All-Star festivities

As the Red Sox wrap up their first half at Fenway against the Orioles — perhaps even moving back into first place in the process — I am here at Yankee Stadium covering the Futures Game. Call it a little warmup act for all the festivities of tomorrow, where all seven Red Sox All-Stars hold media availability at a Manhattan hotel. In the morning, Terry Francona will announce his starting lineup and his starting pitcher. Cliff Lee would seem like the favorite, but you could make a very compelling argument for Roy Halladay.

Tino Martinez — who made himself more than a few memories in this here ballpark –managed the World squad. The Red Sox have just one prospect in the game this year — outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin. Not to put unfair expectations on the kid, but he has a game similar to Jacoby Ellsbury‘s without the patient hitting approach. Lin is lightning-fast and a terrific outfielder. He’s playing center field for the Greenville Drive and will leave in about a month to represent Taiwan in the Olympics.

Offensively, he is a work in progress. But he’s actually a rare Red Sox prospect who is a little under the radar. Oh, and by the way, he wound up belting a two-run homer in his first at-bat today.

Last year at this time, the Sox had Ellsbury and Buchholz in the Futures Game. The future, in that case, was about a month away. Lin will take a little more time, but he seems like a composed kid. And judging by today, the stage does not bother him.

More later,

Ian.

100 Comments

I think Halladay should be the starting pitcher for the A.L. Either way you can’t go wrong with Lee or Halladay. Both have been superb this year. Halladay has 7 complete games. He has more complete games than most teams, lol. It goes to show you if your good enough you will win no matter what team your on. Both the Jays and the Indians are under .500. In the N.L. I am expecting too see Webb as the starter. Tomm. night’s H.R. Derby will be fun to watch. I would assume a lefty will win. That H.R. porch is a check swing away for a H.R. for a lefty. Bring your gloves whoever is sitting in r.f. and the upper deck should get there fair amount of longballs as well. I am going to guess and go with Hamilton tomm. night. Perhaps Utley as well.

When was the last time that both starting pitchers in the All Star game were playing for teams that were under .500? Has that ever happened before? If the D’Backs lose today in Philly they will end up under .500. The Jays and the Tribe will end up under .500 today, win or lose today. Interesting I thought.

My favorite All Star moment was in 1983 at old Comiskey Park. Fred Lynn’s grand slam. The great Vin Scully said in case you were wondering there has never been a grand slam in All Star game history. As soon as he said it, there it went to r.f. Rice also homered that same inning. A night Atlee Hammaker will never forget. At least he is remembered for something, lol. 25 years ago but too me it seems like yesterday. Perhaps Fox on Tues. night will do a feature, where are they now? LOL.

Just thought I’d mention that Taravez was used once and got plowed. He has not pitched since. Gagne looked pretty good but his last start he gave up 4 runs in one inning exploding his ERA. Gagne doesn’t have a great fastball and it says over the plate quite a bit. It’s speed is about 91 and it doesn’t have a lot of break to it — at least in that game.
It would be nice to see the Sox in first but I don’t see that happening. The Rays are NOT going to lose three games in a row. It’s not their style. However, the Sox HAVE to win this game at all cost. You don’t want to enter the All Star break and feel good taking a hard loss.
Dice-K is a strong pitcher and face it, despite all the walks, he gets the key men out. Unfortunately he throws pitches as if he has an endless supply. I would like to see them win badly. All depends on offense.
Incidentally, Lugo said he was JUST starting to feel comfortable with the Sox when the injury happened. In fairness he did give them some key RBI’s in games and cut out the error a game senario (for the most part). He played significantly better as of late then when he started the season. It also depends on the offense. It’s been spotty as of late but Manny R. has his swing back. It’s compact and effective compared to his Bad News Bears swing he had.

Finally, it is in my contract that since I first used the term “Humble Pie” in respect to Migrane, that I get .5 cents each time the phrase is used! (LOL)

I also mention that while it is fun to see the Sox play in the All Star Game they need rest. Pedroia really needs some rest. He’s playing great and he’s scrappy but he’s human too. Don’t worry. I should be able to give you guys some good ranting today. Last night I took my daughter out for dinner. We played a bit of backgammon before she said she was exhausted and wanted to go to bed — at 8:00 pm. Fortunately that allowed me to check out the game and it was exciting to see Wakefield — Sox most underrated pitcher once again pitching great AND getting a reward for once. How many times he takes a loss or a no decision.

