“Oh Honey, Anyone Could Miss Canada. All Tucked Away Down There.” Sox-Jays Gamer XVII

I wasn’t around for last night’s Hurt, but on the plus side…Wakefield doesn’t look to have pitched that badly. Frank Thomas is someone who appears to have struggled to get on base against Wake over the course of their careers–he’s at .250/.321/.667 against him–except for two games: Last night’s, and a night back in 1996 when he actually slugged three homers against the knuckleballer. Yes, of Frank’s 12 hits against Tim, 2 were doubles and six left the yard. Anyway, given how bad Wake’s been lately…I guess this was something of an improvement?

Dustin McGowan’s been one of the league’s best since the break this year. Overall numbers are OK, but since the All-Star Game he sports a nice 3.18 ERA with a .207 BAA and 1.05 WHIP, along with a 76/25 K/BB in 87.2 innings. So there are worse things in the world then being dominated by McGowan on the road; Rotoworld claims him to be a top-10 AL pitcher next season if he can stay healthy. I think that might be a little bit of a stretch, but the kid’s a good pitcher.

That said, this current incarnation of the Boston Red Sox lineup is pretty pathetic, especially for a playoff team. There’s no reason to expect anything resembling production from spots 6-8–well, I suppose Moss  could surprise–while 5 and 9 don’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. It’s incredible how much different everything would look if Manny–even 2007 Manny–were back in the 4-spot, but he’s still taking his time, or something.

Jon Lester takes the hill for Boston. He’s never faced the Blue Jays, but between his continued inability to throw his fastball anywhere near the catcher’s mitt and Toronto’s reputation as a team that hammers left-handers…well, at least Troy Glaus is done for the year.

AJ Burnett, on the other hand, is trying to extend a run of 7 consecutive quality starts since his return from his most recent injury. Since August 12, he’s 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA and 46/18 K/BB in 50.2 innings. He’s faced Boston 3 times in his career, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and predictably dominant peripherals.

Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Mike Lowell, 3B
5. J.D. Drew, RF
6. Eric Hinske, 1B
7. Jason Varitek, C
8. Brandon Moss, LF
9. Julio Lugo, SS

SP – Jon Lester

Blue Jays

1. Vernon Wells, CF
2. Reed Johnson, LF
3. Alex Rios, RF
4. Frank Thomas, DH
5. Aaron Hill, 2B
6. Matt Stairs, 1B
7. Gregg Zaun, C
8. Hector Luna, 3B
9. John McDonald, SS

SP – A.J. Burnett

118 comments… add one
  • It’s impossible to lose a game when a Simpson’s quote is involved.
    America Jr, indeed.

    LocklandSF September 18, 2007, 6:32 pm
  • American Coast Gaurd: Back off Canadians we got them
    Canadian Coast Gaurd: You back off hosers, they are in Canadian waters, eh’
    American Coast Gaurd: Beat it you puck smacking maple suckers!
    Canadian Coast Gaurd: Take a hike you Shatner stealing Mexico touchers!

    LocklandSF September 18, 2007, 6:34 pm
  • The Jays will have an interesting staff next year if people are healthy. And yet they’ll still finish in 3rd!

    Nick-YF September 18, 2007, 6:39 pm
  • Haha nicely done. With this much Simpsons Karma nothing can go wrong!

    Josh SF (D1) September 18, 2007, 6:40 pm
  • For thee record, I could go on all night with Simpsons/Canada references, they are a plenty…
    But I digress.
    The Red Sox scare the crap out of me right now. I have a pre-2004 sense of doom right now that I can’t shake.

    LocklandSF September 18, 2007, 6:42 pm
  • I’m mildly nervous, but not yet scared. Probably one more drop in games ahead, and I’ll start to get scared.
    Meantime, staying away from the game threads doesn’t seem to have helped my nerves or the Red Sox’ ability to win, so hello game threads, I’m here! (at least for the next few minutes)
    Go Sox! Win today!

