Sunday, September 28, 2008

And that’s the Ballgame

So I return to blogging (as the season ends) with the wondrous report that the Yankees limp back home, losers of the last game of the season thanks to the bases loaded extra inning single by rising star (nah) Jonathan Van Every. The walkoff was an exciting end for an arduous regular season… but I fear that is the ONLY good news this evening.

Latest reports from the Boston Herald (so grain of salt warnings are in place) state that Josh “I own the Postseason” Beckett will be unavailable in the ALDS due to an oblique strain. Like beating the Angels wasn’t already going to be hard enough, now the Sox don’t even have the big gun himself to roll out Wednesday night.

So the 2008 Postseason will start without Lowell (potentially for the whole thing), J.D Drew (maybe for pinch hitting), Lugo (thankfully for the whole thing) and now possibly Beckett. This situation sucks so hard I swear it was accidentally created by CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

But HEY…the bright side is the right side. The playoffs are finally here (unless you are in the AL Central) and we might even see the musical posts make a comeback. Everyone likes music… unless it’s the Sound of Silence coming from the Red Sox World Series chances…

Crap in a hat…

UPDATE: Francona spoke about Beckett tonight and it looks like he will pitch game 3 against the Angels if he is well enough... hold on to your butts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Send In The Clowns

So the last meaningful out of the Red Sox 2008 season is a pop-up in the fog, two men on board, down by 11 runs. It was a very odd way into regular-season irrelevancy: an atmosphere so soupy, outfielders are missing routing flies; so water-drenched, the very elements are conspiring to keep the ridiculous offensive totals out of the books.

I was going to say I wasn't too bothered by tonight's loss backdooring the Rays into an AL East victory they're probably too tired to celebrate, because I see the Twins lurking at the top of the AL Central, ready to snatch final victory from the failing Pale Sox, and my memory immediately jumps to the Lovecraftian horror that is the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. I hate it when the Sox have to travel to Minnesota for games (like Seattle, they always seem to lose there, and lose badly), and if losing the AL East means not having to spend some virtual time in the Twin Cities baseball stadium of choice, it's a trade I'm happy to make. Let the Rays have the title and face the Twinkies.

However, I see I'm wrong on two counts: not only have the Sox done well in Minnesota this year on both sides of the ball, but so have the Rays. Just as importantly, both teams have played well against the alternate victors in Chicago, so unless the Rays go ice cold over the next week or so, don't expect either potential winner of the AL Central crown to make their way past the first round of the playoffs. If we're lucky, we'll face the Rays in the ALCS (actually, if we're really lucky, we'll face the White Sox or the Twins in the ALCS). If not, well...well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, enjoy two days of meaningless baseball and contemplate how you think those first two games in LA will go. Finally: Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays on a stupendous achievement, made even more significant by its accomplishment in baseball's toughest division. You guys are the new terror of the East.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Down To This...And It's Down To You

Jon Lester brings the money, money, money ball last night and has us thinking two no-nos in a year through six, while a cast of thousands (in the form of one of the lighter-hitting-on-paper Red Sox lineups we've seen this year) beats the odds and backs him up with more than enough runs for the win. Meanwhile, the Rays can't seal the deal, and fall to within two (well, technically three) of losing the lead again. We've gotta win 'em all and they've gotta lose 'em all. Oh, and we'll be facing the Yankees, who - despite their unaccustomed position in the standings - will no doubt be spoiling for a victory or two to keep Boston permanently out of the top spot. Wild Card is nice, but no one would mind a home series against Chicago, either. Time to go for all of the marbles!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Division Title? We Don’t Need No Stinking Title!!! (or do we?)

Here we are with some rational and calm commentary from DC. I'll be back with my own brand of blab toward the end of the season. I'd give an excuse about why I've been so quiet... but you don't want to hear that I found people I can actually TALK to about the Red Sox... anyway DC's words follow.

