Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I'm glad that Terry Francona finally listened to me and benched Ortiz against Kazmir. And I'm sure it was me and only me that made Terry come to this conclusion.

End of sarcasm.

This was a nice, easy, and enjoyable victory. No Eric Gagne, no small army left in scoring position, nice starting position, and early offensive opportunities exploited.

Is Mike Lowell a dark horse for MVP of this team? Without his 85 RBI, where are we? For most of the season, he's led the team in RBI. For a while, he was the team leader in homeruns, as well. I really do hope we extend his contract and keep him on the team. He seems like a quiet guy, he's no Kevin Millar, more of a Billy Mueller kind of guy. He produces, he fields well, and he seems to gel with this team. He'll also make about a third of the money A-Rod will make. Is Mike Lowell on the same level as Rodriguez? No. But is A-Rod three times better than Lowell? No.

I'm really glad Ortiz was benched, and Kielty was hitting 3rd. I know it didn't really seem to work out as Kielty went 0 for 5, but before the game, when the lineups were announced, I think Francona put out the best possible lineup to score runs.

It was also nice to beat Scott Kazmir, and beat him pretty badly. Nothing against him, I'm just sick and tired of watching Manny and Ortiz looking like fools every time Kazmir throws that low slider.

Kevin Cash had his first start with Wakefield, and looked pretty good. I think it's either very smart or very fortunate for the Sox that we have some knuckleballers in AAA to give guys like Cash and George Kotteras some experience catching the knuckleball.

And how about Timmy Wakefield this year? He's a huge reason why we're in 1st place. his 4.35 ERA is unremarkable, but I think he's pitched better than that number suggests. This was his 13th Quality Start of the season. And for the $4 million Wake is earning this year, he might just be one of the best values in baseball. He's now tied with Beckett and Lackey for most wins in the Majors.

Lester goes tomorrow night.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


The good:

The bad:

The Gagne:

Sweeping a doubleheader against the Angels would have been difficult to do, especially with Lackey on the mound. But we were very close to doing so. Clay Bucholz pitched very well in his Major League debut. I was most impressed by how he pitched after the big JD Drew error in the 1st inning. Of course, getting to Lackey for 6 runs in the bottom of the 1st made the game much easier for everybody.

The first game was the one we were supposed to lose. We had 23 year old Bucholz against one of the best pitchers in the AL. But we won, and had Beckett going in game 2. It seemed as though we had an opportunity to win a big doubleheader.

Even more surprising than us getting to Lackey was us getting to the Angels bullpen. In game 2, we rallied in the 8th and looked to be on our way to a momentous victory. But we used Okajima in the first game for 1.2 innings and Papelbon for 1.1. Gagne came in to pitch 9th, a 1 run save opportunity. And he fell flat. Again.

What the fuck is wrong with Gagne? The best theory I have is an adjustment problem to not knowing exactly when he will pitch in a game. But that's just a theory. Whatever the problem is, it is killing us.

Gagne's pitched 7 innings for us, and has allowed 13 earned runs. He's allowed a run in 5 of his appearances. He's allowed a hit in each outing. He's allowed multiple hits in 4 of his outings. He has a 16.71 ERA with us, and a WHIP of 2.429. Opponents are hitting .459 off Gagne since he joined the Sox. He's got 2 holds, and 2 blown saves. He is killing us. If he doesn't turn this around, does he even belong on a playoff roster if we make it that far?

Maybe this is part of a trend that started when Gagne was in Texas. Starting on June 23rd, and ending June 24th, Gagne's ERA saw a 1 run increase. He allowed runs in 4 of 11 outings. 7 of those 11 outings were not "clean" innings. He also blew his first save of the season.

Anyway, Wily Mo Pena was traded to Washington for a player to be named later. This marks the end of the WMP experiment. He struck out 148 times in a Red Sox uniform in 432 at-bats.

I know hindsight is 20/20, but this trade of Pena seems to be too little too late. Last year, Pena hit .301 in 276 at-bats. He was showing some potential, with some power, and a decent OBP of .349. We signed Drew in the off-season, had Ellsbury already soaring up to AA, and still had Moss and Murphy in AAA. We didn't really seem to have much of a spot for Pena. Then again, with Drew's injury history, the Sox might have felt as though having a 4th outfielder with some pop would be a good idea.

