Thursday, July 31, 2008


Yes, he was traded to the LA return, the Boston Red Sox get ONE player...Jason Bay. What happened to the bullpen addition? I HAVE NO IDEA. More later.

***MANNY RAMIREZ Traded To The LA Dodgers***

Yes, it's goodbye Manny, who wore out his welcome and all of Red Sox Nation's patience and tolerance...Hansen and Moss are also gone, and the Sox get leftfielder Jason Bay. NO RELIEVER! Make sense to you? It's real, and no, it does NOT make sense to me, not without a bullpen guy.

Freefalling **MANNY GO HOME** LAA 9 Boston 2

Josh Beckett was rocked and socked in his 5 1/3 innings and his teammates commited 4 errors in a lazy and indifferent effort as the Red Sox were swept by the LA Angels, who look like the best team in the league if not in all of MLB. Enough about that very forgettable and disgustingly crappy game. Again, Manny is making waves, and with the trading deadline beginning at 4pm EDT (9 1/2 hours from now), here's what he had to say...then you'll read what I have to say back to him (I might not be kind, just honest)...

"Oh, yeah!" Ramirez said as he walked through the clubhouse. "Tax free! Stay at home! The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me," Ramirez told ESPN Deportes Wednesday. "During my years here, I've seen how they have mistreated other great players when they didn't want them to try to turn the fans against them.
The Red Sox did the same with guys like Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, and now they do the same with me. Their goal is to paint me as the bad guy. I love Boston fans, but the Red Sox don't deserve me. I'm not talking about money. Mental peace has no price, and I don't have peace here."

Peter here, and something WILL happen before the trading deadline. And this is to Sir Manny...Manny, just a few scant weeks ago you declared that you wanted to finish your marvelous career with the Sox. THERE'S NO CHANCE OF THAT NOW. Thanks a lot!

Most likely Boston will trade Manny Ramirez to the Marlins of Florida and in return will get Pirate's leftfielder Jason Bay and left-handed reliever John Grabow. But that's all speculation until this afternoon. The Yankees improved themselves and their chances of winning the AL East by trading Kyle Farnsworth and getting in return veteran All Star catcher Pudge Rodriguez. And the Angel's newest player, Mark Teixeira, was manning the first base position last night, so the Red Sox are staring at two teams that have bettered themselves considerably. Live and learn, I guess. WHEN WILL THEY???

This post was more about the Mannyness than about last night's game. Ya know why? Because the Sox put less than nothing in their efforts Wednesday night, so I concentrated on something else. For everything you wanted to know about Boston's shoddy play and the possible trade, simply click on the title of this post. Thanks for popping in, I wish the news was better, and as always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All Lackey, All Angels...LAA 6 Boston 2

Tuesday night at Fenway Park, LA Angel pitcher John Lackey was trying to do something that had not been done by a visiting pitcher since 1958, 50 years ago, and that something was to throw a no hitter. He was two outs away from doing just that until Dustin Pedroia lashed a line drive single to the outfield. Kevin Youkilis followed that with a two run home run, but that was the extent of the Red Sox offense, which has been anemic lately. The Angels continued their mastery of the Sox with a 6-2 victory. Clay Buchholz was again ineffective, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing 6 runs, 5 of 'em earned. After 4 innings, it was 4-0 Halos, and the fans at Fenway and watching on NESN knew that this one was essentially over. It didn't help Manny Ramirez' Red Sox Nation status when he hit a shot to the far left side of the infield in the 7th inning and JOGGED halfway to first base before turning on the burners when it appeared the play would be close. The throw was high and it looked like he might have been safe if he had run the whole way. The boos, loud ones, maybe the loudest he's ever heard at home, surrounded Manny from all corners of the park. HE BLEW IT! Hey Manny, a little hustle mixed in with all your grumbling might have helped your team, but sometimes, at least to me, it seems like you couldn't give a whit (change one letter and you'll know how I really feel). After the loss, Pedey Pedroia and Mike Lowell voiced what everybody already knows, and it ain't a pretty picture. Here's what they had to say, taken from the Boston Herald...

"It seems like we're not playing good baseball," Pedroia said. "I think it's time to start doing that. It's not like anybody in our division's going to lose consecutive games. Everyone's playing good. It seems like we're not. It's a lack of doing anything. Nobody brought any energy. Nobody did anything. They killed us. It felt like we weren't even in the game."

"We can't keep going into the third game of the series trying to not get swept," Mike Lowell said. "That's not really the recipe for staying with the pack, the leaders in the division."
Asked if the team's play the last two weeks has been worrisome, Lowell said, "If we continue this way, we won't have to worry at all, because we're not going to make the playoffs."

Peter here, and Boston's chances to make the playoffs are no sure thing. I hate to say it, but the world champs are in dire need of a reliable setup man for Papelbon. Buchholz will be jettisoned from the starting rotation to make room for Bartolo Colon in less than two weeks, barring any more setbacks. But the end of July is upon us and the Sox have shown that they cannot beat this Angel team, a club that was made much stronger by the acquisition of first baseman and terror at the plate Mark Teixeira. The best got better in a HUGE way. And tonight at 7:05pm EDT, these two clubs will meet for the last time in the regular season, with Joe Saunders, who's no slouch, ready to face Josh Beckett. Josh was the tough luck loser in his last start, a 1-0 defeat. And so it on the title of this post for more on the goings on at the Fens last night, and as always, BE WELL. Things can only get better, or..........

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

***666*** (6th Inning, 6 Runs, 6 Hits)...Angels 7 Red Sox 5

It all came apart suddenly and violently for Daisuke Matsuzaka in the LA Angels' sixth inning. Two mammoth swings, one by Casey Kotchman that resulted in a fly ball that landed in the rightfield bullpen for a home run over the oustretched glove of JD Drew, and one by Torii Hunter that resulted in a ball that flew as if it had wings and an engine (maybe two?) over everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, changed what once was a 2-1 Sox lead after 5 into a 7-3 Angel lead after 6. Though Boston valiently tried to come back, scoring single runs in the eighth and the ninth, it was too little too late for the home club. What happened? Daisuke was cruising right along through the first five, and then in what seemed like an instant, everything changed and the crowd quieted somberly. Here's what catcher Jason Varitek had to say...

“I think it was a combination that we made some selection errors and also made some mistake pitches,” catcher Jason Varitek said. “It was a combination of both.”

Masterson, Hansen and Lopez followed Matsuzaka, and for those four innings the Halos scored once. But they have a very tough team...some say they're the cream of the American League crop. They have an incredible record of 40-18 against teams with over a .500 record, at home AND on the road. Here's what Tito said about them after his team's fourth loss in the last six games...

“They might be the class of the American League right now,” Sox manager Terry Francona said of the Angels. “They have tremendous starting pitching, a very good bullpen, a lot of speed, they catch the ball very well . . . I could name a lot of things. There’s a reason why they have as many wins as they do.”

The AL East standings stayed exactly the same because the (Devil) Rays and the Yankees the Yankees' loss, Moose Mussina was hit and battered to a pulp by the Baltimore Orioles, so if the Sox HAD to lose, I guess the timing was OK. But that's just one way of looking at it. The other way is to say that the Sox could have gained a game on the teams closest to them in the standings with a win. But what's done is done and the page has been turned. Sometimes that's the only thing a fan can do.

Tonight at Fenway, the always tough John Lackey goes against the still to find his "groove" Clay Buchholz. If there ever was a time for a rookie starter to have a breakthrough start, that time begins tonight at 7:05pm EDT in Boston. Here is the Red Sox pitching line from last night, and remember, if you want to read more about Monday night at the Fens, simply click on the title of this post. And before I forget to mention this, Bartolo Colon is feeling good and will make a rehab start in the next week or so. Too many starting pitchers? There is no such thing, and the Sox are taking no chances while doing the right thing. And that's good. I thank you once again for stopping in, and let's hope, against all the odds (and they are huge), Clay can defeat Lackey and his teammates tonight in what will be a beautiful evening in Boston. Here are those pitching lines as I say this...have a great Tuesday! As always, BE WELL. Forever.


D. Matsuzaka (L, 11-2) 5.0 7 6 6 2 3 2 3.04
J. Masterson 2.0 2 1 1 0 1 0 3.68
C. Hansen 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.70
J. Lopez 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2.66

Monday, July 28, 2008

MORE LESTER MAGIC, With A Little Help From His Friends...Red Sox 9 Yankees 2

Sunday night at Fenway Park, the Yankees and the Red Sox resumed their love affair in game three of this late July series. And for one night, it was ALL Boston, as Jon Lester won his sixth game in a row. Convincingly. Johnny Damon had this to say about the Red Sox ace lefthander...

"That's two games now he's been in complete control of us," said Johnny Damon, who was 2-for-4. "He's showing that he's one of the best pitchers around."

Great words, Mr. Damon. And you're right...he IS one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Last night he went seven strong innings, giving up two runs on nine hits, walking just one and striking out a whopping eight pinstriped batters. He was simply tremendous and earned his ninth victory. Having him on the mound every fifth day makes the almost trade for Johan Santana seem like pure folly, a bad dream, a nightmare that thankfully never happened.

The game was almost overshadowed by the soap opera called Manny being Manny, but when push came to shove, as it usually does, Sir Manny delivered and reminded everyone just how valuable he is to this club. He paired with Big Papi David Ortiz for 5 hits and 5 RBIs...Boston is virtually unbeatable when Papi and Manny produce like that. The team as a whole produced 15 hits as their frustrations were suspended with a potent offensive attack. Here's Mike Lowell commenting on Manny Ramirez and Yankee manager Joe Girardi voicing his opinion on the return of our beloved Big Papi...

"Manny says a lot of things," said Mike Lowell, who drove home Ramirez in a three-run first. "Some of them are entertaining. Some of them make you roll your eyes and spin your head. But it seems like every time after he says something he goes 3-for-4, so maybe we should encourage him to say something like that."

"That was a great 'trade' for them, getting Ortiz back," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "They have a potent lineup without him; they have a very potent lineup with him."

Peter here, and yes Joe, having Big Papi back is a very nice thing. I hope the Manny issues (plural, of course) simmer down and the team can go back to business. And that business is to win every game possible and triumph in the post season. They have the pitching, they have the hitting (I think), they have the defense and they have the bench to go all the way. That's quite a great combination and I expect good things in the next two and a half months. I really do. DO NOT EXPECT MANNY TO BE TRADED BEFORE THURSDAY'S TRADING DEADLINE. It's simple...he's a member of this team for the balance of this year, and if he wants, his option year WILL be picked up for next year. The Sox front office is not dumb enough to let him escape via the free agent route.

A three game set with the team sporting the best record in all of baseball starts tonight. Yes, the LA Angels are coming to town. If you remember, when Boston last jetted to the left coast to play the Halos and Seattle, they were swept by LA. Now it's payback time. Here are the all-important pitching matchups...

