Saturday, March 22, 2008

Colon Pitches Well In Florida

El Gordo pitched well today going 3 scoreless innings, he did not walk any batters and had 2 K's while giving up 4 hits. You have to take the results with a grain of salt because he was pitching against a Single A team. He is not about to join the Red Sox rotation but it is a step forward after his disastrous performance against the Yankees. Red Sox minor league pitching coach Goose Gregson said the following about Colon's outing: "I thought overall it was a very good outing. He warmed up extremely well. He elevated a few fastballs that put him in some hitters' counts, thus there was a little hard contact early in the game. But what I liked most was he stayed in his delivery, made some adjustments, got big outs when they had runners on base So I thought, overall, it was a very good adjustment to the pitches that he did elevate. He threw some very, very good two-seamers today. The two-seamer is the one I think he blew up two bats, [and] got a couple of weak ground balls out there. But, overall, I would assess it as a very good outing; a positive in the right direction."


Clay Buchholz Needs More Time In AAA

Buchholz once again proved he is not yet ready to be in the majors. Last night he left too many pitches up in the zone and let a weak hitting Japanese club get the best of him. His ERA for the spring is over 9 and if he starts out in the majors he is going to have a rough start. A few months in Pawtucket should be enough to get him ready to join the team for the second half. Here are Tito's comments on last night's outing: “He didn’t command as well as he probably needs to, or will. His velocity was probably 88, 89, 90 (mph). As he gets into the middle of the year and gets in a rhythm he will throw hard. A lot of it with him comes down to fastball command. As good as his offspeed is, and I didn’t think today that was his best offspeed, if he commands his fastball that’s what makes him so good and will make him better as he commands that fastball. I thought he was up with a lot of pitches today.”

In other news: Josh Beckett will pitch his first game since he experienced back spasms. He will pitch in a minor league game in Florida on Sunday.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Exhibition Game 1 Red Sox vs. Hanshin Tigers Update

Tonight's game vs. the Hanshin Tigers Update.

An interesting pre-game tidbit: The Tigers had 2 batters going at the same time in BP. David Ortiz said, "we should do this at Fenway, one cage for Manny and one for everyone else."

TOP 1:Pedroia and Youk both wiff to start off the game before Papi-san crushes one into the Tokyo Dome bleachers. Sox lead 1-0...Manny walks...Lowell singles...J.D. hits an opposite field HR...Sox lead 4-0. Tek K's to end the top of the first. Great start in Japan for the Red Sox.
BOTTOM 1:First two batters ground out against Buchholz before 3rd batter hits an infield single...Buchholz strikes out the cleanup hitter looking. Very good start for Buchholz.
TOP 2: Jacoby grounds out to start the 2nd, Lugo doubles down the left field line...Pedroia grounds out to pitcher...Youk chants can even be heard in Tokyo. Youk singles...Lugo scores...Sox lead 5-0. Texas league single for Ortiz...Manny K's.
BOTTOM 2: Ground out followed by a double for the Tigers in the bottom of the 2nd. Lew Ford walks... catcher K's...2 outs. Base hit to left...Manny plays it well, runner is held at third...two run double off of Youk's glove...Sox lead 5-2...line drive single...2 runs score...Sox lead 5-4. Buchholz is leaving pitches up in the zone....stolen base...K to end the 2nd inning.
TOP 3: Lowell singles to left. JD hits into a double play...Tek walks...Ellsbury is robbed of an extra base hit by Lew Ford at the wall.
BOTTOM 3: pop up...grounder to short...line-out to center...3 up 3 down.
TOP 4: Lugo walks...Pedroia hits into a fielder's choice...Lugo out at 2nd...Youk reaches base on an error Pedroia advances to 3rd...Ortiz hits into a 4-6-3 DP.
BOTTOM 4: Lew Ford flies out (just like he always did when he used to be on my fantasy team)...line drive dropped by J.D.(E)...line drive single to center...runner holds at 2nd...runners go....K...both runners safe...walk...bases juiced...end of the day for Clay Buchholz....Kyle Snyder comes in...Sox announcers question why any team would have a celery stick as a mascot(see earlier post)....ground out.. inning over.
TOP 5: Manny lines out to RF...Lowell flies out...JD grounds out.
BOTTOM 5: pop up...foul out...ground out...1-2-3 inning.
TOP 6: Tek walks...Ellsbury singles to left...Tek to second...Lugo pops out...Pedroia flies out...Youk singles...Tek scores...Sox lead 6-4...Big Papi fouls out to catcher.
BOTTOM 6: Cora in for Lugo at short....Lew Ford singles....line single to left...runners on 1st and 2nd no outs...pop out to Tek...line single to center...runner holds at 3rd...bases loaded....line drive caught by diving Ellsbury...runner at 3rd tags and scores...others hold...Sox lead 6-5...wild pitch runners advance...ground out to short.
TOP 7: Manny K's...Lowell walks...Coco in to run for Lowell (the groin must be ok)...JD K's...Coco running is out at second...strike 'em out throw 'em out.
BOTTOM 7: Defensive changes Lowrie in at 3rd...Coco in center, Jacoby in left...Kielty in right...Javier Lopez in to pitch. Fly out...ground out...infield single...Lew Ford walks...K.
TOP 8: Tek walks...Dusty Brown in to run...Ellsbury takes strike 3...Lugo grounds out...runner grounds out.
BOTTOM 8: Sweet Caroline plays in the Tokyo Dome in middle of 8th....Manny Delcarmen in to pitch...ground out...K...ground out...1-2-3 inning.
TOP 9: Sox announcers make fun of Tiger's closer's haircut (picture here)....Youk K's...Cash in for Papi...hits one to the track..great catch...Kielty...backwards K.
BOTTOM 9: K...walk...runner caught stealing...2 over Papelbon gets the save, Sox win 6-5


