“Wake”ing Up The Red Sox

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Wednesday, Tim Wakefield flirted with a perfect game, and might have restored the Red Sox confidence in themselves.

I feel like we need the Hitchiker’s Guide to Baseball with a big sign on the back that says “Don’t Panic” and we really shouldn’t. We’ve got, what, 152 games left or something like that?

It feels as though these first two weeks of baseball, the Red Sox have been trying to start a car. Sometimes the ignition
turns over, but it doesn’t last long. Maybe Wake’s start is the jump
they need to really get moving. It does not help, of course, that they
had to face first the Rays, and then the emotionally charged and always
difficult LA Angels.

Looking at the stats for the first two weeks of the season give me hope, however. They have allowed the second fewest runs in the AL East, the Rays have allowed two fewer, but the Red Sox are one of the three teams with more runs allowed than runs scored. So there is your problem. Well, Dice-K and Lowrie being injured doesn’t help either, but truly, the issue is offense.

The Red Sox have just 35 RBIs so far this year. That’s 27th in the league. Their on-base percentage is ranked considerably higher. Which leads me to one issue: they can’t hit with runners on. While more of the team has moved above .200, Varitek (who’s right at .200), Pedroia, Ellsbury, and Ortiz are all still below the .200 mark. Dustin is a traditionally slow starter, so his engine should start going soon, Papi had his first extra-base hit of the season, so maybe that will kick him into gear, and Ellsbury seems to be coming back, he’s hit much better in the A’s series than the others.

Maybe
Wake’s brush with history will rejuvinate the entire team. Right now,
Youkilis and Bay are on fire. Youk’s hitting .472 and Bay is hitting
.345, both with two homers. Varitek’s average might be a little low,
but of his five hits, two are doubles, and two are home runs. He’s
hitting for much more power than last year and is tied with the lowest
number of strike-outs on the team.

I’m
an eternal optimist. So maybe all of this is nothing, and they’re going
to continue to be below .500 for the first time in years, but somehow,
I doubt it. Maybe Tek is going to have another bad year, but what I’ve
seen so far says otherwise. Maybe Bay won’t hit 30 homers, but I think
he will. And maybe Kevin Youkilis will slump after the All-Star break,
but I have faith.

The
Sox return home tonight to take on the Orioles at 7:10. Penny takes on
Guthrie, who has looked pretty good in his two starts for the birds.
The Orioles are a game back of the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays. Raise
your hand if you saw that one coming. If Penny can locate tonight, and
the bats can get moving, I think the Sox turn it around and get back above .500.

Pink Hats, The Youk Fu, Picture Day and a Changeup

There’s a lot to cover today, and since Spring training has officially started, we finally have news! On a funny note, Manny rejected another massively huge offer from the Dodgers. That’s his fourth offer he’s declined due to either: not enough money or not enough years. Really, at this point, Boras should be telling him to take anything because no one is going to pay as much as he wants for as many years as he wants because we know that Manny doesn’t play unless its a contract year. Enough said.

Next on the list, the now-infamous and controversial pink hats. I’ve actually had several emails/comments/etc about the pink hats, either for or against. So here’s the new plan: a poll. Its at the end of the article, so select your answer and we will get a clear picture of how Red Sox Nation (or any baseball fans, really) feel about the pink hats.

Moving on.

A few days ago was Red Sox Photo Day. Probably one of the most ridiculous things in all of baseball, photo day never ceases to produce a few funny pictures.While we haven’t seen all the pictures yet, here’s the first few. We get a glimpse at the “Youk Fu” (to be explained later), we realize that the team as a whole is not particularly photogenic, and we see that Terry Francona looks a little like Ben Kinglsley. Click on the photos to seem them larger.

