Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lester Puts Up Goose Eggs...Paps Ties Steamer's Red Sox Saves Record...Boston 4 Baltimore 0

Boston Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona juggled the top of his batting order, moving JD Drew into the leadoff spot and sliding Pedey Pedroia into his customary number two slot. It paid off bigtime. JD only needed a double to hit for the cycle and Pedey was on base three times with a single and two walks. Way to go, Tito. Pedroia expounded thusly...

“It seems like every time Francona mixes it up, we do something good for him, especially with our pitching staff,” Pedroia said. “If we get those guys some runs, we’re a tough team to beat because those guys, they’re going to give you six, seven innings every time. That worked for us tonight. We gave him some runs and Jon just dealt.”

Jon Lester was at his best for seven full innings, giving up ZERO runs on five hits, walking nobody and striking out eight. Most of those strikeouts were because of his nasty to hit but wonderful to watch curveball. He mesmorized the Birds batters. Here he is...

“I was able to get some curveballs away from guys and make them reach for it,” Lester said. “It’s huge - it gives them a different look, something slower that’s coming down and in. It just complements the fastball and makes the fastball look that much harder.”

He was clearly in charge and ruled the Batimore night. The 'pen took care of the eighth and ninth innings with Jonathon Papelbon closing out the ninth and earning his 132nd save, tying him with Bob "Steamer" Stanley at the top spot of the Boston Red Sox saves leaders list. He had this to say after his nineteenth save of the year...

“I’ve met him (Bob Stanley) before,” Papelbon said. “Real good guy . The era he pitched in was a lot different and in my opinion a lot harder. Obviously they had two and three-inning saves. The game has become a bit more specialized now. I’m dead set in this role, and this is what I want to do.

Jonathon, this is what we WANT you to do. Without you, we're a ten games over .500 baseball team...at best.

It's game number two in Baltimore tonight with Smoltz ready to improve on his first inning disaster facing Hill. A good outing for Smoltzie would mean SO much for the Sox and their fans. First pitch time is a couple minutes after 7pm EDT. Enjoy.

Click on the title of this post for the Globe's Red Sox coverage and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you down the road...soon.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Interleague Play Ends With A Red Sox Loss...Atlanta 2 Boston 1

The Boston Red Sox, 2-1 losers to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon, have won their last six series but in four of those last six series they had a chance to sweep only to fall in the last of the three game set. But if the Sox keep winning series as often as they have lately, they'll be fine, just fine. Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia said this after the Sunday battle with the Braves...

“As long as we keep winning series, that’s a good thing,’’ second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “You want to sweep teams. It’s tough. Everyone’s got good players. It’s tough to sweep a major league-caliber team. It seemed like any time we got something going, we were one big hit away,’’ Pedroia said. “We hit some balls good. Just no luck. But we had a chance there at the end. That’s all we could ask for.’’

They certainly had their chances but Brad Penny was outpitched by under-the-weather (flu symptoms) Tommy Hanson. Kevin Youkilis further described the state of the Sox...

“We’ve got a lot of fight in our team,’’ Youkilis said. “We’re going to battle it out till the last out. You’re not fighting time, you’re fighting the last out. We’re going to scrap away, and do what we’ve got to do. We came up short today, but we won a series. Look at it that way. Can’t be upset about it. You want to win all the games, but winning the series is the most important.’’

I'll take a series win anyday...or every three days. Now it's on to Baltimore as we kiss (or shove) interleague play out of the picture until a possible World Series. MMMM, World Series...that sounds nice but getting there is the tough part. Here are your series pitching matchups for the last three games of this road trip...

Monday...Lester (6-6) vs Berken (1-4) 7:05pm EDT
Tuesday...Smoltz (0-1) vs Hill (3-2) 7:05pm EDT
Wednesday...Beckett (9-3) vs. Bergesen (5-2) 1:35 pm EDT

Another series win? I certainly hope so. The Red Sox lead the NY Yankees by a slim three games with MANY more to play...five games sounded MUCH better.

That's a wrap for this early Monday morning. You can click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. Take some time to take care of yourself and those around you. It's SO important. See ya...soon.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wakefield And The Boston Red Sox 'Pen Spin Beautiful Shutout...Boston 1 Atlanta 0

The ageless Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox bullpen, in the form of Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson and Jonathon Papelbon, spun a beauty in Atlanta Saturday night in Boston's second to last (hooray!) interleague game. The final score was 1-0 Good Guys. Wakes pitched six full frames and gave up only three hits and ZERO runs, striking out one and walking one. From the seventh inning on, it was the bullpen's time to shine once again. Delcarmen, Masterson and Papelbon, who earned his eighteenth save, combined to put up goose eggs for the duration of the game. They allowed only ONE hit. Boston pitching coach supreme John Farrell had this to say about his staff...

“This,” said pitching coach John Farrell following his charges’ second shutout in the last week, “is more indicative of what we expected when the staff was constructed in the offseason and at the start of the year. It did take some guys anywhere from three to five weeks to really find their rhythm and groove. It’s been exciting to see the consistency they’ve all shown the last month or so.”

Starting pitcher Timmy Wakefield commented on his ten win season and his team-tying (with Roger Clemens) 382nd Red Sox start...

“It feels really good to have 10 wins before the All-Star break. It’s pretty cool,’’ Wakefield said. “Just to be mentioned with the names that I’m mentioned with is pretty cool. I think it’s a testament not only to longevity and perseverance, but also the organization for keeping me around and giving me a chance to still pitch in a Red Sox uniform.’’

We love you Tim and you should and will be pitching for the American League team in the 2009 All Star game. The relief staff has a major league-best 2.95 ERA and has allowed fewer hits than any other bullpen group. They've been so valuable as a part of that volatile mix of starters and relievers. Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona hit the proverbial nail on the head...

“It’s like one helps the other,” Francona said. “The bullpen isn’t tired and the starters aren’t overworked. They’ve all carried their load.”

That delicate balance has matured in the last 29 days. Since May 30th, the starters have a combined ERA of 3.38 and the Boston 'pen also has that major league best ERA. As John Farrell said, it took a few weeks but nearly every Sox pitcher is finding his groove. That's why I'm not worried about that shaky first inning spun by John Smoltz. We all saw the REAL John Smoltz in innings two though five. EXPECT MORE OF THE SAME through the month of October. Oh yeah!

This afternoon in Atlanta it'll be Brad Penny versus the red-hot Tommy Hanson as the Boston Red Sox seek another series sweep. Gametime will be at 1:35pm EDT. GO SOX...FOREVER. Remember, you can click on this post's title for full Red Sox coverage from the Boston Globe and as always, BE WELL. See ya, soon. Promise.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Wakefield, Delcarmen, Masterson and Papelbon combine for a 1-0 shutout over the Braves. The win goes to Timmy. Full details tomorrow morning, first thing.

YES, oh yes! Have a great Saturday night!!! Tomorrow afternoon it'll be Penny vesus Hanson as Boston goes for another sweep. Brooms, anyone? GO SOX. FOREVER.

Another Josh Beckett Masterwonder...Boston 4 Atlanta 1

Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett is on a roll. His record for his last seven starts is 5-1 and his ERA over that span is a miniscule 1.24. He has a record of 6-0 and an ERA of (get this) 0.38 against the Atlanta Braves, his foe last night. They never had a chance as Beckett went seven innings, allowing zero runs while striking out six. He walked no one. This will be the last time the Braves will see Beckett this year unless they make it to the postseason, and they're mighty happy about it. Catcher and captain Jason Varitek had this to say about the dominance of Josh Beckett...

“Josh threw the ball well,” said catcher Jason Varitek. “He had to pitch out of a little more trouble today compared to last weekend but he kept us in the game and we were able to plug away. All through spring, Josh was trying to find himself mechanically. When he throws through me and his mechanics are sound, we can get a good mix of his off-speed pitches to complement his fastball."

Big Papi David Ortiz pulled the trigger on a ball thrown by Braves' starter Jurrjens and zoomed it 12 rows into the rightfield stands, a tater by anyone's standards. It's good to have our vintage Big Papi back and his power is helping the rest of the Sox lineup immensely. Okajima took care of things in the eighth inning of what was then a 4-1 ballgame. He has been fantastic so far in 2009. Jonathon Papelbon came on in the ninth to nail this one down and he did just that, with a couple of glitches, including a booming tater to David Ross. That was the Braves sole run on the Boston dominated scoreboard.

Today on the Fox nationally televised game shortly after 4pm EDT, it'll be Wakefield and Vasquez as mound adversaries. It should be a good one as Timmy goes for his tenth win. You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox comings and goings and as always, BE WELL. Have a great Saturday, be safe and I'll be seeing you...soon. That's a promise. I thank every one of you for stopping by...tell your Sox buddies to pop in, too. The more the merrier. GO SOX...forever.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Rough First Inning For John Smoltz...Washington 9 Boston 3

35 pitches, nine batters and four runs later, the tortuous first inning was over for John Smoltz and the Boston Red Sox Thursday night in the nation's capital. John Smoltz made his first major league start in more than a year and he was clearly amped up. But fear not. He settled down after that excruciating initial frame and looked like the John Smoltz we're sure to see as this 2009 season progresses. Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell put those same thoughts into words...

