Thursday, June 30, 2005

That's all, Foulke...

So I'd love to comment on all the Sheffield nonsense, because it's bringing me so much joy to read about, but I find I really have nothing interesting to contribute, besides some unmanly giggling and the observation that it's about freakin' time the Yanks have to deal with his anger issues.

That said, the Sox obviously have their own major problem to deal with right now, one which has been around for most of the last few years, with the notable exception of 2004: they need someone who can consistently close out games. Foulke's been nothing short of awful; while he may have looked better lately, that's been mostly in mopup situations. As I posted a couple days ago, in win or save situations his ERA is 8.75, which makes him almost worthless as a closer (then again his ERA of 0.00 in non-win, non-save situations makes him the best mopup man in baseball). So what do the Sox do? The three possibilities being thrown around are
1) Make Timlin the closer.
2) When Schilling returns, make Arroyo the closer.
3) Trade for a closer. Brad Lidge, Eddie Guardado, and Billy Wagner come to mind.
They each have their pluses and minuses, and I can't decide which I prefer. I don't like the 2nd one, though that seems to be what people are talking about. As much as I hate selling the farm, trading Shoppach, etc. for one of those closers (option 3) would seem to make sense. Anyone have any thoughts? I suppose there is a fourth option:
4) Don't do anything. the old Keith Foulke will show up.
Does anyone still support this last one? (Bear in mind, we're just days from the midway point in the season.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

13 of the last 16

Hard to complain, really. One all-around crappy game on Monday, two terrible innings on Tuesday, and things seemed bad. Now things seem better. Pretty ridiculous the way that works. Sox avoid the sweep, Wakefield pitches another great game (note to Mirabelli: no more swinging Ortiz's bats), back-to-back HR from the bottom of the order (Bellhorn showing signs of power: 4 doubles, 2 HR, 7 RBI the last 8 games) Mantei looks strong in the 8th, Timlin comes in for the save in the 9th. It'll be interesting to see how this whole closer thing shakes out.

The Cleveland Indigenous Peoples continue to impress; they're off to Baltimore tomorrow so suddenly Travis Hafner is our friend. Baltimore-Yankees rubber game tonight. No Sox baseball until Friday, when the BJ's (6-2 against Boston so far) roll into town.

[Update: Biggio has just been plunked for the 268th time, by our old friend Byung-Hyun Kim, so has just broken the modern record. Number 267, which tied him with Don Baylor, happened yesterday -- Don Baylor's birthday.]

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Q: How much did that loss suck?

A: Big donkey balls*.

The offense rebounded nicely from the previous night's shutout, but it wasn't enough to make up for the crappy pitching. Wade Miller struggled again, taking 118 pitches to get through 5.2 innings, while giving up 5 runs. Sox came back, and were even up by three, thanks to a 5-run 6th, but the bullpen blew it. In the 8th Timlin let on two baserunners, and was pulled from the game in favor of Foulke. Foulke let both inherited runners score, and returned in the 9th with a 1-run lead. He came within a strike of ending it, but instead gave up a double to tie it. Next three batters reached, and then Travis "Extra-Base Hit King" Hafner hit a GS to put the Sox away, 12-8.

Foulke's ERA went up almost a full point, to 6.03 (Timlin's also increased sizably, from 1.2 to 1.6). Shockingly, that was only Foulke's 3rd blown save this season. What's also weird is that he seems to do very well when the game isn't on the line. When he comes in for a non-save situation, with the score not tied (that is, if the Sox are up by more than 3, or are trailing, when he comes in) , he hasn't given a single run, in 9.2 IP. All 25 earned runs he's given up were when the game is close, giving him an ERA in those situations of 8.13. Not good.

* for those of you who found this site by googling "big donkey balls", this probably isn't the site for you (unless your query was in specific reference to last night's loss). Sorry to disappoint.

Not Too Comfortable

In typical Boston fashion, the fans have become comfortable. I, for one, am not.

Yes, the team is playing very good baseball (last night excluded). The hitting has been unbelievable (last night excluded). The starting pitching stellar. Last TWO nights excluded. You get the idea. We were outscoring solid opponents 8-1, 12-8, etc...

Anyway, despite all of that, and the Yankees falling apart, there is only 5.5 games between the two teams. It seems like it should be more, but it isn't.

I watched 2 of the Yankees/Mets games. The Yankees looked terrible. I mean TERRIBLE...Their pitching (including Randy Johnson...who numbers-wise had a good outing, but let me tell you...his pitches were out over the plate the entire outing...) was extremely hittable (except it was the Mets), their fielding, mentally and physically was absent. They looked as though they had no heart.

Yet, there is still only 5.5 games between the two teams.

I know that the World Series victory was supposed to make all the dread about the Yankees go away. But it hasn't. What is one to do when they look at the mess in NY and one still has that sinking feeling that somehow, in some way, the Yankees will turn it on and we will soon be chasing them?

Now, I am aware that their pitching staff looks a little something like this...
Pavano (who will be no better than he is now for the rest of the year)
Henn (soon to be replaced by Sturtze)

That is a terrible pitching staff. Somehow, I see this as a possibility...
Johnson, Clemens, Mussina, Pavano, Sturtze...or Johnson, Schmidt, Mussina, Pavano, Sturtze...

There, that makes a difference...Doesn't it?

I see Giambi becoming a viable hitter again. Not 45 homers, but a good average with some pop.

I know that this sounds crazy, but it is that old paranoia creeping back...And this is not a result of last night's game. It just feels strange to me that we haven't put that much distance in between us and others...I am not Murray Chass"ing" this...I don't think the Sox blew it. I think that the "exploding Yankees" stuff that has been in the media might have been a bit overblown. How can a team so terrible still be within striking distance? But, they are...

I do believe that the Sox depth will allow them to win the division, but I think that the Yankees still have to be taken very seriously. There is this loosy-goosy (yes, I just wrote that) attitude that you can "stick a fork in them". I think that this is going to be a battle.


Monday, June 27, 2005

A little off-topic

Sorry to stray into politics, but if I don't vent soon I think my head will explode. I think one of the reasons I've gotten so into baseball lately is that is distracts me from much of the utter BS that's been going on in Washington the last, oh, 4 1/2 years or so. Even before the Red Sox became World Champions, I found my level of anger/depression was far lower when focusing on baseball than on politics. But then on yanksfansoxfan I see this, in which politics and baseball have combined in a way that makes me really hate certain people. Certain Republicans in Congress apparently are all ready to intervene if George Soros buys the Nationals. In the words of Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY), "from a fan's perspective, who needs the politics?"

Wow. Setting aside for a moment the fact that Republicans ostensibly support the free market and frown upon government intervention in private companies, it's ridiculous that Soros would be singled out for being unacceptably political. Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News, used to own the Dodgers. George Steinbrenner, the owner of the MFY, made illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign. And over half of current baseball owners made donations to the 2004 Bush campaign, making most of them Rangers or Pioneers. Speaking of the Rangers, I seem to remember in 1989 a certain son of the then-President buying the Texas franchise...and then using that to go on to bigger and better things. Actually, scratch the "better" part.

