Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Red Sox "Lucky 13th"...Boston 5 Baltimore 2...Contest Update

The Red Sox must be very fond of the east coast of these United States. Last night, Boston defeated the Orioles in 13 long innings by a score of 5-2. Josh Beckett did not get the win, but he pitched a great, if sometimes wild, 6 innings, giving up 2 runs and only 4 hits while walking two and whiffing 10 (!!). He ended up throwing 118 pitches. And then it was the bullpen's time to shine. That's EXACTLY what Okajima, Delcarmen, Lopez, Hansen, Timlin and Jonathon Papelbon did, holding the Birds to those two runs. Timlin earned the win and Paps recorded his 15th save.'s great to get a win under our belts - that west trip coast was PAINFUL!

The offense was led by Mike Lowell, who drove in the eventual winning runs. He had three hits, as did leadoff hitter supreme Jacoby Ellsbury. Big Papi contributed two more safeties for Boston, but this game was "this" for so long. What is "this?" "This" is another weak offensive display by the Boston lumber, and I'm so glad a few players seem to be getting untracked at the plate. I hope that trend is as catching as the flu bug that went 'round and 'round the clubhouse, taking victims in every nook and corner, cranny and closet.

The latest news on Daisuke Matsuzaka doesn't sound good, but it's just that the club is taking the cautious route, as well they should. They placed Daisuke on the 15 day disabled list, and if all goes well and treatment and rest is the best cure, he'll miss three starts. It's a long season. "Take no chances now and you'll be stronger in the long run." That's how it goes with a six month season of ANYTHING!

OK, a quick contest update. Please remember, if you haven't entered yet, there's only one guess allowed per reader/person. I assume most if not all of my readers are people, by the way. If not, let me know! I need to hear from you and a translator will be on call. Seriously (who, me?), there are seven entered guesses, and since no one knows what those guesses were except for little old me, I can tell you that there was one person who hit it right on the button. Who? Wait until tomorrow (Sunday) morning, a little bit after 6am. Seven entries, with two self-disqualifications. I'm a little surprised there were not more, but this whole Saturday is open. For all the contest details and a review of the DVD set, just scroll down two or three posts. It's called THE ESSENTIAL GAMES OF FENWAY PARK, and it's a KEEPER!

That's it for me right now. The sun is gently nudging itself free of the eastern horizon, and a beautiful day that will turn into a rainy one (I just heard the latest weather forecast!) is in store for those of us here in north central Connecticut. I hope your Saturday will be great, and click on this post's title for more Soxiness. And as always and forever, BE WELL. This is your humble host, signing off...for now. Anyone who hasn't entered the contest (see below), JUST DO IT!

Friday, May 30, 2008

***UPDATE*** Jim Calhoun has cancer...geez

The press conference is ongoing right now (2:14pm EDT). Jim Calhoun, the longtime coach of the Unniversity of Connecticut men's basketball team, has cancer. The doctors recommend radiation therapy. My prayers are with him. I'm sorry to bring you this has spread to his lymph nodes. NO FAIR. Hey Jim, we love you...

THE BOSTON RED SOX : Essential Games of Fenway Park...THE REVIEW...THE CONTEST!

Hello on this Friday morning, still dark because I woke up much too early. The contest to win one of the two copies of the 6 DVD set from A&E Home Video that chronicles six of the greatest games ever played at Fenway Park as voted by the fans is on! The discs are in my hot hands, and I had a chance to savor a generous helping of each disc. For the full details of which games are included and a list of the bonus features, simply scroll down two posts and you'll find everything you'd want to know. Ok, here goes...

The six DVDs are housed in a beautiful metallic silver-colored hard plastic box with easy access to the goodies inside. There are no security stickers to peel off at your own risk. Each disc has one game on it, the earliest being from that magic year of 1967, when Yaz had the year of all years. The date of the game? September 30, 1967, when the Sox were in the thick of an improbable pennant race and needed something Yaz-special. Boy, did they get it! The last disc is also the most'll remember this one well. The time...April 22, 2007. The opponents...the hated Yankees. The Sox hit four consecutive home runs to bury those bums. In between are games from the '75 World Series (YES, the magic game #6...Pudge's night), 1986 (Rocket strikes out 20 batters for the first time), the complete 1999 MLB All Star Game at Fenway, a day when Ted Williams touched our hearts and made me cry, and the 1999 American League Championship Series game #3, when Petey (Pedro Martinez) shut down the Yankees and the Rocket. The video quality varies, as I expected and as each disc will explain. But even the earliest game, which has noticible grain but a very viewable overall picture, earns three stars out of five. Not bad for '67! But once you get to disc two and beyond, the video quality, and these are all standard definition discs with a 4x3 format (not widescreen, even though my DVD player upconverts to a widescreen picture and a 1080i feed), all rate a solid four out of five. The audio sounds as if you're watching the game on live problemas, en espanol. Next, and last, is this...ease of use of the menu functions and the tremendous bonus features, which are listed in detail in the preceding post. Scroll down after you read this. Ok, where was I? It's too early, I'm going back to bed........WAIT! No, I'm not. The menu functions are simple and effective. You can select a viewing of an entire game or just click on "inning" and go to any point of the contest. I watched the '99 All Star Game festivities with a lump in my throat once again. The individual disc art shows the scoreboard tallies for each game but do not list where the heck the bonus features are, but that's a minor quibble. For your information, they follow the 2007 Yankee game on disc # 6, AND THEY ARE AMAZING. The full list of bonus features is in the post below.

All in all, this set will be an "essential" part of your baseball collection, and is perfect for a cold snowy night when baseball is just a wistful wish in the throes of winter. Picture this - a roaring fireplace and a savage snowstorm, munchable treats and a cold beverage nearby. You reach into your DVD collection and pick out this boxed set. After a couple minutes, you decide on a game, pop it in, and the snow outside changes to a gentle rain with a hint of a breeze as your mind is transported to a warmer time of year, a season of watching your favorite team play the game that you love. And this set has more than 16 hours of that love.

OK, the contest has been open since yesterday (Thursday, May 29, 2008) mid-afternoon. All entries must be here, to MY EMAIL ADDRESS, by 6AM Sunday, June 1, comments/guesses here on my blog-all you'd be doing is giving away your answer. I thought that I set up the contest format without anticipating how many beloved readers would enter, but I'm going to let it stand as is and in case of a tie or ties, there WILL be playoff action. The postage will be paid by yours truly. All YOU have to do, again by 6am Sunday, June 1, is send me an email (access it through my profile, or copy and paste this.... with a number between zero and thirty six (0-36). Again, in case of ties, and I realize now that I should have added more numbers, it will be playoff time. Believe me, this disc set will provide more than half a day of utter joy. And that's if you watch the whole thing at once, a tall order. This set is a dish best savored one game at a time. So good luck. As of now, I have only three entries, Darren B, Soxy Lady and Jarret B. Keith (Gingerly) has guessed but he left that guess in a comment here at my blog. Keith, please resubmit your guess with an email. You can keep the same number but I deleted your comment so that guess would remain our secret.

Ya know what? Only four guesses (three valid ones) makes me sad. I thought there would be a lot more readers involved in this simple, non-thinking guessing game, but everybody has until 6am Sunday morning to get their guesses in, and with only 37 numbers to pick from, playoffs might ensue. But the important thing is this...A&E Home Video's Red Sox DVD set is a great addition for any members of RSN and RSI, one that will warm your hearts, make you cry and make you stand up and cheer. With pride. For we all have faith in that team from Boston. As always, BE WELL. And please remember to submit all your guesses via email. Only ONE guess per reader. I'll know if anyone submits multiple guesses. How? Believe me, I'll know. Please click on the title of this very post for ALL the details of this wonderous baseball treasure. I will post the winner's names, or the names of those tied who will march into the playoffs, first thing Sunday morning. EMAILS ONLY FOR GUESSES! I will contact via email the winners or those involved in the playoffs. Ties count as ties.

Thanks again for stopping in to my little neck of the internet woods, and I look forward to your guesses. And to view the cover artwork and a detailed description of EVERYTHING, simply click on this post's title. Good luck...I wish I had a set for each and every one of my CONSTANT READERS. Keith, one more reminder to submit your guess via my email address. It was a night off (thank goodness) for our Sox, and here are the four game pitching matchups for the series in Baltimore, which starts tonight...

Josh Beckett (5-4, 4.43 ERA) vs. Daniel Cabrera (5-1, 3.70) tonight
Jon Lester (3-3, 3.55) vs. Garrett Olson (4-1, 4.09) Saturday
Bartolo Colon (2-0, 2.25) vs. Brian Burres (4-4, 4.15) Sunday
Tim Wakefield (3-4, 4.70) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (2-5. 3.64) Monday

Tough matchups all...have a wonderful Friday and good luck. I'm still surprised there have been only three valid entries, but there's still time. At Sunday 6am, I'll publish the winner's names (not their email addys) or the participants of any playoff action that might be needed. Thanks for being here. I don't know what I'd do without you. But now, I need you! So...guess! I look forward to spreading the joy that this DVD set will bring to me.

P.S. I have, as of noon Friday, six entries. Thanks. And they are soxy lady, Darren B, Jarret B, Gary, BFW and the reluctant Keith. That's six---GOOD LUCK. More, PLEASE?!! And a P.P.S....the audio is right channel heavy, but the images? UNFORGETTABLE! And the BONUS FEATURES are just so great.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Contest For The Immaculate A&E HOME VIDEO DVD set. The Six Greatest Red Sox Fenway Park Games...

It's a six DVD my post below for all the DVD details. They're ALL there. Or just click on the title of this post.

OK...the first five readers who email me (click on my profile, and you'll find "email" on the upper left) have to guess a number between zero and thirty six. The two closest win the 6 DVD set. If there's a tie (no, no!!), there will be a playoff. Numbers zero through thirty six (0-36). Thanks, you're the best! All emails have to be in by 6 AM EDT Sunday, June 1, 2008. Please, guess...I have already written down the winning number. No hints allowed. GO SOX, and good luck. AND THERE IS ONLY ONE GUESS ALLOWED PER PERSON. How would I know? Trust me, I will......

My full review of the set will's amazing. And just in case, my email is...

P.S. Darren has made the first guess. What is it? That's for me to know until Sunday 6AM..and there are more guesses in...thank you, far. Click on that title, and thanks.

Bedard Bests Wakefield, Red Sox...Seattle 1 Boston 0...RED SOX DVD SET DETAILS

The Boston Red Sox hitting woes continued Wednesday night at Safeco Field in Seattle as the Erik Bedard fueled Seattle Mariners defeated the hitless wonders, that baseball team from Boston, by a score of 1-0. The Sox collected two hits, if you want me to be precise, but two hits were clearly not enough. And all this came on a night when the "old man," knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, spun an 8 inning beauty, allowing only five base hits and one run while walking none. His only mistake was a home run ball to Yuniesky Betancourt in the third inning. Wakes had this to say after the stinging road defeat...

“I made some adjustments from my last start and they paid off, but unfortunately, I came out on the short end of the stick,” Wakefield said."

