Saturday, May 23, 2009

Paps Ruins Beckett's Gem

It was bound to happen sooner or later; Papelbon had been playing with fire and tonight he got burned. With two outs in the 9th, Paps gave up a 2-run gopher ball to Omir Santos over the monster, Sheff was on first from a walk earlier in the inning. It was a game the Red Sox should have won, especially with the way Beckett pitched. In eight innings Beckett gave up just 5 hits and one unearned run.

Red Sox Lose 3-2 BOX SCORE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mets 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 6 0
Red Sox 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1


Supporting My Sox and My Favorite Charities

Remember back in April when the Sox started off with 2-6 record and it didn't seem like we could do anything to win a game? It does seem like forever ago since we then went on a tear and won a dozen games straight. Well, at that point...I decided to try to give our wins an extra bump of karma. It couldn't hurt, eh?

You see, for me baseball and my obsession with it if often a selfish endeavor. I sometimes prioritize baseball over those actual people in my life. I prioritize baseball over sleep. I am sure there are times baseball has made me not the best employee I could be.

So, I wanted to make my appreciation of all things Red Sox a little less selfish while adding some karma to a team that was struggling out of the gate. I decided I was going to donate $10.00 to charity for every Red Sox win. Originally, I thought I might pick one charity for the whole year, but I am going to mix it up. Each month a new charity gets my love and dollars.

For the month of April, the charity I donated to was MalariaNoMore.Org In April, the Sox won 14 games so I donated $140.00 to their charity. With every $10 donated, they can provide one malaria net to a much needed area in Africa. Here is just a snippet from their site about what they do and why it is important:

Every 30 seconds a child in Africa dies from malaria. We know how to stop this tragedy, but we need your help.

A $10 mosquito net can protect a child and its family as they sleep, the time when most malaria-spreading bites occur.

The tragedy of malaria can be transformed into our generation's greatest triumph—the ending of malaria deaths—with a simple act of compassion.

Make your mark on the fight against malaria with a gift that supports Malaria No More's live-saving programs, including such as our efforts to distribute mosquito nets where they are most needed.

Check out their site and if you have any extra you can spare, please donate.

May is coming to a close. So far, we have 11 let's smash these Mets and Twins and Jays and make more $$$ for charity. I haven't narrowed down the charity just yet, but no matter'll be for a good cause.


Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 5/23 vs. the Mets

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Nick Green, SS

Josh Beckett, SP


Pedroia Throws Lugo Under the Bus

Red Sox players seem to be getting a little tired of Lugo's defense. Pedroia blamed Lugo's failure to turn the double play last night for the loss.


The Mets Are Trying to Steal "Sweet Caroline"

Maybe it was to get ready for the series with the Red Sox or maybe they want to create Mets Nation, whatever the reason the Mets are playing "Sweet Caroline" during the 8th inning at the new Citi Field. Mets fans are not happy and have booed the song as it plays. I love how the guy towards the end of this video yells "Go Boston!" as the song plays.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Sh*t Talking All Around in Red Sox Loss

Dice-K lost in his first outing after coming off of the DL in a game that had its share of odd events. Santana was too much for the Red Sox; striking out Big Papi and Youk 3 times apiece. You was beaned in the fifth causing Eck to let one fly in the broadcast booth:

Johan Santana did not like that Youk staring at him after being plunked:

I just told him to just take his base," Santana said. "That was about it. But he was still looking at me and talking and it fires me up. I've got respect for everybody and I respect this game but at the same time, I'm going to play hard. If you're looking at me like that, you're going to get it back because I'm a gamer and that's what I'm going to do."
Dice-K looked a little rusty in the game giving up 5 hits and 4 earned runs in 5 innings. The Sox offense left too many ducks on the pond to win this one.

Red Sox Lose 5-3 BOX SCORE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mets 0 1 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 5 8 3
Red Sox 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 1


Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 5/22 vs. the Mets

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

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP


More Problems in Hank's House

Even an 8-game win streak can't hide the problems in the New Yankee Stadium. Two new incidents happened this week:

A rebellion of the rich. In that expensive area downstairs - the one with the empty seats - there are seemingly more waiters and waitresses, serving free food, than there are patrons.

