It is often said that Sox fans, pessimistic and cynical, place more significance on a loss than they do on a win. And it's hard to disagree with that: you'll probably see more hemming and hawing after the Sox three straight losses to Detroit than you will praise and applause over the seven wins at home mere days before.
But it's also hard not to be disappointed after the Sox gave back quite a bit of the momentum they built at the Cell last week in a three game sweep at the hands of the struggling Detroit Tigers.
The good signs that appeared in the homestand, a patient approach at the plate and monster power, were completely reversed in Detroit. Sox hitters drew a total of one walk against Justin Verlander and Kenny Rogers (who had a combined 69 walks in 155.2 innings coming in), and amassed 9 hits-only 2 for extra bases-en route to scoring 2 runs over their last 18 innings.
We all know Greg Walker's job is safe at this point. But games like yesterday and today were the kind that drove those of us in the "Fire Walker" crowd up the wall. It's not the fact that Sox hitters were in a slump, or that their numbers were below career averages, it's the "lift and pull" philosophy that embodies their all-or-nothing approach.
Serious pennant contenders should be able to win without hitting a homerun, even if only once in a while.
A day after Verlander reversed his luck against the Sox by utilizing his offspeed pitches instead of his fastball, longtime Sox killer Rogers implemented the same soft-tossing strategy to perfection.
Where are the adjustments? The Sox routinely tried to pull soft pitches on the outer half, leading to pop outs against Verlander and ground outs against Rogers.
There's no denying the power stroke the Sox showcased in last week's homestand. But they can hit all the homers they want at the Cell on muggy, 85-degree nights, they'll never be a well-rounded offense until they discipline themselves to think back up the middle or opposite field against soft tossers. It's been years, and that adjustment still hasn't been made.
Just as the Royals were the best medicine after a tough series in Tampa, the lowly Rockies and Pirates come to town after this brutal Detroit series. There's only so many times Ozzie can explode at reporters.