Monday, August 9, 2004: The Red Sox return to the Friendly Confines today after an eleven game road trip that in many ways embodied the 2004 Red Sox – disappointing and frustrating, but with just enough promise to keep us from losing faith. After another frustrating loss on Friday night, in which Lowe gave up only four runs but the offense could only muster three, the Sox came back and won the next two to take the series. Saturday night Pedro played the familiar role of stopper, giving up only two runs en route to a 7-4 Sox victory. Yesterday was one of the more peculiar games you’ll ever see – Waker gave up six home runs, the Sox gave up seven in all, and yet they managed to win 11-9 largely as a result of Youks hitting two home runs and Ortiz throwing in a 3 run bomb for good measure. Obviously most of them were one-run shots, but Waker’s struggles of late are a little disconcerting.

Today we start a four-game series against Tampa, a team that we have owned. We are 7-2 against them this season, and hopefully that coupled with the fact that we are back in Fenway will allow us to build a bit of a much-needed win streak. Schilling gets the start tonight in a game that will be televised on ESPN 2, so hopefully they play the sort of game we need from them to start building some momentum through this month.
One of the amazing facts about this team is that for all of their struggles and as painful as they have been to watch on a daily basis, they are tied for the lead in the Wild Card race with Anaheim and Texas. Of the remaining contenders (including those leading their divisions) we have easily the kindest schedule, with fewer games against teams with a record above .500 than anyone else and with more home than road games, which is especially good for us given how well we play in the Fens and how poorly we play when living out of suitcases. Those teams out west will continue to beat up on one another so that no one runs away and no one falls too far behind. I am still rooting for Texas to win their division so that I can see some games up in Arlington, but above all, it is time for the Red Sox to go on a run over the next ten days or so, when we get to play at home against teams we really should be beating soundly, including these four against Lou Piniella’s rejuvenated Devil Rays, three against the ChiSox, and three against Toronto. 8-2 would be really nice. We are ten behind the Yankees, and I still have not entirely given up hope on that front. Which just proves that I am insane.

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