Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Game 51: The Kid's Alright

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 8, Toronto Blue Jays 6

David “Who is THIS guy?” Pauley

Ok, it was ugly and suspenseful and mind-bending… but it was a win. They went toe to toe with another “Sox Killer” and brought him back to Earth. See? Ted Lilly isn’t Cy Young after all! He’s just another mediocre pitcher that happens to have three-armed-baby-freak-like success against the Sox. Glad we were able to snap his "5-0 in last 5 starts against Boston" streak.

Also worth noting is that Francona doesn’t play favorites. No sir. This guy treats every starter the same weather he be a grizzled vet or a rookie just called up from AA Portland. If you want to pitch for the Red Sox, then you are going to throw 100+ pitches every time you start. Poor David Pauley (4.1 innings, 11 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 3 K) was minding his own business, making his Major League debut, and Francona leaves him for the wolves in the 5th. Yeah I know you want to have him go five full for the win, but getting beat like a Mike Tyson date can’t be good for the kid’s confidence (or the team’s shot at a win). In the end, no win for his record, but he pitched pretty well and has a good sinker. I see him as a long reliever or a starter in the years to come. For some reason he seems to show much more mound presence and self confidence than what you normally get from Clement. Oh wait… that’s right… Clement sucks.

But the boys were swinging big lumber tonight. Ortiz, Manny, Nixon and Loretta all went deep. For Loretta, it was his first HR since the game winning blast over the Monster on Patriots Day. You might remember that homer from the 10,000,000 times NESN has replayed it in their promos. The only sour spots with the offence tonight was third base coach DeMarlo Hale sending Lowell home on a Crisp single, only to be gunned out by a MILE (shades of Dale Sveum) and the fact the Crisp (.356 OBP) was on base once and Youk (.434 OBP) made it on 4 times. Now, can somebody tell me WHY Crisp, who is coming off an injury, is leading off? Anybody?

The pen also did a great job shutting down Toronto. Van Buren, Delcarmen and Foulke were top notch. Finally, as always, the petulant Papelbon protruded from the dugout to paste pathetic palookas with powerful paralyzing perfect pachyderm’s percussion pitches. From the mouth of Bugs Bunny to Paps ear. He gets his 19th save out of 19 chances, the Sox avoid the sweep and get a rare win out of the 5th spot in the rotation. Now… a relaxing off day.


Get Behind Me, Satan

It’s official: Satan will not be coming back to Boston this year. Newsday broke the story of Clemens’ 1 year, $14 million deal yesterday and after an initial denial, the Astros confirmed the deal today. Frankly, I’m relieved: while I certainly didn’t want to see Clemens back in pinstripes, I had no desire to see him in a Red Sox uniform either. After all, this is the guy who dogged on his last big contract in Boston, stabbed Toronto fans in the back by ducking out of his contract on a technicality so he could go to New York to get a ring, stabbed New York fans in the back by announcing his retirement then taking Andy Pettitte to Houston (although I must admit that deal gave me no end of glee) and now, after retiring during the World Baseball Classic and leaving Astros fans in the lurch, he’s back in Houston for the rest of the year.

On a personal achievement level, Clemens has played the game very, very well, but do you really want a guy like that on your team? The great thing about the Red Sox teams of the past few years is that they’ve been very group oriented. Sure, you have people who occasionally do their own thing and you have individual heroes across different games, but it’s been about the Red Sox as a whole and what they bring to the table as a team that makes them so exciting to watch and was certainly a part of how they came back in the 2004 ALCS. Clemens is a merc out for the gold and while the Sox could certainly use his arm to shore up their current pitching woes, bringing him back to Boston would considerably cheapen winning another World Series this year.

Game 50: Kneel Before Toronto

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, Toronto Blue Jays 8

Now batting AND pitching for Toronto: General Zod

I don’t get it. The Blue Jays might as well go and claim ownership of the Sox now and we can just surrender the rest of the games and save ourselves the effort of watching. I’ll use the time off to improve my cribbage game, or learn how to darn socks, or maybe, just maybe, take up that octraventral heebiephone I’ve heard so much about. How bad is it for Boston when facing Toronto? Oh, it’s bad. Real bad.

Out of the ten games the Sox and Jays have played this year, Toronto has won seven. That’s a .700 winning percentage for a team that’s seven games over .500 overall. The three games Boston won were against Josh Towers, who’s now back in the minors. The Jays have four regular players (Reed Johnson, Vernon Wells, Alex Rios and Bengie Molina) whose OPS scores are over 1.000 when facing Boston – and those scores go up an average of about 250 points, too. I’m sure this is how Baltimore fans feel about the Red Sox right now after we’ve beaten the pants off them so many times in 2006, but Boston is supposed to be a better team than Baltimore…so why this odd roadblock against the Canadians?

I find myself blaming the Rogers Centre for the problem. ‘Stupid dome,’ I think. ‘Stupid Astroturf that does weird things to rolling balls.’ ‘Stupid lack of wind that doesn’t push fly balls into the seats (that happened a lot tonight; the Sox hit several long outs or foul balls, while Troy Glaus and Vernon Wells combined for five home runs, four off of Beckett, two back-to-back in the first. Go figure).’ Is it a scientific hunch, an educated guess? Not hardly – try more like the desperate graspings of a fan trying to figure out why his team is getting 0wn3d so badly. In any case, I’m almost prepared to write tomorrow off entirely: the Jays have Ted “I wish they all could be Boston Red Sox” Lilly and the Sox have David Pauley, who came to Boston in the Dave Roberts trade at the end of 2004 (Remember that? No, me neither – Robin had to remind me) and who, although he’s done well for Portland, hasn’t pitched a game above Double A. Ah, desperation, your tangy stench fills the nostrils and warms the cockles of the heart so well. Francona says, “he’s been throwing the ball pretty well;” I say I hope Willie Harris isn’t out on the mound throwing pitches by the sixth inning. GO SOX!!!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Game 49: How to Know When you Suck

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Toronto Blue Jays 7

Somebody let this guy know what we already know

Lots of things happened while we were gone and in the game today. Schilling got his 200th win, Sox swept the Rays in game 48, Coco is finally back (got his first HR in a Sox uni too), Timlin is on the DL with a sore arm, Wily Mo is DLed because of his wrist, Mohr is in AAA (bout time), Delcarmen is back with the big club, Manny was resting his back, but has returned and Boomer is going to miss his next start…shocking absolutely nobody. The Jays meanwhile are slowly pulling into the upper echelon of the AL East and continue to be a thorn in the side of Boston. The Sox are now 3 and 6 against these Canadian punks.

But I don’t want to talk about any of that. The only thing I want to focus on is how much Matt Clement sucks.

I am not usually known to be a “hater” when it comes to my team’s players. I give some of the lamer/crazier guys a hard time (yeah sorry about that Seanez, Tavarez and Harris), but normally I don’t mean too much by it. This isn’t the case with Clement. He is just AWFUL… and I really hate him. In his latest pooch screw he only went 3 and a third, but still managed to give up 7 hits, 2 walks and 6 earned. He was so bad that even the (almost) great comeback by Coco, Manny and Tek wasn’t enough.

Clement just picks around the strike zone throwing junk with such bad location that I probably wouldn’t swing. Then when he gets worried or rattled or upset or anxious or hungry or WHATEVER… he throws meatballs right down the middle. It’s painful to watch and it’s only getting worse.

So why does he suck so much? He claims his pitching motion is so complex that he has trouble repeating it over and over. Then the little changes he adds or subtracts to the motion drastically change his pitch speed, movement and location. This means he has trouble throwing the same pitch twice. This can be trouble when you don’t trust your stuff to begin with.

