Monday, March 31, 2008

The Exhibition Games Are Over!

The Boston Red Sox played their last exhibition game yesterday in LA, losing to the Dodgers by a score of 8-0. Clay Buchholz started strong but faltered in the fourth. He needs to learn, as he himself said. And now the pundits and media members are intent on telling us who will win the American League East. The person who comes closest to mirroring my own feelings is the Boston Herald's Tony Massarotti. He had this to say in the Sunday edition, and then I'll be back with my two cent's worth...
"Call me (Tony Massarotti) crazy, but I’m picking the Toronto Blue Jays to win the American League East this year.
Baseball usually comes down to pitching, after all, and here is the truth: The Jays have the deepest staff in the division. What Toronto needs now is to find a way to stay healthy, particularly after consecutive seasons in which injuries have derailed a Jays team that, at times, has pitched and hit with the very best clubs in baseball.
Now the Jays just have to do both at the same time.
For the Red Sox and New York Yankees, all of this comes back to the Johan Santana deal, a trade that neither club was willing to make. It is difficult to determine which club may end up regretting that moreke these very Sox and add Santana instead of, say, Bartolo Colon, and the Sox would be more than favorites to repeat as champions. They would be nothing short of a juggernaut, having effectively taken the World Series trophy and clobbered their opponents over the head with it.
Before anyone interprets this all as an indictment on the Red Sox and their offseason approach, you’re missing the point. The Red Sox have a good team again. They might have had a great one. The Sox could have made the Santana deal and probably kept either Jon Lester or Buchholz, even they if gave up Jacoby Ellsbury, too. They will have three more drafts before Santana turns 32 years old, and they could have had Santana and Josh Beckett at the top of their rotation -- with Jonathan Papelbon backing them all up -- for at least the next three seasons. They chose not to.
Can the Red Sox win another championship this year? Of course. Once more, that is not the point. Take these very Sox and add Santana instead of, say, Bartolo Colon, and the Sox would be more than favorites to repeat as champions. They would be nothing short of a juggernaut, having effectively taken the World Series trophy and clobbered their opponents over the head with it."
Peter here, and it would have been a 21st century roundball massacre for the Sox. And what gets me is that the club KNEW about Schill's bum shoulder, but they were in a defensive only mode, making sure the Yankees could not land Santana before they showed that their interest was gone. A mistake? We'll all find out. To me, the Sox starting pitching, with the exception of Josh Beckett, is suspect. The better the starting quintet performs, whoever they may be, the better the chances are for the Sox to repeat as AL East Champions. I have to call it a toss-up right now. The Blue Jays, the Yankees, the Red can I choose? My heart belongs, and always will, with the Sox, but my realistic mind knows that Toronto will be there every step of the way. The Yankees are close to being in the same starting pitching boat as Boston. If I HAD TO PICK right now, I'd list the top three AL East teams in this order...1) Toronto 2) Boston 3) NY Yankees

So there it is. We all know so very much can and will change during the 2008 season, and pitchers will be obtained to help the cause. It already HAS, in fact. The Red Sox have just signed Japanese righthander Terumasa Matsuo from the Shikoku Island League. He was the MVP of the league just last year, going 15-3 (!!) with a sparkling ERA of 1.72. Nice! Every little bit helps when it comes to our rather thin starting pitching. He's going to report to extended spring training down in Ft. Myers. Good luck, Terumasa, or "T," as I will call him.

To one and all, have a great Monday as the last day of March is upon us. April and its Fool's Day approaches quickly. Click on the title of this post for all the details of yesterday's last exhibition game with the Dodgers, and as always, BE WELL. FOREVER.

P.S. I NEED your I doing something wrong?? Readership is so low I think it's MY fault. Yet I've always been me, and always will. I'd love to know what you think, for every day, every morning is tougher and tougher for me. I'll never give up, but I'd love to know how YOU feel. Thank you so much. Your blog buddy Peter, a little sad, a little blue. But that's part of life. I'm used to it.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Largest Baseball Crowd EVER Sees The Red Sox Stomp The Dodgers

It was truly a sight to see. The LA Coliseum was packed with a baseball record 115,300 people, the largest crowd ever to see a baseball game. The Red Sox beat the Dodgers by a score of 7-4, but it became that close only near the game's end. This is from the Sunday Boston Herald. I have to admit I was only able to stay up for the first inning or so. I guess I was up too early on Saturday morning. Here you go...

“It was really a pretty special night for everybody involved with both teams, both organizations,” he said. “I don’t think any of us knew what to expect but (the Dodgers) did a great job and the players did a good job focusing on the game and not the close porch. It ended up being a pretty special night.”
Catcher Kevin Cash said that batters were complaining about the lighting but otherwise there were no major beefs with the odd configuration.
“It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be,” said Cash, who acknowledged that his three-run homer in the second inning probably wouldn’t have cleared the wall at either Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium. "We just walked in and you see the whole thing," said Red Sox infielder Alex Cora, a former Dodger. "I'm more impressed by the amount of seats out there. I went to [Miami] and I went to the Orange Bowl, and you're just part of it. When you're in the middle of the football stadium, it's like, wow, this is it. It made me feel like running 100 meters. That's the cool thing. You run track in front of all these people, in the Olympics, I can't imagine. Playing here is unreal."

Peter here...Jonathon Papelbon allowed a two run home run late in the game to make it a three run game. But it was a Tim Wakefield night. He went 5 plus innings (he could have gone more), giving up one unearned run, one walk and striking out two. Yet another "solid as a rock" outing for the knuckleballer, who I wish was pitching on Tuesday. But the way the rotation is set up, it'll be Daisuke and Lester in the two Oakland games. Wakes will be ready Friday in Toronto with Beckett cleared to go on Sunday. Last night, the batting stars benefitted from the short outfield dimensions. The two Kevins, Cash and Youkilis, hit home runs that would have been fly ball outs elsewhere, Cash's blast a three run tater and Youk's a two run shot. A good time was guaranteed for all!

The Red Sox continue their exhibition series with the Dodgers Sunday and Monday and then make the relatively short jaunt to the Bay area to play another couple (real ones this time!) with Oakland. So the season begins newly again on Tuesday.

Have a great Sunday, and click on this post's title for the Hartford Courant's overview of this massively attended exhibition game which generated millions of dollars for charity. And that's a good thing. I hope every one of you has a great day and as always, BE WELL. Now click on that title! Thanks.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Surreal LA Night-Where Else?

Good morning on this cold and dark Saturday. The Boston Red Sox play their first of three exhibition games against the LA Dodgers in quite the setting-the Los Angeles Coliseum. They hope to set a baseball attendance record as more than 115,000 fans are expected. That's three and a half Fenway Parks, more than two Yankee Stadiums filled to their capacities! Here are some interesting facts about the late night (at least here) game, to be broadcast on NESN at 10:00pm EDT...

"The Dodgers are coming back to the Coliseum one more time to play the Red Sox in an exhibition game, and officials are hoping for a world-record baseball crowd of 115,000.
"I remember the Coliseum all too well," said commissioner Bud Selig, who watched the Sox in Japan and plans to be at tonight's game. "My team, the Milwaukee Braves, lost the 1959 pennant there. I remember those Wally Moon shots. There's a lot of history here. We're recreating something from 47, 48 years ago, and it's just amazing."
It'll be a circus-like environment. A football and track venue, best known as the college home of O.J. Simpson and site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, the oval-shaped Coliseum is totally ill suited for baseball configuration. New seats added since the Dodgers departed require that the left-field fence be 201 feet from home plate tonight. There's a 60-foot-high net over the short fence, and balls off the net will be in play. The Screen Monster. (Peter here--201 feet!)
With Manny Ramírez in left field for the Red Sox, the possibilities are endless. Manny, who likes to play shallow, will be taking his position just a few feet behind Mike Lowell at third base. Dodgers left fielder Juan Pierre said he might wear his protective cup while fielding his position.
"Two hundred feet to left?" asked Kevin Youkilis. "That's awesome."

Peter here, and I'll be watching. I'm usually asleep by then, or near it, but I have to see that field configuration for myself! Crazy stuff! Tim Wakefield relunctantly takes the mound. He said this when asked about the near-nonexistant left field depth...

"It is what it is," said Sox starter Tim Wakefield, sounding downright Belichickian. "I don't have any choice in the matter. What am I going to do - refuse to pitch?"

Peter again, and we all know that Tim will be in there baffling hitters with his knuckies. I wish he would pitch in Oakland, to tell you the truth. He had the best spring of any of the starters.

Enjoy the game tonight. Just the sheer number of fans will be a joy to see. Click on this post's title for the entire Boston Globe article with everything you wanted to know about the LA Coliseum's transformation into a baseball field, truly a somewhat warped field of dreams. Have a great weekend, and as always, BE WELL.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Beckett Looks AND Feels Great!

Josh Beckett pitched against the Double A team from New Britain, Connecticut (one town away from me!) called the Rock Cats, and he looked mahvelous, as Billy Crstal used to say. He went 4 innings, shutout ones too, throwing 47 pitches, 35 (!!) for strikes, while allowing one hit, striking out 6 and walking none. After seeing Lester and Daisuke in Japan, the walk total and the ball to strike ratio are refreshingly good ones. Josh "Baseball" Beckett's future plans are now NOT up in the air. This is from the Boston Herald...

"Beckett is scheduled to join the team for its three-game series in Toronto from April 4-6. If all goes as planned, Beckett then could make his first start of the season in the series finale, but, as Francona explained, “That’s not etched in stone.”
“I told him, ‘We’re going to include you in on this conversation,’ ” Francona said. “For me, it’s good because he’s healthy. He’s just trying to get ramped up for the season. Everything’s been great, that’s why there isn’t anxiety from that standpoint.”

Peter here, with, as Tito said, NO anxiety. We need Josh and need him badly. The Sox took their time to allow him to heal, and their efforts have been rewarded. PHEW! Boston plays 3 exhibition games this weekend against the LA Dodgers, a team led by Joe Torre. Saturday night, believe it or not, they will play in front of 115,000 people, dedicated baseball fans, at the LA Coliseum. After those three tune-ups, they resume their regular season on Tuesday in Oakland for two against the A's. Daisuke will start game one, with Lester taking over for game two. Both pitchers need to sharpen their control and put pitches in, or on the edge, of the strike zone. First pitch strikes are monumentally vital. I hope Saturday night's game in LA will, somewhere on some channel, be televised. To watch a baseball game played in front of THAT many people will be a treat to see.

Hey, it's Friday! Enjoy it. And by clicking on the title you will be directed to the Boston Globe's RED SOX NOTEBOOK, with all the news about Josh, Mike Timlin and JD Drew, who is still considered doubtful. Coco and Jacoby in center and right? A definite maybe. So click away, and as always, BE WELL.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back In The U.S. Back In The U.S. Back In The U.S. of A.

