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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Clay's gem wasted, Kalish- Unbelievable Catch!

Clay Buchholz and Matt Garza were locked in a pitcher's duel tonight.
Buchholz: 7.1 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Garza: 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

In the 8th inning, Joaquin Benoit surrendered to the mighty bat (of late) of Victor Martinez, as V-Mart mashed another tater, his 3rd of the 1st 2 games of this series with Tampa, giving the Sox a 2-1 lead. Martinez has 10 hits in his last 4 games. BJ Upton tied it up in the bottom of that inning with a lead-off home run, which led to Doubront and Bard pitching a scoreless 1.2 innings. Atchison then gave up a lead-off walk-off home run to the light hitting (.149 BA) Dan Johnson in the bottom of the 10th inning.

Sigh. And to think that Yankee fans were probably rooting for the Sox to win. The Yankees won today. They remain tied with the Rays for 1st place, while the Red Sox are back to 5.5 GB again.

Besides the 10 hits the Sox put up, Buchholz's gem, V-Mart's home run, and his throwing out Longoria trying to steal as highlights of the game, add to that list this spectacular catch by Ryan Kalish in centerfield to rob Upton of a certain double, if not a triple. This catch will definitely be one of the top web gems of the season, if not THE gem of the season on ESPN's 'Web Gems.' I guarantee you will watch this one more than once!

Photos from MLB.com

Sox 2 Rays 3 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.28.10

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lester bounces back (sort of), Sox beat Rays

Despite 5 BB's, 1 WP, 1 HBP and 2 SB's, Jon Lester made it through 7 innings on 106 pitches, and allowing only 1 unearned run on 2 hits by the Rays. Bard worked a scoreless 8th, and Pap... well Pap made us squirm in the 9th inning a bit. He started off great whiffing Longoria on 3 pitches. The Aybar walked and took 2nd base on defensive indifference. Huh? Only 1 out and you just let him stroll into 2nd? Zobrist then strikes out on 3 pitches. OK, that's a little better. Then Aybar takes 3rd base on defensive indifference again! Uh, Pap? Victor? You know a single scores him, right? Johnson walks. Pap is missing with his splitter, 2 strikes and 8 balls. Jaso strikes out and we all can breathe again. Sox win! Lester gets his 14th win against 8 losses and lowers his ERA to 3.12, while Bard gets his 29th hold, and Pap gets his 33rd save.

The Sox tagged David Price for 10 hits, but only managed 3 runs, but it was enough, for tonight anyhow. 8 of 9 Sox starters got hits today with Victor Martinez wielding the biggest bat in the yurt know as the Trop, clubbing 2 HR's off of Price.

The Sox are now 4.5 GB Tampa, while the Yankees are looking at a 9-2 deficit against the White Sox in the top of the 7th inning as of this posting.

Sox 3 Tampa 1 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.27.10

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Francona for Manager of the Year

As of July 30th, the Red Sox led the major leagues with 258 days players lost to the DL, a number that has continued to grow profusely since then. No less than 19 players, 9 of them All Stars, on the Red Sox roster have spent time on that list.

2010 Red Sox Purple Heart Winners:
Josh Beckett
Clay Buchholz
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Victor Martinez
Jason Varitek
Mike Lowell
Jed Lowrie
Dustin Pedroia
Kevin Youkilis
Mike Cameron
Jacoby Ellsbury
Hideki Okajima
Eric Patterson
Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Jeremy Hermida
Robert Manuel
Kevin Cash
Junichi Tazawa
Boof Bonser

And those who would fill in for them:
Michael Bowden
Felix Doubront
Bill Hall
Kevin Cash
Dusty Brown
Daniel Nava
Eric Patterson
Darnell McDonald
Ryan Kalish
Josh Reddick
Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Even some of the mid-season pick-ups to shore up the bench have spent some time on that list- Patterson, Cash and Saltalamacchia. There certainly have been some Cinderella stories this year including Daniel Nava swatting a grand slam home run on the 1st pitch he ever saw in the big leagues, Darnell McDonald hitting a home run in his 1st at bat and then later that game swatting a game winning hit. Ryan Kalish started the season at the AA level and found himself all the way up with the parent club in just a couple of months. He came smokin' hot out of the gate with has bat. Although his batting has cooled a bit, his diving catch followed by a somersault will most likely put him on ESPN's Web Gems of the Year list, if not at the top of the list.

Yet Francona has kept the Red Sox in the playoff hunt with that motley crew. They certainly have been playing their hearts out for him, but that doesn't overshadow the manager's handling of the team this year. The LA Times all but declared him Manager of the Year in their article about him today.

The Red Sox and Francona are on a pace to win 92 games this year with a patchwork quilt of rookies and journeymen. Winning 92 games in any other division would most likely qualify a team for the playoffs without a doubt. That Francona has won 74 games with this line-up with only 30 games left to play should place him 1st on the ballot when voting time comes around.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Joe Girardi fired by the Yankees had he been in the same situation. All Red Sox players, personnel and fans should hold their heads high and be proud of what this team has accomplished this year, even if they do not make the playoffs. (Notice I wrote "if.")

Patchwork Quilt, by Warren Haynes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What did he just say?

Francona said that he tries not to over-think decisions and will take each game as it comes.

"If you're in the lead, you try to win," he said. "Win games you can win. If we have a chance to win the first game, we'll try to win."

Uh, Tito? What was that again?

Fenway West 08.25.10

Doubleheader Game 2- Mariners

Foo. I was so hoping that Tim Wakefield would have a great game and log another win for the Sox and himself. As it was, he pitched fairly well, but Felix Hernandez pitched much better. Wake went 5.2 innings allowing 8 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned, no walks and 2 strikeouts. Atchison, Delcarmen and Doubront finished the game without any more Mariners scoring. Hernandez went 7.1 innings allowing 4 hits, 1 walk and 2 runs while striking out 9 Red Sox.

