June 30, 2008

G85: Rays 5, Red Sox 4

Red Sox - 000 101 002 - 4  8  1
Rays - 100 210 10x - 5 6 0
Third straight loss -- each by one run.

Now 1.5 GB.

***

Justin Masterson (3.43, 125 ERA+) / James Sheilds (3.76, 108 ERA+)

AL East showdown!
           W   L   PCT    GB   RS   RA  EXP REC
Rays 49 32 .605 --- 382 327 46-35
Red Sox 50 34 .595 0.5 424 351 49-35
Yankees 44 38 .537 5.5 385 364 43-39
Orioles 41 39 .513 7.5 364 367 40-40
Blue Jays 40 43 .482 10.0 344 316 45-38
MLB.com:
Masterson earned his second career win against Tampa Bay on June 3, a 7-4 decision at Fenway Park. It wasn't his most dominant performance, as he allowed four runs on six hits during six innings of work, but it did set the tone for the three-game set, which the Red Sox swept to regain first place in the AL East. Masterson's last start was very similar to that game against the Rays; he allowed four runs on seven hits against Arizona on Tuesday.

Shields is coming off a resounding victory over the Marlins on Wednesday night in which he broke a seven-game dry spell to notch the win. He tossed seven innings of four-hit ball ... He will face a new rival in the Red Sox, as he was one of five Rays suspended after the on-field melee at Fenway on June 5. Monday's game will be the 27-year-old's fourth appearance against the Red Sox this year. ... [Shields] sports an impressive 1.99 ERA in home starts.
In his last four games, Dustin Pedroia is 12-for-16.

Also: Pawtucket CF Jon Van Every hit three home runs against Rochester on Sunday afternoon. ... Starter Devern Hansack extended his scoreless streak to 23 innings; the PawSox record is 27.2 (Rob Woodward, 1986).

June 29, 2008

G84: Astros 3, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 001 000 100 - 2  9  0
Astros - 010 010 01x - 3 10 0
Dustin Pedroia homered in the third and Manny Ramirez donged in the seventh. Those two guys, plus Julio Lugo, each had two hits.

After Beckett (7-8-2-1-4, 111) left, David Aardsma allowed a one-out single to Miguel Tejada. Hideki Ojakima threw a wild pitch, moving Tejada to second, but got the second out. Pinch-hitter Mark Loretta singled to center to break the 2-2 tie.

In the ninth, facing Jose Valverde, J.D. Drew grounded to first and Manny walked. Mike Lowell forced Manny at second before Kevin Youkilis filed out to deep left center.

Tampa Bay beat Pittsburgh 4-3, so the Rays move into first place, .5 GA ahead of the Red Sox. The Yankees are 5.5 GB.

***

Josh Beckett (3.73, 115 ERA+) / Brian Moehler (4.03, 104 ERA+)

MLB.com:
Beckett has allowed just two runs in his last two starts, against Arizona and Cincinnati, logging 15 innings in the process. ...

Moehler has been the most reliable arm since joining the rotation. Counting his impressive performance against Texas on Tuesday night -- 6.1 innings, one run allowed on five hits -- the Astros are 5-4 in Moehler's nine starts but could easily be 7-2.

Linescore Of The Day

Angels  - 000 000 000 - 0  5  2
Dodgers - 000 010 00x - 1 0 2
The Dodgers did not get a hit last night against Jered Weaver (6 IP) and Jose Arredondo (2 IP), but won when Matt Kemp reached on Weaver's fielding error, stole second and took third on catcher Jeff Mathis's throwing error and scored on Blake DeWitt's fly ball to right field.

It was the fifth time in baseball history -- and fourth time in AL history -- that a team has pitched a no-hitter and lost. One of those was by Red Sox pitcher Matt Young, who walked seven batters in a 2-1 loss to Cleveland on April 12, 1992.

June 28, 2008

G83: Astros 11, Red Sox 10

Red Sox - 004 005 001 - 10  13  0
Astros - 005 010 23x - 11 14 0
Lester could not hold an early 4-0 lead (as six Sox reached base after two were outs in the third) and David Aarsdma and Manny Delcarmen frittered away a 9-6 advantage.

Dustin Pedroia continued his torrid hitting, collecting four singles in five trips. He is 10-for-14 (.714) in his last three games and 17-for-27 (.630) in his last six games.

Mike Lowell also had four hits, including two doubles and a solo home run. Lowell and Kevin Youkilis each drove in three runs and Manny Ramirez knocked in two.

Broadcast Note: Had the Astros FSN feed on mlbtv. Its Aflac trivia question: "Why did the Red Sox sell Babe Ruth?" My first guess? "Because he was a selfish, rule-ignoring, egomaniac who partied every single night."

I had a feeling, however, this would not be the Aflac answer. And I was right: "So owner Harry Frazee could finance his Broadway productions." ... There is nothing quite like seeing myths that have been throughly debunked well over a decade ago -- and said debunking given considerable publicity over the last 10 years -- being proclaimed as fact by people who work in baseball every single day.

Tampa Bay also lost -- 4-3 in 13 innings to Pittsburgh -- so the .5-game lead remains.

***

Jon Lester (3.13, 137 ERA+) / Brandon Backe (4.82, 88 ERA+)

Lester's last 4 starts: 27.2 IP, 30 H, 3 BB, 16 K, 1.63 ERA

Lester's last 7 starts: 46.2 IP, 44 H, 10 BB, 32 K, 2.12 ERA

MLB.com:
Lester is becoming one stingy innings-eater for the Boston Red Sox. In the month of June, he hasn't given up more than two runs in any outing while at least pitching into the seventh inning in all four starts. He's 5-1 since the beginning of May, and the Sox have won each of the five outings he's pitched in since May 31.

Backe earned his first win in a month when he beat the Rays in his last outing. The right-hander yielded a two-run homer to Evan Longoria in the second inning but held the Rays scoreless through the remainder of his 6.2 innings. Backe has appeared in four games against the Red Sox, all in relief. He has allowed eight runs over 5.1 innings for a 13.50 ERA.
Looking at Backe's previous performances against the Red Sox is pointless; they were in 2002 and 2003 (two games each season).

Also: Yankees/Mets (4 PM) and Rays/Pirates (7 PM).

June 27, 2008

G82: Red Sox 6, Astros 1

Red Sox - 003 000 102 - 6 12  0
Astros - 000 000 010 - 1 4 0
(Updated with some stuff.)

J.D. Drew gave the Sox an early lead with a three-run dong and Matsuzaka rebounded nicely (5-2-0-3-4, 87). The Red Sox became the first team to get to 50 games this year.

Dustin Pedroia had his 11th three-hit game of the season; he also walked and scored two runs. Kevin Youkilis collected four hits and Mike Lowell drove in two runs.

Craig Hansen pitched a perfect sixth (K, 5-3, F9) and Manny Delcarmen threw a perfect seventh (F9, 6-3, K). Hideki Ojakima retired the first two batters in the eighth (F8, F7), but then allowed a solo home run and a single. Jonathan Papelbon came on and got the last four outs (K, 5-3, F9, 6-3).

Tampa Bay beat Pittsburgh 10-5, so the Sox remain .5 GA. The Yankees split a home-and-home doubleheader with the Mets, getting routed in the Bronx 15-6 and blanking the Stems in Queens 9-0. In the second game, new Yankee starter Sidney Ponson allowed four hits and four walks in the first three inings, but somehow kept the Mets off the board. The MFY are now 6 GB.

Also: mlbtv was sputtering on our connection last night -- plus it was the FSN feed -- so we listened to the radio broadcast. Not bad, though I did notice that all of the various sponsorships and contests in the early innings prevented Castig from giving an updated count on the batter at various times. In the later innings, they were able to concentrate on baseball.

O'Brien is a good play-by-play man -- he says what he needs to say, with a nice amount of creativity and humour; he's way better than Castig -- but there was one thing that irked me. When Coco Crisp batted in the top of the fourth, after Castig said that "Hernandez is up to 73 pitches already", O'Brien noted, "Almost from the get-go, he's been falling behind everybody."

