Thursday, March 31, 2011

Now That's More Like It! Boston Red Sox 10 Houston Astros 0...PLAY BALL!!

Finally! A goose egg as a final score!! Yesterday, behind a 5 run first inning Red Sox offensive outburst and the ace-like five hit effort by Josh Beckett, the Boston Red Sox thumped the Houston Astros by a score of 10-0 in the team's spring training finale. Boston will play a three game series in Arlington, Texas beginning Friday, the start of the MLB baseball regular season circa 2011. Beckett allowed only one hit (!) over those five innings while walking none and whiffing three. THIS IS THE JOSH WE'VE BEEN WAITING FOR. Here he is...

“I had a good changeup and got some good fastballs when I needed to. I’ve come a long way and I felt really good. I felt good mechanically in my last start. I felt as good in the last start as this one. I know the results didn’t turn out the same but I was encouraged.”

The Red Sox manager, Tito Francona, talked about the relative insignificance of the spring training mini-season, saying this...

“You can talk all spring about numbers that don’t mean anything and they don’t. Then he (Beckett) comes out tonight and his fastball’s got that kind of life, that’s fun to watch."

With Beckett's fastball wiggling and giggling with velocity, the Ranger hitters were at his mercy. That's the way his fastball movement affected opposing batters until very recently and last night I was overjoyed to see that Josh has worked all the kinks out and come full circle. Now if only John Lackey can show the same type of improvement. We ALL know that John is nowhere near a .500 pitcher. If he and Becks have turn-around seasons, the sky's the limit for this terrific team. Only time will tell and that time starts in a little more than 24 hours. Ready.......Set...................(I'm ready to) Go!!

Click on this post's title for more Sox coverage from the Boston Globe. Starting tomorrow the real deal begins. MLB will have my full and undivided attention minutes after the NCAA basketball tournaments end. Could it be that at least one of the two UCONN teams emerge as champions of the world? That's why I'll be watching. I love 'em both, men AND women. Go Kemba. Go Maya. Speaking of going, that's exactly what I have to do right now. Have a wonderful Thursday and I'll see you right here tomorrow morning or sooner if the news warrants. After the end of the NCAA Final Four tournies, I'll be back to all baseball here at PRSF, all the time. Until then, UCONN will be in my thoughts, as will the Sox and most important....YOU! See ya. Thanks for being here. This is a tremendous time of the year for sports. March Madness has it all. So do you, my Constant Readers. I thank you for that.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Boston 1 Tampa Bay 1...UCONN Women Make It To Final Four

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team defeated Duke by a lopsided score of 70-45 Tuesday night. Connecticut pulled away at the beginning of the second hall and like a great race horse, just kept on going. UCONN became just the first school EVER to have a team in a BCS game, a team in the men's NCAA basketball tourney and yet another team in the women's division all in the same year. Good for them. So the 2011 Final Four looks like this...UCONN vs. Notre Dame (yes, Tennessee was beaten!) and Stanford (they gave UCONN its only loss this year) vs. Texas A&M (they beat Griner and Baylor). Two huge surprises were the losses of Baylor and Pat Summit's Tennessee. Ha ha to you, Pat Summit. I DON'T LIKE YOU! Psss...that's a huge understatement but this is a family blog.

Briefly, the Boston Red Sox tied the Tampa Bays Rays by a score of 1-1 yesterday in Disney World land. Clay Buchholz looked good and after his stellar 2010 season, he's not pitching for a job. And that makes all the difference in the world to him. Here's Clay...

“It’s basically a completely different feeling, coming in and knowing what I wanted to do rather than what I had to do. Years past, it was basically going out and trying to showcase, and if things went well, go from there. This year, my main focus coming into spring was work on my pitches, work on different situations, different counts, and I basically worked on everything that I needed to work on. I feel like every time out I didn’t have to gain the trust of anybody. I feel strong.”

Here are some prized words from the Boston Red Sox manager, Terry Francona...

“I don’t think there’s really anything we’re not pleased with. He’s getting ready to embark on a long year where he’s expected to hopefully pitch about 200 innings. I think he’s prepared himself to do that.”

GOOD LUCK CLAY! As we approach the battle between the four teams who will face off in the Basketball Final Four and the opening games of the 2011 baseball season, the excitement grows. What a great time of the year it is for you, me and sports. Please click on this post's title for more UCONN coverage and as always, BE WELL and have a terrific Hump Day Wednesday. You deserve it, don't you? The answer is yes, resoundingly. Click on this post's title for all the Final Four coverage you'd want. Thanks for popping in yet again, my Constant Readers, and enjoy my little corner of the BLUE NOWHERE, where vision is words and the imagination is limitless.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Red Sox 3 Toronto 2...UCONN/Duke Women Tonight In Final Eight

I wish you a cheerful and friendly Tuesday hello from north central Connecticut. The Boston Red Sox racked up a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Tony Pena Jr. started for the Sox in place of John Lackey. There was a chance of rain and it's spring training so playing it safe was a smart move by the powers-that-be. Pena went three innings and gave up a single run on one hit. Following him to the mound were Portice, Garrison and Fernandez, who together surrendered another run between them. But there was other news for this Boston MLB team. Hideki Okajima, who I named the Darkman long ago when he arrived with the team, and Alfredo Aceves, who showed such potential for the future, were optioned to Triple A Pawtucket yesterday. They were out of options. Don't worry, we're very liable to see them later this season at Fenway. Here's Boston general manager Theo Epstein with his thoughts on the two jettisoned pitchers...

“The overriding factor was the preservation of pitching depth. Alfredo and Oki both pitched well enough to make this team. It was tough news to deliver, but they both handled it very well and despite hearing the bad news, were able to process the part of the message that we still see them as a big part of the team.’’

We'll see you later this season, Alfredo and Oki. I just know it. And now (drum roll, please), it's NCAA basketball tourney time. Tonight, the University of Connecticut world championship women's basketball team will try to advance to the 2011 Final Four. They have to knock off Duke to do it. They will, too, and for the fourth time in fourth years, they'll make the huge advance to the Final Four. That's just my prediction. ESPN tonight at 7pm EDT.

I thank you for stopping by today, a no-named Tuesday. Tuesdays are so very non-descript most of the time. Don't forget to click on this post's title for more on the UCONN game and as always and forever, BE WELL. GO HUSKIES. Shape up, Red Sox.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Baltimore 4 Boston 3...UCONN Women Advance To Elite 8

The Baltimore Orioles, with the help of a three run eighth, defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 4-3. I didn't recognize the names of most of the Boston hurlers (with the exception of Jon Lester) so I won't worry about this one but the losses are mounting up in this, the last few days of spring training. Here's Jon's view of the pitching as it is right now...

“The best thing is we all get into a flow. If we can pitch 30 starts apiece and do what we’re supposed to, we’re going to be special. I think we’re all a big believer in that. Curt Schilling was a big believer in that. In ’04, I don’t think any of our starters missed a start that year. That’s pretty special. In ’07, that wasn’t the case, but the guys who filled in accepted their role. If we can keep doing that, we’ll be all right.

I remember the amazing 2004 world championship year and the continuing health of our starters all season long, so you know, he's right. In all, Lester pitched five innings and gave up four earned runs on nine hits. He didn't walk a batter. He's going to be fine this year.

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight with a hard fought 68-63 victory over a feisty and tough Georgetown. The game was close the entire way though. The Huskies (35-1) will play Duke (32-3) Tuesday night in an effort to join the men's team in the Final Four. On Jan. 31 at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut, UCONN's home, the Huskies routed the Blue Devils, 87-51. But in tournament play, anything can and usually does happen. The women Huskies' coach, Geno Auriemma, has been forced to use just a six man rotation. There IS nobody else. But with Geno at the helm, they can do anything. Their two biggest obstacles if they make it to the final four? Stanford, the only team to defeat them this year and Baylor, a team with a 6 foot 8 inch player who goes by the name of Brittney Griner. If you haven't seen her play this year, well, you will if you watch the Final Four. Boy, is she tall! But first things first...lets get there, UCONN. Tomorrow night. I'll be watching.

