Saturday, July 31, 2010

Trade Deadline: My Reaction

I hate you, Theo. I honestly do.

We needed bullpen help. You bring up a kid who couldn't get it done during his first stint with the big league club earlier this year. You also traded Ramon Ramirez for essentially nothing. Manny Delcarmen is still on the team. Bullpen: Not improved at all.

We needed outfield help. You designate Hermida for assignment, and bring up Kalish. Despite me wanting to see Kalish this season, how does a guy with no prior big league experience help us? Outfield: Not improved.

So, I guess we're supposed to wave the white flag now? I guess no one sent Papi the memo.

Mike Lowell still is in no man's land, and we're five and a half games out of a playoff spot.

Can everyone PLEASE stop telling me how much of a genius Theo is? I guess he wants to just wait till next year.

Oh, I still hate Adrian Beltre.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beckett: Gets the Win!

I don't know who is more excited about that win yesterday, me or Josh Beckett. My guess is probably me. After watching Josh for the last four seasons, I don't really thinks he gets excited about too much. And you know what? I'm still waiting for that jig he promised to do if the Sox won the WS in 2007. Did that happen and I just missed it? If so, does someone have a video?

And if not, someone grab a pistol and we'll make him dance.

I kid, of course. I don't know how to shoot a pistol, and I definitely wouldn't practice by shooting at the feet of someone who owns his own hunting ranch. THAT would be ridiculous. Back to my point... I'm shameless in my adoration for certain players, and Beckett is just one of those guys. His winning makes me happy. It brightens my day. I'm sure it makes him less neutral than normal, but he's probably focused more on the big picture than I am right now. As sad as this sounds, knowing that Josh just got his second win of the season makes me happy. On top of his second win, he earned the sweep. I do love sweeps, and I'm sure the Sox do, too. After that grim performance in Seattle, we sure needed that.

It's not really going to get any easier, though, so I hope that Munchkin heals up and Varitek comes back strong, and maybe, JUST MAYBE, we'll have an actual outfield someday.

I'm not really in the mood to rehash the entire game, but if almost all my love goes to Beckett for his performance in the game, the rest of it goes to Scutaro for allowing his performance to not be wasted. Now, I really hope the Red Sox are paying attention, because this is incredibly important: When you all are batting with the bases loaded, grand slams are a good thing. I know that grounding out weakly or flying out to shallow center have been the preferred results over the course of the road trip (and let's face it, the season... or at least that's how it seems), but I really am tired of squandering bases loaded situations, so perhaps we can do more grand slamming and less grounding out. Ok? Awesome!

Just out of my own curiosity, I am going to look up the team numbers with bases loaded this season. If you hear me weeping, you'll know why. Wait for it...

::Sob:: Ok... so, cumulatively, the Sox have seen a bases loaded situation 110 times this season. Seems like a lot, doesn't it? I guess it's not really, but it seems that way. In those 110 plate appearances, they've come away with 21 hits and seven walks. 76 runs have been scored. The Sox have recorded three grand slams (assuming that baseball-reference has already updated since yesterday's game). The frightening thing to me is that there's only a .001% difference between their batting average with bases loaded (.223) and their batting average on balls in play with the bases loaded (.222). Does this mean that we've been unbelievably unlucky this year or that we just aren't putting good swings on the ball? I don't even want to guess.

It doesn't matter. We got a win. But there will be baseballessness in my life today as the boys travel back from the west coast, so I guess I'm going to have to find something else to do with my time. Oh, I know! I'll catch up on the sleep I've been deprived over the last week and a half. Good plan. Goodnight all!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yawn: Yay We Win

Pardon the lack of enthusiasm. Part of it is due to the fact that I didn't watch the game... I mean the whole game. I watched innings 8 & 9 when I finally rolled home near 1 AM. Looks like our boys, even Lackey, did well. No complaints on my end. Lord knows I love a good win, and that win was good enough.

