I expected the Sox to lose Thursday afternoon in Tampa. So why am I angry?
Today's game had all the trimmings: bad pitching, porous defense, questionable and possibly flubbed play calling, bad baserunning, untimely temper tantrums and homerun swings in bad situations.
Juan Uribe has drawn a lot of praise for his emergency defense at the hot corner, but the absence of Joe Crede's glove was noticeable today. Uribe's got soft hands and a strong, accurate arm, but his range to his left is very limited, a small problem that is exacerbated on fast turf. A few balls got by Uribe that might have been blocked by a diving Crede, and those hits turned into runs.
And Griffey in center field... what more needs to be said on that topic?
But really, you can pin today's loss on the ineffectiveness of Javy Vazquez, especially when pitching with a lead, and the utter dependence of the offense on the longball. Neither of those are new themes.
Vazquez, who took a loss for his fourth straight start, gave up 6 runs in 4.1 innings and showcased body language so obviously defeatist even Harold Reynolds commented on it. There have to be growing Damaso Marte-like problems between the mental Vazquez and Sox brass, and I wouldn't be entirely surprised if he's shipped out of town over the winter.
However, this are still a strikingly resilient team. They've overcome expectations, injuries, fights, acute disappointment and myriad other distractions several times already in 2008. Don't expect them to fold up like a tent, or to take a "we're doomed" attitude. As bad as they looked in the process, this was the game they were most likely to lose. If you knew nothing but the 6-4 score, you wouldn't feel so frustrated.
They'll be right on schedule if Mark Buehrle brings his A-game tomorrow night.