Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Matsuzaka Aces For Five Innings

Daisuke Matsuzaka, fresh from Japan's World Baseball Classic championship, was "on" yesterday. He pitched against fellow countryman Kenshin Kawakami of the Altanta Braves, and that seemed to rev him up. He went five innings, giving up a measly two hits and one earned run over that span. The Braves defeated the Red Sox 4-3 in 10 innings. Daisuke said this after his stellar outing...

"Luckily today, going up against Kenshin-san on the other side gave me a change to get revved up,” Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. “When I’m going up against any Japanese player, whether pitcher or position player, I’m always keeping an eye out on what kind of game they’re going to pitch or how they’re doing in the batter’s box.”

So Boston's spring rolls on with only seven days to go until the home and season opener at Fenway. Here's the April Boston Red Sox schedule, including an early west coast trip...

6 - vs. Tampa Bay, 2:05 PM
8 - vs. Tampa Bay, 7:10 PM
9 - vs. Tampa Bay, 1:35 PM
10 - at LA Angels, 10:05 PM
11 - at LA Angels, 4:10 PM
12 - at LA Angels, 3:35 PM
13 - at Oakland, 10:05 PM
14 - at Oakland, 10:05 PM
15 - at Oakland, 3:35 PM
17 - vs. Baltimore, 7:10 PM
18 - vs. Baltimore, 7:10 PM
19 - vs. Baltimore, 1:35 PM
20 - vs. Baltimore, 11:05 AM
21 - vs. Minnesota, 7:10 PM
22 - vs. Minnesota, 7:10 PM
24 - vs. NY Yankees, 7:10 PM
25 - vs. NY Yankees, 4:10 PM
26 - vs. NY Yankees, 8:00 PM
27 - at Cleveland, 7:05 PM
28 - at Cleveland, 7:05 PM
29 - at Cleveland, 7:05 PM
30 - at Tampa Bay, 7:08 PM

That's a short but sweet Tuesday post. The sun is higher in the sky and warmer to the skin, the snow has all melted and the vegetation is awakening from it's golden winter slumber. All signs point to major league baseball...soon. And I can't wait. You can click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. L'chaim...to life. Enjoy your every day...they're precious. More than you'll ever know. See ya.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Atlanta Finally Wins One...Today

Final Score: Atlanta 4, Boston 3 (10 innings)

Lake Buena Vista, FL (Sports Network) - Brooks Conrad hit a game-winning ground-rule double in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift Atlanta over Boston, 4-3, in Grapefruit League play.

Garret Anderson added an RBI while Martin Prado finished 2-for-2, and knocked in the tying run in the ninth for the Braves.

Rafael Cruz got the win with a perfect 10th inning in relief. Kenshin Kawakami allowed two runs and four hits over a six-inning start.

Rocco Baldelli hit a two-run homer for the Red Sox. Bryson Cox suffered the loss, charged with two hits and a run in one-third of an inning. Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed two runs -- one earned -- in five frames.

Daisuke is OK!!! Seven days to go.

Lester Sharp...UCONN Rolls Into Elite 8

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 3-1 Sunday in the Sunshine State. Jon Lester, although a little wild, worked five solid innings, followed by Jonathon Papelbon, Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, who earned the save despite allowing two base hits. Remember, there are only eight days left until the regular season opener versus the Rays at Fenway. March is just about over, and boy, did it fly by. Here's the Red Sox pitching summary...

J Lester (W,2-0) 5 6 1 1 4 5 0
J Papelbon 1 0 0 0 2 2 0
R Ramirez 1 0 0 0 0 2 0
M Delcarmen (S,1) 2 2 0 0 1 0 0

In NCAA basketball news, the number one UCONN women are just one win away from joining the men's team in the Final Four. Yesterday, they defeated California, stomped them, actually, by a score of 77-53. They were led by freshman Tiffany Hayes, who was left open on the perimeter by Cal as they concentrated on the big three of Renee Mongomery, Maya Moore and Tina Charles. Hayes wound up with 28 points, a freshman UCONN post season record. They next play tomorrow night at 7pm on ESPN and ESPN HD. Their opponent will be Arizona State, a tough team (they all are at this point of the tourney). The UCONN women's basketball team will advance to the Final Four shortly after 9pm. Count on it.

That's it for this Monday morning. I have to tell you something later in the week when I know exactly what's what, but I'll keep it a surprise until I'm sure. It has something to do with Nadia, my girlfriend and best friend. OOO, that's too much of a hint! Have a wonderful Monday and as always, BE WELL. You are welcome to click on this post's title for all the latest Sox news. See ya. I'd love to see and respond to a couple comments. Thanks.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's Official...Masterson Bullpen Bound...UCONN Men On To Final Four

Boston Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona made the correct decision, putting Justin Masterson back where he belongs...in the bullpen. He is a devastatingly effective pitcher against righthanded batters with his sweeping pitches. Tito talked about him yesterday...

“We love the idea of what we did with him,” Francona said. “We thought it was good for him. You can’t do it with everybody. Obviously there are reasons we did it. I think we got to a point in the spring where it’s in his best interests not to go the other way, so we can make a decision without having him hanging in the balance, not knowing what he’s going to do.”

What they did was stretch him out to enable him to throw multiple innings, just in case he was needed in the rotation. The official rotation is this... Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield and either Brad Penny, who pitched well Saturday in Florida, or Clay Buchholz, who had the best spring of anyone on the team, with John Smoltz waiting in the wings for HIS starring 2009 role. Solid, solid as a rock all the way.

My congratulations go out to the University of Connecticut men's basketball team. They defeated a determined number three Missouri team by a score of 82-75. They go on to Detroit to play in the Final Four. It's been a great job by Jim Calhoun and his entire team, top to bottom, the sweet and the sour. The UCONN women's team plays this early afternoon against California in their bid to win it all. They are the prohibitive favorites to take the championship, but as always, when a team is in a "one and done" type of tournament, anything can happen. They're SUCH a great team, though...I can't see that happening. The game starts at noon and will be televised by the sports leader, ESPN and ESPN HD. GO HUSKIES.

Thank you for stopping in, have a wonderful Sunday and enjoy the hoops today. I can't wait! Click on this post's title for more of a little of everything. As always, BE WELL. See ya. GO HUSKIES.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

UCONN Men In Final Four...Women Tomorrow

"GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP)—Freshman Kemba Walker scored 23 points as Connecticut held off Missouri 82-75 on Saturday to earn a trip to the Final Four and extend the Big East’s dominance of the NCAA tournament.
The top-seeded Huskies blew an early 11-point lead but survived against the frenetic third-seeded Tigers, who were denied their first Final Four berth.
A.J. Price added 18 points for the Huskies (31-4), who clinched the victory by going 10-for-10 from the line in the final 1:02. They’re still in the hunt for their third national title—the first two went through regionals in Phoenix in 1999 and 2004.
Leo Lyons and Matt Lawrence each had 13 points for Missouri (31-7), which overcame an early 13-2 deficit but couldn’t match the muscular Huskies on the boards."

I was worried, but everything turned out well.

Daisuke Dissected...Beckett Sharp, Almost

Daisuke Matsuzaka made his first appearance in a Red Sox uniform this season, throwing 54 pitches in a bullpen session. He is next scheduled to throw in a spring training game against the Braves on Monday. He said he doesn't have any problems. Let's hope so. His words...

“Physically, I don’t have any problems,” the right-hander said. “But mentally, I do have to get myself prepared for the season, which I think may be more difficult than the physical element. As for my schedule, I’m just going to fall back into the five-day rotation as usual.”

It'll be nice to see him as our number three starter. The identities of the numbers four and five guys in the rotation are much less in focus, but that's what spring training is for. Boston Red Sox manager Terry Tito Francona is very pleased with the progress of Mike Lowell and John Smoltz, who are both coming back from injuries that required surgeries. Mikey will be manning third base come opening day and John Smoltz will join the rotation in mid-May, if all goes well. I have a feeling it will. I just know it...he'll be our most valuable starter for the last three months of the regular season. Wow, talk about going out on a limb...I guess I just did! I didn't hear that limb start to crack. Don't think I will.

In Friday spring training game news, the Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 11-8. Josh Beckett was strong right until the end, when he faltered to the last few batters in that sixth. Here's what Tito had to say, followed by the Red Sox pitching summary...

“I thought today was Beckett's strongest outing of the spring,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “He gets into the sixth. He gets two quick outs, 3-2 pitch, and all of a sudden he strings together four hits. So, his day ends on that note. But I thought he was strong and he located. Even when he was throwing balls, they were close. I was really pleased.”

J Beckett 6 6 4 4 1 4 1
T Saito 1 2 0 0 0 1 0
R Ramirez 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

That was just the important part of the Boston pitching. Beckett was satisfied, his teammates were bashing the ball and all was good in Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International, including north central Connecticut right here in southern New England. Have a great Saturday and a terrific weekend, and don't forget this...the NCAA tournament basketball games will be great today and tomorrow. So enjoy 'em on CBS today and ESPN2 tomorrow! Click on the title of this post for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are welcomed and always answered. See ya.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Masterson Great Against Reds AAA Team...Daisuke Matsuzaka Back In Town

Hello, hello on this Friday morning. Boston Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson's role is not in focus...yet. He's been stretched out slowly by Tito Francona and pitching coach John Farrell, just to be on the safe side. What's the safe side? His place is at the back end of the bullpen, where he was SO efffective in 2008. But it all depends on the health of both Brad Penny and John Smoltz. Penny had a great first round on the mound and will pitch every three days. With no setbacks, he will be ready by the the middle of April. So someone else has to take his future spot in the Sox rotation for the first half month of the season. As for John Smoltz, he first threw off the mound on Wednesday of this week. If things go according to plan and his shoulder is sound, we'll see him sometime in the first week of June. So where does that leave us right now in late March? It leaves us with Beckett, Lester, Daisuke and Wakefield, that's for sure. Of the other three candidates being readied, Masterson, who's ready NOW to step into the rotation, Penny and Smoltz, two of the three will enter and Wakefield might not remain. I really think that Wakefield will be pitching every fifth day until early June. There ain't any "ifs" about it. Many questions will be answered once the status of Penny is known. Sox pitching coach John Farrell said this about that...