That's a wrap for this very early Monday morning, the last one of this month of March. Click on this post's title for more on yesterday's basketball game. After you click, just click one more time on the front page's headline (or anything else you want) and you'll be zapped to the full story. Enjoy! As always, BE WELL.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

UCONN Men Going The Final Four

Nine games in 19 games, all games tournament play caliber. The result? Nine wins for the University of Connecticut men's basketball team. Kemba Walker, who has everyone watching his every move, had 20 points and Jeremy Lamb 19 as the UCONN Huskies defeated Arizona by a score of 65-63. Coach Jim Calhoun literally could not watch as Jamelle Horne attempted an uncontested 3 point shot with just a tick left on the clock. The game was on the line but the ball clunked off the back rim. Final Four here we come! As inspiring as these nine victories have been to me, they meant SO much to the coach of the Huskies, Jim Calhoun. Here he is with high praise from a Hall of Famer head coach. I swear he had tears in his eye when he said...

"Never did I imagine a team winning nine games in tournament play in 19 days. These brothers, these young guys, have just given me a thrill beyond compare. Our march in the past nine games, I haven't experienced anything like this."

Neither have I, coach, neither have I. The Connecticut star, Kemba Walker...

"This is no time to be tired. We're trying to get as far as possible. We want to win this whole thing."

I remember jumping for joy in 1999 when the men last won it all. I want them to do it again. I know there are three other basketball powers ready to begin play next week but you know who I'm rooting for.

Nothing to watch today? The UCONN women take a step towards their Final Four at noon on ESPN 2 and ESPN 2 HD. Their opponent will be Georgetown. Look for them to advance. Sure, there are three really tough teams standing in their way to yet another championship, but led by Maya Moore and her teammates, they won't go down without a fight. Count on their will to win, just like the UCONN men.

Click on the title of this post for my favorite sportswriter, the Hartford Courant's very own Jeff Jacobs, and his great Sunday writings. I hope the Red Sox bullpen can get it's act together. I'm talking about yesterday's Sox game. As always, BE WELL and enjoy your Sunday. Thank you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beckett Slammed...Toronto 11 Boston 8

Josh Beckett, in his last spring training outing, working on some of the things that have made him an average pitcher for too long, started the Saturday game down in the Sunshine State and was not effective...again. He went six full innings but gave up seven runs, six of them earned and struck out five in what turned into another lousy Boston Red Sox pitching effort. This is getting ri-goddamn-diculous Here Josh hmiself...

“Results aside, I felt like I did some things that we’ve been working on. I got to take some positives away from that. But obviously the results are what they are.”

Yes Josh, the results SUCK! What happened to you? Is it physical, something that forced you to change something in your magic motion towards the plate? I have to be honest, Josh. Now I'm getting worried. Sox pitching coach Curt Young, who along with Red Sox skipper Terry Francona has watched every mound move made by the team's ex-ace this spring, says Beckett is still a work in progress...

“You’re always looking to mix new pitches in to help you with your game. He went with the cutter last year. We really haven’t gotten into it yet this spring, but it may come as we go. The results stink but there were some good things that happened. The fundamental thing about him is feeling good throwing the baseball every time. You can try to find a lot of different things, but as long as he feels good about how he’s throwing his fastball, hitting his spots, that’s going to make him work.”

If you click on this post's title, you can view pictures and then vote on your favorite Boston Red Sox right fielder since 1967. I won't give away the winner but it wasn't even close. Click on that title and as always, BE WELL. Have a great weekend. You deserve it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Boston Red Sox Suffer Major League Pummeling...UCONN Men Advance To Elite Eight

I know these spring training games for the Boston Red Sox don't count in the regular season and sometimes I thank goodness for that. Yesterday was a great example. The Florida Marlins trashed and thrashed the Boston Red Sox by a ridiculous score of 15-7. The major Boston culprit? Clay Buchholz, who started the game and gave up 11 runs—six earned—and 11 hits in four innings. He entered with an 0.69 ERA. It's not that low any more, that's for sure. Here he is...

“Just one of those days. You got to let it go.”

Turn the page, Clay, turn that darn page. The bullpen wasn't much better and Red Sox manager Terry Francona simply said this...

“It was a bad day for pitching. In spring training you see it happen. In two weeks it won’t happen.”

Let's hope not. Thursday was one of those days that the Sox players would rather forget--in a hurry! But that's not all. There's more. Two other struggling pitchers had their chance to iron out some of what ails them. Jonathon Papelbon started a Double A game and gave up a tater and two runs in his single inning. Those are awful stats for a closer. He's been terrible (so far). Timmy Wakefield was even worse. Pitching against a Triple-A team, he surrendered five earned runs, six in all. His knuckies were flat, shuffling to the plate sluggishly rather than floating like a butterfly while the batter flails away unsuccessfully in an attempt to connect with it. I'm a little worried because this team with SO much potential has not come together yet. Not even close. C'mon, guys. I know it's still March but there's only ONE WEEK LEFT until these games count!

The University of Connecticut men's basketball team advanced to the elite eight of the NCAA basketball tournament with a Kemba Walker-led 74-67 victory over San Diego State. The women will try to advance to that select level when they play over the weekend. If you haven't seen Kemba Walker and his young teammates yet, please check them out on CBS and CBS HD at 7pm EDT Saturday when they face Arizona. The women's NCAA tournament will be televised by ESPN and ESPN 2 over the weekend. Standard and high definition feeds will be available. For more on last night's men's victory, simply click on this post's title.

As always, BE WELL. Have a terrific Friday and a great weekend. GO UCONN! Don't forget to click and look around the Hartford Courant's informative and entertaining web site.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hump Day Wednesday Plus One...Two HUGE Boston Red Sox Question Marks For 2011

The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham ran the following in this morning's issue of the newspaper or its web site. These are based on sales for season 2010 and I'm sure Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez will be up there after the 2011 season, approaching us at Warp speed. Here you go...

"Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association had an interesting press release today. It detailed the most popular jerseys based on 2010 sales figures. Derek Jeter, as you might expect, was first. Dustin Pedroia was eighth and Jacoby Ellsbury 16th. Given that he played only 18 games last season, that's a strong showing for Ellsbury. No other Red Sox were in the top 20. Anybody surprised Kevin Youkilis isn't in there somewhere? In terms of team sales: 1. Yankees, 2. Red Sox, 3. Dodgers, 4 Phillies, 5. Cubs, 6. Cardinals, 7. White Sox, 8. Braves, 9. Twins, 10. Tigers."

I think Jeter is and has been the list's number one for so many years because he's handsome (some would say) and with that he gets the female vote plus he plays for the NY Yankees. A winning combination for a guy with steadily declining skills. No YOUK?? Wow. And Pedey down at number eight. Ahh, all this means nothing on a March 24th morning, almost a full week before the baseball festivities begin. Well I say this...LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

Click on this post's title for more Boston Red news and as always, BE WELL. See you soon. LET THE GAMES BEGIN.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Red Sox @ Rays

Tonight at 7pm. Boston and Tampa Bay. With thanks to the Globe, here are the essentials...

RED SOX (12-14-1)
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Crawford LF
Youkilis 3B
Gonzalez 1B
Ortiz DH
Drew RF
Varitek C
Scutaro SS

Pitching: RHP John Lackey, RHP Bobby Jenks, LHP Dennys Reyes, LHP Randy Williams, RHP Brandon Duckworth.

RAYS (10-12-1)
Zobrist 1B
Joyce RF
Longoria 3B
Ramirez LF
D Johnson DH
Upton CF
Brignac SS
Rodriguez 2B
Lobaton C

Pitching: LHP David Price, LHP Cesar Cabral, LHP R.J. Swindle, RHP Cory Wade.

Game time: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: WEEI 850 AM

Notes:The Sox have lost five straight and six of their last seven games. ... Lackey has had a solid spring: 15.2 IP, 16 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. ... The team has its only off day of the spring tomorrow. ... The Red Sox have sold out 25 of their 27 games this spring. The only exceptions were the split-squad games against Houston that were late additions to the schedule. ... The two starting pitchers are expected to throw 90+ pitches in their penultimate spring start. ... Yes, that's Manny Ramirez in left field. He will be playing at City of Palms for the first time since 2008.

Roy "Doc" Halladay In Mid-Season Form..Philly 4 Boston 1..An Evil Presence

Yesterday down south on that peninsula we call Florida, the Philadelphia Phillies bested the Boston Red Sox by a score of 4-1. The game featured what was supposed to be tremendous pitching match-up between Doc Halladay and Jon Lester. Lester pitched great through the fifth inning but was taken out with one out in the sixth inning of a 1-1 game after giving up three runs. Here's Jon himself on his outing and his opponent's...

