A no-no for the ages

First things first. I missed the no-hitter. That said, I watched every single pitch of that game on television while in Rhode Island at the home of my in-laws. I sat back in a comfortable chair and didn’t get up. I was mystified by what I was watching.

Typically, when I’m off duty, I do not watch every pitch of a game. I might check in on some of the game, but I go back and forth doing other stuff. This time I was gripped by Buchholz. I knew he was pitching and that’s why I wanted to watch the game in the first place.

What jumped out was his offspeed stuff. His curve and his changeup both looked unhittable. He has that certain something. This is the way I remember feeling when Roger Clemens first came up in 1984 and when Jonathan Papelbon — then known as Jon Papelbon — made his MLB debut on the Manny didn’t get traded day of July 31, 2005 against the Twins. It’s exciting when you feel like another star is coming along.

At first, I was pretty bummed out not to actually be covering the game. But that passed pretty quickly as I relished taking in the moment as a pure spectator. It was much the same feeling as I had while watching the Patriots win the Super Bowl against the Rams in 2002. It was the same type of utter disbelief in seeing such a great sporting event. I think this is why we all love sports in the first place, for the chance you might one night flip on the TV and see a night like this.

When I lived in New York and frequently covered the Yankees and Mets — among other pro teams — for a different publication, I missed two perfect games. On May 17, 1998, I was covering the NBA draft lottery in Secaucus while David Wells got 27 up and 27 down against the Twins. And when David Cone pulled off the same miraculous feat on July 18, 1999 against the Expos, I was on my parents’ boat in Hull. Oh well.

I finally saw my first — and still only — no-no on April 27, 2002. Derek Lowe put on quite a show that day. But even I admit that this one had more drama and was a better storyline though D. Lowe was also a great story at the time coming off his disastrous year as a closer and turning in a Cy Young Award caliber season.

So what happens to Buchholz for the rest of the season? Look for the Red Sox to be extremely coy on that subject. However, he will play a role in some form or fashion, though he won’t be overtaxed. I don’t think the club wants him to pitch more than 160 innings total this season. He’s at about 140 right now.

Stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy your Labor Day and soak in what was a truly great Saturday night at Fenway.

Ian.

63 Comments

I was a great game Ian, at least you watched it as it happened. I had to find out about it and watch it on MLB later in the evening.

What an incredible night at Fenway. Let’s hope it sparks the Red Sox for a nice little winning streak.

The Red Sox need to get to Jesse Litsch tonight. Everytime I look at this kid, I am reminded that he was once the bat boy for the Devil Rays.

Last time out, he baffled the Sox bats but maybe it was because they had never seen him before. They don’t really have any excuses now, and I feel like it’s been forever since Dice-K has gotten a win althoug he’s deserved a couple in his 5 starts.

Gotta keep the momentum going while the Yankees and Mariners beat up on each other this afternoon. Maybe Royce Clayton can get a start and really do some damage to his ex-team (that is sarcasm, by the way smckinny).

Great too see Elsbury leadoff, if he gets on first he will not be there long. Great hit and run combo as well with Pedroia and Elsbury, Pedroia make alot of contact. I guess tonight’s first 2 in the lineup could be a glimpse for years to come.

Dice-K pitching with the extra day’s rest and the numbers show he is a much better pitcher. Let’s hope that is the case tonight.

Last time Litsch shut them down, I don’t think that will be the case tonight.

bosox. i really do admire your optimism. they know the yankees have lost so I HOPE they can go out and put another nail in that coffin. i really curse the thought of NY coming to fenway trailing by only 3-5 games. actually i’d love to see them lose the WC to detroit as well. i suppose it’s irrelevent and the ultimate goal is to make the playoffs and win the div BUT if this team doesn’t win 100+ games it will be a major underachievement IMO. when you consider the pitching they’ve had all year. i know numbers are just numbers but did anybody see that stat they showed y-day during the angels game? no team since ’99 has won the world weries w/o having at least 1 guy hit 30 HR’s during the reg season. also for what it’s worth. you have to back to ’01 ( diamondbacks ) to find the last team with the lowest ERA to win it all. granted most times it’s been s-what close but still interesting to me.

