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Thursday, September 30, 2010

It Ain't Over 'Til the Fat Lady Sings

This pennant race just ain't over yet. Clay Buchholz improved to 17-7, and lowered his ERA to 2.33 and his WHIP to 1.20 as he pitched a masterful 8 innings. All he did was scatter 5 hits, 1 walk and 1 run, while striking out 5 White Sox. Atchison pitched a scoreless 9th inning, giving up 1 of Manny Ramirez's 2 singles, giving Bard and Papelbon some much needed rest.

The Red Sox offense pounded Mark Buehrle for 11 hits in 6 IP, and pounded the White Sox bullpen for 5 more hits. Ortiz was 2/5 with 2 RBI's, pushing him over the century mark in that statistic. Scutaro and Marinez each had 3 hits, while Beltre had a 4/5 day.

Manny had 2 singles, but his production since moving to the Windy City has been pathetic: 15/62, 1 HR, .242/.306/.405/.711 since moving to Chicago, (pathetic for Manny that is.) While looking up Manny's stats, I notice that he shares the DH spot with another former Boston player, Mark Kotsay.

43 yo Omar Vizquel is still hitting .287 for the White Sox at this late stage of the season, but has been moved over to 2B from the hot corner.

Now, about that fat lady...
Both the Rays and the Yanks lost today leaving the standings looking like this at the end of today's games:



Now you may call me a dreamer (but I'm not the only one), but it is still within the realm of possibility that the AL East could finish looking like this:




I'm sure they're still keeping busy in Vegas.

And in case you have forgotten, click here to see what Buehlre did on opening day.


Red Sox 5 White Sox 1 BOX SCORE

Salty goes under the knife

Jarrod Saltalmacchia will have surgery performed on his left thumb by the same doctor who worked on Youk's thumb not too long ago, Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports today. Salty has a torn ligament as a result of an injury he sustained in July while playing for AAA Oklahoma City. He did not report the injury until the middle of September. It is hoped that he will be able to return to baseball activities in 4-6 weeks, at which time he will be under the tutelage of Rd Sox catching instructor Gary Tuck. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

You think Bard has heat?

Southpaw Aroldis Chapman defected from Cuba in 2009 while participating in a tournament in Europe. It was not the 1st time he had attempted to defect. In 2008, a botched smugglers’ plan thwarted that plan to defect. Later that year, he would not make the trip to the Olympics, and depending upon whose story you believe, he was either removed from the team for performance issues, or because it was punishment for attempting to defect. In 2009, he did not divulge his plan to anyone and successfully departed from his hotel, his team, and his country, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend.


Chapman made his 1st appearance with the Reds on August 31 in order to be eligible to play in the post-season. Since then, he has made an appearance in 12 games, 10.1 innings, and has allowed only 8 H’s, 5 BB’s and 3 ER’s, while registering 14 K’s.


Chapman had already been well known in pro baseball as being able to throw 100+ mph heat, as he had pitched in the 2007 World Cup at the age of 19. Last Friday, Chapman became the 1st MLB pitcher to record a pitch of 105 mph. Yes, you read that right- one hundred and five miles per hour. Chapman threw 25 pitches that night and they were all over 100 mph. Tony Gwynn told reporters that he never even saw the ball until it was past him.


Daniel Bard has high 90’s heat, and occasionally hits 3 digits, but Chapman routinely hits 100 on the radar gun. Bard isn’t even in the top 12 list of MLB’s fastest recorded pitches:





I’m happy to see Bard in a Red Sox uniform, make no mistake about that, but $30 million is an awful lot of money for a (reportedly) 22 yo kid who still has some maturing left to do. I’m just glad he’s in the National League. I’m sure the Red Sox are happy to see him in the National League, and not on the Yankee’s payroll.




ESPN’s Buster Olney on Chapman in this video from July of 2009:



Red Sox Line-Up v. Chicago White Sox 09.27.10

Scutaro, M- 2B

McDonald, D- RF

Martinez, V- C

Beltre, A- 3B

Ortiz, D- DH

Lowell, M- 1B

Lowrie, J- SS

Hall, B- LF

Kalish, R- CF

Buchholz, C- SP

I don’t believe what just happened

Dice-K was in rare form tonight, pitching the way we had been expecting him to pitch ever since the Sox signed him: 8 IP, 4 H’s, 2 R’s, 1 BB, and 7 K’s on 110 pitches; numbers worthy of a gem nomination. However, Phil Hughes was one run better: 6 IP, 3 H’s, 1 R, 4 BB’s, 4 K’s. Robertson and Wood kept the Sox in check before handing the ball over to Mo for a 4 out save opportunity. Mo put Beltre down to end the 8th, Score NYY 2, BOS 1. Not looking good, I’m thinking. I highly doubted Mo would go belly-up on the Sox again in another high pressure situation as he did in the 2004 ALCS. But with these 2 teams, you never know what can happen. The situations are endless, no lead is ever safe.

On to the 9th inning, Jed Lowrie flies out to lead off. Ryan Kalish singles. OK, we’re not dead yet. With Bill Hall batting, Kalish steals 2nd base. Yes! With Bill Hall batting, Kalish steals 3rd base! Holy Crap! Bill Hall singles, scoring Kalish! YES! Tie score! In comes Mike Lowell to pinch hit for Lars. With Mike Lowell batting, Bill Hall steals 2nd base! I don’t believe this! They got into Mo’s head! With Mike Lowell batting, Bill Hall steals 3rd base! This is unbelievable! There’s only 1 out so far. Mike Lowell hits a long fly ball, caught by Granderson, but Hall scores- sac fly and an RBI for Mike, and the Sox take the lead!

Scutaro flied out to centerfield to end the inning, but this has to be some kind of record. I’ve seen the Sox hit 4 home runs in a row against the Yankees, and I’ve seen Jacoby Ellsbury steal home from Pettitte and Posada, but 4 stolen bases in a row? Against the same pitcher? And said pitcher being Mo? That has to be some sort of record. I’ll let the folks at RedSox.com and BaseballReference.com deal with checking into that and I’ll report back later.

