July 30, 2004

Unfinished Post. I had some internet connection problems this afternoon and wasn't able to finish my blog entry. Now it is shortly before tonight's game, so I'm just putting it up as is. It's long enough.

Brawl Fallout:
               Red Sox              Yankees

Suspended Varitek 4 games Rodriguez 4 games
Kapler 3 games Sturtze 3 games
Nixon 3 games

Fined Varitek $2,000 Rodriguez $2,000
Kapler $1,000 Sturtze $1,000
Nixon $1,000 Lofton $ 500
Schilling $ 500
Ortiz $ 500
Everyone involved thinks the punishments are too severe. ... Check out these quotes: Rodriguez: "I was on my way to first base and I got punched in the mouth by a glove." and Brian Cashman: "I thought we were a lot more peacemakers than the guys on the other side of the fence." ... That's some serious denial. Obey Pedro: "I never knew that provoking somebody into fighting was an act of self defense. I'll have to remember that the next time I'm in a bar and some guy inadvertently bumps me on the elbow and I say "fuck you" to him while I gesture with both hands for him to bring it on."

Francona on Rodriguez's claim that he was the victim in the brawl: "I'm not a lip reader, but I can read those lips. The word 'victim' wasn't coming out." ... Rodriguez: "I know on the tape it looks like my words were what started it. My words were strong and harsh, but they were just a reaction, a repetition of what had been said to me."

I think Watson's ruling is too harsh, also, and am having a tough time figuring why the Red Sox were more heavily fined. I would have suspended Varitek and A-Rod 2 games each -- and that's it. We still have no idea what Varitek said -- Jason hasn't elaborated and A-Rod has been coy. Of course, this whole incident could have been avoided if Rodriguez had simply shut up and trotted to first base. The pitch wasn't a fastball and it was not anywhere near his head. It was a run-of-the-mill HBP -- although it's quite possible the pitch was retaliation for Nomar's getting plunked the night before and Rodriguez knew that. But it clearly was not a pitch that should have started a brawl.

Karen Guregian of the Herald takes Tito to task for letting Pedro pitch in the rain in Baltimore, "risk[ing] injury on a slippery, muddy pitching rubber? Isn't this the same guy the Sox take great pains to coddle? Isn't this the guy they're completely overprotective of with the slightest hint of trouble? Isn't this the guy who, along with Curt Schilling, the Red Sox need most if they intend to get to the promised land?"

What was Francona thinking? Guregian gives us the answer: "He said he spoke to the umpire between innings, making sure if Pedro had a problem with the mound, the game would be stopped to have the grounds crew take care of it. That was the extent of his concern." For what it's worth, Martinez defended his manager: "Was it worth the risk? Yeah. ... The thing was, I couldn't afford to slide. When I go through the full stretch, sliding cost me to pull (my hip) a little bit. But it wasn't too bad. I got out in time." ... Martinez's hip is still sore, but "Everything's fine, it's going to be OK. I ran on it, it remained a little tight, I threw a little bit, it didn't feel all that good. But with a little time, a little therapy, it will be OK." ... Francona added: "He did good. I think these things happen." ... Especially when you allow them to happen, you frigging idiot.

Trade News: The most important news is that Randy Johnson will likely be in Arizona and not New York. ... Several teams, including the Marlins and Padres, have inquired about Derek Lowe. The consensus is if the Red Sox do anything, "it will be minor." Sean McAdam reports on a couple of possible deals involving, Derek Lowe, Kevin Youkilis, San Diego's Brian Lawrence (P) and Jay Payton (OF) and Philadelphia's Ricky Ledee (OF).

If Scott Williamson's rehab assignment Thursday for Pawtucket went well, he will be activated from the disabled list this weekend. Pokey Reese is eligible to come off the disabled list August 4, but factoring in a rehab assignment for him, he probably will not return until the middle of August. ... Byung-Hyun Kim took the loss for the PawSox Tuesday, allowing two runs on four hits in four innings to Syracuse. ... Lowe has never fared very well in the Metrodome. In 9 games, he has allowed 29 hits in 18.2 innings and has a 7.23 career ERA.

Friday: Bronson Arroyo (3-7, 4.20) vs. Kyle Lohse (4-7, 4.87)
Saturday: Derek Lowe (9-9, 5.56) vs. Brad Radke (7-6, 3.69)
Sunday: Pedro Martinez (11-4, 4.15) vs. Johan Santana (9-6, 3.36)

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