Wednesday, December 06, 2006

That's a lot of money

What happened to paying market value? Or has the market gone crazy? All the extra revenue seems to have gone to the GMs heads.

5 years, $70 million for JD Drew. 4 years, $36 million for Lugo (are you kidding me? all the bouncing around at shortstop to end with Lugo?). Add in the $19 million for Manny next year (who's reported to be staying after all) and you've got a serious budgetary issue when you're paying 3 players $42 million.

And they still haven't signed the player who should be their priority, Daisuke Matsuzaka. Oh, and what about a closer? Has anyone seen Theo et al looking for a closer this offseason? Pitching is what wins you games. I have a quote I want to place on Theo's wall where he can see it every day. "It's the pitchers, stupid!"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A friend has been hired

A friend for Matsuzaka has been hired. The lefty reliever Hideki Okajima was signed to a two year deal. In 439 Japanese major league games, he is 34-32 with a 3.36 ERA and 41 saves.

It's likely that the Red Sox were looking for just about anyone to come in and be the other new guy along with Matsuzaka in an effort to make him more comfortable. But a 3.36 ERA is fairly respectable for a reliever and I'll be happy to see Hideki in the Red Sox uniform.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Conspiracy theories

Who came up with this one?
Red Sox make offer to Matsuzaka - Yahoo! News

Lucchino brushed aside suggestions that the bid was made just to block the
New York Yankees from signing Matsuzaka.

I mean, can you imagine that sort of thing? Really? Why can't it be about the Red Sox trying to improve their own pitching? You do know that their pitching fell apart last year, right?

Hopefully, they can sign Matsuzaka. If they can't, I'm not about to believe this sort of conspiracy theory claptrap.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is he ready for the spotlight?

Many times, a player comes to Boston and folds under the spotlight. Given that, it's a big concern any time the Red Sox look for new players.

Source: ESPN

I think Daisuke is ready for it. He certainly looks comfortable under the spotlight in this photo. And he reacted well to the scrutiny during the World Baseball Classic.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

$51 Million Dollars

At then end of the day, was it worth 51 million? What happened to the cautious approach to paying players what they are worth in the marketplace? What happened to the small market mentality in a big market team? What happened to not spending?

Boston Red Sox - Green light - The Boston Globe

"If they can sign him, they've got the best pitcher in the market, and he may be the best pitcher in baseball when all is said and done," said one American League general manager last night. "He's got five outstanding pitches.

I'd say it was pretty clear what happened.

A few years ago, the Yankees outspent the Red Sox in the bidding war for Jose Contreras. I think the results of that deal are still sitting on Georgie's head, which is why the Sox were able to outspend them. Now let's hope after all the hoopla, they're able to close the deal, making Curt Schillings last season worth while.

Because that's what this is going to be about. Josh Beckett was disappointing (not bad, just disappointing). Wakefield was injured and is getting older. Clement is an unknown. The other pitchers are too young. The Red Sox finished in third last season with these pitchers. Theo and the gang know they need to upgrade, and upgrade now. In a year Curt will be gone. They need a new ace to replace him.

By the way, I hope that Matsuzaka is not the only starting pitcher they're going to go after. They need another pitcher just like him to make things happen in the coming season.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Make money with your blog

Performancing has come up with a new ad network (see the top left adblock), that's being billed as similar to blogads. Unfortunately for the rest of us, blogads is by invite only these days. So, I would recommend signing up with Partners, now, while they are accepting everyone.

What I like about it
It only takes a tiny bit of code to get started. Also, the split is laid out for you right from the beginning. 70% for you, 30% for them (unlike adsense for instance, where you never know what the split is). Also, you get paid CPM (per 1000 times your ad is shown). Your pricing can be set by you, or you can let them use auto-pricing. That way, you and your advertiser know up front what to expect.

Another nice feature: You get paid by paypal at the first of the month. No waiting for checks.

Also, you get to approve any ads being shown on your site. In other words, you are in complete control of your content.

What I don't like
The option for multiple ads would be nice. Being able to tell your advertiser where the ad is going to show up and being able to do different pricing based on location would be a nice feature (above the fold is usually worth more).

Beta Testing
You can see the temporary testing ad in the top left of this page. I like it's look and it seems to fit well into my design. Unfortunately, they don't have any advertisers, yet. But I'm sure that will change quickly. In the meantime, I would recommend signing up today. Get in at the beginning before this takes off and it becomes 'by invitation' only.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Patriots sign WR Gaffney

Good news for a team carrying only three wide receivers. But will it be enough to pick up this offense? I know Miami has a good defense, but except for when the defense placed them in perfect position (or the pass interference call), the offense was not able to move the ball. This team has become one-dimensional. Stop the run and it's all over. - NFL - Patriots sign WR Gaffney, cut Sullivan, Poteat

The New England Patriots addressed their lack of veteran depth at wide receiver on Monday, signing free agent Jabar Gaffney.

Gaffney, 25, worked out for New England coaches and personnel officials on Friday, along with veteran free agent wide receivers Kevin Johnson and Charles Rogers, and was deemed to be the best of the trio.

Gaffney played four seasons with the Houston Texans and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an unrestricted free agent this spring, but was released at the end of training camp.

To create a roster spot for Gaffney, the Patriots released defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan, who had not dressed for any of the team's five regular-season five games this season. The club also released veteran defensive back Hank Poteat, who has been on and off the roster several times the past three seasons, and was re-signed two weeks ago.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Papa Jackson is gone?

I just don't understand this move. Am I missing something? Papa Jack delivered for three years the best hitting offense in baseball. Ortiz recently stated Papa was responsible for delivering home runs 51 and 52. And they don't renew his contract?

And listening to his interview this morning, the breakup was not mutual at all.

I know that when baseball teams fall apart, coaches often feel the brunt of the blame. It makes the head office look like they're doing things to 'fix' things. But replacing Jackson as hitting coach doesn't make things better. It doesn't change the injury plagued season for the starting pitchers. It doesn't fix the horrible ERA numbers from your top two pitchers. It doesn't make Wakefield and Wells and Clement magically feel better. It doesn't bring Arroyo back to fill in when your top starters went down.

And it certainly doesn't help you bring in a closer for next year.

Losing this year was bad. Hurting your offensive power for next year is worse. - Boston Red Sox: Sox start to clean house: Jackson, Wallace lose jobs

The fallout from a disappointing, playoff-less season began yesterday for the Red Sox, as the club chose not to renew the contracts of hitting coach Ron “Papa Jack” Jackson and pitching coach Dave Wallace.
Manager Terry Francona stressed the two coaches weren’t to blame for the Sox decline this season; it was simply a matter of needing a change in both areas moving forward.
While it was announced as a “mutual decision,” there were indications both coaches wanted to return.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Says it all

I think this says it all about yesterdays game over the seemingly powerless Bengals: Defense was stationed for success - The Boston Globe

``We didn't go into this conceding anything," said Hawkins, who played much of his career in Cincinnati before coming to the Patriots last season and switching from cornerback to safety. ``We're playing with a bunch of veteran guys. I was the third-youngest guy we had in that backfield and I've been around nine years. We have experienced defensive backs who have covered a lot of receivers in this league.

``It took us a couple of series to settle down, but once we did we made some plays when we needed to and got some turnovers. I wouldn't say we're a great secondary, but we understood playing on the road you had to withstand the initial surge and not let it kill you. We stood up. We held."

At the end of the day, the Bengals went 2 for 11 on third down. It looks like the bend don't break defense is back.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Red Sox wrap up

As the season limps to a close, I thought I'd wrap up the season with a few notes about the latest in Fenway news.

Pesky is finally getting the right field pole named after him. Despite being called Pesky's pole for years, it was never official, so on his 87th birthday, the Sox officially honored him by officially dedicating the right-field pole in his name.

Ortiz is auctioning off number 52.

Manny has only played once in the past month, but does it really matter? To be honest, I wish they had just brought everyone from the AAA up, sent everyone on the major league team home (put them on IR) and see what happens. See who prospers and who sinks, and let the chips fall where they may.

Clement has apparently had his shoulder fall off based on the comments on radio. He's superman for playing through the pain, trying hard to get back despite all the tearing inside his rotator cuff. But, at the end of the day, he'll be staying home next year too trying to recover, with little chance he'll ever pitch in a Red Sox uniform again (although the injury is being touted as not likely career ending).

Beckett came in with 16 wins (seems high, given his ERA of 5.01), Schilling with 15 (seems lower than what I thought he had). The next closest win count was 7 for Lester and Wakefield. This seems almost crazy to me. How did they do as well as they did if the pitchers winning were this low?

