Friday, July 31
In our defense, those were wild times. Like Bronson Arroyo said today (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4368436), "before 2004, none of us paid any attention to anything we took." Arroyo said he was taking andro, but heard at some point that it might be laced with steroids due to lax production standards. All he knew for sure was that, "andro made me feel great, I felt like a monster, I felt like I could jump and hit my head on the basketball rim."
Same goes for any number of other products. Doritos, milk, commercial-grade syringes. We just can't say. We weren't paying attention and there were lax production standards back then. Those freeze-pop things that stained your lips purple? We can't say for sure whether those were laced with Mexican Meth or not. All we can say is they made us feel like we could hit our heads on basketball rims. And that's what mattered back then.
And you've got to remember, everyone was doing it. It wasn't just David Ortiz, Bronson Arroyo, then-Presidential candidate John Kerry, and the Murphy boys. It wasn't even just Massachusetts. We used to visit the Shaker Heights Murphys every 4th of July and they were doing some crazy freeze-pops, too. There is absolutely no way to know what was in those things. So we're just saying, we would not be surprised if this has something to do the with the Catholic priest scandal that was going on back then. Production standards were extremely, extremely lax. Nothing would surprise us.
Thursday, July 30
I trust Theo and all, but I continue to feel that this team is of championship caliber as currently constituted. The problem has been the timing of their struggles. The Yankees and Rays went through their problems at the beg ginning of the year while, unfortunately for RSN, the Sox are struggling at the trade deadline. Quality starts from the rotation alongside offensive production has been seemingly impossible to line up.
Clearly this team is better than the level they've produced of late, on all fronts. As with any team, holes and weaknesses remain, but sacrificing the farm for someone other than Halladay may be a stretch. If you look at career numbers, most on the Sox are below their norms, suggesting that, if you believe in the value of historical numbers, an improvement can be expected.
I'll default to that saying of, at the end of the year, the players numbers will be there. I'm just praying this year isn't an anomaly.
(and I bet you thought I'd have a panic-written post this morning.....Nope.......check back this afternoon if they lose though)
Tuesday, July 28
Not only has pissed off Red Sox Nation with his terrible performances this year, Dice-K recently expressed his frustration with Red Sox management and claimed his current shoulder issues are a result of training adjustments forced upon him by Boston. The Red Sox and John Farrell refute that claim saying the only adjustments made to the Japanese pitcher's regiment were just recently implemented as a result of his deteriorating shoulder strength.
Clearly it's a war of words. Based on the media reports over the few years he's been here, and the exceptionally high regard in which Boston's shoulder strengthening/management program is referred to by every other pitcher, my money is on the Sox here. I mean it was just this past off season that Dice-K frustrated the Sox by refusing to stay and train in the US. Instead he trained in Japan and provided minimal updates to Red Sox management who had little visibility to his off season workouts.
It's time for Dice-K to grow up, listen to what the people who pay him millions tell him to do, and realize it's less about culture and more about his personal stubborn nature. Sure, you were a king in Japan,but this isn't Japanese baseball, players here exceed 5 ft 9 inches and 160lbs. I don't question his desire to succeed, I question his coachability, and there tends to be a high correlation between that and overall success.
So as the rumors continue to swirl about Roy Halladay coming to the Sox for Buchholz, Bowden, and others, without child-like outbursts like this from Dice-K, it's hard to consider him an eventual factor on this team. Maybe that's why he's stomping his feet and crying, he's just not getting the attention he's used to.
Sunday, July 26
Saturday, July 25
Thursday, July 23
It is difficult to put into words how frustrated I've become with these post all star break Red Sox. Last night's sweep gives Boston a 1-5 record after the break, which has allowed the streaking Yankees to blow right by them in the standings. Given the way the team is playing right now, two games out has never seemed like such a cushy lead.
