Thursday, June 30, 2011

Half-assed Live Blogging: Hoping For Some Magic

The intent was, obviously, to live blog this game for the sake of doing it. I looked at the lineups, and I'm not so sure I want to continue. Youkilis is out with an injured ankle. McDonald is batting second, Pedroia's batting fourth, Tek is batting fifth, and Sutton is somehow in the lineup. Suffice it to say... I miss Crawford, and I miss having Papi in the lineup. Let's hope these nine make me eat my words.

Word coming out right now is that Mike Cameron was designated for assignment, and Yamaico Navarro is being bused in from Pawtucket as we speak. It's sad, because I liked Cameron enough, but it was time. We were getting nothing from him. Good luck, Mike!
Ok, first pitch. Let's go before I start internet shopping. I almost just bought a new pair of heels, but at some point in everyone's lives, they need to stop and ask themselves "Just how many zebra print heels do I need?"
First inning! Alright! Here we go! Ells gets on and then..... ugh, F**K you, Ronald. You're horrible. That pitch was right down the middle. At least have the decency to strike out and stop dragging everyone down with you. Sometimes I hate you guys. Hopefully Lester is better than you three.

Bottom first! Nice work, Jonny. I felt like you were wasting a few pitches there, but who am I to argue with results? Now you've set a precedent, and I'll know if you're not trying as hard. Just saying.
Second inning! Man, you guys are going to have to do something, because I cannot keep up this faux enthusiasm all afternoon while you fail at everything. Right now, Sutton and Ernie are tied for the 'Taking the Most Pitches' award. There's no prize. Everyone should want to win, though.

Bottom second! Ok, WHO gave Lester permission to walk anyone? Cause I sure as heck didn't! I can't see Jon's reaction, because I'm GameDaying this, but I'm pretty sure he scowled at the result of his second pitch to Ibanez. It was very strikey. So is Ibanez. Out.
Third inning! I swear, if you guys don't muster up something, I'm ditching the exclamation points for the next half inning. That is a threat. Fine, you guys obviously don't love my enthusiasm. It's gone. I'm pouting from now on.

Bottom third. Christ, Jon, he's the pitcher! You can throw him strikes! He threw YOU strikes! Ball one to Jimmy Rollins? CLEARLY a strike, ump. But it doesn't matter. He got them anyway. Perhaps I'll give Jon the enthusiasm back. He seems to be the only one to appreciate it! (<--- see? Enthusiasm! Well earned!)
Fourth inning (<--- no enthusiasm. Also well earned). Really, Ronald? Ugh. These are not productive at-bats, gentleman! You might want to take your heads out of your asses and do something. What say you, Munchkin? You say no? Well, I hate you, too.

Bottom fourth! Come on Jon, I hate the rest of your team mates... what? Yes, I am aware I come off as a very angry person. That's not MY fault. It's sort of all you guys' fault. Guess you all know what you need to do to change my outlook on the world, huh? Have I ever mentioned that I disapprove of the shape of Placido Polanco's head? I do. It's a troubling shape. One thing I can say about the home plate ump... he is consistent in missing the bottom of the strike zone. I'd like to know where he thinks that thing ends. Ok.... now I'm really angry. Chase Utley, consider yourself hated. Forever. And Jim Wolf, Mr. Home Plate Umpire, someone needs to explain to you how a strike zone works. You've effectively took away the bottom third of the strike zone from Jon. I blame you for all the failure. And there's a lot of failure going on.
Fifth inning. Is it offensive to say that the Sox couldn't get two hits if they were locked in a room with an angry Ike Turner? Is that reference too outdated? I need to get up-to-date with my pop culture references, guys. Ok, failures. Hammels is coming out of the game, presumably with an injury. It's about freakin' time to make the Philly bullpen pay. DO. SOMETHING. USEFUL!

Ok, Tek, taking eight pitches after the starter comes out doesn't count as useful. Nice try, though. You've supplanted Sutton and Ernie as the leader in the "Taking The Most Pitches" award. REDDICKULOUS! You tripled! I am so proud of you! How's third base? Maybe you can come home and then tell your teammates tales of how amazing and beautiful the view from third is, and perhaps it will inspire them to visit third themselves. Maybe? Ok, Sutton. That was useful. I get it. I need to say mean, disparaging things about you guys more often because you are constantly hell-bent on proving me wrong. Great. Keep proving me wrong. I like when you do that. Though, I would have liked it better if you had gotten consecutive hits and runs while Lester had his no-no going. I guess I can't be that picky.

I'm not making promises, but it looks like I'll be handing out cookies after the game after all. Reddick, I hope you like chocolate chip. And Ronald? I hope you don't need your spine for anything. 2-0 Sox.

Bottom fifth! Now we have actual runs, so I can be slightly enthusiastic again! I continue to love Jon Lester, though that pitch count is getting a little high, darling. Keep it in mind for the next inning. Thanks.
Top sixth! Jason, my love! Did you hit that home run to shut me up? It worked. I am full of joy again, and it's all thanks to you. Nothing else in this half inning matters. It's all about your home run, darling.

Bottom sixth! Jon Lester keeps rolling. I feel like he took my advice with that whole pitch count thing. Hey Beckett? Lackey? I hope you two are paying attention.
Top seventh! I love you, Jon Lester, but I'm glad you don't have to bat for us regularly. Um, Tito... not that I'm complaining about Ronald coming out of the game, but when you have someone who obviously doesn't want to play as much as Drew does, why bother to pinch-hit him? He could have just been a defensive replacement. But fine, let him one-pitch-rally-kill again. Far be it for me to question your decisions.

Bottom seventh! Ok, up over 100 pitches now and allowing a single to Howard? Please stop that. Keep it at two hits. I'd like to update my post about Tek's no, one, and two hitters, and I can't do that unless you stop it. Again, Mr. Wolf decides that he doesn't like calling that many strikes for Jon. Sure, it looked like a close pitch, but it WAS a strike. And on his 120th pitch, Lester struck out Raul Ibanez to end the biggest threat the Phillies had going for them to this point. I can't imagine that he'll be back out for the eight. That would be stupid, Tito.
Top eighth! Munchkin finally breaks out of his slump and homers! Two home runs in one game? My God, I don't even know what to make of this, but I like it.... TEK! Again! Oh my, I didn't think I could love you any more than I already did, but a two home run game has exponentially increased my love for all things Jason. Limited playing time does wonders for my darling. Just for the record, I would willingly take more half-innings like that any day.

So, I wrote out the rest of the game, but Blogger decided to Jenks it up and it is no longer here. I have no desire to rehash the Jenksing, so all you need to know is that Bobby was horrible, Lester got the win, and Paps made a save. All in all, a pretty good Thursday!

No Cookies For Anyone: Just Bruised Spines

I'm not updating the cookie chart. I didn't want to update it for the Padres series either, but in this case, there's no point. Despite the results of this afternoon's game, I'm giving two spine punches to everyone on the team. The only cookies are going to Tek, because my friend and I decided that he has to be suffering, knowing there's nothing he can do to stop this disaster theater. Yep. I'm claiming that Tek is the victim here. Tek and all the rest of us.

I'm not sure what's with this team. I feel like I've written a hundred posts just like this so far this season. They're streaky. I understand that baseball players tend to be somewhat streaky in general, but how is it that they're constantly streaking well or poorly at the same time? There's got to be some crazy voodoo involved in all of this. It wasn't bothering me so much before, and I was doing my best to find positives from the shitshow, but now it's just irritating. They're burying themselves. We are suddenly facing a 2.5 game deficit in our division.... and if they think I'm going to tolerate the Yankees being ahead of us this season, when we so clearly have the better all-around team, they are absolutely wrong. There will be smiting. So much smiting.

So let's analyze last night's game together, shall we? The Sox managed five hits off of Worley. Only one of them, John Lackey's RBI double (?!) went for extra bases. Ronald McDonald had a double off of Lee the night before. Salty had a double on Sunday. In the last three games, we have a total of three extra base hits, and none of them are better than a double. We can't use the excuse that Papi wasn't in the lineup last night. I'm not sure what excuse we CAN use. It seems that the outfield is a huge talent destroyer. Once we put someone in the outfield, they become useless... Adrian Gonzalez. Just saying. Though it's nice to see that he didn't shrivel into broken dust the minute he stepped onto the grass. So that was nice.

Lackey may have helped his own cause with the RBI, but then he detrimentally allowed the winning run to score two innings later. Was it worth it to get our hopes up, John? Was it? You just love to crush our hopes and dreams, don't you? Thanks for that. You pitched just well enough to lose, and you made kittens cry. Well done.

I don't know. I don't enjoy the way they're playing right now. I honestly hope that the upcoming hot streak will be worth the disappointing interleague play. I have to believe there's a hot streak coming, because that's their pattern, and they've programmed me to be expecting it. Can Crawford come back now, please?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Oh Bud Selig: Commissioner Complains About Dodgers

Really, Bud Selig? Do you really believe that you are in ANY position to complain about anyone acting outside of baseball's best interests? It smells a little hypocritical.

Apparently, Buddy isn't too happy about Frank McCourt filing for bankruptcy. He was, presumably, offended and hurt emotionally at the thought that the McCourts could be running the Dodgers into the ground. So what does he do? He releases a statement to whine publicly, JUST so Frank McCourt knows he's unhappy. From the article:

"We have consistently communicated to Mr. McCourt that any potential solution to his problems that contemplates mortgaging the future of the Dodgers franchise to the long-term detriment of the club, its loyal fans and the game of Baseball would not be acceptable."
Oh Bud. Long-term detriment to the game of baseball? I guess you know all about that. What about that whole steroid thing? It was pretty big news, and just about everyone knew about it.... except you? You want me to believe that? Ok.