It’s also been said he’s hurt. That may be, but if it was from liner he took last week how does that explain the other bad starts? Time traveling sports injuries? Isn’t that what happened to Scott Bakula in “Major League: Back to the Minors” or was that a Quantum Leap episode?

My theory is that he is just a head case. He can’t handle pressure, he can’t handle men on base and he can’t be any more of a wuss. This guy wilts quicker than the house plant my roommate’s cats use as a bathroom. The front office needs to pair him and J.T. Snow together and make a deal for someone who can pitch every fifth day without fainting.

That’s enough ranting. Beckett needs to step up and knock Chacin and the Blue Birds down.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Game 47: 200 For The Vacay

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4

Great win by Schilling and company tonight. Just caught the highlights – Robin and I are out of town until Monday, so you’ll have to suffer through without our witty repartee until then. We know you’ll make it through. Drop us a line in the old comments box if anything interesting happens with TBay or Toronto and we’ll expect to come back to a Tampa Bay sweep and a Blue Bird loss.

- Eric

Woo hoo, Schilling 200! See ya later, gone drinkin’.

- Robin

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Game 46: Beached Wells

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 8, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4

"Quick, get this man some shrimp!"

After the rains let up, it was time for the fabled comeback. Boomer returns from what many have said to be a permanent DL stint (as in forever, even longer than Coco) and in an Ali like return to the ring (mound) he faces noted “Sox Killer” Kazmir. End result? If we are going to stay with the boxing metaphors, Wells ended up looking more like “Bald Bull” from Punch-Out than the Great One.

Actually, he looked good through the first 4 innings (5 H, and 1 R off a Crawford bomb) and was matching Kazmir as best he could. It’s an ace vs a HURT #5… the expectations were low. Then in the 5th, Travis Lee hits a liner right at one of the toothpicks that holds Wells watermelon like midsection above the ground. The earthquake that looked to be about a 5.3 on the Richter scale was just Wells crumbling and then writhing in pain. What are the freaking odds? The early reports say it's just a deep bruise and a cut, so he really dodged a bullet, but what do we do now? You know Wells isn’t going to make his next start (at least) and DiNardo is hurt (and bad), so where do we go? Lester? Alverez? Divine intervention? My brain is collapsing trying to think about it. First, let’s just win this one for Boomer.

Luckily, the bats did just that. Finally Kazmir looked mortal, as every starter got a hit and knocked his hard throwing ass out in the 5th. Ortiz had 4 RBI and had a bases loaded double in the 5th (just missed a grand salami), Gonzo was 3 for 4 (jaw droppingly shocking) and totally washed up Mike Lowell got another double (22) and his first HR in Fenway (not even remotely shocking and that’s AWSOME).

So it was left in the hands of the bullpen. Tavarez kept the lid on for 2 and a third (gave up 2 runs) and was then relived by a VERY ineffective Keith Foulke in the 7th. I am sorry but Foulke can only bounce back so many times. In this game he gets out of the 7th (after giving up a double) and then proceeds to give up another homer to Crawford in the 8th. When Francona pulls him for Seanez (gulp), Foulke gets into a shouting match with a fan and then obliterates the dugout phone. At this point he’s like an old car. Yeah you had some great times years ago, but nowadays when you put the key in the ignition, you are just happy if you can get the engine to turn over. And the attitude? Well that doesn’t look so good on the insurance.

Seanez was as good (yes I used good and Seanez in the same sentence) and managed to hold the line through the 8th and 2 thirds of the way through the 9th. But with 2 runners on and Crawford coming up AGAIN, Francona did the wise move and went to Paps for the last out. 4 pitches later and he has his 17th save in 17 chances.

The Sox beat Kazmir, Wells went down for god knows how long and the Royals beat the Yankees at home (giggle). So maybe Hell did freeze over. Whatever… I’ll take the win.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Game 45: A Poem

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 4, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 1

Beckett was awesome
The Rays bats died
Papi was great
With a funny head first slide
Sprayed lots of singles
All over the place
So why the heck
Were there 15 left on base?
Youk’s a gold glover
Lowell is one too
Gonzo can’t hit
What else is new?

Tonight Kazmir is pitching
And the return of Wells
The day we win this one
Is a cold day in Hell

Eric was lazy
He forgot to post
Sucks to be you guys
Cause this poem…is real bad (damnit! GO SOX)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Game 44: A Heaping Helping of HATE

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, New York Yankees 8

Some people I have less-than-love for right now

Randy Johnson. Because he’s a tall, nut job, hick who can’t admit he’s lost it. And he SOMEHOW got the win out of this debacle.

Matt Clement. Not because of his awful performance (4.1 innings, 9 H, 8 R, 4 BB, 4 K) but because he is a total wuss. The rest of this pitching staff has the BALLZ it takes to get out of the jams they make for themselves. EVEN FOULKE can come around after a bad performance. But put a little heat on Clement and he wilts like pansy. How Arroyo got traded and this wimpy little head case gets the ball every 5th day is beyond me.

Kelly Stinnett. Because he’s a fat tub that couldn’t get out of the way of an inside pitch and that's how he got his RBI. And he looks like Curly from the Three Stooges.

Dustin Mohr. Because if Coco was here he would be an alternate in Kansas City… or busing tables. It’s his call.

Terence Long. Because he falls into the “Totally sucked until I came to the Yankees” category. Tony Clark says “hi,” you hump.

Rudy Seanez. Because he didn’t suck (he pitched quite well, actually) and made it impossible for me to make fun of him. Jerk.

Wily Mo Pena. Because HOW COULD YOU NOT SCORE FROM THIRD ON THAT PASSED BALL????? Stinnett had to take a freaking bus to get to that thing! That ball was closer to the two homers Manny hit than to home plate. Run Forest, run!

Mariano Rivera. Because 9 times out of 10 you might as well make the end of the game an inning sooner.

David Ortiz. Because you had 4 K tonight. Because the bases were loaded and nobody scored. Because you ALWAYS hit that pitch off Farnsworth. Because you got my hopes up. Because this is one of the few times I’ll remember you letting me down.

Thursday. Because there’s no Red Sox game, so I have to think about this for another 24 hours.

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Game 43: I Accept No Responsibility

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, New York Yankees 7

I accept no responsibility for last night

There are some who might think that Alex Rodriguez’s home run in the seventh inning, the one that made the difference in this loss, is the direct result of my taunting A-Rod here yesterday. Others might conjecture that the Red Sox lost because I told Robin after Wakefield gave up his third run in the third that everything was ok because Wake doesn’t give up more than three runs an outing (which was almost true last night). Still others might decide to pin the blame on my saying that A-Rod won’t hit a homerun when he came up in the seventh with two men on because that would blow the game open and that’s too clutch for Mr. March. Silly me, I could say…except that because
  1. I’m a blogger and a fan and more importantly,
  2. because I have absolutely no effect on what goes on during a ball game on the field,
I accept none of the responsibility for the loss. Not when there so many other available candidates:
  1. Wakefield
    Except that blaming Tim Wakefield for a loss is like holding someone’s sweet old grandmother responsible for a murder: it’s monstrous and most people, including myself, won’t stand for it. Besides, why blame Timmy when you can blame

  2. The Offense
    Sure, the Yankees might have established the lead from the first at-bat of the game, but that doesn’t mean the Boston bats have to lie there and take the abuse. Thirteen men left on base last night, more than half of them by the fourth inning. By the end of the night, the Sox were something like two for thirteen with runners in scoring position, which is the baseball equivalent of laying on the ground in front of the bully and asking him not to hurt you too much, because you’re not going to land any of your punches. Did Boston knock some runs in? Sure, mostly after Wakefield left the game, when the Sox starting taking pitches again, like they usually do. I feel like there’s a correlation here somewhere between Wakefield outings and pitches taken. I don’t know if it’s of any value, though.