Adrian Beltre was ejected from the game for arguing strikes and balls. Francona followed him shortly afterwards for sticking up for one of his players. Sometimes ejections can fire up a team, but not so today. Hernandez and League stifled the Red Sox batters. Drew hit a solo home run, but other than that, they could only manage 3 scattered, lonely hits. Big Papi lined out to deep left with 2 men on and 2 outs to end the 8th inning. Mike Lowell hit a pinch single to start off the 9th inning, but was followed by Nava grounding into a double play.

The Angels beat the Rays and the Jays beat the Yankees, so the Red Sox are now 5.5 GB both of them, as they remained tied for 1st place in the AL East.

Sox 2 Mariners 4 BOX SCORE

Rotation shuffle

Jon Lester's next start has been moved to Friday at Tampa Bay after an off day tomorrow. Tim Wakefield is making the start for the 2nd game of today's doubleheader.

Doubleheader Game 1 - Sox

Josh Beckett was looking the like his old self again all the way into the 7th inning. After 6.1 innings and 91 pitches, he had allowed 1 hit, 0 runs, 1 walk, while registering 7 strikeouts. Then he reverted to the Josh Beckett we have seen for much of this season. Two home runs, a single, and three runs scored sent Beckett to the bench in favor of Daniel Bard. Bard came in for 1.2 innings to notch his 28th hold for the season, and Pap came in for the 9th, a 1-2-3 inning, and notched his 32nd save of the season and lowering his ERA back under the 3.00 mark. A 4 run 6th inning sent former Red Sox pitcher David Pauley scurrying for the showers. Darnell McDonald added an insurance run in the 8th inning with an RBI single.

The 2nd game of the doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 7:10 PM (EDT) with a doozy of a pitcher's a likely possible as Felix Hernandez (9-10, 2.91 ERA) takes the mound for Seattle. Jon Lester (13-8, 3.26 ERA) will be looking to rebound from a horrendous start against Toronto on August 20th when he was knocked out of the game in the 3rd inning after allowing 9 runs before registering 1 out in the 3rd inning.

Sox 5 Mariners 3 BOX SCORE

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Johnny Damon just farted

The question is, in whose general direction? Ian Malone suggests that Damon is sending a middle finger in an easterly direction from Detroit, and past New York. I think Damon farted (or worse) in his own bed.

Poor, poor Johnny Damon couldn’t get a 4th year and another 12 million dollars out of the Red Sox back in 2005. After gushing like a little schoolgirl about how much he loved the fans in Boston and how much he loved playing for the Red Sox, the minute ol’ King George unzipped his wallet, whoosh! He was gone! What exactly did he expect from his former fan base upon his pinstriped return to Fenway? A red carpet from the dugout to centerfield? A bottle of Korbel, a dozen roses, and some decadent chocolates?

Johnny is just mad that he couldn’t get another eleventeen bazillion dollars out of the Yankees again, and that he ended up in Detroit. Yes, he did have 4 good years in New York and even got another ring along the way. He may still have another half decent season or two somewhere in the not too distant future, but most likely it will be with Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, Oakland, or, back where it all began for him- Kansas City. If he thinks that the Tigers will make it to the playoffs this year, or that he can get the kind of money he was hoping for from the Yankees, or even the same money he got from Detroit, he needs to do a serious reality check.

First of all, the Detroit Tigers are in 3rd place in the AL Central Division, with a 63-63 W-L record, 9 GB Minnesota and 5.5 GB Chicago. The Tigers are 14.5 GB in the Wild Card race, and would have to surpass the White Sox, Red Sox, and the Rays or Yankees to get into the playoffs. No, Johnny boy, the Tigers aren’t going to the post-season this year.

He’s got a weak arm, too weak for centerfield on a regular basis, especially in any of the more cavernous ball parks around the Major Leagues. His batting numbers have taken a dip across the board from last year. What team wants a DH who hits mostly singles and can’t steal bases anymore?

Had he stayed in Boston for the 3 years that were offered to him, and put up similar numbers he as he did in New York, he just might have gotten that extension, and would have gotten another ring with the Sox, taboot.

Now he’s just an aging journeyman outfielder, he’ll turn 37 in November, when he could have been an everlasting icon of sports achievement in Boston had he stayed with the Red Sox, instead of going from Boston to New York to Detroit to some other baseball netherworld next year.

Some may say he’s flipping a bird at Boston, when all he really wanted was to see the money. We may never really know if Theo really wanted him to help the Sox outfield that has been decimated with injuries, or if he just wanted to keep him from going to New York, or close to Damon’s home in Florida on a contending team.

Tell me, Johnny boy, what exactly did that extra 12 million bucks get you anyways?

And one other thing, lose the mohawk and grow some hair back. That thing makes you look about as cool as a teenager smoking a tobacco cigarette.

No baseball in Boston today

Today's game with the Seattle Mariners has been rained out. The game will be made up in a double header starting at 1:35 pm (EST)

Damon is staying in Detroit

Despite not having to make his decison until tomorrow, Johnny Damon will be staying in Detroit according to an MLB.com article that posted this afternoon.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It finally happened... Lackey- good game, Sox win, Yanks lose

John Lackey hopefully has shaken his recurring bouts of Zitosis* for good. He went 8 full innings, allowing only 6 hits, 2 walks (1 IBB), 3 runs (2 ER), and struck out 10 Seamen, as the Sox beat Seattle 6-3 in Boston tonight. Interestingly enough, his total of 16 quality starts moves him ahead of Lester and Buchholz in that department.

It was a bit of a pitcher's duel for a while as Doug Fister carried a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 5th inning when the Sox offense got busy. Beltre singled, Lowrie reached on an error and Nava drew a walk to load the bases. Singles by Scutaro and Drew put 3 up on the board for the Sox. The Mariners weren't done yet, though. They put up 2 more runs in the top of the 6th on 3 singles and an error (by Lackey), to tie up the game again. The Sox bats started to get restless again in the 7th inning scoring 3 more times on 5 singles, a sac fly and a sac bunt. Seven of nine starters got hits, with Scutaro, Drew, and Beltre each getting 2 hits, for a total of 10 hits.