Oh wait… Yeah we do! Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the olde town team on beating this year’s Cy Young Award winner and in doing so clinching a playoff spot. Unlike some other professional leagues where it seems like half the teams make the playoffs (I’m looking at you NBA), making the playoffs in baseball still means something. This season has been more demanding than any in recent memory and the Sox managed to fight through all the injuries, crazy clubhouse antics and trade deadline drama to take another step towards baseball’s holy land. Unfortunately with overtaking the Rays for the division looking as likely as me waking up tomorrow looking like Tom Brady, the next step will be much more difficult.

The Sox have a lot more going against them facing the Angels in the first round of the playoffs than they would have if they’d won the division and earned the right to play the White Sox, who enter the playoffs looking like the weakest post season team. I know what you’re thinking: “But we own the Angels in the playoffs.” While historically that may be true, consider these five facts and then tell me you’re not concerned:
  • We’re 1-8 against the Angels this season and our one win came in April and was off of Darren Oliver who coincidently had his worst month of the season in April. Of our 8 losses, 6 were won by their starters (including 2 W’s for Lackey and 2 for Saunders). That means their starters were able to go deep into the games rather than being worn down and having to rely on the bullpen like the Red Sox hitters prefer.

  • The Red Sox don’t scare John Lackey anymore. In past seasons, Lackey’s struggles against the Sox, particularly in the Fens, were well documented. However, he took care of those demons this year to the tune of a complete game victory that was a home run away from being a no hitter. On the year the Sox are only hitting .132 against Lackey and he’s 2-0 against them.

  • On the flip side of that coin, Josh Beckett has been the anti-Lackey. Against the Angels this year he’s 0-2 with an ERA over 7 with a batting average against of .345. Compare that to 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA against the White Sox. Furthermore, this season Beckett has looked like an ace at times but other times he’s looked extremely mortal. I was at this week’s game against the Indians. He seemed to have no command of his fastball and at times was very hittable. 105 pitches through 6 innings isn’t going to cut it from our playoff ace.

  • Beckett isn’t the only pitcher who’d rather see the Chi-Sox digging in over the next couple of weeks. Dice-K’s ERA against the Angels this year is on the wrong side of 10 and they hit .350 off of him. Compare that to a 0.56 ERA and .122 BAA versus the White Sox. Lester isn’t must better with a 7.20 ERA against the Angels (5.14 versus Chicago) and a .429 batting average allowed (.261 for Chicago).

  • These are not your father’s pitch first, score later Angels. This team went out and got 2 big time bats (Hunter & Teixeira) without losing anything on defense (9 Gold Gloves combined). On the other hand, the Red Sox aren’t scoring like they used to. Jed Lowrie seems convinced September translates to “swing and miss” in some ancient language. Mike Lowell can still hit, but unfortunately running is out of the question. JD Drew has a serious injury and likely won’t be 100% when he gets back on the field and his replacement, Kotsay, has been looking old.
What this all boils down to is cause for concern. I’m not saying that the Red Sox are going to lose. I’m simply saying that a successful title defense would have been significantly easier if we had won the division. In that case, we would have had home field advantage where the Sox are 53-23 (versus 39-42 on the road) and playing against a lesser opponent in the Chicago White Sox. But instead, we’re the wild card winners. We earned the right to go to California to face the best team in the league. An Angels team that stacked with pitchers and hungry to regain their playoff swagger. So, with regard to clinching the wild card I say to the Red Sox: “Congratulations… I think?”

I Sure Was Saying "Drew!"

Our offensive nightmare is over.

Actually, that's too hasty: our offensive nightmare is mitigated, because J.D. Drew's back in the lineup tonight after five weeks on the sidelines full of enough legal drugs to stave off whatever messed up thing the discs in his back are doing. Good to have ya back (so to speak).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Playoff Bound

Four trips in five years and it's still just as sweet as it ever was to see the Sox make the post-season AL eight. It's officially time to start bringing the rock and take home another championship crown. Go Sox!!!

Yankee Stadium: Why No Protest at Closing Time?