  3. Francona
    So, Tito, why did you leave Wakefield in to face A-Rod after walking Jeter and Sheffield? From your quote in today’s Globe, it sounds like you had one of those, “well, everything’s gone pretty well against A-Rod so far and dear God I don’t want to go to the backside of my bullpen tonight” moments:
    “He had handled Alex tonight,” Francona said. “That’s probably the hardest thing for me, not necessarily tonight but in all the games because Wake is going to walk people but it doesn't necessarily mean he’s losing it. Right there I wasn’t comfortable with the results, but I was comfortable letting him face him.”

    To be honest, if Wake came out in the seventh, we were probably looking at Julian Tavarez giving up the homerun anyway and then I’d get to make a Tavarez bullet point, too.
Rubber game of the series tonight, with Clement versus Johnson. Let’s pound the Unit like his illegitimate daughter would like to. GO SOX!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More Signs A-Rod Might Be Crazy

"I hit solid with an accelerated bat head. I hit solid with an accelerated bat head. I hit solid with an accelerated bat head."

Sure you do, princess. Sure you do.

Pretend you’re one of the best athletes playing professional baseball today, a man who with the biggest contract in major league history, a batting title and multiple all-star game appearances. You’re also known for being unable to hit in the clutch (to the point where even fans of your team curse your inability to start a rally) and your hall-of-fame quality career seems to be so stats driven that not only have you never won a ring, but teams seem to do better for a year or two after you leave them. Finally, fans of Boston don’t like you because you signed for the Yankees after teasing Boston with your contract, because of your purple lips, because you slapped the ball out of Arroyo’s hand during the 2004 playoffs, because you challenged Varitek to a fight and lost and because you beat out the face of the Red Sox for MVP last year. What’s the last thing you’d want to talk about with Boston reporters? The fact that you rely on a guy with a BA in marketing and psychology to make sure that you come to the plate every day with a strong bat and a quick glove? Yeah, probably.

File this under “athletes have just as many confidence problems as the rest of us,” with a cross listing under “Alex Rodriguez gets crazier every year”: an article in yesterday’s Globe about Jim Fannin, a former tennis pro who has spent the last 30 years teaching athletes and business leaders to use their own potential to turn themselves into superstars. Among the list of athletes is Alex Rodriguez, who has worked with Fannin for the past ten years and speaks to him by phone, voicemail or in person every day. Yes, every day, like they have some sort of intimate relationship.

And what does Fannin do, exactly? He gets people into The Zone, which seems to be the modern equivalent of the Zen concept of mu shin – the trick of getting your mind to let go of conscious reaction to an action and to simply act. The ability to do so is very useful for anyone trying to do any coordinated physical activity, but it’s not the sort of thing you need to pay $70,000 a year to learn how to do…and when one of Fannin’s former clients (Timlin, who’s pretty crazy in his own right) calls Fannin’s product “snake oil” where “if you can convince your mind to do it, your body will follow,” it sounds more like a cult philosophy. I’m honestly really not sure which is funnier: the idea of A-Rod spending that kind of money every year just so he has someone to whine to about not being to get big hits when his team needs them, that he’s got someone who’s got an undergrad degree in psychology programming his mind every night, or that he sounds like he’s a few steps away from joining Tom Cruise on Oprah’s couch.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Game 42: The Crumbling Empire

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 9, New York Yankees 5

A view of the remains of Yankee Stadium

It was hard not to giggle (impossible for me) while watching the Yankees limp into Fenway for this three game series. The Yankees have a ton of guys on the DL (Matsui, Sheffield, Sturtze, Pavano, Dotel, Crosby, Chacon) and I know you want to beat a team at its best, but this is the YANKEES. The “Evil Empire”, the rival, the adversary, the nemesis. They are too good and too rich to feel sorry for. Besides, the Sox have DL problems too (Coco, Riske, Wells) and they garner no sympathy. So the Yankees need some extra help in the outfield. Boohoo. They have all this money and who do they get as a secret weapon? Terrance Long??? He’s still playing? Yikes. Well, the only compassionate thing to do is destroy a lame animal when it’s beyond all hope. Lucky for Barbaro he should be ok… too bad about the Yankees.

Tonight Schilling was the surgeon with the shotgun. He only had 1 earned and 5 hits over 8 strong innings with 6 K and topped out at 99 pitches. He spotted his fastballs, he worked in some sick curves and got players to swing and miss (something he had trouble with in pervious starts). He baffled the depleted Yankee lineup and he even looked a little like the 20 game winner he was two years ago. It was a monster game by Schilling for his 7th win.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, like the only male in the “Self Defense for Women” class, Wang got hit… and hit hard. In the 3rd with two men on, Papi got turned loose on a 3-0 count and belted a 2 RBI single. Manny added 2 more runs with a BLAST to centerfield. Wang was rubbed the wrong way again when 3 more runs came across in the 7th inning. The Sox topped off the score at 9 in they got 2 more off rookie Colter Bean in the 8th (another Lowell double).

At 9-1 the game is O-V-A= over so Francona feels it’s safe to unleash the lackluster Keith Foulke. Now watch as my mental state deteriorates:

The A-Rod 2 run shot. 9-3.
Haha! Way to go “Mr. March”! Real clutch.

Next pitch Posada homer. 9-4.
Ummm that sucked. Keep her steady Keith.

The Cano double.
Hey Francona! Maybe you should warm Papelbon. Oh you are? Then why are my teeth still clenched?

The Bernie Williams RBI double. 9-5.
AHHHH!! Kill him! Kill him before he kills me! Foulke and Seanez have made it their nightly quest to drive me from beer to liquor.

Long flies out to end it.
Oh thank you sweet Jesus. The Empire falls another game back and I can breathe again. Why do you have to make it so hard? Let’s have a nice and easy one tomorrow, ok Wake? GO SOX.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Game 41: The Evil You Know

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, Philadelphia Phillies 10

Dear God…do I miss David Wells? No, I don’t think so. I think that’s crazy talk and I should stop right now. The Lenny DiNardo/David Wells combination is a bit like the evil you know versus the evil you don’t know. I, for example, know that given his record this year, a Lenny DiNardo start is about as risky as sitting in the drinking section of the bleachers at Yankee Stadium in full Sox gear. That’s the evil you know. A David Wells start, on the other hand, could be fantastic (you know, after the surgery, rehab starts, failed starts, etc.) or it could be as much fun as a sharp stick in the eye. We don’t even know if Wells is going to be able to pitch professionally again, let alone do so effectively. That’s the evil you don’t know. Of course, he seems to have taken names and kicked ass in Pawtucket today, so I might be overreacting.

Needless to stay, Lenny DiNardo did not have a good start today. Abe Alvarez and everyone’s favorite snake-faced reliever, Julian Tavarez, matched him in mediocrity and the end result was another lost sweep opportunity. It seems like when the ugly side of the bullpen comes out to play, it brings all of bad people with it. Still, given the circumstances of a.) pitching with the weakest starter on the staff and b.) playing in a National League park, a loss wasn’t completely unexpected and really, who isn’t happy taking two out of three in a series? Bring on the Yankees, I say.

Yes, the Yankees. Again. It’s seems to be a once a week thing, like being forced to visit that weird great aunt you don’t like and who smells like cats and old lady perfume. Anyway, Schilling versus Wang tomorrow night at Fenway. GO SOX!!!

Game 40: “Big Stick” Beckett

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 8, Philadelphia Phillies 4

You might want to pitch around this guy.

Ok. I am not going to lie to you. I really really really like Josh Beckett. I’m not sure if it’s because of his fiery attitude on the mound, the way he mows down even the toughest batters, the grit he gets from eating scrap metal and jalapenos or some combination of the above… but I think he freaking rocks. So when a guy like that does what he did tonight, well I get a little weak in the knees.

