Wednesday, August 18, 2004: Sweep! We took the Blue Jays down in three, although it was not as easy as it could or should have been. Yesterday we had to win with a walk off double that drove in Damon to make it 5-4 and tonight, much like Monday, we had it in hand except toward the end we let in runs that never should have scored. Foulke struggled a bit tonight, and so while we were up 6-2 we ended up winning 6-4. Still, this is a good way to go into an offday. We just went 7-3 on this homestand and we are setting the pace in the Wild Card chase. The twins have broken their streak of futility against the Yankees and have taken a couple in a row, so unlikely though catching them will be, we are at least going in the right direction in the division. Will the yanks have an epic collapse? Not likely. But it is a nice idea.

Yesterday’s game was a good one. Pedro started off a little rough, and it looked like he might get banged around, but in a sign of how much he has become a pitcher, he was able to use savvy and smarts to settle down and get through seven innings and give the bats a chance to eke out the runs we needed. The fact that Cabrera had the game winning RBI is a great sign, as the incomparable Fenway heat was beginning to descend, and so he chose the right time to start hitting. There was an incident after Ortiz was hit when former MFYankee Ted Lilly came up and in and hit him on the wrist, and Ortiz lost control a little bit, but things were restrained before anything major happened, and if Ortiz reacted badly, Lilly was much worse. There was surely an element of rollover from the previous night, when lowe hit Delgado in retaliation for the Mientkiewitz incident on the base path. The fighting spirit is nice to see, actually, though they need to be smart about it.
Cabrera continued his hot streak tonight. And Kevin Millar, who was the target of much of the ire of Red Sox Nation as recently as last month, is on an absolutely torrid pace. Wakefield had a nice outing after a couple of shaky ones, giving up two runs on five hits in a lightning fast game, and while the end was dubious – Foulke struggled in a game in which he may not have belonged, and Sveum managed to get Mueller thrown out at the plate by what by all accounts was a good thirty feet were the lowlights of the last couple of innings – nonetheless we waltzed out of there with a victory, and since the trade deadline we are playing well above .600 ball, which obviously is what we want. The guys are hitting, and the starting pitching has been pretty spectacular for a week or so, during which time every starter has made it through more than six innings. These are all good signs.
Once again it is August and we are beginning to spend a good deal of our time scoreboard watching. Now obviously the ideal is to do what we need to do in order to make the performances of other teams irrelevant, but since those teams are not about to roll over, the reality is that we likely won’t get much of a rest when the season comes to a conclusion even if we do end up taking the Wild Card. But this team is not one that is going to die, and they have played through a whole range of adversity. Even now, they are playing even more shorthanded than they have been, as Youkilis and McCarty are out with injuries. Tonight earl Snyder made his Sox debut at third. He did not have a great outing, though he did get a hit – indeed, it is possible that Sveum sent Mueller in that ill-advised attempt (it was a single to shallow left and the left fielder had the ball in hand before Mueller rounded third) in order to get Snyder his first Sox RBI. That is sweet, but ill-advised, especially under the circumstances.
We’re off tomorrow, which seems to happen far too often when we get on a hot streak. Schilling goes to the mound on Friday in the New Comiskey, so hopefully we can get off to a good start in the windy city and exact a little revenge for this last lost series in Fenway over the weekend. The Sox are 15 games above .500 for the first time this season, for at least the moment the Sox lead the Wild Card chase, and could maintain it depending on what goes on with the A’s and Rangers. This is a fun time of year. It is much better when they start playing the way they should have all year.

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