So Long, Farewell – But Not That Well

Manny is gone. Wait, no really. Manny is gone. There will be no more calls from inside the wall, no more antics. And I don’t care. Okay, I care. I’m a little sad, I’m gonna miss the crazy man, but now, at least, we won’t have to deal with it anymore, and I know life will be much easier on Tito.
The only thing I am worried about is Papi. I hope he’s still happy in Boston, but he and Manny were good friends…so I don’t know. Papi, we still love you, and I will absolutely cry if you leave us. Do I think this will help? Probably. We needed a bat to back up Ortiz, we got that, and hopefully we’re done with the antics. At least, the detrimental ones.
I’m interested in what can happen. Right now, I’m in limbo on how I feel about the Red Sox. I agree with what Alex Cora said. They are playing like they don’t have any energy. Maybe some new (and younger) blood will get the Sox moving again. Youk is on a hitting streak, Pedroia is the Destroya, Ellsbury seems to be excelling in his new spot, and JD Drew has been better about not hitting into double plays. We’re still waiting for them to get on a streak, but I always have faith that they will.

So long Manny. I hope you are happy now, because you clearly weren’t happy at Boston. I feel like this will do nothing but good. So here’s to life after Manny, may it go well.

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Stress and the Sox

Okay, I know, we’re reining world champions, but I am not at the point where I can take a loss or a slump without the inevitable question of whether or not we’re done. It is still as stressful as ever, I think had we been no hit tonight, I might have given up on them for longer than 24 hours. I might have even gone a whole week. But in comes Pedroia on his shining white horse and his hot bad, come to chase to no-hitter away. And just so we weren’t shut-out, Youk knocks one into the monster seats. Do I feel bad about the Angel losing his no-hitter with one out in the ninth? Heck no. The only no-hitters I want to see in Fenway are the ones the home-team throws.

Tonight highlighted all the reasons I hate it when Clay Buchholz pitches. He’s like the schizo pitcher. He’ll be lights out, then suddenly, its like he’s a whole different pitcher. Then he gets back to business. Tek, if you can hear me, can you figure out a way to fix that please?

One good sign in this game that maybe we’re about to turn things around is the fact that Lackey only struck out four and gave out 2 free passes (one on a hit batter to Drew). So that means 21 of 27 outs came from fielding the ball, either with a ground-out or a pop-out or a line-out. We;re making contact, and as my coach would always say, that’s the first step. Its always better to make contact or walk than strike out. Okajima was on tonight, but the rest of the bull pen…shaky as ever. I was so glad Tito put Paps in during the 9th. I mean, if he could just be our designated 9th-inning guy (winning or not) At least until the bull pen pulls it together on a consistent basis.

Speaking of Paps, I think 20 years from now, when we look back on it, we’ll be remembering a lot of greats from this team. We’ll look back on Paps, Nomar, Pedro, Schilling, Tito, Wake and all of those guys and talk about them like we talk about Tony C, Fisk, and Bobby D. We’ll always remember Damon as a traitor (sorry, but that’s life), so long as Manny doesn’t do anything stupid and retires in Boston or goes out quietly somewhere other than the Yankees or another AL east rival, we’ll always remember Manny, but what happens after this year determines how fondly we’ll remember him. Lester? Give him a few years and we could be calling him one of the best ever. Youk? Um, its Youk. That’s it. We don’t even need to say any more. He’s a beast. If Ellsbury continues to develop (and I think he will) he could become one of the greatest base runners ever. We just have to get him on base. Mike Lowell is one of the most remarkable and likable guys to play the game, of course we’ll be telling our kids about how, at the end of the 2007 world series, hundreds of fans stayed behind to throw their support at Mike Lowell and let management know what they wanted.

Then we have Papi. I mean, he’s Papi. We love Papi. Of course we’ll be telling our kids about the slugger. Drew? Maybe. If he sticks around long enough and plays well. We’ll certainly remember his grand slam forever.

