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And Thank You for visiting Sonoma Dave's Giant Red Sox Blog! This blog is an archive of most of my posts on Fenway West. Effective immediately, I will be be including posts about the San Francisco Giants, MLB, and on occasion, stuff that has nothing to do with baseball at all.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Upcoming National TV Games

August 31~ SOX v. CWS, TBS, 10:35 am

September 1~ NYY @ DET, TBS, 10:05 am

September 3~ NYY @ TBY, ESPN, 4:10 pm

Septemebr 5~ NYY @ SEA, ESPN, 7:10 pm

September 21~NYY v. BAL, ESPN, 5:05 pm

September 26~SOX v. NYY, ESPN, 4:05 pm


NYY @ TBY?!?!?! Could it be I could find myself rooting for......, naah, no way.
(This can't be happening.)

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/30/08

CW Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on Pedroia


From redsox.com:

"I never thought I would walk a jockey," quipped Guillen, who heaped enormous praise on Pedroia before the game. "I must be the worst manager ever in the history of baseball right now, walking a guy that just came from being on the top of Big Brown to beat the White Sox. Right now, he's on a roll. This guy right now is on fire."

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/30/08

Cap'n 'Tek Has His Game Goin' On

There's been a lot of discussion about the fate of Jason Varitek after this season. A lot of naysayers are raggin' on his BA, while omitting his skills behind the dish. Well I just want to point out just exactly what he's done in the last 10 games offensively: a nice average of .371 from lucky 13 hits in 35 AB's, also 6 runs, 5 RBI's, and 3 HR's.

So he had a slump, so what? Papi & Mikey had major slumps this year, as did Pedroia last year. They're part of the game, and sometimes they last longer than one would care, but don't be shipping out the glue that holds the team together over one. Besides, who else has the cajones to smackdown A-Rod?! Go 'Tek! Go Sox!

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/29/08

Red Sox fans get rude treatment in skankeeland

Two Red Sox fans were escorted out of Yankee Stadium yesterday after getting what local skank fans thought was a little too vocal in their support of the Sox. Apparently, it’s OK if their own fans can intimidate and assault Sox fans, but not the other way around. The officer initiated contact with the Sox fan among heightened tensions already present with hundreds of skank fans shouting their famous ‘asshole’ chant. (Takes one to know one, I say.) I’m sure NYPD knows how volatile it can be for a Sox fan in skankee land and should have handled the situation much differently. The Sox fan was wrong to resist, but was provoked by the officer into escalating the incident even further before realizing that she was not going to see the remainder of the game, which the Sox won 11-3.



Ruth is turning over in his grave.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/28/08

Yankee Fan w/Laser Fails to Rattle Byrd

Yankee fans will sink to the absolute lowest depths in attempting to gain an edge for da Bronx Bums. A fan apparently tried to shake the Byrd cage by flashing a laser light at him during the game. Byrd, being the professional he is, ignored the inconvenience (unlike Joba and the flies) and continued to pitch a most excellent game. The umpires, however, were more concerned than Byrd and convened on the mound with him about it. The mysterious light seemed to have disappeared after the mound convention.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/28/08

I Think Theo Knew Something We Didn't

Former Red Sox reliever Craig Hansen, who was traded to Pittsburgh in the three-team trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers and brought Jason Bay to Boston, has been demoted to AAA by the Bucs. Two days ago, Hansen issued free passes to walk in the tying and go-ahead runs during the Cubs' seven-run, eighth-inning rally that helped Chicago win 14-9 and sweep a three-game series. Hansen was 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA in nine games with Pittsburgh. He was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/28/08

The Buzzards are Circling da Bronx

The Sox have taken games 1 & 2 of the last series between the Sox and the Yanks to ever be held at that stadium. This one was even more convincing than last night. Chief vulture Paul Byrd pitched 6 innings, allowing only 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs. Manny pitched a clean 7th in relief. The Sox broke it open in the 8th on Dustin Pedroia's 1st major league grand slam.

The Yanks are now 7 GB the Sox and 10.5 behind the Rays, who won a pitcher's duel in Toronto tonight, 1-0. The Yanks are also in 3rd place in the wild card race behind the Sox and the Twins. (I think I hear the funeral dirge.)




Sox win 11-3 BOX SCORE


Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/27/08

Moe, Larry, and Curly

Much has been made of the manner that the Steinbrenner’s have managed the Yankees over the years, but I say leave them be. They know what they’re doing, right? I mean, that’s why they’re the owners and we’re just fans, (albeit fans of a different team), but fans nonetheless. If we knew as much about owning a baseball team as ol’ George and Hank and Hal, then we’d be sitting we’re John Henry is up in that suite, and not watching in front of the tube or on the computer. So let’s just leave the Steinbrenner’s alone as they continue to manage the team to its eventual fate.
I mean, we don’t want to be pointing out all their mistakes, now do we?
(heh heh, snicker)

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/27/08

The Last Stand at Yankee Stadium

The Sox leave Toronto with a series win and head to the Big Apple (rotten to the core) for their last visit ever to the venerable, the original, Yankee Stadium. MLB celebrated the distinguished history of that stadium by staging this year's All Star game there. That was the game that JD Drew of the Sox was named MVP.
(click, save.)

I'm dreaming of the Sox taking the Yankees out back and tying them to the whipping post for this stand, a massacre that makes up for the Yankee's humliation of the Sox in '78 and '06, a massacre that outdoes that pair of 17-1 victories, the 4 back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs from last year, and Lester's complete game shutout this year.

Such a storied franchise should be leaving The House That Ruth Built on top, but thanks to Moe, Larry, and Curly (The Steinbrenners 3- George, Hank, & Hal), they leave the building in disgrace, quite possibly not even making it to the post-season for the first time in several years. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. The Yanks, after swaggering like peacocks all these years, are due for a little humility, perhaps 87 years worth. Call it the Curse of A-Rod: 26 WS Championships, no more, no more.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/24/08

Jed Lowrie is Today's Hero

Bottom of the 1st, it looked as if the Sox pitching staff was still working Toronto BP as Dice-K gave up a long ball to Vernon Wells with one on. 'Huh boy, it's gonna be another long night', I thought . The Sox answered with 4 runs in the top of the 3rd. Despite allowing 5 runs on 8 hits, Dice-K only issued 1 free pass today, and had a relatively low pitch count as well. The 2 teams alternated leads only to come up tied at 5 apiece at the end of the 9th. Masterson and Okajima put in 2 innings and only allowed 1 hit and 1 BB. Papelbon pitched 2 scoreless innings, but only threw 16 pitches. Jed Lowrie is today's hero, hitting a solo shot in the top of the 11th to give the Sox the go ahead run.
Because of his low pitch count, I was wondering if Tito was going to send Pap out for a 3rd inning, but out came Manny Delcarmen instead. I could hear the groans 3000 miles away, but he got the job done today. The BJ's made him work for it, though, as he needed 26 pitches to get through the inning and earn the save.
Meanwhile in Chicago, the other Sox also went into extra innings to beat the Rays by the same 6-5 score. The Red Sox are now 4.5 GB the Ray's as they head next to the Big Apple and their last visit to Yankee Stadium.



