Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Enjoy the day…but remember why you have it off

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May 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | Leave a comment

Was there a full moon this weekend?

This is Eammon Portice.  A 25 year-old pitcher on the Portland SeaDogs.  The SeaDogs play at 1pm today and I figured a picture of Eammon was as good a way as any to let folks know that.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permisison.

This is Eammon Portice. A 25 year-old pitcher on the Portland SeaDogs. The SeaDogs play at 1pm today on NESN and I figured a picture of Eammon was as good a way as any to let folks know that*. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permisison.

Memorial Day weekend usually marks the first weekend of the summer (which is still not quite here yet) when people go away.  While I didn’t go away, activities this weekend caused me to miss a lot of baseball (including Friday’s and Sunday’s Sox games).  So if you’re one of those folks who did a little vacationing this weekend, or just had things that needed to get done and couldn’t stop to watch some baseball, here’s some of what you missed (in no particular order):

  • The Angels’ Kendry Morales broke his leg in the celebration following his walk-off grand slam on Saturday.   (Incidentally, it makes me crazy whenever anyone refers to a grand slam as a grand slam home run, as the announcer does in that clip.  By definition, a grand slam is a home run, no need to be redundant.)  If you watch the video, the celebration wasn’t even that rough, Kendry landed the wrong way (supposedly because someone was grabbing for him as he was landing).  This was followed by Howie Kendrick (has he always been called Howard or did someone finally ask him which he preferred?  I’ll never get used to “Howard”) hitting a walk-off home run on Sunday with no jumping into a pile this time (but still some celebrating).  I have no issue with teams celebrating walk-offs.  Heck it’s a big deal, let them celebrate.  Just maybe they could not try to kill each other while they’re doing it.  (Also hearing, “Jimmy Jack” as a term for a home run makes me want to break someone’s leg.)
  • Then there’s the Indians’ David Huff, who got nailed in the head with an ARod line drive that turned into a rbi double.  Huff, remarkably, didn’t end up with a concussion and didn’t even stay in the hospital overnight, returning to Yankee Stadium before the game ended.  The best part of this story, well aside from the fact that Huff is all right, is that ARod’s double made the score 2-0 Yanks in the 3rd inning and the score would get to 10-3, Yanks, yet would end 13-11 Indians.  Slappy taking out your pitcher is definitely a game you have to win.  Well done, Cleveland.  Sadly, not so well done?  Justin Masterson.  In the following game, Masterson was pitching what was probably his best game in a year.  In the middle of the 7th inning, the score was 3-0 Cleveland with Masterson only giving up 4 hits and a walk.  Then the 7th got ugly.   Three singles and a stolen base in the 7th scored two runs to make the score 3-2.  Masterson, with 103 pitches, get taken out of the game and his bullpen coughs up four more runs.  The bright side?  Masterson gets a no-decision, which breaks this streak of 11 losses in a row going back to last August.  I really feel for Justin Masterson but as much as I was upset about his being traded last year, this all kind of takes the sting of that away a little bit.
  • On the happier side of baseball, Roy Halladay becomes the third pitcher to throw a perfect game since “The Baseball Project” wrote and released “Harvey Haddix”.  I watched the last three innings of Halladay’s game against the Marlins because, well, watching Halladay pitch is entertaining on many levels, and the fans in Florida were really great.  I was so terribly impressed with their reactions to all the outs the Marlins were making – and then someone pointed out to me that, being in Florida, there are a lot of snowbirds down there and Yankees and Phillies fans both tend to take over the park.  So while I still choose to believe that the Marlins fans were just being awfully cool, it looks like it might have just been Phillies fans cheering their own.  Along with messing up Harvey’s song, Halladay is just the 2nd Phillie to pitch a perfect game and the 20th player in MLB history to do it as well as being the Arizona Fall League alumnus to throw one.  Cool stuff, Roy.  Happy that he has this to add to his resume!
  • The Red Sox ended up splitting the series with the Royals behind more great pitching from Buchholz and Lester, winning their weekend games, 1-0 and 8-1.  Mike Cameron came alive, David Ortiz and Jason Varitek added to their home run numbers and no one got injured celebrating anything.  I’d say that makes this weekend quite a successful one

Disappointingly, the Red Sox aren’t playing today.  While this gives me more time to focus on the barbecue (who am I kidding?  You know I’ll be going indoors watching pieces of the other games) it still disappoints me that, on a holiday, we don’t get baseball.  A little annoyed with the baseball gods with this one – although a day off, on a holiday, while they’re at home, is probably something most of the guys with families are looking forward to – so, I can’t be selfish.