The Yankees lost to Toronto, and the Rays won, their 8th in their last 10 games, leaving the Sox 5.5 GB both of them, as they are now tied for 1st place. The Sox are on a pace to win 92 games this year, which would be good enough for 1st place in almost every other division in the Major Leagues, but this is the 3 headed monster called the AL East. If the Sox had lost half as many player days to the DL than this surreal season has yielded so far, and if Pap had half as many blown saves.... If, if, if, ain't gonna cut it, guys! You've persevered this long! Time to put in overdrive! Let's go Red Sox! Time's a-wastin'!

Sox 6 Mariners 3 BOX SCORE

* Zitosis: a condition that free agents are most susceptible to after signing huge, abominable contracts. The most common symptom is a drastic decline of the player's performance in the first 1 to 3 or 4 years after signing the contract. Other symptoms may include apathy for the new team's performance; moodiness; callous attitude for the player's own poor performance; and disruptive behavior in the dugout, clubhouse and in public.

David Ortiz triple video and photos

Big Papi in overdrive and sliding into 3rd base,

Youk and Cameron enjoying the show

Photos from NESN

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mike Cameron and Clay Buchholz discuss parenthood and baseball

I found this video courtesy of NESN.com with Mike Cameron interviewing Clay Buchholz with questions about the challenges of being a new father and being on the road so often.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dice-K: 8 IP, 119 pitches... Really!! (Too little, too late?)

The Red Sox got one back from the Jays today behind one of Dice-K's deepest starts ever- 8 IP, and on only 119 pitches. (It seems as if he always hits the 100 pitch mark around the 5th inning, doesn't it?) He did not come away with the win, however. Staked to a 4-1 lead going into the top of the 6th inning, he gave up a single, a double, a sac fly, and a home run (Overbay, again) to even up the score at 4 each. Bard came in for the 9th and 10th innings, and got through them on 13 pitches. Papelbon worked the 11th inning and got the win due to Jed Lowrie's lead-off walk-off home run.

The Red Sox managed to get 10 hits off of 6 of the Jays' pitching staff, but they were almost all bunched up at the top of the order: Scutaro- 3/5, 2 runs; Drew- 2/3, 1 run; and Martinez- 3/5, 3 RBI's. Beltre had 1 hit, and then Lowrie's PH HR sealed the game. The home run made up for his error in the top of that frame, which fortunately yielded no more runs to the Jays, (but still...) Papi's line is almost as ugly as yesterday's pitching- 0/5, 8 LOB, ugh.

The Yankees won today leaving the Sox 6.5 GB, while the Rays are tied with the A's 2-2, in the 6th inning of that game in Oakland. Is this win too little, too late? If the Rays lose their game, the Sox will still be 4.5 GB in the wild card chase. The White Sox are currently 8 GB in the wild card chase.

Sox 5 Jays 4 BOX SCORE

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jays beat the snot out of the Sox

The Red Sox lost 16-2 to the Jays. Jon Lester uncharacteristically lasted only 2 innings and was pulled after facing 3 batters in the 3rd inning.

What can I write? Not much. Take 1 look at the box score and you'll be left speechless, too. Ian Browne couldn't add much more, either.

Sox 2 Jays 16 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.20.10

Tick Tock......

Anybody know what's up with Beckett? He was cruising along for 5.1 shutout innings, only 2 hits and 1 walk at that point, when the self-implosion began. It gets ugly after that. He gave up 4 runs in that inning. After 6.1 innings, he was mercifully pulled after giving up another 2 runs. The only problem with that is that Manny Delcarmen who seemed to have been on the right track was definitely on the wrong track as he could only get one Angel out while he walked 3, including a run scoring walk. Atchison got the last out of the inning, before Wake came in for mop up duty, only giving up 1 hit in 2 innings.

Oh, do I feel bad for Wake. After making the All Star Team last year, after being a starter for all these years and an economical innings eater, he gets relegated to the bullpen and mop up duty. Someone please give him some potato salad?

The Sox managed only 4 hits, 4 walks, and 2 runs. Papi hit his 27th home run of the year. Well, I guess that 8 game winning streak over the Halos had to end sometime.

Sox 2 Angels 7 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.20.10

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lackey somehow managed to win his 11th game this year

John Lackey completed 7 innings on 119 pitches, but despite striking out 5 Angels and not walking any, he gave up 5 runs on 10 hits, 2 of them home runs. The dynamic duo of Bard and Papelbon once again finished up for the Sox. Papelbon struck out the side in the 9th inning. After battling and striking out Howard Kendrick on 7 pitches, he needed only 7 more to strike out the next 2 batters. Vintage Papelbon returning? Let's hope so.

Offensively, Martinez, Ortiz, Beltre, and McDonald all had multi-hit games, while Bill Hall added a solo homer. Daniel Nava, called up from Pawtucket to replace the latest addition to the elite club know as the Red Sox DL, Eric Patterson, made a great catch to rob an RBI from Izturis and end the 8th inning threat from the Halos.

The Sox amassed 12 hits, while giving up 10. Whatever happened to those 3-2 games all the pundits were suggesting at the onset of this season? Whatever, the Sox won, that's all that matters. There were no new injuries to report today.

Both the Rays and the Yankees won today and remained tied for 1st place in the AL East, while the Sox remain 5.5 games behind.

Sox 7 Angels 5 BOX SCORE
Fenway West 08.18.10

Grand slam for the rookie as Sox thump Angels

Rookie Ryan Kalish hit a grand slam stealing thunder from Pedey's return from the DL.

Clay Buchholz cruised through 7 innings, scattering 5 hits and 2 walks, leading the Sox to a 6-0 victory over the Angels tonight. Doubront and Bowden finished off the night, garnering some more big league experience down the stretch.

After being swept by the Angels in the ALDS last year, the Sox have now reeled 8 straight victories over them this season.

The Yankees and the Rays both won tonight, too.

Sox 6 Angels 0 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.18.10

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Limited Edition Red Sox/Jimmy Fund caps

As part of the Rally Against Cancer campaign, Fenway West received limited edition Boston Red Sox/Jimmy Fund/Rally Against Cancer hats if $1000 or more was raised, pictured above. Well, we are actually at exactly $1000 right now. The Jimmy Fund logo is on the other side, and the Rally Against Cancer logo is across the back. Some will be donated to the Northern California Jimmy Fund Benefit event and some will be held in reserve for next year's Rock and Sox Benefit with The Cancer Sucks Band.

