Lowell back in the fold; Celts under pressure

Could there be a better time for Mike Lowell to come back? The offense has been sputtering and the team –entering tonight — had lost five in a row.

Timing is everything. Lowell isn’t just a productive player, but he is a presence on this team.

Ortiz was back in there tonight after getting a couple of days off to rest the knee. I’m sure he had to be beating himself up over the dive into first on Friday night. I know the guy was trying to win but the pure fact is that the head first dive doesn’t get you to first any faster than the straight-out sprint.

This is one of the few times in recent memory that the Red Sox could actually have a little bit of a slump and for it to be glossed over around town. All anyone was talking about today was the Celtics’ loss last night. And it was a very bad loss. But I wouldn’t jump off the bandwagon just yet.

All of a sudden,  a bunch of naysayers are talking about how Garnett never took his game to another level in Minnesota. I understand that, but he’s not in Minnesota anymore. He is in Boston, playing for the best team he’s ever been on. I wouldn’t write this guy off after one game. I have a feeling he is still going to have a huge few weeks of playoff basketball. Also, I’d love to see Phoenix turn the tables and put a serious scare into the Spurs. Full confession here. Steve Nash is my favorite current NBA player. I absolutely love watching that guy. He plays with tremendous heart.

I’d be surprised if the Celtics don’t take the next two and end this thing in six. If this thing does get to a Game 7, that would be frightening considering that just about everyone — including yours truly — expected this thing to be a sweep.

Anyway, you can expect plenty of Celtics talk from me over the next few weeks.

Ian.

40 Comments

Joe Johnson couldn’t be stopped last night. Very dissapointed in the Celtics D, they haven’t guarded anyone, especially in the 4th qtr. Celtics were standing around alot in the 4th on the offensive end. The Celtics should have had the killer instinct for game 3 and didn’t, if they did they would have put the knife in the young Hawks. Hawks played with alot of confidence last night. I still think the Celtics will put a hurting on the Hawks tomm. night and I am with you Ian about the Celtics, 6 games. I thought the Hawks would win 1 game. Pistons and Celtics are having there problems, nobody saw that coming.

Lester looking good tonight. Pitching with the extra day, it is helping. Red Sox bats are quiet but it is early.

Ian,

The chances of the Suns turning that series around is slim and none. Sorry to say. I would agree with you about Nash. He is great to watch. At Santa Clara, he was a team-mate of Randy Wynn. Wynn now with the Giants, former member of the Devil Rays. Does Nash ever get tired ?

Hey all. Does anybody know why Brandon Moss is suddenly in right field ? What happened to Drew ? Haven’t seen him getting hurt or anything.

rsox_34,

Drew pulled his left quad muscle and I’m sure he’ll be out for a while. It happened of all things running to first base.

Dave…

Thanks Dave. Hope it’s not that bad.

Halladay is unbelievable. He doesn’t mess around. I love that in a pitcher. For as weak as the Sox are hitting the ball at Eckstein, I think I could play shortstop out there tonight. Lester is throwing well also. He still needs to lose the walks though.

I wonder why Moss went to right field instead of Ellsbury.

gsm,

Ellsbury is out with a minor strain of the groin. Nothing serious but with the cold/wet conditions, wise choice for the Red Sox not to play him. I’m not sure if he is available later on, we shall see.

Halladay is old school for sure. He likes to be his own closer. He starts it, he looks to finish it. Like Schilling was back in his day.

When was the last time the Red Sox scored a run ? It has been a while, not good. The bats have gone silent.

Drew always seems to have some nagging injuries, another reason they should have never signed him to that long term deal. Some guys play thru them and some guys don’t. I don’t think he has a high threshold of pain, just a guess.

Belichick said that Mike Vrabel has the highest threshold of pain, that speaks volumes of Vrabel. Imagine that dbenjamin, I gave props to a Buckeye, lol.

Thanks for the info Brian. You’re right about Halladay. How great is it to have a pitcher like that on your staff? A manager’s dream. Not much strategy when he’s pitching. They said he had 7 complete games last year. That might be more than the entire Sox staff.

