Sunday, May 31, 2009

Red Sox Win...Yankees Lose!

Lester and Youkilis were dominant in securing the Boston Red Sox victory Sunday afternoon...with a revamped lineup, too. More first thing in the morning. Final score...Boston 8 Toronto 2

Mediocre Pitching And Light Hitting Add Up To Another Red Sox Loss...Toronto 5 Boston 3

Four hits just aren't going to win many ballgames for the Boston Red Sox. Indeed, they haven't scored more than three runs in what seems like ages. Saturday afternoon, even though they scored three runs in the first couple innings, goose eggs the rest of the way added up to another loss to Toronto, a team that had lost nine stright games before the Sox waltzed into town. Brad Penny was his usual self, going six full and surrendering three runs, two of them earned, giving up ten hits, striking out five and walking none. Ramon Ramirez was the first guy out of the bullpen and was uncharacterisically bad, seemingly without a steady rythym. He gave up the other two Jays' runs. Okie and Delcarmen finished the last 2 1/3 scoreless innings, but with four hits for the day, Boston was doomed. Dustin Pedroia had this to say about his team's featherwight hitting...

“I think we got three hits today or whatever it was (it was four), but we need to find a way to score runs because we’re not winning many games right now and we need to start,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “It’s not early anymore. We’ve played 50 games, so we need to start doing some things offensively.”

You said it all, Pedey, you said it all. Boston plays its last game of this road trip this afternoon with Jon Lester ready to face Ricky Romero. Too many times recently, the Red Sox have made a mediocre pitcher look like a world-beater. That will change. Lester wants to rebound from a lackluster effort last time. It would be nice to jet home to Boston with one more win under our belts. The team has been playing near or a little less than .500 baseball since their huge winning streak...that HAS to change. SOON. The pinstripers won once again so we're 1 1/2 games out of first place. That'll change, too.

I hope you have a great Sunday with beaches, baseball, swimming and/or grilling in your plans. It will be a beautiful day in the low 70s here in north central Connecticut and I plan to make the most of it. It's a little chilly now but the sun is almost as strong as it gets all year on this last day of May, so those temperatures will zoom upwards once that sun is higher in the sky. Sunrise was only one hour ago so there's a lot of daylight left. My girlfriend Nadia should be leaving from Minnesota to come here in the next two days...I can't wait. She might stay for the entire summer. By the amount of suitcases she's bringing, she could stay for life!

Click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you...soon. Real soon.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lumberless Red Sox Lose Again To Jays Up North...Toronto 5 Boston 3

What happened? Where are the Red Sox hits...only four today for the Sox.

More tomorrow, first thing.

Five Run Blue Jays Fifth Dooms Red Sox

It was 2-1 Boston going into the bottom of the fifth inning up in Toronto Friday night...but then the roof fell in on Tim Wakefield. The Jays, losers of nine straight games before the Sox arrived, scored five runs in that fateful fifth and won the game going away by a score of 6-3. The Red Sox have been playing .500 baseball since their big winning streak and they haven't scored more than three runs since Big Papi was moved from third to sixth in the batting order. OUCH! Here's what David had to say after the game...

“All I can do about myself right now is laugh. I ain’t going to cry,” said Ortiz, who went 0-for-4 and is now 2-for-15 since switching to the No. 6 spot at the beginning of this trip. “Laugh, keep on swinging and wait for the good-luck."

Except for that fateful fifth, Wakes was OK, but the damage was done and even though Bard and Saito held the Jays scoreless until the end, Boston could not plate any runners. To tell you the truth, it was a blah game, start to finish. On the bright side, Bard has been exceptional out of the 'pen, a future star in the making.

Boston manger Terry Francona is feeling fine after his racing heart resumed its normal rythym. I swear he almost passed out on the field while arguing Jason's Vartek and Josh Beckett's strike zone complaints Thursday night. He cares about his team...boy, does he care. We love him.

That's it for this beautiful Saturday morning here in north central Connecticut. The Jays and Sox tangle again this afternoon at 1:07pm EDT with Brad Penny ready to face Brian Tallet. May the force be with them...crooked numbers galore on the scoreboard, too. Have a terrific Saturday as we head quickly towards June. Time flies, all the time. I'll see you soon. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. Thanks. Click on the title for more Sox stuff. See ya.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Becket's Pitching And Varitek HRs Power Boston Win...Boston 3 Minnesota 1

The Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins played in a superbly pitched baseball game Thursday afternoon in Minnesota. Jason Varitek smashed solo home runs in the fifth and seventh innings to power the Red Sox to a 3-1 lead. Co-star of the game Josh Beckett was at his best for seven full innings, allowing that one run on only three hits while striking out eight. He was dominant, to say the least, the Josh Beckett who will lead this team to post season play with a little help from his friends.

But the game was not without its fireworks. In the top of the seventh, Twinkie's catcher Mark Redmond and manager Ron Gardenshire were tossed for arguing Jeff Bailey's safe call at the plate, giving the Sox their final margin of victory. But the tumult was not over...not by a long shot. In the bottom of the seventh, Josh Beckett throught he was being squeezed by substitute Triple A ump Todd Tichenor. He yelled something from the mound, something "that can't be heard on television," according to Josh, and Varitek got in Tichenor's face immediately. Tito Francona, who had to be examined in the clubhouse after the game by a team of EMTs with a stretcher, rushed out to aid his captain but both were ejected. He said this after the game...

"I thought Tichenor was making it hard on Beckett," Francona said after praising his starter. "I know Beckett yelled in. Tek's protecting Beckett, and I'm protecting Tek. He got Tek, and that's what I didn't want to have happen. I'm not fast enough to get out there in time. I'd rather him throw me out than Tek. Tek's going to have a hell of a lot more to do with the outcome than I am. Sometimes you have to state your opinion."

Francona's blood pressure was sky high but he was OK to fly to Canada with his team, thank God. He's the best and he cares for his guys, almost too much. It was a Boston Red Sox win and they take over sole position of first place with a half game lead over the pinstripers, who shall remain nameless. Here are the three game pitching matchups. Notice that we'll miss seeing Roy Halladay once again. Phew! Here you go...

Tim Wakefield vs. Casey Jannsen...7:07pm EDT Friday night
Brad Penny vs. Brian Tallet...7:07pm EDT Saturday night
Jon Lester vs. Ricky Romero...1:35pm EDT Sunday afternoon

That's it for this Friday morning, a cool and rainy one here in north central Connecticut. Enjoy the day and your weekend. I'll be here first thing in the morning, if not before. I'd love to read and respond to your comments and remember, simply click on the title of this post for more Boston Red Sox news. As always, BE WELL. See you...soon.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Wild Boston Loss...Twins 4 Red Sox 2

I'm back from my 24 hours of spamness, imposed by blogger dot com's automated computers. As Sully (see his link on my link list, Sul Dog, about two thirds of the way down...he's the best) said, my blog is the farthest a blog could be from spam. Computers make mistakes just like people do. Oh well, enough about that. It was an ugly and cringe-inducing night at the Metrodome on Wednesday as the Boston Red Sox fell to the Minnesota Twins by a score of 4-2. Daisuke Matsuzaka still has not found his rythym, only going five innings and having to throw 102 pitches, 63 for strikes. Too many of those balls were wild pitches and Delcarmen and Masterson didn't help matters much at all. I think it's amazing the Twinkies did not score more...they had runners all over the place. Clearly, Matsuzaka has to get his act together. Is his ineffectiveness due to the World Baseball Classic? No one can answer that...yet. He said this after his horrid outing...

“I think today deciding to challenge early in the count, or not to, I didn’t do that very well,” Matsuzaka said. “Sometimes when I wanted to challenge early in the count, I pitched a little too patiently, and then other times when I needed to be a little bit more patient, I rushed with my out pitches a little bit.

He should attack the darn strike zone more instead of nibbling. Folks, this one was ugly, played at a snail's pace as so many of Daisuke's starts are. It was his third loss. He didn't lose his third game until September last year...this year is different. Way different.

It day baseball for the final game in Minneapolis. The first pitch will be thrown at 1:10pm EDT. It'll be Beckett facing Swarzak. We need a win and a vintage Beckett outing. Let it be.

Thanks for stopping in on this gloomy Thursday morning. Boston is now tied with the pinstripers for first place. NY is a strong team. The most important thing for Boston right now and for the rest of the season is to get more consistantly good pitching from their starters. The bullpen is there but the rotation guys have to STEP UP!! Click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. GO SOX.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Blog Has Been Declared Spam...For Now

I'm hoping blogger dot com and their computers will fix this BS. I've already submitted the request. I'll be back in a day...or two. GO SOX.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Penny Heads Up For Boston...Red Sox 6 Twins 5...Papi Batting Order Move Iminent

The Boston Red Sox were able to hold on and defeat the Minnesota Twins by a score of 6-5. A "vomiting between innings" Brad Penny earned his fifth win. He pitched five and a third innings and allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out SEVEN and walked none. And he did it while an upset stomach with nausea led to between inning clubhouse breaks. Boston manager Terry Francona said this...

