When the deal was made to bring Eric Gagne to Boston a little more than a week ago, the good folks here at TLBR were particularly tickled with the notion that the AL East race would be over.
Red Sox games would now become academic, with starters taking it through the 7th, and the bullpen shutting the door in the 8th and 9th.
The good folks here at TLBR - and Yawkey Way - were wrong.
And, with the results of the day (8/12 @ Baltimore), it's more like way back.
Entering today's game, the former NL Cy Young winning closer had compiled a 16.20 earned run average. Today, Miguel Tejada (he of the former AL MVP Tejada's) launched a 3-2 pitch that was belt buckle high, laser-measure middle of the plate into the left centerfield stands. From 3-1 to 3-3.
And since Camden Yards assumed its three-day role as Red Sox fan vacationland, Gagne heard it from the Fenway South Faithful. For us here at TLBR, Gagne is fast rising to the top of our "Beloved Aunt
It took a game that, in the 8th inning, had all the feelings of a well-deserved win for Curt Schilling and set it up for Kevin Shampooing Millar to win it on a three-run shot in the 10th off Kyle Snyder. (And why was it Kyle Snyder? Why not Papelbon? Win with your best. Snyder was available for the 12th, 13th, 14th, what the shampoo ever...)
I recognize the need for the move. Okajima is quickly approaching the career-high for innings pitched in his career, and heaven forbid Papelbon throws more than an inning or two a week.
Manny Delcarmen is up and down, but for the most part has been consistent. Mike Timlin's got his moments.
On paper, Gagne was a no-brainer. Now putting him into any game in which there's a remote chance he'll shampoo it up (read: ever) is just foolish managing. Tito needs to put him into the role of Joel Piniero, even if it means bumping Julian Tavarez off of it.
So entering tomorrow, August 13, the lead in the AL East is four games. And not a comfortable four-games, as the surging Yankees face these shampooing Baltimore Orioles. And you know these POS are just gonna roll over, because that's what they do. And that's why 46,000 rival fans fill their stadium on an August weekend. Sorry if I offend any O's fans out there, but WTF?
The Sox still have a four-game lead. It's not like it's tied with a game to go. The Sox still have six out of their next 10 against the AAA Devil Rays. And there's a good chance that they can go 8-2 during that span. It better be. It better be no worse than 7-3.
Otherwise, that four-game lead turns into a tie atop the AL East, with three for the money on August 28-29-30.