Papelbon comes into pitch the bottom of the 9th inning. Now there is absolutely no way he can blow his 8th game this season. Jeter flies out before Swisher singles. (Shift positions in my chair.) Teixeira singles. (No, no, no.) Nunez was sent in to pinch run for Swisher and steals 3B. (No, this is not happening.) A-Rod walks. Bases loaded. (Groan.) Pap is still missing with his splitter. and now he has absolutely no room for error. A fly ball, hit, balk, walk, HBP… all of them will score a run. Posada strikes out. 2 outs. Pap’s not out of this mess yet, despite the huge K by Posada. Lance Berkman flies out to end the inning, but Pap just earned his 8th blown save and saw his ERA go over the 4.00 mark for the first time in his career. Into extra innings we go. Thanks, Pap. (For comparison, Mo earned his 5th BS of the year.)

Chamberlain and Logan pitch a scoreless 10th. Bard is on the shelf for the night, as he had thrown 28 pitches the night before. Atchison? No, he’s in a rut right now. The rookies? No, too much of a pressure cooker right now. Tito goes with Okajima. Except for one pitch the night before, Oki has been looking much better ever since he came of the DL. Deep breath, let’s hope his resurgence is for real. It’s not. Single, single, IBB, bases loaded, as Oki looks as if he’s taking Papelbon’s “Closing for Idiots” book. Thames grounds into a force out at home. OK, a double play will work now. Juan Miranda, he of all of 63 AB’s this season and a dismal .222 BA steps up to the plate. This should be an easy out, a rookie in a high pressure situation such as this. There aren’t many situations in all of pro sports with this much tension. Ball 1. ($#!t!) Swinging strike. Better. Ball 2, ball 3, ball 4. Game over.

Some have noted David Ortiz’s remarks about being underpaid and possibly not getting an extension to be a little over the edge. They will pale in comparison to whatever Papelbon dares to ask for this winter. Just as I was beginning to think Oki has pitched his way back onto the 2011 roster, he puts himself perilously close to being non-tendered for next year.

The Yankees pitching staff held the Sox batters to a scattered 6 hits, 2 by Martinez and 2 by Hall. But those 4 steals… I’d still trade them for a win, though.

Tampa Bay won today and remain 1 game ahead of the Yankees. The Sox remain 5.5 GB the Yankees for the wild card spot. The Yankees take off for 3 games in Toronto before heading for Boston. They have 1 off day remaining. The Red Sox are on a plane to Chicago for 4 games with the White Sox before coming home for the last stand against the Yankees. The Yankees need only win 3 of their last 7 games to eliminate the Sox, even if the Sox win all 8 of their remaining games. Had Papelbon not crapped in his bed for the 8th time this season, the Yankees would have had to win 5 of their last 7 games. Papelbon, you just cost the Red Sox a playoff spot. Don’t even think about asking for a penny more than what you’re getting already.

Sox 3 Yankees 4 BOX SCORE




 






Red Sox Line Up v. Yankees 09.26.10

Scutaro, M - 2B

Drew, JD - RF
Martinez, V - C
Ortiz, D – DH
Beltre, A – 3B
Lowrie, J – SS
Kalish, R – CF
Hall, B – LF
Anderson, L – 1B

Matsuzaka, D - SP

And so the implosion begins

And so the implosion begins

Not that of the Red Sox, but of the Yankees. Technically, the Red Sox are still in this wild card race, with nowhere to go but up. It won’t be easy, as the Sox still have one more game in the Bronx before taking off for 4 games in Chicago. The White Sox will be looking to play spoiler to their Red counterparts. Technically they are also still in the wild card hunt, but they are at a nearly impossible distance from the Yankees (10 GB), while the Red Sox are only 5.5 GB the Yankees, but only 5 GB in the all important loss column.

Jon Lester turned up the heat on the Yankees today by tossing 7 shutout innings reaching 19 wins against 8 losses. He had a perfect game through 4 innings, notching 4 K’s along the way. A-Rod drew a walk to lead off the 5th inning, but Cano up next followed up with a grounding into a double play. No hitter still intact. Cervelli broke up the no-hitter in the 6th inning, but Lester still had a shutout going at the end of the 6th inning. He finished with a gem: 7 IP, 2 H’s, 0 R’s, 3 BB’s, and 8 K’s, leaving him with a 2.96 ERA and a shot at the Cy Young Award, (that is if Clay Buchholz doesn’t win it.) Bard gave up a run, and Okajima’s strong string of scoreless innings came to an end. Papelbon was not available after throwing 21 pitches last night.

The Sox presented a well balance offensive attack with 8 men in the starting line-up getting at least 1 hit, 4 of them getting 2 hits. Yankees starter Nova, in for Hughes whose start was postponed to keep him fresh for the playoffs, couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning.

The Vegas oddsmakers are probably reworking their probability and statistics numbers as I type. Tampa Bay is a full game and a half above the Yankees, and have a cake schedule over their final games- Seattle, Baltimore, and Kansas City. The Yankees have 4 games with the Red Sox and 3 games at Toronto.

In the name game department (remember Drew v. Drew and Byrd v. Byrd in 2008), Nava was 0/2 but coaxed a walk from Nova.

Maybe it’s too early to say the Yankees are imploding, but they have lost their last 4 games. We can still hope and dream, it’s not so unrealistic anymore.

