Sunday, August 31, 2008


If you had told me at the beginning of the season that Jed Lowrie would be batting 2nd, Pedroia batting 4th, Lowell would be injured, Beckett injured, Drew injured, Jeff Bailey at first, a new right fielder, new left fielder. and Michael Bowden starting a game on August 30th; I would have told you that the Sox must be 6 or 7 games out of the wild card.

Instead they're 3.5 games ahead (4 games in the loss column) of the Twins, and 7 games ahead of New York.

Pedroia was outstanding at cleanup. 4 for 4 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs. Mark Kotsay was even more impressive, going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI. Jason Bay and Jed Lowrie each knocked in a pair. Jeff bailey hit his 2nd career homerun.

Michael Bowden was the 7th Red Sock to make his Major League debut in '08. He's also the 11th different starting pitcher the Sox have used. And for a guy who only has 2 starts in AAA, he did pretty well. He went 5, allowing 2 runs off 7 hits and 1 walk.

Let's not go crazy and think that Bowden belongs in this rotation full time. He's 21 years old. He just got to AAA. The most he could give the Sox right now would be 5 innings of average to below average quality. He's not a long-term solution to any of the Sox rotation problems.

But if the Sox need another spot start, he'll get the call.

The Red Sox go for the sweep this afternoon as Tim Wakefield faces 14-6 Gavin Floyd. Floyd also has a 3.70 ERA, so he's not messing around.

The Baseball Cube

Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Winslow Townson


Boston College opened their season with a cupcake game on the road. The Golden Flashes of Kent State finished 2007 with seven straight losses. Even with all the talent BC lost from last season, they were more than a match for the Flashes.

The Eagles took a 14-0 lead late in the 1st quarter. In what will be quite different from last year's team, the rushing game led the offense. Five different players combined for 47 carries and 230 yards. Quarterback Chris Cane only threw the ball 18 times, and averaged more yards per carry (6.7) than yards per pass attempt (5.9). Crane also ran for two scores, but didn't throw for one.

BC used junior Jeff Smith, freshman Josh Haden, and sophomore James McCluskey for a bulk of their carries. Smith had 74 yards on 11 carries and a 42 yard TD, Haden had 66 on 15, McCluskey had 36 on 8.

BC was part of a wider trend in the ACC. The ACC teams who faced very weak opposition, cruised to victory. Every ACC team that faced a team with any quality whatsoever, lost.

On Thursday, South Carolina pummeled Tom O'Brien and NC State. Saturday, #17 Virginia Tech fell 27-22 to East Carolina in Charlotte. Ironically, the Hokies were beaten by a blocked punt returned for a score with 1:52 left in the game.

#2 Southern Cal obliterated Virginia 52-7. Few expected the Cavliers would win, but I think most people expected them to put up more of a fight. It wouldv'e been nice if UVA had wiped the grin of this schmuck's face...

#9 Clemson was dominated by #24 Alabama 34-10 in the Georgia Dome. The Tigers wound up with 0 rushing yards (remember, in college ball, sacks count as rushes), and possessed the ball for 18:47. Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide put up 419 yards of offense, including 239 on the ground.

Boston College hosts Georgia Tech next Saturday.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Mark Duncan
AP Photo/Don Petersen
AP Photo/Dave Martin

Saturday, August 30, 2008


A beautiful start by Matsuzaka, and a non-stop offensive assault cheered up Sox fans who had expected to see Josh Beckett's return Friday night. Daisuke struck out 7 on his way to win #16. If he keeps winning games, and keeps that ERA below 3, he'll have an outside shot at the Cy Young.

Youkilis and Bay each had 3 RBIs. Bay's came with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Youkilis got his one at a time in the 1st, 6th, and 8th. But only in the 8th was it an RBI hit (he grounded into a fielder's choice in the 1st, and was HBP with the bases loaded in the 6th).

The Sox could have gotten more, as they left 12 men on, 8 of which were in scoring position. But 1 run was all Daisuke needed.

Dustin Pedroia had two stolen bases, the 99th and 100th of the season for the Sox. The Red Sox have been running like crazy in '08, and are currently 2nd in the AL in steals. Ellsbury's 41 is the most for a Red Sock since Otis Nixon had 42 in 1994. And that's cocaine free for Jacoby.

The 100 SBs the Sox have as a team is the first time they've reached the century mark since 1974.

Michael Bowden makes his Major League debut tonight against Mark Buehrle.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Friday, August 29, 2008


Josh Beckett is reportedly "fine." At least that's what Dr. James Andrews said after seeing him in Alabama. Beckett had to be scratched from the lineup for tonight's series opener against Chicago due to tingling and numbness in his arm. He hasn't pitched since August 17th, and has struggled at times this season.

JD Drew had an epidural and is feeling better, which is what an epidural is supposed to do. An epidural is an injection of drugs into the spinal area. This dulls or numbs some forms of back pain.

Sean Casey was placed on the 15 day DL due to a neck strain. It's been bugging him since the 21st. Apparently he can't even swing a bat without pain.

Mark Kotsay may be a possible backup first baseman.



The next time some moron says something like "Brady is just a system quarterback" you can point to the stagnant Patriots offense this preseason as evidence against such a dumb statement. That's about the only good thing to come out of the exhibition season.

