Swish pulls in front; Will Youk take it at buzzer?

The pendulum has swung again, with this morning’s news that Nick Swisher has passed Kevin Youkilis in the Final Vote balloting by the slimmest of margins.

Voting concludes at 3:59 p.m. http://www.redsox.com and http://www.mlb.com.

On the plus side, Youkilis is healthy after leaving Tuesday’s game with cramping in his right ankle. He is back in the lineup tonight, batting cleanup. Ryan Shealy has been called up from the Minors as injury protection.

38 Comments

Anyone who has spent any amount of time at all on this blog knows that I am a true Redsox fan. That being said I hope that Youk has the opportunity to get some rest this year at the break. This team is SOOO BANGED UP we have to have something going into the 2nd half, so as big a fan as I am I’m kind of rooting against him winning.. Sorry Youk!

I’m with Ellen 100%! It would suit me just fine if the Red Sox pulled out of the All Star game. Who really cares who wins next Tues.???

Watching the game here in Fl. with the T.B. announcers, Staats ( worst perm I have ever seen ) and Kevin Kennedy ( when he managed the Red Sox–I couldn’t stand him ) all these guys do is cry and moan about the umpires. I’m glad Boston is only playing the Rays for (3) games because I couldn’t take these guys four nights in a row, three nights in a row is enough for me!

Vote Swisher, lets go Yankee fans… vote Swisher! LOL!!!

Some folks can use the injuries as an excuse ( personally I will not ) but Beltre and Scutaro have combined for nearly 25 errors, that is not the definition of run prevention.

Great effort by Beltre, ended up in the stands.

A lot of blue seats showing at the Trop, this team needs to get away from Tropicana Field and head over to downtown Tampa. The Rays attendance is a freaking joke!

Poor play by the Red Sox, for some reason Youkilis couldn’t get the ball out of the glove. Zobrist would have been a dead duck. Sloppy game for the Red Sox tonight.

Let me get this straight. Papelbon ( the closer ) is pitching in the 7th inning with his team down by 4 runs. I guess Van Every wasn’t available. lol….

Price is mowing them down, blowing the Red Sox hitters away with his blazing fastball. Boston should have won on Monday night, that game set the tone for this series. Amazing to think that back in late May, Boston swept T.B. under the roof. What a strange season indeed.

Boston goes into Toronto with a (4) game losing streak. Assuming the Red Sox will clear customs.

Youkilis is hobbling, not a good sign.

Hey, I’d love to vote for Youk again ( I voted for him on the All-Star ballot already) but I oppose any attempt to deny him the obviously necessary 5 days rest to rehab his right ankle.

DON’T VOTE FOR YOUK! He’s hurting, and he needs the days off. Let someone who is healthy and who can help the AL win the All-Star Game take his well-deserved spot.

Houndcat

The Sox still have the second half of the season to go. While Youk may be hobbling I feel we should vote to get him on the All Star Team. Let him make the decision as to whether he will play or not. I’m sure that if he feels that he can’t help the AL he will opt to sit it out. But let him have the honor of being selected for the team. He certainly deserves it. So, RSN, let’s get on the computer and cast our votes. we have until 4pm (I believe) tomorrow to get them in.

The Sox were beaten fairly and squarely by Price?s blazing fastballs. Even if Maddon were managing the game for the Sox, I doubt the Sox would have won. Perhaps Maddon might not let Wake finish the 5th. Let the winning streak begin on Friday against the Sox?s new whipping boy ? the Jays.

Boston did show some grit and trying to make it a game in the ninth but a little late. I know some of us get on Francona for mind boggling moves or no moves but what in the world was Maddon thinking???? Bringing in Garza??? If Francona did that, he would have gotten grilled but in the Tampa area, not sure if anyone even noticed.

Boston played a very sloppy game last night. If Youkilis gets the ball out of his glove, Zobrist is out easily at second base. Zobrist ends up scoring, that run hurt. Also Hall dropping the ball at second and that could have been an inning ending double play. That is not “run prevention”, that is PREVENTING you from winning!