The guys I think we may be mentioning up there with Cy Young, Ted Williams, and Yaz someday are Pedroia and Varitek. (Note, Papi will be here too, but we already covered him) Tek could probably be in a hitting slump the rest of this year, and we’ll still be talking HOF. (In my book, anyway) Anyone who is named the Captain of his team, and then is their captain for TWO world series (and hopefully more!) wins and is one of the main reasons they didn’t get discouraged when they were down games in the ALCS (both times) is a Captain to be respected and proud of. He had one of the worst batting averages in the league and the players STILL wanted to honor him as an All-Star. That tells you something right there. And as for Pedroia, he has all the makings of a phenomenal player. Low on the errors, gets on base, a lot, fast, smart at the plate, and plays with a lot of heart. I’m not saying he’s playing at a HOF level now, I just see a lot of potential (do not let him go, Theo). Who else would have broken up the first possible no-hitter at Fenway since 1953? My money was on him or Papi.

So now we’ve lost two series at Fenway. Can this be our home losing slump for the season and then we can be done with it? Please? We haven’t had a real good hot streak all year. We’re starting the hottest month of the year, maybe we could develop a streak to match the weather? (watch, as I say this, God is going to make it the mildest August ever)

We are now back to two games behind Tampa Bay, but another Yankee loss puts them further in our rear-view mirror. (Thank goodness). I almost expected this, because if you compare the teams we’re playing to the teams the Rays are playing…they’re playing Toronto, who are just barely above .500, we played the Angels, who currently have the best record in baseball. But, as I say that, I have to say this: look at their division. Their only competition is Oakland, who are 12 games back. The last place team in the whole AL East is only 11.5 games back. The AL East is the only division in baseball where four teams are above .500. So right now, I don’t mind losing to the Angels. As long as we win when it counts, like when we fell out of shouting distance of first place and won five out of six (helped by a Rays 7-game losing streak) to get back into right before the break, I’m happy. And here’s a good thought to end this not-so-happy blog on: the Yankees, who were surging, have now lost three straight, two to the worst team in the AL East. How nice would it be to have the 9-2 loss on Sunday be the catalyst for the Yankee’s undoing? (I was raised to hate them, for better or worse, richer or poorer, ’til death do I stop)

Next up, Beckett. He only allowed one run to the Yanks last time, but since no one felt like swinging the bat against the platypus (Joba C.), we lost. Maybe Becks will only give up one run this time and we can actually do a little work on offense. Who knows. Here’s hoping for some good mojo. We certainly need it.

Stress and the Sox

    Okay, I know, we’re reining world champions, but I am not at the point where I can take a loss or a slump without the inevitable question of whether or not we’re done. It is still as stressful as ever, I  think had we been no hit tonight, I might have given up on them for longer than 24 hours. I might have even gone a whole week. But in comes Pedroia on his shining white horse and his hot bad, come to chase to no-hitter away. And just so we weren’t shut-out, Youk knocks one into the monster seats. Do I feel bad about the Angel losing his no-hitter with one out in the ninth? Heck no. The only no-hitters I want to see in Fenway are the ones the home-team throws.

    Tonight highlighted all the reasons I hate it when Clay Buchholz pitches. He’s like the schizo pitcher. He’ll be lights out, then suddenly, its like he’s a whole different pitcher. Then he gets back to business. Tek, if you can hear me, can you figure out a way to fix that please?

    One good sign in this game that maybe we’re about to turn things around is the fact that Lackey only struck out four and gave out 2 free passes (one on a hit batter to Drew). So that means 21 of 27 outs came from fielding the ball, either with a ground-out or a pop-out or a line-out. We;re making contact, and as my coach would always say, that’s the first step. Its always better to make contact or walk than strike out. Okajima was on tonight, but the rest of the bull pen…shaky as ever. I was so glad Tito put Paps in during the 9th. I mean, if he could just be our designated 9th-inning guy (winning or not) At least until the bull pen pulls it together on a consistent basis.