Okay, I'm done ranting. Thanks for indulging me. If you're now as pissed off as I am, I'm sorry. Check out this site if you need to get your mind off all the BS.

[Edit: for a much better mix of baseball and politics, which manages to make fun of the Yankees and Republicans, check this out.]


...interleague is over for the Sox, and ends on a high note, with a sweep of the Phillies. Sox went 11-6 in Interleague; I'm too lazy to look up the numbers but I'm quite sure that's by far their best season record since interleague began. Wells was shaky for the second start in a row; like last time he went only 5 innings giving up 10 hits. Only this time that wasn't good enough for the W, as Embree continued to pitch himself out of the majors, allowing all three batters he faced to reach base (2B, BB, E6). Wells did however, get a hit, a run, and an RBI -- that's two games this season in which Sox pitchers helped with offense, and I can't remember that happening even once before. Wells's run scored on Manny's 19th career GS, tied for 2nd most in baseball history. Former Red Soxck Rheal Cormier, happy to once again be the best French Canadian Pitcher in Baseball, got the loss, giving up 4 runs, including a 2 run HR by the Cap'n.

These are good times. Just over 2 weeks ago Sox were a mere 3 games over .500; now they're 14 over, and in 1st place in their division, 2.5 ahead of the O's (riding a 5-game losing streak) and 6.5 ahead of the Yankees (who won one from the Mets, bottom of the 9th). They're now 3rd in the AL (4th in the major leagues) in terms of both record and RPI. [Interestingly, the St. Louis Cardinals, with the best record in the NL, are 2nd in RPI, to the Washington Nationals, due to differences in strength of schedule. In a related note, White Sox are still way outperforming their Pythagorean record, winning lots of tight games...I continue to maintain they'll cool off substantially before the end of the season.]

Next up, six games at Fenway, against the Native Americans and the BJ's. Then 7 away games at Texas and Baltimore before the All-Star Break. If the Sox go just 7-6 they'll hit the ASB 15 games above .500, 5 better than at the same point in 2004.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

2b question - Put it to rest?

So there has been a couple of debates about Bellhorn and I can't wait for the common senitment to swing to the positive this week after Bellhorns 3/4 4 R 1 HR 3 RBI day today. I can hear the callers on EEI now, "I think this a good sign that he's turned that corner.."

The funny thing is that as Andrew pointed out it's really not Bellhorn that needed to step up but the heart of our line up.

Just compare the performances over this last road trip:
Bellhorn: 2/16 (until today so... 5/20)
Manny: 11/27 (5 HR)
Ortiz: 10/26


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Thank You

I predicted, not too long ago, that the Sox would be in first before the end of June. However, I never imagined that they would be wiping teams up the way that they have been over the last two weeks. This is some of the best baseball I have seen in my life. The pitching has been fantastic. Foulke has been very good, Embree is definitely coming in to form, and the starting pitching has been lights out.

What can one say about the offense? Every night they are getting to everyone...It is sick. I would hate to face them right now.

I must say that it is a blast watching the Yankees lose to the Mets, as well...

With that said, watch the Sox get swept by the Yankees right after the break...Ouch, that would hurt. It is also highly unlikely.

I watched the Yankees/Mets game last night (with Pedro pitching). The Yankees looked like the 1980s Yankees. Bad fielding, terrible hitting, inconsistent pitching, and no heart. Seriously, Jeter and A-Rod look to be the only guys trying. And that takes a lot for me to say because I don't like either of them...

Anyway, I am enjoying this Sox roll...If they keep playing like this, we won't have to worry out of which division the wild card comes...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Inspiring words from Freddie Mercury

Ee do bay bup
Ee do bay ba bup
Ee do bup
Bay bup
People on streets
Dee da dee da day
People on streets
Dee da dee da dee da dee da

A new low

Brett Boone dropped in the GYS league - an AL only league at that. Brett Boone, not even among the best six 2B in the AL. Less than five years ago he was 3rd in MVP voting.

Of course Giambi was second that year. I wonder if they have anything in common other than a brother who also played in the majors?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Captain Clutch

From the New York Daily News:

JUNE 1: Jeter strikes out swinging against Mike MacDougal with Robinson Cano on second to end Yanks' chances in 3-1 loss to Royals. It marks the second loss of three-game sweep in Kansas City and fourth loss of a six-game skid.

With Bernie Williams on second and Yanks down by one, Jeter lines out to right field in Bombers' 4-3 loss to Brewers in Milwaukee.

The next night, Yankees enter ninth down 2-0. Bernie Williams drives in Jorge Posada to make it 2-1. With Robinson Cano on third, Jeter grounds out to reliever Derrick Turnbow to end rally, and game.

JUNE 20: With Bombers down to D-Rays, 5-4, on Monday night, Jeter grounds out to short to end contest, and six-game winning streak.

YESTERDAY: With Yanks down, 5-3, and two out, Robinson Cano triples and up comes Jeter. He goes down swinging to Tampa Bay's Danys Baez to end comeback attempt and short-lived joy from Tuesday night's 20-11 comeback victory.

In fairness, the June 6 liner should've been a game-winning double, but Geoff Jenkins was in the absolutely right spot (or was it the wrong spot?) and caught it. And Jeter just got his first career slam, previously leading the majors in bases-loaded at-bats without a GS and most HR without a GS.

Any chance people could stop talking about Jeter being "clutch"? Nah, I didn't think so either.

Its that time again

No, no not book review (that is coming next week). It is another shot for some Natural Rivals.

That's right ARI vs Detroit Redux. Forget game 7 of the NBA finals, the city of Detwaaaaah must be abuzz about the rematch, hoping to extract some revenge on the suddenly .500 D'backs.

Earl, we will all await your recaps of the world-famous I94-to-I80-to-I76-to-I25-to-I40-to-I17 Series.

On an unrelated note, anyone who enjoys boxing and an extra $45 to burn, be sure to catch this fight Saturday. It is sure to be a classic.


Sox sweep the Tribe, their first 3+ game sweep of a team that's any good since...well, October of 2004, when they swept the Cardinals, and became World Champions. They have won 9 of their last 10 games (no matter whatESPN says), getting at least 10 hits in each of those wins. Another reasonable start by Miller -- 5+ innings, 1 ER, on two thousand pitches (roughly). Problem is, he left the game with the bases loaded and no outs, and who comes out to stop the bleeding but Alan Embree. Embree looked really good, getting three quick outs and keeping the Sox in the game. But then Tito tempted fate and sent him back out there for the 7th, and (thanks to some questionable defense by Renteria and Millar) the Indians were quickly up by two. No matter -- the Sox offense scored 3 more off the (once-) impressive Cleveland bullpen; Foulke as usual made it interesting; and the Sox won, 5-4. Olerud and Renteria had particularly nice nights, batting in four of the Sox's five runs.

