NO CURT WE DO NOT BAREHAND THE BALL. But thanks for that coronary, buddy. Sheesh.
Also, I like that so far we're taking it easy on Wily Mo, according to the advice of Theo. No boos for his strikeouts and plenty of congratulations by the fans in the right field corner when he makes a catch. And it seems he's catching on at least part of the time--working the odd walk and holding off on plenty of bad pitches, finally tapping a nifty little double down the first base line in the eighth inning for a hit that defies his scouting report.
Anyway, the more games we string together, the more a picture of this team has emerged that looks different from what we got used to the last few years--gone is the offense that peaked with the "Cowboy Up" lineup of 2003, and in its place is an adequate offense, but not one that can, as we've seen, piece together a huge comeback. Eleven men left stranded on base tonight--enough to break out the "small village" line without hyperbole.
There are holes everywhere in this lineup right now, not the least of which is Manny, who remains 0 for April. I have no idea what's going on with that; right now I'm going on the theory that Mike Lowell stole his powers somehow, but like the Sorcerer's Apprentice he doesn't know how to control it and so he keeps conjuring up double after double after double like those marching brooms. Not that I mind Lowell hitting, but seeing Manny look so lost at the plate is giving me some serious cognitive dissonance. (At the very least, someone should probably give him a mercy haircut at this point.)
The good news is that the majority of our rotation has been putting in solid performances. Wells and Clement were ugly this week, but Schilling looked brilliant tonight. I loved watching his intense stare through the rain as he looked the runner at third back while in the midst of the complex and delicate business of striking out Ichiro. (Oddly enough, Schilling actually spoke to Terry Francona in the dugout tonight; I'd love to know what he found important enough to break his pitching-day grump for.) And my Jonathan--he also struck out Ichiro.
I REPEAT. JONATHAN STRUCK OUT ICHIRO. I'm definitely in love.
Anyway, when our pitching holds up like that, even the totally anemic offense we've seen so far is adequate given the defense that's also been built for this season.
Meanwhile, does anyone really believe Manny's going to stay in this funk all year? And don't forget that two of our hottest bats were removed from the lineup this week in Trot and Coco. I'm just not trying to say, "It's only April", much though it may seem like this is my long-winded way of saying so; there are real reasons for the Sox to have slumped this week, reasons which, in the grand scheme of things, are temporary. Frustrating as it's been, I'm not heading for the Tobin Bridge just yet.
P.S. A note to NESN: that "Red Sox Nation has a whole new team" commercial is god-awful. Even for you. Also, more Eck please. Thanks.