The Race is On

For the first time all season, the Red Sox will play games at Fenway Park — beginning tonight — with true urgency in the air.

The lead, which seemed miles long in May, is down to a miniscule four games. The Red Sox have Wakefield going against a very talented young pitcher in James Shields, albeit against a very inferior Tampa Bay Devil Rays team. A couple hundred miles to the south in the Bronx, the Yankees have their best pitcher going in Chien-Ming Wang. Red Sox fans can take heart in the fact that the Orioles counter with the very solid rookie arm of Jeremy Guthrie. Maybe Millar can torture the Yankees this time.

Two absolutely gutwrenching losses in Baltimore over the weekend. Gagne, a standup guy if ever there was one, basically prevented the Red Sox from sweeping that series. But Gagne will be there for this team. Am I the only person who remembers that Orlando Cabrera struggled mightily in his first two or three weeks with the Red Sox? I think revisionist history is at work a little here, as people think that Cabrera immediately took to his new environment. Look, it takes time. You have a guy like Gagne who has been a star closer for years and the competitive side of him wants to show his new teammates how good he is. Once he starts relaxing and just being himself, he’ll be fine.

Did you guys/gals hear that Gabbard left his start with the Rangers the other night with forearm stiffness? Hopefully Gabby will be OK. He’s had a lot of arm problems in his minor league career.

As for the Yankees, yes, they are a very scary team right now. And they now have something they haven’t had in a while — a couple of electric young arms. One in the rotation in Phillip Hughes, who is at last healthy. Another in the bullpen by the name of Joba Chamberlain. All he’s done in his first two outings is strike out six batters over four innings while not allowing a hit.

This is a major character test coming up for the Red Sox. In the old days, Kevin Millar would proclaim that it is time to Cowboy Up! Who will take the bull by the horns for the 2007 Red Sox?

A gut check awaits, and we’ll see if this team can start building something for October.

Ian.

281 Comments

Ian, have you heard anything more about the Sox getting Millar for Pena? I heard a few media reports (speculation, of course), but nothing in the last couple days. I think Millar would be a great addition to this team.

I realize that Cabrera struggled, as have several players in the initial time in Boston. Gagne is a grave concern, though, because he affects the entire bullpen. Essentially, he has changed the roles of Okajima and Delcarmen, both of which deserve to be the main set-up men. I wouldn’t mind seeing Gagne in the sixth inning of a game the Sox are winning or losing by four or five, but not in a close game in the last three innings. No way. He has yet to prove he can pitch in pressure situations in a pennant race. True, the Dodgers have had good season, but let’s be honest. LA is not a true baseball town. Fans arrive in the third and leave in the seventh, and they talk on their cell phone during the four innings they are there. It is not a high-pressure place to play. Neither is Texas.

Francona, Gagne and the inability to score with runners in scoring position were the main reasons why Boston lost two out of three over the weekend. Let’s hope Francona, Gagne and the Sox offense in the clutch breaks out of their respective slumps.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Jeff, I agree. What did Okajima do to deserve to be relegated to cleaning up after Gagne? Let Gagne cut his teeth with the Sox by coming in in the 6th of a game in which they are up big.

Are they playing “Welcome to the Jungle” at Fenway when Gagne comes out? If not, they need to start doing this immediately, I don’t care if 8th inning setup men generally don’t come out to music. Fenway would be wise to basically emulate everything that LA did for Gagne.

A day later and I am still confident that Gagne will turn this thing around. All it is going to take is a clean inning, preferably at home where he can get the fans (back) on his side.

But I maintain that Papelbon is far too dominant to keep on the bench in game-deciding situations. If he is nursing an injury, he certainly has not shown any effects of it in his past couple of outings. He is painting corners at 97 mph.

Hopefully the Orioles are riding some serious momentum going into the series with the Yankees. And if not, the Tigers have started to play good baseball again and the Yanks have 4 with them afterwards. The key to this Tampa Bay series is a sweep, nothing less. I don’t care if Kazmir owns the Red Sox, the kid throws 20 pitchers per inning and the Devil Rays bullpen is a joke.

Millar-for-Pena would be fantastic if it actually went through. Wily Mo Pena reminds me of the hitting version of Daniel Cabrera: freakishly big, unlimited potential, not performing. Maybe the Orioles want to take a chance on another one of these types of guys?

And my final thought, which is a bit delayed: How many wins should Dice-K have right now? I am thinking about 17. It’s a shame to see so many 7 IP, 2 ER outings wasted by the offense and/or bullpen.

The comparison of Gagne to Cabrera is a bit of a stretch. Sure Cabrera struggled, but could you say he threw the entire infield into chaos? How many games did he cause the team to lose? Of course, a lot of it is on Tito. Gagne was shaky in his first two appearances, it should have occurred to Francona to ease him in after that. But it is easy for me to say all this after the fact. Then again, Francona is paid to manage in the big-time and it’s not like this is his first year, so maybe we should expect better results than this last weekend.

Clutch hits wouldn’t hurt fellas! Pick up your pitchers! Don’t put so much pressure on the pitchers that one mistake and the game is over. HITS with RISP!! C’mon, you can do it.

Yeah, the Yanks are scary all right . . . averaging 8 runs a game since the AS break. I think Gagne is trying to hard to perform well in Boston. It seems to me that he is trying to reach back and revive the old velocity which is causing him to lose his pin-point control . . A simple equation . . .
trying to hard = loss of control = misplaced pitches = walk-offs, game ending dingers, bombs, what ever you can call them.

Its too bad that the Dodgers won’t give-up Russel Martin, he’s French-Canadian also, a solid companion for Gagne.

posted it on the other topic but it bares repeating i think. gagne was terrible BUT he didn’t blow the games. he blew leads. that’s gonna happen for most teams form time to time. boston had the same opp’s as the oriles did in both games to rally. diff is they did it and the sox didn’t. if i rem correctly when he left fridays game the score was actually 5-4 boston.

Arnieschmo – I don’t think you can say Cabrera cost the team any games, but how often does anyone outside of pitching cost a team games? If a guy goes 0 for 4, no one points a finger at him and says he is responsible for the loss. The efforts of the bullpen are much more magnified, and they are always more likely to be blamed for a loss.

Jeff – usually I would agree with you, but not in this case. First, I have never been to an L.A. game, but I would imagine they are more into baseball than you make out. Second, Gagne saved 84 games in a row. It is crazy to say he never pitched in a pressure situation. Even if you were to presume that L.A. was a non-baseball town, half of his saves are still coming on the road.

Furthermore, in his one appearance that I can think of in Fenway, Gagne was brilliant. The only reason he allowed a run was that Lowell and Lugo allowed a pop up to fall.

Finally, if anyone is a big believer in situational pitching, you will know that last week Tejada absolutely smoked a home run off Okajima. If Okajima had been left in and had given up a home run, people would be on Francona for not playing the percentages.

Very true about Cabrera struggling when he first came to the Red Sox. His first at bat he took Johan Santana for a homer at the Metrodome after that not too much. Perhaps Gagne can turn it around. Farrell has done such a solid job as pitching coach and maybe he can see something regarding Gagne and turn him around. Time will tell there I guess.

Sox bats go silent when it is time to drive in runs and that has been happening all season long. A sweep of Tampa Bay is essential. Get some Mo going there way and obviously some much needed confidence.

Boston plays Tampa and Chicago for 10 of there next 14 games, winning 8 of those against those teams is needed.

One of the problems is that I don’t know if Boston has a killer instinct for finishing off games with respect to their hitting. I don’t have any stats available, and if someone would have access to such information it would be much appreciated, but I would imagine Boston must be right down the list of teams who have won “blowout” games – say by 6+ runs. When they take the lead they cruise – maybe that’s a product of they don’t feel like they really need to get more runs coz of their bullpen.

that’s the first of i’ve heard of the millar rumor and i don’t know why you’d pass on texeira whose 27 with great power and a switch hitter and then go get a 36 year old RH with avg power. but then again i don’t understand most of what theo does. at least hinske gives you a LH option there. it brings up an int point though. with how he ( theo ) has constructed this team the ONLY place/places they can potentially upgrade drastically, barring some unforseen trade, would 3B/1B. i would think 3rd based on youk’s perf at 1st but he does give you flexibility there. i think lowell has been great but this team needs another big bat and he’s never going to be a 25 – 30 HR guy. i mean every other position is locked up for the next 2 -3 years at least. assuming they pick up manny’s options.

Smckinny – Lowell is leading the team in RBI’s, I definitely wouldn’t be so quick to get rid of him.

brendan..i believe manny is now but that’s irrelevent. the point i was making is he’s
( lowell ) the only position player, other than POTENTIALLY manny, who will be a FA in the next 2 – 3 years. therefore barring a trade the only chance to really improve your line-up offensively would be at 1B or 3B. i’m not advocating dumping lowell. although i doubt they re-sign him. i’m just saying that’s the only place there is even an option to get more production.

How many times has Varitek struck out this year.. Seems to me, being a catcher, he should have a better view of the strike zone than he does.. He has taken too many third CALLED stikes, and at crucial times..

Just got back from my weekend in Baltimore and the trip was a great one with 6 and a half crappy hours thrown in. Friday’s loss I could handle because they showed a lot of heart coming back off of a nearly untouchable Bedard and not only took the lead but went up big. The bottom of the inning I was undoubtedly frustrated but it was one outing from Gagne so I could live with it, to a degree.

Saturday’s game got the bad taste out of my mouth from the night before. Beckett was as dominate as ever and the offense came up big in about a third of the clutch situations (much better than normal).

Yesterday was the worst of all. A beautiful hot day when I walked in and I felt about as cold and damp as one could be when I walked out. It didn’t start promisingly when in the 3rd inning Pedroia hit a 2-2 liner into the stands that I alone got my hands on (really more like the wrist), but the guy next to me gets the ball. Again we see Gagne coming in, in a situation earlier in the year where Oki would have pitched the whole 8th and gotten out of it with the lead. Guys like Tejada he excels against, throwing his big breaking pitches with a funky delivery. Instead Gagne comes in and does it the American way by trying to put all the muscle he has behind 7 straight pitches, with the last one Tejada getting the best of. Later in the inning he decides to change speeds and what do you know, he strikes out Huff. By that point the game was over, since the O’s had all the momentum and the Sox just wanted to get home after spending nearly 3 straight weeks on the road.

Schilling’s start was very encouraging however. I said that he would be the x-factor as to whether the Sox got in the playoffs, division or WC. Yesterday’s start impressed me, very few K’s but they couldn’t hit the ball hard.

I was never a fan of bringing Gagne in and you can check back to the trade deadline thread when I wrote that. I wished they had focused all their attention on Dye. Bringing Gagne can’t hurt talent wise, but he throws off all the other’s routines. Okijima would have pitched the entire 8th yesterday, GUARANTEED, if Gagne wasn’t out there. And if Oki got into even more trouble, Pap would have been called on to get 4 or 5 outs, GUARANTEED.

I would like to say this team needs to start fighting a lot better, but right now the only guy between the Sox and a 3 game sweep was Gagne and indirectly, the Sox front office.

Kevin Millar may very well get his first ever cheer tonight at Yankee Stadium, if Yankee fans know anything about baseball.