Once again, good starting pitching, great hitting, scary scary bullpen. Orioles and Yanks both lost, again to inferior teams (Kazmir!!!), so the Sox are just 1 back in their division, where they haven't been since April 5. As in, the second game of the season. On to Philadelphia, to (thankfully) finish up interleague play. Phillies are 23-12 at home. Jon Lieber faces Tim Wakefield on Thursday.

[Edit: Sox were 1 game back as late as mid-May. Sure feels longer than that though.]

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Am I the only one that is worried

About Schilling coming back and being less than sensational. Or even *gasp* getting injured again.

I was concerned last year that Game One of the ALCS he had no business being on the mound and could have cost the Sox tremendously. Of course, one medical miracle, and that all was changed.

Not so sure there is another medical miracle to be had. He rushed back this year once already.

Of course, if it were me I would be doing the same thing - pushing to get back and compete. I just hope he learned his lesson in April and will not go out there unless he is really, truly ready. I would rather have him for September and October....

The Yankees Lose Again to the Mighty D-Rays...

This time Pavano couldn't do it. 4-6. How much did they pay him?

Well, another win from us tonight just gives us more breathing room.

Is this going to be the Yankees all year? Fairly long winning streaks followed by deflating losses? Just think, if the D-Rays had a decent reliever besides Baez, the Yankees would have lost last night, too.

5-3 final score...

Cool non-Red Sox baseball news

1) Jason Jennings has plunked Biggio twice so far today. And they're only in the fourth inning. Biggio is now at 266, one shy of Don Baylor's modern record...I hope ESPN is cutting away to show each of his at-bats...

2) Today is "Nothing But Nancy Day" at Comiskey, honoring Nancy Faust, their organist since 1970. No rock music, no games/blooper reels between innings...just organ music.

Not to Get too Far Ahead

Ok, there's a tough road ahead. Our next few series break down like this...

3 in Philly
3 (at home) against Toronto
3 in Texas
4 in Balt

All-Star break...

4 (Fenway) against the Yankees...Will Schilling open the second half???
3 (Fenway) D-Rays...relief...
4 in Chicago (White Sox)

Except for the D-Rays there is no room to breathe easy. The upside??? We can take over the division. We could put in, at least, some cushion in the Wild Card. The downside??? We could find ourselves looking up at some of these teams.

Speaking of the wild card, we are now in the lead. That's right. If the season ended today, we'd be in the playoffs. We face all the serious contenders by the end of July. Yankees, Texas, Minnesota, Cleveland, Toronto... other stuff...Schilling is coming back soon. That is great news. Who goes to the pen? I know the consensus is Arroyo, but I think Wakefield is the better choice. Wakefield could throw many more innings out there the Bronson. He could pitch 5 innings on a Sunday in long relief, and be available for 2 innings on Monday. Arroyo...not so much. One thing is fairly certain. Halama is the odd-man out. Embree's velocity is back up, and his location is much better. The is way more of an upside to Embree than Halama. We do not need 3 lefties and Myers has been great.

Sox needs? If Schilling comes back healthy, we get another great arm in the pen in Arroyo or Wake. With Foulke throwing well again, Timlin having an All-Star season, and Myers, we probably need only another arm. If Embree can prove what I have stated above, we should be fine.

We need a speed/utility guy...Vazquez is supposed to be our speed guy, but his injuries have hindered him. We should replace him. Any AA or AAA guys that we have??? What about Pedroia?

Apparently Kapler is now fighting to get out of his Japan contract. Would he have to go through waivers or something if he tried to return to MLB? Has there been a precedent for this?

Jake and the Fatman

Okay, so the title doesn't make much sense; I'm just mad at myself for not thinking of it for yesterday's recap. Though today the Indians starting pitcher was named Jake. And Arroyo's pitching might be described as "Phat". Nah, it's no use...should've been used yesterday, whenDavid Wells pitched at Jacobs Field. Oh well.

Arroyo seems to have reverted to pre-suspension form, giving up only 4 hits and 1 walk (1 ER) over 7 innings. Papi got 2 HR (nos. 17 and 18), Manny one (no. 16), which was all they'd need. Bullpen performed as expected: Halama gave up a run in the 8th, Mantei only a walk in the 9th. Final score 8-2, Sox 10 games above .500. In the last two games, Sox have done serious damage against Cleveland's SP Sabathia and Milwood (14 ER in 10.2 IP), and even against their vaunted bullpen (4 ER in 7.1 IP, mostly Riske business). A lot to be happy about -- the starting pitching is rolling, the offense has clicked. Theo will fix the bullpen in the next couple weeks, and all will be good.

Sox gained no ground in the AL East: Orioles won, though at a cost -- Melvin Mora is hurt. Yankees beat Tampa Bay...thanks to a 13-run 8th inning. Of course, Yanks have beaten up the D-Rays before, winning 19-8 on April 18...and then losing 5 out of the next 6 to them (given the score that day, I predicted they'd lose 4 straight...but, as usual, was wrong). The big news is all the talk about Randy Johnson finding his groove, helped by new batterymate John Flaherty, is bunk. Two consecutive strong starts does not a rebound make. The Big Eunuch lasted only 3 innings -- against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- giving up 7 runs on 8 hits and a walk. He also gave up three home runs, to powerhouses Kevin Cash, Jonny Gomes. and Damon Hollins, who before tonight had combined for a 16 career home runs. Maybe people just got confused, between the emergence of the old Randy Johnson...and the old Randy Johnson.

Series Finale Wednesday, Wade Miller vs. Cliff Lee (8-3, 3.33 ERA).

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pinball Wizards

So, to follow up with the discussion of All-Star selections in the previous thread, whom exactly should Tito pick to pitch? The last 2 years there have been 13, with 7 or 8 of them starters. Contenders this year are:

Jeremy Bonderman: 8-4, 3.84 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 0 CG, 73K/27BB
Mark Buehrle: 8-1, 2.67 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 2 CG, 67K/18BB
Bruce Chen: 6-5, 3.73 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 1 CG, 61K/25BB
Matt Clement: 8-1, 3.48 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 1 CG, 78K/32BB
Bartolo Colon: 8-4, 2.90 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 2 CG, 70K/21BB
Roy Halladay: 10-4, 2.53ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 5 CG, 83K/15BB
Jon Garland: 11-2, 3.61 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2 CG, 46K/17BB
Randy Johnson: 7-5, 3.51 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 3 CG, 91K/20BB
Cliff Lee: 8-3, 3.33 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 0 CG, 62K/23BB
Mike Mussina: 8-4, 3.82 ERA, 2 CG, 66K/23BB
Kenny Rogers: 9-2, 1.98 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 1 CG, 44K/30BB
Johan Santana: 7-3, 3.45 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 2 CG, 124K/17BB
Carlos Silva: 5-3. 3.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 1 CG, 28K/5BB
Chris Young: 6-4, 3.16 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 0 CG, 70K/19BB

