Archive for August, 2008

Beckett Healthy-Back in Rotation
August 29, 2008

     The Red Sox and more specifically Josh Beckett’s worst fears were put to rest today when noted Orthopedist James Andrews pronounced Beckett completely healthy. Terry Francona said this afternoon that everything came out awesome and Beckett passed all the tests in flying colors as there was no structural damage.

Beckett was placed on the 15 day disabled retroactive to August 18th which means he would be able to pitch in 4 days. Francona said that right now he is planning on Beckett reclaiming his spot in the rotation next Friday in Texas.

     Francona also said that J.D. Drew is feeling alot better while Mike Lowell has a little ways to go because they want to make sure that they do not take a step back in the healing of his oblique muscle.

     So tonight is Daisuke, tomorrow 25 year old call-up David Pauley, and Sunday it is Tim Wakefield who will take on the Chicago White Sox with 3 more against the Orioles before the Red Sox hit the road again. 

-MD

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Yankees upgraded to Critical
August 28, 2008

If you spend enough money on players, like the Yankees have done with over 200 million for their roster, the averages say that you are going to get some kind of return on your money and today they finally did-not from their highest paid player but from their 2nd highest-23 1/2 million dollar man Jason Giambi who knocked in all 3 Yankee runs including the game winner in the bottom of the 9th.

I probably should be focusing on the impressive performance of John Lester and the unimpressive performance of Hideki Okajima, but I simply can not resist writing, again, about Alex Rodriguez. 28 million dollars a year for one of the worst clutch hitters of our time, certainly clutch hit per dollar.

A-Rod was at his worst again today. In a game that the Yankees simply had to win, the 28 million dollar a year man struck out 3 times but that wasn’t the worst of it. A-Rod came to the plate with his team trailing 2-0, runners on 1st & 3rd and one out. He swung at the 1st pitch popping out earning A-Rod a classic Bronx cheer as the Boo Birds let it all out.

So the Yankees stay alive, barely-I’d call it life support. There is a quick death like the Yankees would have experienced with a loss today. Then there is the much more painfully excruciating death that the Yankees may not experience. They are still alive but it’s now going to be a slower death/elimination for our good rivals to the south.

-MD

Good Night Heartless Yankees
August 28, 2008

You can put a fork into them- The Yankees are all done. They must now play a month worth of meaningless games, that’s right meaningless!

What about A-Rod? He probably feels pretty good after tonight’s Red Sox-Yankee game. He had 2 hits (both doubles) and so he didn’t get booed. His team was slaughtered and for all practical purposes put to sleep for the rest of the season but hey, don’t blame A-Rod for this one- he did just about all he could, right? That is exactly how it’s going at Yankee stadium these days (Can you imagine A-Rod in a Red Sox uniform and pulling that kind of crap, he’d have been gone faster that you can say Manny Ramirez)

Tho they didn’t boo A-rod (they still should have just on general principle) the Yankee Boo Birds were out in force. They booed poor relief pitcher Jose Veras who registered just one out while being responsible for 5 of the 7 runs the Sox scored in that nail in the coffin 8th inning.

The real heartless performance of the night tho was turned in by Bobby Abreu. Again, How much does he make- 17 million/year? what a crime.

When the outcome of this game was still in doubt, Abreu put forth a real heartless effort not befitting the history of the uniform he wears but probably indicative of this present yankee team. 4-2 game when Jason Bay hits one to deep right, a catchable ball that Abreu pulled up short on, turning Bay’s drive into an rbi triple and opening the floodgates to a 7 run 8th inning. $17 million for that?

It’s all over Yankees.
-MD

Yankees dying quickly
August 27, 2008

While Yankee stadium will close it’s doors in less than a month, the door of hope for the Yankees themselves is closing quickly. And the only thing more satisfying than seeing the Red Sox virtually eliminate the Yanks , which the Red Sox could do with 2 more wins the next 2 nights, is to hear (and see) Alex Rodriguez get booed by his home town crowd which happened multiple times in tonight’s 7-3 Red Sox win.

So where do I start? Ok, I must admit I can’t resist starting with A-Rod. How much does he make again? 27 mill/year? A-Rod tonight not only hit into 2 double plays squelching 2 big Yankee rallys but struck out to end the game. Oh Yah, he also committed an error while misplaying another grounder. Boos followed every one of those plays. The Yankees, led by their highest paid player, and their fans all appear to be ready to close up shop. Red Sox fans everywhere smile.

Tim Wakefield, in his 1st outing since coming off the disabled list, outpitched Andy Pettite, who gave up 10 hits and 6 runs in less than 5 innings. The Red Sox won tonight’s game with JD Drew sent to the Disabled List joining Mike Lowell, while triple A call up Jeff Bailey played 1st base with Sean Casey still suffering from a stiff neck.