Today is Dave Roberts’ 38th birthday.  Send him some good vibes, prayers, birthday wishes, whatever you have because the man deserves them.

Tomorrow the Sox begin a series against the Oakland A’s with John Lackey on the mound.  I think our Tuesday night live chat mojo is about to be seriously tested.  My computer issues are settled so the chat will be going on with, presumably, no interruptions!

(*It should be noted that Casey Kelly will be the starter for the SeaDogs today.  There’s a chance you can see Eammon come out of the bullpen, though!)

May 31, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is this thing on?

When all else fails, there's always Bill Hall.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

When all else fails, there's always Bill Hall. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

So yesterday was one of those games that I  missed because of other obligations and then didn’t mine missing at all.

Let us not speak of it again.  (Ugh!)

I will be watching tonight’s game so Mr. Buchholz can feel free to pitch another no-hitter or, heck,  just a one-hitter will work too.  I won’t mind.

I guess if one thing upset me about missing the Sox it’s that I missed Bill Hall pitch a perfect ninth.  Have to love a position player coming in and getting the job done.  (I lie, you realize.  The idea of a position player finishing a game, and the fact that TWO have done so already this year, makes me want to bang my head.)  I dvr’d the game but might just fast forward through it to see Kevin Millar hassling Tito.

And, as much as I love the dude and I promise you I adore the guy, the Sox are 0-2 in the Kevin Millar on NESN era.  Something’s gotta give.

One pitcher-related note:  Ted Lilly:  You cheated.  Casey Blake isn’t the bad guy because he called you out on it.  You’re the bad guy because you did it and John Hirschbeck is the bad guy because when Blake questioned it he refused to do anything about it but, make no mistake, you did it.  We all know you did it and pretending you didn’t makes you look a bit, well, makes it look like you think we’re all stupid.  We aren’t.  Folks who weren’t Casey Blake picked up on it, most specifically CJ Nitkowski.  Also, saying something along the lines of “everyone cheats” doesn’t  make what you did right.  If you don’t want people calling you out as a cheater, here’s a tip:  don’t cheat.

I have my cranky pants on today.  I spent a few hours fixing my wireless that was down almost a day (the horror, I know) and I think my Mac is well on its way to its demise.  I’ve already had folks offer me PC laptops as loaners for the day the Macbook Pro finally dies but, man, I will miss the Mac when it finally kicks.  When I finally get back to the ranks of the gainfully employed, first thing on the list will be to get a new one, I think.  (Hey the phone bill can wait, right?)  So while I will definitely be trying to continue posting every day there might be a time when that stops while I get my house in order, so to speak.  As of right now, though, I’m still planning the Tuesday night live chat!  My technology failing me tends to get me on the crabby side, especially since I can’t really do much about it right now, so I chose to hold off on blogging until the crankiness was gone…and then I read about Ted Lilly and it all came roaring back.  I think I’m good now!

Tonight I’d like a well-pitched, offensively active, Sox win.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

May 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I'm so ready for the weekend

Casey Kelly is now on Twitter @cpk3.  Following him an Luis Exposito @Expo2323 is highly entertaining!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Casey Kelly is now on Twitter @cpk3. Following him and Luis Exposito @Expo2323 is highly entertaining! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Wrote this to a friend yesterday morning:

I’m not of the “well, it’s the Royals so the Sox will roll over them” mind, never have been, but these games could be a lot of fun!

Last night was not a lot of fun.

Okay it was a little fun.  Seeing Bill Hall go yard is always fun.  Having Kevin Millar on the pre and post game shows and reminiscing about 2004 was fun.  Watching Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch like the game in Philadelphia didn’t happen?  Not so much fun.

