Friday, September 30, 2005

Robert Redford...

...Giving the best "celebrity sports fan interview" I have ever seen. I had no idea he was a Sox fan; apparently this is first time in Fenway, and he keeps cutting off the interviewer for each pitch -- "hold on". So much better than anything Ben Affleck, Billy Crystal, etc. has ever said in such interviews. Highlight:
ESPN: You played Roy Hobbs in the Natural, and does --

RR [stares at interviewer icily]: Yes. I did.

ESPN [flustered]: Yes, you did. When you watch David Ortiz hit, does -- does he remind of you of Roy Hobbs?

[Brief pause]

RR: No.
My new hero. C'mon Sox -- let's get a couple more runs.

To win the East...

...the Sox have to win three of the next four games. The Yanks have to win only two of the next four. So basically, tonight we watch Game 2 of a 5-game series between the Red Sox and the Yankees. Yanks took Game 1 (the first 159 games of the season), barely. So we're 0-1 in a 5-game series. Big deal -- the Sox can do this. Who the hell cares what the Indians do.

Win tonight.

Two This Weekend

OK, so all we need is two this weekend. That gets us to NY for a game on Monday to determine the winner of the East. Arroyo v Chacon or Small...That's a tough call for Torre seeing how good Small was against us and how we roughed up Chacon.

Of course, that won't be necessary if the Indians lose 2 and we win 2. Sox and Yankees then make the playoffs...But who is declared the division winner?

And yet another scenario...
Sox sweep.
Cleveland sweep.
One of the central is the wild card winner, the other division winner. Red Sox East Champs. All with the same record. First round matchups?

Anyway, let's forget about all of this and look at some other matchups...

Wells v Wang- Wells hasn't been great in his last two outings thanks to the knee, but he said he is loose and ready to go. Wang...big pressure situation (big stage anyway). This is not a must win game for the Yankees, but pretty close (especially with "The Comeback" from last year looming). It is a must win game for the Sox (even though they could win Sat and Sun...it would be nice to get one win out of the way).

Game plan Boston- Score early and get in to the Yankees bullpen quickly. This means, Sturtze and Gordon...If we can take either one of them out of Saturday's game, we're much better off. Don't pitch to Sheffield under any circumstances...

Game plan Yankees- Don't throw a strike to Ortiz or Ramirez. With the way the rest of the lineup has been performing, you could walk those two to start an inning and still not get scored upon. Also, get to the pen...

Papelbon won't be in the game tonight. It's everyone then Timlin. This means we need a great start from Wells...

I know we're not going to mess with the lineup, but wouldn't it be great to move Graffanino to the two hole. The guy's an on-base machine and a threat to steal.

Damon
Graf
Ortiz
Manny
Nixon
Tek
Renteria
Mueller
Olerud

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Awesome start.

Sox are down by 1, Yanks and Indians each up by 4. This is fun.

Good God, No!!!!

Red Sox have picked up Mike Stanton for the Yankees series...

Ok, it's over...I'd rather have Embree...

Break from the action

Okay, let's not think about baseball for a while. At least for the next 8 hours. Anyway, I may be behind the game on this, but inspired by X's and GrieveRules' discoveries of some ridiculous baseball pictures (man, Leia really let herself go), I started surfing for other photos, and came across On the DL, a blog devoted to the off-the-field shenanigans* of major leaguers. Best are the random photos of players partying it up with random drunken tramps, like this one of Giambi signing someone's cleavage...a photo which is really just begging for a caption contest.

* I just said "shenanigans". Probably for the first time in my life.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Poop.

For once, the bullpen is incredible -- 1 hit in 6 innings. (Where the hell has DiNardo been all season?!?) Too bad the starting pitching and hitting absolutely sucked, big donkey balls.

Thanks to the D-Rays, Sox are still tied for first in the Wild Card, with just 4 games left. But it feels hopeless -- I feel the season's over. Even if not, and they get the Wild Card, this team isn't going anywhere.

NY Papers

Wow...If you read the accounts in the NY papers, all the Yankees keep saying is that they didn't lose ground last night. If that is their attitude then I really like our chances this weekend.