Lineup for Tonight's Game vs Hanshin Tigers

1. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
2. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Manny Ramirez, LF
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. J.D. Drew, RF
7. Jason Varitek, C
8. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
9. Julio Lugo, SS

Clay Buchholz, P


Josh Beckett Continues On The Road Back

Josh Beckett played long toss today and had a 45 pitch bullpen session in Fort Myers. He is making progress and should be able to return to the team avoid the DL when they return from Japan. Keeping him back in the States was the right choice and it may pay off to have a fresh pitcher when they resume the series with Oakland on April 1.


Sox Workout at Tokyo Dome

The Red Sox worked out at the the Tokyo Dome to prepare for their first game against the Hanshin Tigers on Sat. (tonight in the U.S.) Clay Buchholz will get the start. The Red Sox held a press conference earlier and some members of the team enjoyed a Black Hawk helicopter ride at a U.S. Army base. Big Papi enjoys some sake below.(Globe Photo)


The Cup Game

Some of you have heard of the baseball "cup game." There are lots of variations on this game, but basically it goes like this: You get a beer during before the national anthem in one of those big souvenir cups. You need to drink it fast before the game starts. You then get with your friends at the ballpark and decide who's in the game. The first person holds the now empty souvenir cup for the first batter. If the batter gets a single, he/she puts a $1 in the cup $2 for a double $4 for a homer, etc. After hits the person holding the cup passes it to the next person in line. The cup doesn't move for outs. The person holding the cup at the last out wins all of the money.

You can include other items like reversing the cup when the pitcher touches the rosin bag, skip 2 for a broken bat, $10 in the cup for the person holding it if a manager gets thrown out of the game, etc.

We enjoyed the cup game last night in Peoria, AZ during the Cactus League game between the Mariners and Padres. I was unfortunate enough to be holding the cup every time Ichiro came up to bat. He went 3-4 last night. He picked the wrong time to break out of his slump! However, the cup found its way back to me for the final out, a nice bonus for the day.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lester Pitches Well Before He Goes To Japan

Jon Lester played on more game in Fort Myers before he had to make his way to Japan to join the rest of the team. Lester pitched in an intrasquad minor league game going 5 hitless innings with 8 K's. Lester leaves for Japan tomorrow. He gave an interview to the Projo after the game:

“I guess it served it purpose, more or less. I was able to get my pitch count up, got the innings and got my work. I would have liked to have been on the plane with the team, but it’s alright. Now that I’ve got my pitch count up I don’t have to worry about anything. There are no limitations going into the season and I’m ready to go.”


Coco to Rays?

ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Tampa Bay failed to sign Kenny Lofton and the Rays are now in need of a center fielder. Coco has become a target for a possible trade. Tampa is in the same division so a trade may not sit well with ownership but the Rays have cheap young talent that may entice the Sox.


