While working late tonight, I took a break to check my Twitter feed, and I got the news about Youk.
I've been trying a new tack as an optimist this season (I know. It's weird.), but even I have to admit, at that moment the tiny flame of hope I've been keeping alive grew considerably dimmer. As it turns out, the Injury Bug saved its unkindest cut for last. Just a day after the prodigal Jacoby returned, the man who'd been a rock at the heart of the lineup while others fell around him all season had to leave the field for the rest of the year.
He'll remain in the dugout, and you can tell by his prominent presence and obvious order-giving there this week that he is a powerful figure among his teammates. Reports are that he may even make the road trip to New York after his surgery, for "moral support."
At least staying in the dugout means that his fanatical dedication, the thing I enjoy most about him, will still be there to see sometimes. I don't think a guy who practices his swing in nearly every free moment of every game knows any other way to be. If he has to spend the rest of the season in the dugout, he has already demonstrated, he is going to own and command that dugout. He will patrol it mercilessly and rule it with an iron fist. That's just how it seems to be with him.
Adrian Beltre continues to come out of his shell, in all his fierce, weird glory. Josh Tomlin had retired the first ten Sox hitters before Beltre finally stepped to the plate in the fourth with the bases loaded and sent one onto Lansdowne Street.
In contrast to Youk's military precision, Beltre has suddenly emerged this homestand as a single-minded maniac, whaling away with furious abandon on anything resembling a baseball, as well as anything that comes too close to his cranium.
To which I say, you go, Beltre. You go. But I gotta admit, the whole thing with V-Mart and your head is pretty hilarious.
I'm sure most of us would be lying if we said we'd expected boldness and dominance from Daisuke today, but that's exactly what he delivered. Once the tide turned after Beltre's slam, he settled into a nice groove, and left having crafted a shapely line of 8.0 IP, 5H 1 ER, 2 BB(!) and 6 K. It's kind of like finding 20 bucks. It might not solve all your problems, but you'll definitely take it, and it might even make your day.
I'd be emerging from this game much more confident if it hadn't been for the ninth inning, which began with a five run lead and wound up taking two freaking pitchers approximately eleventy dozen pitches and umpteen freaking baserunners to get out of. All so they could salvage a split at home against a weak team. That, combined with the loss of Youk, is not exactly filling me with great bravado looking ahead to a series in the Bronx.
Journey with me for a moment into the land of metaphor: the Red Sox remind me right now of an old jalopy, wobbling and swerving and limping on down the road. It just keeps chugging along somehow, even though by the looks of it a single mud puddle more, just the slightest of bad bounces over a rut in the road, and it'll totally fall apart. That's not in the instances on its zigzagging journey where it seems like it's going to completely crash and burn.
And now there it goes, bobbing and weaving its way to New York, where in all probability its ultimate fate will be decided. I appreciate its freakish level of perseverance, but I won't be holding my breath back here waiting for a miracle.