It\’s time to realize it\’s going to take more than patting guys on the back and hoping marginal talents in the lineup are going to lead the 2004 Sox to a playoff spot.
The Sox \"waited\" for a kevin youkilis walk for the big blow to momentarily sit in a tie game v. detroit. Bottom line, the sox are not that good a hitting team. They have consistently poor clutch hitting, very little team speed, and they have won 7 1-run games after leading the AL in 1-run wins with 26. One-run games might be coincidental and could involve high-scoring chokes, but several times it has as much to do with the offense as it is the defense, pitching.
One can only chuckle derisively at the sox Third Base Coach (Lame Sweum), who has now become the center of attention by sending not only one runner, but two runners to their untimely deaths at home plate in 2 games. Both 1-run losses. And who is the boss of Mr. Sweum? Well, let\’s just say that justifying dave mccarty as a rightfielder, kevin millar as a leftfielder and then saying the team has a better overall defense since the nomar trade, is kind of contradicting.
To McCarty\’s credit and Millar\’s credit, they both have hit somewhat well recently during a streak where damon, manny have been struggling and ortiz, the team\’s best clutch hitter, out on 5-game suspension. However, a manager also needs to recognize that a gabe kapler, who was 3-for-5 the other day, didn\’t necessarily need to sit the next few games just because basic first basemen millar, mccarty are hitting ok. He also needs to recognize that dave roberts wasn\’t acquired to sit, or was he? He started one game in 4 since joining the team, went 0-for-5 in the leadoff spot, and francona already has no confidence in him. This should sound familiar, since tito has done the same thing to terry adams in the bullpen and ramiro mendoza as well. He seems, based on his many comments (tito\’s), to only have confidence in guys he is familiar with.
I won\’t go into the loss of nomar and it\’s effect on the lineup because it\’s moot. They really don\’t have another hitter in their lineup that can complement ortiz, manny in the heart of the 3-4-5 spots. Nomar was that link and he\’s 3-for-4 for the cubbies and playing every day there (ouch, let\’s talk again with the sox training staff). Instead, it\’s obvious that new acquisition cabrera is pressing and tito has as usual put way too much pressure on him to perform by sticking him into crucial 3 spot. Tito isn\’t pressing the right buttons, which i think is one of the themes of the entire season.
Tito repeats relief pitching trends (the overuse of timbree) despite the presence of adams, mendoza. He changes the lineup every game and is grasping for straws at times when he really doesn\’t need to. The consistency of a set lineup, even if it involves platoons, is not there. He randomly inserts guys to get them playing time, which tells me that the mintkiewicz, cabrera, roberts acquisitions with only subtracting nomar has made his clown car picks jimy-like. He has more toys to play with, and then figures out a way to play all the toys.
Last time i checked, the sox are in an important wild card race, only 2 games back now. You can\’t right a ship if the manager is going to constantly switch guys every single game. I still wince when i recall the NY series in which on consecutive days tito switched the ENTIRE SOX 4-MAN INFIELD…new fielders at all 4 positions (one switched from 2nd to 3rd). Tito\’s quotes are also perplexing. He says it isn\’t luck, 1-run losses. He\’s right, it\’s mostly bad managing.
Anyway, that\’s it for now. Hopefully, the sox starting pitching and overall \"defense\" will get the sox the postseason prize.
fred from medford