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Here they are, from left to right, top to bottom:
Row 1: OF Jacoby Ellsbury, RHP Michael Bowden, 1B/DH David Ortiz, OF Jason Bay, RHP 
           Josh Beckett
Row 2: U Mark Kotsay, OF J.D. Drew, LHP Jon Lester, 3B Mike Lowell, SS Julio Lugo
Row 3: 2B Dustin Pedroia, RHP John Smoltz, RHP Brad Penny, RHP Jonathan Papelbon,
           LHP Hideki Okajima
Row 4: RHP Junichi Tazawa, C Jason Varitek, RHP Tim Wakefield, 1B Kevin Youkilis,
           Skipper Terry Francona
Along with being picture day, it also seemed to be father’s day, with Little Papi and Little Lugo hanging out. Here are some super cute pics that made me go “awwwwwww”

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Aren’t they just too cute?
A few final things to address: The Youk Fu. I would try to explain, but I’ll just let Kevin Youkilis do it for me.

http://www.dailymotion.com/swf/x8hxiv
The Youk Fu
by beisbolct

Guess the goatee is out…

Finally, lets take a look at the pitching staff. While Wake was a little rusty in his start, Beckett, Saito, Lester…they’ve all be sharp. Lester has even worked on his changeup a little more and if he continues to progress it through Spring training, he’ll have a very dangerous pitch added to his already ace-like repertiore.

One thing you can’t argue is that the Red Sox have massive depth with pitching. They have several guys who could start but will likely be in the bull pen because they don’t need to start. So that makes the good bull pen even better. Then we have the consistent capstone himself in Papelbon, and I think with a pen this strong, he won’t have to come in for any 5-out saves or even 4-out saves, which will keep him full of gas just a little bit longer.

What can I say, I’m excited about this season. I think they have great chemistry in the clubhouse with guys like Papi, Pedroia, Papelbon, Tek, Lowell, and Youk. They all relax and goof off in the clubhouse, but when the game is on, so are they. And I don’t think we’ve seen the last of “Large Father” and “Pedroia Productions”. I’m sure Pap’s mom has a lot more embarrassing movies of her son that will make their way into the clubhouse this year.

A few final questions facing the Sox this year:
1. Will Jacoby steal his way back into America’s heart by winning another free taco?
2. How much Double Bubble will Tito go through on average a game?
3. Will Pedroia attack the next person who calls him a “little guy” “jockey”, etc?
4. Will the Youk Fu catch on as a national craze?

Finally, and, most importantly:

5. Will Pedroia ever beat Tito at Cribbage?

Here’s the poll:

Your Pink Hat Opinion

I have no opinion. I’m neutral.
They aren’t called the “Pink Sox” so why wear a pink hat
Real fans wear pink hats!
Only for special events, like cancer awareness days
They’re okay if your a girl
Other opinion.


View Results
Free Myspace Poll

 

So You Wanna Be A Red Sox Fan? Part 2

Here’s part two of your guide to being a Red Sox Fan.

As one of my lovely commentators pointed out, there are a few aspects of Fenway that I forgot to mention. So here’s a brief guide to Fenway:

 -It was built for the 1912 season, and the Red Sox owner at that time, John I. Taylor, decided to call it “Fenway
Park” because it was located in a section of Boston called “the Fens”.
(If you were wondering, Taylor was also the guy who changed the club’s
name to the Red Sox in 1907)

 -Duffy’s Cliff: Around from 1912-1933, Duffy’s Cliff was a 10′ high mound that ran from the left-field foul pole to center field, and because of this, any left-fielder playing at Fenway
had to play the entire game running uphill. Duffy Lewis, a star left
fielder for Boston, had playing this way so down pat, they named it
after him.

 -The Red Seat:
There’s a seat in the right field bleachers painted red. It marks the
spot of the longest measurable homer hit inside Fenway.
Ted Williams hit it on June 9, 1946, and it was measured at 502 feet.
According to legend, the ball crashed through the straw hat of a man
sitting in that seat, Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21.

 -The
Pesky Pole: The right field foul pole is named after Johnny Pesky. He’s
been a virtual fixture at Fenway since 1942. While he moved around a
bit, Pesky has been nicknamed “Mr. Red Sox” and his number, number 6,
was retired last year. The pole was officially named “Pesky’s Pole” on
September 27, 2006, Pesky’s 87th birthday.

 -Did you know that Fenway Park cost $650,000 to build in 1912?