“He’s now got 35 innings under his belt,” said pitching coach John Farrell. “You see it with the guys in our rotation now. The power pitchers don’t get their stuff until the fifth, sixth week of the season. Keep in mind, John’s just coming out of spring training, as far as we’re concerned.”

Boston could not make up that four run deficit and the Sox ended up losing the game by a 9-3 score, reducing their AL East lead to four games. Here's what John Smoltz himself said after his five inning outing, a start in which he allowed five runs on seven hits, walking only one and striking out five.

“I can’t be disappointed,” Smoltz said. “I’m very encouraged by how good I can be, and how I felt. I was really disappointed on the bloop hit,” Smoltz said. “Two runs is two runs. You’re going to give up two runs. No matter if I’m 42 or 22, I feel like I can accomplish whatever I want to accomplish this year,” Smoltz said. “That’s why I came back and the rehab went the way it did. Now it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it like I did before.”

I want to stress this...after that first inning, Smoltzie settled down and his command of the strike zone improved significantly. He ended up throwing 92 pitches and from all signs, he'll be ready to go again in five days. I can't wait.

The Sox end their interleague battles, at least until mid to late October, with three games in Atlanta. Here are the upcoming pitching matchups...

6/26 Friday 7:35pm EDT Beckett (8-3) vs. Jurrjens (5-5) NESN
6/27 Sat. 4:10pm EDT Wakefield (9-3) vs. Vazquez (5-6) FOX
6/28 Sun. 1:35pm EDT Penny (6-2) Hanson (3-0) NESN

That's a wrap for this sad Friday morning. I used to be a huge Michael Jackson fan through his late eighties release of the album BAD, but then the tabloid headlines overshadowed his newly released music. Still, he died too young, far too young. Rest in peace, Michael. You will be missed.

Click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. See ya...soon.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson Dead. This Is Just One Source, But WOW.

Posted Jun 25th 2009 5:20PM by TMZ Staff
"We've just learned Michael Jackson has died. He was 50.
Michael suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this afternoon at his Holmby Hills home and paramedics were unable to revive him. We're told when paramedics arrived Jackson had no pulse and they never got a pulse back. A source tells us Jackson was dead when paramedics arrived.
Once at the hospital, the staff tried to resuscitate him but he was completely unresponsive.
We're told one of the staff members at Jackson's home called 911.
La Toya ran in the hospital sobbing after Jackson was pronounced dead.
Michael is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson, Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II."
NBC has spread this report from tmz dot com. Further details are not available now, at 6:13pm EDT. See your local network news at the half hour. Thanks.

Make It Four In A Row For The Red Hot Red Sox...Boston 6 Nationals 4. SMOLTZ GOES TONIGHT.

Powered by a fourth inning Big Papi blast to the centerfield stands, the Boston Red Sox ran their winning streak to four games with a nifty 6-4 victory over the Washington Nationals. The home run was estimated at 421 feet, a mammoth tater by anyone's standards. That's the Big Papi we know and love. He's got his confidence back and that bodes ill for all opposing pitchers. Winning pitcher Jon Lester spoke to reporters after the game and when the subject of Big Papi came up, well, read on...

“It was just a matter of time,” said starter and winner Jon Lester. “No one gave up on him one bit. We all knew what he was capable of doing. When he was struggling like he was, it was just a matter of squaring one ball up to get out of that funk. It’s nice to see the old David back, driving balls out of the park.”

Boston hitting coach Dave Magadan had this to say about the no longer struggling Red Sox DH...

“Basically what I saw the first two months was a guy who was just late,” Magadan said. “His pitch recognition wasn’t what it’s been throughout his career. He was chasing pitches through the zone. The homer he hit off A.J., that was 96. Before he wasn’t getting to 90. Now 96, boom, he’s ready to hit it.”

Second baseman MVP Dustin Pedroia also chimed in with these glowing words...

“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Dustin Pedroia said. “He’s got that confidence back, and that’s huge.”

When David Ortiz has that confidence, that certain swagger, he will crush the ball somewhere, someplace. He will give the Boston offense a HUGE jump start. Their lead in the AL East remains at five games over the Yankees and all eyes will be watching John Smoltz tonight. His first Red Sox start has been much anticipated because we all envision him to be an important cog in the Boston "pitching machine." I'll let him do all the talking...

“I have enough pitches to get hitters out,” said Smoltz. “When I have a baseball in my hands I can make a pitch and hopefully take the sting out of the bat. If that’s the case, we’ll progress and keep getting better every time out. Tonight is just one rung in the ladder to try and climb as far I can to see how good I can be and really, at the end of the day, be in a position to pitch in the playoffs.”

Playoffs, here we come (I hope).Good luck to you, John. We're ALL behind you and we will be watching tonight, shortly after 7pm EDT. To all my Constant Readers, simply click on the title of this post for more on the Red Sox. I thank you for stopping by and remember this, your comments are always welcome and always answered. See ya...soon. Promise. GO SOX. Forever.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Boston Red Sox Smash Washington Gnats...Boston 11 Washington 3

The Boston Red Sox, aided by a six run eighth inning, smashed the Nats (yes, I know I misspelled the abbreviation of Nationals in the title of this post) by a score of 11-3. The game was close until that eighth inning but two defensive plays loomed large in the end. Mike Lowell snared a scorching line drive that was destined to end up in the leftfield corner and doubled off the runner. Nice, Mikey! It was web-worthy, just like Nick Green's somersaulting play he made on a Nick Johnson roller. He gloved it, tagged second while tumbling and rocketed his accurate-as-always throw to first. Here are some of his teammate's reactions. First up is the 4 for 4 Jacoby Ellsbury, one of the players of the game...

“There are little things that might not show up in a box score that might open up a game,” said center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 4-for-4 with a pair of triples. “That’s the kind of stuff we stress. It might not show up in the box score, but it shows up in the win column.”

Kevin Youkilis had a one word description of the play. It says it all...


Hey Nick, nice play. Let's hear from you...

“I tried to hold on to the base with my foot, but my momentum pulled me off,” Green said. “It kind of rolled me into Guzman and then I tried to make the play at first. Everything rolled in sync, so I was able to make the play. You’ve seen me play long enough,” he said with a smile. “Sometimes I make the wrong decision, but sometimes I make the right decision. Tonight I made the right decision.”

Mikey? Whay say you...

“Greenie’s play was awesome,” Lowell gushed. “I didn’t think he had a chance to tag the guy. Then I see the umpire pointing and tagging and he somersaults it. On top of that, he’s got a great arm. He throws a bullet to first every time. I really enjoy watching him throw.”

Don't we all, Mr. Lowell. Brad Penny ended up going 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits, walking an uncharacteristic three and whiffing six. The Boston bullpen took over from there and Delcarmen, Okajima, Saito and Bard put up goose eggs and continued to shine, shine on all of Red Sox Nation, every one of us. They will carry us all season and post season long, into the cool and colorful days of fall.

Tonight in the nation's capital it will be Jon Lester facing Craig Stammen, who has a record of 1-2 and an ERA of 4.76. As long as we get to the National's bullpen, we'll be OK. Coupled with another Yankee's loss, the AL East lead has mushroomed to FIVE GAMES. Nice!

Have a great Hump Day Wednesday and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you...soon. promise. Click on this post's title for more Sox comings and goings and leave a comment or three.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Return Of John Smoltz Nears

We're two days away from the pitching debut of John Smoltz in a Boston Red Sox uniform and from all I hear, and that's SO much, the Sox made a hell of a deal in obtaining his services. They let his rehab come along slowly but surely and if Smoltzie can be just 70% of himself, he'll win a lot of games for his new team, that team we love. His former Atlanta catcher Brian McCann knows him on the field better than anyone. He said this a couple of days ago. My thanks go out to the Boston Globe for these quotes...

“He’s one of the smartest pitchers I’ve ever been around, first off,’’ McCann said. “He wills himself to be the best, every single day. Everything he does just is at a high level, no matter if it’s playing ping-pong. He’s just so competitive. He’s usually the best at what he does. It’s very rare. He’s the best athlete I’ve ever been around. He can do it all. I could sit here and throw a million adjectives. He’s a great, great pitcher, and a great person. Never doubt him,’’ McCann said. “If there’s a game I want someone to win, I don’t care if it’s John Smoltz throwing lefthanded, I want John Smoltz on the mound. Boston got a great pitcher, a guy who when the postseason comes, you can rely on him to go out there and give you a great performance. I think they got a great pitcher in Smoltzy.’’

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox had these glowing words for his former pitcher...

