Sunday, September 30, 2007


The Red Sox are in, baby! Now its time to get fired up and kick some Angel butts. But before we get all fired up and start indiscriminately butt kicking, we should take an analytical look at things. Which I'm going to do tomorrow. So look for that, eh?

Being that I live in Philadelphia and the Phillies just beat the Mets out for the NL East title, I might also go to the rally they are holding at City Hall tomorrow at noon. We'll see how many Eagles chants break out. If I go I'll take photos and post some pictures here for the three readers I have.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is this: MLB has officially decided when (but not exactly) the Red Sox games will be played. The schedule looks like this:

Gm 1: LAA @ BOS....Wed, Oct. 3
Gm 2: LAA @ BOS....Fri, Oct. 5
Gm 3: BOS @ LAA....Sun, Oct. 7
Gm 4: BOS @ LAA....Mon, Oct. 8 (If necessary)
Gm 5: LAA @ BOS....Wed, Oct. 10 (If necessary)

The Yankees and Indians play Thursday, Friday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday.

More tomorrow...

Saturday, September 29, 2007


Two days in a row!

As if winning the division wasn’t enough, the Boston Red Sox have something new to celebrate today. Their win over the Minnesota Twins combined with the Indians loss to Kansas City means that the Red Sox have clinched the best record in the American League (and by extension the best record in all of baseball). Even if the Sox lose tomorrow and the Indians win the Sox hold the tiebreaker with Cleveland.

Thanks to the AL’s win the All-Star game, the Red Sox will have homefield advantage as long as they are in the playoffs.

Speaking of the playoffs, the match ups are officially set now. The Red Sox will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim while the Indians will face the New York Yankees. The only thing remaining to be decided is whether the Red Sox will opt for the seven day division series schedule or the eight day. The Sox will have to make their choice soon (tonight according to the Boston Globe).

The Sox will being the playoffs in Boston on either Wednesday night, or Thursday night, depending on which they choose. [Update: the Sox have elected to take the eight day format and start the playoffs on Wednesday.]

The Sox have also announced that tomorrow’s scheduled starter, Curt Schilling, will not pitch. Instead, making likely his last start in a Red Sox uniform, His Craziness, Julian Tavarez will take Ol’ Schil’s place.

As the Globe speculates, this likely means that Schilling will take the second start after Josh Beckett against Anaheim.

The 2007 Boston Red Sox have achieved all their aspirations and hit all their targets. Its been an honor blogging about (most of) it. I’ll post a pre-ALDS write-up either tomorrow or Monday, but in the meantime I plan on basking in the glow of the Red Sox accomplishments

The Sox have had a phenomenally successful season, and its not over yet.




Tomorrow (Sunday): The Sox wrap up their regular season with Julian Tavarez on the mound. The'll be going for their 97th win. The Twins will throw Matt Garza. Game time 2:05pm.



So much to talk about, playoff rosters, getting ready for the Angels, but I'm very much under the weather now, so I'll have to just say "More tomorrow..."

Friday, September 28, 2007


Today the Red Sox announced that pitching phenom Clay Buchholz will not pitch anymore this season even though he is not injured. The decision was made in order to prevent injury. As disappointing as this is for me as a fan I'm sure it must be that much more so for the organization, which is why this is such an impressive decision to make.

While the Sox have Buchholz's interests at heart they must have their own in mind as well. But balancing the short term with the long term has always been difficult for people, and especially so for bottom line business like a baseball team.

Of course the Red Sox wanted their stud young pitcher to throw important innings in the playoffs, and I'm sure Buchholz himself wanted to do so as well. I bet many other organizations would have noted those two desires and elected to continue pitching Buchholz. But that wouldn't be a smart decision. In fact, it would be an abjectly dumb one.

Remember what happened to Jonathan Papelbon last September? He had a subluxation (I think thats what they called it) in his shoulder that forced him to be shut down, but that was after the damage was done. Paps was forced to embark on a rigorous shoulder strengthening regime which he still participates in.

You know why he still participates in it? Because the organization was either ignorant of the extent of the wear and tear on his shoulder, or because they were willfully ignorant of it, i.e. they knew about it and elected to allow him to keep pitching because they didn't have other palatable options at the major league level. This post isn't to attack the Red Sox organization for screwing up Paps. Clearly they haven't done that, but they did either knowingly or unknowingly (and probably the latter) place him in a dangerous situation at the end of last season.

The great part about this news is it shows that the Sox have learned from their mistake, or they have more perfect information now than they did then. In either case, this is a vast improvement. A young pitcher simply can't be expected to bow out of pitching in a pennant race or in the playoffs on his own. Its unrealistic to think that in an industry like baseball a pitcher like Buchholz or Paps would tell management that their shoulder felt weak.

Thus, it is incumbent on the Red Sox to ascertain for themselves when a player may be entering dangerous territory and then too act appropriately on that information. Everyone knows that the benefits of saving Buchholz till next season when he will be rested and in better shape to perform in the big leagues far out-weigh the potential gains in allowing him to pitch any more this season. But the fact that the organization made the right choice for itself as well as for Buchholz despite the pressures to win now, speaks well of it.