It looked like one of “those” games. You know the ones I mean… great pitching but garbage offence. Beckett pitched awesome (7 innings, 6 hits, 3 ER, 4 K) but the Sox were being dominated by Brett Myers. In the 6th inning, Beckett goes a little nuts. At the plate with a man on (lovin the NL), the big Josh says “You no help me now, I say, f*** you Jobu, I do it myself.” He then hits a CLUTCH RBI single and starts a 4 run rally. Still not satisfied, Poppa Beckett gets up in the 7th and hits a TOWERING homerun (second of his career and first from a Sox pitcher since 1972) and gets the silent treatment from the rest of the team before they mob him in the dugout. This guy is a beast and it would have been even better for him if not for the 8th inning. Against all logic, Francona sends him out there even though he was already at 90+ pitches. Then defensive replacement J.T. Snow* botches a grounder at first that made thousands of Sox fans groan “Youk or Ortiz woulda had that.” After that there was a walk and a shocking 3 run bomb to Ryan Howard. Finaly Tavarez comes in to stop the bleeding. 3 runs score that inning (only 2 earned) and Beckett gets an unfair addition to his ERA, but still gets his 6th win.

Along with JB’s amazing production, Gonzo raised his .200 batting average and hit a 2 run blast of his own. Eric even quipped that the homer from Gonzalez was more shocking than the one from Beckett. Dingers from the pitcher and the fielder? What a night.

Now the Sox are going for the sweep with DiNardo vs Lidle. Ol’ DiNards better get his fill of starting now because David Wells has his big rehab start and could be back in the rotation by Friday. Wait… is that even true? Wells pitching for the Red Sox again? I’ll believe it when I see it. SO SOX!

*Look J.T. I am going to tell you the same thing I told Willie Harris. You have ONE JOB! When you screw it up you make yourself completely useless. I know you want more AB’s and you might want a trade, but not playing a good first base when all you can DO is play a good first base… well… then you are tits on a bull Mr. Snow.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Game 39: We Hit 'Em Hella Deep

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, Philadelphia Phillies 3

Yay, dingers!

Oh long ball, how we love you. The first game of Boston’s interleague match ups for this year might have been in the City of Brotherly Love, but the offense was all about knocking things around: three dingers out of tiny Citizen’s Bank Park put the Sox on top from the second inning and gave Matt Clement his fourth victory of the year. Matty even helped himself with a single in the fifth that led to a run with jack number of three of the night, a second deck shot by Ortiz.

I admit I was a little worried about how things were going to turn out tonight. Robin reminded me yesterday that Jon Lieber was one of the Yankees’ more effective weapons against Boston in 2004 and even though he’s had a mixed career in Philadelphia in 2005 and 2006 (it seems like a fastball pitcher might have a tough time Philly if he doesn’t make his pitches), that certainly wouldn’t stop the offense from taking an inopportune night off. It didn’t help that Clement had a hiccup in the first inning where he loaded the bases with a double and two walks, only to escape with unscathed a flyball out. Fortunately, we have Mike Lowell, the man who hits doubles. Give him a fastball that stays up and take away the Green Monster and not surprisingly, we have a double double, scoring Manny and seizing the lead, two to nothing. Good stuff.

Clement mostly settled down after that and boosted by a solo Varitek shot to right made it to the fourth inning before giving up a home run himself to Shane Victorino (who?). He ran into more trouble in the sixth, putting two men on before getting out of the inning, but by that point, the Sox had knocked Lieber of the game after he fed Ortiz one of those sweet inside pitches that just doesn’t go inside far enough. Ortiz knocked it into the second deck, of course, because that’s what he does, scoring Clement with what turned out to be the winning run.

The only big flaw of the night for the Sox came in the seventh, when the wheels finally came off Clement’s train for the night. Matt seems to go from cooking to cooked very quickly this year and tonight was no exception – he put the other Alex Gonzalez (what, did the two of them switch leagues in the off season?) and Jimmy Rollins on base with two outs, then surrendered the ball to Foulke. Foulke very nearly gave up a home run to Chase Utley, who had to settle with a two run double instead. Foulke gets the final out the seventh, Timlin and Papelbon are perfect for two innings and “Dirty Water” is ringing through the heads of RSN members everywhere.

Tomorrow night, Beckett and Myers square off for game two. I’m a little nervous about this game, too: the first time I saw Josh Beckett pitch in person was last year at Citizen’s Bank and he had one of those really bad first innings. Of course, he also had blister problems last year and so far, we’ve been blessed by their absence. GO SOX!!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Game 38: Not a Unique Snowflake

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 3, Baltimore Orioles 4

“On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”

In this Fight Club edition of Keep Your Sox On (if you haven’t seen that movie this won’t make any sense), the Baltimore Orioles break free from the complete domination that the Sox have had over the last two seasons. The Sox finally succumb to the weight of “The Streak” and break down to Bedard and the Tangerine Crew. Bats were flailing, Bedard was dealing and Wake got nothing in the way of run support again! If I did have a tumor, I’d name it Bedard.

The duo of Wakefield and Doug “Space Monkey” Mirabelli were treading dangerous water by putting two on in the 1st and then loading the bases in the 2nd, but got out of it unscathed. It wasn’t till the 4th when Millar put Project Mayhem into full effect by way of a 2 run shot. So much for having a Sox spy in the Baltimore system. Doesn’t he know this will affect his interview with NESN during the off-season? The Orioles got 2 more in the 5th just off bloop hits and then one unfortunate pass ball. This inning was like Ed Norton fighting with himself in the parking lot. An uppercut right into your own jaw.

In the 9th things got interesting. Loretta singled off rookie closer Chris Ray and then Ortiz (so freaking CLUTCH) launches one making it a 4-3 ball game. Could they comeback? Could they make soap from a team that is essentially the fat of the AL East? With two outs, Wily Mo slaps one to Tejeda who falls flat on his face while trying to pivot and throw. Ugly, but the tying run is on. Pinch running, the OTHER Willie takes off on the 2nd pitch to Nixon. Caught Stealing*. So close, but, "sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” Fight over. Game over. Streak over. It hurts. Not as painful as a chemical burn… but this one was close.

Oh, and the Yankees won. I guess these things happen. One day, “you're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world” the next, you’re in a tie for first.

Tyler Durden says: Go Sox.

*I am freaking sick of Willie Harris. You only have one job and you can't even do that? There was a HOLD SIGN ON, you waste of flesh! If I could fight anyone on the Red Sox... I would fight you.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Game 37: Something Wicked This Way Comes?

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Baltimore Orioles 5

Why does it feel like something ominous is on the horizon?

Hurrah for the win, but any day where Curt Schilling survives an outing instead of dominating it is not a day where confidence abounds. And, given Curt’s steadily rising ERA since that long start in Cleveland on April 25, confidence seems to be slinking towards the door, not abounding in that special way that only confidence can. It seems foul things are afoot in the house of Schilling.

Eight home runs. That’s how many dingers Curt has surrendered in his past five starts – including the three he gave up tonight – accounting for about half of his total runs in that time frame. Home runs suggest pitches that stay up, don’t sink, don’t fool the hitter, suggest mechanical problems and raise the ugly specter of the 2005 ankle. Given Schilling’s magical first four outings and the incredible reversal that’s happened since, I have to wonder if something’s up, or if he’s just having a bad May. Robin and I were discussing today: the Yankees are in a position of weakness right now with their spate of injuries; Boston could pull a 2005 White Sox and establish a commanding lead in the AL East now before the Yankees pull in the talent at the trading deadline to help them make a playoff run. Curt Schilling off his game and hurt won’t help the cause at all.

