Bags packed, AL East showdown awaits

You know it’s getaway day when the entire wall behind the visiting writers is filled with suitcases.

Yes, we’ll all be leaving Houston tonight — except for Worcester Telegram scribe Bill Ballou, who has a 12-mile run planned. The rest of us will touch down in Tampa near the midnight hour.

All that will be at stake is first place in the American League East. I’m not kidding when I say this is the biggest series in the short and unstoried history of Tropicana Field. The Rays won today meaning they will move into first if the Sox lose their finale in Houston.

Maybe Tampa will be even hotter than Houston. But again, we will be under a roof.

Still, nothing figures to be as hot as Dustin Pedroia’s bat. His latest hit — a solo shot over the wall in left — has put his average at .307.

79 Comments

I knew it! This guy throws 88 mph and the Sox can’t touch him. Cmon Sox!!! GO GO GO!! We need Dave.

Red Sox are making Moehler look very good. He is at best and average pitcher. Also how does Beckett walk the opposing pitcher? Throw your fastball right by him!!!

Tampa Bay has been like Boston, dominating at home. They have swept the Cubs and Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay has there pitching setup as well, there best 3 going. Shields, Garza and Kazmir.

Beckett commits the mortal sin, walking the opposing pitcher, and he pays for it. There’s no excuse for that.

Beckett hammering the bat on the bench in the dugout. I like it, he won’t hurt himself and he SHOULD be pissed off at himself. Channel the anger, Josh; make the astros pay. Cmon guys HIT. Dave? Dave? A rant. We need ya.

Time for Beckett to help himself.

In all fairness to Josh, you can’t expect him to have to pitch a shutout against this team with Moehler on the mound. His teamates should get a few runs.

Arnie, I agree but on the other hand, he can’t be walking the opposing pitcher. This is another rather feeble offensive performance by the Sox. Where’s Dave? We need him to start ranting!

Another loss for the Sox…this time 2 – 1. The minute the opposing team gets ahead it’s ‘well I don’t know what to do…do we need a run…du!”
Why oh why are the Red Sox battling all the time as if the war is done already. Where are the 2007 Red Sox!

I don’t like when the catchers do the fist pump. It is only the sixth inning Roberto Whatever, and against this offense. What if they lose later. I’m just as angry as Pedroia. Do you see Varitek doing that? No. Be more profesinal like that. It is just as much frustrating without you doing that

I hate this conservative over-management so prevalent in baseball, and bunting with 1-out — aargh. Beckett is supposed to be able to hit pretty well, give him more than 1 strike to hit the ball and it might have turned out different. Of course we will never know, but we do know now that if even if he hit into a double play — that would not have made any worse than the way the way it played out.

Tampa wins today — we are petty close to going into Tampa one game behind — which is what I predicted — and then predicted we would drop another net game in Tampa, before turning it around to go 99-63 for the season and winning the division…. and tried to get you all to respond and pony up some predictions, but alas, not a single response from anyone… oh well, I guess I won’t take it personal this time, lol – sigh.

When will Ramirez start hitting like Manny Ramirez again?

Sorry, I meant 0.5 games behind above.

Dgneubert,

I agree with you, 96 to 99 wins is what I say they’ll end up with and take the East. Tampa Bay will take 2 of 3 from Boston. Boston will split with N.Y.

Gsm, I agree about Beckett walking the pitcher. What was he thinking? He hurt himself and the team there. Pedroia seemed to try too hard with the bases loaded. OK, time for the true Sox to show themselves, and us, they can take a win from this Astros team on the road. Cmon guys!!

Dave, thanks for the rant! You rock!

That is the Ramirez I know. Goes deep the other way, I like that.

Thank you Dave. A homer from Manny and now a single from Lowell.

I’m with Jerry Remy about interleague play coming to a close. I like it but enough is enough I say. Time to start playing some real teams, lol.

How come no one talks about the Sox hitting coach at all this year? Is it still Dave Mageden? I personally like the guy and thinking that brought him in, but it seems that (1) the SOX really have never hit good pitching under is tenure, just feasted on mistake and weaker pitching — and that was good enough to win another title — but (2) the pitching coach before Mageden (forget his name now) — they said they wanted a coach with more analysis and the ability to correct mechanics etc… but the SOX offense has been (to my sense) weaker not stronger since the switch to Mageden — and again, I like the guy, but that is my sense — right/wrong/different time, players, and opposition so not comparable?

