May 31, 2006

G51: Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 6

We saw (finally) Ted Lilly pitch like he does against the rest of the league; Ortiz, Loretta, Nixon and Ramirez hit home runs; and David Pauley threw four decent innings before having a bit of a meltdown in the fifth.

Pauley was aided by double plays to end each of the first three innings. In the fifth, with a 7-2 lead, he walked the leadoff man. After getting one out, he surrendered three singles and a triple. Terry Francona left Pauley out at least a batter or two too long, seemingly hoping he could shut the door against the bottom third of the Jays order. (And get his five innings in and qualify for the win.)

He could not, however, and was pulled after letting Toronto cut the lead to 7-6. The quartet of Van Buren (who got two outs in the fifth to strand the tying run at third), Delcarmen (1.2 IP, 0 H), Foulke (a perfect eighth 8th) and Papelbon (leadoff single, then three outs for his 19th save) allowed only two hits and one walk over the final 4.2 innings.

Moronic Media Moments: With JT Snow batting in the eighth, Jamie Campbell, the Jays play-by-play guy, informed us that Snow has not had much playing time with the Red Sox this season "and has suggested that a change of venue might be a good idea". ... Snow's request was in the May 18 papers; his subsequent statement that he's happy to stay in Boston was printed May 24 -- seven days ago. Nice prep work, Jamie.

Also, Pat Tabler, Campbell's partner, after Catalanotto was thrown out on a close play at first base: "I don't know if they got that 'tie goes to the runner' thing ..." The Jays are off tomorrow, Pat, why don't you read the rule book.

The Yankees beat Detroit 6-1, so both New York and Boston are 31-20. Toronto is 29-23, 2.5 games out.

5:40 PM -- Lineups:
Crisp, CF Catalanotto, LF
Loretta, 2B Zaun, C
Ortiz, DH Rios, CF
Ramirez, LF Glaus, DH
Youkilis, 1B Overbay, 1B
Lowell, 3B Hillenbrand, 3B
Mirabelli, C Hinske, RF
Nixon, RF Hill, SS
Gonzalez, SS Alfonso, 2B
I love that 1-6! (Is Vernon Wells tired from all that jogging around the bases?)


David Pauley (#60) makes his major league debut tonight against Ted Lilly at Skydome.

Pauley, a 22-year-old righthander, was 2-3, 2.39 in 10 starts for Portland (AA). In 60.1 innings, he has allowed 54 hits and 17 walks, while striking out 47. Pauley has not pitched in AAA. ... He came over from San Diego in December 2004 with Jay Payton and Ramon Vazquez in the Dave Roberts trade.

According to Sox Prospects:
Pauley mixes an excellent sinker with a low 90s fastball with good movement, a good changeup, and a top-notch curveball. Has 4th or 5th starter potential. Has been very consistent in recent seasons, with some flashes of brilliance. ... Needs to improve his control somewhat.
Pauley was an eighth round pick in 2001 and has a 3.78 ERA in six minor league seasons. Here's SoSH Adopt-A-Prospect thread on Pauley. ... Andrew (of the 12eight blog) has a piece on Pauley at Fire Brand.

Pauley: "Pure excitement. Obviously, I was shocked at first. It took me a few minutes to come down and realize what was going on. Biggest point in my life."

Terry Francona: "We didn't think it would bother his progression. We have a day off [Thursday]. It's not like he has to go eight. And hopefully some unfamiliarity with him will get him through. We think he can handle a start or two or whatever it ends up being." ... A second start would be next Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

Pauley got the nod when David Wells went on the disabled list for the third time this season. Francona said he told Wells after an aborted throwing session "'Seems to me that if you thought you could pitch you'd be yelling at me.' And he says, 'Yeah.' So it made it painfully obvious to me that that was the move to make." ... Wells could return for a June 11 start against Texas.

The other possibilities for tonight's spot start were Abe Alvarez and Craig Hansen. Alvarez would have been pitching on his normal rest, but the Jays have hit lefties at a .340 clip this year. Although Alvarez hadn't spent the required 10 days in the minors after being sent down May 22, putting Wells on the DL would have voided that rule. Hansen threw four innings on Saturday (in only his third minor league start) and would have been pitching on three days rest.

Wily Mo Pena Has Wrist Surgery

Statement from Red Sox Medical Director Dr. Thomas Gill:
Wily Mo Pena underwent diagnostic testing and further examination on Tuesday. He has an injury to the hamate bone in his left wrist. The plan is to perform a surgical procedure on Thursday morning to treat the injury.

Wily Mo will immediately begin rehabilitation on the wrist. He will be able to continue his throwing and conditioning programs throughout the entire post-operative period.
No mention of when Pena might return. ... For what it's worth, David Ortiz broke a hamate bone in his right wrist in 1998 and missed two months.

So it looks like The Willie Harris Era will continue (and Trot playing against LHP (.222)). Despite Adam Stern's low numbers in Pawtucket (.231/.301/.331), I'd rather have him on the bench than Wee Willie.

G50: Blue Jays 8, Red Sox 5

"Drop Vernon" anyone?

Vernon Wells continues to destroy Red Sox pitching. In 10 games against Boston this year, Wells is 18-for-45 (.400) with eight home runs and 17 RBI. (Against Josh Beckett, he is 6-for-12 with four homers.)

After his third home run last night, he received what he said (although I find it hard to believe) was his first curtain call:
I didn't know what I was doing. I just went out and tried to do what I see people on TV doing.
It was a muggy night at Skydome and the roof was open. In my three previous games, the roof had been closed. Because the GO trains leave only once an hour, we left the game in the middle of the eighth. That's usually the unforgiveable baseball sin to me, but we really didn't want to wait around Union Station for an entire hour. So I "missed" Wells's third shot.

Down 7-5 in the top of the eighth, Manny Ramirez (celebrating his 34th birthday) batted with runners at first and third, but Justin Speier struck him out. BJ Ryan came in to face Jason Varitek and throughly overmatched him, fanning him on three pitches. (If Boston had tied the game or taken the lead, we would have stayed.)

Chris Snow notes that if Manny retired today, he'd be one of only six players ever to hit .310 or better with at least 400 homers and 1,400 RBIs. The others: Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial and Jimmie Foxx.

Snow also says that it was three years ago yesterday -- May 30, 2003 -- that David Ortiz joined the Red Sox lineup on a full-time basis. Who could have possibly imagined what would transpire in those three seasons... In that time, Ortiz ranked tops in the majors in RBIs (416), ahead of Albert Pujols (387) and Ramirez (377), second in extra-base hits (263) and homers (131), behind Pujols (279, 141), fourth in slugging (.604), after Barry Bonds (.753), Pujols (.657), and Ramirez (.608), and fifth in doubles (126). Ortiz: "That's how we roll."

Since signing with the Sox, Matt Clement has pitched 12 games against the Yankees and Blue Jays, allowing 76 hits and 41 walks in only 58.2 innings and posting a 8.13 ERA.

Puke Alert. Rob Parker and Tom Gage of the Detroit News have a chat:
Gage: And what a week it should be with the Yankees in town, followed by the Red Sox. First of all, which is the better team? ...

Parker: I still think the Yankees are better. As long as they have Derek Jeter on that squad, I'll always think they're a better team. I know, I know, their pitching hasn't been what it should be, but they're hovering around first, they haven't even caught fire yet.

Gage: With that rotation, can they catch fire?

Parker: I'm not sure, but they will get pitching help before it's all over. Of that, I'm certain.


Off to Skydome! ... Beckett / Chacin, 7 PM.

May 30, 2006

G49: Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 6

With Timlin, Foulke and Papelbon unavailable yesterday, Wakefield did his job, throwing eight shutout innings. We'll see if Matt Clement can do likewise, when he faces Roy Halladay at 7 PM.

May 29, 2006

Road Trip

As Coco Crisp stepped into the batter's box yesterday for his first plate appearance at Fenway Park as a Red Sox player, he was surprised to receive a standing ovation. He said he had never received one before -- anywhere.
It's kind of hard to describe, the actual feeling, other than weird. It was exciting. I was grateful for it, but kind of felt a little uncomfortable. Maybe I'm a shy guy. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to take off my helmet. First game back, you feel a little bit different. Your energy level is a little higher than usual. You've got to try to calm down and relax. It took a couple at-bats to do that ... I felt like I had three cups of coffee the first at-bat when they gave me that ovation.
Karen Guregian quotes a clubhouse source as saying David Wells believes he can make his scheduled start on Wednesday. Wells was apparently able to put all of his weight on the injured leg yesterday, walking without crutches and not much of a limp. He will have a pitching session today in Toronto.

An MRI of Mike Timlin's right shoulder showed inflammation, but no structural damage. "It's very sound - the doctors were amazed I'm a 40-year-old. I've never had a problem with my shoulder before." Timlin says the problem began in Philadelphia last weekend, but Terry Francona feels pitching in the WBC during spring training may have also been a contributing factor to Timlin's fatigue.

It turns out that Francona was willing to let Tim Wakefield finish the game yesterday, but the knuckleballer declined. "I had 108 pitches and I didn't really feel like pushing it any further." ... Gabe Kapler and lefty Mike Holtz begin rehab assignments in Fort Myers on Thursday.


Ray, an old friend from Vermont, arrives for a two-day visit this afternoon. We'll be at Skydome Tuesday night.

May 28, 2006


Barry Bonds passed Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list with a fourth inning shot off old friend Byung-Hyun Kim of the Rockies. Nice to see he did it in San Francisco.

According to SABR's David Vincent, this is the first time in nearly 85 years that Ruth hasn't been either first or second on the career home run list. (Babe moved into second place back on June 20, 1921, when he passed Sam Thompson with his 127th home run.)

