Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

No live chat tonight

Because, once again, real life is muscling in on my baseball life, I not only didn’t get my post up today but I will, unfortunately, have to cancel tonight’s scheduled live chat.

Boo me, I know, I stink like cheese.  Daisuke is going to have to soldier on without us this one time.

Unless something surprises me by next Tuesday, the plan is to pick back up on Tuesday night next week when the Red Sox are at Tampa Bay.  Hope folks will be able to stop by!

June 30, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | | Leave a comment

Last night in baseball

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

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

Found in my Twitter feed:

The Atlanta Braves beat Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals 5-0 (with Strasburg giving up four runs on six hits in six innings, three of those runs earned, yet he also struck out seven).  According to many on Twitter, the Braves fans started chanting “Over-rated”.  When I read that, I must admit to laughing out loud.  You have to think that they were beat to death with “expect the team to lose to the mighty Strasburg” crap ever since the day someone figured out he’d be pitching at Turner Field.  Why not have fun with it?  He lost to their team after being deemed the best pitcher baseball has ever seen.  Let him know that, in spite of MLB’s trying to make the world Strasburg fans, not everyone wants him to win – especially when he’s pitching against their team.  I don’t believe he’s over-rated but I sure do believe we’re being saturated with Strasburg publicity right now and the “over-rated” chant will hit every ballpark he visits if he doesn’t with the game and strike out at least 10 each in each appearance.  This isn’t his fault, this is the fault of MLB and every writer and broadcaster who has decided that a Stephen Strasburg start is more important than any other game being played in baseball.  Maybe now we’ll stop being inundated with inning by inning updates on him.

Detroit Tigers’ Joel Zumaya hurt his right elbow last night while pitching against the Minnesota Twins.  According to catcher Gerald Laird, you could hear something pop as he made his pitch to Delmon Young.  MLB has the video here and the look of pain on Zumaya’s face is, well, painful.  Check out the look on Young’s face after he swings.  Whatever happened to Zumaya, his catcher and the guy at bat heard it and there’s no way it’s anything but bad news.  Thinking good thoughts for the 25 year-old who has been plagued by arm injuries in his short career.  In an understandable contrast to how Braves fans treated the opposing pitcher, Twins fans gave Zumaya an ovation as he left the field.

Staying in Minnesota for a moment, Twins fans, I’ve come to find out thanks to Twitter, also do the wave.  Can the “Fenway Park is the only place that still does the wave” talk finally be put to rest?  It isn’t accurate at all.  There are plenty of lame, wave-doing fans all across Major League Baseball and folks need to stop pretending Red Sox fans are some odd breed that still live in the 1980s.

The Red Sox are rumored to be calling up Gustavo Molina from Pawtucket and putting Victor Martinez on the disabled list.  Lots of complaining on Twitter last night because Molina isn’t hitting well in Triple-A.  Folks need to take into consideration that the two best catchers on the PawSox, Mark Wagner and Dusty Brown, are both on the DL right now and Molina will be the back-up catcher to Jason Varitek.  Expecting the Triple-A back up to the back up catcher to come up to the bigs and blow you away is short-sighted and, well, ridiculous.  Molina will do what he’s being brought up to do, be a serviceable backup to Jason Varitek.   The team is in injury trouble right now; do folks expect all stars to be available to fill in?  The injury situation sucks all the way around.  Having starters go down doesn’t always (or usually) give a team the opportunity to fill the gap with the next big name.  This is, unfortunately, something the Sox and their fans are going to have to deal with for a while.

Reports are that Clay Buchholz won’t be going on the DL, Martinez will be and Dustin Pedroia won’t be having surgery.  It’s all still pretty ugly but it still feels to me like it could be worse.  Six weeks without Pedie will hurt the most.  Can’t even try to find a silver lining there.  Hopefully Victor’s hand won’t hurt so much that he won’t be able to rub Adrian Beltre’s head after each home run.

All Star Game voting updates came in yesterday.  I am not upset to see no Red Sox players in the running to be starters.  Given all the injuries this season I am even more dedicated to the idea that I want the team to use the All Star break as a genuine break from the game.  Give them the rest, let the Yankees and Rays do the heavy-lifting for home field advantage.  I have no problem with this.

As I mentioned yesterday, there won’t be a live chat for tonight’s game.  There will be a live chat tomorrow night (Daisuke Matsuzaka v Matt Garza in game two of the two game series against the Rays) and then next week we’ll start back up on Tuesdays again.