Sometimes it just seems like the Red Sox lack a big picture, long term plan. I understand trading Arroyo when we did. His stock was high, and Pena seemed like a good opportunity to grab a talented hitter. Last year Pena showed some promise. But he was still a 4th outfielder on this team, any way you cut it. We'll get a player to be named later from the Nationals, but we could have gotten a lot more had we traded Pena before this season.

Doug Mirabelli was placed on the 15 day DL. The Red Sox purchased the contract of Kevin Cash from AAA Pawtucket and he will be the backup while Mirabelli mends his calf-strain. Mirabelli is not expected to be on the DL for long.

The Red Sox also brought up newly acquired Bobby Kielty. He essentially took the place of Wily Mo Pena.

Schilling against Weaver tonight.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


1-41. That was our record when trailing after the 8th inning. Now it's 2-41, which isn't much of an improvement. But let's be optimistic here. We've DOUBLED our 9th inning come from behind wins! Hooray!

Anywho, I find it funny that my last article criticised Jon Lester. A few articles ago, I criticised Gagne. So what happens? Lester throws a gem, and Gagne gets the win. Should I take responsibility for this a la Steinbrenner? I probably shouldn't, but I will. Your welcome, Sox fans.

Here's my favorite stat for Jon Lester's night: 13.9 pitches per inning. That's actually really good. For him, that's simply astonishing. This was Jon's best start in a Red Sox uniform since he went 8 scoreless against the Royals on July 18th of last year.

As of right now, our 5th starter is Lester, and probably will be for a few weeks, at least.

Gagne's inning wasn't perfect, but it might have been his best with us so far. He allowed a double, but also struck out the side. He threw 17 pitches, 11 of which were strikes.

Some fans at Fenway gave some boos to Gagne. He was also booed a bit at Camden Yards. I think it might be a bit too early to be booing him. This is what happens in Red Sox Nation. We fall in love with the likes of Butch Huskey, and Rico Brogna, who we expect nothing from. Then when we get a top of the line player and they perform less than perfectly, we start to dislike them.

For some reason, Manny Delcarmen struggles against the Devil Rays. He let up a hit and a pair of walks last night. He had that awful outing on the 29th in Tampa, allowing 3 runs. I don't know what it could be. Maybe because he's up against Tampa, he thinks he's back in AAA, so he eases up a little.

At the end of the game NESN did the dramatic "cut to nervous fans" series of shots in between pitches. However, I have to give props to the director for showing attractive female fans being nervous. I still hate the constant cutting to fans to see how some person in Box 86 is feeling, but having it be a cute girl makes it a fair compromise.

There was also some guy right behind home plate that was calling out Al Reyes' pitches before they were thrown. In Varitek's at-bat in the 9th, the guy yelled "Change-Up!" before the 1-2 pitch was delivered. It was a high changeup that Varitek took for ball 2. The next pitch, the fan called for the same thing. Lo and behold, Tek hit the changeup to right for a double. The guy behind home plate must have done his homework. Either that or Al Reyes pretty much throws changeup after changeup. I think it's the latter.

The next time we face Kazmir, I don't think David Ortiz should start. He's got that bad knee, and bad shoulder anyway. He's hitting .147 (5 for 34) against Kazmir. Manny is actually doing a little bit worse. He's hitting .139 off Kazmir (5 for 39). Using these numbers, the odds of either Manny or Ortiz getting a hit off of Kazmir in an inning are about 1 in 4. That means that neither one of them will get a hit off Kazmir 3 times out of 4 chances. For you hold em players out there, those are slightly better than the odds of hitting a gutshot straight draw on the turn or river. And if you don't know, I'll tell you that you shouldn't be chasing gutshot straight draws.

Having Ortiz and Manny hitting 3 and 4 against Kazmir is just a bad idea. He owns them, let's face it. Having the heart of your lineup having very little chance of doing anything is not the way to score runs.

Anyway, a nice heart warming win for the Sox, which was made even warmer by the Yankees loss to the Orioles. Daisuke goes tonight, looking for the sweep.

Monday, August 13, 2007


The good news is that the Red Sox had a nice 3-0 win last night behind Tim Wakefield's near no-hitter. The not so good news is that Jon Lester is pitching tonight.

