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.

Please visit FENWAY WEST.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Best Wishes for a great 2010 to all our readers and also to everyone with The Boston American League Baseball Company, The Boston Red Sox, without whom Fenway West would not exist.

Saturday, December 26, 2009



Not posted at FenwayWest.com

Friday, December 25, 2009

Where are they now- Coco Crisp

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that Coco Crisp has agreed to a 1 year contract with the Oakland A's for 2010 with a club option for 2011. Crisp had a rough year last year and was limited to 49 games before having surgery on both shoulders in June and July.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Even CBS says the Red Sox are the "Team of the Decade"

The once-every-nine-or-ten year discussion of "The Team of the Decade" is upon us again. Yankee fans will claim there bookend WS titles, most division titles, most AL Pennants, most wins, etc., justify their claim to this title. (Let's not forget most money spent on payroll.) Chicago White Sox fans will claim that their team should be that team as they had a longer drought than the Red Sox.

Danny Knobler, senior writer with CBSSports.com makes a strong case for the Red Sox being the "Team of the Decade." Depending upon the definition of 'decade' you prefer to adopt, the Yankees have not bookended this decade, but their WS titles have become so commonplace over the years, that these last two titles are just two more titles, nothing more. While Chicago did endure a longer WS drought than Boston, that team only won one WS in this time frame.

The Boston Red Sox, however, not only won two WS titles without having to resort to a debate of the definition of 'decade', their WS drought was only 2 years less than the White Sox. The Red Sox WS titles of 2004 and 2007 will be remembered in higher regard for the record breaking, nearly impossible comeback in the 2004 ALCS, and for sweeping both NL opponents for an 8-0 W-L WS record. And if you are of the opinion that the decade is not over yet, it appears that the Red Sox are winning WS titles once every three years these days.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jacoby Ellsbury Steals Home

On April 26, 2009, in the bottom of the 5th inning against the New York Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury stole home. Andy Pettitte was on the mound, Jorge Posada behind the dish, and left handed batter J.D. Drew was at the plate. Ellsbury had a huge lead, and as Pettitte wound up, Ellsbury took off and did it! Pettitte had a look on his face like he was a deer caught in the headlights.

MLB.com is highlighting the top plays of the 2009 campaign and this play is on the list. I wish I could embed it in this post, but you're just going to have to click on this link here, and enjoy Jon Miller calling the play! So appropriate that it was against the Yanks at Fenway!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dan Shaughnessy is in love with Johnny Damon

Dan Shaughnessy, (aka CHB), takes Sox fans to task in his latest fish wrap for booing Johnny Damon whenever he makes an appearance at Fenway Park. He wonders if Yankee fans will boo him the next time he appears in the wind tunnel. I highly doubt that would happen. Damon can't reject their offer and sign with their arch-rivals, as he did to the Sox after the 2005 season. But nowhere in his column does he mention Damon's forked-tongue allegiance to the Sox midway through that season.

"There's no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they are going to come after me hard," Damon said. "It's definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It's not what I need. I'd like to finish my career here."

From RedSox.com: Boston topped his choice of teams for which he would prefer to play. Damon said he's "very happy" to be a Red Sox.

And then as soon as Steinbrenner unzipped his wallet that October... Zoom!!! He was in pinstripes just like that. Yet Shaughnessy maintains that Sox fans should welcome him into the back into the fold, if not as a Yankee player (highly unlikely at this point), then certainly any time he returns in a uniform other than a Sox uni.

Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan...

What Damon did was kin to stiffing your bride at the altar. It was like moving into a house with your best friend and watching said best friend turn into some unholy, evil and unrecognizable beast the moment the lease was signed. It's like telling your girlfriend, "Oh honey, I won't come in your mouth. Oops." Johnny Damon turned into yet another Yankee money slut. Ian at Sox and Dawgs agrees.

Yes, he was a major factor in the historic 2004 Red Sox World Series championship team. Yes, he was endeared by most, if not all of Red Sox Nation. But has he ever explained those remarks from May of 2005? Has he ever apologized for his turncoat behavior?

I've said it before, players such as Damon, Ramirez, and now Bay who have or had become endeared to the nth degree by Red Sox fans would be worth much, much more post-career had they stayed with the Red Sox to the end of their careers, a very historic team in its own right, instead of jumping from one team to another in search of the instant almighty dollar.

Shaughnessy needs to watch "The War of the Roses." Some relationships are just impossible to repair.

FenwayWest.com 12.21.09

OK. You're Crazy.

Alex Sullivan posted an interesting entry today on the Bleacher Report blog titled, "Call Me Crazy... but The Red Sox Should Sign Jason Bay." OK, You're crazy. Still, he has some interesting scenarios. I'm not exactly saying I want Bay back, that is, until I know it was his beard Urbon and not himself that was creating all that negativity. I wanted him back just as much as anyone else up until recently. I really hope it was Urbon slingin' the BS and not Bay.

FenwayWest.com 12.21.09

Youk- 1st or 3rd?

With all the talk about first baseman Teixeira last year, and Gonzalez this year (among others), I had been wondering what does Kevin Youkilis have to say about switching back and forth between 1B and 3B. His ability to play both positions, and play them well gives Terry Francona a lot of options when filling out his line-up card before every game. I would imagine some divas players would piss and moan about being a ping-pong ball, but Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald caught up with Youk's agent Joe Bick, who had this to say about the situation:

“I really don’t have any career-related concerns about whatever happens, because I know Youk won’t let it affect him under any circumstances. Wherever they tell him to play, that’s what he’ll do without bitching about it, and he’ll be damn good there. As always, Kevin indicated his preference would be a full-time spot somewhere, but that he had no problem flip-flopping if that’s what the Sox needed him to do. He loves playing third the most so, naturally, that would be his first choice.”

Bick reveals that Youk has a preference for playing 3rd base, and with 2010 being Mike Lowell's last year in his current contract, it is quite possible that Youk will move back to 3rd base full time in 2011, if not sooner.The list of 2011first basemanfree agents does not have anyone under the age of 30 enteringthat season, so look for Theo to make a trade for a first baseman with heavy lumber somewhere down the line.

I always wondered what Youk thought of his situation, and nowwe know.

FenwayWest.com 12.20.09

Where are they now- Javier Lopez

Sidewinder lefty Javier Lopez was a 4th round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998 and traded to the Colorado Rockies where he played from 2003 to 2005. He pitched for Boston (and Pawtucket) from 2006 to the 2009 season. (At one point in the 2006 season, there were two players with the name Javier Lopez, the other being the former Orioles catcher whom the Red Sox picked up after Jason Varitek was injured that season.)

