August 31, 2010

G132: Orioles 5, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 000 020 000 - 2  8  1
Orioles - 102 000 02x - 5 9 0
Beckett (7-7-3-1-5, 106) had two rough innings -- three straight hits in the first and two singles, a walk, a wild pitch, and an infield error in the third -- but was enough for the Orioles to top the Sox.

Down 3-0, Mike Lowell singled to begin the fifth and Jed Lowrie hit a one-out home run to left. In the sixth, Boston loaded the bases with two outs, but Lowell struck out looking. In the seventh, the Sox had runners at second and third with only one out, but Marco Scutaro grounded to third and Daniel Nava struck out.

Felix Doubront was tagged for two solo dongs in the eighth, but it didn't much matter. Even as the Rays were being trounced by Toronto, the Sox went meekly in the ninth.

The Rays lost to the Blue Jays 13-5 (Toronto erupted for a 10-run sixth) and the Yankees beat the A's 9-3. Boston stayed 7 GB Tampa Bay in the WC and fell 8 GB New York in the East.
Example
Josh Beckett / Brian Matusz
Scutaro, SS
McDonald, CF
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Drew, RF
Lowrie, 2B
Hall, LF
Former pitcher Mitch Williams believes the Red Sox will win the wild card and the Yankees will be sitting at home in October. His reasoning? Josh Beckett is "back now", "Boston and Tampa Bay have better bullpens than the Yankees, and the Yankees "lack depth in the starting rotation". ... And who are we to argue with the Wild Thing's logic?

Gary Marbry's Nuggetpalooza (WEEI):
On Sunday night, the Red Sox lost for the 57th time this season. In those 57 games, they've averaged 1.07 RBI after the 5th inning and had none after the 5th in 25 of those losses (44%). To my eyes, that seemed like a very low average and a high percentage. Until I looked at the last two seasons.

AVG RBI/G AFTER 5TH % OF LOSSES WITH NO RBI
INNING IN LOSSES AFTER 5TH INNING

2010 1.07 44%
2009 0.85 48%
2008 0.84 54%
In March, outfield prospect Ryan Westmoreland underwent surgery to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain stem. This week, he'll work out with the Lowell Spinners and Greenville Drive (both A) to continue his rehab, though he will not play in any of the games.

AL East, 7 PM:
A's/Yankees
Blue Jays/Rays
Example
August 31:

1918 - The Red Sox clinch the AL pennant, beating the A's 6-1 in the first game of a doubleheader, as Babe Ruth wins his ninth game in his last 11 starts.

1957 - Eighteen-year-old fireballer Steve Dalkowski (Kingsport, Appalachian League) strikes out 24, walks 18, hits four batters, and throws six wild pitches in a row -- and loses 9-8. (You must read this.)

1999 - Trailing 12-4, Cleveland scores 10 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning and defeats the Angels 14-12. It's the 3rd time in 1999 that Cleveland rallied from eight runs down to win -- May 7 against Tampa Bay and July 3 against Kansas City were the others -- and it sets a major league record.

Delcarmen Traded To Rockies

Manny Delcarmen has been traded to the Colorado Rockies for right-handed minor league pitcher Chris Balcom-Miller, 21.

Robert Manuel is up from Pawtucket to fill the spot.

SoSHer Scoops Bolling has a good overview of CBM, who was drafted by the Rockies in the 6th round of the June 2009 Amateur Draft and has been assigned to Greenville (A).

Fat Billy: "Not Guilty"

Roger Clemens appeared in federal court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to felony charges of perjury and obstruction of Congress.

At the hearing, "the prosecution handed over to Clemens' attorneys a 34-page 'master index' and 12 computer discs of evidence prior to the hearing, including all of the testimony of witnesses who appeared before the grand jury. Also being turned over to the defense are memoranda of the FBI's interviews with potential witnesses."

Dana Milbank, Washington Post: "The clerk read out the case, 'United States of America versus William Clemens, a.k.a. Roger Clemens' - as if the defendant were hiding behind a nefarious alias."

Jury selection is set for April 5, 2011.

August 30, 2010

I've Been There, I Know The Way

With five weeks remaining in the regular season, the American East looks like this:
           W   L   PCT   GB  TO PLAY
Rays 80 50 .615 --- 32
Yankees 80 50 .615 --- 32
Red Sox 74 57 .565 6.5 31
Boston is also 6.5 GB in the wild card standings.

The odds of making the playoffs are slim. Baseball Prospectus gives the Red Sox a 10.9% chance (last night's loss dropped the chances by a full 7%) Cool Standings has Boston at 6.2%.

The Red Sox have three games left against the Rays (September 6-8) and six games against the Yankees, including three at Fenway to end the season (September 24-26, October 1-3). Even if the Sox could go 6-0 or 5-1 against New York, it simply may be too late.

If the Rays and/or Yankees go 16-16, the Red Sox would need to go 22-9 to tie.

The good news is that at various points in (approximately) mid-May to the end of June, the Red Sox were that hot. From May 17 to June 19 and from May 29 to July 3, the team went 23-8. That is their best record over any 31-game stretch this year.

So if both the Rays and Yankees play better than .500 ball, the Red Sox would have to finish the season playing better than they have played at any time this season. Like I said, that is the good news.

The bad news is that the Yankees have not had any 32-game stretch this year in which they have played .500 ball. The worst has been 17-15 (April 20 to May 23, May 9 to June 11, and July 25 to August 27, for example.)

Tampa Bay went 12-20 from May 24 to June 29 -- which was around the time of Boston's hot streak. During Tampa's 12-20 slide, the Red Sox went 23-10 -- a difference of 10.5 games in the standings! If that little slice of history could repeat itself ....

As we all know, just because something has ever happened before does not mean it cannot or will not happen. Baseball is full of examples of improbable comebacks and collapses: the 1914 Braves, the 1964 Phillies, the 1995 Angels*.

* BP says this is the worst collapse in history -- by far. On August 20, the Angels had a 99.988% playoff probability (odds of collapse: 8,332-to-1 against).

Maybe you can get there from here ...

August 29, 2010

G131: Rays 5, Red Sox 3

Red Sox - 000 021 000 - 3  7  0
Rays - 000 103 10x - 5 11 0
Lackey was looking pretty good through 5.1 innings. He had struck out six batters and had allowed only a solo bomb to Carlos Pena and a couple of harmless singles -- each coming with two outs in the inning. He had retired 14 of the last 16 batters and thrown only 66 pitches -- and he was up, 3-1.

Then:
Zobrist single
Crawford home run (3-3)
Longoria double
Pena intentional walk
Joyce walk
Johnson single (3-4), Pena out at plate
Upton strikeout looking

7th inning:
Bartlett single, caught stealing
Jaso single
Zobrist walk
(Jaso scored on Longoria single off Okajima)
Nine of Lackey's last 10 batters reached base. Once his meltdown was complete, the Red Sox managed only one base runner -- Ryan Kalish's walk with two outs in the ninth inning.

Boston is now 6.5 GB both Tampa Bay and New York (who beat the White Sox 2-1) with 31 games to play. Monday: Red Sox off, Yankees/A's, Blue Jays/Rays.
Example
John Lackey / James Shields
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Nava, LF
McDonald, CF
Navarro, 2B
I didn't want to rely on Lackey to salvage this important series, but here we are. So, let's go, you handsome overwhelming force of nature, you tower of pitching power.



Victor Martinez loves to hit against the Rays. The Herald's John Tomase notes that Martinez's
.381 average against the Rays is the highest ever for a player with at least 130 at-bats. And his .425 mark at Tropicana Field is the best in stadium history among anyone with at least 100 at-bats.
And: Yankees/White Sox, 2 PM
Example
August 29:

1966 - Detroit's Denny McLain throws 229 pitches in a 6-3 win over the Orioles. In nine innings, he allows eight hits and nine walks, while striking out 11. (The box does not contain pitch data, but various sources claim it was 229.)

