Monday, May 31, 2010

Boston's Jon Lester Battles Through An Off Day To Win

The Boston Red Sox and the KC Royals played their series finale Sunday and Boston made it a split 2-2 series with an 8-1 trashing. Big Papi David Ortiz completed his May turnaround with his 10th (!) tater of the month. I think it's safe to say he's back, and back in a big way. He caught so much flak in April but now he's confident once again. He said this about that...

“People start talking trash too early, man. That’s what I blame it on."

The bottom three of the Sox lineup, Varitek, Hall and Cameron, were spectacular, going 6 for 11 and scoring 7 of the team's eight runs. Here's Mr. Hall...

“If we can get the bottom of the lineup going like we did today, it takes a little pressure off the guys in the middle of the lineup,’’ Hall said. “We know those guys can’t win games for us every day, so if we can produce at the bottom of the lineup and score a lot of runs, it’s going to help this team win a lot more games.’’

Boston finished the month of May with an AL best record of 18-9 and they did it without Beckett and a consistent John Lackey. And speaking of Beckett, he's still grounded until, well, he'll tell you himself...

“It’s ‘Groundhog Day’ right now,” Beckett said. “Just trying to get things better. . . . It’s just like the movie. You come in and do the same thing every day. From what I’m hearing, I basically have to come in and say I’m 100 percent tomorrow before I can even pick a ball up. I’m past the frustrating part and trying to figure things out. It is what it is. Everyone has to answer to somebody, and right now they’re telling me what to do.”

I know Josh must be chomping at the bits to take that mound and own the opposing team's hitters. And he will, too. Today, Monday, will be a rare holiday day off before the Sox take on the Oakland A's at the Fens Tuesday. Here are the pitching match-ups...

6/1/2010 Oak 7:10 PM ET CSCA/NES *** Lackey (5-3) vs.Gonzalez (5-3)
6/2/2010 Oak 7:10 PM ET CSCA/NESN *** Matsuzaka (3-2) vs.Sheets (2-3)
6/3/2010 Oak 1:35 PM ET CSCA/NESN *** Wakefield (1-3) Anderson (2-1)

I hope every one of you has a great Memorial Day Monday, a day without Red Sox baseball. Odd but true. But the team is playing well and I hope they continue to do so. In fact, I'm confident that they will, especially when Beckett gets back to his normal dominantly devastating self. And there are rumors that Mike Lowell will be heading west to LA because the Angels lost the services of their first baseman Kendry Morales, who broke his leg when he was mobbed by his teammates at home plate after a grand slam tater. Idiotic, to say the least. That's all anyone knows about Mikey right now but I'll monitor the situation carefully. Count on it.

Don't forget to click on this post's title for more Sox coverage. Have a happy and healthy holiday and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Clay Dough...Pure Gold

Clay Buchholz is hitting his stride in a huge way. The Boston Red Sox defeated the KC Royals by a score of 1-0 Saturday evening at Fenway Park. It was another Buchholz beauty. His record is now 7-3 and I think every one of us is ecstatic that Theo didn't trade him. With Jon Lester, the two are our best and most consistant hurlers. His catcher, Victor Martinez, had this to say after the game...

“He had everything, everything, everything. Once again, he had everything working.’’

Here's Terry Francona, Red Sox manager...

“The cutter he’s throwing now — you can call it a slider, cutter — it’s become such a good weapon for him,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “He can get back into the count, get some misses with it, get some ground balls. Gives him another look. He’s got the velocity with the fastball, he’s got the changeup. It’s a pitch he’s really comfortable with.’’

All four of his pitches were fine tuned and ready to go. In his 7 innings, he allowed zero runs and 4 hits. He walked 4 and whiffed 4. Bard and Papelbon finished things up in this tense one run contest. Jon Lester will try to make it 2 in a row this afternoon at 1:35 pm. He'll face the (1-0) Chen in this 4 game series finale.

In other Red Sox news, it was announced that Josh Beckett will not make his return to the mound until further notice. He still has back pain which prevents him from keeping consistency in his delivery motion. Again, here's Tito with more...

“I think the thinking involved is he’s not able to repeat his delivery consistently enough and that worries us. He starts changing arm angles, you can run into some problems that we don’t need to run into, so until we’re a little bit more comfortable and he’s more comfortable, we’re going to just slow it down a little bit."

It's time for Timmy Wakefield to take it to another level. It's a good thing that Boston started the season with 6 starters but I know one thing for sure. Buchholz pitched a beauty...pure and simple.

Have a great Sunday and a terrific Memorial Day. I'm going to heat up the backyard gas grill for the first time this spring. It'll either be a steak or hamburgers with a couple ears of Florida corn on the cob wrapped in heavy duty foil and grilled to perfection. A little butter, a touch of salt and a little fresh cracked pepper with a salad and baked potato, also prepared on the grill, complete the feast. The salad will have my homemade dressing. I'll type up the recipe and post it soon. It's garlicky delicious with 3 kinds of vinager, extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard and fresh lemon with a dash of salt and a generous portion of fresh cracked pepper. There are a couple other ingredients added to the mix, too. One hard boiled egg yolk mashed in a cup with the mustard and garlic starts it all out. Romaine lettuce with croutons are a must, too. Medium rare, please, for the steak or burger. With fresh raw onion and ketchup, I'll be a happy camper. I just made myself very hungry and that's a good thing. It's not even 6 am yet. The propane tank is full and I'll go to Highland Park market here in Farmington to buy all the essentials. They have a superior meat department which is located adjacent to their fish selections. A shrimp cocktail with my special hot and lemony cocktail sauce will do it. MMM. The shrimp must be in a chilled bowl accompanied by a couple leaves of lettuce with added lemon dripped over the top. Astonishing.

You can click on the title of this post for more on the Buchholz beauty and as always, BE WELL. I 'll see you soon. Count on it. Have a great grillin' and chill'n holiday with a dash of sports and maybe a holiday beverage or two. That's the ticket!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

From Soup To Nutz...Wakefield's Worst

Friday night at Fenway Park was another UGLY Boston effort against the KC Royals. Tim Wakefield had his worst start ever as a member of the Boston Red Sox, who lost to KC by a lopsided score of 12-5. What was once a 5-2 Sox lead evaporated in the 4th inning when the lowly Royals scored 7 runs. But they sure can hit the ball. It was no contest from there as the Red Sox suffered their second straight humiliating defeat. Here's Big Papi, not mincing his words...

“We got our asses kicked,’’ David Ortiz said. “You come back and play the game. Turn the page. We were playing so well. Not that we were taking anything for granted. Kansas City, they play the game to win, too. That’s what they’ve been doing the last few days. I guess that’s how the game goes."

In all, Wakes was only able to go 3 2/3 innings while giving up a staggeringly dismal 9 runs on 12 hits. To make matters worse, if that's possible, he walked 3 Royals hitters. The game (mismatch) was over for the duration and reduced the Fenway Faithful to chant "Lets go Celtics." Congratulations to them, by the way. They will most likely be playing the Lakers come Thursday night unless the Phoenix Suns have a couple miracles left in their pockets. That's about the only piece of good news in Boston's backstreets. Here's some more bad news.

Jacoby Ellsbury is back on the disabled list because of reoccurring rib pain. Ribs are slow to heal and maybe Boston rushed his return. Jacoby said this yesterday...

“I guess the way it looks now, I came back too soon, but with the way I felt, the way the medical staff felt, we felt it was time to go,” Ellsbury said. “But we knew I wasn’t fully healed.

Hey Jacoby, next time SAY SOMETHING! Please. We need your speed, offense and defense every day. Ellsbury might not be back until near the All Star break (believe it or not). Swinging a bat puts SO much stress on both sides of the chest and that's exactly where he's hurting.

Have a great Saturday and a wonderful holiday weekend. If you have the stomach for it, click on this post's title for more on last night's "game." I use the quotation marks because the Red Sox were pulverized, ground into pulp and ready for burial. It's expected that Josh Beckett will be back on Thursday. That means that Wakes will yet again be relegated to the bullpen. The Red Sox have only 3 starting pitchers doing anything good but things can and will turn around. I hope it's soon. It HAS to be. As always, BE WELL. Happy holiday!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Daisuke Takes A Walk On The Wild Side

What an awful performance by Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka Thursday night. Take a look at his pitching line and you'll see why...

Boston*********************** IP H R ER BB
Daisuke Matsuzaka (L 3-2) 4.2 **2 **3 **3 **8

The Boston Red Sox fell to the KC Royals by a score of 4-3. The thing that glaringly stands out on that pitching line is the walk total. 8 (!!) bases on balls in only 4 2/3 innings of work. He was all over the place and the Sox manager could take it no more. He yanked him with 2 outs in the fifth, putting undue strain on the bullpen. Nice work, Daisuke. You sickened me. He said this after the debacle...