I loved watching Buchholz pitch, so, as much as I hate to hear that Buchholz won't be pitching anymore this season, I can now point to this decision as part of the reason that the Red Sox are one of the best if not the best organizations in baseball. The front office put themselves in position to get as much information as possible on this topic, and then synthesized all the information into an intelligent decision based not only on the needs of the present but on the future as well.

Decisions like this one make me proud to be a Red Sox fan.


Whatever 'it' is, Beckett didn't have it last night. Maybe he left 'it' in his glove compartment. Or maybe his dog ate 'it.' Maybe he used 'it' up his last start, he could be saving 'it', or maybe he just didn't feel like he needed to bring 'it' in the first place.

In any case, the Sox had ample opportunity to win the game and couldn't do it. They left the bases loaded twice that I saw (1st and 9th) and left two runners in scoring position on in the eighth. Mike Lowell twice grounded into rally-killing double plays. And despite all this, the Sox almost won, only losing 5-4.

Fortunately, it only matters if the Sox fail to win two of the next three, which they should be able to do. The Yankees won, so the lead is 2.0 games with three to go. The Sox magic number remains at 2. The Indians lost, so the Sox are still tied with them for the best record in the AL.

Today (Friday): The Sox play game two of four against Minnesota tonight. Daisuke Matsuzaka gets his final regular season start for Boston. He'll be opposed by Kevin Slowey at 7:05pm.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Despite Jon Lester's performance (more on that to come in a later post), the Red Sox offense simply laid the wood to the A's pitching staff today to the tune of 11 runs on 17 hits. Four Red Sox had three or more hits on the day, including Manny Ramirez who was removed from the game (in a planned move) after his third.

The win brought the Red Sox magic number to win the AL East down to two games.

AL East: The Yankees beat Tampa to remain 3.0 games out, but at this point it almost doesn't matter.

The real quest right now is for the best record in the AL. The Sox are behind the Indians by a half game, but the Indians are finishing up a double header in Seattle as I type. If they lose the second game (they won the first) they will be tied with Boston at 94-64. If they win, they'll have a one game lead with four to go.

While the Red Sox play their last four games at home versus Minnesota, the Indians play their last four games on the road. They have one more in Seattle and then three in Kansas City. Advantage: Boston!

Playoffs: Despite the intrigue over which team will win the title of best record in the AL, the match-ups for the first round of playoffs are effectively set as of today. The Yankees win eliminates Detroit and confirms NY as at least the Wild Card team. They'll have to make up three games in four days to catch the Red Sox which is very unlikely, so lets tempt fate and pencil in both the Red Sox and the Yankees as the AL East and Wild Card winners, respectively.

The Angels and Indians have already clinched their divisions so they are both in as well. The only question is the ordering of the teams which determines who plays whom. As of now, the rankings are as follows:

1. Boston..................94-64
2. Cleveland............94-64 (Cleveland lost their second game in 10 innings to Seattle)
3. LA of Anaheim...92-67
4. New York............WC

Anaheim is far enough behind that I'm going to assign them the #3 slot. That leaves the one and two slots to Boston and Cleveland. But, assuming that LA and New York don't do anything crazy, the Red Sox first post season opponent is set: LA of Anaheim.

The Sox can't play New York in the first round, so if the Sox end up with the best record they'll play the team that finishes third overall, which looks like it will be Anaheim. If Cleveland maintains the number one ranking, then the Sox would play Anaheim anyway.

Right now, the Red Sox are playing for home field advantage in the American League Championship Series. They already have homefield advantage in the first round as long as they remain in the top two, and they already have the homefield in the World Series as the AL team owns that right after winning the All-Star game.

Tomorrow (Thursday): The Red Sox start their last regular season series of the year. Its at home against Minnesota. Josh Beckett gets the call. He'll be facing Boof Bonser. Game time
7:05pm EST.


Ken Rosenthal of has posted his annual choices for baseball's post season awards and I have to say, its not crazy. He actually supports his points with factual evidence for the most part. Good job, Ken.

Of course the whole reason I'm posting anything about it isn't to give Rosenthal a well deserved pat on the back. Nope, I'm going to take issue with a few of his choices. Below, I'll post Rosenthal's choice along with my choice and explain why I'm right and he isn't (I bet you never guessed that I was right, huh? Well, its my blog and if no where else, I'm right here. Except when I'm not, which happens... anyway.) Also, I'm going to skip the NL because that’s how I roll.

Rosenthal: Alex Rodriguez
FPE: Alex Rodriguez
-Theres no real argument to be made for anyone else. A-Rod has simply crushed his competition, even Magglio Ordonez, who is having a career year can't hold a candle to A-Rod's season.

AL Rookie of the Year
Rosenthal: Dustin Pedroia
FPE: Pedroia
-We agree again, and again, it isn't that close. If Matsuzaka had continued his mid-season brilliance I think he would have been the better candidate, but since he's fallen off a cliff, Pedroia is the man.

AL Manager of the Year
Rosenthal: Mike Scioscia
FPE: Terry Francona
-Scioscia gets a lot of respect around the game because he plays 'smallball.' Personally, except in a few certain situations, I hate smallball. Scioscia probably has other characteristics that make him a great manager, but personally, I think Francona deserves the award this season. Simply put, the Red Sox have a better record than the Angels, they've scored more runs than the Angels, they've given up fewer runs than the Angels, and they've done it against better competition than the Angels. The Red Sox have had the best record in baseball all season long despite most people picking them to finish behind the Yankees. The fact that Rosenthal doesn't at least have Francona on his short list (behind Scioscia are Wedge and Torre) is a huge oversight. If you are going to give Torre credit for the Yankees turn around, don’t you also have to blame him for the fact that they needed to turn around in the first place?