    Devine September 18, 2007, 6:51 pm
  • Devine: prepare to be scared at about 954pm tonight.

    SF September 18, 2007, 7:05 pm
  • Yes, probably…but you *always* seem to be scared, SF!

    Devine September 18, 2007, 7:07 pm
  • Ellsbury singles to left.

    Devine September 18, 2007, 7:11 pm
  • Pedroia pops to right.

    Devine September 18, 2007, 7:11 pm
  • not scared. Pessimistic.
    Supportive, though! Go Sox!

    SF September 18, 2007, 7:12 pm
  • Ellsbury steals 2nd, takes 3rd on the throw into centerfield.

    Devine September 18, 2007, 7:13 pm
  • Giggle.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 7:14 pm
  • Totally supportive, though abusive when it’s demanded.
    Me, I think I’m manic-depressive in the realm of the Sox. Happy as hell at the start of a game, ready to kill someone by the end.
    Ortiz K’s. Gah.

    Devine September 18, 2007, 7:15 pm
  • Lowell gave it a ride, no go. F*ck, wasteful.

    Devine September 18, 2007, 7:16 pm
  • Another shit-the-bed first inning tonight. Goddamn Rios.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 7:23 pm
  • Time to go write a paper–I dunno if I can deal with another playing-from-behind game again tonight. I might be on later.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 7:26 pm
  • Jon Lester…does not belong in a major league uniform…

    Josh SF (D1) September 18, 2007, 7:27 pm
  • I am not watching but I thought SFs loved Lester. Seriously.

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 7:28 pm
  • “I am not watching but I thought SFs loved Lester. Seriously.”
    Some do. I didn’t like him before he got sick, and I don’t like him now. He’s one of those guys scouts drool over for years who never turns into anything resembling a quality pitcher and is just painful to watch. Has no f*cking idea where the ball is going to end up %75 of the time he throws it.

    Josh SF (D1) September 18, 2007, 7:31 pm
  • There’s the Jon Lester we know, walk the bases loaded, then get out of it with only 1 run. He’s a regular Houdini.

    AndrewYF September 18, 2007, 7:33 pm
  • collapse, viewable in real time. All I can think of right now are those videos of the implosion of the Kingdome.

    SF September 18, 2007, 7:58 pm
  • GO*&^MN Sterling called it GONE and then said, “Oh…no….foul”. So so so so so so so so so sick of his false HR calls. I don’t listen to any other contemporary radio color commentators. Is there ANYONE who makes as many false HR calls as Sterling?????

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 8:16 pm
  • Sorry SFs…wrong thread. Damn Sterling.

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 8:16 pm
  • Oh, Tek in the clutch…

    Tyrel SF September 18, 2007, 8:23 pm
  • What’d he do?

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 8:24 pm
  • Doubled in the tying run, 1-1

    Tyrel SF September 18, 2007, 8:25 pm
  • Must be the “C” :)

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 8:26 pm
  • Ya, too bad he smelled bad doing it…

    Tyrel SF September 18, 2007, 8:30 pm
  • I feel……driven…

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 8:31 pm
  • Papi!!! Knocks in D-Ped, 2-1

    Tyrel SF September 18, 2007, 8:32 pm
  • Might we see another Gag-me blown game today?

    AndrewYF September 18, 2007, 8:47 pm
  • Shit. Gagne walks Thomas and then Hill singles. 2 outs though.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 9:39 pm
  • By the way, Tek must have heard us talking about him earlier… he’s 2 for 3 tonight with an RBI.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 9:41 pm
  • Bases loaded. Hey Gagne–PLEASE don’t fuck us out of this one. New York is up 9-0 right now.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 9:42 pm
  • Why the hell is Paps not in there to get four outs? Wake up Tito

    Pocono SF September 18, 2007, 9:43 pm
  • Walked in the tying run. Jesus.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 9:45 pm
  • wow. ouch. damn.

    z118 September 18, 2007, 9:45 pm
  • So much for Gagne turning a corner, huh.

