarmen is a cool customer (delightful!), that Mike Lowell is more soothing a presence than Doug Mirabelli (shocking!), and that Dustin Pedroia does not fear the reaper (just plain awesome!).
Thanks to NESN, we also learned that Tek has a signal which causes Papelbon to pretend to shake him off. A fake-out signal! We just know they spent a whole lot of time working that one out, with Paps never able to keep a straight face. This calls into question the certainty of our blog tagline and pretty much all reality as we know it--and we love that.
As for the last two losses, well, we're trying to salvage something upbeat out of the pain, and here's what we got:
1. We went at Fenway on Saturday night, and we turned standing room into dancing room when Mike Timlin was warming up and "Black Betty" was playing in his honor. We thought it was just a catchy song, but he proceeded to pitch a beautiful top of the ninth. We hereby declare ourselves the Official Mike Timlin Solid Gold Dancers. Bam-a-lam!
2. No appearance by El Coco Salon And Day Spa at center, so we got a look at Jacoby Ellsbury both nights. He doesn't quite seem ready for primetime, but he's easy on the eyes. And speedy. And probably still gets carded every time he tries to buy cigarettes.
3. Julian Tavarez made fewer nervewracking mistakes in his start today than Josh Beckett did yesterday. Somehow, we knew that crazy old Jim Leyland would fail to recognize the Genius of Guano and leave Tavarez out of his All-Star bullpen. There is no justice!* Gang, let's meet up in San Francisco for a protest rally! Donna Martin graduates!**
Our pitching was not the problem in these games. Pitching, especially from the bullpen, was shiny and sweet, like an apple. Like an appletini. But the offense? A flat Miller Lite.
We've had five chances in seven days to watch this team struggle, inning after inning, and fail to come up with a single run, leaving the population of Rhode Island stranded on base. Sure, it's consoling that the rest of the AL East has been equally miserable this week. But it's hard to relax when our games seem destined to conclude with Papi or Manny striking out in a dramatic style that feels like the world's coming to an end.***
Inquiring minds want to know: Is this something we can fix, or is this the sign of a pox on our entire season? Is the era of our power hitters over or will they heat up again after the All-Star Break?
Inquiring minds really want your answer to that question if it's something hopeful and reassuring. Or if you are Dave Magadan and have the power to stage an intervention.
The first step is to recognize that you are powerless over Julio Lugo, and that he has become unmanageable.
*Speaking of not fair, it's really sad that Youkilis didn't make the team. Sure, he'll enjoy the time off--his blog indicates that he's debating between Cape Cod and Vegas for his vacation, and one shudders to imagine what Youk wouldn't get up to in Vegas--but it just feels wrong that he isn't getting the recognition. We're definitely excited for Mikey Lowell, even though he'd probably also prefer to join the crowd at Manny's Annual Tailgate Extravaganza And Slip'N'Slide Baserunning Clinic.
Don't forget to cast your Final Vote for Hideki Okajima.
**Anybody who's willing to do a point-by-point comparison of the 90210 cast to the 2007 Red Sox bullpen, with special attention to the profound Josh Beckett-Shannen Doherty parallels, please let us know so we can submit our marriage proposals to you in a timely fashion.
***Though a big chunk of the blame for Saturday's loss should land on Lugey's head, for taking a charity pinch-run and promptly, inexplicably converting it into an idiotic inning-ending out. It appears to have strained even the spanielesque loyalty of Francona. You know, he's almost inspiring, in a way. Somehow he became a professional baseball player and multimillionaire even though he lacks virtually every skill necessary to play the game, up to and including the common sense God gave a plate of coleslaw. Anything he can do, we can do better. So can our neighbor's cat. So can a shoe.