"He'd come out, throw up, laugh, go get 'em," said Terry Francona. "He handled it really well. And I actually thought he threw well even if he wasn't sick. Technically, it wasn't a quality start, but it was for me. He's done his job and he's getting better. We knew what he was going through between innings, and that was impressive. He said every time he threw up, he felt better. I didn't really want to witness that."

I wouldn't either, Tito. Ramon Ramirez continued his string of great appearances, going one and two thirds scoreless and hitless innings. He was followed by Hideki Okajima, bringing us to the ninth inning and Paps time. The score was 6-3 Sox by then because Bailey hit a solo shot in the top of that frame. Jonathon made the game close, too close, giving up a two run tater to Joe Mauer. He got out of it with an outfield fly ball and the Red Sox held on to their one game lead in the AL East. That's the way it should be. It ain't easy, though.

In Big Papi news, he did not play yesterday and most likely he will be moved to the five or six spot in the batting order tonight. That's OK with me. For the second game in a row, Boston had sixteen base hits, led by Mikey Lowell's four. He is simply invaluable to this team.

First pitch time will be at 8:10pm EDT with Jon Lester ready to face Nick Blackburn. Lester had a great outing five days ago and would like to continue that bright trend. He can do it. I know it.

Have a great Tuesday as we start another work week. As always, BE WELL. Oh, GO SOX...first place is nice, oh so nice. Click on this post's title for more Sox news and I'll see ya...soon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

SOX UP...Bottom Of The 9th...

Paps on the mound...6-3 Sox but there's a leadoff base hit. Paps, where are the you I remember? WE WILL WIN THIS ONE.

Paps out...bottom of the ninth. TWO outs...YES...we're in first place still. The count is 1-1...1-2...home run...geez, another ninth inning home run off of Paps. 6-5 Boston.

It's OVER!!!! 6-5...the good guys from Boston WIN. More first thing in the morning.

Happy Memorial Day.

Red Sox Bats Come Alive But Big Papi Remains In His Funk...Boston 12 NY Mets 5

The Boston Red Sox and their bats came alive Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park and the result was a satisfying 12-5 rout of the NY Mets. Tim Wakefield garnered the victory, his sixth, and Manny Delcarmen and Takashi Saito put up goose eggs in the final three innings to nail that win down. JD Drew collected four hits, Mike Lowell three and George Kottaras added three more in the sixteen hit Boston attack. But all eyes are still on Big Papi David Ortiz and his continuing struggles at the plate. He said this after his zero for five afternoon.

“Things happen, you know?” a relatively upbeat Ortiz said. “They happen for a reason. What you can never do is just give up. You’ve got to keep fighting, man. Keep fighting, keep fighting, keep on fighting. That’s all I’ve got in my mind right now - keep fighting. I like what I am right now,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you. I’m hitting some screamers, hitting some balls. There’s not too much I can do about it. Things get to the point where they can eat you up. But I’m not that type of guy."

Keep fighting, Papi, but I must admit that right now you look lost at the plate. I'm baffled as to why. Boston manager Terry Francona must decide soon whether to move Papi down in the order. He had a few words about his designated hitter...

“David’s important to us,” Francona said. “There’s no way around that. We’d rather spend our time getting him back on track than figuring out where to hide him. But big picture, we’ve got to get him going."

Boston begins a ten game road trip with four games with the Minnesota Twins. They'll play at the Metrodome (I call it the Ugly Dome. I've been there...don't go) today with the first pitch at 2:10pm EDT. Here are the pitching matchups...

Penny vs.
Lester vs. Blackburn...Tuesday
Matsuzaka vs. Slowey...Wednesday
Beckett vs. Swarzak...Thursday

I hope your Memorial Day Monday will be a great one. I'm sure you'll have the time to remember all the men and women who have or are serving their country with courage and bravery. They are who this day honors. Click on the title of this post for more on the latest Sox news and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Papi-less Red Sox Routing Mets

12-5 Boston right now in the top of the 8th at Fenway. Every Boston hitter has had a hit, except for Big Papi. More to come.

Going into the bottom of the 8th...12-5 good guys. Delcarmen has been GREAT! I'll be back for the top of the 9th.

After 8 full, 12-5 Red Sox.

Pitching for Boston is Saito as Youk moves to third and Bailey mans first...still 12-5 Sox...count 1-2..2-2..3-2..not much tension at the out and the count is 0-1. Foul ball makes the count 0-2...another foul ball, still 0-2...ground ball to Bailey at first...2 outs...strike one...strike two...crowd 1-2...Yankees and Jays lost and BOSTON WINS!!!!

That's it from here now...see you in the morning.

Papelbon Surrenders Two Run Ninth Inning HR...Mets 3 Red Sox 2

This was a tough one to lose for the Boston Red Sox Saturday night at Fenway Park. Boston had a 2-1 lead after eight full as Josh Beckett was flat-out tremendous. He pitched eight brilliant innings and gave up only one run on five hits. He struck out five and walked only one. It was by far his best start of this 2009 season. But it all went for naught as the Metsies scored two in the top of the ninth on a home run hit by Omir Santos off Jonathon Papelbon. There were two outs at the time. It was Pap's first blown save in nine months. He said this after the game...

“I’m going to shoulder this one,” Papelbon said. “This is on my shoulders. It’s my job to go out and preserve the win and I didn’t, so it’s on me. Tonight is on me. I want to be back out there and get a chance tomorrow and pick my guys up and let them know I’m still here kicking. It’s not shocking because the simple fact is it’s an overthrown fastball right down the middle,” Papelbon said. “The guys in the big leagues are going to do that. It just wasn’t a well-executed pitch. In those situations and in games where hitters have had plenty of at-bats throughout the night, if you come in and mislocate and overthrow, you’re going to pay.”

No closer is perfect and Paps had gone SO long without something like this happening. But Boston managed only six hits while at the plate. That usually doesn't do the job, not by a long shot. It almost did Saturday night. Hey, it's part of the game of baseball, the game we love. Let's all turn the I said NOW!

This afternoon, it's Fenway baseball with the Mets once again as Tim Wakefield will face Tim Redding, who has no decisions so far this season. Let's give him his first a gift and a going-away present. Sounds good to me!

Thanks for stopping in on this very early Sunday, the day before Memorial Day. My girlfriend Nadia will be back in Connecticut by the end of the week and I can't wait. I miss her. Enough of that, I guess. Enjoy the game today...first pitch will be at 1:35pm EDT. Click on the title of this post for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. If you're out there on the road, be careful. It's a holiday weekend with too many people on the roads, WAY too many, some drunk, most not. See you...real soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Santana Just Too Good As Mets Beat Red Sox 5-3

Johan Santana of the NY Mets showed everybody at Fenway Park and all of Red Sox Nation why he is considered one of the best, if not THE best pitcher in all of baseball. When asked about him, Boston manager Terry Francona said..."God, he's good." Those three words say it all. Daisuke Matsuzaka was OK in his own slow way, but we're all used to that. He threw eighty pitches and gave up four runs on five hits, walked two and struck out four while lasting only five innings. But the game hinged on a botched double play by error prone Julio Lugo. This one wasn't ruled an error but it was clear to me that he threw flat-footed to first with not enough zip to nail the approaching runner. His defensive lapses have been alarming, to say the least. He said this after the game...

"I was trying to stay on the bag and get the first one first, before we do anything," Lugo said quietly. Asked whether he was caught flat-footed on the throw to first base, he said, "I made a throw over there. He just beat it."

Sugar coat it, Julio. Pedey Pedroia kindly said this about the same missed opportunity...

"We just didn't turn it," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "We have to turn that double play in that situation. That's obvious. Everyone knows that. It just didn't happen."

The Mets ended up scoring three runs in that fourth inning instead of one and the Red Sox never matched their run total. Santana was just too good and Lugo might have cost 'em a game. But I've turned the page and look to Fenway Park tonight at 7:10pm EDT. Josh Beckett, hungry for a good start and a win, will face Mike Pelfrey, whose record is 4-1. GO SOX.

Enjoy your Saturday and the holiday weekend, click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL. I'll be seeing you...soon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lester Sharp As The Red Sox Sweep The Blue Jays Out Of Town...Boston 5 Toronto 1

Boston Red Sox rightfielder Jason Bay got his team off to a zooming start in the first inning Thursday night, clubbing a three run home run that actually hit the top of the outfield wall, bounced into the Sox bullpen and then to the crowd. I thought it would be caught and so did Jason. He said this after the game...

"I think I had just rounded first, because it was hit fairly high, so I had time to get around first," Bay said. "I thought he had caught it. It was actually kind of the reaction of the crowd that let me know that it didn't get caught."

