Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lester AL Pitcher Of The Month...Drew, Lowell Might Play In Anaheim

Jon Lester was named American League Pitcher of the Month (Sept.) for the second time this year. In September, he was 4-1 with a sparkling ERA of 2.17. He struck out 28 and walked 14. And the buzz around Boston and all of Red Sox Nation is one of hope and eternal faith. As for Josh Beckett, no news is good news, I guess. He will throw on the sidelines Thursday in preparation for his Sunday Fenway Park start. I have a funny feeling that he'll be fine and the Sox will have split the first two games in California, winning game one and falling short in game two. But, as Bruce (the Boss, who is playing the Super Bowl halftime show-WITH the E Street Band. How great is that?) would say..."living in the future and none of this has happened yet." Here are a couple comments about Josh, Daisuke and Jon...

"We love what Beckett can do and we respect what Beckett can do," Francona said Monday. "We're starting to get that feeling about Lester."

"You want Josh Beckett to go for you," Kevin Youkilis said, "but to start up with Jon Lester and Dice-K isn't too bad either."

Peter here, and I agree with Youk...we'll be fine, although the Red Sox had quite the losing record against the Halos in 2008. But when Ocober slides in, the slate is erased and sparklingly clean, almost virgin. Right now on this Tuesday morning, the word is faith, faith in the Boston Red Sox, OUR team. Click on the title for more on everything, enjoy your Tuesday and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Sox/Yankee Split Ends The Regular Season ***BECKETT INJURED***

The day/night Yankee-Red Sox doubleheader split took a back seat to the devastating news about Boston Red Sox ace Josh Beckett. We might have seen the last of him in 2008, but we hope not. He was injured while throwing a side session on Friday. Here's what his manager had to say...

"It was on his 40th pitch," manager Terry Francona said of the injury, which was first reported by the Boston Herald. "Because it was raining and things like that, he was almost done. I don't think it actually was something where he just threw it and grabbed it. It was almost in-between pitches, where he took a deep breath and was like, 'Man, I feel something.' He went and got treatment. They've been working on him. Initially, when you hear something like that, you're kind of like, 'Wow." Dr. Thomas Gill came in and goes, 'Hey, relax. This is going to be all right.' So that was kind of reassuring."

Peter here, and we sure hope Dr. Gill is correct. Oblique injuries are notoriously hard to predict...the recovery time varies incredibly and one misstep while in the middle of the healing process and you can be back to square one. Or worse. This one hurts and puts a damper on any postseason Boston hopes. Jon Lester will start game one on Wednesday and Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the mound for game two on Friday. Both games are on the left coast. Beckett is tentatively penciled in for game three at Fenway over the weekend, but that's a big "if." Boston is in a little bit of trouble even before their five game series begins, but sometimes when the chips are down, the Red Sox band together and get the job done.

You can click on the title of this post for all the disappointing Beckett news coupled with a look forward to Wednesday night (first pitch 10pm EDT) in Anaheim. Thanks for stopping in. I have a question for you. Do you think this injury cripples Boston's post season dreams of another world championship? Just leave me a comment. As always, BE WELL.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rainout Forces A Last Day Fenway Park Doubleheader

The rains came to Fenway Park on Saturday and the Yankee/Red Sox game was postponed until Sunday night. Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-2) will face Mike Mussina (19-9) in Sunday’s first game at 1:35 p.m., and Tim Wakefield (10-11) will go against Sidney Ponson (8-5) at 7:35 p.m in the second. A ceremony to retire Johnny Pesky’s uniform No. 6, originally scheduled for Friday, will be before the first game. Tito Francona had this to say on who will play and for how long...

"We’ll probably go a little shorter than we would have," Francona said of keeping his players fresh and injury-free for the playoffs. "It’s a long day tomorrow, a long day today and yesterday. We’re going to try to play everybody."

Peter here, and the rescheduling should not have an effect on the starting pitchers for Wednesday and Friday in Anaheim. But with the two (and two only) off days, you hate to see your team having to play two on the last day of the regular season. But, as Tito said, he will carefully limit the pitchers' innings. I expect Josh Beckett to get the call on Wednesday and Jon Lester on Friday. They are Boston's two best, and you go with your best when it comes time for October play. Expect to see Daisuke Matsuzaka in game three at Fenway on five days rest.

Mike Lowell will travel west with the club but his playing time, if any at all, is very uncertain. The same goes for JD Drew...you have to consider him as a perennial day to day - you just never know when a back will act up at the last minute. It's fortunate that the Red Sox have a deep and talented lineup or they'd be in deep doo-doo. If I had one wish it would be this...no doubleheader on the last day of the regular season. But the games are scheduled and we'll play 'em. No ifs, ands or buts.

You can click on the title of this post for everything about everything BoSox. I hope your Sunday will be a great one. As always, be well. Your comments are always welcome.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


May you rest in peace, Paul. He was one of the best actors this world has ever known. Here is the just released AP flash...

WESTPORT, Conn. - Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money" — and as an activist, race car driver and popcorn impresario — has died. He was 83. Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, CT, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

Peter here...he will be missed, oh so much. You can click on the title of this post for a USA Today article/obit that is totally tremendous. Please click. I'm so sad.

Second String Pitchers Doom Red Sox, Who Are Officially The AL Wild Card Team...Mike Lowell Lost

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, but it happened Friday night at Fenway Park. The New York Yankees demolished the Boston Red Sox by a score of 19-8. David Pauley, starting in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka because of a pesky rain delay, was ineffective, and the bullpen, summoned in the third inning, continued his bumbling and stumbling. The less said about this one, the better. Because of that rain, though, Daisuke Matsuzaka will start in this afternoon's contest in place of Josh Beckett, who will make an abbreviated go at it on Sunday. But there was real bad news that was much worse than a lopsided meaningless game against the out-of-it Yankees. Mike Lowell reagravated his hip injury with a third inning swing and is a definite maybe from here on out. Here's what he and his manager had to say...

"I would defer to we'll see what time says," Lowell said. "By no means do I think I'm owed a roster spot just because I've played here. If I'm not going to do anything that can help the team win . . . but in the short series it's a little different. You don't have to carry as many pitchers. Maybe pinch hitting is an op tion. We'll see. I'm not ruling out anything yet, but obviously I was disappointed today."

"That was certainly discouraging tonight from our side of it," said manager Terry Francona. "He's certainly not ready to pull the plug or quit trying to play. So, we're kind of on board with him trying. The plan was to play him at third base tomorrow. I don't think that's going to happen. We'll work our way, the next two days here and then Monday, Tuesday. We'll see how it goes. It was certainly discouraging tonight."

Peter here, and Boston has overcome serious disasters like this before. But now that the Tampa Bay Rays have clinched the AL East division (congrats to them!), the Angels have decided to start their (and our) postseason with games on Wednesday and Friday. The day off between games one and two will negate the need for a Boston fourth starter, so the rotation will be, in this order, Lester, Beckett and Matsuzaka. Josh will probably go four innings or so on Sunday, but even with a shortened outing there is no way he'll be ready to take the mound on Wednesday. But so what? Jon Lester has been our most effective, reliable and consistant pitcher this year, bar none. The trio of Jon, Josh and Daisuke is as good as any in baseball, so if the Sox can get over the loss of Mikey Lowell and continue to produce a handful of runs (that's 5 or more) every game, they'll be just fine, even against the best team (on paper and in the standings) in the AL.

Today's game starts shortly before 4pm EDT, weather permitting. Enjoy it. There will be on and off showers and bands of heavier rain throughout the day here in the northeast, but there won't be anything game-stoppingly heavy. At least I don't think so. Nothing is on the radar, but it's early, with 10 hours to go before the first pitch. I thought there was NO chance of play last night, but the umpires waited it out and the game began. In retrospect, I wish the rains had continued, Noah style. Mike Lowell would have been much healthier if that had happened. He probably would have tweaked his hip sooner or later, anyways. It was inevitable. So Youk will be camped out at third for much of the postseason...at least that's what it looks like right now.

Click on the title of this post for more on everything Red Sox, enjoy your Saturday and your weekend, soggy or not, and as always, BE SAFE. All of your comments will be read and answered to the best of my ability.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Red Sox Ace Jon Lester KO's Tribe...Boston Red Sox 6 Cleveland Indians 1

Jon Lester led the Boston Red Sox to a 6-1 Thursday night Fenway Park victory, ending the season series with the Indians. And he did it in style, not allowing a hit until the sixth inning. Lester was on a Tito Francona-imposed pitch count of 85, and even if the no hitter was intact through six, he would have come out of the game. Think of all the boos that would have echoed throughout the park! Lester becomes the first Red Sox lefty to win at least 16 games since Bruce Hurst accomplished the feat in 1988. He also became the first Sox lefty to top 200 ininngs pitched since Frankie Viola in 1992. With that in mind, he said this...

