Saturday, August 8, 2009

Buchholz Delivers, Bats Do Not

The Red Sox needed Clay Buchholz to step up big time in the Bronx today and he delivered. In six innings Buchholz gave up just 6 hits and 2 earned runs keeping the Red Sox in the game against the Yankee ace C.C. Sabathia. Unfortunately the bats stayed in their deep slumber. Boston could manage just 4 hits in the game without bringing a run across the plate. The Sox have now lost 3 in a row to New York and have not scored a run in 2 games. The Yankees are putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the league and the Sox are getting bunched up in the wild-card pack. Not time to panic yet but there are definitely some dark clouds above.

Red Sox Lose 5-0 BOX SCORE

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


15 innings. A loss. At least I could say I was there.

Ah, my first trip to Fenway much better than my first trip to Yankee Stadium. I headed down to NYC yesterday at about 1pm. Got a smidge lost getting into the city and got to the parking lot at about 5pm.

I went down with a friend of mine who is a Yankees fan. We got a good number of bizarre looks from people, but well...we are both baseball fans. She's just a fan of evil.

Now, you expect this post to be all depressing and sad...given how the game turned out, but is not. It was a brutal way to lose, but I still think it is pretty cool it is a game I got to see in person.

Here are some of my thoughts on the game....

Perceptions of the New Yankee Stadium:

It is a beautiful stadium. As it should be with its brand spankin' newness. Easy to get there. Parking is easy peasy. We got there just as the doors were opening. We walked around the concourse area....saw the shops. Didn't go in. I didn't want any of its Yankeeness to rub off on me. There was plenty of food. The staff were incredibly helpful and nice. I was kind of in charge of our I was always the one asking directions and making sure I was going in the right place and never once did someone be anything other than nice and courteous. is definitely different than at Fenway. Once are not getting in any section unless you have a ticket for that section. I loved at Fenway that I could walk just about anywhere...right by the ever we wanted to go. Not in Yank Stadium. You are asked to show your ticket everywhere you go.

So, was I heckled? Short answer...not much. Longer answer. It was interesting. I expected there to be more Sox fans at the game. In my section....I was in Bleacher 202 (So I could oogle and cheer behind JD in Right)...there were about 7 Sox fans in total and hundreds of Yankee fans.

Interestingly, I got a free pass when it came to heckling. And, I was not quiet. I YELLED and CHEERED for all my Sox. I clapped every time one of our pitches threw a strike....clapped when their's threw a ball. I yelled out Let's GO _____ for whoever was on the mound for the Sox...or whatever batter was at the plate. I got left alone. There was a kid in front of me who was a Sox fan too...and he was cheering with me.

He got a pass because he was a kid. I got a pass...well, I could try to find another reason...but well, I got a pass...because I have boobs. In fact, the worst heckle I got was a direct comment about said boobs. Part of me is thankful for this...because I was able to cheer for my team and it didn't become a really unenjoyable experience...but I was also somewhat offended by it. (More thankful than offended).

There were a group of guys behind me....who were a little drunk and a little obnoxious. Every Sox fan who got up, moved, said anything...they YELLED at...called them an asshole and just treated them like dirt. Me...I cheered all night long. Not a word. In fact, we ended up getting into a discussion later on in the was the 8th inning, so it was in fact early in the game.

People were BRUTAL last night to Papi. He had to take it. I did have to put my 2 cents in and when AROD came up...I would chant, "So DID AROD." But well..couldn't complain much about the Papi comments.

OK. About the actual game. Until ARod's final at was a really REALLY enjoyable game to watch. It was a classic pitchers duel. Beckett was DEALING. Burnett was DEALING. Both bullpens...lights out. I got to see Pap pitch...and be that lights out guy I want to see on a mound. JD's catch in RIGHT...umm...spectacular. Ells running out the throw...and stealing at will. Fan freakin' tastic. Even though he gave up the homer, I saw Tazawa's first MLB time on a mound and for a guy who has not major league experience...had to come in during the 14th Yankee Stadium...I think he did well, even with how the game turned out.

I wanted us to win that game BADLY. It was closing in on 1am and I had a 4 hour drive in front of me, but even with how it turned out...I am really glad I was there and got to stand there in the mix of it all. is a new day. Clay. You know I have love for you. BRING IT. BRING IT NOW. We need it. Beckett did his job yesterday, but sadly the bats were not playing.


Today's Red Sox Lineup 8/8 vs. the Yankees

Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Martinez C
Youkilis LF
Ortiz DH,
Lowell 3B
Drew RF
Kotchman 1B
Green SS

Buchholz, SP


Ortiz Denies Using Steroids in Press Conference

Ortiz said he was careless in buying legal supplements but denied using steroids in his press conference today. He says he was never told that he tested positive for steroids.