This game belonged to Jon Lester, though, as he returned to the form Red Sox Nation knows so well. He was disgusted with himself after giving away a four run lead in Seattle last week and he vowed to work his hardest to return to the Lester we know and love. He did just that and put it this way...

“I feel a lot better about myself than I did my last start,” Lester said. “There’s still some things we need to work on and improve on, but I made some good strides tonight and pitched out of some jams. After my last start, I didn’t sit in the clubhouse and beat myself up and feel sorry for myself,” he said. “We’ve got 25 other guys on the team that don’t need to see me sitting sulking in my locker.”

He was, in a word, terrific. The Red Sox swept the overacheiving Blue Jays and actually are one game ahead of them in the loss column. The NY Yankees kept their winning streak going, taking their ninth in a row. But now it's time for inter-league baseball with three games against the struggling Mets. Let's hope their struggles continue. Here are the pitching matchups for the Fenway Park series...

Santana (5-2, 1.36) vs. Matsuzaka (0-1, 12.79) tonight 7:10pm EDT
Mike Pelfrey (4-1, 4.61) vs. Josh Beckett (4-2, 5.85) Saturday 7:10pm EDT
Tim Redding (0-0, 3.00) vs. Wakefield (5-2, 3.59) Sunday 1:35pm EDT

I hope Daisuke will be able to have a great start. Ever since the World Baseball Classic, he hasn't been right but he's been building the strength in his money shoulder for the past few weeks. There will be a designated hitter in the series because the games are at Fenway. It should be fun, three games of fun. First place is ours for the taking...I was not impressed with Toronto at all. The exception is when Roy "Doc" Halladay is on the mound. He might be the best pitcher in all of baseball. Right now, he is.

OH, I almost forget to mention this momentous Sox news...John Smoltz, recovering from shoulder surgery performed last summer, threw three scoreless innings Thursday for the Red Sox's Class A affilliate in Greenville. In his first game action in almost a year, he struck out two and threw 29 pitches. That's a good start and I hope to see him take the mound at Fenway by mid to late June. Wow...that's all I can say. What an addition to an "already getting better" starting rotation.

OK, I've rambled on long enough. You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox from SI. Have a great long holiday weekend, leave a comment if you can and as always, BE WELL. See you...soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Red Sox Homer Barage Grounds Jays 8-3

The fifth inning Wednesday evening at Fenway Park was a mighty good one for the home team as Boston slammed four home runs and scored six times to break open a 2-0 game. Yes, Big Papi David Ortiz FINALLy hit one out...he slammed a fat pitch into the centerfield camera well as the crowd stood and roared and Papi double-pointed to the Big Guy upstairs. The elated slumping slugger also had a wall double. Will this kind of performance start a Papi resurgence? We all hope so. He said this after Boston's 8-3 victory...

“I feel good, man, I feel like I just got that big ol’ monkey off my back,” Ortiz said. “In this game sometimes that’s all it takes, to have a good at-bat, to get a good hit, and then everything starts clicking. I was missing pitches I normally hit, or sometimes put a good swing on it and still miss. That’s crazy, it gets you thinking,” Ortiz said. “It puts you in a situation where you’re thinking, ‘What do I have to do?’ I’ll try it all. I was about to hit right-handed.”

No you weren't, Papi. Jason Varitek, who had a pair of taters, had this to say about his large and now very happy teammate...

“David will hit, it’s not a question of if he can hit,” said catcher Jason Varitek, whose pair of home runs including one to start the pivotal fifth inning, were left in the shadows by Ortiz’ center-stage moment. “Everyone’s human. You run across points in your life where things aren’t necessarily easy. I think it’s big we had our fans get behind him. It was a pretty electric moment for David.”

As 'Tek said, the Fenway crowd was especially excited and they let Papi know it. BIGTIME. When that ball met the camera well, the roar was deafening. David knew it as he gleefully circled the bases. Brad Penny pitched well again, going six and two thirds innings while giving up two runs and nine hits. He earned his fourth victory against a lone defeat and has held down the five spot in the rotation admirably. The 'pen took over from there with Delcarmen and Bard, who surrendered his first run of the season in his first ever Fenway mound appearance. Okajima, who's been unstoppable so far in '09 and Saito made the win official.

That makes it two in a row over the (for now) first place Jays. The Yankees continue to emerge victorious, winning their seventh in a row, all since AROD returned to the lineup. Their only weakness that I can see so far is their bullpen. That might be their Achilles Heel...let's hope so.

Tonight at the Fens, Jon Lester will face the 1-1 Robert Ray as they try to sweep Toronto out of town, way out of town. The first pitch will be thrown at 7:10pm EDT. The Mets are their next foe, but that's a post for tomorrow. Click on this post's title for more on last night's long ball win and as always, BE WELL. Thanks for popping in and I'd love to read and respond to your comments. Have a great Thursday. See ya...soon, real soon. Promise

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tim Wakefield's Knuckies KO First Place Jays...Boston 2 Toronto 1

Tim Wakefield rescued the Boston Red Sox with a much needed clutch eight inning performance Tuesday evening at Friendly Fenway Park. He gave up that one lone run on five measly hits while walking two and striking out three. Jonathon Papelbon pitched a one-two-three ninth and earned his eleventh save. It seems that Wakes has had his best stuff for the times his club needs him the most. He's been "THE GUY." He said this after the game...

"I guess I've just been that guy," Wakefield said. "It's not like I'm trying harder. Knowing the situation, I'm just going out there, and my job as a starter is to go deep in a game and keep us in the game as long as possible. Tonight was one of those nights where I had very good stuff."

Manager Terry Tito Francona had this to say about his star knuckleballer...

"He's been that guy. When the bullpen's needed a rest, he's gone eight innings. When we've needed a win, he's gone out there and put up zeros. He's been that consistent guy."

Yes, he has. Big Papi David Ortiz is still mired in a homerless hitting drought. Last night he was zero for four and he seemed frustrated on his last walk back to the dugout. I'm not surprised he feels that way but I still know he will hit himself out of it in a huge way. But with pitching like Tuesday night, it didn't matter one bit. Bang a tater tonight, Papi...we love you.

In other Red Sox news, Kevin Youkilis, who was a combined zero for six in his two games at Pawtucket, will be manning first base for the big club tonight and hit in the cleanup position. Daisuke Matsuzaka will reclaim his place in the starting rotation and will pitch Friday night. Masterson, who did a tremendous job replacing him, will return to the bullpen, making the best bullpen in the league even better. So it's good news all around, just the way we like it, just the way it should be.

Tonight, Brad Penny will face Brett Cecil, who is 2-0 and has a great ERA of 1.81. GO SOX. Click on this post's title for more on last night's win from the Boston Globe and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you...soon. Leave a comment or two if you can. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Home Sweet Fenway Park Home

The Boston Red Sox have finished their regular season left coast trips and I'm very happy about it. The club does have a few problems that have become clearly evident in the past three weeks but those are easily solvable. And now the first place Toronto Blue Jays invade Friendly Fenway for the next three nights. Here are your pitching matchups for the series...

Brian Tallet (2-1 4.63) vs. Tim Wakefield (4-2 4.03) today
Brett Cecil ( 2-0 1.80) vs. Brad Penny (3-1 6.89) Wednesday
Robert Ray (1-1 3.60) vs. Jon Lester (2-4 6.51) Thursday

All three games will have a first pitch time of 7:10pm EDT. The three Sox starter's ERAs gives you a clue as to why the club is struggling a bit, a big bit, but I do not envision high ERAs for much longer. As Boston did earlier this season, they could easily put up another long winning streak, a string of games that would vault them past the Jays and keep them ahead of the suddenly streaking pinstripers. Let's hope so...starting tonight.

In other Red Sox news, Kevin Youkilis played his first game of two with the Pawtucket triple A club. He said this after last night's game...

“For me, it’s about staying healthy, and at the end of the day if you feel good, that’s the key,” Youkilis said after the game, a 9-2 PawSox loss. "I don’t think it’s about going 3-for-3 and hitting home runs. I think it’s about being healthy.”

He felt good last night even though he was hitless in two at bats and had to make a tough play at first base. Expect him back with the big club in time for Friday's opener with the NY Mets. Yes, that's right...inter-league play rears its ugly head once more. But it should be a great series with a premiere matchup featuring Josh Beckett and Johan Santana coming soon to a Fenway near you.

Well, that's it for this Tuesday morning. I expect my girlfriend Nadia back here in Farmington (CT.) by the end of the weekend...I can't wait. She completes me in some unfathomable way. I don't really understand why but I guess it doesn't matter. I'm happy when she's around...she feels the same way. Another long bus trip is in store for her but I purchased an extra cell phone battery so that she can always be in touch with a nervous Peter.