Can you believe the Sox are worried about Bucholz throwing 160 innings. Here’s a young man with a great arm, who threw a complete game and well over 100 pitches with relative ease who could contribute a lot to the Sox stretch drive. Is this little league, or what?

Complete games, 20 game winners, 300 strikeouts in a season are things of the past. Pitchers are bigger, stronger, throw harder, better conditioned and physically superior in almost every way to their predecessors of 20 year ago. Yet they win fewer games, pitch fewer innings, spend more time on the DL, and for the most part will not pitch if they have a hair out of place. So we as fans, instead of being treated to great athletes doing great things, are relegated to watching an inferior group of specialists and setup men who are for the most part way inferior to the pitcher they are relieving.

I know, I know, it’s a different game. But to a baseball purist, and to even those who aren’t, is there anything more exciting that what happened at Fenway on Saturday night? How much would Bucholz’ effort been diminished if he gave up a single in the eighth and they yanked him (which they no doubt would have)?

What has happend to pitching? Don’t look these up, but see how many you can answer. The answers will surprise you, I think.

Who was the last pitcher to throw 300 innings in a season, and when did he do it?

Who was the last pitcher to strike out 300 hitters in a season and when did he do it?

The San Diego pitching staff has thrown 18 shutouts this year. How many of them are complete games.

How many complete games does the Yankee pitching staff have this year?

How many complete games have been thrown by the entire AL East this year?

The Yanks have lost so this is a chance for Dice-K and the Sox to drive a dagger into their hearts.

Answers:

Steve Carlton was the last pitcher to throw 300 innings in 1980.

Randy Johnson struck out over 300 hitters in 2002.

Of their 18 shutouts by the San Diego pitching staff, only one was a complete game.

The Yankees have one complete game this year, which is one less than the Devil Rays.

Of the nearly 700 games played by AL East Teams, there have been only 20 complete games thrown.

Oh yeah, today’s starting pitchers average 204 innings per season.

smckinny— I really don’t care about the Yankees right now. The division is Boston’s and I would think most would agree even Yankee fans would.

Red Sox will have 1 guy hit more than 30 H.R. ( Ortiz–33 to 35 is my guess )

I just want the Sox to finish out the month strong. ( 16-9 or 17-8 is what I would like too see ) make sure the Sox have home field advantage thru the playoffs. The road to the World Series in the A.L. goes thru Fenway.

gsm,

Welcome to baseball of recent years. I can’t say I disagree with you but that is how it goes. Guys are now drafted as closers and relievers as opposed to years past. Pitch counts are the standard, I can’t say I totally disagree about the Sox handling of Bucholtz. Next year Bucholtz will be in the rotation right from when they break camp in Fort Meyers, don’t burn the kid out. Kerry Wood and Mark Prior come to mind. They almost got the Cubs to the World Series in 2003. Where are they now????? Last time I heard they were selling peanuts and hot dogs at Wrigley Field. You don’t handle your good young arms well and bad things will happen.

smckinny,

Why would you say if the Red Sox don’t win 100 or more games it is a dissapointment? Not too many teams have over the years.

I don’t know why pitchers at Fenway challenge Mike Lowell with fastballs in the innerhalf. That to me makes no sense at all. How many times have we seen a pitcher challenge Lowell there and get hurt? Especially with men on base. Do these teams have advance scouting???? At Fenway Lowell is lethal, his approach at the plate is made for Fenway.

Brian, I think baseball has evolved the way it has entirely because of $$$$$$. Teams are more interested in protecting their investments than they are in winning, and I think that’s sad.

The Kerry Wood and Mark Prior stories are tragic to say the least. But the reality is that those kinds of things can happen any time. Pitchers have blown out their arms warming up. You just can’t make me believe an extra 30 innings will forever damage Bucholz’ career. The Sox are in a pennant race. Imagine how invaluable the experience could be to a kid like Bucholz for the future. Next year, he could be a seasoned veteran of the pressures of pitching in a pennant race.

How about Ellsbury? Is he electric or what?

It all comes to the $$$$ as you just said. Doesn’t everything in this world?

Bucholtz will be used again for sure. It isn’t like he will not see the mound again. Him coming out of the pen is possible. To me Bucholtz already looks like a seasoned veteran. His composure during that no hitter was remarkable. A pitcher can have alot of talent but does he have the makeup? Bucholtz does for sure.

