Peter here on a warm Thursday early morn, the morning AFTER a Red Sox loss. THAT hasn't happened in a while, but the World Champions have been crippled by a fast acting flu-like bug. It was amazing that they were able to put together a six game winning streak while in the midst of the viral murk. But yesterday, the crisis worsened. Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka arrived at the clubhouse around 2:30pm EDT, already achy, which has been the first symptom of this microscopic and crippling malady. In minutes, it became clear to Terry "Tito" Francona that he would not be able to pitch. Jon Lester courageously volunteered his services with only three days of rest under his belt, and the skipper, after thinking about it for 15 minutes, decided to take him up on his offer, WITH a pitch count of appoximately 80. Good for you, Jon. The California/LA Angels defeated the Sox by a score of 6-4. Youk was out with a bad back (day to day), Varitek is still miserably sick and Mikey lowell will play three games in Pawtucket this weekend before returning on Tuesday. Today is a day game at Fenway and then the team (GULP!) will board a plane for the three hour flight to Tampa Bay. I said gulp because there is no better place than a narrow jet airline cabin to spread the microscopic entities to every person on board. This might spell REAL trouble. I hope not. Terry Francona said this...
"We're going to have to weather this," manager Terry Francona said. "We have some issues the next few days for sure. We're just trying to get hold of this. Getting on a plane today to Tampa is not going to be the best thing for our team. They're not going to let us NOT do that. We'll just continue to do the best we can.
Amen, Terry. Yesterday, Craig Hansen made his 2008 big league debut and lost the game because he gave up a sixth inning tie-breaking home run to Kotchman, but his manager and his pitching coach said that they saw encouraging signs in his 1 2/3 innings of work. And that's good, because ANY help for the Boston bullpen is and will be help needed. NOW!
It's day baseball at the FENS today, with a 1:35pm EDT first pitch time. The game will be covered on television and radio by the "usual suspects." And for more on last night's defeat, just click on the title of this post. I'm not sure what will happen when you do, yet, but I'm sure it will be something Soxy. You know me! Hey, have a wonderful Thursday. I hope the weather wherever you are is as nice as it is here. Gametime temperatures in the "Hub of the Universe" will be in the 60s, with brilliant sunshine abounding. And then it's Tampa Bay time...but first things first. Justin Masterson makes his big league debut against the Angels in the series finale, and everyone is excited to see what he can do. Paps, Okie and most of the bullpen are still relatively rested too, but we'll have to wait until gametime to see who will be in and who will be out of the lineup. It's SUCH a great thing that the Sox have been winning while in the clutches of this terrible bug. Keep your fingers crossed and hope that the enclosed plane cabin and its recirculated air system will not make matters worse. And as always, BE WELL. That goes for you AND our team. GO SOX!