AL Cy Young
Rosenthal: C.C. Sabathia
FPE: Beckett
- This race is between Sabathia and Beckett. Nobody else comes close. Beckett's season is in many ways comparable to Sabathia's. There are a few differences however. Rosenthal points out that Sabathia has pitched 40 more innings than Beckett, which is true. I'd say that Beckett has also started fewer games than Sabathia (29 to 33) and as such has pitched a comparable number of innings per start. Sabathia has a slight advantage (7.09 innings per start to Beckett's 6.71). The fact that Sabathia has started more games and has pitched more innings is certainly a point in his favor.

I would argue that the reason for that discrepancy can be traced to the manager of the respective clubs. Call this rationalizing if you want, but the Indians pen isn't nearly as good as Boston's, and so Eric Wedge hasn't been as eager as Francona has to take his best starter out of the game.

Further, part of the reason that Beckett hasn't started as many games is due to the quality of his team mates. The fall off after Beckett in the Red Sox rotation isn't as severe as is the falloff after Sabathia in the Indians rotation. Thus, Wedge and GM Mark Shapiro have made every effort to pitch Sabathia as much as possible, while the Red Sox have taken the opposite approach and attempted to conserve Beckett when ever possible. Of course, part of that discrepancy is also due to Beckett's blister problems in the middle of the season.

While Sabathia has an edge in starts and a slight edge in innings per start, Beckett holds the edge in ERA (3.14 to 3.19), ERA+ (145 to 138), and WHIP (1.125 to 1.137). These are all minor edges, just as Sabathia's innings edge is minor, except for ERA+ where a 7 point edge is relatively important.

Still, its a photo finish. I don't think you can really go wrong with either pitcher. Still, I'd pick Beckett for several reasons which I doubt Rosenthal has taken into account. First, Beckett has pitched in Fenway which has slightly favored hitters this year (park factor of 102) while Sabathia's Jacobs Field has favored pitchers (park factor of 97). Further, Beckett has pitched against better competition as the AL East is a stronger division than the Central. AL East lineups averaged 5.06 runs per game while AL Central teams averaged 4.72.

These two items mean that its been more difficult for Beckett overall to compose his masterful season than it has been for Sabathia. Keeping in mind that these pitchers are very close and what we're really doing is splitting hairs here, I would give the Cy Young to Beckett because he has pitched slightly better against better competition in a more difficult part to pitch in.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


It was an odd but productive day at Fenway Park for the Red Sox. They managed to beat Tampa 7-3 behind six excellent innings from Curt Schilling. Ol' Schil only gave up one run on the day while striking out six and walking none. He was lifted after 86 pitches, which was by design. My Man Manny Delcarmen, Eric Gagne (who continued to struggle giving up a walk and a double; more on him later), Paps (who cleaned up Gagne's mess), and Brian Corey (1 inning, 2 runs) finished up the game for Boston.

In the meantime, the Sox got a two run homer from Big Papi and three hits and an RBI walk from J.D. Drew. You know what Drew is hitting since Sept. 1? .323/.443/.565. Thats not going to be sustained, but at least it seems like Drew has found his stroke a bit. Drew will finish this season with numbers far below what the Sox were expecting of him and what he was being paid for, but if he has a hot post-season all is forgiven and forgotten. Sort of reverse A-Rod-ism: someone who has a terrible year but a great post-season. (Yes, I know, over the course of his career A-Rod isn't a bad post-season performer.)

Gagne is another problem all together. Francona keeps throwing him out there in close games (the score was 4-1 when he came in) and he keeps putting guys on base. With two outs and two runners on, Francona brought in Papelbon, who got the third out with one pitch. (Damn that Paps is good, huh?)

There are two ways to see this. The pesimistic view is that Gagne is still ineffective. Whatever he has to figure out probably isn't going to get fixed now and pitching him in a close game is simply asking for trouble. The optimist's view point is that at least Francona didn't sit around on his ass and let Gagne blow the game up (as he has in the past). Instead he went out and got his best guy, Paps, who got the last out and maintained the lead. I guess thats a start.

In other news...

The Sox also got more good news in the form of the return to the lineup of Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis. Manny started in left and, in a planned move, was pulled after he walked in his second at-bat. Youk came in to pinch hit for Eric Hinske with the bases loaded and popped out. He stayed in the game at first base.

With five games left in the season the Red Sox are beginning to get their starting lineup back intact. Its especially encouraging that Manny was able to play the outfield for a few innings without any setbacks. Hopefully Manny will get fully healthy very soon and return to his usual monster Yankee-killing self. The less I have to read "Hinkse" in the lineup, the better.

AL East: The Yankees jumped out to five run lead in Tampa on the strength of an A-Rod grand slam, but couldn't hold it. In fact, Tampa hit one of their own a few innings later to take a 6-5 lead. The Yankees tied the game up 6-6 and it went to extras. In the bottom of the 10th, Joe Torre brought in Jeff Karstens (of the 11.05 ERA Karstens). Karstens' second pitch was deposited over the right field wall by former Yankee prospect Dioner Navarro. Game over, Yankees lose, Yankees lose THAAAAAAAAAAA Yankees lose. (I hate John Sterling.)