They got crushed. They admit to that. Then they talked about how they saw that Boston lost. Scoreboard watching (although that happens everywhere, but rarely admitted). But then to say they didn't lose ground. The same papers, by the way, claim that Boston blew a golden opportunity to take control of first place...Meanwhile, and correct me if I am wrong...Didn't Boston technically make up ground yesterday? Sure, they could have taken first place, but they started the day in second place, and played a double-header against a better team.

Schilling gave up 5 in 6+ innings...Mussina gave up 5 runs in 5 outs...They face Bedard and Cabrera...Not lights out guys, but guys that are capable...It comes off like they feel that they were lucky, and not totally in control of their destiny. If you don't believe me, go check out any Yankees article in any NY paper...

Let's just take care of business in Boston prior to this weekend, and we will be fine.

Go Seth McClung!!!!

Scary

This photo is a bit troubling.

Five game season

This is getting ridiculous. Of the five scenarios I laid out a few days ago, two have been eliminated. Sox and Yanks will enter the final series within 2 games of each other. Really disappointing night, given the thrashing the Yanks received.

Sunday's finale: Mussina vs. Schilling. Whoop-de-fuckin'-doo.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Cashing in

At mlb.com you can buy this shirt. Or you can buy this one. Everyone's a winner!!!

[update: Wow. Either the Yankees shirt sold out, or they took it down. A screencap can be found here.]

YESSSS.

Thanks to some spectacular pitching, the Sox win 3-1. Yanks, Sox, and Indians in a 3-way tie for two playoff spots. No more of this half-game BS.

Here we go.

Remember That Time...

When the media was all in love with Washington (now in last place) and the Orioles (if the season were two weeks longer they'd probably fall behind the D-Rays...and might anyway...? Good times...

Also, the "Very Special Season" the White Sox were having? Might not be so special after all. Is there anyone who thinks the White Sox are going to the World Series this year?

Anyway, with that said, I am rooting for them over Cleveland...If the Sox go 4-2 the rest of the way, and Cleveland loses 2 then we play Cleveland in a one-game playoff in Fenway...Sorry, and maybe it is laziness that I am not doing the math, but I think it is going to be difficult to catch the White Sox for us...That means we have to root against Cleveland.

Of course, if the O's can get one from the Yankees and we sweep the Jays we are in good shape heading in to this weekend. That's a lot of ifs...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Ugh.

Both games delayed, probably will be postponed. I waited all day for this? And no Indians to root against. I guess today we're all Angels fans, in order to keep the Wild Card race simple. But what to hope for with the White Sox? If they put together a couple wins, they win the division, keeping the WC race down to 3 teams. But if they clinch soon, they might hand the Indians the final series...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Seven-game season

Wow. Both the Sox and the Yanks have to be feeling pretty good about their wins today. So we're down to the last week of the season. And, since the season ends with a Showcase Showdown between the Yanks and the Sox, the number of possibilities for how it ends up in the East is getting pretty small. Let's assume for the moment that the Wild Card comes out of the AL Central. Here are the possible scenarios for the next four-game series, and what they mean for the final series, and the division:
  • Each team wins the same number of games: the final series determines the East, in a best-of-3 contest. Basically, the playoffs begin early.
  • One team wins 1 more game than the other: one team enters the final series 1 game back; so to make the playoffs, they must either sweep the final series, or take 2 of 3 and then win the one-game playoff.
  • One team wins 2 more games than the other: the losing team is back by 2, so must sweep the final series to win the division. Two out of three won't do it.
  • One team wins 3 more games than the other: the losing team is back by 3, so must sweep the final series, and then win the one-game playoff. Basically, it must win four games in a row. Tough, but it's been known to happen...
  • One team sweeps, the other is swept. Season over -- the final series doesn't matter.
In other words: (1) barring a massive collapse by either team in their next series, the final Sox-Yanks series will decide the AL East, and (2) falling even one game behind in the next 4 days will put either team in a huge hole going into that final series. Scary.

Eight-game season

This is what it comes down to -- 8 games in 8 days. All that matters is who wins more in that time. Never have I done more intense scoreboard-watching as I'm doing right now.