Manny Ramirez, looking for career home run #500, went 1-3 with a single, which was one of the two Red Sox hits in the game. Clearly the Red Sox hitting has taken a turn southward, WAY southward (at this rate, they'll end up in Cuba!), but after four games in Baltimore beginning on Friday, home cooking will be theirs again.

Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent back home to Boston for an MRI on his aching right shoulder, so Wakes will take his turn in the rotation on Monday with his normal rest. It looks like Justin Masterson (thanks Rooster) will be slated to go Tuesday in the Fenway Park opener of a nine game homestand. He'll face the Tampa Bay Rays. He's had two very effective fill-in starts for the big club, and we all have to hope that Daisuke will miss only a start or two. The MRI will tell all, and we await with bated breath, whatever bated means.

So, tonight being a baseball-free night, I will have time to review each of the six DVD discs that comprise the new A&E Home Video release entitled THE BOSTON RED SOX : THE ESSENTIAL GAMES OF FENWAY PARK, and devise some sort of contest so that two of you will each win a copy. It consists of 6 DVDs and has a running time of more than 16 (!!!) hours. Here are the details, just to wet your appetites...



Sept. 30, 1967 Regular Season vs. Minnesota Twins® (9/30/67): Carl Yastrzemski hit his 44th home run as the Sox tied for the lead in a four-team American League® pennant race.

1975 World Series® Game 6 vs. the Cincinnati Reds® (10/21/75): This see-saw battle of the Titans ended with Carlton Fisk and his 12th inning game-ending home run.

Regular Season vs. Seattle Mariners® (4/29/86): 23-year-old Roger Clemens set the Major League record with 20 strikeouts in this hallmark game.

1999 Major League Baseball All-Star Game® and MLB All-Century Team celebration (7/13/99): Fenway Park was selected to house the final Mid-Summer Classic of the 20th Century and the festivities riveted the world.

1999 American League Championship® Series Game 3 vs. New York Yankees (10/16/99): Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez shutdown the vaunted Yankees and former Boston pitcher Roger Clemens with 12 strikeouts over 7 innings.

Apr. 22, 2007 Regular Season vs. New York Yankees® (4/22/07): Boston dispensed with its archrival Yankees in large part thanks to four consecutive home runs.

***DVD Bonus Features***

The Origins of Fenway Park
Ted Williams: Fenway's Hometown Hero
Ted Williams Throws out First Pitch at 1999 All-Star Game
Vintage Film: Yaz 1968 World Series Highlights at Fenway
Yaz 400th HR and 3000th hit
Red Sox Clinch 1986 ALCS in Fenway
Brunansky's amazing catch clinches 1990 AL East Crown
Last inning of Derek Lowe's No-Hitter (4/27/02)
Red Sox score 10 runs before making their first out (6/27/03)
Bill Mueller walk-off HR vs. Mariano Rivera (7/24/04)
Dave Roberts: "The Steal" 2004 ALCS Game 4
Big Papi's 2004 Postseason Walk-off Hits
Last inning of Clay Buchholz's No-Hitter (9/1/07)


Peter here. Sounds good, doesn't it? My very next post will give all of you a chance to win a postage-free set, my thanks to you for stopping in and being a part of my dwindling audience. I've already thought of a name for my "goodbye" post, but I don't plan to use it...hopefully not EVER. So good luck to all of you. I wish I had a set for each and every one of my regular readers. OH, a hint...the quiz might have absolutely nothing at all to do with baseball. Right now, it has nothing to do with anything, for I don't know what it is. I'll figure it out, though.

Have a great Thursday and click on the title of this post to get a better look at the metallic silver-packaged art work of the DVD set. And with that, I bid adieu, or say goodbye, maybe sayonara or shalom, maybe hola or hasta manana. Or maybe just this...BE WELL. Click on that title for a better look at what's coming up. Soon. Is that a tease? I sure hope so. Any of your wonderful comments are welcome with open arms and my smiling thanks.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tough Stuff : Matsuzaka Hurt In Red Sox Loss...Seattle 4 Boston 3

Tuesday night did not go as smoothly as the night before for the Boston Red Sox. They lost to the Mariners by a score of 4-3. Seattle scored a run in the bottom of the ninth off Mike Timlin, who should retire by the All Star break. His dismal record at Safeco Field was the reason I was surprised that he was in there in the first place, but Papelbon had pitched the day before and Okajima had thrown a sixteen pitch eighth. Why Tito Francona couldn't have run Okie out for the ninth is beyond me, and we all know now that the skipper might have blown the game. More bad news had preceded that fateful ninth, for Daisuke Matsuzaka had to leave after four innings and 65 pitches with what was preliminarily deemed "a tired shoulder." I do not like the sound of that...not one bit! Here is what he and his skipper had to say after the game...

"He felt some, I guess, fatigue is the right word," manager Terry Francona said. "We're not going to run somebody out there when we think there's something wrong. It's too long of a season. I don't think he really wanted to give the ball up. We knew in between innings," Francona said. "I knew that we wanted to keep an eye on him."
"Even before I went up on the mound, I felt that things were a little bit off in the bullpen," Matsuzaka said, through interpreter Masa Hoshino. "I wouldn't go so far as to call it discomfort, but I wasn't at my best even before going into the game. After pitching the third inning, I definitely felt that there was something wrong. At that point, I had a conversation with the coaching staff."

Peter here, and I have just one word to say...OUCH! Daisuke has been our most consistant starting pitcher, not counting Colon, who's only had two outings so far. His loss for more than one start would hurt, but I'm sure Lowrie will be ready to answer a call of distress, if needed. Now, the good news...

The good news is slim but sweet. With the score 3-0 Mariners in the sixth, Manny jumped on a first pitch fastball and drove it into the rightfield stands for a line drive home run, number 499. The next one makes history. Great job Manny. We love you.

In other news, the All Star Game, this year at Yankee Stadium for the very last time, has five Sox leading in the voting. They are Youk, Papi, Manny, Pedroia and Varitek. You can vote and vote often at mlb dot com. Go for it! Now if only the world champions could get their road act "together," because so far, at least when they're away from Fenway, THEY STINK! They've lost 9 of the last 10 road contests, and it's almost getting to the point that I watch five innings and say "ENOUGH!" Not quite, though, but I have no faith in too much of the bullpen. Any comments on that blatent statement? C'mon.

Click on the title to be transported to the Boston Globe homepage. There are plenty of articles for you to read about last night and about Matsuzaka's hopefully non-serious injury. Just what we need! Have a tremendous Wednesday as we slide towards another weekend. If you didn't see the informational post I wrote about the newest A&E Home Video 6 DVD set named THE ESSENTIAL GAMES AT FENWAY PARK, just scroll down to the post below this one and simply click on the title. And then, then, READ ALL ABOUT IT! I just received my set and two giveaway sets, courtesy of Suzanne Dobson of A&E Home Video, and she has my sincere thanks. I will review the set soon, by the weekend. There are more than 16 1/2 hours of Red Sox magic on it, and I want to check each disc, in part, for video and audio quality and ease of menu function use. So stay tuned for that! And the fans of RSN and RSI were the ones to pick the six selected games. What could be better than that? Oh, and as always, be safe. P.S. Postage will be paid by me...that's the easy part. The tougher part is for me to devise a fair and balanced contest that's fun and challenging.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Immaculate Collection...The Six Best Ever Fenway Games...On 6 DVDs

I wrote about this collection in an earlier post, and I just received a UPS package from A&E Home Video, with one 6 disc set for me and two sets to "give away." Click on the title of this post to learn which Fenway games, and when they were played. I'm sure all you would be able to say"WOW!" I'll have a review by tomorrow and I'll try (I will) to devise a contest. Have a great afternoon, and click on that title for all the DVD set's details.

Colon Wins Again. It's Safe At Safeco For Boston...Red Sox 5 Mariners 3

"Is it safe?" That's the question Sir Lawrence Olivier asked Dustin Hoffman in the thrilling movie MARATHON MAN. Rent it!! Please!!! The late, great Roy Scheider costars with Olivier and Hoffman. And the answer, at least for the Boston Red Sox, is a resoundingly loud YES! They were treated as if THEY were the home team in a thrilling comeback 5-3 victory. They scored four runs in the eighth inning to make a winner of Bartolo Colon. who is 2-0 and is proving himself to be just what the baseball doctor ordered. He was able to go seven strong, giving up only one lonely run on five measly hits. He walked one and struck out four and was in command from his first pitch to his last. And remember this, my friends, he's only going to get better. I'll say it again...HE'S ONLY GOING TO GET BETTER! What an acquisition by Theo & company!!

The Sox were tied with Seattle 1-1 after seven innings before they made something happen against Felix Hernandez, who pitched so well. They scored four runs in the eighth inning and Okajima (0 runs given up) and Papelbon (shaky, 2 runs allowed) made those five runs stand up to improve Bartolo's record to 2-0. His fastball was consistantly in the 93-97 MPH range and his control was great, and he's just what this club needed. His manager said this about him...

"I thought the movement and the life on his fastball was good and he got stronger," Francona said. "As he goes into the game, he gets real strong. I thought his ball was running back for strikes. He made a lot of quality pitches with life."

Peter here, and I felt that same life, an infused energy that Boston fed off of before they scored those five vital runs. And if a pitcher can help his team with a spark, any kind of spark, it HAS to help his team. Colon did JUST that. I look forward to each and every one of his starts, as we all do. To me, the only weakly inconsistant starter we have is good old Timmy Wakefield, and I hope he'll find some consistancy before the All Star break. If he doesn't find anything near that for the rest of this 2008 season, the Sox front office, the powers-that-be, will have a tough decision facing them in the upcoming off season. And that would be whether or to not let Timmy, old warrior and forever friend that he is, go, retire, whatever. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I do that too often. The wheels turn, I'm in the future, and that's not fair. I have to live the present before giving my opinion of the future. Whatever, the Boston Red Sox won last night, finally, and all is well in Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. Daisuke takes the ball from Terry Francona tonight in Seattle, and I hope he's done something about his awkward control problems in his last couple of starts. Go Dice! Go Sox!!!!!

I want to thank you for stopping in yet again. As my readership continues to dwindle (the holiday weekend, maybe?), I continue to count on that inner core of fans, my friends, YOU! And I always will. Click on this post's title to be directed to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage, and enjoy this Monday-like Tuesday. Because that's exactly what it feels like. Comments would be great--if you saw part of the game last night, and I know it didn't start until 10:10 pm EDT, let me know what you thought of OUR Pillsbury Dough Boy, Bartolo Colon. I see the world...he's pitched THAT well. And as always, be well. Thank you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Super-Streaky Sox Swept Swiftly...Oakland 6 Boston 3

The 2008 version of the Boston Red Sox has already established itself as a very streaky team. You know, win three, lose three, win five and then promptly lose five. It's getting to be frustrating! They were swept by Oakland's superior pitching Sunday afternoon as they bowed to the A's 6-3. That superior starting pitching for Oakland was plainly evident in all three games, and right now, the A's are a hot team, as they should be with that kind of rotation. Blanton bested Lester convincingly, pure and simple. Jon recently learned that his father has developed some form of cancer, what is thought to be a treatable form of the dreaded too often deadly disease. He was asked if the news of his father affected any of his mound preparations. Here's what he had to say...