2000 - Pedro Martinez pitches a one-hitter and the Red Sox beat the Devil Rays 8-0. Martinez drills Gerald Williams to start the first inning, then retires 24 in a row before John Flaherty ends the no-hit bid with a single in the ninth. This was the game in which several TB pitchers were using Brian Daubach as target practice. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times writes that the game included "eight Devil Rays ejected, two bench-clearing skirmishes, four hit batters, a handful of punches thrown, two Boston players at the hospital ... [and] taunting comments by Martinez that there may be more to come". It's hard to believe this game was 10 years ago.

Instinct

J.D. Drew says that as he chased after Matt Joyce's fly ball -- with Carlos Pena on third base and Boston leading 1-0 in the seventh inning -- he was thinking "Let it drop".
I don't really know how in the world I caught it. ... I had every intention of letting it drop. Just instinct, you know. Put the glove out right at the last second as I saw the ball coming down, and it ended up in there.
Drew:
If you let the ball drop and he walks, there's two guys on and the next pitch he hits a two-run homer. It's a difficult situation. But in that part of the game, Clay's throwing the ball pretty well. He's got a good chance 3-2, but you never know what's going to happen. Looking back, it could have gone either way. Who knows what the next pitch holds if I don't catch it?
On NESN, Jerry Remy was insistent that making the catch was the right decision. "You need outs." It was only the seventh inning, and even though the game was now tied, the Red Sox still had two more innings in which to bat.

However, a few Red Sox players said that Drew should have let the ball drop. Terry Francona seemed to agree.
He doesn't have a lot of time to think. I think the only way it's in our best interest [to catch it] is if he feels like he can catch it and get turned around [to make a good throw]. ... I think he was definitely thinking [let it drop], but he stuck his glove out and it ended up going in.
As far as the ill-advised throw to first base that moved Pena from first to third, it was not Clay Buchholz's decision. It came from the bench. Although Francona said he knew Pena would not be running, DeMarlo Hale said they did not want Pena to get any kind of lead in a 1-0 game. (He had only a two-step lead at most, anyway.) Buchholz says he simply threw it away.
I've done it 1,000 times. I tried to get it over there a little too quick, and he wasn't as far off as I thought he was. ... It was basically just a check-over throw, just make sure that he knew that I still knew he was over there. I screwed it up.

August 28, 2010

G130: Rays 3, Red Sox 2 (10)

Red Sox - 000 100 010 0 - 2 10  1
Rays - 000 000 110 1 - 3 6 0
Dan Johnson, the first batter in the bottom of the tenth, homered to right-center off Scott Atchison to win it.

Boston scored first when Victor Martinez singled, David Ortiz doubled, and Adrian Beltre hit a sac fly to left.

In the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Pena was on first with one out. For some stupid reason, Buchholz tried multiple pick-off attempts. Pena, who didn't have much of a lead at all, has stolen only 10 bases over the last six years. HH's 14th throw over to first of the night sailed past Mike Lowell and rolled down near the right field bullpen. Pena raced uncontested to third, from where he scored two pitches later on a foul fly ball to Drew in right.

Victor rescued the Sox yet again in the top of the eighth, when he crushed another high fastball, this one courtesy of Joaquin Benoit, for a solo dong, giving Boston a 2-1 lead. Ortiz and Beltre followed with singles and moved up on a wild pitch, but Lowell popped to first to end the threat.

Terry Francona tried to get squeeze an extra out or two from Buchholz in the bottom of the eighth. Clay was at 107 pitches and Felix Doubront was ready. The strategy failed (as it seems to usually do). Buchholz threw ball 1, then B.J. Upton golfed a solo home run to left to re-tie the game. After a foul out, Tito brought in Doubront.

Even with Jonathan Papelbon questionable for the game after throwing 23 pitches last night, and Daniel Bard having tossed 15, this was poor management. Buchholz was probably not going to pitch the entire eighth inning anyway, unless he retired the side on four or five pitches. If he had allowed a single or walked someone, he likely would have been hooked. So why put him out there when it seemed like he was labouring in retiring the last two batters in the previous inning?

Two dumb decisions -- and they were both very costly.

The Yankees beat the White Sox 12-9, so we are right back where we were two days ago, with Boston 5.5 GB New York and Tampa Bay in both the East and WC.

Pre-game: Hideki Okajima is back in the bullpen and Michael Bowden has been optioned to Pawtucket.
Example
Clay Buchholz / Matt Garza
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Nava, LF
Kalish, CF
Hall, 2B
Last six starts:

IP H BB K ERA AVG OBP SLG BABIP

Buchholz 43.1 31 12 30 1.04 .199 .263 .256 .232
Garza 44.1 25 10 36 1.62 .160 .214 .263 .186
(Team records in those games: Boston 6-0, Tampa Bay 3-3.)

Garza, however, leads Buchholz in TSI* 52.7 to 3.3.

* - Times Spat per Inning. According to Educated Cheese, even Garza's spit spits.

Buchholz leads in AL in ERA (2.26). He is the first Red Sox pitcher to lead the AL in ERA this late in the season since Pedro Martinez, in 2003. Buchholz has not allowed an earned run in his last 21 innings.

He has a 1.73 ERA over his last 16 starts, dating back to May 14.

Also at 7 PM: Yankees/White Sox
Example
August 28:

1909 - In the first game of a doubleheader at Chicago's South Side Park, Washington pitcher Dolly Gray walks eight White Sox in the second inning, including seven in a row.

1950 - The Red Sox trail 10-0 and 12-1 but rally and beat Cleveland 15-14 at Fenway Park. Cleveland blew a seven-run lead to the Red Sox the day before, losing 11-9.

The Expanding Strike Zone

J.D. Drew talked to Amalie Benjamin about what many players believe is an expanded strike zone being enforced this season.
I feel like it's definitely been a little bit expanded ... I understand that everybody has discrepancies, but you know when the strike zone's in question, sometimes you go up there and you chase pitches that you normally wouldn't ... It affects the way you approach the at-bats in the future. I found myself a lot of times chasing pitches that I normally wouldn't. ...

As a hitter, you're trying to get to 2-and-0 or 2-and-1 or 3-and-1 and get a good pitch to hit. ... When you start seeing those strike zones expanding, you're kind of questioning if you're wrong or right. You don't really know. The next thing you know, you're swinging at pitches all over the place. And that's not how I like to play the game.
Drew's on-base percentage this season is .351. It's the third lowest of his career and the lowest since 2002. Same thing with his .261 batting average -- third lowest of his career and the worst since 2002. His BB% is also lower than any season since 2002.

The data at Fangraphs confirms Drew's statements about the changes he has made at the plate. His O-Swing% (the percentage of pitches outside of the strike zone that he has swung at) is way up this year. In his first three seasons with Boston (2007-09), it was 16.9%, 17.5%, 15.4%. In 2010, it is 20.4%.

Drew is also swinging at fewer pitches inside the strike zone -- so while he is swinging at roughly the same percentage of pitches, more of them are out of the zone.

Yet he is also making far more contact with pitches outside the zone than he ever has before. Again, from 2007 to 2009, it was 49.2%, 51.7%, and 59.0%. This year, it has shot up to 69.9% -- which is 18.5% higher than his career rate.

(David Ortiz's numbers are similar. He is swinging at far more pitches outside the zone -- his O-swing% has been rising every year since 2003, in fact, -- though he is offering at fewer pitches in general. Plus he is seeing fewer strikes than any season in his career.)

There must be a fair amount of pitches that, in the past, Drew would have been confident taking for a ball, but now cannot risk them being called strikes, so he's swinging at them. His adjustments have meant more contact on those pitches, but it has resulted in a lower batting average. And the fewer walks is causing a further drop in his OBP, as well.

August 27, 2010

G129: Red Sox 3, Rays 1

Red Sox - 100 100 100 - 3 11  1
Rays - 000 100 000 - 1 3 0
Lester (7-2-1-5-10, 106) bested Price (7-10-3-0-8, 106) and Victor Martinez hit two solo home runs.

Lester -- who tied a career-high with the five walks -- worked out of several jams, getting double plays to end the first and third innings. He threw two consecutive wild pitches to put the tying run on third with one out in the fourth, but retired the next two hitters. Lester caught Sean Rodriguez trying to steal third to end the fifth and he got a boost in the sixth, when Darnell McDonell gunned down B.J Upton at the plate.

