PHILADELPHIA — Remember the scene in “Vacation” when Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) was at the motel and Christie Brinkley asked him to go swimming?
“This is crazy, this is crazy,” he said before jumping in.
Terry Francona is Clark W. Griswold. You can tell when he talks about playing Adrian Gonzalez in right field that he thinks it’s crazy. But he also hates the idea of putting David Ortiz on ice for another five games.
So into the pool tomorrow night and hope for the best.
The decision was apparently made before the game when Francona talked to Theo Epstein. But watching the Sox lose 5-0 only had to strengthen their resolve to do something. That’s 14 runs in the last six games.
The odds are that Gonzalez will emerge healthy. He’s smart enough not to run into a wall and slow enough not to hurt himself chasing down a ball. He’ll let Jacoby Ellsbury track down everything in the gap.
If the Red Sox take a lead into the seventh or eighth inning, it’s a good bet Gonzalez will move to first base.
But if something happens . . . suffice it say you wouldn’t want to be the guy who has to explain to John Henry why the season went down the tubes for the sake of one game in June.
As for tonight’s game, Ortiz, Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx wouldn’t have made a difference against Cliff Lee. He is the first Philadelphia pitcher to throw three straight shutout since Robin Roberts in 1950 and has allowed one run in his last 42 innings.
Lee gives you nothing to work with. He can throw four pitches for a strike, he works quickly and he rarely makes a mistake over the plate.
“He was in command of the game from start to finish. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game and he’s riding a hot streak. That’s a bad combination,” Francona said. “He had his way with us.”
Red Sox fans should send thank you notes to the Phillies for keeping Lee away from the Yankees.
Josh Beckett looked like a guy who has been sick and not pitched in 12 days. His fastball was a little slower, his curve not as sharp. He is a pitcher to adheres to a strict routine and that routine was thrown way off kilter. Expect him to be much better in Houston on Sunday.
Thanks to everybody for reading today. We’ll have a live chat on the blog at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. I better start drinking now. Bartender, make it a double.