Again, 3.5 is Death

It’s an off day, and I prefer not to dwell on our split with the Mariners. I’ve said time and time again, the Mariners were scaring me, and I was proven right – a 2-2 split. We were 3-0 (@ OAK) on the road trip, after beating in the brains of the Angels and Rangers at home, and we ended up 5-2. Not much we can do about it, but move on. But again – 3.5 is death. If the Yankees win today – we’re four whole games back! Let that sink in – Four Whole Games. We need to be back at 2.5 again after this Devil Rays series. The Yankees have a series against Kansas City tonight, and then will have an off-day Thursday to rest up for us. We basically have to sweep the Orioles and pray that Kansas can take at least, minimum, one. I do not want to go into the Yankees series 3.5 behind – or worse.
Think about it this way. If we go in 3.5 games behind (or more) and sweep the Yankees, we are still not in first place. Sure, we could be breathing down their necks at .5 games behind, but we’re breathing down their necks now, anyways. The frame of mind is unchanged. And yet if we go in 2.5 games behind (or if Kansas City can stun them, 1.5 games back) and we sweep the Yankees, boom, we are in first and it’s a whole different ballgame in New York. Last time the Yankees lost a lead this big — hell, I can’t even remember the last time. So it’s imperative we get to 2.5 games back if we really want to jolt New York. Come on, Kansas City! (Brad Halsey v. Brian Anderson, Mike Mussina v. Zack Grienke, Javier Vazquez v. Darrell May.)
A struggling David Ortiz sat out the game last night, at his request. He has been struggling with a sore shoulder ever since diving awkwardly at home August 29th, in a position where he should not have been sent by third-base coach Dale Svuem. Ever since then, he has batted .233 with four homers, nine RBIs, and a .361 OBP. You could argue part of the struggles are attributed to his fustration batting fourth, and make a good argument, but the shoulder certainly doesn’t help. Ortiz seems to not have lost any power, as he has boomed shots out of Safeco Field.
“You saw that [ball]? Yeah, I almost threw my shoulder out yesterday. I didn’t even know where I hit it. Where’d I hit it?” It was off the facade of the upper deck in right field, a long shot.
He says that his shoulder is not why he is struggling, according to;

“The next day, I couldn’t even comb my hair,” said Ortiz. “I barely could hold my baby up. I was kind of worried about it because it was very sore. I couldn’t even put my jacket on. My shoulder was so sore. I was like, ‘OK, I got to get a MRI. There might be something wrong.’ I never had shoulder injuries.”

“I haven’t been off since I hurt my shoulder,” said Ortiz. “I came back to play and I’ve been playing and playing. But it’s been feeling better and better. I guess a couple days off will make it feel even better.”

It’s rather smart of Ortiz to request the day off. While we were struggling with offense, facts are facts, we have the wild card pretty much sewn up an d we need Ortiz at his best in the playoffs, so it made perfect sense to sit Ortiz. I really wish we had won the game, though …
281/.310/.463 AND .298/.344/.463 …
The first hitter is Orlando Cabrera, the second is Nomar. No, I don’t think we miss Nomar … offensively, defensively, and the clubhouse. We may miss his presence, but not his baseball skills.

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