The Patriots offense was once again flat, and the defense was - at times - systematically picked apart. But what else do you expect with Brady on the bench? Brady's absence hurts the defense as well. It hurts starting field position and time of possession (last night the Giants had the ball for about 40 minutes, the Pats only 20), which can drain a defense's energy before it even takes the field.

But the good news is that Brady should be back under center next Sunday against the Chiefs.

Some more good news is that rookies Jerod Mayo and Shawn Crable look pretty good, and both seem to have tons of potential. John Lynch looks healthy and full of energy, playing most of last night's game and registering 8 tackles.

An 0-4 preseason is hardly a good sign for a team. Cleveland is the only other side that will be winless. But the Pats could have easily forced overtime in their 16-15 loss against Baltimore. They were 2-2 in last year's preseason, before rattling off 18 straight wins. The last time they won the Super Bowl - 2004 - the Pats had a 1-3 preseason. And that was with Mr. Brady starting games.

By Saturday, the Pats will shave their roster to 53, and as mentioned above, the real season starts September 7th at Gillette against the Chiefs, who were 4-12 last year.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


With JD Drew out, the Red Sox found themselves lacking a left-handed outfielder. Less than 24 hours after Drew was on the DL, they got a new one. They've reportedly traded a "mid-level" prospect to Atlanta for Mark Kotsay.

Kotsay waived a limited no-trade clause in order to come to Boston. He's arbitration eligible at the end of the season, and the Sox will pay the balance of his $8 million salary (about $1.5M).

The 33 year old hit .289 with the Braves, with an OBP of .340 and a .418 slugging percentage. He's hit 6 homeruns in 318 at-bats this year. He missed some of May and most of June with back spasms. He's been hitting well recently, batting .288 in August with a .500 slugging percentage.

He'll be a solid #6 or #7 hitter to anchor the bottom of the lineup.

It's funny, the Red Sox started the season supposedly with "too many outfielders" (Drew, Ellsbury, Manny, Crisp, Moss) and "too much pitching." Now they've had to scrape together outfielders and pitchers after the trade deadline.

Kotsay also has a smoking hot wife...

Fox Sports


The bottom of the lineup came through for the Sox last night, which was a big reason behind the 7-3 victory. The 7-8-9 hitters (Crisp, Bailey, Cash) combined to go 7 for 13 with 3 RBI. All three of those runs came with 2 outs in the 5th, turning a 3-2 squeaker into a comfortable 6-2 lead.

The middle of the lineup also did their part. The 3-4-5 combo of Ortiz, Youkilis, and Bay was 5 for 9 with 5 walks, 3 doubles, and 3 runs scored. Youkilis added his 90th RBI of the season.

Wakefield was only able to go 5 innings, allowing 3 runs off 8 hits. This led to the inevitable: someone struggling out of the bullpen. Last night it was Manny Delcarmen's turn to make things unneccesarily dramatic. He allowed 2 walks and a hit in his 0.1 inning. Thankfully, he was saved by Masterson, who induced A-Rod into an inning ending double play.

Jed Lowrie made an error in the 9th. It was the first error of his Major League career. That's 1 error in 155 chances. Julio Lugo averaged 9 errors every 155 chances this season.

With Tampa Bay and Minnesota losing, the Sox are now 3.5 games out of the divisional lead, and 2.5 games ahead of the Twins for the wild card.

With 31 games remaining, the Yankees are now 6 games out of a playoff spot. If the Sox win the next two games, they can all but close the door on New York.

Josh Beckett had a 50 pitch side session yesterday, and reportedly felt strong. He's scheduled to start on Friday against the White Sox. Francona said Beckett is "excited" to go on Friday.

But the news out of the Bronx wasn't 100% positive. JD Drew was placed on the 15 day DL with a back strain. No official word yet on what the exact problem is, or when Drew will be back. Bartolo Colon was transferred from the 15 to the 60 day DL.

But hearing Yankee fans boo A-Rod is music to my ears.

In the battle of the 4.6 ERAs, Paul Byrd takes on Sidney Ponson tonight.

Associated Press

Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II


The ACC hasn't been too impressive these past few years. Virginia Tech has remained a powerhouse, but teams like Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Miami have all fallen off just a bit. It's not the monster conference some expected it to be after Miami, VT, and BC joined. The ACC was a pathetic 2-6 in Bowl games last year.

1. Virginia Tech

The Hokies have won 2 ACC titles since joining the conference in 2004. They have a pretty light schedule, although a non-conference road game to Nebraska is never easy. They don't have to play Clemson or Wake Forest, the other top teams in the conference. So they should cruise to the ACC title game, where they will win. They lost a lot of talent defensively, and on the ground in Branden Ore. But VT has always been good at capitalizing on mistakes, which will be abundant in the ACC in '08.