Anyway, is Magaden still the hitting coach, why not a peep of discussion about him? strange?

Shame on you Michael Bourne!!!!

A beachball got loose in Houston, now that is funny. The nearest beach is where?

Dgneubert,

Ron “Papa Jack” Jackson was the Sox hitting coach before Magadan. My thoughts about the hitting coach in Boston is, look at the talent. I think I could be the hitting coach and there win total would be in the low 90′s, lol.

Uh oh, Boston’s pen is in. No go between with these guys. They are either hot or cold. Let’s hope they’re hot!!!

Looks like the Sox are going to turn a chance to sweep this series into a series loss. They hit and don’t pitch. Then they pitch and don’t hit. Gggrrrrr!

Okajima in, oh no!!!

Looks like the 1st part of my prediction is coming true — going into Tampa 0.5 games behind, I hope I get the last part right too, 99-63.

Imagine this infield — Loretta at 2nd base, Pedroia at short, wonder why that didn’t happen?

The run was charged to Aardsma, but it should go to Okajima. He had a wild pitch and gave up the hit to Loretta.
Another inherited runner scores on Okajima. Good grief

Yea, Oki couldn’t hold it, but the SOX sure aren’t hitting at all — lets hope they are saving it for Tampa and New York — seems to me they should eat some Texas jalopenos before they leave — who is the spark on this team now?: — doesn’t seem like they are playing with a lot of intensity right now.

That was pathetic! The Sox are going into a very important series in Tampa and they prepare for it by racking up two of the most embarrassing losses of the year!!! Makes me want to hurl! Sickening. This should have been a Sox sweep. I need some of Brian’s Kool Aid now.

OK dgneubert, I’ll take on your prediction. There’s no way the Sox win 99 games. Dice-K is a questionmark, they have gotten more than they could ever expect from Masterson and Colon, and they have repeatedly wasted precious quality pitching efforts from starting pitchers. They are at the top of the league in most offensive categories, but they routinely get beat by mediocre pitchers and fail to hit in the clutch. I would guess they are near the bottom of the league in hitting with RISP. The bullpen is inconsistent and has shown an inability to hold leads. They are a good team, but they aren’t as good as many would lead you to believe. I’m starting to feel like Dave with my ranting. They need to play .500 ball on the road, and they have not shown the ability to do that.

Beckett is their stopper, but he can’t stop anything if he doesn’t get any run support, and he has been left high and dry more than a couple of times this season. The Sox have 78 games left, I see them right around 42 – 36 which would give them 94 wins. That could be enough to win the division with everyone beating each other up. I think 99 wins is unrealistic unless we see some significant changes.

The entire team seems to be playing with a defeatist attitude. They play like they want to get the game over with. They went through a period like this before when they were on the road.
Oki doesn’t seem to have anything on his pithces. He is pitching with a total lack of confidence-with good reason. Perhaps they ought to send him down to Pawtucket, let him get some consistent innings under his belt, and bring him back after the All Star game.
Manny, despite the home run, is a disaster at the plate. He, like some of the other Sox players, seem to be doing a lot of guessing at the plate. Swinging at balls outside of the strike zone and taking pitches resulting in called third strikes.
After today’s games I guess the Sox will no longer be in first place–and they don’t desrve to be the way they are playing. Let’s hope they wake up and don’t continue to slide.

Oh yeah, I may feel differently tomorrow is the Sox win 9-2. LOL!

Red Sox should be embarrassed. Losing 2 of 3 to Houston. Astros have been getting smoked lately. Boston’s pen was the reason they lost last night and there lack of clutch hitting was the reason they lost today. I think we have seen this act before. When they pitch well they don’t hit. When they hit they don’t pitch well. That combo has happened too many times this year.

Boston’s pitching is going to have be solid vs T.B. because the Rays have there best 3 starters going this week. I see alot of close games being played in the dome this week in St. Pete.

Hey guys,

Watching the Red Sox lately is like witnessing the French Revolution — the Sox — like France are burning to the ground. Pitching is sloppy, hitting is beyond ridiculous and they take games to their abysmal conclusion through an attitude that winning means leaving the game and going out for a beer.
Right the I don’t feel good about one player on the team. They are all pointless excursions into losing games — OK I still like Wakefield. I can’t help it. He’s always been my favorite because he busts his tail off for a cheap salary (relatively speaking).
Here’s what’s ironic — Lugo is not making errors!
Here is my prediction. The Sox will slowly climb down to the cellar by September where the Pawtucket RedSox will give them a no hitter by throwing underhanded using softballs instead of baseballs. Manny will strike out every time and will break records in strikeout records for this year and Lugo will develop vision problems and be unable to find where home plate is. Dice-K will break a new record — 80 pitches in 1/2 an inning and still not get an out.