I don't understand why he did not issue an absolute denial from the start. There was no reason he had to wait over a week to make these statements; the only reason for the delay was to allow Ortiz and the MLBPA get their stories together. I understand the problems with the testing system, but Ortiz has made a poor choice in how he approached his response.

Ortiz couldn't name any of the supplements or vitamins he used and was careless in what he took, so how can he deny that any of the supplements he took did not contain steroids? No answers here just more questions and doubt that will follow Ortiz for the rest of his career. More damage done to the game today. Maybe the Ortiz jersey buried at Yankee Stadium foreshadowed the demise of Big Papi that we witnessed today in the Bronx.


MLBPA Tries to Create Out for Ortiz

Prior to Ortiz's press conference the MLBPA issued a press release that included the following:

First, the number of players on the so-called "government list" meaningfully exceeds the number of players agreed by the bargaining parties to have tested positive in 2003. Accordingly, the presence of a player's name on any such list does not necessarily mean that the player used a prohibited substance or that the player tested positive under our collectively bargained program

Second, substantial scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of the 2003 test results. The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab that administers the current Drug Agreement were not utilized by the lab responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003. The collective bargaining parties did not pursue definitive answers regarding these inconclusive results, since those answers were unnecessary to the administration of the 2003 program.

“Third, in 2003, legally available nutritional supplements could trigger an initial "positive" test under our program. To account for this, each "test" conducted in 2003 actually consisted of a pair of collections: the first was unannounced and random, the second was approximately 7 days later, with the player advised to cease taking supplements during the interim. Under the 2003 program, a test could be initially reported as "positive", but not treated as such by the bargaining parties on account of the second test. “

What a joke. They are now going to say that Ortiz had a potential "false positive" so he never really did roids. Nothing to see here, everybody move on. I told you it was going to be a train wreck.



....and start worrying about the present.

After the tough loss last night, there are a few things that I have to get off my mind.

First, WOW that HURT!

Second, a great effort by the pitching staff. Wow, holding that Yankees offense down for 14 + innings is fantastic. On the flip side, now that Masterson is gone, do we have a reliever that can go more than an inning? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THIS BULLPEN, but in games like last night, look how many pitchers we used compared to them (8 to 6, and the starter went 7).

Third, that was a pathetic effort by the FOUR HITS IN 15 INNINGS (7 1/3 against the bullpen) in what was the biggest game of the year for this team (Until today’s game). After Pedroia getting hit on Thursday, they should have came out fired up, and with the exception of Beckett it sure didn’t seem that way (maybe we should have let him hit).

Now to Theo. What good is a farm system full of studs if the big league team doesn’t use it to get what they need now?

The LaRoche trade (to get him) was sold as getting much needed depth.
So then, he is traded for Kotchman who is “better suited to a bench role”, OK, I guess.
Now about adding that depth…why was Youk playing leftfield on Thursday when Chris Duncan is in the organization? Since now we are pretty much screwed at SS because we traded our depth away there. I know Lugo wasn’t a favorite, but he was hitting well and oh yeah, WE’RE STILL PAYING HIS SALARY. Is Chris Woodward really better than LUGO? With the play that this team has had at SS since we let Orlando Cabrera go, why would we not have made an upgrade there? Lowrie has great POTENTIAL, but lets face it, last year he surprised EVERYONE when he was thrust into the starting lineup. He was GREAT, but after the pitchers started getting a book on him, he slowed down. Now there are two problems, 1. He hasn’t made the adjustments to the pitchers and 2. He is coming off a wrist injury (REMEMBER NOMAR? He was never the same).

Am I way off base here? I love the pick up of Victor Martinez, but is he really what we needed most? Thinking long term, he will play 1st (not catch, because next year he is 31) and Youk will move to third, so why keep Lars Anderson?

I hate to say it, but for me, it is no longer, “In Theo I Trust”


Lowrie Headed to DL

Jed Lowrie was placed on the 15 DL and pitcher Enrique Gonzalez was called up to fill the roster spot.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Crushing Defeat for the Red Sox

In a game that went into the wee hours of the morning, the Red Sox watched as A-Rod hit one into the Bronx night to end the game. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 15th inning and the Red Sox offense was held to just 4 hits. Beckett, Oki, Bard, Ramirez, Papelbon, MDC. and Saito all kept the Yankees off the board but Junichi Tazawa struggled in his major league debut and gave up the game winning gopher ball.

Red Sox Lose 2-0 BOX SCORE


John Smoltz: DFA'd

The Boston Red Sox have designated John Smoltz for assignment today after his poor performance against the New York Yankees last night. The 42 year old Hall of Fame candidate could never find a groove and get his rhythm this year. Junichi Tazawa has been called up from Pawtucket to replace him on the roster.


PawSox Interviews: Ron Johnson

Manager Ron Johnson, a native Californian, was a first team All American first baseman at Fresno State University. He had a brief career in the major leagues with Royals and the Expos from 1982 to 1984. He became a coach with the Royals for 6 years, after which he started his managerial career starting at the single A level, working his way up to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox. He has been the manager of the PawSox since 2005. As manager of the PawSox, he is in good company, following the likes of Darrell Johnson, Joe Morgan, Johhny Pesky, Butch Hobson, Rico Petrocelli, and Ken Macha. I had an opportunity to ask him a few questions after the PawSox lost to Columbus on July 27th. He is an easily accessible manager, and gladly answered my questions in my first trip to a clubhouse. Despite the loss and the fact that they are under .500, he remained upbeat, as one could tell that he and his coaching staff are more concerned with the development of their players than the won-loss record that one may first notice.

Q~ Who has been your biggest surprise this season so far?
A~ That’s kind of a tough question to answer because I don’t really… I don’t think you can really go into a minor league season and actually…. Nothing comes as a real surprise unless you’ve got a guy who’s a utility infielder and at this point in the year he’s got 35 home runs, or something strange like that.

Q~ Like Bowden last year?
A~ Michael Bowden has been a prospect since the day he started so that’s not a surprise. Buchholz, the way he was, was not a surprise; Chris Johnson is a prospect. Actually, I don’t have any surprises this year.

Q~ After making the playoffs last year, and falling below .500 this year, would you say that your W-L record is not indicative of the team’s true abilities?
A~ No, I would just think that we were pretty much a different team last year, we had a more veteran club last year. We’ve got a lot of young guys, a lot of movement. To be honest with you, the won-loss record is really never …. With the Boston Red Sox, our goal is to make sure players are prepared to either cover guys when they get hurt in the big leagues, or move on and become Major Leaguers. If you can combine it with winning, that’s great as we did last year. This year, we haven’t had the top club this year… so we’ll find a way to win every night no matter what the score is.

Q~ Is there anyone at Portland or the single A teams that looking forward to get up here at Pawtucket?
A~ I’m sure they all are… we’ve got instructors with people down there. Our job is to work with these guys, and believe me, it’s consuming enough, that’s why we leave that to the bosses… and when they become Triple A we take them from there.


Jim Rice's Defining Moment: August 7, 1982

It was 27 years ago today that Jim Rice ran into the stands at Fenway Park, grabbed a 4 year old boy who had been hit in the head by a sharply hit foul ball. Blood was gushing from the boy's head. Rice grabbed him and took the boy, John Keane, through the dugout to an ambulance which rushed him to the hospital.

Rice's instinct helped save Keane's life, but it will not be found in Rice's statistics nor will it be on his plaque at Cooperstown. In all the hoopla over whether or not Rice would make it into The Hall; are his numbers good enough, did he play long enough, etc.; this defining moment in Jim Rice's career should not ever be forgotten, especially in this year, the year that he was finally inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame.


Ortiz's Saturday Press Conference Will Be a Train Wreck

David Ortiz needs to hire a new PR guy. His press conference on Saturday will only damage his reputation more. To truly get fan support he needs to have a regular conversation with the media and answer the questions they ask. He won't do that on Saturday because he will be accompanied by someone from the MLBPA. The media will ask questions this weekend and Ortiz will say he can't answer them because he doesn't have the full results of the test. He will hide behind the Player's Union and say how sorry he is for giving incomplete answers blaming it on government leaks. There is no way Ortiz is going to give an answer that will satisfy anyone if he needs to have an MLBPA guy with him at the press conference. Expect to have more questions after the press conference ends and expect Big Papi's reputation to take another hit. After last night's game Ortiz said, "I'm gonna let you guys know what I got. Period." He is already limiting what he is going to say. He is in hole and needs to stop digging.

Read more... I come!

Hi, my name is Shelley and I am a Soxaholic.

A losing streak will not waver my status.

John Smoltz forgetting how to pitch like an All Star will not waver my status.

The Yankees finally winning ONE against us will not waver my status.

Our bats not hitting...and Papi looking all kinds of slumptastic again will not waver my status.

All our guys being hurt and banged much so that Youk had to play LEFT FIELD...will not waver my status.

And now...I am not SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON....

I am heading DOWN TO EVIL.