Ellsbury is great to watch. A young Johnny Damon, of course he looks like him as well. When Damon came up with K.C. that is Ellsbury. The kid makes things happen, why did Rios try to throw him out at 3rd is beyond me? Apparently Rios didn’t read the scouting report?

I am going to say the answer to the Aflac trivia question is Butch Hobson. Just a guess!!! One of the worst managers of all time. This kid Litsch is getting smoked tonight!!!

I agree with gsm, for as many Prior and Wood stories, there are also guys like Dice-K. He was never babied in Japan and threw as many innings as he wanted without fear of pitch counts. These young arms are treated like gold throughtout the minors and even college and never allowed to go more than 6 innings in a game or throw more than 75 pitches. If they are ignorant to the fact that their arms could get hurt, then no one would worry about letting them throw 130 pitches.

For guys like Pedro today he needed to be on a pitch count because he is older and it is obviously proven that older people are at higher risk for injuries then young people are. But not allowing a guy to showcase his talent b/c of a silly little rule like innings pitched maximum is dumb. As Sox fans we don’t want to hear it and very unlikely to happen anyway, but in the next 10 to 15 years Buchholz may never get the chance to pitch in a big game so why not let him do it when he has the chance to?

These young players are really providing a spark for the Sox. The most satisfying thing for fans is seeing guys with no track record whatsoever get thrown in a pennant race and succeed. It is fun to watch.

I agree Brian, I think the answer is Butch Hobson as well.

I think using Bucholz out of the bullpen would be a huge mistake. The one thing that could hurt him is the inability to properly warm up, and I don’t mean just his arm.

Pitch counts are here to stay so you folks might as well get used to it. These teams aren’t going to change there philspophy now. It all comes down to the $$$$$.

These young players are providing a big spark. The no hitter by Bucholtz could be the thing that woke up this team.

Labor Day 2003, Trot Nixon’s homer was one of the huge wins for the Red Sox that year. Bucholtz’s no hitter, we might all look back and say that is what got this team ignited. So far so good, 3 in a row tonight. This game is OVER!!!

Dice-K finally got some run support. AMEN!!!!

I remember that Trot homer, a makeup game in Philly at old Veterans Stadium. I think it was a 10-9 final.

…Enough scoring, same some of these runs for tomorrow and Doc Halladay.

I would assume if they use Bucholtz out of the pen, it would be to start an inning. Give him plenty of time to warm up.

Papelbon came out of the pen late in 2005. After starting most of the year.

I am very confident that the Sox will use Bucholtz correct. This front office/organazation has a plan and they will not go away from it. Most of these teams panic and go away from there plan, not a good way to go about it.

Nixon’s homer off of Turk Wendell ( Mass. native ) a game that was rained out earlier in the year. Sox flew to Philly that day. Ramirez of course was too sick to pinch hit ( told Grady he had a soar throat ) That was all the controversy surrounding Manny when the Yankees were in town that weekend. Manny being seen at the hotel bar with Enrique Wilson, couldn’t play that weekend but felt good enough to hang out. Manny being Manny.

I can’t wait to get his bat back. Sox are wisely being careful with Manny. No need to rush him back.

bosox. you’re right not THAT many have but not many, in the moden era, have had the kind of pitching this team has combined with ( on paper ) the offense they have. granted if manny and ortiz had had TYPICAL years they probably would. it’s just that i think this team COULD have really achieved some special numbers. like i said the end result is all that really matters i just think what could have been. oh and gsm52.that’s why ryan’s 7 no no’s are the most untouchable record in all of sports IMO.

Any word on Wakefield? If he can’t go, we’ll probably see Bucholz again.

Nolan Ryan should have had about 5 more in his career.

He lost a several late in the game.

Ryan struck out both Francona’s–father and son. That guy played forever and ever.

Wakefield they say will start Thurs. vs Balt.

Gagne will not be avaialable for a little bit.

Smckinny, I think you could be right about Ryan’s 7 no hitters and I think his 5714 K’s is equally untouchable.

gsm. u said sumthin there brutha. there will never be another pitcher like that. even if they/someone had the ability they won’t get the opp due to the way the game is played now. bosox. 33-35 is REALLY optimistic IMO. hope your right though.