On Wednesday, it got so crazy that the fan-elite started tossing ice cream sandwiches over the moat to peasants sitting in the $400 "cheap" seats. This did not sit well with Toastie security forces, who began scolding their most prized customers. The lecture from security prompted a guy in the rich seats to say: "I paid for this food, I can do with it what I want!"

The security also refused to let Twins radio broadcaster John Gordan go to the team bus even though he had the right credentials.

The Yankee police even want to limit bloggers' ability to get the word out by banning computer bags, laptops, and video cameras from the stadium and not offering wifi. Most other parks offer free wifi and let you bring in a laptop and a video camera.


Sox Minor League Shining STARS!

People know that I LOVE me some Clay Buchholz. And if you don't know that...well, I love me some Clay Buchholz. I think the kid is just crazy talented and each and every day, I open my web browser...terrified that Theo is finally going to be beaten into submission by some other team and trade him for that bat or catcher we have in our list of wants. Sure, I'll admit that with our pitching depth that might make a lot of sense, but my heart will be broken. I want Clay pitching for the Red Sox. I heart him. Sure, he struggled last year, but I think the kid has so much potential. I feel that if we trade him, we are giving some other team their future ace....I like this kid that much.

So yeah, Clay is on my list of minor league prospects I follow. But there are many others. Today the Globe posted a little slideshow article about many of the minor league players that are being all kinds of impressive this year. Check it out...a bunch of them have them potential to be the next Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester or Jonathan Papelbon.


Don't look now...

...but some obscure team about 215 miles to the south and west of Boston has won 9 games in a row.


Meet the Mets

To get ready for the first inter-league series of the season against the Mets, Fenway West interviewed Andrew Vazzano from the great Mets blog The 'Ropolitans.

FW: Is Johan Santana going to win the NL Cy Young this year?

The 'Ropolitans: Yes. Despite the best efforts of the bullpen in 2008, Santana had a realistic shot at the award last year. With Francisco Rodriguez around to close out games this time around, there is little doubt in my mind that Santana will need some extra space on his mantle when this season comes to a close.

FW: Can Sheff make up for the loss of Carlos Delgado?

The 'Ropolitans: No, but he's going to get plenty of chances. Sheff has hit two home runs this season and though his bat speed is still there, the power is lacking. He's getting on top of a lot of pitches, chopping them into the ground, and that's really hurt his approach at the plate. Batting fourth in the lineup, he's hitting .351 with six RBIs. Everywhere else in the lineup, he's 5/24.

FW: The Mets have had some PR and on the field disasters this season, is the team focused enough to win the division?

The 'Ropolitans: I think so. The NL East hasn't really surprised me at all this year. All the teams are struggling to find pitchers that can preform at the major league level behind their aces. Though the Mets just lost four in a row and fell out of first place, I think they have a definite shot at taking the pennant in '09.

FW: Do Mets fans like inter-league play?

The 'Ropolitans: I know I don't speak for all of Mets fans, but I do enjoy it. It's fun to see teams they don't normally play. One thing: I hate the DH. Always have, always will. That's the one thing I don't like.

FW: Is Beltran now the player the Mets thought he was when they signed him?

The 'Ropolitans: With respect to Jacoby Ellsbury, I think Carlos Beltran is the best center fielder in the major leagues. He has to deal with a carousel of outfielders filling in on either side of him, which cannot be easy. He's gotten off to a ridiculous start this season, and almost consistently puts up the same numbers. If you expect .280, with 20 home runs and 100 RBIs out of him, that is what you'll get. Anything more and you're kidding yourself. Oh, and a Gold Glove each year too.

FW: How has K-Rod adjusted to National League hitters?

So far, so good. K-Rod hasn't forgotten how to put on a show, either. Runners still reach base and he knows how to make it interesting. At least Mets fans are used to that after Luis Ayala's stint as closer last season. As a fan, I couldn't be happier with Frankie. Everyone was worried about his velocity dropping before the Mets signed him, but it hasn't seemed to bother him one bit on the mound.

FW: What are your predictions for this 3-game series with the Red Sox?

The 'Ropolitans:
Hopefully the Mets can win one game. If any, I think the first game is their best shot with Dice K coming off the DL and facing Santana. Beckett and Pelfrey should be quite a show, though. And I don't think the Mets stand a chance against Wakefield. There will be quite a breeze blowing through Fenway from all the over-eager swings on Sunday.