My bold prediction for this next series is that the Sox take 2 of 3 and the Yanks lose 2 of 3 against the Birds with Guthrie and Bedard going (and Karstens pitching the other game) and the lead will be back at 5 on Thursday. Also I hope to God that Gagne is not seen unless the Sox are already down. The first time he comes in, the Fenway Faithful is going to murder him.

Rizzo – just to pick apart one of your points. Correct me if I am wrong on this, but I am pretty sure it was Tejada who absolutely lasered a home run off Okajima a week or two ago. It was a no doubter in most parks.

Millar better torture them. He did enough to us this weekend.
I said on the last page that it’s beginning to feel like a replay of August 1978.

Keep the Faith and Scream for your team, Nationers!!!

It was heartwrenching watching Gagne throw away two perfectly decent wins. However, I think he is trying too hard. Once he finds his groove and settles in I think we will see some good stuff. I hope that the Fenway Faithful give him a warm welcome when he comes in, rather than murder him – I guess that sense of support will help him. Then boo him if he wastes another chance.

It’s tough to chastise a team with the best record in baseball. If you were a Yankees fan, you’d be pretty excited right now because they have been playing good ball and have close the gap a lot. Still, I’d rather be where the Sox are than where the Yankees are. The Sox still have control of their own destiny.

Ian’s right, it’s gut check time. They just need to put the past three days behind them, settle down, and play the kind of ball they are capable of playing. Despite a couple of tough losses, there are some positives. JD Drew is swinging the bat pretty well now. Beckett is phenomenal. Lugo is hitting the ball hard. Except Gagne’s disasters, the bullpen is still doing pretty well. Schilling is looking pretty good and Mikey, DP and Youk continue to do what they’ve done all year.

I didn’t think the Sox needed Gagne, but it’s a done deal. He’s a good pitcher, but I think if they are determined to continue to baby Papelbon, they should let Gagne close too. Put Okajima back in his role and Delcarmen and Timlin in theirs. If Paps can’t pitch two days in a row, then desginate Gagne the closer that night. There have been times I wouldn’t mind getting 2 innings out of Paps as well. Now you can do that and he can rest. I suspect Gagne will do much better as a closer, and regardless, he’s much better than he’s shown. I also think Tek needs to get used to him and learn his strengths. I don’t think the pitch selection for Gagne has been very good. He’s got a devastating changeup and we’ve hardly seen it.

Papi is not squaring up the ball. He looks slow and lethargic to me. It might be time to put him away for a little while. I know, his stats are good, but we all know this isn’t the Papi that has spoiled us rotten for the past three years. Might be time to bring up Ellsbury and let Manny DH for a while. By the way, Ellsbury is back, hitting up over .290 and stealing bases again. He could really help.

All that being said, Francona needs to step up his game and start managing to win. There’s only 45 games left and this is no time to do anything but put the best team on the field every day that gives the Sox the best chance to win. These guys have had enough days off and it’s time to get down and dirty. If they haven’t had a sense of urgency, they need one now. Every game is important.

The worst part of tonight’s game is listening to the D-Rays announcers, Magrane and Staats. Perhaps the worst 2 in the league. It was quite refreshing on Saturday listening to **** Stockton, one of the best out there.

Francona said before the game that he is sticking with Gagne for the 8th, his primary set-up man. Why???? Why???? Why???? Okajima as we all know should be the guy. Hopefully the Sox bats are alive and well early and we don’t have to worry about Gagne coming in tonight. Let’s hope the Yankees have a letdown of some sort, doubt it but here’s hoping.

gagne, is one problem, but not scoring runs is the other. yes, its gut check time, and a sweep is what we need. if this weekend doesn’t light the fire..i don’t know what will.

That is the furthest ball Ortiz has hit in a long time.

Take a deap breath,,, regroup,, and go out and kick butt!!! You go get em Sox!!!!

Wake looks pretty darned good tonight!! We need a few insurance runs!!

Let’s Go Sox!!

The bats do indeed need to provide some insurance for Wake, Ellen. I would hate to see a repeat of that game in June when the A’s sent the winning run to the plate off Curt when he had thrown so well.

There are no words to describe how atrocious the Red Sox hitting is. Looks like we now need our pitchers to throw no-hitters, at home, against the worst team in the majors, to simply win a game.

Any reason why Pedroia isn’t playing tonight? Seems somewhat logical to PLAY THE ONLY GUY ACTUALLY HITTING… but I guess we are truly in that parallel universe right now. Decisions like that fit in right along with… “Get a reliever at the deadline when we already have the best bullpen” and “Get no hitting help when our hitting stinks beyond words” and “Have half the lineup hitting .300 with nearly .400 on base and still can’t score”

Games like this keep cardiologists in business and give me (more) gray hair, though I like to call it faded blonde.

GREAT GREAT pitching by Wake and Jon-Bon!! We need more of these types of games from the mound. Keep it up Sox. I think JD plays better center than he does right. That right field in Fenway is a tricky one.
Thank you Wake for a gem tonight.

Wake’s quietly having himself a good year. And if he had gotten some runs in a couple of those starts he could be leading the league in wins. Who’d have thought that.

i don’t think i’ve ever felt so conflicted about a win in my life. last nite was just a microcosm of the entire season. boston stuggles to score 3 runs and only thanks to a once a year perf by wake are they able to win. i mean face it 90% of the time, with wake pitching especially, they lose that game only scoring 3. meanwhile rivera blows a save in the 9th against balt and what do the yankees do? pout like boston and lay down for the rest of the game? no they just score another run in the btm of the inning and win the game. i just cannot figure out how they can be so bad offensively. i mean ortiz is a lil banged up but other than that they’ve been healthy all year. i’m prob too neg but i really dread the trip to NY. you just know lester and wake will wind up pitching 2 of the 3.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the trip to NY yet. The Sox have a lot of work to do in the next two weeks before the NY series. They may have a chance to lengthen the lead a little if they can play some ball. NY has a tough schedule seeing Balt, LA Angels and Detroit twice. The Tigers have been struggling, but they are a good team and won’t go down easy.

I’ll take a 3-0 win. It takes a lot of good things to put together a win like that. Wake and Pap did their thing, a couple of pretty good defensive plays, and a couple of clutch hits. It was a good solid ball game.

The Sox haven’t played that badly since the All Star break. I think they are 17-13 or something like that. Most of us wouldn’t be all that concerned if the Yankees hadn’t been totally stupid at 25-8. For the Sox to continue to play the way they have, or even a little better is pretty realistic. For the Yankees to continue they way they have is not realistic at all. If they do, nobody could say the Red Sox collapsed, they could only say the Yankees did something pretty freakin remarkable.

The Sox need to take care of business over the next two weeks. If they do, they could expect to lengthen the lead a little because the Yanks have a tough road ahead of them.

Haha smckinny, I’ve seen some bitter, negative Red Sox fans in my life but you definitely are somewhere near the top.

I thought that one of two things needed to happen last night: the Red Sox put up 15 runs OR they get an absolutely dominating pitching performance. Obviously the latter happened. I don’t know what it is about Wakefield and the Devil Rays, but the Sox should definitely try and pencil him in for the next couple of series against them (and avoid having him throw vs. the Yankees).

Last night was a confidence building game, as a little bit of everything happened. Tonight is the only thing standing between Boston and a sweep, as Kazmir has been amazing in his past 5 starts plus he owns Manny and Ortiz. Add to the fact a struggling, emotional Lester is pitching in front of Fenway for the first time this season. Jon needs to harness that emotion like he did in Cleveland and turn it into a solid outing.

As long as the Sox go up there with the idea to work the pitch count, Kazmir won’t last anymore than 6 innings. Unfortunately, I suspect Drew will be out of the lineup with Pena playing right field (assuming Coco is back in there), so Drew’s ability to work counts will be completely cancelled out by Pena’s “3 strikes and you’re out” strategy.

A win is a win, they all count the same. And I’ll take a shutout any day.

I hope Drew is in the lineup. He’s starting to hit and he should be in there for defense alone on a night when runs are at a premium.

Also, the Yanks playing well can only be a good thing for this team. They need to get serious going into the playoffs. And I doubt the Yankees can keep up the pace they are on now. So a little dog-fight at the end of the season will help the Sox.

gsm52…..personally i don’t care how well the yankees play i would say IF the sox blow a 14 game lead in basically 2 mos it would qualify as a collapse of epic proportions. it’s not like the dankees have gone undefeated…..boston has just tanked over the last 60 games.

zachary….i’m not really bitter….on one level quite the contrary… if you had said in april they’d be 4 games up i’d have said great…..my negativity stems from how they got there and how they continue to play…….there basically a 500 team the last 60 games…..they can’t score runs at all…dice-k alone has had 10 games with 2 runs or less of run support….this thing could and should be over…..the only thing i think they take from last nite is if they pitch a shutout they have a chance to win…..i mean a 3 -0 against the worst team in baseball….if they need that for conf they’re in worst shape than even i thought…..i’m pullin for em to prove me wrong though…..they always work the count….not worried abot gettin people OB….the issue has been gettin them home.

mckinny, the Yankees haven’t gone undefeated, but since May 30th they are playing around .700 baseball. They are playing better now than the Sox did when they built that huge lead, much better. You can’t play .700 ball and not make up any ground.

And while Tampa may have the worst record in baseball, they have still managed to win 45 games somehow. I’ll bet they’ve even beaten the Yankees a few games. Baseball isn’t a game where the best team “ALWAYS” wins. I’m thinking that’s why they play the games.

Over 162 game schedule, there are probably 40-50 games that in which a single situation or play can be pointed at as the point where who wins or loses is determined. If you go back over the year, you’ll find at least 30 games that the Sox lost that they had a legitimate shot at winning if they got a key hit, or Papelbon has not blown a save, or Lugo didn’t make an error. Conversely, there are nearly as many games they could have lost had an opposing pitcher not walked in the winning run, or an opposing fielder not made an error, and so on.

Carl Crawford and Scott Kazmir are major league baseball players, and they aren’t going to fall down and let the Sox and Yankees run them over. They may not win as often, but they’re gonna get their licks in and sting the Yanks and Sox now and then.

Believe me when I tell you that every time the Devil Rays take the field, they feel like they can win. They are no different than the Sox and Yankees. You can also believe that every time the Sox take the field, they don’t do so knowing they are going to win. They know they have to play and execute to beat any major league team, and if they don’t, they get beat.

gsm….i’m somewhat familair with the how baseball works in terms of w’s and l’s over the course of 162 games and a play here or there meaning one or the other……and no doubt the yanks have been red hot…it would be unrealistic to expect a team to match that game for game…but my point was over the period that they’ve played 700 ball the sox are closer to 500 which for a team with this pitching staff having performed the way they have and this much talent, on paper, offensively is rediculously bad….. i mean if we were talking about a 10 – 20 game strech i wouldn’t be that concerned but we’re talking a 60 game period where they are barely over 500 and for the most part it’s not due to those quirky things that happen here and there….it’s due to an inability to get feet across home plate…plain and simple…..the yankees will cool off some…..but, i’d bet a lot of money they will play much better than 500 ball over these last 40 games or so and if the sox don’t they will get caught and passed and there’s no guarantee that 2nd in the east will get you into the playoffs…..i’m not sure what your point on tampa was…all i was saying is that statistically this year and for the past probably 10 years they’ve had the worst record in baseball…. better teams expect to beat those types of clubs MOST nights….not saying they should be taken lightly or don’t try.

