They want it more
Short take: Tom Kelly's World
If you ever doubted it, don't doubt it now. If you think there isn't
dissent on the team because of it, think again. If the Sox aren't
mailing it in, you couldn't tell on Saturday night in Minnesota. Tom
Kelly wants second place more than Jerry Manuel. And the Sox lose
6-5. The best they can do now is share a pittance of a second-place
bonus with the Twins. Isn't that what half-hearted effort is worth?
After six months Sox Fans, is this what it has come to?
The little sand castle of a team Jerry Manuel has built from the ruins of
injury and wrong-thinking personnel decisions got kicked over in a big
way. For a guy who makes excuses for not playing young ballplayers like Joe
Crede in September, the lie is finally revealed. For while he claims
he can't play these players because he is still trying to win ballgames, the
guy in the other dugout is showing precisely how someone who takes the task
seriously gets the job done. Tom Kelly is truly trying to win these
games. What Manuel is trying to do is anybody's guess. You had better bet his players are scratching their heads, too.
But let's face it Sox Fans, Manuel hasn't got an original thought left in
his brain. Anyone listening to his post-game comments knows he's most
famous for contradicting himself from one statement to the next.
If his strategy inside the dugout seems confused, why would any of us be
Gary Glover got the start. He is an early favorite to make
next year's rotation but he had nothing in this game. The roof caved in on him
in the second inning, allowing three runs on four hits including two
dingers. Yes, he walked two, including the leadoff man. It's a
miracle he kept the scoring to just three runs.
The third inning was no different. Somebody shook Manuel from his
slumber to go get Glover after he walked another and served up a get-me-over
double. It was 5-0 Minnesota. That was the ballgame, too.
Manuel's bucket brigade served admirably. Matt Ginter, Bill
Pulsipher, Josh Fogg, and Alan Embree combined to limit the
Twinkies to just one more run the remainder of the game. It made no
Tom Kelly played this one like Game Seven of the World Series. The
moment his starter got in trouble in the fifth, he changed horses.
The Sox managed just one run off Jose Valentin's sacrifice.
Next Kelly went to his starting rotation and brought Eric Milton in for
relief. The seventh inning was simply comical. The bottom of
the Sox line up has been a joke all season long, so you knew something like
this was bound to happen. Chris Singleton led off and struck out
swinging on four pitches. Royce Clayton was next and fouled out
on the first pitch. Mark Johnson quickly followed with an infield
popout to end the inning--on the very first pitch. Eric Milton retired
our Sox on seven pitches INCLUDING a strikeout.
Pathetic. Is there any hope Kenny Williams has a clue why you
can't have three light-hitting guys on the field, even if they're only
hitting #7-9 in the line up? He says he gets it, but who really knows?
Naturally the guy who has ridden the pine all season is the only one
to seriously threaten Kelly's post-game champagne-soaked victory
celebration. Herbert Perry has been odd-man out with Manuel's
ridiculous line ups but for some unknown reason was allowed to crawl out of
the hole in which the Sox manager has stuck him. Manuel decides to keep
Perry in the game. Awakened by Kelly's moves, had Manuel suddenly
decided to play this game to win, too?
Truth or consequences, Sox Fans. If Manuel keeps Perry in the game,
isn't he admitting Perry gives him the better chance to win?
Furthermore, if Perry is the key to a winning effort, why has he ridden the
pine all season? It's times like this Manuel's clueless ramblings make a
Sox Fan think he truly has no strategy and Perry's insertion in the line up
was nothing but a random act. The alternative theory is too painful to
So Perry is still in the game in the eighth inning when his turn in the
batting order comes up and, against all probability, two runners are on
base. Perry takes Kelly's ringer over the baggie in right field and
suddenly it's a 6-5 ballgame.
That's as close as we came. In the ninth inning pinch hitter Tony Graffanino got a
leadoff single, but Manuel plays for the tie in the Hump Dome (?) and let's
Clayton lay down a sacrifice, cutting the Sox's chances to score by
one-third. Our two homerun threats that followed, Jose Canseco
(legitimate threat) and Ray Durham (what planet does this guy live
on?), each fly out in compliant fashion.
You can count on one hand the number of successful situational hits in big
games this team has achieved. Who honestly is surprised by any of this?
The season ends tomorrow and nobody but a couple thousand friends and
family inside the Hump Dome will get to see it. It's probably just as
Champagne chilling in the Twinkie clubhouse.
1967 marks the end of an era
in Sox history. It was the last of the Go-Go teams. In WSI's final
installment, the near-glory and dark ages that followed are examined. Written by Dan Helpingstine, author of "Through
Hope and Despair", here's the first chapter to his new book.
-- Part Three: End of an Era
Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner
Ginter, Bill Pulsipher, Josh Fogg, Alan Embree). Relieved the
shelled Gary Glover and combined for seven innings, allowing one
earned run and five hits with seven strikeouts against one walk.
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