Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

Red Sox and Wes Welker
August 12, 2010

In reverse order. Do not expected Wes Welker to play in tonight’s pre-season opener vs the Saints. In fact I don’t expect him to play in the 2nd pre-season game vs Atlanta and I only expect him to play a couple of series in the 3rd pre-season game. And you know by now that hardly any starters play in the meaningless 4th pre-season game so he definitely won’t play in that one.

Now having said all of that, Wes Welker’s return from surgery is not your normal case/player. But knowing Belichick, and how he treats the pre-season, c’mon, do you honestly think he will put Welker (one of 3 or 4 main keys to a successful season) at risk in an exhibition game?

Now to the Red Sox. The biggest question concerning their hopes for a playoff spot is can Tampa continue to fold?

The Red Sox will continue to play good baseball as their pitching is finally beginning to come around and with Dustin Pedroia returning next Tuesday there is legitimate hope (tho what is with Bill Hall? Hope he can play left field).

Let’s reassess after this week-ends series in Texas against the 1st place Rangers

-MD

Red Sox showing signs of life
July 28, 2010

The Red Sox are finally starting to look like a major league team, and even play like one.

Now with only Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury (he’s been out so long does he even count any more?) and Jason Varitek out, the Red Sox have legitimate major leaguers filling in at every position, and it shows (with all due respect to the likes od Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald who last night played well, again, with 2 hits)

The single biggest difference is at the catchers position. Victor Martinez is back and what a difference.

Now last night, the Red Sox won again because of some major league plays by some major league plays

-Good defense-Jeremy Hermeida throwing out a runners on the basepath, Marco Scutaro throwing out one at home on a good tag by Martinez

-Jed Lowrie (filling in for Pedroia) hitting a big RBI double (courtesy of some shoddy fielding by Angels left fielder Juan Rivera). More shoddy fielding by the Angels gave the Sox an important insurance (unearned) run in the 9th.

-Darnell McDonald had 2 hits in filling in for late scratch JD Drew

-Terry Francona was bailed out for a managing mistake when he got greedy with the overuse of John Lackey, who after pitching very well, tired out and gave up a home run to his final batter in the 8th(to cut the lead to 3-2) when he had thrown over 120 pitches.

Still 5 games back of the Rays for the wild card playoff spot, but the Red Sox are showing signs of life with a lot of baseball (61 game) left.

-MD

What to do with 63 games left?
July 25, 2010

The Red Sox have fallen 8 games behind the Yankees and probably more importantly 5 games behind Tampa for the wild card playoff spot. So, should Red Sox fans be panicking?….

Clay Buccholz and Josh Beckett have returned but went 0-1 in their 1st 2 games back. Reason to panic?

On Sunday the bullpen blew another game, a game that Daisuke pitched very well, certainly well enough to win. Another reason to panic?

Red Sox fans who are subject to panicking have, in all likelihood, begun to panic. Should the rest of us panic?

Victor Martinez returns tomorrow and not a game too soon as the present Red Sox back-up catchers are the worst in baseball. A 50% Martinez is much better than the Cash/Brown combination. Reason to back off the panic button.

Dustin Pedroia’s best case scenario has him returning in about a week. His return also cannot come soon enough. If the Red Sox can somehow tread water for the next week (in other words not get swept by the Angels) and not fall further behind then I believe that you can put off your panicking.

What about Jacoby Ellsbury? Will he ever be right this entire season? Will he ever fulfill his lofty expectations here in Boston? My answers -I don’t know, I don’t think so, and probably not. He has been a very big disappointment this season and would have to put up monstrous numbers upon his return to salvage this season and erase the memory of the longest stint on the DL due to cracked ribs.

-After Saturday night’s error, you will never see Eric Patterson in the outfield again. Why wasn’t Darnell McDonald in?? Where is Daniel Nava..oh yah he’s in Pawtucket (with his .286 major lg batting average)

-MD

Red Sox Injuries Keep on coming
June 29, 2010

This might be Terry Francona’s best managing job ever. The fact that his team has caught and passed Tampa and sit just 2 games behind the 1st place Yankees borders on miraculous considering all of the injuries his team has experienced.

