It felt damn good to have the sox back in town after a long west coast road trip with alot of late nights spent watching NESN. It was nice to have the team functioning as it should be rather than juggling personnel around to make up for the lack of a DH and having to watch Red Sox pitchers attempt at bats. The sox seemed to have made a general bounceback after the terrible streak prior to Curt Schilling's near no-hitter. Taking 2 out of 3 from a young and promising Diamondbacks team was impressive and could have been a sweep if not for the continued lethargy of the sox bats scoring a single run in the third game. The Yankees have been on an offensive tear as of late and continue a 7 game winning streak. They have also not failed to produce less than four runs since the 29th of May in the loss to Toronto. The sox offense by comparison has performed poorly putting up relatively low run totals and relying on the strength of it's pitching to get wins. If these trends continue this could get ugly for the sox very quickly....but I doubt it will. The Yankees offense is firing on all cylinders at the moment and I think it's safe to say they won't go chugging along producing runs like this all year. The sox offense is also bound to work out the kinks and when they do they are likely to go on a tear of their own and rack up the wins.
Despite this turnaround the sox are still 9.5 games ahead of the Yankees.....there....feel better? I'll say it again.....the sox are still NINE AND A HALF GAMES ahead of the Yankees. Now, on to tonight's game.
The Rockies came into tonight's game just below .500 and aren't as bad a team as fourth place in the NL West might suggest. Wakefield did well tonight. Wakefield seems to always pitch well against inexperienced teams, teams that haven't seen him pitch too many times and in domes. 2 out of 3 of those conditions were met tonight against the Rockies and he managed to mystify them with his knuckleball going 8 innings and only giving up one run. The sox offense was also relatively lethargic with the big exception of David Ortiz who went 3 for 3. Kevin Youkilis' RBI and a sac fly by JD Drew would be adequate to secure the win for the sox with Johnathan Papelbon catching a hint of his early season form with his fastball back up into the Mid 90's and striking out 2 in the 9th to get the save. Papelbon had appeared to be struggling recently with the velocity on his fastball dropping and acquiring some shakier saves than we were accustomed to seeing from Papelbon. We can only hope that this is an indicator that he's worked out whatever kinks he has encountered and has returned to his usual dominant self. The two upcoming games bode well for the sox with Curt Schilling coming off of one of the most impressive starts of his career and Josh Beckett who has been rock solid this year and is still undefeated. Rockies pitcher Josh Fogg comes into the game with an unimpressive 1-5 record and 5.06 ERA. He recently came off the 15 day DL and stuggled in his previous start against the astros. The Thursday starter, Jeff Francis is steadier at 5-5 with a 3.81 ERA but nowhere near as impressive as Beckett's body of work this year. If the sox can get out of this offensive slump and provide their pitching staff with some run support they could easily win the next five games against some unimpressive NL teams at Fenway.