I looked at my scorecard and saw that Hernandez had been ahead of five of the first six Boston batters and had fallen behind only seven of 18. Hernandez -- making his first big league start since September 29, 2006 -- was throwing a lot of pitches (19-16-25-21-18 in his five innings), but 39% was not "everybody".

***

Daisuke Matsuzaka (3.46, 124 ERA+) / Runelvys Hernandez (6.48, 73 ERA+)

In Port aux Choix with a strong connection, beer in the fridge, and a 9:30 PM local start time. Perfect!

Dice's ERA jumped by nearly a full run (0.93) after his dreadful outing (1-6-7-3-1, 48) against the Cardinals last Saturday. SoSH asked: Did he come back from the DL too soon?

Crisp's Reduced Suspension Begins Saturday

Coco Crisp's suspension was reduced from seven days to five. He will begin serving it starting with tomorrow night's game. He'll miss the entire Tampa series next week and return for Thursday night's game in New York.

Mike Timlin, currently on a rehab assignment with Pawtucket, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning against Richmond last night. Old Yeller threw 10 pitches, seven for strikes. He will likely have two or three more outings for the PawSox.

June 26, 2008

Ortiz Starts Swinging

David Ortiz took 25 easy swings off a tee at Fenway Park on Wednesday and said it would be about 2-3 weeks (and a minor league rehab stint) before he returns to the lineup. That would be shortly after the All-Star break.

Flo:
The recovery is pretty much on pace with what they thought I was going to be. It's all right. I am disappointed. I want to be playing. But there's not too much I can do about it but wait. ... It's actually positive because when I got hurt I couldn't even hold a bat. Now I'm getting to the point where I can swing slowly, so they know what point I'm at in my progress. I knew it was going to feel like that. That's what the doctor wanted me to do, take swings slowly until I get to the form where I can be ready to play.
Ortiz may join the team in Houston on Friday.

June 25, 2008

G81: Red Sox 5, Diamondbacks 0

Diamondbacks - 000 000 000 - 0  3  0
Red Sox - 010 001 03x - 5 12 0
Wakefield (7-2-0-1-6, 94) was superb while Kevin Cash (3-run homer), Coco Crisp (three doubles), Mike Lowell (two hits, three runs), Brandon Moss (2 RBI), and Dustin Pedroia (three hits) led the offense.

Internet troubles (satellite + shitty weather) meant I saw only a few minutes of the game -- most of the bottom of the sixth and Manny Delcarmen's work in the eighth.

***

Randy Johnson (5.09, 88 ERA+) / Tim Wakefield (4.17, 104 ERA+)

Interview with Richard Bradley

Broken Cowboy has a fascinating interview with Richard Bradley, author of The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of '78. (Munson wrote poetry?!?)

I've read nothing but unqualified praise for the book, so I'm really looking forward to reading it (despite its subject). I will also be giving a copy away in the "Yankee Elimination Day" contest after the All-Star Game.

June 24, 2008

G80: Red Sox 5, Diamondbacks 4

Diamondbacks - 013 000 000 - 4  7  0
Red Sox - 100 000 04x - 5 11 1
Boston batted around in the eighth inning and came back against Arizona.

Pedroia's home run down the left field line gave the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead, but after two two-out singles in the first, Davis retired 14 of the next 16 batters. During that time, Chad Tracy drove in four runs to give the Snakes the lead -- an RBI single in the second and a three-run dong in the third.

Masterson, after looking like he would not make it out of the fourth inning, once again gave the Sox six frames (6-7-4-4-4, 101). It was Chris Smith, in his second major league appearance, who held the line, allowing only a two-out walk in two innings and getting credit for the win.

Singles by Lugo and Ellsbury to start the eighth chased Davis. Qualls allowed a run on Pedroia's single, then struck out Drew and got Manny to ground to third. but Ramirez's grounder was a tough hop and a double play was not possible.

That gave Lowell a chance to bat - and Doctor Doubles gave his team some Rx by drilling a game-tying two-bagger off the Wall. Varitek then whacked a high slider to right, Lowell scored, and the Sox had retaken the lead.

Bot walked Byrnes with one out in the ninth, but fanned Drew's brother and got Hudson to ground out to Lowell for the last out.

Tampa beat Florida 6-4 to stay 1 GB; the Pirates pounded the Yankees 12-5, dropping the MFY 5.5 GB.

***

Doug Davis (3.65, 123 ERA+) / Justin Masterson (3.00, 144 ERA+)

It's Jerry Remy Day!

We are watching the game from St. Anthony, Newfoundland.

Update on Yook's eye, from the Globe:
"Kevin Youkilis is out of the lineup tonight. Youkilis, who was hit under the right eye by a warmup toss before the fifth inning Monday night, still has swelling and water in the eye, and saw an eye specialist today. Manager Terry Francona said the team is shooting for a return tomorrow for Youkilis."

June 23, 2008

G79: Diamondbacks 2, Red Sox 1

Diamondbacks - 000 000 200 - 2  6  0
Red Sox - 000 000 010 - 1 4 0
***

Dan Haren (3.26) / Josh Beckett (3.87)

June 22, 2008

G78: Red Sox 5, Cardinals 3 (13)

Cardinals - 000 002 001 000 0 - 3  16  0
Red Sox - 000 000 120 000 2 - 5 13 0
Kevin Youkilis's second home run of the afternoon gave the Red Sox an extra-inning victory. His first dong put Boston on the board in the seventh.

Craig Hansen was superb in relief, coming in with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eleventh and fanning Ryan Ludwick on three pitches. Hansen retired all five batters he faced.

Lester (7-9-1-1-3, 101) looked great yet again, except for a shaky sixth in which he allowed back-to-back doubles to start the frame and a one-out RBI single.

Jonathan Papelbon was one out away from nailing down a 3-2 save when he walked pinch-hitter Chris Duncan on four pitches and surrendered a game-tying double on an 0-2 pitch to another pinch-hitter, Adam Kennedy.

Dustin Pedroia collected two singles and two doubles.

Tampa lost to Houston 3-2, so the East lead is back to 1.5.

***

Joel Pineiro (4.02, 104 ERA+) / Jon Lester (3.18, 137 ERA+)

June 21, 2008

Where Am I (updated)

The Newfoundland Vacation, so far:

Tuesday, June 17
St. John's
Wednesday, June 18
St. John's / Witless Bay
Wednesday Night in St. John's
Thursday, June 19
Cape Spear to Bonavista
Bonavista, First Night
Friday, June 20
Bonavista, Second Day and Night
Saturday, June 21
Bonavista to Twillingate

Switch Hitter vs Switch Pitcher

dianagramr, Humbug Journal:
Staten Island Yankees pitcher Pat Venditte is able to pitch with either hand (quite well in fact). In last night's game [June 19] against the Brooklyn Cyclones, Venditte faced the first two batters of the ninth as a right-handed pitcher. Then, switch-hitting Ralph Henriquez came to the plate to bat from the left side. Venditte switched his custom-made, six-finger glove to his right hand and prepared to pitch lefty. Henriquez then turned around to bat right-handed. The two players switched sides several times before umpires stepped in to discuss the issue. ...
SNY video of the final two batters is here.

The Sporting News has some background and the New York Times wrote about Venditte back in April 2007.

G77: Cardinals 9, Red Sox 3

Cardinals - 440 000 100 - 9 12  0 
Red Sox - 020 001 000 - 3 6 0
After Dice departed three batters into the second inning, Chris Smith made his major league debut: 4-3-1-0-3, 45.

Cora doubled in two runs in the second and Drew hit his 14th home run in the sixth.

***

Mitchell Boggs (5.56, 75 ERA+) / Daisuke Matsuzaka (2.53, 171 ERA+)

After two days in Bonavista with no internet possibilities -- which may have been offset by eating piles of crabs that had been living in the bay only hours earlier (the evening "snack" promised us by our B&B hosts) -- we are now in Twillingate, at a hotel with wireless.