3 runs against the Devil Rays with James Shields pitching, you mean. He is one of their better younger pitchers.

Plus Coco, Varitek, and Pedroia were not in the lineup.

Like Arnie said, a win is a win.

smckinny, statistics can be made to say anything. So let’s take your right around 60 game example. I went back to June 15, which is right around 60 games ago. The Red Sox are tied for the third best record in the American League. Since that date they are 6 games over .500 as are the LA Angels. The two teams with better records are Seattle who is 10 games over .500 and of course the insane Yankess, who are 15 games over .500.

On June 15th, the Sox led the Yankees by 8.5 games. So a point could be made that they got to where they are now on their last road trip during which they lost 4 games of their lead.

My point is that while I do believe the Sox have underachieved, primarily due to lack of production in the middle of the order, it’s not all gloom and doom. My point is, that in the scheme of things, although we die hard and frustrated fans with high expectations think the Sox are floundering, they really aren’t playing that badly over the stretch you’re talking about. Now if you want to look at the last 10 games, they choked away at least two and could have won a couple more with a couple of timely hits.

June 15th was when the Yankees were hot the first time. Then they went south again and the Sox built up that big lead. Now they’ve gotten hot again and really, the Sox are playing about the same as they have been all season. If they continue to play like they have all year, the Sox will make the Yankees win over 30 of their remaining 44 games. I still like the Sox chances.

I THOUGHT Gagne was traded to the bosox…but thenn…he’s been doing great for the Yankees.. :D i’m glad he’s on are team…here we come beantown : )

Great analysis gsm. 6 games over .500 does not seem that good, but when you consider how much we have been complaining about their poor play, it seems better than what I thought it might be. Does that make any sense??

Anyway, a lot of this is about perspective. Compared to all the teams in the AL the Sox are doing well. But when we see on so many nights they have a chance to win and don’t, that doesn’t sit well. Fact is, they are still one of the better teams. They DO aggravate the bejesus out of me by not winning when I think they should. Ok, now I’m babbling. GO SOX!!

I’m right with you arnie. Watching them play can be frustrating because it seems there are so many games they could win that they don’t.

I’m already frustrated, three pitches into the game and Lester hasn’t found the plate.

Lester’s biggest problem is throwing strike 1. Oldest saying in the book regarding pitching, most important pitch is strike 1. For some reason Lester last year and this year doesn’t seem to do it. All the Sox are asking
is 6 innings.

I watched the Yankees last night and the O’s tied them but of course the Yankees won the game at the bottom of the inning. I hope the Sox were watching that game, they could have learned a thing or two.

Note how concerned the Rays are about hitting against a lefty. First two hitters are left handed yet the Sox pay Drew 70 million and he’s on the bench. This isn’t a knock on Drew who has looked pretty good recently, but what are the Sox thinking about spending that kind on a guy they don’t have confidence in to put up against a left handed pitcher.

Dustin Pedroia should be the rookie of the year. Hers’s a ? for all of the experts out there. When an American player goes to Japan to play, is he eligible for their Rookie of the Year award??, if they have something like that.
Also, about Pedroia…

Can you say DIRT DAWG??? I think we’ve found our new one.

I can’t say enough how wrong I was to want Loretta to stay over having Pedroia start this year> I WAS SOOOO WRONG!!

We have found our new Dirt Dawg in Dustin!!!!

Drew should be in there.

Lester’s pitching well so far. Throwing strikes!

Lowell missed the pitch he wanted and then looked so bad on that check swing. Next time.

Shin-jin Senshu award is the Japanese Rookie of the Year Award equivalent, and American players, or any foreign players who played in their country’s version of the major league are not eligible for the award.

You weren’t wront about Loretta at all. He had a great year for the Red Sox last year and Pedroia was an unknown commodity who didn’t do well last year in Boston. Who would have thought he would have had this kind of year? I felt the same way you did, but I’m not sorry, I’m glad DP has turned out the way he has.

What is it with Manny and the baserunning lately?? I’m wondering if Boston College offered a course in Creative Baserunning??? Stuffn like this is happening about every other game these days.

Please tell Manny he isn’t lugo!

It’s simple, Manny wasn’t hustling. That ball went all the way to right center, all the way back to third, and Manny was still out by ten feet.

Manny isn’t Lugo. Lugo is an idiot, but at least he hustles. I hope Cora jumps in Manny’s stuff again.

If Manny would get out of the box faster he might make those plays close.

I never saw anyone watch base hits as long as he does.Like it’s a homerun every time. I guess as few as he has hit this year he needs to watch something.

Yea, that’s a problem with Manny. He celebrates singles! And I swear someday he’ll get thrown out at first from the outfield.

Come on Sox the Yankees might lose a game. Down 6 in the 4th.

Ellen I agree about Dusty DIRT DAWG Pedroia. You can tell he is a dirt dawg. He reminds me alot of Trot. Just the way he plays smart and hard on every play. Yanks down 7 now.

Ellen I agree about Dusty DIRT DAWG Pedroia. You can tell he is a dirt dawg. He reminds me alot of Trot. Just the way he plays smart and hard on every play. Yanks down 7 now.

ops sry about the double post.

LET’S GO REDSOX, LET’S GO!!!!
SIGNED, YOUR RESIDENT CHEERLEADER!!!! I think I need a new set of pom-poms!!!

CLAP CLAP CLAPCLAPCLAP

Great game tonight by Lester, by far his best. Tampa does not have bad hitters and he dominated them. Problem is, the bats are dead again. They worked the count nicely in the first 3 or 4 innings but the last few they have been swinging early which will mean their bullpen will only have to throw 1 inning or so. Wake up and swing the bats now, or at least, TAKE PITCHES

Francona must be managing the Rays!!! Why the **** would they take Kazmir out of this game?

Nevermind that, Kazmir is gone early. Very interesting. 9 outs off this bullpen for 2 runs? I like the chances

Hey Maddon can you bring in Gagne to face us?

That move ranks right up there with some of John Gibbons’. First batter: walk

BAL 10, NYY 0 Top of 6, 2 out

Hey, I have a question for everyone: What is the officially sanctioned means for disposing of a worn out baseball cap? I have my old Sox hat, and it’s finally gotten bad enough that I’ve decided to buy a new one when we’re at Fenway tomorrow. Do I have to burn it like a worn out flag? Should I just lay it to rest in a place of honor? Or should it be kept under glass on the mantle? I can’t bear to just throw it out, I’ve worn it just about every day since I got it in 2003.

That’s sad, very sad. Crisp has to steal now.

Update: BAL 11, NYY 0.

Fly ball to second to end the inning as I typed that.

The “Unclutchables” strike again. A 1-0 deficit against the worst bullpen in baseball, and it seems unlikely that the Sox will rally. If they don’t, it the true definition of “pathetic.”

No reason for the bunt. If that is Kazmir still in there, then the bunt is a great play. But we’re playing for 1 run off Gary Glover? Go for the big inning. Then Nancy Boy hits into the DP

In defense of Drew, he did smoke the ball. If Crisp had done his job, it would not have been a double play.

There are two officially sanctioned means of retiring a Red Sox baseball cap. You must find a mahogany box of appropriate size and it must be lined with Navy blue velvet. The cap should be placed in the box and sprinkled with holy water. It should then be covered with a white satin cloth and the box should be closed and securely locked. You should then bury the box in a hole, four feet, by four feet, by four feet. The spot should be marked with a 2004 World Series Champions pennant.

The other way is to throw it in the trash can.

Haha. As much as I like the Sox, I prefer the 2nd method gsm.

Lester pitches a really Pretty game and this is what happens??? I’ll bet he’s pished!!!

As much as I love Timlin for his role in the 2004 championship, I’m not sure he’s who I’d be bringing in at this point in the game. With the top of the order coming up in the bottom of the eighth, I think I’d be putting Okajima in to hold the Rays to one run if possible.

As for the hat, my dad’s an Episcopal priest, so I’ve got the holy water covered. As for the rest of it, I’m not sure it’s worth the trouble.

First off I would like to say that I think that we should continue to give Gagne a chance. This is a hall of fame closer who at one time converted 80 some odd saves. That is downright nasty. I do understand that it is unfair for Okajima to now be bumped down on the totem pole, but sooner or later Gagne will return to form and Paps, Okajima, and the Gagne we all came to love will be the best bullpen in the world and tese questions about how the Yankees are going to catch up will cease. That brings me to my second point. I know that it is quite depressing the Yankees are now 4 games behind us and if we win tonite it will surely be 5 with the Yankees getting absolutely rocked as of now. But I truly do not think it is panic time. The Yankees have had arguably the weakest schedule since the All Star break and if they hadn’t won a majority of their games it would be downright depressing. Their offense explosion and their pitching dominance against the likes of Tampa, Kansas City, the White Sox who need i remind you are not the White Sox of the past years, and the Orioles really doesn’t strike fear into my heart. Lets see them post this kind of record against teams actually playing for something like the Tigers, Blue Jays( who kindof dropped off the face of the earth) and the class of the AL our Boston Red Sox. I will give them credit for their play against the Cleveland Indians but other than that scared? Not yet.

Solo homer by Millar. 12-0 Orioles.

Kevin Millah just went deep, and the O’s are up a dozen. At least they are returning the favor

OK Mike Now lets score! WAKE UP BATS!

That is some nice pitching by the old man Timlin.

Is Reyes still their closer? Or is he still hurt?

And really I do not think any of these losses have had anything to do with Terry Francona. He is a great manager and is terribly underrated. When the teams doing good why should he get any of the credit but when they’re doing bad hey Franconas a crappy manager. I’m sorry to say but the losses are the players fault right now and the players only. Are bullpen has been shaky and our starting pitching just hasnt been their dominant selves. It’s also kinda hard to win games when you sore 1-2 runs per game.

Guess Mikey T showed me. Glad I was wrong to doubt him. I hope he will accept my humblest apologies.

Lets get these bats going gentleman Yankees are down big and we need a win!

Nice job by Timlin to strike out Upton. Way to go Mikey T.

That half inning was the definition of “weak.”

ALright Gagne’s in the game wonder which one we’ll see?

I agree, Let’s give Gagne a shot. If he doesn’t pitch well here, well then, Oh the lleh with that. He better pull his multi million dollar head out of the orafice that I cannot politely or politically correctly state here!!!! Another bad outing and REDSOX NATION will HANG HIM HIGH!!!

Sox go very quietly in the 8th. What are the chances of them tying it or winning it in the 9th?

This team in 07 has no sense of urgency whatsover. When they’re down they’re done. This edition of 2007 has proven one thing and one thing only they do not come from behind and win a game. This pen the Rays have is probably the worst pen assembled in recent years and the Sox do nothing in 2 innings against this collection of no nothing arms.

Nice strike out, let’s see 2 more!!!

Who is this guy wearing the #83? He actually struck out a batter late in the game.