I hope everything is going well for you, my Constant Readers, and as always, BE WELL. Take care of yourselves...that's the most important thing, and leave a comment or two. I'll answer every one of 'em. Promise. Click on the title of this post for more Soxy stuff and I'll see you soon, real soon.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ninth Inning Error Dooms Red Sox...Seattle 3 Boston 2

A well pitched game by Justin Masterson and the effective Sox bullpen was all for naught Sunday afternoon in Boston's final West coast game of the year. Hard to believe that one...but it's true. No more trips to the left coast. Texas, yes, but in sight of the Pacific...nope. Shortstop Nick Green's ninth inning error on a routine grounder turned into the winning run for the Seattle Mariners in a 3-2 win over the Sox. Green said this after the game. He was subdued, to say the least...

“I had a good grip on it,” said a dejected Green, who flubbed a grounder in the sixth for another error. “I threw it away, I just threw it away. It happens. Do I want it to happen? No. Obviously it happened at the wrong time, so what are you going to do? I’ve been trying to slow things down. I slowed it down too much. I took my time, but I got a little lazy and didn’t come back over the top of the ball. It sucks to happen, but it did.”

Boston has commited more errors at the shortstop position than any other team in baseball. Some, like yesterday's, can be game breakers. Justin Masterson pitched well enough to win but runs have been hard to come by these days without Papi and Youk in the lineup. Papi will be back in there tomorrow for the opening game of a Fenway Park ten game homestand, first against AL East leader Toronto. Boston will then play three against the Mets and end the wonderful and hopefully productive homestand with four against the Minnesota (hi Nadia!) Twins. Youk WILL PLAY with Pawtucket today in preparation for his soon-to-be return, hopefully on Wednesday. When your leading hitter (two with Papi) is not in the lineup, it's tough.

I hope you have a great Monday and enjoy the Red Sox day off. I know they will. They're still their own beds. That's a good thing. Hats off to the Boston Celtics for giving it their all, two game sevens included. Without KG, they're not the Celtics we've known over the past two years. I'm rooting for the Cavaliers...anyone but the Lakers. I remember the Magic/Bird wars all too much...good times every damn game. As always, BE WELL. Click on this post's title for more Sox stuff. Thanks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Beckett Sharp...Varitek, Bay & Bailey Provide The Power As The Red Sox Knock Off The Mariners

“It’s nice to win tonight,” Pedroia said. “We’ve got to do a better job of putting the game out of reach. Teams are going to come back. It’s hard to keep them down. I know our bullpen’s great, but we need to extend, get that two-run lead to four.”

Those were prophetic words from the 2008 AL MVP Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia and they were dead on accurate Saturday night in Seattle. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Seattle Mariners by a score of 5-3. Josh Beckett was spectacular for seven innings. He threw 120 pitches in the game, every one of 'em needed. It was the first time since Opening Day that Beckett allowed fewer than three earned runs in a start. It's SO nice to know that our number one rotation guy is back, at least for a night. I have a feeling it will be far longer than that. Every guy in the starting rotation knows that their staff ERA is the highest in all of the Major Leagues. Not for long...I guarantee it.

The Red Sox zipped out to a 4-0 lead after one and a half innings but the Mariners scored three quickly. THAT WAS IT! It was all Josh "Baseball" Beckett and the amazing Red Sox bullpen. Boston tacked on another run in the fifth to nail down the victory. Josh ended up going full seven innings while giving up three runs, striking out five Mariner batters. He threw 120 pitches. The bullpen came on in the eighth and Okie, Ramirez (he's been SO tremendous with an ERA right now of 0.44!) and Jonathon Papelbon made the victory official for all of us. It was Papelbon's league-leading tenth save. He hasn't made it look easy but he gets the job done. Every time. EVERY TIME.

That's it for now on this very early Sunday morning. The Sox and the Mariners tangle one more time today...that game will end Boston's left coast road trips for the entire season (I think). It'll be Masterson versus Vargas at 4:10pm EDT. Let's take this three game set and then, then, it's back east to Friendly Fenway after a day off on Monday, a much-needed one.

Please click on the title of this post for more Red Sox stuff from Sports Illustrated. and as aways, BE WELL. I appeciate every one of your comments. Have a terrific Sunday. See ya...soon. Enjoy the 4:10pm EDT game on NESN and the usual radio broadcast suspects. GO SOX.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More Left Coast Woes And Lester Ineffectiveness...Seattle 5 Boston 4

The song remained the same Friday night in Seattle for Jon Lester as the Red Sox came up on the short end of a 5-4 score. Two meatballs to Ichiro, a singles hitter, rocketed out of the park. Worse yet, Boston gave up a 4-0 lead after three innings when Lester and Bard surrendered five runs in the fifth and sixth frames. It was ugly all around. You can tell how unhappy Jon Lester was when you read the following words. I've restored the actual wordage of the following quote. Here you go...

"It sucks," Lester said of his season. "I really don't know what to say, other than it's been shitty. I bust my ass every five days to go out and perform and I'm not performing right now. I'm letting the team down. There's no reason that we should not have won that game after four runs in the first three innings. It's just inexcusable. But with that being said I can promise you that there hasn't been a pitcher that has worked harder than I have from the beginning of this season, and there won't be a pitcher for the remainder of the season that will work as hard as I will to get back to where I have been in the past. I don't think we're far. I think it's just little things right now that are screwing up my outings. Hopefully - no, not hopefully - it will turn around. It will turn around here in the future for not only me, but the team."

Turn, turn turn, Jon. He sounded disgusted but hopeful. After a loss such as that, I feel the same way. The Boston Red Sox will stall and falter if their starters do not lower their ERAs...drastically. The bullpen can not carry the team, not without Papi and Youk, who should be back within a week. By the way, Papi sat out Friday night's game after his dismal Thursday night's performance. Don't worry, I have faith that he'll hit himself out of his funk...soon. I almost guarantee it. I love the guy!

Simply click on the title of this post for more on last night's loss and as always, BE WELL. Take care of yourself. It's important! I'll see you...soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Papi-less Red Sox Fall To Angels 5-4

Big Papi David Ortiz seemed like a ghostly apparition yesterday in California, unable to connect bat and ball and going 0-7 while leaving 12 runners on base. He was surrounded by reporters in the clubhouse after the game while he was slowly getting dressed and said to them "I'm sorry, guys. I don't feel like talking right now. Just put down 'Papi stinks.' " Sadness, that's what hit me when I read that quote. But the numbers don't lie. He is currently batting .208 and was the last out of an inning a staggering four times, including with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth. But redemption was near in the twelfth inning as he strode to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in a 4-4 game. Sadly, he did not hit the ball past the pitcher's mound, slowly rolling it a few feet past the plate. Boston was retired and the Angels scored in the bottom of that frame to win it. Centerfielder Torii Hunter graciously had this to say about his ex-teammate...

"A guy like that who's big and strong, he's going to knock out eight home runs in 12 days somehow and he's going to catch up with everybody once he gets that swing down," said Hunter, Ortiz's teammate in Minnesota. "I'm almost 100 percent sure both those injuries have a lot to do with his homerless streak. When you have a wrist injury and a knee injury at the same time, it messes up your mechanics and you're trying to figure out ways to hit while you're hurting," Hunter added. "So you've got to tweak your swing - and that's not his swing. But he's going to be fine. I just told him, `Just go out there and do what you do, and at the end of the season watch what you have.'"

I know we ALL hope that our Papi will break out of his too-long funk with some deafening blasts and many explosive bangs. He's got to! On the bright side, Julio Lugo collected five hits and Pedey, in his first game back from an injury time out, collected four. In all, the Red Sox had fifteen hits but were unable to push across that go-ahead run in the late innings. Brad Penny had a near quality start, going six and a third innings and giving up four runs. Manny Delcarmen was the eventual loser, giving up the winning run while allowing two hits in one third of an inning. But my mind always returns to Big Papi and his evident frustration. David, it WILL get better and and we're all behind you. We always will be.

Click on the title of this post for more Red Sox details. Boston starts a three game set with the Seattle Mariners and the pitching matchups go like this...

Jon Lester (2-3 6.31) vs. Charis Jakubauskas (1-4 7.67) tonight
Josh Beckett (3-2 6.42) vs. Erik Bedard (2-1 2.53) Saturday
Justin Masterson (2-2 4.89) vs. Jason Vargas (1-0 1.04) Sunday

The Boston starters MUST lower those ERA numbers, starting today. The bullpen is literally carrying the team...that won't work for long.

I hope your Friday will be a terrific one and as always, BE WELL. See ya soon. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. Thanks. GO SOX. Forever.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

RED SOX/Angels Knotted At 4...Extra Innings

It's the top of the 8th and two men are on with Pedey up...BASE HIT!! 4-4 tie. PAPI flies out to end the inning...he's 0-5...what else is new? Still, it's tied going to the bottom of the 8th.

Fly out throw 'em out double play by JD Drew to 'Tek...we go to the top of the ninth...tied.

Jason Bay long fly...but caught. One out. Men on first & second with one out and Bailey up. 1-1 to Bails. 2-1...foul...2-2...crunch time...another foul, still 2-2 with 'Tek on deck...BALL...3-2...Pop Up..ball in the stands...still 3-2..a fan prevented the catch..NICE! Bailey strikes out...2 out with the Captain coming to the plate...Sox have left twelve men on base so far...strike...0-1...pop up...going to the bottom of the ninth knotted at four.

The bottom of the ninth with Ramirez pitching for we go. JD DREW injured...more later or tomorrow morning. ONE OUT...Napoli up with one out...grounder to LUGO...two down with Rivera up. Quick ninth by Ramon Ramirez, who's been SO good for Boston. AFTER NINE, 4-4.

FRANCONA thrown out for arguing ball/strike call. This ump is all over the place. LUGO gap double...he has four one out in the tenth...Ells at 2nd with one out...Pedey up...1-1...2-1...Torii Hunter makes an AMAZING catch in center!!!! 2 down...Papi continues his downfall. He has left eight men on base. At the end of 9 1/2, 4-4. WHEW!

Bottom of the tenth with Ramirez still out there. He's been spectacular. Ground ball to out. 2-2...strike out...Ramirez is overpowering...YES...0-1...ground ball to SS...three outs...into the top of the 11th.

Here we go, as long as I can before dinner. 11th inning with Bay up. Papi has left eight runners stranded and he is 0-6. The count is 1-2...swing and a wild pitch missed by the catcher...BAY IS SAFE...more tension...1-1...1-2, with Green up...2-2...grounder to SS for a double play...worst case scenario...2 down...3-1 to to left ends the top of the 11th.

Too many missed chances for the Sox, but here we go. PAPS pitching in the bottom of the 11th. WOW! Ramirez was SO great...Sox with 13 hits, Halos 8. Boston has stranded 14 baserunners...Penny pitched well...GO PAPS...line drive caught by Pedey, high and higher in the air!!!! He has a four hit day, too...0-1...two to left with Hunter coming up...after this, I have to have dinner...GO PAPS...1-0 to Torii...2-0...uh-oh...3-0, where's that Paps' control? Base hit to center with two outs...still TWO out until the 12th....we'll get there!!!! After 5 throws (!) to first, Hunter steals second base. Farrell out to talk to Paps. Oy. Second straight three and oh count..what's wrong, Jonathon???????

Napoli up and Hunter steals third. Disaster? We need a KO. NOW...Remember, two down...0-2...STILL 0-2, Paps focused...2-2 to Naps..pitch number 20 for Paps...another foul...grounder to SS...tied into the 12th.

And now, I have to leave you. GO SOX!! Thanks, Paps...too many pitches, though. I guess I'll have to get used to it...for now.

Wakefield's Winning Streak Is History As The Angels Double Up The Red Sox 8-4

The Boston Red Sox staked starter Tim Wakefield to a 4-0 lead after two innings but Wake gave that back and more by the time the third frame was over. The final score was 8-4. What was Wake's problem? I'll let him explain it...

“My ball wasn’t moving,” Wakefield said. “It was up. I didn’t have that late depth I usually have. You can’t do that against this team. It’s a barometer of how well I’d been throwing the ball,” said Wakefield. “Tonight was a night when I didn’t have a feel for it and didn’t get outs when I needed them. You can’t do that against a team like this.”

Angel's starter Mattt Palmer was superb...he retired the last nineteen Boston batters. It looked like the Sox would rock him early, but then, well, here's how Boston skipper Terry "Tito" Francona put it...

"We came out swinging really well, and then the switch," said Sox manager Terry Francona. "We went from looking like we were going to get in the bullpen early to nothing. He started throwing his breaking ball for strikes. You could tell by his body language, he was working quick, how good he was feeling. He just stopped us."

Palmer was virtually unhittable for the last two thirds of the game. On the bright side, the Jays also lost so the Red Sox stay just one game behind them. This afternoon at 3:35pm EDT, it'll be Brad Penny facing Ervin Santana. I have a feeling Penny will have a great's just a feeling.

Kevin Youkilis will return in six days and Pedey Pedroia hopes he'll be in there today. THERE'S NO NEED TO RUSH THINGS and risk further injury, not at this early point of the 2009 season. Pedey said this when informed by Tito that he would not be playing...

“We won Tuesday and I understand what they’re thinking,” Pedroia said. “We’ve got to look at the big picture. It’s getting better. I haven’t done much running or anything like that. I took some BP and it felt fine. It won’t be an issue. We’ll take care of it.”

Thank you for stopping in and hopefully the Sox will end this one game losing streak and travel north to Seattle on a victorious note, smiles abounding. Click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. On a personal note, Nadia had a safe trip back to Minnesota. I miss her already.

Hey, I'll see you...everyday in everyway. GO SOX.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Varitek's Ninth Inning Double Wins It For Red Sox...Boston 4 Los Angeles Angels 3

How do you win a game when you're down by a score of 3-1 in the top of the eighth? The Boston Red Sox showed us exactly how Tuesday night in California by scoring two runs in the eighth and the go-ahead winning run in the ninth. It was a classic comeback victory for a team that's missing its two best hitters. Pedey Pedroia was out of the lineup with his strained right groin and the AL's leading slugger, Kevin Youkilis, after testing his strained oblique muscle in batting practice, was placed on the 15 day DL retroactive to May 15. He'll be eligible to return one week from today...May 20th. But it was the Captain who won it. J.D. Drew began the ninth with a single to left field off Scot Shields and one out later catcher Jason Varitek, now hitting .239, blasted a gap double to right-center. Red Sox manager Terry Francona had this to say after the game...

"Tek had a real good at-bat, got a breaking ball up, and fortunately for us it got to the wall," manager Terry Francona said. "This is a tough place, and we've been in a lot of close games here. You start seeing that rally monkey jumping around, not too many times good things happen. We had the lead when we needed it at the end. He's getting some balls, he's driving some balls, he's hit some balls to left field," Francona said of Varitek, who had squared to bunt before doubling. "I don't think his batting average is the end-all, be-all for what he's doing here. Sometimes it's when you get a hit. None were bigger than that base hit tonight."

I was watching this. It was late at night and I MAYBE had one eye open but I remember pumping my fist as I muttered a sleepy YES! Then it was back to dreamland, a place where all the socks are red and all the games are wins. I guess that's why it was a dream, but hey, it was in color an in Hi-Def! Boston remains one game in back of first place Toronto, who beat the Yankees last night in a quick game by Roy Halladay.

Tonight, Tim Wakefield will face the 3-0 Matt Palmer in another late game. I don't know if Pedey can play but I certainly hope so. As for Youk, heal. We'll see you in a week. Click on this post's title for a full Boston Herald wrap up of everything Sox and as always, BE WELL.

On a personal note, my girlfriend Nadia left yesterday to go back home to Minnesota. I miss the heck out of her but she WILL be back in June, maybe for the entire summer. SHE'S THE ONE, as Bruce would say. Thanks again for popping in...I'd love to read and respond to all of your comments.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Yankee/Red Sox Mid-May Comparison

Today is Monday, May 12th and with the off day yesterday for both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, it's a great time for the two teams to be compared...just a simple comparison, not a detailed analysis. The biggest area that stands out to me are the respective bullpens. In head to head battles, New York's bullpen has an ERA of 6.04 (gasp!) and Boston's bullpen ERA is a tremendous 3.29. No surprise there! The Yankees have a 'pen of retread pitchers while the Red Sox have depth and quality galore. The Yankees' record is 15-16 and they're just 2-6 since May 2. The Red Sox are 20-12, 18-6 since April 14, not bad, not bad at all.

Jason Bay has emerged as a true slugger, fading the Manny memories like an early morning haze evaporating completely under the strong summer sun. Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting and running the bases well and when JD Drew is healthy, he gets huge hits. Mikey Lowell is improving with every game but Julio Lugo is still getting his wheels under him. Newcomer Nick Green has been more than an adequate fill-in at short while we wait for Jed Lowrie to heal. The best infield right side will be back, and soon. Jason Varitek has contributed some big hits and I'd want no one else back there than him, unless Wake is pitching. Matsuzaka had another great outing with Pawtucket and after one more start there, he'll be back with the big club. John Smoltz will see action sometime in June, providing all continues to go well.

All in all, Boston Red Sox fans should be very happy, even with the injury plague that continues to infect the team we love. Yankee fans, on the other hand, should be seething at "what could have been but isn't." Remember's only May 12th. SO MUCH can and will happen in this wacky world of baseball, that game we love and could not live without.

The pitching matchup for tonight's late game against the LA Angels will feature Justin Masterson versus Jered Weaver. I'll have the other pitchers for the remaining two games soon. Click on this post's title for more Sox news from the Boston Globe and as always, BE WELL. Your comments are welcome...I'll read and answer every one. Thanks for stopping by...I'll see you soon. GO SOX.

Monday, May 11, 2009

POP Go The Rays...

The pop that doomed the Tampa Bay Rays was provided by eighth inning run scoring doubles from Big Papi David Ortiz and the white hot Jason Bay, the MVP of the American League so far. The score was knotted at three going to the bottom of the eighth and the Boston Red Sox were down to their last six outs. Papi's wall-scraper double was followed by a Jason Bay shot that easily scored Ortiz from third base. It was 4-3 good guys and Jonathon Papelbon strode to the mound. Immediate trouble followed. With two Boston teams victorious at that point last night, the Red Sox wanted to make it a trifecta. It wasn't easy. The tension mounted monumentally with runners at the corners and no outs in the top of the ninth. Paps went into his fifth gear, striking out Carlos Pena, BJ Upton and the always tough Carl Crawford on 95 plus MPH four-seamers. It was the first series win for the Sox over the Rays in seven tries. FINALLY. Paps put it like this after the successful conclusion of this thrilling contest...

“I basically put myself in a situation where I had to go into punch-out mode,” Papelbon said. “That’s not always the situation I want to be putting myself in, but it is what it is. I always know that gear is there. Just when do I need to bring it out?”

Jonathon, your timing was perfect last night in front of a national audience who were glued to their widescreens. Big Papi chipped in with this...

“I’ll take my chances with Pap anytime,” said designated hitter David Ortiz, whose double in the eighth started the winning rally. “He knows how to get it done. He’s unbelievable.”

I'm with Papi. Josh Beckett was able to go six full, allowing six hits and three earned runs while striking out five and walking three. Hideki Okajima was superb in the 'pen, going 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Ramon Ramirez followed him and earned the victory with his 1/3 of an inning of work and then came Paps for the ninth inning and all its drama. Boston gets a day off today before beginning a three game set on the left coast with the LA Angels. I'll have the pitching matchups tomorrow morning, first thing.

Dustin Pedey Pedroia aggravated a strained right groin but should be back in a couple of days. He joins Kevin Youkilis on the bench...Youk should be back any day. After all, they're the heart of the Boston offense, but on the bright side, the club is winning. Click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, be well. Have a great Monday and leave a comment if you'd like. I read every one of 'em. See you soon, real soon. GO SOX.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Turn The Page Afternoon. Lester & Lugo Struggle In Red Sox Loss...Rays 14 Boston 5

A warm and somewhat humid Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park proved to be a very forgettable one for the Fenway Faithful as the home team lost to the Tampa Bay Rays by a lopsided score of 14-5. Evan Longoria was again the hot hitter for Tampa Bay with 5 RBIs. Jon Lester was only able to work into the fifth inning, giving up 8 runs on 10 hits while walking one and striking out six. What promised to be a super season for the lefty, much like 2008, has been slow in coming. Jon said this after the whupping...

"You look at our starting rotation coming out of spring training, and we thought we'd be pretty good," Lester said. "Not to say we aren't, but right now we're struggling. For some reason, from top to bottom, with the exception of Tim Wakefield, he seems to be throwing the ball really well every time. I don't know what to tell you. I don't know the answer to that question, why we're struggling, what we're doing wrong. Early in the year, we were leaving some balls up out over the plate, getting beat with them. But now it seems like guys are throwing the ball better and just aren't getting the results. With that being said, it's a long year. Hopefully, it will turn around. With this staff, it should turn around."

I hope you're right Jon, but the starting rotation has a staff ERA of 5.85. Except for Tim Wakefield, who boasts an ERA of 2.93, every other starter, including Justin Masterson, subbing for Daisuke Matsuzaka, has an ERA over 5.00. They are last in the league in that category. Before the 2009 season started, the pitching was supposed to outshine the hitting. Hey, don't look now but it's been exactly the opposite. On the brighter side, Boston has a winning record and is still in a virtual tie for first place in the AL East, so everything ain't all THAT bad. The Rays iced this game and put it out of Red Sox reach with 6 runs in the fifth and 5 runs in the sixth. There it over. The bullpen, except for Manny Delcarmen, was generous, and that further spelled doom for Boston. Julio Lugo was booed loudly for his seeming inability to get to ground balls hit to his right or left. He clearly doesn't have his legs under him...not yet. JED, COME BACK SOON.

So it was a "turn the page" day for that club from Boston. Tonight on ESPN and ESPN HD, it will be a marquee matchup with Matt Garza ready to face Josh "Baseball" Beckett. Let's hope Josh can give that starting rotation a much needed boost. The pregame starts at 8pm EDT and the first pitch will be thrown shortly after that. May the force be with them. The weather will be cooly perfect at Fenway with no chance of raindrops.

Thanks for stopping by on this beautiful early Sunday morning. You can click on this post's title for more Sox news, including the latest about Kevin Youkilis, who will return to the lineup Tuesday night on the left coast.

As always, BE WELL. Your comments are welcome and answered every time. See ya...soon. GO SOX. Tonight and forever.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Bay And Drew Power Another Sixth Inning Run Outburst As Red Sox Tame Rays 7-3

It was the bottom of the sixth inning at Fenway Park Friday night and James Shields had had his way with the Boston Red Sox, his team leading the home club by a score of 3-0. But not for long. Jason Bay, who would be the American League MVP if the voting took place now, clubbed a three run tater and JD Drew, following a Mikey Lowell double, smashed a two run shot to make it 5-3 good guys...just like that. Bing, bang, boom...SOX WIN 7-3. Starter Brad Penny pitched well enough to win, going 6 1/3 innings and giving up three runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out two. Hideki Okajima, who has been completely on top of his game, inherited a jam in the bottom of the seventh after Penny left and promptly and efficiently retired the two batters he faced. That was the last gasp for the Rays. Ramon Ramirez retired the last two men in the top of the eighth and Jonathon Papelbon pitched a one hit scoreless ninth to nail it down in a non-save situation. Jason Bay, who so far is hitting .323 with nine taters, a team leading 32 RBIs and a staggering OPS of 1.154, MVP numbers if the voting took place this weekend, said this about that...

“I don’t like to look at my numbers,” he said. “Occasionally, I’ll accidentally glance at the scoreboard and see my average, but it’s not something I focus on. I don’t jump on the Internet every morning or tear through the stats pages. It’s a long season. It would be counterproductive to focus on today.”

That's OK, Jason. We're so glad you're here and Manny is gone, way gone, fifty games gone. Red Sox Nation wouldn't have it any other way. Boston manager Terry "Tito" Francona had this to say about Bay and his bat...

“He’s right smack in the middle of the game when we need him,” Sox manager Terry Francona said. “It seems like he’s getting huge hits.”

He IS getting huge hits, Tito. And so on this Saturday, the Red Sox are playing good baseball, sound and fundamental baseball. They're fun to watch and they're able to put some crooked numbers up on the scoreboard in a hurry. Kevin Youkilis will have to sit out today's game but expect him back soon and as you saw, Jacoby Ellsbury was back in centerfield last night. Today, Jon Lester will face the always tough lefty Scott Kazmir, who the Red Sox try to wear down by trying to lay off pitches just out of the strike zone. If Lester has the stuff he had for his last start, overpowering and pounding the strike zone, only good things will follow. The game will commence with the first pitch at 3:40pm EDT. Enjoy it and enjoy your Saturday. You can click on this post's title for more Red Sox news from the Boston Globe and as always, BE WELL. I'd love to read some of your's been a while. But no matter what, I'll see you...soon. That's a promise. I keep my promises to you, my Constant Readers. Thanks for making this a daily stop. You make me so very happy.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Red Sox Romp And Set American League Scoring Record...Boston 13 Cleveland 3

The Boston Red Sox set an American League record and just missed the all-time major league record in their game Thursday night against the Cleveland Indians. They scored 12 runs in the sixth inning before the Indians recorded a single out. They tied the Brooklyn Dodgers, who scored 12 in the eighth against the Phillies in a 16-2 victory on May 24, 1953. Here's how the Sox sixth went... single, walk, double, walk, single, walk, double, single, single, single, single, home run. That added up to 12 runs. The sixth inning totals were 56 pitches, 15 batters, 9 hits and 3 pitchers, all in 37 minutes. Wakefield, who earned his fourth victory against a lone defeat, left after that magic sixth and the bullpen took over from there. Manny Delcarmen recorded a one walk scoreless seventh, Javy Lopez gave up his usual one run in the eighth and Saito pitched a blemish-free ninth. What a night for the Fenway Faithful who were lucky enough to actually be there! I hope Jerry Remy was able to watch that amazing sixth. We miss you SO much, Jerry.