Red Sox 7 Yankees 3 BOX SCORE





Visions of 17-1 scores were dancing in my head (or- Let me tell a story 'bout a man named Jed)

The Red Sox ran off to a 10-1 lead after 5 innings. Jed Lowrie had a lot to do with that, as he went 4/4, with 3 RBI's, 1 HR, and 3 runs scored. Andy Pettitte was chased from the game after only 3.1 innings. Josh Beckett was back in command of his game tonight, through 5 innings he gave up only 1 run, 0 walks, and had struck out 4 Yankees. He gave up back to back homers by Teixeira and A-Rod in the 6th, but got out of the inning with no more damage while holding onto a 10-3 lead. He was 1 out away from getting through the 7th when he walked Jeter and gave up his 5th homer of the night to Nick Swisher. That was it for Beckett for the night, as he departed with a 5 run lead. Recent bullpen anchor Atchison came in and coughed up  a walk toTeixeira and another A-Rod homer, before ending that inning. (Slowly waltching lead slip away, grumble, grumble, grumble.) It was looking like Atchison had pitched himself on to the 2011 roster for a while, but now it's looking he's pitching himself back to AAA somewhere. Bard faced 4 batters, but no more damage.

9th inning, O-o-o-K... Which Papelbon will show up tonight? Pap quickly disposed of the 1st 2 Yankees he saw, and then gave up Teixeira's 2nd homer of the night, followed by a walk to A-Rod. (No, no, no! This isn't happening!) Six pitches later, he was luckily out of the inning by striking out Cano. Whew! Make that, WHEW!

Six of the 10 Yankee hits were home runs.

Hmmm....

The bottom 3rd of the line-up (Lowrie, Hall, McDonald) pushed in 8 of the runs, with Scutaro pushing in 2 more, (to make up for his 20th error of the season.) Drew had 3 hits, but no RBI's or runs to show for it. Ortiz was 2/5 with 2 runs scored. Mike Lowell had a hit and scored 3 runs. Lowell was hit in the head by a sharply hit ground ball that took a bad hop. Watching the replay of that ball hitting Mike in the head, and him laying on the ground for a couple of minutes brought back horror memories of Tony C. getting hit in the head 43 years ago. Mike got up and finished the inning, but that was it for him. In came Lars to finish the game at 1st base. The NY fans gave him a nice ovation as he got back up from the ground.

While Beckett made it into the 7th inning against the Yankees for the 1st time this season, and garnering the win, his streak of 5 quality starts came to an end tonight.

A win is a win is a win. Tampa Bay got another one of those as they swapped places with New York, leaving the Sox 7 GB the Rays in 1st place, and 6.5 GB the Yankees, now in 2nd place.

Sox 10 Yankees 8 BOX SCORE

Red Sox Line-up v. Yankees 09.24.10

Red Sox
1. Scutaro, M, 2B
2. Drew, J, RF
3. Martinez, V, C
4. Beltre, A, 3B
5. Ortiz, D, DH
6. Lowell, M, 1B
7. Lowrie, J, SS
8. Hall, B, LF
9. McDonald, D, CF
SP- Josh Beckett


Yankees
1. Jeter, D, SS
2. Swisher, N, RF
3. Teixeira, M, 1B
4. Rodriguez, A, 3B
5. Cano, R, 2B
6. Berkman, L, DH
7. Posada, J, C
8. Granderson, C, CF
9. Gardner, B, LF
SP- Andy Pettitte

Game time- 7:05 pm (EDT) 4:05 pm (PDT)

Abraham on Papelbon

Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe takes a look at the options the Red Sox have with Jonathan Papelbon this winter. Papelbon still has a reputation as an elite closer despite his 7 blown saves this season and his stats headed for the dumpster. The Red Sox have 3 options on what to do with him- keep him, trade him, or non-tender him. If the Sox keep him, which appears to be the route that Theo will go with him, he will more than likely get a substantial raise, from $9.25m to somewhere in the neighborhood of $13m.

It is completely mind boggling that an employee of a company who's work performance declines 4 years running will get a 40% raise! When I was working, I was lucky to get a 3% raise despite glowing work reports. I had the unfortunate experience of working for one of those proverbial bosses from hell for 18 months a few years back. The (expletive deleted) actually dropped my salary by 15% one year, despite cleaning up his payables that were in shambles when I started there.

Theo pretty much has his hands tied with the Pap situation. Every GM out there knows Pap's splitter is ineffective and has been having problems locating his fastball at times. They all know his numbers are heading south. Someone out there might be interested in him, but the Sox will not be able to get a fair trade with him right now. Bard is very close to being the closer of the future, but unless Theo can do a complete overhaul of the bullpen, Bard and Pap will be the set-up and closer for 2011. Then let him take his cocksure peacock swaggering to Atlanta or Houston, where he will be able to suck all the swampwater he wants. There will still be a problem to be addressed come next 31st of July. If he rebounds, do the Sox keep him or trade him? If he's still on a swampwater diet, who will offer enough in exchange for him?


Let's hope that Pap shuts his trap and gets his stuff together in 2011 to match the obscene salary he will get. It is deplorable that baseball players can let their game go to hell and still get huge raises. I've said before, they should put up the numbers first, then ask for a raise.



Time for rookie hazing!

It's that time of year again for rookies and 2nd year players- rookie hazing. Ryan Kalish, Lars Anderson, Daniel Nava, and Yamaico Navarro were just some of the rookies that donned alternative duds for the trip to New York in this annual ritual.

Manny Delcarmen

From 2005 to August 31st of this year, Manny Delcarmen, born and raised in Boston, wore a Red Sox uniform. I for one was not all that happy to see him go. Playing for your hometown favorite team must be one the ultimate dreams for any boy who starts to play baseball. Manny was active in his community, working with The Jimmy Fund and sponsoring bowling tournaments to raise money for schools.



Manny made 10 appearances with the Sox in 2005, and was a fixture in the Red Sox bullpen from 2006 on, with fastballs reaching mid-'90's. 2007 was arguably his best year as he posted a 2.05 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP in 44 innings. He was streaky after that, with the bad streaks outnumbering the good, as his numbers started going in the wrong direction to the point that the Sox traded him to the Colorado Rockies on the last day of the 2010 waiver deadline. He actually had a great season up to June 1st this year. In 26 IP, he posted a 1.78 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. For the next 2 months he was simply horrible, but stabilized himself in August, but not enough to convince the Sox to keep him. Delcarmen was traded to Colorado for minor league pitcher Chris Balcom-Miller. It was generally considered that Manny could use a change of scenery to turn himself around.