The Red Sox lead increases to 3.0 games with just five to go. The Sox magic number stands at 3 with ten games to be played (five by NY, five by Boston). This effectively means the end of any hopes the Yankees have of winning the AL East title. They still need only one win or one Tiger loss to win the Wild Card.

In other Yankees news, Roger Clemens was yanked from his start today (Kei Igawa started in his place) due to tightness in his hamstring. Clemens won't pitch again in the regular season according to Its still to be decided whether or not he'll pitch in the post-season.

This isn't a huge loss for the Yankees, at least not in the divisional series. They may not have been starting Clemens anyway. I would think the Yankees would use Pettitte and Wang (in some order) for four out of the five games anyway.

The third game (which would be pitched by someone else) could be pitched by Phil Huges or Ian Kennedy, both of whom have been more effective than Clemens has. Or, if Torre is coming down with a case of veteran-itis, he could use Mike Mussina, who pitched effectively if not well in his last start.

In any case, as much as we may love to laugh at the tribulations of Fat Billy here in Red Sox Nation, its probably not anything that really matters that much. Although, that in and of itself, might be worth a chuckle.

The Indians are in Seattle (and winning 3-1 in the 7th), while the Angels lost to Texas. In the race for best record in the AL, the standings look like this:

Cleveland....93-63 [edited to reflect Cleveland's win last night]

Tomorrow (Wednesday): Jon Lester gets his last regular season start, and quite possibly his last start of the season against Joe Blanton. has the game listed at the strange start time of 5:00pm EST.

Monday, September 24, 2007


The Yankees blew a golden opportunity today and lost a half game in the standings to the Red Sox by losing in their final home game of the year to Toronto, 4-1. The Red Sox magic number is down to 5, meaning any total of Red Sox wins & Yankee losses adding up to five or more an dthe Red Sox are AL East champs. The Yankees will now go on the road for six games against the Schwenksville Iron Whores (Orioles) and the Jackson Pillpoppers (Rays).

In other news, the Tigers lost to Minnesota meaning that the only way the Tigers can get into the playoffs is if the Yankees lose every game left in the season while the Tigers win all of their remaining games. Anything short of perfection means that, minimally, the Yankees are going to win the Wild Card. In other words, its pretty much a done deal.

In still more other news, I missed the Red Sox loss in Tampa on Sunday so I could see my Redskins blow a 14 point lead and lose at home to the New York Giants in person. I took some pictures, but considering the result of the afternoon/evening, I'd rather just forget that the game ever happened.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Its amazing how quickly a win turns into a loss sometimes. Its even more amazing how the Red Sox turn a loss into a win. The fangraph for this has to be crazy. After blowing a 5-3 lead the Red Sox went into the top of the ninth inning down a run with three outs to go before a loss.

On the second pitch of the inning by Rays closer Al Reyes, Cap'n Tek homered. Tie game. Next batter, Hinske, doubles. After a pop up by Coco Crisp, Julio Lugo homered. 6-5 turns into 8-6.

Enter Paps fresh off his grand slam performance of two days ago. He takes care of business 1-2-3. Game over. Sox win.

AL East: Detroit lost to Kansas City 7-4. This means the Red Sox have qualified for the 2007 American League playoffs!!

In other less important news, the Yankees finally won in the tenth inning after a see-saw battle with Toronto. They remain 2.5 games back of Boston.

The Sox comeback win was great for many reasons, not the least of which was that it took advantage of a great opportunity tonight as both Anaheim and Cleveland lost. Boston picks up games on both teams and for now, regains the best record in the American League. The standings for such are as follows:

Boston.........92-63.. -

Tomorrow (Sunday): The Red Sox wrap up their season against the Rays. Tim Wakefield faces Edwin Jackson at 1:40pm EST.


In other, even less important news, I will be down in DC tomorrow for the Redskins/Giants game, so I won't be blogging tomorrow. Suffice it to say that I will make up for that this Monday and on through this coming week. Go Skins! Go Sox! That is all.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I'm not a big believer in wins for a pitcher as a stat indicative of much other than decent pitching and lots of run support, but that said, its still nice for Josh Beckett to win his twentieth tonight versus Tampa. As mediocre and inconsistent as Beckett was last season, he has been as good and consistently so this season.

Looking at Beckett's splits from 2006 and comparing them to this season's numbers, three numbers jump out at me. The first is walks. Last season in 204.2 innings, Beckett walked 74 guys. This season in 203.1 innings he has given up 39 walks. Thats a decrease of about half (47%).

Often when you see a decrease in walks like this you see a corresponding decrease in strikeout rate. But Beckett has bucked that trend, striking out 154 last season and 193 this one. (Note: These numbers do not include tonight's game, wherein Beckett walked 2 and K'd 8 in 6.0 innings.)

And yes, he has also given up fewer homers, 36 last year to 17 this year. Take all of these improvements, add the 20 win season (a requisite flashing red light for the BBWA) and you have the bonafides of a Cy Young Award winner. Hopefully thats not the only hardware that Beckett will collect this season.


Its great that the Red Sox finally won a game. Of course it was only Tampa, but at this point and the way things have been going, a win is all that matters. Still, the team played very well, homering three times (Tek in the eighth, and Papi & Lowell back to back in the ninth) and holding the Rays to a single run.

