September 30, 2006

G161: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4

Heckuva job, Mike.

Timlin comes in to save a 4-3 Red Sox lead -- and he allows four hits to five batters. Millar gets the big blow, driving in the two runs that give Baltimore the victory.

Ortiz came close to tying in as a pinch-hitter leading off the ninth, but flew out to deep center, just to the left of the bullpens. ... Manny hit home run #35 and also picked up a single and a walk.

***

Adam Loewen (5.30) / Tim Wakefield (4.63), 7 PM

Red Sox lineup -- Ortiz out, Manny in:
Pedroia, SS
Loretta, 2B
Lowell, 3B
Ramirez, DH
WM Pena, CF
Nixon, RF
Mirabelli, C
Kapler, LF
C Pena, 1B

September 29, 2006

G160: Red Sox 4, Orioles 3

No taters for the Big Man -- he took three walks, smacked a double and scored twice.

***

Erik Bedard (3.67) / Julian Tavarez (4.52), 7 PM

September 27, 2006

G159: Devil Rays 11, Red Sox 0

Tampa scores nine times in the seventh (six off Beckett, three off Corey).

Bonus Headache: FSN/Rays announcer Joe Migraine pronouncing Pedroia's last name as both "Ped-row-a" (multiple times) and "Pedroza".

***

Tim Corcoran (4.73) / Josh Beckett (4.82), 7 PM

Edes Answers His Critics

Gordon Edes received a ton of mail after his column on Manny Ramirez ("Time To Close Curtain On This Act") ran last Saturday.

In a special edition of his mailbag, he answers his critics
I would like to think that after 10 years of covering the Sox for the Globe, most of you have found me to be reasonably even-handed, but clearly that is not the case for everyone and I accept that. ... In the time he has been here, there hasn't been a single occasion in which Manny Ramirez has acted in any way toward me that could be characterized as abusive or overtly hostile. I would suggest that given what I've written about him on occasion, it would have been understandable had he responded differently.
and then posts 23 of the messages (pro and con) he received.

Matt Clement had exploratory shoulder surgery on Tuesday and doctors found what Terry Francona called "significant damage ... it was a little more extensive than we had hoped for".

I wish I could have seen the pregame ceremony last night, with Nanci Foxx Canaday (Jimmie Foxx's daughter) and Linda Ruth Tosetti (Babe Ruth's granddaughter) honoring David Ortiz. NESN did have a brief interview with the two women during the game.

Pitchers for the final series, against Baltimore: Julian Tavarez, Tim Wakefield, and then either Devern Hansack, Kason Gabbard, or Kyle Snyder.

September 26, 2006

G158: Red Sox 5, Devil Rays 1

Curt Schilling (7-5-1-4-9, 101) allowed a first-inning run, but David Ortiz tied the game with his 54th home run of the year in the third.

Then, with two outs and Jason Varitek at second in the fourth inning, Eric Hinske doubled to left-center (2-1), Alex Cora tripled into the triangle (3-1), Kevin Youkilis walked, Mark Loretta walked, and Ortiz singled to left-center (5-1).

Tizzle finished the night 3-for-4 with 3 RBI. Hinske was also 3-for-4.

The Tigers beat the Blue Jays 4-3, so we're back in second place.

***

Jason Hammel (7.01) / Curt Schilling (4.07), 7 PM

Carl Crawford is 14-for-43 (.326) vs Schilling with four doubles and a home run.

Scoreboard Watch: The second-place Blue Jays -- one-half game in front of Boston -- are in Detroit.

September 25, 2006

G157: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0

Cable problems prevented me from posting anything today. Then I was at Skydome watching Cy Marcum cut down the Red Sox in a quick 2:03.

Two ground ball singles -- Cora in the sixth and Hinske in the eighth -- and only Hinske's made it into the outfield. Two long balls off Wakefield (Rios and Molina) in the middle innings was more than enough.

0-2 at Skydome this season (the other game was Beckett's night of BP and Wells's three home runs on May 30). Bah.

September 24, 2006

G156: Blue Jays 13, Red Sox 4

Bright spots from an ugly game:

David Ortiz hit HR #53 in the first inning. If he can go deep tomorrow night (with me in attendance!), he'll set a new record for most road homers in a season. Right now, he's tied with Babe Ruth with 32 (1927).

Mike Lowell doubled twice, Kevin Youkilis singled and tripled, and Alex Gonzalez and Wily Mo Pena both singled and doubled. ... Kason Gabbard pitched 2.2 hitless innings, walking two Jays who eventually scored.

Which brings us to the ugliness.

Snyder faced nine batters in the third, and left after that inning trailing 4-2. Gabbard took over and retired eight of nine hitters -- with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Toronto led 4-3. Then the next 14 Blue Jays batters unloaded:

Gabbard in 6th: walk, walk
Delcarmen in 6th: 2-run triple, rbi-single, rbi-double, groundout
DiNardo in 7th: walk, double, 2-run single, popout, single
Burns in 7th: rbi-double, rbi-sac fly, rbi-double

With the Yankees' loss to Tampa, Boston is 10.5 GB and Toronto is 11.

***

Kyle Snyder (6.28) / Gustavo Chacin (4.87), 1 PM

September 23, 2006

Click

Final: Twins 8, Orioles 5.

The Red Sox are officially eliminated from playoff contention.

G155: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 3

Hansack pitched quite well (5-6-3-0-2, 80), allowing only three balls out of the infield before surrendering back-to-back home runs to Lyle Overbay and Troy Glaus in the fourth. That gave Toronto a 2-1 lead (Dustin Pedroia had led off the game with his 2nd home run).

Boston tied it at 2-2 in the sixth on Jason Varitek's one-out grounder, but Trot Nixon bumbled on the basepaths and was caught off second for an inning-ending double play. Hansack allowed two hits to start the home sixth and was relieved. One of those runners scored and the Jays added two more runs off Mike Burns in the eighth.

Manny Ramirez walked in a pinch-hit appearance in the seventh. In addition to the home run, Pedroia singled, walked and lined out twice. David Ortiz singled twice, as did Mike Lowell.

***

Devern Hansack (ML Debut) / A.J. Burnett (3.97), 4 PM

The Pain Of Manny

Who can speak for another man's pain? But the flip side of that question is in professional sports, everyone is hurt to one degree or another, and a measure of a player's commitment often revolves around his willingness to deal with that pain.
Gordon Edes writes Manny a new one in today's Globe.
Do you suppose that 20 years from now [after Manny has cashed $32 million in deferred payments], Ramirez will feel even the slightest bit of remorse for the way he quit on his Red Sox teammates in 2006, refusing to honor the code that is an article of faith for Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell, Curt Schilling and Coco Crisp, Trot Nixon and Alex Gonzalez, and Mark Loretta -- even the now-departed fat man, David Wells -- that you do all within your power to play hurt.

Barring a midlife conversion experience, I doubt it.
Edes claims that Manny has once again, through his agent, told the Red Sox he wants to be traded this winter. Does Manny want out? Who the hell really knows? I haven't paid a lot of attention to the sports pages this past week, but I must have missed this. Edes doesn't quote or attribute this bit of news to anyone.

Edes also tells us that
While the Red Sox crumbled when Ramirez went on hiatus -- last night was the 22d game out of 30 Ramirez has missed since taking himself out of the last game of the Yankee massacre Aug. 21 ...
Is Edes actually implying that the Red Sox crumbled after August 21 when Manny started sitting out? I didn't want to believe it at the time, but the five-game sweep by the Yankees was simply the nail in the 2006 coffin.

From August 1-20, Boston went 6-13. Since then, when Edes says Manny went "on hiatus", the Red Sox have been 14-17. So they actually haven't crumbled at all, they have improved. You'd think Edes would use that as his argument.

But if Edes is saying that with Manny's bat in the cleanup spot, Boston would not have "crumbled", well, he couldn't telegraph his biases any clearer than that.

September 22, 2006

G154: Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 1

Are you sitting down?

Julian Tavarez pitched a complete game (9-7-1-1-1, 99). His pitch count by innings:
6-21-11 12-8-13 11-8-9 = 99
It was his second career CG; he threw his first for the Rockies, on September 5, 2000.

Sexy Lips recorded 19 outs on ground balls. He was in a bit of trouble in the second inning. Three singles and a walk had loaded the bases with one run in. Reed Johnson drilled a line drive right at Mike Lowell, who got an easy unassisted double play to end the threat.

After that, Toronto managed only three base runners: Lyle Overbay's 2-out double in the 3rd (which fell between Wily Mo Pena and Gabe Kapler and should have been caught), Alex Rios's leadoff single in the 4th, and Vernon Wells's infield hit in the 9th.

Lowell clubbed a two-run home run to get the Sox on the board in the second; Alex Gonzalez doubled twice and drove in three runs, Kapler and Mark Loretta each had two hits.

David Ortiz, who is one home run shy of tying Babe Ruth's record for road HRs in a season (32, 1927), was 0-for-3 with two walks.

***

Julian Tavarez (4.89) / Ted Lilly (4.44), 7 PM
Pedroia, 2B Johnson, LF
Loretta, 1B Catalonotto, DH
Ortiz, DH Wells, CF
Youkilis, LF Overbay, 1B
Lowell, 3B Glaus, 3B
WM Pena, RF, Rios, RF
Mirabelli, C Molina, C
Kapler, CF Hill, 2B
Gonzalez, SS Adams, SS

Crisp -- Surgery On Finger Set For Monday

Gordon Edes, Globe:
Coco Crisp is scheduled to undergo surgery on his left index finger Monday.

We're still awaiting some word of explanation from team medical director Thomas Gill ... but there is a fracture in the bone that will require a pin or a screw to be inserted. ... Crisp is back in Boston. Francona said he will be ready for the start of spring training.

September 21, 2006

G153: Red Sox 6, Twins 0

And in the seventh, Ortiz (#52) and Lowell (#18) go back-to-back for a 6-0 lead. Beckett brings his too-seldom-seen A-game (8-6-0-0-5, 103) and the Red Sox keep elimination at bay for another day.

***

7:24 PM -- Bottom of the first, none on, 2 outs, first pitch, crushed to deep right-center:


***

Johan Santana (2.77) / Josh Beckett (5.02), 7 PM

If the Twins win tonight, Boston will be officially eliminated from the wild card race.

Dustin Pedroia has hit safely in his last five games (6-for-12).

50

David Ortiz on #50:
It means they're going to remember me for a while. It's a great feeling to be right next to a great player, a superstar, just like Mr. Jimmie Foxx was. To be right there with him is a wonderful feeling. ... I was very excited. At one point it felt like I just hit a walk-off.
The MRI on Manny Ramirez's right knee revealed no evidence of a stress fracture. And Amalie Benjamin of the Globe couldn't resist getting a shot in:
And not long after yesterday's MRI revealed no structural damage, the left fielder appeared in the clubhouse with his teammates. Nothing much had changed in his demeanor -- or walk -- just as nothing much had changed with the revelation that there was no stress fracture ...
(For another example of piss-poor reporting at the Globe, check out Nick Cafardo's recent whopper here.)

Julian Tavarez told the Courant's David Heuschkel that Ramirez is done for the season: "Take my word, I know. If he has one more at-bat, I'll give you one thousand dollars."

Kevin Youkilis (neck spasms) will likely miss a few more games and Wily Mo Pena (right quad) says he may play this weekend. ... Old Hickory was back on the beat.

September 20, 2006

G152: Twins 8, Red Sox 2


David Ortiz's 50th home run -- tying the Red Sox single season record -- gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning. After seven innings, they needed only six outs to grab a win.

After only recording four of those six outs, Minnesota led 8-2. Craig Hansen started the eighth and surrendered: double, wild pitch, walk, three-run HR (by Torii Hunter over the Volvo sign), double. Bryan Corey got out of that inning but allowed three more runs in the ninth -- to 5 batters on only 6 pitches.

***

Manny Ramirez had an MRI on his ailing knee this afternoon. Kevin Youkilis is on the bench with a strained neck.

***

Boof Bonser (4.52) / Curt Schilling (4.13), 7 PM

Hansack Will Start In Toronto

Devern Hansack will be the ninth native of Nicaragua to play in the majors when he gets the ball Saturday in Toronto.

Hansack was considered for last Sunday night's game against the Yankees, but he had to pitch the fifth and deciding game of the Eastern League championship series for Portland. Hansack was in the Astros organization for four years, but was released after 2003. He didn't play in 2004 and spent 2005 playing in Holland before signing a minor league contract with Boston last December.

Tom Verducci has a lengthy feature on Alex Rodriguez in this week's Sports Illustrated.
A-Rod Agonistes
Despite his extraordinary numbers, New York fans are quick to discount his contributions. And when things go wrong for A-Rod, even his teammates find him hard to motivate and harder to understand
Peter Gammons is set to return to Baseball Tonight since suffering a brain aneurysm June 27.

September 19, 2006

G151: Twins 7, Red Sox 3

Even the most optimistic of us (really, probably only me, and a few mental patients) have to say: It is over. 8.5 back in the wild card with 11 to play.

***

Newest Sock: 28-year-old RHP Devern Hansack, called up from Portland. He made two starts in the Eastern League Championship Series against Akron, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA (The Sea Dogs won the Championship). For the season, he was 8-7, 3.26. He will wear #68.

***

Matt Garza (5.50) / Tim Wakefield (4.19), 7 PM

With 12 games left in the regular season, the Red Sox trail the Twins by 7.5 games in the wild card race (the White Sox, who host Detroit, are 4.5 games back).

September 18, 2006

Linescore Of The Day

Yesterday in Atlanta:
Marlins - 001 000 020 4 - 7 9 3
Braves - 010 000 200 5 - 8 10 0
According to Elias, it was the first time in franchise history (since 1876!) that the Braves had won a game in which they trailed by four or more runs during extra innings. Since 1981, there have been only two other games in which the winning team rebounded from a deficit of at least four runs in the 10th inning or later.

April 21, 1991
Cubs - 000 003 040 05 - 12 13 0
Pirates - 000 020 041 06 - 13 13 1
September 18, 2004
Tigers - 002 101 000 400 - 8 10 0
White Sox - 100 030 000 401 - 9 12 1

September 17, 2006

G150: Red Sox 5, Yankees 4

Alex Rodriguez is more brake than clutch.

With one out and one on in the bottom of the ninth, Slappy, pinch-hitting and representing the winning run, popped out to second. Then Melky Cabrera flew out to left -- denying Derek Jeter another chance to extend his 25-game hitting streak -- and Boston had a sweep of today's doubleheader.

Jorge Posada drove in three of New York's first four runs and with the score tied 4-4 in the eighth, he was robbed of a two-run home run by Coco Crisp, who leapt high over the wall in left-center and pulled his fly ball back.

In the top of the ninth, after Carlos Pena doubled and Alex Cora went in to run, Crisp laid down a bunt in front of the plate. Posada's throw to first was wide, pulling Andy Phillips's foot off the bag. Crisp was safe and Cora took third. Mark Loretta's fly out to short center brought in the go-ahead run, as Bernie Williams's five-hopper to the plate was too late.

***

Late with this one. 2-2 after four.

Kevin Jarvis / Mike Mussina, 8 PM

G149: Red Sox 6, Yankees 3

There will be no Yankee division-winning celebration in this series.

Kevin Youkilis's three-run double in the sixth was the big blow. ... David Ortiz hit #49. ... David Murphy led off the game with his first major league home run.

***

Kyle Snyder (6.54) / Jaret Wright (4.60), 1 PM

Beloved

During Saturday afternoon's game, Tim McCarver referred to Trot Nixon as the most beloved player in Red Sox Nation.

Hey, Tim, you doddering, senile, old goat -- I'd like to introduce you to someone.


Hey, nice suit jacket, McCarver, but won't your wife notice the hole in the drapes?

September 16, 2006

G148: Yankees 7, Red Sox 5

After watching Alex Gonzalez work his magic for months, it was more obvious than ever that Derek Jeter has very little range at shortstop.

This was crystal clear in the top of the sixth inning. The game was tied 3-3 and Randy Johnson had gotten Lowell to line out to first. Varitek grounded a ball into the shortstop hole. It was playable but Jeter could only wave his glove at it. Single to left. Then Kapler hit a grounder to Jeter's left. It was a play that Gonzo would have gloved, worked through a couple of sudokus and still got his man at first. Jeter stood there and watched it go into center for another single.

The inning should have been over, but the Unit would end up throwing 18 more pitches before being pulled. With runners at first and second, Johnson walked Pedroia and allowed a two-out double to Crisp. Boston 5-3.

The Yankees came right back and re-tied the game a 5-5 in their half of the inning (Jeter ended that rally by flying to center with the go-ahead run at second). New York added two more in the seventh and that was that.

I'm pretty sure he's bringing in more with the bat than he's letting get away in the field, but damn -- he is really immobile.

MVP Watch: Jeter was 1-for-5 with a run scored; Ortiz did not play (he should have batted for Lowell or Varitek (as the tying run) in the 9th).

***

Julian Tavarez (4.74) / Randy Johnson (4.84), 8 PM

Question: When was the last matchup of two pitchers in such dire need of dermabrasion as these two gentlemen?