Jered Weaver (8-8, 4.08 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (11-1, 2.63) tonight
John Lackey (8-2, 3.02) vs. Clay Buchholz (2-5, 5.81) Tuesday
Joe Saunders (13-5, 3.10) vs. Josh Beckett (9-7, 3.83) Wednesday

Lackey is one tough cookie, but I expect the Sox to win two out of three before another needed (aren't they all?) off day on Thursday. And then suddenly on Friday, it will officially be August. What happened to June?? OK, back to the here and now...of course, all three games will be televised on NESN and NESNHD. Have a great Monday as time continues to fly, day by day, month by month. You can click on the title for one more look at the "other side's" point of view, and as always, BE WELL. What a great game it was, and available to the entire nation on ESPN and ESPNHD...great job, Sox! Your comments will be read and answered, as always. Thanks for stopping in.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Manny Ramirez Speaks, And HE IS READY TO GO!!! Thanks To The Globe's Amalie Benjamin...

Yes, THE Amalie, the bright smile on NESN telecasts who shines with her magic words in the Globe. Here's a conversation with Manny Ramirez and the media. Enjoy the game tonight...
"After telling ESPNdeportes today that he would not block a trade if the Red Sox could find a trading partner, Manny Ramirez expanded on that in his first comments since the situation with him and the team reached a head this weekend.
In a session that lasted just fewer than two minutes with assembled reporters in the Red Sox clubhouse, Ramirez confirmed that statement.

"What I said was if the Red Sox they think they could find a trade that's going to make the team better and both sides are going to be happy, I'm going to agree," he said. "But if they cannot find a trade... It's something simple. It's no big deal. At the end of the season, all they've got to do is call my agent and say, 'Hey, we're not going to pick Manny's option for '09, he's going to become a free agent.' And that's it. I go my way, and you guys go your way, something simple."
Here is more of the Q&A with Manny:
Do you feel like they want you to go your separate ways?
"I don't know, that's my idea. That's it, something simple. I don't want to talk to them about contracts right now. So what? I know they got me, but enough is enough. I'm tired of them, they're tired of me. After 2008, just send me a letter or whatever. You don't even got to call my agent or whatever. 'Hey, thank you for everything. You're going to become a free agent. We're not going to pick up your option in '09.'"
Do you expect that to happen?
"That will happen. They're not stupid."
When they've talked to you, have they expressed their problem with you?
"Boston is not stupid. They're not going to do it. They can say whatever they want. But when it comes to make a deal, they're not going to pull the trigger, because they know what they've got here."
Are you happy here?
"I'm happy. But enough is enough.
When you say "enough is enough," what does that mean?
"That's it. You've got to ask Tito and John Henry, they know."
That's it! GO SOX!

RAYS Lose On Sunday...

Just a quick update. A final score, which makes tonight's game a little more special...

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E

Tampa Bay 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7 0
Kansas City 1 0 0 1 1 0 3 0 X 6 11 0
WP: K. Davies (4-2)
LP: A. Sonnanstine (10-6)

PUNCHLESS And 'PENLESS Boston Red Sox Humbled By NY Yankees 10-3

This one became really ugly really fast. Saturday afternoon's Fenway Park game between the Boston Red Sox and the NY Yankees started out well enough with Boston having Yankee starter Andy Pettitte on the ropes. They scored two runs that first frame, but except for a meaningless run in the sixth inning, that would be it for the home club. They finished with a total of six hits, and six hits will not win many games the rest of the year. The final score was 10-3 Pinstripes, as Tim Wakefield, with a little help (the wrong kind of help) from his bullpen, gave up 6 runs in just 5 1/3 innings, allowing 8 hits while striking out 3 and walking 4. The help from the bullpen came in the sixth inning. Justin Masterson faced 3 batters and gave up base hits to each one of 'em. By then, of course, the game was essentially over. Face it, Peter (that's me), it WAS over! Javy Lopez followed Masterson and pitched well, one of two pitchers from the 'pen who did. He was followed by Craig Hansen, who is more up and down than a Yo-Yo being tossed by a speed freak. He went 2/3 of an inning and gave up three more runs. Timlin mopped up and was perfectly fine.

I have a few things to say about yesterday and the overall state of the club as of now. As we near the end of July, by no means is this world championship club complete in any way. The Yankees very recently added a lefthander (Damaso Marte) to bolster their bullpen and an outfielder (Xavier Nady) to help take the place of the injured and out for the season Hideki Matsui. The Red Sox bullpen is in trouble, and there is NO CHANCE of the Sox making the 2008 postseason without some additional help. PERIOD. Masterson is untested, and after a stellar first 'pen appearance, he was awful Saturday. Jonathon Papelbon is Paps...don't worry about him. Mike Timlin, when used sparingly, is usually fine. Manny Delcarmen is as up and down as Hansen is...we never know what to expect. I like David Aardsma. Hideki Okajima is not what he was last year, but maybe he IS and the hitters have adjusted. No matter what, MOST of the time so far this year, he gets the job done, with some struggles. I've already written some words about Craig Hansen. I thought that by now he would have blossomed into a premiere reliever, part of that important bridge to Paps. But that hasn't worked out--not at all. The bridge to Papelbon remains one made of LEGO plastic. So the Boston bullpen needs some help, or the Red Sox will remain a second or third place team for the rest of the regular season. And that brings me to the offense, and to Manny Ramirez.

The Boston batting average since the All Star break is approximately .235. Yes, you read that right. Their record after yesterday's debacle is 3-5. Compare that to the Yankees...they are undefeated at 8-0 in the same span of games. I know sometimes that teams go into teamwide mini-slumps, so I hope this one does not last. But a major distraction has been, at least since Wednesday, Manny Ramirez. He took himself out of the last left coast game against Seattle, citing a sore knee. After a day off on Thursday, he pulled the same sh*t again Friday night, the night the Yankees invaded town and the evening of Big Papi David Ortiz' return. As I said in the last post, SHAME ON YOU, MANNY. His self-scratch prompted a meeting between manager Terry "Tito" Francona, Theo Epstein and two of the owners of the team, John Henry and Tom Werner, before Friday's game. With the trade deadline getting closer and closer, the Red Sox FO has put out "feelers," notifying the other MLB clubs that Manny, in the last year of his longterm contract, might be expendable. DON'T EXPECT ANY TAKERS, however. The Sox brass must have a sitdown with Manny and remind him, not gently, that the team comes first. He comes second, a distant second. Oh, by the way, he went 0-4 yesterday while his teammate Big Papi collected two hits. When Manny starts hurting the team, as he did Friday night, anything is possible. So expect ANYTHING! Tito said this before yesterday's promising but eventually deadly game...

"We have a lineup and Manny is playing left," manager Terry Francona said before the game. "He's fine to play. I actually knew Friday night. We obviously had some conversations last night. One thing leads to another. We just wanted to talk through some things and make sure we were on the same page.
"We have run into bumps in the road ever since I've been here. And there's been some before I've been here. The result two of the times has been a World Series ring. As a team, sometimes you fight through things, you work through things, it's not always perfect. When you go through some times that maybe aren't perfect, how you come through that is ultimately what's important. I'm hopeful that will be the same way this time."

Peter here, and that was SO well said, Terry. I share your feelings and your emotions, as all (or almost all...there are a few Yankee fans here...good for them, good for me!) of my readers do. My Constant Readers, it's hard to add anything to Tito's words, so I won't. My bottom line is this...the 2008 Boston Red Sox are an incomplete team. Theo & company know what needs to be done...they just have to do it. Do I think Manny should be jettisoned? NO WAY. Do I think they (the FO) have to meet with him and drill into his head that his team comes first? Oh yes. Eighteen thousand times YES. Things right now could only get better, but they could get a whole lot worse. (That reminds me of the Beatle song called IT'S GETTING BETTER. "It's getting better all the can't get no worse"). Thanks Paul (the optimistic one,) and John, who almost always looked the other way.

OK, I'm off my soapbox. Gee, I'm lucky to have one in the first place. At least I think I do! Click on the title of this post to read the gleeful thoughts of the "other side." I hope your Sunday is a wonderful one. We're starting the very early morning with a light and sound show of thunder and lightning. That's why I woke up when I did...there was NO sleeping through those fireworks! I hope the Sox can rebound tonight. I called Jon Lester our stopper a few posts ago, and if anyone can stop the Yankees and bequeath them their first loss since the break, it is he. The thug (in my mind) Ponson goes against him in a nationally televised ESPN and ESPNHD telecast. Don't forget to click and as always, BE WELL. I thank you so much for stopping in, and I'd love to read and respond to any of your comments.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Manny-less Red Sox Bow Meekly To The Yankees...NY 1 Boston 0

Manny Ramirez was a last minute scrub, SO last minute that the original lineup, featuring Big Papi David Ortiz in the three spot and Manny batting fourth, had already been officially posted. Needless to say, the teams owners, manager Tito Francona and GM Theo Epstein held a closed door meeting to discuss...discuss......well, I don't know. But with the trading deadline looming, ANYTHING is possible. It's always something with Manny, but this was a game he NEVER should have missed. The lineup was supposed to return to a semblance of normalty, but noooo. MRIs of BOTH knees, just in case Manny had forgotten which one was causing him so much discomfort, were completely normal. Some players think his move was the most unprofessional thing they had ever seen. I agree 100%. How could he decide to take a night off when the team, HIS team, was playing the Yankees, the red hot New York Yankees who, with the win, closed to within two games of Boston? I DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER, but the club should (will?) have a sitdown with him and set him straight. They have to! Wait until you hear the boos later this afternoon. Tito Francona said this after the game, and he clearly was trying to hold it in, trying not to blow his top. Steam was virtually coming out of his ears, audibly and visually. His words...

"I think I've answered enough tonight," said Francona, who already had discussed in detail the sequence of events that had Ramírez first in, then out, of the lineup.
"It's five minutes after the game. I'd like to talk to the medical people a little more extensively. There's time to answer questions about anybody. For me right now, it wouldn't be . . . "

Peter here, and Tito's sentence remained unfinished...he clearly did not want to say the wrong thing. But I will. Hey Manny, you f*cking stink. Your team needed you. HOW COULD YOU? You could have wrapped your knees and help the Sox score two runs. You've had a great year so far, but...but.....

Joba Chamberlain proved to everyone at Fenway Park and those watching the telecast across the world that he is the real deal. Boy, can he fling that baseball! He outpitched Josh Beckett for seven innings with an array of dizzily dazzling fastballs, some that topped out near the century mark, and a display of lesser speed breaking stuff that was sometimes virtually unhittable. Paticularly vulnerable to Joba's mound expertise were Jacoby Ellsbury, who went hitless, and more importantly, Jason Varitek. Make NO mistake-he is in trouble right now when it comes to hitting a baseball. I've never seen him look so utterly helpless, even foolish, in my life. In his first at bat, he swung and missed at a curveball for strike three and his bat didn't come within a foot of the baseball. He would have been better off if he had his eyes closed. I was embarassed for him. It hurts me to say that, but I just did.

