White Knuckle Time

Urgency has reached the Red Sox for the first time in 2008. They lose tonight, and they’re in a very deep hole. Yes, I know they came back from 3-1 in last year’s ALCS, but last time they had a vintage Josh Beckett lined up for Game 5 and a battle-tested Curt Schilling lined up for Game 6.

They need this win tonight and it could come down to which way Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball is floating. Keep in mind, the venerable veteran was in this exact situation once before. The Red Sox trailed the Yankees 2-1 entering Game 4 of the 2003 ALCS and Wakefield came up huge in that game.

But the offense also needs to get going. Jacoby Ellsbury must get on base and Big Papi must start hitting again. If that happens, everything else should fall into place.

One stunning observation from yesterday is how dead the crowd was. And this is even before Lester gave up the longballs. I would expect the crowd would be much livelier tonight, given the situation.

Ian.

244 Comments

Personally I think Crisp should be in the lineup. Also I have a hunch about Casey tonight. I think he comes up with a big pinch hit late in the game. He’ll pinch hit for Cash.

Ortiz needs to go the other way. His timing is way off.

Big difference in 2008 to 2007. Boston doesn’t have the last 2 games in Boston. A cliche’ but literally 1 game at a time! There will be no panic with Francona and that is what makes him a great manager! A sense of urgency for sure….no doubt!

This is the Devil Rays…..Aren’t the Devil Rays going to start Casey Fossum???? Ryan Rupe???? Rolando Arrojo??? John Hallama???? lol…..

We all awiat Papi to hit that elusive big hit but it doesn’t seem to be there. Papi needs to bunt more often. They’re giving him a free pass every time he steps in the box by employing the defensive shift. A couple of bunts or attempts per game will take away the shift and open more holes for him until that swing we’re all use to seeing returns. Let’s play some small ball and score some runs.

A bunt by Ellsbury would be good as well. Ortiz should lay one down. Pena did yesterday. Ortiz came up thru the Minn. system, he knows how to lay one down. For whatever reason, nothing ever seems to be easy for the Red Sox!

The Sox has to play small ball as markslach indicated which I have been saying for long time. Against Sonnastine, every run counts even even in early going. When it is time to bunt, pinch hit, pinch run at the right time, it’s time to do it.
Dave is right Francona is a long series manager, but in-game strategic move is what Franconis is incapable of doing or unwilling to do.

Last night’s game was just a good old fashioned “**** whooping”. There’s no other way to describe it. On the positive side, the bullpen is well rested and could come to Wake’s rescue early if necessary.

For sure, the Sox are not hitting and need to pick that up. Ellsbury, Papi and Tek in particular. I think all of them are zero for the series. Ellsbury is having some good swings, but he’s getting the ball up in the air, which isn’t good for him. Papi has just been horrible. There’s nothing wrong with his timing ….. he’s just trying to yank everything out of the park to right field. He just needs to start using the whole park, especially at Fenway where the wall is within easy reach for him.

The whole season now rests on the shoulders of Wake and Dice-K. The outcome of tonight’s game will be determined on whether Wake can throw his knuckler for strikes. The Rays have proven to be a patient team and I don’t think they’ll swing at a lot of bad pitches. If he starts walking people, they will steal him blind and this game could be over very early.

I was at the game last night — yes, it was a dead crowd. One reason? Every time the Sox got a man into scoring position, the next batter managed to end the inning without a run crossing the plate. It got dispiriting. Even so, booing Tek was quite rude. I am always ashamed of these people.

I have to say that sometimes the playoffs attract a different audience than games during the regular season: fewer families, more sullen adults with other agendas. Yes, we want our team to win every game! But the playoffs have a sense of urgency for fans. I have been fortunate to be a season ticket holder for over 20 years. Probably the most “relaxing” playoff game I have ever attended was the 2004 19-8 blowout by the Yankees in Game 3. Many people left early, but my husband and I decided to stay until the end, as we figured we were saying “goodbye” to Fenway for the year!

Pretty simple for Wakefield tonight, keep the knuckle-ball down. It stays up, it goes a longgg way!

Garry…

Ortiz is hitting alot of pitches at the end of the bat, not squaring anything at all. Nothing is hit hard, I say his timing is off. Swinging and missing as well. Lazy flies, popcorn as they say. Garza blew one right by him and you could see Ortiz’s response, I should have smoked that one. Ortiz had a big grin on his face. I have seen Ortiz smoke many balls to left center ( 379 mark ) at Fenway. Also Ortiz needs to take the walk if it is there. He needs to trust Youk, Bay and Drew! All Ortiz needs to do is too hit one ball really hard and do something good to help the team! Right now….Ortiz is killing them! I have faith in Ortiz, he’ll turn it around. The pen is well rested as you say and that is a good thing. Sox down 5-1 and Francona didn’t want to use any of his productive relievers. Boston needs to score early in this game, I think that is very important. Who will step up tonight???? Someone must show some leadership! Anyone.

When the Sox were down 5-1, the game was over. It was impossible to come back agisnt the Rays bullpen. Maddon won’t allow the Sox to come back. It was time to use Timlin and not Byrd and vice versa in Game 2 when the game was tied. Maddon managed game 2 like it was the 7th game of WS.

Brian, hitting is all timing and hitters do things that cause their timing to be off. In this case, Ortiz is trying to pull everything which usually puts you way ahead of pitches causing weak fly balls, roll over grounders, and looking bad on off speed pitches. The bottom line is that he has to quit thinking pull and start thinking whole ball park. He doesn’t need to bunt, but if he hits the ball to left field a couple of times on the ground and causes some damage, he’ll make the defense be more honest in their positioning which will open up the right side of the field more for him.

WINTER JOBS FOR THE SOX (cheer you up)

Shawn Casey
Reporter: So who do you work for?
Shawn said, ?Ah?Ellen.?
Reporter: ?What do you do for Ellen??
Shawn, with a nervous smile said, ?Ah?night work.?
Reporter leaning in and asked, ?is that a dog collar around your throat?
Shawn looked down at the carpet and said, ?Ah?I think you?d better leave now. Ellen doesn?t like it when I talk to people. ?
Ellen screams, ?Casey are you talking to a reporter!?
Reporter runs out screaming after Ellen runs in with a cattle prod.
$$$
Dustin Pedroia.
Reporter ?So you do a volunteer boot camp at the South Pole.?
Dustin, fit, sharp and confident said, ?Ya, it?s intense, I mean 50 below zero with only some long underwear on and sandals with just tents for the night, no showers and high insanity rate, but it really toughens you up.?
Reporter: ?does it work??
Dustin, looking down at the carpet said, ?Ah?it?ah has problems.?
Reporter: ?How many participants do you have in the program??
Dustin looks up at the ceiling and finger counts.
Dustin said, ?Ah, out of fifty, I?m the only one left. ?
Reporter sits there and stares at Dustin.
Reporter, ?does that speak of a really bad idea??
Dustin smiles through his dentures and said, ?nobody calls me short anymore?do they!?
Reporter gets up and walks away, ?Well?I think I?ll go now.?
Dustin shouting, ?wimp!?
$$$
Julio Lugo
Reporter, ?so you work as a lifeguard at a nude resort.?
Lugo said, ?ya, I enjoy it. You have to be?selective on whom you rescue and you know?sometimes they just don?t want to be rescued?rather drown. Actually most demand suicide. Strange place.?
Reporter: ?Why is that??
Lugo said, ?I have?no idea. Do you??
Reporter, ?Could it be the sex change operation??
Lugo, ?Doubt it?but I gotta tell ya, I probably should have picked a doctor with an actual medical license.?
Reporter runs out screaming.
$$$
Mike Lowell
Reporter, ?Mike, how?s the rehab??
Mike, ?boring. You ever watched Oprah and daytime TV. I hate it. I want to get out and do skyjumping and running and all that. I want to be tough.?
Reporter, ?you seem nervous.?
Mike, ?Sorry, Oprah?s having a real special episode today and then Judge Judy comes on. You have to hurry up. We have only five minutes.?
Reporter, ?don?t you think TV?s a waste of your time.?
Mike, ?We have to go now. I forgot that Days Of Our Lives is on.?
$$$
J.D. Drew
Drew ?I work construction. We build houses and buildings and stuff. Nasty work.?
Reporter ?Isn?t that tough on an already weakened back?
Drew ?ah?hey is that the reason I have so many back problems?
Reporter ?could be.?
Drew ?Hey, that?s it. I quit tomorrow. I?m going to work in a grocery story loading crates!?
Reporter ?You just do that!?
Drew ?Ya!?
$$$
Jason Varitek
Jason is in his room. All the walls are covered in equations and names and places. He looks blank at the reporter.
Jason ?Have to figure it out. How Lackey, the moon landing and margarine French fries are tied into the Central government collapse. I?m close. I?m really close.?
Reporter ?Do you do this often??
Jason ?Only when I stop taking my medication. Medication makes me not think right. I have to tell Garry all of this.?
Reporter ?Who?s Gary??
Jason ?He?s the leader of the U.F.O. attack that?s going to happen in Sandusky Ohio when Saturn?s moon Iris beams a tacion pulse towards the earth.?
Reporter? I think I?d better go now.?
Jason, ?fine?I have to contact Gary this afternoon. Gary will tell me what to do. He will.?
$$$
Josh Beckett.
Reporter ?Josh, do you think cutting vegetables in a hot and sweaty kitchen is good therapy??
Josh ?I have too. Arnie?s a mad man. He?ll kill me. He?ll kill me. Oh ya, nice sweet guy?but I know the difference now. I have shackles on my legs and a back full of lash marks. He?s a monster!?
Arnie, ?Josh?you piece?oh hi!?
Josh runs in the corner.
Arnie, ?Josh is our best worker. We?re so proud of his playoff performance pitching here. We know he tried his best. All forgiven.?
Reporter, ?he looks scared.?
Mike Timlin bolts in. He?s in ratty clothes and a scared frightened face. He kneels down to Arnie.
Mike ?Oh great one. Trash is emptied. I tried. I tried really hard.?
Arnie ?There are five more loads of garbage. Move it!?
Arnie turns to reporter.
Arnie ?It gives them something to do in the winter time.?
Reporter, ?do you think that you might be a little rough on them??
Arnie, looking all smiles said, ?they guys are so dramatic you know. I?m really a nice guy?honest! It?s not like I hold grudges!?
Reporter nods. Bob Stanley runs in rags and an emaciated look on his face.
?I washed?I washed all the dishes master Arnie.?
Arnie leans down. ?Tell Buckner I want to see him. The clothes look dirty to the eye and I found dust on my pencil head!?
Bob looks in welting tears and cries on the ground.
Arnie, ?clean it up. I don?t like the looks of this filth in my kitchen.?
Bob looks up, ?I didn?t mean to throw the wild pitch!?
Arnie leans down.
Arnie ?That?s what they all say.?