“It’s not only about Penny’s health, but if he’ll be ready for that start on the 12th of April. Or do we take a more conservative approach that would create one or two starts for a fifth starter,” pitching coach John Farrell said. “Masterson could certainly be in that mix, as well. That’s part of the information gathering at this point for us. His (Masterson's) spring has gone as we had hoped, particularly bringing him in in the hopes of providing a starting option for us, which he clearly is. He’s certainly doing everything we’ve asked of him in camp.”

And how does young Justin Masterson feel about juggling two different pitching situations, starter and reliever. Yesterday, he threw four scoreless innings, allowing four hits with six strikeouts. He tossed 81 pitches. Here's what he had to say...

“It’s the neatest thing,” Masterson said. “We’re standing here talking about whether or not I’m going to be starting or relieving. Never has there been a mention of, ‘Are you going to be in the big leagues or Triple A?’ It’s really cool there’s a spot there for me. It gives me some confidence to go out there and get better as a pitcher.”

He was asked what the difference was for him between pitching in the bullpen and pitching as a starter...

“The only difference is that adrenaline rush of throwing an inning or even two innings and feeling like, ‘That’s it? That’s all?’ ” he said. “The body’s revved up for even more. I experienced it a little bit last year in the week or two after the transition was made. You just have to get used to throwing full bore, getting a day or two off, and then throwing full bore again.”

This is a "can't lose situation for the Boston Red Sox. Sure, the Yankees have a MONSTER starting five, but we're right with them with a bullpen that might be the best in all of major league baseball. Click on the title of this post for more Sox news from SI dot com and as always, BE WELL. L'chaim, cheers, aloha, shalom, nastrovia. See ya. Thanks for yesterday's comments...keep 'em coming. I'll respond to every one. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Smoltz Takes The Mound...Buchholz Continues His White Hot Spring

Clay Buchholz took the mound yesterday for the Red Sox and was great again, pitching six innings and giving up one unearned run on three measly hits while walking none and whiffing three. He lowered his ERA to 0.79 (my newspaper says it is 0.46). This is his best spring ever and to NOT have him in the rotation will be tough. But he'll be pitching in nearby Pawtucket and will be just a phone call away. Here's the Boston pitching summary. Hey, Papelbon finally had a normal inning, even though it wasn't one of his 1-2-3 frames. Here you go...


Clay Buchholz 6.0 3 1 0 0 3 0.79
Jonathan Papelbon 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 3.60
Hideki Okajima 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 2.70
Javier Lopez (S 1) 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 1.80

The man himself, Clay Buchholz, said these bright and shining words...

"It’s the best spring that I’ve had,” said Buchholz, who gave up an unearned run on three hits over six innings in a 2-1 Red Sox win over the Cincinnati Reds yesterday. “I came into spring training ready to make this club, but they went out and got a couple of guys and they’re going to depend on those guys. I just have to stay in a good mind-set and be ready whenever they do call me."

In other HUGE Red Sox news, John Smoltz took the bullpen mound for the first time since his surgery. He threw only fastballs...for now. He tossed forty pitches and pitching Sox coach John Farrell said...

“I think today signifies in his mind that the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.”

I see that shining light getting brighter every day. My goodness, when Smoltz progresses, it looks like we might see him at Fenway, doing what he does best, by mid-May. He had this to say..

“As I’m taking these steps forward, I have to tame the beast because, as much as in my mind, I know what I’m going to be able to get to, I want to get there faster than I’m probably capable of getting there. I have to consciously remember to take my time, even though that’s what I’ve been saying every day down here - ‘Take your time, take your time.’ As I told John Farrell,” Smoltz said, “I’m going to deliberately tone it down and not use my legs and my arm as much, even though I wanted to, really bad. I stuck with it. That’s probably the one thing I accomplished. Everything else up to this point really had nothing to do with pitching,” he said. “It had everything to do with strengthening and time. It was all part of the process, but until you get on the mound, there’s nothing like it.”

That's right, John...there's nothing like it, for you and for all of your fans. With Smoltz, the Boston Red Sox have seven starting pitchers ready and willing to go, go go. For now, it's just six. Boston has to make a decision. Will it be Wakefield and Penny or Buchholz or will it be Penny and Buchholz? That's a moot point if Penny isn't ready, so time will tell. The important thing is this...all our starting pitchers are happy and healthy and Smoltz is on his way back. I'm sure that makes Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International plus club officials and owners very happy. I'm happy, too. But Clay might be pitching too well to ship to Triple A Pawtucket. As the band Poco (remember them?) wrote and sang, "it's a good feeling to know."

I have to skedaddle...have a great Thurday, click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. To life. To you. See ya. Please leave me a comment if you can. Thanks...answer this. What would your ideal Boston starting pitcher rotation be? I want to know, Constant Readers. I'll reply to every comment. Promise.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

UCONN Women Reach Sweet 16...Red Sox Bullpen Bombed By The Bombers

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team routed the Florida Gators by a score of 87-59 last night in Storrs, Connecticut, reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA basketball tournament once again. Top scorers were Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore and the irrepressible Tina Charles. They will play California on Sunday. Good luck to them.

Down in Florida, Tim Wakefield and AJ Burnett locked up in a pitcher's duel. At the end of six innings, the score was knotted at one. But then came Manny Delcarmen and soon-to-be-stranger Devern Hansack, who promptly gave up a combined six runs in the last two innings. But Timmy's performance was a tremendous spring test and he was more than up to it. The old dog STILL has a few tricks up his sleeve. Here is the game's pitching summary...


Tim Wakefield 5.2 4 1 1 1 5 5.40
Ramon Ramirez 1.1 0 0 0 0 1 4.32
Manny Delcarmen (L 0-1) 0.1 2 3 3 1 1 4.66
Devern Hansack 0.2 1 3 2 1 2 6.14


A.J. Burnett 5.2 3 1 1 2 4 1.20
Jonathan Albaladejo 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1.69
Mariano Rivera 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0.00
Damaso Marte 0.2 1 0 0 1 1 3.86
Edwar Ramirez (W 2-0) 1.1 1 0 0 0 2 1.69

Have a great Hump Day Wednesday as we start our slide towards the weekend. You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. Arivaderci, shalom, l'chaim, cheers, hi-dee-ho, see ya.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Almost Perfect Penny

Boston Red Sox pitcher Brad Penny threw three scoreless and efficient innings yesterday in a 7-6 Boston win over the Tigers. A scout watching Penny had his fastball touching 94 mph and regularly in the 91-92 range, and that's good news for all of us. He was aiming for 45 pitches but because of his control and the aggressiveness of Detroit, he only needed 33. He retired nine of the ten batters he faced. This is another huge shot in the arm for Boston's overstocked (for now) pitching rotation. Penny had a few words to say after his outing was over...

“It was nice,” said Penny, who led the Sox to a 7-6 win. “I felt good. It’s been a while since I’ve gone out there and felt good. Last year I was pitching, but I didn’t really feel like I had a lot behind it. Today was another stepping stone toward getting my innings. I think I threw some pitches up 0-and-2. When I’m really throwing well, that’s how I pitch. I’ll get two strikes and try to elevate the fastball, and today I had that. I felt like the fastball had life, like I was throwing pretty hard today.”

And Sox manager Tito Francona added this...

“He had some real good life on his fastball,” Sox manager Terry Francona said. “From where we were, he was out there grunting and letting it fly. That’s what we’re looking for - grip it and go. I think he was excited. It was a good step for him and we all felt good about it. There was a lot of excitement in the dugout today because of how well he threw."

"Grip it and go." I like that. So far, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, the numbers one and two guys in the rotation, have been solid and injury free. Daisuke Matsuzaka was undefeated on his way to Japan's number one WBC finish last night in LA. Tim Wakefield has been up and down, but what else is new? And the battle for the fifth spot between Buchholz and Penny is slowly unfolding. Buchholz has looked sharp as a tack in each of his spring starts while Brad has only one outing, so Clay is ahead of him. Don't forget, John Smoltz is chomping at the bit to make his first spring start, but that might have to wait for a month or so. Don't worry, we're covered. Well covered.

Thanks for stopping in on this still dark Tuesday morning...that's daylight savings time for you in late March. The sun rises here at precisely 6:40am edt, but the days are getting longer and the sun is getting stronger (hey, a rhyme!). You can click on this post's title for more Sox news from SI dot com, and as always, BE WELL. Sayanora. Shalom. See ya.

Monday, March 23, 2009


This just in from SI dot com via the AP and Curt's 38 Pitches blog...
"BOSTON (AP) -- Curt Schilling retired from baseball Monday after a career in which he won World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks and was one of the game's most dominant pitchers and grittiest competitors.
The 42-year-old right-hander said on his blog he's leaving after 23 years with "zero regrets." Schilling missed all of last season with a shoulder injury after signing a one-year, $8 million contract.

"The things I was allowed to experience, the people I was able to call friends, teammates, mentors, coaches and opponents, the travel, all of it, are far more than anything I ever thought possible in my lifetime," he wrote.

Schilling had surgery last June and had said he might come back in the middle of this season. He was not under contract for this season. He made no reference to his injury on his blog.
Schilling won a World Series with Arizona in 2001 and with Boston in 2004 and 2007.
In his first year in Boston in 2004, he helped the team win its first World Series in 86 years, pitching Game 2 of a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals after a surgical procedure to suture a loose tendon in his right ankle and with blood seeping through his sock. The sock is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
He was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 1986 draft, but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles before playing for the big league club. He pitched for the Orioles, Houston, Philadelphia and Arizona before being wooed to the Red Sox by general manager Theo Epstein.
Schilling, one of the sport's hard throwers, finishes his career with 3,116 strikeouts, 14th most in baseball history, a 216-146 record and a 3.46 ERA.
He was even better in the postseason, with an 11-2 record, the best of any pitcher with at least 10 decisions, and 2.23 ERA in 19 career starts."
We'll miss you, Curt. Thanks to you, we did it ALL in '04. Again, THANKS, Hall Of Famer to be!!

Matsuzaka Leads Japan To WBC Victory Over Team USA...Beckett Sharp For Five

In the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in Los Angeles Sunday night, the Japanese team, led by starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, roughed up USA starter Roy Oswalt and won the game by a score of 9-4. Some say USA manager Davey Johnson was "asleep at the switch" while his starter was roughed up for five runs in the fifth inning. He belatedly let John Grabow begin to warm up while Oswalt was getting pummeled, but it was too late. Maybe he forgot how cold it was in the city of angels? Here's what he had to say...

