Sunday, April 30, 2006


The Sox ended April on a down note, losing 2 of 3 to Tampa, losing 4 of their last 6, and going 3-6 on their 9 game road trip. They go into May and their first series with the Yankees in a virtual tie for 1st.

The Sox just look bad. There is no other way to put it. They aren't getting the phenomenal starting pitching they got earlier in April. Their starting pitching hasn't even been much above average. The offense is struggling, as well. The Sox are finally starting to hit homeruns, but far too many of them are solo shots. We aren't putting up big innings, or getting clutch extra basehits. We aren't making too many valiant comebacks late in games, either.

Thursday night's 15-3 loss to Cleveland was quite embarrassing. We couldn't get to Paul Byrd, of all people, and Josh Beckett seemed to miss his spots on every single pitch. He gave up 3 homers and walked 5. He threw 100 pitches in 3.2 innings, only 57 of which were strikes. Even his strikes were missing. Four of the 6 hits he allowed were for extra bases.

The position players didn't do much better. We could only get two extra basehits, and left 9 men on base. Six of those nine left were in scoring position.

Thursday's Man of the Game is Ben Broussard who went 4 for 5 with a pair of homers, including a Grand Slam in the 1st inning on the first pitch he saw. He had 8 RBI and 10 total bases.

The B*tch-Goat:
Beckett: 0.8 - 3.2 IP, 8 ER, 9 R, 3 HR, 5 BB, 6 H
Youkilis: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 3 K
Eamirez: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 3 LOB

The Red Sox flew down to Tampa, normally a place where we're guaranteed to win a series. However, to quote Joe and Jerry "They're not pushovers anymore."

We lost to Casey freakin Fossum Friday night. Lost badly. Clement was poor, giving up 5 thru 6. Timlin and Papelbon kept us in the game with scoreless relief, but our offense fell way short. We left 14 men on base, 9 of whom were in scoring position. We also grounded into 2 double plays.

The Man of the Game is Casey Fossum who went 6 scoreless.

The B*tch-Goat:
Clement: 0.5 - 6 IP, 5 ER
Loretta: 0.2 - 0 for 5, 6 LOB
Pena: 0.2 - 0 for 4, 7 LOB
Ortiz: 0.1 - 1 for 4, 5 LOB

The Sox turned their ship around late in Saturday's game. A 9th inning 4 run rally gave the Sox a 9-6 win. The Sox bats came alive and made up for some below average pitching. Ten hits, 7 walks, and a hit batsman gave the Sox 18 baserunners. They made the walks hurt late in the game with a solid rally in the 9th. Papelbon recorded his 10th save of the season by striking out the side in the bottom of the inning. If it weren't for Papelbon and our pen, we'd be in really rough shape.

The Man of the Game is Kevin Youkilis who went 2 for 3, with a double, 2 walks, and 2 RBI.

Sunday's game appeared to be heading in the same direction with the Red Sox rallying in the 9th inning.

Schilling didn't have his best stuff on Sunday. He still pitched well enough for a win, though. Seanez was once again terrible, allowing 2 runs in the 7th inning, turning a 3-2 game into a 5-2 game. The deficit was too much for the Sox to overcome.

Pena and Lowell both homered in the top of the 9th, but neither one was with a runner on. The Sox got the tying run to 3rd with 1 out, but Youkilis struck out and Loretta grounded out to end the game.

The Man of the Game is Scott Kazmir who owns us for some reason. He went 7 and only allowed 1 run.

The B*tch-Goat:
Schilling: 0.4 - 6 IP, 3 ER
Seanez: 0.3 - IP, ER
Youkilis: 0.2 - 0 for 5, 3 Ks, 5 LOB
Ramirez: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 2 Ks

The Sox begin a two game series against New York back in Friendly Fenway. Chien-Ming Wang goes against Tim Wakefield in the first game. Shawn Chacon goes against Josh Beckett on Tuesday. Let's try not to go too crazy after this series if we sweep, get swept, or split. It's a 2 game series in early May. That's it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


There are some games in which you're beaten and there are some games in which you are really beaten. This was one of those second games.

The Indians scored 3 in the 1st inning off a homerun that came after a walk and an infield single. That was all they needed, but it wouldn't be all that they got.

Pena hit a solo homerun after Mike Lowell grounded into a double play in the 4th.

Victor Martinez got the run back in the bottom half of the inning. He reached on a walk, stole second, got to 3rd on a single, and scored on a passed ball.

In the 6th, Martinez came around to score again thanks to an Aaron F Boone double. The Indians got 2 more off Manny Delcarmen in his first MLB outing of the season.

All and all, a pretty poor night for the Red Sox.

The Man of the Game is Cliff Lee who went 6 innings allowing a sole earned run. He pitched around 4 hits and 4 walks with the help of 2 double play balls, and 7 strikeouts.

Here is the B*tch-Goat:
Wakefield: 0.5 - 5.2 IP, 5 R, 3 ER
Bard: 0.2 - 4 passed balls, 1 for 3
Youkilis: 0.1 - 0 for 4, K
Ortiz: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 2 K, 4 LOB
Lowell: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 3 LOB, GIDP

Beckett against Paul Byrd tomorrow night in the rubber game. I'm too bitter right now.

34 days until Roger Clemens is available to pitch (June 1).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006





Manny Ramirez was everywhere in this game. His baserunning error crushed a rally early, his homerun gave the Sox a lead, and he scored thanks to a dropped ball at the plate.

This game was a lot like Manny's night. Sometimes players made great plays, sometimes they made bad plays, and sometimes they made ugly plays.

Schilling was good, bad, and ugly. He had a season high in strikeouts with 8, but he also had a season high in earned runs with 5. He should have been pulled before the 7th as he was 110 pitches deep and didn't look that sharp. The bullpen was fresh after an off day, so bringing in Foulke, Timlin, and Papelbon would have made sense. But Francona decided not to do it.

Foulke and Timlin had similar good, bad, and ugly pitching performances. Foulke got win #1 of the season, and Timlin got his 6th Hold. Papelbon was flat out good in the 9th with a perfect 1-2-3 inning and keeping the ball in the infield the entire time. Papelbon seems to excel when the game is close. He tied a Major League rookie record for Saves in a month with 9.

Manny had a huge night and will take down his 2nd Man of the Game of 2006. Yes, he screwed up on the bases, but he made up for it at the plate with a huge 3 run homer, his 10th, 11th and 12th RBI of the year, and 3 hits. He also walked.

Tomorrow night, Wakefield faces off against 1-1 Cliff Lee.

Monday, April 24, 2006


It's going to be about 3 more weeks of watching Willie Harris and Dustin Mohr strike out before Crisp returns to the Red Sox, according to Francona and the Globe. Francona said in Toronto that he expects Crisp to return somewhere in the middle of May.

So far, Crisp's replacements are batting a combined .164 with a .220 OBP, and striking out more than once every three times at-bat. Compare that to Crisp who was batting .333, with an OBP of .385 and striking out once every four at-bats before he got injured.

The offense has struggled this season, scoring only 90 runs in 19 games (4.7 runs per game) compared to last season when we scored 910 runs (5.6 per game). Part of it is the lack of production from center-field.

Lately, the production from Crisp's replacements has been practically nothing. Harris and Mohr combined for an 0 for 12 in the Toronto series, with 6 strikeouts. Crisp's replacements are 3 for their last 35. With Loretta and Varitek slumping, Gonzalez a non-factor on offense, and the center-field spot giving us nothing, we have 4 holes in our lineup. Our pitching has been able to carry us, but we're starting to see some chinks in that armor with Beckett collapsing on Friday, Clement not giving us a Quality Start, and DiNardo looking terrible on Saturday.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


The Sox bats woke up today, as did the bullpen. The Sox took the lead in the 1st inning and never relinquished it. Ortiz knocked out his 8th homerun of the season, collecting his 15th and 16th RBI. Mike Lowell added another run with an RBI single, his 7th run knocked in of the year.

The Sox played a little small ball in the 4th to get an insurance run. Harris reached on a HBP, stole second, and scored on a Youkilis single. Kevin is 10th in RBI among 1st basemen this season.

The Blue Jays made it a 1 run game after a throwing error, a walk, and a Greg Zaun homerun. Clement got past it, though, pitching into the 6th inning. Foulke took over and threw 1.2 perfect innings, striking out 3.

In the 8th, the Sox got to Vinnie Chulk for a run. Gonzalez walked, Youkilis had a single, and Loretta, who has been slumping mightily, knocked in Gonzalez with a basehit. After a scoreless 8th from Timlin, the Sox added another insurance run in the 9th. Varitek, also in a big slump, singled and was knocked in by a Mike Lowell double. Lowell has the 2nd most doubles in MLB in 2006 thus far.

Papelbon came in, and actually struggled a bit letting the first two men he faced reach. He struck out Vernon Wells on 6 pitches then induced a game ending double play from Troy Glaus.

The Red Sox actually hit decently in this game. They had 20 baserunners in total and were able to bring 6 of them home, which typically is sufficient for a win. Clement wasn't lights out, but he was solid. The bullpen was magnificent with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief from Foulke, Timlin, and Papelbon.