"For me, I associate that (200 plus innings) with guys like a Beckett, Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, guys that are pretty much the horses of the team," Lester said. "They're going to go out there and pound the strike zone and give you good efforts every night. That's an honor to me, to get to that number. Early on, I struggled a little bit in April. Beginning of May, I hit a good streak for a couple of months and really felt comfortable with myself as a pitcher, mechanically and confidence-wise. I felt like I kept building. It's always good to end the year on a win."

Peter here, and what a one-two punch he and Josh Beckett will make in the postseason, with Daisuke right on their heels. Boston, with that rotation, is capable of doing some damage to the opposing team's October hopes and dreams. And that's just fine with me! GREAT JOB, JON

Tonight, the final three games of the season begin, weather permitting. I think we might not see Fenway baseball until Sunday, MAYBE Saturday. Just in case, here are the pitching matchups for the final regular season games, meaningless though they are...

Alfredo Aceves (1-0, 1.38 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (18-2, 2.80) tonight
Sidney Ponson (8-5, 5.21) vs. Josh Beckett (12-10, 4.03) Saturday
Mike Mussina (19-9, 3.47) vs. Tim Wakefield (10-11, 4.24) Sunday

Well, that's it for this rain soaked Friday. I wish you the best for the upcoming weekend as we try to watch a little baseball tonight at 7:05pm EDT. Mama Weather might not cooperate, however, but after Tampa Bay wins one more game, and they will, it's all over anyways, and the trip to the left coast will become reality. We'd have to face the Angels eventually, so we might as well face them first thing. Wednesday or Thursday? That remains to be determined. You can click on this post's title for more, and as always, BE WELL. Forever.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Red Sox Cruise, And Win...Boston 5 Cleveland 4

Alhough Paul Byrd's ex-teammates bruised and battered him for 11 hits and 4 runs, the Boston bullpen came to the rescue in the 6th inning and slammed the door shut. Jeff Bailey's pinch hit triple in the eighth plated the go ahead run and the Red Sox won their 93rd game of this 2008 season. The final score was Boston 5 Cleveland 4. The Rays reduced their magic number to one with a win over pitiful Baltimore, so it looks like a trip to California is in the offing for the defending world champions. Whether the Angels decide to start the series on Wednesday with an extra day off or on Thursday will determine if Boston will need three starters or four. I wrote yesterday that if a fourth starter would be needed, it should be Paul Byrd rather than Tim Wakefield. I've changed my mind...it's OK, it happens all the time. I think Tim Wakefield will get the call if a fourth guy is needed.

Dustin Pedroia had another two hit game as he continues to shine in the field AND at the plate. And Wednesday marked the return of the back-hobbled JD Drew, who played rightfield and was in there for three innings. Clearly he has some kinks to work out. This is what he had to say after the game...

"It went well. It (the back) got a little stiff, but not too bad," said Drew, who went on the disabled list on Aug. 18 with a strained lower back. "I really didn't expect to get as jelly-legged as I did out there. But when you think that I'm not doing anything for five or six weeks except sit down and lay down ... we've got some catching up to do."

Peter here, and it was great to see him back. He will DH tonight, with Big Papi and Pedey Pedroia getting a well-deserved night off. Jon Lester will make his last regular season appearance until we see him in game one or game two of the ALDS, and he'll be opposed by Jeremy Sowers. I'm happy that Tito Francona is selectively resting some of his starters for a game or two
so that everyone will be fresh and ache-free come October. If we go by the past history of the Angels and Boston, it would look like a favorable matchup, but don't let history be your only guide-they have a tough team, a talented one with tons of hitting, good starting pitching and the best closer in all of baseball. Speaking of closers, Jonathon Papelbon had the night off last night and I wouldn't be surprised to see him have another one tonight. He was so dominant in last year's postseason, and we need him to be just as effective this year. The pitching rotation looks good, with Beckett, Lester (or maybe the reverse), Matsuzaka and Wakefield slated to go. Of course, anything can change at the last minute, but I'm pretty sure that's the way things will unfold.

Have a great Thursday as September slowly morphs into Ocober, the month where baseball dreams flourish or die a slow, agonizing and tear filled death. I'll take the first option, please. You can click on this post's title for more on everything Sox, and your comments are always welcome. I'm headed for the ice pack, for if I sit behind the computer typing anything for more than thirty minutes, the aching becomes somewhat severe. But enough about that! GO SOX, and as always, BE WELL. I love ya all!! Why? Because you're the best. AND SO ARE THE RED SOX. OUR Red Sox, always and forever.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


California, here we come. Yes, on this Wednesday morning it's safe to say that because the Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night by a score of 5-4, lowering their magic number to zero. It don't get no lower than that! Wakefield went six innings and was good enough, giving up four runs. The bullpen took over from there and recorded three scoreless three hit innings to nail down the wild card slot. I don't think it will be possible or necessary to catch the Rays...they swept the helpless Bartimore Orioles and are in a race with the Angels for the best record in the American League. Quite a turnaround for a perennially losing club, isn't it? Here's what MVP candidate Dustin Pedroia and transplanted leftfielder Jason Bay had to say amid the subdued but delirious celebration...

"A lot of guys went down and we found a way to get into the playoffs to defend our title," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said in an on-field interview that was broadcast on the scoreboard to chants of "M-V-P!" "We have a chance to do what we did last year, and that's all we were looking for - an opportunity."

"I'm a first timer, but I definitely can get used to it," Bay said. "When I got called into the office the day I was traded, I remember them saying to me, 'Thanks for all you did for us. Now go win a ring.' It finally paid off."

So YES, WE DID IT!!! A year of injuries and setbacks lead to the magic of October, and Boston will be a team to be reckoned with. The four man rotation (at least in my mind) will be (in this order) Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka and Paul Byrd. Sorry Tim, Byrd has been more consistant. Do any of you agree? Just leave a comment.

That's it for today. After twenty minutes of typing, my left upper arm starts to ache and I run (these days I walk) to get the ice pack, thankfully provided by my Minnesota (originally Russia) girlfriend Nadia. She's the best. She cares. Just click on the title of this post for more on the Boston victory and the clubhouse celebration.

***CONGRATULATIONS 2008 BOSTON RED SOX.*** The road to October is open for business, no toll money needed. And as always, BE WELL.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Frustration Embodied, Champagne On Hold...Cleveland 4 Boston 3

Monday night at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox played and lost to the Cleveland Indians, putting off their wild card playoff entrance and celebration for another day. Josh Beckett had an off game when we needed him to be ON. He was able to go 6 innings but allowed 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 6. He did, however, hit 3 men and tossed a wild pitch. But the play that defined the entire night happened in the bottom half of 6th inning, with Jeff Bailey up and Jason Bay on second. The other Jason, Jason Varitek, was on first. Here's the account of the bizareness, straight from the Boston Globe, with my thanks...

"Jeff Bailey came to the plate with two outs. The Red Sox trailed, 4-2. Jason Bay stood on second, Jason Varitek on first. The count climbed to 3-and-2. Jackson fired. Bailey smashed a rocket down the third base line. Sox third base coach Hale, standing in the third base box, watched the ball scoot past third baseman Jamey Carroll's dive and then fixed his gaze on Bay, who had bolted with the pitch.
"My read is to see if it's going to hit off that angled wall," Hale said. "That's kind of a tough read, with a man on second base and the ball hit down the line with that angled wall.
So Hale, wary of the jutting wall, windmilled Bay home. Still watching Bay and glancing at Varitek, Hale saw in his peripheral vision that the ball rolled into shallow left field. He thought, "It must have hit off the wall."
Of the principals involved, only Bay and Varitek saw what actually happened to Bailey's certain double - the ball smacked third base umpire Gerry Davis in his right thigh as he pointed "fair." When Bay saw the ball drill Davis, he didn't know how far it would bounce from Carroll. He stopped halfway to home plate."

Peter here. Varitek was called out after reaching third, Bay was stranded at third, and the score remained the same. I just saw the replay (for the 4th time) and that ball was headed into the leftfield corner and would have scored both runners. But noooo..umpire Gerry Davis became a big part of a huge play instead of doing his job correctly. Hey, these things happen in the game of baseball, the game we love. We're still in great shape to play more than 162 games in 2008.

Today, Tuesday, is another day, another chance at cliching that wild card berth. The Yankees were off yesterday and the Rays beat the hapless Birds...has Baltimore ever heard of the term "spoiler"? Or have they given up for their last handful of games? I really don't know, but when these wins counted for something (for the teams they were playing at the time, not for them), they folded, spindled and self-mutilated. Wake up, Birdies!!