Dave,

Gsm is the one that owns the rights to “Humble Pie”. LOL. Gsm also is the one that has your contract, he will decide what kind of $$$$ or cents comes your way, lol. Just wondering Dave if anyone has contacted you for a book? You have become a cult hero on here. You will only get bigger!!! lol.

The Rays are on a 6 game losing streak, so 7 is possible. Kazmir talked the other night so it is his time to put his words where his mouth is today. Kazmir needs to step it up today. I’m not worried about the Rays. If the Sox play the way they should. Once again they should win the division. Let T.B. and N.Y. battle for the wild card, along with Minn. and Det.

What is going on with Remy and Orsillo? They can’t stop laughing.

I like it when Drew goes the other way, especially at Fenway. Teams like the Orioles will find ways to lose. Boston takes advantage of the error, good too see.

BosoxBrian,

I do have a book deal through GSM. He promised me 70% profits on every book sold assuming I sell the initial ten million books. It felt like a great deal at the time…but i think gsm is pulling one over on me! (LOL)

*rant time
Dice-K is once again finding ways to extend his pitch count. Does he think “hey the bullpen has a few days off, why can’t I get out early”. Time for Dice-K to curb his tendencies to throw 200 pitches per inning!

Dice- K

These are hitters barely hitting in the 200’s. You can strike them out or get them to hit something. Stop throwing pitches and start getting them out. Whew you are wearing out the Ranter here!

He’s hitting .211! .211, let me say again .211. What does it take to get a guy out hitting .211?

BoSox brian, great call on that ’83 All-Star Game. I still remember what room of my house I was in when I watched that game. That was unreal watching Lynn hit the granny. It’s hard to believe he wasn’t with the Red Sox at the time, but he was still in the hearts of every true Sox fan. Thanks for bringing back a great All-Star memory.

Dave,

Gsm told me on the book deal it would be a fifty split, fifty for me and fifty for him, lol. Sorry, nothing for you. lol.

Dice-K nibbling drives me nuts. Imagine what it does to Varitek, Francona and Farrell. I’m sure it drives them nuts. Varitek has thrown out only 14 % of the runners, not good at all. The Angels will be running wild after the break. Sox go to Disney for 3 games.

Varitek unfortunately does not have a great arm to tag out runners at second. I’m surprised that more players don’t take advantage of that fact. Remy said a 14% rate of getting runners out.

Rays are ahead in Cleveland 2 – 1.

That’s what I get for taking Remy at his world. It’s 2 – 0 Rays so far.

Ian,

There are some things you will always remember and that is one of them. I was in N.H. ( I was 11 at the time ) on vacation with my my family along Half Moon Lake. It was 25 years ago but it seemed like it just happened about 5 minutes ago. We all errupted, happy for Lynn. Vin Scully had a crystal ball I think, nobody better than him. I’m sure every All Star game Atlee Hammaker cringes, lol. Rice took Hammaker deep into the L.F. seats.

Orsillo and Remy are being very silly today, these guys sure make me laugh. Something tells me these guys are looking forward to the break. Japan or no Japan, alot of travel following a major league team.

bosoxbrian,

That’s not quite true on the book deal. I would get as many autographed copies of the book I would want — as long as I pay for them. (LOL)
OK, now it’s 2 – 1 Rays. Sounds like Remy has an ability that I was never aware of!

Also want to mention I remember that game in 1983. It was still heartbreaking to see Lynn NOT in a Red Sox uniform. He was always like a Dustin Pedroia — he played hard, he played hurt and he worked his tail off. Too bad Lynn never made the hall but his injuries cut his career so short. I’m just hoping that Jim Rice FINALLY makes the hall. He deserves it.

Sox need another run badly. Dice-K does not pitch shutouts.

Tied up in Cleveland. Does Migrane have a migrane?

Varitek was not getting the heart of the maple bat on the ball that time and it cost him. Here is an interesting tidbit. When a tree grows the heartwood is the center of the tree. It is usually darker than the sapwood which is the more outside part of the tree. Black walnut for example is only black in the heartwood and green in the sapwood. Poplar is yellow in the heartwood and green in the sapwood. Woodworkers are crushed because there are no more large black walnut trees to cut so you’re going to get small pieces of black walnut with mostly green on it. Lesson for today!

Ellsbury needs some hitting ability at this point — no excuse to strand two runners. Grrr…the Ranter must work once again. Grrr…how many times must we need the ranter to win games! Can the Ranter ever rest????

Grrr…the Ranter must work again. Dice-K is struggling to find the strike zone. Does he need glasses? Does he need eyes? What does it take! All that boatload of money and he can’t find the strikezone.