Sexy Lips has not allowed a run to the Yankees this season -- 7.1 innings in five appearances. And his ERA is lower than the Eunuch's.

G147: Red Sox 5, Yankees 2

Beckett allowed a two-run home run to Cano in the second, then followed it up by giving up a single, double and a HBP. Rut row. But Damon hit into a double play and Beckett allowed only one hit over the next four innings (6-4-2-5-4, 112).

RBIs from Mirabelli, Murphy and Cora gave Boston a 3-2 lead in the fourth, four consecutive walks brought in a run in the seventh, and a wild pitch scored a run in the ninth.

And now a look at two MVP candidates and how they did under the glare of the Fox national audience and 55,091 fans in the Bronx:

David Ortiz (2 doubles, 3 walks):
1st: One out, Loretta on first, doubled to right
3rd: Two outs, Murphy on first, ground rule double to left
5th: Lead off walk
7th: One out, Loretta on first, walked
9th: No outs, Loretta on second, walked intentionally
Derek Jeter (1-for-5, SB):
1st: One out, grounded out to third
3rd: Lead off strikeout (looking)
5th: One out, single to center; stole third
7th: One out, one on, grounds into force play to third (as tying run), beats relay and avoids inning-ending double play
9th: One out, strikeout (swinging)
Jeter also made a throwing error in the third inning on Carlos Pena's infield hit.
Point, Papi.

***

Josh Beckett (5.09) / Chien-Ming Wang (3.60), 1:20 PM

Papelbon Says He's Starting In 2007


Officially, it's being mentioned now as merely a thought, one of many issues to discuss during the winter months, but after reading Jonathan Papelbon's comments in the Globe, Herald, Courant and ProJo and at MLB, it sounds fairly definite -- he'll be part of the 2007 starting rotation.
[The Red Sox] talked to my agent and my agent agrees with them. We've talked to plenty of doctors. ... Something can very possibly easily change where we don't really get any help in the bullpen. I could go back. But right now the whole mind-set is that I'm probably going to go back to the rotation. ...

I just envision myself as a starter because of my body frame, my body type, my mentality. ... I'm going to take my goals, my plan in the offseason, as if I'm going to be a starter. I think, for me, it was a big eye-opener this year with our starting pitching, that you have to have starting pitching in order to get to your closer. If you don't have starting pitching, you ain't getting to your closer. ...

I've started here; I've done it before. It's not going to be anything new to me. ... There's no hesitation in my mind whatsoever of me going out and starting, just like there was no question or hesitation of me starting out the year as a closer.
I wholeheartedly approve.

September 15, 2006

Red Sox at Yankees, ppd. rain

Rained out in New York.

So we'll have a day-night doubleheader tomorrow and a day-night doubleheader on Sunday.

***

Josh Beckett (5.09) / Chien-Ming Wang (3.60), 7 PM

There haven't been many games between the Yankees and Red Sox in the last four seasons that have been devoid of meaning. Sadly, we'll get four of them this weekend.

A few days ago, David Ortiz explained that he wasn't ripping Derek Jeter a few days ago when talking about the MVP -- "Hell no! C'mon, dude. That guy is one of my favorite players. ... I look like a freaking [idiot] out there because people haven't heard what I said." -- but he knows that won't soften the reception he'll get tonight: "Like always, boooooo. I might go like Matsui and tip my hat."

Manny Ramirez's season may be over. ... Carlos Pena really wants to stay in Boston. Really.
When I first got here, I was like a little kid, to be part of the Red Sox. I'm being real about that, and I don't mind saying that. I'm also professional, but if you don't love it, what is left? I'm glad I'm not like a rock.
If New York wins three of the four games this weekend, they will clinch the East. Many fans are adamant about that not happening, but I don't think I care.

The Yankees are going to win the division anyway, they likely will not go wild celebrating, and their fans (and the media) won't be any less obnoxinous if they only split. And considering who the Sox are sending to the mound this weekend -- Beckett, Tavarez, Snyder, Gabbard -- winning one out of four is probably a reasonable expectation.

September 14, 2006

G146: Red Sox 6, Orioles 5

A come-from-behind win!

Which I did not get a chance to see. Any details?

***

Lenny DiNardo (7.42) / Adam Loewen (5.32), 7 PM

September 13, 2006

G145: Orioles 4, Red Sox 0

Two hits.

Singles from WM Pena and Krapler in the second inning. Two runners as far as second base. ... Errors from Gonzo and Belli help the Birds get two in the second and Cabin Mirror pops a two-run shot in the fourth. ... At least the game zipped by (ending at 9:37).

***

Tim Wakefield (4.14) / Erik Bedard (3.91), 7 PM

Wakefield returns to the mound for the first time since July 17.

Sorry for not having anything new today. Busy working on some non-baseball writing.

September 12, 2006

G144: Red Sox 6, Orioles 5

Mike Timlin?
Bottom of the 9th, Red Sox up 6-1:
Single, single, F8, 3-run home run, single, single, K, RBI-single.
Not. A. Fan.

***

Kason Gabbard (3.93) / Daniel Cabrera (4.84), 7 PM

From the Dept. Of Information You Probably Shouldn't Think Too Much About, Lest You Run Straight To The Kitchen And Start Swigging Drano:
On the morning of Sunday, July 30, the Red Sox had the second-best record in baseball. There is now the very real possibility that they won't finish the season with 85 wins.

Ortiz Aims For 50, Discusses MVP

David Ortiz needs only three home runs to set a new Red Sox single-season record. Tiz has 48; Jimmie Foxx belted 50 in 1938.
Just going to take a couple of good swings, right? I'll be swinging out of my ass, for sure. ... Everyone is expecting me to do it. It's been out there, what, 68 years, so I guess people would be excited about that. It would be a wonderful thing.

Example


Ortiz also says he has zero chance of winning the AL MVP Award.
I'm right there, but I'm not going to win it. They give it to Alex one year, even though his team was in last place, so now they can't play that BS anymore, just because your team didn't make it. ...

But they'll vote for a position player, use that as an excuse. They're talking about Jeter a lot, right? He's done a great job, he's having a great season, but Jeter is not a 40-homer hitter or an RBI guy. It doesn't matter how much you've done for your ball club, the bottom line is, the guy who hits 40 home runs and knocks in 100, that's the guy you know helped your team win games.

Don't get me wrong -- he's a great player, having a great season, but he's got a lot of guys in that lineup. Top to bottom, you've got a guy who can hurt you. Come hit in this lineup, see how good you can be.
"It doesn't matter how much you've done for your ball club" -- that's a pretty strange thing to say.

And when asked who he might vote for, Ortiz contradicted himself and fell into the same trap he just criticized the media for (which Eric Wilbur also picked up on).
All depends on who makes the playoffs. Dye is having an unbelievable season, an incredible year. Konerko, too. Morneau, he's having a great season, but in Minnesota, there's no publicity. I bet you nobody knows who he is.
Where a team finishes in the standings should have absolutely nothing to do with who wins any award. ... We'll have lots of fun with figuring out who should get the MVP Award in October.

Julian Tavarez's comments about the boos he's heard at Fenway have been an interesting subplot for the past few weeks. He has been uncommonly open and honest about it has affected him. Last weekend, after being booed in his previous start but aware that the fans' reception to him had warmed, he tipped his cap while walking off the field.
I feel really happy about how they cheered for me from the bullpen. Last time it wasn't that way. They booed me in the bullpen. They booed me when they said my name. I got used to the boos but it hurt.
Steven Krasner, on Wily Mo Pena's baserunning mistake on Sunday that ended with him joining Ortiz on second base:
The baserunning faux pas cost the Sox an out and potentially a bigger inning. But a team can put up with an occasional blunder if a guy can put a charge into the ball the way Pena can.
I agree, even if his name ends with a "ez".

Krasner adds that now is the time for 2007 auditions. And Francona has said he'll be looking at guys like Dustin Pedroia, David Murphy, Kason Gabbard, Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen with an eye towards their roles in 2007. ... I would love seeing Pena, Murphy, and Pedroia in the lineup every day. We already know what Nixon and Loretta can (and cannot) do.

Coco Crisp reinjured his left index finger on Saturday: "In my second at-bat, when I hit the ball off the end of the bat, I felt like a pop, like when you crack your finger, and it just started hurting. It just kind of re-aggravated my ligament that I hurt when I broke my finger."

Curt Schilling may start one game of Saturday's day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, possibly opposite Randy Johnson. ... Kevin Youkilis's .391 OBP is the best in the majors among leadoff hitters.

September 11, 2006

This Post Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Boston Red Sox #1

Back in 2003 and 2004, I posted political news/opinions on this blog. When I stopped, many readers told me they were sad to see them go; others rejoiced.

See comments for a non-baseball post. ... Or not.

September 10, 2006

G143: Red Sox 9, Royals 3

Should Julian Tavarez be considered as a possible starter next season?

In three starts (against Toronto, Chicago and Kansas City), he has allowed eight runs in 14.1 innings, with 16 hits and five walks and 13 strikeouts, for a 4.91 ERA. Not great, but he's been on far more often as a starter (using his changeup more frequently) than when he came out of the pen. (He allowed only two runs in 8.1 innings over his last nine relief appearances.)

David Ortiz was on base in all five of his PA, with three walks, an opposite field single and a two-run home run into the Monster Seats (#48). He scored three runs, as did Kevin Youkilis. Wily Mo Pena, batting cleanup and playing left, had three hits and Mike Lowell had two.

Gabe Kapler had two hits also, but in his three other at-bats, he stranded a total of seven runners -- making the final out in the third, fifth and sixth innings. (Manny had the day off, but that is still no reason to play Krapler. He should be the last guy off the bench every single day. Tito's inexplicable love affair with shitty veterans (see Millar, Kevin and Timlin, Mike) continues. Play Murphy dammit!)

***

Mark Redman (5.26) / Julian Tavarez (4.72), 2 PM

Kansas City has gone 85 consecutive road series without a sweep (since July 11-13, 2003 in Texas). The last time the Royals swept three games from the Red Sox at Fenway Park? April 26-27-28, 1996.

The Red Sox turn to their ace -- Sexy Lips -- to try to salvage one game and end this homestand at 5-5.

September 9, 2006

G142: Royals 10, Red Sox 4 (12)

Looking at the standings this morning -- and seeing the Red Sox trailing the Twins, White Sox and the Angels in the wild card standings -- I finally told myself (am I the last one here to do this?) that there would be no playoffs for us this year.

So why did this loss annoy me so much? It isn't a "throw shit around" kind of anger, it's more of a slow boiling frustration.

The Red Sox had plenty of chances to win. Youkilis led off the 10th with a double. Varitek (pinch-hitting and batting RH) struck out and Ortiz grounded to shortstop. Yook moved to third on the grounder. Manny was walked intentionally (Bako had to dive to his left and back over the plate to catch Sisco's first ball, saving a game-winning wild pitch). Tito decided to send Kapler to hit fo Nixon and Nelson came in for the Royals (I would have stayed with Nixon vs the lefty Sisco). Krapler popped up to first.

In the 11th, still facing Nelson, Lowell singled and pinch-runner David Murphy was bunted to second by Crisp. Nelson fell behind Loretta 3-0 and decided to put him on. Cora then hit the first pitch for a 3-6-1 double play.

The top of the 12th was ugly. Three Red Sox pitchers throwing 34 pitches -- 6 runs, 4 hits (3 doubles and a home run just inside the Pesky Pole), one intentional walk, 2 hit batters, a double steal, and an outfield error.

***

Bottom 4th: Dustin Pedroia hit his first major league home run, drilling a letter-high fastball into the Monster Seats. Pedroia also singled in the first inning (he began the night with 4 hits in his last 40 AB). The single and HR are his first two career hits at Fenway Park -- and the only Boston hits so far tonight.

After the HR, Hudson walked three of the next four batters. He threw 38 pitches to the five Boston hitters. With the bases loaded, Crisp hacks at the first pitch and grounds into a force play at the plate. Mirabelli followd with an RBI-single to left, but Lowell was gunned down at the plate also trying to score. Game tied 2-2.

***

Luke Hudson (5.21) / Josh Beckett (5.11), 7 PM

Lineup:
Youkilis, 1B
Pedroia, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Ramirez, LF
Nixon, RF
Lowell, 3B
Crisp, CF
Mirabelli, C
Gonzalez, SS

September 8, 2006

G141: Royals 10, Red Sox 9

In the middle of the 8th, I gave up on this game. Royals ahead 8-3, Red Sox down to only six outs. I was still watching, still scoring, but knew it was over. ...

Then the Red Sox scored six runs!

Manny grounded out to start the inning, but Lowell singled to center and Varitek homered into the Sox bullpen. 8-5. Wily Mo Pena doubled to left and scored on Crisp's groundball single to center. 8-6. Carlos Pena hit for Gonzalez and struck out. Crisp stole second before Youkilis walked. Loretta banged a first-pitch double into the left field corner, which brought in Crisp. 8-7. After swinging and missing a slider away, Ortiz got a fastball on the outside corner and drove it through through the shortstop hole. Two runs crossed and Boston led 9-8. It felt like old times. (Manny lined to right for the third out.)

Timlin came in for the save and blew it. A single, HBP and a bunt put Royals at second and third with one out. He got a huge strikeout, freezing Costa looking, but allowed a double to right from Joey Gathright. KC retook the lead 10-9. Lowell, Varitek and Nixon went down in order in the ninth.

Ortiz singled, doubled and tripled, and drove in four runs. ... Craig Hansen needed only eight pitches to retire the Royals in the seventh.

***

Javy Lopez has been released and Ken Huckaby is back in Boston. ... Tim Wakefield is penciled in for next Wednesday's game in Baltimore. Kason Gabbard will open the series on Tuesday and Curt Schilling may pitch on Thursday.

Lineups:
DeJesus, LF Youkilis, 1B
German, 3B Loretta, 2B
Grudzielanek, 2B Ortiz, DH
Sweeney, DH Ramirez, LF
Brown, RF Lowell, 3B
Shealy, 1B Varitek, C
Buck, C Pena, RF
Berroa, SS Crisp, CF
Gathright, CF Gonzalez, SS
***

Odalis Perez (6.43) / Kevin Jarvis (9.37), 7 PM
           Current   Remaining?  Final
Twins 80-59 11-12 91-71
White Sox 80-60 11-11 91-71
Red Sox 75-65 17- 5 92-70
Angels 75-65
Not too likely.

September 7, 2006

Anibal Sanchez No-Hits Arizona

Anibal Sanchez, the former Red Sox pitching prospect who was traded to Florida in the Beckett-Lowell deal, threw a no-hitter in his 14th major league game, blanking the Diamondbacks 2-0.

Kason Gabbard:
Awesome. When he came up to [Double-A] Portland last year, that was the first time I've seen him pitch healthy. His stuff was unbelievable. Look at him now.
Manny Delcarmen:
Javy Lopez came into the bullpen and said, 'Anibal Sanchez threw a no-hitter.' I just saw him on SportsCenter pretty much crying, and I'm real happy for him. He's always been confident on the mound, like Papelbon, flying through the system and absolutely dealing.

G140: White Sox 8, Red Sox 1

Jose Contreras (4.23) / Kyle Snyder (5.94), 7 PM

Could the pitching arms of Julian Tavarez, Kason Gabbard and Kyle Synder lead the Red Sox to a three-game sweep of the defending World Champs? Amazingly, we're 2/3 of the way there.

Tim Wakefield threw another simulated game today and could return to the rotation next week in Baltimore. ... Jon Lester will hold a press conference at Fenway at 6:30 pm (updates here).

Cool Standings estimates Boston has a 1.1% of making the playoffs, while Baseball Prospectus puts the odds at 1.6%. ... Maybe I'm fooling myself, but it doesn't seem that bleak to me. (5%?)

September 6, 2006

Papelbon Has Fatigued Shoulder

The MRI on Jonathan Papelbon's right shoulder showed nothing worse than fatigue. ... No amputation? Well, that's a sweet reversal of the kind of news we've been receiving for the last five weeks.

Pap:
They started reeling off all these doctor terms. Subluxation pushing out and this and that, and I tried to pay attention, but obviously you know I didn't go to school to be a doctor. I was listening for 'tear', and I heard no 'tear.' Basically that's all I was worried about, no tear in my rotator and no tear in my labrum.

I'm pretty positive that I will [pitch again this year], I'd like to think that I would, yeah. But if I can't, I'm not going to push it by any means.

G139: Red Sox 1, White Sox 0

Damn, what a game to miss!

Gabbard (7-3-0-2-6, 80) got his first major league win, Mike Timlin (2-1-0-0-1) piked up the save, david Ortiz returned to the lineup and the Red Sox won one of seven shutouts in the majors last night.

Trot Nixon doubled off the Wall in the fourth and scored on Coco Crisp's two-out, RBI single to center. ... Only one White Sox runner reached third base.

***

Javier Vazquez (4.98) / Kason Gabbard (6.35), 7 PM

Papi tonight?

September 5, 2006

"It's A True Story Now"

As soon as Carlos Pena's game-winning home run dropped into the right field stands, I had a strong feeling what he'd say in post-game interviews. We probably all did. ... Imagine what that must have felt like?
You have dreams. This was one of them. Point blank, I've dreamt about this and played with it, visualized it. When I was 13, 12, and as soon as I got to this area, the Red Sox were everything to me. Do you know how many times I've done this in my backyard? It's amazing. It's a true story now. ...

I hit that ball pretty solid. As soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone. I can't describe what I felt like emotionally. I don't even remember going around the bases. It's definitely something very exciting knowing that my family was watching. It was very special for me. ...

I'm overflowing with excitement. It's hard to put it into words. They were telling me that my rib cage would hurt because they were punching me so hard, but it doesn't hurt at all. That tells you right there I didn't feel anything.

It was definitely the most exciting moment of my whole entire career hands down.
The win put the Red Sox six games behind the Twins for the wild card with 24 to go.
Baseball is a game that you cannot predict. You really don't know what's going to happen. We played our hearts out. Here in Boston, we've seen miracles happen. That whole World Series a couple of years ago. That's amazing how we come back. Here I am, including myself. We came back being three games down to the Yankees. Anything is possible, so we can definitely get back into it.

September 4, 2006

G138: Red Sox 3, White Sox 2 (10)

Carlos Pena won the game with a solo home run to right (his first long ball of the year) leading off the bottom of the 10th against Brandon McCarthy.

The Red Sox had tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth when Manny Ramirez walked and scored on Mike Lowell's double.

Sexy Lips's nice start (6.1-6-2-0-5) was not wasted.

***

Jon Garland (4.47) / Julian Tavarez (4.90), 7 PM

Manny, Varitek and Nixon are back. Youkilis is back at the leadoff spot and Hinske (DH) is batting third.

September 3, 2006

G137: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 1

I'm trying to have some hope for the wild card, but these bastards keep losing.

***

Gustavo Chacin (5.90) / Josh Beckett (5.11), 4 PM

Wily Mo Pena and Alex Gonzalez are in the starting lineup. Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon will likely not play today.

More from Tito in the Globe.

September 2, 2006

Varitek, Nixon, Gonzalez Will Rejoin Sox On Sunday; MRI For Papelbon

Terry Francona said that Gonzalez will likely play shortstop, while Nixon and Varitek would be available off the bench.

Jonathan Papelbon will undergo an MRI on Monday.

Making The Effort

Reader "dpanusky" sent me this article, written by Terry Nau of the Pawtucket Times. I should have posted it awhile ago, but forgot. Sorry.

Headlined "Baseball Writers Should Meet Manny Halfway", it discusses language and the relationship between Ramirez (who Nau says is "probably the least understood superstar in Boston sports history") and the Boston media. It also tells us a little about Roberto Clemente:
As author David Maraniss notes in his fine biography "Clemente," former Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente endured insensitive treatment by baseball writers throughout his career. Writers often quoted his halting English phonetically, stretching out his vowels, having him saying "Theee-se theeengs bother me" in the newspapers.

Clemente was a proud, sensitive and intelligent man. As Maraniss observes, he was also a bit of a hypochondriac. He had almost been killed in an auto accident back home in Puerto Rico in the early 1950s and suffered from chiropractic issues the rest of his life. The Pittsburgh media, and eventually the national media, never knew about the accident. They just assumed he was "jaking it" whenever he took a day off.

In response, Clemente would express reluctance over talking to the media. He had taken the time to learn how to speak English. Still, the writers made fun of him in print. Clemente did not appreciate that lack of sincerity and when the opportunity arose, he would shout down an offending scribe over an innocuous question, just to make his point.
Nau asks a simple question:
How difficult might it be for a baseball writer to take a course in Spanish and develop a small vocabulary in the language, the same way so many Latin ballplayers have done with English?
Having traveled in different parts of the world, it's obvious that making a sincere effort to speak the local language (Spanish, French, Italian, etc.), however poorly and haltingly, helps immeasurably in getting information and advice. It's a simple show of respect. (I will admit, though, it's usually Laura doing the speaking.)

Is the media the equivalent of the boorish American tourist who thinks he'll be understood if he just talks louder in English?

G136: Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 1

A.J. Burnett threw a complete game, three-hitter. He allowed only one Red Sox batter past second base.

David Murphy singled in his first major league at-bat, with one out in the third. Boston got its other two hits -- and its only real rally -- in the seventh.

Toronto led 3-0. Kevin Youkilis led off with an infield single and went to third on a perfect hit-and-run single to right from Mike Lowell. Eric Hinske had an eight-pitch AB, fouling off five pitches, before grounding into a 4-6-3 double play that scored Youkilis. Javy Lopez looked at three strikes to end the inning.

Alex Cora made several great plays at shortstop, diving to both his right and left. ... Kevin Jarvis pitched well (3 runs (2 earned) in 5 innings), but was no match for Burnett.

***

A.J. Burnett (4.51) / Kevin Jarvis (11.91), 1 PM

Fact: 37-year-old Jarvis, picked up from the Diamondbacks on Thursday, sucks. He has a 5.70 ERA in 115 career starts and allowed eight runs over five innings in his last start (June 17). Asked what he knew about Jarvis, Terry Francona said, "I shook hands with him and had a piece of bacon."

Jarvis is the 27th pitcher for the Red Sox this season, a new club record. After Josh Beckett pitches tomorrow, Kason Gabbard (or Lenny DiNardo or Julian Tavarez) will start on Monday against the White Sox in place of Curt Schilling, who has an aggravated right latissimus muscle.

In Pawtucket, Jason Varitek is expected to DH, with Trot Nixon in right and Alex Gonzalez at shortstop.