I could not remember what time today's game started (I was hoping it was at 7, which would be 8:30 out here), so I logged on -- and saw Troy Glaus's grand slam give the Cards a very early 8-0 lead. A bad roll of the Dice today, clearly.

Looking at Friday's box, I see Lugo hit a dong -- and made two errors. What else have I missed?

June 20, 2008

G76: Cardinals 5, Red Sox 4

Cardinals - 000 011 210 - 5  10  1
Red Sox - 010 001 101 - 4 10 2
***

Kyle Lohse (3.77) / Tim Wakefield (4.19)

June 18, 2008

G75: Red Sox 7, Phillies 4

Red Sox  - 402 100 000 - 7 13  0
Phillies - 100 010 200 - 4 6 0
The Red Sox scored four times in the top of the first inning before making an out -- Ellsbury singled, Pedroia singled, Drew homered, Lowell homered.

Drew went 4-for-5, adding two singles and a double to his home run. Pedroia had three hits. Brandon Moss drove in two runs in the third as a pinch-hitter for Coco Crisp, who left with discomfort in his left hand.

Masterson (5-4-2-2-1, 92) got credit for his fourth win of the season.

***

Justin Masterson (2.90, 150 ERA+) / Kyle Kendrick (4.54, 97 ERA+)

Check the links at right for game thread location.

June 17, 2008

G74: Red Sox 3, Phillies 0

Red Sox  - 020 001 000 - 3  7  0
Phillies - 000 000 000 - 0 7 0
Lester was strong (7-6-0-1-5, 98) and Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo provided the offense. Crisp hit a two-run home run in the second. In the sixth, he singled, stole second and third and scored on Lugo's double.

Ryan Howard struck out swinging four times, earning himself what some call the "golden sombrero"; I prefer "golden shower".

***
Jon Lester (3.43, 128 ERA+) / Jamie Moyer (4.12, 106 ERA+)

Check out ish for tonight's game thread.

Colon To DL; Chris Smith Recalled

Bartolo Colon was put on the 15-day disabled list with stiffness in his lower back. Colon thought he "hurt it on that swing where my helmet fell off". RHP Chris Smith was recalled from Pawtucket.

Cafardo, Globe:
Curt Schilling will have his right shoulder examined tomorrow in Boston by Dr. Thomas Gill. According to manager Terry Francona, Schilling has reached a "plateau" in his comeback and has been told to shut it down for a while.

Vacation

JoS is currently en route to Newfoundland, where it will be on vacation until July 2.

There will be posts (probably only mostly linescores and game thoughts, as I should have access to mlbtv), but no game threads. Check the links at right for possible locations.

And if you are curious about what we're up to, read L's travel journal at wmtc.

June 16, 2008

G73: Phillies 8, Red Sox 2

Red Sox  - 000 020 000 - 2  8  0
Phillies - 301 004 00x - 8 12 0
Colon (4-6-4-2-4, 70) had a rough start: ten pitches in, he was down 3-0, thanks to a Rollins dinger, Victorino's double and Howard's two-run dong.

Howard led off the third with another shot to deep left and Boston trailed 4-0. The Red Sox got two back in the fifth on back-to-back taters from Pedroia (who also singled and doubled) and Drew, but then Francona decided bringing Timlin in for the sixth inning would be a good idea.

He was wrong. Walk, single, sacrifice, single, single, fielder's choice, triple, walk. Four runs off Old Yeller allowed the Phillies to put the game on cruise control.

There was good news: Ortiz's cast is off and he may start range of motion exercises on Tuesday.

***

Bartolo Colon (3.41, 128 ERA+) / Cole Hamels (3.27, 134 ERA+)

The Phillies (41-30) lead the NL East by 3 games. Chase Utley (.309/.401/.636, 22 HR, 61 RBI, 163 OPS+) and Pat Burrell (.283/.425/.602, 162 OPS+) are the big bats and Hamels is the ace of the staff.

By comparison, J.D. Drew's OPS+ is 164 (.321/.428/.577), followed by Manny Ramirez (146) and Kevin Youkilis (138).

The rest of the AL East is off today, but there was some Yankees news:

Reading Room

I never found the time or energy to comment on Buzz Bissinger's bizarre reaction back in April to Will Leitch and sports blogs in general, but reading this personal story of a Portland columnist (found thru Glenn Greenwald and Attytood) led me to Smittblog's take, which is quite good. (Plus he's a Sox fan.)

Morgan Ensberg was a guest poster on Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes's blog back on April 25. It was short but interesting. I never knew this about second base umpires between innings:
TV contracts are a really big deal in baseball. So much so that the umpire at second base has a stop watch and starts it immediately following the last out of the inning. We all sit and warm up and wait until a minute and 30 seconds (I think that is how long) has passed. You will see the home plate umpire standing and waiting, the batter will be outside the batters box waiting, and you will see the pitcher standing behind the mound and looking at second base and waiting for the umpire to move back into the outfield or put his hat on (the signal that we have passed the time needed for commercials) and that tell us we can start. It drives all of us crazy.
Here's two articles from Dugout Central: An interview with John Paciorek – who went 3-for-3 (with two walks) in his only major league game on September 29, 1963 -- and a question: "Does Bill James Belong in the Hall of Fame?"

June 15, 2008

Propaganda Posters

Chris Speakman's "Sports Propaganda" prints -- which update the look of World War II posters with a modern Red Sox theme -- are currently part of a New England commerical promotion, but I also wanted to mention them here.

G72: Red Sox 9, Reds 0

Red Sox - 122 031 000 - 9 11  1
Reds - 000 000 000 - 0 6 2
Mr. Homer B. did not disappoint.

Coco Crisp hit a two-run shot in the second. And one batter after Jacoby Ellsbury drilled a four-bagger to start the third, J.D. Drew got it on and banged a dong. Bailey threw 62 pitches in 2.1 innings and was gone after 13 batters.

Crisp drove in two more runs in the fifth. Dustin Pedroia also went deep, in the sixth.

Beckett (7-6-0-2-6, 98) was strong. David Aarsdma and Mike Timlin each threw a scoreless inning.

In the first inning, Ellsbury singled. He stole second on the first pitch to Pedroia, caught his breath on the second, and stole third on the third pitch. Neither play was close. The first theft was #32 and it set a new Red Sox rookie record.

The Marlins beat the Rays 9-3, so the East lead is back to 2.5.

***

Josh Beckett (4.22, 104 ERA+) / Homer Bailey (6.30, 70 ERA+)

Bailey - part of the All-Time Unfortunately-Named Pitching Staff than includes Bob Walk and Grant Balfour.

Manny is still out, but Lugo and Varitek are back in the lineup.

HR Tidbit

The consecutive home runs hit by Kevin Youkilis and Coco Crisp yesterday were only "the fourth set of back-to-back, extra-inning homers in club history and the first since David Ortiz and Jason Varitek hit consecutive shots on April 27, 2003, in the 14th inning of a game in Anaheim".

The other two:
June 11, 1963 - Frank Malzone/Dick Stuart, 15th inning at Detroit

September 28, 1985 - Glenn Hoffman/Dwight Evans, 10th inning at Detroit
The Red Sox press notes list the September 25, 1985 game at Toronto, which is wrong.

Here is the box from the 2003 game. Jeremy Giambi was the DH -- batting 8th. Ortiz (hitting .188 at the time) pinch-hit for Giambi in the 14th.

It would be roughly another month until Ortiz got regular playing time. It's interesting to look at his game logs for that season -- he usually hit 5th.

June 14, 2008

G71: Red Sox 6, Reds 4 (10)

Red Sox - 100 101 010 2 - 6 13  0
Reds - 010 000 111 0 - 4 8 1
Back-to-back home runs from Kevin Youkilis and Coco Crisp led the Sox to an extra-inning win -- after Jonathan Papelbon had surrendered a game-tying dong in the ninth.

Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 30th and 31st bases of the season, tying the team's rookie record. Amby McConnell stole 31 bases in 1908.

***

Tim Wakefield (4.33, 101 ERA+) / Edinson Volquez (1.56, 283 ERA+)

Volquez's highly impressive game log (14 games, 13 starts).

