Duet or Ménage À Trois? An AL East Prediction

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Last year the Yankees (ug) took home the ring, the year before, the Rays lost to the Phillies in the World Series, and three years ago, the Red Sox won. Needless to say the AL East is looking to have a repeat appearance this year, but who?

 

The Red Sox made some moves to shore up defense, the Yankees lost a few bats, and the Rays and Orioles reloaded with young prospects and solid trades. So who is going to win? 

 

If the Yankees could get consistent starts from their three-four-five guys, they could win the division. Is that likely? No.

The Red Sox lost a big bat in Jason Bay but added John Lackey, who could be a number one starter but is starting number three, behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. He’ll be followed by the seemingly ageless Wakefield, Dick-K, and the young, talented Clay Buchholz. Now, Dice-Ki is injured and we’re not really sure how Buchholz is going to do, but if they all bounce back, the Sox could go for a six man rotation. 

Not likely, but it could happen.

The Rays, as always, are the Dark Horse. They have iffy pitching and young guys just starting their careers, but they are faster th
an the Yankees and Red Sox and very talented. Of course that youth does lend itself to inconsistency, especially playing in Boston and New York where the fans can be pretty hostile. Taking that all into consideration, do they win over 90 games? 

Eh. Maybe. 

The Orioles are better. Not great, but certainly much better than last year. And Toronto…well, we’ll go ahead and label this a rebuilding year for them. They traded away Doc Halladay, it’s to be expected.

 

So with opening day just hours away ( hallelujah!), what else would we do but make predictions on what is going to happen six months from now? Bear in mind I am not using any sort of scientific formulas, stats, or anything on these predictions, which is contrary to the typical baseball fan’s thinking. (Admit it, we love stats!) 

I’m doing something new this year, I’m going with my gut. I’ve watched these guys all spring, and this is what I came up with it. 

First, my final division standings:

 

  1. Red Sox
  2. Rays*
  3. Yankees
  4. Orioles
  5. Blue Jays
Call me a homer, but I really like this Red Sox team. They are a little faster, their defense is better, and the addition of John Lackey is a huge boost to the pitching staff. The bullpen is good, and Daniel Bard is waiting in the wings, so if Jonathan Papelbon struggles with closing, he can be replaced. I don’t see that happening, but I’m sure that, and his last game are in his mind, getting his competitive juices flowing. 
Plus, who wants to face a weekend where your pitchers are Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey? Yikes. And you’ve got Jacoby Ellsbury who is stellar and still not done developing. Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia are great at the plate, and if Papi returns to form…double yikes. 
If they all stay healthy and the pitchers stay on their form, there’s no reason this team can’t win the division.
Now to explain the asterisk on the Rays.
Like I said, the Rays are the Dark Horse. Even Longoria is a beast, and they have a few young guys like B.J. Upton who are due for a breakout year. A few good trades and young talent means this Rays team is a lot like the one that went to the World Series in 2008. 
I just get a feeling about this team. But here’s a caveat. I think the Rays will get off to a big start, but if they start to falter around the All-Star break, I’m going to put them out of the playoffs. I just think that if they get too far behind or see themselves slipping, they might fold under the pressure. So that’s why I put the Rays as the Wild card*. 
So on to Steinbrinner and his evil Minions.
Let’s start with the pitching staff. C.C. Sabathia is a beast. There’s no denying that, but after him gets a little…iffy. A.J. Burnett doesn’t like throwing to Jorge Posada, but Jose Molina is gone, so he has no choice. Andy Pettitte and Javier Vazquez are good innings eaters, but Pettitte’s age makes him a question mark. 
And yes, Mark Teixeira, Jeter, A-Rod, they can all hit, but the Yankees bench isn’t exactly deep this year. The losses of Judas (I mean Johnny) Damon and Matsui hurts them in terms of power. The Yankees look good this year, but repeating is very difficult, and in a division this tough? Eh.
I have them (maybe) not making the playoffs. But that’s dependent on the Rays. 
My prediction for the Yanks is third/ Wild card. They played like a team on a mission last year and I just don’t get that feeling from them now. 
Now for the other teams in the AL East. 
The Orioles really did a lot this year, and while they probably won’t make the playoffs, they will make life hard on everyone else in the East. They have a young staff that in a few years could really give the rest of the AL east headaches in a few years, and we could see flashes of that this season. My prediction, they finish in fourth place.
The Blue Jays…they won’t do much this year. They couldn’t make it to the playoffs when they had the one-two punch of Halladay and Burnett. They’ve got some good players, but it’s not enough to compete in a division that has the Yankees and Red Sox. 
We’ll start to see things heat up in this division around the All-Star break, that’s when the good teams will separate from the bad and the ugly. Then we’ll know if we have a Red Sox-Yankees duet or a Red-Sox-Rays-Yankees Ménage À Trois.