“It hasn’t,” Lester said when asked if his father’s condition had weighed on him. “I’ve always been out in the open. I just haven’t told you (media). I don’t want to get questions about that. I want to get asked questions about pitching, and focus on that. That’s something between my dad and me and my family.“

Peter here, and I have to think it must be a little tough for Jon to focus entirely on the task at hand, that task being to win a ballgame. But Oakland got their base hits, they scored their runs and they won the game, completing a three game sweep that nudged Boston firmly into second place. Here's what Lester had to say about his disappointing effort...

"All the positives we talked about before the season, it seemed I did the complete opposite,” Lester said. “All the things we’ve strived to better, and it seemed like I took a step back. It’s tough pitching out of jams every inning. I couldn’t get comfortable.”

Peter here, and don't worry, Jon. You'll get 'em next time. The team travelled due north to Seattle last night, and they'll be ready to face the Mariners for the next three nights. Seattle just finished a series in NYC that highlighted their starting pitching's weaknesses, so I have to hope that Boston should and will take advantage of that very fact. Here are the pitching matchups, with thanks to the Hartford Courant...

Bartolo Colon (1-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (2-4, 3.34) tonight
Daisuke Matsuzaka (8-0, 2.40) vs. Miguel Batista (3-6, 6.47) Tuesday
Tim Wakefield (3-3, 5.19) vs. Erik Bedard (3-3, 4.70) Wednesday

Peter one more time here. I like tonight's matchup because I cannot wait to see how Colon looks, how his body and arm are building strength. I hope he'll be stretched so that he can throw 85-90 pitches. We shall see, won't we? But that's possible only if I can stay awake for the 10pm EDT first pitch time. If not, I leave the clock radio on "sleep," which allows the radio to turn itself off after a specified amount of time. I set it to 120 minutes if I can't keep my eyes open and "Plan B" goes into effect.

Before I forget, please click on the title of this post to be directed to the Boston Globe Red Sox dedicated homepage, and have a wonderful Memorial Day Monday. The weather here in north central Connecticut will be mostly sunny, with temperatures steadily climbing to the 80 degree mark. Not bad for grilling OR chilling. I prefer the former, and the cookout/BBQ we had here yesterday was just great. It was a beautifully warm afternoon by the time the food, all kinds of delicious food, were put on the grill and instantly and audibly there were loud sizzles to be heard. I know you know those kind of sizzles--they make one's mouth water with hungry anticipation, and yesterday, the waiting was worth it! I hope your Sunday was great, too. The only way it could have been better was if Boston had won its game.

Hey, I've got to scoot. I hope your Monday, a day of pleasure, not work or school, will be a great one, and I thank you for stopping by. I need each and every one of you, judging by my readership numbers this past weekend. But I'm sure that's true for so many bloggers, what with so many people flocking to the beaches. And speaking about flocking to the beaches, WATCH OUT! The water is still cold enough to lose feeling in your toes...55 degrees or so. I know...I tried it. But the sun is at its mid-summer strength...about the same UV level as it is in mid to late July. And that's just great!

Well, that's about it for me...I've rambled on a little too much. I'll just do a quick read through to check my spelling and post it for all to see. I wish the Sox news was a little better, but let's turn our eyes to Seattle and hope that Mr. Colon can spin a great one. Paps and Okie, if needed, are VERY rested! Bye bye for now, and click on the title of this post for more about that team we love to love. Do you have any comments about Jon Lester's post no-hitter performance? Why did the Sox lost three straight to those formally "wimpy" A's? I'll leave you with those thoughts, and as Gov. Ah-nold once said, "I'll be back!" SOON.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Duchscherer Gem For Oakland...Oakland A's 3 Boston Red Sox 0

Justin Duchscherer joked before the game that he was going to "pull a Lester" and pitch a no hitter. And he came darn close to doing it. A Big Papi David Ortiz one out single in the seventh inning and a sixth inning hit batter ('Tek) were the only blemishes in his eight innings of stellar work. This is what Red Sox manager Terry Francona and opposing pitcher and tough-luck loser Josh Beckett had to say after the game...

“He commanded every pitch he threw tonight,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “His command was phenomenal. He did not throw one pitch without a purpose. He kept us off balance. Other than David’s hit and his line drive and Youk’s line drive, we couldn’t do anything.”
“It was unfortunate someone had to lose it,” Beckett said. “We don’t have many games like this, period. For what this offense does on a consistent basis, no one has a right to complain about run support.”

Peter here, and I ain't complaining about ANYTHING! Josh pitched more than well enough to win most games, going eight innings himself. 76 of his 107 pitches were strikes, and he allowed 7 hits while walking nobody. It was a rough game to lose, but it's nice to know we can count on him every five days to go out there and throw the ball well. He would have won a start like this in most cases, but this year, it seems the Red Sox lose too many times while away from their beloved Fenway Park, where they have the best record in all of major league baseball. Looking on the bright side, they can only get better while away from New England.

Well, that's it for today, Sunday, May 25, 2008. This was a short post for a short game. In fact, it was the shortest game Boston has played this year, clocking in at 2 hours and 17 minutes. I wish the score was reversed, but there's not much a team can do with one base hit and two total baserunners. So the page has been turned and we have to hope for a win today, shortly after 4 pm EDT. No sweep (OR soup) for us! Have a great Sunday and a wonderful holiday tomorrow. And remember, you can click on this post's title to be linked to the Boston Globe's Red Sox homepage. There you'll find just about everything Soxy. If you're driving, be careful out there. There will be many who will reluctantly fill their tanks with four plus dollar per gallon gasoline and be out on the roads, and the state troopers will be out there to accompany them. So drive defensively and wear those belts! And as always, BE WELL. I love each and every one of you. Thanks for stopping in yet again, and please leave a comment if you wish. I will respond to any and all of your thoughts.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Oakland Jumps Wakefield's Bones...A's 8 Red Sox 3

For the second time in his last three starts, Tim Wakefield allowed seven runs in a game, and the Red Sox seven game winning streak is now merely a part of history. Oakland defeated Boston 8-3 and handed Timmy his third loss of the year. His record is even at 3-3, but he has only had one standout start, an eight inning beauty. It didn't take long for the A's to take command, scoring three runs in the first and four runs in the third. And with Rich Harden on the hill for the home team, there was no way to come back from such a deficit. Terry Francona had this to say...

"His stuff is as good as anybody in the league," Sox manager Terry Francona said of Harden, who is 3-0. "He gets into some fastball counts and he doesn't give you a fastball. We've seen him too much. We don't need to face him every other game. I hope he's not going to come back and pitch Sunday."

Peter here, and yes, Harden is THAT good, at least when he pitches against us, and NO, he will not be pitching on Sunday. His record stands at 3-0, which is not surprising. Wakes had this to say about his aborted and too short outing...

"I actually felt good in the bullpen and one pitch to Thomas, you know the history there," Wakefield said. "The one I didn't expect was Ellis. I thought I threw a good pitch to Ellis and he hits another homer. It put us in a hole.
"I think my mechanics are a little off right now. It was a grind after the first inning, knowing I'm down 3-0 and trying to stay in the game as long as possible. I wasn't as consistent as I'd like to be."

Peter again, and Timmy, it doesn't count in the bullpen. But we all know that he could get hot and run off five or six wins in a row. He's a .500 type of pitcher these days who can eat up innings. Is that good enough to stay in the rotation? It HAS to be, there are no two ways about it. He pitched through the fifth inning last night in a brave attempt to save the bullpen in this, the first game of the series. Manny continues to be mired in a homerless slump, going zero for four. Pedey (Pedroia) hit a home run and Jacoby Ellsbury contributed two of his team's six hits, but this game was over after three innings. Josh Beckett tries to right the ship at 9:05 pm EDT and his mound opponent will be Justin Duchscherer. A win would be nice for Josh "Baseball," because he's been "slightly off" in his past couple of starts.

I hope every one of you has a glorious Memorial Day holiday weekend. If you're driving anywhere, wear that seat belt and be extra cautious. A full contingent of troopers will be out on the highways and byways just about everywhere. So behave! Click on this post's title to be linked to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage, where you'll find just about everything you wanted to know about last night's loss. For me, the page has been turned and I'm looking forward to watching our ace win one. Primetime baseball from the left coast after a holiday cookout with steaks, burgers, hot dogs, corn, salad and all the fixins', with an ice cold beverage or three to cleanse the palate and a boatload of friends and neighbors to enjoy it with is on my agenda. Sounds like a plan? Well, it is! So have fun, be safe, and as always, BE WELL. Happy Memorial Day, and any and all comments would be greatly appreciated. My Constant Readers, I thank you for stopping in once again, and I'll be back soon, immediately if the news warrants.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Seventh Heaven...Red Sox 11 Royals 8

Well, it wasn't pretty - not by a long shot, but the Boston Red Sox won their seventh straight game Thursday at Fenway Park by defeating the Kansas City Royals 11-8. It was their last Fenway game for the rest of the month of May. The team winged west to Oakland, California yesterday evening. What wasn't pretty about the contest? I'll start with Daisuke Matsuzaka, who improved his spotless record to 8-0. But he was clearly off his game, just as he was in his last start. He pitched five and two thirds innings, allowing three runs on six hits. But his problem yet again was with his control. He walked six KC hitters and threw 118 pitches in his too short outing. Oh, how nice it would be to get seven great innings from him, with one or two walks. But it wasn't to be Thursday. Too many times he nibbled, trying to nudge the outside black of the plate with a sweeping breaking ball. He continually could not hit that target, and at times he seemed literally off balance as he released the ball towards the plate. For the viewers and fans in attendance, it was a very frustrating experience, but I'm sure it was doubly so for Daisuke, too. Here's what he had to say after his day of work was done...

"It wasn't very good," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "It hasn't been very good for a while now. There are a lot of reasons. It is not really something I prefer to discuss out in the open but rather something I need to digest within myself.

Peter here, and Daisuke is EXACTLY right. He has some homework to do. Javy Lopez came on to get the final out of the sixth frame, and by then the score was 11-3. Comfortable sounding? Yes, it was. Key word--"WAS." But then there was Hansen, the up and then down Craig Hansen, who pitched an inning (they do not want him to pitch more than one) and allowed two runs to cross the plate safely. Following him to pitch the eighth (and maybe more, but it was not to be) was Aardsma, and he was clearly not right, giving up three runs. Between Hansen and Aardsma, 50 (!!!) pitches were thrown. That is clearly bullpen inefficiency. Papelbon had to be called on to stop the bleeding and earn the save. He did just that, needing 15 pitches to close out the win, the series and the homestand.