Slow out of the gate in 2009, he allowed 4 hits and 1 run in his first appearance of the season,buthe was able to shave his ERA from 9.00 on April 8th down to 3.68 by the next to last day of the month, when his implosion began. In his next 4 appearances, he allowed 11 hits and 9 earned runs in only 4.1 innings of work, and was demoted to Pawtucket. His implosion continued that month allowing 6 hits and 6 runs in 5.2 innings pitched. His rollercoaster ride continued with much better results in June, before getting hammered again in early July. I was in attendance at McCoy Stadium on July 27th watching the PawSox and the Columbus Clippers with press pass dangling from the lanyard around my neck. Going into that game Lopez had put together 3 good games in a row, so I was hoping to get a chance to speak with him after the game. Unfortunately, he had a miserable day on the mound- 1 inning, 3 hits, 1 walk, 3 runs- garnering him a blown save and the loss for the day. Needless to say, I was hesitant to speak with him, but that was a moot point, as he was one of the first players to get out of the clubhouse that day. He eventually got into a nice groove for the remainder of his season, as his stats reveal that he did not allow a run to score in his last 9 games with the PawSox- 11 innings, 5 hits, 1 walk, and 0 runs. In October, he was granted free agency.

So where is Javier Lopez, the pitcher, these days? He has just signed a one year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I usually was looking forward to him entering a game during his tenure with the Sox. Before faltering in 2009, he had a 5-1 W-L record, and 2.70 ERA in 158 appearances spanning his three previous seasons with the Sox. Hopefully Lopez will thrive with a new team in the National League.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Well, that book, Odd Man Out, *was* funny, however...

… it may not be 100% accurate. Author Matt McCarthy of “Odd Man Out” has been called out by several of the players, coaches, and manager appearing in the book saying that the book is nowhere near truthful. Several major periodicals and sports news outlets have published articles about the veracity of his book. After Sports Illustrated printed an excerpt from the book, Benjamin Hill and Alan Schwarz of the NY Times conducted extensive research by digging up old box scores and other relevant info as discussed in the book and concluded thatmuch of what McCarthy wrote was indeed less than accurate and truthful. Other major periodicals, including the Chicago Tribune, and the LA Times, as well as the LA Angels blog, FutureAngels.com have lined up behind the NY Times disputing much of what McCarthy wrote.
USA Today was one of the first major periodicals who interviewed him about the time the book was published. The Orange County Register checked in on him, too. Now that the book has been out for several months, McCarthy’s accounts of many incidents he wrote of during his tenure with the Provo (UT) Angels have been called into question. NECN.com sports interviewed him giving him opportunity to defend himself. In the following video, McCarthy speaks with Mike Nikitas of NECN, and declares himself “a proud member of Red Sox Nation,” after he defends himself and his book.
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The book was funny, no doubt, as I mentioned in my review of the book, but I was just beginning to read it a second time when I started hearing rumblings about the book. It took the fun right out of reading it again.
(If the video doesn't load, click here.)

Mikey's not gone just yet!

The Boston Globe via ESPN Boston is reporting that Texas is having issues with Lowell's thumb injury that he sustained towards the end of the 2009 season. Read the full story here.

UPDATE: The Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram is also reporting todaythat the trade has not yet been finalized due to lingering questions about Mike Lowell's thumb injury and WEEI says the Rangers will have to visually inspect it this week:

According to sources familiar with the situation, the Texas Rangers will be examining Mike Lowell’s left thumb in-person at some point this week.

FenwayWest.com 12.13.09

San Diego Padres, Jed Hoyer, Adrian Gonzalez, & the Red Sox

New Hampshire native Jed Hoyer had been with the Red Sox since 2002. He served as co-general manager during Theo Epstein's 10 week hiatus in 2005. He recently accepted the position of General Manager with the Padres after Kevin Towers was fired after 15 years in the GM position with the Padres. Coincidentally, the Red Sox have offered employment to Towers, but it has not been determined which position he would fill.

Hoyer just plucked a San Diego native from the Red Sox front office. Jason McLeod was hired to be Hoyer's assistant GM after serving in the Red Sox scouting department for seven years. McLeod got his start in the Padres organization in 1994. He scouted several important players during his tenure with the Sox, including Dustin Pedroia, Cla Meredith, Jacoby Ellsbury, Craig Hansen, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Daniel Bard, Michael Bowden, Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, Casey Kelly, Josh Reddick, and Ryan Westmoreland. This roster makes for quite an impressive resume. McLeod leaves huge hole in the Red Sox front office, which Epstein expects to fill from within.

Hoyer arrives in San Diego amid widespread talk of the San Diego Padres trading their slugging first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres' new dynamic duo bring inimate knowledge of the Sox farm system, making them very confident about any trades involving Sox prospects. The Sox-Padres relationship has been strong as Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino both were in the Padres front office before joining the Sox. Hoyer has stated that he would would have a “level of comfort” in any potential trade with the Red Sox, while also stating that the possibility of trading Gonzalez to the Sox is "just speculation." Comments on various blogs suspect that Hoyer and Epstein worked out a deal involving Gonzalez before Hoyer actually accepted the position with his new team. The Gaslamp Ball blog reports that Kevin Towers has stated that the Padres' payroll will remain at $40 million for some time, effectively forcing a Gonzalez trade. Gonzalez's contract runs out after his $5.5 million option year in 2011.

Darren Smith, the new voice of the San Diego Padres conducted an interview with Hoyer, which can be heard following this link to GB.

After the San Diego Padres raided Red Sox front office executives Jed Hoyer for GM and Jason McLeod as his assistant, some have speculated that they may even make a run for the Green Monster.
FenwayWest.com 12.07.09

Yankees have work to do

Not only are they worried about Scutaro, but they're also worried about the Sox landing Matt Holliday. The St. Louis Cardinals will most likely not try and resign him as Boras (grrrr.....) is shopping him at $23 million per year. Theo is holding his cards close to his vest on this one, as some are speculating that Holliday is the preferred left fielder over Jason Bay for the Sox.

From i-yankees.com:

For the Yankees, if the Sox were to land Holliday, in my opinion, I believe it would be a big blow. When you look at New York’s outfield, there isn’t exactly a “pillar” to build around. The Yankees don’t have that prominent outfielder in their farm system...

