Four Big Questions for A Fantasy Baseball Beginner

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As I begin my first foray into the fantasy baseball world, I’ve come
up with more questions than answers. Here are a few things I’ve
learned: fantasy baseball is way harder than fantasy football. My
fantasy draft is just days away and I have no idea what I’m going to
do. I’ve spent the better part of a week with the flu, so I used that
time to watch 30 Clubs in 30 Days, as well as look at thousands
of box scores and predictions and fantasy advice. But I still have
questions. Here are the four big ones I’ve been trying to answer:

Question 1:

What’s the best strategy? Do you put all your money on the big name
guys and  have the rest of your team come from late rounds? Or do you
maybe spend more on two or three great players, then take all the good
middle round picks to fill up the rest of your roster? Is it smart to
try and take all the good pitchers so you can force trades in your
league for better position players?

Here’s
why this confuses me: in my Fantasy Football league, you go for your QB
and your RBs, because they get you the most points, then it just
depends on who you want and when they come up in the draft. But fantasy
baseball? There are a million different strategies and I have no idea
which one works best.

Question 2:

How
far do you trust your instincts? I fully believe that Jacoby Ellsbury
and Jason Bay are going to have phenomenal years. I also expect C.C.
Sabathia to get injured or not do as well this year based on the sheer
amount of work he did last year. But he’s ranked high in the ESPN draft
order and projected to have a great year. Bay ranks fairly high and
Jacoby is not that far down, but tehn comes the question: if you are
not going for a name like Sabathia, do you try and take Bay earlier
than he’s supposed to go to try and get a better price? It is all very
confusing.

This also applies to
currently injured players, like A-Rod. Do you still take him in the
draft even though he won’t be playing for a while? Or should you wait
and try and pick him up as a free agent? (not that I would ever take A-Rod, but I’m curious.)

Question 3:

For
our draft, its an auction draft, and we nominate players on our turn.
Here’s a big strategy question that I just can not figure out. Do you
nominate the player you want or nominate someone to make others spend
their money. Like if you want Youkilis as your 1B, but its too early
for him to go, do you nominate Teixeira in hopes of getting your
opponents to spend more of their money, thus leaving you with more
draft power in the middle rounds, or do you go ahead and nominate
Youkilis and hope you don’t have to overpay for him?

I
did two mock drafts and tried both tactics with mixed results.
Sometimes I got the guy I wanted, sometimes I overpaid, sometimes
someone else nominated them and the bidding got too high.

Question 4:

Homerism.
I looked at my team, and I had Pedroia, Beckett, Bay, Lester and
Papelbon on my team, and Drew and Masterson on the Bench. Drew and
Masterson I don’t mind because if they do look good, or if Drew has
another month like he did last June, I can throw him into my outfield,
but I began to wonder about the others. Did I pick Beckett and Lester
because I think they are going to have a great year, or because they
are Boston pitchers?

Papelbon,
Pedroia, and Lester were all smart picks, I think. My gut is telling me
that Lester will have a better year than last year, and Paps is always
good, plus, he’s in a contract year, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
Pedroia is off to a good start and I think he’ll have another great
year, he still wants that batting title, so I would count on him having
a high average and on base percentage.

Beckett…well,
he is a smart choice, but I can’t tell if I took him because of his
stats or because he’s from Boston. The same question applies to Bay.
There are a lot of good out fielders in the draft, and Bay is certainly
one of them, but was my decision to pass on others based on the fact
that I wanted the Boston player?

Like
I said, its all very confusing. But when I took a close look at my
tentative roster, almost all the players I want to draft are from the
American League. So not only am I a “Homer” I’m also a league
discriminator.

So those are my four burning fantasy questions. Next I’ll try and highlight a few guys who, in my opinion, will be busts and sleepers.

The Weekend Wrap-Up: Lester, The WBC, and Boys Being Boys

As I’ve been watching the
World Baseball Classic, which has been highly entertaining so far and
which I will discuss in a moment, I’ve begun to question a staple of
the sports world. The butt slap thing.

I’m a girl, we don’t do
the butt slap congratulations thing, and personally, I don’t get it. I
mean, isn’t a pat on the back much easier? Me, being an astounding 5′
1″ could easily reach these guys butts, but when you’re taller, you
have to reach down further, correct? So I was watching team USA’s
inning 6 route of Venezuela, due mostly to poor pitching choices on the
part of Venezuela, and when Youk came in with a run, when Dunn got his
homer, when Youk got his homer after the epic eleven pitch at-bat, as soon as he got around his teammates, butt slaps all around.

I’m
just going to put it out there as one of those guy things that we girls
will never understand, no matter how much we love sports.

Now that we’ve gotten the somewhat awkward question out of the way, lets get down to the business of baseball.

As
I said earlier, the World Baseball Classic has been vastly
entertaining. I’ve watched most of the games, I was shocked, like most
people, when the Netherlands upset the Dominican, and when Australia
came roaring back, down by four, to rout the heavily favored team
Mexico 17-7 in Mexico City. Speaking of upsets, as I am typing this,
Italy has just knocked team Canada out of the WBC. So now Italy and
Venezuela will face off again to see who makes it to round 2.

Korea
won Pool A in nail-biter fashion, beating Japan 1-0 after losing to
Japan 14-2 on Saturday. Australia’s win over Mexico was the country’s
first win in World Baseball Classic history, and it was an exciting
game to see. This weekend was good for hitters, bad for pitchers, as
most of the teams are using the long ball to put up huge scores, with
four games ending with the winning team in double digits.

And now for a few questions.

For
Kevin Youkilis: Is this offensive prowess going to continue throughout
the regular season? Here are Kevin’s WBC stats: 8 AB 3 H (2 HR) 7 R 3
RBI 9 TB 2 BB 2 SO.
If he kept that up for the season, he’d finish
with a .375 average and .500 OBP, and he’d finish much higher than 3rd
in the MVP race.

For Chipper Jones: What is going on? In seven at-bats he’s had one free pass and five strikeouts. This is not looking good for the man they thought might finish over .400 last year.

For
Dustin Pedroia: Does the poor performance at the WBC mean anything?
Remember in 2007 when Dustin hit under .200 the first month of the
season and then turned out a Rookie of the Year, World Series winning
finish? Besides, Dustin has still come up with two clutch hits and two
RBI, hitting from either the one or two spot,
which is two more than David Wright has hitting from the five hole.

For
Venezuela’s Manager: I question the pitching decisions you have made,
but after seeing Italy handle Canada, I reserve judgment until after
the rematch as to whether or not you made a mistake that first game.

For
Alex Rodriguez: Could you maybe not make any headlines for the next
week or two so that the sports media can talk about baseball and not
your hip surgery, or your marital problems, or your club-house manners,
or you having juiced, or your cousin who gave you drugs. Seriously,
that list is ridiculous. I’d much rather be kept up-to-date on
injuries, contract signings, and young guys making a splash at spring
training.

No offense to A-Rod here, I know the press blows these stories way out of proportion and beats them into the ground, but still

Finally,
on to my favorite Southpaw. Rumors have been flying around all weekend
about a five-year, multi-million dollar contract the Red Sox have on
the table for young lefty Jon Lester. This will be the third farm boy
the Sox will attempt to sign to a long-term deal this year, as both
Pedroia and Youkilis were locked up in the off season. The Sox
discussed a long-term offer with their eccentric closer Jonathan
Papelbon, but only managed a one-year deal avoiding arbitration.

Though
Lester has not yet signed the contract, the Sox will most likely come
to terms with him and Papelbon either this year or next.

Here’s one last thing to leave you with. Picture day always produces a few funny moments, and here are the Red Sox outtakes. Enjoy.

Some Sox Beat the “Spring Training Rush”

Yesterday, the Red Sox minor league facility in Fort Myers was packed with veterans and newbies getting their workouts in.

Rocco Baldelli, Brad Penny, John Smoltz and Takashi Saito all arrived two days before pitchers and catchers were supossed to report to get their feet wet with a new team.

Co-aces Josh Beckett and Jon Lester were there as well, along with Kevin Youkilis. Lester and Beckett weren’t scheduled to report until tomorrow (thursday) and Youk wasn’t supposed to be in until Sunday, there they all were, the proverbial early birds just trying to get the worm.

Of course, this goes right along with Youk’s reputation as “Mr. Intensity”, and for me, means that baseball is back. And this is a good thing, because if I have to hear one more thing about Miss October (A-Rod) having juiced, I might scream.

There seem to be certain teams, certain locker room cultures across the league that seemed to condone the use of steroids at one time or another. And if you are in that culture, you’re probably going to do it. I’m not defending A-Rod, seriously, would I actually do that? But if he’s stopped, he’s stopped, and you don’t have to add an asterisk to any of his stats from those years because we will all do it in our minds, our own mental asterisks.

But with Spring Training officially starting tomorrow, we can move past the ugly and into what might be baseball’s most optimistic time. At this juncture, everyone thinks 2009 is going to be a great year, and for some teams, it will.

The Yankees made all the flashy moves this off-season, landing CC, Burnett, and Texiera. So that gives them a one-two-three punch of Sabathia, Burnett, and Wang. But who is their fourth starter? And their fifth? Joba made a splash last year, but he could turn into a Buchholz, he’s got fast stuff,  real rocket arm, but how many innings deep can he go? His technique makes him very injury prone, so the Yanks would be smart to keep his pitch count low. And now that everyone has seen Joba, they are going to start figuring him out. And who’s the other starter? Pettite?

And the Rays? The Rays are sort of the dark horse of the AL East. Either they caught lightening in a bottle last year and will be bottom of the barrel again this year, or they’ll still be competitive in the increasingly tough AL East. 

As for the Sox, I’m liking the rotation and the ‘pen. We’ve got Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Smoltz, Penny, Wake…I’m not too sure what the rotation is going to look like, because you can never count out Masterson and Buchholz.

And while the Sox will miss quite possibly the greatest right-handed hitter of our time at Spring training, the Sox can make up for missing Manny with a meaty bunch of hitters. Pedroia, Youkilis, Drew, Ortiz, Bay, and Lowell, if they are healthy, make for a frightening batting order.

The focus this year, though, for the first time since 2000, will not be on “when will Manny show up”. The focus will be on the team, and their goal to win another World Series, and with the team we’ve got now, its a plausible goal.  

Just A Quick Blurb/Rant

    So I’m sitting here, refreshing my google news (sorted by date) on Jason Varitek. No word yet, and its just killing me. This is beyond ridiculous! Tek needs to take the contract, if only for my sanity and team morale. Yes, all you nay-sayers, team morale will plummet like the stock market after Obama’s election.
  
     Plus, our little pitchers need someone experienced on the backstop, and they would all be very sad to see Tek go.

    I know, I know, I’ve already said all this a million times, but its just so annoying! I mean, the Yankees have spent half a billion dollars on talent this year, so despite A-Rod’s obsession with Jeter, they’ll be competitive. Again. Are you telling me that we can’t spend a measly $5 million to bring back the gritty soul of the team? Seriously!

    Okay, that ends my rant. I’ll post again the minute I hear any news of Tek, one way or the other.

76 Days…

76 Days and counting.

That’s how many days are between now and the season opener against Tampa Bay.

22 Days, 20 hours, and 24 minutes

That’s how much time (as of this minute) there is between now and when pitchers and catchers report to Spring training. Arg! I need baseball!

Right now is like the black hole of sports. Basketball is on, yes, and Direct TV is giving us a free preview of NBA League pass (yay!) but there’s no baseball, and there’s no football (not that I particularly care about the teams left, but still…) I really hate the Steelers (as all good Pats fans do) and we absolutely crushed the Cardinals, so if they win the Superbowl…I’ll feel a lot better about the 2008 season.