Danys Baez: 4-2, 10 SV, 3.19 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 24K/18BB
Francisco Cordero: 0-1, 17 SV, 3.90 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 35K/13BB
Jesse Crain: 6-0, 0 SV, 0.88 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 12K/8BB
Eddie Guardado: 0-1, 19 SV, 1.38 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 22K/5BB
Dustin Hermanson: 0-2, 17 SV, 1.53 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 18K/11BB
Joe Nathan: 1-3, 18 SV, 3.81 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 33K/12BB
Arthur Rhodes: 3-1, 0 SV, 0.94 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 27K/4BB
Mariano Rivera: 3-2, 16 SV, 0.98 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 31K/11BB
B.J. Ryan: 0-1, 18 SV, 1.87 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 53K/9BB
Mike Timlin: 0 SV 1-1, 1.31 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 24K/9BB
Bob Wickman: 0-1, 20 SV, 2.67 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 15 K/11BB

Let me know if I left out anyone. So which 13 would you pick? Some are obvious inclusions, some are obvious exclusions. Bonus question: let's say you have to pick Jeremy Bonderman and Danys Baez, as the sole reps of their teams. What 11 do you pick? I'll give my picks later in the day.

Monday, June 20, 2005

[Insert Riske, Foulke puns here]

Wow, that game had everything. Five home runs, all huge; 10 pitchers; 28 hits (only one of the 18 starters, Kevin Millar, failed to get a hit); awesome baserunning, by Bellhorn; horrific baserunning, by Manny (Sizemore actually got an assist for that!); another scary outing by Embree; another scary outing by Foulke. Hard to say which is weirder: Wells getting the win, or Foulke getting the save. Wells took 111 pitches to get through 5 innings, giving up 5 ER, on 10 hits and 2 walks (having given up 6 walks in his previous 10 starts). C.C. Sabathia was much more efficient: only 92 pitches to get through 4.2 innings, giving up 9 ER on only 9 hits and no walks. Hard to do, really; I think the key is to give up big home runs. Embree was once again misused -- maybe it wasn't "close", but he had pitched in the previous two games -- and gave up a 2-run homerun. Foulke looked terrible, for the first time in a while, giving up two runs on two hits, with the last two outs hit very, very well. Thank goodness for Damon's solo HR in the 8th, off Riske. Final score 10-9. Sox left only 3 on base; Cleveland left 11.

Somehow I hadn't noticed until tonight what a stellar season Arthur Rhodes has been having. Record of 3-1, 0.94 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 27K/4BB. (Actually, the Indians relievers all look good: ERA's of 2.38; 2.10; 0.94; 3.00.) Seems lots of Sox fans are excited about Mike Timlin being an All-Star. Unfortunately Rhodes beats him in almost every category. And Jesse Crain probably deserves to be there before either of them. I know, I know, Terry gets to pick the pitchers, and Joe Torre played favorites all the time...but maybe Tito's better than that? And maybe RSN's better than that? And besides, Sox already get Manny, Ortiz, Damon, Varitek, and Clement. I'm just sayin'.

Orioles and Yankees both lost, to weaker opponents, so Sox move up relative to both, and are 9 above .500 for the first time this season (meaning I can't say "They have been playing .500 ball since..." without going back to late 2001 or so). Next is Arroyo vs. Millwood, with both bullpens depleted.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


In keeping with recent trends on this site, pretty much all of my predictions for this game were wrong. Robert Kip Wells (yes, Kip is really his middle name) looked terrible, it was not a low scoring game (for the Sox at least), Embree pitched two innings, and the Pirates' defense was not at all "nifty". I will never use the word "nifty" again, I promise.

That said, the Sox won handily, with another terrific start by Matt Clement, who matched season highs in strikeouts and pitches thrown. Embree was used correctly, and pitched two scoreless innings. Thee players hit triples (Mueller, Ortiz, and Wilson). While 2/3 of the Sox's starting outfield was out hurt, the depth of the bench shone through, with Millar in left (yikes), Olerud at 1st (0 for 3 with a BB and a nif-- nice defensive play), and Payton in center (2 for 3 with a BB and a 2-run blast onto Landsdowne). Jay chose a nice time to get hot, as it raises the important question about whether the Sox really want to trade him.

Jerry Remy almost died from laughing too hard at some really bad pirate jokes. These are much better.

Next up -- out west to play the resurgent Cleveland Indians, who have won 9 in a row, putting them only 1 game back of Minnesota, and 0.5 games behind Boston in the Wild Card race. Speaking of which, right now each AL division has at least one team within 1 game of first in the WC race. And Chicago can play under .500 from here on out and still finish with 92 wins...


Sox get a second consecutive strong start from Wakefield, who pitches 7 shutout innings, but cannot score a run off the crafty Pie Rats, who manage to get two runs off Embree, Mantei, and Halama (it could've been much more than two). Sort of weird that Embree and Halama were the ones Tito went to with the score so close -- neither had pitched since June 10, before the 5-game win streak began. That streak included 4 near-blowouts -- any one of those would have been a perfect time to give these guys some innings to improve their mechanics/confidence/whatever.

Three hours until the Series Finale. Clement vs. Kip Wells, who (despite being 5-5 and having been beaten up by the Yankees his last start) has been pretty solid far. Could be another low-scoring affair; hopefully the words "Embree" or "Halama" won't be uttered all day. A Sox win would give them their first back-to-back series wins since - gulp - May 11, when they won four in a row (Texas, Detroit, Seattle, Oakland). After today, the schedule gets tougher...

Saturday, June 18, 2005


What I like seeing: umpires calling a strike when a player makes no attempt to get out of the way of a Wakefield "fast"ball.
What I don't like seeing: Embree coming in with the score 0-0.

Random Thoughts from the UK

I am very surprised that this did not get more play in Boston.

Foulke seems unhappy with the Sox, the organization and just about everything else except his paycheck.

"I love the first and 15th [days of the month]. It's payday." - Yikes.
Buy him a truck and he will talk to you. He makes $7MM.

So let's get this straight - Payton is complaining and people say good riddance. But the Foulke business is swept under the carpet.

Like Earl said, Payton had no choice about coming here and Roberts as much as I love him for "the SB" he was pretty much a nonfactor until that point.

As for fixing this team, I think the bellpen is the place. Shoppach is likely to be headed out of town. I meant Tek is here for a while and Mirabelli wanted to stay here. I think you try to keep the top shelf prospects - Ramirez, Pedroria, Lester and maybe Alvarez. But a couple of them MAY be more valuable as trade bait. I would love to know what Theo's plans are for the IF (except SS) and CF next year - lots of moving parts and a few potential players, but also a lot of $$$ to play with. Time will tell. Maybe some of the moves will be revealing.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Double standard?

This guy makes a good point. Steroid use is almost certainly rampant in Hollywood. How come the press, Congress, and the American public is so pissed off about steroid in sports but is willing to turn a blind eye toward Hollywood celebs? The "stars are role models for children" argument (Congress's favorite) is certainly valid, as is the argument that you shouldn't engage in illegal activity to gain an advantage in your profession. The only difference I can see is that Hollywood doesn't have home run records, etc. which steroids would help them break. That in itself may be an important distinction for baseball fans (and Sen. Jim Bunning) but not for most of Congress, the press, and the public.