Another tough one.
1) I agree with ellen 100% this is about team not individual
(Wish none went out west for 1 day, then come back, they all need a break, after mental lapses last night).
2) I liked what Maddon did last night, brilliant move with Garza.
(There is no set way to manage, you have to improvise, he is telling all his pitchers on any given night everybody better be ready, if I need you to WIN, this game).
He goes into Cleveland tonight with BP rested. Very smart managing.

Hey! Y’All!

Boy, have you folks got my mind boggled!!! Not vote for Youk, and vote for Swisher instead!! I can’t believe what I am reading. Here is a guy, who when he cuts himself shaving, bleeds Sox team colors, who does everything asked of him, play 1st, play 3rd, carry dip cups, whatever, and some of you are considering not voting for him, and voting (or allowing) instead for Nick Swisher, the guy who’s been a Yankee for all of a heartbeat and a half, but who proclaims Yankee-ism as though he’d been with them all his life (a la Johnny Damon!!!). Come on!!! Whether Youk goes or stays home and rests is up to him. He deserves the honor, and I can’t believe he won’t get it because members of Red Sox Nation think they know better for him than he does. Who knows, his contract may even provide an incentive bonus if he makes the team, and you want to be the cause of paying him less than he deserves?

At the same time you’re complaining about Youk being overused by playing a few innings in an All-Star game, you’re feating Joe Maddon because he overuses one of his starting pitchers. I hope for Tampa’s sake that his overuse of his pitching staff these last three games had to do with making a statement, because if he keeps doing it, he’s going to bring them all up lame by early September.

I’m prepared to face the fact that if this is the team that will play as the Red Sox for the balance of the season, they are not going to make the play-offs. Face it — the Sox current depth chart includes as many as 10 (of 25) who have spent time in the minors this season, presuming that Patterson, Cash and Molina have each done so this year. They have what, 7 current or former All-Stars on the DL right now!

And its not like the FO did not take steps to anticipate some of this — they started out the season with 6 starters, making Wake a bit unhappy; they stashed relievers all over the place, like Atchison, Boof Bonser, Alan Embree, Joe Nelson, Scott Shoeneweis. Unfortunately, none of those experiments have worked out, Atchison perhaps being an exception.

But, you need to give the FO credit for the moves that have worked out. Felix Doubront has done a nice job in the 2 spot starts he’s been given, and we all know the tales of Daniel Nava and Darren McDonald.

Even with 4 consecutive losses, the Sox are 4 1/2 games back of the Yanks, and 2 games back of the Rays. If their pitching can right them in Toronto, they have almost a week off, and then the Yanks and Rays go at each other for 3 games right after the Break. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I really would hate to see a raid on the Sox minor league talent for a few guys that might make a difference for a few weeks. If the Sox only need to spend money, such as I’m hearing might net them Kerry Wood from Cleveburg, then maybe. But give away people like Casey Kelly to pick up Scott Downs, the Toronto reliever, I don’t think so!!!

I have said it many times the Sox hitters have to hit and pitchers have to pitch in order to win. Do not expect a managerial decision to help the Sox win. My conviction is further supported by the Rays sweep and more so in a time of injuries. The managerial decision or lackof could make a huge difference to the outcome of a game. The manager left Dice-K way too long and turned around blamed the pitcher for not making the play, refused to pinch hit for Romero (what happened to Romero the next day), used Paps when the Sox were down 4 runs and Paps should be used in Game 1 & 2 if he indeed needed to work. Francona is a very nice guy, a player?s manager. But once the game starts who knows what he is thinking.
As I said it earlier, if Maddon were managing for the Sox last night, the result would still be the same. But if Francona were managing the Rays last night, I am not sure the Rays would still win.
Let’s hope the regullars are off the DL soon and start winning games for Francona.