"My lower body wasn’t cooperating today, so I had to rely too much on my upper body. Between these two starts I had noticed a little bit of soreness but it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind going into my start tonight. Also, I knew that during my pregame warmup in the bullpen tonight, my pitches weren’t great but I couldn’t make the necessary adjustments.”

Weren't great? Sore again?? DO NOT NIBBLE. I don't think he was trying to do that but something is clearly wrong with his mechanics and it's going to take some work to fix it. His catcher, Jason Varitek, said the same thing about his command...

“He’d have it for a click. It was still powerful (his command), and then it would run away on him. Sometimes it was his cutter. But he just couldn’t find a way. Usually, you can find one or two pitches with him that kind of slows him down. He had a hard time of slowing down. He was pretty amped. He was strong. Hopefully we can slow him down a little bit and get back into delivery. He wasn’t far off.”

'Tek had the best view of anyone at Fenway Park but my view while watching the contest on NESN HD was just fine and I got so disgusted, I bailed out in the fifth frame. Winning 4 straight against the first place Tampa Bay Rays on the road and then coming home and losing to a team with a losing record doesn't make any sense to me except for the fact that our starters were on a roll. That ended Thursday. Let's hope Wakes can start another victory streak tonight.

In other Red Sox news, Jacoby Ellsbury is still hurting big-time. His XRAYs that were taken in Florida were examined by the Boston medical staff and they will continue with more of the same until they find out the source of his nagging pain. Here's Boston skipper Tito Francona...

“He’s really tender,’’ manager Terry Francona said before the game. “He’s been examined, and we’ve looked at all the pictures. All the medical people are trying to look at everything. We’ve got to get to the bottom of this; we’re not at the bottom of it."

And Victor Martinez, who pinch hit last night late in the game, is getting close to returning to his catching duties. Ironically, his left big toe hurts him the most when he crouches behind the plate.

It's Wakefield versus Davies tonight at 7:10 at the Fens. I wish every one of you a great Friday and a terrific Memorial Day weekend. Be careful and buckle up if you'll be on the roads. You can click on this post's title for more sickening details of Daisuke's self-immolation and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon. Thanks for being here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Red Sox Sweep First Place Rays 11-3

The Boston Red Sox completed a road trip in which they played 11 of 13 games on the road. The teams they played are good ones yet Boston emerged with a 9-4 record and crept to within 5 1/2 games of the Tampa Bay Rays. They beat the Rays last night by a score of 11-3 with much of the power supplied by Adrian Beltre. He had 2 home runs and a triple, knocking in 6 (!) runs, matching his career high. His defense at third base was stellar yet again. He said this after the game...

“It was huge, because we remember that they did the same to us at home. They swept us at home. We came in here and thought that we could at least get the series. We played pretty good, especially our pitching staff. They were the ones that kept us in the game and gave us the opportunity to win.’’

Pedey Pedroia spoke of the team's resurgence...

“We know we’re good. We just have to sustain it over 162 games. We started out real slow and everyone kind of panicked. But we have confidence we’re going to win a lot of games, and hopefully the way we’ve been playing continues for a long time.”

A long, long time. That sounds good to me. John Lackey was not at his best but he allowed only 2 runs and pitched 6 1/3 innings. His control was a little off, though. He walked 4 Raymen. The bullpen finished it all up with the third TB run scoring in the ninth, given up by Nelson. By then, the game was over and the Red Sox were soon to be jetting home to Boston to play the Kansas City Royals 4 times, starting tonight. Here are the series matchups...

5/27/2010 ** KC 7:10 PM ET FxKC/NESN ** Matsuzaka (3-1) vs. Bannister (3-3)
5/28/2010 ** KC 7:10 PM ET FxKC/NESN ** Wakefield (1-2) vs. Davies (3-3)
5/29/2010 ** KC 7:10 PM ET FxKC/NESN ** Buchholz (6-3) vs. Greinke (1-5)
5/30/2010 ** KC 1:35 PM ET FxKC/NESN ** Lester (5-2) vs. Meche (0-4)

Let's win all 4 and continue this excellent play. I hope every one of you have a terrific weekend as we get ready for the long holiday weekend. Oh, believe it or not, yesterday afternoon's back yard temperature here was 98 (!!!!) degrees (in the shade). That provided fuel for what happened last night. I was awakened by vivid lightning, wind and heavy rain as a line of thunderstorms floated south from western Massachusetts into the humid and warm air. There were, at one time, more than 30,000 powerless Connecticutions. Half have had their power restored. Our power lines here where I live are underground so I never lost ANYTHING. Well, maybe my youth but that didn't happen overnight, not by a long shot.

Don't forget to click on this post's title for Red Sox coverage WEEI style. There's a fascinating interview with Jerry Remy who hints that this might be Big Papi's last year with the Sox. I certainly hope not. He's been hot this month. As always, BE WELL. See ya...soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One Is The Loneliest Number...

...for the first place Tampa Bay Rays, that is. The Boston Red Sox tamed them yet again and pulled out a 2-0 victory down in the Sunshine State. Jon Lester led the way with 6 innings of one hit ball, whiffing 9 (!). His control was a little off, though. He walked 5 Raymen but not one crossed the plate. Delcarmen, Bard and Papelbon finished the last three innings perfectly, perserving Boston's second straight win over Tampa Bay. Here's Jon himself after the game...

“We’re just playing better baseball,’’ Lester said. “That’s what we kept saying from the beginning. We weren’t playing good baseball. We were not playing smart baseball. Our starters weren’t going deep into the game. Now we’re getting on a little bit of a roll. Like we kept saying, we get on a roll, we start playing better baseball."

The surging Big Papi David Ortiz drove in the only 2 runs of the game with a third inning double and the pitching staff did the rest. The Sox are now just 6 1/2 games in back of Tampa Bay in the AL East. They're playing good baseball, too. We'll see Josh Beckett's return on June 3rd or so. He threw off the mound yesterday and will do so again on Friday. Victor Martinez' toe is feeling better and we'll see him back in the lineup in a few days, too. Jacoby Ellsbury was a late scratch because of soreness centering on his side. Sox manager Terry Francona said the injury is NOT related to his 4 fractured ribs. Let's hope he gets back soon. He's a game changer.

Boston has one more to play with the Rays and they'll send John Lackey to the hill. He'll face Garza, who's tough on the Sox. We need Lackey sharper than he's been in a BIG way. Giving up 5 runs per game is not a recipe for success. Disaster maybe but not a bunch of victories.

Thanks for stopping in once again and don't forget to click on this post's title to be linked to somewhere. I haven't picked that "somewhere" yet but I will. Click away. As always, BE WELL. Have a great Monday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Great Buchholz Outing Lifts Boston Red Sox Over Tampa Bays Rays 6-1

Clay Buchholz had his mojo working, striking out 8 Tampa Bay Rays players over 6 innings, leading his team to a 6-1 victory over the team with the best record in all of major league baseball. Hideki Okajima followed with two great innings and Daniel Bard made it all official by finishing up. Big Papi David Ortiz and the super hot Kevin Youkilis both homered to help the cause. Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia broke out of his slump with three hits, one on a second chance "ceiling scraper." It was only a matter of time. He had this to say after the game...

"We're getting great starting pitching. When you do that, all we have to do is put a couple runs on the board and those guys can take over. We're in the middle of the year and just playing. We're playing some really good teams and just finding ways to win. That's a real good sign."

The only bad news was that Sox catcher Victor Martinez, who has also been offensively hot, suffered a contusion to his toe when he was hit by a foul ball. He is tentatively day-to-day but I don't expect him back until a week goes by. The captain, Jason Varitek, will fill his place as the starting catcher. X-Rays showed no break or he might have been out until the All Star break. Phew! The Tampa Bay manager, Joe Maddon, had these few words of praise for their rivals from New England...

"They got us tonight," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We didn't play badly. They beat us."

Joe, what do you think of the play of Kevin Youkilis...

“I know that he’s been hot lately, but listen, this guy, he’s the poster child for working a great at-bat, he just is,” Maddon said. “He always seems to step up at the right moment, I don’t care who’s pitching, I don’t care how good the guy is, whether it’s a starter or reliever, he’s very scary. He’s just unique, he’s different.”