While Lester had only two 1-2-3 innings, Price had none. Martinez hit taters to left in the first and seventh innings, both times hammering a high fastball that was left right over the plate. In the fourth, David Ortiz doubled and scored on Jed Lowrie's two-out flair into center.

Jonathan Papelbon schooled Evan Longoria to begin the bottom of the ninth. Bot started him off with a slider for a called strike, had him swing over a nasty splitter in the dirt, then fanned him on a high fastball. Papelbon walked Willy Aybar and, after striking out Ben Zobrist, he walked pinch-hitter Dan Johnson. John Jaso, another pinch-hitter, battled a little bit, but finally struck out looking on a 2-2 pitch, ending the game.

The Yankees lost to the White Sox 9-4, so Boston moved to 4.5 GB New York and Tampa Bay in both the East and the WC. The Red Sox have not been this close to first place since July 7.
Example
Jon Lester / David Price
Scutaro, SS
McDonald, CF
Martinez, C
Beltre, 3B
Ortiz, DH
Lowell, 1B
Drew, RF
Lowrie, 2B
Hall, LF
AL East:
            W   L   PCT    GB   RS   RA  DIFF
Rays 78 49 .614 --- 637 439 +198
Yankees 78 49 .614 --- 679 515 +164
Red Sox 73 55 .570 5.5 650 584 + 66
Blue Jays 66 61 .520 12.0 592 556 + 36
Orioles 45 83 .352 33.5 473 665 -192
Boston is 5.5 GB in the Wild Card race. ... By Monday morning, the Red Sox could be as close as 2.5 games behind the Rays -- with 31 games to play -- or as far back as 8.5 GB.

Adrian Beltre: "We're trying to catch these guys but it's tough because they're not budging."

The Red Sox are 4-8 against the Rays this season. Tampa Bay has not lost a series at Tropicana Field in two months (though they did split a four-game set in that streak). The two teams meet at Fenway for three games on September 6-7-8.

This weekend:
Saturday, 7 PM: Clay Buchholz / Matt Garza
Sunday, 8 PM: John Lackey / James Shields
The Yankees are in Chicago, playing the White Sox, who are 9.5 GB in the WC.

Also: Season-ending surgery remains a possibility for Dustin Pedroia. ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Eric Patterson joined Pawtucket yesterday for rehab games. ... Hideki Okajima, who has allowed five runs and six hits in 2.1 innings (three appearances) for the PawSox, will be with the Red Sox in Tampa, but it's unclear when or if he will be activated.
Example
August 27:

1912 - In response to demands for an alternative way to rate pitchers besides wins and losses, the National League will officially keep ERAs for the first time. The American League will do so the following year.

1951 - Philadelphia catcher and 8th place hitter Del Wilber hits three solo homers as the Phillies beat the Reds 3-0.

1977 - Rangers Bump Wills and Toby Harrah hit back-to-back inside-the-park homers on consecutive pitches from New York's Ken Clay as Texas wins 8-2 at Yankee Stadium.

August 26, 2010

Toronto Sun Steals Material From Blog, Then Defends Its Plagiarism

On August 18, Pension Plan Puppets -- a Toronto Maple Leafs blog -- posted an article from a Czech website, translated into English by a friend of the blog. It contained quotes from Frantisek Kaberle Sr, the father of Leafs player Tomas Kaberle.

On August 20, PPP noticed that David Fuller of the Toronto Sun had written an article about Kaberle Sr.
Normally I would ignore anything in The Sun but I was curious about whether there was anything new coming from the Kaberle pater familias. You can probably imagine my surprise when it was nothing more than a re-working of the original Hokej.cz piece including Romdgpce's translated quotes verbatim.
PPP emailed Fuller and his editor James Wallace, noting that
it is considered proper etiquette to at least acknowledge the source of your work. Doubly so when they are the ones that went through the trouble of translating an article into English.
In response, while Fuller admitted that he first saw the Kaberle story at PPP, he and his editor lied about how Fuller put his story together (using an on-line translator!) and defended the newspaper's plagiarism.

Fuller also explained that to have told his readers that the quotes he was using were first translated into English at PPP would have been "over-crediting, in my opinion". (PPP was not mentioned in his article at all.)

PPP's recap of the entire matter (to date) is well worth reading.

Internal MLB Financial Documents Leaked

Deadspin made an announcement earlier this week:
We've obtained financial statements for a number of baseball teams — containing perhaps some of the most closely guarded information in sports — and they offer a rare glimpse at how MLB franchises do brisk business in the modern era. ...

[T]ake a look at the documents below, paying close attention to the teams' operating income, their revenue-sharing figures, the size of their TV deals, and the amortization of player contracts (a neat trick of accounting pioneered by Bill Veeck that allows an owner to turn his team into a lucrative tax shelter). If there is a thread running through all of these financial statements, it is the incredible ability of baseball teams — whether they're winners or losers, big market or small, "rich" or "poor" — to make their owners a fat pile of money.
There were links to PDFs or Excel files of financial statements from the Pirates, Rays, Marlins, Angels, Mariners, and Rangers (Parts I, II, III). The Pirates' data, leaked to the Associated Press, show that the team has been quite profitable.

The Times reports that an MLB investigation is focusing on insurance companies that do business with various clubs.

Maury Brown has been writing about and analysis the data at Biz of Baseball.

At Fangraphs, he asks: Will Leaked MLB Financials Kill Revenue Sharing?:
[W]hile the leaked documents are an incredible look inside how clubs truly operate, greedily we should demand more. Those at the top of MLB's revenue-making ladder should be placed under the same scrutiny. In a perfect world, the leaker of the MLB club financials would have graced us with the Yankees and Red Sox figures ...

What was often said, but not given hard numbers to back up, has become common knowledge: even those with the lowest player payrolls in baseball, and some with historically terrible records in the standings, are profitable.

My Eighth Year

Joy of Sox began seven years ago today -- August 26, 2003.

It used to look like this:Looking back, my first "bloggish" post -- rather than simply a recap of articles about Pedro -- was on March 1, 2003.

Beltre's Ejection

Adrian Beltre did not agree with home plate umpire Dan Bellino's strike three call in the second inning.
I didn't curse or anything. I said I thought it was low. He said it was a good pitch and I walked away.
A few minutes later, when Beltre was out at his position at third, he was "talking BS" to Felix Hernandez, who was in the Seattle dugout.
We had a little bet. He told me he was going to strike me out three times and I told him I was going to take him deep. He struck me out and I went to my position and he was talking smack to me.

I was facing him and, in Spanish, I told him that in my next at-bat I was going to take him deep over the Monster. I heard the umpire talking to me and I turned around and said I was talking to [Hernandez] and he threw me out. ...

It's frustrating to have a rookie umpire doing something like that, especially with how important this game is for us. ... [H]ow can he take the initiative to take me out of the game in the second inning?
Catcher Kevin Cash confirmed Beltre's account:
Adrian was telling Felix "I'm going to get you." They were going back and forth. The umpire said something to him. At that time, all AB said was, "I wasn't talking to you" and he repeated it again. ... I was shocked.
Beltre and Hernandez played together in Seattle for five years and are good friends. Beltre has Felix's number listed under "King34" in his phone.

Terry Francona tried to talk to Bellino, a fill-in ump up from AAA, but second base umpire Angel Hernandez was shielding Bellino.
He's protecting the young umpire. I guess they have their sort of code or whatever ... I figure if a guy's old enough to throw you out, he's old enough to get yelled at. I just wanted an explanation. I couldn't get around Angel to get an explanation. ... I started cursing. That was real helpful.
Crew chief Joe West had no comment on the incident and said any further information would come from MLB's main office.

At some point before play resumed, the other three umpires should have consulted with Bellino, spoken to Beltre and Hernandez, and reversed the call. (I doubt Seattle manager Daren Brown would have complained. Who knows? He may have heard Beltre and Hernandez yapping, too.)

The umpires' steadfast refusal to do what was right and then to hide Bellino from Francona put the over-matched ump in a more embarrassing light than simply restoring proper order would have. In fact, all of the umpires look incompetent this morning, and they have further cemented their reputation as hard-headed fools who care little about making the correct call. MLB will, as it usually does in this matters, keep silent and condone the unprofessional behaviour.