Sox win 6-5 BOX SCORE

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/24/08

Book Preview: 'The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty' by Buster Olney


I'm only up to page 58, but oooh! This is a good one so far! One thing is fo' shua~ this one is a must read for any Sox fan.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/24/08

Writing nasty A-Rod & Yankee lyrics during a rain delay

New Fenway West contributor Oregon Sox Fan gave us some ideas on how to bide time during a rain delay. I decided to try and alter some lyrics to an old Chicago song, '25 or 6 to 4', while killing some time (and the song.) Be forewarned though, after the original lyrics come some racy lines, so if you're easily offended, hit your back button now.

'25 or 6 to 4' by Chicago

Waiting for the break of day
Searching for something to say
Flashing lights against the sky
Giving up I close my eyes
Sitting cross-legged on the floor
25 or 6 to 4

Staring blindly into space
Getting up to splash my face
Wanting just to stay awake
Wondering how much I can take
Should I try to do some more
25 or 6 to 4

Feeling like I ought to sleep
Spinning room is sinking deep
Searching for something to say
Waiting for the break of day
25 or 6 to 4
25 or 6 to 4

'26, No More, No More', lyrics by Red Sox Sonoma

Waiting for the Rod dash A
Searching for a ball to play
Fly balls lost against the sky
Giving up he closed his eyes
Throwing balls past 1st some more
26, no more, no more

Sucking badly in third place
Jeter’s jizz upon his face
It’s not the icing on the cake
Madonna knows how much he’ll take
Should she go deeper even more
26, no more, no more

A-Rod looks like he’s asleep
AL East is very deep
Searching for KC to play
Hitting into double plays
26, no more, no more
26, no more, no more

Mike Timlin

The venerable Mike Timlin pitched a perfect 9th inning tonight, needing only 10 pitches to retire the side in order as the Red Sox shut out the Rangers 10-0. This comes one night after relieving Jon Lester in the 7th inning. Timlin came in with 1 out and 2 on and proceeded to serve up a fatty meatball to Milton Bradley, who promptly deposited it in the CF stands.

Timlin has been a fixture in the Red Sox bullpen since 2003 and has performed admirably. His Sox career year was 2005 when he was 7-3, 2.24 ERA in 80+ innings. His numbers fell off a bit in 2006, but he rebounded the next year to post a 2-1 record, 3.42 ERA, while being a crucial member of the World Series winning team. He has pitched in at least 50 games and 55 innings every season that he’s worn a Sox uniform. His veteran presence is a valuable asset in the bullpen. Unfortunately, he’s not the same pitcher he was in 2003 or 2007. He’s 42 years old and in his 18th major league season. His WHIP has climbed almost a ½ point since last year, his 5.45 ERA is the highest of his career. All the wrong numbers are climbing up.

Timlin is the type of ballplayer I like. He’s not flashy, needy, or greedy. He got the job done, whether it was middle relief, set up, or closer. At least until this year. There comes a time in every ballplayer's career to hang up the spikes, and there may only be 2+ months before his get hung. It would be sad to see his last performance of his career be similar to his performance last night. It is sad when players attempt to play too far past their prime trying to prove they still have it, when they obviously don’t. Mike has been on-again, off-again, on-again this year. If this is indeed Timlin’s last year, it may be that he sees mop up duty for the rest of the season. Let’s hope that Tito uses Mike effectively down the stretch, for both the team's sake and Mike's. He won’t have his number retired, but he will be remembered as one of the best relievers to ever come out of the Sox bullpen.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/14/08

Clean up in inning 7!

I think I see a trend here. It appears as if the Sox bullpen performs much better when a pitching change is made at the beginning of an inning, as compared to when a change is made after opposing hitters get on base and/or score. Witness Okajima’s performances with men on, or from the start of an inning. Witness the performance of Timlin Wednesday as compared to tonight. I’m no manager, but perhaps Tito should consider pulling pitchers at the end of those later innings rather than sending them out 1 more time, only to allow a base runner(s) for the next reliever. Yes, I know Lester had a shutout going. Yes, I know the next man on the mound should be able to do the job asked of him, but they are not this year, and you have to work with what you’ve got. Making adjustments is what this game is all about, and pulling the starter sooner than later could be one of them.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/14/08

What happened to Charlie Zink?

Charlie Zink had a perfect 1-2-3 inning in his major league debut Tuesday night. Three All-Stars, nonetheless (Kinsler, Young, Hamilton.) So what happened in the 2nd inning when he gave up 2 runs and in the 4th inning when the wheels came off?

He had to wait about 40 minutes after the 1st inning before he was able to take the mound again, while waiting for the Sox to pound out those 10 runs. Now I'm not complaining about the ostentatious display of offensive prowess, but a knuckleballer does not like to sit still for very long in between innings. As reported in the Providence (RI) Journal, Zink even got up two times to throw in the batting cages to stay warm.


Jim Bouton, author "Ball Four", his controversial diary written during his 1969 season with the old Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros, was a knuckleballer. His coaches and managers at first didn't want him throwing that pitch at all, much less a whole game. Once he became proficient enough with the pitch and convinced his coaches and managers to let him throw it for the whole game, he discovered that he needed to be throwing a lot more often than a conventional starter, a LOT more often.

It looks promising that Zink did not feel too defeated by his last 3+ innings as shown by his comments in the Providence Journal report. My hope is that he continues to shine in Pawtucket for the remainder of August and gets called up in September. Wakefield then returns from the DL, pitches a gem and leaves the game after 7 innings with a healthy lead. Enter Zink. Cash is already behind the plate. Zink then pitches 2 more knee-buckling innings.


It could happen. Hang in there, Charlie Zink.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/14/08

Poor Yankees Update

The Yankees lost to the Twins today. (Aawwwww.) They are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and currently 8.5 games behind the Rays and 5 behind the Sox.

Hot on their heels are Toronto (2 games behind the Yanks in the loss column, 6-4 in their last 10), and Baltimore (5 games beind the yanks in the loss column.)

UPDATE: Toronto & Baltimore both win tonight.
Ray's and A's still in progress: 2-2, bottom of the 5th at Oakland.

AL EAST Current Standings
Team....W...L....GB
TBY......71...47.....-
BOS......70...51...2.5
NYY.....64...57...8.5
TOR.....62...59..11.0
BAL......57...62..14.5

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/13/08

Holy Crap!

Charlie Zink threw a 1-2-3 top of the 1st inning. The Sox then proceeded to pound out ten (10) runs, count 'em, yes TEN runs, 6 of them courtesy of Big Papi's 2 HR's in one inning! (When was the last time that happened?!)

I feel bad for Youk, though :-( He struck out twice in the inning :-(

I searched for 2 HR's in one inning and all I could find was this:

Most impressive home-run inning: Fernando Tatis, Cardinals, 1999
Hitting two home runs in one inning has been accomplished many times, but Tatis put a little twist to hit: both of his were grand slams, both hit off Chan Ho Park.

And found this at the same time:

Most memorable homer off someone wearing No. 99: Joe Carter off Mitch Williams, Game 6, 1993 World Series
Carter's one-out, three-run, bottom-of-the-ninth inning blast off Williams gave the Blue Jays an 8-6 victory to win the Series and gave us Carter's joyous romp around the bases.

