Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rodriguez yells "Mine"

The video that shows A-Rod yelling "Mine!" as a Blue Jays infielder attempts to catch a pop up. This isn't the first time Rodriguez has done less than traditional basepath disruption. Just more evidence that he is scum.


This year, it counts.

The first update on All-Star voting is in. The Red Sox have two players who would be starters if the voting ended now. Here are the leading vote getters for each position:

C Ivan Rodriguez
1B David Ortiz
2B Robinson Cano
3B Alex Rodriguez
SS Derek Jeter
OF Manny Ramirez
OF Ichiro Suzuki
OF Vladimir Guerrero

That's right, another AL East infield. I used to really want as many Red Sox players to make the All-Star game as possible, especially as starters. I used to vote 25 times online, sometimes more using my different e-mail addresses. I thought Nomar starting over Jeter in the 1999 All-Star game was a major triumph for Red Sox Nation. Now, I just don't care.

It's fun to see Manny and Ortiz in the All-Star game, but if Julio Lugo were to start at short, I'd be pissed. I want the AL to win so we get homefield advantage if we win the World Series. And I also want to see some great baseball players I normally don't get to see. I'll see Lugo about 140 times this year, one more won't make much of a difference.

But RSN wants to see their players in the midsummer classic. Dustin Pedroia is 5th in voting for 2nd base. Mike Lowell is 2nd at 3rd base. This actually makes sense because Lowell is having a good year, and he's a very distant 2nd. Julio Lugo is 4th at short-stop. Varitek is 3rd at catcher. JD Drew is 8th in the outfield. Eighth! He's hitting .230, and he's only a few thousand votes behind Magglio Ordonez! Coco Crisp is 12th in outfield votes.

Why do you people care out there? So what if your favorite players get an at-bat or two in an exhibition game? Wouldn't you rather see All-Stars instead of All-Sox?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


It's hard to say if this game was one of those games that were closer than the final score was, or not as close as the final score. The Red Sox had some major opportunities, but so consistently let them slip away that it's difficult for me to say "they were only a little bit short." The game definately turned on a few key plays, but we never came all that close to striking a killer blow.

The Indians gave us plenty of chances to win the game. Just look at the play of Josh Barfield. He makes an error which allows JD Drew to reach, then he makes a mental mistake which allows Lowell to reach 2nd base safely instead of being thrown out, then Barfield gets thrown out by Manny after a wide turn around 2nd. He gave us two baserunners, two extra outs on offense, and cost his own team a baserunner and an out.

But when Barfield made those mistakes, we were only able to get 1 run out of it. We had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs, and got 1 run. That isn't taking full advantage of an opportunity. And right after Barfield got thrown out at 2nd, Matsuzaka gave up a 2 run homer.

And we all know about the 7th inning. Bases loaded, nobody out, and we get 0 runs. Blake made a good catch on Coco's foul pop, and Mastny pitched brilliantly to Youkilis. Ortiz was given a hanging slider but pulled it too hard and foul. It would have been nice to get just one run in that inning, to start eating away at the lead.

The game was pretty much over when Shoppach hit a homerun. Props to Shoppach for running hard around the bases, though. Very classy.

I'm not very upset, though. In the series, we held Cleveland's offense to 14 runs, which is below their average. Cleveland is one of the best teams in baseball and we took 2 of 3 from them. For the most part, our pitching shut down their offense.

The Man of the Game was Travis Hafner who went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles and 2 RBI.

Honorable Mentions:
Tom Mastny: 0.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, K, 3 inherited runners left
Kelly Shoppach: 4/5, HR
Mike Lowell: 2/4, 2B, HR

The Bitch-Goat:
Matsuzaka: 0.5 - 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 12 H, HR (lots of hits on 2 strike pitches, WTF?)
Romero: 0.2 - IP, 2 ER
Crisp: 0.1 - 0 for 4, 3 LOB
Ortiz: 0.1 - 1 for 4, 5 LOB
Drew: 0.1 - 0 for 4

Off day, then a 3 game set with the scum.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The injury to Josh Beckett was the first major injury to a key player on the Sox. The Sox got along without him, and he came back in style on Tuesday night.

Beckett went 7 innings against the Indians. Now, you wouldn't be able to tell it from the past two games, but Cleveland has one of the best offenses in baseball. But both Schilling and Beckett have pretty much shut them down.

Beckett allowed 2 runs off 3 hits, and one walk. He struck out 7. His finger appeared to be a non-factor.

Beckett improves to 8-0. The last time a Sox pitcher started their season 8-0 was Rich Garces (yeah, weird) in 2000. Of course, all of those wins were in relief, and some of them were blown saves that turned into wins, or tied games in which he entered then the Sox scored.

Kevin Youkilis continues to be a monster. Another game with a hit, another game with multiple hits, and both hits were big. An RBI double in the 1st to put the Sox up 1-0, and a homer in the 5th to put us up 2-0.

Who would have predicted that before May was out, Hideki Okajima would have 4 saves and a lower ERA than Papelbon? I really like the decision to bring him in to pitch the 9th. There were several left handed hitters due up, and Papelbon wasn't too sharp last night. Good call to give Paps the night off and let Okajima go and get some lefties.