“He can invent pitches and arm angles when he had to, when his arm was sore and all that,’’ Cox said. “He would drop down, throw side arm, throw knuckleballs, and still win. The genius comes in, figuring things out. That’s what it’s all about, adjusting as hitters, adjusting as pitchers, and figure out a way to get people out. I’m not just making this up. It’s all true. No. 1, he’s got talent,’’ Cox said. “No. 2, he’s smart as heck. No. 3, he’s a great competitor. Add them all up, you’ve got Josh Beckett and John Smoltz.’’

And the man himself, John Smoltz, said this to the Atlanta reporters assembled before him...

"I'm going to pitch again," Smoltz told Atlanta reporters when they came into the Red Sox clubhouse this past weekend. "I told you guys I would pitch again. I believe I can do whatever I put my mind to. I love to pitch and compete, and I would come back throwing sidearm, throwing a knuckleball, whatever it would take to continue."

So we await Thursday night's game. The combination of Josh Beckett, John Smoltz and Jon Lester, not to mention Timmy Wakefield and Brad Penny, will make the Boston Red Sox an almost impossible team to beat in the post season, and that's just the way we like it. GO SOX, until the end of October. YES!!

Here are the pitching matchups for the three game set with the Nationals, baseball's worst team, record-wise...

Brad Penny (6-2, 4.94) vs. John Lannan (4-5, 3.38) tonight
Jon Lester (5-6, 4.69) vs. Craig Stammen (1-2, 4.76) Wednesday
** John Smoltz (0-0) vs. Jordan Zimmerman** Thursday (2-3, 5.03)

That's a wrap for this still cloudy early morning Tuesday. Nadia has a job interview at 10am EDT this morning and I wish her all the luck in the world. My credit card and bank balance wish her luck, too. Click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. I'll be seeing you...soon.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Going, Going Green...Boston 6 Atlanta 5

It was a walkoff Sunday afternoon Red Sox victory at Fenway Park in Boston Sunday afternoon with the Red Sox taking the rubber match of the Atlanta series with a 6-5 victory. Shortstop Nick Green hit the first pitch in the bottom of the ninth, sending it curling around the Pesky pole and into the stands to score the winning run. The wind helped to push the ball sideways and a little away from the plate and the result was sweet, really sweet. Here's what Greenie had to say after the game was over and before the team jetted to Washington D.C...

“To be honest with you, I didn’t realize what was going on,’’ Green said. “I didn’t even comprehend the fact that I had swung at the first pitch and it was a walkoff. I just knew that we still had to hit. When I hit second base, everybody’s standing at home plate, then I realized what was going on. The last thing I really wanted to do was hit the ball in the air right there because the wind was so bad. I thought I hit it decent to right field, but I thought it was going to be an out because the wind was so bad. Fortunately it was blowing to the right. Blew it right where it needed to go.’’

Red Sox manager Tito Francona, who was in the dugout, had to wait for the fan's reaction because from where he was seated, the rightfield corner and the pesky Pole are a blind spot. Here, let him tell you...

“Leaves Greenie’s bat, and then it gets out there and you can’t see it,’’ Francona said. “Just waiting for a reaction. I mean, I enjoyed it. Didn’t see it.’’

Tim Wakefield pitched the first 6 2/3 innings and nursed a 4-2 lead until giving up three singles in his final frame. Ramirez and Okajima, who surrendered the tying run, followed and completed the seventh and eighth frames. It was an uncertain 5-5 when Papelbon trotted in to pitch the top of the ninth. He looked rusty. His pinpoint control was sporadic and a nervous cloud surrounded the Fenway Faithful. But Paps got out of a bases loaded situation with a very high and outside heater that Matt Diaz tried to connect with. No way, Jose...err, Matt. GAME OVER...RED SOX WIN. Coupled with yet another Yankee loss, the AL East lead for the Good Guys is now four games.

Now, it's on to Washington to play the woeful Nationals in their house, starting on Tuesday. Here are the three game pitching matchups...

Penny (6-2) vs. Lannan (4-5) 7:05pm EDT Tuesday
Lester (5-6) vs. Stammen (1-2) 7:05pm ET Wednesday
Smoltz (0-0) vs.Zimmermann (2-3) 7:05pm EDT Tuesday

I hope your Monday and your upcoming week will be terrific! Enjoy the Red Sox day off today and as always, BE WELL. Click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox. Thanks for popping in and leave a comment! I answer each and every one of 'em. See you...soon. GO SOX.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nick Green's Walkoff HR Wins It For The Red Sox...Boston 6 Atlanta 5 *Daisuke Matsuzaka Placed On The DL, For A LONG Time* YANKEES LOSE.

This is from the AP, just now...

"Nick Green homered just inside the right-field foul pole on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth to give the Boston Red Sox a 6-5 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
Facing Jeff Bennett for the first time in his career, the shortstop who began spring training as a non-roster player but became a regular hit his fourth homer of the season. His jubilant teammates poured out of the dugout and mobbed him at home plate.
Jonathan Papelbon (1-1) loaded the bases in the ninth but ended the threat by striking out Matt Diaz."

Another series win for the first place Boston Red Sox, the Good Guys. A full report will be up first thing Monday morning. Here's the scoreboard. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H
Atlanta 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 5 14
Boston « 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 6 10

Here is the latest BAD news on Daisuke Matsuzaka from Boston dot com...

"Daisuke Matsuzaka has been placed on the 15-day DL, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said on Sunday, and he hinted that the struggling righty's recovery could take months. "It's not going to be a two-week DL thing," said Francona. "We have a lot of work ahead of us to get him back to being Daisuke."

Ouch, but necessary. On the brighter side, the Yankees lose again to the Marlins. The Red Sox lead in the AL East is now 4 games. GO SOX. A much-needed day off tomorrow and then the Nationals Tuesday night.

A Beckett Beauty...Boston 3 Atlanta 0

It was a true homecoming for Atlanta Braves pitcher Derek Lowe and the Fenway Faithful rose as one to greet and embrace him before the game and upon his seventh inning exit. He was clearly moved to tears although I'm pretty sure he won't admit that now. Lowe pitched great but he was facing Red Sox ace Josh Beckett...on a good day. Beckett pitched a complete game five hit shutout and needed only 94 (!!) pitches to do that. In a word, he was completely dominant. Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona had this to say after the game's conclusion...

“I thought he did a lot of good things tonight,” said manager Terry Francona of his ace. “On a really aggressive team, he established his fastball in and out - movement, velocity, breaking ball, changeup.”

And here is catcher and captain Jason Varitek's take on Beckett's wizardy...

“It was his mix,” said Varitek. “Good quality location of his fastball, he changed the tilt on his fastball. I don’t think he had a great breaking ball, but it still had good break on it.”

Beckett walked no one and was in charge from start to finish. Of course, it didn't hurt that the Braves came out swinging from their heels, much like the night before against sidelined pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. But Josh mixed his wicked fastballs with off-speed stuff to keep them terminally off balance for all nine innings. He was a joy to watch...baseball fun at its extreme best.

Coupled with another Yankees loss, the Boston lead in the AL East is now back to three games. They have one more game with Atlanta this afternoon before starting a nine game road trip with stops in Washington, Atlanta and finally Baltimore. Today's pitchers will be Jurrjens (5-5) versus Wakefield (9-3) as Boston tries to go for the series win. Wouldn't that be nice? YES!!

In the other big Red Sox news, Boston has decided to take Daisuke Matsuzaka out of the starting rotation. John Smoltz will take his place next week. Here's what Tito Francona said to the assembled press...

“We don’t have anything official to announce because we really need to let this thing settle down,’’ the manager added. “I will say, I don’t think it’s any surprise, there’s some weakness that we’re going to have to fix. By that I mean it’s going to have to be addressed. But there’s is no official announcement tonight.
“We’ve been fighting this all year. It’s been hard, and I know I keep coming back to the WBC and it’s probably not a real popular thing in baseball to say that, but he didn’t really have a chance to get a foundation. He ramped up to try to get people out probably before he was ready, physically. It’s happened to pitchers where they’re pitching in earnest before their bodies or their arm are ready to do that. I think we’ve paid the price for that. We’ve been playing catch-up. We did what we thought was right, to shut him down earlier. I think we all see that it’s not really getting better. It’s been a struggle. We’re trying to address that.’’

Here's hoping that whatever is physically wrong with Daiske will be identified and remedied. Until then, the Sox have a more than capable five man rotation with Beckett, Lester, Wakefield, Penny and John Smoltz. I can live with that!

Have a wonderful Sunday, enjoy the game or the coverage of the US Open on NBC and NBC HD and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon...that's a promise. You can click on this post's title for more on Beckett's beauty.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Daisuke Matsuzaka Out Of The Red Sox Rotation...For Now

It seems that Boston manager Terry Francona and the powers-that-be sense that something is physically wrong with starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. He is out of the Red Sox starting rotation and will be evaluated. It makes sense to me. He's been POUNDED lately...for far too long.

More tomorrow. Gametime tonight is coming up. Enjoy your Saturday night!