How about how in the age of technology, you have limited access to all clips of anything MLB related to the ridiculously slow, which no one wants to go to? All the kids are on YouTube, Bud. You would think that you'd want them to see clips of great moments in baseball history in the hopes that at least a few of them would want to pick a team and follow along. No? Fine.

What about suspending game 5 of the 2008 World Series because you apparently can't figure out how to get someone to track the weather? Wasn't that pretty detrimental to the game of baseball? You know, holding off the most important moment of the baseball season because heaven forbid Fox doesn't get a baseball game that night? Oh, I know it makes good business sense, but definitely not good baseball sense. If you can change the date and time of any other MLB game for any reason at any time, that should apply to the playoffs. Who wants to sit in the rain to watch the World Series? On the east coast? IN OCTOBER?! Do you know how cold the rain on the east coast is in October?! No? Alright.

Should we even get into the 2002 All Star Game and the havoc caused by that? Because I'm not so sure we want to get into it.

And if you want me to get irrational, we could always discuss Buddy-boy's refusal to overturn the bad call on Armando Galarraga's perfect game. Everyone in the baseball-aware world knew it was a bad call. Jim Joyce admitted he had blown the call. The RIGHT thing would have been to just change the call and award Galarraga the perfect game that he rightfully pitched. Did he change it? Nope! Of course not!

And maybe it's just me, but the $500,000 fine to John Henry for his 2009 comments about revenue sharing seems more like a school yard bully beating up someone for complaining that they've been beaten up. I know that kind of money is nothing to John Henry. I'm pretty sure he pays JD Drew that every time he ties his shoes. The fact that MLB is so infallible that they can't handle criticism doesn't sit right with me.

I could mention dozens of other instances of Bud being detrimental to the game of baseball (such as collusion in the 80's, the strike of '94... it goes on and on). And while I'm almost positive that I'm blowing his comment to Frank McCourt out of proportion, I'm allowed to do it. And he can't fine me for it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Not Swept: One Out Of Three... Aint... Bad?

Hi! I'm back from my little impromptu vacation during which I did nothing but bake cookies and do laundry. Exciting life, I know. It's just that people can't get enough of the cookies so I'm forced into slave labor. It happens to everyone, right? Wait, that's not all I did. I watched baseball, too. Oh my, what a disaster Pittsburg turned into.

The whole series was honestly pretty shameful. Marco Scutaro, I'm going to have Mike Timlin punch you so hard in the spine, you'll be temporarily paralyzed. Kevin Youkilis, I'm not so sure you made a single play at third ALL WEEKEND. I was watching you. It was ugly. Actually, everyone's fielding was ugly. Scutaro, Reddick, Cameron.... guys, come on! We had something like six errors in the last four games, and that's not even accounting for the misplays that weren't called errors. I know you all are tired and the ASB is coming up, but you're not there yet! So cut the shit and field your positions. My God, you were all terrible.

Luckily, by the grace of whatever, they did manage to salvage the last game of the series, but just barely. It seemed kind of apparent to me that Ronald McDonald's cousin James really wanted to decapitate our Munchkin. Three times he threw up and in on Pedroia. I don't know what point he was trying to make, but you do not maim the Munchkin! We sort of need him.

Our terrible defense was offset by the even worse defense of the Pirates. It's troubling that we almost couldn't score runs without their help. Only one run was earned, the rest were handed to us. I'll willingly take them, but I sincerely hope that the Sox re-find the delightful swagger they possessed when they won 11 out of 12 against our ALE foes.

It's really hard not to harp on the negatives when they just played so poorly in their last two series and fell out of first in the division. I think I've done enough harping. Except for this... seriously, JD? How do you foul a ball off your own face? You're ridiculous! Ok, now the harping is over. We've got today off to reflect on the absurdity of the last week, and then we march Beckett's sick face out to square off against Cliff Lee. Frightening? For us, sure, but I think that Josh kept himself out of the lineup intentionally so he could face Cliff Lee on Tuesday. It's all in his master plan, folks. Trust in Josh.... or he might hurt you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Hate John Lackey: No, I Really Do

I sat in Fenway yesterday through rain delay after rain delay. It was by FAR the most rain delays I've ever sat through. And for what? To watch John Lackey do THAT?

After hours of traffic that shouldn't have existed this morning, hours of traffic that I expected coming home from the game yesterday, sitting in the bleachers and getting soaked, and wasting vacation time to watch John Lackey do THAT? Well, I'll tell ya, I'm just in no mood to recap that shit show. No mood at all. Nor am I in the mood to recap Tuesday's game, which was not NEARLY as bad. Alfredo Aceves, I forgive you. And in comparison to Lackey, I think I love you.

I'll spare you guys my frustration and anger, but on days like that, I think John Lackey should be forced to take that giant paycheck that he did not earn and issue refunds for everyone who wasted time and money to sit and watch him do THAT. So much money.... so much rain.... for that. I'm rightfully angry. I booed him. I NEVER NEVER NEVER boo my own players, but I couldn't control myself. It just sort of happened. It was an accident, and I feel badly about it.

Anyway, we have a nice off day to stew about the craptacular pitching of John Lackey and to think about how nice a new winning streak behind the delightful (he better be delightful!) arm of Jon Lester is going to be. I'm thinking it's going to be super nice. That sounds good, doesn't it? Happy thoughts, guys, on this icky, rainy, trafficky day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tale of Two Games: Sox Destroy Padres' Bullpen

This is David Ortiz. You might know him as the man who took 14 pitches in the first inning.

This was a tight, exciting game, yes it was. For six and a half whole innings, this game was close and tense, and we didn't know what was going to happen. That is what I'm going to refer to as game one. Andrew Miller debuted in game one and pitched serviceably until the 6th inning when he gave up a three-run home run and blew his own game. He couldn't finish the 6th, but I can't fault him for that because game two, also known as the bottom of the seventh and beyond, made up for it. First, a quick review of game one.

The most important thing to know is that I love Dave Roberts. You also love Dave Roberts, because it's the law. Seeing his happy, healthy, smiling face makes every bit of my day a little better, even my commute. Despite his happiness, I was still a little peeved in the first inning. Why, you ask? Well, another first inning bases loaded situation came and went, and the Sox minimized their own damage. After a seven-minute 14-pitch at bat to Papi, Ronald took one pitch and boom! Out. Scutaro took five, but he also wasted the runners. I didn't appreciate that lack of effort. Still, we almost came out of game one with the lead. We settled for a tie.

Couldn't find my pictures of Ernie, so I figured Tek is always a safe bet.

The seventh was it's own beast. Almost all of the relevant offensive points for the Sox took place in the seventh. First, Munchkin and Ernie teamed up to put the Sox back on top with a walk (technically to CRW, but Munchkin grounded into a force-out and took his place on first) and a wall-ball double. Yay, we're winning! Good enough, right?

No, apparently. Because it kept going. An intentional walk to Papi to load the bases. Scutaro gets hit by a pitch... then Varitek gets hit by a pitch. We've got a three-run lead now. Reddickulous singles, two runs score. 8-3. CRW singles. Pedroia walks and Tek comes in. 9-3. Ernie singles and two come in. 11-3. Youkilis doubles and two more come in. 13-3 Sox. The Padres threw more than 60 pitches in the 7th alone. Where were all these two-out hits in April?!

CRW added one more bases-loaded walk in the 8th, just to, you know, demoralize the Padres. They looked fairly demoralized. Bud Black looked like he couldn't seem to wake up from a terrible nightmare. Dave Roberts... eh, I think he was still smiling.

You knew the game was a laugher when Don and Jerry started... well, laughing. Laughing about chickens in the crowd. Laughing about their promo. Laughing that Jerry doesn't undo his ties. I know... it has nothing to do with baseball, but I sure do enjoy listening to them go off on tangents and get so worked up that they can't breathe. It's the little things, guys.

Josh is sick, presumably from high-fiving Youkilis after Youk spit on his hands. Again, baseball players are gross! Wash your hands, you slobs. So Aceves is taking his spot in the rotation today. What are the odds that Lackey falls ill tomorrow? I really hate the thought of wasting a beautiful day at Fenway having to see Lackey pitch.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brewers Series: Cookies. Lots of Cookies.

I've got many, many pictures of Pedroia

It helps that Munchkin earned cookies this week, otherwise having him head the post would be silly, wouldn't it? Everyone who is DL'ed gets cookies this week, because cookies make people feel better. There were a few planned spine punches, but because of all the injuries, I've taken Timlin off task. Wouldn't want him straining his fist.

