What, 10 runs ain't enough for ya, Timlin? . . .
. . . and five other semi-coherent (and rage-fueled) thoughts from the second disaster of the day . . .
1) Man, the Sox bullpen sucks. It's goddamn killing them, and there's not a thing you, me, Theo, Tito, the Eck, or Dick Radatz from beyond the grave can do about it. Craig Hansen, one year removed from the Big Freakin' East, should be honing his stuff at Pawtucket. Mike Timlin '06 looks like a righty version of Alan Embree '05. Rudy Seanez stinks, he pretty much has always stunk, and he never should have been signed. Julian Tavarez is one more player whose lack of mental toughness should have immediately convinced the Sox to cross him off their shopping list. Even Jonathan Papelbon, god bless him, looks weary, and I'm fairly sure prodigal savior Keith Foulke's last effective pitch came that magical October two years ago. There's no shame in getting bounced around by the Yankees - their lineup, even when it isn't entirely healthy, is a fearsome beast from top to bottom. But someone needs to be accountable for failing to put together a bullpen capable of coming through at least once in a while. (Tell me, again, why there was no place for Mike Myers on this team.) Right now, with this collection of meatball artists and arsonists, it's a miracle they're only 3 1/2 back.
2) The notion that Derek Jeter is a legitimate candidate for MVP of the American League is of course ridiculous, given the talent that surrounds (and outproduces) him. But man, did he ever outshine Big Papi tonight. Jeter's three-run go-ahead double in the seventh inning was vintage Jeter: he fouled off a couple biting fastballs, got the pitch he wanted, and whacked it with his patented inside-out cricket swing toward the Wily Mo Pena defensive circus in right. This time, the patented fist-pump-and-smirk combo was entirely justified, and the grapefruity scent of "Driven" filled the air at Fenway. Sometimes, my friends, you have to give the devil his due.
3) It can't tell if Jon Lester can't throw strikes or is afraid to throw strikes, but I'm sure as hell leaning toward the latter. Listen, kid: Throw. Thefrigginball. Over. The. Plate.
4) Remember my proclamation - oh, when was it, two days ago? - that I wasn't going to gripe about Coco Crisp anymore? Bleep that. The difference between Coco and Johnny Damon might ultimately be the difference between the Sox and Yankees in the AL East. I'm a Theo apologist - a task that is becoming harder and harder as I ponder all the Clements, Renterias and Seanezes that he's tortured us with - but even he cannot deny, at least on this day, that the Red Sox really screwed up by allowing Damon to defect.
5) The admirable Alex Cora had a fine night. So did Manny and Mark Loretta. And the Jimmy Fund collected over $2 million, with the pledges still coming in during the late hours. So what say we just end today's debacle on a positive note, and I'll be back at ya again today . . .