    AndrewYF September 18, 2007, 9:45 pm
  • fuck you eric gagne, seriousy I hope you blow yoru shoulder, and never pitch in the fucking majors again you are HORRIBLE get the fuck off the mound you born and bred loser….GET THE FUCK OFF THE MOUND!!!!
    tito…why is this loser still pitching…he has ost the sox a handfull of games already, let him walk in the go ahead run?
    fuck….I can’t watch this shit anymore…what the hell is tito thinking.

    TheTree1918 September 18, 2007, 9:47 pm
  • Pin another loss on Tito having his bald head up his ass concerning the bullpen. Looks like a first round three and out this year boys.

    Pocono SF September 18, 2007, 9:49 pm
  • That…was fucking pathetic. By pitcher and manager.

    Anonymous September 18, 2007, 9:50 pm
  • me

    Devine September 18, 2007, 9:50 pm
  • The yankees will win the division, I can’t take this anymore

    Bob September 18, 2007, 9:50 pm
  • that’s the division…

    Ed September 18, 2007, 9:50 pm
  • Sigh.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 9:51 pm
  • I MEAN COME ON!!!!

    Ed September 18, 2007, 9:51 pm
  • Theo needs to consider a new manager in the offseason. Tito’s handling of the pen tonight was beyond awful. Again. Not having Paps warming with Gagne imploding? MDC for ONE out? Incompetent. In the last week he’s singlehandedly created a pennant race.

    SF September 18, 2007, 9:51 pm
  • There is no pennant race, it’s the yankees to win now, this is the worst feeling ever

    Bob September 18, 2007, 9:53 pm
  • Dear Manny,
    Stop being Manny.
    Love,
    -Red Sox Nation

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 9:55 pm
  • Why do they do this to us?

    Ed September 18, 2007, 9:55 pm
  • “fuck you eric gagne, seriousy I hope you blow yoru shoulder, and never pitch in the fucking majors again you are HORRIBLE get the fuck off the mound you born and bred loser….GET THE FUCK OFF THE MOUND!!!!”
    Yep, that pretty much sums it! LOL

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 9:56 pm
  • There’s showing confidence in your pitchers, which I respect Tito for, and then there’s not realizing when they have lost control of the strike zone. Gagne started overthrowing and badly missing, but with his recent history of poor performances Tito should have warmed up Paps in the middle of the inning.

    Andrew F (Sox Fan) September 18, 2007, 9:56 pm
  • HOLY CRAP Lugo homers. Come on Ellsbury!

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 9:56 pm
  • This is exactly why you can’t say Gagne turned a corner.
    But all you killing Tito, doesn’t he need to see if Gagne is worth anything for the post-season? The Sox are making the playoffs (see Tigers) and while the division would be nice, it means more to figure out what he has. If Gagne got out of that mess that he created (after two quick outs) we’d be worried about him, but that would be that. And folks were killing him for bringing in Paps early the on Friday.
    Look, the Sox bullpen is a mess. Oki is spent and may not recover. Gagne is probably hurt and may not recover. So it’s Paps and who? Who’s the seventh inning guy in Game 2? Or the 8th inning guy in Game 4? Who?
    Wow, and Lugo!

    Pete September 18, 2007, 9:57 pm
  • No excuse to keep Gagne in after he walked in the TYING RUN… In all honesty, I don’t think Francona deserves an extension, there’s a lot of better managers out there, and I think the Sox know it

    Ed September 18, 2007, 9:57 pm
  • I’ve been defending Tito to my friends for a while, but fuck it, this was terrible, the second Gagne walked Thomas he should have been out of there, this is really just indefensible, and to think I was on my way to feeling good for a change

    Bob September 18, 2007, 9:58 pm
  • Tito is a loyal fucktard. I no longer want a fucktard in control of our pitching staff.