Whether the Blue Jays or the Red Sox come in third doesn't matter to me at all. All that matters is they are done for this year. Whether your down by 2 games or 50 doesn't matter.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Questionable calls

I have some questions about some of the play calling by the Patriots on Sunday. Now, it's a given that I am not an expert when it comes to calling the right play on the football field. But I am puzzled by some things.

Why was Maroney fielding punts? When Corey Dillon got hurt, Maroney was the best back on the field. Why risk him in special teams play when you have more reliable players (Brown, for one) capable of doing the job?

Also, why not kick the field goal? I know it may have been hard to get to scoring range the second time around, but you still needed to score twice. Even Madden got that one (although, I have to admit, Madden seems to be making more sense this year?)

I'll be the first to admit that Belichick has forgotten more about football than I'll ever know, and so these questions should not be seen as 'questioning' the coach. It's more about understanding what's happening.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Disappointment in the running game

What happened last night can be simplified into the following sentence: the running game was stopped, therefore the Patriots lost the game.

I just hope this doesn't turn into a pattern. Until Brady and his wide receiving corps (except for Brown) get onto the same page, this is what the various defenses across the league are going to try to do to the Pats.

Come in and stop the run. Dare the pats to take to the air. Why? Because the yardage after the catch is going to be lousy until a wide receiver catches the ball. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but Maroney will only break out once a game after a catch. Brown isn't going to outrun anyone, neither is Faulk. Graham and Watson can run over a few players (and you have to be impressed by Watsons speed).

But without a receiving threat who can do what the Broncos did on offense (turn a little catch into a big play) a few times a game, the Pats aren't going to win in the playoffs.

I have no doubts they're going to make it to the playoffs. They're special teams and defense are too good. So is their running game. But if they fall behind early and have to rely on the passing game, they're going to be in trouble.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Ortiz for MVP

Who could be more valuable to a team than David Ortiz? After tying the record set by Jimmie Foxx in 1938 with his 50th home run, most players would have taken the ball (given back by a willing fan) and put it on display inside his house. A proud reminder of a huge accomplishment. Instead, David Ortiz decided to donate the ball (given back to him by a willing fan) to two charities (Source: - Boston Red Sox: Historic ball to help charities)

Ortiz plans to use the ball he hit for his 50th homer to raise money for a couple of his pet causes. The ball will be put up for auction on, with proceeds being directed to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Plaza de la Salud Hospital de Ninos, which is located in Ortiz’ hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
According to Ortiz, the hospital specializes in open-heart surgery for children.
The online auction starts at 11 a.m. today and will close at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Those interested in making a bid may do so by visiting and clicking on the Ortiz auction link.

This is all part and parcel of why David Ortiz deserves the MVP of the league. He's no Barry Bonds, talking and taking care of only himself. He's no ARod (or Manny) looking for the biggest paycheck.

Ortiz sat down to meet the two fans (29 year old McGrath and 10 year old Tommy Valeriani) last night: (Source: Boston Herald
He posed for pictures with the two fans. He hugged Tommy. Informed McGrath has a girlfriend, he made note of the guy’s instant fame and said, "Now you’ll have two."

But before the game, Ortiz had this to say:
"This is not fun," he told me before last night’s 6-0 win against Minnesota. "You’re happy for the things you’ve done, but there’s still a sad part. And that’s not winning."

This guy is all about team. And isn't that what MVP is all about? Not just being on the winning team, but it's supposed to be about the player who helped his team the most.

How many walkoffs does he have to hit before he's going to qualify, anyways?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Denver issues

Denver has a better team than they've shown so far this season. Despite Jake Plummers struggles, there was a reason they went 13-3 last year.

So far this year, Jake Plummer has a QB rating of 38.6. He has, in his first two games, thrown four interceptions and a fumble, giving rise to a QB controversy with rookie QB Jay Cutler waits in the wings. But Jake's QB rating was 90.2 last year so you can't expect his struggles to last (his lifetime average is 74.6).

Coach Mike Shanahan admitted they had scaled back the offense to protect Plummer this year. That's surprising giving Jakes strengths come to the fore when he starts moving out of the pocket.

Running backs Tatum Bell (5.5 yards per carry) and Mike Bell (4.4 yards per carry) are definitely carrying the load on offense. With a strong one-two punch at RB, it's surprising to see the offense struggle to score (9-6 win in overtime against KC last week).

And according to a story in the Boston Herald today:

While the Broncos have struggled badly on offense, their defense has been dominant. They haven’t allowed a touchdown through two games, with opponents going 0-for-7 in the red zone. While defensive coordinator Larry Coyer has committed to not relying so heavily on blitzes this season, the Broncos remain fast, athletic and aggressive on that side of the ball. . . .

It's not looking like an easy week for the Patriots this weekend.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Trot Nixons days are numbered

If this is a surprise to you, then you haven't been paying attention. That's why they traded Arroyo for Wily Mo. They're looking to replace Nixon, who is oft-injured. I'm not excited about Wily Mo replacing him however. Perhaps they really will go out and spend some big time money to get some big time free agents this winter.

Source: Boston Red Sox Nation: Another One Bites the Dust?

"I just can't imagine [Trot] playing for somebody else, it's just not something I can see. I don't have the ability to... like the whole seeing your grandmother naked thing, you don't want to picture it. I can't picture it.

"I don't know what they're gonna do in Trot's situation. I know I enjoy playing with the guy and I hope he's a teammate, but I'm not gonna say one way or the other because they have to do what they have to do." -- 9.19.06, Curt Schilling on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show

Schill Still Thinks Henry Will Spend a Bundle This Winter

"I'm hearing things, and talking to people, just the feeling I get is there's gonna be a little different landscape here in how they operate this winter... in a sense if you don't kinda ignore that [payroll] threshold and you spend a little more openly, playing in a division with the Yankees is going to leave you with a severe disadvantage and I just think it's going to be a little bit different this winter." -- 9.19.06, Curt Schilling on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wakefield and next year

This is good news for anyone who cares about next year. Since the Red Sox signed Wakefield to a contract that allows them to re-up him every year, the fact that Tim felt good and played well is very good news for next season. The Red Sox basically fell apart starting from when he went down. Next year, with Schilling in his last year, will see a healthy Wakefield returning to the rotation to back him and Beckett up. - Boston Red Sox: Wake can’t revive Sox -- Knuckler gets no help

As late as two weeks ago, Wakefield could not throw a baseball 90 feet but his recovery since has been swift. Aside from some stiffness with the first couple of warmup pitches last night, he felt fine throughout the 78-pitch outing.
“I was excited, the butterflies were going,” Wakefield said. “Physically, I felt great. I could have gone one (inning) more but they put the brakes on.”

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Seattle is going to be a better team for the trade

With Jackson, Engram and now Branch as their leading wideouts and Alexander at RB, Seattle is going to be a tough team to crack this year.

I think the Patriots got what they could for Branch, and I doubt any other outcome would have been better for the team. But when you look at what Seattle could do (including running through the playoffs), I look at this trade as possible coming back to haunt the Patriots. Imagine if it comes down to Seattle vs the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

And yes, I know it's wayyyy to early to worry about the Super Bowl. - N.E. Patriots: What they’re saying in Seattle...

It’s a move that makes sense in the present and in the future, and that sound you just heard was the rest of the NFL gasping over how committed the Seahawks really are to winning a championship.
The beautiful thing about this deal is the Seahawks didn’t have to make it. No matter how poorly the offense performed at Detroit on Sunday, it still will be a productive unit. Even if wide receiver Darrell Jackson limps through the season, the Seahawks still have enough weapons to get by.
But who wants to merely get by seven months after a Super Bowl defeat? Go ahead and sing the chorus once more: the Seahawks’ time is now.

I have a tendency to root for the Browns

It's easy to do so, because I liked what Romeo did when he was here. And, he's not in direct competition with the Patriots. But I thought the team would be better this year. - NFL Coverage: Back to drawing board for Browns

"We didn’t play as well as we could have played or thought we could have played," he said. "We weren’t very good at all, particularly in the first half. ... We are only as good as we are, and we aren’t very good right now."
Woe, Romeo.
From their first offensive play (a 74-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards that was called back by a holding penalty) to their last play (a dropped pass by Edwards that turned into a game-clinching interception) the Browns were brutal in a 19-14 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Now, the Patriots played terribly on Sunday and I believe they are a better team than what they showed. But I'm not sure the same thing applies to the Browns. I know that one week doesn't make a season, and Cleveland will win some of their games. But they did look terrible.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Branch is gone

This bomb shell from the Boston Globe. Deion Branch is going to Seattle for a first round draft pick.
Patriots blog -- Reiss Pieces -

The Deion Branch holdout is over, but Branch isn’t returning to the Patriots. Branch, the fifth-year receiver, has been traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2007 first-round draft choice today

I have to admit I'm shocked by the news, but the trade does make sense. Branch probably could not have returned to the team in good standing. The Patriots made a good offer to Deion, but were rejected. Perhaps, after yesterday's win, management thinks they can get away without their number one receiver.