“It is fun to watch him (Doc) pitch. It’s always been fun watching him just go through a lineup. He does it every time he goes out there. You would think he runs out of ways to get you out, but he somehow manages to keep doing it and it’s impressive. It makes him one of, if not the, elite guy right now.’’

To me, Halladay is in a league of his own, performing at the highest level even though it's only March 22. That's unbelievable. Jon Lester will be OK. He and the other starters have two spring starts left, time to iron out the kinks still hanging around. It wouldn't hurt when that moment comes along and the team starts finding their bats, either. Those pieces of lumber have been far too quiet. Lester was particularly hard on himself after the game. He said this...

“I didn’t really have command of anything. It wasn’t one way or another. I came out of my delivery a little bit. I wasn’t able to get ahead to go to the breaking ball or go to the offspeed stuff to get them off the fastball. When you’re able to keep in your delivery and throw the ball downhill, that’s when you get the good results.’’

We don't have to worry about Mr. Lester. No sir. No ma'am. He looks so much better than, for instance, Jonathon Papelbon, who struggled horribly again yesterday against minor league opposition. Hey Paps, what happened? You have to get it together. I watched some tidbits of your Tuesday pitching performance and your mechanics need refining in a big way. You can do it. YES. YOU. CAN.

Please click on this post's title for news on last night's Sox game and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon if not sooner. Or soonest? Don't ask me. I'm just the guy who cleans up around here. This Peter guy? He's never here. He's not fooling me. I think he thinks I'm going to keep his "LITTLE SECRET." Five different guys come in and write this darn blog. I'm not THAT sure if he's a real person or just a fictional part of this Red Sox blog. I know I shouldn't be typing on this new fangled typing thing but I couldn't resist. Wait! I hear someone's car coming up the driveway. PLEASE don't tell anyone. Gotta run. Gotta get back to work. My first name is Mark. If you never hear from me again, something might be amiss. My life might be in danger from this serial blogger. OK, how do I erase this? Oh My God. Wish me luck. I might need help.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Matsuzaka Improving Again But The 'Pen Puts The Game Out Of Reach For Boston

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox by a lopsided score of 10-3 Sunday in Florida. Daisuke Matsuzaka tried to build on his strong previous outing and that's exactly what he did...for 6 2/3 innings. He took a two hit shutout into that sixth inning, earned the first two outs and when he walked the third batter, Albert Pujois, Boston manager Terry Francona pulled him for what seemed to be an easy assignment for reliever Andrew Miller. GET ONE OUT. It should have been easy but it was anything but. Both Miller and Scott Atchison proved to be exactly what the Cards needed. After the half inning ended, the Cards had scored 10 (!!) runs. In ONE INNING! I'm telling you this right now. Other than the very back end of the Boston bullpen (Paps, Bard), nothing is set in stone. It's more like it's set in sand, sand ready to shift at any moment and bury the team, suffocating it cruelly. I know it's early but it's not THAT early any more. Oh, the big thing was that Matsuzaka looked like he's ALMOST there. Here's the Sox manager, Tito Francona...

“He threw strikes and worked ahead in the count. When he’s doing that, his tempo’s better. He’s getting the ball and throwing it. There’s not a lot of dead time.’’

It's Daisuke's famous "dead time," an endless and futile series of attempts to nibble on the outer boundaries of home plate and throw an unhittable strike that REALLY bothers me. In frustration once in a while, I change the station, be it the television or the radio. But yesterday, in 6 2/3 innings, he walked two, struck out four, and threw 50 of his 79 pitches for strikes. Matsuzaka has given up two earned runs on five hits in his last 10 2/3 innings. I say he's getting there. Daiske had this quick comment...

“I’m pretty much ready for the season."

We all hope so, Mr. Matsuzaka. Now Tito can concentrate on learning all the quirks and oddities, twists and turns about his newly assembled bullpen. A problem with the 'pen is a problem for the entire team and can doom them quickly. I hope they shape up. Forget about trading Papelbon, not for a long while.

OK, it's time to wrap this up. Have a great Monday and a great week and please don't forget to click on this post's title for more on yesterday's loss. As always, BE WELL. Don't forget. There's a great pitching matchup planned for today's 1:05pm game between Boston and Philadelphia. 2 aces....Jon Lester and Roy "Doc" Halladay.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Shortest Post Ever...


ST LOUIS 0 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 0********10 13 0
BOSTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0*********3 9 0***********FINAL

A Sunday Shorty

Yes, it's time for a Sunday shorty. The Boston Red Sox loss Saturday, referred to in the post below this one, deflated me enough to take a semi-day off, so I will. I'll be watching the University of Connecticut women open up their defense of the national championship this afternoon at noon. ESPN 2 will do it for you. Yesterday, the UCONN men, led by junior sensation Kemba Walker (ya gotta see this guy in action) advanced to the final four and will play San Diego State next weekend. They've been called "the hottest team in the country" right now so try to catch them on one of the four CBS owned television or cable networks in six days or so.

Have a great Sunday and as always, BE WELL. Click on this post's title for all the details of last night's UCONN men's win. Kemba...check him (and his team) out.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pittsburgh Pirates 7 Boston Red Sox 5

Today down in sunny Florida, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Boston Red Sox and their starter, Josh Beckett, by a score of 7-5. Josh was looking to regain SOMETHING he's lost, but, in a nutshell, here's how he did. I'll have all the ugliness first thing tomorrow morning. And now, short and as painless as possible...

Beckett was pulled after 4 2-3 innings with the Pirates ahead 5-3. He has allowed 12 runs in 14 1-3 innings this spring.


Red Sox Baseball..With Poor Pitching You Get Egg Roll, Not A Win..Detroit Tigers 8 Boston Red Sox 3 & Tampa Bay 7 Boston 3

For the Boston Red Sox and every other MLB team in the land, some days are better than others. That was true for Boston starters Clay Buchholz and Timmy Wakefield yesterday in separate Florida games. The Red Sox lost to the Detroit Tigers by a score of 8-3 in the day game and followed that with a 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the nightcap. Timmy Wakefield took the brunt of that one, giving up 6 runs (!) in three innings. He started the game with some downright scary knuckleballs, a few of which were thrown to eventual home run hitter Evan Longoria. Here's Longo...

“I mean, really, all I could do was laugh. He threw me three of the best ones I had seen from him. The one that I hit was probably a pretty good pitch, too. It’s one of those at-bats where my approach is just swing hard because you can’t have an approach against a pitch like that.”

I've seen hitters baffled by some of Wakefield's pitches and I understand what Evan means. I mean, imagine standing at the plate, bat ready to explode. Wakefield, from a full windup, unleashes a 68 MPH floating hummingbird of a pitch that finds plenty of the strike zone. Hittable? NO WAY!! But last night Wakes couldn't keep it up and some of his pitches didn't have the movement that the earlier ones did. Hence, home runs.

The day game came down to Clay Buchholz having a bad day with his command. Pinpoint control is a huge part of his pitching success. That's true for just about every pitcher. But last night he had squat. Clay speaks...

“I struggled with command with every pitch. I could never get comfortable on the mound. Definitely not one of my best outings. You learn from it. Still spring. Have a couple more outings and I’ll go from there.”

Both Clay and Timmy and the other three rotation pitchers know they each have two more starts to fine tune their skills before these games turn real. Yes, that time is coming and coming quickly. I can't wait.

Don't forget to click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox, including Extra Bases' wrap of the two Boston losses and an entertaining and informative feature about the Red Sox third basemen from 1967 to present day. After title clicking, just click on that Red Sox feature which is located in the center of your screen. Have fun. Wade Boggs will ALWAYS be my favorite Boston hot corner guy of all time with Mikey Lowell a close second. Boggsie had the longevity with his batting average and his always improving defensive skills.

As always, BE WELL. Have a wonderfully terrific weekend. Who knows? Here in north central Connecticut it might approach 70 degrees F. yet again. Bring it on.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lackey Pitches Well, Paps Does Not...Boston Red Sox 8 NY Mets 5...Rotation Set!

The Boston Red Sox batted their way to a victory over the New York Mets by a score of 8-5. Lackey was able to go 5 1/3 innings while giving up five hits and just one run. He said this after the game's conclusion...

"I felt like I had pretty good arm strength, a lot better than last time though I didn’t locate as well as last time."