Like a time machine morphing eastward, the Boston Red Sox jetted into Los Angeles and landed in the early evening. Because of the time difference, while adding an hour on the clock with each passing thousand miles or so, the Sox gained half a day. I have a few things to say about the two games from the Dome of Tokyo, but first here are a few comments from the Sox owners and players about their trip home. This is from the Boston Globe, with my thanks. The entire article will be linked when you click on the title...

"This trip was the best and the worst," said owner John Henry as he waited for baggage. Henry was one of the few who didn't sleep on the 12-hour flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles.
"I'm looking forward to having my first hamburger," added team chairman Tom Werner.
"There's still 10 minutes to get a bet down on last night's game," added a member of the traveling party who shall remain nameless." (HaHa! Great line!)

Peter here, and that WAS funny! A few of the things that bother me after watching all 19 innings of the first two games concern our pitching. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester seemed to begin this 2008 season much the same as last year...too many pitches out of the strike zone and too few innings pitched. Jon Lester lasted four innings, threw 83 pitches in those few frames, and gave up 3 walks and 4 runs. That's NOT GOOD for a number three starter. Daisuke also faltered early, but his outing was at least respectable. Lester's was not. I KNOW it's early, it ain't even April yet, but if Lester's trend continues, and he did this many times last year, he might well be the worst number three starter in all of baseball. But that was only ONE start, with jet lag added in to boot. Until the rotation, in it's 4 man (for now) entirety, has a couple turns on the mound, if not three, I will reserve judgement.

As for the bullpen, naturally the guys we will count on again and again are still rusty. Paps was shaky, but we know he will rise and shine, as will Okie. We have to hope two others make their presence known with solidity. They are Delcarmen and Aadasma, who I will call Double A. He might be that needed sparkling surprise from a bullpen that is too thin to take us far. Again, these are just initial reflections.

Defensively, we are just fine. And we will be at the plate, too. Manny is already white hot, and that heat will hopefully spread throughout the lineup. So it's not time for panic of any kind. We're 1-1, we went through a grueling trip, travel-wise, but looking on the bright side, the Japanese people of Red Sox International could not have been better hosts. And I thank them! The next regular season game will be Tuesday April 1st at the reasonable (?) hour of 10pm edt. Please don't forget to click on the title of this post for the entire Boston Globe article about our team's ride home, a smooth and uncomplicated one. Thank you for stopping in, and as always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's Time For Baseball Again In The Land Of The Rising Sun

The Boston Red Sox and the Oakland A's are almost ready to battle again in the Tokyo Dome. I'm glad you liked my version of a live blog, but it was more a series of updates until the final exciting innings. At that time it became more of a batter by batter, pitch by pitch summary. I had fun, especially because the Sox pulled it out.

Today, hard throwing Rich Harden will take on our very own Jon Lester, unbeaten in his last 15 starts. I will be back with periodic updates when I can. Congratulations go out to Manny Ramirez and Brandon Moss for bashing the hits JUST when we needed them! And today the lineup is the same, including Brandon Moss in right for the hurting JD Drew. Coco will be in center. After his night (err...morning) yesterday, that's a great thing! I'll be back every half inning or would be nice to score first today, and cruise, with no nervous moments. But somehow, I don't think so. Here we go, my friends. I thank you so much for your gleeful responses after yesterday's posts, and my site hits went through the roof! GO SOX. FOREVER.


Top of the first...With two outs, Papi walks and Manny strikes out. Ziz zip, A's coming to bat.
Bottom of the first...Still zip zip...Lester looks good. To the second we go...

Top of the second...A too short 1-2-3 inning for the Sox. (a quick hello to Nods, my g'friend, who is listening to me type).
Bottom of the second...1-0 A's, still at bat. Men on first and third with two gone...strike three...1-0 Bad Guys.

Top of the third...Still A's 1 Sox nothing. Lester striding to the mound.
Bottom of the third...Brown hits a cut fastball over the plate...4-0 A's. Lester has not had a 1-2-3 inning yet. Fastballs by Lester up in the zone, WAITING to be hit..continuing..Farrell to the mound after yet another single. 1 man on first with 2 early 'pen appearance would NOT be good, but the next official game is still 6 days away. Anyone is available...the inning is over with the score 4-0 A's and Lester's pitch count mounting, much like many of his starts last year.

Top of the fourth...Harden has 7 (!!) KOs, as the A's still hold on to their 4-0 lead. Harden looks SO good, and Lester only has two innings, at most, left.
Bottom of the inning for Lester. 1-2-3..still 4 zip..and so we go to the fifth.

Top of the 5th...another quick inning. A double play by Peds erased the baserunner, and it's still..STILL 4-0 A's. Harden looks good, but Lester did too, finally, in his last inning. To the bottom of the 5th...
Bottom of the 5th...reliever for the Sox in..Lester went a forgettable 4..Aardsma in to pitch..good move..2 outs already..a beautiful quick 3 outs for Double A.

Top of the 6th..(Oy!)...Manny home run..4-1..Lowell pop up...4-1 A's.
Bottom of the 6th...still AA pitching..HE WILL BE A FUTURE (this year) star for the Sox!. Guaranteed..another strikeout. 2 outs..base hit and Javier Lopez is in with the same 2 outs..and three outs. But still 4-1 A's.

Into the 7th...11th strike out for A's pitchers...double by Crisp. Home run needed..but Lugo grounds out. 4-1 A's.
Bottom of the 7th..Little Manny Delcarmen on the hill...and after seven, it is STILL 4-0 A's. A comeback is needed.

Top of the 8th...Keith Foulke pitching, and, believe it or not, again, he looks good...single Youk..Papi To the bottom of the 8th, 4-1 A's. Pitching and a bunch of Sox hits are needed, but it won't be bad if we go home with a record of 1-1. Corey on for the Sox...and at the end of 8, it is 5-1 Oakland A's. MAGIC is needed.

Top of the 9th...two outs on the double play hit by to go..'Tek up..last chance. There is no one on and the count is 0-2. And, GAME OVER! ***

This is me, live right now at 9:05am edt. Our Sox are 1-1, and nothing is wrong with that! The NEXT regular season game is six days from now. We're OK..the better pitcher won.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Wonderful Email From Japan...I Have To Share It With You

Before the game today, I left a comment on my friend's blog. He is from Japan, and his blog name is Superbowl. He emailed me back telling me about his day today, the first day of Red Sox Nation joining Red Sox International. I want to share his email with you..

Hello !
Thanks for your comment on my blog !
In fact I went to the Tokyo Dome today with my friend....without
We each walked and walked around for ticket outside of the Dome.
I found a man who had a extra ticket.
and he said he's going to sell it original price.
I was flying high !
but I can't cast aside my friend.
I said to the man "please wait.. wait a minutes"
but it's game start time and he went into the dome.

We continued to look for tickets.
There are many people like us around the Dome.
Some are English speaking guys (maybe Americans)
One of them mistook me a scalper and talk to me.
It's getting colder outside and we started on homeward journey

I returned home and turned on the TV, I saw Moss tied with the homerun!
I also started up my PC and accessed your blog first before Boston
Globe or
What a live blogging !
I felt I was in the Tokyo Dome from pre-game.
It's strange that a Japanese is told what happened in Japan from an American blog.

Today is the hardest day of my baseball life
But Sox win and your blog saved me.
Thank you Peter !

WE SAY, WE HOPE, WE BELIEVE. Yes they win !

Peter here, and I am overwhelmed. Truly we are ALL one. Thank you Superbowl. Peter-san. Red Sox Forever. And ever!


I'm sitting here on this pre-dawn Tuesday morning listening to the Japanese music echoing throughout the Tokyo Dome as the on the field dancers carrying huge Red Sox symbols march across the spacious field and the band plays "Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue." I, of course, am tuned into NESN's Red Sox pre-game coverage on NESN HD. And it's a beautiful sight indeed. Tickets were hard to come by for the Japanese contingent of Red Sox International, and the pre-game festivities almost have the feeling of a fall football game. But this is baseball, and it's back! The introduction of the two teams is just commencing, with any Sox mentions getting huge ovations. It's now nearing 6am edt, and soon, soon, we WILL have baseball. Here is the just announced Red Sox starting lineup...

Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Big Papi Davis Ortiz, Sir Manny Ramirez, Mike Lowell, JD Drew, Jason "Captain" Varitek, Jacoby Ellsbury and Julio Lugo. And warming up in the bullpen, the Boston Red Sox starting pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka.

***UPDATE...JD Drew is a late scratch, replaced in right by Moss. Daisuke is having a real tough time in the first. ALL OVER THE PLACE. No control, a home run, wild pitches and now a walk. It's only the bottom of the first, and it's 2-0 A's. He threw exactly 30 pitches in that ugly first inning.***

Sounds nice, doesn't it (the pre-game festivities, not the score)? There is not an empty seat in sight, and I know that there are millions of Red Sox Japanese fans glued to their television sets. I'm now listening to a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem, and soon it will be time for BASEBALL 2008. May this season bring to every one of us hope, glory and euphoria. The stuff dreams are made of. I'll be back from time to time with game updates before I have to leave the house around 9am edt. Have fun, be safe and BE WELL. And it's been a long time since I've typed this, but here goes...GO SOX!! Forever.

***Continuing updates...after almost two complete, Daisuke is clearly struggling, with three..make that 4 walks and 55 pitches thrown. The A's are one pitch away from extending their lead bigtime. 2 outs, bases full...strike one, a swinging strike two on his first good change, Tavarez starting to warm up. The count is one and two....foul, still one and two...he HAS to keep this a two zip game. Stee-rike three. A's 2 Sox nuttin'. After three, Daisuke looks much more settled. He should be, he'll only go another inning or two...he's sharp now in the third, and the score is still the same. After four, 2-0 A's. The Sox have yet to find their hitting shoes, but Daisuke has now pitched two strong innings. He probably will only pitch five. Kyle Snyder is ready in the 'pen. AND after five, it's still the same score. Sixth inning...Sox have men on first and second with no outs and our Papi up, so we'll see what happens..MANNY ties the game with a double to left. 2-2. Much better. Moss doubles, and it is now Good Guys 3 Oakland 2, with an Oakland pitching change. Old friend Alan Embree on the hill. I think Daisuke has only one inning left in be continued, still the top of the sixth. I love this! And after 5 1/2 innings, it is 3-2. I hope Daisuke will come out for the bottom of the sixth. I'll let you know, right now. It's a commercial. Here we go. Kyle Snyder takes over in the bottom of the 6th. Oh my! Mercy, as our Ned Martin would say. I miss him (Ned) so much.....still 3-2 SOX*** Two run home run off Kyle. Gee. I'd rather see Tavy. And that's tough for me to say. 4-3 A's. Still the sixth. After six complete...4-3 A's. With one out and nobody on in the bottom of the 7th, the Sox bullpen is called, and it will be Javier Lopez (I was hoping for the Darkman, Okie). LOPEZ gets out of the 7th. On to top of the 8th, with the score 4-3 A's. Corey has been warming up in the Sox 'pen.To be continued, as we go to the top of the 8th, with Keith Foulke (believe it or not, with a spring ERA of 15.00 plus) out. Papi up, and he flies to left..two outs. Little Manny joins Corey in the bullpen. BIG Manny time, and Foulke looks (gulp) good...strike three for Keith, darn it. 4-3 A's after 7 1/2. Who will come out pitching for the Sox with a one run deficit as the Tokyo Dome echoes with SWEET CAROLINE! It's Bryan Corey, bottom of the 8th frame. A LEAPING CATCH BY ELLSBURY AT THE CENTERFIELD FENCE! WOW! One out in the bottom of the 8th. TWO down..Corey looks good, but we still need two more runs..It's over! 9 batters in a row retired by Sox pitchers, but it is still a one run game, in favor of the left coast team. WOW!

We are on to the 9th, and it's still 4-3 A's..Lowell flies to out..closer Street pitching to our Moss..he has GREAT stuff..1-2, and 2-2, MOSS ties the game!!!!!!!!! Another home run! 4-4...I love this!! Now let's go ahead, and then..then..PAPS time. Or maybe Okie. But it's now tied. WOW, Moss..great job!! And now, after the Moss tater, it's tied at four. TO BE CONTINUED! Who will come in for our Sox? I'll tell you..bottom of the ninth with the score tied, what could be better? On the mound, it's our DARKMAN, with a huge ovation, Hideki Okajima. ONE down in the bottom of the 9th and the fans are LOVING this. A one out walk in this, the ninth, and the count is 0-2 for Okie. Fly ball to Ells..two outs. We're on the verge of extra innings. Here we go..and now it's of the 10th, with the score the same. Lugo is up..with Peds to follow, and then Youk. BASE hit for Lugo..Peds up, at the plate, the crowd almost silent...Peds bunts to first base, allowing the runner, the fast shortstop, to go to 2nd with one out. YOUK up.. the crowd still so quiet, silent, and Youk strikes out. Papi is up, and intentionally walked. IT IS UP TO we go.. 0-2 count..wild...1-2..a double...two runners come in! MANNY! 6-4 good the crowd, the RSI crowd, stands and cheers for our Manny! Paps is coming in! It might be over, but I won't say a thing until it's over. 4 RBIs for Sir Manny. Still the top of the 10th, with 2 Sox runners on.. Moss out to left. After ten and a half, WITH PAPS STROLLING TO THE MOUND, our Sox are ahead 6-4.

HERE we go, with Coco in center and PAPS pitching, with a possible win for Okie..strike one..1-1, strike two, still one and two..the splitter looked great. Now, the count is 3-2...fouled back..the ump calling a much smaller strike zone because Paps has only thrown 5 pitches...ball the lead-off batter. NOW IT GETS SERIOUS. Cust is up, one man on first no the count is in Pap's favor..and the count is 1-2, with one guy on first. STRIKE THREE. One out, two to go and a base hit but a HUGE baserunning error for the A's. The bases are EMPTY with two outs. The final score of this game will be 6-5 Sox. I hope. We'll see. Another base on first, two heavenly outs...the count is 0-1..1-1, c'mon Paps..base hit..the tying run is at second, as John Farrell goes to Paps on the mound...frankly, now I'm worried! Oakland guys at first and second..and the count is 2-0...darn! But suddenly and SWEETLY, THE GAME IS OVER!!!!!!! Red Sox 6 Oakland A's 5. It wasn't easy, but I loved this. I love you too!

I hope I did well..I wasn't trying to do an inning by inning post, but I might have. I think I almost did. Okie wins and Paps gets his first save. Hey, we're one and zero. I hope you enjoyed! I sure did. Thank you, my friends.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Wonderful Wakes And Dandy Drew

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Yomiuri Giants 9-2 yesterday, and the stars were Tim Wakefield and JD Drew, who obviously enjoys hitting the Japanese version of a baseball. He mashed a grand slam in the victory over the Giants just one day after he clubbed a three run homer against the Hanshin Tigers. He said this after the game...

"I wish those innings counted right there," Drew said, likely only half joking. "I would have a couple home runs and some RBIs."

Peter back once again. Tim Wakefield had clearance to go six innings, but Tito Francona opted to take him out after 5 2/3 to allow the relievers to get some mound time. This is also from the Boston Globe...

"Giving up two runs on five hits, Wakefield could have gone longer, but Francona wanted to get work for four relievers. And Wakefield termed himself in regular-season form, with some good curveballs, though he said he didn't have his "best stuff." That might be because the past few days were pretty rough, according to the pitcher, who said he finally got enough rest Saturday night before his start."

Regular season form...that sounds nice! So things are going smoothly for our Sox as the time for opening day quickly approaches. Their first of two games with the Oakland A's will start at 6:05 AM EDT Tuesday, so set your DVRs or your alarm clocks or your VCRs, if there still are any in active use. I have my VCR, a Super VHS model, but it gathers dust more than it plays or records video tapes. But I strayed off the subject. My mind wandered. As long as it stays within arm's reach, I'll be OK. Farther than that, I might be in trouble. I might need help.

Josh Beckett was effective Sunday in a Triple A start, and he'll be ready to go six innings or so when the Sox return to the States. Won't that be a shot in the arm! The only major worry I have right now is our fifth starter situation, even though a fifth starter will NOT be necessary until mid-April. So we go with Beckett, Daisuke, Lester and Wakes until the unnamed but generally well-known number five guy is announced to the media. The bullpen, at least the back end of it, and by that I mean Papelbon, Okajima and Delcarmen (and hopefully Mike Timlin-soon) is first-rate, and there are plenty of guys who can go long if it's needed.

I'll write my next post (barring any breaking Sox news) BEFORE the early morning game tomorrow. I'll be awake anyway, so why not? And then it'll be time to watch Dice K. baffle his countrymen and for the Sox hitters to bash the small ball all over the place. No starting pitcher will go more than six innings, and that will allow the bullpen guys to get their work in as the starters do the same.

Have a great Monday, and click on the title to be directed to the Boston Globe's illuminating article about the Wakefield victory, with a little help from his friends. Again, thanks for stopping by. I hope your Easter was a wonderful one filled with joy and happiness. Mine was kinda quiet. Quiet until last night, when the University of Connecticut's number one in the country women's basketball team made mincemeat of the Ivy League champion Cornell University. They will go far, and they'll be even better next year when Elena Delle Donna joins the team. She's 6'5" tall and is considered the best high school player in the country. It ain't even close! She's THAT good!! So rock on UCONN, and to my Constant Readers, as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Glaring Weakness?? It Could Be!

I was thinking last night (yes, sometimes I do that!) about what could be a possibly glaring weakness of the 2008 Boston Red Sox. What weakness? I'll tell you. It's very early on Sunday morning, so I work a little slower. At least my mind does. The weakness is this...who will be our fifth starter and for how long before a change is made. That was EXACTLY the question posed in a Boston Globe discussion group that I spied earlier. Here are the choices they offered, and one (just one example of many) answer that made perfect sense to me. I'll be back with a comment after you read this...

a. Tavarez

b. Colon

c. Buchholz

d. Other


ANSWER: (one of many-PN)

Posted by Joe Breidey on Mar-22 10:47 AM

"Tav for at least a month, without a doubt. I penciled Tav in the 5th spot as soon Schill's injury was revealed. It's no secret Buch's inning total will be held to around 180 at the most. Frankly I'd rather see short AAA outings from Buch to begin the season, then unleash him in the later months months of the regular season and hopefully October. If he lives up to expectations, the worst thing would be for him to top that 180 inning mark in early September and be obligated to shut down. I think everyone could agree that Colon needs some fine-tuning. Some sort of command is necessary to succeed at the major league level. Kyle Snyder's 30+ pitches split over the last 4 seasons is downright frightening."


Peter here, and that was a great answer, Joe. The 5th starter's identity is one of the biggest questions surrounding the '08 Sox. I agree that Clay Buchholz needs to strengthen his arm at the Triple A level for the beginning month or two of the season. Colon will not be immediately ready either, but sometime in mid to late May, Tavarez will be replaced by either Buchholz or Colon. Colon looked GREAT pitching on Saturday for Class A Lancaster, going three scoreless innings while allowing four hits, striking out three. He threw 23 of his 34 pitches for strikes. One step at a time, Bartolo. Snyder is NOT a viable option, just for Joe's reasons above. And we all know Julian Tavarez. He can go four great innings and implode in the fifth. Or he can give up his normal four runs in the first or second frame and then settle down for two or three innings. But any way you look at it, his ERA will be 4.00 or above, most likely above, and his average innings pitched per start will hover between four and five. So, at least to me, he is not the season-long solution, not by a long shot.

So who will take over the reigns of the five spot, a roster position that becomes more and more important as the season grinds on? With the off days included in the schedule, the Red Sox will NOT need a fifth starter until mid-April, and that's a great thing. Buchholz and Colon will need every minute of that time to round themselves into game-shape. If, and this is a HUGE if, Colon can get his arm and body into semi-good shape, he would be an invlauable asset to the club as a whole. We all knew someone would be needed after we heard the sad Schill news. Buchholz just needs to improve his arm strength. Both hurlers have about 40 days to do that. By then, it will be May 1st or so, and by then we'll all know if Tavy is a boom or a bust. He does go through streaks as a pitcher, and some of them are quite good ones. Let's hope that will be the case for the first month or so of the season. Josh Beckett is behind his fellow teammates because of his healed back injury, and that makes every other guy in the early season rotation even more important. All these questions and what-ifs will be time. But time is NOT on our side...the regular season starts in EXACTLY 48 hours. WOW!!

Again, I'd like to thank every one of you for stopping by. Have a happy, healthy and holy Easter, and if you're with your families, show them the love you have for them. They'll reciprocate, and a great holiday meal will be had by all. Please click on the title of this post for a Boston Herald article penned by sportswriter Tony Massarotti. It's all about Daisuke Matsuzaka and his upcoming Opening Day start on Tuesday. And to all of you, as always, BE WELL. Enjoy this holiday. And go UCONN women! The first round NCAA tournament game versus Clemson begins tonight at 7pm on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD. They are number one in the nation, and number one in our (Connecticut) hearts. So are the Red Sox, in mine. But you knew that!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

MANNY Making Sense!

His words, not mine. But I like 'em. Here you go. He addresses his eventual home run totals, and SO much more...

"Just another milestone that I'm going to accomplish," Ramírez said before the Red Sox' 6-5 exhibition win over the Hanshin Tigers Saturday, of reaching 500 home runs. "But my train doesn't stop there. Six hundred. I want to play because I love the game. If I play six more years, why not? I'm pretty sure I'm going to reach it.
"If my body feels good, I'm going to keep playing. Why stop? You love the game, why you've got to stop? Age is just a number."
Ramírez, who will be 36 in May, has said this spring that he is not just hoping but expecting the Red Sox to pick up both options on his contract, each for a year at $20 million. "They're not stupid," Ramírez said. "They know. They know I can play and I'm ready. That's it. I'm going to get the two options, then I'm going to get a four-year deal. I'm just going to go and get it."

Peter here. Sir Manny said it, and I posted it. Thanks to the Saturday Boston Globe and their "Manny" article, which is linked when you click on the title of this post. Did you smile, just as I did? I hope so. Now click! Happy Easter...I'll be back first thing in the morning.

Boston Red Sox 6 Hanshin Tigers 5

Big Papi David Ortiz hit a mammoth 500 plus foot home run but Clay Buchholz had another too short outing as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Hanshin Tigers by a score of 6-5. Clay "Bee" pitched 3 2/3 innings, throwing 76 pitches, 45 of them for strikes. He said this after his rather rough outing...

"Overall, I thought it went pretty well. I left a couple of pitches up over the plate and that hurt," said Buchholz, who pitched a no-hitter last Sept. 1 in his second major league start. "The Tiger hitters stayed back on the ball better than I thought they might."

So the Sox finally got to play a game. I worry about this topsy-turvy end of their pre-season, for they are missing out on the normal spring training schedule of games. Until yesterday, that is. They will play another exhibition game later today. All the regular season contests will be on NESN, and ESPN2 (with NESN) will screen the season opener on Tuesday morning. EARLY Tuesday morning. Be there!

In other somewhat disturbing news, Mike Timlin sustained a cut on the ring finger of his right hand, his throwing hand, his money hand. Terry Francona said it was doubtful that he would have to go on the disabled list, although Mike might not be available for Tuesday's early morning opening day game. Timlin had this to say about his availability...

"I don't know yet," Timlin said. "We have to check it out. I can play catch. The ball hit me off the end of the (ring) finger. I tried to get my hand out of the way, actually. I wasn't trying to reach and catch the ball."

Peter here, and I hope he can get back to the action as soon as possible. He's an important part, along with Hideki Okajima and "Little" Manny Delcarmen, of the three man 7th and 8th inning bridge to Jonathon Papelbon and salvation, and I'm sure we all wish him well. Used sparingly (NEVER for more than one inning), he will be a huge asset. He is needed. Our bullpen has four (or so) sure things and many question marks.

I wish all of you a gloriously happy and healthy Easter weekend. I linked an article from the Boston Globe, complete with a BIG picture of the wildly waving David Ortiz, to this post's title. Just click on it for a full and accurate and colorful account of Friday's (or was it Thursday? It wasn't Saturday!) game against the Tigers. You will enjoy it! As always, BE WELL. You are the best and I don't know what I'd do without you.

OH! I received an email from my Red Sox buddy in Tokyo. His blog name is "Superbowl," the link to his blog is on my link list, fourth from the top (check out the mention of Gordon Edes and...and me? Me!). Scroll down a little when you link to his blog to see his "Darkman" post to find it, and click on the link for Gordon's Edes' article that mentions the blog you are now reading. Mine!!! This is what Superbowl's Friday email had to say...

"Thank you Peter-san
Yes the Sox here in Japan!
Unfortunately, I coudn't get ticket
but just their arrival excite me
I'll be glued to the tube for a week."

RSN Int'l friend

Peter here, and you're welcome, Superbowl-san. Have fun watching the games in Tokyo. I imagine that the tickets were tough to come by, and I thank you for the email! And to everyone from Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International, as well as my Constant Readers, thank you for stopping by, and I'll be seeing you. SOON.

Friday, March 21, 2008

BONZAI! The Japan Schedule...

While the Boston Red Sox sleep, or at least try to, I'm here on this Good Friday early morning writing to you. I wish every one of you a happy and healthy holiday weekend. Easter already. My goodness! Passover does not begin until April 20th, and the two holidays, which are usually close on the calender, are separated by almost a month. So the matzoh will have to wait. I like mine soaked in whipped eggs, almost as if the eggs were to be scrambled and sizzled. It's called Fried Matzoh, and with a little salt and fresh cracked pepper (some people use maple syrup, but that's too sweet for me), it's delicious. You can tell it's breakfast time here in Connecticut, and I'm a willing participant. I'm also the head cook and primary dishwasher. And I don't mind one bit.

The Red Sox play their first two regular season games on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 25th and 26th. Both games commence at 6:05 AM EDT. They'll also play exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers and the Yomiuri Giants on Saturday and Sunday. All games will be televised on NESN and ESPN2 (game one only for ESPN2) and broadcast on the Red Sox radio network and the usual internet sites. So enjoy, and I'll have more to say about the starting pitchers before the first exhibition game. For now, the players from BOTH teams have a tough assignment. And that is this - get acclimated to the huge time difference, at least enough to know when it's AM and when it's PM. Believe me, it's tough. And that's why it's such a good thing that the Sox play a couple exhibition games upon their return to the States before resuming their regular season schedule on the left coast.

Well, that's about it for now. For an hour by hour, minute by minute account of the one stop trip to the Far East, just click on this post's title. The Boston Herald had a wonderful article about it this morning, going into everything right down to the in-flight menus and movie entertainment schedule. Nice work! And with a 747 winging them, the players had plenty of room for anything, even with the media contingent on board...two levels and plenty of room for a poker tournament. It's all in the linked article, so take a peek.

To all of you, have a wonderful Good Friday and a happy and healthy Easter Sunday. It's a time for family, fun and ham, in no particular order. This morning, I'll take a ham omelet with a side of bacon, well done, and an order of buttered wheat toast. A glass of ice cold skim milk would make me a very happy guy. As do you. And as always, I wish you peace. BE WELL.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


From the Globe of Boston, direct from the House of the Rising Sun...

TOKYO -- "There was no daylight to tell the Red Sox what time it was when they touched down in the Land of the Rising Sun. It was early Friday morning in Japan, late Thursday morning back in Boston, and infinitely timeless in the minds and bodies of the exhausted world champions.
"Saddle up, partner," said reliever Jonathan Papelbon as he waited in an immigration line after the 20-hour journey from City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla., to the team's massive hotel headquarters near the Tokyo Dome. "This is going to be some road trip."

Peter here, and YES! Everyone is safe and sound, albeit a little confused with the time difference. I'm so happy! That's it! Short but, as aways, sweet.

After Further Thought...

I erred yesterday when I wrote my last post (just below this one) and I want to correct myself. Now. I thought about it a lot last night and I'm up early (it's even early for me!) to correct myself, to say "My bad." Here goes...

When I first heard of the threatened travel boycott by the Red Sox players yesterday, I immediately thought of the many Red Sox fans from Japan who were waiting patiently for the team, THEIR team, to cross the Japanese shores, many of them with precious tickets in their hands as the team winged in from America. I thought of all the sad faces of the children who had their hearts set on seeing their heros from the USA, the champions of the world. So I wrote a post describing the Sox players as being selfish, of thinking only of themselves and not their fans. Boy, was I wrong.

This was a show of team unity unlike any others in my recent memory. Because Major League Baseball decided NOT to pay the Red Sox coaches the same appearance fee that the players would receive, they rose up as one and in a single voice shouted out "NO! We won't go unless the compensation is the same for all." All for one, one for all, the mark of a great team. In the end, things were ironed out, the coaches will be paid and as I write this, the contingent from Boston is just a few hours away from standing firmly and proudly on Red Sox International turf. And that's just so great.

So I want to apologize for my spur-of-the-moment incorrect interpretation of things. I've written at least one post every single day for the past two plus years, and errors are bound to happen. As Emily Litella used to say, and the words fit this situation perfectly (thank you Gilda...I miss you so much), "NEVER MIND."

Thank you, my Constant Readers, and as always, BE WELL. Forever. And click on the title of this post for the Boston Globe's article about the team unity our Sox showed. It's a minute by minute account of yesterday's goings-on, and it's riveting reading.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Peter here, and hello on this quickly dark Wednesday. I know you've heard this news by now, but I couldn't believe it...until this, UNTIL THIS....

"The Red Sox trip to Japan has already hit a major snag...
During a players-only team meeting at City of Palms Park this morning at 8:30, the players decided unanimously, according to more than one player, that the Sox would not take the field for their scheduled 12:07 p.m. exhibition game against the Blue Jays today unless there was a resolution to MLB’s decision not to extend an appearnce fee of $40,000 to all team coaches making the trip to Japan. All players are receiving the $40,000 appearance fee for the Tokyo trip.
According to one player, the players also agreed not to board the Red Sox’ flight to Japan if the matter remained unresolved this evening.
“Unless they take care of this I don’t think we’re going (to Japan),” said Red Sox pitcher Kyle Snyder [stats]. “That’s pretty much where we stand. It’s a pretty strong feeling throughout the clubhouse.”

Peter here, with a little sanity, I HOPE! I do not understand. What???? I'll say that again...WHAT THE ....? I know you know what I meant. If our guys are THAT selfish, this might be the end for me. A 2008 future glory season was staring me in the face, ALL of us, right there in our grasp, with all the thrills and chills that make a summer so very special! I hoped. Past tense intended. And then I heard this? IT SICKENS ME. Just my honesty shining brightly, although dimmed by the baseball team that I love. SAD. So very much so.

THANKS TO SUL....I realize the players were concerned about the coaches not being compensated, but I still adhere to this train of thought...they're paid, and paid well to play baseball....SHUT UP AND DO IT. DO NOT LET DOWN a nation of Sox fans. Or I'll be lost in March. Never happened, never will, I hope. I just DO NOT know. Not now. Maybe ever.

Tokyo Bound!

It seems that Spring Training has passed quickly this year. After the Toronto game in Florida today (Wednesday), the Red Sox will begin their seventeen hour trip to the Far East. I wish them a safe flight...the Sox players will try to stay awake the entire trip to help with their sleep cycles in a completely different time zone. What a difference a twelve (or is it thirteen?) hour time difference can and will make. This is from the Boston Globe...

"The last thing we need is us complaining about this," Francona said. "I hope you never hear an excuse about [not playing well] because of this trip.
"It is not a competitive advantage. Hopefully we'll be going as a very good representative of major league baseball, and we'll win some games."
It will not and cannot be a win-at-all-costs mentality, however. For instance, Coco Crisp and Bobby Kielty, who have been battling injuries, learned yesterday they would make the trip, but most likely would see action only in the two exhibition contests.
Epstein said the Sox will be prudent about how they use their personnel. "We're not going to ask our starting pitchers to go deep into games," Epstein said. "We're not going to ask our bullpen guys to go multiple innings, or pitch back to back.
"These two games count, but it's still March, and we're not going to ask more of our guys than we normally do at this time of year."

Peter here, and Tito and Theo are a little concerned that the trip will affect the player's inner time cycle and maybe make them feel disorientatedly odd for up to a week after they return to, thankfully, the west coast. The shock will be a LITTLE lessened because the left coast is three hours closer in time to that of Japan. The most important thing, as we all know, is that the plane trip will be a good one, and when you talk about flying at 37,000 feet, any flight is a good flight when the plane lands successfully. They'll be fine, and there will be enough down time to let their bodies get adjusted to the immense time differential. Buena suerte, Sox Rojos. We love you. (P.S. That means good luck Red Sox, I think.)

Everyone, have a wonderful Wednesday, yet another Hump Day, as we start the slide towards the weekend. And click on the title for an article from the Boston Herald, all about Tito Francona, our manager supreme. This trip will, in many ways, disrupt his health regiman. I know all about the daily maintainance of one's health because with Type 1 Diabetes, I have to take my blood sugar level five or six times a day plus take shots of insulin after every meal or snack and a shot of long-lasting insulin before bedtime. By now it's second nature, a part of life for me. But if you told me five years ago that needles would be an everyday thing, I would have recoiled in horror. PSST, it ain't that bad, but I wish this disease on NOBODY!

As always, be safe, be happy and BE WELL. And please leave a comment or two. Do you think this Far East trip will disrupt and derail the Red Sox much like the Yankees were affected in 2004? I'd love to know your thoughts. Hey, thanks for being here. I so appreciate it. Every day in every way.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Theo On Jacoby...Colon Ineffective Against The Yankees...Starting Pitchers Announced

Wow, what a full plate today, Tuesday, March 18th. With just about a week to go before the Boston Red Sox head to the Far East, the powers-that-be have announced the early season pitching starters. Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a "home" start in the season opener and Jon Lester will be on the mound for game two. Both games, of course, are against the Oakland A's in Japan. Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield will pitch the two exhibition games against Hanshin and Yomiuri Saturday and Sunday. They are also expected to pitch two of the three exhibitions against the Dodgers in Los Angeles March 28-30, with Bartolo Colon working the other. So there you have it, Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International, as well as my Constant Readers. And that's only the beginning.

Yesterday, the New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 8-3. Colon could not even get out of the first inning, only managing 2/3 of an inning while giving up four runs. Tavarez was almost as bad, pitching the next 3 1/3 innings and also giving up four runs. I'm glad that Buchholz will be our number five guy in the rotation, at least for the start of the season. And no, there has been no specific announcement that would verify that statement, but it's the way it should be, although that's just my opinion. Colon needs more time and Tavy, well, Tavy is Tavy. Case closed, for now. Matsuzaka and Lester are our numbers one and two, at least for the end of March.

Lastly, Theo Epstein had much to say about Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury has had a chance to play this spring because of Coco Crisp and his nagging injuries, but he's only batting .225, although he showed some sparks yesterday in the loss to the Yankees. Heeeeere's Theo with some awesome words, and then I'll be back with a comment...

"He's got a lot of development left," said general manager Theo Epstein. "A couple of things on Jacoby. One is to bring his BP swing into games. If you watch him in BP, he's really developed a classic swing. A natural loft and backspin. The ball jumps off his bat.
"In the game, sometimes he doesn't quite have the same approach. He can be late in the games. He can cut his swing off a little bit. That's the natural evolution of any young hitter - to bring a good BP swing into the game in different parts of the strike zone. Some guys never figure it out. Some guys it takes weeks, years, and we'll see where Jacoby goes.
"He has a combination of athleticism and aptitude. I think it will happen with him. It's a matter of when. I think he can be a good player even before he makes that adjustment. Once he can take that good swing into the game with him, he'll be able to drive the ball consistently and take his game to another level.
"Defensively, he's got some things to work on, too. He's got all the tools to be an excellent defensive center fielder. He still needs to learn to judge the ball off the bat of major league hitters, learning different walls and warning tracks and different things. There is still some development out there for him." He hasn't really done anything yet in the big leagues except for a very nice contribution over a short time last year," Epstein said.

Peter here, and well said, Theo. I realize that Ells is a still-developing young player with a bright future in front of him. And we Sox fans will be lucky enough to watch him develop, to hone his skills to a razor-sharp edge that will cut through any pitcher's arsenal, every step of the way. But if Coco stays healthy, and he IS on a roll (one game!) of healthy starts (just kidding, but only a little), he would be the main guy patrolling centerfield. For now. So may the battle begin, and may the Boston Red Sox, with their thin, just for now, starting pitching rotation and their strong bullpen and lineup start fast and end strong, with no June swoon, or ANY swoon. We'll see, won't we?

Click on this post's title for a Boston Herald article about Dice K and his opening day start in Tokyo. He said he's comfortable pitching there, with his whole country watching and we here in the United States treated to morning drive-time baseball, all on the Red Sox radio network, NESN and the internet. But for now, the starters are not yet ready. THEY WILL BE READY.

Thanks for visiting, I'd love to read and respond to your comments, if any (please?!), and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Josh Beckett To Stay Stateside ***New Sox Blog Announcement***

Good Monday morning, the cheeriest day of the week (NOT!). But what can we do? Every seven days, a Monday comes and now, I'm used to it. Happy St. Patrick's Day, lads and lassies. Notice that my blog has a basic color scheme of green. But it's like that 365 days a year (this year-366). I like to think of it as a Fenway Park type of color. All things Red Sox make for a very happy blog. Ok, OK, back to baseball. Josh Beckett's back is feeling 100%, and those are sweet words indeed. He will not be going to Japan. A 14 hour plane ride is not condusive to the health of any muscle in the body, especially those that are entwined through and throughout the spinal region. Here's what the man himself, as well as his manager, had to say after his Sunday outing. This is borrowed from the Boston Globe...

"Everything's good," said Beckett, who had an icepack on his back. "I did everything I wanted to do."
Francona, speaking from Bradenton, Fla., where the Red Sox dropped a 6-3 decision to the Pirates, said of the decision on Beckett, "It's not the right thing to do [to send him to Japan]. Everything we say, we need to live by."
Francona was pleased with Beckett's work yesterday. "He started out throwing at 60 [feet] and progressed to 75 with no concerns, which was really what we were shooting for," he said. "He'll start ramping it up a little bit from here. The best-case scenario - I say the best-case scenario - is Thursday will be a side day. He tolerated everything he was supposed to. John was real excited. The ball came out of his hands real nice. "

Peter here, and those are some of the sweet words I really needed to hear. The Red Sox without a dominant Josh "Baseball" Beckett would be like breakfast cereal without milk, a pencil without an eraser, a burger without ketchup and onions. Tim Wakefield looked really great yesterday in the "B" game. He and his new catcher, Kevin Cash, threw five PERFECT innings. The "A" game starter, Kyle Snyder, fared just as well, along with reliever Hideki "the Darkman" Okajima. See for is the Sox pitching summary. You see, the reason why I post the pitching lines of certain games and NOT the batting lineup stats is because I worry about our pitching staff, especially now when its exact format has not yet been assembled. Here you go...

K Snyder 3 1 0 0 1 2 0
H Okajima 2 2 0 0 1 1 0
M Timlin 1 3 2 2 0 1 0
C Breslow (L,0-1) 1 4 4 3 0 1 0
J Papelbon 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

As you can see, Mike Timlin and Craig Breslow combined for Pittsburgh's six runs in the eventual 6-3 loss. But it's great to see Kyle and Okie so effective. I'm counting on Okajima SO much this year. In many ways, he is as important to the team as Jonathon Papelbon. Our bullpen is constructed AROUND those two talented guys.

I have a new blog announcement. Faithful and relatively new reader Brittany has started her own blog. She's written only two posts, but her blog is newly "minted." I have listed it on my link list. It's called Brittany's BoSox. A pretty catchy title, isn't it? All you have to do is click on THIS post's title and you will instantly be transported there. Or go to my link list. Bookmark it, for I have a feeling it will be a "must-see" stop on my daily Red Sox "blog jog" during the 2008 season to come. GOOD LUCK BRITTANY!! Brittany is also known as commenter "redsox.njdevils." So click on the title and watch her blog grow. She's already bookmarked on my Apple Mac.

Everyone, have a great Monday, and as always, BE WELL. Now go check out that BoSox blog! And maybe leave her a comment or three. Thanks.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Red Sox Put On Their Hitting Shoes...

Saturday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Cincinnati Reds by a score of 16-6. With 18 hits, two by the newly returned Julio Lugo, everything was good. Here is a quick recap from mlb dot com...

"Julio Lugo had two hits after sitting out the previous 12 days with a back injury, and the Boston Red Sox hit three homers in a 16-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
Lugo led off the first inning with a double and scored on Mike Lowell’s single. He singled in a seven-run fourth, chasing starter Homer Bailey from the game. With the injury behind him, the shortstop is virtually certain to accompany the Red Sox on Wednesday to Tokyo, where they play two exhibition games against Japanese teams before the first two games of the regular season against the Oakland Athletics.
“Right now I’m going. I went once and I like it. I like it very much,” said Lugo..."

Peter here, and we like it too, Julio. John Lester was good, not great, and Hansack continues to impress. Here is the entire Sox pitching summary for the game...

J Lester 4 4 3 3 1 3 0
B Corey 1 2-3 3 0 0 0 1 0
D Aardsma 1 2 2 2 1 1 1
J Lopez 1 1-3 2 1 1 0 1 0
D Hansack 1 0 0 0 0 2 0

So the hitting shoes were on, the pitching was adequate, Josh Beckett is feeling better each and every day, and Daisuke WILL be with the team for the trip to the Far East. Sunday's looking up, isn't it?

Well, that's it from here now. And as always, thank you for stopping in to spend a few minutes with me. Click on the title for the entire mlb dot com recap of yesterday's triumph. Have a great Sunday!

Baby Matsuzaka Comes Into The World

Great news on this VERY early Sunday morning. And it was one of my wonderful readers, Red Sox-NJDevils, AKA Brittany, who brought it to my attention with her Saturday comment of my yesterday post. DAISUKE IS A DAD!! Here is the entire Boston Globe press release...

"Daisuke Matsuzaka is a father again. Tomoyo, wife of the Red Sox righthander, gave birth to a boy Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m., the team said. The newborn, the couple's second child, weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces. No name for the boy was released.
Matsuzaka, who pitched four innings against the Orioles in a spring training game Friday afternoon, has joined his wife in Boston and is expected to return to camp in Fort Myers, Fla., in a couple of days.
There was some question as to how the timing of the birth would affect Matsuzaka's availability for the Red Sox' upcoming trip to Japan, where they will open the season against the Oakland A's March 25-26. With the child safely delivered, it appears likely that Matsuzaka will accompany the team to his native land, though the Sox have made no official statement to that effect."

Peter here, and Mazel Tov (that means heartfelt congratulations and God's blessings), Daisuke and Tomoyo. May you and your son lead long, happy and healthy lives. You have been truly blessed. I guess we'll be seeing Daddy Matsuzaka pitch the first regular season game in Japan, his native land, and I'll bet you one other thing. He'll be pitching his heart out for his son. I wouldn't be surprised if he dedicates this entire season to his newborn blessing of life. And we'll ALL be behind him. Remember, baseball is baseball but life is, well, LIFE. One is a game, the other? The other is something I couldn't put into words if you gave me two pages to do it. Two HUNDRED pages! But life, health, happiness and a loved one to share them with is something special. Very special. May every one of you, my Constant Readers, be so blessed. And before I forget, please click on the title of this post for Tony Massarotti's Sunday article about everything Daisuke. The rotation (short term) is set, Josh WILL BE BACK, and soon, and we're all happy. At least I hope so.

Again, thank you Brittany, keep up the great work and maybe think of starting your own blog, when school permits. You're a natural Red Sox fan who can put her feelings about "her" club into glorious words. That is such a gift. To all my readers, have a wonderful Sunday, and as always, BE SAFE, BE WELL. Thanks.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dice K OK As Sox Beat Birds 7-4..Hello To Sal S.

Atlanta sustained a direct hit by a suspected tornado last night (Friday). There was an NCAA tournament in progress at the time and people inside the building described the increasing air pressure in great detail. 20 people were hurt, some severely, but no one perished, thank GOD. But it was much calmer in Florida as the Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-4. Daisuke Matsuzaka was servicably good, giving up a couple runs in his four innings. He had this to say after the contest ended after 6.5 innings...

“In terms of the four games that I’ve pitched so far, I feel that things are coming along well,” Matsuzaka said through a translator. “As I’ve said before, I’m a slow starter. So, in my fifth start, the thing I’ll be working on is focusing on my first inning. From the third inning onward, I felt like I got a lot better,” Matsuzaka said. “It would be nice to bring that state to the start of the game.”

Manny slammed a two run four hundred plus foot home run in the very first inning, and it looks like he is setting himself up for a monster season. Manager Tito Francona had these glowing words to say...

“He seems very comfortable in his own skin,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He’s one of the best hitters I’ve ever seen and I would think that will continue probably as long as he wants it to.”

Peter here, and yes Tito, as long as he keeps in shape, he could be a force at the plate for many years to come. His work regimen, both during the season and throughout the off season, has never been better, and his number is destined to join the hallowed ones on the right field facade of our Fenway Park. He sure deserves it!

Lastly, at least for now, this is what Tito Francona had to say about the continually improving ace of our staff, Josh "Baseball" Beckett. Don't worry, his back is healing with each passing hour and he should be ready to toe the rubber when the Sox return to native soil after their exhibition games and two regular season games in the center of Red Sox International, Tokyo, Japan. Heeeerre's Tito...

"He said he's closer. He's doing the treadmill. He's getting there. We told him when you think you're there, we'll probably hold you back for a couple of days. He's doing a good job of doing exactly what the trainers tell him to do. That's not an easy thing for him to do. He's such a hundred-mile-an-hour guy."

Peter here, and he's OUR hundred-mile-per-hour guy. What could be better than that? Please, my Constant Readers, click on the title of this post to be directed to a great Boston Herald article penned by Tony Massarotti. It's about Manny. 'Nuff said! Have a wonderful Saturday, and check out Atlanta on your local morning news if you can. I haven't seen any pictures from the downtown area, but the six o'clock hour nears, and with it the news. As always, be safe and BE WELL. I wish you the best.

I wanted to say a quick hello to friend and co-worker Sal S. Hello Sal. I told you I'd mention you in one of my posts! And I did. Enjoy your're a very special person.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Colon Impresses--Bye Bye 'Belli

There was good news and sad news for the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. First, the club released old friend Doug Mirabelli, the personal catcher for Tim Wakefield. Taking over the knuckleball catching duties will be defensive specialist but ultra light hitting Kevin Cash. Dougie's batting average had plummeted from .281 in '04 to .202 last year. Thank you for everything, Dougie. You were there when we needed you, and you will be missed.

Bartolo Colon made his Sox pitching debut yesterday and opened some eyes. Wide. Here is what some said after his performance...

"...a good two-inning performance in a 3-3 tie with the Tampa Bay Rays proved to be good news for the Red Sox. Colon allowed two hits, one run, a walk, and a home run in two innings. He struck out one of the 10 batters faced.
"I thought he was way up in the zone," said a scout, "but for his first time out, pretty good. HE'S GOING TO HELP IF HE CONTINUES LIKE THAT."
There were a lot of scouts on hand to watch Colon, and the consensus was, "WISH WE'D SIGNED HIM."
"It was a lot more velocity than we expected," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "He had good arm strength for his first time out. Much more life on the ball than the side session he had, which is what we wanted to see."
"I'm thrilled," Colon said. "My arm is responding. I didn't know how hard I was throwing, but it felt great."

Bartolo, we're thrilled, too! And you were consistently throwing between 92-94MPH. Pretty darn good!! The club hopes Bartolo will be ready by April 12th, which is the first day a fifth starter will be needed. That's just about a month away from now, so I hope that gives him plenty of time to hone his skills, skills that still remain after two years of injuries. This could be a stellar pickup for the World Champs and it might allow Clay Buchholz the chance he needs down in Pawtucket to treat his young arm right.

In another news note, Curt Schilling has been placed on the 60 day disabled list. No surprise there. But the most important news of the day was the first mound appearance by Bartolo Colon, our "probable" fifth starter. As many of the scouts who watched his two inning stint said, "...wish we'd signed him." Well, tough luck. He wears a Boston Red Sox uniform now, the best garb in the baseball world.

Click on the title of this post for the entire Colon article from the Boston Globe, and have yourselves a very merry Friday. Thanks for stopping by, and as always, BE WELL. That's the most important wish of all. Forever.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Our Manny Speaks, With JUST A Touch Of Grey

Manny, with just a touch of grey in his locks, spoke out. He spoke out well. I want you to read this, from Red Sox MLB dot com. I enjoyed it so very much...

"The experts will tell us one of the keys to aging well is to continue learning along the way. Older and wiser, as the saying goes. And, occasionally, we learn something about ourselves along the way, too.
"I'm older," said Manny Ramirez, who turns 36 on May 30 and has tinges of gray in his flowing braids and scruffs of whiskers attest to his observation.
"The thing is, be older and be smarter. The older you get, the smarter you get. We don't hope. That's just the way it is." On this morning, he (Manny) was uncharacteristically willing to share his thoughts with a clubhouse visitor.
Ramirez said he learned during his offseason workouts at the Athletes' Performance in Arizona -- where his workout partners were teammates Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia -- that he could work smarter without working harder, and get better results you get." Ramirez has new training and dieting habits to match his wiser disposition.
"We didn't do a lot of running, [or] a lot of cardio," said Ramirez, who noted that there was about 20 minutes of running. "But our workout was, like, two hours. The most important thing is doing the exercise right, because sometimes you do the exercises and you're doing the right exercises, you're just doing them wrong."
Ramirez enters this season -- his 16th -- just 10 home runs shy of the vaunted 500-home run plateau. Averaging better than 32 long balls a season, he hit just 20 in 2007, his lowest home run output since he hit 17 in 1994, playing in just 91 games. Most of his offensive numbers were down last season compared to his career averages. His .296 batting average was 16 points lower than his .313 career mark. Slugging (.493 compared to .593) and on-base percentage (.388, .409) were also down.
Is the power of positive thinking tied into becoming a member of the 500 home run club for Ramirez? Possibly. In addition to staying healthy, a perennial goal, Ramirez said for the first time in his career he has set actual numerical goals for the season. But, for now, he's not revealing those.
Ramirez reflected on the Sox's 2007 World Series season. "Every time you win in Boston, it's special, because they go crazy. They love it and they're the best fans ever. When we go away, it's like we're playing at home. You got more fans on your side. It's great, they follow us everywhere."
While Ramirez is not contemplating an imminent retirement, he is making plans for that eventuality. "You're blessed. That's why every day you can't complain. You're making so much money and your kids are healthy. And you got everything you want."
Older and wiser. Leaner and lighter. Focused on goals. This could be an interesting season for Ramirez -- and American League pitchers."

Peter here...and we are blessed to have you, Manny. And it WILL be an interesting season, one filled with all the hopes and dreams that we're capable of feeling. And I love it! Click on the title for the entire article. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. It touched my soul. But so do the Boston Red Sox. And they will forever and ever. By the way, so do you, every day in every way....

Buchholz Doings & All The Bill James Numbers In A 24 Page Special Feature

Peter here on this still cold Thursday morning. It's March 13th, and the days are slowly but steadily getting warmer, but the nights, the early morning hours especially, remain bone-chillingly cold. But that's the norm for mid-March.

Clay Buchholz pitched four innings against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, his third time pitching against them this spring. And he was flat out tremendous for the first three frames, HITLESS ones, before tiring in the fourth. The general feeling right now is that he will start the season playing for Triple A Pawtucket, not because of the quality of his pitches but to hold down the season-long innings pitched and the wear and tear on his arm. I ask you this...isn't the "wear and tear" on his arm and the total innings pitched the same when pitching for Pawtucket as it would be for the parent club? Simple logic says to me a resounding YES! So I don't get it, especially when I think of Tavarez being our number five guy in the rotation. No, please no! I know there are other candidates to take over that fifth spot, one of them, Bartolo "Rollo" Colon, pitches today, but if Colon isn't ready and Tavy remains Tavy, WHY NOT START CLAY IN THE FIFTH SPOT and use all the early days off to minimize his innings early in the season? An answer to that, as well as to the many other queries I have, will be answered in time, time that is growing short until the games count.

I have a treat for you if you haven't perused the Boston Globe today. Bill James has released his yearly projections for major league ballplayers, the Boston Red Sox included. This is important...when you click on the title of this post, you will be immediately directed to a 24 (twenty four!) page special Globe feature that will show you, position by position, James' projected numbers for every starting Soxer. Then you can vote if you agree or disagree. And after that? You can see the results of the thousands of responding Red Sox fans. It should be fun! I'm going there to take the "quiz" as soon as I finish writing this to you, my Constant Readers. As always, be safe. BE WELL. I treasure every one of you. Now click and enjoy that Boston Globe feature. I'll go over the Bill James' projections, position by position, player by player, with you tomorrow. It should be fun. CLICK AWAY!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Josh Beckett's Back Is A Little Better, But Japan Trip Is Doubtful At Best

The news out of Florida was a little better about Josh Baseball Beckett's back. He had a horrible day on Monday but Tuesday was an improvement. He is nowhere close to even be able to do any stretching excercises, much less throw the ball. But the Sox are being cautious, as they should be. Said Tito Francona (quote taken from the Boston Globe)...

"I don't know that we would want to eliminate it (the trip to Japan) today because we don't have to," manager Terry Francona said. "The one thing we're not going to do is send him over there to pitch three innings and hurt his back. Just like everything, it depends on how they're doing health-wise. He actually is having a pretty good day today.
"We just want him to be healthy for the long haul. Last year when he had that avulsion, we didn't run him out there when we probably could have because we didn't think it made sense. So in something like this, we'll do the same thing. We'll use good judgment. It's not always easy to use good judgment, but that's the right thing to do."

Peter here, and the Sox HAVE been using good judgement and are handling Josh just like the ace of the team that he is. And that's a good thing.