UPDATE: From AP:

It was the fourth time in Red Sox history a player hit two homers in an inning. The last was Nomar Garciaparra in 2002.
The last time a player hit two home runs in the first inning was Aaron Boone of the Cincinnati Reds against the San Diego Padres on Aug. 9, 2002, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Both were two-run shots.
Bret Boone and Mike Cameron were the last American Leaguers to do it, and they did it in the same game, according to Elias. On May 2, 2002, the pair hit back-to-back homers twice in the first inning for the Seattle Mariners against the Chicago White Sox.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/12/08

Sox on ESPN Weds (oops, I missed one)

Texas at Boston, this Wednesday, Aug 13, 4 pm (PDT) on ESPN.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/11/08

This is sweet!

Despite pounding out 11 hits today at LA or Anaheim, the Yankees were only able to score 4 runs, while limiting the Halos to 11 (eleven) runs. Giese gave up 3 hits and 1 run in 6 innings, but the NY bullpen (Veras, Ramirez, Robertson) then imploded: 2 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3 HR.

While I'm enjoying seeing the hankees on the south side of a score like this, it only means the Angels are for real. Although they lost 2 out of 3 to the yanks last week at NY, they have pounded them twice in 2 days: 10-5 yesterday, and 11-4 today.

Beware the Angels come October.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/09/08

#99 for the LA In case anyone is interested.....(yawn)

#99 for the LA Dodgers went 0-5 tonight and still hasn't cut his hair.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com

Best Western Sports Bars


We're looking for the the best sports bars in the West for watching the Sox, as well as all other baseball teams and pro sports, emphasis being on the Sox. Send in links to websites, and include as much info as you can about the bar (address, quality of food, choice of ales, number of tubes, Sox memorabilia collections on walls, etc.), and your review to redsoxsonoma@yahoo.com.

We'll be compiling a list and posting it later this month.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/06/08

More Stats for the Number Freaks

Since August 1st:



Jason Bay

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG
4--21-8-9--2--1--1--6--.429



Manny Ramirez

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI AVG
4-16-5-10-0--0--2--5--.625




We'll check back in with these two periodically.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/05/08

For Manny & The Sox: We Will Survive

I'm pretty sure Robert Hunter had no idea who Jason Bay or Manny Ramirez were, or that they would be involved in a big trade between the Sox, Bucs, and Dodgers when he wrote these lyrics some 28 years ago, but it's all right. Kind of suits them anyway.


"Touch of Grey"
Music by Jerry Garcia, Lyrics by Robert Hunter

Must be getting early
Clocks are running late
Paint by number morning sky
Looks so phony

Dawn is breaking everywhere
Light a candle, curse the glare
Draw the curtains I don't care
'cause it's all right

I will get by / I will get by
I will get by / I will survive

I see you've got your list out
Say your piece and get out
Yes I get the gist of it
but it's all right

Sorry that you feel that way
The only thing there is to say
Every silver lining's got a

Touch of grey

I will get by / I will get by
I will get by / I will survive

It's a lesson to me
The Ables and the Bakers and the C's
The ABC's we all must face
And try to keep a little grace

It's a lesson to me
The deltas and the east and the freeze
The ABC's we all think of
Try to give a little love.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
but it's all right.

Cows giving kerosene
Kid can't read at seventeen
The words he knows are all obscene
but it's all right

I will get by / I will get by
I will get by / I will survive

The shoe is on the hand it fits
There's really nothing much to it
Whistle through your teeth and spit
cause it's all right.

Oh well a Touch Of Grey
Kind of suits you anyway.
That was all I had to say
It's all right.

I will get by / I will get by
I will get by / I will survive

We will get by / We will get by
We will get by / We will survive

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/05/08

'Tek's Recent Activity at the Plate

Everyone is complaining about Jason Varitek's slump since May 25th. I decided to take a look at his recent activity and found that in 8 games since July 27th (not including tonight's game) he has 6 hits in 21 AB's for a .286 average over that time span.

So there.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/05/08

Statistics

Baseball is a game of statistics. Just about every nuance of the game is being recorded somewhere.
I found this page that compares Salary v. Performance of MLB teams. As of August 4th, the Angels, Rays, and Twins were getting the most bangs for their bucks, while the teams (wanna take a guess?) that were pissing away their money were led by who else? The Yankees. Runners up at the trough include Mets, Dodgers, and Tigers.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/05/08

Manny's 16 Tickets

Someone got those 16 tickets!

From the Los Angeles Times:

THE DODGERS sent someone to the left-field pavilion on Saturday night to retrieve the first Dodgers home run hit by Ramirez so he might have a memento. A youngster agreed to surrender it in exchange for a ball autographed by Ramirez and 16 tickets to a Dodgers game. The Dodgers complied -- the coincidence amazing. Ramirez made national news recently when he pushed the Red Sox's traveling secretary to the ground after a dispute involving tickets he wanted for his family. Ramirez had asked for 16 tickets.

Do you think that kid knew what he was doing?

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/04/08

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why Jason Bay Will Thrive at Boston

It's his destiny.

From redsox.com:

A couple of things he may not have had time to pack came from his childhood in British Columbia, Canada, where his father, Dave Bay, was a huge Red Sox fan.

"For whatever reason, my dad was a diehard Red Sox fan," Bay said. "I had a onesie when I was however old, and it was a Red Sox onesie and I still have it. I grew up my entire life with two big posters -- one of Jim Rice and the other of Carl Yastrzemski with the 'New England -- I Love You' saying under it. They are still in my parents' basement."

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/04/08

Meanwhile, at the Yankees old timers game

David Wells had this to say about the new Yankee Stadium:
"I don't think the old ghosts are going to follow them across the street. I don't think the Yankees are going to be as good. The new building is nice, but it's not the same."

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/03/08

Is the Elephant Out of the Room? Looks Like It!

The Sox have now won 3 straight games, finishing a sweep of the A's today, winning 5-2 behind Dice-K's 6 IP, 4 hit, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K performance. The bullpen did their job, Lowrie (2/3, 1 run, 2 RBI's) and Bay (2/4, 2 runs) continue to excel, as well as Youk who also had 2 hits.
Papi drew 2 walks, 1 of which was intentional. With Mike Lowell hurting and in a bit of a slump, will Bay move up in the line up? I don't think it will happen yet, but I'm sure Tito is aware of this possibility. Papi may have been hurt the most by Manny's departure as it looked he was missing a little bit of spring in his jog to 1st, but he did steal a base today.
Now that the room has been cleared of distractions, the Sox look like they are back on track. They now leave for KC for a 3 game tune up before heading into a real 4 game test in Chicago.


Sox win 5-2: BOX SCORE

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/03/08

Steve Berthiaume of ESPN on Lugo

During the recap of the A's rout by the Sox tonight on Baseball Tonight, one of the replays was of a great Lowrie-Pedroia-Youkilis double play. Berthiaume then declares "You may never see Lugo again!"

One could only wish.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/02/08

Manny Thinks He's Staying in Ellay (LMAO)

Manny says he wants to finish his career in LA. In classic "Manny-Being-Manny" unintelligible-speak he said:

"The Dodgers brought me here to end my career in this city -- at least that's what I'm thinking. However, we haven't even discussed the future. I'm simply starting to know this team," Ramirez said.