He made 17 starts over three seasons with Texas (2005-07). The only current Red Sox player he has faced is Sean Casey (1-for-2).
Red Sox           Reds
Ellsbury, LF Bruce, CF
Pedroia, 2B Janish, SS
Drew, RF Griffey, RF
Lowell, 3B Phillips, 2B
Youkilis, 1B Dunn, LF
Crisp, CF Encarnacion, 3B
Cora, SS Votto, 1B
Cash, C Bako, C
Wakefield, P Volquez, P
Lineup change: Cora in for Lugo (stomach ailment).

Also: Marlins/Rays at 6 PM and Yankees/Astros at 7 PM. Can New York go three games over .500 for the first time this season?

While I Am Out

Laura and I are leaving for a vacation in Newfoundland on Tuesday morning. While I will have a laptop (to watch the Sox on mlbtv) and will post, there will be no game threads here from June 17 to July 1 (or maybe July 2).

During the last few games, we have batted around a few ideas of what to do during the hiatus: go to ThreadSox or someone else's blog (Jere's, perhaps), have guest moderators at JoS, do nothing/simply watch the games ...

I'd vote for ThreadSox, as it has served as a home away from JoS in the past, but I won't be around. Any thoughts?

June 13, 2008

G70: Reds 3, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 000 100 000 - 1  5  0
Reds - 100 200 00x - 3 4 0
Masterson turned in another "quality start" (6.2-4-3-3-9, 98), but the Sox bats were silent.

Only two Boston runners touched second base, both in the fourth inning (Ellsbury doubled and two outs later, Manny and Lowell singled). Cincinnati's three pitchers did not issue a walk all night. Drew went 0-for-4 and did not get the ball out of the infield.

Tampa Bay beat Florida 7-3 to move 1.5 GB Boston. The Yankees beat Houston 2-1 and are, once again, a season-best two games over .500.

***

Justin Masterson (2.59, 169 ERA+) / Aaron Harang (4.31, 102 ERA+)

Fresh off a 7-2 homestand that boosted their MLB-best home record to 28-7, the Red Sox hit the road for some more interleague action in Ohio.

Boston leads Tampa Bay in the East by 2.5 games. The Red Sox's largest lead this season has been 3.5 games (May 5-8).

Despite the team's 31-8 record against the NL since the start of 2006, Terry Francona doesn't like the gimmicky mid-season annoyance (that's my description, not his!):
It's not set up fair. You set your team up to play American League baseball and you go and play National League baseball. ... You're asking guys to do things they're not used to doing. I've never quite understood the fairness.
It's the franchise's first trip to Cincinnati since Games 3-4-5 of the 1975 World Series. Boston swept the Reds in three games at Fenway in June 2005 (10-3, 7-0 and 6-1).

Last week, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick wrote a nice overview of the Reds. Cincinnati's BR page is here.

Manny's hamstring troubles may prevent him from playing left field. Sean Casey will start tonight in place of hometown boy Kevin Youkilis.

In Pawtucket, Clay Buchholz explains how he has dropped his arm angle to "not quite three-quarters" to regain consistent command of his fastball.

Tonight: Our new rivals (2.5 GB) host the Marlins, while our old rivals (7 GB) visit Houston.

The Yankees (34-33) were a season-best two games over .500 back on April 23 (12-10). Since then, there have been six occasions when the MFY were one game over .500 -- 12-11, 14-13, 17-16, 28-27, 32-31, 33-32 -- and could have matched that high-water mark, but they always lost the next game. Tonight is their 7th attempt.

June 12, 2008

G69: Red Sox 9, Orioles 2

Orioles - 000 002 000 - 2  7  0
Red Sox - 010 400 22x - 9 9 1
Lester (7-7-2-1-3, 101) was smooth (save for a sixth-inning stumble) and the Sox hit three home runs.

In the fourth, Baltimore walked Manny to load the bases for Mike Lowell -- who lofted a grand slam into the Monster Seats. Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew each hit two-run dongs to make it a laugher.

2.5 GA!

***

Jeremy Guthrie (3.40, 125 ERA+) / Jon Lester (3.50, 125 ERA+)

Another early start -- assuming this guy is wrong.

Red Sox vs Guthrie
&
Orioles vs Lester

Native Americans In Baseball - Museum Exhibit

Vincent M. Mallozzi, New York Times:
[Jacoby] Ellsbury, whose mother is Navajo, is the first person from that tribe to reach the major leagues. He is among 47 American Indian baseball players whose contributions to the game, from its earliest innings, are chronicled in "Baseball's League of Nations: A Tribute to Native Americans in Baseball," an exhibit that opened April 1 and runs through Dec. 31 at the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, N.Y. ...

Pitchers Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees (Winnebago) and Kyle Lohse of the St. Louis Cardinals (Nomlaki) are the only other American Indians in the majors. ...

Moses Yellowhorse, a Pawnee, is considered by many historians to be the first full-blooded American Indian to play professional baseball. Yellowhorse, who was not-so-affectionately known as Chief, broke in with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1921. ...

Philosophy

Art Martone's link-o-rama for today includes this:
Sean McAdam has a very interesting piece about the Red Sox working to keep their starting pitchers rested and refreshed so they're better able to withstand the demands of October. He wrote it on the same day Paul Kenyon was reporting (and demonstrating) from Pawtucket how the organization has, in the words of director of amateur scouting Jason McLeod, "implemented a system, and everybody's bought into it at every level." The underlying theme -- of both stories -- is that the Red Sox' focus goes beyond winning individual games, and toward building a structure that gives the major-league team the greatest chance for sustained, and sustainable, success. And, as it happens, we simultaneously have Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News writing about the other end of this spectrum: Yankee manager Joe Girardi overusing his aging core players in an attempt to avoid falling too far behind in the postseason races ...
Kevin Youkilis spoke at length about his post-AB behaviour:
I've had a couple teammates tell me don't think about it. You do what you do. There's other people told me, you need to tone this down. ... That's something I've been battling, and it probably will be a battle. ... I think the hardest thing is it doesn't change overnight.
Manny Ramirez is questionable for left field tomorrow night in Cincinnati. ... Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a rehab start for Pawtucket on Monday. ... Jacoby Ellsbury's 29 stolen bases are the most by an under-25 Red Sox player since Buddy Myer, 24, stole 30 in 1928.

Corporate Welfare At Its Best: In New York, the Yankees have demanded an additional $350 million to finish their new ball park. ... Memo to Steinbrenners: Use your own money.

On Asinof

Two must-reads: Jay Jaffe and Alex Belth offer their thoughts on Eliot Asinof.

June 11, 2008

Ortiz Becomes US Citizen

Globe:
Ortiz was one of 227 immigrants who raised their right hands and took the Oath of Citizenship at the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester. The cast he has worn since partially tearing a tendon in his left hand did not stop him from clutching a small American flag as he spoke to a crush of reporters after the ceremony.
Pix and video.

G68: Red Sox 6, Orioles 3

Orioles - 000 010 002 - 3  9  2
Red Sox - 500 001 00x - 6 7 1
The Sox struck early: a first-inning fiver capped off by Jason Varitek's three-run home run to deep left. Colon made it stand up: 6-5-1-1-7, 93.

It was Timlin Being Timlin in the ninth before Tito called on Bot to slam the door.

2 GA!

***

Garrett Olson (3.86, 110 ERA+) / Bartolo Colon (3.91, 112 ERA+)

Tampa (1 GB) plays the Angels this afternoon (live box).

Eliot Asinof, Dead at 88

Eliot Asinof, who died yesterday at age 88, was best known for "Eight Men Out", his book about the 1919 White Sox scandal, but he also wrote more than a dozen other books, including the 1955 baseball novel "Man on Spikes".

Asinof was a minor league first baseman for the Phillies in the arly 1940s before joining the Army. He wrote for television and movies in the 1950s, but was blacklisted by the FBI because he had "signed a petition outside of Yankee Stadium to encourage the New York Yankees to hire black ballplayers."