Tonight we get John Lackey going up against James Shields.  If ever a game screamed out for a live chat to take the edge off, I realize this is it, so I apologize in advance.  I do, however, have a good feeling about Lackey tonight.  If the Sox can split this series, I’ll be happy but a sweep would make me even happier…so lets work on that, eh, John?

June 29, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can we make uniforms out of bubble wrap?

I’m really getting tired of listing all the injuries the team has endured so far this season.

So let’s focus on the good. The team needed Jon Lester to go at least 7 innings and I was hoping for 8…what we got was his second complete game this season and a nice bit of rest for the bullpen.  Winning the series was a nice way to end the weekend.

A day off today and more time for Victor Martinez to rest that finger (no word of him going on the DL from the team, but ESPN, MLBN and just about every baseball writer I read has already reported it as true – can’t wait for Victor to show up behind the plate tomorrow night and give the all the finger).

A programming note:  Tomorrow’s regularly scheduled live chat will be postponed to Wednesday.  Sox lost last Tuesday and the string of live chat wins began on a Wednesday so I figured I’d shake it up to see how it works (Okay, that and I have something scheduled that I can’t change).  Next week the chat will be back on Tuesday.

Two games behind the Yankees and the Sox are in sole possession of the second place slot in the division.  It’s small steps but they’re working their way up.   I’ll be back at Fenway this weekend and just look forward to watching a game where, hopefully, no one gets hurt!

June 28, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , | 1 Comment

One Day More (and then no more interleague!)

This man is the MVP of our bullpen right now.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

This man is the MVP of our bullpen right now. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Reading various game threads AFTER the fact last night, this comment from the Sons of Sam Horn game thread is my favorite:

Well, that was painless.

Ellsbury, Cameron, Hermida, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lowell, Pedroia have all seen time on the DL this season. When Clay Buchholz came up lame yesterday I swear I saw the entire season flash before my eyes.  Sure Lowell and Hermida aren’t starters (although, due to Ellsbury and Cameron being out, Hermida was forced into a starting role for a while) but every injury has an impact on the team.  Which is why I don’t think anyone is complaining about the Sox sitting two games out of first place right now.  With the injuries and the horrific April this team had two games out of first is sitting damn pretty.

I know losing Pedroia is a tremendous blow to the team and the idea of the team without him makes my stomach hurt.  Having written that, the Sox just won a game by two runs using 7 pitchers out of the bullpen.  This team has the wherewithal to win.   Scott Atchison deserves a special mention for coming up big for the team…yet again.   His contributions recently have been life-savers.

4:05pm ET start time for today’s final (thank you, Lord) game of interleague play.    The Freak versus The Mad Bobcat Murderer…promises to be a fun game!

June 27, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , | 2 Comments

Why do injuries during interleague play annoy me more than during regular play?

As of 10:30 this morning I have no idea if Velazquez is getting called up but it's a good possibility.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

As of 10:30 this morning I have no idea if Velazquez is getting called up but it's a good possibility. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

So THIS is the game I’m able to stay up for?

Sox and Rays lose, Yanks win and the Sox are out 3 games this morning.  More upsetting is that Dustin Pedroia injured himself in the game and left the park on crutches.  Initial tests were negative and they’ll be doing more today but it’s a good bet we’ll probably be seeing Gil Velazquez before this trip is over.

June 26 and three games behind with all of the injuries that have hit this team, I’ll take it right now.

In a quote that seems quite unlike Dustin Pedroia, he said he’d be treating his foot in this way:  “ice, elevate it and pray”.  Whether you believe in prayer or honor the Flying Spaghetti Monster, if you’re a Red Sox fan, any positive vibes you can send out to Dustin would work for me.

Red Sox go up against a rookie pitcher today in Madison Bumgarner.  They counter with Clay Buchholz at 7pm ET on Fox.  Yes, once again, Fox messes up Saturday evening baseball for those who aren’t Giants or Red Sox fans or for Giants and Sox fans out of the market.  The only thing baseball-related that I want more than another Red Sox World Series is for the end of the contract between MLB and Fox Sports.

Edwin Jackson made the night not a total wreck by throwing a no-hitter against his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays.  Arizona Diamondbacks fans haven’t had a lot to cheer about and for nine innings and 149 pitches (holy cow!) Edwin gave them a lot to be happy about.  Congratulations, Edwin.  I guess this really is the year of the pitcher!

Maybe tonight will bring us good news about Pedie and a win?  Both would be quite welcome.

