Survival in the Bronx

Mark Loretta now knows what it’s like to be in the thick of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Same goes for Kevin Youkilis, Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Lowell.

You can watch the rivalry and even experience it as a background performer, like Papelbon and Youkilis did previously. But you don’t know what it’s like to be in the middle of it until zany nights like Thursday.

As Papelbon aptly said after the game, the Red Sox laid it all on the line to win this game.

Loretta is taking great at-bats every time he’s at the plate. Same goes for Youkilis. Doesn’t it seem like Youkilis hits the ball hard every at-bat?

Perhaps not as hard as Papelbon throws it. This kid continues to be something. The Yankees aren’t used to seeing the Red Sox with such an overpowering weapon in the late innings. As good as Foulke was two years ago, I think it does more psychological damage for an opponent to see a guy like Papelbon out there, who just overpowers people.

We all had questions about how this particular Red Sox team would do when the pressure is on top of them. This is no longer the team of Johnny Damon and Bill Mueller and Kevin Millar, etc., who showed ealry on in their tenure with Boston that they didn’t fear the Yankees and could go toe to toe with them.

It appears that trait has been passed on to this group. You can say all you want about it being just a regular season game in early May. But these games really do come with the buzz of October.

And what a double whammy this was for the Yankees. Hideki Matsui might not play another baseball game in 2006. Fractured wrist, ouch! You don’t wish that on anyone. He has been such a key performer for the Yankees over the last four seasons, it’s hard to see this not being a major blow. What will the Yankees be able to get out of Sheffield? Will his wrist nag at him once he comes off the DL?

Brief three-game set at Fenway against the Rangers, but the forecast is bad. Hopefully we’ll see some baseball. It will be hard to see what we saw thursday though. Those games are a treat, even when they last four hours.

Talk to you from Fenway,

Ian.

21 Comments

I can’t believe I missed this game. My world has been so crazy this week. I couldn’t deal with the stress. bbqing at a buddies and I snuck on the computer just in time to see Jeter throwing from his knees and the ball rolling away. Loretta, he makes things happen. That’s baseball. I love these sox.
portland, or -tim

You can also add kudos for Gonzo and Harris. WOW – these NEW guys are all winners in the clutch. And I do not recognize this Red Sox pen – another serving of LIGHTS OUT. Finally, Mirabelli gives this team so much that does not show on the box score.

Life doesn’t get much better than this!,does it?????????? I AM SORRY ABOUT HIDEKI, THOUGH, AND HOPE HE HEALS SOON. We should always want our best going against our opponents’ best in September and October.

Great game. Distressing to see how many baserunners the Sox continue to strand, but I suppose I should be thankful for the number of runners they’re putting on the bases to begin with. That’ll equal runs eventually… And they did battle through to get those runs last night!

I feel horrible for Matsui. He’s a great player and a consummate professional; it’s too bad that his streak has ended, and worse that he can’t play the game he loves every day. I can’t say I’ll miss his contributions to our rivals, but he’s one of the players I have a lot of respect for. Why can’t Bonds break a wrist? I’d be celebrating.

These Sox are a huge improvement over last year’s. You don’t want to have to score nine times to win every game. While last year’s team was perhaps capable of brutalizing the opposition at the plate, it’s a stressful way to win games, constantly making up or feeling you need to gain ground like that.

Man, what an awesome game, at least from a baseball fan’s point of view. From a Sox fan’s point of view it was incredibly frustrating to watch so many scoring threats go unfulfilled. But a lot of things do seem to be coming together, especially at the plate.

Arielle, in response to your comment about Manny, I wrote almost exactly the same thing in my baseball diary Wednesday night. Manny has worked hard to improve his defense, and I think it is just a case of it being difficult to overcome the reputation he got early on. I wouldn’t say he’s one of the best outfielders, but I think he is very under-rated.

Is it just me, or are there significantly more catches this year that the sportscasters call “robbing” the hitter of a home run when the ball actually wouldn’t have left the yard? Crosby’s and Damon’s catches were certainly great catches, but the ball Crosby caught looked like it might have hit off the top of the wall at best, and the ball Damon caught off of Mirabelli looked to me like it would have stayed in, but Damon’s glove went over the wall after he caught it. Other announcers seem to be doing it a lot as well. Why not just say it’s a great catch to prevent extra bases instead of exaggerating and saying it took away a home run? Maybe it’s been happening all along and I just haven’t noticed.

Oh, and in case anyone cares, I found out why Trot’s wearing a two-flap helmet. Apparently he says it balances better on his head and gives him “a more consitent view of pitches.” He’s hitting over .300, so who am I to argue?

