Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Sad Saturday Morning....For Me

Why? I brought my beloved cat home. His ashes. Just now. On this Saturday. He was my Baby Cakes. And he was, and always will be, such a big part of my heart and soul. My life. I was his Dad. I'll always be his Dad. So I have to say this...I miss him so much. So very much.
Thank you Jenny, for being such a dear friend to Baby and me. I'm just home, we're just much of his 19 years of life in so little a metal box?? I'm reduced to tears. IT'S NOT FAIR. But I know I'll be better, and I know my "boy" is home. Forever. With me.....
Take care, my readers. You mean so much to me. And that will never change. EVER. That's a promise.......from me. The Dad. HIS Dad........
Thanks for being here. Always. What would I do without you? That I could NEVER answer.

Tavarez Happy, Pesky Sad

With Paps safely back where he belongs in the closer's role, the 5th spot in the rotation was wide open. And Julian Tavarez, who did such a great job stepping in as a starter last season after the team was literally decimated by injuries, was named to take over that 5th spot and again start for the club. He was originally destined to become a member of the bullpen, something that didn't exactly thrill him. This is from the Courant, and then a word from me......

"With the announcement March 22 that Papelbon's starting experiment was officially over, Tavarez went from questionable closer candidate to definite fifth starter.
"It was like a dream come true," Tavarez said. "I didn't think it was going to happen."

After going 5 and 2/3 innings against the Phillies yersterday and giving up only one run, it seems he's just about ready. His first start will be against Texas on April 7th. Go get them Julian.

And now on to something that's a little sadder. Our elder statesman, much loved former Red Sox infielder Johnny Pesky, has been ordered by MLB to stay away from the Sox dugout during games. This is also from the Courant, and I'll again have a few words, this time some of them choice...

"The Red Sox were informed again this week that Johnny Pesky, 87, cannot be in the dugout during games. MLB will now enforce its rule about unauthorized people in the dugout, and Pesky, who is not an official coach, is a victim.
Francona had the unenviable task of informing Pesky earlier this week.
"I think he was justifiably hurt," Francona said. "I understand. The letter [from MLB] was pretty forthright about what they were going to do. Multiple fines. I unfortunately had to be the one to tell him. It wasn't a lot of fun."

Peter here. Now this surprises me. The man is 87 years old. What does MLB think he's going to do in the dugout? Be the secret conduit between coaches, players and spies in the stands? Or something even more hideous and evil. NO! He's there for emotional support and to make sure Big Papi has someone to hug. Although some of those Papi hugs look a little too tight for an 87 year old body. I'm just kidding. But I think this is a shame, an unneeded shame. This reeks of Bud Selig's stink.
The entire article is linked when you click on the title. And we're approaching Monday's game at the speed of light. I'm excited. We all are. How will our club do versus the rest of the AL East? Thats coming up. I'll forecast how I see that very tough division. I'll stick to the AL Eastern division solely. That's what this blog is all about. And the entire double-billed Hartford Courant article is available by simply clicking on this post's title. Enjoy your weekend, and I'll be back sooner than you think. Maybe sooner than you'd want, but I hope that's not the case.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Theo On The Rotation And On The Tek Slump

Theo Epstein spoke out about his club as the team packed up and went to Philadelphia, stop one of a three stop journey that ends back at Fenway for the home opener. I'd like to touch and comment on two of the things he mentioned. First up, the rotation. This is from the Courant....

"On paper, it's got as high a ceiling as any rotation we've had," said Epstein, in his fifth season as general manager. "We had it going pretty good in 2004. Those guys made all their starts, which was an important thing. Oftentimes ... the team that's won the pennant is the team that had their rotation make the most starts and stay the healthiest. If all five guys can take the ball and not miss starts, that's a good sign."

Peter here, and he's exactly right-we have to stay away from injuries, injuries like the ones that doomed our '06 club. If the rotation can remain healthy and the pitchers can make all their starts, we'll be the team to beat in the AL. And I'm taking into consideration the fact that we really don't know who the number five starter will be for the entire seson. Tavarez, Lester, even Roger Clemens. We just don't know right now. But the rotation sure looks mighty, if it stays healthy. And we have no reason to expect it NOT to.

Theo also commented on Jason Varitek's slump, again from the Courant.......

"Varitek, who turns 35 on April 11, has acknowledged struggling to get his swing mechanics down. But Epstein said all that could change with one at-bat.
"I remember 2003, I think he hit .190 or something like that and had a pretty feeble spring from an offensive standpoint," Epstein said. "His first game of the year in Tampa Bay, it might have been his first at-bat, he put a great swing on a pitch from Joe Kennedy and lined it off the wall and got locked in right after that."

Peter here. I'm not worried about Tek. His hitting will come around. Right now he is most important to the club for establishing communication with the pitchers and for his ability to call the game, the sequence of pitches, depending on exactly who is at the plate and what the game situation might be. Important stuff. As Theo said, one great swing might "lock" him in and start him on a hot streak. But the captain behind the plate, quarterbacking the games? Thats vital.
The entire Hartford Courant article is linked when you click on the title of this post, and I wish you all a great Friday, the start of a wonderful weekend, the last weekend we have without baseball. MMMM, that sounds good!
Do you have any areas of concern about the '07 Boston Red Sox. Leave me a comment, and I'll respond. And I'll be back with something else a little later. Bet on it, or as Pete Rose would say, "Count on it."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Schilling Is Ready For Monday...Q & A With Daisuke And The Darkman

Curt Schilling had his final spring tune-up yesterday, and he was up for it. He's ready for Monday. Read this short blurb from the Courant, and the Herald.........

"Schilling was perfect through three innings against the Twins Wednesday night, and he left in the fifth having allowed just two hits in a 5-4 victory at Hammond Stadium.
Schilling threw 56 pitches in 4 2/3 innings - his pitch count was 55 - allowing singles to Luis Castillo leading off the fourth and Rondell White with two outs in the fifth.
"I'm ready to go," said Schilling, who finished with a 1.71 spring ERA. "Fifty-five pitches was the target and going just about five innings with that many is nice. I'm ready to start pitching for real."

And this wrap from the Herald....

"The 40-year-old right-hander allowed only two hits and necessitated only 56 pitches to complete his spring with a 1.71 ERA. Schilling, who struck out one batter and walked none in a game the Red Sox won, 5-4, allowed only four earned runs and 14 hits in 21 Grapefruit League innings."

Peter here, and that was his final appearance until Monday in KC. He looked good in every way. And a 1.71 ERA! Our ace. And I hope we can score some runs Monday, for if we do, you can put one in the victory column for the good guys. It's a nice feeling to be so confident even though the club hasn't even left Florida yet. The Sox go to Philly to play two this weekend, and then it's westward ho, to KC and then warm Texas. After that? Prepare for thrills at Fenway. But I'm getting ahead of myself. One game, one win at a time. It's all for real starting Monday.

There was also a nice article about Daisuke and his Japanese teammate Hideki Okajima, or as he's better known, the Darkman. Here's a sample, but I think you'll enjoy the entire question and answer session. Just click on the title....I guarantee you'll smile. This also is from the Courant.....

Q: "Have you been able to build friendships on the team?
Okajima: They all came and talked to me, instead of me approaching them. Also, they have very big hearts and are very generous and kind. They speak a little bit of Japanese, and I speak a little English, so that helps to develop a relationship.
Q: Any advice from Curt Schilling?
Matsuzaka: Yeah, he's advised me on a couple of technical things.
Okajima: Curt Schilling is making a great effort in trying to communicate in Japanese."

The two obviously get along, as they should. And Daisuke had a very scary but funny comment about the 2003 Pedro takedown of old friend Don Zimmer. I laughed outloud. You will too. The Darkman gave up a couple runs in his relief appearance yesterday, but overall he's had a great spring. And we all know about Daisuke. The world knows of his every pitch, and that's just fine with me. We'll see him Thursday, after Schill and Josh Beckett, who also had a masterful spring. Hey Josh, stay with that curve. It makes your fastball deadly and keeps 'em guessing.
Thanks for reading, for being here. I appreciate you. And I'll be back with something a little later if I can. Comments? I'd love to read them. And title click for the entire Daisuke and Darkman Q & A article.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The New York Times' Murray Ch(ass) Speaks..Nothing New, Either.....

Wow, what a surprise. A "sour grapes" piece by Murray Chass, he of the New York Times, and a confirmed Red Sox hater...berater....any words will do. Title click for the entire article.......

"And so, a question was recently posed to Red Sox players: Is there any reason why Boston shouldn’t be picked to win the division title?
“I can’t answer that,” Manager Terry Francona said, opting to be diplomatic. “I would never fall into that trap. You guys are the experts. That’s what I always hear. I’m just a manager.”
Jason Varitek, the catcher and team captain, took the most time with the question.
Suggesting it was too early to answer it, he said, “We’ve got a lot of things that this team needs to get done to get better, starting with our pitching.”
Starting, relieving or both? “All of the above,” he said.
Varitek was speaking before the Red Sox abandoned their plan to make Jonathan Papelbon a starter and restored him to the closer role he filled so capably for most of last season. But his exit from the starting rotation presumably weakens it. It now has two 40-year-olds, one of whom, Tim Wakefield, had a losing record last season that might have made the difference between the Red Sox making and not making the playoffs.
But, perhaps to Boston’s own surprise, the rotation now also has a formidable-looking pitcher named Matsuzaka.

Peter here, and there's so much more in the Chass article. So please, my readers, after commenting, click on the title.

OK, Murray, back to you. I didn't forget could I? First of all, let me take a deep breath. Phew....OK...I'm better.
Murray, I don't like you. And yes, your article does stink of sour grapes. PU!!!! And I won't waste any more of my precious words. Not now. Except for this. You wrote that Timmy Wakefield might have made the DIFFERENCE last year? Where were you last autumn?? The injury bug took a huge bite out of the team I love, an all-encompassing lethal bite that made the Red Sox, MY Red Sox, a battered and beaten bunch. I thought it was your job to follow baseball. Maybe, just maybe, it's time to WAKE UP. Red Sox Forever. Watch us soar. 2007. And I can't wait to read your words, Mr Chass. This is Peter N. Maybe take some time to come over read the truth. But maybe that's asking way too much. YOU TELL ME!

Sox Springtime Decision Time

Hello there. There were some notable team moves yesterday. The Courant article is linked when you title click. First up....Craig Hansen. From the Herald.......

"The fact that Hansen is just not ready for the major leagues finally sunk in for both the Red Sox and the young reliever, who was sent off to Triple-A Pawtucket yesterday.
You get the feeling that the next time Hansen appears for the major league team, it will be because this time he will be truly ready to pitch there."