By the way, Ortiz has missed the last three games, and we've won all three. This speaks to the strength of this team, top to bottom.

The Red Sox are 5-0 against the other two division leading teams. They've also gone 11-4 against 2nd place teams (Detroit, Seattle, Atlanta, and Baltimore).

The Man of the Game is Kevin Youkilis. He went 2 for 4 with an RBI double, and a solo homerun. Youk is tied for 2nd in hitting in the AL with Magglio Ordonoez, only .002 behind Posada.

Honorable Mentions:
Josh Beckett: 7 IP, 2 ER, 7 K
Jason Varitek: 1/3, HR, BB

Funny side note. Mister April a.k.a. Alex Rodriguez, is hitting .242 in May with 5 homers and 10 RBI. He, and the Yankees SUCK! They lost their 5th straight, falling 3-2 to Toronto.

When does it get to the point when we start rooting for Baltimore and Toronto when they're playing the Yankees? I think we're at that point right now.


The body of Patriots defensive lineman Marquise Hill was found yesterday in Lake Pontchartrain, north of Louisiana. The 24 year old LSU alumnus was jet skiing with a female acquaintance in choppy waters a few days ago. After an accident, his acquaintance was able to grab hold of a pylon and wait for rescuers to come, but Marquise was unable to do so. As he drifted away, he tried to keep her calm. He was missing for a day until his body was found.

Marquise played in 13 games for the Patriots over 3 seasons, backing up Vince Wilfork in the interior of the D-Line. He received a Super Bowl ring in 2004, his rookie season.

"We have suffered a stunning and tragic loss. Marquise will be remembered as a thoughtful and caring young man who established himself as one of the year-round daily fixtures of our team. I send my deepest condolences to the Hill family."
-Bill Belichick


This game had the feel of a playoff game. It was close between two very good teams, and there was A LOT of drama.

After struggling in his recent starts, Schilling has done some tinkering with pitching coach John Farrell and it looks like the tinkering worked. He racked up a season high in strikeouts with 10, walked no one, and allowed only one run.

The bullpen was less than sharp. Romero couldn't get an out and was charged with an earned run. Donnelly threw a perfect 8th, but Papelbon was way off. It seems like Jonathan's been struggling just a bit in his recent outings. He gave up a few hits to Atlanta, allowed a run to New York, and very nearly blew the save last night. I know that with Papelbon, if he doesn't strike out the side in 12 pitches, he looks off. Nevertheless, I'm a bit concerned.

Kevin Youkilis is a man on fire. Twenty straight games with a hit, eight straight games with multiple hits. He went 2 for 5 with a double and an inside the park homerun. The last Sox player to hit an inside the parker was Trot Nixon in 2005.

Speaking of Christopher T. Nixon, good to see him greeted very warmly by the Fenway Faithful. I'm glad that with him, unlike some players (Shane Hildabrand), there wasn't much drama when he left town.

His helmet looks far too clean, though.

Crisp and Lugo each stole a base. They've combined for 25 steals. The rest of the team has 6. Lugo has yet to be caught stealing this season.

Dustin "By the way" Pedroia raised his average to .298 with a 3 for 3 performance, including a pair of doubles.

Five different hitters had RBI: Manny, Youkilis, Drew, Lugo, and Lowell.

David Ortiz missed the game due to tightness in his hamstring. Ortiz blames his recent bout with the flu for the tightness. Francona asserts that he's just being careful with Ortiz for "the long haul." It's unclear whether or not Ortiz will play in tonight's game.

The Man of the Game is Curt Schilling who went 7 innings, allowing 6 hits (only one for extra bases), no walks, one earned run, and struck out 10 men.

Honorable Mentions:
Dustin Pedroia: 3/3, 2 2Bs, BB, Run
Kevin Youkilis: 2/5, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 Runs
Brendan Donnelly: IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB

The win gave the Sox a 35-15 record through 50 games, which is tied for the second best start in team history. In 1986, the Sox started 35-16. In 1946, they went 41-9 (.820!)in their first 50 games.

Baltimore beat the Royals, Toronto beat the Yankees.

Beckett comes off the DL to face the Indians tonight. Beckett actually has had some struggles against Cleveland with an 0-2 lifetime record. He'll be up against Jeremy Sowers, who struggled to start the season but has recently pitched well.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


The reason I think this team is good, is because of game's like this one. Up 3-0, then down 4-3 with your bullpen in the game, up against Otsuka and Gagne, with Papelbon unavailable, and you still manage to win. These are the really tough ones to get, and come the end of September, these are the wins that make a difference in the standings.

Kevin Youkilis had his 7th straight multiple hit game. He has 23 such games this season to lead the world.

Tavarez was nearly perfect after 5 innings but disintegrated in the 6th. This has been Julian's MO the entire season. He is great the first time through the opposing lineup, then decent the second time through, then horrible the third time through. I think he will be very good for us in the bullpen. Lester had a strong outing in AAA Pawtucket the other day, and although there is no hurry, I'm very much looking forward to Tavarez only going through opponents lineups one time.