My friend and I are heading down to NYC for game tonight. I am going to be in the stands...with JOSHUA PATRICK BECKETT on the mound. To say I am excited is the understatement of the world. I am...going with a friend...who is...a Yankees fan. We will have a good time...and at least one of will enjoy the outcome of the game.

But seriously....SOX...BECKS...I am driving into NYC...and I HATE DRIVING INTO, if you could win this one for me, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Let's GO RED SOX...and get that winning streak started again.


Smoltz Has Nothing

John Smoltz did what he has done in almost all his other outings with the Red Sox; pitch well the first time through the lineup and then get knocked around like a BP pitcher. The Yankees go to him in the third chasing him from the game with bases loaded. Tito decided to give the pen a night off and had recently called up Traber come in for his first appearence. Traber allowed the Yankees to continue the hit parade and by the time the 3rd was over they had a 9-3 lead. Pedroia and Kotchman each had homers off of Joba but this game was over early.

Red Sox lose 13-6 BOX SCORE

The game made the Red Sox rotation problem glaringly obvious. Penny and Smoltz do not look like members of a rotation that could go deep into October and Buchholz is not looking much better. Even when Wake comes back next week one of them will remain in the rotation. Dice-K will not be back until September so that means we will most likely see another start from Penny and Smoltz could end up in the bullpen.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tampa Rays Fans, You’re the BEST!

I’m BACK! Sorry I took so much time off, but this Master’s Program is killing my free time.

OK, lets examine the Rays Fans who were taking shots at RSN last year during the playoffs:

54 Home games this year with attendance as follows:

8 games with less than 15K fans (1 of those was the opening game of their second series of their FIRST home-stand of the year)
12 games with 15-20K fans (3 of those were against the Angels, 2 were World Series rematches against Philly)
5 games with 20-25K fans (1 against the SOX and 1 against Philly)
14 games with 25-30K fans (1 opening home-stand against Yanks and 2 against the SOX)
10 games with 30-35K fans (3 against the SOX, 3 against the Yanks)
5 games with 35K+ fans (2 opening home-stand against the Yanks)

What does that say for a team that won the American League last year?


The Daily Duel

I'm in tonight's Daily Duel on CSNNE which will be on at 6 eastern. The topic is: What has lead to more home runs in baseball; PED’s or small parks/bad pitching? I'm up against a writer from Surviving Grady so I need your votes. Please visit the site, vote, and leave a comment. CSNNE will use some of the comments on the air tomorrow night.


Youk, J-Bay, Ortiz, Baldelli, and Reddick

Some interesting news coming out of the Bronx today:

Youk will be playing left field tonight since J-Bay is out with the hamstring injury.

The day was filled with rumors that Big Papi would be holding a press conference before the game to address the steroid issue. That didn't pan out but Extra Bases is reporting that it will happen before Saturday's game.

Rocco Baldelli is headed to the DL and Josh Reddick has been activated.

and the Sox are playing the Yankees tonight in case that got lost in the shuffle.


PawSox Interviews: Michael Bowden

Growing up in the Chicago area, Michael Bowden rooted for the Cubs, so one can only imagine the excitement he must have felt when he made his Major League debut last year for the Red Sox pitching against that other team from Chicago, the White Sox. In that game, he went 5 innings, allowing 7 hits and 2 runs, earning him a victory in his first Major League start, as well as his first Major League appearance. In 2009 he made another appearance for the Red Sox, pitching 2 scoreless innings, striking out 2, and allowing no walks.

Bowden was drafted in the first round of the 2005 draft by the Red Sox, and has been rising ever since. He started the 2008 season at AA Portland, made the AA All Star Team, moved up to AAA Pawtucket after that, and made it all the way up to the big leagues, pitching in that one game. He started the 2009 season in Pawtucket and has already made one appearance in Boston already this year, pitching 2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out 2, and allowing no walks.

His won-loss record at Pawtucket this year is a deceiving 3-4, but in 103.1 IP, he has only allowed 86 hits, 39 ER's for 3.40 ERA, walking 38, striking out 74, and limiting opposing batters to a paltry .226 average.

I expect we will see Michael Bowden in Boston again this year. I had an opportunity to speak with him at the Pawtucket-Columbus game on July 27th. In my few moments I had to speak with him, he was very polite and cooperative to speak with. I certainly hope we get to see him when the Red Sox come to Oakland next year!

Q~ You’ve been progressing quite nicely, starting at Portland AA last year, making it to the AA ASG last year, then up to AAA Pawtucket, and finally making an appearance in Boston, allowing only 2 runs in 7 innings against Chicago. That must feel pretty good.

