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Home  >  Red Sox Diary  >  2002  >  August

Friday, August 2, 2002

Recap of Active Week

It looked like the Red Sox would fold up the tent after splitting 4 games with the awful
Devil Rays and losing the first to the not as awful Orioles. Then Burkett pitches a
beautiful game to get the shutout in the Saturday game, and Lowe pitches well in a brawl
filled blowout for the Sox in the Sunday game.

The Sox lose a nasty one run game in the first game against the Angels, their chief
wildcard rival. Then they come back to take the next two with more great pitching.

Meanwhile, the front office is busy at the trade deadline. Cliff Floyd, the prized
player in the trade market, is reigned into Boston for Sun Woo Kim and Seung Song. Then
right at the deadline, they get relief pitcher Bob Howry to try to solidify their
recently shaky bullpen. Steinbrenner, get this, complains that the Expos and MLB somehow
rigged the trade for Floyd, depriving George of getting Floyd. What would they do with
Floyd? Were the Yankees just trying to get Floyd to prevent the Sox from getting him?
Or just to be annoying? All the more reason to fix this mess. The Yankees, with 30M
more salary than anyone else, should have no chance of getting Floyd. But we digress.

To make room for Floyd, the Sox make the move too long in coming. They release
Offerman. When Jose gets the news, he goes off on a tirade, inspiring another
Shaughnessy "piece of junk" column as well as a chorus of "it's about time" reporting
from the rest of the Boston media. I've got to agree. I wouldn't have been
dissappointed if they released him before the season started. His skills went downhill
so quickly, it's amazing he stuck around and got as much playing time as he did. He'll
be remembered for some really dumb plays this year, and as one of the worst free agent
signings in Sox history.

The Sox split blowouts with the hard hitting but hapless pitching Rangers. The Rangers
take the first 19-7 as Burkett gets shelled for 8 runs in less than 2 innings after his
complete game shutout, then Castillo proves his uselessness by giving up 10 runs in about
4 innings. But Lowe comes back virtually unhittable the next night, and the Sox erupt
for a 13-0 win.

Sox go 5 and 2 this week as the Yankees play the Angels over the weekend (who do you root
for). Sox will be tied for the wildcard, or just 3 behind the Yankees after tonight.
With Floyd and Howry the Sox prove they want to be in it this year.

Saturday, August 3, 2002

Red Sox at Texas
Casey Fossum vs. Kenny Rodgers

A very simple but reoccurring story tonight. The Sox score enough runs to win. Fossum
pitches well enough to win - 3 runs, 1 earned through 6 innings. Arrojo gives up 3 runs
in the 7th, Texas takes a 6-5 lead. Sox tie it, and newby but looks no better Bob Howry
gives back the lead to Texas with some bad defense helping along the way. The relief
pitching continues to be so bad it won't get them to the playoffs or through the playoffs
if they miraculously get there.

Rangers 8 Red Sox 6

Every close game lately has seen Sox relievers giving up go ahead runs in the late
innings, or barely holding off the opponent. No way to live.

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

A's at Fenway

In a game we HAD to win (actually with the season slowly going down the toilet, every
game is like this) the Sox lose in absolutely gutwrenching fashion once again.

The A's go into the bottom of the ninth with a 3-2 lead and fireballer Billy Koch on the
mound. Damon and Nixon get on with one out, bringing up Nomar and Manny. Nomar strikes
out, but Manny hits a deep drive toward the right field bullpen. Terrance Long comes out
of nowhere to leap up and snag the ball out of the bullpen into his glove. I go from a
faint hope of winning the game, to immediate elation of a game winning 3 run homer, to
absolute pain.

This was like a dagger right in the heart. The Sox finally have a comeback win, and just
like that it's snatched away. Do fans of other teams go through this? No other fans
care so deeply as Red Sox fans. No one else has been through so much pain. Yes, the
2002 season is slowly withering away and a win here would only go so far, but this game
was like a regular season Bill Buckner. Lately all of the close games have been like
this, but this one just kills you.

A's 3 Red Sox 2

Friday, August 16, 2002

Red Sox at Minnesota
Pedro vs. Joe Mays

This game was the "2" part of 2 and 3 the Red Sox have been lately. Remember
Spahn and Sain and pray for rain - the Sox have been Pedro and Lowe and (hope for
snow?). So tonight, Pedro pitches ok but hittable, and the Sox run into Joe Mays, so far
1-4 and 6.04 ERA. Tonight he's unhittable, as he throws a 2 hit shutout and the Twins
win easily.

Twins 5 Sox 0

Yes I think the Sox are cooked. They don't have an answer on games when their 3, 4, and
5 starters go. They can't afford to have an off night when Pedro or Lowe pitches, and
tonight they did. Their bullpen is still shaky, and they still don't have the clutch
hitting to get the big hits when they need them.

