I'd just like to apologize to my loyal readers, whose numbers have probably decreased somewhat over the past few weeks. The month of August began, and my updating of this blog ended. I was playing about 60 to 80 hours of poker a week at a casino 2 hours from my apartment so time was not something I had very much of. When scho0l resumed, my poker subsided, but by then, there wasn't much I could write about the Red Sox other than:
"The Red Sox are folding, they're not trying, they're really pissing me off."
That would basically be the game summary for every Sox game in September.
The collapse, as we all know, seemeed to begin in mid-August with the 5 straight losses to New York. However, I think it began before then and was only expidited by the Second Boston Massacre.
Before the 5 game series, we lost 2 of 3 to Detroit in Fenway. We swept Baltimore in 3 before that, but before that we were swept by KANSAS CITY in 3 games!!! KC was 62-100 this year, BTW. Right before the Royals series, we lost 2 of 3 to the only other 100 loss team in baseball, the 61-101 Devil Rays. That's right, the Sox went 1-5 on a road trip to Tampa, then Kansas City.
The really sad and infuriating thing wasn't the collapse of the team, it was the needless collapse. It was't as though they threw in the towel when they were thoroughly beaten, they threw it in much too early.
They were only 7 back of the Yankees in the loss column, which was not a completely insurmountable lead with 40 games to go. The Sox were also only 4 games out of the Wild Card. Then the Sox kicked back, relaxed, and let themselves become a complete and utter embarassment. They finished 5th in the Wild Card, a mere 10 games over .500, and 3rd in the AL East behind the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays also spent $49 million fewer on player payroll.
The Sox spent $121 million for a team that won 86 games. They didn't go out and get anyone at the deadline, they didn't do much to change their glaring problems. It seemed as though the team was built to have a chance to make the playoffs, but not to really do anything more than that. It seemed like a place holder team with a solid offense and a few exciting players that would keep Fenway sold out for the entire season.
There were a great deal of dissapointments on the Red Sox this year, I'll have a post on that soon enough. Right now I just want to say what sectors the Sox absolutely MUST improve on next season.
1. Starting pitching top to bottom. Beckett was a massive failure in 2006, not just a dissapointment. Schilling will be another year older. So will Wakefield.
2. The bullpen. The answer isn't moving Papelbon by the way. I think that's a terrible idea. He should be our closer until we KNOW what we're going to get from another closer. We need more middle-relief. Mike Timlin has been worn down to very little. We need a few veterans mixed in with our younger pitchers. We also need this veterans to be good, not just guys like Rudy Seanez or Julian Tavarez, who was only good when nobody cared.
3. The offense. But not that much, not as much as the pitching. We only scored 820 runs this year, we need to get that number up. We lost a lot of production from catcher and we didn't have much production from the outfield except for Manny, when he was playing that is. With our lack of pitching, we NEED to be scoring 900 runs or more. This season we actually scored fewer runs than we allowed (820 to 825).
The only aspect of this team that was good was the defense. Defense doesn't win games, however, it keeps you from losing them. Without our defense, we're probably a .500 team.
Theo and the Sox have A LOT of work to do this winter.