Parachuting back in

Yes, there were parachuters on the Fenway sod today, one of which came softly landing in with an American flag during the National Anthem.

Anyway, I’ve also parachuted my way back in in much less dramatic fashion after a couple of days off. It doesn’t seem like Julio Lugo solved his problems during my brief absence. Boy was that caught stealing ugly last night. Manager Terry Francona said that he had a chat with Lugo this morning about the play, and again reiterated that it was the sign of a struggling player trying to do too much.

Tito also said that Lugo thought the ball was foul. Strange stuff indeed. Anyway, Cora is again at shortstop, though it sounds like Lugo’s three-game sabbatical from the lineup will end Monday night.

Coco Crisp won’t go on the DL today, but Francona intimated that it might still happen, calling it "a tough decision". We’ll get another look at Ellsbury today, who was clocked at 3.9 by bench coach Brad Mills last night.

The highlight of the morning manager’s session was this gem. Francona was asked his first impressions of Pedroia when he got to know him in the spring of 2006. "My first impressions? He walked into the clubhouse carrying a McDonald’s bag about seven days in a row. It was like, ‘we need to talk to this kid’. We did and he really picked it up. We told him he needed him to work hard because we wanted him to play second base this year. And he went and worked his rear end off. Good for him. He’s a pretty coachable kid."

It’s All-Star selection day baby. We’ll be back for a blog about that later in the day.

Until then, enjoy your Sunday afternoon. Julian is chucking and that usually provides some entertainment.

Ian.

40 Comments

Well the Sox are solving the LOB problem by hitting into double plays.
Tavarez is pitching great so far. Let’s not waste it guys!

I heard one of the commentators say yesterday, that Ellsbury reminds him of Johnny what’s his name (you know our FORMER centerfielder). I don’t know about physical capapbilities but he does bear a similar facial resemblance. They say he’s got real speed too, We sure can use someone like that.

ellsbury is a dead ringer for the young johnny damon. the guy who came up with the royals.

Nice.. Tie score, let’s get the lead now. I heard that the Sox were only 13-14 in June. Well now June has gone and its July; half way point, time to turn it on again and make July a HUGE month of W’s for Our Guys!!!!Papi and Manny are really due. If I’m an opposing pitcher right now, I’m more anxious than usual. I wouldn’t want to be a pitcher against them when they’re overdue!!!

This offense is depressing me of late.

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

You guys seem to be coasting-it’s time to finish off the Yankees once and for all

http://arizonaviaslough.mlblogs.com/

This is depressing! Another heartless and lifeless performance by the offense. How in the world does a 1st place team only score 7 runs in 3 games against a team with one of the worst starting pitching in the league?
Nice game by Tavarez. He wasn’t outstanding, but you’d have to think that 2 runs (only one earned) would be enough against this team.

Has anyone seen Ortiz and Ramirez after the 6th inning this year?? The Sox are now 1-28 in games when they have trailed after the 8th inning. They are now 2 games under .500 since the beginning of June.

From the 5th inning on, the Sox had 2 outs before 6 pitches were thrown. This game was frustrating.

Hey everyone, feel free to join Vince and I tonight at Sox and Pinstripes Radio. We will have David Pinto of Baseball Musings and Joe Hamrahi of Baseball Digest Daily as our guests. You can also call in to win a copy of a A&E Home Video’s 2004 Boston Red Sox World Series Collector’s Edition DVD. You can learn more on how to tune in and call in by visiting the instructions on our site.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Oh, the show airs from 9-10 p.m. ET. I will be venting about the lack of offense as well, so this is your chance to vent, too.

Hard to believe the Sox have lost 5 of 6 and still have a 10.5 game lead. I’d say that makes the East Division pretty pathetic.

Ellsbury could be around for a little while if Coco goes on the DL. I feel bad for Coco who played hard throgh his woes and was finally coming around. However, Ellsbury I think will be a capable fill in. He hit a couple of balls pretty hard today but had nothing to show for it. He’ll be OK.