    SF September 18, 2007, 9:59 pm
  • Sox losing the decision = disgrace = no confidence going into post season
    That’s the bottom line

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:00 pm
  • BTW, not only do those comments sum up Gagne’s performances but they also may become truth, or at least the never pitch in the majors again part.
    Hard to believe any man can carry on with such mental baggage. He won’t forget this season, and Tito will not give him another chance to correct it.

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:00 pm
  • Pete:
    Delcarmen was rested and pitched 1/3 of an inning.

    SF September 18, 2007, 10:00 pm
  • sorry Pete

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:01 pm
  • I didn’t even put on my Rally Cap, even after Lugo homered. That’s how disgusted I am.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 10:01 pm
  • Objects in your rearview mirror…..
    On the other hand, who wants to face LAA? You can keep your prize?

    YF September 18, 2007, 10:02 pm
  • I can;t believe that this team is going to blow the Division in the final week of the season, I’ve been a fan for a while, since the Mo Vaughn days, but this could be the most heart breaking season ever, I’d feel worse getting into the playoffs with the WC than I would if they were never in the race to begin with

    Bob September 18, 2007, 10:02 pm
  • “But all you killing Tito, doesn’t he need to see if Gagne is worth anything for the post-season?”
    Yes, he did, Pete. Gagne had a few non-pressure calls, and succeeded well enough, but it’s become apparent he cannot be trusted in tight situations. I don’t fault Tito because he had to find out, although he should have had another at the ready.

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:03 pm
  • I’ve posted this before but I think it warrants a reminder here:
    Teams that slump at the end of the regular season always do best in the playoffs.
    2006 St. Louis Cardinals: lost 13 of their last 18 games to end the season. Won the world series.
    2006 Detroit Tigers: collapsed at the end of the season and took the wildcard (after being swept by the Royals). Went to the World Series.
    2006-2007 Florida Gators (basketball): Lost 3 of their last 4 regular season games. Won the SEC tournament and NCAA tournament.
    2006-2007 Indianapolis Colts: lost 4 of their last 5 regular season games. Won the Superbowl.
    2005 Chicago White Sox: had a huge lead over the Indians going into September, and were almost caught by them, barely winning the division. Won the World Series.
    2005-2006 Pittsburgh Steelers: Barely made the playoffs, won the Superbowl.
    The list goes on and on. Just sayin’.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 10:03 pm
  • My condolences on tonight SFs. Then again, we still have to face Burnett again this year and he is killing everyone right now.
    I know Gagne and Francona will get all the ire – deservedly – but Manny’s absence looms huge it seems. The Sox line-up is more than a couple of orders of magnitude weaker from the absence of that one guy.

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 10:05 pm
  • I cannot even watch this team right now. I came in late to see the Gagne meltdown. Yanks now 2 1/2 back and blowing two games to them over the weekend is probably going to haunt us.

    Rob September 18, 2007, 10:06 pm
  • You only have the past two years for proof? I wouldn’t hold my breath, Atheose.

    AndrewYF September 18, 2007, 10:06 pm
  • I know i’m being hard on Francona, but he deserves it, he’s the manager, he’s accountable and he doesn’t deserve to lead this franchise past his current contract… nice guy
    p.s. Hey Manny, go fuck yourself, can we trade this fucking clown finally?

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:07 pm
  • I don’t look at streaks, Atheose, I look at talent. So unless Oki can come in at some point and prove it’s just a Yankee thing the SOX have a serious relief problem right now. Almost as bad as the Yanks had at the beginning of the year.