Earlier in the day, manager Terry Francona revealed Boston’s pitching rotation. Lackey will be the number two guy after Jon Lester, followed by Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Josh is fine as a number four and I think Clay bumped up to third in the rotation is a solid move by Tito. He'll have more chances to win ballgames than if he was our number four or five. On the not-so-good side of the game, Jonathon Papelbon had a really rough outing. After Danny Bard pitched a scoreless one hit inning, Paps came in to pitch what was supposed to be a quick inning. It was anything but. He faced seven batters, recorded just two outs and gave up four runs on two hits, two walks, and to put the icing on his spoiled rotten cake, hit a batter. Here he is...

"I still feel very locked in. I’m just a tick off in my mechanics. I’m not searching. I know exactly where I am. I can feel it in my delivery. For me it’s not a big deal at all. A minor detail for me."

Just do it, Paps. By the way, what's a tick? Just curious. Yesterday, Boston Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona released the official five man pitching rotation. In order, here it is...

April 1 at Texas: Jon Lester
April 2 at Texas: John Lackey
April 3 at Texas: Clay Buchholz
April 5 at Cleveland: Josh Beckett
April 6 at Cleveland: Daisuke Matsuzaka

Not bad, not bad at all. I hope your Friday will be a great one and for more Sox coverage, just click on this post's title. See you soon and as always, BE WELL.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Atlanta 4 Boston 3..Lester Will Be The Opening Day Red Sox Pitcher

It was Jon Lester's first spring start since he was named 2011 Opening Day pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. In his four innings he allowed eight hits and three runs, whiffed four and walked two. Reliever Dennys Reyes gave up the go-ahead run to the Braves in the seventh inning in what proved to be the worst appearance of the year. But it was a proud day for the Red Sox lefty Jon Lester. He's gone through SO much these last few years you can't help but be happy for him. I know I am. Here he is...

“If any of the other four guys were named Opening Day starter it wouldn’t have hurt my feelings. The talent and experience we have in this rotation, flip a coin. Anybody is worthy, and anybody would be ready to take the ball Opening Day. It’s a big honor to be named that.”

What a guy, what a guy! If Buchholz and Lester continue their excellence from 2010, Beckett and Lackey put it all together and Daisuke pitches like he did yesterday, that's the making of a 100 plus win five guy rotation. Now if only the injury bug could stay away. What can I do about that? Hmmm. Nothing, just stand back and let it all be (The Stand/S. King 1978). Just in case I'll say a little prayer before the first pitch of the season.

That's a wrap for today. Simply click on this post's title for an illuminating article about my favorite outfielder (ever), Carl Yastrzemski, from the Boston Globe. Thanks for visiting my little corner of the "blue nowhere" yet again and as always, BE WELL.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Opening Day Red Sox Pitcher

It's Jon Lester who we'll see toeing the mound for the Boston Red Sox. More on that first thing Thursday morning. Here's the official announcement...

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — "Manager Terry Francona said today that Jon Lester would be the Opening Day starter for the Red Sox. The season starts April 1 in Texas. Lester will oppose C.J. Wilson in the 4:05 p.m. game. The announcement, which came as no surprise, was made before Lester's start against the Braves today. The 27-year-old lefthander was 19-9 with a 3.25 earned run average last season and finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award voting. He struck out 225 in 208 innings.
The Opening Day nod adds to a long list of achievements for Lester. He won the clinching game of the World Series in 2007, threw a no-hitter in 2008, made the All-Star for the first time last year and has twice started playoff openers.

GOOD LUCK and have a great season, Jon.

Daisuke Who? Red Sox 2 Tigers 1

Last night during the spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox, pitting Justin Verlander and Daisuke Matsuzaka, Daisuke pounded the strike zone again and again, not wasting any pitches to try and tempt the batter into swinging at a bad pitch. He was ON last night and the Boston Red Sox won the game against the Detroit Cats by a score of 2-1. Yes, that's right, another 2-1 tight one. Here's the guy who probably knows Matsuzaka and his modus operandi the best, the Boston captain, Jason Varitek...

“I don’t think it’s a lack of challenging hitters, it’s just a case of getting the ball where he wants it to go. He made quality strikes today as opposed to getting a bad result on a misfire. Sometimes when you are locating better, you get a misfire and it’s a popup. I don’t think it’s a matter of him trying to throw around the strike zone. He just needs to repeat what he’s doing.’’

What the captain was trying to say was that a repetitive series of pitches that attack the strike zone would be a very effective weapon for Matsuzaka. It certainly was last night down in the Sunshine State. Here's the Dice Man...

“I was placing my pitches today. I was able to throw strikes. That’s all I need to do.”

I wish it was that simple, Daisuke. And members of Red Sox Nation, no matter how many rumors we've ALL heard, Boston cannot afford to trade Daisuke. He's staying right here in New England. Having Timmy Wakefield as an extra starting pitcher is a nice luxury that the Sox are lucky to have but they need Matsuzaka as their number five guy. Period. It was nice to see him come out with fire in his eyes and a sharpshooter's touch. A 2-1 baseball game does not allow either the winning or losing pitcher much room for error. Last night, he didn't need it.

I'll leave you on this early Hump Day Wednesday morning with a link to the Boston Herald Red Sox home page. Simply click on this post's title and ZAPP!! You're there. Enjoy the day and as always, BE WELL. God bless those in Japan who are in dire straights. So very many are. Too many.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yankees 2 Red Sox 1

For me, if last night's game down in Ft. Myers between the Yanks and the Red Sox had happened during the regular or post-season, I'd be more excited about it. Yes, Boston beat NY by a score of 2-1 with Aceves starting and going three for the Good Guys. Paps had a good inning as did Big Bad Bobby Jenks (I'm sorry. I'll never type that again) in the hit starved game. I hope the 2011 spring training season continues without injuries. GO SOX!!

I have to make it short today so please click on this post's title for more Red Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, March 14, 2011

5th Inning Trouble For Beckett

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett had his troubles last year. Between a nagging injury and a slow recovery, Josh just wasn't himself and before this 2011 spring training began, he vowed to redeem himself. Yesterday he pitched four plus innings. The four innings were fine but it's getting to be that time of the year when, if possible, Terry Francona likes to see five plus innings from his starters. Well, yesterday, four out of five had to do for Mr. Beckett. He was cruising, ahead after four innings by a score of 3-1. But the roof caved in on him and his team in the fifth inning, an inning in which he surrendered six (!) runs. At the end of the fifth, instead of a 3-1 Sox lead, they trailed by a score of 7-3. That was all she wrote. Faint echoes of a fat lady singing something reverberated thought the Florida air. Here's the Josh man himself speaking of why something good turned into something so bad...

"It's a shame that a whole outing gets ruined by one inning, but that's kind of the case. I feel like I pitched well in the middle three innings. That's not how it's supposed to end, because I was feeling good. I think I've caught back up completely from the concussion. I didn't feel tired."

That's good news. The concussion and all its after affects have slowly disappeared. Hey Josh, it's only February 14th. There's no hurry whatsoever. Stretch yourself to seven solid innings and our bullpen will nail the game game after that. FAITH IN THE 'PEN! That will be the key in 2011. I just know it. It's the Yankees and the Red Sox tonight at 7:05pm EDT. The game will be televised by NESN and in some areas, ESPN 2. Enjoy. Crawford and Gonzo are going to be starting for Boston. The pin stripers wanted Gonzalez big time. It was not to be.

You can click on this post's title for the entire month's Boston Red Sox schedule. If a particular game is going to be televised on NESN, it'll tell you. It's a very handy and informative look while you're on your quest for the Sox. I hope you had a great weekend and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Red Sox Rumor I Only Partially Believe...Boston Red Sox 9 Florida Marlins 2

I thought the Boston Red Sox as a whole were just about all set personnel-wise but old friend Gordon Edes of NESN wrote a weekend article that more than hints that the Boston Red Sox will be trying to move players to obtain new ones. STILL!! Read this and I'll go over everything with you afterwards. Here you go...