The Yankees have work to do if they think they're going to make it to the postseason in 2010. Their outfield is stable but not outstanding- Cabrera, Swisher, and Gardner as of right now. Boras will try for a Posada-like package of up to 4 years for Damon, but the Yanks will not offer a contract for that long to the 36 year old, weak armed outfielder. 38 year old Jorge Posada has played in exactly 162 games total in the past two years. His batting has dropped significantly since his career year in 2007, and the Yankees still have to drag him for 2 more years. As their roster stands right now, their catchers include Posada and Cervelli.

The starting pitching staff sports Sabathia and Burnett, but after those two there is much uncertainty. Will Pettite retire? Will Chamberlain turn into the ace that they expected? Will he bounce back and forth from starting rotation to bullpen and back? Pettitte and Chamberlain are proven starting pitchers, yet their numbers are not overpowering as Sabathia's were last year. Mo Rivera has been a top notch closer since 1997, but he just turned 40. One wonders how long he will continue performing at that level.

After splooging some umpteen bazillion dollars last year on Sabathia, Burnett, and Teixeira, and wanting to keep their payroll under $200 million for 2010, the Yankees will have trouble landing Halliday and/or Holliday, andthey will not want to give up Chamberlain and/or Hughes to get either of them.

While the Sox may still have some holes to plug (left field, bullpen), it looks like the Yankees have some gaping holes of their own to fill.

FenwayWest.com 12.06.09

Yankee fans come to their senses

The 'Respect Jeter's Gangster' blogshows that the Yankees are fearing the Red Sox:

Coming off their 27th World Championship, it looked like the New York Yankees would be favorites to win the AL East next season, however, the Red Sox have put a road block in the Yankees hopes by signing the game changer, Marco Scutaro. Scutaro had a monster year for Toronto batting in out-of-this-world .282 with 12 homeruns [sic] and 60 RBI's. With Scutaro joining the Red Sox, Pedroia no longer has to worry about moving to short. Scutaro is a known winner, having played for such powerhouse teams as the Mets, Athletics, and Blue Jays. Now that he's with Boston, the Red Sox have secured their position as contenders.

C.C. (stands for calorie counter) Sabathia will show up 30 pounds overweight after sharing his Yankee dollarsall winter with every donut shop, In & Out Burgers, and any all-you-can-eat deal within a 50 mile radius of Vallejo, CA. Burnett and Teixeira will suffer Matsui-like injuries, sidelining them for most of the season. The 4graybeards (Posada, Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera) are all over the hill. Rivera will blow more saves against the Red Sox. A-Rod will undoubtedly find a way to secure his place in the buffoon hall of fame while resuming his former choking performances (ruing about Kate Hudson,Madonna and her dancers, no doubt, especially her dancers), and since they are funding Sabathia's stomach refill campaign, they will fail to land Holliday or Halliday since they are not able to sell out the new stadium due to exorbitant ticket prices.

Author Fernando Alejandro goes on to say, "The only way we can counter this signing is if we get Garret Andersen to play left field." They will fail to land Anderson as well, and are forced to resign Johnny Damon. Lastly, ol' dumbass Hank will come out of hiding and will resume second guessing Cash-man (appropriate name for the GM of the less than thrifty Yankees.)

Alejandro, the Yankees, and their fans will claim the post was all tongue in cheek, but we know exactly what's in their heads. They mayclaim Scutaro's 2009 numbers were a fluke, but the 2009 Yankees will also prove to be a fluke.

Fear the Nation, 2010 and beyond.

FenwayWest.com 12.04.09

REVIEW: 'Odd Man Out', by Matt McCarthy

This book is probably the funniest baseball book I have ever read! I usually read in bed before I turn the lights out, and I swear that at least three times while reading this book I had to get up out of bed because I was laughing so hard!

Matt McCarthy played college baseball for Yale University, not exactly a hotbed of MLB prospects. He was a half decent pitcher on a sorry excuse for a college baseball team. That he was a southpaw was the reason he was finally picked in the twenty-sixth round of the 2002 draft. He was offered a contract with the Los Angeles Angels and was assigned to play for the Provo (UT ) Angels.

McCarthy wrote down everything that happened in his year with Provo, not unlike Jim Bouton in ‘Ball Four.’ The manager of that team was Tom Kotchman, Casey’s father. McCarthy writes about life in the minor leagues- not AAA, which would probably have felt like an upgrade from coach to first class, but single A rookie league ball. We’re talking 18 hour bus rides in desert heat with no air conditioning. His teammates that year include Bobby Jenks, Joe Saunders, and Erick Aybar and he has great stories about all of them. He writes of his friendship with Craig Breslow, who also went to Yale and was in the Red Sox system in 2006 and 2007. Besides all the debauchery you would expect from a bunch of early 20-somethings, he gives us a very interesting look at life in the low minor leagues, including the culture shock that young Latino men endure living in a world that seems light years away from their native countries.

The LA Angels have their ‘Rally Monkey’, but you’ll have to read the book to find out what the corresponding rally mascot is for Provo.


FenwayWest.com 11.28.09

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sonoma County really is the Western Home to Red Sox Nation!

A little quick history- I am a member of the San Francisco Red Sox Meet-up group, but since this group was always meeting in San Francisco, a good 35 miles from where I used to live, and about 70 miles from where I now live, I started up this little yahoo discussion group to try and find other Sox fans north of the Golden Gate Bridge. I had been living in Marin County, but always had my eye on moving furthur north to Sonoma County, hence the name Red Sox Sonoma. I finally made that move this summer, and quite coincidentally, found myself living about 5 miles away from Mr. Fenway West himself, Matt O’Donnell. It was through this little yahoo group that I met Matt. With a new server hosting FenwayWest.com, I decided to change my profile name from Red Sox Sonoma to Sonoma Dave, as having Red Sox in my name on a Red Sox blog seemed redundant. I try to write my own pieces most of the time, but on occasion I sometimes post links to other previously written articles and add my own perspective and comments about it. I have a blog with just my posts from Fenway West, as well as my posts from the Ken Rosenthal Watch blog. On rare occasion I do post blog entries to my Red Sox Sonoma blog that do not appear on FW or KRW.

During the move to Sonoma County last summer, several times I passed the Sequoia Drive-In Restaurant that proclaims it serves ‘Boston’s Best Clam Chowda.’