This post started out as a comment on Soxlosophy in response to this post, but after hitting the third paragraph I figured we'd all be better served with a blog post instead:

The argument about keeping the Stadium alive for the historical value to baseball is slippery slope anyway. Next we'd be saying that the Phillies shouldn't have replaced Veteran's Stadium just because they were there for thirty years.

And before you object and say that Veteran's Stadium wasn't the historical park, I think the analogy is apt (and goes to my next point): all week I've been reading reminiscences from people who remember Yankee Stadium before the renovations, who've never really seen the 1970s version (the Yankee equivalent of Veteran's Stadium) as being the real thing. Clearly they wouldn't be particularly interested in saving the newer park as a relic; it doesn't have that kind of value to them. Younger fans who've written up memories always seem to focus on the games they saw (and the fights, oddly enough, although maybe that's just the Deadspin bias), not the Stadium itself. The collective consciousness seems to view the place as pleasant scenery with a few standout points (Monument Park, the angle of the upper deck, etc.); the real important points were the players and the crowds.

Fenway is different, for a few reasons:
  • First, like Wrigley, it's a survivor of a much older era, an era that today's ballpark designers are trying to recreate. Its resultant air of historical authenticity grant it a cachet not seen amongst the megaparks of the 1970s, even if the survival of that authenticity is just as likely to stem from the historical accident of penny-pinching ownership choosing not to follow the course of 70s ballpark architecture as it is from any concerted effort to keep the old place alive.
  • Second, it's Boston, a place so thick with history you can't walk five blocks without running into some sort of monument to the past...and that list includes Fenway Park. That type of environment makes history pervasive, even if the impact isn't on a concious level. Heck, even within the park there's a slew of historical features (The Green Monster, Pesky's Pole, the Triangle, the Red Seat) that form a defining part of the Fenway experience. Don't get me wrong: New York has historical places, too, but when you live in a city that defines itself as a place where anyone can reinvent themselves, a place that remakes its skyline so often the city had to found a commission to keep valued landmarks from disappearing under the steamroller of progress, history gets a lower priority.
  • Third, and probably most importantly, the Red Sox equivalents of those fans who knew and loved the original Yankee Stadium were the fans who watched the Impossible Dream season unfold at Fenway, who helped break attendence records, make Fenway the most popular ballpark in baseball in 1967, and start the concept of Red Sox Nation. Unlike Yankee Stadium, the monument to their memories still exists; any attempt to take it away would meet (and, via Save Fenway, has met) with fierce opposition.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Time To Play Host Again

Hart Brachen says Zen...I say statistics. Either way, everyone wins (except the Jays).

Since Friday's predictions went so swimmingly, let's see if I can predict the course of the series against the Indians, too:
  • In 2008 (which amounts to two games, but Baseball Reference sums this up as 20 games because there were 20 batters involved. In retrospect, that's a pretty odd way to do the calculation.), the Sox offense has splits of .347/.415/.556/ against the Indians. Those two games were in Cleveland, so their relevance is a little questionable, but hey: at one point in the year (mid-April, to be precise), we could hit the Tribe's pitching. We'll just ignore the fact that one of the pitchers was Paul Byrd, mkay?
  • At Fenway, the Red Sox offense boasts splits of .293/.374/.470, which are fine and dandy numbers, except that they include the entirety of the year when, you know, we had a full lineup and not middle-lineup guys with balky tendons and spasming muscles. In September, the tape and glue job we've got running to power us into the playoffs is hitting a much more pedestrian .263/.348/.447.
  • Our leadoff hitter just woke up and realized it was September. Actually, that's not fair: as befitting a fancy-pants college boy, he did an intellectual analysis of his swing and discovered (and fixed) the holes causing his extended slump. The results are the same no matter what, though: he's got a 12 game hitting streak where he has six multi-hit games and splits of .345/.368/.545. Heating up for a repetition of the 2007 post-season extravaganza? I'm all for it.
  • Of the four pitchers going this week, only the former Indian has anything approaching respectable career numbers against Cleveland: Paul Byrd has a 1.60 ERA and a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio in 45 innings against the Tribe, dating back to the early part of this decade. Lester and Wakefield have middling numbers, while Josh Beckett has surrendered 18 earned runs in 24.2 innings. Of course, he's also got almost 4 strikeouts for every walk and it's September, a mystical time when, like Sir Gawaine and his tripled strength at the zenith of the sun, Beckett waxes most powerful. I'd say a split with a good possibility of a series victory seems is the most likely result.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fausto Versus Sheffield

Two things make me very happy about this video:
  1. Watching Fausto Carmona tool on Gary Sheffield like Nolan Ryan on Robin Ventura. Sheffield can jaw about it all he wants after the fact, but he got beaten like a red-headed stepchild on a rented mule - and everyone knows it.
  2. Everyone includes the Indians announcers, who make no secret of their home bias throughout the fight, and discuss in length about how much of a toolbag Sheffield's being through the whole thing.

Thank You Statistics

Thank you, statistics, for acting as expected and proving yesterday's point. You think now you might be willing to take a breather and let Jon Lester not live up to his record in Toronto?

Look at me, appealing to the irrational, just because I'd like to see that complex clinching formula (Sox win, Yankees lose, Twins or White Sox lose) come into effect and 0ur playoff berth to be guaranteed today.

Speaking of irrational, looks like the Bartolo Colon experiment is dead and done after Colon decided he'd rather not come back from the Dominican to pitch in the bullpen or backup another starter. Abandoning his team during the playoffs; pitching 39 innings during a supposed comeback year; what's the over/under Colon is done with professional baseball for good?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bring Forth the Jays

A few statistics heading into thes pivotal/not so pivotal (all depending on your answer to the question: how badly do you, as a Sox fan, want the Sox to win the AL East?) games against Toronto:
  • As a club, the Boston offense has team splits of .221/.291/.399 in the Rogers Centre. Those aren't their worst overall numbers, but they're among the worst for the number of games played.
  • Over the same time period, the pitching staff has compiled a 7.10 ERA in the Rogers Centre, almost a full run worse than their next toughest assignment, Rangers Ballpark. Some of it's been pretty wretched luck (BABIP of .316), but I knew there was a reason why I start thinking about the detention center on the first death star every time the Sox play a series in Toronto. I'd so rather see these games happening in the Band Box of Eutaw Street.
  • Paul Byrd has a 3.93 ERA and a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio in 34.1 innings in the Rogers Centre. His 0.96 WHIP ain't too shabby, neither. Score the man some runs and we just might win tonight's game.
  • Dice-K has a 3.79 ERA, a 3.71:1 strikeout to walk ratio, and a 1.21 WHIP over 19 innings on the Jays' home turf. As he somehow keeps managing to win games this year while expending more pitches than the Fed's sent out dollars in corporate bailouts (a topical joke - how clever), I probably shouldn't be worried about Sunday's outcome.
  • Jon Lester's stats in Toronto are stab-me-in-the-eye terrible and I refuse to discuss them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Score Runs, Dammit

We better hope that when we meet the Rays in the playoffs we score a lot more runs than they do, or we are Effed to the Ayyyy.

Just for kicks, I took at a look at the results of the 17 games the Sox and Rays have played thus far, to confirm whether the results of the past few games (squeakers won by the Rays in the bottom of the ninth or in extra innings) were really as common to Boston/Tampa contests in 2008 as they suddenly felt.

Unfortunately, the results match my initial intuitions.

Going into tonight's contest, the Sox are 8 and 9 versus the Rays. In all nine losses, Boston has never lost by more than three runs; they've lost once by three, twice by two, and a really demoralizing six times by one run. Just as bad are the run differences on the win side: never less than three runs, with an average of five. Of course, these are your 2008 Sox, the team whose batting splits drop 30 points (.293/.374/.470 at home, .271/.347/.430 away) when they hit the road; some drop off will occur and we're just reaping the whirlwind when we play the Rays in Tampa. I guess I should grateful: those splits are the best in the AL for both home and away and they're more consistent than the leading teams in the NL. I just hate losing games in the last few minutes of the night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jonathan Papelbon Cares Not For Your Regular Season

More Papelbon: he's really tired of everyone asking him about his recent performance, because he's got that stuff all under control. Seriously, just read the article.

Watching and reading interviews with Papelbon this year, I'm convinced that the guys from The Dugout weren't too far off: he really is the Manny Ramirez of pitching. When he's not talking about pitching, he comes off as either really wacky or a little stupid, but when he's talking his profession, the tumblers seem to fall into place and the knowledge just unlocks. And it's a little scary when it does:
"It's just making adjustments," Papelbon said. "For the past month, I've thrown 20 scoreless innings basically just going out there and throwing my heater and locating it. Well now, the same teams I did that against, they're making their adjustments on me. I've got to get back and do the same. So I've got to be able to throw my secondary pitches and locate my split and locate my slider.

As far as I can tell, Papelbon's treated the past month like some sort of extended side session, going out and fine tuning his best pitch in a live fire environment. As far as I can tell, there's only one reason for him to do so: he's getting ready for the post season. He's so confident that his team will get him to the playoffs that he's moved beyond the day to day of the regular season and he's preparing for the rigors of October baseball. This level of confidence is awesome beyond words.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Redemption in The House of Mine Enemy

Oh, sweet, sweet beat down. Oh, streak breaking beat down that takes us into first place, tied for first after months and months of playing second fiddle. It's damn good to be back, even if I felt a little bad for the Rays by the middle of the fifth, down 12 to 1 with things looking so bleak (or really, so good) that Francona was subbing out players like he had to get through some sort of quota. Kevin Cash even got to miss a pop up in third base foul territory! I tell ya: it's a good night when you get to take down a rival in their house and rest your players a bit for the playoffs.

Let's see if we can do it again tomorrow. I bet Beckett's so hungry for glory he demands to face two batters at a time.

Dale Sveum Takes Over...

...after the Brewers fire manager Ned Yost. As far as I can tell, the Brew Crew is hoping to prevent a full scale collapse and make the run to home by putting the guy who sent legions of Red Sox runners to their untimely demises. This should go well...

Papelbon the Starter?

Can't say I expected the standings to turn out the way they did this weekend: I figured that, if nothing else, the Jays were going to play spoiler to the max and make the whole Wild Card thing an uncomfortably close thing, if nothing else. But Toronto turned out to be a storm in a teacup with only one blowout left in their bats, Lester showed up Halladay, we're back to a game behind the Rays going into Tampa, with a six game lead on the Twins for the WC. Not too shabby at all...

Speaking of which: should we be gunning for first this week, or just be satisfied with keeping the Wild Card status quo intact?

Should we be worried about Papelbon? Clearly he isn't concerned that he's started to give up runs like they're going out of style, pointing out that he's pitched in four of the last six games, but three plus years into his career, it might be time to wonder whether or not those durability issues might kill his closer career after a few years in the spotlight. Someone (I believe my sports-obsessed brother-in-law) pointed out to me earlier this year that someone with four or five pitches should be in the starting rotation, not in the bullpen, no matter what his success. I knocked the idea at the time, citing his enormous influence on Boston's possession of the 2007 world champions banner, but there might be some merit to making Papelbon a member of the rotation. Or there would be, were the list of upcoming free agent closers so disappointing: of the 10 options, only two are under 30; one of them is K-Rod and the other is Brandon Lyon, who just lost his closing job in Arizona. Kerry Wood would be interesting if he weren't made of balsa wood, Brian Fuentes has to be nearing the end of his peak, and Eric Gagne...well, we won't go there.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Retrospect, Fun WASN'T Had

This final game against the Rays made me eat a bag of pain and crap a fountain of sorrow. It was poorly managed (bad pinch hitting and running choices Tito) and lacked any type of clutch hitting that could be imagined... I want to run and hide from that damn Rays Bullpen... why did they look so good?

Ugh. I am too tired to go into detail, but Mike Timlin... you are done baby... done, done, done.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In Retrospect, Fun Was Had

I would have preferred a win, of course, but if we had to lose, at least it was exciting: Francona going so hardcore on his Rain Man impression that he's stirring up dead leaves and loose paper on the other side of the field, Big Papi at the plate, the fate of the free world in his hands...

The camera angle tricked me when he hit that final pitch. Maybe it was self-induced hysteria, I don't know. I do know that when the ball left his bat I cut loose with my baseball celebration yell: the one that could do double duty as a war cry and has no doubt left my landlords upstairs wondering if I suffer from Tourette syndrome. All for naught, however, as a slightly more sober viewpoint quickly ascertained.

But that wasn't the end! Jacoby Ellsbury, stealing bases and making friends! Not on a particularly good jump, mind you, but more than enough to rattle Nivarro into throwing the ball into centerfield. Emotional rollercoasters are a dime a dozen these days, but I think those few moments - Kotsay's walk, Papi's loud out, Ellsbury's advancement - certainly qualify for the necessary ups and downs. I was praying for the suicide squeeze...maybe next time.

Jason Bay, Clutch Hero

I know, I know: clutch statistics are meaningless, individual at-bats don't predict anything, Manny is still a phenomenal player, etc., etc. That's the intellect talking, doing its rational thing.

But there's also the heart, and the heart knows this: Jason Bay just hit his third home run in as many games to give the Sox the lead they just might need to put the Rays into the ground. He did it with two outs, with no men on board, with chances dying on the vine like soon to be swirling leaves of Fall. And man, did he look fucking pumped when that sucker went into the Monster Seats, like he was giving voice to every cheering maniac in that crowd.

Monday, September 08, 2008

It's Time For The Rays to Fall

Doing my best to ignore the bad news streaming out of Foxboro at the speed of fingers flying across keyboards and out across the ether, I came across this bit of Red Sox glorification: after months of seeing the Sox struggle on the road, Boston's finally pulled to within three games of .500 (36 and 39) away from Fenway...the same record as our erstwhile division rivals (and I mean Tampa Bay, not New York), who seem to be undergoing the sort of timely collapse (1.5 games ahead in the AL East entering today's start of series in Boston) that's all too familiar to Red Sox teams prior to 2004.

Upon further reflection, this seachange means we really are playing the role of the Yankees: the established, dominant team coming ever closer, creeping up on the underdogs like the monster from a horror movie. I wouldn't say we deserve an AL East win, but it sure is seductive to have this kind of power.

A number of people have asked me recently when/if I think the Rays are going to break. Up until now, I had stayed pretty conservative in my answers, because I couldn't find a reason for the Rays train to fall off the tracks: they can hit, they have three excellent starting pitchers, they can field, Wheeler, Balfour, and Howell continue to pitch out of their minds, etc., etc. It's hard to deny a team that seems to have closed all of their gaps.

Then I look at their Pythagorean win/loss record. Pythagorean, for those not in the know, is a statistical luck predictor that uses runs scored and runs allowed to determine what a team's win and loss record "should" be. Any deviations from the real win/loss record mean that the team's been lucky (real win/loss record better than Pythagorean win/loss record) or unlucky (real win/loss record worse than Pythagorean win/loss record). As of today, the Red Sox have a 86 and 56 Pythagorean, two games better than their actual 84 and 58 record. They've been slightly unlucky. The Rays? Well, on the Pythagorean scale, the Rays clock in at 79 and 62, six games worse than their actual 85 and 56 record. In other words, they're due for an adjustment. Guess who's going to deliver it to them in the next three days...

Since the fashion amongst the Sox these days is to take two games and lose the third, generally under aggregious circumstances (how a team this good sustains this many blowouts is beyond me), I suspect we'll see more of the same this week...but I'm pulling for sweep anyway. Let's put this one away, boys.

Friday, September 05, 2008

In Between Days Playoffs Thoughts

It's time for the loading and the blessing of the vines, high priest Josh Beckett presiding.  I hear he plans to turn the Texas hitters into the body and the blood.