"With less than three weeks to the April 1 regular-season opener, the Boston Red Sox have let it be known that a number of players could be available in a trade, according to a major league source. The Red Sox would move pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has a full no-trade clause, if they could add to their young catching inventory, the source said. Veteran Tim Wakefield is on the bubble, according to the source, and might be available for left-handed relief help. The Sox would also consider moving one of their two veteran right-handed hitting outfielders, Mike Cameron or Darnell McDonald, with interest in Cameron expected to increase as he plays more. Cameron was starting in left field here Saturday. With young outfielders Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick still having options, the team's thinking is it could afford to lose one of the veterans, with Cameron obviously having the most value in a trade. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein on Saturday night vigorously dismissed the accuracy of the report, calling it "false." The source said the Red Sox would also listen to any offers on veteran shortstop Marco Scutaro, who at the moment is projected as Opening Day shortstop."

Daisuke Matsuzaka? Hey, you've taken all my patience away from me. It's time to say goodbye. The alleged upcoming attempt to try to jettison him has the PRSF seal of approval. He's a .500 pitcher with his downs worse than his very own ups. He's far worse than any other Boston starter, putting unneeded and added stress on the bullpen. I hope he goes bye-bye (to the Yankees!) That won't happen.The pinstripers are too smart. Daisuke didn't work out like the Boston powers-that-be envisioned he would. Far from it. The piece also said that Timmy Wakefield is on the bubble. Thats absurd. Then the article goes on to say the Sox would like to move one of their veteran right handed outfielders. Mike Cameron? He worked like hell in the off season and I think that work is evident because he looks so good. Forget about it, Boston. Who's going to be your number 4 outfielder. With JD Drew in right, the Sox are going to need four outfielders if not five. Or who knows how many. Cameron stays. Period. Oh, Marco Scutaro. I think the Sox should keep him on their roster. He can bat at the bottom or the top of the order and with a full time gig he'd hit .272 while providing great defense.

Yesterday was a great day for the club. They recorded a resounded 9-2 victory over the Florida Marlins behind John Lackey's 4 1/3 six hit one earned run innings and Adrian Gonzalez' first hit. It came during his first at bat. Here's Gonzo himself...

“I’ve been wanting to get in there but I wasn’t going to get ahead of myself, either. So when the day came, it was going to come and that day was Saturday. It was exciting going to sleep Friday night and waking up this morning feeling good.”

Yo Adrian, you looked good, too! Lastly on this Sunday, the men's University of Connecticut basketball team did something last night that no other Big East team has ever done. They won the Big East men's basketball tourney by winning five games in five days. I live for the moment and right now, those moments belong to the two Husky teams. They both have the NCAA tourney waiting in the wings.

OK, that's a wrap for this Sunday, smack dab in the middle of March. I have the entire second half of the Louisville/UCONN championship game from ESPN HD that I recorded last night. I fell asleep before the second half began and I can't wait to watch the last 20 minutes. Yes, I KNOW who won. So I'm off to see the championship's second half and I couldn't be any more excited. Click on the title of this post for more on the Big East final and as always and forever, BE WELL. I'll see you soon, if not sooner. Now click away!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Boston Wins One And Loses One

The Boston Red Sox played two games yesterday down in Florida, where I'd love to be to have a meal at Michelbob's and then scoot over to see the Sox. They'd call those pair of games a "doubleheader" during the regular season but at spring training, games such as these are called split squad contests. They'd call that meal at Michelbobs the best baby back rib platter I've ever had. Nice combo! With Jon Lester starting and pitching a terrific first four, the Boston Red Sox fell to their Ft. Myers cross-town rivals, the Minnesota Twins (go Nadia), by a score of 3-2. Those 3 runs were served up on a silver platter with a cloth napkin by none other than Jonathon Papelbon. Jonathon knows he has to perform this year because the Red Sox are heavy with back-end guys for the 'pen. He'll be fine. Or he'll be wearing a different uniform next year. What do you think? C'mon, you know how to leave a simple comment. PLEASE?? I'm just curious.

In the second game, Boston used a makeshift lineup, pitchers and hitters alike. But the team from New England prevailed by a score of 9-3 over the Houston Astros. You wouldn't recognize half the names on the players roster but everyone sure did get the most of their abilities.

I hope your weekend will be tremendous. I have no special plans as of right now but you never know what'll happen later. Tonight, it's the Finals of the men's BIG EAST Tournament at the Garden in NYC. UCONN, not a favorite in the tourney, will face Louisville after winning four games in four consecutive days. That's tough and Louisville has already beaten them twice during the regular season. The Rick Pitino-led team is tough all over the place. Quite simply, the winner takes it all.

Be well, stay safe and I thank you for stopping in on this still dark Saturday morning.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Massive Earthquake In Japan leads To Tsunamis And More Tsunamis To Come..LIVE BBC COVERAGE INCLUDED

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck North Japan in the middle of the afternoon and a massive tsunami followed on its heels. First, the earthquake...

"A magnitude 8.9 earthquake slammed Japan's eastern coast Friday, unleashing a 13-foot tsunami that swept boats, cars, buildings and tons of debris miles inland. Fires triggered by the quake burned out of control up and down the coast, including one at an oil refinery.
Japan's meteorological agency said that within two hours, large tsunamis washed ashore into dozens of cities along a 1,300-mile stretch of the country's eastern shore — from the northern island of Hokkaido to central Wakayama prefecture.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan said the quake caused "major damage in broad areas" but nuclear power plants in the area were not affected. The government prepared to send troops to the quake-hit areas.
"This is a rare major quake, and damages could quickly rise by the minute," said Junichi Sawada, an official with Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency."

Here is the very latest tsunami news. Hawaii and the entire Pacific basin are under the gun...

HONOLULU – "Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific are bracing for a destructive tsunami after a massive earthquake struck in Japan.Tsunami sirens were sounded and coastal areas were being evacuated in Hawaii, where the first waves were expected to hit at 3 a.m. Friday.
The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center widened its tsunami warning beyond East Asia late Thursday to include Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Central and South America and the rest of the Pacific Ocean.
A lesser tsunami watch was issued for the entire western coast of the United States and Canada from the Mexican border to Chignik Bay in Alaska."

I want you to click on this post's title for the LIVE, yes live, coverage of the disaster from the BBC. Again, you'll need your sound on. If your TV is on, go to MSNBC or CNN for wall-to-wall jaw-dropping coverage with images that will sear into your brain. But for the live coverage from the Beeb, the title click is a good step one. Take a moment to say a prayer for those severely affected. Let's hope Hawaii will be spared. The tsunami warning has been expanded to cover the entire Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii and the west coast of the continental United States of America.

I'll have a baseball post sooner or later. It doesn't seem that important right now at 5am EST. This news affects people's lives. Baseball doesn't. Thanks for popping in and as always, BE WELL.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tampa Bay 8 Boston 6

More of the same from this tired act whose name goes like this..Daisuke Matsuzaka. His line? He pitched a "stunning" three and two thirds innings and surrendered five hits AND five runs. For me to say any more, well, I'd be nauseated. I'll have more in the morning but..but..TIMMY, CAN YOU HEAR ME? We need your savvy floating magic.

A Bottom Of The Ninth Win For Boston 2-1

Hello on this warmish Thursday morning, once again dark. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 2-1 on Wednesday and the tone was set from the starting pitcher, Clay Buchholz and the automatic "no runs" fifth inning from reliever Bobby Jenks. Buchholz went the first four, allowing zero runs on four hits while whiffing three. Bobby Jenks had what should be considered a perfect fifth, with no hits wrapped around two strikeouts. You have no idea how good Jenks will be for our 'pen. Reliever-to-be Scott Atchison took care of the six and the seventh frames unscathed, almost untouched. See more on Scott a little later. Here's Boston manager Terry "Tito" Francona on Clay Buchholz...

"It was nice to see him pitch well but also pitch out of the stretch and pitch with some runners on base and continue to make his quality pitches. I thought he looked terrific.

Francona also had high praise for Scott Atchison, who threw two perfect innings. Here's Tito one more time with some of his highest praise yet. I would tend to think Scott Atchison has already made the bullpen. I certainly hope so. The Red Sox 'pen might be one of the most improved units in all of major league baseball. From front grille to back bumper, WOW. Here's Tito on Atchison...

"He had two beautiful innings. He just throws strikes. He uses all his pitches. He takes the sting out of the bat. He goes out there and pounds the strike zone, works quick, lets his defense catch the ball and gets off the field. Young pitchers should watch him. He doesn't blow you away with his stuff. But he hits his spots, he throws strikes, he works quick. He does everything you're supposed to."

JUST THROW STRIKES and don't let them hit 'em. I like Scott's style and look forward to seeing much more from him in 2011. I'm also brimming with confidence. All of Red Sox Nation should be, too. We have a team we're going to be proud of for a long, long time.

That's it for today. I'll have an update or two posted later after I get home from the dentist. Click on this post's title for more on the Wednesday action and as always, BE WELL. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

WTC..March 11, 2011..It's Been 9 1/2 Years

It will be nine and a half years this coming Friday since the terrorist-planned NYC catastrophe that resulted in the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers changed our world. Everybody's world. We're ALL people. Peel away anyone's skin, as gruesome as that sounds, and what you'll find is a human being, with a heart and a soul and SO much more. How could we do this to each other? Remember Friday, please. My bestest friend Nadia sent me this. It made me cry and I want to share it with you. I'd love to read your comments. Think of the victims and their families on Friday. I won't have anything more to say because these words, sad as they are, say it all. Thanks...

Her hair was up in a ponytail
Her favorite dress tied with a bow
Today was Daddy's Day at school
And she couldn't wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
That she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
If she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
Of why he wasn't there today.
But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school,
Eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees,
A dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back,
For everyone to meet
Children squirming impatently,
Anxious in their seats.
One by one the teacher called,
Each student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
For a man who wasn't there.
"Where's her daddy at?"
She heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one"
Another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day."
The words did not offened her,
As she smiled up at her mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
Who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.
"My daddy couldn't be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
And how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories
He taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I'm not standing here alone.
Cause my daddy's always with me
Even though we are apart.
I know because he told me,
He'll forever be in my heart."
With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere in the crowd of dads,
Her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down,
Staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud.
"I love my daddy very much,
He's my shining star.
And if he could he'd be here,
But heaven's just too far.
You see he was a fireman
And died just this past year.
When airplanes hit the towers
And taught Americans to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
It's like he never went away."
And then she closes her eyes,
And saw him there that day.
And to her mother's amazement,
She witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them,
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him at her side.
"I know you're with me Daddy."
To the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
Of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
For each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
Was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
By the love of her shining bright star.
And given the gift of believing,
That heaven is never too far .

That's it for today. Oh boy. Everyone, be well.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Lester Wows 'Em In Simulated Game...Lackey Impresses WITHOUT His Cutter...Boston 5 Baltimore 4

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles (it's too early to call them hapless..yet) by a score a 5-4. John Lackey, who is counted on to step it up more than a notch in 2011, threw everything but his cutter, but that's according to his plan. In all, he went four innings and gave up nothing but one hit. HE WAS ON. Here he is...

“I’m happy with fastball location today.The rotation of my four-seam fastball was nice. It was nice and true. I still haven’t started throwing my cutter yet, probably ready to do that next start. It was a good step forward.”

Lackey threw 29 of his 39 pitches for strikes, then went to the bullpen for 16 more pitches. This is important. This 2011 Boston Red Sox team needs a John Lackey who can win 17 games and lose less than eight. John, let it be, make it so. JUST DO IT!

Jon Lester threw a bullpen session during his flu absence. Yesterday, Red Sox manager Tito Francona got a chance to see his pitcher from a better view than the dugout. To put it mildly, he was impressed. He was wowed. Here's Terry...

“He was commanding very well. His touch and feel look so good. That was nice to see.”

Jon will make his next start in four or five days. So the news is good, the weather's fine (not for baseball yet) and I'm happy. I hope you're happy too and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, March 07, 2011

NY Mets 6 Boston Red Sox 5...Mike Cameron Will NOT Be Traded Unless Idiots Rule...They Don't, That I Promise You

Sunday down in the Sunshine State, the New York Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-5. Boston scored one run in the seventh and two in the eighth to make it respectable. Terry Francona again played only a few regular starters and it seems he loves watching his young guns while keeping the regulars rested. Here's the skipper of the Boston Red Sox...

"I know some of the fans grumble, but it’s really fun for our staff to spend the whole day with these young guys and get to know them."

If you remember, my Constant Readers, when the injury epidemic hit the Sox last year, so many of those young guys stepped up without warning and helped Boston to another 90 plus win season. They are the future but the present looks pretty darn good to me.

Let's talk about keeping this 2011 team intact with the emphasis on Mike Cameron. Yes, he's 38 but he has worked so hard to be in tip top shape as he gets prepared to be the fourth (third and a half with JD Drew's physical problems that are sure to be in the mix) outfielder in the mix that is the Boston Red Sox. This is from the Boston Globe's Extra Bases.I thank them. I'll be back after you read this blurb because I KNOW the answer...

FORT MYERS, Fla. — "Mike Cameron has looked very good in spring training so far, seemingly recovered from his hernia and groin surgery and back to being a player with a valuable combination of power and speed.
"He's what the Red Sox thought they had last year," a scout said yesterday. "He doesn't look 38 to me."
The news that the Phillies have lost Domonic Brown (fractured hamate bone in his right hand) for as long as six weeks will spark talk of a trade. As Nick Cafardo mentioned in his notes column today, the Phillies were a good fit all along. Now there's even more of a need. But the Red Sox should tread carefully here. While $7.5 million is a lot to pay for a fourth outfielder and losing that salary would create flexibility for any deals needed in July, Cameron could play a valuable role on this team.
With three lefty hitting outfielders and a lefty DH, Cameron can be a big weapon off the bench. The Sox also have no guarantees on the health of J.D. Drew (who reported to camp with a sore left hamstring) or Jacoby Ellsbury. Mike Cameron could get 350-400 at-bats this season helping to balance the lineup. It would make little sense to trade him."

I'll say this right here and right now...Mike Cameron will be a Boston player, an important one. So don't worry about errant media reports from errant media reporters. Cams will be with us and he's going to have a great season.

That's all I have on this still dark but semi-warm Monday morning. The rivers are all rising because of the copious amounts of rain we've received over the past couple of days. I'm just happy the rain has slowed down drastically. Have a great day and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you sooner than you think.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Baltimore 4 Boston 4...Florida 11 Boston 2

The Boston Red Sox had one tie and one loss yesterday in Florida. In the home game, Florida throttled the life out of the Sox with a resounding 11-2 victory. Daisuke Matsuzaka reverted to his old self by surrendering seven (!!) runs on six hits in the first three innings. Game over. Wakefield followed and gave up a couple more tallies to the Nationals. Game over after three. On the bright side, in the 4-4 tie with the Birdies, Carl Crawford stroked his first two base hits in a Boston uniform and the white hot Jose Iglesias (on Friday and Saturday he played 18 errorless innings at shortstop and was 5 for 7 with three runs scored, a walk and an RBI) and Oscar Tejada, infielders of the future, had three safeties apiece. Carl Crawford also made four great catches, one superlative, in the last three innings. I can't wait to see him play Fenway's left field with the Wall at his back as he peers in towards the plate. How sweet it will be! Here he is on his physical condition...

"Physically, I don’t feel I can get any stronger. It’s just a matter of me working on my baseball skills.”

We can't wait, CC. With you in left, the jet speedy Jacoby Ellsbury in center and a healthy (?) JD Drew in right, we have a great outfield. Good things will follow. I just know it.

That's it for this very rainy Sunday. At least it's warm (50 degrees) for a change. I hope you have a great day and don't forget to click on this post's title for more Boston Red Sox comings and goings. As always, be well. I'll see you here soon.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Boston 5 NY Yankees 3..Good Beckett News

The Boston Red Sox defeated the New York Yankees last night in Tampa by a score of 5-3. Boston used a very young lineup and that proved to be a successful move by manager Terry "Tito" Francona because it spared the veterans a long bus ride across the state and gave the young guns a chance to shine. And shine they did. After the game, he praised his players...

“I’ll take a two-hour bus ride to watch those young kids do what they did. Linares, the game that Iggy played at short, Tejada. They were worth the bus ride.”

Jose Iglesias, Boston's phenom-to-be shortstop, was on base three times, scored a run and was stellar in the field. Tejada was two for two and Linares was two for two with an RBI and two runs scored. Here's Tito again on his emerging star who will play most of the year over in Pawtucket. Iggy has quite a future in front of him and should be the long term Red Sox shortstop possibly starting next year. He's a gem. Here's Francona...

"You get in this atmosphere, I think he enjoyed himself immensely playing. I think it's a good learning process for him."