I will send a hat to the first 12 people who make a donation of at least $20 by September 30th to The Jimmy Fund at the Rally Against Cancer page, (but don't click on 'donate anonymously', I need to know who made the donation.). After you have made the donation, please send an e-mail to: RockAndSox (at) g mail (dot) com with your mailing address. I will be checking the Rally Against Cancer page and the RockAndSox in box daily and will post when all the hats have been given away. (If you're not sure if they have all been given away, check the site. There are 10 names there now, any names past the first 10 are the hat winners.)

Also, as previously posted, we have 2 signed baseballs, one by Dice-K and one by V-Mart, up for auction on eBay, with proceeds going to the Jimmy Fund. Bidding on these 2 balls ends August 22nd, 1 week from today.

UPDATE: Since this first went up on Fenway West on August 15th, 4 hats have already been sent to donors, leaving 8 still available if donation is made before September 30th.

Fenway West 08.15.10

Rock and Sox Jimmy Fund Benefit- my souvenirs

As promised, I had my hair cut on stage at the benefit. After misplacing the lock when I got home after the SOX @ SFG game the next day, I found it a month later and promptly sent it off to Locks of Love.

(I was getting tired of buying Drano, anyhow.)

Thank you card from DFCI

Make a donation to the Jimmy Fund at the Rally Against Cancer page.

Fenway West 08.15.10

Time is running out, Sox fall to Rangers despite good game from Dice-K

Dice-K made it into the 7th inning giving up 7 hits and only 2 walks while striking out 8 Rangers on 115 pitches. Those 7 hits and 2 walks added up to 4 runs, all earned. Unfortunately, C.J. Wilson pitched an even better game. He gave up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run in 7.2 innings.

The Red Sox were down 5-1 entering the 8th inning and picked up 3 runs on McDonald's 7th home run of the season. The Red Sox relievers- Delcarmen, Richardson, and Bowden- each gave up 1 run putting the game out of reach for the Sox.

TBY won and NYY lost, leaving the Red Sox 6 games behind the Yankees and 5 games behind Tampa.

Sox 3 Rangers 7 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.15.10

Friday, August 13, 2010

Orioles win again, 5-0 over Tampa, BUT...

... they have got to do something about those hideous uniforms! Halloween is more than 2 months away! Really, solid orange? Who came up with that brilliant idea?

Photo from MLB.com

The Orioles have gone 9-2 since Buck Showalter took the reins. Three Oriole pitchers 3-hit the Tampa Rays today. The Red Sox are now 3.5 GB the Rays and are leading the Rangers 8-6 in the 6th inning.

But, really? Solid orange? Bleah.

Fenway West 08.13.10

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Red Sox signed baseballs, proceeds to The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Two of the three balls that Fenway West obtained for The 1st Annual Rock and Sox Benefit for The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are now up on eBay. Proceeds from the sale of these 2 balls will be sent to the two organizations.

Victor Martinez signed ball

Dice-K signed ball

Fenway West 08.12.10

At what point do you unload Pap?

And is Daniel Bard ready to be closer? We've been watching Pap's numbers head steadily in the wrong direction each season now, while his salary continues in the opposite direction. At what point do you unload him?

2006: 0.92 ERA, .078 WHIP, $335, 400 salary

2010: 3.26 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, $9,350,000 salary

John Lackey made it into the 9th inning with a 5-2 lead. After he gave up a HR on 7 pitches to Bautista, his 36th of the year, Papelbon came in to put out the fire, but apparently forgot his hose. Toronto then tagged Pap hard: double, single, SB, single, K, double, IBB- 4 hits, 1 walk, 3 runs, game. That gives him 6 blown saves on the season so far. In a season racked with endless injuries, this simply won't do. Get 4 of those blown saves back, and the Sox would be oh so much closer in this race!

I know Pap is still considered one of the elite closers in the game today, and I don't pretend to know 1/100 that of Theo about what the's worth and who is available all over MLB and MiLB, but at some point the return on the investment simply isn't worth it anymore. Pap is one cocky SoaB who wants to see the money. He has been an important part of the Red Sox success, most notably in 2007, but let's face it, his numbers warrant a closer inspection of what to do with him in the off season. Let's hope he finishes out the year on an upswing to increase his trade value, and that Bard is deemed ready to be the next closer.

While Beltre and Hall remained quiet at the plate today, everyone else had at least 1 hit, with Papi, V-Mart, Salty, and McDonald all getting 2 each.

Sox 5 Jays 6 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.11.10

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Honey, will you go down and see what that noise is in the basement?

Buck Showalter made his managerial debut with the Baltiless Orioles on Tuesday, August 3rd, and started off on the right foot with a win. At the end of the previous day, the Orioles had a dismal 32-73 W-L record. Many hitters had a better BA than the Oriole's .305, the worst in all of MLB. They had just lost 3 in a row and 8 of their previous 10 games.

Since then they have won 8 of their last 9 games and their last 4 in a row under Showalter.

Showalter has a succesful career as a manager, being a part of the rebuilding of the Yankees in the '90's, winning Manager of the Year Awards, and turning the Arizona Diamondbacks around, a team that went from losing 97 games one year and winning 100 the next.

Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com writes: that restoring faith in being an Oriole fan "won't come easy or quick," while ESPN's Tim Kurkjian, who worked with Showalter on "Baseball Tonight," said his former colleague's presence in Baltimore will "change the atmosphere immediately".

Kurkjian was right. Showalter's proven track record seems to have turned things around pretty quickly in Baltimore. We have asked if Tampa was real these past few summers. Will we be asking the same of Baltimore in the near future?