What is going to happen next, a Red Sox win in the 9th. Time for me to wake up.

hats off to lester..easily the best game i’ve ever seen him pitch….but somebody please tell me i’m not the only one who sees how, if it weren’t so pathetically sad, comical this would be….you give up 1 run in 2 games to the worst team in MLB and you’re 1 & 1….if anybody thinks this team can keep up this type of offense and even make the playoffs PLEASE let me buy some of what you’re smoking.

So far, so good. That’s the Gagne Theo thought he was getting from the Rangers.

Gagne’s looked sharp. Albeit it is the Devil Rays but still a promising sight.

As I say that double. Hahahahaha.

When Gagne mixes in the slow stuff he can be very dominate.

When he throws as hard as he can, Miguel Tejada game tying homers happen

Wow very very nice. Im imprressed he looked sharp.

Gagne looked much better and much more at ease once he got the 1st out. Hopefully he’ll get his Boston “legs’ now, and feel like he’s on sure ground.

Alright let’s see if we can muster up a few runs here. LETS GO RED SOX!

Manny Lowell and Youkilis expected not bad. Not bad at all.

That has happened to Manny a lot this year.

Go Mikey!

TIED UPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOWELL YOU SIR ARE A MAN AMONGST BOYS!

Mikey freakin’ Lowell!! BOOYAH

SEND EM HOME YOUK!

I wonder how Okajima’s confidence is at this point!

Alright say it stays tied. Gagne oe more inning. Get Okajima warmed up he can pitch two. And then Paps can give us two and by then hopefully they will have won it because after that I’ not sure who goes. Snyder?

Oh Youk is ripping.

These broadcasters are ******, but Youk has no gripe on that one.

In ‘Tek we trust.

Okajima has to pitch the 10th if it gets to that point.

I say J.D. Drew wins it in the 10th.

Orioles missed the extra point tonight.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH TEK TEK TEK YOU NEVER CEASE TO AMAZE ME MAN

Magrane and Staats have to be the worst of all time. Magrane must have pictures on someone.

Varitek with a nice double.

I still say Drew wins it tonight.

Cmon Coco, make up for the botched bunt

I think Gagne can give us one more but jdging from the fact Okajimas already warming up I think you’re right.

Young has a very strong arm in r.f. and Upton not so bad in c.f.

SOX WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!

How sweet was this victory. Yankees got there buts kicked and the Sox come from behind and win it in the 9th.

Gagne with the victory.

What a difference some hours or mintues make.

I love this team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That half inning was the definition of “solid.” Let’s hope it’s the start of some inspired Red Sox baseball.

First post, on a sweet night. Way to go Soxxxxxxxxxxxxx!!!
Now excuse me, I have to go taunt my Yankees roommate.

Wow, that felt good. Finally, some clutch hitting late in the game. Good job Lowell, Tek and Coco!

Jeff

http:/www.soxandpinstripes.com

The Sox needed to have one go right. Maybe this will pump them up! Great at bat by Coco.

Thats the team I want to see. Clutch hitting and pitching! What a good feeling. And It’s the 1st time in a long time to see the players excited!

Anyone think this could be “the game” that defines the Sox season and from hear on out they play just ridiculusly good baseball like in ’04 when ‘Tek punched A-Rod in the face.

All it takes is a win like that tonight and that can get a team going.

The brooms are out tomm. at Fenway.

Lester pitched great tonight. Good to see of course, who isn’t rooting for him.

Yankees get there butts handed to him and they face Bedard tomm.

Clemens was supposed to start tonight but of course he got suspended, it cost the Yankees a game in the standings. Thank you Roger.

And the Yankees looking like April and May yankees. What a good nite. The Nation needed a win like this right about now.

Let’s not forget the game Pedroia had. Although it didn’t factor in the win, he had a fantastic game.

Friday night was one of those losses that some folks thought could come back and haunt the Sox for a while. Obviously it didn’t.

I think a game like this could give the Sox a major shot in there arm. Now when they’re behind, perhaps they feel they can pull it now.

I want a win like this on the road. I’ll take this of course.

Well I’m going to go but big win tonite we definetly needed that one. Night guys.

Is this why we’re all RedSox Nationer’s or what???? What a GREAT FINISH. Coco comes through and all is right in The Sox Nation for tonight!!
Now let’s have it carry over.

yanks are still losing so we get an inch back, now let’s turn that into a MILE!!!!

Keep on movin RedSox!!!

Everyone keeps talking about how Mikey will be gone at the end of this season.. I don’t know about that. How sweet was that ball looking going out!!!! LOVE YOU Mikey!!!!

LET’S GO REDSOX LET’S GO!!!!

The only bad play tonight was Manny on the basepath. We still need better hitting from the Big boys.

When I was watching this game I was thinking get into that bullpen of Tampa. All of a sudden Tampa’s pen throws 2 scoreless innings and I am thinking nothing but negative thoughts going into the 9th. Now I think a victory like this can keep some MO going for a bit.

Wow, I love that picture of A-Rod and Tek!! But I loved Billy Mueller’s jack over the right field wall that afternoon-night even more!!!

Red Sox still need to hit of course. They’ve scored 5 runs in 18 innings against Tampa pitching. That is not good. That is 5 good starts in row for the Red Sox, not too many teams out there can say that.

That late July day of 2004 was sweet when the Sox came from behind and beat Rivera and the Yankees. One of those games you remember exactly where you were. On Fox ( national t.v. ) to make it even better.

Word had it that Varitek had that photo of him being in the face of A-Rod on his laptop. One of the great pictures over the years.

We need some MO going. It’s getting near crunch time. Gearing up for the Sept.stretch. When the cool air hits and every game seems so important. I hope tonight is the team we see the rest of the way. I want to have the feeling we can come back late in a game.
I have that picture on my laptop. Greatest picture ever!

excellent point bosoxbrian…nobody is any happier than me to see a w but this team has put up 5 runs in 2 games against the worst pitching staff in all of MLB……their era per game is over 5….if you don’t see a problem there then you’re not very observant….if this team doesn’t get it together offensively their in deep trouble.

There are some pictures in sports that are just great to look at and that is one of my favorites.

The Sox are playing the Rays for 4 games including 3 next week of course, White Sox for 4 after that. They need to take advantage of this scheduele before they jump into N.Y. I want to see a 6 game lead going into that series in N.Y. and I don’t think I’m asking for too much.

There are some pictures in sports that are just great to look at and that is one of my favorites.

The Sox are playing the Rays for 4 games including 3 next week of course, White Sox for 4 after that. They need to take advantage of this scheduele before they jump into N.Y. I want to see a 6 game lead going into that series in N.Y. and I don’t think I’m asking for too much.

The offense is still a concern for this team but maybe a win can get this struggling offense going. A spark of some sort, Crisp missing the last couple of games and comes up with the game winning hit, nice too see and Varitek scoring the winning run and he’s been in a rut at the plate as well.

I am just as excited about the exceptional start by Lester (against a respectable Devil Rays lineup), the clutch out by Timlin and the scoreless inning (marked by the inning-ending strikeout of B.J. Upton) by Gagne. If the Sox can get six decent innings from Lester on a consistent basis, they will be tough to beat since the remaining starters are throwing the ball well.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

I would like to see at least a six-game lead entering the series at Yankee Stadium this month as well. That way, it won’t be detrimental if they lose two out of three.

One more thing. Tampa Bay’s pitching is awful, but not Kazmir and Shields. I would gladly take both starters in the Sox rotation (Shields is a decent No. 3 or No. 4 on most teams; in Tampa Bay he is No. 2). Now, if the Sox don’t pound Sonnanstine tomorrow, that will be discouraging, but there is no shame having trouble against Kazmir and Shields.

Ellen, I agree with you about Lowell. He should return if he will agree to a two-year deal. Lowell and Pedroia are the Sox lone clutch hitters right now. They have been consistent all season.

I would much rather have Mike Lowell patrolling the hot corner then A-Rod. That picture I truly believe personified that entire 2004 team. And that was the starting point of our run to the World Series so hopefully a game like this will get the blood pumping in the Sox and the bats will start going. And Jeff I agree with you that Kazmir and Shields are good pitchers but who would you replace them with in the Red Sox rotation?

GoSox, I think Kazmir would be the No. 4 guy for Boston right now after Beckett, dice-K and Schilling. He would be a No. 3 guy next season. Shields would be No. 5 if Lester did not perform. My point was more about the quality of Kazmir and Shields than replacing the Sox current starters. Next season, since Schilling likely won’t be back, I think the rotation will feature Beckett, Dice-K, Lester (who should be 100 percent since it will be 15 months since his last chemotherapy treatment when spring training arrives), Clay Buchholz and Tim Wakefield. Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden will likely be at Triple-A to start the season. I imagine the Sox will sign a free agent to compete in the rotation as well since you can never have too much starting pitching, or the Sox could acquire a starting pitcher in a deal for Coco Crisp, since Jacoby Ellsbury will probably be the starting center fielder on opening day 2008 (much like the Sox went with Pedroia from day one this season).

I know that it is too early to focus on next year since the Sox have a division, a pennant and hopefully a World Series to win this year, but the rotation already looks promising for next season. Of course, Kazmir and Shields would make it even better. The Devil Rays should have a solid rotation in a couple years with Kazmir, Shields, Niemann (a top prospect) and David Price (their top draft pick this year; if they can sign him by tomorrow).

Who is this guy wearing the #83? He actually struck out a batter late in the game.

What is going to happen next, a Red Sox win in the 9th. Time for me to wake up.

Posted by: bosoxbrian@tampabay.rr.com | August 14, 2007 09:49 PM

Have you woke up yet?

Hey gang. Tonite started off kind of quiet at work as Tuesdays will sometimes do, so I fired up the MLBtv on the office computer and watched the first 3 innings. Then we got crushed busy and before I knew it it was 9:45pm(ii:45 New England time) and I knew the game would be over. I was wondering how it went and when I checked the box score I had to do a double take! 2 runs in the bottom 9th to win!!! Yes! Great game by the pitching staff and FINALLY some clutch hitting late. I don’t care if it is Jeff’s over 30 League team they beat(no offense Jeff) after the 2 losses in Balt this is a great comeback. They are showing some heart fellas(and Ellen) and it’s a beginning. I like it!

Matsuzaka: 7 IP, 1 ER
Beckett: 8 2/3 IP, 2 ER

Schilling: 6 IP, 0 ER

Wakefield: 8 IP, 0 ER

Lester: 7 IP, 1 ER

One trip through the rotation and these are our starter’s numbers. That totals 36 and 2/3 IP, with a grand total of 4 ER. That is an ERA of slightly under 1.00. And they were 3-2 during this time, but we won’t harp on that again…

I am predicting a blowout this afternoon. The Sox bats have been way too quiet with Dice-K on the mound for the past 2 months, the guy deserves an easy day and a W. Although the Rays are throwing out some nobody with a high ERA to pitch and that usually spells trouble for the Sox.

On the NESN pregame show, TC and Jim Rice were talking about the possibility of Wakefield beocming the Red Sox All-Time Wins leader, surpassing Clemens and Cy Young (who are both tied at 192).