Manny's first appearance for the Rockies was one I'm sure he'd like to forget: 0.1 IP, 4 hits, 4 runs. Jet lag? Maybe, but if you take away that 1 game, his numbers get better, but he still has not returned to his form of 2007: 3.00 ERA and a WHIP of 1.83, down from 40.00 after his 1st game with the Rox.



Here's hoping that Manny returns to his vintage self of 2007. He's one of the players I wouldn't mind seeing back in a Sox uni someday.

Flip-flop go Lackey and Pap

John Lackey turned in a performance that his salary dictated, going 7 innings, allowing only 5 hits and 1 run while striking out 4 Orioles. Daniel Bard pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning, with 2 strikeouts. Papelbon struck out 3, but also allowed a hit. Quite a turnaround from the night before, until you see that it took him 22 pitches to get through the inning.

Kalish, Martinez and Ortiz combined to go 6/10, 4 runs, and 4 RBI's just from Big Papi alone. Josh Reddick homered for the 1st time.


Sox 6 Orioles 1 BOX SCORE

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where has all the swamp water gone?

Jonathan Papelbon sucked all the swamp water he could handle tonight. Granted, Scutaro's error in the 6th inning changed the tempo of the game, and Atchison's gift of a 3 run HR in the 7th pretty much put the Sox in a hole they could not get out of. But Pap? 5 hits and 4 runs in 1 inning? Pap's lucky as he neither got the loss nor a blown save for this (fill in your favorite adjective here) performance. It did drive up his ERA though.

$how you the money? Pap ha$ been all about rai$ing the bar on clo$er'$ $alarie$, which is why he has been content with 1 year contracts. He thinks he's better than Mo, and I wish he was. His numbers go south while his his salary goes north. Several baseball writers have speculated upon Pap's near future- do the Sox trade him this winter? Hold onto him until he is no longer under Sox control? At this point, the Sox may have to hold on to him until at least the 2011 trading deadline. His current trade value has been plummeting this season thanks to 6 blown saves with tonight's performance on top of the pile of dung like a cherry on top of a double chocolate hot fudge sundae.

The Oriole's have experienced a renaissance since Buck Showalter was named manager in August. They have gone 29-17 under Buck and are now over the .400 mark for the first time since Jesus walked on water.

The Red Sox bats, which were supposed to be weak this year anyhow, have been shaved down to toothpicks whenever the O's come to town. Eight scattered hits and 5 walks plated 1 run for them. The only bright side to tonight's game was Buchholz's performance: 6 IP, 4 hits 1 run, 0 earned, 3 walks, 5 K's and a 2.39 ERA.

Sox 1 Orioles 9 BOX SCORE

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Red Sox Lineup 9/21 vs the Orioles



Scutaro, M, 2B

Drew, J, RF
Martinez, V, C
Ortiz, D, DH
Beltre, A, 3B
Lowrie, J, SS
Kalish, R, CF
Nava, D, LF
Anderson, L, 1B

Buchholz, C, SP

Start time 7:10 pm (EDT)

Lose 1, win 1; 2 game posts in one

On Friday, Josh Beckett took the hill against the Toronto Blue Jays. He pitched well, but Ricky Romero was just a little, tiny bit better.
Beckett: 7 IP, 10 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned, 2 BB's, 4 K's
Romero: 6 IP, 7 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned, 3 BB's, 4 K's 

Okajima finished the game pitching 2 scoreless innings. Oki has made 10 appearances since coming back from the DL. In those 10 games, he has pitched 8.2 innings, and given up only 1 run, while trimming his previously horrible ERA 5.85 down to 4.65, a little more respectable.

The Jays needed 4 relief pitchers to finish up the last 3 innings. Ryan Kalish singled in the bottom of the 9th. Victor Martinez was at the plate when Toronto's Gregg tossed a change up into the dirt. Just as he had been taught, Kalish took an agressive secondary lead hoping that the ball would get away from catcher Molina. Molina was able to quickly snap the ball up and fire it off to 1B to pick off Kalish. Martinez then raked a triple, which would have tied the score had Kalish still been on first base. It was just one of those weird situaions. Kalish did what he was supposed to do, but unfortunately the ball took a bounce in Molina's favor.

Sox 3 Jays 4 BOX SCORE


Jon Lester made a statement from the mound today regarding his potential Cy Young award candidacy. He walked 4, gave up 4 hits and no runs in 7 IP. Atchison logged another scoreless inning as did rookie Coello, as the Sox cruised to a 4-0 win today. Victor Martinex hit his 18th HR of the season and JD Drew hit his 19th homer of the season.

Sox 4 Jays 0 BOX SCORE

Jays shellac Lackey, late Sox rally falls short

Lackey must be taking lessons from Dice-K. One game he's hot, the next, not. The Toronto Blue Jay beat the snot out of Lackey tonight: 4.1 IP, 8 hits, 7 runs, 2 BB's, 3 K's. Bowden wasn't too sharp tonight, either:
1.0433011

1 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 1 K, 1 HR. Newcomer Hill went .2 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 K. Fox gave up a run. In comes Wakefield 2.1 IP, 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 K.

Toronto had raced out to a 10-2 lead going into the bottom of the 6th went the Sox bats started rumbling again. Three runs in the 6th and 2 runs in the 8th made it an 11- 7 game. The Sox came up with 2 more runs in the 9th, but that was all she wrote. L, 11-9.

Seven of nine Sox starters had at least 1 hit, Two of 4 pinch hitters got hits. Victor Martinez led the Sox tonight going 2/5, both hits HR's, 2 runs and 5 RBI's.