2. Clemson

Many people have picked Clemson to win the ACC, something they haven't done since 1991. They open their season in style with a game against Alabama in the neutral Georgia Dome. RBs James Davis and CJ Spiller combined for 2,100+ total yards last year, and Cullen Harper threw for 2,991 yards, 27 TDs, and only 6 INTs. They return 8 starters on defense. Their major weakness is a young and untested offensive line, which may lead to their undoing against opportunistic defenses (See: Virginia Tech)

3. Wake Forest
The Deacons always seem to hover around this level of being good, but never great. They'll have a lot of defensive experience, but their offense lacks the explosiveness needed to win the conference. RB Josh Adams ran for 953 yards and 11 TDs in his freshman season, and may wind up as one of the top backs in the conference. They play Clemson at home, which will be their biggest game of the season, unless of course they make it to the ACC title game.

4. Florida State

There will be two seasons for the Seminoles in 2008. Their first 3 games will see a large number of players suspended for that cheating scandal. They should crush Western Carolina and Chattanooga in that stretch, but will find Wake Forest a much more difficult opponent. QB Drew Weatherford has never met up to expectations, and weaknesses in the defensive line are the main reasons why FSU won't contend for a conference title. But the ACC lacks depth, so they'll seem to be in the mix.

The rest of this is alphabetical...

Boston College

An 8th straight Bowl win, and an 11 win season will be followed by mediocrity on Chestnut Hill in 2008. Manning Award Winner Matt Ryan is in the NFL, stud CB Dejuan Tribble is gone, ballhawking safety Jamie Silva is gone, WR Kevin Challenger, RBs Andre Callendar and LV Whitworth are also no longer with the Eagles. The returning rushing leader is James McCluskey, who had 8 yards on the ground in '07. BC has to play all 4 of the good teams in the ACC, along with home games against C-USA Champion Central Florida and Notre Dame. They might not even reach bowl eligibility.

The Blue Devils haven't won an ACC game since November 13, 2004. They're 2-34 in their last 36 games. They have a chance to beat James Madison, that's pretty much it. Perhaps Northwestern will fall to Duke, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Georgia Tech

Former Navy coach Paul Johnson takes over in Atlanta this year, and you know what that means... rushing, rushing, and more rushing. Johnson isn't expected to implement the triple option just year, but don't be surprised if GT leads the ACC in rushing attempts. They lost a lot of key players, so with a new coach, a new system, and new personnel; it will be a rebuilding year. But the Yellow Jackets are always capable of a random sting here and there. Look for them to beat FSU when they play in November 1st. Why? I don't know. Why not?

The Terps have three possibilities at QB, which means they don't really have a QB. They also don't have much experience as the few truly talented players have all left. I'll give them credit for scheduling California, and I'll give Cal credit for agreeing to play in Maryland. They'll make a token Bowl game, where they will lose.

The Canes missed out on post-season play last year for the first time since 1997, and I couldn't have been happier. Of course, recruiting is Miami's biggest strength. Playing in southern Florida, having no academic standards, and not requiring a background check makes things even easier. Miami is young, and loaded with question marks, but they'll be better than they were last year.


UNC always has two or three talented players. They've got some good receivers, but no offensive line, no QB, and no defensive line. Johnny White led the team in rushing with 399 yards, but now he's a cornerback. That pretty much sums up the Tar Heels.

NC State
I still can't figure out why Tom O'Brien decided to leave Boston College for NC State. The Wolfpack had the 110th ranked rushing offense last year, which complimented their 91st best rushing defense. The only good thing NC State has going is their defensive line, which has experience, talent, and Keith Willis Jr.

Best known as the team you always forget is in the ACC. UVA had a great season, going 9-4 and 6-2 in the conference. They have the toughest schedule of any ACC team. They open with USC. They play UConn in Storrs. Then finish the season @ Wake Forest, vs. Clemson, and @ Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers won last year because of a solid and conservative offense, along with a punishing pass rush. But that pass rush is now gone. And the offense isn't explosive enough to make up for that loss.

Games to Watch:
8/30 USC @ Virginia
8/30 Alabama vs. Clemson - in Atlanta
9/20 Wake Forest @ Florida St.
9/27 URI @ Boston College - just kidding
9/27 Va Tech @ Nebraska
10/9 Clemson @ Wake Forest
10/25 Va Tech @ Florida St.
11/8 Clemson @ Florida St.
11/29 Florida @ Florida St.
11/29 Georgia Tech @ Georgia
11/29 South Carolina @ Clemson

Which Teams Will End Up in Which Bowls?
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech
Chick-fil-A (Peach) Bowl: Clemson
Gator Bowl: Florida State
Champs Sports Bowl: Wake Forest
Music City Bowl: Miami
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Virginia
Emerald Bowl: Georgia Tech
Humanitarian Bowl: Maryland
Congressional Bowl: Boston College

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Sierra has the distinction of being a two time Yankee failure. He spent the end of 1995 and start of 1996 in the Bronx. He came back and played for the Yanks from 2003 to 2005.

In his first stint, Sierra played 152 games with the Yankees, hitting 18 homeruns, and hitting .259. He struck out 92 times.

His second stint was longer but worse. Desperate for power, the Yankees reacquired him in the middle of the 2003 season. In 231 more games for New York, he hit 25 homeruns, hit .249. He knocked in 125 runs.

Sierra wasn't a monumental failure like Jose Contreras or Jeff Weaver were. But the fact that the Yankees were so desperate that they got (and kept) a 37 year old over the hill slugger who couldn't hit for average just goes to show how sad the Yankees are this century.