I know Okajima's save wasn't perfect, but isn't it nice having a guy like him on the team? He can pitch a large number of games, he can come in to get a tough lefty, he can go 2 innings, he can go the 8th inning, and he can get tough saves. It's nice that we don't have to force Papelbon into working three days in a row.

Dustin Pedroia has very quietly gotten his average up to .279. He's hitting .375 in May with a .426 OBP. He's become a threat at the bottom of the lineup, extending innings, putting runners on for Lugo and Youkilis, and making the lineup even more difficult for opposing pitchers to navigate. The at-bat he had against Gagne was great. Twelve pitches, then he finally got one he could crushed and he slammed it out of the yard for what turned out to be a vital insurance run. He's got a .980 OPS this month.

And did you see that catch Coco made?

And how about Pineiro with 1.2 perfect innings of relief, leaving 2 inherited runners on. It just seems like we get contributions from anyone and everyone some days.

The Man of the Game is Mark Teixiera. He went 2 for 4 with a 3 run homer and an RBI single.

Honorable Mentions:
Dustin Pedroia: 2/4, HR
Coco Crisp: 2/5, game saving catch
Joel Pineiro: 1.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 K

Big series with a very good Cleveland team coming up.


"Wait til Manny starts hitting." This has been the refrain of Sox fans for nearly two months. The best team in baseball could only get better once their highest paid and most productive player got going. And it seems like maybe he has. Manny followed up Friday's 2 hit performance with a 4 hit exhibition, falling a homerun shy of hitting for the cycle.

The Sox actually gave Wakefield some run support. After falling behind 4-2, they were able to muster up some offense. The Sox actually left a good deal of runners in scoring position, and failed to get the really big hit, but the 5 run 6th was enough to deliver a victory.

Inning summary of the 6th:
Kevin Youkilis singles
David Ortiz flies out, 1 out
Manny Ramirez triples, Youkilis scores
Wild Pitch, Ramirez scores
JD Drew walks
Mike Lowell singles, Drew to 2nd
Coco Crisp singles, Drew scores, Lowell to 3rd, Crisp to 3rd on throw
Doug Mirabelli walks
Alex Cora Sac-Fly, Lowell scores, Crisp to 3rd, 2 outs
Julio Lugo walks, Mirabelli to 2nd
Kevin Youkilis walks (after falling behind 0-2), Crisp scores, Mirabelli to 3rd, Lugo to 2nd
David Ortiz grounds out, 3 outs


So only one hit with runners in scoring position in that inning, but 5 runs. One on a triple, one on a wild pitch, one on a single, one on a sac-fly, one on a walk.

The Man of the Game is Manny Ramirez, who went 4 for 4 with a double, triple, run, RBI, and a walk. Is he going to heat up? Let's hope so.

Honorable Mentions:
Kevin Youkilis: 2/4, 2B, 2 runs, RBI, BB (18 game hit-streak)
Tim Wakefield: 7 IP, 4 ER

Tavarez vs. Kameron Loe tomorrow for the sweep.

New York lost, Toronto and Baltimore won, so the Sox have an 11 game lead on the Jays. New York is tied for 3rd with Baltimore.

With the win, the Sox are assured to win the series. They have played 17 series this season (plus one lone makeup game with Seattle), and have won 12 of them. They've only lost 3 series so far.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


The Red Sox put up 10 runs in support of Matsuzaka. Daisuke pitched well until the 4th, when he allowed 5 runs to score, giving up the lead. But the Sox came back in the 5th to retake it, they then added 4 more in the 6th on their way to a 10-6 victory in Texas last night.

Daisuke was experiencing nausea before and during the game, apparently a symptom of some sort of stomach flu. After his 5 innings, he received IV treatment in the clubhouse for fluid replenishment.

Terry Francona said:

"When he was throwing up, that was a pretty good indication he wasn't feeling too well. But he kind of gathered himself and went after it."

Apparently Daisuke had to puke a few times in between innings. There was no bloody sock, but this was a semi-heroic performance. Hell, I can't even play wiffle ball with a stuffy nose.

The offense picked up Daisuke. Eight of the nine starters had hits, and the only one who didn't was Mike Lowell. Lowell, however, worked three walks. Everyone but JD Drew knocked in a run. Everyone except Pedroia scored a run. The Sox had 17 baserunner, but only left 5 on base. And only 2 of those 5 were left in scoring position.

Meanwhile, the bullpen performed adequately, only allowing 1 run in 4 innings of relief. In the 9th we had to use Papelbon for the 3rd straight time in a non-Save situation. Innings like that, with a 4 run lead, are when you miss a healthy and effective Mike Timlin who can go in and get the last 3 outs.

The Man of the Game is David Ortiz who went 2 for 4 with a double, a run, an RBI, and a walk.

Honorable Mentions go to:
Julio Lugo: 1/5, 2 RBI, run, 2 SBs (Lugo leads the league in RBI for a leadoff hitter)
Manny Ramirez: 2/4, 2B, RBI, run, BB

The win assures that the Red Sox will not be swept. The only time the Sox have been swept this year was a 2 game series in Fenway against Toronto.

The Yankees lost 10-6 to the Angels, the Orioles fell 3-2 against Oakland, and Toronto lost 4-3 to the Twins. The Sox are 10.5 games up in the East

Wakefield against Padilla tonight.

This was my 500th post on this blog. Yay!

Sunday, May 13, 2007


The Sox absolutely dominated Toronto this week. We outscored the Jays 26-5. We outhit Toronto 38 to 19. We hit 9 homeruns, and 17 extra base hits.

The Man of the Game for Tuesday's 9-2 win was Josh Beckett, who earned his 7th straight victory with a 7 inning, 1 earned run performance. Beckett easily could have gone longer. He only threw 89 pitches, but we were up 8-1 so he was taken out after 7. If Schilling was at 89 pitches after 7, Francona would let him go the full 9.

Honorable Mentions:
Dustin Pedroia: 2/4, 3 run homer, 3 RBI, run
Jason Varitek: 4/4, homer, 3 runs
Kevin Youkilis: 3/3, solo homer

The Man of the Game for Wednesday's 9-3 victory is Daisuke Matsuzaka. Ortiz had a monster day, but his RBI were late when the game was already decided. Matsuzaka went 7 and struck out 8 while allowing only allowing one run. Good to see him getting back on track.

Honorable Mentions:
David Ortiz: 4/5, HR, 2B, 3 RBI
Lyle Overbay: 2/2, 2 HR
Mike Lowell: 3/4, HR, BB

The Man of the Game for Thursday's 8-0 triumph is Tim Wakefield. Wake continued to dazzle, as he went 7 scoreless innings, combining with Okajima and Romero for a shutout. Tim allowed 3 hits and a walk. All of the hits were singles. He only threw 93 pitches, and very well could have gone another inning. But we were up 8-0 so there was little reason to do so.

This was the purest victory of the season for the Sox. We were up 8-0 by the 4th, 7-0 by the 3rd, and Toronto never had a chance. Domination.

Honorable Mentions:
Kevin Youkilis: 3/5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 runs
Mike Lowell: 1/4, 3 run HR
David Ortiz: 1/4, 2B, 2 RBI, run

Three Flawless Victories in a row.


I love 4-3 wins. They're indicative of a good team. 4-3 wins mean good pitching, timely hitting, solid defense, and good relief.

The Man of the Game for Boston's 4-3 win over Minnesota is Dustin Pedroia who went 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored.

Honorable Mentions:
Jonathan Papelbon - IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, K
Alex Cora - 2/4, 2 runs
Curt Schilling - 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 7 K

Monday, May 07, 2007


Of all the players in baseball, is there anyone you can hate more than Roger Clemens? Barry Bonds, perhaps, but that's about it.

The Scumbag from Texas signed a pro-rated "minor-league" deal with the Yankees, worth approximately $4.5 million a month. If he were pitching an entire season, the deal would be worth $28 million. He'll be allowed to skip road trips when he's not scheduled to pitch (imagine the uproar if Pedro Martinez asked for that in his contract) and should be ready to go by late May or early June.

With Clemens spending the past few seasons in the NL, it's difficult for some fans to remember why he should be hated and despised. Here's a few reasons off the top of my head:

He asked out of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. We all remember Buckner, and Schiraldi, and Stanley, but people rarely talk about Clemens letting us down in the game.

He said he could never pitch against the Red Sox.

Before he left Boston, he seemed done. Everyone gets on Duquette for not re-signing him, pointing to his stats in Toronto, New York, and Houston as proof that it was a bad deal. However, it's strange that it was not until after he got snubbed by Duquette that he once again became an amazing pitcher.

He threw at Mike Piazza's forehead. I'm all for pitching inside, and I'm all for beaning hitters, especially if they've had success against you, but not in the head. You just don't do shit like that.

He threw a broken bat at Piazza.

He pussied out of a start at Shea Stadium where he'd have to bat against the Mets.

He claimed he was retiring, and accepted a Hummer from the City of New York as a retirement gift. He then came out of retirement with Houston and refused to give the Hummer back. I guess scraping by on MLB salary for 20 years has left him strapped for cash.

In the mid 1990s, he constantly came to Red Sox camp out of shape. It wasn't until he got snubbed that he got back to being a professional.

He spent his head-hunting days in the AL.

He was in negotiations with New York, Houston, and Boston about pitching this season, claiming a decision would be made by the 15th of May. Both the Red Sox and Astros were "surprised" by the speed of his decision.

This is a good pickup for the desperate Yankees. They need pitching. This is a good place for Clemens to go, he needs to have attention and be the hero. But this move doesn't put them over the top. They still need Pettitte and Wang to pitch well, and they need some contribution from their arsenal of mediocrity.

I wanted the Sox to get Clemens, but we didn't really need him, not as badly as the Yankees did. I don't feel like we've lost the bidding war to get Clemens, I simply feel like the Yankees wanted to win it more, understandably so.

He is supposed to return around late May or early June. The Sox and Yankees have a series in Fenway in the first week of June. I only hope that the Fenway Faithful remember how much of a scummer Clemens is and mercilessly boo The Mercenary.


Tavarez hasn't been the best pitcher in the rotation by any stretch of the imagination. But, he's had some tough opponents facing him. Roy Halladay twice and now Johan Santana and the Twins bullpen.

The Sox had 14 baserunners and only managed to plate 1 of them. Tavarez pitched 6 innings, allowing 2 runs. But Santana went 5 allowing 1, and the Twins' pen went 4 allowing nothing.

Offensively, the Sox did everything but score to win this one. They got guys on base, they worked Santana's pitch count and got him out of the game, they just couldn't finish.

Man of the Game was Manny Ramirez who went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk.

Honorable Mentions:
Julian Tavarez: 6 IP, 2 ER, 7 K
Joel Pineiro: 2 IP, perfect
Dustin Pedroia: 2/2, 2B, BB, RBI

Tavarez: 0.2 - 2 ER
Lugo: 0.3 - 0/5, 2 K, 5 LOB
Ortiz: 0.2 - 0/5, 2 K, 2 LOB
Lowell: 0.2 - 0/4, 3 K
Drew: 0.1 - 0/3, 2 K, 2 LOB

Sunday, May 06, 2007


A few weeks ago, one of my friend's had a friend visiting him, and he was bemoaning his struggles in his fantasy baseball league. I told him "Is Wakefield available? If so, pick him up."

"Why the hell would I want Tim Wakefield?"

Here's why:

Wakefield threw 7 innings, allowed 3 hits, and 3 walks. He didn't allow a run, he struck out 2. His ERA is at 2.11. That's 8th best in the Majors and 2nd best in the AL behind Haren. The 3-3- record is deceiving considering the lack of support he's gotten. If anything, the 3 wins are impressive.

The Sox didn't give Tim much help, but it was enough. The Sox were held scoreless until the 6th when Ortiz blasted one off Silva. That was enough. The Sox added an insurance run in the 9th when Drew tripled and Crisp knocked him in with a basehit.

Once again, great bullpen work. Romero pitched 0.2 innings, then Donnelly finished the 8th with 1 pitch. Papelbon was saved by a Coco Crisp grab (did you see it?), but wound up pitching a perfect 9th for his 9th Save.

Man of the Game was Tim Wakefield. Seven scoreless, AND he was sick!

Honorable Mentions:
Carlos Silva: 7 IP, 1 ER
David Ortiz: 1/3, HR, BB
Coco Crisp: 1/4, RBI, great catch


Good teams are capable of winning all kinds of games. 12-10 offensive battles, 2-1 pitching duels, and 6-3 "middle" games. This game was an example of a good win, even though it's NEVER good to allow 7 runs to score. Matsuzaka had control issues (he's falling behind in counts too often, as feared in my season preview), but the bullpen pitched well and the Sox hitters gave him some good run support.

Kyle Snyder had a solid outing from the pen, he's become a solid middle relief guy (probably because he pitches once a week). He got into a jam but Donnelly rescued him. Then JC Romero got the Save. Where was Papelbon? That's a question that has remained unanswered. Nevertheless, good to see that someone besides Paps can get a tough save. Romero was the 4th different Sox pitcher to record a Save, Papelbon, Okajima, and Timlin being the others. Is this Bullpen By Committee Redux?

When Manny Ramirez starts to hit consistently, this ball club will go from scary to fierce. He had a big night and is the Man of the Game. He went 2 for 5 with a pair of homers, including the 8th inning game winner. All 3 of Manny's RBI came with 2 outs. It's May and this is Manny's first Man of the Game for the season. Tells you how slow he's started.

Honorable Mentions:
Jose Guillen: 3/4, double, 3 RBI, run
Wily Mo Pena: 4/4, double, run scored
Brendan Donnely: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 2 inherited runners stranded

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Josh Beckett became Major League Baseball's first 6 win pitcher as the Sox beat Oakland 6-4. With a 6-0 record, a 2.72 ERA and 33 Ks, Beckett is the new Ace of the staff so far this season.

He's allowed 1 homer, and walked 9 batters this year. Last year he allowed 36 homers and walked 74 men. Right now he's on pace to allow 6 homers and walk 56 batters. It's still only early May, but the start that he's had is very impressive.

One thing that impresses me a lot about Becks is that he is keeping his pitch count down. He only threw 103 pitches tonight. If we had needed him to, he could have easily started the 8th inning. But, we have Okajima, who got his 7th Hold of the season with a hitless inning. What a find he's been. What makes Okajima even more enjoyable to watch is the fact that the Yankees could have had bought him from Yomiuri before us, but didn't. By the way, Okajima won AL Rookie of the Month for April.

Solid offensive performance by the Sox tonight. Every player had a hit, and the team had 13. No really big innings, but the Sox kept piling on runs. Ortiz with an RBI groundout in the 3rd, RBI single by Lugo in the 4th, Cora with an RBI groundout in the 6th, then Lugo with a Sac-Fly to follow, Cora with an RBI single in the 7th, and JD Drew with an RBI single in the 8th.

It was good to see Cora back in the lineup. Yesterday, the Sox said that second base would not be a platooned position. Honestly, I think Pedroia should either be platooned and play against lefties, or go back down to AAA for at least a month to get his swing/confidence back. Cora's doing well, and Pedroia is struggling. As important as keeping Pedroia in the lineup so he gets at-bats is to his development, it's also important that his confidence doesn't melt away. Maybe he could use some time in Pawtucket to hit some minor league pitching and get back into a groove.

I'm glad Timlin was used for the 3 run save in the 9th. It might have been good for Papelbon to come back right away after blowing a save, but in the long run, the fewer times he pitches on consecutive days, the better.

Man of the Game was Josh Beckett. Normally, a 7 IP, 3 ER start isn't enough to earn MOTG honors, but nobody else on either team really stuck out more than him. Becks also struck out 7.

Honorable Mentions:
Julio Lugo: 1/3, 2 RBI, Sac-Fly, SB
Hideki Okajima: IP, 0 R, 0 H, BB, K
Kevin Youkilis: 1/2, 2 BB, run

Daisuke against Horacio Ramirez and the Mariners in a makeup game tomorrow.

In other baseball news, the Yankees fired their training staff. Good move. I'm not being sarcastic, either. They hired a new group of training/conditioning people this season. I guess they ran a different kind of program that was supposed to prevent soft tissue injuries. The program failed.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Maybe it was the buzz surrounding the trade for Randy Moss. Maybe it was the fact that the Patriots only made 1 pick on the first day. Maybe it was the fact that about 100 players were selected in between Meriweather and Kareem Brown. Whatever the reason, the rest of the Patriots draft went relatively unnoticed.

The Patriots added a great deal of depth with their draft, after filling in major missing pieces via free agency. The Patriots also acquired picks in the 2008 draft.

In the 4th round, the Pats got Kareem Brown, DT out of Miami (FL). This was the first time in team history that the first two players selected went to the same school.

Brown is 6' 4", 290 pounds, was Miami's defensive player of the year, and was 2nd in the ACC with 11.5 sacks. He is versatile. He can play at tackle or at end on the D-Line. He played with Meriweather, obviously, and spent 2 years as Vince Wilfork's teammate. The two already have somewhat of a mentor-protege relationship.

We needed some depth on the line, especially at defensive tackle. When Wilfork was hurting, or needed a breather, Mike wright was called in. Wright did a decent job, but I think Brown will be an improvement.

As we saw in the playoff loss to Indianapolis, defensive depth is vital. Our defense was worn to the turf as Indy kept driving on us. The front 3 were particularly exhausted. Brown adds another option for the line.

In the 5th round, the Patriots selected OL Clint Oldenburg out of Colorado State.

Clint is 6' 5", 298 lbs. He played tackle as an upperclassman, but also played guard and even tight end when he first played for the CSU Rams. Having a versatile O-Lineman like Oldenburg can really help. The Patriots have had very good depth at O-Line these past few seasons, and drafting capable players like this guy is one of the reasons for that.

In the 6th round, the Patriots selected DE Justin Rogers of Southern Methodist.

He's on the left. This was the best "action" shot I could find of Rogers. He wasn't even expected to be drafted by many people. Rogers had 9.5 sacks last year for 13th in D-IA. He led Conference USA in sacks as a junior with 7. He's 6' 4", 250 lbs. rogers suffered a neck injury last year, but only missed one game.

Funny side-story regarding Rogers:

"I was a little low on money and a little low on ideas and I had just killed a coyote. I was flipping through a catalogue and I saw a coyote rug and I thought, 'I can do that,' so I skinned it out and gave it to her [his step-mother]. She still has it. It's in our living room."

I just think it's funny that he was like "And I had just killed a coyote."

Rogers might have some trouble making this team. From this point on, the Patriots are pretty much drafting practice squad players. But who knows where one of these guys might one day end up.

The Patriots then drafted CB Mike Richardson, Notre Dame.

Mike is 5' 11", 188. This pick kept alive the tradition of Bellichick drafting players from "affiliate" college teams. By this, I mean college teams coached by guys associated with Bill in the past. Fresno State, LSU when Saban was there, and now Notre Dame. Richardson might make the team as the bottom CB of the depth chart.

With their next pick, the Pats selected RB Justise Hairston, Central Connecticut State.

Justise is 6' 10", 210 lbs. He's a native of New Britain, CT. He transferred to CCSU from Rutgers. He rushed for 1,847 yards on 277 carries his senior year at CCSU, including a 332 yard performance. He also ran for 20 TDs. With Maroney, Morris, Faulk, and Evans, Justise will have difficulty making the team.

The Pats drafted OT Corey Hilliard out of THE Oklahoma State University.

Hilliard is 6' 5", 308. He started 34 games straight for the Cowboys to end his college career.

In the 7th round, the Pats got ILB Oscar Lua out of USC. Lua lost his starting job this season to an underclassman.