At the same time though, maybe it just is a bad May. With the new level of press security enacted by the Red Sox Front Office over the winter, getting answers to injury questions seems to be about as easy as breaking in to Fort Knox, so it might be a while, if ever, before any of us outside the organization know what’s going on. At the same time, though, this is Red Sox Nation we’re talking about: we’re Chicken Little hypochondriacs who go into full panic mode at the slightest rumor, lead by our beloved sports media. We don’t need to know what’s going on with Schilling unless he’s going on the DL and they have to amputate something.

In the meantime, I choose to enjoy these little gifts from Baltimore as they come. Tonight’s victory, bolstered by some timely offense from pretty much everyone in the lineup, makes it thirteen in a row against the orange birds. The bullpen shut things down without a hitch, Timlin got six outs on twelve pitches because he’s awesome like that and Papelbon picked up save number fourteen because he is a god sent to us from on high to show us all love and fear in a single pitch. Not that I’m a fanboy, or made shirts that compared our closer to the Pope, or anything like that. Anyway…Tim Wakefield tomorrow night against Erik Bedard for the sweep. Wake, by the way, could be a twenty game winner this year if the Sox could consistently score more than three runs for him.

Game 36: Hi! Remember baseball?

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 11, Baltimore Orioles 1

Lopez does a poor rain dance

Even though the East coast is underwater, the Red Sox were able to evacuate themselves down to Baltimore and managed to get a game in against the (well let's just face it) totally mystified Orange Birds. 10 run difference? Ahhh I like it. After a long break, the pitching and bats were eager to beat up on the hapless Icterus galbul.

Beckett is doing his best to make himself the ace of this staff. After a slight “oh no” homerun from Tejeda in the 1st inning, the rusty nail eating, fire breathing JB reared his head and only allowed one more hit, no walks and 6 K in 7 innings (on only 80 pitches). He might have gone longer but there was some concern about blisters on his hand. Frankly, I don’t think this could be too big a problem. Get some crazy glue and sand paper and rub those things off. That’s what they did to Tavaraz’s face and
he turned out fine. Speaking of the ugly devil, he and Foulke cleaned things up nicely in the 8th and 9th.

However, this game wasn’t all sunshine and smiles. During a somber ceremony in the 5th inning, after getting torched for 8 runs, Rodrigo Lopez was stripped of his “Sox Killer” membership, ID card and parking pass. I couldn’t get a good angle from MLBtv, but I think I saw Ted Lilly and Scott Kazmir kick the crap out of him and roll him into a gutter by the Camden Yards garage.

Nobody wants to see that type of brutality, unless you happen to be in the Red Sox line up or a Boston fan. Wily Mo, Tek and Lowell all went deep tonight and of the 13 hits the Sox got, 6 were for extra bases. They even were consistent with runners in scoring position and only left 6 on base. You know, it’s really hard to complain about these blowout games… but let me try. Ummm… damn why did Lowell not get a double? Just a triple and homerun huh? I knew he was finished. Totally over the hill. Yeah… this is not working.

Anyway, tomorrow is another wonderful game against Baltimore (biblical weather permitting). Schilling vs Chen. GO SOX.


And just because I think it's funny and NOT because I don't support the fantastic cause: ---->THE BEST PICTURE EVER<----

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rain, rain, go away...

"What did you do this weekend man?"


"Yeah me neither."

"Rain sucks."

"Yeah. Rain sucks."

"Well, you want to go look at pics of that Florida teacher on the National bikini team?"

"Hell yeah! When I was in school, all my female teachers looked like Martin Landau."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Game 35: Wash Out

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 0, Texas Rangers 6

Oh Kameron Loe, with your above-average ERA, your also above-average WHIP and your win/loss record that doesn’t mean squat out of context but is also not so impressive, your goofy California grin, your big words, and your small, difficult words…why, why, why must you make your bid for admission to the Rodrigo Lopez Club? Why, when the Red Sox seem to have finally evicted the founding member of the club (knock on wood), do they feel the need to add another pitcher to the rolls? Things started off so well, too…

There might have been a tremendous fog over the field, but first inning, Youk starts things off with a single. Sure, Loretta wiped the bases with a DP shortly afterward, but Big Papi worked a walk, fouling off pitch after pitch until Loe lost the battle with a pitch outside. Manny might have struck out to end the inning, but by God, there was hope. And then Matt Clement stepped to the mound to start the second inning.

Staking Loe to a one-run lead was a poorly thought-out strategy. Staking him to a four-run lead after three innings was like the baseball equivalent of Pickett’s Charge: a very, very bad idea that bore naught but ill fruit for those who attempted it. Ok, I’m being a little over dramatic. Clement gave up four runs on six hits in five innings; Mike Holtz put on the finishing touches with an additional two runs in the sixth, while Loe proved himself a mud-runner and scattered five hits and a walk over five innings without surrendering a run. The rain washed away the rest, unfortunately after the game became official.

Tomorrow night, rain depending, game two featuring Lenny DiNardo versus John Karonka. Let’s get this one back, boys. GO SOX!!!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Game 34: Can I get a Witness?

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 5, New York Yankees 3

They came, I saw, Sox conquered

For those of you who are unfamiliar with my situation, I live in New York (how could you not know that? It’s in the title of the damn blog). If I want to see a baseball game, my options are (a) Mets or (b) Yankees. As a Red Sox fan I usually choose option (c) Stay at home and watch the Sox on MLBtv. However, every so often my buddy the Yankees fan (thanks Mike) will give me a call and ask if I want to partake in his season tickets and watch a game at the Stadium. Every time the Red Sox are in town I hold my breath and wait by the phone like a technician in a nuke silo and missiles have just been spotted in Cuba. Have a spare… please have a spare… come on and ring damn it. YES! I got the call. I got to see the rubber match live and in person. Life is sweet.

Now, there are a couple of things I keep in mind when visiting rival territory.

1. Be mindful about your attire. If you don’t want Vinny and Vito telling you to “go back to Boston” for 9 innings, a cap and bright red shirt might not be the best choice. I went with a blue Boston Red Sox shirt with white lettering. I represent incognito.

2. Be respectful. Cheering too loudly and being a jerk is a great way to get your ass kicked by 55,000 Bronx gentlemen. Plus, I was with Yankee fans and I want them to ask me back when the Sox play here in two weeks.

3. Bring money. Just like Fenway. $7.75 for a Bud Light? This better be the best beer ever! Huh, you got lucky.

I tried to follow these rules the best I could. I enjoy the rivalry and I don’t want to be viewed as one of those “bad fans,” whatever that means. It’s interesting going into the lion's den and having to abide by their customs. I felt like a pilgrim in an unholy land. But as the game progressed I found it was easy to forget rule #2:

On Matsui’s injury: “Haha!! I mean… ouch. That sucks.”

On Wakefield pitching: “Sit down Giambi you juicer! I mean… wow, he didn’t look good on that pitch.”

On the Sox clutch hitting: “15 men left on base? They should be up by 8 runs! I mean… oh Chacon got out of another jam. What good defense by Crosby and Damon. Oh who am I kidding? F*** this!”

On Mariano Rivera: “Yeah that’s some insurance bitch! Willie Harris is bustin you UP! It really sucked the life out of this place! I mean… oh darn look at that. Another run. Oh well.”


On the win: “Take that motherf******! 2 out of 3 in your house! What else you got? Ummm… I mean… Tough loss chaps! Cheer up though. I’m sure you’ll get us next time!”

Anyway a good time was had by all (especially me) and the Red Sox prevail in one of the more frustrating games of the year. My ass remains un-kicked, we got a big win, and the Sox take some home against Texas. Meanwhile, the Yankees have to make due with Crosby and Cabrera in the outfield corners. Yikes. That really makes me thankful for Wily Mo.