Wow, as I'm writing this, the Sox score 5 runs, all with 2 outs. Of course, Yanks up by 1. C'mon, Blue Jays -- Wang needs a beating.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

FINALLY....

The Yanks lose, for only the 2nd time in their last 13 games. Hard to call the Sox's woes a "choke" when that's what they're up against.

Note to the Red Sox: you are one game back in the win column. WIN TODAY PLEASE.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Its that time again

Book Review - this month Twice Around the Bases by Kevin Kennedy.

A quick note. Apologies for not getting to the last 6 perfect games. As I had continuously noted, the book was bugging me. So I said screw it. Move on. Life is too short to be frustrated with one’s own leisure activities.
-continued in comments

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Foulke

Looks like he is now done. Going back to Boston for another exam. No surprise, I guess.

Had you guys heard earlier that part of the reason he was/is so ornery this year is that he is apparently going through a nasty divorce? Oh well, Damon bounced back after his a couple years ago. Lets hope Keith can do it next year.

No heart

Wow. Tough night. Not much heart shown.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Okay, I lied.

I'm still thinking about baseball. Really quickly...

One month ago I was dreading the possibility (first brought up by X a while back) that the AL East would hinge on that final 3 game series against the Yankees...

...Now, I'm pretty much hoping that's the case.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The reign in Spain

So I'm back. Awesome trip. But like I said before I left, the hit shits the fan now, as work kicks into high gear and I'm supposed to be applying for jobs. So despite these exciting two weeks of baseball (go Indians!) I'll barely be watching, sadly.

A couple quick observations about Spain:
  1. Coffee, beer, and wine are unbelievably inexpensive there.
  2. Most Spaniards under the age of 35 are unbelievably attractive.
  3. Apparently, when you can spend all your time enjoying good, cheap caffeine and booze and appreciating your hot friends and your hot self, you don't feel the need to read. At all. Seriously, Spain lags all the rest of Europe in rate of newspaper reading...which is made even more sad by the fact that their #1 selling newspaper is devoted entirely to fĂștbol. (For those of you who don't understand Spanish, "fĂștbol" means "football". For those of you who don't understand British, "football" means "soccer". Europe's pretty fucked up.) So needless to say I couldn't find box scores anywhere. Had to keep telling Amy we needed to go to cybercafes on a regular basis "so I can check email...you know, in case something happened to my cats".
  4. Speaking of Europe being fucked up, the only baseball caps I saw were Yankees hats. They were everywhere. I kept wanting to yell "Yankees suck!" to the poor unsuspecting Spaniards and Germans...but I was worried that might confuse them because they would assume I was talking about myself.
Okay, that's all for now. Back to work.

Two weeks of this crap....

The final thirteen games. Should be exciting. And not just Sox-Yanks. There should be tons of fun baseball. What will not be fun is crap like this. Everyday, if the Sox lose, there will be mentions of 1978, never mind that the circumstances are entirely different. Couple a Sox win and a Yankee loss and the story will be that this team has picked itself up. They are resilient. Just like in the 2004 ALCS. Again, entirely different circumstances.

This team in not the 1978 Sox nor the 2004 Sox. They are our 2005 Boston Red Sox. And these last two weeks should be a lot fun. And, I'm sure, at times we will be cursing and at other times we will be exstatic.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Division A Must?

With the end of the season only 18 games away (19 for the Yankees), the Sox have a 2 1/2 game lead, and are only 2 up in the loss column. Things are getting very tight in the East.

Foulke looked awful last night, but (honestly) the entire team (except, of course, Ortiz) looked flat. Manny turning Catallanato's single in to a double, Kapler's lazy throw to Renteria which was then booted, lack of any hitting, led to an ugly 9-3 loss.

Cleveland keeps on cruising. The Yankees beat up on their arch-enemy D-Rays, and the Sox gave up ground to both.

Manny is in a slump, Tek is in a slump, Damon is out (but soon returning), and we have the A's up next...

Yikes...

It is looking more and more like we are going to have to win the division to get in the playoffs.