Peter here, and yes, I agree. The guy has all the tools. He needs experience. There's no hurry. He's young, and he's been in the big leagues for less than two years.
Next, little Manny Delcarmen, Kyle Snyder and lefty Javier Lopez. From the Courant......

"Right-handed reliever Manny Delcarmen was optioned to Triple A Pawtucket, clearing way for righthander Kyle Snyder and lefty Javier Lopez to claim the final two spots on Francona's 12-man pitching staff.
Snyder, 29, was the feel-good story of the staff this spring. The 6-foot-8 righthander, picked up off waivers last season from the Royals after an injury-filled career, had no minor league options.
Still, his ability to start and relieve - and an injury that will put Mike Timlin on the disabled list to open the season - gave Snyder the opening to make the team.
"Just knowing where I'm going, it's a big sense of relief," said Snyder, who has a 2.53 ERA in six spring training appearances, including three starts."

Me again. Kyle will be beneficial whether he enters the game for long relief or for the 7th or 8th inning set-up roles. Frankly, my faith in him is high, even more so than for Mike Timlin. But that's just the way I feel now. We will all know so much more in three weeks or so. So Kyle, we know you can start. And you're a truly nice guy, and someone who I believe will thrive in 2007. So, best of luck!!
Lastly, our Jon Lester, again from the Courant....

"Righthander Jon Lester, who was declared cancer-free in December, will begin the season on the disabled list and will make four rehab starts with Class A Greenville (S.C.), pitching for rookie manager Gabe Kapler.
Lester, who pitched three innings in a minor league game Monday, will make one more start in Florida before heading to Greenville. His final start for the Drive is expected to come in late April.
Lester, 23, a lefthander, underwent six chemotherapy after being diagnosed with anaplasic large cell lymphoma in August.
"He'll progressively ramp up his pitch count and endurance," Francona said. "We want to get him out of Florida, get him into a game-type situation, but we can still monitor him before we take off the guard and turn him loose."

Peter here. Jon, you know we're all behind you with our hearts and our souls. And it's the end of April, the time when the final big moves by the big club are made. No surprises, either. The roster is set. 2007 awaits. And with that, all of our hopes and dreams will be realized, or dashed.
Monday, in Kansas City, our ace Curt Schilling will be on the mound. Paps will be ready for the ninth. And RSN? You and me? We'll be watching, or listening. And I'm ready. Are you? I'd love to read your comments. And thanks. GO SOX!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Paps' Pleasure Against The Reds

His pleasure? Our pleasure. In a one inning "relief type" role yesterday, he made us smile. Before the disaster that was Craig Hansen. From, read this, from Tuesday, about that one inning stint....

"After spending the last few days working on refining some mechanics which had gotten away from him, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon saw some immediate results in mowing down the Reds on Monday.
In one effortless inning, Papelbon retired the Reds 1-2-3, starting things off by blowing a fastball by Ken Griffey Jr. for strike three. He looked like the closer of old yesterday when he came in for one inning in relief of Daisuke Matsuzaka. He fanned Ken Griffey on a fastball down and in, then retired Edwin Encarnacion on a fly to left and got Scott Hatteberg on a grounder to first.
"He had a better arm slot," said manager Terry Francona. "He's got a little work to do, but this was better."
"I'm getting more comfortable," said Papelbon, who was converted from starter to closer late last week. "Now this feels like the same thing I did last year."

Peter here. I feel so much better, and in HIS words, "more comfortable." After all, he's our Paps! One step at a time sounds like a good plan. We all know he'll be fine. And we know Daisuke will be tremendous, too. So no worries here, not in my house. A house that is so much a part of RSN. And a part of you. A Connecticut outpost where the Red Sox reign. OUR RSN. Your RSN. And me......a guy who just loves to write about them. And you reading?? WOW! That makes it all so much better.
THANKS. From my heart............

Daisuke Wild In Windy Florida

He's human after all. We all knew that. And on a windy day in Florida in a nationally televised ESPN game, Daisuke Matsuzaka had to stuggle to find his control. He finally did, but it took him four innings of his six to do it. This from the Courant, and then a comment from me. Title click for the entire article, including an analysis of Craig Hansen's terrible outing in relief of Daisuke. Here you go..........

"Matsuzaka threw 104 pitches, 59 for strikes, and walked one batter in each inning. He also crossed up catcher Jason Varitek on what should have been a first-inning pitchout and instead became a passed ball.
Varitek said Matsuzaka didn't have as good a feel for his pitches as he did last week, when he allowed one hit to the Pirates in 52/3 innings.
"It seemed like all his off-speed stuff he wasn't as sharp with, and the location of his fastball wasn't as good," Varitek said. "The rotation on some of his breaking balls weren't the same. He looked like he had a tough feel on the ball. Where he's used to being able to throw certain pitches to get ahead, he was falling behind today."
But Varitek said Matsuzaka appeared to right himself, striking out four in the final two innings."

Peter here, and by the way, over those six innings, he allowed no runs and no hits. So now we know he won't be Superman all the time. We also know this. It's early. He has a tune up on Saturday when he will throw forty pitches or so. And then his first start, one week from Thursday. The eyes of RSN will be watching. Mine included.
Craig Hansen relieved Daisuke in the seventh, and promptly dashed any hope of a big league start to the 2007 season. He allowed 5 runs and 5 hits, and appeared to be throwing the ball rather than pitching it. When you title click, the article you link to goes into it in great detail. So don't miss it.
I'll be back later on this getting better (for me) Tuesday.

Monday, March 26, 2007

ESPN, Daisuke, And The Red Sox.......1PM On ESPN...Monday!

That's! And enjoy. I thought it would be a NESN telecast, but with Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching, ANYTHING is possible. And it is! So smile.............the Reds and our Red Sox...on a television near you.

And READ my Tuesday post, about today's windy start for Daiske, a start that he kept the opponents from scoring. And it's been another tough day for me.............but I know you've heard enough of my whining. Stay with me, if you want. I hope so.

An In-Control Josh Beckett, And A Heck Of A One-Two-Three Punch For The Red Sox Rotation

For Josh Beckett, what a difference a year makes. Last year he was a guy who could not put his off speed pitches in the strike zone. So he came back with heat, fastballs that the hitters were sitting on and depositing into the seats. Read this, from the Courant, about Beckett's Sunday start. And I'll be back with a comment. Title click for the entire article.

"The Red Sox righthander made his final Grapefruit League start against his former team, the Marlins, and finished the exhibition season the way he started, displaying command of his pitches in a 12-6 victory before 8,048 at City of Palms Park.
Beckett pitched seven innings, allowing one unearned run and three hits, while striking out seven. He walked three, including two in the sixth inning. But all that did was shine the spotlight on his consistency this spring.
Beckett (3-1) had one walk in 182/3 innings over five starts before Sunday. His final totals: 29 strikeouts and four walks in 252/3 innings. Considering Beckett set a career high with 74 walks last season, this camp was a rousing success. It's hard to hone in on a 95-96 mph fastball when there's two different pitches coming at you. I think he's confident that he's throwing strikes. He's commanding his pitches. He's opening up the strike zone."

And this from the Herald...further illuminating!!!

"Beckett said his new delivery adds an element of deception. Instead of raring back to throw and surging forward to release the ball with the same relative speed in the motion, he is beginning the windup at a much more deliberate pace, adding quickness to the arm action only before releasing the ball. Beckett said it’s a return to his former style, which he gradually got away from over the past few years."

Me here again. Hey, you're stuck with me! I hope that's OK. It sounds that the "former style" of Josh, as defined above, will make him so much more fun to watch in 2007. Unlike last year, when we had to cringe before every fastball. Eye-closing terror. Nail biting madness and lunacy. Home runs in baker's dozens!
Let's see.....watching Josh pitch THIS season, with Curt Schilling and our Daisuke. The numbers one, two and three pitchers in our rotation all have a good shot at being up there with the best in the league. And we members of RSN expect that to be. Number four Tim Wakefield will be, well, Tim Wakefield. Sometimes unhittable, at other times all too hittable, an inning eater who will win 14 or 15 games and lose close to 10. Pitcher number five? Give me a month. I don't even know his name yet. I know the man's name (P.S. It starts with a J) who will pitch in the number five spot in April, but with early off days in the schedule, the number five guy won't be needed much. Not in April. As Jon Lester strengthens and grows more confident, and healthy, God willing, at Pawtucket, we watching the big club wait in anticipation for his joyous return.
Enjoy this Monday, the week before the regular season starts. We have much to look forward to, and be thankful for, but what excites me the most is the subject of this post. And that is the developing maturity of our numbers one, two and three starters. It's not inconceivable that each could win 20, or near 20, games. And just that thought, that ONE thought, makes me smile. And it's nice to smile after my tough weekend.
Thanks for reading. For being here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Darkman.....Our Darkman

This is from the Sunday the entire article by clicking on the gets into the deep dark mysteries of our newly restocked and revamped bullpen. Here you go.......

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - "The Japanese have a term for people like Hideki Okajima. Loosely translated, the kage no hero is “a supporting actor, someone who lives in the shadow of the hero.” (Peter here...he is the man called Darkman, living in the shadows until he bursts into the sunlight, the spotlight, as bright as our live-giving sun, whenever his team needs him)
"But if Okajima keeps this up when the Red Sox start playing games for real, he’ll be casting a sizable shadow himself.
Making his eighth official appearance of the spring, Okajima threw two scoreless innings yesterday in the Red Sox’ 1-1 tie with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 10 innings at Al Lang Field. The outing trimmed Okajima’s spring ERA to 1.69. He has allowed two runs in 10 innings, both runs coming on solo homers."
For all of the attention that has been placed on Japanese import Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-1, 2.84 ERA in 12 innings), Okajima has been equally as impressive.
“In Japan, it’s the same thing. The starting pitcher and the closer get the spotlight,” the engaging Okajima said through interpreter Sachiyo Sekiguchi. “But if you know your baseball, you know how important the set-up man is. I play that role and I’m very proud of it.” It’s a good thing, too. The biggest question concerning the Red Sox now is the bridge leading to him. (Peter---OH YES!)
“You know what he is? He’s a professional pitcher,” Francona said. “He knows what he’s doing. I think he’s just as tough on righties as he is on lefties.”