To end their draft, the Patriots selected OL Mike Elgin of Iowa. Elgin can play both guard and center. He has little to no chance of making the team. But I'd feel bad if I didn't put a picture of him up.

So, we added some depth on defense, and maybe a little on the offensive line. Meriweather has a good chance of playing. Brown should see some time, too. The others might have trouble making the first team. That's not a bad thing, though. It's important to have a team that is very difficult to make it onto.


The Red Sox had a 4-2 lead in the 9th with Papelbon on the mound. Guaranteed win about 90% of the time, probably more. But Papelbon blew it. It was bound to happen. Schilling pitched great, scattering 8 hits, allowing 2 runs and striking out 7 in 7 innings. Okajima had a perfect 8th inning, then Papelbon really struggled in the 9th. The Sox put up 4 runs, which should be enough for a win most of the time, but you can always put up more. Ortiz, Manny, and Youkilis went down 1, 2, 3 in the bottom of the 10th. And let's not forget Donnelly allowing a run in the 10th, either.

Man of the Game was Travis Buck who went 3 for 5 with a double and a homerun. He knocked in 2 and scored twice.

Honorable Mentions:
Curt Schilling: 7 IP, 2 ER
Dan Johnson: 2/5, HR, 2B, 2 RBI
Huston Street: IP, 0 H, 0 BB, K

Papelbon: 0.4 - IP, 2 ER
Donnelly: 0.2 - IP, ER
Schilling: 0.1 - 7 IP, 2 ER
Lugo: 0.1 - 0/5, K, 2 LOB
Varitek: 0.1 - 0/4, 2 K, 2 LOB
Pedroia: 0.1 - 0/3

Josh Beckett looks for win #6 against Chad Gaudin.

In Arlington, TX, Yankee rookie Phil Hughes was pitching a no-hitter when he left the game with a hamstring injury. The no-hitter was broken up against the Yankee bullpen. Hughes joins a cavalcade of injured Yankee pitchers. Ir's starting to not be funny anymore.


A Brandon Meriweather highlight video that doesn't single him out in a 100+ player brawl. He's a dam good tackler.


The Red Sox are 16-8, have taken 5 of 6 from New York, and have built a 3.5 game cushion in the division. But everyone's talking about the Patriots.

Just to put the Moss trade in perspective here. The Dolphins picked injured OSU receiver Ted Ginn Jr. with the 9th overall pick in the draft. We used the 110th overall pick to land Randy Moss.

Moss has agreed to reduce his salary from just under $10M to around $3M. This reduces the cap hit the Pats take in signing him. Oakland will absorb the cap hit from the signing bonus.

There's been some fallout regarding this move, mostly from the Boston sports media. Flipping through the channels, I came upon Around the Horn, a show I normally avoid watching because Woody Paige is a tool, as is Jay Mariotti. However, the only person maligning the Moss trade was the Globe's Jackie McMullen. She called it "arrogant."

We really do have some negative and/or myopic sports writers in Boston.

Arrogance is not a word I associate with Bill Belichick. But some people do. This is probably because he's not media friendly, and comes off as being very distant.

I don't think Belichick and Pioli were sitting in Foxborough thinking "We'll show the NFL, we'll take on Randy Moss and turn him into a star again. (insert evil laugh)." I'm pretty sure they were thinking "We can get Randy Moss for a 4th round pick. If he works out, we potentially have the best group of receivers in the NFL. If he doesn't, we don't lose much."

Also, let's look at the WRs that were drafted after the 110th pick.

Aundrae Allison, East Carolina, 146th pick
Dallas Baker, Florida, 227th pick
Steve Breaston, Michigan, 142nd pick
John Broussard, San Jose State, 229th pick
David Clowney, Virginia Tech, 157th pick
Chris David, Florida State, 128th pick
Joel Filani, Texas Tech, 188th pick
Roy Hall, Ohio State, 169th pick
Johnathan Holland, Louisiana Tech, 254th pick
Jordan Kent, Oregon, 210th
Legedu Naanee, Boise State, 172nd pick
Ryne Robinson, Miami (OH), 118th pick
Derek Stanley, Wisconsin-Whitewater, 249th pick
Syndric Steptoe, Arizona, 234th pick
Chansi Stuckey, Clemson, 235th pick
Courtney Taylor, Auburn, 197th pick
Chandler Williams, Florida International, 233rd pick

Not exactly a list of household names, even for hardcore college football fans. Ryne Robinson was close to equivalent value of a 110th pick for receivers in this year's draft. He's 5' 8", 178 pounds (generously). Moss is 6' 4", 210 pounds. Robinson has 0 career NFL receptions for 0 yards. Moss has 676 for 10,700.

If this year's NFL Draft was of all the eligible amateur players, with Randy Moss thrown into the mix, getting him at 110th would be an absolute steal.

But the high and mighty writers in New England don't like it. For years now, we've all been sticking our noses up at other NFL teams. Something like the Minnesota Sex Boat would never happen with the Patriots. Nor would we have multiple players arrested like the Bengals. No steroids or performance enhancement in Foxborough, either. We in New England have been the snobs of the NFL. We claim the success of the team is due to character, and chemistry. We're the self-proclaimed gentlemen of the NFL.