We're all assuming the Sox will break out of their team-wide hitting slump, I mean, they're too good not to, right? Right?? The fact of the matter is that the Sox are hitting just .192 after the break, the entire lineup is pressing which is leading to more pop ups than Nomah ever hit, and keeping the opposing pitcher's pitch count at efficient levels. And don't even get me started on JD Drew's secret dump of a season he's putting on us right now, that's for another time.
The worst part? It's like a train wreck, you honestly don't want to watch, but as a fan, you have to. My fan confidence levels scary low levels....the Sox went down 3-1 last night and I told the fiance the lead was insurmountable. As a result, she wanted to watch So You Think You Can Dance...."Well it's not 14-1" was my response. It might as well have been.
At some point every season (sometimes at multiple points) it gets to this. I can't stand watching the team I love, but I do it anyways and it drives me absolutely insane. This is what I assume a terrible marriage is like. I've been tempted to change the channel of late, but I won't let myself do it. Today's day off is a needed one...for all of us. Let's hope friendly Fenway wakes this team up a little.
Tuesday, July 21
Wakefield hasn't pitched since July 8th, prior to the All Star break, and while I would never suggest that Red Sox find reasons to give their pitchers small "vacations" under the pretenses of a trip to the DL, it certainly makes sense to give Wake a month of rest at his age.
Wake is 11-3 this year with an 4.31 era with 108.2 innings logged.
Clay Buchholz was recalled to the big club after being sent down after his first start of the year on Friday against the Blue Jays. Buchholz went 5.2 innings in that game allowing 4 hits and 1 run while striking out 3.
Buchholz will start tomorrow night in the finale against the Texas Rangers.
Wakefield's trip to the DL will temporarily silence the not so silent group clamoring for Buchholz to be put into the starting rotation permanently. Lackluster performances from John Smoltz and Brad Penny over the weekend following Buchholz's performance Friday night were followed with calls to trade Penny and give Smotlz spot to Buchholz.
Two things we do know, Wake's "vacation" and the success of Buchholz over the next 2-3 starts could impact how active the Sox are as we approach the July 31st trade deadline. Stay tuned sports fans...
Monday, July 20
The Sox have been struggling to maintain a respectable team average, especially with RISP...the lineup below likely gives us the best chance to win night in and night out....let's run with it on a constant basis and see what happens.
Are there still issues with this lineup? Sure, Jacoby still needs to get on base more, and consistent production are certainly desires we all have....but let's hope the change sparks Boston's bats and they show the Rangers what a real contender looks like.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. J.D. Drew, RF
7. Mike Lowell, 3B
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Jed Lowrie, SS
-- John Smoltz RHP
Friday, July 17
Turns out, I was wrong.
The top of the AL East is fairly close in the standings. On that we were all right. The Sox are 54-34, the Yanks are in second at 51-37, and the Rays are not far behind at 48-41.
To test out my original argument, I went simple: I picked out what I consider the best of the AL: Boston, Tampa Bay, New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Texas, and Toronto (they were so good for such a long time that statistically they should factor in here). And I simply looked at the matchups amongst those teams. It was a bit of a surprise.
Playing those six, the Rays are 16-13. That's about what you would have expected, even a little better. The Yankees, on the other hand, are 17-21. Many of those losses (we know) have come at the hand of the Sox, but still, the Yankees are underperforming against the AL's best. But really, 17-21 isn't that much of a surprise. The real surprise was this: the Sox are a whopping 24-11 against the six best teams in the AL.
To be honest, I'm not sure what to think of this. I was clearly wrong, so far. And it's to be celebrated - when it comes to elite clashes, the Sox are stepping up big time. But that also means that they're right around .500 against the middling teams. And my concern is that the torrid pace against the elite just can't be sustained. Baseball averages out, at least when you're talking about the best few teams or players in a league. Every year, the batting champ hits in the low-to-mid .300's. The best team gets between 93 and 103 wins. That's just how it works. It's a long season, and things tend to settle around historical averages.