    Speaking of Paps, I think 20 years from now, when we look back on it, we’ll be remembering a lot of greats from this team.  We’ll look back on Paps,  Nomar, Pedro,  Schilling, Tito, Wake and all of those guys and talk about them like we talk about Tony C, Fisk, and Bobby D. We’ll always remember Damon as a traitor (sorry, but that’s life), so long as Manny doesn’t do anything stupid and retires in Boston or goes out quietly somewhere other than the Yankees or another AL east rival, we’ll always remember Manny, but what happens after this year determines how fondly we’ll remember him. Lester? Give him a few years and we could be calling him one of the best ever. Youk? Um, its Youk. That’s it. We don’t even need to say any more. He’s a beast. If Ellsbury continues to develop (and I think he will) he could become one of the greatest base runners ever. We just have to get him on base. Mike Lowell is one of the most remarkable and likable guys to play the game, of course we’ll be telling our kids about how, at the end of the 2007 world series, hundreds of fans stayed behind to throw their support at Mike Lowell and let management know what they wanted.
 
    Then we have Papi. I mean, he’s Papi. We love Papi. Of course we’ll be telling our kids about the slugger. Drew? Maybe. If he sticks around long enough and plays well. We’ll certainly remember his grand slam forever.
   
    The guys I think we may be mentioning up there with Cy Young, Ted Williams, and Yaz someday are Pedroia and Varitek. (Note, Papi will be here too, but we already covered him) Tek could probably be in a hitting slump the rest of this year, and we’ll still be talking HOF. (In my book, anyway) Anyone who is named the Captain of his team, and then is their captain for TWO world series (and hopefully more!) wins and is one of the main reasons they didn’t get discouraged when they were down games in the ALCS (both times) is a Captain to be respected and proud of. He had one of the worst batting averages in the league and the players STILL wanted to honor him as an All-Star. That tells you something right there. And as for Pedroia, he has all the makings of a phenomenal player. Low on the errors, gets on base, a lot, fast, smart at the plate, and plays with a lot of heart. I’m not saying he’s playing at a HOF level now, I just see a lot of potential (do not let him go, Theo). Who else would have broken up the first possible no-hitter at Fenway since 1953? My money was on him or Papi.

    So now we’ve lost two series at Fenway. Can this be our home losing slump for the season and then we can be done with it? Please? We haven’t had a real good hot streak all year. We’re starting the hottest month of the year, maybe we could develop a streak to match the weather? (watch, as I say this, God is going to make it the mildest August ever)

    We are now back to two games behind Tampa Bay, but another Yankee loss puts them further in our rear-view mirror. (Thank goodness). I almost expected this, because if you compare the teams we’re playing to the teams the Rays are playing…they’re playing Toronto, who are just barely above .500, we played the Angels, who currently have the best record in baseball. But, as I say that, I have to say this: look at their division. Their only competition is Oakland, who are 12 games back. The last place team in the whole AL East is only 11.5 games back. The AL East is the only division in baseball where four teams are above .500. So right now, I don’t mind losing to the Angels. As long as we win when it counts, like when we fell out of shouting distance of first place and won five out of six (helped by a Rays 7-game losing streak) to get back into right before the break, I’m happy. And here’s a good thought to end this not-so-happy blog on: the Yankees, who were surging, have now lost three straight, two to the worst team in the AL East. How nice would it be to have the 9-2 loss on Sunday be the catalyst for the Yankee’s undoing? (I was raised to hate them, for better or worse, richer or poorer, ’til death do I stop)

Next up,  Beckett. He only allowed one run to the Yanks last time, but since no one felt like swinging the bat against the platypus (Joba C.), we lost. Maybe Becks will only give up one run this time  and we can actually do a little work on offense. Who knows. Here’s hoping for some good mojo. We certainly need it.