The Man of the Game is a tough one. Neither starter pitched all that well, and no hitter really stuck out. Mike Lowell had a solid game with a pair of RBI hits, he did make an error that allowed a man to reach who eventually scored. But, he did rob a hit earlier in the game from the Jays. However, Keith Foulke looked really good. He came into the game with 2 on and 1 out and was able to escape the inning unscathed (it was also a 1 run game at that point). He then pitched a perfect 7th inning. He faced 5 batters and retired them all, 3 by way of the K, and the other 2 with infield pop ups. He only needed 20 pitches to retire the 5 batters he faced. Foulke will get Man of the Game honors.

The Sox have an off day before going to Cleveland for the only time in the regular season to play the Indians on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Schilling looks for win #5 as he faces off against 2-2 Jake Westbrook. The Indians are 10-0 this season.

Red Sox Nation fans outside of New England will be pleased to know that the Wednesday night game against Cleveland will be on ESPN, and the Thursday game will be on ESPN 2.

Before today's game, the Red Sox optioned Jermaine Van Buren back to Pawtucket and recalled Hyde Park's Manny Delcarmen. Delcarmen was with the team briefly last year, pitching in 10 games with an ERA of 3.00. His big drawback last year with us was his walks. In 9 innings, he walked 7 batters. In Pawtucket this year, he's pitched 10 innings of scoreless baseball, all in relief. He's only allowed 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 10. He'll probably be used sparingly as a mid-reliever in not so close games until Wells comes off the DL or the Sox get another starter.


The Sox did not have a hit until 1 out in the 4th inning. The Blue Jays had a hit with 0 outs in the 1st. The Sox did not score until the 4th. The Jays scored 4 times in the 1st. The game was over before it began.

The only way the Sox could win this game was if DiNardo pulled out a great start AND Halladay didn't have his good stuff for some reason. DiNardo did not pull out a great start AND Halladay had his good stuff.

The Sox offense was abysmal against Halladay and the Jays bullpen. Just look at these terrible individual numbers:

Youkilis: 1/4, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 0 K, 3 LOB
Loretta: 0/4, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K, 4 LOB
Ortiz: 0/4, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 LOB
Snow: 0/4, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 LOB
Mohr: 0/4, 0 R, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 LOB
Cora: 0/2, 0 R, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 LOB

As a team the Sox went 6/34 (.176), got on base 8 out of 36 appearances (.222 OBP) and had 8 total bases (.235 slugging and .458 OPS).

The pitching was not much better. DiNardo went 3+ allowing 10 hits, 7 earned runs, with a walk, a K, and a homer. Van Buren came in and allowed 2 inherited runners to score. He also allowed an earned run of his own.

The Jays hit .406 as a team yesterday, they slugged .625 with 4 extra-basehits.

The Man of the Game is Vernon Wells again who went 3 for 4 with a 2 run triple, and a pair of infield singles. He also scored a run.

Here is the B*tch-Goat:
DiNardo: 0.5 - 3 IP, 7 ER
Van Buren: 0.1 - 3 IP, ER
Loretta: 0.1 - 0/4, 4 LOB
Ortiz: 0.1 - 0/4, 2 LOB
Snow: 0.1 - 0/4
Mohr: 0.1 - 0/4, 2 Ks

Clement looks to stop this skid (3 straight losses, 5-6 over the last 11) as he faces former Oriole Josh Towers. No matter what happens, this is the 2nd series the Sox have lost this season, both to Toronto. Going back to 2005, this is the 3rd time the Sox have failed to win a series against Toronto.

Friday, April 21, 2006


We were up 6-2 in the 8th, Beckett's pitch count was low, the back end of our bullpen has been great. It seemed as though the game was all but over. Then Beckett threw a retaliation pitch because Gonzalez got hit in the previous inning. Then he gave up 2 homers. Timlin came in and gave up another homer. Papelbon pitched a good 2.1 innings in a no save situation. Then Foulke came in and threw 1.2 innings of pretty solid relief. He gave up a walk to Glaus, then was taken out for some reason and replaced by Rudy Seanez of all people. One pitch, game over.

This loss is really unfortunate considering that we practically had this game locked up. Then consider that Roy Halladay is going against Lenny DiNardo tomorrow in a huge mismatch, it hurts even more.

The Man of the Game is Vernon Wells who went 2 for 6 with a pair of homers, and 3 RBI.

Here is the B*tch-Goat:
Beckett: 0.5 - 7.1 IP, 5 ER
Timlin: 0.2 - 0.1 IP, ER
Seanez: 0.2 - 0.0 IP, unearned run allowed
Youkilis: 0.1 - 0 for 5, 2 K, 3 LOB

The Blue Jays are going to be a factor this season, particularly against us. Had we finished .500 against them last year, we would have won the division. This year, we're 1-3 against them. It doesn't look to improve tomorrow as DiNardo faces Halladay.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


The Red Sox went 6 for 34. That's .176. The Red Sox reached base 7 times out of 35 appearances. That's a .200 OBP. Combined slugging was .294. The Red Sox had no offense at all. Tip your cap to Scott Kazmier, and Travis Harper. But seriously, 1 run against the Devil Rays?

The Red Sox had an opportunity to go up early. Youkilis had a leadoff double, was moved to 3rd by a Loretta groundout, but was left there after Ortiz struck out and Ramirez grounded out.

The Sox got their lone run in the 2nd when Mohr knocked out his 2nd homer of the season over The Monster.

Bottom of the 3rd, Alex Gonzalez led off with a basehit, three straight outs. Nonproductive outs at that. Then 10 straight Red Sox hitters were retired.

The Sox had 2 on in the 6th, nothing happened. In the 9th, the Sox threatened but couldn't bring home a run. Manny had an infield single, Lowell reached on an error, Willie Harris got his first hit in a Red Sox uniform to load the bases with 1 out. Nixon struck out, then Tek pinch hit and flew out.

Just no offense at all.

The shame is, Wakefield actually pitched pretty well. Two earned runs in 8 innings. 4 hits, 2 walks. You don't get too many starts like that out of pitchers, and Wakefield isn't going to do that for us more than a few times this year.

The Man of the Game is Tim Wakefield. For the second straight time, he wins it despite getting an L. He was the best player out there. Kazmir pitched well, but fell apart after 5.2.

Now for the B*tch-Goat:
Wakefield: 0.2 - 8 IP, 2 ER, 3 R
Bard: 0.1 - Passed Ball, 0 for 3, K
Tavarez: 0.3 - 0 IP, 2 ER
Ortiz: 0.2 - 0 for 4, 3 LOB
Lowell: 0.2 - 0 for 4, 3 LOB

The Red Sox end their 10 game homestand with a 6-4 record. Not bad, but not great. Now it is back on the road where we struggled so much last year.

Beckett against Burnett tomorrow night in Toronto in a battle of former Marlins pitchers.


Curt Schilling was the first starter to 4 wins last night as he pitched 6 innings against Tampa allowing 1 earned run. Schilling was given a 1 run lead in the 1st thanks to a Youkilis leadoff homerun. Then the Sox gave Curt 7 more runs in the 3rd with some good opportunistic hitting off of bad Tampa pitching and bad Tampa defense.

The inning summary for the 3rd inning says ALOT:

0 on, 0 outs
Gonzalez strikes out.

0 on, 1 out
Youkilis singles to center.

runner on 1st, 1 out
Loretta singles to center, Youkilis to 3rd
Throwing error by Gathright, Youkilis scores, Loretta to 3rd

runner on 3rd, 1 out
Ortiz intentionally walks

runners on 1st and 3rd, 1 out
Ramirez walks, Ortiz to 2nd

bases loaded, 1 out
Nixon singles to right, Loretta scores, Ortiz to 3rd, Ramirez to 2nd

bases loaded, 1 out
Varitek sac-flies to center, Ortiz scores, Ramirez to 3rd

runners on 1st and 3rd, 2 out
Lowell doubles to right, Ramirez scores, Nixon scores

runner on 2nd, 2 out
Stern reaches on catching error by Childers, Lowell scores

runner on 1st, 2 out
Stern advances to 2nd on Wild Pitch

runner on 2nd, 2 out
Gonzalez walks

runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out
Youkilis singles to left, Stern scores, Gonzalez to 3rd

runner on 3rd, 2 out
Loretta flies out to left


Productive nights all around. Loretta went 2 for 5, Ortiz walked twice, Manny walked thrice, Trot went 2 for 4, Tek had a SAC fly, Lowell went 2 for 4, Stern reached on that error and scored, Gonzalez had an RBI SAC fly.

Seanez pitched a scoreless 1 hit inning, Tavarez and Foulke were perfect in the 8th and 9th, respectively.

The Man of the Game is Kevin Youkilis. Youk went 3 for 4 with a pair of singles and a leadoff homerun. He knocked in 2 runs and scored twice. He also went 2 for 2 in the 3rd inning rally with a 1 out single to get things started, and a 2 out single that was the end of the Red Sox scoring in the inning.

Wakefield goes against Kazmir tonight as the Sox look for the sweep.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


According to Extra Bases, Coco Crisp will remain out of action for at least the Toronto series and most likely the entire upcoming 9 game toad trip. This would mean Crisp would be out until May 1st at least when guess who comes to town...

JohnNY Damon and the Yankees.

Crisp has been working out to stay in baseball shape. Hopefully this injury will heal all by itself, but if it doesn't and he needs surgery, then the Sox are in rough shape.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


They just can't get right. What was the deal with Hall trying to steal 2nd? And the errors and the Godawful bullpen work. My God. They are such a bad team.