Sox 9 Jays 11 BOX SCORE

1.0433011

Lopez, Ramirez & Renteria in San Francisco

I just finished watching the San Francisco Giants thrash the Los Angeles Dodgers by a score of 10-2, moving into 1st place in the NL West for the 1st time since May 6th, as The San Diego Padres lost to the Saint Louis Cardinals tonight. The Giants' roster has some old familiar names on it these days, so I thought I'd take a look and see how they're faring, post-Sox.

Edgar Renteria has bounced back and forth between leagues, moving to Atlanta, then Detroit, and finally San Francisco where he has been playing in 2009 and 2010. In his lone season in Boston, he is most remembered for his horrific total of 30 errors in 153 games which gave him an abominable .954 FPCT. While his fielding performances reverted to his old self pre-Sox, his batting line ranged from a high of .332/.390/.470/.860 in 124 games in 2007 with the Atlanta Braves to a low of .250/.307/.328/.635 in 124 games with the Giants last year.

This year the Giants have used him in only 65 games this year. His fielding numbers are just a bit over his lifetime averages, while his batting numbers are just a little below his career averages. Tonight, he made a plea for more playing time from manager Bruce Bochy, as he went 4/5 and scored twice from the leadoff position, raising his batting average up by 11 points in the process.

Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez both landed in San Francisco this year. Lopez started off the year in Pittsburgh, but was traded at the deadline to the Giants. He had his ups and his downs in the 4 years he was with the Sox, but had hit rock bottom in 2009 as he posted a 9.26 ERA and a 2.49 WHIP that year.The National League has been much kinder to him this year. He went from (sadly) perennial NL Central doormats Pittsburgh to a 1st place Giants team in the thick of a pennant race. In 71 games this season total for both teams, he has pitched 55.1 innings, has won 4 and lost 2, has a 2.28 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.

Ramon Ramirez was also traded at the deadline from Boston to San Francisco. A vital part of Boston's bullpen a year ago, he was traded to the Giants at the trading deadline. Ramirez was inconsistent for Boston this season, going 0-3 with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Since then, he has allowed only 2 ER's in 21.2 IP, giving him a 0.83 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP since he arrived on the left coast. 

I was at the August 9th Cubs @ Giants game and saw all 3 players participate in that game. That's where they are now- San Francisco and in 1st place in the NL West.

Jeter pulls an A-Rod move

A-Rod has pulled some moves on the field in the past that amaze us with how brazen they are. Two that immediately come to mind are trying to slap the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand on a weak infield ground hit to Arroyo. In another game against Toronto, as he was running in between 2nd and 3rd bases, he called out "Mine" to confuse the Toronto infielders who were looking up at an infield pop-up and cause them all to let the ball drop.

Yesterday, Derek Jeter pulled out one of A-Rod's dog and pony shows when he pulled away from an inside pitch from Ray's pitcher Chad Qualls when he was trying to bunt, and then spun away and grabbed his forearm as if he was hit by the pitch. The Yankee's trainer came running out to check him out. Everyone could hear that the ball had hit the knob of the bat, but Jeter's acting led home plate umpire Lance Barksdale to award him 1st base. Joe Maddon came out to argue and got ejected. Curtis Granderson came up to bat with Jeter on base and hit a 2 run home run that should have been a 1 run home run. That homer put the Yankees on top, but the Rays eventually won the game, 4-3 last night. Ray's players and fans were not amused.

Jeter later admitted that the ball hit the bat, and when Barksdale awarded him 1st base, he wasn't about to say, "No, I'm not taking the base. I wasn't hit by the pitch."

Yahoo Sports has more on the incident and Yankees.com has a video of Jeter's Academy Award winning performance.

Buchholz bounces back

Clay Buchholz pitched 7 quality innings today as he bounced back from his train wreck in Oakland last week. While he did walk 3 and gave up a HR, he also gave up only 4 hits and 1 run while striking out 6 Mariners, leaving him with a 2.48 ERA. Hopefully, this will put him back on track for the Cy Young Award. Hideki Okajima pitched another scoreless inning. Atchison continues to be a rock solid anchor in the bullpen, as he pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning on 10 pitches while lowering his ERA to 3.58.

The Red Sox amassed 10 hits in a well balanced offensive attack. Marco Scutaro, playing 2nd base, went 3 for 4 and scored 2 runs. Rookies Kalish, Reddick, and Anderson all had at least 1 hit.



Sox 5 Mariners 1 BOX SCORE

Dice-K for Andre Ethier?






Trading Dice-K for Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers is a long shot, but could still happen. Ethier is a left handed outfielder who can hit for power and average. He has been with the Dodgers since he was 1st called up in May of 2006, and hasn't looked back since. According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Ethier has told friends that the Boston Red Sox would be one team he would like to play for. He is friends with Dustin Pedroia as both played for Arizona State University. Ethier has been very involved with humanitarian community causes in Los Angeles during his time there so far.

Although Ethier is under contract for 2011 at $9.25 million and isn't eligible for free agency until 2013, and Dice-K has a full no-trade clause, the trade could still happen. It is presumed that the Dodgers might be one of the teams that Dice-K would waive the clause for, as it would move him closer to his native Japan, and the Dodgers have had Japanese players on their roster going back to Hideo Nomo in 1995. The Dodgers are in a financial quagmire due to the proceedings in the divorce case of primary owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. Ned Coletti, GM of the Dodgers, has said the team will be active in the trade market this winter.

Ethier has a career AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS line of .290/.361/.490/.851, with a .982 FPCT. In his rookie year in 2006, he played in 126 games. Since then he has played in no less than 141 games in a complete season. He has played  in 123 games so far this year. His power has dropped a bit this year due to a fractured bone at the tip of one of his fingers, but he has maintained his average of .286 this year close to his lifetime average. In 2009 he hit 31 HR's in 160 games, and has 21 HR's this season so far. In 2009, he led MLB with 6 walk-off hits, including a MLB best 4 walk-off HR's, which tied Jimmie Foxx of the 1940 Red Sox with the MLB record for most walk-off homers in a season.