I believe they do need him. They will be better off next year. But that's not this year. They're going to need a deep threat and, despite Watsons big run and catch yesterday, a tight end will not be out deep on every play.

Update: The Patriots have just confirmed the trade.

I'm not sure the Patriots had a choice in the matter, but this is not good news. After letting Givens walk this offseason, they didn't need this to happen.

Lesson Learned

There were lots of lessons to learn in yesterdays game, but as Brady said this morning on the radio: "It's better to learn a lesson and win than learn it and lose." -- I could be getting that wrong, but that was the general gist of it.

As I was driving into work this morning, I was thinking in the opposite direction. I was thinking it might have been better if they lost yesterday. I watched that game and kept thinking, the better team is losing this game.

The Patriots were obviously better, but they weren't getting the job done. Especially after Spikes and Vincent went out, I thought the Patriots offense was going to walk all over them, and yet, they didn't. The Patriots players had obviously believed the hype. They came out flat and had to work hard to make up for it at the end of the game.

And so, my reasoning was this. If they learn about how bad it is to underestimate a team early on, they will benefit from this later on in the season. And so, perhaps losing yesterday may have been a good thing in the long run.

But I had forgotten how well Brady and Belichick lead this team. They (in their minds) lost that game. By playing as poorly as they did, they know they couldn't (should not) have won against a better team. And that's the same lesson they learn (and teach to the other players) every year.

Oh, they'll take the win. But they won't be proud of it. They're going to sit and watch the film and be disgusted and angry and they'll pass that onto the other players. By the end of the week, they'll be better for it. They'll come out rearing to go next week. The 'win' part of the game won't enter into their thinking at all.

It's just funny to think they have to relearn the same lesson every year. But that's how football works. If you don't learn these lessons every year, you fade away in January. If you look past any team, you can lose to them. No matter how bad they are. Just ask the Rams players from the first Super Bowl.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Branch hearings delayed

After looking over both articles from the Globe and the Herald, I'm no closer to understanding the delay, but it looks as if Branch won't be back for more than a week.

The league had hoped to join the two grievances into one, but that was rejected. So, Branch will get two hearings by two different arbitrators. The first hearing will be held next Thursday and Friday on Branch's contention the team has negotiated in bad faith throughout his contract.

The second hearing will take place after that on how the team reneged on an oral promise to deal him.

All of this is quite ridiculous, if you ask me. Given the well known understanding from everyone (other than in Branch's legal team), the Pats weren't going to trade Branch unless they got an incredible deal. And as for dealing in bad faith, he's the one holding out on a contract he signed. The NFL renegotiates contracts all the time when a player plays above what he was signed at. But Branch got a new offer and a reasonable one at that.

But really, my biggest problem is he won't be playing this week or even next week. The Patriots need a number one receiver, even if he wouldn't be a number one on half the teams in the league.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tight Ends will be big this year

How can they not be? With Branch out for at least another week, if not more, the tight ends have to step up and catch and block more this season. The Pats will probably be better off running more this season, which means the tight ends will be out there leading the way more often. And when Brady gets the call to throw, who's he going to throw to other than those really big targets. - N.E. Patriots: Watson leads offense’s four-headed monster

“It’s exciting,” he said. “Not to take anything away from Mike Vrabel, because he’s a great athlete, but just to see all the tight ends out there together is exciting for us. Sitting in the meeting room together, we know we have a big part in the offense this year. This is going to be a big year for the tight ends.”

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Branch is likely out until Sept 15th

And that's at best. He has two grievances the NFL are hoping to join into one: - N.E. Patriots: NFL looks to combine Branch’s grievances

Branch’s first grievance claims the Pats didn’t live up to their promise to trade him if they received an acceptable offer.
His second grievance would claim the Pats have negotiated in bad faith through his holdout.

It looks like the Pats strategy of letting Deion look for a trade is backfiring. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, letting Branch get a whiff of reality about how the league perceives his value, it seems Seattle and the Jets have offered more than what the Pats were expecting them to.

While I have every confidence in Brady's ability to make his wide receivers look good, having Branch off the field is not going to help the Pats win games. Yes, the running game looks stronger this year. But if Brady can't 'spread the field', it won't matter how good a running back Maroney is. If the defense can fill the box up, he and Dillon won't be going anywhere.

I hope Deion can come to some agreement with the Patriots, but its definitely looking worse every day.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

No offense to Brady

But I'm hoping they figure this whole thing out with Deion Branch. Admittedly, Tom Brady has never had the best receiving corps in the NFL, but he hasn't needed it, either. And when asked this morning on the radio which was more important to him, he quickly pointed out the offensive line was much more important to a QB.

But still... Experience in this league matters. Also, you need someone out there to get double teamed, in order to free up the other guys. Brady may throw the ball to whoever's open, but if other teams don't need to double anyone up...

It's a good thing we have a decent running game coming up this year.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Trade Talks involving Wells

Shipping Wells off to San Diego or LA is a great idea. It's definitely time to think about next year, and stop focusing on this years end. Almost all of the starters have faltered in one way or another this year.

I hope they are looking into other deals, as well. Anyone interested in Nixon? He's in the last year of his contract. He's not likely to re-sign with a team that picked up Wily Mo this year. Then there's Lopez. Varitek is close to coming back (I believe), but even so a minor leaguer can come up and cover for the rest of the year. Also, Foulke has an option for next year, but I'm not sure if it's been vested with all of his injury time. Timlin signed a one year contract, so he's also available. Would he be of interest to other clubs given his health issues and age?

Source: - Boston Red Sox: Wells talks focus on LA, San Diego

Wells, 43, has been pitching exceptionally well of late and is due to face Roy Halladay tonight at Fenway Park. However, with a deal seeming inevitable, the Sox yesterday scratched left-hander Lenny DiNardo from a scheduled start at Triple-A Pawtucket, making him available to pitch tonight.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Red Sox are packing it in

Half the team flew home before the game last night, including Ortiz, Ramirez, Pena and Wells. Only Wells had a non-medical reason, but he may not be on the team for much longer. Does it make sense for the Red Sox to look to the future? Based on their road trip, I would have to say yes. Actually, looking at the month of August makes you wonder why we had such high hopes for this team.

The Red Sox have gone 8-20 for the month of August.

With their current medical issues going team wide, I'd say it was time to say goodbye to Wells. Hello Kemp. - Boston Red Sox: Wells may go to Dodgers

The Sox are believed to have asked the Los Angeles Dodgers for 21-year-old outfielder Matt Kemp for Wells. Kemp batted .279 with seven homers and 21 RBI in 37 games with the Dodgers from May 28-July 14. He’s currently batting .349 with three homers in 42 games for Triple-A Las Vegas.
Wells must be traded by midnight tomorrow to be eligible for a team’s postseason roster.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Titles are important

With a title like this, you would expect there to be some stats backing up their list. - Pro Football's Cherished Myths

Pro Football's Cherished Myths
Ten sweeping statements for which there is no statistical defense

But there are none. Just more allegorical evidence, along with some misquotes from some of the people the article is supposedly naysaying.

Kind of strange, but given how badly the Red Sox have blown their latest road trip, its good to get into a football frame of mind.

Friday, August 25, 2006

How to throw deep

I learned something today. - N.E. Patriots: The art of throwing deep

“The idea when throwing deep is to get the ball to turn over,” he said. “You can tell the guys who are good at throwing the deep ball. When the ball (crests), it drops almost like it’s coming down on the receiver.
“When you say a ball sails, the trajectory is flat as it comes down. No matter how good you throw it, the ball has a trajectory the receiver can never catch up to.
“You need the ball to turn over, but it won’t if you don’t finish the throw. A lot of times when I was throwing it, I’d kind of stop my throwing motion and more or less guide the ball. Now I’m just throwing it, the ball turns over and drops, and hopefully, it drops into my receiver’s hands.
“There’s your dissertation on quarterbacking. Hopefully you guys learned something.”

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Win one, lose six

There's so much bad news coming out of the bullpen right now, it's hard to keep track. - Boston Red Sox: Sox’ prayers answered -- Losing streak ends with win over Halos

Lester (7-2) nearly had to be scratched from the start due to a sore lower back, but he managed to stick around for five innings, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks. He struck out two.

If Lester goes out with a bad back, who could they turn to? There's no one left to come back (except for DiNardo or Clement?) In other news, Wakefield has been deprived of pitching off the mound until he has no pain in his ribcage at all. So who knows when he'll be back.

But the good news is Foulke has been pitching and giving a welcome relief to the middle relievers. It's telling, however, that he was pulled and Papelbon was put in after giving up only one hit.