Mismanaged: Joe Maddon and the All-Star Game

Kevin Youkilis was a few thousand votes away from being the starter
at first base for the American League. Jason Bay led the outfield in
votes, Boston had the most players selected to the All–Star roster by the fans.

So how exactly is it that the five Red Sox that went to the All–Star
game had a total of three at–bats, one inning pitched, and four innings
in the field?

Tampa Bay, who did not have anyone selected to start, ended up with
three players playing a total of nine innings with five at–bats.

That couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Joe Maddon, the
manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, was manging the AL All–Stars and the Red
Sox are 6.5 games ahead of the Rays in the AL East standings, right?

I don’t think so.

Last year’s epic 15–inning affair, managed by Terry Francona, seemed
much more evenly distributed. The starters got one, maybe two times up
to the plate, and everyone that could get into the game got playing
time.

The game being 15 innings long might have had something to do with
it, but the point stands. Terry Francona gave every single All–Star
their chance to shine, whether they were a Ray, a Yankee, or an
Athletic. It didn’t matter; these guys were there to be exhibited, so
everyone should get their shot on the field and at the plate.

The AL won. Congratulations. Whatever.

This year’s game was a huge disappointment. It was boring, the
changes were hard to keep up with because certain players were
replaced, while others moved all around the field to make sure they
weren’t replaced.

I can’t complain too much about the pitching; that was handled fine,
with the exception of Wakefield. His selection was one of the feel–good
stories of this All–Star Game and he doesn’t even get to pitch?

Come on! He’s 42 and was selected to his first ever All–Star team.
Fun fact: there are only two pitchers in the American league with 11
wins. Both made the All–Star roster, neither made it into the game.
Beckett didn’t play because he just pitched, so that was
understandable, but not putting Tim Wakefield in the game?

Maybe I didn’t enjoy the game as much because the Red Sox were being
pulled away from the spotlight as fast as possible by Maddon. Maybe it
was because there were no homers and a lot of cheap hits that are just
too ordinary.

I have to wonder; had Dustin Pedroia played, would he have stayed in
the game as long as non–starter Carl Crawford or Mark Teixeira?

Judging from last night, I’d say no.

I’m beginning to wonder if the only reason Beckett and Wakefield
made the team was that Maddon couldn’t find a legitimate reason to
exclude them from the roster. His bias would have been too obvious had
he left the two 11–game winners off the roster in favor of guys in
different uniforms with 10 wins or less.

Honestly, this game doesn’t mean much to me personally, but the
pride people take in playing in this game deserves more respect than
that. It deserves more than a manager playing favorites.

I get that having the pitcher batting makes things difficult, but to
not even put Kevin Youkilis, arguably one of the best defensive first
basemen in the league, on the field for even one inning is beyond
disrespectful to his talent and to the fans.

At the end of the game, I switched sides. I started rooting for the
National League, because there was no one left on the field for the
American League that I gave a rat’s you–know–what for.

I might have been more inclined to stick with my league of choice had I felt it was managed correctly.

But last night, I would have gladly traded home field advantage if it meant that Joe Maddon would lose that game.

The Beasts of the East: Who Wins Baseball’s Best Divisions?

It seems like everyone is making their picks for who wins the AL East, I’m going to take it one step further and look at both the AL and NL East, arguably baseball’s best divisions.

