Fenway is closed for the season, except for the pricey rentals of the EMC Club. Nothing signals the coming winter like the end or baseball season at Fenway. Crews removed the sod and cleaned the concessions for the offseaons. We use the term "cleaned" losely as the mice and rats still should be able to find some snacks before moving on until opening day. It is still hard to think that baseball is over for the season, especially since it has been very warm for the last few weeks in Northern California, today it was in the 80's.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
2008 Report Card for the Red Sox Starting Pitchers
Dice-K B Pitched well on the road, got the W's but high pitch counts and walks put pressure on the bullpen.
Jon Lester A- Almost untouchable at Fenway and very good on the road, he was the best starter this season.
Josh Beckett B- Multiple strange injuries throughout the season took thier toll, not the ace he was last year.
Tim Wakefield B- Carried the team while injuries were rampant but still had his rough patches.
Clay Buchholz D Never could get right, 2 good starts do not make up for the multiple disastrous ones.
Bartolo Colon C- Had a few good starts when the team needed them but he seemed to be always on the mend.
Justin Masterson B Showed some great potential as a starter, we'll see what the future holds.
Paul Byrd B+ Great pickup by Theo, he did exactly what he was supposed to do.
Curt Schilling F $8 million for a one-hopper to the plate.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Here's the newest video of Batting Stance Guy doing World Series walk-offs. Enjoy.
I don't think you can find many Red Sox fans that will have many positive things to say about the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays. This should not surprise you, it was the case before the teams met in the ALCS. Rays fans are now starting to annoy people throughout the country. Take this from SI's Inside Baseball:
"With the Rays still needing five outs to preserve their 4-0 lead and tie the World Series at one game apiece, a curious sound arose from the sold out Tropicana Field's grandstands: the unmistakable chorus of "Nah-nah-nah-nah ... Hey-hey-hey ... Good-bye!"...a smattering of fans in the rightfield bleachers attempted to start the Wave, which seemed out of place in a close game. And then the Rays began serenading the Phillies in farewell -- with the game's outcome in doubt. "This might be the worst use of that song ever," one scribe exclaimed in horror."
The way to save health care may be by using the same approach small and big market teams used to change their view of stats. In an op-ed to the NY Times; Sox fan and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and A's GM Billy Beane outline a way to take health care from worst to first.
Franchises have used this data to answer some of the key questions in baseball: When is an attempted steal worth the risk? Whom should we draft, and in what order? Should we re-sign an aging star player and run the risk of paying for past performance rather than future results?... America’s health care system behaves like a hidebound, tradition-based ball club that chases after aging sluggers and plays by the old rules: we pay too much and get too little in return. To deliver better health care, we should learn from the successful teams that have adopted baseball’s new evidence-based methods. The best way to start improving quality and lowering costs is to study the stats.
See, baseball can make everything better. You are not wasting a day watching a ballgame, you are improving the lives of Americans.
Bud Selig has shown that he doesn't really care about protecting baseball for future generations, he wants the payday now. It used to be that kids could watch some playoff games but not anymore; game times are way past when most kids are up, especially on the East Coast. Mr. Selig showed his dislike for earlier start times in an interview yesterday:
Selig said playing day games on weekends is not an alternative.
"We had some afternoon games during the league championship and division series. The ratings were brutal," he said. "The ratings get better and better as the night goes on."
Even if MLB wanted to schedule day games, TV slots would be difficult if not impossible to find during football season.
"The networks have commitments, and they just can't do it," he said. "There's no sense in being anything but blunt about it."
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Clay Buchholz had been doing pretty well in the Arizona Fall League until yesterday's start. He only lasted 4 1/3 innings giving up 7 hits and 4 earned runs with 1 walk. This start is pretty similar to some of the ones he had before he was demoted from Boston.
Scott Boras talked about Jason Varitek with the Boston Globe today:
"If you think about his physical conditioning, he's got many more years to play in this game," Boras said last night. "When he's out there, this club is decisively different. You're really talking about a guy that is inherently valuable. In this day and time, what is a player like that worth?
"We're in the process of finalizing data intake. We have to look at the marketplace. We have to look at similarly situated All-Star players, who they are in stature to their team. There are many comparisons. We're certainly going to look at how those players [were] received in the free agent market and use that as that watermark."
Notice how Boras highlights "All-Star." That kind of overlooks the fact that Tek was voted in as an All-Star purely on name recognition and not for what he had done this season. I do think that Tek does have some value to this team but I can't see giving him more than a 2 year contract. I believe that there is very little chance of Tek coming back to Boston if he is going to go with Boras' plan for a long term big money deal.
MLB Trade Rumors also points out that there is a mass amount of free agent catchers that can call a good game but can't hit.
Curt Schilling posted some scathing criticism of Manny Ramirez on his blog yesterday but got cold feet and removed the post. Evan at Firebrand of the AL was able to save some of the highlights like the one below before the post was taken down.