Maybe they understand that down in La-La Land.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/02/08

Youk the Force!

Jon Lester gave up 2 runs in the top of the 1st on a HR by Emil Brown of the A's and that was it. The Sox came roaring back in the bottom of the 1st with 5 runs, including 3 when Jason Bay hit his 1st HR in a Sox uniform. It was another huge shot, this one hitting the Volvo sign above The Green Monster. Mike Lowell, bad hip and all, and visibly not at full speed, legged out a close double in the 3rd. The onslaught continued when Lowrie hit a double deep to right to knock in all 3 runners on base at the time. Down by 6 in the 3rd and no outs, Gerren, manager of the A's, should have left starting pitcher Eveland in the game to finish his turn in the barrel. They used most of their bullpen the previous night, and it was looking like it would be getting taxed heavily tonight. The A's have a grueling schedule in August: 30 games in 31 days, 20 of them on the road. Not looking good for the A's. I expect a freefall from them this month.

Former Sox hurler Lenny DiNardo entered the game in the 3rd inning and promptly gave up a double to The (not quite dead yet) Captain and a sharp, hard hit liner by Crisp straight to 3B Jack Hannahan.

The Sox weren't done yet. Youk had 2 Monster clearing taters, Bay, Lowell, and Lowrie all had multi-hit games as well as 'Tek, who was 2 for 3 with 1 RBI. 14 hits produced 12 runs. The bats are back. Jon Lester went 7 IP, 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, 5 K's. Masterson and Smith mopped up, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB, 3 K's between them.

This was a good TEAM effort.

Sox win 12-2: BOX SCORE

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/02/08

Welcome to the BAY State!

Jason Bay hit a huge triple off The Green Monster in the bottom of the 12th inning with two outs. After an intentional walk to Drew, Lowrie knocked in Bay to score the winning run over Oakland tonight. (Had Manny hit that ball in the bottom of the 12th, he most likely would have watched it for 5.7 seconds before realizing it was still in the park!)

Wakefield pitched 6.1 scoreless innings. Okajima allowed a home run by Jack Cust that was originally scored a double. After the umps conferred, it was then ruled a home run. The Oakland station showed wide angle replays of the dinger, but never showed a close up of where it exactly hit. Outside of that 1 pitch, the bullpen did it's job tonight: 5.2 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 BB, 4 K's.

Besides scoring both runs, Bay kept busy in the field as well. He fielded a couple of balls off The Monster as if he had been playing there all season, holding one of the A's to a single. He also made a web gem worthy sliding catch.

Mike Lowell left the game after trying to leg out an infield hit. Cora in at short, Lowrie to 3rd, and Cora makes a spectacular play to end that inning~ and maybe get another web gem in the process. (Lugo who?)

I think the Sox will be just fine. Welcome, Jason Bay.

Sox win 2-1: BOX SCORE

Side notes: Manny wearing #99 grounds out to Stephen Drew in his 1st AB with LA. In the top of the 5th, replays show him waltzing to the gap allowing a double to turn into a triple.
Rays win, yanks lose tonight.
MANNY UPDATE: Bottom of the 9th, LAD down 2-1, Manny grounds into a DP. LAD lose.

Previouslyposted on FenwayWest.com 08/01/08

In all the commotion....



...we neglected to notice Hansen's replacement. Although I have not seen an official announcement, Chris Smith is now listed on the active roster. In three games in June, Smith tossed 6.1 innings, went 1-0, with a 2.84 ERA.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/01/08

Jason Bay Scores!

Jason Bay has scored the 1st run of the Sox-A's game today which is currently in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Bay drew a walk in his 1st plate appearance in a Sox uniform and moved to 3rd on Drew's double. Lowrie hit a deep fly to left, scoring Bay. He received standing O's during the line up announcements and another when he came to the plate.
Not a bad start at all, not bad.

UPDATE: Bay is aboard for the 2nd time tonight in the bottom of the 4th, this time due to a HBP. He then went to 3rd on a single by Lowrie.

UPDATE #2: The A's Crosby hit a double off the Monster and Bay played it perfectly. He then followed that with a web gem nomination to end the inning! In the top of the 6th, he played a ball off the wall and was able to hold Suzuki to a single.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/01/08

Sox Pay Manny to leave, but...

The Packers are rumored to be offering $25 million to Brett Favre to stay home.

So what's the big deal over the pittance the Sox are paying for chemotherapy?

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 08/01/08

West Coast Tube Tied in August

Not a whole lot of Sox on national TV this month:

Fri, 1 Aug v. OAK, KICU, 4:05 pm
Sat, 2 Aug v. OAK, CSN-BA, 4:05 pm
Sun, 3 Aug v. OAK, KICU, 10:35 am
Sun, 10 Aug @ CWS, TBS, 11:05 am

No Sox and Yankees on national TV, Aug 26-27-28.

And that is it until Sept 26.


Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/31/08

Hansen and Moss are Gone, Who's Up Next?

Quick look at who is lurking down in Pawtucket.
Last week I wrote about knuckleballer Charlie Zink who is now 13-3, 2.76 ERA.
Pitchers:
Bowden, 0-2, 5.17
Pauley, 12-4, 3.40
Smith, 1-3, 2.24, 13 SVS
and I don't think we'll see Kyle Snyder back soon: 1-3, 6.28

Position players:
Thurston, 2B, .316
Bailey, OF, .300, 24 HR's
Carter, OF, .299, 23 HR's
Van Every, OF, .272, 24 HR's

Pawtucket is doing well in the International League with all this talent.


Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/31/08

Who is Jason Bay?

I have always had a warm spot in my baseball heart for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The first game I ever went to was at the old Forbes Field. Doug Mientkiewicz is now with the Bucs. Quite coincidentally, I have voted for Jason Bay in the All Star Game balloting in the past three years.

So who is the new guy?

Jason Bay, is 29 years old and from British Columbia, Canada (nowhere near Toronto, as some would have had us believe the BJ's were in the mix for his services.) He made his MLB debut in May of 2003. After 3 games with the Padres that year, he has spent the next 5 & 1/2 years with the Pirates. Since 2004, his 1st full season, and not including this season, he has averaged over 35 doubles, almost 100 RBI's, and almost 30 HR's per season, while averaging almost 150 games per season, including 159 games in 2006 and 162 games in 2005.

His line for this year: 106 games, 393 AB's, 72 runs, 111 hits, 23 doubles, 64 RBI's, and .282 for a BA.
His career fielding stats: .985 FPCT, 34 assists and only 21 errors. He is hitting .308 in his last 10 games with 3 HR's and 10 RBI's.


For comparison purposes, Manny's line this year: 100 games, 365 AB's, 66 runs, 109 hits, 22 doubles, 20 HR's, 68 RBI's, and .299 for a BA.

