Short take: Everyone saw it coming.
The Sox lost another one in the late innings. In almost a carbon-copy
of Saturday's debacle, the Sox pound Cleveland pitching for an early lead,
shutdown the offense the final innings, and blow the game on the game's final
play. The score was 9-8.
Can any Sox Fans be that surprised?
Mark Buehrle is human. In perhaps the shakiest start of the
season, Buehrle was clubbed for seven runs and eight hits (two of them taters)
in just four innings work. Normally it's lights out for Jerry Manuel's
anemic line up when the Sox starter gets chased early. But today,
like yesterday, was different for the Sox.
Our Pale Hose scored eight times in the first four innings. As usual,
it was the long ball that provided the offense. Jose Canseco, Mark
Johnson, and Magglio Ordonez each had dingers. They even took
advantage of a (gasp!) defensive error committed by Cleveland to score an
unearned run. The Tribe had two on the day.
Somebody better tell the Indians to tighten up their defense or they might
lose the division. Oops, too late!
Just like yesterday, the offense shutdown. As usual, the line up
could never get on-track with several Sox players turning in 0-fer
performances. Ray Durham, Carlos Lee, and Royce Clayton
never reached base in a combined 0 for 13 at-bats. Boneheaded play of
the day goes to Royce Clayton for being the umpteenth Sox ballplayer
making the third out of the inning at third base, an incredibly stupid attempt
at stealing a base with Ray Durham at bat and the Sox nursing a one-run
lead. Frankly Sox Fans, its a miracle we ever scored eight in this game.
So naturally it came down to the performance of the Sox bullpen and for the
second consecutive day it was the eighth inning that had Sox Fans throwing
seat cushions at their TV sets. Alan Embree has been surprisingly
effective the past few outings and had done a fine job in 1.1 innings work,
but Jerry Manuel went to his bullpen to start the eighth. Reliever Bob
Pulsipher gave up a leadoff double and every Sox Fan in the world knew
precisely what was going to happen next.
So a sacrifice puts the tying run on third and a pop-fly to centerfield
looks too shallow to bring him home, but Chris Singleton is a bit late
arriving, gloves the ball above the grass, but drops it anyway. It's all
tied, and suddenly watching the Bears lose to Baltimore isn't such a repulsive
Foulke comes in for the ninth. Sure the game is tied and thus there
is no save opportunity. Who cares if he failed miserably in this exact
same situation just yesterday. Jerry Manuel only deviates from
the script when some utterly obvious piece of baseball strategy can be
ignored--like letting Bob Howry pitch to the top homerun hitter in the game
with first base open.
Omar Vizquel, the diminutive little rodent who plays opposite the team's
real star, Roberto Alomar, laughs all the way around the bases after he of all
people takes Foulke over the right field wall on a 1-0 pitch. The high
comedy of the event was not lost on any of his Cleveland teammates who made
room for little Omar to slide into homeplate under their waiting feet.
Sox Fans, the joke is on us.
Sure, we play these guys again Monday. Not that it will make any
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including a clutch two-out 2-run dinger in the fourth inning that gave
the Sox the lead. It didn't last. (of course)
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