Here at U.S. Cellular Field, home of those first-place Chicago White Sox. Trust me though, these ChiSox are no tourist trap.
When colleague Mike Bauman and I took a cab to the ballpark this afternoon, the driver said it was the first time any customer had asked him to drive to “The Cell” all year. He then proceeded to tell us that the White Sox really weren’t any good and wouldn’t make the playoffs this year. And all this time, I thought Chicago was a more positive-thinking kind of town.
The Red Sox have their own problems at the moment, trailing those “we won’t go away Rays” by 3 1/2 games, the largest deficit Boston has faced since July 7. They were a season-high five games back on July 6.
Right now, the obvious problem is that two of the team’s biggest boppers — David Ortiz and Mike Lowell — have gone ice-cold. Lowell is 0-for-his last 15 and is batting .202 since July 1.
But you have to think both those guys will get hot, and when they do, the whole team has a chance to heat up with them.
It will be interesting to see when Jacoby Ellsbury goes back to the leadoff spot. Manager Terry Francona indicated that once he puts Ellsbury back up there, he wants it to be for good.
Tonight, Jason Varitek is hitting ninth. The last time the captain hit ninth in a game? You’d have to go back to those Cowboy Up days of Grady Little. It was Sept. 22, 2003. This was the first time Francona ever scribbled out a lineup with Varitek’s name at the bottom.
Did anyone notice that Mike Timlin has been unscored on in nine of his last 10 appearances? Joe Haggerty — a swiftly emerging multi-media presence in the Boston market — has some insight on the matter in a well-done piece that first appeared in Boston Metro and then the underrated Hacks with Haggs blog.