Kyle Snyder.....Mr. Celery

While the Sox were boarding the plane yesterday they had loaded the Wally the Green Monster suit but did not have the person to fill it. According to the Boston Globe, Red Sox executive Meg Vaillancourt asked for volunteers to be Wally on the trip. Kyle Snyder responded by saying: "I did that once already when I pitched in Wilmington, I was Mr. Celery for one game. It was hot in there."


Sox Have Landed...Next Up: Hanshin Tigers

The Red Sox have landed in Tokyo and are on the bus to the hotel after the 18 hour flight from Chicago. Their first exhibition game will take place tomorrow at 11:05 Eastern (8:05 Pacific) against the Hanshin Tigers. The Tigers beat the Yankees 11-7 when they played them in 2004. For those of you who have some time to kill before the next tip off you can listen to the Tiger's fight song. The lyrics are below.

The Wind of Mount Rokko
(The official English version, but not a direct translation.)

Dashing swiftly through the wind blowin' from Rokko
Like the big sun soaring in the clear blue sky
Mighty spirit of the youth shows the victor's grace
The name that shines in glory "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!

Powerful hits and skillful pitch achieved a thousand times
Trained with every discipline here at Koshien
Crowned with constant victory glorious, matchless feat
Always proud, invincible "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!


Sox On A Plane

As the Red Sox fly to Japan there will not be much news coming out....unless we get an update on Ortiz's poker game. Hopefully you have your bracket filled out for March Madness to tide you over until baseball resumes. (pick Memphis to win it all) Watch live NCAA games by clicking below:
Watch Live Games


Is Japan Trip a Good Thing?

It depends who you ask. The Japan trip will be good for MLB's bottom line. It will be good for the home-country fans of Dice-K.

How about the fans in Ft. Myers? They only got 13 home games at City of Palms Park when most teams get 16 home games in the Grapefruit League.

A 6:04am Eastern start time on a Tuesday isn't good for any baseball fan. Opening Day is a big deal. It's hard to get fired for a game that starts before the sun rises.

I think it will be hard to see how the Sox season benefits from the trip. The jet lag may well take a toll. I think future Japan trips should be exhibitions at the start of March, not official games at the end.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

El Gordo Gets Sent Down

Bartolo "el Gordo" Colon was sent to minor league camp today after starting 2 Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox. On Tuesday Colon was shelled by the Yankees sealing his fate for the start of the season. He was able to reach speeds on his fastball that many thought he would not obtain after his injury but his control suffered. With some work in the minors he should be able to return to the club by mid-season.


Dispute Over...Sox Win

The Red Sox won their dispute with MLB and according to Curt Schilling they got what they wanted. The trip to Japan is on as well as today's game.

Dice-K did not make the start today because of the delay, David Aardsma is the starter against the Jays. Both Coco and Ellsbury are in the game, Jacoby is in left, but Pedroia is in the lead-off spot.



In a player only meeting today the Red Sox voted to boycott the Japan Trip and refuse to get on the plane unless MLB compensated coaches equally with players. ($40,000 appearance fee) The players voted unanimously and also may skip today's game against Toronto. Many Red Sox players and coaches believed the MLB had originally agreed to compensate all coaches and were reneging on the deal. Tito said the following: “As of 9:04 it does,” said a visibly upset Francona when asked if the goings-on had cast a pall on the day. “We’re spending energy on something we don’t want to spend it on. I don’t understand it. I was embarrassed this morning. I had to tell them, ‘Hey, that money you may have already spent, go get it back.’ I was the one who told them.”

MLB will have no choice but to pay the coaches, the Japan Series is to get Major League Baseball exposure in other parts of the world and extend the market for MLB products. This will blow up in Bud Selig's face and MLB come off as cheap. But as Ken pointed out in his post on the Cape Cod League; they can be very cheap.

UPDATE 12:03 PM Eastern: Today's game is on ESPN and Sox players are not leaving the dugout.

Update II: Game On due to some settlement...developing


Sox Players Considering Japan Trip Boycott?

The Boston Herald has an interesting story this morning regarding the Japan trip. It cites sources saying that Sox players will be holding a players-only meeting this morning. The players will reportedly be discussing the issue of pay for coaches. Apparently, coaches were not being paid the 40,000 that each player was for the Japan trip.

Sources are saying that the Sox players may consider boycotting the trip if the coaches aren't paid. They are scheduled to get on the plane to Japan later today.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Vlad Goes Yard

The Sox have the day off, so I thought I would post a little bit about the Angels game that I went to today in Tempe, AZ. The Angels bats continue to impress. They had 11 runs off of 12 hits today. Vlad hit a monster shot out over left center.

Gary Matthews Jr went 2-3 and stole a base (must be the HGH). Izturis and Torii Hunter also went 2-3.

I'm glad the Angels are in the AL West and not the East. They look good this year.

Yesterday I was in Surprise, AZ for the Texas-Mariners game. I've been to 3 different Cactus League parks in the last 3 days, and I can attest that this is indeed Red Sox nation. Lots more fans in Sox gear than Yankees gear.


Kapler Trying To Make BrewCrew Roster

Sox fans always appreciate the effort that Gabe Kapler put in when he was on the team. After retiring and spending some time coaching in the minors, Kapler is trying to make a comeback and earn a spot on the Milwaukee Brewers roster.

I was at the game today in Tempe (the Cactus League home stadium for the Angels). Most of the Brewers starters had the day off, but Kapler made the road trip. He went 1-3 with a double and an RBI. Kapler is hitting .270 for the spring and looks like he will make the club. We wish him the best.


30 Man Roster Set

Goldblog has posted the 30 man roster for the Japan Trip, here it is:

PITCHERS (13): David Aardsma, Clay Buchholz, Bryan Corey, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester, Javier Lopez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hideki Okajima, Jonathan Papelbon, Kyle Snyder, Julian Tavarez, Mike Timlin, Tim Wakefield.

CATCHERS (3): Dusty Brown, Kevin Cash, Jason Varitek.

INFIELDERS (8): Sean Casey, Alex Cora, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Julio Lugo, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis.

OUFIELDERS (6): Coco Crisp, J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Bobby Kielty, Brandon Moss, Manny Ramirez.


Funny Red Sox Commercial


Coco Update

The Globe is now reporting that Coco will make the trip to Japan. One reason for this might be the Red Sox wanting to show off Coco first hand to the A's. Oakland and Boston have been discussing potential trades since the A's options in center are limited. If Coco can be ready to play by next week we may see him in some of the games in Japan to showcase his talent to a possible suitor.


Sox Option Hansen and Carter to Pawtucket

The Red Sox optioned pitcher Craig Hansen and outfielder Chris Carter to Pawtucket after yesterday's game against the Yankees.

Terry Francona said the following about moving Hansen down:
"With the shortened spring, we didn't want to send him down yet.
Now we had to, because we're leaving. We told him he had a good camp. He's growing up. He's one of those other kids that's growing up right in front of our eyes. It wasn't the [most enjoyable] news for him, but he's going to be the Manny Delcarmen of this year. He'll go back and do it right and come back and help us."

Chris Carter was one of the surprises of this spring after coming over from the Nationals in the Willy Mo trade. With the abundance of outfielders on the Red Sox there is no room for him on the team but he is nice insurance to call up when someone gets hurt.


Tito Speaks About El Gordo's Rough Outing

Sox Skipper Terry Francona told the ProJo: “We got to a point in the first inning where we started to worry about leaving him out there. We wanted to get him to 50 pitches, but not in the first 10 minutes of the game. His arm strength is good and his attitude is outstanding.”

“He’s going to help us win some games,” said Francona. “We all feel that way, and I’m glad he feels that way.”


Monday, March 17, 2008

Red Sox-Yankees Update

Sox go in order in the first. Bartolo is hitting mid 90's on his fastball but had given up a hit and 2 walks to load the bases in the first before Matsui hit a ground rule double to give the Yanks a 2-0 lead. Cano follows with a double to left scoring 2 more....el Gordo is not getting it done and is laboring in the first....after 42 pitches, 3 hits, 3 walks, and 4 earned runs, Bartolo's day is done. Tavarez is in for the Sox.

Things could get interesting because Tavarez beaned Jeter in the second. Bobby Abreu follows with a 2 run homer to put the Yanks up 6-0.

Yankees retaliate by having Pettitte throw inside on Big Papi. Youk hit a solo homer to lead off the 4th. Jacoby has two hits but the Sox still trail 8-4.

The Red Sox are not wearing green uniforms today.


Starting Rotation Becoming Clear?