It occurred to me that Ellsbury had groin issues the last couple of seasons. I hope that’s not an ongoing issue with him.

gsm,

I agree with you about Halladay. He works quick and doesn’t mess around out there. He would look great in Boston. If he pitched in Boston or N.Y. he would be a household name. He goes under the radar in Toronto. Of course all the players know how good he is.

You could be right about Ellsbury on the groin, not too sure. I know he missed some games with injuries, not sure what though.

Groin injuries aren’t good, especially for a guy with his legs. They can linger it seems.

Jays have done pretty well against Papelbon.
I hope that trend does not continue.

I am quite surprised too see Lester pitch that good. I would have never thought he could go 8 scoreless innings. I agree with you gsm, the walks were there again but no runs, hats off to Lester. That is 5 solid starts in a row for Boston, loving that. If they pitch the way they have, they will win a bunch.

What a GREAT play by Pedroia, saved a run there.

He saved the no no last year, very similar play.

Let’s hope the momentum of that play will carry into the bottom of the 9th and get a run and win this game.

Unbelievable play by DP. Maybe a game saving catch.

Time for Youk to end it, a bloop will get the job done.

The 5 game losing streak comes to a close, AMEN!!!
The Sox with another thriller at home, what a surprise, NOT!!! If Wells played that clean, that would have been very close at the plate. Wells one of the best defensive outfielders in the game.
A tough loss for Halladay, he pitched his heart out.

Unreal! This will get them started. (I hope)

Great ending to a great duel. But did you guys see Papi limping after he crossed home plate ? Not another one !?!

Those walks will get you every time. Halladay walks one batter and it costs him the game. I was pretty amazed they couldn’t find someone to run for Ortiz. I guess Tito thought that game could go for a while. Gutsy win by the Sox.

You’re right Brian, I don’t know how Pedroia got that ball. I thought it was by him.

JON LESTER WAS AWESOME… DUSTIN PEDROIA’S SNAG WAS UNBEEEELIEVABLE… PAPI’S WALK WAS GREEEAAT!! MANNY’S HIT WAS JUST IN TIME… AND YOUK’S HIT…. WON THE GAME,,,,, This is just the kind of game that we needed. I’m sure the guys feel it now!!!!
Hey Arnie… are you trying to steal my pleated skirt and pom poms?? That’s a picture I’m having trouble with, but if it ‘s the case, I want to see them and post them on You Tube!!
GOOOOOOOOOOOO SOXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!!!
Let’s kick some more bird bhutt tomorrow night!!

Ellen,

Dustin’s catch was identical to the one last year when Buckholtz was getting his no hitter. That might be called the Dustin and it is amazing to watch.
Lowell was great in defense but Youk saved the game. I mean he won this amazing record of errorless games and all he cares about it wearing the mantle of winning the ball game.
Lester was just in the zone. he was asked to pitch an impossible game and yet he did it. Great job by Toronto and yes guys, Halladay could give the Red Sox a bad holiday every time he pitches so it would be great to get him to work for the Sox.
I have watched the hit by Youk four times now. As Gerry said ‘what a game’ and he was right. A nail biter to the end.
Dave…

Like I sad earlier, I really think that this was the type of game the guys needed to kick start their collective bhutts!!!

I LOVE OUR SOX!!!!

When I watched the end of the game, I noticed that Francona was touching Dustin’s right shoulder and Pedroia kept saying ‘I’m fine, nothing to worry about. Yes I’m fine, etc.” I have very limited lip reading ability from all the ASL I took where some of that is covered.”
Anyway, I read afterwards that Dustin threw his shoulder out a bit. He basically stated that it’s fine and no big deal.”
I just hope Dustin doesn’t wind up like Fred Lynn who played that hard and found himself in the DL list and it ruined his career. Granted technology is better nowadays but Dustin needs to take care of himself.
However, looking back at that game, there was no question in my mind that Pedroia won the game. He literally snapped the Red Sox out of their frustration and gave them a lift. It united the fans and the players.
Incidentally, I agree with Jerry Remy. This was a special game. Pitchers duels like this are rare.
With Lester in the groove, Buckholtz in the groove, Beckett on fire and Dice-K showing some signs of improvement we could be looking at one tough pitching staff. I also will mention outside of one outing, Tim Wakefield has pitched quite well.
Dave…