The Red Sox barely won tonight which is kind of scary considering our competition. Clement wasn't on his A game, but his B game was good enough. Manny finally had an extra basehit and a multi-RBI night. Our defense was solid. Timlin was shaky, and Papelbon looked unsure.

Papelbon has had two struggling outings, both of which came the day after he pitched. I said it last time, I think he just needs to adjust to the rigors of pitching multiple days in a row. It isn't an easy conversion, at all.

Elsewhere in the AL East, Cleveland destroyed Baltimore 15-1. The Blue Jays outslugged the Yankees 10-5 up in Toronto.

Youk had a really good game at the top of the lineup. He went 2 for 4 with a 2 run double, and a walk. Getting on base 3 out of 5 plate appearances AND knocking in 2 runs is huge. Those 2 RBI came with 2 outs as well. That's two days in a row he has had huge 2 out hits.

Loretta didn't have as an amazing game as on Patriots Day, but he went 1 for 5, with an RBI groundout and an RBI single.

The D-Rays tried a real interesting shift on Ortiz. They took the third baseman, Wiggington, and put him into left-field. Then they moved the short-stop over behind 2nd base. The shift results in no infielders on the left side, and 4 outfielders. I think the D-Rays were trying to decrease the amount of outfield space for Papi because of the large number of extra basehits he has. Ortiz's answer to this was simple, he just hit the ball off the walls. Ortiz had a pair of doubles for his 4th and 5th of the season.

The Man of the Game is Manny Ramirez. Manny went 2 for 4 with a 2 run double and an RBI single. Both hits came with 2 outs. In one game, Manny doubled his season total for RBI. Great to have you back, Manny!

Schilling takes the mound tomorrow night, looking to go 4-0. He faces off against 0-0 Doug Waechter who got shelled in his first start, then threw a Quality Start against the Orioles.

GREAT CATCH by Stern, by the by.


I promised myself I wouldn't make any jokes. Varitek has a bad gluteus muscle. That's his butt, for those who don't know. He claims he injured it running the bases during Spring Training and it tightened up on him in Monday's game against Seattle. V-tek claims that he probably won't miss any time due to the muscle and that by game's end yesterday, it had loosened up on him. This is very good news as our catching depth is, in a word: suspect.

Clement vs. Fossum tonight. Last time the Sox met the Rays, there was a fight at home plate involving Julian Tavarez. Tavarez might not be available tonight after pitching an inning yesterday. However, these two teams often set off fireworks together.


The Mets beat the Braves 4-3 last night. Pedro Martinez got the win, his 200th of his career. He is 200-84 in his career. That is the second lowest loss total for a pitcher at the point of his 200th win. Only Whitey Ford and Lefty Grove had lower. Ford had 79, Grove had 83. I'd say Pedro is among good quality.

Monday, April 17, 2006


Mark Freakin' Loretta, ladies and gentlemen!!!

The Red Sox took down their annual Patriots Day game with a 7-6 victory over the Mariners. DiNardo pitched solidly for a spot start, going 5 and allowing 2 runs. The bullpen was shaky and the defense was shaky, but the Mariners were even shakier. As predicted, this game came down to bullpens and ours came out on top. Barely. But still on top.

The Mariners were fortunate to even be in this game. Manny barely missed a homerun off the top of the Monster, Ortiz barely missed another one that took Ichiro to the wall in right.

Mark Loretta said in his post-game interview with WEEI that he has never hit a walkoff homer at any level in his career. Good time for his first one, I say.

Trot Nixon returned to the lineup with a vengeance. He went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles. He scored twice. He looked fine on his legs with no signs of injury.

It was nice to see Manny Ramirez hitting again. He went 2 for 4 and was robbed of his first homer of the season by the left field wall.

The Man of the Game is David Ortiz who went 2 for 4 with a pair of homeruns. He came very close to having 3 of them. He knocked in 3 runs.

The best part about winning on Patriots Day is that I have the entire afternoon, evening, and night to bask in a victory.

Clement takes the mound against former Sox property Casey Fossum tomorrow night at 7.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


The word on Yawkey Way is that Nixon will probably play against the Mariners in Monday morning's game against the Mariners. Nixon probably wouldn't have played much anyway considering all the lefthanded starters we've played. The cavalcade of southpaws will continue with Casey Fossum on Tuesday and Scott Kazmir on Thursday.


The Red Sox actually played well today as an Easter present for their fans. Josh Beckett was once again very impressive, improving to 3-0 for the first time in his career with his first career win over the Mariners.

Manny Ramirez actually got an RBI. He went 1 for 3, with an RBI groundout. He was also robbed of a hit by Richie Sexson on a hard liner ticketed for right field. The Sox lineup did not hit much better than they did yesterday, but they were able to take advantage of miscues by the Mariners and score enough runs for Josh Beckett to win the game.

Timlin pitched a scoreless 8th that featured some nifty glove work by none other than Manny Ramirez. Manny made a good leaping grab that could have been a double, and caught a slicing fly ball that could have fallen in for a hit.

Papelbon was perfect in the 9th, recording his 6th save. The most important thing to note with Papelbon's success is that his saves haven't been cheap or easy ones. This was his 4th 1 run save in as many opportunities.

The Man of the Game is Josh Beckett. He went 7, allowed only 1 earned run off 6 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 5. This is his 2nd Man of the Game. This reminds me of 2004 when Pedro and Schilling went back and forth winning Man of the Game honors. Now it's Beckett and Schilling. And if Roger Clemens is reading, I'll give you bonus MOTGs to keep you in the race if you sign with the Red Sox.

Lenny DiNardo will take the hill for the Sox against Gil Meche in the annual 11 AM Patriots Day game. I think this game will have a good deal of offense. Our bullpen is pretty well rested with Beckett going 7 and Wakefield 9 yesterday so we should be in good shape if we can keep it close through 5.


Thank GOD! The Bruins were simply painful to watch this year with 1 goal losses, trading away Samsonov and Thornton for practically nothing, and only 2 shootout victories. Mike Sullivan needs to be fired and the team needs to do some MAJOR retooling. We need guys that can shoot the puck. It's that simple. This is the first time since the 2000-01 season that the Bruins have failed to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Also, congratulations to my friend Liz here in Ithaca and from Massachusetts for being congratulated by the Boston Globe for her efforts in the New York State Swim Championships. Scroll down to Campus Corner On this page.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Wakefield was all by himself today. No offense supporting him, no defense behind him. Wake went the full 9, allowing 2 earned runs. Normally, that'd be good enough to win. However, the Red Sox effort at the plate and in the field was, in a word, insignificant.

At the plate, the Red Sox went 5 for 32. The 1 thru 6 hitters went 2 for 22 with no extra basehits.

The Red Sox had a threat in the first. Ortiz singled, Ramirez singled. With runners on the corners and two outs, Youkilis grounded out to end the inning.

In the 2nd, Snow led off with a walk. Pena hit what might have been a triple, and what would have at least been an RBI double, but it bounced on the warning track and into the stands for a ground rule double. Bard worked a walk in a 12 pitch at-bat. Bases loaded and nobody out. Gonzalez struck out, Stern struck out, and Cora grounded out.

The Sox wouldn't threaten again until the 7th when they had 2 on and 1 out. But that rally never got past second base.

The Mariners rally came in the 2nd inning. Betencourt led off with a double. Wakefield struck out Ichiro, but Bard let the ball get away. Betencourt advanced to 3rd and Ichiro reached. Ichiro promptly stole second base. Another passed ball allowed Betencourt to score and Ichiro to move to 3rd. Ibanez hit a long shot to right that probably should have been caught but Pena took a strange route to the ball. It bounced into the stands for a ground rule double. Sexson then hit a single to knock in Ibanez.

In the inning, there should have been 1 out with the K of Ichiro. Another out should have been the catch of Ibanez's fly ball. Throw that in with Youkilis's nice catch on a liner and that is 3 outs. The defense just wasn't there for Wakefield.

The Man of the Game goes to Wakefield who went 9, allowed 2 earned runs, and probably shouldn't have allowed any if his defense supported him.

Now for the B*tch-Goat:
Stern: 0.2 - 0 for 5, 3 K, 5 LOB
Cora: 0.2 - 0 for 5, 5 LOB
Youkilis: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 2 LOB
Gonzalez: 0.2 - 0 for 3, 5 LOB
Bard: 0.2 - 1 for 4, 2 Passed Balls
Pena: 0.1 - misplayed fly ball turned into double

Beckett vs. Washburn tomorrow afternoon.


I think Curt Schilling may be the best starting pitcher in the early season. He's the only starter with 3 wins, his ERA is a mere 1.64 and only Roy Oswalt has pitched more innings than him.

Last night was Schilling's best start of the season. He went 8 innings allowing only 1 earned run and striking out 7. He didn't walk anyone and he allowed only 3 hits.

The only Mariners run came off a Richie Sexson double followed by consecutive groundouts that drove him in. In the 6th, the Mariners threatened again. Jeremy Reed hit a leadoff double. He probably should have been erased at 2nd, but Willy Mo took a long time to get rid of the ball. Reed advanced to 3rd on a groundout. Then up stepped probably the best contact hitter in baseball: Ichiro Suzuki.