Hey Joe, he's great, one of the elite hitters and fielders in all of baseball. Youk is YOUK and there is no other. If he keeps this up he'll be All Star game bound. Count on it. Boston has now won 6 of their last 7 games. Two more wins against these Rays would be sweet indeed, narrowing the gap between the two teams. It'll be Lester (4-2) vs. Shields (5-1) in an evening contest. GO SOX.

Click on this post's title for more on last night's win, thanks for stopping by and as always, BE WELL. And to VMart, heal quickly. We need you in the lineup. See ya.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wakefield Knuckle-izes The Philllies

On Sunday afternoon, Tim Wakefield, with his magical floating offerings, threw 8 shutout innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, who have one of the strongest lineups in the game. In doing so he became the oldest pitcher since Charlie Hough to put 8 goose eggs up on the scoreboard. The final score was Boston 8 Philadelphia 3. The not-ready-for-prime-time Ramon Ramirez pitched the ninth after Wakes told Francona he was gassed. The Phillies third baseman, Greg Dobbs, had these words of praise for the "old man"...

“He’s tough. He had the ball floating up and way out of the zone or down and in and out of the zone. And then he’d pop a heater at 72 mph and make it look like 95."

The white-hot Kevin Youkilis had a triple followed by a home run, another one of his no-doubt-about-it taters. It was sweet to see, a jump up and cheer moment of elation.

Next up are the first place Tampa Bay Rays, who have the best record in the American League. The Florida team swept the Red Sox in their first series, which was held at Fenway. After the game, Pedey Pedroia had this to say...

“That thing was dancing all over the plate. He was great today. We’ve got some good pitching performances the last few days. That definitely helps. Now we need to do it against Tampa, try to shut them down. We weren’t playing very well the first time we played them. Hopefully we go in there and play better.’’

Wakes' offerings were literally fluttering, dancing and floating, confusing and confounding the heavy hitting Phillies. The three game series against Tampa Bay begins tonight. Here's all you need to know...

5/24/2010 at TB 7:10 PM ET ESP2/SUN ** Buchholz (5-3) vs. Davis (4-3)
5/25/2010 at TB 7:10 PM ET NESN/SUN ** Lester (4-2 vs.Shields (5-1)
5/26/2010 at TB 7:10 PM ET NESN/SUN ** Lackey (4-3) vs. Garza (5-2)

That's it for now. Another Monday, another week but we're only 5 days away from the Memorial Day weekend. Nadia is flying in around noon tomorrow for 10 days or so. It'll be nice to see her. I then will be accompanying her back to Minnesota to help her buy a car. Oy vei. Tomorrow, the temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90s with increased humidity. A/C time here in Farmington for the first time in a long time.

Don't forget to click on this post's title to be linked to something about the Sox and as always, BE WELL. See ya. Soon. I have just one more day of complete bliss but as I said earlier, it will be great to see her. She's already picked out two or three places/restaurants she'd like to go to, including a place called The Chowder Pot right here in Hartford. I love their steamingly hot cheese encrusted onion soup followed by a salad and a baked stuffed (or steamed) lobster. MMMM, I'm getting myself hungry. I'd better go check the refrigerator. Pronto.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Boston's Tim Wakefield Silences The Phillies

A beauty by Timmy Wakefield, our "6th" starter. He 's been SO good. I'll have the full wrap tomorrow but here are the game details as he took care of a more than solid Philadelphia lineup. Red Sox reliever Ramon Ramirez has been a TOTAL failure but the Boston Red Sox prevail, thanks to Timmy and the one and only WHITE hot YOUK...

PHILADELPHIA - "Tim Wakefield pitched eight shutout innings for his first victory in nearly a year, and the Boston Red Sox roughed up Roy Halladay in an 8-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Kevin Youkilis tripled, homered and scored three runs for Boston. Wakefield’s knuckle ball, which averaged in the mid 60s, flustered the Phillies. He allowed five hits and two walks in earning his first win since July 8, 2009, against Oakland. Wakefield (1-2) earned his 190th career win as the Red Sox took two of three from the Phillies.
Ramon Ramirez allowed three runs in the ninth — Raul Ibanez’s RBI double and pinch-hitter Ross Gload later connected on a two-run homer.
Youkilis aided the Boston offense with a triple to open the second and a towering homer to left in the sixth off Halladay, giving the Red Sox a 4-0 lead. Youkilis is 21 for 58 in his career against Halladay.
Halladay (6-3) was hit hard a start after he didn’t appear to have his best stuff in a 132-pitch complete game effort against Pittsburgh on Tuesday, a 2-1 loss. On Sunday, Halladay, who has a major league-leading four complete games, saw his ERA jump from 1.64 to 2.22 after allowing eight hits and seven runs six earned in 5 2-3 innings.
Halladay appeared to have an inning-ending double play in the fourth, but Adrian Beltre’s soft grounder went straight through third baseman Greg Dobbs’ legs, allowing two runs to score for a 3-0 advantage.
Youkilis led off the second with a triple to deep center field, which bounced out of Shane Victorino’s glove as he jumped for the ball. J.D. Drew followed with an RBI grounder to first, scoring Youkilis for a 1-0 lead."

I HAVE TWO WORDS FOR YOU. Wakes and Youk. I'll have a full wrap in the morning. NICE!

Daisuke Matsuzaka Spins A GEM Against One Of The Best...Can You Believe It!

Mesmerizing baseball authored by Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Boston Red Sox. Daisuke was unhittable (LITERALLY!) until the 8th inning as the Boston Red Sox defeated the tough hitting Philadelphia Cheesteaks (oops, I'm hungry) Phillies by a score of 5-0. That's the Daisuke we NEED, all season long. Terry Francona and his catcher, Jason Varitek, were watching. Here they are...

"He got in a rhythm,’’ Francona said of Matsuzaka. “He got it, he threw it. That’s the best fastball we’ve seen. He established that, his slider, threw some of the better changeups we’ve seen. That was fun to watch.’’

And our captain...

“He was strong through the zone again. His slider was late, his cutter was short, and had just enough mixes of some changeups in there. He had a low breaking-ball zone, able to get some breaking balls down in the count called. Had some good life on his fastball.’’

This would have been a classic game to watch in person or on TV but FOX, in their "infinite" wisdom (read as expletive deleted idiots), declined to let us do so. I cannot remember the last time a Sox game was not available here in north central Connecticut except for the always supporting WTIC AM 1080 on radio. So that was my night, listening to the game on the radio. I was happy no matter what and I will watch the NESN 8AM one hour replay, just to see near perfection for myself. Thanks, Daisuke. Keep it going. Afternoon baseball from Philly with Wakes on the hill today.

Click on this post's title for full details of yesterdays UN-TELEVISED game and as always, BE WELL. I love ya! Sayonara.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Lack(ey) Of Control...Sox Lose

The Boston Red Sox starter John Lackey was only able to go 5 innings Friday night in the city of brotherly love. Philly won the game handily by a score of 6-1. His control was off, way off. In 5 innings he gave up 4 runs (ouch!) on 6 hits while walking 5 and striking out 3. He was adamant after the game that his lack of control is NOT a physical problem. I hope after the game he went to Genos or Pats for a signature Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. I wish I could. For a more detailed analysis, here's the Boston Red Sox super pitching coach, Mr. John Farrell...

“The consistency of command has not been game to game as I think he would expect, or everyone else. His checkpoints are clearly to have him stay up on the rubber a little bit longer to allow his arm swing to catch up, and be able to particularly throw the ball to his glove side of the plate or down and away to righthanders. His delivery is rather simple, and yet the execution of it has not been quite as he’s shown from outing to outing. It’s a matter of continuing to work and refining and repeating the checkpoints of his delivery to command the baseball.’’

Tonight in Philly, it will be Matsuzaka versus Hendrick. Let's hope the Sox win this one because they'll be facing Doc Halladay tomorrow. Oy vei.

Have a great weekend, look for Jacoby Ellsbury in the outfield today, click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. Thanks for stopping in. See ya.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jon Lester Completely Pitches The Boston Red Sox To Victory Over The Minnesota Twins

The Boston Red Sox, behind the exquisite pitching of Jon Lester, defeated the Minnesota Twins by a score of 6-2. In doing so, Lester now has the best winning percentage of ANY pitcher in major league baseball history with more than 100 starts. He is 46-18 which comes out to a winning percentage of .719. That's amazing! He also gave the bullpen a night off, going 9 innings and giving up 2 runs, one earned while surrendering 5 hits and walking nobody. He also blew away 9 Twinkie batters. He was overwhelmingly overwhelming. Here's the Boston skipper, Terry "Tito" Francona...

“He was pounding the strike zone,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “He was using all his pitches, and when he did give up a hit . . . he was able to come back."

After the game, Lester talked about the importance of going the distance...