It's been 3 weeks since Lester returned to the Majors. His first start was one of the brightest moments in baseball this year. But since then, he's struggled mightily.

Lester's problem last year was the large number of pitchers he required to get through each inning. He threw an average of 18.6 pitches per inning last year. And although he finished with a 7-2 record, it came along with a 4.76 ERA. He also averaged a mere 5.4 innings per start last year.

This season, it's been more of the same for Jon. He's averaged 18.5 pitches per inning in his 4 starts. This is partially why he has averaged 5.3 innings per start. Another reason is his 6.43 ERA. His WHIP of 1.714 is bound to let up runs. In 2006, he had a WHIP of 1.648, but was able to pitch out of jams. This year, he hasn't been able to do it as efficiently.

The Red Sox are still 3-1 in games that Lester has started. But the Red Sox have scored 31 runs in those 4 games (7.75 runs a game).

The only game that Lester pitched well in was his first game in Cleveland. This was also a game played by an Indians team that had flown into Cleveland at 5 that morning. The Indians were also uninformed about Lester starting until the last minute.

The Yankees are 4 games behind us, folks. We cannot afford to have a 5th starter who gives the other team more of a chance to win than us. As of now, Lester hasn't really cost us that much. Tonight, he'll be up against the Devil Rays. We'll probably be able to score some runs to support him, so as long as he pitches a few decent innings, we'll probably win.

But his next scheduled start is against the Angels. They are not an easy team to score runs off of.

If Lester struggles in this start tonight, do we continue to put him on the mound every 5th day? Do we consider putting Tavarez back in the rotation? How about Devern Hansack, or Clay Bucholz?

My argument is this: we have other players who can start in Lester's place. I think if Lester struggles in this start, it will be clear that he does not belong in the rotation right now. In which case, it is important to replace him, considering we are in a pennant race. Now, if we had a 10+ game lead on New York, we could let Lester pitch and not really worry. But we don't. It's only 4 games. And we've got 6 games left against the Yankees. Do you really want Lester going out to the mound in Yankee Stadium?

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Remember when Okajima pitched the 8th inning? Remember when Okajima faced righties and lefties? Has Hideki done something to lose time on the mound? Before Gagne allowed Okajima's runner to score today in Baltimore, his ERA was 0.98. It's been at or around 1.00 all season. He's got 3 wins, 4 saves, 19 holds, and only 2 blown saves. But he was used as a platooned set-up pitcher this afternoon, facing the lefties, then being lifted for Gagne to face the righties.

Gagne's troubles do not seem to be a statistical anomaly, just a bad stretch of games that coincidentally occurred during his first few games with the Sox. His pitches are inconsistent. Some pitches make hitters look like fools, some make him look foolish.

Gagne's been a closer since 2002. He's recorded 2 Holds in his career before coming to Boston. A Hold, by the way, is just like a Save, only the reliever doesn't finish the game. It's a stat for set-up men. Hideki Okajima has 20 Holds this season. Anyway, Gagne has 2 Holds since coming to the Red Sox, which matches his career total up until this point.

Gagne is used to coming to the ballpark knowing when he'll pitch. As a closer, he never knew if he would pitch in any given game, but he knew that if he did pitch, it'd be starting the 9th inning. Now he has no idea when he will pitch. And I think that's messing with him a bit. He's got a different routine now. He can't just sit around and wait for the 9th, he has to be ready to come into the 6th, the 7th, the 8th, and so on. He gets maybe 10 to 15 minutes of warning, at the most, before he goes in.

The new routine (or lack thereof) might not be the cause of Gagne's problems. Nevertheless, there is definitely a problem. This weekend series in Baltimore was a disgrace. The Orioles are a joke team. We had a good lead in every game, and we let it slip away twice. Our so-called "best bullpen in baseball" allowed 10 runs in 5.1 innings this weekend. Our starters allowed a mere 3 runs.

We're only 4 games ahead of New York, with 6 games head-to-head left. New York rolled through Cleveland this weekend, so they're not just beating up on bad teams. We need to start winning games here if we want to make the playoffs. And we need to resume winning games when we have a late lead.

