Friday, May 22, 2009

Lester: No I'm Not Impressed Yet

Lester is my boy. Anyone who's ever read this blog knows that I adore him. That being said, he's been just short of awful this year. For every one good start we've gotten from Jon, we've gotten 2-3 bad starts. So until he can show me a little good consistency, I'm not getting excited.

It's not even that he pitched particularly well. He didn't. He only had one clean inning, and he pitched only 6 1/3. Granted, he only gave up one run and it didn't even score until he was out of the game, but he looked to be struggling a little. I'll give credit to the Jay's lineup for that. They tend to be pretty hard on Jon, and they definitely made him work for his win. Nice to see a sweep of the AL East leader though.

It's good to see our two "top" guys get their ERA's below 6. How about below 4? THAT would be impressive. Nice job, Timothy Wakefield.

We have two starters left with ERAs over 6.00. Penny is one of them. He's actually been pitching well enough that I'm expecting the ERA to come down instead of to go up. I give credit where credit is due (usually), and he's been decent for us. The other one with the ERA over six... well... let's just say it's been a while since we've seen him, and he didn't really have much of a chance to get that ERA down at all.

We're dealing with Johan Santana tonight, and let me just say that I'm going to watch this game with one eye closed. Santana is just GOOD. The Mets, maybe not so much, but Santana is. And Dice-K (who is he? he doesn't look like the guy who's been pitching as our number 3....) is just coming off a month on the disabled list, so my expectations are so low that I don't even have any. Realism. Yeah.

JayBay hit a home run that should have never been a home run. Lugo was called safe at first on a play where Millar got his foot back on the bag AND Lugo never touched the base. I couldn't figure out the home plate umpire's strike zone to save my life. I'll admit, the Jays got the short end of the luck stick in the game last night, but every team has those games. We've had plenty of them already this season.

I was happy with the game. How could I not be? We floundered out west and came into a home series that very well could have shipped us into third place, and we held firm. Great! I didn't expect the sweep, but I'm happy about it. And I'm happy I got to see Ducky and his ridiculous facial hair.

Have a great long weekend, everyone! I'll be reporting back in on Tuesday hopefully with a quick wrapup (or a long one if necessary) of the Mets series. Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Big Papi: Justifying The Love

He did it. The monkey's off his back. Swing and a drive, deep to center field... and it's gone! David Ortiz has gone yard, to the deepest part of the ballpark no less. I couldn't be happier for Papi. He really did look like that 800 lb. elephant was off his back. That damn thing had been weighing him down. It was just great to see him smile. It was even better to see him hit a double high off the wall in his next at bat. Perhaps the confidence is back?

Everyone at Fenway had been really supportive of him, and it makes you proud to be a Red Sox fan when it comes to stuff like this. He got just as much support as we could give him, and then some. I like to believe that it actually made a difference for him. He said it did, but I don't want to give too much credit to the fans at the expense of Papi. Today feels like the beginning of the season all over again.

I also need to give major love to the Captain. As NESN showed last night, Tek does tend to like hitting on May 20th. 9 home runs in the last nine years. I wonder what it is about May 20th that gets him all amped up? But two home runs from Tek is all I need to be a happy girl. Doesn't he have like, seven on the season already? Amazing. Last year, my darling captain had a lot to deal with, and his personal life obviously got in the way of his game. Not to say that he isn't declining, because he is, but it's nice to see him put a good swing on a ball every now and then.

Even more love to Jacoby for tying a record that he really had zero control over. His 12 put-outs in the game tie the major league record and break the Red Sox record of 11 that had been held by the likes of Ted Williams. Jacoby didn't have a say in which balls were hit in his direction, so this isn't (in my mind) that big of a deal. It's just kind of a cool trivia fact to know.

Love abounds today, and now it's JayBay's turn. Talk about trying to show up the rest of the guys on the team, Jason hit it clean out of the park. Unassuming Canadian. Hmph! Yeah right. The man is devious. I love it.

And now, of course, Michael Averett Lowell. The double play had me screaming out vulgarities, but the home run made up for it. Admit it. You completely forgot he had hit into a double play after the home run. Just for the record, he's up to 12 now. The record for double plays in a single season, as NESN also informed me last night, is held by none other than our HOF inductee Jim Ed Rice. He had 36. Let's hope Mikey doesn't get around to breaking that one...

Credit must also be given to Penny. Yeah, it may look ugly while he's doing it, but as long as the results are good, I'm cool with it. I guess. He's gotten a lot of flak from me for being frightening, but c'mon... he's no worse than some of our OTHER starters have been.

We get Binky today and Dice on Friday. So Beckett is now, what, the number three starter? Or is he still the number one, and Timmy is our number two... ok, I'm just gonna stop this here because I'm going to get confused. If Johnny doesn't want to be considered the worst starter on this team, he better plan on having a clean outing tomorrow. I know it will be hard, because the Blue Jays like to punish him, but we're gonna keep hoping. Ok? Ok. Awesome.

And just for the record, I'm thoroughly enjoying Eck's love of cheese. High cheese, educated cheese, cheese of a higher temperature? It's all good.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wakefield: Getting It Done Again

With my apologies to Joshua Beckett, who pitched wonderfully the other day and still, apparently, did not deserve a blog post...

I couldn't have asked for a better game. Well, I could have, but I don't want to seem greedy. I got my first official Ducky-at-Fenway sighting for the season, and my feathered friend even managed a home run. That, of course, was the only run the Jays would score on the night.

I am slightly disturbed at the way we've been scoring runs in patterns. The last two games, we've scored two runs in each. From the 10th through the 15th, we scored four runs. No more, no less. That's four runs for each starter once. Only twice it was enough to get a win. Twice, we lost 4-5. The two wins went to Joshua and Fetus. Does this pattern mean we will only score 2 runs tonight? I hope not. I'd really like to see them put up a bigger fight, but the guy we're going against tonight has been good thus far this season. Hey, everyone has bad days, right?

Youkilis should be activated before today's game. I need to remind myself that he's coming back from injury so his timing might not be there. I have to temper my expectations. I think I've got them tempered. We'll see.

A lot has been made about Papi's struggles at the plate. I think each time he's reminded how long it's been since he's hit a home run, that's another day that the pressure of not having a home run is going to mess with him. Stop reminding him, media. And good job, people at Fenway last night. That's the kind of love and support our big man needs in this really, really rough stretch for him.

Actually, I'd prefer to look at Mike Lowell's struggles at the plate. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "But hey... Lowell HAS home runs, and his batting average is a respectable .289. That's what you're thinking, right? Well, he's grounded into 11 double plays so far this season. The most he's ever had in a season is 22. Right now, he's on pace for about 35. Do I think that Mikey will hit into 35 DP's this year? God I hope not. It's possible, but I hope not. In the last 7 days, Mike is batting .211. Yes, .211. But it always feels like there's a big hit in there, doesn't it?

My point is this. Guys go through their struggles. Doesn't mean that you stop believing in them. I really, truly, wholeheartedly liked to see that reaction from the fans last night for David Ortiz. The guy needs all the love we can give him. If we can support Mikey through his struggles, we can definitely support Papi. Positive vibes, happy thoughts, and plenty of clapping kept tinker bell alive and she was just a tiny little fairy. Papi needs the same stuff, just in much higher doses. So get to clapping, folks! And just as a disclaimer, I only used Mikey Lowell because I adore him and I want to show that you can criticize even the guys you adore, and still love them.

Penny tonight. I don't know whether to shield my eyes or pull up a chair. We'll see.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Timothy: Giving Me A Good Excuse To Catch Some Sleep

Listen, it's not that I didn't think they had a chance to come back, but Thursdays are typically long days for me. When the score went to 8-4, I shut the TV off and went to sleep. I figured if there was a comeback, I'd see it and read about it the next day. If not, I wouldn't be missing anything. Unfortunately, I DID miss Daniel Bard's debut, but by all accounts, it went well.