You can click on the post title for more on last night's off-kilter loss. My left arm is making me cease typing for now. For those of you who knew of my stairway fall ten days ago, my entire body does not sickenly ache anymore, just my upper left arm, above the elbow and below the shoulder. I am so sick of this severe discomfort. To all my Constant Readers...BEWARE OF MUSCLE BRUISES. They can be more painfull than a broken bone. Unfortunately, I found out firsthand. Tim Wakefield goes against 22 game winner Cliff Lee tonight at 7:05pm EDT at the Land of Oz we call Fenway Park. Let's break open the champage at, say, 10:21pm EDT. To all, thank you for popping in. I love your comments, so keep 'em coming. As always, BE WELL.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Red Sox Clinch Tie For Wild Card Spot...Boston 3 Toronto 0

Daisuke Matsuzaka was at his best Sunday afternoon at the Roger's Centre and his team defeated the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 3-0, reducing their magic number to one. And they gained a game on the Rays because Tampa lost to Minnesota. Anything is possible in this last week of the regular season. One win or one Yankee loss (and there'll be more that that) and the Sox are officially in the playoffs. It could have happened last night at the Yankee Stadium finale but the Baltimore Orioles meekly said goodbye to the pinstriped ones with a loss. But so what? We'll do this ourselves! Josh Beckett goes tonight, and if the team can finally get him some runs to work with, there will be a clubhouse celebration at Fenway tonight, a celebration in the HOME clubhouse.

Big Papi David Ortiz' two run tater was all Boston needed yesterday as Daiskue had every one of his pitches working with pinpoint control. Jacoby Ellsbury adjusted his batting stance a tad and came up with 3 base hits, but this was Matsuzaka's show and his best outing of the year. He gave up only 2 hits while walking 2 and striking out 6. He had the Jays fishing for the baseball, and mostly their hooks came up empty. Here's what Tito Francona and his catcher had to say after his 7 wonderous frames...

"I thought all his pitches had movement through the zone," Francona said. "He threw a fastball in a big situation by Rolen with two strikes, got it up past him. His slider, cutter, changeup . . . I think their hitters had to respect all his pitches, because he was throwing them all around the plate. That gives him a lot of different looks.

Said Varitek, "He was able to move the ball in and out, use the breaking ball to both sides, set it up with his heater. He did an awesome job today. It's more so just his location of his pitches, than all of them working. I think that's key more than anything."

'Tek is exactly right. If Daisuke has his control, just like yesterday, all his pitches do NOT have to work. But they sure did yesterday. He was flat-out brilliant. Coming up starting tonight is a four game Fenway series with the Cleveland Indians. Here are the pitching matchups...we'll see our entire rotation except for yesterday's starter...

Zach Jackson (0-3, 6.48 ERA) vs. Beckett (12-9, 3.96) tonight
Cliff Lee (22-2, 2.41) vs. Tim Wakefield (9-11, 4.18) Tuesday
Fausto Carmona (8-7, 5.19) vs. Paul Byrd (11-12, 4.53) Wednesday
Jeremy Sowers (4-8, 5.48) vs. Lester (15-6, 3.26) Thursday

***All games begin at 7:05pm EDT***

Tampa Bay has the day off today before starting a series with the hapless Orioles. And the Yankees begin their last 6 games of the regular season tomorrow against the Jays. Burnett or Halladay will stop them, but I'm not worried because all we have to do is win ONE game. GO SOX. Click on the title of this post for more on yesterday's resounding victory, and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

RED SOX WIN! Now, It's Up To The Orioles...

A masterpiece by Daisuke Matsuzaka combined with 2 scoreless innings from Okajima and Papelbon fuel Boston's win...if the Orioles beat the Yankees in the Yankee Stadium finale (on ESPN tonight), the Red Sox clinch a playoff berth.

GREAT JOB!! A full game summary will be up first thing in the morning.

Early Runs Sink Sox...Toronto 6 Boston 3

The playoff hopes for the Boston Red Sox were momentarily put on hold as the Toronto Blue Jays scored 5 runs in the first 2 innings of a 6-3 Sox loss. Roy Halladay was pitching for the Jays, and although Jon Lester settled down and ended up pitching 7 innings, those runs were too much for Boston to overcome. The Sox managed to get 6 hits and three runs off "Doc", but that's all they could muster. The Yankees beat Baltimore so the clinching was not to be in the first place. Minnesota did their part with another loss, so if the Sox get in today, they must wait for the Yankees to lose tonight. That's it, pure and simple. But Boston has to win today, of course. It'll be Daisuke Matsuzaka facing Scott Richmond at 1pm EDT in the season finale between the two teams. After that, there are only 7 home games left in this "so far so good" season...4 with the Indians and the final 3 against the Yankees, who play their last game EVER at Yankee Stadium tonight. Here's what Jon Lester had to say after his 7 inning outing...

"You can't spot a pitcher like Halladay four runs, or five runs, in the second inning," Lester said. "You're just digging yourself too big of a hole."

Peter here, and it was a hole the Sox could not climb out of. But today is another day. The page has been turned, so enjoy the game this afternoon on a Sunday that promises to be crisp and clear here in north central Connecticut. Fall is coming, and coming quick, and that makes me a happy guy. The smell of October is in the air, and with October comes playoff baseball, this year without the Yankees. Boo hoo, huh?

Any and all of your comments will be devoured, digested and responded to after burping. You can click on the title of this post for more on yesterday afternoon's action, and as always, BE WELL. Have a great Sunday...it'll be nice to finally clinch this and still have the better part of a week to iron out the pitching rotation and limit the innings for the guys in the rotation, a rotation that should include Paul Byrd and NOT Timmy Wakefield. The 4th guy will not be needed much in the postseason, so that's why I picked Paul...he's been consistant in contrast to Wakefield's mix of utter brilliance and sheer terror.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Red Sox Down, But Not Out...Until Now..

Not yet...Lester allowed 5 early runs, but Boston returned the favor by scoring 3. After 3 1/2...5-3 Jays. STILL in the 4th and Lester has thrown 71 pitches. OUCH! To be continued..at the end of 4, it's remains 5-3 Jays...top of the 5th..bases loaded for the good guys... 2 outs...Lowrie at the plate...Boston leaves the bases full going into the bottom of the 5th. "DOC" has thrown 92 pitches. Anything can and WILL happen. Jon has settled down.

After 5 full, it's still 5-3! 100 pitches for "Doc" Halladay...more runs for the Sox to come (I hope). After 6, Lester looks sharp...still 5-3.

Toronto's 'pen enters in the top of the 7th. Pedey up...grounder for the second out...Papi at the plate, with the shift...and after 6 1/2, it's still 5-3. Comeback hats needed, NOW. After 7, still 5-3...Lester looks great, but Boston needs 3 runs.

Top of the 8th..Lester has finished his day...he was great in his final 4...BRB after lunch and a salad...my special salad dressing, too!

SOX LOSE, but it's OK. See you first thing in the morning. Have a GREAT Saturday night.

Red Sox Win..MAGIC NUMBER IS DOWN TO 2...Boston 4 Toronto 3

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays last night by a score of 4-3. Paul Byrd and the bullpen bested (barely) AJ Burnett. Byrd was good enough, going six full and giving up three runs on six hits while walking one and whiffing one. And then it was the 'pen's turn to shine, and they did just that. The combination of Javy Lopez, Manny Delcarmen, Hideki "the Darkman" Okajima and Jonathon Papelbon combined for three one hit no run innings. With the score knotted at three in the eighth inning, Jason Varitek's bouncer to shortstop with the bases loaded plated the go-ahead run. From there, it was Pap's time. After botching a ball hit back to him and an errant throw to Youk at first, he bore down and retired the next three batters for his 40th save. Now Boston can actually clinch a wild card berth today if the Yankees and either the Twins or White Sox lose. That, of course, is only possible if Jon Lester, who's been clutch all season long, can best one of the best, Roy "Doc" Halladay. This is what Sean Casey had to say after the game, followed by the up-to-date wild card standings.

"You start spring training, your big thing is to get to the playoffs," Sean Casey said. "Any time you get to the playoffs, it's not easy. We cherish the fact that we're close to getting in. When we do, we'll celebrate and be fired up for that."

Boston 90 63 .588 ---
Minnesota 83 71 .539 7 1/2
NY Yankees 83 71 539 7 1/2

So we're looking good, REALLY GOOD...the regular season ends on Sunday and it looks like the Sox will clinch today or more likely tomorrow. I have some other Red Sox news. Bartolo Colon, the troubled, rotund often-injured pitcher was suspended without pay because he would not return to Boston from the Dominican Republic to pitch in the bullpen. Kiss him goodbye, although a slap would be more appropriate. Maybe two of 'em!

