The first injustice brought Trot Nixon barrelling out of the clubhouse, eyebrows furrowed to a perilous extent, panting and tightjawed, ready to give the first available target an almighty stomping. He finally resorted to a truly pathetic round of applause and holler of "Good job, Gabe!" from the dugout before someone finally gave him the bum's rush back down the steps.
Gabe, as far as I can tell, did nothing. Maybe he chewed his gum a little harder.
After the second injustice, Gabe took in a deep breath and set his jaw. He looked at his bat as if he wanted to strangle it. He backed out of the box for a second and stepped back in. This was his only indication of frustration the entire night.
After Manny's moon shot over everything onto Lansdowne Street, The Dreadlocked One stood at the top of the dugout steps and waved his right index finger around in the sign for "home run," sarcastically asking the umps if it counted.
Even the guys who normally have their shit either together or too loosely organized for rage, respectively, completely lost it over what happened to Gabe. Gabe, meanwhile, had the inner peace of the Dalai Lama. Anyone on roids would have been punching blindly at anything that moved. I think it's safe to assume Gabe Kapler is naturally Hammerific.
In other news, Kevin Millar...what a butthead. Really, I've had it with his sorry ass. He seemed to spend most of his time on the basepaths tonight slithering along on his belly, whether in a far too melodramatic diving play at first, his cockamamie slide into the same base a short time later, or a truly pitiable flailing in the vicinity of second base when Soriano booted the ball a few innings after that. At the plate, he continued to be the Master of the Foul Home Run. I'm sick of it. I've had it. Kevin Millar is fast becoming my official Whipping Boy.
But the suckiness of the umpiring and Kevin Millar pale in comparison to the utter, unforgivable suckitude of the smoking train wreck that constitutes the Red Sox bullpen. After Bronson Arroyo pitched a seven-inning gem, for the second night in a row, they chewed through a six-run lead with the greatest of ease. Mike Timlin was then brought out with an inherited runner and a two-run lead, and the Official Red Sox Tub O' Tums was broken out in my general area about the same time.
Chad Bradford doesn't know his ass from his elbow. We're wearing Timlin and Schilling down to a nub. Were it not for the craptastic nature of the Texas Rangers in general, we'd have lost this series already. Were it not for Manny's sudden and improbable decision to abandon the Barcalounger in left for Mike Timlin in the eighth, we might have fully squandered a six-run lead for the second consecutive night.
Yes, they're winning. Yes, they're comfortably in first place. But somehow, with apologies to Neil Diamond, good times never seemed so bad. Watching the Sox bullpen stumble through the late going, squandering leads like it's their job...it's like being pecked to death by a duck. At a certain point, you start to perversely hope they'll just get it over with. And it's the answer to why Sox fans are still experiencing fear and loathing even given the Sox' place in the standings. Because we know what brought us to the Promised Land last year - pitching. And we know acutely that it's missing this year; we're past clinging to phantom hope, past running to kick the football. We know that things can't continue this way if we expect to even get a whiff of mid-October this year.
In a way, we're more in touch with reality. And reality often sucks.
This is what has to happen: Foulke needs to come back, guns blazing. Schilling needs to get back in the starting rotation and wobble not even an iota. Bronson needs to stop with the implosions every other start. Matt Clement needs to hold the line. David Wells could stand to turn things up a notch. Tim Wakefield can remain as he is, although fewer gopher balls would always help his cause. With Foulke back, Timlin can go back to the eighth inning where he belongs. If all that happens, we'll still probably find ourselves hyperventilating and chugging the Maalox in the sixth and seventh innings about three times a week. And at least half of those times, with good reason.