Let’s hear what Francona has to say about Becket and Timlin. He wanted Beckett to pitch 5 inings to get the bull pen ready. He just wanted to use Timlin for one inning and let Byrd pitch. I know there is no use to dwell on game 2 loss. But all I want to say Beckett was the biggest problem and Francona completely forgot or din’t know how to manage a close game.

ARNIE?S RESTAURANT. (all in good fun)

?Hello, I?m Arnie. Do you have baseball players who really need an attitude adjustment? Does your team break your heart? Send them to Arnie?s re-education kitchen. Don?t believe me, just ask the participants.
Bill Buckner
?When I cried on that field that day?it just was such a relief. I?ve been in his program since 1986 and this year I was free. I was free! No more of those @#$# potatoes and his whip!?
Jacobe Ellsbury.
?After the hitting slump, I took myself to volunteer for the program. I guess I need to go back?I?m not hitting anymore but those blasted garlic bulbs. Arnie has me use a razor blade to peal them off and then use a butter knife to cut the onions?but it?s worth it.?
?There you have it, ?said Arnie. ?Satisfied customers and there are more!?
John MacNamara
?Well, when Arnie drilled holes in my head?I wasn?t too happy?but now?Thanks Arnie. I?m told I?ll be free from peeling pumpkin seeds with a spoon by 2020. He?s the best.?
Arnie in parking lot.
?So if you feel like your ballplayers are idiots, send them here. They?ll be begging to come back!

I don’t have a problem with the way Francona handled Beckett any more than I have a problem with the way he handled Lester. Those are two guys who can turn it up any time and they are the best the Sox have to offer, so he has to have some faith in them. Unfortunately, pitching staffs aren’t set up for extra inning games or for situations where your starter gets racked early. As far as Timlin is concerned, the walks hurt. What do you expect from a guy who hasn’t pitched in a couple of weeks? Tito gave his best shot to winning in regulation. After that, it’s a coin flip, and it’s not like the Sox didn’t have chances.

Having Beckett start the inning is o.k. with me. My problem was having Beckett face Longoria. Beckett should have been lifted. Timlin shouldn’t be on the roster because he hasn’t pitched well all season. He is dead weight on this roster! I don’t know of anyone that thought having Timlin on the roster was a good idea. That being said, I hope he proves me dead wrong if he has too pitch again.

Time for the Boston bats to wake up!

Dave, You are a HOOT!!!!! Oh my God…. I called my husband at work to have him read this!!!! Too freaking funny!!!

I’m having a good feeling about tonight, I don’t know why but I think that we’ll even this out.
For some reason I think that they ought to play Casey tonight, (not because of what Dave wrote). I think that some different blood in the lineup might spark something…
I wonder if they had the closed door/players only meeting today like they did last year\??
I got all my results today when I took my physical. Blood pressure near normal(damn good thing they dont take it during on of our games!!) My cholesterol is down 50 points to a normal reading, heart and lungs okay!! In other words “Sean Casey LOOK OUT!!!!”
Well, I’m at work and my break is done, so I’ll talk to you guys later!!!!
I STILL DO BELIEVE!!!!

The difference between Beckett and Lester is that Beckett’s velocity is down and lack of command for whatever resaon. When Beckett surrendered HRs to righties like Longoria and Upton, it was sign that Beckett had trouble with his pitches. Lester’s problem yesterday was simply a matter of location. Francona had no way knowing that Lester would give up 3 run HR to Upton. The game was pretty much over by then. Unlike Beckett, I agree that Francona should leave Lester there to save the bull pen. My concern is that Lester may be little fatigued for the innings pitched.

Ellen,
Thanks for your comments. I wrote two and both were a riot for me. It really relieved me from the tension of the last two days.
007chow,
Excellent points. Lester’s tough though. I think we’ll be O.K. — just like the stock market — ya OK. (LOL)

Red Sox
1. J.D. Drew, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Mark Kotsay, 1B
7. Coco Crisp, CF
8. Kevin Cash, C
9. Jed Lowrie, SS

Francona juggling the lineup, looking for the right combo. Good move to have Ellsbury sit. He can be used late in the game as a pinch runner. Ideal situation for Ellsbury to pinch run, right after Ortiz drives in 2 runs late in the game! I can feel it. Casey with a pich hit as well. Time for Boston to grab back some momentum!

Let’s go Red Sox!!

As reported in my blog earlier today, old friend Trot Nixon will be throwing out tonight’s Ceremonial First Pitch. Let’s hope the dirt dog lights a little fire under the boys! I can’t wait to hear the ovation old #7 gets!

sorry, in case you wanted to read my blog entry where I broke the news about Trot, you can read it here: http://redsoxinsider.mlblogs.com/

Redsosxinsider…. I COULD JUST KISS YOU!!!!! OKay I dont know you but, you just told me that MY OL DIRT DAWG will be throwing out the cermonial 1st pitch….I hope that TBS shows this… Thank you for the info…
and Hey DAVE, don’t tell Sean and Dustin, okay??!!
Now I have a couple of baseball-not baseball related things to talk about…
We have Wake pitching tonight, right?? We have a FULL MOON over the Fens, and Trot is in the House!! maybe the Gods are aligning all these things as a way of telling us things’ll be good tonight!!!!
I’m taking a vote…. Mantra tonight or no Mantra tonight??

RedSoxinsider, How do I get PERMISSION to blog on your site?? I never came up against that until recently.. Whats up with that??

hmmm….no idea. I’m no blog expert. I’ll try to get in touch with my contacts who run these sites and see if they can let me know? What kind of error message are you getting? send me an email: insider@redsox.com and I’ll see if we can figure it out.
PS – Trot was just on NESN talking to TC, Remy, and Rice. He seems really excited to be here, and very nostalgic of all the great times he had there. Good stuff.

It wasnt an error message, I got on there and read what you wrote and wanted to comment, but it said “You do not have permission to comment on this blog”… I was just going to thank you again!!!

I wish I could have seen it but I havent got NESN on my package after regular season…. I DO hope TBS oesnt give me a Craig Sader fashion show instead of seeing The Trot!!! oh and that girl in the office, tell her to watch out.. She’ll have a fight on her hands!! lol!!!!!