The Sox have eight games to go. If they win seven, they win the division. By virtue of their recent slide, the Red Sox have ceded the best record in the AL and thus home field advantage throughout the playoffs to the Cleveland Indians. The standings for best record look like this:

LAA.............91-62 (pending the result of tonight's game vs. Seattle)

So you can see its not dires straights yet. As for your favorite villans, the Yankees entered the bottom of the ninth trailing Roy Halladay and the Blue Jays 4-0, but scored four runs to tie up the game. As of this writing the teams are about to begin the 14th inning with the same 4-4 score. A win keeps NY at 1.5 games back, while a loss pushes them to 2.5. Guess which one I'm rooting for. And while I was typing this, Gregg Zaun homered to put the Jays up 5-4. The game is in New York, so the Yankees will get one more shot. The Jays are still batting in the 14th.

AL East: Covered above. Go Blue Jays! [Edit: The Yankees lost in 14 innings, 5-4. They trail Boston by 2.5 games. Ha ha ha!]

Tomorrow (Saturday): The Sox get another in a never ending series of cracks at your favorite forgotten franchise and mine, the Tampa Devil Rays. Daisuke Matsuzaka tries to remember how to pitch versus Andy Sonnanstine. Festivities get underway at 7:10pm EST.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


This isn't over. Not by a long shot.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Thats absolutely enough with Eric Gagne pitching in close games. No more, please! Its quite clear the guy is either injured/can't pitch in Boston/emotionally scared from eating bad blueberries/something else it doesn't matter.

At this point he's been given chance after chance after chance and it simply hasn't worked.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have the good Eric Gagne. Love it. Imagine if the Sox had Paps, Okajima and the Eric Gagne we traded for? Thats what we in the industry call "the good bullpen." But guess what? Without Gagne we still have Paps, Okajima, Timlin, and Delcarmen. Thats still pretty good.

To me, and this could be the beers talking, its clear that there is no more good Eric Gagne. Only Zool. And Zool is a pretty crappy relief pitcher. Since Gagne joined the Red Sox at the trade deadline he's pitched in fifteen games and has a WHIP over 2.00. Thats not a huge sample size, but its big enough. Its not like he hasn't been getting the call, or he has had a few atrocious outings. Nope. Its been consistent suckitude.

Take tonight for example. Gagne comes in with the Sox leading 2-1. He promptly gets Reed Johnson and Alex Rios out on seven pitches. Two down, nobody on. Then, as things often do with Gagne, everything went south. He walked Frank Thomas on five pitches. Then he gave up a single. Then he walked Matt Stairs to load the bases. What? You really like walks? Well, good news for you, because Eric Gagne loves walks too! To prove it, he then walked Greg Zaun to force in the tying run. Then double two more runs score blah blah blah...

The thing was, even though he got the first two guys out, his control was all over the place the whole inning. He clearly had no idea where the ball was going regardless of what pitch he was throwing. I know Francona is trying to protect him and show confidence in him, and I respect that very much. In fact, I think its one of the many reasons that Francona should be named Manager of the Year after the season ends. That said, its time to cut bait on this one, Mr. Francona (because I know you read this blog religiously).

I still think it was a good trade. Or at least on paper. But its time to face facts: it hasn't and isn't and won't work out like we'd hoped. Its time to pull the plug on this one. So when the score is 2-1, regardless of who is ahead and the game is getting on in innings, bring someone else in. Please.


On another depressing topic, the Orioles are laying down like dogs again. What a terrible and embarrassing franchise they have become. Every September, but sometimes as early as August, the Orioles go into their typical end-of-the-year tailspin where whomever they're playing gets automatic wins. Its really shameful.

Tonight, the Yankees were the lucky recipients of the Orioles largess to the tune of 12-0. Hey, at least they're trying right? Right?


I didn't see a pitch of tonight's game. I was watching my Washington Redskins beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Philly. And an exciting game it was too. Much more so than what appeared to be a stinkfest in Toronto. Apparently Frank Thomas hit three homers. Oops.

Every other potential playoff team in the AL won. The Yankees beat Baltimore (surprise surprise!), so the Red Sox lead is down to 3.5 games. The Indians won as well, and of this writing the Angels are about to beat Tampa [they did].


Sunday, September 16, 2007


Red Sox vs. Yankees. Bottom of the ninth. Bases loaded. Down by one run. Rivera versus Ortiz. Their best pitcher against our best hitter. Best versus best. A 2-2 count. It doesn't get much more tense than that in the regular season.

Unfortunately for us Sox fans, it didn't work out like we would've hoped. Ortiz swung but couldn't quite get it and popped out. Derek Jeter did his obnoxious little fist clenching thing that he does, and the Yankees won, 4-3.

Give Rivera credit, he threw a great pitch. Pretty much only his second great pitch of the nigh as he spent the majority of the inning throwing pretty badly. If Ortiz hadn't swung he'd likely have been called out on strikes. The best case scenario for Ortiz was to foul the pitch back, but he got a little too much of the ball.

I hate to lose this game, but the Sox made a valiant comeback after Jeter's gutshot three run homer off Schilling in the eighth. I hate to lose this game, but the truth is that the Sox are still 4.5 games up. We're going to win the division and we're going to the playoffs, obnoxious fist pump or not.

