A bump in the road or the beginning of the end?

Whatever it turns out to be, I walk away from last night’s loss with these two things in my mind:

First, there’s nothing more aggrivating than missed opportunities at the plate. And this game was full of them for the Sox. Manny strikes out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning when they could have put the game away. Next time up he hits a solo shot. Yeah, the home run was nice, but, dude, we needed something — anything — when the bases were loaded. Not to be outdone, Tek later struck out with the bases loaded in the eighth.

There were plenty more %#$@*!!! moments. Ortiz hit a blast that seemed destined to tie the game, but was caught at the bullpen wall (on the replay, it looked as if the ball was caught over the wall, but I couldn’t really tell). In the ninth, Millar delivered the ultimate tease by clocking a two-run homer, putting the Sox just a run behind. But then Cabrera was retired for the final out of the game, and that was that. 8-7, Chicago. Thank you, and good night.

Second, Tito needs to tighten the reins on Wakefield. Many a time on this very site, I’ve professed my admiration for the guy. A stand-up teammate who always shoulders the blame when it is due him. But the home runs are flying off his pitches at a rate I can’t recall ever seeing. The standing operating procedure with Wakey should be that once an opponent has scored five runs, he’s gone. That’s enough to tell you he hasn’t got it (it’s often feast or famine with him, so once the home runs are flying, you know the knuckler ain’t knucklin’) and you’re not so deep in the hole the offense can’t dig you out.

So tonight, it’s our man Curt on the hill. The record for this homestand — which was supposed to be the “breakaway” — is at 3-2. Time to step it up a notch. Or I swear, I’ll kick a puppy. Or a bunny.