But there is no time to dwell.  There are still three games against the Royals to be played and won.  The Sox just need to get back up on it.  Tim Wakefield, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester will be pitching those games.  We have every reason to be hopeful!  Special attention should be paid to Saturday night’s game…Zack Greinke v Buchholz.  I know that Greinke has been snakebitten by the rest of his team and that he’s this fabulous pitcher who MLB is already getting the HoF plaque ready for, but I kind of like our guy too.

First, though, there’s Wake tonight.  The next streak has to start with a win and I think Wake’s just the guy to lead them.

May 28, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

And a Large Father shall lead them

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission

I don’t normally like to focus on the guys who always get focused on but, screw it, how about that David Ortiz?

Against Detroit, New York, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, five series that everyone kept saying would “make or break” the Red Sox, Big Papi hit .400.  Over the last ten games, he has 14 hits, four home runs, 12 RBI and even 5 walks.  The guy is getting on base and scoring runs (eight in that 10-game stretch) and isn’t considered the easy out that he was back in April.  He was just a major contributor to the Red Sox sweep against the mighty Tampa Bay Rays and helped the Sox outscore them 19-3 in this series.

There are no more excuses.  You can’t tell me he was facing weak pitching (Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain, James Shields, Matt Garza…these guys are good, yes?) and you can’t blame Fenway for being an easy home run park (out of his last ten games, only one was played at Fenway where, admittedly, he had a a two-run home run against Scott Baker).  Whatever Papi didn’t have in April, he has now, in spades.  Welcome back, Large Father.

The rest of the team?  Not too shabby either.  Adrian Beltre went insane on the first place Rays’ pitching.  The team won this last series, pardon me, swept this last series, with their hitting and their pitching…how nice is it when that happens?

According to Michael Silverman, Papi will  possibly be in Queens today at the wake for his friend Jose Lima.  If that happens to be the case, I can’t imagine anyone could complain if it causes him to miss the game tonight.  I know I won’t.

Too many were so quick to write this team off and while I know there is still a lot of baseball in front of us and anything is possible I continue to have that good feeling that this summer is going to be one heck of a ride.  Sweeping the Rays, winning the series in Philly, sweeping the Twins, splitting with the Yanks (that’s a record of 8-2 if you don’t want to do the math)…this is just the beginning.

Best line of the night, uttered by Jerry Remy in the 9th inning:

“You can almost see them coming together as a group!”

May 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 1 Comment

Everyone who got DFA'd can leave the clubhouse…not so fast McDonald!

So long, Scott, and good luck!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

So long, Scott, and good luck! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

So very happy to hear that Darnell McDonald got a reprieve from the governor yesterday. That isn’t to say that I’m happy that poor Scott Atchison got the axe, but I’m really quite pleased that Darnell is still with the team. (Jacoby possibly still being injured? Doesn’t please me at all…but I’ll take what I can get right now.)

Last night the Sox one-hit the Rays, winning a game where the Sox only got four hits and two runs. A well-pitched, low-scoring game against the best team in the league and the Sox came out on top. Definitely reason to be happy today.

As there usually is with the Sox/Rays series, there was a little drama last night too. Pleasantly, it didn’t directly involve the Red Sox.  It still baffles me that Carl Crawford would be stupid enough to get himself thrown out of a game in the fifth inning on a first pitch called strike. Crawford is the best hitter on that team right now and they were facing a good pitcher but only down by two in the fifth. I don’t care how terrible the call was (and it was a terrible call), act like a professional and suck it up.  You don’t get yourself thrown out of the game in that situation, you just don’t.  Excluding the 17.5 games behind the Orioles are (sorry Baltimore!), Tampa Bay’s lead in the division is 6.5 games now.  The Rays aren’t far enough ahead of the rest of the pack to not care about losing their best player because he gets pissy about a bad call.   They’ve happened all season, they’ve happened since the game began, they will always happen.  Was hurting your team worth it?  Carl Crawford seems to think so:

As for getting as angry as he did, Crawford said, “He didn’t back down, and I didn’t want to lose a trash-talking contest.”

If I were running the Rays, Crawford would get fined for that comment. That’s genius right there. It was more important to be a big man than to help your team try to win the game? Ridiculous.

Had a Red Sox player done this I’m fairly certain my brain would have exploded.

