Friday, April 30, 2010

Tim Wakefield In Limbo...Baltimore, The Red Sox Are Coming

The Boston Red Sox bring their 2010 act to Baltimore to face the woeful Baltimore Orioles for a three game series. The trio of games features the debut of Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday, who reportedly has looked smooth and effortless on the mound. He'll be preceded by a motivated John Lackey and followed by Josh Beckett, who has been working on "smoothing" his pitching motion. He hasn't had an easy time of it so far but either has Tim Wakefield, who hasn't pitched badly but was nudged (kicked?) out of the rotation by Daisuke's return. Here what the Boston Red Sox manager, Terry "Tito" Francona, had to say about that awkward situation...

“I don’t think we can have a schedule for him (Wakefield). I just don’t think you can do that. It’ll be a challenge. Or maybe it won’t be a challenge. Depending on how our starters are, maybe it’s very easy. That’s not so good either. We basically came to spring training with six guys in our rotation, knowing that we’re not going to use all six,” Francona said. “But, if everything’s perfect, we have to find a way to keep the six ready, but not use them at the same time. We’ll keep an eye on things. There’s different ways to go about it.”

Different? Maybe, but I feel badly for Timmy. He's always given his all for the sake of his team. Long relief? I know the powers-that-be are stuck between a rock and a hard place but it's still a shame. Who knows? Injuries always crop up. Believe me, I do not want them to.

Yesterday, the Red Sox promoted first baseman Lars Anderson up to Triple A Pawtucket. Good for him. With Youk at first and Beltre manning third, there's no spot for him right now on the big club but his bat will be invaluable in the near future. He is the future, though. The future is coming up fast.

Thanks for stopping in on this Friday, the last day of April. It was the warmest April EVER here in Connecticut and the weekend promises to bring temperatures into the mid-80s. That's amazing! Click on this post's title for a fascinating article that identifies the ten most hated MLB teams. Try to guess where the Sox are! I guarantee you'll be surprised, maybe even shocked. Just click on the title of this post to find out and watch John Lackey, tonight's starter in Baltimore, spin a gem. He's very motivated by the back-to-back gems by Buchholz and Lester. Good luck to him, and to you. As always, BE WELL.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Dominant Jon Lester Blanks The Blue Jays...Red Sox 2 Jays 0

I guess Boston Red Sox lefty Jon Lester realizes May is just around the corner and April is fading into history. He is a notoriously slow starter with little success in April but after that, watch out AL! His performance last night makes two tremendous starting pitcher outings in a row. Is this a sign of things to come? I certainly hope so.

Lester went an overpowering seven innings, giving up zero runs on only one (!) hit while walking two and striking out 11 (!!). Red Sox manager Terry Francona gives you his take on it...

“He pounded the zone,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “He got a feel for his changeup early, especially against those righties. Slowed them down a little bit. Had power to his pitches. He was good. He was very good."

Daniel Bard took over and zipped through the eighth and the ninth belonged to Papelbon. Paps threw a couple "impossible to hit" pitches and looked great after minor back discomfort the day before. That's the primary reason he did not pitch. Here he is, modest as always...

"I felt good last night. I went through my delivery well. My direction to the plate was good. I can’t complain at all.”

After on off day today we go to Baltimore for a three game set. Our pitchers, in order, will be John Lackey on Friday, Matsuzaka, in his 2010 debut, on Saturday and Josh Beckett on Sunday. Looks like a sweep? You never know but the team is playing well except for a few too many errors, no production from Big Papi and a sometimes porous bullpen except for Bard and Paps. I could go on a little more but that's another post. I'l be more critical after this month of April is finis.

Have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. You can click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Clay Buchholz Saves The Bullpen And Wins The Game

In Toronto Tuesday night Clay Buchholz pitched better than anyone else in the Boston Red Sox starting rotation. The Sox defeated the Jays by a score of 2-1 and Buchholz was able to go a super solid eight innings, saving the overused bullpen. He was masterful. He had full control of four pitches...a two seam fastball, a wicked four seam fastball, a curve and a devastating changeup that a couple Toronto batters could have swung at TWICE! But his change drops off the table and near the dirt at the last moment. After eight he had given up only one run and seven hits. His ERA is down to a tremendous 2.19. That's ace stuff. If you missed the game, all or part of it, catch the NESN one hour replay (if you can) this morning. Here's the man himself...

"I was glad I was able to go deep in the game today," said Buchholz, who threw a career-high 117 pitches. "It doesn't happen like that all the time. You've got to be thankful when it does. I know they swing the bat," Buchholz said. "Sometimes that will hurt you and sometimes you can make it work for yourself. Tonight I was able to command enough pitches to get through it and get some big outs when I needed them."

Boston has one more 7:07pm EDT game tonight in Toronto before an off day and then a three game series with Baltimore begins. The highlight of that series? The season debut of Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday. This team from New England is still getting its act together. Let's watch 'em fly when they do. They will, you know.

Have a great Hump Day Wednesday. You can click on this post's title for more about last night's game and as always, BE WELL. See ya. Thanks for popping in. It means so much to me. GO SOX.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Red Sox Win Slugfest In Toronto..Daisuke Matsuzaka Looks Great

Josh Beckett, to put it bluntly, stunk last night in Toronto, Canada but the Boston Red Sox plated enough runners to escape with a 13-12 win. Just barely. Beckett was staked to a five run lead but quickly surrendered it. It seemed to me that his fastballs were grabbing far too much of the plate and at 94 MPH, they must have looked the size of softballs to the opposing batters. His ERA is a comical 7.22. Not acceptable, not at all. The entire starting five have a combined ERA over 5.00. Here's Josh...

“The numbers tell everything,” Beckett said simply. “They’re not good.”

And here's his catcher, Jason Varitek, the captain of the team who is off to a great start at the plate. Now if only he or Victor Martinez could throw out more runners trying to steal second. But that's another story for another post...

“Everything’s going around here and everyone wants to look at some sort of way to make more controversy or whatever,” catcher Jason Varitek said. “Josh is going to be good. He’s strong, and that’s the good thing. He’ll get through all of his pitches and get through all of that and he’ll be fine. It was a full moon or something. Nobody could get anybody out tonight.”

I think he's right. Beckett and Lester are notoriously bad April pitchers. There's a lot of baseball to go but I hope the pitching can sharpen by the end of this month, which happens to occur over the weekend. Maybe that's asking too much. I hope not. One bright spot yesterday was how Daisuke Matsuzaka looked in a simulated four inning game. He looked sharp and pain free. He will be a welcome addition to the Wakefield-less rotation. Here's the Boston pitching coach, John Farrell...

“The one thing that is becoming more evident is the action to his secondary pitches. His cutter and his slider have become a little more tight, powerful, and that’s an indication of increased arm strength. I thought he hit the target, as he’s been doing in his recent starts.’’

And here is Daisuke, eager to help his team instead of being a hindrance. You know what? I think he'll do EXACTLY that. He said this...

“I think the reality that I’m back with the team won’t hit me until I’m actually on that mound,’’ Matsuzaka said through interpreter Masa Hoshino. “I think that I’ll be really nervous when I first do get back out there. But looking back at this past month, when I’ve been such a burden on this team, I think as I get through more and more starts, I hope I can begin to repay them a little bit, and hopefully do that throughout the rest of the season.’’

Matsuzaka will be the Saturday starter against the woeful Orioles, so help is coming for the struggling rotation and the Red Sox bats are alive. At least they were last night. Tonight at 7:07pm EDT, Buchholz will face off against Marcum. The Boston bullpen has been used too much so I hope Clay can eliminate his early inning jitters and pitch a good seven or (dare I say?) eight innings. Seven would be more than fine. Let's hope the lumber doesn't go back into hibernation or terminal slumber.

Thanks for popping in on this late April Tuesday. When I awakened, for some reason I was sure it was Sunday morning. Oh well, Peter, only two days off. That's why I have to scoot. Click on this post's title for more on that team we love to love and as always, BE WELL. See ya. SOON.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wakefield Goes Out In A Blaze Of Glory But The Boston Red Sox 'Pen BLOWS IT

Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox walked off the mound with a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning and received a standing ovation. He stymied the worst team in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles, and allowed them almost nothing. The Fenway Faithful showed their appreciation...loudly. I was emotionally moved. At that exact moment, I had chalked this game up in the "win" column, but it was not to be. The porous bullpen quickly gave the game away starting in the 7th inning with Okie, Atchinson and Schoenweis allowing the deadly three runs in the 7th and 3 more in the tenth. Manny Delcarmen, who's been pitching exceptionally well lately, was not called upon until it was way too late and the game was virtually lost. Timmy's post-game media interview was a terse affair. Here is an excerpt, courtesy of the Boston Globe...
"His thoughts about going to the bullpen: "I don't have any."