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:08 pm
  • What really kills me on the inside is that if this team can’t win a division with the kind of lead they had, then when will they ever, I know the East isn’t everything, but it is something and wouldn’t it be nice for once to have that honor, it’s been 12 years. This team needs to win tomorrow desperately and also pray that the yankees lose a couple of games before this season is over because otherwise I’m starting to wonder if another team will ever take the division from New York

    Bob September 18, 2007, 10:08 pm
  • The offense can’t score….The pen is on fumes. I wouldn’t be a sox fan without thinking this way, but the ship is sinking…

    Pocono SF September 18, 2007, 10:09 pm
  • Those are just the more memorable recent examples. I know I’m doing a poor job of convincing anyone (I’m doing a poor job of convincing myself, too) but you can always hope, right? ;-)
    But seriously, if you look deeper I’m sure you can find plenty of other examples. My memory, however, is not so strong right now.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 10:09 pm
  • SF –
    You really want Delcarmen pitching in the 7th inning of a Game 2? What about the 8th inning of a Game 4?
    Look, everyone went crazy happy when they got Gagne and I wasn’t a fan of the deal. Now I’m the voice of reason?
    Gagne is the only other arm in the pen that *should* be spectacular besides Paps. They need to figure out over the next two weeks whether he will be or whether that trade was a complete waste. The division means little – except to us.

    Pete September 18, 2007, 10:11 pm
  • As far as all you doubters:
    As far as I am concerned this shit is exactly what the team needs. All year, or at least since June, this team has been coasting the remains of a 15 game lead. They need to buckle up and get moving, and there is nothing better to do that than a little fear to get their minds right.
    SOX win the division. I don’t even care if the Yanks grab the lead for a day. There is too much heart in the team for them to concede. They will win the division.

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:14 pm
  • This game (series) was over before it even started. SOX sweep.
    ..yawn..
    better things to do than to watch this masacre.
    Posted by: BostonRAW | Friday, September 14, 2007 at 09:29 PM

    Anonymous September 18, 2007, 10:14 pm
  • I honestly think the division means everything… do you really think losing the division won’t have an effect on the mentality of the red sox going into the playoffs? I suppose the indignancy of it all could be a powerful motivator… i’m just really at a loss right now guys

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:16 pm
  • LMAO, whoever posted that–good job

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 10:16 pm
  • BostonRAW: how’s it like to live in perfect ignorance?

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:18 pm
  • The division means a hell of a lot, do you think that this team can beat the Angels on the road, not even with Ramirez and a working pen. Right now they probably couldn’t beat Tampa Bay in a 5 game series.
    I liked the Gagne trade at the outset, now I’m going to man up and say I was wrong, he has been nothing but a spectacular failure and while I’ve defended Theo and Terry in the past fuck them, this team has no art to it and no guts and that reflects on the GM and the Manager, I’m looking forward to another heartbreaking decade of second place finishes

    Bob September 18, 2007, 10:19 pm
  • Gagne has been so bad, after being so damned good, it alomst smells like he is being paid to suck.
    Anyone see George lately?
    lol

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:24 pm
  • SFs: You can be grateful for one thing: You are not Mets fans right now. Now that’s a team on the verge of collectively leaping off a cliff after tonight.

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 10:26 pm
  • Nah, these are professionals. And getting Manny and Youk back healthy turns these one run losses into one run (or more) wins. People will be all over this team if they lose the division, but I honestly don’t think it matters.
    That said the playoff are always a crapshoot. But of all teams in the post-season, the Sox have a better chance than most – best starting pitching and second best offense.

    Pete September 18, 2007, 10:27 pm
  • Don’t let it break your heart Bob… I must say though, T.C. is really annoying me with his implicit concession of the sox losing the division.

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:27 pm
  • Ignorance? Do you even read what you write?
    Another stellar performance by a starter tonight, and a learned lesson that Gagne absolutely cannot be trusted. I don’t expect much from an offense minus Manny and youk, so there it is. Pitching is great but those two are needed back.
    It sucked but it was not the end-all. The SOX are still 2 1/2 games up with 12 to go, in case you need reminding.