The Red Sox already have a viable 5th starting pitcher option in Tim Wakefield (I don't want to hear any trash-talking about Wake) for 2011, and will be looking to upgrade power options in the outfield positions.

In Theo we trust.

Bats, bats and more bats

Victor Martinez: 2/4, 1 RBI
Adrian Beltre: 3/4, 1 run scored
David Ortiz: 3/4, 1 HR, 3 RBI's, 2 runs scored
Jed Lowrie: 3/4, 2 HR's, 3 RBI's, 2 runs scored

The Red Sox beat the Mariners tonight behind the bats of Martinez, Beltre, Ortiz, and Lowrie. It's a good thing they brought their lumber, as Dice-K (Mr. Hyde version tonight) went 6 innings, allowed 8 hits, walked 4, struck out only 3, and gave up 5 runs.

The score see-sawed a bit before the Sox took the lead for good in the top of the 9th inning. Okajima pitched a scoreless 2/3 of an inning. He has allowed only 1 run in his 8 appearances, 5.2 innings, since returning from the DL. Bowden gave up a hit to the only batter he saw. Newcomer Hill faced only batter, got him out, and got the W for the game. Bard earned his 30th Hold, before Papelbon came in for the 9th inning. He gave up 2 hits and 1 run before striking out 3 in a row.

The Yankees and the Rays are beating the snot out of each other, the Yankees taking tonight's game 8-7 over the Rays. The Sox are still not mathematically out of reach of a playoff spot, yet time grows razor thin. They are 7 GB the Yankees in 1st place, and 6.5 GB the Rays for the playoff spot. The White Sox are 8 GB the Rays for the wild card.





Sox 9 Mariners 6 BOX SCORE

Scenes from a Sox road game

Matt and I went to the Sox @ A's game last Friday, the game where somebody spiked Clay's Gatorade with swampwater. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to download them from the borrowed camera on to my computer until today. We were able to catch the end of Sox BP and warm-up. Tito and Eric Patterson can be seen signing some autographs for the kids. Peter Abraham and Amalie Benjamin are seen doing their pre-game interviews.




Cowbell woman. She was rooting for the A's and shakin' the damn cowbell like she was a Rays fan.

Lots of empty seats at A's games.
Khaia is a very knowledgable A's and baseball fan. She has sat close to some rude and obnoxious Sox fans in the past, so we were bound and determined to let her know they are in the minority.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Last chance to bid on the Victor Martinez signed baseball



Fenway West received 3 signed balls to be auctioned off at the 1st Annual Rock and Sox Benefit for The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Mike Lowell ball and the Dice-K ball have been sent on their way to their respective generous donors. The remaining ball signed by Victor Martinez received a bid on eBay, but the bidder flaked, so the V-Mart ball is back up on eBay once more. Proceeds from the sale of this ball, as was with the others, will go to The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (The ball is listed for sale by Toyriffics, which is run by 2 close friends of mine who have the whole eBay system down pat. They have a 99.6% positive feedback rating.)

UPDATE: Bidding on this ball ends at Saturday, Sept 18, 2010, at 3:52 pm (PDT), or 12:52 pm (EDT) Click here to bid. Victor Martinez hit 2 home runs tonight.

Donations to The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute may still be made at the Rally Against Cancer web site up to September 30th.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A song for Steve (no baseball content)



I had just finished reading Jimmy Buffett's autobiography, "A Pirate Looks at Fifty" about a week or so ago. He wrote it as he flew from Florida, across Cuban airspace to Grand Cayman Island, and then to Costa Rica where he spent some time before flying to Venezuela, the Amazon in central Brazil, then back north again ...stopping at several islands in the Lesser Antilles, including one where he lived for a while. I had always wanted to visit the Caribbean Islands, and added Costa Rica to the list after listening to Steve talk about his prior trip to CR, and after reading of Buffett's time spent there. It truly sounded like a magical place to visit or to live. My head spins from the thought of a senseless act of violence that happened to Steve in such a beautiful place. I don't know exactly which harbour he wrote this song about, but this version was recorded on one of those islands. I suppose it could have been written about Costa Rica. I can picture Steve there, a beautiful place to leave this realm, no matter what the circumstances are. A song for Steve.




One Particular Harbour, by Jimmy Buffett






Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei
Ia ora te natura
E mea arofa teie ao nei

I know I don't get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It's a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe

I used to rule my world from a pay phone
And ships out on the sea
But now times are rough
And I got too much stuff

Can't explain the likes of me
But there's this one particular harbour
So far but yet so near
Where I see the days as they fade away
And finally disappear

But now I think about the good times
Down in the Caribbean sunshine
In my younger days I was so bad
Laughin' about all the fun we had

I've seen enough to feel the world spin
Mixin' different oceans meetin' cousins
Listen to the drummers and the night sounds
Listen to the singers make the world go round

Ia ora te natura...

Lakes below the mountains
Flow into the sea
Like oils applied to canvas
They permeate through me

And there's that one particular harbour
Sheltered from the wind
Where the children play on the shore each day
And all are safe within
Most mysterious calling harbour
So far but yet so near
I can see the day when my hair's full gray
And I finally disappear

Ia ora te natura...
Ua pau te maitai no te fenua
Te zai noa ra te ora o te mitie

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sox avoid sweep on another Beckett quality start

Josh Beckett pitched his 4th quality start in a row since returning from the DL. He allowed 5 scattered hits and 3 runs in 6 IP. He walked 5, but also struck out 7 A’s.

Scott Atchison continues to be the solid bridge to Bard and/or Papelbon. He threw 2 scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 3.62, the lowest this season for him since mid-April. He has allowed only 2 runs in his last 11 innings going all the way back to the 25th of August. Atchison, 33 yo, has been shuffling back and forth between AAA and the big leagues for most of his career. However, he did pitch in Japan in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. In 3 years with Seattle and San Francisco, he had a total of 68 IP, but in 2010, he has amassed 54.2 IP already.

