By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
OK, I admit it. I have trouble enjoying things in real time. I have an annoying tendency to worry about the next obstacle – whatever it is – which can prevent me from enjoying the here and now.
Which brings me to the Red Sox and their approaching trip to London.
Specifically, do they have to go?
Or can the Sox and New York Yankees just agree split the two games and forgo all of the travel?
Here’s my point: the Red Sox began this season in a coma and they’ve spent much of the first three months with the kind of hangover that sends you scrambling for fried eggs (over easy), toast with butter, bacon, coffee, hash browns and a Bloody Mary. Just the other day, Alex Cora said the “vibe” in the Red Sox clubhouse finally “feels like last year,” and then the Sox rebounded from a 17-inning loss against the Minnesota Twins to come back and win both the series finale and the series against the team with the best record in the American League.
That series victory, for those keeping score, was just the Sox’ second this year against quality competition. (The Sox were 1-7 in such series entering Minnesota, the only win coming at Tampa Bay from April 19-21.) The Sox won the series opener against Minnesota, something they have done alarmingly little of this year, especially against good teams. And then, perhaps more importantly, they took a body blow in the form of a 17-inning loss on Tuesday during which they used nine pitchers – count `em, nine – before blowing an early lead in the series finale on Wednesday.
Know what happened next? The Sox came back. And won. Eduardo Rodriguez overcame a shaky start to go seven innings for his team-leading eighth win of the year. Say what you will about E-Rod, but the Sox are 11-4 in his 15 starts and he came up big on Wednesday.
“Very happy,” is how Cora described his feelings after the performance of Rodriguez, whom he frequently has held to higher standards as if the pitcher were his own son.
And so now, with the Sox seemingly having hit stride, the team has a favorable schedule over the next two weeks – leading into the All-Star break. The only two games that even remotely stick out are two with the division-leading New York Yankees, but those have less to do with the opponent than the venue. Though those are home games for the Sox, the games will be played in London as part of an MLB junket to promote the game overseas.
Know what that means? It means that in between a home series with the White Sox (35-37) and a road series at Toronto (27-48), the Sox have to fly across the Atlantic, play two games with the Yankees, then fly back. They’ll spend more time in the air than on the field. They’ll cross time zones as if hopping over the first and third base lines between innings, and they’ll play four games in three countries in less than week.
I don’t know about you, but my body clock would me so messed up after that that I’d look and feel as if I were, well, hung over.
And so great, the Sox will get to play in the shadow of London Bridge. Heck, as Dennis Eckersley might say, they might even go bridge in London.
But personally, I’m worried about them falling down again.