How much longer can Youk, Pedroia and the pitching staff carry this team? Now they’re not getting enough runs to support some excellent pitching efforts. Papi and Manny have to pick it up sometime. Their stats aren’t that bad, but they are leaving a ton of men on base.

I think the bright side on these recent slumps is that it should be obvious we need to make a few moves before the deadline. We don’t have a starting pitcher in the top 15 in ERA and we can’t score runs. If Theo thinks that is enough to go all the way, he’s delusional.

Whoever said they prefer to have Youkilis and Pedroia up instead of Ortiz and Ramirez, I’m totally agree.

It seems like Papi either strikes out or pops up, although Manny has given a couple of balls a pretty good ride to the opposite field lately.

But back to my point, Youk and DP are always working the count into their favor whereas it seems like Papi and Manny are always 0-2, 1-2 and not able to think about going deep, rather just putting the ball in play. With that being said, I still think there is time on this road trip for our 3-4 hitters to heat up and start racking up the RBI’s.

JD Drew with a 9-game hitting streak going, last time he did that was at the beginning of the season when he went on a tear, so it’s good to see him swinging the bat well too.

And I would rather have Ellsbury in there any day of the week as opposed to Pena. For one, Ellsbury has put the ball in play in every at bat, and anytime he puts it on the ground he is a legitimate threat to leg it out into an infield single. On the other hand, it seems like a mini-miracle anytime Wily Mo makes contact, so even though I feel for Coco, I’m glad management made the decision to upgrade in CF temporarily.

So much for Pena’s 300 at-bats this season, eh? I would be shocked if he wasn’t gone by the trade deadline.

change the batting order so that the hitters are getting runs in.

Vince/Jeff: I listened to your show tonight and though I found it very informative, I thought that some listener interaction would have really been good, we have a lot of very well informed and seemingly well spoken(in type) people between the blogs and elsewhere. Me, not being a numbers, everyday,everytidbit person, I kind of found myself multitasking while it was on. You and Jeff were great. Maybe I’m just not your demographic… Anyway keep up the good work!!!

Ellen, glad you were able to listen. I agree with you that it would be nice to have calls from listeners in addition to the interaction we have with our guests. So far, we haven’t had many callers. Sox and Pinstripes, the web site, is on pace to have more than 100,000 visitors in its first year, which is promising especially considering we are independent and don’t have the promotional power of a site affiliated with a major media outlet.

As a freelance journalist and author who frequently writes athlete profiles and sports features for regional and national publications, I write my daily posts on Sox and Pinstripes as if I was a beat writer covering a team, except I have the freedom of being more opinionated than a beat writer. I know that Vince takes a similar approach.

I enjoy reading this blog, and several other Sox and Yankees blogs, along with the work I do for Sox and Pinstripes. I try to promote my favorite sites (Brownie Points included) through the links on Sox and Pinstripes, and having the authors on as guests on our radio show.

Hopefully, we will start attracting callers to the radio show as we have readers to the site.

By the way, even though I’m a man and we are not known for multi-tasking, I often multi-task when I listen to WEEI online!

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Zachary, I imagine I’m not the only one who feels this way, but I wrote that I feel more confident when Youkilis and Pedroia are at the plate right now than I do when I see Ortiz and Ramirez. Hopefully, in the second half both Ortiz and Ramirez start hitting the ball harder and producing when it counts. And hopefully Lugo starts producing numbers like he did in Tampa Bay, or next season we will have another shortstop (if Epstein can find someone to take Lugo). I’m tired of seeing so many runners left in scoring position. And I’m growing frustrated at watching this offense look so helpless against marginal pitchers like Kameron Loe, Ryan Feierabend, Jeff Weaver, Jamey Wright and Robinson Tejeda.