“I thought he (Oswalt) was throwing the ball all right,” he said. “I tried to get Grabow up. I didn’t think it was going to take him so long. It was my fault,” he said. “It took him longer in the cool weather to get loose. But I still thought Oswalt was throwing good enough to stay in the game. It was my fault,” he said. But I still thought Oswalt was throwing good enough to stay in the game.”

Davey Johnson, you embarassed yourself and the entire USA team...stay in Japan, why don't you? I'm sure the many tens of thousands of viewers tuning in to the game on ESPN and ESPN HD were thinking exactly this... TAKE THE BUM OUT!! Don't take your naps during important games...please. Or better yet, just go away. See ya.

In Red Sox news, Josh Beckett hurled five splendid innings, leading Boston to a 3-0 victory over the world champion Philadelphia Philles. They have a power-packed lineup but Beckett tamed them completely. Here's the Boston pitching summary...

Josh Beckett 5.0 4 0 0 1 2 1.35
Hideki Okajima 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 3.00
Manny Delcarmen 1.2 2 0 0 0 1 1.93
Daniel Bard (S 1) 1.1 0 0 0 1 1 0.00

Notice that Bard continues to have a zero point zero zero ERA and he's showed us all that he can go longer than one inning at a time. He will be on the big club come early April, further bolstering what might be the deepest bullpen in the American League, if not all of MLB. His face will become familiar to all of us by May. I guarantee it.

That's it for this Monday (uhh) morning, the twenty third of March. Congratulations to the UCONN women's basketball team, who routed Vermont in their first round game. The final score was 104-65. They next play on Tuesday against the Florida Gators in their quest for a national championship. It will not be a competitive game once again. Have a great day, click on the title of this post for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. Vaya con Dios, mi amigas y amigos. Thank you for popping in and leave a comment if you'd like. I'll respond to each and every one.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Daisuke & Japan Versus Team USA Tonight

Hello on this Sunday morning. I hope your Saturday was great. In addition to the bevy of NCAA basketball games, both men and women, Japan will take on Team USA in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic from Los Angeles. The game will be televised at 8pm EDT on ESPN and ESPN HD. The pitcher for Japan? None other than Daisuke Matsuzaka, and he'll be trying to advance his country's team to the finals. Yes, this is a big game for both countries. HUGE. I'm sure Youk and Pedey will be watching, too. I will.

In Red Sox spring training results, Boston managed to beat the Florida Marlins by a score of 4-3 in a rain-soaked event. The Sox only had one starting player in their lineup...Jason Bay. And so it goes in Florida, the Sunshine State. Oh, Kevin Youkilis is pleased with his ankle/achilles progress. He'll be in the starting lineup on Monday for two at bats. Now that's what I call a protective boot!

Have a terrific Sunday, enjoy the basketball games (the #1 UCONN women play at 12 noon against totally overmatched Vermont on ESPN 2 and ESPN 2 HD) and if you can catch some of the baseball game tonight on ESPN and ESPN HD (WBC-Japan vs. USA), you'll enjoy it! Guaranteed. Click on the title of this post for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL, be safe, be happy. Forever.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Buchholz Sharp..Pedey's Return..Drew Hurt

The Boston Red Sox thumped the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning by a score of 11-4. The contest marked the return of AL MVP Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia, his first appearance since the WBC injury debacle. He looked good and felt good. Pedey said this after the game...

“I felt good,” Pedroia said. “I think the biggest thing is seeing how it feels Saturday. Hopefully, I’m not sore or anything like that. Definitely want to take it slow. I’ve been doing all my treatments and stuff. It was good to get back on the field and get a couple of at-bats and get back in the game rhythm."

Let's hope he wakes up this morning feeling terrific. He, like the injured Kevin Youkilis, is a vital part of this 2009 Red Sox team. Clay Buchholz started the game for Boston and pitched brilliantly once again. He went five innings, giving up an unearned run on four hits while walking one. I see him in the starting rotation soon, really soon, maybe after they put Tim Wakefield to bed. Remember, John Smoltz will be ready and able within two months, at the most. Bench coach Brad Mills had this to say about Buchholz...

“I thought he was throwing the ball real well. And his demeanor, his tempo on the mound have all been improving this whole spring. And it’s sure nice to see.”

Here's the Boston pitching line. Notice that closer Jonathon Papelbon is continuing his series of rough one inning stints...I hope he's OK. Here's that pitching summary...

C Buchholz (W,2-0) 5 4 1 0 1 3 0
J Papelbon 1 3 2 2 1 3 0
T Saito 1 3 1 1 0 0 0
H Okajima 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
J Lopez 1 0 0 0 0 1 0

That's not a vintage Papelbon inning, far from it, in fact. He's had few 1-2-3 innings so far this spring. JD Drew was hit on the right hand by a pitch and was taken for X-RAYS, which showed no break. The team is calling it a "bruised" right hand which will sideline him for a few days. Some guys have all the luck...Julio Lugo comes to mind with a different injury every three months. I hope this horrid spate of injuries ceases quickly, maybe today. Enough is enough. My goodness.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the NCAA basketball tourneys all day long (men-CBS, women-ESPN2) and don't forget, NESN is televising the Red Sox-Marlins game starting at 1pm EDT today. That's right! Click on the title of this post for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. GO UCONN. Go Sox. Go you!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lester Effective In Red Sox 9-1 Win Over The Reds...Pedroia Returns Today

Jon Lester was just great in his 4 1/3 innings of work Thursday against the Reds. The Boston Red Sox won the game by a score of 9-1. The Reds scored their run in the very first inning and Lester and the bullpen kept them scoreless the rest of the way. Jed Lowrie, the shortstop heir apparent with the injury to Julio Lugo, hit a two-run home run and added a double, raising his team-leading spring hit total to 17. Great job, Jed. Delcarmen, Ramirez, Bard, whose ERA is still parked at zero and Traber, who is not long for the team, blanked the Reds for the last 4 1/3 innings. They did a tremendous job and the bullpen remains one of the main strengths of the team. Here's that Boston pitching summary...

BOSTON ip h r er bb so hr era

J Lester 4 1/3 3 1 1 1 6 0 1.69
M Delcarmen 1 2/3 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.70
R Ramirez 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 7.50
D Bard 1 2 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
B Traber 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 11.57

Manager Terry "Tito" Francona had this to say about Mr. Lowrie...

“He’s been fun to watch. He didn’t get to some of those balls last year, especially late in the season,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.

Starter Jon Lester had this review of his stellar outing...

“I have first innings like that sometimes when I’m not in a rhythm yet,” Lester said. “I think they wanted to get me up five times and the next time we’ll go deeper in the game. I threw a couple of good changeups. We have some checkpoints as far as mixing pitches. I am pretty happy with where I am right now.”

That new pitch, a changeup, will further confuse opposing batters, especially when it's coming from the left side. I predict (famous last words) Lester will win 16-19 games with ANY run support at all. And the Boston offense WILL give him the runs he'll need to work with. That's a given. But we need Youk as our cleanup guy, right behind Big Papi. That's essential, and I wish him the best for his achilles/ankle. I hope all the Boston injuries are over and done with, but it's a long season filled with ups, downs and sideways...that's the game of baseball and I love it. Good news about Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia...he will return to the Sox lineup today! He said this about his very mild ab pull...

I haven't felt anything,” said the second baseman, who hit some soft toss and off a tee Wednesday. “I feel fine. I haven’t felt it one time since I got back. I think the three days I had off calmed everything down, and everything’s been fine.

That's so great. And remember, it's Friday...rejoice. The UCONN men easily handled Chattanooga, beating them by a score of 102-47. It was close in the beginning and middle of the first half until the Huskies turned on their afterburners and scored 22 of the next 25 points. First half, game ovah! Hey, have a great weekend and as always, BE WELL. Good luck to the UCONN men when they play their second round game tomorrow and the best of everything for the number one UCONN women Huskies, who start play against Vermont on Sunday. The NCAA men's tournament is televised expertly by CBS and CBS HD. The women's tourney will be on ESPN 1 & 2 in standard definition and hi-def. Enjoy! Click on the title of this post for more Sox news. Live long and prosper. See ya.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

*** YOUK Injured & I'm Mad As Hell ***

Yes, you read the title correctly...I'M MAD AS HELL. Pissed, in fact. Kevin Youkilis has returned to the Red Sox Ft. Myers complex and has been evaluated and MRI'd by the doctors there. It turns out that his left Achilles tendon has been killing him but Youk was determined to play in the WBC game against Puerto Rico on Tuesday, a game in which he smacked a tater and led team USA to victory. But the cost was too great and general managers from every MLB team should rethink subjecting their players to unnecessary injuries this early in the preseason by letting them play in the World Baseball Championship. It just doesn't make sense to me, and now Boston has lost two vital players, the entire right side of their infield. Sheer Bud Selig IDIOCY. Team USA manager Davey Johnson doesn't even know when Youk's injury occured. He said this...

“I don’t know exactly when,” Johnson said. “I just know his name started coming up on the treatment list.”

Davey Johnson, you're supposed to look out for things EXACTLY like this, you incompetent fool. He went on...

“He’s a huge part of this ballclub,” Johnson said. “He’s a cleanup hitter; he’s a gamer, but we don’t want to take any chances. Ankles can linger, and that’s something that needs to be addressed right away. He wasn’t moving very good at all Tuesday night. Going into the postgame press conference, he was in a lot of pain.”

This injury to the number two runner up of the AL MVP voting is one of two WBC related ailments for Boston and one of five overall...Youk, Pedey, Chipper Jones with an oblique pull, Ryan Braun, also with an oblique injury and Matt Lindstrom, who injured his shoulder. IT AIN'T WORTH IT! (expletive deleted, repeatedly). Youkilis is expected to miss 5-7 days with the Sox, though that seems overly optimistic. His MRI showed that he is suffering from tendinitis of the left Achilles, an aching injury that could linger and linger. He will be wearing a protective boot for the time being.

In closing, I want to say this. I hope that in the future, John Henry and company will prohibit any players from participating in the WBC games. From now on. Ever. You can click on the title of this post for more on this regrettable and preventable injury to our first baseman. As always, BE WELL. You too, Kevin. Heal.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Josh, we hardly knew ye. This is from the Boston Herald...