HELP! Atlanta 8 Boston 2

Friday night at Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts, the first four pitches thrown by Boston Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka resulted in a home run, a single and a double, hardly an auspicious beginning for the helpless hurler in an 8-2 loss to the visiting Atlanta Braves. He is clearly struggling as he tries to nibble less and keep his pitches DOWN in the strike zone. Instead, those pitches have been fat, right down the middle of the plate, eminently hittable. The Atlanta Braves took advantage of Daisuke's offerings and torched him for eight hits and six runs in only four plus innings of work, if you want to call it that. His ERA ballooned to 8.23 and his spot in the starting rotation is clearly in jeopardy. He said this after his aborted outing...

“This time I feel it’s taking way too much time to break through, so now might be the time where I need to reach out for some advice, for some help,” he said. If I keep going like this, I have no right to be a part of this rotation."

Boston manager Terry "Tito" Francona was asked when the Sox powers-that-be will decide on Matsuzaka's fate...

“We’ve got an off day Monday, we’ll certainly sit down - we have the ability to be a little flexible in what we do going forward,” Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Saying that, I don’t know if it makes a lot of sense to do something before the off day. We’ll see where we line up after that.”

To me, at first it makes all the sense in the world to jettison the Japanese starter to the bullpen, NOT the minor leagues. But then again, if that happens, when will he see action? In blowouts? In close games? Matsuzaka's entire makeup is geared towards being a starter. He takes a long time to warm up before each of his starts and HE IS NOT SUITABLE FOR BULLPEN DUTY. That's it...pure and simple. I say demote him to Triple A Pawtucket and let him get the help he wants and sorely needs. He will not go to the 'pen but the Red Sox cannot afford to simply forfeit every fifth game because of his inability to throw a strike without it being smashed to all portions of Fenway Park, in or out of play. PERIOD.

I've already turned the page and am looking forward to tonight's contest between Josh Beckett, who is looking forward to rebounding from a disastrous performance in his last start, against old friend Derek Lowe, who was an important cog in the 2004 "Band of Idiots" who won it all. It should be Fenway fun tonight beginning shortly after 7pm EDT. The weather will be a factor, however, as rain moves eastward from central Pennsylvania during the day today. Let's hope Boston will monitor the radar and make an intelligent decision, unlike their pregame decision to play ball Thursday night when the option to call the game off was theirs, all theirs, until the first pitch was thrown. After that, the game's fate is in the hands of the umpire crew. Let's hope it doesn't come down to that tonight.

Thank you for stopping in on this warm Saturday morning. You can click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. That's the most important thing in the short period of time we call life, life itself. I'll be seeing you...soon. Your comments are welcome.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rain Halts Any Chance Of Red Sox Comeback...Florida 2 Boston 1

The rains came once again to Fenway Park in the sixth inning with the Florida Marlins holding a slim 2-1 lead on the strength of two solo home runs served up by starter Jon Lester in the sixth inning. The Boston Red Sox could only muster one hit, a first inning tater hit by Kevin Youkilis, against Marlins starter Rickey Nolasco. That was it. Sox starter Jon Lester was servicably good except for two pitches in the second inning which resulted in the tying and winning runs crossing the plate. Boston manager Terry Francona was more succinct...

“I didn’t think he commanded very well,” said Francona. “Saying that, he left two pitches, one he tried to go in, one he tried to go away. They hit them out of the ballpark and other than that he found a way to still give us a chance to win. I think that says a lot. I think it was a tough night. It was a difficult night. Their guy was fantastic."

In all, Lester gave up eight hits, walked none and struck out five in his losing effort but some of the Red Sox players were miffed that the game was started at all. Lester barely had time to get ready and the radar screen before the game began showed a bleak picture. The home team can call a game before it begins but after the first pitch, it's in the hands of the umpires. Rain giveth and rain taketh away and Boston has, in the past, been the beneficiary of similiar situations but last night did not sit well with the Sox players. Here's what Mikey Lowell said after the game was cut short...

“There was still a lot of game left,” said Sox third baseman Mike Lowell. “I’m not saying Nolasco wouldn’t have pitched well, but I think I like our chances with four innings left to score. I think a lot of guys are f*cking pissed off right now. Absolutely, without a doubt,” said Lowell.

His comments were uttered in the heat of the moment. I'm sure he's calmed down quite a bit. On the brighter side, the Yankees lost yet again to the woeful Nationals so the lead in the AL East is still three games. Everything is OK and we'll see how Daisuke does tonight against the visiting Altanta Braves. Here are the three game pitching matchups...

Matsuzaka (1-4) vs. Kawakami (3-6) 7:10pm EDT
Beckett (7-3) vs. Lowe (7-4) 7:10pm EDT
Wakefield (9-3) vs. Jurrjens (5-5) 1:35pm EDT

I hope your Friday will be a great one and I thank you for stopping by. It's been a long time since anyone has left a comment and I want to remind you that all your comments are welcomed and answered. You can click on this post's title for more Red Sox news from SI dot com and as always, BE WELL. See you...soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

500th Consecutive Fenway Sellout A Good One For The Sox...Boston 6 Florida 1

Eleven innings, zero earned runs and ninety five to ninety eight miles per hour fastballs...those are the stats for Boston's Brad Penny in his last two starts. Wednesday night at Fenway Park, he was the winning pitcher in Boston's 6-1 victory over the visiting Florida Marlins. It was the 500th consecutive sellout at the old but charming ballpark, a major league sports record. Not bad, Fenway Faithful, not bad at all. Be proud.

Brad Penny was the star of the night. He has improved with every start and is a valuable piece of the soon-to-be six man Boston rotation. Kudos have to go out to the Red Sox training staff. They've brought Penny back from the brink of extinction. He said this after the game...

“The last two games, back to back, have been the best I’ve felt probably over five years,” said Penny, bothered by shoulder problems last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I just think the shoulder program they got me on here when I came over, these guys worked their butt off. I finally watched them and followed what they’re doing. It’s incredible. I really believe if I hadn’t signed here I wouldn’t be pitching.”

We're SO glad you're feeling terrific and you're pitching for the Good Guys from New England. You have become irreplaceable, as has the Red Sox bullpen, the best there is. Penny exited after five great innings without allowing an earned run and then it was Masterson, Okajima, Ramirez and Papelbon, in a non-save situation, putting goose eggs up on the scoreboard. Pedroia and Big Papi had multiple hit games to lead the offensive attack. Right now, the Red Sox are running on all cylinders and tonight they will go for the series sweep with one of their best pitchers. Jon Lester will face Ricky Nolasco, who is 2-6 with a hefty 7.52 ERA. Gametime is at 7:10pm EDT. Let's look for a win in the 501st consecutive sellout. Coupled with the Yankees embarassing loss to the Nats last night, the Boston lead in the AL East is now at three games. Can you say four? I can say four. Loudly.

As always, take care of yourself and BE WELL. You can click on this post's title for more Sox news from the Boston Globe homepage. Have a great Thursday. See you...soon, if not before. Your comments are highly anticipated and always answered.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Red Sox Win...Yankees Lose!

NY loses to the worst team (by far) in baseball. Boston beats the Marlins 6-1. Yes, the lead is back up to 3 games. More first thing in the morning. Night now. 7 wins in the last 8 games for the Sox in their 500th consecutive Fenway Park sellout. That's a professional sports record. Oh yeah!


The On Demand all Red Sox channel is now WORKING. Just hit the sports category and scroll to the second screen. It's there and IT WORKS (for digital customers only!) Enjoy. I am...right now.


Right now at 7am EDT, the new Comcast On Demand Red Sox Channel is not working. I've already called them and they assured me that they're working on it and it should be available shortly. Enjoy, when we can. thanks.

Wakefield Hooks And Lands the Marlins...Boston 8 Florida 2...COMCAST ROLLS OUT RED SOX ON DEMAND

Tuesday night at Fenway Park in Boston, the Florida Marlins faced knuckleballer Tim Wakefield for the very first time. And it showed. Timmy struck out the first two Marlins batters on six pitches and from there he had a quick and easy six innings, giving up those two runs on six hits while walking just one and whiffing six. It was his ninth victory so far and his hopes for an invitation to the All Star Game are still alive. Wouldn't that be something! He said this after the game...

“Even though it’s a National League team, you can’t take that team for granted. Very good offensive lineup, like I always say, and the fourth inning made my job a lot easier,” said Wakefield, who is 6-0 at Fenway Park this season. “I lost a little bit of control in the sixth. I almost fell behind. Thank God for the lead. I was able to use my other pitches and not get hurt."

Big Papi David Ortiz looks like he's on his way back from the dumps of his slump. Over the last 13 games, Ortiz is 13-for-41 and has lifted his average from .185 to .210. For the month of June, Ortiz is slugging .606 and has compiled a .395 on-base percentage, numbers commensurate with his best seasons. His swings and timing are improving with every at bat. He was moved up to number five in the batting order and if he keeps bashing the ball to all fields like he has started to, he will return to his very familiar number three position. Here's part of what he had to say after his two hit performance...