June 26, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

"Laser Show…and then some!"*

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

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

Long, tiring day yesterday.  I made it wide-awake through five complete innings last night which means the score was 6-2 Red Sox when I fell asleep.  When I woke up again, Daniel Nava was at bat in the 7th inning and the Rockies were up  8-6.  I tried, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I, once again, woke up, this time around 4am.  I had shut the television off in my sleep so I grabbed my Droid and tapped on the ‘At-Bat’ app to see the score.  At first glance, forgetting the Sox were on the road, I read it as 13-11 Rockies.  Then I focused my brain and realized that not only were the Sox the winning team but Papelbon the winning pitcher…in 10 innings.

In my early morning fog, my first clear thought was “Papelbon blew ANOTHER save?”.  (I then became happy for the win, especially since I had friends who traveled many miles to watch those games in person and the idea of their having to leave the park in the midst of Rockies fans chanting “sweep” was heart breaking.)

Here is, to my mind, an unbelievable number:  three.  Jonathan Papelbon only has three blown saves this season with 19 save opportunities.  Good lord, it feels like 10.  Just more proof that we all seem to react much more harshly to these types of situations than maybe they deserve, eh?  He’s also only blown back to back saves two other times in his career (one being in his rookie year) but neither of those came in back to back games (they were consecutive appearances for Paps but not games for the team).

As I write this, I’m watching “Breakfast with the Sox” on NESN (the one-hour recap of the previous game) and they skipped over showing the entire game and started up in the 8th inning.  I just watched Papelbon give up the game-tying hit.  I know it ended well (Papelbon so owes both Darnell McDonald AND Dustin Pedroia something shiny and new) but I will say this:  never have I been so happy to have fallen asleep and missed a game where the Sox ended up winning as I am this morning.  Holy cow.

Dustin Pedroia went 5-5 with a walk which included a mind-boggling 3 home runs last night.  His home runs weren’t meaningless home runs in the midst of blow outs either.  His first was in the fourth inning when the score was 2-0 and it started the 4 run rally that was the fourth inning.   His second came in the 8th, a two-run homer that turned the Sox’ one run lead into a three run lead.  Both would be important (as would his walk given he scored a run because of it) but none more important than the last homer he hit…with two outs in the 10th and Marco Scutaro on first, Pedroia hit the second pitch he saw from Huston Street into the stands to give the Sox the 13-11 lead which, thanks to Papelbon pitching a perfect 10th inning, they didn’t relinquish.  Sweep averted, on to San Francisco.

Incidentally, Pedroia waving “Hi!” to the NESN camera following him in the dugout after the homer was priceless and worth staying up for!

Back in June 2007, the Colorado Rockies came to Boston for a three-game series.  It was a midweek, Tuesday through Thursday series leading into the Sox playing the Giants over the weekend.  I was at two of those games, pitched by Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett, and both were miserable losses. The Sox only beat the Rockies in the game that Tim Wakefield pitched (and for the sake of context, the June 14th loss was Beckett’s first of that season) to begin the series.  All I’m saying is, if 2010 ends the way 2007 did – I’ll be quite all right with this particular series loss.

Wake is on the mound at 10:15 ET tonight.  I’m going to have to stock up on the Red Bull for this one (although I really can’t complain…three 8:40pm games instead of 10pm with the Rockies and only one 10pm game with the Giants…I think we can make it!).

*How Don Orsillo followed up the Pedroia homer in the 10th…Pedie would be proud!

June 25, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Tito's words of wisdom

Kyle Snyder.  Because I'm still a little too cranky to put up a photo of someone on the current team.  Courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Kyle Snyder. Just because. Courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Not writing about last night’s game.  Won’t do it.   As a matter of fact these few words are the last I will mention that game.  We’re done.  Okay, one thing:  They won the battle (beating Ubaldo Jimenez) and lost the war (losing the actual game).  This doesn’t make me feel as good as I thought it would.  Now, we’re really done.  Let us never speak of this again.

What I wanted to write about and what I meant to write about during the game last night is Terry Francona and the fools he has to suffer.  Yesterday on the WEEI Full Count blog, Sam Dykstra posted the transcript of Tito’s appearance on the Dale and Holley Show.  Now I’m not listening to the broadcast for fear I might break my computer so I don’t know who asked this question, but here it is (in regard to Mike Lowell):

You’re doing really well right now without him so why not release him?