In all, the Yankees mustered one run, and that was good enough. After the game, Josh Beckett said that he was simply outpitched. I watched the game. I know that. We could have used Manny's bat but it might not have mattered. It's just SO disheartening when one of your best and most valuable sluggers pull that type of pure BS. Manny BS. But the page has been turned. The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays were winners in their game with the KC Royals, so the Sox are one game back and the Yankees just three. That's too close. Beckett pitched great, but his teammate's bats were not there to support him. It happens. The MLB season schedule is a long and grueling one, but Manny's timing could not have been worse. Pitiful. Is he still mad at the team for some reason known only to him? Who the hell knows?? Again, the page has been turned, at least for me, but today expect to hear more about Manny and his latest "Manny move."

The Yankees improved their team yesterday by trading four minor league prospects to acquire outfielder Xavier Nady and left-hander Damaso Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both players will help the pinstriped ones. Mariano Rivera might not be available today because he threw 26 pitches, 20 of 'em strikes, but don't be surprised if he comes in if the Yankees are ahead late in the game. I'd rather he doesn't even have a chance to warm up. Period.

It's Fenway baseball time yet again with first pitch time scheduled for 3:55 pm EDT. Wakes versus Pettitte. Pettitte is tough when he pitches against us...he's a crafty lefty. But there's a bad taste in the mouths of the Red Sox starters from last night. I think (hope) the lumber creates a hellstorm of runs for the home team. May the Good Guys do that, they MUST score a run or six. My fingers are crossed. Click on the title of this post for more Yankee/Sox stuff, again from the "other" side's point of view. Have a tremendous Saturday and as always, BE WELL. Click away!

Friday, July 25, 2008

New York Yankees At Boston Red Sox...Games 10, 11, 12...***THE RETURN OF BIG PAPI***

Fenway Park will be in a festive and slightly combative mood Friday night as the Yankees, who are only three games in back of Boston and Tampa Bay, invade the old ballpark that is the home of the world champion Boston Red Sox. And the Red Sox will have a familiar bat in the lineup for the first time in what seems like ages. His name is David Ortiz, but we know him better as Big Papi. OUR Big Papi. What an ovation he'll get when he strides to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. In fact, I'll be standing too, hands banging together with a huge smile on my face! His teammate, JD Drew, had this to say about Big Papi's return...

“It’s like getting a huge trade at the deadline,” Drew said. “It’s David Ortiz. You’re not going to take that for granted for sure.”
“We’re in a fighting position without one of the two biggest pieces of the lineup,” he said.

The timing couldn't be any better for a big bat and a huge personality to return for the rest of the season and (hopefully) post-season. When he was sidelined, Boston was a game behind the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. Now there is a virtual tie for the top spot as the Rays were soundly beaten by the KC Royals last night. The Yankees are in third place, three games back. These ball games are big, and they come on the heels of strong rumors that the pinstriped ones are seriously considering adding Barry Bonds to their depleted outfield. I say go for it...I'd love to see him play at Fenway Park. He'll be an easy out most of the time. I hope I don't have to eat those words, though.

Here are the all-important pitching pairings. Tonight's matchup is particularly intriguing. It's no secret that big, outspoken Joba Chamberlain is, for some reason, mad at Kevin Youkilis, as are most of the pinstriped fans. I hope Youk hits a bomb off him, maybe two. (More??)

Joba Chamberlain (2-3, 2.52 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (9-6, 3.98), 7 p.m., Ch. 20 (in CT), NESN, NESNHD (coverage begins at 5:30pm EDT, NESN & NESNHD only)

Andy Pettitte (11-7, 3.86) vs. Tim Wakefield (6-7, 3.69) , 3:55 p.m., FOX, FOXHD

Sidney Ponson (6-1, 4.02) vs. Jon Lester (8-3, 3.20), 8 p.m., ESPN, ESPNHD

There you have it. The weather should be just fine Friday and Saturday, with the humidity lessening as the hours dwindle to first-pitch time shortly after 7pm EDT. Sunday might feature some sort of showers, but it's hard to tell right now. There will not be any game postponing type of rain - that I promise you. Have a great Friday and a sweet weekend, and when you get home late this afternoon, fire up the grill, crack open a chillingly cold beverage (or three) and tune your television to NESN or, even better, NESNHD. It should be fun, a lot of fun. And Josh Beckett is due for one of his patented effortless eight inning gems. Paps can take it from there. Click on the title for more on this series from the New York point of view. It's always great to see what the other side, the dark side, has to say. And remember, always and forever, BE WELL.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Boston Red Sox In Twelve For The Sweep...Boston 6 Seattle 3

Ah yes, Safeco Field in Seattle, home of the last place Seattle Pilots.....err..Mariners. It's the place where teams come in and win, and that modus operandi worked well for the Boston Red Sox Thursday afternoon as they defeated the home club by a score of 6-3. It took them twelve innings to do it, but do it they did. A 3-3 left coast trip is a good one, especially after losing the first three to the Angels. Clay Buchholz started and was able to go five and one third innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out seven...this was his best outing since he returned to the rotation but it was not enough to earn a win. He's a work in progress and should improve with each and every start. The bullpen took over with two outs in the bottom of the sixth and held Seattle scoreless for the remaining six and two thirds frames. The performance of Justin Masterson was masterful, and it was his first appearance in his new role as a mid to long reliever, although I'm sure now that Tito Francona, the Red Sox manager, will not hesitate to throw him into a game as a part of the seventh or eighth inning bridge to Papelbon. Masterson got Buchholz out of the sixth inning and was able to pitch scoreless baseball through the eighth. HE WAS CLUTCH, he looked comfortable coming into the game from the 'pen, and look for more, MUCH more, from him in that savior type of role. Here's what Jonathon Papelbon had to say about his new bullpen mate...

“I was really excited for him, especially in that situation,” said Papelbon, who allowed two hits in the 11th and pitched in all three games of the series. “That was a tough situation, especially with it being his first time relieving. He passed it with flying colors, obviously.”

Okajima, Delcarmen, Papelbon and a shaky Hansen (when isn't he?) followed, every one of them posting big goose eggs on the scoreboard. Hansen provided some unneeded thrills and chills in the bottom of the 12th, but he got out of the mess he made and earned his second save. PHEW! This is Red Sox manager Tito Francona commenting on his sometimes vilified and sometimes praised 2008 bullpen...

“I think we believe in them, we always have,” manager Terry Francona said of his relief corps. “On days we don’t necessarily get the job done, we still believe in them. I’ve said all along our bullpen’s been one of our strengths.”

WE BELIEVE. FAITH. Those are two of the watchwords of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International, all of us. The hitting stars were Mike Lowell, who lined a double in the 12th inning to plate two, just one of his two hits, and Sean Casey, who drove in the last run in that same inning. It was a great win, albeit a long one, and the three game sweep guaranteed the Sox a nice flight back home, home to Fenway Park and hometown cooking and familiar beds and pillows for the players. The NY Yankees, winners of six straight (would you believe it?) invade our Fenway for a three game set after the Thursday much needed off day. NY will see, in no particular order since the pitching matchups have not been announced yet, Wakefield, Beckett and Lester. Our best three? I think so, at least as of right now. Taking two of three would be sweet indeed, and we will miss seeing the Moose, Mike Mussina, who pitched yesterday. Aww, too bad!

That's a wrap for today, Thursday, July 24, 2008. If you want more on last night's getaway game, simply click on the title of this post. I'd love to read and respond to any of your comments and I must say this once again...thank you SO much for stopping in. I hope you can make it an everyday habit. I do! As always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


What's next for Manny? This is from the Seattle Times, just this morning...

"Seems that Boston slugger Manny Ramirez was leaving the ballpark, with headphones on trying to look inconspicuous and quickly get away from the crowds still leaving the stadium. He started to cross South Royal Brougham Way, against the signals of a traffic cop who was directing pedestrians. The police officer demanded that Ramirez open his wallet and show identification. He warned him that he could face a $500 fine and possible arrest for disobeying a police officer.
It became clear to those watching that the policeman had no idea who Ramirez was. He didn't ask for an autograph or anything, but did ask Ramirez if he'd attended the game. After the brief lecture, and no argument from Ramirez, the police officer let him go with no further trouble."

Peter here, and I'm fairly certain, officer, that Manny DID attend the game. Manny was guilty of only trying to get out of the stadium area after the game...that's the only thing that jumps out at me. But Manny, if a policeman asks you to wait for the flow of traffic to be a friendly one, it's best to listen to him/her. I ran this story tounge-in-cheekly, just for giggles. Thanks...

Daisuke Matsuzaka Overpowering For Boston...Red Sox 4 Mariners 2

Tuesday night in Seattle was a night that Boston Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka flat-out shined. The Red Sox defeated the Mariners by a score of 4-2 on the strength of seven and one third five hit, two run innings from their Japanese starter. He only allowed three bases on balls, which is good for him, and sixty one of his ninety nine pitches were strikes. He was great, and if he keeps pitching with this form and this kind of control, he'd be a lock to win twenty games. With the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays' loss, the world champions climbed to within one half game of that perplexingly good ball club, and for a while, it looked like Daisuke would do the undoable (at least for him)...and that is pitch a complete game. Here's what he and manager Tito Francona had to say after the game, Boston's second victory in a row after three straight losses to the AL West leaders, the LA Angels...

"If I couldn't throw a complete game today I don't know when I'm going to do it," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "Facing off against Ichiro I wanted to make good pitches to good spots," Matsuzaka said.

"I think the one thing we've noticed with Lester and Dice-K, the extra days off have done them some good," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "But when they've gone out in the eighth, the ups and downs seem to have gotten to them a little bit which I think is understandable. If our starters get us deep like that we should be OK," Francona said. "Sometimes your pitching gives your offense time to kind of get straightened out. If we get deep in games on a consistent basis we should be fine."

Peter here, and fine we shall be. JD Drew had two hits, including a home run. He was joined by Mike Lowell, who also had two safeties. Dustin Pedroia had one hit, marking his 23rd straight road game with at least one hit. Hideki Okajima recorded the last two outs of the eighth inning and Jonathon Papelbon earned his 30th save with a nine pitch 1-2-3 ninth. It was a good effort by all.

This afternoon at 4:40 pm EDT, those world champion Boston Red Sox will go for the three game sweep over Seattle before a day off and a trip home to start a nine game homestand. They will play the third place Yankees, who won again Tuesday. We'll be ready for 'em. You can click on the title of this post for more on Daisuke's fine effort, and as always, your comments are welcome and will be replied to. BE WELL...forever.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jon Lester Is Becoming The Boston Red Sox STOPPER...Boston 4 Seattle 0

John Lester spun another gem Monday night in Seattle as he and his team beat the host Seattle Mariners 4-0. Lester was able to go 7 1/3 innings, giving up zero runs and eight hits while striking out 6. He walked absolutely no one. It was another tremendous start in this, his breakout season of 2008. He is close to becoming the stopper of the club, and something like that couldn't happen to a nicer and more courageous person. Great job, Jon! Jonathon Papelbon took care of the last five outs of the game, giving up nothing to the last place Mariners. Here's what Mr. Lester and his manager had to say after his performance in Seattle, very near his hometown...