Let’s also give a lot of credit to Theo Epstein because as one player after another goes down, up comes another player who produces. Theo has been the teams Houdini this season as he pulls trick after trick out of the hat.

I mean just take a look at the injury release the Red Sox sent out yesterday to see just how bad it is.

MEDICAL UPDATES:  Red Sox right-handed pitcher Clay Buchholz, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and catcher Victor Martinez were examined today by the team’s medical staff.  Below are updates on each player:

After undergoing an MRI earlier today, Clay Buchholz has been diagnosed with a left hamstring strain.  He is not scheduled to start this week at Fenway Park, but there are no plans to place him on the disabled list.  Buchholz suffered the injury running the bases in the top of the second inning during his start on Saturday in San Francisco. 

Dustin Pedroia was examined by Red Sox Medical Director Dr. Thomas Gill who confirmed that he has a non-displaced fracture of the medial navicular bone in his left foot.  Pedroia was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday after suffering the injury Friday night in San Francisco when he fouled a ball off his left foot in the top of the third inning.  He is not expected to require surgery.  The usual timetable for this injury is approximately six weeks to return to play.

Victor Martinez also underwent further examination which revealed a minimally displaced fracture on the tip of his left thumb.  He is also not expected to require surgery.  Martinez left yesterday’s game in San Francisco after the third inning due to the injury which was sustained after having two foul balls hit off his thumb while he was behind the plate.  There will be no roster move today regarding Martinez. 

ROSTER MOVE: The Boston Red Sox today added infielder/outfielder Eric Patterson to the active Major League roster and designated left-handed pitcher Fabio Castro for assignment.  Patterson, who was acquired from Oakland on Saturday (June 26) in exchange for minor league left-handed pitcher Fabian Williamson, will be available for tomorrow night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park, wearing No. 3.  The announcement was made by Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein.  

Patterson has appeared in 45 games for the A’s this season, batting .204 (21-for-103) with five doubles, two triples, four home runs, nine RBI, 13 runs and six stolen bases.  He’s played in 25 games (22 starts) in left field, seven (two starts) in center field and five (one start) at second base, committing just one error overall for a .985 combined fielding percentage at the three positions.

Castro was recalled Friday (June 25) for his second stint with the Red Sox this season, but has not appeared in a game with the club in 2010.  The left-hander has made 17 appearances (five starts) for Triple-A Pawtucket this year, going 3-5 with a 6.65 ERA (32 ER/43.1 IP), 36 strikeouts and 22 walks. 

 

BONSER CLEARS WAIVERS: Right-handed pitcher Boof Bonser today cleared outright waivers and has chosen to become a free agent.  Bonser was designated for assignment on June 18.  He did not record a decision while posting an 18.00 ERA (4 ER/2.0 IP) over two relief appearances with the Red Sox in 2010.

Papelbon
May 18, 2010

Does anyone else think Jonathon Papelbon spends too much time trying to “look” like an intimidating closer rather than trying to “be” an intimidating closer?

I am not overreacting to his implosion last night at Yankee stadium. I have had this feeling for quite some time. He has been a very good closer but what’s with the face. Hey Pap-It doesn’t help.

You were a good closer before you decided to make that face before every pitch. Shut your mouth and pitch, and try not to pitch right down the middle of the plate. It makes your pitches a lot easier to hit. Ask Marcus Thames. Ouch. Journeyman outfielder has career moment at Pap’s expense.

This game had all of the makings of a statement game, on the positive side for the Red Sox. Coming back from 5 runs down, in Yankee Stadium, against their young undefeated pitcher and then Papelbon serves up Home Run Derby in the bottom of the 9th. Ouch. Now 9 games back of Tampa and 6 and half behind of the Yankees.

MD

What a night!!!!
May 4, 2010

Rasheed Wallace scores 17 points? The offensively challenged Red Sox score 17 runs? The Bruins Milan Lucic, who hadn’t scored a goal in nearly a month and a half, scored the game winner with less than 3 minutes left?

All true! And all nearly unbelievable. OK, Lucic is believable, but The Red Sox and Rasheed? C’mon. It’s got to be a night remembered for a long, long time. And All 3 games were on national television so it was a night for New Englanders nation wide to unite.

Rasheed Wallace, who all season long has been a bust, stepped up big time, Finally, to help the Celtics get out to a 25 point lead at Cleveland on their way to an 18 point win over LeBron and the Cavs.

The Red Sox scored more runs in Monday nights win than they had scored in their last 5 games combined. This could be exactly what gets the Red Sox going. At the very least it got Mike Lowell, whose 4 hits raised his average 78 points, and LD Drew, who raised his about 30 points, going.

The Red Sox play again on Tuesday night. The Bruins play again on Wednesday night but on Friday night all 3 teams again play on the same night with the Celtics at home against the Cavs. What can these 3 teams possibly do for an encore. You can bet New Englanders everywhere will be watching.

-MD

Don’t be fooled by Red Sox
April 21, 2010

A much needed win by the Red Sox should not give you the hope that they are out of the woods and their fortunes are going to turn around. Right now they are just not a very good team.

We will remember the night of Darnell McDonald, the career minor leaguer, whose late inning hitting heroics prevented the Red Sox 6th straight loss, but don’t bet on Darnell’s moment as the seasons turning point. David Ortiz and J.D.Drew still cannot hit. Outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron are out of the lineup for another week and Victor Martinez and Jason Variteck can’t throw anybody out on the base paths (29 straight steals by the opposition including 9 last night which ties a 97 year old club record). That last fact just might be the most devastating and needs to be addressed immediately by Theo Epstein.

The next 2 nights the Red Sox face 2 left handed starting pitchers so both Ortiz and Drew should be giving way to Mike Lowell and Jeremy Hermeida (tho Francona will probably only sit them for 1 of the 2 games), so there may be some added production there. The pitching will be better but the opposing baserunners are just warming up. This is a major problem.

Enjoy Darnell’s big night for now but be realistic. The Red Sox are a flawed team, right now anyway.

-MD

Payback is a …well, painful thing
October 12, 2009

It may have taken the Angels 23 years to get payback, but they did it. It may not be as painful as it was 23 years ago but you can’t convince Red Sox fans of that, nor Jonathon Papelbon who, after todays game, sat in front of his locker room with his uniform still on for abut 20 minutes, wondering what had just happened and how it happened.

In the 1986 ALCS the Angels led the Red Sox 3 games to one and had a lead in the 9th inning of game 5 before losing that game in extra innings and then losing the next 2 games and the series. Since then the Angels had lost 3 more playoff series to the Red Sox. Today the Red Sox brought back 1986 hero  Dave Henderson back to try and bring back some of the magic. Instead the Angels turned the tables.

In Sundays game 3, the Red Sox led 6-4 in the 9th inning with Jonathan Papelbon on the mound. Papelbon retired the 1st 2 Angels and then had an 0-2 count on #9 hitter Eric Aybar. Aybar singled. Papelbon had 2 strikes on the Angels next batter Chone Figgins, then walked him. Then, again, Papelbon got 2 strikes on Bobby Abreau before Abreau doubled in a run. Tori hunter was intentionally walked and Vlad Guererro singled home the winning run.

3 times the Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon were 1 strike away from a win. If that sounds familiar, it should. The Angels were one strike away from closing out the Red Sox in ’86. Then in the World Series against the Mets the Red Sox, were, of course, one strike away from winning it all. That demon has been exorcised. The Angels demon had not been exorcised, until today. And now Jonathan Papelbon and Red Sox nation have an entire off season to think about it.

You probably don’t want to hear that the Angels are a fun and very professional team with a fine manager. They are also playing this season with a very heavy heart since the tragic and untimely death of one of their young pitchers, Nick Adenhart, in a traffic accident the 1st week of the season. If you can’t root for the Red Sox, this is a good team to follow. Add to that the fact that they play the Yankees next and that alone is reason enough to root for the Angels.