August 25, 2010

G128: Mariners 4, Red Sox 2

Mariners - 102 001 000 - 4  9  2
Red Sox - 001 001 000 - 2 5 1
Hernandez (7.1-4-2-1-9, 122) was too much for the Sox bats and Wakefield (5.2-8-4-0-2, 91).

Boston got a third-inning run on Ryan Kalsih's double, an infield error, and wild pitch. J.D. Drew homered in the sixth.

The Sox had a shot at tying the game in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Ball Hall doubled and Drew walked with one out. Brandon League relieved Felix -- and got Victor Martinez on a grounder to first and David Ortiz on a line drive to left. Mike Lowell singled to start the bottom of the ninth, but Daniel Nava hit into a double play and Jed Lowrie flew out.

The Rays lost to the Angels 12-3 and the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 6-3. Tampa Bay and New York remain tied for first in the East, with Boston 5.5 GB. ... The Red Sox are off on Thursday before starting a weekend series in Tampa Bay.
Example
Felix Hernandez / Jon Lester Tim Wakefield
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Martinez, 1B
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Nava, LF
Lowrie, 2B
Kalish, CF
Cash, C
This afternoon's win was Boston's fourth in a row. The Red Sox had not won four consecutive games since winning six straight in mid-June (June 15-20).

In 14 starts since June 13, Hernandez has a 1.54 ERA -- and only a 6-5 record. Two starts ago, on August 15 at Cleveland, he allowed six runs, all unearned. (Which may not be entirely fair. The error came with two outs and no one on; after it, Felix allowed a single, single, double, intentional walk, and a grand slam home run.)

G127: Red Sox 5, Mariners 3

Mariners - 000 000 300 - 3  4  0
Red Sox - 000 004 01x - 5 7 0
Josh Beckett allowed a single to Ichiro Suzuki to start the game -- it did not get past the mound -- then retired the next 16 batters. Through 6.1 innings, he had allowed only two base runners: that infield single and a two-out walk in the sixth. And Boston had a 4-0 lead, having finally solved Pauley (5.2-6-4-2-1, 90).

But the Red Sox rally, a Seattle pitching change, and some grounds crew work on the mound took nearly a half-hour, and perhaps Beckett had cooled off. Or the increased rain affected his grip, as it might have done to Pauley, who had been pounding the strike zone, but lost command in the sixth.

Beckett gave up a home run to Russell Branyan, then a single to Jose Lopez and a two-run dong to Casey Kotchman. And it was suddenly 4-3. Daniel Bard relieved Beckett (6.1-4-3-1-7, 101) and also pitched out of a small jam in the eighth, after a walk and an HBP. Jonathan Papelbon got the side in order in the ninth, although Kotchman battled him for 12 pitches before grounding out to third.

Pauley retired the first nine Sox hitters and 13 of the first 14. In the sixth, Marco Scutaro reached on an infield single and after J.D. Drew lined out to left, Victor Martinez singled and David Ortiz walked, loading the bases. Adrian Beltre's liner caromed off Pauley and rolled to a stop near the third base line (1-0), Mike Lowell lofted a sac fly to right (2-0), and Daniel Nava lined a single to right (4-0). Darnell McDonald, who had pinch-run for Nava in the sixth, had an RBI single in the eighth.
Example
David Pauley / Josh Beckett
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Nava, LF
Hall, 2B
Kalish, CF
The weather is not great, but Game One is expected to start on time, so ...

Let's do this again! Note to Beckett: Seattle is not a good baseball team. They average 3.29 runs per game. Even you ought to be able to tame them, despite opponents having a robust 1.100 OPS (.373/.420/.680) in your last three starts.

Kevin Cash (and his 9 OPS+*) was activated and Dusty Brown was optioned to Pawtucket. ... Hideki Okajima will make at least one more appearance for the PawSox.

* Hey, it's better than Gustavo Molina's -24!

AL East:
Rays/Angels, 3:30 PM
Yankees/Blue Jays, 7 PM
Example
August 25:

1902 - AL president Ban Johnson announces that, after two seasons in Baltimore, the franchise will be moved to New York for 1903. Thus, the Yankees are not an original AL team.

1922 - The Cubs lead the Phillies 25-6 after four innings and hold on for a 26-23 win, as the Phillies leave the bases loaded in the top of the ninth. The 49 runs is a record for most total runs in a game. Philadelphia uses only two pitchers.

1978 - MLB umpires stage a one-day strike and semipro and amateur umps are pressed into service. In Toronto, Blue Jays coach Don Leppert and Twins coach Jerry Zimmerman are asked to umpire. It's the first time since 1941 that active players or coaches have umpired.

Dibble To Strasburg: Stop Whining, Pitch In Pain

Rob Dibble is one of the dumbest baseball analysts [sic] on the planet. Among the bits of information I have heard him pass on to fans is that the most important thing a successful closer needs is not pitching talent, but "attitude".

On his radio show recently, Dibble had some thoughts on Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg, who left Saturday's game against the Phillies in the fifth inning after grimacing in pain and talking with his manager, pitching coach, and trainer.

FanHouse notes that Dibble (naturally) first "regaled the audience with stories about how tough players were in his day" (which ignorant players have been doing for 130+ years; you could look it up) and then said:
I'm not a doctor, and I haven't read the MRI yet, but I'm pretty sure he's gonna come back fine. ... You can't constantly be complaining over every little thing. So for me, a little bit has to be put back on Strasbug here. Ok, you throw a pitch, it bothers your arm, and you immediately call out the manager and the trainer? Suck it up, kid. This is your profession. You chose to be a baseball player. You can't have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little stiff shoulder, sore elbow.
(Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post has much more.)

FanHouse's Josh Alper comments:
You know what we call guys who keep throwing when they feel unusual pain and don't make it a point to tell the trainer and manager that there's a problem? Mark Prior.
Prior is just one of the more recent additions to a long list of men who had their shot at a successful baseball career ruined. Tom Boswell adds a couple more examples that happened to turn out okay:
After beating Sandy Koufax, 1-0, in the World Series in '66, [Jim] Palmer missed almost two full seasons at 21 and 22. [Roger] Clemens had season-ending shoulder surgery in his second year as New England wept.
Alper reports that when the Nats gave Strasburg an MRI, "something was amiss in his forearm" and ends with this:
Anyone who thinks that you shouldn't trust an athlete who says that he thinks something is wrong with his body should spend some time reading up on J.R. Richard and less time slamming them on the radio before the results of medical tests have even been revealed.
I blogged about Richard in mid-July.

Boswell:
Some will say the Nats are babying Strasburg. Others will say he's not tough enough, or shouldn't show pain ... Some are stupid; others are even dumber.
Last night, Strasburg was placed on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm.

August 24, 2010

Cody

cody upstate

cody backyard snow 007

cody raking leaves 008

cottage sept 07 026

Cody
April 19, 1999 (adopted) - August 24, 2010

G127: Mariners at Red Sox, PPD

Postponed, rain
Day-night doubleheader tomorrow: 1:30 & 7
Mariners - 
Red Sox -
Example
David Pauley / Josh Beckett
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Nava, LF
Hall, 2B
Kalish, CF
Note to Beckett: Seattle is not a good baseball team. They average 3.29 runs per game. Even you ought to be able to tame them, despite opponents having a robust 1.100 OPS (.373/.420/.680) in your last three starts.

AL East:
Yankees/Blue Jays, 7 PM
Rays/Angels, 10 PM
Example
August 24:

1951 - Bill Veeck holds "Fans Managers' Night", in which Browns coaches hold up placards for 1,115 fans, who vote "yes" or "no" on various in-game options. Manager Zack Taylor sits behind the dugout with two fans and monitors the voting. The Browns beat the A's 5-3.

1983 - Baltimore reliever Tippy Martinez picks off three Toronto runners in the top of the 10th inning as the Blue Jays try to take advantage of Lenn Sakata, an infielder with no professional catching experience who is behind the plate. Sakata hits a three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th and the Orioles win 7-4.

Red Sox Make Waiver Claim On Damon

The big news yesterday afternoon was that the Red Sox had put in a waiver claim on Johnny Damon.