Next up is a visit from the Lone Star State and Clement vs Loe. I know everything is bigger in Texas; do they export? Does it go for win streaks too? I think it does... GO SOX.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Game 33: And...Switch!

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 3, New York Yankees 7

Kinda like last night, only the opposite result and our bullpen is better. Perhaps bolstered (or is it scared?) by the Passion of the Boss, the Yankees spoiled another marquee-pitching match up by roughing up Schilling for six runs over five innings. At first I thought the Sox were going to seal the deal in the first: a two-run Papi bomb in the top of the inning and Schilling getting through the first with only a single to Giambi. Lowell added a run with a solo shot in the second, we’re all feeling fine…and then the Yankees grab one back in their half of the inning. Then tie up the game with Giambi’s second homer in as many games in the third. I think Giambi might this year’s Sheffield: small sample size so far, but he’s the only one to have consistent success against Boston pitching this year.

Two more homers in the fifth to seal the deal, with an RBI single in the sixth as insurance from Damon, who chose to end his personal slump against Boston tonight and that’s basically all we got. The Boston bats that have been so loud in the past few days were all quiet, Mussina hit most of his spots after the second and putting Willie Harris in the eight hole instead of Peña didn’t help. I assume putting Harris in the lineup tonight was a numbers decision only – the team did just get a day off two days ago – but even though Harris has had very good numbers in the fifteen times he’s faced Mussina in the past, Wily Mo’s numbers against right-handers this season are equally impressive, so those deciding numbers probably weren’t offensive ones. At least I hope not, although the way most of the lineup was (or wasn’t) hitting tonight, switching players probably wouldn’t have made a difference.

However, no need to become raving lunatics quite yet…Keep Your Sox On doesn’t believe there are 162 seasons a year and this isn’t Boston Dirt Dogs. There are two silver linings to keep in mind: first, along with that homer, Papi hit three singles, including one that squirted through that damn shift that teams keep using against him. Like Soxaholix said two day ago, Papi goes into a slump and it’s the calm before the storm. Tonight was thunder crackling with the storm on a course to pass directly overhead. Second, Schill might not have been at his best tonight, but the bullpen did a pretty good job. Tito kept new guy Mike Holtz on a short leash, so he only gave up one run in his third of an inning of work, but Timlin, Tavarez and Papelbon shut down the New York offense for the night, giving Boston the (unused) chance to mount a comeback. At the end of the season, when it’s stretch drive time and a loss can mean the AL East title, that bullpen strength might make the difference between a win and a loss.

Tomorrow night, Yankees nemesis Tim Wakefield against Shawn Chacon for the series win. Will the knuckleball dance its way out of the nightmares of Yankee hitters and on to the field of play? Will the Red Sox bats strike bat with a vengeance terrible to behold? Only time will tell. GO SOX!!!

Game 32: Enter The Yankees

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 14, New York Yankees 3

The Red Sox showed the unrelenting will of the warrior

This was one of those “statement” games. A “statement” to everyone who thinks the Red Sox look weak and thinks the lineup has huge holes. It’s a message to everyone like Mike Vaccaro (you filth) who want to hit our batters so they soften up. It’s a warning to everyone who thought the sweep would be easy for New York. Ah grasshopper, you forgot one thing. The Red Sox Kung Fu is now stronger in the Bronx Dojo. The Sox powerful chi flows freely through even the most unused bats when battling the Yankees. This game was a roundhouse kick to the athletic supporter that (hopefully) will set the tone for the series.

Josh “Striking Crane” Beckett had first inning troubles again (Giambi HR) but settled down and was badass (6 hits, 3 runs, 7 K) through 7 innings. Keith “Sleeping Tiger” Foulke worked a scoreless 8th (he owes Wily Mo a beer for a run saving catch) and by the 9th the game was so out of hand that Rudy “Un-credited Stuntman” Seanez was called in to mop it up. The pitching really smashed the tough Yankee lineup.

The Sox offence was really the master of this tournament, though. Everyone who had an AB got on base at least once including Mohr, Snow and Harris. Out of the 12 guys that came to the plate, only Wily Mo, Tek and Youk failed to score. Mike “Double Dragon” Lowell, in an unending quest to stuff it down the gullet of everyone who said he was “done”, hit 2 more 2 baggers. And in some truly bizarre news, ensuring that the apocalypse is now upon us, the biggest offensive warrior was none other than "The Fielder” Alex Gonzalez. He was 2 for 4, had 3 runs, 3 RBI, 2 walks and his homerun in the 5th was absolutely CRUSHED. Who is this guy and what happened to the .100 hitter that was in line to be replaced by Alex Cora? Where did he go and can he stay there?

But the Red Sox also had help in this monumental slaughter. Johnson, Small and Sturtz looked really bad and the lineup pounced on em like David Wells at a Krispy Kreme. Also, the Yankees defense was about as bad as you can be without having an investigation to see if players got paid off to lose. RJ had 2 wild pitches, E-Rod made 2 costly errors at third and Melky Cabrera fought with the wind and lost a Manny pop up in the 4th. Thanks for the 6 unearned runs… I feel bad I didn’t get you anything. I guess you can have the big honking “L” because it looks like you’ve really earned it.

Well tomorrow it’s another game against Cobra Kai. Shilling tests his martial arts mastery against Mussina at 7. Let's keep the 2 touchdown scores a'comin.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pedro, He LOVE His Flowers

In the head of this man, a mind of twisted genius

Robin and I were discussing the piece in today’s NY Times about Pedro’s love of gardening. While it certainly gives the picture of a man who has found an almost Zen balance to his life, since we all know that Pedro is a Bad Ass Mother F***er on the mound, we couldn’t help but think of a few comparisons to movie villains to match up with the dichotomy that is Pedro. To wit:

Monday, May 08, 2006

To Boo or Cheer: A Handy Guide

Are they doing the right thing?

Lots of fans, bloggers and media members have been upset, confused or just plain WRONG when it comes which former Red Sox players you should boo or cheer when they finally return to Fenway. This guide will hopefully clarify the situation to those whimpering simpletons who don’t like “all the negativity” and would cheer Steinbrenner if they saw him. Also, maybe this will calm down the moron Neanderthals who would scream obscenities to Rich “El Guapo” Garces (in front of kids) just because he ate himself out of the league. Here’s the list:

Derek Lowe: Now on the Dodgers and got big cheers at the Ring Ceremony last year. You got to cheer this guy just for not being on the team anymore. Naw, I’m just kidding. I love the D-Lowe…I’m just happy I don’t have a sister he can hit on.

Dave Roberts: Now on the Padres, visited during the Ring Ceremony and got the biggest standing ovation of all time. Best steal ever = best reception ever.

Orlando Cabrera: Now on the Angels, first visited last year and got a huge hand. That’s what he should get whenever he plays the Sox. He’s a good guy that was part of the trade the won the World Series. Love the O-Cab.

Johnny Damon: Now on the Yankees, visited last week and got booed by about 80%. It should have been 100%. It’s not about the money or the media coverage; it’s about the new uniform. He’s a YANKEE. You boo him. That’s it, end of story. He signs with to Tampa Bay and comes to Fenway? CHEER! But when you deal with the devil, be prepared to feel the flames.

Kevin Millar: Now on the Orioles, visited this weekend and got cheers. He was fun in the clubhouse, a heavy drinker and the “Cowboy Up” guy. How could you not cheer him? It’s not your fault you kinda stunk last year Millar. You were even a good sport about it. Have a shot on us.

Mike Myers: Now on the Yankees, visited this and last year and got boos. Great name, but again… a Yankee. It’s a rivalry baby. Boo is what you do.