Anyone catch Ken Rosenthal’s article on foxsports.com? If you need a good laugh, I suggest you do. His opening line in the article says ” The Red Sox look very white”. I can’t believe someone would even write an article like this. This is the 21st century. Remember it was Ken Rosenthal that went on the air with the A-Rod story while the Sox were ready to clinch the World Series. I think Rosenthal might have something personal against the Red Sox. Perhaps he hit his head somewhere along the way. If I was the Red Sox, I wouldn’t be too happy! I think this guy is wayyyyyyyyyy out of line!

Ian…

Your thoughts????

Last year during the ALCS didnt Millar throw out the 1st pitch for one of the games???? I think that the FO is as superstitious as I am!!!!
I had to run in and change shirts… I am PROUDLY wearing my #7 NIXON navy blue t-shirt….
Brian, mantra or no mantra….

I didnt get any votes either way so I’m going to go ahead and do whatI’ve been doing for the past 2 1/2 months..
IDOBELIEVE, IDOBELIEVE, IDO, IDO, IDO, IDOBELIEVE!!!
ILOVEMYSOX!!!!!!
LET’SGOREDSOXLET’SGO!!!!! CLAPCLAPCLAP!!!!
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Oh by the way, on the menu tonight??
Devilray cocktail with a special “redsox”sauce.
charbroiled devilray filet with peppa corn sauce
and humble devilray pie alamode!!!!

What the hell, I’m hearing “BOO”S” coming from the Fenway “faithful” for Wake??? That sucks

Wake is obviously gonna need some real big run support now!!! down 2-0……..
COME ON WAKE!!!!

Go Wakefield!

I think that we’ll see Masterson in the 2nd inning….

A horrible start!

Okay, one inning down. Let’s see some hits

Time for the bats to get things going! It is early but…The crowd looks stunned.

I think he’ll still be in.

Come On Dustin!!!!

Wakefield doesn’t seem to have it. They are killing him. Francona has to make a decision. He doesn’t really have a long middle reliever. He could conceivably have DiceK come in and try to salvage this game and rely on Beckett and Lester for the next two. Or he can leave Wakefield in and go as far as he can albeit the Devilrays running up the score. There is some chance, though probably slim to none , that wakefield could straighten out.
It looks like we may eventually have our backs against the wall and have to take the next three. We have done it before.
Let’s hope that the Sox don’t give up and go through the motions until the next game. We have to get something going- even if it’s only one run at a time.
Ortiz still is trying to pull the ball. Tito ought to sit down and talk to him. Somebody has to wise up or it’s going to be a long night.

OKay Wake seems to be settling down… better late thn never, huh??

You shouldn’t say that, you’ll jinx him, lol. You know how temperamental that knuckleball can get! haha

Oooh….this could be a long night. Cmon SOX !!!!!!

Brian, I skimmed that article and it seems like KR is taking an easy slant to a story. It’s race-baiting BS but if it sells he can get a quick little bit of “controversy” and attention. It would be nice if that kind of trash didn’t sell anymore and we could move on. But it’s just way too easy to stir up emotions with race “journalism”. He could as easily complain that there aren’t enough Jews in the NBA. It’s absurd. I can hear it now, “Oy! Abe, these schwartzes are HUGE!! I vas mishuganna to sign mit dis NBA! Oy! Oy!”

JBAY hits again!!!

MAN!!!! Cant we just get a break?????

Dang.

Arnie., Between you and Dave, you are keeping up the spirits of the Nation…. TOO FUNNY!!!!

Another lost opportunity to get on the board. Let’s get things going – keep trying!!!

Did youk catch that pop by Longoria>> He looked like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar!!!

“A” for effort from Wake….

I’m losing my belief… Tito has to take Wake out now…. These guys cant over come Mount Everest…… Put in Masterson, PLEASE

Tito should have mercy on Wakefield. He’s getting pounded. Anytime anyone gets on first it’s an automatic steal. If he leaves him in , we don’t have any hope of turning the game around. Five runs is a lot to come back from, but we can do it if we hold them down. Do something Tito–anything!!

Now to try and overcome the damage…. JBay and Kotsay are hot can they go and (don’t get hinky on me here guys) touch the other guys Like Papi, Dustin and the like??? Maybe it’ll rub off on them!!

Lol, Ellen, you really set yourself up for one, but I won’t say anything hahaha

Wow,
The last few games these guys have pounded fastballs, skiders, curves, knuckleballs and whatever else our staff has thrown at them. We have had some success in stretches but these guys can hit and they are not intimidated. I am proud of the Sox so far over the entire season but I am equally impressed with this Rays team. Okay Ellen, DEVILRAYS, DEVILRAYS, DEVILRAYS. The Sox are going to have to fight back…it will not be handed to them.

Way to go KC!!!!!! Go and touch Lowrie!!!

This guy does not look all that sharp. Get into some hitter’s counts and tee off. Way to go Cash.

Knuckleballer Wakefield left his fighting spirit with Cash, lol.

We need to hold these guys…..if some of these balls find a hole the game could get exciting.

I’m not giving up just yet. The Sox do this every time in the ALCS since Tito took over. The stupid rays look invincible now but you never know. That’s my new mantra: YOU NEVER KNOW! YOU NEVER KNOW! YOU NEVER KNOW! Cmon Ellen give me a “YOU NEVER KNOW” OK all together now…………….

Garry/Jeff,
If you are out there….Is Masterson going to be a starter next year?

Did you see that “water” bottle that Francona had??? I’m betting he got some of Brian’s Grey Goose stash!!!

He’s got the Grey Goose mixed with Maalox. I feel for him, I’d be a nervous wreck.

I hope that he has a bottle of whoop-***!!!!

This “professional broadcast” team has us completely counted out!!!! That’s a good thing mentally, I think. maybe the Sox can adopt the “We’ll show you” attitude.
One thing that I do find truly AMAZING about the DEVILRAYSDEVILRAYSDEVILRAYS, is their ease when it comes running the bases… I would have thought it rather difficult to run with such ease when you have all those lips securely planted on their butts!!!!

Time to make this pitcher sweat one out.

If he has that bottle of whoop a+s=s It needs to be uncorked NOW!!!!!

If Francona isn’t drinking, he should be. lol. I know I would be. LOL!!

Masterson looking solid out there. He’s doing his job. Ortiz needs to start it right here and right now.

Ortiz is the definition of frustration. You would see his photo if you looked it up in the dictionary.

Youk has smoked 2 balls but nothing to show for it. I guess that is baseball.

Do you think it would work for Papi, if Youk dressed out like Zazu??? You know some really baggy pants, maybe a water bottle in th eback pocket and some dreads??? Maybe we could fool him..

Ellen..

What would work for Ortiz if he got his head out of his a–. Ortiz looks like Mo Vaughn back in the 1995 playoffs! A big 0 fer.

Yeah, I know….
Now Martinez (you know. Ol Buck Buck why dont you go, nrver mind) is saying that Masterson threw at Eva intentionally!!! What an a__S-s

lol

Go Sox!!

Come on Mark “H”otsay!!!! get hit bubba!!!

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a halloween mask of Zazu floating around. Someone should check the LA area. It should be a big ticket item there. I could just see Papi getting up and Youk coming out in the batter’s circle. It might get a laugh out of Papi and break the ice.

Good idea Phil!!

Losing is one thing but going down without a fight is not good! I didn’t think that when game #2 ended it would have this effect. T.B. with lots and lots of momentum. Isn’t Boston supposed to be the veteran team? The team with the experience? I dunno about that one!

The Red Sox look like a team that is out of gas. Boston is lifeless. T.B. looks like they just filled up the tank and raring to go!

Consider this a scream: DAVE ARNIE BRIAN!!! WE NEED A RANT AND WE NEED A GOOD ONE NOW!!!!! HELP!!!!!!!!!

Why do the camera guys like to get extreme close-ups of players spitting 10 times, or those super close-ups of a pitcher’s nose hairs. Is that necessary?? Especially now with the HD TVs. There should be a rule for that one. We could call it the “3 strike rule”, you know, 3 close-ups of grossness and you’re done. The umps picking their schnozzes gets me the most. Some of those dudes dig deep!! That should be the “one strike” rule.

Who would start on Thursday?? Dice K on short rest??? Beckett??

The Rays are working the count, getting into hitter’s counts, and not missing the pitch when they get one. They are hitting with two outs. They are getting good quality starts and their bullpen is doing okay when they have had to use them. Remind of a team we used to know in Boston?

Ugly!

Time for a crani-rectomy check!!! Get your heads out of your anal abyss’…. Do you realize that Arod and Jeter are calling your people to set up a foursome challenge with y’all and they are laughing while they are doing it???? That’s all youre going to have to fill your time starting next week if you dont do something soon… like YESTERDAY soon!!! Get over your big wallets and deep freakin pockets and get the freakin bat in your rich a-s-s hands and hit the PH-u c ch ing ball!!!!

Maybe if I say something it will stop!

Time to bring in the cannon fodder- get Timlin up (truly sad but true)!!

I’m not a good ranter, I like to think positive. But I DO know about cooking and I can tell you: these Sox are COOKED!!! Stick a fork in them ’cause they’re done. It’s all over but the crying my friends. Tek, Papi, Cash, Ellsbury, Lowrie,…none of ‘em can hit. And the pitching!!! Don’t get me started on that! Can we get a strike over the corner??? Just one?? Not two feet outside or straight down the middle , but a good Major League strike over the CORNER!!! Paint the black. Ever hear of that guys??? Huh? Huh? Read my lips: NO MORE WALKS!! OK, I’m done! Stupid Sox! Stupid rays! Stupid umps! Idiotic fans! You can take ‘em ALL and stick ‘em where the sun refuse to shine!!

Ok, Ellen?

Arnie, the one I hate is when they show the player that needs to adjust himself only when the camera is on him…Reggie Jackson used to do that ALOT!!

Yep…..It’s Timlin time in Boston.

I hate to say it… I can’t say it…..

The only sad thing about this is….I’ll watch this mess to the end.

What the hell is Del Carmen still doing in there????

Sorry I meant Lopez!

Arnie, Dave, Help!! my rose colored glasses are starting to become clear… I NEED HELP!!

bosoxbrian
I did my ranting about game 2 Saturday and yesterday and was chastised by some. Regretably, what I dreaded would happen to the Sox, because of the momentum shift, came to pass. We can only hope that the next game we will get a break, caused by TB, that will turn things around. The Sox have got to try and put the past behind them and play one game at a time. One break could do it. We have done it before and we can do it again. “REMEMBER THE YANKEES” (akin to “REMEMBER THE ALAMO”) should be our battlecry.

Phil?? I didnt chastise you… would you do a rant for me??? Please??

We are going to have to get some pitching. Remember….we only saw this team 18 times. At least I did when watching them play the Sox. They won 97 games and it wasn’t playing the same teams the Angels were playing. This team is good and I have a feeling they did a lot of this against good teams when we weren’t watching. Unfortunately the Sox pitching and hitting took a bad time to not show up. They just look like a bunch of my guys who came back from Iraq with nothing left in the tank in 2004. Hopefully they’ll snap out of it.

Toast anyone???

Everyone,
I think that Sox fans at the next game(s) should make up great big signs that show “REMEMBER THE YANKEES”. Even if TB beats us we will be reminding the Yanks what happened before. Jabbing the Yankees, even in defeat, would offset some of the pain. What say you???

My “spirit” tank is running on fumes.

The Sox need to make a go of it the last 3 innings of this game because if they give up….I fear it will carry on to game 5. Make a stinking effort here.

Pagelotti……

Only thing Boston can hang there hats on is the off day tomm. Hoping and praying that off day will cool off the red hot Rays. Never ever thought I would write that. Last year Cleveland won game 4 and put the Tribe up 3-1 and then the off day. Of course a big difference the last 2 games are on the road this year and Beckett took the mound for game 5.

This is the only time Timlin should pitch!

Delcarmen should be very embarrassed with his performance. Dreadful……He just plain old sucked!

I never knew Sonnastine is the next Don Drysdale. I never knew. LOL!! He has handcuffed the Red Sox! I remember going to a game in St. Pete last year where Boston smoked him! T.B. looks like the 27 Yankees and the Red Sox look like the 62 Mets. LOL!!

At least those signs would show the Sox fans aren’t giving up and maybe it’ll carry over to the team. Big papi looked lifeless running arounfd the bases. Nice triple but it looked like he wanted to stop at second.

Well, Papi woke up! C’mon Youk.

This looks a lot like last year’s series, but again, THESE are NOT the Indians. These kids can play.

Hey, Papi hit a triple! Awesome! That’s what I’m talking about! Go down with a fight!! Take it to ‘em Sox! You can do it!

cfarn…

The entire team looks lifeless!

Is it just me, or is Eric Hinske getting the last laugh?

Like I said they need to start hitting in these last 3 innings…..they need to take it to game 5. Keep hitting!!!!!!

I am smelling a comeback. LOL!!

I wonder which of these Rays players will be playing for either the Sox or the Yanks in the years to come.

Brain,
They need to get some good rips in before this game is over. Show some life.

Jimmy…

Hopefully Upton…Price….Longoria….lol.

I meant Brian….although I am sure you a smart!!!!

I think T.B. should bring Timlin in, just to make it look a little interesting. lol. That is the only way the Sox could win this one!

Jimmy,
I was just thinking about that….with the lack of fans in TB they will surely not be able to afford some of these guys come free agent time. Can you say Marlins???

cfarn…

Calling me smart? Not I. LOL!! I am smart enough to know that Timlin should be watching like me. Also smart enough too never count out the Red Sox. A grand canyon size of a hole but stranger things have happened, haven’t they? This series is not over!

Francona set up his rotation to have his 3 best pitchers pitch the last 3 games.

Like most Sox fans….I have blind faith but this year I might need a seeing eye dog….

Well…..we asked for it and here he is. Probably a 1-2-3 inning now that we are 9 runs down!!!!

Timlin is in, amen! I am here in St. Pete…I wonder if I will be able to catch one of his longballs? LOL!! A solid career but Timlin should have retired after last year.

Oh yeah. But they’ll keep these kids for a year or two and then there’ll be a fire sale.

Well,
So much for 1-2-3…..oh well.

Brian. I’m here in El Paso, and I caught Aybar’s homer after it cleared Gold’s Gym.

I’ll say one thing….Kotsay has been a gamer over at first base.

Nice try, J.D……

Longoria is signed to a long term deal. Kazmir…Shields…Pena….are as well. Upton and Crawford not yet. I think T.B. has a window for a few years.

Jimmy….

Alot of longballs heading west! lol. I think I could have hit one tonight. What the hey happened to Boston pitching?

We are making Aybar look like Lou Gherig…..never mind…all the Rays look like the 1927 Yankees. They are hungry and it shows.

cfarn…

It is as easy as 1-2-3- if your T.B.

T.B. is the 1927 Yankees and the Red Sox are the 1962 N.Y. Mets.

Been awhile since I commented here so here goes. This offseason the Sox need to hire a new hitting coach. Magaden just isn’t working this year, just look at all the awful swings the Sox take not only in this series but all year. Ortiz (no longer Papi) should have bunted constantly earlier in the year when the third basemen is playing behind second base. Then teams would be so quick to shift on him. Coco and Tek have two of the worst swings I have ever seen in baseball from the left side. They don’t look half as bad from the right. Solution they shouldn’t be switch hitting when they are stuggling to hit 200.

Nice one Brian….if I was in Florida right now I would already be in my 2nd hour of sleep!!!!!! I am just staying up because it’s still early here.

When this series started I thought all the games would be very close and low scoring. What was I thinking. lol.

Ellen,
I wasn’t referring to you. We both know how we feel about the Sox and wouldn’t criticize each other for criticizing a player, a manager or an umpire- that’s what baseball is all about. I guess some people really don’t know the game. Baseball fans rant all the time. Sometimes we hope that a player or a manager listen to the fans- they might learn something.

I agree about Tek’s swing. He is slower with the bat and instead of toning down his swing he seems to have gotten longer with it.

Batting practice. Well, maybe we can do a 2004/2007 comeback? Uh… not so sure. So, last time in a Sox uni for Wake and Timlin? I sure like Lowry at short for the long term. Even Manny wouldn’t have made a difference the last two games….

cfarn…

I can’t sleep with all these crazy Rays fans around here in St. Pete. Everyone has a cowbell. Even when they deliver mail. LOL! I mean everyone has a cowbell.

Pedroia is a grinder…no doubt about it.

And Francoma has to learn what a sac bunt is. These idiot commentators keep mentioning that extra inning game as a turning point for the Rays. Well in the eight inning of that game the Sox had men on first and second with no outs with Youk up. If he had sac bunted instead of hitting into a double play that game would have completly different.

Jimmy…

If the Sox cloned Manny 6 times maybe they would have had a chance.

Timlin is done like dinner, then again I thought that about 2 years ago. Wakefield perhaps 1 more season. Varitek….2 yr. deal maybe. I think Boston makes a run at Texeria.

I would expect cowbells in Texas, not FLA.

I’m not crazy about Texiera. Not sure why.

Brian,
I grew up in Vermont. Saw and heard a crap load of cow bells. What the heck is the signifigance of the cowbells down there. Shouldn’t they all have boat horns or suck on oranges or something??????

Don’t need Texeria. We have Youk at first and Lowell at third for at least two more years. We need a slugger again in the middle of that order.

Jimmy….

St. Pete is yahoo ville. Front runners. Yankee rooters are now T.B. fans. Isn’t that funny how that works. lol. I know a few of them in St. Pete. Cowbells are common around here.

agenv86…

Theo likes Texeria. Boston will look into him for sure.

See that….this needs to carry to the next game.

I am guessing Texeria ends up a Yankee. They will pay big bucks to get him.

cfarn…

I agree with you. They have a guy in the bleachers and he is called the “cowbell kid” blue wig and all. I can’t make this stuff up.

I sure like Kotsay. Guys like him and Youk are tough to beat. Get well, Mikey.

agenv86…

I agree he’ll be a Yankee but Boston will go after him and the Mets. It must be tough to be Texeria. Not!

If Boston goes after Texiera, they will have to trade Lowell and right now he is damaged goods and about 34 years old.I certainly would not have a problem with Yook at third and Texiera at first and with Zazu gone the money is there. It will be interesting. The Yankees are hungry too. The off-season war is not far away. I just hope our off-season does not start this week!!!!!

I was amazed at the number of bandwagon riders that filled the seats in St. Pete, Brian. Last year we spent sime time with my bro in Cocoa Beach and we had NO problem getting tickets to some Sox games there. Looks like a full house now. Even Dick Vitale seems tickled.

I don’t feel very confident about a repeat of last year but if somehow DiceK can not self destruct in game 5 and the Sox win it. Think about Beckett then Lester in games 6 and 7?? We can dream…

OK Sox. Let’s get some runs- at least we might be able to carry our hitting into the next few games. GO SOX! GO SOX! Let’s wipe out the DEVILRAYS!!! (The ranting OK Ellen??)

Brian,
The Rays are a MLB team with a minor league fan base. Ha Ha. I could be wrong about that but….the “Cow Ball” Kid. Wow!!!!! Blue Hair????? Oh well…we have Wally so maybe I’d better be quiet!!!!! BTW….Where the heck is Wally now???????

Imagine Manny in pinstripes next season…..

Beckett needs to hit his spots if he gets that chance because the Rays are hitting every mistake that comes to the plate. They are hot!!!!!

Wally’s out in the Monster taking a leak.

You go Pangelotti.

And Stephen King is asleep with a book in his lap.

Matsuzaka, Boston’s ACE?!!! Whoa!

I thought that was ZAZU who used to take leaks in the monster!!!!! Do they have a place for him in LA to take leaks and answer cell phones during pitching changes?

Joe Torre’s office….

Well,
Even things are bleak tonight, it’s fun that you guys are making me laugh my butt off….at least you all have a sense of humor. The “Cow Ball Kid” with Bliue Hair…..

Maybe Timlin should have started this game….

If the Sox come back and win….Timlin gets the win and he won’t retire.

If Ellen is sleeping she misses her chance to see her beau at the plate.

I wasnt asleep , but I think ny get up and go, got up and went!!!

8 straight balls with a 9-run lead…..that would drive me nuts!!!! Right now I’m liking it!!!

I don’t know about you guys but I get a measure of satisfaction seeing Joe Torre enjoying another playoff run while A-Rod and Jeter play golf.

Jimmaynard.. you’re well travelled I think… In Florida we haveTons O’cows!!! isnt that a store?? Tons O’ Cow.. a meat markey I think, lol…..

Not to mention Nomah, Derek and Manny….

Yes, Ellen, you are correct. But to be quite honest to you, in all my FLA visits, I’ve NEVER seen a cow. I don’t imagine there are many in Cocoa Beach and Ft. Myers… Never saw any in St. Pete, either. ‘Cept for some wearing Rays jerseys.

Well,
Once again the backs are up against the wall…..Come on Dice-K. Shut these guys down again.

Well, let’s cross our fingers for a 3-game run. There will be 150 of the Nation represented at Brew’s Sports Pub in West El Paso on Thursday (our usual weekly gathering for Sox chat and mayhem). Go Sox!! ‘Night all my East Coast pals!

I heard the alligators and crocs take care of the cows.

I hear they have cow-eating snakes and cockroaches too(they call them Palmetto Bugs but a cockroach is a cockroach no matter how big it is).

WINTER JOBS FOR THE SOX (for those who need a laugh)

Manny Delcarman
Reporter asked, ?so what do you do this winter.?
Manny, ?Well, I decided not just to take a job but to entertain?after all the opposing teams says how often they?re entertained when I step on the mound. I decided to record some music.?
Reporter, ?say again??
Manny said, ?well, I took a long time to pick a sound so I decided to sing Fleetwood Mac. I did all the voices and the girls I did in falsetto you know layering the tracks. That was fun ya know and I played all the instruments ? boy guitar is hard. Anyway, I came out with Manny Delcarman and Fleetwood Mac!?
Reporter asked, ?how has it gone for you??
Manny said, ?I have such a huge following with the deaf and hard of hearing. I mean they are so loyal to me. Hospice units really love the music. ?
Reporter says, ?well I can surely understand their feelings there in the matter.?
Manny says, ?you?ve got to go?where your talent is in high demand.?
Reporter says, ?ya well you certainly have a following!?
Manny whispers and say, ?next I?m doing Janet Jackson and Christine Aguilera duets. That will tear the house apart.?
Reporter says, ?ya I can see that happening.?
Manny winks his eye and said, ?I?ve got to go. Big, big audience tonight!?
$$$
Terry Francona.
Terry said, ?I decided that I had so many funny stories and tales to tell that it just made sense to do a comedy act so I chose the North End Comedy Club. They really were excited about it.
Reporter asks, ?really so they took you on??
Terry said, ?ya well I needed some time to work out the act but then decided, I?ll just wing it. I mean, my favorite is when I tell the story of how John Lackey was pitching and I thought it would be fun to send Kevin Cash up there?but I called him Johnny Cash?even though his name was Johnny you know?well you had to be there.?
Reporter asks, ?so how did it go opening night.?
Terry said, ?it was a sold out, standing room only crowd. It was so great that the Club put out a huge, and I mean huge publicity campaign, gave me a huge contract?I mean?this was big.?
Reporter says, ?so you perform Monday through Friday.?
Terry said, ?oh?they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.?
Reporter said, ?they did what??
Terry said, ?well, the crowds you know. It was sold out the first night and then nobody came after that and actually tried to get their money back on the tickets.?
Reporter said, ?that must have been awful.?
Terry leans forward, ?things happen. Everybody said they left five minutes after I started because of a tornado warning in downtown Boston. Blasted Tornadoes.?
Reporter said, ?really??
Terry leaned in and said, ?funny thing was there was no tornado. ?
Reporter said, ?No!?
Terry said, ?yes!?
Terry leaned forward and said, ?so I think I?m just going to chill out in Florida and watch the World Series. Ya?that?s my future?watching the other guys.?
Reporter, ?wait till next year.?
Terry said, ?ya that joke didn?t work out well with the crowds.?
Reporter, ?well, see ya next year.?
Terry said, ?oh that joke didn?t work out either.?
Reporter shrugs his head and leaves. Terry shouts, ?how about the joke about the diamond that doesn?t shine because it?s a baseball diamond and it?s actually brown instead of white. That didn?t work out either!?

I don’t envy the position Matsuzaka is in for the next game. There’s a lot of pressure to pitch well and pitch deep, and that hasn’t exactly happened that often.

But as usual, I’m rooting for him, lol.

Sometimes DiceK pitches best under pressure- usually one that is self-imposed eg., two or three walks, and then manages to get out of it. If he follows this philosophy, and starts off right away being under pressure,i.e., from the very first pitch, he may pull it off. We can only hope so- there is no other place to go except on vacation until next spring. Let’s hope for the best. GO Sox.

