Saturday, March 31, 2007


The most important part of any baseball team is the starting pitching. Although hitters play every day, starting pitchers are much more important. A starting pitcher is involved in about 100 plays per game. A position player might be involved in 10 to 15 plays a game, depending on position. Unless, of course, they're a catcher. But the pitcher is a much more influential part of the 100 pitching plays he's involved in than the catcher is, particularly when there is nobody on base.

Anyway, the Red Sox, as usual, have a lot of questions in their rotation this year. The cast of characters is pretty set in stone, at least for April, but a lot of them are surrounded by doubt and uncertainty.

1. Will Schilling pitch like an old man?

2. Will Beckett continue to struggle?

3. How will Matsuzaka adjust, and more importantly, how will MLB hitters adjust to him?

4. Is Wakefield still a starter?

5. What the hell will we get out of Tavarez?

Let's start off from the top of the rotation. Schilling is pitching Opening Day for us. This is Curt's 16th year as a starter, and he turned 40 in the off-season. He was slightly off the center of attention with Manny Ramirez's shenanigans and the arrival of Daisuke Matsuzaka, but he still managed to steal some spotlight with his sudden desire to pitch in 2008, and his ultimatum to the Red Sox to extend his contract. However, he's a professional, and I highly doubt this will affect his performance. If anything, he'll pitch better because of it.

But he's 40 years old. That's a massive number for a pitcher. He's got over 3,100 innings worn into that right arm, not including warm ups, high school, college, Little League, pick up games, the minors, exhibition games, or the playoffs. Last year he was very solid, throwing 204 innings with a below league average ERA and 15 wins. But he's not an Ace. He is a #2 pitcher in a #1 slot on this team.

I think Curt will throw close to 200 innings this year, and his ERA will be around 4.00. He'll win 16 to 18 games, depending on the offense and the bullpen. His WHIP will be around 1.30 to 1.35. In 2008, he'll get paid $10 million by the Red Sox to pitch.

Josh Beckett was the biggest disappointment on the 2006 Red Sox. But the situation with him is not all gloom and doom. He's had a full season in Boston, now. He's got a new pitching coach, and he's surrounded by other good pitchers.

Beckett had two major problems last year. Walks, and homeruns. These two problems are related. You have trouble throwing strikes, so you groove pitches that hitters crush out of the ballpark. Walks are a pitcher's worse nightmare, because they literally are free passes. Beckett walked 74 batters last year, a career high. Only 1 was an intentional walk. He walked a batter every 2.77 innings. In 2005, he walked a batter once every 3.08 innings (this was in the NL with no DH). In his career he walks batters once every 2.74 innings, so this is not a new problem. However, what was a new problem were the abundance of homeruns. Beckett allowed 36 in 33 starts. He gave up the longball every 5.69 innings. His career rate is a homerun every 8.94 innings. This was a major problem for him in 2006.

Why so many homeruns? Well, there's the DH, but that isn't too much of a factor, I don't think. There's pitching in Fenway Park, but he only allowed 12 homers in Fenway, and gave up 24 on the road. Then there's the notion of pressure, and a pitcher bearing down too hard. Beckett was on a new team in a baseball crazy city, pitching in the biggest American sports rivalry, having his every move watched, being recognized wherever he went (my friend once saw him in an electronics store in Chestnut Hill and talked to him), and having losers like me breaking down his every pitch on our blogs. So Beckett would give up walks, and the pressure he put on himself, and we put on him, caused him to press too hard. To try too much to make that perfect pitch. And if that perfect pitch is just a little bit off, it's a long way gone. I think this is why Beckett allowed so many homeruns.

But I think there's a chance he's adjusted to it all. He's had an entire off-season to cool down. His Spring numbers are pretty solid, 23.2 IP, 22 hits, only 4 walks, only 1 homerun, and 8 earned runs for an ERA of 3.04. A very small sample, but the walk and homerun totals are very nice to see. If he can keep the homeruns to around 15 to 18, he's going to be a very good starter for us. And I think he will keep those HR totals down. So my prediction for Beckett this season: 205 innings, 17 to 20 wins, 3.45 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and a whole lot of redemption.

The $51,111,111.11 question revolves around Daisuke Matsuzaka. Will he adjust to America? Will MLB hitters eat him up? How will he deal with the different strikezone. So on and so forth.

Just a few things about Daisuke that I've seen in spring, the WBC, and videos online. He throws a lot of pitches. I don't mean he has a wide variety (which he does), or he throws a lot in a single game (which he does). What I mean is that in order to get batters out, he works the count on them. He goes very deep into each at-bat, falling behind the count or not getting very far ahead in the count.

This is somewhat troublesome to me, because against NPB hitters, you can get away with falling behind 3-1, or 2-0, and still toy with hitters if you've got stuff like Daisuke. But in the Majors, the hitters are too good. They'll take that 3-1 pitch for a ball, or they'll be able to crush that 2-0 pitch for a double. So I think Daisuke will have to adjust to MLB hitters. And it is paramount for pitchers to be ahead in the count against MLB hitters. Their batting eyes are just too good, they crush every single mistake, and they know how to work counts. All of them.

I think this will be a huge adjustment for Daisuke. He's got the pitches to accomplish this, but the way he approaches batters will be quite different. He's going to have to throw more strikes early in the count, and I think it will be a rough adjustment, at first, as he grows accustomed to approaching hitters in this way. Thankfully, it will also be an adjustment for MLB hitters as they see his stuff for the first time. In the first few meetings between pitchers and hitters, the hitter usually has an advantage. New arm angles, release points, and movement on the ball for the hitter to adjust to.

So I think Daisuke will adjust to MLB hitters in time, and by the time MLB hitters have adjusted to him, he'll be set in the way he approaches pitching to them. And I think he has the stuff to pitch very well.

Predictions: 16 wins, 3.65 ERA, 1.3 WHIP. Solid season which will be improved upon in 2008.

Tim Wakefield in the rotation is an issue that has sort of been kept quiet around The Nation this off-season. Wake will be turning 41 in August. The general misconception is that because he's a knuckleballer, he doesn't wear down. This is incorrect. Although throwing a knuckleball is less strenuous on the arm compared to a fastball or breaking ball, it still does some damage. Counting the playoffs, Wakefield's thrown just about 2,500 MLB innings.

I think Wakefield will struggle as a starter this year. He didn't do too poorly in 2006 with a 4.63 ERA (league average was 4.61), but he's another year older. He's no longer "rubber armed," he averaged 6.09 innings per start last year, as opposed to the 6.83 he averaged in 2005. He's a 5 or 6 inning pitcher.

But we don't have much of a choice at the moment. He will be our starter for most if not all of April, then we'll go from there. The good thing is that Wakefield can be very useful out of the bullpen. With the knuckleball, he can really screw up hitters after they face our hard throwing starters, and right before they face relievers like Papelbon. I'd really like to see Tim in the bullpen. I think he can help out this team a great deal in a middle relief role and an occasional set-up man.