Not on to something a little more pleasant...the offense. The lumber stars were Mike Lowell and JD Drew, who is clearly on his game when you compare his '08 stats to those of '07. Both hit grand slams, Drew's in the second and Mikey's in the sixth. Lowell's tater bounded off the 498 sign, a number the slumping Manny Ramirez has been stuck on in his quest for 500. He will get there, but it probably will not be at home.

All in all, the 7-0 homestand was sweet medicine for all of us. The Red Sox are a deep club filled with talent. Only a few bullpen quibbles irk me, but I won't go into them now. Newly acquired and indispensible Sean Casey had this to say about his new team, sentiments that mirror my own feelings...

“This is probably the best team I’ve played on, talent-wise,” said 12-year veteran Sean Casey. “From top to bottom, all over the place. Even the guys on the bench. It’s every night - top to bottom, this is the best team I’ve been a part of talent-wise.”

Peter back one more time. Well said, Sean. We need you this year to give Youk and Mikey Lowell a day off once in a while, and that's vital. And that's about it for this Friday morning, May 23rd, Memorial Day weekend. I hope you have a great holiday weekend, a three day respite from the things you do in a normal week. It would be nice if the Sox can keep this savage winning streak alive against Oakland. I like the pitching matchups, and earlier in this '08 season, the A's were NOT a team capable of doing much hitting. We'll see, won't we? Here are those pitching matchups...

Tim Wakefield (3-2 4.33 ERA) versus Rich Harden (2-0 2.91)
Josh Beckett (5-3 4.67) versus Justin Duchscherer (3-3 2.67)
Jon Lester ((3-2 3.41) versus Joe Blanton (2-6 3.87)

Peter here, and may the lumber stay alive. That threesome of Oakland pitchers can all be tough, but our three guys are no slouches, either. Late baseball from the west coast on a holiday weekend is in store for all of us, and I hope the Sox can keep on winning. Have a wonderful holiday, and I'll be back here tomorrow morning, or earlier if news warrants. Comments about last night's game will be immediately (or almost immediately) responded to. Thanks for stopping in, don't forget to click on the title of this post for more Soxiness, and as always, BE SAFE.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bartolo Colon Proves He Can Help Boston Be "Great In 2008"...Red Sox 6 Kansas City 3

The Boston Red Sox got JUST what they needed Wednesday night at Fenway Park as newly acquired veteran Bartolo Colon, three years removed from winning the AL Cy Young Award, pitched five solid innings in a game which the Red Sox won easily by a score of 6-3. It was their sixth win in a row and improved their MLB best record to 30-19. Colon will be our fifth starter for the rest of the year, and, barring injuries, should be able to win 12 plus games. How was he last night? He gave up six hits, two earned runs, walked two and struck out two in a nifty first outing. Here's what his catcher, Jason Varitek, had to say...

“He’s going to help us,” catcher Jason Varitek said. “He threw some good strikes, he elevated the ball sometimes, he did good. I saw some 94 MPH's up there. You’ve got to remember it’s still his first outing. It was a good starting point for building his strength.”

Peter here, and if he progresses with each and every start the way I think he will, Boston got away with a steal, a swipe, a "quick, while no one's paying attention" acquisition that will echo all around the baseball world with each of his victories. The "man" himself was excited. Bartolo had this to say after the game...remember, he is so happy to be pitching for the World Champions. Bartolo, in his own words...

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to get out here and contribute and I'm very happy with the way I pitched today," Colon said through an interpreter. "It felt like my first professional outing, actually. It takes me back to 1997 when as an Indian I won my first game and it was actually here in Fenway Park. I thought about that tonight after the game and reminisced about that great moment."

Peter here, and I'd like to give you, Bartolo, a happy and smilingly huge hello. This team needs you. You need this team. As the famous quote goes, "This might be the start of a beautiful friendship." And so, my Constant Readers, smile, and maybe do a little Paps jig, or whatever makes you happy. I prefer to do a little dancing run-around in the living room while my eyes are glued to the widescreen TV as the pitcher starts his windup. The chances of a fall, a tumble increase slightly for me, but that's OK. I'm still here! But I just wanted to make sure you realize how important last night was to the Red Sox chances of doing anything post-seasonally great in 2008. HMMM, "great in 2008." That's catchy!!

Thanks for stopping in on this Thursday morning, and it's day Fenway baseball today at 1:30pm EDT, Matsuzaka versus Bannister. That should be fun. Seven straight? We can only hope, for it's getaway day, and Boston will be winging west to Oakland as soon as they shower and dress after the game. Safe trip, guys!

Click on the title, if you have time, to be directed to the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage, and enjoy your day. As always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Wonderful Looking Boston Red Sox DVD Set...

Hello on Wednesday morning yet again. This is Peter, and soon I will have a treat for my readers. A&E Home Video has been kind enough to send me a copy of a wonderful sounding Boston Red Sox DVD set called THE ESSENTIAL GAMES OF FENWAY PARK, and two extra sets to give away. I haven't received them yet because I just this hour heard back from A&E Home Video's Suzanne. But when you read what the DVDs are comprised of, I think you'll look forward with anticipation for something like this to make a rainy day with suddenly no Sox game, boredom and hunger for popcorn overriding everything, a great day anyways. I'll be back after you read this, with amazement, as I did. REMEMBER, the set is more than 16 hours running time!!! 16 hours of joy...

This six-game, 6-DVD collection spans five decades of promise, heart-ache and jubilation, and salutes the legends and definitive moments etched in Red Sox history. Each epic contest in this treasured set was selected by the Red Sox Nation® itself, and the six remarkable games are nothing short of spectacular.

Sept. 30, 1967 Regular Season vs. Minnesota Twins® (9/30/67): Carl Yastrzemski hit his 44th home run as the Sox tied for the lead in a four-team American League® pennant race.
1975 World Series® Game 6 vs. the Cincinnati Reds® (10/21/75): This see-saw battle of the Titans ended with Carlton Fisk and his 12th inning game-ending home run.
Regular Season vs. Seattle Mariners® (4/29/86): 23-year-old Roger Clemens set the Major League record with 20 strikeouts in this hallmark game.
1999 Major League Baseball All-Star Game® and MLB All-Century Team celebration (7/13/99): Fenway Park was selected to house the final Mid-Summer Classic of the 20th Century and the festivities riveted the world.
1999 American League Championship® Series Game 3 vs. New York Yankees (10/16/99): Red Sox ace Pedro Martinez shutdown the vaunted Yankees and former Boston pitcher Roger Clemens with 12 strikeouts over 7 innings.
Apr. 22, 2007 Regular Season vs. New York Yankees® (4/22/07): Boston dispensed with its archrival Yankees in large part thanks to four consecutive home runs.

DVD Bonus Features:
The Origins of Fenway Park
Ted Williams: Fenway's Hometown Hero
Ted Williams Throws out First Pitch at 1999 All-Star Game
Vintage Film: Yaz 1968 World Series Highlights at Fenway
Yaz 400th HR and 3000th hit
Red Sox Clinch 1986 ALCS in Fenway
Brunansky's amazing catch clinches 1990 AL East Crown
Last inning of Derek Lowe's No-Hitter (4/27/02)
Red Sox score 10 runs before making their first out (6/27/03)
Bill Mueller walk-off HR vs. Mariano Rivera (7/24/04)
Dave Roberts: "The Steal" 2004 ALCS Game 4
Big Papi's 2004 Postseason Walk-off Hits
Last inning of Clay Buchholz's No-Hitter (9/1/07)


Peter here, and I hope you think it sounds as great as I do. I imbedded the order link. All you have to do is click on the title of this post. But I WILL think of a contest type of thing to be able to give the two extra sets to two of my readers, who are the best. So click on the title, and if you must have it NOW, go ahead and order it. My review, including video quality, audio quality and ease of use will be forthcoming as soon as I have it in my hands. My thanks go out to A&E Home Video, and especially Suzanne. Watch them on your local cable. Click on the title, and GO SOX.

P.S. I'm not "selling out." When I see a great Red Sox product, I am obligated to tell my Constant Readers all about it. And I will, as soon as it arrives at my door. If anyone has any contest ideas, WITHOUT knowing the answers (an impossible task), please let me know. And remember...A&E Home Video always puts quality first. I say this because every DVD I've seen from them has been so great!

Five Hits JUST Enough...Boston 2 Kansas City 1

The Boston Red Sox made five hits work for them Tuesday night in a 2-1 victory over the visiting KC Royals. It was the fifth
straight victory for the first place world champions. Justin Masterson made his second big league start another good one, going six and one third innings, giving up one run on three hits, walking three and punching out five. He threw 91 pitches in that span, and was quickly sent back to Pawtucket to make room for tonight's starter, Bartolo Colon. More on him later. Terry Francona had this to say about his young starter...

"He threw two pitches," Francona said, "the two-seamer and the slider. To lefties, he didn't throw a lot of changeups tonight, and they were getting out over the plate and looking a little comfortable. But he works quick, got a lot of ground balls from righthanders, and got us pretty deep into the game."

Peter here, and that's right. He got us into the seventh inning, and that's when the bullpen, which has been really good or really bad, came into the game. Javy Lopez struck out the one batter he faced and Little Manny Delcarmen finished the seventh with a hit and an inning-ending strikeout. And then it was Okie and Paps time to get through the last two innings. Okie, "the Darkman" who might be hurting, pitched carefully, knowing that Papelbon was primed and ready in the 'pen. He ended up recording two outs, but he also walked two and gave up a lead-off double. So in comes savior Paps, confident, to quench the Royals possible uprising. The bases were loaded, it was a one run game, and the situation, in one word, was TENSE. Papelbon responded with a resounding fist pumping strikeout, and the eighth inning ended with the crowd standing as one, screaming as if their lives depended on it and getting ready for what would be an uneventful and scoreless ninth with two more strikeouts. Great job Paps, great start Justin, and heal, Okie. If you're hurting, let the training staff give you the time to get better. We will need you in the coming months. If not for you in '07, there would have been NO World Championship. PERIOD.

So today is another day at Fenway. The Red Sox are finally ten games over the .500 mark at 29-19, which is not only the best record in the AL, it's the BEST RECORD IN ALL OF BASEBALL. I guess it's fitting. And tonight's start (7:05pm EDT on NESN and Sox radio network stations) is a huge one for the future of our club. We do not have a "set in stone" fifth starter, but by Thursday morning, we might. It's Bartolo Colon, the Pillsbury Dough Boy, ready to make his first major league start in a long time, ready to face Brett Tomko (2-4) 5.32 era. This is what the skipper had to say about Colon. P.S. I've never liked the guy, but if he can regain 75-80% of his former dominance, he will help the Red Sox immensely. That's why tonight is SO important. Here's what Tito had to say...

"I really am," manager Terry Francona said when asked if he was looking forward to what the former Cy Young Award winner will do in his Sox debut. "We've spent a lot of time getting him ready."