Is he concerned about not having pitched in relief since 2004? "No."

Was today's start difficult under the circumstances? "No, it was a start, just another start."

What was his reaction to Francona and Theo Epstein saying all spring that he was a starter? "Today was a very good day. I threw a lot of strikes Unfortunately we came out on the short end of the stick."
I don't blame Wakes one damn bit. He worked his tail off to get back into pitching shape after a debilitating spine injury with woeful pain. Now, he's in the bullpen, the 'pen that let him down yesterday afternoon. It has been officially announced that the oft-injured Daisuke Matsuzaka will start on Saturday. We'll see Timmy coming out of the bullpen but it just won't be the same. I'm sad. Many of us are. Such is life. Sometimes life is joyful, sometimes it sucks. Sometimes.

Thanks for popping in on another Monday. Boy, they seem to come up once a week. UMMM, I guess they do. Click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always and forever, BE WELL. See ya.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Needlessly Close Boston Victory...Van Every Arrives To Shore Up Red Sox Outfield

John Lackey allowed the Baltimore Orioles to pound out 10 hits in his seven inning performance but only allowed three Bird runners to cross the plate. Boston dumped Baltimore by a score of 7-6. The bullpen, in the form of Ramirez, who's had a tough 2010 so far and Jonathon Papelbon, who makes NOTHING look easy, allowed the other three Oriole runs. Paps struck out the last two guys in the ninth to seal the deal. Ramirez came into the ninth with the Red Sox leading by a score of 7-3 but Papelbon had to get ready in a hurry, a BIG hurry, and he was shaky but got the job done...just. Here's Paps himself on his unexpected appearance...

"When they're not easy, I get to pitch," Papelbon said with a sly grin, "and I like to pitch. That's part of the mental side of things where you've got to stay focused and really stay focused at hand," Papelbon said. "It's something you always teeter-totter back in forth from: 'Am I going to get into this game, or am I not?' It's all about staying in the zone and trying to be ready to pitch whenever I'm called upon."

Well, he's right, it wasn't easy. Here's the Red Sox skipper, Terry "Tito" Francona talking about his closer, who will probably have the day off in today's series finale...

"His routine is good," Francona said. "You see him at the same time, the same place. He does a good job about that. We explained to him going into the ninth what the situations were, trying not to get him ready too quick. He's good about that."

Another nailbiter win. This routine will change soon but a win's a win. Period. Now I'm going to change the subject. Yesterday, Boston acquired the services of defensive outfield expert Jonathon Van Every from the Pittburgh Pirates. He will help fill in the holes until Ellsbury and Cameron (I hope) return. Here he is...

“It’s great to be back,’’ said Van Every. “I’m glad to be surprised every now and then.’’

Welcome, Jonathon. This afternoon Timmy Wakefield will make his last start (for the time being) against the Baltimore Orioles. I hope he'll go out with a bang and many goose eggs on the visitor's half of the scoreboard. Wouldn't that be nice for someone who NEVER quit the team he loves. That's Wakes! Have a great Sunday, click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Red Sox Inch Past O's 4-3...Daisuke A Go

It took a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth to break a tie ball game and put the Boston Red Sox ahead to stay by a score of 4-3. Jonathon Papelbon allowed one hit and walked two in the ninth but preserved the Sox victory and earned the save, his fourth. Big Papi David Ortiz clobbered a monster tater for his first home run of the 2010 season. That was a very nice sight to behold. Adrian Beltre, the player who drew that base on balls and drove in the winning run, had a multi-walk game, which is very rare for him. After the game, he said this...

“I went to home plate taking the first pitch, and he threw me a first-pitch strike,” Beltre said. “After that I was trying to make the ball get up. He threw a couple of sinkers down and in. It worked out for us.”

Jon Lester was far from perfect, going only 5 2/3 innings but allowing zero runs. He walked four Orioles and his breakout 2010 start simply hasn't happened yet. It will. Bard and Okajima allowed the three runs that tied it but Manny Delcarmen pitched a scoreless eighth and Paps followed with his shaky but scoreless ninth. John Lackey will try to rebound from his "off" start last time out. I like our chances. We have Baltimore's number, but so do most other teams, if not every one of 'em.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will be on the mound for a four inning simulated game on Monday and will make his first 2010 start this weekend against this same Oriole's team. His task should be an easy one...attack the zone and DO NOT NIBBLE at the corners. Tim Wakefield will be the rotation's odd man out, relegated to the bullpen. After a 15 minute meeting with Terry Francona, the Boston manager, Wakes walked off without a comment. I understand him perfectly. He had off season surgery and worked his tail off so that he would be able to pitch this year. In the 'pen, he'll probably be used for long relief, which means that Boston would most likely be down by multiple runs. I feel bad for Timmy and I wish him the best.

That's it for this Saturday. Enjoy your weekend, click on the title of this post for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Buchholz Good But Red Sox Bats Put Up Goose Eggs...Ells Has Fractured Ribs...Daisuke In, Wakes Out

The Boston Red Sox were defeated by the Texas Rangers Thursday night. The score was 3-0 and the only person who impressed me was Sox starter Clay Buchholz. For 6 innings he had a shutout but things unraveled a bit with a three run seventh. If the Red Sox had "normal" hitting prowess, they very well could have won the game. But there was good news for Buchholz nevertheless. He will stay in the starting rotation and Wakefield will step aside to make room for Daisuke Matsuzaka, barring any last weekend setbacks. It'll be official by Monday.

Boston ridiculously waited UNTIL YESTERDAY to give hurting Jacoby Ellsbury a CT scan. Why did they wait when the collision happened on April 11th? Simple...I HAVE NO IDEA!!! The CT scan revealed four fractured ribs. Luckily, the ribs are not misplaced and eventually will heal, eliminating the pain. It might be a week (highly doubtful), it might be a month (much more likely). Terry Francona, Red Sox manager, had this to say yesterday...

"The medical people assured us this is the protocol - you treat the symptoms. But once he wasn't able to play then we needed to go back and do the CT scan. Nothing is displaced. We had four people read the X-rays. When an X-ray comes back negative it means you treat the symptoms. It threw us all for a loop a little bit.

Boy, it should have! What Tito means is that the XRAYS taken in Kansas City the day of the injury failed to show anything. A CT scan was necessary back then and it was never done but the treatment for a non-misplaced fractured rib, even four of 'em, is exactly what Ells has been doing. Just don't expect him back in three or five days. But he WILL be back. I hope Mike Cameron will be, too. I worry about him more than I do Jacoby. In fact, I hope this injury plague moves to another city (left coast and NYC?).

So it'll be Matsuzaka and Buchholz at the back of the rotation and that's good. I love Timmy but the club had to pick their five best. I think they did. Click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Youk Walk-Off Double Saves Beckett

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Texas Rangers by a score of 8-7 in twelve innings but it wasn't easy. Josh Beckett was not his usual self, giving up seven earned runs in his seven innings. He walked four and whiffed five. He wasn't right but the bats saved the game. The 'pen put up goose eggs for five innings to give the Sox their chances. It was Bard for 2, Papelbon for another 2 and Okajima, the eventual winner, for 1. Beckett had this to say about his dismal outing...

"If anything, I hampered us. I held us back. I hate to be part of that because I made us use three extra relievers that we shouldn’t have had to use.”

Accurate words from Mr. Beckett. He'll find his "groove" soon along with Jon Lester. Hey, the entire team needs to find that same groove. Here's Youk, who, along with JD Drew, was a hero...

“A win is a win, Sometimes it’s a little more emotion and a lot better of a game when you walk it off, but we’d rather play nine innings and win by 10. Those will come. We’ll have hopefully a lot of those down the road. You’ve just got to go out there and battle. This team is battling right now. We’ve had some injuries, guys aren’t playing up to the top of their game. It’s still so early that there’s time to bounce back and figure things out.’’