"Unlike the last couple times here, I didn't have the distractions or anything," Lester said. "It's nice to come back home and pitch halfway decent," he said.

"I looked up in the fifth or sixth inning and he'd thrown only 11 balls," Francona said. "Those were quality pitches, too. That was terrific. You hope when you give a guy rest, you hope it's not too much."

One of the Sox batting stars was none other than the struggling Jason Varitek, a man who manager Tito Francona refuses to bench except for the days that Kevin Cash catches Tim Wakefield's knuckies. He had two hits, including a two run tater. Jed Lowrie, who will be a starter and a star in the next couple of years, also collected two safeties and two RBIs. In all, the Red Sox had eleven hits, Seattle just eight. It was a great win for a great pitcher, and coupled with the Rays' win and the Yankees' triumph, things are status quo in the AL East, with the Sox 1 1/2 games behind the Florida team. There are two games left for Boston in the Pacific Northwest, and then it's on to the Big Apple to play the Yankees for three. But one game at a time, please. Tonight in a late night start, it will be Daisuke Matsuzaka versus R.A. Dickey. A win would guarantee a series win, but I want ALL THREE before we go east to face those pinstriped ones. Sound good to you? I certainly hope so.

You can click on this post's title to be teleported to the Boston Globe Boston Red Sox homepage, if you wish. Your atoms will be scrambled and reassembled at the arrival site. So go ahead, and as always, BE WELL. FOREVER.

Monday, July 21, 2008

California Sweeping, On Such A Lovely Day...LA Angels 5 Boston Red Sox 3

The Boston Red Sox were sent packing by the LA Angels, heading north to Seattle after being swept by the home team yesterday. The Angels scored three in the eighth inning to not only tie the score but go up by two runs. It was something Boston could not overcome, and they ended up losing by a score of 5-3, their third straight loss to the Halos. Tim Wakefield pitched wonderfully yet again for seven innings, but back to back doubles off him in the eighth tied the score. It was then that Manny Delcarmen entered. Little Manny, who said his changup while warming up in the bullpen was superb, left one of those change of speed offerings out over the plate. That scored two, making it 5-3 Halos. LA closer Francisco Hernandez, the best in all of baseball (by far, stat-wise) sealed the deal and the sweep with a one-two-three scoreless ninth. It was the Angels' first three game sweep of the Sox in seven years. My goodness!

"It seems like we never got a combination of good at-bats like they did," said Dustin Pedroia, the only Sox player to swing a hot bat all weekend, his three hits yesterday giving him seven in the series. "We're not going to win too many games scoring two, three runs with five, six hits. They had momentum in the eighth, and we haven't been doing that. Shoot, they get the big hit and keep adding on. They put that damn monkey on the board, and the place went nuts."

Pedey was talking about the Angels' rally Monkey, by the way. In other Red Sox news, David Aardsma, who has been great out of the 'pen, was put on the 15 day disabled list (sore groin), making room for ex-starter Justin Masterson. With his sidearm delivery, he is very tough on righties, and maybe he can save us from some of the mayhem that went on yesterday with the always hot or cold but never in between Manny Delcarmen on the mound. And Tampa Bay lost on Sunday, which leaves the Red Sox 1 1/2 games behind 'em. The Yankees won and now they're a mere three games in back of us. So the AL East is tightening up. What the Sox need is someone who could return to the batting order, ummm, maybe in the third spot, and help this team SCORE RUNS! I have someone in mind, too. And he's almost ready to do just that, as soon as the Sox return to the correct coast to play the pinstriped ones. Three against Seattle...we need two wins. Here are the pitching matchups...

Jon Lester (7-3, 3.38 ERA) vs. Jarrod Washburn (4-8, 4.83) tonight
Daisuke Matsuzaka (10-1, 2.65) vs. R.A. Dickey (2-4, 3.73) Tuesday
Clay Buchholz (2-5, 5.88) vs. Felix Hernandez (7-6, 2.95) Wednesday

So cross your fingers, maybe your toes, because the Red Sox should be able to beat these guys from the northwest corner of the nation. Lester, Matsuzaka and (gulp) Buchholz. Yeah, two of three would be fine, just fine. Click on the title for some more Soxiness, and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another Down Day On The Left Coast For Boston...Angels 4 Red Sox 2

The road woes continue for the world champion Boston Red Sox. They played and lost Saturday to the team with the best record in all of baseball - the LA Angels. The final score was 4-2. Josh Beckett pitched well, well enough to win if the seventh inning could be tossed into the trash. Until that bottom of the seventh, the score was 2-0 Good Guys, but Vlad Guerrero started the Angels' scoring with a solo home run, and with the bases chock full of enemy hitters, a triple by Erick Aybar cleared the bases just as a spray of Windex can clean your television screen. (P.S. Do not use Windex or any alcohol-based products on your Plasma or LCD Hi Def screen...please!) I had to throw in that disclaimer. Any television screen that is not made of hard glass needs a water-moistened towel...if not, a haze will develop, completely muting the crisp picture that you might have paid big bucks for. Remember that! Oops, back to baseball...

Josh Beckett, so steady except for that fateful seventh frame, was able to go eight innings, earning the loss while giving up four runs, all of them earned, on nine base hits. He walked only one and struck out six. And that's nothing to complain about...I WILL complain about this, however. The Red Sox, who really need Big Papi in a huge way, have scored only five runs in the two games since the All Star game. Against a team like the Angels, that ain't enough! The man himself, Josh Beckett, had this to say after the game was over...

"I thought I had to battle a little more today, I didn't have great stuff," Beckett said when asked if he felt as dominating as he'd been against the Angels last October. "They hit a lot of balls at guys and guys made good plays. I pitched better than my numbers showed today, but I pitched just good enough to lose."

Peter here, and hey Josh! If that's the way you pitch when you think you deserve to lose, that's good enough for me. For anyone! If the Sox had scored a normal total of runs, oh, let's say five, that would have been a win. But it didn't work out that way and the page has been turned. OFFICIALLY. Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International turns it's eyes to Tim Wakefield, who will be going against the always tough John Garland. A sweep can be avoided with a Boston win...let's hope and have faith. The game will start at 6pm EDT, grill time in the northeast. So enjoy the show. Timmy has strung together SO many great starts - he's the hottest pitcher on the club, bar none. For more on yesterday's loss, just click on the title of this post. Have a wonderful Sunday, and as always, BE WELL. I'd love to read and respond to any or all of your comments, so talk to me. I'll talk back...promise! Thanks for stopping in once again. P.S. Big Papi homered once again...that's three in three games down in Pawtucket. It will be SO good to see him back in his three spot in the batting order. Enjoy your Sunday, and GO GREG NORMAN! And Tim Wakefield, of course...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Road Woes Continue For Red Sox...Angels 11, Red Sox 3

Friday night in Anaheim, California was not a good night for the Boston Red Sox. They were beaten soundly by the LA Angels by a score of 11-3, and the (Devil) Rays and Yankees both won their games. That means Boston is in second place, 1/2 game back of Tampa Bay. But it's only ONE game, folks. We'll get 'em today.

Clay Buchholz was flat out ineffective - there's no other way to put it, my friends. After the top of the fourth, the score was knotted at four, but it was all Halos from there. Clay was only able to go 4 2/3 innings, and in that span he gave up eight (!!) runs, four of them unearned on Alex Cora's error on Torii Hunter's ground ball. Manny's clumsiness out in leftfield did not help one bit. He made a costly fielding mistake, turning a soft single that he had absolutely zero chance of catching into a comedy of tumbling mayhem. He ended up falling and rolling on the ground with the baseball underneath him. By the time he was able to throw it into the infield, the batter was on third and the bases were cleared. He broke into a huge grin after his toss, but it was clearly evident that manager Tito Francona was not amused in any way. Here's what Sir Manny had to say after the game...

“It’s not an error, but I think I made the bloopers for life,” Ramirez said. “I had a bad jump, but I still went for it. I missed the ball and that was it. I felt like I was swimming in a swamp right there.”

I'm sure John Henry, the owner of the team and the keeper of the doghouse where Manny lives between games, was not at all happy either. And that's quite the understatement, I'd wager. Manny Ramirez and the almost always hot Kevin Youkilis hit home runs, but this game was out of reach at the halfway point because of Clay Buchholz, the starting pitcher. He is 0-3 with a huge ERA of 10.00 since he returned to the club, and it's not because he's been working too hard. The last time he had pitched was a full seven days earlier. We all know he has great stuff, so I guess he just has to learn by doing. The losses will come just as the wins will. Jon Lester comes to mind, in fact. He is now a consistant mainstay of the Boston rotation. That same consistancy will eventually come to Buchholz...getting there is the hard part for ALL of us.

That's enough about that, OK? In other Red Sox news, Big Papi David Ortiz slugged his second home run for Pawtucket in as many games, this one a three run shot. We can't see him soon enough. He'll bat in his familiar number three spot, and the rest of the lineup, one through nine, will benefit immensely. Having JD Drew batting seventh shows how strong this bunch of hitters could be, with 'Tek or Cash batting eighth and the shortstop, most likely Alex Cora, hitting ninth. C'mon down, Big Papi! We need you...BIGTIME.

If you'd like to read more about Friday night's stumbling and bumbling from the left coast, simply click on the title of this post. I hope your Saturday is especially great, and as always, BE WELL. Beckett and Saunders go this afternoon. (Thanks Ian. He writes Sox and Dawgs. Find it on my link list. A must daily read if there ever was one). Let's see if "Josh Baseball" can once again be our true stopper.

Hey, talk back to me about anything by leaving a comment. I'll talk back to you, too...promise.

Friday, July 18, 2008

BONDS Going To Yankees? Or Is This Just A Sham? I'll Ask You To Be The Judge Of That...

From MLB News Dot Com. Is this just a joke to gain readership? Or will Bobby Bonds, the legally tangled slugger, patrol Yankee Stadium's spacious leftfield? YOU decide. Here you go...

"Embattled former Giants slugger Barry Bonds has entered into formal contract negotiations with the Yankees, and a consummation of the deal is anticipated forthwith, a confidential clubhouse source told
The incentive-laden deal, being hammered out between Bonds' agent Jeff Borris and general manager Brian Cashman, will well exceed the major league $200,000 minimum but has a number of protective clauses to isolate the Yankees' exposure to the possibility of Bonds missing time due to legal distractions or recurring injury, the source said. (And until he reports that Barry Bonds is climbing the Empire State Building and the Navy is dispatching biplanes, I'm sticking with my source.)
Cashman was reported to have arrived at the decision to sign Bonds during the All-Star break when he determined that the all-time home run leader would be needed to replace injured left fielder Hideki Matsui, who is out indefinely with a knee injury. Cashman was persuaded largely because the team will not have to sacrifice any coveted prospects who had been targeted by various other potential trading partners."