A guy refusing to get on a team plane, having to be literally coaxed on, by people with pride and people that love the game, because meeting the obligations of a 20 million dollar contract were not even close to enough to get him going???? If he did not get traded he was going to need "time off" to rest his injured knee, and it got to the point where he made it clear time off could mean the rest of the season.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
An MRI revealed that Jed Lowrie had a "sprain and a small non-displaced fracture in his left wrist." This injury gave him more pain as the season went on and could explain the ski slope his average took towards the end of the season. This makes Lowrie look like a much better option for '09 and could be some very bad news for Julio Lugo.
Derek Lowe wants to pitch for the Red Sox again.
"I want to be with an organization that's committed to winning and that can win, an organization that is going to be there year in and year out and do everything. That's what means the most to me at this stage of my career."
According to the Boston Globe, that organization is the Boston Red Sox. As we learn every year, you can never have too much pitching.
Here's the list of free agents and their ages from mlbtraderumors.com. Before you say, "wow Tek is old," remember he is the same age as Manny.
Jason Varitek (37)
Sean Casey (34)
Alex Cora (33)
Mark Kotsay (33)
Tim Wakefield (42) - perpetual $4MM club option
Mike Timlin (43)
Paul Byrd (37)
Curt Schilling (42)
Javier Lopez (31)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I don't have a problem with the Rays as a team although I do have a problem with most of their "fans" and I really have a problem with their ballpark. To show how unprepared for the national stage Tampa Bay is, take a look at their choice for the singers of the National Anthem for Game 1 of the World Series: The Backstreet Boys. The country is already trying to find a reason to watch and this won't help. I think I might be more up for a TBS blooper rerun than to see McCarver and Buck's intro to Game 1 followed by the Backstreet Boys in cowbell central.
Red Sox Monster found this nugget in the NY Daily News. It seems that before Joba Chamberlain's DUI he was at a strip club in Lincoln, Nebraska where a Sox fan yelled over at him:
'If you played for the Red Sox, you wouldn't be sitting here,'"
The Red Sox face a very tough decision on what to do with their captain. When Varitek signed his last deal for 4 years he was the backbone of team and led the Sox in to two World Championships. This season he struggled at the plate but his help with the pitching staff cannot be underestimated; take Jon Lester and Dice-K's improved pitching this year as an example.
Theo does not like to give player past their prime long term deals, look at his track record with Damon, Nomar, and Pedro. When he did give a longer deal to Lowell he was burned by an injury so he will be very leary of going long on Tek. I would bet the Red Sox will not offer anything longer than 2 years to Tek with the potential for a team option for the third year.
There are some big varibles that also come into play in this decision. Varitek had some off the field troubles this season with his divorce which may have affected his performance on the team. Tek is also represented by Scott Boras which means there will be some other teams involved and the years other teams might be willing to offer will go beyond Boston's offer. There are not many catchers out there on the market and with the deal Posada recieved last season this could turn out to a big time bidding war.
Sean McAdam looks at the issue in today's Herald and Mike Eagan has a quick look in the Hartford Courant.
Yesterday Theo said the Red Sox were going to keep the team largely intact and that they have a good foundation for the future. Here are the main things that are going to have to be decided before the start of the 2009 season.
1. Catcher - The Red Sox must decide if they are going to re-sign Tek. No matter what they decide they still must look at getting a catcher for the future.
2. Shortstop - Lugo or Lowrie?- Do they try to move Lugo in the offseason? His salary will be an issue and Lowries struggles down the stretch don't make him a sure bet to start.
3. Outfield - The platoon worked this season so they may go with it again but Coco does have some trade value.
4. Recovery- We won't know if Ortiz or Lowell will be back to '07 level until spring training so the Red Sox may make insurance moves by getting a big bat like Mark Teixeira.
5. Starters - Buchholz is off to a good start in the Arizona Fall League but Colon and Byrd are going to be gone, the Sox could go after a big name starter like Peavy. If Masterson starts in '09 they are going to need some help in the bullpen.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The big news of the day is that Lowell's surgery went well. Theo also spoke with reporters about the ALCS and offseason moves.
Not exactly the welcome reception that they wanted but the team is back in Boston.
The 2008 Boston Red Sox were hard to put a finger on. They could go on tremendous win streaks followed by epic failures on the road. Injuries were there from the beginning with Schilling's news about the $8 million dollar mistake and right through the playoff with the loss of Mike Lowell. Some players had great years: Pedroia and Youk, some did not: Tek and Ellsbury. In a way the ALCS was very similar to the season; role players had to step up, players that used to be automatic were less than stellar, and the team could be amazing one minute and woefully bad the next. There will be those that say the Red Sox lost because of injuries or because Manny was gone but the Rays had the drive to win and the Sox did not catch them when they had Manny earlier in the season. The team overcame some major challenges this season but never could get over the top. A loss like last night's is not nearly as tough to take as the '03 loss to the Yankees; especially since we are only a year removed from a World Series victory. The loss did show how tough it is to repeat as World Champions. You have to play with the cards you are delt and the Sox did about as well as could be expected. The team could look pretty similar next season with the limited number of free agents unless Theo makes a major deal. Stay tuned.
