Thursday, September 08, 2005

Patriotic Sox

To paraphrase John McClane, the Red Sox seem to have themselves some starting pitching. The last trip through the rotation was a fun one, with each fellow looking about as good as he has all season. No better time than September. And it sure makes the bullpen look good when you never have to use it. Combine this all with the red hot Millar-Olerud tag team and all of a sudden we have a contender speech on our hands. You're wondering if this just a hot streak or if the team has found a new level when it matters most. The Ninth's Definitive Answer: no idea. Go ask someone's who's getting paid for this. I will say this however: of the three keys we identified last week (finding a closer, finding another set-up arm, getting Schill right), two are coming together. Curt pitched his most complete start since October on Monday, using all of his pitchers and getting a bit of life on that splitter. Not there, but progress. Foulke has been similar with velocity in the high 80's, but, far more important for him, a livelier change and much better control. All that leaves is the set-up guy, but until the Sox get messier starting pitching, they won't have anything to clean up. That three strikeout 8th inning from Papelbon the night other sure was intriguing.

But that's not why you called. Tonight is the beginning of Patriots football, and you're wondering if the Ninth has remembered to pick his Ninth One this season. You're thinking that because the Ninth seems to forget most things, including important grammar rules, regularity in posting, and creativity of thought, certainly he has forgotten to select New England's surprise standout player for the game. Well (ahem) loyal reader, you are wrong.

The Ninth One (Oakland at New England): Ben Watson

How could it not be? The Raiders, having too many lineman and not enough linebackers, decided to move a few of their excess gentleman back a few feet. So now the people who are supposed to be quick and strong are actually slow and fat. Yes, that is a simplification, and sure, many people have made the conversion before, but I don't see how anyone who ever played the line is going to keep up with Ben Watson. Maybe they'll use a safety, probably they'll try a zone, but Big Ben will find the gaps. Maybe not a touchdown dance this evening, but for look for him to pick up serious yards. We've been waiting a while for this. If he doesn't, buffalo wings are on me.

I ain't buying you shit.