Peter yet again. When it comes to the Darkman, I HAVE to say something. And that is this. Now that Paps has given us the lock on the closer's role, the set-up guys remain the obvious mystery, the "if solved" puzzle that could catapult the Boston Red Sox into first place, right through October. My faith right now is off the scale. Will it be another 2004? No, nothing could mirror 2004, unless we are talking about that final result. But the shades are open, the light of hope streams in. Feel it? Feel the warmth. We can all breath. This team, our team, the one we love, looks great. So fasten all the seat belts and harnesses. And enjoy the ride. Today's game is on NESN this afternoon, as all eyes, fans or coaches, are intent to see how the approaching end of this spring training period concudes.
WE HAVE A CLOSER. The 'pen will settle in and fill their roles. 8 goodness!
As always, thanks for reading. Your comments would be so great. Click on the title for the great article from the Hearld. You'll be glad you did. And oh, you make me happy just by being here! (And I could use a little happiness so much!)

Tek Woes.......For Now

Yes, our captain Jason Varitek had troubles at the plate last year, and those troubles have continued this spring. He and hitting coach Dave Magadan have been tinkering with things, with iffy results. Read this, from the Courant, and I'll be back with a comment. Title click for the entire illuminating article.........great stuff!

"All that extra work - most notably helping assimilate Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka to the major leagues - is one of the sources of Varitek's hitting woes, according to manager Terry Francona.
"I think every other aspect of our ballclub weighs on him, especially with how conscientious he is," Francona said. "There's always going to be aspects of this game that are going to take away from him offensively. I would never change that in a million years, because of what he brings in all other areas, how he catches and how he cares and how he runs a game."
Mostly, Varitek's struggles are of his own doing. After a glute muscle strain early last season and a left knee injury in August, Varitek hit .213 over his final 18 games, lowering his overall average to a career-low .238.
Friday, Varitek had solid at-bats from both sides of the plate, homering off the left-handed Bedard from the right side, then popping up against righthander Chris Ray in the seventh.
"He's taken so many extra swings and he works so hard that when it clicks, we'll be thrilled."

Peter here. And if there's one person on this team who works hard at preparation, it is Jason. His knowlege of any opposing batter from any team in baseball is astounding. He knows what pitch to call and when to call it, and is a help to every pitcher on the team. Right now the communication between Daisuke and Tek is getting better and better. I expect amazing things from that particular battery. I expect amazing things for Tek and the entire rotation, including Jon Lester, who will be added by the end of April. And that's just my guess. If Tavarez, the 5th starter, who won't have to pitch much in the first couple weeks of the season because of the off days built into the schedule, falters in any way, Jon Lester will be there for the number five spot. He needs 3 or 4 starts in real game situations, and it looks like a short stop at Pawtucket is the smartest move. I can't wait for his first start at Fenway, as the crowd will stand, 35,000 hearts as one, and pour out their love. RSN love. OUR love. Gives me the shivers just to think about it.
Back to Tek. He'll come around at the plate. But with his mastery of quarterbacking the game and his handling of the pitchers, a .255 year with 12 homers and 75 RBI would be just fine. He is valuable to us in so many other ways. But he wouldn't be happy with those numbers, just as he is not happy with those of last year. So expect him to stay hard at work to bring those numbers from last year up. WAY up. He's that kind of guy. And that's why we call him Captain. Quite simply, HE IS.
Have a wonderful Sunday filled with health and happiness.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Solid Schill

Curt Schilling had another impressive outing yesterday in what was his next to last spring training outing. Read this, from today's Herald. Title click for the entire article, and I'll be back with a comment....

"Yesterday, he went seven innings against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing a pair of runs on six hits. He fanned six and threw a tidy 85 pitches, 60 for strikes.
He dueled with O’s ace Erik Bedard, leaving the game while trailing 2-1 before Kevin Cash’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth plated Alex Ochoa with the winning run in the 3-2 victory.
“I certainly feel I’m far ahead of where I was last year,” Schilling said. “I feel very good.”
Schilling indicated he liked the look of the team now that Jonathan Papelbon [stats] has moved from starter to closer.
“I’m excited. We’re not out of camp yet . . . but this is a very, very good team,” he said. “I really don’t see a weakness offensively, and with our pitching, we have a chance to be great. We just have to stay healthy.”

Peter here, and I agree. The entire team looks solid, and with a proven legitimate "lights out" closer and with luck staying away from the injury bug that decimated us last year, the sky is the limit for Red Sox '07. Realistically. The season starts one week from Monday. Nine days. Nine days that will literally zoom right by us. All of the starters except for Curt have two starts remaining, with the pitch count goal set around 100 pitches.
I'll be back later on this so sad Saturday. I'm hanging in there, but just by a thread. Last night was tough. This morning I had another crying fit. I can't help it. I miss my boy so much. My whole chest aches with grief, and at times I honestly don't know if I can do this. The answer? I don't know. I really don't. But I have to. Hey, thank you for reading. Always.

Friday, March 23, 2007

BABY CAKES N. May 15 1988-March 23, 2007

We went to the vets, and I back came home, OUR home, alone. This post is dedicated, with tears, to my Baby Cakes. My best friend since 1988. He looked up at me while I was kissing his forehead, and he purred. HE PURRED. And then he was gone. Everybody told me I did the right thing, but..but....this is so tough. I came home alone, but he'll always be in my heart, alive, forever.

Thanks everyone. I am so sad....he was always there for me. When his brother passed in 2002, he was the one to jump onto my bed and lick my tears away, saying "I'm here Daddy." And he always was. Now he's in heaven, playing with his brother. His bowl is here, his litter box......and me, his Dad..forever. Baby Cakes, thank you. Thank died in my arms, but you will live in my heart. Always.
I don't know what to do.......

The First Four Starts

Oh what a relief it was to hear that the Red Sox had reinstalled Jonathon Papelbon into the closer's role. It was something that used to keep him up at night, that longing to come in and blow away the last three guys, preserving a Red Sox win. John, from the UK, commented on my yesterday post and suggested that the Red Sox will win and they'll win with a team effort. His main guy cannot produce victories....a team effort does. I countered with this. Yes, the Sox WILL win as a team and because of the effort by ALL the guys on the roster. But when it comes to the ninth, or near it, in a close game, with the Sox ahead and needing three quick outs to run off the field victorious, it all comes down to one guy. Jonathon Papelbon. So the TEAM will produce victories, but the closer will nail them down and put the official seal of victory on 'em. Many games, we hope. 40 sounds good to me! With his strengthened shoulder and frequent monitoring along with the strengthening excercises that have given him the mightest shoulder on the team, thereby lessening the chances for a reoccurance of shoulder woes, he will be fine. Sure, he'll have his days off here and there when someone else will come in in a save situation. But that happens with every team, every closer.
And just for the fun of it, from USA Today sports, here are Daisuke's first four start statistics, coming soon to a ballpark near you. And then it's off to the vets for Baby Cakes and me, for the final time. I'll have something to say about him when I return in an hour or so. And this will be so tough for me, but almost 19 years ago, I promised him and his brother Sugar Bear that there would never come the day that they would suffer. I intend to keep my promise. That's what Dad's do. At least THIS dad.

Date Opponent Venue Comment

April 5 Royals Kauffman Stadium Could pitch to fellow AL Rookie of the Year candidate Alex Gordon

April 11 Seattle Fenway Park How many bases can Ichiro Suzuki swipe against him?

April 16 Angels Fenway Park 10:05 a.m. ET start time on Patriots Day; but that's after 11 p.m. in Japan

April 21 Yankees Fenway Park National television game in America; might as well be national holiday in Japan

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I knew the Red Sox would do this sooner rather than later. Read my last post. From this morning. Or the one two months ago!! A smarter move has never been done. Why?
If you wanted the Red Sox to finish higher than third, you should have realized this was an easy decision. And I've been saying this since winter started losing its grip. The most important thing is this...the Red Sox just saved the 2007 season.

Read on.................and this makes the Boston Red Sox the best team in baseball!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Paps: I want to close the rest of my career."

"Jonathan Papelbon and Terry Francona confirmed this afternoon that the club is abandoning the experiment to convert him to a starter and that he will continue as the team's closer.
Papelbon, despite his public declarations of embracing the role of starter, said he hasn't been able to sleep this spring because he wanted to close and finally told Francona of his desire on the field prior to Tuesday night's exhibition game.
"I walked into Tito's office and said, 'If you want to give me the ball in the ninth, I want it,'" Papelbon said today.
Francona, who had spent a fair amount of time publicly disparaging the notion that Papelbon would start, acknowledged yesterday that the idea has been percolating for some time, so the team was ready to adjust on the fly. Julian Tavarez becomes the fifth starter, with Tim Wakefield sliding into the No. 4 hole.
Papelbon said he told team captain Jason Varitek of his desire to close before speaking with the manager, and also consulted his family. His parents were in Clearwater to watch him pitch three innings today.
Both Papelbon and Francona insisted that Papelbon had done so well strengthening his shoulder that the medical reasons for making him a starter have been allayed. Francona did say he would have to closely monitor Papelbon's workload to protect against overuse. He said last August, Papelbon threw more pitches than anyone in the big leagues."

There! Thank you. Now we have a chance................a chance to compete............there was NO other way to save 2007!!!!!

Oh, scroll down JUST a little and read my last post from this morning......he is our closer....FOREVER!!!!!

I See The Future, And His Name Is Jonathon Papelbon

I borrowed a memorable quote when, in 1975, a famous rock critic whose name wouldn't mean much to you said this after a Bruce show, an early one....1975's Born To Run Bruce Springsteen. And he said this. "I've seen the future of rock and roll, and his name is Bruce Springsteen."
And he was right! I've lamented on our complete and utter lack of a closer, and I've held firmly onto my belief that eventually, SOONER rather than later, Jonathon Papelbon will return to the ranks of best closers in baseball. In fact, he's already on that list. After last year? Of course he is! Read this, from the Herald, and then I'll be back for a few thousand words......or a few. And title click for the entire piece.................

"Since being shut down with shoulder tenderness last September, it’s been assumed the best route to ensure Papelbon’s long-term health is to switch to the regular routine of a starter, over the erratic workload of a closer.
At least, that’s what the Sox medical personnel outlined as the rationale behind his move into the starting rotation.
Yesterday, Papelbon said his arm wouldn’t be jeopardized performing either role, thanks to his strengthening program, which he’s following diligently.
“I’ve talked to a million doctors. For me, it wouldn’t matter what I do, start or close,” he said. “My shoulder is still going to stay healthy because I’m going to stay on my program and do what it takes, no matter what kind of pitching I do. I’m going to keep my arm healthy. So, (my role) is kind of irrelevant.”
Even Sox general manager Theo Epstein offered another interesting take yesterday, saying that he wouldn’t put the term “never” on the right-hander becoming a closer again."

As the MAN said himself...."Yeah, the window’s still open,” Papelbon said of his former job. “It doesn’t matter to me. We just haven't crossed that bridge yet."

