06 September 2004

BOS 6, TEX 5

WP- Curt Schilling (18-6)
LP- Ryan Drese (11-8)
HR- D Ortiz (35), M Young 2 (17, 18)

This is an efficient, powerful and well constructed team that is hitting on every available cylinder. Pitching, timely hitting, good defense, good baserunning- everything is working. This, in the end, wasn't the prettiest of victories, but it was a victory, and it was one that came with, in hindsight, little doubt. Schilling was dominant though 8 innings- 10K, 0 BB, 4 H, 1 ER on 98 pitches. The Red Sox were winning 6-1, and there was no reason to bring him back out.

Francona did, though, and Schilling allowed 2 more runs to cross on only his second bad pitch of the entire day- the second one Michael Young hit out of the yard. Foulke struggled in closing the game out, but closed it out nonetheless. This is how great teams operate- mistakes, small errs in judgement, things breaking the wrong way- and they still find a way to hold on in the end.

Schilling came out with what looked like no hit stuff- pounding the strike zone, getting ahead of every hitter, missing bats. Most importantly though, his split finger fastball is now what it has not been the entire season- a certified out-pitch, a weapon Schilling can routinely go to for a strikeout when needed. It's staying down, it's breaking late and sharp- hard to lay off of and even harder to hit. Too bad he had to give up that last HR, because if ever there was an 8 IP 1 ER performance, this was it. But we won, so all is forgotten. Nice to see Big go yard too, adding his 41st 2B to the cause as well. It is interesting to note that his follow-through on both of these hits was a little different- rarely do you see Ortiz leave his top hand on the bat with the follow through. Whether this means his shoulder is sore I don't know, but maybe it's moot- he did, after all, hit a 2B and a HR. So it obviously isn't prohibitively sore.

Looks like the shoulder issue that Mientkiewicz ran into on the road in Toronto is still nagging at him. We can't carry his bat as is even considering his defense (though it is an immeasurable comfort having it there), so it is good to have the depth available to help him get right before he gets back in. He's had an awful year offensively, but it being such a drastic abberation from his career norms, there's no reason to believe it isn't injury related. Mientkiewicz is a great OBP 7-hole type hitter when he's right, along with his Gold Glove defense. He's still the best defensive 1B in baseball.

I've decided to only start worrying about Damon if he's out again tomorrow. I'm thinking he'll be OK- he was in the lineup originally but was a late scratch- again, hopefully this isn't serious but is simply a case of Francona falling back on his depth to make sure Damon's right. There is no way we can sacrifice what Damon's meant to us this season- his best so far in Boston and maybe in his career.

On other injury fronts, Scott Williamson will throw live batting practice to Trot Nixon on Tuesday in Oakland to give both players a chance to inch back towards activation. That either may come back strikes me as a small miracle- Williamson tentatively had a Tommy John surgery scheduled, and Nixon's quad was partially torn. Trot seems a bit more likely to take things slow- they actually pulled back his playing time on this latest stint in Pawtucket because of "general body soreness," which is somewhat worrisome. But alas, Monday is his last game in Pawtucket (their season ends soon), and his availability will be evaluated I'm sure constantly thereafter. Williamson, if he comes back to his form of either a) early this season, or b) last year's postseason, we have taken a TREMENDOUS shot in the arm. Let's hope.

Pedro II? Good pickup for a spot start and long relief. His contract was purchased from AAA yesterday.

And now it's on to Oakland and let's win there...

Sonic Youth- "Teenage Riot"
Sonic Youth- "Silver Rocket"
Sonic Youth- "The Sprawl"
Sonic Youth- "'Cross the Breeze"
Sonic Youth- "Eric's Trip"
Sonic Youth- "Total Trash"
Sonic Youth- "Hey Joni"
Sonic Youth- "Providence"
Sonic Youth- "Candle"
Sonic Youth- "Rain King"
Sonic Youth- "Kissability"
Sonic Youth- "Trilogy:
a) The Wonder
b) Hyperstation
c) Eliminator Jr."

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