Friday, April 29, 2011

Not Being Swept: So Much Better Than The Alternative

I didn't get to catch much of the game last night. I know Jon Lester went eight innings and got the win. I guess in the big scheme of things, all I really needed to know was that we won. I went to bed after a long day of, gee, what else... baking.... knowing that we won and it was because of Jon Lester. Somehow, for some ungodly reason, I just started coming up with haikus to describe my love for Johnny. It was a stupid idea, because it stopped me from getting much needed sleep, but it was amusing at the same time. One of my favorites (and, really, the only one I remember from last night):

In a month so sad
Jon Lester, shining Sox star
Saves us from a loss.

Or you could always go with this one that just sort of came to me:

Oh left handed hope
Bring us victory once more
We're not in last place!

Never said I was good at haikus, but man, are they fun. So, you don't need a rundown of the game. We won. We are, once again, not cellar dwellers... but we really need to win the last two games of the month. Give me a little hope that we're better than a sub-.500 team, you know?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Heading The Wrong Way Again: Sox Down To 3 Games Under .500

It was nice while it lasted, wasn't it? Getting to watch that team that could pitch, hit, and field all in the same game? I liked those guys. Maybe they'll come for a longer visit next time. Maybe Jon Lester will bring them with him tonight. I don't know. It was a pretty ugly game, and definitely not the type of performance I was hoping for from Josh Beckett. I wanted to be able to write my blog this morning with the general theme of 'it didn't matter how badly he pitched because no one was hitting.' Unfortunately, those jerks needed to come back and tie the game just in time for Daniel Bard to give it right back. I think someone may need another brain washing. I'll see if I can still find my face-ripping gloves.

That routine fly ball that fell between Pedroia and Ellsbury... isn't that the center fielder's responsibility? I would say that I should pick on Ellsbury more for letting that drop, but I'm not so sure I'm capable of making fun of him more than I already do. Besides, I've been trying to be good and not be on his case this season. It's sort of working! I mean, kind of...

It was such a disappointing loss. For a few minutes, after Youkilis hit the home run, I allowed myself to think that maybe, just MAYBE, they would manage to get a win for Timmy, and that would make the suck-fest of the previous innings all better. Getting a win for Tim Wakefield is pretty much the best way to make everything seem so much better. But no, they couldn't manage to pull ahead, and they sure as heck couldn't manage to maintain the tie for longer than three minutes. Sigh. Like I said, I miss those other guys that we'd been watching last week. I'm hoping that they show up to Fenway tomorrow, because I'll be at Fenway in obstructed view seats. I don't know if you know this, but 'watching' your team suck from $50 obstructed view seats is one of my least favorite things in the world to do. Unfortunately, the obstructed view tickets were sort of an accident, but now that I have them, I want to be happy about them.

As for tonight, with Jon Lester on the hill, I feel good about our chances of not being swept. But then again, who knows? He's going to need run support, and unless our lineup snaps out of this little funk they're in, it doesn't matter how well he pitches. Still... root root root for our home team or something silly like that.

Also, Horton. Great job, B's! That is all. For now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Highlight Of The Game: Pedroia.

Is saying that Pedroia was the highlight an oxymoron of sorts? Between that utterly amusing throw from his... I guess knees, but it looked more like he was lying down... and his single to break up the no-hitter, Pedroia was the star. Not to mention the aggressive base-running that got him to third (stolen base number 3!)which game Youkilis the chance to drive him in on a sac fly. As usual, it was the Pedroia show.

It's a tad scary that Dahmer gave up a career-high twelve hits against the Orioles last night. This does not instill confidence, Clay. Though, I have to say that if getting quality starts in April for Josh and Jon means getting none from Clay, it's a trade we have to make. He wasn't good in this game. Against any other team, I would write it off as another mediocre performace from him. Against this team, after the roll we've been on? It looks extra bad.... but I guess it wasn't worse than any other start. Clay has failed to get going yet this season, but I believe that he will eventually pull it together. Mulligan for the month, I guess.

I think for me, the most frustrating inning was the 5th. Varitek singled to start, followed by Ells doubling him to third. Pedroia walked... all this, of course, with two out. It took Adrian Gonzalez to end our biggest threat of the night with a weak grounder to Brian Roberts. Dave Madagan, you need to work with your boys so they can learn how to hit with the bases loaded. The bottom of the 5th found the Orioles tacking on another run off of Dahmer, just to sort of rub it in.

I guess I'm not going to get too worked up about this game... though it would have been nice to make it to .500 last night. That just means that Josh and Jon, respectively, are going to have their work cut out for them in the next few nights. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that they can manage.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tek Is Human, Too: An Insight To The Captain

Baseballlessness: ehh, we'll go with noun. State of being that involves no baseball in your life. I guess it could be a adjective, too, depending on how you use it. Example: I am plagued with baseballlessness in my life today.

Today, I am indeed plagued with baseballlessness. I am also aware that there are far too many 'l's in that word, but I enjoy the superfluous consonants. So, flipping nonchalantly around the internet today, I happen upon a endearing article written about Jason Varitek, the love of my baseball life.

“People see me as this robot; we’ll just leave him alone and let him do his job,’’ Varitek said. “There’s a whole different element to me that can communicate and I’ve learned how to do that. A lot has happened and there’s a different me coming out."

It's a pretty good read, actually, and provides some insight to Jason as a person. Wing man... hah. Never expected that. It's nice to see that he's in a good place again, finally. Anyone who's watched him over the last few years could see it written all over his face that he was dealing with a lot. He's stoic most of the time, but the eyes don't lie, folks.

I also like how he admits to having gone through hundreds of hours of therapy. You know, despite therapy being pretty common in society these days, I feel like too many people refuse to get help because of a negative stigma hanging around it. Having athletes like Varitek, who garner the respect of (hundreds of?) thousands of people, admit to utilizing it seems like a pretty positive thing from my perspective.

Anyway, during bouts of baseballlessness, it's nice to have some fluffy pieces like this to remind us that yup, our team is filled with humans. Tragic, I know. But inspiring.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lackey: Getting In On The Fun

Well, goodness. What do I say? Second straight game of 8 innings from the starter. If Jon had just gone two more innings on Friday, it would have been four in a row. Lackey wasn't quite as good as Dice-K (did I really just type that? Am I in bizarro world again?!), allowing six hits during his eight scoreless innings, but he allowed fewer walks - one compared to Dice's three. Does it matter who was better, though? Yes. Yes it does. Dice won the ace card for the week, John. You're welcome to try again next week. Still, very solid pitching and another really good outing from our starter. Maybe Theo isn't as stupid as I give him credit for? Maybe I can actually enjoy this team and not be in pain all season! Hopeful!

While the game was on TV at my house, I'll be lying if I said I watched it. Easter dinner at my house, so there was a lot of cooking to be done. Strangely enough, I could actually hear Crawford's smile from the kitchen after he hit his first home run of the season, a two-run job that brought Ortiz home. His smile was really loud. It called me away from the spinach to see what was going on.... and it was worth seeing... despite my love of spinach. Carl was beaming. It was a tremendous sight after the first few weeks of defeat and misery that had been all over his face. It looks like Carl's luck might be turning around. I hope so. He's got a nice smile and he deserves to use it more often.

Know who else has a nice smile? Papi. Papi's smile makes the world go round. Papi's only hit of the day came on an RBI single in the first inning, but it sounded pretty delightful. Actually, I appreciated that the Sox got the scoring started early, posting a 3-spot on the board in the first (Ernie doubled in Ells, and Cam's one-out ground out brought Youkilis home). Top of the fifth, Munchkin's sac fly brought Scutaro home. In the 7th, Scutaro came around to score again, this time on an RBI Ernie single, bringing the score up to 7-0, which would be the final. I just can't hate on anyone in this game. It was a solid thumping, and we needed it so badly.

So here we sit, one game away from .500, no longer in the AL east basement. Instead, we can look down on two other teams below us for the first time this season. It feels pretty good to be putting more and more distance between that 2-10 start and this current team who suddenly can win games. Yup, I enjoy winning. Based on Crawford's smile, I would guess that our boys do too. Off-day Monday, followed by Dahmer trying to carry the torch of great starts forward into Baltimore. Ah, it's good to be home.

Baking Up Fun: Dice Goes Eight

Do you know what I was doing at the start of this game? I was baking. I had Easter baking to do because I'm the baker in the family and people demand pastries and things of that nature. Do you know what I was doing at the end of the game? Yes, you are correct. I was baking. I'm a little too superstitious for my own good sometimes. Between the Sox and Bruins, there was no way I was switching it up mid-game for fear of ruining the good luck. So I ended up with about three baked goods more than I intended, but it's fine because they were delicious. Almond merengues were worth the exhaustion, damnit, because they brought the win(s)!

Quick word on the Bruins: Holy cow, what a game. I don't even like hockey and this one had me on the edge of my seat (on the rare occassion that I was actually sitting down). Tim Thomas is unbelievable. I don't even believe in him, that's how unbelievable he is. Amazing. Ok, so that wasn't so quick. It's fine.

Onto the Sox! After his last outing in which he lasted seven against the Blue Jays and only surrendered one run, I had no idea what to expect out of Dice-K. Much like everyone else on the team, Dice-K had a rough start to the season, but has really been rounding into form as of late. Despite that, if you had told me that at any point this year over a span of two games, Dice-K was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and had only allowed 2 hits over fifteen innings, I would have slapped you and called you a liar. I guess now you can slap me and call me a disbeliever. Don't pretend you expected this from him! You know you didn't. While unexpected, it's certainly delightful. I like this version of Dice-K. Someone figure out how to keep him like this.

You mean Tito already figured out how to keep him like this? Varitek, you say? Well, who am I to doubt the gorgeous catching prowess of the Captain? Sure, I can doubt his bat, but I would never doubt his catching and game calling. I agree with Tito. I think sometimes people just trust Tek more. Salty's going to have to prove that he won't let runners score from second on a passed ball and no I will NOT let that go. Not yet anyway. I have no problem with Tek being Dice-K's catcher. NO problems at all. I do have a problem with Tek swinging at the high fastball. When will he learn to lay off?

The scoring in this one started with Crawford driving in Lowrider in the 2nd. I feel like I've typed that a lot already this morning, and I have... because Lowrider was on base approximately all weekend. Ernie added another RBI in the 3rd, driving in CRW. Youkilis hit a 2-run shot in the fifth, which I will credit to Varitek because Youkilis doesn't deserve it. Then in the sixth, Jason notched his second hit of the season! An RBI double brought Crawford home from second. Bottom of the order getting it done! Way to go, Captain!

Really, one run was all we needed. I think during this series, Dice won the 'Ace' card. Eight innings, three walks, nine strikeouts, one hit. Bard closed, allowing one hit and collecting two strikeouts. That, my friends, is masterful pitching and I love it. The offense was well appreciated, but the pitching was the star. This is the team we've been waiting for. Quick, someone make them some coffee and pull out the vacation slideshows so they can't get up and leave!

Next up, John Lackey vs. Matt Palmer. Can Lackey pitch well enough to earn us the coveted and rare 4-game-sweep in Anaheim of Orange County somewhere around the LA area? Spoiler: He can. I love being able to see into the future. One more game to recap! Almost done!

Dear Dan Haren: Get A Haircut

Heading into this game, I was hearing a lot of 'Dan Haren is the AL ERA leader' and 'Dan Haren is 4-0! FOUR AND OH!!!!' and also 'Dan Haren looks homeless.' I cannot debate any of these points. Dan Haren has the money. He can pay someone to shave that thing off his face. I'm not here to make fun of Dan Haren, though, even though I sort of enjoy typing his name.... Dan Haren Dan Haren Dan Haren. Ok, onto the game. It was actually another good one! But you already knew that because I'm posting three days behind.

For the second night in a row, CRW got the scoring started with an RBI double in the 3rd, putting the Sox up 1-0. In the 4th, Carl Crawford 'drives in' two runs on a fielding error. Does he get credit for those RBIs? I think he does. If not, I'm giving him credit for them... and eventually, I'm going to get to the point where I need to keep a spreadsheet to keep track of all the imaginary stats I am awarding this year. In the 6th, Drew drove in Lowrider to give us our fourth and final run, which we would need like nobody's business. Though, getting four runs off of Haren isn't shabby, is it?

In the other half of the innings, Lester struggled a little bit. He didn't pitch badly, but you could see he was laboring, throwing too many pitches and not making the pitches he wanted to make. He still was able to go six scoreless, throwing 111 pitches, allowing four hits and two walks while collecting eight strikeouts. You know he wanted to go deeper in the game, but we'll take six excellent innings. Matt Albers pitched the 7th, allowing one run on a single to Jeff Mathais. The score was 4-1 heading into the bottom of the 8th. And then Jenks happened.

I didn't really know what to make of Bobby Jenks to start the season. I didn't pay much attention to him in Chicago, and I haven't been mighty impressed with him this season so far, but this 8th inning... oh man. Between Jenks and Salty, this was one act short of a tragedy. This is how the inning went: Double, RBI single, flyout, wild pitch (Abreu to 2nd), flyout, passed ball (Abreu scores... from SECOND. BASE! Why is it the one place Jarrod didn't look for the ball was BEHIND HIM! THE BALL IS BEHIND YOU, JARROD! TURN AROUND! CHRIST!), walk, groundout. I don't care how sloppy Tek's fielding has been so far this season, though it's been just fine, he wouldn't let a runner score from second on a passed ball. Jarrod, for goodness sake, get it together. You're better than that, aren't you?

So now, with a one-run lead to cling to, Paps comes in for the ninth. Aside from a single, it was a good ninth, and no heart attacks were involved. Sox walk away with their third win in a row, defeating AL EAST ERA CHAMPION and generally homeless dude, Dan Haren, and Jon Lester gets a win that he really deserved. Seems like that doesn't happen often enough, huh? Up next, Dice-K Matsuzaka vs. Ervin Santana... gee, I wonder how it ends!

One Night In Anaheim: I Fell Asleep

I didn't fall asleep IN Anaheim. I actually fell asleep at around 1:15 AM, successfully missing the Red Sox win, but not missing any of the hair-ripping frustration that they provided in the first nine innings. Beckett was absolutely dealing. He was nasty and awful and just incredible. It was a joy to behold. It would have been much more of a joy, however, if the Sox didn't strand approximately a hundred guys in scoring position during the five innings that Josh had his no-hitter going. Yep, just about a hundred. Pretty sure of that. And not for nothing, but Christ, Josh! Do you know how long my list titled 'Guys I Don't Like Because They Broke Up Beckett's No-Hitter' is getting? Can you please just throw a no-no already? I can't hate everyone in the league, Joshua Patrick Beckett! Get your act together!

But Josh was pretty good regardless of the fact that he didn't get the win. Going eight solid innings, throwing 125 pitches (goodness, I love a pitcher who doesn't fall apart after 100 pitches...), and only allowing 2-runs on a home run to Torii Hunter in the 7th inning which probably shouldn't count because I didn't approve of it beforehand. Our boys had scored a grand total of two runs in the 6th (after the no-no was busted), both driven in by CRW, who then proceeded to get thrown out trying to steal second. Sigh. Whatever, I'll take the runs.

It's a shame I missed the bottom of the 10th. Rumor has it that Bobby Jenks actually pitched well. While he still didn't deserve the win, it's nice that the team got it. Anyway, in the 11th, a walk to Drew and a single by Munchkin set the table for a tie-breaking single by Ernie, followed by Lowrider sac-flying Munchkin home... because let's face it, it would have been ridiculous for anyone to score more or less than 2 runs at a time at any point in this game, wouldn't it?

Paps comes in, performs an abridged version of heart-attack theater, ends the game, gets the save, prompts exhausted Red Sox fans back on the East coast to sing Dirty Water to themselves as they finally get to hit the sheets.... except for me. I was already asleep.

Game one in Anaheim done, the Sox coming away with a hard-fought 4-2 win. Moving on to game 2, Jon Lester vs. Dan Haren.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Road Win: Oh My, Is This Allowed?

So, you're telling me that the Red Sox went to a park that wasn't Fenway and won a game? Are you sure you're not making that up? It sounds an awful lot like a tall tale. I mean, I watched the game and all, but I was PRETTY tired yesterday, so I could have just been deceiving myself. Hold on, I'm gonna check Just wait right there.

Ahem. Why is there a picture of meat in the background of the official site of the Boston Red Sox? WHY IS THERE MEAT? I like meat as much as the next person who likes meat, but this is silly and distracting. Is Smith and Wollensky the new partner of the Red Sox? Are they trying to give me dining recommendations? Because guys, there are better steakhouses in Boston. Give me Ruth's Chris any day. Hm. Meat.

Now that I've gotten that mini-rant out of the way... yes, the Sox did in fact win their first road game of the season last night in panic-inducing fashion. I guess that's the way it had to be, but my poor tired heart didn't appreciate it. Dahmer.... eh, he's still trying to find himself this season. He's been throwing a lot of pitches early, missing his locations, and making himself work too hard. He wasn't bad; no, definitely not bad. He just wasn't as sharp as we'd like him to be. Still, he managed his first win and I hope he takes this win and builds upon it.

As a side note, I'm really pretty tired of getting beaten up by former Sox players... specifically former Sox outfielders, so pitching staff, I request you step up your game when facing our old friends. Thanks.

Sometimes between 1 AM and 3 PM EST, the bats arrived in a box from Boston marked "URGENT." Or something like that. Lowrider jumped back on to that hot streak he was riding, going 2 for 4 with his 2 RBI's coming from a 6th inning home run. Youkilis added his own home run, but that's all I'm saying about him. JD blasted his first of the year in the 7th, giving the Sox a 5-1, which if you watched the game, ended up looking mighty small.

Seriously, a few inches here or there, and we lose this game. That was blatantly apparent on Grumpy's at bat in the bottom of the 6th. After a double and two walks with one out, Tito pulled Dahmer and brought in Bard. We desperately needed a few outs. Bard struck out Cliff Pennington and Grumpy stepped up. On the second pitch to Grumpy, he hit one down the left field line that landed maybe an inch foul, just barely missing the chalk dust. That ball would have tied the game (it 4-1 Sox at the time). That play got my heart going, for sure. Bard went on to pitch a pretty seventh. I wish he could have pitched the 8th so Bobby Jenks didn't have to come into this game at all and make things worse.

Jenks' day went like this: strikeout, walk, single, single, single, strikeout. He left with the bases loaded, 2 outs after throwing 24 not so good pitches. Paps comes in, throws five pitches and gets out of the inning. In the ninth, though... more heart attack theater. Single, pop-out, hit by pitch, RBI single. Two on, one out, the winning run at the plate. Somehow he gets two popouts to end the game, and I go back on my heart medication.

Scary wins are wins all the same. And now that I know they CAN win outside the friendly confines, I'm going to expect to see at LEAST that much effort, maybe more for the rest of the season. They can do it. They're just going to make it terrifying.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Zombie Mode: Braaaaaaaainnnnnsssssssssss

Oh dear God, today is going to last forever. How did I get here? I barely remember being in a car this morning, and for a forty minute commute, that's a bit scary. I'm exhausted. The only good thing about being this tired is that I can't work up a proper outrage about the lack of hitting last night/this morning. Listen, Red Sox, I hate giving John Lackey credit for anything, so to force me to have to say he deserved a win.... well, you guys are just jerks.

I don't know much about the opposing pitcher from last night. Apparently everyone in the lineup wets their pants at the sight of him or something, I don't know. Whatever the case, he was dealing and we were making stupid mistakes. Cam.... interference? You're a veteran, you know better than that. CRW would have been safe on that steal. Blown opportunity, because Ells could have scored on Craw's single, and Craw could have probably scored on Salty's single. We would have had a 1-run lead, and Okajima wouldn't have come into the game. Not that I'm just blaming Cameron for this, because the rest of the team did nothing for seven innings, so.... group loss. You all suck. Good job.

I never thought I'd actually need to type this, but.... thank God the Mets are so bad. They're the only reason that we're not the worst team in baseball right now. We are now nearing the end of April, and have essentially played two months of bad baseball (even though only one month counted). How much longer do they need to maintain that 'click' that they experienced over the weekend versus Toronto? You know, when they were able to outscore their opponents 21-3 in their three wins? I liked those guys, whoever they were. We should have taken them out west with us.

Hey Red Sox, believe me.... I hate west coast games as much as you do. Just... I don't know, just do something better. Anything. And while you're doing that anything better, make sure you don't start doing something else worse to compensate. Because making me stay up till 1:00 AM on a Tuesday to watch you lose is just cruel. I'd happily do it over a weekend, but cut me some slack.

We'll look on the bright side. Lackey actually did pitch very well. I'm still not giving him back the win I took from him for Jon Lester, but he did well, and that would be encouraging if I weren't so tired. I'd try to come up with another positive from this game, but I don't want to because I'm sleepy and my coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

I was just on The picture says "We Won't Rest Until Order Has Been Restored." Brilliant! Maybe that's the problem. Are these guys not sleeping? If they are sleeping, maybe they should live up to their promise and NOT sleep. Whatever amount of sleep they got the night before, they need to get the opposite. Also, is anyone else troubled that Beckett has 23 K's, Lester has 22, and the next closest are Dahmer and Lackey with 8 each? Should I be troubled? No? You're right, I'm not sure why I even wrote that. But it's written, and I'm not deleting it, so.... yeah.

Anyway, thank goodness today is an early game. Watch at 3:35 to see Dahmer try to get his season going.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Youkilis: Stop Making It So Easy To Boo, and We'll Stop Booing.

I'm going to preface this post by saying that I don't boo Red Sox players. I might have made an exception once or twice for Julio Lugo, but I don't think I did (just don't want to be a liar in case I don't remember an episode of booing). In general, if I don't like a player and choose not to cheer for them, they get silence from me. The only time you will hear me boo at Fenway is when a player I truly dislike ON ANOTHER TEAM is playing. I also do not boo any players away from Fenway, as I find it in bad taste to go to another team's park and be obnoxious. It's like going to a friend's house for dinner, kicking your feet up on the table and belching. You just don't do it... or rather, I don't. I obviously cannot speak for everyone, as I know there are plenty of people who have no problem booing their own team. I will continue my preface by saying I don't know what Fenway sounded like at the start of the game yesterday because I was at work. I didn't see the game, and I obviously did not hear it.

That being said, I am kindly requesting that Kevin Youkilis give it a rest. He apparently was shocked that Dice was being booed yesterday (the link is to the audio of Kevin complaining). From WEEI:

“One thing that was a little shocking was before the game he got booed,”
Youkilis said. “It’s funny how he came off the field, everyone was cheering.
It’s kind of foot-in-the-mouth right there but it’s good how he responded to
that, too.”

This is not the first time Kevin has complained about the fans, and I'm pretty sure it won't be the last time. It honestly and truly annoys me, because really, as a group, we've been unbelievably supportive of the slow start of this superstar lineup. For as long as Youkilis has been a member of the Red Sox, he's gotten nothing but support from the fans and (at least from my perspective) he seems to respond to that by complaining about those people who support him. This is how it works for a lot of people, Kevin.... you play badly, we boo you. You play well, we cheer for you. Only in pro sports can someone fail miserably at their job for two weeks and have the gall to complain that people are voicing their frustrations.

Every time I start to think, "Hmm, maybe I'm being too critical of Youk," he seems to go on a rant and remind me why I don't like him. I'm not sorry that Red Sox fans are rabid and intensely competitive, Youkilis. I'm also not sorry that some of the fans choose to boo. I paid $150 dollars for three tickets to go see a game a few Saturdays ago, and you know what the Sox did? They lost miserably. MIS-ER-AB-LY. No, I didn't boo, and I still stood and cheered and supported them... but do you have any idea how long it takes me to earn $150 dollars? Pardon the fans for feeling like they're getting ripped off. It must be nice to be a whiney millionaire.

I'm done complaining about Youkilis. I think I'm also done cheering for him. He doesn't appreciate the support anyway, so why give it to him?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oh My Lowrie: Dice-K Goes Seven Awesome Innings

Who ARE these guys? No, seriously, these are not the Sox of the last two weeks. I don't recognize this team, but I love them. What a performance. Honestly, I don't have a SINGLE thing to complain about.

Jed? You, sir, are unbelievable. Were you always this insane and I just didn't notice until you shoved a 4-for-5, 4 RBI performance in my face? Consider me impressed, young Jedi. Also, keep it up. Munchkin is enjoying the breather since he didn't have to carry the team on his shoulders today. Don't get me wrong, he did just fine himself. I'm not one to scoff at a 2-for-5, 2 RBI day. He was far more productive than me today. I didn't get a single hit, nor did I accumulate any RBIs, so... you know. Then again, for the season, I'm still o-for-0 with no RBI's, strikeouts, or walks.

Needless to say, I think this is the team Theo envisioned when he was putting it all together this off-season. Great pitching, great hitting, and nifty defense. I have no idea why Tito took Dice-K out after the 7th when he was only at 89 pitches and had only given up one hit and one walk. Pre-emptive measures perhaps? I can't see! I don't know what's going on! Anyway, unbelievable performance by K today. It's nice to know that he still has that in him occasionally, especially when we needed it so badly to keep a little momentum. I guess he didn't like Lester and Beckett handing that ace card back and forth and made a run to procure it for himself. More kudos to Aceves for pitching a clean 8th. Wakey closed the game, only giving up a solo home run, but hey, that's the way the knuckleball knuckles.

And in the 'it was bound to happen soon' category, Crawford apparently slammed a double off the wall, driving in Lowrie in the 6th. See? See, we told you it would come. Very proud of you, Carl. Now that the monkey's off his back a little bit, maybe we'll start to see a return to form for Crawford. Between Jed hitting everything in sight, Crawford driving in his second run of the season, we got home runs from Youk and CRW (and Lowrie, of course), a triple from JD, more doubles from Youk and Gonzalez (who was looking to have a rough day, striking out in his first three at bats), and three singles from Ortiz, Drew, and Munchkin. That's 13 hits, boys and girls. Thirteen hits and nine runs. Oh my. I love it. The only starter to not have a hit was Tek, but come on.... he's not in there because of his bat. Just sayin.'

Our first three-win-streak of the season, and I find that I really enjoy winning. Is it too much for me to ask of Lackey to just man up and have a good outing in Oakland? Because if he could do that, it would be fantastic.

I'll be making sure to get my rest tonight, because the 10:05 start tomorrow is going to make for a rough Wednesday. Happy Patriots Day, all. Enjoy the feeling of three wins in a row!

Umpires: Inconsistent

Far be it for me to complain about something going our way... and I can't really be sure about what's going on because all I've got is GameDay to rely on, but it appears that home plate umpire Dana Demuth is squeezing the hell out of Romero. I haven't noticed the same problem for Dice. It's actually pretty ridiculous. I mean, goodness, he has ME commenting on it.

Um, sorry for the inequity, John Farrel, but we need this more than you do.

Best Entrance Theme Ever: Oki Back in Boston

The news is that Doubront has been sent back down to the minors and he-of-the-awesome-entrance-theme has been called back up for today's game. That's right. Everyone say hello to Hideki! I'm glad he's back. That way, I have a chance of once again hearing "O-K-A-J-I-M-A! Okajima!" Hopefully he pitches as well here as he did in Pawtucket. Best of luck, Oki! And don't worry, Felix, you'll be back. I promise.

Game time, folks! JD gets to lead off today because Crawford... well, he needs a little breathing room. Tek's catching for the mystical and baffling Dice-K, and Lowrider again holds steady at short. I don't know what to expect from today's game, but I sort of have a stomach ache about it. Hopefully Dice-K can alleviate that a bit. Despite being stuck at work, I'm gonna enjoy the heck out of early baseball... because we're on the west coast starting tomorrow. Yawn!

Win Streak: We Have A Win Streak!

Right now it's at two, this little win streak of ours, thanks to Jon Lester and his magical cutter of doom. It's games like this that make me wish I had a fantastic and unique nickname for Jon Lester because he deserves it, but I just don't. He's "Binky" to me, but I never actually call him that. It's just what he is. I think I've called him that once, maybe twice, but it's usually just Jonny or 'darling' (which, in all fairness, is what I call any player that I enjoy watching). Every time I think I've come up with a nickname I like for him, it fails. As you know, you can't force a nickname, it just has to happen and it's not happening for Jon. Not from me, anyway. But he doesn't need a nickname to go out and pitch six strong innings, allowing one run on six hits and three walks while gathering 5 strikeouts. I think if I were to ask for seven strikeouts, a nickname would be required, so I will happily settle for five. Unfortunately, Jon's bid was just a little tiny bit short from taking his ace card back from Joshua Patrick. Luckily for him, he's got the rest of the season to try again! I really like this whole "Josh and Jon pitching well in April" thing. It's refreshing.

As for the offense, we got some mighty Munchkin magic out of Pedroia yet again. What's that? You said Munchkin went 0-4? Technically that's true. You remember when "Ellsbury" hit that 3-run home run? Yeah, that was Pedroia. Or when Salty hit that 6th inning 2-run double? Also Pedroia. I was watching this episode of NCIS last week (bear with me, this is relevant, I promise!) where the bad guy actually had a life-life silicone mask made out of a vicitm's face so he could parade around pretending to be him. The mask was so realistic that the only way you could tell it was not the real person was by the voice. Did anyone TALK to CRW after that home run? If you had, I guarantee it would be Pedey's voice replying to you. Same deal with Salty. I think that Pedroia is just doing so damn much to keep positive vibes going all throughout the clubhouse that he's taken to drastic measures in order to ensure his team mates get as much love as he's getting. Don't be surprised if David Ortiz shrinks by a foot and a half if he happens to struggle this season. Just saying.

Monday morning conspiracy theories brought to you by my sleep deprived mind. You're welcome.

The boys learned their lesson from the night before when they left 23 men on base, this time only leaving 9. Nine is a number I can deal with. Aside from it being my favorite number (true story), it's only one runner left on base per inning if they're on the road or losing at home and 1.125 base runners per inning when winning at home. Nine is managable, so thanks for that, boys. Also, the team batting average as of right now is .230! That may not seem like something to celebrate, but when it was .190 a week ago, it's worth mentioning. Progress. We like it.

Now.... Crawford. Another 0-4 game yesterday and his batting average seems intent on visiting the .100 line. I know it's not my job to figure this all out for him, but I honestly feel so bad that I wish there was something I COULD do. I don't want to see him struggle, and I know no one else does either. I guess opposing teams such as the Rays probably want to see him struggle, but the rest of us don't. I can't even imagine what kind of a toll this is taking on his confidence. You can see he's trying too hard, and his pressing is making him impatient. How do we fix this, hitting coach Dave Madagan? What can we do to make him the Crawford of old? Someone needs to relocate his locker right next to Pedroia's. Pedey's a pretty inspirational little guy... then again, he's pretty big on the trash talking. That might not be the best thing for Carl right now. So what can we do to fix Crawford before he does irreversible damage to his own psyche? Here's my list of options!
1) Teach him to lean into pitches. Getting on base is a start! A good start! Make sure he wears extra padding.
2) Have David Ortiz hug him and say, "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggonit, people like you," before every Crawford at-bat.
3) Batting practice off Tim Wakefield. Sorry Tim, you know I love you.... so just lob those fastballs in there slowly and let him get a few hits off of you.
4) Have him wear a Rays t-shirt under his jersey. Maybe it'll trick him into thinking it's last year.
5) Make Pedroia a Crawford mask and have him bat as Carl for the week. That way, if Carl can actually SEE himself hitting in a Red Sox uniform, he'll be able to do it. Visualization works!

I doubt any of these options are realistic, so it seems like we're just going to have to wait him out. Keep showering him with love, guys. We want him to do well, and the only way that's going to happen is if he doesn't feel the weight of Red Sox Nation bearing down on him with each at bat. It's all about positive reinforcement. Speaking of which, I'm sure you're all with me in saying, "You can do it, Dice-K! We believe in you!" Even if you don't believe in him, just pretend you do. He's another one of those guys who could use all the confidence he can get. Win number 3 of the streak won't be easy to come by, but it's not impossible. 11:05, first pitch.

And Beckett Makes It Ok Again: Because He Rocks

Even after the mindnumbing 7th inning on Friday, where I was insisting loud enough for anyone to hear that I wouldn't watch the rest of the game... I watched the rest of the game. Actually, I watched all except the top of the 8th. I went and took a shower during the top of the 8th and I felt better. Sometimes, a little hot water is all you need, I guess. What can I say, though? I'm a slave to the Red Sox, and they know I'm always going to come back for more. I'm a baseball addict. It is my nature.

So it is with great pleasure that I can say Josh Beckett rocks. Is there anything in life that Josh can't make me feel better about, merely by throwing a 12 to 6 curve or a 95 mph fastball on the corner? No. There is nothing. In true 'every-other-odd-year' fashion, Josh came out firing on Saturday. Granted, the performance wasn't as good as his Sunday game against the Yankees, but not every game can be THAT good. It was good enough to win Josh his second game of the season, and to afford him the opportunity to turn to Jon Lester and say, "Sorry, I'm taking that ace card back." Did that actually happen? No, but it's fun to pretend, isn't it? So Josh, with his hellfire and brimstone and such, marched out to the mound and didn't come back until he had gone 7 innings of 3-hit, 9 strikeout baseball. The lone run he surrendered, I feel, should not count just on principle alone. Major League Baseball does not agree with me, but I don't care what they think. I've shown before that I'm not above giving imaginary stats to pitchers that I adore.

Also, Lowrider decided at some point that he was going to hit .500 and show Scoots to the bench. It's nothing personal, Marco. We just need some offense, and Jedi is willing to give us some of that, going 3-5 with 2 RBI. Two runs batted in is all Josh needed to continue kicking some bird butt, so.... there's that. Again, Marco, nothing personal, and when this whole mess of a slow start blows over, we're going to welcome you back on the field with open arms (assuming that Jed hits a cold spell). It's all about patience, my friend.

That was pretty much it for highlights. Aside from single RBI's from Ernie and Youk, the offense was still a little sleepy. They're trying to wake up from their long winter's nap, but we all know what it's like to get up from a long nap.... you're groggy, you have no idea what time it is, and you're not sure how you got on the couch. I'm currently operating under the assumption that most of the offense is still on 'not sure how they got on the couch' mode. When they finally shake the cobwebs off, they'll realize that they actually fell asleep on the couch. And by 'the couch,' I mean 'the park'... and by 'fell asleep on,' I mean 'played poorly in.' But you knew that.

My one criticism is the residents of LOB-land. Really, guys? 23 LOB-ers? That's almost a whole team! A team that probably could get a big hit with runners in scoring position! I don't want to focus on the negative when they managed a win, but Dave Madagan? I'm keeping an eye on you, slacker!

And so, Josh Beckett saved my sanity yet again and prepared me to face another day of baseball. Which is good, because there's more happy news to report... in the next post!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Flabbergasted: I... I Just...

This is the first time this season that I actually feel like I need to shut the game off so I don't cry. I keep trying to make sentences, and it's not working so well. I am too emotionally invested in baseball. How is it possible that two off days actually made this team WORSE?

Pedroia is the only non-pitcher who looks like he gives a shit. He can't do it by himself. Someone needs to step up and help him.

I'm trying not to be reactionary, but this one is HURTING ME. Physically hurting me. A game should never cause me literal pain. And sorry, Salty, but you're officially my goat for the season. I thought it was gonna be Lackey or Dice, but it's you. I don't think I am capable of liking you.

I'm hoping this one turns around, but I can't watch it. I'll check back after the game is over and hopefully have to update my post detailing just how wrong I was.

Ernie Follows Dahmer: Latest Sox to Get More Money

The deal that we all already sort of new about has been made official. Adrian Gonzalez has signed a 7-year $154 M contract extension. While this is not really new or shiny news, it's something, and I've been trying to be very good about posting daily. I'm not jumping up and down for joy, but I'm not disgusted with the deal either. We'll see what he can do. Hopefully once he gets really hot, he'll be bedazzling the Monster with baseball-shaped dents. I hope he makes a scorpion on the wall. David Ortiz would be happy, and anything that makes Papi happy makes the world happy.

I don't know about the guys who have to suit up tonight, but I feel pretty refreshed. I've gotten plenty of rest and relaxation, and now I'm ready to face baseball again. I just hope the Sox feel the same. I've been doing well avoiding the gloomy naysayers who want me to give up on the season two weeks in. Are you joking? I waited months for this season. I'm going down with this ship. It's pretty awesome, though, to see around the blogosphere just how many real, passionate Sox fans are also avoiding the media panic. I'd go so far as to say it's delightful. Are you delighted? I'm pretty delighted.

We get another lefty in Brett Cecil tonight. I feel like all opposing pitchers are suddenly lefties. How did that happen, universe? Did you hear me declare that it's gonna be JD's year and decide that you were going to keep him out of action as much as possible? Let the man have his year, universe! Come on! I don't know if he is or isn't in the lineup tonight. My guess is no, but if I'm wrong then cool. Either way, we counter-offer with Dahmer on the mound. I the last time I said I liked our chances with Clay pitching, he got lit up.... so, I'm going to be passionately ambivalent about our chances.

I'm going to go out on a bold limb and predict that the Sox will hit more home runs than the Jays tonight. If they actually do then awesome. My evil plan will have worked. If they don't? Well, shame on them for making one of their devoted fans look like a jerk. Don't make me look like a jerk, guys. I'm plenty capable of doing that all on my own.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rainout: Best Game of The Year

Cause you can't lose a game you don't play!

I'm kidding, obviously. Josh Beckett vs. the Yankees was the best game of the year so far. I'm looking forward to many more magical moments like that.

So now the rotation is in disarray as it has been announced that John Lackey will be skipping his start this week. I don't know what this means for you guys, but for me, it meant that I didn't have to drink on a Wednesday. Instead, I got to go home, cook a nice dinner, and bake brownies (no vodka involved!), and I was able to go to sleep happy. Honestly, I'm never going to complain about not having to watch Lackey pitch, even if it does mean that I have to surrender a day of baseball. As much as I hate missing baseball is as much as I hate watching Lackey.

Nothing against the guy. I'm sure he's delightful as a person... I don't really know... but he does not pitch well. That's putting it nicely. And it bothers me that he doesn't seem to care that he doesn't pitch well, but that's another story for never.

It is a sad commentary, though, on the state of our team when a rainout causes such joy in SoxVille.
All the fans down in SoxVille, the tall and the small,
Were happy and joyous without baseball at all!
Others may puzzle, asking "How could this be so?
There's joy without singles! Joy without walks!
Joy without strikeouts, or curveballs, or balks!"
They would puzzle for hours till their puzzlers were sore,
Then they would think thoughts they hadn't before.
"Maybe those Sox fans don't need that much more!
Perhaps they're still happy from 2004!"
And what happened then? Well, in SoxVille they say,
The others' realized that the game those Sox play
Would benefit so much from skipping Lackey that night
That all other teams should be living in fright.
The rest, they all knew, would unleash such a beast
That those Sox would win games.... 90 at least!

With many, many apologies to Dr. Seuss for that last paragraph. See? When there's no baseball, my mind is left to wander, and then stuff like that happens. I didn't even intend to start writing that, and I apologize that you had to read it. But there. Don't we all feel better about having not seen Lackey pitch last night? I know I do. So, suffer through this baseballlessness for now, because when that beast awakens, it will be worth it. And if you don't believe, well then, you hate Christmas. Or something.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Theo's Chicanery Brought Us Here: And We Believed Every Word He Said

Here's the deal. I like the word chicanery. I feel like I don't get to use it enough, so while it may not be the BEST choice of words, I'm going with it. That's right, I am pushing the bar on words I can use in a baseball post.

Oh, I'm sorry, did you expect me to explain the deal with the Red Sox? Yeah, no, I'm not qualified to do that. My best guess? They can't pitch or hit. Crawford is a mess right now. Someone get that guy a therapist and have him talk out all these problems he's having. Dude, we got you because you could hit and steal bases. When you're doing neither? We sort of get angry. As for Ernie, my excitement was my own mistake. See, I looked at all of his numbers and spray charts, and I fell for the hype. I didn't consider that the pitchers he had all those great numbers off of were NL pitchers. AL pitchers are much different animals. In all fairness, Ernie does have one the higher batting averages on the team, but he's not delivering when we need him to. You know who is? Scutaro. Pretty sure he leads the team with hits w/RISP. I'm not going to look up the numbers because I'll have to see other numbers that will make me sad, and I am not making myself sad for you, internet world. Sorry.

You want a silver lining in this shit storm that the Red Sox season is turning into? Jon Lester has logged his second quality start of the year, going seven innings yet again and only giving up three runs. Of course it would have been nice if he hadn't given up ANY runs, or if he hadn't given up so many hits, but I'll take the little tidbit of hope and cover my eyes with it tonight when John Lackey goes out and gets another undeserved win.

I'm just sick of this. Guys, if you don't have it in you to win, stop trying. Honestly. If you're always going to be one (or nine) runs short, just don't put in the effort at all. Let the other team pitch perfect games off of us. Don't swing the bats. Don't field anything. Let them run up the score. Really, why not? If you're just going to lose anyway, at least let us sit back and say 'at least they're not trying. If they tried, they'd win.' I could definitely fool myself like that. Because this trying and losing thing? It's sad. It's not enjoyable to think that your team that is as stacked as the Red Sox really does suck (Pedroia excluded, obviously). Four series into the season, and they're still playing like it's February. What is it gonna take to wake this team up? I cannot, CANNOT survive watching this team play this badly for another 151 games. I can't. It will kill me. Something's got to give.

At the very least, they need to find more entertaining, less stress inducing ways to lose. I'm with you all the way, boys, but damnit, stop trying to kill me!

To quote the Foo Fighters, "Hey, don't go and turn the other way. Don't say there's nothing more to say." You can take away from that what you will. Or you can go buy the new Foo Fighters album and pretend it's 1998 with me again. Why 1998? I don't know. I mentally put every year that Lackey was not on my team in an imaginary hat, and I drew 1998, so there you go. I'm going to get myself a prescription for heart pills and I'll see you all at 7:10... or whenever I'm brave enough to come out from under my bed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dice-K: Exactly What I Expected

I don't want to write about last night's game. I don't want to think about it either. It was ugly, and I hated it.

That being said, the next time Dice-K pitches, I'm just going to track the game on GameDay (instead of actually watching the carnage) and sit in a corner chewing on a bag of nails. I think you can all agree that this is a far less painful activity than watching Dice pretend he knows how to pitch.

On to Lester, he of the imaginary 1-0 record!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Uh, Congratulations, I Guess: Varitek Proposes To Girlfriend

Let's not pretend for a second here that I'm not seething with jealousy, because I am. Varitek proposed to his girlfriend Catherine Alphabet (obviously not her real last name), followed by a suprise party at Remy's Sports Bar. Not exactly the most romantic place for a suprise engagement party, but that's fine.

Despite my overwhelming jealousy and the little voice in my head that keeps saying, "But why can't he just get back together with Karen?", I wish Jason the best. I hope this one can work out, because Jason isn't going to be in baseball forever and he needs something nice to come home to.

So, yeah. Good luck and much happiness, Tek. Now that that's settled, let's go back to hitting some baseballs, huh?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beckett: Pitching Against the Yankees Right Now!

One of my 500 Beckett pictures... I sort of chose randomly.

Here we are, half way through the rubber game, and I haven't broken my TV yet. I'm not entirely happy with how this is going. We had that play with Youk at second that sort of gave me heartburn. Luckily, Cameron was able to still get the one run across, so I didn't have to vomit blood. So far, though, they've stranded EIGHT RUNNERS. I've had about enough of this nonsense, so I'd like to see them cut the shit. I know they're trying, but I think I need them to try a little bit harder.

My favorite picture of Pedroia, spring training 2008

As I was writing, Pedroia got his third hit of the night. Pay attention, everyone else on the team. Munchkin is showing you how to do it. Now, try it yourselves please. Ernie got whacked pretty good on the left hand by a rogue Fatass pitch. His pinky is swelling a bit, but I'm really hoping that it's not going to cause any problems for him. We need him to get into a rhythm, and I'd like him to stay off the DL.

Bases are loaded in the sixth. Sabathia is at 118 pitches, and Youk is coming up. They're changing pitchers, so maybe Youk can actually, I don't know, hit? I should just call him .125 like I was doing at the park yesterday. Everyone was being heckled by their batting averages. Time for .125 to wake up. Edit... seriously, Youk... f*n enough. I'm beginning to hate you again. Maybe instead of .125, I should just call you by your rightful name... rally killer.

As for Josh... well, let's say that I haven't been yelling TOO much at him. With one out in the top of the 7th, he's at 90 pitches and he's got a sick curveball going tonight. He just struck out Granderson and got Swisher to ground to Pedroia, still under 100 pitches.

I guess I'm sort of turning this into a live blog... that wasn't really my intention, but if it works, it works. I'm finding myself not hating ESPN as much now that Joe Morgan is gone. I would still much rather listen to Remy and Don, but I know very well that it could be worse.

Bottom 7th, Tek just singled to load the bases with one out. This is Tek's first hit of the season, and I literally threw my hands up in the air and shouted 'woo!', startling my cat. Holy cow, Scutaro just hit a double! Insurance runs! It's nice to see guys who previously couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat click in, even if it's only for this inning. Scoots' hit sort of broke up the tedium of watching our guys do nothing with runners in scoring position, so, thanks, Marco. I'll never complain about someone knocking Flyswatter out of the game. 3-0 Sox! Hooray! And, of course, Ernie just blew a bases-loaded two-out situation by swinging at the first pitch. See? That's why I tell you guys not to do that!

Alright, top of the 8th... Beckett's got a little bit of breathing room now, but I'm hoping that doesn't make him complaicent... though Bard, Jenks, and Paps didn't pitch yesterday, so they should all be available. He's still got that pretty curve going, which I appreciate. Ok, so I blinked and the inning was over, with Josh now just over 100 pitches. In the last three innings, he's thrown 9 pitches, 8 pitches, and 8 pitches. Wow. This is the Beckett I fell in love with. Nice to see he still has it, even if it's not consistent.

Bottom of the 8th.... Youk re-introduces himself to first base. Maybe they just aren't really on speaking terms right now, but I'm hoping they can put their differences aside and resume regular visitation. I know I'm picking on him a lot, despite the one hit and two walks, but I'm allowed to do that. Oh my, Papi just hit one so hard, I think the bat cried. It went to the deepest part of the park, just barely missed a home run. He got himself an RBI double, though... 4-0 Sox. THAT'S what I like to see, Large Father. CRW is pinch running for Papi with Cam at bat. He bunts, moves CRW over to 3rd with one out and Drew up. JD pops out to the 1B, and *squee*, my Jason is up. Tek strikes up, but my love for him does not fade even a bit. The Sox have 12 hits in this game.

Heading to the top of the 9th, Beckett is done, and what a game he pitched. Paps is coming out to close, though it's not a save situation. The final line on Beckett was 8 IP, 2H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K, 103 pitches. You literally cannot ask for a better start from Josh. You can't even ask. You're not going to get it.

Paps gets out number one, striking out Gardner on a close outside pitch. Jeter grounds to Munchkin on one pitch. Tex strikes out, and is pissed. Who cares! 2 out of 3 aint bad, boys! What a game! See you all tomorrow!

Dahmer: Extended

I have no pictures of Clay Buchholz. I just spent the last hour going through every folder of baseball pictures I've ever taken, and I cannot find a single picture. I have roughly two thousand pictures of Jon Lester, and probably about five hundred of Josh Beckett, but not a single picture of Clay to open this post with. I have no idea how that happened. The only picture I have with an image of Clay is the picture I took off the new HD video board at Fenway yesterday, so if you want to see what he looks like, just scroll down a little. That's the best I can do for you.

Theo makes me laugh. He always signs players (mostly pitchers) to contract extensions after they pitched horribly. I say always, but really, I think it was only Beckett. Anyway, Dahmer signed a four-year, $30 M+ contract extension, guaranteeing that our rotation will include Beckett, Dahmer, Lester, Dice-K, and Lackey forever. I'm not going to complain. Dahmer's really been winning me over slowly over the last few seasons. I think it's a good move, and I congratulate Clay for earning enough respect from the organization to garner such a contract. I just wish he had pitched like he deserved it on Saturday... oh well, there's always next time!

Saturday Stomping: Red Sox Lose Again

My opening day, April 9, 2011

Well... that was not exactly what I hoped for when I arrived at Fenway Park yesterday. Clay Buchholz vs. Ivan Nova, I figured we had a pretty good shot at this. Me, my mom, and my friend Amy felt good after the win the day before. The weather was gorgeous, and the air was thick with the smells of sausage vendors on Landsdown St. We were seated in the right field upper box section, and the view was pretty good. I'd like to thank everyone who sat in my row yesterday. I've almost never had a row where I was not asked to get up once. Not once! It was so very appreciated, so thank you, everyone in my row. You were awesome. I loved you.

I know we lost. We got pounded pretty solidly, but it was just so wonderful to get to go home again and to see the sun shine, that I walked out of the park feeling like we had won. There were almost no obnoxious fans around us. We witnessed a proposal. I didn't have to deal with the stupidity of the wave. I couldn't have asked for more, really. I was a little upset to discover that the bullpen now walks from the dugout to the pen to western music. I guess I can understand. They haven't really been the pirates since Timlin left, so it was probably time for a new identity. I will do my best to embrace the wild west bullpen.

The last picture my camera would take... the whole thing just died after this.

Again, Pedroia was the sparkplug, collecting three hits and two of the Sox's four RBIs. With no production from Ells (0-4), Ernie (0-4), and Papi (0-5), we were kind of left for dead. Drew seemed to be on base all day, though he did have one at-bat where he didn't get on (he was 1-2 with a walk and a HBP). Big year for Drew, I'm telling you. There wasn't a lot to cheer for here, but what we did have, we cheered heartily. At least I did. The people around us seemed to be enjoying those rare moments, too. Despite having ten hits, we could only muster four runs.

Dahmer, Doubront, and Aceves were all kind of train wrecks. The one bright spot in the pitching staff for the day was Timmy Wakefield, going two innings and not allowing a single hit. It's always nice to see Tim pitch well. After all the home runs the Yankees were hitting off of us, it was nice to have Tim stop the bleeding (as strange as that sounds).

All in all, it was a good day. I wish I had more pictures to share, since I am oddly motivated to add pictures to my posts today, but my camera (God rest it's little electronic soul) just died. The batteries didn't die, the camera did. That camera provided me with six years of baseball pictures and I will remember it fondly. Thanks for all your help, little buddy.

Almost caught up! Two more posts to go!.... then again, some of that might have to wait till tomorrow. My hands are getting tired...

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: Manny Retires

Manny in spring training, 2008

It ends like this? It has to end so disgracefully? I guess there's no other way it could end. I'd given thought a few times in the past about how Manny would go out. I sort of assumed he'd retire during a mid-season at-bat with a 2-0 count. He'd call for a time out, turn to the ump, hand his bat over and say "I'm done, man," then he would just walk off the field and jump into a car and we'd never hear from him again. That would be a fitting end for the career of Manny, and it would have been an end I could enjoy.

I'm not enjoying this. Hearing that he retired after being notified of another problem with a drug test, well, it doesn't surprise me, but it does break my heart. It's become pretty fashionable to hate Manny. I understand that people have issues with the way he left town, and I can't tell anyone they're wrong for how they feel about the guy. While I was very hurt with Manny leaving town, I never hated him and I never stopped rooting for him. I couldn't. I fell in love with that swing the first time I ever saw it. I watched that man either contribute to so many wonderful moments, or provide his very own wonderful moments for years. He was on two World Series champion teams, and I can't forget that, but that swing... man, it was just beautiful.

Manny hitting his 500th HR (Baltimore, MD)

I'm so disappointed in him testing positive again, if that is indeed the case, because he was obviously so arrogant to think that he wasn't going to get caught. I don't know. I just don't know what to say about Manny. I think I'm going to have to bury my head in the sand and ignore the talk of juicing just so I can continue to enjoy my memories of Manny. He made me happy in his time with the Sox, and that's more than I can say about so many other players. When I'd see him come to the plate, I'd smile... and I am keeping that with me. Others can hate him for all the stupid things he's done. I'll never convince those who don't like him to like him, and I don't even want to. You don't have to like him. I do, and I'm sad to see him go.

So, this is goodbye, Manny. You broke my heart again, but I still hate to see you leave this way.

John Lackey: Donating Wins To Better Pitchers

As I said in my Friday post, when John Lackey got the win, I had every intention of taking that W away from him and assigning it to Lester. So of course, Lackey pitched another shitty game and ended up with the win. Congrats to Jon Lester for his first win of the season. Nope, no love for Lackey here.

What a game, though. As Pedroia goes, so go the Sox. Is Pedroia incredible or what? A home run on opening day for what, the third year in a row? Nuts. Just nuts. It felt like he was on base every time up. Someone said to me that they need to bat Pedroia twice in every inning. I can't say that I disagree, and would happily take the extra outs to get Pedey more at bats. 3-for-5 with three RBI, providing the spark that the team needs. Despite 0-fers from Crawford, Youk, and Scoots, we still put nine runs up on the board. We also got some pretty awesome pitching out of Jenks, Bard, and Paps, which makes me more than happy. Again, Lackey sucked. No need to sugar coat it, but I might harp on it a little.

There's nothing like coming home, folks. Fenway, that beautiful green beast that greets me on the Mass Pike every day, is just... I can't explain it. It's got it's problems, for sure, but I love it. It seems to make everything better, doesn't it? I just don't know if I could love another park the way I love Fenway.

So the Sox have gotten their first win out of the way, but that one little win has made me feel like we're 7-0 instead of 1-6. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to write next about the loss on Saturday which I was fortunate enough to attend (that wasn't sarcasm, by the way). I've got so much to write about! Usually, I only blog Mon-Fri, but there's so much going on that I needed to start today. Ok, on to my Manny post. I'll see you back here in a few minutes....

Friday, April 8, 2011

Reyes: Shouldn't Have Gotten A Bullpen Spot To Begin With

Finally getting around to reading some news bits today, it seems the Sox have designated Dennys Reyes for assignment, which comes as a surprise to nearly no one. Fact is, the way they were playing, and as badly as Reyes pitched, something probably needed to change. The Sox called up Felix Doubront. I am seriously rooting for Doubront. I like the kid.

Also, Matt Albers has been placed on the 15-day DL with a sore lat muscle, clearing up ANOTHER roster spot (cause let's face it, our bullpen was already tiring out) for Alfredo Aceves, setting up the possibility that he'll get to face his former team today. I didn't realize Albers hurt himself, but what I recall seeing from Aceves this spring makes me think this may work out for us. Who knows?

Contrary to the way it is in my world, Gonzalez and Papi are not back-to-back in the lineup. I should have expected that Youk would be sandwiched in between the two, but I guess I was just being hopeful. Crawford gets the leadoff spot today. Ellsbury is dropped to eighth in the order.

Now back I go, to continue my search for pre-game ceremony info. I just want to know who's throwing out the first pitch is all...

Jon Lester: My Bright Light Shining In The Darkness

Forgive me for my momentary lapse of sanity yesterday. I just needed to let all my pent up frustrations out. I'm back to normal now, I swear.

Now I can look back on the game and pile heaps and heaps (but not too many heaps) of praise upon Jon Lester for pitching what may be his first good game in April ever! I'm incredibly proud of him. Not only did Jon go longer than any other starter thus far (7 IP), he gave up fewer runs (ZERO!), amassed more strikeouts (9!) and allowed fewer hits (3!) than any other starter. Jon made me very proud. Actually, it was a pretty good game. Games like this generally leave me with a feeling of 'it's ok because they did their best.' When they're in a six game losing streak, however, my perspective isn't always there. I'll take it as a step forward towards putting the whole puzzle together.

Apologies to Daniel Bard. It wasn't really you, Daniel, who put me in such a foul mood. But now that your face has been ripped off, your brain washed, and your face put back on, I feel like you should be good to go. Everyone just needs a 'reset' once in a while, and what better way to do that than brainwashing? Daniel won't remember any of this ever happened. To reiterate.... I love Daniel Bard. But I love winning more.

Oh, Ronald. Oversliding the bag? Just one more reminder of the complete team-wide ineptitude we've been experiencing lately. I'm sort of glad we're getting all these brain cramps out of the way now. Just imagine what it'll be like when the Sox win 20 in a row and commit no errors. It'll be fantastic! But the mistake, Ronald, is forgiven. The fact is that is Opening Day, and we as a group are able to forgive all transgressions on this day.... except for anything Lugo ever did. I'm still holding that against him.

So I am going to use the technique of 'selective memory' and attribute a W to Jon's great performance. When Lackey wins tonight, I'm going to mentally give him a ND, and Jon can have his W. Cause let's face it, when Lackey wins, he's not going to deserve it. Chances are, it'll be Gonzalez and Papi hitting back to back home runs (in my world, they're batting back to back. I don't know how it is in the real world. I didn't check yet) every time through the lineup. I see Red Sox home runs, smiles, and happy choruses of Sweet Caroline. It's the home opener, people! I drive by Fenway on my way to and from work, and it just FELT magical this morning. It filled me with a sense of 'goodness, this is all going to be just fine.' I believe. Yes, Dustin Pedroia, I've been two-feet in since the start. At 2:05, we're officially home again.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

&^*%&&*&(*@#&#*&@*!^: Cannot Stop Swearing

When I get my head together, I will post a cohesive review of the game. It will be both positive and encouraging for the Red Sox, and it will show that I know not to let a little thing like their 0-6 record make me irrational. But for now? For now, I want to rip Daniel Bard's face off with my bare hands. I can't help it. I'm angry. Just give me till tomorrow to calm down, and I'll be back to sunshine and happiness, I promise.

Sox Drop 5th Game: Still, I Keep The Faith

Dice could have been Josh Beckett out there last night. Five innings and three runs, with a pitch count of roughly one thousand. No, it wasn't a good game and no, the Sox are not fun to watch right now. Just because watching our batters flail at pitches they shouldn't be swinging at, or staring at strike three and then being surprised that they struck out hasn't been ANY fun does not mean that I'm quitting on this team. On the contrary. I'm a Red Sox fan! If there's anything I'm used to, it's pain and disappointment! We have been through worse and come out of it pretty well. Hang tough, folks! It'll get better!

And if it doesn't, it'll be hilarious, so just enjoy the ride. We didn't wait through five months and twenty feet of snow to quit on our baseball team one week into the season, did we? Absolutely not. What we need to do is stand and cheer with all our might, and give the boys a little confidence. We still believe in them, and maybe they just need to hear it. Yeah, of course the idea of having to give multi-millionaires who play a child's game for a living some positive reinforcement is a little silly, but I'm willing to play along. Also, I acknowledge that this 'positive reinforcement' plan might not work while they're in Cleveland, but it'll be perfect for the home opener. Besides, Fenway Opening Day is a new season in itself.... everything that happened before doesn't matter, because that dirty water is going to make everything feel brand new. Someone cue up the Rally Karaoke Guy video, because nothing says 'keep the faith' like a little dose of Millar! Just hang in there, everyone. It'll be ok!

Now that I've gotten my pep rally speech over with... the game. Oh, it was pretty maddening. A word of advice. Don't watch Dice-K pitch while you have food poisoning. The combination is like a knife in your stomach. Still, it could have been worse. Then we got Reyes. I don't know what happened with him. I don't really know much about him, to be honest, but hitting the first two batters and walking the third in a game where we are already losing generally isn't going to make anyone a fan. Dan Wheeler kind of got the punishment for that, having to come into a bases-loaded, no-out situation in a game where your entire fanbase and your team is already uptight. I don't envy him, that's for sure.

A quick comment on the Tek blunder, just for the sake of fairness.... it was stupid, and I expect a lot better from Jason, but in the end, it really didn't make a difference. And yes, I am making excuses for him because he's my favorite player and I'm allowed to do that.

On the other side of it, how about a hand for Wakey, pitching a beautiful 1-2-3, 9 pitch 7th inning. Sure, he gave up a run in the 8th, but it doesn't matter. We weren't going to score any more anyway. The team as a whole, according to my math which is probably incredibly wrong, is batting a measly .140 for the year. If you take out Gonzalez's numbers, we're down to .127. Twenty-four hits in five games. Ugly. Just ugly. Though, now that I'm looking closer, I don't think the numbers have been updated to reflect last night's game... but I promise, it's not much prettier even if you do include last night.

So now, we're back to the top of the rotation. Jon Lester gets a second try to bring home a W against Fausto Carmona. Listen, we can't change the first five games, but if Jon and the boys manage a win tonight, we'll finally get to feel good about this team before heading home. Go get 'em, Jon. I'll be watching.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Annoyed: Not Panicked.

While I maintain my state of calm, I try to remind myself that four games doesn't mean anything. Two more games and it becomes comical. I don't want it to come to that, but if they DO lose the next two, they better lose every single game this season, so at least I can have a laugh about it.

If anyone associated with the Red Sox is reading this.... that was a joke. Don't actually lose every game this season. There will be rioting.

No, Beckett wasn't the Beckett we wanted him to be. He had his dreaded fourth inning, as has been his usual, and he couldn't hold a one run lead, nor could he pitch past the fifth inning. It drives me crazy when he cruises along through the first two innings looking unstoppable, and then throws forty pitches in the fourth. What is it about that fourth inning that makes him suck? Why can't he pitch well after three innings? Does he REALLY have to throw a hundred pitches before ever sniffing the sixth?! Does he?!? Yeah, I guess so. The only plus side is that he didn't surrender a single home run. Does that make me feel better about yet another loss? Nope. Not even a little bit, but it's a positive, so I'll hold on to it.

More concerning than the fact that Josh decided to keep up his pattern of suck rather than kicking some ass is the fact that we scored one run off of the Indians. It's not spring training anymore (or so I've been told... sure feels like it) boys. Time to wake up. There's far too much talent in this team for you all to be playing this badly. Come on. Pull it together. I only have so much hair left of my head, and with my temper, it'll be gone by the end of the week. I'd really like to keep some hair, if it's all the same.

So, Dice-K, Red Sox Nation turns their sad, lonely eyes to you. Help? Please?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Josh Beckett: The Pitcher Starting Tonight

I logged into Blogger with my mind completely set on writing a post about Beckett before his highly anticipated* first start of the season. I've been reading assorted articles on Josh all day and pouring over stats from every time he's ever thrown a baseball, and... you know what? I've got nothing to write. Well, nothing that hasn't already been written a hundred times. Beckett needs to be the savior. We're all depending on Beckett. How is Josh going to fare this season? What happened to the firebreathing Texan that we so happily cheered for in 2007? I don't know, and I have no new insight either. Short answers, of course, are injuries and location issues, neither of which I'm qualified to speak on. So there you go. I've got nothing on Josh. Still, however, I'm immensely excited about his debut tonight. Josh is the ONLY pitcher I get angry at for pitching well. If he strikes out the side on twelve pitches, I'm angry that it didn't take him nine. If he goes 8 scoreless, I think he should have gone 8 perfect. It's never good enough for me, but man, I sure enjoy it. Despite a few subpar years, I hold him to a pretty high standard. Why? I have no justification. I don't know, perhaps I like getting all riled up every five days, but watching Beckett pitch always brings the devil out of me, and I enjoy it. So while I love Jon Lester, I despise Josh Beckett in the best way possible. Trust me, I'm ridiculous to watch a Beckett game with. The only person more critical of Beckett is probably Josh himself. I know that doesn't come through in the blog, but I like to tidy up my affections for certain players when writing about them. Less confusing that way.

*I don't speak for anyone else, but I am highly anticipating it, and that's what counts.

So, that being said, I need to make sure it's clear that no matter how well or poorly he pitches, and no matter how annoyed I get with him, I still enjoy watching Beckett pitch. When he's good, there's nothing I love more than his fastball. When he's bad, at least I get to vent. I'm hoping for more good this year than bad, but ultimately, that falls on Josh. We'll see. If he fails tonight, he'll be in good company with the rest of the rotation (sans Dice-K), albeit he'll have fallen to a much worse team. Either way.... staying positive this year!

So what can I write about? I can write about how the Bruins ALSO lost to the Rangers... but I'm not much of a hockey fan. I can comment how utterly disappointed I am in Mike Vrabel, whom I once loved dearly, getting arrested for theft at a casino. I hope it is the misunderstanding that he says it is, and for now, I'm inclined to believe him because I want to.

I could comment on Ducky and his comments about Lou Piniella, but really, what could I say? Kevin is retired now, and so is Lou. It's mentionable only for the fact that I'm specifically looking for items to mention. There. I've done it. So really, I've got nothing. Sometimes (err... all the time), I just got to let myself ramble a little. Mission accomplished! Now, on to the game.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Off Day: Day To Lick Our Wounds

Welcome to baseball season, everyone! I'm going to make a giant assumption here and say that no one was pleased with the way things unfolded in Texas. Our starters surrendured more home runs than they collected strikeouts. Yes, it was 6 K's to 9 HRs allowed for our three starters. You can rest assured that I was swearing my face off yesterday. The whole face. Came right off. It was pretty horrible.

Despite all that, I'm not too heartbroken. This is the team that lost ten straight spring training games. They set me up with low expectations right from the start, so no, I'm not surprised that they got swept in Texas. I love Jon Lester with so much of my heart, but I don't know if he's EVER had a good April game. I want to say he's had maybe one. That could be a stretch. The fact that he pitched poorly in April is not surprising. Really, he kept it kind of close. I'm not justifying his bad pitching, but he left the game with only a one-run deficit. The thing that concerned me was the lack of strikeouts and the home runs, but fine. I'll forgive that. Daniel Bard was the goat in this one. I love Daniel. I think he's got insane talent. He had a bad game. The odds of Jon and Daniel both having a bad game on the same night again are slim. No concerns there.

I don't like John Lackey. I make no secret about that. I have no confidence in the guy. I don't even enjoy watching games that he pitches. That being said, I didn't expect a win anyway, so how could I be disappointed with the results when I expected the results? Do I think he'll get better? No, but it doesn't make a difference. What does make a difference? Allowing a F***ING GRAND SLAM to BELTRE. That, dear friends, is not ok. That is what I'm going to be bitter about until I get more baseball tomorrow.

Dahmer... well, I guess I'll write this off as he's young, and there's a bit of regression to be expected from his great season last year. He pitched better than Jon or John. He went deeper into the game, which was good because our bullpen is going to be exhausted by the end of the month if our starters can't count to seven. Dahmer gave up a few too many home runs, but by that point, who on our staff hadn't? I am not worried about Clay. Not in the slightest. Papelbon, sure. I worry, but I'm not going to agonize over it.

Take some positives away from this series: 1) Papi is hitting 2) Adrian is hitting 3) CRW is getting on base, and stealing bases 4) Crawford got his first hit out of the way 5) Varitek is still on the bench, so if Salty decides to never get a hit, at least we've got that option.

I saw a lot I liked out of the team in these three games. Sure, the results weren't what we wanted, but I felt good about it. For the pitchers, their location just wasn't there, but there were moments that we can walk away happy with. Now, before this post starts to sound TOO much like a Beckett post-game conference, I'm just going to wrap it up.

And I'll be laughing tomorrow when Beckett goes 8 innings and gives up no runs. Hey, it's called optimism! Beckett vs. Tomlin, 7:05 tomorrow.