Asinof was also a pianist, sculptor and carpenter. A few weeks ago, he finished a memoir of his World War II service. That book, as well as a novel, will be published later this year.

June 10, 2008

G67: Orioles 10, Red Sox 6

Orioles - 040 000 303 - 10 15  0
Red Sox - 102 030 000 - 6 8 1
Beckett (6-8-4-1-3, 113) allowed three doubles, a walk and a HBP in the second inning to put the Sox in an early hole.

Back-to-back home runs from Drew and Manny gave the Red Sox a fifth-inning lead, but Okajima and Hansen each allowed three runs out of the pen to give it back. It was Jeemer's 6th blown save.

Boston hit into four double plays: Ramirez, Varitek, Cora (2).

***

Early game time!

Daniel Cabrera (3.98, 107 ERA+) / Josh Beckett (4.07, 108 ERA+)

Make it happen.

***

Stats 'N Stuff:

Manny Ramirez has a 13-game hitting streak (.380/.466/.780 in 58 plate appearances). For the season, Manny is 5th in the American League in OPS and 3rd in total bases.

J.D. Drew is 5th in batting (.318), 2nd in on-base (.419), 8th in slugging (.523) and 4th in OPS (.942).

Jacoby Ellsbury leads both leagues with 28 stolen bases.

Since May 22, Dustin Pedroia is 7-for-58 (.121/.212/.259).

In 13 games since May 24, Jason Varitek is batting .152 and slugging .174. Included in that time is a 3-for-4 showing on May 31; without that, the average drops to .095.

In the six games on this homestand, Boston (5-1) has a team ERA of 2.33. The Sox's season ERA of 3.87 is fifth-best in the AL.

In his last six appearances, Craig Hansen has pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and two unintentional walks, while fanning seven.

Since May 8, Manny Delcarmen has allowed two runs in 12.2 innings (1.42).

Jonathan Papelbon has recorded 25 outs in his last eight appearances, 12 of them by strikeout.

2-1, 2-1, 2-1, 2-1

The San Diego Padres did something no team has done since at least 1957 (and perhaps in baseball history): win four straight games by the same score.
Wednesday, June 4: Padres 2, Cubs 1
Thursday, June 5: Padres 2, Mets 1
Friday, June 6: Padres 2, Mets 1
Saturday, June 7: Padres 2, Mets 1
The Padres also beat the Mets on Sunday, but by an 8-6 score.

BP's Jim Baker looks at the two steaks since 1957 of teams losing four in a row by the same score.

Viagra Was Rocket Booster



NYDN:
He told little white lies ... and he took little blue pills.

Roger Clemens, whose claims he never took steroids are under federal investigation, has apparently discovered the benefits of another performance-enhancing drug sweeping the sports world - Viagra.

Clemens stashed the clearly marked, diamond-shaped pills in a GNC vitamin bottle in his locker at Yankee Stadium, according to a source familiar with the clubhouse, perhaps keeping the drug undercover to avoid the inevitable wisecracks about all the girlfriends he needed to please.

Clemens wasn't alone. The pitcher, who is believed to have scored the drug from a teammate, joined the burgeoning number of athletes who have turned Vitamin V and its over-the-counter substitutes into one of the hottest drugs in locker rooms. ...

[BALCO founder Victor Conte:] "It's bigger than creatine. It's the biggest product in nutritional supplements." ...

Clemens' lawyer Rusty Hardin did not return a call for comment.
Was Fat Billy eating Viagra "like Skittles"?

Also:

Birth Of A Nickname

The #1 topic during the off-day was J.D. Drew.

Amalie Benjamin, Globe:
Over his eight-game hitting streak, which coincides exactly with David Ortiz's absence from the lineup, Drew has put up a .519 average (14-for-27). But it's more than that. He has been hot for nearly three weeks, hitting .400 (22-for-55) over his last 18 games with five home runs and 14 RBIs, pushing his average for the season from .281 to .318.
In addition to the .519 average since June 1, Drew has slugged 1.148. And since being moved into the #3 spot, Drew is 9-for-17 (.529), with a 1.754 OPS.

At some point last season, I began insisting in game threads that Drew was "on fire". I went back to find out when it started and discovered that it began much later in the season than I would have guessed. The first use of "on fire" came on September 11.

Drew had gotten one hit in each of his last three games and five of his last seven -- a modest streak of success barely worth mentioning (5-for-20, .250 in those seven games). But in Game 146, with Boston trailing Tampa Bay 8-1 in the 4th inning, Drew followed Mike Lowell's single with one of his own. A four-game hitting streak! I was half-joking when I posted:
drew is on fire!
Tue Sep 11, 9:21 PM
The Red Sox began to come back. Drew singled in the fifth, walked in the sixth and homered in the seventh.
JD DONG!!!
ON FUCKIN FIRE........
Tue Sep 11, 10:34 PM
I kept it up:
if only it was that easy.
DREW!!!! ON FUCKIN FIRE!!!!
Wed Sep 12, 8:22 PM

DREW -- ON FIRE, FOLKS!!!!
yook outdekes slappy at third!!!!
Fri Sep 14, 10:29 PM

ON FIRE
Sat Sep 15, 5:45 PM

DJ Werd on base yet again.
ON FIRE, I tell you.
Sat Sep 15, 6:34 PM

... As I am reminding everyone Drew is -- ON FIRE!!!
Sun Sep 16, 6:43 PM

Last 14 days: .351/.490/.541
Last 7 days: .529/.652/.765
ON FIRE!
:>)
Sun Sep 16, 6:47 PM

Drew FC
ON FIRE!!!!!!
Sun Sep 16, 9:52 PM
You get the idea!

In the 15 games from the first "ON FIRE" to end of the regular season, Drew hit .396/.492/.736.

And that's why J.D. Drew's JoS nickname is "ON FIRE".

June 9, 2008

Ellsbury Takes BP; May Return Tuesday

Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice on Monday.

He may be back in the lineup tomorrow night when the Orioles visit Fenway: "That would be what we'd be shooting for."

ProJo:
Daisuke Matsuzaka played catch, making 60-70 throws at distances of up to 180 feet. He will play catch again on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Wednesday.
Jon Lester told Rob Bradfod that he has no idea why he was suspended:
They didn't give a justified reason. I didn't get thrown out, and I didn't hit anybody on purpose. ... [Bob Watson] said, "You hit Crawford with a curveball and guys are hitting guys with curveballs now." It's stupid. ... It really is B.S. that I got suspended and Shields, the guy that hit somebody, only gets one more game than me.
David Ortiz will have his wrist evaluated in another week. The antsy DH says he'll probably stay in Boston when the team travels to Cincinnati (June 13-15) and Philadelphia (June 16-18).

Guess what? The Red Sox are cursed again.

Something Else #11: White Stripes

Today's Off-Day Musical Guest: the White Stripes.

Jack White and Meg White formed the White Stripes in 1997. The Detroit duo play a raw mix of rock, punk and blues -- generally only guitar and drums. For years, the duo presented themselves as brother and sister, but they were actually married. Fun Fact: Jack, born John Gillis, took Meg's last name. They divorced in 2000, but continued recording and performing together.

What I'm posting: 1999 FM broadcast, two 2001 John Peel BBC sessions and a July 2007 concert at Madison Square Garden. And other stuff!

June 8, 2008

G66: Red Sox 2, Mariners 1

Mariners - 010 000 000 - 1  3  0
Red Sox - 001 001 00x - 2 5 0
Masterson (6-3-1-3-4, 88) turned in another quality start and the trio of Craig Hansen, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon each threw an inning. Seattle managed only one hit from its final 25 batters.

The red-hot J.D. Drew drove in both Boston runs, with a bases-loaded HBP in the second and a line drive solo dong to deep center to lead off the sixth.

Julio Lugo walked and doubled and Brandon Moss walked and singled. Manny Ramirez's sixth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Quick Work: Jeemer threw nine pitches in the eighth and Bot needed only five in the ninth.