Not good to watch Dice-K. He was pitching with a 9 run lead. That to me is a cake walk of a victory. He should have gone 7 solid innings and then turn it over to the pen. I hope he isn’t running out of gas.

I don’t think Dice-K is running out of gas. I do think the Ump is squeezing him and has been all night. He’s had to throw too many good strikes.

OK, he’s running out of gas.

Ortiz has 26 right now. If he hits 33 to 35, that is within reach for sure.

Time for Dice-K to hit the showers. Another poor start by Dice-K. Not impressed at all with his outing tonight. If you have a 9 run lead, you don’t give the team any life and that is what he did.

Even though the chances of the Jays coming back is slim and none.

I don’t think the ump is squeezing him at all. gsm–You always think a Red Sox pitcher is getting squeezed. That is your arm talking to you there. You were once a pitcher in the minors in the past. ( A few years ago )

LOL, more than a few years ago.

This is freakin ugly.

I can’t believe what I am watching here tonight. A 9 run lead and the go ahead run at the plate. Never thought that was going to happen. Thank you Dice-K.

I thought this game was over. This is why you don’t bet on sports.

I was being kind when I said a few years ago. You talked about George Hendricks a couple of weeks ago.

This is very UGLY.

Tying run is 90 feet away. WOW!!! Give the Jays credit, they never quit.

See, even the Rem Dawg agrees with me about the ump!

LOL! Manny probably would have had that one!

glad to see that inning over, but seriously, are we about to blow a 9 run lead?!?!?!

The ump missed a few but he isn’t the reason why Dice-K got racked in the 6th and had an early exit. Dice-K ran out of gas and this long season here in America is taken it’s toll for sure.

Lowell is on again.

I agree with you Brian. He wasn’t sharp tonight. His breaking balls were rolling over rather than breaking. Even before the sixth inning, there were a lot of balls hit hard. His strikeout numbers seem to be dropping with each start as well.

When the outs are loud that usually means you don’t have much on your ball. Jays got some good swings against him tonight. This Jays team has been struggling at the plate all year. They certainly made up for it tonight.

I am worried about Dice-K. I think his gas tank is nearing empty. Very important for the Sox to get a winning streak going and get Dice-K some rest.

Youv’e got to be kidding me! A nine run lead and they blow it.Playing like this guy’s, they don’t deserve to win anything ….Most of you blame their problem’s on the offense, but you can see their pitching is also very suspect. If they win this game it will be a miracle!!!

Well, they didn’t blow the whole nine run lead, and they did come back with a couple of their own.

Brian, the ump must be getting tired, he’s starting to give some corners.

leonard.bryan, I agree that Dice-K’s performance tonight and for the last several starts has been shaky, but you can’t really extend that to all pitching. Did you even see Buchholtz Saturday night? Lester was decent yesterday as well. The pitching will be fine, I think, and especially if Wakefield can get back in the rotation and save us from more Tavarez spot starts (which have been inconsistent if helpful). Schill got back on track. Beckett lost to the Yankees, but he didn’t get much support either.

gsm,

It doesn’t take much for these out of shape umps to get tired. Even though the guy behind the plate is not heavy.

A leadoff walk with a 4 run lead, throw him a strike Delcarmen. That usually gets you a leadoff walk. 55 % of the time that runner will score.

Leadoff walks are killers for sure, and in Delcarmen’s case, there’s no excuse. He’s got great stuff and doesn’t need to be that careful.

Papelbon is in, so it is official this one is over!!!

Sox pitching has been there all year. Just one of those nights in a long baseball season. It is a marathon not a sprint.

Beckett and Halladay tomm night. It should be a low scoring game. Should is the key word.