Julian Tavarez in the rotation is great. I actually felt as though Tavarez should have been in the rotation even when Papelbon was still there. In September last year, he went 3-0 as a starter with 30.2 IP in 5 starts, and an ERA of 3.52. I think he's a solid 5th starter to have on the team.

On winning teams, 5th starters are able to win those extra games for the team. Most of the wins come from the top of the rotation, but those few extra wins from the bottom are huge. Tavarez can give us that from the bottom of the rotation.

Prediction: 13 wins, 4.00 ERA.

As mentioned above, I think Wakefield will find his way into the bullpen somewhere in the middle of the season. So who will replace him?

Kyle Snyder is capable of spot starting should the need arise, as is Joel Pineiro. But these are not our 6th and 7th starters.

Jon Lester is the 6th starter, and I think he will be brought up in case of injury in the rotation. I also think he'll be brought up by the middle of the season to be our 4th starter, replacing Wakefield. Lester pitched solidly last season for us, all things considered. I think he'll do well in AAA Pawtucket and will eventually his way up I-95 to Boston.

Kason Gabbard is another potential option for emergency starting pitcher. Although, last year was not very good for him in Pawtucket.

If the Red Sox are in the hunt late in the season, they will make a deal for a starting pitcher if they need one. There will be no holding back this season.


Just a hunch, but Ortiz will be the regular DH. He'll hit 90 HR, knock in 250 RBI, and hit .340, and will finish 2nd to a position player in the MVP.

Just kidding...or am I? The REAL American League MVP, David Ortiz, will be the DH, with the occasional spell from Wily Mo Pena, or Manny Ramirez (with Wily Mo in LF, so it will be like Pena is subbing for Ortiz). I think David will hit 45 HR, knock in 140, and hit .300. I also think he'll once again be shafted by the MVP voters.


The Red Sox outfield is capable of being a top flight trio, or a complete mess.

We've got Manny in left, of course, but God knows what he's going to pull this year. He might opt to retire early to pursue his eBaying career. We know what we're going to get production wise from Manny, when he's playing. He's, gulp, the most dependable guy we have in the OF right now.

I think Manny will hit .320, with 40 HRs, 135 RBI, .420 OBP, .620 slugging (very nice OPS).

Center-field we'll start out with Crisp. We really don't know what we've got with Crisp. He still seems a bit less than healthy, and his Spring Training was horrible. I really don't think Crisp will have a good season. I think he hits .265 and by the middle of his season will find his playing time dramatically reduced.

Right-field is another big question mark in J.D. Drew. Drew's health and ability to maintain that health is the big unknown here. I think he won't get injured, though. I don't know why. I actually think he'll become a very productive member of the team. He'll hit .285, with 25 HRs, and 110 RBI, with an OBP of .400.

Wily Mo Pena is actually a really good 4th outfielder. Defensively he's essentially useless, but he is capable of putting up good numbers. I think we'll see a concerted effort to get Pena at-bats. He'll play in RF against certain lefties, allowing Drew to sit. He'll play in center if Coco struggles, he'll get pinch-hit ABs when we need a power hitter up, he'll DH when Ortiz gets a day off, and if Drew, Manny, or Coco cannot play, Pena will get the not. He'll give us some production, with a lot of strikeouts thrown in. But looking at his numbers from last season, they aren't that bad. The 90 K's in 276 ABs is very poor, but he also hit .301, with an OBP of .349, 11 HRs, and 42 RBI in limited playing time.

The Sox have some guys that are capable of occasionally playing in the OF. They might get in there in case something bad happens to Crisp, Manny, or Drew, which is unfortunately quite likely. Hinske can play the corner outfield spots, Lugo has some appearances at all outfield positions, Youkilis can play the outfield, and Cora has been used as a LF in the past. But these will be in tight spots.

The true 5th outfielder, right now, is David Murphy. Murphy played 20 games with Boston last season, and will be in AAA Pawtucket this year. He's not a stunner of a prospect, but he's close, and he can fill in as a backup outfielder should the need arise.

By the middle of the season, the 5th outfielder will be Jacoby Ellsbury. He hit .308 with AA Portland last year, had a solid Arizona Fall League campaign, and had a very impressive Spring Training. He is our #1 prospect, and will be starting the season in Portland. Expect him to move up to Pawtucket soon. The Sox might be hesitant to use him as a bench player in 2007, because it is important for him to play every day, not just sit on the bench and play an inning or two here and there. This is why I believe they'll use Murphy in the role of 5th outfielder to start the season. But Ellsbury's got something, my friends. He's got potential to be something very, very special.

Friday, March 30, 2007


Another year, another short-stop. The Red Sox franchise has gone from Nomar Garciaparra to Orlando Cabrera, to Pokey Reese, to Edgar Rentaria, to Alex Gonzalez, to Alex Cora, and now to Julio Lugo.

Lugo's been sought after by the Sox for a long time now, and his name has been bandied about in trade talks. Finally, we got him. But who do we got?

Last year Lugo had great stats with the Devil Rays, then not so great stats with the Dodgers. With Tampa, he hit .308, slugged .498 (pretty solid for a SS), and had an OBP of .373.

I think Lugo will do well in Boston. However, it is quite a transition to go from the pressure free spa environment of Tropicana Field to the intense cauldron of Fenway Park. How he adjusts to that will be critical.

A criticism of Lugo is his fielding. Although he has very good range, he makes a lot of errors. He had 19 errors last year between LA and Tampa. The year before he had 26, and in 2004 he had 20. He's got a career fielding position of .965 at short-stop. For comparison's sake, last year Gonzalez had a .985 FP, Reese had a .979 FP at SS in 2004, and Cabrera has a career .978 FP. We've seen some great defensive SS play in the past few seasons, which will make Lugo's less than sensational defense seem even worse than it is. And Boston loves things that are worse than they really are.

I think Lugo will do well offensively in Boston. He'll hit .285, with an OBP of .380, 10 homeruns, and 70 RBI in an early position in the lineup. He has good speed which we might utilize, and I think he'll steal 20 bases. But I also think he'll make 20 errors. Hopefully, his defensive problems won't affect his offensive performance.

Lugo will probably see himself replaced in later innings by Alex Cora for defensive purposes when the Sox have a lead. Pedroia could also do this, but I think Cora will be used in this role. Even if Cora starts the game at 2B, Pedroia will be brought in at second and Cora will shift to SS. I think you'll see Cora with a good deal of playing time in between platooning with Pedroia, and defensively replacing Lugo.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Former Sox closer Ugueth Urbina has been sentenced to 14 years in prison in Caracas, Venezuela for attempted murder of several men who were employees on his ranch. Urbina was acquired in a trade by the Sox in 2001 and pitched through 2002, racking up 49 saves with the team.