Atlanta Braves Mark Kotsay could be on his way as another reinforcement for the Red Sox outfield. The Sox now trail Tampa by 3 1/2 games while the Yanks are 9 1/2 out with just 31 games left. 2 more Red Sox wins and you can put the Yankees to bed until 2009.
-MD

Preseason Woes
August 23, 2008

Another night without Tom Brady, and another night of the Patriots looking pretty bad. Tonight, it’s not just the offense or the defense, it’s the special teams as well. It’s hard to believe what our eyes are showing us. This is a team that went 16-0 last season. They were within a minute or two of being the greatest team in the history of the world. And they’ve come back and looked terrible.

Can it all be Brady? We know he’s the Most Valuable Player in the league, but who knew they’d go from being the best to the worst with one guy out of the line-up. Certainly, with Brady the offense would look a lot better. They’d be scoring points, moving the ball, and maybe even winning games. They’d be holding on the ball longer which would make it easier on the defense, but so what if the Patriot defense would be on the field less. The problem is when they’re on the field. They’re getting pushed around. The special teams are being out-worked and out-hustled.

And I’m sure that most Patriots fans believe that once the season starts, everything will be fixed. I tend to agree, but there has to be at least a little bit of worry. The Patriots are a veteran team. They’re supposed to be ahead of other teams preparing for the season. Did they get old on defense right before our eyes? Is the offensive line going to be a problem at least at the start of the season? Remember, the last time we saw that O-line in tact, they were getting beaten badly in the Super Bowl. Now, they’re not even healthy. They’ve got substitutes and new guys and guys out of position, and they can’t seem to get anything going. What if the O-line starts the season the way it ended last season? It probably won’t kill the Patriots chances to make the post-season, but it’s going to make them beatable. Remember how easy something like 13 of their regular season games were last year? They had a few close calls, but for the most part, they rolled over everybody. It sure doesn’t look like they’re going to have that easy a time of it this year.

It’s only the pre-season. It’s only the pre-season. It’s only the pre-season. Keep saying it. Maybe you’ll start to believe it at some point. But it has to be that still confident Patriot fans are choosing to believe what they saw a year ago as opposed to what they’re seeing now. If the Patriots had gone 8-8 last year and came back and looked like this in the pre-season, there would be tremendous concern. But because they went 16-0, I think most of us assume they’ll be fine with the first real whistle blows. That’s a lot of faith based on things that occurred a long time ago. Right now, the Patriots are not a good team. Will that change in sixteen days? If it does, hand Brady the MVP trophy as he walks off the field on opening day.

It’s only the pre-season, but it’s been a lousy one. Three straight losses. Three straight bad performances on several different levels. The only thing that would make this better is if this were the last pre-season game. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were only three meaningless games that only serve to confuse us anyway. Really, we can’t get much out of these games, because the players and coaches treat them as the exhibitions that they are. They’re going through the motions, so it’s impossible to analyze them with any degree of accuracy. So, if they knocked it down to two or three pre-season games, players could get their reps, coaches could see how the draft picks and free agents are fitting it, and maybe they’d even take the games more seriously, because they’d have to do their evaluating in a condensed form.

Now, just because I’m in favor of shortening the pre-season doesn’t mean I’m interested in lengthening the regular season. A sixteen game schedule is plenty. As a stat geek, I don’t like how difficult it will be to compare eras and records. What’s the touchdown record? Well, are we talking about a 12 or a 16 or an 18 game schedule? Keep it at 16 games and tell the owners and players that their multi-billion dollar shared enterprise has more than enough money for everybody to go around. Give up one or two pre-season games. Give the players a shorter training camp and pre-season. More vacation time. And the fans would only have to watch half as much meaningless football. Everybody wins. And deep pockets continued to be lined with plenty of cash. No worries — except for Tom Brady’s foot. Get well soon. Or everyone should start to worry about the Pats.

-BH

Shame on the Red Sox
August 21, 2008

For the last month 24 year old Clay Buchholz became nothing more than a sacrificial lamb, and the Red Sox could pay long term penalties for that.
In Buchholz’s 3 starts in the month of August, he has an ERA of about 10.00 raising his season’s ERA to 6.75, which would be ranked 93rd, or last in the entire Major Leagues if he had pitched enough innings to qualify.
In Buchholz’s 15 starts this year, just 3 have been good ones, this from the then barely 23 year old who last year showed great promise when pitched a no-hitter, but who may have been set back a year or 2 because of the Red Sox impatience. Shame on them.
-MD

Most memorable Olympic Moment
August 20, 2008

Michael Phelps 8 gold medals was nice and everything, but Tuesday night women’s track and field competition left me with 2 images I will never forget.
1st there was 23 year old Sanya Richards shaking her head moving her hands thru her hair still shaking her head in utter disbelief. She had just finished the 400 Meter race, the race that she was favored to win gold, and a race that she was leading with about 30 meters to a goal medal when she cramped up and watched 2 of her competitors go by her.