That's it for now...it's 1pm EDT baseball today from Toronto and a HUGE game for Jon Lester. I think we'll find a way, some way, to win. Yes, I'm an eternal optimist. That's what keeps me going in times of pain and struggle (like right now!). Click on the title of this post for more on last night's important win and as always, BE WELL. I've been trying to do just that!

Oh, I almost forgot...Terry "Tito" Francona has a big decision to make. And that is this...who will be his 4th starter in postseason play...Byrd or Wakefield. Wakefield has been horribly inconsistant in September while Byrd goes about his business, allowing three runs or so each start. What do you think? Please leave me a comment with your preliminary decision and I'll let my thoughts be known tomorrow. I have a solid pick in my mind. Thanks so much. Enjoy your Saturday and your weekend.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Blue Jay Way?

The Boston Red Sox are north of the border in neighboring Canada for the last three game tussle of the 2008 season. Here are the all-important pitching matchups, and my thoughts on each game...

Paul Byrd (11-12, 4.53 ERA) vs. A.J. Burnett (18-10, 4.19) tonight
Jon Lester (15-5, 3.15) vs. Roy Halladay (18-11, 2.77) Saturday
Daisuke Matsuzaka (17-2, 2.93) vs. Scott Richmond (0-2, 5.06) Sunday

I have to give the first game edge to AJ Burnett and the Rays. He looked great on three days rest against Boston in his last start and tonight, he'll have his full four days. *EDGE: TORONTO*

Game two can and probably will be an epic pitching battle. Halladay has been pitching like, well, Halladay. Jon Lester has been Boston's lefthanded rock all season long. *EDGE: EVEN*

Game three, the final game between these two clubs in 2008, has Daisuke Matsuzaka in a must-win situation. If he keeps it in the zone, we all know he can be quite brilliant. If not, he mostly manages to wriggle out of self-caused trouble but his pitch count limits him to 5 innings, sometimes six. Hey Daisuke, how 'bout a one walk game?? I am not familiar with Scott Richmond, although I did go over his stats. *EDGE: BOSTON*

Well, that's a wrap for today. I know you're probably sick of hearing about it, but I'll give you an injury progress report. My upper left arm/lower shoulder is getting uglier, bruisewise, but feeling a LITTLE better, accent on the little. It will be a week or so until I can move like I usually do, but at least, when it's VERY necessary, I can drive...if I absolutely HAVE TO! Your kind comments have been great. I appreciate every one of 'em. Oh, the Twinkies won last night, so our wild card lead stays at 7 games in the loss column...very safe. Have a great weekend. I'll be here every morning no matter what the pain is like...it's just that my posts will be shorter, more precise. Maybe that's a good thing? But I know I have to be ready when the real October games start, and they will, that I promise you. You can click on the title of this post for all the info the Red Sox Boston Herald homepage has to offer. As always, BE WELL. Here are those wild card standings...

Boston 89 63 .586 ---
Minnesota 83 70 .542 6 1/2
NY Yankees 82 71 .536 7 1/2
Toronto 82 71 .536

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's All Or Nothing With Tim Wakefield...Tampa Bay 10 Boston 3

Yes, it's all or nothing at all when Tim Wakefield steps on the mound for the Boston Red Sox. Last start he pitched an 8 inning shutout, the time before he couldn't get out of the 2nd inning. And that was the case Wednesday night at the Trop. Wakes was pulled after giving up 6 runs in the 3rd inning. UGLY! Minnesota lost, so Boston still has a firm hold on the AL wild card spot, but first place is still in the distance, a hazy mirage-like illusion. Only a complete collapse would prevent them from entering the promised land of October wild card play, though. That is NOT going to happen.

I'll be brief about this wipeout except to say that Big Papi is feeling better. He had 2 of the Sox' 6 hits, and they were both home runs. Other than that, though, there WERE no bright spots.

I was able to go to the doctor's office yesterday to find out about my upper arm and lower shoulder. I soon realized that it's tough to drive one-handed while in a 6 speed sports car, but the trip was OK, both ways! After numerous X-Rays, I learned there were no breaks or fractures, just a deep muscle bruise. That explains the severe pain and lack of mobility that I still have, although with all the ice packs yesterday, right now it feels 20% better. But I'm making this post brief once again (and I hate doing that) to head for the freezer and that ice pack. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your kind and caring comments from yesterday and the day before...they meant a lot to me.

You can click on the title of this post to learn more about Wakefield's bumble and the Red Sox stumble. It's another Thursday off day today, and that's a good thing. As always, BE WELL. I think I'm getting there...slowly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Post Called On Account Of Injury...Rays 2 Red Sox 1

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the second place Boston Red Sox by a score of 2-1. Josh Beckett was superlative but Andy Sonnanstine and the Rays' bullpen were one run better. However, I have to make this post a brief one because of my upper left arm/shoulder injury. I have a 9am doctor appointment, so I'll find out if it's broken (No!) soon. Thank you for yesterday's caring comments and I'll let you know everything as soon as I find out what's going on. It's safe to say that on a scale of 1-10, this is "9" pain...the kind that makes you sweat because it hurts SO much.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Home Run City! Boston 13 Tampa Bay 5

The Boston Red Sox had their home run bats swinging freely Monday night in Florida as they bashed the Devil Rays by a score of 13-5. A four run first inning, including a three run shot by Big Papi David Ortiz, launched the Red Sox into a share of first place but they are one game back in the loss column. This is what Mike Lowell had to say after the convincing victory...

“It helps in the first inning when David hits a three-run home run, that’s a good feeling starting the game off,” said Mike Lowell, who added a solo home run two batters later. “I think we did a good job of keeping the intensity and keep scoring runs because these are all-important games for us. They’re very important because it’s an important series. It’s a good statement game for us. We haven’t won a game in this park this year. We swung the bats real well today. We hit the long ball a lot better than we have all year; that’s a good sign.”

Josh Beckett will take the mound tonight as Boston goes for sole position of the top spot in the AL East. We go with our best to reach the promised land...how much better does it get?

That's all I can type today. I took a tumble on the stairs yesterday afternoon and severely hurt my left shoulder. Talk about pain!! If it doesn't get any better, I'll have to see a doctor...I hope not. You can click on the title of this post for the Boston Herald's complete coverage of last night's Red Sox home run derby. Thanks for stopping in, I hope the extra strength Tylenol will kick in NOW, and as always, BE WELL. I wish I was!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lester Dominant As Sox Take 3 Of 4 From The Jays...Boston 4 Toronto 3

Sunday afternoon's series finale with the Toronto Blue Jays ended up to be a one run game, but that's the way it was until the Sox scored single runs in the 7th and the 8th. But first things first...let's give credit where credit is due. Jon Lester was simply superb, going 8 full and giving up a single run on 4 hits. He walked 2 and struck out 6. He has become one of the 3 top lefthanders in all of major league baseball. Bar none. Jonathon Papelbon came into the 4-1 game to finish Boston's third win out of four from the Jays and it was quickly nailbiting time. Two runs came across on 3 hits before Jason Bay threw out Lyle Overbay after taking the carom, Yaz-like, off the wall. Overbay might have snuck his hand in before Pedey's tag was applied, but the ump might have been blocked on the play. Paps regained his senses and recorded the final 2 outs. Again, the location of his fastball has to be his major concern - the velocity is there. Nothing else he threw was anywhere near where he needed it to be. Here's what Mike Lowell had to say about being only one game behind the Rays, who lost to the Yankees yesterday (Minnesota lost, too!), and what Alex Cora thought about Jon Lester's start and continued improvement...

"Absolutely we want to win the division," said Lowell. "We're right there in the standings. We were able to win this series with Toronto and take care of business here and now we're in position to be able to fight for the division. If you're in this position, why not?"

"I'm so proud of him (Lester)," said Sox shortstop Alex Cora. "The way he's been able to come back from everything he's had and now to be one of the best pitchers in baseball is just amazing. To have that kind of a player from the left side in this rotation is major for us. We feel like we're going to win when he takes the ball."

Peter here, and Alex, we're all so proud of him. He'll be the number two starter in the playoff rotation, behind Beckett and ahead of Matsuzaka. When a fourth starter is needed, it'll be Wakes. And talking about starters, here are the pitching matchups for the Tampa Bay Rays series...

Daisuke Matsuzaka (16-2, 2.97) vs. Scott Kazmir (11-6, 2.99) tonight
Josh Beckett (12-9, 4.10) vs. Andy Sonnanstine (13-7, 4.47) Tuesday
Tim Wakefield (9-10, 3.92) vs. Matt Garza (11-9, 3.60) Wednesday

So there you have it...another new week and only ONE game out of first place. Beating Kazmir tonight will be a HUGE first step. If only Daisuke can put the ball in the strike zone instead of wasting so many pitches. I know that Tito Francona does not want to use the arm-weary Papelbon today (or tomorrow), so let's hope he doesn't have to. Have a wonderful Monday and a great week. I'll be here every step of the way...that's a promise. It would be great to see your comments and as always, BE WELL. You can click on the title's post for more on that team you (and I) love, the world champion Boston Red Sox.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Splitsville...Boston 1-7 Toronto 8-5

Saturday started out the wrong way but ended the right way. Like the Rays, the Red Sox split their doubleheader. Minnesota won both ends of theirs, so they creep one game closer in the wild card race. Here are the up-to-the-minute wild card standings...


