Thursday, October 18, 2007

Game 5: The Last Red Sox At-Bats for Manny, Lowell, Soggy, Lugo, & Drew?

Let's play the bad analogy game.

Having your team be down 3-1 in a series is a bit like hoping you hit the match on a pinball game so you can get a free credit to keep playing - it's not really likely to happen, but that doesn't mean you don't stand at the machine and wait expectantly for the set of numbers to roll on by. Every once in a while, you get a match and get to keep playing.

Usually, though, you get nothing.

The Sox, unfortunately, have played the last two games like they're waiting around for something to happen for them instead of going out and taking it. They team either looks inept (Lugo, Crisp, Drew), frustrated (Pedroia, Youk, Lowell, Varitek), or just flat-out despondent (Papi). And the pitchers look dazed, helpless. Only Manny, really, seems like his typical self.

And, really, enough with these "Manny doesn't know what's going on" stories. The guy is the second-best right-handed hitter of his generation - he knows perfectly well what's going on. The idea that he's some simple-minded idiot savant is so over-played and insulting. The guy's a bit of a goof but he's not exactly clueless; time and again he gets written and talked about like he's some Baseball Rain Man, up at the plate mumbling "Wapner" and swinging and connecting without realizing he's doing it. Please.

The Sox have to win tonight or the season's over, obviously. Speculation about next season will begin ... well, it's already begun, I suppose. For a team that won 96 games and finished with the best record in baseball, you get the feeling that massive changes are coming.

Or, at least, that everyone would like to see massive changes coming but there's not a whole lot of flexibility - yeah, the Sox have enough money to outspend their problems, but they've been hesitant to pay other teams to take their players. It's possible, even with as bad as the bottom-half of the line-up has been, that the only change we see in the starting 9 (if Lowell is re-signed) is Coco Crisp sent packing. Who the hell is going to be dumb enough to take JD Drew and his 4 years and $60 million remaining? Or Lugo and his 3 years and $27 million?

There will always be trade rumors about Manny, but I think this is the first year in a long time that the team doesn't actively seek to trade him - he's only got 1 guaranteed year left, and unless they somehow acquire another huge bat (by foolishly getting into the A-Rod Auction) there's no reason to move him unless you're going to try and sell the fans on 2008 being a rebuilding year. Which doesn't really seem all that possible, especially with the apparent vulnerability in the Bronx.

Can you tell I really have nothing to say about Game 5? What's there to say? They've got to play better. They've got to get Ellsbury into the line-up. I'm all for loyalty but when Crisp and Drew are giving you nothing ... start the kid. At the very worst he'll inject some life into the line-up.

Here's the Useless Countdown update following Game 4

Red signifies a failure to pass Jeter or Bernie. Blue signifies moving into a tie. Green signifies a pass achieved in this series. Parenthetical indicates the stats accumulated in Game 4.

1st place all-time: Bernie Williams, 31
2nd all-time: Derek Jeter, 25
Kenny Lofton, 24 (1)
Manny Ramirez, 20 (1)

1st place all-time: Bernie Williams, 52
3rd place all-time: Derek Jeter, 44 & Kenny Lofton, 44 (1)
Manny Ramirez, 43 (2)

1st place all-time: Bernie Williams, 89
Manny Ramierez, 77 (5)
Derek Jeter, 68

1st place all-time: Manny Ramirez, 10 (1)
2nd place all-time: Bernie Williams, 9

1st place all-time: Bernie Williams, 33
6th place all-time: Derek Jeter, 20 & Manny, 20 (1)
Lofton, 15 (2)

2nd place all-time: Bernie Williams, 25
Manny Ramirez, 22 (0)
Derek Jeter, 20
Kenny Lofton, 14 (0)

2nd place all-time: Bernie Williams, 33
Kenny Lofton, 33 (1)
Derek Jeter, 31
Manny Ramirez, 29 (1)

1st place all-time: Bernie Williams, 19
3rd place all-time: Manny Ramirez, 14 (1)
Derek Jeter, 13
Kenny Lofton, 11 (1)

1st place all-time: Bernie Williams, 78
Manny Ramirez, 66 (2)
Derek Jeter, 64
Kenny Lofton, 58 (1)

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