Game 2 of 18 — Sox and the Yanks

Beckett vs. Mussina today. The Texas flame thrower vs. the old pro who now gets by more on finesse than in his heyday. It should be a good one. The Red Sox offense is definitely do for a breakout.

Here’s an interesting nugget: J.D. Drw hit his third homer of 2007 on June 8 in Arizona. He hit his third of 2008 last night at Fenway. I forecast a very big year for the right fielder. Yes, I know he got off to a good start last year. But there is just something about him that seems so much more relaxed this year.

It sounds like it will be another day or two before Alex Cora resumes game action. He got a twinge in his elbow a few days ago and is easing his way back into baseball activities.

The slump of Big Papi continues to be a big topic of conversation. The lefty slugger is hitting .077 (3-for-39) with one homer and three RBIs.

“If David goes the whole year and hits under a hundred, we’re
probably going to lose some games,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “You understand my point here. David’s built
up a lot of trust. Especially with me. The hope is that he’ll make somebody pay
for this. I’ve said it probably a million times. Good hitters, as cold as they
get, they get just as hot. I wish I could tell you why and maybe have it be
consistent. You can’t always do that. Guys get to their level. It will be fun
to watch. I hope it starts today.”

Any thought to sitting Ortiz for a day to let him get things right?

I”f I ever felt that way, I would do it regardless,” Francona said. “As hard
as that would be to do —  I don’t feel that way right now. If I did, I would do
it. but I don’t feel that way.”

How about Ortiz’s knee? Is that an issue?

“I think he has his legs. My point is, I think his legs
feel better then they did last year but I don’t think his base is where it will
be,” Francona said. “There’s a little movement there. It happens. You get your legs moving and
your head is moving, and you’re not seeing the ball. it all kind of coincides
and goes hand in hand. But he’s going to take some good swings. And then it’s
going to slow down again. And that’s going to be good news for us. Right now, I
bet you it’s not looking real slow.”

On to this afternoon’s lineups:

Yankees
Damon LF
Cabrera CF
Abreu RF
A-Rod 3B
Giambi 1B
Posada C
Cano 2B
Molina C
Alberto Gonzalez SS

Mussina SP

Red Sox
Ellsbury CF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Ramirez LF
Youkilis 3B
Drew RF
Varitek C
Casey 1B
Lugo SS

Beckett SP

More later,

Ian.

45 Comments

It’s about time Francona put Ellsbury in leadoff spot. I am like everyone else, put him on top and let him jumpstart this struggling offense. It makes so much sense to put Ellsbury there.

Mussina in trouble already. He usually gets off to a rocky start.

I would agree with a big year from Drew. All we heard last year about Drew is 70 million for 5 years. That is all behind him now, no pressure this season.

Ortiz in a perfect spot to bust out of it, 2 men and nobody out. Ortiz needs to relax at the plate. I think right now his slump is in his head now. A weak grounder, double play, not good. He’ll bust out of it and when he does, look out if you are an opponent.

Beckett looked very good in the 1st. Damon looks like he is swing a redwood up there.

I agree about Ellsbury. And I am not AGAINST Coco. I just want the best player in there. Coco is a GREAT 4th outfielder. And could help another team in need of a CF.

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

The Mets don’t have enough pitching, that is why I am not picking them to win the NL pennant

I am not against Crisp. He was a member of the Red Sox last year that won it all. Crisp covers so much ground in c.f.
There must be a team that needs a c.f. with a great glove.

Great play by Casey at 1b, saving a run there.

Sox with 4 hits but no runs to show for it. Time for them to get some runs across.

A VERY nice play by Casey. Manny being Manny on that forgotten hat.

How many hard hit balls are going to result in an out this series?

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

I think Beckett watched Wang dominate the Red Sox last night. Beckett is taking the hill with a little chip on his shoulder and making a statement to Wang, I am the best pitcher in the game. Beckett is cruising.

I’ll give Mussina some credit here, he is looking good so far.

stat magician,

I would agree with you about the hard hit balls going for outs. Sox hit some hard ones off of Wang but they found the Yankees gloves. I guess that happens when you are not hitting well. When things go good, they tend to fall in for hits.

I think Ramirez’s H.R. would have ended up in Cambridge if it didn’t hit that volvo sign.

A HUGE homerun. Woo!