Boston 87 61 .588 ---
Minnesota 82 66 .554 5
Toronto 80 69 .537 7 1/2
NYY 78 70 .527 9

Bartolo Colon was able to go 6 innings but he gave up 5 runs. Three of those were of the unearned variety. But Boston rallied with single runs in the 6th and 7th and 3 more in the 8th to put it away. Papelbon earned his 37th save.

In the opener at Fenway, Paul Byrd simply did not have control of his fastball. He admitted it himself...

“I just did not command my fastball well, which is what I do for a living,” Byrd said.

Peter here. That was short but true, Paul. I won't go into all the details here, but if you click on the title of this post, you'll find everything you will need to know about the Red Sox day and night. Have a great Sunday...it's Roy "Doc" Halladay versus Jon Lester today at Fenway. Doc will be going on 3 days rest. Will it make a difference? Tune in to NESN or your local Red Sox radio network station...first pitch will be at 1:35pm EDT. Until then, have a fun Sunday and as always, BE WELL.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

DIRTY WATER: A RED SOX MYSTERY...Penned by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Jere Smith...A Preview And The Pre-Order Link

Jere Smith, who writes the blog A RED SOX FAN IN PINSTRIPE TERRITORY (on my link list, near the top), and his talented mom, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, have collaborated on a Red Sox mystery book, soon to be released. Very soon! Here are my thoughts on the book...

First of all, there will be no spoilers here. The mystery unravels at its own pace, twisting and turning and taking hold of you like the great ones do. The ingredients? A baby is left in the Red Sox clubhouse and is soon discovered and bestowed with the name "Ted Williams." Add to that the discovery of a body, a quite dead young woman, mired in the muck of the river's edge. Add to that a sudden vanishing act by a young and talented Red Sox minor league pitcher. Who is the dead woman, where did the baby come from and what's with the young phenom pitcher? All will be answered with the help of two Boston detectives...Rocky Patel and Marty Flanagan, the "good guys" in this spider web of intrigue, and Jay, who writes a blog by the name of THE NUMBER ONE PLACE. Jere Smith handles the blog parts of the story and his accomplished mother handles the narrative. The combination clicks! Blogger (and his friends-I even saw a commenter named Peter!) and the detectives combine to keep you up way into the dark of night. This is not just a book for Boston Red Sox fans, it's for everyone who loves a good mystery yarn. Well done, Mary-Ann and Jere!

Click on the title of this post to be directed to Jere's blog. On the right side of the blog screen, you'll find the links for the DIRTY WATER blog site and for the Amazon pre-order page. The book will be released by the end of September (I think), so give Jere's blog a look and check out the Amazon info. It's all there when you title click. Thanks! DIRTY WATER: A RED SOX MYSTERY...you won't forget it.

Wakefield Grounds The Jays Into A No Fly Zone...Boston 7 Toronto 0

On the eve of a four game series with the pitching-tough Toronto Blue Jays, there was an apprehensive mood that echoed throughout Fenway Park. The Red Sox had just come off two late inning defeats to the first place Tampa Bay Rays, who, like the Twins, were rained out last night. But Tim Wakefield and his knuckleball were the absolute cure for all the pre-game shivers and quivers. He led the Red Sox to a 7-0 victory over the visiting Jays, going 8 full innings and allowing only 3 hits and zero (!) runs. He struck out 4 and walked not a soul. That's quite a contrast to his last start in Texas, where he couldn't find the strike zone if his life had depended on it. Luckily, it didn't. Here's what THE MAN had to say after his stellar outing...

“I felt great - even in Texas I felt great, I just couldn’t find the strike zone, too much movement and I wasn’t able to rebound to get that last out in the second inning, so obviously getting through eight today was a huge swing from last time,” said the knuckleballer...

Peter here, and Timmy felt great AND looked great. 65 of his 94 pitches were strikes. It was a fun game to watch because the outs seemed effortless and the nervousness factor was almost negligable, even when it was a close 2-0 Boston lead. Little Manny Delcarmen pitched a clean ninth to secure the victory, an important one for the wild card leading Red Sox. The big hits belonged to Kevin Cash, who slugged a 3 run tater, and Jed Lowrie and Big Papi David Ortiz, who each had 2 RBIs. Jed Lowrie and his manager had this to say...

“We have three more games in two days, Toronto is a good ballclub and playing well,” Lowrie said. “To get the first win of the series is huge for us.”

“It was important to win, and we played a nice, clean game on a night where the field was sloppy,” Sox manager Terry Francona said. “We caught the ball, Wake threw strikes, it was a crisp game from our side, and it was a very important game.”

Well said, Tito and Jed. Toronto and Boston play an important day-night separate admission (of course) doubleheader today and tonight. The pitching matchups are in the post directly below this one. If the Sox can take 2 of the next 3 (I have to give Halladay a HUGE edge tomorrow, even though he's going against the ever improving Jon Lester), the Jays will just about be out of it. That's why they're pitching Burnett (today) and Doc on 3 day's rest.

That's a wrap for now...I might be back during the first game with an update, but that depends on the weather here in north central Connecticut. I guess it depends on the weather in Boston, too! Have a great Saturday, click on this post's title for more on last night's gemlike win, and as always, BE WELL. I'll leave you with the up to date wild card standings. They look nice...

W L PCT GB Home Away DIV Streak

Boston 86 60 .589 --- 50-21 36-39 32-28
Minnesota 80 66 .548 6 49-26 31-40 39-24
Toronto 79 68 .537 7 1/2 43-29 36-39 30-2
NY Yankees 77 69 .527 9 40-31 37-38 31-29

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Almighty Toronto Blue Jays Come in For A Tough Four Game Fenway Series

Yes, the Toronto Blue Jays invade Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts for a four game set. They will pitch their top two, AJ Burnett and Roy Halladay, on three days rest on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Here are the remaining 2008 games with that team from Toronto...
Fri 9/12 BOS 7:05 pm
Sat 9/13 BOS 12:35 pm
Sat 9/13 BOS 7:05 pm
Sun 9/14 BOS 1:35 pm

Fri 9/19 TOR 7:07 pm
Sat 9/20 TOR 1:07 pm
Sun 9/21 TOR 1:07 pm
The detailed pitching matchups are right here, too...

David Purcey (3-5, 5.23 ERA) vs. Tim Wakefield (8-10, 4.11) tonight
A.J. Burnett (17-10, 4.31) and Jesse Listch (11-8, 3.70) vs. Paul Byrd (11-11, 4.39) and Bartolo Colon (4-2, 4.09) Saturday
Roy Halladay (18-10, 2.77) vs. Jon Lester (14-5, 3.23) Sunday

A four game split, at least in my opinion, will be just fine, thank you. Anything less will not work that well. I think Colon will have a good outing, as will Lester. The difference is the opposing pitchers...Halladay and Burnett are two of the best in all of MLB. Byrd was tremendous in his last start, giving up zero runs, while Wakes was as opposite as you can possibly get, going less than two innings. So we'll see what happens. The Minnesota Twins, who the Red Sox are leading for the Wild Card playoff spot (see below), lost to the Royals last night. Here are the latest Wild Card standings as of Friday morning...

W L GB Left
Boston Red Sox (12) 85 60 -- 17
Minnesota Twins 80 66 5.5 16
Toronto Blue Jays 79 67 6.5 16
New York Yankees 77 69 8.5 16

So with seventeen games left, we're 2 1/2 games out of first place and have a six game lead (in the loss column) over the Twinkies and a seven game lead over the incoming Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees are in fourth place and should start polishing and cleaning their golf clubs and Andy Pettitte must start planning for his retirement. He's had a horrible second half. But the pinstriped team has many things wrong with them, more than just the injuries they've suffered. Hankie Steinbrenner has been moaning, belching and groaning about that spate of injuries, but it seems that he sometimes completely overlooks the fact that the Red Sox, at one time or another this season, have lost almost half their team, too. So WAH-WAH-WAH Hankie Pankie. Enjoy your October...IN FRONT OF THE TV!

Gee, I guess I got THAT out of my system! Have a great Friday and a tremendously wonderful weekend. It would be great to win ten of the remaining seventeen games...if so, October, here we come. The first place team in the AL East will play Chicago or Minnesota, and the Wild Card winner will have the task of going to Anaheim to play the already clinched Angels with no home field advantage. Ouch! Hmm, doesn't take much thinking to know why first place is SO important. Click on the title for more on these last two and a half weeks of 2008's regular season, and as always, BE WELL. Forever.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An Extra Inning Red Sox Loss...A September 11th Rememberance...Tampa Bay 4 Boston 2

Wednesday night's game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays was filled with good and bad tidings for the home team. The good...realizing that staff ace Josh Beckett is back in form and will be ready to help the club when October play begins. In fact, the entire Boston bullpen, which held the Rays scoreless for 6 1/3 innings until Mike Timlin entered in the 14th inning and gave up a three run bomb which effectively ended the game, was superb. And you all know that the bad is the fact that the Red Sox lost the game. They are now 2 1/2 games out of first place but they have a firm grasp on the Wild Card slot. Only a complete and utter September collapse would prevent Boston from making it to the postseason. And that ain't going to happen. Loser Mike Timlin had this to say on what one loss means to his team...

“It’s not like it puts us out of the race, by any means,” Timlin said. “We just drop back one more game. We’re still in it. We’re not hanging our heads. Yeah, they beat us in the series but we’re going to be fine.”

It's Peter again, and here's the entire Boston pitching summary...

J. Beckett 6.0 6 1 1 2 7 0 4.10
H. Okajima 1.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2.88
J. Masterson 2.0 0 0 0 2 2 0 3.12
M. Delcarmen 2.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 3.64
J. Lopez 2.1 1 0 0 1 2 0 2.56
M. Timlin 0.2 3 3 3 1 1 1 6.09

As you could see, the Sox pitchers, Beckett and the 'pen, were marvelous, but the Rays' hurlers were just a bit better. Hey, that's baseball...stuff happens. Boston has a day off today (and the next two Thursdays, too) before one of the toughest teams in the league comes to Fenway to play four games in three days. That would be the Toronto Blue Jays. Bartolo Colon is scheduled to pitch one of the games on Saturday. I'll have the entire pitching matchups for you tomorrow.

On a much more somber note, today marks the seventh anniversary of the horrible September 11th attack on the World Trade Center and the American people everywhere. Take a moment to say a prayer for the too many victims and their families and to all the firemen and emergency people who risked (and gave up) their lives in order to save others. You can close your eyes and say that prayer right now...you'll feel better when you do.

My friend John Quinn, who writes a great blog that is on my link list (The Mighty Quinn Media Machine), always has a heartfelt post about 9/11 every year. He lost a close and person friend in the cowardly attack. I'm linking his blog to the title of this post, so just click on it. It's important reading straight from his soul. Thank you, John, and thanks to everyone who stopped in. As always, BE WELL, and don't forget to title click...right now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Blown Opportunity For First Place...Tampa Bay 5 Boston 4

This one was tough to take in the ninth inning. Jason Bay had hit a two run tie-breaking home run in the eighth inning to make the score 4-3 Red Sox. But Jonathon Papelbon, who had only four blown saves in his last 40 chances, added one BS to that total. Pitching for the third consecutive day, his fastball, the pitch he relied on yesterday, lacked movement of any kind, making each one that found the strike zone eminently hittable. And the Rays hit 'em. A home run and two one out doubles plated two runs and the Red Sox couldn't do anything in the bottom of the ninth. It was a well deserved loss for Paps and put his team 1 1/2 games in back of the frontrunners. Here's what he had to say after his embarassing outing...

“There’s a human factor involved, and we are all human and we are going to make mistakes,” Papelbon said. “I am human and I didn’t make my pitches where I wanted to tonight. For me, it was just mislocated fastballs and fastballs that weren’t crisp at home plate and didn’t have much life on them,” Papelbon said.

Paps is right...we're ALL human and blown saves are a part of the game, but again, this one was tough to take. It wasn't a day at the beach either for Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. He was only able to go five innings because his control was off. I guess we all know by now that that's typical of him. He allowed 3 runs on 8 hits but walked 4 and threw 102 pitches in that short span. That works out to more than 20 pitches per inning, and that's simply not acceptable. The middle relief was fine until the Red Sox had gone ahead and Paps came in to try and get the final 3 outs. BUT NOOOO. Turn the page time for sure. RIGHT NOW!

Tonight, the Sox can get to within 1/2 game yet again, and they will have their ace, Josh Beckett, on the Fenway mound. So we're in good hands. He'll be opposed by the Rays' Andy Sonnanstine. May the better team (us) win! You can click on the title of this post for all the details about last night's sad ending, and remember this...the tough Toronto Blue Jays come into town for a four game set starting on Friday. Roy Halladay might pitch on short rest Sunday, but that's up to the Jays. If I were making that decision and my team was completely out of it, I wouldn't risk my ace's health. But that's just my opinion. Thanks for stopping in, comments are welcome, and as always, BE WELL. And don't forget to turn that page. It's a new day today, and first pitch time will be at 7:05pm EDT. Enjoy your Hump Day Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fenway Park's 456th Consecutive Sellout...An MLB Record! Boston Red Sox 3 Tampa Bay Rays 0

The sellout crowd at Fenway Park had much to cheer about. They helped set the MLB record for consecutive sellouts at that little old bandbox called Fenway Park. The mark now stands at 456 games (and counting). What an amazing accomplishment. And the 38,000 plus fans were treated to a 3-0 Red Sox win over the first place (for now) Tampa Bay Rays, who are having a very tough September. Boston must take advantage of that and get a team when they're down. Last night, they did just that. Jon Lester was able to go 7 2/3 innings, giving up zero runs and only 6 hits while walking 3 and striking out a mighty 9. Except for a couple minor jams, he was in complete control, using both sides of the plate with varying velocity. It was a treat just to be able to watch him. Here's what he and his manager had to say after Jonathon Papelbon, the "other" Jon, nailed down the win with a 4 out save...

"It was important, I think a little bit more important than a normal start," Lester said. "Obviously they're ahead of us right now, and we're trying to get back in first place. It was a good atmosphere tonight in the ballpark. It almost felt like we're in the playoffs."

"I thought all his stuff was good," said manager Terry Francona. "Two-seamer. Had some explosion on his fastball. Cutter. Again, when you start throwing 94, 95 with some movement on both sides, then you throw a breaking ball, that gives you a little different look. He's got a lot of ways to expand the plate."

The Red Sox collected 9 hits and scored all 3 of their runs in the very first inning. But Rays' starter Edwin Jackson settled down and was great after his rough beginning. Coco Crisp continued his quiet hot streak with 3 more base hits, bringing his average all the way up to .291. He's been remarkable. Jason Bay had a first inning home run and a two hit game. Base running gaffes prevented Boston from scoring more runs, but this time, 3 were enough. Now only half a game separates the 2 teams (one in the loss column) and the Sox can vault into first place with a win tonight. It'll be the always tough lefty Scott Kazmir facing the up and down Daisuke Matsuzaka. I've said this before and I'll say it again, right now...if Daisuke has his control and can avoid bases on balls, he will have a greater chance of pulling out a victory. For tonight, the Boston bullpen is fresh-only Paps pitched last night, and he needed just 18 pitches to secure the victory and his 36th save. Everyone in the 'pen is available but hopefully will not be needed. It would be nice to have Daisuke go 7 innings (more...please!) and let Okie and Paps take over from there. At some point, Scott Kazmir will have to give up some runs. I still can't believe the Mets traded him! But they did. Bad move...super bad move. An EPIC bad move.

Thanks for stopping in once again. I hope you had as good a time as I did watching Lester pitch his way to a victory. He has been an utter joy to watch. Aren't we all glad the Red Sox didn't include him in any kind of trade for Johan Santana? He's every bit as good from the left side as Santana, and his entire future is in front of him. Sweet. Sugar and butter corn sweet.

Click on the title of this post for more on last night's 456th straight Fenway Park sellout, and congratulations to go out to team owners Larry, Tom and John for putting out a winning product, year after year after year. As always, BE WELL.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Sox Win Rubber Game...Rays Are Next, Then Toronto...Boston 7 Texas 2

Paul Byrd and the Boston Red Sox won a huge game Sunday afternoon in Arlington, Texas on a day that the Tampa Bay Rays and the now out of it New York Yankees lost. The final score was Boston 7 Texas 2, with Byrd pitching his best game in a Boston uniform. He went 6 2/3 strong innings, allowing zero runs and just 3 hits while walking 3 and striking out 4. He was in complete control right up until his last pitch, and his acquisition seems like a stroke of genius now. He came when Boston desperately needed another arm for their rotation. The Sox are only 1 1/2 games behind the Rays, who have not won a single game at Fenway Park this year. Let's hope that trend continues. As recently as September 1st, the Rays had a somewhat comfortable 5 1/2 game lead, but that has dissolved much like an Alka Selzer in a glass of water. And the Yankees proudly occupy 4th place in the AL East. My goodness, they're out of it!

The bullpen was a tad shaky, with Manny Delcarmen and Chris Smith both giving up a run, but Paps came in to record the final two outs, with a little nervousness because he gave up 2 base hits. The batting stars were many..the Sox had 12 hits. Jason Bay had a tater and a total of 2 base hits. Big Papi and the increasingly hot Coco Crisp also collected 2 base hits each. Mike Lowell had the day off. Shortstop Alex Cora, who also had a clutch hit, and manager Tito Francona had this to say before the jet ride home to Boston...

"We're playing great baseball, that's the fun part of it," Alex Cora said. "It's not that we struggle, but I think after that win in Toronto [Aug. 24, in 11 innings], I think we kind of found ourselves. Obviously we're in September, obviously it seems like we're playing with more emotion, we're showing it. It's fun, man, especially when you win. That's the fun part of it. You watch games, and you know where everybody's at."

"We played two good games, one kind of a clunker," manager Terry Francona said about the series. "Now we get to go home and play, hopefully, some of the most exciting baseball of the year. We've played ourselves into a position where these games are really important. It's exciting."

When the Sox do go home, the white hot Toronto Blue Jays will be in for a 4 game, 3 day set beginning Friday, so it's not just Tampa Bay who's coming to town. Here are the all important pitching matchups for the three game set with the first place (for now) Tampa Bay Rays...

Edwin Jackson (11-9 4.07) vs. Jon Lester (13-5 3.57)
Scott Kazmir (11-6 2.99) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (16-2 2.88)
Andy Sonnanstine (13-7 4.66) vs. Josh Beckett (12-9 4.20)

**ALL GAMES AT START AT 7:05...All Games On NESN and Red Sox Radio Network**

Edwin Jackson has had a tough time lately, so I like our chances tonight. Kazmir/Daisuke? It all depends on Daisuke's control. If he's on, this game is a toss up. And I have to go with Beckett over Sonnanstine just because he looked so very good in Texas. Hey, if you'd like, click on the title of this post for more on last night's series-clenching win over the Rangers and a full preview of the upcoming Tampa Bay set. Thanks for popping in once again, your comments are always welcome, and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

In A Nutshell...Texas 15 Boston 8

Here's all you needed to know about Saturday night's game in Arlington, Texas between the Red Sox and the Rangers...

T. Wakefield (L, 8-10) 1.2 4 7 7 4.11
C. Smith 2.0 2 2 2 0 0 1 5.27
J. Lopez 0.1 0 0 0 1 1 0 2.73
M. Timlin 2.0 5 4 4 0 2 1 5.56
D. Pauley 2.0 5 2 2 1 4 0 8.64

"Nuff said. Turn the page. Have a great Sunday. You can click on this post's title (if you want to...it's ugly) for more details. I'm disgusted. Have a great Sunday and as always, BE WELL.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Restocked Boston Red Sox Punish Texas Rangers...Boston 8 Texas 1

The Boston Red Sox, restocked with players Mike Lowell, Sean Casey and starter Josh Beckett, with Roberto Colon coming back next week, won the 9th game of their last 11, an 8-1 triumph over the Rangers in Texas. The return of a healthy Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell made all the difference in this one, with Josh going 5 tremendous innings (he was on a pitch count), allowing zero runs and zero walks while striking out 7. He was in control. PERIOD. His manager said this..

“I think we were thrilled,” manager Terry Francona said. “He went out and commanded really well. He threw a cutter that had late movement to it and even when he missed, he was missing around the plate. . . . He did a great job.”

And here's what the man himself had to say...

“Health is the main thing and I came out of it healthy, which is what we were really looking for,” Beckett said. “This is definitely a steppingstone. It’s going to be easier next time going out there, not thinking about it.”

Peter here, and as the Rolaids ad goes, "Oh, what a relief it is!" Having a healthy Beckett who can dominate any team in baseball will bring this club far into October. Maybe all the way. The bullpen was brilliant, with the lone meaningless run coming off Hideki Okajima in the 9th inning. No harm, no foul, as they say.

The batting stars were Coco Crisp, who went 3 for 5 and had 3 RBIs, and Mikey Lowell, who made his presence known with two hits, a home run and a two run single, in his first 2 at bats. WELCOME BACK MIKE! We missed you! Here's what he had to say after his team's lopsided win...

“It was a good day and I was really excited to be out there,” Lowell said. “I didn’t want to try to do anything extra and I think that actually helped me.”

Peter here, and what you did, Mike, was just about perfect. Youk had to sit this game out in Boston, but his back is feeling better and his return will be soon, as soon as the team returns to the Hub. With the Tampa Bay Rays' loss to Toronto (thank you again, Jays), the Sox are only 2 1/2 games back and still 6 games up (over Minnesota in the loss column) in the wild card race. And the Yankees fell to 9 games back of the Sox with their 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners. They are just a footnote in this playoff race. As for the Red Sox, ya know what? That sounds like a path to October play, and nothing could make me (or us) any happier. Boston is running on all cylinders, flat out, pedal to the metal, standing on it, and it's been fun to watch. They're having fun, too...I guarantee that. It'll be up to Timmy Wakefield to keep this hot streak going tonight, but I want to stress one important thing...having a healthy Josh Beckett on the mound every 5 days is HUGE! And so sweet.

Have a great Saturday as we here in southern New England await the drenching rains and winds of tropical storm Hannah. The winds here in north central Connecticut will take a backseat to the copious amount of precipitation, so damage and power outages are not expected on a wide scale. But it's good that our Red Sox are out in Texas, because Fenway will be dunked and drenched tonight. Click on the title of this post for more on last night's lopsided win, and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are always great to read and I will respond to every one of 'em. Thanks for stopping in once again...you make me so very happy.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Deep In The Heart Of Texas

The Boston Red Sox made the trip to Arlington, Texas Thursday for their three game set with the Texas Rangers, who have the highest team ERA in all of baseball. It stands at 5.29. The Sox must take advantage of that and put some runs up on the scoreboard. The Yankees lost to the Rays last night so Tampa's lead over Boston is 3 1/2 games. The Red Sox have a six game lead over the Minnesota Twins for the wild card playoff spot and an eight game lead (in the loss column) over the pinstripers. The Blue Jays completed their three game sweep of Minnesota with a 9-0 victory. Thank you, Toronto! So we're in good shape...no September doldrums, please. Here are the pitching matchups for the Rangers series...

TONIGHT - RHP Josh Beckett (11-9, 4.34 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Millwood (9-7, 4.84). TV - NESN

TOMORROW - RHP Tim Wakefield (8-9, 3.76) vs. LHP Matt Harrison (6-3, 5.73). TV - NESN

SUNDAY - RHP Paul Byrd (10-11, 4.58) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (1-0, 2.25). TV - NESN

Of course, tonight's start for Josh Beckett is a big one for him and for the entire team. He will be on a limited pitch count of 50-60 pitches, as he should. Let's hope he can go four strong and then the recently effective bullpen can take over. A big lead at that point wouldn't hurt, either. Expect not only Beckett but Mike Lowell and Sean Casey to return tonight, with a Roberto Colon sighting coming up soon, too. That's a nice restocking of an already strong collection of players. Theo Epstein did well in adding Paul Byrd and Mark Kotsay at the PERFECT time...the Sox are deep everywhere.

Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend. I'll be here every morning, no matter what, and I'd love to see and respond to any and all of your comments. As always, BE WELL. GO SOX! Oh, you can click on this post's title for the latest Sox news from all corners of Red Sox Nation. One of the articles is titled DUSTIN PEDROIA, THE BEST 105 POUND ATHELETE EVER. He weighs a little more than that, but not much. But he's batting over .600 (!!) in his last six games. Nice!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Finally, A Red Sox Sweep...Boston Red Sox 5 Baltimore Orioles 4

The Boston Red Sox did what they hadn't done in a long time...complete a three game sweep of an opponent. The game was a major league tying 544th straight Fenway Park sellout. The final score was Boston 5 Baltimore 4, and the Orioles are as hapless and helpless as they've been in a long, long time. The Birds were ahead of the Sox 4-0 through six innings before Boston came to life with a bang, actually a few bangs and two bings. Two runs in the seventh, two more in the eighth and the winning run in the ninth were all Boston needed to get out of town on a winning note. Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia had another inspired and productive day, going 3-4 with a HUGE home run in the seventh inning. Pedey's stats over the past few games are astounding. Mark Kotsay had a two run triple in the eighth, the inning that the Red Sox tied it, and then there came the ninth. Javy Lopez and Justin Masterson held the fort in relief of an erratic and pitch heavy Daisuke Matsuzaka, who clearly did not have his "A" game going. His pitch count after only two innings hit 50! But the 'pen let the Boston bats do the talking and the walking, and an Alex Cora line single and two bunts in the ninth inning won the game. The first bunt, by Coco Crisp, looked like it was going to roll foul but "hit a pebble" or something, which forced the ball to stay in fair territory. That lucky bounce enabled Coco to get to first and moved Cora into scoring position at second. And then it was up to Jacoby Ellsbury, who made a highlight reel catch earlier in the game. He bunted, a ball that was just wide of the pitcher Miller. Miller fielded the bunt and tried to nail Cora as he approached third base, but his errant throw went wide and into the outfield. The winning run scored and an improbable comeback was in the books. Here's what one of the hitting heros had to say at game's end, and a comment from Jacoby Ellsbury...

