Sunday, September 03, 2006

Anticipate the following April

There was no real reason for anyone to notice this after that memorable five-pack of games two weeks ago against the hated Yankees (a debacle some locals referred to as the Big Dig 2), but the other day the Boston Red Sox took the diamond without their leadoff hitter Coco Crisp, a man who seems to have it backwards (you're supposed to let them name the breakfast cereal after you, not the other way around). They were also missing their #3 hitter (MVP candidate David Ortiz, out with heart problems), their cleanup hitter (future Hall-of-Famer Manny Ramirez), their #5 hitter (catcher Jason Varitek), their #6 hitter (RF Trot Nixon), and their starting shortstop (Alex Gonzalez, whose nickname must surely be A-Gon). Wily Mo Pena (that's right, one L; what's his nickname, Wile E. Coyote?), who had been spelling Nixon, was also out. This left the team with three starters: 2B Mark Loretta (at DH), 1B Kevin Youkilis (in left), and the sole starter at his original position, 3B Mike Lowell, the usual #8 hitter, batting cleanup. They lost the game, one of 21 they lost in August.

The starting pitcher in that game, David Wells, had been doing well since returning from the DL, but he has since been dealt to the Padres for the proverbial player-to-be-indicated-later (presumably he already has a name; we just don't know what it is yet). Two other starters, Matt Clement and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, have yet to return, and it seems that closer Jonathan Papelbon (he of the microscopic 0.92 ERA) has joined them, not to mention Curt Schilling, who will miss a start due to a strained muscle. Not only that, rookie starter Jon Lester has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Also, Josh Beckett was hexed by a practitioner of the dark arts, such that he would not be able to locate home plate even if it were to be painted bright red, with a spotlight directly above it. Okay, I made that last one up, but you have to wonder what made him walk NINE batters in that Yankee game (that is, that part of it that he pitched before they FINALLY took his ass out of it).

Of course, the Yankees themselves have had a number of injuries this year, but all they do is just go to the bench for another all-star – or, if absolutely necessary, pick one up from another team, with a decent starting pitcher to boot, for a handful of rookie leaguers. (How do they DO that??)

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