Peter here, and I'll believe this AFTER I see it happen. What do you think? More baggage for that pinstriped team with the crying owner? Tell me what you think...I'll respond to your comments. Part of me would love to see Bonds in a NYY uniform, trying to play line shots off the Green Monster, and part of me would not. Have a great weekend! P.S. WAKE UP, Brian Cashman...your team needs pitching. Or better yet...keep on snoozing! ALL SEASON LONG...


Big Papi David Ortiz is back, and back with a boom and a zing and a bang. He played for the Pawtucket Red Sox Thursday and went one for three, including a bullet-like home run that zipped out of the park in an flash. Ron Johnson, the Pawtucket manager, had this to say...

"I didn't even see the home run. It must've been a laser because it was low and all I could see was the crowd screaming and I saw the right fielder turn and I said, 'That's probably gone' because I'm thinking about the balls he hit off me in BP and I'm going 'If he hit it and he squared it up, this ballpark ain't going to hold him.' After talking with him afterwards, he didn't have any problems with the swing. That's really good stuff right there. We'll see how he is tomorrow and I'm sure he'll be fine and we'll go out and do it again.

Peter here, and that is SUCH great news, or as Johnson said, "really good stuff." To have Ortiz back in his familiar three spot in the order will be the glue that once again could mold the Boston lineup into a hitting machine capable of destroying all those who dare to pitch against them. JD Drew will most likely drop into the six spot, just after Mike Lowell batting fifth. Where does that leave Youkilis? Seventh? I don't know, but if it's a problem, Tito Francona could use more problems like that! And remember this : the Red Sox play 16 of 25 September games in their cozy and inviting home called Fenway Park. Home sweet home. There's NO place like Fenway, there's NO place like Fenway, there's NO place like home. Ain't it the truth.

The Red Sox open up a three game set with the hot California Angels, one of the toughest teams in all of baseball. Here are the pitching matchups and the remaining games left with the Halos, coming right up...

Clay Buchholz (2-4, 5.70 ERA) vs. John Lackey (6-2, 2.46) tonight
Josh Beckett (9-5, 3.94) vs. Jered Weaver (8-8, 4.03) Saturday
Tim Wakefield (6-6, 3.60) vs. Joe Saunders (12-5, 3.07) Sunday

Fri 7/18 LAA 10:05 pm
Sat 7/19 LAA 3:55 pm
Sun 7/20 LAA 6:05 pm
Mon 7/28 BOS 7:05 pm
Tue 7/29 BOS 7:05 pm
Wed 7/30 BOS 7:05 pm

Well, that's it for today. It's late night baseball from the left coast tonight, so enjoy it! I hope Clay Buchholz can rid himself of the extreme jitters that complicated his last start. When he regains his form (tonight!!), the Boston rotation will be richer beyond belief. With a steady Lester, Tim Wakefield, who has been pitching steadily great, Beckett and Matsuzaka, who needs to throw far fewer pitches outside of the strike zone, the Sox can stay in first place as long as they want. And with Big Papi on his way back, my goodness!! Or as the much missed Ned Martin used to say..."MERCY!" Click on the title of this post for ALL the details of Papi's first start, and as always, BE WELL.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

***John Henry On Manny Ramirez***

John Henry responded to the statements Manny Ramirez made to the Boston Herald's Rob Bradford during the All Star break, which are available for you to read (in full) in the post directly below this one. Here is part of what he said via email...

“I find remarks that we have been anything other than completely straightforward to be personally offensive,” Henry wrote. “Manny has been a crucial part of two world championships. I do not believe we would have won either without him. He has never played a more important role than he has thus far this year."

Pretty strong stuff, huh? But so were the words of Manny. I think Manny is making a HUGE mistake and that he should keep his mouth closed and just concentrate on helping his team win it all once again. We all know we never could have done it without him. No way, no how. And to the Boston Red Sox owners and front office, ignore his babbling and concentrate on getting us another pitcher for the bullpen. THAT'S a necessity - Manny can wait until after the season for the team to pick up one of his two option years.

In other, more happy Red Sox news, Big Papi David Ortiz returns to action once again tonight, but not with the big club. He will DH for Pawtucket for three, maybe four games before coming to the Sox. And it will be great to see him. He will be the best second half acquisition of 2008, bar none. And he will cement a lineup that has been flourishing most of the time, thanks to JD Drew hitting in Papi's number three spot. Boy, it will be so great to see him!

Click on the title of this post for more Soxiness on this slow baseball news day, slow except for John Henry's response to Sir Manny. To say that Ramirez is in Henry's doghouse might be quite the understatement. Comments? Should Manny have just SHUT THE F*CK UP? I'll leave that up to you in the comment section, and I'll be there to respond. As always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

AL Wins The 2008 All Star Game...**Manny Ramirez On His Future Career Possibilities With Or Without The Boston Red Sox**

The most important statistic of the 2008 Baseball All Star Game was its length...four hours and fifty minutes, lasting well into the early morning. 453 pitches. Wow. The American League defeated the National League by a score of 4-3, their eleventh win of the last twelve All Star fests. There was a memorable tie within that span. Jonathon Papelbon pitched the eighth inning and gave up a very unearned run, but the game continued on and on and on and.....I could keep going, but you get the point. JD Drew, on the strength of his seventh inning two run tater, was named the MVP of the game, and deservedly so. Manny, Youk and Peds were hitless. OK, enough about that. Here's something more important for those of us who love the Boston Red Sox.

The subject is the Sox leftfielder, the beloved (MOST of the time) Manny Ramirez. He was in the Yankee (gulp!) clubhouse before the game and had a sitdown with the Boston Herald's Rob Bradford. Here's part of what he had to say when asked about his future plans. Life without Boston? I think you'll find this of interest, one way or the other, if you know what I mean...

“To be honest with you, I don’t know, I want to stay in Boston, but I want to sit down after the season with ownership and see what my future is going to be in Boston,” said a seated Ramriez, already dressed in his uniform with a bat propped on his shoulder. “Let’s see, but the ball is in my court. If they don’t pick it up, I’m a free agent and I’ll go play somewhere else. We’ll see. I want to know what’s my situation,” he added. “I want no more shit where they tell you one thing and behind your back they do another thing. I think I’ve earned that respect, for a team to sit down with me and tell me this is what we want, this is what we want to do. It’s not to protect myself. I just want to know what my future is going to be,” he said. “I just want them to tell me, ‘We’re going to take it year by year,’ or, ‘We’re going to do this.’ That’s fine. Just so I know what’s going on with my situation....I don’t want no more shit, like they always do where they tell you one thing and they do another,” he said. “I’m getting too old for that game.”

Peter here. I know that was a little lengthy, but so what! Those might have been (accent on "might") Manny's true feelings. As a fan of Manny and a huge fan of the Red Sox, I'll tell you how I feel. Manny is having a great year. He's been carrying the team at times while his buddy Big Papi has been sidelined. Where would the team be without him? But there have been two incidents, temper tantrums that might bely a growing feeling that deep down, Manny is not entirely happy. Why? My guess would be that he's unsure where his next year future lies, and he hasn't gone through something like this in ages. Literally! I'd say to Manny, if I had the chance, and I never will, that the fans in Boston love you out in leftfield, Yaz and Jim Ed territory, and we love it when you do what you do best...MASH the ball. I know what the fans feel and what the Sox ownership does are two very different things. I just hope you'll be signed to a lucrative two or three year contract, incentive-laden, if need be. How's that sound, Manny? We love you here, Manniness and all. Thanks for everything.

OK, I'm finished...back to reality, but that was fun. Click on the title of this post to be linked to a TREMENDOUS sports piece penned by the Hartford Courant's very own Jeff Jacobs, who can write about sports the way NO other person can. Enjoy your Hump Day Wednesday, and as always, BE WELL. Remember to title click for an unforgettable read...promise!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

**The 2008 All Star Game**

The managers have announced the starting lineups and their starting pitchers, the players are ready and Yankee Stadium, the House That Ruth Built, will be ready to showcase all in a gala opening ceremony. Fox and FoxHD will start the television coverage with a 7pm EDT pregame show featuring all the festivity of these past two days, especially today's star-studded 6th Avenue parade. It should be great. Game coverage on Fox and FoxHD will be at 8pm. Expect a pre-game festival more choreographed than the 1999 Fenway Park All Star game, which was highlighted by Ted Williams' last appearance in front of the baseball world.

First, here are your starting pitchers. For the visiting (and losing, I hope) National League, it will be Ben Sheets, 29, of the Milwaukee Brewers. His record is 10-3 with a great ERA of 2.85. The American League will start the Cleveland Indians' Cliff Lee. He's also 29, and he has a record of 12-2 and an even better ERA of 2.31. Two great pitchers in one great game in which the home field advantage for the World Series will be determined. Here are your complete starting lineups...

The American League

1. Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki
2. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter
3. Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton
4. Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez
5. Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez
6. Rangers designated hitter Milton Bradley
7. Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis
8. Twins catcher Joe Mauer
9. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia

The National League

1. Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez
2. Phillies second baseman Chase Utley
3. Astros first baseman Lance Berkman
4. Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols
5. Braves third baseman Chipper Jones
6. Rockies right fielder Matt Holliday
7. Milwaukee left fielder Ryan Braun
8. Cubs center fielder Kosuke Fukudome
9. Cubs catcher Geovany Soto.

So grab a beer, a soda or some popcorn, maybe fire up the grill before the 7pm coverage starts, and above all, enjoy! The Red Sox starters, as you probably know, are Manny Ramirez in left, Dustin Pedroia at second and the incomparable Kevin Youkilis, who might receive a few boos, manning first base. Big Papi WOULD have been the starting DH, but because of his wrist, he cannot play. But he's there, though. We all know how great a guy David is, and he wouldn't miss this for the world.

Click on the title of this post for some very special memories from Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant. He has SUCH a way with words unlike any other sportswriter I've ever had the pleasure of reading. So click on that title and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, July 14, 2008

At The All Star Break...Red Sox 2 Orioles 1

Sunday afternoon's 2-1 Boston win over the Baltimore Orioles might have been the longest 2-1 game I've ever seen. At least it seemed that way. The ninth inning alone seemed to take up the whole weekend! But the Sox won and took over first place by themselves, 1/2 game over the slumping Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, who have lost their last seven. It's the fourth straight year Boston has been in first at the break, which I didn't realize until today. Great job guys!

