To Live and Die by the Double Play

(Photo from Boston.com)

It’s like this: sometimes emulating Jason Varitek is a good thing. Like when he hits home runs. Or when he throws a tantrum in the dugout (because sometimes Daddy gets angry), or when he yells at Kenny Lofton to hurry up and get in the box. Or with the designer playoff stubble. Or just the general all-around awesomeness of being the Captain of the good ship Red Sox. But the double plays? Not so awesome. We, as a team, don’t need to be doing that so much.

After the six squillionth (rough estimate) double play the Sox grounded into last night, I made a mental note to berate them all sternly today. But I’m not sure it’s worth it. For the most part, they weren’t swinging at bad pitches (something they’ve gotten really good at avoiding lately as evidenced by the fact that Manny’s stats with an 0-2 count are like a .600 BA, 2 Ks and 5 BBs. Insane.), and when they did make contact, they were hitting the ball on the ground, thereby leading to jillions of double plays. And one incidence of Ryan Garko falling down which lends further credence to the claim that he looks like a slightly less swollen Doug Mirabelli. Of course, there’s always the “But this is Jake Westbrook! Jake Westbrook isn’t that good!” thing, which I like to call the “Derek Lowe Corollary.” That being, a previously average pitcher puts on the big boy pants and becomes a postseason hero. Could happen. Could be Jake Westbrook. I’m just sayin’.

I realize this sounds defeatist of me and I certainly don’t mean it that way. Someone had to win last night’s game and despite a valiant effort from the Sox, it wasn’t them. But these Indians are not lying down for anyone. And it’s going to be a tough road ahead.

Plus, there’s the added fun of reading about how David Ortiz’s knees are going to crumble to dust at any second. Who likes a little nausea with your morning coffee? That’s what I thought.

So to distract ourselves we…well, we talk about the Patriots, if we’re being honest. But when we run out of discussing how Randy Moss used to squirt referees with water bottles and fake-moon stadium crowds and is now using folksy expressions like “lollygag” in the press, (as in “Tom Brady does not let us lollygag in practice,”) one has to wonder what Belichick has put in that Kool-Aid, we make up scenarios involving the Red Sox where Dougie actually does play first base and Papelbon, unavailable to pitch on a certain day, takes over color commentary for a playoff game and has Tim McCarver clamoring for a noose by the fourth inning. Actually, can we make that happen? What do we need to do?

Then we talk about how Kenny Lofton has either found the Fountain of Youth (much like Brett Favre, per Amy), or that the Kenny Lofton currently playing for Cleveland is actually Kenny Lofton, Jr. and no one noticed. He’s played for every conceivable team. There could totally be two of them. And if this is the case, MLB really needs to install retinal scan machines at the on deck circle or something to dispense with these kind of shenanigans.

Then we try to organize a bake sale to raise funds to keep Mike Lowell around. Because we make a mean key lime cheesecake.

And then we talk about how maybe sports is actually driving us certifiably insane and perhaps we should go to bed because really, insanity is adorable and charming for a while, but when it gets to the wild-eyed and crazy-haired place, well, we’re not actually Stephen King with an excuse for that kind of thing is what I’m saying.

So tonight the Sox throw Wakefield out there to face off against Paul Byrd. I think that’s probably the wise move because, yeah, you could probably make Beckett pitch on short rest but the way I figure it, if the Sox lose tonight, you’ve got your ace going on his full rest in an elimination game, and that would be more important. So we shall see what we shall see. In the meantime, I’m going to see what I can do about that retinal scan thing.

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