|Brad Penny, trying to work the kinks out. Photo taken by Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.net in April 2009 and used with permission.
I’d love to put a cheery spin on Julio Lugo’s fielding from last night but I can’t. The ball that went by him to score that first run (and extend the inning) looked playable to me (but as Red at Surviving Grady points out about himself, I’m not exactly professional athlete material, so what the hell do I know, really?); the second one was more questionable. So it seems apparent that, at the very least, Lugo’s range is practically non-existent. The problem is that Nick Green’s range seems to be cousins with Julio’s range. So what’s a manager to do?
The big idea is to trade Brad Penny for a shortstop to work with Jed Lowrie (when Jed finally gets back), no? (Well, yes it’s “no” according to reports that the Sox are/were interested in Jeff Francoeur. Huh? Um, no thank you, Theo. Really.). But Penny kind of helped his cause toward staying put by not being able to settle down and pitch like a major-league pitcher after Lugo’s run-scoring miscue (which was ruled a hit not an error, incidentally). After that first run scored, there were two men on and Ian Kinsler hit a three-run home run. Now the offense for the Sox did Penny no favors by forgetting how to score runs for 9 innings so there’s plenty of “blame” to go around for last night’s loss. Lugo at short was a part of it but so was Penny not being able to throw the pitches he should when he needed to most. Apparently the era of my not picking on Penny has gone by the wayside. Sadly, it seems so has my ability to fully defend Julio Lugo.
The other side of this IS that it was one loss. One lousy loss, indeed, but still just one loss. It’s funny how I didn’t read on any Sox message boards all week long about how bad this team is. Four wins in a row, including a sweep of the Tigers, and everything is all sunshine and happiness. The minute the Sox lose a game, though, it’s “the rotation needs to be revamped! Smoltz doesn’t need rehab starts, bring him up now!”. See, this is why I try so much to focus on the positive. The Sox are a half game out of first place. They have the best bullpen in the majors and their rotation, which is SUPPOSED to be on of the best in the league, is finally coming together the way everyone expected. Jason Bay and Dustin Pedroia are in the top ten in the American League in almost all the stats for batters. This is not a bad team in any sense. This is not a team that needs to rebuild (sure they need to tweak, I’ll give you that). Why in the world would you want to spend your time bitching about the shortcomings when there is so much good to focus on (especially right now?)? It frustrates me and that’s why I won’t devote thousands of words to it. Yeah, last night stunk. There’s a game at 7:10 tonight that I’m hoping (and believing) won’t stink.
Keep in mind I’m not talking about the folks who get paid to critique every little thing the Sox do. The Chad Finns and Alex Speiers of the world need to keep pointing out the shortcomings because 1) It’s a story and 2) I don’t believe in turning a blind eye. Were I a reporter or analyst and not just some random commentator then I suppose I’d be more critical. But all I am is a fan. And I will always believe it’s better for the fans to focus on the positive (and I believe in bringing that good energy to the park).
A reminder for those who want to tune in and laugh at me (I have this Brenda Vaccaro-ish thing going on with my voice right now and am wondering how that will translate over the phone and THEN over the airwaves), I’ll be one of the guest on the “Web Sox Nation” segment of Comcast SportsNet New England’s “The Baseball Show“, once again, this morning. I’m taping it just after 8am and, if the past is any indication, I believe it will be on around 9:50am. Keep in mind that, for whatever reasons, even though the show is simulcast on WEEI radio, this segment isn’t, so if you really DO want to see/hear it, you need to have Comcast SportsNet NE. Given all the out of town folks who have been kind enough to ask for it, there’s a good possibility it will end up on YouTube. I’ll keep you all posted.
Crabcakes on the mound tonight against Derek Holland (who was born on an off-day during the 1986 ALCS – yes, I looked up his birth date after seeing he was born in October 1986!). Lester’s last outing was fabulous. More of that, please, Crabby.