Interesting game.Kinda good to see Offense.I am beginning to wonder if Dice K was worth it.I sure hope he doesn’t end up being another Hideki Irabu.He seems to be going in that direction.The guy has such great stuff and still seems lost sometimes.I mean look at his stats this season.A guy like Paul Byrd for example would be decent and cheaper than Dice K.I mean wow.

chman, there should be no wonder whether dice-k was worth it. we have seen games from this this year that show he is more than worth it. you hafta remember, we’ve got him for 5 years. I dont see him getting any worse in the next 4. he may have already been a “veteran”, but the batters he faced in japan are far from mlb. 14 or 15 wins in an adjusment year, i’ll take that any day

i wouldn’t worry too much about dice-k. he’s been a lil shaky at times but this is first year and keep in mind in his 11 losses the sox have scored a total of 13 runs i believe. granted he’s given up 4-6 in some of those but with just decent run support he’d have 18-19 wins and be looking at a cy young possibly.

If I recall, there were numerous predictions about Dic-K’s W-L, and the majority said 15 or 16 with a high 3.00 or low 4.00 ERA. So the prediction came true, isn’t that what we expected?
Nice optomistic view, Smkinny.

As for tonight ace v. ace match-up its most likely going to end up being a “who scores first, wins the game” affair. If Ellsbury leadsoff, gets on base then there are many routes that can be taken, that may help the sox score first.

1. Pedroia can try working the count, to make it possible to sreal (with Ellsburys speed, he could steal a base on any count)

2. Pedroia and Ellsbury perform a hit and run, or Pedroia hits the ball to the right-side and moves Elssbury over

3. with Elsbury at third a flyball or solid groundout would score him

Result: 1-0 lead

*Dice-K’s
*tonight

*steal

It was pretty awesome to get a glimpse into the future for our 1-2 hitters and it didn’t hurt that they both produced unbelievably.

While it was frustrating for Dice-K to have that shaky 6th inning, he did have a very long wait in the dugout and a couple of those hits were bloopers and bleeders that could have gone the other way. That is baseball karma though, because when he pitched well enough to win (and then some, in a lot of cases) he didn’t get enough run support. Tonight he just didn’t have it but still got the W.

Beckett vs. Halladay tonight should be a pretty different game from last night. The Sox have handled Doc pretty well this season but that was when he didn’t look 100% on the mound. By now we all know what to expect from Beckett: at least 6 IP and he’ll keep you in the game.

It’s been a while since my last post. Busy, and somewhat lazy i guess.

Last time i checked, half the people here was going at Gagne as if he was a terrorist and a lot wanted to fire Francona, Theo …. and Wally. There were also some yankee fans trolls, polluting this blog and calling names for the pleasure of it. Classy.

Two sweeps ( 1 for, 1 against ) and a couple of weird games later, Sox have a 7 GL at the top of AL East with 24 games to play, Gagne is working on a “new” mechanic and doesn’t blow leads anymore, Tito is still there and the trolls seem to be gone. I hope i’m not jinxing it. Oh and Clay Buccholz has a smile on his face since his no-no on Saturday. Very impressive stint, btw.

leonard.brian, the problem is the pitching ?! YOU have to be kidding me. One the best pitching staff in the bigs ( 2nd best ERA, 1st in AL ). Do i need to say more ?

chman, don’t worry. Dice-K is going through the usual roller coaster path like about all newcomers in sports, especially pitchers. You said it yourself, ” the guy has such great stuff and still seems lost sometimes. ” That’s exactly what we use to say about promising prospect. Even if they’re 27 and yes, even if they cost a lot of money.

rsjones, you’re right. The expectations as for Dice-K’s stats line were at about 15 to 17 W and a high 3.00 or low 4.00 ERA at the start of the season, at least on this blog. He may be not as dominant as we’ve secretely hoped (!) but there is a big learning curve for pitchers and he’s no exception.

smckinny, first time i talk to you, but you have a good point. In the first half, Dice-K was the 07 version of the 06 Wake : poor run support.

Long story short, i think Dice-K will be fine. JB vs Halladay tonight. You gotta love those matchups.

As I was sitting in Fenway last night watching Dice-K shaking off Tek, I thought back to last year — there was Beckett, winning a career high 16 games, throwing a career high 200+ innings, yet racking up a 5+ ERA and giving up a bundle of home runs. Someone worked with him over the winter to get him more comfortable with his entire array of pitches and now he is on the verge of a Cy Young award. I think there is a parallel here. Someone has to work with Dice-K over the Winter to get him to understand the difference with where he has pitched in the past and the American League East. I think he has Beckett-type stuff, and can have a break-through year next year, but I think he has to take the same sort of direction that Beckett took in preparation for this year.