The Sox were in desperate need of a strikeout with a runner on 3rd, 1 out, and a 2-1 lead. The problem is, Ichiro is hard to strikeout. In fact, in 3,447 career MLB at-bats, Ichiro has been struck out only 321 times. That is 9.3% or a strikeout every 10.7 ABs.

It took 6 pitches, but Schilling sent down Ichiro swinging. Then he got Josie Lopez on a foul tip into Varitek's glove to end the inning and the threat. Schilling retired the side in order in the 7th and 8th, getting his last 9 batters out in a row.

Papelbon came in to close it. He got Roberto Petagine to pop out, then he impressively struck out Ichiro Suzuki. Lopez got a single, but Raul Ibanez grounded out to end the game.

The Red Sox got their 2 runs off Jamie Moyer, who had a typical "how did he pull that one off" start, scattering 8 hits in 6 innings but not yielding too many big hits. On any other night, he probably pitched well enough to win the game. The Sox had ample opportunities against him but couldn't do anything significant until the 4th.

The bottom of the lineup provided the offense again. Mike Lowell singled, Dustin Mohr doubled. After Pena struck out, Alex Gonzalez - who went 3 for 4 - hit a 2 run double to knock in Lowell and Mohr. That was all the offense the Sox needed.

The middle of the lineup was absent from any offensive production last night. Loretta, Ortiz, Ramirez, and Varitek combined for a 1 for 14 performance. Ramirez has still yet to get an extra base hit. We're going to need that middle of the lineup because we're not always going to get 8 inning starts out of our pitchers.

The Man of the Game is obviously Curt Schilling. Curt went 8 throwing 104 pitches, 73 of which were strikes. He struck out 7, allowed only one run, and only 3 hits. He didn't walk anyone.

The Sox send Tim Wakefield to the mound against 1-1 Joel Piniero in just over an hour.

With a right knee injury, Wells has been placed on the 15 day DL retroactive to Thursday. He received an injection of lubricant in his knee last night. He will not be able to return until at least April 28th. Jermaine Van Buren, a 25 year old righty with 6 innings of Major League experience with the Cubs has been recalled from AAA Pawtucket to take Wells's roster spot. Van Buren has made 2 relief appearances in Pawtucket this season, pitching 4 scoreless innings.

Wells's spot in the rotation will come up Monday for the Patriots Day game. I doubt the Red Sox will use Papelbon for that game, but they might. They could also use Lenny DiNardo to start it. Another option could be Abe Alvarez who is 1-0 in AAA with a 1.50 ERA in 2 starts. Alvarez's last start was on the 11th of April. Last year Alvarez made 2 relief appearances. He made a spot start in 2004 going 5 innings, allowing 5 runs. But that was 2 years ago.

Friday, April 14, 2006


The Red Sox are going to be really interesting to watch this season not just because they'll compete for a playoff spot and possibly more, but because they seem to be pissing off every other team they play.

The other night, Shea Hillenbrand took a 3-1 pitch, thought it was ball 4 and started walking down to first base. The umpire called it a strike, Shea returned to the batter's box, and grounded into a double play. Josh Beckett, who was on the mound, barked at Hillenbrand. Actually, it was more like he berated Hillenbrand.

The incident ended with nothing notable happening later. However, Hillenbrand keeps complaining about it. Now, I don't know what Beckett said, and it may have been out of line. Shea is a solid and hard working player and he usually doesn't pull crap to try to sneak on base. Also, at least when he was with us in Boston, his batting eye isn't world renowned. He very well could have misjudged the strike call. But the whole thing should have just ended.

Shea is calling out Beckett through the media, accusing Beckett of actions he "should be embarrassed" about. Whether or not that is true, I don't know. Pitchers and batters have all sorts of confrontations, verbal and nonverbal, physical and nonphysical. This seems to be one of many but Shea is taking it to a whole new level.

The two are bound to face each other again as we have 16 more encounters with the Jays. Beckett will probably be starting in the opener of the 3 game series that begins in a week up in Toronto. It should be interesting, to say the least.


Once again, the Red Sox equation of no pitching and no hitting (for 7 innings at least) resulted in a loss. The Sox took a 1-0 lead in the 1st, but Clement gave it right back with a 6 run 2nd inning. The big hit was Vernon Wells's Grand Slam. Clement allowed another run in the 5th then Tavarez allowed one in the 6th.

The Sox rallied against Toronto's bullpen. Ortiz hit a 2 run homer in the 8th to make it 8-3. The bottom of the lineup worked some walks and got a few hits to bring the score to 8-6. Then Ortiz came up with 1 on and 2 out against Toronto closer BJ Ryan. The first pitch to Ortiz was a crushable one, but Papi got under it and flew out just shy of the warning track to end the game.

Two really pathetic displays by the Red Sox in two consecutive nights against a team we're going to have to play 16 more times. Not only did Clement suck last night, but almost the entire lineup performaed poorly. The Red Sox struck out 13 times last night. Each battered went down the way of the K at least once. The 6 thru 9 hitters went a combined 1 for 13. The 4 thru 9 hitters combined for 3 for 21.

Youkilis, Loretta, and Ortiz did great, combining for 6 hits in 14 ABs. They had all 3 of our extra basehits and 11 of our 14 total bases. They knocked in every run we scored. Starting with Ramirez, however, there was a considerable drop off in production.

On the bright side, Keith Foulke looked solid going 2 scoreless innings to end the game. He struck out 2 and the only baserunner he allowed was off a walk.

The Man of the Game is Ted Lilly who settled down after the 1st and pitched 7 strong innings allowing just the one run, scattering 6 hits and striking out 10. I don't know why we can't figure him out. He went 3-0 against us last season.

The B*tch-Goat looks like this:
Clement: 0.6 - 4+ IP, 7 ER
Lowell: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 2K, 2 LOB
Mohr: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 2 K, 2 LOB
Pena: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 2 K, 2 LOB
Tavarez: 0.1 - 2 IP, ER

The Red Sox look to rebound tonight against the Seattle Mariners. Curt Schilling faces Jamie Moyer. Curt is looking for win #3 and Jamie is looking for win #1.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


The Red Sox had won 5 straight because they pitched well. That streaked ended last night because they didn't pitch well. Wells returned to the Red Sox rotation by allowing 10 hits, 3 of which were homeruns. He even walked a guy.

DiNardo and Seanez came in to mop up and didn't do too poorly, but the damage had been done.

The Red Sox were able to hit 3 homeruns, one by Ortiz, one by Dustin Mohr and one by Willy Mo, but they only got 4 runs off those homers. The Sox just didn't have enough baserunners. Youkilis and Loretta combined for an 0 for 10. In total, 5 Red Sox hitters did not get a hit.

The Man of the Game is Alex Rios who went 3 for 4 with a double, homerun, 4 RBI and 2 runs scored.

The B*tch-Goat shall be divided thusly:
Wells: 0.7 - 4 IP, 7 ER, 4 HR allowed
Youkilis: 0.1 - 0 for 5, 3 Ks, 3 LOB
Loretta: 0.1 - 0 for 5
Ramirez: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 2 LOB

The Red Sox face the Jays tomorrow night. Clement goes against Ted Lilly.

The Red Sox made a statement that Coco Crisp is the center-fielder of the future Wednesday when they agreed to a 3 year, $15.5 million extension with Coco Crisp. The contract includes an option for 2010. I'm glad the Sox are tying up loose ends early by extending deals with Ortiz and Crisp.

Conveniently enough, Riske went on the DL retroactive to the 5th of April with a back strain. Riske is probably on the bottom of the list in the bullpen. Hopefully he can come back and return, but I won't hold my breath in anticipation. I guess it'd be nice to have another option over Seanez, though.

Pedro Martinez went 7 strong innings last night in the Mets 3-1 victory over the Nats. Pedro allowed only 1 run and hit no batters. God, I miss him.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


According to Trot, he will be sidelined for 5-7 days with a groin strain. He injured it trying to catch a double. He batted twice before smartly pulling himself out of the game. I'm glad Trot decided to be careful about his leg. We need him healthy on this team for the long run.

Willy Mo Pena, Adam Stern, and Dustin Mohr will probably fill in for Crisp and Nixon while they are out. The effects of this will probably be minimal as long as the injuries don't become complicated. These guys aren't named Nomar Garciaparra so they are probably going to come back when expected.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The Red Sox opened Fenway's 95th season with a 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays. Josh Beckett started and was a little out of control, but he settled down nicely. The Red Sox bats were solid, putting up a 4 spot early. Ortiz added to the lead with his first Fenway homer of the season.

The game started off poorly for the Sox. Beckett gave up a few base hits and walked in a run with the bases juiced. He then induced an inning ending double play. The Red Sox weren't able to do much until the 2nd inning.

Nixon led off with a walk, then Varitek singled, Lowell doubled to knock in Nixon. Stern doubled to knock in Tek and Lowell. Stern then stole 3rd base. Gonzales grounded out then Youkilis hit a double to knock in Stern. 4-1 Sox.

Both Beckett and Towers settled down. Neither team scored off them again. Ortiz hit a solo homer off Vinnie Chulk to make it 5-1. Foulke came in and didn't look too sharp but didn't look all that bad. He gave up 2 runs on a "homerun" which was partially caused by Willy Mo Pena screwing up in right field. The ball bounced off Willy Mo and into the bullpen for a homerun.

So the game was 5-3 in the 9th. Papelbon came in, got the first Blue Jay on a strike out. Two fly outs later and the game was over.