I disagree with those posters here who think Maddon is a genius and Tito a dolt.
Don’t forget, the Sox were making Garza labor last night and if Youk lines the ball for a hit instead of lining out to the centerfielder, then Maddon has to pull Garza, and he looks like a fool.
Tito’s failures are sometimes magnified for us because we expect the Sox to win every game and when one of Tito’s moves backfires we notice it.
I would not be so quick to idolize Maddon.

D. Benjamin,

When I said “vote Swisher” I was joking, personally I really don’t care about the All Star game. I could care less if Youkilis got in or Nick Swisher or Scott Atchison started the game. The game to me is nothing more than an exhibition. Not every team needs to be represented, if it “does count” then the BEST players should be playing. Until that day happens ( highly unlikely it ever will ) I will not tune in or vote.

ZIP…ZERO….chance that Boston will trade Casey Kelly for Scott Downs. You don’t have to worry about that.

I did read a day ago or so that Michael Bowden has been moved to the pen down in Pawtucket. Safe to say he’ll join Boston and when he does, he’ll be coming out of the bullpen. That being said, Boston still needs to go out and get another arm to help the pen. They also need to add a backup to Scutaro at s.s. Someone that is better than Scutaro with the glove. Scutaro’s defense at s.s.is average at best. His range is limited, that has been shown several times during this season. He’s on pace to commit a lot of errors, never a good thing when talking about your starting s.s.

Last night’s game was decided on the mound. T.B. had Price and Boston had Wakefield on the hill. When Maddon did make a move, he nearly cost his team the game when he brought in Garza. Maddon will be the reason why T.B. doesn’t win the World Series. At times he tries to re-invent the game and his ego gets in the way. I’ll take Francona over Maddon any day of the week, it’s not even close!

Maddon was smart, he already beat you 2 games, he was playing with house money. Why should he bring in BP for 1 game. He beat the Red Sox 2 times, I will say it again beat the Sox 2 times. No reason to wear out the BP for toinight. So what if Garza lost last night, he already beat the Sox 2 times. And now he won the series. He could have lost last night, but he beat the Sox 2 times. You win 2 out of 3 and you did good.
You can talk about this that or any or any other thing but Maddon won the series, before he brought Garza in. Get it.
Brilliant!
Ellen I hope you are feeling well!

9tedw…

I’m not sure if you can put the word “brilliant” and Maddon in the same thought but somehow you “managed” to do just that.

Maddon managed a solid game on Monday night because he realized his starter ( Garza) was getting roughed up and then played match-ups from that point on. Props to Maddon on Monday night.

If Maddon’s move was “brilliant” as you say ( I disagree totally ) how many more times will Maddon use that strategy during the reg. season??? If Maddon is “brilliant” as you say, who’s fault is it that he had nobody in his bullpen to turn to??? Hmmmmmmmmmm I wonder.

Brian,
If I understand the logic correctly, what made Maddon brilliant was the Rays winning the first 2 games. That was possible in large part because the Sox are injury riddled. So in reality, what makes Maddon look so brilliant is the fact that the Sox have so many injuries.

Arnie,

That pretty much sums it up. I live here in the T.B. area ( about 50 miles south of Tampa/St. Pete ) and a lot of people that I know don’t really care for Maddon as a manager. He constantly changes his batting order, especially at the top. To start the year, Maddon had Zobrist in the 3 hole and not Longoria. Also at times he has had Jaso ( their catcher ) leadoff as well. A lot of the fans would like to see Sean Rodriguez leadoff. Maddon’s rotation has been injury free to this point and that has made his job a tad easier.

At least Boston has Lester on the hill, that should get Boston back in the win column!