As impressed as I am with Jacoby Ellsbury, and hope he works his way into the starting line-up next year, I still like CoCo and the way he works so hard to help the team. How about putting one of them in right field and letting Drew be the back-up. I know that’s a lot of money riding the bench, but I think one must remember that CoCo is a switch hitter. With him and Tek able to go from either side of the plate, it provides a benefit to the line-up.

Having watched Lowell dent the Green Monster last night, I will say it again, the Sox are going to be foolish if they don’t extend themselves to hold onto Mike. Yes, he will be 34 next February, but he’s only 1 year older than Drew, to whom the Sox just gave a 5 year contract. And if Lowell was to have an injury or an off-year after getting a large contract (which hasn’t seemed to be the case in the past), the Sox still have Youk and Hinske to play 1st and 3rd. Hinske did some wall denting of his own last night, and with all of the positions he can fill in at, I hope the Sox remember that, not so long ago, he was the AL Rookie of the Year. Most of all, I have not seen many swings as suited to the Green Monster as Lowell’s with the possible exception of Rico Petrocelli.

With the rookies on their way up, I think the Sox have a solid nucleus for the forseeable future. Rather than shopping for other players, I would like to see them hold onto what they have. Go back to 2004 — they’d just won the Series, and let O. Cabrera go in favor of shopping for Edgar Renteria. They let D. Lowe go in favor of shopping for Matt Clement. I know hindsight is 20/20, and that the fans can eat ownership alive with who they’d like to add to the line-up. These puzzle pieces seem to fit well together. If they lose early in the play-offs, maybe I could understand it. However, I think these guys are going deep into the play-offs, and when they do, I hope “tinkering with the roster” is not the thought that comes first to the mind of management.

While I agree about the possible stubborness of Dice-K in comparison to 2006 Beckett, I think we should remember that while Beckett had 3 pitches and insisted on throwing his fastball, Matsuzaka has somewhere around 5-7 pitches and is not in love with any specific one (perhaps his cutter earlier in the year).

Posting fee aside, signing Dice-K to a 6-year/$52 million contract seems like a bargain to me for numerous reasons: first, a large amount of mediocre pitchers are getting similar money. Secondly, he’s probably going to win 16-17 games in his rookie campaign. And thirdly, he seems like the type of pitcher who will improve upon his numbers through the first 3-4 years of his career.

I know not a lot of you will agree, but it will be tough to see Coco. For all of his struggles last year, he puts it all on the line when he plays. I have it found to dislike the guy ever since he chased an A-Rod homerun ball all the way over the short wall in centerfield and went flying over it.

*to see Coco go somewhere else (assuming Ellsbury is starting in CF next season).

I agree about Lowell, they should try to retain him. He’s 34, not 99. Does a deal in the area of 3 years/24 M seem fair to you guys ? I wonder what number(s) his agent has in mind.

Lowell’s Florida contract, in which he was signed from ’04 to ’07 was worth 32 million. His agent(s) are the Levinson Brothers, also the agent(s) of Julio Lugo and Doug Mirabelli. Since the Sox do not have supreme 3B prospect in the minors, who would join the team any time some (3-4 years at the most) a 3Y/24M contract seems reasonable. Since he’ll be 37 a contracts end if it gets done, his signing with another club won’t make a huge impact if he leaves at this seasons end. Also at age 36, in the last year of his imanginary contract, he’ll be good trade bait for a club in need of a veteran presence.

It’s hard not to fall in love with Mike Lowell hitting behind Papi. He very rarely strikes out and generally makes good contact. I know Manny is Manny, but could you imagine how much more effective Lowell would be with Manny hitting behind him? Keep in mind Lowell has done most of what he’s done this year with nobody hitting behind him.

Despite his success in Japan, you can’t equate what Dice-K did over there to what he’s up against here. It’s like moving up from Triple A, and all things considered, he hasn’t had a bad year, and he will get better. I thought he’s win about 14 this year but next year, he’ll be stronger.

Defensively, I love the Ellsbury, Crisp, Drew outfield. I never thought Drew would produce like Epstein though he would, but I didn’t think he’d be this bad. I would expect him, along with Lugo, to have much better seasons next year. I might consider moving Crisp to left because Ellsbury has a better arm.

