Remember 2006, when every time Rudy Seanez came into a game to pitch for the Sox you knew that the game was over? It didn’t matter if we had a 5 run lead when he entered, or if it was a tight spot, we all knew that Rudy would make whatever had gone right that night go bad. The mere sight of his 3/4 length loose red sleeves flapping in the bullpen was like seeing the grim reaper out of the corner of your eye.
That’s how I am starting to feel about Javier Lopez. I don’t believe that he works directly for Satan, like Rudy did, or that he is actually an evil robot set from the future to make me insane and therefore steal mankind’s last hope when the Tivos rise up to destroy us, but every time he enters a game in a tight spot lately, I just get that creeping feeling. When he lost that stomach punch game in Oakland it started, and last night the feeling reached full Rudy Seanez proportions. I knew we were going to lose the game as soon as I saw him warming up next to Paps, and then it happened. It didn’t even take a good piece of hitting to finish Lopez off this time. His Mother’s Day miracle-esque dropping of a simple flip of the ball in the bottom of the ninth last night was really the worst way he could do us in. After Youk makes a great diving stop to give us a chance to close the inning out and win it in extras, Lopez takes his eye off the ball and drops it. I’m pretty sure I watched at least 11 hours of pitchers running that drill in mid February, so he does know how to catch the ball and find the base. Really? Is there anyone else in the organization who we can bring in to get a lefty out? Bard, Bard, Bueller?
While you are at it, don’t hesitate to spread the shit thick on this one. Lugo, returning from knee surgery, forgot to get the suck removed from him when he was on the table and gave up an error which led to the Indians getting back into the game when they were down 4 in the third. I never question Tito (he knows his ballclub better than we do, and he has reasons for everything he does), but taking Green out of the lineup during a winning streak is like calling out to a pitcher that he has a no hitter going. Why replace the guy who got you through the streak in the first place. His defense wasn’t a huge upgrade over Lugo, but he wa hitting. Granted, Green did look like he thought this was slow pitch softball against Wood in the ninth, but I’m just sating that you don’t switch from gin & tonic to strawberry daquiris during a hot streak at the craps table and you don’t replace your shortstop during a winning streak if you can avoid it. Penny, with whom my fascination is fading fast, gave up seven in 2-2/3 (four earned thanks to Julio) and left it up to the bullpen to finish the job (Can we get that Bowden guy to come back up here?) and Lowell, the AL player of the week, had his own run scoring error.
Soldier on. Lester’s on the hill tonight. And the Beard is pissed.