I don?t want Maddon to be manager of the Red Sox. His managerial style won?t fit into the image of the organization. I could care less what Maddon (genius or idiot) did to the Rays. However I did find issue with Francona not so much for the moves he made but for the moves he didn?t make. The mind boggling move he made did not necessarily lead to the loss. For instance pinch running for a trail runner with 2 outs, hit and run without realizing who?s at the 1B and at the plate. The obvious move he didn?t make such as staying too long with Dice-K, refuse (or didn?t know) to pinch run for Tek in the 8th resulted in the potential winning run being thrown out at the plate, refuse to pinch hit led to the loss.
God forbid if the Sox missed the playoffs by a couple of games. Just those lousy 2 games. The easy target is injuries, injuries, injuries, and Dice-K. Is Francona?s managerial decisions partly if not all to blame? I saw Francona one time sitting and chewing bubble gum in the dugout until someone whispered in his ear to make a move. I am not advocating that Francona should be fired, not by the Red Sox. Francona is a good manager only for the Red Sox. Francona had done so many good things and yet just one lousy obvious move he did not make may be enough to derail the train. 2008 ALCS immediately came to my mind.

Good question. What if the Yanks get Cliff Lee? No worry. The Sox will counter with the combined force of Dice-K and Francona.

If Lee was signed beyond this year, I would want the Red Sox to get Lee. Cliff Lee is a free agent after this season and we all know no team can outbid the Yankees when it comes to free agency. If the Yankees want that player, they will sign him and everyone else will have to scramble and come up with Plan B.

If the Yankees do trade for Lee, they will win the A.L. East by five games. T.B. and Boston would battle for the w.c.

007…

It seems anytime the Red Sox lose by a run, it’s Francona’s fault. If they win by a run, you don’t give him much credit. Just an observation. I’m guessing if you were a T.B. fan, you would be doing the same thing with Maddon. This just in, it’s not always the managers fault when their team end up on the losing side.

In your opinion, how many games does Francona lose during the season??? How many games does Francona win during the season???

You mentioned Tek, what game are you talking about??? Tek has been out for about a week now.

Also another news flash for you. Many teams in baseball would love to have Francona as their manager.

Brian:
Take it easy. I don’t want to get into debate about Francona. I just state my opinion as I see it. There are a lot of and not all fans out there agree with you. I am just saying the move that Francona didn’t make that cost the game. How many this season. Let’s stop here. It will invite more debates. You have expressed your opinion and I have stated mine. That’s it. We are not going to convince each other and no need to. Let’s hope that our Red Sox will make the playoffs and go deep into the playoffs.

Cliff Lee to the Rangers. The reason (so the experts say) was the young players that Texas offered (Justin Smoak, a 2nd baseman and 2 pitchers in the farm system) and the reason the Yankees fell out of the running was their lack of them.
Looks like Texas will again this year make a true run at post season play. With Nolan Ryan at the helm we had to know that eventually their pitching staff would be one to be reckoned with.

The deal only makes sense if the Rangers get the commitment from Lee that he will sign a new contract offseason.
Francona now can relax and sit back chewing the bubblegum and watching the game like us. Let Lester finish up the game.

007…

Why would Lee and his agent commit to the Rangers??? He’s a free agent at the end of the year and he has “earned” that right. He would lose barganing power if he did that. If Lee does leave at the end of the year ( Texas will get some draft picks ) Getting Lee sends a message to the players, we are “committed to winning”. Personally I believe The Yankees would be the front runners to land Lee because they have all the $$$$$. I would love to see Lee in Boston but the Red Sox can’t outbid the Yankees. That will never ever happen. If Boston did sign Lee ( dreaming here a bit ) Lester, Lee, Beckett, Buchholz and Lackey that would be the starting rotation. That would be the BEST rotation in baseball, bar none! Personally I think Boston will sign Crawford. Perhaps Ellsbury and others could be involved in a deal that would land Adrian Gonzalez. Of course pure speculation.

Great to see the bats cranking north of the border.

Lee going to Texas is similar to when Sabathia was traded to the Brewers. Sabathia was a free agent at the end of 2008 ( Lee a free agent at the end of this year ) Almost on the same date as well– C.C. traded to the Brewers on July 7, and of course Lee traded today. Lee goes from the outhouse in the division to the penthouse.