What’s wrong with this series? Injuries, lack of hitting let alone timely hitting from the lefties, our No. 3 hitter is a waste and a clog on the base, questionable roster move (no viable righty off the bench instead opted for Timlin so not to hurt his feeling), and pitching rotation. The last and not the least dubious in-game managerial move.
Too much have been said about Game 2. I don’t care what you think and how you defend Francona, Francona completely messed up or mismanaged Game 2. The series should be tied instead of the Sox are down 3-1 at worst.
Wakefield should not be in the rotation to begin with at all. This is not hindsight. Wakefield was throwing batting practice in the first inning. Batting practice? No. The first inning was like Pizza Hut Softball game for Wake. Wake should have been pulled in the first inning and yet he was allowed to pitch in the second until the game was out of reach.
However, I am thankful that Dice-K will be pitching game 5 facing elimination. What’s funny is that Dice-K was the No.1 starter by necessity not by choice. Beckett our ace could be pitching game 5. God bless Beckett. I am still hopeful. Dice-K will pitch another gem and Lester in Game 6 if Francona is thinking like a championship manger. What infuriated me is we know something is wrong with Beckett. And Yet Francona, Farrell, and Beckett act like there is nothing wrong, A-Ok, ha ha ha. There is no sense of urgency. I don’t mean panicking.
Wake up Red Sox lineup! Wake up Francona!

The Sox lineup is consisted of of Dustin, Kevin and Jason not Veritek. The rest can go home and play golf.
Mr. Francona why did you let Wake to start 2d inning to turn a 3 run deficit to 5 run deficit? Did you ever learn from Game 2? Do you realize the Rays pitching is not like that those of CWS and Minn?

Francona almost blew game 1 by letting Dice-k pitch in the 8th. Dice-K never pitched more than 5 innings against the Rays in the regular season. The Sox could easily be swept away by the Rays. On the bright side, the Sox were in the same situation before in 2004 and 2007. But this is not the same team.

007chow,
I agree with you on Wake. He was a walking disaster but the pitching staff in general has been sweating it. Lester blew a game, Beckett destroyed a game and right now has he has all season, Dice-K attacks the mound.
Certainly Francona does not come across as someone with a mastery of the pitching staff. Personally, Francona’s strengths are:
1) He keeps the clubhouse gossip quiet
2) He is a season/series manager and not a game manager
3) He keeps morale high
4) He’s loyal to his players and preserves their dignity.
Weaknesses
1) Sometimes he doesn’t pull the plug fast enough but it’s a gamble. Sometimes when he does that it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
2) He tends to leave pitchers in too long but face it — we don’t have 2007’s pitching staff. It’s crippled. Schilling is gone, Beckett is gone, Timlin is gone, etc. That’s three pitchers we had last year. Lester is not their ace. He blows games. Dice-K is their ace and has been ALL season.
3) He benches Ellsbury as needed but never touches David Ortiz. David Ortiz is washed up this season. he has been fairly useless all season long. He’s killed the Red Sox offense this entire post-season run.

There you have it. The Sox can’t win at this point. There is no way they will win the next three games. It would be nice for them to take tonight’s game just to get another win but face it — they have lost the series at this point. You can’t come back when you have Lester, Dice-K and Beckett as your three starters. That’s just a reality. If we have Schilling, Beckett and a rookie Lester that nobody scouted or even Dice-K with his guts — sure. That’s a different reality.
However, on the positive side, considering we lost Schilling, Zazu, David Ortiz, Beckett, Timlin, Jason Varitek (hitting), Ellsbury (hitting), Lowrie (hitting), Lowell, it is an amazing miracle we made it this far. I want to remember the Sox as the champions they are. They are too battered right now to win this title but next year — watch out. We’re getting revenge.

A lifeless bunch. From the coaches to the players! I wonder if this team has a pulse. I wonder! T.B. puts 3 runs on the board early and the Sox folded there tent! The Red Sox are having a pity party, feeling sorry for themselves.

007…

For you to just blame Francona makes no sense to me at all. Everyone is at fault. No doubt!

The bright side….The Red Sox have there 3 best pitchers lined up. Also another bright side….no game tonight! LOL!! I am not counting them out. I have seen crazier things happen in sports. It will be an uphill battle for sure! Watching this team the last 2 games, you would think they won 60 games not 95!

Pitchers and catchers report when? How many more days? LOL!!!

It’s really easy to look for reasons in the Sox for their not winning. Obviously, they aren’t hitting and the starting pitching except Dice-K has been woeful. But I think you have to give credit where credit is due and that is to Joe Maddon and the Rays. If they keep playing the way they’re playing, everyone else may as well concede right now because nobody is going to beat them. They are getting men on, hitting in the clutch, hitting with power and pitching lights out from the starters to the rookie David Price at the end. They have really brought it together and are playing some of the best baseball I have ever seen and they are doing it after it looked like their world ended after the first game. Joe Maddon certainly has pushed all the right buttons and his kids are on fire.

I think what the Sox have accomplished this year is remarkable considering what they have been through. Think back to April and the team the Sox projected to have on the field and compare it with what’s there now. Tito has flashed a little magic of his own this year to get the Sox to where they are.

All of that said, I’m still not giving up on the Sox. While their starters have had problems, all three of the guys scheduled to pitch can certainly dominate any team. It’s not like they haven’t been here before. The likes of Youk, DP, and Tek aren’t going to go down without a fight. It could still be very exciting and I look forward to that. If it doesn’t happen, you can’t do anything except acknowledge that the Rays have had a hell of a ride.

As for tomorrow night’s lineup, I think Tito needs to go with what got him here. I really didn’t like his approach last night. Ellsbury is slumping for sure, but the team is best served with him at the top of the lineup and Drew hitting fifth or sixth where he can offer more protection to Papi and Youk.

Garry…

Very well written. T.B. has taken it to them. I also think Ellsbury will be back at the top and go with what got you there.

I think Dice-K’s approach is exactly the type of pitcher that can slow down this T.B. team. He nibbles and never ever gives in. He frustrates the opponent. Not too mention everyone else but the bottom line he wins. It is never pretty but you can’t argue with results.

Kazmir too start game 5 tomm. night. He has had some issues with the home plate umpire that is scheduled for game 6. I think that is a very odd move by Joe Maddon. If I was Maddon, I wouldn’t even be worried about that. With the way T.B. is playing, who cares about a game 6. I dunno about that one. Things that make me go hmmmmmm.

The problem with Francona is that he managed playoffs like regular season games. I am not blaming Francona alone. If the Sox were hitting, Francona would look like a genius. The sad thing is that the Sox were never given a chance to win or come back because of Francona?s failure to make the right move at a right time.
Francona?s strength as dave listed took the Sox where they are. However, Francona?s managerial style works in a regular season but not in the playoffs. His weaknesses were overlooked in regular season but magnified/exposed in the playoffs and have proven to be fatal to date.
I am still hopeful. If the Sox win game 5, the momentum will shift in favor of the Sox. Go Dice-K.

That is a weird move by Maddon to start Kazmir in game 5. The Sox have hit Kazmir pretty well and I would think the last thing Maddon would want to do is give the Sox a chance to get the fires lit.

I have confidence in the team to take this series back. Dice-k starts it tonight, and if beckett can get his game back I think we could win this series still…we should have been up 2-0 to begin with. I aslo think it’s time to let Wake retire, if he isnt going to be used in the playoffs then why have him around. He’s been a great sox pitcher, but you just cant trust him preventing that big inning from time to time. If francona made a mistake in this series it was letting beckett get raked for 8 runs..if that doesnt happen and the sox didnt leave 20 runners on base this series would be tied…i actually think if we won game 2 then lester would have been sharper for game 3….if if’s and buts were candy and nuts! ….I still believe!!!!!

I have confidence in the team to take this series back. Dice-k starts it tonight, and if beckett can get his game back I think we could win this series still…we should have been up 2-0 to begin with. I aslo think it’s time to let Wake retire, if he isnt going to be used in the playoffs then why have him around. He’s been a great sox pitcher, but you just cant trust him preventing that big inning from time to time. If francona made a mistake in this series it was letting beckett get raked for 8 runs..if that doesnt happen and the sox didnt leave 20 runners on base this series would be tied…i actually think if we won game 2 then lester would have been sharper for game 3….if if’s and buts were candy and nuts! ….I still believe!!!!!

d_reinbold: I agree if the Sox won game 2, Lester would have pitched better.
The Rays are kind of conceding game 5 to Dice-K by switching to Kazmir. Maddon is thinking either Shields or Garza would have a better chance against Beckett and Lester at home. What a compliment to Dice-K. I wish, I wish and I wish Maddon’s strategy will prove to be deadly. Go Dice-K. Let’s take one game at a time.

The problem with Francona and the Red Sox is the Rays. They are playing great baseball and you can’t take that away from them. I don’t think this has anything to do with managing. It has to do with one team playing great baseball. The Sox hitting woes are caused by great pitching as much as anything else. I don’t see where the outcome of game 2 affects how Lester pitches except that it should have motivated him to pitch better. Unfortunately, pitching doesn’t always work that way. What happened to Lester has happened to him a couple of other times this year, but we forget that because he has come up so big, so often.

The Sox are down two games because they have been out played by a hungry young team with something to prove. The Rays have been relentless all year long and have met every challenge so far. It’s time to see if the Sox can present them with one more.

……… I also don’t think Maddon is conceding anything. Kazmir is a good young pitcher who on any given night can blow anyone away. What pitching Kazmir might do is keep Drew or Ellsbury out of the lineup to be replaced with Coco Crisp. Strategically, I think that’s a great move on Maddon’s part.

Ok – I had a moan about the Tito-moaners a couple of nights ago – probably too much of a moan (especially for a newbie), for which I apologise. So I’m not going to go back there…other than to say that I don’t buy the ‘Francona is a regular season manager’ line of thinking, given his achievements in 2004 & 2007. (My inclination is not to over-praise a manager when the team wins, nor to over-criticise when they lose. I also think that the idea that managers can control events by their decisions is a myth. I believe that the art of management in sport consists in the creating of conditions which enable professional sports-men & -women to perform, collectively as a team, to the best of their abilities.)
I mostly agree with Garry – from the get-go, I thought this would be a tough series because of how well the Rays have played this year, but mostly because of how well they’ve performed in clutch situations & tight games (especially against the Sox) – which bespeaks a tell-tale streak of confidence & belief running through the side.
Pitching Kazmir in Game 5 may turn out to make no difference to the eventual outcome – which I suspect may turn out to be the case, given how well the Rays are going, &, ultimately, how weakened too many areas of the Sox line-up have become.
But, equally, messing around needlessly can back-fire – Maddon might just end up appearing too clever for his own good by engineering this switch (here’s the straw – feel free to clutch). If the Sox bats finally get hot (& Kazmir is the only starter we’ve looked like hitting), & we do manage to sneak away from Fenway with a win, then another momentum swing isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. Whether or not it was Tito’s fault for not pulling Beckett earlier (& remember, the Sox had their chances in extra innings) – the swing in momentum for the Rays from Games 1 to 2 & beyond was dramatic.

Every blogger here has expressed valid point of view. There is a combination of factors that led to where the Sox are. The manager is usually the fall guy. Let’s hope that Maddon’s “overmanaging” backfires. How quickly the big M will shift if the Sox take game 5.
I hate to blame Francona again in regard to the roster move. The fact remains that Sox do need a valid righthanded hitter such as Jeff Bailey off bench to hit against Kazmir.

It could well be that this years team fulfilling their destiny is the Rays, but I would not be at all surprised to see the Sox bats come alive on Thursday. Maybe Francona can juggle the lineup slightly to find the necessary spark. Seeing that Varitek hit 83 point higher against LHP, I?d be inclined to move him up and Ortiz down in the order, but I have no clue what the numbers are against Kazmir. Or if Lowell was still active, let him lead off as DH, swing the bat once, and leave in pain (wearing a bloody sock?) Something crazy just might work!!!

Bob Kramer:
Congrats to your Phillies who are on the brink of celebrating NLCS victory! It’s possible to move up Tek but move Ortiz down in the order, don’t be ridiculous according to Captain Francona.

It’s final! If there is a Game 6, Beckett WILL be the pitcher. Francona said it’s not fair to bump up Lester and so on and so forth.

007,
Does Ortiz hit Kazmir?

Bob:
In game 2 Ortiz’s stats 3 AB, 3BB, 1 SO against TB pitching. Hit or don’t hit Kazmir, Ortiz will remian at No. 3 spot.

The crucial part of this series was in game 2 which we probably would have won if some other management decisions had been made. A manager’s decision during a ball game do effect the results of that game. Look at Scoscia’s decision for the suicide squeeze which did not work out for him. Manager;s decisions indeed effect the outcome of a game. I feel that Tito’s decision to leave Beckett in too long in game 2 plus his decision not to have Youk bunt the first and second and none out did indeed effect the outcome of that game. If the Sox won the first two games the momentum would have been on our side. This takes nothing away from TB. They are a great team not only because of the Series but the way they played ball throughout the season.

Many minor things could have changed the outcome of game 2. Still it was a thriller and I expected games 3 and 4 to be the same. We need to score first Thursday and add on during the game. I wish I knew the stats against Kazmir, but without them I’d lean towards an order starting with Pedroia, Youkilis, and Varitek!

I feel that Ortiz can come around if he changes his attitude and focusses on hitting to the opposite field. This is especially true with Kazmir who for the most part will probably be pitching him outside. After a couple of attempts to go to the left side of the field it may just cause them to pitch him inside when he can pound the ball. It’s about time that Ortiz becomes a team player.

ya, what happened to papi laying down a bunt down the 3rd base line with that shift against him…ive seen him do it before, why not now, it’s not like he’s getting on base with hits or walks. he seems to have lost something somewhere lately..it looked like he was getting back to his old self and then “poof”, he’s hitting worse then ive seen. No offense to anyone here, but i fail to see how moving v-tek up in the order is going to solve anything, he’s been hitting in the low 200’s all year. Id like to see Jacoby back in his spot, he needs to lite the fire of the sox. The drew thing didnt pan out, I think he was 0-5…we will see whats this years version is made of, back to the basics! If the dice man wins tonight I really feel a great game from beckett forthcoming, he just needs to get thru the first few innings and regain his confidence!..am I getting ahead of myself?

I guess you are getting ahead of yourself, d_ … Dice-K ain’t pitching til tomorrow night [smiley thingy]

The lineup has been “too predictable” with Ortiz in the three hole. Move him to four, five , or six on the premise of shaking things up!!!

Next year the Sox have to do some real soul searching. Texiera is a good solid player, but trying to acquire him might require rethinking whether Lowell or Ortiz stays. Lowell is undergoing surgery that might be more complicated than first thought. Papi, on the other hand has had a terrible year. Whether it is due to his wrist or Zazu not behind him or whatever. But this year he has been a detriment to the Sox. Whether they would be marketable or not is another question as well as who might be available. I feel that the only players not including pitchers that should be untouchable should be Youk, Pedroia, Bay, Lowrie and Ellsbury. Something has to be done if the Sox are to compete.

We are witnessing the history (’04 & ’07) is repeating itself thanks to Maddon’s classic mistake of looking beyond one game at time. What I read the Sox players are upbeat at workout. If the Sox take game 5, the momentum will swiftly shift to the Sox. If Beckett is healthy as we are led to believe, I do not believe that Beckett and Lester would pitch 2 stinkers in a row.

007, great point. I haven’t been here because I’ve been a little down after last night. With the Sox having been down to their last chance before and having seen how they can come back I am feeling a little better. They won’t be uptight. They have overcome good teams before in this situation and they can again. There are a lot of “if’s” but one thing I’d like to see more than anything is some fighting spirit from them. They need to go into this game like it’s a heavyweight fight. That’s all I want from them. Leave nothing on the field. The rays have played great baseball, but the Sox can beat them. Game 2 is over, we need to see a good effort in game 5. Go Sox, you can do it!!

007 – the Sox players should be upbeat. They have a very good baseball team very capable of beating the Rays or anyone else. They didn’t have the third or fourth best record in baseball because they can’t win. The Rays have made this a tough challenge but it’s certainly not beyond the capabilities of the Sox to pull it off.

The Rays are now 14-13 favorites in Vegas to win the World Series.

arnie & garry:
Well said. I was very down this morning until Maddon made that “smart” move. If I remember correctly, did the Yank beat the Sox 18-9 the night before the Sox historic comeback? Surely the Sox didn’t have the best team on paper, with little break here and there, the Sox will pull it off just like in the ALCS in 2007. In 2007 ALCS everything went aginst the Sox in the first 4 games until the luck changed in game 5.

I’m simply trying to keep my belief afloat and my chin off the ground…
I tried to access the archives of Brownie points from this time last year and was denied entry.. I wonder if Ian can reprint the day we had to win being down 3-1 .. HEY IAN< ARE YOU OUT THERE LURKING IN THE SHADOWS??? do you know if we can get in there to see what the mood was…??