“Any time you give the bullpen a break, it’s great,’’ Lester said. “We beat the bullpen up early on this season and now it’s time for us as starters to go out there and pick them up and not give them a work night. It’s always nice to do that. It builds confidence to know you finished what you started. It’s a cool feeling."

On the offensive side, the suddenly hot Victor Martinez had two thumping doubles and Kevin Youkilis, the offensive star of the game, had an RBI double and a three run home run that briefly reached earth orbit. He CLOBBERED it! He said this after the game...

“We haven’t won as many games as we would like to this year, but we’ve been in a lot of close games,’’ said Youkilis. “I think the big thing for us is we’ve got to win the close games from here on out. When we’re ahead, we’ve got to keep that lead. We’ve got to scratch away when the lead is not that far in front of us. It’s good to play a team that’s at the top of their division and win, but also it’s just good to win.’’

So it was a successful 2 game homestand for Boston as they prepare for inter-league play (uhh) with a 3 game set in Philadelphia. The Yankees are lucky enough to be matched up with the Mets. It hardly seems fair, does it? Here are the pitching matchups for the Philly series, which will feature the return of the much-missed Jacoby Ellsbury...

5/21/2010 at Phi 7:05 PM ET NESN/CSN *Lackey (4-2) vs. Hamels (4-2)
5/22/2010 at Phi 7:10 PM ET FOX *Matsuzaka (2-1) vs. Kendrick (2-1)
5/23/2010 at Phi 1:35 PM ET TBS/WPHL* Wakefield (0-2) vs. Halladay (6-2)

Yes, that's right. Roy "Doc" Halladay is a Philly. He's one tough customer. And remember this...Josh Beckett still has a ways to go to get his back back in shape. We'll be OK. And that's it for this Friday. Enjoy the day, click on this post's title for something Soxy and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Claymation... Josh Beckett On DL

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins by a score of 3-2 Wednesday night at good old Fenway Park behind classic pitching from Clay Buchholz, who right now has the best ERA of any Red Sox starter, and the bat of none other than Big Papi David Ortiz. Papi clubbed a two run tater that proved to be the difference in this tight and close game. By the way, the resurgence of Papi's bat has made a bench warmer of Mikey Lowell but Ortiz has just been way too hot to sit in the dugout cheering on his team.

Back to Buchholz. He pounded the strike zone and kept the baseball down while mixing his fastball with his unbelievable curve. Here's Minnesota Twins player Justin Morneau on Clay...

"Buchholz hit his spots. He had the fastball getting up around 94, 95 mph and was throwing that slider on the outer part but you always have that curveball in the back of your mind."

Quite simply, he was a joy to watch. Red Sox manager Terry Francona took him out of the game after a leadoff ninth inning cheap hit, a broken bat single. Daniel Bard came in because Papelbon had worked two days in a row and sealed the deal. That's the good news, here's the bad. Josh Beckett has been placed on the disabled list because of a lower back back strain that has been bothering him for some time. Mr. Tim Wakefield will take his place in the rotation, proving that it's necessary to have 6 starters on a team's staff. Here's the skipper, Tito Francona...

“We talked through it, realized that was probably the safest thing to do. “You don’t have a crystal ball, and since we don’t, if you’re going to make a mistake or you’re going to err, we better err on the side of caution. The last thing we want to have happen is have him pitch with a bad back and turn it into something else, where he feels like he’s not using his legs or something and he hurts his shoulder. We really wanted to make sure he’s OK.”

Amen, Tito. There's a whole lot of season left to go and Wakes has proven he can do the job...better than Beckett has lately. I think Josh has been trying to pitch while his back has been hurting. Let's just get this nagging injury out of the future and into the past. He'll miss a minimum of 2 starts. I think it might be a couple more than that. But he will heal and return to form. He's too good a pitcher NOT to.

That's it for this Thursday morning. Temperatures here in north central Connecticut will top out in the mid-80s, a good 20 degrees higher than yesterday. I can't wait. Right now at 5:40am EDT it is already 53 degrees F. NICE! Click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox courtesy of SI dot com and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Red Sox Much Needed Comback Over NYY

Another day, another 5 run hole the Boston Red Sox found themselves in. There was a big difference at the end of this one, though. They won. Jonathon Papelbon had a difficult and shaky bottom of the ninth but the Sox prevailed by a score of 7-6. But there was a casualty and the defense was shoddy at times. Scutaro had two big errors that led to 2 unearned runs. In all, Beckett surrendered 5 runs, 3 of 'em earned. While pitching the bottom of the fifth, he reinjured his back while throwing a split-fingered fastball to, who else, AROD. The bullpen saved the day as Boston scored 1 run in the 6th, 4 big ones (a beautiful crooked number, at last) in the 8th and 2 huge runs in the ninth to go ahead for good but it wasn't easy. Not by a long shot. Here's Big Papi David Ortiz...

“We’ve been hitting well,” said David Ortiz, whose eighth-inning RBI single (he thought it was a home run) tied the game in the four-run frame, with Jeremy Hermida’s two-run double in the ninth putting the Sox on top for good. “We just need to start up the offense and give us a chance to score some runs.”

Here's the skipper...

“It’s a hard way to play the game, to have Josh hurt and reliever Manny Delcarmen coming in (so early),” said manager Terry Francona. “There’s nothing else to do except keep playing. We made some mistakes but we didn’t allow it to cost us the win.”

The team flew back to Boston last night and will play a two game series at Fenway against the Minnesota Twins. Game 1 pitchers are Buchholz versus Baker and the game 2 guys will be Lester and Liriano. We need two, that's for sure.

I'll be in Minnesota very shortly to help (not pay for) Nadia buy her first car. For those of you who don't know who Nadia is, she and I are at Beach Park Beach in the picture on the right sign of your screen. She's the one with the sly smile on her face...she knew we were on our way to one of the best lobster restaurants on the Connecticut shore. Oh, the lobster, potato and fresh corn were AMAZING!!! I also have the supreme challenge of teaching her the finer points of driving a 4 wheel motorized machine. She knows the basics but I have to fine tune her mind to so many things when she gets behind the wheel without me in in car. That'll take 25 hours of driving practice with me in the car, if not more if I think it's needed. Who's the boss? Me! Day and night driving, back road, highways and everything in between will be covered. EYES ON THE ROAD AT ALL TIMES EVEN IF THE RADIO STATION NEEDS CHANGING. And so much more. She can do it but it might take a LOT out of me. But I don't mind...maybe after I'm gone she'll remember these lessons with a whistful smile and a look to the skies. That would be so nice.

Have a terrific Hump Day Wednesday and if you have the time, click on the title of this post for a goodie of some kind. Bookmark if you already haven't. I thank you for stopping in to my little corner of the blue nowhere (the internet) and please come back. My hit numbers have taken a dramatic drop but I'll keep writing a post every morning as well as reading and responding to every one of your comments. That's a promise. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Paps Meltdown Dooms Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox took on the NY Yankees at Yankee Stadium Monday night and they were faced with immediate trouble from the start. Daisuke Matsuzaka, shaking off his catcher, Victor Martinez, seemingly on every other pitch, abandoned his "primarily fastball" pitch selection menu that worked so well in his last start, a great one. The Sox were down 6-1 after just two innings but they clubbed 5 home runs and finally caught and passed the pinstripers going into the final frame. And then came reliever Jonathon Papelbon to pitch his signature inning, the bottom of the ninth. Nobody could have guessed what would happen next. Alex Rodriguez smashed a "no doubt about it" two run home run to tie it and after Paps hit the next batter, up came Marcus Thames. Marcus who? He clubbed another two run tater and the Yankees won the game 11-9 and wildly celebrated at home plate. Who could blame them? It was the FIRST TIME since April 24th that Paps allowed a runner to cross the plate. Wait, is that a hot air balloon high up in the sky? No, it's Paps' ERA. Here he is...

“It’s just as frustrating as any other blown save,’’ Papelbon said. “Anytime you go out there and you don’t do your job, it’s obviously frustrating. They were just flat fastballs that weren’t located. Poorly executed pitches on my behalf. When you don’t execute your pitch the way you want to, usually in my situation, bad things happen. As you saw tonight, bad things happen.’’

A two run lead in the bottom of the ninth is DAMN frustrating, Jonathon. I was mad but hey, what's done is done. Sometimes this 2010 Boston Red Sox team looks like they are jelling together and becoming a contender, consistent and successful. Other times, they seem to be a .500 team with ups and downs galore. I can't figure them out yet. The only one consistently playing up to his God-given ability is Pedey Pedroia. The starting pitching is flat, the defense, feted before the season began, is average AT BEST, the 'pen is porous and the offense is here and there. Does that sound like a .500 team to you? It sure does to me.

Have a great Tuesday, the day after. You can click on this post's title for more on last night's debacle and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Lackeydaisical Red Sox Effort

The Boston Red Sox players looked out of it, dazed and confused from the 12 inning loss the night before. The bullpen desperately needed a long outing from Sox starter John Lackey, who's had a slow start to the 2010 campaign. Boston got the long outing (7 innings) they needed but Lackey gave up all 5 runs in the second, third and fourth innings in his 7 inning stint. The Red Sox could do nothing against Tiger starter Galarraga and 5 runs were enough to win it for Detroit. Here's Boston manager Tito Francona on Lackey's ability to settle down and give the 'pen a much needed rest...

"That was huge,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “When we look up after two innings and he’s sitting at 51 pitches, we’re trying to figure it out. It’s early, but that pace right there is not what you want. But as he really can do, he can gather it in, he competes.’’

It was a tough and frustrating game to watch for Sox fans but these games happen. They now have lost 2 straight but Big Papi David Ortiz says it's not time to panic...

“We can’t worry about these two losses,’’ Ortiz said. “We have been playing better than we looked the last two days. If we go to New York and play well against the Yankees, everything will be fine.’’

Things will only get tougher for the Red Sox as they head to Yankee Stadium to play the dreaded pinstripers in a two game series. Tonight, Daisuke Matsuzaka will face the 5-0 Phil Hughes and Tuesday it'll be Josh Beckett against CC Sabathia. Tough matchups both. I have to hope the losing streak does not reach four but it very well could. FAITH. That will NOT happen.

The Boston Celtics took game one of their series with the Orlando Magic, giving them the home "field" advantage. It was the first time the Magic lost a game in more than a month. My goodness! Go green. And today the University of Connecticut national championship women's basketball team will again meet with President Obama. Last year, while in dress clothes and high heels, the President invited them to his White House basketball court to play a game of PIG, a shorter version of HORSE. Needless to say, sans jacket, he won easily. He can play! This year the women are bringing warm up clothes to change into to make it easier to put the ball in the basket. With all due respect, they want REVENGE. In all seriousness, this again will be a day they'll never forget for the rest of their lives. I'm so happy for them. 78 straight wins. Can you believe it?

That's it for this soon to be beautiful Monday. Sunny skies, low humidity and temperatures in the middle 70s will make it a great day for many of us here in north central Connecticut. Thank you for stopping by, click on this post's title for something about something and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Boston 'Pen Blows It In Extra Innings

It was one of those off kilter games in Detroit Saturday night as the Tigers took on the Boston Red Sox. What once was a 6-1 sixth inning Red Sox lead with Jon Lester on the mound became a 6-6 game (thanks to Okie) and then kept going and going and going until the bottom of the 12th inning. Ordonez singled off Delcarmen to lead off the 12th and I knew trouble was just moments away. Darn it, I was right. Lefthander Scott Schoeneweis gave up a single to Boesch, who was a thorn in the Red Sox' side the whole evening. In came Ramon Ramirez. Boom. The end of the game was at hand, quickly. He walked Inge on five pitches and the bases were loaded. No way to walk another guy, right? He struck out Avila for the second out and I was crossing my fingers for an inning number 13. But noooo. Ramirez, who has sucked all season long amid moments of OKness, threw 4 fastballs that weren't even close to the plate. Game over. Way to go, Ramon. Schoeneweis and Ramirez have been the worst pair of relievers so far this year for that team from Boston. Hands down. Here's Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona...

“He just got behind and didn’t throw strikes,’’ Francona said. “Ramon’s never been touch-and-feel. Just get it and fire it. That’s part of his success. You can’t go out every night and not give up runs."

RR had NO success last night, that's for sure. He didn't even utter a word to the assembled media people. To make matters worse, Detroit pitchers issued Red Sox batters an astounding 12 (!!) walks during the game. That's the most in the league so far this year. Wasted opportunities galore. Here's Youk, who was walked every time he stepped to the plate...

“One of those days, a crazy day,’’ said Kevin Youkilis. “We should have won that game. But you have to move on.’’

Another day, another game today shortly after 1pm EDT. It'll be Lackey (4-1) versus Galarraga (0-0). The Red Sox will win this game and take the series 2 games to 1. Period.

Hey, thanks for stopping by on this Sunday morning. It's going to be a beautiful day here in southern New England and I can't wait. You can click on this post's title for the Boston Globe's Red Sox home page and as always and forever, BE WELL. See ya.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Big Papi's 2 Tater Day Lifts Red Sox

Big Papi David Ortiz clubbed two home runs, both off fastballs, to power the Boston Red Sox to a 7-2 victory over the at home Detroit Tigers. The first shot, which was in the first inning, was estimated at 450 feet and had people in the standing-room-only section scrambling for the souvenir. It was the second longest tater in Comerica Park's history, right behind Carlos Pena's 461 foot clout. I would have liked to have seen THAT one because David's was an utter joy to see. He watched it from the plate as the ball went into a brief Earth orbit. Here's the man himself describing the home runs......

“Two fastballs - gone. Short and quick to the point.”

He's right! Here's Papi is about how he's feeling these May days. We all know he struggled mightily in April 2010, just as he did in 2009. Read on...

“I’m feeling good,” he said. “Swinging the bat - seeing the ball and hitting it, man. You know? There’s people that know a lot about the game, they think they got everything figured out. Just tell them that the season is not over after April. It’s over after October. Just keep on swinging, man - laser show, like Pedie says,” he said. “Relax.”

Papi, when you're hitting, I AM relaxed and the team feeds off your power. The result? Victories and a ton of 'em. Keep it going, Big Man, keep it going. He's hot, alright. Over the past six games he is 9 for 22, which is a .409 average. And then last night, after his intergalactic shot, it was 5-0 Boston and Clay Buchholz had enough of a lead to rear back and throw strikes. He wasn't completely sharp though, walking five Tigers, but he got the job done and gave way to Bard and Okajima after his 6 1/3 innings. They were just fine and the Red Sox took game one of this three game series. David will DH tonight against Dontrelle Willis, a lefty, in Detroit. Boston manager Terry Francona does not want to take him out of the lineup when he's just starting to get hot. The two teams play again on this Saturday with our lefty ace, Jon Lester, ready to face another lefty, Dontrelle Willis. If Lester pitches the way he has lately, Boston will only need a couple of runs to put this one away. They're only 5 1/2 games in back of the Rays. ANYTHING is doable.

I just now looked out the sliding glass door overlooking the backyard and guess comes the sun, inching above the tree-shrouded horizon. I'm looking at its beauty as I type. It's a wonderful sight. Click on this post's title for SI dot com's Red Sox coverage and as always, BE WELL. Enjoy your weekend. Thanks. I'll see ya soon.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coming Up : A Tough Part Of The Boston Red Sox 2010 Schedule

OK, a tough part of the Boston Red Sox 2010 schedule is upon us. They will play three games in Detroit, two with the Yankees in NYC and then come to Fenway for two quickies with the Minnesota Twins. After that are two three game road series with the always tough Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays. We will be able to gauge just how good this Red Sox team is after those games. Every one of those teams are currently in first or second place in their respective divisions. Here's Tim Wakefield on the upcoming schedule...

“It’s going to be a tough one,’’ Tim Wakefield said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us. But I believe in everybody in the clubhouse downstairs and look forward to keeping the momentum going.’’

And Jon Lester had this to say...

“This is a big trip for us coming up. We played well on the homestand outside of those two games against the Yankees. It just feels like we’re playing better baseball and the record also proves it. We’re pitching better, hitting better, everything has been improved."

I agree with our talented lefty ace. Tonight, Tito Francona will hand the ball to Clay Buchholz in the Motor City. May the force be with them just as it was with the Boston Celtics last night. WOW!!! They humbled the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers and will advance to play the Orlando Magic. LeBron? He's moving on to free agency and ten tons of money. Maybe more. Probably more.

Have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. You can click on this post's title to zip over to the Boston Globe's Red Sox homepage. It features a great article about Jonathon Papelbon along with much more. As always, BE WELL. See ya. GO SOX.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two Red Sox Runs Just Not Enough

Substitute Boston Red Sox starter Timmy Wakefield, in for the hurting Josh Beckett, spun a seven inning beauty, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, whiffing five and walking only one. Unfortunately, he picked an afternoon that his offense could only score 2 ninth inning runs. Umpire Dale Scott made a couple baffling ball/strike calls in that final frame, most notably calling a pitch to David Ortiz that was at least 6 inches off the plate a strike. Big Papi, who was protecting the plate at this important juncture, was not pleased. I'm putting that nicely. He stuck his bat out to show the blind ump just how outside the pitch was (you can see that exact moment when you click on this post's title-see below). Black clad Dale Scott made an utter fool of himself bigtime. Papi had this to say after his shower. The shower wasn't the only thing that was steaming...

“I’m too mad right now. I’m too fucking pissed off right now. Just write down whatever you guys want."

I don't blame David one iota. I watched his at bat and was dumbfounded, to say the least, at Scott's call. Was he in a hurry to catch a plane? Wakes said this about his stellar performance...

“I thought I pitched pretty well, made one mistake to Snider, and it cost us the game,’’ Wakefield said.

You are too modest, Wakes. Timmy looked great. He recorded his 2000th strikeout of his career during the game, a feat only 64 other pitchers have EVER done, AL and NL. He said this after the game...

“I’m very proud of that,” Wakefield said. “It’s a tribute to longevity and I feel very blessed. I’ve been able to wear this uniform for a long time and I’ve been able to accomplish 2,000 strikeouts.”

And as for the fan reaction...

“It’s phenomenal,” he said. “The fans have been behind me the whole time I’ve been here. I’m very proud to be able to come out and not only get an ovation for that accomplishment or for a great start like my last one. They acknowledge great work and I’m honored to be able to tip my cap to them.”

Here's the Red Sox skipper, Terry Francona, on his knuckleball pitcher...

“He had a good knuckleball and he threw strikes. There wasn’t a whole lot of base runners because of the way he was pitching, but he was quick to the plate. He kept the game in check. If we’re scoring, that’s a really good outing.’’

Boston has the day off today before beginning a three game set IN Detroit. They then go back east for a two game set in New York City before hosting Minnesota, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay at the Fens, tough teams all. Let's hope that Josh Beckett can get healthy and feel better quickly! WE NEED HIM!

My thanks go out to you, the dwindling few, for stopping in today. Remember, you can click on this post's title to be linked to the Boston Herald home page. Read the article about the animated Papi, complete with a great pic. It's right there on the first page, left side.

Do me a favor...BE WELL. Thanks. See ya soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

7 Wonderful Daisuke Innings Tuesday Night

The Boston Red Sox, led by starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, defeated the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 6-1. If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it. Daisuke looked calm, comfortable and confident as he let his fastball do the talking. And it did. Here's the man himself...

“Since arriving here, I think this game is the one where I felt the most comfortable using my fastball.”

He didn't nibble, he went right after the Jays batters with a devastating speedball. Here's Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia...

“Dice kept attacking the zone,” saluted teammate Dustin Pedroia. “He had a lot of late movement on his ball and he was really good tonight. That was huge. Hopefully he can build on that.”

Pedey is exactly correct. What a wonderful thing it would be if last night's start will mirror the rest of his 2010 season. My goodness! Can you believe it?

I have to run out to an early appointment but I'd like to remind you to click on this post's title to be linked to more news about the Red Sox, including the health of Josh Beckett, whose Friday start has been postponed. It's all there. Thanks for being here and as always, STAY WELL. And to Mr. Matsuzaka..."Hai!"

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Boston Red Sox Perfect 'Penmanship

Toronto Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow walked five Boston Red Sox batters in the second inning, leading to four Red Sox runs, helping Boston to a 7-6 victory last night. John Lackey pitched just well enough to win . He obviously didn't have anywhere near his good stuff but he recorded his fourth victory in the Boston triumph. But it was the Boston bullpen that was pivotal. The 7th, 8th and 9th innings were take care of by Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard and Jonathon Papelbon in perfect style. It was goose eggs times three and that's the way it should be. Here's Mr. Bard...

“That’s how it’s supposed to go, that’s how they script it out, give the bullpen the lead in the seventh and have us shut them down from there,” said Bard.

And shut 'em down they did. Perfectly. The Sox creeped one game closer in the AL East standings because of dual losses by Tampa Bay and the Yankees. One step at a time, as they say. The Sox have won 6 out of their last 8 games even without the best starting pitching outings that we all expect, most notably those of Josh Beckett. His next start has been moved back to Friday because he tweaked his back while taking batting practice for the inter-league games soon to be played. Frankly, I HATE the AL/NL regular season games. Hey commish, save it for the damn World Series! Timmy Wakefield will take his place in the rotation...very temporarily. And today will mark another start for the enigma, Daisuke Matsuzaka. Who knows? Maybe he can avoid that one REALLY bad inning. He hasn't been able to do that in his last two starts. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

That's it for this early Tuesday morning, a cold one here in north central Connecticut. It feels more like early November than early May but I'm not complaining. It's just that I usually don't use the heat after May 1st. I guess there are exceptions to everything.

You can click on the title of this post for more Sox stuff courtesy of SI dot com and as always, BE WELL. See ya soon.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's JON LESTER...Boston 9 NY 3

The Boston Red Sox ace (YES!) starting pitcher shut down those damn Yankees and returned normalcy to Red Sox Nation Sunday night at good old Fenway Park. The final score was Good Guys 9, pinstripers 3. Lester went 7 innings and gave up only 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 7 baffled batters and walking only 2. Delcarmen pitched the eighth, a little shaky as usual and Tim Wakefield, in his second relief appearance, put up a goose egg in the ninth. It was great to see him on the mound. The other Boston starters have had their troubles but Lester has hit his stride and the other guys in the rotation WILL follow his lead. I guarantee it. Here's the man himself...

“It’s just a matter of time for guys to settle in,” said Lester. “Buch’s done a good job, kind of hitting his stride early, throwing the ball well. He had a rough one the other day but he’ll bounce back from that and be fine. Lack’s done a good job. We’ve all, at times, done a good job and I think once guys get just one or two outings under their belt, it’s kind of a snowball effect."

And now, Pedey Pedroia with his thoughts on the nationally televised game...

“It was real important,’’ Pedroia said. “We don’t want to bury ourselves. We played good. We pitched good. We scored early. We got to A.J. Burnett early, and that helped Jon Lester kind of settle in and throw strikes. It was a big win for us. If we could do it every night, we’d go 162-0. That’s not really how it is. But we’re going to try our best to do that.’’

He's exactly right. Period. Up next are the Toronto Blue Jays. It'll be Morrow versus another more than steady Boston starter, John Lackey. Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona's thoughts? Here you go...

“Two walks. He (Lester) threw strikes, he used his cutter. The two solo homers were the only damage. You don’t walk people against that lineup.’’

A good night was guaranteed for all, in person or watching the telly. Lester pounded the strike zone with his assortment of pitches. It was a joy to see. In closing, to every one of you, enjoy your Monday and let's hope Boston's pitching can be as good as Lester was last night. The whole country saw his performance and they and Red Sox Nation rejoiced. Well, not the Yankee fans!

Click on this post's title for more coverage of the game from "the other side." As always, BE WELL. Click away! And to Jon, thank you SO much for giving your team a much needed boost right when it counted. See ya.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

It's Evident. The NY Yankees Are Better Than The Boston Red Sox...WAY Better

If you weren't sure how the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees stack up, well, now we ALL know. The pinstripers put a 14-3 hurting on the Sox in a humiliatingly convincing fashion Saturday afternoon in a game that was nationally televised for all to see. Clay Buchholz was completely ineffective and the club from the Big Apple put a hurting on just about anyone the Sox brought out to pitch. Talk about a Boston Massacre. I remember the original one, too. I attended two of those games. Oy. Mark Teixeira became the first NY Yankee to hit three home runs in a Fenway game since the incomparable Lou Gehrig, my favorite baseball player of all time, did it in 1927. That's right...Murderer's Row, 1927. The Boston GM, Theo Epstein, spoke of the current Red Sox dire straits...

"No one is quitting,’’ GM Epstein said. “We’re better than this. We just can’t dig too deep a hole. It’s the second week of May. It’s not too late. Is there urgency? Of course.’’

Are we better than the way we've been playing? Right now, I'm not so sure. Theo, you're damn right there is a sense of urgency when fans and staff alike see the obviously superior New York club (not to mention the Rays). Talk about a night and day difference. Things got so bad Saturday that the Sox called on an outfielder, Jonathon Van Every, to record the last five outs of the game. The outcome was known and after the last out, the Boston players walked off the field with their tails between their legs. As well they should have. Jon Lester will try to salvage one game of this three game set tonight and he'll face the white hot AJ Burnett. You can find it on ESPN and ESPN HD starting shortly after 8pm EDT. I'm hoping for the best because Lester has hit his "groove" and he has the stuff to hold the Yankees under three runs. That's so much better than 14. I'm not saying that's going to happen but you never know. And by the way, Scott Schoeneweis has NO business being a member of the Boston bullpen. Sorry Scott, you suck.

The first place Tampa Bay Rays invade Fenway on Monday so it ain't going to get any easier. What this Red Sox team needs is a quick 10 game winning streak. Are they talented enough to accomplish that? We might never know.

Thanks for popping in on this pre-dawn Sunday morning and don't forget to click on this post's title for an enlighteningly sober article about the Red Sox from the NY Times. It makes SO much sense. Thank you Victoria for pointing me in the right direction. Have a great day and as always, BE WELL. I'd love to read your comments, pro or con. I respond to every one of 'em. See ya.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Game 4...Yankees 10 Red Sox 3

The NY Yankees buttered, battered and deep fried Boston starter Josh Beckett, who had a very strange outing, very strange indeed. He cruised through the first three frames, striking out seven pinstriped batters. But the Yankees plated three runners in the third and then...then...the sixth inning, an ugly one filled with hit batsmen and base hits. Josh lost all his control, just as if he were Superman and the baseball was embedded with Kryptonite. The transformation was that remarkable. When asked about his performance, the first word out of his mouth was...


I have to agree. Red Sox manager Terry Francona was a little less brief...

"He threw all his pitches for strikes, lots of swings and misses on all his pitches for the first three innings, throwing every one of his pitches for strikes. And then came the sixth and things went south as fast as it could," Francona said. "As good as he was commanding, all of a sudden it was gone."

Not just gone but vanished in a puff of evil black magic smoke. And the pitching coach, John Farrell. said this...

“I don’t think any one of us foresaw the sixth inning unfolding like it did."

It unfolded alright, spindled and horribly mutilated. The Yankees' Phil Hughes was masterful for his seven innings, giving up only 2 runs on 7 hits. Boston never had a chance after the Beckett carnage was complete. The Yankees are a strong team and I think they and the Tampa Bay Rays will be 1-2 in the AL East the entire season. That's just the way I see it now. I'll remember I said that and reevaluate my thoughts during the All Star break. I'm just being realistic but the Rays are getting UNBELIEVABLE pitching and good enough hitting. Those are the reasons they're in first place. We all know the strengths of the pinstripers and that's what I based my probably premature thoughts on. Given time, we'll see.

This afternoon at 3:10pm EDT it'll be Clay Buchholz facing the always tough CC Sabathia. The Yankees positively have the edge in this one but Buchholz has been pitching lights out lately. Oh, I almost forgot. Tim Wakefield made his first appearance out of the bullpen on Friday and looked pretty good, a WHOLE lot better than Matsuzaka has so far. It was great to see him on the mound.

That's it for this wet Saturday. If you click on this post's title you'll be instantly linked to the "other side's" take on the game. I wish you a great Saturday. Be safe and as always, BE WELL. Thank you for stopping in. My hits have never been lower...not even close, but I'll keep posting if you keep reading. That's a promise. See ya!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Red Sox Sweep Angels Out Of Their Hair

Boom, boom, boom, boom...the Boston Red Sox completed their four game sweep of the LA Angels with an 11-6 victory despite starter Daisuke Matsuzaka giving up four runs in the very first inning. He was all over the place in that initial frame but to his credit he hung in there for 5 1/3 innings, giving up 5 runs on 5 hits, walking three and striking out three. He ended up getting the victory. After the game he had this to say...

“I’m glad that the team got the win,’’ Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. “After the first inning I thought about what had happened and I knew my pitch count (39!) was getting up there and I had no idea how long I’d be able to stay in there. I decided I would tough it out as long as I could.’"

Victor Martinez was the primary Boston force at the plate with 2 hits and 4 HUGE RBIs. He was clutch. Delcarmen, Okie and Ramirez completed the pitching duties and now come those evil pinstripers, the NY Yankees. Scutaro, our leadoff guy for the time being, said this about that...

“I guess the timing is good because we’re playing well,’’ Scutaro said. “Hopefully we can keep this up.’’

The Sox seem to be turning it around after too long a period of, well, shoddy play, offensively and defensively, as well as mediocre pitching. Lately, only Matsuzaka has not had a stellar start on the mound. Let's hope that changes SOON or I, for one, would like to see Timmy Wakefield back in the number five spot. I know I'm not alone. Theo and Tito will give Daisuke a little bit more time to "get himself together." Here's Theo Epstin with his thoughts about his team's stutteringly bumbling 2010 beginning...

“It doesn’t really matter who we’re playing,” said Sox general manager Theo Epstein. “Any team has demonstrated that if you don’t play good baseball you’re not going to win no matter who you’re playing, and so far it’s been us.”

He's right. Let's hope that's in the past. Here are the pitching matchups for the upcoming Fenway Park three game series with the Yankees...

Friday 7:10pm NESN/YES Beckett vs. Hughes
Saturday 3:10pm Fox Buchholz vs. Sabathia
Sunday 8:05pm ESPN Lester vs. Burnett

Burnett has been the pinstriper's best starting pitcher so far but all three of them have been nothing short of spectacular. Believe it or not, after these three Fenway Park games we won't see the Yankees in Boston until the final three games of the season. This series looms large. But I like the Red Sox to take two of three. GO SOX.

Have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. It's going to rain here in Connecticut tomorrow but it should not effect the nationally televised game at Fenway. You can click on this post's title to be linked to more Sox news and as always and forever, BE WELL. Click away!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Robin Roberts Passes...

From the wire services today...

"Phillies icon Robin Roberts, who was a key member of the 1950 Whiz Kids, died this morning at his Temple Terrace, Fla., home from natural causes, the Phillies said. Roberts was 83. He spent 14 years with the Phillies (1948-61) posting a 234-199 record, before stints with Baltimore, Houston and Chicago, compiling a 286-245 record with a 3.41 ERA for his 19-year career. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.
"Dad didn’t miss a Phillies game on television, including last night. He really loved this team and was so thrilled that he was included in the World Series festivities the last two years," said his son, Jim.
Funeral arrangements are pending. The Phillies will hold a moment of silence to honor Roberts before today's game against St. Louis. Roberts’ No. 36 jersey will hang in the Phillies dugout beginning today and will remain throughout the season, both at Citizens Bank Park and on the road. Beginning with tomorrow night’s game, players will wear #36 on the right sleeve of their jerseys throughout the remainder of the season. The Phillies 1950 pennant also will be hung at half-mast. Roberts started three games on the final five days of the 1950 season and was the winning pitcher in a victory over the Dodgers that gave the Phillies their first pennant in 35 years. Roberts won 20 games that season, becoming the team’s first 20-game winner since Grovery Cleveland Alexander in 1917. Roberts was born in Springfield, Ill., and attended Michigan State University to play basketball, not baseball. He was a two-time captain of the hoops team but his professional future was in baseball. He made his big-league debut on June 18, 1948."


Lester & Lackey Make It Three Straight For Red Sox...Nomar Garciaparra Night

Wow, I missed a day with no post yesterday. That's only happened three or four times in the past 4 1/2 years. Yeah, my blog has been around for a while. I started this thing in November of 2005. Everything's OK and I'll be leaving for Minnesota this coming Wednesday to visit Nadia. I'll be able to post on her laptop but there will be no Boston Red Sox radio or television coverage...a virtual blackout. AHHHHH!!! I'll get my game info on the internet so I'll be able to survive. Barely.

About those Red Sox, right now they've been playing great baseball, at least for the last three games. Great pitching, just enough timely hitting and good defense, the way Theo planned it, have propelled them back to the .500 level. I don't understand how they could have lost three straight to Baltimore and then take three quickies from the Halos. But it happened. I'm not complaining. Let me start with Tuesday night, a night of Lester brilliance.

Jon Lester spun a beauty and seems like he has found his mid season form. The Sox defeated the LA Angels by a score of 5-1 with the help of some late game runs and timely hits. Lester went a splendid eight innings, allowing only five hits and one earned run, walking two and whiffing five Halos. He was in control and it just seems that with every start he's becoming more and more invincible. Papelbon pitched a goose egg ninth in a non-save situation. A good night was had by all, including me.

OK, on to last night, a night when John Lackey faced his old team and the Red Sox honored Nomar Garciaparra before the first pitch. The quick ceremony was a love fest and Nomar was beamingly jubilent. The Fenway Faithful stood and poured out their love. After that, John Lackey started pounding the strike zone constantly, baffling the team from California. He allowed the Halos only two hits and one little run in seven innings. Bard and Papelbon contributed goose egg innings and on the strength of a Big Papi home run, the Boston Red Sox won the game by a score of 3-1. Nice! Lackey was tremendous facing his former team and here he is...

“It was different facing the jersey, I guess,’’ Lackey said. “There’s not a whole lot of guys in that lineup, really, that I played with for an extended period of time. It was definitely a little bit different. But we needed to win a game, that’s the bottom line.’’

It was a good night all around. The Sox have one more game left with the Angels and Daisuke Matsuzaka will try to make it a clean sweep. I know I have faith in my team but I'm a little nervous already about him toeing the rubber, especially after his last start. I wish him and his team well...obviously. GO SOX.

You can simply simply click on the title of this post and you'll be zapped to the Boston Herald website with all the Sox coverage. AS ALWAYS, BE WELL. Thanks. See ya. Soon.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Boston Red Sox Score A Week's Worth Of Runs To Beat Halos 17-8...Old Friend Dave Roberts Battling Cancer

Old friend and 2004 Boston Red Sox hero Dave Roberts is battling Hodgkins Lymphoma, a form of cancer that is said to be highly treatable. Recently he felt soreness in his neck and found a bump there. A doctor visit confirmed that it was cancer. Treatment for Hodgkins Lymphona has vastly improved since the early '80s when I lost a dear friend to that malady. Here's Dave...

“I expect to beat this and be fully recovered. I’m looking forward to beating it. I’m doing good. Once the initial shock wore off, I’m at the stage now of ‘What can we do to beat this?’ My wife’s been incredible. She’s been a pillar of strength for our family and I’m feeding off her energy.”

Feed away, Dave. We of Red Sox Nation dearly love you and every one of us will be praying for your speedy recovery. Faith. That's what it's all about. WE HAVE FAITH. Be well.

Monday night it was back to home cooking for the Boston Red Sox and the hitting shoes were on white-hot fire. The Red Sox mangled the LA Angels by a score of 17-8, with Mike Lowell and JD Drew leading the hit parade. Big Papi David Ortiz was again relegated to the bench. That's OK, Lowell has been hitting the cover off the ball. He's becoming "Mr. Doubles" yet again.Buchholz had one bad inning but was able to go 5 2/3 innings. Delcarmen and Ramirez finished the sixth and pitched the seventh and eighth. By that time, the Sox had it all wrapped up. Maybe that's why Terry Francona left Schoenweis in so long. He wanted to give Bard, Okie and Papelbon a much needed rest. It worked but Schoeneweis might not be long for the big league club, not from what I saw last night. He surrendered four hits and four runs in the ninth, a disaster averted by the huge Boston lead. The Sox must string some wins together and do it quickly. Let's hope that the lumber will keep on talking, yelling like last night. Here's Mikey Lowell on exactly that...

“We’re not going to bang out 20 hits every night, but the ability’s there to be a good offensive team. This is a step in the right direction."

Bang away, lumber. You can click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. I thank you for stopping in once again. Your comments are always welcome and always answered. See ya.

Monday, May 03, 2010


The Boston Red Sox were defeated by the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 3-2. With Youk on the bench and VMart not playing, Boston was no match for Birdie starter Kevin Millwood. On the bright side, and it's tough finding more than one, Josh Beckett took a big step forward by going seven strong innings, surrendering six hits and only two runs, walking none and striking out six. But two runs turned out to be too many. Bard pitched a clean but nail-biting eighth and Paps took care of the bottom of the ninth. Extra innings...what else is new? A high and wide pickoff throw to Lowell at first allowed the runner to reach second and from there, Ty Wiggington's line drive base hit mercifully ended the game and the series. Swept by the Orioles? My goodness. Can you believe it? After the game, the now team-spokesman Dustin Pedey Pedroia had this to say...

“It doesn’t get any easier,’’ Dustin Pedroia said. “Everyone thought Baltimore was three easy wins, and we got our asses kicked three times. We’re making it pretty tough on ourselves,’’ Pedroia said. “Tight games and we’re not finding a way to win them. We’ll grind it out, but we’ve got to find a way to start winning some games."

The Red Sox skipper, Terry Francona, did not mince words either. Here he is...

“Things haven’t really changed,” he said. “We talked about this last week. We’re still playing bad baseball. Unintelligent, undisciplined, uninspired baseball. It’s got to change. It either changes itself or we have to do something to change it.”

What do I think? I tell you. Tito's last sentence might have to come to pass. Changes might have to be on the way for this team to be able to score more runs. I'll leave it at that but if this trend continues, look for those changes. Positively. They are 7 1/2 games behind the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays. NOT ACCEPTABLE. And with the Angels and the Yankees next on the Sox schedule, who knows what will happen. I sure don't, that's for sure.

That's it for this first Monday of May. It's not April any longer and Boston must address some of their looming problems...soon. Click on this post's title for more on the Sox, thanks for popping in and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Daisuke & Wakes & Birdies...Not A Good Combination For The Boston Red Sox

Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Boston Red Sox held the Baltimore Orioles to just one hit for the first four innings but then it all exploded on him. The Birdies scored 10 (!!) runs in the fifth and sixth innings and all was lost. Tim Wakefield, who came in from the bullpen, contributed to the massacre, just as I thought he might. You see, I feel very strongly, as may of you do, that Wakes is a starter and is ineffectual as a reliever. My worst fears were realized. Here are a trio of Boston players with their short comments, all with similar sentiments. Matsuzaka is first...

"I felt OK," Matsuzaka said. "I think I got a little too greedy, even in this first start. It was an unfortunate waste."

A waste is damn right! Daisuke, you might have felt OK but it's important to the team that you can be able to pitch more than four quality innings. My goodness! Here's the next pitcher, Tim Wakefield, who went 2.1 innings and gave up (gulp) five hits and five runs. And this to the worst team in baseball who now are guaranteed to win their first season series of 2010 at our expense...

"I wasn't very good today," Wakefield said. "I had an opportunity to keep us in the game the way our offense was going. I just didn't do it."

On a bright note, Big Papi David Ortiz seems to be coming around at the plate. He clubbed two taters and generally had a fine offensive night. Heeere's Papi...

"We're not playing that well," Ortiz said. "We have some games that we should have won, but things happened. We've got to play better, I guess. All of us. We have to develop a better mentality."

He sounds like Pedey Pedroia and with good reason to. This Boston club has played nowhere near our expectations
and way below their talent level. To put it bluntly, they're hard to watch right now. Maybe Josh Beckett can salvage one game out of three. I would shudder to think of an Oriole sweep. Nah, no way. We'll all find out starting at 1:35pm EDT from Camden Yards in Maryland.

You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox courtesy of SI dot com and as always, BE WELL. Have a great Sunday. Thanks for stopping in. Things can only get better. They cannot get any worse. See ya.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Boston Bullpen Flat Out BLOWS IT!

The Boston Red Sox fell to the hapless Baltimore Orioles by a score of 5-4 Friday night. John Lackey started the contest and was just fine. His breaking ball was sharp and his fastballs crisp. He was able to go 7 innings and gave up two earned runs, three in all. But Daniel Bard, who came into the game in the eighth, allowed the tying run to score in the eighth on a mammoth tater and Ramon Ramirez, who pitched a clean 9th, could not finish his second inning of work and gave way to Manny Ramirez, who allowed a walk off up-the-middle single that was just past his outreached glove. Game over. Ramirez has had a dubious start this year and maybe he's turned into a one inning only pitcher. I just don't know. Here's Red Sox skipper Terry Francona on Lackey's night...

“Lackey is out of the stretch 30 seconds into the game, and we’re not giving him much help,’’ manager Terry Francona said. "He’s in line for that win.’’

Yes, he was. Another error by Adrian Beltre, who already has five of 'em this year, leading the league, contributed to that unearned run. After the game, he said this...

“I have been playing horrible. I’m not trying to be bad. I’m not trying to let everybody down. I’m just not playing the way I should be playing."

And it wasn't the sometimes uneven Boston infield turf's fault last night, either. Beltre was also called for interference on the base paths that eventually ended up costing the Sox another run, a run that probably would have won it. But it all comes down to the bullpen, or lack thereof. Bard gives up too many home runs, Ramirez is, well, Ramirez and Delcarmen is all or nothing at all. Okie and Paps are just fine, thank you, but Boston couldn't get to him last night, not in a tie game on the road.

Dasuke Matsuzaka will make his 2010 season debut tonight at Camden Yards. First pitch will be thrown at 7:05pm EDT. A great performance would boost his club immensely. It would boost me, too. Have a great weekend and click on this post's title for more Sox stuff. As always, BE WELL. See you soon.