Assuming Wakefield wins 3 more starts this year, he will have 154 victories. Therefore, if he pitches three more years with 13 wins per year, he will have the record. While this is certainly a nice thought, and Wakefield’s 14 wins this year are a welcome sight, I don’t know how I feel about an aging Doug Mirabelli remaining our backup catcher for another 3 years.

The Red Sox need to start grooming a young catcher to handle the knuckleball, and by “handle” I don’t mean the way Josh Bard handled the knuckleball.

I have a legitimate question that I want people to chime in on… Could Manny Ramirez possibly be the worst baserunner of all time? Check out the components… 1) He rarely ever hustles out of the batters box… preferring to watch the result before running… 2) He has no speed whatsoever… 3) He makes horrible decisions on the bases and can thrown out at any base, in any situation. Let’s not forget his wonderful head first slide into home plate a few years ago when he broke a finger.

You could probably find lots of players that have 2 of 3 these 3 characteristics… but it takes a very special player to have all 3. For example… probably 99% of all players would get benched if they repeatedly dog it getting out of the batters box. The coaching staff can’t bench Manny or even criticize him or he’ll sulk, milk an injury, demand to be traded, etc. Other players might make up for bad decisions by having speed. I just can’t see how it could be possible to be so bad in every area of baserunning. Please somebody try to prove me wrong here.

“the Sox could acquire a starting pitcher in a deal for Coco Crisp, since Jacoby Ellsbury will probably be the starting center fielder on opening day 2008 (much like the Sox went with Pedroia from day one this season).”

jeff…..i really hope your wrong about that..the last thing this team needs is another slap/singles hitter in this lineup. crisp is a much better all around player IMO….especially offensively….i’d rather they trade ellsbury for pitching or possibly go after cabrerra of the marlins since i doubt they will want to pay lowell what he’s going to command after the past 2 years……oh did anyone notice that kielty, who was supposed to be the anti-WMP, has struck out 11 times in 29 AB’s for pawtucket?

So much for the momentum carrying over from last night. We’re facing probably the worst pitcher in all of baseball and we’re down 5-0. Looks like its going to be a gut-wrenching finish to the season.

dice-k just doesn’t have it today but the simple fact is you can’t expect to consistently win games 2,3 – 0 against ML teams. you have to be able to score and they’re making a 1 & 8 pitcher look like a cy young candidate. they are just too passive at the plate. it’s like they’re looking for the walk moreso than to drve the ball. i have to think that’s the magadan effect. i can’t believe the way this team has struggled off he hasn’t been replaced. this weekend will be very telling IMO as to where this team ends up.

It’s beyond pathetic that we go from the standard excuse of… “We just have a hard time against Kazmir” (we can’t score a single run against him when his ERA is 3.50)… to “We make a 1-8 pitcher look like Cy Young”. I can’t figure out who to blame most… Theo for not helping the bats at all… Francona for not laying down any type of law around getting thrown out on the bases every game (Ramirez)… Or Magadan… just because he is the hitting coach of these underachievers.

Bedard leads Hughes 3-0… we could really use the Orioles help holding on to that lead.

it’s pretty sad when you have to pull for your closest opp to lose instead counting on a w for yourself….. i place the blame totally on theo….once again he sat on his hands at the trade deadline…..well unless you count that all imp bobby kielty acquisition…..and he had to app the magadan hiring i would think…..said it b-4 i’ll say it again if it weren’t so sad it would be comical….with LA’s pitching this weekend could be painful.

When I saw the pitching matchup last night, I knew this was going to happen. 6-0 Rays. You would think that a comeback walkoff win would light a fire under this pathetic offense’s butt. How depressing. I predict the Sox lead down to 2 games max by the end of the Angels series.

On ESPN.com, they list Clay Bucholz as our starting pitcher on Friday against the Angels! I can’t wait to get his bat into the line-up to help these guys. Adding Bucholz and Gagne will really help our offensive woes!

assuming this putrid effort continues today that’ll be 19 runs in 6 games against 2 of the worst staffs in the AL…..unreal….bucholz? that’s smart….probably the biggest series of the year form a momentum standpoint considering you’re gettin ready to start a 10 game road trip and you start a guy who has never thrown a ML inning against one of the better teams in the league…this is classic sox baseball.

A pulse… the Red Sox have a pulse. I would think that we might have a chance… but the Devil Rays bullpen has a 6+ ERA like Sonnanstine. Probably too tough to overcome.

apparently you didn’t get the word…..if the sox score 3 their 3 run quota they’re supposed to win….the other team just had better pitching.

Not being able to bunt a runner over and then striking out is on Francona. We stink at bunting… meaning its probably never practiced. Given that our bunts generally don’t work… why would Francona waste a strike with Pedroia? Just bad managing. Let him swing away from the start… plenty of ways to get the runner over or in. It’s time for Manny to wake up and earn some of that $20 million.

If Shelley Duncan making minimum wage can hit a 3-run homer in the ninth, you would think a hall of famer making $20M would do it once in a long while?

I’ve never disliked Manny as much as I do now. I honestly can’t wait until he’s gone and we can backfill with someone who cares and delivers when it counts.

yet another example of why francona is the absolute worst mgr in baseball….you HAVE to let pedroia try to bunt him over in that sit and give youk a chance to get a fly ball and tie it up…..it would/could have changed his whole approach…..that said it likes another end of the year crash and burn for youk…last year he slumped horribly in aug/sept and this year looks like more of the same…..he’s another one who seems to think walk first, hit second IMO…..at least manny does swing the bat and try to make something happen.

Dice-K didn’t have it today, plain and simple.

Good to see some life in the bats in the late innings (5 runs scored over the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning). Unfortunately the Sox couldn’t pull it out but I’m not too heated considering the Orioles beat the Yankees.

Pedroia shouldn’t be bunting in the first place. He is in the Top 10 in BA in the American League, you’d think the guy would know how to take the ball the other way and move Lugo over. Instead, he wastes a strike trying to bunt and failing, then they take the bunt sign off. Why? Either commit to it for 2 strikes or don’t do it at all!

Off day tomorrow and then 4 vs. the Angels while the Yanks take on the Tigers. Rivera has come back down to Earth a little bit in his last few outings, and so have the Yankees. Anaheim always has trouble winning at Fenway so I’d say taking 3 out of 4 is within reason. Normally I’d be happy with a split vs. the Angels but considering their struggles vs. the Sox at home, I’m optimistic.

Red Sox up by 7 games in the AL East as they begin their 10 game road trip. You heard it here first.

Rayman thinks it is Francona’s fault for having Pedrioa bunt. Smckinny thinks it is Francona’s fault for not having Pedroia bunt with strike one. Basically, Francona can’t win.

By the way, one of the most understated reasons the Sox won last night (bases loaded situation two outs) and had a chance today (two men on, two out, and then another inning on top of that), is Mike Timlin. I am glad he has proved the many, many people who said he was finished wrong.

Bunting was a good idea about 30 or 40 years ago when players COULD ACTUALLY BUNT. Players can’t bunt anymore, so its just ridiculous to even try. It’s actually pretty hard to even get the runner over if he does get the bunt down when the other team is playing for the bunt… Pedroia is batting .320+ and does often go the other way… Last, but not least, Youkilis is striking out about half the time in the last month or two… so even if Pedroia gets the runner over, it still wasn’t smart. Take the bat out of the hands of our best hitter… not a good idea.

I think brining Bucholz up for Friday’s game is a great move. This kid has great stuff and I think he’ll do fine.

Personally, I think Pedroia should have been hitting away. He’s pretty good at going the other way and probably could have moved Lugo more effectively than with bunting. His bunt attempt was horrible.

Manny got good pitches to hit and didn’t hit them. It’s August, he should be sqaring those belt high 88 MPH fastballs up. Papi had good pitches to hit today too, and didn’t get them. I don’t care about their .300 batting averages, these guys are way off.

Manny must have stood there for five seconds and admired his double off the bottom of the wall.

Um, how does Ortiz get so banged up being a DH? I honestly think he got a little lazy this year. Like I said before, he just looks slow and lethargic. They said he lost weight coming into the season with his new workout regimen in the off season. If he did, I’ll bet he’s put it back on, and then some. If he’s hurt, I don’t think Francona would play him, because that’s how he manages.

Drew is looking better. He hit a rocket to first base. He’s hitting a lot of balls hard now, and winding up with not much to show for it. He still has a chance to earn his money. Defensively, I like him in the outfield.

Who was the guy with the 1.02 ERA. You know, the guy who looks like he’s going to lose his head every time he throws the ball. Is he still pitching for the Sox? Hey, Timlin did well the last two day and good on him. Okie Dokie needs some work when it means something.

if guys can’t bunt, especially top of the order guys with very little power, that to is a reflection on the mgr IMO….what’s spring training for? what do you work on in BP?..if you have another at bat i understand him swinging away but the odds of him getting lugo to 3rd with a bunt are better than taking a chance on him popping it up or striking out i would think…..that said manny and ortiz are certainly not producing the way they have in the past or that we expect.. but then again other than lowell and pedroia who is on a consistent basis?

Responsibility for today sits squarely on Matsuzaka’s shoulders. You can’t give a team 6 runs and expect a win. He just pitched poorly.

But there are some good signs the last few days. Hits and runs after the 6th. Drew is looking a little better. Lugo and Crisp are contributing. The bullpen is coming back together. I think Tito is giving Oki a rest after all the innings he’s pitched, resting him for the stretch run.

The bad is, don’t expect Papi and manny to produce late in the games this year, the others will have to carry the load. And Youklis is really struggling.

All told there are more positives than negatives, but the one BIG negative is that Papi has zero RBI’s after the 7th. They will just have to deal with it and find a way to win without his late game heroics. God knows they owe him that.

So cheer up Sox fans. The Sox are still the team to beat.

See Eric,,, even Mariano has his bad days,,,you’ll be there for the big ones.

Ian, trying as hard as I can, I just don’t see a line up here that scares any team. Ortiz is hurt, Manny is just barely attempting to play, youk has slid down, coco….forget it, lugo ….where’s the “Nomar-like” power we were told to be expecting? Pedroia, great story…he can lead off or bat second, he just has no legs. Varitek, sure he’s great with the pitching staff….but get him up in the clutch, 2 curves and some high heat=strike out. What are the plans to make it all the way to the big prize?

Fleischer, have you been following the games? Apparently not, Crisp and Lugo are hitting the ball very well. Not sure where you heard that Lugo had Nomar-like power. He has never been a power hitter, but he does do a good job of hitting line drives when he is on his game. Varitek has picked it up the last couple games, and he has done a good job at the plate this season. Pedroia is not paid to steal bases. He is paid to be a tablesetter, and play solid defense – of which he is providing both. He is even hitting in the clutch. Pedroia and Lowell are the Sox two best hitters, in my opinion.

I agree with you about Manny. He seems helpless in the clutch, as does Ortiz. Still, the Sox are 72-48, own a five-game lead and have baseball’s best record. This team does not need to have a lineup like the Yankees to win it all because the Sox have a strong rotation and a good bullpen. The Sox do need to make a statement by taking three out of four against the Angels. No splits at home.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

I’ve been reading the comments about Lugo, Varitek and Pedroia from fleischer, and I don’t know but I think maybe this poster is watching replays of the seasons earlier games. Lugo has stepped his game up a TON.. and with he and pedroia at short and 2nd??? They’re really a terrific dp tandem. Also I don’t see anyone giving more of themselves than Pedroia. 110 percent or more every game. What universe is this blogger living in??? And Tek steps it up as recently as today and also last night. Earth to Fleischer!! Mcfly, is anybody home???