Lets
start in the National League. The East is a powerful division, will the
defending World Champion Phillies again take the top spot? Will the
Mets suffer another late-season collapse? Can the Marlins overtake them both? Will the Nats actually look good this year? Barring major injuries and some fluky miracle season, here are my picks for the NL East:

  1. New York Mets (2008: 89-73, 3 GB) Here’s why: K-Rod and JJ Putz should ease the Mets’ bullpen woes,
    somewhat. It will at least keep them from hemorrhaging so much at the end
    of games. They have a good offense anchored by Wright, Reyes, and
    Beltran, the Mets should be able to make the playoffs this year. If
    they don’t, I give up, they must be cursed.
  2. Philadelphia Phillies (2008: 92-10, WS Champs) They kept most of their World Series winning team together, backed by a great offense with players like Utley, Howard, Victorino, and Rollins. However,
    the injury bug tends to bite hard the year after winning it all (look
    at the Red Sox from last year: same team, new injuries). Look for the Wildcard to come from the East this year.
  3. Florida Marlins (2008: 84-77, 7 1/2 GB) The Marlin’s
    are a good young team on a tight budget, and could surprise everyone
    and take over the East this season. With Hanley Ramirez and excellent
    pitching, the Marlins are a force to be reckoned with. Look for them to
    hang around and make life miserable for the Mets and Phillies.
  4. Atlanta Braves (2008: 72-90, 20 GB) Atlanta made some good moves in the off-season, with good pitching additions, but a weak offense will have them trailing the Mets, Phils, and Marlins this year. They are young, so look for the Braves to start contending more in a year or so.
  5. Washington Nationals (2008: 59-102, 32 1/2 GB) The Nats
    are young. I wouldn’t look for them to be great this year, but I would
    expect a better season than 2008. They’ll still come in at the bottom
    of the NL East, but with a much better record.

Now
on to baseball’s toughest division. The AL East has appeared in the
World Series 54 times out of 104 series. Of those 54 appearances, they
have won the World Series 38 times. That’s a pretty impressive
division, and its only getting tougher. Here are my (mostly) unbiased
picks.

  1. Boston Red Sox (2008: 95-67, 2 GB, Wildcard) Boston made a few little moves in the offseason that will have a very big impact. “Bargain” additions of Smoltz, Penny, Saito, and Tazawa make a descent bull pen and good pitching staff into a phenomenal pitching staff with a lights-out ‘pen. They have a few young guys to watch, both on the field and on the mound, and have several key players returning from injury in Lowell, Ortiz, and Beckett. This
    team came within one game of the World Series last year when they were
    hurt, now that everyone’s back, look for them to retake the East.
  2. Tampa Bay Rays (2008: 97-65, AL Champions) Everyone is still waiting to see if the Rays are “for real”. They are. The addition of Pat Burrell certainly helped the Rays, but they may have the same issue as the Phillies: health. In order for the Rays to compete, Troy Percival needs to stay healthy, and the pitching staff is a little lacking in depth.
    The key cog in the Ray’s wheel is David Price. He came in and pitched
    well late in the season, but once there’s a legitimate scouting report
    out on him, major league hitters will figure him out. He has to stand
    up to the pressure and eat up good innings. If not, the Yankees may
    take back the second spot, and wi
    th it the AL Wildcard spot.
  3. New York Yankees (2008: 89-73,
    8 GB) Why, if they spend $400 million dollars on stellar players this
    off-season, are the Yankees in third? Because they spent millions of
    dollars on a very small number of players and neglected to give
    themselves some dep
    th.
    CC Sabathia ate up a lot of innings last year, many times on short
    rest. It takes longer than a few months to recover from that and puts
    you at risk for injury. Burnett should do okay, and the addition of Teixeira will definitely help the Yanks, but without much of a bullpen and with
    starters who don’t always eat up innings, the Yanks may find themselves
    losing games late. Mariano Rivera, great closer that he is, is also
    approaching 40, and will start to decline.The Yanks will keep things interesting, and be competitive, making things tough for the Rays and Red Sox.
  4. Toronto Blue Jays (2008: 86-76, 11 GB) The Jays, in any other division, would be a playoff team every year. The loss of Burnett could hurt them, but they still have Halladay
    and a great pitching staff. They are looking for some players to return
    to form and some young guys to give them a lift, but probably not
    enough to compete for a playoff spot because their division is so
    tough. 
  5. Baltimore Orioles (2008: 68-93, 28 1/2 GB) Though the
    Orioles have a young, good offense, their lack of pitching means they
    will again be in last place in the division. Look for them to do a
    little better than last year, but with a division this tough, where
    they have to face the Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, and Jays in 72 games this
    season, its going to be a difficult year.