We have a 3 game home series with the Devil Rays. It would be nice to sweep them. It might even be necessary that we sweep them.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Eric Gagne has yet to throw a clean inning of relief for us. In fact, he's only thrown one inning of scoreless relief. Granted, he's only had 4 appearances with us, but with Texas he only had 5 outings in which he allowed a run. He also had 12 perfect outings with the Rangers before being traded. So with Texas, he had 29 scoreless appearances out of 34, and 12 perfect outings out of 34. With us, he has had 1 scoreless appearance and 0 perfect innings.

Last night, the so-called best bullpen in baseball collapsed...to the fucking Orioles.

We were down 1-0 in the top of the 8th with 2 outs. Bedard was mowing us down, as usual. But we finally got to him. CB Bucknor helped with a questionable ball called on Wily Mo Pena. Bucknor is, without a doubt, the most inconsistent and therefore the worst home plate umpire in baseball.

Anyway, Pena wound up hitting a single up the middle to tie the game at 1-1. Lugo had a bunt single to give us a 2-1 lead. Pedroia hit an infield single to load the bases. Ortiz came through with a basehit that knocked in a pair of runs. Manny finished the scoring with an RBI single. It was 5-1 going into the bottom of the 8th. With the so-called best bullpen in baseball, the game was over, right?


Gagne comes in to pitch the 8th. Just a question for Francona. I don't mind using Gagne here, but couldn't we have used someone besides a set-up pitcher? Couldn't we try Timlin here?

Anyway, Gagne allows a double, a single, and a walk to start off the inning. Yikes. Millar helped us out by grounding out, but then Huff hits a 2 run double. Now a 5-1 lead has disintegrated to a 5-4 lead.

Nevertheless, best bullpen in baseball. Right?

Okajima comes in and allows an RBI single. One of the few times Hideki has allowed an inherited runner to score. But he got out of the inning with the game still tied 5-5.

In the 9th, the Orioles doubled, sacrificed a man to 3rd, then hit a Sac Fly to knock him in and win the game.

What does it feel like as a position player to score 5 runs in one inning, take a good lead, hand it over to the best bullpen in baseball, and lose? I don't know, but it probably doesn't feel very good.

And what the hell is wrong with Gagne? He's been healthy all year. And at times with the Sox, he's looked sharp. But with pitchers, it's all about mistakes. Gagne is making far more mistakes than he has with Texas or the Dodgers.

The only thing I can think of is the move from closer to set-up. As a closer, your role is very simply defined. If your team has a 3 run or less lead in the 9th, then you go in. Also, if there's an emergency situation in the 8th, like bases loaded and 1 out, you might go in early.

But as a set-up pitcher, your role is a bit less defined. You come into games in the 6th, the 7th, the 8th, sometimes the 9th. You come in when your team has a 1 run lead, a 4 run lead, a 5 run lead. You come in when your team is tied. You come in when your team is down 1 or 2 runs. You pitch in the 10th inning. You come into the game in the middle of an inning. You come in for certain spots when the matchups with hitters are good.

Ballplayers are creatures of habit. When required to change their habits, things can go wrong. It takes some time to adjust to new routines. And it takes time to adjust to routines that are not as regular.

Gagne was acquired to make the end of our bullpen shorten games to 6 or 7 innings. As of now, he's cost us one game, and caused 2 other games we led to be closer than they should have. Is he the 2nd coming of Scott Sauerbeck? I don't think so. I think he'll adjust to his new role on his new team.

But if not, what do we do? If we're in the playoffs (that "if" is becoming more and more visible, it is definitely no longer "when we're in the playoffs"), and Gagne still hasn't adjusted, do you go to him in a 1 or 2 run game? I think if he hasn't settled in by then, he is not a viable set-up option.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


"This record isn't tainted!" Barry Bonds tersely replied to some reporter in his post-756 press conference. The reporter in question had asked "Do you think this record is tainted?" thus disproving the old axiom: "There are no stupid questions." As if Bonds would say his own record was tainted.

But it is.

And I'm not talking about steroids, or HGH, or andro, or other hulkifying chemical agents that have inflated his homerun totals as much as they inflate biceps. 756 is a tainted record because of the era in which it was attained.