Do you guys think Papi or Manny will hit 40 homeruns this year?? Our 3-4 hitters have not been doing the job. People keep saying that Manny will turn it around, but when will he??? Big Papi also needs to at least homer more often. When will these struggling sluggers produce?

dj, Not sure I see it happening this year. I’d be fine if they just make it to 30 as long as they start doing it when it counts. When I heard that the Sox were 1-28 in games that they trailed after 8 innings, it really spoke volumes about what is going in the 2nd half if their bats don’t wake up. It’s tough on a pitcher when they know they can’t give up more than 2 runs for your team to win a game. With this lineup, that’s unacceptable. Now we have rookie pitching after a very rocky outing and they are facing a guy with an ERA in the 4′s. Since we can’t score more than 2 runs against pitchers with 6+ ERA’s, Gabbard is going to need to toss a shutout tonight. It’s a real good thing the rest of the East is below .500 because the Sox do not look like a playoff team right now.

Remember that Papi has had a hamstring injury since seasons beginning. Since power is generated from the legs, not the arms, meaning there isn’t the sweet swing of old. Also I give credit to Papi for not deciding to go to the DL, knowing that the team needs him. On the subject of Manny I wouldn’t be surprised I he was masking a injury (knee perhaps?). This may be Manny being Manny, but his pride is making the team suffer. If both guys went on the DL and healed, while the Red Sox continue to play as they are, then they could be fully healthy and the team could have a second half expolsion of wins. (However, the Sox went 13-14 in June).

rsj, Papi I might buy. But for some reason I don’t think Manny would hide an injury. Remember, he basically gave up on the team last year when he was hurt. He’s not in a contract year, which means he’s not playing for a paycheck. Manny has actually been hustling more this year than I can remember. He’s just not hitting for power or in clutch situations. I guess we’ll find out next week if he finds a way to back out of the All-Star game.

As far as potential moves at the deadline, I posted a couple of weeks ago that I just don’t see what the Sox can do in the lineup. With the exception of Lug-out, each position player is set. Although, Coco’s thumb injury may linger so do they stick with the Pena/Ellsbury platoon or do they try and make a splash with CF? I don’t see that happening.

Hopefully they can fight through this funk like they did in mid-June when the Yanks got within 7 1/2.

I mentioned this twice before on this blog, but no one has responded yet, so hopefully my read is worthless… but one last time…

I suspect Papi’s decision to write a book didn’t help him much — and may be a contribution to his troubles. When I first heard about this, I immediately was concerned, thinking, oh no, not now.

Whoever talked him into writing that book in the middle of his career was just thinking $$$ and has just added even more pressure to his “clutch” reputation.

I have always admired David as being one of the few super stars whose performance (so far) has seemed to be greater than his ego.

The mental balance between success and failure in major league baseball is so razor thin.

I believe it would have been better for Papi (or any RedSox) — to hold off, no book until your Sox carreer is over? Its tough enough performing consistancy on the field, let alone having to overcome your ego, statements to the press, or in publication? Schilling keeps having to learn this lesson as well?

Just curious — does Jeter have a book? or can anyone name any superstar that has a published book in the middle of his career — and continuted to perform at the same level or higher performance levels?

Risky move — shame on his advisors. Pride goes before the fall as they say.

Hopefully, I am all wet on this. A clutch reputation is probably unimaginably difficult to maintain over years. But I am sure the few that have, don’t say much until its time. If anyone can get back on track, probably its Papi — I am sure his intentions were well meaning.

That could be the case dg. I wonder what would happen if Lugo wrote a book? Could you possible hit -.200??
Anyway, we all saw what happened the last time someone wrote a book. He took off for NY and his body fell apart!

LOL — yea, or perhaps Lugo should write a book on what its like to be in a prolonged slump, or why he hasn’t hit — and it will have a reverse effect !!!

There’s no question that Papi and Manny haven’t been producing up to expectations and that their performance in key situations hasn’t exactly been stellar so far. However, I wouldn’t be too quick to discount them yet. They have spoiled us rotten over the past four years. I like the way Manny is playing this year. He’s running out ground balls, making good plays in the field, and actually showing some emotion o the field. Papi seems to be whining a lot about the strike zone, but in fairness, I think his complaints are legitimate. Seems like umpires have made his strike zone huge.

Unfortunately, Wily Mo serves no useful purpose for this ball club in his present role. He’d be better off in Pawtucket where he can play every day and get some at bats. He’s still a pretty young guy.

I think the worry is Schilling. Even if the Sox win the division, he’s got to be good for them to do anything in the playoffs.