Wheels, Deals and Happy Meals

In the course of one weekend, I went from hating the game of baseball, deciding the fat lady had sung on the Sox season, and giving up on baseball all together for about 24 hours to being impressed with the team and hoping for another championship. There is only one team in baseball that can do that with all of their fans so effectively: the Boston Red Sox. Its like one of those movies where you are so angry at the characters that you get up to leave, but once your out, you can’t stand to leave in the middle, so you just go to the bathroom and head back in, only to see the characters completely turn things around.

Lets not talk about the first two games, where the Yankees hot streak clearly got the better of the issues Boston has with leaving men on base, the bullpen, and the lineup. I’m sorry, when Josh Beckett pitches out of his mind and you can’t get him any runs to help out? That is not good. But that’s all I’m going to say about Friday and Saturday. On to Sunday.

Once again, the Sox lean on Jon Lester when they are spiraling into a losing streak. Once again, Jonny pulls out a great game and saves the Sox. I had a lot of confidence going into Sunday, because lets face it, Sidney Ponson? Despite the surprising streak he’s been on, his low inning count and high walk rate had to eventually catch up with him. I’m hoping that this loss sparks a whole new Yankees collapse, though I doubt it because yet again, the big money boys have made some big money deals to bring in a bit of help. Sure enough, the combination of the-pillar-of-the-pitching-staff Lester (note, he may not have the most wins, but he always goes deep, and I always feel a little bit safer when he’s on the hill.) He’s the only one I really trust to pull the team out of a losing streak, he’s really good at that, and like Tek said, he’s only going to get better. Coming from Tek, who is probably one of the best pitching judges out there (he should really become a pitching coach when he retires, with all the good he does behind the plate, I think he’d be great as a coach.) that’s high praise.

Speaking of Tek, guess who is still hitting. Yay! And the Papi-Manny Double-Whammy is back in business as of last night. I think Manny is starting to realize that he needs to be on his best behavior if he wants to get a better deal at the end of the season, which I’m sure his agent has been telling him. But that’s all I’m going to say about the Manny Saga. Anyway, Boston’s bats were a’swinging last night with a bunch of doubles and a two-run dinger from none other than Big Papi. I think he needed that.

1217244978_3318.jpg Man, its good to have the big guy back. And with him back, Dustin can be the lead-off man (I know Tito still wants Jacoby in that spot, but I think he’s not ready yet) followed by Youk (anyone else think Joba should have been ejected from the game for that ball he threw at him? I don’t care how stupid the timing was, there is just no way that wasn’t intentional) then the Papi-Manny duo that hopefully will again start to terrify opposing pitchers. I like the batting order now. I like having Jacoby at the bottom, I think he needs some more time in the bigs before he really is an effective lead-off man. I think this visit to the 9th spot will be good for him. Speaking of Jacoby…

1217244913_9781.jpg

What a catch. I tell you what, with his speed and defensive ability, I don’t care that his arm strength isn’t that good. That boy has wheels. He’ll be stealing bases again in no time, and with him on, a single can turn into a double or triple. We like to call him wheels.

The trade deadline approaches, and no word yet from Theo about anything. Do we make a quick trade to shore up the bull pen or do we work from within, like with Masterson? (who I still think is going to be a solid reliever). Do we trade Coco or keep him? (keep, sorry Coco) Can we please trade Lugo? I mean…come on, won’t anyone take him? What kind of dealing will be done? Will the Pirates continue to let other teams raid their cookie jar? Who knows. Will the Yankees continue to make ridiculous deals to make sure they are contenders? Of course. They’re the Yankees. They must be in the playoff hunt every year. Its a conspiracy, I tell you, the Steinbrenners are paying off the baseball gods…but thats another story for another day.

So, that’s the wheels, the deals…what about the Happy Meal? After deciding the fat lady had sung on the 2008 season, I went and got myself a Happy Meal to bury my sorrow in a little pack of fries, a burger, and a very small diet coke. It was partially the Happy Meal I had for lunch on Sunday and the Sox performance that night that renewed my faith in the boys. (Not that I had ever actually lost it, but in true Sox fan form, I let it go temporarily) What did I have for lunch today? What do you think. Superstition rules all, and the toy I got today was way better than yesterday.

