Despite Youkilis' error in the seventh tonight which, in my opinion, effectively cost the red Sox the game, I still like this No-Mah-Less team better than I did a week ago. The loss to Tampa Bay tonight showed the new face of this team, and in doing so, exposed other, underlying weaknesses:
- Arroyo continues to pitch well, very well, and should not have been out there past one or two batters in the seventh (Hello Tito?). To that point he had surrendered only 4 hits and one ER. He didn't deserve the loss.
- That said, Youkilis' error in the seventh on a good DP ball changed what should have been a two outs and one man on situation into a bases loaded, nobody out mess. Yes, another unearned Sox run, now an AL leading 75. And yes, they lost by one run.
- 3B Coaching? Hello, sending Pinch Runner Dave Roberts in the top of the 9th on a single to center, with No Outs
, only to be thrown out at home, is unforgivable. Again, instead of first and third (the tying run, and the fastest runner at third, and the go-ahead run) and nobody out, we had one baserunner and one out.
They lost this one and shouldn't - but that has been the story for these '04 Red Sox. What we learned tonight is that the team's pitching and defense - which played very well for most of the game, was up to the task of keeping a close one close. That is until, until they reverted back to their old ways - errors, mental and physical. Like the mid-1990's Cleveland Indians, the '04 Sox can win if they pummel you to death with 3 run HRs. In a close one however, they more often than not will find a way to give the other team an opening, and lose. Like the mid 90's Indians, this team may be fun to watch, until thinking is required. Then, they are painful.
Unfortunately for Terry Francona and his coaching staff, somebody should remind them that baseball is a thinking man's game.