But back to baseball. So, being that there is only basketball right now, and I am suffering serious baseball withdrawl, I have been absolutely glued to MLBNetwork. This weekend, they showed the 2007 World Series, and are showing the 2007 ALCS later, I think. It was nice to watch the series again because I wasn’t so nervous and I could actually enjoy the game a little more. It was almost enough to get me through the next month without the game. Almost.

Finally, for all members of Red Sox Nation who have been anxiously awaiting this moment, single season Red Sox game tickets are on sale! Yeah!

And one final, final note. I got one of the nicest Christmas presents from my Dad. He got me a framed poster-sized picture of Varitek shoving his glove into A-Rods face. Amazing!

Red Sox Clinch Playoff Spot Squeaking By the Indians

After dropping the first game against the Indians, the Red Sox rebounded to win two close ones against the Tribe.

wohoo youk.pngFirst after rocking Cliff Lee’s world in the 4th and 5th for 5 runs (note, on any other pitcher this would not be “rocking” but for Lee…oh yeah). Youk and Pedroia came up big with 2 RBIs each, and Bay drove in the game-winning run.Youk hit a 2-run homer in the fourth and Pedey came through with a 2-run double in the fifth. After Youk was intentionally walked in the 5th, Bay made the Indians pay with a 2-out RBI single.
 

paps celebrate.pngAfter Paps notched the save, the Sox celebrated. ESPN First Take wondered if the celebration was over the top. Uh, hello, I think the Indians would kill to be where we are. So would 30 other teams, it would do the accomplishment a disservice not to celebrate. Just because they are defending champs doesn’t mean they should treat this whole thing as ho-hum. I’m sure the Yankees would love to be in this position right now (PS, enjoy October golfing, A-Rod, I hear its fantastic!) Not only is this a huge accomplishment, because very few teams have managed to return to the post-season the next year after winning the World Series but also because of how absolutely banged up the Sox have been this year.
So congratulations Red Sox, you are going to the Post-Season! (And the Yankees aren’t for the first time in 13 years! Yay!)

bailey.pngNow on to last night’s game. They were clearly trying to get everyone ready for the post season, having clinched and no longer worrying about the Wild Card race. Obviously, we still want to win the East and avoid the Angels in the first round, but if we can do it by resting the big guys and getting some guys a tune-up. JD Drew was back in the line-up tonight for a three-inning tune up, then both Van Every and Bailey got some playing time (with Bailey ripping a triple in his first at-bat of the night and scoring the game-winning run of Kotsay’s double). In both nights, the bull pen was put to work, but they seem to be shutting it down and getting it done, Manny D even got the save instead of Paps.

Now, the only thing left to do is have the Rays lose the next four and the Sox win the next four. Unfortunately for us, that means one more game against the Indians and three against the Yankees in a series that, surprisingly, will not matter. Although I’m sure there will be a bit of taunting about the Red Sox win ending the Yankees 13 year post-season streak.

Next game is tonight, 7:05 Sowers vs. Lester.  Go Sox!

Add on: Here’s another great video from Cinco Ocho (otherwise known as Papelbon) Check out this video and many others here


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Red Sox Blank Rays, Close In On AL East

jles.pngRed Sox 3 Rays 0. Lester pitched into the 8th, allowing 0 runs on 6 hits, striking out 9 and walking 3. Paps came in and got a 4 out save allowing 1 hit and striking out 3. With this win, the Red Sox pull into within a half game of the AL East-leading Rays and move up to 7 games in front of the idle Twins for the Wild Card.

Not really the best night for the bats, considering the Sox had 9 hits and only 3 runs, all of those coming in the bottom of the 1st.  Lester  pitched 7+ innings of shut-out baseball, and Jackson pitched  6 shut-out innings. Fortunately for the Sox, that early jump proved to be enough to win the game.

Tonight the Red Sox made baseball history, breaking the streak for most consecutive home sell-outs with 456, beating the Cleveland Indian’s streak of 455. In honor of that, we will look at the 15 greatest moments at Fenway since May 15th, 2003 (when the sell-outs started).

Why 15? Well, 456 is reasons is way too many to cover in one blog, but 4+5+6=15, which is a much more manageable (not to mention readable!) amount.