"Josh Bard is out and George Kottaras is in as the Red Sox backup catcher."

"The Sox placed the veteran Josh Bard on unconditional waivers this morning, and general manager Theo Epstein said, “It’s Kottaras’ job to lose right now." Bard had been on an unguaranteed contract worth $1.6 million. By cutting him before 2 p.m. today, the Red Sox are responsible for only 30 days of Bard’s contract. That is approximately 1/6 of his salary or $260,000. Bard is now an unrestricted free agent.
Kottaras will catch Tim Wakefield in a minor league game tomorrow."

Not a confidence booster to George, is it, Theo? It's his job to "WIN," not "LOSE," unless something else is in the planning stages. We'll wait. But wow, your choice of words astounds me!

LUGO Out 3-4 Weeks After Knee Surgery

Boston Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday. He was batting .450 this spring in his battle with Jed Lowrie for the starting role at the six spot. Lowrie, meanwhile, is batting .429 and is leading the club in hits, doubles and triples. He will be the starting shortstop on Opening Day but after that, who knows? If he keeps hitting like that, he's a lock to start and stay. He went 2 for 3 in Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Twins, a game Boston won by a score of 9-5. Beckett had a rough four innings, Papelbon gave up a run and a hit in his one inning of work, Saito and Junichi Tazawa worked one and two scoreless innings respectfully and the Darkman, Hideki Okajima, gave up the last Twinkie run. The more I see Tazawa, the more I like him. He'll probably start the season at double A or in Pawtucket but so far in spring training he's been light's out. Here is that pitching summary...


J Beckett 4 6 3 3 1 3 0
J Papelbon 1 2 1 1 0 0 1
T Saito 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
H Okajima 1 1 1 1 1 1 0
J Tazawa 2 0 0 0 0 1 0

In the World Baseball Classic, Team USA rallied for a ninth inning come-from-behind 6-5 victory over Puerto Rico. David Wright hit a bases loaded ninth inning single inside the rightfield line and the American players mobbed him at home plate, just as if it was a World Series clinching victory. Kevin Youkilis, who had a home run and drew a bases loaded walk just before Wright came to the plate, was asked to compare this amazing win to his World Series memories. He said this...

“It’s right there with it, I think,” Youkilis said. “That excitement, that adrenaline rush. When you win the World Series, the dog-pile is just the same. You’re celebrating a game, you’re celebrating a nation and being with the United States and all the fans out there who were supporting us. You’re celebrating as a whole, and that’s what’s special about that.”

Great words, Kevin. If Team USA had lost, it would have marked the second time in a row that the finals, held this weekend in Los Angeles, would be without an American team. Great job, guys. SO CLUTCH.

If you click on the title of this very post, you'll be linked to the Boston Herald article about this memorable game, including a terrific picture of the players mobbing the hero, David Wright. I recommend it just for the picture alone! Have a wonderful Wednesday and as always, BE SAFE. L'chaim, cheers, shalom, aloha...see ya. Click on that title. Please.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SMOLTZ Almost Ready...Boston 6 Toronto 4

Boston Red Sox pitcher John Smoltz will reach a milestone in roughly nine days. On March 25th, he will throw his first side session in a Boston Red Sox uniform. His manager, Terry "Tito" Francona, had these encouraging words...

"He's doing well," Francona said. "He's ready to go. He's chomping at the bit, and I actually think he's ready."

That's good news for all of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. Brad Penny, Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson will also vie for a slot in the strong rotation, although Masterson will be in the bullpen, a part of the bridge to Papelbon, unless unforseen and shocking circumstances come to pass. Speaking of Masterson, he pitched well again yesterday in three plus innings, although not as well as his prior exhibition starts. The promising Sox reliever Daniel Bard preserved his spring 0.00 ERA with two innings of sparkling relief. The Boston bullpen is deep AND talented, a sure sign of great things to come. As for the starting rotation, Beckett, Lester and Matsuzaka are givens. Tim Wakefield will be slotted number four (at least until Smoltz is ready) and the number five spot will go to Brad Penny, if healthy, Clay Buchholz or Justin Masterson, whose true value, as I said before, is in the bullpen for a late inning or two. MY ideal rotation would be Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz or Brad Penny and John Smoltz. Yes, you did not see Wakefield there. He'll be in the rotation for April and most of May, but when Smoltz is ready, he should take a polite bow and walk off the field while the Fenway Faithful show their gratitude...LOUDLY. It's time, Tim. But that all depends on the health of Penny and the recovery time for Smoltz. You know the saying...a team can never have TOO much pitching...the Sox have plenty, starters AND relievers. I like it! Here are the pitching lines for Masterson and Bard...remember that name, Daniel Bard. We'll be hearing a lot of it because never has the bridge to Papelbon been so deep and talented. Never.

Justin Masterson 3.0 6 3 3 0 3 2.25
Daniel Bard 2.0 2 0 0 1 2 0.00 ***

That's a wrap for today, Tuesday, St. Patrick's Day 2009. Don't drink too much green beer, but enjoy yourselves while being safe and sound. You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. Cheers of green to every one of you. See ya.

Monday, March 16, 2009

** Boston Red Sox Dodge A Bullet...Pedroia Only Has Ab Strain **

The Boston Red Sox received the best news possible about the injury to AL MVP Dustin Pedey Pedroia. Instead of an injury to the oblique muscle on his right side, a notoriously slow type of ailment that always seems to linger and linger, Pedey simply pulled an abdominal muscle. He'll rest for two to three days and then carefully test it while getting treatment the whole time. PHEW!!!
Here's what Pedroia had to say about this scary moment...

“I don’t think it’s going to linger. I’ll take care of it and get it ready and get ready for the season - it won’t be an issue,” Pedroia said yesterday. Then he bacame humorous. "...when you have a physique like this and you’re shredded, something might happen,” he said.

And how did the injury happen, Pedey??

“I was taking some flips (small swings of the bat) and to be honest with you, I just took one swing and they did a great job of shutting me down,” Pedroia said. “I kind of felt it a little bit and I grabbed at it and then the hitting coach said, ‘Don’t do anything. Go see the trainer.’ So I did."

A great job by the hitting coach, number seven Reggie Smith, to immediately shut him down. After all, he's half of the best right side of an infield in all of the major leagues. Let's keep it that way...both Youk and Pedey are signed for multiple years with Boston. On a side note, Baltimore beat the Red Sox by a score of 6-2. Clay Buchholz again proved he's ready to join the Red Sox rotation (hear that, Timmy?) immediately. Look at the pitching summary below. He was fantastic. He struck out six and gave up a solo run in three and two thirds innings. He will be a perfect fit for the spot vacated by Wakefield or if Brad Penny's shoulder does not respond. Personally, I'd rather see him in the Sox rotation than Wakes and Penny combined! Here's that pitching line...

Clay Buchholz 3.2 4 1 1 2 6 1.54
Jose Vaquedano 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Jonathan Papelbon (B 1) 1.0 0 1 1 0 0 1.50
Hideki Okajima 1.0 2 0 0 0 1 3.00
Manny Delcarmen 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 3.00
Ramon Ramirez 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 6.00
Billy Traber 1.0 3 3 3 1 2 14.14

Billy Traber sucked the big one but Ramirez looked great...everyone else was, too, but I don't understand how Paps could give up an earned run while giving up NO hits and NO walks in his inning. I didn't see the game, though. If you can figure that one out, please let me know. Have a great Monday, click on the title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another Red Sox Infielder Goes Down

In addition to Julio Lugo's torn meniscus, which will require arthroscopic surgery and an indefinite period of inactivity, another vital piece of the infield has injured himself. It's none other than reigning AL MVP Dustin Pedey Pedroia, a player the Sox absolutely cannot afford to lose. Pedey felt some discomfort on his left side and it is said that the injury is to the left oblique muscle near the ribcage. Similiar injuries can heal in a few days or take months for the player to be able to swing the bat without risking further injury.

“I was hitting Friday and kind of felt soreness,” Pedroia said, “and I started taking flips today and kind of felt this shooting pain a little bit. Our hitting coach, Reggie Smith, said, ‘Hey, that’s it - go get checked out.’ Our trainer obviously called the Red Sox.
“Obviously, I’m upset,” Pedroia added. “If it’s really nothing, I’ll definitely be back today after I get checked out and continue playing in the WBC. But it’s up to the Red Sox - I really don’t have a say in the matter.”
“I’ve never really had anything like this,” Pedroia said. “It’s frustrating. Obviously, I trained real hard in the offseason to get ready and try to prevent something like this from happening. But maybe I pushed it a little too hard, too fast to get this going. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious,” he said. “I’ll be fine. I’m not concerned about the season. I’ll definitely be ready for the season.”

Pedey will not return to the WBC. The injury is said to be very minor but he has to be careful not to come back too early and further tweak that oblique. It seems that the injury bug has hit the Red Sox early and often. Let's hope we'll see Pedey back well before the end of spring training, which is three weeks from today. The club will proceed with caution, which is smart. They don't want any kind of prolonged absence for their best player. Yes, Pedroia IS our best player when it comes to his unique blend of stingy defense and smoking offense. We all wish him well.

Down in Florida on Saturday, the Orioles drubbed Boston pitching and won the game by a score of 9-8. Very few regular players were in the lineup and not many of the pitchers in the game will be on the team roster when the regular season starts. Spring training is very long this year, and as I said earlier, there are STILL three more weeks to go...time for Pedey and Penny to heal. It's obvious Jed Lowrie will be the opening day Red Sox shortstop. It seems that Julio Lugo is injured 50% of the time, one ailment after another. But we're in good shape with Lowrie manning the shortstop hole. He'll get better at the plate every year.

Click on the title of this post for more on the Red Sox injury woes and have a great Sunday, Selection Sunday for the NCAA men's basketball tournament (6pm EDT, ESPN & CBS). The womens' selection process will be Monday night, with UCONN being the number one seed and the overwhelming favorite to win the national championship. But anything can happen in a "one and done" style of tourney. If the top spots were determinded in, oh, say, a best of five series, UCONN would be impossible to beat. But on any given night, a team can catch fire and unconsciously shoot the lights out. I hope that doesn't happen. Have a terrific Sunday and as always, BE WELL. Shalom. See ya.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lester Signing To Be Announced Sunday...Sox Beat Yankees But Wakefield Ineffective. Penny Feeling Better, Lugo Is Not.