Beckett looked real good after he settle down. 7 innings, 3 hits, 4 walks, 1 earned run, 2 strikeouts, and 12 ground ball outs. After the first he only allowed 2 hits and 1 walk.

Youkilis looked good as a leadoff hitter and as a first baseman. He went 2 for 4 with a double and made a nice play on a foul pop.

Trot Nixon left the game early with a groin strain. It seems like every season, Trot Nixon injures himself earlier and earlier. No word yet on the extent or seriousness of that injury, but with Crisp on the 15 Day DL starting today, we really can't afford to lose another outfielder.

Dustin Mohr was called up to replace Crisp on the roster. They might keep him up in Boston considering Nixon's injury.

Stern did real well in the place of Crisp yet again. He went 1 for 4 with a 2 run double and a stolen base.

The Man of the Game is Mike Lowell. Lowell tied a career high with 4 hits in a game. He went 4 for 4 with 3, yes 3 doubles. He looks like he's gonna hit well in Fenway. I don't think people will be talking about slow bats and Mike Lowell for awhile.

Tomorrow night, David Wells takes the mound against Gustavo Chacin. Nixon probably wouln't have played in this game anyway against the lefty Chacin. Wells will attempt to match his starting pitcher counterparts in performances. Red Sox starters have gone 7 innings 6 out of 7 times this season.

Monday, April 10, 2006


The Red Sox and David Ortiz have agreed on a 4 year extension probably worth in the neighborhood of $50 million. The deal would keep Ortiz in red socks until 2010 with an option for 2011. That's the good news.

Now the bad news. Crisp will have his finger in a splint for at least 10 days. His finger will be reevaluated at that time. No surgery should be required. Crisp claims he could have played on Sunday but I think the team would rather not risk any further injury. We need Crisp for the long haul.

Stern will probably see more playing time, and I wouldn't be terribly surprised if Willy Mo Pena wound up in the field a good deal, too.

This is where our depth gets tested.


According to CBS 4, Crisp may be out 6-8 weeks with a fractured index finger on his left hand injured in Saturday's victory over Baltimore.

If true, the Red Sox will be without Crisp until early June. That means Stern and possibly Pena will see a lot more playing time. That isn't the end of the world, but it hurts.

The report isn't confirmed by the Red Sox and Crisp will be examined today. Hopefully the report is just a rumor gone awry.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


So Coco Crisp didn't start tonight because he jammed a finger last night sliding into a base. Adam Stern, a.k.a. Mr. Canada, started in his spot. It worked out rather nicely.

Wakefield rebounded from an atrocious start and had a really solid outing. He went 6 innings allowing only 1 run that was somewhat of a strange run. In the bottom of the 1st, Newhan reached on an error by Mark Loretta. Newhan advanced to 2nd via the stolen base. He moved to third when he tagged up then scored on a Tejada single. That would be it for the Baltimore run scoring.

Wake struggled at the outset of the 6th inning but he settled down big time, striking out the side with runners on the corners and no outs. A key for Wakefield was that he threw strikes. Of the 93 pitches he threw, 63 were strikes.

Josh Bard also had a good game behind the plate and at the plate. No passed balls and a 1 for 4, scoring a pair of runs.

Stern was the big offensive hero, going 2 for 5 with a pair of RBI singles, one in the 5th and one in the 6th. He also had a good day in the field.

The Red Sox scraped their runs together in the 5th very nicely. Last season, we were all about the big inning and the long ball. It was nice to see that we can eke out runs as well.

J.T. Snow led off the inning with a long single off the wall in right. Snow had a good day going 2 for 3 and walking. He also recorded the final out with a snow cone catch of a foul pop. Josh Bard hit a single behind Snow. With runners on 1st and 2nd, and the Sox down by 1, Alex Gonzalez sacrifice bunted moving both runners into scoring position. Stern then knocked in Snow. Loretta scorched a liner right at the second baseman Chris Gomez. Stern was caught off the bag but Gomez threw the ball away allowing Bard to score and the inning to continue.

The Red Sox never hit anything other than a single, but it was enough.

Timlin didn't look all that sharp in the 8th, allowing a single, throwing a wild pitch, and then walking Millar, but he was able to get out of it by inducing Ramon Hernandez to ground out.

Foulke came into the game to pitch the 8th. This was the first time he has been used in a really meaningful situation. He did very well, retiring the side in order with 12 pitches, 9 for strikes. He got the first two betters with strikeouts, then Newhan lined out to Snow to end the inning. He looked real sharp.

Papelbon did not look as sharp as he has looked. Perhaps it was adjusting to a different catcher, and perhaps it was pitching two days in a row. He was only a closer very sparingly in the minors with Pawtucket. He fell behind hitters, allowed a leadoff double, a long fly out to center, then hit Tejada with a pitch. He was able to get out of the inning with a pair of pop outs and the game was over with the Red Sox on top 4-1.

The Sox improve to 5-1 going into the home opener on Tuesday. Josh Towers will go against Josh Beckett.

The Man of the Game is Keith Foulke. He looked better than anyone else out there on the mound or at the plate. I know it was only a Hold, and it was against the 8, 9, and 1 hitters, but he looked spectacular, getting guys out with the fastball and the changeup.


This game was a great game. This game was a fair game. This game was a physical game. This game was a close game.

I've often derided Boston College for their unique ability to blow the big game that should be won. Their loss to Syracuse 2 years ago in football. Their loss to Villanova in the tournament a few weeks ago after leading by 16. Their inability to achieve levels of greatness that should be achieved. However, last night, Boston College capped off a season in which they rose above what they should be with a very close 2-1 loss to Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Boston College wasn't supposed to contend in the Hockey East or the NCAAs when the season began. But this team gelled, soared through the Hockey East tournament after a near loss to Vermont, and rolled through the NCAAs until coming up against a powerhouse in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin was simply the better team. You gotta give them credit. BC has a hell of a season and next year looks to be even better. I think they'll win it all next year.


This is the second time the Sox have come out on top of a 2-1 game. Both times, we probably would have lost the game with last year's team.

Schilling was thrilling once again. Seven innings, 3 hits, 4 Ks, 1 earned run. Exactly what we need from Curt to go far this season.

Schilling was followed by Timlin in the 8th and Papelbon in the 9th. Mike got his 2nd Hold and Papelbon got his 2nd Save. He looks really, really, REALLY good coming into the game late.

The two big hits were Youkilis's RBI single and Varitek's RBI double. Tek had a really good game at the plate with a pair of doubles.

Isn't it nice to be able to win 14-8 on one night then win 2-1 on the next night? Versatility! That's what the 2004 team was built on. Win the slugfests AND the pitching duels. That's what we failed to do last season and so far it is what we have succeeded in doing this season.

The Man of the Game is Curt Schilling who pitched 7 innings allowing only one run. He won us the game, basically. An honorable mention goes to Papelbon for his 2nd perfect inning as a closer.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


How about Brigid Mullen? She's a student at Wisconsin and a Free Safety for the Women's Professional Football League. Bellichick likes players with versatility. Not only is Brigid a Safety, she also is a bartender, which means she can serve drinks at half-time up in the club seating section. She also spent 3 years in the Air Force ROTC flying T-37s which means she can do the fly over before games. She also works at Wisconsin's library so she can help Bellichick and the coaching staff organize their scouting reports.

Here's her story.

And here's what she looks like:

She's also a model.


Fourteen times last night, the Red Sox were given first base by Orioles pitchers. Fourteen! Every starter in the Red Sox lineup got a free pass. Compare that to the one walk Red Sox pitchers allowed.

The funny thing is, the Red Sox probably didn't score as many runs as they should have. They walked 14 times and accumulated 16 hits but only scored 14 times. They grounded into 4 double plays and left 14 men on, including 6 left in scoring position. They easily could have put up 20 runs last night. The 14 was enough, though.

This game was over in the top of the 1st when Daniel Cabrera couldn't throw a strike. Six walks in the first inning alone. The Sox put up 4 in the first then 3 in the 2nd. This allowed Clement to cruise. The Red Sox would eventually double their run total off of Baltimore's weakest pitchers put in the game to mop up. The Red Sox would give up 8, but they were junk runs.

Clement looked really sharp for the first few innings. The Orioles were able to string a couple of hits together and eventually wind up scoring 4. Then the Sox added 3 runs for insurance. Then Seanez came in and looked like he did in Spring Training, giving up another 4. Foulke came in for the 9th and looked solid, allowing a single hit and inducing a game ending double play.

Coco Crisp had another good game, going 2 for 6 and reaching base 3 out of 7 plate appearances. He scored twice. Loretta had a great game, going 2 for 3 with a double, walking twice, and scoring twice. The Red Sox 1, 2 hitters reached base 7 out of 12 appearances.

Ortiz and Varitek were the only starting Sox to go hitless, but Ortiz managed to work 2 walks and score a run. Tek also walked twice, including one with the bases juiced for an RBI.

Manny exploded with a 3 for 4, 2 RBI, 3 run outing. His walk in the first inning with the bases loaded constituted his first RBI of the season. Lowell had a good day with a double, a single, and 2 RBI. J.T. snow came in and went 1 for 1. He also made a great Web Gem out in the field on a hot ground shot down the first base line. Alex Cora was another replacement that did well, he went 1 for 1 with a with a 2 run double.