The Red Sox had 9 hits, 3 from JD Drew. Ryan Kalish pinch-hit a single that scored 2 runs.

I have a question for our readers. I did not watch or listen to the game today. According to redsox.com, Papelbon struck out the side in order in the 9th. According to Game Day, he struck out Pennington, Crisp and Barton. Barton was then ejected from the game, and Papelbon went on to strike out Kurt Suzuki. The box score says Suzuki did not strike out. Can anybody help me out as to what happened in the bottom of the 9th?

Sox 5 Athletics 3 BOX SCORE



Sorry for asking readers for the 9th inning details, but I just found out a band mate was shot and killed in Costa Rica yesterday. RIP Steve. Now if you'll excuse me....

Sox on short end of pitcher’s duel

Lackey had it goin’ on today, big time, and finally! In the 1st 6 innings of the game, he gave up 2 hits, no walks, and had three 1-2-3 innings. Going into the bottom of the 7th inning, Boston had a 2-0 lead. Four hits and an error plated 3 A’s. Bard was not up to par in this game in the 8th inning- 4 walks and a hit scored 1 more A. In the top of the 9th inning, doubles by Martinez and Beltre scored 1 more run, but that was it. The Sox pitchers allowed only 7 hits by the A’s, while they had 10 hits, and 22 men LOB.

The Yankees lost and the Rays won, leaving the Sox 9.5 GB the Yankees, and 8.5 GB the Rays. The White Sox are also 8.5 GB the Rays. It looks like the rookies will be getting some regular playing time for the remainder of the year.



Sox 3 A’s 4 BOX SCORE

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Not exactly the way I expected this day to turn out

Kalish led off the game with a deep lead-off hit to centerfield that was out of the park. Almost. Coco Crisp made a web gem worthy home run stealin' grab of a ball that was (almost) out of the park. It was all downhill from there for the Red Sox offense.

Craig Breslow and Jeremy Hermida are on the A's roster these days. Coco did the most damage of the night. After that phenominal grab, he hit a 1st pitch fastball to lead-off for the A's that was just barely glanced off of SS Lowrie's glove and into left field. From there it was all downhill for Buchholz. That single was followed by a walk, a double, a walk, single, a GIDP that plated a run, and mercifully a strike out to end the inning. His 2nd inning was worse. He gave up 2 walks and 2 singles before getting the hook from Tito, a rare event this season for Buchholz. Richardson, Bowden, Coello, and Manuel combined to shut out the A's for the remainder of the game. Though they put up goose eggs, it wasn't all that easy at times- they allowed 3 hits and issued 4 free passes. Since Coello's debut earlier this week, he has lowered his ERA from 81.00 all the way down to 8.10.

A's starter Trevor Cahill was totally in charge after being staked to leads of 3-0 and 5-0, 3 hits and 2 walks. That is all he gave up. Breslow registered a scoreless inning.

Kalish, Lowrie, Reddick and (Lahs) Anderson were all part of the starting line-up that just could not handle a hot Cahill (except for Kalish's stolen home run), who now has numbers very comparable to the leading Cy Young candidate on the Sox staff:
Cahill: 16-6, 2.61 ERA
Buchholz: 15-7, 2.53 ERA

Besides his stolen homer, Kalish fired a bullet from centerfield to Beltre at 3rd base to get Coco out who was trying to get there after tagging up.

Speaking of Coco, he stole 3 bases tonight, in addition to stealing 4 bases from Kalish. Martinez was working the dish tonight. (Hmmm... Do you think that might just figure into his contract negotiations?)

Other highlights outside of the rookies throwing 6 shutout innings, Kalish's bullet and near home run, was getting there early enough to catch the Sox batting practice. Matt and I were above the 1B dugout, watching BP, Peter Abraham and Amalie Benjamin doing their pre-game spots right in front of us, and Tito signing balls for some young fans. 'Tek was working home plate warming up the pitchers before Martinez came out in between innings.

Who knows how this game would have turned out had Coco not caught that lead-off (almost) home run...


Photo from Boston.com


Sox 0 A's 5 BOX SCORE

Knock down, drag out series in Tampa- Sox win game and series

Just like Dice-K, ya just never know which Boston Red Sox team will show up these days. After pummeling the Rays 12-5 two nights ago, they turn around and get spanked right back last night by a 14-5 score. After speculating that after a demoralizing loss last night that they were goin' belly-up, they prove this scribe wrong. The Rays had leads of 4-0 and 5-4, but the Sox went ahead with a 3 run 5th inning that put them up for the rest of the game. The bats weren't done, though, as they scored 4 more runs, leading to an 11-5 win for the Sox and for Tim Wakefield. Wake reached a minor milestone in his career, as he became the oldest pitcher to win a game for the Red Sox at age 44, the previous mark held by Dennis Eckersley at 43 years of age.

Wake went 5 innings allowing 4 earned runs. Atchison has been stepping up his game as of late as he went 2 scoreless innings- 6 Rays up, 6 Rays down. Bard and Okajima eached worked 1 scoreless inning.

Leading the offensive assault was Marco Scutaro who went 4/5, with 3 RBI's and 3 runs scored. The trio of rookies Kalish, Reddick, and Anderson combined to go 4/10, 2 RBI's and 3 runs scored. Martinez and Beltre each went 2/4, while Big Papi went 1/3, with 1 RBI and 3 runs scored. The Sox hit 5 HR's in this game- Beltre, Ortiz, and Martinez each had 1, and Scutaro hit 2 of them. Sox batters made the Ray's pitchers work again as they needed 174 pitches from 6 pitchers to get through this game.

The Red Sox are probably arriving here in CA very soon, if not already, to start a 6 game west coast road trip. They play 3 games in Oakland (on my birthday on Friday!) before heading on up to Seattle. Clay Buchholz will start on Friday after 5 days rest.