Tek's Divorce

I usually try not to talk about the player's personal lives because I think that it is...well...personal. However, I read this and just felt the overwhelming need to mention it, not for the news per se....but for the news inside the news.

So, Jason Varitek is officially divorced. There was an article in the Globe about it. No shock or real news to anybody. I find it annoying that the financial terms of their divorce is reported. Why is that anyone else's business but their own? Why can't they just say that the two sides came to financial terms? I am glad for Tek that it is over since I know that process can be stressful.

What intrigued me is the comment by the judge:

The divorce decree, signed Tuesday by Judge Melodie Snell Connor, stipulates that the couple can't interfere in each other's lives, and shall behave "as if never married to each other."

Ok, that is just bizarre. One, they have three children together. They are going to be in each other's lives and part of each other's decision making for a long time to come. It's just a natural biproduct of being divorced parents. They share custody for gosh darn sake. Part of their parenting process will mean at times...interfering with one another's lives. I know it probably means they cannot be intrusive, but it is just a bizarre way to phrase it.

And to "behave as if they were never married to one another"??? Really? So, I guess Tek is on the hunt for one of those mind erasure thingies from 'Eternal Sunshine from the Spotless Mind.'

P.S. I might have written this entry just to give a shoutout to Eternal Sunshine. Great flik. In my All-Time Top 5.


Smoltz Talks About His First Rehab Start - Video

John Smoltz discuses where he is at in the road back to the big leagues after his first minor league start of the season. Watch below:


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Red Sox Sweep Another AL East Opponent

Jon Lester gave up 8 hits but only one run in tonight's win at the Fens. Tito yanked him in the 7th before the Jays could have the "big inning" that has plagued Lester all season. RR got the Sox out of a bases loaded jam with a long fly-ball out. Paps gave up 1 hit in the 9th but closed out the game without any damage.

The Red Sox offense was efficient with 4 runs off of 7 hits including a 2-run jack by J-Bay. Ells had another hit in the game and now has a 16 game hit streak.

With the sweep of the Blue Jays the Sox are now within 1/2 a game of first place as we head into inter-league play.

Red Sox Win 5-1 BOX SCORE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Blue Jays 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 11 1
Red Sox 3 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 5 7 0


Jason Bay Sets New Sox Record

Jason Bay hit another multi-run home run in the bottom of the 1st inning of the Sox-Jays game tonight. It was his 11th multi-run home run in a row, surpassing Kevin Youkilis and Tony C. who each had hit 10 multi-run home runs. If his next home run is not a solo shot, he will have tied Ken Griffey, Jr. and Hank Aaron for the lead in that category.

Video of Jason's home run here.


Paps Goes Off the Reservation - Video

Jonathan Papelbon was surprisingly level-headed when talking about steroids on CSNNE but now he is back to making Red Sox management cringe with statements like he is no longer “choking his splitty." Watch below:


Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 5/21 vs. the Jays

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Jason Varitek, C
Julio Lugo, SS

Jon Lester, SP


The Baseball Show, Masterson, and Burgers for Tickets

Here's the video from the Baseball Show on CSSNE last Saturday. I was on third after The Bottom Line and the Joy of Sox.

and in today's Red Sox news:

Justin Masterson has a new post up about moving to the bullpen.

You can get some tickets from Josh Beckett if you can eat lots of burgers.


A View From the North

Fenway West interviewed the Toronto blog "Sports and the City" to get their take on the Blue Jays and the A.L. East this season.

FW: How confident are you that the Blue Jays will be in the playoff hunt in August?

S&TC: August? I'm thinking October. The Blue Jays are winning the pennant.

FW: What is the biggest need for the Jays?

S&TC: Healthy pitchers: Ricky Romero, Casey Janssen, and Jesse Litsch are all battling back from injury. Shaun Marcum could be ready to pitch in August. Also, increased production from three and four hitters Alex Rios and Vernon Wells. The best offense in the American League has yet to receive much from two of their most important and historically productive hitters. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

FW: Do you foresee them making any big moves before the deadline?

S&TC: I don't. The return of healthy arms, one by one, will be the equivalent of big moves before the deadline, especially Marcum in August, if he's ready to go.