Here's also why the Sox are cooked. If the strike happens, one of two things will
occur. The players and owners will finally get reasonable, and about 1-2 weeks of the
season will be lost. Or the players and owners will continue to be idiots, and we'll
lose the whole season. In the first scenerio, the Sox will not play games likely between
Aug. 30 to about Sept. 15. In that period,the Sox are playing the Yankees for 3
games, then Cleveland, Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore - all 2nd division teams. The
Sox will need those games if they are to make up ground, since it's likely they'll be no
better than .500 over the next two weeks (Minnesota, Anaheim, Texas, and the Yankees).

It looks like another season where the Sox are just a bit short.



Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Rangers at Red Sox
Derek Lowe vs. Joaquin Benoit

Here we are again, with the Sox not scoring enough runs to get way out front, and taking
a 2-1 lead into the 9th. Urbina gives up a homer in the 9th, and Banks gives up a homer
in the 10th. That simple. I'm completely numb. I barely reacted watching those two
home runs go out.

Here is a frightening statistic - since June, the Sox are 3-37 when they've been behind
or tied after the 6th inning. 3 wins that could be considered late inning comebacks! Of
course we were robbed of one clutch hit by Terrance Long. But that's the story of this
season - shaky relief pitching and no clutch hitting.

Well the Sox are still alive. Cliff Floyd has just doubled and now we have Shea up,
perhaps our best clutch hitter (remember the cat-walk shot?). C'mon - disprove my
points! Let's pull one out! Shea walks, and ugh! Tony Clark! C'mon Tony - do something
to make up for a horrible season. Not on your life. A popup. Now they're 3-38.


Monday, August 26, 2002

Angels at Fenway
John Burkett vs. Ramon Ortiz

The Sox come in needing a win badly to keep their fading hopes alive, as they've lost 2
of 3 to the Angels in this series.

Tonight's game spanned all the emotions for Red Sox fans. Manny had two solo home runs
on his way to a 5 for 5 night. Cliff Floyd made a diving catch to turn into a double
play. But then they made 4 ugly errors in the game. The Sox kept coming back and had it
tied up 5-5 in the 8th. Bobby Howry started his bad fortune by giving up a leadoff
double, then the Sox ran into bad luck when Hillenbrand dove for a bunt popup and missed
it, leaving runners at 1st and 3rd. Howry gets a huge strikeout, then a shallow fly to
right. Nixon catches it but in his haste to nab the runner at home, he muffs the ball
for an error. The Angels capitalize and get two more hits for 3 more runs to lead 9-5
and it looks like it's all over.

Ok bottom of the 9th. If you're going to make a comeback, let's get serious! Manny gets
his 5th hit of the night and Floyd follows with a single. They bring in Troy Percival in
what is now a save situation (tying run on deck). He gives up a single to Shea to load
the bases, and Tony Clark comes back from 0-2 to work a walk to force in a run. In a key
move, Grady pinch runs Henderson at first. Nixon hits a sac fly to right to make it 9-7,
and Hillenbrad goes to 3rd. Then Ricky steals 2nd uncontested. Huge play. Because Rey
Sanchez, after fouling off numerous tough fastballs, laces a hit to left-center, scoring
the tying runs! Sanchez is out at 2nd but the run counts and it's 9-9.

Wow. We're back. But we've got to win this game. It will be a great win if we pull it
out now, and an absolute disaster if they lose it after all this. Urbina gives up a long
fly and a double in the 10th and we're anxious. But he comes back to get a strikeout and
a popup and we're on the the bottom of the 10th to try to win it. Who's up? Johnny
Damon. After fouling off a bunch of pitches, he hits a drive down the line in right that
wraps around the Pesky pole, and the Sox are winners! What a game.

Red Sox 10 Angels 9

A huge victory for the Sox. Is this the start of a run to bring them back into the
race? The Yankees are in town for 2 games to try to douse their flame. And then what
happens on Friday with the strike? Time will tell.

Saturday, August 31, 2002

Red Sox at Cleveland
John Burkett vs. Ricardo Rodriguez

The Sox played two games against the Yankees in Fenway and were pitiful and lifeless,
losing 6-0 and 7-0. And yesterday they finally settled the labor dispute with no
strike. Better for competitive balance? We'll see.

Yesterday the Sox had one of their patented blowouts, beating the Indians 15-5. So today
is really the game they need to take to keep the momentum going and get back into the
wildcard chase. Burkett is pitiful again, spotting the Indians a 7-2 lead in the 5th
inning. But the Sox claw their way back, and find themselves in a 7-7 tie in the ninth
inning. Both Damon and Ramirez hit long fly balls in bids to give the Sox the lead, but
wind up as long outs. Then in the bottom of the 9th in excruciating fashion so common
for this year, with a runner at 1st and 2 outs, Vizquel gets a hit to left-center that
Damon bobbles just a bit. Enough so they try to score the runner from first. Nomar's
relay throw is in time, but short hops Varitek and he can't handle it and the Indians win.

Indians 8 Sox 7

I'm glad the strike came and went. Really. I'm still hanging on to faint hopes for the
Sox to beat up on the bad teams and sneak into the wildcard. But they really needed a
win tonight after erasing the big lead and they couldn't get it.