Bronson Arroyo: Now on the Reds. He might be a tough guy to see in Fenway because of the whole NL thing. Was a fan favorite (and we could really use him now), but got traded for a slugger when we thought the staff was overflowing. Cheer him people. He’s the cornrow rock star.

Edgar Renteria: Now on the Braves. We will see him NEXT year (Sox play in Atlanta this time around) so be ready to boo this hump. Yeah he was shy and yeah he got traded and yeah he is doing great NOW, but when he was in Boston pretending to be a shortstop he made everyone crazy. Never reached his potential, never hit well and crawled his way into 1000 rally ending double plays. Also, he couldn’t field to save his life and THEN took shots at the grounds crew on the way out of town. Bitter much? If he does get cheers, they better be because he was the last out for St. Louis in 2004.

Carl Everett: Now on the Mariners, visited Fenway a ton of times, and got a ton of boos. Ahhh Crazy Carl. Everyone knows where they stand with you. Here’s a T-Rex skull! Still don’t believe they exist? Really? Boo.

Nomar Garciaparra: Now on the Dodgers. Another NL problem. He may have dogged it a bit in 2004, he wasn’t happy about the trade and let us know it wasn’t his choice, but come on. It’s still Nomahhhhhhh. Cheers, beautiful.

Bill Mueller: Now on the Dodgers. Are you kidding? He’s the Pro. You cheer the Pro.

Grady Little: Now the skipper for the Dodgers. I cannot rationally talk about this guy. I start booing my computer and mooning the screen whenever I see a picture of him. It won’t be a pretty site when 36,000 fans do it live.

Byung-Hyun Kim: Now on the Rockies. I’m really, really wish he wasn’t in the NL because I would LOVE to boo the HELL out of this class act. Sorry BK Broiler, but the only thing people remember more than you crying on the mound in the Bronx, is you flipping off the crowd in Fenway. -insert Kimchi joke here-

Mark Bellhorn: Now on the Padres. Yeah he was on the Yankees for a while, but he stunk for them and is playing great in San Diego now. He is untainted, he is the DING-HONK, and he is a guy you cheer for.

Doug Mientkiewicz: Now on the Royals. This is a tough one. He was part of the trade that helped win the World Series, but also had the “ball scandal” idiocy. That was real bad just because it was so stupid and still got a ton of coverage. You know what? Cheer him. Being on the Royals is punishment enough.

Roger Clemens: Now retired? I fall into the Bill Simmons camp when it comes to Clemens. He’s the spawn of Satan. He should go back to the pit from whence he came. I would love the chance to scream at this guy again. Except if he came back to play for the Sox… then it’s going to be awkward when I scream at him again.

Pedro Martinez: Now on the Mets. This is the biggest conundrum Red Sox fans face this year because he is going to be in Fenway in the end of June. Pedro skipped town when he realized he wasn’t going to be the ACE of the staff anymore. He took a lot of shots at the front office and the team on the way out and burned some bridges with fans. He went to New York (but not the Yankees) and is loved there. You know what? Cheer him. He had the best years of his career on this team, always played hard and helped bring a championship to Boston (and he didn’t go to the Yankees). You cheer him now and it will feel so righteous come October when the Red Sox top the Mets in the World Series.

Game 31: P0wnag3

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 10, Baltimore Orioles 3

Remember, back in late 2001 and early 2002, when the Devil Rays really were completely hopeless when faced with what Boston then had to offer for pitching and hitting might? It might be better to apply the hopeless moniker to the Orioles now; with yesterday’s win, Boston made it eleven straight wins against Baltimore.

As wins go, it wasn’t a bad way to complete a sweep, either. Sure, DiNardo might have given up a run in the first by walking four straight batters with two outs, but he settled down nicely afterwards, giving up two runs on two hits over five innings and riding on the lead the offense established for him in the bottom of the first after Benson loaded the bases and handed Varitek a high fastball that the Captain kindly deposited into the bullpen. Baltimore managed to cut the lead down to two with another run in the third, but could manage no more; DiNardo’s cutter stayed down, struck out five and kept the potentially deadly Orioles offense in check. He’s still not quite in starter form yet, but I’m starting to feel ok putting some confidence in DiNardo as the number five pitcher, at least until the trade deadline. Certainly, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the first with a strikeout and then turning around the flow of the game to garner your first win speaks a lot about DiNardo’s potential.

Meanwhile, the Sox were doing their best to knock around Kris Benson and making the job look easy. After Benson loaded the bases again in the fifth, feeding Manny an outside fastball that allowed Ramirez to extend his arms and smash a single with a butter-smooth swing, he surrendered a two-run double to Trot. Having seen enough of the Varitek/Benson match up for one day, the Orioles opted to walk Varitek and pitch to Mike Lowell, who was hitless so far on the day. Except it’s Mike Lowell and he now leads the league in doubles. Can you guess what he did next? What everyone in Fenway, except perhaps Kris Benson and the Orioles coaches, knew that he was going to do? Did you guess two run double, double number seventeen on the year? Eight to nothing Boston and Benson done for the day. Booyah for the Man who hits Doubles.

Lowell attributes his success hitting doubles (most of which have come at Fenway) to the Monster, a landmark most hitters try to crush balls over. Instead, says Lowell, for him the intention is the exact opposite – he waits a little longer on the pitches because he knows the wall is so close and ends up smacking balls down the line with a little more concentration and a little less power. It’s almost as if Lowell is the recompense for years of right-handed Red Sox hitters who, without Manny’s ability or power, wasted their time trying to hit things over the Monster rather than focusing on the doubles zone a mere 310 feet away.

Day off today, down to New York tomorrow night for the start of a three game set against the Yankees; Beckett versus Johnson to lead off. GO SOX!!!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Game 30: Frampton (and the Offence) Comes Alive!

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 9, Baltimore Orioles 3

Do you feel like we do?

I love hitting. No, really… I LOVE IT. I am really fond of good pitching and I know that’s what wins games, but good hitting is what you WATCH the games for. If baseball was NASCAR, big hits would be crashes. If baseball was football, hits are touchdown dances. If baseball was golf, then hits would be inclement weather. Anyway, that’s why I have been a little uncomfortable with the 2006 “Pitching and Fielding Only” Red Sox. That’s not fun to watch! What is this, the National League?

So when the Sox get some amazing run support for Wake and beat some Orange Birds red, I get excited. The Wake himself was pretty good over 7 innings and his knuckle children were darting all over the place (wait… ewwww). You can really notice Belli’s influence on Wakes stuff, or maybe it’s just the fact that the crowd isn’t holding its breath after every pitch. I know it’s not really Bard’s fault, but I don’t think Wake had a chance to win 10 games with him crawling after every low pitch. Now I think he has a shot at 15.

Then there was the lumber. In the 2nd they kept the line moving and ended up with a 5 spot. Then Manny hooked his big bat up to a whammy bar and went WHAM to a Manon pitch in the 4th. It ended up about 20 feet OVER the monster. But it really was the bottom of the order that was on fire. Pena, Nixon, Belli and yes, Gonzo got a combined 7 hits and 5 RBI. A-Gon even got his average up to a whopping .207. Can you say batting title?

So in a blow out like this you don’t expect much drama… unless you are a member of the Red Sox bullpen. Then you pack drama in with your rosin bags. In the 8th Matos got plugged on the butt by Tavarez. Smiling and talking, Matos trotted slowly to first. Tavarez thought he said something about “mothers” or “track lighting” but couldn’t make it out so he walked over and said something like “whatchoo talkin bout Matos?” Then the benches cleared! No punches, not even much yelling, but with Tavarez you can never be too careful.

More drama came in the 9th when Francona decided that 6 runs were enough of a barrier for Rudy “
Rudeboy” Seanez to pitch and not ruin everything. He was perfect, but that’s not the point. Every time this guy enters the game… my balls recede up into my body. He is that AWFUL. His presence on the field (even in a blowout) sucks the life and fun out of a game. He’s like the anti-Viagra.