Peter here, and as Sean Connery said before he signed back on to become Bond, James Bond, once again in '82...."Never say never again." And at the time, truer words had never been spoken. Right now, in March of 2007, I can and will say the same exact thing. That bridge WILL be one that our Sox will cross...troubled waters? Oh yes. As Paul Simon wrote and Art Garfunkel sang.
Theo, it's time!!! If the only chance our wonderful-looking club has of succeeding this year is by putting Paps back where he belongs, well, just do it! You have a bunch of pretenders to the throne, but they're only court jesters. Jesters who we have to hope will keep the game close in the seventh and eighth innings. Tenuous nailbiting times in store for RSN.
Faith rewarded?? NOT YET, not by a long shot.
Print it!

Daisuke Matsuzaka Humbles Pirates

Daisuke Matsuzaka lived up to his previous billing yesterday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirate players would be the first to climb on his bandwagaon. Read this, from the Courant. I'll be back with a comment too. And title click for the entire glowing article......

"Long after they had faced Daisuke Matsuzaka, Pirates hitters were studying the videos, not to try to figure out how to hit him, but just to identify what it is he was throwing.
"That may have been the most effective pitching I've ever seen, using that many pitches," said center fielder Chris Duffy, who played his Little League ball in Manchester. "He threw me a changeup, I think I said `wow' while I was swinging. It was definitely a war out there."
"He's as good as advertised, I guess," said All-Star Jason Bay, who struck out twice. "He has three or four pitches he can throw for a strike any time he wants, three or four pitches that are all well above average. It's tough to look for any one thing."
The season is approaching, and Matsuzaka, in a game televised on ESPN, gave hitters and fans alike a preview of what is about to be unleashed on the major leagues. The Red Sox's $103 million investment did not disappoint, holding the Pirates to one hit in 5 2/3 innings and walking off to a long standing ovation at McKechnie Field, the highlight of the Red Sox's 7-3 victory Wednesday.

Peter here. Sweet words indeed. I was unable to watch the game, but now I wish I had recorded it. I guess the sports pages and Sportscenter will have to do. But wait until the season starts.....I won't miss a single one of his starts. I guess that goes for most of us!
I'll be back later on this Thursday morning. Each passing day grows a little warmer, and the promise of spring becomes more and more real as the days slide by. And soon, a faint voice will echo around the stands, and in a loud voice amplified by tens of thousands of screaming fans, will come the words.....'"PLAY BALL!"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Timlin To DL.....Tavarez To Close

In a doubleheader of bullpen news, it was reported that Mike Timlin is headed to the DL and will make his earliest appearance no sooner than April 10th. And it now looks like Julian Tavarez (GULP!) will close.......this is from today's Herald. Title click for the entire article....

"Pineiro, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning last night, has a 3.72 ERA in eight appearances this spring, but he has allowed 13 hits in only 9 innings. Donnelly, who allowed a run in the eighth inning, has a 7.04 ERA in eight appearances, while Tavarez is 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA in seven appearances.
Unless Pineiro pitches lights-out during the remainder of spring training, Tavarez likely will start the year as closer. The 33-year-old makes sense because of his durable arm and extensive experience in pressure situations during his 14-year major league career."

Peter here, and I'm less than thrilled. The club is only as good as its closer, and if Tavarez is indeed to be THE MAN, even if it's only for a short time before Timlin can step in, the prospect of a first place AL East finish is slim. And none. I'll say it right here and right now on this March 21st of 2007. The long-range solution to the closer question is not even mentioned here. Not if the Red Sox are to finish in first. Or second. Timlin, Piniero or Tavarez. Lions, Tigers and Bears. No, no and no.
Am I crazy? Not by a long shot.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Nice! And Good Night

Peter here, and I just took a quick glance at this Baseball Prospectus article. Read this...

Top 5 2007 AL Starters, by PECOTA Projected WXRL

Player, Team, EqERA, VORP, WXRL

Johan Santana, MIN, 2.94, 65.3, 8.5
Jeremy Bonderman, DET, 3.58, 47.7, 6.6
Roy Halladay, TOR, 3.44, 46.4, 6.4
C.C. Sabathia, CLE, 3.76, 41.1, 6.2
*****Curt Schilling, BOS, 3.65, 37.6, 6.0*****

YES, we all read it right! And those are MY astericks, and MY stars. Our ace, Curt Schilling. And I have faith, always........a 3.65 ERA? WOW!!!! He's our number one. And I cling to my Sox faith.
This made me smile! Even though this is more like fortune telling rather than reporting the facts, it's nice to imagine what will be and what is to come this summer.

The Best Closer Is Where?

From the Salem Mass. News...and then a word. And YES, this is tough for me to write....I just heard from the vet's office, and my cat, Baby Cakes, is coming home. He might have a mass near his liver, and an ultrasound will be needed, but the doctor promised me that he's in good spirits, hungry, and waiting to go home. To me. His Dad. And I'm waiting too. To always know that someone is RIGHT there, following in my footsteps, for all these years. Well, it reduces me to a blithering tearful guy. And maybe, just maybe, we will be able to spend his 19th (!!!!) birthday together. Emotional me. I think it's called being a Dad. Read this, about our bullpen.....and please read the entire article by clicking on the is THAT good!

"To me, the best closer is in the starting rotation," said the American League talent evaluator who has been assigned to the monitor the Red Sox this spring. "That's not my call and that's not my say. But to see (Jonathan Papelbon) start and see him close, for my money he has the mentality and stuff that you would want in a closer. (Boston) has got some solid sixth- and seventh-inning guys, but I'm not convinced they have got a closer other than the guy in the rotation. I don't think any of them possess closer stuff.
Their takes were along the lines that if Papelbon doesn't slide back into the bullpen, then the optimum time to make a deal might be a month or two, when the other party in a deal might be just as desperate for help.
"It's hard for me, seeing the club last year and what Papelbon did, to imagine they won't have someone finishing off games. It's a tough one, especially when the rotation is so good."

Peter here. It's a "tough one" for me too. We'll be OK, but with all the improvements made and the cash expenditures of the off-season, I also cannot believe that the club will stumble into the early April start of the season without a closer. So we wait. And we'll see. I'm used to it. And the entire article is a must-read! I mean it. So please click on the title of this post. And I'd love to hear your comments.

Thanks for reading me. Clearly, I miss my "little guy." Thank you for reading about us, too. He means SO much to me. You're the best. And so is he.................

"Missles Baby!" And My Little Guy Baby Cakes

Jon Lester pitched yesterday, and he pitched well. Real well! Read this from the Herald, and I'll comment afterwards. Title click for the entire article.......

" He rolled into the Red Sox clubhouse Friday afternoon, hugged teammate Brandon Moss, and shouted to anyone who would listen how well he had just pitched in a minor league game.
“Absolute missiles, baby!” a smiling Jon Lester bragged with delight.
There weren’t a lot of people in the room to hear Lester glowingly describe his effectively thrown heater, but it didn’t matter. Neither did the fact the extent of his outing only lasted a breezy 20 pitches.
This was the first time he had thrown to enemy hitters with real umpires calling balls and strikes, even though it was just two innings against Minnesota’s Triple-A affiliate Rochester. After hearing those dreadful words back in August, when doctors told him he had anaplastic large cell lymphoma, it finally felt like he was back in his world in the truest sense. You could see the joy in his face.
Lester struck out two of the first three hitters, and most of the rest couldn’t get around on his pitches. It’s one thing to throw against your own teammates, it’s another to make opposing hitters react the same way they used to before you got sick."

Peter here, and Jon, you have a right to brag. And no one could be happier for you than me. I mean it. Soon after spring training ends and the 2007 Boston Red Sox move north and west to KC, we will see you. At Fenway. With the big club. And when you stroll to the mound, your eyes misting over just enough to notice, look around the stands. At us. We love you. You can see it in our faces, and you can hear the deafening cheers and hands brought together with glee. And look at all our smiling faces. You inspire us. That's why we love you.

On a sad note, my cat, who has been my best buddy since 1988 (that's right! He's older than some of my great readers), had to go to the vet's yesterday, brought by a tearful Dad, me. I hope he can come home today or tomorrow, but I made a promise to him, and his brother, who passed away in March '01. Man, sometimes March sucks. My Dad passed in March '01 also. Talk about a tough time for Peter....boy. Back to my little buddy. This is so tough. His name is Baby Cakes, and he's been the constant "always there" never fail little guy. His brother, too. I hope he can come home, to HIS home. I have no one to talk to. And I'm so sad. But I promised him, and his brother, that they'll never suffer. So, well, we'll see. I hope I don't celebrate his May birthday alone, but if I have to, I will.
I have to go.....the keys are blurred. Baby Cakes, I LOVE YOU SO SO MUCH.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Wah Wah Wah

Read this...about Boomer......from a San Diego source......

PEORIA, Ariz. – "David Wells' life changed two weeks ago when he learned he has Type 2 diabetes, also called adult-onset diabetes.
“Obviously, this is a concern,” the Padres' 43-year-old pitcher said yesterday. “But it's beatable. And I'm going to beat it. It's going to take some lifestyle changes. And I'm already making them."

Peter here. Type 2 diabetes is caused by a neglect of eating correctly and being overweight. Type 1? That's an entirely different story. I know...I inherited it. Genetics from my parents. Thank goodness its onset was only 2 plus years ago for me.
So Boomer, thanks for last year and the courage you showed all of us in coming back from that ugly knee injury. But this? Type 2?? It's your own fault. Get over it! Eat well...and smartly. And NEVER use type 2 diabetes as an excuse for a lackluster 2007. I wish you well. Life style changes? Oh yeah!

I had to say that.........and read the whole darn wah wah article by clicking on this post's title....thanks!

A Comment Turns Into A Post..From Fellow Blogger Ian

Ian, from RANDOM THOUGHTS........a Connecticut-based blog written by a CONNECTICUT guy...and he can write, left me a great comment. And what does he write about?? Try this! The Boston Red Sox, the University of Connecticut....I could keep going. Everything is in his writing world. And hey, you can find his link on your right... his blog's name is RANDOM THOUGHTS. An everyday read! That I promise. Here you go........thanks Ian.......his comment first...

"While his numbers (Paps) were good, if he's falling behind in a lot of counts, he's going to be using up a lot of pitches. I'd rather see him have some more economical starts with those numbers considering the state of the bullpen right now."

And my reply.......

