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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Slippin', Fallin', I can't get up

The 2008 Red Sox are hitting a crossroads in the season as they lost to the Angels, 6-2 last night at Fenway.

Los Angeles (66-40) starter John Lackey (9-2)-formerly a complete bum against the Sox-came two outs away from throwing a no-hitter. Dustin Pedroia broke up the no-no and Kevin Youkilis followed that with a two-run bomb to make the score respectable but make no mistake about it: Boston (61-47) is reeling right now.

Lackey walked two and struck out four while throwing a manly 120 pitches.

The Angels got two in the third and fourth off Sox starter Clay Buchholz (2-6). Chone Figgins had an RBI single and Maicer Izturis walked with the bases loaded in the third. Garret Anderson hit a two-run homer to right in the fourth.

Howie Kendrick added a sacrifice fly in the seventh and Izturis reached on a bases loaded, infield single. Buchholz left after 6.1 innings, having allowed six runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

The loss, coupled with the Angels' acquisition yesterday of Mark Teixiera, quickly vaulted Los Angeles to frontrunner status in not only the American League but all of baseball.

You name it and the Angels have it now. Starting pitching? Yes. Bullpen? Yep. Good lineup with some pop? Yes sir. Manager? Sure. The AL West is all but wrapped up so we know the Angels will be playing in October.

The question is who will join them? The Rays, Red Sox and Yankees appear to be pretty much on the same level. All good teams that can get hot but each has a big weakness(es). The White Sox and Twins are in another heated race in the Central so it'll take some work for Boston to make the playoffs.

The pieces are there of course for the Sox, they simply need a little tinkering and some more arms in the bullpen. It would be a big mistake for management to stubbornly stick with exactly the same cast in the bullpen that they currently have. It seems like the latest Manny Ramirez melodrama has effected the rest of the team. There's no fire.

This could all change with a win tonight and the A's coming to town this weekend. The trade deadline is tomorrow and the Sox can't stand pact when teams around them (New York and Los Angeles) have gotten noticeably better through deals.

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