Boiling Boston

Here I am at steamy Fenway for a three-game set with the mighty Orioles. Beckett takes the mound tonight. Perfect conditions for a Texas flame-thrower.

Ortiz came into the clubhouse a little while ago, all sweaty from being outside. “I’m taking my shirt off. Not even the Dominican gets this hot.”

Ellsbury is back in the lineup. His wrist appears to be good to go.

Manny will be honored for No. 500 tonight, with fellow 500-homer slugger Eddie Murray taking part in the presentation.

Dice-K will throw a side tomorrow, and then another one by Friday, so I’d say it’s realistic to think he’ll be back in the rotation by next week. Also, does anyone need a last-minute Father’s Day gift? Here is a really cool idea. And here is another very cool item.

Great post by FOBP — Friend of Brownie Points — Kevin Czerwinski on some hidden gems the Red Sox found in the draft. Check it out.

More later,

Ian.

28 Comments

Good to see Ellsbury back in the lineup tonight. I would expect to see Beckett continue with another good start. He has been throwing well and needs to fine tune location just a hair to become the dominator he was last year.

We take a lot for granted with our Red Sox. I was thinking today that the Sox have had more than their fair share of injuries and they have still played pretty good baseball so far. If you think about Beckett’s late start, Lowell, Papi, Dice-K, Schilling, Manny, Buchholz, Crisp and Casey and some dings here and there to Drew, Ellsbury and Youk, you’re starting to look at some serious missed game time. The Sox have great depth that has served them well through the injuries and will continue to serve them well through the dog days of August. If they continue to play well, they should once again be pretty fresh going into September and the post season.

Craig Hansen has given the bullpen a much needed lift. He could be a key player to the Sox hopes for a repeat.

Lakers are a 9.5 point favorite tonight. I think a lot of that was based on their rush in the fourth quarter of the last game. While all of that looked very good for the Lakers and very bad for the Celtics, that rush had more to do with Celtics sloppiness than Laker execution. The two things wrong with all of that are that the Celtics are unlikely to come out and play like they did in the fourth quarter tonight. The other thing is that the Lakers are unlikely to be able to play like that for an extended period of time. I know the Celtics will be on the road in a hostile Staples Center, but they have played well on the road of late, as they did all season. I like their chances to win tonight, or at the very least, I wouldn’t be super surprised. They may put Bryant on Pierce which should set up Ray Allen to go crazy. Garnett will continue to flourish underneath. Should be a good game.

No reason for Beckett to struggle tonight. One of the weakest lineups in baseball. Not many threats in that O’s lineup. I would love too see Cabrera get pounded tonight.

I will take a guess and say the calls will go the Lakers way tonight. The N.B.A. have been taking alot of heat ( no pun intended ) for all the F.T. attempts for Boston the other night. I will take another guess and say L.A. goes to the line at least 10 more times than the C’s tonight. Kobe will come out aggressive and this is the season for L.A. tonight. They lose and it is all over for the Lakers. Celtics should be able to salvage at least 1 game in L.A. Boston proved in there last series they can get the job done on the road. They won 2 games at The Palace.

There’s a great name from the past. Chris Berman would call him Eddie Drink and Be Murray, one of my favorites nicknames. He sure could hit. Some amazing numbers for Murray in his career. I just looked up some stats on Murray, 11 times in his career he homered in the same game from both sides of the plate a M.L.B. record. Also won 3 gold gloves. A slam dunk H.O.F. Also was a high school team-mate of Ozzie Smith, that must have been quite a team. How many Hall Of Famers ever played high school ball together? I would think they were the only two to do so.

Manny has another number that is haunting him– grand slams! I believe he is two shy on the MLB record, and hasn’t hit a slam since 2005 (is that right)? Definitely in his head, worse than number 497. He has really choked unfortunately in the at least the last two bases loaded opps — I hope this one doesn’t really hurt us. Ouch.

No reason for Beckett too struggle against this O’s lineup. Some hard hit balls tonight, fooling nobody so far.

That’s funny, I live in South Carolina. We’ve been experiencing 100 degree temps at least four days in a row now. I thought it was funny when I lived in Boston and people called three days of 90 degree weather a “heat wave.”

