Shank or Be Shanked!

[NOTE: Tonight’s entry was originally planned as a live in-game post, as Bobby Jenks goes for the consecutive retired batters record. Then I read this courtesy of the Sun-Times:

The Sox decided to rest the right-hander in the opener of a three-game series against the Athletics after he “tweaked” his right ankle during the team’s day off Monday.

What ever happened to Grinderball? “Grinder Rule 45: Don’t make the overweight superstar work out on off-days.”

This will still be a live post, but be forewarned that it will probably be a pretty angry and/or boring one. Maybe Sox pitching can get decimated by the A’s bats so quickly and thoroughly that the Good Guys run out of pitchers and are forced to bring in Jenks, leaving the one bright spot (and I use that phrase lightly) in the rest of this godforsaken season still shining. Go A’s!]

Bottom 1st: Jon Garland’s pursuit of Bobby Jenks’ record comes to an end as Oakland RF Jack Cust homers to right.
Sox 0, A’s 1

Top 2nd: Konerko singles – IN YOUR FACE DINARDO!
Sox 0, A’s 1

Top 3rd: That Cust fellow who ruined Garland’s bid for a no-no tonight is only seven months older than I am, and this makes me wonder if I could hit a home run off a Sox pitcher before next March. Part of me says I could; part of me says don’t fool yourself, they’re professionals. But that’s a real small part doing the doubting.
Sox 0, A’s 1

Bottom 3rd: Ed Farmer says on the AM broadcast that he never liked the way Gary Sheffield plays the game. I never did either, for that matter. Sheffield was always the kind of player best described as a guy who could put my favorite team into a world of pain, and I never liked that about him. I feel the same way about Jack Cust.
Sox 0, A’s 1

Bottom 4th: Back-to-back change-ups = two home runs on the night. JACK CUST OWNS YOU GARLAND.
Sox 0, A’s 2

Top 5th: Remember how awesome it was when the Sox signed Jermaine Dye after the 2004 season? Did you know that in 2004 he had a .265 average, .329 OBP, 23 homers and 80 RBI? And that in 2002 he put up a line of .252/.333/24/86? And that he was hurt for most of 2003 with a leg injury? Are we really allowed to be upset at how he’s doing in 2007 if this year’s model of JD is EXACTLY what the Sox paid for? Suddenly I feel like a jerk. You know, the kind of jerk who just watched an All-Star outfielder play two full seasons which were essentially one big lie.
Sox 1, A’s 2

Bottom 5th: Exchange overheard just now on the WCIU broadcast:
Hawk: “I still think we have an excellent chance of finishing above .500″
DJ: “And you know, you can just throw out the .240 team average.”

Hawk: “It’s amazing, with the team we have, that we haven’t been able to go on a streak where we win 15, 16 out of 18.”

You’re right, Hawk. When two of your starting pitchers are struggling rookies, one of whom only has a roster spot because yet a third starting pitcher is no longer useful, a run of .889 ball is totally within the realm of possibility. That non-existent bullpen and a .240 team average can’t hurt, either. I’ve never had a disastrous run as a general manager like Hawkeroo’s, so I might not know what I’m talking about, but I always thought if your pitchers were going to give up 6 runs a game, you had to score at least seven to win. Does a team hitting in less than 1 of 4 at bats score seven runs a game? Hawk must live in an exciting world.
Sox 1, A’s 3.

Top 6th: I often wish A’s fans were as hardcore as Raiders fans. For example, instead of politely acknowledging Josh Fields’ home run, why not shank the nearest guy in enemy colors? Or instead of half-heartedly booing A.J. Pierzynski for his single-handed crushing of Oakland’s playoff hopes in 2002, why not throw something heavy at him? Silly me, I was under the impression everyone in Northern California wore chain mail to sporting events.
Sox 2, A’s 3.

Bottom 6th: Speaking of the Raiders, would it be possible to arrange another all-sport challenge like they did in the early 1980’s? Except instead of one-off drills and challenges, they’d play a part of a game from each major sport. And instead of inviting the best teams, they’d invite the worst. Could the Nationals beat the Blackhawks in hockey? Could the Browns shoot better from downtown than the Atlanta Hawks? Could the Detroit Lions outslug the Sox? Actually, DJ’s optimism aside, could the Sox outslug the Lions? Could Sox fans outshank Raiders fans? Are Browns fans angrier than Phillies fans? I could be onto something here.
Meanwhile in the game: Fields drops a throw, Paulie drops a foul pop, Garland loads the bases, Boone Logan does not give up the grand slam, Jack Cust is a home run hero and nothing’s quite what it should be. Oakland is a strange place for sports.
Sox 2, A’s 4.

Bottom 7th: Did you know that 10% of Jack Cust’s home runs this year have been off of Jon Garland? And he hit them both tonight? Did I mention that? Is anyone else bothered by this?
Sox 2, A’s 4.

Top 8th: Cust is out; Shannon Stewart is in. This is equivalent to using Boone Logan instead of Bobby Jenks. Hope is effectively cancelled out by confusing substitutions. Sox 2, A’s 4.

Bottom 8th: It’s not a late inning; it’s a death march. Piazza looks like he doesn’t even like being up to bat. McDougal looks like a pirate. Somebody please make this game end, and throw in the season while you’re at it. What is that horn blaring in the background at McAfee Coliseum anyway? And why did it take so eight innings for Hawk and DJ to finally mention the fact that MC Hammer was once in charge of the A’s?
Sox 2, A’s 4.

Top 9th: Maybe Hawk was right about this team being capable of winning 16 of 18. Maybe Bobby Jenks is going to cement his place in history tomorrow night. Maybe hitting a collective .240 isn’t as bad as it sounds. All I know is that the Alan Embree who almost handed this game to a mediocre Sox squad used to be a solid middle reliever, save for abberations adjusting between the National and American Leagues, most notably following his trade from the Giants in 2001 for prospect Derek Hasselhoff. You can probably guess which American League team he first fell apart for.
Sox 3, A’s 4.

Final: Hawk is blaming this all on the first base umpire while the A’s afterthought of a setup man delivers a small act of boring, trivial Tuesday night irony. And sadly, this is still my favorite team. Maybe I should consider converting to Raiderdom.