I have a full plate for you on this too early Saturday morning. 4:22am EDT...what am I doing up? Who knows. Yesterday, the Red Sox put a whoopin' on the New York Yankees and beat the bums 8-4. Every Boston pitcher was effective except, of course, Tim Wakefield. Believe me, if the Sox keep him in their five man rotation after Smoltz is activated, they have no chance for postseason play. NO CHANCE AT ALL. Here's the pitching summary...

Tim Wakefield 2.1 5 4 4 3 3 7.71 **
Jose Vaquedano 0.2 1 0 0 1 2 0.00
Jonathan Papelbon 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0.00
Takashi Saito 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 1.80
Daniel Bard 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0.00
Junichi Tazawa 2.0 1 0 0 1 2 1.13
Billy Traber 1.0 1 0 0 2 1 12.00

**=gave up run(s)

You see, the bullpen was nearly flawless but Wakefield plain old sucked. Unbelievable. In related news, soon-to-be in the rotation Brad Penny threw to live batters in a minor league intrasquad game. He said this...

“It felt good,” Penny said. “Command wasn’t as good as it was in (batting practice), but it was the first time facing hitters, so I was kind of just concentrating on putting more effort behind the ball. I felt like it was coming out good. Splitty was good, curveball was good at times.”

Pitching coach John Farrell said Penny's fastball touched the low 90s. It can only get better with the thrilling cheers of the Fenway crowd echoing in his ears. Here's a bit of what Farrell had to say..

“Very encouraging, again,” Farrell said. “Physically no restrictions. The arm speed was, I thought, improved over the last couple of side sessions.”

From good news to bad news. Too-often injured shortstop Julio Lugo is hurting again. Surprise, surprise, knock me over with a spoon, a plastic one. It's his right knee this time and he was pulled from yesterday's game after a couple of innings. Expect to see Jed Lowrie as our starting shortstop for a long time to come. Lugo will sit back and collect his huge paycheck. Big Papi hit a home run in the game and Mike Lowell looks like he's doing great...good news for us all. He had a tater and a single. And Manny no-name was a no-show for yesterday's Dodgers exhibition game. The reason? A sore hammy. Maybe that's a sign of things to come for Dodger blue...I hope Ramirez remembers which leg to favor. What an idiot.

That's it for now. The Jon Lester press conference is scheduled for Sunday (thanks, Ian). I'll be back when I learn exactly when. Click on the title of this post for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. See ya. Soon. Your comments are welcome and always answered. L'chaim. Cheers. Health and happiness forever.

Friday, March 13, 2009

BIG PAPI Comes Back Home

As most of you know, the strong Domincan Republic baseball team, including our very own Big Papi, was eliminated from competition in the World Baseball Classic. Too bad for them, but good for Red Sox Nation. Why? We get Big Papi David Ortiz back with us. He said this upon his return...

“I’m back from vacation,” he joked while sipping a cup of carrot juice and trying to explain away the stunningly rapid departure of his Dominican team from the World Baseball Classic.

And when he was asked about playing first base for the DR in the World Baseball Classic, he said this. Here are his words. I'll follow with my comments afterwards...

“I never play first base here anyway. All my focus is on hitting. I’m the kind of guy who sees myself as an employee. I do whatever Tito Francona tells me to do. I don’t tell them what to do. I’m here to do what they tell me to do. The manager didn’t want to force me (to play first in the WBC),” Ortiz said. “He didn’t want anything bad to happen. Actually I was feeling good. It was getting better. I just don’t want to be out there and get to the point that I had to make a decision or dive for the ball or something like that and injure my shoulder and get myself in a worse situation. I was just trying to be careful. When I was hitting, I was fine. It was sometimes when I was playing catch I wasn’t feeling right. When you don’t play a position for a while it’s hard to go play but I decided go ahead. Have fun. Don’t try to overdo things.”

That's all we need is a shoulder injury after all his wrist problems, but it seems that he was saying that at the plate, he's 100%. He is the Red Sox DH, so there won't be much playing the first base bag, except maybe for the hated interleague play stuck in the middle of the regular season. I still don't see why both leagues can't go with the DH. Sure, it's not "pure" baseball, the way it was invented, but it's more exciting for the fan and better for the health of the pitchers. They have their work cut out for them with every start...they do not need any at bats. Welcome back, Big Papi. We need you bigtime for the 2009 season. We really do.

Have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. I'll be back every morning and more if circumstances warrant. Click on the title for the story behind the SIX OVERTIME Big East Tournament men's basketball game between Connecticut and Syracuse. That's right, I said SIX OVERTIMES. The game ended around 1:30am EDT...at that point, I was listening to it on the radio. As always, BE WELL. L'chaim, cheers, skol. See ya.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Clemens' Troubles Worsen - Papelbon On Manny...Fierce But Accurate Words

Brian McNamee is still talking, and the hole Roger Clemens willingly dug is getting deeper and deeper. McNamee said he even injected Rocket in a Yankee Stadium hot tub. Talk about chutspah, Roger. Here, McNamee describes injecting the "in trouble" pitcher at Clemens' high-rise apartment in NYC,,,
"One of the needles I gave the government was used to inject Clemens with steroids in either July or August of 2001," McNamee was quoted as saying by sportsimproper.com in an item posted Wednesday. "The place was his high-rise apartment, which is located off the corner of 90th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan. ...
"That day, he laid out the drugs, dropped his trousers and I did as he asked, that is, inject him with steroids. Afterwards, he told me to get rid of the needle. I went into the kitchen and found an empty Miller Lite can in a wastebasket under the sink. I put the used needle into the can because it was actually hazardous material at that point and I didn't want anyone to get hurt by sticking themselves. He told me to throw it away but I kept it instead."
McNamee was smart not to throw away the syringes. If he had, we wouldn't be having all this fun. And speaking of players we love to hate, Red Sox closer Jonathon Papelbon had a few choice syllables for Manny Ramirez, who he called a "cancer." I want you to read this, from Esquire magazine via SI dot com, and then I'll be back with a couple comments...
“It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that’s exactly what was happening,” Papelbon told Esquire. “Once we saw that, we weren’t afraid to get rid of him. It’s like cancer. That’s what he was. Cancer. He had to go. It sucked, but that was the only scenario that was going to work. That was it for us.”
“He was on a different train!” Paplebon said of Ramirez. “And you saw what happened with that. We got rid of him, and we moved on without him. That comes from the manager, and it comes from guys like Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield and David Ortiz. Nobody is ever going to be allowed to do that. Even a guy like me, just heading into my fourth year in the big leagues - if David Ortiz gets a little, you know - I’ll tell him what’s up! I’m not afraid to do that. I’m not afraid to put him in his place, because I think everybody needs that. And if somebody does it to me, I understand that. I most certainly understand that. Varitek tells me all the time, ‘Just shut up. Do what you’re supposed to do.' So Manny was tough for us. You have somebody like him, you know at any point in the ball game, he can dictate the outcome of the game. And for him not to be on the same page as the rest of the team was a killer, man!”
And the whole team realized it and wanted the as*hole to go. Yes, I wrote as*hole...it's the only word that fits when it comes to Manny, although, come to think of it, I could think of a few other "niceties" just for Manny. But he's gone and the Red Sox look good. Joe Torre has his hands full, though. Good luck Joe...I've always liked you, and so has Red Sox Nation.

Wow, I didn't realize it was still so early. I woke up with no heat...it was 59 degrees in the living room, so I knew something was amiss. Believe me, 59 degrees will wake you up and keep you up, even at 4am EDT. But I temporarily fixed the furnace and I'm expecting the heating guys between 9 and 12. It's up to 66.4 degrees now, so I'm fine. Have a great Thursday, click on this post's title to read the entire Clemens/McNamee piece and as always, BE WELL. Shalom. Cheers. See ya.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Congratulations UCONN Women Huskies...Big East Champions...Big East Tournament Champions

The UCONN women's basketball team decimated the number five team in the nation, Louisville, by a score of 75-36 in the finals of the Big East tournament. Connecticut sophomore Maya Moore, the best women's basketball player in the country, left the game with a little more than seven minutes remaining. She had 28 points, outscoring the ENTIRE Louisville team at that point of the game. They were awe-inspiring. For more on the game, just read the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs' column by clicking on this post's title. You'll be glad you did...the man can write! And the UCONN women can play!! Now it's on to the NCAA tournament. They are 33-0. Good luck, Huskies. We love you. Now click on that title, if you can. Thanks. See ya.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Skittle On Littleton

The Boston Red Sox acquired sidearming righthanded reliever Wes Littleton from the Texas Rangers in the offseason, hoping he would help shore up the bullpen much like Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez WILL make the team even if he's having some jitters adjusting to the media's glare. All is not as well for Wes so far, though. He's having trouble with his control. He put it this way...

“It’s just a matter of time before things click in,” Littleton said, snapping his fingers, “so I’ve just got to stay positive until then. It's just tough right now, things just haven't clicked from the start of spring training really. But I still have a long way to go. It's just a matter of time before things click in," Littleton said, snapping his fingers, "so I've just got to stay positive until then."

I guess Littleton likes to use the work "click." I too hope things "click in," to coin a phrase. His sidearm delivery is very tough on righthanded batters...if it's in the strike zone. So far, most of his pitches haven't been. Here's what Tito Francona had to say...

“Wes is trying to establish that he can be part of that bullpen,” said Francona. “Wes is intriguing, because of his delivery and his style, but he may have to show command and throw strikes a little bit better. He’s a guy who’s going to have deception in his delivery,” said Francona. “But if he falls behind in the count, especially to left-handed hitters, he puts himself in a bind.

Littleton spent the previous three seasons with the Rangers. He was excellent after his first call-up in 2006, posting a 1.73 ERA in 36 1/3 relief innings. He put up a serviceable 4.31 ERA in 48 frames in 2007, but regressed last year, posting a 6.00 ERA in 18 innings, and spent much of the year in the minor leagues. The sidearm delivery is particularly tough on right-handed hitters, but Littleton can have problems getting strikes on lefties (thank you projo dot com). I guess that's why we have Javy Lopez. I'm wary of sidearmers in the first place, however, but that's just my personal opinion. We wish him luck. Include Ramon Ramirez in that wish. Bigtime.

