Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wins and Grins

Funny how a five game winning streak by the Red Sox removes every last drop of controversy from the team. Suddenly the future is now, and the Yankees and Blue Jays have been put on notice. Well, a five game winning streak is definately what the Red Sox desperately needed at this point of the season, unless they get it up to a hot stretch of something like 16 out of 20 and get a 7 or 8 game lead over New York and Toronto, I am not going to get too excited.

Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett are settling in well as the 1-2 punch the Sox need at the top of the rotation. For all the abuse heaped on Beckett in the newspapers and on talk radio, he is pitching very effectively. His ERA is high as he transitions to the American League, but remember he is still learning and is only 25. There are very few young pitchers who can switch from the National to American league and dominate. Schilling, as well, is adapting to being a very good, instead of a dominating, pitcher. While he may not strike out a dozen batters a game, he is still able to compete with any starter and give the Sox a chance to win every night.

The Young Guns in the bullpen and rotation (Jonathan Papelbon, Craig Hansen, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester, David Pauley, and new Fenway legend Kyle Snyder) are suddenly all the the rage again and proof positive that this team is unstoppable. Look, I support the development of young pitching more than anyone this side of the Florida Marlins, but these kids are going to be inconsistent. I applaud the team for going forward with them, because they need to develop and the available options via trade are no better and will cost an arm and two legs.

The Red Sox have the talent to win the East, and beat whoever upsets the White Sox. Of course, so do the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Tigers. The White Sox are and should be the favorites, but they still have their hands full with Detroit within their division. In the West, no one seems interested winning the division, as Seattle and Los Angeles/Anaheim/California are both inconsistent, Texas is still shaky on the mound, and Oakland cannot seem to put it together yet.

But, hey, who am I to be a sour puss? Savor the five wins in a row. Enjoy them. As the 1986 Boston Celtics taught us, you never know when the end is arriving.

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