I’m wondering if the Red Sox will go for the extra point or go for the 2 point conversion?? lol….

Brian:
I have to agree with you on this one. The Rangers paid a Manhattan rent for a piece of rental just for three months. Probably the Yanks deal fell through b/c Lee would not commit to the Yanks. Good news for the Sox in the pennant race. The Yanks and the Rays have to play each other 13 times (?) in the second half. Another good news for the Sox.
Go Sox.

Hey! All you Maddon Lovers!

Anyone see tonight’s score — Clevelburg — 9 Rays — 2. Overusing your bullpen will catch up to you, and it caught up to Maddon tonight. You may decide to make a statement by sweeping 3 vs. the Sox, but it will cost you down the road vs. teams you should be beating.

Big Sox rebound win tonight, with Jon L notching No. 11. Let’s see how many more the Sox can win before the break. They remain only 4 back of the Yanks, despite the Yanks winning their 7th straight, and are only 1/2 game back of the Rays. Not bad for the AAAA Red Sox. Hurry All-Star Break!!! GO SOX!!!

John MsDonald hit a HR off Lester and yet out on Manuels’ first pitch 85 mile fastball.

007…

Texas has a nice cushion in the West already, with Lee coming aboard they should add to that lead. I think that is what it comes down to, a three month rental. Like the Brewers did back in 2008 when they got Sabathia. Texas does have an owner that has some $$$$ so their would be a chance that Lee could stay in Texas beyond this season.

Good news in St. Pete–The Tribe are on the warpath!

John McDonald is a guy that I would like to see in Boston, he would be a nice back-up to Scutaro. If Boston has a lead in the 8th or 9th, Scutaro watching from the bench is fine with me. Anytime a ball is hit to Scutaro, I cringe a little.

It looks like it’s the Argos against the Pats. lol….

Great win for the Sox. They needed this one.

There are 2 basic types of managers:
#1. The Micro-manager. These types have an inflated sense of their importance to the team. They are endlessly futzing with the line-up, the rotation, putting on plays, hit and run etc. Examples: Maddon, Scioscia.
#2. The Arm-chair manager. These guys set their line-up, sit back with a face-full of tobacco, scratch their behinds and let the boys play. Examples: Francona, Torre.
Both kinds will lose about a half dozen games for their team a year. It is questionable if either type wins more than a couple with their strategy or non-strategy. The players win or lose 99% or more of the games on their own.
If you are a fan of one type of manager, but your team hires the other type, you will suffer. Each loss will appear to be the fault of the manager; he either did or didn’t do something that caused the loss. Anxiety will be your constant companion.
If you are lucky, your team will hire a like-minded manager and you’ll be happy.

I think that if anyone can get Lee to commit it is Nolan Ryan. The man obviously has the pockets and the pitching background. But wouldn’t you love to be Cliff Lee at the end of this season??
While there are a lot of FA pitchers out there the only other really big name in the FA market at the end of this year is Andy Pettit. Lot’s of green paper to be handed out to those 2 guys.

Nice batting practice for our boys last night. Good to see it and also good to see Francona rest some of the “regulars” after a big lead.

Nice batting practice indeed Ellen. Boston is 6-1 against the Jays this year.

You know who is doing well at the plate lately, Mike Cameron. He has raised his avg. 30 points in about two weeks, his avg. is at .291– He had another three hit game last night with another H.R. Also during this stretch, he isn’t striking out as much. Props to Cameron because the guy is “banged up”.

Lackey takes the mound today and he has given the Red Sox some good starts lately, pitching deeper into the game. Also the Red Sox bullpen is well rested. Let’s hope the bats don’t die today because of all the runs they put up last night. With T.B. losing, Boston is only (2) games back in the loss column. The Red Sox are also within striking distance of the red hot Yankees. With all the injuries that have happened, I believe this is where a “manager” should get a ton of credit. Francona never panics and the players see that.