(Coincidentally, I had the good fortune to spend a summer in Sequoia National Park working for the National Park Service many years ago.) I finally checked it out last week, and not only does the little clam shack have ‘Boston’s Best Clam Chowda,’ the owner, Bruce Monaghan, is a Braintree native and former proprietor of The Mug & Muffin. He relocated to the left coast about 6 years and purchased Sequoia Drive-In about 3 years ago. Once inside the tiny confines you realize that he is also a huge Red Sox fan. Red Sox memorabilia and photos of Fenway bombard you as you walk in the door! He even sponsors Little League teams with the name Red Sox. Turn ‘em into Sox fans early, I say! It really feels like one of those little seaside clam shacks that board up for the winter. You walk in and place your order at one window, and then take in all the Red Sox goodness while you’re waiting for your order. Once your order is ready, there are several picnic tables for you to chow down on; a couple out front, and a few more under the covered patio in the back.

It’s always good to have Red Sox fans as your friends and neighbors for watching the Sox on the tube, whether at home or at a sports bar, or dining at a clam shack that also has burgers and fries voted best in Sonoma County by The Bohemian, the local free weekly newspaper, so if there are any Sox fans reading this who are near West Sonoma County, let us know!

As I am writing about another CA Red Sox establishment, I want to remind our local readers about the best Red Sox bar in San Francisco, The Connecticut Yankee. (Yes, odd name for a Red Sox bar, but there is an explanation in the first of those two links.)

Sequoia Drive In 1382 Gravenstein Hwy S Sebastopol, CA 95472

Now if we could only get a wide screen TV in the back for next year to watch Sox games! The only other back east comestibles and libations we could use would be some Green Monsta Ale and Fenway Franks for the games!

Fenway West 11.23.09

Off Season Funnies- Jimmy Kimmel on Sammy Sosa

Sammy Sosa is still tied to the whipping post, as Jimmy Kimmel administers his lashes.

Guillermo Interviews Sammy Sosa

Jimmy Kimmel live MySpace Video

Fenway West 11.14.09

Reminder: Fenway West has recently moved

Please check your bookmark and if it directs you to http://fenwaywest.blogspot.com/, we here at Fenway West would greatly appreciate it if you would change it to http://www.fenwaywest.com/. The old blogspot host redirects you to the new address, but we would much prefer our readers to not go through blogspot. Thank you in advance for checking/changing your bookmark.

Should the Sox pick up 'Tek's option?

I read that the Sox will not pick it up for 2010. I say they should pick it up. 'Tek has been with the Sox for his entire career, since '97, and has been the Captain since 2004. If 'Tek is not ready for retirement, then the Sox should do the right thing and keep him for one more year. The $2 million difference between the Sox option and 'Tek's option is pocket change. In 'Dirty Water', 'Tek had a prominent role in the opening chapters, while the book mentioned 'honoring the brand.' Having 'Tek finish his career in a Sox uni is the right thing to do, if 'Tek is still wanting to play. (Remember when 'Tek blew out his knee the day after the trading deadline? The team fell apart starting that day.) Not picking it is kin to the low-ball offer that the Steinbrenner's offered Torre. 'Tek's value to this team over the years is most definitely worth the $2m, whether he is the starter or the back-up. Martinez has proven that he can handle Wake's knuckleball.

Theo- do the right thing, honor the brand.

Fenway West 11.09.09

Thursday, November 5, 2009

RI Yankee fan gets a Red Sox goat

This falls into the 'Ever wonder what goes on in your old hometown?' department.

A Bristol, RI Yankee fan received an anonymous gift of a goat wearing a Red Sox hat tied to a tree in his front yard, according to an article in the Bristol Phoenix. It has been determined that the unnamed Yankee fan is not my father.

Did I hear something about the yankees?

Did I hear that the yankees won the World Series in some godawful high number like 6 games? Meh. Come back and talk to me the next time they win 8 straight World Series games. Come back and talk to me the next time they break an 86 year, or 88 year, (or even more years if you're a Cubs fan) World Series title drought.

Not only did Lee slay the beast...

… he did it with the greatest of ease. His bid for a World Series complete game shut-out was dashed when Jimmy Rollins’ throwing error in the bottom of the 9th allowed the lonesome Yankee run.

Not only did he toss a complete game masterpiece, he also had two web gems, taboot.

And off in yonder distance...

... the devil rears it's ugly horns.

This is just wrong

This is just so wrong on so many levels, you'll have to read it for yourselves.


From Wikipedia:

The 21st century is the current century of the Christian Era or Common Era in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It began on January 1, 2001 and will end December 31, 2100.

As of yet, the Yankees have not won a World Series in this year, decade, century, or millenium. If they should do the unspeakable, they still will not have won 2 World Series in this decade, century, or millenium.

So there.

Wake's sugery a success

According to a Red Sox spokesperson, Tim Wakefield underwent surgery today to address a herniated disk which was a major factor in Wake's limited post-All Star Game appearances. The surgery should not affect his return to the Sox spring training. Theo Epstein has said that Wakefield is in the Sox plans for 2010, but wanted to wait and see how the surgery went before sitting down to negotiate the recurring $4 million dollar option that they have on him.

Ronan Tynan's "joke" stretches too far

Ronan Tynan, the Irish tenor who belts out "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Yankees home games, pulled a Mel Gibson when a real estate agent who was showing an apartment to a potential buyer saw him and said, “Don’t worry they are not Red Sox fans,” to which Tynan replied, "I don’t care about that, as long as they are not Jewish." He now claims he was joking. The New York Yankees cancelled his appearance in the ALCS game Friday night.

OK, move along, the show's over folks

And just like that, it was over. Just as the 2005 Sox were swept out in the first round, so were the 2009 Sox. As much as I wanted the Sox to go all the way winning 11 postseason games, I had a feeling that the Sox wouldn't be able to shoot downthe Halosafter owning them in the postseason for how many games now? How many years?

The way it ended this year was quite unsettling. The Sox jumped out to a 5-1 lead by the end of the 4th. It was looking like that bats had finally been found. Kazmir had thrown only 90 pitches when Mike Scioscia went to his bullpen for the final three frames and this time their bullpen did the job while Boston's faltered at a most untimely moment. Buchholz in his 1st postseason appearance ever,made it into the 6th inning allowing only 2 runs. Bard pitched 2 scoreless before Wagner came in. Somebody must have spiked his Gatorade with Eric Gagne's sweat, as he gave up 2 runs in his 2/3rds of inning, allowing the Angels to close in within 2 runs, 6-4 at that point. Exit Wagner, enter Papelbon for a 4 out save. Pap couldn't wiggle out of another 9th inning jamthis time, though. Gagne's stink followed him, too. He gave up a 2 run lead, exiting on the short end of a now 7-6 Angel's advantage. Okajima came in to get the 3rd out on 3 pitches.