***

Erik Bedard (4.47, 90 ERA+) / Justin Masterson (2.95, 149 ERA+)
Lugo, SS
Pedroia, 2B
Drew, RF
Ramirez, DH
Lowell, 3B
Youkilis, 1B
Varitek, C
Crisp, CF
Moss, LF
wmtc3 was a great success. I watched a loss on Friday and missed yesterday's win. I'd like to watch a win today.

June 7, 2008

G65: Red Sox 11, Mariners 3

Mariners - 002 000 001 -  3   7  0
Red Sox - 200 211 05x - 11 13 1
***

Miguel Batista (5.90, 67 ERA+) / Tim Wakefield (4.50, 97 ERA+)
           IP   H  BB   K  WHIP
Batista 61 75 38 39 1.85
Wakefield 74 68 34 47 1.38
There will be baserunners.

Today is the third annual wmtc party at Chez L-Sock, so please go to ThreadSox.

Suspensions

Games Suspended
Red Sox           Rays
Coco Crisp, 7 James Shields, 6
Jon Lester, 5 Jonny Gomes, 5
Sean Casey, 3 Edwin Jackson, 5
Carl Crawford, 4
Akinori Iwamura, 3
Lester began serving his suspension on Friday. With the Red Sox off on Monday, Lester will simply get an extra day of rest and make his next start on Thursday night. Casey has until June 14 to decide whether to appeal his suspension.

Photo by Bob Breidenbach/Providence Journal (more photos and links)

Manny vs Youkilis

A Red Sox source told Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes that the dugout altercation between Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis was sparked by Yook's temper after not getting hits.
"It all happened because Manny complained about Youkilis' habit of throwing bats, helmets and other objects in the dugout when he has a bad at-bat, something that has become a constant practice.

"Other players have told Youkilis in the past about the situation, which makes him look selfish and that he is more worried about each at-bat than about the team. If Boston is winning easily, there's no reason to throw objects all over the dugout because of a bad at-bat.

"There was a meeting where the team let Youkilis know that many of his teammates were tired of his explosive reactions for each bad plate appearance. It became very bothersome ... more so when the team is winning and it's in first place. There's not much room for individualistic attitudes."
Gordon Edes of the Globe said much the same thing:
According to three sources, Manny had raised objections to Youkilis throwing equipment around in the dugout after flying deep to center in the fourth inning, and advised him to "cut that [expletive] out". Youkilis apparently didn't take kindly to the remark, said something, and Manny swiped at him.
Yook's Paul O'Neill impersonations have always grated on me. It's an act that I don't remember seeing during his first or second season. But now that he has become more established in the league, it's commonplace for him to whine about even obvious strikes and to get overly annoyed because he makes outs -- as if he's somehow different from every other baseball player who has ever lived.

There isn't much footage of the altercation -- though NESN showed a blurry clip on Friday night of Manny slapping Yook with the back of his hand. Was Manny dodging batting helmets and bats and equipment in the dugout? Or was he simply sick of Yook's dramatics?

No one is saying much of anything. And before Friday's game, both Ramirez and Youkilis were tight-lipped.

Manny:
It's in the past. It's a new day. ... [W]hat happened is nobody's business.
Youkilis:
It's over. A new day.
Manny did not play Friday night; Youkilis went 0-for-4.

June 6, 2008

G64: Mariners 8, Red Sox 0

Mariners - 201 210 200 - 8 11  0
Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0 7 3
Colon did not help himself by making two throwing errors towards second base in the first three innings -- or by allowing eight hits and six runs.

Hernandez (6-6-0-3-5, 106) did not dominate the Sox, but they could not get anything done with men on base. They left the bases loaded in the second and two on in the third. Boston managed only two hits after the fourth inning (both by DH Sean Casey, who went 3-for-4).

J.D. Drew continued his hot hitting, singling twice and walking once.

***

Felix Hernandez (3.29, 121 ERA+) / Bartolo Colon (3.50, 124 ERA+)

All is well, I think.

***

At the moment, I have no internet connection. If it's not back up by tonight, please chat at ThreadSox. I'll update this when things are back to normal.

June 5, 2008

G63: Red Sox 7, Rays 1

Rays    - 010 000 000 - 1  9  0
Red Sox - 310 300 00x - 7 8 1
The Red Sox complete a sweep of Tampa -- and take a 1.5-game lead in the East -- with an easy win highlighted by a 15-minute second-inning brawl.

Shields hit Coco Crisp in the front thigh to lead off the second. Coco took one step towards first, then charged the mound. Unlike most baseball "fights", this one featured real and repeated punches. Crisp and Shields were ejected, as was Jonny Gomes, who was on top of the pile hammering punches down on Crisp (and a few on his own teammates). (Carl Crawford should have been ejected for the same activity.)

Manny Ramirez belted a three-run dong over everything in left in the first and then drove in two more runs with a bases-loaded single in the fourth. Lester's outing was walk-free (6.1-8-1-0-5, 108) and Mike Timlin and David Aarsdma finished up.

One broadcast note: When Kevin Youkilis (who went to right field when Jacoby Ellsbury was pulled after hurting his right wrist on a diving catch in the fourth) was plunked by Al Reyes in the eighth, Joe Magraine (FSN Tampa) said, with his voice dripping with sarcasm: "What a shame."

Youkilis had not done anything noteworthy in the game. Apparently, Magraine doesn't like how Yook complains on called strikes -- which is odd, since Magraine himself was groaning loudly tonight on several close pitches that were not called strikes on Red Sox hitters. It clearly made his night that a Red Sox hitter had been drilled -- and he was happy to share his glee. Classy guy.

***

Note the early starting time!

James Shields (3.24, 128 ERA+) / Jon Lester (3.67, 118 ERA+)

Damon Against Joba Move: "I Like Winning"

John Harper, Daily News:
You can feel the concern creeping into the Yankee clubhouse. ...

Don't think Chamberlain's move to the rotation isn't being second-guessed in the Yankee clubhouse. ... I get the impression that if players voted by secret ballot, there would be a strong majority to send him back to the bullpen. ...

I asked Damon point-blank if he would have kept Chamberlain in the bullpen.

"You know what?" he said with a smile. "It's not up to me. But I like winning ballgames."

It doesn't mean the Yankees have a mutiny in the clubhouse ... But it could mean the front office, at least for the moment, has stolen a bit of belief from its own players.

Schilling Throws Off Mound

RedSox.com:
[Curt] Schilling threw 25 pitches off the mound [on Wednesday] and is expected to throw 35 by Friday. ...

[Terry] Francona said Schilling is still in the arm and shoulder strengthening stage, which will continue to increase over time. ... "Understandably, he's excited," Francona said. "He's starting to talk about hitters. It's exciting for us."

Coco Explains His Slide

Update below.

Coco Crisp said his hard slide into Akinori Iwamura was payback for Tampa shortstop Jason Bartlett blocking the bag with his knee on Crisp's stolen base attempt two innings earlier.
He put his whole knee in front of the bag, and it's not something you do as an infielder. You can do that, but that's shady. And he's not a bad dude, but that's shady. It is what it is. You gonna hurt me, I'm going to come back and hurt you.

If I would have intended to injure I wouldn't have slid at all. I would have just ran him over like he was a catcher. I went in hard to send a message. ... If Bartlett would have covered, might have been a little more dramatic.
A few minutes later, when Tampa manager Joe Maddon began yelling into the Red Sox dugout from the mound, Crisp yelled back:
I told him, "Look at me. Don't look down the street at Tito." ... I was saying I did that on my own, don't punish anyone else on the team. Don't get Petey, don't get Lugo, don't get AC [by] sliding hard at second base. Get me with a pitch. If you want to retaliate with somebody, I'm the man. That's pretty much it.
That makes sense. But if Crisp feels that way, why did he slide into Iwamura to counter what Bartlett did? Isn't Bartlett "the man" in this case?

Crisp:
[Bartlett] didn't want to cover the bag the second time. They probably had it changed up because they thought Lugo was going to hit the ball to Bartlett's side or something like that. But if you're going to do something like that, I don't care what the situation is, take your own lickin'.
It seems to me that if Crisp wants Tampa to deal solely with him if they decide to retaliate, then he should have waited for a chance to get back at Bartlett. Crisp went after a different Tampa player, so why should Tampa not go after another Red Sock?