The Sox were only one hit away. They undeniably got to Chamberlain almost scoring in the seventh and then scoring in the eighth. They got to Rivera, and almost beat him. Schilling pitched magnificently through 7.2 innings. He was one pitch from keeping the Yankees to one run through eight. My Man Manny Delcarmen came in and pitched effectively shutting down New York and keeping the the deficit at three.

All in all, this wasn't a bad effort from the Boston Nine. I'm disappointed in the outcome, but optimistic that this season will still end on a high note. This type of comeback speaks highly of this team, even if they didn't end up coming all the way back.



This series was very close. On huge win sandwiched around two one run loses. The Sox were in position to take all three games but only came away with one. Oddly enough, they were able to beat up on Pettitte, Wang, Chamberlain, and Rivera in those three games, but couldn't score enough against the rest of the Yankees scrubs.

Also, they managed to outscore the Yankees in the series, for whatever thats worth (not much).



The Red Sox have twelve games left in the season. They play those games in fourteen days. They start with three in Toronto starting tomorrow. Then after an off day, they have three in Tampa Bay. After their last off day, they come back to Boston for two against Oakland, and then four against Minnesota finishes up the season.

The Yankees play three versus Baltimore, and four versus Toronto all in New York. Then they go on the road for six games. The first three are in Tampa and the final three are in Baltimore.

With competition like that, the Sox are going to have to keep winning to keep New York at bay. It should be an interesting two weeks.

AL East: NY is 4.5 back of Boston.

Tomorrow (Monday): Tim Wakefield goes against Dustin McGowan. Game time 7:07pm EST.


"We went through a big mess early in the season and we were able to brush it off. This is a special team. Hopefully, we can keep the magic going."
-Yankees OF Johnny Damon, after New York rallied from a five-run deficit to beat Boston, 8-7, on Friday night

"Oh, rat farts!"
-Yankees OF Johnny Damon, after New York got slaughtered by the Red Sox 10-1 on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Its so much easier to post after a win. I don't know how Pirates bloggers do it.

The Sox made this a very easy post today, crushing the Yankees 10-1. Beckett was dominating, giving up only three hits in seven innings of work. He walked two and struck out seven. Compare that to fellow Cy Young candidate Chien-Ming Wang's 5.2 innings of five run, three walk, three strike out ball. Advantage: Josh.

While this game ended as a laugher, it didn't begin that way. Jeter's homer in the first put the Yankees up 1-0. The Red Sox answered back in the bottom of the inning tying it at 1, but neither team scored again until the Sox put one on the board in the bottom of the fifth. Boston scored three more in the bottom of the sixth and then four more in the bottom of the seventh to put the game away.

The win guarantees that the Yankees will leave town at least 4.5 games behind Boston with 14 games to play (the Red Sox have 13 games left). A win by the Sox tomorrow all but wraps up the division crown as the lead will be 6.5 with just 12 to play.

The Sox didn't need
much help from their bullpen today. That could be huge tomorrow. While the Yankees went through six different pitchers, the Red Sox used only three. For Boston, Timlin won't likely be available tomorrow as he's thrown in two consecutive days, but other than that the Sox should have Papelbon, Gagne, and Okajima ready to go tomorrow. Conversely, the Yankees should have Chamberlain (although he was throwing in the bullpen for a while at the end of today's game) and Rivera ready should they be needed as well. If Clemens doesn't make it through seven the Yankees will have a tired bullpen to turn to for help.

Quick 'n Dirty Cy Young Comparison:

Wang: 18-7, 3.82 ERA, 186.1 innings pitched
Beckett: 19-6, 3.20 ERA, 188.2 innings pitched

The other guy in serious contention is C.C. Sabathia of Cleveland who is 17-7 with a 3.21 ERA in 227.0 innings pitched.

Also of note, there were some extracurricular activities in today's game. A few innings after throwing a pitch dangerously close to Coco Crisp, Wang hit Kevin Youkilis in the left wrist. Youk had to leave the game (x-rays were negative) and was clearly in some serious pain. An inning later, after retiring the first two hitters, Josh Beckett hit Jason Giambi on the arm with a fastball in the first pitch of the at-bat. The pitch was inside, but it wasn't egregiously so. While Wang's pitch that hit Youk was almost surely unintentional, Beckett's pitch that hit Giambi could have been thrown with malice. Whether it was or not, with Clemens and Schilling (but especially Clemens) on the mound tomorrow this will not likely be forgotten.

AL East: Sox lead NY by 5.5 games, 5 in the loss column. The Yankees lead over the Tigers for the Wild Card is 3.0 games as of this writing (but the Tigers are currently beating the punchless Twins 4-0 in the second inning - a win by Detroit makes that a 2.5 game lead).

Tomorrow: The Red Sox and Yankees wrap up their season series tomorrow night at the Fens. The Yankees lead the season series 9 games to 8, but the Red Sox have outscored New York 96-89. Curt Schilling goes against Roger "Its my last 'last time in Fenway' I swear!" Clemens. Game time 8:05pm EST.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Theres not much I feel like saying about a loss like this. Up 7-2 going into the eight inning with your two best relievers, maybe the best relieving duo in the game, available to get the last six outs, and they can't get one out without giving up the lead. A five run lead disappears in the blink of an eye and then to finish off the humiliation the Sox offense couldn't do anything after relinquishing the lead.

