Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Pretty Much as Expected
OK. Everybody raise your hands if you thought Dice-K would pitch well last night. Now put your hands down. I guess you were right. Everybody raise your hands if you thought he would get the win. OK, put them down. You were right too. Everybody raise your hands if you thought he would pitch 6+ shutout innings, and have the game finish in less than 3 hours. Ok, put your hands down. You’re liars.
That was not the Dice-K we’re used to seeing. Thank goodness. There is nothing you can say about last night’s performance that isn’t positive. About the worst thing you can say is that it’s only one game. If that’s the argument, I can’t wait for the next one. This wasn’t the Patriots barely beating a horrible team at home. This isn’t John Smoltz mowing down the Padres. This was Dice-K shutting out a likely playoff opponent. It was putting the beat down on one of the best offenses in the league. It wasn’t facing their fifth starter, or a September call-up filling space. This was a match-up against a key member of the LAA rotation, and Dice got the best of him. If, and it’s an “if” this is what we’re going to see from Dice-K, things are looking way, way up for the Sox this postseason.
Just look at what the Sox have done the last four games against quality teams. (I’ll still call Tampa a quality team) The assumed playoff rotation of Beckett-Lester-Buchholz-Dice has gone, and dominated. If the Sox can get that rotation doing that in a couple weeks, I dare a team to toss up a better pitching staff. The best part is, with the bullpen the Sox have going right now, they only need the six innings from Dice-K they got last night. Wagner-Bard-Papelbon can take it from there. It’s a pretty deadly rotation, and I wonder if everyone else is shaking in their boots. It looks like the Sox have picked exactly the right time to all come together.
The best part of the past few days has been the drop off from the Rangers. I know the magic number still sits at 14, or something like that. But, it looks like the Sox will be able to cruise to a playoff spot. If they have the chance to line up the rotation exactly as they’d like it, it could be everything. If the Sox can throw Beckett and Lester in games 1 and 2 of the ALDS in LA, I think I like the chances of a split. Then, it’s just a matter of taking 2 of 3 while throwing Buchholz, Dice, and Beckett. The key is just to get the wild card taken care of as soon as possible. I bet a few of the regulars could use the rest as well. It would be nice if Martinez could take a load off a few days, and at least not have to catch. Lowell, I’m sure, could use a quick day off here and there. The Sox don’t have any scheduled off-days from here on out. So, getting the playoffs clinched early is the only way to safely get these guys some time off.
If the Sox keep going the way they’re going, that shouldn’t take long.
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