Well, it was still a good thing to see them win one game. Too bad they have to face up with Weaver tonight and Manny is having an MRI.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Patriots look for their players

Branch is still sitting out. I don't know about you, but I thought his holdout would be over by now. I assumed the Patriots would get a long term deal done with their star wide receiver. But it looks like both sides are waiting for the other to blink.

In the meantime, I'm already sick of all the articles on Seau. I know he's a big talker and he makes great copy, but enough is enough already. He hasn't even played, yet. He doesn't even know how he's going to play on this team. Let's wait and see what he can do.

I've also been left wondering about Harrison, but then, based on the stories about him today, so has he. No one knows when he'll be ready to see action again. At least he's practicing. But I don't like knowing he's so far behind in getting ready for the season. Yes, he's fit. But that's not the same thing.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How the Red Sox can get back in it.

With the Red Sox 6 1/2 games back and only 38 games left (Yankees have 39), I'm looking ahead today and seeing how the Red Sox can get back into the race. In other words, how many games do they need to win (and the Yankees have to win/lose)?

If the Red Sox win half of their remaining games (i.e. 19 games), the Yankees would have to lose 26 games of their remaining games (i.e. win 33% of their remaining games) for the Sox to get tied up. Here are the other possibilities:

Red Sox Wins
Ratio of wins (Red Sox)
Yankees Losses Ratio of Wins (Yankees)
19 50% 26 33%
23 60% 22 44%
27 70% 18 54%
30 80% 15 62%
34 90% 11 72%
38 100% 7

So, if the the Sox take 30 (80%) of their remaining games (a possibility, although I'm not very optimistic about that today) and the Yankees only take 62% (lose 14 of their remaining 39) of their remaining games, they can tie it back up.

I suppose that is possible, but the Sox would need to show more heart than they've shown so far this season.

Monday, August 21, 2006

That's that

Too many games back. That's the story for today. With a six game lead in the East, the Yankees can cruise to the finish line. It would take a massive collapse (similar to what the Red Sox just did) for Boston to catch up.

Oh well. Bring on football.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Wells to the rescue?

First, let me just say that I don't like Wells. I really wish he had retired and gotten on with his life. I don't think he's a big game pitcher anymore. I think he's out of shape, out of his mind, and he just isn't good for the Red Sox.

Having said that, it should come as no surprise to you that I disagree with the title from this Herald Story: - Boston Red Sox: All’s Wells -- Lefty handles Tigers; Sox avoid sweep

Wells, making just his sixth start in an injury-interrupted season, lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits, striking out three and walking only one.
"He just quieted things down a little bit," Sox manager Terry Francona said. "The magnitude of any game isn’t too big for him, and he just goes out and competes and throws what he throws for strikes. When he’s healthy enough to do it, he’s pretty good."

4 runs in 6 and 2/3 innings is not great. Admittedly, it was better than our other starters have done lately. But don't go around think David is now the savior. I give credit to the hitters for this win. 6 runs is what they needed and got from players like Ortiz and Crisp. Twice, the Sox had to come back in the game. Ortiz hit a homer to go up by two in the fifth. Crisp hit a double in the sixth to come back again.

So thank you, Crisp and Ortiz (honorable mention to Lowell). You handled those pesky Tigers. Not the other way around.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

It's depressing

It's always tough when your 1 and 2 pitchers lose two in a row. It's worse after losing five of six to TB and KC. It's too easy to fall back into the doom and gloom after a road series the Red Sox had.

I'm not sure the Red Sox are going to recover from losing Varitek. Their pitching staff seems to be in disarray. Beckett wasn't exactly the picture of consistency before Varitek got hurt, but it seems like all the quotes on Javy lately look a lot like the quotes about catching Wakefield at the beginning of the season. I hope it gets straightened out, but we'll have to wait and see.

The loss last night could have gone either way (hello, Wily Mo Errorless). It's the carryover that hurts.

If we take a look at what the Tigers have done, it should be be easy to see how the Red Sox could turn this skid around. After getting swept by the White Sox, the Tigers weren't intimidated to come to Boston. In fact, it looks more like they decided to sweep up the Red Sox to somehow make up for what happened to them (and given Wells pitching tonight, that becomes a distinct possibility).

And so, that's what I'm going to hope for. Somehow, the Sox take this beating and turn it around on their next opponents.

Did I mention the Yankees are coming to town?

Monday, August 14, 2006

One game out isn't good enough this year

I'm still convinced, despit Torontos nose dive, the wild card won't be coming out of the East this year. So, one game back is not the best place to be. One game up is.
Boston Red Sox, Major League Baseball - CBS

You are only one game behind the Yankees in the American League East race. Not a terrible position to reside at all. I believe they call that being in the thick of it. Yet all I hear from my Sox friends, from you Sox types, is how the world is coming to an end. We're dead, we're toast. We're dog meat. We're not going to win it.

Three games taken from Baltimore is great, but there are still nine games against the Yankees to worry about.

And I'm starting to believe the only help the Sox are going to get is from themselves (I really wish they'd picked up a middle reliever). So, live or die, this is the pitching staff the Sox have to go with. That ERA column doesn't exactly inspire joy in my heart.

38Curt SchillingSP25251450000723.89166.214922.268
19Josh BeckettSP24241360000864.92146.112046.246
18Jason M. JohnsonSP19193110000776.26102.04733.337
49Tim WakefieldSP1919780010624.14119.28043.233
62Jon LesterSP1313620000334.0972.25436.283
30Matt ClementSP1212550000506.6165.14338.291
55Lenny DiNardoSP75120000217.1125.11512.367
52Kyle SnyderP95320000276.2330.1289.331
16David WellsSP55120000226.2326.0135.354
60David PauleySP33020000147.8816.0106.419

Friday, August 11, 2006


That's what last night's game was. Just wasted. A strong outing from your ace just thrown away (again). And what's worse was how the Yankees lost, which gave the Red Sox a chance to catch up by one game.

Now they have to rely on Wells and (pitcher of the day's name here) to win against Baltimore before heading into the worst part of their schedule. Detroit followed by the Yankees followed by a road trip to anaheim, seattle, oakland and then back home to Toronto.

While I don't think the Red Sox are dead (2 games with 50 games left, how can that be the end of the season?), they have to start playing better. And I'm really looking forward to the Patriots pre-season to take my mind off of the situation at Fenway.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bruschi is likely out for six weeks

Ted Bruschi underwent surgery to insert a screw into his broken wrist yesterday. Despite Ted's hopes, he'll likely be sidelined for six weeks, so don't expect him to start that first game. - N.E. Patriots: Bruschi braces for yet another miracle return: Despite surgery, sets sights on Pats’ opener

According to Dr. Bill Morgan, head of the Bone and Joint Center at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and former Red Sox team physician, surgeries such as Bruschi’s usually require a minimum of six weeks to heal.
That would keep Bruschi sidelined until the third week of the season. However, a source yesterday indicated that Bruschi believes he can return in time to face the Bills in the regular-season opener on Sept. 10.
The Patriots on Tuesday announced he’ll miss the entire preseason.

Even if Teddy is ready for the first game, he may be a little bit rusty given he'll have missed the entire pre-season. The defensive depth just took a big hit and the season hasn't even started.

Hopefully, the Red Sox put it behind them

Let's make it clear about why last night's loss was a hard pill to swallow.

  1. Papelbon gave up two runs in the ninth inning to blow his second save in as many tries
  2. The KC Royals have the worst record in major league baseball
  3. It was the first walkoff victory for the Royals this season
  4. It's the first time I heard Papelbon give the "learning curve" speech
  5. The Red Sox have lost four in a row to Tampa Bay and KC
  6. The Red Sox fell another game behind the Yankees for the division

Let's make this clear, though. The only point above that matters is the last one. It doesn't matter who you lose to. It only matters that you have another loss. There's no such thing as momentum in baseball. Every day is different, every day you have two different pitchers. So, four losses in a row don't matter (even to teams with TB and KC record).

All that matters is the Red Sox are letting the lead the Yankees have in the division grow.

BTW, Curt Schilling put the starting pitchers on notice last night they need to do more:

    “There’s more
responsibility on the starting pitching staff right now than there has
been in the past,” he said. “And if we’re going to get into October,
we’re going to have to pitch our way there.”

before last night’s 5-4 loss, Schilling said, “You can call it
pressure, but I don’t know if it’s pressure, because, for me, it’s the
position I’m in in the rotation. I look at that as my responsibility
every time I’m out there. I’m supposed to throw more innings than the
other guys. I’m supposed to pitch deeper in the games. That’s how I

there needs to be a staff-wide urgency to do so. What you have to do,
though, is take that terminology and translate what it means for you.
Do you need to be doing more work between starts Do you need to be
doing more preparation between starts Do you need to be doing less off
the field between games All the little things that go into being as
good as you can possibly be on that fifth day. That is more important
now than it was three months ago when we were semi-healthy.”