Meanwhile, Red Sox fans are having a tough time realizing that their season is over. Feel for Jonathan Papelbon who has not had to deal with many setbacks in his professional life. He did in this game and, as he said, it will serve as motivation this off season to make him work harder. The image of him sitting in front of his locker for a long long time, and just staring is an image that I will not forget.

-MD

Get Ready for Red Sox late Night
October 5, 2009

The Red Sox Playoff schedule has been set  and you’d better start taking your No-Doze.

Red Sox-Angels game #1 is Thursday night at 9:37 pm ET followed by the identical start time on Friday night. Both games are in Anaheim. Jon Lester will pitch game #1  while Josh Beckett will pitch game #2.

Games #3, and 4 will take place Sunday and Monday at Fenway park. No starting times have been announced. All games will be on TBS.

And if you care the Yankees begin their playoffs on Wednesday evening at 6:07 (game #2 same time on Friday) against the winner of tomorrows Tigers@Twins playoff game. …How is that for an advantage for the Yankees-not only do they begin at home but their opponent plays an emotionally charged playoff game the afternoon before and then hops on a plane in Minnesota to fly to New York late the night before the series starts?

C’mon Major League Baseball. They should have made an adjustment that says if you are involved in a playoff game (much less a playoff game 2 days after the season ends) then your playoff series will begin on thursday.

-MD

Anticlimactic
September 30, 2009

There’s no other way to describe tonight’s bizarre scene at Fenway Park. It didn’t help that despite a valiant comeback, the Red Sox lost AGAIN to Toronto (and the streak is now at 5). The Blue Jays were just teeing off on Clay Buchholz, and David Ortiz shouldn’t be too happy at dogging it down the line, allowing Kevin Millar of all people to turn an allegedly acrobatic double play. But that’s besides the point – the Sox LOST.

This was like a bizarro 2007, where the Red Sox won their game and then waited out the Yankees loss to Baltimore before celebrating their AL East title. Only this time, the Red Sox lost, and then had to wait around for Texas to lose to the AAA team the Angels fielded in Anaheim. Many of the players stuck around, although many of them, Pedroia and Bay included, told us they left and spent some time with family before coming back for the final innings of the game that wrapped up around 12:45 AM eastern. David Ortiz joked that he was going to a bar and expected some free drinks while he watched the game.

We went upstairs to the press box and watched ourselves, and sure enough Texas lost. But unlike 2007, there would be no delayed champagne celebration, no communing with fans (who had long since gone home). The clubhouse was closed, and despite hearing the thumping hip hop beats in the background, and the occasional champagne-soaked clubhouse attendant sneak out, we didn’t really get a glimpse of what was going on.

Instead, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Bay, and Mr. Old Hat Tim Wakefield (who may be making his final major league start Wednesday night) came out to briefly chat with us in a very-low key manner, save for some Papelbon party jokes (which were later proved to be unfounded – we watched him pull out of the Fenway garage and drive off around 1:30 AM, kind of early for someone Mike Lowell described as “probably in a thong right now with goggles and drinking Budweiser.” Maybe he knows the best closer is a well-rested one).

It’s not so much that only a few players came out. There are few things more fun than running into a champagne soaked locker room and interviewing jubliant players as they rain booze down upon you. It’s the pinnacle of sporting events, even if you’re a team with 2 recent World Series titles essentially celebrating finishing in fourth place.

In years past, the Sox have defended (and it’s a good point) their Wild Card clinching celebrations by saying it’s more a celebration of surviving a brutally long season and making it to the postseason, an accomplishment in and of itself. Maybe tonight’s closed door affair is an acknowledgement from the team that this is old hat – they’ve been here before, and they are supposed to be here now, so really, this isn’t cause for a massive celebration, rather, a reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done.

And so we went home dry tonight. Not such a bad thing, but it could have been better.

–SI