A~ 2 runs in 5 innings. It was an awesome experience. I’m from the Chicago area and I grew up rooting for the Cubs, so going up there making my debut against the White Sox and actually getting the win was an unbelievable experience.

Q~ You have to look past your won-loss record to get the real picture of your season. You had a nice gem the other night, but lost 3-1. How do you feel about your season overall so far this year?

A~ I’ve had a little bit of a rollercoaster ride season. I’ve had about a month in there where things weren’t going my way and I was coming out of my mechanics, walking a lot of guys, just not pitching my game, but I took a little break around the All Star break, I skipped a start, got to watch some video tape. I just worked on some mechanics and tried to go to where I was earlier this season and I think I got there and I was excited to start the second half and start applying the adjustments.

Q~ There seems to be a logjam ahead of you in the Boston rotation and because of this; your name comes up often as a potential trading chip. Any thoughts that you would like to share on that situation?

A~ You know what, it’s something that me as a player I don’t control, it’s up to the front office. I understand that it’s a business so I know that it could happen but me personally I don’t worry about it since it’s out of my control, so until something happens I really don’t care. You know I just throw it over my shoulder and take care of what I need to.

Q~ Do you feel that there is more pressure in the Red Sox system than there is elsewhere?

A~ Sure, I mean, they’ve got a much bigger fan base, the media there is pretty overwhelming at times, but you know what, I thrive off of that stuff like that and it just motivates me to work harder and do the best that I can.

Q~ How do you like Pawtucket and RI and the east coast?

A~I liked them until this year, but it’s been raining 75% of the time. Our weather here has been tough to play in. It hasn’t been a normal summer; very rainy, humid. We’ve had a few nice days. It’s nice that our All Star break, our three days were perfect, so that was very nice. Overall I love playing in Pawtucket, the fans here are awesome, they sell out in the summer, good atmosphere here, good ball park, good team, the front office here is awesome, they treat us nicely, so it’s fun coming to the ball park every day.


Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 8/6 vs the Yankees

Ellsbury, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Martinez, C
Youkilis, LF
Ortiz, DH
Drew, RF
Lowell, 3B
Kotchman, 1B
Lowrie, SS

John Smoltz, SP


John Henry Stands Behind Ortiz

Red Sox owner John Henry said he is waiting to comment until David Ortiz addresses the issue. He also said that today's Globe criticism was "a little early." Watch below:


Time to Take Penny Out of the Rotation

At this point I would feel more comfortable with Julian Tavarez in the rotation. Brad Penny has just 1 win in his last 7 starts, his ERA for July was 5.93 and his ERA for August is now 7.50. Perhaps the most telling sign of how bad he has been comes when you factor in this: Penny has given up more earned runs (23) than the number of batters he has struck out (22) in July and August. Wake is about a week and 1/2 away from returning and Penny should be the odd man out when he returns.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Where Are They Now: Paul Byrd

Back in the Sox organization, that's where. reports that Paul Byrd has signed a Minor League contract with the Boston Red Sox. Unlike last year, there was no waiver process this year, as Byrd had 'retired' last year.


Sox Can't Figure Out That Giant Yurt

Is this where they go when 'they're taken out back?' Sox just can't do anything right in that baseball 'park' in St. Petersburg, FL, home of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox are now 2 - 13 at the giant yurt over the past two seasons.

Sox Lose 4-6 Box Score

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


Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 8/5 vs the Rays

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jason Bay, LF
Mike Lowell, DH
Rocco Baldelli, RF
Jason Varitek, C
Jed Lowrie, SS

Brad Penny, SP


Interviews with PawSox: Fernando Cabrera

When Daniel Bard got called up to Boston, the Pawtucket Red Sox turned to Fernando Cabrera to be their new closer. He has since turned into a dominant, lights out closer for the PawSox. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, he had spent 8 years in the minor league systems of the Indians and the Orioles. He was released by the Orioles after 2008 and signed to a minor league contract with the Sox this year. Having spent that many years in the minor leagues, he was eligible as a sixth year free agent to opt out of his contract, but liked pitching for Pawtucket and the Red Sox system so much, and having much better success this year, he decided to stay. Cabrera represented Pawtucket at the Triple A All Star Game this year and earned the save in that game as the International League beat the Pacific Coast League. He's had his ups and downs, having off years mixed in with injuries and good years, and made a couple of major league appearances since he first signed in 1999. He represented Puerto Rico in the WBC in 2006 and 2009.

