Monday, October 25, 2004

Snippets for a Travel Day

It's funny what sticks in your head, waiting for the right time to resurface. After watching the two Red Sox victories in the opening games of the World Series, I was reminded of the Boston Globe baseball preview for 1996. Its feature on the Sox displayed a headline that was both succinct and apt: "Good vs. Evil." On the left we had Mo Vaughn standing in a batting cage, looking his formidable, pre-bloated self. On the right we had Jose Canseco with a *shudder* glove on his left hand, looking like a guy trying to do the Times crossword puzzle with a pizza cutter instead of a pen. Seven letter word for prevention, beginning with d? Hell if I know.

There are two ways you could go after seeing the Red Sox make four errors in each of the first two games and win anyway. The optimist sees a team invincible even to itself, and wonders if they could get away with kicking five routine plays away. The pessimist quite plausibly assumes that the Sox can't keep turning left field into Craaazy Manny's Discount House of Outs without it coming back to bite them.

Me? Well, I don't want to underrate defense, but it seems to me that the real story so far has been the mismatch between Sox hitting and Cardinal pitching. Cardinal pitchers need to get hitters to chase to be effective, and the Sox have so far been too disciplined to bite. All of this can change, of course, now that the venue has shifted and the Cardinal hitters figure to be more productive. Even so, I suspect the Sox have sufficient firepower to carry the day, provided they get respectable starting pitching.

One last note on defense. Bill Mueller was charged with three errors last night. He also picked two absolute seeds, turning one into a double play, to keep the Cards off the board early. David Ortiz playing first base aside, we're going to be okay with the leather more often than not the rest of the series.


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