“My swing’s all about timing,” said Ortiz, “and trying to start everything early to give me time to see the ball, recognize it and do what I want to do. I feel good.”

Papi, when YOU feel good, all of Red Sox Nation feels good, so keep it up. This team is going real well and things can only get better starting next Thursday, June 25th. That's when John Smoltz will make his first start against the Washington Nationals. Boston will go with a six man rotation until the All Star Game, if not longer. Why not?

In another bit of HUGE Red Sox news, for those of you with Comcast Cable, RED SOX ON DEMAND will be available starting today. It is available on the digital tier. I own a digital Hi-Def cable box, so I'm all set, but anyone with a digital box that can access the On Demand menu will be able to enjoy this new feed. Here's what the Comcast vice presidents had to say about this exciting new on demand service that I'm about to see for the first time, as soon as I finish this post to you. Wait, I just checked to make sure it was there. YES! Just hit the on demand button and then the sports and events category. You'll see the Red Sox channel on that next screen. SWEET! WOW!!

“If there’s one thing that New England wants, it’s more Red Sox,’’ said Steve Hackley, senior vice president of Comcast in greater Boston. “This is better than a channel. It’s a library at your disposal anytime you want. We feel we can provide fans with the kind of Red Sox content that they may have never seen before or may want to see again,’’ said Sam Kennedy, executive vice president of the Red Sox.

I'm going right now to check out the new SOX ON DEMAND channel. Have a great Wednesday Hump Day and as always, BE WELL.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Smoltz Decicion Due TODAY Before Red Sox-Marlins Game At Fenway Park

Today is Wednesday, June 16th, the day John Smoltz has been waiting and working for. With Wakefield, Penny and Lester going for the Red Sox against the Marlins today, Wednesday and Thursday at Fenway, the question is this...who will go Friday? We all know Beckett will be ready for Saturday's game with the Braves and Matsuzaka will be SCHEDULED to start the opening game of the series on Friday, but in my mind, it will be John Smoltz. In five rehab starts at three levels this year, Smoltz is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA, a complete game and 19 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings. So why should Boston put Matsuzaka out there again instead of pitching Smoltz and relegating Daisuke to the bullpen while sending Bard back to Pawtucket. If you ask me, there is no reason in the world why they should not. WE WILL ALL KNOW TODAY, when the Red Sox make their announcement. I don't think Daisuke will be happy with their decision but hey, what's best for the team is WHAT'S BEST FOR THE TEAM. Period.

Here are the pitching matchups for the three game series with the Florida Marlins, a team we should beat...

Tuesday..Chris Volstad (4-6 4.07 era) vs. Tim Wakefield (8-3 4.50)
Wednesday..Andrew Miller (2-2 4.30) vs. Brad Penny (5-2 5.32)
Thursday..Ricky Nolasco (2-6 7.62) vs. Jon Lester (4.76)

So we'll wait for that announcement and do not be surprised if Daisuke Matsuzaka will be a part of the Boston Red Sox bullpen, making it even better (??). I just have a feeling we'll all see a confident and ready to go John Smoltz toeing the Fenway Park rubber in the top of the first Friday night. And I'll be smiling. And the Fenway Faithful will be standing and cheering. What a sight it will be. But that's Red Sox baseball, isn't it?

Have a great Tuesday. We're still dodging the rain here in north central Connecticut but that will get better as the day goes by. I thank you for stopping in and I look forward to your insightful comments and my just-as-insightful (I hope) answers. As always, BE WELL. That's the most important thing in this short life span we all share...health. I wish you the best. Oh, click on the title of this post for more stuff all Red Sox.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beckett Bashing In Philly...Philadephia 11 Boston 6

Josh Beckett proved he is just as human as anyone else Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia as he blew a 4-1 lead and the Boston Red Sox were beaten by the Philadelphia Phillies by a score of 11-6. The Phillies six run seventh ended any Boston chance of victory. It was the first outing for Beckett in a very long time where he was not in control. He said this after the game...

“It’s just a damn shame,” Beckett said. “Your team scores you six runs and you can’t hold them to less than that, it’s pretty horrible.”

Sox third baseman summed up the three game series with the World Champions...

“Short term, you win the first two games of a series on the road, you’d like to finish the job. Today that didn’t really work out. But we’ve handled ourselves pretty good. You can measure yourself, see how you match up. We’ve proven we can hang with anyone in the league. We always think that if we play our brand of baseball, we’re one of the best teams in it.”

In fact, the Sox faced four consecutive opponents who occupied first place when the series began. They swept two and went 9-3 overall, so things are going great. Boston holds a two game lead over the NY Yankees as they enjoy an off day today. Next up, at Fenway, will be the Florida Marlins and then the Atlanta Braves. Home cooking and the DH rule will be back in effect. Also, Dustin Pedroia will be back in there Tuesday. He was given a rare day off on Sunday because he is in an uncharacteristic slump. Don't worry, Pedey will turn it around...quickly. Also, Boston is quietly shopping Brad Penny to other teams but they will not part with him unless an offer knocks their socks off. They remember well the situation when they traded Bronson Arroyo to the Reds and the subsequent injury bug that struck the team. You can never have enough pitchers.

Have a great Monday as another week shows its meek face. You can click on this post's title for more on yesterday's game and as always, BE WELL. See you...soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Despite Matsuzaka's Mediocrity, Red Sox Roll To Their Fifth Straight Win...Boston 11 Philadelphia 6

It would be nice to say that Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka continued the string of excellent performances from the Red Sox starting rotation but Saturday night in Philadelphia, that was not the case...not even close. He was only able to go 4 innings and allowed 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and whiffing 3. He gave up 2 taters and (get this) had to throw 91 pitches in that short span. That's ridiculous and his hold on his starting rotation spot is getting more and more tenuous with John Smoltz ready, willing and able to join that quintet. He said this after his short outing...

"It would be a lie to say I'm completely stress-free," Matsuzaka said through translator Masa Hoshino. "But I also know that I have to be patient. At the same time, patience alone isn't going to get me out of this situation. I'm going to make a concerted effort to make some changes and get out of it. I'm not sure exactly how to say it. The pitches they hit were definitely mistakes, but I don't think that was the entire problem. There were other problems"

Daisuke, believe it or not, has allowed seventeen hits in his last 9 2/3 innings. NOT ACCEPTABLE. Whatever he is trying to "get out of," this is a serious problem and we all want to know what the hell is going on. But the Boston bats were booming and Jacoby Ellsbury's speed helped set the table for five Sox runs in the very first inning. Daisuke put a goose egg up on Philly's half of the scoreboard and then the rains came. After the delay, Matsuzaka looked like he just didn't have it. When a starter can go only four innings, it puts stress on that team's bullpen. But the Boston 'pen was up to the task. I guess it helps when your team is plating runners like Dominos bakes pizza. It was 5-4 Good Guys when Big Papi David Ortiz pinch hit for Matsuzaka in the top of the fifth. The Sox scored three in that frame and from there, it was clear sailing. An uneven Delcarmen, Okajima, Ramirez and Papelbon closed this one out as the Boston offense put the game out of reach. But the dilemna remains on the table...what to do with Daisuke with John Smoltz ready to go. We have to wait to learn the answer to that question.

This afternoon, Red Sox ace Josh Beckett will go against J.A. Happ. Beckett has been superb lately and I expect the same exact thing as Boston goes for yet another sweep. First pitch time will be at 1:35pm EDT before an off day on Monday. Boston will then face Florida and Atlanta in a 6 game homestand starting Tuesday. Let's win today and continue the winning streak. They now have the best record in the American League.

Enjoy your Sunday and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are welcome and answered every time. Don't forget, you can click on this post's title for more Red Sox news. See you...soon. Promise. GO SOX. Forever.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jon Lester & The 'Pen Shine As The Red Sox Roll...Boston 5 Philly 2 (13)

My bullpen versus your bullpen. Who's going to win? The Boston Red Sox 'pen, almost every time. They have just about the best bullpen in all of MLB and yesterday they showed everyone just how good they can be...without Jonathon Papelbon, too, who had a night off. Boston beat Philadelphia 5-2 in thirteen innings. Jon Lester started the game and was simply superb for the first seven innings. He gave up a lone run and just two hits, retiring 17 of the final 18 batters and, incredibly, striking out 10 of the last 12. To say his stuff was wicked is the understatement of the year. Here's what he had to say...

"The fastball away has really helped me," Lester said of his recent hot streak. "Guys can't sit on one pitch in one location. You want to be able to move the ball inside, outside, up and down so they have to focus on both sides of the plate. We were able to spread the plate on guys."

Okajima pitched a two strikeout scoreless eighth and the Sox clung to a 2-1 advantage going into the bottom of the ninth. Ramon Ramirez was in there with a chance to earn the save but he couldn't. Ryan Howard smashed a mammoth home run to the deep right centerfield seats to knot the score at two.