 -The largest crowd ever at Fenway was 47,627, for a doubleheader against, you guessed it, the Yankees in 1935.

 -Behind the manual scoreboard (one of the last remaining) in left field is a room where the walls are covered with signatures of players who have played left field over the years. Maybe that’s where Manny always disappeared to…

 -No one has ever hit a ball over the right field roof.

 -The screen behind home plate that protects spectators from wild pitches/fouls/etc was the first of its kind in the majors

 -9 Red Sox players have pitched no-hitters at Fenway: George Foster (6/21/1916), Dutch Leonard (08/30/1916), Ernie Shore (06/23/1917), Mel Parnell (07/14/1956), Dave Morehead (09/16/1965), Derek Lowe (04/27/2002), Clay Buchholz (09/01/2007) and Jon Lester (05/19/2008)

 -The
Sox have currently sold out 469 consecutive games, and with the team as
talented as it is this year, look for it to increase.

Now a few more clarifications/rules/tips:

 -There is no curse of the Babe, we were not cursed and we don’t believe in it. Some people did/do but its best, if you want to hide your  newbie status, not to mention the “Curse of the Bambino“.

 -Before you go to a game, familiarize yourself with the roster and the starter’s numbers. This will help you, trust me.

 -The
“Yankees Suck” chant. I know I already mentioned it, but I think I need
to clarify. If you are a new fan, its best to avoid starting these
chants simply because of your in-experience. Some fans believe it is
applicable any time, any where. Others think there is a time and place.
Save yourself the trouble and join in, but don’t start.

 -Don’t
ask stupid questions. What is a stupid question? Here’s one: “I thought
Manny Ramirez played left…who is that Jason Bay guy?” or “Why does
that guy have the ‘C’ on his chest?” These will get you glares/looks of shock and will guarantee that everyone thinks you are a bandwagon jumper.

 -if
someone calls you a “bandwagon jumper” don’t get defensive and start
spouting off this whole sob story about how you’ve been a Sox fan since
the ’86 season (I’ll give you a hint, ball rolling through Bill
Buckner’s legs…). Just say “you’re crazy” or “okay” and brush it off.
Unless you have asked one of the above questions, then just admit to it
and say something nice about the fans/team/etc and all will be
forgiven. Most of the time.

 –Fenway is old.
It has lots of bad seats, but lots of character as well. Just don’t ask
why they built it like that, because its been that way since 1912, as
you’ve just learned, and its just the way it is.

Now, for a few pronunciations.This isn’t all-inclusive, so if you run into a problem, go with their first name or just point.

David Ortiz = (or-teez)

Jason Varitek = (Ver-a-tech)

Jacoby Ellsubury = (jucO-bee)

Dustin Pedroia = (Pedroy-ya)

Kevin Youkilis = (You-kill-is) just call him “Youk

Daisuke Matsuzaka = (Dice-K Mat-sue-za-ka) just call him “Dice-K”

Hideki Okajima = (Hide-e-key O-ka-G-ma) just call him “Oki

That’s
it for part 2. If I hear of anything else, there will be a part three,
if not, look forward to my next article which actually will be on the
MLB’s best fans.

Well, Someone Has To Go

Okay kids. Here it is, game 7 of the ALCS. Anyone else but me incredibly surprised to be here? (Think back to Thursday before the 7th inning and be honest with yourself)

Tonight, Jon Boy takes the mound against Garza.
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We’re putting our best foot forward, I have my lucky shirt, and join my incredibly superstitious friends in keeping my fingers crossed. Look at this survey on the Boston Globe‘s website:

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See the choices? You gotta love superstitious baseball fans.

So I was all kinds of cursing TBS last night. I don’t care if you have a power outtage, the Steve Harvey show was a BAD CALL. The Office would have been a little less annoying. So I logged in to all the various websites, watching TBS Hotcorner (which I am not a fan of) listening to WRKO (love them!) and watching gameday pitch-by-pitch. So of course I found myself yelling agrily at BJ Upton before long. I called home and my mother, though I love her, occasionally choses the “hometown” boys over the team that the rest of my family is insane about. Not a very nice thing to do in the regular season, but a cardinal sin in the post-season, especially when facing elimination.