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:28 pm
  • Not a Mets fan… YET… lol

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:29 pm
  • BostonRAW I didn’t mean to offend you and your optimism is inspiring… i’m just really bitter with this loss, so much goes wrong in my life that I can fix, but alas, I can’t fix this, only root for this team and hope they can put it together
    Francona looks horrible, I sympathize for him and he’s right, we need Gagne, but no excuse not to have someone warming up behind him in case he falters…

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:35 pm
  • Hahaha, the Red Sox suck.

    Jordan Meisner September 18, 2007, 10:35 pm
  • At least we can root for the Cubs. Maybe.

    Atheose September 18, 2007, 10:37 pm
  • Dude, I’m bitter too. But I’m not about to post how terrible the team is after a year of accomplishments. After all, this could be the best team the SOX assembled since I started paying attention.
    The shit tonight is 100% on Gagne’s head. Since we won’t see him again I say let it rest. Manni is now the first rightie off the bench and I’m glad that decision was finally made.
    Gagne = rest in peace

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:41 pm
  • The scary thing is Francona just sounded like it was a necessity that Gagne regain form… at what cost Terry?????

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:43 pm
  • Warning to Ed: Don’t take your fan advice from BRAW. He is a master at making comments and pronouncements that promise to bite him directly in the butt.

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 10:44 pm
  • Varitek: “We need him.” Oh my God… Gagne…

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:46 pm
  • Let me guess. You are now thinking of ways to qualify Mussina for the HOF
    lol

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:46 pm
  • Better said: we needed him but obviously do not anymore
    lol

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:48 pm
  • IronHorse, though RAW is quite optimistic, I think it’s his right as a fan and that it’s a nice relief with all the cynicism surrounding the sox fanbase… worry about your own team bud, they haven’t won anything yet

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:49 pm
  • Actually clownboy, I was considering a piece on Gagne for MVP. Want to co-author? I’ll do the writing, you can do the visuals – stick figures and fingerpaints should be about your speed.
    Oh and clownboy, Don’t forget to take the cork off you fork tonight.
    Good night.

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 10:49 pm
  • Imagine this:
    You are Gagne and you wish to get to your car. It is, of course, 4 hours since the game ended but still…

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:50 pm
  • “Don’t forget to take the cork off you fork tonight”
    Sorry, but I do not read retard. Could you decipher that for me?
    TIA

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:51 pm
  • MVP for the yankees perhaps… IronHorse is pretty touchy considering the yankees have “clinched” the division

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:52 pm
  • damn.
    did not expect this tailspin.
    hurts.

    no sleep til brooklyn SF September 18, 2007, 10:54 pm
  • Touchy indeed. Makes one wonder what he is all worried about.
    :)

    BostonRAW September 18, 2007, 10:55 pm
  • Why did we let J.C. Romero go again?

    Ed September 18, 2007, 10:56 pm
  • “Sorry, but I do not read retard”
    No, but you do respond to the name “clownboy” now don’t you. Now that’s funny.
    And Ed, no, I don’t think we have the Division. 2 games is a lot this late and Boston deserves it as long as they maintain the best record. But I like the way my team is playing.
    OK, really, gotta get out of the office now. Good night.

    IronHorse (yf) September 18, 2007, 10:56 pm
  • You’re great entertainment BRAW. Keep it up as you watch you’re team go down.
    It’s starting a lot to look like September,,,,,,,,,,,

    Marc YF September 18, 2007, 11:02 pm
  • Pete-
    Your comments are similar to the ones which ran through my head as this slow-motion car wreck unfolded. It doesn’t make sense any other way. Obviously Tito knows that the team is going to make the post-season so he is experimenting a bit. We have all of the emotional baggage tied up with the division but the guys in the dugout could care less: they are focused upon winning in October. So, a loss tonight isn’t such a big deal to them. Any other interpretation would require some type of conspiracy theory or to accuse Tito of brain damage.