Yesterday the Red Sox and the Mets tangled again, and this time there WAS no tie. The good guys prevailed by a score of 4-3. Wakefield was good enough, Paps was better, relying on his new pitch, the slider, more often than at any other time, and Little Manny was just great. We're going to need him as part of the three man bridge to Papelbon. He and Oki and Timlin seem to be the ones who will make up that bridge. Here is the Red Sox pitching line. I think you'll be happy...

Wakefield (W) 4 5 2 2 3 0 0
J Papelbon 2 0 0 0 0 2 0
M Delcarmen 2 0 0 0 0 1 0
D Kolb (S,1) 1 2 1 1 1 1 0

So we're OK, and as soon as Josh and his back are fully functional, we'll be back at full (without Schill) strength. I want to thank reader Red Sox.NJDevils for her yesterday comment. She always successfully finds a classic one thing or another to bring to my attention, even though sometimes I've already seen it. Thanks Brittany. And thanks go out to ALL my Constant Readers for their persistance and unwavering loyalty. I owe you. Every one of you. BIGTIME. Click on the title of this post for the entire Boston Globe article about our Boston Red Sox ace, Josh Beckett. And as always, be well. FOREVER. That's what I wish for you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thank you Gov. Rell...UCONN Women Rule!!

Why am I thanking the Gov?? I'll tell you. Last night the UCONN Women Huskies played and whipped DePaul to advance to the finals of the Big East Tournament. They are number ONE in the nation, and when it was obvious to her (the Gov.) that most of the state of Connecticut would not be able to watch the game (it was on ESPNU...useless to Comcast subscribers here), she stepped in. The game was broadcast on Connecticut Public Television, which is available to ALL cable Ct. people.....great job JODI! Tonight will be the finals....UCONN vs LOUISVILLE, in Hartford and on ESPN2 and ESPN 2 HD, nationwide at 7 PM. I can't wait!

If you want to see a quality basketball team, check it out! What, WOMEN'S basketball? In many ways, they are better than any men's team in our nation. They do everything JUST right. GO UCONN!!!!!!!!!! And please click on this post's title for the full happy joyous story.

***Josh Beckett's Back Worsens***

The Boston Red Sox and the refurbished New York Mets played to a 1-1 tie in Florida Monday. Here is the Sox pitching summary..


J Lester 4 2 0 0 1 5 0
H Okajima 2 1 0 0 0 1 0
J Lopez 1 1 0 0 0 1 0
C Hansen 1 1 1 1 0 1 0
C Breslo 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
L Gronkiewicz 1 0 0 0 0 1 0

Peter here. Santana started for the Metsies and pitched well, but great job by our Jon Lester (4 innings!) and Hideki Okajima as they round into regular season shape. But not everybody is progressing, and that brings me to the most important Sox story of the day (or the week, or the entire off season!). Josh Beckett awoke on Monday after a Sunday filled with optimism and realized he had had a setback. This is part of what he had to say. This excerpt is from the Boston Globe, and it's a little lengthy, but the subject matter is significantly important enough to justify its verbage...

"I was a lot more optimistic yesterday than I am today," said Beckett, who spent the morning receiving treatment in the trainer's room at City of Palms Park after a restless night caused by the discomfort in his back.
There's a chance that neither of the team's top two starters will be available for the first two games in Japan. "There's nothing we have to come to a determination on today," general manager Theo Epstein said yesterday in Port St. Lucie, where the Sox and Mets played to a 1-1, 10-inning tie. "We'll just have to see how things play out over the next few days. We'll have two starting pitchers for the trip, we just don't know who they are yet."
He was scheduled to pitch this past Saturday against the Marlins, but he felt back spasms after throwing his first warmup pitch and landing on some loose dirt, according to pitching coach John Farrell. Beckett left after throwing five more warmup pitches. Beckett was encouraged by how his back felt when he came to the ballpark Sunday morning, but he was experiencing considerably more soreness yesterday.
"They basically told me that they couldn't find a spot to put the shot in there," he said. "We've done a number of tests. There's nothing wrong with the disks, and I think that's what they wanted to make sure of. It's definitely a strained muscle or pulled muscle, whatever you want to call it. It heals when it heals."
Beckett said he expected to undergo more treatment this morning and did not know when he would be able to resume throwing.
"We're going to make sure it's completely pain-free," he said.

Peter here once again. First of all, thank goodness there was no disc damage indicated. I've been through that before, to the point of having a back operation all those years ago, and I know that type of pain is debilitating, to say the least. It was the worst pain I've ever experienced, and it was unrelenting. But since that successful surgery I've had nary a problem, knock on wood. Oops, no wood is near, so I'll just knock on my forehead...same thing. But enough about me and back to Josh. It looks like we will be without our numbers one and two starters for the first two regular season games. If that's the case, we'll see Jon Lester in the first game and Tim Wakefield in game number two. And how fitting would that be? Lester pitched the last game of 2007, and now he might pitch game one of 2008. May the results be exactly the same. As for Josh, thank goodness no disc problem showed up. It looks like, from what I've read, a muscular problem, an ailment that could be adversely affected by a too long plane ride. So it WOULD be for the best if he stayed in the States and rejoined the team on the left coast. Time will tell, but this is a bit of news that I did NOT want to hear, especially after he was feeling so much better on Sunday, the day after his misstep. Good luck Josh Baseball. To say we need you this year would be a gross and utter understatement. HEAL.

I thank you for stopping in yet again and I urge you to click on the title of this post for the entire Boston Globe article about our ace, penned by Shaughnessy and Edes. As always, be safe and BE WELL. Now click! I'd love to read and respond to any and all of your comments, too. Have a great Tuesday as yet another week rockets quickly into our pasts.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Beckett's Back Beautifully Better

The Boston Red Sox received some much needed great news about their ace pitcher's back. Josh Beckett, the only 20 game winner last season, was moving much better than he was able to on Saturday. His back spasms were significantly less severe. Said his manager, Tito Francona...

"He actually looked way better than we anticipated," Francona said. "He was tested thoroughly. I think it has been pretty much determined that it's musculature in nature. His lower back is kind of in a spasm right now. We've got to ease that off and then get him back to doing what he's doing. It's probably a best-case scenario of what could have happened. As soon as this thing settles down, we'll get him back moving in the right direction. I think we're all relieved to see him moving around the way he was. I think HE was even surprised..."

Peter here. There is still a chance he won't make the Japan trip, however, but the club is smartly being cautious. The season is a long one and there are far worse things than missing one start. Plus a flight of that length is not good for anyone's back. Not a Boston to Tokyo jaunt of 13 hours or so (or longer).

In other news, it looks like Bartolo Colon's first spring start has been moved up to Thursday of this week. He will face the Devil-less Rays. Tito said this about that...

"We feel good about this," Francona said. "Nothing's a for-sure thing in this game. But I think we're feeling pretty good about the fact that he's in camp and going to help us."

Peter here. Colon is well behind the other pitchers in camp, and he will be limited to one or two innings maximum. Since he is only two years removed from his Cy Young Award season, it will be interesting to see what he can do. With his incentive-laden contract, it's a win-win proposition for the Sox. And that's good for everyone involved. Including us!

That's a wrap for this still dark Monday, the first day of the work week. I'll be back if there is any Sox news about ANYTHING. And click on this post's title for the Boston Globe's Red Sox Notebook, with news of Beckett, Matsuzaka's yesterday start and Colon's start to come. Have a wonderful day and as always, BE WELL. Any and all of your comments will be answered, but you already knew that! Thanks for stopping by yet again. I love ya!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Josh Beckett's Back Spasms Are Cause For Concern, For ALL Of Us.

Good morning on this Sunday, the first full day of Eastern Standard time. Wow, it seemed like Daylight Savings time came and went in a fortnight (that's two weeks). But now to more important news, news that provided quite the scare to Red Sox fans and coaches. Josh Beckett, our ace and "savior", stepped on a soft spot near the mound while throwing his warm up pitches before his scheduled Saturday start and did something to his back. Spasms ensued and he walked off the mound into the dugout before throwing a single pitch. Little Manny Delcarmen, who has an ERA of 0.00 (I like that!) so far this spring, became the spot starter and tossed two scoreless innings in a 5-2 Red Sox loss, but all eyes were focused on Josh Baseball, as I like to call him. Hey, it worked LAST year, why stop now? Here is what he and Sox pitching coach John Farrell had to say...

"We'll just have to wait and see how it feels tomorrow" was Beckett's only comment three hours after he felt back spasms and called catcher Jason Varitek to the mound following his sixth warmup pitch. "I think everybody holds their collective breath hoping that the severity of this is manageable," pitching coach John Farrell said. "Obviously, missing a start today is short term. But, again, it's too early to speculate when he'd be on the mound next."
Beckett, the only 20-game winner in the majors last year, was examined Saturday and "will be examined thoroughly" again Sunday, said manager Terry Francona, who didn't want to risk letting him pitch.
"If a kid like Beckett ever threw a pitch and hurt his arm because he was favoring his back, we wouldn't be able to live with ourselves," he said. "We wouldn't do that with anybody."

Peter here, and AMEN to that, Tito. YOU ARE THE BEST. And we all know it's going to be a long season, so we hope and we pray that Beckett will be our starter for that magic game in Tokyo, Japan, Red Sox International, which is the season opener. I'll let you know as soon as I hear something, which I'm sure will be during the NESN 1pm telecast of the Sox/Dodgers game today.

Please click on the title of this post for an article written by Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. He will tell you all you need to know about our Josh. Yes, OUR Josh, for he represents the 2008 Boston Red Sox, reigning world champions. I must say I'm a bit underwhelmed by our pitchers effectiveness so far, but I also know it's REALLY early in March. We have to remember it's an abbreviated spring training schedule for the club before they journey to Japan, and I hope that doesn't hurt the club I love to love.

Thanks for stopping in yet again. Your comments are always welcome. You know that! And as always, BE SAFE. BE WELL. Forever.

I hope you didn't forget to turn those clocks ahead. If you haven't already, you might be an hour behind the rest of the nation, except for Arizona and Puerto Rico. And boy, did we get a boatload (I could have used another word) of rain Friday night and Saturday, so, because I live near a river (the Farmington river) and in its valley, my road to civilization might be cut off, just until tomorrow. Imagine, stuck at home on a Sunday, no plans scheduled on my "calender of events," with a full refrigerator and a 6 pak of Miller Light. OH, THE HUMANITY!!! Will I survive?? The answer is a resounding yes.