Ugueth's claim to fame is that he is the first MLB player ever to have the initials U.U.U. His middle name is Urtain.

I'm organizing a strike force to free Ugueth. So far I've got Rolando Arrojo, Rich Garces, Hipolito Pichardo, Bill Pulsipher, and Sun-Woo Kim on board. Any more volunteers?


I don't know what the title of this post really means, it just sounds funny.

The overreacting wannabe muckrakers at Boston Dirt Dogs once again are trying to create something out of nothing. Moreover, the not-so-brights of the Boston sports media are following suit, trying to break the newest controversial story along the same lines as Keith Foulke's Burger King debacle.

Here is what Coco Crisp said. These are excerpts from a Gordon Edes article which can be found Here

Edes: Looking forward to showing people in Boston the real Coco?

Coco: I don't really care what the people think about me. Or you guys [the media] or anything like that. I just go out there and play and have fun. Hope the rest of the people enjoy watching me.

But as far as me wracking my brain about what anybody thinks, I don't do that. I hope they enjoy watching us play as a team, I do something, they enjoy that part of it. But I don't care if people think I suck, or they think I'm good. I just go out there and have fun, and hopefully the ball falls in.

Don't get me wrong, I like the fans.

Edes: You really don't care if people think you "suck"?

Coco: No. I don't care. I go out there and play hard. If people think I'm good, then thank you. If they think I suck, then thank you anyway. I don't really care. Go out there and play hard and try to do my job and have fun with it. Hopefully, I do well at it.

Fans are pissed at Coco for saying stuff that is really inconsequential. Let me try to clue Red Sox Nation in on what he seems to be trying to say. He is going to do the best he can whether or not he gets standing ovations or earth shattering boos and jeers. He doesn't care if he's loved or hated, he's going to do his job.

Isn't this what people want????? Quite honestly, I don't want a ballplayer on the Sox who plays the game hoping to be cheered. I want a ballplayer who plays the game hoping to be the most productive. I don't want a ballplayer who needs to be motivated by booing in order for him to get off his ass and perform. We had that in Kevin Millar, and Kevin Millar sucks!

We had a guy in Keith Foulke who really hated being booed, and we tore him down for it. We have a guy in Crisp who claims he doesn't care if he's booed, and we're tearing him down for it.

Crisp did not come out and say "I don't care about the fans" or "I'm in it for me and me only." He simply said that what the fans do is up to them and he doesn't care if he's booed or cheered.



Mike Lowell was a pleasant surprise last season, and was perhaps the best part of the Josh Beckett deal. He'll be starting at third base this season, and should be anchoring the 6th spot in the lineup behind the heavy hitters. He had 20 HRs, 80 RBI, and 68 extra base hits for us last season. And if you want my honest opinion, he was slightly misused by Francona. Lowell would often be hitting after Varitek or some other offensively inferior hitter, which I think cost him (and the Sox) some production.

Lowell is a solid player, which is why I like him. He's far from a star, but he comes in and does his job, and does it well. In that respect, he reminds me of Bill Mueller. Winning teams may seem to be built around stars, but they're built on the foundation of good, solid players. Just look at the NY Yankees from 1996 to 2000.

I think Lowell will have a productive 2007 season. He'll hit around .280 to .290. He'll also hit 25 homers, and knock in 90 runs.

But let's say he struggles and/or gets hurt. We've got Eric Hinske on the bench who can come in for him, Alex Cora can play third base, and we all know Kevin Youkilis can, too. So we've got some insurance, there.

I think Hinske might come in for certain situations against RHP. But normally, I'd expect/hope to see Lowell batting 6th behind Ortiz-Ramirez-Drew. That'll give us a good L-R-L-R combo in the middle of the lineup.


It isn't completely official, but it is quite clear. The Red Sox have set their 25 man roster.

C - Jason Varitek
C - Doug Mirabelli
1B - Kevin Youkilis
2B - Dustin Pedroia
3B - Mike Lowell
SS - Julio Lugo
IF - Alex Cora
IF/OF - Eric Hinske
LF - Manny Ramirez
CF - Coco Crisp
RF - J.D. Drew
OF - Wily Mo Pena
DH - David Ortiz

SP - Daisuke Matsuzaka
SP - Curt Schilling
SP - Josh Beckett
SP - Tim Wakefield
SP - Julian Tavarez
CP - Jonathan Papelbon
RP - Brendan Donnelly
RP - JC Romero
RP - Hideki Okajima
RP - Javier Lopez
RP/SP - Kyle Snyder
RP/SP - Joel Pineiro

So the Sox decided to go with 12 pitchers, which I think is the right thing to do for now. They also decided to go with three lefties. I would not be shocked if that number decreased as the season wore on and things became clearer as to who was pitching well and who wasn't.

Mike Timlin will start the season on the 15 Day DL, but the Sox believe he will be activated sometime around April 10. Craig Hansen, Manny Delcarmen, and Jon Lester will start the season in AAA Pawtucket. Hansen and Delcarmen each had disappointing springs, and Lester is still kind of rehabbing from cancer. I think Lester will be in the starting rotation by the All-Star break.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


No kidding?

When the Red Sox passed on the few available closers out on the market this offseason, and collected a mass of set-up men and bullpen driftwood, you kind of had the feeling that the search for a closer would end where it began.

The Red Sox claim (claim being an operative word) that the shoulder damage done last season has been sufficiently healed that it will be OK for Papelbon to close next year. Weird how this news emerges from Sox camp AFTER all of his potential replacements fail to shine, AFTER Mike Timlin has trouble with his arm, and AFTER the announcement was made that he would close. Just a tad weird.

Papelbon was to take the #4 spot in the rotation. Wakefield will move up to said slot, and Tavarez will pitch in the 5 hole. I would not be at all shocked if Jon Lester is even more carefully watched by the front office in Boston while he's pitching in AAA. The same goes for any other pitcher down there.

In sad news, it is being reported that NESN broadcaster/journalist/hotty Hazel Mae will be getting married to Kevin Barker, a non-roster invitee to Blue Jays Spring Training.

Honestly, a tear came to my eye when I read this story.


The Hockey East sent a record 5 teams to the NCAA tournament, which fields a total of 16 teams. UNH received a 1 seed, Boston College and Boston University were each 2 seeds, Maine was a 3 seed, and UMass a 4 seed. Here are their first round games:

Friday 3/23:
2:30 PM #1 Clarkson vs. #4 UMass @ Rocheser, NY
6:00 PM #2 St. Cloud State vs. #3 Maine @ Rochester, NY
8:30 PM #2 Boston University vs. #3 Michigan State @ Grand Rapids, MI (BU kind of got screwed there)

Saturday 3/24:
1:00 PM #1 New Hampshire vs. #4 Miami (Ohio) @ Manchester, NH
4:30 PM #2 Boston College vs. #3 St. Lawrence @ Manchester, NH

The teams that win their region advance to the Frozen Four in St. Louis. Since my basketball bracket is already busted, here are my predictions for the winners of each game.

East Regional:
#1 Clarkson vs. #4 UMass - Clarkson
#2 St. Cloud State vs. #3 Maine - Maine
#1 Clarkson vs. #3 Maine - Clarkson

Midwest Regional:
#1 Notre Dame vs. #4 Alabama-Hunstville - Notre Dame
#2 Boston University vs. #3 Michigan State - Michigan State
#1 Notre Dame vs. #3 Michigan State - Notre Dame

West Regional:
#1 Minnesota vs. #4 Air Force - Minnesota
#2 Michigan vs. #3 North Dakota - North Dakota
#1 Minnesota vs. #3 North Dakota - North Dakota

East Regional:
#1 New Hampshire vs. #4 Miami (OH) - New Hampshire
#2 Boston College vs. #3 St. Lawrence - Boston College
#1 New Hampshire vs. #2 Boston College - Boston College

Frozen Four:
Boston College vs. Notre Dame - Notre Dame
North Dakota vs. Clarkson - North Dakota
Notre Dame vs. North Dakota - Notre Dame

Sad, but true. I hate Notre Dame.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


The other day, an item appeared on eBay. It was a top of the line grill. Funny thing was, it was declared to be Manny Ramirez's grill. Pictures of Manny with the grill were included along with a description:

"Hi, I'm Manny Ramirez. I bought this AMAZING grill for about $4,000 and I used it once... But I never have the time to use it because I am always on the road. I would love to sell it and you will get an autographed ball signed by me =] Enjoy it, Manny Ramirez."

Although I'm not shocked that Manny might use smiley things like "=]" the item did raise some red flags. First of all, "Manny" declared that the grill cost him $4,000. But the same grill can be seen Here for about $1,750. But then again, I wouldn't put it past Manny to buy a $1,750 grill for $4k.

Then another thing that struck me, and everyone else for that matter. Why the hell would Manny be selling his grill on eBay? It seems like he could sell it through some other medium, rather easily. Then there was the screen name selling it on eBay. It was "mannyramirez" then some numbers. Manny seems like the guy who would have a user name like "DooRag24" or something. Then the fact that the feedback rating next to the user name was 0, indicating that this person had never made a sale.

Amalie Benjamin of's Extra Bases was actually able to ask Manny himself about the grill. Keep in mind that this is the first time Manny has spoken to the media this year, and it's about a fucking grill. What the hell is wrong with this team?

Anyway, Manny said it wasn't his grill. It was his neighbor's grill, and Manny was helping him sell it. So Manny's not a bad dude, he's trying to use his star power and the incentive of including an autographed baseball to help out his neighbor.

But his neighbor is a total DB. His neighbor put an item on eBay, lied about who he was, lied about how much he paid for it, and tried using Manny to help him carry out this con. That's a great deal for him, but a grill for $1,750, then sell it for $4,500+. Hell, he could make a living doing that. A new item every day! Here's Manny Ramirez's tennis racket, bought it for $1,000, sell it for $3,000. Here's Manny's spare tire for an Escalade, bought it for $1,500, sell it for $7,000.

But the one problem in this greedy little wannabe eBay con artist's scheme was his partner: Manny Ramirez. For Manny, being Manny, decided that it was time to talk to the media about the grill, and he told the truth.

So, the scam's over, the grill isn't on eBay anymore, and we're left with images like this:

It's a pretty sweet grill, though, no doubt about that.


I'm really looking forward to seeing what second base will play out to be this season. The strategy will be to platoon rookie Dustin Pedroia and utility infielder Alex Cora. Pedroia's a righty, Cora's a lefty.

Pedroia had limited success in 89 ABs with Boston last season. However, his Pawtucket numbers were fairly good. He hit .305 in AAA with a .384 OBP. He didn't hit for much power, but few second basemen do. He's hitting .297 in Spring Training, with an OBP of .383. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he'll do for us this year and beyond.

He and Cora will split time. Bill James inane baseball stat predictors have proclaimed that Pedroia will have 611 ABs this season. Unless Cora gets hurt, Pedroia hits .375, or the Sox play a TON of extra inning games, this will not happen. At the most, Pedroia will get around 400 ABs, I think.

Cora only hit .238 last season, but if his appearances are limited to favorable situations, that could improve a bit. He and Pedroia currently have the same number of ABs this Spring, and Cora also has a .297 average. Although, his OBP is a lower .325. Cora's presence will keep some pressure off Pedroia.

I expect Pedroia to hit around .270 or so, with an OBP around .350. Cora will hit .240 with an OBP around .310. We're not going to get much offensive production from second base this year, and I expect that Cora and Pedroia will be hitting near the tail end of the lineup.

In case of emergencies, Youkilis might be plugged in at second base, but this will be in dire circumstances.


Thankfully the Sox will not have Todd Helton starting at first this season. It will be Kevin Youkilis. And his job is relatively secure. Last season Youk had a solid year, hitting 13 homers, knocking in 72 RBI, and scoring 100 times. He's not a typical first-baseman in that he isn't a big slugger. But he's not a typical leadoff hitter in that he isn't all that fast. He had 5 SBs last season on 7 attempts.

He did have a .381 OBP, which is where his value lies. He walked 91 times, and although he also struck out 120 times, at least he worked the count a lot. He's the kind of player you have in your lineup so that other players can do their jobs more easily. He compliments power hitters like Ortiz, Ramirez, and to a lesser extent Lowell. He gets on base, wears out pitchers, and helps the team produce runs.

He'll probably see most of the time at first-base, where he's got a decent glove. Unlike previous years, we're not wasting a roster spot on a defensive first baseman, or on Kevin Millar.

Eric Hinske will be the backup at first-base. He'll come in to spell Youkilis, and may come in against difficult right-handed pitchers. He could be used as a pinch hitter for Youk against guys late in the game, depending on situations. If it's a tough righty, Hinske is a lefty. And if we need a hit more than we need the count to be worked, Hinske can do that a bit better.

David Ortiz will see time at first-base during interleague games in NL ballparks. If he sees time there for any other reason, something has gone wrong. During these interleague games, you might see Youkilis playing 2B or 3B to keep him in the lineup.

I think very highly of Youkilis and I think he'll have a good year. He might be pushed further down the lineup with Lugo on the team, but I'd like to see him as a #2 hitter, getting on base and working counts right before the big bats in the middle of the order.

Prediction: .285 average, .400 OBP, 15 HR, 75 RBI, 120 Runs


Really no doubt as to who the Catcher will be to start the 2007 season, and really no doubt who will remain the Catcher, barring any injuries.