This year Cabrera has been quietly amassing a fantastic set of numbers. In 36 appearances and 45 innings pitched, he has earned 19 saves, allowing only 34 hits, 19 walks, and 9 earned runs, while striking out 44, limiting opposing batter's to a .209 BA, and posting a 1.80 ERA. It looks like he may finally have reached the final level before being called up to the big leagues one more time. I had a chance to speak with Cabrera after the July 27th PawSox game at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI. Not knowing beforehand if he spoke English or not, I prepared my questions in Spanish, but discovered he speaks English well, and answered them in English. I found him to be a very congenial person to speak with. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in Boston in September when the rosters expand.

Q~ Was it important to you to be on the Triple A All Star Team?
(¿Es importante que usted esté en el equipo de los Triple A All Stars?)
A~ It is really, really important because that is a sign of recognition that you had a great season in the first half.

Q~ You have good statistics this year. Are you happy this year?
(Tiene usted estadísticas bueno esto ano. ¿Esta contente esto ano?)
A~ I’m really happy here. I’m really happy because I’m working hard to do that. Things go well this year. I’m working hard to keep things going well this year.

Q~ You wear number 38, the number of Curt Schilling. These are big shoes to fill, yes?
(¿Tiene usted el numero treinte-ocho, el numero de Curt Schilling. Es zapatos grandes, no es?)
A~ This is a number I always wear in my career, and I never thought I tried to use it because it was Curt Schilling’s number. I like that number and now here I have the opportunity to take it, so it is a number I use throughout my career in the minors, so I never have the chance to use it in the big leagues. It is a number I like to wear even in Puerto Rico... and that’s good because sometimes you feel comfortable with some [things like that], so I get the chance to wear it here.

Q~ What part of your game have you been working on the most this year?
(¿Qué parte de tu juego que han estado tratando de mejorar esta ano?)
A~ I work a lot on the mental part, focus, and attacking the hitters. I try to attack the hitters better than I was doing in the past. It is more the mental part… that I try to do better. It works for me, I feel more mature, I feel more complete in that part. You learn more about the game, you are more able to control your emotions, control everything in your game because this is pretty much a mental game. That was the only thing I really want to work on. A lot of times you don’t know if you’re better on that, and you go to get some more experience… I can feel I’m better in that. That’s good, I’m going to keep working to get better every day.

Q~ Do you like The USA and Rhode Island?
(¿Te gustan los Estados Unidos en general, y de Rhode Island en particular?)
A~ I am here to work, so it’s not about what the city has to offer, but it’s a city I like because we can see the support from the fans. It’s a good stadium.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Interviews with the Pawtucket Red Sox

Thanks to Bill Wanless of the PawSox, I had the good fortune to be able to obtain a press pass for the July 27th AAA game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Columbus Clippers (Indians affiliate) at McCoy Stadium. I had opportunities to interview pitchers Fernando Cabrera, who represented the PawSox at this year's AAA All Star game, and Michael Bowden, as well as manager Ron Johnson and batting coach Russ Morman. Starting tomorrow, I will be posting 1 interview per day, and then will follow with my personal review of the whole day's experience.
Everyone involved with the PawSox that I came into contact with was very polite and informative, and made this rookie in the press box and clubhouse feel welcomed. Thanks to all.


Another Nightmare at the Trop

The Red Sox can't find a way to win a big game at Tropicana Field. Jon Lester did his part in the game by giving up just 3 hits and 1 run in 6 innings but the bullpen could not hold the lead. Bard gave up a home run to Longoria in the bottom of the 8th to tie the game 2-2. The game then seesawed back and forth with both teams getting out of big jams; RR had bases loaded with nobody out but managed to pull a Dice-K like Houdini act to keep the game alive. The Red Sox had their chances but couldn't get a run across and in the bottom of the 13th Saito (the last bullpen pitcher for the Sox) gave up a walk-off home run to Longoria. The Rays found a way to stay alive in the game and now are alive in the division. A great game to watch but a tough loss for the Sox, especially if they don't bounce back tomorrow.

Red Sox Lose 4-2 BOX SCORE

5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 R H E
Red Sox 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 7 1
Rays 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 4 9 1


Tonight's Red Sox Lineup 8/4 vs the Rays

Ellsbury, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Martinez, 1B
Youkilis, 3B
Ortiz, DH
Drew, RF
Varitek, C
Reddick, LF
Green, SS

Lester, SP


Interview with John Frascella, author of the Theo Epstein biography THEOLOGY

Fenway West conducted an interview with John Frascella, the author of the new book Theology: How a Boy Wonder Led the Red Sox to the Promised Land. John talks about his research on Theo, how he came to write the book, and shares his analysis on some of Theo's best and worst moves as GM of the Red Sox. You can stream the interview below, make sure to pick up his book through the link below to complete your Red Sox collection.