Ian, you (and I) would rather see him pitching in the ninth, to solidify a bullpen that right now has plenty of the 7th and 8th inning guys, all of whom are pitching BETTER than well. Paps at the back of the 'pen, in 2007, with Jon Lester ready to join the rotation (he will be) by May 1, would be ideal. I'm sure the Paps' move will not happen unless there is a teamwide emergency! And we'd like to avoid ANY type of emergency. So my feelings are torn, bit by bit......

"Slowwwwly I turn, bit by bit, step by step, inch by inch... NIAGRA FALLS!"

OOOPS...I went into the Three Stooges. Moe, Larry, Curley....and Shemp....

Hey, thanks for reading. And thanks, Ian. And my readers, don't forget to check out his blog. Random Thoughts...on your right, under my links. And for those of you who might think I spelled Jerome Howard's screen name, which was Curley, incorrectly...hey, that's how he spelled it! And he was so funny. Nyuck nyuck nyuck! Thanks BFW.....

A Slimmer Schill And His New Pitch...TWO Weeks To Go!

Curt Schilling has added a new pitch to his arsenal.....the change up. I'm sure this isn't news to you, for much has been written about Schill's increased confidence and his ability to incorporate this new weapon into his ever-changing menu of offensive stuff. This is from the Monday morning Globe....and then I'll be back with a comment......

"As for the changeup Schilling has been attempting to add all spring, it's ready, according to ( Red Sox pitching coach) Farrell. Not perfect, not the final product, but ready.
"The overall number of quality changeups is continuing to increase," Farrell said after watching the game. "It's going to be a very effective pitch for him." Against a lefthander, he's starting to get a feel to make it fade a little bit. But that would almost be the last component. I always look at that pitch with three elements to it: It's arm speed, it's change of velocity, and it's location. If you've got two of those three, you've got a usable pitch. And he has that."
Schilling threw 19 changeups, coming out generally pleased with the pitch that was added to get ground balls and, hopefully, limit his pitch counts. It has been Schilling's main focus this spring (not counting the 9 pounds he's lost so far), and has seemed to improve with each outing."

Peter here, and adding a change up is like giving Wyatt Earp another clip to speed-load his six shooter, JFK a transparent plastic limosine bubble, Atilla the Hun a full-automatic firing 9mm handgun and nuclear tipped arrowheads, or giving Superman invulnerability to Kryptonite. Making the best better, or the worst even more so. And Curt Schilling IS our ace. He does not want a pitch limit for his season-opening start in KC. And I agree. His next start? The Baltimore Orioles, AL East opponents who are sure to see him at least 4 times during the regular season. He is eliminating his spring training boycott of pitching against AL East teams. It's an important start, and weather willing, it's coming up in five days.
So what have the last 5 or 6 days of spring training told me, pitching wise? This.....we are rock solid with our starting pitching. As good as it gets. The bullpen is coming around, although I still have my reservations. Hey, who wouldn't?? We don't have an official closer! That will change, one way or the other. That much we know. Oh, the hitting will come around and the defense will be fine.
It ALL comes down to this. Barring injuries, and God knows we had more than our share last year, the 2007 Boston Red Sox will live or die with the bullpen. But.......and a big but, I know. BUT, if the search for a true closer is fruitful and the set-up guys, and there are PLENTY of them who are pitching great, are established and assigned to their proper roles, defining who will pitch, for how long and in what innings, then the sky is the limit for this team that we love.
14 days to go. Two weeks, a fortnight. Much to do, still, but so much has been accomplished. It's crunch time, readers. And we're ALL ready.
The entire article is available......just click on the title. (I like this one better!). Thanks for reading. I will be back later this morning with more Soxiness.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Paps' First Start

Yes, he's pitched this spring before, twice. He relieved Timmy Wakefield each time and pitched effectively. But yesterday was the first time that he took the mound in the first inning, setting the tone for the game and his team. From the Courant, and then a comment from me.

"Jonathan Papelbon took the next step in his transition from closer to starter for the Red Sox.
He started.
Papelbon made his first start in a major league exhibition game this year, and was happy with his performance even though he struggled with leadoff hitter Chris Denorfia, who homered on a 3-and-2 pitch in Cincinnati's 2-1 win Saturday.
In 32/3 innings, Papelbon allowed five hits and one walk, hit a batter and struck out five. In his two other outings against major league teams, he relieved Tim Wakefield and threw five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, one hit and one walk."

The relief pitching behind him? Stellar...take a look.......

J Papelbon (L,0-1) 3 2-3 5 2 2 1 5 1
J Pineiro 1 1-3 2 0 0 1 2 0
H Okajima 1 1 0 0 0 1 0
M Delcarmen 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
D Hansack 1 1 0 0 0 1 0
R Hernandez 1 0 0 0 1 0 0

Piniero was just shakily OK, but the Darkman followed with a great inning, as did Little Manny, Hansack and Hernandez. We need these guys during the season. The final score? 2-1 Cinncinati, but don't worry....this team of ours will hit. Bigtime. That's why I focus on the pitching, specifically the bullpen pitching, so much here at PRSF.
And as Paps put it himself......

“I felt really, really good today. My body felt outstanding, my arm felt outstanding. Everything physically felt really good, and that’s a big, big plus for me,” he said. “Getting my body into that stamina I need to get. Everything building up to becoming a guy that can go 7-8 innings. Today was huge for me to feel the way I felt.”

And all I can say is this. YES!!! Have a great Sunday, and if you wish, the entire Courant article can be read by clicking on the title.

OH, and Sox 2 Orioles 1...on Sunday...full wrap tomorrow! I promise.......

Saturday, March 17, 2007

OK, I'm MAD...And This NY Times Article Is Dated Tomorrow! What Is His Problem?

First of all, this piece caught my eye just because it's dated for tomorrow. And then I read. And read. And finished reading! My forehead felt hot, my pulse, normally 60-beats per minute (thanks to the treadmill) increased, and my "what the hell" radar was pinging. Pinging LOUDLY! Read a little. I will link the entire misguided article, so all you have to do is click on the title of this post, this sour grapes? OR IS THIS SOMEONE WHO IS SIMPLY CLUELESS. I VOTE FOR THE LATTER. Let me know, my readers....and I will be back with a comment after this. Remember, this is from Sunday's NY Times.........and we thought Murry ChASS was bad......


Published: March 18, 2007

"The 86-year Curse of the Bambino ended when the Boston Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. But as long as the American League’s best right-handed hitter plays left field in Fenway Park, the team’s fans will continue to moan about Manny being Manny.
Manny Ramírez is, of course, the Red Sox’ most accomplished slugger and their biggest headache, equally known for his prodigious production at the plate and his misadventures in the field and on the basepaths. When Fenway denizens dismiss a muffed fly ball or a botched rundown as Manny being Manny, they mean that they have learned to tolerate his foibles in return for his offensive production. But just how much do Ramírez’s weaknesses subtract from his one outstanding strength? His bat may be worth his $20 million salary, but is the whole package?
All of today’s systems agree that Ramírez is the worst defensive left fielder in baseball, and by a comfortable margin.
“Manny is at the far end of the as-bad-as-you-can-get-in-the-field spectrum,” said Mitchel Lichtman, who designed one highly regarded P.B.P. defensive statistic called ultimate zone rating, and who consulted for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2004 to 2006. (Peter idiot, watch him play, everyday!)
So how can Boston minimize the damage from Ramírez’s fielding? One approach would be to assemble a ground-ball pitching staff, which would result in fewer balls being hit to him. But Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett surrender lots of fly balls. (Me again. And they're better than any starters you have, jerk with a computer.)
The other solution would be to move Ramírez to designated hitter. That would require switching the incumbent D.H., David Ortiz, to first base. Ortiz is even less mobile than Ramírez, and given his corpulence, the demands of playing the field may substantially increase his risk of injury. It would also entail moving the current first baseman, Kevin Youkilis, to left field (which he might not play any better than Ramírez) or to third base (which would then require Boston to trade its current third baseman, Mike Lowell, for a left fielder). (Peter here..and again, you are an idiot. Youk was so uncomfortable playing left field last just proves how clueless you really are. Why do they pay you?)
Moreover, as Ramírez ages, his fielding is likely to get worse. Even if Boston’s fans are willing to live with another year of Manny being Manny, the team’s fly-ball pitchers may be forced to revolt." (Peter here...when pigs fly).

Peter here. MY turn! Finally!!!! Wow, I hope you all are reading along with me, and do not forget to comment and then read the entire article by title clicking. Ok, the author has a serious bone to pick with someone, so I volunteered......Manny's defensive skills are suited to Fenway Park's left field...perfectly. His offensive numbers will never change, and we who WATCH HIM (I guess you're not included in that group, Dan, for if you were, you wouldn't have written such idiocy) know that. Hey dumbo, look at his assist numbers, not his reputation. It's writing like this that gives a bad name for those silly and foolish enough to pen a sports article without the correct preparation and knowlege. I'm finished, but I could go on. But Mr. Rosenheck, enjoy this season. Yes, 2007, when our Manny will lead the charge that will leave the Yankees grounded deep into the soles of our cleats. Where dirt like you belongs! And yes, we'd love to hear from you again...especially if your lack of baseball sense is so comical. You're fired!
OK, deep breath. Phew. I'd love to hear your comments after reading his entire piece. Try not to laugh!!!! And I still do not believe it.....his words, his baseball knowlege, his...his....well, please comment for me. And thanks on this suddenly brightening Saturday noontime.

POST NUMBER 1000-----Francona Talks Bullpen

This is my post number 1000! I'll try to make it as good as the first 999. Time flies! Boy, doesn't it?

Tito Francona has been asked about his bullpen countless times. And there will be plenty more questions to come until these games become real in just a few short days. Here's how the skipper put it, taken from the snow-covered Hartford Courant. The entire article is available by title clicking, and I'll be back with a comment.....

"It's just not the closer," Francona said this week as the team reached the midway point of the exhibition season. "We need to set up our bullpen. We need to put that staff together where we can win all the time, not just when we have a lead in the ninth."
Julian Tavarez and Mike Timlin are the only holdovers from last season assured of slots, and Timlin, usually the choice in the eighth inning, hasn't pitched yet because of an oblique strain that might have him on the disabled list to start the season.
The four other late inning candidates, righthanders Joel Pineiro and Brendan Donnelly and lefthanders Hideki Okajima and J.C. Romero, are all in their first season with the Red Sox.
"It's more of a puzzle than it's been," Francona said. "With Timlin not throwing right now, it makes that puzzle a little bit harder to figure out. We have some questions we still have to answer. We do think we have the people to do it, but consistency is a huge word in that bullpen. When you get into the season, where are these guys?"

