I’ve discovered the problem with John Lackey. Now, I have no numbers to actually back this up, so I’m just working off of memory and impressions. He always seems to be on the wrong end of things. Sometimes he gets spanked, and just loses it. He gives up a ton of runs and has no business even being on the field. It happens to everyone. Or, he pitches really well, but the Sox don’t score and he gets a loss. Or, he pitches really well but the Sox score a ton and isn’t the story. So, you look back and say he didn’t win much. You remember the bad games. You see the run support and forget that it was just a couple blowout wins. He doesn’t get enough credit for when he pitches well, and too much credit when he doesn’t. He pitched well yesterday. That should be remembered. And, it should be an encouraging sign heading into October.
Daniel Bard did not pitch well. He didn’t pitch poorly. It’s too kind to say he pitched poorly. That’s a couple games recently where he has been an abomination. That’s not great. If anyone on the team needs to find himself again, it’s Bard.
So, where are the Sox right now? By the numbers, the magic number to clinch the division dropped to nineteen despite the loss. Likewise, the magic number to clinch a playoff spot dropped to eleven. The Sox have a four game lead over the Rays. They start a series against the Rays tonight. At the end of the series, the Sox could be eight games ahead. They probably won’t be. I’ll admit that the Price-Wakefield match-up on Sunday doesn’t make me all warm and fuzzy. Although, newly released from the chase for 200 Wake may just pitch the lights out. Nor am I thrilled with starting Kyle Weiland tonight. Even though he pitched pretty well when he faced the Rays last weekend. If the Sox split, the playoffs magic number will be down to seven with ten games left. Not a bad spot to be in.
Would I prefer that the Sox were 8-2 over their last ten games instead of the other way around? Sure. Although, a big end of the season winning streak didn’t help the Rockies in 2007. I’m pretty happy with what the Sox are getting. The Sox have some time to heal their nicks and bumps. They got their slumps out of the way. Beckett can have a couple games to be a badass again. Go back through the last month or so, and take out every Andrew Miller start. Take out Tim Wakefield starts. Just go with Beckett, Lester, and Lackey. You’re already feeling better. Now, add in Youkilis and Ortiz at the same time. That’s what October will look like.
Not too shabby at all.