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Rays get A.J.'d; Harden gets boring

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I'm trying to keep it short today, though there is plenty to talk about. The Sox were down 5-4 in the 9th Sunday with the 3rd out running toward home plate trying to score on a short single when Rays' All-Star catcher Navarro botched the catch and the tying run scored. An inning later, A.J. was on second and got caught in a run down on a poor base-running move. Just when he was about to be tagged, he made contact with one of the Rays' fielders involved in the play. The call by Umpire Doug Eddings (yes, that Doug Eddings) was interference on the Rays and A.J. was awarded third base. Then, wouldn't you know it, he scored the winning run on a single by the Missile. Sox win 6-5 after being moments from getting swept. Instead they are alone in first place today because the Piranhas lost. Wow.

Is A.J. a cheater? If cheating is taking advantage of the chaos of a situation and making it more chaotic and confusing, then yes. But, he is more in tune with the subtext of a game situation than any player I have ever seen. Just earlier this month, I saw him purposely get caught in an inning-ending rundown that allowed a lead run to score that otherwise wouldn't have scored. Call it--and him--what you want, but either way, it's a win.

Meanwhile, on the Northside, Rich Harden is so freakin' good, he's starting to put me to sleep. Another great 7 IP, double-digit K (11 this time) performance by Harden, and the Cubs won the series against the Nats 6-1. DeRosa homered in his 4th straight game, nearing the record of 5 held by Ryno, Sammy and Hack Wilson. Fukie had a homer, too, and reportedly got some advice from the coaching staff on his bad swing habits, so hopefully we'll see a resurgence.

When you're playing the Nats, you've gotta hope for a series sweep. Instead the Cubs took two out of three the way the have been doing it to a bunch of teams all year. Just stay in that groove, boys...

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