Please don't forget this. I can't wait to read any and all of your comments, my Constant Readers, and I hope your day will be a GREAT one. In fact, I know it will! Love you all and see you soon.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Double Drubbing...Coco Crisp Cries Foul

The Boston Red Sox had a Friday split squad twin slate that turned out to be an afternoon they would rather forget. Wipe that slate clean and turn the page. It was that kind of day. They lost 12-2 to the Minnesota Twins and 7-2 to the Baltimore Orioles. In the Birdie's game, Julian Tavarez was up to his old tricks, going the first 2 2/3 innings and giving up 4 runs. Kyle Snyder followed with 3 innings of work, giving up another 5 runs. Game over, as they say. In the Twinkie's game, Clay Buchholz and Jonathon Papelbon each surrendered 3 runs. The ink on Paps' contract had barely dried, but in no way am I worried about him. He's experimenting with a new pitch, a slider, and spring training is the time for experimentation. But it truly was a day to forget, so I will. There, it's done, erased from my memory bank. Deleted permanently. Caput. Finito.

In other Sox news, Coco Crisp has recently been nagged by a sore throat and a dental root canal procedure, but those setbacks clearly have not hampered his speaking ability. Here are some of his comments, and then I'll be back with something to say...a BIG something to say, loudly and clearly...

"Why would you want to sit on the bench? Why would you want to do that?” Crisp said. “I want to play. It’s just a matter of getting out there and having to reprove yourself (this spring). It’s kind of bogus.”
“I know, and I think the team knows, that I went out there and played hurt last year,” he said. “Not to be rewarded with an actual opportunity to help, it kind of hurts.”
“I feel good now, but last year I didn’t,” Crisp said. “I played with a broken toe, an oblique injury, (and) I was freaking popping my shoulder all crazy trying to dive for balls.”
“He is the incumbent,” said general manager Theo Epstein. “Short term, that will guarantee him a chance. In the long term, performance will guarantee his opportunity.”
“It’s very simple. If (Ellsbury) makes the team and he starts, then hopefully they can find a place for me elsewhere,” said Crisp. “If they can’t, then we’ll have to deal with the situation. I’m not going to be happy about it, but I’m not going to be an a**hole. It’s still a game. It’s still fun. But I’d rather be out there playing.”

Peter here, and I'd like to address a couple of comments directly to the man himself. Coco, DON'T WHINE. You're a professional ballplayer. Do you think you deserve to be handed the starting centerfield position with no questions asked? Last year you were truly awesome in the outfield, but you couldn't hit your way out of a paper bag if your life depended on it. And Jacoby Ellsbury deftly stepped in and shined. So brightly. This spring you've again been hampered with injuries, and that does not bode well for your chances. But don't act like a baby! Go out there and COMPETE. That's what the game of baseball is all about...COMPETITION. Frankly, I'm getting tired of your blubbering. It seems to me that when it comes to your complaining, those pleas somehow never fail to reach the press. Show us that your body can take the day-to-day grind of games without breaking down. That would be a great start. The job is out there, but it ain't going to be handed to you on a silver platter.

Phew, that's out of my system, and I feel better. I think. The man has never been healthy for an extended period of time, and it's lucky we had Jacoby, who was called up from the minors for this reason alone. What are your feelings on the matter? Should the job go to the man who proves himself superior in spring training, or should it go to the "incumbent," a term Theo used earlier in this post. I say may the better man win, and may the other treasure the fourth outfielder position, where he would be sure to see plenty of action. Coco wants to start...wah, wah wah, Coco.

Click on the title of this post for the entire Boston Herald article, and use the links there to read all about yesterday's twin killings. And as always, have a great Saturday and a wonderful weekend. We are being soaked with water today, so it'll be a good day to pop in a DVD and watch a great movie. INTO THE WILD comes to mind instantly. It was just released on DVD and Hi-Def Blu-Ray this past Tuesday. Adapted from a Jon Krakauer true story novel (INTO THIN AIR-about Mount Everest-a classic book), the flick has been gloriously reviewed nationwide and just happens to be sitting on my bookshelf, begging to be watched. And so I will. Please leave those comments if you can, and as always, BE WELL.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Signed, Sealed & Delivered

Jonathon Papelbon is a happy guy on this pre-dawn Friday morning, for he has a new contract that makes him the highest paid reliever with less than three years of service in all of baseball. This is from the Hartford Courant...

"The Red Sox gave Papelbon a one-year, $775,000 contract, the largest for a relief pitcher with fewer than three years' service time. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, the player Papelbon most often compares himself with, signed a $750,000 deal as a pre-arbitration player in 1998.
Papelbon, 27, was 37-for-40 on saves last season. He had a 1.85 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings before saving three of the four wins in the World Series, including the series finale."

Peter here, and the Red Sox did the right thing. A happy Jonathon Papelbon makes for very unhappy Red Sox opponents, and that's just the way we like it. The Sox weren't finished there, though. Read on, again from the Courant...

"The Red Sox also reached agreement with all 18 of their unsigned players, including Dustin Pedroia ($457,000), Jacoby Ellsbury ($406,000), Jon Lester ($421,500), Manny Delcarmen ($421,000) and Clay Buchholz ($396,000).
Also avoiding renewal: pitchers David Aardsma, Craig Breslow, Bryan Corey, Devern Hansack, Kyle Jackson, Edgar Martinez and David Pauley; catchers Dusty Brown and George Kottaras; infielders Chris Carter and Argenis Diaz and outfielder Brandon Moss."

Ok, so the money matters are just about set. JUST ABOUT. One glaring exception is the contract status of captain and catcher Jason Varitek, who can become a free agent next season. Some fans might say he's getting too old, but his study of the opposing hitters and his knowlege of what he wants his pitcher to throw and when to throw it is invaluable, so I think we'll see 'Tek behind the plate for the next two years, not including this one. He has revamped his swing, making adjustments depending on which side of the plate he is batting from. He hopes the result will be more line drives and a more even, number-wise, batting average from the left or the right side. We wish him the best season ever.

Well, my Constant Readers, it won't be long before the Boston Red Sox will be winging to Japan, the capital and home of Red Sox International. Sure, we have another three weeks or so in Florida, time for everyone to round themselves into shape. The pitchers have had a maximum of only two starts, five innings or so, and they need more. They'll get it, too, as will the hitters, every one of them, who are still making adjustments and will be figiting and tinkering the whole season long. Right now, the pitchers are ahead of the hitters, but that was not the case last night. Boston lost to old friend Derek Lowe and his LA Dodgers 9-6. The Sox were comfortably ahead for seven innings, but it was in the eighth and the ninth frames that LA scored 7 runs. Here are the Red Sox culprits, two pitchers we will NOT see in the big leagues in 2008...

H Jones (L,0-1) 2-3 1 4 2 1 1 1
L Gronkiewicz 1-3 3 3 3 1 1 1

Wakefield pitched well again, going three innings, and the score heading into the eighth inning was 6-2 good guys. In the regular season, it would have been Oki to Paps time. Bang. Game over! But this is spring training...a different breed of game.

Hey, have a great Friday. I have to prepare my tax stuff (uhh!) and pay some bills (double uhh!!) at work today, but then the weekend will start, with all the good stuff, including the Big East Women's Basketball Tournament in Hartford (the UCONN women's team is number one in the nation!!!!) heading the list. That comes up on Saturday and Sunday. And believe it or not, we change our clocks forward before sleep Saturday, eastern standard time went by so quickly. But everything does these days! Click on the title to be directed to the Boston Herald Michael Silverman article, crammed with everything you needed or wanted to know about our happy reliever, Jonathon Papelbon. And as always, BE WELL. What would I do without you?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lester Looks Better--Papelbon Talks Continue

John Lester's second spring training start had a decided edge over his first one. He pitched three innings, without strain, and allowed one run on 4 hits. He threw 56 pitches, 33 for strikes. That's still too many balls for his 56 pitches, but he's heading in the right direction. The Red Sox lost to the Reds by a score of 7-6. Here's what Jon had to say after his encouraging outing...

"I got another week under my belt, another bullpen and I just felt more comfortable," Lester said. "You see somebody other than your own team for the first time, you're more amped up. That could have resulted in me being a little erratic Saturday.
Right now, I feel good. Mechanically, I'm feeling good and physically, I feel strong. Today, I didn't really get tired, even though it's the first time throwing three innings. I feel comfortable where I'm at right now."

Peter here...well said Jon, and we feel the same way, too. Here is the Red Sox pitching summary from yesterday. It seems that Javier Lopez, a lefty in the 'pen who we are counting on, had a bit of difficulty. Take a look...

Lester 3 4 1 1 1 2 0
H Okajima 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
M Delcarmen 0 0 0 0 2 0
J Lopez (L) 1 4 5 0 1 0 0
D Hansack 2 1 1 1 1 2 0
J Switzer 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Hey, the Sox lost, but, as far as I know, it's only March 6th. We are fine. BETTER than fine! In other news, the Papelbon money talks are still ongoing, and I STILL say the man his $900,000.00 or so per year. If anyone is worth it, he is. He saved every World Series game, often going for more than one inning, and without him last year, 2007 would have been a second place baseball season, just like too many others before. We're used to winning now...we're a different breed of baseball fans here in Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. We're on top...we're number one. Numero uno. The best in all of baseball until someone knocks us off our hallowed perch. And to tell you the truth, THAT AIN'T GOING TO HAPPEN!

I hope your Thursday will be a monstrously tremendous one, and if you'd like, click on the title of this post for a Boston Globe article penned by the attractive (yes, she is!) and talented Amalie Benjamin. It's all about JD Drew, who came on so strongly in the '07 postseason. And speaking of someone with high hopes for 2007, treasured reader Brittany (Red Sox.NJDevils) brought to my attention words written by Curt Schilling from his blog. With her permission, I'd like to post a bit of it, right now. You see, Brittany is an everyday reader of PRSF and sometime's she's just like a roving reporter for me. If she sees something that interests her and it's Red Sox related, she lets me know. Brittany, just so you know, I appreciate that so very much. My Constant readers, say hi to her in the comment sections sometime! She's one of a kind, living in Jersey (Bruuuce) and loving the Sox. Here is what she had to say in her yesterday comment. These are the words of Curt Schilling, our wounded veteran. Thank you for this, Brittany. You're the best, and you're irreplaceable...

"Manny looks incredible. He is always in great shape but he looks leaner and stronger this year... Papi looks like he’s moving a hundred times better than at any point last season. Manny Delcarmen looks fantastic too."

Peter here, one more time. As you can see in the above pitching summary, Little Manny had some trouble locating the plate yesterday. But Big Manny? Smooth sailing ahead. I'm sure he wants to improve his '07 numbers. I know he knows they weren't where they should be. But he was pure spun gold laced with platinum and rare diamonds when it counted, in the postseason. The result? We all know that! I'm actually STILL smiling, all these months later. And I'll still be smiling some 10 years from now, GOD willing. It was a MAGIC year, and every one of us came to believe that magic, mixed in with some great pitching and timely hitting and tremendous defense, results in something good. And boy, was 2007 golden good!!

Thanks for being here and please don't forget to click on the title for Amalie's article about our rightfielder. And as always, be safe. Be well. Forever. I need every one of you back here tomorrow, and the day after that, and...I could keep going, but you know what I mean. See you tomorrow, if not later today. I love every one of you. Your comments are ALWAYS welcomed.