They’re doing “really well right now”?  Someone who covers sports professionally actually phrased a question that way?  The Sox are tied for second place so they should just be happy that the wheels aren’t falling off and give into the wishes of a player because nothing else could possibly happen that would make having Mike Lowell on the team a good backup plan, right?  The stupidity of the question is mind boggling but, as usual, Tito is ready with the response:

Well first of all, I would never talk about that with a player, especially on the radio. I can’t do that. But I think you’re being a little short-sighted. What if Youk twisted an ankle tonight? How good would that look? … It’s something that’s not making Mikey very happy, but it’s a long season and as you kind alluded to a minute ago, we’ve gone through a lot of players. It doesn’t always work out perfect for the players’ personal goals. We understand that, and the timetables are a little different sometimes. That’s why we just do the best we can.

I am genuinely amazed that Tito has yet to begin a response to one of these questions with “Are you a friggin’ idiot?”.    I dig Mike Lowell and I hate the situation he’s in.  Well, I hate some of it.  I get that he wants to play and I get that he feels like he’s good to go but I also get that he’s being paid a lot of money to sit on that bench and possibly make it to the playoffs.  Money shouldn’t always be a factor and I often argue with people who want to say things like “For the money he’s making…” but it’s tough to garner sympathy (although Lowell has said straight out that he is NOT looking for sympathy) for a guy who spends his days at a park and pockets lots of cash to do so.  On the other hand, Lowell has done a lot for this team and seems to be a good guy so I feel sorry that he’s seemingly so miserable.

Having written all of that, I think anyone who suggests the Red Sox should just give him his release or trade him in a package that would benefit him more than the team (there is no reason I can think of that it would be a good idea to get rid of him just because he wants to go) is out of his or her mind.  Why should the Red Sox do anything that would benefit him more than the team?  It’s only June.  The season has already been insane with injuries…why put the team in a position to be short a decent back up infielder and/or DH just because he’s a nice guy and wants to leave?  Also, if the Sox lose another player they end up paying to play somewhere else, I just might have to visit Fenway Park and set it on fire.  It is not my desire to see Mike Lowell wither away during what is most likely his last season in MLB.  It is ALSO not my desire to see the Red Sox hamstrung because they took the feelings of a beloved player into consideration over what was best for the team.  Sometimes, as lousy as it is to acknowledge, we have to remember that baseball is a business.

Tito showed he is also on the side of the people I don’t want to punch when he answered the question about Stephen Strasburg being in the All Star Game:

Oh my goodness, no. Maybe the Triple-A All-Star Game. I understand what this kid means to the game and what his potential is, but no, that’d be so disrespectful to a lot of good players. This kid’s made three major-league starts. I think that’d be setting a horrendous precedent. Again, no disrespect for the player, he’s got a chance to be one of the best pitchers in the game, but he’s got a chance. He’s got three starts under his belt. You can’t do stuff like that.

Strasburg has now made 4 starts in the majors (he took his first loss last night against the Royals). He has pitched 25.1 innings in the Bigs. While his numbers are impressive there are plenty of other pitchers who have put in more time this season (I know he’s good, but 25 innings is still a bit of a small sample size, IMO).  I think Tito is spot on here as well.  It’s a terrible precedent to set just because MLB wants to use this kid to help repair their image.  I don’t see it happening but if it does it’ll just give me another reason to root against the National League.

Roster change will be happening tonight.  Daisuke Matsuzaka will be coming off the DL and starting tonight’s game.  There is much speculation over at WEEI.com (the site is oddly obsessed with the Mike Lowell situation.  I know coming from the woman who is still holding out hope that Kyle Snyder gets one more shot at playing baseball talking about someone else’s “obsession” is the pot calling the kettle black, but still…) that Mike Lowell could be involved in the roster move.  Me?  Unfortunately, I think it’ll be JD Drew to the DL…but I’m hoping I’m totally wrong.

EDIT at 2:40pm:  I’m really off my game.  Never saw them putting Lowell on the DL as an option.  This makes my brain hurt. I suppose I get why they’re doing it and I still stand behind what I wrote about the needs of the team coming before the wants of any one player but it’s almost to the point where it feels like they’re purposely torturing this guy and it’s becoming painful to watch unfold.

June 24, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

There's always tomorrow (or in this case, tonight)

Ryan Westmoreland beats the throw.  Courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Ryan Westmoreland beats the throw. Courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

There are games that annoy me when the Sox lose to really good pitching. In the case of last night I feel like I should be more upset than I am. Never want to see the Sox lose and I dislike them losing the first game in the series more than just about anything, PLUS they messed up our live chat mojo so I know I should be annoyed but, really, I’m not. The Chacin kid kicked some butt (as did Jon Lester) and if not for a weird hop on Scutaro maybe things could have been different but, well, they weren’t so what are you going to do?  Tonight’s another night and although Ubaldo Jimenez, he of the 1.15 ERA, 13 wins and a WHIP of 1.00, is on the mound for the Rockies, there is always hope that tonight is the night that John Lackey throws another almost no-hitter, right?