Varitek will start
Mirabelli will back up and be Wakefield's personal Catcher
George Kottaras will be the 3rd option, starting the season in AAA

The Catcher position is no longer an offensive position for the Red Sox. Defensively, it is still very sound. However, Sox Catchers are not the most feared by baserunners. But who is? What's important is that Tek calls a good game, and Mirabelli follows the knuckle ball well.

But there's minimal production out of this duo. Tek will be turning 35 in a few weeks, which is 65 in Catcher's years. He still does a good job, but like most Catchers at this stage in their careers, his bat is not what it used to be.

Last season he hit .238, with an OBP of .325. He hit 12 HRs, his lowest total since 2002. Although his ABs were very limited, he managed to slug .400, just barely. I'm not saying he's a hole in the lineup, I'm just saying he is no longer a consistent offensive producer like he was a few years ago.

My completely non-scientific and totally incorrect forecast for Varitek in the '07 season is a .230 average, .310 OBP, .380 slugging, 10 HRs, 60 RBI. He'll probably hit the DL or miss time with an injury at some point, hopefully not for an extensive period.

Mirabelli struggled mightily at the plate last season. He'll start off as the 2nd Catcher, but his job is not secured, not yet at least. He hit .193 with the Sox last season, and .191 in between Boston and San Diego. He did hit 6 HRs, which is good for a backup Catcher, but he also struck out 54 times in 161 ABs. That's a K every 2.98 ABs. For reference, Wily Mo Pena struck out once every 3.07 ABs last year.

Mirabellie has a job now, but Wakefield's position in the rotation is not a sure thing. With Papelbon, Schilling, Beckett, and Matsuzaka, Wakefield is definitely the 5th starter. And Jon Lester might not be too far away. Wake is also versatile so he might be shipped to the bullpen. If this happens, and Mirabelli is struggling, it will be time for Kottaras to be called up.

Kottaras didn't have amazing numbers in AAA last year, but he's got potential. He'll be the Catcher in Pawtucket to start the season. He's also caught knuckleballer Steve Sparks before, so he is a good option for a 3rd Catcher.

All in all, Catcher is not a hole. It isn't going to give us much production, but few Catchers really do. Varitek's value is with the pitching staff. He'll add a few RBI here and there, too. But I see him and Mirabelli either batting 7th, 8th, or 9th and no higher. They'll probably spend most of the season at 8th and 9th.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


It's crunch time for the Boston Bruins as they face the end of their campaign. I'm not going to delude myself and pretend that if we make the playoffs, we'll somehow miraculously win the Stanley Cup, or even make it to the Conference finals for that matter. However, I think it's important that the Bruins make the playoffs. It generates revenue, keeps the already disgruntled fan-base from jumping ship, and would provide some good experience for our younger players.

The Bruins are currently 12th in the Eastern Conference, but still in the hunt for a playoff spot. We lost to the Rangers 7-0 last night, which is quite unfortunate as the Rangers are along with us in the playoff hunt. In order for us to make the playoffs, we not only have to do well, but we have to hope several other teams do poorly. Last night was an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, and instead of doing that, the Bruins got stoned.

The Bruins have 11 games left. Here they are:
3/20 @ Montreal
3/22 vs. Montreal
3/24 vs. NY Rangers
3/25 @ Pittsburgh
3/27 @ Ottawa
3/29 vs. Pittsburgh
3/31 vs. Atlanta
4/1 @ New Jersey
4/3 @ Montreal
4/5 @ Buffalo
4/7 vs. Ottawa

We have three huge games against Montreal, two of which are up in Quebec. These games are vital for the Bruins' playoff hopes. If we can win these games in regulation, it'd be massive. Even if we don't, we have to come out of these games with points, and win some of them. Montreal is 11th in the East, three points ahead of us.

We have a big game with the Rangers on the 24th. New York is in 10th place, four points ahead of us. We have to take advantage of this opportunity to get points while simultaneously preventing the Rangers from getting points.

The two games against the Penguins will be a difficult one. Pittsburgh has the 3rd most points in the Conference, and the 7th most in the NHL. They're playing for both the 4th seed and home ice in the 1st round, and they're still close to New Jersey in the Atlantic Division race.

The two games against Ottawa will also not be a cake walk. Ottawa is only one point behind Pittsburgh in the standings so they're in the race for the 4th seed. They're pretty much in the playoffs, but they're not going to lay down for us.

Atlanta is the Southern Division leader, and they're still in a race with Tampa Bay, so they will be very difficult to beat.

New Jersey has the 2nd most points in the Conference, and the 5th most in the NHL. Yet another difficult team to beat.

Then there's Buffalo, who we've beaten, but they're still one of the best teams in the NHL, if not the best. By April, they'll probably have things locked up, but I doubt that will make them any easier to beat.

We have a very difficult 11 games ahead of us. Our opponents have a weighted average of 85.5 points already, which means they're very good. The worst team we play is Montreal, and two of those games are on the road.

With 11 games left, the Bruins can earn a maximum of 22 points if they win each game. This would give us 95 points, and most likely will also give us a playoff spot. However, winning 11 in a row is quite difficult for any team, let alone the Bruins.

There are essentially two spots legitimately up for grabs in the East. Both the Islanders and Hurricanes have 78 points and are occupying the 7th and 8th spots. The Islanders have played 70 games, Carolina has played 72. Right behind them are the Rangers and Maple Leafs, both with 77 points, both with 10 games left to play. Then there's Montreal with 76 points in 72 games. Finally, the Bruins are hanging on by a fingernail with 73 points and 11 games left.

It's possible, but we HAVE to beat Montreal; do well against top teams like Pittsburgh, Ottawa, New Jersey, Atlanta, and Buffalo; and hope the Islanders, Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, and Rangers all lose games.

If things don't go well in this home and home against Montreal, the season will be essentially over.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


I honestly didn't expect BC to beat Texas Tech. And I didn't even think it was possible for BC to beat Georgetown. The Eagles fell to the Hoyas, but not without putting up a pretty damn good fight.

The Big Three of Marshall, Rice, and Dudley combined for 50 of Boston College's 55 total points. Tyrelle Blair was the only other Eagle to have a field goal. BC fell behind 12-2 in the first 4 minutes, but roared back, tying it at 19 just after the midway point of the 1st half. The teams went into the locker room at halftime with BC up 30-26. The Eagles extended their lead to as much as 8 before Georgetown staged a comeback, eventually taking a 40-39 lead. The game went back and forth, but Georgetown pulled away. The point gap forced BC to try desperate shots, which allowed Georgetown to eventually win the game 62-55.

Georgetown won this game for two big reasons.

#1: More than three of their players scored. BC had 5 points from guys that weren't named Dudley, Marshall, or Rice. Georgetown similarly had three big scorers in Green, Hibbert, and Wallace (43 combined points), but they also got 6 from Ewing, 5 from Summers, and 8 from Sapp. Let's be honest, we all know Georgetown is a deeper team than us, so this sort of thing is to be expected.