Sox 11 Rays 5 BOX SCORE



V-Mart signed ball back up on eBay- proceeds to Jimmy Fund



Fenway West received 3 signed balls to be auctioned off at the 1st Annual Rock and Sox Benefit for The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Mike Lowell ball and the Dice-K ball have been sent on their way to their respective generous donors. The remaining ball signed by Victor Martinez received a bid on eBay, but the bidder flaked, so the V-Mart ball is back up on eBay once more. Proceeds from the sale of this ball, as was with the others, will go to The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (The ball is listed for sale by Toyriffics, which is run by 2 close friends of mine who have the whole eBay system down pat. They have a 99.6% positive feedback rating.)

Donations to The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute may still be made at the Rally Against Cancer web site.

Here's a twist- umpire ejects Brewers fan from game

The St. Louis Cardinals are struggling in the NL wild card race. Last night they were in Milwaukee to play against the Brewers. Manager Ken Macha was ejected in the 2nd inning by umpire Tim Timmons for arguing about an 'out' call at 2nd base. Pitching coach Dave Duncan was ejected one linning later for arguing balls and strikes by controversial umpire Bob Davidson.

The strangest call of the night came in the 7th inning when Davidson ejected a fan from the game for heckling Cardinal's catcher Yadier Molina.



Rollercoaster


How many Sox fans thought that after last night's thrashing of the Rays the Sox would take off on a highly improbable and historic run for the wild card spot, or even a run for the division? Raise your hands. As bad as it was for the Rays last night, it was that much worse for the Sox tonight as the Rays turned the table and thumped the Sox right back to the tune of a demoralizing (once again) 14-5 loss. The loss put the Sox 9 GB the Yankees, and 7.5 GB the Rays for the wild card spot, but they are also behind the White Sox in that race.

Dice-K is getting pretty good at apologizing: 
"I knew very well that this was a critical game as far as our chances of advancing to the playoffs," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Masa Hoshino. "So to allow what happened to happen so early in the game, I can really only apologize to my teammates and my fans."
 Yo, Dice-K! Apologizing doesn't get you into the playoffs! ( 謝罪はプレーオフにあなたを取得しません!)

Just when you think the Sox are about to take off on that incredible winning streak that we're all hoping and waiting for, they do indeed go belly up. The Sox will be 6' under very soon. Buchholz will not be making that start tomorrow on 3 days rest that had been discussed. Tim Wakefield will make the start instead. Will this be his last start ever for him at Fenway? I for one, certainly hope not. Knuckleballers last well into their 40's, he's a bargain, and can eat up innings giving the bullpen rest. (That 'R' word- retirement- has been showing up here and their in various blogs and mainstream media articles lately in association with Wake.) Even Bill Lee is still pitching professionally at 63 years of age!

Two lonely bright spots for the night go to Coello and Bowden. Coello, if you recall, made his major league debut last night and promptly got pounded for 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 runs, and only registered 1 out. He was back on the mound on mop up duty and pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning. Michael Bowden has been called up for the 3rd time this season and pitched 2 solid innings before Coello, and only gave up 1 walk.

Sox 5 Rays 14 BOX SCORE

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Something about this birthday cake is just so wrong

While looking for a photo of a Red Sox birthday cake for the previous post, I saw this:




Now what the hell is that in the top right corner?!

Happy Birthday to me!




When the Red Sox take the field in Oakland on Friday, I will have just completed my 53rd trip around the sun on this rock we call Earth. Matt and I will be in attendance at that game. I don't know where he got the tickets, but we'll be sitting somewhere behind home plate. How cool is that to be living 3k miles from Fenway and getting to see the Sox play on your birthday? I doubt this will ever happen again. Last time I saw the Sox play the A's, Wake had a perfect game through 5 innings, and a no-no going into the 8th. Hopefully my birthday mojo will work for Clay, too. With 'Tek catching. Woo Hoo! Thank you, Matt!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hit homers early, hit homers grand- Sox thump Rays, 12-5

Big Papi and Adrian Beltre hit back to back homers in the 1st inning tonight, and rookie Ryan Kalish hit his 2nd grand slam of the season as the Red Sox thumped the Rays until they couldn't thump any more. They thumped and thumped until they went on to an 11-2 lead by the end of the 4th inning.

Jon Lester needed 33 pitches to get through the 1st inning, allowing 1 run in the process. He would only need 61 more pitches in the next 5 innings, leaving the game allowing a total of 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs while striking out 10 Rays, (94 pitches total for the mathematically challenged.) His W-L stands at 16-8 with a 3.26 ERA.

At the end of 6 innings, the Sox still had that 11-2 lead, time to send in the rookies. The rookies didn't do so well, though. Robert Coello is so rookie that his stats page doesn't even have a photo up for him yet. That's probably a good thing, as he gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 runs, and only registered 1 out. (OK kid, here's a bus ticket to Pawtucket. Actually, I don't know if he's on his way back just yet.) Richardson has a little more experience, but he walked the only batter he saw, scoring one of Coello's batters. Out comes Richardson, Tito wants this one bad, so he sent in Atchison, who then went 1.2 innings allowing only 1 hit. In his last 7.1 IP, he's allowed only 2 runs to score. Okajima looking much better since he came back off the DL worked a 1-2-3 9th inning.

The Rays didn't show up tonight as they (and a lot of others, too) probably thought the Sox had gone tits-up. They sent in 5 pinch hitters in that 3 run inning, 6 for the night, but didn't count on Atchison quietly becoming a reliable arm in the bullpen, or Okajima stepping up his game, too.

The Sox only had 9 hits, but also wore out the Ray's bullpen by drawing 10 free passes. The Ray's pitchers threw 176 pitches in this game.

The Yankees lost, which leaves them 9 games ahead of the Sox. In the Wild Card race, The Ray's hold a 6 game lead over the Sox and a 6.5 game lead ahead of the Sox.


Sox 12 Rays 5 BOX SCORE

Sigh, Sox beat Sox again



Pap blows again.
Sox 5 Sox 7 BOX SCORE