Peter here, my Constant readers, and I do hope he's ready. I have faith he can give us six, hopefully seven strong innings, and so far, the KC Royals have in no way figured out Boston pitching. Let's keep it that way! Click on the title for the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage, and have a wonderful Hump Day. The Herald has a great picture/slide show chronicaling Lester's (and ours) magical night. We're across the finish line and we're sliding towards the weekend. My hopes and prayers go out to Ted Kennedy, who has a horrible form of brain cancer located in the worst part of his brain. Inoperable? Maybe, and that's so sad. On that note, take care of yourselves. Life is fleeting, so use every second, every minute of it. And just try to stay happy. As always, BE WELL. I love every one of you. And I always will.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


130 pitches, 9 strikouts, 2 walks, 11 groundouts, 7 flyouts and only 29 batters faced. Oh, and ZERO HITS allowed! Jon Lester made history Monday night at Fenway Park by pitching his first complete game and first no-hitter. The Red Sox beat the visiting KC Royals 7-0. The fans were loud, and by loud I mean LOUD, and after the ninth inning ended with a strikeout, Lester raised his arms in triumph as first Varitek and then the rest of his team mobbed him. It's only been two years since Lester's grim cancer diagnosis, and boy, has he come a long way. Terry Francona had tears in his eyes as he spoke about his releationship with the young pitcher and his performance on the mound. Here's what he had to say...

"I looked up in the ninth and you're trying to keep your emotions in check," manager Terry Francona said, "and I went to say something to John Farrell and he was being a big baby next to me. It made me feel a little bit better. This probably isn't fair to say, but I feel like my son graduated and my son threw a no-hitter," said Francona, whose son Nick had graduated from Penn earlier in the day, and who had grown close to Lester during his ordeal.

Peter here, and Tito is SUCH a great guy. By the way, last night Jason Varitek tied the record for most no-hitters caught with four, all of 'em with Boston. This was their 4th win in a row, and what a night for the fans lucky enough to be there. I was standing on my chair from the top of the 8th inning onward, and in the 9th, the pacing started, back and forth, forth and back, with increasing velocity as each out was recorded. One out, two outs, and then...then, a strikeout by Lester of Alberto Calaspo that made history. And Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International were proud, happy and loud. Lester himself said that he had never heard more joyous noise than he did last night. A beautiful noise it was!

I leave you with the entire game summary, one that will remain in the annals of Boston Red Sox history and baseball history FOREVER. And I couldn't be any happier or any prouder. Such is baseball, but this story is one of sheer courage. GREAT JOB, JON. We love you. Oh, click on the title for the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage and "read all about it." And as always, be well. Comments? Please!! Here's that game wrapup...

Bot 3rd: Boston
- J. Lugo grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, J.D. Drew scored, J. Varitek out at second
- M. Ramirez walked, J. Ellsbury scored, D. Pedroia to third, D. Ortiz to second
- M. Lowell safe at first on second baseman M. Grudzielanek's fielding error, D. Ortiz and D. Pedroia scored, M. Ramirez to third
- K. Youkilis ground rule double to deep right center, M. Ramirez scored, M. Lowell to third
Bot 6th: Boston
- J. Varitek homered to deep right, J.D. Drew scored

Kansas City
AB R H RBI BB K LOB Season Avg
D. DeJesus cf 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .269
M. Grudzielanek 2b 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 .323
A. Callaspo 2b 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .293
A. Gordon 3b 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .280
J. Guillen dh 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .241
B. Butler 1b 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 .276
M. Olivo c 3 0 0 0 0 2 1 .274
M. Teahen rf 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .263
E. German lf 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 .103
T. Pena Jr. ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .169
Totals 27 0 0 0 2 9 3

Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - A Callaspo 1, M Teahen 1.
Team LOB - 2

E - M Grudzielanek (2, pop up).
DP - 3 (A Gordon-M Grudzielanek-B Butler 2, T Pena-M Grudzielanek-B Butler).

AB R H RBI BB K LOB Season Avg
J. Ellsbury cf-lf 3 1 1 0 1 0 0 .276
D. Pedroia 2b 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 .303
D. Ortiz dh 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 .247
M. Ramirez lf 3 1 0 1 1 1 1 .299
C. Crisp cf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .299
M. Lowell 3b 3 0 0 0 1 0 4 .273
K. Youkilis 1b 4 0 1 1 0 0 1 .327
J.D. Drew rf 3 2 1 0 0 1 2 .282
J. Varitek c 3 1 2 2 0 1 0 .290
J. Lugo ss 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .280
A. Cora ss 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .409
Totals 27 7 5 4 6 4 10

2B - K Youkilis (16, L Hochevar).
3B - J Ellsbury (2, L Hochevar).
HR - J Varitek (5, 6th inning off L Hochevar 1 on, 1 Out).
RBI - M Ramirez (28), K Youkilis (34), J Varitek 2 (17).
2-out RBI - M Ramirez, K Youkilis.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - J Drew 2, D Pedroia 1.
GIDP - K Youkilis, J Lugo, M Lowell.
Team LOB - 3.
Base Running
SB - D Pedroia (6, 2nd base off L Hochevar/M Olivo), J Ellsbury 2 (18, 2nd base off L Hochevar/M Olivo, 3rd base off L Hochevar/M Olivo).

E - J Lester (1, throw).

Kansas City
L. Hochevar (L, 3-3) 6.0 5 7 4 6 2 1 4.29
J. Peralta 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5.79
Y. Yabuta 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 6.16

J. Lester (W, 3-2) 9.0 0 0 0 2 9 0 3.41

HBP - J Drew (by L Hochevar).
Pitches-strikes - L Hochevar 114-61; J Peralta 9-6; Y Yabuta 9-6; J Lester 130-86.
Ground balls-fly balls - L Hochevar 13-3; J Peralta 0-2; Y Yabuta 1-1; J Lester 11-7.
Batters faced - L Hochevar 28; J Peralta 3; Y Yabuta 3; J Lester 29.
Game Details
Umpires: HP--Brian Knight. 1B--Marvin Hudson. 2B--Tom Hallion. 3B--Hunter Wendelstedt.
Time: 2:30.
Attendance: 37,746.
Weather: 57 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 17 mph, out to right.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Boston Bats Buoy Beckett...Red Sox 11 Miwaukee 7

Sunday was a stange start for Boston Red Sox ace Josh Beckett. He was not on his game, but the Red Sox lumber took care of that and took care of it quickly. It seems Josh has reverted a little to his 2006 form, giving up four home runs. In all, he was able to go seven full, giving up six runs (ouch) on six hits with nine (yep, nine!) strikeouts. This is what a trio of Red Sox guys had to say after Beckett's "what-could-have-been-painful" outing...

"A few balls wandered over the plate," Francona said. "He missed a lot of bats but left some good pitches over the plate to good hitters."
"He wasn't perfect," Varitek said.
"I made some good pitches," Beckett said. "I made some poor pitches."

Peter here, and perfect he was not. As Tito said, too many of his pitches were too hittable, and the Brewers, who do not hit for average but have good power to all fields, took advantage. But they tried to take advantage on the wrong afternoon, as the Sox had their hitting shoes on. They clubbed 15 hits and scored 11 runs. They also hit four home runs, taters by Pedroia, the always hot Kevin Youkilis and two by Big Papi David Ortiz, who Tito said is now swinging the bat better than he has all season. Delcarmen was needed to get through the eighth inning, and he did it with 22 interminable pitches, also giving up a run. But the score was out of reach, and with a four run lead going to the top of the ninth, Jonathon Papelbon came in and shut the doors on Milwaukee for good. Lock & key good! And he only needed nine pitches to do it! I hope you enjoyed your Fenway visit, Brew Crew. Come back soon (they won't).

So the Good guys are alone in first place as every AL East team but the TB Rays lost yesterday. And Kansas City, an improved club (where else could they go?), come in for a four game Fenway set. The pitching matchups are interesting, and they're right here..

Luke Hochevar (3-2, 3.94) vs. Jon Lester (2-2, 3.95) tonight
Gil Meche (3-5, 5.98) vs. Justin Masterson (0-0, 1.50) Tuesday
Brett Tomko (2-4, 5.32) vs. Bartolo Colon (0-0, 0.00) Wednesday
Brian Bannister (4-5, 4.29) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (7-0, 2.15) Thursday

Three of the four pitchers scheduled for KC do not have a better than .500 record, at least on the preceding list. That's nice. So there you have it. A great weekend followed by more Fenway fun. What could be better? Bartolo Colon makes his much anticipated start on Wednesday, and I wish him all the luck in this world. We certainly need him. About Beckett, remember that he missed a huge chunk of spring training and the first two regular season games of 2008. HE WILL BE FINE. Click on the title of this post for the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage, where you'll find all the up to date information of yesterday's sweep clinching victory, and MUCH more. As always, BE WELL and have a safe and wonderful week to come. Another Monday? Oh yeah.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Play Two...WIN TWO! Red Sox 7-5 Brewers 5-3

The first game was an afternoon delight. The second game, with a first pitch at 8:36pm EDT, was an error-filled (seven combined errors, a 2008 major league high) nailbiter. But the end result, two wins for the home team that they really needed, was just great. Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched six and two thirds wonderful innings, and the bullpen took it from there. Kudos go out to Manny Delcarmen, who was temporarily a resident of Terry Francona's doghouse, with good reason to be. Daisuke moves his won/lost record to 7-0 and is now third in the league with an ERA of 2.15. Quite a change from last year. Kevin Youkilis had this to say after the long day was finished...

"It was one of those games (game #2) where it seemed like it took forever and you've got to scratch and claw," Youkilis said. "By the end of the game you're dragging, your bat's dragging. Your body. You have to try to will yourself through the end of it."

Big Papi and Mike Lowell were the respective hitting stars, but the bullpen seemed determined to waste a 5-0 Sox lead in game two. But all ended well, and a share of first place is ours. A couple thoughts...I was happy and relieved to see Little Manny pitch so well in game one. He used his sharply breaking curveball to compliment his fastball, and he allowed his team to get through the eighth inning before going to Pabelbon, who did not pitch in the night game. There was no Manny #499 home run in game one. He sat out the nightcap.

The Yankees continue to lose, this time to the Mets by a score of 7-4. Their starting pitching is woefully inadequate and their hitting has been sporadic. But they could turn it around like they did last year. I do not see that happening with their rotation as it stands now. As for Boston, we all have to hope that Hideki Okajima's wrist, his LEFT one, dammit, is not hurt badly. We already had bullpen needs before he announced he was hurting, and the 'pen, at least as it stands now, will not take the team far. That sounds like a doomsday scenario, and maybe it is, but when I see a weakness, I have to mention it here. The addition of Bartolo Colon can and will only help, and I look forward to Tuesday or Sunday to see him take the hill. Today it will be Carlos Villenueva versus a ready for redemption Josh Beckett, so a sweep is entirely possible. It's afternoon Fenway baseball at 1:35pm EDT, and we'll be ready. Click on the title of this post for all about last night's everything, and have a great Sunday. As always, be well, and any comments are appreciated so very much. Thanks.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Rain Forces A Fenway Twin Bill On Saturday

A persistantly moderate rain wiped out any chance of Friday night baseball at beloved Fenway Park Friday night, so there will be a Saturday separate admission (of course) twin bill. The first game will start at 3:55pm EDT and the second at 8:35pm EDT. And it will be a scramble to clear the park of the first crowd and allow crowd #2 to file in. If the first game goes into extra innings, I shudder to think of the traffic situation in Boston. This is what someone who was there had to say about last night's eventual postponent...