Damon has been mostly a DH for the Tigers this year, playing in the field for only 36 of 111 games. He has played left field only twice since July 28. His OBP is .358 (which would be 5th on the Sox) and his SLG is .410 (worse than every regular except Marco Scutaro). He has an 106 OPS+ and swung a hot bat in July: .325/.409/.571/.981 in 22 games.

Tigers beat writer Tom Gage tweeted a few Damon quotes:
Tougher decision now (to return to Boston) than leaving Boston. ... Had a great time playing for Boston. When it became apparent I was not a necessity to re-sign, it got ugly. ... Have to think if I'm going to be probably one of the nicest guys in baseball or once again the most hated guy in baseball. ... I have to think long and hard about this. I hadn't even thought about playing for that team again. Never crossed my mind. ... Somehow Boston is still staying in this race, which makes it intriguing. ... My heart tells me I'm a TIger. That's kind of where I'm leaning.
SoSHer Eric Van posted that Peter Gammons offered some thoughts on the Red Sox pre-game show:
1) Started as a block, then became interest
2) They won't give any extra money
3) Nor will they give a top prospect if the Tigers ask
4) Could well happen
Buster Olney:
The bet here is that Damon will accept the deal to Boston; friends are trying to convince him to go.
Both David Ortiz and Jason Varitek said they would welcome Damon.

Ortiz
:
That's my boy, you know that. It would be great. Johnny is a fun person to be around and I'm pretty sure he'd be excited to be back, and for all those people that did him wrong, [they] can put that back together and make him forget about the Yankees thing.
Varitek:
He's a special player. He's pushing Hall of Fame-type numbers. And you add that Johnny's great in the clubhouse, he's a gamer on the field and one hell of a teammate. ... I didn't really ever want to see him leave this uniform.
Abraham reported that after the Tigers game, Damon
told reporters afterward that he was leaning toward staying with the Tigers ... Meanwhile, given Damon's comments, the abuse he received at Fenway the last few years may be playing a role in his decision.
Damon:
What we had in Boston — I stress had, from 2002 to 2005 — we had a special bunch of guys. And after the 2004 season, guys started leaving, the Pedros and Derek Lowes. And in 2005, how Mark Bellhorn left, how Alan Embree left, how Kevin Millar was being treated there. That's something that sticks with you. ... Varitek knows what I brought to the table night in and night out. Ortiz does. And Wakefield. So obviously I know they want me. But I love it here in Detroit, and I love my teammates here. ... I'm kind of weighing all my options, seeing if I could help improve this team for next year.
If he is thinking about 2011, then Boston is not for him. He would have no place on next year's team. Also, it's fascinating that he is still upset over being booed at Fenway. We know he's not all that bright, but how can he not understand -- he has had a 16-year career in the AL -- that a beloved Red Sox player who signs with the Yankees gets booed, and booed loudly. That's how it works.

Damon:
I like to believe that we can still get back into this thing. Our schedule looks OK. We can definitely make a run.
The Tigers are 10 GB in the Central and 15 GB in the Wild Card; the Red Sox are 5.5 GB in both the East and WC.

There are eight teams Damon can be traded to without his consent -- and Boston is not on that list. So if the teams can work out a trade by Wednesday afternoon (there is a 48-hour window after the claim), Damon would have to approve it.

Buffalo 12, Pawtucket 4

Pawtucket - 100 001 200 -  4  8  2
Buffalo   - 200 204 40x - 12 15  1
Tim and I see baseball in the "friendliest city" in the United States!

Josh Reddick hit the first pitch of the game for a home run to deep right-center. Unfortunately, that was the high point of the PawSox's night.

Pawtucket starter Kris Johnson allowed a couple of doubles in the bottom of the first and, coupled with an infield error, the Bisons took a 2-1 lead. And they kept hitting, scoring four runs against each of three PawSox pitchers: Johnson, T.J. Large, and Hideki Okajima.

Jeemer came into the game in the seventh. He allowed an infield single that probably should have been scored an error, and then gave up a two-run home run to right-center to Russ Adams (who had hit a two-run dong in the previous inning, as well). After allowing two more singles, Okajima got a groundout to shortstop and was pulled. .1-4-4-0-0, 16.

Reddick hit another solo home run leading off the sixth; he also singled in the ninth. In the seventh, Gustavo Molina crushed a tater to left. The PawSox then loaded the bases on two walks and a single before Jeremy Hermida (who had singled in each of his first three at-bats) drew a walk to force a run.


Tim's shot of Jeremy Hermida, probably in the process of drawing that RBI BB, with Aaron Bates on deck.


Here is a shot of the field in the top of the third. ... My little camera sucks. I will add some more pictures to this post tomorrow (if Tim emails them to me).
Example
The park in Buffalo is quite nice -- our tickets were $7 -- plus they serve Murphy's* (in cans, but still...)!

* Long story, but we fell in love with Murphy's during our 2001 Ireland vacation and it has been next to impossible to find on tap in North America.

The Bisons have a couple of mascots. One is named Buster T. Bison and he is a guy wearing a regular baseball uniform, but he has a huge buffalo head on his head. It looks quite odd.

The other mascot is named "Chip"*. This guy was in a full costume and he climbed on top of the third base dugout (PawSox) in the top of the seventh. Tim and I were in the third row at the end of the dugout closest to the plate.

* A Buffalo chip? Why would a team name a mascot after slang for a piece of dried shit? One kid who got his cap signed said to his mother (something like) "I never saw a chocolate chip be able to write." Chip's costume was brown, but he ain't no chocolate chip.

Chip was the least active mascot I have ever seen. He paced slowly back and forth on the dugout, barely acknowledging the crowd. We had some theories: he was on Valium, he was a middle-aged hobo simply trying to make $20, he was narcoleptic. His droopy costume eyes made him seem extra lethargic. Adding to the hilarity was the fact that he was holding a capped Sharpie in his right hand as he shuffled back and forth, for the autographs.

Other fun: The Bisons' version of the "pick which one of the three caps/whatevers the ball is under" game on the scoreboard featured a trio of blue recycling bins. They were moving around in circles and I thought they were getting warmed up to race, but it turns out they were just shuffling around to confuse the crowd. It was sponsored by Twin Village Recycling. Bin #3 was the winner.

And: In the eighth inning, some Bisons employees were on the 3B dugout tossing rolls of Smarties into the crowd. I like Smarties, but the sight of a 46-year-old balding guy making a scene for 5¢ worth of candy is not the image I try to project, even to strangers, so I sat quietly. Towards the end, though, I made some eye contact with the guy and he tossed me his last roll. ... It was not "Smarties". ... It was "Soft Lips" lip protectant/sunscreen. Cherry flavor. Stupid less-than-ideal PA system.

August 23, 2010

G126: Red Sox 6, Mariners 3

Mariners - 001 002 000 - 3  7  1
Red Sox - 000 030 30x - 6 10 2
Lackey (8-6-3-2-10, 112) got his act together and Marco Scutaro drove in four runs.

The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 3-2 (Jose Bautista hit two home runs and drove in all three of Toronto's runs) and the Rays beat the Angels 4-3. Boston gained a game on New York and are 5.5 GB in the East.
Example
Doug Fister / John Lackey
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Lowrie, 2B
Nava, LF
Kalish, CF
With six weeks and 37 games to go in the regular season, Boston is 5.5 GB Tampa Bay for the wild card and 6.5 GB New York in the East.

Lackey:
I'm not going to say it's late, but it's definitely not early. These are definitely critical games.
So, could you start pitching good, please, Mr. 95 ERA+, who is also 43rd among 48 qualifying AL pitchers in WHIP (and 91st of 99 MLB pitchers)?

I'll be at the PawSox-Bisons game in Buffalo with Tim tonight -- where Hideki Okajima will be pitching an inning -- but Laura will be running the thread (if the weather cooperates).

AL East:
Yankees/Blue Jays, 7 PM
Rays/Angels, 10 PM
Example
August 23:

1909 - The Cubs steal home three times against Boston, including twice in the first inning, and beat the Braves 11-6.

1952 - Bob Elliott of the Giants is ejected for protesting a strike two call. His replacement, Bobby Hofman, is also tossed for arguing the third strike of the same at-bat.