Speaking of things that make my head hurt…there is no possible way I could care less about how long David Ortiz takes to round the bases after he hits a home run.  None.  As I’ve written many places, if you don’t want a player doing what you consider a disrespectful trot, don’t throw the damn home run ball in the first place.  The parade of people constantly looking for negative things to write about David Ortiz is getting very tiring.  The team loves him, the fans love him, stop trying to find reasons to dislike him, you’re all only embarrassing yourselves at this point.

Red Sox are now six for six on Tuesday night live chats night.   As always, thank you to everyone who participated!  Same time, next week!

Three afternoon MLB games today and the Twins and Yankees pick up last night’s game at 5:05pm ET in the top of the 6th…so there is plenty of baseball to enjoy before we sit back and watch John Lackey take on Matt Garza tonight for what could be a sweep of the AL East leaders.  Until then, if you’re in the Boston area, it’s a gorgeous day, go out and enjoy it!

May 26, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Let's go six for six in the live chats!

I feel compelled to put a warning here for folks reading the live chat after the fact…we had a bit of adult talk last night including linking to a page that claims to have a photo of Evan Longoria sans pants.

So parental discretion is advised. 🙂

Do it for Johnny! The 6th Live Chat of 2010

May 25, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , | Leave a comment

Addio, Darnell

And ye shall be tackled by our first baseman for your accomplishments!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.  Good luck, Darnell!

And ye shall be tackled by our first baseman for your accomplishments! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission. Good luck, Darnell!

Missed last night’s game so I’m just happy that it all ended well!  Everything seems to be clicking for the Sox and tonight we get back Mike Cameron to close that circle.  Really looking forward to seeing him back in the lineup!

But with Mike Cameron back, we knew we’d have to say goodbye to someone and, as Gordon Edes tells us, this time it’s Darnell McDonald.

In the brief time McDonald wore a Sox uniform, he made an impact. Dramatically, at first, with a game-tying, pinch-run homer in his first at-bat for the Sox, followed by a game-winning single in his first game, then a home run in his second. Then, mostly dependably, especially at the plate, where in 30 games he batted a respectable .263, with three home runs and 11 RBIs. Defensively, he was exposed as time went on, but the 31-year-old filled a breach when called upon.

“There was nothing else to do,” manager Terry Francona said. “I hope for his sake somebody claims him. I’m very appreciative for what he did for us.”

I don’t know if I ever remember a manager saying that he hoped another team claimed a player.  If he doesn’t get claimed, he can accept the assignment back to Pawtucket and still be in the organization, right?  I think it’s pretty cool of Tito to publicly say he’d rather him go to another club where he gets a chance to probably play in the bigs.  Thank you, Darnell.  Thank you for helping make a relatively painful time not so horrible.

Clay Buchholz doing his thang again and the Sox offense going off on Rays pitching, including another home run by the Large Father, brought the team another “W”.    Tonight Jon Lester goes up against James Shields (I hesitate to call him “Big Lame” James just yet even though the name, suggested by Kelly O’Connor in the comments here not too long ago, cracks me up to no end…no need to piss off the baseball gods) and we will be here live chatting for anyone interested!

We’re five for five on Tuesday nights, so far, so stop on by to help add to the “magic”!

May 25, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I'm greedy for more

I try not to use photos that I don't have permission to use but when I saw this photo of Jose Lima I thought it was the perfect way to remember him.  Photo taken in Spring Training in 2005 by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images (and used without permission)

I try not to use photos that I don't have permission to use but when I saw this photo of Jose Lima I thought it was the perfect way to remember him. Photo taken in Spring Training in 2005 by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images (and used without permission)

Well we, apparently, had nothing to fear from Roy Halladay yesterday but Tim Wakefield left the Phillies shaking.  Wasn’t that nice?

The pitching matchups for the entire weekend gave most Red Sox fans pause when looking at them on paper.  John Lackey, well let’s not talk about him right now.  Both Daisuke Matsuzaka and Wake far exceeded most expectations.  I’m sure the Phillies are still shaking their heads wondering what the hell happened.  But it wasn’t all just pitching.  On Sunday, Pedroia, Hermida and Wake were the only starters without a hit and Ellsbury and Scutaro were the only ones without multiple hits.  The hitters attacked Halladay and Wake went after the Phils.  It was a nice way to spend a Sunday that was topped off with the Mets winning THEIR series against the Yankees- on national television  no less.