Youkilis had a great night in the 8th spot in the lineup going 3 for 3 and knocking in a pair. Even Gonzalez contributed with a double and a walk.

The Man of the Game is Christopher Trotman Nixon who went 2 for 4 with a 2 run homer, a double, 4 RBI, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored.

This was a perfect game for Keith Foulke to pitch in. He didn't have to pitch much, facing the minimum 3 batters i n1 inning. He threw 10 pitches, 9 of which were strikes. I think the Sox should gradually increase the importance of situations in which Foulke enters games. Hopefully, he'll progress smoothely and he will once again be an option at closer.

Rudy Seanez did not look good all Spring and he looked terrible tonigh. I know it is hard for a pitcher to focus 100% inheriting such a huge lead in a game that is all but decided, but he may be pitching for his job here. There are a great deal of players down in Pawtucket and up in Portland who would love to have his roster spot.

Speaking of the minors, David Wells made a rehab start for the PawSox last night. The good news is that Boomer threw 92 pitches and felt physically fine. The bad news is that he allowed 7 runs in 5 innings, including runs off of two homers and two doubles. Overall, I guess the news from the start is good. Wells appears to be healthy. If he's healthy, that's half the equation for him. The other half is does he still have enough gas in the tank to be succesful.

Here's a tough question. Had Maryland women's basketball coach Brenda Frese remained on the mound after throwing the first pitch, would she have thrown more strikes than Cabrera?

Friday, April 07, 2006


There is a new stat geek book out that focuses on fielding. The crux of the book is a new way of looking at fielders by giving them a +/- rating similar to hockey players. The book evaluates players and calculates how many plays they should have made compared to how many they actually did make. The book loses value, in my view, when Kevin Millar gets a higher rating than J.T. Snow.

Baseball organizations are hungry for ways to evaluate defensive talent. There are so few statistics for defense especially compared to those for hitting or offense. This book gives clubs a new way to look at players, but I think the way itself is in error. Pun intended.

First of all, defense is the most team oriented aspect of baseball. Many plays involve multiple players, and almost all infield plays involve multiple players. Secondly, defense is the most specialized aspect of the game. Each position has nuances that other's don't. This means trying to evauluate all defensive play with a solitary statistical method will always fall short of doing so.

The only way to really gauge defensive players is to watch them. Range cannot be statistically calculated. Jump on the ball and tracking cannot be calculated. Arm strength cannot be calculated. When runners don't run on Ichiro or Guerrero for fear of their arm, that cannot be statistically factored.

In the baseball community, there is a faction obsessed with simplifying the game into a mathematical equation. This goal is unattainable. Stats can be used for general comparisons and to make gameplans, but they can never tell the whole story because some things simply cannot be expressed by numbers.


Don't you just love Red Sox Nation? After three games, comprising only 1.86% of the season, RSN is clamoring for Papelbon to be the full-time closer and for Foulke to be out of that job. Yes, Foulke had a bad inning on Monday, and it could have been worse had it not been for Coco Crisp. And yes, Papelbon had a stellar inning on Wednesday, baffling Rangers hitters. However, I don't think we should be rushing to conclusions about the closer role just yet.

Foulke got an extremely late start in Spring Training. He never pitched to competition until the final weeks down in Fort Myers, and even then it was only in minor league games. Papelbon seems like he has the stuff and the grit to be a closer, but I think down the line we will need him to be a starter.

Wells is either going to be traded if he pitches good, or knocked out of the rotation if he doesn't. If Wakefield has a few bad starts reminiscent of his first one, he's not going to be long in the rotation. Papelbon is probably our first starting option out of the pen. DiNardo can start, but I don't want him in the rotation unless absolutely necessary. Alvarez and Lester are down in the minors, but I don't think they're yet ready to be full-time starters.

In 6 or 7 weeks, Foulke will be at the form he should be. At least he should be at the form he should be. I think he'll eventually be good in the set-up role and will give us two options at closer. There's always a situation when you need a closer but you're regular closer is unavailable. This will become an audition for Foulke to reclaim his old job. Hopefully, he'll be good enough to take it back. That's a damn good problem to have, two really good closers.

Until then, it appears Papelbon will be the closer. So there really is no controversy. But Red Sox Nation needs to relax a little bit before we crown Papelbon King of the Bullpen.

Boston College avenged last year's tournament loss to The Fighting Sioux and earned a spot in the finals for the first time since their 2001 National Championship against North Dakota in Albany, NY.

The Eagles will face the Wisconsin Badgers. Madison is only about 70 miles from Milwaukee, home to the Frozen Four tournament this year. The game will essentially be a home game for the Badgers, who are believed by many to be the best team in the tournament. Then again, BC already beat the team that was ranked #1 in the nation in the 2nd round when they shut-out BU 5-0. The game should be a good one.

Unfortunately, an all New England Final was ruined by the Badgers last night as they beat Maine 5-2. The tournament was still dominated by New England teams. Two teams in the Frozen Four, 4 teams in the final 8, and 6 teams overall in the tournament. Not a bad year for New England college hockey.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I remember a few years ago I bought a Tebucky Jones jersey at the Patriots Pro Shop because it was discounted. This was after he had left the team and the Shop was trying to liquidate its inventory of the product. That could have been a wise investment on my part.

Today, the Pats signed Safety Tebucky Jones. The length and amount are still unknown at this time, but I'll find out as soon as I can. The Patriots also signed Martin Gramatica to be the place kicker. Gramatica is best known for his ludicrous post-kick antics, but he once was a good kicker and could be again.

The Patriots also learned what their schedule will look like come the fall. Here it is:

Sunday, Sept. 10 – vs. Bills, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 17 – at Jets, 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 24 – vs. Broncos, 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 1 – at Bengals, 4:15 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 8 – vs. Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 15 – BYE
Sunday, Oct. 22 – at Bills, 1 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 30 – at Vikings, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 5 – vs. Colts, 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 12 – vs. Jets, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 19 – at Packers, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 26 – vs. Bears, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 3 – vs. Lions, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 10 – at Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Sunday. Dec. 17 – vs. Texans, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 24 – at Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 31 – at Titans, 1 p.m.

It's a difficult first place schedule, and finishing with 3 of 4 games on the road won't be a picnic, especially with Gillette being such a formidable place to play in December.


The Red Sox followed up Tuesday's slugfest with a magnificent display of pitching. Beckett, Timlin, and Papelbon. The Sox also showed some nice defense in their 2-1 victory over the Rangers.

The Rangers had a weird first inning which allowed them to score. Wilkerson scorched a double down the right field line, a Wild Pitch moved Wilkerson to third and an infield single knocked him in. That would be it for the Rangers scoring.

Neither team mounted any serious offensive threat until the 7th inning. Manny walked to lead off the inning, the Trot Nixon took an 0-1 pitch and deposited it over the right field wall. The homerun gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Then Beckett came out and did something that is HUGE in baseball, particularly in close games like this one. He completely shut the Rangers down.

Mike Timlin came into the game and was less than impressive. He gave up a single to Mark Teixera, then after a fly out walked Blalock. Mench singled to left, Teixera tried to score but Manny threw him out with the help of Mike Lowell. Timlin induced a ground out to end the inning, the scoring threat, and essentially the game.

Papelbon came into the ninth inning, strike out, pop out, strike out, game over.

The Man of the Game is Josh Beckett. He threw 7, scattering 7 hits and a walk. He allowed only that strange run in the 1st. He also struck out 5, and threw 109 pitches, 75 for strikes. The Red Sox have an off day before flying to Baltimore and facing Daniel Cabrera and the Orioles.

We're out of the gate and we're looking strong.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


It didn't take very long now, did it? Nomar was put on the 15 Day DL with a strained muscle on his right side. The oft injured Garciaparra has not played a full season of baseball since 2003. In 2004, we all remember the controversy surrounding his injury and recovery. That year, he only played 81 games. Last season for the Cubbies, Nomar played 62 games. Apparently, Garciaparra strained his muscle in an at-bat over the weekend in an exhibition game against the Angels of Anaheim. He claims that he'll be ready to return in 2 weeks, but we've heard that BS before.

According to Al Leiter, who has/had the same agent as Roger Clemens, The Rocket will most likely sign with Boston or the Yankees. Leiter brough up a good point. ''There's no way the greatest player in the history of the game is going to retire the way he did, last pitching again Mexico and losing." Now, Babe Ruth didn't play in America's loss to Mexico, but I think Leiter is referring to Roger Clemens.

By the way, is there any doubt that Massachusetts is the greatest state in the country? We are about to sign a bill giving health care to everyone in the state AND the 2006 World Curling Championships are going down this week in Lowell.

(Re)sources for this Post: Sports
Houston Chronicle

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


After the pitching we got yesterday, it was hard to watch the display put on tonight in Arlington. Wakefield couldn't get past the 4th inning, allowing 7 runs off 7 hits and 3 walks. He got behind early in counts with the knuckler and was forced to resort to his fastball, which was crushed by Texas hitters, frequently over the wall.

The Red Sox offense was just as disappointing as Wakefield. Manny looked absolutely dreadful at the plate, going 0 for 4 with 3 strikeouts and 6 LOB. He looked bad on a lot of swings, which is very rare for Manny. The Red Sox had a scoring opportunity in the 1st and didn't get anything from it. That was essentially the game.

