Saturday, August 14, 2004: It’s never ok to be happy after a loss, and certainly at this time of year, with the mess that we’ve made for ourselves, all losses have ramifications, but we need to keep in mind also that sometimes a loss is just a loss. Surely this year has been pockmarked with a lot more gut wrenching, kick in the groin losses than any season in recent memory. Certainly we’ve squandered lots of opportunities in games we should have won. Absolutely this team should have ten more wins than it does. No question there have been a good half dozen games after which we moaned that this was unquestionable the worst of the year.

Last night’s loss was not one of those. Granted, Tim Wakefield’s erratic performances of late continued last night, as he got hit around pretty good. And we did give up an early lead. And we did come up just short in a comeback that would have been defining. But it was just a loss, and of late we’ve been losing the first game only to come back and win series. Had Ortiz been able to get another foot on his warning track shot to right field in the seventh inning. Rather than a three run shot that would have made it 7-6 he had to settle for a sacrifice fly that made it 6-5. This sort of thing happens. Millar hit a two run bomb to continue his rejuvenation that brought us to within one run in the ninth. It was not to be, however, and we lost 8-7. There is no sense making it out to be more than it was – a loss in a long season to a team that itself has postseason aspirations. They left too many guys on base. Wakefield did not come through. But this isn’t a loss that will require folks to consider jumping off the Tobin Bridge.
Tonight we get Schilling on the mound. There are whispers that his ankle is acting up again and that this is limiting his effectiveness. Obviously we hope this is not the case, and as importantly, we hope that he is doing whatever we need him to do so that he can perform at the highest level not just now, but also when it matters in September and October. If this means missing a start, I think he needs to consider it – but only he and (maybe, given their track record) the Sox doctors know.
One bit of bad news that is beyond spin is the fact that Scott Williamson apparently has a tear in the elbow or forearm that has been so troublesome for him all season. I think people underestimate the effect that not having him has had on this team most all year. Our bullpen has been thinner, its had to be overworked, and in places where S-Willy would have been in there, instead we have had guys like Curtis Leskanic, who either are not up for the task or who are not suited to that particular role. The ripple effect has affected the other guys in the bullpen, especially Timlin, Embree, and Foulke, who showed how lights out they could be in the postseason and earlier in the year when we did have a full complement in the bullpen. Hopefully we can find a way to work around this, though it is disquieting that one of Francona’s biggest weaknesses is his management of the pen. It has been nice that Timlin and Embree got something of a break over the past week, though at the same time they seemed a bit rusty last night, so there needs to be some effort to strike a balance. One can hope that the re-emergence of
Ramiro Mendoza – despite the fact that he was not quite able to squeak out of a tough situation last night – will prove to be the perfect salve. He’s been there before with the Evil Ones. This would be a good time for that magic to make its return.
In any case, if he is healthy, Schilling should be able to play the role of stopper tonight. Surely Pedro’s big outing on Thursday was not lost on him. And his last outing must be eating away at his not inconsiderable pride, so perhaps the talk about the ankle is much ado about nothing, and he’ll come out and shut the Pale Hose down, propelling us to the win, and another streak.

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