Next up, Dice takes on the Halos. God help us and not them. (Seriously, I know they’re the Angels, but we could use a little help, and if that help comes in the form of a Rays and Yankees collapse or Sox mega-hot streak, I’ll leave that up to You, Big Man.)

Batter up!

Wheels, Deals and Happy Meals

In the course of one weekend, I went from hating the game of baseball, deciding the fat lady had sung on the Sox season, and giving up on baseball all together for about 24 hours to being impressed with the team and hoping for another championship. There is only one team in baseball that can do that with all of their fans so effectively: the Boston Red Sox. Its like one of those movies where you are so angry at the characters that you get up to leave, but once your out, you can’t stand to leave in the middle, so you just go to the bathroom and head back in, only to see the characters completely turn things around.

Lets not talk about the first two games, where the Yankees hot streak clearly got the better of the issues Boston has with leaving men on base, the bullpen, and the lineup. I’m sorry, when Josh Beckett pitches out of his mind and you can’t get him any runs to help out? That is not good. But that’s all I’m going to say about Friday and Saturday. On to Sunday.

Once again, the Sox lean on Jon Lester when they are spiraling into a losing streak. Once again, Jonny pulls out a great game and saves the Sox. I had a lot of confidence going into Sunday, because lets face it, Sidney Ponson? Despite the surprising streak he’s been on, his low inning count and high walk rate had to eventually catch up with him. I’m hoping that this loss sparks a whole new Yankees collapse, though I doubt it because yet again, the big money boys have made some big money deals to bring in a bit of help. Sure enough, the combination of the-pillar-of-the-pitching-staff Lester (note, he may not have the most wins, but he always goes deep, and I always feel a little bit safer when he’s on the hill.) He’s the only one I really trust to pull the team out of a losing streak, he’s really good at that, and like Tek said, he’s only going to get better. Coming from Tek, who is probably one of the best pitching judges out there (he should really become a pitching coach when he retires, with all the good he does behind the plate, I think he’d be great as a coach.) that’s high praise.

Speaking of Tek, guess who is still hitting. Yay! And the Papi-Manny Double-Whammy is back in business as of last night. I think Manny is starting to realize that he needs to be on his best behavior if he wants to get a better deal at the end of the season, which I’m sure his agent has been telling him. But that’s all I’m going to say about the Manny Saga. Anyway, Boston’s bats were a’swinging last night with a bunch of doubles and a two-run dinger from none other than Big Papi. I think he needed that.

1217244978_3318.jpgMan, its good to have the big guy back. And with him back, Dustin can be the lead-off man (I know Tito still wants Jacoby in that spot, but I think he’s not ready yet) followed by Youk (anyone else think Joba should have been ejected from the game for that ball he threw at him? I don’t care how stupid the timing was, there is just no way that wasn’t intentional) then the Papi-Manny duo that hopefully will again start to terrify opposing pitchers. I like the batting order now. I like having Jacoby at the bottom, I think he needs some more time in the bigs before he really is an effective lead-off man. I think this visit to the 9th spot will be good for him. Speaking of Jacoby…

1217244913_9781.jpg

What a catch. I tell you what, with his speed and defensive ability, I don’t care that his arm strength isn’t that good. That boy has wheels. He’ll be stealing bases again in no time, and with him on, a single can turn into a double or triple. We like to call him wheels.

The trade deadline approaches, and no word yet from Theo about anything. Do we make a quick trade to shore up the bull pen or do we work from within, like with Masterson? (who I still think is going to be a solid reliever). Do we trade Coco or keep him? (keep, sorry Coco) Can we please trade Lugo? I mean…come on, won’t anyone take him? What kind of dealing will be done? Will the Pirates continue to let other teams raid their cookie jar? Who knows. Will the Yankees continue to make ridiculous deals to make sure they are contenders? Of course. They’re the Yankees. They must be in the playoff hunt every year. Its a conspiracy, I tell you, the Steinbrenners are paying off the baseball gods…but thats another story for another day.

