NINE TO GO!
The homestretch is here. 9 games in 10 days to wrap up this up and down and WAY down 2007 season. We're still in first place, we have a virtual lock on at least a wild card slot, and the Yankees are just a scant game behind us in the loss column. Manny's return is still somewhere on the horizon, Coco is hurting with back pain and Kevin Youkilis remains days to day after being hit by a Yankee pitch on the wrist. And that's without even mentioning the pitchers and THEIR problems. Hideki Okajima remains in a holding pattern so that he can rest, Gagne, who I wish had gone to the Yankees, has been stinking up the place royally, Wakefield has not won since his unbelievable August scoreless streak and Daisuke Matsuzaka must be continuously reminded NOT to rely on his fastball exclusively. Other than those "hiccups." as Tito Francona likes to say, this is a first place club headed for the playoffs. But it ain't so easy. Nothing is for the Boston Red Sox. Ever. Except for the 2004 World Series romp over that club from St. Louis. But such is life as a member of Red Sox Nation. We revel in the pain and uncertainty while at the same time hope blossoms and grows in our hearts. Month after month, year after year. And that's just fine with me.
If you have time, the sports columnist supreme from the Hartford Courant wrote a great piece today entitled "Red Sox in playoffs, but for how long?" It is riveting reading, although you may flinch a couple of times while savoring it. Just click on the title of this very post. Required reading for ANY Red Sox fan. And here are the pitching matchups for the three game set in Tampa Bay. A key pairing is the first one...Beckett versus Kazmir.
Josh Beckett (19-6, 3.20 ERA) vs. Kazmir (13-8, 3.54) tonight
Matsuzaka (14-12, 4.41) vs. Andy Sonnanstine (6-9, 5.68) Saturday
Tim Wakefield (16-11, 4.73) vs. Edwin Jackson (4-15, 5.99) Sunday.
We need three to officially make the playoffs......how 'bout nine straight? Enjoy your weekend, and be well.