Dave,

It was great watching Lynn play c.f. at Fenway. He would crash into wall as if it was made of paper. He played with wreckless abandon out there. I’m sure crashing into the wall cut his career a little short. The body can only take so much. I just looked up some numbers on Lynn. Only Stan Musial has hit more All Star homers than Lynn. Pretty impressive!!!

Bosoxbrian,
Did you know that after Lynn crashed the wall in game 6 of the 75 world series, the next year the Original steel wall was taken down and padding was added. Fenway was selling pieces of the wall — certainly not for cash of course (LOL)

Varitek thru out a runner, wow. Very rare when he does. A 2 out walk by Dice-K, not good!!! Dice-K throws way too many pitches!!!

Dice-K will not make it through five innings today. Once again his pitch count is exploding.

Dave,

I did not know that. If that was now, they would be selling it for $$$$ for sure. A sign of the times. lol. Lynn was made to play at Fenway.

I remember Dick Flavin making a commentary about how silly the entire selling point was. You can buy a piece right now on ebay.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Fenway-Park-1976-Authentic-Piece-of-Green-Monster_W0QQitemZ250268832203QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item250268832203&_trksid=p3286.m14.l1318

In fairness the funds went to the Jimmy Fund.

Dick Flavin, lol. Old school there. Thanks for the link Dave. Good stuff.

Bosoxbrian,
If I had unlimited funds I’d be tempted myself to buy a piece of that wall — something to remember from my childhood — but that money already went for gas money!

The ranter is back — you have two runners on and once again you can’t bring them home. Come on Boston why can’t you do this — here’s an idea, bring a golf club to the plate. That might help!

Signing off for now. The ranter needs a rest — but win this game Boston!

Youk with a great catch. Tough play with the shift on, makes the grab in shallow left. Ramirez was playing well off the line. It was either Youk or nobody.

Casey was out at second. Let’s hope Boston can take advantage of that. Robert’s blocked the bag with his glove and Casey’s hand was blocked.

Brian, I guess we now have the reason instant replay can’t be used for out/safe calls. Even after the replays, I thought Casey was safe. It looked to me like Roberts’ glove was sitting on top of the bag and Casey’s hand got the side of the bag before he was tagged. Now I’m pretty old and petty slow, but I might be able to waddle around the bases faster than Casey. He needs to take those ankle weights off before the game starts. I’d like to see him, Lowell and Papi in a foot race. Now that would be three Weebles wunning awound da bases vewy slowly.

Dave, you need to quit worrying about money and get to writing that book. There’s a good chance I had the “Humble Pie” patented before you were born. LOL! However, I must have stolen it from someone, I just don’t remember who.

Brian, it appears our client is getting a little pushy here. Maybe he needs a slice of Humble Pie.

Ellsbury was very close to being safe at second base on that force out. I’d like to see a good angle replay of that.

Manny with a chance to blow this game open.

Manny jogging down the line on his ground ball up the middle. Sometimes I just don’t understand him.

Dice-K is throwing too many pitches. He might make it through six.

Someone stated earier that they didnt think that we’d be in first after todays game because “the Ray’s arent going to lose 3 games in a row because it’s NOT THEIR STYLE”. This is the 1st year they’ve been above 500 and had a winning season, so we don’t really know WHAT their style is. They a relatively young team (meaning they haven’t been together all that long with exceptions of course)with not a lot of experience at winning. This is the 1st slump they’ve experienced this season and the way they handle it will tell a lot about them. Time will tell.

Indians baking a fresh Humble Pie to feed Migrane and the Rays. They are now leading 5-2 in the 7th.

Ellen, that was “Dave the Ranter” . Dave can’t count higher than three so he doesn’t think anyone can lose more than three games. We all understand that the Rays have already lost six in a row, but Dave thinks they just lost three in a row twice in a row…… LOL!

Dave the Ranter is NOT happy. Dice-K loading up the bases and has a pitch count of 96 pitches. He does have a shut out I’ll give him that but Dave the Ranter is displeased with Dice-K and his bad performance. Dice-K can’t even stay ahead of the count. He’s pathetic. He’s more than pathetic. Bill Lee can hit the strike zone better than he can at his present age!!!

Whew, Dave the ranter is also happy that I am wrong about the Rays. I am just glad to be wrong and they are losing again — however it ain’t over till it’s over so we’ll see!

Dave the ranter can count higher than three (1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3) see! (LOL)

Tek up again with Youk at third. Please Tek— hit a fly ball deep!

That’s very good Dave. We are proud of you.

Brian, we can reduce Dave’s contract to $3.00. He’ll never know the difference.