I think Crosby’s catch on Lowell truely robbed him of a homer… Damon’s probably wasn’t a homer. I think Manny has made some improvements with his overall defense, but he still has brain cramps more than any other player I have seen in the field and on the bases. Did anyone see the triple he had a few weeks ago? He hit the ball and watched the entire play unfold as he walked to first base. Once he say it bounce off the wall, he started running. I was 100% sure it was an inside the park homer until I saw the reply of Manny watching the whole thing. It’s mind boggling how a guy making 20 Million a year can’t run as soon as he hits the ball? Last week he tried going from first to third with NOBODY OUT and would have been thrown out by 10 feet if the third basemen didn’t drop the throw. Unfortunately, I think these brain cramps happen in the field as well from time to time. For some reason, they don’t happen during his swing… THANK GOD!

Without a doubt, Manny needs to exercise his brain a good bunch more. I just think he gets to a lot more balls than he used to and actually makes some very good catches when he does get to them, while people still think of him as a total bufoon out there.

As to the assists stat, I think a significant portion of that has to do with the fact that he plays so shallow, by necessity, in Fenway. Granted, he has learned to play the wall and makes very good throws, but because of the shortened distance he has to throw the ball, he can get it to second or third faster than someone playing in Anaheim or Chicago, for example.

You baseball Aristotles never cease to amaze me. Now you’re on Manny. First it was Loretta and Gonzalez you were knocking. I’m sorry both have let you down by what you probably attribute to overachieving. Both are now on fire, so you don’t have them to hiss and moan about. That should be sufficient to make you feel like an a double s, but no, now it’s on to Manny….that he’s a decent outfielder, but not outstanding, you discount his assisted outs because he plays shallow, criticize him for not running out an inside the park home run and settling for JUST a triple? You guys are like a fortunate man married to a beautiful, sexy woman, who is adored by your family, is thoughtful of others, loves and supports you…..then complain because she snores. You numnudtz!!!!! And you, especially, rainman, I’ll defer to your expertise on “brain cramps”. You and jocko (by the way, why do you always drop the 2 “f”s at the end of your name?) have brain seizures everytime you post, good buddies. Manny is just fine. The only worry I EVER have about Manny is when is the next time he’ll ask to be traded. i’m guessing around the all-star break. I hope not. So ease up you perpetual Chicken Littles. What the double hockey sticks will you hyper-critical amateurs ever be content with? Take your medication…and smell the roses!

Hey fagman, we have the second highest payroll in the league every year, so I think it’s OK to expect a little more than average results. Results, I repeat, not statistics. You think its unreasonable to expect a guy to run out of the batters box? Those are some of the reasons the Yankees beat us all of those years. I love Manny… but it wasn’t me who made up his “Manny being Manny” nickname. Did you forget about the time he slid head first into home plate and was out for 2 months? He does that again and there is no power-protection for Ortiz. There is plenty to worry about Manny. Isn’t part of the purpose of these blogs to discuss potential problems? Would you rather I just log on every day and say Big Papi is great? Well, just to satisfy you… I’ll list out everything I am thankful for… Youkalis, the Greek God of Walks, Papi’s huge balls, Papelbon of course… although I’m leaning towards Joe Morgan’s belief that he should be a starter (230 innings per year vs. 70), Lowell’s resurgance, etc…

Daniel:

I agree that there are those who are very quick to condemn players who do not perform as well as we all might like. That is their opinion, and I don’t have any problem with them expressing it as long as it is done in a civil manner.

I can also agree that there are those who may seem to be hyper-critical of the players on our favorite team. You however, are giving the appearance of being hyper-critical of anyone who offers anything closely resembling negative comments about those players. If you read my comments regarding Manny, I think you will notice that they were as much positive as negative:

– I said he’s better than most people give him credit for;

– I said he’s learned to play the wall in Fenway well and makes good throws;

– I said he gets to a lot of balls he didn’t used to, and that he makes some very good catches.

Can you honestly deny that the shallow depth of left field in Fenway has an effect on a left fielder’s opportunity for assists? I didn’t say that’s all there was to it, just that it has an effect.

I love Manny, warts and all, and wouldn’t trade him for a basketful of A-Rods. No player is perfect, and it is interesting, at least to me, to discuss not only the things a player does right, but the mistakes they make and how those mistakes may impact the outcome of a game.

I’ll say it again, the name-calling by a select few folks on this site really bothers me. However, this is Ian’s blog, so if he’s not inclined to comment on it, this is the last time I’ll mention it.