Beckett is DEALING this game. Lets hope the sox can get offense to back up Beckett some more

A little fatigue for Beckett here in the 6th. Yankees took advantage of it.

This is the top of the order I want to see!

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

Oritz is up again with 2 men on. Let’s go Ortiz. Time to shine!!!

Oritz right now can’t buy a hit. 3 for 42, ouch!!!

Yankees are nuts if they pitch to Ramirez. He hit a bomb his last time up.

Thank you Joe Girardi, dumb, dumb.

How big are 2 out hits ? Ramirez and Youk back to back 2 out hits, clutch!!!!

Nice DP by the sox

Beckett pitched well, he just needs a few more starts and should be good to go deeper in games.

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

Beckett ran out of gas, he doesn’t have his legs yet. All he needs is a little stamina/endurance and I would agree with statsmagician, 2 or 3 more starts. Beckett’s next start, Thurs. in N.Y.

The game is in the bullpen’s hand and it is in the right guys hands. Okajima and Papelbon.

I can’t believe another Yankees–Sox game that could be done within 3 hours. Most Sox–Yankee games last 3.5 hours.

Well, it might be 3.5 hours with the rain delay.

With the rain delay added in, you could be right.

As soon as I wrote that, the skies opened up. I am the jinx, lol.

Hey dudes. I now see the light. The sox need an arm in the bullpen. Had they managed it right off season they could have traded Mirabelli, Snyder, Lopez and Casey for one good arm because Papelbon and Oki are not enough. Once again Theo proves to me he is human and makes mistakes.

Holy crap! Gagne got his second save!

You wouldn’t get much for if you put all those guys together. They do need bullpen help, no doubt. Papelbon, Okajima are the one’s I have faith in. Aardsma and Delcarmen are guys that can build my confidence in them. Those 2 are hard throwers, you can never have enough of them. The Sox definetly need another arm or two. Perhaps within the organization or thru a trade. Crisp could fetch some bullpen help. When this team starts hitting, look out.

The game starts, yes!!!

Dice needs to step it up against the Yankees tommorow. That is the only way I can sleep

I know they all count, but think about it. The Sox have won each series they have played, except for the Blue Jay series — 6 and 3 (and 3 yes, I know). That’s without Schilling, with small contribution from Beckett, Big Papi still trying to find his hitting shoes, Mikey L. down and having made little, if any contribution before his injury.

When this team gets it together, look out! I do like E’bury and Ped as table-setters, and I think the Sox made a whale of a pick up in Sean Casey. Why did Detroit let him go? They are really doing well without him! Thank you Tigers!

I’m thinking about going to see Monday evening’s game. I’d love to root for fellow left-hander Jon L. And I continue to believe that my birthday buddy Tito is just an awesome manager. I know that we have issues in the bullpen, but how many teams have a tandem like Oki Doki and Pap to shorten the game to 7 innings — the Yankees and who else? The Indians last year were proclaiming about Raphy left and Raphy right. Raphy left got touched up pretty good last night, and Raphy right’s early season ERA is over 6! Their best reliever so far: our Craig Breslow. Say thanks to the Sox, Cleveland.

I can’t remember a year when there weren’t some poor performances out of the ‘pen. Manny D seems to be coming on. He’s not perfect, but how many relievers are? I really expected Tito would bring in Oki Doki for the last out in the 7th, and then ask him to handle the 8th as well. Tito showed confidence in Manny D in the 7th, and he paid off. That’s how a reliever progresses.

Go Sox.

dbenjamin,

Craig Breslow should be the lefty out of the Boston pen and Lopez should have been waived. At least Breslow can get lefties out and throw strikes, unlike Lopez. You know your bullpen is struggling when Breslow is your best reliever, lol. Breslow is o.k. but he shouldn’t be your best reliever.

Ellsbury started the rally in the 6th with a 1 out single. He should be at the top of the order and Crisp can come in defensively and start here and there.

Casey was a nice pickup. Lat year at this time, Boston had Hinske in this role, what a difference a year makes.

The bullpen can/will be fixed. I do have confidence in Theo and the front office. Perhaps within or thru a trade.

Papelbon sure over-matched those Yankee hitters. Cano had a great at bat but no results to show for it. A-Rod was swinging when the ball was in Varitek’s mit, he couldn’t catch up to the heat. Tough hanging around for over 2 hours and then you have to face Papelbon, not an easy task.