Despite not having anything interesting or compelling to write about from last night's game, I wanted to write two things (mostly because I'm avoiding doing a literature review that's due tomorrow, but that's another story entirely):

1) Mike Lowell hit three home runs for the PawSox last night. I know with Beltre, Youk, and Ortiz being incredibly useful right now, finding a place for Mikey is hard, but he's not going to be rehabbing for much longer, and we're going to need to find something to do with him. I say keep him. Well, I mean, keep him if it's in his best interest. I don't want to see Mike go back to the Yankees or to the Rays or, really, anyone in the AL. I'd rather him stay with us, but with the way our lineup is looking, I don't think it's too likely. If these are in fact Mikey's last days in the Red Sox organization, then at the very least he deserves a paragraph about his awesome offensive performance. And three home runs, I don't care at what level, qualifies as awesome for me. I love Mikey, and I only want him to be happy.

2) Beckett is pitching today (man, do I love former Marlins or what?). I won't see the start of the game, but hopefully I can catch the tail end of it. That probably means I won't get to see Joshua pitch, but I have no doubt in my mind that he'll be fine. Also, there's no one I trust more with completing a sweep. I don't even care if that trust is warranted or not. I have good feelings about today!

That is all. For now anyway. Hooray baseball!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jon Lester: Deserved Better

Beckett pitched well, Lester pitched brilliantly, and Dice-K even pitched impressively.

We walked away with one win.

After our amazing May and June, we've won 8 games in the month of July. The record for June is 8-12. We're wasting good pitching performances left and right. Perfect games, no hitters, doesn't matter. All wasted.

I'm looking at you, Eric Patterson. I don't care if you have to break both of your hands to make that play. A perfect game is on the line. You MAKE that catch, especially if you just ran all that way to get there. I know it was a mistake and you didn't intend to do it, but that one play made you look like a jackass. To me, it's inexcusable. There's always one play in a no-hitter... one defensive play that when the fielder makes it, you look at the pitcher and think 'that's it, he's got this,' but when Patterson botched that play, all I could think was 'damnit*... our momentum.' Sure enough, it was the turning point. Jon may have given up the home run, but Patterson allowed it to happen. Whatever, it's over. We lost. Against David freakin' Pauley.

*not even close to the actual word I used.

I'm not sitting here saying that the sky is falling or that the season is over, because it's not. We made up a 7 game deficit once already this season. I'm just wondering how many times we're going to have to battle back from the brink, just to watch our bullpen go nuclear over a potential win. Maybe it's time to drop the pirate bit. It's not bringing them luck any more. You don't believe me? Look at our record in extra-inning games. We're 4-8. Yes, it also reflects the lack of hitting, but it's not our starters pitching those extra innings.

Our pen has a cumulative record of 12-15, with an ERA of 3.88, and they've allowed 29 home runs. Forgive me if these numbers instill no confidence in me.

Last night, Dice only gave up one run in 6 innings, and Daniel Bard was nearly perfect for the 7th. After allowing a base runner in the 8th, with a total of 18 pitches, Bard was 'relieved' by Okajima, who apparently delighted in loading the bases, because he didn't THROW THE DAMN BALL TO FIRST! I've never hated Oki before, but come on, dude, what the hell?! You're not going to make the out at 3rd! Get the sure out! Where are the goddamned fundamentals?! He couldn't even get out of the inning after allowing five hits and two runs, and Rambo had to be brought in to finish the job.

No, the offense didn't help against Doug Fister. Nor did they help out against David freakin' Pauley. Really? You can't score two or three runs off a guy who has zero career wins and only pitches every other year? It's a joke. I don't even want to look at the numbers with runners in scoring position, because I'm afraid I'll cry. I don't get it. I really don't. What is happening with them? They're not facing good pitching. They can't really be that tired, because they've had plenty of time off this month. Sure, the lineup is a bunch of rookies and backup guys, but it's not the rookies and backup guys coming up to bat when we have the bases loaded. Why is Lackey the only one who gets any run support?!

It's a test of faith, I know. And it's incredibly tempting to demand Theo start making crazy trades and do something... anything to shake this team up a little bit, but I don't think it's the best idea. We've got to stand down and just make it through right now, as much as that hurts. Our guys are slowly trickling back to play. Besides, if it turns out that getting the hurt guys back is too little too late, then what good is a trade going to do for us anyway? We might as well keep the talent.

Though, I honestly would not mind some help in the bullpen, since Delcarmen and Oki don't remember how to get outs.

Dahmer should be on the mound tonight for game number 100 of the season, and I feel like today's just as good a day as any to get the bats going again. I'm keeping the faith.