Hey, a gal can dream.

On a totally different note, in my opinion, the best place to get Red Sox news without the worry of wanting to stab out our own eyes is the Providence Journal.  Both the Boston Globe and Boston Herald should be embarrassed that the best Sox writing is coming out of Rhode Island.  In any event, today is no different than any other at the ProJo.  Today Daniel Barbarisi (or “Danny” as ESPN’s Jon Miller would undoubtedly call him) has an absolutely wonderful update on Ryan Westmoreland.  I think for a lot of folks, out of sight out of mind, so it’s an eye-opening account of what Ryan has gone through since his brain surgery in March.  It’s also touching and inspiring.  Kudos to Barbarisi and the ProJo for their coverage this year – it has been outstanding.

Another 8:40 ET start tonight…this team has been so unpredictable that it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see them beat Ubaldo!

June 23, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Live Chat 2010 – Number 10!

Rocky Mountain High – Going for Number 10!

June 22, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | Leave a comment

Let's end today as good as it began!

Bring it, Crabby.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

Bring it, Crabby. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/sittingstill.net and used with permission.

There is no getting past this.  There’s a reason that the tagline of my original blog was “Because life is too short to be a Yankees Chick”.  That reason is, no matter how hard I try to be indifferent I absolutely can’t stand the Yankees.  Seeing the Yankees lose is number 2 on my list of favorite things about baseball (Seeing the Red Sox win being number one).  I try to deny that part of myself but it’s impossible for me.  It’s there and it’s real and while I don’t need to flaunt it I certainly feel the need to embrace it sometimes.

So this is me, embracing my Yankee hate.  I stayed up until just past 1am today to watch the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees out in Arizona.  I especially took joy in AJ Burnett struggling.  Hey, the Sox weren’t playing last night so I got my entertainment where I could.

Ultimately, the most important aspect of last night’s Yankees loss is that it put the Sox a half a game out of first place.   I saw Mitch Williams on MLB Network last night and he, predictably, hasn’t mentioned his contention (in May) that the Red Sox lost the division in April.  Fortunately for him he said it to Dan Patrick for print and not on the MLBN so he can’t be taunted with the video.

Don’t get me wrong, I get that you also don’t win the division in June, but Williams had the Sox completely written off (as did so many others) and a win by the Sox tonight coupled with another Yankees loss and you can’t really blame April for what happens to the Sox from here on out can you?

I find it fascinating that no writers except Peter Gammons, really, have brought up the injuries the Sox are working through as a reason for their struggles.  Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Mike Cameron, Jacoby Ellsbury…all starters for the team who have been unhealthy this year more than they have healthy.  Or, as Gammons put it:

Does it make sense that on the morning of June 21, the Red Sox had two starting pitchers and two outfielders on the disabled list, had used five left fielders, six center fielders and five right fielders and were leading the Major Leagues in runs, slugging and OPS? And were a game out, with the third-best record in baseball, the best since April 20?

A Yankees fan who reads my blog and often contacts me during the season sent me an email yesterday (prior to the D’Backs putting the beatdown on AJ Burnett) asking me if I was disappointed that this is the last week of interleague play since, come Friday, the Red Sox will soon have to face American League teams again “and that’s where they have trouble“.  In May the Sox were 16-10 against AL teams and in June they are 6-4 against the AL.  The Yanks?  Against the American League:  16-11 in May and 6-3 in June.  Those numbers don’t scream “trouble” to me.  Going 13-7 in the last 20 games, as the Yankees have, while your rival goes 15-5 and closes the 2.5 game gap between you to a half a game…well, that to me is “trouble”.

And, yes, that email is what triggered my decision to write this entry today.

As I mentioned yesterday, MLB is being kind to us, for the first 3 games of this trip anyway, and starting the games in Colorado at 8:40pm instead of 10:05pm…and that ensures that the live chat will be happening tonight.  Jon Lester goes up against Jhoulys Chacin in Lester’s first appearance in Colorado since he started game 4 of the 2007 World Series.  I’m full of hope for this series and this road trip (even if the Sox do have to go up against Ubaldo Jimenez and Tim Lincecum) and the road to a sweep begins tonight.

June 22, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment