Friday, June 24, 2005


Sox win, O's lose to the Braves, Pedro and the Mets beat the Yankees in the Bronx. A great night for baseball. That is if you're a Red Sox, Braves, or Mets fan.

Is it safe to say Tim Wakefield is on one of those runs when he is practically unhittable? He hasn't given up an earned run in his last 22 innings pitched. The Phillies were fooled by Wake's knuckle ball and Lieber's profinity for giving up the long ball was demonstrated very well.

Doug Mirabelli showed once again that he is perhaps the best backup catcher in baseball. Re-signing him last off season may have been one of the best subtle decisions Theo made. He is great at catching Wakefield. Wake started this run in a start against the Cubs that was Mirabelli's first start since coming off the DL. He can hit too. He can hit very well. And giving Varitek every 5th game off really seems to keep Tek fresh and may be part of the reason why Varitek has been able to hit so well.

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are tearing it up 2003 style. A homerun from each tonight. Both played the field pretty well. Ortiz is definately a serviceable first basemen in the few interleague games we play. I wouldn't want him there every day but he isn't the crappy first baseman that Tim McCarver and Joe Buck made him out to be during the World Series.

The Man of the Game is easily Tim Wakefield. He went 8 innings allowing no runs, 2 hits, and 2 walks. He struck out 6 and went 1 for 2 at the plate with a single and a nice sacrifice bunt.

Someone posted a comment about the Sox not being in an extra inning game all season. The previous record for consecutive games to start a season without extra innings was 69 set by the 2002 White Sox. The Sox have gone 72. The record for most consecutive non-extra inning games in a season is 128 and was set by the 1936 St. Louis Browns (now the Orioles.) I didn't do any legitimate research on this topic, I just happened upon it in this Boston Globe article. Francona bad mouthing Philly cheese-steaks is kind of funny. I never saw the big deal with them. Mixing beef with cheese doesn't seem like much of an innovation. Now Buffalo wings, that's a great concept with that sauce. Plus they're versatile. You can have 3 for a snack or 18 for a big meal.

The Orioles pitching struggles continued as they lost 7-5 to the Atlanta Braves. The Red Sox are 1/2 game ahead of them. This is the first time all season that the Red Sox are in first place.


After dumping 3 of 4 to the lowly D-Rays, the Yankees struggles continued. Pedro went 8 innings, and allowed only 2 runs off 6 hits and 2 walks. He only struck out 3 but he kept his pitch count down and handed it over to the bullpen in the 9th. Then the bullpen nearly handed it over to the Yankees.

Just a random thought I had:
Those Philly ball girls were pretty cute. Perhaps the Red Sox should look into giving shorts for the ball girls to wear in the summer. I just want them to be comfortable sitting in the summer heat. It's not like I wanna see some more skin. *Wink suggestively*


The Red Sox go to play the Philadelphia Phillies at their new stadium. Besides PETCO Park in San Diego, which the Red Sox ownership had helped get built, the Red Sox have played in every ballpark in the Majors. The Phillies are 2nd in the competetive NL East, 3.5 games behind Washington. They're 39-34.

The Red Sox come into this series having won 9 of their last 10 while the Phillies are 4-6 in their last 10. The Phillies have been a very streaky team lately and have been able to consistently beat up on bad teams in the NL which is why they are where they are.

The Red Sox have the best offense in baseball in terms of runs scored with 394 (5.5 runs a game). They just scored 23 in 3 games off what had been statistically the best pitching staff in the AL, the Cleveland Indians. The Phillies have scored 348 runs (4.8 runs a game). That is the big difference between these teams and might be a result of the pitcher batting.

Here are the pitching matchups:

Game 1 - Tim Wakefield vs. Jon Lieber
Lieber is one of many players in baseball who were "tried out" by the NY Yankees but who were never good enough or enough of an expensive star to make it with the Yanks. Wakefield has been a somewhat inconsistent starter this season and is a candidate for the bullpen when Schilling returns due mostly to his versatility.

Lieber has 8 wins, but his other numbers are not very good. His ERA is 4.63, his WHIP is 1.31, he's only thrown 90.8 pitches a game (this tells you that he sometimes can't go deep into games), opponents are batting a healthy .277, he's lost 6 times, and he's allowed 20 homeruns. It's supposed to be warm in Philly this weekend so I think the baseball might be doing a good deal of flying.

Lieber is coming off a start in which he went 5.1 innings, allowing 4 earned runs. But in the start before, he allowed 3 runs in 8 innings. Most of his great starts came in April (not surprising as less homers are hit in the colder months) when he had 3 8 inning outings.

The Red Sox have seen Lieber quite a bit for an NL pitcher. Overrall they're 66 for 198 (.333) with 12 doubles, 2 triples, and 6 homeruns. Edgar Renteria is 16 for 54 against him (.296) with 2 doubles and a homerun. Billy Mueller is a very nice 15 for 31 (.484) with 3 doubles and a homerun. Millar is 9 for 21 (.429) with 4 extra basehits. This might have been a good game to give Millar a start in RF instead of Wednesday. If he doesn't start, he should be a pinch hitter against Lieber is necesarry. Another pinch hitting candidate could be Olerud who is 8 for 16 against Lieber. David Ortiz is 4 for 10 with 2 HRs. Mirabelli is 3 for 8, while Varitek is 0 for 5 so this could be a perfect day to give Tek a day off. The news isn't all good though. Damon is 2 for 15 and Manny is only 1 for 11. I think Francona should consider giving Damon, who has been bruised and beaten by a buffet of injuries, another day off. Then move Trot to CF and put Millar in RF to get his bat in there against Lieber.

Wakefield has not been that great of a pitcher. His ERA is an average 4.41, opponents are batting .271 against him, his WHIP is a bloated 1.49, and he has walked 39 batters. However, he has allowed only 8 HRs this year which is pretty good. Wake should be able to help himself out with his fielding and his ability to bunt and even get a hit once and awhile.

Wakefield has been pitching very good lately. He went 7 scoreless against Pittsburgh before the game was blown by the bullpen. The start before that was a 7 inning, 4 hit, 1 ER, 0 BB outing against the Cubs. That start was win number 1 of the 9 the Sox have won in their last 10. That 8-1 win was a turning point in the month of June and who knows, may be the turning point in the season.

None of the Philly hitters who have seen Wake alot have amazing numbers agianst him. Lofton is 15 for 56 (.268). Thome is 6 for 44 (.136) but he does have 2 HRs. David Bell is 5 for 15. Tomas Perez is 1 for 10. Lieberthal is 3 for 6 with a Homer.

With the way the Red Sox hit Lieber, and the way Wakefield has pitched in his last two starts, I think Wake will have the better day. I see Lieber allowing more runs than innings he pitches. I think the Sox will win this game 7-3.

Game 2 - Matt Clement vs. Vicente Padilla
Pure mismatch.

Padilla is 3-6 with a 6.23 ERA. His WHIP is 1.78 and opponents are batting .295 against him (that's with 2 pitcher ABs a game). In 10 starts and just under 48 innings, he's walked 29 batters. He's allowed 13 homeruns in those 10 starts.

He's been used sparingly by the Phillies and has been skipped by them when possible. his last start was June 15. He went 5.2 allowing 3 runs against the Mariners. He's gotten to the end of the 6th inning one time this season and that was against the Reds.

The Red Sox haven't seen too much of him. Renteria is 3 for 9 with a homer. Payton is 1 for 9. Millar is 3 for 9.

Clement has been the best pitcher on the staff. The western Pennsylvania native is 8-1 with an ERA of 3.48. His WHIP is a decent 1.26 and opponents are batting .245 against him.

Clement has been great in his last 2 starts, which was not the case in his previous 3. He went 7 scoreless against the Pirates and 8 against the Reds allowing 3 runs.

The Phillies have seen Clement before. Abreau is a nice 11 for 31 (.355) but has struck out 10 times against him. Jimmy Rollins is a not so nice 2 for 22 (.087). Lofton is 5 for 22. Burrell is at .300 with a 6 for 20. Liberthal is 7 for 19 (.368 with 3 homeruns). David Bell is 3 for 7, Thome is 1 for 7.

With the way Padilla and Clement have pitched this season, I think the Red Sox will win this. I actually think Boston will win this in a blowout. I say 8-2.

Game 3 - David Wells vs. Brett Myers

Myers is only 5-4 but his ERA is 2.66. His WHIP is a very nice 1.10. Opponents are only batting .228 against him. He doesn't walk too many guys or give up too many Homers.

He did get shelled in his last start though. He could only go 3.1 innings and allowed 6 runs to the Mets. Before then he had 3 consecutive Quality Starts.

The Sox have seen a bit of him. Renteria is 4 for 13 against him (.308). millar is 2 for 12. Trot is 3 for 9. Bill Mueller is 0 for 8. Damon is 3 for 7.

Wells has been hit or miss this season. He is 6-4 with a 4.73 ERA and an opponents batting average of .287. His WHIP is low at 1.24 due to the lack of walks he gives up.

His last start wasn't that great with 4 ERs allowed in 5 innings. The start before that though was outstanding. Wells went 7 shutout innings allowing only 1 hit. Before that he went 8 scoreless innings allowing 4 hits.

Thome is 6 for 35 in his career against Wells. That's a .171 average. Lofton on the other hand is 11 for 32 which is a .344 clip. David Bell is 6 for 23. Wells has been the only guy to shut down Lieberthal who is only 1 for 8 against Wells.

I think Myers will shut us down and we will lose 5-2.

The Philly Bullpen:
They've got a great, lights out closer in Billy Wagner. He is 18 for 20 in save opportunities. He does give up a homer from time to time, but few baserunners.

Wagner is set-up by Ryan Madson (3.46 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) and former Sox lefty Rheal Cormier (4.44 ERA, 1.36 WHIP). Aaron Fultz, a lefty with a 2.88 ERA will also see some time. Once again, this series is a mismatch in terms of bullpens but in the last series, that didn't seem to affect the Sox bats much.

If you're not going out and getting drunk somewhere like me tonight or if you're going to a sports bar, it will be a great baseball night. The Sox and Phillies on NESN/WSBK, the Orioles and Braves on TBS and the Yankees and Mets on ESPN. Shockingly, Pedro Martinez is matched up against Mike Mussina.