I'm not gonna get strung out or worked up about one bad outing by Timothy. Thus is the way of the knuckleball. It's something I've had plenty of time to accept. While I may not enjoy watching it knuckle in favor of the opposition, it happens. He was bound to have a bad start sooner or later. He's been fantastic for us so far this year (and for the last decade and a half), so I'm really not worried.

In keeping with the tradition I've tried to sort of almost start after a loss, I'm going to post some positives from last night's game and positives to think about for today's game. I'm hoping that the good vibes will get the team back on track so they can get the series win this afternoon before heading up to Seattle.

So here we go! Positives!

1) This is by far the worst I've seen Tim Wakefield this year, meaning that he's been nothing short of pristine for more than a month already. It's a good sign.
2) Kazerud, the human home run machine, hit another home run. Dear God, that man is going good right now. And who knows, maybe he'll come home with a little color?
3) There were NO fielding errors. I even saw Mikey get to a ball and throw it while nearly lying on the ground. No, he didn't make the play, but if that didn't make you smile, then you should be ashamed.
4) We... uh... didn't leave that many guys on base?
5) Five hits is more than we got that time we were embarrased by Matt Garza not too long ago...
6) Daniel Bard did well!
7) We still scored four runs, despite not having Youk, Munchkin, or Tek
8) When Ortiz finally breaks out, it'll be amazing. Just you wait.
9) Munchkin should be available for today's game... right?
10) Having Wake's ERA over 4.00 for the first time I can remember all season helps him fit in with the rest of the guys in the starting rotation. We don't want Timothy to feel left out, after all...
11) I got to catch up on my sleep, and now I can be truly psyched about the game this afternoon.
12) We only grounded into one double play, which is about three less than our standard.
13) This is the last time we have to go to Angel Stadium this season.
14) The Blue Jays also lost, so we didn't lose any ground in the East.
15) We're facing Ervin Santana straight off an injury, so he might still be rusty.

Alright. I'm psyched and ready for the next game! ... even if I will be in class while they're playing. A series saved is what Penny earns? Ok, I'm trying too hard.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fetus: Getting the Job Done

Yeah, he threw a lot of pitches, and only went six (but c'mon.... who in our starting rotation has been going more than six?) but it was good enough for a win. Kid only gave up 2 runs, with another run coming off Manny Delcarmen in the 7th. Definitely far better than his last outing.

So we win, 4-3... again. Didn't we win 4-3 on Sunday? Perhaps they liked that score so they decided to keep it.

The good: Varitek drives in the game winning run (yay!). 18 pitches, 1 BB, 1 K, no runs for our closer and his 1.20 ERA. CRW stole a base. JD hit a home run.

The bad: Papi gets hit on the wrist, we were 0-6 with RISP, Youk is now on the DL. I mean, I saw the DL thing coming once I realized he wasn't in the game, but it sucks no less because I knew it. You never want to see your hottest hitter go down with an injury. I just can't help but blame the WBC. All of our players who participated are either hurt, or in Javier Lopez's case... gone. In case I forgot to mention, and I know I did, he was DFA'ed to make room for Daniel Bard. Bard didn't end up getting in the game last night, but I AM excited to see him. Our bullpen is actually looking really good right now. At the beginning of the year, Delcarmen terrified me because of what I remembered from last season, but he rounded into form and he's been fantastic for us. OK, Paps might be a little bit scary, but I'm working on a notion that he's doing it intentionally so his saves seem all the more impressive. It's all part of the plan to get that big payday he wants.... even if it does seem slightly counterproductive.

We'll see how Papi's wrist is feeling today. Supposedly, Munchkin is planning on returning to the lineup today. But that's what they were saying about Youk last week, and a week later he's on the DL, so I don't know if I trust the front office right now. They lie to us just because they can. But honestly I don't really care if they do.

NESN had a graphic up last night with a picture of JayBay and the words 'Canadian bakin'' and I was actually embarrassed for NESN for just a moment. I'm sure there are 8,000 other references they could have used or puns they could have made. To me, calling him that implies that he's ham. Or a ham. Have you ever seen JayBay ham it up for the camera? Neither have I! Let's get some more appropriate puns next time, NESN.

Sox and Bruins both scored 4 times last night. The Celtics also scored 4... 23 different times. The games matched up well. Once the Bruins ended, I flipped on to the Celtics and watched them win (even if it did mean missing the first inning and Drew's home run) and when the Celtics finished, the Sox went on for the rest of the night. I like it when the Boston teams coordinate and all plan to win the same night.

I also liked that the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays, even if it does mean that the Jays stay one game ahead of us, because they have Kevin Millar. And any team with Kevin Millar is my second favorite team for the moment. I'm happy that the O's beat the Rays. I'm happy that Tim's pitching tonight, even if the game IS at 10:00 and I have to be up at quarter to six in the morning. You know not watching is not an option. It just means a nap has to be scheduled right after dinner so that I have the energy to stay up and watch the games. Yes, I make neccessary sacrifices. I do it because I love.

I keep seeing pictures of the Hardy Boys everywhere. It's so odd and random. Now, I've always liked JJ Hardy... I wonder if that's because he reminds me of the Hardy Boys, who were always among my favorites? When wrestling pops back up into my life, it sure tries really hard to drag me back in. It's like a bad boyfriend. I keep leaving him because he sucks and I just don't know who he is any more, but somehow, he convinces me that he's the same as he's always been, and he drags me back just for me to be mentally abused all over again. I have an abusive relationship with pro wrestling. I just don't know if I could ever care about it again the way I used to...

Anyway, back from my tangent... go Sox!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lars Anderson: Multi-talented First Base Coach

Saturday, I got to miss the mess that was the Red Sox game in favor of checking out our talented farm system. Portland is just a short, and very enjoyable, two hour drive from where I live. I managed to get tickets for free through my sister's company. Hadlock Field was just great. I loved it. Plenty of leg room, comfortable seats... well, comfortable for a baseball stadium, no matter where you sat, you had a good view, and the stadium was packed with talented kids who will probably be up in the big league some day.

I wanted to go more because of Lars Anderson than anything else. After hearing his name thrown around so often as being the best Red Sox prospect, I just wanted to see what he had. Unfortunately for me, Lars was playing the role of 1B coach for a large portion of the game. I did, however, get to take a picture with him and get his autograph. If he ever makes it big, I can say I met him when his ego was still relatively in check. Come on, when you're the number one prospect in a deep farm system like the Red Sox have, you're bound to have an ego. He seemed very nice though.

The Sea Dogs pitcher for the day, Jarrod Plummer, seemed to be having a few control issues but he pitched 5 and only gave up 3 ER. The other pitcher who seemed to be struggling, Bryce Cox, had the misfortune of being the 'closer' for the day. We shouldn't have needed a closer. We were up by 5 runs going into the top 9th... but Cox just couldn't get that final out. I think the New Brittian Rock Cats scored all four runs with 2 outs in the 9th. Either way, the Dogs held on to win 8-7.

We've got a few kids down there I had heard of before, such as Bubba Bell, Argenis Diaz, and Jorge Jiminez. They definitely didn't disappoint. Good game, well played, and very exciting. By the 9th, we were all biting our nails. I'm glad they came away with a win.

I also came away with a rather nasty sunburn. I don't know why I thought that not bringing a hat or sunscreen was a good idea, but I guess I learned my lesson.

I'm hoping to catch another game at Hadlock sometime this season. If not, definitely next year. It's worth it if you have the time. Go out and show the kids some support. They need love, too!

Thursday Night at the Park: Surprises All Around

I am very behind on my blogging. It's been a busy week. You know I'm behind when my last entry was about Josh Beckett... and it wasn't the game he pitched last night. Ok, today is all about catching up.

I was driving home from work on Thursday when my friend called me and asked me if I felt like going to the game with her, so of course I did. We drove in, parked in a really horrible lot because by the time we got there, the game was already starting so our options were limited. I had left my good camera and my sweater in my own car.

We were in the bleachers, squished next to some fairly large men. Behind us, an older man with some crazy hair and his older friend with a crazy red afro. The first guy, as soon as the game started, began shouting in this old-timey lingo... sounding very much like what I would expect someone in the 1930's to sound like. It was funny for the first batter, but after that, it was annoying. It was really, really annoying, and it only got worse when the people around us got drunk and started immitating him. Despite how ear-grindingly bad this guy was, my favorite part of his shouting was when Captain Planet came to the plate. "C'mon Nick-AY, you can do it Nick-AY. Good eye! Good eye! Swing the bat, Nick-AY! Good eye... now swing! There's some high cheese for you, Nick-AY!" Now just imagine someone shouting that very loudly, in a high pitched, fast voice ... and he just kept talking through each and every at-bat. He never shut up. It teetered on absurd.

Anyhow, the game started, and it eventually began raining on us. Of course, I didn't have my sweater, and from the comforts of the bleachers, there is not much relief from the weather. I was wet from the rain, the guy next to me kept spitting peanut shells onto my legs (seriously, how obnoxious can you be?), and the game wasn't rocking yet. From where I was sitting, Wakefield was brutal. A game is much different when you're at the park. In reality, he only gave up 2 runs, but it just seemed like he hit every other batter (really only two... Saito also hit one). It didn't seem like it was going to be much of a game heading into the 6th.

We all know what happened during the 6th inning. I should have known something good would happen, because Wake was pitching and I was at the game. 12 runs in the bottom of the sixth before getting an out. Right before JayBay came up to bat, I turned to my friend and said "the only thing that would make this better is a three run home run from Bay right now." Boom. Three run home run. By this point, even annoying 1930's man stopped fazing me.

Needless to say, we won the game. Wake got the W. We ended up with 13 hits, 13 runs, and 13 RBI's... I guess 13 is a lucky number after all. So I got to go home happy. Wakefield does not lose games when I'm at the park. I think it's cause he loves me. I love him right back.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Joshua Beckett: Surprisingly Not the One Bringing The Pain

Don't get me wrong, he brought a lot last night, but pain wasn't part of that. He brought a decent fastball. He brought a mostly cool and calm demeanor. He brought 5 K's, 108 pitches, and just enough for a win. He brought his ERA down below 7, which is what I'm most pleased about. It's at 6.75 right now. While that's not a GOOD ERA, it's better. I'll take better.

The one thing that Beckett did not bring was pain. It's not to say that the ten hits off of him weren't painful, because they very much were. He was sloppy, but managed to recover in time to prevent most damage. He didn't bring pain to the Yankees, and they deserved pain. There was nothing I wanted to see more than Beckett drilling Captain Intangibles square in the back with a 96 mph fastball. I wanted it so badly, but at the same time, I was happy it didn't happen. If he had hit Jeter, he would have been the one punished. The discipline committee, after all, is run by a Yankee. That's why Joba and his perfect control will not be penalized for sticking one between JayBay's shoulder blades.

"Weak." Eck grumbled after the HBP. I couldn't agree more, Eck. The guy gets twelve strikeouts, and is "painting" all night (as Eck would say), but suddenly the guy who's been hitting well comes to the plate and he loses his control? Bullshit. When the hell is someone going to do something about this fat, reckless asshole? Bad enough Drew got hit the night before. That might have been an accident. When Joba hit JayBay, that was no accident. He was happy about it. He walked off the mound pumping his stupid fists and getting all worked up. Guess what, asshole. You still lost. Nice job making yourself look like a bigger d-bag than I thought possible. I guess it runs in the family...?

Beckett's problems with the mound were 'not conducive to painting.' Seriously, I couldn't get enough of Eck last night. He was funny. He was refreshing after Buck Martinez and the random mish-mosh of personnel and reporters that were hanging around Tampa on Sunday. He's no Remy, that's for sure, but he was enjoyable. Please let Eck be the permanent Remy substitute when Remy needs time off. It would make me happy.

Hoping that CRW is ok, and hoping to see Youk back in a lineup soon. The guys just don't put the fear of God in opposing pitchers the way the Cincinnati Hillbilly does. JayBay is not an intimidating person (thank goodness that his bat does all the talking). Ortiz hasn't heated up yet. Can anyone really be unnerved by looking at Pedroia? Drew looks like he's always ready to take a nap. Tek doesn't intimidate anyone, even with the thighs of steel on his side. We need the guy who can literally scare the opposing pitcher into submission. That's Youk. Get well soon, Asshat.

My big problem from last night's game were the backwards K's. There were far too many of them, and a lot of them came with three pitches. I'm just going to take a few minutes and go over each one. Using GameDay to help my non-perfect memory, here is a rundown of the K's...

K 1) - Tek 2nd inning (looking)- Three straight called strikes. Not a single one of them was actually in the strike zone. Pitch 2 was close, but still outside.
K 2) - Captain Planet 2nd inning (looking) - Seven pitches. Strikes were called fairly.
K 3) - Papi 3rd inning (swinging) - Called strike 2 was outside. Other two strikes were swinging.
K 4) - JayBay 3rd inning (looking) - Four pitches. All three were in the zone.
K 5) - Drew 4th inning (looking) - Drew didn't move the bat off his shoulder at all. Three straight pitches were called strikes, though two were clearly out of the strike zone.
K 6) - Bailey 4th inning (looking) - After Drew took three straight pitches without moving, Bailey copied him and got the same results. All three pitches were in the strike zone.
K 7) - Captain Planet 4th inning (swinging) - Five pitches. No called strikes in this sequence. Green swung at pitches way out of the strike zone. Way out. Not even close. These pitches must have been up around his eyes.
K 8) - Vantastic 5th inning (looking) - 6 pitches. All three strikes were in the zone.
K 9) - Munchkin 5th inning (looking) - Eight pitches, just to take a strike three that was a very borderline pitch, belt high and inside.
K 10) - Mikey 5th inning (looking) - 5 pitches. All three strikes were in the strike zone.
K 11) - Drew 6th inning (looking) - 6 pitches. Another at bat where Drew didn't take the bat off his shoulder. 1st strike was borderline. 2nd strike was outside. 3rd strike was right on the outside corner. Apparently, Drew didn't feel compelled to do anything except wait for a walk here?
K 12) - Bailey 6th inning (swinging) - All within strike zone, except for the one he fouled off. At least he swung, I guess.
K 13) - Vantastic 8th inning (swinging) - Four pitches, three strikes. All strikes were over the outside part of the plate. Not even questionable.
K 14) - Mikey 9th inning (looking) - 6 pitches. Strike one was high and inside. The rest were actual strikes.

I account for the fact that umpires tend to be inconsistent, but we had four at bats where called strike 3 happened on the third pitch of the at-bat. In my eyes, that's no effort. If you see that the umps are calling strikes outside the zone, don't just stand there and wait for them to change their minds. Swing at anything close with two strikes. You've got far better odds of getting on base. This is basic stuff, isn't it? Our guys, some of them, were just not doing it yesterday. They weren't working counts, they weren't even moving the bat. Hopefully, our hitting coach was paying attention and, I don't know, does something about this? You can't do anything about where the umpire decides the strike zone is for the night, but you can do something about which pitches your guys swing on. A good rule of thumb is this... unless the pitcher isn't anywhere near the strike zone for the entire at bat, swing the bat at least once. Give me something in terms of effort. Lowell, Drew, Bailey, Green, and Van Every each had 2 K's. The only one without a K was CRW, but he was only in for three innings.

I've never been a baseball player, and I never will be, but there are a few things that I see over and over that just get on my nerves to no end. My three rules of what not to do are as follows:
1) Swinging at the first pitch.
2) Swinging at 2-0 or 3-0. Make the dude throw a strike! If need be, make them throw two.
3) Staring at strike 3.

There should never be a situation where a pitcher throws three strikes to major league hitters, and they don't move the bat once. We had it happen four times last night. It really bugged me. I know I'm not an expert, but I don't see anything useful in helping out the opposing pitcher.

Anyway, I'll stop dwelling now. Pavano vs. Fetus tonight. Here's hoping our little guy can bounce back from his first rough outing of the season!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jon Lester: Exactly What I Hoped For

You know how when you're craving something, nothing else is going to make the craving go away except the one thing that you want? That's why so many diets fail, because people try to replace what they really want with something they don't want, and then they end up cracking and eating what they originally wanted any way. Twice the calories just to get something you should have had to begin with.

My point? Not too sure. I had one before I went off on that diet rant. The diet rant occured because I'm eating banana chips. Have you ever had banana chips? They're freaking delicious. I've been craving them a lot. Sort of like I've been craving a good start from one of our aces... ah-HA, so it does tie in!

This version of Lester, I can be happy with. He pushed through seven innings, with 10 K's and only 3 runs. It was exactly what I wanted to see. I'm satiated now. I've got nothing to complain about from yesterday's game. That's also because I'm so tired from staying up until 1 AM that my poor sleep deprived brain can't focus on anything long enough to let it bother me right now.

I had a faux-adventurous night last night, flipping between the Celtics, the Sox, and... gasp! The WW(F)E. Yeah. I used to be a huge pro-wrestling addict. It's always been my favorite soap opera, but once Vince bought WCW, I stopped enjoying it. I felt that they were doing stupid things with the characters and the company, and I just didn't feel the love for it any more. My friend Dave convinced me to watch it (by using the words 'ugh, Matt Hardy's on'... yeah, that's all it takes for me to break my vow of no-pro-wrestling). Then he sent me Steve Austin's HOF speech, and I was just delightfully giddy for the rest of the night. So the Sox game seemed so much more wonderful. I'm a complete dork in that regard. There are characters that I'm ALWAYS going to like, and expect to remain the same. So watching wrestling was an interesting adventure for me, seeing how the characters have changed, who's gone, who's still there, and seeing that Shane McMahon now looks more like Vince than ever before. And he still does the same exact top-rope death-defying jump onto some greasy jerk, or in the case of last night... onto a table. He's been doing that forever.

So Pap's rough 9th inning? It's all good. Steve Austin rocks. Youk leaving the game with an injury? Matt Hardy has silly new ring gear. Julio Lugo still exists? Christian has kick-ass ring music. Nothing is getting this stupid smile off of my face today, except for possibly Joshua. We'll see what Joshua brings to the table tonight.

And I'd be damned if I forgot to mention Mikey and JBay HR'ing last night. Things of beauty, those guys are. We're lucky to have them on our team. Ortiz's two doubles? Come on, you didn't really think he was done, did you? He's starting up. He'll be ok. Lay off him now. Thanks!

I'm very sleepy... and yet I'm in such a good mood. Weird. That's not a combination that usually happens. Mmm, banana chips.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bullpen Band: Too Exhausted For Encores

Our bullpen is getting absolutely slammed by our starters' inability to go more than a few innings. Commander and Binky have been the worst culprits. Penny is next on the list. Wakey and Fetus had the unfortunate timing of having their shorter outings happen the two nights following our aces' terrible performances. I can't rip on Wakey and Fetus, because they have overall pitched their share of innings.

Well, it's time for the guys at the top of our order to go further into a game than five innings. Five innings is not enough. Manny Delcarmen looks injured. Hunter Jones, Ramon Ramirez, Hideki Okajima, and all the other pen guys have been pitching every night it seems. They need a break. We need a complete game, or at least seven innings, out of Jon tonight. He hasn't put it together yet, so I'm skeptical that he'll actually give us what we need, but I can hope.

Joshua tomorrow is another matter altogether. Don't even get me started.

No, I'm not yet concerned about David Ortiz. Yes, he looks terrible at the plate, and you can throw him just about anything and he'll swing at it. But that's what happens when a good hitter is going through a tough stretch. It seems like everything gets them out. I believe that he can turn it around, home runs or no home runs. Big Papi is still Big Papi. No more sillliness out of the media, please. (Yeah, like that's going to happen)

Why don't we rip on Julio Lugo instead? The team was going so well until he came back. Yesterday, he was 0-4. There were two plays he didn't make that I have NO idea how he didn't get errors for. Ok, well the first one, I have an idea. You can't assume a double play... ever. He got one out. It went as a force out, so I can see why he didn't get the error. The second play... that terrible throw to Youk, THAT should have been an error. His two misplays caused two runs to happen, but because they weren't charges as errors, they became earned runs. Bastard! We, uh, lost by two runs in case someone wasn't keeping track.

Saturday's game, Captain Planet played, and we won.
Friday's game, Lugo played, went 1-4, and we lost.
Thursday's game, Lugo played, got no hits, and we had a damn near perfect game thrown against us.
Wednesday's game, Captain Planet played, and we won.
Tuesday's game, Lugo played, went 2-3, made an error, and we lost.

I know it's super convenient for me to blame the last four losses on POS's return because it's wll documented that I don't like him. I never will. But come on... we were on an 11-game win streak, and all of a sudden, the old, useless SS comes back, and we go 3-4 in two series? Yes, it's perfectly logical of me to completely discount the fact that when we're on the road, this team looks like a bunch of kids who have never played baseball before. That's irrelevant. I blame POS. The more he plays, the more we lose.

When does the team return to Fenway? I could really go for some wins. I guess it could have been worse. We won the first series, and we didn't get swept in the second one. I should be more optimistic. So, I'm going to try to force ten positive things to carry over into tonight's game... here we go.

1) Penny pitched very well. That actually falls under the category of 'quality start' doesn't it? 3 ER in 6 IP? I think it does!
2) Rambo has still not allowed a run to score.
3) We only left seven men on base.
4) Munchkin was not caught stealing.
5) Drew had 3 hits.
6) Papi had one walk and no strike outs. So while he's not making GOOD contact, he's still making contact.
7) Buck Martinez was not announcing the game, and we didn't have to listen to him constantly mispronouncing "OR-tiz"... does he pronounce his own last name as "MAR-tinez"? Come on now... someone could have at least told him he was saying it wrong. That's just embarassing.
8) Kevin Youkilis is still batting over .400, and is hitting for power.
9) The Yankees don't run as well as Tampa Bay... and we have a lefty with a good pickoff move on the mound tonight.
10) We get until Friday before we have to face TB again.

Think positively everyone. They'll be ok

Friday, May 1, 2009

Van Every: Highlighting (van)Every Game This Week

While the above statement may not be 100% true, it's close. Between hitting the game-winning home run the other night and pitching a relatively good inning last night, the guy is making himself useful.

I thought it was a good idea to put in Vantastic instead of using up one of our good arms in the bullpen. And truth be told, he really wasn't bad. He gave up one run in 2/3rds of an inning. Javier "I'll let you hit this ball over the wall" Lopez gave up 4 runs in 1/3rd of an inning. He can't even handle the responsibility of being a garbage pitcher any more. He certainly wasn't impressive in the outfield either. It was kind of sad. I almost felt bad for him, because if there had actually been fans at that stadium, he would have been humiliated.

That's another point. This team went to the world series last year. Where is their hometown support? The seats looked mostly empty to me. Pathetic show, Tampa area fans. Pathetic. I can only imagine what the stadium looks like when the (Devil) Rays face the Orioles. I bet you can hear crickets.... ringing cowbells. Hell, I wouldn't want to show up to a stadium that constantly rings cowbells either.

Beckett was awful. That's all I have for analysis. He was awful. He was so bad, he doesn't even deserve the title Commander for anything today (and he definitely did not kick ass). He'll get 'em next time. The entire game was so pathetically bad that it was almost entertaining. Almost.

Oh well. Fetus on the mound tonight. Hopefully we'll get better results from one of the guys who doesn't think he's our ace.