Still, we're 4.5 games up on those bastards, so
I'd rather be us than them.

Beckett vs. Wang tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


His shoulder aches and his knees hurt, but theres nothing wrong with David Ortiz's bat. Big Papi hit two homers, including a two run walk-off homer in the ninth off of Rays closer Al Reyes, to account for all five runs the Sox scored.

The Rays held the lead up until the last batter after scoring four runs in the first inning off of Sox starter Jon Lester. Lester settled down a bit after that, but didn't make it through the fourth. He gave up four runs on eight hits and walked four. He also had five strikeouts.

With Ortiz supplying the offense, the Sox pen got it done on the mound. His Craziness, Julian Tavarez took over for Lester with runners on first and third and got the last out to strand them. Tavarez went on to throw 3.0 innings of no-hit ball and left to a well deserved standing ovation from the Fenway crowd. Tavarez was followed by Delcarmen (1 inning, 1 hit), Okajima (K'd the only batter he faced), and Papelbon (1-2-3 top of the ninth).

While the only runs came on Papi homers, the Sox didn't lack for scoring opportunities. They left the bases loaded in the second, and left two runners on twice more, but failed to score each time.

AL East: The win not only keeps the Sox lead over NY (beat Toronto) at 5.0 games, but it keeps their lead for the best record in the AL over LA (beat Baltimore) at 2.0 games.

Tomorrow (Thursday): The Red Sox are off tomorrow. They begin a three game series with the Yankees in Boston on Friday. The match-ups for the Yankees series will be as follows:

Friday: Daisuke Matsuzaka v. Andy Pettitte
Saturday: Chien-Ming Wang v. Josh Beckett
Sunday: Roger Clemens v. Curt Schilling


Its been a while since I posted here, and for that I apologize. I have a myriad of reasons for it, but none of them are really worth retelling here. In any case, the Red Sox season has continued on since my last post (suprise! The season didn't stop after I stopped posting here) and the team has done pretty much the same as they had been doing. They are still five games up on the Yankees, though only four in the loss column, and this weekend's series at the Fens looms large on the horizon.

Until then, the Sox have to deal with Tampa once more tonight before taking Thursday off to recharge in preparation for the New York nine.

There will be more to say in a little while, but for now, thanks to El Guapo's Ghost for mentioning us here (again). If I ever take another week long unannounced sabbatical, swing on over to the Ghost to see what thought-provoking commentary he has up. I don't always agree, but its always a good read.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


The bullpen picked a good game to blow. Getting all of that out of their systems now before the playoffs is fine with me. The Sox held a 4-3 lead, but by the time My Man Manny Delcarmen and Hideki Okajima were done with it, it was a 6-4 deficit. Delcarmen gave up a game tying solo homer to Troy Glaus and Okajima gave up a two run shot to Vernon Wells in the ninth to lose it.

Schilling pitched a fine game, but the Sox offense never got going. A disappointing loss, but ultimately one that shouldn't matter much.

As I stated in the head line, the Sox are going to make the playoffs. With 22 games remaining for the Boston nine, they hold a 6.0 game lead over New York. However, should New York pass us through some miracle, the Sox would still make the Wild Card as they hold a 9.0 game lead over Seattle and theres no way they’ll blow a nine game lead with 22 to go. That’s not happening.

Happy Playoffs, everyone!!

That’s the good news. The bad news is that after tonight it'll take a minor miracle to keep the Yankees out of the playoffs. New York beat Seattle (again) to put themselves up 3.0 games on the fading Mariners. They are 3.5 games up on Detroit as well. New York has 22 games remaining. They aren't going to catch Boston, but they’ll have to have quite a collapse to miss the playoffs.

Come to think of it, this entirely clears up the American League playoff picture. New York will be the Wild Card entrant, while Boston, Cleveland, and Los Angeles will win their divisions. The only thing remaining is the final standings in order to rank the four teams above.

As it stands now, the Red Sox hold the best record in the league. They lead LA by 1.5 games, and Cleveland by 2.5. This means that the Red Sox would face New York in the first round of playoffs.

But, because the Wild Card team can't begin the playoffs by playing a team in their own division, the Red Sox would instead play Cleveland while the Yankees would play Los Angeles. Actually, even if the Angels pass Boston, the match up would remain the same (BOS/CLE and LA/NY) in the first round. The only difference would be home field advantage in the ALCS if both Boston and LA won their series.

Both series would be interesting, not the least bit because New York historically (as in the last five years) has trouble with LA, and the Red Sox are facing the team on the biggest roll right now. In their last ten games Cleveland is 9 and 1.

At this point, and given there is about 20 games to go so things can change, I'd rather face the Angels in the first round. I think the Yankees are more vulnerable in a longer series and I’d rather face them in the seven game ALCS.

AL East: ITS OURS, BABY!!! Sox up by 6 with 22 to play for.

Tomorrow (Thursday): The Sox start a four gamer in beautiful Charm City. Tim Wakefield goes for Boston, Garrett Olson (of the 7 run ERA Olsons) for the Orioles. Game time is the ever predictable 7:05pm EST


To my eye, Josh Beckett threw one really bad pitch last night and it cost him three runs. That really bad pitch came to Matt Stairs with two runners on, and Stairs hit it out of the park for a three run homer. That’s where the damage started but, to Beckett’s credit, that’s also where it ended. The Sox were able to score more than three runs off Jay’s ace Roy Halladay and win 5-3.