Hey guys,

Did you hear that Tavarez is now teammates with Gagne and pitching for the Brewers. Do you think this was a good move on the Brewers part?

This will be a discouraging loss of the Sox fail to score tonight.

RemDawg took the words right out of my mouth…… Drew absolutely crushed that ball……. oops, there goes Manny! Glad to see that for Beckett. I would hate to have seen him beaten on a couple of wind blown wall scrapers.

Wow is JD Drew healthy? he doesnt seem like himself lately. Maybe hes sick…

Well, Okajima is at it again. He’s been pretty horrible most of the year. Too many free passes. Bases loaded, one out, let’s see what happens.

It’s not just the Orioles, everyone has Okajima’s number. He was good last year, but he has given up a lot of inherited runs, and now he’s creating his own runs to give up. He has nothing. What happened to that great change up? I haven’t seen that all year.

No, Oki is horrible mostly against the Orioles — this one is on Francona — how many games is he going to let one pitcher lose for us against one team — Oki is so snake bit when it comes to the Orioles – he has coughed up three games against the Orioles, pretty bad management on this one.

Francona must be standing by his players again, giving Oki a chance to exorcise his Oriole demons. But why not pull him at the first sign of trouble, and perhaps not on a 95 degree night with high humidity. Maybe too, a break is needed to get it out of the Oriole heads as well (in addition to Oki’s), they probably all start salivating when Oki comes into the game. Bad management call, I say again — maybe the heat is getting to Francona. I don’t mind losing games, but losing with a bad strategy that you can see coming a mile a way is tough.

Beckett is nowhere near his form of last season. A year ago he was so consisent, just about every start he was solid. I was expecting him to hold the O’s to 3 runs and go 7 innings. Not the case. I think Beckett will regain his form from last season, it will take a bit.

The bullpen was just HORRIBLE. Okajima has struggled against just about every team not just the O’s. As gsm put it, he is now given up his runs. Where is that great change-up? I second that gsm. A year ago he was untouchable, this year he is getting roughed up. Hansen has been so good lately but tonight he looked like the Hansen of 2006.
This Sox pen in Baltimore was very good during that weekend series and against the same hitters they get smoked. No reason for them to get beat down like they did tonight. They were well rested going into tonight’s game.

Bright spot, J.D. Drew. He continues his hot streak. He is locked in as they say. Just about every at bat he is battling up there. His outs aren’t soft. Great too see Ellsbury back, he gets things going at the top.

C’s up 4 with just under 4 minutes to go in the 3rd. I’ll take A C’s win for sure. The Sox should/will bounce back tomm. night. Just win the series that is all I want from the Red Sox.

Garnett and Pierce a combined 8 for 35, that will not get it done. No reason for Garnett to struggle, he should own the post against the Lakers. L.A. needed that game and bad, they lose and there season is over. Sasha hit the biggest shot of the night, puts the Lakers up 5 with his 3 in the corner. Bryant on Rondo gave Rondo problems. Bryant is a very good defender, I don’t think he gets enough credit. Bryant also defended Iverson well at times during Philly-L.A. finals some years back. L.A. went to the F.T. line more, what a surprise, NOT!!!!

Brian, in fairness to Hansen, he should have been out of the inning on a double play that Pedroia botched. That being said, great pitchers get by those things and he didn’t. Just one of those nights.

Rondo his hurting the Celtics on offense. He penetrates fairly well and then doesn’t know what to do with the ball. The Lakers almost don’t pay attention to him, even in close because they know he either can’t or won’t shoot. He’d be a devastating point guard if he could shoot a little.

Ganett turns his back on the basket too quickly. You’re right Brian, he should be eating those guys up in the paint. He should be thinking more about going up strong and drawing fouls than all the useless head faking he’s doing. Pierce just didn’t play very well tonight and was in foul trouble early which I think took him out of the game.

Speaking of fouls, anyone who says NBA refs can’t control games should be watching this series. This was the mirror image of Game 2. What I don’t understand is that it is so painfully obvious. How can David Stearns watch this stuff and be happy with the way it’s going. There were so many fouls away from the ball called on the Celtics it wasn’t funny. It put them in the penalty early. Absolutely freaking horrible……. and both teams should be disgusted with it.