Only Ortiz and Crisp really impressed. Crisp went 3 for 5, Ortiz went 1 for 3 with 2 walks and an RBI. Other than that, the Red Sox had a few sporadic hits but couldn't come up with anything significant.

The Man of the Game is Phil Nevin who went 2 for 4 with a homer, 5 RBI, and a walk.

Here is the first B*tch-Goat of the season. In case you're new to the blog, the B*tch-Goat, or B-G is my division of responsibility for the loss. Each loss is 1.0 full B-G and it gets divided, then added up during the season and we see who was the most responsible for losses. Anyway, here it is:

Wakefield: 0.7 - 3.2 IP, 7 ER
Ramirez: 0.2 - 0 for 4, 3 Ks, 6 LOB
Bard: 0.1 - 0 for 3, 3 passed balls

In the rubber game, the Red Sox send Josh Beckett to the mound to face off against rookie Kameron Loe. I think the Sox will fair much better.


Here's the deal. Roger is still up in the air about whether or not he'll pitch this season. If he does pitch, it will probably be for only half of the season. He's being courted by a lot of teams and as soon as pitchers start going on the DL and the playoff races become more apparent, he will be courted even harder by anyone in need of pitching and with a few million bucks lying around. Now, the Red Sox payroll is right on the verge of going over the luxury tax, which means every $1 spent above it will cost $1.40. The Red Sox do have the cash lying around to pay Clemens $10 million or so for half a season of work. Are they willing to spend it? I hope so. Furthermore, the Red Sox have somewhat of an edge in this whole thing. Roger considers Boston like a second home to him, and the Red Sox will be competing for a World Series ring, especially if he is on the team. He also is friends with Al Nipper, and I can definately see him forming a bond with a guy like Curt Schilling.

I think if Roger decides to pitch, he'll pitch with us.

Monday, April 03, 2006


The Red Sox won on Opening Day for the first time in the 21st century. Their last Opening Day win was in 2000 against the Mariners. The big stories of the day were Curt Schilling, Coco Crisp, and David Ortiz.

Curt Schilling's fastball was alive all day and he used it to great effectiveness. He was hitting 94 in the 7th inning with it. He went 7 strong innings and threw 117 pitches. His only major mistake was a pitch to Phil Nevin that the Rangers DH hit for a homerun. Other than that he was brilliant. He struck out 5, allowed 5 hits and only walked 1.

The Sox gave Schilling a lead in the 4th inning when Jason Varitek hit a 2 run double. The rest of the game, the Sox added to that lead. In the 5th, Loretta knocked in Crisp with a double. Then Loretta experienced something he will probably experience a lot this season: walking to home plate after David Ortiz crushed a ball out of the park. In the 7th, Ortiz got another RBI by hitting a double to knock in Crisp. Mike Lowell capped off the Red Sox scoring with a solo shot to start the 8th. Slow bat? Maybe not.

The 7 runs were enough for the Sox. Papelbon came into the game in the 8th. He got a ground out, a strike out, and a fly out. With a 7-2 lead in the 9th, the Red Sox put out their defensive replacements in Snow and Stern. They also sent Foulke to the mound to end the game. Foulke struggled, following a single, then a double, then a long fly ball that was only a Sac-Fly thanks to Coco Crisp's defense. Foulke got a ground out to end the game.

Crisp didn't have a great day at the plate, but he scored twice. He also made some good plays in the field. Loretta had a solid day, going 1 for 2 with an RBI double. Ramirez only went 1 for 4, but he didn't have many scoring opportunities. Nixon was solid going 1 for 3. Varitek was great going 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Lowell had his homerun which proves that he can swing quickly. Alex Gonzales surprisingly went 2 for 4. Only Youkilis totally struggled at the plate, going 0 for 4.

David Ortiz is, of course, the Man of the Game. He went 3 for 5 with a homer and a double. He knocked in 3 and scored twice. He's looking dead on.

Tomorrow, the Red Sox will send Tim Wakefield to pitch against Vicente Padilla. The Red Sox like doing this because the Rangers saw Schilling's fastball all day today and tomorrow will see Wake's knuckleball.


The Rangers invited Roger Clemens to the Ballpark at Arlington today and according to's Extra Bases, Roger, and his agent met with Theo Epstein. Also participating at times were John Henry, Josh Beckett, and David Wells.

In just a few minutes, the Red Sox and Rangers will each begin their season. The Red Sox lineup is as follows:

1. CF Coco Crisp
2. 2B Mark Loretta
3. DH David Ortiz
4. LF Manny Ramirez
5. RF Trot Nixon
6. C Jason Varitek
7. 3B Mike Lowell
8. 1B Kevin Youkilis
9. SS Alex Gonzalez

Curt Schilling is on the mound against Kevin Millwood. It is in the mid 70's and sunny in Arlington and should get around 80 by the end of the game.

Julian Tavarez will be serving his suspension in full an without appeal. He will continue to work to be ready for his return.

Hee Seo Choi and David Wells will begin the season on the 15 Day DL. With the off days, it shouldn't be much of a problem.


Sunday, April 02, 2006


Hitting has been a staple of the Boston Red Sox during this stretch of playoff baseball. They have scored over 900 runs the past three seasons. They are poised to do it again. There have been several changes made in the lineup over the off-season, but the core and the principles appear to remain the same.

The lineup will start off with Coco Crisp. Crisp, as we all know, will replace Johnny Damon. Damon had a career year last season, but so did Crisp. We just didn't notice it considering he played in the less than frequently talked about AL Central. Damon batted .316, Crisp batted .300. Will we be pining for that extra hit every 63 at-bats? Damon scored many more Runs than Crisp, but Damon was in a much better lineup. The Indians as a team scored 120 fewer runs than the Red Sox. Crisp knocked in fewer runs, but once again, who would be on base for him to knock in? Johnny's OBP was .021 higher than Crisp's. However, Coco's slugging was .026 higher. An even trade off if you ask me. Crisp can run and Johnny can run. In fact, the only significant difference I can see between these two players is that Crisp is younger, cheaper, and can actually throw a baseball from the outfield. Crisp will do fine here. He'll hit in the lower .300 range, knock in somewhere around 75 runs, score about 100, steal a dozen or so bases, and be a good leadoff man.

Up next is another newcomer, Mark Loretta. Loretta replaces Bellhorn who had a good 2004 and a bad 2005. Loretta is a career .301 hitter and he is a smart hitter. He's the type of guy you love having bat 2nd in your order. He'll get on base nearly 4 out of 10 times, and will work counts. He has minimal power, but considering the guys hitting after him, we won't be needing him to hit too many HRs. I predict .300 with 70 RBI, 10 HRs, and a good number of Runs scored.

Now we get to the core, the best hitting combination since Ruth and Gehrig. Batting third will be Big Papi, David Ortiz, The Crusher, The Yankee Killer, Senor Clutch. Ortiz is coming off of a monster season. I just love to regurgitate his numbers. .300 BA, 148 RBI, 47 HRs, 102 BBs, .397 OBP, .604 Slugging, and 1 Stolen Base. The man is a monster. He's in the prime of his career and I predict he will put up similar numbers this season with two good table setters in front of him and one of the best pure hitters I've ever seen hitting behind him. .300, 140, 40 for DO.

Manny Ramirez is still with the team. I feel like there should be a press release everyday confirming that. Manny is Manny. He will aggravate the hell out of you until he gets into the batter's box. Then you love him again. Manny's average fell below his norms last year, but his production numbers were still there. I predict more of the same this year. He won't compete for a batting title, but he'll be in the race for the other Triple Crown categories. .300, 140 and 40 for MR24.

Now the lineup gets a little bit more flexible. Francona might want to put Nixon behind Manny to mix up lefties and righties. He then could plug in Varitek or Pena in the 5 hole.

Let's start with Nixon. When he's healthy, he's productive. But that's the problem. With Pena poised to platoon in right with Trot, he should have a better chance of staying off the DL for a significant amount of the season. He also won't have to deal with tough lefties. I heard on WEEI the other day that this isn't a big deal because there are so few lefty starters. This is true, however, there are a good number of lefties in the AL East. The Blue Jays have Chacin and Lilly. The Yankees have Johnson. There are left-handed pitchers we will be facing consistently. Trot should play about 110 games if he's healthy. He should bat around .310, knock in 60 to 70 and knock out around 20 homers.

Willy Mo Pena is going to cause manic depressiveness for many in Red Sox Nation. He hits a homer every 14.3 ABs over the past 2 seasons, but he strikes out about once every 3 at-bats. He'll contribute some power off the bench and power against lefties when Nixon has the day off. That is Willy Mo's MO. Maybe Papa Jack can instill a little bit more discipline in him. If he does, he has potential to be a very good hitter.

Jason Varitek has turned into an elite catcher, winning the Gold Glove, the Silver Slugger, and making the All-Star team. I personally think he is the best all around catcher in the game right now considering his versatility. He's going to get 50 extra base hits and he'll hit for a solid average. He'll knock in runs late in the lineup with guys like Ramirez, Nixon and Pena hitting in front of him.

Mike Lowell might be trouble at the beginning of the season. Reports from Fort Myers describe his bat as being "slow." He hit later on in Spring Training so perhaps he is getting into the swing of things, so to speak. I don't expect spectacular numbers from him, but I think he will contribute to this team's offense in the long run. If not, we have Cora, Youkilis, and Loretta prepared to fill in.