I’m with Jeff and Ellen on this one; no idea if Fleisher’s been following the games as of the past several weeks.

That said, what the heck happened with Dice-K today?!?

As for Friday’s Day-Night Doubleheader, I saw on Yahoo! Sports that Clay Buchholz was going to be starting. I know Tito is staying quiet as is Red Sox brass, but if I was a betting man, I’ll bet he is starting.

Hey nationers you all know we were going to lose yesterday no matter if we were playing the 60’s old timers it was ben aflact’s birthday we haven’t won in 10 years on the 15th crazy their isa bet for you all. O and i do believe it will be Clay Buchholz in the second game of the double header should be great to see glad the birds did the same to the yankees as they did to us

Zach did you also say the Yankees hit earth when the Orioles took the first series from them since the break?

That is the only team to beat them and they have done it twice, you really want to say the Tigers will take 3 of 4 IN new york? We’ll see.

The Red Sox are 18-17 in 1-run games. With the best bullpen in the league… that points the blame at terrible clutch hitting and bad managing.

How is the manager responsible for poor clutch hitting?

I said bad clutch hitting AND bad managing (somewhat independent).

We are definitely in the “do whatever it takes to lose” mode right now. When you have great stats and a ~$130M payroll, it takes creative ways to blow games… terrible baserunning, lack of fundamentals (bunting), lack of understanding of players abilities, poor line-up choice, bad pitching change decisions, bad or no strategy (have we ever hit and run or squeeze bunted all year?), etc.

Exciting news. According to the Boston Herald, the Sox will not only call up Clay Buchholz to start game one of tomorrow’s doubleheader, but they will then option him to Pawtucket and summon Jacoby Ellsbury for game two. Ellsbury will, of course, replace Wily Mo Pena as the Sox fourth outfielder. If this happens, it is a great move. Ellsbury will give the sox a late-inning defensive replacement in the outfield and a speedy pinch-runner when he is not in the starting lineup. And he will likely be part of the post-season roster.

As I wrote in my post today, I don’t like having a right-handed hitting fourth outfielder just for the sake of having a right-handed bat off the bench. I would rather have someone like Ellsbury face a left hander than sending Pena or Bobby Kielty (who is struggling at Pawtucket) to the plate.

If the Sox do indeed make this move, I applaud. Ellsbury belongs at the Major League level because of what he does in the field, at the plate and on the basepaths.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Let’s hope that Ellsbury brings a spark to the team. Having a big, lumbering Pena hit .210 and do nothing else certainly isn’t helping.

francona, for all the reaons noted above, is without a doubt the worst boston mgr in recent memory. and one of the worst period for any team. bad base running, inability to bunt, etc. all lead back to a lack of discipline and preparation. he’s too much of a “player’s” mgr and afraid to challenge people. either that or he just doesn’t know any better which is even worst IMO.. as far as ellsbury i don’t get it. why wouldn’t you call up moss..at least he seems to have little power and is a good rbi guy…ellsbury is just coco with less power from what i’ve seen.

“worst boston mgr in recent memory”? Francona is a better manager than the last guy who was in charge, never mind several more behind that. I think people should try cutting him a little slack, he’s done a goood job for us. Bad base running is nothing to do with the manager and all to do with the player involved.

can you say graddy little who is coaching one of the best teams in the nl out of the play offs and left pedro in to keep us out of the world series get a grip at lest francona won us a world series in 86 years and we are in first place and have the best record in baseball and many and papi are having wicked sub par years go take your antie exitie pills and chill please

I’m somewhere in the middle on Francona. I certainly don’t think he’s the worst manager… but there has to be some blame put on him. We’ve all seen teams with great pitching make the playoffs with almost no hitting whatsoever (A’s and Twins recently). Our defense was 4th in the league the last time I checked. We’re actually in the top 3 in runs scored too… add it all up, we should have a much better record than we do. We’re on pace for 97 wins. Most years that would not be enough to win the division and might not even get us in the playoffs. We shouldn’t be so happy that the rest of the league is down this year. With #1 pitching, #3 offense, and #4 defense… that should be 100+ wins and a lock on the playoffs. We certainly know our base coaches are bad… how much more can we blame on Francona? This year, I’d say a decent amount of blame.

Rayman – should Francina not have credit due to him for our 1 pitching, #3 offense, and #4 defense? Is there anything in particular he is doing whereby he should be responsible/to blame for us losing games? I don’t see in particular what people think he should be doing differently.

smckinny, there is no way that Francona is the worst manager the Sox have had in recent memory. Last I checked he won us a World Series, then got us into the playoffs the year after that. That’s being a bad manager? Yes, he makes questionable moves sometimes, but no one is perfect, not even Bobby Cox or Joe Torre. Or maybe he makes a decision that you or I don’t understand. After all, I’m sure he knows a lot more about the game then either you or I. Otherwise we could be managing, right? Cut the man some slack, remember what he has brought to Boston, and also remember that the Sox still own the best record in baseball, and have been there for almost the entire season. You just don’t get that from bad managing.

hey you’re entitled to your opinion and i repsect it….i just happen to have a different one based on what i’ve seen in the last 2 + years since 04.

Smckinny,

The inconsistent base running is not Francona’s fault, and the bunting difficulties are a players lack of skill for bunting a baseball, Francona just gives the call (however, he should know a players abilities).

I’ve seen Jacoby Ellsbury play twice since he has been down in AAA. My impression of him is that he has a solid clubhouse personality, and a great skill he posses’s is that he is a “rally starter”. I know we start a lot of rallies, but don’t finish them, also remember his 2nd to home performance on a wild pitch, that is a game changing action.

On Brandon Moss . . . .

He is homerless since June and

has struck out 129 times this season, tying a carrier high

Would you rather have a rally starters, or killer ?

Starter = Jacoby

Killer = Brandon

Smckinny,

The inconsistent base running is not Francona’s fault, and the bunting difficulties are a players lack of skill for bunting a baseball, Francona just gives the call (however, he should know a players abilities).

I’ve seen Jacoby Ellsbury play twice since he has been down in AAA. My impression of him is that he has a solid clubhouse personality, and a great skill he posses’s is that he is a “rally starter”. I know we start a lot of rallies, but don’t finish them, also remember his 2nd to home performance on a wild pitch, that is a game changing action.

On Brandon Moss . . . .

He is homerless since June and

has struck out 129 times this season, tying a carrier high

Would you rather have a rally starters, or killer ?

Starter = Jacoby

Killer = Brandon

Having great stats, but not great results means that something is missing. Luck should even out over 120 games, so the Red Sox are obviously not doing something right.

I would bet any amount of money that throughout history… a team that finished in 1st in pitching, tied for 2nd in defense (I just checked), and 3rd in runs scored would be much better than .600 winning percentage. We just do all of the little things poorly that don’t show up in the stats… ground into double plays, baserunning blunders, not getting the runner over, not getting the runners in from third, winning blowouts and losing close games, not getting sacrifices down… on and on and on… A good deal of that has to be put on the manager for not preparing the team and not executing optimal strategy to make use of our statistical strengths. I’m even more pissed after doing this research… 1st in pitching by a pretty wide margin against the other playoff teams… 2nd in defense! 3rd in runs scored! We should win 105 games with those stats and we’re on pace for 97. The only reason we are on pace for 97 is our hot start.

rayman…thank you….you made, and much more eloquently, the point i’ve been getting at all along and those “little things” you noted ( and i could add a few as well )are a managers responsibility….yes players have to execute but when they continually happen it would seem to ind a lack of communication to me…..everyone always goes back to 04 and trust me no one celebrated that more than yours truly…..but take away those last 8 games of 04 and look at this teams execution since…05 barely make playoffs and get dusted in the 1st rd….06…first place at the beg of aug and don’t even make the playoffs….this year they’ve lost the bulk of a 14 game lead in a lil over a month…anybody see a pattern developing?….i will say this in his defense….theo has done absolutely nothing the last 3 yrs during the season to address this teams obvious needs….as for ellsbury vs moss….i don’t think either of them will get enough at bats to make a huge impact…..my only point was simply put this team needs run producers not more guys to just get on base and be left there….consider this …the yankees have almost the same OBP as boston yet they’ve scored nearly 100 more runs……ultimately it’s going to come down to manny and papi starting to produce….oh and thank god for lowell or this team would in trouble.

rayman, the thing the Sox are missing is offensive consistency. If you look at the season game by game, you’ll see that the pitching is the most consistent facet of our game. When the rotation has struggled, it has only been for a short duration, whereas the offense started out hot and then starting around June consistently underperformed with short moments of being hot. When they were hot, they scored a lot of runs. I believe that is what is skewing the offensive numbers, because this offense is obviously not performing at top 4 offensive level. Short, intense bursts of offense is characteristic of this team. However, when the offense was consistent as well as the pitching early on, we were nearly unstoppable.

So why is the offense so unclutch? My theory is that it is all Dave Magadan’s coaching.

Dave Magadan was an on base machine as a player. He preaches the value of patience above all else, just waiting for the right pitch to hit. Kevin Towers said this of Magadan in ’03:

“Magadan is fully aware of the importance of getting a good pitch to hit and constantly stresses patience at the plate. He has been outstanding and should be a great teacher for many years.”

Dave Pinto’s take:

“One thing I liked from this is using hitting coach Dave Magadan to make the players more selective at the plate.”

So Dave Magadan had a good eye for good pitches, which is the organizational offensive philosophy that Theo emphasises. Hence his hiring. However, that does not always translate into success, as Magadan was fired from the Padres last season mainly due to lack of consistency on the offense facet of the team, having a NL-low .252 batting average.

Can you guess what stat has decreased since the offensive glory years of 2003- 2005? Yes, it’s batting average. The Sox hit at a .277 clip, which is totally respectable, but over 03-05 the average was .284, with a highest batting average of .289 in 03. While I do believe that getting on base is important, obp won’t actually score you runs. RBI’s are more closely influenced by batting average. How many times have we all been frustrated watching our boys sit there looking dumbfounded at called third strikes?

Case in point: Manny Ramirez. Remember earlier in the season when he was slumping hard taking all those called third strikes? The man is all confused up there. He’s got his hitting coach on one hand saying “wait for that pitch”, while his instincts are telling him “swing for the fences!” Thanks, Dave.

Ditto for Papi. I’ve never seen him so lost at the plate as this season, though he is banged up and has lost some of his power as a result.

Look at the stats for this year. The Sox lead the majors in walks, and are 2nd in obp. So while we can rally with the best of them, the lower team batting average is hurting us once we get in scoring position.

The other thing killing us is double plays. The Sox come in 2nd in the majors with 113 GDP’s. That will kill a rally every time.