This “shoulder fatigue” must be killing Dice-K’s “I can throw a million pitches a year” pride. My guess is that he’s never experienced anything like this before. I thought his pitch counts and lack of innings for the number of pitches he throws would catch up with him later in the season, but not this early. It was only May, how could he have shoulder fatigue?

A notable quote from Kobe Bryant after last night’s game concerning the officiating. He was asked what he did differently to get to the foul line more often and he responded by saying nothing, he played the same. That ought to tell you something about the officiating.

Gsm,

I agree with you totally and I think that was a swipe at the officials by Kobe. Look at P.J. Brown he almost took Gasol’s arm off. Clearly a foul by Brown. At least they stink for both sides, LOL…..

Congrats to Ortiz, a U.S. citizen. That was a great Manny moment when he ran onto the field with the flag in his hand after he became a U.S. citizen. I guess Manny being Manny, you gotta love him!!!!

Hey Brian, I join you in congratulating Big Papi on becoming a U.S. Citizen. You’re right, that was a great Manny Moment. Best Patriotic thing by a player since Rick Monday’s rescuing the flag many years ago.

Gsm,

Rick Monday’s moment was great. He deserves big praises for that. I am getting away from baseball here but people that try to burn the flag should be tossed in jail and NEVER see daylight again.

Hey gsm52

Ditto on Papi. Had no idea it took him this long.

Have you all noticed that the Red Sox are truly a team this year. Normally it’s nine guys out there and one pitcher but this year everyone is contributing. What an amazing setup. It seems like when three go down two fire up. J.D. Drew is on fire right now at the perfect time. I’m sure he’ll go back to hitting .076 at some point but I’m enjoying the attacks.

Finally,

OK when did Taravez get moved to Milwaukee and what was the motivation behind it. Can somebody help me here?

Dave…

Five runs in the first inning. This is revenge for last night!

Dave…

Dave, after initially accepting outright assignment to Pawtucket, Tavarez asked for and received his unconditional release and then signed with Milwaukee. I think the Sox are still stuck with a part (most of) his salary. Brian might know the answer to that part of it.

Gsm & Dave,

I just looked up Tavarez’s salary. Brewers pay a pro-rated share of 390,000 ( M.L.B. minimum ) and Boston paying the balance of Tavarez’s ( gulp ) 3.85 million dollar salary. Not money well spent.

I like these games, Boston jumps out early and the outcome is decided by 7:30 p.m. Also the Rays lost in Anaheim earlier. Boston can extend there lead in the division.

Thanks Brian…… two errors in two nights for Pedroia. That’s pretty uncharacteristic. Hope his offensive struggles aren’t affecting his defense, which has been brilliant.

Timlin is getting whacked around pretty well tonight. He doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence when he takes the mound, even with a five run lead. His velocity still seems pretty good, I’m not sure what his issue is. I guess throwing thigh high right down the middle will do it.

On comes Pap for a save.

Brian, you planning on attending any of the Sox games in Tampa?

Tavarez is pitching quite well with Milwaukee. How is it the players struggle here and find a new home and explode? I’m beginning to think that the minute that Timlin goes to a new team he’ll pitch like Eric Gagne (in his prime mind you)

What are your thoughts?

Dave…

Hey, BosoxBrian:

Saw your comments about Tavarez’ salary. I agree, although I have always been a bit of a Julian fan…did everything that was asked of him…didn’t throw the tantrums he seemed to throw elsewhere…seemed to have his teamates’ respect….

However, I think you have to look at a major league payroll as one investment opportunity. While that investment may not be paying dividends, look at the investment the Sox made in Colon!!! How many of us wouldn’t like to have that sort of investment in our financial portfolios….Yeeeooowww!?!?!?!?

To me, the scariest thing about the Yanks is how many of these not sufficiently-productive investments they are about to shed….Pavano….Giambi….They could have a bundle of money available for the Sabathia sweepstakes for next year. Hopefully, they will spend a boatload there, and for some reason, it will not pan out.

Speaking of Sabathia, I was watching a local, Cleveland-area sports comment program hosted by longtime, on-air loud mouth Bruce Drennan (he of recent gambling-imprisonment who the network is taking a real risk with — the show is called “All Bets are Off”).