Hey Dave, The Jays have beaten the Yankees, 3+1 to 0.

Guys — you are the best. The Jays beat the Yankees 3 + 1 or 3 – 0. Why didn’t you just say 3 – 0 gsm52??? (LOL)

Wow reducing my contract to $3.00 but…that means it stays the same — you guys are too much (LOL)

Ellsbury needs to get out of the starting lineup as leadoff. He’s not in a position to hit anymore until his wrist heals up.

Dave, you don’t know how lucky you are to be associated with BSBGSM Inc. You’d never find anyone who would treat you more fairly than Brian and I do……. LOL!

Tough out for Ellsbury. He hit that ball well. In any other park, that may have been a hit but in Fenway, Payton can play way in. Fenway gives up a few cheap fly ball homers, but I think the old Park takes away a lot more than she gives.

I know that BSBGSM has worked for such fine organizations as Enron and others. You have earned that track record!

Dice-K still in there after exceeding his pitch count of 3. i don’t get it! (LOL)

Hey guys someone told me that these things come after 3 (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. I had no idea but of course I’m told it’s a rumor.

Dave the Ranter — what was Pedroia doing bunting his way to first base. Was that desperation or frustration?

Who is faster running the bases, big Papi, or Casey? I think big Papi.

Once again the bats are silent and the LOB count is exploding. Sox can only count to 3 (one out, two outs, three outs). Grrrr!

Dave, you don’t need to worry about those kinds of things. Brian and I have your back. By the way, the Rays have now lost 3+3+1 games in a row. The Tribe beat them by three runs (score really doesn’t matter Dave). We have booked you for a second grade refresher math course so you can begin to understand the concept of those other things after 3. There will be a test after the All Star break.

Here’s the problem with Dice-K. With his pitch count up to 116, he’s done after six innings. He has to hand the ball off to a very inconsistent bullpen and hope for the best…… Starting pitchers can no longer fight for wins. The most important consideration to any starting pitcher is pitch count……… Any pitcher who gets 20 wins is very lucky and the benefactor of a strong bullpen. That’s why Beckett got 20 last year and why he won’t be close this year. 20 game winners will become very rare.

Oki-crappy has just walked two in a row. Oki Crappy needs to come out and go away. If he walks more than three in a row — I can’t follow the score…grrrr…

gsm I need that refresher course in math. I’m looking forward to it but they say the desks are a tight fit! (LOL)

Step aside Dave.

WTF?????? F’n Okie Dokie comes in and gives two free passes. This is setting up for disaster. Where’s Dick Radatz? You think God will lend us Dick Radatz for an inning. We’re going to need him

Ffrancona never learns, or refuses to let his player continue to fail — Okajima and Orioles = meltdown

Oki Crappy can’t find the strike zone. Oki Crappy can blow the game right now. Oki Crappy needs to go away!

What’s even worse is you have the Perkins Institute for the Blind pitching staff out in the bullpen.

Okie Dokie gets lucky as Huff gets greedy.

Oki Crappy got lucky on that pitch. The fast ball was thrown out of the strike zone and he got very lucky!

Manny Du is coming up next. I can’t take it. Dave the Ranter is now on fire with frustration. Dave the ranter says three times (“no walks, no walks, no walks, no walks). See I can count!

Dave, just ask them for the desk Garry sat in a couple of weeks ago when he went through the course. If you can’t fit in that desk, you have serious big butt issues.

You guys amaze me..

Lowrie looks very good at third base. Another young player to be very excited about.

Delcarmen went against the usual Sox strategy of walking the first hitter he faces to set up the easy force play at the plate.

gsm52,

Thank you. Do I need to bring a calculator or just pencil, paper and a computer? (LOL)

Manny gets out of it — or should I say Lowrie gets out of it. he was spectacular and already he made Lugnut Lugo look really bad out there!

gsm52,
That was the funniest comment I have read today. Manny D. setting up the easy force out at the plate. I have to admit I burst out laughing at that one!

continued: Brownie points is starting to remind me of last years yankee blog. I know we have some nick names for players but… You know, Lug Nut, Judy, but this one for Okajima?? maybe a bit too far.

Bats are dead on the Sox. Once again we put all the pressure on that spectacular bullpen that has shown such grace and ability giving up an average of 3 + 3 + 1 runs per inning.
Hey gsm52, are you sure I need second grade. I can count OK! (LOL)

Do we have a bullpen. We have Oki Jokey, Manny Du, Hit-me Hansen, etc. It’s not a bullpen…it’s a batting cage!

gsm52,

Funny you mentioned the Perkins Institute for the Blind since my daughter has studied Helen Keller and her life for a year now. I know quite a bit about that place including Mr. Anagnus and his aid of Annie Sullivan which lead to the meeting of Helen Keller.