I think the Sox are going to do just fine with Jason Bay in left field. All that is needed is to keep the Boston media pit bulls at bay while he makes his adjustment to the Jr. Circuit. Let's not forget that last year they were ready to hang JD Drew and look what he's done since September of last year.
(Sorry, couldn't resist the pun :-)

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/31/08

The Show is Over, Manny has Left the Building

It's finally over. Sportswriters and broadcasters everywhere are questioning the Ramirez/Bay trade with most lumping the Sox into their loser columns. I had previously written to ignore Manny's words and watch his actions. His actions? Strolling down to 1st at over 5 seconds while the team was being no hit, not just once, but twice. His words of the past couple of days became too loud to ignore and cut to the bone. He sent a message and that message was, 'I ain't gonna do squat for da Red Sox for da rest of dis season. FY.' At least that's what it sounded like.
Buster Olney of ESPN called it a wash for the Sox putting them in both the winners and losers columns. They got rid of the cancer, but his bat went with it. This hurts, like any relationship gone bad. I don't know what happened to him midway through this season, but he has too much baggage now, and is in the NL with no DH, so he has to play the field. I think Manny has shot himself in the foot and will not get that 4 year/$100 million contract he wants. Remember Barry Bonds?

Let's hope Jason Bay does his best to help us forget all Manny's pissin' and moanin'.

But we will never forget Manny's bat and sideshows.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/31/08

Manny, You're Breakin' My Heart

NOTE~ I wrote this with pen and paper (remember them?) while 30,000 feet above Colorado unaware of Manny events that were developing at the time, and made very few changes, mostly grammatical. I wasn’t able to watch last night’s game and didn’t see Manny dogging it. I did change the title of the post however.

Manny! Just STFU right now!
Manny is making absolutely no sense right now. I have listened to him, watched him on The Leno Show, and read his words over and over, and when you add everything up, we have absolutely no idea what he is talking about.
We have to judge him by his actions, and not his words. Ignore his words. He had a tiff with Youk, but they kissed and made up. He had that incident with McCormack, but has apologized, paid his fine, and agreed to go to anger management classes. He has been seen smiling a lot. He is hitting the ball well and driving in runs. He still needs to perform for the next 2-3 months, and to excel for the remainder of the season to make up for the mysterious knee injury, but if he hits 15-20 more HR’s and drives in another 50-60 runs, that will be considered a productive year, and much better than last year.

Manny will get $20 million for 2009 should some way be found to keep him in Boston. He will probably not get that much if his option is not picked up. Despite not getting anything for Manny, Scott Boras should also tell him to STFU. (Look what has happened to Barry Bonds when you’re surrounded by too much controversy.) He’s no dummy (I can think of other spicy nouns), but in the long run, Manny will be worth much more to Boras if he stays in Boston for the remainder of his career.

To Papi, Lugo, and Julian Tavarez: Take Manny out back and straighten him out! Make him realize the golden situation that he could be having this season, and for the rest of his career. The Sox are in prime position to be in the post-season for years to come. If he walks, there is the chance he will wind up on a team that has little or no chance to win the World Series’ titles that the Red Sox will win.

Please Manny, be a hot dog, but keep your trap shut and just swing the bat, hit the ball, and drive in runs. You are a gifted athlete (and make more in 1 game than most of us make in a year, or a lifetime.) The Sox are likely paying you more money than you will make elsewhere. (Boras, are you listening?) Twenty, thirty, fifty years from now, you will be a much more respected baseball player if you stay with fewer teams, i.e. the Sox, for the remainder of your career, especially when you factor in the much richer history of baseball in Boston as compared to other teams. Should you finish with 600+ HR's in a Sox uniform at #6 or #7 on the list, your place in baseball history will be much, MUCH more significant, as well as the money you will make post career.
BORAS! Are you listening?!?

BACK TO THE PRESENT: After reading about and watching Manny today, I am just so ready to get to August! Sorry Manny, but the Sox have not screwed you over. You just shit your bed, and you have lost a ton of fans, as well as a lot of money.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/30/08

More Proof that Manny is not Going Anywhere Before the End of the Season

Fox pseudo-reporter Ken Rosenthal has just posted more of his usual gibberish, suggesting a trade involving Manny and the Marlins. He tries to line up several planets that are currently on opposite sides of the solar sytem in order to see this happen, but I still don't see Manny going anywhere before the end of the season at the earliest.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/30/08

Joba Chamberlain

I was extremely surprised to see Joba Chamberlain in the house tonight. After his despicable 4th throw AT Youk, and knowing the passion of Red Sox fans in Boston, I was sure he would have come down with a mysterious flu tonight.
After firing fastballs with precision all night long, OOPS! he throws one at Youk's head again! This is the 4th time he has thrown at the same man. Now I recall Schilling losing control for one pitch last year (the exact game escapes me at the moment), but it was only one time, and not at the batter's head. Chamberlain should be fined and suspended. Substantially. Extremely. Now.
Girardi would be wise to make sure his rotation is set for him not to pitch the next time the Skankees and Sox meet up. Otherwise, I would not be surprised Youk's bat 'accidentally' slip out of his hands. I also wouldn't be surprised if he has a ripe maple bat was in his hands when he comes to the plate.
Chamberlain is a loose cannon. Heckle and Jeckle (aka the dumbass brothers) had better rein him in now. I hope Theo has been burning Selig's voice mail up.

Chamberlain is an absolute disgrace to the game.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/26/08

The Manny Saga Continues

Manny, Manny, Manny.....
[sigh]
I have two names for Manny to think about. Both of them were demi-gods and worshipped by their fans. they could do absolutely no wrong, no matter what they did: Bobby Knight and Terell Owens. Both men had gifts and talent. Both finally broke that proverbial straw. Both were finally shown the door.
Earlier this week, I wrote that something big was going to happen before the deadline, what exactly, I don't know. As much as I love seeing Manny in a Sox uniform, as much as I love seeing him barehanding balls off The Monster and firing bullets in, he may just have matched those other two icons I just mentioned. I usually don't pay much attention to what Dan Shaughnessy has to say, but he has written an interesting piece tonight that seems disturbingly on the mark. I'm still hoping to see Manny finish in the top 10 or 7 or 6 in total career homers in a Sox uniform, but his action of the past few weeks are dangerously close to sending himself elsewhere. Let's hope he goes for the cycle or better tomorrow night, and makes #1 on the web gems as well, or we could see him in a new uniform sooner rather than later.
And that would be a tragedy.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/26/08

Catching Up

I'm still having a great time being back in RI, despite the bats being stolen out of the Sox's hands last night (grrrrrrrrrrr...................) At least I got to watch it on NESN!
Keeping busy visiting folks & friends. Spent the day sailing out on Mount Hope Bay yesterday!
At the moment, it's not easy finding time to compose and write up my thoughts on Manny, Chamberlain, etc., but I expect that on the 6 hour return flight to CA, I will be running the battery down on my laptop. Watch for a few posts come Tuesday.
In the meantime, the hankees, er, make that the Skankees (emphasis on Skank) had better be on their toes and wide awake at the plate, 'cuz this one is far from over!

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/26/08

Greetings from the Motherland!

I'm sitting at the family home in Bristol, RI after getting caught in a traditional New England summer downpour as I was walking down the beach with my daughter. We just got in about noon after a red eye flight from Oakland to Boston, had a good old fashioned RI Shore Dinner, and took a walk in cloudy skies when the sky just opened up! WoW!
Didn't spend any time in Boston, but oh did it feel good to be in Boston and that close to Fenway. Unfortunately, those elusive tickets to the Yankees game I was hoping to score are being just that~ elusive. Still get to watch the games on NESN!

