These are, indeed, dark times for Red Sox Nation. The New York Yankees, the best team that George's money can by, are no longer in the rear-view mirror of the front-running vehicle in the race for the Eastern Division, but right along side and in the fast lane, it seems. Has bad luck eeked into the Sox dug-out? Well, before you dismiss that thought immediately, consider that in the ninth inning last night of a 6-1 loss, on the same day that it was revealed they had lost captain catcher Jason Varitek for much of the remainig schedule, a black bird, an omen, maybe, strutted from the outfield grass and stood atop second base, until scared away by an Indian infielder. In the ninth inning? Hitchcock did not write that well.......well, on second thought, maybe he did.
The Yankees are in the fast lane, for sure, just days after GM Cashman brought in a much needed bat in Bobby Abreau, along with a much needed arm in Eric Lidle just before the trade dead-line. They are scoring runs and winning games. Derek Jeter has put this New York team on his back and he has carried them all year. They are 62-40. Garey Sheffield is expected to return later this month. Their pitching staff, maligned much of the year, now appears more solid than that od the Red Sox. Mike Mussina is having, possibly, the best year of his career. The Unit is not as dominating as he was in his prime, but he still knows how to pitch and how to protect a lead. The Yankees score runs for their pitchers. Lastly, the Bronz Bombers have 'the Hammer of God" waiting in the bullpen for the ninth inning, Mariano Riveria.
If the Yankees ARE in the fast lane, the Sox, by comparison, are in the slow lane attempting to conserve gas and save wear-and-tare for the long trip ahead. No moves were made at the trade dead-line, which means no immediate help for a starting pitching rotation that had lost three members to the dis-abled list. Not only does this place added pressure on the young pitchers that Tito sends out there in those number-three, four and five spots(Lester, Snyder and Johnson), it also drops squarely on the shoulders of the two aces of the staff, Schilling and Beckett. It's almost like these two warriors HAVE to go out there and win every time because of all the uncertainity. That pressure may already be mounting, as Schill, usually strong at Fenway, was pounded last week by the Angels and even gave up three homers in one inning. Another bad outing by Schilling will send Red Sox faithful into a full frenzy of woe and despair. If they are not their already.