FW: How much does Toronto miss A.J. Burnett?

S&TC: Who's A.J. Burnett?

FW: Who has been the Jays MVP so far? Why?

S&TC: The Jays are the best team in the AL East thanks to three co-MVPs: Aaron Hill, Roy Halladay, and Marco Scutaro. Hill can rake, and will prove to be better than Dustin Pedroia. Doc is, well, Doc; the best pitcher in baseball. Scutaro is getting on base like nobody's business, and has been flawless in the field.

FW: What do Jays fans think of Kevin Millar?

S&TC: We have embraced him. "Cowboy Up!"


Pedroia always bringing the FUNNY!

I love Pedey for many reasons, but his snarky sense of humor is on the top of the list. NESN basically interviewed everyone and their brother about the game last night. My biggest chuckle came from our resident Mr. Dustin Pedroia. He was asked what he thought about Jacoby Ellsbury's fielding record last night of 12 put outs. Here is what he had to say:

"It's under review because he called me off. Stat rat. He's a stat rat."

Oh Dustin...I heart you.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And not only can Wake toss a mean knuckleball....

... the man can play guitar, too. This is Timmay at the Hot Stove Cool Music at Fenway 2005:

(photo by Steve Latham)

Wake is pictured here with Bill Janovitz, who has written a song about him.

Thanks to Surviving Grady for the heads up on Bill Janovitz and "The Ballad of Tim Wakefield."

(Now all I have to do is to see if I can get Tim to sit in with this country rock sort of jam band I'm playin' in these days the next time the Sox are in Oakland.)


Blue Jays in 1st Place? Not For Long!!!

Boston's bats were all on fire as the Sox pummeled the 1st place Jays 8-3 tonight. Five (5), count 'em 5 balls were sent out of the yard, including 2 by 'Tek (Who says he's all washed up?!), solo shots by Lowell and Bay, and the most important one of the night- Big Papi's.

The Sox plated 6 men in the 5th inning. Every starter had at least 1 hit, and 7 of 9 starters scored a run. This was Youk's first game back from the DL, and he picked up right where he left before missing 15 days- 3/5 with 1 run scored, raising his BA to .404. Bay, Lowell, and 'Tek each had 2 hits.

The big news of the night is that Papi finally got that monkey off his back, and sent the elephant in the room with it. Papi went 2 for 5, the home run in the 5th, a double, and 2 RBI's.

Brad Penny turned in a good start going 6.2 innings, scattering 9 hits, while allowing only 2 runs. He struck out 2 and issued only 1 BB. MDC, Oki, and Saito pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. In there too, was Bard who pitched 2/3 inning, allowing 3 hits and 1 run.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Blue Jays 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 3 14 0
Red Sox 0 0 2 0 6 0 0 0 0 8 15 0


Breaking News: Papi Homers!

David "Big Papi" Ortiz has finally hit his first home run of the year against Brett Cecil of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 6th inning of the game underway right now at Fenway Park.

The Sox are in the middle of taking the Jays out behind the woodshed right now. Besides Papi's homer, 'Tek has 2 homers today so far, Lowell has one, Baldelli has a triple.....

Update after the game! Sox lead 8-0 in the 6th!


Today's Red Sox 5/20 Lineup vs. the Jays

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Rocco Baldelli, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Julio Lugo, SS

Brad Penny, SP


Tim Wakefield. Can we talk?

Tim Wakefield

So, some people like to talk some smack. Some people particularly like to talk some smack about one Mr. Tim Wakefield, the crazy knuckleballer for the Boston Red Sox. They like to say some stuff about about how he is too old to pitch. That his best days are clearly behind him. How his knuckleball is horribly inconsistent...either really good or really bad. They also like to say things about how he is cheap at 4 million/year, but at this point that is 4 million too much. And that with the plethora of starting pitching prospects we have down in the minors, Wakefield is taking up prescious space for someone who can actually get wins.

Yeah, so those people....most of last off season.....completely me. No one talked more smack about Tim Wakefield than I did. I mentioned how I hated to see him on the mound because it probably meant a loss for the team. I mentioned that he was old and like Timlin should be respectfully put out of his misery. I mentioned that with people like Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden down in AAA, it made no sense to resign Wake no matter how cheap he is.