Q & A with Rays Beat Writer Joe Smith

Fenway West interviewed Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times to get ready for the series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

FW: Do you think the Rays can make a run at the wild-card or possibly win the division?

Joe Smith: Yes, I think there's a chance at both, but they've got to take advantage of games like this two-game series with the Red Sox. Making up five games will be tough if they don't win the head-to-head matchups, because I don't see the Red Sox, or Yankees, going on a big losing streak down the stretch. The Rays have a chance if they can get some consistency out of their starting pitching. Matt Garza and James Shields have been steady, and fifth starter Jeff Niemannn is a rookie of the year candidate with a staff-best 10 wins, but they've also been encouraged that LHP Scott Kazmir and David Price are coming off a strong outings, considering their early-season struggles. Starting pitching and defense is what got the Rays to the World Series last year. And improvements on both down the stretch will determine if they make the postseason again.

FW: Ben Zobrist is hitting .300 with 19 HRs on the year, not many thought he would produce at this level this early in his Major League career. Will he keep it up in the second half?

Joe Smith: I think he will. Zobrist has definitely surprised a lot of people, but it's not necessarily a fluke. If you ask manager Joe Maddon, he'll tell you that Zobrist has the best at-bats, day in and day out, of anyone on the Rays. Zobrist works so hard at it, and has done well making adjustments when pitchers have approached him differently. It's amazing to think he might have not gotten this full-time spot at second base - maybe no All-Star selection - if it hadn't been for the unfortunate injury to 2B Akinori Iwamura in May.

FW: Why didn't the Rays make a big move at the deadline?

Joe Smith: Believe me, the Rays tried to make a move. They made some calls on Roy Halladay, Victor Martinez, as well as some potential under-the-radar moves. But they also have limited flexibility financially, with their payroll, so they had to be smart with what they did - because it would impact them the next few years. In reality, DH Pat Burrell was the equivalent of their deadline moves. He their biggest offseason acquisition, at two years, $16 million, but hasn't produced like he has throughout his entire career. The Rays did sign RHP reliever Jeff Bennett, who was released by the Braves, but that was the extent of their moves. They feel confident the guys in the clubhouse now are capable of making a run.

FW: Do you think there is still bad blood between the Red Sox and Rays now that Crisp and Gomes are elsewhere?

Joe Smith: I don't think there's anything like that to speak of. There was a little last year, but with Crisp out of Boston, and it being a year since it all transpired, both teams are more focused on the task at hand - making the playoffs. There will always be a good rivalry between the two, considering they play 18 times a year, and especially if their meetings continue to mean something. But I don't think there's any bad blood, at least from what I can tell.

FW: What is your prediction for this short series with Boston?

Joe Smith: I've seen enough baseball games to know how difficult is to predict on individual matchups, but these should be two close games. There's a great pitching matchup in Tuesday's game with Matt Garza- Jon Lester, a rematch of Game 7 of the ALCS. The Red Sox have been swinging the bats well, but Garza always seems to be at his best when he faces Boston. Should be an interesting two games, that's for sure.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Why Ortiz Must Come Clean Now

In today's New York Daily News there is a story about how 8 of the 104 players on the 2003 steroid list tested positive due to a legal supplement:

The supplement 19-norandrostenedione was legal in 2003 and contained the steroid nandrolone, a hard-core performance-enhancing drug used to build muscle.

Major League Baseball maintains that 96 players tested positive for PEDs during the 2003 survey testing year because it does not count any supplement that a player could purchase legally that contained steroids.

So does Big Papi have an out? I guess you could say he does but here is my problem with the story: in Ortiz's statement he said, "I will find out what I tested positive for. And, three, based on whatever I learn, I will share this information with my club and the public." If Ortiz was taking the legal supplement he could have come right out and said that he was and that is why he tested positive. By waiting to "find out" it seems like he was using steroids and looking for a possible out. If we have learned anything from users who get caught, it is that you need to own up to what you did and fans will welcome you back. If a player tries to stay in denial when all the evidence is against them it will only cause them to lose in the long run. Look at the deniers and what they have become. (Bonds, McGuire, Sosa, Clemens.) Then look at guys like Pettitte who addmitted use and have been able to keep their popular support. Every day that passes with Ortiz keeping quiet he loses respect from Red Sox Nation. Ortiz either did steroids or he didn't, right now he is claiming to be "a little bit pregnant."