Big Papi reacts to last night's loss, his injury, and getting booed at Fenway this year.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The game started off so well; Pedroia's early homer and Lester mowing them down in order. The Rays tied it up in the 4th and took the lead in the 5th. Garza settled in and became untouchable, giving up just one more hit until he was pulled after 7 innings. Lester pitched well too but gave up a big homer in the 7th to Aybar. The Red Sox had a chance to comeback in the 8th but could not come up with a big hit and J.D. Drew struck out to end the top half of the inning. After striking out Drew in the 8th, Price returned to pitch the 9th. Bay drew a walk but then Kotsay and Tek both struck out. Lowrie grounded out to end the season for Boston. The Rays looked like the American League champs tonight and will be tough in the World Series. They have some good young talent and should be in the picture for years to come. The Red Sox have some big questions to answer in the offseason but we will get to those in the coming days. On a side note, I was on the live blog at WEEI.com during the game and Curt Schilling logged on to chat for a few innings, he was as outspoken as usual. Thanks to all of the readers who have stayed with Fenway West for our first season on the net and remember that even though the games are over, we cover the Red Sox year round.
Congrats to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Red Sox Lose 3-1 BOX SCORE
While 101 may be a west coast highway, never forget that is the number of games the Red Sox won this year. The Red Sox won one hundred and one games in 2008.
Will Don Zimmer charge Jon Lester tonight?
Do the Rays have their "Least of the East" shirts ready?
Are hairdressers in Florida ready for the onslaught of customers looking to get their 'hawks shaved?
Are drummers and percussionists ready to snap up all those cowbells that'll be on craigslist and e-bay tomorrow?
Baldelli is back in there for Tampa Bay:
Coco stays at the top even though Ellsbury has a good history against Garza and Cora will be in at short.
Coco Crisp, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Jason Bay, LF
Mark Kotsay, 1B
Jason Varitek, C
Alex Cora, SS
Jon Lester, SP
The Red Sox are not afraid of the Rays in Game 7; they are more scared of the flight back to Boston with Gary Tuck if they lose.
In preparing for the upcoming final game of the ALCS, I am facing a dilemma. I look into my closest to pick my Red Sox shirt for the game and I don't know which one to pick.
Do I go with Tek, the hero of last night? My Tek shirt is old enough that it does not have the "C" on it and this could be the last time he plays a game for the Red Sox.
Do I go with the Papelbon shirt? Paps ended last night's game with such determination that he embodies the confidence of the Red Sox.
Do I go with the Big Papi jersey? Ortiz got the series turned around but it is a home jersey and the Sox are on the road.
Do I go with my Yankee Hater "Sox in Seven" shirt from 2004? It does seem appropriate but it is aimed at the Yankees.
In the end I go with a no name Red Sox shirt. After all, this is going to take a team effort, but I did pick one with a shamrock on it just in case.
It seems the biggest loser is not as confident today as the Rays face the prospect of elimination.
After drowning his sorrows while watching the Red Sox beat the Rays last night, Joba Chamberlain thought it would be a good idea to take one for the road until he had a run-in with Nebraska's finest. Hank's favorite pitcher was arrested at 1 am for DUI.
In other good news for Sox fans, bad news for Yanks fans, Dale Sveum may coach third in the Bronx next season.
As Game 7 fast approaches, one team from the American League is set to play its last game of the season. The Red Sox have been there before, multiple times with mixed results, and recent history is on their side. The Rays are in a state of shock, their hitting has dried up, their pitching has been shaky and now their fans and some of their players are beginning to panic. Here's a few examples of the fear and why they should be afraid:
Game 7 is Rays' shot at history- St. Petersburg Times
Who Would You Rather Be Tonight? - Tampa Tribune
The Rays can say they are not shaken. They can pretend their nerves are not frayed. They can act as if they will take the field this evening with their usual carefree outlook on the world.
But history suggests they are scared hitless.
They spend the winter thinking about being seven runs up and seven outs away from the AL pennant the other night in Boston. That's their Bartman.
Rays of (False?) Hope - WEEI
“We know what happened. We were on the damn field,” Floyd continued. “You never put it out of your mind. You never completely get over what happened the other night. Hell, we’re all human. I think the most important thing is you don’t want to watch it over and over and over and read the same thing.”
Yet that is precisely what the Rays will find it nearly impossible to avoid. Whether or not the team has moved on, all of its members face questions about where the American League Championship Series went off the rails.
A comment from a dbayrays.com reader:
but it’s going to be awfully tough. Garza in a Game 7 makes me extremely nervous… which one is going to show up?
I’ve never believed in momentum, but when you give a team like Boston life after having the series all but wrapped up, the other team does get a ton of confidence. I also don’t believe in “comeback magic” but Boston can do no f'ing wrong when they get down big in these series. Like I said earlier, it’s like they almost purposely get down in these series.