Dave, I can consult with Brian to see if we can waive the course. However, I know he’s going to want to see your certificate of completion, and you’re still going to have to take the test after the All Star break.

Nice catch by Drew. He has played a real good right field this year.

Manny can’t find the strike zone. Ever since he drilled holes in his brain to aleviate the pressure of his mediocre mental capacities he’s never been the same. Okijama thinks he signed a contract with the Orioles and is conflicted on which team is better. He likes the Orioles quite a bit because they exemplify his pitching abilities! Grr!

Sox pitching seems to have two motivations — never get to strike three and give free get out of home plate free passes.

LOL! Very good Dave. However, Delcarmen has it together today. He’s relaxed and looks effortless and when he’s like that he’s as good as it gets.

gsm52.

I just finished part one of the course. I learned that in the ten based counting system you have nine digits that repeat to create an infinite set of number patterns. Since it is ten based you have number combinations that allow for easy calculations (55 is 50 + 5 and so on.) The teacher was very impressed and I got an A+ Yes. Now I understand. Today the Sox have seven hits total…not three and that my salary of $27.50 per game is far above $3.00.

gsm52,
Delcarman only pitched that well because he feared my rant! Now you know the truth!

Hard to believe the Sox may win this one on TWO unearned runs. IMHO, you shouldn’t give an RBI for a pitcher who can’t find the strike zone and gives up a bases loaded walk.

Rays are on a seven game losing streak. They are really hurting. It’s hard to believe they were on such fire and then implode.

Cora made some great plays, Lowrie made some great plays — Lugo is looking and thinking “oh crap…they are that good!”

Papelbon is crap. He’s not the same pitcher of last year. He’s crap. he can’t find a way to get batters out. Now the tying run is one. Another blown save!

Papelbon should retire and go to the bahamas with Oki Jokie and remember those days when they were successful. Papelbon has blown this save and blown this game and ended any idea the Sox will have first place — so speaks the Ranter!

Papelbon is a bonehead. He’s a lousy pitcher and has blown this game. Just get it over with Papelbon. You call yourself a closer!

Congratulations Papelbon. The shutout is over and your fastball is useless. I hate this team sometimes because you should have this game sewn up. Instead you blow it!

Papelbon still has velocity on his fastball, he must not have any movement on it these days — too many guys seem to hitting it or getting a piece of it — anything else it could be?

Everyone,

It’s over. The ranter will be taking several days off — including the All Star game. Youk may not play and I hope he doesn’t — he looked exhausted out there. Some rest would do him good.
Everyone this first half has been great getting to know you all and have a lot of fun. I’ve really, really enjoyed it. This game was a messy game indeed. Both teams played horrible but the Sox’s defense was much better than the Orioles. That’s the big reason why they won.!

Gsm,

I would agree with you about our client. I think he needs to hang out with Migrane thru the All Star break, lol. That is quite the punishment right there. If he doesn’t shape up, he’ll be Migrane’s personal asst. until season’s end. lol.

After last Sunday Night’s loss it looked like Boston wouldn’t be in first place until sometime in late July. What a difference a week makes. T.B. couldn’t finish the 4 game sweep vs K.C. and the Rays start playing like the Devil Rays. lol. Didn’t see that one happening. T.B. needs to find a bat come late July. Boston haven’t played all that well but they are in 1st place at the break. Boston has yet to play there best baseball while T.B. has. The Rays are outstanding at home but on the road they have shown there inexperience. T.B. goes into the break with a 7 game losing streak, OUCH!!! The Rays are not battle tested, the players, coaches and management. They are in unchartered waters. There expected to win, not an easy thing as they are finding out.

One thing that I am a little concerned about is Papelbon. A year ago he blew everyone away. Most of his saves the last couple of seasons were pretty easy. Certainly not the case this year. I still have alot of confidence in Papelbon and who doesn’t? Just one of things I guess a player goes thru. Papelbon will be like the Red Sox, play there best coming down the stretch.

Casey thrown out at second three times in this series. Remy said it best. Watching Casey run is like trying to run in quicksand. Great line by Remy. Casey has his legs and arms moving but he isn’t go anywhere fast. Colon or Casey in a foot race, who wins? LOL. One thing I do know, it would take a while.