This is the difference between 2007 Josh Beckett and 2006 Josh Beckett. 2007JB gives up the homer but keeps it to that. 2006JB would’ve gotten angry and started throwing fastballs harder and harder. That might have worked on a few batters, but the ultimate result of abandoning your secondary pitches is that hitters know whats coming, and with few exceptions (Mariano Rivera being one) when a major league hitter knows whats coming it doesn’t work out well for the pitcher.

One of the more exciting developments in the game was the continued emergence of the team’s power. The Sox hit two homers last night, one by Jacoby Ellsbury and one by Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis, who doesn’t need to hit homers to be an effective player though it doesn’t hurt, hit a solo shot while Ellsbury who falls into the same category hit a two run homer.

Just about everything written about Ellsbury in the minors has said that his upside is Johnny Damon. Its kinda funny that Ellsbury actually looks like Damon, a little bit anyway. Taking Damon as a comp, that doesn’t leave Ellsbury with much upside to his power numbers. And indeed, Ellsbury hasn’t hit for much power in the minor leagues. He has hit doubles and triples and can leg out infield singles, all which improve his slugging percentage. However, when it comes to hitting the ball over the wall, Ellsbury hasn’t done it much. That’s OK. Ellsbury has enough other skills both offensively and defensively that if he simply improves those and never becomes a home run hitter he could still be an All-Star in the majors.

Still, adding power to his game, real over the wall power, would turn him from a good center fielder to a great one. Imagine the difference between Grady Sizemore and Dave Roberts. Both great fielders, both have on-base skills, and both can steal a base, but the reason that Sizemore is a star and Roberts has moved from team to team is the presence of power in the former’s bat and the lack of it in the latter’s.

I’m not trying to compare Ellsbury favorably to Grady Sizemore. That’s not fair to either player. Still, the comparison hopefully illustrates the difference in ceilings that a developing player with power can achieve over a developing one without power. The fact that Ellsbury has hit two homers in the last couple games should be encouraging, even if we know that its only two homers, small sample size, blah blah blah.

All I’m saying is hopefully he keeps it up, a little bit at least. If so, the Sox could have an even better player on their hands than we thought.

AL East: The Yankees beat Seattle, 12-3. The Red Sox lead in the AL East is still 7.0 games. The Yankees lead in the Wild Card is now 2.0 games.

Today (Wednesday): Curt Schilling gets the start as the Sox go for the three game sweep of Toronto. He'll be opposed by Shaun Marcum. Game time 7:05pm EST.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Up 10-1 against Toronto going into the top of the sixth inning, I penciled this one in as a "W." Oops.

The nine run lead turned into a one run lead after an eight run Toronto sixth consumed starter Daisuke Matsuzaka and reliever Javier Lopez in its fiery wrath. Only the power of My Man Manny Delcarmen could halt the seemingly unstoppable force that was the Blue Jay offense.

Delcarmen halted the carnage in the sixth but then started some of his own in the seventh. Hideki Okajima was called on to halt the Carnage Halter's carnage.

Anywho, it all worked out for the Sox as they piled on enough runs that it didn't matter. Boston's offense scored 3, 0, 2, 5, 0, 3, 0, 0 in eight innings for a total of 13 runs. Everyone who started for the Red Sox ended up with at least one hit. Ellsbury (2), Pedroia (3), Lowell (3), Lugo (2), and Varitek (2) led the way if, you know, more than half the offense can really "lead."

Papelbon came in and shut the door in the ninth with two Ks. Boy is impressive, no?

AL East: The Yanks got dropped at home by the Mariners, 7-1. After sweeping Boston, the Yankees have lost 3 of 4 to Tampa and Seattle. They've also lost two of the three games they picked up in the standings in the process. The Sox lead over New York now stands at 7.0 games. New York's Wild Card lead is 1 over Seattle.

Roger Clemens, who must have it written in his contract that all New York newspapers must refer to him as "Rocket Clemens", is scheduled to have an MRI on his arm tomorrow. I hope he's fine so we can kick the crap out of him later.

Tomorrow (Tuesday): The Sox resume their series against the invaders from the north. Josh Beckett tries to improve his Cy Young credentials versus former Cy Young winner Roy Halladay. Game time is 7:05pm EST.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


I've been moving across Philadelphia, coping with a death in the family, and trying to find a job, so I've been remiss in my duties here. However, I did catch the last out of Buchholz's no-no yesterday, and I did follow parts of Lester's win today. Both were sorely needed after the horrible performance the Sox put forth in Yankee Stadium last week.

But no more about that. now. Onward and upward.

The young pitching gives us all hope for the future, just as their performances in the last two games give us hope for this year. All teams run through rough patches, and we can reasonably expect that the three games the Sox played in New York don't fairly represent what this team is, no matter how upsetting those games were.

With the Yankees losing two of three to Tampa, the lead is back up to six. Now the Sox get the Blue Jays and Orioles this week, while the Yankees get Seattle and Kansas City. The Mariners have lost nine in a row now and stand two games back in the Wild Card race.

More here later. I promise. As always, thanks for reading.