While single losses aren't bugging me quite as much as they used to, injuries to key players definitely do. All I could feel, watching Mike Lowell limping around at the Trop and seeing Wake be shelled the other night, was dismay. That was a tougher loss to take than even Tuesday's, because it raised longer-term questions about those players, especially Wake.
Is Wake on his last legs? It's a question begged by his injury during last year's World Series, his DL trip this year, and this uncharacteristic loss at a park and against a team where he's consistently been dominant. Being a knuckleballer, the assumption has been that he can pitch into his 50's, but things have been tough for him over the last year, and that's looking less and less certain.
I was overjoyed when Mike Lowell finally returned to the lineup earlier this month - seeing that hip injury flare up again does not bode well, at least for the rest of this season. He says he'll play anyway, but we need our World Series MVP at 100% if this team's going anywhere.
Will the Sox make the postseason? Probably. But there are questions emerging for the remainder of the year and the next about some of the personnel decisions that have been made this season, like signing aging players like Schilling and Timlin, who have since either broken down completely or partially. A lot of focus has been on the youth movement, justifiably so, but we have players, also including Tek and Wake, who currently look like shadows of their former selves.
Part of the newfound Zen I wrote about earlier this week might be because when I look at this team, I really don't necessarily see World Series material. Papi is also still not right. Even Papelbon hasn't looked like himself this season. Especially with the super-hot Rays and Angels to contend with (not to mention the pain-in-the-ass Jays to play this weekend), this is looking more like a transition than a championship year.
I can be dissuaded, of course. Thoughts?