Yesterday in Florida, the Sox beat the Pirates 15-14. It was ugly, but as Tito said, at least Jon Lester got his work in. Except for Ramirez, the bullpen was as porous as a window screen on a warm summer day. But it's only spring training, and until yesterday, the 'pen has looked great. No worries here. Our bullpen will be just fine.

That's it for this Tuesday morning. Good luck to the women UCONN Huskies in the Big East championship game tonight, televised on ESPN and ESPN HD at 7pm EDT. They will play and beat Louisville to go to 33-0. Click on the title for more on last night's game and our superstar, Maya Moore, the best college player in the country. The excellent article was penned by "our" sportswriter, Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant. He's the best. Hello to you, Jeff. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Lester Deal Iminent...Masterson Sharp

Yahoo Sports has reported that Jon Lester will be signed to a five year $30 million extension, pending a physical, which is just a formality. That would be the largest contract extension for someone with only two years of major league experience. Good job, Boston. This is a smart move in every way. Dustin Pedroia, who along with Kevin Youkilis were the driving forces in yesterday's World Baseball Classic USA win, had this to say...

“Everyone is excited about it,” Pedroia said. “You want to play for a long time with those guys you came up with. Jon is going to keep getting better and better. I’m sure by Year 5 of that deal he’s going to be an even better pitcher than he is right now.”

We watched Jon Lester improve immeasurably last year, his second in the big leagues, and as Pedey said, he's only going to get better. That's a scary thought for the rest of the league, especially with a healthy Josh Beckett pitching before him.

In Florida yesterday, the Red Sox bested the Rays by a score of 8-2, their first victory against them this spring. Justin Masterson was flat-out brilliant, going three scoreless innings and allowing one hit and no walks. He struck out three with his sweeping offerings. He said this...

“I felt like I was pounding the strike zone, which in spring training that’s what you want to do, make sure you’re pounding the zone,” he said. “I was happy, not satisfied. We’ve still got some things we can continue to get better at. They wanted me coming out and really throw all my pitches, and I felt like I did that overall,” he said. “The first couple of changeups, I pushed them a little bit, kind of left them up and away. But after that I was pretty excited with what took place.”

Justin will be in the rotation or, most likely, in the bullpen, where he will be a huge part of that bridge to Papelbon. Julio Lugo went 3 for 3 in the Rays game, improving his spring batting average to .533. I guess he wants a starting job! Jonathon Papelbon pitched a scoreless fourth, striking out the side but allowing two hits. Hey, it's spring...he was trying to throw strikes with gas. So all in all, a great day for the Boston Red Sox in the Sunshine State.

That's a wrap for this Monday. My congratulations go out to Jon Lester...we're all very proud of him and love him dearly. Click on this post's title for more news on Lester and yesterday's Masterson win, as well as coverage of the USA's win in the WBC. As always, BE WELL. Sayanara. Skol. Cheers. L'chaim (to life). See ya.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Wakefield Ready? I Don't Know About That. Will He Ever Be?

The Tampa Bay Rays have the Boston Red Sox' number so far this spring, beating them yesterday by a score of 15-7. Ugly it was...no doubt. Tim Wakefield started and was able to go three innings, giving up two earned runs (4 in all) on 2 hits and 1 walk. Here's the entire Sox pitching summary...

BOSTON ip h r er bb so hr era
T Wakefield 3 2 4 2 1 3 0 3.60 **
W Littleton 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 17.17
D Hansack 1 2/3 3 5 0 2 1 0 1.93 **
M McBeth 1/3 0 0 0 0 1 0 6.77
B Traber 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 6.00
D Richardson 2/3 1 4 4 3 0 1 21.56 **
M James 1/3 1 2 0 0 0 1 0.00 **

**=gave up runs
Wakes wasn't helped by a ball that leftfielder Baily lost in the sun. That allowed the two unearned runs to eventually score. But at best, he was mediocre, an outing a .500 pitcher might turn in. Maybe that's all Timmy will be this year. If so, I hope they take him out of the rotation when Smoltz is ready, but that depends on Brad Penny's health, too. As for where he is conditioning-wise, Wakes said this...

“I feel like I’m game-ready now. I don’t think my pitch count would be Opening Day-ready. But it’s not like I labored today. I felt like I could have gone at least one more inning, maybe two. Once I get my pitch count up to about 95, I think from that point, we’ll back it down to 70 right before the season starts and then we’ll be ready. My timing seems to be better,” he said. “I got a lot of swing-and-misses and three strikeouts, which is good. I may have felt a little behind in my first start. But today, I’m happy with the way I felt.”

Maybe Tim is happy with the way he felt but the final results were just not good enough. It's simple. The Red Sox do not need a confirmed .500 pitcher in their rotation if they want to play deep into October. What do you thimk? Please let me know...I'd love to read those comments. I know it's the weekend and readership is down that part of the week, but if you have a couple seconds, let me know where you think Wakes belongs. I know exactly how some of my readers feel about the righthander...boy, do I!

Have a great Sunday, catch some of the World Baseball Classic if you can and as always, BE WELL. Spring is coming...I hope you remembered to "spring forward" your watches and clocks. And you can click on the title of this post for more Sox stuff. Thank you for being here...see ya.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Beckett Sharp Against Marlins...Lowell, Drew and Penny Health Updates

Good Saturday morning, a day here in north central Connecticut that will feature a big influx of warm air. Temperatures will approach and exceed 50 degees F. Meanwhile, down in Florida, Josh Beckett looked good in his second straight spring start. Here is his pitching line. Boston beat Florida 5-3. Here you go...

J Beckett 3 3 0 0 0 2 0

Good for Josh. Okajima won the game although he was a little shaky. But it was a good effort by everyone who isn't partcipating in the WBC. Now, on to the injury news. JD Drew played his first game of the spring as the DH. There's no sense in hurrying him along. He had a hit and said this after the game...

"I felt good," Drew said in earnest. "We were just being cautious DH-ing today, see how things react. We're not really concerned. My swing doesn't feel good after a few days of not hitting off of live pitching. But I was able to go out there and have some good at-bats, so it worked out well. I'm sure I'll be back in the field," Drew said. "I think today was more a precautionary thing trying to work my way back in. I could have very easily played right field, I'm sure."

That makes me feel better. Red Sox manager Terry Francona added this, and then Jason Varitek added his opinion...

"I don't know whether anybody believes me," manager Terry Francona said. "But he is OK."

"He's proved when he's healthy and he's playing, he's a big part of our lineup," said catcher Jason Varitek. "When he's not, he's missed. When we lost David Ortiz last year, he pretty much carried us. He has that ability. We need to make sure he's healthy.

We need JD at 100%, and he has the time to get exactly there. Next, Brad Penny got a great report from the Boston doctor who is with the team. He was able to throw long toss from 120 feet and reported no pain, no problems. And THAT'S good. And last and perhaps most important, Mike Lowell is nearing the time when he will play in a game. Yesterday, he had this to say...

“I did more, but I didn’t get tired,” said Lowell, who is recovering from October hip surgery. “The other day, there was an imbalance between the hips and I didn’t really feel that today, so it’s another step in the right direction.”

Mike and the rest of the other hurting players have the time to take those "little steps" before the regular season begins. For that reason alone, I'm happy that spring training is longer this year and there's no trip to Japan.

I hope every one of you has a great Saturday and a terrific weekend. I'll be watching the noon CBS basketball game that features the number one UCONN'S mens basketball team playing at Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh beat UCONN in Hartford three weeks ago to knock them out of the number one spot, then prompty lost to Providence in their next game, putting Connecticut back in the top spot. This will be a war. The winner wins the Big East and if it's UCONN, will finish number one in the nation. Go Huskies! You can click on the title for more Red Sox news, and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Friday, March 06, 2009

AROD Update...Manny's Bitter Words

The future path of AROID is becoming much more clear. Will it be surgery or will it be a rest? Either way, the Yankees are going to need a third baseman. Here's what Yankee general manager Brian Cashman had to say on the subject. Believe me, after that I'll be back with a few words of my own. I mean, how could I resist? Here you go...

“There’s two courses of action concerning what he has,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said yesterday. “There is treat it conservatively, which would imply rest, exercise and treatment. Or you can treat it aggressively, which is by surgery. At this point in time, we are going to go the conservative route. If at some point it’s not working and it’s a problem, then the other one becomes more of a choice,” Cashman said of the surgery option. “Right now, the route we’re going is conservative.”

Cashman is no doctor, but he has spoken to them. I know of other doctors who say that a man in AROID's condition WILL need an operation. I don't know, but it seems certain than the pinstripers will be without him for some time to come.

Now, on to Manny, who needs no other introduction. He had his Los Angeles Dodger press conference yesterday announcing his two year return. The mental giant (or is he just mental?) had this to say, referring directly to his years in Boston with the Red Sox...

“Sometimes it’s better off to have a two-year deal in a place where you’re going to be happy than have an eight-year deal in a place you will suffer,” Ramirez said. "I’m happy I have moved on with my life. To all my friends in Boston, I wish them the best. But that’s in the past. I’ve already moved on. I won getting out of Boston because I’m in a great place,” Ramirez said. “I’m in a place where I want to play and in a place where I’ll be happy. My teammates, they love me; the fans love me.”

Manny, you were SO loved here in Red Sox Nation, but that must have slipped your quirky and confused mind. It doesn't matter. You're in the National League and I wish you the best. Yes, Constant Readers, I wish him the best! We won't see him until October, if then. Before that, the Sox have enough to worry about. Drew, Penny, 'Tek's bat and the Smoltz return come to mind. The injury bug must not keep biting, hungry for warm sweet delicious blood much like a fat mosquito.

That's it for this warm Friday morning. I'm happy you stopped by. There are a few great Sox articles in today's Boston Globe, and all you have to do is click on this post's title to be zapped there. Have a great weekend and as always, BE WELL. Shalom. See ya. Leave a comment or two.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


IT'S THE CYST. IS IT INJECTION RELATED? Who knows? BUT HE WON'T SEE MLB ACTION UNTIL MID-JUNE. Here is the latest from the NY Daily News...