Haha, Ellen. Careful what you wish for! I might just look good in skirt and pom poms. Nah, lets not go there!
Let’s hope that Dice-K can throw strikes and the hitters can get some inspiration from last night.
Dave, I think that Dustin is physically tougher than Lynn was. In theory it would be great if DP played with some caution so he didn’t get hurt but in reality that would never work. Like Youklis trying to pace himself; it just won’t happen. These guys play one way: all out, all the time and they wouldn’t be the players they are if they did not go at it full tilt. I’m glad for it.

Dave,

Lynn crashed into walls, this just in, walls will hurt,lol.
Pedroia showed his toughess last year. Playing the final month and into the playoffs with a broken bone in his wrist. He never complained, not once.

Cano might be more naturally talented than Pedroia. That being said if you had to pick one for your team, Pedroia would be the easy choice. A year ago at this time, Pedroia couldn’t hit the side of a barn. He battled thru that dismal April. In May the kid caught fire. He has a burning desire to prove everyone wrong. He plays with that chip on his shoulder. I’m sure many times, everyone would say your too short. When he got to the big leagues, I am sure some thought as well. I think Pedroia has the best glove at 2b in the A.L. He should win his fair amount of gold gloves. The Sox have the best defensive infield on the right side. If you hit to the right side on the ground, you will be out. Pedroia makes the simple play and makes the spectacular play as well. I’m glad he is a member of the Red Sox and should be for several years.

bosoxbrian,

I remember when Lynn smashed into the wall at Game six of the World series and was knocked out. The next year, the wall got padded just for Fred Lynn. The sox sold off the old wall in small sections for a big profit!
Pedroia, I would agree is nasty out there. He is constantly pushing himself and I fear that in his older years he will be worn out from injuries looking like Bill Buckner out there. On the other hand, everytime I watch him play it makes me proud to be a fan of the Red Sox. They have heart and the fans respect heart which is why you hear the chant of ‘Youk’ every time he walks out into the field. Interesting how the home grown guys do 100 * better and I think why is they have to work that much harder to make it out of Pawtucket. The Red Sox have a very competitive organization and it can be shell shock to realize you have to play 110 percent out there!

Dave,

Lynn did play with wreckless abandon. He was a great Fenway hitter as well. He was made to play there. So many solid players went thru the Red Sox system back then.

Same with this system now. Theo has done a GREAT job with the farm system/draft. He has surrounded himself with some good scouts as well and front office types.

Josh Byrnes, his former asst. g.m. has done a great job with the D-backs and there system as well.

I love watching some of the young guys and some really good ones will be on the way. A team that is winning and developing talent, you gotta love it. Some teams are losing and develop nothing in there system, not good a combo there.

bosoxbrian,

You are right about Lynn. He didn’t care about tomorrow. All that mattered was today. I remember in 75 when he made that Superman catch against a line drive against the Yankees. Bill Lee made a major pitching mistake. Lynn dived, grabbed the ball, rolled over in a backwards summersault and showed the glove. Rice jumped over him during the catch. That was Fred Lynn. It still is the most amazing catch I have ever — or will ever see.
Had Lynn stayed healthy, I’m sure he would have made the Hall Of Fame. I guess that’s why I loved that 75 team. They had everything and it was mostly brought from Pawtucket.

The number of injuries around the league is now mind-boggling. Giving players extra days off isn’t for rest anymore… its to avoid yet another injury. At least the Yanks are getting their share too.

I am so disgusted with the Celtics right now. The Hawks should not have won a game in this series, and now it looks like the series will go seven games since the Celtics were overmatched in Atlanta, and there will be a Game Six there.