To see Sanya and her reaction after the race was heartbreaking. She came so close when her body failed her. At 23 she may be back in 2012, but that is 4 years, 4 long years away from a chance to win a gold medal in what was her race.

Thinking it couldn’t get any worse, any more painful -it did.

Lolo Jones, 26, had overcome a lifetime of poverty which saw her Mother move her family continually in search of a better job, and Lolo lived with 3 different families during high school. Jones had focused on running track, specifiaccly the 100 meter hurdles where she was the favorite in these Olympics. A lifetime of work culminating in one event, one 13 second span where it all went bad. She was leading, having cleared 8 straight hurdles when her legs started to get a little heavy and she hit the 9th hurdle and her dream of a gold medal vanished, just like that.

The images of a despondent Lolo Jones sitting on her legs on the track with her head in her hands is an image I will never forget. And then afterwards the shot of her underneath the stadium by herself, still crying in disbelief. You couldn’t help but to feel part of her anguish.

Winchester’s Alicia Sacramone’s loss in the women’s gymnastics was painful. She now has company. As exhilirating as winning an athletic event can be- losing can be even more painful and was for these 3 wonderful competitors.

-MD

Byrd is the word
August 17, 2008

It’s only one game in a Red Sox Uniform, (but 331 total in the majors), but count me as a Byrd-man.

Now, in full disclosure, I must admit that I went to Thursday night’s game where Daisuke pitched, in a game that while completed in under 3 hours seemed like it lasted forever because of the way Daisuke pitches. The guy takes forever and throws a million balls -as in non strikes. It is exasperating. (In another point of full disclosure, Patience is not one of my virtues).

Now back to Paul Byrd. The guy throws strikes, and he manages to do it pretty quickly. Refreshing, very refreshing. I know he lost the game (4-1) but he did pitch well enough to win if Byrd could have gotten a little support-tough to muster up against Toronto’s Ray Halladay. The bad news is that Byrd must face Halladay again next week in Toronto, for the 3rd straight time.

The bottom line here- The acquisiton of Paul Byrd has guaranteed the Red Sox a spot in this years playoffs. where anything can happen.

LA Red Sox, Brady & Blake, etc
August 14, 2008

If you are a Red Sox fan living on the west coast and you were at Dodger stadium last night you might have had to continually remind yourself that you were not at Fenway. 1st their was Manny Ramirez’s 2 run Homer in the 3rd inning (He’s hitting .476 with 16 rbi in 12 games with the Dodgers), and then in the 9th, with the game tied at 6, Nomar Garciaparra hit a walk off Home run (the teams 2nd straight walk off win) to pull the Dodgers into a tie for 1st place in the NL West. ….A Red Sox-“Red Sox West” World Series would truly make it a fall classic.

Tom Brady spoke for just the 2nd time this training camp and he really has mastered the Belichick art of saying nothing for 10 minutes. Asked about Favre coming to the Jets Brady said “It should definitely not hurt them”. Really. Brady even tried to tell us what a “great player” former Jets and now Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington is. Please.

THE upset of the Olympics- USA’s (and Harvard’s, tho he only went there 2 years) James Blake defeating Roger Federer in straight sets. Blake had won just 1 total set in the 8 previous matches between the 2.

And finally- how bad is the Texas Rangers pitching staff? How in the world are they above .500? (tho that shouldn’t last long since they are just 1 game over at 61-60) They can’t get anybody out, certainally not the Red Sox who have now scored 27 runs in the last 2 games. Tonight’s pitcher for the Rangers is 22 year old 255 pound Tommy Hunter who will be pitching his 3rd major league game. His ERA is over 10.. which ironically is what tonight’s over/under is for Red Sox runs.

Daisuke good, but maddening
August 14, 2008

Can someone please tell Daisuke that when his team is up 9 runs that it is alright, no make that preferable(if not mandatory) to throw strikes. He is a very impressive 14 and 2, but often times it is a maddening 14 and 2.

In this game against the woeful Texas Rangers (really, can someone, anyone explain to me how in the world this team has won half, that’s 61, of it’s games), Daisuke’s teammates gave him 9 runs to work with in the 2nd inning. After that Matsuzaka walked 2 more on top of the 3 he walked in the 1st 2 innings. Throw strikes already. This trend has got to stop- it cannot last if Daisuke hopes to continue his winning ways because it is going to catch up to him against good teams. Texas is not a good team.

Texas looks like the worst team in the league. Toronto’s record is just one game better than the Rangers but the Blue Jays pitching is 10 times better. Let’s see how the Red Sox hitters, who feasted on the raners pitching scoring 37 runs in 3 games, fare against Halladay,