He was surprisingly negative about Sabathia, saying the team should make one more, enhanced offer to Sabathia, and, if he doesn’t take it, start this real bidding war between the Dodgers, the Sox and the Yanks…”the Indians can pry lots of prospects loose from one of them when we get them bidding against each other.” In saying that, he appears (to me) to not recognize the resistance the Sox and Yanks showed last winter in the Santana sweepstakes. The Mets, who won the sweepstakes, are 2 games under .500, showing no signs of life, 6.5 GB, even with Petey back on the mound.

Or look at the Tigers, who were going to fill out the most fearsome hitting line-up and the best competitive line-up in baseball, by giving up a boatload of prospects for Miguel Cabrera and the D-Train. Well, as we know, the D-Train is now taking the “A Bus”, Miguel Cabrera is hitting .280 with 8 homers and 38 RBI’s (a decent year, but enough to give your future away for?), the D-troit Tigers are 9 games under .500 and 9 GB in what looks to be challenging the NL West as the worst division in baseball this year.

In any event, if Sabathia came on the market within the next 6 weeks (with the Indians showing few signs of life — 6 games under .500 and 7.5 GB in that same, mediocre division — we know the Indians have been like the little girl with the curl — when good, very good, when bad, very bad — seems to be a year on, year off, thing — 2004 — bad (80-82), 2005 — good (93-69 — lost the Wild Card to the Sox on the last day of the season — causing Schill to have to pitch that last game, and making him unavailable to pitch in the play-offs vs. the White Sox until Game 4, which, as we all know, never occurred), 2006 — bad (78-84 — 4th in division — 18 GB) , 2007 good (we know what happened there), 2008 — bad (so far — worst batting average of any team in the bigs thus far, except for the Nats…Victor Martinez, whose lowest production in four, full, prior big league seasons is 16 HR’s and 80 RBI’s, with forty per cent of this season in the books has 0 HR’s and 21 RBI’s). Of course, this could mean that 09 projects to be a good year for the Tribe, and with Carmona continuing to pitch well, when not injured, and Cliff Lee looking like a slamdunk for Comebacker of the Year, maybe they should hold onto CC for 2009.

But let’s play what if…What if CC becomes available prior to the July 31 trading deadline…As pitching thin as the Yanks are, and with all of that payroll money coming available for 2009, and with “Ole Man Mussina” not getting any younger (40 in Dec….although pitching up a storm right now) and their kids not looking as though they are quite ready, you have to believe they might get carried away and throw some young, highly touted players at the Yanks.

If he comes available, and particularly if the Yanks are interested, what would be the Sox response do you suppose — is Lester now off the market…Is Ellsbury as well, and what about Justin M?. Since they had him once before, and traded him for Kelly Shoppach (who I still like as an heir apparent to Tek, despite his curernt .225 BA — he did hit .260 last year), I doubt the Tribe would bite on CoCo. Is Buchholz now available, Brandon Moss, Chris Carter, Charlie Zink — the Sox’ minor league Wake? In Double A, how about Mike Bowden, who as I indicated to you earlier, the Indians organization will be seeing Saturday in Akron against the Aeros (and who just pitched against them last weekend in Maine, when he gave up 3 ER’s in 6 1/3, while striking out 8 and walking 1) (I took your advice [I can't believe I said that! (lol)] and am going down to Cincy on Saturday to see Wake and the Sox, rather than to Akron to see Bowden and the Sea Dogs).

The Sox have done an incredible job the last several years with finding and promoting good, raw talent. However, I know you have to watch for the legitimate opportunities, and this seems to be one — I think Sabathia is on a par with Santana as the best pitcher in basball, with perhaps Brandon Webb and Roy Halladay, a quarter to a half step ahead of Josh B. Although he won’t be 28 until next month, he has already won over 100 games (with some pretty spotty Cleveland teams in his early years) throws a bazillion innings each year, has a great K/BB ratio, and is a lefthanded power pitcher. I recognize there may be some concern about whether he has thrown too much in recent years (is this why he came out of the gate slowly this year?) or about his woeful performance vs. the Sox in the ALCS (or is this why?), but, absent an as-yet unknown injury, this guy looks to be a pretty good investment.

So, after all of that lawyer-type wind, if he comes available and you are Theo and his pals, what would you do? I’m still resisting the temptation to talk about football — Buckeyes 30 — Trojans 27.

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