Oh ya…Crisp will be traded for Jim Rice who will accept a fifty million dollar contract because that’s how stupid the trades will be this year.
There — that should give the Sox a couple of wins in 2009 anyway!

One more thing — Drew, Manny R. , Lugo, Coco will go 0 for 400 until they find their first hit!
Whew guys — this is a lot of work to rant this much.

Good work, Dave. That will be good for at least one win in St Pete. Now if you could only get Theo to offer you a contract…..

Thanks Arnie,

That would be great. I.T. can wear you out! I’d love to work with Theo — then I could complain to him in person (LOL)

That was a great job Dave. Are you married? Did you learn how to rant and rave like from her? LOL!

Hey Dave, by the way, what’s IT?
Gsm, usually when you are married you learn to listen(or in my case, tune-out), but maybe Dave is taking notes on proper technique.

gsm52,
Married and two kids. My wife has a photographic memory so I can never win an argument. She can actually quote everything I said from two days ago. You learn to chose your words carefully and as arnie would say — do a lot of listening! (LOL)

Arnie,
IT is information technology. It’s as stupid a term as I’ve seen but everyone uses it. Basically what I do is setup computer systems for small business. It can be fun or can give you that same feeling as watching the Red Sox blow a 14 run lead in two innings!

I grew up in New England guys so it’s as natural to rant about the Sox as to talk about the weather!

Hey Dave, I never mastered the listening thing which is probably why I’m now single. I’m also in the IT field doing essentially what you do along with a little web site development. You’re right, it can drive you crazy just like the Sox do.

gsm52: You’re probably right about my prediction, 99-63. I have started to realize that we may have a deeper problem with Oki this year than I wanted to admit. At first, my thought was that Oki started out last year lights out — but as we all know, started to crack towards the end of the season, they shut him down, he regained his winning ways for some of the post season, but then essentially Papelbon had to clean up for him in WS, after an out or two, much like his pattern now.

So I was hoping, maybe he could reverse that trend this year, struggle early, get it together, and have stronger second half. Seems like his pitching has cost us at least 4 games in the first half this year. If he could reverse that in the 2nd half, it might be that bit of difference that glues this bullpen together. If not, then we will need to trade to get Gagne back to fix this problem (LOL) !!!

I also thought because of the easier schedule (travel wise) in the 2nd half, we could do one game better than the first half, which would result in a 99-63 record for the season.

But after looking at the schedule in July (which I don’t think could be more difficult if the MLB schedulers tried) — its going to be very tough to do so.

But hey, a prediction is a prediction, I can’t take it back now. Ironically, I wanted to adjust it (last night) down to 90-72, thinking with Big Papi (unknown), Manny really struggling for a long time, bullpen still uncertain, really pretty weak clutch hitting most of the first half (more men left on base than I can remember in recent years) that we might really continue to struggle in the 2nd half.

For now, lets hope that an optimistic prediction plus Dave’s rants combine to ignite this team — and of course it the SOX do ignite, that will be the primary reason why, LOL!)

dgneubert, the good thing about predictions is that you can drill holes in them, or you can provide good rationale for them. The other side of the coin is that Ellsbury will get better. He’s bound to wind up around .300 which means he’s going to have a more productive second half. Buchholz is working his way back into form and could be a big contributor in the second half. The Sox have really done pretty well despite making their way through a myriad of injuries in the first half. Papi has been out and Manny has been struggling and the Sox are still just a half game out of first. When that duo gets back on track, things are going to get much better. White Dice-K has struggled with command, except that one start after coming back from the DL, he has been virtually unhittable. If he finds just a little more command, he could win 20. And of course, the Sox have the best closer in baseball. The bullpen is full of young arms, experience will make them better and while they have been inconsistent, they will get better as the year goes on. For all of these reasons, I think you’re right, they could win 99 games……. LOL!

It’s funny to watch the mood of the blog swing depending on how the Sox play. If they go in and sweep Tampa, by Thursday they’ll be unbeatable. It’s the way of things with Sox fans. I guess we still haven’t completely shaken the 86 years of futility despite our two championships. We still walk on eggshells. Isn’t it great fun????

