Morning. Red from Surviving Grady here. Clearly indicating some sort of chemical imbalance, Beth has asked me to help fill in during her vacation (or, as the Hollywood types refer to it, "rehab stint"). My job, as explained to me, was to show up Thursday morning and discuss Wednesday's game. So here I am.
But, seriously. Does anyone want to talk about yesterday's game? I mean, that was one of those dead-ass, let's-get-this-thing-over-with-so-we-can-get-back-to-our-own-timezone kinda games. The Sox looked lifeless, sunburnt and hungover. Like they'd rather be buried neck-deep in cheese fries and Hooters waitresses than have anything to do with the Oakland A's (and, in their defense, who wouldn't?). And as the guy who was forced to sit and take in this miserable three-hour performance, I'm left with a couple of questions:
1) Where did the offense go? After scoring 20 runs over the first two games, the Sox hitters were shut down by... Dan Haren? Dan "I haven't won a game in six weeks and even my mother's stopped returning my calls" Haren? Come on, guys, this was supposed to be the slam-dunk. The exclamation point on the west coast trip. Mr. Haren's supposed to make you all look like Reggie Jackson, not a pack of dolts trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. Four hits across nine innings ain't gonna cut it. Hell, with Manny and Ortiz in the line-up, we should be automatically assigned four hits before a pitch is even thrown, that's how sure we should be that these guys are gonna tear up any pitcher that dares get in their way. Instead, I sat and watched Haren set them down, one after another, like carefully placed dominoes. And all I could do was scratch my head.
2) Is Tito on peyote? Understand: I loves me some Tito. But occasionally he makes a move that has me wondering if he's hitting the pipe between innings. In the seventh, it looked as if we might finally break through: A Manny double, a Nixon walk, a Coco single. Then Doug Mirabelli steps to the plate with two men on and two out. And that, right there, is the problem: Mirabelli stepping to the plate. Why was this allowed to happen? There might have been mention of a reason that I just happened to miss; Varitek off fighting crime on the moon, for instance. But the thing is that unless the only other option was Johnny Pesky slapping on the catcher's gear, you don't give Dougie the chance to swing the bat. Because you know what's going to happen. And it did. And any thoughts of a comeback were quickly snuffed.
3) Is it just me, or does the entire Oakland team look like an oversized alt rock band? I could totally buy the starting line-up as a side-stage act at Lollapalooza. Even Ken Macha as the obligatory "aging hipster on keyboards/harpsichord."
4) Is there a bigger tool in the known universe than Jason Giambi? Okay, completely different game, but as I watched JG round the bases last night after belting his game winning home run, I immediately prayed that the ground beneath his feet would suddenly tear open and swallow him up. Or that a couple drunken stadium janitors transporting barrels of toxic waste would "accidentally" run him over. Or that Rodan would pick that precise moment to attack Ameriquest Field.
Ah, well. At least we've got this weekend's "Clemens returns to Boston" announcement to look forward to.