Monday, August 16, 2003: Doug Mantkiewietz, who caused the jaws of more than a few Sox fans today to drop when he jogged out to the field to play Second base rather than his customary first, had a good game in the Sox 8-4 win over the Jays today and so was just interviewed by Jerry Trupiano on WEEI. He agrees with me – if you win every series, you will be in good shape come the accounting for the postseason. The Sox could not pull off this weekend’s series against the White Sox, taking only the middle game (on the strength of two home runs by Ortiz and one by Manny to give the Sox a 4-3 win) and losing the rubber match 5-4 on a dreary, rain-soaked day in Fenway. They are 5-3 on the road game after tonight’s win, and they are a half game ahead in the Wild Card race, though that is mostly because Texas has not finished their game against the smoking hot Indians, who are close behind in the rear-view mirror, and the Angels do not play tonight.

The weekend showed some of the Sox strengths and weaknesses, but they battled in each game, and as I said after Friday’s loss, falling in that series is not as bad as others we have seen. We lost Youkilis indefinitely to an injury yesterday, which precipitated the unorthodox lineup that put Mientkiewitz at the second sack, where he made a couple of sterling plays, including a 4-3 double-play in the early going. Tonight’s win had DLowe dealing well for most of the night. He went 7 innings, gave up 4 runs, 3 earned. It almost got ugly when the Blue Jays closed it to 5-4 in the 7th, but we stopped the bleeding and added a few insurance runs. And one of those runners who scored was Delgado. Earlier in the game Delgado had taken a cheap shot at our Gold Glove first baseman-turned-second baseman by forearm shivering Mientkiewitz as he broke up a double play. When Delgado led off the 7th, Lowe, who sometimes has not shown a stomach for such things, drilled Delgado in the ass. It almost came back to haunt him, but he had to do it. Lucky for Delgado he did not pull that crap with Pedro on the mound, or he’d have taken it closer to the earhole than the other one.
It would be nice to sweep the Blue Jays. They are not very good. I think we can be. Even with a couple of losses the last few days, this just feels like a better team. I suspect that this feeling comes about because they are better. Usually, over the course of a long season, better teams rise to the top. It’s rarely a fluke to win out in a 162 game season. Of course now it comes down to some four dozen games. The old truism about baseball is that the season is a marathon, not a sprint. But from here on out, a better metaphor might be that it is like a 400 race, a long, sometimes grueling sprint, but a sprint nonetheless.

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