To add more joy to the equation, the Yankees won the coin flip for home field if there is a one-game playoff...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Prediction Nailed

Tough loss last night. Blow out in progress. tomorrow's game is now "just another game."

Friday, September 09, 2005

A Grieve Update

Ben Grieve...

Is playing for AAA Iowa. This is incredible...Look at his major league numbers this year...

BA- .357
OBP- .526 !!!!

Why isn't he in the bigs???

Of course, he's only had 14 at-bats...

His stats for the Iowa Cubs???

BA- .266
HR- 14
RBI- 51

Unfortunately for the Iowa Cubs, this is pretty good...

Looks like our Fenway taunting really did a number on Mr. Grieve...That and lack of juice.

Weekend Roadmap

If things go as they have so far this year, I imagine a tough, close defeat - like the last Friday game in the Bronx when (it seemed) all 27 Sox outs were made at home plate. This of course will be crushing, CHB will complain that the Sox rolled over, the NY writers will say the Bombers showed heart, etc, etc Then on Saturday we will crush the living shit out of them by the score of 17-1. And Sunday could be the "biggest game of the year" and who know what to expect from the Unit and Wake.

Pitching and Focus

Some poor at bats throughout the game last night, and some very good ones. I've never seen so many called strike threes right in the wheelhouse! What were Manny and Ortiz expecting? Oh well, the offense can't be clutch every night. It looked like they weren't too focused for Game 3 against the Angels...

But another solid start...6 2/3, 3 runs, from Clement, although I thought after he plunked Guerrero that he was done. Papelbon was very effective getting the double play, and then the ground out. Then Foulke with a decent inning...Hopefully this all continues...

And now to the weekend series...
Wells vs Small--Now I don't know anything about Aaron Small except that he is 6-0 with the Yankees. I do know something about Wells, and that he is great in big games. Let's face it, if we get Game 1, and extend our lead to 5, that could help me relax...

Schilling vs Chacon--Schilling was electric with the bloody sock and all against the Yankees...He also stunk up the joint against the Yankees in Game 1. Which one will show up? As for Chacon...how will he handle the Sox lineup? He's 4-2 with a 3.08...Damn...

Wakefield vs Johnson--Except for the infamous Boone homer, Wake has been great in the Bronx. We face a much toned down version of Randy Johnson...I wish Wake and Schill swapped starts. Schill vs Johnson...both of their skills compromised...both facing huge lineups...that would be fun...

I have sort of a sinking feeling about this weekend...Of course, going to the Bronx could wake Manny up...I just have to keep telling myself that as long as the Sox don't get swept they will be fine...I just think the Yankees may play with some desperation in this series...Cleveland took over the WC last night, and the Yankees know that if they don't win this division they might not make the playoffs. They are on the outside looking in...The Sox won't make the playoffs either (maybe), but they are in right now and don't have that desperation...

X, you were right when you said that the Yankees would be within striking distance at this point...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Something you don't see everyday

Cabrera getting called out on the appeal of the tag-up for leaving early. On a play he had plenty of time to tag.

Another One Bites the Dust

Michael Morse, powerhouse extraordinaire, was suspended for steroid abuse. He says it was from 2003 and that the suspension is unfair.

I say...what about the fact that Giambi hit another homer yesterday (that won the game for the Yankees)? That's 27 this year...The guy has 98 hits and 27 of them are home runs...This could be a case of people believing that his power is gone and they are trying to blow fastballs by him...but his numbers are crazy...Can someone just be as hot and cold as Giambi has been? We're talking a season and a half of crap and now on fire...

Not that I am saying he is back on the juice...or something else...But if Palmiero thought he could get away with it.........

Here are the ten names of the suspended steroid group:
Michael Morse
Ryan Franklin
Jamal Strong
...all of those guys were Mariners...
Rafael Palmiero
Rafael Betancourt
TWO RAFAELS??? COINCIDENCE??? yes, probably
Juan Rincon
Agustin Montero
Jorge Piedra
Alex Sanchez

Lots of Latin players in the mix...I can see why there were complaints of profiling...