Half of the top 10 in all-time homeruns have been players of this offensively offensive era. Not only Bonds, but Sosa, McGwire, Griffey, and Palmeiro. A-Rod and Frank Thomas are recent additions to the 500 homerun club, and soon will come Thome, Ramirez, and Sheffield.

Then look at the single season homerun totals in the past few years. Until 1998, only two players had EVER hit 60 homeruns or more in a season. Since 1998, it's been done 6 times. Before 1995, only 18 players had ever hit 50+ HRs in a season. Since 1995, it's been done 21 times. And it's been done by players like Brady Anderson, Greg Vaughn, and Luis Gonzalez. 50+ HR seasons are hardly national sports news anymore.

Sammy Sosa hit 604 homeruns. Does anybody really doubt that he was juicing? Nothing was ever fully proven, but c'mon. And even though he was never caught doing steroids, he was once caught with a corked bat. He claimed it was his batting practice bat and he got mixed up, but don't you think a professional hitter would realize which bats he was using and which bats he wasn't? How many of those 604 homers did Sammy hit with the wrong bat? How often was he confused?

Then there's Mark McGwire with 583. He admitted to using andro (which wasn't banned) and his performance in front of Congress was one of the most embarrassing moments for any former ballplayer. does anybody seriously doubt that Big Mac was injecting himself with special sauce?

Rafael Palmeiro is 10th all-time with 569 homers. That's right, he's ahead of Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams on the homerun list. Palmeiro's homerun hitting ability increased dramatically when Jose Conseco came to the Texas Rangers. He started hitting the longball three times as often. In 2005, he tested positive for steroids. Once again, he is 10th all-time in homeruns.

Gary Sheffield is on the verge of breaking into the not so exclusive 500 HR club. Sheffield admits that he was once unknowingly given steroids in the form of a cream. If true, this probably wouldn't increase his power that much. However, the incident shows how easily steroids can find their way into Major League Baseball.

But enough about steroids.

Everything about this era of baseball favors the hitters. The ballparks are smaller. Bonds plays in San Francisco, which isn't much of a hitter's ballpark, but he also plays games in Colorado, Houston, Wrigley, Arizona, and all the other short porched fields in baseball.

A few years ago, they started doing tests on the ball itself, and found out that it was wound just a little bit tighter than it had been, giving it more energy potential, thus making it travel farther.

There are 30 teams, each with about 12 pitchers. Does anyone think there are 360 good pitchers out there? How about 360 not so bad pitchers out there? How about 360 pitchers that don't suck? In the overly expanded MLB, pitching is in poor supply. Just look at the guys Bonds hit 755 and 756 off of. How many people outside of their team's city had heard of them? Maybe Hensley because he was suspended for steroids.

Just to go back to steroids for a second. I'm sure many pitchers in this era have taken banned substances. But pitching isn't based on brute strength alone. Furthermore, strength would only allow you to pitch faster, not give your curveball more break, or your cut-fastball more bite. Throwing a 100 MPH fastball to a Major League hitter is a bad idea if it's completely straight. Not only will the hitter eventually time it, and hit it, he will hit it a long way.

Bonds hit homeruns off of about 450 different pitchers in his career. When I first heard this number, I was floored. How many of those 450 pitchers had careers longer than 1 season? How many lasted for 3 years or more?

Who is Mike Bacsik? He's a journeyman lefty who spent 2005 and 2006 in the minors. The Nationals are his 5th organization. He's spent time with Cleveland, the Mets, the Rangers, Philadelphia, and now Washington. He was drafted in 1996 but didn't make it to The Show until 2001. He didn't make a start until 2002. He has a career ERA of 5.21, record of 10-11, and WHIP of 1.451. How many other Mike Bacsiks are out there? And how many others are giving up homerun balls to the likes of Bonds, Sosa, Griffey, Rodriguez, Howard, Pujols, Ortiz, and all the other sluggers out there?

SportsCenter, and all the other "experts" and analysts out there are proclaiming that Barry Bonds is now the best homerun hitter of all-time. This is wrong. Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron are the two best homerun hitters ever. And don't forget about Josh Gibson, whose Negro League homerun totals are said to be in the 800s. Sadaharu Oh also deserves a mention, with 868 homers in Japan. In the Majors, though, it's Ruth and Aaron.