Fenway West 08.11.09

HR, HR, HR, HR & a Buchholz Gem

The Red Sox spanked Shaun Marcum and the Toronto Blue Jays to the tune of a 10-1 thumping behind 4 HR's, 2 from uber-utilty man Bill Hall, and a gem of a game from Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz limited the Jays to 5 hits and 1 run in 8 innings. The lone run was unearned. Buchholz improved his record to 13-5, lowering his ERA to 2.49 and WHIP to 1.22, all on 109 pitches.

The offense that was supposed to be a little weak this year pelted the Jays pitching staff with 14 hits. Shaun Marcum had been one of the Jays more reliable starters, but not today. Victor Martinez went 2/5 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored. With the Sox holding a 9 run advantage, Saltalamacchia was able to make his catching debut but did not make a plate appearance. Eight Red Sox batters got at least 1 hit with Bill Hall leading the way with 2 HR's, 2 runs scored and 4, count 'em, 4 RBI's.

Detroit beat Tampa Bay leaving the Rays with a decreasing WC lead of only 3.5 games. Texas is leading the Yankees 6-5 in the top of the 9th inning.

Sox 10 Blue Jays 1 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.11.10

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sox beat Jays 7-5 with a little of this and a little of that

We never really do know what to expect from Dice-K anymore, do we? While he did strike out 7 Jays in 5.2 innings, he also allowed 6 hits, 2 of them home runs, walked three, and left the game with 2 men on base. Felix Doubront induced a ground ball fielder's choice which loaded the bases. The recent call up from Pawtucket then struck out Travis Snider on a pair of 78 mph curveballs sandwiching a 94 mph fastball making the rookie look real good. Unfortunately, he gave up a solo home run to Jose Bautista, his 35th of the season, to start off the 7th inning and tie the score. He didn't lose his composure, though, as he got the next 3 batters out on 11 pitches. Manny Delcarmen came in to pitch the 8th inning. After a sketchy June, and 1 stinko game in July, he's been looking pretty good ever since his return from the disabled list. Tonight he put the Jays down in order on 11 pitches, earning a hold and giving the win to Doubront. Papelbon came in to close in the 9th, got 1 out before Snider smacked a double, making Red Sox Nation start to squirm with Bautista up next. He got his job done tonight, retiring Bautista and Hill to earn his 29th save and the Sox 65th win.

Offensively, a well balanced attack of 11 hits produced 7 runs. Mike Lowell hit another home run along with a long sac fly, giving him 2 RBI's on the night, Jed Lowrie went 2/3, knocking in 2 and scoring once, Jacoby went 2/4 with 1 RBI, and J.D. Drew added a home run into the mix.

Despite the win, no ground was made up on the Rays who beat Detroit 8-0 tonight. After a 5 game losing streak, they have rebounded to win their last 2 games. The Yankees just tied their game with the Rangers in the top of the 8th and as the 2 teams now head into the top of the 9th inning.

UPDATE: After Mo Rivera loaded the bases in the bottom of the 10th, former Red Sox outfielder David Murphy singled for a walk-off Rangers win.

Sox 7 Jays 5 BOX SCORE

Monday, August 9, 2010

Red Sox take Round 4 on Jon Lester's pitching

Jon Lester finally won a game since the break, not that he had been pitching all that badly, though. He silenced the Yankee bats through for 4 innings when they finally got a hit. He allowed only 4 hits in 6.1 innings. He left the game with the bases loadedd, but Daniel Bard came in to the game and struck out Jeter and Swisher on 6 pitches, all 98+ mph. Papelbon got a 4 out save, his 28th save of the season.

Jacoby Ellsbury ended his hitless spell, going 1/2, but his prescence on the basepaths was definitely felt by the Yankees, as he picked their pockets 4 times today. Not much else in the way of offense for the Sox today, but in the end, all that mattered was the win.

The Sox remain 6 GB the Yankees, and currently are 4 GB the Rays who play Detroit tonight.

Sox 2 Yankees 1 BOX SCORE

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Round 3- Yankees

The best that the Sox can hope for now is a split in this round with the Yankees. Beckett wasn't very good today, as he gave up all 7 runs and was chased out in the 5th inning.

More on the game here.

Sox 2 Yankees 7 BOX SCORE

Just got back from a l-o-o-o-n-g day of playin' music, and I think Matt has got somethin' goin' on today, too. We'll be back tomorrow, and then I'm off to Jerry Garcia night at the CHC @ SFG game tomorrow night and will be relating the experience on Tuesday.

Fenway West 08.08.10

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bullpen does their job, Lackey does not. Round 2 - Yankees

By the time the 6th inning was over, Lackey had thrown 116 pitches, that's almost 20 per inning. Despite striking out 7 Yankees in a lineup that was missing A-Rod, he gave up 8 hits, 3 walks, and 5 runs. This isn't the kind of performance an $82 million dollar man is supposed to be giving. If he was a singer, he'd get booed off the stage. He now possesses a lovely 10-7 won-loss record, 4.60 ERA, and a 1.54 WHIP. Where was the John Lackey that flirted with a no hitter last month? Oh, that was against Seattle.

Manny Delcarmen and Felix Doubront each pitched 1 inning and each had 2 strike outs. Victor Martinez lashed a solo homer in the 2nd inning to get the Sox on the board first. Beltre followed with a double, and then Mike Lowell followed with another double sending Beltre home. Staked to a 2 run lead, Lackey promptly evened up the score in the bottom half of the 2nd inning.

Sox 2 Yankees 5 BOX SCORE

A-Rod scratched from tonight's line-up

Peter Abraham and Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe report that Alex Rodriguez limped off the field with the help of trainers during batting practice on Saturday after being hit in the leg by a ball hit by Lance Berkman. Ramiro Pena has replaced him in today's lineup. A-Rod could possibly end up missing more than just today's game.
Fenway West 08.07.10

Friday, August 6, 2010

Youk-less Red Sox take Yanks 6-3 in Round 1

The much hyped rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees resumed today in the Bronx. Besides this epic rivalry between the 2 clubs, there is the fact that the Red Sox need to win at least 3 games of this 4 games series in order to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Clay Buchholz was the starter for the Sox tonight opposing Javier Vazquez of the Yankees. In 2 previous meetings between these 2 AL perennial playoff bound teams, the Yankees chose to bump Vazquez from the rotation when his start was to be against the Sox. They decided to go with Vazquez tonight, as the Sox have several core team members on the DL. It was all for nought as the Sox beat the Yankees 6-3 anyhow. Vazquez was chased out of the game in the 6th inning after allowing all 6 runs.