The Red Sox are making their final scheduled trip to Yankee Stadium. And in honor of the Big Ballpark in the Bronx, as well as its 85 year tenants, I present a series of posts documenting some of the biggest, most expensive, and funniest failed Yankees in recent history. We'll have all your old favorites, and some you may have forgotten about.

We start the series with Carl Pavano.

Pavano is in the last year of a 4 year, $39.5M deal with the Yanks. In 2005, he hit the DL with shoulder problems. In '06, a "bruised buttocks" caused him to sit (or stand) on the sidelines. He broke his ribs in a car accident on August 15, 2006. But he didn't tell the Yankees about it until the 28th, right after they told him that he was going to be activated off the DL.

Mike Mussina publicly questioned Pavano's desire to play.

"[Pavano] is only looking at it from his perspective, we're looking at it from our perspective. We want him to go out there and show us that he wants to do this."

Pavano wound up rehabbing his arm in Tampa. But never visited his teammates whenever they were in town to play the Rays.

Pavano is a free agent at the end of 2008. In 4 years with the Yankees, he's made 20 starts, gone 6-6, thrown 116.1 innings, with a 4.80 ERA. The Yankees have been in the playoffs every year since he signed, but he hasn't made an appearance in October.

He's been paid about $2 million per start. $6.6 million per win. $340,000 per inning, $113,000 per out, $608,000 per strikeout.

Carl Pavano will go down in history for three things...

1. Being traded from Boston to Montreal for Pedro Martinez
2. Giving up Mark McGwire's 70th homerun
3. Being a Yankee failure



Most people don't care too much about politics. And even though I care, I can't really blame anyone for not caring. It's always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich.

But politics have an effect on sports. Just a few issues that won't be talked about too much on CNN, but will have a major impact on the American sporting environment.

1. The Cuban Embargo.
For decades, the US has prohibited importing any Cuban products. On the other side, the Cubans don't let anything get taken by America (See: Elian Gonzalez). This has kept one of the richest talent pools of baseball players away from the Majors. If Cuba and the US open up their respective relationships, the flood of Cuban players will significantly increase the average talent of Major League Baseball.

2. Drug Testing
For some reason, the Federal Government has led the crusade against HGH and steroids in sports. I guess everything else in the country/world is fine. The Senate, as well as the President can come down hard on MLB and the NFL, or they can let the leagues test the way they want to test. The Government has more of a reputation for fucking things up than the NHL has. Don't be surprised if Federally mandated drug tests are inefficient, expensive, and ineffective.

3. Arlen Specter vs. the NFL
Senator Specter's ongoing war with the NFL (most recently fought on the SpyGate front) is a prime example of the unjust powers of campaign financing. Specter's top 2 contributors are Comcast, and the law firm that represents Comcast. Not surprisingly, he's trying to get the NFL's antitrust exemption pulled, which is what Comcast wants. Ironic, eh? If this were to happen, teams would be on their own. Things like revenue sharing and a salary cap will change dramatically, and possibly go away. Big teams like Dallas, Philadelphia, both New Yorks, Chicago, and New England would have a huge advantage over teams like Green Bay, New Orleans, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and Arizona.

4. Globalization
Basketball is the most popular sport in China, baseball is the most popular sport in Japan, and Russia has tried desperately to steal players away from both the NBA and NHL. Shady governments, like Russia's, allow for tax free salaries of star athletes. Jaromir Jagr, for instance, will make more at the end of the 2008-09 season than Marian Hossa. Dealing with globalization is a major political issue, the effects of which will be felt dearly in the sporting world.

5. Publicly owned stadiums
Did you know that Boston's sports teams are some of the only teams in the country that have privately owned facilities? The Garden, Fenway, and Gillette are owned by the Bruins, Red Sox, and Patriots, respectively. The new Yankee Stadium will be privately owned, as well. Usually, cities, counties, and states own stadiums. But financially fucked governments are less willing to pony up huge sums of money for new stadiums. The Bills, for instance, desperately need a new one. But they can't afford to build it, and neither can the state of New York. So they might just move to Toronto in a few years.

So even though the Red Sox/Yankees game will be watched by way more people than tonight's coverage of the Democratic National Convention, be sure to keep one eye on the politicians and make sure they don't fuck up our sports.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The Patriots were once again smoked in a preseason game. And although these games will be forgotten once the regular season starts, right now they're causing a great deal of concern for Pats fans.

The biggest worry, obviously, is the absence of Tom Brady. Sidelines with a foot injury, he has yet to play a down in the preseason. The real concern is that there seems to be no timetable for his return. It wasn't even known with any certainty that he'd miss Friday's game against Philadelphia until the last minute.

On the bright side, it's still two weeks before the season begins against Kansas City. Also, Matt Gutierrez's performance Friday night (14/20, 217 yards, 2 TD) has made him the top candidate for the #2 QB slot.

And let's just say that Brady misses a few games at the start of the season. It won't be the end of the world. Even with a poor start, the Patriots would probably wind up making the playoffs. And as we learned last year, being healthy for the playoffs is much more important than being healthy for the regular season.

Another thing Pats fans shouldn't be too worried about is Friday's 27-17 loss to the Eagles. Late in the 2nd quarter, a 10-3 game turned into a 24-3 blowout thanks to a kickoff return and a punt return. Last year, the return coverage team was outstanding. But a few missed assignments let the Eagles soar to a big lead. The Eagles offense was only responsible for 13 points.

And something I've been noticing this preseason is the unusual intensity of the opposing team. That's understandable. The preseason is the best (and sometimes only) chance for some teams to beat the Patriots. Friday night was one of the biggest games of the year for the Eagles (and for a great many super-vocal and pathetically cocky Philadelphia fans in attendance at Gillette Stadium). The Pats are 23-2 (.920) in their last 25 meaningful games, 30-5 (.857) in their last 35. So teams will get it up when they play the Pats, even if the game doesn't count.

One thing that should remain a major worry for Pats fans is the defensive backfield. Against teams with solid offensive lines and/or QBs who get rid of the ball quickly, these guys can get picked apart piece by piece. Teams will be able to eat up huge chunks of clock with long drives that get 4 yards at a time on the ground and with short passes. Even if these drives don't end in points, they'll wear out the Pats' front 7 pass rushers, and give the offense poor field position.

The Pats finish the preseason with a trip to Giant Stadium and a rematch with the Super Bowl Champions. That's just as painful to type as it is to say.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer


The Celtics decided to take a gamble on a player whose career is probably over. Miles has missed the past two seasons plagued with knee troubles. An independent medical examiner proclaimed the injuries "career ending" in severity. Miles is only 26, and a former 3rd overall draft pick. So if by some miracle he's able to come back, he can contribute to the Celtics' quest for ring #18. It's a no-lose acquisition, sort of like signing Bartolo Colon. Only there's even less likelihood that Miles will play.

Maybe Miles keeps getting his knee hurt cuz it's so much of a strain to get in and out of his car:

That actually is his car, or at least it was last year.

Boston Herald

Photo Credit:
Stu Holdren

Thursday, August 21, 2008


When talking about a younger player still in the developmental stages, I don't like to use the word "demoted" when they get shipped to Pawtucket or Portland. Buchholz being sent to Portland is very close to a demotion, but still isn't. He's going up there to rebuild his confidence. The Red Sox also want to keep him away from the mound, because quite frankly, he sucks.

To describe Clay Buchholz's appearance on the mound in one word:


And hitters see that, and get even more confident. Pitchers are supposed to be the predators in baseball, not the prey.

There's no doubt that Buchholz has the talent, and the skill to be a solid Major League pitcher, slotting into a rotation as a #2 or #3 starter. And I'm not basing this on the no-hitter. Combining his performances in late 2007, and April of 2008, his numbers are good, especially for a kid:

43.1 IP, 40 H, 20 BB, 1.38 WHIP, 17 ER, 3.53 ERA, 3 HR, 49 K

But he hasn't had a Quality Start (6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less) since April 26th. He hasn't gone 5+ innings since August 4th. His starts have become devastating. He can't get past the 4th inning, handing the ball to the subpar bullpen. He has given the Red Sox very little chance of victory when he's pitching.

Where has the confidence gone? He certainly wasn't scared when he tossed a no-hitter last year. But he went from the calm and cool of a Tom Brady to the deer in the headlights of a Reche Caldwell. Why?

All Major League players hit snags, fall into slumps, go through bad stretches. For whatever reason, they're a little bit off, a little unlucky too, and they struggle. For almost all Major Leaguers, their first slump in the Majors, is also the first slump of their life.

Right before he made his Sox debut in August of last year, Buchholz prophetically said:

"The confidence you have in college, if you're a dominant player, hitter, or pitcher, you're confident everywhere you go. You get drafted and your confidence goes down, you're like, 'All these guys are really good, too. So I might not be that good.' You start second-guessing your stuff. That's when you get in trouble. That was the biggest change for me. At times I would second-guess my stuff instead of throwing it. That's when I got hurt."
History tends to repeat itself.

Buchholz went to Angelina CC, where he was lights out, winning Eastern Conference (junior college) Player of the Year. He was drafted in the 1st round, tore through the lower levels of the system, and won Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2006 and 2007.

Here's how good Clay's career looked before 2008:

Angelina CC12-11.050.85
A Lowell0-12.611.04
A Greenville9-42.621.04
A Wilmington2-01.130.88
AA Portland7-21.770.89
AAA Pawtucket1-33.961.16
Boston Red Sox3-11.591.06

He hit a bit of a snag in AAA, but hardly long enough, or even bad enough to be considered a true slump. On May 7th of 2008, he a real rough patch. And he hasn't been able to get out of it. We've seen some clean innings, but then he'll allow a hit or two, and fold like Superman on laundry day. His demeanor is fragile. He goes to the mound with a shred of confidence, but loses it when he makes any sort of mistake.

Other young pitchers like Papelbon and Lester have been able to work through their slumps. Buchholz is mired in his. A slump is like quicksand; the more you panic, the worse it gets. Buchholz is panicking. And neither he, nor the Red Sox can afford the fruits of this panic.

This move was necessary, and overdue. I don't want Buchholz starting anymore games for the Red Sox in 2008.

But who the hell is going to replace him?