A friend of mine sent me the following message on Facebook this morning: "I am totally feeling a Sox repeat, I don't know why, just am."  At the risk of a jinx, at the moment, so am I.  The reason is simple: key players (Lowell, Beckett, Youkilis, Casey) got hurt all at once and the team managed to keep winning.  The Sox are 11 for their last 15 (going back to the series in Baltimore starting August 18).  They've won all six of the series they played during that stretch.  They've made up 2 games on the Rays.  They're at a season high 24 games over .500.  They're doing all of these great things...and they're starting so many replacements from AAA they didn't make any splashy September call ups.  It seem to me - even with the lighter schedule they've had in the past few weeks - that ff Boston can win while rehabbing a good portion of their best parts, their chances for post-season glory seem much, much brighter.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Tying the Sellout Streak

If memory serves, I first heard about the possibility of the Sox breaking the major league baseball sellout record in 2004. It was long before the streak fate was even in question, of course, but in the air because of the string of sellouts the Sox had amassed since the previous year. I was excited at the time, because I was full of super-homerism on all things Red Sox (living in a pre-championship world didn't help), but as Boston prepares to break the streak next week, I'm a little less than enthused. Sure, it's great that the Sox have such a committed fan base that they pack the house to see a series against a last place team that only coincidentally included an exciting conclusion, or that new players get juiced by their first experiences with a large home crowd, but now that Fenway's become the domain of scalpers (legal and otherwise), it's a bit of a pain for those of us coming in from out of town to get seats. Should I have to schedule a vacation just to see a game, or am I just getting complacent?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A-Rod Makes History, Still a Douche

I was watching the Yankees/Rays game on ESPN and... ugh... rooting for the Yankees (I just puked in my mouth a little) and I saw some history.

In the top of the 9th with the Yankees already up 6-3 (so it wasn't really clutch), A-Rod launches a fly ball over the left field pole. Called a homer... but WAIT... they will use INSTANT REPLAY!!! For the first time ever they reviewed a home run call with technology and not the eye ball method that has been in use since the 1700's when they threw an onion and hit it with an ivory cane.

The result? Well... I couldn't really tell. But the umps seemed to find enough evidence to keep it fair and the Yankees ended up winning 8-4 and got the Sox another game closer to the Rays.

So, thanks A-Rod! You douche.

Jacoby Ellsbury is Unstoppable

Two games in a row I've seen Jacoby Ellsbury make superhuman catches: last night up against the sidewall in the left field corner, leaping like he had anti-gravity boots and grabbing through the fan reaching for the ball to rob Kevin Millar; and today, in right field, slamming against the bullpen wall to take away a home run from Aubrey Huff in classic highlight reel style.  Tack on two diving catches in center against the pale Sox from over the weekend and you have the trifecta of defensive awesome in one home stand.  Old news, I guess, but I guess I'm pleased to know that my pleasure in watching Flash Gordon do his thing in the outfield doesn't dimish through repeated exposure.

Witness to a Murder

I feel bad for Baltimore. This was once a wondrous baseball town with a rich tradition of competence bordering on greatness. So when I see the Orioles limp into Boston only to get their collective bells rung, I almost feel sad… almost.

Thanks to a quick pick up by DC, we were able to snag some tickets to this midweek thrashing of the orange birds. If our crappy seats were not nestled deep under the right field grandstand I might have been splashed with blood from the slaughter.

Beyond the Papi doubles (breath taking), beyond the Pedroia love fest (the MVP could run or mayor of Boston right now) and beyond the Lester mediocrity (barely made it through 5), the expanded rosters let the Sox bring up every AAA guy available… and I think they all played in this game. I mean Van Every? Really? At one point I quipped that I didn’t know what was going to happen first: the Sox would let me pinch run, or Baltimore would let me pitch an inning.

It was a massacre. The only negative on the night was how fast the park emptied. I know it was a nothing game that was WAY out of reach by the 5th inning, but you gotta stick around people! This isn't LA... you don't have to rush to beat the traffic.

With a final of 14-2 and my beer consumption nearing that total, I was ready to finish off the night (and series) in style… I want a clean sweep so I can put these “might miss the playoffs” thoughts out of my mind.