The Race is On
For the first time all season, the Red Sox will play games at Fenway Park — beginning tonight — with true urgency in the air.
The lead, which seemed miles long in May, is down to a miniscule four games. The Red Sox have Wakefield going against a very talented young pitcher in James Shields, albeit against a very inferior Tampa Bay Devil Rays team. A couple hundred miles to the south in the Bronx, the Yankees have their best pitcher going in Chien-Ming Wang. Red Sox fans can take heart in the fact that the Orioles counter with the very solid rookie arm of Jeremy Guthrie. Maybe Millar can torture the Yankees this time.
Two absolutely gutwrenching losses in Baltimore over the weekend. Gagne, a standup guy if ever there was one, basically prevented the Red Sox from sweeping that series. But Gagne will be there for this team. Am I the only person who remembers that Orlando Cabrera struggled mightily in his first two or three weeks with the Red Sox? I think revisionist history is at work a little here, as people think that Cabrera immediately took to his new environment. Look, it takes time. You have a guy like Gagne who has been a star closer for years and the competitive side of him wants to show his new teammates how good he is. Once he starts relaxing and just being himself, he’ll be fine.
Did you guys/gals hear that Gabbard left his start with the Rangers the other night with forearm stiffness? Hopefully Gabby will be OK. He’s had a lot of arm problems in his minor league career.
As for the Yankees, yes, they are a very scary team right now. And they now have something they haven’t had in a while — a couple of electric young arms. One in the rotation in Phillip Hughes, who is at last healthy. Another in the bullpen by the name of Joba Chamberlain. All he’s done in his first two outings is strike out six batters over four innings while not allowing a hit.
This is a major character test coming up for the Red Sox. In the old days, Kevin Millar would proclaim that it is time to Cowboy Up! Who will take the bull by the horns for the 2007 Red Sox?
A gut check awaits, and we’ll see if this team can start building something for October.