So, that’s the wheels, the deals…what about the Happy Meal? After deciding the fat lady had sung on the 2008 season, I went and got myself a Happy Meal to bury my sorrow in a little pack of fries, a burger, and a very small diet coke. It was partially the Happy Meal I had for lunch on Sunday and the Sox performance that night that renewed my faith in the boys. (Not that I had ever actually lost it, but in true Sox fan form, I let it go temporarily) What did I have for lunch today? What do you think. Superstition rules all, and the toy I got today was way better than yesterday.

Next up, Dice takes on the Halos. God help us and not them. (Seriously, I know they’re the Angels, but we could use a little help, and if that help comes in the form of a Rays and Yankees collapse or Sox mega-hot streak, I’ll leave that up to You, Big Man.)

Batter up! 

They’re Baaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!

Man, does it feel good to have the west-coast swing over with or what? I know I needed some sleep.

And the rivalry is renewed, and it matters, again. Despite pesky little Tampa Bay making this a ménage à trois, the Sox are in first place (tied with said Rays) and the Yankees are breathing down everyone’s necks, coming in on a hot streak. We all knew this would happen. I remember listening to ESPN Radio, the show Sportsnation. They asked who would be in the AL Wild Card Race, and I said the Yankees. The guys on the show disagreed and said that the Yankees just didn’t have the pitching to make it. Of course, the moment someone says that, the entire pitching staff in NY goes on a tear and plays out of their collective minds.

Its fate. The Rays are in the mix this year, and probably for a couple more years, but it always comes back to the Yankees and the Red Sox. Always. Its like God is sitting up there, laughing at us, because just when you think one team is out, they come roaring back in. Its why I have faith, that, at the end of the day, though Tampa Bay will continue to be a presence, it will always come back to the Yankees and the Red Sox. Its like, the Yankees and the Sox have been preforming this great dance, year after year, and one of them eventually falls, leaving the winner. The Rays have come in, and they look good, but it remains to be seen if maybe they will be standing towards the end there.

Was that a weird analogy? Moving on. Back in the lineup tonight will be the big man, Big Papi, or as Paps calls him “The Large Father”. Do I think he’ll hit a homer? Not likely, it would be great, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Do I think he’ll be a force in the lineup to terrify platypus man Joba Chamberlain? Oh yes.

48a3093aa5_sox07252008.jpgSo here’s to a good outing by Papi, and a great outing by Beckett, who has looked better since the break.

Lets go Sox!

They’re Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Man, does it feel good to have the west-coast swing over with or what? I know I needed some sleep.

And the rivalry is renewed, and it matters, again. Despite pesky little Tampa Bay making this a ménage à trois, the Sox are in first place (tied with said Rays) and the Yankees are breathing down everyone’s necks, coming in on a hot streak. We all knew this would happen. I remember listening to ESPN Radio, the show Sportsnation. They asked who would be in the AL Wild Card Race, and I said the Yankees. The guys on the show disagreed and said that the Yankees just didn’t have the pitching to make it. Of course, the moment someone says that, the entire pitching staff in NY goes on a tear and plays out of their collective minds.

Its fate. The Rays are in the mix this year, and probably for a couple more years, but it always comes back to the Yankees and the Red Sox. Always. Its like God is sitting up there, laughing at us, because just when you think one team is out, they come roaring back in. Its why I have faith, that, at the end of the day, though Tampa Bay will continue to be a presence, it will always come back to the Yankees and the Red Sox. Its like, the Yankees and the Sox have been preforming this great dance, year after year, and one of them eventually falls, leaving the winner. The Rays have come in, and they look good, but it remains to be seen if maybe they will be  standing towards the end there.