Note on the “hometown”: I graduated high school with Justin Upton (DBacks), BJ’s little brother. BJ did not go to my school, he went to a local private school, though I have met him, David Wright (Mets), and Mike Cuddyer (Twins) – all local boys. Thus, he’s a “local” boy and my mother loves it when anyone from our area does well. I usually do too…just not in the postseason when they’re playing my team.

Back to the game. The Rays lead 1-0, but never fear! Youk is here! Youk launches a solo shot to tie the game. Thank goodness, because with the way both Sheilds and Beckett were pitching, it was going to be a tight one.

youkties.pngYay for Youk, because he hits a sac-grounder which scores Pedroia on the go-ahead run in the third. Then Becks gives up a solo homer to Bartlett, and we’re tied again in the 5th. But it could have been worse, had the Rays not put on a hit-and-run which allowed Tek to throw out Navarro at second. So we come to the 6th. Two outs, Tek is up. We love the Captain, and watching him struggle is more painful than most players just in a slump. On a 2-0 pitch, Shields hung a fastball to the corner and bam! Tek hit the go-ahead solo homer and the Sox never looked back.
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I mean, if you’re going to have only one hit this series, that was a really great time to do it. It got the Sox pumped up even more and the 2-out rally continued, thanks to an E by Bartlet and some clutch hits from Coco, Dustin, and Papi, who, by the way, hit a double and an RBI single last night.

The bull pen, which came in for the 6th, shut it down. Oki went two beastly innings, Masterson settled down marvelously after hitting a batter, and Paps, even though he looks a little gassed (yipes!) got it done in a big way.

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So now there’s one game left. Winner goes to the World Series, loser starts shopping for Halloween costumes. Tonight we hand the ball to the de fecto ace of the team, Jon Lester. To be quite honest with you, win or lose, they have done a GREAT job. And I really feel that if we can hit with men on (stranded TWELVE last night!) and Lester can keep the game under control, we’ll be golden. Though I’d like us to blow them out so Paps can rest. We need him and he needs it.

So good luck Sox, the Nation is behind you.

No Freakin’ Way!

Sorry for the long hiatus, but midterms, projects and one nasty cold
have combined to keep me sleeping when not watching games or doing
homework. Notice how all of these things have to happen in the same
week? The Sox drop three games, I catch a monster cold, I have two midterms, a paper, and a project due and I have a massive shoot for the project that isn’t due for two weeks. On to the craziest comeback I’ve ever seen. Period.

So, the Sox were down by 7 heading into the 7th inning, and I was contemplating the merits of being a temporary Phillies fan.

And then Pedroia hit an RBI single and scores Lowrie. Finally, the Sox were on the board. Here I am thinking: at least we weren’t going to get shut out.

Pedroia Gets it Going
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Then Papi comes up, and with two men on, Papi swings…its going…going…THREE RUN SHOT! PAPI HITS A HOME RUN!!!!
At this point, I call my dad, who has gone to bed and tell him to put the game back on we’re only down by three runs and we’ve still got seven outs. Somehow, we can feel the momentum shifting our direction.

Papi’s 3-Run Shot
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Paps comes back for the top of the 8th and has a shut-down inning. And the momentum continues to shift. Then back come the Sox in the 8th. JBay gets on and bam! Mr. Clutch JD Drew comes up with a 2-run homer.

JD Drew’s 2-Run Homer
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Now the lead is down to one tiny little run. Then Mark Kotsay hits a towering 2-out RBI double and scores on a Coco Crisp single to tie the game. Even though Coco was thrown out at second (there were some weird throws in there, so he thought he could extend the single…) he is beyond excited, throwing his helmet and Fenway is going NUTS. PS…check out Mike Lowell when Kotsay doubles. I tell you what, he may not be playing, but he is still in the game.

Kotsay Doubles
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Coco Ties the Game
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In the 9th. Masterson is on and he gets into a little bit of trouble, but then gets Pena to ground into a double play to end the inning.