I think i actually have mentioned it before, but it might have fallen on a few deaf ears. Let’s keep these debates spirited and opinionated and substantiative, but let’s not attack those who might have different opinions with childish monikers. how is that?

IAN, oh pristine ONE, Is “childish monikers” a childish moniker”

Rainman, the ole fagman appreciates your creativity. I’m impressed! And, I understand that it’s only human nature for a frustrated ex-jock who never made the big time and has been relegated to a moderate salary in a mediocre job punching the clock (or writing about sports instead of playing one)would resent the high salaries of professional ballplayers or rock stars. I just think it’s amusing–and fair enough– to place your opinions under the same microscope that you micro analyze athletes. And, in being negative about some folks being negative about other folks, what’s the inconsistency? Like IAN, you are pots calling the kettle black! Just because you have an opinion doesn’t mean it’s of any value. Opinions are like the north end of one’s anatomy going south,…everybody has one! Sorry, but I remain unapologetic and unrebuked. But, thanks for sharing your input with me. I adore all your opinions, especially from the host of the show.

Hey all
We just won two out of three in the Bronx! Why all the attacks and arguments? Be happy.

That game last night is maybe the second game this season that really looked as if it brought the team together. These types of games are very important for a team lacking clubhouse guys like Kevin Millar and Johnny Damon.

Douglas, I agree whole heartedly with you. I have broken my right wrist three times and have actually sustained some permanent damage from the breaks. As soon as I saw Matsui’s hand when it came out of his glove, I knew it was broken. I feel horrible for him, but not the Yankees. It is an odd feeling to say the least. Feel better soon, Hideki, but take your time coming back.

-A

http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

And Fagan, if you are going to criticize Ian so much (“Like IAN, you are pots calling the kettle black!” . . . “or writing about sports instead of playing one” . . . “IAN, oh pristine ONE, Is “childish monikers” a childish moniker”) why don’t you go somewhere else? There are plenty of other Red Sox blogs on here as well as a Red Sox fan forum where you can share your opinions.
-A

http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

Okay guys (and girls) let’s let up for a minute. I know they stranded a ton o’guys last night. that’s something they really need to work on. But, when opportunity knocked last night , they opened the door and said “COME ON IN!!” just remember its really easy to be the so called “armchair or monday morning quarterback”. But would you have done any better with what was put in front of you?? I think not. let’s just keep in mind that we’ve won 3 out 4 so far with 15 more to go. I say, “I LOVE MY SOX” let’s just go out and rally behind these guys and get it done!!!!

Thanks for trying, Ian. Not worth the effort, apparently.

ellencullum: Sorry if I get too negative sometimes. I don’t by any stretch mean to imply that I could even perform 1% as good as any of those guys. All I mean to express is my disappointment or frustration, which is natural when the team you want to win comes up short, either at the end of an inning or the end of the game. Your point is well taken though, and I will try to be more positive in the future. But don’t expect any miracles ;-)

I too apoligize to Ian and every one else for name calling. I’m new to the blog and wasn’t aware of all the ettiquette. In the future, I will refrain, even if provoked. However, I’ll be turning the heat up a notch with the commentary!

Hey Ian,
It looks like you get to stay home for Mother’s Day today.

I’m looking forward to the series against the Orioles. Hopefully, this weekend of rest for the Sox will help them continue their dominance of the birds. Say hi to K.Mill (Millar) for me in Baltimore!

-A

http://catchingredsox.mlblogs.com

Well it looks like the bats are coming together. Loretta is getting hot so is Willy Mo and how about Alex Gonzalez hitting a 3-run homer in game one of the Yankees series in the Bronx. Youk is doing a great job in the leadoff spot. It looks like the toughest thing for Tito Francona when Coco comes back is where to put Youk in the line up. Imagine what the offense is going to be like with Coco back. I think the Red Sox are going to be fine offensively and look at there pitching defense! I dont think were going to see alot of JT late in games with Youk playing gold glove first base. And I forgot to mention Mr. Double Mike Lowell. I know its early in the year but I think the Red Sox could come away with the division with the sox bats defense and pitching defeating the Yankees bats coming in second and winning the wild card.

I know that the Sox could really use this brief reprieve to relax and regroup, but I was sure disappointed with the washouts, especially saturday night when i was able to log on to watch the game. friday night sure wasn’t our night, was it?? The game never should have been played with the weather that was upon them. I’m hoping that we can continue the great play against the O’s in the 3 game matchup. Looking forward to seeing our guys back on the field again tomorrow night. GO SOX!

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