Was that a weird analogy? Moving on. Back in the lineup tonight will be the big man, Big Papi, or as Paps calls him “The Large Father”. Do I think he’ll hit a homer? Not likely, it would be great, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Do I think he’ll be a force in the lineup to terrify platypus man Joba Chamberlain? Oh yes.

48a3093aa5_sox07252008.jpgSo here’s to a good outing by Papi, and a great outing by Beckett, who has looked better since the break.

Lets go Sox!

That Old Bull-Pen Magic

I hate it when Clay Buchholz pitches. Hate it. It makes me very, very nervous. He looked good, though, which was a welcome and pleasant surprise. He looked leaps and bounds better than his first start coming out of the break, he had a lot more control. It was good.

Then we have the bullpen…as a Red Sox fan, especially this season, we are trained to say a Hail Mary and pray frantically when Tito pulls in Delcarmen, Hansen, Okajima or Timlin. Its always iffy. Masterson…I haven’t seen in anything but a start. We got to see almost all of them last night, and let me tell you, I actually dare to hope. Masterson was lights-out. Absolutely fabulous. Delcarmen: solid. Okajima: solid. Paps…came on in relief, and I got worried when he had guys on the corners. But Mikey and Dustin came through to get the double play. (in a side note, why is Dustin Pedroia’s nickname Petey?) Speaking of Paps, what was with that dribbler? I’m not sure Paps would have handled that even if he was using his glove. That thing was possesed.

Picture 1.pngThen the top of the 12th…Ellsubry got his firt hit of the night (what a clutch hit!). Pedroia grounded out but Wheels got to 2nd, JD took a walk, and Youk got a lucky (but also good) hit. Mikey came through in the clutch with a two-run single, and Casey added to it with an RBI single. And all of Boston started to breathe again. Hansen pulled out a strong save, despite starting a little shakey, and the Sox completed the sweep of the Mariners.

lowell2run.png So now the Sox head home on a day of rest before they take on the Yanks. And here’s the best news I’ll day: (note, if the Rays loose tonight, it will be tied as the best news) Papi is back in the line-up and ready to swing. Yay!

So some interesting things come out of the West Coast swing: the bull-pen looks much better. Its still not great, but it is no longer my greatest fear. Manny is being Manny. This is what he does in July. Go back every year and Manny is just like this, every July. The trade deadline will pass, it will become August and September, and the slugger will be back in form and back to loving being in Boston. I think its some kind of seasonal disorder. Mikey seems to be out of his mini slump, Jacoby can get back deeper in the order when Papi comes back, which will probably help get him out of his slump, Dustin is still on a hitting tear, JD Drew is hitting into fewer double plays, and Tek has a three game hitting streak. That’s right. The Captain may still be struggling with the stick, but he’s looking better all the time. Clay B. picked a batter off…man is he fast. Next up: Skankees. But we’re at the Fens, so all is well.

Bring on the Bombers.

That Old Bull-Pen Magic

I hate it when Clay Buchholz pitches. Hate it. It makes me very, very nervous. He looked good, though, which was a welcome and pleasant surprise. He looked leaps and bounds better than his first start coming out of the break, he had a lot more control. It was good.

Then we have the bullpen…as a Red Sox fan, especially this season, we are trained to say a Hail Mary and pray frantically when Tito pulls in Delcarmen, Hansen, Okajima or Timlin. Its always iffy. Masterson…I haven’t seen in anything but a start. We got to see almost all of them last night, and let me tell you, I actually dare to hope. Masterson was lights-out. Absolutely fabulous. Delcarmen: solid. Okajima: solid. Paps…came on in relief, and I got worried when he had guys on the corners. But Mikey and Dustin came through to get the double play. (in a side note, why is Dustin Pedroia’s nickname Petey?) Speaking of Paps, what was with that dribbler? I’m not sure Paps would have handled that even if he was using his glove. That thing was possesed.