Key 463 Double Play
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So we head into the 9th, Pedroia, Papi and Youk up. (Pretty good order, huh?) Pedroia grounds out, Papi strikes out and its all up to Youk. He hits one to Longoria and I’m thinking extra innings, but it bounces off the glove of Pena and Youk is on 2nd. They give an intentional free pass to JBay and take on JD Drew. (AKA, Mr. Clutch) JD whacked a screaming liner passed Gross to score Youk and end the game.

JD walk off single
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And so the Red Sox staged the second greatest comeback in MLB postseason history (by one run) and force a trip back to St. Pete. The momentum shifted big time in the Sox favor, just like it did the Rays after the extra-innings victory in game 2. Here’s hoping they can keep it and head back to the Fall Classic! If not, whatever. This game was uh-mazing!

How To Ride The Red Sox Roller Coaster

Okay. I’m finally sitting down to do this after last night’s game. I reiterate how much I hate west-coast games and how excited I am that they are playing in the Fens tomorrow. I also gotta say, I usually don’t watch games with my dad. Being in school and all, you know, he’s not there. I’m home for the weekend so I got to watch it with him (its been about two years since we’ve watched a playoff game together). Watching with my dad truly highlighted the absolute difference in generations of fans. I’m from the generation where we don’t remember the heartaches as much. I mean, the first time I saw the Sox in the World Series, I was a month old and they lost (1986 WS). My mom eventually took me away from my dad, for fear that instead of the remote flying at the TV in frustration, it would be me. Of course, my dad would never actually throw me at the TV, but I digress…

So we’re watching the game, and I get nervous, turn my hat inside-out, change shirts, etc., but I don’t give up. I am an eternal optimist. The whole “Sox fans are all crazy pessimists” is a stereotype and you have to look at the ages of  these people. Those of us born in the past 20 years or so only remember a few bad years, like 2003. But we mostly remember 2004 and 2007. While we’ve heard all the stories of all the bad years, we didn’t live through it.

jbayhomer.jpgSo we’re watching the game, and my Dad is like a yo-yo. He can go from loving the Sox to needing a Prozac in 30 seconds or less. Two outs in the first, Drew is up to bat, Papi and Youk are on base. Dad is thinking of JD’s game 1. Then he hits a double and scores Papi. Next up, Jason Bay. At this point, Dad is just amazed, because the Red Sox never rally with 2 outs. Lets be honest, here, no one really does. So Bay steps up and launches a three-run shot, becoming the first Red Sox player ever to homer in his first two post-season games. (Think he’s enjoying his first trip into October?)

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After that, we watched (me nervously, my dad, angrily) as the Angels pecked away at our lead, until finally, in the eighth, its tied 5-5 on a sac-fly in the 8th (inherited runner from Masterson). Due to the day of rest, both Tito and Scioscia had the closers on in the 8th. Paps shuts down the inning, continuing to have a 0.00 ERA in the post-season (its only two games, but still…) At this point, I have changed my shirt to bring some good kharma and my Dad is close to giving up. And we both really, really, really want to strangle the rally monkey (seriously). So Papi hits a double and we come to Drew with one out in the ninth. JD’s  been fierce tonight, and me, the eternal optimist, have already said before this inning: one fo them could hit a home run, you know. My dad scoffed at this but a two-run dinger from JD Drew let me say “I told you so”. JD Drew hit a homer off of K-Rod, with the count 2-2. That just doesn’t happen. All of Red Sox nation is again celebrating JD Drew’s clutch homer (remember last year?) which immediately silenced the crowd and put away the monkeys (seriously, monkeys?).

jdhomer.jpg 

youkwow.jpgDown to the bottom of the ninth, Pap is back, and Hunter bunts, but is out on a good play by Youk. Then Matthews works Paps for quite a few pitches, and fouls one off. It’s going to land in the cameras, but Youk reaches in and grabs it for an amazing catch and the 2nd out of the 9th. Then Paps gets Kendrick to end the game and put Boston ahead in the series 2-0. So here’s to game 3, and for my father’s health (I seriously worry about his heart during the playoffs) I hope they blow the Angels out of the water.