I would like to make it official. Tim Wakefield, I am an idiot. I was about as wrong as any one person can be wrong. You have been the defacto ace this season. You've been more consistent than any other pitcher on the mound. You've been eating innings like a kid eats candy...and brought us victories when the tides seemed to be turning against us. You came out in Oakland...nearly pitched a no-no and then finished it off with a complete game. You gave us hope again Wake. Then, you came back out like gang busters against the Twins...another impressive victory. Then Cleveland. You didn't get the win, but the team did. You made that possible. Then Tampa Bay. The only Sox pitcher who could get a win in that series. Then Cleveland again and this time you did get the win. Alright, then you showed us that you might in fact be human against the Angels. You got hit hard and often. Did that mean the old Tim Wakefield was back? The one I liked talking smack about so often?

Nope. Doesn't seem like it. Tim Wakefield came out last night against the red hot Toronto Blue Jays and his knuckleball was nothing other than brilliant. The Sox won a close game 2-1. We didn't score a lot of runs, but that didn't matter to Tim Wakefield. He didn't need it. He pitched through 8 innings. Hear that Josh Beckett and Jon Lester...EIGHT innings. In the 8th because of 2 errors, Wake had 2 guys on and only one out. Uh oh. My mind started to wonder if I might see that Wake I don't like. Nope. Wake used that crazy magical knuckleball and got two sweet pop ups. Inning over. Errors on the books, but no damage done.

Now I do have a word of warning for Tim Wakefield. You NEED to keep on pitching like a monster because any signs that you are in fact know, like that Angels start. My brain immediately starts thinking about talking smack again. So, continue the dominance that is Tim Wakefield of 2009. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

And Brad Penny. Consider yourself on notice. I've always got to be talking smack about someone and my attention has quickly focused onto YOU!


Ortiz is Going To Stay at the 3 Spot in the Order

Terry Francona explained why he is keeping Big Papi as the number three guy in the Red Sox batting order:

He's going to get hot. How hot? Well, let's find out. And when it does happen, I don't want him hitting eighth. Again, we set this up [the lineup] for a reason, and we want to see this through. If it gets to the point where we have to make a change, I will certainly do that. And I've told David, David and I have had this talk, and that's not a problem. I'm probably the one hanging on to this, I want this to work where it is."

Ortiz has struggled but I think there is way to much focus on where he bats in the order right now. Moving Big Papi down to #7 is not going to magically make him start hitting home runs. There is pressure on Ortiz now at #3 and there will be pressure on him if he bats #7. Nothing is going to make the pressure go away until he hits a few homers. It will happen soon and he will get more relaxed at the plate and start putting up good numbers. Keep the faith.


Big Papi and the Chicken Man

In April I summoned the spirit of the Chicken Man, the now deceased voodoo king of New Orleans, to use a little voodoo to get the Red Sox out of a major slump when they had lost 6 out of their previous 7 games. That night Wakefield pitched a near perfect game and the Red Sox went on to win 11 games in a row. It seems like Big Papi is in need of a little help right now so I will once again call on the spirit of the Chicken Man to get the voodoo going for Ortiz and put the gris-gris bag with a picture of number 34.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Killing 2 Birds with One Stone

I kept waiting for this video to be funnier but then I realized it was made by a Blue Jays fan. A-Rod is the target but I think Jays fans come out looking like bigger losers in this one:


Wake Makes Quick Work of the Jays

Tim Wakefield resumed his place as the ace of the staff with a great game tonight. He went 8 innings giving up 5 hits and one earned run. The run came off of a homer by Kevin Millar (if you are going to give up a home run, that one is OK.) The Red Sox scored two runs in the second; an RBI single by Jeff Bailey and a sac fly by Kottaras. It was nice to see Bailey get a big hit in his last game at first since Youk will be back tomorrow. 2 runs was all they would need for the win. The game was over in 2 hours and 17 minutes after Paps came in to sit them down in order in the 9th. Nice start to the series against the first place Jays.

Red Sox Win 2-1 BOX SCORE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Blue Jays 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 1
Red Sox 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1


Today's Red Sox 5/19 Lineup vs. the Jays

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Julio Lugo, SS
Jeff Bailey, 1B
George Kottaras, C

Tim Wakefield, SP


Youk Begins the Road Back

Kevin Youkilis played the first of two rehab games last night for the Paw Sox.