It was on to extra innings and the Boston 'pen took command. Justin Masterson and Takashi Saito combined for three scoreboard goose eggs and in the top of the thirteenth, the Boston offense struck for three runs, the big hit a bases loaded single by newly returned Jaboby Ellsbury. Going in to the bottom of the thirteenth, it was 5-2 Good Guys and young Daniel Bard was summoned from the 'pen for the save. And he got the job done, allowing two men on but eventually striking out the side on fastballs reaching 99 MPH and a devastating in-the-dirt slider. He said this after the game...

“There was a lot of adrenaline, but I’ve closed games before,” Bard said. “Not at this level or against that caliber of hitter, and you could see I was leaving my fastball up with just a little extra adrenaline. Fortunately enough, I calmed down, threw my breaking ball for strikes, and it was enough to get me through.”

Bard is the real deal and will be a huge help to the club.The Yankees held two games behind us with an improbable win over the Mets on a dropped easy popout. Who cares when the Sox win, and they took their fourth in a row, again against a first place team. They'll try to do it all over again with Matsuzaka ready to face Bastardo tonight, same time, same channels. Enjoy your Saturday and as always, BE WELL. Click on this post's title for more on the Sox and thank you for stopping by. See you...soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Boston Red Sox Pull Off Sweep Of NY Yankees...Boston 4 NYY 3

Brad Penny spun his best start of the season at the exact right time, going six innings and giving the NY Yankees nothing but goose eggs on the all-important scoreboard. It was 1-0 Good Guys going into the top of the seventh when the Yankees plated three runners courtesy of Manny Delcarmen but the never-say-die Red Sox, with the help of a ten pitch at bat by Dustin Pedroia, scored their own three three runs in the bottom of the eighth off of CC Sabathia, who might have (was) left in the game one inning too long.

Boston reliever Takashi Saito finished the seventh inning and blanked the pinstripers in the eighth, setting the stage for Boston's theatrical comeback. From there, it was Papelbon time and he delivered a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his league leading 16th save. It was Boston's eighth straight 2009 victory over their hated rivals. Big Papi David Ortiz, who clubbed yet another tater on his way out of a prolonged slump, had this to say about the sweep.

“It feels good. We’re playing good against them; we’ve been executing at the right time; our pitching has been unbelievable. That’s what it takes to win games,” said Ortiz, whose blast to the opposite field and into the Monster seats served notice that he is beginning to emerge from his season-long slump.
"We’ve been playing really good. When things are happening, you have to keep on running with it. This is baseball. You never know what can happen in baseball. I know we had those years where we played good against the Yankees, but I don’t remember anything like this.”

The Red Sox did all the little things right and beat the Yankees in every way possible...it was a three game wipeout. Now they start a series with the NL East first place Philadelphia Phillies down in Philly (thanks BFW). Here are the pitching matchups for the Fenway Park AL/NL series...

Jon Lester (5-2, 5.85 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (5-4, 5.46) 7:05pm EDT tonight
Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-4, 7.33) vs. Antonio Bastardo (2-0, 2.45) 7:05pm EDT Saturday night
Josh Beckett (7-2, 3.77) vs. J.A. Happ (4-0, 2.98) 1:35pm EDT Sunday afternoon

I hope every one of you enjoyed the strirring Boston comeback. It was a "cardiac kid" type of win, the best kind of all. In other Sox news, John Smoltz's Pawtucket start last night was rained out. He will go today which means his possible Red Sox debut will also be pushed back at least a day. What to do with Brad Penny? Nobody knows but I'd rather see him in the starting rotation instead of Daisuke Matsuzaka. I don't think Daisuke will be shifted to the bullpen, though. We'll see...soon.

Have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. Click on this post's title for more Sox coverage and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. Thanks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

RED SOX COME BACK!!! Boston 4 Yankees 3

WOW! Eight in a row over the Yankees. 4-3 good guys. I'll be back with everything early in the morning.

Make It 7 Straight 2009 Boston Victories Over Yankees! Red Sox 6 NY Yankees 5

Good morning on this still rainy Thursday morning, the "morning after," so to speak. Wednesday night at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox again defeated their rivals, the pinstriped NY Yankees, by a score a 6-5. Tim Wakefield earned his eighth victory against three defeats by going six innings and allowing three runs on eight hits, walking three and whiffing two. He looked a little shaky in the first couple of innings but settled down enough to keep his team in the game. Boston manager Terry "Tito" Francona said this about his starter...

“Getting through that lineup, for what he did, we’ll take it,” said Francona. “I think we’ve seen him better. Every time it seems I think Wang was having some command problems and we made him work hard, which is the idea. We had some good at-bats, and then we hung on for dear life.”

Indeed, Yankee starter Wang was all over the place, off the plate or splitting the middle of it. When he did the latter, he was pounded. When he didn't, he walked guys. For the second night in a row, a Yankee starter only lasted 2 2/3 innings. The Sox were patient and let Wang self-destruct. His days as a member of the NY starting rotation might be numbered. Sox leftfielder and Yankee killer Jason Bay put it this way...

“If you’re sporadic and you’re not really getting strike one, we’re a bad team to face,” said Jason Bay. “A matchup for us that’s pretty good is if you struggle with command. If you get ahead, it’s obviously a different game plan. I think we match up well against guys that aren’t finding the zone. They have a horse going tonight, a guy they expect to go deep into the game, but it’s something if we’re able to get to him, it would work in our favor.”

The MVP of the Red Sox pitchers last night was none other than the Darkman, Hideki Okajima. He came in to a one run game after Sox reliever Ramon Ramirez gave up taters to Teixeira and Damon and held it that way for 1 1/3 innings. He gave way to a still ailing Jonathon Papelbon, who gritted out his fifteenth save. YES! The Red Sox win was the eighth straight over NY if you count the game on September 28th. I sure do. We ALL do.

Tonight, they do it again. Boston goes for yet another sweep but the Yankees are countering with their high-priced "ace," CC Sabathia. The Sox have had success aginst him in the past. Brad Penny will start for the good guys, pitching for his life. Why? John Smoltz will make his last start for Pawtucket tonight and could be activated to pitch for the Sox against the Marlins on the 16th. Or he might be held back and pitch against the team he played for for 20 years...the Atlanta Braves. No matter what, Penny will be pitching his heart out...bigtime.

Enjoy your Thursday and your Thursday game night. You can click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. GO SOX. I'll say it again...GO SOX. Tonight and every night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SOX WIN 6-5...7 In A Row Over Yankees

More first thing in the morning. Wow, talk about excitement! Be happy.

Yankees Still Zero For '09 Against Red Sox...Boston 7 NYY 0

The Boston Red Sox ran their 2009 record against the New York Yankees to 6-0 with a resounding 7-0 victory Tuesday night at misty but happy Fenway Park. Josh Beckett, 5-0 with an outstanding 1.70 ERA over his last seven starts, simply overmatched every Yankee slugger. He was able to go six strong, giving up only one hit while striking out eight. OUR ACE IS BACK. LONG LIVE OUR ACE. He said this after the game...

“It’s a work in progress,” is how Beckett described his turnaround after the game. “We’re taking care of the stuff we need to take care of. Fastball location is good, which you definitely need to have against the Yankees. I’m executing pitches better."

And how about Big Papi and his two-run tater that was launched, and I do mean launched, into the centerfield stands in the second inning? Red Sox manager Terry Francona had this to say about that...

“There’s no getting around how important this is - I think everybody’s acknowledged that, myself included,” Francona said of Ortiz igniting the team with his third home run of the season. “When he does something like that, he’s an important guy to our lineup. For what we’re trying to get done, when he swings the bat like that, I think we feel better about ourselves.”

That was all Beckett and the bullpen needed to hand the hated pinstripers their sixth straight loss to the good guys. The teams are tied for first place in the AL East, but yesterday Josh Beckett proved that when he's going good, and he's been going good, there is no one better. He used his 95 plus MPH fastball, a knee buckling curve and a devastating sinker that swerved down and in to lefties and down and away to righties to dazzle the pinstripers.. Quite simply, he was fun to watch. The Boston 'pen, in the form of Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez and Daniel Bard, blanked NY the rest of the way. Bard's fastball twice reached 100 MPH. What a bullpen Boston has! Jonathon Papelbon even had time to take a little nap in the 'pen during the game. NESN captured a shot of him.

Tonight it'll be Wang and Wakefield. I hope Timmy's knuckie will be fluttering IN the strike zone...if it is, the Yanks will again be in trouble. But that remains to be seen. The fun is getting there. Enjoy, click on this post's title for a TREMENDOUS article from the Hartford Courant's Jeff Jacobs all about Josh Beckett and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. Thanks again. GO SOX!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Boston Red Sox Vs. NY Yankees...Act Three

The New York Yankees will play the Boston Red Sox in a three game Fenway Park series starting tonight (weather permitting). I'll give you the pitching matchups shortly. Since their last meeting at Yankee Stadium, the pinstripers have gone 20-10 while Boston has gone 16-14. The Yankee bullpen seems to have turned it around but we won't see Mariano Rivera tonight because he's pitched the last three days in a row. Boston is one game behind their hated rivals...not bad considering Big Papi's horrid start and a high ERA for their starting pitching staff. Leftfielder Jason Bay had this to say about that...

“We haven’t played our best baseball yet,” left fielder Jason Bay said. “I think we’re getting there. Our starting pitching is coming along. I still say we can be better as an offense. Defensively, we could be better. The only place we’ve really been good is the bullpen. So when you look at the position we’re in and all we’ve done, yeah, I’ll take that.”

That's an accurate "state of the team" statement. New York has been hot and the Red Sox have played near .500 ball. To be only one game out of first place is a good thing, not a bad one. The series stands at five games for Boston and ZERO games for the Yankees...that doesn't matter one bit. There are thirteen games left between these two teams in the regular season, so anything can and probably will happen. Here are the pitching matchups...

Tonight...AJ Burnett vs. Josh Beckett
Wednesday night...Chien-Ming Wang vs. Tim Wakefield
Thursday night...CC Sabathia vs. Brad Penny

Jacoby Ellsbury is officially day-to-day. An examination of his shoulder revealed NO structural damage, thank goodness, but he won't be in there tonight. Either Baldelli or Kotsay will go if Jacoby cannot. The eye examination of Big Papi David Ortiz revealed that his vision is fine. He was given drops to relieve the dryness he has experienced which caused him to blink while at the plate, hampering his sight at crucial moments (when the ball is on its way to the plate).

The weather for Boston shows rain on the way but it'll be on and off rain which will probably end by gametime. Right now in Farmington, Connecticut, it's pouring. The rain is moving towards the northeast on its way to Fenway but I'm fairly certain that the two teams will be playing ball tonight shortly after 7pm EDT. So enjoy!

You can click on the title of this post for more on this upcoming three game series. GO SOX. As always, BE WELL.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Rangers Take The Rubber Game From Red Sox...Texas 6 Boston 3

Daisuke Matsuzaka continued his mediocre 2009 season with a lackluster 5 2/3 innings on an otherwise beautiful Sunday afternoon. Texas defeated the Red Sox by a score of 6-3. What's wrong with him. Is he OK physically? He explains...

"I think my physical condition itself isn't that bad, but there are things that I am working on right now that I would normally take care of in the preseason or in the offseason," Matsuzaka said. "So in that sense it might take a little bit more time. But what I'm always trying to do is to get back to that where I can put together a good game."

He gave up five runs on 10 hits, walking nobody (!!) and striking out 8 but he couldn't wiggle out of precarious situations the way he usually does. He did, however, throw 102 pitches...that's way too many for the amount of innings he pitched. Oh well, what's done is done. Big Papi continued his modest hitting streak and we have to hope that he'll find a way to get hot. Jacoby Ellsbury jammed his shoulder while making a spectacular outfield grab. He is day to day.

Boston will enjoy a day off today before the Yankees come to town.The pitching rotation for the series is lined up just right. NY will see both Beckett and Lester with Wakefield in between (I think). Taking two of three games would be sweet indeed and totally necessary.

In other Sox news, I have two words for you...John Smoltz. After one more start for Pawtucket, he'll join the big club. The question is this...where will he fit in the rotation? Wakefield, Beckett and Lester ain't going anywhere and Penny is improving and can't be traded until the middle of the month. That leaves Matsuzaka but he's already been on the DL and would not be happy should Boston place him there again. So the question remains without an answer...for now.

That's it for this, yet another Monday. I hope your day will be a terrific one and as always, BE WELL. GO SOX...now and forever.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Best We've EVER Seen Jon Lester Pitch...Boston 8 Texas 1

The Texas Rangers are in no way similiar to the light-hitting KC Royals...they can hit. Last year, Jon Lester no-hit them but his complete game shutout at Fenway Park on Sunday against the heavy hitting first place Texas Rangers was the best I or anyone has ever seen him pitch. He threw only 63 pitches over the first six innings...63! That boggles my mind. He was perfect going into the seventh inning before Michael Young broke up the no-no with a clean, hard hit double to left-center. The crowd rose as one and saluted the young lefthander. Young had this to say after the game...

“That’s one of the best games I’ve ever seen in my career,” Young said. “Barely over 100 pitches (107), pounding the strike zone with all his pitches, you’ve got to give him credit. Lester flat-out has good stuff and it showed tonight.”

Papi had two hits, including a fair pole home run, so maybe he's emerging from his slump. But the night belonged to Lester. He was so dominant that at one point he struck out seven of nine batters. He had eleven strikeouts in all. Here's what pitching coach John Farrell had to say...

“His ability not only to change speeds, but also because the cutter will bore in on right-handed hitters and the changeup has fade, he’s able to spread the plate even more than the 17 inches it is,” pitching coach John Farrell said. “That’s not even to mention the separation of velocity. It lets his fastball have a little more margin for error around the plate or in the strike zone.”

It was a fun game to watch as the outs mounted and the tension grew. I sat there with my mouth open half the time...that's how good he was. And that's when I wasn't standing and cheering. Right now it looks like the Boston starting pitching staff is rounding into shape, with Beckett and Lester, not to mention Wakefield, improving with every start. And the arrival of John Smoltz is nearing quickly. Yesterday, he went six innings and gave up one hit and one run for Pawtucket. We could see him pitching for the big club June 16th against the Marlins, an NL team he knows well. When it rains, it pours, I guess. I like it when it pours.

That's it for this beautiful-to-be Sunday here in north central Connecticut. I hope yours will be a good one and I also hope you were able to see some of the Lester gem. That's exactly what it was. Click on the title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. See you...soon.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Four Run Fifth Gives Texas a 5-1 Victory Over Red Sox At Fenway Park

Ian Kinsler's three run fifth inning tater fueled the Texas Rangers to a 5-1 win over the Boston Red Sox at beautiful Fenway Park Friday night. It was a game Julio Lugo would like to forget. I would too...in fact, I'd like to forget HIM. His range at shortstop has drastically shrunk, allowing that big Texas inning when starter Brad Penny gave up that home run by Kinsler. Boston easily could have been out of the inning with a little help from the soon to be benched (for good?) Lugo. Jed Lowrie took a heated batting practice yesterday in preparation for his activation. Expect Nick Green to be manning the six hole tonight when Jon Lester will face Derrick Holland. Big Papi David Ortiz, who will have an eye examination on Monday, had this to say about the often booed at Fenway Julio Lugo...

“Those were always going to be hits,” Ortiz said. “The guy’s diving for the ball and trying to catch it. What else can you do? It’s not like he’s not hustling.”
Asked if Lugo has looked a step slow since returning from surgery, Ortiz said, “I don’t know. But the guy had surgery on his knee. He’s trying. He didn’t miss a ball that anyone else could dive and get, did he? Unless you’re playing where the ball is hit. He’s maybe four steps away from a hard hit ball, there’s not much you can do about it, other than knock it down. When you’re diving for a ball, it’s not your choice.”

I saw it a little differently than our Papi. Julio SHOULD have knocked down that ball, which would have saved a run. It went under his glove instead. Lugo has lost a couple steps of range and that really showed when those two balls inexplicately eluded his glove. Those men scored on Kinsler's stink bomb. The NY Yankees were rained out, so the Sox moved half a game behind them in the race for first place in the AL East.

In other Sox news, as I mentioned earlier, Big Papi will have his requested eye exam this coming Monday. The players all have yearly eye checks and the Sox brass are not concerned. I wish that WAS the problem because these days, it's easy to fix mounting nearsightedness. Boston manager Terry "Tito" Francona thinks it might just be dry eyes but the professionals will have their say, as they should.

Boston takes on Texas again tonight with the first pitch to be hurled at 7:10pm EDT. Jon Lester is looking for another quality start, just like his last one. Let it be. GO SOX.

I hope your Saturday will be terrific. My girlfriend Nadia and I are going strawberry picking in Avon. The Connecticut native strawberrys are so sweet, it's hard to believe. She's excited to go and I'm thrilled to be able to take her.

You can click on this post's title for the latest Sox news from Sports Illustrated and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you tomorrow morning, if not before. I welcome your comments and I'll respond to all of 'em. Thanks for popping in...I appreciate every one of you SO much.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Sixth Run Third Gives Red Sox Sweep Of Tigers...Papi To Get His Eyes Checked

The Boston Red Sox completed a ten day road trip with a 6-4 record as they beat the Detroit Tigers by a score of 6-3, completing a three game sweep of the AL Central leaders. Except for the second inning in which Wakes gave up the three runs, he was in control and very efficient. He earned his seventh win of the season, leading his club. He said this after the game...