Can we trot a bunch of A-list celebs out to testify before a Congressional subcommittee to discuss their own steroid use in front of national TV? (Please?)

Not Payton's Place

Say goodbye to Jay Payton already. He wants to be traded? Trade him.

I can see his side of the story. He wants to play everyday. But, what did he think? He was coming to a team with Nixon, Damon, and Ramirez. I think he's gotten a lot of playing time.

But, let's get another speed guy who can play the field. Say, Dave Roberts...

Seriously, though, this probably is a relief to Theo. It allows him to get rid of a guy that replaced a loved (although only here for a short time) Roberts without people thinking we ended up with a lame backup utility infielder in Vazquez and Payton. I say we trade him to Japan for Gabe Kapler...if we can do that...which I don't think we can...but would be good if we could...Considering we will more than likely be dealing him to a non-contender, Payton might be facing his future team tonight.

So who are the likely replacements?

Did you guys see the the Mets brought Daubach up to replace Mientkaahaeoihrta...? I heard that Darren Lewis and Damon Buford will be in their outfield soon.

Remember when we asked what was wrong with Texas for getting Rocker and Everett? Maybe they knew more than we did. They share similar world views after all.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


As the Sox have a much-deserved day off, we can take a break from baseball for a second. Ten minutes, tops. If you haven't yet seen the video of Triumph interviewing Michael Jackson supporters, watch it now.

Okay, back to baseball. Yanks are beating up on the Pirates and SP Oliver Perez, making this article seem sort of silly; the Big Eunuch looks dominant, for the second start in a row. And the fireworks continue in yet another Great Interleague Baseball Rivalry, with managers and players of the Angels and Nats going at it. Brendan Donnelly is ejected for having pine tar on his glove; Robinson claims he also used sandpaper the day before, and bizarrely brings nice-guy Adam Kennedy into it; Scioscia gets all petulant (and defends Kennedy more than Donnelly); Guillen suddenly reverts to 2004 form and starts talking trash about Scioscia and the Angels. The whole thing sounds sort of silly, but there's one thing about it that keeps bothering me...back on June 4 (the Great Sox Bullpen Implosion), didn't Donnelly pitch with an extra baseball in his back pocket? Or was that all just a Vicodin-fueled hallucination?

Sweep, perchance to dweam

Sox got their first sweep since May 9-11, against Oakland (also at home, of course). The Reds, who are second in the National League in runs scored, managed only four runs the entire series, which says pretty much all you need to know about the Sox starting pitching. That's four amazing starts in a row, with plenty of run support to go around. During this 4-game streak, Sox outscored their opponents 31-5. The bullpen only had to pitch 7 innings, but they gave up just 3 hits, 3 walks, and zero runs. Next up, the Pirates, who sport some pretty nifty defense, and who will be starting Josh Fogg against Wade Miller. Game begins in less than 32 hours.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


For the record, the Pirates won that game. They ended it in the ninth, when Gary Sheffield grounded into a double play. He tried to run it out, but clearly failed. Luckily for him, the umpire (Tony Randazzo) wasn't watching, so called him safe. And apparently, even when they suck, the Yankees still have that take-advantage-of-terrible-calls magic. And so they won the game on a Giambi home run. Suddenly the new hero in New York, I imagine.

One of the YES-men, right before Giambi's HR: "A win here would be really big, since Baltimore has already won." Sorry guys, so had Boston. And Toronto. So you're still tied for third.

And Brown left the game with back spasms.

Three in a row

X leaves the country, and the Red Sox start playing like the Red Sox. Sure, they're at home against the Reds, who haven't aged well over the last 30 years (what I wouldn't give to hear Joe Morgan spinning one of these games; he might have told us a story or two, or ninety-four, about his playing days and the 1975 Series), but as they say, a win is a win ("and they're not replaced by replacements"). Manny Ramirez continues to show signs of being Manny Ramirez, with 3 HR in as many games. Assuming he can keep up this pace -- and there's really no reason not to -- he will finish the season with 113 homers, which is quite good. Sadly it's not good enough for the new MLB record, as Hee Sop Choi has hit 7 HR in 4 games (including 3 HR in 3 PA against Brad Radke, a feat I got to see from the upper deck of Dodger Stadium) so is likely to finish with around 190.

The big news of the night of course was Wells. Perfect through 3.1, no-hitter through 5.2 (though based on his pitch count, 9 innings looked to be really tough). Based on the blogs, lots of people had pretty much given up on him after his disastrous start on May 18 (against the A's) and mediocre one on May 24 (against the Jays). I can only imagine the EEI callers were vicious. Since then, in 4 starts, against the Yanks, Angels, Cards, and Reds, he's gone 3-0, with a 1.78 ERA, 0.725 WHIP, with 13K to 2BB. In those 4 starts he pitched 30.1 innings, meaning the bullpen only had to pitch 5.2. Pretty tremendous. This is what you want from your number 2 starter. Now, if only our number 1 would come back...

Tonight's game is huge. Not just because the Sox have never swept the Cincinnati Reds (at home, during the regular season, under a waning crescent moon). Not just because the Sox have not won four in a row since May 3-8 (when they won five). Not just because they've haven't been 7 games over .500 since May 22. But because Bronson Arroyo is pitching. He's been seriosuly spotty the last month or so, alternating really good starts with really bad ones. After the drubbing by the Cubs, he's due for a good one.

It's been easy to forget given the two great starts we've gotten from Clement and Wells, but the Reds offense is really, really good. They're second in the AL Central* in runs scored, only 9 behind St. Louis! It's just their pitching is really, really bad -- giving up 370 runs, one hundred more than any other team in their division. Sadly, tonight's opposing pitcher is their good one, Aaron Harang, with a 3.52 ERA and .230 BAA. Should be interesting.

[In fairness, last night's SP, Luke Hudson, was reasonably impressive. Making just his second appearance of the season, he gave up 3ER in 5IP, in Fenway. And that was just one bad inning -- he got through most on just a few pitches. Of his 81 pitches, 51 were for strikes -- it was the walks (3) that killed him, not the hits (4). He was really impressive last year, going 4-2 with an ERA of 2.42 in 9 starts. It'll be interesting to see how his career goes. Unfortunately, he's already 28.]

[late edits: *by "AL Central" I of course meant "entire National League". Easy mistake to make, I know.]

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Signs of life?

Okay, so Cincinnati in last in their division, worse even than the Houston Asstros, sporting a .413 win percentage (am I the only person who's bothered by the fact that the word "percentage" is used all the time in baseball to describe things which aren't even remotely percentages? Probably.) But that was another nice, solid win. A great outing by our starter, bouncing back from his worst of the year, and solid hitting. Johnny Damon continues to amaze -- I mean, even back in his KC days I thought of him as a great hitter, but I never expected him to become one of the elites in the league. Particularly with Brian Roberts showing signs of cooling down. (Man, now we're never re-signing Damon.)