"I feel good. I’m just excited to get out there and start playing some more baseball," he said. "Hopefully everything goes well the next two days and I’ll be back in the [Red Sox] lineup on Wednesday. I’m slowly getting back. These next two days will help me get back in baseball shape. A lot of times you try to work out off the field and rehab, but it’s not the same as getting the spikes on and getting in the dirt."
He went 0-2 with a walk last night and will play DH in his next game.


Monday, May 18, 2009


Linda from Connecticut has a blog, that doesn't really have anything to do with baseball, but on a recent trip of hers to Las Vegas, she discovered this sign sitting in front of the New York New York Casino:


Hope For the Best, Plan For the Worst

Nothing like an off day to get the rumor mill going. Theo is busy preparing for the worst case scenario where Ortiz never gets his swing back and Tek stops producing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing this and it does not mean that Buchholz or Bowden are on the way out the door. The Red Sox like to go with players they have developed so they will be cautious to jump on a deal where they have to give up some young talent. The Eric Gagne trade soured the team on trading for a quick fix.

Victor Martinez would be a nice solution for the catcher of the future and Nick Johnson is a moneyball type of player but Theo is not about to trade Buchholz, Bowden or MDC unless things get worse.


Jonathan Robert Papelbon: Closer Extraordinaire

So, I am going to stay in denial about the woes of the Red Sox lately because well, denial is my friend. It's the only way to go. We lost a series to the Seattle Mariners. Oh God! Nick Green is an error machine while Lugo is playing like an All-Star. Jon Lester can't seem to get a good clean start under his belt. Papi still hasn't hit his first homer. We are the #1 team in the MLB in the GIDP stat. We seem to think leaving the bases loaded is what the cool kids do. The Yankees have been winning games they are supposed to lose while we are losing games we are supposed to win. Yeah...denial, that's the way to go.

Instead, I am going to talk about one of my favorite players, Mr. Jonathan "Cinco Ocho" Papelbon.

Jonathan Papelbon

I adore him. Having him on the mound in the 9th inning is a beautiful thing. I know...he might not be ours forever, but that is also something I am going to stay in denial about. PAP time is one of my favorite times of the game. One, it means we are ahead and honkering down in on a win. And two, the guy is about as legit as a closer as you can get.

Yes, Pap has not been as crisp or tight as we are used to seeing. He seems content on filling hospitals in Red Sox Nation with his heart attack antics. We are used to seeing him come in and get a 1-2-3 inning and securing the win with ease. This year, Pap seems to like making it just a smidge more difficult on himself. Which of course begs people to constant wonder...usually on Twitter...what is going on with Papelbon. Is he hurt? Are hitters finally figuring out his fastball? Is the era of Papelbon over so soon?

At this point, I am not concerned about Papelbon. Sure, I'd like him to go back to the days of making it look easy, but all in all....the guy is still getting the job done. He is 10/10 in save opportunities. Sure some have been close, but when it came to it, he got the job done. Here is a quote from an article over at the where Pap talked about getting into and out of trouble following a Tampa Bay save where he almost blew it and then struck out the side:

"I basically put myself in a situation where I had to go into punchout mode. That's not always the situation I want to be putting myself in, but it is what it is. I always know that that gear is there. It's just, when do I need to bring it out?"

My initial response to that is ALWAYS....always bring out that gear. However, that is not realistic, nor good for the team. If that happened, we'd have a worn out Pap by the time October rolls around. It is good though to know that gear is there and that when needed...Pap can ramp it up and get it done.

Another stat that is somewhat concerning is the walks Pap has given out. Last year he only issued 9 walks. This year, he has already issued 10 and we are in the middle of May. He seems to be going to full counts much more often this year instead of getting people into 0-2 counts and then going in for the kill. Pap is working on new arm mechanics which he says really reduces the strain on his arm. He has said he can throw 30 pitches and his arm feels like it used to when he threw 15. He has said it is still a work in progress and he is tweaking it as his outings are going. Why fix something that isn't broken? Well, it is a great preventative move. We all saw how beat up Pap was last year in the ACLS. If he can throw and get the same results, but not put as much strain and pressure on his arm....I say, me likey. I think the amount of walks Pap will issue will drop steadily once he has full command of his mechanics. At least, that is my hope.