You know, it seems to me that the Rays are to us in todays world, what we were to the Yankees in the late 90′s early 2000′s.. THE TEAM THAT WOULDNT GO AWAY…
We (the Sox) just need to find a way to deal with them more effectively than the Yankees dealt with us.
There is so much ambivalence about intra league play.. We hate it, but when you win a ton against the NL its good for the team. This year the team didnt fare as well as they have in the past few.. Anyway, it felt like a months worth of AL-NL games and I’m glad its over.
We’re back on the AL road again and the team has just got to start getting hot all at once and the bull pen has got to stop choking. David AArdsma (aka the AArdvark) has been pitching much better than I thought that he would and Okajima (used to be Okey-Dokey, not starting to be more like Okey-Jokey) has just been plain old bad. It seems that every time he comes into the game, he coughs up a run to either break a tie or give the lead.
Now that I’ve done a little venting, I feel better and now its time to go to work!!
LET’S GO REDSOX, LET’S GO.

Just enoght time to give a quick little cheer:
2-4-6-8, Who’s the NEW team that we hate: THE RAYS
4-3-2-1, The SOX are going to get it done!!!

gsm,

So you do IT and you were a professional pitcher. You have lots of stories under your belt for sure. I’ve been at it a long time. I lived in dos 6.22 and novell! (where is Novell now???)

Ellen,

Now I’ve got Okey-Jokey in my head. In reality Francona does this thing. He constantly puts struggling pitchers in game winning situations to see where they are in September. Right now I think the situation is clear — Okey-Jokey went to the Lugo school of baseball play.
I have said for a while that the Sox are on the sad and sorrowful downfall of 2008 and so far I am sadly right. They will continue to climb down the ladder. Pitching is falling apart, hitting is falling apart and major players are no longer carrying the load. In short — wait till next year (tears are now officially flowing). Guys please prove me wrong!

gsm52,

I hate web site work. I hate programming. I’d rather pay people to do it anyday of the week than do it myself.

Ramirez is making more contact with employees of the Red Sox than he is with the baseball. Not good!!!!!

Baseball seems to be so contagious, if Oki, Papi, and Rameriz can meet expectations over the long haul, (or maybe just tow of them) then I bet that will carry over to the whole team, and we will have a great chance. If not, we can always root for the Rays !!!!

Brian,
A beach is close to Houston. The Gulf of Mexico is about 30 minutes away. But be careful, there are little gobs of crude oil floating in the water that you need to wash off after a dip! At least that’s how it was on my only visit in 1978.

Kramer,

That doesn’t sound like a beach too me, lol.

Hey, east coast beaches are not much to brag about either (in general), parts of Maine and Florida maybe — but even the Cape and most (not all) Florida beaches do not compare to with the majority of California beaches, which of course are themselves are trumped by Hawaiian and Caribbean beaches, although I have to say that parts of the California and Northwest coast are downright spectacular.

However, having lived in Texas, California, Massachusetts, and even Rhode Island, I have to agree with Brian, Texas beaches are not beaches; dirty water, dirty sand, just plain too dirty (unless there has been a major cleanup recently).

Gsm,

Do you have your tylenol ready for Joe Migrane? oops I meant to write Magrane, lol.

Brian, I’m way beyond Tylenol. I have the 800 mg Motrin locked and loaded. I can’t believe we have to listen to that ignorant fool for the next three days.

Hey, if you haven’t check out the Big Pupi blog (on the Red Sox home page) — you should do so. Its got a great thread on things to trade Lugo for (hysterical) — and right not a really great ode to Youk poem!

I obviously meant “right now” above, not “right not”

Gsm,

I was only going to go to 1 game but with Migrane around. I might go to 2 games, lol. I really don’t want to listen to him talk about the game. I think he is the worst analyst in baseball. He makes Steve Phillips look good, never thought I could ever write that, lol.

I feel bad for Coco Crisp, he gets suspended and he has to go back to the hotel after working out. He’ll go back to his room and listen to Staats and Migrane, that is punishment right there listening to those 2 clowns, lol.

Manny R. He really needs some attitude adjustment. I mean his physical actions are expressive of his immaturity as an individual. He’s a father. That’s assault and of course nothing happens to hold him accountable. Baseball players need to be held accountable and not just suspension of games. That’s a joke. Give them something to really sweat over!