Daisuke Matsuzaka was his normal self, having trouble with his control. He went six innings, giving up zero runs and only four hits. He walked five batters and hit one, however, which led to a huge six inning pitch count. Through only four innings he had thrown 76 pitches and ended up with 115 total. For 1/2 a dozen innings, that's WAY too many. Manager Terry "Tito" Francona had this to say about his 10-1 starter...

"That's the good news, is that he gets out of it," manager Terry Francona said. "There's some frustration at times, which I think he probably has too, because his stuff is so good and he has the ability to get outs. When he locates, he's as good as there is. He created some jams for himself - got walk, hit batsman, walk - but fortunately they didn't string together a couple hits. He did a better job in his last outing," Francona said of Matsuzaka's 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Twins July 7. "When you start stringing starts together, that's a great sign for us, talk about consistency and things like that. The one thing he did do today was he stayed out through the sixth, 'cause it wasn't real easy for him all the time."

The bullpen came in to get the last nine outs and made it a true adventure. Hideki Okajima recorded the first two outs of the seventh but walked two. Manny Delcarmen, who is usually VERY good or VERY bad, was perfect. He ended the seventh frame and pitched the entire eighth, allowing no hits and striking out two. To me, he was the player of the game. Hands down! On came Jonathon Papelbon, gunning (and I mean that literally) for his 28th save. He got it, but not without too many thrills and unneeded chills. Three base hits, all singles, gave the Birdies their only run, but a sinking shallow popup to the surehanded Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia ended the first half of the season with a victory for the Good Guys from Boston. OUR Good Guys.

So the Red Sox enter the All Star break with a record of 57-40. That's good enough for first place and good enough for me. Click on the title of this post for everything you needed to know about yesterday's Fenway action, and as always, BE WELL. I'm sorry this post is up so late (late for me), but I had to go to the hospital for a routine CAT scan. No drama, but I get nervous with that type of thing. Needless to say, like it or not, I'm back. Enjoy the All Star game. Why not, home field advantage is up for grabs and almost half of the on-field players will be wearing a Red Sox uniform. What could be better? Only American League victory. Home field advantage certainly helped us in '04 and '07, and it will again. If only...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

***FINAL SCORE*** Red Sox 2 Orioles 1...FIRST PLACE AGAIN

It's now going to the bottom of the eighth inning at Fenway in the last game before the break. Okie and Little Manny got though the top of the seventh after Daisuke threw too many pitches through six, but gave up zero runs. Little Manny got his four outs, so now it's going into the bottom of the 8th...still 2-0 with Paps coming in for the ninth. Three outs to go for the Birdies...tweet tweet?

TOP OF THE NINTH...Paps on the mound...Millar at the plate...97 MPH strike one...98 MPH foul ball...strike two...Cora makes a catch..ONE OUT...
Roberts up..strike one...1-1...1-2...foul on a 98mph fastball...BASE on, one out.
RAYS LOSE TO CLEVELAND...first place is ours for the taking...BASE HIT by Adam
The count is 0-2...2-2...STRIKE THREE!! 98 MPH up and away fastball...
Huff up...1-0, 1-1, 1-2, ONE STRIKE AWAY! BASE HIT, with two outs!!!!!! It seems too often that Paps is one strike away, and then...
Moore at the plate...1-0...

*****FINAL...SOX WIN 2-1***** FIRST PLACE again going into the All Star Break. Phew!!

A full wrap coming up first thing in the morning.

Wakefield Is On A Roll...Big Papi Is Tentatively Scheduled To Return On July 25...Boston 12 Baltimore 1

Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox is on a roll...there's no denying it. Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, he was nearly unhittable for seven innings, only giving up a third inning solo home run while allowing just two hits and one earned run. He walked one. It was vintage Wakefield at his baffling and beautiful best. Boston won the game easily by a score of 12-1. Here's what his manager had to say, as well as the man himself and ex-teammate Kevin Millar...

“I think that’s actually the best I’ve seen him pitch,” said Francona, who had to leave Wakefield off the World Series roster last fall because of lingering back and shoulder problems. “He worked hard to stay where he is. When last year ended, and he wasn’t able to pitch, it was very important to him to come back and take the ball when it’s his turn.”

“I was the beneficiary of a lot of runs scored tonight,” Wakefield said. “So that made my job a lot easier after the third inning."

"He’s the most underrated pitcher I think there is in the big leagues,” former teammate Kevin Millar said. “You’ve just got to stop the bleeding. We were down by a lot of runs early and Wakefield was throwing strikes."

By the end of the fourth inning, the game was essentially over and the Fenway Faithful were having a lot of fun. At the time, the score was 10-0 Good Guys. In all, the Sox banged out 15 hits, and Kevin Youkilis, who becomes more clutch EVERY day, had a career high 6 RBIs, including a third inning grand slam that left the Orioles at Boston's mercy. The Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays also lost, their sixth in a row on the road. That leaves Boston with a chance to enter the All Star break in first place, or at the very least, near it. And here's some food for thought...those Rays are almost invincible when playing at home, much like the Sox, but unlike Boston, they only have 19 scheduled home games after August 7th. 19. Holy you-know-what!! Boston has 25 Fenway Park games scheduled during the same period. ADVANTAGE RED SOX. BIGTIME.

In other Red Sox news, it looks like the return of our very own Big Papi David Ortiz is scheduled on or about July 25th for a series with the Yankees, who are still reeling from the loss of Bobby Murcer. As I said in my last post, just below this one, he will be missed. For a great article about Bobby, just click on the title of that post. It's all there. And Julio Lugo will be lost to the team for 4-6 weeks...Jed Lowrie, who started at shortstop last night, was called up to share infield duties at that position with the steady Alex Cora. The deepness of these world champions is amazing!

Have a wonderful Sunday. Here in north central Connecticut as well as Boston, the day will dawn hazy but bright, with increasing humidity and rising temperatures as the afternoon approaches. Translation...a perfect day for baseball at that wonderful place called Fenway Park. First pitch time is 1:35pm EDT, and it will be Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is coming off a stellar start last time, versus the usually tough Daniel Cabrera. May the Sox win, and as always, BE WELL. You can click on the title of this post for more coverage of yesterday's convincing win and for all the details of our Big Papi's return. Thanks for stopping in, and your comments are always welcome. Here are your AL East standings right now, before Sunday's action...

Rays 55-38
Red Sox 56-40
Yankees 50-44
Blue Jays 46-48
Orioles 45-47

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Dammit...he passed today. Brain cancer...far too early. I have no words, except these. He was a great guy. Sure, he lived and breathed NY Yankees, but so what? He will be missed by all of us who love baseball. And we ALL do. CLICK ON THE TITLE OF THIS

Claymation...Orioles 7 Red Sox 3

The first inning of Friday's Boston Red Sox 7-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles was an excercise in frustration, especially the first seemingly neverending inning. Clay Buchholz was making his first start since his two month tuneup in Pawtucket, and his nervousness really showed. Here's what he had to say after the game...

“I haven’t been that nervous in a long time,” Buchholz said. “Maybe I was trying a little bit too hard … being out there for the first time in a while, trying to prove a point, trying to let everybody know this is where I want to be and this is where I want to be for a long time. I think it was just so new to me last year, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “Now I know what this team does: This team is here to win and produce championships. And to be a part of that, sometimes nerves might get the better of you.”

Peter here. In all, Clay threw 107 pitches in only five innings, and 65 of them were strikes. That's not good enough, but he is a work in progress who, I think, will settle down eventually. At times, after the first inning, he showed flashes of brilliance, especially when he striked out five of six batters in the third and fourth innings. His curveball was bitingly effective and his fastball, when on target, was killer. When used together WITH normal location control, he will put together a great start, probably a few of them, maybe many. The more the merrier, as they say!

The Red Sox offense collected only eight hits, and Julio Lugo will be lost to the team for more than a couple days with a severely strained quadriceps. What's that I hear? Are some of you applauding? I know Alex Cora will be just fine taking his place but you never want to see someone pull up lame while running the bases. Coco Crisp is also out, as usual (sorry Coco, you are SO injury prone), with, to quote Yahoo sports, "an unknown forearm injury." It's always something with him. So Brandon Moss will see more time in the outfield. June AL player of the month JD Drew is also sidelined, but might see action on Saturday. Hey, that's today! It's early, but I should have realized it.

The Red Sox have had trouble with the Baltimore Orioles so far this year, much unlike 2007. We'll see what happens today when another Oriole pitcher with a bloated ERA, Radhames Liz, faces the relatively hot Timmy Wakefield. The team could use a victory. On the bright side, the Yankees AND the (Devil) Rays lost by identical scores of 5-0. So there was nothing lost but everything to gain Friday night. Ya can't win 'em all, my Dad used to say, but HE managed to do it. So GO SOX. 7pm EDT Fenway baseball coming up to a TV or radio near you, unless you happen to be lucky enough to be at Fenway. You can click on the title of this post for more on last night's dissapointing defeat, a loss that the bullpen didn't help in any way whatsoever. When you do click, you will be linked to the Boston Herald's Boston Red Sox homepage. If you want to see the complete boxscore, merely look on the upper right of your screen where last night's scoreboard is displayed. Then, just click on box score. It says so much. Have a great weekend, and as always and forever, BE WELL.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A HUGE Start For Clay Buchholz Today.

Tonight at Fenway Park will be one of those nights when the excitement of the fans throughout Red Sox Nation will be a physical presence, an entity unto itself. Clay Buchholz will be making his first big league start since his two month "sabbatical" at AAA Pawtucket. He was sent down so the coaches could work with him to alter his arm/hand position, moving them farther away from his head when he's going to throw his fastball. This, they hoped, would allow him to rediscover the movement on that pitch, a pivitol one when combined with his killer curve. And ya know what? It seems to have worked. He had a 4-2 record with an ERA of 2.47 in nine starts. In four consecutive starts between June 14-30, he was 4-0 with an unbelievable ERA of (get this!) 0.47. His last start was his only recent blemish, but it is said that the strike zone that night was wildly unpredictable. So throw that one out. Here's what his catcher and his manager had to say...

“You throw a no-hitter in your second outing and your expectations are way too high,” catcher Jason Varitek said. “He’s going to be good, really good. Just like Jon Lester, though, he’s going to take lumps and he’s going to go backwards and he’s going to go forward and he’s going to go back a little bit until you hit a complete level of experience and knowing themselves.”

“He is adapting.” Francona said. “When you’re talking about arm slots, you want a guy to be able to do so with consistency. It probably will be a little bit of a work in progress,” Francona continued, “but with his stuff, I think we’re all confident it will be a successful work in progress.”

Peter here, and 'Tek hit the nail on the head. Clay cannot be expected to throw a shutout every time out, but if his ERA stays under 3.00, he will do just fine and he'll be the added and much needed notch in a fairly solid rotation. Paired with Jon Lester, the two twenty-somethings will be the core of the rotation for many, many years to come. And don't forget about Josh "Baseball" Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka. They are also in their twenties...that's SO sweet. And Timmy keeps on keeping on...just the way we like it.