The Red Sox received another very good performance from Clay Buchholz. Buchholz went 7.1 innings allowing scattering 9 hits and no walks earning his 12th win of the season. Bard got his 24th hold, and Pap walked 1 in the 9th en route to his 27th save.

Offensively, Papi went 2/4 with a solo home run, his 24th, to straight away center field in the 1st inning to get the Sox on board 1st, Mike Lowell got a hit and scored 2 runs, and Ryan Kalish continued to impress with his 1st home run with the parent club, 2 RBI's and a run scored. Mike Lowell also was a key player in a double play catching a sharp grounder from Granderson, tagging 1st base and then firing off to 2B to get Lance Berkman out there.

Toronto beat the Rays tonight, leaving the Yankees still in 1st place, and the Rays a half game behind them. The Red Sox are now 5 games behind the Yanks and only 4.5 games behind the Rays for the likely wild card spot.

Good videos here of Ortiz's solo shot, Buchholz's good performance, a good running catch by Ellsbury, Lowell's DP, and for your viewing pleasure, a bonehead error by Yankee's catcher Cervelli.

John Lackey takes the mound tomorrow for the Sox against Sabathia for the Yankees at 4:10 pm (EDT), and will be broadcast on Fox in some parts of the nation.

Red Sox 6 Yankees 3 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.06.10

Amazing. Kenny boy doesn't slam the Sox this time

Fox pseudo-sportswriter Ken Rosenthal wrote a column today about the Red Sox and their chances to make it to the playoffs, "Too early to bury the Red Sox." He actually doesn't throw the Sox under a bus this time as he is wont to do, and often, too. It's not a pro-Sox column, but he goes easy on the negative comments, about as easy as I would ever expect this fish-wrap, bird-cage-liner hack to do.

Fenway West 08.06.10

Dice-K and Beltre lead Sox to win over Indians

Adrian Beltre hit a grand slam in the 4th inning. J.D. Drew hit a 2 run single in the 8th inning. Dice-K went 8 innings allowing 5 hits, 1 walk and 1 run, notching his 8th win against 3 losses and lowering his ERA to 3.96 in the process. Ellsbury scored a run, Lowell had another hit, as did Kalish. Ryan Kalish continues his hot debut into the big leagues. In 6 games, he has 8 hits in 17 at bats. His BA/OBP/SLG/OPS: .471, .500, .529, 1.029, not bad for a 22 year old who started this season in AA Portland.

Sox 6 Indians 2 BOX SCORE
Fenway West 08.06.10

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Lester, Sox fall to Tribe

Jon Lester has not won a game since before the All Star Game.

There. I said it. This could be a long season, folks, as Lester is going through his 2nd slump of the season. He has surrendered 17 runs, 13 earned since the break. The Sox in those same games have totaled up 3 runs. Tonight, he gave up 4 runs, 2 earned (1 of the 3 Sox errors tonight was his own), on 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4.

After taking a 2nd look at his stats, he actually hasn't pitched all that bad. It's just that we are spoiled, we've come to expect him to win every game he pitches, no matter what, as he is one of at least 3 Sox pitchers who could make a claim as the ace of the staff. I suppose if the offense had generated a few more runs in some of those games, a couple of those "L's" might be "W's" instead.

He left in the 6th inning on the short end of a 4-0 score, which is not that much in Fenway. The Sox got 1 back in the bottom half of that inning. Scott Atchison, who had unexpectedly become a pretty reliable arm out of the bullpen as he allowed only 4 runs in 12.1 innings of work in July, had a horrible day today giving up 5 runs in the 7th inning which pretty much put the game out of reach. There no wild pitches or hit batsmen tonight.

Former Sox pitcher Justin Masterson got his 4th win of the season, his 2nd at the expense of the Sox since June 9th, when he tossed 2 hit complete game shutout gem.

That the Sox are 6.5 games behind despite several players losing significant time to the DL- Dice K, Beckett, Lowell, Ellsbury, Youkilis, Martinez, Varitek, Cameron, Buchholz, Delcarmen, Lowrie, and anyone else I'm forgetting- is a sign of a deep bench, not just in athletic ability, but also in determination. They still have won 6 of their last 10 games.

Jacoby Ellsbury made his first appearance for the Boston 9 since May 24th, just his 10th game of the season, and received nice ovation for it.

Sox 1 Indians 9 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.05.10

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Moneyball, the movie... and my night as an extra

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is a book that was published in 2003 by Michael M. Lewis in which he takes a long look at Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane's radical approach to selecting players in the annual draft and to finding undervalued players available for trade. Beane tosses traditional statistics such as stolen bases, runs batted in, and batting average out the window in favor of statistics such as on-base percentage and slugging percentage. This unique approach to fielding a winning team led the 2002 Oakland A's to an amazing won-loss record of 103-59, second only to the New York Yankees with a 103-58 won-loss record. (The Yankees did not have to make up a game, as they would still have had the home field advantage even if they had lost the 162nd game.) What makes the 2002 A's so amazing is that they did it on approximately 1/3 of the payroll, $41 million as compared to $125 million, of the free spending Yankees. Since the book came out, at least 9 other major league ball clubs have hired full time analysts and have taken up this approach.

Now the book will become a movie. Hollywood being Hollywood, the movie has not been without its share of controversy. Steven Soderbergh replaced David Frankel as director. Soderbergh was replaced by Bennett Miller after Sony took issue with Soderbergh's script revisions, which placed the movie on the shelf for a while. The original budget of $60 million needed to be pared down to $47 million, necessitating pay cuts (gasp!) for Brad Pitt (Billy Beane), and presumably Jonah Hill (Paul DePodesta) and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (Art Howe), as well. Miller and Sony have moved past all this and started filming this year. Last week, filming was taking place at Oakland Coliseum.