Anyway, not too many big names...is it possible that some extended sits on the bench for some players were actually suspensions? I know that part of the policy was that not all players would be named...Maybe some nagging injuries for some guys? Maybe some stints on the DL...would that count? I wonder...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bronson

good to see a strong outing by him. and the pen.

I was a bit worried about Bronson and his serious slippage in the 2nd half. Although I imagine they plan on using him out of the pen in the playoffs.

Somehow I think

That I'm not the first to submit Johnny Damon as Jesus of the Week. But I did, Just for the hell, oops, heck of it.....

Sox Pitching

Are they coming on?

Yes, Schilling (5-7, 9 saves) gave up 4 runs over 6.1, but he looked better...AND it wasn't against KC or Tampa Bay...Again, he won't be the ace, but he showed signs of improvement.

Foulke (5-5, 15 saves) went 1.2 the other night, and has looked good since his return. I might even like to see him in a save situation...

Clement(13-3) seems to have found his form again...

Wells(12-6)...complete game.
Wake (15-10)...complete game.

The pen should be well rested now. Hopefully, Arroyo (11-9)can turn in some innings tonight. There are some decent left-handed bats in this Angel lineup in Anderson, Erstad, etc...He had a good outing last time...will it continue?

If the season ended today...what would the post-season rotation be? I think more than any other team I can recently remember, the Sox rotation will be based on their opponent and whether or not they have home field advantage...

My guess is that it looks something like this:
Wells
Clement
Wake
Schill

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Roger Clemens says:

Lance Armstrong has nothing on me. Clemens was quoted: "six weeks of retirement. What a lazy self serving wuss."

Mike Tyson, now going on 12 weeks since his "retirement" was unavailable for comment

Changing subject pronto

Okay, enough about Murray. As I was laying in bed sleeplessly last night, I was thinking about the great pitching performance of King Felix and then my thoughts drifted to the playoff races and what the success factors are for teams that are in the race. Specifically, what has a greater effect on a team's chances - injuries or performance (good or bad) outlier seasons (i.e., who would have thought Jon Garland would put up the numbers he has).

Sure in the case of the Sox and Yanks, where both are expected to make the playoffs, there are other teams that don't have the depth and accordingly need things to "fall into place."

Like the White Sox - Sure Beurhle was on his way to being a top pitcher, but they got excellent performances from some less heralded pitchers.

The Twins were expected to win the Central but had a slow start from Johan and a disappointing season from Morneau and (less so) Mauer, as well as some of their other bats. And then Hunter got injured.

Or the A's - they are struggling a bit with Crosby's latest injury - but what if Chavez and Zito did not suck for two months? Or Dotel did not go down for the season. which of these has had a greater impact? Maybe the A's could be 5 up by now. Or 10 down if Finely hit like Finley.

I know this is a bit disjointed (sorry), but it really did make me wonder, which is more important.

Poor Murray

It really is sad.

Sure a lot of Sox fans are obsessed with that other team. But a grown man. Who is supposed to be a professional. What's next? An interview with Mike timlin's ex-girlfriend from high school. Saying how he wronged her terribly and that Mike is an evil man.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

i Adioth !

Tomorrow (Thunday) I leave for vacation -- two weekth in the thouthern part of Thpain. Tho I won't be pothting on this thite, at all. I do hope to follow the Thox, from the box thcores in the newthpaperth, but it'll be thtrange to be gone for half of Theptember, and not get to watch any gameth.

When I get back, the thit hitth the fan, thince job applicationth are due thtarting the following week -- how'th that for timing? Bathically, I'm hothed. Needlethth to thay, I won't be pothiting much even once I get back. Not until October, anyway -- hopefully the Thox'll thtill be playing then.

Tho, have a great month, everyone. Go Thox.

[One parting thought...lisp-free. Sox are 19-44 when they score fewer than 6 runs. Remember when six runs used to be... you know, a lot? Now when they don't get that many, they win about as much as the Royals. Scary.]

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I have never seen this before.