In other news: I’m currently watching the Cubs continue to collapse. Its the middle of the 8th and they are down 3-1 to the Dodgers, two out, one guy on. My prediction is the Dodgers are about to achieve what the Brewers managed to avoid today: the sweep. Any one taking the ChiSox at home? I am. I have this feeling that series is going to go 4 or 5 games. Obviously, I’m gonna take the Sox at home to finish the sweep of the Halos. Maybe killing the rally monkey in the process…you know, maybe one time he bounces right into a black hole or something? Sorry. I have an inexplicable hatred for the Rally monkey. Not sure what that’s about, but…eh.

Hopefully on the playlist for tomorrow: Sweet Caroline, I’m Shipping Up To Boston, Dirty Water and Tessie. GO SOX!  

Comeback and Sunday’s Game LIVE!

What a comeback last night. Whew. Scary. Live blog time!

Holy cow. What a match-up today. Halladay (on short rest) vs southpaw ace Lester.

Crap. Home run Toronto. Lester is throwing rockets but his control is off. Good thing we have game-manager extraordinare behind the plate (thank goodness for Tek!)

Batter up.

Single Jacoby! Yay! Here comes MVP Dustin Pedroia! (What? I can hope, can’t I?)
Steal Jacoby and Sac-bunt for Dustin, Jacoby to third and here comes big Papi. All we need is a single or sac-fly. I tell you what, Dustin does it all, home runs, sac-flies, doubles, triples, bunts…Papi’s out at first but Jacoby scores, tie game.

Youuuuuuuukkkkk. After a long at-bat, Youk hits a bat-shattering single. Mikey up.

Okay, I get that Toronto really wants to win, but pitching Halladay on three days rest is really not a good move, especially in September. Mike is out at first, and we go to commercial.

Overbay is up. And Lester got him. And the Yankees are leading the Rays 6-3 in the bottom of the 2nd (wow). Say it with me everyone. “Let’s go Yankees!”

Okay, count is full on Rolen and Lester walks him. He is really not finding the strike zone right now.  Wacko chopper, nice stop Pedroia and a bang-bang play. He’s out.

Lester is up 0-2 on McDonald. Come on Jon, just one more strike and we’re good. McDonald is battling. Lester really needs to get some control down, because he’s thrown WAY too many pitches for it to only be the 2nd inning. Swing and a miss, he’s out. Commercial time.

Back to the game. JBay is up. Bottom of the third, Yankees up 6-3 bottom of the third. Oh! JBay hits a double. Yay for JBay! Here comes the Captain. Come on Tek! We love Tek. Whatever he can do to get JBay to third or to score, he’ll do it. And you can talk about how his average is down – good eye Tek! – we need that man behind the plate as long as we can because that man is a beastly fabulous leader. Good job, Captain, sac-single to get JBay to third.

Cora is up and the infield is in. I have a feeling we’re in for a pitchers duel. Both pitchers are up over 30 pitches in the 2nd. The ‘pens will be getting some work tonight. Okay, I think the TBS is in love with Halladay, because they are fawning all over him. Yes, he is a great pitcher, but come on!

Oh, Cora out on strikes. Coco is up. I’d recognize that batting stance anywhere. Oh, and announcers, its impossible to take the Fenway crowd completely out of the game, you underestimate the fan-base.

Coco hits a 2-out RBI single and Ellsbury is up. He has caught fire again, and I am hoping he  can make a big push for Rookie of the Year. Bunt, but they got him. Inning over.

Lester seems to be getting things under control…big hit but Coco is there…1 out. Come on Lester, get them up. Liner back, Lester misses, Pedroia scoops it up and gets the out at first. 2 down. Next up, Alex Rios. Lester gets ahead 1-2. Lets close this one out with a K, lefty. Rips one…they try for it but its in the alley. Double for Rios. Next batter. He pops up and Cora gets it. Inning over.

Dustin is up. I love him, he doesn’t think any pitcher should be able to get him out, and he goes up knowing he’s going to get a hit. That’s the kind of batter I like. Fly out, out 1. That’s okay, here comes Papi. 2-2 on Papi, and he is really not happy with himself. And he strikes out swinging. Top of the 5th and the Yanks are still beating the Rays. Remember that old adage “I root for the Red Sox and anyone playing the Yankees”? Well, things sure have changed.

Youk’s up, down 0-2. Seems like Halladay has found his zone, but Youk is battling. Hit to third, out at fist.

While the Jays are up, here’s a score update: Yankees lead TB 6-3, Os lead Twins 5-0. Good things for the AL East and good things for the AL Wild Card.

Nice catch by Ellsbury for the second out. Wow, what a play by Lowell and Youk! Three out.

Three-up, three down. Crap. Anyone else think the strike zone on this guy is a little off? Oh well, at least he’s consistent.

Batista against JLes, Ellsbury has the catch. You gotta love the Sox outfeild right now. Coco and Ellsbury are speed demons and can move all over to catch the ball. And Jason Bay isn’t exactly slow either. Line out to Mikey and its 2 out. Lester is 2-2 on Batista, got him.

Okay, back to the game with 2 outs in the fifth.  Jacoby up. Come on buddy, get  a rally going.  At least stop the Halladay streak of retiring batters. Nope.  Took a swing at a bad one and struck out.

Bring on the 6th.

I have a theory about the TBS annoucers. I think they are biased, they clearly want Toronto to win this game. Now, in a nationally broadcast game, where there are many more Red Sox fans. Grounder to Pedroia, out at first. Grounder to Mikey and out at first. Liner and foul. 0-2. They are really swinging  at Lester. Swing and a miss and Lester has taken out 8 in a row.

Dustin is up to start. Lets break the Halladay streak. He’s thrown 85 pitches, they have to be getting close to pulling him. Pedroia hits it to third, thrown out at first. And here comes Papi. Yankees still beating the Rays, bottom of the 6th. Papi’s wrist is still kind of bothering him, but he won’t rest until the Sox are done for the season, because that is how Papi plays. Full count. Fly out. Youk is up, Halladay is behind 3-0 on him.  A few pitches later and its full count. Infield ground ball, out at first.

Lester is looking pretty good. Got his sixth K. Dang, Mikey couldn’t make a play, but good stop anyway. I don’t care if Halladay has retured 13 batters and Lester only retired 9. Scoreboard!

Walked him. Two on. Come on Lester! Masterson is warming up in the ‘pen, I love watching him pitch!

DP for Cora, DP and Youk, inning over.

Mikey is up. Halladay is at 105 pitches, full count on Lowell. Base hit Mikey. Lets get a rally started! Bay-man is up, popped out. Bring on the Captain, base hit for Tek! Cora is up and takes one high, ball 1. Hits it, Tek’s out at 2nd, but they can’t get the double play on Cora. Coco is up to bat. Line to left, drops down for a hit and Mikey is in. Coco gets his second 2-out RBI. Jacoby is up. Pops out. Inning done, but another run to pad the lead. Yay!

Okay, I’m gonna shut it down so I can go and get ready to watch the Patriots game. This has been fun, but I’ll blog later. 

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 

Byrd and Boston Soar to Win, but Brady’s Knee is a Big Loss

The Red Sox won. The Rays lost. The Patriots won. I should be jubilant and obnoxiously happy as a write this, but as it stands, I have almost no joy.

According to wire reports from Yahoo and another site (both citing anonymous sources “close” to the Patriots) say Tom Brady has a torn ACL and will be out for the season. However, this is not from the Patriots as of yet, and could be the same “sources” who told the Boston Herald about the Ram’s walk-through being taped, which we all now know was wrong and unsubstantiated. There is no need to panic. I, for one, will not trust a report until it is coming from Bill B or Tommy or someone who I actually can see who said it. How can they know? He doesn’t have an MRI until tomorrow! So unless you have MRI-vision, oh “sources” of Yahoo, then how can you possibly know? Or are you going on the expertise of the Jets players (who are in Miami currently), who watched the play on TV and said he had a torn ACL?

Too much speculation. I remain optimistic until the official word has come down.

Okay, on to baseball.

Papi ended a 19-game homer-less streak. Yay. Lots to smile about here.

papismile.jpg

David Ortiz after hitting a 2-run homer. Image found here

Varitek’s average has stayed in the high 220s for over two weeks now. That’s good news for him, it meas he’s probably closer to his old hitting self.

Ellsbury hit one and walked once (a totally clutch RBI hit with 2-out), Youk is back, Coco had an amazing night, and Byrd and co held the Rangers to 7 scoreless innings. The Rays, White Sox, Twins and Yankees all won, which does nothing but help the Sox in their wild card/AL east race.

PS…anyone notice that the Rays have dropped the past 3 games? They come to Fenway for a three game series, probable pitchers: Lester vs. Jackson. The Sox are hitting .308 against Jackson while the Rays are hitting just .250 against Lester. Should be an interesting game, especially with the AL East now squarely on the line and the Rays coming in having lost three, while the Sox come in having won the rubber match against Texas.

Bring on the Rays. God, if you can hear me, please, let Tommy be okay and let the Rays lose this next series.

Hey, God cares about sports too!

Take A Deep Breath…And Let It Out

I have some staggering stats for you following last night’s down-to-the-wire game.

455. Fenway has sold out 455 consecutive times. Tying the Indians record for most consecutive sell-outs. When they return home after the brief trip to Texas, they will break the record.

.621: That’s Dustin Pedroia’s batting average over the past 7 days.

3.79: that’s the ERA for the starting pitchers. Not bad when your team has average 5.3 runs a game. Look for the ERA to get lower as we roll into September and October. (Especially if Beckett returns to his dominance, and Lester gets his power under control.)

97. That’s how fast Lester threw one pitch against the Orioles. He claims to have never gone higher than 96 in his career. If he can get a fastball that fast under control, he will be the ace of the AL.
ellsbury.jpg

44: Stolen bases for Jacoby Ellsbury, who has struggled to get on base all year. Imagine how much larger that number would be if he could get on base more often…

110 and 191. That’s how many times Dustin Pedroia has scored and how many hits he has this season. Those are both Major Leage Leading Stats.

2. That’s how many players the Red Sox have who are in the running for MVP, some might even say that they are the front-runners.

and finally…

3. That’s the games back we are on Tampa Bay, who still have one more
night with the Yankees, who have now won 6 straight road games. We still lead the Wild Card, but I would love to retake the East just in time for the playoffs.

Now, back to the game.

dice.jpg
Dice-K did well, not one of his stronger outings, but not bad either. We just could not get any offense going.

Except for Dustin, who looks like he could get a hit in his sleep.  The bottom half of the order produced too, at least, a little.

Youk was again out, and Jason Bay had the day off, so already the bats are just a little bit weaker.

The Sox started to come back, then stalled, leaving the score at 4-2 Orioles.

Then Papi got a free pass. Dustin got a double, and Kotsay hit a wall-bouncing triple to score them both, tying the game in the bottom of the 8th.

yaypedey.jpgThe Sox held the Orioles, who threatened with two men on in the 9th, but could not deliver, and then the bottom of the order came up. Cora singled, then Crisp singled on a wack-a-doodle bunt that 99% of the time rolls foul, but didn’t, then Jacoby, who popped out in the 7th with the bases loaded and 2 outs, stepped up and bunted. Cora dived into third, the ball was overthrown, so he got up and scored, meeting his teammates at home, ecstatic to have come back and finished the sweep, something that had been unable to do against the White Sox and against the Yankees.

Yay. And Crisp was running his heart out, not realizing that Cora was the winning run and the game was over.

cora.jpg
That might be the weirdest walk-off win I have ever seen, on a sac-bunt and a throwing error.

We have the night off. Good. I’m tired and I need to watch the season opener for FOOTBALL!!!! Yay.

Disregard this. Minor webmaster testing nonsense.

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