Luckily, this time it ended up as a great game anyway. Tomorrow it’s the final with DiNards going against Mr. Anna Benson.

Woke up this morning with a wine glass in my hand

Whose wine, what wine, where the hell did I dine?
Must have been a dream I don’t believe where I’ve been
Come on - you wanna do it again?

Yes I do Mr. Frampton. Let’s get that sweep! GO SOX!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Game 29: Can’t Get No Satisfaction

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Baltimore Orioles 3

Well I can. A big win over the Orange Birds is very satisfying. Hearing the crowd give Kevin Millar his proper due gives me a warm feeling inside. Seeing Mike Lowell hit 3 (yes 3) more doubles and become a kick ass slugging machine puts a smile on my face. Watching Paps get another save (that’s 12) and a scoreless 9th gets me in a chipper mood. Having Loretta nail down a crazy bunt got me to yell like a mad man. Then there’s Big Papi who comes up big in the clutch AGAIN and hits a 3 run double. That makes me downright giddy. So who couldn’t be satisfied after a game like this?

Well Schilling apparently. Now 5 and 1 with a 3.02 ERA and the winner of this one, Schilling was upset and disappointed with his performance. I thought he pitched pretty well and the only guys that hit him hard were Millar and Nick Markakis. But I guess it takes a little more to make Curt Schilling a happy camper.

So despite his gripes, a good night was had by all. Oh, and that cold breeze coming up from Hell? That was just Alex Gonzalez hitting an RBI double and then scoring on the Papi hit. Could that be the big break he needed to get his offence into major league form? I can say with complete confidence… no.

Tonight Wake vs Bedard.

Friday, May 05, 2006

That a Menace

Just looking at that porn 'stache give me creeping horrors

Dale Sveum. The name evokes hideous flashbacks to the 2004 and 2005 seasons, of runners cut down at third and home before their time, of runs and games lost, hitting the mind with the intensity of full-blown PTSD. There were definitely times when watching that man direct runners made you want to drink heavily and I think all of RSN is a bit better off for not having to worry about Sveum this year. As we noted last October, Sveum left the Sox organization after the 2005 season to join the Milwaukee Brewers as their third base coach, which means Brewers fans now have the distinct pleasure of watching Sveum “work.”

The result is something like what happened last night, when Corey Koskie hit a double to the right field corner. Keep in mind the following: Moises Alou, the Giants right fielder, caught up to the ball pretty quickly. It was deep enough to get Koskie to second base, but this ball was not a ball Alou lost track of by any means. On the play Prince Fielder, who was on first base, hustled to third and got there by the time Alou snagged the ball. Now, Fielder is six feet tall and 260 pounds. Saying he’s not built for speed is like saying an SUV isn’t built for fuel economy. However, Sveum still decides it’s a good idea to send him home when Alou already has the ball in his glove! Amazingly, even though Fielder would have been out by a mile, he plows into catcher Todd Greene, lays him out flat and scores a run when Greene drops the ball. Sveum, perhaps in shock that his plan to cause another unnecessary out failed so spectacularly, sends Koskie home even though first baseman Lance Niekro is now covering home and Niekro tags Koskie out easily, ending the play. I mean, mad style points to Fielder for taking out a catcher, but I still don’t understand how Sveum lands these coaching jobs.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Game 28: Double Your Pleasure

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 7, Toronto Blue Jays 4

I believe that’s what the doctor ordered, especially after a loss like last night: early lead of five runs against Faulty Towers, Clement with a strong six innings, bullpen doing a good job closing things out, even with Seanez, who seems to have a clause in his contract where he needs to give up a home run every outing. Seriously, he’s up to one dinger every three times he’s come out of the bullpen. Suggests to me that maybe something’s wrong. We even had some later game excitement with my man Youk hitting a Monster Seat blast to end Towers’ night in the sixth. Good stuff, series split, go team.

Now, let’s talk about Mike Lowell a bit, shall we? Robin and I have come to the conclusion that when Mike Lowell wakes up in the morning, he puts his pants on just like the rest of us, one leg at a time, except once his pants are on, he goes out and hits doubles. When he walks into a bar, what does he order? A double shot. When given the choice between the hot tub occupied by one hot lady and the hot tub with the smokin’ hot twins, by God, he goes for the one with twins. Right now, he’s got so many doubles that he ties Michael Young for the MLB lead with thirteen, including the two he picked up tonight. At the rate he’s going, he’s going to have enough two-baggers for every article written before the start of the season questioning his ability to make a comeback and still have enough left over to make Theo look like that much more of a genius for picking up his contract in the Beckett deal. Heck, even in his best two years for doubles hitting (2002 and 2004) Lowell hit one every four games or so; right now, he’s hitting one exactly every two games. Here’s to conjoined twins!

And my, my, could it be that the founding member of the Rodrigo Lopez Club is in town tomorrow with his fellow Baltimoreans? Against Curt Schilling, you say? On Cinco de Mayo, a holiday Americans took from Lopez’s native Mexico and bastardized into a drinking holiday because we all love an excuse to get plastered? Fascinating. Oh, the correlations are tremendous. GO SOX!!!

Game 27: Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 6, Toronto Blue Jays 7

“A present? For Me? Oh no… I couldn’t. Take it back.”

How do you lose that game? HOW? Every lucky break: squandered. Every freak play: erased. Every chance you have to make or break the game: all breaks. This cold and rainy game was back and forth all night and it would have been more fun to watch if the Sox didn’t “half take” or “spit on” every chance they had to come away with the win.

I had a whole write up for this one in my head. I was going to write a crazy essay about every guy who blew it today.

The poor pitching: Beckett (4 runs and WILD), Foulke (2 run HR), Papelbon (gave up his first run and got the loss), Seanez (didn’t pitch, but I still hate him).

The bad hitting: Youkilis (0 for 4), Ortiz (0 for 5), Loretta (0 for 5 and Slumpy McSlumperton the rally killer), Gonzo (0 for 2 but had a rare RBI), Mohr (2K in 2 ABs… he should pinch hit the road).

But the 9th inning really sucked all that out of me. After Papelbon gives up 3 hits and allows the go ahead run (I still can’t believe this happened… it’s like losing an arm), the Sox have 3 outs to score one run and have Ortiz, Manny and Mohr up. Ortiz strikes out swinging on ball 4 (ugly), Manny gets ROBBED by Hinske, and then Mohr predictably strikes out… but the ball gets away from Zaun and he gets on base! I was shocked Mohr (.156 BA) knew witch way to run. He is replaced by Harris (now used CORRECTLY by Francona 3 times in a row) and Tek steps up to the plate. After 2 wicked cuts, Harris takes off for second and the throw beats him… but the ball gets by the second baseman and Harris takes 3rd! Second life a second time! Now the tying run is only 90 feet away… but Tek looks at strike 3 right down the middle. Game over.

It was a gift and they blew it. Lowell, Manny and Wily Mo hit like CRAZY (9 for 12) but they couldn’t capitalize. Halladay showed weakness and they couldn’t finish him off.

I talked to Eric after this mess and in the midst of my bitching and moaning he said “Well, it was an entertaining game.” I don’t think that’s the word I would use. “Entertaining?” No, “painful” or “brain-damaging” seem to work better in my eyes. I HATE losing games like this. I would much rather lose blowouts or pitching duals. Losing close games when things seem to be going your way is the pits. Who likes these “woulda, coulda, shoulda” games? Especially against these damn Canadians. Damn northerners. Don’t you have hockey to watch? GO BACK TO CANADIA!

Next up: Josh "Faulty" Towers vs Matt "Quick Dry" Clement
Go Sox