A win tonight would be very, very nice. Wells vs. Hudson (Luke, thankfully). Unless the early-season Wells suddenly shows up, Sox should be in good shape. The .500 baseball has been going on since May 6 -- that's 34 games. Sox haven't won three in a row since May 9-11. Yikes.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More like it

Yesterday's game (6/12 vs. Cubs) looked more like the Red Sox I was expecting this season. Solid hitting, solid pitching, questionable baserunning, etc. Wakefield looked fantastic, probably for three reasons: (1) Mirabelli's back, (2) nice weather for a knuckleballer, and (3) I dropped him from my fantasy team. The choice for Youk in the 3 spot seemed utterly ridiculous, until he got 3 hits, including a HR and a double, and now seems genius. The only two negatives I can think of are that (1) Manny continues to look terrible at the plate against lefties; something's just wrong with him; and (2) the 9th would have been a great time to bring out Embree, rather than Myers, one of the Sox's few game-is-on-the-line pitchers. Oh well.

Let's hope we can, for once, get some momentum going. Back at Fenway, against two sub-.500 teams.

(Oh, and GrieveRules -- I hope you got at least one of your three predictions right...)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Game 61 (6/11 vs. CHC) discussion

Anyone online? Early comments:

1) This game is going much better, so far.
2) Zambrano is a painfully slow pitcher.
3) The Fox announcers just mentioned Johnny Damon has the fewest GIDP of any active player in the MLB. Obviously this is some ridiculous oversimplification (my guess is Keith Foulke doesn't have too many) -- does anyone know the actual statistic they were referring to?
4) Then again, the announcer just expressed shock that Ortiz didn't run to 1st on a 3rd strike passed ball. But Renteria was on first. So maybe they just don't know what they're talking about. [Update: whoops, apparently I don't. It was 2 outs, so he wasn't out, yet.]

Friday, June 10, 2005

Wrigley Field Trivia

Did you know...

...That in 1941 lights were actually delivered to Wrigley Field in order to have night games? (They were never installed because after Pearl Harbor was bombed, owner William Wrigley, Jr. donated them to a shipyard to aid in the war effort.)

...That the first Wrigley Field was actually out here in Los Angeles?

...That almost 100 sites pop up if you Google "Wriggly Field"? (And that apparently none of them are porn sites?)

How Cool Is It?

How cool is this Chicago/Boston series? Seriously, I am so psyched for this. I don't even know why...I think that it is the Sox playing in Wrigley that I think is cool. I don't like facing Maddox and Zambrano, but thems the breaks.

Some predictions...

Manny hits 4 HRs this weekend (if Francona doesn't bench him in favor of Millar).
Sox take 2 of 3.
I drink a lot of beer...ok, that is less a prediction than a known fact...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

"Flack's Muff Tells Tale"

This is awesome. No, more than awesome, it's one of the best things I've ever read. There are so many things in it which are incredibly interesting, or hilarious, or just plain bizarre, that I truly don't know where to begin. I honestly can't say whether sports writing has gotten much, much better, or much, much worse since 1918. But I know that I really like:
  • That sportswriters once called walking "perambulating".
  • That baseball players once had names like Stuffy McInnis.
  • That even in 1918 money was a central part of sports.
  • That in the New York Times, a single play was described this way:
    Jackie Thomas of the U.S. Navy made a play in the seventh which was plain downright grand larceny against one Fred Merkle. Fred popped an angry bouncer down the third base line, which moved over the foul line as it passed the bag. Thomas stuck out one fin, knocked it down, picked it up, turned around a couple of times, spoke affectionately to the ball, and whipped in over to McInnis in a manner which looked as if the ball was going into the grand stand. It did not.
  • That the World Series Recap included not only how many games each team won (Boston 4, Chicago 2), but also how many games each team lost (Boston 2, Chicago 4). Now there's some useful information you just don't get anymore.
  • And, most importantly, that on that day in September 1918, the New York Times proclaimed the city of Boston the "luckiest baseball spot on earth".
  • But then 1918-2003 happened...
  • But then 2004 happened.
Damn, the next time someone asks me why I like baseball so much, I'm showing them this article. If they don't get it...they don't get it.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Help at 2b???

I was just thinking. With the Astros, for all intents and purposes, out of it, do you think the Sox would make a run for Biggio to play 2b? He's still got some pop in his bat and is a pretty good fielder. It would give them another veteran very hungry for a ring, and someone who is consistently not striking out...

I haven't looked in to his salary, but if they are looking for a bat (and not looking to log jam a position any further) than Biggio might be the guy...


"I am gay" - Kevin Millar

Ok, I admit it. I watched "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" as they made-over the Sox. It was terrible. My eyes are burning.

Beyond the obvious reasons it was bound to suck, the Fab 5 and the Sox had no chemistry. What was worse, the Sox wives and the fab 5 had no chemistry. It was a total miss. But naturally, there were a few interesting observations:

1. Doug Mirabelli is a bit of a dick. He was by far the most homophobic and at one point refused to try on a different shirt - pathetic. I mean, you got yourself into this Doug, may as well play it up

2. Jason Varitek is a totally awesome guy. He played it up well, without being over the top (see Millar) but was also a great sport about the whole thing (got his back waxed). Plus the other interesting thing is the other Sox (Damon, Mirabelli, Millar, and Wakefield) were very much differential to Tek ("wait 'til Tek gets here"). He is clearly the leader. (Plus his wife is totally normal and hot, but not a super model, which makes her hotter. And she is/was pregnant... very pregnant).

3. Johnny Damon has a hair stylist. I am serious. Unfortunately, he buttoned up except for a brief moon-walk for the fashion show. To his credit, he did at one point say to Tek, "Hey Jason, don't you fly your hair stylist in for spring training?" Tek's response was, "dude, I just go to the nearest super cuts". That was about it for banter.

4. Wakefield barely said a word. Plus he had some kind of wax job on his hands to soften the skin, which made me think - Holy Crap no wonder he's struggling this year! Not sure if that has anything to do with anything... All in all he was a good sport. He had his neck waxed and it looked painful!

5. Millar was a bit of a dork to be honest. He was the only guy there without his wife. I missed the first part of the show so I don't know if they explained this at all. Anyway, he is clearly the "class-clown". At one point Carson asks, "Isn't it fun being gay?" Millar's resposnes was, "We never said it's bad to be gay, it's good to be gay... Hey guys, I am gay!" as he waves his hands in the air. He went on to later run around with limp wrists and a couple other silly and obvious jokes.

All in all, it was a bust. I am sure this show jumped the shark many, many, many episodes ago, but if it hasn't this clearly jumped the shark.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Okay, maybe the word "doldrums" isn't fair, because this team isn't boring. They tend to win in spectacular fashion (hitting big, late-inning game-opening hits, or utterly steamrollering the other team from early on), or lose equally spectacularly (massive pitching collapses, or the complete inability to hit). So it's more of a rollercoaster -- one day they seem unstoppable, the next day truly pathetic. Problem is, it's equal parts of both: they're five games above .500...same as they were on May 6th. Playing .500 ball for over a month now. Pretty annoying, and worrisome.