The Globe has the latest on the Sox starting rotation. Here's how they see things shaking out in the coming days/weeks:

March 21: Red Sox vs. Hanshin Tigers (Exhibition in Japan) -- Clay Buchholz
March 23: Red Sox vs. Yomiuri Giants (Exhibition in Japan) -- Tim Wakefield
March 25: Red Sox vs. Athletics (Regular season opener in Japan) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka
March 26: Red Sox vs. Athletics (Regular season game in Japan) -- Jon Lester
March 28: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition) -- ???
March 29: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition @ LA Coliseum) -- ???
March 30: Red Sox at Dodgers (Exhibition) -- ???
April 1: Red Sox at Athletics (Regular season) -- Daisuke Matsuzaka *
April 2: Red Sox at Athletics (Regular season) -- Jon Lester *
April 4: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- Clay Buchholz *
April 5: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- Tim Wakefield *
April 6: Red Sox at Blue Jays (Regular season) -- ???
April 8: Red Sox vs. Tigers (Opening Day at Fenway) -- ???


Dice-K to Shine in Japan

It's official. Dice-K will get the opening day start for the Red Sox in Japan. While every Red Sox fan wishes Beckett was 100%, it is great to see Dice-K given this opportunity. You know he will bring his A-game in front of his home-country fans. It's also likely that the Red Sox will now get the Tokyo crowd on their side in the Japan opener.

I expect Dice-K will put in a memorable performance. Stay up late, get up early. Either way, be sure to tune in.



Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hello From the Cactus League

Scottsdale is 2280 miles from Fort Myers, but it's closer to drive down here from Durango, CO where I live. So, while I don't get to watch the Sox games in person, I can check out some of the other teams that they will face this year.

Today I was in Scottsdale Stadium for the Giants-Angels game. Proving once again that Hank Steinbrenner is a dumbass, there were lots of people in Red Sox hats, while I only saw one guy in a Yankees hat.

The Angels are going to be good this year. They have a solid offensive lineup. Vlad hit a double off the outfield fence that must have permanently dented the fence. Figgins went 2 for 2 and stole a base (grab him in your fantasy draft if you can). Jered Weaver pitched very well. He threw 5 innings of shutout ball giving up only 2 hits. K-Rod also pitched a scoreless inning.

The Giants on the other hand looked dismal. Their "ace" Matt Cain was shelled in the first inning, giving up 5 runs. He settled down later in the game, but the Giants proved they have no offense. They are in for a long season. The Angels won the game 5-2.

If you can't be in Fort Myers and see the Sox during Spring Training, I highly recommend the Cactus League. Unlike Florida, all of the teams are relatively close together. You can spend a week in AZ in the same location and see the majority of the teams. Thanks to the Internet, you can check in on the Sox score in between innings.


Time For Red Sox-Yankees

The Red Sox and Yankees will play for the first time in the Joe Girardi/Hank era. Even though it is only a spring training game there are some interesting story lines. Andy Pettitte will be starting for the Yankees and there may be some STER...OIDs chants from Sox fans that were able to get tickets in Tampa. Bartolo "el Gordo" Colon will start for the Sox and get to experience the rivalry for the first time. Both teams are playing most of their starters in this game. There is also the Youk/Joba incident and the Papelbon/Hank war of words in the background. Since it is on St. Patrick's Day the Sox may wear their green uniforms. The game will be shown on NESN at 1 pm.


Red Sox-Pirates Update

Dustin Pedroia went yard in the 1st giving Boston an early lead. Julio Lugo is playing again today and is 1-2 in the lead-off spot. Ellsbury has been moved down to 7th in the batting order and is 0-2. Kyle Snyder is pitching well only giving up 1 hit in 3 innings with 2 K's. Okajima followed with a scoreless inning. Sox lead 1-0.

Tomorrow will be the only meeting of the Red Sox and Yankees this spring. The game will be played in Tampa and will be the first time Youk will be facing the Yankees since Joba threw at him.


Beckett Has A Good Throwing Session

Josh Beckett threw pain free today for the first time since he injured his back. The 6 minute session included 46 throws. He now begins a schedule that should have him pitching in 2 weeks. He will not be on the Japan trip but he might pitch April 1 against Oakland, which would be nice since I have tickets to that game.


Wake "Shocked" by Mirabelli's Departure

Wakefield told the Associated Press he was "shocked" when he heard about Mirabelli's release. He did not know that Mirabelli was in danger of being cut by the Sox.

The Red Sox decided to go with Kevin Cash, who they feel can handle the knuckleball. Cash caught four games pitched by Wakefield last season.



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