“They thought approaching gametime we might start on time, and when we obviously weren’t, they kept every 15-20 minutes giving us an update, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. Then it was progressively getting worse and it was supposed to get worse, so that’s when they started checking on other options."

Peter here, and we have to hope to win two. The bullpen is rested, heck, EVERYONE is rested and ready to go. The weather here in north central Connecticut will have intermittent showers ending in the mid-morning, with sun and clouds for the afternoon. In fact, I just looked up at the sky (at 6am), and there are absolutely NO clouds to be found. Guess where that clearing is headed? To Boston, which is 94 miles northeast of here, and since weather systems, non-tropical ones, that is, move from west to east, it's a sure thing that ANY inclement weather will not interfere with either game. The pitching matchups will be Jeff Suppan ready to face Daisuke Matsuzaka in the afternoon and Dave Bush versus Timmy Wakefield in the evening. May the force be with us to win two. For all the latest Sox news, just click on the title of this post. And GO SOX. Be well.
P.S. Mets win...Yankees lose...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bartolo Colon ALMOST Ready For Call-Up

Good Friday morning, a morning I don't have to write about a Boston Red Sox loss. And there's GOOD news to boot! Bartolo Colon, our soon-to-be fifth starter, pitched for Pawtucket yesterday and went six great innings, allowing only one hit and hitting 96 MPH on the gun. The only problem was that he only needed 64 pitches (45 of 'em strikes) to go those six innings, so the Sox will probably want him to go one more time Tuesday before joining the big club. If that's the case, we'll see him on or about Sunday, and boy, do we need him. If he could become a dependable starter, and there's nothing to make me think otherwise, Boston will be a much better club, injuries notwithstanding. And right now he's feeling great. If he doesn't go on Tuesday, the start will probably be awarded to Justin Masterson, who had his worst outing yesterday pitching for Double A Portland, giving up seven earned runs and nine hits in six innings. Come to think of it, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Colon on Tuesday at Fenway, and what a hometown greeting he will get. A savior? Nah. A much needed cog in the pitching rotation? Most assuredly so. He could be a huge boost for the team's 2008 chances...if the bullpen allows any success at all. I am down on our 'pen right now, and I'm sure Theo and company are thinking the same exact thing. Time will tell. And what of Buchholz? Don't be surprised if he is inserted into a long relief bullpen role, which would allow the club to limit his innings and give him the time he needs to straighten himself out against major league pitching. Makes sense to me.

As the Yankees keep tumbling (ha ha ha-hee hee hee), the Red Sox prepare for a three game series with the National League Milwaukee Brewers. Here are the pitching matchups for the three vital games to come...

Jeff Suppan (2-3, 4.63 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (6-0, 2.45) tonight
Dave Bush (1-4, 6.06) vs. Tim Wakefield (3-2, 4.25) Saturday
Carlos Villenueva (2-4, 6.00) vs. Josh Beckett (4-3, 4.21) Sunday

We need a sweep...pure and simple. One-two-three...series over. SOX WIN. I want to thank you, my Constant Readers, for continually stopping by and reading my words and thoughts. It means more to me than you'll ever realize. And click on the title to be directed to the Red Sox Boston Herald homepage. You'll be able to read the latest on Colon and that team we love to love. As always, take care of yourselves and as always, BE WELL. Forever.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bullpen IMPLOSION...Baltimore 6 Boston 3

This is getting old. FAST. For the third straight game, the Boston Red Sox staked themselves to a 3-0 lead, and for the third consecutive time, the Sox let the game slip away. To be more specific, the bullpen, in the form of Javie Lopez, Craig Hansen and Hideki Okajima, let the victory slip away. Lopez entered the game in the seventh inning and quickly recorded two outs. Freddie Bynum hit a grounder to Pedroia, but Pedey could not make the play. Runner on first with two outs...doesn't sound too bad, does it? Wait. Hansen was called in to relieve Lopez, and he allowed a single to the number 9 hitter, Quiroz, and a walk to Roberts to load the bases. Bye bye Hansen. Zero outs recorded...maybe you should consult Ah-nold again...soon! And then the Darkman was lit up like fireworks on the Fourth of July, a regular starburst cluster in the night sky. Okie gave up a monster grand slam slugged by Payton, and the game was effectively over. Okie has now allowed eleven out of fourteen inherited runners to score. The 'pen's ineptitude spoiled a good outing by Jon Lester, who was able to go six innings, giving up five hits and two runs. We need Lester to be able to go seven innings, however, and there's no excuse in the world NOT to. He threw 86 pitches in that six inning span, but only walked two Birds. Pedroia summed up the game and the road trip...

“It’s tough how everything ended up,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said of not only how yesterday’s game wrapped up but also the trip, with four losses in a row and five in the final six games. “We had a tough stretch. We need a good day off to rest, get ready for the homestand and start playing better baseball.”

Peter here, and tough is right. I tuned in to the NESN telecast when I returned home, JUST in time for that fateful seventh inning, and it was not a treat. But today is a much needed off-day and a bunch of home cooking before a weekend Fenway series begins with the Brewers. Boston is one half game out of first place and five games over the .500 mark, so all is not lost. It's just been very disheartening. So another page has been turned, and I'd like to go a few days without any pages entering the picture. Let's hope so. Please.

Click on the title of this post for the latest on last night's game and the current status of "DL"ed Clay Buchholz. You'll be directed to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage. And for those of you who didn't see Manny's over the shoulder catch in left and his high five of a fan in a Sox uniform in the first row should look for a replay, ANY replay. It's worth the price of admission alone. He even had time to brace himself, turn around and throw and strike to Pedey, who nailed the runner for a double play the Sir Manny way! It was one of the few bright points of a disappointing road trip that began so promisingly. Fenway will look so good!

Thank you for stopping in yet again. Readership here is as down as the Sox are, but I expect an upturn in both. Have a great Thursday as another weekend supersonically approaches, and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are always appreciated and always answered.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Starting Pitchers Slumping Bigtime...Baltimore 5 Boston 4

The starting pitching rotation, which was so hot a week and a half ago, is anything BUT that right now. In four of the last six games, the pitching has allowed at least seven runs and ten hits. That won't help to win many ball games. And Josh Beckett, the Red Sox ace, was not even spared Tuesday night in Baltimore. The Orioles, after staking Boston to a 3-0 lead, their second in two nights, won the game 5-3. Josh Beckett allowed all five earned runs and surrendered a season-high eleven hits, the most of any starter this season. It was certainly not a vintage Beckett outing. He threw 97 pitches in only 5 2/3 innings and had this to say after the game...

"The loss definitely goes in the right man's hand tonight," Beckett said. "It's pretty simple. I just didn't execute pitches tonight."

That's a good wrap-up, Josh...pure and simple. The bullpen was just fine, thank you, but Boston just couldn't score when they needed to. Manny Ramirez came to the plate in the top of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. He grounded into a double play and the Sox did not score. In fact, all of their scoring was in the first inning, with three tallies, and a single run in the eighth. It was a frustrating time for all, and a painful night for some. Coco Crisp had to leave the game in the sixth with a headache and nausea, and JD Drew, trying to make a shoestring catch in the third, hurt his left wrist when it was bent back by the ground. He will know more today how that wrist is, but it's a sure thing that he will miss a few games, hopefully not MORE than a few. JD left the game immediately as the fans nervously quieted. Kevin Youkilis was forced to play rightfield, his first time ever out there. What would we do without him? This is how JD described what happened...

"It's day-to-day right now," Drew said. "I'll know a little bit more today, see how it responds. I rolled it pretty good out there. It's one of those plays you really can't protect or anything. The ball hit the web of my glove and took my wrist around with it."

Peter here, and that's too bad. We are shorthanded and not playing well and every healthy body helps. Look for a call up from the minors soon, in time for Friday's game. It's day baseball today, however, as Jon Lester opposes Daniel Cabrera, who usually gives us fits. If you want to read more about last night's loss, be my guest. Just click on the title of this post. You'll be directed to the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage, where you'll find more than you would want to know. Thanks for stopping by, and as always, take care of yourselves. BE WELL. And thank you in advance for any and all comments. I'll respond to every one. What is going on with our starting pitching? Is this just a once in a while thing, or will we be saddled with a team with so many talented postion players only to be let down by the starters? No way. I hope not. In fact, I KNOW not. Hey Big Baseball Guy in the sky...can you hear me??

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Craig Hansen...A One Inning Savior?

This is from the Boston Herald, the quote from the man himself. Please read!...

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardship and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Peter here. We need a Craig Hansen for an inning as a part of the bridge to Paps. He would mean so much. And so far, he's been doing great. Grasping at straws? Not me. That's all! And as Bruce said..."No Retreat, No Surrender." EVER and FOREVER...

Manny's Number 498 In A Losing Cause...Twins 7 Red Sox 3

Two horrible starts in a row for the Boston rotation make for a glum morning. After Tim Wakefield had what might have been his worst start in a Boston uniform, Clay Buchholz, whose hold on the number five spot in the rotation seems to be slipping from his grasp, allowed seven runs in only four and two thirds innings. Eight hits and FIVE walks were also a part of his night. I watched every pitch he threw, and I wasn't happy. His fastball was uncontrollable so he had to rely on his off speed stuff. The change-up was continually high, out of the strike zone, hence the five walks. The curveball? Here's the man himself to tell you...

"I felt great in the pen, felt like the fastball was good," Buchholz said. "Then I got out there and the fastball wasn't as good as I thought it was. I tried to go to offspeed stuff like I have all year and they were all over it. It felt like they were sitting on every first-pitch changeup or curveball I threw. I know I threw too many offspeed pitches tonight. Nobody likes walking people. If you give people a free pass and they score, that's a big deal, pitching-wise. It doesn't get in my head, but it's frustrating."

Peter here, and every walk, every base hit, every non-strike "got in my head," that's for sure. The bullpen was near perfect, but the seven runs were too much to overcome. And those seven runs came after Clay was staked to a three zip lead. Oh well. Another page turned...I DO NOT want to run out of pages!

Bright spots were JD Drew with three hits, Cora with two and Manny with the same amount, one of which was his 498th career home run. Two to go, Sir Manny...I hope you can do it at home after the two game Baltimore series.

Summing up, it seems like Bartolo Colon, after two more starts with Pawtucket, will slip into the Boston rotation and allow Buchholz to get himself together in Triple A. Julian Tavarez, who saved our butts last year, was designated for assignment to make room for Sean Casey, who has been missed. When Buch can gain more confidence in ALL his pitches, starts like last night simply will not happen! We've seen him throw a couple gems already this year, but a healthy Colon, armwise and otherwise, would be a Godsend. After all, he is only two plus years away from his Cy Young Award year. Imagine that!

Here are the pitching matchups for the pair of contests at Camden Yards...