#2: Georgetown was bigger than us. They outrebounded BC 37 to 29. They had a large number of 2nd chance points and we had very few. Georgetown got to the line 19 times, we got there 11 times. We made 7 of our 11 free throws, Georgetown made 14 of 19. You get to the line because you drive to the hole, you drive to the hole because you can. Georgetown also had a good number of And 1 opportunities. They were strong enough to get fouled and still put it in.

All in all, this season was a good one for BC basketball. Considering that the team lost a key player in Williams, plays in the best conference in the country (and finished tied for 3rd, only one game behind first place), and had a less than easy bracket to work through going up against Texas Tech then the Big East champions; the end result of a 1-1 NCAA tourney isn't so bad. guys like Rice got some good experience, and even though Dudley and Marshall are gone, the team will be back next year.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Spring Training Red Sox/Yankees games. What a joke. You know, I'm not watching the March meeting between the two AL powerhouses next season. It just isn't the same. I'm not accusing the players of anything, Spring Training is for getting into rhythm, not getting into the win column.

My experience in watching the Sox 7-5 win over New York might have been hampered by the fact that the Yankees only brought four regular players to Fort Myers. Which is understandable, of course. Or maybe watching it on YES! had something to do with it.

I'll be honest, YES! is nothing more than a propaganda machine for the New York Yankees. Every player in pinstripes is a god to them, and every player with a "B" on his hat is the Antichrist.

YES! started the game on tape delay due to live coverage of a Nets game. The game was supposed to start on YES! at 11, but they must have started earlier than that. I switched it on at 11 only to see that it was the top of the 2nd and New York was up 3-0.

When Manny Ramirez had difficulty gauging a rolling groundball into the left-field corner, the Yankee Information Ministers in the booth had a field day making fun of him. He had trouble precisely predicting where a ball would eventually end up, which probably allowed the triple to be a triple instead of a double. Nevertheless, IT'S FUCKING MARCH! You know, Yankee fans hate Manny Ramirez with a passion. The guy's not going to win any Gold Gloves out there, so we don't need every time he isn't Carl Yastrzemski out there to be analyzed and poked fun at.

The two Yankee ball washers took the 6th inning to revel in "Boston Massacre II" last season, the 5 game sweep of New York over the Sox in late August.

You know, in 1978 when the Yankees swept us in 4 games in the Boston Massacre, they actually went on to win the World Series. In 2006, even though New York made the playoffs and we didn't, they lost in the first round in 4 games. It was hardly a banner year for the $200 million men from the Bronx. Yet, they still gloat about it, which I find funny.

I remember a few years ago, back in 2000 and 2001 when Red Sox fans were so desperate for ammunition in arguments with Yankees fans that we'd brag about winning the season series, and miscellaneous regular season crap like that. It's nice to see that Yankees fans have now stooped that low, celebrating a regular season series in a year which can best be described as a massive failure for the Yankees.

My God, they're pathetic.

There are still no clear front runners in Decision '07: The Search for a Closer. However, there is a rumor that the Sox have expressed an interest in Armando Benitez of the Giants. Benitez just had his first appearance of the spring, which was a scoreless inning. He claims that he expects to be available Opening Day.

The Giants are trying to shop him, most likely due to his declining healthiness. He had a hamstring surgery in '05 and an arthritic knee plagued him in '06.

Benitez has 280 career saves, but his last truly successful campaign was '04 when he had 47 saves, 64 appearances, and a 1.29 ERA. Although he is getting paid a significant amount of money (around $7 million this season), if we get San Fran to cover a bit of his salary, we could definitely use him. He's experienced, he's pitched in a pressurised market before, and he's been to the post-season several times. Although he's been plagued with the injury bug as of late, he's still only 34 years old.

If we get Benitez, he can be a strict closer, only pitching one inning and only in save situations. He'll be surrounded by good set-up guys like Timlin, Donneley, Okajima, and Tavarez, so he won't need to be overextended.

This is the last year of Benitez's three year deal with the Giants. So if we get him, we're not on the hook for very long.

There's a time and place for everything, and it's called college. Or in the case of a ballplayer, it's Spring Training.

Speaking through a translator yesterday, Daisuke Matsuzaka claimed h was "experimenting" with the Orioles when Baltimore hit him for 4 runs. He wanted to see "where they would hit...where they wouldn't hit." Matsuzaka left a few pitches up high to Orioles hitters, but claims this was on purpose, in an effort to explore the upper regions of the strike zone. I think Daisuke learned that those regions are not very safe for pitchers to endeavor.

Orioles broadcaster and local oaf, Buck Martinez, (you know, the guy who managed Team USA to defeat at the WBC last year) claimed Matsuzaka was simply having difficulty adjusting to the quality hitting of the AL. He then made some comment about breaking balls, or ball breaking, or something. Apparently Buck missed the first inning when Matsuzaka fooled the Orioles and sent them down 1-2-3. It was only until the 4th inning when things started to go really bad and Daisuke gave up a few big hits to some minor leaguers.

Former Sox outfielder and the star of Canadian baseball Adam Stern probably had the wisest words of anyone:

"It's spring training. How many times have you seen guys come out here and be Babe Ruths and fade away? He's just trying to get comfortable. But already you can see he is effective in keeping people off-balance, and obviously that's huge."

Yes, Canadians are smarter than Buck Martinez.

Mike Timlin turned 41 the other day, but still hasn't gotten going in spring. He was slated to appear in the Detroit game in Lakeland, but missed that. He is suffering from pains in his side. Whether or not he'll even start the season with the team is in doubt. Even if he got going right now, it would still be difficult for him to be ready to play by Opening Day. It looks like he'll probably start the season on the DL and stay in Florida to play in extended Spring Training.

Last season, Timlin seemed to break down as the innings he was asked to throw seemingly caught up to him. He pitched in 3 games and 5 innings for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. In retrospect, it was probably a mistake to allow a 40 year old to pitch in that thing. Timlin made 68 appearances for the Sox last year, pitching 64 innings. It was his lowest total number of appearances with the Red Sox. Over the past 4 seasons, he's been in 297 regular season games and 20 playoff games. He's got 1142 career innings of work in that right arm including the post-season.

I think his days of being a 70+ appearance set-up man are over.

Some good news out of Fort Myers is that Jon Lester is progressing nicely, pitching in minor league and simulated games. He claims that by April, he'll be ready for regular rotation duty in either Pawtucket or Boston. I think he'll end up in Pawtucket, but I wouldn't be shocked in the least if he makes a few starts with the big club.

The aggressive off-season for the Patriots continued as Donte Stallworth and Kelley Washington were signed to deals. The receiving corps was a notable shortcoming of the Patriots last season, but the addition of the speedy Stallworth (38 receptions, 725 yards with Philly last year) and the more physical Kelley Washington give Tom Brady and the offense some legitimate weaponry in the passing game. With Reche Caldwell, Jabbar Gaffney, and Wes Welker; we have a very solid group of WRs.