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

And? What's your point, Tony?

Tony Massarotti would like you to know the offense is struggling: - Boston Red Sox: Sox hitting stats

Since the All-Star break, both Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz have held up their end of the bargain in keeping the Red Sox competitive. However, the rest of the lineup has struggled. Here’s a look at how bad it’s been:

AB: 93 R:19 H:31 2B: 6 3B:1 HR: 9 RBI:22 BB:14 SO: 22 Avg.:.333 SLG: .710
AB : 90 R: 17 H:32 2B: 7 3B: 0 HR: 7 RBI: 24BB: 11 SO: 13 Avg.: .356 SLG.: .667
AB : 183 R: 36 H: 63 2B: 13 3B: 1 HR: 16 RBI 46 BB: 25 SO: 35 Avg: .339 SLG: .677
AB : 660 R: 84 H: 174 2B: 42 3B: 2 HR: 14 RBI: 71BB: 58 SO: 131 Avg. .264 SLG: .395

So, what's your point? I'm not going to go out and get the numbers from other teams, but I would have to guess if you take out the top two hitters on any team in the league and compare there numbers, you'd get something that looks an awful lot like this. That's what Ortiz and Manny are paid to do. They aren't paid for their defensive skills.

The Red Sox are ranked (in the AL) second in runs and rbis, fourth in hits, 3rd in homeruns, and fifth in SLG. What more do you want from the offense? They also put a great defensive unit out there night after night, with only 40 E for the season. For perspective, the team ranked second is the Twins with 56 E.

It's not the pitching Tony, nor is it the defensive players holding the offense down in some way. It's the pitching.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I have to admit I was worried

I kept hearing how Papelbon had blown his fourth save this year, and I was wondering if being a rookie closer was finally getting to him. I was so worried, I had to go take a look at his numbers, and how he compares to other relievers in the league.

To say the least, I was reassured. His ERA increased to 0.64 after last night. He is 3-1 with 30 saves over 56.2 innings 49 games. He has 58 K with 10 BB.

I'm not sure you could ask any more of your closer. ;-)

BTW, Foulke may be reactivated as soon as Monday.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Catcher Time

This could be interesting. While I think Mirabelli is a good catcher who can handle the starting catchers role, picking up Lopez would be a great move for the Red Sox. He's certainly better than any other option they have in house. - Boston Red Sox: Varitek keeps positive outlook

The Sox are believed to be exploring a deal for Baltimore’s Javy Lopez, a poor defensive catcher who could clear waivers as soon as today. Another option would be to pursue a more defensively skilled catcher to work in a rotation with Mirabelli and, perhaps, Ken Huckaby.

Hopefully, the Sox take care of business over the next 10 days or so given what their opponents are going to look like after that. (Starting on August 14th, the Red Sox will be facing Detroit, NY, LA, Seattle, Oakland, Toronto and the White Sox). Hopefully they'll make a quick move to cover the catchers role so Lopez (or whoever) can get acquainted with the pitchers before those series begin.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bad news from Foxboro

The Patriots haven't talked to Deion for a week. While it's unlikely Branch would sit out the whole season, it's hard to get him onto the field unless you talk to his agent. This is the guy who the Patriots wanted so much they were willing to let Givens go. So what gives?

The Pats offered Branch a four year deal worth 19 million (loaded on the back end). Branch rejected the offer. Branch offered to come in on his 1.05 million dollar contract this year, as long as the Patriots agreed not to franchise him next year. The Pats rejected that offer. Now they aren't speaking to each other.

Bruschi may have fractured his wrist on Monday. Given how weak the secondary was last year, having injuries pop up this early into the 'season' is not a good sign. Hopefully, the Patriots have given a lot of thought into depth this year. Unfortunately, Biesel may be the only option at middle linebacker, with Vrabel as his backup? Either that or Vrabel has to come inside, but he's more suited to playing OLB.

Bruschi may have plenty of time to heal before the season starts, and playing hurt is practically a byline for all players. But having a weakened wrist is not a good thing for any football player.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lack of moves

There's been a lot of debate on how the Red Sox did not make any moves and whether that's a good thing or not. The biggest rumors (being discounted now in Atlanta, btw) revolved around Andruw Jones for Lester, Hansen and Crisp. And then a possible move of Jones for Oswalt.

I would say that if the Red Sox could have swung the whole deal to get Roy Oswalt, I would have been very happy with the trade. Anything short of that and we would have been giving up way too much.

The Sox are third in offensive output. They don't need another bat. They are short on pitching at the end of the rotation (point in case, Wells last night). I was excited about how Snyder pitched so well, though. 4.1 innings and one hit makes him the hero of the game, although Ortiz got all the glory.

And please don't read that as any disrespect to David, of course. His 12th walk off hit/home run was just what the Sox needed to pick them up out of their mini-slump.

But in the long run, Kyle Snyder's long relief may be of more importance. The starting pitchers don't seem to be lasting as long as they need to, so any long relief is good to see.

BTW, I'm not (all that) upset about Abreu going to the Yankees. I hate seeing them pick up anyone for so little. But another bat in that power line-up isn't going to make a huge impact. If they had picked up a big pitcher (Lidle may benefit from the run support, but the Yankees probably aren't any better for having him), then I'd be upset.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Why they should start Wells earlier rather than later

What it comes down to is motivation. There are two things that could motivate Wells to play well.

1) Pride
Wells has stopped speaking to the print media this year. An unusual move by such a prolific mouth, Wells was motivated through pride. He felt they weren't giving him enough credit and it's only gotten worse as the year went along (all those stints on the DL didn't improve the writers opinions for some reason).

Also, this is probably Wells last year pitching and he may be motivated to make a statement about his career as a whole by going out with a bang. Helping the Red Sox reach the promised land once again would certainly end his career on a high note.

2) Competition
Wells has a reputation for being a big game pitcher. While that 'big game' clutch performance has been missing recently, it's certainly a motivating factor in his makeup. Wells likes to compete, likes to go out there and put it on the line.

3) Money
This is probably the biggest factor of all. His contract was written with all sorts of performance clauses, including a minimum number of games started. By getting him out there now, rather than a week later, David has a chance of hitting that number plus getting a couple of games at the $200K range. - Boston Red Sox: All could be very Wells: Sox lefty nears return

Convinced that David Wells is ready to face major-league hitters, the Red Sox have all but settled on activating the veteran left-hander from the disabled list early next week rather than send him out on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wells is ready to go?

I hate to agree, but if Wells is ready, let's throw him out there. He can't be any worse than the other starters by committee. - Boston Red Sox: Wells simulates success: Lefty passes test; decision due

Forget the rehab outing, start David Wells right now.
That’s the sentiment of the Red Sox hitters who faced the veteran left-hander during his five impressive innings under simulated game conditions yesterday at McAfee Coliseum. The team is pondering whether to have Wells throw another similar outing or head to the minors over the weekend for a rehab start.

And you know I mean it given how I feel about Wells. That's how much the Red Sox need another starter. Beckett and Schilling (and isn't it nice to add Beckett to the list of reliable starters... I mean two starts in a row he's mowed'em down) need the help. So do the relievers.

But most likely, we won't see Wells until August 3rd.  He'll probably get a start in AAA, then move on up.

BTW, my prediction for trades involving the Red Sox is for middle relief. With the added strain of backing up pitchers who are only going five or six innings at a time, Theo should be expecting some injuries in the middle relief corps. I hope he is, anyways.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ty Law goes to KC

I'm sorry, but I just don't understand. Yes, he played well last year for a lousy team. But keep in mind that he got all those interceptions by being targeted by the opposing quarterbacks.

At 32, he's not going to get any better and that's the end of his story with the Patriots.

BTW, please don't read this as saying I dislike Ty Law or feel that he's not a good player. He just isn't marquee anymore. - N.E. Patriots: Kansas City yanks Law out of New England’s grasp

“It got to a number where we were comfortable and they were comfortable,” Chiefs president Carl Peterson told the Kansas City Star. “Hopefully, he will be well worth the effort.”

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Beckett deal is a good idea

I'm not convinced Josh is our 'ace' of the future, however. He's getting a good deal for the next three years, the Sox aren't paying too much for a starting pitcher, he's only six months older than Papelbon. All signs are good for this deal.

Source:Boston Red Sox - Red Sox give Beckett three-year extension -

"He threw the ball so well, I think Theo just gave him a three-year deal," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said in his postgame meeting with the media.

After reporters chuckled, he added: "No, I'm serious."

But after Schilling is done (and he's already said he's done at the end of this contract), I'm not convinced Beckett is going to be our ace going forward. If nothing else, the Red Sox need to find a co-ace to run with him. Either by from inside (Papelbon becomes a starter, perhaps) or from outside in a trade.

