Thursday, October 2, 2008

Playoff Update 2 of 2: Sox

Can we take a second to talk about how ridiculous this is? The Sox take three MUST-WIN games in a row to the house and secure a playoff spot against Tampa. We live and die by the home run, and when it works, it WORKS. Oh, and if anyone saw the "Blackout" on TV, how ridiculous was that crowd? Creepy as hell if you ask me.

The Sox play their first game today against the Rays, with SUPERCLUTCH Javy Vazquez going against James Shields. I'm thrilled that the Sox aren't playing the Red Sox or the Angels, but the Rays are no pushovers. They're actually a lot like Minnesota - a bunch of role players that come together to make a great TEAM, rather than individual dominators and some dead weight (I'm looking at you, Boston).

That said, these are the four immediate questions on my mind as a Sox fan:

#1. Can Javy turn it around? When Ozzie said you choke in big games, he wasn't kidding. The last two starts where we needed you the most, you cost us both games singlehandedly. Against a team like the Rays, a 7 ER defecit spells defeat and some costly bullpen fatigue. Also, Shields has been particularly filthy at home, with an ERA under 3 (and he got stronger as the season progressed). Javy needs to keep the ball down, or we've already lost.

#2. How tired are Buerhle, Danks, and Floyd? All of them pitched late into their games on three days' rest - probably not ideal when you have to give them short rest AGAIN. Not much to say here, other than that Buerhle has been our best starter in the second half and is a total beast. I have the utmost confidence in him, and Danks/Floyd can take the homestand. Hopefully, there are no ill effects from the playoff push.

#3. Why don't we have the right backups? I mean, I know WHY we don't have an infield - Getz got hurt, Crede is out, Ozuna got cut, and Fields is a butcher in the field (who will likely make the roster for this sole purpose), but we really should have SOMEONE to play utility infield. To contrast, the outfield has Owens, Wise, Griffey, Anderson, Dye, and Swisher if need be. Griffey turned in a great throw that Anderson followed with a spectacular catch, but there's no reason to have 5-6 outfielders on a playoff roster. Likewise, why hasn't Swisher all? Wise is nice for speed, but he's hardly an everyday player. Hopefully Swish gets some time in LF to show he still has some pop in the bat.

#4. Bullpen...? Not much to say here. If Linebrink and Dotel do what they did this past week, we're going to coast after the 7th. If they regress or get hurt, Matt Thornton will have his work cut out for him. At least Boone Logan looks to (finally) be headed back to the minors. Go work on that goatee, Boone.


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