But the Moss deal defies all of that. He's been arrested for possession of marijuana (CRUCIFY HIM!), he once hit a meter maid with his car, and he even took plays off! Certainly a man such as this is unfit for the high society of the elite New England Patriots. The same goes for the legally packing Brandon Meriweather. They don't belong with our Golden Boy Tom Brady, or our workhorse Troy Brown, or our tough guy Tedy Bruschi, or our gentle giant Vince Wilfork, or any of "our boys."

But here's the thing. We've won Super Bowls, not because of character, but because WE PLAYED WELL. We weren't the most talented team, but character doesn't mean shit if you don't play well.

The Patriots have taken on so-called "projects" before. Remember Rodney Harrison when he was a Charger? How about Corey Dillon when he was a Bengal? It hasn't always worked out, either. Just ask Bethel Johnson, Terry Glenn, and Doug Gabriel. Hell, this is a team that had no problem letting go of Adam Vinatieri, Corey Dillon, Deion Branch, David Givens, Ty Law, Willie McGinist, and a host of others. Does anyone really think they'll have any difficulty giving Moss his walking papers if he isn't helping the team? You either play well for the Patriots, or you don't play for the Patriots. It's pretty simple.

Shaughnessey had a particularly horrible column in the Globe. Just a few excerpts:

The Patriots look like they're going to the Super Bowl in Arizona in February. They came within a few plays of making it to their fourth ubergame in six years in January and they have addressed all their major needs in one of the most active offseasons ever.

But at what price? What happened to the sanctimonious standards they've set? For years they've been preaching team above self and telling us how proud they are of the fine young men who wear their uniform. And then in 24 hours they drafted a gun-toting cheap-shot artist last seen stomping on a prone opponent during a disgraceful brawl . . . only to drop the bombshell of the draft by trading for Randy "I play when I want to play" Moss.

Sanctimonious standards? I honestly hope Shank is being sarcastic here. IT'S FOOTBALL! NOT THE CHURCH! MOSS WILL BE PLAYING WIDE RECEIVER, NOT RUNNING FOR POPE!!!

The Patriots have never "preached" anything but WINNING.

Maybe it's me, but Shaughnessey's column and the reaction to Meriweather has just a hint of racism to it. Just imagine a white football player (one who had a teammate who was shot in the back and killed) who has a registered handgun, and defends his roommate by opening fire on someone. Suddenly, the image doesn't seem so bad, does it? Now he's not gun-toting, he's borderline heroic, defending his buddy like that. Hell, you could make a movie about it!

And as far as the Florida International incident goes, how many of us actually watched that entire game? I know that I have no idea how or why that brawl started. All most of us saw were the highlights, which focused on the All-American Brandon Meriweather, stomping on an FIU player. Didn't somebody by the name of Richard Seymour step on someone's hand in a game? Doesn't Rodney Harrison get fined by the NFL on a regular basis? Newsflash, people. Football players, even Patriots players, are human beings. They get mad, they lose their temper, they make bad decisions. Get over it.

In this spirit, it's assumed Moss will drink the Gillette water, see the light, and become a humble, quiet, and selfless team guy. There's some arrogance to this -- the same arrogance that assumes the other 31 NFL head coaches and front offices are clowns and jokers.

Dan, have you seen what these other NFL teams do to build their teams? They do things like draft Ted Ginn Jr. with the 9th overall pick. They mortgage their future to get Brady Quinn. They draft failed QB after failed QB. They draft Eric Crouch as a DB. They trade their entire draft for Ricky Williams. Are you telling me Al Davis isn't a clown? That Jerry Jones isn't a maniacal despot? That the Dolphins, Bills, Cardinals, Lions, and other teams are run well and are going places?

This isn't arrogance. This isn't the Patriots taking a chance with someone no other team wanted to take a chance on. In order to make any deal work, Moss would pretty much have to restructure his contract. He was willing to do so for the Patriots. That's how we got him. It wasn't that nobody wanted him. If nobody wanted him, we wouldn't have given up the pick for him, we would have waited for Oakland to cut him.

While we're on the topic of fibbing, here's this whopper from Bob Kraft (as told to the Globe's Mike Reiss): "I don't think we've changed our philosophy."

I don't think the Patriots have changed their philosophy one bit. We win by constructing teams with great players who play great. We don't try to win popularity contests, and we don't try to win character contests. We win football games.

Say goodbye to that high moral ground, Bob. The Patriots this weekend put their standards on the shelf in the quest for victory. They might be the best team in football, but the Patriots are no longer "different" from all the other NFL organizations.

Doesn't being the best make you different from the rest? Do the Seahawks have any character issues? How about the 49ers? The Chiefs? The Bills? The Jets? How come they're not on pedestals?

Winning is the standard that matters. Nobody on the Patriots is a saint. There's probably some real assholes in that locker room, too. But everything always comes out peachy if you're winning. And we win.