Simply put, this is embarrassing. I am only 39 (which is old to some people, but not old to most), but I know I will sound like an old-timer when I say this, but I will say it anyway. The Bird-Parish-McHale-Ainge-DJ era Celtics would have taken care of business in four games against a clearly inferior team.

Of course, that doesn’t matter. That was then, this is now. There is no excuse for this year’s Celtics to not win the NBA championship. When you have three top-caliber players and productive role players, you should win it all. Anything less will be a failure for this team.

That said, I’m happy for Jon Lester, who pitched an exceptional game last night, and it is good to see the rotation stabilizing. Now all the Sox need is to start hitting again, and hope that the bullpen can actually have a night when the middle relievers do not allow a run.

Jeff
http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Uh oh!! Jeff and I agree on something!!! lol He’s right on the money with the statement about the “Kevinnnnn-a McHalllllllllle-a” era (the way the arena announcer said their names was hysterical) They would have done SERIOUS damage to that team!!

I wish Big Papi would stay out! He might not be hurt but he is sure hurting his team. He aint helping them, that’s for sure.Big Floppy.

Seems to me big Papi started a two out rally last night, and scored the winning run. Of all the members on the team, I would give half the season to, to get hot, it would be Papi. Tito is the master of sticking with guys till they work it out — I would have booted Pedroia early last year, but Tito stuck with him, and how wrong could I have been? he is probably the most consistent hitter on the team. I would have booted Lugo last year, we will see if he can ever come around, I have my doubts. But Papi, you gotta stick with him.

Plus there is some sort of spirit Papi brings to this team. Its just not the same without Papi and/or Manny in the line up. Everyone has to do their job, and pick those two guys up sometimes, but Papi and Manny make the Red Sox loveable and fun, respectively — there is less mojo without them !!! they are the smiles of the Red Sox. I like mojo, fun, and winning personally.

BTW, the Rays return Friday, with even a stronger pitching lineup on paper than we face last time in Tampa when we got swept: Jackson, Shields, Kazmir — it will be a test for the Rays and the Sox — we better take two out of three at home at least. Maybe we can catch Kazmir before he gets back on track. I can’t believe I am looking forward to Rays coming to town, as an early measuring stick of where we stand right now, instead of breather.

The sox sure got good pitching from Lester yesterday and Dustin had a great dive and throw, too.
Now lets all hope Dice-K anything CLOSE to that and the sox win their 2nd straight win after 5 straight losses

First things first, Celtics will beat the Hawks by at least 10 points tonight. Celtics will bring there A game defensively. That is why they had the best record in the N.B.A. this year. They guarded you coming off the team bus. I expect a strong game from the big trio tonight. At least 60 points combined.

Dice-K trying to become the first pitcher in Red Sox history with 5 wins at the end of April. Schilling tried a couple of seasons ago and couldn’t seal the deal. Dice-K, trust your stuff and throw strikes and stop nibbling. I hope he watched Lester last night.

No Ellsbury tonight, I hope he is o.k. He needs his legs to be the threat he is. Some of the trades you don’t make are the best ones. Crisp will jump in and play c.f.

I hope Boston can put together an all around game tonight. Solid pitching, that includes the pen and the bats awake. The starters have done there job as of late, 5 solid starts in a row. Not many if any teams can say that.

Brian, I’m pretty sure that Beckett had five wins at the end of April last year, and Pedro Martinez recorded five wins in April as well at one point in his Red Sox tenure.

Dice-K definitely deserved a W tonight. He is starting to emerge this year like Beckett did last season, though Dice-K is still trying to nibble the corners instead of attacking hitters. Sox and Pinstripes readers, and Brownie Points regulars, know how much I despise walks, which is why I have been aggravated during so many Red Sox games this season.

By the way, Ellen, we definitely agree about the 80s Celtics. I am a die-hard Celtics fan to this day (even through all of the lean years until this season), but as much as I love this year’s team, they are not remotely as talented as the 80s Celtics. Nevertheless, I am hoping for a 17th banner in June.

Jeff
http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

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