Looking ahead at the rotation for the upcoming series and beyond I would like to see Lester go Sunday on his normal days rest. Lester pitched extremely well at the Fens last time out and maybe he can feed of the intensity of the home crowd once again. Also, and maybe more importantly, Wake would be set up, albeit with an extra days rest, to pitch against the Rays at the Trop where he absolutely owns them. I think this makes sense and would like to see Tito decide to match it up this way. Not sure how likely it is to happen, but we’ll see.

In addition, looking even further ahead, this would set up Lester to pitch the final game in New York rather than Wake. This might not be such a bad thing either considering Wake’s struggles against the Yankees lately (even though he has been pitching pretty well of late). Also, considering the Yankee line up is more left handed hitting, having Lester throw against them may be a positive thing.

rob8569 couldn’t agree with you more regarding magadan…..there again i would think a good mgr would look at the numbers and see that something needs to change in the approach.

Haha … this may be getting a little carried away, but it would also set him up in several weeks to start the opener against the Rays at Fenway on Sept. 10. Following that series with the day off I would give the last game of the Yankee series at Fenway to Dice and let Wake open in the Dome in Toronto the next day on two extra days rest. This is projecting a little far in to the future I admit and alot can change in that time, but if I had to set the rotation for the next several weeks that’s what I would be looking at and taking into consideration.

*him being Wakefield on the 10th

Rob,I think I agree. Magadan seems to be getting them to think more at the plate rather than react to what’s coming at them. Papi isn’t fit but that doesn’t fully explain him standing there looking like he is not quite sure what he should be doing. I think he said a little while ago, when talking about last years HR-fest “I don’t think about where the ball is going, I just hit it as hard as I can” (I am sure I will be corrected by anyone with a better memory than me – but I think it is about right). The implication is that he is thinking too much and too long about what he is likely to see next. In fact, didn’t Youk say something at the start of the season along the lines of his hitting improved when he stopped thinking about the pitches so much. If this is actually Magadan’s approach, I would imagine that it is a good way of dealing with the lead-off spot but not clean up.

Seeing some of the earlier comments about Francona, I think it is probably difficult to call him a poor manager. Surely a poor manager would not have been able to hold onto the best record in baseball for so much of the season, no matter how talented the team. That’s not to say he can’t do better.

In fact projected through the remainder of the season that rotation would set up Wakefield to pitch in every series against the Rays.

I’ll tell you I don’t like the Sox hitting philosophy. Yeah, they work the count, and they lead the league in walks and OBP, but that only means they leave more runners on base than anyone else.

Many times, Sox hitters go up there to work the count and watch the best pitch they see during the at bat go by on the first pitch. Any pitcher with half a brain in a tough situation is going to do whatever he can to throw the first pitch for a strike. I don’t know for sure, but I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of hitters hitting with RISP wind up hitting from behind in the count.

Batters need to be ready to hit the first pitch if it’s there. I want to see aggressive hitters. Even though he struck out yesterday, I liked Manny’s approach. First pitch was right down the middle and he was right there. It was the best pitch he saw and had a good swing. Too bad he missed it.

Thank You Mike Mussina. Mussina looks about 65 years old tonight. The Tigers have set the tempo for this series tonight.

Mussina is getting lit up tonight.

What good is having runners on base if there stranded inning after inning and game after game.

This teams biggest problem from this point on will be there lack of clutch hitting. We have wittnessed it too many times this year. I’m like everyone else, keep hoping for this offense to bust out but I wonder if it will at all. It is very frustrating from a fans perspective, imagine what it is like being a member of the Red Sox. Alot of sleepless nights for Francona and others. Then again with the baffling moves by Francona, perhaps he is getting his sleep in the dugout late in the games.

Tigers are bringing it to Mussina tonight. Yankee pen will be busy tonight.

Fit Mussina with a neckbrace.

bean8282,

Wakefield will miss the D-Rays series next week. Wakefield is pitching against the Angels of So. Cal, Orange County and whatever else they want to call themselves.

Santana has been pitching very poorly on the road and Lackey has gotten lit up at Fenway over the years.

israelprovencher: you say “can you say Grady Little….” >>> Can you say punctuation?? No offense intended, but I find it extremely difficult to read your posts. I have to go back over them 3-4 times. Sorry if I have offended you. ec.

I’m watching the Yankee game and I gotta tell you, I really like A-Rod.

The Yankees are down by four runs, nobody on, two outs, and A-Rod hits a dribbler down the third base line. A-Rod busts his rear end down the line and is out by a millisecond. The tussle with Tek, the play with Lowe at first base, the hoot going into third at Toronto, and probably a host of other plays we know nothing about. Here’s a guy making 250 million dollars who still does everything he can do on every play to help his team win. Like his antics or not, he’s out there to win. I like that.

Give up Manny’s money, and Lugo’s money, re-sign Lowell, bring up Ellsbury, and bring in A-Rod. How much better would the Sox be.

Of course, finding someone to take on Manny or Lugo could be an issue.

One thing nobody could ever say about A-Rod is that he loafs. He plays hard all the time.

Lugo is guranteed 27 million thru 2010 ( he’ll be almost 36 at contracts end ) and Manny we all know about the $$$ he has left and he would be looking for a contract extension if he got dealt, not much of a chance that some team takes on Lugo’s deal. Ramirez certainly could be dealt and A-Rod would look great with the Red Sox.

Yankees will be 1-3 since returning home.

That was Arroyo at first base with A-Rod back in 2004 ( game 6- A.L.C.S.) Arroyo is one guy that I miss with the Red Sox. He had stones!!!

Everytime I here John Flaherty’s voice I can only think of him trying to catch Wakefield’s knuckler down in Fort Myers. Flaherty said enough is enough and called it a career. Of course the Josh Bard era ended just as quick.

Vince: yes, the Yankees have come back down to Earth. Not even including tonight’s game in which the Tigers are handling them easily, by losing 2 out of 3 to Baltimore in the fashion which they did tells me they are no longer a ridiculously hot ballclub (which they have been since the All-Star Break).

In his last three appearances, Mariano has thrown 3.1 innings, giving up 9 hits and 5 runs. He has a save, a blown save, and a loss in those three games.

The Yankees only scored 10 runs total in the entire series vs. Baltimore. They had been regularly putting up 25-30 runs in every home series after the All-Star Break.

I’m not saying “the Yankees are finished” or anything like that, but the level which they were playing at in the past 35 games was not indicative of their team’s, nor any team in baseball’s, talent level. Thus, I repeat that they have “come back down to Earth”.

And for the Sox to be up 7 games by Monday (as I predicted), the Yankees could still split their series with Detroit while Boston took 3 of 4 from Anaheim. I never claimed the Yanks would loss their series.

And for the record, I would rather Rich Garces come out of retirement and become the Red Sox closer before I would want to see A-Rod wearing a Boston uniform.

zachary.zannino,

You would rather have Rich Garces come out of retirement than A-Rod wearing a Sox uniform. Come on now. You must have hit your head tonight somewhere.

Yankees should be worrying about how the Mariners are doing. That is the team they’re battling not the Red Sox.

One thing about the Yankees is they battle you to the end. The Sox would have already been in the showers.

After the Sox sign Rodriguez, maybe Theo and Co. can persuade Jeter to leave the Yankees and fill out the left side of the Boston infield with his good pal A-Rod.

And isn’t Rivera in a contract year? Forget about Papelbon, let’s sign Mo.

Theo wouldn’t know what to do with a good s.s.

I totally agree about the signing of Rivera. Trade Papelbon for Miguel Cairo.

Posada is also in a contract year I believe.

Do you think the Yankees would give us Shelly Duncan’s jockstrap and Tony Pena’s moustache in exchange for ‘Tek?

Shelly Duncan, oh Shane Spencer?

Is that Tony Pena ( Yankees 1b coach ) or the son who play’s s.s. for the Royals? Please clarify that for me.

You believe, Posada is in his contract year.

You could throw in Matt Nokes, Shane Rawley and Mike Pagliarulo and I might do that trade.

bosoxbrian … if you read the original post … I stated that I thought the Sox should pitch Lester on normal rest instead of Wakefield against the Angels. That was basis for my series of posts that followed.

smckinney, changing the batting coach isn’t for Tito to decide, that is Theo’s job. At the same rate, it would be unwise for Francona to tell Madagan a different coaching philosophy than the one he knows. How can you teach something you have no personal knowledge of? The answer is that you can’t. You deal with what your current personnel can give you, and you don’t look back. Not trying to disagree with you but it seems like you’re just trying to find things to pick on Tito for.

If the Sox need to shuffle there rotation for Wakefield to face the D-Rays, the Red Sox are in serious trouble.

Only team that Wakefield should avoid at all costs is the Yankees. They own him.

I detailed the fact that this rotation set up would not only put Wake in position to pitch the opener of the series against the Rays on Monday, but would also line him up with the Rays for the remaining series with them. It would also allow the Sox to skip him against the Yankees at Fenway, while Lester would be in line to pitch the final game at Yankee Stadium. But I discussed that in detail in my previous three posts so you should just refer to those because I lay it out there. Wake owns the Rays it makes sense to me that the Sox might want to match him up with them as much as possible and at the same time avoid the Yankees whom he struggles against.

As I wrote if you need to set up your rotation for Wakefield to pitch against Tampa, this team is in real trouble. What kind of thinking is that? I don’t agree with that at all. Sox should keep it the way it is. This team’s rotation isn’t the problem here, it is there lack of clutch hitting as we all know.

Your overthinking here in my opinion.

You’re lost then in my opinion. In fact just looked at the probables over at the Globe and they have Sunday as TBA so we’ll have to wait and see. I just hope that Tito is thinking along the same lines that I am with the big picture in mind.

In fact, Amelie Benjamin over at Extra Bases writes this in a post from 10:01 tonight, “With Curt Schilling bumped from today to pitch tomorrow for an extra day’s rest, Sunday would be Tim Wakefield’s turn. But TBA is listed on the pitching probables. That might mean Julian Tavarez will get a spot start.

Bumping Wakefield would put him in line to start against the Devil Rays at Tropicana Field, where he has never lost. He has a 2.33 career ERA there.”

The only thing she is mistaken about is the fact that it would be Lester on normal rest for Sunday and not Tavarez. So I think I just may have been thinking a little ahead rather than over thinking.

Sox should be able to beat the Rays on Monday whether Wakefield is on the hill or not. Keep the rotation set up the way it is right now.

If you look at the probables with M.L.B. you’ll see that Wakefield is set up for Sunday. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Wakefield got the start vs Tampa Bay on Monday. Let’s hope the Sox bats show up Monday night against Kazmir because he’ll be on the hill for sure.

Your not the only one to say I’m lost, tell me something I don’t know.

I don’t see Tavarez getting a start on Sunday. That to me doesn’t make any sense at all. Schilling will make his next start Saturday and of course the Sox want Schilling on the hill on one of the 3 games in N.Y.

Yea alright then … personally I just would rather have the manager make decisions that give the Sox their best opportunity to win ball games and in my opinion looking at the remainder of their schedule I believe that this is a small maneuver that could potentially have positive reprecussions for the final month and a half. That’s why I decided to share my opinion here.

This does not change the fact that Schill will be lined up to pitch in NY. It just makes Lester the pitcher for the final game of the series rather than Wakefield. As I said in my original posts, I prefer Lester, a left hander, against a lefty dominant line up than Wakefield who has struggled this year against the Yankees.