    DW-sf September 18, 2007, 11:25 pm
  • But the Sox are a better team at home than on the road. With the best record in the league they’d have an option as to choosing the schedule of the ALDS. So the division isn’t without consequence for this team, at least this year. The division ISN’T as important, that’s true – I have long preached about “just making the playoffs”. But the Sox are in a position to win the division, and the division, at least in the context of the new rules that MLB has initiated and with the hindsight that shows the Sox to be better in Fenway, can’t be ignored like Tito seems to be ignoring it.
    There are a lot of fans who care way too much about the division (I am not one of them, as I have said in the past, though I do see the impact it might have and would surely prefer it), and Terry is doing some damage here: if there’s a quick exit from the playoffs there are going to be major calls for Tito’s head, particularly if the exit is due to having to take a long road trip to start the ALDS. Those calls may be rash in the minds of some (probably a bunch of YFs, truthfully), but they will have some justification and quite an easy explanation for their position. Tito, by his own admission, is managing for the playoffs in zero-sum fashion. He is positioning the team to be ready for the post-season with what seems like little regard for the psychology of a team that is skidding into a wild card spot. Does this not affect the players? How can it not? Faced with the choice of starting at home, in Fenway, with the schedule of one’s choice, versus taking a plane ride cross-country, which player on the Sox would currently choose the latter? Terry is saying, in effect, that they shouldn’t care: we’ll get to those games, wherever they are, and at that point it doesn’t matter. I am not sure that’s a great message to send to the players. I am not yet convinced he’s destined to be wrong, either, such is the whimsical nature of the playoffs (though I don’t think it’s a manager’s job to use the whimsical nature of the playoffs as his strategic crutch).
    But the point is that if it doesn’t work out, then Tito will have made it really easy for plenty of people to ask for his removal. I wouldn’t want to be Tito’s eardrums if the Sox make a quick exit from the playoffs via the Wild Card.

    SF September 18, 2007, 11:45 pm
  • SF: Every team still in reasonable contention in the AL is significantly better at home than on the road (especially the Angels, and except for Detroit who basically have split), which makes your already valid point not just more cogent: it brings it into glaring relief.

    attackgerbil September 19, 2007, 12:11 am
  • Building on SF’s point about people calling for Tito’s head, if they lose the division and lose in the first round of the playoffs, that’s going to look an awful lot like 1978. How’d that work out for the manager? It would be the biggest sh*tstorm since the Gradyboner. It would be interesting, in an extremely morbid sense, to see how the resolve of the higher-ups holds up against the rage of the media and much of the fanbase.

    froggywomp September 19, 2007, 1:19 am
  • SF, yes I hear you. I’m groping for a plausible explanation to tonight’s debacle and that’s the only one which comes to mind. This really was a slow-motion car crash. Tito isn’t stupid so there must be something else going on. Why leave Gagne in so long when he obviously was imploding? We all saw it and there’s no way that Tito didn’t see it. There has to be a logical explanation for letting him dangle and not going to Paps. My assumption is that all of the things we concentrate upon (e.g. “momentum”, psychology, history) is bullsh*t to the guys in the dugout. This is part of their “stress testing” of bullpen arms…or, maybe, I’m full of crap and Tito has suddenly become as dumb as a baked potato.

    DW-sf September 19, 2007, 1:33 am
  • But folks are forgetting that if they don’t have reliable 7th and/or 8th inning guys, it doesn’t matter where they play. Witness this past weekend and two games lost at home after the 7th inning.
    Tito is trying to figure out if Gagne is worth anything. They’ll come back to Oki (after this brief rest) this weekend to do the same with him. If neither work, we’re looking at the guys out of the bullpen as: Lopez, Delcarmen, and Paps with maybe Timlin thrown in. If the Sox fail this year, I’m looking right at the bullpen as the cause.
    P.s. SF, can you guys just ban RAW already? You have to have some way to do it, no? He adds nothing to the conversation and causes a flame war in every thread. It’s just glaring and stupid at this point IMHO.