Okay, now this is where everyone (including myself, when I'm feeling optimistic) says, "Well, the Sox were a .500 team May through July of last year, and that turned out well, right?" It's a very comforting thought...but the more I think about it, the more I think the analogy's a bad one...

- last year, after 57 games, we were 11 games above .500, thanks to a 15-6 April. This last April, Sox went only 11-10.
- Home-away splits can't account for the difference -- sure, we've played 31 games on the road this year. But last year by this point we'd played 30.
- BA and and OBP are similar to where they were last year, but SLG is 30 points lower.
- Pitching is markedly worse than it was a year ago, with team ERA almost a full point higher (bullpen ERA being a significantly worse change than that), BAA almost 30 points higher, and pretty much every other category (K's, BB's, WHIP, etc) worse as well.

Maybe much of these differences can be traced to vastly improved Baltimore and Toronto teams. But that shouldn't make anyone feel any better...all it means is that it's now tougher to make the playoffs -- so playing exactly the same as last year isn't good enough.

Another big difference is injuries/underperformance by key players. Particularly Manny, Schilling, and Foulke. Manny will act like Manny eventually. But Schilling and Foulke seem to me to be bigger question marks. In addition, it's worth mentioning that last year's team didn't just miraculously start playing better in August...the huge late-season surge was at least in part due to a fairly massive trade, which worked out exactly as planned. Can it happen again?

None of this is to say that this year's Sox are in a huge amount of trouble -- my point is just that anyone trying to feel better about this season by pointing to the team's performance from this time last year is badly mistaken.


Monday, June 06, 2005


...coming into the game. It's been an ugly game so far. About to get uglier?

More slappy gems

Another article. I think Andrew said before - why go public with this stuff? Especially for a guy who is so image conscious. And this interview starts pushing him toward the Doug Christie/Kris Benson club.

My favorite part - on how he no longer watches the replay of every game when he gets home:

"If I have a great game, I'll watch; if I sucked, I won't," he says with a shrug.

Pretty much tells me all I need to know about the guy. Not "If we win, I'll watch..."

Today's rant

So it's a few days old, but thanks to my gimpy shoulder I'm behind on my websurfing, and just found this atrocious puff piece by Tim Kurkjian today. I can't call it the single worst piece of writing I have read in my entire life, because to call it "writing" would be far too kind. I don't even know where to begin with this:
Jeter has a nice face, a rugged face, a handsome face, equal parts black and white, the son of a black father and white mother who had simple rules for him in high school, including being home by 10 p.m. every night and eating his lunch every day. He was taught well, and he has never forgotten his lessons. That's why he is such a good player and team captain. That's why he is the face of baseball.
Seriously now, how does this happen? To borrow from Ray Romano, I could've eaten a box of Alpha-Bits and crapped a better article. I know it must be tough to have to make deadlines with a weekly column, but come on. Is there really nothing left to write about? Seriously, I think this "article" has set the new standard for the ultimate in crapass baseball writing. (Come on Murray, you're not going to let this little ESPN dweeb beat you at your own game, are you?!?)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Juan Rincon

Sure does not look like a steroid user. He's not much bigger than Arroyo. Okay so that is an exaggeration. But he just got a huge strike out of Sierra with bases loaded and 2 out.


Sorry I'm late...just popped a V so am ready to go.

10:35: not a good start. Figgins with a leadoff HR, GA almost with one himself. Is it Arroyo, or Shoppach? Not sure I like Vazquez and Shoppach in the same game...
10:37: ok, inning over. Did you see that hot of Vlad? He looks like I feel. And he looks drunk.
i think buck and mccarver went on about "human nature" in the 1st inning. I may have imagined it. Oh my god now they're talking about Gallagher. And someone did a good impression of Dr. Phil. And now buck is yelling at Scooter. Are they this surreal for you guys not on Vicatin?
10:45: Ortiz shift gets em. Ouch.
Am in significantly more pain than yesterday, so can only type with my left hand...very slow. But this from my friend Ed:
I was originally reluctant to email you after surgery, but then I rationalized that you are quite adept at using the internet with one hand.
Ha ha.
10:49: Another classy welcome for o-cab.
10:55: Is budweiser select any good?
10:55: ever notice mccarver speaks about Manny's clothing more than his hitting?
11:02: Milllahhhh!
11:03: What just happened?!? McCarver's telling me it was an "old Harry Walker play". Ah yes, that. in which the 3rd baseman should've run home and the catcher over to 1st to back up the play. And Adam Kennedy apparently made a great play? Man, these Vikes rock.
11:17: Nice half inning. Though leaving the bases loaded sucks. I'm still so confused about the Harry Walker Play.
11:30: X--you can't watch?
Manny!!!! Nixon!!!!!! Wow, Colon's looking worse than Arroyo.
11:49: Damon is insane. Amazing catch, followed by an infield hit.
12:09: This is a slooooowwww game. Pitchers taking their time.
12:13: Fox Interview with Bud Black is interrupted by a bomb onto Landsdowne Street by Millar. Ten minutes after McCarver asks Tito why Olerud wasn't playing. Very well timed. 5-1 Sox.
12:27: Passed ball, 5-2. McCarver's waaayyy too excited about McPherson's baserunning.
12:32: Harry Walker was born on October 22, 1916, in Pascagoula, MS. He broke into the bigs on Sept 25, 1940 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Also known as "Harry the Hat", he batted leftie but threw rightie, and played 1st base, 3rd base, and outfield. He was traded to the Phillies in 1947, and also played for the Reds and the Cubs before returning to the Cards to finish up his career. His best season was 1947, in which he batted .371, with a .443 obp and .500 slg (though he only hit 1 HR that year). He also had a decent managerial career, going 630-604 (.511) with the Cards, Pirates, and Astros. He retired from baseball in 1972, and passed awayon Aug 8, 1999, in Birmingham, AL. That explains the Adam Kennedy play back in the second.
12:49: Game's getting confusing again. McCarver and Buck won't shut up about a Kennedy steal that they thought shouldn't have happened, and on the same play Scoscia got ejected though they didn't realize it, and now a "hit" by Erstad makes it a 2-run game. My head still hurts from all my Harry Walker research.
12:54: Embree continues to look terrible. Two on, 1 out, go-ahead run at the plate. Yikes.
1:00: Go-ahead run back at the plate, after rounding all the bases. Awesome. Angels up 6-5.
1:17: Brendan Donnelly had an extra baseball in his back pocket. And I thought the Vike was wearing off...Sox go down 1-2-3 in the 7th.
1:26: Angels score another. Myers comes in (1 inning too late); during the commercial break they show a truly terrifying ad for the All-Star game involving pinball. "And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like giant bats..."
1:35: Myers gets out of the inning with no further damage. McCarver mentions that Nixon's failure to score--
1:36: MILLAR!!!!
1:38: Ahem. 7-6 now. Yeah, as I was saying, McCarver was talking about how it'd be nice if Nixon had scored. I guess he had a point.
1:45: Top of the 9th, Mantei pitching. Inexplicably Vazquez got an at-bat (Renteria on the bench) in the 8th, though Varitek pinch hit for Shoppach (drew a walk). McPherson hits it hard, almost makes it 8-6, but Nixon catches it on the warning track.
2:03: Halama comes in after Mantei gives up a run and loads the bases, still one out. Gets one...
2:03: McCarver on the shadows creeping in: "Hello darkness, hello friend." Huh?
2:05: Another single by Erstad scores two, a "bloop triple" by Finley scores two more, and it's 12-6. Call me crazy, but the bullpen doesn't look too good. No wait, 13-6.