***

Update: I missed this Crisp quote in which he said he told Bartlett in the sixth that if he got on base again, he'd deal with him at that point:
I was going in there to send a message. I did what I said I was going to do, unfortunately it was to the wrong person. I don't know why they didn't have Bartlett covering the bag.
That answers my question.

June 4, 2008

Time To Complain To ESPN

Whenever I find out that ESPN is broadcasting the night's Red Sox game, I'm always annoyed. I end up watching most (if not all) of the game on mute as I cannot stand the pompous, ignorant, cliche-spouting drivel that issues forth from Rick Sutcliffe, Steve Phillips and the rest of the hectoring idiots that somehow have secured employment at the self-proclaimed "worldwide leader in sports".

In the bottom of the sixth inning of last night's game against Tampa, ESPN cut away from Coco Crisp's at-bat to show Ken Griffey pinch-hitting for the Reds in Philadelphia. (Griffey's next home run will be his 600th.)

During the Griffey at-bat, ESPN completely ignored the Red Sox/Rays game. The network did not use a little box in the corner of the screen to keep tabs on Crisp's AB, so that fans who had been forced to watch ESPN in the first place could continue watching the game.

And ESPN had the gall to refer to the Griffey AB on the screen as "Bonus Coverage". Bullshit! It was not bonus anything -- it was being shown INSTEAD OF what the station should have been showing in the first place. I received nothing extra from ESPN; indeed, they deprived me of something.

Griffey ended up walking and we were taken back to Fenway. Crisp had reached first base on an infield single, but ESPN never bothered to show a replay of the hit for the viewers that had missed it -- i.e., 100% of their viewers.

It should be very simple: If ESPN is going to broadcast a game, it should BROADCAST THE GAME -- the entire game. If I cannot watch the entire Red Sox game on ESPN, then it should allow me to watch it on NESN or FSN-Tampa on the Extra Innings cable package.

If this bothered you as much as it bothered me, please call ESPN complain. Finding an actual phone number for ESPN is very difficult -- I wonder why.

Try one or both of these numbers:

860.766.2000

860.766.2236


This number -- 877.466.6669 -- might also be worth calling. If anyone know of a better number, post it in comments and I'll update this info.

ESPN's customer service email is "support@espn.go.com". Its phone number for billing is 888-549-3776. If all else fails, you could call that and try to get transferred.

What I really need is a number for its corporate offices -- to complain about coverage. I question whether complaining to a customer service person would ever get mentioned to a supervisor and passed on. Maybe if there were enough calls ...

Anyway, there's good news for Thursday night's game -- no ESPN!

G62: Red Sox 5, Rays 1

Rays    - 000 100 000 - 1  8  1
Red Sox - 003 100 10x - 5 11 0
And Boston is back in first place!

Beckett (6-7-1-0-5, 92) worked around some long counts and some difficulty with his curveball in the early innings. He was followed by Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima Craig and Hansen, who combined to allow only one hit and one walk over the final three frames. MDC struck out all three of the Rays he faced.

Tonight's #3 hitter J.D. Drew singled, doubled, walked, scored twice, had one RBI, and stole a base. Kevin Youkilis singled twice, as did Coco Crisp. Coco also walked, brought in a run with a sac fly, and appeared to punch Akinori Iwamura in the groin while trying to steal second in the eighth inning.

Crisp was tagged out and roughly 10 minutes later, during a Rays pitching change, Tampa manager Joe Maddon was yelling some bad words into the Red Sox dugout at Coco.

***

Edwin Jackson (3.70, 111 ERA+) / Josh Beckett (4.30, 101 ERA+)
Ellsbury, LF
Pedroia, 2B
Drew, RF
Ramirez, DH
Lowell, 3B
Youkilis, 1B
Varitek, C
Crisp, CF
Lugo, SS
Justin Masterson, Dustin Pedroia and third base coach Demarlo Hale have shaved their heads. ... Carlos Pena broke his left index finger in the first inning last night and has been put on the disabled list.

Also: Litsch/Mussina at 7.

Ortiz: The Two Week Wait

David Ortiz's left wrist is in a cast and all he (and we) can do is wait:
The problem right now is the pain. Every time I move my hands around, I feel the pain.
Theo Epstein:
The integrity of [Ortiz's] tendon hasn't been compromised at all. That's why the doctors are pretty confident that to immobilize it in this hard cast for a period of time, there's a pretty significant chance it will heal itself in that time period, and we'll know it will have because David will be pain-free and not tender. When he gets out of the cast, it will have resolved itself and he will start his progression.
Ortiz:
The doctor says 70 to 80 percent of the people that have this, when they get a cast, it normally goes back. I have clicking when I move my hand. If the pain goes away, that's the main key. If the pain goes away and I still have the clicking, then I can probably play through it and maybe fix it after the season.
Terry Francona:
I've talked to David four times and he's had four different outlooks.
Ortiz:
Why that swing? I've taken a million swings. Why that one? It's just crazy. I can't figure it out. Everything was going good. Why does that have to happen now? ... No one wants surgery on their wrists. That's the last thing you want. But if that's how it has to be, we'll see. I just don't know if you can ever be the same after that. ...
Michael Silverman reports that "a club source said [Barry Bonds] is not a fit for the team".

More Theo:
We are well-prepared to look at internal options. In this case, we've got Chris Carter, Brandon Moss and Jeff Bailey all tearing the cover off the ball in Triple A. Those guys deserve opportunities up here to show what they can do. We also have Sean Casey, who is swinging the bat well all season, who may see more playing time now. And we also have talented outfielders as well. I think there are a lot of places to turn internally -- not to replace David's production because that's impossible but for legitimate bats, we have places to turn.
We'll know a lot more on or about June 16.

Purple Prose For Red Sox

Good news: Jere has decided to continue his "old-timey wrapups" of Red Sox games. Here is his opening from last night's win:
The slab toed by the cancer kid on the day of his Missouri Monarch mastering was presented to young Lester tonight by head honcho Lucchino. It was a different babe, though, who would take the remodeled mountain for the Bostons at game time. "Bat" Masterson allowed his club's wood warriors to stay close to the Sunshine Foes of Florida. They proceeded to reward him with a four-point play in the sixth, qualifying the rook for his second W.
Elsewhere, Manny is referred to as the "Latin Lumber Lord" and we are told the Sox prevailed despite "the absence of the pickle-pawed 'Papi'".

Re the opening game of the Seattle series on May 26:
The batsmen of the Rosy-hued Podiatric Underclothesmen were slow afoot for six frames, save for "Big Papi," who cleared the far fence in fourth, though his trot came without accompaniment. In number six, Varitek was burglarized, as the camouflage-clad catcher clocked one high and deep and fit to cause chaos. But Ichiro made good on his promise to the Far West Faithful and fetched it, front-to-the-fence, before falling to the floor.
If you've ever had the opportunity to read some sports pages from the early 1900s, you'll know that Jere is not exaggerating at all.

For example, here is a bit of Burt Whitman's game story from the Boston Herald-Journal of July 11, 1918:
Babe Ruth swept his range finder around towards the left field fence at Fenway Park yesterday, realizing for the first time the possibilities of home run clouts in that direction, practised all afternoon off the expert hurling of Eddie Cicotte and got three doubles. ...

Someone must have told Cicotte that Babe was a cripple against pitching that kept the ball well on the outside of the plate. The Colossus of Clouters simply ruined that theory. He spanked the ball with almost nonchalant ease, twice hitting his two-sacker on the very first pitch. The field in that direction is the shortest at the park, and if Babe starts raising them, they'll easily sail over the crest of Lewis Ledge and the lad's home run record will look as if it had eaten some food of the gods.
The following day, there was thunder at Fenway Park and Whitman wrote:
The old men of the mountains were playing their celestial tenpin game all afternoon.

Schadenfreude 49 (A Continuing Series)

Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
They might have been the most overhyped seven outs of all time.