News from the Weekend:

The Red Sox locked up LHP Jon Lester for 5 years, and ended talks (temporarily) with
OF Jason Bay. Because of his free agent status at the end of the 2009
season and the down economy, Bay decided to wait and see what the
market does. He would like to stay in Boston, but not at a cut rate
when he could get more elsewhere.

Dustin Pedroia
has a minor abdominal strain and will need a few days of rest before
resuming baseball activities. The injury is minor and should not effect
his opening day status.

The shortstop debate is over for the Red Sox, at least temporarily. Julio Lugo will have arthroscopic surgery on his knee tomorrow and will be out of opening day. Jed Lowrie will (most likely) start the season as the Red Sox shortstop.

Manny
Ramirez started his spring training by being pulled from a game due to
a hamstring injury. After trying to cut off a double in left field, he
felt tightness in his hamstring and was pinch hit for in the bottom of
the 4th inning.

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.  

A Hairy Situation: Boston’s Best (Facial*) Hair

*may include some non-facial hair

While we wait anxiously for baseball season to start, recover from last night’s buzzer loss to the Lakers, and wonder about Matt Cassel now that he’s  been tagged, I’ve decided to lighten the mood and take a look at some of the best hair around Beantown. These are in no particular order, because I had a hard time judging soul patch against stash against scruff. 

So, without Further Ado, here are some hair-raising examples.

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And so here we have Dustin Pedroia’s scruff/goatee. This changes throughout the season, sometimes he’s clean-shaven, sometimes he’s just got scruff, sometimes he’s got scruff and goatee, sometimes just the goatee. We applaud Dustin for his artistic shaving, and it is our opinion that the ever-changing hair is somehow tied to Tito…but we have no proof.

Next…

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Josh Beckett for the Red Sox and KG for the Celtics representing the “Soul Patch”

Now, many of the C’s rock this look from week to week, but Josh is the main member of the Red Sox who so effortlessly rocks the soul patch. Again, we have no explanation for the tuft of hair these gentlemen prefer, but the way they play the game, we don’t question it.

oline.jpgThe New England Patriots O-Line, AKA “The Mountain Men”. Their signature beards are grown throughout the season until they look like this. Its either an intimidation tactic, a bonding experience, or both, but either way, I feel sorry for some of their wives. They make our list for the sheer lumberjack-ness of their hair.

papshair.jpgJonathan Papelbon’s Hair. While it doesn’t count as facial hair, its too much fun not to mention here. On one side, we have the mohawk. The entire Rays team had those last year, and they weren’t intimidating, especially on Joe Madden, but on Paps, we like it. On the other side we have the signature spiked look, which was rocked for most of the 2007 World Series run. So while its not on his face, we love it and him, so he makes the list.

tombeard.jpg

Tom Brady may have the world’s most famous stubble, but he has been known to rock a bit more of a beard, which we suspect is in support of his mountainous o-line. The stubble is, however, much more attractive, and on Brady’s already handsome face, makes him look rugged and manly. The beard…not so much. While we appreciate the bonding, we think Tom should stick to the stubble.

welker.jpgThen we have everyone’s favorite slot machine, Wes Welker. He, like Pedroia, likes to shake things up, but his most famous (or infamous) cut is the mustache. Now, we secretly called it the “porn star ‘stache”, but when he rocks it with a beard, its much less creepy. All in all, we’re in favor of the light scruff, its less creepy, or clean-shaven, which is also good.

And finally…

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Youk. Kevin Youkilis has been clean-shaven, but lately, he’s been rocking the goatee. We much prefer the goatee. We have a theory that its an intimidation technique, and goes well with the intense, scary, persona he has when he plays (we also think that Youk doesn’t shower to help with that persona, or at least, lets people think he doesn’t). Its the most famous goatee on the Red Sox roster, and gives us all hope that Youk will always play with intensity, grit, and consistency. Funny how a little bit of hair can say so much. Maybe the goatee is why Joba Chamberlain is out to get him?

That’s all the hair I have today. If I missed anyone or you think someone should not be on this list, let me know, maybe I’ll add them in.

We’ll be doing the “Best Of” for the next few weeks. Anything to get us through until opening day. Next up: “Best Fans”, we’ll look at Damon’s Diciples, the Bleacher Creatures, and the Royal Rooters, to name just a few.

Off Season Rumblings

This off-season has been somewhat “quiet” in terms of the Red Sox. The moves of the teams in the AL East are all important because that might be the toughest division in the league. 

The Rays have made a few good moves, but are (mostly) sticking with what worked next year. 

The Yankees have found a problem and done what the Yankees do best: throw money at it. Why else do you think this was the first time in forever that they didn’t make the playoffs? That’s what the Yankees do. So as long as nothing happens to CC, Teixiera, or any of their other additions, they should be right back in the mix.

The Red Sox have been comparatively quiet. They got stung a little on the Teixiera deal, and right now they have no catcher, they made a few solid, cheep deals that should do nothing but help, and if they don’t, its not like they’ll have $10 million dollars on the bench with just one player out. 

They have a few loose ends to tie up, but they look to be in the mix for the AL East again this year. Pedroia and Youk will be back, Ellsbury and Lester can only get better, Beckett will be Beckett, Dice-K, despite his heart-attack inducing style, always does well, and who knows? Buchholz could be a lot better than he was last year, everyone seems to think so. 

First, they need to bring back Varitek. It looks like it’s probably going to happen because no one else wants him, and the Red Sox, despite their “we don’t care attitude” would love to have him back. I think, to, that if they bring him back, he’ll have something to prove, and maybe his bat will improve. I could be wrong, I’m no expert, but I like being hopeful. 

Finally, on that vein of hope, I have to say that I’m optimistic about Papi and Mike Lowell this season. I think Mike will be fine, and Big Papi will bounce back. Call me crazy, but with everyone healthy, the Red Sox are poised to be a big threat in the AL East, despite the Yankees trying to buy every free agent in sight. Think the fans are going to miss the ‘stash? 

So, my prediction is for one heck of a season, with the Rays, Yankees, and Sox coming down to the last few weeks to see who takes the crown and who takes the Wild Card. 

Sayonara Cinderella, Goodbye Billy Penn Curse!

For all you Red Sox and Cubs fans, skip the next section, it doesn’t apply. For everyone else, keep reading.

The Phillies have finally done it. It has been 28 years since the Phillies were here last, and 25 years since any professional sports team from Philly had won anything. This is called the “Curse of William (or Billy) Penn”. It dates back to the construction of One Liberty Place, which became the tallest building in the city, rising over the height of William Penn’s statue on City Hall. One year and four months ago, the statue was moved to the Comcast center, the new tallest building in Philadelphia. With the Phillie’s fall classic win, it breaks the Curse and frees all Philadelphia sports teams to start winning again.

This is not the only curse to have been broken in the new millennium. The so-called “Curse of the Bambino” (insert eye-roll) ended in 2004 when the Sox won their first World Series in 86 years. The “Curse of the Black Sox” ended in 2005 when the ChiSox won their first World Series since 1919 and the Black-Sox scandal. Curses still in effect: The Detroit Lions’ Curse of Bobby Layne and the Chicago Cubs Curse of the Billy Goat (which, by the way, is even more fascinating and superstitious than the Red Sox curse)

Of course, the curse of Billy Penn is the only curse to have an effect on ALL professional teams in a city, the other curses only applied to a specific sport.

Okay, its safe for everyone to read again.

I have a house mate who is a Phillies fan and she is ecstatic today. I gotta say I am glad that game 5 is finally over. I am also glad the Rays are still ring-less, because that means we will not have to hear about how the Rays won game 7 and went on to win the World Series every time they play the Red Sox. Now, its only “they beat the Red Sox and went on to lose to Philly 4 games to 1”. Not as much of an accomplishment. Thank goodness!

It was a series marked by rain storms, and the first time in over a century that a game was suspended. I think the suspension was unfair, because the game should have stopped in the 5th, even if they were going to finish all 9 innings at some point, but it seemed like they waited until the Rays had tied it up. Because a good portion of the country wants to see Cinderella win. Everyone wants to see the little guys do well. For my part, I wanted the Phillies to sweep little Cinderella away with blow-out after blow-out. I’m not sure if that’s bitterness over losing in game 7 or annoyance that the AL East’s power has shifted to a Ménage à trois that I, personally, never wanted. I was happy with the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

Brad Lidge notched his 48th save in 48 tries to be perfect in the 2008 season. Cole Hamels ended his Becket-like post-season by winning World Series MVP.

All I have to say is congrats Phillies, and now that the World Series is over, we can officially look towards next year, where (hopefully) the red Sox will be in the Phillie’s position. For now, we cheer on the Brady-less Pats, who are tied for division lead with Buffalo (how weird!) and the Celtics, who are calling this season: Unbuntu II: The Return (or repeat?), and I will continue my campaign to keep Jason Varitek and get Dustin Pedroia and/or Kevin Youkilis the honor he deserves: MVP!

Frozen Fall Classic

The Phillies and the Rays are held in suspense due to ridiculously wet (and cold) conditions. And the poor Rays had to go to Delaware to spend the night because they had already checked out of their hotel. 

Of course, a game suspension is unprecedented, it has not happened in a century, what are the chances that it would happen? They probably should not have played the game at all last night, but they did, so tonight (possibly) we will start in on World Series Game 5 part II. Will is be over tonight or will we have a game 6? Regular stats do not apply. The Ray’s streak when Longoria has an RBI does  not count, because that was yesterday. The Phillie’s issues with hitting with runners in scoring position need not carry over, though they have from game to game lately.

Look for a wet game tonight, and cold, which I put in the Phillie’s favor. They play in the cold in March and April and again in September and October, while the Rays play indoors.

For my housemate’s sake, I hope it is over tonight. I switched over from MNF to see what was going on and I was shocked. I can’t believe they played in weather like that, but I also can’t believe they suspended it. How have we made it through 112 World Series without a suspended game for weather? That is a ridiculous feat. Its clearly possible but also somewhat mind-boggling. And Bud Selig…poor Bud Selig and the umpire crew are bearing the brunt of the fan anger. Had they called the game in the 5th, the Phillies would have won. Even if they had suspended the game in the 5th, which, weather-wise, they should have, the Phillies would be going into tonight with the lead, so they are, understandably, angry at the refs and the commish. And had they called the game sooner, perhaps the Rays would have found a hotel in Philly and not in Delaware.

For now, I continue my stint as a Phillies fan. So lets go Phillies!

 

Rays Relief is a Relief For the Phillies – And Congrats Youk!

Well, the Phillies took game 4 in spectacular style last night, and being that I am temporarily a Phillies fan, this is a good thing.

The game was close-ish until the later innings when Philly just opened up on the Rays ‘pen for homer after homer. It makes me begin to think that maybe the Rays didn’t beat the Red Sox, the Red Sox’s injuries finally caught up to them and they lost. I mean, really, the Rays being in the World Series is really a giant scouting game for the Yankees. They are mostly locked up until 2009, but the next year, the Evil Empire will come calling.

As for the Sox, I hope we rob the Jays of one of their starters, like AJ Burnett or something, keep Tek on a two year deal and phase him into the coaching staff slowly while grooming a young guy. I think bringing in a guy from another team would not be good for the pitching staff, but as all of you who read me regularly know, I’m a Tek supporter. The players have already come out and said they will be shocked, disappointed, sad, worried about the kind of team they are on, etc. if he isn’t signed. Now all we gotta do is keep Boras from being too greedy…(like that’s going to happen)

Without the big money contracts of Manny and Schill, we have a good bit of money to work with and really, not that many holes. We have the Cora-Lowrie-Lugo shortstop debate, and there’s no one we can dump Lugo on at the moment, but this means we don’t need a shortstop. Pedrioa and Youk are solid infielders and even solider bats. If Mikey comes back from the surgery OK, then yay! If not, we should pick up Texiera, maybe we should pick him up anyway, since Mikey might be on the way out at the end of next year…(hopefully retiring… I don’t want him to play for anyone else) Papi will be back to his old self, so no need for a DH, but we’ll probably keep Casey around as a good overall backup. Then we’ve got Bay, Drew, Coco, and Ellsbury in the outfield. The starting rotation of Beckett, Dice-K, Lester and Wake is still pretty potent (I know Wake led the team in losses, but go back and look to see how many of those were 1-run losses where we couldn’t generate the offense)

So, we add a pitcher, maybe an infielder, or a good backup like Kotaras who can play both pretty well, maybe bring up a new guy to work in the ‘pen. We’ll be good. The big question is catcher, and with limited prospects around the league, and Tek meaning so much to the team, it would be a stupid decision on Theo’s part not to keep him around.

Here’s to game 5. May it silence the Cowbells forever.


Also, Congrats to KEVIN YOUKILIS who won the Hank Aaron Award! Yeah!
Here’s what he had to say (and it makes me love him even more!)

Well, I don’t think I can ever compare myself to Hank Aaron in any
way,” Youkilis said. “I’ll never see myself in that level. So to win
this award, I don’t know, I’m a little humbled by it. But it’s great
just to be able to have an award that’s named after somebody that
exemplified so much in this game and has brought so much history to
this game. It’s an honor just to be named in the same sentence. So for
me, I’m thrilled.”

 

All Good Things…

…must come to an end. I have to say, in the bright (and cold) light of morning, I am almost glad its over. I would have liked it to be over after another four games and a ring…but my stress level goes down and my number of hours sleeping goes up.

I will watch some of the fall classic, but only when they play in Philly, because if I ever hear another cowbell, it will be too soon. Maybe the Rays should have Christopher Walken throw out the first pitch?

Anywho, the Red Sox are gassed. Last night everyone just looked tired. So I think in a small way, they’re glad its over. Now its time to marvel at the fact that they never should have made it as far as they did, take a few days off to rest, and start figuring out how we can get CC or some other pitcher without giving up anyone we like. I really like our line-up next year. For the first time in my memory, the Red Sox are young. Pedroia, Lowrie, Coco, Ellsbury, Masterson, Lester, Bay, Papelbon, and Youk have many years left in them. If you look back on the Sox, this rarely happens. And these kids are battle tested. There are only two things the Sox must do this off-season: get Tek back, and get another starting pitcher, whether we take one from somewhere else or develop them.

I’m going to take a few days off of hard-core baseball following to catch up on that all-important school work which has fallen by the wayside. I continue my campaign for the Captain, because you can’t just get rid of a captain, even one who has struggled so much at the plate, you have to phase him out, into retirement. Just the reactions from his homer in game 6 proved one thing: they need him. He is the soul of the team, and if we get rid of our soul we’ll turn into the Yankees.

One final note before I head off to get lunch (yum!) Our playing season may be over, but the Nation still has work to do! The 2008 This Year In Baseball Award has several Red Sox on the ballot!

Vote Pedroia for Hitter, Dice-K for Starter, Jacoby for Rookie, Tito for Manager, Paps for Closer, Dustin for Defense, Lester’s No-No for Performance, and Youk’s on-the-wall triple for Oddity (this one is under Damon’s name).

And the best part is you can vote as many times as you want and it’s really very easy! So go vote HERE