Varitek - 41 cookies - plus 2 for Game 1 RBI double, plus 2 for catching Chara's first pitch.
Munchkin - 38 cookies, 1 spine punch - plus 3 for key game 1 DP, plus 2 for game three home run
Papi - 33 cookies - plus 1 for being an RBI in game 2
Wakefield - 31 cookies - plus 12 for being incredible!
Tommy Hottovy - 25 cookies
Beckett - 24 cookies
Drew - 14 cookies
Crawford - 10 cookies - plus 3 for being hurt
Dahmer - 8 cookies - plus 3 for being hurt
Ernie - 7 cookies - for having 1,000 career hits
Aceves - 6 cookies
Ellsbury - 6 cookies - plus 2 for having a multi-hit game in inning 1 of game 3
Salty - 6 cookies, 2 spine punches - plus 3 for batting in runs in game 2
Lester - 5 cookies - minus 3 for a bad game
Youk - 5 cookies and 1 Timlin spine punch - plus 1 for being an RBI in game 2
Scutaro - 3 cookies
Cameron - 3 cookies 1 Timlin spine punch - plus 3 for batting in runs in game 2
Lowrider - 3 cookies for being injured
Jenks - 1 cookie
Michael Bowden - 1 cookie
Paps - 1 cookie 1 Timlin spine punch
Dan Wheeler - 1 cookie
Lackey - -14 cookies - plus 3 for not being too horrible
Tito - 1 Timlin spine punch

Almost One Year Ago: Trio of Injuries Hurts Sox

Once the news came down that Dahmer was on the DL, I was definitely having flashbacks of last year. All the problems started in June. This season, June 17, 18, and 19 found us with injuries to Jed Lowrie, Carl Crawford, and Clay Buchholz (in that order). Last year, on June 25, 26, and 27 in San Francisco, we lost Dustin Pedroia, Clay Buchholz, and Victor Martinez to injuries.

Is it just me, or are we going to have to start keeping Dahmer wrapped in bubble wrap for the month of June? Look, I'm not trying to start a panic here. I don't think this team is going to suffer as many problems as last year's team did. If they do, I'll be the goat and you can all blame me.... but I CAN'T be the only one who thought of last year after three injuries to key players in three days. I just can't.

You thought about it, too. Even if you didn't, you're thinking about it now and realizing that I'm right. You might also be getting a little nervous, much like I am. You shouldn't be. I'm nervous for sports all the time. It's a superstition thing. So let ME be nervous, and you just go ahead and relax. I'll be ok, too, especially since I know Kevin Cash has no reason to come back. You're not welcome on my team, Cash! /rant

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Foghorns At Fenway: Sox Powerplay On Point

Ladies and gentlemen, your winner, Tim Wakefield

Nine wins is all that separates Timmy and the all-time wins record. How fantastic was he today? Answer: Very fantastic. It seems that every time you pair Tim Wakefield and Tim Thomas, good things happen. The Bruins, of course, were in the house to celebrate their Stanley Cup championship with the Sox. Watching #33 Captain Zdeno Chara throw out the first pitch to #33 Captain Jason Varitek was incredible. In honor of the B's, the Sox let the foghorn echo every time we scored a run. The foghorn got a strenuous workout today.

Tim, though. Tim is unbelievable. This man just keeps chugging along, pitching innings, confusing batters, and lately being a Beckett-level badass (without the Beckettesque attitude). Today, in just another day's work, Timmy pitched eight innings of three-hit ball. Two of those hits were home runs, and the other was a double. The only other baserunner Nyjer Morgan, who reached on a walk in the 5th. All Tim needed to dominate the Brewers was 99 pitches. Yet another quality start for the elder statesman. Yes, Jim Rice, he IS a horse.

As for the foghorn... there were only three innings where it didn't have a job to do. Shame on you, innings 2,3, and 8. You're off the hook, 9th inning, because we didn't have to play you. By the time the first inning was over, CRW had a multi-hit game going, and the foghorn had sounded six time. SIX TIMES. Munchkin got the foghorn screaming again in the fifth inning with a solo home run to straightaway center field. That home run was followed by Ernie's 1000th career hit... a triple, no less! Two batters later, Ortiz beat out the throw to first, preventing a double play and scoring Ernie from third. In the fifth, the horn sounded for Munchkin again as his sac fly scored Reddickulous from third. At this point, everyone on the team except for Scutaro had collected at least one hit.

Scoots didn't have to wait much longer, as he hammered a ball into the monster seats in the 6th, plating two more runs and letting the horn sing again. In the seventh, Ernie singled in Drew Sutton, who had been running for Munchkin. Too bad they didn't have him run for Youkilis, who was hobbling around pretty bad out there at the end of the inning. Let's keep our fingers crossed that he's not hurt.

Aside from the news that Dahmer is now on the DL with a stiff back, this was a beautiful day at Fenway. And of course, Dahmer is only injured because the sports gods are doing everything in their power to get Wake those nine wins. Don't be surprised if Lackey ends up with another mysterious injury when Clay is ready to come back. And no, it won't have anything to do with Mike Timlin.

George Kottaras: We Are No Longer Friends

We were buddies once. No longer.

Sure, Jon Lester struggled, but George... this is your fault. The loss is your fault. I'm sorry, but we can no longer be friends, and you need to return my CDs because only my friends can borrow my CDs. His third inning home run was technically the run that did us in. I don't care about the run that came after that. Casey McGeehee is fictional, as far as I'm concerned, so his run does not impact my life. But George? How could you?

Other people I do not want to be friends with are Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. In the first inning, after Jonny had already tossed up two solo home runs, I said to Ryan Braun that I would be his best friend if he would just strike out. He doubled. I gave the same offer to Prince Fielder in the top of the 3rd. He walked. These guys are just mean. I get it. You don't want to be friends. Don't worry, I'll stop calling and asking you to hang out because I don't even like you any more.

On our side of the ball, Salty and Cameron were the only ones who bothered to bring those RBI's I asked for. Youkilis and Ortiz managed to get on base and set up those RBIs, but they didn't bring any of their own. Seriously, rest of the team, how are we supposed to have a baseball party without RBIs? It was incredibly inconsiderate of you to forget them. Why even have a party at all?

I'm not so mad at Jon Lester, because I am mentally unable to place blame on him. He gave up four runs, but he pitched eight innings and gave our hitters every opportunity to get back into the game. They decided not to. That was their choice. So, Jon doesn't get his tenth win, but if all goes well, he'll get another chance at it. Also, did I mention that Lowrider is on the DL? I can't remember if I mentioned it. It doesn't matter. Just like the last loss, I can't get all bent out of shape about it because we're still on top of our division. But I can promise you, I'll never invite George to my birthday parties again.

John Lackey: Better Buy Pedroia Dinner

Jacoby led off the first with a HR, so he leads off the blog, too.

That was... man, that was a long first inning. The rest of the game wasn't that bad, but the first inning was something like 45 minutes long. It was also scary. Carl Crawford, who hustled his butt off down to first, came up lame and instantly came out of the game. Hamstring injury. Disabled list. Damnit. The plus side was that we matched the two runs that Lackey allowed (the first on a leadoff HR for CRW). On the Brewers side, Shawn Marcum also came out with an injury after throwing 44 pitches.

In the second after a Munchkin walk and an Ernie double, Youk smacked a 2-run single to put us on top for... oh, about five minutes. Lackey gave the two runs right back in the top of the third, but he settled down after that and still managed to go 8 innings. The key play in the game was the double play Munchkin turned in the 3rd. The double play came after four straight hits and two runs that Lackey surrendered pretty quickly. Describing the DP is impossible. It was incredible. It was a play that only Pedroia could make, and he made it perfectly. After that play, I started feeling good about the game. I know I wasn't the only one. Lackey better have thanked him profusely with words, food, and alcohol.

The Sox weren't done scoring even if the Brewers were. Ernie led off the 5th with a solo home run, finally putting us in the lead for good. Unfortunately, Youkilis came out of the game with 'intestinal distress.' Word to the Red Sox: If you guys would stop spitting on yourselves and high-fiving everyone, intestinal distress wouldn't spread so quickly around the clubhouse. You're all gross. Baseball players are gross. Tangent. Anyway... The sixth was my favorite, because the 6th featured offense from Varitek and that will always beat out anything else. JD walked and Tek doubled him in. Two batters later, Munchkin singled him in. In the 7th, Ronald (who came in to replace Carl) drove in a run, and JD drove in a pair... and that was all the scoring that would happen.

The injuries are starting to pile up again. It's a tad bit frightening, and I know I'm not the only one who has mild PTSD from last season's injury-fest. Crawford was officially put on the DL, and Josh Reddick was called up to take his place. I hope Carl heals quickly, but in the meantime, I will enjoy Reddick's presence.

Tampa Series: Cookies and Spine Punches

Love this picture

Another series win for the Sox, and the first time in a long time that I assign spine punches. Sorry guys. You deserve it. But on the cookie side of things, I had several dozen to hand out, so good job! And Varitek (as expected) is in the lead!

Varitek - 37 cookies - plus 6 for another one-hitter
Munchkin - 33 cookies, 1 spine punch - plus 2 for triple in gm 2
Papi - 32 cookies
Tommy Hottovy - 25 cookies
Beckett - 24 cookies - plus twelve for ONE HITTER!
Wakefield - 19 cookies - plus 12 for pitching his butt off (even if he lost)
Drew - 14 cookies
Lester - 8 cookies
Crawford - 7 cookies - -3 for bad series overall
Aceves - 6 cookies
Dahmer - 5 cookies
Ellsbury - 4 cookies
Youk - 4 cookies and 1 Timlin spine punch - plus three for home run (also +2 spine punches for gm 1, -2 spine punches for home run)
Scutaro - 3 cookies
Salty - 3 cookies, 2 spine punches - spine punches for forgetting how to catch the knuckleball
Jenks - 1 cookie
Ernie - 1 cookies
Michael Bowden - 1 cookie
Paps - 1 cookie 1 Timlin spine punch - one cookie for a game three save
Dan Wheeler - 1 cookie
Lackey - -17 cookies
Cameron - 1 Timlin spine punch.
Tito - 1 Timlin spine punch

Friday, June 17, 2011

Eleven: One

That's math that Paps can get behind. Since June 3rd, the Sox have put together a happy, shiny 11-1 record. That one loss was stupid, and I think we should petition to have it removed from the record books just for the reason that I didn't like it. Oh, if only the world worked like that.