Kevin Youkilis is finally getting a chance to play consistently. He will be joined at first base by J.T. Snow but I think Youk will get most of the playing time. Kevin probably won't knock in a whole lot of runs, but he'll get on base to extend innings, keep pitchers working, and get knocked in by the top of the order. He just turned 27 and I think he'll prove this season that he can be a solid Major Leaguer.

J.T. Snow is the insurance policy at first base. Snow hasn't played 150 games since 2000, but he has still managed to contribute when playing. He'll play solid defense and will hit from time to time. Think of him as a John Olerud type of player.

Alex Gonzalez will not hit. He'll hit around .250 and knock in 60 runs or so. He will be consistent, though. He might play a role in eking out a few extra runs here or there when guys like Youkilis and Lowell get on base. He can move them over for Crisp and Loretta to knock in.

The Red Sox bench is looking better than last year's version. We lost Mirabelli, which is a big blow, but Josh Bard doesn't seem to bad. The guy is from Ithaca, NY so let's give him some props. He won't hit but if he catches Wakefield well enough then it won't be a major problem. If it does turn out to be a problem, the Red Sox will get a replacement through a trade. Bard probably has the best name on the team for Boston fans to pronounce. BAAAAAAAAAAHD!

Alex Cora will be the utility man of the infield. He hit decently with us at the end of last season but his defensive versatility is his true value. He's played significant time at SS and 2B and has played at 3rd as well as in the outfield very briefly. He's not slow either and can make a few things happen with his legs.

The only real speed threat on the bench is Adam Stern, though. Stern is a youngster but he had a fantastic Spring in the WBC and GFL. He's fast and he is good in the outfield, defensively. He'll probably fill the role that Gabe Kapler had with us.

On the horizon is Dustin Pedroia. Some speculate he will be playing regularly in the infield by the end of the season. He could replace Loretta if Loretta moves to 3rd if Lowell doesn't work out. He will probably be up with this team at some point before September.

Defensively, the Red Sox are much improved over last season. We have a Golden Glover behind the plate, Snow has won 6 of them, Loretta is no slouch, Gonzalez is a defensive wizard and Mike Lowell won the Gold Glove last season. Our outfield defense is a little shaky, but Crisp is good. Stern can come off the bench for defense late in games. Besides, of all the holes to have, corner outfield defense is one of the lowest on the priority list.

So that's it. I think the Sox have improved, but so have the Yankees and Blue Jays. The team with the best record in those 40 or so games in between the teams will probably win the division. I think the Yankees will take it, winning 98 games. I think we'll finish in 2nd with 96 wins and Toronto in 3rd with 90. I think we'll take the Wild Card by an even closer margin. Once the playoffs start and our rotation shrinks to 4 guys, we could be a real threat.


The Red Sox bullpen was a huge problem last season. In between October and April, the Red Sox have attempted to improve that problem.

The key is Foulke. He's coming off of injuries, which with his complicated deliveries might affect his pitching. He seems healthy enough judging from reports based on his minimal activity in Spring Training. He might start the season off a bit off but I think at year's end he will be dependable. We don't need him to be Eric Gagne. We just need him to be solid. We need him to Save 6 of 7 opportunities or somewhere around that. I think he will do that.

Mike Timlin was the best pitcher on the staff last season. This year I think we will see more of the same. Last year his greatest contribution was his durability. He made 81 appearances. We don't need him to make the same number of outings this year. However, he will be the #1 set-up man for us and we may rely on him to be the closer.

David Riske hasn't had a great Spring, but with relievers Spring is almost meaningless. In the past, he has put up solid numbers. He won't be making the All-Star game or anything, but he can go out there 60 to 70 times a year and put up an ERA of 3.40 to 3.60. That's something we lacked last season, a solid alternative to Mike Timlin.

Lenny Dinardo is making his third stint with the Red Sox. He has been a AAAA type of player, too good for the minors, not good enough for the Big Leagues. He will probably be used sparingly as a situational lefty. I doubt he'll be as good in that role as Mike Myers was last season, but I think he'll be good enough.

Rudy Seanez is making his second stint with the Red Sox. Since his last time with Boston he seems to have improved. With San Diego last year his ERA was 2.69. Combined the year before it was 3.33 in between Kansas City and Florida. I think we can expect the same out of Seanez that we will get from Riske. Somewhere around 60 appearances and an ERA in the mid 3's.

Julian Tavarez will start the season on appealed suspension. He, like Seanez and Riske, should be solid, going out there 1 out of 3 games, and chalking up an ERA somewhere in between 3 and 4.

Papelbon will start off in the bullpen with Wells on the 15 day DL and a 4 man rotation working with the off days. He should do well in that role. Last season his numbers were impressive in limited playing time. He made 14 relief appearances and 3 starts. He pitched 34 innings, striking out 34 and allowing 33 hits. He walked 17 batters. His WHIP was 1.47, which isn't amazing, but he was able to keep his Earned Run total down which speaks to his ability to get out of jams. He only allowed 10 earned runs. 2.65 ERA and striking out twice as many as he walked is damn good for a 24 year old. This season he'll be 25 and looking to only get better. I think he will.

Supporting the bullpen will be a myriad of minor league players that will move up and down I-95 in between Boston and Pawtucket. Jon Lester, Manny Delcarmen, Abe Alvarez, and Craig Hansen should all see time with the Big Sox by the time the season is out.

Lester will be in his first season at AAA Pawtucket after an amazing season in AA. Look for him to be the first guy the Red Sox call on to make spot starts if Papelbon is unavailable. Delcarmen will also be in AAA. The 24 year old Hyde Parker pitched in 10 games with us last season.

Craig Hansen is a phenom. He only pitched 12.2 innings last season in the minors before being called up to Boston. He went from taking final exams in May to pitching in Fenway in less than a year. He will start the year in AA where the Red Sox will try to teach him to pitch, not just throw gas. If he learns the ins and outs, builds up some arm strength, and some ingenuity on the mound, then he could be something really special in a year or two. The kid is only 22 years old. He had a great Spring allowing 0 runs in 10.2 innings. He will build on last season's impressive run through the minor leagues and he will be pitching for Boston by September.

The bullpen isn't going to really scare anyone. However, it is solid. It won't cost us too many games which is what last year's bullpen did. If Foulke can't close, we'll have Timlin and Papelbon available. We have much more depth in the pen this year so we can afford to take hits like that. The depth also allows us to not wear down pitchers. They'll be fresh come September and hopefully October.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


The 2006 Red Sox look to build on last season and continue their run of post-season berths. At no point in Red Sox history have they ever made the playoffs 4 seasons in a row. If they do it in 2006, it will be 4 in a row, and 6 out of 9.

The Red Sox have rebuilt the all too flawed 2005 team with additions such as Josh Beckett, Alex Gonzalez, Mark Loretta, J.T. Snow, Mike Lowell, and Coco Crisp. Several members of the core team that won it all in 2004 will be returning with the notable exception of Johnny Damon.

Undoubtedly, the biggest problem with the 2005 season was a lack of pitching. As a team, the Sox ERA was 4.74. Only two regular pitchers - Mike Myers and Mike Timlin - had ERAs below 4.00. Myers is gone to the Yankees, but Timlin remains.

At the top of the rotation are Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. Schilling will start the season in the #1 slot on Monday against Kevin Millwood. He is recovering from a very rough season in which he battled injury all year long. The big question is, what is left in the tank for Schilling?

Schilling only pitched 8 innings in Grapefruit League play. He did not perform very well, but he seemed to be using the time to experiment with new styles of pitching. The thing about Schilling is that even if he is not 100%, he is a very smart and tough pitcher. He knows how to get things done. I think he will be fine this season. Not as good as he was in 2004, but good enough to lead this staff. I think he will win 18 games, pitch 220 innings, and finish with an ERA around 3.50.

Beckett is another large question mark. Beckett is still a youngster, only 26. He has yet to achieve in a season what has been expected of him. This could very well be that season. He will have plenty of veterans around him to learn from. However, he'll also be trying to learn a new league. I think he'll start off a bit rocky and then finish the season strong. I'd say 16 wins, and an ERA of 3.40.

The rest of the rotation is much less spectacular. Wakefield, Clement, and Wells are all capable of greatness in one start then crappiness in the next.

Clement started last season off very nicely earning an All-Star bid. Then it seemed as though hitter's figured out what he would be throwing. He has always been a strong starter and weak finisher. I think he'll be solid for us on the whole finishing with 16 wins and an ERA of about 4.00.

Wakefield is a question mark. He always has been. His stuff hasn't changed much and it still works. I think he is getting older, however. Believe it or not, knuckleballers get tired too. I predict he will win 15 games for us and have an ERA of around 4.40.

Wells doesn't want to be here, but he hasn't allowed his unhappiness to affect his pitching in the past. He is coming off an injury and is getting up there in age, but I think there is still some gas left in the tank. He will be highly motivated to pitch well to make him more tradable. I think if he pitches well, he will be dealt by the All-Star break and replaced by Papelbon. For the first half of the season I think he'll win 7 or 8 and have an ERA of 4.60. Not bad for a 5th starter.

Papelbon will start the season in the bullpen. I think he will come into his own this season. With the uncertainty of the starting staff, he is almost bound to make at least 10 starts this year. If he does, he will not get overexposed and should perform nicely both in the pen and as a starter.