August has left the Sox lead dwindling, an unpleasant melange of New York competence and Red Sox giveaway sales, led by the chief bullpen artists, the formerly stout bullpen.
Let's start with the bright side, the Sox do have some potential longer-term players in Pawtucket, with Buchholz winning tonight with another nine strikeouts, and Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie both looking productive offensively...you can't tell from box scores how hard they are hitting the ball, only that they are finding some holes.
Curt Schilling pitched well enough today...and Beckett and Matsuzaka have remained formidable throughout this summer siesta.
'Theo's Folly', the acquisitions of Lugo and Drew haven't looked so bad lately, and I wonder how many outfields had all starters recently with four-letter names (Pena, Drew, Moss).
Dustin Pedroia remains a revelation, both offensively and defensively (an error today), and I owe a thousand 'my bads' to a player who could be a substantial upgrade from even the 'good' like Marty Barrett.
Now the bad news. Eric Gagne has the fatal, invert Steve Blass disease, wild in the strike zone, with too many mistake pitches. Hideki Okajima may not have been exposed to Kryptonite, but one wonders about his workload. The center of the order hasn't been as consistent as needed to carry the rest of the lineup, and is Kevin Youkilis getting worn down again as in last season?
I prefer to take the view that the Sox have played into some bad luck, although that may of course be wishful thinking. Maybe some home cooking will help.
Somehow, my adrenaline level just isn't too worked up about it. My daughters simply said, "can't you smell it? It's football season in the air."