Picture 1.pngThen the top of the 12th…Ellsubry got his firt hit of the night (what a clutch hit!). Pedroia grounded out but Wheels got to 2nd, JD took a walk, and Youk got a lucky (but also good) hit. Mikey came through in the clutch with a two-run single, and Casey added to it with an RBI single. And all of Boston started to breathe again. Hansen pulled out a strong save, despite starting a little shakey, and the Sox completed the sweep of the Mariners.

lowell2run.png So now the Sox head home on a day of rest before they take on the Yanks. And here’s the best news I’ll day: (note, if the Rays loose tonight, it will be tied as the best news) Papi is back in the line-up and ready to swing. Yay!

So some interesting things come out of the West Coast swing: the bull-pen looks much better. Its still not great, but it is no longer my greatest fear. Manny is being Manny. This is what he does in July. Go back every year and Manny is just like this, every July. The trade deadline will pass, it will become August and September, and the slugger will be back in form and back to loving being in Boston. I think its some kind of seasonal disorder. Mikey seems to be out of his mini slump, Jacoby can get back deeper in the order when Papi comes back, which will probably help get him out of his slump, Dustin is still on a hitting tear, JD Drew is hitting into fewer double plays, and Tek has a three game hitting streak. That’s right. The Captain may still be struggling with the stick, but he’s looking better all the time. Clay B. picked a batter off…man is he fast. Next up: Skankees. But we’re at the Fens, so all is well.

Bring on the Bombers. 

Dice-K and Dustin: The Road Warriors

Okay. Dice-K wasn’t dicey. At least until the 8th. That was a switch. And the Sox are looking good on the road, I mean, its against the Mariners, but still. I’ll take what I can get.

072308_dicek329__1216791268_2657.jpgSome really good things happened yesterday:

1. Dice-K went 7 1/3 and only let in 2 runs towards the end there…not too bad
2. Okajima looked good. It was like a flashback to last year, maybe he’s out of his slump?
3. Paps notched save #30. That’s the third year in a row he’s had a least 30 saves in a season.
And its only July. We’ve got a lot more baseball to play.
4. Tek had another hit. Do we dare to hope?
5. Mikey had a good day swinging the bat, possibly signifying that he’s coming out of his little mini-slump
6. Jacoby Ellsbury looked good. I mean, he didn’t have a great night for a lead-off man, but he looked good.
7. Manny and Dustin extended their game hit-streaks to 11 and 23, respectively.
8. This afternoon’s game will hopefully be the last one we play this season without Papi, who returns for Friday’s home stand against the Yanks.
9. JD Drew homered. That’s always a good thing.
10. The Rays lost. Actually, the Rays got spanked. Good stuff.

300h.jpg
So now that we’ve discussed the 10 good things that happened last night, lets talk about something magical. I was watching the game, and there were a couple of balls hit to third, and I remember thinking: “okay, good, we got that out.” when in fact Mikey had barely begun to field the ball. The duo of Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis is the most comforting corner combination ever. They are both tremendous defensive players, and sometimes I feel like any ball hit to them is an automatic out. And obviously Dustin Pedroia is up there too, they’re all golden glove candidates (again in Mikey and Youk’s case) in my book. That should have been your All-Star infield: Youk, Pedroia, Jeter, Mikey. (A-Rod is WAY overrated. I mean, at least Jeter is good and a class-act, but A-Rod…eh. not so much.)

Clay B. is starting for the Sox this afternoon (what a weird time for a game, not that I’m complaining, because I’ve been up late every night this week watching the late night games. I mean, I know its a 1:40 game in Seattle, but 4:40 is just a bizarre time to start a game ) hopefully this start will be better than the last few, especially since the Sox are up against Felix Hernandez, which is quite scary (especially for righties).

What do we need?

We need a quality outing from Buchholz, good, clutch bats from the boys, and I want to see Paps out there in the 9th. And a Rays loss wouldn’t hurt either 🙂

Go Sox!!