Dbenjamin root for those Red Sox tomm. night, I hope it doesn’t snow, lol.

Hey Bosoxbrian:

The snow’s coming today! If you’re going to bust my chops, at least get your weather report right (lol)!!!!!!! Again, I know its early, but I’m wondering if there’s any “hang-over” effect for Carmona and CC Sabathia at the way the Sox hitters treated them last Fall. Sabathia, in his contract option year, thus far has looked like a batting practice hurler, and Carmona, after just signing a tidy little, long-term contract, gave up 8 BB’s yesterday in a little over 3 innings. Carmona did have a good outing his previous time out, but yesterday, he reminded me of how he looked 2 years ago.

Compared with those who may be flashes in the pan, Papelbon is now just starting to do it occasion after occasion, year after year. To me, he sure seems to be the real deal. I know the Sox have him in a position where they can artificially keep his salary low for the next several years. However, I hope at some point, the front office recognizes that he is a crown jewel of the franchise and tie him up into a long term deal.

You look up and down the standings, and with the exception of the D-backs, who that is at the top of their divisional standings now will be there at year’s end? Was every favored team on that trip to Japan, except Arizona?

dbenjamin,

Don’t worry it will snow tomm. LOL. Of course down here in Florida we have other flakes, LOL. They’re called Yankee fans.

I think it isn’t just one thing with Sabathia and Carmona. It could be multiple things with that duo. Expectations coming into this year, unlike years past. You could be 100 % right about the hangover from last October. Tribe were up 3-1 and couldn’t seal the deal. Also with Sabathia, I think his contract is on his mind, no doubt. Thinking too much out there on the hill. I still think the Tribe is the team to beat in the Central and I did pick them to win it all as well. I probably jinxed them, lol.

Even when it is time to sign Papelbon to a long term deal. Which the Red Sox will eventually. He still will be a bargain, closers don’t sign for that much. What has been the biggest closers deal in baseball ? I doubt anything more than 60 million. Of course if Papelbon was a starter, that would be a totally different story. Just look at all these stiffs that get the big $$$$ and they are nothing but .500 pitchers if not less than .500. When Papelbon comes into the game, pretty much the game is in the win column for Boston.

Your right about all the favorites, coming out of the gate very slow. Arizona the youngest team in baseball and 2 really good starters, Webb and Haren. Good too see former Boston asst. g.m. Josh Byrnes do well as well as Peter Woodfork a former Boston front office guy/kid doing well in Az.

Gotta think Girardi will weigh Mussina’s input more lightly the next time he goes to the mound! But then it was likely Youkilis or Drew would have beaten us!

Pap was smoking’. A small victory for Cano avoiding the K with a groundout! I hope the delay will not prevent using Pap today if needed. If the Yanks win, we want to beat the best. Anything less is not as satisfying.

Brian,

Yes, the Minors rock! Closer to home. Easy on the budget. Level of play still exceeding my own puny baseball talents. Though I did build a softball dynasty 30 years ago my best position was Manager. I only played the field when we just had ten and DHed when we had 12 or less. 13 is a lucky number for me, a number worn by my star SS, and # of letters in RobertGKramer. I was 10 years older than anyone else.

Kramer,

Girardi was sleeping at the controls. Why pitch to Ramirez? Last time up, Ramirez hit a blast off of Mussina. If that Volvo sign wasn’t there, it would have ended up on the Mass. Pike, LOL. I think Torre would have put Ramirez on at first and take his chances with Youkilis. Either way the Yankees were in trouble in that spot.

I do agree with you about the Minor league games. Great on the budget and the scene there is so much fun. Seeing some of the future stars, you can’t beat it.

What kind of Dice-K will appear tonight? The Yankees beat him up pretty good last year. I expect Dice-K to pitch a solid 7 innings. This Yankee lineup is like Boston’s right now, slow out of the gates. I just want Dice-K to be agressive in the strike zone. Last outing for Hughes, he didn’t get past the 3rd at K.C. It’s a little different when you go on the road. I hope Boston treats Hughes rough, especially early. Don’t let Hughes settle in and find a groove. The kid is really good and Yankee fans are lucky to have him. He is definetly a front line starter down the road. It’s been a while since N.Y. has had some quality young arms. Chamberlain and Hughes are solid for sure. Ian Kennedy, I have my doubts about him. He should be in the minors, he needs more seasoning. You can’t have Kennedy and Mussina in the same rotation, the bullpen will be over-worked as the season moves along.