Ruth didn't start playing the outfield until 1918. He only had 9 homeruns as a pitcher up until that point. In 1920, a new kind of baseball was introduced, one that was cleaner and wound tighter. This ball was and is the modern baseball used today. In 1920, Ruth hit 54 homeruns, shattering the previous single season record. Ruth hit a homer every 14.65 plate appearances. He also hit 15 homers in the World Series, in 162 plate appearances (HR every 10.8 plate appearances).

In a few years, Albert Pujols will hit his 700th homerun, and Alex Rodriguez will hit his 800th. Soon after, Ryan Howard will hit his 850th. Then some other slugger will hit his 900th. By then, the 500 homerun club will have 200 members, and MLB won't be using commemorative balls when a hitter is at 499.

People are saying that Bonds now holds the greatest record in all of sports. People once said that about Maris and his single season homerun record. Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa turned that record from the greatest into a joke. And now the irrelevance of being the all-time homerun king will slowly take hold, and the record will lose all meaning.

So maybe Bonds was right. His record isn't tainted. It's ruined.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


The last time the Red Sox won a series in Seattle was July 31st through August 2nd of 2000. That was the series which featured the 19 inning game (the only game the Sox lost), and then Pedro's brilliant complete game the night after that (Petey went 9, allowed 2, and his ERA went up!).

We won yesterday's game 9-2, but we didn't really run away with it until the 7th. We had plenty of opportunities to run away with it before then. It was one of the worst played games I've ever seen the Mariners play. Then again, I don't typically see many Mariners games.

We got 2 runs in the 1st, but we should have gotten a few more. We just lacked that big hit. We had the bases loaded with 1 out thanks to a 2 base error by the center-fielder. And for some reason Seattle intentionally walked the struggling JD Drew. Lowell popped out, Varitek walked in a run (it was the 18th run walked in for the Sox this season, which leads MLB), then Cora lined out to end the inning.

In the 2nd, we loaded the bases again with 1 out. But Manny grounded into a double play that ended the inning. In the first 2 innings, we had 8 baserunners, 3 of whom got to 3rd base, 5 got into scoring position, and only 2 got to home plate.

But Beckett was pitching very well. He didn't need much offensive support. He scattered, and I do mean scattered, 8 hits over 6.2 innings. He walked 2, struck out 9, and allowed only 1 run. None of the hits he allowed were of the extra base variety.

We came close to sealing it in the 7th when we put up 2 runs to make it 5-1. In the 8th, we closed the deal, putting up 3 runs. We then cruised to victory, and got on flights down the coast to Anaheim.

Tonight, Schilling returns from the DL. He's up against Jered Weaver.


The Red Sox broke a 9 game losing streak in the Pacific Northwest with a narrow 4-3 victory. Give credit to Daisuke for this win. He pitched into and out of trouble, and only allowed 2 runs. He yielded both runs off of solo homers, but what matters is that they were solo homers. Matsuzaka also had 10 strikeouts, which really helped him escape some jams.

David Ortiz is a man on fire. He went 2 for 4 with a pair of runs. He's 10 for his last 21 with 3 homers and 6 RBI in that stretch.

Manny nearly cost us a run with his meandering around the basepaths. This team is a bad baserunning team. Not only are they slow, but there are some stupid baserunners on this team. Did Jeff Suppan become our baserunning coach?

Can we expect some adjustment difficulties with Gagne as he gets used to the set-up role? Set-up has one major difference from closing: Set-up pitchers don't know which inning they're pitching until a few moments before they're in the game. Closers know that they'll probably pitch the 9th if they pitch at all. Set-up pitchers can be called on for the 6th, 7th, 8th, any inning. Will this be a problem for Gagne? Time will tell.

Beckett against Batista this afternoon.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez hit homerun #500. YES announcer Michael Kay commented that ever since A-Rod hit 499, every time he's stepped to the plate it's been like the World Series. I don't know if Kay was referring to the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium, or the fact that A-Rod had something like 3 hits in 27 at-bats since he hit 499.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


Seattle owns us. Ichiro has a seat reserved for him in the owner's box at Fenway. Kenji Johjima gets quarterly financial reports. Theo Epstein calls JJ Putz when he needs financial approval for a trade.

The Red Sox always seem to have hard losses against Seattle. There was that stretch of 1 run losses a few weeks ago that were just brutal to watch.