Red Sox Tried to Land Felix Hernandez

The Red Sox went after Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez before the deadline and according to the Seattle Times were willing to pay a hefty price. Theo offered the Mariners a pick of any 5 of the following players in exchange for Hernandez:

RHP Clay Buchholz
RHP Daniel Bard
RHP Justin Masterson
LHP Nick Hagadone
RHP Michael Bowden
LHP Felix Doubront
OF Josh Reddick
SS Yamaico Navarro

I find it hard to believe that the Mariners would turn down Buchholz, Bard, Masterson and Reddick for Hernandez but GM's are demanding a ton for good starting pitchers as we saw with Toronto and Halladay. The report also says Theo tried to get the Padres involved in a 3-way deal where the Sox would get Hernandez but the Mariners also turned that down.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Wake's Recovery is Not Going Well

Tim Wakefield will not be rejoining the Red Sox anytime soon after facing a setback in his rehab:

“I’m just depressed that this isn’t progressing the way I want it to progress,” Wakefield said yesterday, his 43rd birthday. “I’m throwing, playing catch. There are different symptoms now. I’ve got zero strength in my left calf due to the nerve. I’m just waiting for it to get better.”

With Buchholz and Penny both struggling on the mound the team needs Wake back ASAP.


Sox Win Slugfest, Buchholz Struggles

The Boston bats came out of the gate swinging and hammering the Orioles, scoring 4 in the first, and 14 runs total in the first 4 innings, scoring in each of them. You would think that staked to a 4 run lead in the first, that Buchholz would cruise, too, yet he walked the first batter he faced. He made it through the first 2 innings without allowing a run, but in the third inning, staked to a 7 run lead by that point, he climbed into the barrel until he gave up 6 runs. The Sox added 7 more runs in the 4th inning, giving Buchholz an 8 run lead heading into the bottom of the 5th. After a lead off homer by Adam Jones, he issued a free pass and allowed a single, which earned him an early trip to the bench. (Is it too late to swap Buchholz to get Masterson back?) The rest of the bullpen didn't fare well as they should have, but...

The Sox bats were still not done, though, not until they hammered the O's for 23 hits. (And neither were the O's bats quiet.) Every Sox starter had at least 1 hit, (save 1), 5 of them with multi-hit performances. Victor Martinez led the way with a 5 hits in 6 AB's and 4 RBI's.

Sox Win 18-10 BOX SCORE


Sox: Tuneup Your WP Radar, Joba's Comin' to Town

The New York Yankees have adjusted their rotation so that Joba 'the Headhunter' Chamberlain will be pitching in the opening game of that upcoming series, set to open at NY on Thursday. Sergio Mitre will now not pitch against the Sox. (damn!)

John Smoltz is set to face Joba in the opener, meaning the Sox bats better be alive and kicking. Despite his historic credentials, Smoltz has not found his rhythm and has not yet turned in a quality start this season.

As much as I would love to see the Sox sweep the Yankees the whole season, it is highly unlikely that would happen. This might just be the game that snaps the 8 game streak. Then again, now that the trade deadline has passed, players might be a bit more relieved that their status hasn't changed and should be able to focus more on the game, rather than distractions such as their status and other unsavory issues not needed to be rehashed in this post. The initial horror and furor over other issues has (hopefully) reached and passed it's peak. The dust will settle, and the answers to the questions will be answered.

To the Sox: you concentrate on today's game and let us armchair GM's worry about games later in the week. Play ball!

I was a second away from hitting the 'post now' button, when I took a quick look at Gameday on The Sox are already up 4-0 in the top of the 4th. That should be a big enough cushion to get Buchholz started off with the right pitch.


Today's Red Sox Lineup 8/2 vs Baltimore

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Victor Martinez, C
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 3B
Josh Reddick, LF
Jed Lowrie, SS

Clay Buchholz, SP


Steroid Story Gets Uglier

As MLB and Ortiz* try to ignore the PED issue and think it will just go away, more and more stories about steroids come out. In today's Globe there is a story that two Red Sox security personnel were fired for posession of steroids last season and MLB did a short 15 minute investigation into the matter. One of the guards was Jerry Remy's son.

Remy, who said he was not surprised that Ortiz has been linked to the doping scandal, said that during questioning by a league investigator last year he was never asked about Ortiz’s assistant - even though Remy said a Red Sox security official had warned him in 2007 to stay away from the man, whom Remy said was a steroid user.

Remy, 30, said he believed the questioning, conducted in a Fenway Park conference room by MLB investigator Eduardo Dominguez, lasted about 15 minutes. It seemed to him a perfunctory exercise in damage control.

“They didn’t ask much at all; they wanted to make it disappear,’’ he said.

As I have said before, until everyone comes clean in an honest way this story will continue until every name comes out. It is time for Ortiz* to come clean and it is time for MLB, and the Red Sox to do their part to truly clean up the game.



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