Angel's sometime sketchy closer Brian Fuentes came in for a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th, and just like that, it was over.

Sox Lose 6-7 BOX SCORE

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Book review: Theology

In two words: Don’t bother. There’s very little in this biography of Theo Epstein that we haven’t already read in newspapers and Internet blogs. John Frascella landed this job with Cambridge House to write this puff piece despite the objections by Theo Epstein and the Red Sox. Cambridge House already had the project on the shelf when Frascella interviewed there, before landing this assignment.

Matt O’Donnell had an opportunity to interview Frascella last month about his book.

There are a few glimpses into Theo’s private life, from childhood to the present, but most of the book is just rehashing Theo’s involvement with the Orioles, Padres, and Red Sox. Frascella is an informed baseball fan, but his writing style wavers to and fro; from writing like a formal sports writer to informal blog style writing, from informed to dumb down. It's not a bad book, but in my opinion, it's nothing special, either.

If you must know the few details of Theo's private life, save your $15 and get it from the library.
Fenway West- The Western Home to Red Sox Nation http://www.fenwaywest.com


Check out the new site at http://www.fenwaywest.com/

Please update your links, this site will stay up for archive purposes.

Note- I did not write this post, but am including it here for any lost souls who may be looking for home.

Sox and Dawgs to return

On September 18, Ian Bethune shut down his popular blog, Sox and Dawgs, leaving a semi-cryptic message on a blank white page. Today, he twittered that he will be returning to blogging soon.

For more about Ian Bethune and Sox and Dawgs, read Batter-up with Bruno.

Is this the same team that beat the Yanks 22-4?!

Dice-K hurled 104 pitches in 6 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, 2 runs, while striking out 7 Indians in his final tune up before the ALDS begins. Since returning from the DL, his record stands at 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA.

Ellsbury swiped #69 (3B no less) and was caught on his 2nd attempt at stealing third. The Sox had most of their usual starters in the lineup today after getting the day off yesterday. Only Drew and Papi were out today, with ‘Tek behind the dish, V-Mart at 1B, Youk at 3B, and Lowell at DH. 8 hits brought in 6 runs.

The Chinese New Year’s Bullpen Dragon was manned by Wagner, Ramirez, Bard, and Saito: 3 IP, 3 H’s, 1 BB, 0 R’s (total for the crew.) No position players pitched for the Sox today.

Sox Win 6-2 BOX SCORE

Red Sox

One other score of note: TBY 13, NYY 4 BOX SCORE
At first I thought that NY was resting all their regular starters, but no, that was not the case. Why couldn't Sabathia pitch like that last week. Grrrrr............

Halladay flattens PawSox

Today’s Sox line-up looked more like the Pawtucket Red Sox starting 9 than Boston’s normal starting line-up. All the regular position starters except for Papi and Gonzie had the day off to rest, as the Sox have qualified for the playoffs. Halladay had a no hitter going through the fifth when Joey Gathright singled. It took Halladay all of 100 pitches to dispense the Sox, allowing three piddly hits, walking two, and striking out six in his shutout performance. His opponent on the mound for the Sox was the elder statesman Tim Wakefield, who did not fare so well. In his shortest outing of the season, Wake gave up 7 hits and 5 runs.

Auditions were being held for the postseason bullpen roster: Cabrera, Richardson, Delcarmen, Jones, Okajima, and Brown. Wait a minute- Brown? Brown who? Catcher Dusty Brown was the third position player to be used as a relief pitcher this season by the Sox, Nick Green and Jonathan Van Every preceding him, setting a record in the process. Brown actually made it through the 9th inning allowing only 2 hits and 1 run, which was better than Francisco Cabrera and Manny Delcarmen. Cabrera gave up 3 runs in his 1 inning, Delcarmen gave up 3 hits and 2 runs. Yes, another disaster for MDC, but will it spell doom for Manny’s playoff spot? And what of Wake’s poor showing in his last game of the regular season as well? These are questions that won’t be answered until the last playoff spot has been determined (Twins or Tigers) and New York decides which playoff schedule they prefer.

The glowing embers of tonight’s Roadhouse burning down include Richardson and Jones who each pitched scoreless innings, and Joey Gathright. Gathright went 2 for 4 and made a diving catch that would make Coco Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury proud.

PawSox Lose 0-12 BOX SCORE

Sox & Yanks '09 matching postseason caps

Thanks to Lisa Swan of The Faster Times for pointing out that the Red Sox and the Yankees postseason caps are nearly identical, except for the 'B' on the Sox caps and the 'NY' on the evil caps. The only other difference is the Yankees hat says 'Division Champs' and the Sox caps read 'Wild Card Champs'. But as you learned in my previous post, it don't mean a GD thing until you win 11 more games after the first 162.

No worries

Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald says the Sox' slide means little, everything gets reset back to zero. He tells of the last weeks and mediocre performances of previous World Series' winners, including the 2004 and 2007 Sox World Series winning teams. He says "hot doesn't mean squat"; and cold doesn't necessarily equate with mold.

The Red Sox aren't worried, just the fans and the bloggers, I guess.

The cork is stuck!

Somebody go find a corkscrew that works so we can open the champagne! Is somebody from da Bronx slippin’ some SUCK into the Sox’s Gatorade or what?

Buchholz gave up 5 home runs, and 8 runs, 4 of them in the 1st inning. Tonight’s bullpen conga line consisted of Ramirez, Saito, Wagner, and Papelbon were mostly effective in slowing down the runaway train that Buchholz unleashed- 4 IP, and only 1 run. Y’see, the BJ’s took off to an 8-2 lead by the time the bottom of the 8th inning arrived when the Sox mounted a 5 run attack which brought them to within 1 run of tying, hence Papelbon’s appearance in the top of the 9th inning. The Sox had men on 1st and 2nd, 2 outs, with Youk at the plate. You can’t write a better script. Unfortunately the author of this drama must have been Canadian. Youk looked at a called 3rd strike.

Sox Lose 7-8 BOX SCORE

Blue Jays

Red Sox

Fernando Cabrera Gets Called Up to Boston, v. 2

Fernando Cabrera has been recalled up to Boston again for the final week of the season, as reported by Chad Finn of Boston.com.

Cabrera was the closer for the Pawtucket Red Sox after Daniel Bard got called up. In 52.2 innings, he compiled 22 saves, a 1.71 ERA, and a 1.18 WHIP. In his previous stint with the parent club, he pitched 4 innings in 4 games, allowing 2 runs.