So all's well that ends well but the many nervous moments are killing me! It was a squirm fest last night from beginning to end, grimaces galore. I guess that's how you win two in a row when things are not going well. Oh, Mike Lowell looks like he'll be DHing against lefties for the time being because Big Papi had been more of a teddy bear than a PAPI at the plate. I hope he finds himself...quickly. Hey, the Orioles come into town next. Maybe the Sox can keep winning. THEY SHOULD! If they don't, it'll be impossible to catch up with those pinstripers. They're solid top to bottom. Too solid, all that money can buy. YO ADRIAN, and I don't mean Mr. Beltre.

You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Darnell McDonald Wins The Game For The Boston Red Sox 7-6

With Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron on the disabled list, the Boston Red Sox called up an outfielder whose name is Darnell McDonald, and boy, did he have an auspicious debut. He clubbed an eighth inning tater that tied the game at 6 and a wall single in the ninth that won it, breaking Boston's horrid losing streak. The final score was Boston 7 Texas 6. But it wasn't pretty. The Red Sox allowed NINE (!!) stolen bases, most of them off Tim Wakefield, who said he was concentrating on the plate, not the numerous runners on base. Timmy was mediocre but the bullpen held the Rangers scoreless until the heroics of McDonald saved the night and won the game. Here he is with special words for any player who has languished in the minor leagues year after year after...

“To get to this point, I can’t put it into words how much it means,” said McDonald. "Every year you try to get better, try to improve on the year before. When hard work meets opportunity, things like this happen. Also what kept me going was that there are going to be some other guys coming along that are in the same boat, battling, playing in the minor leagues for a long time. Hopefully they can look at me and have the same belief in themselves and know that if you keep pressing and keep working hard, it can happen.”

It happened, Darnell, and SO many of us will never forget your heroics. EVER. Great job, even better than great. Tremendous, terrific, fantastic, superlative. WOW!

Theo Epstein sounded off on his team's terrible start and put it all out there with his words. Here are a few of them...

“We haven’t been worth shit so far,” Epstein said. “Pardon my French. We haven’t played well at all so far. You can’t sugarcoat it or make excuses or hide from it. You’ve got to own it, take responsibility.

It can't get any worse and if last night had turned out differently, well, I don't even want to think about it. But last night was the first time in too long a time that we had something that made us leap in the air and yell with joyous glee. That's priceless.

You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. Oh, I almost forgot. Thank you Darnell. You will never be forgotten. Not after last night.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Free Falling

Dustin Pedroia put the latest Boston Red Sox loss in a unique perspective...

“When you don’t show up to play, it doesn’t matter if you’re playing the Rays or fucking Brookline High School.”

Sure, I know injuries have played a big part of this current skid. Bill Hall has no business in left field but with Jacoby Ellsbury still out with painful ribs and, unfortunately, Mike Cameron again in the hospital with a resurgence of the same pain he had to endure when he had a kidney stone (they have ruled out another stone), someone will have to go on the disabled list for the Sox to be able to call someone up from Pawtucket. But they MUST play better baseball. Here's the skipper...

“Our concern is playing better,” manager Terry Francona said. “When we do that, we’ll all feel better about ourselves. You can look at it any way you want - early, late, middle, the divisions - we just need to play better baseball.”

He's right! That's all I want to type today. I'm a little down but I keep telling myself it's only a game. Maybe the Red Sox can WIN one, starting today against the Texas Rangers. Timmy Wakefield will try to make the seemingly impossible possible. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Plunge Continues...Tampa Bay

Yes, another BAD day at the Fens. The Boston Red Sox, in a morning Patriot's Day game, were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays. The final score was a dismal 8-2 Florida guys as John Lackey had an "off" day, to say the least. The Red Sox collected a STAGGERING five hits. The bullpen was perfect but what good can they ever do when handed that big a deficit. You know what? I have no idea and I'm beginning to think the pre-season talk of "no offense" makes sense. I won't give up, though. NOT YET. I have faith. But just like a candle's wick, that faith can grow short. I hope it won't. I know it won't. I think.

Lackey's line was this...3.1 innings pitched (ouch!) 9 hits and 8 runs. My goodness, maybe it was the morning 11am start. There are NO more excuses for me. I'll have a full wrap, as terrible as it is, tomorrow. First thing.

The Red Sox Continue Their 2010 Plummet

The Boston Red Sox lost again to the Tampa Bay Rays by a lopsided score of 7-1, dropping their record to 4-8. I saw the following stats in today's Boston Globe and I wanted to pass these horrid numbers over to you. The Sox have lost 4 straight games and their offensive numbers in that span are truly offending. Hold on to your hat. They've had 28 base hits in 138 at bats. That calculates to a batting average of .138. That'll get a team far. Their on base percentage is a miniscule .281 and the most staggering number...they are 0 for 25 with runners in scoring position. Holy you-know-what, Batman! Jason Varitek, the captain, had this to say...

“Not to take anything away from the Rays’ pitching - they have good, quality pitching - but by no means is our offense flying on all cylinders. I think our offense will be better.”

All cylinders? They're running on 2 out of 8 cylinders, if that. 'Tek, it HAS to get better. Yesterday, Jon Lester continued his April doldrums. By the time his 6 innings were finished and he shuffled to the dugout, it was 7-0. Unacceptable. He agrees and here are some of his post-game words...

“I don’t know what I have to do,’’ Lester said. “I just have to be better. That’s all I know. I have to be better. It’s unacceptable. I’m letting the rotation down, I’m letting the bullpen down. Most importantly, I’m letting the team down with how I’m throwing the ball right now. I’ve got to pick it up and kick myself in the ass."

Kick away, Jon. You're right and I hate to say it. Right now the Boston Red Sox are making too many errors, allowing too many unearned runs while not putting any significant numbers up on their half of the scoreboard. I know we're only 12 games into the season but things have to change...FAST!

It's Patriots Day in Boston so the final game of the Rays series will begin at 11am EDT. Here's hoping for a win. John Lackey will be on the mound so I like our chances...if we can plate a few runners. If not, he'll lose 2-1. Let's hope that doesn't happen. You can click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Just A Rumor...As Of Now

This is from the LA Times just now as the Red Sox are busy going down to the Tampa Bay Rays again. After 6 innings, it is Tampa Bay 7 Boston 0. What else is new? Here you go...

"David Ortiz's horrible start could accelerate the timetable for the next round of talks between the Red Sox and Padres regarding Adrian Gonzalez. "

Peter here...NO COMMENT.

Doubly Deflating Defeats For Boston

My baseball night did not last very long Saturday night, so I'll be brief. The first game was still tied 1-1 going into the bottom of the 11th inning. The Boston Red Sox LOADED the bases with NOBODY out against the Tampa Bay Rays. Game over, right? You'd think so but you never know with this team. Joe Maddon, the Tampa manager, brought in a player from the outfield to be the fifth infielder. All Boston needed was a fly ball but noooooo. They couldn't get the ball out of the infield and eventually lost by a final score of 3-1. Delcarmen gave up a two run tater and ended up with the loss. But I had turned off the TV after the end of the 11th, thank goodness. I put on the HD DVD player and watched THE HURT LOCKER for the second time. I still say it's one of the best movies EVER made. Do not miss it.

From what I've read, Clay Buchholz had another slow start and gave up five early unearned runs helped by a Scutaro error and a dropped fly ball by Cameron. Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't they the two "defensive saviors" along with Beltre? Buchholz settled down but a Boston rally fell short. The final was 6-5. So it was a very forgettable Saturday night, except for the movie. I implore you to see THE HURT LOCKER if you haven't already. You will be deeply moved and incredibly affected.

That's it for this Sunday afternoon. There's a parade in Hartford that will honor the national champion University of Connecticut women Huskies basketball team, the best in the land for the last two years. They haven't even lost a single game in that period. Tens of thousands of people will flock to Hartford to see the USA women's National team play the US women's Select team. Then, it'll be time for the parade in what is now known as women basketball's capital city (and state). I'll be at the parade, of course. I wouldn't or couldn't miss it.

Enjoy your Sunday and as always, BE WELL. As for the Red Sox, BAH!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rain Postpones Red Sox/Rays Game At Fenway...Cameron Feels MUCH Better

Josh Beckett gave up only one run, an unearned one at that, caused by an error by Scutaro and a ball that bounced so high off the dirt around the plate that Adrian Beltre lost it in the lights. That was a first for my eyes and extremely bad luck for Boston. The game will resume at 7:10pm EDT starting with the beginning of the bottom of the ninth with Big Papi ready to end it on a walk-off. Boy, he DOES need something like that to kick start his 2010 season.