Dave, the system of numbers you refer to is called the decimal system and is a base 10, not a 10 based numbering system. The rest of your ranting dissertation concerning our numbering system is correct. That tells me that you probably only slept through half of the class. That being said, we have another mathematical dilemma.

Everyone thinks that now that we are at the halfway point of the season, and the Sox are in first place, that is a very good thing. Well, if we were at the halfway point, that would be a good thing. However, since we are well past the halfway point, it’s even a better thing. Actually, the Sox have played 58.642 percent of their games. LOL!

See you in the last 41.358 percent of the season.

How about a virtual match race– Casey versus Ernie Lombardi. I recall that Lombardi made headlines when he beat out a bunt. I guess I’m telling my age.

Drew doesn’t seem to get it. His first at bat- the last two games- he goes to the opposite field and drives in runs. The rest of both games he goes back and tries to pull the ball and does nothing. Talk about lessons learned.

Ellsbury is certainly due for a nice rest and the All Star game seems to come at a good time for him.

If Manny tried, he could have beaten that ball up the middle but I guess he decided to jog. Manny is Manny , as I have said before – is no excuse. He gets paid big bucks to play the game, which unfortunately he only does when he is the mood. Someone should take him to task. I can just see Billy Martin laying into him.

Tek is still struggling. When he struck out with first and third with one out he looked totally useless. Let’s hope the break helps him out.

For people that may be interested- go to the internet and look up Ernie Lombardi and then scroll down to “There was slow and there was Ernie Lombardi”. After reading this you will think that Casey is a speed demon. It will fun and interested reading.

Well, it was a nice first half for the redsox, hilighted by Lester’s no-no and Manny’s 500th homerun. All we can hope is for more.
See you all on wendsday

gsm52,

Sometimes I do a Lugo and I certainly did one in reference to the base 10 decimal system. Oh well, that’s why I get paid the small bucks (LOL)

The first half for the Red Sox was an unbelievable bought of frustration from beginning to end. They had to literally crawl their way back to first place. However, considering what they have been through as a team, it’s somewhat of a miracle they are where they are from the flu, injuries, exhaustive scheduling and tough teams they earned that right.

Ironic that of all the teams from last year (Cleveland, Arizona, LA, etc. only Boston and LA are still around to talk about it. I’m also surprised about Tampa Bay but in the end they’re a young team with a lot of talent that may not survive this year but they will make some noise.

Correction:

I mean the Colorado Rockies…not Arizona, which is in a joke division. You can play under .500 ball and be in first place.

Have to say, in looking over the All Star team, I was surprised that Santana didn’t make the team. yes his record is 3 and 5 but his ERA is impressive and the mets have not been supporting him run wise.

The ability to score that run on 3rd base with less than 2 outs was the difference of the game. If not, Dice-K would end up with a no decision and the Sox could possibly lose the game in extra innings. The Sox unfortunately cannot count on Papelbon to hold on to a one run lead into the 9th every time any more.

Hey BosoxBrian:

Thanks for the mention when you were lauding the Indians. As I’ve said before, the last 5 or so years they have been alternating between being quite good one year, and quite bad the next. Last year they were quite good, so this year…..

Interesting though is how, after dumping their staff ace, they clock the best team in MLB, outscoring them 31-8 in four games. What TB has to recognize is that now that their novelty has worn off, eveyone, (particularly those teams with nothing else to play for) is gunning for them. Let’s see how much maturity they show after the ALL-Star game, having lost 7 straight, having to face Toronto for 6, Oakland, Detroit, and Cleveland some more. It’s what teams like the Sox and the Yanks face all of the time. It’ll be interesting to see how much gas the Rays have left in September when they play the Sox and Yanks 6 times ea. The Rays play 17 of their 27 games in September on the road, including the last 8. By contrast, the Sox play 16 of their last 26 (in September) at home.

If you want Little Chief Wahoo to do a little bloggin, from what I am hearing, the Indians team may look quite different soon. There is significant talk about how many teams are looking at 35-year-old Casey Blake as the affordable alternative to Matt Holliday. He really has been a solid, unsung player over the years. If there’s interest, you could also see Paul Byrd go. The Indians are trying to make their experiment with former Sox 3B Ande Marte work (came over for CoCo along with Kelly Shoppach), and he chipped in with his first home run yesterday afternoon in quite some time. Mastny looked good yesterday, as did Mujica, Kobayashi and Sowers (sort of — 8 K’s, but 7 BB’s — sounds like he should be part of the Sox staff doesn’t it? [lol])

Back to the Sox, they are where I was hoping they’d be — 17 games over .500, with 12 games remaining to play in July (6 at home, 6 away). If they could go 8 – 4 (the 3 games vs. LAA there may be the biggest impediment, but supposedly, Big Papi will be back for the last 6), or at least 7 – 5, they would be right near 20 games over .500 after July. I know that August is tough with only 12 home games and 16 road games, but 6 of those road games are vs. KC and Baltimore (I should be at one of the games in Baltimore), so maybe they can go 17 – 11 or 16 -12 in August, to get near 25 games over .500 to start September, and then they have a September at home to remember.