“Throwing early strikes keeps me away from overusing my second and third pitches. I had no walks, which is a good thing. I was able to throw only 80 pitches in 6 2/3 innings. Very efficient. If I’m throwing a lot of strikes, they have to swing early,”

Where would we be without Wakes this season? I'll tell you...roughly seven games behind the first place Yankees. Instead, the two rivals have the exact same record. We'll see them at Fenway next week after a three game set with the AL Central first place Texas Rangers. Remember, the Rangers can hit but their pitching is suspect, to say the least. They ARE in first place, however. Here are the pitching matchups for the Fenway series...

Kevin Milwood vs. Brad Penny...tonight
Derek Holland vs. Jon Lester...Saturday
Vicente Padilla vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka...Sunday

In other Sox news, Big Papi David Ortiz, who sat out yesterday's contest in Detroit, has decided to have his eyes checked. Jim Rice's career dwindled as his nearsightedness increased, but those were the days before soft contac lenses and Lasik surgery. Here's a little of what he had to say...

"You know what? I've been thinking about getting my eyes checked, for real," said Ortiz, who occasionally wears glasses. "There have been some situations that something has happened to my eyes, my vision. But I'm planning on getting my eyes checked out sometime soon . . . just to make sure.

Makes a lot of sense to me, Papi. I'm nearsighted and always had trouble catching the ball in the outfield, but that was softball. Since I had the surgery more than twelve years ago, my vision has been a steady 20-20. I wish it had been when I was playing ball. We had a great team that came one run away from winning it all.

That's it for this Friday grey morning. Rain is moving in, precipitation that will make way for a sunny weekend. I hope you have a great one and I'll be back first thing in the morning, if not before. Click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. See ya...soon.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Beckett Unhittable For 6 2/3 As Red Sox Whup Detroit...Boston 10 Detroit 5

Josh Beckett continued his streak of inspiringly great starts with a 10-5 victory over the Detroit Tigers. It was Boston's third road win in a row and this afternoon, they go for the sweep. With the Yankees loss, they are in statistical first place. It's a nice place to be, especially when a team is playing away from home. Beckett allowed no hits for 6 2/3 innings but with two outs in the seventh, Curtis Granderson, the Tigers' best hitter, lashed a single to dash any hopes of magic. But Boston scored six runs in the eighth to make a 4-0 game a 10-0 laugher. Because of eighth inning infield fielding miscues and poorish pitching, the Tigers scored five times. The lead was still five and Boston earned the victory. In all, Beckett went 7 2/3 innings and allowed three runs, NONE of them earned, on two measly base hits. He struck out nine and walked only two. In a word, he was dominent. He said this after the contest...

“My bullpen was a little suspect, but after the first inning I thought my stuff was pretty good,” Beckett said. “I thought I threw enough curveballs early in the count. You definitely have to locate your fastball against this team because they’re a good fastball-hitting team.”

He located...boy, did he! Josh won his fourth start in a row...we all know when he's going good, the Boston Red Sox win plenty of baseball games. That's the way we like it. Oh, Big Papi David Ortiz stroked a bases loaded double in that crooked number eighth inning to send many Tiger fans home a bit early. I smiled...widely. The two teams will go again today at 1:05 pm EDT. It'll be Wakefield versus Willis. I have a great feeling about this game. Go Timmy...GO SOX.

Nadia arrived here in Hartford a little late, a lot tan, but most important, safely. She had such a long trip. She had egg drop soup with pork fried rice (her request) and a couple spring rolls and then we went out to the steamy but beautiful pool for an outdoor night swim. She's still sleeping, bless her heart. I'm so happy when she's with me. I really am.

Have a great Thursday...it's cool and cloudy here but the sun is supposed to show itself and if it does, the temperatures will leap into the mid to upper 70s. Sounds nice. Click on this post's title for more on last night's Beckettness and as always, BE WELL. I'd love to read and respond to any of your comments. Thanks! See you...soon.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Matsuzaka Good Enough In Red Sox Win

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched five one run six hit innings and threw 96 pitches to garner his first victory of the season against three losses. It was Boston's second road win in a row and they were able to stay one game behind the New York Yankees, a team that will be visiting Fenway Park next week. They're a hot ballclub, but enough about them. Jason Bay hit a third inning two run tater that broke a 1-1 tie and they never trailed again. The last four innings were handled by Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez. They did not allow a single hit, but when Papelbon came in to pitch the ninth, he was greeted by three singles as he had trouble with his location and threw a few hittable balls. They were hit. But he regrouped and retired the side without any Tiger coming near home plate. Here's what Daisuke had to say after the game...

“For a starting pitcher, getting that first win is so important because it kind of marks the beginning of the season in a way,” Matsuzaka said. “I was finally able to get my first win today and I finally feel like I can get the season going.”

Another road victory tonight would be sweet indeed as Josh Beckett, coming off a stellar start last time, faces Armando Galarraga. The first pitch will be thrown at 7:05pm EDT. Be there...I will...on NESN HD, of course.

In other Sox news, John Smoltz joined his team in Detroit and threw a side session in preparation for his Friday start for Pawtucket. Boston manager Terry Francona said he's getting closer to pitching for the big club but I don't expect that to happen until the end of June...if everything goes smoothly. As to who will be dropped from the rotation to make room for him, that's a question with no answer...not right now. And don't forget about Clay Buchholz, who recently had a perfect game through eight innings while pitching for Pawtucket. He's waiting in the wings, too. I like Boston's wings.

I'm running late so I'll wrap this up right now. I hope your Tuesday will be a great one through and through. I'll be picking up my girlfriend Nadia at the Hartford bus station at 3pm EDT today and I can't wait to see her. So much to do, so little time to it. But I'll start right now. As always, BE WELL. I'll see ya...soon. Click on the title for more about the Sox and their win in the Motor(less) City.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Boston Red Sox Are In The Motor City For Three...A Jerry Remy Audio Message

Ah, Detroit, just like I pictured it. Actually, I personally have never been there but the baseball team I love is there right now. They will begin a three game series with the Tigers, who are in first place in the AL Central with a record of 28-21. Here are the all-important pitching matchups...

Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Rick Porcell 7:05 pm EDT
Josh Beckett vs. Armando Galarraga 7:05 pm EDT
Tim Wakefield vs. Dontrelle Willis 1:05 pm EDT

Boston has been playing near .500 ball for far too long. Their starting rotation must become more consistant, Jed Lowrie must come back although Nick Green has been an able replacement, they MUST jettison Julio Lugo and they have to find a way to fix the Papi-less DH situation. Yes, all those questions will be answered by the end of June. Let's hope they stay in or near first place for the duration. I think they will.

Short but sweet for this very early Tuesday. Nadia is on her way to Hartford and should arrive tomorrow at 3 pm EDT. I can't wait. And believe it or not, Manny you-know-who is fifth in the All Star voting. What are the fans thinking? I'm clueless.

That's it for now. I'll be back often. Thanks for stopping by, click on this post's title for news about our beloved Jerry Remy and listen to a recorded message from him. When you get there, turn your sound on and click on the "play" button. It's SO nice to hear his voice again. I hope he'll be back soon...we all do. I have my doubts and I hope those doubts are off base, WAY off base.

As always, BE WELL, and I'll be seeing you...soon. Leave a comment if you'd like. I'd love it. Thanks.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Getaway Win For Lester & The Red Sox

Jon Lester was dominant after the first inning as the Boston Red Sox humbled the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 8-2. Lester went six strong, giving up that first inning run and getting stronger as his six inning stint progressed. He ended up with a season-high twelve (!) strikeouts. Quite simply, he was fun to watch. Boston manager Terry "Tito" Francona has this to say about him...

“That’s as good as we’ve seen him,” said manager Terry Francona after Lester had struck out a career-high 12. “He pitched great. He used all his pitches and there was power behind them.

And here's the lefthander himself...

I feel like I’m going in the right direction,” Lester said. "But after the first inning, I was able to get into a little better rhythm. I guess the biggest thing for me is trying not to do too much. I’ve been running into problems where some balls have flattened out on me because I’ve been trying to do too much, trying to have that shutdown inning instead of just letting my body work for me and doing quality location and throwing quality pitches. I was able to focus on that a little bit more today and have better results because of it.”

Justin Masterson pitched the seventh and the eighth and gave Toronto their final tally of the game. Ramon Ramirez, in a comeback performance from his last mediocre outing on Saturday, pitched a scoreless ninth and the BoSox were able to jet to Detroit on a winning note. After their much deserved day off today, they start a three game set with the Tigers before coming home, home, home at last to tangle with the Rangers and the pinstriped Yankees. Bring 'em on. We're now just half a game out of first place.

Have a great Monday as yet another new week begins. I hope your weekend was great...mine was average although it was beautiful here yesterday in north central Connecticut. I'll be better, MUCH better once Nadia gets here. That will be (God willing) Wednesday. I miss her so much.

Feel free to click on this post's title to be zapped to the Boston Globe Red Sox homepage and as always, BE WELL. I'll be seeing you...soon. Your comments are always welcome...I'll respond to every one. Thanks.