“This is a pennant race and we know we’re going to have to grind through,” said Kotsay, who has six extra-base hits in six games since coming over from Atlanta. “Now we’re going into Texas against a team that has nothing to lose, so we can’t let our guard down.”

"It's the first walkoff bunt I've had, yeah," Ellsbury said with a broad smile.

So after a day off Thursday, the Red Sox play a team with nothing to lose...the Texas Rangers. After the Yankees' defeat of first place Tampa Bay, the Sox are only three games behind in the AL East and they have a nice five game cushion over the Twins in the wild card race. So things are looking good with 23 games to go, most of them at Fenway. If you'd like, simply click on the title of this post for more on yesterday's game and all you needed to know about that team we love to love. Face it, they make it easy to love them! And as always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


The Boston Red Sox, down 4-0 to the Batimore Orioles, came back and won in the ninth inning 5-4, completing the sweep of the wingless Birds. Full details first thing in the morning.

*** SOX WIN!***


See the quiz question at the bottom of my last post, if you haven't already. That post is just below this one, and here's the answer...

In all of the words listed, if you take the first letter, place it at the end of the word, and then spell the word backwards, it will
be the same word.

BOSTON BOMBS BIRDS...Red Sox 14 Orioles 2

It was a Boston Red Sox slugfest Tuesday evening at Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts as the Red Sox overwhelmed the Baltimore Birds by a score of 14-2. And it was the numbers three and four Red Sox hitters that did most of the damage. Big Papi David Ortiz went 3 for 3 with 4 RBIs and the cleanup hitter (Youk out with back spasms) Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia had another monster night, going 3 for 5 with 5 huge RBIs. Together, they make quite a tandem. Who misses Manny now? Pedroia raised his league leading batting average to .330 after hitting .374 in the month of August. If he's not the AL Player of the Month, I'd be mighty surprised. The club is happy and they're winning. They've won 10 of their last 14 games, and everyone is marveling at the baseball prowess of the pint-sized second baseman called Pedey. Here's what his manager had to say, with Pedey's reply and a comment from new teammate Mark Kotsay...

“It was a quick move tonight (to put Pedey in the 4 spot),” Francona said. “We put Petey in the four-hole and he just continues to get hits.”

“I just come to the park and do the same thing I’ve done all year,” Pedey said.

“I told him I’m going to paint an ‘S’ on his chest,” recently acquired outfielder Mark Kotsay said of Pedroia.

Peter here, and Kotsay meant SUPERMAN when he said he was going to paint an "S" on his chest. And he's not the only one who has said that this season. Jon Lester had a slow start, but with a 10-1 cushion after 4 innings, he was just fine, not at his best but good enough. He was only able to go 5, though, giving up 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 5 but walking 4. The bullpen took over from there, making Boston's 81st win official.

That's it for right now. Daisuke goes for win number 17 today, and we have to hope that the run support he's benefited from so far this year will continue. He will face replacement starter Lance Cormier. It's day baseball at 1:35pm EDT. You can click on this post's title for more on last night's win and the latest on everything Red Sox. Oh, here's a little puzzle type of question for you. Anyone want to hazard a guess? I'll have the answer up in my morning post, if not before. AS ALWAYS, BE WELL. Here you go...

What do these six words have in common?


Peter here, and if you get this one, I'll say WOW! It baffled me. I'd love to see some guesses in the comment section. P.S. There's only ONE correct answer. Thanks for stopping in. I always count on you. I really do!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pedey, Byrd, Red Sox Fly...Boston 7 Baltimore 4

The Boston Red Sox got back to their winning ways Labor Day evening at Fenway Park with a 7-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Their wild card lead over the Twins stayed at three games in the loss column. They finished August with the second best record in the American League at 18-9, bested only by the Tampa Bay Rays' astounding 21-7. The Rays were off yesterday so their lead is five games in the AL East.

Paul Byrd was good enough to secure a win for his club, going 7 innings and giving up 4 runs and 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 4. He was followed by the bullpen's Javie Jopez and Jonathon Papelbon, who earned his 35th save. And it was second baseman Dustin Pedroia who had the BIG hit, a sixth inning single that plated two runners. Quite simply, our Pedey is amazing. Paul Byrd had something to say about that little guy who plays behind him, and Pedey had a resonse. Read on...

"I can't say enough about my second baseman," Byrd said. "This guy, in my opinion, is the MVP of the league. He's unbelievable. I didn't know he was that good when I came over here."
"He said that," Pedroia said, breaking into a smile, when informed of Byrd's MVP comment. "That's a great compliment coming from him. I definitely love playing behind him."

And a couple days ago, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen had this to say about the pint-sized wonder guy...

"A lot of people talk about Manny Ramirez leaving. I wish Pedroia was leaving," Guillen said.

Peter here, and sorry, Ozzie, you're stuck with him in the American League. He'll be the Red Sox starting second baseman for a decade or more (God willing). As for the MVP, who can argue? He had another multi-hit night with two base hits. In all, the Sox collected only 8 base hits, but that was enough to score 7 runs, more than enough to offset the four runs that Byrd will give up in most of his starts. But he went 7 innings and gave the bullpen a relative day of rest.

And so September has arrived, seemingly at supersonic speed, and the Sox only have 25 games remaining. It's safe to say that if they win 17 of 'em, their playoff hopes will be realized. Mikey Lowell took a few gentle swings yesterday, and I expect him back within ten days maximum...if all goes well.

Just click on the title of this post for more Soxiness. As always, be well.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Ya Can't Win 'Em All...Chicago White Sox 4 Boston Red Sox 2

Sunday in Boston's Fenway Park was beautiful, at least weather-wise. But the Red Sox could not complete the sweep of the Chicago White Sox. They were on the short end of a 4-2 score. Good pitching beat good hitting once again, as Jays pitcher Gavin Floyd survived a terrible first inning (in terms of pitch count and runners allowed on base, not runs scored) but seemed to get stronger as the innings rolled by. Here's what Tito Francona had to say...

"We really worked Floyd in the first inning. Then he got comfortable and started throwing that breaking ball. He could throw it at the hitter, he could throw it away, and he could throw it for strikes. We couldn't break through."

Peter here, and no, the Red Sox just couldn't get that BIG hit. They left 11 men on base, and that might be the most telling stat of all. Boston had a total of 8 hits, but none of them were clutch hits, hits that score a run or three. Timmy Wakefield had a good outing, going six innings and giving up six hits and three runs, but those runs stood up for the visiting team. Here's what his catcher had to say after the game...

"Wakefield was much better today than in New York. There were a lot of swings and misses," said catcher Kevin Cash. "Only one guy beat us, and I'd say that Jim Thome's had a pretty decent career."

But the Red Sox took another three game series two games to one, and if they continue to win three game series, the playoffs shouldn't be far behind. The Minnesota Twins defeated the hapless and hopeless Oakland A's, however, so the wild card lead is down to three games. Speaking of hopeless (almost), the NY Yankees lost again to the Toronto Blue Jays and their ace, Roy Halladay, who's one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. Bar none.

And now it's the Baltimore Orioles' turn to come into Fenway Park. Here are the pitching matchups for the three game set...

Garret Olsen (8-6, 6.38 ERA) vs. Paul Byrd (9-11, 4.55) tonight
Radhames Liz (5-3, 6.95) vs. Jon Lester (12-5, 3.41) Tuesday
Jeremy Guthrie (10-11, 3.57) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (16-2, 2.82) Wednesday

Gee, you'd think there would be day baseball on a Labor Day Monday, but I guess not. The game will start at the normal 7:05pm EDT Fenway time. Let's hope for another series win...two of three ain't bad. Click on the title of this post for more on yesterday's Red Sox loss and have a healthy and wonderful Labor Day. Family, friends and fun...maybe a cookout? What could be better? And here in the Northeast, the weather will cooperate with all your outdoor plans. Thanks for stopping in yet again. I appreciate that so very much. As always, BE WELL.