Troy Brown is still an unsigned, unrestricted free agent whose future with the team is in doubt. However, the Pats might want to keep him around for another season as a 6th WR and a leader. Wherever he ends up, Troy was, is, and always will be Mr. Patriot.

The Patriots are now an estimated $4 million under the cap, including considerations for upcoming draft picks. Their major spending is probably over for the offseason.

I can't wait for the draft.

In other New England sports news, UNH, BC, BU, and UMass make up the semi-finalists in the Hockey East tournament this year.

Monday, March 12, 2007


The Detroit Tigers have called Lakeland, Florida home for over 70 years, and they defended their turf with a vengeance against the Red Sox.

You see, Josh Beckett was throwing curveballs...only they weren't curving. Subsequently, they were hitting Detroit Tigers batters. Beckett hit Gary Sheffield and Magglio Ordonez. He hit them both up high, Sheffield in his steroid enhanced shoulder, and Magglio in the helmet. So I can understand why the Tigers would be upset.

HOWEVER, the pitches were breaking balls! You don't throw breaking pitches when you're trying to hit batters. YOU THROW FASTBALLS THAT GO STRAIGHT!

And of course, in this day and age, when pitchers are never supposed to pitch on the inside part of the plate, and hitters are allowed to crouch over the dish, the Tigers overreacted to this non-aggressive aggression.

During meetings on the mound, Tigers manager Jim Leyland used the opportunity to bark at home plate umpire Larry Vanover. Then Sox 3B coach Demarlo Hale started yelling at Leyland.

In the 5th inning, Todd Jones who, according to carbon dating, is estimated to be 38 years old (in other words, not a stupid kid, a veteran) threw a pitch tight to JD Drew, then one behind JD Drew. Drew, who is a magnet for getting hit by pitches, thankfully was not struck, don't want him to break before we even get a real AB out of him.

Then the benches cleared, and in typical baseball fight fashion, people yelled, pushed a little bit, while most of the guys stood around and chatted, mingling around like it was some sort of baseball cotillion. Hugging ensued and a game of grab ass broke out, but quickly subsided.

In the 8th inning Travis Hughes hit Chris Shelton, but there was no bench clearing. Neither team knew which player was theirs and which one they should attack. By the way, Hughes is on the Sox, Shelton is on the Tigers.

After the game, Leyland accused the media of "trying to stir up shit" by asking questions about a near brawl in a Spring Training game. Right, like it was the media's fault that Todd Jones threw at JD Drew, or that Leyland was too stupid to realize Beckett is just a mediocre pitcher and couldn't hit the broad side of a barn, let alone Magglio Ordonez's head.

Can you imagine Jim Leyland screaming at Todd Jones: "WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE!"? I know that I can.

The Red Sox and Tigers will meet in mid-May at Fenway Park.

Daisuke allowed two homeruns in his first bad start of the spring. His own throwing error led to an "unearned" run. In total, he allowed 4 runs off 6 hits in 4 innings. It'll be interesting to see how he responds to his first bad start in the States. I think we should keep this in context, though. It was a Spring Training game, nothing more. Let's please move on.

Only three teams from New England made the NCAA Tournament. Central Connecticut State is a 16 seed playing Ohio State in Lexington, KY. Holy Cross, for once, is not a 16 seed and is actually a 13 seed playing Southern Illinois in Columbus, OH. Boston College is a 7 seed going up against Texas Tech in Winston-Salem, NC. I really don't feel that Boston College will win this game.

This season the Red Raiders beat Texas A&M twice, and beat Kansas in Kansas. I'm afraid they're more than a match for BC. And even if the Eagles progress to the second round, they'll probably face Georgetown. Not a very good bracket for BC to be in, but we can hardly claim they were somehow snubbed as they have been in past seasons.

The first round games for the three New England teams are going to be played at the following times:
#7 Boston College vs. #10 Texas Tech - Thu 3/15 at 12:25 PM
#1 Ohio State vs. #16 Central Connecticut State - Thu 3/15 at 7:10 PM
#4 Southern Illinois vs. #13 Holy Cross - Fri 3/16 at 9:40 PM

Providence College, UMass, and Vermont all made the NIT.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


The BC Eagles needed OT to beat the 12-10 Miami Hurricanes last night in the 2nd round of the ACC Tournament. To be fair to BC, the game was played in Florida. At one time, the eagles were trailing by 14. Percentage wise, they were out shot by Miami. We were 23/50 from the field, 11/25 from the arc, and 17/24 from the free throw line. However, Miami only went to the line 6 times, and although they made all 6, we earned sufficient foul opportunities and got 11 more points from the line then the Canes. Jared Dudley and Sean Marshall combined for a mere 17 points, but sophomore Tyrese Rice carried the team with 32 points, and 5 rebounds.

The Eagles will need to step it up, because this afternoon they play the #8 UNC Tar Heels, the regular season ACC Champions. The teams played in February on Chestnut Hill with UNC winning 77-72.

I don't expect BC to win this game, but if we keep it close, it will draw some attention and might result in us moving up a seed. If we win this game, we probably will move up a bit. It would be a huge win. But as it is, we're somewhere in the 6th to 8th seed range.

In other NCAA news, Holy Cross won their 5th Patriot League title by beating Bucknell 74-66. Rhode Island beat Xavier 79-71 in the Atlantic 10 semi-finals in Atlantic City. The Rams will play George Washington this evening in the finals. Central Connecticut State won the Northeast Conference Championship. Vermont will play Albany this afternoon in the America East Conference Championship.

Monday, March 05, 2007


The Patriots released running back Corey Dillon. The 32 year old was the cornerstone of the Patriots rushing attack for 3 seasons, including a 1,635 yard campaign in 2004, a Patriots record. Dillon was a big part of 3 division titles, 6 playoff victories, and 1 Super Bowl Championship with the Pats. Overall he ran for 3,180 yards, and 37 touchdowns with us, and had 431 receiving yards with 2 TD receptions. In 8 playoff games, he rushed for 508 yards on 120 carries.

With the emergence of Laurence Maroney in the backfield, and Dillon's age, this move is an understandable one. Although Maroney did lack some consistency, and his power running left a little to be desired.

The Patriots re-signed Heath Evans, who can rush for power, but not nearly as good as Dillon. Then again, not as expensive as Dillon, either. I'd expect the Patriots to sign or draft another running back in order to compliment Maroney.

The Patriots made a huge signing just 36 hours into the free agency period, pinning down the versatile Adalius Thomas, formerly of the Ravens. Thomas is big and fast, and is capable of playing OLB and DE, reminiscent of Willie McGinist. He's the type of linebacker that can play a good zone defense in coverage in the middle, cover big fast tight ends, spy on mobile QBs, stop the run on the outside and inside, and rush the passer. He had 11 sacks last season, and 38.5 in his career. He also had 106 tackles.