Last night's loss was also difficult. We had 15 baserunners, and only scored 4 of them. Eight were left on base, one was thrown out and two were eliminated by double plays.

The two double plays we grounded into were huge. We loaded the bases with no outs in the 2nd, with the top of the order due up. But Pedroia hit into the classic 6-4-3, which knocked in a run, but crushed what could have been a big rally. In the 5th, the Sox hit three consecutive singles to start the inning. They had scored a run, and there were runners on 1st and 2nd. Manny grounded into another 6-4-3, crushing the rally.

You can look at the offense, point at the 5 men left in scoring position, and the two big double plays, but this game was lost by our pitching.

Lester had a strictly mediocre, if not below average start, going 5 innings and allowing 4 runs. The big hit he allowed was Betancourt's 3 run homerun. Once again, he got his pitch count up early and was unable to go deep into the game. Here were his pitch counts inning by inning:

1st - 17 pitches
2nd - 14 pitches
3rd - 29 pitches
4th - 29 pitches
5th - 11 pitches

This is his thing. Even when he doesn't give up runs, he throws a lot of pitches and can't go deep into games.

Lester left after 5, and the score was 4-4, so we were definitely in the game. Timlin had a shaky 6th inning, causing some trouble for himself. He made a throwing error, which moved a guy into scoring position. Then on a bunt, he tried to throw a runner out at 3rd, when there was no force out at 3rd. He made a bad throw, but the decision was even worse. He got out of it having only allowed 1 run, and was very fortunate to get a line out double play to end the inning.

For some reason, Timlin started the 7th as well. This makes little to no sense to me. He's been hurting all season, he pitched somewhat poorly in the 6th, and we have other pitchers out there that could have been better options. We have Tavarez, Snyder, Delcarmen, Okajima, Gagne, and so on. I think Snyder would have been a good option to start the 7th.

In the 7th, Timlin allowed a 2 run homer by Johjima, which effectively ended the game. The Red Sox weren't going to come back from a 3 run deficit against Seattle's bullpen.

So you can blame the offense, but this game was lost by our pitching.

One bright spot is that Ortiz hit another homer. He seems to be hitting his stride, finally. Now, if we could just stop hitting into double plays before he comes up, we'll be in great shape.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Once again, the Sox scored multiple runs in the 7th, propelling them to a victory over the Orioles. The Sox squandered and/or blew several scoring opportunities, but the 7 runs that they did put up proved to be enough. Mirabelli had the most glaring blown run with his baserunning folly in the 6th, but he atoned for that in the 7th with an RBI single.

Wakefield had another solid start. He went 7 allowing 3 runs. Although he's only had 2 quality starts in his last 7, he's 6-1 in that stretch. Wakefield has gotten a decision in each one of his 22 starts, which is odd since he doesn't usually pitch very deep into games, It's bizarre in this day and age of specialized relievers and the homerun ball which can change a game in an instant, that a starting pitcher has a win-loss record that looks like it's from 1923.

The game also saw the Red Sox debut of Eric Gagne. He pitched well. One of the two hits he gave up was a freak double which appeared to be a foul pop up until the wind took it back into the field of play. It fell in between two Sox fielders, then bounced into the left-field grandstand. It was one of the weakest doubles you'll ever see. Right after that, Gagne yielded a single, and an earned run.

Speaking of Gagne, Kason Gabbard made his Rangers debut. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing 3 runs, and receiving a loss against the Indians.

The Yankees lost to the White Sox 13-9 (typical Yankees game score), which means we have an 8 game lead in the east. If the Red Sox go .450 over their remaining 54 games, the Yankees will need to go .593 in order to tie us. If we go .500, the Yankees will need to go .648. If we play .550 baseball, the Yankees need to play .704 baseball. If the Red Sox continue playing .611, the Yankees will need to go .759 in order to catch us. We are very, very close to winning our first AL East title since 1995.

The Sox begin a 6 game west coast trip starting in Seattle. Jon Lester goes up against Horacio Ramirez tonight at 10. don't ya just love west coast trips? Games at 10 PM on a Friday. yay.


The Red Sox were down 3-1 in the 7th, it's a situation we've seen too often with this team, and as a fan, I couldn't help but feel as though the game was over.