I don't see anyone on the horizon to become that co-ace from outside right now, but with another year to worry about it, I believe Theo Epstein will find someone.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The more I think about it, the more I worry

The more I think about what Wakefield means to this rotation, the more I worry about his injury. If he can't come back to pitch soon, the Red Sox will replace him in the rotation with Johnson. Add Snyder and Wells to the mix and what have you got?

Two or three starters pitching fewer innings.

Which means the relief pitchers are going to be pitching a lot more.

Which is going to put a lot of strain on the other starters (Schilling, Beckett and Lester) to pitch more innings when they go out there.

Which is just going to overload the whole system as the second half moves into what will most likely be a closely contested three-way race.

Which is why I'm worried. - Boston Red Sox: Sox put Wakefield on hold

Tim Wakefield underwent a battery of tests yesterday, including CAT and bone scans, to try to get a better grasp on why his strained back has not improved.
Further review of the tests will be conducted, probably today, as the team tries to figure out if he will make his next start on Saturday, or go on the disabled list.
"We are trying to buy Wake some time to see how he bounces back," said manager Terry Francona. "We don’t have to do anything. We would like to give him some time to see how he reacts, then we will go from there."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wondered about DiNardo lately?

It's not looking good. Take a look at the following link to see how Lenny is doing these days.

Boston Red Sox Nation: DiNardo’s Days of Uncertainty

Just when the Sox need him most, Lenny DiNardo’s future is as murky as it ever was.

Wake out, Wells in?

This is not good news for Red Sox nation. Replacing Wakefield with Wells isn't a good idea, but it's not like they have a choice. I would have been happy with Wells pitching in the fifth hole.

But having Wells come back just in time to replace an ailing Wakefield while fortunate in one way (where else are they going to find a pitcher) just doesn't fill me with confidence. Wakefield is our no 3 pitcher. He's been reliable and he usually pitches a lot of innings. Wells is neither.

Well, at least we still get to play the Royals tonight.

Monday, July 17, 2006

At the end of they day

It's all about us. - Boston Red Sox: Rite of summer’s here - Yankees creep back in

"We have a very strong division, but it’s about us," Varitek said. "We have to play well, and when we play well we can get this team back on a roll."

And that's the simple truth. The Red Sox, not the Yankees or the Blue Jays, are the team to beat in the AL East. With very few holes in their defense, strong hitting for the most part, an incredible closer with a very reliable ace, the Sox may only be a half game up, but I'm not (very) worried.

Yes, the Yankees and the Blue Jays are both strong teams. But they're also very flawed teams, with very little chance of going all the way this year. The Red Sox are one pitcher away (Josh Beckett, anyone) from being able to put this team out in front.

So despite losing 3 of 4 to Oakland, I was very encouraged by three things. One, the Royals are next on the list. Two, Schilling shut the As down completely and three, Wakefield is doing well enough that he's starting tonight.

For a Monday, I'm awfully optimistic.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Injury Updates

According to Gasper on the Globe staff, Clement wil be throwing at 60 feet today. Wells may be throwing a side session as early as this week. Foulke is ???. Pena is stuck in AAA since the Red Sox now have too many outfielders. DiNardo was placed on the 60 day DL, but will rehab at Pawtucket tomorrow.

If Pena comes back up, Harris may have to move out.

Source: Cameo for Breslow - Extra Bases -

Given the Red Sox injury woes and tendency lately to pitch in extra innings, I'm glad they have another pitcher in pen (Breslow). He may be a placeholder until they recall Snyder to pitch against KC on Monday, but I don't want the Sox relievers to get worn down the first week into the second half.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wily Mo Pena and the fifth starter

Remember him? He should be activated off of the DL today. Also, Kyle Snyder may be coming back to Boston, now that Jason has been sent back down.

Are we ever going to have a fifth starter? Given that there are no real options out there for trades, it looks like Clement or Wells need to recover somehow for the Sox to get someone to fill in. While not urgent (I'm sure every team in the league wishes they had stability in their fifth starter), the Sox are one more line drive off an elbow from this team going from the playoffs to going home.

Without a real no. 2 starter, that fifth hole becomes more important. With the issues Wakefield has been having, it becomes more urgent. If Lester hadn't shown us what he can do, it would be an outright emergency.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Selig tries to shame Manny for not going to all-star game

But, really, has that ever worked before? Owners, teammates, fans, talk show hosts, all have taken shots at Manny for one reason or another. And what effect has it had on him? None. He still jogs to first when he knows he's going to be out. I mean, he even has his own catch phrase, "That's just Manny being Manny".

And Selig thinks he can shame him? Focus on your own problems and let the players focus on theirs. - Boston Red Sox: Selig blasts Ramirez for bailing out

Speaking at a noontime luncheon hosted by the Baseball Writers Association of America, Selig said, “Look, maybe I’m old-fashioned, you’re voted onto the All-Star team, it’s a privilege. You ought to be here.”

The Red Sox cited an injury to Ramirez’ right knee as his reason for sitting out the game. But Selig pointed out that other players unable to play last night, such as pitcher Tom Glavine and shortstop Jose Reyes, both of the Mets, made the trip to Pittsburgh to take part in the festivities.

“The only thing I want to say in all fairness is that he’s the only player we had that problem with this year,” Selig said of Ramirez. “Everybody else has been terrific. Tommy Glavine does the right thing. He comes anyway. Of course he can’t pitch, but he comes anyway. And Reyes is also here and he can’t (play). But he’s here. This is an honor.

“Do you know how many people in life would give, would run through a brick wall to have this kind of honor?”

Selig then added, “I need a vacation too, but . . .”

In the meantime, it's been reported that Manny may have a torn cartilage in his right knee, but he can still play for the season. It looks like Manny may have a legitimate excuse this year for sitting games out when he wants to. The Red Sox won't confirm the injury, though.

In other all-star news, Curt Schilling was invited at the last second to join the festivities, but ... “I got a call (Monday) asking me to be part of the team at 11 o’clock in the morning. They asked me to replace people for the same reason they said I didn’t get picked, which really kind of bothered me a little bit,” Schilling said during his weekly call-in on WEEI-AM yesterday. “It wasn’t something I felt right about.”

Schilling may be a little worried about his elbow after taking a big hit from a line drive off of Jim Thome's bat.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Talk today is about Manny

If Manny doesn't go to the All-Star game, is that really a problem for everyone? Yes, he was the top vote getter, but so? It's an exhibition game.

Just because MLB says 'it counts' this year, doesn't make it true. Home field advantage to the winning division is nice, but not really a big deal.

With a line-up like they have for the AL team, even if Manny showed up, would he really make a difference?

For my part, I hope he stays home and gets some rest. His team will need him in the second half, just as they did in the first. Without a true 5th batter, numbers 3 and 4 (Ortiz and Manny) have to carry most of the offensive weight on their shoulders. That can really put a strain on the body.

And without a true number two starting pitcher, their offense is going to be needed even more. Toronto and NY are not going to go away. This will be a close race right up to the finish and I doubt the wild card is going to come from the East this year. Somebody is going to stay home.

So, I hope Manny stays home and rests up. Frankly, I wish Ortiz would do the same, but at least he's having fun so far.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Is the game over, yet?

That was such a long game, and I'm glad I wasn't playing in it. It's a good thing they have three days to rest and, to be honest, I wouldn't want to go play in the All-Star game. Ortiz is already having nightmares about being late to the ballpark, I can't imagine what he's going to be like after that marathon game, followed by the home run derby tonight!

This race around the world reminds me of the tail end of last year when the Red Sox just got worn out trying to make up all of their missed games. Hopefully, the second half goes a little smoother.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Makes sense to me

Sometimes its easy to forget how different the big leagues is from AAA. When Jon Lester pitched last year in Portland, he threw a career high 148 innings. He's already thrown 73 innings this year.

And so the Red Sox, wisely in my opinion, have pushed back his start after the all-star break. He'll be pitching (most likely) on July 16th on eight days rest after starting tomorrow night against Chicago. Wakefield will start the second half, followed by Beckett and Schilling.

The only down side I can see is a lack of rhythm for the rookie, but this first game back won't be as important as how he fares at the end of the season. So, relax and enjoy, I say.

Source: - Boston Red Sox: Lester will get extra break time

Friday, June 30, 2006

That is amazing

Not only have they won 12 in a row, an amazing feat in the game of baseball, but now the Sox have tied the major league record for consecutive errorless games.

Who would have ever thought the Red Sox, of all teams, could do that? - Boston Red Sox: E’s now are silent

Whatever record it is? In playing baseball’s version of The Perfect Game, the Sox last night tied the major league record for consecutive errorless games. Entering tonight’s weekend series opener against the Florida Marlins in Miami, the Sox have played 16 straight games without an error. At this point of the season, the Sox’ 23 errors are the fewest by any team since such defensive data was first kept in 1960.