The Red Sox start a three game set with the always tough Tampa Bay Rays tonight, this time right up here at Fenway Park. Here are the pitching matchups for the weekend series...

James Shields (3-2, 3.51) vs. Brad Penny (2-1, 7.61) 7:10 pm EDT tonight
Scott Kazmir (3-3, 6.00) vs. Jon Lester (2-2, 5.11) 3:40 pm EDT Saturday
Matt Garza (3-2. 3.51) vs. Josh Beckett (3-2, 6.75) 8:05 pm EDT Sunday

Let's take two of three, if not all of 'em. I expect Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury to be back on the playing field. They, along with Jason Varitek, were NOT in the lineup last night when the record was tied. Talk about team depth! The Boston Red Sox have exactly that, unlike the pinstriped Bronx fools (PBFs), who lost last night after their ace closer, Mo Rivera, gave up back to back taters FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS CAREER. Take that, Hank & Hal.

That's a wrap for this early Friday morning. You can click on the title of this post to be zapped to the Boston Herald Red Sox homepage for the latest on the Manny mess and last night's Fenway festivities. Thank you for stopping by and leave a comment if you'd like. As always, BE WELL. Go Sox, everyday in every way.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


This is from the LA Times, less than an hour ago...
Manny Ramirez suspended 50 games for positive drug test...

The suspension, which is expected to begin with tonight's game, makes him the biggest star penalized under baseball's testing program that started in 2003.

Manny Ramirez has failed a drug test and has been suspended 50 games starting today, Major League Baseball confirmed.
The suspension will cost Ramirez $7.7 million, or roughly 31% of his $25-million salary. Players in violation of baseball's drug policy are not paid during suspensions.

Ramirez attributed the test results to medication received from a doctor or personal medical physician. "Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was okay to give me. Unfortunately, the medication was banned under our drug policy. Under the policy that mistake is now my responsibility. I have been advised not to say anything more for now. I do want to say one other thing; I've taken and passed about 15 drug tests over the past five seasons.

"I want to apologize to Mr. McCourt, Mrs. McCourt, Mr. Torre, my teammates, the Dodger organization, and to the Dodger fans. LA is a special place to me and I know everybody is disappointed. So am I. I'm sorry about this whole situation."
Hello...Peter here. I guess this is more Manny bulls*it. Thank goodness he's gone from our Red Sox lives. You can click on the title of this post for the entire article. It never ends with Manny, does it?


Jerry Remy, the NESN baseball analyst and a beloved member of Red Sox Nation, has had a major setback in his battle with lung cancer. He IS the voice of the Boston Red Sox. Here is the latest from the Boston Globe...

"Jerry Remy, the voice of the Red Sox for more than 20 years, is fighting the aftereffects of lung cancer and will be out of the broadcast booth indefinitely. Remy underwent surgery late last year, NESN revealed yesterday, and has since battled an infection and pneumonia. He missed a portion of spring training with the pneumonia, which also sidelined him for the six games prior to last night’s announcement. Remy had been a longtime smoker.

“I want to focus on completing my recovery so that I can return to work without distractions or interruptions,” Remy said in a statement. “I hope that disclosing my bout with cancer will reinforce the dangers of smoking to every member of Red Sox Nation, especially children.”

Remy, 56, has clearly not been himself all season. Pale and gaunt when he arrived at spring training, he gamely tried to remain in the booth, but to no avail. On his Twitter site, Remy said he suffered his setback as he left for spring training. “In hindsight, it was a mistake to go and I am paying the price for it now,” he wrote. He added he’ll be back in time “to take the team all the way to the 2009 World Series.”

Jerry, we love you and we are praying for your complete recovery. Lung cancer is devastating news for anyone to digest. Jerry, we're all with you everyday in every way. See you soon, God willing. I'm so sad. Say a prayer, my Constant Readers. Thanks.

In less important news, the Sox lost to the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night by a score of 9-2. But you know what? WHO CARES? Last night, the Fenway Park shadows seemed darker, evil and more foreboding. Take a minute and say a prayer for Jerry. Sometimes grim news turns into happiness, sadness to euphoria. I hope that's the case with our Jerry. Lord, let it be. Click on the title of this post for more.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Red Sox Complete Mini-Sweep Of Yankees...Boston 7 NY 3

This is more like it. Good pitching and good hitting early led the Boston Red Sox to their fifth straight victory over the New York Yankees. They have yet to lose to their hated rivals this year. In their five games so far, the Red Sox team ERA is 4.02 and the Yankees is 6.35. The bullpen numbers are even more lopsided in Boston's favor...2.36 for the Sox and 6.89 for the Yanks. To me, it's simple...the NY Yankees will not win anything this year until they shore up their bullpen. The pinstriped Bronx fools (PBFs) have no chance right now of finishing higher than third or fourth in the AL East, AROD or no AROD, not without a viable bullpen.

Tuesday night, Josh Beckett went six innings and except for a three run tater by Johnny Damon in the third, he was OK. The Boston bullpen took over in the seventh with Okie going two scoreless innings and Saito completing the game. Joba Chamberlain had a laboriouly tough first inning but he finally found his rythym and was virtually untouchable for the next five, striking out twelve. But the first inning damage had been done and the Yankees were again doomed. Here's what Red Sox starter Josh Beckett had to say after his servicable outing...

“Some laboring at times, but I made pitches when I had to and we scored a bunch of runs,” Beckett said. “It’s nice, especially the way Chamberlain pitched after that first inning. It would have been tough, he was throwing all his pitches for strikes after that first inning, making it tough on our guys. We got some runs then and played good defense.”

Unfortunately, Kevin Youkilis was pulled from the game with tightness in his right side and Jacoby Elsbury left last night's game with a right hamstring injury, the severity not known. Youk says he'll be ready by Thursday but caution remains the rule this early in the season. Jacoby will be reevaluated sometime today before game one of the Cleveland Indians series, which will be played at beautiful Fenway Park. The weather will be fine and dandy and the probable pitching matchups go like this...

Carl Pavano (1-3 7.46) vs. Justin Masterson (2-1 4.37) tonight
Aaron Laffey (2-0 4.09) vs. Timmy Wakefield (2-1 4.37) Thursday

That's a wrap for this Wednesday morning, Hump Day all over the world. Enjoy the game tonight and simply click on this post's title for more on the Boston Red Sox, the best team in the American league. YES! As always, BE WELL. See ya soon. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. GO SOX.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Red Sox Power Their Way To Another Victory Over The Yankees...Boston 6 NYY 4

The Boston Red Sox pushed their 2009 record against the New York Yankees to 4-0 with a 6-4 victory Monday night. The game was delayed more than two hours by rain but they got the game in and the good guys won. Jon Lester pitched seven effective innings, giving up his three runs in the fifth inning. He allowed six hits, walked two and struck out TEN. Great job, Jon, and at the perfect time against the perfect foe. The bullpen took over from there with Ramon Ramirez going only one third of an inning and Jonathon Papelbon earning his seventh save. He recorded the last five outs. The final out came with the bases loaded and Robinson Cano at the plate. Paps struck him out. It was another longer than normal outing for Jonathon but he continues to get the job done. Manager Terry Francona had a few words to say after the game...

“I was pleased,” said Sox manager Terry Francona. “It was a long day. We went out with a lot of energy, it ends up being a great night. It was late but it was a good night.”

Late and great...that's a good combination except for early risers like me. I only saw the first couple innings and then I listened to WTIC on the radio until I fell asleep. Big Papi David Ortiz apparently likes the new Stadium...he had two resounding doubles. Jason Bay clubbed a crucial two run home run after the Yankees came within one run and Mike Lowell, who always seems to hit well against the pinstriped ones, contributed two RBIs. Jason Bay said this about his sweet tater...

“I’m glad it stayed fair,” Bay said of the homer. “The Yankees came back. It was a good game, but it gave us more breathing room.”

I like breathing room and the Toronto Blue Jays have less of it. They lost last night, moving Boston to within one game of them in first place. There's another game tonight in the Bronx with Josh Beckett, who is WAYYY due for a great outing, going against Joba Chamberlain. Kevin Youkilis had to leave last night's game with some tightness in his back but we all know he'll be in there to face Joba. The two are not actually that fond of each other, and I put that mildly. I hope to see Youk in there...he and Pedey are the heart and soul of our offense.

Enjoy tonight's festivities as the Boston Red Sox try to keep their 2009 record against the Yankees a perfect one. Game time will be same, shortly after 7pm EDT. As always, BE SAFE. I'll be seeing you...soon. Your comments are welcome and I'll read every one of 'em. Promise. Click on the title of this post for more about the Sox from the Boston Globe. Have a terrific Tuesday...make the most of it.