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/23/08

50 Pitches Through 5 Innings

This time it's Lester, not Wake. Jon Lester has thrown only 50 pitches through the 1st 5 innings tonight in Seattle, 40 of them for strikes! He's allowed 3 hits 0 BB's, and has 5 strikeouts, lowering his ERA 3.25.

Boston up 2-0, top of the 6th.


Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/21/08

Sox Need More Cash

Kevin Cash has been quite a pleasant surprise. The rookie has done a fantastic job of handling Wake's knuckleball this season. I miss Dougie just as much as anyone, but he just didn't hit the ball enough, ykwim? While Cash hasn't set the world on fire with his BA (.242 last time I checked), he's at least hitting well above the Mendoza line, (and not at or below it.)

So why do the Sox need Cash even more? Well, if we take a look down in Pawtucket, we find a pitcher by the name of Charlie Zink who is tearin' it up down there right now. He's 11-3 with a 2.54 ERA, and he throws the knuckleball!

Will we see 2 knuckleballers pitching for the Sox soon? With 'Tek on the backside of his career, and Cash doing a good job of handling that screwy pitch from Wake, I'm guessing it's a good possibility we will see Zink-Cash battery in September, if not sooner.

Has there ever been a team with 2 knuckleball pitchers at the same time?

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/21/08

Something big is going to happen

I can just feel it. Can you feel it? With Aardsma going on the DL, and the rest of the middle relief guys having rollercoaster seasons, I have this feeling that Theo is going to do something big and unexpected. There are only 10 days left before the trade deadline, and let's face it, Hansen, Delcarmen, Okajima, Timlin, and Lopez are not having the seasons they had last year. They've been surprisingly sub-par for most of the season. They've had their good moments, no doubt, but as a whole, they've been disappointing.

Theo is up to something, I just know it.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/21/08

"I really don't think it's going to be a problem."

The well respected Peter Gammons was one of the broadcasters during the Red Sox-Angels game today, July 20 at Anaheim, CA. When asked about the recent controversies surrounding Manny Ramirez and what effect it will have on the Red Sox in regards to them picking up his options for 2009 and 2010, Gammons said the following on air: "I really don't think it's going to be a problem." He made more statements regarding Manny's prowess at the plate and his run producing abilitites, and reaffirmed his belief that he will be in a Red Sox uniform next year. Gammons also completely dismissed the notion, as did Terry Francona, that he purposely sat on those three pitches.

Manny is a space cadet, space shot, clown, buffoon, attention hog.... the list goes on. That list also includes one of the greatest hitters and run producers of all time, (who also happens to be much better defensively than most will admit, blooper reels notwithstanding.) He's "growing older, but not up." He's out there, for sure. He's shot from the lip, and he's made mistakes, as we all do. And he got hit with a 5-figure tab (not 6, as some tabloid journalist alleged) among other restitutions for his most recent mistake.


As for his remarks over options that offended John Henry, I didn't 'hear' the words. Very few of us 'heard' the words as Manny spoke them. (I looked for an audio link, but could not find one.) Did he speak them in an agressive, demanding, and insulting manner, or was his tone more of despair and inquiry that happened to contain a couple of spicy adjectives? John Henry felt offended when he read what Manny said, and rightly so (taken in the written context.) But the press and the rest of the baseball world will just have to wait and see what shakes out between the Sox brass and Manny before running their collective mouths off. I'm sure other teams are just chomping at the bit at the prospect of Manny becoming available after the season. I wouldn't put it past some owners and writers that they are fanning the flames, just to see him leave Boston. Can you really blame Manny for wanting to know where he'll be working in 2011? Wouldn't you want to know well in advance that you were getting transferred across the country to some other branch?

It seems like writers are trying to make him out to be Boston's A-Rod. He's a family man, not a philanderer. (That you have a child does not automatically make you a 'family man.' Not when you're hanging out with strippers and such, instead of your wife and child's mother.) He may not end his career with as many home runs as A-Rod, but I'm much happier with Lowell and Manny playing the left side rather than A-Rod and Damon.

Manny makes money for Boston. It would be in the best interests of Manny, the fans, and the Red Sox for him to remain in Boston for at least two more years. To see him finish his career in a Red Sox uniform as one of the top 6 or 7 home run hitters of all time would also justify the money spent on his salary today. Personally, I want to see him finish his career with the Sox.

Baseball could use a few more free spirits and a few less stuffed, starched, dumbass shirts.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/20/08

More Manny (to be continued, I'm sure)

Did Manny intentionally sit on those three pitches?

Dan Shaughnessy, Globe Columnist, on July 19, 2008 wrote:

When told of Lobel's accusation regarding Manny's passive pinch-hitting appearance, Francona asked, "Where'd he come up with that?"
"It's ridiculous and incendiary for anyone to suggest that Manny would purposefully make an out in any game," Henry wrote in an e-mail. "Ridiculous."
Lucchino wasn't buying, either.
"I'm not going to dignify that with a response," he said. "This is Boston and this is the big leagues. A lot of things get created out of whole cloth, and we've got to appreciate that things like this happen from time to time."
Manny's strikeout against Rivera certainly looked bad, but it's impossible to get into the head of any ballplayer. Nobody said Bob "Beetle" Bailey was tanking when he took three down the middle against Rich Gossage in the 1978 playoff game.
In fairness to Manny, all three strikes he watched were nasty cutters on the black. No one looks good when they go down looking at three strikes, but it's risky to accuse an athlete of tanking.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/19/08

Ken Rosenthal is an ass. Manny's OK by me (so far.)

Ken Rosenthal is an ass. That he opines for Fox is more proof of his mediocrity as a journalist or sportscaster. I'm sure the NY Daily Fish Wrap will snap him up once his tenure at Fox is over. This is not the first time I've read some of his garbage and said, 'wtf?'


That article of his serves absolutely no purpose at all other than to stir up shit in Boston. (Is he from NY?) There is no new information in that article, there are no new revelations about what Manny said or what could happen to him. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. Zito.

Rosenthal writes, "It's mostly pointless to analyze the comments of a player who demonstrates the maturity and attention span of a 12-year-old." So why is he even writing this?

As for having "the maturity and attention span of a 12-year-old", we already know that Manny marches to the beat of a different drummer. Manny is one of those guys, to quote Jimmy Buffett, who is "growing older, but not up." I know. I'm also one of those guys. As for growing older, Manny is doing it, but at a much, much slower pace than the rest of us, that's for sure. Thirty-six is not that old anymore for a well-conditioned ball player. (At 36, I was still going on 30 mile, 2500' elevation gain mountain bike rides, and skiing down double black diamonds at Tahoe. At 46, I was still playing drums in 6 hour jam sessions.) His work ethic and conditioning have been well documented. His production at the plate has been well documented. His performance on the field is much better than most realize. He is virtually guaranteed a spot in Cooperstown. Yes, he is a clown and a buffoon at times, but ask me if there is a stronger 3-4 combination in MLB. He's had his transgressions, but he has also apologized and paid for them.


