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Home  >  Red Sox Diary  >  2004  >  August

Thursday, August 5, 2004

What a week!

Just when you thought the Red Sox would do nothing at the trading deadline, the news
comes bit by bit that Nomar has been traded to the Cubs. For who? Is Lowe going too?
Are we getting Matt Clement? We're definitely getting Orlando Cabrera from the Expos in
a 3 team deal. Did we just rotate 3 shortstops between the 3 teams? Oh, Doug
Mientkiewicz is involved.

In the end, we give up Nomar and Matt Murton (a good prospect) for Cabrera and
Mientkiewicz rotating through 4 teams. In a separate deal we get Dave Roberts for a
minor leaguer. No way this is an improvement. This is a get what you can deal plain
and simple. Meanwhile we improve our defense and get some speed. But the loss of
offense really makes it a step down. Now Bellhorn is disabled, Reese continues to be,
and Nixon is likely out for the year. Unless the new guys really light it up, this team
is going nowhere.

By Thursday, the Nomar story has taken the most bizarre twist. Right after the trade,
there were accusations that Nomar had told the Red Sox he needed to miss significant
time the rest of the season from his achilles injury. After the trade was final, the
implication was that he'd be fine now that he no longer played for the Sox. Reports are
now surfacing that Nomar's achilles injury did not occur by being hit by a ball in
spring training, but he injured it playing soccer. Denials and counter charges are
flying. Where is the truth? All I know is the Red Sox no longer have #5 playing
shortstop, and my kids need new bobble heads and tee shirts.

Friday, August 6, 2004

Red Sox at Detroit
Derek Lowe vs. Mike Maroth

Following the Tampa Bay triple-A's (which we lose the last game in more excruciating
fashion) it's the triple-A Tigers. The Sox have no business losing to these teams. But
with the lineup severely weakened by the loss of Nomar, Ortiz out with suspension, and
Bellhorn disabled, they once again generate very little offense. They get a run and
have a runner thrown out at the plate (again!) in the 4th. Detroit scrapes across 3
runs in the 4th on a bunch of bleeder singles including one where Cabrera makes a great
play in the hole, flips to 3rd only to pull Youkilis off the bag to not get the
forceout. If his foot stays on the bag, the inning is held to one run. The Sox tie it a
few innings later, but Detroit takes the lead again, as Damon makes the worst throw home
I've ever seen with Dmitri Young almost crawling home begging to be thrown out by a
throw anywhere near home plate.

The Sox offense does absolutely nothing against one of the weakest bullpens in the
majors, and it's another 4-3 loss to another weak team. Don't tell me the bullpen had a
good night. It's lack of punch with this newly configured team for speed and defense.
With the top of the order Damon, Youkilis, and Cabrera they don't scare anyone. Cabrera
has been so bad after his opening home run he's now hitting about .100, and Tito still
has him batting 3rd. Is this team built to go deep into the playoffs? Or barely
break .500? I think the latter.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Wow. What a month.

Since Nomar was traded on July 31, the Sox have been on fire. It's been 12 out of 13
and 18 out of 22. We now find ourselves 4 1/2 back of the Yankees, and 1 1/2 up on the
wild card.

Now, the cold water. We've beaten up on the low lifes of the league. Detroit, Tampa
Bay, Toronto, Chicago. This week coming into Fenway is Anaheim followed by Texas, then
a trip to Oakland then Seattle. We'll see how it turns out.

For now, we enjoy looking back at a sizzling month. No more Nomar, but the new guys
have stepped up, the defense has been terrific, the starting pitching has been awesome,
and the relief pitching has been the same. What more can we say.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Ok, this is getting ridiculous. Tonight was the beginning of the real season. The Sox
play the red hot Angels. The Yankees have a long homestand against the weak teams. How
does it turn out? We get some tremendous hitting - Manny two home runs, Roberts a 3 run
homers, with plenty of room to withstand a 9th inning grand slam and come away with a 10-
7 win. The Yankees get pulverized 22-0 at home against Cleveland.

So now we have a 2 1/2 game lead in the wild card, and a 3 1/2 game deficit for the
east. The Yankees are falling fast as their starting pitching is continually awful and
they are just getting old. Our starting pitching is tremendous - Schilling is 17-6,
Pedro 14-5, Lowe has 12 wins, Wakefield 11, and Arroyo 7 but pitching very well of
late. For another night, the ride goes on. Is this an illusion or can our beloved Sox
continue this wild ride and overtake the hated Yankees.

I saw Dennis Leary on an interview tonight, describing how the Red Sox are like
Shakespeare, how we get to game 7 and there's a tragedy waiting for us at the
end. '67, '75, '78, '86, '03 all of those tragedies. Poetic. What new way do we have
to lose? Do we have a new tragedy ahead of us? Being a Red Sox fan is about hope.
Hope that this year (pick the year) will be the year that we finally will reach that
promised land. That 25 players and 1 manager and a whole region of thousands of
baseball fans can somehow dodge all of the bullets and reach nirvana. What waits for us
at the other side of nirvana? No one knows, but we are just dying to find out!