Sunday, August 29, 2004: Six in a row, twelve of thirteen, fifteen of eighteen, eighteen of the last twenty-two. Sometimes numbers can be eloquent in their simple explication of complex reality. I am not certain that I am thrilled about tomorrow’s off day, but I do know that as well as we have been playing, it is all prelude to the next couple of weeks. The Wild Card is a dogfight right now, as the Angels, A’s and Rangers are playing nearly as well as we are. We get a shot at all of those teams in our next three series, and this is when it is essential to gain ground each series. We can effectively eliminate each of them as a serious contender if we win each of these series. Right now we have a game-and-a-half lead on Anaheim.
Last night I hosted a soiree at my place that went rather well. Josh was at Fenway last night, having bought standing-room-only seats from a scalper before the game. He kept calling my cell with updates from the game. Pedro did well, going seven (apparently the Sox have had their starters make it through at least 5 innings for an astounding 40+ games.) and giving up just one run. One indication of how well they are playing right now is that they are eking out runs even when they are not hitting especially well. My phone rang constantly as the Sox pulled away, which was a source of amusement and mystery to my guests, who inexplicably are not Sox fans.
Today’s game marked yet another outstanding appearance by a starter. Waker went eight innings, he gave up just three hits and one run. He struck out seven, and as an indication of how on he was with the knuckler, of 99 pitches, an astounding 72 caught the plate for strikes. This is the rotation we dreamed of, with Arroyo instead of Kim (who might be close to a return, along with Nixon, whose quad is almost fully healed. And Manny played today. Since the rosters are on the cusp of expanding to forty, all of these additions will be able to help us in the stretch run) is really bearing fruit now. I cannot imagine anyone wanting to face us in a five- or seven-game series.
Great as the pitching is, everyone seems to be playing his part. Astoundingly, the Sox had seven steals in this series. Bellhorn hit a bomb, Mirabelli has been playing well, Kaplar has been great, the relievers have been money, and of course Manny and Ortiz have continued to pile up MVP numbers. I hope the off day does not harm our momentum, and I hope that we can keep playing this kind of baseball in this most important stretch of the season.