David Murphy (2003 first round pick) makes his major league debut today -- but he still has no locker.
Catalanotto, LF Crisp, CF
Hill, 2B Cora, SS
Wells, CF Loretta, 2B
Overbay, 1B Youkilis, LF
Rios, RF Lowell, 3B
Zaun, C Hinske, DH
Lind, DH Lopez, C
Hattig, 3B Pena, 1B
McDonald, SS Murphy, RF
Boston remains only 5.5 GB Chicago for the wild card. That's pretty good, all things considered.

Lester May Start Chemo Today; "Burning Sensation" in Papelbon's Shoulder

Karen Guregian (Herald) reports that Jon Lester
could begin chemotherapy treatments as soon as today. ...

In recent weeks, Lester felt fatigued and noticed significant weight loss. A fender-bender on Storrow Drive on Aug. 18 left him with a bad back, and he was sent back to Boston during the Sox' recent West Coast road trip in order to get the injury examined. ...

When asked if the car accident was a blessing in disguise, Francona replied: "The doctor said they would have found it soon, anyway, car accident, or not."
The Lester family stated (pretty clearly, I thought): "We ask that you respect our need for privacy during this difficult time."

So what does everyone's favourite curly-haired mediot do?
I called Jon Lester's dad last night ... I knew the last thing he wanted to do was to speak to some cellphone-wielding reporter he'd never met. This is private time for the Lester family. We need to respect that, even those of us in the news business.
Yeah, I'll respect your right to privacy as soon as you answer my questions. ... We're getting horrible news every day about the Red Sox, but it comforting to know some things have not changed. Dan Shaughnessy remains a first-class asshole.

After making an errant pickoff throw to second, Jonathan Papelbon threw a pitch to Lyle Overbay and felt a "burning sensation" in his shoulder.
It was scary. When you throw a pitch and you let it go and you feel something that's not normal, panic starts to set it. I knew that something was wrong and I should come out of the game. ... I felt it a couple of pitches before I felt the larger strain. Right now we don't really know what's going on. It's just basically some sort of strain in the front of my shoulder. The doctors and trainers think it's just a fatigue issue, which hopefully it is, and I'll be back in a few days.
David Ortiz will not play this weekend:
I have a heart rate monitor connected to my body, and whenever I feel some irregular heartbeat, I'm supposed to press a button to alert doctors. Doctors will remove the instrument on Monday and, after checking the data produced, will decide whether I can start playing immediately, if I have to wait longer, or if I can't play again this season. ... I haven't felt any more palpitations since Monday. But I understand that everyone here wants to be 100 percent sure my health won't be at risk when I play again.

September 1, 2006

Nixon, Varitek In Pawtucket

Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek were at the top of Pawtucket's lineup against Ottawa on Friday night.

Nixon was the DH and went 0-for-4 (he also went 0-for-4 on Thursday while playing right field). Varitek homered in his first at-bat, ending the night 1-for-3, with 2 strikeouts.

Charlie Wagner, who first pitched for the Red Sox in 1938, died Thursday at the age of 93. He had been the oldest living Red Sock.

A change to the 2007 schedule: the Red Sox will open on April 2 in Kansas City, not Minnesota. The first home game is April 10 against Seattle.

Theo Epstein, on trading David Wells: "It was an opportunity for the organization to turn what was starting to look like a one-month only asset into a player who we feel can help us for a long time. ... [G]iven the quality of the player that we had an opportunity to get back, it would have been irresponsible not to pursue this deal."

On Friday, the Boston Globe published an editorial suggesting -- in the wake of the team's myriad injuries -- that Johnny Damon is haunting the Red Sox. And it is not written with tongue-in-cheek. Pure garbage.

G135: Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1

Kyle Synder pitched the game of his life (7-2-0-2-8, 94), Mike Lowell hit another home run, the eventual winning run scored on a Ted Lilly balk, Bengie Molina was thrown out trying to advance to third on a fly ball to right (snuffing out a Toronto rally in the 8th) and the trio of Jonathan Papelbon, Craig Breslow and Mike Timlin quieted the Jays (eventually) in the ninth.

Papelbon started the inning, but after allowing two singles and a force play, he made a wild pickoff throw to second base, then left the game holding his right shoulder. He was also stretching out his neck after a few earlier pitches, so maybe it's just a twinge/pinched nerve of some sort. ... This injury shit is surreal.

Breslow came with a 2-2 count on Lyle Overbay, and struck him out. Timlin allowed an infield single to Alex Rios that brought in one run, but he got Molina on a grounder to short to save the victory.

It looks like we'll gain a game in the wild card. Now only 5.5 games back, with three games against the White Sox next week.

***

Ted Lilly (4.78) / Kyle Snyder (6.91), 7 PM

The Red Sox have called up pitcher Craig Breslow and outfielder David Murphy from Pawtucket. ... David Ortiz will likely not play this weekend.

Changes To Weekend Game Times: Saturday (was 7 PM, now 1 PM) and Sunday (was 2 PM, now 4 PM).

Also Tonight: Twins at Yankees; White Sox at Royals.

Lester Has Lymphoma

Jon Lester's family released a statement:
Jon Lester has been diagnosed with a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma and will begin treatment within the coming week. ...
Information on lymphoma can be found here and here. Also check the SoSH thread; at least a couple members are doctors. ... I wonder if the x-rays taken in connection with his sore back picked this up early.

From the Red Sox's statement on David Ortiz:
David Ortiz was released from Massachusetts General Hospital on Thursday. ...

David's physical examination was normal. The following imaging and functional tests were performed: basic laboratories, electrocardiogram, heart monitoring, echocardiogram, signal averaged electrocardiogram, stress testing, and magnetic resonance imaging. The heart consultants extensively reviewed these tests.

In brief, David's testing was unremarkable or normal except for changes commonly found in well-trained athletes.

Since his return to Boston, David has experienced no further sensations. ... The medical staff will continue monitoring David in the outpatient setting with a device called an event monitor. Further testing, if indicated, will be determined by the results of outpatient monitoring. David's return to play will be reassessed next week.