Bill Madden, Daily News:
All the hype and the hoopla over Joba Chamberlain's first major league start made for a World Series atmosphere at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night - which was in contrast to the reality that it was nothing more than what amounted to a spring training exercise.

Sixty-two pitches, barely half of which were strikes, and Joba was gone after just 2-1/3 innings. Even worse, the effort meant extra innings from the soft underbelly of the Joba-less Yankee bullpen - which guaranteed doom.

But get used to it. This is what the Great Joba Experiment is all about and what the game has come to: A minimum of pitches for the starting pitcher and a maximum of innings for the bullpen. ...

June 3, 2008

G61: Red Sox 7, Rays 4

Rays    - 100 102 000 - 4  7  1
Red Sox - 020 104 00x - 7 7 0
Masterson was solid (6-6-4-2-5, 91), Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen looked great, Mike Lowell opened the scoring with a two-run dong in the second, and Coco Crisp put the game on ice with a two-run double in the sixth ... but the star of the night was J.D. Drew.

Drew doubled in the second, hit a solo home run in the fourth, walked and scored in the sixth, and made two outstanding catches in right field in the fourth and fifth innings.

In New York, Joba Chamberlain threw 37 pitches in his first inning of work -- almost a career-high number of pitches for an outing -- walking three Blue Jays and committing a balk. He lasted only 2.1 innings; Toronto used a six-run seventh to grab a 9-3 win. ... Baltimore beat Minnesota, so the Yankees (28-30) are back in the basement (7 GB).

***

Matt Garza (3.78, 108 ERA+) / Justin Masterson (1.46, 295 ERA+)

Through some minor miracle, the Red Sox will not see Scott Kazmir in this series.
            W   L   PCT   GB   RS   RA  X-W/L
Tampa Bay 35 22 .614 -- 257 228 32-25
Boston 35 25 .583 1.5 302 261 34-26
Toronto 31 28 .525 5.0 238 210 33-26
New York 28 29 .491 7.0 255 263 28-29
Baltimore 27 29 .482 7.5 233 251 26-30
And while the two top teams in the AL East begin their three-game series, down in New York ...


Joba Chamberlain will make the first start of his major league career -- after 39 relief appearances. He will face the Blue Jays and Roy Halladay.

Joba has never pitched more than two innings in a game. He has thrown more than 35 pitches in an outing only once (May 24, 40 pitches).

Later tonight, in San Francisco, Pedro Martinez makes his return to the Mets rotation.

Ortiz Will Miss At Least A Month; Carter Up

Bad news for David Ortiz and the Red Sox.

Flo has a partially torn ECU [extensor carpi ulnaris] tendon sheath in his left wrist. He'll be put on the disabled list today and will miss at least a month -- which would put a return after the All-Star break as the best scenario.

The Globe reports: "His wrist will be immobilized in a cast for two weeks, and if it is healed by then, it should take about two weeks for Ortiz to get back into playing shape." Terry Francona said surgery is "very unlikely", though the Herald says it's a possibility.

As SoSH debates possible internal replacements, Projo reports that Chris Carter (.310/.366/.526 in Pawtucket after a slow start) will be called up. Carter may work as a stop-gap, but if Tiz is out for the rest of the season (which is impossible to know right now), Theo may need to grab a bigger gun. As Fratboy puts it: "If Papi's done for the year, order the barcalounger."

June 2, 2008

G60: Orioles 6, Red Sox 3

Red Sox - 000 001 110 - 3  10  0
Orioles - 000 200 04x - 6 9 0
Boston rallied to take a 3-2 lead in the eighth, but they blew a chance to add to that slim advantage when Alex Cora grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

Hideki Okajima relieved Wakefield (7-5-2-4-3, 109) in the bottom of the inning. He struggled from his first pitch, allowing three straight singles. He got two outs on a sac fly (which tied the game 3-3) and a force play. But he walked Ramon Hernandez to reload the bases. Jeemer then fell behind Adam Jones 3-1 and came in with a fat fastball -- that Jones drilled to deep left for a three-run double.

Down to their last out in the ninth against George Sherrill, Julio Lugo and Kevin Youkilis both walked to bring up Manny as the potential tying run. Ramirez had hit home run #502 in the sixth, but this time, he lifted a routine fly to Nick Markakis in right-center.

***

Tim Wakefield (4.70, 91 ERA+) / Jeremy Guthrie (3.64, 115 ERA+)

This is Wakefield's third start of this 10-game road trip. ... After a dismal 1-5 start, the possibility of finishing up 5-5 is pretty attractive.
            Runs  Hits    W/L
0523 at Oak 3 6 L 3-8
0524 at Oak 0 1 L 0-3
0525 at Oak 3 7 L 3-6
0526 at Sea 5 9 W 5-3
0527 at Sea 3 7 L 3-4
0528 at Sea 0 2 L 0-1
0530 at Bal 5 10 W 5-2 (13)
0531 at Bal 6 9 W 6-3
0601 at Bal 9 16 W 9-4
0602 at Bal ?
Manny:
We're going to click. Sometimes we'll be cold. That's part of the game.
More on MBM from Tomase and Bradford.

Baltimore has scored a total of eight runs in Guthrie's six losses.

Tampa is off tonight before starting a three-game series at Fenway tomorrow. The Yankees are still in Minnesota (7 PM).

Ortiz In Boston For MRI

David Ortiz is back in Boston today having an MRI on his strained left wrist:
I've never felt anything like this before. I've been swinging my whole life. I just took a swing like I normally do, and pop.
Orioles third base coach Juan Samuel, to Bartolo Colon as Colon walked off the field in the seventh inning yesterday: "You've got your shit back."

June 1, 2008

G59: Red Sox 9, Orioles 4

Red Sox - 013 300 200 - 9  16  0
Orioles - 010 200 100 - 4 10 0
Colon did well (6-7-4-2-5, 103), working quickly and generally staying around the zone with all of his pitches. Manny and Lowell hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth; Drew donged in the seventh.

Ramirez finished with a single, double, HR and three RBI; Drew had a single, walk, HR and three RBI; Lowell had a double, HR and 2 RBI; Youkilis singled twice and scored twice; and Bailey walked three times.

Lopez relieved Colon, and then Hansen and MDC finished up. Hansen looked magnificent, striking out two and retiring the Orioles in order in the eighth on eight pitches.

Tampa Bay -- 18-6 since May 8 -- won yet again, beating Chicago 4-3 in 10 innings. The Twins beat the Yankees 5-1.

***

Bartolo Colon (2.25, 190 ERA+) / Brian Burres (4.15, 100 ERA+)

Cafardo has some news:
Brad Mills will manage the Sox with Terry Francona away at his daughters high school graduation. ...

David Ortiz is out of the lineup with a right wrist strain. He had an ice pack on it in the Sox clubhouse moments ago. ... Ortiz said he will have an MRI tomorrow or Tuesday.

Jeff Bailey gets a start in left field. ... J.D. Drew [is] back in right ... Mills said Jacoby Ellsbury pretty much has the green light, but is given the red light at times in certain situations.

500

MLB's page

A list of Manny Ramirez's 500 career home runs. (Most of his homers have come with the game tied. And he has hit four dongs on 3-0 counts.)

Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Jimmy Foxx are the only players in history with at least 500 home runs and a higher career batting averages than Manny's .312. (Here is a list of the nine players with 500+ homers and a .300+ career average.)

Manny:
As soon as I hit it I knew it was gone, so I was happy to move on. It feels great, especially with me trying so hard the past three weeks to get it done. It finally came and I'm happy and I'm proud of myself [and] all the things I have accomplished. So now I can go and have fun.
Video, video.

Damon Woo caught the 500 ball and presented it to Ramirez after yesterday's game. Manny was grateful, but told Woo and his brother that they could keep it overnight and return it today.

Kevin Millar:
I'm happy for him. He's got a uniqueness about him that makes him easy to like. He looks like a Brazilian rain forest guy.

Home Runs

They have been called round-trippers, taters, jacks, big flies, circuit clouts, quadrangulars and (of course) dongs.

Cecil Cooper calls them "rally-killers".