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What was that?

(July 29)

Short take:  Under .500 again

Why did Sox Fans think our team would win this game?  Why did we think going over .500 and coming home to play the likes of Kansas City and Tampa Bay would be the easy route towards a respectable record?  Why did we think our Sox would ever do something the easy way?  The Sox carry a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh and then find a new way to lose--a vapor lock to the manager's brain.  A pathetic 4-3 defeat at Boston loses the series, ends the road trip 3-4, and has Sox Fans counting more "what ifs" in the 2001 season.

We're still a game in the hole a month after we finally reached .500.  How's that for depressing Sox Fans?

God bless Sean Lowe.  Sent to the minor leagues because the folks in the front office couldn't think of any other panicky move to make last spring, he has come back as the consummate professional to earn everyone's respect.  Even Kenny Williams'?  He fought for six innings allowing just four hits.  His stuff isn't superstar-great and he gave up two long homeruns, but so what?  He pitched tough and kept the game close.  

Lowe's hard work was finally rewarded in the top of the seventh when Magglio Ordonez pushed through the go-ahead run with an rbi-single to score Ray Durham.  The Sox squandered scoring opportunities in the first and fifth innings that could have broken the game open sooner and left eleven runners on base in the game.

Still they had the lead and Lowe looked to be the winner if the bullpen could shut down Boston the last three innings.  As it turns out, long-man Gary Glover was available after his stellar performance Wednesday evening in a spot start.  But manager Jerry Manuel had different ideas.

Nope, instead of Glover he goes with lefty Alan Embree and his 7.71 ERA.  He hits the first batter on an 0-2 pitch which should have had Manuel sprinting to the mound to replace him, the next batter being a righty. Instead Jerry sat on his brains.

The next batter grounds out to Jeff Liefer who inexplicably is still playing third base in a one-run game.  Naturally he uncorks a wild throw, all runners safe.  It goes without saying that Embree walks the bases loaded with the next batter.  Sofa cushions were being thrown at television sets around Chicago!

Now Manuel gets off his tail and calls for Glover.  What was the delay?  If he was available why not bring him in at the top of the inning?  What good is playing the percentages if Embree has demonstrated he can't get anybody out--like every other appearance so far this season? All questions left unanswered by Jerry Manuel.

Glover does a great job getting a foul pop-out for the first out and a strikeout for the second.  Next he faces Nomar Garciparra.

For the rest of America, the story is Nomar's game-winning rbi single.  For Sox Fans the story is Glover barely missed his first pitch with a wicked curve and didn't get the call on a borderline pitch to make the count 2-0.  So everyone in the world knew what was coming next with predictable results.  Two unearned runs and now the Sox are losing.

If Manuel had his brain in neutral in the seventh, what he did in the eighth bordered on criminal.  A lead-off double by Paul Konerko, a pinch runner, and a fly out put Tony Graffanino at third base with one out.  Does Manuel pinch hit for Chris Singleton in a sacrifice fly situation?  Nope.  Herbert Perry, who eats fastballs like Rod Beck's for dinner, sat on the bench and watched with the rest of us as Singleton struck out on three straight pitches.  Unbelievable.

Beck goes on to issue a walk, and hit a batter to load the bases for Jose Valentin, but he strikes out and the last bit of fight in the Sox drains away.  They go quietly in the ninth.

An unbelievably stupid loss.  For all the talk about "flexibility" in this Sox roster, Jerry Manuel hasn't a clue how to use it--except to hurt the team.  See "Clayton, Royce." 

Sox Clubhouse "Pick to Click" Winner

Sean Lowe

Deserved a better fate.  Left with a well-deserved lead after six innings of 4-hit baseball and seven strikeouts.  You wonder what is going through Jerry Manuel's head to kick this game away the final three innings.  Pathetic.

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