Alright, one more stat just for good measure. It is a good and a bad stat. Here is his current BAA: Bases Empty (.360), Runners On (.114), RISP (.071). Ok, the .360 is not great. He needs to stop allowing men on base. STAT. However, the good in those stats is that once someone gets on, he locks in. And, if someone gets into scoring position, Pap basically becomes unhittable.

So all in all, I don't like that Papelbon seems to drive us crazy this year. I would like him to go back to making it look easy. However, am I concerned? Nope. I think the guy is still one of the elite closers in the business and we should be thanking our lucky stars every single day that WE have him. Pap is a confident man. So, as long as he is confident in his am I.

Rock On Cinco Ocho! I hope to see you on the mound very very soon.


Missed Opportunities

The Red Sox have had three one run losses in the last four games. There is plenty of blame to go around in each of them; Lester's bad inning, MDC and RR giving up winning runs, Lugo and Green making errors, Big Papi and Baldelli not producing as DH and Mike Lowell hitting into multiple double plays. When you have different reasons for losses it becomes very tough to try to "fix" the team. The team ran into some bad luck on the West Coast trip but you have to remember that Youk's bat was not in the lineup and Dice-K was on the DL. Both players will rejoin the team this week. The Sox have today to rest up because the Jays are coming into Fenway on Tuesday; a series that could put the Red Sox back in the driver's seat.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Knight Life

Keith Knight is a part time rapper, comic strip artist and writer, originally from Boston (duh!)


Can't Blame This One on Lugo

Nick Green fielded an easy ground ball in the bottom of the 9th with 2 out, he double pumped and then threw the ball into the seats by first base. The batter advanced to second on the error and the next batter hit a walk-off single.

The Red Sox were in a position to win this game; Masterson settled down after giving up 2 runs in the second. He went 6 1/3 giving up 9 hits and 2 runs including a home run. Delcarmen pitched one scoreless inning and Oki was perfect for the 2 batters he faced. RR had his first loss of the season after giving up the winning run in the 9th.

The offense left too many runners on base and Badelli failed to get a hit for the third straight game as DH.

Red Sox Lose 3-2 BOX SCORE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Red Sox 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 2
Mariners 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 12 1


David Wells Makes Fun of Roger*

David Wells wants to clean up the game by banning players from the Hall of Fame the first time they test positive for roids. He also called out Roger* on the golf course:

“I saw Roger last year at a Toby Keith charity golf event in Oklahoma. I started calling him ‘He-lie,’ because for years, he called me ‘He-lie.’ You know, (as in) whatever comes out of Boomer’s mouth, ‘he-lies.’ Well, I got payback.

“Actually, it was great. (His wife) Debbie and (Clemens) on the first tee, Toby and I and a buddy of his were finishing up and I said, ‘Toby watch this.’ I yelled ‘He-lie!’ And Roger didn’t like it very much, but he came over and said hello.”


Today's Red Sox Lineup 5/17 vs. the Mariners

Here's the lineup in what could be Masterson's last start for a while. Lugo is out because of the strained groin.

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Jason Bay, LF
4. Mike Lowell, 3B
5. J.D. Drew, RF
6. Rocco Baldelli, DH
7. Jeff Bailey, 1B
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Nick Green, SS

Justin Masterson, SP


Lugo, Youk, and MDC

Julio Lugo left last night's game in the 8th inning with a groin strain:

"More of a precaution than anything. I've been playing through it for days. It's just a little tighter," Lugo said. "Today, when I got that hit to left field, and tried to go to second, it got tight then. Through the course of the game, it got a little tighter. But I'm going to work it out," Lugo said.
Gil Velazquez came in because he is the better defensive shortstop on the bench and it was late in the game. Lugo will likely miss today's game and could be back on Tuesday when the Red Sox play Toronto. Nick Green should be in at short today.

Kevin Youkilis flew back home yesterday to begin playing some rehab games. He will play with the PawSox on Monday as DH and Tuesday at first base before rejoining the Red Sox on Wednesday.

Peter Gammons has a new post up where he says the Red Sox might be willing to trade Manny Delcarmen for a good bat if it is needed.



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