Hey! BosoxBrian!

You’d better be careful, you’re beginning to sound an awful lot like me!!! (lol) I recognize ArnieSchmo is correct in suggesting that there are two different types of managers, a “hands-on” kind and a “hands-off” kind. I realize that what type you prefer is akin to whether you prefer sirloin steak or filet. I’m also sure that few bloggers on this site are not painfully aware that I prefer the Tito Francona’s “hands-off” style, and its not only because he and I share the same birthday, or that the Sox have had tremendous fortune since his arrival.

I recognize that the Angels have been the most successful they have ever been since the arrival of Mike Scioscia, and that Scioscia continues to keep the A’s relevant despite all of the personnel changes that team has endured.

I just remember back to a caution you gave me a little over 2 years ago. It was April or so of 2008, the Sox had brought up JMast from Double AA ball for his first start against the Angels in the face of all sorts of injury problems. He pitched 6 strong innings and the Sox had established a slight lead. When he was taken out before the 7th and the Angels proceeded to clobber the Sox relief pitching before it could get to Pap, I was about as furious with Tito as I think I have ever been. You pointed out that there was more to the season than 1 game, and that the Sox needed to protect the development of that young pitcher and his young arm. You were absolutely correct.

If the Sox can find a way to win today behind John Lackey, no matter what they do tomorrow behind Dice-K, they will be no further than 6 games back of the streaking Yankees, no further than 3 games out of the Wild Card. Remembering back to their lackluster play in April, I suspect everyone on this site would have said I’ll take that position, if it was proposed to them at that point.

As well, I suspect most of the bloggers on this site, told that Jacoby would play fewer than 10 games before the All-Star break, that the Sox would lose Pedey for a month before the break, that they would lose not one, but 2 catchers, that Beckett would have a total of 1 win and an ERA over 7, that their outfield would often be made by the likes of McDonald and Nava, that Pap would look particularly mortal at times, and that Tito’s decisions to bring in DelCarmen, Okajima or Ramirez would often look more like Russian Roulette than baseball, I suspect most of us would have said, 6 games back, 3 games out, I’LL TAKE IT.

Go Clevelburg, take it to any team coming out of the State where the new ZAZU now resides, including the Rays!!!!! Sorry BosoxBrian, no offense intended to your adopted state, even though its where the Man Who Thinks He Will Be King has Traveled to.

Well, Lackey better quit throwing that lollipop curve ball. The Jays are pounding it. Beginning to look like what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, or turnabout is fair play from last night. This is awful so far……and he’s not even close to the strike zone with his fast ball.

D. Benjamin,

If I’m sounding like you, I better be careful because I don’t want to come across that way. LOL!!

First of all let me give my opinion about the ” newest resident” in Florida. He was NEVER EVER going to win in Cleveland. His final games against Boston was a total joke, he quit and mentally checked out of that series. He showed up in game 3, other than that he was pedestrian. I agree with the reports that said ” LeBron’s concern was that he would be 31 yrs. old and have bad knees and no titles to show for it. Somehow someway the Cavs kicked tail during the reg. season despite having basically nobody other than LeBron. How many players would you even want on that team??? The Cavs are a lottery team without him, the owner will have to open up his wallet to get some quality players to Cleveland and I’m not sure if that will be enough. I have no idea if the Heat will win one title, three titles or zero titles but one thing I do know, they will be exciting to watch and it will be a team that everyone will root against. The team that has been the winner through all of this, has been the L.A. Lakers. The West is weak and the East is a beast! The Lakers have a very easy path to the N.B.A. Finals, while the other teams in the East will beat each other up.

I have read where some have said that Francona is a hands off manager. I think that is selling him a little short when people say he’s a hands off manager. He’s doing more than just sitting their, chewing gum and spitting. Personally I think Francona handles the pitching staff fairly well and I think that is one of the toughest things to do as a manager. He also does a FANTASTIC job when handling these large ego’s and that isn’t an easy thing to do.

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