Baseball fans all over the country love to dump on Manny, as they did to Barry, but I know their feelings would be much different if either had been clubbing all those taters at their team's park.


As for his most recent comments that po'd John Henry, how about letting the dust settle so you can see exactly what is happening before starting to spew?

I read what Manny said, but I have not heard a recording of it. (Much can be lost or changed from spoken word to printed word.)

I think this could be another photo of Rosenthal when he was taking a break from writing that hit-piece.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/18/08

How Many Out There in RSN Said "YES!" When They Heard Lugo's Going on the DL?

Lenny Megliola of The MetroWest Daily News in Milford, MA just posted a great piece about Lugo and, Cora, and Lowrie, and the recent history of Sox shortstop's short stays in Beantown.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/17/08

Top baseball salaries

From newsday.com today:

Top 50 salaries in Major League Baseball for 2008.

1) Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, $28,000,000
2) Jason Giambi, New York Yankees, $23,428,571
3) Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, $21,600,000
4) Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox, $18,929,923
5) Carlos Beltran, New York Mets, $18,622,810
6) Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners, $17,102,149
7) Johan Santana, New York Mets, $16,984,216
8) Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies, $16,600,000
9) Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels, $16,500,000
10) Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs, $16,000,000
11) dl-Andy Pettitte, New York Yankees, $16,000,000
12) Bobby Abreu, New York Yankees, $16,000,000
13) Carlos Delgado, New York Mets, $16,000,000
14) Mike Hampton, Atlanta Braves, $15,975,185
15) Magglio Ordonez, Detroit Tigers, $15,768,175
16) Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles Dodgers, $15,730,196
17) Jim Thome, Chicago White Sox, $15,666,667
18) Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves, $15,500,000
19) Richie Sexson, Seattle Mariners, $15,500,000
20) Vladimir Guerrero, Los Angeles Angels, $15,500,000
21) Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs, $15,250,000
22) dl-Jason Schmidt, Los Angeles Dodgers, $15,217,401
23) Sdl-Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks, $15,100,546
24) Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees, $15,000,000
25) Miguel Tejada, Houston Astros, $14,811,415
26) Andruw Jones, Los Angeles Dodgers, $14,726,911
27) Lance Berkman, Houston Astros, $14,500,000
28) Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants, $14,500,000
29) Pat Burrell, Philadelphia Phillies, $14,250,000
30) dl-John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves, $14,000,000
31) J.D. Drew, Boston Red Sox, $14,000,000
32) Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs, $14,000,000
33) Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox, $14,000,000
34) Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals, $13,870,950
35) Troy Glaus, St. Louis Cardinals, $13,500,000
36) Adrian Beltre, Seattle Mariners, $13,400,000
37) Gary Sheffield, Detroit Tigers, $13,326,306
38) Derrek Lee, Chicago Cubs, $13,250,000
39) A.J. Burnett, Toronto Blue Jays, $13,200,000
40) Jorge Posada, New York Yankees, $13,100,000
41) David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox, $13,000,000
42) Hideki Matsui, New York Yankees, $13,000,000
43) Johnny Damon, New York Yankees, $13,000,000
44) Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros, $13,000,000
45) Adam Dunn, Cincinnati Reds, $13,000,000
46) Garret Anderson, Los Angeles Angels, $12,600,000
47) Frank Thomas, Toronto Blue Jays, $12,560,000
48) Carlos Lee, Houston Astros, $12,500,000
49) Mark Teixeira, Atlanta Braves, $12,500,000
50) Mike Lowell, Boston Red Sox, $12,500,000

That's over $700 million bucks, folks. I'll be voicing my thoughts on player's salaries in the future, but for now~ read 'em and weep.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/17/08

10 Keys to the Back Half

1 Tek’s bat~ We’re not expecting him to hit .295 as he was on May 25th, but ‘Tek needs to get his swing back.

2 Bullpen’s arms~ Oki, not so doki this year. Part of it is that batters are now seeing him for the 2nd season. While his ERA is a respectable 2.82, it is not a complete picture. He needs to get his splitter fixed. Aardsma has been great. Timlin, Delcarmen and Hansen however need to be more consistent. They’ve had great performances, followed by disasters.

3 Papi’s bat~ Let’s hope that his wrist has healed, and that the time off also helped his knees. BP looked good, but Papi needs to come back hitting like he did post slump.

4 Beckett and Dice-K~ Beckett’s pitching mostly well, but he’s not consistently overpowering this year as last. Dice-K has great numbers and an uncanny ability to wiggle out of jams, but those free passes and high pitch counts are giving fans, coaches, and managers grey hair, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

5 Pap’s mouth~ Yes, he is one of the elite closers, but off field remarks and antics cannot overshadow on field performances. Have fun on and off the field, but make sure you’re not stirring up anything unsavory that spills onto the field. Save the theatrics for post-season and post-career.

6 Shortstop~ Hopefully Lowrie will shine in Lugo’s absence. Let’s also hope that upon his eventual return to the line-up, Lugo will have also worked on whatever is causing his on field brain farts, and get hit BA back up to .290 or better.

7 Centerfield~ Tito has done a fantastic job of getting decent playing time to both Crisp and Ellsbury. Ellsbury is the rookie and should be satisfied with his playing time. If Crisp can accept his given role this year, (as it is looking like he may not get traded during this season), keep a clear head, and play to the best of his abilities (i.e. get his BA back up to .290 or better), the outfield will still be good.

8 Manny Being Manny~ Manny’s numbers are up this year. That’s a good thing. He’s a better fielder than most give him credit for. That’s a good thing. But I’m just a bit concerned over a couple of recent incidents. One day he’s looking all happy-go-lucky high-fiving fans, and having fun in the green monster, etc., and the next he’s having scuffles with teammates and office personnel. Those are the actions people will recall before the antics and hijinx. I don’t really care what players do in their personal lives, but if he’s got something is going on that we don’t know about (nor do we need to know about) that affects his public behavior and playing field performance, he needs to deal with it. (Same goes for all players.)

9 No more injuries! DL so far this year: Lowell, Dice-K, Papi, Schilling, Colon, Timlin…

10 Business as usual for Pedroia, Youk, Drew, Wake, Lester, & Lowell.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/17/08

Did Navarro Purposely Blow the 8th Inning?

Maybe it’s the innocent little kid in me, but that thought *never* occurred to me last night watching the game. This is a comment made in response to Chad Finn’s “Touching All the Bases” on boston.com yesterday:

"I'm kind of shocked that I haven't seen any coverage on Navarro's role in the 8th inning last night. (Feel free to point me in the right direction if you've seen any articles on this) I can't be the only one thinks he tanked that throw to second on Tejada's steal on purpose. That guy is too good a player to blow the throw that bad. Worse yet, he throws a perfect strike to second in the ninth with Rivera on the mound. And just to make matters worse, the guy made no effort to slap a tag on Tejada on the sac fly. I doubt he could have gotten Tejada, but he could have made it close by at least trying to make a play. Even my Yankee fan buddy called me right away to say he thought Navarro tanked that eighth on purpose!Any Sox fan who doesn't think that Navarro didn't catch that eighth inning last night with a chip on his shoulder after the Sox/Rays scuffle and Papelbon's comments are lying to themselves. To me, that was the story of the night that I'm not seeing anyone talk about."

