Thursday, September 20, 2007

Power Outage in Boston

I wasn't going to write about baseball any more until the end of the regular season, but I gotta say the events of the past few days have been too interesting to let slide without comment. Since taking last Sunday's game at Boston (2 out of 3 in the series, and 5 out of their last 6 games), the Yanks have swept Baltimore, while the Sox got swept in Toronto, leaving a differential of only 1.5 games between Boston and NY for the Division lead. So what seemed highly improbable only a few weeks ago now looks eminently possible--Boston no longer has the best record in baseball, and are in real danger of losing their Division lead to NY. The good news for both is that Detroit got swept by Cleveland during the same stretch, putting them 5.5 games away from the AL Wild Card. So at the moment the worst case scenario for Boston would have them still in the playoffs, but flipping the Wild Card with NY.
New York continuing to win against Baltimore was heartening (especially Mussina's nice outing on Tuesday), but not necessarily surprising. On the other hand, the improbables really seemed to pile up against Boston during the past week: getting outscored 16-5 by Toronto; their pitchers, especially their relievers, faltering badly; and, most of all, exhibiting sloppy play on both offence and defence. Aside from Boston's Buchholz getting tagged with the loss last night, his wildly off-the-mark flip to Mike Lowell at third base was painful to watch. Luckily the result, Adams getting safely to third, was nullified by one of the funniest plays I've ever seen. Lowell, after getting the ball back from Kielty, held on to it, and managed to get a tag on Adams during a split second when he shifted his weight slightly. Adams removed his foot from the bag no more than a couple of inches, as far as I could tell in the replays, but the ump was right on the spot (wonder if Lowell winked at him to get his attention just before applying the tag). Lowell reminds me of a Chemistry Professor I had once; this looked like a Professor of Baseball play to me.
Among the problems for Boston is that Ramirez, and recently Youkilis, have been absent from the lineup. I assume that if Boston can get them back in play they can return to winning, starting with the Devil Rays in Tampa tomorrow. The Yanquis will get the Jays at home in the Bronx. I assume both NY and Boston fans will be watching the scoreboard closely for news of their respective rivals' games. Only ten days left to the regular season, but nothing is settled yet, because it's baseball.

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