The announcers for the Rays are horrible. They are beyond frustrating. I remember an umpire made a bad call. What was the comment? They said, ‘you know why. It’s because of the Red Sox. They always get the calls from the umpires.” I couldn’t believe the antagonizing comment.

Dave,

I am with you about Ramirez. I think the Red Sox should suspend him for a game or so. If not suspension, they should fine him big $$$ and that money goes to a charity of McCormick’s choice. I like Manny, he has a goofy/fun personality and I am glad he is a member of the Red Sox. This incident here, makes him look very immature and foolish. I hope Theo/Tito grow some here and show him he is not above the team. I expect the Red Sox to try too sweep this incident under the rug. Whatever happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse. That will be there motto, I am sure.

bosoxbrian,

I hope they do more than sweep this under the rug. What are his kids thinking — solve problem by hitting someone over the head. Kids learn by example. I remember once I spilled something and said the ‘s*it’ word. Sure enough two days later my daughter is saying the same word when she spills something.

One article stated that McCormick is universally unpopular in the club-house — though no justification of Manny actions, maybe someone was going to pop sooner or later on the guy? anyone know who this guy is?

A bowling ball sinker? What is that?

It would appear Masterson is lacking some command with his pitches tonight. It looks like he’s getting a lot of movement, which is good, but having issues controlling it, which is bad. He got away with two walks in the 2nd. That doesn’t usually happen for Sox pitchers.

Brian, it’s almost worth the drive from Jax to St. Pete to not have to listen to Migrane.

The Sox are clueless so far agaisnt Shields. They haven’t had a single good swing. Two strikes, 88 mph right down the middle to Tek. What is he waiting for?

This ump really squeezed Masterson on a couple of pitches to Pena.

That’s two times in a row Pena has been unable to get around on Masterson. If I were Francona, I might rethink this shift setup when Pena is hitting.

Gsm,

That drive from J’ville to St. Pete, you better be careful going thru Starke and Waldo, lol.

I agree with you about the Sox bats being clueless against Shields. Shields shut them down back in late April and he looks like he might end up doing that again. No good hacks from the Sox tonight.

Another no hitter for Tampa Bay. Sox will walk away 1 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay. They are a terrible team right now. They can’t hit, pitch or drive in runs. In short they make the Toledo Mud Hens seem like the Oakland A’s of 1974. This is my rant!

Brian, going South on 301 through Waldo, there is now a sign just north of Waldo that says, “Waldo Speed Trap, 1.5 miles.” Last two times I went through, the cops had speeders stopped exactly where the sign said they would be. LOL! I guess people either can’t read, or don’t believe it.

In years past the Sox gameplan was to get a high pitch count from the T.B. starter and get into that pathetic bullpen. Not the case anymore, that Rays pen has been a major surprise and they’re the reason for this team’s big turnaround.

Second time around the order, Boston has had more success, better at bats.

Atta baby Dave. That’s the ranting I’m looking for.

Gsm,

That sign I believe was put up by A.A.A. The #1 income for those 2 redneck towns are speeding tickets. People still getting pulled over as you said. Funny too see people pulled over, how dumb can you get? LOL….

Way to go Mike Lowell. A 2 out hit is sweet!!! A back breaker!!!

Go Dave go. Go Dave go. Rant on baby!

Dae rants and the Sox get a run. Things that make you go mmmmmmmmm. LOL.

Obviously, the Sox can’t do it themselves. They need Dave. We need Dave. The world needs Dave. LOL! Go Dave.

Now it is up to Materson too keep the momentum going!!! I want an easy inning for Masterson. Get Shields back out there, no rest!!!

Masterson is throwing too many pitches. Nobody on, two outs, he needed to be pitching to contact. He’s trying to be too fine when he doesn’t need to be.

…….and that’s what happens! BOOM!

Gsm,

Will Migrane make his Danny Orsillo comment this series?

Masterson giving up the longball. Gabe Gross? Are you kidding me?

Definitely, probably before the night is out. …..and there’s Red Sox broadcaster, Don Orsillillio. What a putz!

Master threw a belt high 90 mph fastball right down the middle……..with no movement. It looked like a beach ball.

What is Francona thinking about having Moss running? Tek might be the worst contact hitter in baseball. Of course, after the fact, he would have hit into a DP anyway with what happened.

There’s a new thread. let’s move it over there.

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