Peter here, and Tito, it's up to you to "read the tea leaves" and be able to set up the bullpen so it can perform to its fullest potential. What guy pitches what inning, just who will be the "man" for the ninth, who goes where and when and for how have to fill in all those blanks. And you have to do it from the roster of guys who you have on hand right now. Unless, well, something is missing and Theo feels strongly enough to make a deal with another team of one kind or another. 16 days and counting. As the countdown nears 10, I have to hope the answers will become clearer and more defined. For right now, to me, I don't have a clue.
And as for the Sox Dodger game, with Daisuke starting for the Boston club.....

"Yesterday, most of Matsuzaka’s work consisted of a side session in a batting cage. He pitched two innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers before a mini hurricane flooded the park and canceled the game.
The right-hander had thrown two innings at that point, allowing three hits and a run in the first before settling down and retiring the final five batters he faced."

Peter here, and Daisuke got his work in and looked just fine. And that was it for the Red Sox on everyone, enjoy this white St. Patty's safe, be well, and I shall be back. Title click for the entire article.
And that's a wrap for post number 1,000. I hope I'll be here for 2,000.

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's "FF" Time....9:16am

And by "FF", I meant first flakes. For a gullywhomper (a term that means a huge storm that will dump all over us!) is approaching inland Connecticut, and coastal areas too! In fact, it's been snowing near the coast, and NYC, for three hours or so. This afternoon will be wild, with snow at the rate of 2-3 inches per hour. That's heavy snow, by definition. If you'd like to see the local radars, just click on the channel 30 weather box, halfway down on the right side. From there, click on the WVIT weather desk, then click on the radar map. From there, there is a drop down menu that says "more media." Click on Brookhaven radar loop. Thats out of central Long Island, and gives you a great perspective of what is falling on me and what's to come to the south and west. In fact, I will link that EXACT Long Island radar loop....just click on the title. HEY!!! It's set up, so title click, and wait for the animation to load.
What are we facing? A double barreled low pressure system, still hundreds of miles to the south of north central Connecticut, will make this afternoon a WILD one. That's the only adjective I could come up with, for the snow will be pouring down. By dinnertime, maybe a little later, the snow will turn to a mixture of sleet (frozen rain that bounces when it lands) or freezing rain (rain, liquid until it lands and then freezes on contact, on everything...the most dangerous precipitation there is). And with a blanket of a foot or so of fresh snow, with ice on top....well, it would make a great sundae, but not a great day for those driving. So be safe.
I'll keep you posted, as these innocent few flakes turn into an outpouring of snow heavy enough to make my neighbor's house invisible. And you know what? I can't wait!
I'll be back, and click on the title of this post for the latest radar. Next to the Sox, I love the weather....and I'm good at reading the maps and interpreting the radar and upper winds. Blah blah blah, I'm finished. For now. So title click!!!! Please. And your comments, as always, are welcome. Take care on this soon to be a white-out Friday afternoon. Finally!

Trade Talks Might Still Happen.....Soon

The rosters are set. Right? Not by a long shot. Another week or so and some of the teams will be ready to tinker, including our Red Sox, maybe. Read this from the Globe, and then a comment from me. And title click for the whole darn piece.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- "Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein figures that sometime next week teams will begin to assess their rosters and trade talks could begin to escalate.
But for now, Epstein isn't anticipating much to happen. And yesterday he shot down reports in Bay Area newspapers that the Sox were eyeing the Giants' Armando Benitez as their closer.
The problem with Benitez, besides his extensive injury history, is a $7.6 million price tag.
"It's too early to tell, but yeah, I don't anticipate anything big," Epstein said after the Red Sox were handed a 3-2 loss by the Pittsburgh Pirates. "We'll figure something out with the guys we have here. It's too early to tell. We just want guys to get ready for the season. I think the last 10 days, if they're pitching well, we can start evaluating them."

Peter here, and by "the last ten days..." Theo meant that the specific roles for the crop of hurlers doomed....oops.....DESTINED for the 'pen have not yet been defined. They will be, one way or another, and soon. What do I see right now in the middle of March? I bunch of mid to long relievers, with two true one /two inning guys who would be perfect for 7th and 8th inning duties but who also have no closer experience. Zero. Nada. None. Less than zero. A big fat gross obese goose egg. Like Theo, I need more of a look, but I DO know one thing, and Theo knows it too (he sure should!). THE guy who will be our once and future closer has not stepped forward, thumped and puffed out his chest, and screamed "I'M YOUR MAN. The season is saved, Red Sox Nation."
I'd love to have video of that proclamation. But until that sweet day when it becomes plainly evident to Theo that something must be done, the club is in a "wait, observe and judge" mode. That's OK for now, but in 8 or 9 days, time will beome measured by days instead of weeks, and the 2007 regular season will come rushing up faster than a Nolan Ryan fastball to a blind batter. We have to be ready. 100% ready.
In my next post, this is what you'll read about. There is a big Nor'easter approaching the northeastern part of the country. It's snowing right now in NYC and the southern third of Connecticut. Not a flake yet here, unless you count me, but this afternoon it will pour down snow. And this huge (in terms of area and the amount of moisture, in whatever form, it will leave behind) storm will be the subject of my next post, number 999!! Appoaching a goodness! Thanks for sticking along with me for the ride, for I couldn't have done it without you. Nor would I have wanted to.! And click on the title for the original article, including video.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

You Were A Good Man, Bowie Kuhn

Sad news......

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- "Former commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who lorded over baseball during 15 tumultuous years that saw players gain free agency and start the spiral of multimillion-dollar salaries, died Thursday. He was 80.
Kuhn died at St. Luke's Hospital following a short illness, said his spokesman Bob Wirz....."

He will be missed, by ALL baseball fans......oh yes.

Baseball Nooze Dot Com

I have a favorite stop on my daily blog jog. It's The link for it is embedded in the title of this post. Just click on it. You can look up any number of blogs for all the teams listed. From the mynews page, just click on "add feeds" and pick from any team in the nation. Or go to the community page and see all the most up to date relevant articles about the sport we love. Hey, my blog is listed under the Boston Red Sox header, so it HAS to be a great place. Tell Walter, who runs, that you found him after reading about his great site right here!! Just click on the title of this post, and you will be directed there. The link is also on your right, on the very top, under links! Enjoy, and subscribe to all the good Sox blogs. Feeds are available too, all displayed on one handy "mynews' page. Title click, and have fun.


Since a bad outing near the beginning of the month, Little Manny Delcarmen has turned it around. He is using a new technique. This is from the Courant. Title click for the entire article........

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- "Manny Delcarmen has practiced pitching with his eyes closed. Since doing so, he has been opening others.
Delcarmen, 25, is vying for one of the last slots in the Red Sox bullpen and has turned his spring around with three consecutive solid performances after an outing manager Terry Francona called "troubling" March 3.
The morning after Delcarmen allowed three runs, three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning against the Phillies, pitching coach John Farrell had the righthander out on the field at City of Palms Park, working on visualization drills, repeating his delivery with his eyes closed.
"That helped me a lot," Delcarmen said. Since allowing a one-out, two-run homer to Florida's Hanley Ramirez March 6 in Jupiter, Delcarmen has allowed one hit over his past 32/3 innings, including two shutout innings against the Phillies in Clearwater March 9 and a 1-2-3 inning against the Yankees Monday night."

Peter here. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. The important thing? It's working for Manny. Before spring training started, and based on my impressions of him from last year, I thought he would be a lock to be a member of the '07 'pen. He's now vying for one of the final spots in that soon to be determined collection of hurlers. With his curve, he should make it. The club needs at least 4 or 5 guys to have career years for the Sox to go far into October. And that's where we want to go....all the way.
Enjoy your Thursday, everyone. Weatherwise, winter wants to make a comeback here in north central Connecticut, with the prospect of a major Nor'easter hitting the area late tomorrow through the first half of Saturday, St. Patty's day. Where it stays all snow instead of mixing with sleet, a foot or more will be on the ground come late Saturday. What fun! But with only 12.7 inches of total snow so far this season, something had to give. I'll keep you updated as the forecast becomes more refined and defined. A tricky situation, to say the least.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Comments Can Turn Into Posts!

And thank you, Boston Fan from Witchita. My readers, please read his comment, and then my reply. Why? Because our bullpen needs exactly this.......and thank you BFW..........

BFW's comment......."Peter, I like his (Brendan Donnelly's) attitude, too. Do any other of his teammate pitchers have that mentality?"

Peter here..this is can't get me to be quiet!

"BFW...well they (our bullpen guys) have his attitude? I wish every 'pen person would. But we also, never to be forgotten, have the Darkman, the lefty from time zones in the future! We ALL know his name. Red Sox relief pitching is his game. The Darkman, the lefty from time zones in the future! The Red Sox pitcher who will cut a swath through every oponent in 2007. And he will make us smile."

Everyone, take care, calm down! But I can't stress enough...our lefty, that man who leaves no shadow and who will haunt you, Red Sox opponents, after the sun goes down, will be an answer.......our secret, for now. April 2nd is coming up so quickly!

And Ian (Random Thoughts, on your right under links), help me spread the word. All of you! Because he might be so good. A lefty not named Myers...and one with more talent. And so we wait patiently, and we smile. And we remember the name DARKMAN. That's what anticipation is all about. Are you with me?? I know you are!

I LIKE His Attitude!!!!

Whose attitude? None other than Brendan Donnelly's. Read some of his, shall I say, spirited quotes on closing, from the Herald. The entire article is right here when you title click............

"Less than three weeks remain until Opening Day, and that sound you hear is time running out on the Red Sox [team stats]’ search for a closer.
The hope all spring has been that someone from a group of four or five candidates would step forward. Joel Pineiro, Mike Timlin [stats] and most recently Julian Tavarez have taken turns claiming frontrunner status, though each label may have been as much about wishful thinking as reality.
The hard truth is that the Red Sox are no closer to naming a closer now than they were in January. It’s impossible to select a leader in the clubhouse because they’re barely off the first tee.
“To be quite honest with you, if we knew exactly where everybody was situated right now, I’d probably sleep a little better and go to sleep quicker,” manager Terry Francona said. “But we still have some questions to answer. The better we answer them, the better team we’re going to be.”
While none of the candidates is perfect, one stands out for his makeup: Brendan Donnelly.
“If Tito gives me the ball, I’ll (expletive) take it,” Donnelly said. “You think I don’t want that (expletive) role? If you want to give me the ball, give it to me. I’ll take it. When I’m on the mound, I’m not thinking about the (expletive) road I took to get here,” he said. “I’m thinking about the (expletives) at the plate that look like they’re (ticked) off at the ball.
“If you’re a closer, only two things can happen - you’re going to get them, or they’re going to get you. More often than not, you get them."

