Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ok, Panic If You Want

Light your hair on fire, spray paint the furniture, toss all babies out with bathwater. It's an ugly Red Sox loss, and you can panic if you'd like, but do it for the right reasons. Losing the first playoff game, especially on the road, means very little. Someone has to go up 1-0, and it might as well be the home team. Consider how much trouble Chicago would be in if the decision went the other way last night and understand why they had to win that game and not Boston. A missed opportunity yes, but a tragedy no. The Red Sox win this evening and all is well.

Don't get those visions of sugar plumbs dancing in your heads quite yet though. While a 1-0 deficit means little, the pitching problem it revealed does not. Matt Clement missed spots like he was allergic to them yesterday, and showed the rare combination of terrible stuff and location. A lot of pitchers can hang sliders, but you've got to really have the magic to do it up and in to right-handers. He was terrible, and I'm not sure how you can send him to the mound again under any capacity. Were this a one-time I event the Ninth would give Matt a pass, but he's been lousy since July. The obvious choice would be to tab Bronson Arroyo your Game 5 starter, but as we discussed yesterday he could be an invaluable member of the bullpen. Could Clement take over his role? Sure, if you want to lose another game by 12 runs. On top of this, Contreras was vicious. Sox batters called it the best stuff they've seen all season, and I believe it. His split finger looked more like a fork ball, but had something approaching knuckle-curve movement. It's pretty hard to hit a pitch you don't know exists. So Boston is facing as big a mis-match in Game 5 as possible, or a huge hole in their bullpen. Now that's something to be concerned about.

What does this mean? The next 3 games just got enormous for the Red Sox, as the best bet would be to avoid a fifth game altogether. Let's see if Boomer can get them started tonight.