Monday, May 25, 2009

Stumbling Into First

If you had told me the Sox would drop two of three to the Triple-A team posing as the Mets and still end up in first place, I'd have asked what you were smoking and where I could buy some.

This was a bizarre series, with the Sox losing two games they should have won and winning a game they should have lost. And yet they end up ahead of the Jays by a half game and the Yankees are still in third place. Aviv should be feeling better tonight, and yet...

This series reaffirmed my hatred for the Mets, who always seem to give Boston fits when they come to Fenway. The next time I seem them in Boston it will be too soon.

But the big story coming out of this series is the news that David Ortiz may be moved in the lineup. That homer against the Jays is a distant memory. In three games with the Mets, Ortiz went 0-12 with 16 men left on base. He is now batting .195 and has become usless in the lineup. If you go to, readers in a recent poll voted for him to be moved to seventh in the lineup. Down to the final third? Wow... And the thing is, I can't exactly disagree with them. I just think the solution is wrong.

I've gone over it many times. Ortiz is just lost right now. And I don't think moving him somewhere else in the lineup will help. I think it is time for Ortiz to go on the DL with an "injury" and to hand the DH role over to Chris Carter. What, is he going to do any worse? How the hell can you do worse than a sub-.200 batting average? I'd wager that Carter would have more homeruns under his belt inside a week.

On the upside, the bullpen performed very well over the three games with the glaring exception of Papelbon's blown save on Saturday. Today Manny Delcarmen threw two great innings to hold the win for Tim Wakefield. Delcarmen now has an ERA of 0.86 and has to be feeling good not only because of that, but because the Sox turned down a deal that would have sent him to the Nationals for Nick Johnson. And Saito threw a solid ninth inning. Even with the two losses in the series, the Boston bullpen looked good.

Jacoby Ellsbury now has a 19-game hitting streak going. In all three games he got just one hit, which dropped his average below .300. But he's still getting it done, although an extra-hit game or two wouldn't hurt.

And no, I am not talking about Julio Lugo. Except to say that I am much happier with Nick Green at shortstop. Who just happened to knock in the winning run. And didn't cost the Sox the game. I'm just saying...

Bottom line is that it was a less-than-stellar series for the Sox but they somehow ended up in first place. I don't think I want to test this formula for success too many times. But I'll take it and be thankful.

And now it's back on the road, where the Sox have been pretty mediocre. They have three three-game sets with Minny, Toronto and Detroit. That's a good set for Boston and I would like to think they can go at least 5-4. Of course, I was hoping they'd go .500 out West and we know how that turned out.

Oh, and a big thanks to Ian for his guest-blogging while the Mets were in town. But you brought some strong juju with you, Ian. Thank God you tangle with the Yankees next time.

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