Ruth actually hit (at least) 715 home runs. On July 8, 1918, he hit a 10th-inning, game-winning home run against Cleveland at Fenway Park. But because the game was tied at 0-0 and the runner on first base scored the winning run, the rules at the time reduced Ruth's blast to a triple.

The current Top 10:
Hank Aaron 755
Barry Bonds 715
Babe Ruth 714
Willie Mays 660
Sammy Sosa 588
Frank Robinson 586
Mark McGwire 583
Harmon Killebrew 573
Rafael Palmeiro 569
Reggie Jackson 563

G48: Red Sox 5, Devil Rays 4

So, when was the last time a Red Sox win pissed you off that much?

After Wakefield goes eight shutout innings (108 pitches), Tito pulls the hook with a 5-0 lead. (Bad move.) Seanez gets two outs, but he also walks three Rays. Tavarez comes in and strikes out Norton, but Mirabelli lets strike 3 get by him for a passed ball (5-1). The game continues. Tavarez walks Gathright (5-2). Tavarez walks Lugo (5-3). (Was the crowd chanting "Papelbon"?)

Tavarez gives up a single to Crawford (5-4), but Gathright, with the tying run, is thrown out at the plate, by Willie Harris (who also singled, doubled, was HBP and scored two runs).

Tampa Bay 9th: 9 batters, 1 hit, 4 runs, 5 walks. Unbelievable.

Willie Harris = MVP!


Timlin on the disabled list ("tired arm" or "strained shoulder"), Delcarmen called up.

MDC's Pawtucket stats this year:
10 17 9 6 19 2.12
According to the Herald, Tito will not use Papelbon or Foulke today. He told Paps: "Don't even put on your spikes today."

Coco Is Crisp; Back In Lineup

After going 1-for-3 (with a walk and two RBI) for Pawtucket last night, Coco Crisp was activated and is in the starting lineup, leading off. ... Wily Mo Pena, who will have an MRI of his left wrist today, was put on the disabled list.

Crisp was originally going to bat sixth or seventh, with Kevin Youkilis remaining at the leadoff spot, but with Manny Ramirez getting a second day off, Youkilis is batting cleanup.
Crisp, CF
Loretta, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Lowell, 3B
Mirabelli, C
Nixon, RF
Gonzalez, SS
Harris, LF
Wakefield / Hendrickson at 2 PM.

Curt Schilling on #200:
Today was my son's [Gehrig] 11th birthday, and the only thing he asked from me was my 200th win, which is probably more pressure than anything I could think of. Five days ago I pitched on my daughter [Gabriella's] 9th birthday [a 9-5 victory over the Yankees]. There would have been a problem in the house if I won for one and not the other.
David Wells will undergo another series of tests today. The ProJo reports that for a time yesterday, it was believed that Wells would be put on the DL because Manny Delcarmen was told he was going to Boston. Later, however, Delcarmen was told to stay put.

Jon Lester, scheduled to pitch today in Pawtucket, has allowed one earned run or less in his last four starts, going 3-0 with an 0.87 ERA. If Wells cannot come back and Lenny DiNardo keeps showing his DiNardoness, Theo Epstein did not rule out a spot start for Lester in June.

The Akron Beacon Journal has an excerpt from Terry Pluto's book Dealing: The Cleveland Indians' New Ballgame. It's from Chapter 3: Manny's Free Agency Was A Circus.

May 27, 2006

G47: Red Sox 6, Devil Rays 4

In notching his 200th career victory, Curt Schilling (7-8-4-0-7, 111) had only two rough innings, when the dregs of the Devil Rays lineup -- Ty Wigginton, Greg Norton, Josh Paul, Joey Gathright -- battered him about. In both the second and fifth innings, two doubles and a single led to two Tampa runs. (In the other five innings, he gave up a total of two singles.)

But those bumps in the road were no problem, because Boston scored one in the first (Ortiz's sac fly bringing in Youkilis, who totaled two singles, two walks, and three runs scored) and four in the second (Nixon's two-run double being the big blow). ... Mark Loretta had three hits.

Keith Foulke pitched a perfect eighth (10 pitches) and Everyday Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth (7 pitches) for his 18th save in 18 chances.

WTF Moment: Ruddy Lugo walked Willie Harris on four pitches in the eighth inning.

New York routed the Royals 15-4, so the East lead remains at 2 games.

6:07 PM -- Kevin Youkilis is playing left field tonight (it had been reported earlier this week that he was taking fly balls out there). ... Manny Ramirez gets his first day off.
Youkilis, LF
Loretta, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Nixon, RF
Varitek, C
Lowell, 3B
Snow, 1B
Pena, CF
Cora, SS
Wells Update: An MRI taken today of Wells's right knee confirmed the initial diagnosis of a deep bone bruise. ... Tito: "I think there's an outside chance he could make his next start [Wednesday in Toronto]. We're still holding out a little bit of hope. I think there's a little bit better chance his start gets pushed back a couple of days ..."

Curt Schilling goes for his 200th career victory tonight. Only 103 pitchers have reached that milestone (three of them with the Red Sox -- Lefty Grove, Ferguson Jenkins and Luis Tiant).

Some schlub named McClung is tonight's designated punching bag.

Far From Fenway, Part 2

It seems that followers of JoS outside of North America are a taciturn bunch, because I received only two emails to my request for info about how fans far from Fenway follow the team. (My long-time reader(s) in Venezuela is keeping quiet.) ... Here's a bit of their responses:

I have been based in the Tokyo area for many years and so was more in touch with Japanese pro ball for quite some time. There is very little understanding of the actual quality of ball that is played in domestic pro leagues in Asia (Korea & Taiwan especially).

Starting with the pioneer, Hideo Nomo, however, there has been a steady parade of Japanese players making it big in the States, so in Japan we now get tons of MLB news on local TV. In fact, the public station, NHK, now devotes a 45-minute newscap to MLB every night at 12:15. Granted, the news is limited to almost entirely the Yankees (Matsui), the Mets ('little' Matsui), the White Sox (Iguchi), the Mariners (Ichiro), the Cardinals (Taguchi), Texas (Ohtsuka), and now the Dodgers (Saito).

Games are also broadcast live in the morning here, but again usually it is Yankees and Mariners games. When NY and Seattle play Boston, then I get to see the games live (or record them for viewing in the evening).
I can only claim 6 time zones (I'm in Paris), but, as is the case for almost every other displaced Sox fan, the Internet allows me to follow the Sox. Although I can't claim to match the 12 time zones that others put up with, I would venture to suggest that being 5 or 6 hours ahead of the U.S. is pretty much the worst time-zone to be in, because about 90% of Red Sox games are at 1, 2 or 4 in the morning, which makes watching live games a major operation. It *can* be done fairly regularly, but you need to be able to survive on a few hours sleep ...

The Internet is a great thing. It has allowed me to connect - both virtually and subsequently in real life - with people I would never otherwise have come across and made me feel - despite being an English guy living 4,000 miles from Fenway - part of Red Sox Nation.
Daryl (Singapore Sox Fan) commented in the original post: "You just get used to having games start at 7.05am, just before one heads to work."

Adopt-A-Prospect: Iggy Update #2

Following up my April 17 report on Iggy Suarez, here's what he's been doing for the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Carolina League, Class A Advanced):

Jed Lowrie is on the disabled list and in extended spring training, so Iggy is the Rocks' starting shortstop, usually batting second.
     AB  R  H RBI  NOTES
0518 4 2 2 3 bases loaded double in 10-3 win
0519 4 0 2 0 CS
0520 4 0 1 1 3 game sweep of Myrtle Beach
0521 Off Day
0522 6 0 1 0 13 inning loss
0523 4 0 2 2 BB, made 4th E (batted 8th)
0524 4 0 0 0 CS, made 5th E
0526 Rained Out
Not known for his hitting, Suarez has actually poked into the Top 10 in batting average a few times this year.

The Blue Rocks site has an eight-minute interview with Iggy (video), posted May 18. It's a good interview. As you might expect, younger players (especially in the minors) are a bit more revealing about themselves than veterans. Iggy doesn't spill any big secrets, but it's a refreshing surprise.

Season stats:
.275 38 138 15 38 6 2 0 15 14 32 1 4 .348 .340
Despite having a .500 record (23-23), Wilmington leads the the Carolina League's Northern Division by .5 games.

May 26, 2006

G46: Red Sox 8, Devil Rays 4

Excellent pitching performances from Julian Tavarez and Rudy Seanez. ... Really!

Tavarez was the long man after Wells was injured and threw only 27 pitches in 2.1 innings (3 hits, 2 runs) and got credit for the win. Seanez followed up his nice two-inning stint against the Yankees on Wednesday with 1.2 scoreless innings tonight. The Sox did need Jonathan Papelbon to get the final out, though.

David Ortiz's three-run double in the fifth turned the game around, wiping out Tampa's 1-0 lead. That rally was started by the bottom of the order, as Wily Mo Pena and Alex Gonzalez singled off Scott Kazmir.

Boston got three more in the sixth (two on Mike Lowell's 7th home run -- he also singled and doubled) and that was pretty much that. (Ortiz picked up his 4th RBI in the eighth.)

Everyone in the starting lineup had at least one hit. Gonzalez ended the night with three singles and a .227 batting average, only 10 points behind Jason Varitek (.237).

11:05 PM -- It's raining in the Bronx and the Yankees are hoping to bat in the bottom of the ninth. Kansas City has a 7-5 lead.


Dustan Mohr was sent down to make room (!) for David Wells.