Hartford Courant
The Baseball Cube
Boston Globe

Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Nick Wass
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Monday, August 18, 2008


After an embarrassing home sweep to the Blue Jays, the Red Sox needed a nice boost on the road. Jon Lester provided that. The bullpen made things a bit too interesting, but Jason Bay provided some nice insurance in the 8th and 9th innings.

Bay was 3 for 5 with a solo homer, a 2 run homer, and 4 RBI. In 16 games with the Red Sox, he's knocked in 16 runs, and hit .348.

But the bullpen found ways to suck, once more. Delcarmen was brought in to pitch the 8th. He got two quick outs, then allowed two walks, putting the tying run at the plate in Aubrey Huff. Yet again, Francona was forced to bring Papelbon in early. Pap gave up a double, then retired 4 straight for the save.

When I did my preview for the Red Sox back in March, I said that Delcarmen would be an important key to the success or failure of the bullpen. And he has been. He hasn't been terrible, but he's been unreliable. This unreliability has only been amplified by the lack of faith anyone has in Okajima.

It's simply too bad that the Red Sox had a 4-1 lead in the 8th inning, and you have no idea who should pitch the 8th, and it's seemingly 50/50 that the Sox will lose.

Daisuke goes for win #15 Tuesday night. He faces Daniel Cabrera.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Nick Wass


I don't hate the Olympics, but I hate the bullshit that surrounds and envelops the Olympics like pink hats around Jacoby Ellsbury. And I do hate China, with a passion. And I hate the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

2012 will see no more baseball at the Olympic games. Why not? I don't really know. Baseball isn't just played in the US. It's played in the entire Western Hemisphere, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and Europe. Seeing the Cuban national team is a treat every 4 years because the talent is near Major League levels. But it won't be an Olympic sport in 2012, and neither will softball.

Yet these are Olympic sports:

Race walking.

Only Europeans could come up with this. It's a race on foot, but you can't run. If you run, you're disqualified. It looks pretty hard, but it looks pretty retarded.

Ping pong.

It's not table tennis, it's fucking ping pong! They actually have DOUBLES ping pong in the Olympics! Is gold that worthless that it's given out every 4 years to 2 Asian dudes who are sick at ping pong?

And if ping pong is an Olympic sport why not...?

Or this...

Or bowling, or mini-golf, or pool, or darts, or Beirut, or flip cup, or speed reading, or seeing who can go the longest without sleeping, or Edward 40 hands, or running backwards, or staring contests???

And can ESPN, NBC, and everyone else in the universe all give Michael Phelps some rest and get off his junk? Yes, he's a phenomenal athlete and deserves all the medals, endorsements, praise, and groupies he'll get.

But this whole debating bullshit is melting my brain. "Is he the best Olympian ever?" How the fuck could anybody know that?!? It's hard enough to compare athletes from different eras in the same sport, but when you start comparing him to Jim Thorpe (decathlon/pentathlon/long jump/high jump), and Jesse Owens (sprinter/long jump); you're wasting your time. Can't we just sit back and enjoy the events without having to wonder if he's the best, 2nd best, or 3rd best ever?

And China can go straight to hell. So can the IOC. The big argument for China getting the 2008 games was "if Nazi Germany got them in 1936, why not China?" But Nazi Germany used the games as propaganda. It was a chance for Hitler to impress his country (and the world) on the biggest possible stage. So why are we allowing China to do the same thing?

The glamour and scale of the Opening Ceremony was eerily similar to the grandiose spectacles the Nazis used in their rallies, and the Soviets used in their big May-Day parades.

The fuckos who think the Olympics are some sort of peace-creating lovefest piss me off most of all. The Olympics have nothing to do with peace, and just a little bit to do with sports. They're an opportunity for governments to aggrandize themselves, to make themsevles seem amazingly powerful in the eyes of their own people. They're a monstrous platform for enormous multinational corporations to sell their products. McDonalds, Visa, Coca-Cola and 9 other companies paid $866 million just to be able to put the Olympic logo on their products and put up signs at Olympic facilities.

The Olympics aren't a peaceful time outside the host city, and even inside it. Just ask the people right now in Georgia, or the 1972 Israeli Olympic team, or the 2 people who died in Atlanta in '96. And they don't spread peace or goodwill, either. In 1968, Mexico City hosted the games, but their dictatorial government massacred hundreds of protesters that same year. And I don't need to tell you what Germany did post-1936, when Berlin was the host city.

The Olympics are sports, and some of them are fun to watch. I prefer the Winter Olympics, with the best hockey competition in the world. And I have a sick curling fetish. But most of it is bullshit. Michael Phelps is not the greatest athlete of all time. China is not a good country. McDonalds has nothing to do with athleticism.

-The Commodore


The Patriots struggled without Brady once again, falling to Tampa Bay 27-10 last night. Matt Cassel looked better than he did in the first preseason game, which isn't saying much. He was 6 for 10 with 57 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT. He still looked stiff, deliberate, and telegraphed. He doesn't do anything to deceive defenses, and that results in tipped balls, passes being broken up, and interceptions.

Kevin O'Connell didn't look good either. The most impressive thing about O'Connell are his quick feet, which is a bad sign for an NFL quarterback. He was 6 for 15 with an interception.

