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The luck of the Irish Polish

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The recap was already written. I finally decided to make myself a form. All I had to do was fill in how many men were left on base, how long it took the Sox to get their first baserunner, which high-ERA pitcher the offense failed to take advantage of, which Sox pitcher handed the lead back, and hit the submit button. My job was going to be much easier. Not very fun, but easier.

Then it happened. Twice.

In the middle of another predictable '06 loss, the club magically transformed into the '05 model that brought Chicago it's first World Series title in 88 years.

In the 6th inning, Juan Uribe smacked a two-out single into center field, stole second for the first time this season, then scored one pitch later on Scott Podsednik's only hit of the game. For the first time in months, the Sox were playing "Ozzieball." They stole 3 more bases in the inning, and even though the didn't score, the attitude of the team seemed to be changing.

The lead wouldn't last though. Bobby Jenks, three days removed from his third blown save of the season and two days removed from a MRI that cleared him to play, clearly didn't have his good stuff. In just 4 pitches, he had allowed two ringing doubles to put the tying run in scoring position with zero outs. One pitch later, the game was tied on another double. And two pitches after that, the Sox were losing at the hands of yet another double. Jenks was one double away from tying a major league record for consecutive doubles allowed, and had only thrown 7 pitches.

Knowing that Bobby was coming off a poor peformance in Boston and had to be shipped back to Chicago for precautionary tests, I held my breath when he entered the game. I was right there with you guys calling for his removal after the second double. Hawk and DJ were already expressing their displeasure with the velocity and movement on his pitches. But it all happened so fast, it's tough to blame Ozzie for letting him face Sizemore and Michaels. He only threw 7 pitches, after all.

With that in mind, I won't be giving Ozzie a pass next time he puts Jenks in a save situation. We have to see him throwing the ball effectively in a lower leverage situation first. It's fairly obvious that something's not right with the big fella. He's got to prove that he's healthy before I want him getting another save opportunity.

While I'm at it, I have to praise Ozzie for his use of Boone Logan as his first lefty out of the pen. Neal Cotts' .576 OBP allowed the last 5 weeks is far worse than anything Damaso Marte did last year. With Logan posting a WHIP well below 1, and almost 13K/9 at Charlotte since the 4th of July, he's clearly the team's new LOOGY. I'm glad that Ozzie finally seems to have recognized this. Logan should be eligible for the post-season, should there be one, thanks to K-Rod loophole. Let's hope that Ozzie puts him on the roster, should there be one, instead of one of 'his guys.'

The other day when Brandon McCarthy was giving up the game-winning HR to Carlos Pena, I was thinking to myself, for a team that was going to be sitting at home in October, Boston sure had a bunch of walk-off victories this season. I remembered all the walk-offs we had last season. The magic you almost expected late in the game when it was close. That's what was missing from this club, some magic.

I'd be lying if I said I was expecting some magic in the bottom of the 9th Friday night, especially when AJ quickly dug himself into an 0-2 hole. And there it was. It wouldn't even have been a strike. Below the strike zone, but down the middle. AJ dropped down and got it.

I didn't think it was getting out. Just a long fly, I thought. Another tease. He just stood there. Why was he standing there? What if Sizemore boots it? Run, stupid! Hey, that might get out. Sizemore's not gonna get it. Run! It's gonna get out. HOLY SHIT! It got out! Yes! Nice batflip. Somebody's getting plunked tomorrow. (video - audio)

Maybe the magic's back. Maybe.