Looking at the lineup, it's time to move Varitek down to #7 or so until he gets his average over, say .240:
Youkilis, 1B
Loretta, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Varitek, C
Lowell, 3B
Nixon, RF
Pena, CF
Gonzalez, SS
He should not be batting fifth.

Wells Hit By Line Drive (Right Knee)

With one out in the top of the fifth, a line drive from Travis Lee hit David Wells in the right knee. Wells left the game immediately.

Red Sox spokesman John Blake:
He was examined by Red Sox medical director Thomas Gill. Imaging tests performed on site at Fenway Park revealed a deep contusion of the right knee, but no immediate evidence of a serious injury. Wells will undergo further diagnostic testing on Saturday to confirm this diagnosis.
Wells had been pitching quite well: 4.1-5-1-0-0; 53 pitches, 41 strikes.

Wells Returns; Crisp 0-For-5

David Wells makes his return tonight, matched up against fellow lefty Scott Kazmir. Wells will not be on a strict pitch limit.

In an article about the solid performance of the bullpen, Karen Guregian notes: "The Sox now are 25-0 when leading after eight innings, 23-1 when leading after seven, and 21-2 when leading after six."

That sounds good, but is it unusually good? ... A random sampling from around the majors:
          Season  Aft 6  Aft 7  Aft 8
Red Sox 27-18 21-2 23-1 25-0
Yankees 26-19 21-1 21-1 22-1
Blue Jays 25-21 21-1 23-0 22-0
Tigers 33-14 25-1 26-1 30-1
White Sox 31-15 24-4 25-2 26-1
Mets 28-17 19-2 22-2 22-2
Cardinals 30-16 27-1 28-0
Royals 10-34 8-4 9-2
Matt Clement says his right ankle is fine and he should make his start on Monday in Toronto. "As far as mentally, when I came out of the game [Wednesday night], all I was thinking was, 'What the heck is wrong with me?' ... It's frustrating because I feel pretty good."

In an extended spring training game last night, Coco Crisp went 0-for-5; he struck out twice, walked (stole second), lined out to third, popped to short and grounded to short. Crisp did not play in the field.

May 25, 2006

G45: Red Sox 4, Devil Rays 1

Red Sox - 222 202 32x - 15

It was a night of squandered opportunities -- 13 hits, 5 walks, 1 Devil Ray error -- but Boston prevailed, because, well, Tampa Bay sucks.

Josh Beckett was strong (6-4-0-1-7) but threw 101 pitches in six innings. Keith Foulke pitched a clean seventh, Mike Timlin struggled in the eighth (one out, then three straight singles and a force play), and Jonathan Papelbon jogged in for a four-out save.

He struck out Ty Wigginton to end the eighth -- and then seemed a bit off in the ninth. He threw nine pitches to Greg Norton (not this cool guy) (single) and eight pitches to Toby Hall (pop to right). After his sixth pitch to Hall, Papelbon shook off Jason Varitek three times before the catcher called time. Then Papelbon shook him off again, before delivering a pitch. Papelbon was not throwing his split as much, relying much more on fastballs, which were not up to his usual velocity. (Of Pap's 17 pitches to the first two batters in the ninth, nine were fouled off.)

Papelbon regained some control and got Russell Branyan looked at a 96 mph fastball, then got Dave Hollins to ground to second. ... And the water was dirty. ... 16 saves in 16 chances for Mr. 0.36 ERA.

Also: While the Sox were batting in the bottom of the eighth, many fans were doing the wave. If I were president of the Red Sox, any fan doing the wave at any time during any game would be subject to a lifetime ban from Fenway Park. ... John Henry, I suggest you introduce such a scheme.


Beckett (4.19) / Waechter (6.63), 7 PM says Doug Waechter
made his first start out of the bullpen on Saturday ... He allowed three runs over six innings on six Marlins hits, walking three and striking out two. It was a big improvement from his last outing, in which he allowed seven runs on 11 hits over seven innings in his longest outing of the year. Waechter lasted just 2.2 innings at Boston on April 19, surrendering seven runs (six earned) on five hits and three walks for his first loss of the season.

A Pleasure To Watch: Manny On A Tear

Manny Ramirez is red hot. In the Yankees series, he was 8-for-12 with four home runs and 10 RBIs. ... In seven games against New York this season, Manny is 13-for-26.

Yet he still draws heat from the media -- even for doing the right thing. In his "Inside the Game" column, the ProJo's Steven Krasner felt the need to get on Ramirez for running through DeMarlo Hale's stop sign in the third inning (the "Manny Being Manny Creative School of Baserunning").

Krasner asks: "Smart play by Manny? Good read?" Well, Krasner noted (in his previous sentence) that "Ramirez scored without a relay throw" so I'd say it was a good (and correct) read.

Krasner did not mention Wily Mo Pena's inability to score on a wild ball four to Mark Loretta. Apparently, he didn't see the ball.

Pena explained:
When the catcher went up for the ball and put his hands up, the people [in the stands behind home plate] stood up and I didn't see the ball. When I saw it, [Stinnett] was picking it up [near the backstop] and the pitcher was covering home. ... If I had seen the ball, I'd have had a chance, but I didn't see it go by him. When I saw it, oh gosh, it was too late.
Pena's indecision didn't cost the Sox the game -- not directly, anyway -- but his explanation also doesn't make much sense. What was he watching?

David Ortiz's rough night was back page news in New York.

Coco Crisp: "I don't feel discomfort, as far as swinging the bat or in baseball activities. [Monday] is probably the more set-in-stone day. If it's set in stone, you can't erase that, but you can chisel the rest of the stone and make it even again, so I might come back on Sunday."

When Crisp returns, Kevin Youkilis and his .429 OBP will be moved out of the leadoff spot. Youkilis noted that not every hitter is suited for leading off: "If you put Nomar in the first spot and tell him to take a pitch, he'd laugh at you."

May 24, 2006

G44: Yankees 8, Red Sox 6

Matt Clement whines about not starting in the last Yankees series? Then he goes out and sucks up the place to the tune of 4.1-9-8-4-4 -- while Terry Francona is off napping, and leaves him out there two or three batters too long. By the time Tito woke up, the damage was done and New York led 8-5. And that was enough of a cushion. So fuck you, too, Tito.

Boston had a decent chance against Kyle Farnsworth in the 8th. They trailed 8-6 and had Wily Mo Pena on third and Willie Harris on second with one out. Kevin Youkilis got smoked on some heat for the second out and Mark Loretta, after falling behind 0-2, worked a walk. Ball 4 went flying over his head to the backstop, but Pena was frozen at third base. Harris was half way to third and had to race back to second. Third base coach DeMarlo Hale was steaming.

David Ortiz fouled off a couple of pitches, but was looking fastball on 1-2 and was fooled on a slider (at 86 mph) for the third out. It was a tough night for Flo (0-for-5, 4 K).

On the good side, Manny Ramirez hit two home runs, a double and walked in five trips. Youkilis singled in the first, homered in the second and made several nice plays at first base. ... And Rudy Seanez tossed two scoreless innings.

I've just about had it with Clement. After getting two outs in the second, he allowed a walk, single, walk, HBP (run), single (2 runs), double (run). Then, he gave up four hits on four consecutive pitches in the fifth. Both flurries of hits came (mostly) at the bottom of the Yankee lineup, to Hall of Fame guys like Robinson Cano, Terrence Long, Kelly Stinnett and Milk Dud Cabrera.

Plus, I was stuck with the YES feed, so I watched the entire game on mute. Which isn't so bad, but I missed hearing the crowd noise. ... Judging from SoSH comments, Michael Kay whined for nine innings about Manny showboating on his HR last night and how he needed to be beaned.

Fuck it, we're still in first place. Bring on the Rays.


Shades of Jimy and Darren Lewis as Torre has Melky Cabrera leading off! ... WTF, Joe??
Youkilis, 1B   Cabrera, RF
Loretta, 2B Jeter, SS
Ortiz, DH Sheffield, DH
Ramirez, LF Giambi, 1B
Varitek, C Rodriguez, 3B
Lowell, 3B Cano, 2B
Pena, CF Williams, CF
Mohr, RF Long, LF
Gonzalez, SS Stinnett, C

Clement, P Johnson, P

Coco Back On Monday?

Coco Crisp is shooting to be back in the lineup Monday in Toronto. Crisp will play in two extended spring training games tomorrow and Friday, then play for Pawtucket on Saturday (and maybe Sunday).

Crisp wanted to go straight to Pawtucket, but was overruled. Francona:
We don't want him to [injure himself] because he's trying so hard to come back. He looked at me like I was crazy when I mentioned [extended spring], but I thought it was a great idea. ... He can play center field, he can lead off every inning. ... If he needs the at-bats, he can stay and play the game [Sunday]. It's a 6:05 game. Then he could fly to Toronto the next day.
Manny Is Evil, Part 57: Tony Massarotti rails against Manny Ramirez's "inexcusable showboating" on his home run last night, adding that he's liable to get a "fastball in the ribs". Mazz also quotes Mr. Yankee, Johnny Damon: "Yeah, we're upset by that, but Manny's done it many times before."

More Damon: "Getting these big hits against the Red Sox? Yeah, I love it. ... It's their loss. They know it, and I know it." ... In their first 43 games, the Red Sox have scored 35 runs out of the leadoff spot -- the exact same rate as last year. And Kevin Youkilis's .423 OBP is far better than Johnny's .357. ... Sorry, buddy, I know how badly you want to feel missed, but it ain't happenin'.