The Sox haven’t missed Manny a bit. It’s hard to say what the long term impact would be without him, but except his bat, the Sox are a better team without him. The reality is that his bat has not been that much of a factor this year anyway.

I do think the Sox need to resign Lowell unelss they are going to make a serious play for A-Rod. I think they should offer him $20 million over two years. He’s earned it, and he’s worth it.

“The Sox haven’t missed Manny a bit. It’s hard to say what the long term impact would be without him, but except his bat, the Sox are a better team without him. The reality is that his bat has not been that much of a factor this year anyway. ”

Pretty sure the sox would have won won of those games in the Bronx with Manny’s bat. As far as Manny being a non-factor, you really must be insane. The man is having a bad year (his worst ever) but his ops is still near .900 and he still has amazing plate discipline. And until he had been injured, he was on pace for another 100 RBI campaign. Manny has been the most dangerous RH batter in the AL for about 10 years. We wouldn’t have been in the postseason in ’05 if it wasn’t for his bat. At times, he’s singlehandedly carred this team. Give him a break.

As far as your Drew-Ellisbury-Coco outfield goes, this is the Red Sox, not the Dodgers. We need power, and besides Lowell, Manny is the only other position player with it. If you want Ellsbury playing, better get used to a Coco-less outfield. And if you want Coco, than we’ll have to upgrade at 1st base. I doubt most of us here would like to see Youk on another team, so Coco (sadly) must go.

as far as lowell, coco, manny etc. it will be a domino effect. IF a-rod opts out and IF he signs with boston then they will trade manny ( most likely or at least make their first serious effort to ) and move coco to left. if he ( a-rod ) doesn’t then then i think you’ll see them use coco to try and acquire a 3B OR 1B and move youk back to 3rd. they’ve gotten by for a few games w/o manny but this team HAS to have a power bat behind ortiz to be successful long term. it obviously aint’t JD and lowell ( as much as i like him ) ain’t that either. personally other than a-rod i don’t see any out there better than manny. even in an “off year” he’s second on the team in hr’s & rbi’s. lowell is making what 9-10mm now? after the last 2 years i don’t see him taking a pay cut to stay and i’m pretty sure that’s what it would take. as i said b-4 i’d like to think theo knows a-rod’s deal already and that’s why he didn’t do the texiera deal ( which would have fit perfectly IMO ) but i suppose we won’t know until after the season. if i had to bet i’d say next yr you’ll see a-rod at 3rd, coco in left, and ellsbury in ctr. if a-rod opts out there’s not another team in b-ball that can match the sox in terms of $$. and they wouldn’t admit but i really think this ownership group would get a woodie if a-rod breaks bonds record in a sox uni. as oppposed to a yankee one.

Probably the only way A-rod would go to the sox is if they let him play short, he actually tried to play for Boston but the players association said Boston wasn’t paying him enough.

well unless lugo can play 3rd or boston is willing to eat prob 1/2 his salary ( or more ) in a trade i don’t see that happenin either. IF a-rod opts WHO other than boston can afford the 28-30mm/yr it’ll take to sign him? MAYBE ana or the cubbies but i just don’t see it.

Well Redsoxguy, I’ll have to respectfully disagree. The Sox don’t need a power bat behind Ortiz, they need a productive bat. You can make stats read anything you want to, but the reality is that Manny has not been very productive this year. He just hasn’t been very clutch and has either struck out or GIDP in a boatload of clutch situations. I’m not diminishing Manny’s prolific hitting achievements of the past, but this year, the guy hitting two slots down in the order is the guy driving in the runs.

As far as the Yankee series is concerned, the Sox were horrible. There’s no reason to believe Manny would have made a difference.

Finally, you’re right, these are the Red Sox, not the Dodgers. But as they develop pitching, speed and defense, they’re looking more like the Dodgers every year. Even 2004, the most important single play of the year was a stolen base, followed by a single ……. then a pitcher with a bloody sock ……. and some guy named Derek Lowe who won all the clinching games. For the past three years the Yankees have had the most prolific lineup in baseball. What have they accomplished? I must be insane.

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