In other Red Sox news, good news, in fact, Mike Cameron passed a kidney stone and he should be OK to play today. I wouldn't EVER want to suffer from one of those! Here's Red Sox manager Terry Francona...

“He must have unbelievable pain tolerance,” Francona said, “because everyone I have talked to who’s had that, it’s agonizing.”

Cameron agreed...

“It’s like a male having a baby. So, there you go."

OUCH!! AHHHHH!!! He should be in the lineup today if the weather allows. Let's just hope for a one or two pitch walk off win authored by Big Papi. That would be SO sweet because Josh did not deserve to lose that game. With all the injuries, the Boston offense has suffered. Ellsbury might be in there tomorrow, though.

Have a great weekend, I'll see ya soon and as always, BE WELL.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Poor Effort By Red Sox...Minnesota 8 Boston 0

There was good news and bad news on the Red Sox front yesterday. I'll start with the bad...

Bad News #1) The game itself. The Minnesota Twins whupped the Boston Red Sox in a game filled with Boston miscues and a starting pitcher who only "had it" for four innings. Tim Wakefield allowed five runs collectively in the fifth and sixth innings, turning a 1-0 contest into a 6-0 folly. He allowed 10 (!) hits and six earned runs while walking one and whiffing two. It was a very mediocre outing. Couple Timmy's performance with the Red Sox defense (& offense) and you had all the makings of a major loss. The Sox commited three errors and Victory Martinez made a major throwing error, going to second base while the runner was running, head down, not looking, from second to third. An accurate throw might have gotten him. The bottom line, however, is this...the Sox never plated a single runner. A win was impossible. Here's Wakefield on his performance...

“It was a very ugly game today, and that started with me on the mound,’’ Wakefield said. “I wasn’t able to stop the bleeding quick enough. I just didn’t have very good stuff today. Just one of those games where I tried to grind it out as long as possible. I had really no feel for the breaking ball, couldn’t throw my fastball for strikes, and my knuckleball also wasn’t doing very well."

I've already turned the page and am looking forward to ten games of Fenway Park baseball. They'll face the Rays tonight with their ace, Josh Beckett on the mound. Look for a win. PERIOD.

Bad News #2) Jacoby Ellsbury is still hurting...a lot. He said yesterday that it hurts to sharply inhale, much less play left field and swing the bat. He was checked out yesterday in Minnesota, as was Mike Cameron (see below), who couldn't even make the flight back to Boston. DO NOT expect to see Jacoby back in left for at least a week and Boston might try to acquire another outfielder. Their center and left fielders are not on the field right now and the oft-injured JD Drew has been troubled by his neck. The injuries mount. That brings us to bad news number three.

Bad News #3) Mike Cameron woke up yesterday with a pain in his gut...literally. He was checked out at a Minnesota hospital before the team jetted home because the Sox wanted to make sure it isn't appendicitis. Or a hernia. I haven't heard how his examination ended up but he remains in Minnesota for now.

Finally, GOOD News #1) Daisuke Matsuzaka made his second start for the PawSox and was impressive. He allowed no runs and threw 86 pitches. 56 of them were strikes and he looked better than he did at any point last year. Here's the man himself...

“I think I’ve thrown enough pitches at this point to be ready to pitch in the big leagues,” he said through a translator. “Compared to the second time I went on the DL last year, when it took me a really long time to have that feeling, I can’t even compare them. Right now, I’m confident. I think personally I’m ready."

I, for one, hope he's ready to contribute to the big club, whether taking the place of Buchholz or Wakefield in the rotation. I'd hate to relegate either of them to the 'pen but if the manager and coaches feel that Daisuke is pitching "lights out," that might be what happens.

I think that covers just about everything for now. Thanks for stopping in, click on this post's title for more on the Sox and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lackey Rolls To His First Boston Victory (With A Little Help From His Friends)

It wasn't easy but John Lackey gutted his way through 6 2/3 innings and earned his first victory as a member of the Boston Red Sox. The final score was Boston 6 Minnesota 3. Hideki Okajima came in with a couple guys on base and recorded the final out of the seventh. It still was a one run lead but Jeremy Hermida came through bigtime in the eighth inning as he stroked a three run gap double that gave his team their three run lead. He's had a hit every game he's been in there and his playing time has increased because of the injuries to Ellsbury and JD Drew. Quite simply, he's been amazing! He said this after the game's conclusion...

“It’s been nice for a couple of days to get your timing back a little bit. It's nice to go out there and see some pitching consistently for a few days.”

Pedey Pedroia slammed his fourth tater of the year (already!) in support of John Lackey. Lackey struggled with his control and threw a whopping 107 pitches...that's why Red Sox manager Terry Francona had to come out and get the ball. Hey, it's mid-April and there was no sense in risking any type of injury. Heeeere's Johnny...

“My command wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be. It could have been a little of that time off. I don’t know,” Lackey said. “I felt pretty strong early on, but my command wasn’t quite where I needed it to be. I’m looking forward to being on five days and getting into a normal routine, for sure.”

Bard and Papelbon, who earned the save, provided some nail-biting moments but in the end, the Red Sox won to even their record at four. They play once again in Minnesota at 1:10pm EDT and then come home to Fenway for a series with the aways tough Tampa Bay Rays. Timmy Wakefield will, I hope, flutter his way to victory. The weather forecast is not that good here in north central Connecticut, including Boston, for Friday and Saturday with intermittent and scattered showers but they should be able to get the games in. Let's just win this game today and we'll think about tomorrow after that. Of course, the game will be televised by NESN and NESN HD and broadcast on all the usual radio station suspects. GO SOX.

That's it from here now. I'll be back later today with a game update. I'm lucky enough to be able to come home by 1pm EDT and I'll fire up the Hi Def television, choose a beverage of choice and enjoy the game. Hermida will again be in the starting lineup primarily because Jacoby Ellsbury is not yet ready to return. He'll be feeling much better in two or three, maybe four days. We wish him well.

You can click on this post's title for all the latest Red Sox news. I thank you for stopping in once again and as always, BE WELL. I mean that! Your comments are always welcome and always answered or replied to. See ya.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Red Sox 6 Twins 3...Almost A Pap Smear!

I'll have a full wrap first thing Thursday morning, but here's what the Globe has to say...

MINNEAPOLIS—"Rain fell on the Minnesota Twins at home for the first time in 29 years and John Lackey dampened their bats.Lackey turned in a second strong start and Jeremy Hermida gave Boston room with a three-run double in the eighth inning, leading the Red Sox to a 6-3 win Wednesday in the second game at Target Field.
Lackey (1-0) lasted 6 2-3 innings for his first Red Sox victory, lifted early by Marco Scutaro's two singles and Dustin Pedroia's RBI double and solo home run.
The crowd of 38,164, more than 1,000 below capacity, rediscovered baseball's unique relationship with the weather. Temperature at first pitch was 73 degrees, but raindrops started to fall in the third and sprinkled the sparkling new ballpark intermittently over the next four innings."

SOX WIN. See ya.

Boston Red Sox Slugger Big Papi Is Surrounded & Supported By His Teammates

I read an article penned by the Boston Herald's John Tomase, who has been doing great work writing about the hometown team. His Wednesday piece concerns the Boston Red Sox DH, David Ortiz. I have a few thoughts that I'll express right after this.

3-for 22. A batting average of .136. Those are the "right now" stats for Boston's Big Papi David Ortiz going into tonight's game with the Twinkies in Minnesota. That's the bad news. The good news is that his teammates have his back and are giving him maximum support, support he needs. Full-time catcher Victor Martinez had this to say about that support...

“That’s why we call it a team,” Martinez said. “Everyone has to pick each other up. He’s going to be fine. Remember, he hit his first homer last year halfway through the season and ended up hitting 28. Not everybody can do that. And he drove in 99 runs. Not everybody can do that either."

Red Sox hitting coach Dave Magadan has been paying attention to his DH and here are his thoughts...

“He’s probably not seeing the ball very well,” Magadan said. “When you’re a little unsure of the strike zone and recognizing the pitches, you tend to get a lot of checked swings. More often than not, when you err on the side of being a little more aggressive, it lends itself to getting out of it. I think you can get too passive up there and end up taking some pitches you normally can put some pretty good swings on."

I have all the faith in the world for Papi to recover from this mini-slump, and that's EXACTLY what it is, and start hitting the ball on the nose with screaming power. That's the Papi every one of us knows and loves.

But Big Papi still has a heart, a HUGE one. Jeremy, a Boston fan from Missouri, went to Sunday's game in Kansas City with his family to see their favorite baseball team. His daughter, Jordan, almost three years old, was with her family. Oh, by the way,
Jordan's favorite player? Big Papi. After the game they were walking by the clubhouse. Papi had just finished up a FOUR strikeout game. Most players glumly walked by them but when little Jordon said "Big Papi!" Well, I'll let Jeremy tell the rest. My heart was touched. Here you go...


"Several players made their way to the elevator without even a hello. Then emerged Ortiz, and instinctively my little girl says "Big Papi"! After a rough game and I am sure tough questioning, he stopped, turned around, and came over to my little girl. He spoke, signed a ball for her and left with at least one moment of a smile on his face.
Despite the weight of the 'Red Sox Nation' on his shoulders, he found a way to touch the life of a young fan that he will never know the importance of. In our eyes, he is a person to look up to and can only hope he finds the happiness he once had smacking the ball around the yard."


I wish David all the luck in the world. Much like Jon Lester, he's having a bad start. Remember the date. It's only April 14th. The Sox have had more off days than they've had games. Once the regular routine settles in and the team plays six games per week, well, then I think we'll see Ortiz find his swing, making things, very good things, happen once more. I can wait...can you?

That's it for this Hump Day Wednesday. I have to pay my taxes today at 10am EDT and I'm not looking forward to it. But ten minutes in the accountant's office and it will ALL be over. Phew! Click on this post's title for more on the Sox, who have John Lackey going this afternoon at 1:10pm EDT (thank goodness!) and as always, be well.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Less & Less Of Lester...Minnesota 5 Boston 2

Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester is continuing his string of plain old lousy Aprils. Yesterday at the Minnesota Twins' brand new ballpark, Target Field, he threw a whopping 107 pitches in his five innings of work. Only 59 were strikes and he walked three Twinkies. The Twins' Carl Pavano bested him. 'Nuff said. The final score was Minnesota 5 Boston 2. Here's Lester's sorrowful pitching line...

**************IP H R ER
Jon Lester 5.0 9 4 4

He was all over the place, his command almost invisible and undetectable. He had this to say after the game...

“Today I just stunk. Didn’t make pitches. I don’t really know what else to say. I just stunk,’’ Lester repeated. "A ball that bounces off two gloves and hits a bag cost me. You can look at it as bad luck, but I don’t really look at it that way. I look at it as not executing my pitches. I’ve got to do a better job.’’

To tell you the truth, and I'm a HUGE fan of Jon, he literally had NO command of whatever pitch came out of his left hand. He battled the whole way just to keep his team in the game. To put it bluntly, he was bested by none other than Carl Pavano. The Sox collected only seven scattered hits and were never in it. Also, Victor Martinez, an imposing presence at the plate, has to refine his throws to second base to nail the guys trying to steal. So far he's been awful, not that Jason Varitek was much better at gunning 'em out the past two years. But it's a liability, a minus that could (and will!) become a plus. David Ortiz provided Red Sox Nation with a faint twilight ray of hope by lashing a run scoring double to left but his batting average is still woeful, in the low .100s. Let's hope he can get into the "swing" of things or, by month's end, I would platoon him with Mikey Lowell. It's too soon to do that right now. The Red Sox hitting coach, Dave Magadan, spoke out on exactly that subject...

“He’s in a situation where he’s under the microscope right now and I think a lot of it is what happened last year,” Magadan said. “I think he really thinks about it more after the game when he has to answer all the questions. For the most part he’s trying to get through that process of feeling good at the plate and feeling like he’s got a chance on every pitch. He’s working his way to that."

I have faith in David. If you read my Friday (the 9th) post, you remember that the Boston Globe was and is STILL running a fan's poll about Lowell and Big Papi. Just go to the Globe's website and click on "Extra Bases." Red Sox Nation has an overwhelming opinion. I'll let you see for yourself.

Tomorrow, John Lackey will try to right the Sox ship and steer it in precisely in the right direction, away from any more icebergs. You know what? With some run support, Lackey will come close to 20 victories. He is an impressive guy on the hill.

Thanks for stopping in, click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. I appreciate every one of you and I'd love it if Boston can hand the Minnesota Twins their first EVER loss at their new ballpark. Tomorrow. See ya...soon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

So Far, A Rough Start For Jon Lester...

Monday afternoon baseball in Minnesota and Lester struggles. Pavano? We have to clobber him. So far, we're not.

The game is on NESN and all the Red Sox radio sources. 2-0 twinkies. More later.

Now 3-0. My goodness.

Pedey & Beltre Power 8- 6 Boston Victory Over KC

It was Pedy power, not Papi power, that fueled a Boston Red Sox 8-6 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Pedy, as you probably know, is our second baseman, Dustin Pedroia. Of course, Papi is the Boston Red Sox DH (for now), David Ortiz, who is off to another horrible start. He struck out four times yesterday in Kansas City. The clamor for a DH platoon with Mikey Lowell or an overall change has risen in volume. I think it's too early. If Papi's batting average is still hovering somewhere in the one hundreds at the end of this month, yes, I'll seriously consider it. Now? No way.

As for the game itself, Clay Buchholz was just OK, going five innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, walking two and whiffing just one. He didn't have an easy time of it as the Royal batters were persistantly swinging and NOT missing his pitches. Here he is...

“It was a battle,’’ Buchholz said. “Felt like I got into some really good counts, and threw some good pitches. They just kept fouling, fouling, fouling, worked the count deep. Made some good pitches, and they made some contact and found some holes."

Our man at third base, Adrian Beltre, contributed three hits but, going after a foul ball at the same time Jacoby was racing after it, collided with Ellsbury and that resulted in a rib contusion for Ells. It was a scary sight. We'll see how Jacoby feels today. Our shortstop, Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia, had four hits including his third home run. He likes how his team is doing so far...

“We’ve looked good,’’ Pedroia said. “We’ve hit the ball good. We’ve just got to keep that going. We’ve got a lot of really good offensive players. We’re going to be fine.’’

I agree with Pedey. The Boston Red Sox will be just fine but, in my opinion and I KNOW it's way too early to say this, they will win the AL Wild Card and the pinstripers will take the AL East title. I hope I'm wrong but that prediction would still result in post season play. There's nothing wrong with that, is there?

The only reason the game was so close was that Ramon Ramirez, who has been unbelievably inconsistent since the beginning of spring training, surrendered an eighth inning three run tater. That caused the Red Sox to turn to their top two in the 'pen, Bard and Papelbon. They did the job, though, but they should have had the day off. Oh well, we won. "Nuff said.

That's it from here now. Boston moves on to Minnesota, the land of Nadia. The Twinkies are a team they've seen many times so far this year. Jon Lester will make his second start, followed by Lackey and Wakes.

Click on this post's title for something Sox related, have a terrific Monday and as always, BE WELL. See ya!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Home Runs And Great Pitching Spell A Boston Red Sox Victory In KC

The Boston Red Sox used an array of bench players and they powered the Sox to victory with five home runs. Those five taters plated six runners and Boston went on to win the game by a score of 8-3, breaking their mini-losing string. Jason Varitek clubbed two long balls and Pedey Pedroia, Jeremy Hermida and Kevin Youkilis completed the long ball attack. Here's the captain, who I believe should be behind the plate EVERY time Josh Beckett toes the rubber...

“Both swings I was able to get the good part of the bat on the ball,’’ said Varitek, who homered on a hanging curveball by Greinke in the fifth and on a changeup by Luis Mendoza in the ninth. “Fortunately the ball was carrying a little bit to right. I was able to get them both out. I can’t say I felt great and felt locked in. The ball didn’t look like a grapefruit, it looked more like a golf ball.’’

Grapefruits are better, believe me. Beckett was able to go seven innings, giving up three runs on nine hits, walking only one and whiffing four Royal batters. Okie and Ramon Ramirez followed with two goose egg innings, completing a well earned win. Josh was almost beaned on his was close but he wasn't injured. The line drive grazed what looked like the back of his head. But the important thing about this Red Sox team that was showcased Saturday night was its depth. Here's Mike Lowell, who made a beautiful snag at third base, about exactly that...

“I believe we have good depth on the team, but it definitely feels better when guys that haven’t gotten at-bats can put up quality at-bats and help score some runs,’’ Lowell said. “This is a nice one for us.’’

That's EXACTLY what happened last night. I'm sure Tito Francona will cycle these VETERAN reserve players more regularly into games. He has to. And as I said before, and this is no diss on Victor Martinez, I'd like to see 'Tek catch Josh Beckett every five days. If used the right way, he has the catching ability, the smarts to call a game and the power at the plate to help this club. Hey, he's not called THE CAPTAIN for nothing. He proved that last night.

Today's final game of the series begins at 2:10 PM EDT and will pit Clay Buchholz, who I expect to be amazing this year (remember that) against Meche. Watch those Boston Good Guys take the rubber match, game three of three. I just have a feeling. Have a great Sunday and don't forget to enjoy the Masters, which has been mesmerizing. It goes heads up against the Sox at 2pm. Both are available in High Definition, and 3D (believe it or not) for the Masters..for a select few. Wait a couple of years and you'll see the new technology almost everywhere. Special glasses are needed but when I went to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut on Wednesday to get a taste of what it will look like in the future, I was blown away. I don't wear glasses except to help me read so the battery powered glasses were no problem. I wouldn't want to go out to dinner with them on but for "at home" viewing, they're OK and the 3D effect was, frankly, amazing, especially because it was a live event. Don't expect AVATAR (TO BE RELEASED APRIL 22 ON DVD AND BLUE RAY) but prepare to smile. No 3D for Avatar (yet), though. Phil Michelson is the guy I'm rooting for. I wish him the best of luck in what is certain to be a riveting match. It's shaping up to be a GREAT Sunday afternoon. Masters, Red Sox, Red Sox, Masters. Phew! YAY!! YES!!!

That's the way it is at 5:35 AM EDT Sunday April 11th. Be safe, be well and have fun today. It would be hard not to! I'll see you soon and, as you know, your comments are always read and ALWAYS responded to. So go for it! Thanks for popping in once again. I love you for it.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Boston Red Sox Bullpen Blows Another Victory Friday Night At KC

First it was Hideki Okajima, then the culprit was Jonathon Papelbon and last night in beautiful downtown Boston, it was flame thrower Daniel Bard. Each of them failed to hold a Red Sox lead or tie. Last night after Tim Wakefield pitched a sparkling seven innings, giving up two runs and striking out six, he became the oldest Red Sox pitcher to EVER start a baseball game...and he looked great. His back felt fine and HE felt fine. Wakes allowed two solo home runs in the sixth inning and that was it! The Kansas City Royals beat the Red Sox by a score of 3-2. The bullpen, in the form of Daniel Bard, allowed it to happen. Here's Bard...

“They earned the win. They fought and they battled and they scrapped together a couple runs when they needed it. Tip my hat to them in that respect. But obviously I wish, when you make a decent pitch, you get a better result. Doesn’t always happen. It’s tough,’’ Bard said. “Our starters — Wake did a heck of a job, John Lackey did a heck of a job, and we haven’t gotten them wins. I carry a lot of that on my shoulders the last two. Keep trucking. I’m not going to let it affect me too much. I feel like I’m still making pitches. Not going to look at it as any more than that.’’

Hey Daniel, keep your fastball NOWHERE near the middle of the plate. The black is the place to be, moving in or out, high or low. Keep 'em guessing! YOU HAVE THE STUFF. It's ALL location. I hope you'll learn. I'm fairly sure you will.

Here's Tim Wakefield after his terrific outing...

“I felt like I had good movement on my knuckleball,’’ Wakefield said. “I was throwing a lot of strikes. The only mistake that I really made was the 3-1 fastball to Butler. I meant to throw it away and I threw it right down the middle and he hit a homer. I got beat with a bad pitch.’’

Two little mistakes. Seven innings. That's it! We ask our bullpen guys to give their all for ONE! Maybe our offense IS in a slump but a season-long slump because of inability? I will NEVER believe that.

Have a great weekend and as always, be well.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Ortiz Or Lowell? The Globe Asks Its Readers

More than 7700 readers have responded to a Boston Red Sox question over at the Boston Globe's "Extra Bases." I have strong feelings about it so allow me to run the question by you. Here it is...

"No platoon. Pick one player. Should the Red Sox give Mike Lowell a shot at DH if David Ortiz struggles in April? Or give Ortiz more time to turn it around?"

I, of course, voted for giving Big Papi at least the month of April to get his "stuff" together at the plate. I thought the fans would agree with me. I was SURE! 100% dead cold positive. My goodness, the Red Sox have only played three games! But it seems Red Sox Nation is an impatient one. Here are the results. I'll have my comments after you read this tally...

Yes. Mike Lowell may prove to be a productive righthanded bat for the Sox if they just give him a chance at DH.

No. You've got to give Big Papi a chance to work into a groove like last year.

It wasn't even close. To say I was surprised would be an utter understatement. The key words in the actual quotation are "no platoon." The ideal solution would be to have Papi bat against righties as DH and Mike Lowell to be the team's DH when a lefty is on the mound. Both would be effective "bat on the ball" DHers. I think that's a no brainer. What do you think? Leave me a comment or three and I'll respond to every one of 'em. Thanks. Three games. My goodness. In today's paper, the Boston Herald's Steve Silverman might have put it best...

"Three games in, both Ortiz and the Red Sox have work to do."

After three games, I think that's a little overblown but I guess many fans of the Boston Red Sox would disagree. I, for one, cannot agree...not right now. May 1st, yes, I'll know enough to state my opinion. But not right now, not after just three games, against the Yankees, no less. Of course, I'll be here every day until then so please stop in for your daily (if not more) dose of PETER'S RED SOX FOREVER. You can click on this post's title for more on the Boston Red Sox and as always and forever, BE WELL. See ya.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

An MLB Umpire Speaks Out...

Joe West, an MLB umpire, had this to say about the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees' pace of play...

"They're the two clubs that don't try to pick up the pace," said West, the chief of the umpiring crew working the three-game series, according to the report. "They're two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It's pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play," he said, according to the report. "All of baseball looks to these two clubs to pick up the pace," West said, according to the report. The players aren't working with us."

My goodness, maybe Joey West was tuckered out? Not paid enough?? I have NO idea. I just thought this was an interesting (to say the least) comment. Is this April 1st? I'm fairly certain it's NOT. I had a good laugh, though. The longer the game, the more the television network's revenue increases. Sure, I love a two and a half hour contest, but where was he coming from?

As the Beach Boys wrote and sang, "GOD ONLY KNOWS."

John Lackey Superb For Red Sox but Bard & Paps Fall Short...NNY3 Red Sox 1

John Lackey made his debut for the Boston Red Sox and showed why he will earn every penny of his $80 million salary. He went six innings, threw 100 pitches and Sox manager Terry Francona had to yank him. After all, it's still early April, pre-tax time, so 100 pitches is roughly the maximum this early. Tito said this after the 10 inning 3-1 loss...

“I’d like to have let him pitch all night,” Francona said. “But I think it would have been a little irresponsible this early in the season to send him back out.”

Take a look at his pitching line and you'll see EXACTLY what I mean...

John Lackey 6.0* 3* 0

Lackey left with a 1-0 lead but it was Bard and Papelbon who gave up one run and two runs respectively to turn the game the pinstriper's way. That two run tater in the 10th inning was hit by newcomer Curtis Granderson and he became the only player to club more than one home run off Mr. Papelbon. The crowd was silent, utterly defeated, You see, the Yankees have a great back end of their bullpen with Joba and Mariano. Things looked and turned out bleak. The Sox had their chances in the ninth but two shots that seemed headed for the seats never made it that far. Granderson's shot was clearly a home run from the crack of the round ball on a round stick of wood. Here's Jonathon Papelbon...

“I felt really good, but it was the classic situation where you make one mistake and you pay for it. It obviously was a poorly executed pitch by me, left up out over the plate. With this lineup, you’re going to pay for it. That’s the way it is.’’

If Lackey continues being this effective, well, the sky is the limit. Today is an off day and the Red Sox will travel to Kansas City to begin play there on Friday. Wakefield and the newly re-signed Josh Beckett will pitch the first two contests with Buchholz making his 2010 debut in game three. Nobody can define a season after only three games but Boston could have easily been swept had they not made a terrific comeback in game one with New York. But they did win game one and this three game series is history. There is much to be happy about but the hitting in games two and three could have been better, especially last night when Boston had plenty of guys on base. To only end up with one run won't win many ball games. But stuff happens, it's early April and things will get better. We have the starting pitching and a servicable bullpen. SO many teams cannot say the same thing.

That's the way it is, Thursday, April 8, 2010. Here in interior Connecticut, it was an astounding 93 degrees yesterday. I kept the windows closed to keep the cool air from the night before INSIDE rather than let the heated air pump in. I usually try to avoid using the A/C for as long as possible. With a simple small bedside table fan, we were comfortable.

I thank you for stopping in once again to my little corner of the "blue nowhere." You can click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. See ya!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

BIG PAPI Lashes Out

This is from the Boston Globe's Gordon Edes via ESPN Boston dot com. I'll fill in the expletives deleted as best I can...

BOSTON -- "After going hitless Tuesday for a second straight game to start the season, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz lashed out at reporters when reminded that his struggles last April and May would be a hot topic if he was slow at the start of this season as well.
"Good," he said, turning to face the reporters encircling him. "You guys wait 'til shit happens, then you can talk shit. Two fucking games, and already you assholes are going crazy.
"What's up with that, man? Assholes. 160 games left. That's a crock of shit. One of you fuckers got to go ahead and hit for me."

I'm sorry for the "bad" language but I wanted you to see his rage.

UCONN Women Repeat As National Champions...NYY 6 Red Sox 4

The University of Connecticut women Huskies won their second consecutive national championship with a comeback 53-47 victory over Stanford. They had to do it the tough way because their first-half shooting was non-existant. They were only able to score 12 (!!) points in that first 20 minutes, their lowest scoring half in the program's history. EVER! Stanford's touch was not that much better because of UCONN's swarming defense but UCONN clearly needed to put some balls through the net in the second stanza. It was 21-12 at the half. Here's the best player in the country, Maya Moore, on what they were thinking at halftime...

"It was a new half," Moore said. "We had to just keep playing hard and executing what we didn't execute in the first half. Sometimes it's just that simple. You just have to focus in on the little things that we've been working on all year and things start clicking."

Connecticut has now won 78 straight games, 10 short of UCLA's John Wooden's all-time record. But 5 seniors will bid adieu and the team will be different next year. But they'll STILL have Maya. The score was Stanford 21-UCONN 12 and then it was time for the Maya Moore show. She scored 18 points in the last 20 minutes and along with a couple timely threes from Caroline Doty and a nice effort from UCONN center and AP player of the year Tina Charles, who could only have been helped by another ankle injury to Stanford center Jayne Appel, UCONN went ahead for good. Quite simply, Maya was unstoppable. She put the team on her back and carried them on her shoulders to make history. And that's exactly what they did. Here's Coach Geno Auriemma speaking of the 77 game winning streak and the two consecutive national championships. He'll be the next USA women's Olympic basketball coach, where I think he and his players will take the gold. I know one thing for sure. The United States of America will fall in love with him. We here in Connecticut sure did, many years ago. Excellence unbounded, right in front of our eyes. I have to admit this. I shed a few tears last night. My girlfriend gave me some s*it about it but I didn't care. I think it's good never to hide your emotions. Hey, they were tears of unbridled happiness. There's nothing wrong with that. Here's Geno...

"Looking back now at what we've done I'm almost incredulous that it actually happened because I can't imagine having done it," Auriemma said. "It's almost like it never happened. It's something that's there and I know we did it, and I know it's in the record books. But I am so astounded that it's happened."

Thanks for everything, coach. We'll see you at the parade in Hartford whenever it happens and at the reception at the airport and the celebration on campus this afternoon.

Briefly, the New York Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox last night by a score of 6-4. The Sox were ahead 3-1 but could not hold that advantage. To tell you the truth, I didn't see a minute of it. It was a University of Connecticut night for all of us here in Connecticut. I do want to give you a link to the Boston Globe's outspoken Dan Shaughnessy, who comes to way too many premature conclusions about our 2010 Boston Red Sox after only two regular season games. Click on that title and as always, BE WELL. Congratulations to the University of Connecticut women Huskies!!! You own my heart. I love ya! SO MUCH.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Beckett Signs 4 Year $68 million Deal...UCONN Women Go For ALL The Marbles Tonight

The Boston Red Sox pitching rotation will be virtually intact for the next five years. Yesterday, the club inked their ace, Josh Beckett, to a four year extension that will pay him $68 million. With the $12.1 million Josh will earn this year, he's slightly above the $80 million threshold. He had high praise for the Red Sox. Here he is...

"This is a very special place. Anyone who has had a chance to play here knows that. And anyone who hasn't had a chance to play here probably know that through other people who have. This organization does everything it can to make our jobs as easy as possible.The people I've talked to, there aren't a whole lot of other organizations out there that do that. Work in between starts, roundtable things, I could go on here, but they make for a very ideal situation for a baseball player. It's really a good place to play."

Well said, Josh. Have a great year. We'll be watching you every five days with love in our hearts. Sure, your first start didn't go that well but it's only early April and our team won the game. Congratulations.

OK, on to UCONN women's basketball. Tonight at approxmately 8:30pm EDT, the University of Connecticut women Huskies will go up against Stanford, the last team to beat them more than TWO (!!) years ago, as they try to win their second straight National Championship. They are undefeated this year with a record of 38-0 and every one of those victories was by 10 points or more, most of them MUCH more. Stanford center Jayne Appel has been hampered by a sore ankle and it will be tough for her to push off in any direction. Hey, with UCONN's Tina Charles and Maya Moore, the injury won't make that much of a difference but it should ensure UCONN yet another double digit conquest. In all, they've won 77 consecutive games. Think of it...77!! The game will be broadcast on ESPN and ESPN HD. Again, I'll miss a good part of the Red Sox/Yankee contest but as the title says, this game is for all the marbles. UCONN is making history and I and a few guests will be cheering wildly. I can't wait. It's not even 5am on this Tuesday and I still can't contain my sheer excitement. Yes, it's WOMEN'S basketball but this team is SO special. Check 'em out if you can.

You can click on this post's title for more on the Beckett contract extension and as always, BE WELL. Enjoy the games (plural) tonight. Thanks for popping in and I'll see ya.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Wow, oh what a night. The Fenway Park slugfest started shortly after 8pm EDT and around 9:30pm EDT, the University of Connecticut and Baylor University squared off in game two of the Final Four to earn the right to play Stanford in the final on Tuesday. BOTH MY TEAMS WON. Sunday night was meant for such an outcome. Let me start with the Red Sox, if I may.

The Boston Red Sox defeated the NY Yankees by a score of 9-7 in what could only be called a slugfest. Both Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia were largely ineffective, each giving up five runs. Hey, it's early. Josh will find his groove. Boston proved its "so-called" defensive lineup can smash the ball all over the place but it was Kevin Youkilis and Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia who provided most of the fireworks. The teams will next play tomorrow (Tuesday) night at the Fens with Jon Lester primed and ready to go. Of course, this will be the second game of the season and the second Red Sox game I will mostly miss. You see, the University of Connecticut Huskies play that same night against the Stanford Cardinal in the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP game. It will be something I just cannot miss. Speaking of UCONN...

Tina Charles and Maya Moore combined for 55 points and 25 rebounds as Connecticut outlasted and outplayed Baylor by a score of 70-50. There were some anxious moments for those of us here in Connecticut but the two All-Americans were there to bury Baylor and their 6'8" center, Brittney Grimes. She's only a freshman and her future is brighter than the sun. Believe it or not, I fell asleep during the first half but I had my HD DVR all set up and ready to go. Guess what? It worked while I was dreaming and as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to watch the game in its entirety. I can't wait!

So the Red Sox are 1-0 and UCONN needs only one more victory to earn their second consecutive National Championship. Undefeated, 77 double digit wins in a row. What could be better? I'll tell you. NUTTIN! Click on the title of this post for more on the game and as always, BE WELL. Go Sox! Go UCONN! As I said in my first sentence, oh, what a night it was.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

It's Time. LET'S PLAY BALL!!


Opening Day 2010...Happy Easter...Women's Final Four

Actually, for the Boston Red Sox, it'll be Opening Night. They will play the NY Yankees tonight at Fenway Park in beautiful downtown Boston. It's also Easter Sunday. Have a happy and healthy holiday. I'm sure we all hope the pinstripers will lay a giant egg when CC Sabathia faces Josh Beckett. Unfortunately, I'll only see bits and pieces of the game because at 9:30ish, the University of Connecticut women Huskies will tangle with Baylor and their 6'8" (!!) center, Brittney Griner, in the second Final Four contest. Brittney, however, is only a freshman and she'll have to go up against Tina Charles, who yesterday was named AP player of the year. Here she is...

"I want to thank all the individuals who pushed me, all the individuals who told me to keep doing it," said a beaming Charles.

Geno Auriemma, the UCONN coach, did most of the pushing. Here HE is..

"I loved her reaction because it was so genuine," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. "Now she's going into this weekend thinking I'm getting recognized for what I've done. For this day to end the way it did for Tina is absolutely perfect," Auriemma said. "No one deserves it more."

He's SO right. Tina is joined by none other than Maya Moore, considered the "other" BEST player in the country. She is, too. Believe it or not, I'm usually asleep by 9:30 but not tonight. No way, no how, impossible, forget about it! It'll be a 4pm nap for this guy. GO UCONN. GO HUSKIES. Two more wins for all the marbles. I LOVE marbles.

On to the Boston Red Sox. I went off on a little tangent there but I love that UCONN team SO much. Boston whupped the Nationals by a score of 6-1 on Saturday. Timmy Wakefield went four innings and only needed 45 pitches to do it...with 35 (!) strikes. His skipper, Terry Francona, had this to say...

"He was in the zone, getting them out."

I hope he'll do that all season long. His back FINALLY feels great. Daisuke Matsuzaka, the big question mark of the pitching staff, was remarkable for the next four innings and the Red Sox dominated the Nats. Let's hope that domination will continue THROUGH October. I have a feeling it just might. Let's see, they won it all in '04 and '07. Three years apart. Add three to 2007 and what do you get? 2010. Here we go.

That's it from me now. It's way too early but once I woke up at 4:30am, I couldn't go back to sleep. So I went downstairs to the kitchen and had breakfast, well before the sun peeked over the horizon. It still hasn't, by the way. Again, I want to wish every one of you a happy and healthy Easter Sunday. Thanks for popping in, click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. I'll see ya. Soon.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Buchholz Baffles Nationals...One Day To Go!

The Boston Red Sox, two days (now one) removed from the start of the 2010 regular season, put most of their regulars on the field and their number five starter, Clay Buchholz, on the mound. Clay shined, going six innings and allowing only one earned run on six base hits, walking one and whiffing one. He said his legs felt heavy but he gave it his all and the Red Sox won by a score of 7-2 against the Washington Nationals. The bullpen allowed only one more run and that was it...Sox win! Here is the Boston pitching summary. Pretty sweet, I'd say...

Player....... IP H R ER BB K ERA
C. Buchholz 6.0 2 1 1 1 1 6.75
H. Okajima 0.2 1 0 0 0 0 1.80
R. Ramirez 0.2 1 1 1 1 1 8.71
D. Bard 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 5.00
J. Papelbon 1.0 1 0 0 0 1

With Beckett, Lester, Lackey (the BEST number three rotation guy on ANY team), Wakefield and Buchholz, the Boston Red Sox can and WILL do some damage. I feel it in my bones, and I've been watching this team for many years. Here is Timmy Wakefield comparing the 2010 rotation to any he has been a part of...

“It was very good in 2004,’’ he said, ticking off the names of Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, and Bronson Arroyo. “The reason it was good is that we all stayed healthy and made all our starts. If we can do something like that again, we could be even better. That’s how much I think of these guys. It’s not just depth; it’s good depth,’’ Wakefield said. “The first three guys are all No. 1s and Buchholz probably will be some day. Daisuke has shown people what he can do when he’s healthy and I’ve done OK.’’

You've done BETTER than OK, Timmy, and we love you. The Sox battle the New York Yankees Sunday night. It'll be Josh Beckett versus CC Sabathia. Oh my! I'll be recording that game on my DVR because at the same time, the NCAA women's Final Four begins and every one of you knows that my heart belongs not only to the Red Sox but to the University of Connecticut women Huskies. Two games until perfection and a second national championship. Of course, during the breaks I'll be checking out the baseball. I'll watch the complete game early Easter morning before I write my post. We expect a bunch of people here at my place for the basketball and I couldn't be more excited. Nadia will cook a little of this and a lot of that (I'm in charge of the salad with my secret homemade dressing) as UCONN destroys Baylor, even with their 6'8" center, Griner. Oh, what a day and night will Sunday be!!

Thanks for stopping by. I love it that you do. Tomorrow's post will feature my AL East final standings prediction. I'm sure of numbers one, two and three. The other three don't matter. Click on the title of this post for more on our Sox and have a terrific Saturday. Let's get ready to get ready for BASEBALL! As always, BE WELL. See ya...soon. GO UCONN!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Boston Red Sox Baseball In TWO Days!!

And here's the Boston Red Sox official roster and lineup as they get ready for the first battle with the pinstripers at good old Fenway Park just two nights from now (can you believe it?)...

Jacoby Ellsbury LF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Victor Martinez C
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortis DH
J.D. Drew RF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Mike Cameron CF
Marco Scutaro

Jason Varitek C
Jeremy Hermida LF, RF
Bill Hall 3B, 2B, SS, RF, LF
Mike Lowell 3B, 1B

RHP Josh Beckett
LHP Jon Lester
RHP John Lackey
RHP Tim Wakefield
RHP Clay Buchholz

RHP Jonathan Papelbon
RHP Daniel Bard
LHP Hideki Okajima
RHP Ramon Ramirez
RHP Manny Delcarmen
RHP Scott Atchison
LHP Scott Schoeneweis

RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (back)
RHP Boof Bonser (groin)
INF Jed Lowie (illness)
RHP Junichi Tazawa (elbow)

I don't see Alan Embree there...he might need more work. Boof is having his problems, as is Jed Lowrie, I'm sorry to say. We all are sick of Matsuzaka's various setbacks, but given time, he MIGHT get it together. Junichi is in trouble and might need surgery. He's young. He should be OK eventually. But the lineup looks great, just the way I predicted a couple posts ago. The rotation is superb. We all knew it would be. Great job, Theo. The bench seems thin but all in all, we're OK. This roster does not stand in stone, however, but for now, many wins are guaranteed. I like it. LET'S PLAY BASEBALL. I'll be here every day for you. I hope you come back often. Thanks. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Bernie Carbo...OH MY!

I read this article in today's Boston Globe and I could not NOT comment. You all remember Bernie Carbo's pinch hit three run home run that tied game six of the 1975 World Series and set the stage for Pudge Fisk's heroics. There were four outs to go when Bernie strode to the plate and clobbered a three run tater, tying the game. Boston, because of Pudge Fisk's home run over the wall too near the fair pole, won it and set up a game seven. Unfortunately, that was the last win of the season for the Good Guys. and extended the Series to an ultimate seventh game. I saw the first two games with my Mom in the second row right behind the first base bag. Loooie Tiant was unbelievably mesmerizing in winning game one and, until the rain delay in game two, the Spaceman, Bill Lee, had a one run lead and was pitching tremendously before the Red Sox lost game two. Oh, if there had been no rain delay. But it happened, and we have it as a part of Red Sox Nation history. What could have been wasn't, but OH, what a World Series! I cried, I wept while my three college roommates from New Jersey and I watched game seven down in Lancaster. Here's Bernie talking about the Bernie we did not know...

“I probably smoked two joints, drank about three or four beers, got to the ballpark, took some speed (amphetamines), took a pain pill, drank a cup of coffee, chewed some tobacco, had a cigarette, and got up to the plate and hit,’’ Carbo said. “I played every game high,’’ he said. “I was addicted to anything you could possibly be addicted to. I played the outfield sometimes where it looked like the stars were falling from the sky. I played baseball 17 years of my life and I don’t think I ever missed a day of being high. I threw away my career,’’ said Carbo, 62. ’’

So '67 & '75 & '86 came and went, as did our hopes and dreams of glory. But we had it all in 2004 and 2007. What could be better? The 2010 season is only three days away. I CAN'T WAIT. As always, BE WELL. See ya.