8.12.02: The Sox fell to 4-17 in their last 21 one-run games with the loss to the Twins Friday night in which the Twins made at least four dazzling plays and the Red Sox gaffed a popup behind first base that led to two runs.  Question for the defense: How does Rey Sanchez not call Dauby off that play?

... While former Sox pick Aaron Hurang's victory in Fenway Wednesday night might have triggered another outbreak of The One That Got Away Fever in New England, the Mariners' acquisition of Jose Offerman should be viewed as nothing if not palliative.  Given the M's roster, where will Offy get his innings and at-bats?  Seattle has Gold Glovers at first and second and while their bench might not be that deep, presumably they have live bodies who are willing to play when asked.  Let's see Offy refuse an order from Sweet Lou.  Would you really want this malcontent around the kids after the September call-ups?  What's he going to teach them?  How to bunt the runner over?  How to turn the double play?  Situational baserunning?  Yuck.

... Not since Daniel Webster's address of March 7, 1850 has pragmatism suffered such obloquy in Massachusetts.  If you've dared suggest that perhaps it would make sense to root for the Yankees against the Angels or A's, you know what I'm talking about.  But just as lifetime abolitionist Webster hadn't turned soft on slavery in that Union-preserving speech, neither should it be inferred that one's desire to see the Red Sox in the playoffs is in any way an indication of said pragmatist's inveterate hatred for the Yankees being diminished.  Trust me, if there is a postseason, the Yankees will be there.  Forgive those who don't see the Red Sox having a winning percentage 100 points higher than the Yankees over the last 47 games.

... In the top of the seventh in Friday's game, the Twins Christian Guzman did exactly what Johnny Damon should have attempted in the bottom of the fifth in Wednesday's one-run loss to the A's: he bunted for a base hit with a runner on first.  I can't figure out why teams don't employ this strategy more often or even if the "bunt for a basehit" sign exists.  After Rey Sanchez led off the fifth with a walk with the Sox leading 1-0 in what was destined to be a nailbiter, it would seem to me that the best way of ensuring that that runner gets into scoring position without voluntarily giving up an out would be to have your best bunter try to bunt for a base hit.  What's the downside?  As it was, the Sox went quietly, Sanchez never reached second and they lost by a run.  Friday night Guzman pushed Rivas to second, reached first ahead of Frank Castillo and set up the winning run.

... When Shea takes all those groundballs that have led to his significant improvement at third does he back up on the ball as he did on both his errors against Oakland?  Tony Clark also let a routine chopper play him in the third game in Texas, which led to two unearned runs, an error that was upstaged by Hillenbrand's horrible throw in the eighth.  Rick Burleson had a simple philosophy: Charge everything.  His thinking was that if it was hit too hard to charge then you'd just make a reaction play, and if a ball was charge-able you were better off dictating where you took the bounce.

... At the end of a 3-and-5 stretch that could easily have been 6-2 if not for three botched routine plays against the Rangers, A's and Twins, I feel like NESN play-by-play man Don Orsillo may be the team's best clutch defensive player, having handled that pressure-packed chance early in the season with aplomb under the withering gaze of partner Jerry Remy.

... There is no gallbladder-like organ to process the pain that goes with being a Red Sox fan, so it justs sits there, waiting to be inflamed by the latest calamity.  Does it hurt more to break your foot than to stub your toe?  Sure.  But Sox fans are forever stubbing an already broken foot.  Every metatarsal has been shattered in the last 84 years and still we can't seem to avoid banging this foot against the legs of the dresser.

Some of us have to cope merely with Dent, Schiraldi, that phenomenal 13-game playoff losing streak and a couple of horrendous calls in the '99 ALCS.  Our immediate forebears swallowed bitter seven-game Series losses in '67 and '75, and their folks remember Pesky holding the ball in '46 and the heartbreaks of '48 and '49.  I can't say that I felt worse in '86 than I do every time this narrow Pedro-provided window of opportunity closes another millimeter.  It's just one long pain-time continuum for which there is only one antidote.