Yesterday's game was number 82, meaning it technically kicked off the second half of the season. The first half went well, with the Sox 46-35; on pace for 92 wins, good but not great. (The Other Sox are on pace for 110 wins, and will still get 97 if they play .500 ball the rest of the way.) But you have to wonder how many wins Boston would have if Foulke and Embree had been good. Or even "bad but not terrible". My guess, based on absolutely nothing, is 51 or so. Sox are third-from-last in the AL in team ERA, with 4.84 (beating out KC and TB, by quite a bit). Spot Embree and Foulke ERA's of 5.00, and the team ERA drops to 4.44; it's still high, but such a change makes a huge difference for a team that scores 5.56 runs a game.
But now it's the second half. Foulke is gone for a while, and hopefully when he comes back he'll be either a great setup/mopup man, or better yet, Keith Foulke (2004 edition). I'm not sure we'll ever see Embree pitch for the Sox again (watch him pitch 3 innings tonight). Changes to the bullpen are coming very soon, and so hopefully the second half will be better than the first.
Nice evaluation of the First Half, looking at each player individually, over at Boston Blood Sox.
The First Game of the Rest of the Season was encouraging, with a 7-4 win over the Rangers. Wakefield pitched 8 strong innings; Timlin needed just 6 pitches for the 3-out save (when was the last time we saw something like that?). All 6 pitches were for strikes, and one of the outs was by a nice catch by Damon. Hopefully he's not hurt. All the offense was via the Long Ball, with a 1-run HR by Mueller, a 2-run HR by Ortiz, and a 4-run HR (known to some as a "Grand Slam", after the Denny's breakfast) by Manny. His 20th career GS, putting him just three back of the all-time leader, Lou Gehrig. He watched the ball for a really long time -- Remy thought it was because he didn't think it was going out but I'm not so sure. Grandstanding aside...if it had stayed in the park, but was dropped by Matthews, he would have been held at first. Please, Manny, at least jog!
Tonight is Clement vs. Park. Clement is looking to bounce back from his worst start of the season. A win would be nice...because, you know, wins are better than losses. Also, Sox have dropped the last 2 series against good teams, and let's not make that a 3-series streak.
Vote Posednik 2005.