Welker and Moss both played, and both looked as good as they did last year.

Jerod Mayo and Shawn Crable again had solid performances. Mayo led the team in tackles with 7. Crable made 4 tackles, including a sack.

CJ Jones had a good game. He caught two passes for 31 yards. He returned a kick 20 yards, and averaged 13 yards on his two punt returns.

As a team, the Patriots were dominated in almost all aspects of the game. The Buccaneers outrushed them (170 yards to 56), and controlled time of possession (37:58 to 22:02). The Pats were 3 of 11 on 3rd downs, and turned the ball over twice.

When do you start to worry? Not yet. It's preseason, folks, remember that. The NFL MVP hasn't been under center, yet. The defense has been full of part-timers struggling for roster spots. If Brady doesn't play in Friday's game against Philadelphia, or the Patriots have another awful game; then it will be time to worry.


Photo Credits:
AP Photo/Carl Roberts
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara


The one thing that's been consistent about the Red Sox offense is its inconsistency. After a mere 1 run off Roy Halladay on Saturday, the Sox only managed 4 meaningless runs in a 15-4 route by the Blue Jays on Sunday. With Tampa Bay's victory, the Sox are now 4.5 out of the divisional lead, and have a slim 0.5 game lead in the wild card.

The game was pretty much lost in the 1st inning, when Josh Beckett was touched for 6 runs. He wound up allowing 8 over 2.1 innings. The bullpen allowed 7 more, but the 8 was plenty to beat the Sox. It was a very rare short start for Beckett, the shortest he's made in 2 years. 5 different Sox pitchers allowed runs in this game.

JD Drew left the game in the 3rd with tightness in his lower back. After the game, Francona said:

"We were getting guys out anyway, but he said his back was stiff, that makes it an easy decision."

So if it hadn't been 8-0 at that point, Drew might have stayed in. This doesn't seem like a serious injury, but JD Drew and the disabled list have a lengthy relationship, and any injury with him is potentially troublesome.

The Sox go on the road to Baltimore. Jon Lester faces 10-8 Jeremy Guthrie Monday night.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Winslow Townson

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Paul Byrd was decent in his first start for the Sox. But in order to win, he had to have been perfect. Roy Halladay was simply on. 8th complete game for the Blue Jays' Ace. The Sox got a few runners on, but also grounded into a couple of big double plays.

The only thing you can say about this game is that Roy Halladay is freakin good.

Shaun Marcum vs. Josh Beckett Sunday afternoon. Marcum has a 3.42 ERA and a 7-5 record, so he's no slouch.

Friday, August 15, 2008


The Patriots signed 16 year veteran John Lynch to a 1 year deal, reportedly worth $1.5 million. This was in response to losing newly acquired safety/linebacker Tank Williams to a season ending knee injury. I'm not getting overly excited about this signing, although the temptation to drive down to the Pro Shop and look for a #47 jersey is strong.

Lynch turns 37 in September. He's no longer a full-time player. And he's never been that great in pass coverage. But what he can do is come in on running/short passing downs (1st and 10, 2nd and 7, and so on) and plug up any gaps in the front 7. Having Lynch behind them will allow the linebackers to be more aggressive in stopping the run.

Lynch allows Rodney Harrison to stay fresh and healthy. Harrison's been plagued by injuries the past few seasons, and he's also been quieter on the field than we're used to seeing. If he's given time to rest, he'll be a much more effective playmaker.

So even though this acquisition doesn't significantly help the pass coverage situation, it helps the defense overall.

Just in case you're wondering, that picture is of New Hampshire Governor John Lynch.

Associated Press


The Red Sox finished their 3 game sweep of the Rangers with a 10-0 victory, capping one of the most productive series in recent Red Sox history.

In this 3 game set, the Red Sox scored 37 runs, had 42 hits, hit 5 homeruns, and 15 doubles. David Ortiz was 5 for 10 with 9 RBI. Kevin Youkilis was 7 for 13 with 7 RBI. Jed Lowrie was 7 for 12 with 5 RBI.

The Rangers have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball, but this was still an impressive series for the Sox. 5% of the runs the Rangers have allowed this season came in the last 3 games. And 5.9% of the runs the Red Sox have scored came in the last 3 games.

Daisuke had a typical Matsuzaka start, somehow going 7 scoreless innings despite allowing 6 hits and 5 walks. The fact that he has 14 wins and a 2.74 ERA flies in the face of conventional pitching wisdom. His WHIP is almost the exact same as it was last year (1.32 in 2007, 1.34 in 2008). He's walking batters more often, but he isn't allowing hits (specifically, he isn't allowing extra basehits) that would knock them in.

I hope everyone out there enjoyed the offensive explosion these past few days, because things are about to change. The team with the lowest ERA in all of baseball is coming to town: the Toronto Blue Jays. Paul Byrd will be making his Red Sox debut against Roy Halladay Friday night.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The Rangers and Red Sox combined for 12 runs in Wednesday night's game. Tuesday night, the Rangers scored 13 in two innings.