YES! Attitude, the kind of mindset that says to the opposing hitter, one of the final three in an oh so important ninth inning of a one run game..."Hey, FU, you're going down. Fastball, curve, splitter. YOU ARE GOING DOWN!" Of course, those were MY words, but this is the attitude that Mr. Donnelly projects. The, hey, it's MY ninth inning, step up and step back to your dugout, as**ole!"

I like it! I LOVE it!!! PLUS he has a great last name, much like a blogger friend of ours, Red Sox Chick Cyn (link on your right).
Good luck to you this year, Brendan Donnelly. And good luck to our Boston Red Sox 2007. Title click for the entire article. Recommended.

Schilling Is Just Fine, Thank You

Curt Schilling had a long day yesterday. After a daytime trip to Philly with Tito for the funeral of longtime friend and mentor John Vukovich, he pitched a simulated game back in Fort Myers. And he looked just fine. From the the title for the entire article.....

"With Hamden's Jeff Natale in the batter's box in a near-empty City of Palms Park around 8:15 p.m., Schilling decided to end his 81-pitch simulated game with some very real fastballs.
Three times in a row, on pitches 77, 78 and 79 of the five-inning simulation, Schilling hit 93 on the radar gun. Four starts into his seven-start schedule, Schilling was more than satisfied, both with the hard and soft stuff.
"The last hitter, I tried to cut loose a little bit," Schilling said. "It was a good workout. It was a long day, but I felt good. All four of my breaking balls got better today. That's a real nice thing, as long a day as it was. I got a little better today, which is the goal."

Peter here, and it seems that with every start, every simulated game, Curt Schilling has taken large steps forward. By the end of the month, he'll be ready for the season opener in KC. And the club couldn't be in better hands. Game two should be started by Josh Beckett, with Papelbon handling the third spot, Daisuke number four and Wakes rounding out the rotation at number five. Of course, this schedule is subject to change, but I hope not. I like it! Who wouldn't?? But the great equalizer between the two hated rivals? Mariano Rivera, the pro that he is. Look how the pitchers are set up as the club starts in KC and travels south to Texas. And then, the Wall beckons, as do 36,000 plus baseball lovers, lovers of the BEST team, our Boston Red Sox. The club did not want Daisuke to start the home opener, with none other that Ichiro leading off against him. Here are the games leading up to, and including the Fens' opener....

4/2 Monday Kansas City Royals Kauffman Stadium
4/4 Wednesday Kansas City Royals Kauffman Stadium
4/5 Thursday Kansas City Royals Kauffman Stadium
4/6 Friday Texas Rangers Ameriquest Field
4/7 Saturday Texas Rangers Ameriquest Field
4/8 Sunday Texas Rangers Ameriquest Field

4/10 Tuesday Seattle Mariner***Fenway Park***

And with the job Kyle Snyder has been doing (see the previous post) this spring as Tito grooms him three innings at a time to prepare him for mid to long relief, the pitching staff is shaping up. The Red Sox can hit the ball, pitch AND catch the ball and throw out a starting rotation that's as sweet as any team in baseball. But the Sox are no closer to annointing their closer. A little mystery, a little excitement, well, that's fun in life, isn't it? But in baseball, when we're talking about an important and vital part of the machine called the 2007 Boston Red Sox----NO, it isn't!
I'll be back, and thanks for reading me, everyday. I'm here for you. Promise.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Toronto 1 Red Sox 0

Great pitching all around....AJ Burnett for the Jays and Snyder for the Sox. Details to follow when these games are for real......but happiness again for the Sox hurlers.....and....."There's no place like home, there's no place like home..." Boy, that sounds familiar. And by home, I think Fenway is considered home. I KNOW it!

Pap Smear

I couldn't resist using that title. And Jonathon Papelbon is still working things out. And that's just fine. This, from the Hartford Courant, linked by title clicking.....and then a "don't panic it's OK" comment from me........

"Jonathan Papelbon threw 64 pitches, 42 for strikes, in four innings in a simulated game at the minor league complex.
Papelbon allowed four runs and six hits in the second inning, including a pair of home runs, while facing a lineup of minor league prospects. Eric Crozier and Chris Durbin, who both played in Double A last season, took Papelbon deep. The inning was declared over with one out, after Papelbon reached 22 pitches. (Peter here...and wow!!)
"It was a little weird," said Papelbon, who had four strikeouts. "Nothing to take away from these guys, they're working really hard. I had one inning where I fell behind some hitters and wasn't successful, but I got good work in, so I'm excited about that."
Papelbon worked primarily on his curveball."

Peter here. More work needs to be done, but that's what spring training is all about. So don't panic, members of Red Sox Nation. Jonathon Papelbon will be just fine. He WILL start as a member of the rotation, but then? Then?? Who the heck knows! ANYONE who says they do is full of it...the 'pen is an unfinished entity, and it will remain so, for now. I hope the front office won't hit the panic mode, when everything and anything logical gets thrown out the window to find a "quick fix." Quick fixes are just that...a Band-Aid to seal and protect a surgical wound. It won't work, and that's the bottom line. Is this a re-occuring theme here at PRSF. Oh yeah.
Thanks for reading...comments? Please.

An Overweight Oft-Injured Reliever?

Ian, author of the wildly popular blog RANDOM THOUGHTS (link on your right), has guided me to the Giants' pitcher Armando Benitez and his possible future (no, no!) with the Red Sox. He's in the final year of a three year $21.5 million contract with the San Francisco club. Read a little more about this from the San Francisco Chronicle.......title click for the entire piece......

"Benitez, dogged by injuries and ineffectiveness the past two years, tossed a scoreless inning in his first appearance of the exhibition season Sunday. He wants to succeed to show he can overcome adversity, and the Giants want him to succeed so he'd be more tradable. Or more usable, if, in fact, they keep him.
"I want to be here," Benitez said, "but there's nothing I can do about that."
Benitez, who was behind other relievers because of the tendinitis in both knees and a bout with the flu, twice threw to minor-leaguers before pitching Sunday. Mostly, scouts clocked Benitez in the high 80s and low 90s, a sign that he still has a good ways to go. Several of Benitez's pitches were high and away, and one scout noticed his lower half didn't seem totally right. Hamstring surgery in 2005 and an arthritic right knee in 2006 cut short Benitez's only seasons in San Francisco.
Benitez said he expects to be available on Opening Day, no matter where he is.
"Oh, yeah," he said after Sunday's performance. "It all depends on my knee. I feel good right now. The last two years, I wasn't healthy. I'm happy to come back and be with my team again."
Most recently, the bullpen-depleted Red Sox were said to have inquired about Benitez, who regularly got booed by Giants fans and is entering the final leg of his three-year, $21.5 million contract."

Peter here, and yes, the Sox seem to be interested in the services of this knee-hampered 34 year old. When healthy, he can do the job. Overpaid at $21.5 million? I'd say so, especially in his current condition. He gets booed at home, boos that should be reserved for his fellow team member Barry Bonds. But the Sox are desperate for a short term (less than or approximately one year) solution to their back end-less bullpen. And with a 5 man rotation that rivals the best in baseball, the lack of a closer is hard for me to swallow. Impossible, in fact. Theo knows it. The entire front office knows it. Every member of RSN knows it! And yes, something will be done about it. Exactly what? My crystal ball is at the cleaners.....the future looked too dim, but for $10.95, they'll brighten it up. I wish it were so easy for the Red Sox bullpen 2007. There's time...desperate measures need not be taken....yet.

Sox Come Back....Tigers Still Hissing

The Boston Red Sox came back with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to beat the New York Yankees 7-5. Wakes allowed 4 runs, three in the first, in four innings, but the bullpen was stingy in the victory. Craig Hansen pitched a one hit ninth for the save. Craig, we need you this year bigtime. JD Drew homered for one of the eleven Sox hits. And to "borrow" a few words from today's Herald......"The real fun starts April 20 in Boston when the Sox and Yankees play their first of 18 games."

Elsewhere in the Sunshine state, the Detroit Tigers are still seething about Josh Beckett and his seemingly "who cares" attitude after beaning two Tigers and coming close to hitting a third. This is from the Courant......I linked the entire article, so click on the title.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- "Saturday's bench-clearing incident with the Tigers is not going away. And based on comments by Tigers shortstop Carlos Guillen, it could still be festering May 14 when the teams play at Fenway.
Tigers pitcher Todd Jones was then ejected for attempting to retaliate against J.D. Drew in the top of the fifth. Manager Jim Leyland was also ejected, but not before emptying both benches and bullpens by jawing with Red Sox third base coach DeMarlo Hale.
Guillen begs to differ, telling the Detroit Free Press he was angry at Beckett's apparent lack of concern after a curveball hit Magglio Ordonez in the helmet in the third, sending him to the hospital with a left ear bruise.
"It's the way he reacted," Guillen said. "He stood at the mound. It's like he didn't [care]. When you hit somebody in spring training, you should feel bad. He almost hit Brandon in the face with a fastball. He hit [Gary] Sheffield with a first-pitch fastball. It makes you think, `What's going on?'"
After hitting Ordonez, Beckett sought out plate umpire Larry Vanover while Ordonez lay injured at the plate, saying he didn't intend to hit him."

Peter here. I didn't see the game, but I've read so much about it. I hope Josh was just having a bad day. The Tigers are coming to town May 14th, and chances are Mr. Beckett will be one of the starters. I just hope this doesn't turn into a beanball war. Someone will get hurt. A small hard round object travelling at 88 plus miles per hour impacting the human body is NOT a good thing. I hope things stay sane. The last thing this club needs are injuries ala 2006.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday, The One And Only Springtime Sox/Yanks game....

Carl Pavano, just back from a team-excused absence, is excited to pitch against the "A" Red Sox team. Carl, I have a clue for you, but my readers, check this out first. This is from, and if you click on the title, it'll be there! So......

"A frenzied working atmosphere awaits New York's starting pitcher, Carl Pavano, who is attempting to make his way back to the Major Leagues after 1 1/2 seasons of injury-related troubles.
Pavano was scheduled to pitch on Friday against the Rays, but left Legends Field shortly before game time to attend to personal issues. His second start of the spring instead will come against the Yankees' most storied rival, and Pavano said he welcomes the challenge.
"It's definitely going to be nice to get down there," Pavano said. "Especially with the home field, you know you're going to face their 'A' team. I'm definitely looking forward to it."

Peter here, and Carl, wake up, it won't be the proverbial "A" team, not for the on, one more time, my constant readers....

"Matsui -- who played in a different league than Matsuzaka in Japan and said he does not know him well -- is one of four regulars the Yankees are bringing to Fort Myers on Monday. Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano and Jason Giambi are also scheduled to make the trip.
Those anticipating a preview of what the capacity crowds will see this summer at Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium will have to wait; the parts of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada will be played by the likes of Miguel Cairo, Alberto Gonzalez and Todd Pratt.
That's not to say the game is unimportant for the Yankees."

Peter here...and it will just be another spring training game. For me, if no one gets hurts and everyone learns a little something....that's a plus day for me. The Ides of March await, just a few short days away. The last half of March leading into the first couple days of April?? THAT'S when it gets serious for me! And I can't wait. Can you???????

Daisuke Rolls The Dice

Daisuke was on the mound yesterday facing the Baltimore Orioles, his first look at an AL East rival. So he decided to experiment a little. After all, this is spring training, and that's the only time you can get away with an experiment gone awry. I'll let him tell you about it.......

"This being a team in our same division that we're going to face many times, I thought I'd take the opportunity to experiment a little bit.
"In the third and fourth innings, I was definitely throwing high up in the zone. Judging from what I experienced, throwing high fastballs and high sliders can tend to be a little bit dangerous."
Matsuzaka, who threw 63 pitches, 40 for strikes, allowed four runs and six hits while striking out three. His throwing error on a potential double-play ball in the fourth set up a three-run inning, including the second homer."

But then Melvin Mora had THIS to say......

"He's not from this planet," said Mora, who struck out twice. "He's coming from somewhere else. He's awesome. Nasty. He’s good. He’s really good. He’s got command of four pitches and they’re all nasty. His fastball’s nasty. His breaking pitch is nasty. His slider’s nasty. His delivery of the ball is sneaky. He’s going to help Boston a lot this year.”

It was two no namers who hit the homers, and the three run inning was set up by a Matsuzaka fielding error on what would have been a double play ball, so I'm not worried. In Japan, the high strike is a much more effective out pitch. Here, it's hit hard, and sometimes out. As it was yesterday in the latest learning experience for a pitcher named Daisuke. Our guy.

Daisuke will be fine. But..........the search for our closer goes on. Believe me, they're looking in the wrong place! Everyone, be on the lookout. The front office needs big-time! I'd love to hear your comments on my never flinching, always consistant view on the deadly, maybe FATAL flaw of the 2007 Boston Red Sox. Now, while they (we) have time to fix them, or time to convince them! Please, remember, this is the team that I love, and I've seen so many different Sox teams through the years. The plusses outnumber the minuses. But when there is a check mark in the minus column for "closer," well, I am concerned. Bigtime. Panic button pushing. Me??? Not yet. Aware of what the heck (I could have used an entirely different word) the club lacks? Aren't you??? And that's EXACTLY why I need your comments. I DO!!!! I'll be here to reply. That's a promise.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Just What I've Been Saying All Along!!

This Tony Massarotti article, part of which you will see here and all of it if you click on the title, echoes exactly what I've been moaning about since before players and pitchers reported to their spring training sites. I'm not alone!! Read this, for instance, from today's Herald of Boston, MY second city. I have a few choice words to lay on you afterwards.....

"The Red Sox [team stats] have roughly three weeks to go until Opening Day, but already the signs are worrisome. The longer the Sox go without a closer, after all, the more suspect their bullpen becomes.
And lest there be any doubt, the Sox will go nowhere if their bullpen is ineffective.
No matter how good their starting rotation and lineup are. A good bullpen doesn’t ensure you of a trip to the playoffs.
But a bad one will almost certainly keep you out.
For the Red Sox, barring some entirely unforeseen development, the simple truth is that they do not have a closer in camp. (At least not yet.) Maybe Craig Hansen eventually will develop or maybe Joel Pineiro will emerge, but there is not a known commodity in the bunch. That means that the Sox appear to have big questions in the seventh and eighth innings as well as the ninth."

The 7th and 8th, as well as the ninth. Timlin is hobbled. Hansen is hurting. Piniero has been largely hideous. I could go on and on, and sure, one can say that it's still early. But spring training is close to its halfway point. Don't forget, it's March 11 already, the first day of daylight savings time. And the club is no closer (no pun) to annointing its savior than they were in the last days of February. It's not like the stork is going to drop a wonderful bundle on the mound in the middle of the night, when the park is dark and eerily quiet, a bundle that, by morning, will develop into a fully grown 24 year old lights-out closer ala Jonathon Papelbon. Maybe in the Twilight Zone, but not in reality. But sometimes I think the club has been looking for just such a miracle, or just such a zone. A pitcher already on the team roster who will jump into the phone booth, shed his clothes, and emerge as Closerman! Able to rescue entire seasons with his right arm, a single appearance at a time, holding a one run lead as if it were a soft boiled egg, protectively effective EVERY TIME, every save situation. Well, that's who we had last year. His name? Jonathon Papelbon. The club is awaiting the arrival of Sir Papelbon number two....and it ain't going to happen. I hope it does. Every Sox fan hopes it does. But reality comes a calling. So Theo, it's your turn. Make a something. The delicate balance that makes the Boston Red Sox of 2007 look so very good can and will be demolished, eradicated, just plain old smashed to bits without a back end for innings 7, 8 and 9. I have faith, a faith that is wearing thin. And anyone who thinks that the plan "closer by committee" has a chance of success, well, remember recent history. Red Sox history. So this is how I feel. I love the Red Sox. I always have. I always will. Remember that, please.
Hey, everyone. Thanks for reading, and have a healthy and happy and warm (!!) Sunday. I'd love to read your comments, pro or con, nasty or nice. Red Sox comments all! You see, that's why I do this. To be able to hear from you. You make me happy, and I hope I do the same for you.

Beckett Just Plain UGLY!

This is the type of game where people can and do get hurt. And that's the last thing we need. Beckett was zany wild, and the final result of hit batsmen? From the Courant....

"It began in the first, when Beckett hit former Yankee Gary Sheffield on the elbow. In the third, Beckett lost control of a curveball, striking Magglio Ordonez in the earflap. Ordonez was taken to a local hospital and released with a left ear contusion.
"I talked to [home plate umpire] Larry Vanover when [Ordonez] went down," Beckett said. "I was just trying to pitch inside. I really only hit one guy. Mags was a curveball. Fortunately it didn't hit him in the neck."
Beckett, who allowed five runs - two earned - on four hits in 32/3 innings, nearly caught Inge in the head with a fastball in the fourth, after fooling him with a similarly delivered curve the previous pitch.
"It was like a blurred comet," Inge said.
It was also the final straw for the Tigers, and after Jones got Jason Varitek to ground out leading off the fifth, he took two shots at Drew, the second sailing behind the batter's box."

Peter here, and it was only a matter of moments before all-out war broke out and both benches erupted. I wasn't able to watch the game, for various reasons, so I don't know what was going on with Josh. But I hope that wildness is out of his system. FOR GOOD.

And what of Darkman? Again from the Courant...

"Okajima had his best performance this spring, allowing one run - an Ivan Rodriguez homer on a curveball - in 21/3 innings, with four strikeouts. "He hit it very well," Okajima said. "I know he is a famous player, a good player. He got me this time, but from now on, I know where I can't locate that pitch. I'm learning."

We need you in the 'pen, Darkman. So you take your time and learn the hitters. Oh, and the entire Courant article is available when you click on the title. I'll be back with more after a word from our Sunday sponser, 20 Mule Team Borax. It keeps hands soft and fresh. Just 29 cents at your local Five and Dime Store across the country. 20 Mule Team Borax. Your hands will thank you. And so will your pocketbook.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Roger And The New York Yankees' Desperate Offer

Fenway Blogger, linked on your right under the link list, steered me to this article from SI. Thank you FB! Here's the gist of it, and oh yes, I will be back to comment about this polarizing for us Red Sox fans Rocket, or not to Rocket. If we risk him going to the hated Steinbrenner troops? Read on.....on this grey but finally above freezing Saturday morning. Click on the entire title for the SI piece, recommended.......

NEW YORK -- "The New York Yankees took advantage of Roger Clemens' attendance at Legends Field on Wednesday to ask Clemens back to the Bronx, has learned.
However, Clemens' answer to the Yankees didn't exactly clear up the situation. He told Yankees owner George Steinbrenner that he wasn't close to deciding his comeback plans.
A source on another team said Clemens is believed to be seeking between $16-18 million from June 1 on, which would represent a slight raise over the pro-rated $22 million he made in 2006. That figure probably won't scare off the Yankees or Boston Red Sox but might give the Houston Astros pause. Those are the three teams in the Clemens derby.
It is believed Clemens is planning a June return, like last year when he returned for his third season after "retiring.'' He is 38-18 with a 2.40 ERA since he announced his "retirement'' following the 2003 season."

Peter here. A 2.40 ERA! Wow. First of all, to John Henry, money is NO issue. Now ask yourselves....will a healthy, in shape Roger Clemens, no matter what you think of him, help the 2007 Boston Red Sox? There is only ONE answer! YES. All the more because by coming to the Sox in June, the Yankees (now lets all say AWWWW!!) will be denied his low ERA and his wonderful pitching.

So I'm leaving it out there, and waiting for you to put in your two cents, or twenty. Or two thousand. It's up to you. Thanks for being here!

Birthday Guy Mike Timlin Shut Down

41st birthday guy Mike Timlin, would-be closer for the 2007 Boston Red Sox, has been ordered to do no throwing for one week. Said Tito, from the Herald.......

“He’s going to be one week, no throwing,” said manager Terry Francona. “The tenderness he felt . . . is in a smaller area, which I think is good. But he still feels it, and we don’t want this to turn into a season-long fiasco, where he feels OK, the next week he feels a little worse, and two weeks later he’s worse.”
Timlin, who turns 41 today, has gained momentum in recent days as a viable option at closer. He said on Thursday that he wants the job, but yesterday’s news put those thoughts on hold."

Peter here, and the entire article can be seen by clicking on the title. And I've said this before and I'll say it again. I'll shout it from the roofstops and write a song about it. And that is this......I remain convinced that if Mike Timlin, nice guy that he is, becomes our full time closer, the club will suffer. Deep doo doo. Big trouble in little Fenway. However you want to phrase it, HE IS NOT THE ANSWER. Or as the Herald put it.....

"Just a hiccup?? Red Sox fans better hope that’s all it is. With Timlin out, now the Sox lack a closer and a set-up man."

Well said, Steve Buckley. How much has the club spent to assemble this brilliant array of talent? A collection of great position players and pitchers, but absolutely no back end to the bullpen. It just doesn't make any sense to me. None whatsoever!!! How long can this go on? I need your comments. I need 'em bad.
I'll be back with more Soxness a little later.