    Pete September 19, 2007, 7:01 am
  • sf, you make some great points…
    while i was somewhat puzzled [but pleased] that tito left gagne in rather than go to paplebon, i also understood what he may have been thinking at the same time…i think it was trying to determine if gagne could be counted on as a reliable setup man…kind of like torre continuing to go to our disaster: farns-unworthy…
    like i said months ago, the yanks should focus on the wild card, which they seem to be doing, yet if the division falls into their laps, so be it…the division seemed like an insurmountable goal at the time, and frankly still does…with roughly 10 games left, all the sox have to do is play 500 forcing the yanks to win 8 of 10…the season is full of mini-streaks…the yanks warmed up again while the sox have cooled a bit…that’s made this past week or 2 more dramatic, nothing more…the playoffs are a whole new deal, and it’s about lining up the pitching matchups, knowing which relief pitchers you can count on, and hoping a few hitters get hot…home field helps, probably more than i realized…

    dc September 19, 2007, 7:17 am
  • Dead on, DC. Dead on. The SOX still control their destiny.
    As far as Tito being held accountable for Gagne, Manny, JD, and maybe even Lugo, I would not hold your breath waiting for that to happen. Tito shows excellent skills in game management and all the players apparently respect him. He’s not going anywhere, nor would I want him to.

    BostonRAW September 19, 2007, 8:14 am
  • “Sorry, but I do not read retard”
    No, but you do respond to the name “clownboy” now don’t you. Now that’s funny.”
    IH for MVP!!!!!
    -andrews

    Anonymous September 19, 2007, 8:27 am
  • The implication from Tito is that they are trying to find the guy for the eighth inning, Gagne is that guy, and they need him. But why isn’t Delcarmen an option? Why not Buchholz? Why not give Manny or Clay a shot at that role, like the Yanks have given Joba? Delcarmen has been superb this year, and if Buchholz is on a limitation then why not use him in one-inning spurts for more appearances? That’s how Papelbon was brought in to the fold in ’05.
    I understand the need to test Gagne, but last night wasn’t his first appearance for the Sox, he was given a lot of rope (walking the bases loaded seems like a lot of rope to me, at least), and Tito didn’t need to give him another two batters to hang himself. Tito’s in-game management last night was indefensible, on a lot of levels. He had already accomplished what he wanted (seeing how Gagne reacted to adversity) by the time the game was tied. Had he not seen enough at that point to make a judgment? If, in fact, he still hadn’t seen enough by that time, I question just what the f*ck he was looking at.

    SF September 19, 2007, 9:19 am
  • I have no doubt that Delcarmen is the next option. They already know what they have there. But he’s just one guy. They need another at this point.
    Buchholz, I have no idea. If they’re allowing him to go 6 or 7 innings today, that to me is like 6 or 7 relief appearances. My guess is that they’re very afraid they’ll mess with his arm by throwing him into a set-up role. The Yankees at least slowly worked Joba into that role, starting at AAA. The other explanation is that they’re worried about one of their starters getting (or already being) hurt. And Buchholz would step in for a Game 4. The real problem is that Buck is already at his innings limit (20% increase over last year). With each extra inning he throws they increase the risk of injury next year.
    As for Gagne, they’ve been slowly working him back into the fold. That’s why some around here thought they were set. His recent non-pressure situations were solid. And with a quick two outs last night, I think Gagne was getting the long leash. Had he put all those runners on with no outs, there’s no doubt they would have pulled him. But they’re trying to build his confidence. Even with the bases loaded, if he had managed to get out of it, most everyone would think he was still working his way back. Instead, we are where we are.
    My guess is they’re going to keep going back to Gagne because they really have no other choice and they’re already in the playoffs. And once there, they still need Gagne. But I bet Delcarmen will start getting 8th inning slots, probably as soon as tonight. And we can only hope that Oki returns to form this weekend. It’s crazy that Gagne really is the Sox version of Farnsworth and with ten games to figure it out.

    Pete September 19, 2007, 9:42 am

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