15. April 22, 2007: Home Run Bonananza The Sox tie a major league record high 4 HR’s   back to back to back to back home runs in the third to help the Sox onto their first sweep     of the Yankees in Fenway since 1990. Hitting HRs were Manny, JD Drew, Lowell and     Varitek.

14. August 1 2008: A Brand New Bay Jason Bay makes his debut after the down-to-the-wire trade which sent Manny to LA and a few prospects to Pittsburgh. He has a great night,    
hitting well and making a spectacular catch, even scoring the winning run on Jed Lowrie’s
single in the 12th. This is not so great because of the game itself, but the fact that energy     returned to the Red Sox as they played like a completely different team after ridding    
themselves of Manny being Manny and his dramatic unhappiness.

13. October 25, 2007: Schill’s Last Game: In the last home appearance of the Red Sox in    
the 07 World Series, Schil and crew hang on to win a 2-1 pitcher’s duel with the Rockies.
 
12. July 2, 2007 Ellsbury Scores from Second on a Wild Pitch: Three days into his major league tenure, Jacoby Ellsbury did the nearly
impossible. He scored on a wild pitch from    
second base. Texas reliever
Willie Eyre hit catcher Gerald Laird in the leg with a pitch,
and Ellsbury was gone. He never
stopped, never thought twice as third base coach waved     him
home.

11. October 5, 2007 Manny’s First Walk-Off Home Run: Manny knocks a three-run shot out of the park to give the Boston Red Sox a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League
    Division Series, beating the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) 6-3.

10. September 21, 2006 David Ortiz hits Red Sox Record Home Runs: David Ortiz    
cemented himself in the Boston record books by hitting 54 home runs in a single season in
2006. It was his 51st, on this date, that put him past Jimmie Foxx’s single-season record,
and made him (officially) Boston’s Home Run King.

9. April 5, 2007 Dice-K’s Debut: Dike K strikes out ten in his major league debut and gives Sox fans a preview of all the Ks that are to come.
 
arodtek fight.jpg8. July 24, 2004 The Fight: A-Rod is hit
by a Bronson Arroyo pitch and proceeds to jaw about it all the way down the first base line. He and Varitek have words, and bam! A-Rod gets a face full of angry catcher’s mit. A bench-clearing brawl later, Tek, A-Rod, Kenny Lofton, Gabe Kapler and Tito were all ejected.

7. September 28, 2007 Red Sox vs.    Twins: A Red Sox win and a Yankee’s     loss gives Boston’s its first division title     in 12 years. Dice-K racks up the K’s     and bows to the fans, while Papelbon    
dances barefoot and thousands of fans hang around for almost an hour to see     the results of the Yankee’s game.
 
6. May 13, 2007 The Mother’s Day Miracle: Bottom of the 9th, the Red Sox are down 5-0 to  the Baltimore Orioles, Julio grounds out, then Coco singles on a throwing error by Ramon     Hernandez and Papi scores him. Mo Pena somehow manages a single that moves David     to third. After both JD Drew and Youk manage a walk, scoring Papi,  Tek comes up and     doubles, scoring both Drew and Mo. Hinske walks, and Youk is out at home (its very close, though).  Back up to bat is Lugo, who made the first out of the inning. He reaches on a throwing error and Hinske and Tek score to win the game.

5. October 20, 2007 JD Drew’s clutch Grand Slam in game 6 of the ALCS: the Sox down to the Indians 3 games to 2, proved to be the straw that broke the Indians’ back and    propelled the Sox to their second World Series win in four years. It was the shot that was heard ’round Boston and will probably always be known as the 14
million dollar grand-slam,     simply because with the bases loaded and
no out, Fausto Carmona had struck out Manny     and gotten Lowell to
pop out, very few people had faith in the then-struggling outfielder.

4.
September 1, 2007 Clay Buchholz’s No-Hitter: In his second Major League start, rookie pitcher Clay Buchholz tossed the 17th no-hitter in Red Sox history, striking out 9, walking     three and hitting one batter in the 10-0 defeat of the Baltimore Orioles. Why is this ranked     behind Lester’s? Keep reading.