That final being the final game of the series in New York

I agree about the Sox setting up there pitching rotation for the final 6 weeks or so. I don’t want Wakefield pitching vs N.Y. He gets hit hard by those guys. It is a good thing to come on here and express opinions about something you have a passion for. I love reading different views/observations about the Sox on here. I don’t agree with all of them and that is a good thing but I respect all what is written.

Sox definetely want Schilling pitching 1 of the games in N.Y. Having Lester on the hill vs N.Y. would make alot of sense. Just like last year when David Pauley took the mound vs N.Y. A groundball pitcher with a great infield behind him. A game that he should have won but he bobbled a ball and the winning run scored a few batters later.

Only thing I don’t like about Wakefield pitching on Sunday is he is easy to steal off of and of course the Angels do alot of that. They’ll steal 6 bases off of him if he hits the mound on Sunday, Figgins if he gets on will get 3 himself.

D-Rays the same way of course but they don’t get on enough vs Wakefield.

We’ll just have to wait and see what Tito decides to do. Looking forward to tomorrow’s debut. Have a good night.

Let’s hope the Sox bats wakeup soon and actually drive in runs when guys are on base.

rob8659…i understand that changing the batting coach probably isn’t his option…. thanks again theo…i’m also not suggesting he try and get magadan to change…hopefully that’ll be someone else’s issue next year….what i’m saying is part of being a good mgr ( or GM ) is to know your people and recognize when/if things aren’t working and try and come up with a better approach…..you don’t just stand back and watch and accept it for what it is…… i have noticed that he’s ( tito ) gone back to chew instead of sunflower seeds the past couple of games though so maybe that means s-thing.

Hey gang. This here’s my first post on this group. Probably not the best place to put it (#240-something of a two dayold subject head). Maybe I’ll reiterate it if it continues to be applicable. Regarding Magadan’s batting approach, I think it’s important to not throw out the baby with the bath water. The high-patience, take a lot of pitches, grind down the opposing starter approach can be very effective. Anyone who has watched the Yankees over the past 5+ years can attest to how brutal and taxing that approach can be on opposing pitching staffs. The important thing to consider is WHEN to use that approach and when to be more aggressive about making contact. That’s what we otherwise call “situational hitting.” For most of the game, a pitch count can wear down the opposing pitcher the way jabs and body blows do in boxing, or the way a tough rushing game can do in football. The ultimate problem with the Sox’ offense is not, I think, that they’ve been too passive, but that they aren’t clear on what the various circumstances demand. On top of that, execution, more than philosophy, has been poor. Far too many infield pop-ups, strike-outs and double plays. These things will kill many run-scoring possibilities. I know he’s one of our whipping boys du jour, but Manny has been dreadful with all three of these faults–and it’s not due to passivity. I don’t think he sees that many pitches per at bat. It’s that he has put a relatively few of the pitches he has seen in productive play. His season has been like A-Rod’s from last season, but with worse stats (Ortiz, for all of his walks, has also shown some poor discipline at the plate, swinging at first pitches well out of the strike zone, resulting in many a weak ground out). As much as I despise Derek Jeter, he represents the anti-Manny in this regard. He knows how to adjust his hitting style (however wretched his swing looks) to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. I don’t have the numbers, but I’m fairly certain his numbers with runners in scoring position, especially with two outs, is excellent. That’s situational hitting–knowing what is required in different scenarios at different points in the game. I’m not so certain that the Sox hitters are always clear on what they should be doing in a given at-bat, thus leaving things to the vagaries of chance, which don’t always fall on our side.

i don’t think that anyone questions that making pitchers work and elevating pitch counts is a good thing typically. the red sox have always done that. go back and look at the numbers. they’ve been right there with NY, or whoeever was leading the league, in pretty much every off category ( avg. OBP, etc )until this year. and if they’re confused on what they should be doing what does that sugggest re magadans comm skills? when you get guys on base you have to look for any good pitch to drive not wait for the “perfect pitch” or lay off pitches just to elevate a pitch count and get a guy out of the game earlier. you have to be more aggressive with RISP. that’s why NY has scored 100 more runs with virtually the same OBP. his approached failed miserably for the padres and it’s been at best marginally succ in boston. i just hope it’s his last season. i’m sure he’ll find some other sabre metric guru to give him a chance.

I just say the picture of Clay Bucholtz on teh RedSox Home page. Man, he looks like he might be 12 years old!!!! Go Clay!! Go Sox!!

I hate you, Judy.

Youks couldn’t possibly look worse right now… can’t do anything but strike out… can’t get a hit, can’t get the runner over. Just bad.

Wily Mo was traded today. Player to be named later.

I heard on gameday audio that WMP was traded to Nationals for cash considerations/player to be named later. Can anyone confirm this?

So long Wily Mo, I hope you have more oppotunities in Washington and Good Luck!!!

Just to ensure that nothing in the world makes any sense… we’re shelling one of the best pitchers in the league.

Would be nice to bury Lackey right now and eat away at their bullpen. Going to be a long series… would help tire out their bullpen.

Interesting to see what we’re going to do with Mirabelli (injured in 1st inning). Would like to see us try someone new out. I bet there is time to call someone up from Pawsox before tonight’s game.

Drew redeems himself with a triple, now loads up the bases. He’s hitting over .333 for the last week, not including already going 2 for 2 today. Let’s hope things are turning around for him.

Whew… things are back to normal… 2 hits and a HBP in the second inning with only 1 out and stranded all 3 runners. I thought I was living in a parallel universe after scoring 6 in the first.

I reckon they’ll bring up George Kottaras or whatever his name is.

Smckinny and rayman – try thinking happy thoughts for once. Not all things are bad with the best team in baseball.

Exactly brendan, cheer up rayman and smckinny. Sox are playing well today. Start complaining about leaving bases loaded when they’ve done it more than once in a game.

How are they going to let Kotteras know, or any minor league catcher for that matter, 5 hours before they need him? Is Pawtucket currently at home or on the road. If they are some place like Indiana or Columbus it may be impossible for him to get here and Varitek may have to **** it up and catch 2 games.

The word I wrote was *******. Don’t know why it got blocked out. Calm down MLB.com censors

Last try: s then u then c then k.

I’m certainly glad the Red Sox had a hot first inning… I did have a change of heart Brendan because I was about to write… “I sure hope these 6 runs are enough, because we all know the Sox pack it in for the rest of the game when they have a great first”. Sure enough, they have sleepwalked the rest of the way. Thankfully, it should be enough.

It would be great if we can have Buchholz, Oki, then Pap. Then tonight Beckett can go 8 and we see Game Over Gagne back in the role where he should be pitching.

With our pitching, 6 runs should be enough, rayman.

Ideally we would have blown this game open so we could use Snyder and/or Tavarez but hey – this is what happens when you play very good time like the Angels. We’re in a great position to win the game and we still have Delcarmen, Timlin and Gagne fresh for tonight. And Beckett on the mound. All in all, a good situation.

It would be great if we were able to consolidate the lead by not losing ground to the Yankees tonight. It is always extremely difficult to win both legs of a day night doubleheader and the Yankees will probably win tonight so not losing ground tonight would be great for us.

Usually that is the case brendan, but the pitching matchup is very much in the Sox favor. Ervin Santana having a horrible year against the Cy Young frontrunner. The Angels had this first game very much in their favor but Lackey blew it.

I am glad they did not blow this game open in the middle innings. Knowing the Sox, they would have put up 12 then scored 1 tonight for Josh.

Ervin Santana – 8.79 ERA in 11 road starts. 112 hits/walks in 57 innings. .341 batting average against.

Hmmm… any predictions for tonight?

Well my thinking is that Ervin Santana will be better than expected. He was sent down to AAA and I presume he sorted out whatever his problems were seeing as they feel like they can bring him back up. He is a good pitcher (16-8 record last year), but obviously something was off this year. Hopefully I am wrong. I just doubt they would bring him up until he sorted out whatever was wrong.

With the Yankees upcoming schedule seeing 4 vs Det, 3 @ LA, 4 @ Det, then 3 with the Sox, they could be 7, 8 or 9 out by the end of that 3 gamer on August 30th, and the division can be officially conceded.

Were they going to bring up Santana anyway? Or did they just do it because they were playing 2, a la Buchholz.

The lead is back to 6 again. Why the **** were we all worried on, including myself, on Monday?

A long time to go yet Rizzo. I wasn’t overly worried on Monday but I’m definitely not overly relaxed now.

brendan…don’t mistake constructive criticism for “unhappiness” or negetivity…..today is the way this team has the ability to play EVERY night…..my “unhappiness” stems from this teams lack of a consistent effort the last 2 mos……i’m not suggesting they should/would score 8 runs every nite but they seemed much more aggressive….they didn’t worry about outlasting lackey….they, for a change, seemed to go up looking to hit the ball…..they beat the best LA has to offer lets hope they keep it up tonite against the worst….bucholz looked really good overall….i see why they’re so high on him.

How big was today’s win. Certainly a great way to start the weekend. Beckett tonight of course, big advantage for Boston tonight. Jumping ahead is important against this Angels team. We all know they don’t have the power to comeback.

Imagine Oritz hits his 20th H.R. on August 17. If you told me that at the beginning of the year that would be the date for his 20th homer, I would have said that the Sox must be out of first place by 10 games or more.

Josh Elliot ( E.S.P.N. anchor ) said that Bucholtz looks like he should be pitching in Williamsport this weekend not Fenway.

I am praying that the second game of this series is played on NESN on the “Extra Innings” package because the day game was brought to us by the Angels announcers. Pretty annoying.

Funniest moment of the day: after Lackey had given up the 6th run of the inning on an Alex Cora double, a camera was positioned right on his face as he clearly mouthed “F*** this place” (referring to Fenway). I had to rewind and watch it again because it was so visible/hilarious.

lol. I saw Lackey mouth that, too, Zachary. Of course, he should have been thanking Fenway. Mirabelli’s double would have been a home run anywhere else.

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

According to his scouting report Kottaras does have experience catching a knuckleball (Steve Sparks and Charlie Zink, who is mentored by Wakefield). He could serve well as a back-up while Mirabelli is healing. Jerry Remy noted that the Paw-Sox are home as of now, so his call-up is a legit possibility.
Craig Monroe was just designated for assingment by the Tigers, he would be a nice 4th OF with some pop in his bat . . . however so far this season he has not been producing to his level and has been a strikeout machine.

Gabbard is pitching tonight for the Rangers, good luck to him.

Tigers gave up on Monroe very quick. I don’t know the whole story there. I agree the Sox should take a look into him.

How about Ellsbury in the 1st inning. He hit a grounder to 3b and almost beat it out. I love that speed.

RSJones wrote regarding Monroe: “he would be a nice 4th OF with some pop in his bat . . . however so far this season he has not been producing to his level and has been a strikeout machine.”

…Hmmmm who does that sound like? lol.

I say give the young guy Ellsbury a shot. No need to try and get Monroe, or even bring up Kielty. The young guys give the team a boost, due to their energy. Just look at Duncan and Cabrera in New York.

i’ll say it 1 more time….francona is the worst pitching satff mgr i’ve ever seen.

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