In frustrating fashion, the Sox left the bases loaded in each of the first two innings. Crawford and Scutaro both looked helpless at the plate when their teams needed them to make an effort. This wasn't the kind of homecoming I expected out of Crawford. Spine punches are in his future. I can just feel it. Lowrider broke himself in the first inning and seems to be headed for the DL (and I base that on nothing but the fact that he's been having issues with that shoulder), and then Clay broke himself after the fifth inning and had to go, I don't know, cry in a corner somewhere?

There were bases-loaded walks and doubles and home runs and... well, baseball generally happened. At this point, you're probably wondering if I even watched the game. Sure I did. I don't think Price hit Youkilis intentionally in the first inning! See? Proof. I don't know. I don't think I have anything to say today. I guess I'll just say Lackey vs. Marcum tonight. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

ERA: Geekiness

I'm a giant nerd most of the time when it comes to baseball. I realized this morning that Josh Beckett's 1.86 ERA is almost exactly half of Jon Lester's 3.73 ERA. If you want to go ahead and look at the numbers yourself, they can be found easily and conveniently here, though I promise that the 1.86 and the 3.73 look the same on this page and that page.

It doesn't matter, really, but it made me smile. And perhaps if there are any silly nerds like me out there, it will make them smile, too. That is all. Sorry for the interruption. Please get back to your lives.

Varitek: Taking Away Your Team's Hits

Been a while since I updated this baby. Sadly, no more no-hitters to add to the list, but Tek has accumulated a few more one and two-hitters. He's pretty awesome, and I feel no shame in saying that without crediting any of the pitchers. All Tek.

April 4, 2001 (vs. Orioles) - WP Hideo Nomo
April 27, 2002 (vs. Devil Rays) - WP Derek Lowe
October 1, 2006 *5 Inning Game* (vs. Orioles) - WP Devern Hansack (doesn't actually count in the books as a no-hitter, but I'm adding it to my list)
September 1, 2007 (vs. Orioles) - WP Clay Buchholz
May 19, 2008 (vs. Royals) - WP Jon Lester

August 29, 2000 (vs. Devil Rays) - WP Pedro Martinez
May 25, 2001 (vs. Blue Jays) - WP Hideo Nomo
June 14, 2005 (vs. Reds) - WP David Wells
July 18, 2006 (vs. Royals) - WP Jon Lester
June 7, 2007 (vs. A's) - WP Curt Schilling (the infamous shaking-off-Tek game!)
May 22, 2010 (vs. Phillies) - WP Daisuke Matsuzaka
May 25, 2010 (vs. Rays) - WP Jon Lester
June 15, 2011 (vs. Rays) - WP Josh Beckett

July 28, 1999 (vs. Blue Jays) - WP Pat Rapp
April 4, 2000 (vs. Mariners) - WP Pedro Martinez
May 12, 2000 (vs. Orioles) - WP Pedro Martinez
June 8, 2000 (vs. Indians) - WP Pedro Martinez
April 26, 2001 (vs. Twins) - WP Hideo Nomo
April 5, 2002 (vs. Orioles) - WP Derek Lowe
April 19, 2002 (vs. Royals) - WP Pedro Martinez
April 25, 2002 (vs. Orioles) - WP Pedro Martinez
June 20, 2002 (vs. Padres) - WP Pedro Martinez
July 6, 2002 (vs. Tigers) - WP Pedro Martinez
July 30, 2002 (vs. Angels) - WP Pedro Martinez
September 21, 2002 (vs. Orioles) - WP John Burkett
June 8, 2004 (vs. Padres) - WP Pedro Martinez
April 29, 2008 (vs. Blue Jays) - WP Jonathan Papelbon (SP Jon Lester)
August 29, 2008 (vs. White Sox) - WP Daisuke Matsuzaka
June 9, 2009 (vs. Yankees) - WP Josh Beckett
April 28, 2010 (vs. Jays) - WP Jon Lester
April 10, 2011 (vs. Yankees) - WP Josh Beckett
April 18, 2011 (vs. Jays) - WP Daisuke Matsuzaka
April 23, 2011 (vs. Angels) - WP Daisuke Matsuzaka

What A Night: Everything Seems So Happy and New

I'm slightly delirious. No sleep last night. Living in the Boston suburbs, with neighbors shooting off fireworks all around my house and being too hyped up to sleep anyway led to a pretty restless night... but I would absolutely live it over and over again. Fantastic sports night.

I want to keep waxing on and on about the Bruins and how excited I am for them to bring the championship back.... how I kept telling everyone 'Get Horton to Vancouver and they'll win!"... how Horton poured Boston water on the ice before the start of the game... how Luongo looked like he was about to cry half way through the second period... or how we HAD to score four more goals off of him because he was taken out of game six early and we hadn't finished with him yet, but this is a baseball blog, so I'm about to get back on point. The last thing I will say is Chara made the commissioner look like a kindergartener. Holy crap that man is tall... but the look of pure joy on his face was something I will not soon forget.

Back to topic. Beckett.... goddamn it, Josh. Just damn it all. I have this list, you see... a list of people who have ruined your no-hitters. Now do I need to start a list of people who ruin your perfect games? Because if I do, Reid Brignac's on that list, and I'm not even sure he deserved a hit for that! I think they should have given Youkilis an error. Regardless, Joshua. Enough! Just get a damn no-hitter already and let me dispose of this list! God, you're frustrating!

Only partially kidding on that one. Beckett was so close to perfect that I really can't fault him for that one "hit". Sharky comes in two days ago and throws a complete game with five hits and three walks on 110 pitches. Beckett gives him the middle finger, marches on to his pitching mound and throws a complete game with one hit and no walks using 97 pitches. I don't even know which phrase to use here. In your face, Sharky? Stick that in your pipe and smoke it? It is with great amusement that we assess your performance in the sporting event of the previous day and determine that it is of lesser quality than that of the performance delivered by our pitcher in the most recent game? Eh, that's a little too wordy. In your face, Sharky!

I was ready to deliver a barrage of spine punches to Kevin Youkilis, who absolutely deserved every one I was planning... and then he hit that home run, and we're kind of friends again. Kind of. I was flipping back and forth between the Sox and Bruins. I flipped to the Sox as they were walking Ernie (right after Munckin's triple! Yay Munchkin!) and Don informed me that Bergeron had scored, so I flipped back to the Bruins in an effort to catch the replay. I got to see it; I cheered a little, and then flipped back to the Sox just in time to see that I had missed the home run. For next time, guys, could you please make the most exciting points of your game at different times so I don't miss them? Thank you. It is most appreciated.

The Yankees beat Texas 12-4 AGAIN, so we're still only 1.5 ahead of them, but we kicked a little dirt in Tampa's face last night. Today, it's up to Dahmer to take down David Price and deliver us a series win. Go for the jugular, Clay! Show no mercy!

And finally, a message to MLB. I DO NOT WANT TO SEE NICK SWISHER'S STUPID YANKEE FACE WHEN I GO TO REDSOX.COM! Take that nonsense down immediately!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bruins: Stanley Cup Champions!

Congratulations to the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins! Great job on bringing the cup back home, boys!

Goats: All Goats

... Except Wakefield. Wakefield was what everyone else should have been. He was good. The rest of the team didn't bother to show up. I hate to do this, but I'm afraid I have to take away the rest of their off-days as punishment. It's for their own good, and believe me, I take no joy in it.

Especially bad for the night were Salty and Youkilis. Salty couldn't remember how to catch a knuckleball, and it scares me to be able to say that Varitek did a better job handling Wake. Youkilis grounded into two double plays. For chrissake, man, just strike out! Stop taking others down with you. CRW's double play was sandwiched between Youkilis's 3rd and 6th inning DPs. Also, Crawford leaving the bases loaded in the top of the first? Not acceptable.

Really, there's not much to say. Tommy Hottovy struggled. Alfredo Aceves couldn't stop the damage.... though it WAS limited damage. On a night where Wakefield only gives up two runs, you would expect the offense that put 14 runs on the board in their last game to at least make a game of it. They didn't. They weren't even in the park as far as I could tell. Tim deserved better, guys. He threw over 100 pitches for the first time since 2003 or some ridiculous year like that. You couldn't have managed to NOT ground into three double plays? You couldn't have maybe taken a few more pitches apiece from Sharky to get that pitch count up? He pitched nine full innings and only threw 110 pitches. See something wrong with that, guys?

Still, we have a game and a half lead over the Yankees, so it's not ALL bad, now is it? Winning streaks don't go on forever. Especially when Youkilis keeps grounding into double plays, damnit!

Joshua Patrick takes the ball at the Trop tonight, and a pack of bears look to turn Vancouver into Boston. I am going to be a ball of tightly wound nerves all day.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And Suddenly, I Hate Cano A Little Less: Wakefield HOF Debate

I've never been a fan of Robinson Cano. I've got my reasons, most of which include him looking incredibly lazy on the field most of the time. When I read the headline of Ken Rosenthal's article on Wakefield's chances at being inducted into Cooperstown, I thought it was a joke. The headline said "Cano: Send Wakefield To Cooperstown." (Actually, the title is Peter Abraham's article about Rosenthal's article. Pete's article is here... though it offers little more than Ken's)

I thought he was being snarky and suggesting that Tim just needs to go to Cooperstown. I don't know why I didn't come to the obvious conclusion that he meant Tim should be IN the Hall of Fame. I guess I have to hate him less.

“One-hundred ninety-five wins are impressive, I told Cano, but Wake’s career ERA of 4.38? Too high.
Yeah, but he’s a knuckleballer,” Cano said, surprised that I did not view Wake as a more serious candidate. Cano then offered his own ringing endorsement.

“Tell Wakefield he’s got my vote,” he said, smiling.
Honestly, I don't think we'll ever see Tim Wakefield inducted into the Hall of Fame. If we do, I will make the trip for his induction ceremony. We know Wake meets the criteria of having played in ten seasons, but realistically, does he have a chance? According the the BBWAA, these are the categories that the writers supposedly vote on (but I'll leave my opinion of the voters for another time):
5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
He's the active leader in wins, he's played any role that the team needs him to, and no one would ever question his character, integrity, or sportsmanship... and if they would dare, I have some kind words and punches to the face for them. If you look at Wakefield's numbers objectively, they aren't fancy... but they have to be looked at in comparison to the era in which he played and the numbers that the batters in that era were putting up. Does being slightly above average for an extraordinary amount of time make one worthy of induction? Again, I don't know. I had honestly never even thought about the possibility before, but I think it would be a fantastic event if he could get elected. But, I hope we're still a few years off from even seriously debating this. I'm not ready to let Tim go yet.

Bruins Game Six: Didn't.... Matter? What?

Ok, Mister Vancouver head coach.... I get it. You don't want your team to focus on the game six loss. No, really, I understand. But to say that the entire first period melee didn't matter? Well, I'm just going to have to call you a giant, dirty, liar-pants.
"To tell you the truth, it didn't really matter," Vigneault replied. "At the end of the day, they won and we're going back home in front of our fans [for a] one-game showdown to win the Cup. That's it."
See, because I'm pretty sure it did matter. But if you can't SEE that it mattered, I'm not going to change your mind.

Anyway. Dear Bruins, I kindly request that while you are playing game seven in Vancouver that you pretend you are in Boston. That's all. Just pretend. But you have to pretend REALLY well. You have to pretend well enough to convince the rest of us that you're convinced. We'll be able to tell. Maybe team practice should involve some make-believe time. Just a suggestion!

Monday, June 13, 2011

June 13: Cookies.. And Again, No Spine Punches

It's been a good week for the Sox. We've gone through two whole series and I haven't felt the need to administer a single spine punch. Who gets the most cookies, you might ask?

Yeah, there shouldn't have been any question about that. Let's get this updated!

Papi - 32 cookies - plus 12 for fifth inning shenanigans
Varitek - 31 cookies - plus 13 for being offensively wonderful
Munchkin - 31 cookies, 1 spine punch - plus nine cookies for offensive contributions and for continuing to not be broken.
Tommy Hottovy - 25 cookies - plus one cookie for a clean inning
Drew - 14 cookies - two cookies for a good Saturday
Beckett - 12 cookies
Crawford - 10 cookies
Lester - 8 cookies - plus six for getting himself back on track
Wakefield - 7 cookies
Aceves - 6 cookies
Dahmer - 5 cookies - for pitching with a blister
Ellsbury - 4 cookies
Scutaro - 3 cookies - for doing a good job!
Salty - 3 cookies - for playing while not feeling well... and doing a good job.
Jenks - 1 cookie
Ernie - 1 cookies - plus seven... just to get him into positive cookies
Michael Bowden - 1 cookie for a clean inning
Dan Wheeler - 1 cookie - also for a clean inning
Youk - 1 cookie and 1 Timlin spine punch - plus one, because apparently, I'm being petty if I don't give him one.
Lackey - -17 cookies - plus six for only giving up four runs.
Cameron - 1 Timlin spine punch.
Tito - 1 Timlin spine punch
Paps - 1 Timlin spine punch

Cloud Nine: Lester and Sox at Nine Wins

Nine is a wonderful number. Ted Williams wore the number nine. There are nine position players in baseball. There are nine innings. I could probably make an effort to come up with more wonderful facts about the number nine that relate to baseball, but the best I have right now is that the Sox win streak is now nine. That win streak, for the most part, has been ridiculously decisive. The Boston boys have managed 83 runs over the course of this nine game win streak compared to the 36 that the A's, Yankees, and Blue Jays have managed to put up. File that under ‘good things.’ (I absolutely filed it under ‘good things.’)

Jonny had a perfect game through three and two-thirds innings. Yes, the same Jon Lester that had a really rough month of May. HE was perfect for a third of this game. Actually, aside from the Bautista home run, which really, I’m surprised he didn’t hit more off of us this season, Lester only allowed a single and a walk to Encarnacion in the fifth inning and eighth inning respectively. He pitched eight, collecting eight strikeouts and lowering his ERA to 3.73. There’s something so appealing about a low ERA. I wish I could accurately describe my appreciation. I can’t. Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Jonny looked good. It’s great to see him jump back on track like this. Hopefully he doesn’t regress back into May.

The Sox only managed to squeak by with 17 hits and 14 runs in this one. I know, it’s not eighteen hits and sixteen runs like the game before, but we can’t be greedy, can we? Apparently, we can. Ernie got the offense going in the first inning with a solo home run. Two innings later, he grounded out a brought the second run home. Youkilis followed that up with an RBI single, bringing the score to 3-0. Jonny gave a run back in the bottom of the fourth, and then it was bedlam from there on out.

In the fifth, CRW singled and was brought home by a Munchkin home run. Did I mention that his knee is ok? Because his knee is ok. An Ernie double and a Youkilis walk later, Ortiz stepped up and launched his second fifth inning three-run home run in two days. He must like the fifth inning. I know I’ve been enjoying them. With the bases clear and nobody out, Drabek came out of the game and his replacement allowed singles to Crawford, Salty, and Scutaro. Scutaro picked up an RBI, and it was 9-1 Sox.

Scoring picked right back up in the sixth inning. Munchkin walked, Youkilis doubled him in, Ortiz doubled Youkilis in, and Salty doubled Ortiz in. Three more runs. But wait, there’s more! In the ninth, with CRW on base, Youkilis hit a two-out two-run home run to cap off the scoring for the weekend and to add just a little insult to injury. His home run was like a ‘yo mama’ joke after spending two hours worth of taking a lead pipe to someone’s spine. Yeah, it was insulting, but they are in too much pain to care.

Needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway), that was a pretty spiffy weekend from our red stocking-d friends. I hope they spend their off-day napping and doing whatever they were doing before every game this week, because it was working. Tuesday brings us Wakefield vs. Sharky Shields… who I would take great pleasure in humiliating on the mound so…. Yeah. I don’t think I’m asking for much.

Tek and Papi: Fifth Inning Fiends

Two three-run home runs came in the fifth inning. One off the bat of the man above and one off the bat of the man below.
Both home runs were things of pure beauty, and each helped to ensure that no matter what John Lackey did on the mound, it wouldn't matter. I mean, Lackey was fine, going six and giving up four runs, but the offense spotted him SIXTEEN RUNS, so really, who cares? He could have given up eight and I wouldn't have cared. Any more than that would have been a little disconcerting, but that's irrelevant because he only let up four.

The only starter that didn't manage a hit to call his very own was Lowrider, but he managed an RBI. Everyone in the starting lineup had RBIs. It was an RBI party and the Red Sox showed up big time.

Wait... what? Oh. It's 7 AM, that's why I'm babbling. Sorry, this happens to me... pretty much all the time.

Where was I? Baseball! That's right. That's where I always am. After Lackey, Wheeler, Hottovy, and itty bitty baby Sox Bowden got to pitch. Not only did they not allow any runs to score, they didn't allow any hits. Sure, they sprinkled in a couple of walks, but no harm done. What a trio of delightfulness they turned into.

I know it's hard to pick offensive standouts in a game with 18 hits and 16 runs on the visitor's side of the board, but that's my job. A job that I don't get paid for, so you know I must love it. Besides Papi and Tek, we got another three hits out of Munchkin, with which he claimed three RBIs for himself. That knee really must be ok, and I will suppress all further concern from here on out. Papi had two hits... heck, the bottom of our order (Scutaro, Drew, and Tek) went 8-for-14. That's unheard of. I've never heard of that. Scutaro had four hits! Tek had four RBIs! I mean, I don't want to sound unappreciative, but this was just insanity. I've never enjoyed insanity quite as thoroughly as I did on Saturday. I guess this is what you’d call a team effort… at least that’s what I’m calling it. You can call it a sandwich for all I care.

So that was that. Next game, the Sox and Jon Lester go for a sweep. Oh, goodness, I’m so excited to find out what happened! (Spoiler: We sort of won.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blue Jays Nightmare: Munchkin Returns

After a late night in New York, the Sox found themselves plopped into the middle of the Rogers Center being told to do that baseball thing that they do. Those sleepy Sox managed to obey, and they brought a 5-1 win with them back to their hotel for a well-deserved night's rest.

Dahmer battled through sleep deprivation and a blister on his hand, serving up one of the bebest performances we've gotten out of him this year. Seven innings, three hits, and one run was enough to earn him a win, especially since his offense gave him five runs to work with. He made it hold up, for sure.

However, the story for me was the return of Munchkin. I know, you couldn't tell based on my title or the picture of Pedroia I chose for the occasion. His three hits for the night did wonders to assuage my fears over his knee pains. After the possible surgery panic, I just needed to see him on the field again. I feel better now.

He even went so far as to drive in the first run for us, which was considerate of him. Actually, it was considerate of the team just to play this game. Dahmer with his blister, Salty with his sour stomach, and Munchkin with his balky knee... not to mention the every day bumps and bruises that are part of any major league team in June.... it's amazing they didn't fall apart on the field. I'm glad they didn't. I enjoyed watching them win more than I would enjoy watching them fall apart like paper dolls.

All in all, it was a good, tiring night. I'm tired right now just thinking about the game.... tired enough that I think I'm going to not write about it any more. Besides, the next two games will be much more fun to discuss.... tomorrow. Tonight, I'm going to bed!

Friday, June 10, 2011

June 10th: Cookies (No Spine Punches!)

Tommy Hottovy - 24 cookies
Papi - 20 cookies - plus 12 for making Yankees cry
Munchkin - 22 cookies, 1 spine punch - plus six for not needing surgery
Varitek - 18 cookies - plus 6 for surviving the knuckleball on Wednesday
Beckett - 12 cookies - For being amazing.
Drew - 12 cookies
Crawford - 10 cookies
Wakefield - 7 cookies - earned 6 for winning
Aceves - 6 cookies - plus six for earning a save on Wednesday
Ellsbury - 4 cookies - plus 1 for a lead-off home run
Lester - 2 cookies - for winning a hard-fought game on Tuesday
Jenks - 1 cookie
Ernie - -6 cookies - plus six for tripling on Tuesday
Lackey - -23 cookies
Cameron - 1 Timlin spine punch.
Youk - 1 Timlin spine punch
Tito - 1 Timlin spine punch
Paps - 1 Timlin spine punch

"Clean" Sweep: Beckett A Hit In New York

Oh wait... no, I meant "Beckett Hits A Bunch in New York." I am absolutely angry that I fell asleep last night and missed him plunking Granderson. I've been waiting to see him exact just a tiny bit of revenge since the moment Granderson broke up his no-hitter on June 3rd, 2009. I know, you're thinking I'm bitter and vindictive. In this case, you are correct. I saw him hit Jeter, and I missed the plunking of A-Rod and didn't care.... but man, if I had only stayed awake till the fifth. That's my punishment for being exhausted.

The result of the game was infinitely more pleasant than I had anticipated when I went to check the score this morning. Beckett settled down and got through seven innings with no more runs allowed. He hit almost as many as he allowed hits to (3 to 4) and he walked two. Granted, it's not the kind of dominant performance against the Yankees that we've seen twice already this year, but I figured they would score off him eventually. It was almost like pity runs to apologize for all the hit batters. Hah... right, like Josh Beckett has pity for any of his enemies.

In what I assume was retaliation, Papi got hit by Fatass in the fourth. I guess it's only fair, and I'm not going to act shocked and appalled. We hit their guys, they hit our hottest hitter. Are we square now? Probably not, but I could care less as long as no one gets seriously injured.

I'll have to watch the 2-hour replay that I Tivo'd so I can see that glorious 7th inning (or you could just watch the highlight video here). Looks like Fatass just fell apart. Ortiz singled (guess the hit didn't kill him, huh?), Lowrider tripled, Cam doubled, Tek singled, CRW singled, Ernie singled, and Fatass came out. His replacement, David Robertson, kept the rally going with a single to Youkilis and a double to Papi (two hits in an inning. NY really showed him!). When it was over and the dust had cleared, the Sox put seven on the board and handed Fatass his THIRD loss against Josh this year. I love that Josh keeps winning the rematch. It makes me feel vindicated. Who doesn't love a good Friday vindication?

All of our active sports teams are in Canada right this very minute. The Sox are preparing to face the Jays while the Bruins are lacing up to hopefully gain a series lead in Vancouver. Do us proud, guys.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Munchkin: Not Damaged

Just a quick tidbit while we wait for the Sox-Yanks game tonight... apparently Dustin Pedroia's knee is going to be just fine. It's bruised up but there's no structural damage. This is probably the best news I could have gotten today, so I'm pretty excited. Now, let's get him back in the lineup and put all of my fears to rest.

Injury Report: I Thought We Were Supposed To Stay Healthy This Year.

Alright, injury bug, I'm gonna be straight with you. I don't like you, and you don't like me, but you seem to REALLY like my team. Clever how you made Salty sick the day Wakefield was pitching. This surreptitious attempt to throw us off remains unappreciated and I kindly request that you immediately halt any further devious schemes to derail my team. Thank you.

As predicted, Jenks is back on the DL with a sore back. The Sox called up itty bitty baby catcher Luis Exposito to take his spot, mostly because Salty ended up in the hospital yesterday with intestinal turmoil concerning enough that the team wanted to take every precaution available. Luckily, Salty is going to be ok, and he was back at the park before the end of the game.

Lowrider had an MRI on his achy shoulder, and got positive results, so perhaps he'll get a few more days of rest before getting back out onto the field.

Pedroia will be heading back to Boston to have his knee examined, which is just unbelievably frightening. I know Pedroia hasn't been hitting well, and a knee problem would explain that, but being without him for extended periods of time? Now I'm having flashbacks to last season. I hope that whatever news he gets is the best-possible news, and if he does have to be away for a month, I hope he comes back ready to kick some ass without being in pain.

This is not over, injury bug. There's going to be a duel between us. I can just see it.

Terrific Timmys: Wakefield and Thomas Secure Wins

44 year old Tim Wakefield and 37 year old Tim Thomas made sports fans in Boston very happy last night. For Thomas, he recorded yet another shutout for the Bruins in their quest to bring home a Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972 and helped turn the Finals into a best-of-three affair. And I can't say I was morally against his hit on Burrows either. I'm just hoping that Thomas and the boys can keep up this pace and finish the Canucks off back at the Garden in game six.

As for Tim Wakefield, he reduced his magic number from 12 to 11, pitching five and one third innings of pretty good baseball against the former number one team in the AL East. Tim's first three innings were brilliant, and then the ever-baffling knuckleball seemed to take a nasty turn on him. Timmy allowed five runs on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts. More importantly, Tim and the team got the win. For Wake, this is win number 182 in a Red Sox uniform. Ten to tie, eleven to take the top. It's seeming more and more likely that he can do it, and if he can't do it this season, Theo better bring him back next year.

For a few moments after realizing Varitek was catching for Wake, I was filled with pure and paralyzing terror, but I have to say... he did a damn fine job of it. Though we all know Tek is scared to death of catching that knuckleball, he knew we needed him and he did what he had to do. The battery duo last night has shown time and time again that either of them will do anything the team needs done, and that's why I love both of them so much.

The offense jumped on a largely ineffective Burnett early, putting three up on the board in the first inning for the second night in a row, two runs coming off another Ortiz home run. I'm sure Girardi didn't appreciate it at all, but thankfully, we don't play to keep Girardi happy. Tito, on the other hand, probably loved it. In the second, Scoots and Drew teamed up to add another run. In the fourth, Varitek beat out a double-play ball to bring in a run, then CRW doubled to bring in another, and THEN Munchkin singled to bring in the 7th run. Still, for all the runs we put on him, Burnett lasted longer than Garcia.

The Yanks tried to make it interesting in the later innings, but Alfredo Aceves earned a save by throwing three and two-thirds innings and only allowing a single run. Just to make it comfortable again, the Sox added three more in the ninth on home runs for Crawford and Drew. Aceves slammed the door in the bottom of the ninth, and we take the top spot in the East. Easy, right?

Sure was. Let's home the never-ending rematch of Beckett vs Sabathia plays out the way these last two games have.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wake Up: Off To Face The Yanks

The first picture I ever took of Tim Wakefield, June 28, 2005

I was mulling about the internet as I tend to do on hot afternoons and I came upon a delightful ProJo piece by Tim Britton about Timmy's history versus the Yankees. I enjoyed it tremendously, but I felt like he left out a lot of nerdy details that people like me so desperately need. So I'm going to fix it, and with the assistance of the ever lovely and constantly wonderful, I'm going to provide you with information you never knew you wanted to know!

First, an overview. Tim's all-time regular season stats against the Yankees is here: In 56 games (34 starts) 11-17 record, 4.90 ERA, two complete games, one save, 246 IP, 221 hits, 147 runs, 134 earned runs, 42 home runs, 122 walks, 1 intentional walk, 160 strikeouts, 13 HBP's.

Tim's first game against the Yankees was September 8th, 1995 (I was ten years old). He pitched six innings, giving up 2 hits, seven walks, and five runs (two home runs). He didn't face them again until July 15th, 1996 in a game in which he pitched five innings, giving up 13 hits, one walk, and six runs. Despite the ugly numbers, it was his first win against New York. Later that season, on September 20th, he beat them again, going 8 innings, giving up five hits, five walks, and 2 runs (1 earned).

At this point, you're terrified that I'm going to recount each of his 56 appearances. Don't worry, I won't. Some of the more interesting tidbits of Tim's career vs. the Yankees:

-From May 22 to May 28th, 1998, Tim made three consecutive appearances against the Yankees (two starts sandwiched around a relief appearance).
-His only save against NY came on August 1, 1999, coming in the 8th inning and pitching two innings of relief for Brett Saberhagen.
-May 23-26, 2002, Tim again pitched three consecutive appearances against New York (would have been four without a Blue Jays game wedged in there). The Sox won two out of those three games.
-On Sept 6th, 2003, Tim pitched seven shutout innings to earn his tenth win of the season.
-Tim's two complete games both came in 2005, and were both losses (July 17th, 5-3 loss and Sept 11th, 1-0 loss)
-The only Yankee Tim has ever intentionally walked was on May 24th, 2002. He walked Robin Ventura in the 8th inning of an eventual Red Sox win.
-The first Yankee to be hit by a Wakefield pitch was current Yankees manager Joe Girardi on May 31, 1997 during the 3rd inning.
-Other Yankee batters that have been hit are Tim Raines (May 24, 1998), Bernie Williams (Sept 9, 1998), Chuck Knoblauch (Sept 7, 2001), Nick Johnson (August 31, 2003), Gary Sheffield and Miguel Cairo (June 30, 2004), Miguel Cairo (Sept 25, 2004), Alex Rodriguez (May 27, 2005), Josh Phelps (June 1, 2007), Jose Molina (July 26, 2008), and Juan Miranda and Brett Gardner (Sept 28, 2008)

So, if I were the Yankees, I wouldn't want to face Tim in September, when he is most likely to hit a batter.
I love trivia. Sure, it may not get me anywhere in life, but who cares? Go Tim!

Percentage Points: The Only Thing Separating Us From The Top

We are .002% out of first. Not even a hop, or a skip, or a jump from the top. Just a hair. The space between the Red Sox and first place is so negligible that we're not even considered a half game behind the Yankees. .002% is miniscule, and infinitesimal, and microscopic and... yeah, you get it. I know words. But words are my friends! My amigos, my compadres, my.... ok, I'll stop.

Jon Lester was defective last night. Something was causing him to work incorrectly. Granted, he got the basics of 'throw ball to catcher' and 'occasionally find the strike zone' down, but the more advanced metrics used to judge pitchers, such as 'strike a bunch of people out' or 'don't hit batters with the ball' or 'do not throw four non-strikes in a single at-bat' tended to elude him slightly. Again, this is not the Jon Lester I adore. Something is wrong, and I don't know what. What I do know, or believe, is that he will eventually figure it out and get back on track. He's too good to struggle this much.

Despite my completely justified criticism of his performance, he actually DID record a quality start for the second time since the beginning of May (his two quality starts were May 3rd and May 25th). May 3rd, against the Angels, his record was 4-1 and he had a 2.33 ERA. After his performance against the Yankees last night, he is 8-2 with a 3.98 ERA. In April, he allowed 30 hits and 11 earned runs. In May, that went up to 41 hits and 22 earned runs. His BAbip went up .100 points between the two months from .257 to .357. His walks are slightly up (14 in April, 17 in May) and his strikeouts are also slightly up (35 in April, 39 in May), so I don't think it's that he's locating badly, I think he's just not getting the calls he was getting before, causing him to throw more pitches. He's incredibly lucky that he's gotten all the run support that he has, but that seems to be where his luck ends lately.

Anyway, enough about Jon Lester and his month of troubles. Freddy Garcia had far more troubles last night, only managing 1.2 innings, and allowing four runs and three walks. Girardi sure had him on a short leash last night. Pity, because we were having plenty of fun with him. CRW led off with a home run, Munchkin walked, and Ernie tripled. Yes, he tripled! It was insane. One sac fly later, we had our first three runs. In the second, Munchkin doubled in Salty for the fourth run, and in fifth, Papi hit a monster two-run home run to top off our scoring. It was a thing of beauty, and good lord, I love that David Ortiz fellow.

In the first, Lester hit two batters. One of those batters was eMpTy, who rolled around on the ground crying like he had just been set on fire. I have to say, if you're going to hit a batter, he's a good choice. Notice how Russel Martin didn't go into hysterics over a similar injury. On our side, Bobby Jenks managed to throw four pitches before tweaking his back. Looks like Jenks is probably headed back to the DL. Don't worry, we'll try not to miss you.

Percentage points. That's all between us and the Yankees. Tonight, Tim Wakefield takes his knuckleball of wonder against crazy old AJ Burnett and tries to put those percentage points behind us. You have my love and support, Tim. I believe in you!

Oh... I forgot to write more about Paps like I said I would. Oh well. You know what happened.

Papelgone: Suspended

As predicted, MLB has sided with the umpires and handed down a three-game suspension to Jonathan Papelbon this week. That's what you get for bumping an umpire. He is appealing his first career suspension, which made him eligible to pitch last night. I'll get into the details of the game in my next post, but I'll say that he was needed, and he was able to record his 200th career save. In your face, Tony Randazzo.

Seems a little ridiculous that Nate Horton gets nearly decapitated by that Rome guy on the Canucks, and Rome only gets a four game suspension. Papelbon slightly bumps the umpire and gets three games. Where is the justice?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bruins: Oh My

The lions and tigers got nothing on those bears. I'm not a hockey fan by trade, but I get all worked up for any of my hometown teams when they need the support.

After the Horton hit, which actually made me flinch more than once, I hoped as hard as I could that they would come back and put a hurtin' on the Canucks. When the five minute penalty expired with no retribution, I started to worry. Then... well, eight goals later, I was comfortable.

Keep this up, guys. Do it for Nate.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 5th: Cookies and Spine Punches

I just kind of smushed all the awarded cookies into one post. All spine punches were for the June 4th game.

Tommy Hottovy - 24 cookies for that nifty double play on Saturday.
Munchkin - 16 cookies, 1 spine punch - plus 9 for all the things he does, spine punch for the error Saturday.
Varitek - 12 cookies.
Drew - 12 cookies for the win on Saturday.
Crawford - 10 cookies - plus 12 for the three games of greatness.
Papi - 8 cookies
Ellsbury - 3 cookies
Aceves - 3 cookies - earned 3 for Saturday's performance
Wakefield - 1 cookie
Jenks - 1 cookie for not being awful
Ernie - -12 cookies
Lackey - -23 cookies, because I don't like him
Cameron - 1 Timlin spine punch.
Youk - 1 Timlin spine punch for the misplay on Saturday
Tito - 1 Timlin spine punch for bad decisions on Saturday
Paps - 1 Timlin spine punch for... yeah, you get the idea.

Crawford: Killer of A's

Crawford crossing homeplate after his home run

Three games, and three times Crawford is right in the mix of wonderful goings-on, so he gets two titles this weekend. I think he deserves it! The second inning found Crawford picking up three more RBI's and making everyone at the park stand up and cheer. Ernie added his own two run home run two innings later. At that point, the score was 5-2, as Lackey had let one run score in both the 3rd and the 4th.

The sixth inning was kind of crazy with the base running. CRW stole second and third... well, technically, he took them on wild pitches, but it doesn't much matter to me. Munchkin singled him in and then stole second himself. There was baserunning all over the place! It was insanity. I'm telling you. You should believe me.

Dewey graced us with his presence! I'm always excited to see Dewey!

Other fun things that happened? Varitek walked to the bullpen. I have proof!
See? He's a pretty man. That is a true story, and I have many, many friends who will corroborate that story. Salty hit a triple, which was amazing. Thanks for the misplay, Coco. Salty was "thrown out" at home, but we all know he was safe. Granted, I was pretty far back in the park (Row 6 of grandstand section 2), but I have no doubts in my mind that he was safe. Then Ellsbury was "thrown out" at second, prompting the quote of the afternoon from someone who was sitting two rows behind me. "Hey ump, get off your knees, you're blowing the game!" I shamelessly admit that I giggled. And then I wrote it down. And now I'm sharing it with you! Enjoy!

That was pretty much the ballgame, folks. Three game sweeps of any team are welcome. I would have liked the Yankees to have lost at some point, but I won't be bitter. We'll get 'em this week. Updated cookie/spine punch standings coming up!

Thank Heaven For JD Drew: Yeah, Bet You Never Thought I'd Write That

How does one even start to summarize this game without swearing? My friends described it as Groundhog's Day, where the same thing kept happening over and over. Runners reach base, the runners get stranded, we rip out our hair. Beckett wasn't at his best, and his ERA is over 2 for the first time in a long time. Albers only served to load the bases in the 7th. Tommy Hottovy, our new litttle call up, got an insanely key double play.

Papelbon was terrible. Munchkin made a crappy error, but contrary to popular belief, that whole mess wasn't his fault. You can't assume the double play, and Paps shouldn't have been so awful. I don't care that he was a closer coming in to a non-save situation. He still had a job to do, and he didn't do it.

I can't remember the last time I saw Tek get kicked out the game. I don't know what he said, but Randazzo was quick to run him. Randazzo was also quick to mouth off to Papelbon. While I don't approve of Papelbon charging down to home plate and getting in the ump's face, I understand his frustration, and I'm disgusted with Randazzo's behavior. When will it be time for MLB to put these asshole umpires in check. When it gets the point that you know the umpires' names, there's a problem. The game is NOT about you, Tony. Pull your head out of your ass.

Jenks pitched 1.2 innings (coming in after Paps got tossed) and did a great job. Maybe that DL time really did help him. Alfredo Aceves was absolutely clutch, coming out of the bullpen and pitching four innings and giving us chance after chance. The eleventh inning was a little scary. Aceves allowed a run and we got down to our last out... and oh my goodness, Salty hit a double! And then CRW doubled him in! Insane. So on the game went.

Finally, in another groundhog day moment, we are quickly down to our last out, and Crawford doubled, then Drew drives him in with a very clutch single. Water, and everyone gets to breathe. It was intense and frightening, and I'm just glad they walked away with a win. I don't know what's going to happen with Paps... did he bump Randazzo? I hope he didn't, because we don't need suspensions. All that matters is the win, and we got it.

Crawford: My God, Why Does He Not Have A Nickname Yet???

I was at a concert on Friday night. I didn't see even one little second of the game, but I got my text updates. After the first inning, seeing the score at 4-2 did not give me the warm fuzzies. Since I did not SEE Dahmer, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and just pretend that his allowing eight hits and six runs was the umpires' fault. Everyone knows that they caused enough chaos this weekend anyway. More on that in another post. Probably the next one.

Whatever happened in this game, the one thing I do know is that Crawford brought it home for us. He's got the kind of name that should lend itself well to a nickname, and nothing has really fit him yet. I want to give him a nickname so badly, but I know that it has to come naturally. One day, I will blurt something out, and it will make me laugh, and I'll keep it. However, if anyone can provide a good suggestion, I'll take it. Also, I want to point out that I am happy they have updated Crawford's big board picture. Where as before, he had a sad looking portrait, and now he's all smiles. I didn't get a picture of it, but I will next time I go.

So Crawford wins the game, and I'm pretty sure he's officially won my heart. What is that now? Four walk-offs? That's one sure way to get over the nerves of pitching in a place like Fenway. Crawford's here, guys, and I think he's gonna like it here.

Friday, June 3, 2011

No, Not the Rich Hills of Milton!: Tommy John Needs To Leave Our Pitchers Alone

Just shortly after finding out that Dice-K is essentially gone and done with, reports are coming out today that Rich Hill might actually need Tommy John surgery also.

This is very sad to me, considering that the injury didn't seem so bad at first. I'm hoping that this is just premature speculation, but if it isn't, and Rich is headed for surgery, I honestly wish him the best and hope for a speedy recovery.

By the way, the injury bug is a pesky little asshole. Pardon my lack of French.

Tidbits: Next Best Thing To A Real Post

I've been seeing a lot of links to a lot of good causes lately. Since there's nothing major going on in my Red Sox life, I figured I would point out a couple of cool charity-ish things people could do.

First! I am passing on this link because the person who started the donation page is a friend of a dear friend of mine, and his son needs help. Nathan is a very sick child and his parents are doing all they can to get him well again. They're trying to raise money to take him to a clinic in Maryland that specializes in children's eating disorders, but the visit (and the trip) is not covered by their insurance. They're so close to their goal of $3,000 that every little bit would help tremendously. If you can, take a minute to go read his story, and help if you can.

Second! Tickets for Tek's Celebrity Putt-Putt are on sale. $50 lets you be a spectator and gets you a picture with the Captain. He's been doing this for a long, long time, but this is the first year I will be attending. It's all for a good cause. All proceeds go to Journey Forward, which is an organization that helps better the lives of people who have suffered spinal cord injuries. Thanks to the folks over at Surviving Grady for the reminder, without which I probably would have forgotten to buy tickets. Again. For the thousandth time.

The third and final good-deed link for the day is brought to you by Toeing The Rubber who has brought to my attention a petition started by a 12-year-old Red Sox fan to have the Sox put together an "It Gets Better" video. You can go to Cyn's blog and read the details, or you can click here and just sign the petition. Or, I guess you could do neither of those things, but really, how hard is it to sign a virtual petition?

So there you have it, Red Sox Nation. There was no baseball last night, so you have nothing to agonize over today (except possibly the upcoming game), but you can feel good about yourself by helping a sick child, supporting a charity for those with spinal cord injuries, or helping to bring a message of hope to the LGBT community. What karma points have you racked up today?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

June 2nd: Cookie Standings

Lookit this! I'm actually updating this! What's the over/under on how long I keep it up before I get bored? Two weeks? That sounds about right.

Varitek - 12 cookies
Munchkin - 7 cookies - earned one cookie for bad umpiring
Papi - 8 cookies - earned two cookies for June 1st performance
Wakefield - 1 cookie - just for being Wake
Crawford - -2 cookies
Aceves - -3 cookies
Ernie - -12 cookies - Lost 12 cookies for swinging at the first pitch
Cameron - No cookies, 1 Timlin spine punch.

Should We Say Goodbye: Dice Decides on Tommy John Surgery

I don't know if the reports coming from Peter Abraham are solid or if there's still speculation involved in the whole thing, but we're bound to find out soon.

If Dice does have the surgery, it's entirely likely that we'll never see him in a Red Sox uniform again. I don't know many people (any people, actually) who are going to be devastated by that news, but I want to remind everyone that the Dice-K experiment wasn't a complete failure the way it is often portrayed. While the last few years have been injury riddled and frustrating, please keep in mind that Dice helped us win a World Series in 2007. He was 4th in rookie of the year voting that season. He actually got Cy Young votes in 2008, after having a very sucessful season that saw him go 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA.

Take away the price tag that he came with, and forget all the hype surrounding him (I know it's incredibly hard, believe me, I do), and we ended up with a pretty good pitcher. Sure, 2009 was an injury plagued bust, and 2010 was highly criticized because we had seen so much better from him, but he wasn't as bad as we all remember him being.

If indeed he has pitched his last game for the Red Sox, and even with the Tommy John surgery only time will tell if he can make it back, I wish him the best. I won't miss him, but I wish him the best.

Two Games Behind: Somehow Feels Like Ten

Wait.... what happened to this team? Who ARE these guys? They aren't the ones we were watching for most of May, are they? Just like that May team wasn't the same as the April team, I'm not exactly sure who the June team is going to be... but if the game yesterday was any indication, I'm not so sure I want to find out. We were on top of the East just days ago... and now, just as fast as I can shout a string of obscenities at anyone who's within earshot, we're two games behind the Yankees. I HATE being behind the Yankees. I hate watching my ultra-talented team play bad baseball. They are the definition of the word streaky.

Streaky [stree-kee] -adjective. 1)Occuring in streaks or in a streak, 2)marked with or characterized by streaks, 3)varying or uneven in quality, 4)the 2011 Boston Red Sox. See? Wouldn't lie about that sort of thing.

For Wakefield, this was a typical 'you never know what you're going to get with the knuckleball' outing. Seven hits and four runs over six innings. This wasn't a BAD performance, but we needed just a little more. Matt Albers was kind of bad. Rich Hill broke himself. Daniel Bard was good, and Papelbon did his best to put this one out of reach. Hooray pitching staff.

On the bat-side of the field, Ortiz wins. He didn't win the game, but he wins everything else. He came up with a clutch home run when we really needed it... even if it didn't last long because Matt Albers ruined the goodness. One on and two out in the 7th, Ernie commited the hitting cardinal sin number one (Don't swing at the first pitch) and he swung at the dagnabbit first pitch. In two at-bats against this Sale fellow, Ernie broke two of my hitting rules. I am taking a dozen cookies away from him, because those types of shenanigans are unappreciated and unwelcome.

Between this one and the Bruins, I'm glad there's an off-day today. My poor heart can't take the disappointment.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Make This Real: Tek Support

Watch this video.

I would intentionally be the most computer illiterate person in the world if this existed in real life

Cookies!: And Spine Punches!

These are the current arbitrary team cookie standings:

Varitek - 12 cookies
Munchkin - 6 cookies
Papi - 6 cookies
Crawford - -2 cookies (I gave him one, Amy took two away)
Aceves - -3 cookies, but no spine punch... this time.
Cameron - No cookies, 1 Timlin spine punch.

That's another thing that I should explain. When a player does poorly, they get no cookies. Sometimes we will take cookies away from them, and sometimes, if the play is especially poor, the player receives a "Timlin spine punch." Essentially, this means that Mike Timlin is hiding somewhere in the clubhouse, and when the player in question least expects it, he jumps out and delivers a swift punch in the spine. Sometimes Mike Timlin camouflages himself as Varitek's locker (Varitek being one of his best friends, in my imagination), and he'll jump out and scare the rookies. Sometimes, when he's camouflaged, Varitek will try to reach into his locker and accidentally punch Timlin in the chest, and then he'll shout "Damnit, Mike! I told you to stop doing this!" And Timlin will laugh and pull out his crossbow, and everyone will have a great time.

What? Don't look at me like that. I've got an overactive imagination.

So these are the Cookie/Spine Punch standings. We'll see where everyone stands at the end of the season. I bet Tek will have the most cookies. And no, this isn't bias at all...

Bad Ernie!: No Cookie For You!

About fifty minutes before game time last night, I get a call asking me if I want to go to the game. My friend had scored free tickets. How could I turn that down? Due to traffic and other such delays, by the time we got to the park, it was 5-0 Chicago. Ugh. Gonna be one of those nights.

Oh, and it was. Ten runs were all but handed to Chicago. The Yankees reclaimed first place. The southsiders slapped our mommas and kicked our dogs. AND Bobby Jenks pitched. There was just nothing redeeming about the night. Then, with a runner on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, we had the heart of our lineup coming up. My friend and I scripted it this way: Ernie walked, Youk gets HBP, and Ortiz hits a grand slam. What really happened? Ernie took three pitches and struck out looking.

Deep breath.


I have three rules of hitting. I've mentioned them before, but for the sake of this post, I will repeat them. One - Do not swing at the first pitch unless you're Nomar or someone equally as likely to get a hit. Two - No swinging at 3-0 counts. Make the pitcher throw strikes. Three - DO NOT STARE AT STRIKE THREE! Backwards K's drive me crazy. If the count is 0-2, and the pitch is close... SWING, darnit! If you strike out swinging, at least it feels like you tried. Sometimes, you don't have the luxury of waiting for the perfect pitch.

So that was my rant for the night. On the plus side, Tek had a great night at the plate. This had to have been his first three-hit game of the season. A home run and two singles, I believe. Tek is now batting .235. Starters batting less than .235? Drew (.228) and Crawford (.234). I am providing no commentary on this, I am just stating facts.

My friend and I are contemplating keeping a spreadsheet of which players earn how many cookies per game, and tallying it up at the end of the season. I don't know if we'll actually stick with it, but cookie earners from last night's game are Crawford (1), Varitek (12), and Ortiz (6). Cookies are assigned arbitrarily, depending on who we feel has earned them or needed them. For example, I gave a cookie to Carl, even though he clearly didn't earn it. I thought he could use a pick-me-up. Let's see how many cookies get earned on the field tonight, as we begin the quest back to the top of the mountain.