Friday, July 23, 2010

John Lackey: Finally Earned His First Paycheck

Truth be told, I don't care that Lackey lost the no-hitter yesterday. Sure, maybe that makes me petty but I don't care. I didn't want Lackey and I haven't enjoyed watching him this season. Am I happy when he does well? Absolutely. But it's for the sake of the team, not for him. If he had gotten the no-no, I wouldn't have been angry, but... yeah. I'll just say I appreciate that old friend Josh Bard is the one who broke up the no-no. I didn't approve of the way our front office continuously brought him back and got rid of him. It was small revenge, sure, but he deserved it.

However, if we had lost this game, I would have been angry. I would have been very angry. Not that I stayed up for it. I actually had every intention of staying up for the game, but there was a pitching change in the 8th, and I thought I could just rest my eyes until they came back from commercials, and then I woke up when my alarm clock went off this morning. I couldn't have stayed up until 2 AM even if I wanted to, though.

Manny Delcarmen confuses me. What happened? On June 1st, he was sporting a 1.73 ERA and looking like the best thing to happen to the bullpen since pirate music (slight exaggeration, of course). He was our most reliable arm all through May, and most of June. Then what? He got hurt? Is that really it? Not for nothing, but he was on the disabled list and made rehab starts to take care of his forearm strain or whatever the problem was. June 3rd, the ERA started climbing. Two runs that night on two HR's to Oakland, and one run on June 6th brought it up to 2.67. After that, he enjoyed 5 1/3 IP over 6 appearances of scoreless baseball. Then in his next three appearances, he just completely and utterly fell apart, allowing nine runs on nine hits and two walks in one inning over three appearances. Two of those appearances (June 24 @ Colorado, and June 30th vs Tampa), he failed to record a single out, and then he was DL'ed. His first two outings back, he was great, allowing no hits and no runs in 2 1/3rd innings. Last night? Back to falling apart. 4 Runs on 2 hits in no innings. What's the problem? I don't know enough about pitching mechanics to know if he's doing something differently. When he's good, he's really good, but when he's bad, he is the destroyer of games. How do you pitch 1 1/3rd innings of perfect baseball one night and come back two days later looking like Eric Gagne? It doesn't make sense!

I won't even discuss Papelbon. My patience for him has slowly been getting shorter and shorter since 2008. Someone who bitches about money as much as he does needs to be able to back up his demands in performance. I also don't need to comment about our run prevention defense, considering the run preventors are mostly on the DL.

Wait. I will comment. Our defense is utter bullshit at times. To pick on Beltre for no reason, 15 errors? Seriously, my idea to call him Belteria a few months ago shouldn't have been this accurate. This was the improved defense we were supposed to get? REALLY? You honestly think Mike Lowell would have had 15 errors? The answer is no. Bill Hall has 8 errors. Eight. I know he's a backup, but eight? Marco Scutaro has TWELVE! Our run prevention infield has nore errors than I care to count. They're sloppy. It makes me angry. They're all lucky that they won last night, because that game certainly wasn't won on talent.

The last thing I can say is... it's nice to see them pull victory from the cold hands of ugly defeat. I just wish they wouldn't pull defeat from the warm, loving hands of victory so often. And good job, Patterson. You are the winner of the night.

On a side note, I did not realize that Nava had been optioned back to Pawtucket until I read an article about Mike Lowell helping the PawSox win their game last night. This means two things that I approve of: Mikey is getting close to rejoining the Sox (though I don't dare to speculate for how long), and that Wolverine is back in action. I've missed both of these individuals.

You know what else is going to happen tonight that will also win my approval? The return of Josh Beckett. I will try not to place too many high expectations on Joshua, since he's been crap all year and hasn't won a game since April 10th. But I am happy he's coming back. I've missed him, is all.

And I will stay up for the entire game.

Happy Friday, everyone.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Today: I Am A Zombie

Never mind the fact that I hadn't gotten a good night's sleep for a full week before the start of this west coast trip, and I've been doing nothing but schoolwork and resurfacing a concrete floor and no you don't need to know why... today I am a zombie, and an unhappy zombie at that. I'm gonna eat your damn brains and there's not a thing you can do about it. And no, I'm not one of those slowpoke zombies who shuffles along with no purpose. The only reason I'm moving so slowly is because I'm wearing heels and I miss my sneakers and.... getting off track. As usual.