Last night the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays lost their fourth in a row. The pinstriped ones also went down, so the Thursday off day was a productive one for gave everybody a day off while gaining in the standings. And now comes the final three game set before the much needed All Star break, although seven of our guys will be traveling to the Big Apple for the game, not to mention Tito Francona himself. Here are your pitching matchups for that weekend series...

Brian Burres (6-5, 5.07 ERA) vs. Clay Buchholz (2-3, 5.53) tonight
Radhames Liz (3-1, 5.94) vs. Tim Wakefield (5-6, 3.75) Saturday
Daniel Cabrera (6-4, 4.40) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-1, 2.84) Sunday

That's a wrap for today, Friday, July 11, 2008. The summer is flying by as if it had wings and two jet engines. I hope you have a great weekend, and GO SOX. As always, BE WELL. Thanks for stopping by...with greatly diminished blog readership, I love it that you still have the time to pop in and say hello. Hello back!!! Click on the title for something Soxy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

23 Skidoo And A Fenway Series Sweep Over Minnesota...Red Sox 18 Twins 5

The Red Sox offense exploded Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, the hub of the universe. With the score relatively close at 7-5 Boston, the Red Sox overwhelmed the visiting team in the seventh and eighth innings, adding eleven runs to their already impressive total. The pivotal play was a Jason Varitek shallow fly ball to center with runners at second and third. The umpire ruled that Denard Span caught the ball, and when the ump signaled "catch," Denard threw to the infield in a triple play try, an apparently successful one. And that triple play would have stood, with Sean Casey and Mike Lowell running, but Tito Francona came out and asked for the entire officiating crew to consult with each other. As the numerous replays clearly showed, the ball was trapped--it wasn't even close. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire blew a fuse and most of the circut boards at Fenway when he charged out onto the field. He was promptly ejected and later, when he saw the replays, I'm sure he realized he was mistaken. But he wanted to do SOMETHING to get his team going. Guess didn't work. Here's what he had to say after the game...

“This is a tough place to play,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team had won 16-of-18 games before being swept in the three-game series. “You make mistakes and their hitters come alive here. We’ve seen that over the years and yesterday was a great example of that. Balls start flying around, balls in the corner, balls all over the place, the whole package. That team gets on a roll here and they’re hard to stop.”

Peter here, and that's what we like...our team on a roll. And with a day off today, Jason Varitek added this about the recent tough stretch of games for the BoSox, and the need for a rest, even a 24 hour reprieve...

"We've had a tough schedule ever since we got to Tampa," said catcher Jason Varitek, who broke out of a slump with two hits Wednesday. "You look at it, night game, day game, extra innings, get in at 5 a.m., night game, day game, get in at 5 a.m. Then we come home and it was like we were all swinging underwater on Monday. We need a day off. I need one."

Josh Beckett clearly had an off day, but his teammates bashed the ball, scoring eleven times in the seventh and eighth innings to usher the team from Minnesota out of town with their tails between their legs. And with the Yankee sweep of the first place Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, the Sox are now only two games behind, with the pinstriped ones 4 1/2 games behind them. The Red Sox are now two games in front of the Twins in the wild card race, a race I disregard when we're in first place. We will be soon, again. Josh Beckett, who has seen better starts, said this after the game...

“That’s what you have to do to win a lot of games over the course of the year,” said Beckett, who surrendered three runs in the first inning, including Justin Morneau’s two-run home run. “Some days you don’t have it and your offense picks you up. I guarantee you, if you look at last year, there were four or five wins sprinkled in there like that.”

OK, that's about it from here. If you'd like, merely click on the title of this post for more about that glorious afternoon at beautiful Fenway Park on a Wednesday filled with delight, base hits and wonder. And a win. As always, please BE WELL. Enjoy your Thursday. Thank you SO much for stopping in, and any and all of your comments will be read and replied to. That's a promise, a promise from me to you, as the Beatles sang long ago..."If there's anything that you want, if there's anything I can do, just call on me and I'll send it along, with love from me to you." Well said, John and Paul. Well done SOX!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A MANNY Moment...Red Sox 6 Twins 5

It looked bleak for the hometown Boston Red Sox as the game headed into the bottom of the eighth inning. The Minnesota Twins were up by a score of 5-2 when a groundout by JD Drew scored Jacoby Ellsbury. That made it 5-3 with Sir Manny coming to the plate. He hit a home run into the Monster seats on the first pitch, a two run blast, and rounded the bases with a HUGE smile on his face. Moments later, a Brendan Moss base hit scored Kevin Youkilis, who was on base throughout the game with three hits. 6-5 Good Guys, and it was Jonathon Papelbon time. But the top of the ninth was a mini-nailbiter. Nick Punto hit a shallow fly ball with one out, a ball that Coco Crisp tried to catch, shoestring style, but the ball eluded him for a bonafide double. Paps bore down when he had to, striking out Jason Kubel and shattering Alexi Cassilla's bat to induce a game-ending grounder. GAME OVER. SOX WIN! Here's what the affable Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire had to say about the Red Sox regular leftfielder...

“You can’t give in to Manny, no matter who it is,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “With that left field, if you throw a fastball up, he hits it out of the ballpark. That’s just a bad pitch, and now you have a tie ballgame. That’s how quick it happens here in this ballpark, and Manny’s the guy that can do it.”

Peter here, and yes he is, Ron. The Twins had been hot until their jaunt to Fenway, and today the Red Sox will throw their ace out there. Josh Beckett will oppose Livian Hernandez in the series and season finale for these two teams, and it's day baseball time on this Wednesday Hump Day. With a day off tomorrow, the bullpen will be there as needed. How sweet is that!

Big Papi David Ortiz reported no pain in his healing wrist after Monday and Tuesday swings, and he'll stay on this same schedule throughout the week before being reevaluated. Look to see him in his familiar number three spot shortly before or after the All Star break, and that will be a sight for sore eyes and a boon to the club and its pitching staff. You can click on the title of this post for more articles about last night's win, and I hope you can listen or watch the 1:05 pm EDT game today. Josh will spin a beauty--I just have a feeling. If I return home in time (which I will), I'll have inning by inning updates right here. Until then, BE WELL.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Daisuke Finds His Zone...Red Sox 1 Twins 0

Just as the title said, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has been off his game in a big way since he went down with an injury a few weeks ago, regained his pitching wits Monday night at friendly Fenway Park in beautiful downtown Boston. The Red Sox won the game against the red-hot Twins by a tintillating score of 1-0, courtesy of a Manny Ramirez smash to rightfield. Dustin Pedroia had doubled and scampered home easily. That was the eighth inning, and Daisuke Matsuzaka came on in the bottom half of the inning and tried to protect that slim lead. Alas, he could not. After a bunt single and a single to right, he was gone and his countryman Hideki Okajima was summoned from the 'pen. In all, 71 of Daisuke's 109 pitches were strikes, and he was in command, control-wise, walking only three while striking out five. May we please see some more of the same, Mr. Matsuzaka? Please? Okie was able to finish the eighth after some anxious moments and Jonathon Papelbon was back to normal with a 1-2-3 ninth, needing only nine pitches to send the crowd home happy. It was a big game for the team after two tough losses to the Yankees, and this is what Tito Francona had to say...

"I didn't care who it was, just push a run across and make it stand, but it was great," said Francona. "We needed something, anything, so we can leave here on a night with a little frustration offensively, but we got a win."

Peter here with a big DITTO. And the (Devil) Rays did the unexpected--they lost! Boston creeps up to 4 games back and one game back of Minnesota in the wild card race. Let's get that down to two back of Tampa Bay by the All Star break, which starts after the Sunday game.

There is other big Red Sox news on this too early Tuesday morning. First and foremost is the good news that Big Papi David Ortiz took his first real swings since he suffered that wrist injury. He took 36 swings and hit 6 of 'em out of the park. Slow and easy, David. We'll see you soon after the break. And the other piece of big news is that Justin Masterson, who will be a star in the next couple of years, was sent to Pawtucket to make room for Clay Buchholz, who will start against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. Justin will make the transition to a relief role, where any and all help would be excellent. I think it's a great move, not because of what anything Justin did or didn't do in his stint with the Sox but because Clay clearly was able to iron out such things as arm movement and arm slot location, and that enabled him to go more than 22 innings straight without giving up a single run. With the status of Bartolo Colon still up in the air, the addition of Buchholz will be a welcome sight indeed. And I guarantee you we'll see Justin Masterson and his tough sidearm deliveries soon, coming in from the bullpen to help shore up that bridge to Paps.

Click on the title of this post for more on Clay Buchholz, who had a rough outing in his last Pawtucket start. Last night's Sox game would have been a tough one to lose, but it sure was a sweet one to win. Thank you for stopping by, your comments are always welcome and will be responded to every time. That's a promise. BE WELL.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A Series Split..The Hard Way...Yankees 5 Red Sox 4

First of all, congratulations to the seven Boston Red Sox players who are going to the All Star Game...great job, guys. But last night, the New York Yankees salvaged a series split with Boston, winning the 10 inning game 5-4. Brett Gardner, who is now the starting leftfielder for New York until Johnny Damon returns, singled up the middle against Jonathon Papelbon to plate the winning run, and he went down and hit a darn good "put-away" splitter to do it. With the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays' seventh straight victory, Boston, who was one up on the Rays after their last home game, are now five games behind them. And that's tough.

Tim Wakefield again did not pitch poorly, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up 3 runs on 4 hits with only one base on balls. But the aforementioned bullpen gave the Yankees another run back in that seventh inning to tie it before the fateful 10th inning. Joba Chamberlin started for the Yankees and pitched six full, allowing three runs while mixing in 4 walks. We should have beaten him, but the lineup lacked it's usual punch without Manny (a day of rest, which he needed) and Big Papi. And it seems the grudge between Joba and Kevin Youkilis is still ongoing, for in the sixth inning, he threw a 95 mph fastball BEHIND Kevin. Maybe he was smarting after Youk stung him for two hits earlier in the game. The two tangled, completely legally, in a play at the plate before his "pitch with intent" sailed behind Youk's hip. He said this after the game, but wisely held his tounge when we all know he had SO much to say...

"Like I said, what I wanted to say I'm not going to say," the first baseman said. "It doesn't matter to me, we lost the game, and it doesn't matter what happened in this game other than we lost. It doesn't matter what happened within the game, we lost, we've got to win games."

Peter here, and Kevin is exactly right. The Red Sox have descended into their mid-summer "play .500 baseball" mode, and that's the reason why they are 5 games back of the red hot devilish Rays, who deserve to be exactly where they first place with the best record in all of baseball. Let us hope that "win one lose one" modus operandi for our good guys will change, and change quickly, but the season moves on. Boston came back home late last night and will be ready to play three against the Twins before a Thursday day off and another three game set versus the Orioles. And then, the All Star break. I hope the Sox can win 5 of those 7. They sure need to. Here are those Twins pitching matchups...

Scott Baker (5-2, 3.65 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-1, 3.12) tonight
Nick Blackburn (7-4, 3.78) vs. Jon Lester (7-3, 3.21) Tuesday
Livan Hernandez (9-5, 5.18) vs. Josh Beckett (8-5, 3.70) Wednesday

Let's hope that Daisuke can rediscover the actual strike zone and go more than five plus innings. That's not asking too much, is it? I'm still a little bothered by last night's game, but I'll get over it. If you want to read more about Sunday night, just click on the title. And as always, thanks so much for stopping by and BE WELL. Forever, or as close as you can come to that.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Moose And Mo And A 9th Inning Foiled Boston Comeback...Yankees 2 Red Sox 1

The Boston Red Sox ALMOST completed a ninth inning comeback against Mariano Rivera. They sure had their chances. They had scored one run to make the score 2-1 and had the bases loaded with no (zero, none, nada) outs. The bases were full. Here's what transpired. The score was 2-0 Yankees and JD Drew led off this final inning with a single, his second hit of the game. Manny followed and was hit by a pitch, the sixth but not the last time a batter was plunked in this late afternoon contest. Mike Lowell singled to right, driving in the first Sox run. 2-1 Bad Guys. Still no outs. Kevin Youkilis was then hit by a pitch. That would be number seven and the last hit batsman of this soon-to-be-over game. Still 2-1 and Mo beared down. In short order, Coco Crisp struck out, Jason Varitek, who usually wears Rivera out, popped out and Julio Lugo, Boston's last hope, struck out. A golden opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of their hated rivals was wasted, and the game was over. Here's what the skipper, Tito Francona, had to say...

"We gave ourselves a great chance with really good at-bats," manager Terry Francona said, "and then Mariano went to work and pretty much carved us up for the next three hitters.
"He left himself no wiggle room, and then he didn't need it.
"We've seen him have clean innings. We've seen him do that, get in a little bit of trouble and be able to get out of it. We're probably one of the few teams that have been able to come back and beat him, but we weren't able to do that today."

No Tito, you weren't, although most of us watching on NESN or sitting in the Fenway stands thought that tying run, AT LEAST, would have scored. Mike Mussina pitched six great innings for New York, although I continued to wonder throughout the game why the Boston batters could not hit his powder-puff pitches. But I was watching on television, not standing at the plate. Moose's mound opponest was Boston rookie Justin Masterson, who pitched well for six innings, giving up those two runs on six hits while striking out five. He gave way to Javie Lopez and newly returned Mike Timlin, who were unscored on. But two runs were two runs too many for the Red Sox to win on this particular day. With the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays' win, the Sox drop to four games off the pace, which is five games better than the Yankees. Those (Devil) Rays are still a hot club with great starting pitching throughout their rotation. Let's see if it can last. I don't see any reason why not--they are strong offensively, defensively and on the mound, quite a great combination.

Well, it's Sunday, the last day of a rainy three day holiday weekend here in Connecticut. Yesterday, because of the rain, I was able to start the new Red Sox mystery novel penned by Mary Ann Tirone Smith and Jere Smith. Jere is a friend of mine, although we've never met, and he writes the blog RED SOX FAN IN PINSTRIPE TERRITORY, which you can find on my link list. Make it an everyday read, just as I do. I'm only 1/3 of the way through the book, but I know it will be a winner, not just for members of Red Sox Nation but to all lovers of a good mystery. The fact that it takes place in Fenway Park and the towns surrounding it, including, of course, Boston, just adds to the mix, the aroma of things familiar. There's even a baby who was named Ted Williams. But you won't learn any plot secrets here...not from me! The book, called DIRTY WATER: A RED SOX MYSTERY, won't be released until September, but I'll review it right here with a link to the Amazon dot com preorder site. In fact, if you'd like to preorder it RIGHT NOW, just click on the title of this post. Or you can wait for my review, which will be up in the next few days. What I was sent is known as a "galley." The final version will be endlessly proofread for spelling and punctuation and all the other stuff that authors and publishers do. Hey, there's even a blogger in the book whose name is Peter. I wonder if that was on the title to learn more, and look for the link to Jere's blog on my link list. You'll be glad you did. Thank you for stopping by, and if you're traveling today, be careful out there! And as always, be safe. Don't forget to click on the title for that Amazon link to get a look at and a feel for DIRTY WATER: A RED SOX MYSTERY.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Red Sox Sock Yankees Again...Boston 6 Yankees 4

Friday afternoon, July 4th of 2008 was quite the day for Red Sox players and fans alike in New York City as Boston soundly defeated the downtrodden home team who go by the name "Yankees" by a score of 6-4. Darrell Rasner was absolutely no match for Sox ace Josh Beckett, and it showed. Josh was able to go six complete innings, throwing slightly more than 100 pitches, as he overcame a shaky first frame and got tougher and tougher as the game rolled by. The bullpen took over in the 7th, and Hideki Okajima strode to the mound, Phiton titanium necklace firmly in place. Once again it was not a good outing for him. He DID record two outs, but also walked two and surrendered a base hit. So Manny Delcarmen was called on to extinguish the smoldering fire that is the Yankee offense. And he did just that before running into minor trouble in the eighth. One pinstriper was on and there was one out. Tito Francona needed a lefthander to pitch to the lefty batter, so out came Javy Lopez. Obviously it was a perfect pitch and he was out of the inning with a perfect double play infield grounder. And then everyone in the stadium and watchin NESN or who had their ears glued to their radios or shortwaves knew it was "Paps time". After some anxious moments and a bad call (the ump said he blew the call after the game) on what seemed to be a miracle catch by Coco Crisp in centerfield, a 400 plus foot fly ball ended the game. 2 for 2 for the Sox, with Masterson ready to face Mike Mussina in the Fox nationally televised game at 3:30pm EDT, on FOX and FOXHD.

The biggest hit of the game belonged to Boston's Mr. Doubles, who has been clutch all season long (last season, too, and the one before). Mike Lowell lined a three run home run into the seats, and that provided the margin of victory. His manager, Terry "Tito" Francona, had this to say, followed by a comment from Mike himself...

“He just plays every day and grinds out the game. He makes the plays. We rely on him for a lot. I fought it last year (by continuing to bat him sixth) because I didn’t want him to feel like he had to do too much, and that was wrong. He can do a lot.”
“I’ve been able to drive in runs since I was 7 years old. I don’t see why I wouldn’t be able to when I’m 34,” Lowell said. “I don’t think they’d put me in the 5-hole if it wasn’t my strength.”

I'll leave you with the complete Boston pitching summary and my wishes for a tremendous Fourth of July weekend. That's right, it's only Saturday! The fireworks festival, actually called the Hartford Riverfest (it's on the Connecticut River, with views from the east and west side), begins this evening with things going on all around the city before the 9:45 pm pyrotechnics, assembled and choreographed by the Grucci Bothers. Nobody does it better, and I'll be there. By then the game will be over and we all might be celebrating another Sox victory, but today's pitching matchup is the toughest of the four games. The Yankees have not seen Masterson, however, so he might initially befuddle them. Let's hope he can give us 6 (plus?) great innings. Papelbon threw 27 pitches yesterday, but he hadn't worked before that for seven days, so I think Tito will not hesitate to call on him to get the last three outs, IF WE'RE AHEAD. I hope so. And it will be wet in the Big Apple, with scattered showers and thundershowers in the late afternoon. But the game will go on! Here's that pitching line from Friday afternoon...
J Beckett
(W, 8-5) 6.0 4 3 3 2 4 3.70
H Okajima
(H, 16) 0.2 1 0 0 2 0 3.00
M Delcarmen
(H, 12) 0.2 0 0 0 1 0 4.63
J Lopez
(H, 8) 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 2.16
J Papelbon
(S, 25) 1.0 1 1 1 1 0 2.19
Thanks for popping in again, and please make it a habit. And you can click on the title of this post for a nice treat yet again, from Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant. I said it in yesterday's post and I'll say it once again...he is one of my favorite sportswriters. So click away. His subject? The Red Sox and Yankees, what else? Enjoy!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Boston Red Sox 6 NY Yankees 4

Josh Beckett gutted out a tough three run first inning and held firm, allowing the bullpen to pitch the last three innings. A Mikey Lowell 3 run home run was the decisive clout. SOX WIN AGAIN! A full wrap in the morning. Happy Independence Day!

Boston Red Sox 7 NY Yankees 0...HAPPY 4th Of July To All!

The Boston Red Sox soundly defeated the reeling New York Yankees Thursday night at the Stadium by a score of 7-0. Jon Lester was superb with every aspect of his pitching and spun his second complete game, his first since his no hitter. Manager Terry "Tito" Francona had this to say...

"He used his two-seamer, his cutter, his four-seamer, got a lot of first-pitch strikes, got some double plays," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He really looked like a 6-foot-5 major league left-hander."

And here is his wonderful pitching line...

J. Lester (W, 7-3) 9.0 5 0 0 2 8 0 3.21

JD Drew, Yankee "fan favorite" Kevin Youkilis and Coco Crisp, back from his 5 game suspension, had 2 hit games and Jacoby Ellsbury had 2 RBIs. With 11 hits, they were able to score six runs more than they needed, but I like 7. It's a nice crooked number. The loss prompted Yankee manager Joe Girardi to call a post-game team meeting, and after a contentious war of words with a New York newspaper guy, he said this, which was echoed by team captain Derek Jeter...

"We did not play a good game," Girardi said, still visibly agitated as he met the media following the team meeting. "We didn't do anything. We didn't hit, we didn't pitch. We didn't play a good game."

"I think everyone realizes that we're capable of playing a lot better than we have been," the captain added. "We have to come out, forget about what's happened to this point in the season and hope we start playing a lot better."

Not only did Lester get the victory, he gave the Boston bullpen a much needed night off. The Yankees are in for more trouble today when they face Josh Beckett, who, as we all know, does not like the Yankees. Look for him to be pumped up, to put it mildly. It's Fourth of July day baseball in the Bronx, and the Yankees will counter Beckett with Darrell Rasner. Josh is due for some run support in a huge way, and I have a feeling that this afternoon, he'll get it. New York is a team in turmoil, and it's been said the Georgie Steinbrenner himself will be at the stadium to root for, or maybe scowl at his team. First pitch will be at 1:05pm EDT.

Today is July Fourth, 2008. I want to wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy Independence Day. As Spock would say, "Live long and prosper." Go Josh...GO SOX. As always, be well. Any Yankee derogatory comments? Any nice ones? Fire away. Thanks. And I have a special treat for you on this holiday Friday. Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant, my favorite sportswriter, wrote a tremendous column about Jon Lester and the Red Sox and Yankee comings and goings. You'll love it, so click away on the title of this post.