1989 - Rick Dempsey's solo home run in the top of the 22nd inning gives the Dodgers a 1-0 win over the Expos in Montreal. (Laura and I were at this game!)
LAD - 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 1 - 1 20 1
MTL - 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 0 - 0 13 1
1992 - Andy Carter of the Clearwater Phillies defeats Scott Bakkum of the Winter Haven Red Sox 1-0 (Florida State League (A)). Neither team gets a hit in what is believed to be the first double no-hitter in the minors in 40 years. The run scores on two walks and two sacrifice bunts.

Ads

On June 29, Laura made a list of the advertisements shown and heard during NESN's Red Sox/Rays broadcast. She was quite busy.

Ortiz: I'm A "Speed Killer"

Yo (expletive), I feel like I can lead off tomorrow.
David Ortiz, shouting across the clubhouse at Terry Francona.

Mike Lowell: "He looked good running the bases. When he smells it he runs a lot harder. Maybe we should put some chicken nuggets out there."

Only three American League hitters have at least one triple in each of the last 11 seasons: Johnny Damon, Carlos Guillen, and David Ortiz!
"I'm an athlete, man."

August 22, 2010

G125: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 0

Blue Jays - 000 000 000 - 0  6  0
Red Sox - 000 030 02x - 5 7 0
Buchholz (6-5-0-3-7, 97) extended his scoreless inning streak to a career-best 20, though he had to wiggle out of a few jams against the Jays. Toronto left two men on base in the first, second, and sixth innings.

Buchholz lowered his AL-leading ERA to 2.26. He has not allowed an earned run in 23.2 innings.

Marcum (7-4-3-0-6, 91) had set down the first 12 Boston batters before David Ortiz opened the fifth with a triple -- to left-center! Adrian Beltre doubled and it was 1-0. After two were outs, Bill Hall launched a rocket over everything in left. In the seventh, Ryan Kalish doubled and Marco Scutaro walked. They both scored as Victor Martinez and Ortiz had RBI singles.

After Daniel Bard pitched the seventh, Felix Doubront took the final two innings, allowing only two baserunners (a one-out single in the eighth and a HBP with two outs in the ninth).

The Yankees beat the Mariners 10-0 and the Rays beat the A's 3-2. New York holds its one-game lead over Tampa Bay, with Boston 6.5 GB. The Red Sox are 5.5 GB the Rays in the wild card race.
Example
5:04 PM: Buchholz still out there in the third. 49 pitches before the delay, 51 through 3. (Marcum still in, too.)

4:05 PM: The tarp is back on the infield, with Blue Jays batting in the top of the third, two outs, a runner on first, and a 1-1 count on Adam Lind.

3:19 PM: First pitch! The start of the game was delayed 1:44 by rain.
Example
Shaun Marcum / Clay Buchholz
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Lowrie, 2B
Hall, LF
Kalish, CF
Buchholz has allowed only five earned runs over his last five starts (37.1 innings, 1.21 ERA). ... Weather: "periods of light to moderate rain showers throughout the day".

AL East:
Mariners/Yankees, 1 PM
Rays/A's, 4 PM
Example
August 22:

1886 - Louisville's Chicken Wolf hits a game-winning home run as a stray dog bites at Red Stockings center fielder Abner Powell's pant leg, causing him to miss the ball.

1933 - Cubs president William Veeck suggests a midsummer series of inter-league games.

1946 - MLB clubs approve a 168-game schedule, but change their minds on September 16.

1976 - I see my first game at Fenway Park (Oakland wins 7-6 in 11).

2007 - The Rangers beat the Orioles 30-3, setting an AL record for runs. No major league team had scored 30 runs since the 1897 Colts. Wes Littleton pitches the last three innings and gets a save.

August 21, 2010

G124: Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4 (11)

Blue Jays - 000 103 000 00 - 4  7  2
Red Sox - 002 020 000 01 - 5 10 2
Jed Lowrie hit a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the 11th.gif by SoSHer juicyfrys
Example
Ricky Romero / Daisuke Matsuzaka
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Hall, LF
Navarro, 2B
McDonald, CF
Marco Scutaro has had discomfort in the back of his right shoulder for the last two weeks. "I don't know how it started. But I have hard time reaching back on throws."

Today is wmtc5 -- our annual backyard party -- so tonight's thread will be here.

AL East:
Mariners/Yankees, 1 PM
Rays/A's, 9 PM
Example
August 21:

1936 - Red Sox pitcher Wes Ferrell, angry about a teammate's infield error, tosses his cap and glove on the ground and walks off the mound during a start against the Yankees. Ferrell had stormed off the mound in his previous start, as well, after the Senators got three cheap hits Ferrell felt were playable. According to Red Sox Century, Ferrell later says he thought manager Joe Cronin was waving him off the field and claims a mysterious "woman in red" can back up his story. Why can't today's players respect the game like all the old-timers did?

1986 - Spike Owen becomes the first major league player in 40 years to score six runs in a game as the Red Sox rout Cleveland 24-5. Boston scores 12 times in the top of the sixth.

1990 - Trailing 11-1 after seven innings, the Phillies score two runs in the 8th and nine runs in the 9th inning to beat the Dodgers 12-11.

When Will Media Call Pedroia "Soft"?

Does anyone have links to these Globe and Herald stories:
Pussy Pedey Opts For Bench
Another "Soft Sock" Would Rather Sit
Or maybe an mp3 of talk radio hosts boasting that if they were able to come to work after stubbing their toe in the kitchen, then Pedroia can play a few hours of baseball?

I'd really appreciate it.
Example
While the front office stated that Dustin Pedroia would return to the lineup only if his broken foot was completely healed and he was pain-free, it seems that plan was disregarded and FY was perhaps rushed back into the lineup.

The Red Sox need his bat sooner rather than later if they are going to make a serious push for the playoffs, but risking further damage (and possibly the end of his career) is a short-sighted move. And it's a move that contradicts what Theo Epstein often says about having a player take the necessary time to heal rather than coming back too soon, playing ineffectively and getting hurt again. Like Pedroia did. Like Jacoby Ellsbury did. Like Mike Cameron did. Like Jacoby Ellsbury did (again). Pedroia was no doubt chomping at the bit to return, but the Sox have a responsibility to soberly assess the situation, both for 2010 and beyond.

In late July, Dr. Yocum warned Pedroia that he should let the injury fully heal before playing -- and Pedroia seemed to understand:
He kind of told me I can't play unless I feel no pain, which isn't good. ... I thought I could play, that if I feel hurt, you can just play through it. You really can't do that with this injury. ... That bone will break off, then they would have to put pins in it. It would be a disaster.
Joe McDonald from ESPNBoston reports that Pedroia told the team he was pain-free while rehabbing and then he had only traditional x-rays -- not a CT scan -- before being cleared to play. After experiencing soreness and pain after playing two games, a CT scan was taken -- and, as Terry Francona noted "there's some healing to go".

It sure seems like Pedroia was not being honest when he said he had no pain and the team erred by not being as close to 100% sure that his foot was properly healed.

If the Red Sox had experienced half of the injuries it has gone through this season, we'd be shaking our heads at the absurdity of it all. What has actually happened is a shitshow of historical proportions. I thought the stampede to the DL in August 2006 would never be topped. Silly me.

And getting back to the media's reporting on Pedroia and Ellsbury, both young players had bone fractures, both returned ahead of schedule, both experienced additional pain or re-injury, and both returned to the DL. Yet the media presentation of their experiences could not be more different: we are told one is a malingering whiner allegedly hated by his teammates while the other is the very personification of a gritty gamer.

August 20, 2010

G123: Blue Jays 16, Red Sox 2

Blue Jays - 513 023 110 - 16 20  0
Red Sox - 000 000 200 - 2 9 1
Lester had the worst start of his career: 2-8-9-3-1, 51.

The six outs were a career low -- Lester's shortest starts before tonight were 2.1 innings on August 23, 2008 against Toronto (allowing 7 runs in an 11-0 loss) and September 25, 2009 against the Yankees.

The nine runs allowed were also a career high. Lester allowed eight runs to Tampa Bay in 4.1 innings on May 9, 2009 and he has given up seven runs three times, mostly recently, on April 18 of this year, again to the Rays.