So yes, I should be very happy with the Sox dominance. I just hope that they can keep it up. What if the Yankees stop blowing it against the good teams? They've been beating up on the small guys the way they're supposed to. If the Sox don't start doing the same, they could be in trouble.
Leave it to a Sox fan to panic when he sees his team has been crushing the best of the best. But still, it's a game of numbers, and math makes me nervous.
Thursday, July 16
Now, as the entire baseball market has the Sox over a barrel knowing that they need to move him, no one wants to touch him with a ten foot pole. And for good reason, the best production Boston has managed out of Lugo came in Spring Training this year when he hit close to .400.....I still can't believe many of us were foolish in harboring some optimism for him (myself included).
The Sox have Lowrie on the mend, Green as more than capable backup, and a 9.25 million dollar waste of space on their bench (not to mention he's taking up a valuable roster spot). In addition the Sox have made it their goal to build some young shortstops in their farm system in order to develop for the future. From signing an 18 year old Cuban defector, to forcing a single A pitcher into a shortstop role, to today's signing of a 16 year old Dominican who apparently is one of the best young talents on an island full of studs.
Make no mistake about it, the Sox are not happy with the revolving shortstop door, but between dumping Lugo for a bag of balls and prioritizing their scouting, I have confidence they'll get it done.
Wednesday, July 15
Monday, July 13
For Tim, the event is the second coming of Christmas....we probably yell some combination of "tater" and/or "yahtzee" 931 times, and it never gets old.......honestly, how my fiance` still plans on marrying me is unreal.
This year however, something was missing. We screamed, yelled, and tried to get excited, but other than Fielder's 503 foot bomb, it just wasn't there. Maybe it's the lack of laced steroids and HGH, perhaps the weekend was still taking its toll on us, but it's pretty safe to say that the event just isn't the same without performance-enhancing elements.
We've clearly been mislead by the unnatural results of years past, and I'm 100% behind cleaning up the game, but I sure do miss the craziness of the fabricated years.....
.....at least Brandon Inge made J-Bay feel a little better by matching his goose egg from 05'.
Go Sox...and Go AL All Stars.
Thursday, July 9
Wednesday, July 8
Tuesday, July 7
"I've given up all two-out runs except one or two, and that has to change. I'm going to look and see if there are any trends. I don't think I have to be perfect. I haven't pitched away from my fastball or contact. I'm almost there."
Monday, July 6
"I was just as much a part of that as anything, although I might not have been there. No one knows all the phone calls I got during it and everything, and that was great. I was calling them back multiple times. The whole thing was to win one for the city. I felt every bit a part of it."
Five years later, Nomar returns, and guess what, he's banged up. His calf issue will likely limit him to one game in the field and keep him available to be a designated hitter or pinch hitter in the other games.
Asked if he thought he'd get a positive reception from Red Sox fans, Garciaparra said, "I would hope so. I always loved them and appreciated them. They were great to me, and I gave them everything I had there, for sure."
Thursday, July 2
The guy almost every member of Red Sox nation loves to hate, Julio Lugo may have actually earned back a few fans with his game-winning hit last night. However that didn't stop him from admitting something we've all known for a long time....he's been a complete bust in Boston.....
"No, it hasn’t," he said late yesterday afternoon in regards to things working out in a Boston uniform....
"I thought it would work, but that’s not where we are," ........ "But one thing I am not going to do is throw a log on the fire. It’s just the way it is right now and I have to deal with it."
Julio Lugo has achieved a complete vote of no confidence from Red Sox fans, despite showing signs of life at the plate in limited time. Perhaps if he didn't launch every other ball hit to him into the stands, or get paid about 87 times more than his market value, or live up to any of the irrationally high expectations from team management, he might have a few more fans here in the rain capital of the world.
But with Lowrie managing to get hurt in his rehab start, we may have to live with a little more Lugo than expected. Is it possible he can swing his way out from under the cloud of hate? I'm going with no, but he may be slowly gaining some steam.