This is strange!! I play internet backgammon at zone.com.. and my id is redsoxfan7855.. I’ve played Yankee fans, Tigers fans, WSOx fans and a few RedSox fans.. But tonight I signed in to play a game and found myself facing BoSoxFan47.. A really nice player… I invited her on to the Blog… So if you see a new name (Amy) please welcome her!!!

Is there any chance we can quit referring back to Game 2 and maybe focus on Game 5? Game 2 is over. Mistakes were made, let’s move on. And one roster move does not leave this series tied at 2-2 either. If we are pinning our hopes on Jeff Bailey coming off the bench against the Rays bullpen we are in more trouble than I thought. Just be glad that the Rays manager thinks he has breathing room and has decided to start Kazmir. Hopefully that will be his mistake and downfall. That’s what I am hoping for. I am hoping Dice-K pitches an effective game. I don’t care if it’s a little league no-hitter with 5 walks, I don’t care how the Dice-K or the Sox do it. If he can get it to Game 6 and Beckett is truly healthy…than he has a shot at pitching better. It will be his third start in a normal rotation for him so rust won’t be factor or excuse. Getting to Lester is not that far away…..you just have to have faith. Anything can happen…..that’s why they are playing again tomorrow night. No white flags…….. Go Sox!

We need a good ‘ole bench clearing brawl to get the players and fans fired up tomorrow night! JV? Coco? HELP!

craig…. I AGREE WITH YOU>>>> let’s just put these games behind us and call this a one game series… and I also agree with how the job gets done… in the end, all we care about is a great big “W”!!!! Right???

lol, I think that a brawl is the last thing we need.. the way our luck is running, all of our starters would get thrown out of the game….

craig:: Faith!!! Belief!!! I am liking the way youre talking… that kind of thing is right up my alley!!! Kepp going..
Hey Everybody listen to Craig!!!
and I will ask again.. Please tell me if you think I should do my Idobelieve mantra vefore tomorrow nights game.. Please behonest and please tell me YES or NO!!!

Good Night Nationers!!!! I will check in in the a.m. before i head out for work…. and since I have such a CRAPPY computer at the office, I’ll post before i leave the house..
Sleep well Nationers and RedSox players. Please be your best tomorrow.. no offense intended to anyone here:
God please let these men achieve their goal!!!!

Ellen, I wonder if God takes sides. But if so, there is no question that God will be hearing lots more prayers from RSN than those 5 or 6 hundred rays fans. So, if I were God–hey! now THERE’S an idea!– I would definitely try to have some breaks go our way so that the “Thank-you’s” come through loud and clear! Good thinking Ellen, it’s always good to have friends in high places—-so to speak.

Kramer, congrats on your Phillies going to the World Series. They really took it to the Dodgers.

Absolutely correct that there is no sense to dwell on Game 2. What is passed is passed. However, I hope the field management has learned something from the past 4 games. The managment has to know when it’s time to sac bunt, hit and run, etc. I do not want to see runners on first and second and none outs and the team fails to score again.
If the players fail to produce, it’s manager’s job to play small fundamental ball to get things rolling.
The key to tonight’s game is simple. Dice-K has to be Dice-K as his records reflect and the lefties (Drew, Ortiz, Kotsay)have to produce.
Ellsbury must be in the lineup. He hits well against Kazmir.

Hey Kramer! Good job by your Phillies!!! They are a force to be reckoned with…
oh and now Zazu can do what he does best… Count his money and think about himself and all the millions he’ll have come this winter.

Bob K:
Congrats on Phillies winning NL pennant.

My preferred starting lineup for Game 5:
Ellsbury – LF
Pedroia – 2B
Ortiz – DH
Youklis – 1B
Bay – RF
Lowrie – 3B
Veritek – C
Cora – SS
Crisp – CF

007, Bay in RIGHT field??? Why not have Ells in Right and Bay in left where he’s comfortable…?

Ellen: My mistake. Ellsbury – RF, Bay – LF.

My lineup….9 guys that can hit! lol.

I am sensing a big game from Varitek….He’s the captain, time for him to get things rolling!

Hail Mary, Up in Heaven, Let the RedSox win in Seven!!!!!

Ellen, I know you are at work, but if you wouldn’t mind singing a new cheer for me:

To the tune of “Dirty Water”: At the top of your lungs using your pencil for a mic and making rock-star faces:

“I love that big Green Monster,
Oh, Red Sox, you’re my team.”

Now if you can leap up onto your desk(your boss won’t mind, the Phillies won) and air-guitar that famous riff:
Dahnuhn dun dun, Dunt DAH nah!

Excellent, now leap off the desk and slide, James Brown style, into a crouch and belt out a gutteral “OWWWW!”
One more time!
“I love that big Green Monster,
Yeeeoow! Red Sox, you’re my team!!”

Muchas Gracias!

Sorry about that latest stupidity. I just got this mental image from when I was a kid and we’d be jumping around mimicking rock starts. It was a fun image . Ellen you are a good sport.

It goes without saying that, most importantly of all, we have to silence these booming Rays’ bats – of all our pitchers, Dice-K is the least likely (keeps fingers crossed) to leave pitches hanging out over the strike zone. If he pitches well, & the Rays bats continue to be productive, well, it’s hands-up & time to wish them all the best. But if Dice-K keeps us in the game…
…then the one single thing I’d like to see is Ellsbury getting on base. He ignites our team with his running, &, by the same token, destabilises their defensive rhythm. An aggressive Ellsbury (+ PD) on base might in turn just create that bit of leeway which enables Papi to get some pitches at which he can take a decent cut.
I guess the bottom-line question is whether the last 2 game scores represent a genuine reflection of where the 2 teams are at, or whether the tight finishes of Games 1 & 2 are more indicative of the relative strengths of the line-ups.
Whatever happens, I’d like to claim that the Sox have achieved a reasonable season this year in defence of their title, especially when the series of injuries & the Zazu nonsense are taken into account. They are gradually changing from teams we’ve recognised of old.
If this is a genuine transition into a new Sox era, then maybe the long-term futures of Mikey Lowell, Big Papi, etc., have to be considered seriously. In this case, though, we’d have to ask where the clutch slugging is likely to come from, the kind of hitting that can strike fear into opposition defences…
Aside from that, the real area for concern is the pitching – & it’s pitching that wins World Series. The bull-pen just isn’t strong enough. Other than Pap, Oki, Masterson & Delcarmen, is there really anyone you’d keep? & of the starting roster, Byrd & Colon were stop-gaps, Schilling ain’t coming back, & Wake (who is a kind of hero of mine) has got to be nearing the end of his wonderful career for the Sox. Which leaves not much – Dice-K & Lester are both aces. But can Beckett regain the form of 2007? These are big holes to fill…

Red Sox
1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. J.D. Drew, RF
7. Jed Lowrie, SS
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Mark Kotsay, 1B
–Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP

that was really really FUNNY with a REALLy BIG CAPITAL FUNNY!!!

Well, I guess there goes my Ellsbury theory lol! Maybe Tito really is expecting Coco to mix it up from the off…

We shall see if it works. I am not thrilled that Ells is not in the lineup. Maybe and maybe Francona may use him to pinch run for Ortiz.
Real funny thing is if any one of our bloggers here managed the series, the series would be tied at worst. Brian said it before Game 4 that Wake has to keep his knuckler down or it will go a long way. If Wake took Brian’s advise, the Sox could be up 3-1.

This time of year it boils down to who executes better. The Sox need to punch Kazmir in the mouth a few times(figuratively speaking…) and Dice-K needs to do what he did all year. The rest will take care of itself.

This is where Tito and the Sox are at their best. No tomorrow to plan for. Come out swinging or go home crying. The Sox are like a wounded tiger now. The rays had better watch out. I pity Kazmir.

007…

If Wakefield ever listened to me, he would need a psyche Dr. by now. LOL! Is it ever easy being a Red Sox fan? Nothing is ever easy for this organization over the years. We as fans expect torture! lol. I think the bats will be alive and well tonight. I still don’t know why Maddon changed pitchers. It makes no sense to me. Never over-think, I think he did. Then again maybe I am. LOL!!

Brian:
Maddon changed pitcher ostensibly because Daryl Cousin might be the home plate umpire on Saturday who is at odds with Kazmir and Shields pitches better at Trop. I pray that Maddon’s overmanaging backfires.
I also hope that the bats especially from the left side will become alive and bail out Francona’s tendency to mismanage.

Another 3-2 count!

Let’s gat them back!!!

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