I have not read Papi’s book, but I doubt it has anything to do with his power outage. He still does many good and chartable things and remains a humble man.

Just think about how good this team is going to be if they do come around, even just a little. No question, for the Sox to be successful in the long run, these guys have to produce. Youk and DP can’t do it forever on their own.

How about Alex Cora’s web gems yesterday. He’s playing pretty good ball.

I feel the Sox offensive struggles & Lugo’s struggles are related. Since Lugo started slumping(roughly start of June) the Sox offense also started slumping. This makes sense if Lugo gets on base(which he hasn’t done in a long time) he becomes a threat to steal. So, the pitchers have to keep an eye on him when pitching to the next hitter(Pedroia, Youk, Or Drew) who get better pitches to hit. Also even Lugo was not hitting for average Lugo was driving in a lot of runs. I really feel that the Sox offensive stuggles are directly related to Lugo’s stuggles. It’s good that we have double digit lead over the AL East, we can afford to have this mighty slumps. Once Lugo and Offense comes out of the slump it should be fun to watch.

And having said that the next 7 games before ASB are a very good chance to stretch that double digit AL East lead. Sox play DevilRays & Tigers. Bluejays play Oakland and Cleveland. Yanks play Twinkies and Halos.

If the Sox offense starts hitting just a little bit better than they r hitting now we can go 5-2 or even better before the ASB.

Hoping Lugo and Sox offense come out of the slump and start hitting like they r capable of hitting.

I think NESN should keep a hidden camera fixed on Lugo at all times, just to see his reactions whenever Cora does something positive for the team (ie: every single game he plays). It has to secretly kill him inside.

I know it’s a cliche to say by now, since Orsillo and Remy beat this fact into the ground, but it’s too true to ignore. Cora is always helping the team out in some way. Although when he was a utility infielder it was usually with a sacrifice bunt, or moving the runner to 3rd by going the other way, but lately it’s been a lot more noticeable. Yesterday he was doing it with his glove and the day before, he had a triple and a double.

Whereas Lugo looks completely lost at the plate, Cora seems to always have the same stroke and ability to go the other way, as well as foul off multiple pitches. Anybody remember that 17-pitch at-bat he had in LA a couple years back?

Hopefully tonight Lugo picks up a hit (or 4) and turns his season around, but if not, Cora is a perfectly fine fit for me at the SS position.

And I maintain that during this homestand, there will be a significant power surge from both Papi and Manny. Maybe they’ll turn it on against their mortal enemy, Scott Kazmir.

Well,when it comes to Lugo,I think we as Red Sox Nation need to support him through his struggles/Look,take into consideration that this guy played in Tampa Bay for a while.I am not a MLB player,but I can bet that it is a lot more pressure to play in Boston for a Championship caliber team like the Red Sox than it is to play against High School like team such as Tampa Bay.We all know he is a better hitter than this.When he is on base, he is a definite steal threat.Believe me,I live in New York,the Bronx to be exact,but don’t worry,I am one of you =].I get heat everyday from Yankee fans who love to get on Lugo’s case by bringing up Derek “Stinkin” Jeter.See there is a moral lesson in all this,Yankee fans talk so much trash because their team can buy the best hitters but look where it’s gotten them now.A nice juicy,delcious 11 game deficit.So see,while Lugo is not Derek Jeter or Nomar Garciaparra,he is still a guy who has proven in the past that he can hit.And he does more work on the bases when hes on base than a lot of short stops out there.I think giving him a warm hand and cheering him on is what we need to do.Guy’s think about it,he is a Red Sox player.We want the Sox to win this or not?Come on guys,let’s start supporting our players.I will be at the July 5 game,and you can bet that when Lugo comes up,I will be pulling for him if he is in the line up. Now Wily Mo,he’s a guy who was sort of rushed up to the majors(ofcourse by a dunce team like the Reds).I beleive they should give him some time to work on his contact down in Pawtucket,and this man can be a .280+ hitter with 30-35 Homers and 100+ RBI man or ever better.So he just needs to get seasoned.That’s all.So we need to support ALL our players.Whether it’s Big Papi,Lugo,Wily Mo,or even Manny DelCarmen.We need to show our support and help our team to re-ignite that fire that got us this big lead in the East.Lemme get a “GO SOX!”Thank you Red Sox Nation.