Someone in an on-line music discussion group that I am a member of posted that extras were being sought to play the parts of the fans while the movie was being filmed. I'll root for the A's as long as they're not playing the Red Sox, and despite the fact that these were unpaid roles, and as I have the time these days, I decided to sign up and head down to Oakland, about a 145 mile round trip from Sonoma. I got lucky and landed a spot on one of the swing shifts, no early morning or graveyard shifts for me.

I arrived early and found myself near the head of a huge line of what appeared to be every last A's fan in the San Francisco Bay Area, all 1000 or so of them. (That subject would be a whole 'nother post.) It was a bit boring at times, as we had been told we would probably have to 'hurry up and wait' a couple of times. More Hollywood for you. We had been moved from one part of the stands to another several times in order to recreate a full stadium, (not that the A's ever have one.) Fans who dressed up in colors with hats and other over-the-top A's regalia were recruited for prime seats. I found myself sitting near some very knowledgeable baseball fans, including some who had actually been to the game that was being reenacted on film that night. One even had her scorecard from that game. We were told ahead of time to bring warm clothes as it was very cold the night of the actual game. The game being filmed was part of the 20 game win streak that propelled the A's to win the AL West Division in 2002.

I had to sign a couple of pieces of paper with all sorts of legalese on them, including a non-disclosure statement which basically states that I will not write or discuss anything that had to do with the details of the game that was being filmed that night. Anything I write in this post will be available in public records available on several web sites. If I do reference a game in this post, I will not disclose if it was (or was not) the game that was being filmed, but any good baseball fan could probably figure it out anyhow. Despite stern warnings from the set crew that cameras would be confiscated if being used, I saw a few taking shots, and saw a flash go off on the other side of the field from where I was sitting at the time.

I was first directed to sit behind the 1st base side dugout. I was about 5 rows back and sitting behind some well dressed A's fans. Good sign, I thought. Maybe I will get lucky and be seen when the movie comes out. The group I was with moved about the stadium from behind the dugout, to behind home plate to right field to behind the dugout again but closer to home plate this time. I think this may have been the best seat I had all night. I was directly in line with the camera and the batter, Jermaine Dye, that is, the actor who was portraying Dye. All the retakes made it seem like he had 3 golden sombreros in one night. Tejada made about a dozen errors at short, too. It got to the point that the actors portraying the ballplayers would run off the field backwards in what seemed like a jab at Hollywood directors.

There was free parking, some free food (hot dogs) and drink (no beer, though- what's a ball game without dogs and suds?!), and a raffle ticket. There were only 2 prizes awarded: a paid walk-on extra role, and a flat wide-screen TV. Furthur prizes of A's tickets were available to anyone staying past 2 am. (Anything to get A's fans to a game.) One batter started fouling off ball after ball into the seats above 3rd base, and of course I was on the 1st base side. I'm sure those balls are already up on eBay.

Someone in the back yelled out, "Billy Beane ruined baseball!" He didn't sound old enough to be an old school, cigar chompin', tobacco chewin', hard drinkin', road weary, older than dirt scout who had maybe over the years signed a dozen names you could actually remember.

Most of the 1000 or so I estimated that were there for the baseball, but there were many who were there to hopefully get a glimpse of Pitt, Hoffman, or Hill. I heard of no reports of a Seymour sighting. I did hear one of Pitt, but I didn't see him, not that I cared. Jonah Hill was seen several times and spoke to the crowd a few times with either a megaphone or a wireless mic through the PA system. Every time he was noticed you could hear this collective, teenage "OMG!!! It's Jonah Hill!!! I love you, Jonah!!!" Personally, this cult of personality and celebrity worship makes me want to vomit. This also extends to athletes and musicians, too, but again, a whole 'nother post.

The baseball part of the night gets an A, the Hollywood part gets a C-.

Look for me when the movie comes out. I'll be the guy wearing an A's hat.
Fenway West 08.03.10

Mike Lowell leads Sox past Tribe

In his 1st game back from rehab in Pawtucket, in his 1st AB, and the 1st pitch he saw, no less, he smashed a 2 run home run which was all the offense the Sox would need today. Mike Lowell has been stuck between a rock and a hard place ever since the Sox acquired Adrian Beltre. Although Beltre's defense has been less than stellar, which was supposed to be his strong point, his bat has been a welcome addition to the Sox line up in 2010. With David Ortiz off to another slow start this year, the plan of Lowell platooning at DH was hatched. That came to a halt as Ortiz did an abrupt 180 u-turn and started hitting almost everything in sight, including winning the All Star Game Home Run Derby. He handled his warm seat on the bench with as much class as possible, that is Mike Lowell. He started taking grounders at 1B to enhance his availability, but he still had Youkilis, Martinez, and Ortiz ahead of him at that position as well. Nobody likes to win a spot on the roster by a team mate suffering an injury, especially a rock solid team mate like Kevin Youkilis, but that is precisely what has happened. Youk left yesterday's game in the 2nd inning with a torn muscle in his thumb and has been placed on the 15 day DL, with the possibility of the rest of his 2010 season being scratched. Theo may have just dodged a bullet by holding onto Lowell this long. A few years back, Jason Varitek went down with a knee injury just after the trading deadline, which started a downward spiral in the standings that year. With 'Tek unavailable to play back up to Victor Martinez for a few more weeks, Martinez will most likely be handling the catching duties until 'Tek returns.

But getting back to today's game...

Josh Beckett was pitching a gem of a game on his way to reclaiming his title as ace of the staff. In 8 innings he allowed 3 hits and 1 run, while striking out 8 Indians. There was this little matter of him hitting 2 of his opponents in the 1st and 3rd innings. I didn't watch the game, but I would have a hard time believing he would be intentionally targeting them so early in his comeback, especially when you see that the Indians are this year's doormat of the AL Central division. In the 3rd inning, he was nursing a slim 1 run lead with a team that was without the likes of Youkilis and Ellsbury in the line-up. The Indians took it personally and retaliated by throwing behind Ortiz in the 5th inning and throwing behind Beltre in the 8th inning. The benches cleared, there was some pushing and shoving, and when play resumed, Indian's reliever Lewis and 3B coach Smith, and Beckett had all been ejected. Video of the dust up can be seen by clicking the previously highlighted link. Beckett appeared to have some serious issues with Shelley Duncan, who he had hit in the 1st. I can only imagine that Duncan had fired up the Indians by claiming Beckett had intenionally hit him. Shelley Duncan, if you recall, was with the New York Yankees in 2007 when he signed a 10 year old Red Sox fan's autograph book "Red Sox Suck!"