The atmosphere in Tampa was intense. A sold out crowd, three television networks and a horde of other media people made that atmosphere circus-like. The starting pitchers, Clay Buchholz for the good guys and Bartolo Colon for the pinstriped fiends, each went three innings and surrendered one and two hits respectfully. The Sox were up five to one until Tony Pena Jr. gave up New York's two runs in the ninth. Eamon Portice put out the fire and extinguished New York for good. And then it was time for the Good Guys to travel back to Ft. Myers on what was probably a happy and upbeat cross-state east to west journey.

In other Boston Red Sox news, Josh Beckett threw a 40 pitch bullpen session and declared himself ready for his Tuesday start. He's one of the vital keys to Boston's 2011 season, one that I hope will be remembered for a long time to come. Here's Josh...

“I think I’m right there. I wouldn’t have thrown that many pitches yesterday if I didn't feel great.”

"Right there" is a great place to be, Josh. Take it slow and easy and come out firing on Opening Day. Yes, I think he'll be pitching on that day. A comeback season ready to happen? Barring any injuries, yes, yes and yes again.

It's a warmish (32 degrees) early March morning here in north central Connecticut...finally. It's still dark because I woke up SO very early. And don't forget we turn our clocks forward just a scant eight days from now. Believe it or not, daylight saving (there IS no S in saving) time already.

You can click on the title of this post for more Sox news (including video) and I wish every one of you a great weekend. As always, BE WELL. See ya soon if not sooner.

Friday, March 04, 2011


This is a classic. Sound on, please, and click on the title. Thanks. Prepare to laugh because youth is fleeting. Enjoy!

Philly 2 Boston 1...Jenks Pitches Scoreless Inning, Wheeler, Too.

The Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox are the odds-on favorites to meet in the World Series this fall, at least on paper and barring injuries. Yesterday in the Sunshine State, it was all pitching for Cole Hamels and the rest of the Philly staff as well as that team from New England. They limited a decent Sox lineup to only one solo hit and won the game by a score of 2-0. The Red Sox had a chance in the ninth with the bases loaded one out situation but they couldn't do it. Let's look on the bright side...many Boston pitchers got their work in and pitched well. The two Philly runs were surrendered by spot starter Stolmy Pimentel, who was subbing for Josh Beckett. The BB (Boston bullpen) was immaculate with Bobby Jenks and Dan Wheeler pitching a scoreless inning apiece. Here's the Red Sox skipper, Terry Francona....

"Jenks' stuff, I don't care what inning he pitches, his stuff is plenty good. He's going to be a big part of our bullpen. Hopefully the word successful will be in that sentence, too. We're looking forward to it."

With Paps closing, Danny Bard as first choice to handle the eighth and Wheels and Jenks adding to the excellence, my goodness, this bullpen could be killer. The starting pitcher only has to go six strong and then that 'pen will take over. Of course, seven or eight innings from the starter would be better but some nights, that just ain't going to happen. Here's the skipper...

"There's no secret -- when the game is on the line and he's rested, we want Daniel Bard to pitch (the eighth). That's a weapon, but you can't do that every day."

That a wrap for this Friday but I DO want to leave you with a feel good moment. Put your sound on and click on this post's title. Prepare to smile. I mean it! I was in tears, happy delighted tears. As always, BE WELL. Now click on that title. Thanks.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Hot Start For Papi But Red Sox Lose To the Braves 6-1...Beckett To Miss One Start.

Just to be on the safe side, the Boston Red Sox have asked Josh Beckett to miss his next start. He will start next week. It's spring training. Why take any chances at all? This was the right thing to do. Stolmy Pimentel (I'm not familiar with him. Are you?) will start in his place. Good job Sox.

Yesterday down in America's land down under, the Atlanta Braves bested the Boston Red Sox by a score of 6-1. John Lackey went the first two innings, giving up one run on four hits. 25 of his 41 pitches were in the strike zone. He said this after his outing...

“I just want to feel four-seam rotation and work on the arm strength first time out."

That's what spring is for for the pitchers and the hitters. Getting the feel of things is mighty important. One bright spot for the Sox is the continuing torrid start by none other than Big Papi David Ortiz. He had three base hits and drove in the only Boston run. In three games this spring, Ortiz is 5 for 8 with four RBIs. Here's the skipper, Tito Francona...

“He’s certainly short to the ball right now and he’s not trying to muscle up and he’s keeping everything fair. He’s getting the barrel to the ball real good right now. Nice short swing."

That type of swing causes the ball to be hit very sharply. With the infamous Papi shift on, he smashed a single right through that shift. Next up was another lefty, JD Drew. What did Papi do? He stole second base. STANDING UP. I guess he really did work hard in the off season. GO PAPI!

That's all I have for you, my Constant Readers, but I'll be back with any breaking news, sports or otherwise as soon as I can. Our prayers are still with Serena. With blood thinners coursing through her body right now, I sure hope she'll come back 100%. Have a great Thursday and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you down the road. Don't worry, it's a very short road. In fact, it's a dead end!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

SERENA WILLIAMS Suffers Pulmonary Embolism

This just in from the Associated Press. We all wish Serena the best...

NEW YORK (AP) -- "Tennis star Serena Williams underwent "emergency treatment" Monday, days after doctors discovered a blood clot in her lungs, People magazine reported.
Spokeswoman Nicole Chabot told the magazine that Williams "underwent emergency treatment for a hematoma suffered as a result of treatment for a more critical situation."
Williams suffered from a pulmonary embolism last week, Chabot said. The 29-year-old Williams is being treated at a Los Angeles hospital.
"Doctors are continuing to monitor her situation closely to avoid additional complications," Chabot told the magazine.
The winner of 13 Grand Slam titles, Williams attended Sunday night's Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party.
On Tuesday night, Williams posted on her Twitter account "Tough day." A few minutes later she retweeted Kim Kardashian.
Williams has been sidelined by two operations on her right foot after getting cut by glass at a restaurant, and has not played a competitive match since winning Wimbledon on July 3.
Chabot also told the magazine that the embolism was discovered after she returned to Los Angeles from New York "for doctor appointments for the ongoing issues with her foot."

Godspeed, Serena. We're all here for you.

Sharpness On The Boston Red Sox Mound

The Boston Red Sox had a really good afternoon yesterday down in warm Ft. Myers, Florida as they defeated the Minnesota Twins by a score of 5-0. Ah yes. John Lester, who won 19 games last year, started and went the first two innings, giving up zilch on ZERO hits. Aceves did the same exact thing. Aceves will be a great addition to this club from Boston. Jonathon Papelbon took care of the no-run fifth efficiently with only SIX PITCHES. Here's Jon Lester...

“I’m just glad the first one’s done because that one always seems to give me the hardest trouble,” the big lefty said. “I feel good, that’s the main thing.”

And here's Paps...

“I was pleased. It’s something that I’ve taken from the end of the season last year when I was throwing the ball really well,” he said. “I’ve tried to take that into this spring and it looks like I’ve been able to do that.”

Take us away, Jon and Paps. We're ready. It'll be the 2011 ride to the toppermost of the poppermost, as John Lennon used to say to his bandmates before they had their first "number one." So everything went well on Tuesday down in the warm section of the nation. More to come a little later. As always, BE WELL and always seek for that place called the "toppermost of the poppermost." I do but I haven't found it yet. But I'm slowly getting there. I WILL FIND IT. Thanks. Click on this post's title for more on our ace.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

After The Josh Bosh, He's OK

This is from the Boston Globe...

FORT MYERS, Fla. — "Josh Beckett arrived at the clubhouse at 8:10 this morning and said he felt much better in the aftermath of his accidental beaning on Monday. But the Red Sox have prohibited from him working out today as he recovers from a concussion.
Beckett was shagging balls in left field during batting practice when coaching assistant Ino Guerrero tried to direct a ball to the bucket behind second base with a fungo bat. The ball instead struck Beckett above the left ear.
"You go through a bunch of different emotions. First you’re pissed because you don’t know what happened. Then I tried to walk and I got real dizzy. I kind of took a knee," said Beckett, who was led off the field. "You kind of go through everything. I really didn’t even know what happened. I didn’t know if I got hit by a ball from another field or what. I had no idea what happened."
Tests revealed a concussion. Beckett was dizzy, had a headache and had trouble navigating stairs. But he said he slept well and felt much better when he awoke. He still has swelling in the area.
"I feel all right. Feeling better today. I feel like I got hit in the head. I’m getting through some of the headache stuff that I had yesterday, which is probably good," he said."