So right now the Red Sox are 2.5 games behind the Yankees (and a game and a half behind the Blue Jays…a Toronto win couple with a Yankees loss pushes the Yankees to third place).  I bring up the Yankees because I believe in small steps.  Get settled into second place and the worry about the rest.  Right now, getting settled into second place doesn’t seem so impossible to do.

The one bit of sad news we got Sunday was that Jose Lima died from a “massive” heart attack at the age of 37.  I know that people tend to speak well of the dead only once they’re gone but from the things I’ve read online from his past teammates and others who have worked with him, it seems like there were a lot of people who just genuinely liked Jose and I’m so sorry for them and for Lima’s family today.  It is never a good time to lose someone you love but as someone who has passed that age, 37 seems mind-shatteringly young.  So heartfelt thoughts and prayers to all of those mourning the loss of Lima Time.  Ben Shpigel of the New York Times wrote, what I think, is a truly beautiful tribute to the man which briefly remembers Geremi Gonzalez as well.

No day off for the Sox…tonight they’re at the Trop where Clay Buchholz goes up against Wade Davis at 7:10.  Let the winning streak continue!

May 24, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

So close!

Mike Cameron gets another start in Portland today.  Come back soon, Mike!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Mike Cameron gets another start in Portland today. Come back soon, Mike! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

I started with a couple of tweets just before the game began last night, and as it began I had to go offline for a while.  Come around the fourth inning and I decide to go online when I realized that Daisuke Matsuzaka hadn’t given up a hit yet.  That’s when I made the decision to keep doing what I was doing and not go online.  Why mess with the mojo?  🙂

It was about the 7th inning that I got this nagging feeling that he wouldn’t get his no-hitter.  Something just didn’t feel right (and none of that was his pitching or the defense behind him).  Maybe it was being in Philadelphia?  Or that the national broadcasters were calling the game not our Jerry and Don?  Whatever it was, when he lost the no-hit bid in the 8th, I was still disappointed but also still so proud.  Over the past four games, three of our pitches threw 8 complete innings.  For any team this is great but it’s especially important and impressive for the way the Red Sox pitching staff has been going.  Daisuke, someone who gets the wrath of many Red Sox fans and is the topic of many nasty emails sent my way from opposing fans, really came through and showed everyone what he was capable of.  He might not have gotten his no-hitter, just yet, but he definitely made folks in and around MLB stand up and take notice.

I had a discussion online not too long ago with someone who said that the Sox got hosed when the picked up Daisuke and he wasn’t worth his money.  When I countered that, in my opinion, his first two seasons alone with the Sox were definitely worth the money (one of those seasons was the championship 2007 season and the other was 2008 when he had 18 wins), the person still disagreed with me.  I’ll say it again, in terms of “baseball” money (read:  money I don’t have and can pretend to spend any way I like) and for what he has contributed, I still think Daisuke was worth it.  Doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes get fits when he’s on the mound, but I think the fits, at times, can defitely be worth it as well to see the end result.  Injured in 2009 and off to a late start in 2010 – we still haven’t seen everything he’ capable of.  Also, he pitched this one-hit game against possibly the best hitting team in baseball.  That is pretty damned impressive, no?

Also, props need to go to all the defense last night, but especially David Ortiz if for no other reason than he made a couple of really good plays that finally got the Fox broadcasters to shut up about how he was going to fail at first because he never plays the position.

With Josh Beckett on the dl, today Tim Wakefield pitches the rubber game against Roy Halladay at 1:35pm.  Both NESN and TBS are carrying the game because TBS, unlike Fox, doesn’t screw up everyone else’s baseball viewing pleasure just for their own greedy selves. Last night was a travesty in that there were actually people in MASSACHUSETTS who couldn’t watch the Sox play because their local Fox station decided to show the Mets/Yanks game.  Absolutely ridiculous Fox.  Good God when is that horrendous contract over?

Some folks have been using the new message board to in-game chat either in threads or in the built-in chat room so go on over if you’re so inclined!  Tuesday night live chats (and at some point maybe more) will still be held here – can’t mess with that magic yet!

May 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 3 Comments