Josh Beckett (4-2, 3.70) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (1-3, 4.32) tonight
Jon Lester (2-2, 4.06) vs. Daniel Cabrera (3-1, 3.54) Wednesday

May the good guys win both! A Thursday off day before a Fenway series with the National League Milwaukee Brewers comes next. Enjoy your Tuesday if you can, and again, I thank you for stopping by. Comments are always great and will always be answered. That's my promise to you. And remember to never forget...BE WELL. Click on the title of this post for more Soxy stuff. Thanks.

Monday, May 12, 2008

No Mother's Days Miracle...Minnesota 9 Boston 8

It wasn't like last year's furious and successful ninth inning five run Mother's Day comeback win. This was probably Tim Wakefield's worst start in a Boston Red Sox uniform ever as the Minnesota Twins defeated the Sox by a score of 9-8. The Sox were in a 7-1 hole after just three innings, and Wakefield couldn't even finish that third frame. Here are the ugly pitching stats for the champs. Time to cringe. Ready?

T. Wakefield 2.2 7 7 6 2 2 2 4.25
J. Tavarez 1.1 1 1 0 2 1 0 6.39
D. Aardsma 2.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 2.33
M. Timlin 1.2 1 1 1 0 0 1 10.00
J. Lopez 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3.38

Peter here, and I told you they were ugly, but don't worry, Wakes is NOT injured in any way. Sometimes the Minnesota Twins' Metrodome is not kind to his knuckleball OR his team. This is what he had to say after his abbreviated outing, an outing to absolutely and very quickly forget, maybe even turn the page and burn it to mere cinders, ashes to be scattered by the wind...

"It was just one of those weird nights," Wakefield said. "I didn't feel like I was struggling. I thought I had good stuff. It's just one of those nights you'd like to forget. Obviously, I would say I didn't pitch very well. My mechanics felt good. I thought I made a good pitch to Monroe and he just ran into it for a three-run homer. I tried to get back in the count to Everett and left a fastball up and he hit it out."

Peter here, and it wasn't pretty, Timmy. But the Red Sox were in double figures in hits with fifteen, and that's something they seem to have made a habit of lately. And that bodes well for the club. But three out of our five starters seem like they're headed into a "win one, lose one" scenario, and we have to hope that will not be the case for long. The two who are not amongst that trio are Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Clay Buchholz goes tonight in the series finale, and he'll be opposed by a hot Twin pitcher, Livian Hernandez. A win tonight means a series split, and on the road under a dome, that is just fine.

I hope all the Moms (and Dads) and their kids had a great Mother's Day, with many many more to come. I did visit my Mom, but her memory is pretty much gone. She DID said "Hi Peter!" when I came into her room. If you want to read more of the ugly details of last night's exciting (yes, it WAS exciting, even saddled with the loss) game, just click on the title. That'll transport you to Amalie Benjamin's Boston Globe recap, and she writes SO well. If you didn't have a chance to read my last post, my Mother's Day post, which is directly below this one, and hear the linked song I put up for all the Moms out there, just scroll down, turn on your sound, and click on its title. As always, be safe, be happy and always be well. FOREVER.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother's Day Hello, With A Smile. Just Listen & Look...

It's Peter again...I keep popping up here, but I wanted to wish all the Moms and the future Moms the best, and that includes every one of you, Dads too. Please, if you wish (I hope!), turn the sound on and click on the title of this very post. I have tears in my eyes every time I listen to this.

From me to you, with a lotta love. Peter N. Sound on, and enjoy. Happy Mom's Day...

Back On Track...Red Sox 5 Twins 2

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins by a score of 5-2 Saturday evening, and Friday's loss has faded into the past just like useless windblown dust on the side of an unpaved lonely road. Daisuke Matsuzaka was just what the team needed after the ninth inning defeat the day before, going seven innings and giving up six hits and two earned runs. He had seven K's and 63 of his tidy 93 pitches were strikes. This is what pitching coach John Farrell had to say about Dice K...

“We had a lengthy conversation after his (Matsuzaka's) last bullpen session, not that we’re trying to change his style, but just trust his abilities a little bit more around the plate,” pitching coach John Farrell said. “In the middle innings I think he got into a little bit of a rhythm. And what set the tone early was he used his offspeed stuff right from the get-go, didn’t try and overthrow his fastball and got into the flow of the game.”

Peter here, and it worked. Farrell has always amazed me with his competance and knowlege. Hideki Okajima worked a clean and quick eighth frame and Friday loser Jonathon Papelbon earned his eleventh save with a two strikeout ninth. He had this to say after his successful outing...

“When you go on a run and you have good outings after good outings you tend to try and have a better outing than the last one when all you need to do is stay right where you’re at,” Papelbon said. “Any hitter or pitcher has that tendency. I think that’s what happened to me is that I was trying to throw splits and fastballs better than what I had been doing. Well, I just needed to stick with what I had been doing because it had been working.”

Peter here, and what worked for Jonathon last night was his fastball and his many sliders. The two strikeouts in the inning were so nice to see. Only a pop fly that hit the roof and was "deemed" a single marred a perfect ninth. But we know anything can and usually does happen in that horrid dome. Boston improved its "under a roof" 2008 record to 2-8, and Tim Wakefield will be ready to go tonight on the nationally televised ESPN game. His mound opponent will be Nick Blackburn, who I am not familiar with. I WILL be after tonight's contest, that's for sure. Timmy is looking to build on his splendid eight inning winning performance against the Tigers five days ago. If he gets on a hot streak, the timing would be perfect. ANYTIME WOULD BE PERFECT! Contrary to ESPN reports, there IS another game between these two teams tomorrow, and then Boston has a two game set with the Orioles. And then, believe it or not, a day off. One game at a time, however, starting tonight shortly after 7pm EDT. Enjoy!

If you'd like, click on the title of this post for the latest on Julio Lugo's non-severe concussion that occured Friday night, from my hometown paper, the Hartford Courant. And then click on "baseball" (on the left side of your screen) to read all about last night's victory. Jed Lowrie, who started at shortstop last night, had his first big league home run and is a more than capable replacement for Julio. He had three hits and, with teammate Coco Crisp, went back to back with taters (home runs) in the seventh inning to put the Sox up for good. GREAT JOB JED. We'll be seeing a lot more of you in the months (and years) to come.

Well, it's still before 6am on this Mothers Day Sunday. I know, I know, WAY too early! I woke up at 4am and could not go back to sleep. I do want to wish all the mothers and mothers-to-be the best of the best on this special Sunday of May, YOUR day. And to the rest of you, thank you for stopping by yet again. I don't know what I'd do without you. And as always, BE WELL.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ninth Inning Win For The Twins...Twins 7 Red Sox 6

Jonathon Papelbon is human. Julio Lugo has been commiting far too many errors. Jon Lester is too unpredictable to count on consistantly, if at all. All of the preceding facts combined Friday night for a ninth inning comeback win for the Minnesota Twins. Jonathon Papelbon surrendered two bottom of the ninth inning runs to take the blown save and the loss. Here is part of what he had to say, taken from the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald, with my thanks...

"It's frustrating as hell right now, just because the simple fact is I'm throwing good pitches, I'm just not finishing them right now and executing them all the way through the strike zone," Papelbon said. "I'm sitting there in a comfortable position, where I want to be, with one out to get, and I don't finish a split-finger and he bloops it over the third baseman. Simple. The last outing that I had there were three bloop hits and a broken-bat hit,” he said. “You can’t do nothing about that. Tonight I could do something about that. Tonight was a totally different story. This has no correlation with the last outing, none whatsoever. It was just a simple fact that tonight I didn’t execute a pitch when I had two strikes and one out to get. It’s frustrating as hell,” he said. “Right now it’s a simple fact that I’m throwing good pitches, I’m just not executing through the strike zone.”

Peter here. I hope these last two in two days ninth inning misadventures will make Paps a better pitcher in the long run, if that's possible. And there are three more contests left to go in the "Ugly Dome," so we'll get 'em eventually (that means tonight). Daisuke Matsuzaka will face Glen Perkins, who will be making his major league debut. The Red Sox hitters can only go from the scouting reports assembled by their experts, but they will find a way to win. And Daisuke Matsuzaka has to come out with fire in his eyes and finesse and pinpoint control in his pitches. We ALL know he can do it, and I'm sure that eight walk wild and crazy night night five days ago is fresh in his memory bank.

Thank you for stopping in yet again, and I'd love to answer/respond to all of your comments. And click on the title of this post for more about a tough night for the Boston Red Sox and Jonathon Papelbon. But as THE WHO said and sang more than forty years ago (gulp!)..."The kids are alright."

Friday, May 09, 2008

Comerica The Beautiful...Red Sox 5 Tigers 1

With its smaller than ever outfield dimensions, Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan must be one of Kevin Youkilis' favorite places to play baseball. He hit his fourth home run of the four game set Thursday night to back the solid seven innings of pitching from Josh Beckett. Beckett made some sort of correction in his pitching motion, and it seemed to work - he walked no one. He had this to say...

“There’s somebody back home,” said Beckett, “who has been watching me since I was 14 years old and knows me better than anybody. They were the one who saw something. “I’m just trying to get to where I need to be,” he said.

Peter here, and he was where WE need him to be last night. He was flat out brilliant, going seven strong and giving up a lone run on six hits. He walked nobody and threw 102 pitches. Craig Hansen followed with a clean eighth inning and Manny Delcarmen surrendered one hit in an eleven pitch ninth. If Hansen can give us a clean inning often, just ONE inning, mind you, he would be a HUGE boost to the bullpen and would take some pressure off of Okajima and Papelbon. Keep it going, Craig, one inning at a time. We need you!

The Red Sox were again in double figures for hits, with Coco Crisp collecting three safeties and Ellsbury, Lowell and Big Papi David Ortiz two apiece. A balanced attack was combined with fine pitching to make a wonderful victory stew, savory and delicious, a concoction I'd like to enjoy, oh, 108 times this season. MMMM, smell the aroma, a mix of hot dogs and beer and mustard and clam chowder and huge winning smiles - smiles for this 2008 Boston team!

Boston travels south to Minnesota for another four game matchup. Minnesota, home of my wonderful and sweet girlfriend Nadia, who will not be able to make the trip from Cold Spring (about two hours) to Minneapolis because of classes and work, is the home of the Central Division leading Twins. But Nads wears her Red Sox 2008 World Championship sweatshirt, red, of course, proudly. She also owns a couple other pieces of Sox apparel, but I won't go into that here. The upcoming pitching matchups, matchups that favor Boston almost every time, are coming right up...

