Thursday, August 30, 2007

SWEPT: #@$%^&$#@&!!!!

That went about as badly as it possibly could have. The Red Sox pitching was fine, but their offense was completely nonexistent. They scored six runs on 13 hits over the course of the series. The Yankees had four runs on 14 hits in the second game alone. Over the last 18 innings of the series, the Red Sox scored three runs on six hits. Thats some little league shit right there.*

I'm in the middle of moving right now, so I may post more later. But then again I might not. The lead, eight games just two days ago is now down to five.

Just an terrible, hideous, rank, awful, gutless, shameful, lame, and unacceptable performance.

*I have no idea what this means.


In an effort to present some good news for Red Sox fans here at FPE, I thought I'd take a moment and mention Craig Hansen. You may remember Craig Hansen. He was the college closer that the Red Sox drafted in the first round two years ago. He threw 12.1 innings in the minors before begin brought up to the big club. He was on the fast track to success and everyone expected that he'd be the closer in Boston for the next ten years. Uh, no.

Hansen got to Boston and was terrible, but only in six innings. Next year he started the year in Boston and wasn't any better. In 38 innings, he gave up 46 hits and 32 (!) runs while striking out 30 and walking 15. If you do the math, here... add the two... divide by seven... that comes out to... "bad pitching."

So the Sox sent Hansen back to AAA where he continued to pitch badly. In 36 innings he struck out 26 and walked 19. His control had deserted him and he couldn't strike anyone out. All of a sudden, if you heard Hansen's name it was in trade proposals as opposed to 'closer of the future' or 'prospect' discussions.

Still, to their credit, the Red Sox didn't give up. They worked with Hansen on his delivery and found a flaw which was causing his slider to even out. A good slider (from a right hander) will basically go from about 2 o'clock to 7 o'clock through the strike zone. Hansen's slider was going from about 2:30 to 9 o'clock. In other words, it was flat. You want a hitter to swing over the top of your slider, but if it doesn't dip that won't happen.

Anyway, Hansen struggled through the first three months of the season, as he worked to correct the flaw. He posted identical 7.20 ERAs in April and June. His ERA was better in May (2.89), but it was deceiving as he walked four and struck out only three in nine innings of work. Plainly put, Hansen wasn't pitching well. He fell off the prospect radar.

Well, don't look now, but it looks like Hansen may be back. In his last 16.2 innings pitched (admittedly a somewhat small sample size) he has given up only one run for an ERA of 0.54. But, as above that can be deceiving. A pitcher has control over three basic factors: strikeouts, walks, and homers allowed. So how has Hansen done in those three crucial categories? Over that 16.2 innings, Hansen has struck out 23 batters while only walking one and giving up (wait for it... wait for it...) zero homers! Yay!

Don't be surprised if the Sox bring him up for a September call up. If his slider is back to what it was in college and his first minor league stint, Hansen could be a strong asset for an already strong Red Sox bullpen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Here I am in my new Dustin Pedroia jersey (with Millar's old #15 on the back) and nothing to celebrate. Dammit.

Somehow Fat Billy got the best of the Sox tonight, though I'm still trying to figure out how. Clemens threw six innings and walked an astounding five batters while striking out only two, yet somehow, through some crazy weirdness, only gave up two hits.

He actually had a no hitter going until David Ortiz's monster shot into the left field bleachers to lead off the sixth. Since it was a lead off homer there was nobody on base at the time. The only other hit Clemens gave up was to J.D. Drew who singled through the right side to put runners on first and third in the sixth. That was the best rally the Sox generated all night. Unfortunately, Jason Varitek grounded out to end the threat.

The Sox had a number of hard hit balls against Clemens that just happened to be caught. Tough luck, I guess. Lowell and Ortiz both flied out to the edge of the wall in right center field. Pedroia hit two balls on the nose that were caught by Abreu in right. It may sound simplistic to say, but it was just never the Sox night.

In sharp contrast to Clemens lucky stinginess, Josh Beckett somehow gave up 13 hits, though to my eye didn't pitch markedly worse than Clemens did. Beckett only walked one and struck out six in six and two thirds innings. He didn't pitch spectacular ball, but he was good.

The Yankees three runs in the second inning came on a hard hit single by Posada, a walk to Cano, and then two ground ball singles that happened to find holes in the infield from Cabrera and Damon. Nobody crushed the ball, nobody hit a homer, or for that matter even a double, but the Yankees got hits and the they got just enough of them when they needed them.

Don't forget how these teams were before they started this series. The Yankees had just got their asses handed to them by the Tigers, 16-0 while the Red Sox had just come from creaming the White Sox 46-7 in a four game sweep. Now its the Yankees that are on the verge of a sweep.

As far as I'm concerned, tomorrow's game is huge. A win keeps the lead at seven games with 28 to go. A loss puts the lead at five games and gives the Yankees a huge boost. Ol' Schill has got to strap it on and shut 55,000 new yorkers up tomorrow afternoon. And a little offense wouldn't hurt either. In 18 innings against New York pitching the Sox have generated six runs.

AL East: Yankees are six games behind.

Tomorrow (Thursday): Curt Schilling versus Chien-Ming Wang. 1:05pm EST.



As much as I hate losing to New York, the next day often brings perspective. Sometimes its a quick look at the standings, or a nice walk in the park that does the trick. Last night, mine came in the form of a phone call.

Not long after the Red Sox lost to the Yankees, my wife's phone rang. It was her mother saying her uncle is being rushed to the ER for emergency brain surgery (is there any other kid of brain surgery?). This morning we found out that the surgery was not successful and that this healthy 55 year old man with three children likely has less than 48 hours of life left.

I don't know the man my wife calls Uncle Ed very well. In truth, I've mostly seen him at family functions which recently have consisted of funerals for his parents. The one interaction that stands out for me was at the most recent of those, the funeral for my wife's grandmother. Ed remarked to me that we only seem to meet under these unfortunate circumstances. I responded by patting him on the shoulder and telling him that if that is the case I don't want to see him again for a long time.

I have no life story to share, nor moral to assign to this tragedy. Uncle Ed was just a good man with a loving family who, one week ago, was going to his job and picking up his dry cleaning like you or me.

People often need to see something tragic happen with their own eyes before they make changes. It seems to be part of the human condition. We don't fix dikes or bridges until we see with our own eyes why we should have fixed them. Similary, we often don't spend time with our families or make time for ourselves until something forces us to rethink our priorities.

This is one reason I love baseball. Watching a ball game is a respite from more important things. Its time spent with friends and loved ones, time spent at a park, enjoying a beer, enjoying the weather, or just enjoying life.

I hope everyone who comes by here to read my ramblings enjoys todays games. Do it for someone who can't anymore.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


After today's game I'm really not in the mood to be long winded. I hate losing to the Yankees. I absolutely HATE it. You know I truly hate it too because I capitalized.

When looking at this series, I would have given the Yankees the advantages in games one and three. To keep a respectable seven game lead over New York, the Red Sox have to win just one of these three games. If you accept that premise, then today's loss means tomorrow's Beckett/Clemens row is a must-win for the Sox. As much as a team with a seven game lead and the best record in all of baseball can have a must-win anyway.

Clemens has been a league average pitcher this season while Beckett is a legitimate contender for the AL Cy Young award. This means the game tilts heavily towards Boston.

Oddly enough, Beckett boasts some pretty serious home/road splits as well. At home, Beckett's ERA is 4.25, but on the road its 1.90. At home, Beckett is 2007 Roger Clemens, but on the road he's 1990 Roger Clemens. Thats a big difference.

Hopefully its a clear difference tomorrow night. Game time 7:05pm EST.


In other less depressing news, I finally got the site design figured out. Hopefully you like it, and hopefully blogger doesn't eat it. We'll see, I'm not holding my breath.


Blogger somehow erased my previous template. Due to that, I've come up with this temporary one. The links are gone and so are the other small alterations I've made, but such is life. I won't be able to make any more changes until next week at the earliest due to moving, but I promise I'll come up with something more Fenway Park-ish than this.

Anyway, thats the story here. As always, thanks for reading.


In all my excitement over the Red Sox divisional lead, I have forgotten that there is essentially zero difference between winning the division and winning the Wild Card.

The Wild Card came into existence twelve post seasons ago in 1995. Since then, there have been twenty-four teams that have played in the World Series, eight of which, or 33%, have been Wild Card teams. This means that a given team is just as likely to make the World Series from the Wild Card spot as they are from atop any division.

Remember last year? The Tigers, the World Series participant from the AL, were a Wild Card team. So were the Angels in ’02, the Marlins twice (’97 and ‘03), and the most famous example from our neck of the woods, the ’04 Red Sox. That was a 98-win team that finished the season three games behind the Yankees.

This is all good news for the Yankees. Well, not ’04, but the rest of it.

Its good news because while the Red Sox currently sport an eight game advantage in the divisional race, the Yankees are only two back of Seattle in the Wild Card race. I’m sure if you asked them if they are focused on the Wild Card they’d say no, which is what you’d expect paid athletes to say. Of course they are striving for first place. But realistically the important race for the Yankees now involves Seattle and Detroit. No matter how far out they finish, the final standings in the divisional race won’t matter if the Yankees win the Wild Card. This is because all teams are essentially even once they make the playoffs.

How much would it suck to beat the Yankees in the divisional race by ten games but lose to them in the Championship series? (If you really want to know the answer to that, just ask a Yankees fan how they felt in ’04.) Because the playoffs feature a fair portion of luck, that scenario becomes a possibility despite how flawed a team they have in New York.

