- Thanks to a great comeback performance by Josh Beckett last night – and some help from the suddenly fearsome Toronto Blue Jays – the Red Sox have pulled to within three games in the loss column of division-leading Tampa Bay. Three games is an important mark, as it can be made up with one big series (next week?), and can certainly be made up over the course of the next three-plus weeks. Of course, right now it looks like both the Sox and the Devil Rays are headed to October, but – as I pointed out in my previous post – winning the division this year may be more important to the playoffs than most previous years.
- You have to be excited by the way things are shaping up for the Red Sox. Their lineup right now is stacked from top to bottom with players who can hit (except Coco Crisp). Varitek has been playing great, Kotsay is a great pickup, and we still have Youkilus and Drew out of the lineup, and Lowell is just coming back now. Meanwhile, the starting pitching is shaping up to be in top form come October. Expect the Sox to play it safe with Beckett for the rest of September, keeping his innings down, and maybe even skipping a start late in the month. If he is ready to go full-steam come the playoffs, it could be lights out for everyone else. Lester is pitching like a 1A. Then having guys like Daisuke and Wakefield filling out the rest of the playoff rotation makes the Sox very deep. (Remember all of Wake’s great playoff performances in years past.) The bullpen has questions, but so does every other team’s. And I’ll take my chances with guys like Masterson, Delcarmen, Timlin and Okajima leading up to Papelbon. The Sox are starting to click, and I’m having visions of back-to-back titles.
- You have to feel for the Blue Jays. They are playing about as well as anybody in baseball right now. In fact, there have been stretches over each of the past three seasons when they played like an elite team. Unfortunately for them, they’ve been rocked by injuries each season. I’m sure J.P. Riccardi loses a lot of sleep at night thinking about what might have been.
- Could it be both Carlos Zambrano AND Rich Harden are injured for the Chicago Cubbies?? I’m so happy I could cry. But what I find most laughable is how the national media is jumping on this saying this could dash the Cubs’ title hopes. National pundits have been making this season out to be the year of the Cubs all year long. I’ve never been sold on the Cubs. And all the hype about them is just setting Cubs fans up for a heartbreaking October . . . which, I guess, isn’t so bad.
Watching a great pitchers’ duel between Zambrano and Sheets in the Brewers-Cubs game. Seeing all the talent on the Brewers, I feel even better about picking them to win that division.
There was a rain delay in the game, and ESPN2 jumped around to a bunch of other games; Nationals-Phillies, Red-Dbacks, White Sox-Indians. Whenever I get a chance to hear those other commentators we rarely get to hear, I’m always left appreciating Jerry Remy that much more.