I digress once again. Papelbon came in to pitch the 9th inning and only needed 12 pitches to retire the side in order, earning his 25th save of the season.

There is not much to write about offensively. Mike Lowell hit a HR on his 1st pitch back and Ryan Kalish continues to tear it up, going 2/3 and drawing a walk.

Sox 3 Indians 1 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.03.10

Mike Lowell- Home Run!

Just activated from the DL today, first baseman Mike Lowell hit a 2-run home run on the 1st pitch he saw! More after the game.

Go Mike!

Shaughnessy throws Ellsbury under a bus

He starts with, "It’s impossible and unfair to measure another man’s pain," yet that's precisely what he tries to do.

But the situation with the Red Sox and Ellsbury has become absurd.

It was not unlike that July night in 2004 when Nomar Garciaparra sat and stewed while Derek Jeter dived into the stands and the Yankees beat the Red Sox in extra innings. That was the night it was clear the Sox had to trade Nomar and that’s the way it feels with Ellsbury now.

This standoff of 2010 is at critical mass... but the organization and Ellsbury’s teammates simply have to be fed up.

[Francona] bristles at any suggestion that he is unhappy with any of his players.

The manager doesn’t like us putting words in his mouth so we won’t do that here. You make the judgment.

Many fans and folks in the Sox organization are disgusted by how this has unfolded. Fair or unfair, there’s a perception that Ellsbury won’t play hurt and that he’s punishing the club for moving him from center to left, and for misdiagnosing his injuries in April. I spoke to his agent about this last week and Scott Boras denied it...

There is damage being done and it will be hard to repair.

[When asked (not by Shaughnessy),] “Jacoby, when are you gonna play?’’ “I don’t know,’’ said Ellsbury. “I hope soon.’’

He asks us to make the judgement, so I will throw in my $0.02: This is not sports journalism, this is pure garbage. He does nothing but stir up what's at the bottom of the outhouse. The "damage done" has been by Shaughnessy himself when he writes opinions like this. Ellsbury hopes to play soon, yet he throws all the blame on Ellsbury.

Impossible to measure another man's pain? He sure goes out of his way to make an attempt. Fans and Sox organization disgusted? Disgusted with Shaughnessy. The damage done? By Shaughnessy. Mr. CHB has just inflicted more pain upon Ellsbury.

Fenway West 08.03.10

Beltre's 2 Belts not enough

Adrian Beltre was responsible for all 5 of the Red Sox runs tonight belting 2 homers, 1 into the Monster seats and 1 over the Monster, along with a sacrifice fly. The Sox were down 6-2 in the 8th inning when he sent his 2nd homer of the night over the Monster making it a 1 run game. Red Sox Nation was feeling walk-off fever going into the bottom of the 9th inning. Marco Scutaro singled for his 2nd hit of the night, but that was about it for the night. (If Colorado can get 11 hits in a row, I figured 3 walk-off wins in a row couldn't be that improbable.)

Lackey came out of the gate blazing, striking out 6 Indians, and snuffing out men on 2nd and 3rd in the 2nd inning, when he fizzled. 2 runs in the 4th, 1 in the 5th, and 3 in the 6th and Lackey was done. Toast. Maybe a flare-up of Zitosis. Suddenly the Sox were looking at crawling out of a 6-1 hole. Beltre did his part for the night, but no walk-offs tonight.

Recent call-up Ryan Kalish went 3 for 3 doing his part as well. He was involved in a scary collision at home plate, scary for the Indians, that is. Kalish was waved home by 3rd base coach Bogar and Sin Choo-Choo made a perfect throw to the Indian's Carlos Santana, catcher, not the guitarist. Kalish slid twisting Santana's leg in the process as he was tagged out and held onto the ball. He was able to sit up after trainers and medical staff checked for his condition, cutting open his pant leg to get a look at his leg. He appeared to be OK, but his leg was wrapped and he was taken off the field on a cart. You can see the video here, but it's not for the squeemish.

Sox 5 Indians 6 BOX SCORE

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pap- on the hook, off the hook

Clay Buchholz carried a 2 hit shutout into the 9th inning today at Fenway Park against the Detroit Tigers. After allowing a single and a walk to lead off the 9th inning, Papelbon came in to throw the Tigers back into their cage. Instead, Miguel Cabrera spanked a 1st pitch fastball for a double that sent in both of Pap's inherited runners. After striking out Boesch, Peralta singled in pinch runner Kelly to tie the game. Pap then induced an inning ending double play, but the damage was done, Buchholz's gem wasted, blown save #5 for Pap. Fortunately, the Sox got their 1st 2 batters in the bottom of the 9th on base- Lowrie singled, McDonald pinch ran, and Patterson drew a walk. Scutaro then laid down a bunt single, after which Detroit reliever Weinhardt made a throwing error allowing McDonald in to score and win the game.

While Papelbon still remains one of the league's best closers, he does not instill the confidence in his teammates and fans alike that he once had that he will shut down his oppenents without a hitch as he once used to. When you combine that with his swagger and determination to raise the bar of elite closer's salaries, it's difficult to imagine him in a Red Sox uniform past this year, especially with Bard pitching so well ahead of him, and starters turned relievers Bowden and Doubront lurking in Pawtucket ready to pounce on any opportunity given them.

He hung himself on the hook, then got lucky with Lowrie, Patterson, Scutaro, and Tiger's reliever Weinhardt getting him off the hook. He got lucky today.

Sox 4 Tigers 3 BOX SCORE

Fenway West 08.01.10