J.T. Snow says he's content remaining with the Red Sox (especially over being dealt to a non-contender):
My salary, my age, probably work against me, but I'd be fully happy staying here. I'm totally fine staying here and playing on a winner. ... We've all been in Kevin Youkilis' spot where you get your shot, and it's time to perform. And he's doing it, and I'm happy for him. Anyone who plays the game wants to play more. I don't know anybody who wants to sit around on the bench. ... Hopefully, these guys can win me a ring.
No Support: When Wakefield left last night's game, the Sox had scored only one run. In five of Wakefield's 10 starts, his teammates have scored one or zero runs while he was in the game.

May 23, 2006

G43: Yankees 7, Red Sox 5

Frustrating outcome, as Tito leaves Wakefield in one batter too long in the 7th. I really thought Boston would prevail, even down 7-1, but I was laughing and joking at home throughout the game, even through Mohr's game-ending K. ... The ripple effect of 2004 continues.


Interesting bottom third of the order tonight:
Youkilis, 1B Damon, CF
Loretta, 2B Jeter, SS
Ortiz, DH Sheffield, DH
Ramirez, LF Rodriguez, 3B
Nixon, RF Posada, C
Lowell, 3B Cano, 2B
Cora, SS Williams, LF
Mirabelli, C Long, RF
Harris, CF Phillips, 1B
Wily Mo scratched again. ... Is Cora #7 so the Sox can have LRLRLR in the 3-8 spots? That seemed weak with Pena at #9, but more forgiveable with Harris. ... The Sox should run wild on that outfield; lossen up your right arm, DeMarlo!

Ian Browne reports that the New York media crushed the Boston media 15-0 earlier today (their 9th straight win). Tyler Kepner of the Times threw eight shutout innings (a complete game). The Globe's Chris Snow started, but didn't make it out of the second inning, allowing 10 runs in 1.2 innings. The Boston linescore: 0 runs, 5 hits, 10 errors. Ouch. ... A second game is scheduled for June 7.

As Usual

Matching the Daily News back page above, Ken Davidoff bashes Alex Rodriguez in today's Newsday:
If it doesn't count, count on A-Rod

Boston -- Oh, A-Rod. Even when you do something right, it seems so wrong.

Of course, Alex Rodriguez smoked the first pitch he saw from Keith Foulke last night well over the Green Monster, the embodiment of a garbage-time home run. ...

More definitive, in the minds of the many A-Rod Haters, will be his four-pitch strikeout against nemesis Curt Schilling to lead off the fourth inning -- right after the Red Sox knocked around Chien-Ming Wang for four runs in the bottom of the third. ...

Sure, Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon could have done more, too, since Hideki Matsui joined Sheffield on the disabled list. But A-Rod always takes the biggest hit, because he's A-Rod.
Inside the Daily News, Anthony McCarron was a little kinder. He admitted that the
cosmetic two-run homer ... probably won't do anything for his reputation with the Yankee fans who bash him for not coming through in the clutch and hitting meaningless longballs.

But Rodriguez said he hoped the Yanks' four-run ninth against deposed Sox closer Keith Foulke would give him and his struggling teammates a jolt for tonight's game. "We swung the bats really well in the ninth," Rodriguez said. "Hopefully, it'll carry over."
Coco Crisp made it official: "Everybody thought I had the flu. But now I can say it was kidney stones." Crisp, who has yet to make his Fenway debut as a Sock, expects to return to the lineup within a week. ... No one seems to be asking: Why did Francona (and the Sox) lie about Crisp having the flu two weeks ago? Why hide the truth?

Wily Mo Pena hopes to be playing center field tonight. "Last year, I had the same thing [sore left wrist] that bothered me for a week, but I don't expect this to bother me that long." ... Gary Sheffield says he'll be back in the lineup tonight.

The Yankees have not scored in 28 of their last 34 innings. ... Schilling: "That team is decimated. They've lost some very significant people. We've got to take advantage of them now."

Wakefield / Wright at 7 PM.

May 22, 2006

G42: Red Sox 9, Yankees 5

A win is a win. 2.5.

Schilling was superb (8-5-1-0-6), Ortiz and Manny both drove in three runs and the game was a blow-out before Keith Foulke tossed some ugly BP in the ninth (including, yup, a Show Pony 2-run shot into the Monster Seats, which cut the score from 9-1 to 9-3; that's clutch, baby!).

Schilling allowed only five hits -- and three of them came with two outs in the third inning, which led to one run. The other hits were singles in the fifth and seventh.

One note on ESPN: Good god, they suck. Dave O'Brien and Rick Sutcliffe all but declared the Red Sox season over in the first inning when third base coach DeMarlo Hale did not send Mark Loretta from second on Manny Ramirez's single to short left. It turns out that Terrence Long overran the ball, but Hale could not have known that, and should not have expected it.

The ESPN guys said over and over how the Red Sox had blown the play, how their fans were "stunned" at the run not scoring and how the club had egg on their faces. ... And yet every intelligent person would have seen that Hale had made the correct call -- Long touched the ball well before Loretta reached third base, he was charging it and the play was in shallow left -- at Fenway. Not a long throw home, in other words.

The only reason I could see why Sox fans were "stunned" at the decision is that our old third base coach would have waved him in no matter what. And while stunned (perhaps), we were also thankful our 3B coach had a brain.

By the way, once Boston had taken the lead -- it turned out their season was not in jeopardy, after all -- and Hale wisely held runners at third on two occasions in the third and seventh innings, which lead to Manny Ramirez driving both of them in, both O.B. and Sut said absolutely nothing.

There was also some sweet fielding. A 6-4-3 DP ended the fifth as Alex Cora (who also went 3-for-4) moved to his right, gloved the ball and threw to second off-balance, Loretta turned a tough pivot and Kevin Youkilis scooped the ball out of the dirt. Yook also started a nifty 3-6-3 DP to end the seventh.


Curt Schilling (4.17 ERA) has been in a slump, allowing six home runs and 11 runs in his last two starts. On May 10, Schilling gave up eight hits and six runs over five innings to the Yankees -- Boston's only loss to New York in four games this year. He has been studying tape of his performances in the 2001 World Series in preparation for what he called "Super Bowl Monday". Schilling does have a 2.14 ERA in three home starts.

In his last two starts, Chien-Ming Wang (3.79 ERA) has allowed three runs (two earned) in 16 innings against Oakland and Texas. On May 1, Wang pitched five innings (5-6-3-4-0). Boston won that game 7-3. ... Manny Ramirez (4-for-7) and Ortiz (4-for-6) have done well against Wang.

The tabloids can be so mean.

Ortiz On MFY Series: "This Isn't Vietnam"

David Ortiz was polite, if not exactly historically accurate, when he discussed the Yankees:
Dude, that team always wins. ... That doesn't mean I have to hate them and they have to hate me. It's a game, with a bunch of professional guys. It's not like I want to kill someone over there. ... It's not like this is Vietnam. I like the intensity. It keeps you awake the whole game. Those games, hell yeah, this is it right here. You know the whole planet is watching you.
Does that mean Ortiz sometimes naps during games against the Royals and Devil Rays?

The Yankees are pretty banged up. Hideki Matsui (wrist) and Bubba Crosby (hamstring) are out and several others are bothered by various Jorge Posada (back), Bernie Williams (gluteus), Johnny Damon (foot fracture), Shawn Chacon (shin) and Kyle Farnsworth (back) are bothered by various problems. The batting order has been featuring Melky Cabrera, Kelly Stinnett, Andy Phillips and Kevin Reese.

Notes: Jason Varitek played in his 1,000th game yesterday, the 953rd as catcher, putting his third on the team's all-time list (Carlton Fisk (990) and Sammy White (967)). ... Coco Crisp will take batting practice today. ... Gabe Kapler may be a week away from game action (probably in extended spring training).

Some New York media was in Philadelphia trying to get Francona to discuss the New York series. "I know your paper paid for you to come down here but tough shit. I'll let you talk to Wells."

It may be too late. Claiming that his comments about Dave Dellucci and steriod rumors were taken out of context, Wells says he is through with the media:
I wasn't accusing him or anything of the sort. So the [expletive] who did it, or the [expletives] who did it, I think they need to eat a full bowl of [expletive]. And you can quote me on that. [Expletives]. ... I like talking to reporters, but not anymore. I'm done with them. Today's the last one. You guys get the last hurrah.
We'll see how long this lasts. ... While Wells didn't claim outright that Dellucci was juicing -- he mentioned him more as someone who might be suspected -- from what I read, his comments were not misconstrued. What's amazing to read is Wells saying it's a damn shame that Dellucci's good name was dragged into the discussion when it was Wells who mentioned him!!

The Globe has some silly thing: "Ask the 8-Ball a YES or NO question about the Sox-Yankees series. Get ready to see into the future!" ... I typed in "why does the globe still pay dan shaughnessy for his tripe?" ... The answer: "Schilling knows all."

Finally, David Damiani writes about the "Yankees/Red Sox Sound Chamber" in the odious American Enterprise:
In its ongoing bid to transfix the attention of everyone residing in a 200-mile swath of the Eastern seaboard, ESPN broadcast two of three games of the Yankees/Red Sox series this week. ...

Two factors that go well beyond ratings dictate the way the Red Sox/Yankees series are covered: the largely northeastern-centered major media's belief that the rest of the nation is fascinated over anything occurring in their environs, and an astonishing sense of entitlement. Mike Celizic's MSN column generally opines that baseball has no meaning or value if the Yankees aren't a dominant force in it, while Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated can always be counted on to explore that rarely acknowledged Yankees/Red Sox rivalry angle. ...

Yankees/Red Sox coverage early in the season encapsulates almost everything that's wrong with the mainstream baseball press: self-indulgence, hysteria, an inability to focus on more than a handful of talking points, and a contemptuous confidence that repetition will never fail to entertain its audience.
I love good media bashing, but, dude, just turn your TV off.

And why in god's name are you wasting your time with Mike Celizic? Only the guys at Fire Joe Morgan -- who have dubbed Celizic "The Chancellor and High Commander (American/Western Media Division) for the United Front to Prevent Anything Ever Being Written That Is Not About the Yankees" -- should do that.

May 21, 2006

G41: Philadelphia 10, Red Sox 5

Bah. Work took me away from the second half of the game, which was just as well.

Lenny DiNardo surrendered a walk and five hits to open the third. Abe Alvarez got out of that mess, then pitched the fourth and fifth, but gave up a double, single and three-run home run to start the sixth, giving Philly a 8-3 lead.

When Rudy Seanez was your most effective pitcher, you know it wasn't a good day.

As I mentioned comments during the game, David Wells had a good outing for Pawtucket (5-4-2-1-3, 65 pitches). He says he is ready to go on Friday.

The Phillies series is over, but I did want to mention the Philliesflow blog.

And tonight, let's go, Mets!

Wells On Bonds; Tiz Greatest DH?

David Wells turned 43 yesterday and chatted away. On Bonds:
He hit a few home runs off me while he was juiced. But he's still a hell of a ballplayer. He's admitted taking it, but not knowingly. I think that's a crock. ... I don't think anyone in here would put something in their body without knowing what the effect could be. ... If you do do it, you're an idiot. ... Without asking questions, you're an idiot. ... I respect Barry as a person, as an athlete. ... But if he's cheated as a player, then to me that's just as bad as being a scab.
Okay, so Wells clearly hates cheaters. But then he says:
David Cone always said, 'If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying.' It's a pretty good motto.
?!? Is hoping Wells will make sense when he speaks too much to ask?

The birthday boy also pissed off David Dellucci:
You see a little bitty guy hitting 30 home runs ... what, Dellucci, I guess? How many home runs did he hit last year? 29. Has he ever done that in his career? How many has he hit this year? So, the numbers have gone down tremendously since all this has come up. I know Dave, I've never suspected him of doing them.
It's a huge slap in the face. ... Anyone that's ever played with me knows I spend a lot of time in the weight room. ... I played with [Wells] in New York. I got along great with him. I have no idea why he would bring me into it. ... It's absolutely uncalled for.
Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post wonders if David Ortiz might someday be thought of as the greatest DH of all time [sic]:
Among players with 500 or more games as a DH, Ortiz, the Boston Red Sox slugger, has the highest slugging percentage (.560 through Thursday) as a DH, and only Edgar Martinez (.959), who retired two years ago, has a higher on-base-plus-slugging (OPS) than Ortiz (.930) at the position. ...

By early in the 2008 season, Ortiz, who had 158 homers as a DH through Friday, should surpass Martinez's DH record of 243. Only a handful of additional players -- such as Harold Baines, Don Baylor and perhaps Frank Thomas -- are even in the argument of the greatest designated hitters in history.
Philly Press:
Silent bats, sloppy play negate Phils' pitching (PI)
Listless bats, one big error, and Phils fall (PI)
Rollins throws away Myers' gem (Delco Times)
Probable matchups fthiseis week's Yankees series: Curt Schilling/Chien-Ming Wang, Tim Wakefield/Jaret Wright and Matt Clement/Randy Johnson.

But first, Lenny DiNardo will start this afternoon -- on 13 days rest, against Cory Lidle. Ortiz gets the day off; Trot Nixon is batting third. 1:30 PM.

May 20, 2006

G40: Red Sox 8, Phillies 4

Nice outing for Josh Beckett ... well, the first 28 batters. An error by JT Snow and an eight-pitch walk to Chase Utley opened the eighth inning and brought Ryan Howard to the plate. Tito should have pulled him there -- Julian Tavarez was warm.

Beckett stayed in and Howard hit a first-pitch, three-run home run. The 8-1 lead was 8-4.

Beckett had 91 pitches after seven innings and I wouldn't have minded him being pulled. If the Red Sox bullpen can't hold a 7-run lead with six outs to go, well ... And why not save some of those Beckett pitches for October?

Still, you could argue that Beckett was cruising and should have started the 8th. That's reasonable. But after the walk -- and at 105 pitches -- no. This is one of Francona's obvious faults (Gump had the same problem). And he can't use the excuse of a weak pen this season.

Fortunately, what could have been very ugly was not. Tavarez gave up two one-out singles, but got out of trouble and Mike Timlin threw a perfect ninth on nine pitches (all strikes).

Besides the pitching, Boston got some bizarre offense: Beckett hit a solo home run in the 7th (he also singled home a run in the sixth); Kevin Youkilis followed that with a triple; and Alex "The Pitcher" Gonzalez pounded a two-run shot to dead center in the 8th.

Jason Varitek did not hit a home run for the sixth consecutive May 20th.

Also: 714.

[Gordon Edes writes that David Wells's knee feels good and he expects to be pitching in Fenway against Tampa this Friday.]

New York Papers - Saturday Morning

Almost forgot (they won't be nearly as pleasant tomorrow):

Varitek's May 20 HR Streak At 5 Years

Fun Fact: Jason Varitek has homered on May 20 in each of the past five seasons.
2001 - at KC: 4-for-4, 3 HR, 7 RBI
2002 - v CWS: 3-for-3, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, 3 RS
2003 - v NYY: 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
2004 - at TB: 2-for-4, HR, RBI
2005 - v Atl: 2-for-4, 2B, HR, RBI
He is 1-for-9 with a walk and two strikeouts against Phillies' starter Brett Myers.

When Big Papi talks, Wily Mo Pena listens.

He talks to me a lot. During the game, before the game, after the game, when we go back to the hotel, we just talk about baseball. If I do something wrong in the ballgame, he tells me. ... Just be patient. Wait. Wait. Wait for the pitch. [Ortiz] told me that every time. I was trying to do everything in one at-bat.
We talk a lot because this game is more mental preparation than anything else. He talks, he asks questions, he watches, then he tries to bring it to the field. He's ahead of the game. Way ahead. ... He has the outside of the plate covered pretty good, which takes some time for a hitter to figure that out. Now he has to keep working on the other side of the plate.
Matt Clement singled in the fifth, took second on an error and scored on Ortiz's home run: "I used Trot's batting gloves and Dustan's bat. Last year, I tried a different mixture. I used Bellhorn's bat and I don't remember whose gloves, but it didn't work out."

Ortiz will play first base again tonight before getting Sunday off: "I've got a 1.000 fielding percentage right now. But don't get too happy, OK? I got a couple more games coming up, so don't get too excited."

Kevin Youkilis will start at third tonight. On Sunday, Youkilis and Lowell will start, giving Ortiz his first day off and giving Boston its best fielding infield behind Lenny DiNardo.

Philly Press:
Red Socked (Daily News)
Boston's Ortiz has some NL fun (Inquirer)
Red Sox fans show up in force (Inquirer)
Phillies can't find their way home (Daily News)
Frank Thomas on Barry Bonds:
He's just a tremendous hitter. He hits lefties. He hits righties. He's the best all-around player to ever play the game. He's got over 500 stolen bases. All of those Gold Gloves. There's nothing he hasn't done.
I may be a bit biased, but Babe Ruth won 94 games as a pitcher with a career ERA of 2.28 (ERA+ 122), including a 1.75 mark in 1917. ... There's no shame in being among the Top 10 all-time.

Beckett / Myers at 7 PM. (Pedro faces the Yankees at 1:20 PM).

May 19, 2006

G39: Red Sox 5, Phillies 3

I followed along on Gameday and SoSH, but it sounded like Matt Clement pitched better than his line (6.2-5-3-3-5) -- Keith Foulke allowed two inherited runners to score in the seventh. But Mike Timlin and Jonathan Papelbon retired the last six Phillies (2 strikouts and four groundouts) for the win.

Home run offense for the Sox: Mike Lowell's two-run shot in the second (he finished 3-for-3 with a walk), Jason Varitek's solo blast in the fourth and Ortizzle's two-run bomb in the fifth. ... Shock of the night: Alex Gonzalez drawing an intentional walk in the sixth.


[And in Queens, the Yankees took a 4-0 first-inning lead only to have the Big Eunuch surrender a three-run homer in the bottom half. The Yanks scored a run in the third and Johnson (making more friends in Yankeeland!) gave the Mets two back to tie it. He threw 113 pitches in five innings. ... The Mets scored a run off Rivera in the bottom of the ninth (Lo Duca's one-out double, a two-out BBI, then David Wright's single over Damon's head in center) for a 7-6 win. Wheee!]

Abe Alvarez Called Up

Abe Alvarez will be in the bullpen this weekend in Philadelphia, as Mike Holtz was put on the disabled list (strained muscle near his left elbow). ... Tonight's lineup:
Nixon, RF
Loretta, 2B
Ortiz, 1B
Ramirez, LF
Varitek, C
Lowell, 3B
Pena, CF
Gonzalez, SS
Clement, P
Nine postions and nine players, just like God intended.

Sox In Philly: You Can Doooo Eeeet!

First of all, Michael Silverman gets a Manny double-fingerpoint for using "It's got a lot of culture" as one of his notebook subheads in the Herald this morning, even though the actual quote is "Well, there's a lot, a lot of culture here."

Culture Guy was recently singled out for a You Don't Kick Ass award, but the true highlight of that commercial is Backseat Cab Guy ("It's like a baby New York."). That's a selling point?! I'm too much of a wimp to handle a real city, hmmm, why don't I visit a place that's smaller and duller? Amazing. It's like people who gladly announce to the world they think they are idiots by buying those "_______ For Dummies" books. ... BTW, where the hell is Tony Little this year?

Anyway, interleague play (boo!). ... Philly Press:
All-too-familiar Red Sox roll in for 3-game set (Inquirer)
Designated good guy: Ortiz brings personality, power to town (Daily News)
Schilling won't get any closer to milestones this weekend (Daily News)
Farmhands: Jon Lester is 2-0, 1.31 in his last four starts with Pawtucket after an 0-4, 6.94 in his first four outings. ... Craig Hansen will make his second start tomorrow.

David Ortiz on Kevin ".424 OBP" Youkilis:
Youkie's been doing great. Hopefully he'll hit like that all year round. He's got confidence. He's worked hard. That's what it takes to be a good player. You got to work and he's been doing it. I'm happy for him. He's got to make the money, that way we can fix his face, get it smaller.
Clement / Lieber at 7 PM.

May 18, 2006

Far From Fenway

In 1996, Laura and I rented an RV for a vacation in Alaska. While wandering around Anchorage, I spied a house light that was painted like a baseball with the Red Sox logo on it. We walked up to the house, and saw a sign on the door directing us to a nearby bike rental shop.

The shop was owned by a displaced Sox fan named Peter Roberts. With no way to access any Sox games at that time, Roberts had started the "Far From Fenway" club and was selling sweatshirts and bumperstickers. (I have a membership card somewhere.) Roberts was also the subject of a New York Times article during the 1988 playoffs.

Looking through my blog stats, I see that I have had recent visitors from: Taiwan, France, Venezuela, Korea, Australia, Turkey, and Iran. (Actually, I have had steady, though anonymous, readers from Venezuela since 2003.)

Thanks to the internets, it is now possible to watch and listen to every Sox game and access the local Boston media. Still, I've been curious how fans far from Fenway follow the team, especially those on the other side of the globe, where the time differences are so great. (One SoSH member -- without a doubt the most optimistic Red Sox fan in history -- lives in Manila, 12 time zones away. (And there is the Singapore Sox Fan blog.))

Email me: Thanks. I may devote a future post to the responses I receive.

Harris Takes Blame; Snow Requests Trade; Hansen/Papelbon Flip-Flop?

Willie Harris screwed up:
I was told I was on the hold sign. I saw the hold sign the first pitch. I kind of thought maybe it was just for the first pitch. But it's on [for every pitch] until he takes it off. I just kind of overlooked it, didn't think about it ... What can you do?
How about leaving the team?

Tim Wakefield was consistently inconsistent. He allowed a walk and a single in the first and dug himself a 2nd-and-3rd-no-out hole in the second. Wakefield: "I felt a little uncomfortable the first three innings, put a lot of guys on base, but after that I pitched OK." Uh, Tim, it was during that "OK" time that you gave up the four runs, allowing the first two Orioles to reach base and subsequently score in both the fourth and fifth innings.

JT Snow has requested a trade and the Red Sox are asking around. Snow hasn't started since April 22 and has five plate appearances in the past 20 games. ... Mark Loretta went 7-for-14 against the Orioles and has 24 hits in his last 49 at-bats (.490). ... Trot Nixon will probably leadoff in the game that Kevin Youkilis sits out in Philadelphia.

Jonathan Papelbon talked this spring about his desire to be a starting pitcher. Now, he says, that desire is "gone. Starting does not even enter my brain anymore. I get a lot of satisfaction out of closing. I feel like more of an everyday player. Hopefully, I'll be able to close for a long time. ... All of a sudden it's like a newfound glory. ... It's very satisfying. ... I could never start a game again in my life and I'd be happy."

At the same time, Craig Hansen, seen by many as Boston's next closer, started the second game of Pawtucket's doubleheader this past Monday. He allowed five hits with four strikeouts in a 4-0 win. While not saying anything regarding Hansen's future role with the team, the Red Sox believe Hansen's progress is best served by longer outings so he can use all his pitches.

My partner Laura will be happy with Papelbon's quote, since she wants him to stay in the pen. I do not.

May 17, 2006

G38: Orioles 4, Red Sox 3

Papi goes deep in the ninth to bring the Sox within striking distance (4-1 to 4-3 (he also drove in the first run on a grounder back in the first)) and after Tejada falls down on Pena's grounder to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, pinch-runner Willie Harris is thrown out trying to steal on a 1-0 pitch to Nixon, ending the game. Dave Roberts, he ain't. The umpire at second was out of position -- it is amazing how often that it is the case at second, third, and home -- but it did look like Tejada grabbed the throw on the hop and got the tag in.

The Yankees held on and beat Texas 4-3, so both Boston and New York are 23-15.



And a return to individual posts for each game. ... I'd love to get NESN tonight -- for my first full game since April 20 -- but I'll try not to bitch if it's Comcast.

Wakefield / Bedard at 7 PM.

May 16, 2006

G36-37-38: Red Sox at Orioles

G38 has its own post, above.

0516, 8:45 PM -- In 15 minutes, we head to the Lima airport for our overnight flight to New York City. From there, we will grab a 9:30 am flight to Buffalo, where our car awaits. Then, it's over the border and west to Port Credit.

Coco Controversy? The Red Sox have said Coco Crisp's recovery has been slowed by flu-like symptoms, but according to the Manchester Union-Leader, Crisp told an event coordinator at an autograph show in Salem, NH, that he was dealing with kidney stones. Why the secrecy?

With no DH in Philadelphia this weekend, David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell will each play two of the three games.

0515, 9:10 PM -- While flipping cable channels in our room after returning from dinner and vino in Lima, I ended up seeing Keith Foulke pitch the bottom of the 9th on ESPN2. Nice!

Wily Mo Pena drove in four runs, with a two-run homer in the second and a two-run single in the third. ... Jason Varitek scored four times and Mike Lowell smacked his fourth career triple (in 3,697 at-bats). ... Josh Beckett (who celebrated his 26th birthday with a 7-2-1-0-6 line), Julian Tavarez and Foulke combined on a three-hitter.

Texas came from behind to beat the Yankees 4-2, so Boston leads New York in the East by one game.

Don't miss the excellent feature on Pedro Martinez and his Greenwich, Conn., garden that ran in the Times back on May 9.

The only logical reaction to Bill Reynolds's column in the Providence Journal, headlined "Seems Only Money Is Sacred At Fenway"? Welcome to Planet Earth, Bill.

Preview. Red Sox play down the road from Babe Ruth's birthplace (the book section of the Museum's online store is particularly nice!). All games at 7 PM.
Monday, May 15: Red Sox 11, Orioles 1
Tuesday, May 16: Red Sox 6, Orioles 5
Wednesday, May 17: Orioles 4, Red Sox 3

May 14, 2006

G35: Rangers 6, Red Sox 0 (6 inn.)

0514, 5:00 PM -- Another one-game series.

Saturday's rain-out game will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader during the weekend of June 9-11. Now, Sunday's game may mean five games in three days. (Both teams do have an off day July 20.)

The postponements will play havoc with the Sox pitching staff in early June, but it's good news for me. It's two games I didn't miss. And as I check the starters for the Orioles series, I know that I will be home in my chair with a clean scoresheet and a glass(es) of cold wine for the final game of the series.

Jeff Horrigan looks past Baltimore to the pitching assignments against the Phillies and Yankees. (New York placed Tanyon Sturtze (18 games, 7.59 ERA) on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his pitching shoulder.)

Good news for Dave Wallace. He will receive a new left hip on June 1. ... Karen Guregian takes a quick look at how Abe Alvarez, Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen and Jon Lester are pitching in Pawtucket. ... Out in Los Angeles, Bill Mueller will have arthroscopic knee surgery today.

Books: Bob Hohler gives a solid endorsement of my friend Tom Adelman's book Black and Blue: The Golden Arm, the Robinson Boys, and the 1966 World Series That Stunned America.

Bob Ryan looks at the latest from Baseball Prospectus, Baseball Between The Numbers: Why Everything You Know About The Game Is Wrong. Ryan: Forget "feel." Forget "anecdotal evidence." Just put the numbers in there, crunch 'em, and accept the verdict, whatever it may be. ... The depth of their knowledge is not merely formidable or impressive. It is downright frightening." One of Ryan's favourite sentences: "In 2004, no visiting team ever found itself in a tie game with no one out in the fourth inning with men on second and third."

Eric Wilbur is sick of the Clemens Saga (and is certain the TCM will stay in Houston). The Houston Chronicle reports that Clemens has a $20 million offer for five months from another team, in addition to the Astros' offer (a prorated version of Clemens's 2005 $18 million deal).

The Onion reports Clemens's family has offered him a one-year, $10 million deal "with a family option for a second year should Clemens perform well in his new role as husband and father." According to his wife, Debbie
It's hard to put a dollar amount on what Roger has historically meant to this family. Many of the younger members of this organization really look up to Roger—growing up, he was their hero. Now Roger has the chance to be a kind of mentor to guys like Kacy and Kody. They have really been lacking the strong veteran presence that's so crucial at this point in their careers. We need you, Roger. Please come home.

0513, 7:45 PM -- Tonight's game was rained out and Friday's rain-shortened contest was called during David Ortiz's at-bat leading off the bottom of the sixth. ... The weather was terrible.

Jeff Goldberg, Courant:
When the game began, a fog blanketed Fenway. By the fourth inning, the fog lifted, but the rain, which began falling in the third inning, intensified. After a 48-minute delay, the game was called (at) 9:16 p.m. (as) large pools of water were forming on the warning track and in front of both dugouts.
Joe McDonald, ProJo:
The final box scores were handed out in the press box 16 minutes after the rain delay began, when the rule states clubs have to wait 30 minutes to make an official decision.
Jeff Horrigan, Herald:
A member of director of grounds Dave Mellor’s 25-man crew estimated that between 60-100 bags of Turface, or de facto kitty litter, was spread on the soggy mound, batter’s boxes and infield ...
Jonathan Papelbon has been grinding his teeth while sleeping this season, but he says he began doing it before the season began. Steve Buckley reports that he was applying a hot pack to both sides of his face during the recent Yankees series.
I think it's more just a self-conscious thing where I'm not really able to quit doing it. I'm doing it self-consciously and I think it's a little bit stress-related, maybe. But it's getting better and better. Obviously, as time goes on, I'm starting to learn how to cope with it and lessen the pain. ... I started doing it before spring training, at home during the offseason. ... Some days are worse than others. A lot of times I'm not able to sleep at night. I'm still thinking about baseball. I'm not letting everything go during the day.

Texas at Fenway.
May 12: Rangers 6, Red Sox 0 (6 inn.)
May 13: Postponed, rain
May 14: Postponed, rain

May 12, 2006

G32-33-34: Red Sox at Yankees

0512, 7:00 PM -- One of the Yankees' biggest weaknesses this season is their lack of a bench. Boston's group of subs was one of Theo Epstein's off-season coups. Right now, Bubba Crosby and Melky Cabrera (and Bernie Williams) are playing in place of Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui, who broke his left wrist trying to catch a line drive by Mark Loretta. Shemp had surgery Friday morning and could miss three months or perhaps the rest of the year. (Damon is also bruised.)

Both Sean McAdam and Chris Snow (as well as one Yankee beat writer) said last night's win felt like a playoff game. The teams used 11 pitchers, seven by the Yankees, including four for four Sox hitters in the sixth -- Scott Proctor for Loretta, Mike Myers for David Ortiz, Tanyon Sturtze for Manny Ramirez, and Ron Villone for Trot Nixon. The Sox got some great pitching from Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon.

David Ortiz has the highest batting average against the Yankees (.360) of any Red Sox player since 1960 with at least 100 AB. The rest of the top six: Jody Reed (.355), Jim Rice (.336), Manny Ramirez (.324), Nomar Garciaparra (.298) and Reggie Smith (.293). ... Boston has won three of its four games against New York, and has come from behind in all three victories. The Sox have 12 come-from-behind wins.

No one knows why Curt Schilling left Yankee Stadium for approximately an hour before yesterday's game for what the club called a "non-pitching-related medical issue". Schilling: "It's nothing. I'm fine. It has nothing to do with baseball."

David Wells's advice for Alex Rodriguez: "In order to get the respect of George, you have to fight back. He can be tough to play for, but if you can overcome the jabs, it's great. You've got him in your hip pocket. ... I think [Rodriguez] cares about what's written about him in the papers instead of letting it go in one ear and out the other."

0511, 4:30 PM -- And the pendulum swings back again.

The Globe's Chris Snow wonders whether it's a coincidence that Curt Schilling was 4-0, 1.61 before throwing 133 pitches in Cleveland, and 1-2, 6.20 in his four subsequent starts.

Schilling on his troubles last night:
Early on, I could tell the way Mike was throwing that it was a small strike zone. Not having corners, he figured it out and I didn't. Any time you're facing either one of these lineups and the strike zone is smaller than you're used to, you got to make adjustments. He did it and I didn't.

Random Stuff: Manny Ramirez, who has not missed a game this season, is playing with a sore right knee. In his last 21 games, Manny has hit .386 (27-for-70), lifting his average from .205 to .321.

On Tuesday night, Wily Mo Pena became the first Red Sox outfielder in at least 46 years to play all three outfield positions in the same game. ... Before homering in his first AB last night, Mike Lowell's previous eight hits were all doubles. It was the longest such streak in MLB since 1995. ... David Wells threw approximately 75 pitches in a simulated game on Wednesday, will pitch another simulated game Saturday, and is on schedule to make a rehab start for Pawtucket on May 18.

David Ortiz went 4-for4: "Hitting is just crazy, man. Sometimes you can put a perfect swing on the ball and you'll hit it right at somebody. This past week, at home, I felt like there were 20 guys playing defense, three pitchers on the mound and I was guessing who was throwing the ball." ... Coco Crisp is sick, likely pushing his return back to around May 22-23. ... Before last night's game, Kevin Youkilis led all leadoff hitters in on-base percentage (.438). ... David Riske, on the disabled list since April 12 with a lower back strain, threw 26 pitches (2 walks, 2 strikeouts) for Pawtucket last night.

After his horrible start on Tuesday, the Yankees sent Randy Johnson for an MRI, which revealed no structural problems with his left shoulder. The ProJo quoted a longtime AL scout:
It looks to me like he doesn't trust his fastball (which registered mostly 91-92 mph Tuesday). He threw an awful lot of sliders. ... I think he's kind of in transition, going from power pitcher to a guy who isn't quite as dominant and he's not sure how to go about it. Pedro did it; Tom Seaver did it. I don't know if Randy knows how. He's so accustomed to intimidating hitters, and he can't do it anymore.

0510, 12:30 PM -- Here are some snips about Game 1 from the New York papers. Enjoy!

Joel Sherman, New York Post
Slowly all Randy Johnson's weapons are oozing away. His fastball, his menace and precision have all degenerated. But most disturbing of all is the absence of anything resembling a fight.

He lost more than the strike zone and a game last night. Before a full house that included George Steinbrenner, Johnson lost his nerve. He sure appeared like a guy who wanted nothing to do with being 60 feet, six inches away from the Red Sox. And we are all going to love to hear how that is Jorge Posada's fault. ...

Joe Torre alibied for his pitcher in the aftermath of a humiliating 14-3 loss to Boston, saying the defeatist body language was "frustration" not surrender. Thus, Torre had more spin than any of Johnson's sliders. ...

What can the Yanks now think they are getting in 2007? Johnson took a step back from being an ace last year. This season he looks as if he is sliding further down the rotation hierarchy. At this rate, he will be Jesse Orosco next season. ...

In both the third and fourth innings, Johnson was set up for big damage by being unable to subdue eighth and ninth hitters Dustan Mohr and Alex Gonzalez, the kind of batters he had spent his career overwhelming. Johnson was booed vehemently off the mound in the fourth, and it was only partially about the numbers.

Johnson has no goodwill here. He is a snarling outsider who came for the money. And the fans could sense that when the going got tough last night, Johnson got timid; afraid of the strike zone, afraid of the Red Sox. The Yankee faithful might be able to accept him as less than an ace, but not as the Small Unit.
Jon Heyman, Newsday
An open letter to Randy Johnson:

Perhaps you were on to something when you recently said you'd "walk away" if you could no longer pitch like you used to.

If you think about it, retirement to your home in awfully idyllic-sounding Paradise Valley, Ariz., offers you a lot of pluses. ...

There are no teammates to let you down, to fumble grounders and to drop fly balls. You and I know who I mean, Randy. Yes, Alex Rodriguez, who makes more than you (the indignity of it all!), and that famed Triple-A stalwart Melky "Shaky" Cabrera, who teamed up to sabotage you in your 14-3 defeat last night.

In Paradise Valley, there are no pitching coaches to annoy you, no ill-informed writers to rip you, no nosy cameramen to snap your picture. ...

If you left, you'd never again have to deal with, listen to or see Jorge Posada, Joe Torre, Charlie Reliford, big hitters like Mark Loretta and Alex Gonzalez, tabloid writers, the clubhouse rubdown guy, or anyone else you'd normally care to blame for making you look bad last night. ...

You've had your Hall-of-Fame career. You've had great moments, many against the Yankees, and practically none for them.

This is no time, 20 years in, to start injecting Rick Ankiel moments, Randy. You have to know that.

The one and only reason for you to stay would be to collect all the loot you have coming to you. Since you probably came here for the green stuff, anyway, the guess here is you ignore my advice - and your own promise and you keep pitching.
Murray Chass, New York Times
After the debacle at Yankee Stadium last night, the Yankees will invoke in mind and matter tonight the baseball cliche that momentum is as good as the next game's pitcher. Or how about the one that the baseball season is not a sprint but a marathon? Or the one that says one game is just that — one game, one-162nd of the season. ...

[Those cliches] had better be right and meaningful in order for the Yankees to have hope for the rest of the season, because the Yankees played a game last night that would be enough to bury a team of mere mortals.

The game would have been bad enough had the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays or the Kansas City Royals. But they played the Red Sox, their archrivals, the team that lives for their death, the team whose chief executive labeled them the Evil Empire.

The Empire did not look so evil last night. Ugly, but not evil. The Empire wore no clothes. With no clothes, the Empire was ugly, oh so ugly.
Jeff Jacobs, Hartford Courant
Johnson will be 44 when his contract expires at the end of the 2007 season, and it has grown clearer through the first six weeks of 2006 that the Big Unit is an intimidating legend of yore.

The present-day Randy Johnson is not nearly as menacing.

The 2006 Johnson is hittable for righthanders.

The 2006 Johnson doesn't scare lefties to tears anymore.

And the 2007 version doesn't figure to get any more frightening. ...

The Yankees had averaged 9.3 runs through Johnson's first seven starts, and there have been times when it looked like he has needed all 9.3. ...

If this was a statement game, then Johnson's statement is this after allowing seven runs, albeit only two earned: I'm no longer the dominant pitcher in the game. Not even close. ... Johnson can't overpower his way out of trouble anymore. ...
George King, New York Post
On a night when the Yankees were Coyote Ugly, it wasn't hard to spot the most unattractive man in pinstripes. Randy Johnson could be midget and he would have stood out because he was putrid. ... In Johnson's last five starts, he is 3-2 with a hefty 7.09 ERA. During 26.2 innings, he has allowed 30 hits, 14 walks and notched 16 strikeouts.

If his name wasn't Randy Johnson and the Yankees weren't paying him $16 million this year and next, Scott Proctor would replace Johnson in the rotation and nobody would growl. But he is who he is, and that's too much money for a long reliever, so Johnson will remain in the rotation - and remain the Yankees' biggest worry.
Mike Lupica, New York Daily News
The Yankees, who often buy the past, thought they were getting the old Randy Johnson, the one who started Game 6 of the 2001 World Series and finished Game 7. They thought they were getting the lefthanded Roger Clemens, thought it wouldn't matter that he was old the way it didn't matter that Clemens was old and he got here after winning all those games somewhere else. Sometimes it works out when the Yankees pay you all that money for what you used to be. Not with Johnson. Not now in New York, maybe not ever. He is just another pitcher now. The idea that the old Johnson is going to show up any day is getting older by the day, the way he is. Big Unit last night at the Stadium? Not even close. Big Mess is more like it.
Steve Politi, Newark Star-Ledger
Johnson was all over the map in this one. He threw 92 pitches to 21 batters, nine times reaching a three-ball count. He fell behind guys like Wily Mo Pena and Dustan Mohr like they were Gehrig and Ruth. ... A-Rod tried his darnedest [to absolve Johnson], but he wasn't exactly convincing when he mused that Johnson "maybe he probably would have thrown a shutout or something" had he made the play in the third inning.

Johnson wouldn't have thrown a shutout against a Little League team, or even the Kansas City Royals, the way he pitched in this one. Taken alone, maybe the Yankees could dismiss this as one in 162, a night to forget. But they have to know something is very wrong with their supposed ace. ...

A new sign that Johnson isn't what he once was seems to pop up every start. In the fourth inning, light-hitting Mark Loretta came to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs. Johnson quickly fell behind 3-0 in the count to a guy with a lifetime .075 average against him, and that wasn't the surprising part.

Boston manager Terry Francona gave Loretta the green light, and he lined the pitch from Johnson down the left-field line for a two-run single.
Bob Herzog, Newsday
There was a good reason why George Steinbrenner left last night's game after only seven innings. The Boss had seen enough.

"What did you think of the game?" a writer yelled at Steinbrenner as he was about to get into his blue Lincoln Town Car outside the press entrance at Yankee Stadium at 9:50. Then he stopped briefly and barked, "What'd you think of the game?" To emphasize his displeasure, Steinbrenner pointed at the trio of writers and repeated, "What'd you think of it?"

As an angry Steinbrenner was climbing into the rear seat of his car, a Newsday reporter shouted, "Are you a little upset at Randy?" The Boss stopped again. "I'm upset at a lot of them," he snapped, then so there was no mistaking one of his targets, added a closing statement. "The third baseman!"
Mike Vaccaro, New York Post
That's the way of Alex Rodriguez' world, of course. He wasn't the only blight last night, the only reason why Yankees fans had indigestion as they left Yankee Stadium after watching the Red Sox lay a 14-3 pasting on the Yankees. A-Rod carries a Grade-A persecution complex on his back like a set of wrought-iron shoulder pads, but there's never anything about the Yankees that's completely his fault.

It just seems that way sometimes. ... [T]here is always something extra special about the struggles of Alex Rodriguez, especially against the Red Sox, because it is his fate and his destiny. That is the way he is forever going to be judged. These are the games that define him, that will always define him.

And so last night, with a chance to end the third inning with a routine ground ball, Rodriguez let David Ortiz dribbler eat him up, then couldn't find the ball, then couldn't throw Ortiz out, and before long three unearned runs came trotting home and Johnson's night took a permanent turn for the worst.

There was another error later on. There was another ultra-soft 0-for-3 collar, dropping his batting average to .259. ...

On a night that was a complete washout for just about everyone involved, Rodriguez should have just blended in with the rest of the banana peels. But that's not the way it works for Rodriguez. He's never been a blender. He's the red sleigh on a mountain of untouched snow, the yellow jacket in a glee club of blue jackets. He stands out. He always has. He always will.

And in this series, this rivalry, that will be the case forever - partly because he was almost a Red Sox player, partly because last year he won a close MVP battle with David Ortiz, a race that was too close to call the whole way and one that many people still think went the wrong way. Naturally, last night, Ortiz seemed to break out of a terrible slump. A-Rod had his 0-fer.
John Harper, New York Daily News
All we know for sure is that A-Rod failed the Yankees again at an important moment, this time with his glove instead of his bat. And so you begin to wonder if he is ever going to win over this town, no matter what kind of numbers he puts up, or how many MVP awards he wins.

You begin to wonder if he is ever going to do something big to beat the Red Sox. They seem to bring out the worst in him, which is why Yankee fans are always ready to boo him at their first opportunity, as they did last night.

It has nothing to do with the money, either. This town gave A-Rod a hero's welcome upon his arrival, and New Yorkers wanted to love him as much as they love Derek Jeter. But you can't fool the fans. They know who produces in the clutch and who doesn't.

It's not as if A-Rod has never delivered for the Yankees. It's just that the failures have been so much more memorable: the 1-for-17 on his first trip to Fenway as a Yankee; the silent bat over the final four games of the 2004 ALCS, the historic collapse against the Sox; the double-play ground ball in the ninth inning last October against the Angels.

His glove has been good, except for that ground ball against the Red Sox early last season with the bases loaded. And now two errors last night, including the big one in the third inning, to go with an 0-for-3 night at the plate. ...

The good news for the game's highest-paid player is that there are always chances to redeem himself against the Red Sox, win his way back into The Boss' heart. Two more games in this series. Still 17 more to play against them this season.

Surely it has to change at some point, doesn't it? ...

0510, 11:30 AM -- Game 1 is a laugher ... with season highs in runs (14) and hits (16).

Facing a lineup with a collective .176 career batting average against him, Randy Johnson lasted only 3.2 innings -- his shortest outing against the Sox since September 7, 1991. He walked five batters for the first time in almost four years. His ERA this season is now 5.01. ... Jon Heyman of Newsday suggests that Johnson retire -- now!

And although yesterday's New York Post suggested the Yankee pitchers should "DROP PAPI"
The Yankees have to droppy Papi. They need to brush the beast back. They need to pick out one of David Ortiz' chins and let a little music dance across the whiskers. And they need to do this immediately. ...

It's been three-plus years now, and it's time. Look, Ortiz has battered and butchered American League pitching of every stripe, rank and pedigree ... And in The Bronx, he is otherworldly. ...

Part of that is sheer skill, of course. Part of that is confidence. Part of that is the nervous buzz that fills Yankee Stadium - a nice bookend to the electric jolt that consumes Fenway Park - whenever Ortiz digs in 60 feet, six inches away from a Yankee hurler.

And that's the problem. That's what's maddening. If Ortiz were any more comfortable at the plate, he'd bring a chaise lounge, a pitcher of Pina Coladas and a couple of Cuban cigars with him to the batter's box. If he were any more settled in, he'd hang a badminton net on the grass.
there was no chin music.

Johnny Damon now says the poor reception he received at Fenway Park was "pretty vicious". Maybe it would have been less harsh if he had kept his yap shut all winter. Also, no word on what he thought about the Yankee Stadium yahoos booing Randy Johnson last night.

Alright, I admit it, sometimes when Curt Schilling runs his mouth, I like it. On Yankees fans:
They don't like us, and they're not shy about expressing their dislike for us. Part of the experience of pitching here, for me, is the fans. I know they are waiting with baited breath for that first mess-up. If you're a Yankee, they're phenomenal fans. They're not stupid - well, most of them are. ... [T]hey love their team, and they hate everybody else. And in a nutshell, that's Red Sox fans, too. That's the beauty of playing there.
and on the Gotham media:
Most of the guys and gals that write [in New York] are such horrific hacks anyway ... I mean, seriously, I've played in a couple of cities before coming to Boston, and the dredge of the places that I played in respect to the media, the people who wrote there have left those cities and come here, and they write here now.

0509, 3:00 PM -- Josh Beckett returns to Yankee Stadium for the first time since Game 6 of the 2003 World Series (October 25), as do former Marlins Mike Lowell and Alex Gonzalez.

The last out, that was the most exciting moment, the most exciting time of them all. It was almost like a surreal feeling. It took a good, solid three weeks or so for that to go away.
Beckett Stats:
                IP   H  ER BB  K  HR HBP  ERA
1st 3 starts 21 16 3 6 12 0 0 1.29
last 3 starts: 16 16 17 10 11 6 3 9.56
The Red Sox have called up lefty Mike Holtz for the New York series, sending Manny Delcarmen back to Pawtucket.

The Yankees put Garry Sheffield on the 15-day DL. ... Also the Post suggests the New York pitchers throw at David Ortiz.

Roger Clemens will decide by mid-June if he will pitch this season, and one subplot to this series is that both Boston and New York are in the running.

In The Bronx.
New York 18 11 .621 --
Boston 19 12 .613 --
Toronto 16 14 .533 2.5
Baltimore 14 19 .424 6.0
Tampa Bay 13 19 .406 6.5
Tuesday, May 9 - Red Sox 14, Yankees 3
Wednesday, May 10 - Yankees 7, Red Sox 3
Thursday, May 11 - Red Sox 5, Yankees 3