At the time last night, I thought, ‘high pressure situation, young catcher, 1st ASG, yadda…’, but after reading this today, I began to wonder. Maybe the yankee fans booing Pap *while he was pitching* put the idea in Navarro’s head. I don’t know. Yankee fans (the only reason I capitalized it this time is because it’s the first word of the sentence) continue to lower themselves while being led into the fandom hall of shame, or maybe they’re leading the local mullet wrapper down that road.

Whatever it is, Navarro stepped in it and now the whole world is wondering did he purposely put up a brick to get back at the Sox for the events of last month? If he did, whatever he stepped in will need to be wiped off his cleats by the whole team of the (yankee wannabe) Tampa Bay Rays.

Poetic justice~ Drew wins the MVP in the last ASG to be played at the venerable Yankee Stadium. If goddess forbid, the yanks or the rays make it to the World Series, and win it, then it would be proven that ‘karma’ does not exist. But if either of those two teams realistically think that they have any chance of making it to the Series, then they had better take a hard look at Navarro’s selfish little ego trip last night, and the potential loss of home advantage that might have ensued. Fortunately for the AL, Pap was on the mound and negated the shoddy playing of the rays catcher.
Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/16/08

JD Drew On the Mound?!

Terry Francona was running out of pitchers fast. He was down to his last pitcher, Scott Kazmir of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Tampa Bay manager would have preferred that he not pitch at all, since he hurled over 100 pitches on Sunday and is scheduled to pitch again soon, but when you’re into the 15th inning of the All Star Game, a manager doesn’t have many choices left. Fortunately, Kazmir got through his inning and the Red Sox All Star Team, er, make that the AL All Star Team scored a run in the bottom of that inning to win the game. Here’s what Francona had to say if he needed another pitcher after Kazmir:

"You know, you wait a lot of your life to do something like this," Francona said. "And in the last two hours, it wasn't a whole lot of fun. I was very nervous. I actually was more nervous before the game than I ever thought I would be. You know, but an excitable, you know, nervousness. It was fun to be part of something so special. And then later on, [I] started to have panic set in."
That's because he had run out of pitching. Rays lefty Scott Kazmir came on for the top of the 15th, and Francona had nobody left. And Kazmir was not in a position to throw all night, having thrown 104 pitches on Sunday.
In fact, Francona hadn't even planned on using Kazmir until the desperation set in. One thing nobody wanted was a tie.
So Kazmir blanked the NL in that top of the 15th, and Michael Young's walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning prevented he ace from having to throw another inning.
"I mean, we got to the point where [Tigers manager] Jimmy Leyland saw him, came down to the dugout just to check, and I asked him if he could pitch," Francona said. "It wasn't a real fun situation. I mean, that's just it was you try so hard to win and get everybody in. I thought we excelled at that, because we used everybody. We did a great job of using everybody."
And if the game had dragged on a few innings more, Francona confessed that he might have been forced to put his right fielder, J.D. Drew, on the pitcher's mound and send Evan Longoria -- the designated hitter -- into the outfield. Drew wound up winning the Most Valuable Player by belting a two-run homer, adding a single and stealing a base.
"He might have been a little more of an MVP if we went a couple more innings," said Francona. "He might have pitched. He's been begging me a long time to pitch, and we almost got close. But we were still a ways away from that."
Drew would have welcomed the opportunity.
"I've given him a hard time for the couple years that I played for him, if he ever runs out [of pitching], just give me a holler out here," said Drew. "We would have seen what happened. But after it started to [become a possibility], I was a little bit nervous to be honest with you."
Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/16/08

Fenway West, the All Star Game, Red Sox v. Yankees, etc...

More on how I came to write for Fenway West furthur on down the line, but tonight I had the good fortune to eat, drink, and watch the Red Sox All Star Game with Fenway West founder and future governor of Red Sox Nation from California, Matt O’Donnell.

We met in person briefly at an A’s-Sox game back in May, but he had the family in tow, so we didn’t get to speak much that day. We decided to meet at McNear’s in Petaluma, CA to watch the game. Now McNear’s has good food, good ale, and TV’s all over the place with the game on many of them, but the BIG screen was on the DL, and they weren’t putting the volume up on any of them either. So we went up the road a bit to Behind the Glory Sports Bar and Grill (yes we know the jokes.) TV’s were all over the place with the game on all of ‘em, but it was a noisy crowd, so we weren’t able to hear Fox’s Ken Rosenthal very well (awwwww…) Our suspicions were aroused when we saw the bartender wearing a pinstriped shirt with #13 on it, and an Evil Empire hat with those mysterious N and Y letters on it. But the food was good, the beer was good, the game was, well….. the AL won the game (we could feel Tito exhaling 3k miles away!), and much to the chagrin of the 100 or so fans left after the game, we got to see JD DREW of the RED SOX WIN the MVP award! And in venerable Yankee Stadium, taboot! Hey, NY! You got what you wanted! Mo pitched the 9th inning! In 1.2 innings, Mo allowed 2 hits, 0 runs, and struck out two. We were (not so secretly) hoping Tito would send him out for the rest of the game, as NY wanted desperately for him to get the win. Like Barry in search of a ring, it would not be (Tito sending Mo out for 6 innings, or getting the win.) Oh well. Nonetheless, it was a great night of baseball. A-Rod and Jeter combined line: 1 for 5 (cheap single) 0 runs, 0 RBI’s, 4 LOB. Drew’s line: 2 for 4 (game tying HR, single), 1 walk, 1 run, 1 SB. Not being able to hear the game well didn’t hurt our enjoyment of it as we told baseball stories back and forth all night.

Now about that bartender. Despite his unsightly NY garb, he said nothing ill of the Sox, no trash talking, nothing. After Matt and I had both eaten, he even came by with a kind offer of some free food, but we were both stuffed and had to pass. Not all Yankee fans are scum. (I dare Yankee fans to say the same of Sox fans, hah!) Didn’t get his name (we just called him A-Rod), but props anyhow. (Just get a better wardrobe :-)

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/15/08

Don't Hang Run NL Run #3 on Papelbon!

That run was the responsibility of catcher Dinosaur Navarro of Tampa Bay. Tejada would've still been on 2nd base when the inning ended had Navarro's throw been anywhere near the bag. As it was, the ball thrown by Navarro wouldn't have hit the broad side of a barn.

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/15/08

West Coast Red Sox





Since this is the Western Home of Red Sox Nation, I thought I would take a moment to salute some of the Red Sox who are from the West Coast:

Jon Lester~ Tacoma, WA
Jed Lowrie~ Salem, OR
Jacoby Ellsbury~ Madras, OR
Dustin Pedroia~ Woodland, CA
Coco Crisp~ Los Angeles, CA
Curt Schilling~ born in Anchorage, AK, college at YJC, AZ
Justin Masterson~ born in Kingston, Jamaica, college at San Diego State U.
Chris Carter~ Fremont, CA, college at Stanford U.
Chris Smith~ Apple Valley, CA
Jeff Bailey~ Longview, WA

Previously posted on FenwayWest.com 07/14/08