From Yahoo's game cast of the Yankees-A's game, going into the 6th, with the Yankees down by 12:
- M. Bellhorn at shortstop
- M. Lawton in left field
- B. Crosby in right field
- A. Phillips at third
- J. Flaherty at first
- T. Womack in center field
- W. Nieves catching
Torre just replaced 7 of the 8 position players. At the same time. Welcome to September.

Friday, September 02, 2005

A rarity on this site

So the pattern's pretty obvious here: GrieveRules is generally really optimistic (I'd say way too optimistic) about the Sox, while I'm generally really pessimistic (he'd say way too pessimistic) about the Sox. But I gotta say this: (not to jinx anything, but) when the Sox were down by two to the D-Rays, really, were any of us worried they weren't going to pull it off? GR keeps pointing out the incredible offense, and that's undoubtable: they're averaging over 7 runs per game in August. And when facing a team with a mediocre-to-poor bullpen, a two-run deficit feels like nothing. [Here's where the pessimist in me screams "But in the playoffs, most bullpens aren't mediocre-to-poor!"] Anyway, after the Yanks lost, and D-Rays scored two off Arroyo, the following comments were posted over at Bronx Banter (a really phenomenal Yankees site, btw):
random commenter: Go, Devil Rays. They're off to a good start.

Alex Belth (one of the BB writers): The D Rays have been full of good starts against Boston this week. They just get trippd up by mediocre middles and horrible endings. Sox will win this one in the end...again.
In other news, I've been watching the Angels-A's series all week on local TV. Some phenomenal baseball. Like when Zito and Colon each pitched 9 innings...and both got no-decisions. Or when Jay Payton (grrrr) ran in and tagged out a baserunner at 2nd. Fun to watch.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

September Call Ups?

Um, where are they? I haven't seen anything in any of the papers. It is September...There isn't really even any chatter about it...

Hansen shut down 5-10 days. That's all I've heard...

With Graffanino on the bench with a tender hamstring, I am asking, "Where is Ramirez?" I guess if Cora has to be pinch-hit for, then Youk would move to third and Mueller to second. Oops...It looks like we've called up Alejandro Machado...

With the pen still stretched, I am wondering where in the world is Delcarmen? Lester? Malaska (just kidding)? Chad Harville? I would think with Arroyo going today and DiNardo going tomorrow that we would have plenty of extra pitching on hand...Also, I see this name on the roster. Matt Perisho...I must have missed us picking him up.

Anyone hear of anything?

4 In A Row

These wins have been fairly impressive, no doubt about that. However, a pattern is starting to develop. We fall behind early and then battle back to win. The last two games we were down big by the second and third innings, respectively. Our pitchers then woke up and took care of business, and the offense continued with its usual onslaught.

I still contend that there are no teams with the starting pitching to hold this offense down. Except one that seems to be emerging, that is....the NY Yankees. Chacon has seemed to solidify a very shaky rotation. Out of all the teams that look playoff bound, this is the one team that I don't want to face.

With that said, if the last series of the season rolls around and we've already won the division (say we're 4 up with those last 3 to play), and the Wild Card is still up for grabs, and you were the Sox, would you play the minor leaguers just to get them experience (and rest your players), or would you play to win those games? If it meant the difference of facing, say, the Indians over the Yankees, I'd take the Indians...

Back to the 4 in a row...Millar seems to be coming around. Hopefully, with all the home games, this continues and he gets his confidence back. He could be a big part of the puzzle come post season.

Tampa Bay is a team that was playing very well. We've cleaned up so far. One more tonight and then on to a struggling Baltimore (at Fenway).

This is when I look at the schedule, and our past posts, and wonder how we thought this month was a walk! We have one against Chicago (although, now struggling..we've almost caught them for best record...), 3 against Anaheim, 3 against NY (in the Bronx), 3 in Toronto, 4 against Oakland (Fenway)...The rest of the season then lets up a little with 3 in Tampa, 3 in Baltimore, 4 against Toronto (probably with them letting AAA guys get their feet wet) in Fenway, and finally the 3 against the Yankees. That is a pretty hairy run we have over the next 17 days...By the way, the Sox don't have a day off until the 22nd!

Anyway, in my opinion, we'll know how this thing is going to play out at the end of the Oakland series...

4 in a row, and counting???