Thursday, August 10, 2006

Royal pain

That's not "Cops" guest star Maurice Clarett. That's me after tonight's Red Sox debacle. Cripes, talk about feeling bleepin' maced and tasered.

Now, I think most of you TATB regulars would agree that I'm usually pretty clear-headed, even optimistic, about the Sox. But right now . . . well, it's 3:23 a.m., they've lost two walnut-crushers to the Triple-A Royals in a row, my commute home from work took a Big Dig-inspired detour through freakin' New Jersey, and I'm feeling pretty damn irrational at the moment.

No, I definitely am not in the mood to attempt to soberly and coherently answer any questions about this slumping and slumbering team. Instead, I'm going to ask a few of my own for once:

• Why did Joey Gathright, a martial arts black belt and all-around ass-kicker if he so chooses, have to prove a peaceful warrior and not beat the living hell out of Julian Tavarez when the lunatic Sox reliever sucker-punched him in spring training? Can you imagine the pain we as Sox fans would have been spared had Gathright unleashed the pain on Tavarez when he had the chance?

• Why are hitters as pedestrian as Esteban Friggin' German suddenly teeing off on Jonathan Papelbon's fastball? Has he lost velocity? Did he borrow Beckett's? Is he tiring? Or are his recent semi-struggles (the kid's ERA still is under 1.00, after all) merely a hiccup in the long season rather than an alarming trend?

• We all know Joe Castiglione sounds like his family pet died when the Sox lose ("PAHHH-ped him up . . . this'll do it . . . sigh"). So after four agonizing defeats in a row, might he be distraught enough to shove the increasingly insufferable Jerry Trupiano out of the booth? Will Uncle Joe finally snap tonight, when Troop obliviously tries to regale us with his all-royalty team in the ninth inning of a tense one-run game? ("You'd have to have Jeff King, of course . . . heh-heh . . . and Mel Queen would be the pitching coach . . . guffaw . . .")

• Has Javy Lopez ever caught in the major leagues before? Really? More than 1,300 games? Huh. Are you sure it's the same Javy Lopez? For sure? Because this guy looks like he's trying to catch the ball with a boxing glove.

• How come Josh Beckett couldn't go seven? Or even eight? Doesn't Tito know his bullpen is engulfed in flames?

• Could Mike Lowell have picked a worse time to revert to his feeble 2005 Marlins form? And will he come out of it, or was the first-half rejuvenation really a mirage?

• Why would anyone ever give Papi anything to hit in any situation? Just walk him, deal with Manny, breeze through the other seven duds, and there you have a recipe for shutting down the Sox these days, no?

• I know Coco Crisp is the fastest member of Red Sox Nation ("Dad!"), but how come no one told me he'd appear to be the most indifferent too? And why the hell is he playing so shallow in the ninth-inning of a one-run game?

• How the hell are they going to fix this 'pen before the winter? How? And I know relief pitching is a crapshoot, but is Theo ever going to build a deep bullpen?

All right, that's it for now. Feel free to rant in the comments or attempt to talk me off the ledge or whatever. I'm going to bed before I get the urge to kill a drifter or a middle reliever or something . . .

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