3. May 19, 2008 Jon Lester’s No-Hitter: The reason behind this being ahead of Buchholz’s no-no is because not only was it the first Red Sox lefty no-no since 1956, it was also a     record for Jason Varitek, who has now caught 4 no-hitters, more than any other catching.     Aided by a spectacular catch by Ellsbury and some heads-up infield plays, the Sox beat     the Royals 7-0.

2. October 18, 2004 ALCS Game 5: After going 12 innings the night before, the epic game 5
outdid it by going 14, ending when Big Papi’s single brought in Damon for the win. The Sox     would go on to Yankee stadium for the Bloody Sock game, and as the 26th team in playoff history to
face a 3-0 series deficit, become the first to force a Game Seven.

1. October 17 2004  ALCS Game 4:  The Sox go 12 innings, with a walk-off homer in the 12th. But they never would have gotten there if Dave Roberts hadn’t stolen 2nd and scored     on Bill Mueller’s single, tying the game 4-4 in the 9th. This sparked the Sox comeback,     down 3 games to none, to win it in seven take their first World Series in 86 years.

So there you go, 15 great moments from the sell-out period of Fenway park. Next up: A big time pitching show-down as Rays ace Kazmir takes on Sox stud Dice-K. Should be a great game, with the AL East being given to the winner. (If only for a day) So put on your best Papelbon glare and watch the game!

Picture 11.png 

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!!

The AL East, The All-Stars and the Rays, Oh  My!

Sorry for the long hiatus…I was on vacay during the all-star break, but I’m back with notes and ready to go.

O’s game first. We lost. Moving on. O’s again, but this time, we weren’t planning on losing. Wake pitched great, and Youk, fresh from the last strikeout to lose the game Friday, was angry. When is Youk not angry? He is always fired up. Anyway, its the 3rd inning, bases loaded, here comes Youkilis. I was sitting on the couch with my neighbors dog (I live with people who think its okay to have a cookout when the Sox are on TV. eh) and I looked at the dog and I said “I think Youk’s gonna hit one hard.” Sure enough, Grand Slam for Kevin. Yay.

Picture 2.pngManny and J.D. hit solos….that was just a really bad inning for the O’s. I remember thinking towards the end there: wait a minute. Pedroia and Ellsbury have already hit this inning…like I said, bad inning for the O’s. And because it’s an AL East game, they keep updating us on the Rays scores.

Speaking of the Rays, they’ve lost seven in a row going into the break. Seven. Now, for older teams, that doesn’t worry me too much. But for the Rays…well, they’re pitching will keep them in it, maybe, but it all depends on whether or not they let this slump affect them, shatter their confidence. They were on top for three weeks or so, and they couldn’t hold it. Whether that’s over confidence on their part, bad luck, or just some nerves, I don’t know. I don’t see the Sox giving the East up any time soon, and I don’t think the Rays are going to go on a tear again, because as good as they are at home, they are that bad on the road. Unless the Jekyll and Hyde thing can be sorted out, they may fall out of the Wild Card race. Notice, I said “may”. Its baseball, anything can happen.

Okay, so the O’s fell to the Sox 12-1. I just think they had Liz’s number.

On to the next game. The nail biter. I mean, not really, but really. Dice-K threw an enormous number of pitches (scary) walked five (really scary) and four hits (really, really scary) yet somehow, it was scoreless. Paps looked a little sloppy on the save, but thanks to a diving catch by Pedroia and a few other good plays, he notched his 100th save. Nice. And with this win and the Rays loss, the Sox pull a half game ahead of the Rays just in time for the All-Star break.

Picture 3.png

So, the All-Stars. Okay, in Paps defense, he really didn’t mean that he thought he should close instead of Mariano Rivera. That was not what he said. What he said is exactly what every back-up was thinking: “I don’t care if [name] is the best [position] in baseball, I want to start at [position].” Duh, people. And New York fans, you can hurl all the insults you want at the boys, they expect it, but leave the pregnant ladies alone, okay. That’s just wrong. I wouldn’t say a bad word to a pregnant woman that would seem threatening, even if she was covered in Yankees gear. So heckle the players, heckle the other fans, but leave the future mommies alone.