I guess Managers get paid to make decisions-good or bad. Francona should have pulled Beckett an inning sooner, it was obvious he was tiring, and as for Girardi, I guess he will have to live with his mistake by not walking Ramirez. But I guess it’s easy for us Monday- or is it Sunday- morning quarterbacks.

Hey all, since Ian hasn’t post his thread for tonight’s game yet ( probably something like ” Game 3 of 18 – Sox and Yanks ” ) i’ll ask you guys this : does anybody know the starting lineups for both teams tonight ?

I think Girardi relied too much on Mussina’s preference. It’s still a feeling out process. No doubt Torre would have dictated 4 wide.

The sleeping Yankee bats should have trouble with Dice-K unless he’s wild. And I guess if the Sox treat Hughes as rudely as the Yanks treat Hansen it could be justified.

Gagne gets save #3.

Gabe Kapler with 4 homers. He’ll get a huge ovation when he comes back to Fenway. Always a fan favorite was Kapler. The guy was managing in the minors and so far this year, playing out of his mind. Good for Kapler. A great move by the Brewers. Gagne, amen he is gone from Boston. He couldn’t take the pressure of Boston. Friends and family following the Brewers, no pressure. It takes a certain personality to handle the pressure’s of Boston and N.Y. Obviously Gagne wouldn’t fit that kind of guy.

Don’t count out Hansen just yet. He has pitched well in Pawtucket and he’ll be brought up sometime during the year and help Boston win some games. He was obviously rushed to the big leagues. A mistake by Theo and the baseball ops. dept.

Hey guys,

I was just thinking that perhaps it’s the small trades that matter most to the Sox. When you consider it, their best players have come with low expectations. Okijima, Lowell, Ortiz, etc. The big ones tend to flop, Gagne, Dice-K (although he’s been spectacular this year, Crisp, Lugo, etc. However, in fairness I think Crisp and Lugo are better than we’ve seen so far.
I’m thinking the Sox do best when they don’t go for the big gun. Maybe Santana was a great opportunity but sometimes when you go for the small fry they turn out to be the best of the best. of course I think the main reason is the pressure. I think that is why Ortiz is struggling and Drew struggled and Lugo continues to struggle because of all the expectations of playing in Boston. It is not easy.
What do you think?

Dave, there is few better hitters in the clutch than Ortiz and he earned that reputation in Fenway, so i don’t think the pressure has anything to do with his rough start. I think that like any player in a slump, he thinks too much. It’s all in his head. I’m sure he’s one or two solid contacts away from returning to his old form again.

I don’t think the reason why Ortiz is struggling so far is expectations. I think his knee is hurting him more than he is letting on. Ortiz has shown he thrives in pressure situations. Of course he was alot more healthy than he is now. He’ll get healthy and bounce back.

I do think the pressure got to Drew last year. 70 million dollar contract for 5 years will do that to you. Lugo is just Lugo. A average player for some reason that got a 4 year contract. We all know Orlando Cabrera should still be the s.s. on this team. Another discussion for another day.

It certainly takes a certain personality/player to play in Boston. The pressure certainly got to Garciaparra as the years moved along. Of course his wrist injury was the beggining of the end and the achilles injury was the final straw for him in Boston. He seemed to distant himself from everyone. That game at Yankee Stadium, where he just sat there and watched and never moved. From that point on, I said he must go.
Papelbon seems to thrive in Boston as the closer. He embraces it all and you can tell he loves being the guy standing on the mound with the game on the line. Just like Beckett and Schilling as well. They love the idea of pitching in Boston with the eyes of the baseball world watching them.

Of course there are guys like Matt Clement fold like a tent when the heat is turned up. Game 1 A.L.D.S. in Chicago, Clement got lit up. Then there is are old friend Eric Gagne, he couldn’t take the pressure as well. Alot different playing in a pressure cooker like Boston. Some guys are made for it and it is simple, some guys are made for it. The makeup of a player is very important. You can’t measure that.

I meant to say some guys are made for it and it is simple, some guys are not made for it. Just wanted to clarify my error.

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