3:30 (epilogue): game lasted over 4 hours, meaning in the 9th it was time for another ride on the V-train...but I fell asleep first. What to say about that game? Painful. Some upsides (Damon, Millar, Arroyo, Harry Walker) but not exactly a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Back to bed.

The good, the bad and the ugly

The good - the yankees are now tied with the Tigers in the 7th place in the hunt for the Wild Card.

The bad - I am thorougly disappointed to not get a vicodin induced entry from Earl and tonight's game would have been a great candidate.

The ugly - it was not that Jesse was too wasted to type. He was actually posting over at 12 eight. And it sounds like he was pretty messed up.

Friday, June 03, 2005


So that game was awesome. And I deserve at least some of the credit. Not only did I not watch it, I timed things perfectly so that the general anesthesia kicked in just as Ortiz stepped to the plate in the 9th. Tonight I'll be sure to take like 17 Vicodin just before gametime. (I think tonight's starter would approve.)

So the Sox went 4-3 against Yanks and Orioles. Now don't attack me for being a naysayer, but how good should we really be feeling about this? (1) It was at home, (2) afterwards the Yanks went to KC to get swept by the worst team in baseball, and (3) the Orioles are pretty ravaged by injuries. I say the Sox are still underperforming.

Speaking of underperforming, how did Foulke look? I mean, it's always sad when your ace closer gives up a run in 1.1 innings and his ERA doesn't change, but it sounds like a dp ball should've gotten him out of the inning. Is he looking any more solid?

A Few Random Thoughts

Pavano (who lost last night's start for the Yankees) was the starter in the 17-1 Sox victory the other day. He was also the starter for the Marlins when the Sox demolished them. The Yankees have dropped 5 straight.

Francona was mad about the suspension differences handed out. Was he reading this blog? He said it was crazy that he received 3 games and couldn't be at the ballpark while Torre got one but just couldn't be in the clubhouse.

Ortiz is a monster. Hopefully he remembers how to play at first with inter-league approaching. I wonder why Francona never plays him there know, just to get ready.

By the way, on EEI people were calling up and complaing about yesterday's game. They said Renteria made a bad call by bunting in that situation. They said the lineup was ridiculous. This town is nuts.

The Sox went 9-10 against the O's last year. Looks like more of the same this year.

The Yankees beat up on the "little guys" last year. They are 15-9 against teams with a sub-500 record this year. 12-17 against teams 500 or better.

Shoppach doesn't appear to be major league ready as far as hitting goes. He looks very comfortable behind the plate, but uncomfortable next to it.

Hopefully the Cubs will cool off by the time we face them next weekend. 7 in a row for them now. By the way, the Sox and Cubs in Wrigley is about the coolest matchup I can think of...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


So three days ago I was sure the Sox had turned a corner, by taking 2 out of 3 from the Yankees. Turns out even the Royals can take 2 out of 3 from the Yankees. So it's not so much that that the Sox are playing well again, it's more that the Yankees are stinking it up again. Four games above .500 -- awesome.

Thoughts on Shoppach coming in with the Sox down by 7? Obviously the callers on WEEI are going to have a field day, but that's hindsight. As much as I wish it had been Varitek coming in with the bases loaded, I don't know.

Buddy Bell

According to Royals president Dan Glass, they hired him because he had "that fire in his eye that you want to see". Okay, makes sense. As good a reason as any to pick him over, say, Art Howe.

But then at the press conference Bell announced, “I don't know the rotation yet. I don't know the roles in the bullpen yet. I don't know the lineup yet. I'm looking forward to getting with the coaches to give me some direction.”

Wow. This coming from the bench coach of the Cleveland Indians, the Royals' division rivals. I hope he was just saying that to sound humble, and to make the other coaches feel comfortable. If not, KC's 2005 woes have just begun...

Suspension Question

Wow...a lot of posting by me this morning. Slow day at work...

Anyway, Quantrill got 3 games for retaliating and Torre got 1. Suspension that is...

I know that Francona got 1 game for the Arroyo retaliation, but Arroyo got 6.

What is the difference? Does the MLB take in to account that Quantrill is a reliever and so, in effect, is really missing 3 games whereas Arroyo is a starter and is only really missing one start?

Should it matter? Money-wise it does, right? But I know that both pitchers were also fined...So it looks like Arroyo's suspension was a bit more harsh.

Any idea why?

On To The Next Bashing

Yikes...People (ok sports writers and talk show hosts) are all over Francona for his moves last night. AND THEY WON...

Francona wanted to get Manny a game off. I think that's a good idea. Then Damon got hurt and Francona stuck with his choice of resting Manny. He moved Millar to left and put Olerud at first. Payton (starting for Manny) moved to center.

And they won...

Less than two weeks after calling for the head of Renteria (who is now the Sox poster boy to all of them), they are back on the Bash-Millar bandwagon. I, for one, happen to think that Millar (while not playing well right now) having shown public support for Renteria helped to jump start Edgar. Is there empirical proof of that? Not really...But one day after Millar's "Stop Booing" speech Edgar started his tear which, by the way, won him AL Player of the Week.

I think what we're seeing with a lot of the Boston hitters is that other teams have made adjustments. People are throwing nothing but breaking balls to Millar and he and Ron Jackson haven't made the necessary adjustments, yet. Last year Millar struggled until he opened his stance. He then turned like a madman on the inside fastballs that were jamming him. Maybe they'll figure it out, maybe they won't. We'll see. But I am not bashing this guy. No way.

And I understand that Olerud has come in and hit well.

But I think that writers need a story. I think that, to a point, they all said that Boston had improved on its championship team in the off-season and they feel like they are underperforming.

Ok, well how about this...Boston is only 3 games out of first place. They've had their ace on the DL for almost the entire year. Wells missed a few starts from injury, and Arroyo's suspension has thrown him out-of-sync. Manny's is hitting sub-250, and our bullpen has not been lights out. These things will correct themselves. But, we are ahead of the Yankees, and we are well within striking distance of an O's team that has dropped 4 of its last 5 games.

Sit back and enjoy the ride...Get off Millar's back...