In our 3-4 defense, Thomas is the perfect fit. The 3-4 is dependant on defensive linemen who can eat blocks and maintain the line of scrimmage, with fast and strong LBs behind them to exploit holes in pass defense, and plug holes in run defense. Thomas can do both of these jobs, very well.

In the San Diego and Indy games, we definitely saw a lack of good pass rushing, and good tackling by our front 7. But Thomas will improve this dramatically. With him, Colvin, Vrabel, and Bruschi returning for another year, we have the foundation of a very nice linebacker corps.

Thomas says that the Patriots were the first team to make him an offer, and he instantly accepted. "We don't want to come here and play games," he said. "There's no need to go looking around for the best, when you start with the best. My first offer was here and there was no need to go anywhere else."

He also said: "I'm a football player. I don't play a position. Whatever is needed for me to do here, I'm going to do." If his words ring true, he will fit in very nicely in Foxborough.

The Patriots signed 12 year veteran Kyle Brady. Belichick had wanted Brady with the 10th pick i the 1994 draft, but the Jets traded up to 9th and grabbed him. Although Brady's best years are behind him (hasn't had 20+ receptions since 2003, or 30+ since 2002), he's a good blocker with the ability to catch an occasional pass.

With Graham as a free agent, and Watson and Thomas in the mix, it appears as though Brady will end up as a 3rd tight end, coming in on goal line plays or short yardage downs as a blocker.

With Dillon gone, the Pats acted quickly to sign another RB. They picked up Sammy Morris, formerly of the Dolphins. The 6' 0", 228 pounder adds some versatility, not very surprisingly. Last year he had 400 yards on 92 attempts (4.3 YPC), and 162 receiving yards on 21 receptions. He also played special teams.

This guy has New England Patriots written all over him, except on his jersey right now. The Patriots are reportedly going to send Wes Welker, a restricted free agent with the Dolphins, an offer sheet. If Miami doesn't match the offer, then he's ours.

The 26 year old out of Texas Tech is very versatile. He had 67 receptions for 687 yards last season, returned 48 kicks with an average of 22.2, returned 41 punts with a 9.2 average, only lost 1 fumble all season, and in 2004 when Olindo Mare was hurt against us, he was the place kicker. In that game he was 1/1 on field goals, 1/1 on extra points, and averaged 52.7 yards on 3 kickoffs.

He's a scrappy, tough player that gets every extra yard he can. He could fit in nicely on offense as a receiver. He definitely isn't a #1 WR, but he can play the slot, exploiting mismatches, and contributing yardage. We desperately need help at WR, and Welker is that help.

Special teamster Don Davis filed his retirement papers. Davis mostly played special teams, occasionally being used as a linebacker or safety in emergency situations. David had a knee injury in December and underwent surgery, but wouldn't have been able to run until August.

The Patriots extended O-lineman Billy Yates' contract for 3 years, worth $2.1 million.

The Rams made an offer to unrestricted free agent Tully Banta-Cain, but TBC didn't sign it, hoping to receive more offers.

Daniel Graham has been shopping himself to Oakland, Denver, St. Louis, and soon Seattle.

The Patriots added Billy O'Brien, a Massachusetts native and former offensive coordinator at Duke, as a defensive assistant.

The Patriots attached the franchise tag to unrestricted free agent Asante Samuel.

When he heard the Patriots signed Adalius Thomas, Peyton Manning wet himself.

I'm only going to write about this once, because this blog is about Boston sports, not Boston sports personalities and their personal lives. None of us, nor the media know the true situation with Tom Brady and Bridget Moynahan. None of us know why they broke up. And it should stay that way. All this bS flying around coming from "friends" of Bridget or Tom is irreputable, and unnewsworthy. Honestly, my real friends, the one's I would confide in about something like this stuff, wouldn't be e-mailing, or whatever. The type of people who would do that, I simply wouldn't tell them anything important or personal. And I think most people are like that, most likely including Bridget and Tom.

So congratulations, Tom Brady, but don't let this stuff distract you this fall and winter.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


After opening Spring Training with a 4-4 tie with the hated crosstown Twins, the Sox are still without a win in Grapefruit League play.

On Thursday, the Sox fell 4-1 to Toronto. Of course, it was a split-squad road game, which means it wasn't exactly our A team. Kason Gabbard went up against Roy Halladay. The only starter in the lineup was Pedroia. Nothing remarkable about this game except that Spann doubled his error total to 4.

The Sox saved their big guns for Northeastern. Well, actually, most of the regulars don't go on road trips, and that's why. The Sox were actually held hitless until the 4th inning. Beckett struck out 5 of the 7 batters he faced.

On Friday, the Sox lost to Toronto in 10 innings. They started a potential regular season lineup, or at least the top of the lineup. Lugo, Youkilis, Ortiz, Ramirez, Drew, Lowell, and Crisp.

Snyder had a solid start, 2 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts. Then Runelvys gave up 6 runs in the 3rd., off 6 hits. That's going to set him back in the race for a roster spot. Donneley had another nice inning, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts. Okajima pitched a perfect 5th in his spring debut.

The Sox took on Boston College in the night-cap of the split-squad doubleheader. It was Matsuzaka's debut. First pitch, he allowed a double. Then he allowed nothing. Retired the next 6 batters he faced, two by way of the K.

David Murphy had another good start, 2 for 2 with a walk, a steal, 3 runs, and 2 RBI.. I don't think Murphy will start out the season in Boston, not because he isn't good enough, but because the organization will want him to get a few hundred ABs this year down in Pawtucket. With Manny, Coco, JD, and Pena, Murphy would have trouble getting consistent playing time. However, with JD's injury history, Coco's lackluster season last year, and Manny being Manny, I wouldn't be shocked if Murphy made his way up and down I-95 a few times this year.

Saturday, the Sox lost another extra inning game, this time to Philadelphia. Wakefield had a mediocre start. Two innings, 3 hits, 2 runs (1 ER), 2 Ks. Jonathan Papelbon came on in relief, and was lights out. Two innings, no hits, no walks, 4 strikeouts. But then again, we already knew he was good in 2 or 1 inning sprints. It will be much more telling when we see Papelbon pitch longer stints. That's when we'll see him pitch against batters multiple times.

One of Papelbon's potential replacements as closer, Pineiro came in and had a blown save. 1.1 innings, 4 hits, 4 earned runs, 2 walks, and a homer. Romero replaced Joel, and the two combined for the loss of the lead.

Tavarez pitched a perfect inning, then Delcarmen allowed 3 runs in 0.2 innings. All in all, not a great day for Sox pitchers, but a good day for hitters like Murphy and Lowell.