Winning the division is great, but the Red Sox have all but accomplished that by now. Their next prize is preventing the Yankees from making the playoffs entirely. Starting today in the Bronx, the Red Sox can go into enemy territory and deliver what amounts to a death sentence to their biggest rival. Just like New York did to us last August.

A Red Sox season can be judged by answering these three questions, in increasing order of importance:

1) Did they make the playoffs?
2) Did they beat the Yankees?
3) Did they win the World Series?

The Red Sox have accomplished the first. They can accomplish the second starting tonight in the Bronx.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Something is screwy with blogger. My template seems to have disappeared and I'm left with this blank non-design design. I don't know what happened. I may have to make some changes. Anyone with any idea about this please feel free to email me at or post in the comments (assuming they're still working).



The Red Sox crushed the White Sox today. Again. This time the score was 11-1. I'm not sure that this makes up for losing to them in the '05 playoffs (actually I am sure: it doesn't) but at least its nice to cream those guys.

Heres some notes on today's masterpiece:

• J.D. Drew hit a homer. Seriously! It actually happened.

• Big Papi hit yet another homer.
In his last ten games Ortiz is hitting .462 with five homers. Not only is he heating up, but he’s doing it at the most important time (end of the year, Yankees series coming up). Raise your hand if you are surprised.

• With first and second and one out in the fifth and the score tied 1-1, Julio Lugo was able to beat out a relay throw and avoid a double play after grounding to third base. Lugo's hustle/speed/lousy hitting kept the inning alive.

On the 2-2 pitch to Dustin Pedroia Lugo stole second base. This brought the count full with runners on second and third. Big Papi was on deck. Everyone knew what Vazquez was going to throw because if ever there was a fastball count this was it. Vazquez threw it and Pedroia didn’t miss it, lining it over the shortstop’s head for a two run single. If anyone doubts that Vazquez made the wrong choice, Papi hit the next pitch over the center field wall to make it 5-1.

• His Craziness, Julian Tavarez threw as well today as he has all season. He gave up only one run (on a solo homer to Jermaine Dye) and two hits over six innings, striking out seven while walking three. Excellent performance by Tavarez, who out-pitched his counterpart by a lot.

• Playing for Many Ramirez,
Bobby Kielty singled (on a bunt) and hit a two run homer in four at-bats. He drove in eight runs over the course of the four game series.

• From the “Who Cares? Department”: Kielty is the third Red Sox player on the team to hit without batting gloves. The other two are Doug Mirabelli and Coco Crisp.

• This marks the fourth consecutive game the Red Sox have scored ten or more runs. The cumulative score of this four game series was Red Sox 46, White Sox 7.

• Your Daily Second Guessing (brought to you by Bad Idea Jeans):

El Guapo's Ghost wrote up a feature about Francona's mis-use of Papelbon in blowouts recently. I wrote in and defended Francona, saying that Paps had begun warming while the games were still close. Thus, Francona's actual choices, regardless of the score, were to either use Paps after he was warm, or to warm up another guy and use him instead. The first way you end up killing a fly with a machine gun. With the second you effectively end up using two relievers to fill the slot of one. In this writer's humble opinion Francona had made the correct choices, he had just gotten unlucky (so to speak) that the Red Sox had scored when they did.

Today, we get to revisit the same issue again, but this time Francona made it impossible to defend him. With the score 6-1 in the seventh inning against a lousy opponent, he used three of his top four relievers to finish up the game. Francona brought in Delcarmen, Gagne, and then inexplicably Papelbon in the ninth. You have to wonder about this.

I love the win, and I really love the four game sweep. But the next three games on the schedule are with a much more formidable opponent who, I might also add, we have the opportunity to really put the screws to. I would think that keeping our three best relievers rested, even if they haven’t been worked much over the weekend, would be of paramount importance. In the ninth Papelbon struck out Thome, Konerko, and Pierzynski on thirteen pitches. Wouldn’t you have preferred it had been Abreu, Jeter, and A-Rod?

AL East:
The Yankees lost to the Tigers, 5-4. After coming as close as 4.0 games, the Evil Empire has fallen back to 7.5. But only 7 in the loss column. Starting tomorrow we go to New York to finish them off. Go Sox!

Boston is now 80-51, for the best record in baseball, the first team to eighty wins in the majors.

In case you are wondering how this weekend went for the Yankees, I’ll quote Alex Belth, an excellent blogger and devout Yankee fan, who put it this way “…sheer agony…” Would you forgive my callousness if I said something vaguely mean? Fabulous.

Tomorrow (Monday): The Red Sox are off on Monday. Tuesday they head to the great toilet in the Bronx to face the Yankees. Everyone together: "Oooooo..." Daisuke Matsuzaka starts versus Andy Pettitte at 7:05pm EST. More on this series tomorrow here at FPE. Thanks for reading.


Apologies for the lack of posts this weekend. My new wife and I are in the process of moving across the city from a house to an apartment. There is much packing and throwing away of crap to be done and that (and a pirate party Friday night) have occupied my time this weekend.

Posting may be sporadic this week and into next as the move takes over our lives. Don't fear, however. I will do my best to continue to waste hours and hours of precious time watching highlights and clips, and reading blogs and newspapers, in order that I may continue to bring you the best type of analysis and recapping of the Red Sox as I can.

Further, I have noticed the hit counter on the right of the blog rise recently, and I can only take that to mean I am doing an acceptable job here at FPE. I want to thank everyone who has stopped by here and read what I have to say. I appreciate your time and I hope you find it worthwhile to come back.

Whether you do or not, I would welcome any comments you may have regarding this blog and my coverage of my favorite baseball team.

Now back to your regularly scheduled write up.

The past three games have forced me to reach a few conclusions regarding the participating teams. Forgive me for resorting to list form:

1. The White Sox suck. This is not a good team that the Good Sox have been beating the snot out of. The cumulative score over the past three games has been 35-6, which led Ozzie Guillen to remark that he wants the last twelve hours of his life back. Ozzie Guillen: crazy quote machine.

2. The Red Sox look great. You would expect any team that has spent the last three games dominating an opponent to ‘look great.’ And so the Red Sox do. Their starting pitching is not just effective, but shut-down, and other than the back end of the bullpen, the relief corps looks rock solid as well.

3. There are no worse broadcasters than those of the White Sox. They are inarticulate homers that literally don’t understand the game beyond the knowledge base of a ten year old baseball fan. In a word, they are terrible.

AL East: As of this moment the Red Sox lead is up to 6.5 games over New York. The Yankees face the Tigers today (currently losing 5-4 in the 5th).

Today (Sunday): Julian Tavarez takes on Javier Vazquez. Game time about twenty minutes ago (2:05pm). Red Sox up 1-0 in the top of the second.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


That pretty much says it all, folks. Haven't we seen this stinkfest of a game before? Of the fifteen runners the Sox got on base, fourteen failed to score. Thats horrific and thats why they lost.

Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched a good game, his only blemish being the two run homer he gave up to B.J. Upton in the sixth inning. Daisuke struck out eight and walked four, which helps account for his high pitch count of 111 through six innings. He was followed by Timlin and Gagne who both (somehow) held the Rays scoreless.

The chief culprit tonight was anyone with the name "Boston" on their chest who took up a bat. Jason Varitek personally stranded eight runners, including two in the ninth inning when he flied out to left field to end the game, but the final result was hardly his fault alone.

Even the manager got into the act, sort of. Terry Francona allowed Manny Ramirez a night off which is a reasonable and acceptable thing to do. However, with the game so close in the ninth I would have liked to see the Sox second best hitter pinch-hitting for Varitek, who finished 0-5 in the game. Still, I guess thats a small quibble.

This was a team loss. It was a game you'd like to have, but this can be a frustrating offense sometimes, and never was it more true than tonight.

A couple of notes...

*Dustin Pedroia's elbow appears to be OK according to the Globe. Pedroia was hit with a pitch in the third inning. He is day-to-day (aren't we all?).

*Eric Hinkse also left the game. He suffered a cramp and isn't likely to miss much time.

*The Texas Rangers scored 30 (Yes, thirty!) runs today in the first game of a double header as they beat the Orioles 30-3. The AP reports that as the most runs scored by any team in a single game in the last 110 years. The Chicago Cubs (then the Colts) scored the most ever when they dropped 36 on Louisville in 1897.

The Rangers were up 16-3 going into the eighth inning. They scored ten runs in the eighth and six in the ninth, the last three on a homer by Ramon Vazquez, which was his second homer of the game. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also had two homers. The winner of the game for the Rangers? Kason Gabbard.

Other oddities from the game:
- The Rangers actually trailed 3-0 at one point.
- The Rangers scored all their runs in only four innings. Imagine if they'd tried in the other five.
- This was the first game of a double header in Baltimore. You'd have to be quite an O's fan to sit through that to get to the next game.

AL East: The Yankees are finishing up a three game series in Anaheim, and they haven't finished their game yet. (As of this writing the Yankees lead, 1-0 in the 5th inning.) As of this moment, the Red Sox lead over New York is down to 5.5 games.

Tomorrow (Thursday): The Red Sox head to Chicago to begin a four game series with the White Sox. Josh Beckett goes against Jon Danks at 8:11pm EST.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The Sox out-muscled the Rays today, 8-6. The game shouldn’t have been that close as the Sox out-hit the Rays, 11-4.

Unfortunately, Jon Lester simply gets behind in the count too much. When he gets ahead in the count he is incredibly effective, but too often he gets behind and walks people or makes bad pitches up in the strike zone trying to catch up.

The Rays scored their six runs on only four hits. That means two things. The first is luck. They hit two homers and they did it at just the right times in order to maximize the scoring potential of their base runners. Tampa left only four runners on base in the whole game and only one over the first five innings. Every other Tampa runner to reach base scored.

The second is walks. Lester’s control problems continued last night. He’ll strike someone out on four pitches and then walk the next batter on four pitches. When a team can score six runs on four hits that means either they are an extremely patient team (not the case here), or they are getting some help from the pitcher.

Both homers Lester gave up came with two outs. The first one was after he retired the first two batters and walked the third. The second homer was a similar situation. With two down a Ray singled, Lester walked someone on five pitches and then got behind in the count to the next hitter, Iwamura. He came back to get it 3-2 but then grooved one. That brought the lead from five runs down to two.

The first homer was hit on a curveball, which to my non-scouting eye didn’t look like a bad pitch. It was down in the zone if over the plate. The second homer was a bad pitch, and I don’t need a scouting eye to determine that. It was a fastball up at the letters and Iwamura had no problem depositing it over the left field wall.

Lester, who walked four, wasn't the only Sox pitcher to have control problems today. Delcarmen walked one and hit one. Even Okajima walked Carlos Pena to lead off the eighth.

In the seventh with two down and two on Francona decided it was time to get serious. He brought Okajima on who got Carl Crawford to line to second base, but Pedroia who dropped it. It ended up in short right field and the Rays got an unearned run back. Fortunately Okajima, being Okajima, then struck out B.J. Upton to end the inning.

Papelbon came in with two down in the eighth and one on. He promptly K’d the next hitter ending the inning and then the next two to start off the ninth. He got out number four on an infield pop-up to end the game. Papelbon rocks.

A few game notes…

*JD Drew crushed one to lead off the second inning. He hit a pitch right over the heart of the plate cleanly with the fat part of the bat. It died at the warning track in straight away center field. His power is completely gone. That one should have gotten out easily. It makes one wonder if what the Globe intimated, about Drew’s shoulder sapping his power last season and maybe carrying over to this season, being true.

*Gagne didn't pitch today, but Okajima, Delcarmen and Papelbon did. Get ready, Red Sox Nation. Tomorrow is Gagne time!

*Ortiz hit a triple. Yup, a triple, as in 'not a double.'

*Every Boston batter had one hit, but only two had two hits (Ortiz and Lugo) and nobody had anymore than that.

AL East: The Yankees are getting pummeled by the Angels. The score is 18-6 in the bottom of the 6th. Garrett Anderson has 10 RBIs. The Angels have scored 5 runs since I've been editing this post. Baring a serious comeback, the Sox lead will increase to 6.0 games.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start for the Red Sox. He goes against Edwin Jackson. Game time is 7:10pm EST.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Big interview tomorrow, so not much time to write. Wake dominated the Rays over seven innings and the Sox scored a bunch early off Scott Kazmir despite Francona inexplicably putting Bobby Kielty in the third spot in the order. Good low stress evening for the Sox.

AL East: The Yankees are playing at Anaheim. As of this writing the Sox lead New York by 4.5 games. [The Yankees lost to Anaheim, 7-6 in 10 innings. The Red Sox lead New York by 5.0 games.]

Tomorrow (Tuesday): Jon Lester goes against Andy Sonnanstine. Game time at 7:10pm EST.


Salon ran an excellent article about former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Giuliani has stated recently multiple times that he spent more time at ground zero after 9/11 than many of the rescue workers. The exact quote, from ABC News, is, "I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. ... I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them."

Its almost needless to say, but I'll say it anyway: Giuliani is full of crap. Salon did some research and concluded that Giuliani spent much more time watching and traveling to Yankees games than he did at ground zero.
Giuliani spent about 58 hours at Yankees games or flying to them in the 40 days between Sept. 25 and Nov. 4, roughly twice as long as he spent at ground zero in the 90 days between Sept. 17 and Dec. 16.

Theres more, of course. Check out the article if you have a moment.


I had an interesting give and take with famous Washington Post columnist and ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon today during one of his semi-weekly chats on I don't often write in questions when I read chats, but I did this time. Mr. Wilbon's response to the following question caused me to write.

San Jose: More on the various scandals. It's worth pointing out that many of these guys who are (allegedly) disgracing the sports we love have been also-rans in the battle for championships. Vick? Zero. Bonds? Zero. Tank Johnson? Zero. Pacman Jones? Zero. And of course Zidane cost his team a championship when he lost it on the field in Berlin.

If the point is to field a competitive team and win a title, acting like a responsible adult does seem to really help. (Except of course the Italian national team...)

Michael Wilbon: I SOOOOOOO agree with you. Rarely if ever do fools help you win championships. This is one of my favorite themes in sports.

This, in my opinion, is patently wrong. Sports is about who is the best on the field, not about who is and isn't a fool. There will always be exceptions to statements like that, but because there are so many sports and so many championships (and so many fools) the point could be argued infinitely.

In any case, I decided to write to Mr. Wilbon and contest the point. My email and his response follow:

Philadelphia: Fools help win championships all the time. There are numerous examples from all team sports. Rodman in basketball, Sheffield and Schilling in baseball. You can go far back too, with Namath and McEnroe, who are not considered "fools" now, but were at the time.

Your comment about fools not winning championships ignores the central theme in team sports that so many fans (and sportswriters) love to forget, and that is that teams win championships, individual players do not.

An perfect example of this is Alex Rodriguez, who despite being inarguably the best hitter in baseball over the past four years has failed to win a championship. Writers and fans are so fond of painting this as some sort of personal failing, when in fact it clearly isn't.

Michael Wilbon: You're definition of "fool" and mine are different. Schilling and Sheffield may say crazy things you don't like in interviews but they're not fools in or around the field of play. There's NOTHING in evidence that can support your statement. They play hard all the time. Both could wind up in the Hall of Fame. Now, if you're simply a conservative personality who wants everybody to be crew cut, that's your agenda, but it doesn't mean anybody who doesn't fit your views is a fool. McEnroe had an out-of-control temper, but was brilliant as a player. A-Rod is a fool? Your agenda scares me.

A couple things about this. First, its likely I didn't word my email very well. But, in my defense, I had little time to write in as the chat was ending and I wanted Mr. Wilbon to read my comment.

That out of the way, I submitted a reply but by that time the chat was just about over and Mr. Wilbon did not answer me. So, I emailed my response to him. The email I sent to him follows:

Hello Mr. Wilbon,

I am the person who emailed you regarding your comment on "fools winning championships" which you posted and responded to in your on-line chat on Monday, August 20th. I realize that space considerations do not permit an on-going discussion within the chat format, so I thought I would email you. I understand you are a busy man, and as such I do not expect an answer, though one would be quite welcome.

In your response to my statement, you said our definitions of fool may be different, and I have no problem believing that that is true. However, your characterization of my statement about A-Rod was incorrect. I never said A-Rod was a fool, and a re-reading of my statement will show that to be true.

Simply, I cited him because he isn’t a fool, and is frequently mis-characterized as a loser in the media despite his prodigious talents. I have no agenda here besides pointing out that ascribing certain character traits to winners of championships in sports is always a foolhardy exercise. Fools of any definition win championships, and alternately, the good guys sometimes don't.

As for bringing up Sheffield and Schilling, yes, again, our definitions of fools may be different. However, I brought up Sheffield because he has admitted to making errors on the field during a game in order to get traded. Schilling, regardless of your political view, is constantly putting his foot in his mouth (and now may be sued by Barry Bonds for libel) and this is certainly detrimental to his team.

Further, the fact that someone is in the Hall of Fame hardly invalidates them as a fool. Racists and wife-beaters help make up the population of the baseball Hall of Fame, and though their behavior may have been acceptable at the time, we can look back now with clarity and see how wrong they were.

I appreciate you taking the time to chat, and I further appreciate you responding to my question/statement. Keep up the good work.

If Mr. Wilbon sees fit to respond I will post his response here.


If you just look at the match up, His Craziness, Julian Tavarez versus someone with a pulse, you'd expect to lose. When that person with a pulse is Joe Saunders of the below 4.00 ERA, the chances of winning drop even more. And if you told me the Red Sox offense would take the first seven innings off, I'd say, yeah, a win probably isn't in the cards tonight.

Still, the Sox hung in there and, like just about every game they've lost this season, had the winning runs on base at some point in the later innings. But, like just about every game they've lost this season, they failed to get the runs home.

While the Sox were gently cat-napping, the Yankees won again. With the panic meter is starting to heat up in Boston I thought that it might be time to take a moment, step away from the cliff, and look at the following reassuring hard core stats:




See? Isn't everything better now?

And in the interest of making every Red Sox fan feel better, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays send you themselves! Yay!

AL East: The Evil Empire is 4.0 games back.

Today (Monday): The Sox are in beautiful Tampa (where the skys are made of canvas) for three games against everyone's favorite opponent (except the Rays) the Rays! Tampa gets to face Wakefield, Lester, and Matsuzaka. The Sox gets to face Kazmir, Andy Sonnanstine, and Edwin Jackson. Get It On time starts tonight at 7:10pm. GRRR!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


"OK, Weaver... listen carefully. You can hold on to your red snapper, or.... you can go for whats in the box that Hiroson is bringing down the isle right now! Whats it gonna be?"

After a disheartening loss last night, the Sox came out and promptly fell behind 4-0. All looked bleak in Red Sox nation, but then came the fifth inning.

In the fifth inning, Eric Hinske had an infield single, Coco doubled to the bullpen wall and Alex Cora was hit by the pitch to load the bases. Lugo then hit a two run single. Youkilis singled to re-load the bases for Big Papi.

Ka-BLAM! (Sound effects! Yummy!) Papi crushed one deep into the right field stands for a grand slam.

In the words of the great Remy, the first four innings belonged to the Angels, the last five to the Red Sox. This really was a tale of two games. Check out the line scores. In the first four innings the Angels scored 5 runs on 7 hits while giving up 0 runs and only two hits. In the next five innings the Red Sox scored 10 runs on 11 hits while giving up 0 runs on 2 hits.

Schilling got the win, though he didn’t pitch particularly well.

AL East: The Yankees won keeping their deficit at 5.0 games.

Today (Sunday): The Sox wrap up their four gamer with the Angels. His Craziness, Julian Tavarez gets a spot start for the Sox. He’ll be opposed by Joe Saunders at 2:05pm.

Friday, August 17, 2007


What in the hell is wrong with Eric Gagne?

Down 4-1 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Red Sox made an amazing comeback scoring four runs to take a 5-4 lead. They entered the ninth up by one and Terry Francona brought out Eric Gagne to finish it up.

Gagne failed utterly and completely, giving up three runs on three non-cheap hits and a walk while striking out nobody in the ninth. I don’t know if Gagne is injured or if his confidence is just shaken (mine would be by now), but right now I don’t care. His performance is just plain unacceptable.
This loss sits squarely on his shoulders. Gagne single-handedly took a spirit lifting win and turned it into a horribly deflating loss. If the Sox had put Mike Timlin into all the games in which Gagne has pitched they’d be at least one if not two or three games farther ahead of the Yankees.

After Gagne’s horrific performance, things went from terrible to ... well, whats worse than terrible? With one down in the bottom of the inning and the Sox needing two to tie, Rodriguez got ahead of Youk, 1-2. He threw a pitch low and away which Youkilis fouled into the dirt, except the umpire ruled that Youkils hadn’t made contact and thus was out on a strike out. It was a terrible call which was not only clear on instant replay but abundantly clear in live action. Both Francona and Youkilis were tossed arguing the ridiculous call.

I’ve written more about this shitstorm of a game, but honestly I just don’t feel like editing it into a post
right now. I’ll write more tomorrow, but right now I’m just going to have a beer and try to think of something else. What a terrible, awful loss…


As first reported on NESN and later by the Globe, the Red Sox have placed Doug Mirabelli on the disabled list with a calf injury. The Red Sox have purchased the contract of AAA catcher Kevin Cash who is on his way to Boston.

Jason Varitek will catch Josh Beckett for tonight's game. Cash will likely catch Tim Wakefield's next start this Sunday, though it wouldn't surprise me if he gave Varitek a break on Saturday either.


I was going to post once on today’s double-header with Anaheim/Los Angeles/Southern California/California/The Entire West Region Angels but theres too much to talk about. A single post could be 2,000 words long, and who wants to read that much, other than maybe Aaron Gleeman? Assuming you aren't Mr. Gleeman, I’ll try to keep this somewhat short.

The Red Sox beat the Angels 8-4 in the first game of the double-header at Fenway Park today. Phenom Clay Buchholz held his own against a mediocre Angels offense, giving up all four runs the Angels scored on the day, though only three of them were earned (if you care about such things).

Buchholz had a small case of the First Game Yips, throwing his first six pitches for balls before finally throwing one over to Orlando Cabrera. He finished up with six innings pitched and struck out five while walking three.

In his final inning, the sixth, Buchholz gave up four hits, none of which were particularly strongly hit, but all made it through or just over the infielders. This accounted for only one more Angel run because Kevin Youkilis made a nice grab of a line drive and then doubled up a runner at first to end the inning. The Angels hit into three double plays on the day.

All in all, Buchholz pitched as well as we have a right to expect. He was clearly nervous, but he overcame that and did an excellent job. He struck out several Angels with a change up that fooled them so badly they swung what looked to be six inches over the top of the pitch.

As well as Buchholz did, the real win goes to the Red Sox offense, which pounded the crap out of Angel’s starter John Lackey. Lackey gave up six runs in the first inning and was fortunate to get out of the second without any damage after the Sox loaded the bases with one out.

The Red Sox would likely a have scored at least once in that inning except third base coach Demarlo Hale held David Ortiz up as he was rounding third on a J.D. Drew single. Very smart play by Hale. Up 6-1 at the time and with one out and Lackey struggling, the Sox didn’t need the run. As such there was absolutely no need to risk Ortiz’s health on a potentially close play at the plate.

The Angels took the lead 1-0 in the first inning after J.D. Drew made a hideous error in right field. Drew made up for it by tripling in the bottom of the inning and coming around to score on Mike Lowell’s single.

Angels starter John Lackey had a mini-hissy-fit of sorts, hitting Manny Ramirez with a pitch moments after Manny yelled something out at Lackey. Manny had just fouled a pitch off and yelled something without turning to face the pitcher. I have no idea what he said, but just as Manny did that Jerry Remy stated that Manny tended to do that sometimes and Lackey probably did not appreciate it, especially in light of how things were going for him that afternoon. Manny later got hit on the hand by another Angel pitcher later in the game.

Doug Mirabelli started in place of Jason Varitek, but left the game in the first inning with a strained right calf muscle. Dougie was going from second to home and pulled up lame after coming around third. Varitek took over for Dougie, but, needing two catchers, the Sox called up AAA catcher Kevin Cash from Ottawa where the Pawtucket AAA team is right now. Cash is on a plane to Boston as I write this and will likely be the back up catcher for game two tonight. There is no word from the team as to how severe Mirabelli’s injury is and how much time he is likely to miss.

AL East: The Yankees lost last night, so the Red Sox have increased their lead to 6.0 games.

Tonight (Friday): The Red Sox play game two tonight against Anaheim. Josh Beckett goes against Ervin Santana. Game time is 7:05pm. Buchholz is on his way back to AAA, and the Globe is reporting that, despite Mirabelli’s injury, Jacoby Ellsbury is in the starting line up.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Back in March I posted here at FPE on how I thought the 2007 MLB season would turn out. Feel free to click on the link and read the whole post, but heres the meat of what I predicted last March (back when I was using pictures):

AL Playoffs
East: Boston
Central: Cleveland
West: Oakland
Wild Card: New York
Boston beats Oakland, 3-1
Cleveland beats New York, 3-2

Boston beats Cleveland, 4-2

NL Playoffs
East: Philadelphia
Central: Chicago Cubs
West: Arizona
Wild Card: San Diego

Arizona beats Chicago Cubs, 3-2
San Diego beats Philadelphia, 3-1

San Diego beats Arizona, 4-3

World Series
Boston beats San Diego, 4-3

Obviously, the playoffs haven't begun yet, but its now fairly easy to comment on the projections/guesses of who will make the playoffs and where. Here then is a rundown on how I'm doing with each projection so far.

AL Playoffs
East: Boston
Comment: After a searing start to the season, the Sox have come back to earth. But just because they aren't going to win 120 games this year doesn't mean this isn't a very good team. They still sport the best record in baseball and the largest lead in any division (+5). Looks like a good pick so far.

Central: Cleveland
Comment: Currently tied with Detroit and six games up on third place Minnesota., this looks like a good pick considering the future of the Tigers schedule

West: Oakland
Comment: This is my worst pick by far. Despite a good pitching staff, the A's offense has been awful. They are currently 11.5 games behind the Angels (and 8.5 behind the Mariners) in the AL West. Zero chance to win the division or make the playoffs.

Wild Card: New York
Comment: After being left for dead, the Yankees have stormed back into the playoff discussion. Those of us who appreciate statistical analysis had an idea that this was likely to happen based on the team's runs scored/runs allowed stats. In any case, the Yankees are tied with Seattle, a much less talented team, for the lead in the WC. The loser of the Indians/Tigers AL Central race will also be in the running for the WC, though both teams are a game behind the pace being set by Seattle and NY. Another good pick (what a genius I am!).

NL Playoffs
East: Philadelphia
Comment: OK, maybe I'm not such a genius. The Phils have been crushed by injuries recently, but have managed to hang in the NL East race. They sit 4.0 behind the first place Mets and 0.5 games behind second place Atlanta. Considering they have two teams to jump over, at this point you'd have to say this is an incorrect pick, but stranger things have happened. If they Phils can hang in until they get Utley back they have a shot.

Central: Chicago Cubs
Comment: 1.5 games behind first place Milwaukee, but considering how the Brewers pitching staff has cratered of late, this isn't a bad pick as the Cubs are probably the stronger team. In other news, Ryan Braun scares me.

West: Arizona
Comment: This is where I went deepest out on a limb, and so far I've been rewarded. Although the Dbacks aren't winning like I thought they would (with a bit more offense) they have been winning. In fact, they currently sport the best record in the NL and a 3.0 game lead over second place San Diego. Great pick, me!

Wild Card: San Diego
Comment: Hey, whadaya know? Another good pick! Really, no, just stop it! Seriously! However, before I pat myself on my back anymore, the Padres lead the WC race by only 0.5 games over Atlanta and 1.0 game over Philadelphia, so this is hardly locked up.

Tune in later when I tell you what a genius I am (unless all my teams fall out of the race, then you'll likely never hear another word about it).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I’ll bet on the Sox in that situation every time. Needing one run to tie it up, the Sox have Lugo, a fast runner, on second, with no outs and the top of the Red Sox order up to bat. And not the Lugo/Crisp top of the order either, but the top of the order that actually, you know, gets on base.

This is a perfect example of why I don't bet on sports. The Sox had four shots to bring in the tying run yesterday and failed each time. Pedroia, who gets on base about 40% of the time and almost never strikes out, struck out on an 88 mph fastball. One out. Kevin Youkilis, who had crushed the ball twice in previous at-bats and who also gets on base at a 40% clip, swung and missed for strike three. Two outs. David Ortiz, who despite some injuries and a downturn in power (the two are likely related) is getting on base better this season than ever before, worked a walk. He became the potential winning run for Boston.

Next up: Manny Ramirez. Two on, two down, team down by one. A future Hall of Famer at teh plate. But Ramirez fell behind in the count 0-2 and, after fouling a few off, struck out as well.

Game over. Sox lose, 6-5.


Its tough to lose a game that, on paper, the Red Sox should have won. But, as well all know (and as Kenny Mayne used to say back in the day before SportsCenter became a steaming mound of rat feces) games aren’t played on paper, they’re played inside television sets.

Ultimately, the Sox couldn’t quite overcome the 6-0 deficit that Matsuzaka and luck put them in.
There was more than a little bit of role reversal at play here. While probably the best pitcher in the majors over the past two months struggled with his command (Matsuzaka was behind almost every hitter) and with the vagueness of luck, Andy Sonnanstine, of the 9.00-ERA-and-zero-wins-since-May Sonnanstines, cut through the Sox lineup as if he were a seasoned veteran.

Even when Sonnanstine gave up a base runner, he did it at an optimum time. To wit: every base runner the Red Sox got against him came with two outs. That’s a tough time to start a rally, even though the Sox did it in the seventh.

Of the seven hits Matszaka gave up in the first three innings (when the Rays scored five of their six runs), only three of them were well hit. The first, which was a hard hit single by Iwamora, the last, which was a smack into the left field corner by Carlos Pena, and the double off the wall that scored two runs in the third.

The others were dinky dunk hits that just eluded fielders. That’s not to say the Rays didn’t earn them, just that Matsuzaka wasn’t pitching quite as badly as someone who looks at the box score might think.

AL East: The resurgent Yankees de-surged last night against the Orioles, losing 6-3 in 10 innings. The Orioles entered the ninth up 3-0, but their bullpen
(SURPRISE!!) couldn’t hold the lead. The Yankees tied it up on a three run homer by future ex-Yankee Shelly Duncan.

After the Yankees finished taking their curtain calls for not losing to a crappy team at home in regulation, we go on to the tenth. Here we find The Great Mariano Rivera, the veritable inventor of the Save** itself, allowing consecutive doubles before topping himself by giving up a two run homer to Aubrey Huff. The Great Rivera then doffed his ballcap and three white doves few out. The crowd gave him a curtain call.

The Red Sox lead stays at 5.0 games.

Today (Thursday): The Red Sox are off today, but don’t fret my friends, there will be a double helping of Sox tomorrow starting at 1:05pm EST (More afternoon baseball! Yay!). The Angels, who kicked our collective butts so thoroughly in Anaheim, come to Boston to have us return the favor. Hopefully the Red Sox remember to wear their spikes with the steal toes.

The first game will be required watching for all Sox fans as phenom Clay Buchholz takes the mound for his major league debut. He’ll be opposed by one of the best pitchers in baseball in John Lackey.

In the second game, Josh Beckett will pitch a perfect game without throwing a pitch. Beckett will simply slap each Angel hitter once across the face, where upon the umpire will cry "OUT!" and the hitter will simply turn and walk slowly and sadly back to the dugout. (His inconsequential opponent will be Ervin Santana.)

In other news…

According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox will have to do some roster shuffling to get Buchholz onto the 25 man roster. There has been much speculation that Wily Mo Pena will be designated for assignment (i.e. released). That would be a shame, and if it happens I’ll elaborate about it here later. If Wily Mo isn’t the one to go then Kyle Snyder might be.

The Globe further states that after Buchholz pitches, he’ll be sent back down and Jacoby Ellsbury will be called up. This likely means one of two things. Either the player to be DFA’d is a back up outfielder (lending credence to the Wily Mo Will Go theory), or an outfielder is about to go on the Disabled List (DL).

Coco Crisp has been having problems with his quads and the Globe has described his legs as “tired” recently. J.D. Drew is perpetually hurt, so he could be a candidate as well. Losing him for fifteen days wouldn’t hurt the team at the plate.

I’d rather have Coco or J.D. go on the DL for fifteen days with Ellsbury taking their place than lose Wily Mo forever. We’ll have to see what happens.

**Copyright 1998, Rivera Industries, LLC. All rights reserved.


Inspired by Chad Finn's post about Random Red Sox games he attended:

I believe the first time I saw the Red Sox play was on opening day, 1989 in the now razed Memorial Stadium in North Baltimore. Roger Clemens started for the Sox, and the legendary Dave Schmidt for the Orioles.

Mike Greenwell and Cal Ripken both homered, but the moment I remember most, besides watching Clemens long toss on the outfield grass before the game, is a catch by then Orioles rookie Steve Finley.

I don't recall who hit the ball or the exact situation, though I'm just about positive that there were runners on and two down. What I do remember is that the ball was crushed to right center. I was seated in the outfield bleacher seats, which in Memorial Stadium were separated from the outfield wall by a ten foot wide walkway that I guess players and grounds crew used. The result was that the outfield wall blocked your view of the field from just before the warning track to the base of the wall.

Anyway, the ball was hit and Finley went tearing after it. I saw the ball and Finley converging and then disappear from view. Then I heard a smack and saw the wall itself bend towards me. The crowd roared. Somehow Finley had caught it.

Boston ultimately lost to Baltimore in 11 innings, 5-4. Finley's catch saved the game for Baltimore, who went on to finish second, two games behind a powerful Toronto team.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


It must have been one of those moments as a broadcaster where you just wish you'd kept your mouth shut. Seconds after Don Orsillo said, "The Red Sox are 1-41 when trailing after eight innings", Mike Lowell hit a high fastball over the Monster seats. The homer tied the game at 1-1 and turned what looked like a loss into, well, not a loss.

It got better from there as the Sox rode the momentum of that homer to a 2-1 win over Tampa, increasing their lead to 5.0 games over the Yankees, who got pummeled by Baltimore.

After Lowell's homer, Youkilis was called out on a questionable third strike by the home plate umpire (it looked like a strike, but Youk fiercely disagreed). Despite that, there was a feeling, even in my living room, that the Sox weren't done. They weren't. Jason Varitek doubled into the right field corner and scored on a two-out line drive single to right by Coco Crisp, who was mobbed by his teammates coming around first.

It was the kind of win that the Red Sox have enjoyed precious few of this year, which is probably why Orsillo bothered to mention the 1-41 (now 2-42) stat. It was the kind of win that could galvanize a team, helping push them forward and into the post season. But that all remains to be seen.

What we know now is the Sox got it done when it counted, something they have been lousy at this season. The key to the game, though it didn't look it at the time, was the Sox pitching.

Jon Lester was terrific, throwing seven innings of two hit, one run ball. He was followed by Delcarmen, Timlin (who cleaned up Delcarmen's mess), and Gagne.

Lester can be a very effective pitcher if he throws strikes and avoids walks. When he does the opposite he can be lethal to himself. Tonight he struck out four and most importantly only walked one.

Lester was helped out a bit (though not abnormally so) by some great defense, especially in the fifth inning. The best play was a Jonny Gomes fly ball that Coco Crisp tracked down at full sprint by the corner of the visitor's bullpen.

Some Game Notes...

*Through four innings the Red Sox had three hits and three walks and had essentially stranded all of them. I say "essentially" because Manny got himself thrown out at second base after singling David Ortiz to third for the final out of the third inning.

*With the bases loaded and two outs courtesy of My Man Manny Delcarmen, Terry Francona brought in Mike Timlin to face B.J. Upton. Upton has been terrific this year, hitting .323 with 16 homers so far. Timlin struck him out on four pitches to preserve a 1-0 deficit.

*Lester got a well deserved standing ovation on his way in from the bullpen and then again when he took the mound. Despite what the national media may be peddling, Sox fans are classy.

*Heres a perfect example of how J.D. Drew is killing the Red Sox. After six innings of Scott Kazmir the Red Sox finally got into the Tampa bullpen. They drew someone with a 5.38 ERA, more hits than innings pitched, and almost as many walks as strikeouts. In other words, they drew an excellent opportunity.

With time running short in the game (eight outs left) the Sox got Jason Varitek on with one out. J.D. Drew came into the game to pinch hit for Wily Mo Pena. Drew swung at the first pitch fouling it back. I hate when pinch hitters swing at the first pitch. Take a pitch and get acclimated. Anyway, it didn't matter. Drew grounded into a double play on the next pitch. Rally and inning over. BOOOO!!

*If Julio Lugo has to play (and I suppose he does) then can't we bat him some place other than first in the lineup? For Christ's sake the guy has a sub-.300 on-base percentage!

*Through eight innings the Red Sox had four hits, two of which came off the bat of Dustin Pedroia.

*Eric Gagne came in to pitch the ninth. He struck out the first two before giving up a line shot of a double to right field. Unlike previous outings, Gagne came back and struck out Gomes for the third out
, giving the offense the chance they'd need to come back.

In other news...

*First Barry's 756th homer. Then A-Rod's 500th homer. Then Tom Glavine won his 300th game. Tonight Bobby Cox got his own piece of history, as he picked up his 132nd ejection. Thats the most times anyone has been thrown out of a big league ball game. Just think, Cox has now been thrown out of 82% of a base ball season in his career.

*R.I.P. Phil Rizzuto.

AL East: The Yankees lost 12-0 to Baltimore, falling 5.0 games behind Boston. The real culprit may have been A-Rod. Heres how he may have cost his team a game in the standings.

Flash back to May 30th in Toronto. Rounding third during an infield pop up with two outs, Rodriguez yelled "Got it!" loudly. This was an attempt to fool the Toronto fielder into thinking another Toronto fielder was going to catch the ball. A-Rod's little ploy worked, and an easily caught ball fell to the ground. Whether you think this is another cowardly act by an unsportsmanlike player, or has been way blow out of proportion, doesn't matter. The Blue Jays were pissed.

The next time the teams faced each other was roughly a week ago (pardon my not looking up the exact date). The Blue Jays took this as an opportunity to let A-Rod know exactly what they thought about it. They threw at him multiple times, ultimately hitting him in the leg. Roger Clemens was the Yankees starter that game, and, as you might guess, he retaliated. As stipulated by MLB rules, a pitcher who retaliates gets an automatic suspension (and so does the manager of said pitcher).

Clemens was suspended for five games, guaranteeing he misses a start. That start was tonight. Clemens' place in the rotation was taken by Jeff Karstens who allowed five runs in three innings including a grand slam to Aubrey Huff. Already down by five going into the fourth inning, Joe Torre elected to essentially give up. He did this by inserting his worst pitchers in order of suckitude. Jim Blowers and Ron Villone followed Karstens and collectively gave up seven runs in four innings. Game over. Thanks, A-Rod!

Tomorrow (Wednesday): The Sox go for the sweep against Tampa at 1:05pm EST. Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start for Boston. He'll be opposed by Andy Sonnanstine.


Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald is using the fabled "fuzzy math" to make conclusions about the Red Sox ability to score runs. Click here for the full-on frontal nudity of the whole article, but heres the meaty part:
Since baseball is a game of numbers, let’s look at it in these terms: Through 114 games this year, the Sox had 1,617 baserunners and 589 runs scored, meaning that 36.4 percent of all Sox baserunners had crossed home plate. That percentage was one of the lowest in the league. So while a team like the Los Angeles Angels actually had scored 15 fewer runs (574) than the Sox, the Angels also had done so despite having just 1,481 baserunners. In comparison to the Sox, the Angels had scored 38.8 percent of their baserunners, a figure that gets even more magnified when one considers that the Angels’ 80 home runs rank 13th in the AL in that category, ahead of only the Kansas City Royals.

Get the picture? The point is that when the Angels get a baserunner, he is more likely to score than any runner put on base by the Sox. So if and when those teams meet in the playoffs and match up two of the best bullpens in the AAL (sic), which club do you think will have the better chance of scoring?

Better chance of scoring... hmm... that is a tough one. If one simply looks at the number of runs generated by the teams' respective offenses that would seem to generate a quick and easy answer to your question, Mr. Massarotti, which is why this must involve fuzzy math. If this is really a published article about which team has score more runs, well... *gulp*

ooking at these numbers, which I easily pulled off in less time than it took Mr. Massarotti to think up his column idea (a period of time so small I believe it can only be measured in fartosecs), it would seem that the literal answer to Massarotti's query is not the Angels at all, like he seems to be postulating, but the Red Sox.

In 116 games the Angels have scored 594 runs or 5.121 runs a game. The Red Sox have played 118 games and have scored 606 runs or 5.136 runs a game. The Red Sox are on pace to score 832 runs this season, while the Angels are on pace for 829.6 runs this season.

Now lets back up a second and look at the following quote one more time:
...which club do you think will have the better chance of scoring?
Based on the above "numbers" and their assigned "values," I'm going to go with "Red Sox" on this one, "Tony." However, in other news which may yet help Mr. Massarotti prove his point, the Angels are 0.0036 more likely to bathe than the Red Sox, 0.000763 to hoc a loogie than the Red Sox, and most importantly, 76,983,038,224.47 more likely to Play The Game Right than the Red Sox.

Not content with asking inaccurate leading questions, Massarotti also posits this gem which I'm afraid I can't ignore:
The point is that when the Angels get a baserunner, he is more likely to score than any runner put on base by the Sox.
While that may be (again) literally true, it ignores a fact that Massarotti himself mentioned a paragraph earlier, namely that the Sox GET MORE BASERUNNERS! Aren't capital letters A GREAT THING? (Actually, I hate them, but how else do you raise your voice in a blog?)

The fact that the Red Sox put more runners on base may mean that each runner is worth less but, if you look at the number of runs scored you'd quickly see that the cumulative effect is almost exactly the same! If anything, a minuscule edge must go to the Red Sox for averaging 0.015 runs a game more than the Angels at the time the column was written.

What? You still don't understand? Well, lets look at it a different way. Say the Angels have a seven apples. The Red Sox don't have seven apples. Instead, they have fifteen apple halves. Tony Massarotti would then write a column for the Boston Herald entitled "Fatal Flaw: Sox Don't Have Enough Apples To Compete With Angels."

You know why? Apples are even harder to count than runs.

Also, it may be personal preference, but Massarotti's insistence on using the past tense to talk about a current team is really irritating.


Everyone knows about the amazing job the Red Sox pitching staff has done this season. By any number of measurements they are among the top rotations and bullpens in baseball. Pardon me not pulling out a bunch of stats to show this, but I think we can all agree on that point.

Its the team's hitting that has been the issue this season. As a team the Red Sox are fifth in the AL in batting average, second in OBP (to NYY) and third in SLG (behind DET and NYY). When looked at that way, one would think, "The offense doesn't look too bad to me. If you combine the team's pitching with just decent hitting you might have a pennant winner on your hands."

Thats not untrue, but to prove the point I'm trying to make, I should be more specific than just quoting just team stats. Of course David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez got off to slow starts power-wise, but pointing fingers at the team's best hitters (who are both having their requisite stellar seasons) is foolhardy.

No, I'm here to point fingers elsewhere. They say, when writing, don't tell, show. This means put the information out there and allow the reader to make judgments on their own. So, in that spirit, here are the Red Sox starting nine with their rankings in OPS within the
American League. A '1' means they are the best in the league while a '14' means they are last. Note: only ranks "outfielders" as opposed to "center fielders" or "left fielders" so when considering outfield rankings remember that there are not fourteen outfielders but 42 (and really more than that, but for simplicities sake stick with 42).

DH, David Ortiz: 1
C, Jason Varitek: 7
1B, Kevin Youkilis: 5
2B, Dustin Pedroia: 5
3B, Mike Lowell: 2
SS, Julio Lugo: 13
LF, Manny Ramirez: 7
CF, Coco Crisp: 37
RF, J.D. Drew: 32

You'll notice that positionally the Sox are above average at three positions (LF, 3B, and DH), about average at three positions (1B, 2B, and C) and decidedly below average at three positions (SS, CF, and RF). For a team with a payroll as high as Boston's, there is little excuse for fielding three below average hitters in your everyday lineup.

When doing this, I was not expecting Coco Crisp to show up so prominently on this list. While he has been playing amazing defense in center field, Coco has likely hurt the Sox with his lack of offensive productivity over the course of the season. Still, the reality of the situation is that the Red Sox can get away with stashing a lighter hitting player in center. That is less so with the other two positions listed below.

Aside from Coco, two players stand out on this list. With decent production at these spots over the course of the season, the Red Sox would be in no danger from the Yankees, despite New York's hot streak. The two players are linked together not just by their suckitude this season, but by the fact that, together, they signed for $106 Million for eight seasons worth of service this past off season. Yes, I'm talking about J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo. Drew and Lugo have double-handedly murdered the Red Sox offense this season.

Drew's anemic numbers (.262/.365/.391) are his worst since his first full season in the majors in 1999. Drew's average and on-base would be tolerable (if not up to standard) if he could hit the ball with some authority, but he has not. Instead, his power has completely disappeared this season and, when combined with his frequent muscle pulls and semi-frequent 'rests' he gets against left-handers (which seem designed to protect the team from him as much as anything else), it appears the Red Sox may have just wasted a massive amount of money and, more importantly, almost crippled their offense in the process.

Drew is a drag on the offense in and of himself. But it gets worse. Or better, depending on how you look at it. The Red Sox have two reserve outfielders who could play when Drew gets pulled from the lineup, Wily Mo Pena and Eric Hinske. Hinske has fourteen plate appearances versus left handers this season, so its not been him picking up the slack. Its been Wily Mo, who has an .828 OPS (143 OPS+) against lefties this season.

Of course, the Red Sox seem intent on trading Pena and bringing up Bobby Kielty in his place. That may or may not pay off, but given that A) the A's released Kielty, and B) the A's offense is horrid, one wonders how well Kielty will be able to improve on Pena's performance. But I digress...

Still, the fact that a $14 Million a year player not only has to be platooned, but has been decidedly out-hit by his platoon partner is a major problem.

One note of caution about throwing Drew out the window. In 2002 with St. Louis, Drew hit .252/.349/.429 for an OPS+ of 110, similar at least on the surface (no park factors, or league factors involved) to his .262/.365/.391 line with a 99 OPS+ this season. Over the next four seasons, Drew had OPS+ of 133, 158, 148, and 125. (A 100 OPS+ is average.)

To further examine this in the context of the AL East race, Yankees right fielder Bobby Abreu has been better than Drew this season (at least at the plate) by a fair margin, but still not overwhelmingly amazing. Abreu has posted a good but not great OPS+ of 114 so far.

The difference between Abreu and Drew has been large enough to matter, but not huge enough to be a sucking wound. The real sucking wound on the Red Sox offense has been the abysmal performance of Julio Lugo. Lugo has been a below average hitter his whole career, but he features some pop, some speed, and I suspect the Sox signed him in no small part because of his range defensively. However, while his defense has been good (annoying throwing errors aside), his offense has fallen off a cliff making playing let alone paying him a difficult decision to digest.

Lugo's OPS+ this season is 68. Thats sixty friggin eight! He is hitting for zero power (slugging less than Drew, as if that were even possible), and when combined with his hideous on-base 'skills' (getting on base less than 30% of the time) you get a rally killing land mine in the Sox lineup. The fact that Francona has hit him leadoff, where he has managed to reach base at a .291 clip (thats on-base, not batting average), for the vast majority of his plate appearances has not helped to minimize the damage either.

Comparing Lugo to his NYY counterpart, Derek Jeter, only serves to give me heartburn. If you care to look at the numbers yourself, you can check out Lugo's ineptitude here and Jeter's stats here. Suffice it to say, the Sox place third in this two man race by a fair margin.

The overall point here is that the team the Red Sox put on the field this season has been great despite, not because of, these two expensive off season acquisitions. The Red Sox would likely have been just as well off with David Murphy in right field and some replacement level shortstop batting ninth and then attempting to improve at the trade deadline.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. I must admit that I was excited by Drew's signing. I figured that the Sox could live with his various maladies if he put up something approximating his career batting line of .284/.390/.500. I was more skeptical of Lugo's signing but gave the benefit of the doubt to Theo and the Sox front office. Unfortunately, neither has done much to justify that benefit.

Aside from the problems this season, signing Lugo and Drew present very real problems for the future. I suspect that part of both of these signings was the idea that the organization did not have ready replacements available at either position (cough HANLEY RAMIREZ cough OPS+ 155 cough).

Fortunately or unfortunately depending, again, on how you view it, that thought process may no longer hold water. The Red Sox happen to have a center fielder in Jacoby Ellsbury and a shortstop in Jed Lowrie who both look to be ready for the majors, if not now then at least by next season. While Lowrie may be miscast as a shortstop and Ellsbury is better suited to center field than right, the reality of the situation is that with Lugo's and Drew's overbearing salaries, these two young players are likely blocked from contributing in the near future.

To me the key here is Drew. There is a track record of success to point to that suggests Drew may at some point pull himself from this malaise, but no such corresponding historical record exists for Lugo. The Lugo problem is not one that will be easily fixed, but that is a problem to be solved after the season. For now, barring Lowrie's call-up, the Sox will have to live with the fruits (or lack thereof) of their decision.

If Drew can reasonably approximate the player the Red Sox thought they were getting from now until the season ends whenever that may be, the Sox offense will improve radically. If not, there will continue to be two (or three if you count Crisp) almost automatic outs at the end of the Sox lineup, and that makes it very difficult to build and sustain big rallies.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Sometimes Tim Wakefield is infuriating. Sometimes he is just average. But sometimes, he's terrific. Last night was such a time as Wakefield's Red Sox shut out the Devil Rays 3-0 to maintain their slimming four game lead over the Yankees in the AL East.

The Sox offense put up eight hits and three walks but managed only single runs in the first, seventh, and eighth innings. Thanks to Wakefield and a dominant Papelbon in the ninth, that was more than enough.


In other news, the Sox may turn to Clay Buchholz for one of the games in this Friday's (edit: I had previously and incorrectly written Saturday) double header with the Anaheim/California/New Mexico/Mexico/Anaheim/Cabo San Lucas Angels. Exciting, no? Buchholz, who's name I'm just learning to spell, has been effective though just short of dominant in AAA. He was utterly dominant in AA ball and, he does strike people out at a ridiculous pace. It will be interesting to see what the Sox do should Buchholz throw this Saturday and pitch a good game.

In still other news, St. John is a beautiful island. Lots of fun in the sun for me and the missus. A great place to be when your team is in the process of blowing two of three to a sorry outfit like Baltimore in the midst of a pennant race.

So, in case you didn't guess, I'm back from vacation and eager to get back into the heat of the AL East race. It looks like the Red Sox intend to make this an interesting summer, possibly more so than we fans would like it to be. Well, so be it. All the more crushing for the Yankees after we beat them, right? Right? .... Hello?

Stay tuned for more here at PFE in the near future. Just as soon as I clean up all this cat urine.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I will be on vacation with my wife from Thursday through Tuesday. I don't think I'll be able to post where I'm going, but I'll be sure to post as soon as I get back.

Much more Red Sox and baseball content to come. Thanks to everyone who's stopped by.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


The Angels won this series, and they may sweep the Red Sox, but there is no way in hell they'll get all the breaks that they got in this series ever again this season. I won't happen. The Red Sox screwed themselves out of runs right and left, literally kicked balls that would have got them out of innings and threw meatball pitches at just the wrong time. In short, they played as badly as they could.

I could go through the litany of awfulness, but whats the point? Theres another game tomorrow, so I'll just touch on a few horrid parts and try to keep my blood pressure down a bit.

Just a miserable fifth inning by the Red Sox defensively. Three mistakes lead to five Angels runs in the inning. First was Julio Lugo, who's only reason to play is his good defense. With runners on first and second there was a hard hit ball perfect for a double play just to Lugo's left, but he kicked it. Instead of a runner on third with two outs, it was bases loaded with no outs.

Things went downhill from there. Youkilis dropped a potential double play grounder, though he got one out at first. Then the Angels tried the squeeze play. Mirabelli couldn't field it and the only play was at first, but Delcarmen couldn't field it and everyone was safe.

Then, with the Sox down by three, a manageable amount, and a fully rested bullpen, Francona inexplicably sent out Julian Tavarez for the second day in a row. The results were predictable, which is which is why this decision was so bad. Tavarez gave up two runs to bring the lead to five runs, and pretty much put the game out of reach.

And the Angels announcers... oh, who the fuck cares. What a bunch of assholes.

AL East: Yankees won again. Lead down to 5 games.

Tomorrow (Wednesday): The Red Sox try not to spill food down their shirts while eating breakfast. Hopefully Julian Tavarez isn't the one pouring the orange juice.

Monday, August 06, 2007


A disappointing and frustrating loss for the Red Sox. Manny Ramirez was thrown out and replaced with rookie Brandon Moss, who struck out to end the game with the tying run on first base.

He was only following a trend though. The Red Sox left men on base and in scoring position all night, like it was the cool thing to do. In case there be any confusion, its not. Unfortunately though, its completely par for the course. If this team could hit with any type of consistent power, they'd be unstoppable. Also, as my friend Bill is fond of saying, if my aunt had wheels she'd be a tricycle.

Think about that one for a minute.

Schilling pitched well through six, though didn't seem to have much speed on his fastball. Still, he struck out five in six plus innings of work. It was the seventh inning that was his undoing. First, he gave up a cheapy solo homer
on a line drive over the short wall in the shortest part of the park. The hitter, Maicer Izturis, had two homers on the year previous to this game. Either it was incredibly lucky, or it was a really bad pitch. Stay tuned to to find out.

Immediately following that, Orlando Cabrera doubled down the left field line. Except he didn't. This was only one in a series of lousy calls tonight, all of which went, rightly or wrongly, against the Red Sox. Some nights the umps don't have it and sometimes when they don't the calls all seem to go against one team. Tonight the forces of the universe aligned and smited the Red Sox. To wit:

The double that knocked Schilling out of the game looked to be foul on replay, despite the protestations of the Angel announcers. It bounced just a quarter inch to the left of the left field foul line and you could see brown dirt between the ball and the chalk when it hit the ground. Foul. Of course the third base umpire called it fair. That didn't stop the Angel announcers from blabbing that it was "definitely fair" over visual evidence to the contrary. I was surprised that Terry Francona didn't argue the call. The runner eventually came around to score, making it 4-2.

The biggest umpire assist to the Angels tonight came on a questionable check swing with two strikes by Manny Ramirez in the fourth inning. The official in question ruled Manny had swung and thus had struck out. Manny disagreed, visibly saying, "No!" and then walking away from the plate. While walking away he turned back and said something to the umpire who then followed Manny for a few steps and then threw him out of the game. I don't know what Manny said, but might it have been possible to avoid throwing the player out of the game? I think probably so.

Francona replaced Ramirez with rookie Brandon Moss who was just called up from AAA Pawtucket. Moss made two mistakes in the outfield, one costing the Red Sox a good chance to throw out a runner at the plate, and went 0-2 with a walk.

The same home plate umpire later called Mike Lowell out on a fouled ball in the dirt that the catcher did not catch. Lowell foul tipped a pitch into the dirt, thus it was a foul ball, but the umpire claimed the catcher caught it (thus strike three) and after a discussion the third base umpire confirmed the inaccuracy. Awful call. Especially since it came with two runners on base and no outs at the time.

The call was so bad that even the Angel's lead announcer admitted the ball hit the dirt. He said this over the blatantly false claims of the stupid color commentator. Of course seconds later the lead announcer then identified Coco Crisp as "Coco Crisp" and "Lugo" in the course of one sentence.

The combination of the umpires making bad calls and the Angels announcers verbally contorting every which way to confirm what were clearly bad calls was barely listenable. I don't hate the Angels, but wow, do their announcer suck. Other than the White Sox these have to be the worst announcers I've heard all season long. The Angels are a good team, but after listening to these guys you'd think this was the greatest team in the history of the world.

At the beginning of the game the color guy was comparing the two teams and said that the Red Sox had about 30 more homers than the Angels and about 150 more walks (he gave the actual numbers) but, and here comes the big comparison that makes the two teams equal, the Angels have about 30 more steals. Fair point, Mr. announcer man, being that 150 walks and 30 homers are roughly equivalent to 30 steals. Globally speaking...

Angels announcer with runner on first base: "The Red Sox are 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position tonight. And [Francisco Rodriguez] is trying to make it 1 for 11." Also, It took the asshole color guy 9 innings to compare Pedroia to David Eckstein.

In summary, it was an unlucky, frustrating, badly umpired, and badly called game. Good riddance. Hopefully the Red Sox can make up for it tomorrow.

AL East: The Yankees won to drop their deficit to six games. They beat Toronto, who in typical fashion, laid down like dogs.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): The Red Sox play the Angels in game two of three at 10:05pm EST. Tim Wakefield goes for Boston. Joe Saunders throws for Anaheim, or for California, or maybe for Los Angeles.


We're not there yet, but if the Red Sox are going to get starting pitching like they have the last two days, and get Curt Schilling back, they will be a formidable force in the post season.

Beckett struck out nine in 6.1 innings of work and allowed only one run, allowing the Red Sox offense some time to get into gear. They eventually did, scoring nine runs off the Mariners, winning the game, 9-2, and the series 2-1.

It took a few innings, and about seven thousand men left on base, but Manny homered, Papi doubled, and Crisp got run over by a moose on an ATV. He also doubled twice.

More later...

AL East: Everyone won except Tampa, so the Sox lead over New York remains at 7.0 games.

Today (Monday): The Red Sox begin a three game series in Anaheim with the Angels. Curt Schilling returns from the DL to the rotation. He'll be opposed by Jered "Are you ready" Weaver. Game time 10:05pm EST.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


This ending was drawn up by the front office. The Red Sox took a two run lead into the eighth inning. First, Eric Gagne, then Jon Papelbon. Then game over, right? Well, not quite.

Gagne came on in the eighth and did just as he did in Boston: get the first two guys out before allowing a series of hits and a run. Having not seen Gagne pitch much its hard to say what the issue is. He looks pretty dominating on the first two hitters, then someone (sorry, its too late to look all this crap up) hit a slow roller up the middle that just made it through for a base hit.

The next hitter (I think it was Kenji Jojima) crushed a single to left off the scoreboard to score the runner. It would have been a double but Manny made a great play off the wall and held Jojima to a single. It was fortunate that he did because the next hitter crushed Gagne's first pitch to left for a double. The M's had second and third but Gagne got out of it.

Then Papelbon. Like Gagne he looked dominant striking out the first two hitters he faced, including Ichiro, who is notoriously difficult to strike out. Then, as if struck with Matsuzaka disease, Paps walked the next two guys putting the tying and winning runners on base before getting Adrian Beltre to pop out to Jason Varitek.

FINALLY! A win in Seattle. Its only been a year. The Sox had lost nine straight and as the Yankees won (again) would have seen their lead drop to six games.

Matsuzaka started and as seems to be the case, was in a constant state of trouble. But when the game ends and you look at his stats, you see how dominant he was. Over seven innings, Matsusaka allowed two runs, both on solo homers, struck out ten(!), and walked only two. He left the game leading 4-2.

Offensively, Jason Varitek scored Ortiz and Manny with his two out double in the fourth giving the Sox the lead. Papi had a single in the sixth that allowed Youkilis to score, though Youk would have stopped at third if Jose Guillen hadn't thrown the ball over Beltre's head. Turns out Youk would have scored anyway, as Manny followed by doubling home Ortiz to make it 4-1.

AL East: The Yankees won, Tampa beat Baltimore, and Toronto won. The Red Sox remain 7.0 games ahead of New York. They lead Toronto by 11.5, Baltimore by 15.5, and Tampa by 24.5 games.

Today (Sunday): The Red Sox finish up the three game series with the Mariners. The rubber match features Josh Beckett and Miguel Batista. Game time is 4:05pm EST.


Remember a few years ago when the Red Sox just couldn't be the Orioles? It wasn't that the Orioles were any good. They weren't. It wasn't that the Red Sox were lousy either, because they weren't. It was just one of those things that happen in baseball sometimes. Over the course of a random number of games, a lousy team consistently beats a good team.

That seems to be the case here, as the Red Sox bumbled their way to another loss in Seattle last night, 7-4. The chief culprits were Manny Ramirez who squelched so many rallies last night that he must have been confusing them for those bugs that wake you up at night by falling from the ceiling and landing on your face, and Mike Timlin.

Timlin has been effective recently, but his lack of strikeouts has worried me, and last night it seemed it was time to pay the piper. The damage wouldn't have been so severe had Timlin simply thrown the ball to first base correctly on a number of occasions, such as 1) the sac bunt where he elected to try to cut down the lead runner and failed, and 2) where he tried to pick off a runner on first and hit the runner with the throw, giving him second base.

This was another Red Sox game where they had runners on base right and left and just never brought them in. I'm beginning to think that we have a theme here.

AL East: New York beat KC, Toronto beat Texas, and Baltimore beat Tampa. The Red Sox lead over New York is back down to 7.0 games.

Today (Saturday): The Red Sox play game two against Seattle at 10:05pm EST. Matsuzaka goes against Jarrod Washburn.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


With the bases were loaded and the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth, David Ortiz hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in right field. Tie game, right? Uh, no. Doug Mirabelli, reprising the roll of "the confused base-runner on third" that Jeff Suppan perfected so well in the '04 World Series, managed to get thrown out at home by a large margin.

How'd he do that, you ask? The short answer is by being stupid. The long answer is he thought he left the base too early, so after taking three steps toward home he turned around and went back to third. This is pretty dumb, but if you do leave too early then OK, just don't get thrown out at... Hey Doug! Come back Nooooooooooo!! Yes, after leaving too soon, Mirabelli decided that he could still score. Basically this amounted to a water buffalo attempting to out-race a cheetah. Mirabelli was out by five feet. It would have been more but I think Miguel Tejada wasn't prepared to throw the ball home and had to re-set himself when he saw Mirabelli's rumbling towards home.

Fortunately, Dougie made up for it the next inning, singling in the leading run as the Red Sox went on to win 7-4. Tim Wakefield got the win and Eric Gagne came on to pitch the ninth. Gagne was given a standing ovation and proceeded to strike out the first two guys on seven pitches. After that he got a pop up over by the bleachers down the left field line. It should have been caught, but Mike Lowell missed it and it bounced and went into the stands for a ground rule double. Corey Patterson then singled home a run making it 7-4, but Gagne got the next hitter to fly out to right field. Game over.

AL East: New York lost in a bizarre game wherein both teams scored eight runs in the second inning. Toronto and Tampa were off last night. The Red Sox restore their lead over New York to 8.0 games. They lead Toronto by 12.5, Baltimore by 15.5, and Tampa by 24.5.

Today (Friday): The Sox now leave for a long road trip. They open a three game series tonight in Seattle followed by a three gamer in Anaheim. Then they get a travel day and play three at Baltimore before returning home. Tonight, Jon Lester faces Horacio Ramirez at 10:05pm EST.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Eric Gagne was wearing a Red Sox uniform tonight, but didn't get into the game. Jonathan Papelbon did the job instead. It seemed the Red Sox were going to let an easy one slip away against the eminently hittable Steve Trachsel. Trachsel walked five and gave up five hits while striking out only two in six innings. Still, somehow, the Red Sox only scored one run. Here a rundown of Trachsel's six innings of work:

Inning: 1
Situation: Runners on 1st and 3rd with one out
Result: No runs

Inning: 2
Situation: 1-2-3 inning
Result: No runs

Inning: 3
Situation: Runners on 1st and 3rd with one out, and 1st and 2nd with two outs
Result: One run (Pedroia sac fly)

Inning: 4
Situation: 1st and 2nd with two outs
Result: No runs

Inning: 5
Situation: Runner on first with one out and Papi and Manny coming to bat
Result: No runs

Inning: 6
Situation: 1st and 2nd with two outs
Result: No runs

Total: Six innings, ten runners (five in scoring position), one run.

You may have noticed that I stopped after the sixth inning. Thats because after that, Trachsel came out and the Red Sox suddenly remembered how to hit with runners on. They dropped a four spot on the O's bullpen thanks to clutch hits from Big Papi, Youk, and Cap'n Tek. Then with the bases loaded and one out, theeeeeeeey.... got nothing. The four was enough though.

Okajima gave up a solo homer to Miguel Tejada in the eighth, but that was the only hit he gave up. Papelbon didn't give up a hit in his ninth, striking out two of the three O's he faced.

His Craziness, Julian Tavarez, got the start for the Sox and went five innings allowing three runs. A serviceable start to be sure. Kyle Snyder (1.2) and Javier Lopez (0.1) combined for two innings of scoreless relief.

AL East: New York won to keep pace. Tampa beat Toronto. The Sox lead New York by 7.0 games, Toronto by 12.0 games, Dan Rodrick's Orioles by 14.5 games, and Tampa by an even 24.0 games.

Today (Thursday): The Red Sox close up their three game series with Baltimore at 1:05pm EST. Jeremy Guthrie, who tied the Red Sox into knots last time, faces Tim Wakefield.