We went from second place and one game out of first to third place and six games out of first before I even got to blink. I have no idea what happened. All I remember is bases loaded, and then it all goes black and somehow we lose. How do we keep losing? Yeah, I know. Kevin Cash. Adrian Beltre is officially not my most hated current Sox player. Congratulations, Adrian! I don't care how many ribs you broke, I can now actually say I don't dislike you the most. Cash... my mortal enemy (well, one of them) has returned. And he sucks. I know I'm the last person on Earth to suggest this, but Doug Mirabelli is literally just sitting around some office in Michigan. He'd look mighty good in some catchers' gear right now... and maybe a crisp white uniform? Wait, we're on the road, so.... grey? I can't even remember what color the uniforms are, I am so tired. But perhaps just the catchers' gear will do and I am moving on to a new topic before I start having to delete sentences.

I hate Kevin Cash. Wakefield does, too.

And who the hell is this "Lowrie" fellow. Name sounds vaguely familiar, but it's been such a long time. I thought he retired or something. But he's our shortstop for tonight, and for some reason he reminds me of CRW. This whole crazy team just fell apart, but we'll always have '04 and '07, and, well, now I want to watch Casablanca. And I'm absolutely confused as to how my mind got me here. Anyway. Who's pitching tonight? Dahmer? I sure hope so. Not that I'll remember the game tomorrow anyway.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jon Lester: My Favorite Part Of The All Star Game

Like all my other posts this month, I'm going to make this kind of short... but I actually have a good reason for that this time. I didn't watch the All Star Game. I tracked it for a while, but I ended up going to bed around the 7th or the 8th inning. Oh, I started to watch it, sure, but I knew what was going to happen. There was going to be a bunch of Yankee ass-kissing and I was going to get infinitely annoyed. I don't like the Fox announcing team when no important figures in Yankee history have died, but after TWO important figures in Yankees history have died... well, I just couldn't take it. I think I lasted two full innings.

For a while, I had the game up on GameDay. When I noticed Lester was coming in to pitch, I turned the game back on, but muted it. See... even though I really don't care about the ASG, I love Jon Lester. But you knew that. It must have been mighty hot out there in LA-Orange County-Anaheim-Bakersfield Angels Stadium because I don't think I've ever seen Jon sweating like Youk. Either way, Jon did really good. No baserunners, two ground outs and a pop out. Certainly, he did us proud during his very first ASG. Hard to believe that it's only his first one. Hopefully, he'll see many more.

I know the AL lost because I read it this morning. I also know that the pitcher who got the loss was a Yankee. A Yankee pitcher and the Yankee manager get the first AL ASG loss in what feels like forever. Bet they're going to blame it on their overwhelming grief. Or more likely, they'll just blame everyone else.

We're back to real-world baseball tomorrow, and I just could not be more happy about that. Not having baseball in my life during baseball season is hard!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rest In Peace, George

Well, George Steinbrenner has officially died, according to some anonymous sources

I didn't like the man. I didn't like what he did to the game, but you can't deny that he was a HUGE figure in baseball, and this is absolutely huge news whether you liked him or not.

And since it's not nice to talk ill of the dead, I'll leave it at that. My condolences to his family. May he rest in peace.

David Ortiz: Giving A Huge Middle Finger To The Doubters

My faith may have wavered slightly in Papi way back in April. I can't remember the exact date, but it was basically the breaking point when people on the fence quit on him, and people like me who would never quit on him began to feel a nagging doubt in the back of their minds that Papi was ever going to be the same. To me, it didn't entirely matter if he wasn't the same guy. I was going to love him and cheer for him forever based on his accomplishments in the past, but I'm aware that many people do not feel that way. It made me incredibly sad to hear the way people were talking about him. I said a little prayer every morning that the Sox would not release him or do something equally stupid. The whole situation had me worried.

And then, as Munchkin predicted.... laser show. And man, what a show it's been. So far, it's culminated in Papi taking home the title of 2010 Home Run Derby champion for the first time in his career. You know the man was feeling good, because he wanted to participate for the first time in three years, and that trademark David Ortiz smile almost never left his face.

Despite the fact that I am completely and 100% against any Red Sox players participating in the joke that is the All-Star Festival, I couldn't be any prouder of Papi if I tried.

Anyone still want to doubt him? I'm listening.

Congratulations, David "Big Papi" Ortiz on your convincing victory in this year's home run derby!