The 51 pitches were also the fewest Lester has ever thrown in a start. His previous low was 76 on June 28, 2008, in five innings against the Astros. He threw 78 pitches in both of the 2.1 IP games linked above.

The 16 runs were the most the Blue Jays had ever scored against the Red Sox. They had scored 15 runs three times (September 27, 1988 (15-9), July 1, 2005 (15-2), and August 17, 2008 (15-4). It was also the Jays' widest margin of victory over Boston.

Lyle Overbay hit two three-run home runs against Lester and finished with four hits and a career-high seven RBI. He had 6 RBI (and two dongs) for the Brewers on July 23, 2005 against the Reds.

[I can post all that stuff within minutes because of Baseball Reference. The Play Index subscription $36/year is a ridiculous bargain. This is not an ad. I simply love B-Ref!]

Yamaico Navarro (#56) made his major league debut for the Red Sox in the fifth, pinch-hitting for Marco Scutaro. Navarro lined the first pitch down the left field line for a single. He took over at shortstop and went 1-for-3.

Did the Red Sox do anything else worth mentioning? Well, Dusty Brown had a double and two RBI, Marco Scutaro and Darnell McDonald each had two hits, Jed Lowrie singled, walked, and scored, and Daniel Nava made another great catch in left field.

The Mariners beat the Yankees 6-0. The A's beat the Rays 5-4.
Example
Brett Cecil / Jon Lester
Scutaro, SS
Lowrie, 2B
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Drew, RF
Hall, LF
McDonald, CF
Update: After playing in two games, Dustin Pedroia has been placed back on the disabled list. Short Q&A with FY here.

Dustin Pedroia's left foot is still sore. The Globe's Nick Cafardo writes that the team "may be suggesting more rest for the second baseman which could include more time on the disabled list or simply more time between appearances."

Lester has not allowed a run in his last two starts, covering 14.1 innings. In his two starts against Toronto this season -- April 28 and July 9 -- Lester has given up two runs in 13 innings, with 17 strikeouts.

J.D. Drew has reached base in 25 of his last 27 games, despite a batting average of only .211 (19-for-90); his OBP is .336 in that span. ... Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia went 1-for-15 after his memorable debut and was sent back to AAA on Wednesday.

AL East:
Mariners/Yankees, 7 PM
Rays/A's, 10 PM
Example
August 20:

1903 - The Pirates set an NL record by making six errors in the first inning of a 13-7 loss to the Giants. The MLB record is seven errors, committed by Cleveland in the eighth inning against Chicago on September 20, 1905.

1919 - Joe Wilhoit, an outfielder for the Wichita Jobbers (Western League), goes hitless for the first time since June 13, ending his 69-game hitting streak. Wilhoit batted .515 (153-for-297) during the streak and finished the season with a .422 average.

1974 - Nolan Ryan strikes out 19 Tigers, but the Angels lose 1-0 in 11 innings. It is the third time Ryan has struck out 19 batters this season; the other two times were against the Red Sox, on June 14 (in 13 innings) and August 12.

2000 - Seattle's 12-4 loss to Cleveland is the seventh consecutive game in which the Mariners have allowed at least nine runs. That ties a 99-year-old record set by the New York Giants on September 3-6, 1901.

Pedroia Back On Disabled List

Dustin Pedroia has been placed on the disabled list. Q&A with Pedroia from this afternoon here.

Terry Francona:
He woke up (this morning) and he was pretty tender. They did a scan and while it showed really good healing it also showed there's some healing to go. The layman's version is they tried to impress upon him that if it hurt you'd better tell us because if you don't you're going to hurt yourself. He did that, so give him some credit. It's hard for good players to be honest, but if he hurts it then we're looking at something we don't want to be looking at - surgery and things like that.
The Red Sox have called up infielder Yamaico Navarro.

Eri Yoshida Update

Eri Yoshida will make her eighth start of the season for the Chico Outlaws tonight, facing Maui Na Koa Ikaika, winners of the Golden Baseball League South Division first-half crown. In the second half, Maui is 18-4.

Yoshida, 18, is still looking for her first win. In seven starts, she is 0-3 with a 12.68 ERA.
                IP   H   R  ER  BB   K   BF
0529 Tijuana 3 5 4 4 1 0 14
0612 Yuma 4 4 2 1 2 1 18
0624 Edmonton 5 3 3 2 3 0 23 L
0702 St. George 3 5 5 4 1 0 17
0723 OC 3.1 7 6 6 2 2 18 L
0727 @ Victoria 2.1 1 8 8 7 1 18 L
0801 @ Calgary 1.1 5 8 6 1 0 13
7 starts 22 30 34 29 17 4 ERA 12.68
Yoshida's last two starts were in Canada, pitching in Victoria on July 27 (pictured above) and in Calgary on August 1. She is the first woman to pitch professionally in three countries, including her native Japan. (Here is an article about the British Columbia connection to women who have played pro ball.)

At first, there was about two weeks between Yoshida's starts, but then, after a gap of three weeks in July, she started twice in five days. I wonder if the infrequency of her starts is contributing to her ineffectiveness. There are plenty of general articles on the web, but very little information on something like usage patterns.

Chico has won four of Yoshida's seven starts, but she has not pitched enough innings to qualify for the win in any of them. She was given the loss in the other three games. (She pitched five solid innings against Edmonton, but the pen allowed six runs in the eighth inning and Chico lost 10-2.)

She is 1-for-7 at the plate, with one walk and two RBI.

August 19, 2010

G122: Angels 7, Red Sox 2

Angels  - 000 004 300 - 7  9  2
Red Sox - 000 100 000 - 2 5 0
Santana (7-4-2-4-1, 105) shut down the Sox, Hideki Matsui clubbed a three-run home run off Beckett (6.1-7-6-2-6, 105) , and Manny Declarmen further buried the Sox by walking three of his four batters in the seventh.

Boston had only two hits through the first seven innings: Marco Scutaro's single to begin the first and David Ortiz's solo homer with one out in the fourth.

Beckett pitched well through 5.1 innings, allowing only two hits and one walk. But the roof fell in very quickly: Macier Izturis doubled to right, Alberto Callaspo doubled to left-center, Torii Hunter singled off Adrian Beltre's glove at third, and Shemp hit a dong to right-center.

In the seventh, Beckett struck out Jeff Mathis, but allowed a single to Bourjos and then walked Bobby Abreu. MDC came in and walked Izturis to load the bases. He got Callaspo to geround out to third, but a run scored. Then Delcarmen walked Hunter to re-load the bases and walked Matsui to force in a run. Scott Atchison then surrendered an RBI single to Howie Kendrick.

The Yankees beat the Tigers 11-5 this afternoon. The Rays lost to the A's 4-3.

Update, 5:28 PM: Dustin Pedroia's left foot is sore. Jed Lowrie will take his place.

Another day, another player to the DL: Today it's Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who will be replaced by Dusty Brown.
Example
Ervin Santana / Josh Beckett
Scutaro, SS
Pedroia Lowrie, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Martinez, C
Beltre, 3B
Drew, RF
Lowell, 1B
Kalish, CF
Nava, LF
The Red Sox go for the series -- and season -- sweep of the Angels. Boston is 9-0 against LAA this year; the Angels have scored more than three runs in only three of the nine games.

Beckett (7-5-3-1-5, 112) beat Los Angeles on July 28 and Santana had a 7-7-1-1-7, 115 line against the Sox on May 4.

AL East: Tigers/Yankees at 1 and Rays/Athletics at 10.
Example
August 19:

1951 - Eddie Gaedel -- standing 3' 7" and wearing # 1/8 -- walks on four pitches in his only major league appearance, for Bill Veeck's St. Louis Browns. His contract is voided two days later.

1969 - John Hollison, the last surviving major league pitcher to throw from a mound 50 feet from home plate, dies in Chicago at age 99. He pitched in one game for the Chicago Colts in 1892.

1970 - The White Sox, trailing 5-2, rally for 11 runs in the top of the ninth inning and defeat the Red Sox 13-5 at Fenway Park.

1982 - Atlanta's Pascual Perez, scheduled to start against the Expos, can't find his way off the interstate to the ballpark. He circles the city three times before running out of gas. Perez later receives a team jacket with "I-285" on it.

