Friday, July 07, 2006

Mnookin, not just a funny last name...

Seth Mnookin, whose column on the whole James Frey situation was discussed on my myspace blog earlier in the year, is about to drop what looks like the next sports book to be added to my collection (sorry for the link overload there.) My brother and I have discussed to some great extent the complicated 2005 Red Sox season, and the emotional crash that followed the World Series, with the front office bumbling all over itself, the Manny drama, and the corpse of Kevin Millar blocking my favorite young players path to stardom. Mnookin's book couldn't be coming out at a better time for me. The day after it's release (and my birthday) I head out for my wedding and a two week honey moon. I think my anger over last years season has subsided, and my love for Manny is great enough that I can laugh off his characterization of the owners as White Devils. This is probably just because winning heals all wounds. This season has all the feel of the 2004 season, with even the streaky play (see 12 game win streak followed almost immediately by three tanks in Tampa) and a studly back-end bullpen looking eerily similar. If Beckett can pitch more like the Beckett of June (was his success all thanks to the National League lineups he faced?) they even have the devestating Double-Ace punch. After a disappointing series, they head in to a HUGE series with the Cap'n Oz and the Pale Hose in the Chi-town Cell. Things to watch:

1. The argument that says the White Sox advantage in the AL over Boston is "pitching, pitching, pitching," will be put to the test. The Sox have their three hottest arms dealing in Lester, Beckett, and Schilling. They will be facing the three best pitchers for the White Sox in Buehrle, Garcia and the lucky Jose Contreras (you'll remember him from my Popmatters article on Cuban baseball.) If the Sox starters can out-perform Chicago's go-to-guys in two out of three games, it would be a huge moral boost for the staff.

2. Man-'Tiz vs. Tho-'Nerko. The 1-2 punches on each team are the best in their respective divisions (and probably the best in all of baseball.) All of the focus is going to be on which one of these brutal duos is more productive, but...

3. Look for the role-players to be the difference-makers in this series. Tonight is the biggest game of the series, and a few Red Sox whom you might not immediately expect, have taken the rake to tonights starter--the guy filling Schilling's spot on the All-Star roster--Mark Buehrle. Jason Varitek and Covelli Crisp are going to take Buehrle behind the tool-shed tonight, and that will be the difference in the series.

Look for the Crimson Hose to take 2 of the 3.

Enjoy the weekend!



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