Now is the perfect time to make up some ground. After the ASB, the Yankees first 28 games are against teams with sub .500 records. If the Sox can gain a couple of games in this next week, I would feel a lot more comfortable going into the 2nd half.

While I agree the Wily Mo needs consistent playing time, the Sox can’t send him down to Pawtucket. He’s out of options, mostly due to the hapless Reds shuttling him back and forth to while he was with Cincy. If the Sox tried to send him down, he could be picked up by another team. So unless they deal him, they’re stuck with him and his unlimited “Potential”—quite possibly the worst word in sports.

Alright,well all we can do it,support the guy while he is here.I mean literally,we should all cheer for our struggling players as loud as we can.Believe me,I have a strong passion for the Red Sox and Red Sox Nation.Let’s all go out there and support! GO Sox!

If we were not slumping recently,with the way the Yankees been playing,the Yanks could have been a good 16 games out or so.

“After the ASB, the Yankees first 28 games are against teams with sub .500 records.”

That won’t give any advantage to Yanks as most of those games will be against AL East(DevilRays, Bluejays, Orioles) and the Yanks struggled more agaisnt the AL East opponents than any other.

Having said that Yanks schedule before ASB is brutal. Sox schedule is less brutal than Yanks. So, Sox have to take advantage stretch that AL East lead by a couple of games, say like 3-4 games.

Absolutely Kumar.No doubt.We need to take advantage and deliver the final blow to the Yankees.Ill especially enjoy it after living in the Bronx for so long.

Another thing,if we help rally and energize our offense,look at this guys.We have Schilling set to return after the ASB and he will be better.Remember,he was pitching with an injury,thats why teams like the Yankees and Braves were getting to him.Also,Dice-K has been pitching his heart out and giving it his all.Also,look at Josh Beckett.He’s been the ace of staff this year.So imagine,we have a pitching staff anchored by the legendary Curt Schilling,followed by possible 2007 AL Cy Young winner Josh Beckett,then a lights out,durable,rubber armed Dice-K?That will be a feared threesome going into a short series.Can you imagine being a manager and knowing your team entering a best of 5 or best of 7 against that threesome?Then on top of that,the back end of our rotation is no push over.We have Tim Wakefield who could have been a number 3 starter elsewhere.Julian Tavarez has been pitching better than expected and good chance Jon lester might be back anyways.So if we could get our offense going with that durable pitching staff and strong bullpen,we will be unstoppable!Lets go sox!

Great offense you guys have ( Not!!!!! ) You guys have been absolutely pathetic lately.I’m going to absolutely laugh my *** off if your team falls on its face!!!!!

Go Yankees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You’re right sentinel, this team is headed for a big fall if they don’t change things.

you **** sentinel!!!! you’re so retarded you’re trying to bring everyone down to your level like you do on the Yankee site. Get a life!!!!

Let’s see. Would you rather have Orlando Cabrera or Mark Loretta at SS (or 2nd), or Lugo? PPlllleeeeeaase!! Even Alex Gonzalez’s .250 looks good now. Pedroia is a good hitter with a good attitude for an infielder with mediocre skills…

Sox management is not as smart as they think they are.

Whoever said that Curt Schilling needs to be healthy for the Red Sox to succeed is insane. Schilling hasn’t been lights out this year at all (except for his near no-no about a month back) and the Sox look pretty **** good. He’s a luxury to have in the rotation at this point, but if the Red Sox lost him for the entire season or even forever, they would be just fine. In fact, the only pitcher I would say is more expendable than Schilling would be Wakefield, who has ran his course in the majors (he’s been figured out, let’s face it). As much as the Red Sox needed Schilling when they got him, and as much as he’s helped them win over the past few years, his course is run. I think he’ll sign with another contending AL team for next year; perhaps the Mariners, Indians, Tigers.

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