Globe Can't Remember Which Leg Is Bothering Salty

Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been put on the disabled list because of an infection in one of his legs. Which leg? Don't ask the Globe.

Amalie Benjamin writes that it is a "a lower left leg infection",while Peter Abraham reports Salty has "a sore lower right leg".You'd think the press corps who peddled a fictitious tale about Manny's knees would get its facts straight about which leg is bothering Salty.

Update: Other reports followed the Globe. We can use them as tie-breakers. Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal says "lower right leg". The Herald's Scott Lauber tells us "lower right leg". Mike Petraglia of WEEI's Full Count posts: "soreness in his lower right leg".

Feds: Clemens To Be Indicted For Perjury

New York Times:
Federal authorities have decided to indict Roger Clemens on charges of making false statements to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, according to two people briefed on the matter.

An announcement is expected shortly.

The indictment comes nearly two and half years after Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee testified under oath at a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform [February 2008], directly contradicting each other about whether Clemens had used the banned substances.
Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports:
Following Clemens' testimony, Congress asked the Department of Justice to investigate Clemens' statements, saying in a letter to the Attorney General "that significant questions have been raised about Mr. Clemens's truthfulness." Among those questions were, according to the Committee, "seven sets of assertions made by Mr. Clemens in his testimony that appear to be contradicted by other evidence before the committee or implausible." Specifically:
* Clemens' testimony that he had never taken performance-enhancing drugs;

* His statement that McNamee injected him with the painkiller lidocaine;

* His statement that team trainers gave him pain injections;

* His statement that he received many vitamin B-12 injections;

* His statement that he never discussed HGH with Brian McNamee;

* His statement that he was not at then-teammate Jose Canseco's home during a party which took place in early June 1998; and

* His statement that he was never told about George Mitchell's request to speak to him prior to the release of the Mitchell Report. ...
[A]n accusation does not necessarily make a conviction likely, especially in a perjury case, especially in this perjury case. Many of Clemens' statements are exceedingly difficult to square with known facts and common sense. At the same time, many of the witnesses against Clemens already face credibility issues ...

In the meantime, Roger Clemens has a date with federal agents, a finger print ink pad and a mug shot photographer. Because he is about to be criminally charged.

The "Douglas Nine"

On this date in 1958, everyone in the starting lineup for the Douglas Copper Kings hit a home run in a 22-8 win over the Chihuahua Dorados (Class C Arizona-Mexico League). It is the only time a team has had all nine starters go deep.

The major league record for most players on one team with one or more home runs in a game is eight, set by Cincinnati in a 22-3 rout of the Phillies on September 4, 1999. But only six of the Reds had started the game.

The AL record is seven players, set by the Orioles against the Red Sox on May 17, 1967 (6 starters), the A's against the Angels on June 27, 1996 (7 starters), and the Tigers against the Blue Jays on June 20, 2000 (5 starters).

The "Douglas Nine": Bob Clear, P; Rich Binford, C; Dutch Van Burkleo, 1B; Luis Torres, 2B; Don Pulford, SS; Darrel McCall, 3B; Ron Wilkins, LF; Andy Prevedello, CF; Fred Filipelli, RF.Prevedello:
We didn't know what was going on at first. Then it was like, "Hey, gosh, I haven't had one yet." We knew we had all done something kind of special. ... It was unbelievable. There were no short fences, either. It was a regular park.
Van Burkleo:
It was your typical Mexican park. There was no grass on the infield or the outfield. And the fences were adobe or brick walls. They were three feet thick and eight or nine feet high. When they made the walls, they broke beer bottles and glass and embedded them in the top of the walls so people couldn't climb over them and get into the park for free. Someone told us Life Magazine was going to come down and do a story on us, but they never did.
Pulford:
We didn't get a lot of publicity for it, though. Someone came down and interviewed us and took some pictures. It was pretty astounding that it happened. What people don't remember is that our next trip down there, they no-hit us.
I have no idea if that is true.

None of the Douglas Nine played in the major leagues, but Bob Clear later became a scout and bullpen coach for the California Angels. His nephew, Mark Clear, pitched for the Angels, Red Sox, and Brewers.

August 18, 2010

G121: Red Sox 7, Angels 5

Angels  - 001 130 000 - 5 10  1
Red Sox - 100 120 21x - 7 12 0
The Red Sox tied the game on a bases loaded wild pitch by Kevin "George" Jepsen in the seventh inning, then (after pinch-hitter J.D. Drew was intentionally walked to re-load the bases) took a 6-5 lead when pinch-hitter Daniel Nava was plunked by an 0-2 fastball. Jane, stop this crazy thing!

In the top of the eighth, Nava made a diving catch in left field to save Daniel Bard's bacon. With Angels on first and second and two outs, Macier Izturis lofted a fly to shallow left. Nava sprinted in, dove forward, and gloved the ball.After the Sox added an insurance run, Jonathan Papelbon struck out the side in the ninth.

Lackey (7-10-5-0-5, 119) skated out of a few jams in the early innings, allowed a couple of single runs, then surrendered a three-run dong to Alberto Callaspo. LBL. After that, though, Adrian Beltre's two-run homer cut the Angels' lead to 5-4, and Lackey retired the last seven batters he faced.

Bill Hall crushed a home run over everything in left in the fourth. And: Marco Scutaro doubled and walked twice, Dustin Pedroia singled, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Victor Martinez had two singles, a double, and two runs scored, David Ortiz singled, doubled, and walked twice, Beltre homered and singled and drove in three runs, and Darnell McDonald singled, doubled, and stole a base.

The Yankees beat the Tigers 9-5, so the East remains the same for another day: Tampa Bay and New York are tied for first, with Boston 5.5 GB. The Red Sox are 5.5 GB in the Wild Card race. And the White Sox, who were breathing down the Sox's neck, have dropped to 9 GB in the WC.
Example
Scott Kazmir / John Lackey
Scutaro, SS
Pedroia, 2B
Martinez, C
Ortiz, DH
Beltre, 3B
Lowell, 1B
Hall, LF
McDonald, RF
Kalish, CF
Jacoby Ellsbury, on his examination in California:
It's a broken rib in the back, broken in the exact same place I broke them before. Let's see ... yeah, basically, when I come back I'll be, you know, stronger than ever when I do come back. Thank you. [Will he be back this season?] We're not sure yet.
Terry Francona spoke at length:
I actually got a chance to talk to Dr Yocum this morning ... and he said, "The only way you're going to know the answers that you're asking are if he had a scan everyday. ... It really doesn't matter. It's broken and he needs to let it heal."

My instincts tell me the kid was probably a little more sore than he was letting on. Probably for obvious reasons. He wanted to play and he was catching some heat from a lot of you and all you tough guys (laughs). He's probably a little more tender. Maybe he was more susceptible. Maybe he wasn't. Nobody really knows.
Tito also spoke in Ellsbury's defense on WEEI, when asked if he thought Jacoby was a soft player:
No. And I think for anyone to ever say that, especially for a radio host, is very disrespectful. Talking tough on the radio is a lot different than running into a wall or getting hit with a pitch. ... To get to this point in their career, they've had to -- I know a lot of people think they're pampered athletes -- but they've had to work pretty hard, and they've had to go through a lot.
Francona's comments regarding Ellsbury have not always been so supportive, so this is nice to hear.

AL East: Tigers/Yankees at 7. The Rays beat the Rangers 8-6.
Example
August 18:

1909 - Giants player-coach Arlie Latham -- aka "The Freshest Man on Earth" -- steals second base in New York's 14-1 rout of the Phillies. At 50, he is the oldest player to swipe a base.

1940 - Daily News columnist Jimmy Powers suggests the Yankees' poor play this season -- after four straight World Series titles, the team is in fifth place -- is due to a "mass polio epidemic" contracted from Lou Gehrig. Gehrig files a $1 million lawsuit and the newspaper eventually retracts the story and settles out of court.

1967 - Boston's Tony Conigliaro is beaned by Angels pitcher Jack Hamilton. Conigliaro is hit on the left cheekbone, just below the eye socket, and will miss the rest of 1967 and all of 1968.