"A source close to Alex Rodriguez confirms to the Daily News that the three-time MVP could miss the next ten weeks as he will need surgery to remove a cyst from his right hip. The news of A-Rod's surgery was first reported on ESPNdeportes.com Thursday morning.
Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo would neither confirm nor deny the report. General manager Brian Cashman was not available for comment.

"When we have information we'll give it to you," Zillo said. "We're not giving out any information right now."

AROID, when you play, you pay. Right now, you're paying. Bigtime.

RED SOX Roster...As Of Now

The Boston Herald ran a great overview of the 2009 lineup as it stands now. The writer of the piece is the very talented Sean McAdam, and with his permission I'd like to post his article with my comments following each section. We'll start with the outfield...


Locks: Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Rocco Baldelli.

The starting outfield is set, with Bay, Ellsbury and Drew left to right. Baldelli is the primary reserve, with the ability to play all three outfield spots.

On the bubble: Brad Wilkerson, Jeff Bailey, Chris Carter, Paul McAnulty.

Whoever wins this bubble spot is merely keeping the seat warm for Mark Kotsay, scheduled to return from back surgery on or about May 1. Terry Francona said the other day that in “a pefect world,” the winner of this competition would be, like Kotsay, a lefty hitter. That applies to Carter and Bailey in this group. Francona then added that the player should be able to contribute defensively. Of the four, Wilkerson fits both criteria. Moreover, he’s the only one who can play both first base and center field.

Overview: A good group - assuming Drew’s back isn’t more serious than the team suggests and Baldelli can be more durable than last season.

Peter's view: Bay, Ellsbury and Drew/Baldelli make a competent outfield quartet. It will be vital for rightfielder JD Drew to get his back healthy, something he should have done in the offseason. Also, Baldelli's health has been an issue in the recent past. There will be no centerfield competition as there was when Crisp was with the team, so it will be Jacoby all the time. I can live with that. My grade: B (A- if Drew is healthy)


Locks: Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis.

On the bubble: None

Overview: The right side of the infield might be the best in the American League, with Pedroia winning the AL MVP and Youkilis finishing two spots back in the voting. Lowell won’t play in a game for another 10 days or so, making it difficult to assess his progress. Lugo and Lowrie are in a battle for the starting shortstop’s job, with Lugo given the edge because Lowrie is both more versatile and more likely to accept the utility spot. If Lowell doesn’t rebound, the offense could take a hit if Youkilis shifts to third and Wilkerson or Kotsay become the primary option at first.

Peter's view: The creme de la creme. As McAdam said, there is no better right side of anyone's infield. ANYONE. On the left side, Lowrie and Lugo will duke it out...may the best man win. Lowrie was great last year but it would be so terrific if Julio could stay healthy, something he hasn't done in recent years, and regain the "pop" in his bat. Mike Lowell is still rounding himself into shape after serious hip surgery, but his healthy return is a necessity. We do not want to move Youk over to third...his natual digs are at first base, right where he belongs. My grade...B plus (A if Lowell and Lugo are 100% healthy.)

DH: (1)

Locks: David Ortiz

Overview: It will be some time before Ortiz can demonstrate that he’s fully recovered from the wrist injury which limited him last season. To date, however, his conditioning and determination are encouraging signs. Look for Baldelli to get some occasional starts here - especially against tough lefties - both to keep Ortiz fresh and give Baldelli additional at-bats without tiring him in the outfield.

Peter's view: We all want Big Papi to return to healthy ways, and if his wrist is OK, his power numbers and batting average will increase from 2008. My grade: B plus

Locks: Jason Varitek

On the bubble: Josh Bard, George Kottaras

Overview: If Varitek can provide at least some offensive improvement from the left side, he’ll be fine for 110 games. One talent evaluator said Varitek is throwing better this spring than he has in the last five years. Bard is the obvious front-runner for the back-up spot and seems more comfortable catching Tim Wakefield [stats]’s knuckler than he did in 2006. Unanswered to date: Can he hit well enough to take some playing time away from Varitek? Kottaras is out of options, but having never caught Wakefield, seems a decided longshot.

Peter's view: 'Tek must get his act together when batting from the left side. He was horrendous last year batting lefty. The Sox must find someone, be it Bard or Kottaras, to catch Timmy Wakefield's knuckies. My grade: C plus


Locks: Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield

On the bubble: Brad Penny, Justin Masterson, Clay Buccholz

After experiencing shoulder fatigue over the weekend, Penny’s spring progress has been slowed. The Sox maintain that they weren’t expecting him to start until April 15 - when they first need a fifth starter - so there’s still plenty of time for him to rebound. If he has further setbacks, the Sox can choose between Masterson, who’s on the staff either way, or Buchholz.

Overview: On paper, the Sox rotation is the equal of New York’s and Tampa’s - assuming the bodies hold up, that is. The edge comes in the depth department. John Smoltz could be added to the mix a third of the way through the schedule and Buchholz, Masterson and even Michael Bowden offer insurance against injury or ineffectiveness.

Peter's view: The number five starter and who he will be is a still unfolding drama. No one knows if Penny's shoulder will come back enough to enable him to round himself into playing shape. John Smoltz, right now, looks like so much more of a "sure thing." I have more faith in him than I do in Penny's shoulder and its woes. My ideal (dream) rotation would have been Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Smoltz and Penny, but I might never see it. Wakefield MUST pitch well in the first third of the season before Smoltz is ready and Penny must get himself right. Masterson will be in the bullpen...mark my words. We might see Buchholz until Smoltz is ready if Penny cannot do it. My grade: B plus (A with Smoltz and a healthy and effective Penny/Buchholz).


Locks: Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Javier Lopez, Ramon Ramirez, Takashi Saito, and Justin Masterson

Peter's view: The names say it all. We're in great shape. My grade: A plus.

The 2009 Boston Red Sox will be a competitive team in the American League East, more than competitive if their many "ifs" become positives. Drew must come back, Lowell must come back, Smoltz must come back and the same thing goes for Penny. 'Tek must regain his hitting stroke, too. Those are too many question marks, but they'll all be answered starting in about four weeks. Click on the title of this post for more Sox stuff, thanks for stopping in and please comment with your thoughts of this preseason roster. As always, BE WELL. See ya. Cheers.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

MANNY Signs With LA...

...do I care? NOT ONE BIT.The answer is no.
Good luck, Joe Torre. You'll need all the luck in the world.

Lester Sharp...A Shot In The Back For JD Drew In Boston

John Lester threw another two perfect innings in a 9-8 Boston Red Sox loss to the Reds. It was his second straight great two inning spring stint. His place as Boston's solid number two starter is locked and secured, with the key thrown away. That is not true of Brad Penny, the projected number five starter of the Boston rotation. We will not be seeing him pitch in a grapefruit league game any time soon. In fact, he won't pitch, IF everything goes right, until mid-April. First, let me give you the Sox pitching stats from yesterday and then I'll get further into the Penny and JD Drew matters, two injuries that this team did not need, not this early. NOT EVER...

BOSTON ip h r er bb so hr era

J Lester 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
H Okajima 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
R Ramirez 1 4 4 3 0 0 2 13.50 **
M Delcarmen 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
J Tazawa 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
W Littleton 2/3 3 5 5 1 2 1 23.60 **
M James 1/3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
F Doubront 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00
H Jones 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00

OK, on to Brad Penny. He had to abort his warm up yesterday because of shoulder "weakness." It's almost certain that we will not see him pitch until about two weeks into the regular season. There are many off days at the beginning into the middle of April and a fifth starter will not be needed until then. Let's hope he can get this behind him, just a faint and obscure memory fading with time. Manager Tito Francona had this to say...

“With all the off days we have in the beginning of the season, what we’re really trying to do is get Penny healthy so he can go out and pitch like he can pitch,” Francona said. “So for me to sit here and say we’d like to get him for that third game of the season would be the wrong message to send.”

Here's what Brad Penny himself had to say...

“I don’t think the shoulder strength is quite where it needed to be yet for the workload I’ve been doing,” Penny said, “so it was better to take it easy right now than to get out there in the first week of April and have it flare up on me. It’s better to be careful now than later. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have fatigued a little bit. Last year was pretty bad,” Penny said.

Last year's limited appearances were do to the same shoulder. I have a bad feeling about this, much as I do about JD Drew's back. He's jetting to Boston to have a shot in his ailing back. A misplaced disc is said to be the cause, but the way I look at it, he had the whole damn winter to take care of this nagging and probably season long injury. I feel strongly about this and am quite mad. I went through the same thing and the pain was so horrific, I had it taken care of. For all the millions he's being paid, he should have done the same f*cking thing. No sympathy from me, that's for sure.

That's it for this Wednesday morning, yet another frigid one here in north central Connecticut. For the record, right now at 6:18am est, it is 5.2 degrees F. Too cold for me, I guess. I used to love the cold and the snow and everything winter, but I guess the years have caught up with me too quickly. Click on the title for more Red Sox news, Manny looks close to signing his two year deal with LA, and as always, BE WELL. Arivaderci. Ciao. L'chaim. See ya.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Masterson Shines In Red Sox 5-3 win.

Justin Masterson, where will you play? Will he be a member of the already crowded starting rotation or will he be a valuable part of the bullpen's "bridge to Papelbon." I know how I'd answer that question, but it's not up to me. Boston manager Terry "Tito" Francona and his staff will eventually decide where to put his valuable arm. One fact that I came across JUST NOW is that the number four slotted pitcher, Brad Penny, could not get loose for yesterday's game, so everything in paradise might be cloudy for him, at least for the near future. That's why Tito is stretching Masterson out. Yesterday he pitched two terrific innings in a 5-3 Baltimore Orioles win. But the final score is not important, what happened in the spring training game is.