Friday: Jon Lester vs. Boof Bosner
Saturday: Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Glen Perkins (season debut)
Sunday: Timmy Wakefield vs. Nick Blackburn
Monday: Clay Buchholz vs. Livian Hernandez

Only Livian Hernandez has a better than .500 record, but strange things happen at the Ugly Dome...oops, METRODOME. The Sox are in first place with a 23-14 record. It would be so nice to get to ten games over the five hundred mark, so GO JON! If you wish, click on the title of this post for the Boston Globe homepage. Enjoy your Friday and the upcoming weekend, and I'd love to answer any and all of your comments/questions/queries. As always, BE WELL.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

COMEBACK WASTED...Tigers 10 Red Sox 9

You can't win 'em all, but last night's 10-9 loss to the Detroit Tigers really hurt. The Tigers had lost five games in a row and Boston had WON five straight. But when the Red Sox finally went ahead by a score of 9-8 going into the bottom of the ninth, an improbable Boston comeback veered into the realm of a probable victory. But it was not to be, for the Tigers, on the strength (??) of a checked-swing roller, a costly error by Julio Lugo, a sacrifice bunt that traveled no more than three yards and a shattered bat bloop single, scored two vital runs to get the victory. I could go into who hit what when, but you can click on the title of this post for all those details. The Boston comeback was thrwarted by the two unearned ninth inning runs. Oh well, turn the page. It's all we can do, so let's do it! I already have, late last night. Sleep was a tossed and turning trip of dreamlike states.

It was a bad night for Clay Buchholz, who went four innings and gave up five runs on ten hits. Julian Tavarez unfortunately followed, and he was WORSE, giving up another three runs and fours hits in just one inning. From there the bullpen, in the form of Aardsma, Lopez and Okajima held the tide while their team came back to take the lead. And then there was Paps and the bottom of the ninth. This team from Boston has so much heart, and this is but a bump in the road.

The batting stars for the Sox were none other than Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell. Youk bashed two taters and Lowell one. Ellsbury contributed multiple hits, too, and the Sox were in double hit figures yet again. But as Jonathon Papelbon said after the loss...

“It’s a title fight,” said Papelbon, who had converted all 10 of his save chances this season after going 37-for-40 a year ago. “A little jab isn’t going to knock us out."

Peter here, and Jonathon is right. That Tiger jab landed and momentarily stung the first place team from New England, but Josh Beckett will be ready shortly after 7pm EDT tonight to exact revenge. He'll face Detroit's Verlander, who is sitting on an ERA of 6.28 and a record of 1-5. He is due, but it will have to wait. Josh "Baseball" Beckett, a tough luck loser in his last start when his team was mired in a hitting slump, will come out throwing flame and fire mixed with finesse and off speed stuff. I give the edge to the Sox tonight, and if they DO win, they will have taken three out of four, just as I predicted before this four game set started. But anything is possible until the last out of the ninth inning, and that'll happen in about, oh, sixteen hours. Don't forget to click on the title of this post for the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage. From there, you can click on just about ANYTHING. So enjoy, turn the page and, as always, BE WELL. GO SOX. Love ya all. I always will!!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Detroit Knuckles Under...Red Sox 5 Tigers 0

When Tim Wakefield pitches the way he did on Tuesday night in the Motor City, it's a thing of beauty and so much fun to watch. He kept pounding the strike zone, walking NOBODY, and threw 98 pitches in his eight full innings of work. Mike Timlin mopped up in the ninth and was just fine. Wakes made a mechanical adjustment with his feet before the game and mixed in many more fastballs. The mix change was suggested by heavy hitting personal catcher Kevin Cash, who has been a tremendous surprise at the plate. Here's what Wakefield and his catcher had to say after the game...

“I switched my mechanics from the last two starts, where my knuckleball was good I was kind of all over the place,” he said. “I got more in line with my stride toward the plate. I’m kind of open a little bit so my arm can come down toward the plate, but I think I was too open. I just felt like I was all over the place, looking at the tapes and looking at the feet marks, where they were pointing the wrong way.”
With Wakefield adjusted, the next step was integrating more than 20 fastballs and curves, a number typically higher than what the knuckleballer was used to throwing. The thinking, which was relayed by Cash before the game, was to stay in favorable counts.
“There were more fastballs and curveballs than he has thrown this year, no doubt,” Cash said. “And it’s kind of my job just to put the signals down. If he doesn’t want to throw it, then just shake it off. It gets him back in the count quickly. How many fastballs did they swing at? Two or three, the rests were taken and it gets him back in the count.”

Peter here, and I know that excerpt from the Boston Globe was a bit long, but this may be the start of a Wakefield hot streak, and with the way the Red Sox are going right now, that would be HUGE. Get their last 10 games, which represents two turns through the rotation, Sox starters have allowed just 19 earned runs in 88 innings, an earned run average of 1.94. NOT BAD! Those kind of numbers win World Championships.

On the offensive side, there was Manny with home run number 497. I hope he can hit his magic number 500 at home at the Fens. Big Papi also tatered and Kevin Cash chipped in with three hits. One thing's for sure - KC is quite an improvement at the plate compared to his predecessor. Again, the Red Sox were in double figures in hits, and they've been playing great ball in every facet of the game. It doesn't hurt that Detroit hasn't gotten untracked yet this year. They'll get hot sooner or later...let's hope it's later!

Tonight it will be Buchholz against Galarraga again in Detroit, and a win would set up a possible Sox sweep with Beckett going tomorrow. But one game at a time, Peter. I hope you enjoyed last night's game, for it was fun to watch. Have a wonderful Wednesday Hump Day as we start the slide into the weekend. Click on this post's title for all about last night's fifth victory in a row for the "good guys." And that's us! As always, be well.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Wild Walk-Filled Win For The Red Sox...Boston 6 Detroit 3

Normally if you see the number eight in a baseball box score, you would think the pitcher had recorded eight strikeouts. But such was not the case Monday night in Michigan for Boston Red Sox starter and winner Daisuke Matsuzaka. The number eight meant that he had issued eight walks in his five full innings of work. And yet he only allowed one run to the frustrated Tiger lineup, a team who was strengthened by off season wheeling and dealing but has yet to show any results from those player transactions. Last night was more of the same for them, and more of the same for the streaking Red Sox, winners of four straight. Criag Hansen came in to pitch the sixth, which he did 1-2-3, and the seventh, where he got into trouble. But Hideki Okajima bailed him out with two gone in the seventh, and the eighth and ninth innings were capably handled by him and Jonathon Papelbon, who earned his tenth save in ten chances. We're going to need someone like Hansen to take care of the seventh inning when the starters go at least six, because once it gets to Okie and Paps, it's USUALLY "game over" time. The jury is still out for Delcarmen and Timlin. This is what manager Terry "Tito" Francona had to say about his wild but effective winning pitcher...

“He didn’t give in,” manager Terry Francona said. “He just kept plugging away, and that’s what he needed to do or he was going to give up runs.”

Matsuzaka was still weak from the after effects of that horrid and insipid flu bug that merrily pranced its way through the Boston clubhouse, so we have to give him credit for battling through it in his 109 pitch outing. Well-done, Daisuke! And now for the hitting. What can I say? Mike Lowell is back, and that's just what we need in the six spot of the batting order. He stroked three hits, including his first tater of the year, and appears to be rounding into form quite nicely. Big Papi also clubbed a home run, this one into the rightfield seats. In all, the Sox were in double figures yet again in hits, and if they keep this up and their starting pitching continues to shine, with a little more bullpen help, they will be fine. And by bullpen help, I mean that elusive third guy who can join Okie and Paps to form an unbeatabtle trio of 'lights-out" men. That would enable the starters to go at least six innings and, with a lead, be assured of a win in most cases. If that comes to pass, the Sox will be in first place from now until the end of the 2008 season. Just a thought!

Tonight, it's Wakefield ready to face Robertson as Boston tries to improve its first place 21-13 record. Not bad for a team that once lost five straight! And for all the details about last night and the latest about Curt Schilling's upcoming throwing program, just click on the title of this post. As always, BE WELL. I love every one of you. I do! I love the Boston Red Sox, too!! Forever.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Red Sox Sweep Rays Right Out Of Boston, DESPITE Manny Delcarmen

Good morning on this cold Monday. More about Manny Delcarmen in a bit. The Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 7-3, sweeping them right out of the city of Boston in fine fashion, just the way we like it. Jon Lester started and Jon Lester was shaky, throwing way too many pitches in the first two innings before finding his timing and settling down. He was able to give his club six innings, giving up only one run on four hits. He walked three and went to too many high counts early in the game. It was if he'd forgotten that in his past start he had worked faster, with less figiting and hemming and hawing between each delivery. It worked then and it will work in the future. He had this to say after the game...

"I've been figuring some things out this year," Lester said. "Figuring out how to set guys up more. How to go to pitches other than what I think are my strengths and get guys out. So I think it's more just a confidence thing than anything."

Peter here, and Jon, keep mixing up those pitches and don't give the opposing batters time to settle in and wait for your offerings. And throw first pitch strikes! When you do, you are nearly invincible. On the other hand, hot head Manny Delcarmen, who has the velocity on his fastball AND the break on his off-speed stuff that should enable him to be more successful, was brought on to pitch the seventh inning of a a 4-1 game, and COULD NOT DO IT. And I do not know why! Is he telegraphing his pitches? Is he not taking 'Tek's pitch calling the right way? I don't know, but Terry Francona, like me, has NO faith or patience left. That goes for Mike Timlin, too. At least not now. Manny allowed two runs on two hits and threw nineteen pitches just to get that one out. Delcarmen was quickly yanked by Tito Francona. Both he and Timlin are having their problems, and one of them is needed to be a part of the bridge to Papelbon. Other than Paps and Okajima, no one has "lights out, game over" stuff in the Sox bullpen. Because of that, the club has activated Craig Hansen for the four games in Detroit. He was 1-0 with a 1.62 ERA at Pawtucket, and if he finally could be effective at the major league level, it would be a huge shot in the arm for the bullpen and the parent club.

The hitting star was none other than Kevin Youkilis. He, as well as Manny, have both been Mr. Clutch lately, and Youk is even more valuable this season because of the multiple infield positions he can play, and play well. The Sox were in double figures yet again, and that bodes well for the future. And the future is NOW.

The Sox motor to Detroit for a four game set. The Tigers have a power-packed lineup but have been underperforming horribly in many phases of the game. They are entrenched in last place while the Sox, with a record of 20-13, are in first. Here are the pitching matchups...

Daisuke Matsuzaka (4-0, 2.52) vs. Jeremy Bonderman (2-2, 3.86) tonight
Tim Wakefield (2-1, 4.03) vs. Nate Robertson (1-3, 6.82) Tuesday
Clay Buchholz (2-2, 3.71) vs. Armando Galarraga (2-1, 1.88) Wednesday
Josh Beckett (3-2, 4.19) vs. Justin Verlander (1-5, 6.28) Thursday

Three out of four would be sweet, wouldn't it? But I'm getting ahead of game at a time. Bonderman is tough, but Dice is tough too. So enjoy yourselves on another Monday in a series of endless Mondays, and if you have time, click on the title for the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage. As always, BE WELL. I thank you for stopping in, my shrinking core of faithful readers. I'd love to hear from you and I'll respond to every comment you leave me. Sometimes it seems that daily readership could improve if I included pictures, but I've always preferred to let my writing do the talking. And I always will. Again, my thanks. You're the best!!!