For anyone worried about other teams pitching around David Ortiz, I have two words for you: Kevin Youkilis. He was 3 for 4 with three doubles. He's hitting .409 in August, and he's slugging .818. So they can walk Papi if they want to, it's just gonna give Youkilis an RBI opportunity.

Jon Lester was once again Acelike. He went 7.1 innings, allowing 3 runs. Although 2 of those were inherited runners that scored on Mike Timlin.

If and when Julio Lugo returns to this team, will he have a place in the starting lineup? Jed Lowrie went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBI last night, upping his average to .295. Lugo was averaging an error every 18 times he touched the ball. Lowrie's had 125 chances this season, and still hasn't made an error. In my opinion, Lowrie is the best short-stop this club has seen since Orlando Cabrera.

Daisuke Matsuzaka takes the mound Wednesday night looking for a sweep and win #14. He faces Tommy Hunter, who's 0-1 with a 10.61 ERA. If you have Red Sox hitters on your fantasy team, make sure to keep them in there.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer


Almost lost in the insanity of last night's 19-17 win was the unplanned exit of Mike Lowell. He left after striking out in the 7th due to a strained right oblique. With all the hip problems Lowell's had this season, he'll more than likely be put on the 15 day DL.

The Red Sox will shift Youkilis over to third base, and put Sean Casey in at first. This isn't much of a dropoff. Casey's having a good season, hitting .353, with a .412 OBP in 150 at-bats.

Also on the injury front, Julio Lugo took groundballs the other day. I think I speak for everyone in Red Sox Nation when I say, "Take your time, Julio."

Boston Herald


One of the craziest baseball games you'll ever see. That's the only way to describe Tuesday night's 19-17 game between the Red Sox and Rangers. 37 combined hits, 11 combined pitchers used, and 36 total runs. Kevin Cash was the only starter for either team who didn't record a hit.

Charlie Zink made his MLB debut and didn't look good at all. His performance was Buchholzian. 8 runs in 4.1 innings. But the Sox had given him 12 runs of support before he left, so it was all good. But an 8 run 5th inning, and a 6 run 6th changed everything for Texas.

The combination of Javier Lopez, David Aardsma, and Manny Delcarmen proved nearly fatal for the Red Sox. Thankfully, Hideki Okajima contributed 1.2 innings of solid relief. A Pedroia double in the 8th tied it, and a Youkilis field goal/homerun gave the Sox a 19-16 lead.

It was a mess, but the Red Sox came out on top. Don't be shocked if Charlie Zink doesn't make Major League start #2 in a few days. And thank frigging God the Sox got Paul Byrd today!

Jon Lester faces Luis Mendoza Wednesday night in what will probably be a 2-1 pitcher's duel.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


It's just been announced that the Red Sox have traded for journeyman Paul Byrd. The Sox will send a player to be named or cash to the Indians for Byrd.

The former Met, Brave, Phillie, Royal, Brave, Angel and Indian is 7-10 with a 4.53 ERA this season. The earliest he could start would be Thursday. But the Sox will probably push him back to Friday to take Clay Buchholz's start.

This move was a necessity for the Sox. Byrd won't amaze, but he's a solid 5th starter. With Wakefield down, Buchholz struggling, and Colon out indefinitely; Byrd can give the team some solid innings. And unlike Buchholz, he can give the Sox a chance to win some games.

Byrd's also riding a bit of a hot streak. He's 4-0 in his last 4 starts, with a 1.24 ERA.

Extra Bases


Junior Seau, who had off-season rotator cuff surgery, has said that he might return to the Patriots this season. He also said that if he plays, the Patriots are the only team he'll play for.

Frankly, I'm quite apathetic about this news. In my opinion, Seau didn't do much to help the Patriots last year, and I can't imagine him doing anything more a year older and after surgery. It couldn't hurt to have some depth at ILB, and a veteran presence to help the younger linebackers. But the Pats will win with Seau or without him.



The Sox needed a big performance out of Josh Beckett Monday night. Not just because the Sox were in danger of losing yet another series on the road, but because they were up against White Sox Ace John Danks.

Danks had the upper hand for most of the game. Given a 1-0 lead in the 3rd, he retired the first 17 men he faced until hitting Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch in the 6th. Youkilis broke up the no-hitter with 1 out in the 7th inning. This seemed to fluster Danks a bit, as he then walked Mike Lowell. After striking out Bay, JD Drew doubled deep to center to put the Red Sox ahead 2-1.

The 2 runs would be all Beckett would need. But it wouldn't be all he would get. Jed Lowrie hit a 2 run double in the 9th, and Ellsbury pitched in with an RBI single to make it 5-1. Game over.

The Red Sox split their 4 game series in Chicago, which is far from a bad result considering how good the White Sox are. Coupled with a 2-1 series victory in Kansas City, the Red Sox had their first winning road trip since interleage play. It was the first winning road trip against AL teams since April, and only the 3rd winning road trip all season.

My favorite part of Josh Beckett's pitching line (apart from 8 innings and 1 run, of course): 8 strikeouts, and 0 walks. This was a performance by 2007's Josh Beckett.

The Red Sox return home to face the Rangers. As I predicted, Charlie Zink will make his Major League Debut in Tim Wakefield's spot, facing 4-5 Scott Feldman.


Photo Credit:
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast