Thursday, August 6, 2009

Well, that wasn’t great

It’s funny, sometimes, how some teams just seem to have other teams number. Even good teams manage to find someone they just have trouble with. Lately, the Sox are just getting beat up by the Rays. It’s almost understandable though, if you think about it. I remember the Yankees always had trouble with the Angels. Even during the Yanks super 1998 season, they struggled against the Angels. Why? Match-ups. The same match-ups that trouble the Sox when they play the Rays.

The Rays are a young team. They’re a fast team. They’re an aggressive team. The Sox are an older team. A slower team…other than Jacoby. And, while they might be aggressive, their team speed doesn’t allow much craziness. Some of the things the Sox do well that work against other teams don’t work so well against the Rays. The stolen base comes to mind. The Sox don’t hold on runners well. It’s a team philosophy to not waste the attention. Usually, that’s not a big deal. Most teams only have a guy or two who would even try a steal. So, that might be a problem for them once or twice a game. Against the Rays, though, it seems like everyone’s always running. Allowing one or two extra bases a game is probably worth keeping a pitcher focused on the hitter. Seven or eight extra bases starts to be a problem. There’re a lot of problems like that with the Rays. They Rays might not see as much of an advantage against other teams with slightly different match-ups, and the Sox would perform slightly better against teams with slightly better match-ups. It’s just one of those things.

Another big series is on its way for the Sox. They head into Yankee Stadium for four games. Looking ahead, I’ll predict a split. I’d love the Sox to take the series, and really only fear a sweep. The pitching match-ups seem to flip flop between the teams. I do wish that the Sox could find a way to win the first three games. Imagine a national broadcast Sunday night where the Yanks still hadn’t beaten the Sox this season. What a great game that would be to listen to! But, as much as I hate to write off Smoltz, he hasn’t shown me enough lately to make me think he can take tonight’s game. And, that’s too bad. Nor am I close to delusional enough to think that Clay has the advantage over Sabathia on Saturday. But, there’s always a chance, right?

The Sox enter the series 2.5 games behind the Yanks. If the win one game, they’ll leave NY 4.5 games behind. With almost two months to go, I can handle that.

Can I dream of taking all four?

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