J Ellsbury cf 3 0 1 0 B Roberts 2b 2 0 0 1
J Van Every cf 2 0 0 0 J Turner 2b 1 0 0 0
J Lowrie 3b 3 0 0 0 A Jones dh 2 0 1 0
R Khoury 3b-2b 1 0 0 0 M Wieters ph-dh 2 0 0 0
C Carter lf 4 0 1 0 N Markakis rf 3 0 1 0
Z Daeges lf 0 0 0 0 L Montanez rf 1 1 1 0
B Wilkerson 1b 3 0 0 0 A Huff 1b 3 0 0 0
P McAnulty 1b 1 0 0 0 O Salazar 1b 1 0 0 0
J Bailey rf 2 1 1 0 T Wigginton 3b 3 1 1 0
C Ambres rf 1 0 0 0 D Murphy 3b 1 1 1 2
L Anderson dh 3 0 1 0 L Scott lf 2 0 0 1
G Kottaras c 2 0 0 0 R Freel pr-lf 1 0 0 0
D Brown ph-c 2 0 0 0 J Christian cf 2 1 1 0
N Green 2b 3 1 2 1 N Reimold cf 2 0 0 0
Z Borowiak 3b 1 0 0 0 G Zaun c 1 1 1 1
I Ochoa ss 3 1 1 2 G Rodriguez c 1 0 0 0
A Diaz ss 0 0 0 0 C Gomez ss 1 0 1 0
J Masterson p 0 0 0 0 B Davis ss 1 0 0 0
D Hansack p 0 0 0 0 B Bergesen p 0 0 0 0
B Traber p 0 0 0 0 J Johnson p 0 0 0 0
D Bard p 0 0 0 0 C Ray p 0 0 0 0
D Richardson p 0 0 0 0 C Waters p 0 0 0 0
A Mills p 0 0 0 0 W Perez p 0 0 0 0
TOTALS 34 3 7 3 TOTALS 30 5 8 5

BOSTON 000 100 200 -- 3
BALTIMORE 001 200 02x -- 5

2B--C Gomez, G Zaun, J Christian, N Green. 3B--T
Wigginton. HR--D Murphy 1 (1) (off A Mills), I
Ochoa 1 (1) (off C Waters). SF--B Roberts.
J Masterson 2 1 0 0 0 1 0
D Hansack 1 2 1 1 1 0 0
B Traber 1 3 2 2 1 0 0
D Bard 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
D Richardson 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
A Mills (L,0-1) 2 2 2 2 0 1 1

B Bergesen 3 4 0 0 0 3 0
J Johnson 1 1 1 1 1 2 0
C Ray 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
C Waters (W,1-0) 3 2 2 2 0 1 1
W Perez (S,1) 1 0 0 0 1 2


Masterson retired six of the seven batters he faced, giving up a lone single to the first batter. Here's Tito's thought process and modus operandi when it comes to his talented righthander, a man between the 'pen and the rotation. To me, it's a no-brainer...if Penny is healthy. BULLPEN!

“If we thought there was some anxiety there with him, we’d spend more time talking to him. He’s OK,” Francona said. “He understands that he’s an integral part of what we want to do. We just need to let this play itself out a little bit. and we’ve explained this to him. He threw strikes,” Francona said. “He was pretty good. He’ll come back Sunday against Tampa Bay and throw three innings.”

Three innings? Well, Tito recently said everything is still to be determined regarding Justin, but if you ask me, I'd put him in the bullpen. We have four solid starters plus Wakefield (sorry, Tim) ready to go and you can add another when Smoltz is ready, which won't be long. So why not use Masterson exactly where he excelled last year...in the 'pen inducing rightys to hit the ball to an infielder, often starting a double play. But right now, the question is the health of Brad Penny.

The snow is over in Connecticut and we received a modest 8-9 inches. But the frigid arctic air barrelled in after the storm passed to our east and north. Right now, it's 8 degrees F. The normal high temperature for March third is 43. Oh how I wish we could see that...soon. Have a great Tuesday and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are welcome and always answered, and you can click on this post's title for all the latest and IMPORTANT news from the Providece Journal about Brad Penny. Shalom. Aloha. Ciao. L'chaim. See ya.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Saying Goodbye To WBC Players...White Monday...Beckett Sharp

The Boston Red Sox bid adieu to Jason Bay (Canada), Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis (USA), Javy Lopez (PR), and Big Papi David Ortiz (DR). Daisuke Matsuzaka has spent all of spring training in his native Japan. They will all play for their respective countries in the World Baseball Classic. Terry Francona discussed the effect of the temporary loss of six players, all key guys...

"We're trying to put a team together for the next two road trips, and we've got half our position players here," he said. "Our concern, especially when we make road trips, is to feel like fans aren't getting cheated. That's going to be hard."

They'll be missed but they'll also be playing baseball, getting ready for the 2009 season by playing for their countries. Pedey Pedroia commented on the spring training process itself, and its length...

"Spring training is tough," Pedroia said. "I'm the type of player that, I only care about winning. That's what makes me play better. Sometimes, playing spring training games can get a little too relaxed. That's why you definitely want the season to start and get on with everything. You can play 10 spring training games and get ready for the season. So spring training is too long."

I know of many players who would agree with him, but, on the other hand, the pitchers need the time to fine tune their craft and the hitters need the time to regain their timing and put their bats on the ball. Yesterday, Josh Beckett and Jonathon Papelbon pitched well and looked great, just what this team needs. Here is the complete box score, with the Sox pitcher who surrendered runs starred...


AL Boxscore Boston vs. Minnesota

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Boston « 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 7 1
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 0

Boston AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI W K AVG

Julio Lugo SS 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .300
Argenis Diaz PR-SS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Dustin Pedroia 2B 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.333
Ivan Ochoa 2B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .286
David Ortiz DH 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Jeff Bailey PH-DH 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .571
Kevin Youkilis 1B 3 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 .250
Lars Anderson 1B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Rocco Baldelli RF 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167
Josh Reddick RF 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Paul McAnulty LF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .200
Zach Daeges LF 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Josh Bard C 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Carlos Maldonado C 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Mark Wagner C 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000
Angel Chavez 3B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .444
Ignacio Suarez PR-3B 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Jonathan Van Every CF 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .286
Chip Ambres PH-CF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250
Totals 28 2 7 0 0 1 2 3 5

Minnesota AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI W K AVG

Denard Span LF 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .111
Luis Matos LF 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .125
Alexi Casilla 2B 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .167
Deibinson Romero 3B 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .667
Michael Cuddyer RF 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .143
David Winfree RF 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500
Justin Morneau 1B 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .429
Toby Gardenhire PR-2B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Joe Crede DH 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Brock Peterson PH-DH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .200
Trevor Plouffe PR-DH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Brian Buscher 3B 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .600
Brendan Harris 3B-2B 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .400
Matt Macri PR-1B 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Mike Redmond C 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167
Jose Morales C 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200
Nick Punto SS 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .100
Matt Tolbert SS 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167
Carlos Gomez CF 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .222
Dustin Martin CF 2 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .667
Totals 32 1 5 0 1 0 1 4 0

E_A.Diaz. LOB_Boston 3, Minnesota 8. 3B_, D.Martin. HR_K.Youkilis (1) off C.Breslow. SF_D.Pedroia. SB_T.Plouffe (1), C.Gomez (1). CS_J.Reddick. GIDP_D.Ortiz, J.Reddick, J.Bard, A.Chavez, J.Crede. DP_Boston 1 ; Minnesota 4 .

Josh Beckett 2.0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Tim Wakefield 2.0 1 0 0 1 0 4.50
Jonathan Papelbon (W 1-0) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Hideki Okajima 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00
Takashi Saito 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Marcus McBeth 1.0 3 1 1 0 0 9.00 **
Hunter Jones (S 1) 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00

Minnesota IP H R ER BB SO ERA
Kevin Slowey 2.0 0 0 0 0 1 0.00
Glen Perkins 3.0 3 0 0 0 2 0.00
Matt Guerrier (L 1-1) 1.0 1 1 1 2 0 4.50
Craig Breslow 1.0 2 1 1 0 1 4.50
Jose Mijares 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0.00
Philip Humber 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 18.00


No injuries is good news...let's hope it stays that way. Well, that's it for this very white and windy Monday. A Nor'easter is barreling up the eastern seaboard and in its wake will be an 8-12 inch layer of white fluffiness covering everything. When the sun rises, I'll be able to look outside and watch the unique flakes flutter to the ground. They're not really fluttering, though...the wind gust are 40 MPH plus, so it's more like a sideways whiteness. But that's OK, as long as we do not lose power. You can click on this post's title for more Sox stuff from SI dot com. As always, BE WELL. I wish a safe trip to our players on the go. See ya.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

BOOMING BATS...Nor'easter On The Way

Clay Buchholz pitched a dandy two innings as his teammates scored 13 early runs in the first four innings on their way to a 15-6 victory over the Cincinnati Redlegs on Saturday. Ramon Ramirez, who will be a valuable asset to the bullpen in '09, pitched a great third frame, something we'll be seeing all year long...he is the best bullpen pitching prospect that Boston has acquired this offseason. Remember his name. The Fenway cheers for him will be long and loud...all season long. Here's the Boston pitching summary...

C Buchholz (W,1-0) 2 1 0 0 0 1 0
R Ramirez 1 0 0 0 0 1 0
J Lopez 1 1 1 1 3 1 0 **
M Delcarmen 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
B Traber 1 1 0 0 0 2 0
W Littleton 1 2 2 2 1 0 0 **
F Cabrera 1 3 2 2 0 2 0 **
D Bard 1 0 0 0 0 1 0

I like it. The Sox will play the Twins today at 1:05pm est. The game will be televised by NESN. Also, my congratulations go out to the UCONN men's basketball team and the UCONN women's basketball team for their yesterday victorys. The women are undefeated, unbeaten, with one game left in the regular season to be played at Rutgers on Monday. Both teams will be NUMBER ONE IN THE NATION when the polls come out tomorrow.

In weather news here in north central Connecticut, there have been so many "near misses" by the coastal storms so far this winter. Well, it looks like we'll be in the bullseye Sunday evening through Monday late afternoon. A Nor'easter is a storm that develops and explodes off the southeastern coast and lumbers its way north northeast up to Maine and beyond. If its path is JUST perfect (to the east of north central Connecticut, but not TOO far east...passing over Cape Cod is a snow path here), this area gets dumped on. Well, I'm ready to be dumped on. We could receive about a foot and a half of the fluffy white stuff when all is said and done by dinnertime Monday. Bring it on. If there is any breaking weather news, I'll write a post with a link to the live radar. Why? I've been waiting for the "big one" all winter long, and it looks like it's on the menu. Winter storm warnings have been posted up and down the east coast of America, the good old US of A. So enjoy your Sunday, congrats again to the number one UCONN teams and as always, BE WELL. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. I mean it. Click on this post's title for more Sox stuff.