Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Fifty games are all that remain in the oh so long baseball season. The stretch run. The mediocrity of the league has fallen to the wayside. It is time for the cream to rise to the top. The trade deadline has passed. September callups are on their way. So who will come out on top and earn a spot in the playoffs?

The AL East has become a two team race with the Red Sox 4.5 up over New York going into today's action. The AL Central is all but won by the White Sox. The AL West is a great race with the LA Angels only 1 up on the surging Oakland Athletics. The AL Wild Card is basically a 3 team race between Oakland, the leaders, the Yankees (down 3.5) and Indians (down 3.5).

The NL East is Atlanta's to lose but anyone can win it. The Mets are in last, but are only 7.5 back. The Cardinals are running away with the NL Central. The NL West will unfortunately receive a playoff berth even though all 5 teams suck. San Diego is 2 games above .500 but is 4 ahead of LA for 1st place. The NL Wild Card race is pretty open with 6 teams within 5 games. Here is the top 6 for the NL Wild Card:

1. HOU 0 GB
2. WAS 1 GB
3. PHI 1.5 GB
4. FLA 2 GB
5. NYM 3 GB
6. MIL 5 GB

If it wasn't for the Wild Card, the National League wouldn't have much of a race for any playoff spot. Nor would Cleveland fans have anything to root for, now Washington, Houston, Philly, Florida, the Mets, and even the Brewers. Bud Selig has taken alot of crap over his tenure as commisioner, but introducing the Wild Card to baseball was one of the best things to ever happen. Just imagine if we still had 2 divisions per league, no wild card, no LDS, and only 4 out of the 30 teams making the playoffs. It'd be boring for alot of good teams that knew they had no chance.

Now its time to focus on the Red Sox coming down the stretch for their last 50 games. The greatest X-factor for the Red Sox is two pronged. The return of Keith Foulke could make this team or break it. If Foulke comes back and pitches well, all us Johnny Burger Kings will be happily eating up another World Series. When/If Foulke comes back, what will happen with Curt Schilling? He's improved out of the pen, has been stretched to an extra inning a few times, and looks more trim. I think he could enter the rotation and help us out.

The Red Sox also have Bellhorn and Olerud on the DL. Bellhorn will come back soon and although he won't play as much as he was in April or May, I think he can contribute to this team. After all, he still has more HRs than Kevin Millar. Olerud may have been playing too much. He's definately not an everyday player but with Manny out, he was forced into the lineup. He excelled until he got hurt. Francona needs to use Pettegini and Youk at first base more often.

For once in my lifetime, the Red Sox have young kids down in Pawtucket that could help this club in September and October. Youkilis, Pedroia, H-Ramirez, Delcarmen, Palpebon could all help this team out down the stretch run. Petegini, not a young guy by any means, looks to be a pretty good addition to the team. He has 6 RBI in 14 AB. That's 2.33 ABs per RBI (Manny has 3.62 ABs per RBI).

The Sox have 28 games remaining at Fenway and 22 on the road. Here are their remaining opponents, how many games they have against them, and the opponents winning percentage:
TEX - 1 - .500
CWS - 3 - .652
DET - 6 - .473
LAA - 7 - .580
KC - 3 - .339
TB - 7 - .381
BAL - 6 - .482
TOR - 7 - .509
NYY - 6 - .541
OAK - 4 - .571

I'll save you from doing the math, weighting the winning eprcentages based on how many times we face them, the Red Sox have a remaining strength of schedule of .500. That's right. It's actually .50046 but its basically even. The Red Sox CAN, I stress CAN, win as many as 40 of these games in my opinion. That's the aboslute high end of what they can do. They can also lose 35 of them. This is the high and low extreme. I think we WILL win 32-35 of these games which would force the Yankees to win 36-39 of their remaining games in order to win the division. The key games are the 6 against New York, the 7 against Tampa, the 7 against Toronto, and the 6 against Baltimore. We need to take 4 from New York, at least 5 from Tampa, figure out how to beat Toronto, and beat up on the struggling O's. If we can win 18 or 19 of these games, that will put us in good shape to win the division.


I haven't done Man of the Game or Bitch-Goat since the Tampa series, so here is just a summary and why they were selected.

Man of the Game:
7/29 - MIN - W 8-5 - David Ortiz: 2 for 3, 2B, BB, R
7/30 - MIN - W 6-2 - John Olerud: 2 for 5, 3 RBI
7/31 - MIN - W 4-3 - John Olerud: 2 for 3, 2 R, RBI
8/2 - KC - W 6-4 - Manny Ramirez: 2 for 4, 4 RBI, R
8/3 - KC - W 8-5 - Emil Brown: 2 for 4, 3B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R
8/4 - KC - W 11-9 - Jason Varitek: 2 for 4, BB, 2B, HR, 5 RBI
8/5 - @ MIN - L 0-12 - Brad Radke: 7 IP, 0 ER, 8 K
8/6 - @ MIN - L 3-4 - Joe Mauer: 1 for 4, 2 RBI
8/7 - @ MIN - W 11-7 - Manny Ramirez: 4 for 4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R
8/8 - TEX - W 11-6 - Tony Graffanino: 3 for 3, BB, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, SB
8/9 - TEX - W 8-7 - Bill Mueller: 2 for 4, 2B, BB, RBI, 2 R

8/5 - @ MIN - L 0-12
Arroyo: 0.6 - 3.2 IP, 7 R, Error
Varitek: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 2 K, 3 LOB
Millar: 0.1 - 0 for 4
Graffanino: 0.1 - 0 for 3
Gonzalez: 0.1 - 1.1 IP, 5 ER

8/6 - @ MIN - L 3-4
Wells: 0.2 - 6 IP, 3 ER
Timlin: 0.2 - 0.2 IP, R, Error
Mueller: 0.2 - 1 for 4, 2 LOB, Error
Renteria: 0.1 - 0 for 5
Ramirez: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 4 LOB
Millar: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 4 LOB
Ortiz: 0.1 - 0 for 3, K, 2 LOB


Apologies for the lack of updates. I've been moving into a new apartment at school and the internet is come and go. The majority of my time is spent asleep or at the casino trying to make some $$$ playing poker.

I've been in my own little world out there in central New York with occasional internet acces, no cable, and no papers. I didn't even know that we got Remlinger and Youkilis was called up.

Looking at the schedule back in April, this part of the schedule looked pretty juicy. Our pitching has been less than perfect, considerably less. But the bats have been able to win the game for the most part. The Sox have won 12 of their last 14. They can sweep Texas tonight and go into the White Sox series over the weekend with some momentum. This series will be a big test for Chicago. They split with us a few weeks ago in Chicago and I think they are ripe to fall in Fenway.

After the White Sox, we go to Detroit for 3 then a big series with the Angles in Anaheim. Then its a nice stretch with 3 more against the Tigers, 3 with the Royals, 4 with Tampa, and then 3 with the struggling Orioles.

The AL East has become what many fans said it would eventually be despite the near dominance of Baltimore and the lackluster starts of Boston and New York. It will come down to the Yankees and Red Sox. At the moment, the Red Sox have a 4.5 game lead over the Yanks but there are 6 games (3 in each ballpark) remaining between the teams. These games may very well determine the division, particularly the 3 games to end the season for both teams in Fenway. You know Major League Baseball didn't randomly create the schedule when the Red Sox and Yankees start the season AND end the season. It is very important that we go into those series with a lead of about 5 games. It would be very good if we can win 4 of those games. Right now we look like we can beat anyone, but we haven't won a series against a really good team since we swept Philly back in June. The lack of good pitching is somewhat frightening.