I don't know the exact numbers, but when trailing in the 7th inning or beyond, the Red Sox have a horrible record. We've lacked the clutch hitting that is necessary to win in the late innings. But last night we were able to get it done.

The rally started against Paul "Believe it or not I'm still in the League" Shuey, who walked Lugo and yielded a single to Pedroia. Parrish came in to face Ortiz, who hit a wall ball double to knock in Lugo. Manny was intentionally walked to load the bases. Bradford came in and was up against Youkilis. Youk had a sensational at-bat, fouling off some pitches before hitting a slicing line drive over the center-fielder's head, knocking in Pedroia and Ortiz, and giving the Sox a 4-3 lead. Lowell hit a hard, skipping ground ball down the third base line, but it was snared and he was robbed of extra bases. Varitek hit a single to knock in Ramirez, making it 5-3 Sox.

Not only did we get some clutch hitting, we had some solid pitching performances, as well. Tavarez went a decent 5 innings, allowing 3 runs, but keeping us in the game. Snyder had a great 1.2 inning effort. Lopez threw 2 pitches and got the win with his 0.1 inning. Okajima allowed a solo homerun, but that was it in the 8th. Papelbon struck out a pair in a perfect 9th for his 24th Save. I was kind of hoping we'd get to see Gagne, but maybe today we will.

JD Drew once again missed the game as he was with his son in the hospital.

Curt Schilling will start on Saturday against Seattle.

The Sox send Wakefield to go against Jeremy Guthrie. I have a bad feeling that Guthrie will destroy us.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


After acquiring Eric Gagne from the Rangers, the Red Sox opened their short homestand against the Orioles with a disappointing 5-3 loss.

Ortiz hit two homeruns, but that was all the offensive production we were going to get. Beckett went 8 but allowed 9 hits and 5 runs. A good number of those hits were soft little crap-hits, most notably Kevin Millar's little nubber up the middle in the 3rd that scored 2 runs.

The lack of offense lost this game. Bedard's pitched well this season so give him some credit. If you take out David Ortiz's 3 for 4, the Red Sox had 1 hit. One hit! We did manage to work 6 walks, but we left 8 men on base.

There was one major play that may or may not have had an effect on the game's outcome. The Sox loaded the bases in the 4th without the benefit of a hit (2 walks, 1 HBP). After Wily Mo struck out, there were 2 down. Julio Lugo took a 3-2 pitch that looked to be below the knees. He looked at ball 4, but he heard "strike three" from umpire Jim Joyce, and the inning was over.

If the pitch is called correctly as ball 4, the Sox score a run to make it 4-3, and Dustin Pedroia comes up with the bases loaded and 2 outs instead of leading off the bottom of the 5th.

After making the deal for Eric Gagne, and choosing not to overpay for Jermaine Dye, you just knew that there would be a situation that would've been perfect for Dye. You can just feel these moments coming. You can anticipate the overreacting morons at Boston Dirt Dogs getting some stupid headline about Johnny Damon, or Hanley Ramirez ready to go.

In the bottom of the 9th, the Red Sox had a runner on 1st, 1 out, and Eric Hinske at the plate. The Orioles brought in the lefty Walker to face Hinske. The only right handed bat the Sox had on the bench was Mirabelli. It would have been a perfect time to pinch hit Dye for Hinske. But Hinske was able to work a walk and continue the inning. Lugo nearly grounded out into a double play, but the O's weren't able to turn it in time. Pedroia then hit the first pitch he saw for a weak groundout and the game was over.

The Red Sox continue to fail when trailing in the 9th inning. Ninth inning victories are fun to watch, they build a lot of momentum for the team, and they feel like stolen wins.

What would have happened if Schilling had pitched poorly in his rehab start last night? What would have happened had Schilling reinjured his arm? The Zakim Bridge would have collapsed from pedestrian traffic as Sox fans lined up to jump. We would have lost Gabbard AND Schilling on the same day. It would have turned a great day for Boston sports into a horrible day.

Schilling went 7 innings, and threw 77 pitches. 60 of those pitches were for strikes. He allowed 4 hits, and struck out 4. He will be returning to the rotation on either August 5th or 6th, so either against the Mariners or the Angels.