If nothing else, they’ve shown a lot of resilience. Who would have guessed back in January that Bartolo Colon would have more victories than Schill and Buchholz COMBINED!!!

Who would have guessed that Dice-K, even with a stint on the DL, would have more victories than Josh B., or that Jon L would lead the staff in innings pitched!

Who would have guessed that Dustin Pedroia would have more RBI’s than Big Papi, or that Sean Casey would be hitting over .370 with more than 125 AB’s? Who would have guessed that, except for steals, CoCo would be matching Ellsbury’s numbers in far fewer AB’s. The team has had to get contributions from all over the place, and they have done so. Who would have predicted that JD Drew would respond the way he has this year, particularly in June!

I’ve said this before, and I don’t mind sounding like a broken record, but, some of the credit has to go to Francona. He gets his players rest, he puts the different combinations together (like the infield on Sunday), and he juggles the pitching staff, primarily the relievers. I really hope that the AL wins the All-Star game tomorrow night, not just for the AL team to have home field advantage in the WS, but to add to Francona’s amazing “important game” statistics. Unfortunately for him, when you manage a team that is expected to win and they do, you don’t get much consideration for Manager of the Year, even though he has done one heck of a job thus far. Right now, I would expect that to go to the TB manager. All Tito does is get his teams to win! Thank goodness the Phillies didn’t recognize what they had — sort of like the Browns and Bill Belichek!

Dbenjamin,

Your Tribe beat down on my Rays, lol. Rays couldn’t hit with guys on base and also there pitching got smoked. Even your pal Sonnastine ( Kent State ) got beat down. Kazmir who spoke out about the team and there lack of effort and them scoreboard watching. He didn’t do so well yesterday. I would have never thought the Indians would have swept the Rays. The Indians came into that series with a nice little losing streak. It will be very interesting too see what happens to the Rays when the second-half starts up. They have been very good at home, just ask the Red Sox. Jays have been playing much better under Cito Gaston.

Not surprised too see Colon have more wins than Schilling but not more than Buchholz. One thing Bill James the stat guru of the Red Sox had right was no wins from Schilling, not exactly a difficult one to figure out.

I agree with you totally about Francona and how handles the team. He sees the bigger picture as good as anyone. He knows there are more important games to follow in September and October. He keeps everyone happy. You never any complaining out of that clubhouse. He treats everyone with respect and they have his back more importantly. Also it helps him when you have veteran leaders like Varitek, Lowell and Oritz. The vets seem to really get along with the rookies, not the case with all teams. Look at the Dodgers a year ago. The vets and rookies didn’t like each other at all. With Torre there I am sure that is different.

It’s a long season and Boston is built for it. Not sure if T.B. and N.Y. are. T.B. does have solid pitching and they have some good young talent to deal away if they want to. I expect Boston to tweak the team come late July. Add a dependable arm in the pen and that is about it. Mahay? Marte? Fuentes? Rauch the tall righty from the Nats? If Rauch ended up in Boston, he could play for the Celtics, lol. Sox seem interested in Texeria but I think Theo is just kicking tires. Atlanta would like too see Youkilis in the package and that isn’t going to happen. Youkilis is the M.V.P. of the Red Sox in the first-half. He is too valuable to deal away. He is having his best year yet!!! Crisp is the one I think that could be dealt away. My only concern there is who would play c.f. if Crisp is gone? Ellsbury will need time off here and there. Would Drew play c.f.? Lugo in c.f.? Your talking about 6 times or so in c.f. anyway. It will be fun for sure. Looking forward to it.

What a great story Josh Hamilton is. I had no intention of watching the home run derby tonight. In fact I went to a movie and came home and turned it on for lack of anything else to watch. I’m watching and he’s at 25 and this (make it 26) is an amazing display. I am really happy to see this for Hamilton, and for Clay Counsil pitching to him. What’s really amazing about what he’s doing is the incredible physical stamina it takes to do what he’s doing. He must be in phenomenal shape. He made the derby worth watching.

dbenjamin/brian: I expected a lot more from Cleveland than what we’ve seen this year. Sometimes there’s just no explaining things, but I still view the Indians as a formidable team as the Rays found out over the weekend.

I think the Sox have to do a few things to ensure a successful season. First, they have to play better on the road. As bad as the Rays seem to be on the road, the Sox are worse. They are going to have a chance to begin that process right after the break with a difficult trip to the west coast. I don’t believe it’s reasonable to believe they are going to keep up the winning pace they currently have at home, which means even more they have to do better on the road. Next, they have to play better against divisional rivals. Every win against the Yankees and Rays is almost like beating them twice. If they’re three games ahead of the Rays and beat them, then they are four ahead rather than two if they lose. Know what I mean. Finally, they have to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat. They can’t be getting swept or losing two of three to the likes of KC, Seattle, Baltimore and teams of that caliber.

Some keys to making all that happen?: It starts at the top with Ellsbury who needs to pick it up a notch. He’s got to get the OBP back up closer to .400 so he can start running again. He jump starts the whole offense. Manny needs to be Manny, and I don’t mean behind the monster screwing off. He needs to start driving in some runs and getting some key hits. Tek has to be more productive. He can pick up the whole bottom of the order. I think he’s a real key to the Sox success.

The starting pitching has been pretty consistent. A few more innings from Dice-K and Beckett will help a lot though. If we can get .500 performance from Wakefield and whoever the fifth starter is for the rest of the year, the Sox will be fine there. We all know there has to be improvement in the 7th/8th inning bullpen performance. I would give that part of the pen a C- for the first half. Papelbon needs to make ever save from here on out. He’s the one guy who can’t be giving away games once the starter turns the game over to the pen.

I don’t think the Sox have played their best baseball. I do think if they get what I listed above, they can win, whether or not Papi returns.

Hey, BosoxBrian:

Your comment about Rauch playing for the Celts as well reminded me of someone who may have been before your time: Gene Conley. Donald Eugene Conley was a pitcher in the majors, spending 11 seasons with the Braves (both Boston and Milwaukee), the Phillies and finally with the Sox from 1961 to 1963 (he was actually picked up by, and released by, my Indians [lol] after the Sox released him in 1963). He also played forward in the NBA during 1952-53 and 1958-64, spending 1959 – 1961 with the Celts. He is apparently the only person to win world championships in both baseball (the Braves in 1957) and basketball (the Celts).

So, it can be done!

Do you think Tito letting Big Papi take some batting practice was intended to intimidate some teams last night, like your Rays (lol!)?

gsm52 — I agree with you that the key will be the Sox road performance, particularly during the balance of July and August. However, with the likelihood of Big Papi coming back, and the way the starters have been performing, I think they’ll be okay. You’ll get a big glimpse starting Thursday when they had off to LAA and Seattle. It would be nice for them to take 4 of 6 of those, and then head back to Fenway for LAA again and the Yanks.

Dbenjamin,

Hendrickson playing for the Marlins now, Dodgers, Jays and Devil Rays in the past. He played in the N.B.A. for a brief time. Showing your age here, lol. Wayyyyyy before my time!!!

Boston has had success in Anaheim over the last few years but Seattle has been a major problem. Going to Seattle, Minnesota and Toronto have been tough places for Boston. Of course T.B. this year as well. For years it was going to Arlington to play the Rangers. Rangers would smoke them down there.

I agree with gsm about Ellsbury getting it going. I think this break was much needed for him. Perhaps his wrist has been bothering him. When he gets on, good things happen. He creates alot of havoc out there. He is a pest on the bases, so freaking fast. it should be a fun second-half.

It is interesting to note that 13 out of the 40 losses were by 1 run. The 1 run loss was partly attributable to the Sox’s repeated inability to score that run at 3d base with less than 2 outs or similar situations. Many times we saw the Sox could not even score a run with bases loaded and none out in close games. Hopefully that will change after the AS break.
The BP blew too many leads for the starters. The BP has to be improved. Just hope Theo won’t make Gagne-like trade in July.
Seattle has historically been tough place for the Sox. Last time in Seatlle the Sox lost games to Bautista (with ERA above 5) and “rightfully” so to Eric Bedard whom the Sox won’t face this time. The Sox should be able to take 2 out of 3 games in Seattle with Lester, Dice-K, and Buchholz pitching if they do the little fundamentals right.

Why is Wakefield starting against the Angels this weekend? Wakefield is the easiest pitcher to run on. That is what the Angels do best, run run run. There a N.L. team of the 1980’s. Wakefield should be making his first start of the second-half in Seattle not Anaheim.

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