Matt Stone of the Herald (link above) has a real nice photo of Crisps incredible catch in the eighth.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Celtics futures are looking up

Making a trade for both a legitimate point guard and a center is big news for Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

“We think that he is probably the most ready of all the young point guards that were in the draft,” Ainge said. “He’s the same age as most of those guys (21), and he’s got (2,971) minutes under his belt.”

They also managed to get out from under their worst contract, that of LaFrentz. They will be paying Ratliff for two years at $11.7 million, but LaFrentz was due $12.2 million for three years.

And best of all, they didn't have to give up on Jefferson et al to do it. - Boston Celtics: Celtics point at Telfair -- Send pick to Portland for PG, Ratliff

The Herald is still reporting a possible deal for Iverson is still in the works. (blechhh... Have they learned nothing from the Patriots about character?)

Thankfully, we can move on now

I'm just tired of hearing about Pedro. Are we going to boo/cheer him? Lose/win to him? Was it a good/bad deal?

I know Pedro is a great pitcher. I know he has injury issues. I thought the Sox were making sense when they only wanted to pay him for three years, not four. And as for whether or not we cheered him or booed him, I couldn't have cared less. He's on the Mets, now. I thank him for his help in winning the World Series, but it's time to move on and try to win another one. Not focus on what happened two years ago.

When Pedro retires and comes back for a fan day, that's when I'll care.

Right now, the Red Sox are trying to continue a great streak (11 wins!). Josh Beckett needs to pitch like the number two he's supposed to be (which he did last night, but not under a lot of pressure). This is what we should be focusing on.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

That's right, don't pitch to Papi

After all, it's only Manny Ramirez waiting in line to stride to the plate. The future hall-of-famer?

In case you forgot: Manny's awards:
1999 AL Hank Aaron Award;AL RBI Leader
2002 AL Batting Champion
2004 AL Hank Aaron Award;World Series MVP;AL Home Run Champion

Manny has hit over 100 RBI's each season since 1998.

Did we mention the slow start he's had this season? That's right, he only has 51 RBIs so far this year.

Ramirez has also hit 20 homers for the 12th consecutive year (including this year) and has 455 in his career, passing Thome, who had 454, for 28th place.

And you (John Tomase) think they should have walked Ortiz to load the bases to get to Manny?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Papi and Papelbon

The walk-off HR by Ortiz was just another in a long line of unbelievably clutch winning plays. He just seems to radiate confidence and I knew when he stepped into the batters box, the game was over.

And Papelbon has just been incredible so far. You knew that as long as he was in the game long enough to get Ortiz back to the plate, the Red Sox were going to win.

Throw in Curt Schilling and, oh by the way that other guy Manny Ramirez, and you have a playoff team.

I'm not (too) worried about who's going to pitch in the fifth spot. The third spot belongs to Wakefield, and you know what you're going to get with him. Hopefully, that knuckleball will be dancing come playoff time. Add in the (arguable by someone I'm sure) best defensive team the Red Sox have had in decades, and this should be a great team.

But it's not.

Josh Beckett has to step up and be the number two starter they hired him to be. Otherwise, the rest of this stuff is just for show. You need two aces and a closer to win come playoff time. Without it...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lester was impressive

So, let's hope he's up here to stay now. I know he's only beaten the Nationals and the Braves and so our enthusiasm should be tempered a little bit by reality. But Lester is certainly capable enough to handle being the fourth starter.

As for the fifth starter, it looks like the next pitcher to be named is Jason Johnson. Kyle Snyder was optioned to AAA after last night's game in order to make room for Jason. Kyle was effective enough in his one start, but it looks like the Red Sox are willing to keep on looking for the 'lightning strike'.

Jason Johnson was acquired for cash or a player to be named later from the Cleveland Indians. His record is unimpressive, but the Sox are just hoping he can play well (or Snyder can) for about half a season or so, in the hopes that Clement, Wells or DiNardo show up in the park once again.

A veteran of all or part of 10 major league seasons with Pittsburgh (1997), Tampa Bay (1998), Baltimore (1999-2003), Detroit (2004-05) and Cleveland (2006), Johnson has made 32 starts or more in four of the last five campaigns and is a two-time 10-game winner with Baltimore in 2001 and 2003. He is 55-94 with a 4.95 ERA in 229 major league appearances, 213 as a starter.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder has won at least eight games in each of the last three seasons, including an 8-13 record with a 4.54 ERA in 33 starts for Detroit last year, matching his career high in starts (2004) and setting a career best with 210.0 innings. The Santa Barbara, CA native led the Tigers pitching staff with 19 quality starts and worked at least six innings in 25 starts.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

HGH comes to Boston

In the form of one Paxton Crawford, of all people. He's admitted to using HGH in Boston according the ESPN the Magazine.

Crawford comes clean - Extra Bases -

In a piece he wrote for this week’s ESPN The Magazine (subscription required to read), Crawford admitted to using steroids and HGH while with Boston from 2000-01. Check out a few of his comments, which also seem to shed a controversial light on the Sox clubhouse at that time.

“During minor league spring training with the Red Sox in 1999, some of the other guys saw I was hurting,” he writes. “They told me that if I took this stuff, it would make the pain go away and cut my recovery time in half. Shoot, why not? I'm just a country boy; I didn't even think twice.

All Star Voting

I think voting for the all stars is a good thing. It keeps club and media politics in perspective and allows the fans a chance to vote for the players who they want to see on this (not so important) day. But sometimes the voting just doesn't make any sense at all. I realize that some fans vote for 'their' players just because they are on their team. But let's be a little bit realistic about this.

Here's the current voting for outfielders in the American League.
1. Vladimir Guerrero, Angels 1,518,276
2. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox 1,477,626
3. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners 996,148
4. Johnny Damon, Yankees 956,595
5. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays 752,422
6. Jermaine Dye, White Sox 598,441
7. Gary Sheffield, Yankees 535,564
8. Torii Hunter, Twins 509,722
9. Scott Podsednik, White Sox 508,210
10. Coco Crisp, Red Sox 481,612
11. Trot Nixon, Red Sox 437,693
12. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers 427,319
13. Hideki Matsui, Yankees 425,894
14. Grady Sizemore, Indians 392,102
15. Jonny Gomes, Devil Rays 272,381

Notice something stragne about the voting? Specifically about Red Sox players? And no, I'm not talking about Manny Ramirez. He's a perennial All-Star caliber player and even with a slow start, he deserves to be near the top.

No, I'm talking about Coco Crisp at number 10 and Trot Nixon at number 11. I understand why they're there, but this is ridiculous. Despite being a Red Sox fan, I'm not blind to reality, either. And neither of these players deserve to be anywhere near this list.

I realize that the Yankees and Red Sox have a great fan base who tend to vote more because they are more involved in their teams. But please go vote for the best players who deserve to be on this list. Just be a little bit realistic.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thank you Snyder

Thank you very much Snyder. You helped us get one game done. Maybe even a second game on the will be in your future, after that? - Boston Red Sox: Sox swat Nats -- KC castoff Snyder makes mark in debut

Snyder helped shore up a thinning rotation, and as homestand openers and Red Sox debuts go, he had himself quite a solid evening.
As for the unusual suspects who came in to relieve him - Jermaine Van Buren, Javier Lopez, Rudy Seanez and Mike Timlin - there’s an extra donut and coffee for anyone who could have projected that cast of characters would combine on four scoreless innings of relief.

I think I'm happier about Manny's homerun. His average is .216 for the month of June, after tearing it up in May (.333 with 9 HR and a slugging percentage of .714), I'm hoping that whatever ailment is bothering him (hamstring, knee, etc...) will fade and he'll come back to dominate.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Don't get too excited

It's nice that they swept the Braves, no matter how hard they had to work at it in the end. They should beat them, and beat them handily. But when all is said and done, you need to take a look at the teams who they are 'really' competing against.

A win against the Yankees, Rangers, Phillies, or Blue Jays means more than a win against the Braves because they are the teams (the Red Sox have played) who are currently over 500.

And right now, the Red Sox are only 15-17 against them. They are 24-8 against teams under 500.

Which means they are better than the (current) bottom dwellers, but middle of the road when it comes to those who are leading the pack. And that just isn't good enough to make me feel comfortable.

BTW, in case you don't recognize him on the mound tonight, Kyle Snyder will be your starting pitcher. He was waived by the KC Royals (yes, that's right, the Royals didn't want him any more) and picked up by the Red Sox in what can only be described as a move of desparation to cover for the ailing Matt Clements. He may even start twice for the Red Sox, given their schedule.