Josh, you DID get hit in the head but every one of us is happy you're OK. Now win 17 regular season games...for Red Sox Nation and me.

The Duke And The Hall Belong Together...

From Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated...

"Duke Snider hit .309 with 42 home runs and 136 RBIs in 1955, when the Dodgers won their only World Series in Brooklyn. Duke Snider, the Brooklyn Dodgers Hall of Famer who passed away on Sunday, will forever be remembered as part of New York's great center field triumvirate of the 1950s along with the Giants' Willie Mays and the Yankees' Mickey Mantle.
Being one third of Willie, Mickey and the Duke, as well as one of Brooklyn's iconic "Boys of Summer" has given Snider a place very near the heart of the game, a legacy his 407 career home runs and 2,116 career hits otherwise might not have. At the same time, being widely and correctly regarded as the least of that center field trio has caused some to forget just how great a player Snider was at his best.
During the peak of their rivalry, the gap between Snider and his crosstown counterparts was slight. Mantle and Mays were rookies in 1951, and because Mays lost all but 34 games of the 1952 and 1953 seasons to military duty and the Dodgers and Giants moved to California after the 1957 season, the era of Willie, Mickey and the Duke really only spanned the 1954 to 1957 seasons. Here are how those three Hall of Famer's performed during those four seasons (using their seasonal averages in counting stats):
Mickey: .330/.453/.625 (192 OPS+), 38 HR, 106 RBI, 126 R, 10 SB, 2 MVPs, 1 championship
Willie: .323/.397/.627 (167 OPS+), 41 HR, 104 RBI, 114 R, 28 SB, 1 MVP, 1 championship
Duke: .305/.403/.616 (160 OPS+), 41 HR, 115 RBI, 112 R, 5 SB, 0 MVP, 1 championship
Snider doesn't miss by much in the rate stats and is right there with Mays and Mantle in his counting numbers. He wasn't as fast as the other two (who was?) and had a hard time in the MVP voting thanks to a blown vote in 1956 (when he led the league in on-base percentage, slugging, OPS, OPS+, home runs, walks, and intentional walks but inexplicably finished 10th, behind four teammates), the presence of Mays and Hank Aaron, and the fact that he was teammates with a catcher in Roy Campanella who put up comparable numbers. Still, he finished second in the voting in 1955, fourth in 1954, and third in 1953. In 1955 he was named the Sporting News Player of the Year, an award then given to just one player in all of baseball. Mays won the award in 1954. Mantle won in 1956.
Snider's 1953 season, omitted above, was significantly better than his 1957 season. If we instead isolate the four years from '53 to '56 for Snider we get this line: .320/.415/.626 (165 OPS+), 42 HR, 123 RBI, 122 R, which puts him right there with Mays. Still, Mays has the edge in the park-adjusted OPS+. That points to the fact that Brooklyn's Ebbets Field was a great park in which to hit during those seasons, but Snider didn't just get fat on home cooking. Here are his road splits during that four year peak:
1953: .318/.401/.574
1954: .369/.452/.683
1955: .276/.388/.545
1956: .276/.405/.545
Bearing in mind that most hitters hit better at home, there's nothing there to support the criticism of Snider as a park-created phenomenon.
Snider was a great player, pure and simple. He didn't have the speed of Mays or Mantle, but he did everything else extremely well. He hit for average (.295 career, over .300 seven times, over .320 three times), had great power (he hit 40 home runs five years in a row from 1953 to 1957 -- only Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, and Sammy Sosa have surpassed that streak -- and he slugged .600 three times and also led the league at .598 in 1956), got on base (.380 on-base percentage career with three full seasons over .400, another with a league-leading .399 OBP, and two shortened seasons over .400), and despite his modest speed, he was regarded as an outstanding center fielder. Snider never won a Gold Glove, but that was largely because the Gold Glove award wasn't introduced until 1957, his last great season, and for the first four years of its existence, the voters only selected one player from each outfield position, leaving Snider in Mays' shadow again.
Snider's position was every bit as significant as how well he played it. In 2010, the only positions to offer less offense than center field were shortstop, catcher, and second base. As's Joe Posnanski recently realized, the only center fielders to be voted into the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America since Snider in 1980 (Mays was elected in 1979) were Kirby Puckett and Andre Dawson, the latter of whom actually played more games in right field, and neither of whom could match Snider's all-around offensive game at his peak. In fact, the list of major league center fielders who hit like Snider at his peak is short: Mays, Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Hack Wilson, and perhaps Jim Edmonds. You can throw in Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker from the dead-ball era if you wish. Still, that's at most nine men, including Snider, in the 140-year history of the major leagues.
Snider's ultimate shortcoming was his early decline, brought about by a combination of a bad knee and unfavorable West Coast ballparks. Snider was just 31 when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. In his final season in Brooklyn, he hit .274/.368/.587 with 42 home runs and 92 RBIs, below his usual standard, but still worthy of a few down-ballot MVP votes. In 1958, the Dodgers jerry-rigged Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for baseball, erecting a fence that was 390 feet from home in right field (picture Fenway Park's right field, but moreso). Snider hit .331/.407/.573 on the road that year, but just .294/.335/.441 at home and saw his overall home run total drop to just 15. The Dodgers brought the fences in nearly 60 feet in 1959, and Snider rebounded with a .308/.400/.535 performance, helping the Dodgers to a second world championship, but by then his knee had forced him to split his time between center and right fields and reduced his overall playing time.
Snider never had enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title after the Dodgers left Brooklyn and would never reach 20 home runs again after 1959. Though for reasons less significant than Jackie Robinson's retirement or Campanella's car accident, Duke Snider left his best baseball in Brooklyn. That kept him from keeping pace with Mays and Mantle in the 1960s, but also stoked his legend as the Duke of Flatbush, the Silver Fox that helped lead Brooklyn to five pennants and their only ever world championship, who twice hit four home runs in a single World Series, twice hit two homers in a single World Series game, just missed a home run down the line in Don Larson's perfect game, a game in which he also made a tremendous catch in center field, and hit .324/.391/.686 in the 1952, '53, '55, and '56 World Series combined. Duke Snider was no third wheel in that famous Gotham triumvirate. At his best, which he was during those years, the Duke deserved to be included alongside Willie and Mickey, as he always will be."

I know that was lengthy but the Duke was the Duke. Thanks.

Boston 7 Minnesota 6...Beckett Has Concussion

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is being counted on by the Boston Red Sox to have a great year, as is Josh Beckett (they are two musts), pitched well yesterday down in the land where it ain't cold. Dice went the first two innings of the spring training game with the Twinkies and gave up a solo run. Here, in order, is Boston Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona and then Daisuke himself. Here's Tito...

“Very good velocity. That was exciting to see that, especially early on. Very aggressive with his fastball. Had some good life to it. I was excited about that.”

And the Dice Man...

“As it’s the first outing of the spring season, the fastball is running pretty well. That’s something I’m very confident with. Overall, I think I did a very good job as a first outing.”

Papi popped, too. Big Papi David Ortiz, who has had horribly slow starts the last two years, hit his first 2011 tater, had two hits and drove in three. Way to go, David. No slow start this year. You are the number six batter in a power packed lineup.

Carl Crawford had an hitless and uneventful debut for his Boston club but it's SO early, it's not even early! So don't worry, be happy. We're going to be just fine this year.

A freak batting practice accident had left Josh Beckett hurting. Here is the latest from the Boston Herald...

FT. MYERS — "The day after he stressed how he only wanted to get through spring training healthy, Josh Beckett became the first health casualty of 2011 spring training yesterday. Beckett sustained “mild concussion symptoms,” according to the club, after being hit on the head by a ball during batting practice in the morning. The right-hander will be re-evaluated today before a decision is made on whether he will make his next scheduled start, his second this spring, on Thursday against the Philadelphia Phillies. The incident falls squarely beneath the “fluke” category heading. Beckett was standing in shallow left-center field with a small group of teammates. Staff assistant Ino Guerrero was attempting to hit balls into a plastic bucket in the outfield with a fungo bat but miscued, and a ball hit an unsuspecting Beckett in the left temple. Beckett went to one knee and second baseman Dustin Pedroia could be heard yelling, “Trainer, trainer.’"

Oh boy. Click on the title of this post for more on Josh. As always, be well, especially you, Josh.