I had a chance to meet with Cabrera back in July when I was back east. You can read the interview with him here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

KR: Yankees are no cinch when postseason begins

Kenny Boy might just have gotten this one right:

The 2009 Yankees are not much different statistically from the 2005, '06 and '07 Joe Torre teams that got knocked out in the first round.

Those clubs all ranked first or second in the American League in runs, pitched average to slightly below-average and defended with minimal proficiency.

These Yankees, true to form, rank first in the league runs and eighth in ERA. They play better defense, thanks in large part to the addition of first baseman Mark Teixeira, improvement of shortstop Derek Jeter and use of Brett Gardner in center field. But if the Yankees go deep into the postseason, it might be due more to inferior first-round competition than actual superiority.

That is not a knock — the Yankees, who host the Red Sox this weekend (Saturday, MLB on FOX, 4 p.m.) would earn the right to play the AL Central "champion" by holding off the Sox for the division title.

Securing the top seed would give the Yankees a clear advantage. Neither the Tigers nor Twins is close to the same level as the '05 Angels, '06 Tigers and '07 Indians, all of which won at least 95 games in the regular season before defeating the Yankees in the first round.

The prevailing theory is that the Tigers would stand a puncher's chance with right-hander Justin Verlander pitching Game 1. Verlander, though, would face a powerhouse lineup while Yankees lefty CC Sabathia — a pitcher of similar merit — would face the feeble Tigers.

A doomsday scenario with Sabathia losing Game 1 and right-hander A.J. Burnett botching Game 2 is not out of the question. But more likely, the Yankees will win the series easily enough to set up their rotation for the ALCS, while the Red Sox and Angels stage a more spirited struggle that leaves the winner depleted for the next round.

Then again, this is the postseason.

Anything is possible. Nothing is guaranteed.

"We've gone in with 100-win teams and gotten knocked out in the first round," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says, referring specifically to the 2002 club that won 103 games and lost to the Angels.

How will A.J. Burnett handle the postseason? (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

"Those teams felt comfortable and confident. We were the favorites, the odds-on favorites in Vegas. We had good teams and got knocked out early.

"When you're in that position, you dissect yourself — 'this is where we weren't good enough' and all that. But I can tell you being part of it: Our players were prepared. Our players were confident. And we got beat."

The biggest difference with these Yankees, one rival GM says, is the power at the top of their rotation, the swing-and-miss stuff of Sabathia and Burnett.

Burnett ranks fourth in the league in strikeout rate, Sabathia 10th and Andy Pettitte 16th. While no pitcher on the '07 Yankees ranked in the top 20, the two teams before that were not exactly helpless. Mike Mussina and Randy Johnson ranked in the top 11 in strikeout rate in '06, Johnson and Mussina in the top seven in '05.

Sabathia, though, is something different — a Yankees ace in his prime. Burnett — the good Burnett — arguably is the Yankees' best No. 2 starter in years. The Yankees spent a combined $243.5 million on the two free agents last offseason in large part to improve their postseason chances. If Sabathia and Burnett fail ... don't even ask.

Cashman attributes Burnett's turnaround in his last two starts to improved mechanics, and perhaps now A.J. Enigma will get on a roll. Still, Burnett has never pitched in the postseason. Until proven otherwise, he is a coin flip.

Sabathia is quite the opposite; never mind his 7.92 ERA in five postseason starts. He was geeked up and worn down in 2007, his first postseason with the Indians. A year ago, his one start for the Brewers in the playoffs was his fourth straight on three days' rest — and he was utterly masterful down the stretch, pitching in the near-equivalent of postseason games.

Sabathia will enter the playoffs having thrown fewer innings in the regular season than he did in '07 and '08. He is 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA in four September starts, his best month as a Yankee. He should be the least of the club's problems.

The Yankees' real challenge, one way or another, figures to come in the ALCS.

The Red Sox have torched Burnett for 20 runs in 20 1/3 innings this season, an 8.85 ERA. Sabathia has pitched well against the Sox, Pettitte decently. Right-hander Joba Chamberlain, the expected Game 4 starter, has posted a 5.06 ERA in three starts against the Sox, failing to complete six innings in any of them.

Granted, the sample sizes are small, but the Yankees' starters' ERAs against the Angels are even more disturbing: Burnett 4.26, Chamberlain 5.40, Sabathia 6.08, Pettitte 7.88.

Good as the Yankees' offense is, the team's recent postseason history only reinforces the importance of dominant starting pitching. The Yankees this season average 5.67 runs per game. From '05 to '07, they averaged 5.47, 5.74 and 5.98, respectively — and a lot of good it did them in October.

Another first-round knockout would be even more deflating than the past three, considering how much money the Yankees spent last offseason, how much better they are than the Tigers and Twins. Each postseason is different. Billy Beane was correct to call it a "crapshoot." But this time, the Yankees' first-round opponent will be close to a gimme.

The Yankees can't lose, can they?

Red Sox's chances of signing Wagner in doubt

Ken Rosenthal chimes in on the topic of the Sox placing a waiver claim on former Met's closer Billy Wagner. Wagner, one of the great closers of all time, pitched in his 1st game in over a year and a half, after undergoing Tommy John surgery. After pitching 1 scoreless inning and registering 2 K's against Atlanta on August 20th, he was promptly placed up for grabs. Mets fans know this is not the first time that one of their players has been hung out just to see how much he's worth, and so should Kenny boy. While everything in this post of his may appear to be true, reading him does to my eyes and brain what fingernails on a chalkboard do to my ears.

Beanballs are a part of the game, but senseless

KR gets it right about beanballs in this piece, but he uses Red Sox incidents more than any other team in his post.

The ugliest brawl I ever saw was a 20-minute donnybrook between the Orioles and Mariners on June 6, 1993. The benches emptied after Mike Mussina hit Bill Haselman in the left shoulder and Haselman charged the mound. That night, writing for The Baltimore Sun, I praised the Orioles, saying they had shown admirable fight.

Maybe the dumbest thing I have ever written.

KR, almost everything you write is the dumbest thing you have ever written. How about this gem:

All of the parties involved need injections of common sense, the way players once needed injections of ... well, you know.

No, Kenny-boy, we don't know. What injections did players once need?

Ken Rosenthal Wastes No Time Tying Papi & RSN to the Whipping Post

Pseudo-journalist for Fox wasted no time at all to lash out at David Ortiz and all of Red Sox fans with harsh words before Ortiz even had a chance to respond to the allegations that his is on 'the list.'

Rosenthal: Black cloud over Boston
Rosenthal: Black cloud over Boston

MLB.com: "Yanks back on top, where they belong"

Huh? Since when does MLB have the gall to declare that the Yankees are back on top, "where they belong"? Maybe they are in 1st place in the AL East at the moment, but when I saw that headline, the impression I got was that the Yankees are the only team to ever deserve to be in 1st place, not just this week, or this month, but for all time. They may have clinched the AL East title this year, but they have not won the American League Pennant yet. They still have two post-season series and then a World Series to get through before they can say they are at the top.

The Yankees have not won a World Series this century and it's been 6 years since they even went to the World Series. The Red Sox have won 2 of the last 5 World Series. Since 2003, the Red Sox have been to the playoffs five times, reaching the ALCS four times, and are on the verge of playing in the postseason again. They have come back from a 0-3 deficit to beat them in 2004. They have won all 8 World Series games that they have played in since 2004. These facts certainly justify the Red Sox being worthy of belonging "at the top."

I'm really surprised at the bias of MLB when they make this declaration. I think the Red Sox deserve to be in 1st place. I'm sure there are some Giants, Royals and Pirates fans that may think their team should be on top. MLB should stick to reporting the news. Say they are in 1st place and have clinched the AL East, but let the bloggers do the opining.

Read the full article here.

Clay's Royal Performance

Clay Buchholz is becoming the pitcher that the Red Sox thought he would be right before our eyes. Tonight in Kansas City he put on a royal performance, shutting out the Royals for 6.2 innings, scattering 5 hits, walking none, and striking out 8. OK, he did hit one Royal, but otherwise he has become a solid candidate for starter #3 in the post-season. R2 came in the 7th to finish off that inning on 2 pitches, but fell apart in the 8th, and surrendered 3 runs before being lifted for Saito, who finished the game. Buchholz is now 7-3, with a 3.21 ERA.

On the other side of the plate, the Sox unleashed a barrage of 15 hits, including multi-hit games by 6 starters, and plated 10 of them. Alex Gonzalez went 2 for 5, scoring twice and raising his batting average to .241, which is 31 points higher than when he arrived in Boston. While the Sox were doing all that scoring, Zack Greinke was ejected for impersonating the home plate umpire. Manager Trey Hillman followed Greinke to the clubhouse a short while later.

Next stop for the Sox is da Bronx, with Jon Lester facing Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain is in the middle of a serious slump, not unlike Beckett’s recent woes. Let’s hope Chamberlain doesn’t snap out of it just yet. Sabathia follows against Dice-K. Sabathia is due for a loss, as the Yanks have won the 10 games that he has started. Mystery man Paul Byrd goes up against Andy Pettitte in the 3rd match. Pettitte has been nursing a fatigued left shoulder.

Sox Win 10-3 BOX SCORE

MA Men

Thanks to Joyce from the Bay Area RSN Meet-up group for sending me the link to this video uploaded to funnyordie.com by former New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre.

NOTE- Salty language alert! NSFW! (Not safe for workplace.)

That’s more like it

Commander Kick Ass was tagged for 12 hits and a free pass in his 6 innings of work while striking out 7, but scattered them enough to allow only 2 Royals to plate. The bullpen dance card tonight included Okajima, Wagner, and Papelbon. Combined they pitched 3 scoreless innings surrendering 2 walks and striking out 3 of those pesky Royals.

Offensively, the Sox also had 12 hits as did the Royals, but managed 7 more runs. Papi went 2 for 4 including his 25th tater of the season. Pedroia, Drew, and Gonzalez all had 2 hit games.

Sox Win 9-2 BOX SCORE 

Red Sox 12 
Royals 12 

It was happening

Paul Byrd pitched 5.2 scoreless innings tonight against the lowly Royals. Unfortunately, he pitched 6.2 innings total. The 5.2 scoreless came after the 1st inning that he pitched, in which he allowed 5 runs to plate. 5 friggin’ Royals ferkrinoutlowd! And what happened to the Sox bats?! Oh, Zack Greinke was pitching. He allowed only 2 hits, but he left after the 6th inning and the Sox managed no hits off the Royal bullpen.


Yeesh. Well, it was happening.

Nick Green's dead leg

Nick Green had been experiencing problems with his leg for a couple of days when he was sent in to pinch hit against the Angels last week. He hadn't said anything to Tito or the trainers, as he hadn't been playing much with the arrival of Alex Gonzalez. He thought that the dead leg symptoms might go away, but you could see him struggling during the at bat in question. Fortunately he was able to draw a base on balls, which sent in the tying run in the game that the Sox battled back 3 times to beat the Angels.

The Boston Herald is reporting that the Sox have sent Green back to Boston to have his leg examined by the team physician. Chris Woodward has been called up to replace him as an infield reserve, but the Boston bullpen will remain short 1 pitcher during Green's abscence. Green is tied with Jonathan Van Every for having the lowest ERA of all of Boston's pitchers this season.

According to an unverified report, Green will also be getting a better haircut in Boston, too.

From Boston.com:

When Nick Green tried to give himself a haircut yesterday before the game, it led to one the season’s most ribald moments. Green inadvertently shaved his head in one spot and he asked Rocco Baldelli for help. Baldelli cracked up and invited the rest of the team over. Eventually, Ramirez completed a new haircut for Green. When Green joined the team for stretching, Varitek removed Green’s hat and revealed the final result, a short and choppy coif. Green laughed while the Sox applauded . . .

Book review: Theology

In two words: Don’t bother. There’s very little in this biography of Theo Epstein that we haven’t already read in newspapers and Internet blogs. John Frascella landed this job with Cambridge House to write this puff piece despite the objections by Theo Epstein and the Red Sox. Cambridge House already had the project on the shelf when Frascella interviewed there, before landing this assignment.

Matt O’Donnell had an opportunity to interview Frascella last month about his book.

There are a few glimpses into Theo’s private life, from childhood to the present, but most of the book is just rehashing Theo’s involvement with the Orioles, Padres, and Red Sox. Frascella is an informed baseball fan, but his writing style wavers to and fro; from writing like a formal sports writer to informal blog style writing, from informed to dumb down. It's not a bad book, but in my opinion, it's nothing special, either.

If you must know the few details of Theo's private life, save your $15 and get it from the library.

No post season for Tazawa

Junichi Tazawa was placed on the 60 day DL today by the Boston Red Sox. Boston.com reports that he has a mild groin strain and will be replaced on the roster by infielder Chris Woodward.

Does this make room for Paul Byrd on the post season roster? We'll see how Theo and Tito deal with the post season pitching plans.

Meanwhile, in Seattle...

... the Mariners beat the Yankees again today, taking 2 out of 3 in their series. Joba 'Headhunter' Chamberlain couldn't make it past the 3rd inning, getting shellacked to the tune of 3 IP, 6 H's, 7 ER's, 3 BB's, only 2 K's, and 1 HR. Chamberlain is now 8-6, with a 4.72 ERA.

With Seattle's win over the Yankees and the Sox beating the Orioles again today, the Sox are now only 5 games behind the Yankees, but only 4 games behind in the loss column.

I'm tellin' ya, it could still happen!

Yankees Beware

These are not the same Sox that you knocked around starting in game #9 of the season. After getting your collectives asses kicked 8 times in a row, you finally rise up and show some life like it was a pro wrestling smackdown. These Sox however, have won 9 of their last 10 games.

These Sox knocked the birds of Baltimore out of their nests for the 15th time in 17 contests between the 2 clubs this season. Jon Lester was good tonight, but not overpowering, and garnered his 14th win and team leading 22nd quality start, as the Sox beat the Orioles 11-5 at Fenway South. He allowed 10 hits in 6 innings, yet with all those hits, including 2 home runs, he kept the damage to 3 runs allowed. He did not issue any free passes.

Wagner, Saito, and Ramirez pitched 3 scoreless innings, allowing only 1 baserunner. Unfortunately, sandwiched in there was Manny Delcarmen's tough outing. He served up a phat meatball sandwich: 2 walks, 2 home runs, 0 outs. After a lights out April in which he tossed 13 scoreless innings, his ERA has been steadily rising ever since. I love a good home-town-boy-makes-good story, so I certainly hope he can correct his miscues before October. I'd hate to see him go. The Sox will certainly need the April MDC in about 2 & 1/2 weeks. Barring a '78esque implosion, the Sox will be squaring off against the Angels in the ALDS. They technically have not been eliminated from the AL East crown, but they are 7 games ahead of the reeling Rangers, the magic number down to 9 for the wild card slot. Let's not dismiss the fact that the Sox are 9 and 1 in their last 10 games, and have reduced the Yankees lead from 9 games to 6, but only 5 in the loss column. Yankees! You'd better not look over your shoulder lest you trip and fall! It still could happen, yaknow. Just sayin'....

OK, let's get back to tonight's game. Every starter had at least 1 hit, Pedroia and Ortiz 2 hits each, and Drew and Lowell 3 hits each, including a home run by Drew. Rookie Josh "Glenda" Reddick hit his 2nd home run of the season.

Alex Gonzalez made a 'Web Gem' worthy stab and turned a great 6-4-3 double play! I'm tellin' ya- sign this guy for the next 3 years!

Sox Win 11-5 BOX SCORE

No Brooms Tonight

Josh Beckett went 8 full tonight, allowing 7 hits and 3 runs while striking out 7 Halos. That and 2 home runs, 1 each by Ellsbury and Bay, were not enough to sweep the Angels out of Boston. Tied 3-3 going into the top of the 9th, Billy Wagner suffered his 1st loss in a Sox uni by a combination of Angel's small ball (sac bunt in the 9th) and Howie Kendrick going 3/4, including a HR, 2 RBI's, and 2 runs scored. Victor Martinez was back in the line up and connected for another hit.
I don't know much about the Angel's 2nd baseman, except that he's 26 yo, has a .304 average spanning his 4 season in the bigs so far, and has played 1st base for Ellay before moving over 1 base.

Sox Lose 3-4 BOX SCORE

Red Sox Win! Red Sox Win! Red Sox Win!

You're once, twice, three times...
No, that one won't work.

Three times a charm?
Naah, been done before.

Three's company?
No, not that one, either.

I'm wrackin' the ol' noggin tryin' to come up with some snappy title to this post about the Red Sox coming back 3 (three) times tonight, but not having much luck, so I'm going to type away and see if any lightbulbs flash on along the way.

Paul Byrd was adequate tonight. (I promise no aviary humor tonight.) He went 5+ innings allowing only 3 runs to score by the Angels. Well, there is the matter of the 9 hits he allowed, but as the final score would indicate, it's not how many hits you make, it's how many runs you score. Despite holding the Halos to 3 runs, he left the game on the short end of 3-0 deficit. Not to worry as the Sox scored 5 times in the bottom of the 6th (comeback #1) After Byrd handed over the ball to the bullpen, Saito came in and pitched 1 inning and allowed another run in. Next up was Ramirez who had nothin', nada, zippo, zilch tonight as he allowed 3 more Angels around the diamond while registering only 1 out. So now the Sox are down 7-5. (Around about that time the Bums from da Bronx tallied a comeback of their own, as they were down 2-4 and came back to beat Toronto 5-4.) The Sox scored twice in the 8th for comeback #2, tying the game, but not for long, as the Angels put another run up in the top of the 9th. (Are you following all this?) Down by 1 run in the bottom of the 9th, Ortiz draws a 2 out walk. Joey Gathright enters to run for Papi. J.D. Drew singles. Reddick had pinch hit earlier for 'Tek and scored one of the 8th inning runs, so now enter Dusty Brown at catcher. Enter Jed Lowrie to pinch hit for Brown before he even had a chance to step up to the plate. Lowrie singles. Nick Green coaxed a walk to load the bases. Next up, A-Gonz who singled to drive in Drew and win the game.

Earlier I said it's not how many hits, but how many runs that counts (Baseball 101.) The Sox had 13 of 'em tonight, but the Halos had 17. Thankfully, the Sox pitchers scattered them just barely enough to offset that lopsided statistic.

Now, about this shortstop dilemma. I commented on an earlier post about the possibility of a long term future for Alex Gonzalez in a Sox uni. The usually light hitting (yet vacuum like sweeping of just about any ball hit in between 2nd and 3rd bases) Gonzalez was hitting at a fugly .210 clip when he arrived for his 2nd tour of duty in Boston. He has lifted his batting average by a full 25 points in the past month. Since August 16th, he has 29 hits in 93 at-bats for a nice .312 average. He's only 32 years old. Both Lowell and Jeter are 35 years old, and are doing just fine, thank you very much. Theo would do well to lock him up for the next 3 years.

Despite winning 7 in a row, the Sox remain 6.5 games behind the Yanks, but only 5 behind in the loss column. Texas has lost 4 in a row, distancing themselves from the Red Sox in the Wild Card race by 6.5 games.

Sox Win 9-8 BOX SCORE