Kyle's numbers:


I suppose I shouldn't be that critical, however. Snyder was a first-round draft choice in 1999 and has worked with Al Nipper before. He did have shoulder surgery last year and hasn't quite recovered since, however. He was 1-3 in 13 games (three starts) for the Royals in 2005. He also was 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA for Triple-A Omaha.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Red Sox re-acquire Lopez

Yesterday, the Boston Red Sox re-acquired lefty Javier Lopez in a trade with the Chicago White Sox. They sent David Riske.

Lopez is 2-1 with 0.55 ERA with 12 saves this year. He's also managed to hold lefties to .171 batting average. A fourth round selection of Arizona in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, Lopez was picked by Boston in the Rule 5 Major League Draft in December 2002. The Red Sox traded Lopez to Colorado in March 2003. The Red Sox chose to keep another lefty, Matt White. They traded for Ryan Cameron, who is no longer in the organization.

Before you get too excited, take a gander at his major league numbers. It's not exactly the most exciting.

Major League Career6-46.0917103115.112979784972

He also made his debut last night, giving up an RBI single to Torii Hunter.

BTW, Ortiz long ball into the grandstands being stopped by a speaker is just plain awful. But the whole team should have played better in the first place. Losing a game doesn't happen on one pitch, one hit, or one speaker.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Red Sox better get their pitching act together

According to Tavarez (in the Herald) he's getting frustrated with his inconsistency. "This very frustrating. It'’s tough to face your teammates, losing a game like that, it'’s tough to sleep, especially after everyone else went out and did the job," Tavarez said. "It'’s tough to face Schilling, (Jonathan) Papelbon, and Mike Timlin, who went out and pitched so well. They worked hard to keep the game at 2-1. For me to go out there and not get the job done is really frustrating. It'’s been like that since the first day. I've been very inconsistent."

But then, that's been the story with the Red Sox pitching this year. Go down the line and except for Papelbon, every pitcher on the Red Sox has had some inconsistency. Some (Matt Clement) have just been downright awful, but most have just had up and down seasons so far.

Schilling: Despite his 9-2 record, Schilling had a down point this season. He seems to have figured it out and has been doing his job as ace since, though.

Beckett: Nothing but up and down. He's supposed to be 1b in this pitching rotation, and his record reflects that at 7-3, but he's also had games where he only lasted 3.2, 4.2 and 5 innings. That's not good enough to cover for a bullpen that just isn't very deep.

Wakefield: His record doesn't reflect the great start he had because he lacked run support. But in the month of May, he struggled and his ERA rose to 4.57. But just as he seemed to be getting that elusive knuckleball back, he's gone on the DL.

Wells and Clement have been more than just disappointing. They'be been just awful. It may be time for both of them to retire.

DiNardo, Lester and Pauley at least have the excuse of inexperience, but with ERA's of 7.11, 6.23, and 7.88 and a combined record of 1-4, they haven't been a lot of help.

Timlin, Foulke and Papelbon were the only bright spots in the bullpen, but now Timlin is on the DL with a dead arm (blamed on the Baseball Classic) and Foulke has tendonitis.

Despite that, the Red Sox are 36-27 and only one game back behind the Yankees (27-26). But if the pitchers don't get their act together, don't expect Toronto (36-29) to sit patiently behind them.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Memo to those who are bashing Tito

Not that I like to defend the Tito's moves, but who else was there? If Timlin couldn't pitch a second inning coming off the DL, then the Sox run out of options quickly.

Papelbon had already gone for two innings, then Timlin. After that, there just isn't much left in the bullpen.

There's Tavarez, Seanez, and Riske (Foulke went on the DL, not that you would want him out there right now, anyways). Which one of these do you want to see out there? Seanez may have been the best option, but he gave up 2 ER in his last outing.

The best option would be to bring up (and keep) Hansen and and the other kids. Let them get some big league time in. We're going to need them at the end of the season, not these others. But the kids weren't there on the bench last night.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Deion Branch a hold out

Deion is holding out on both the charitable golf tournament yesterday and the three-day minicamp starting today.

In the middle of his contract extension talks, it seems he wants to send a message to management. Unfortunately, this move makes it look he hasn't been paying attention this offseason to what management was saying to him.

The Patriots let Givens walk out because they wanted to give more to Branch. Maybe he should keep that in mind before he gets too entrenched.

Also, Branch should look a little more closely at what Seymour did in his 'holdout' last year. Yes, he didn't go to the mini-camp, but he did show up at other team functions, making sure his fans, teammates and coaches knew it wasn't personal.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Mixed Results

But Pauley is being sent down today. And it was nice to see him. Sometimes we fans get so wrapped up in the big league (or those who are in AAA) that we forget about the kids struggling to make it happen. I just hope he doesn't lose faith based on his outings.


Those aren't horrible numbers (especially th game in NY) for someone who was jumped two grades to play in the bigs.

"I saw what it takes to stay here," Pauley told the Boston Herald. "I have to go down and work on getting better so that I can get back here."

And it was a good thing for the Red Sox, too. With all their injury woes, they needed someone to pitch a few innings and they got it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lester could have done better

But that's alright with me. I'm just glad he's here and pitching. Besides, Texas has a great hitting line up (I can't imagine how it's worse than facing New York, though... maybe it was a crowd issue?). In a few weeks, after he's pitched in about five games, we'll evaluate how he's doing.

What I'm more surprised about is the Red Sox keeping Pauley up as well. I thought he'd be done and back to AA by now, but it seems that Clement's shoulder is keeping David's dream alive.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The big question

Is the Sox pitching good enough to get the Red Sox into the playoffs this year? Right now, I'd have to say yes, but it seems that not everyone is as confident as I am. And for good reason.

Despite strong starts from Schilling (going for his 9th win), Wakefield (record is suffering from lack of hitting during his games), and Beckett (up and down, but for the most part up) and having the best (arguably) closer in the game right now in Papelbon (19 of 19 save opportunities), the Red Sox are ranked 19th in team ERA and 13th for opponents batting avg.

The Sox best starter, Schilling, has an ERA of 3.89, putting him 43rd for pitchers in MLB. The Yankees have a team ERA of 4.15, helped a great deal by Mussinas 2.42 ERA.

Opponents are currently batting .264 against the Red Sox. The Yankees have kept their opponents avg at .254. placing them in 7th.

And we make fun of the Yankees pitchers. We've enjoyed Randy Johnson's struggles, and asked why the Yankees, despite their rotation and injury woes, did not offer Clemens the 'family clause'. What does that say about our own rotation?

But, as I said before, I believe the pitching staff is good enough to get the Sox into the playoffs. With their offense and defense helping out (just ask Pauley how he feels about the defensive upgrades this year), their chances are very good.

But then again, the Yankees are currently 3rd in offensive team batting avg, while we're ranked fourth.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Did he just say what I think he said?

Bronson is doing well in Cincinnati, obviously. And now you can even find him in a Ford Commercial.

If he really is saying what I think he's saying, don't play this one at work!
SawxBlog: Bronson Arroyo - Ford Commercial

Bronson's obviously doing O.K. in Cinci...when are we going to start seeing Wily Mo on NESN commercials?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It's getting harder to justify the trade

I admit it, I don't know who David Pauley is. But then, I would bet that 97% of the Boston Red Sox fanbase has no idea who David Pauley is, either. But that's who is going to start tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays.

David Wells is going back onto the DL with a knee contusion after being hit in the knee in his rehab appearance. Most expected Abe Alvarez to come back up and pitch in his place. But it seems that since Abe was sent down less than 10 days ago, he can't come back up, yet. And so, David Pauley (do you know who he is, yet?) will be heading to Toronto to stop a two game slide for the Red Sox.

Who is David Pauley?
David Pauley is currently in the starting rotation for the Portland Seadogs (AA). He is a 22 year old who is 2-3 with a 2.39 ERA for Portland this year. He pitches right, btw. He was acquired from the Padres in the Dave Roberts-Jay Payton trade back in December, 2004. (Have you ever wondered who the 'player to be named later' was?) He has never pitched in a big league game, but he is taking heart in his three starts back in spring training (0-2, 8.18 ERA).

Who knows
Maybe having an unknown pitcher will be good for the Sox. Having never seen a pitcher before can be very detrimental to big league pitchers these days. They all study film and learn the habits of who they are facing each night. They learn their pitches and their tendencies before stepping up to the plate. So, hopefully, David will do well tonight, giving the bullpen a chance to rest a little bit.

But the trade for Bronson is looking worse and worse as time goes on. I would rather wait a few years to evaluate the trade. After all, that's why we traded for Wily Mo. Theo was looking for a big bat for next year and the year after. But if the Sox pitching woes continue all year long...

Source: BostonHerald story on David Pauley