Now on to the All-Star game. There were a ton of Sox playing, which is wonderful, and I gotta say, listening to an interview by Tek, I understand so much more why he is so respected by EVERYBODY. (Except maybe A-Rod. They may still have some beef) That is the most humble, intelligent player ever. He was so honored to be there, and I don’t care how bad he hits, you can not ask for a better captain or catcher. The oh-so-classy NY fans booed Tito and the other Sox. Surprised? I think Yaz and Fisk should have been on that field for the opening ceremony, but its the Yanks, what do you expect. This is what made me happy to watch the final All-Star game in Yankee Stadium:

1216219067_5000.jpgCount ’em: 16. Yep. That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

Now really, onto the game. I think Tito did a good job, they all played, they looked like they were having a good time, and hey, the AL won. Again. After 15 innings. And in almost every one, either side had a chance to put the game away for good. It was a weird game. I was in bed, watching it, thinking, I can drift off to sleep to the post-game, it’ll be here soon. (That was in the 11th inning)

You gotta love JD Drew in this game. He comes in, gets on base 4 out of 5 times, one of those was the game-tying 2-run homer. Combine that with good defense, he was an obvious choice for MVP. I mean, really, who else would you pick? Longoria? Its not even close. So congrats to JD.

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In other news, Che-Hsuan Lin, a previously-unknown defensive replacement in the All-Star Futures game from Class A Greenville, was the MVP of that game. The Sox signed him, and are hopeful that with some work, the slugger and stellar defensive player will work his way up onto the Fenway roster, which is all that Lin wants to do. He wants to play for the Sox. I love a guy like that. So, the Sox come in with the most All-Stars for the AL, they get the MVP, and then the farm system gets the Futures MVP. Yep. That’s exactly the way I wanted Yankee stadium to be sent off. Actually, had it been Drew instead of Young who hit the game-winner, that would have been great.

I should not go on hiatus, the blogs get really long. Well, here’s to a strong second half.

In final, closing, seriously, the last bit of news…

I’m trying to be Governor of VA for Red Sox Nation. Its truly my passion, and I would love to do it, so anyone interested, you can endorse me, Sara Hannon, at RedSox.com, my email is: hannonse@gmail.com.

Thanks. See you in the second half! 🙂

Keep Rocking The All-Star Vote!

We lost. I know. Our bullpen is killing us right now. Guys who have been good, who have been consistent are suddenly losing it. We’ll shape up. We’ll turn it around, and I’m predicting the young, inexperienced-in-the-post-season Rays will fall into place behind Boston.

    I gotta respect what Tampa is doing, but like most people, I’m dubious. Not because they’re the Rays and they’re historically bad, but because they’re young. While young does mean they’re fast, more athletic, and yes, right now, they’re batting smart, but how is this team going to be later in the year? I think they’ll be around, and they’ll trade first place back and forth for a while, but I just think that once they’re on the big stage, where they’ve never been as a team before, I don’t trust the grit of the second-youngest team in baseball when compared to the Phillies, Cubs, and Red Sox. I mean, these teams have been there, They’ve been in the post-season and they’ve been on the big stage and they understand the differences between regular season and post season games. So yes, I think the Rays are contenders, but I don’t think they’ll make it to the top this year.

On another note, we have ONE day left in the All-Star voting, and Tek may get bumped from the list! Here’s the All Star roster if we started right now:
1. Youk
2. Pedroia
3. Satan’s overpaid spawn (A-Rod)
        *Lowell is in a distant 2nd place by over 1,000,000,000 votes
S. Just-as-overpaid Jeter
C. Mauer
DH. Papi
O. Manny
O. Hamilton
O. Suzuki

Note: J.D. Drew moved up two spots last week, meaning he earned almost 400,000 votes in a week. Get voting people! We don’t have much more time! Tek is about 100,000 votes behind Mauer. We are Red Sox Nation! We can do this. Seriously!