GO SOX. Now and forever.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Tampa Bay Steals Game Four And The Series...Rays 5 Red Sox 3. Next Up? THE NEW YORK YANKEES

Sunday at the Trop, Brad Penny pitched his first quality start for his new team but it wasn't enough for the Boston Red Sox to defeat the Tampa Bays Rays. The Rays won the game by a score of 5-3. Penny was able to go six innings, giving up three runs on six hits but he was bested by James Shields. Tampa Bay's Carl Crawford tied the modern day record for steals in a major league game with six. Crawford is one of the best at reading the opposing pitcher's delivery motion and he usually gets an unbelievable jump towards second base, a jump that negates the other team's chances to thow him out.

JD Drew led Boston with three hits while Jacoby Ellsbury and the always steady Dustin Pedroia had two apiece. The difference in this contest was uncharacteristically the Boston bullpen. Manny Delcarmen gave up his first run of the season, surrendering two in just one third of an inning of work. Hits and plunked batsmen made it look very ugly for him but he'll turn the page and come back strong. The bullpen has been overworked early because of the starter's ineffectiveness but in most of the games so far, they have shined brilliantly. Delcarmen said this after his quick exit...

“We’re going to be fine. We have a good team and we’re confident in our abilities. It’s not the best way to give up my first run, but I just lost the feel that I’ve had today,” Delcarmen said. “I’ll just try to come back tomorrow and get another one.”

MVP Dustin Pedroia summed up this four game series...

“It seems like we were one hit away in this series to get a win, but we just didn’t get it this series. We’ll get it next series,” Dustin Pedroia said. “I think everyone’s over this. We have 140-something games left, I don’t think anybody’s hitting the panic button because we got beat three out of four, you know what I mean? We’ll head into New York and try to play good baseball. You can’t sit back and say, ‘Oh no, we lost three out of four, the season’s over, let’s all go back home.’

The pitching matchups for the upcoming two game series in the new Yankee Stadium, starting tonight, go like this...

Jon Lester (1-2 5.50) vs. Phil Hughes (1-0 0.00) Monday at 7:05pm EDT
Josh Beckett (2-2 7.22 vs. Joba (the hut) Chamberlain (1-0 3.13) Tuesday at 7:05pm EDT

At Fenway Park, Boston swept the Yankees in their first three games of 2009 and the two rivals have fifteen more to go. Enjoy tonight's series opener and as always, BE WELL. You can click on this post's title for more on the Sox and thanks for stopping in once again. See ya. Soon. Leave your comments...I'll answer them. Every one of 'em.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Offense Powers Red Sox To Victory...Boston 10 Rays 6

Boston's bats boomed and ten Red Sox runners safely crossed the plate as Boston finally beat Tampa Bay in Florida by a score of 10-6. By the fourth inning the score was 6-2 good guys but Tampa crept to within a run by scoring three in the fifth. Boston put it away with four more runs in the sixth and the seventh. Tim Wakefield got the victory although he was off his game. Here's what he had to say...

“The offense won the game tonight. I was lucky enough to get through five, I walked the first guy in the sixth and I was out of the game - the bullpen really picked me up,” said Wakefield. “It’s nice to not pitch so well and get the win, and I’m just glad we scored some runs and gained some momentum going back to our side.”

Timmy ended up going five innings and giving up five runs on seven hits. Okajima held the Rays at bay in the sixth and the seventh and Ramirez and Saito nailed down the victory with an inning apiece. As for the offense, shortstop Nick Green led the team with three hits and Pedey Pedroia and Mike Lowell contributed two hits apiece. Kevin Youkilis led the team with three RBIs. Only the forever slumping Big Papi David Ortiz went hitless, fueling the doubts surrounding his batting prowess. I hope he can break out of this funk...soon. Today would be nice. Speaking of today, Brad Penny (Oi Vei) will try to tie this four game series against the Rays, going against James Shields. To tell you the truth, a series tie would almost be like a Boston victory given the way Boston plays at that darn Trop. The game starts at 1:38pm EDT and will be televised on NESN and NESN HD and heard on the usual radio outlets.

Enjoy your Sunday, be safe and as always, BE WELL. You can click on the title of this post to be magically transported to the Boston Globe's Red Sox homepage. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. See ya...soon. Thanks for being here. I mean that.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Red Sox Slammed By Tampa Bay...Rays 6 Red Sox 2

Boston Red Sox killer Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bays Rays was at the plate in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and the score 2-1 Boston. He found a pitch to his liking from Sox starter Justin Masterson and drove it into the seats for a grand slam home run. Pena followed that blast with one of his own and suddenly Tampa Bay had a commanding 6-2 lead, a lead they never relinquished. Masterson tried to explain what happened in that faithful fifth...

"A sacrifice fly and two home runs is what happened," Masterson said. "Pretty much the fifth inning got out of hand. Just made a poor pitch decision to Longoria, one that got out and over the plate, and he put it where he's supposed to. Aside from that I feel really good. If I make a better pitch, we might be winning this game today. That's unfortunate for me to have to think about."

When behind by multiple runs, Mikey Lowell tried to explain his team's mindset...

"You feel like you're not a bloop and a blast away from the game," Lowell said. "Four runs means you have to either do that bloop and a blast multiple times, or mount up an inning that - not that we're not capable of it - but the odds of scoring four runs in an inning is not the greatest against any team. It kind of takes you out of the game plan of being aggressive. You want to make sure you don't run into outs, you're not going to steal as much. I think we had some opportunities to break the game open. When they had the same chance they did it, and we didn't."

In the end, Masterson, who had been breezing through four with impeccable control, gave up those six runs on six hits while walking three and striking out six, extending the futility of the Boston starters, save for Timmy Wakefield, who goes tonight at
7:08pm EDT. He will face the Rays' Jeff Niemann in a game they WILL win.That's just a feeling I have in my Red Sox soul...I hope I'm right. Boston dropped to second place in the AL East but are well within striking distance. The weight of the world is again on Wake's shoulders. He's been our 2009 stopper and we have to count on him again. But Tropicana Field has not been kind to the Sox the past two years...a win tonight will change all that malarky.

John Smoltz is said to be suffering from a "dead arm," according to the Boston doctors, but this setback should only delay his return a week or so. And Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch a game in Pawtucket before the end of next week so the beleagured Red Sox rotation will get some relief. They have been surprisingly inneffective and have squeezed everything out of the bullpen. We need Wakes to go a strong eight innings so the 'pen can have an "almost" night off. May the force continue to be with Wakes.

Enjoy your Saturday and your weekend. My girlfriend Nadia received a terrible phone call from her Mom late last night telling her that her beautiful little doggie, Lady Bug, who was always by her side or sleeping on her bed, passed away yesterday. She was only six years old. I held her as she cried and cried and cried, shedding a few tears myself. Sometimes life is tough, and I told her that. She's still sleeping, and I'm happy about that. She adored Lady Bug SO much.

As always, BE WELL. Click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and be safe out there. Life is too short...make the most of it while you can. Please. See ya...soon.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A "Turn The Page" Game..Rays 13 Red Sox 0

Matt Garza had a perfect game through six innings last night as the Tampa Bay Rays whupped and whitewashed the Boston Red Sox by a score of 14-0. The game was never close. Josh Beckett had another subpar outing, only going 4 2/3 innings and giving up seven runs on ten hits. Beckett has not looked like the Beckett of old lately, leading to speculation that something is wrong. I sure hope not. The Red Sox starting rotation is underperforming...they have a 5.52 ERA, ranking them 10th in the league. Of the six pitchers who have started games for the Sox this season, four have ERAs higher than 6.00. That ain't good. But Beckett worries me the most. How could he be that bad without something physically being wrong with him? I guess time will tell, but no one was going to beat Matt Garza last night. Manager Terry "Tito" Francona had this to say after the conclusion of the laugher...

"Garza was about as good as you can get," said Sox manager Terry Francona. "No one was arguing. We didn't have a whole lot going," Francona said. "Some nights you sit here and you go, 'Well, we needed to catch a break, a couple balls didn't fall.' He just, two-seam, four-seam fastball, two breaking balls, and just overpowered us."

Let's just hope that Josh is OK and he comes out firing next time. Today, the Red Sox try to even this four game battle with Justin Masterson ready to face Andy Sonnenstine, whose ERA right now is over seven. Boston remains in first place mainly because their bats have been so hot but their starters, save for Timmy Wakefield, had better get their act together...quickly.

Have a terrific Friday and a great weekend. My girlfriend Nadia will be going home to Minnesota this coming Tuesday and I'm getting a little sad just thinking about it. We'll have a great weekend, though, and then the reality of her departure will sink in.

As always, BE WELL. See ya...soon. Oh, you can click on this post's title for more on last night's mismatch. Take care and thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment if you'd like...I'll respond to every one of 'em. Promise. It's a new month so I must say this to you, my Constant Readers...RABITT RABITT RABITT GOOD LUCK.