Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Come on Up!

I hope you get to use your time well, Nate! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

Labor Day is one of my favorite days of the year. I love the fall and have always looked forward to things like the new school year beginning, the new television season starting and things just, generally, changing from a long summer. My love of autumn doesn’t mesh that well with my love of baseball given September is the beginning of the end of the regular baseball season but even still it’s my favorite time of year.

Children going back to school and television fans getting new shows aren’t the only people who enjoy a fresh start in September.  Thanks to the call-ups, there are many players in the minor leagues who get their first taste of the bigs in September.  Just this morning, with the final regular season game in Pawtucket being played tonight, Ryan Lavarnway, Nate Spears and Kyle Weiland all got called up and will be in Toronto this afternoon.  Ryan and Kyle have been called up before, but this is the first time for Nate.  After playing in Portland in 2010 and helping Pawtucket make it to the playoffs this year, Nate will most likely see his first Major League at-bat in Toronto. (Nate isn’t currently on the 40-man roster so a move will have to be made before he gets officially activated.)

I’m always happy for the guys who get called up and given how much I’ve learned about Nate from Kelly O’Connor, who has been following his career much more closely than I (or probably ANYONE)  for a few years now, I’m especially happy that he gets his shot this week.  But the one thing that always interests me is how the fans of the Minor League teams react to losing players once the playoffs begin.  I know plenty of people who follow the SeaDogs the PawSox and even the Spinners who don’t pay that much attention to the Red Sox.  They live near the MiLB parks, they go to the MiLB games and aren’t concerned with what the “big” team is doing and they’d rather see their guys in the Minor League uniforms for the playoffs.  If your team gets into the playoffs and then suddenly players start being plucked out to join the parent team (only to be sent packing for home once the regular season ends) it has to be frustrating.  I imagine it’s frustrating for the players who don’t get called up as well given that they’re being left behind to take on the playoffs without their teammates.  The playoffs for the PawSox begin on Wednesday and by all accounts Kyle Weiland was going to start the first game.  Now he’ll most likely be sitting in the Red Sox bullpen in Toronto while Matt Fox gets the start for Pawtucket.  While getting the big league time is what they are working for, I wonder how they feel about missing out on the playoffs (especially since they won’t be in the playoffs with the Red Sox this year)?  I’d imagine for someone like Nate getting the call for the FIRST time, the excitement about actually getting called up outweighs any disappointment there might be in regard to missing the playoffs.

The PawSox play their final regular season game today at 1:05pm (all the women fans in attendance get a rose) and the Red Sox play their first of a four-game series against the Blue Jays at 1:07 this afternoon.  In Toronto, Josh Beckett will be on the mound to,  hopefully, put an end to the two-game losing streak.  The Yankees just finished beating up on the Jays…I’m hoping this doesn’t encourage them to take out their frustrations on the Red Sox.  I’d like a bit of carnage coming from the Sox this week.

September 5, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Going for the Win

Will Middlebrooks hit his first triple A home run yesterday and it was a grand slam (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor and used with permission)

So Friday night the Red Sox get their hats handed to them in a 10-0 loss and folks were worried this was going to be what it looks like if the Rangers and Red Sox meet in the playoffs. Yesterday afternoon the Red Sox hammer the Rangers for 12 runs of their own (including a 4-4 day for Josh Reddick, a grand slam for Carl Crawford and let’s not forget the three runs in six innings off of Érik Bédard). In a game where they left 10 men on base, the Sox still scored 12 times. So this morning things aren’t looking so glum for the hometown team, are they?

It wasn’t fun to watch them lose a series to the Yankees and Friday night’s shut out was a bit miserable but, on the whole, few can deny that this team has been an awful lot of fun to watch this season.  They’re a half a game out of first place.  Every game they play has implications for the division which makes every game a must see.  I don’t care about pre-season football or what’s going on with the NHL or NBA right now.  We’re in the most exciting month of the season and my focus is definitely on the games that matter.

In other playoff news, last night the PawSox clinched the International League North Division title thanks, in part, to a Will Middlebrooks grand slam early in the game.  They lost the lead but came back after being behind in the 8th inning, 7-5.  The Yankees triple A team finished third in the standings, getting eliminated from playoff contention.  It’s the first time since 2008 that the PawSox have been in the playoffs.  I wish them a lot of luck and hope their getting the division title is a good omen for the Major League team.

September 4, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , , , , | Leave a comment

We interrupt this program

Have some things going on this week that make it tough to post right now but I’ll be back this weekend!

For now I give you this photo of Jose Iglesias (at Fenway for Futures at Fenway last weekend) holding a stuffed rat, courtesy of Kelly O’Connor who has many other fabulous photos from the day (and from other games) at her site here.

August 25, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | , | Leave a comment

West Coast Cranking

Remember Jed?  He's back!  (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission)

Remember Jed? He's back! (Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission)

Well I made it through six innings last night – that’s progress!

More interesting progress is that we are supposed to be getting Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie back today and Josh Beckett back at some point this weekend.  Yanks and Rays both lost last night as well so while the Sox didn’t gain ground, they at least didn’t lose any and maybe the bringing back of more pitchers who can pitch will help kickstart this second half.

Bummed that I won’t be able to live blog or chat the game today as I had hoped but real life calls.  I’ll hopefully be able to catch a few innings, though. Hoping Clay’s return is the beginning of a good run for the team.

If the 10pm games are too hard for you to stay up for this weekend, there are always the PawSox and SeaDogs to take in.  There’s a 12pm PawSox game today in Pawtucket and a 7pm SeaDogs game in New Hampshire.  Both teams are home on Thursday for 7pm games with the SeaDogs hosting “Adrian Gonzalez Bobblehead Night” and Mike Lowell rehabbing at Pawtucket. There’s enough local baseball to keep you happy if you miss the Red Sox.

Also today is the “Football at Fenway” soccer game which annoys me on many levels.  First off, Fenway is in America and in America football is not what’s being played at Fenway today.  What genuinely pisses me off about the soccer game is the destruction to the field.  This isn’t January.  Unlike when they had hockey at Fenway, the team wasn’t going to be playing any time soon.  The Sox will be back in Boston a week from Friday and I can only imagine how terrible the field will look.  For the record, I’m against concerts messing with the field during the season as well.  Who decided it was a good idea to screw with the field IN season?  If you’re so inclined, you can catch said soccer game on NESN tonight.  I’ll stick with the SeaDogs on the radio, thanks.

July 21, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yankees AGAIN?

Mike Cameron - coming soon to an outfield near you!  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Mike Cameron - coming soon to an outfield near you! Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Weekend is over, no sense dwelling on it.  Now we are witness to one of the oddest things in MLB scheduling:  The two-day series.  Not only do the Sox play one in New York but then they play another one in Boston against the Twins.  I don’t normally like the two-day series but anything that gets the Sox out of the Bronx sooner rather than later is all right with me.

Daisuke Matsuzaka goes up against Phil Hughes tonight.  Hughes is 5-0 with an ERA of 1.38.  Would be nice if tonight they got his ERA up past four.  Daisuke is coming off a tremendous start and though having to follow it up against the Yankees doesn’t give me all kinds of warm feelings, at least I don’t feel the impending doom that I once might have felt.  Anything could happen tonight so I’m staying positive!

Genuine good news is that Mike Cameron will most likely be activated for the Yankees series either today or tomorrow and Jacoby Ellsbury is starting his rehab assignments this week – this afternoon at Pawtucket and starting tomorrow (because the PawSox go on the road) in Portland. I’m looking forward to the team getting all of it’s pieces back together (not that Darnell McDonald hasn’t been a little slice of heaven because he has) and making that big run.  The Sox are 5-5 in their last ten games.  Not stellar (they were 6-4 in the ten games previous) but also not as horrible as it feels.

So the fun begins at 7:05 tonight (on both NESN and ESPN).  Could be fun.

Tomorrow the Sox are, as of right now, putting TBA up against CC Sabathia for first Yankees live chat of the year.  The Sox are four for four when we live chat so join us!  Would be nice if we were live chatting a two game sweep!

Enjoy the day folks!  For, regardless of which way the score goes, the night will most likely be filled with much cursing and the reaching of the Tums.

May 17, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 1 Comment

No more walk off walks, please

TJ Large doing his thing in Portland.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission

TJ Large doing his thing in Portland earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission

I was supposed to be in Pawtucket yesterday watching TJ Large make his first major league start in a spot start appearance because Randor Bierd was scratched late in the day.  The PawSox ended up winning their game 6-4 against Syracuse.  I missed a good game.

Of course, the game I didn’t miss?  Didn’t turn out so well.

I missed the end of that game too.  Sleep overtook me much more quickly than the Tigers beat the Red Sox but I saw enough of the game that I could have guessed, with the way things have gone this year, how it would end.

If there is one thing in baseball I absolutely hate it’s when my team walks in a run.  When they walk in a run to lose a game it a thousand times more frustrating.  So the gods were with me last night when they made me fall asleep because, had I witnessed Ramon Ramirez walk in that winning run, I probably never would have fallen asleep last night.

I’m writing this without having read anyone’s blogs or tweets or message board rants.  I’m sitting on a screened in porch with the sun shining, the birds singing and the sounds a few people mowing their lawns as my soundtrack for the morning.  In spite of the infuriating way the game ended, it’s a beautiful morning – and we have another day before us with the promise of a good baseball game ahead.

I fully acknowledge that it’s much easier to feel this way when I didn’t witness the crushing blow of how the game ended.

John Lackey goes out for the Sox at 1:05pm today against Armando Galarraga who was just called up from the Triple-A Toldeo Mud Hens to make the spot start for the Tigers.  On paper this should be great but last night is a reminder that baseball doesn’t care about what’s on paper just about what’s on the field.    Here’s hoping the Red Sox make the decision to switch the channel over to the Celtics at 3:30pm a tough one.

This is hard for some people to accept, I know, but we need to focus on whether the team wins or loses and not look at the rest of the standings – for probably quite a while.  Losing last night stunk but the Sox have a good opportunity to pull it together today and win the series.  Small steps, people, small steps.

May 16, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Keep the curtain drawn and the record on

Getting to see Embree pitch for the Sox again made the trip totally worthwhile! (Photo taken by me yesterday)

Getting to see Embree pitch for the Sox again made the trip totally worthwhile! (Photo taken by me yesterday)

It’s always more fun to watch a win than a loss but we weren’t afforded that luxury at Pawtucket yesterday.  Still, the game was fun, the weather was nice and we got to see some good pitching (Randor Bierd pitched much better than the final score indicates and R.A. Dickey, for the Bisons, was pretty damned impressive and seeing Alan Embree take the mound was exciting – especially since he pitched so well).  It was a great day for a baseball fan who loves pitching – just wish it ended better for the PawSox.

The Red Sox proper are wearing me out.  I’m thrilled for the winning but wish it came with a little less drama.   How many of you turn the channel or (like me) at least hit the volume when Papelbon comes in?   For someone so dynamic he’s almost unwatchable for me right now.  The two three-run homers in the 7th, though?  I could take more of that, thanks!

No matter, I guess.  Sox have two wins against the Baltimore and are going for the sweep as I write this.  The upcoming week sends the Sox to Toronto and then Baltimore…how about a winning streak, fellas?

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

The inner garden, it seems so frail

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

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

Last night the Sox won and the Rays and the Yankees lost.  I only point out the latter because it means the Sox gained a game on both of those teams (the Rays lost to the Jays so they gained nothing on Toronto but the Sox beat the Orioles so they pushed Baltimore another game down into the cellar).

I mention all of this because, contrary to some of what I’ve been reading today, folks should know that WINNING IS GOOD.

Yes, the bullpen wasn’t as stellar as it has been lately and the ninth inning was excruciatingly painful to watch.  Regardless of the ugly, the bottom line is that the team won the damn game (and, again, also that they gained ground on two of the three teams ahead of them in the division).  The “They’re never going to dig themselves out of this hole” argument is being put to the test.  Sure it’s only one game, one night, but it’s a start.  Is it so difficult to just be pleased that, in spite of some setbacks the team won the game?

I don’t care if it was against the Orioles, Big Papi got his first home run last night (a month earlier than he did last year) and Bill Hall made an amazing play from the outfield, throwing out Nick Markakis at second in the ninth.  Hell, Jon Lester actually picked off a runner!  True, he left the game with the bases loaded and pitched a hissy fit to end all hissy fits in the dugout when he was taken out of the game (bobcats everywhere were pointing and laughing), but he still didn’t pitch as crappy as he has been.  That’s progress.

I will take this progress, even in its not so pretty form, over a loss any day.  Call me kooky.

Also, I’m rejecting the “Who cares if they win it’s a bad team they’re playing” argument as well.  They’re supposed to beat bad teams.  They struggled to beat Texas and still lost one of those games.  Beating bad teams is what will help them out of their hole, just like beating good teams will.  Small steps, people, small steps.

John Lackey will be pitching tonight at 7:10 ET but before that I’ll be in Pawtucket for the first time this year to see the PawSox play the Buffalo Bisons.  Is it bad form to wear my Kyle Snyder Mets jersey while cheering for the PawSox?  Because I’m pretty sure that’s what will be happening today.

April 24, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | 3 Comments

You've got to hang loose to keep from the noose

He's back tonight!  (Photo taken by me in 2005)

He's back tonight! (Photo taken by me in 2005)

Ah, Timmy, you deserved better.  Hell, we all did.

Long time readers of this blog probably know what I’m about to write next: Good that we get the suck out early.

Most days, before I write my entry, I check out a handful of other Red Sox blogs to make sure I’m not writing anything similar to what they are.  On days like today, I usually don’t need to do that.  Which is fine.  I totally understand people getting frustrated with the Sox beginning the year 1-3.  No one wants to see them tied with the Orioles for last place (which, in case you haven’t looked, they are right now).  No one can be happy about the bullpen struggling or our starters (save for Lackey and Wake) struggling as well.

But as corny as it sounds, I have a really difficult time getting tied up in knots over a bad first week of baseball.  In 2006, a year in which the Sox didn’t even make it to the playoffs, they started the season in their first two series at 5-1.  That first week of baseball the Sox only lost one game.  Ended up meaning nothing, right?  So, no, I’m not all that ready to give too much credence to the Sox beginning the year with a losing record.

Today the PawSox play a single-admission doubleheader against the Rochester Red Wings (Triple A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins).  I won’t be there but I know a couple of folks who plan on making the games!  If you’re interested, Daisuke Matsuzaka is the starting pitcher for the PawSox at 1:05pm and you can listen to the game here.  Follow their pitching, folks, we might be needing their help soon!

Sox take on the Royals again at 7:10 ET tonight.  Beckett v Greinke and according to the Sox, Varitek will be behind the plate for the first time this season (given I’m having a hard time thinking Victor needs a “rest” this soon, I wonder if this is any indication Beckett really does want to pitch to Tek?).  Hopefully this one will definitely be worth staying up for!

April 10, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

His pop was met at the ballpark franks

Kyle Snyder at McCoy Stadium last May. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

Kyle Snyder at McCoy Stadium last May. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

And now for the entry you all new would be coming (Cyn’s Edit:  Yes, it actually came earlier but I pulled the entry for various reasons.  Problem is, I liked the piece, LOVE the photo and now have official verification that Kyle has, indeed, signed with the Mets, so here it is again – edited with up to date info!):

For those of you who have been emailing me wondering what Kyle Snyder’s status was, I finally have some news!

MLB STILL has him listed as a non-roster invitee with no team attached to his profile but their “Game Notes” entry today has verified that the reason there was a Kyle Snyder sighting in Port Saint Lucie last week is because he signed a minor league contract with the team.  This is fabulous news and finding out it’s true makes me extremely happy.  Here’s hoping Kyle has a good, INJURY-FREE season with the Mets and Bisons.

It also gives me a reason to wear the Snyder Mets jersey I got off of eBay last week. (Hey, I couldn’t help it. Good price, Kyle’s name on it and the Citifield inaugural season patch on it. Plus it’s black, in my opinion, the best color ever for baseball jerseys!)

So, yes, that means I now proudly own 3 Kyle Snyder jerseys (two Red Sox jerseys: batting practice and road grey and one Mets) and I’ll fight you if you give me crap about it (ask the spelling-challenged dude in Baltimore who wanted to know why I was wearing a Duke Snider Red Sox jersey).

The Bisons play the PawSox at McCoy April 23-26…sounds like as good a time as any for my first trip of the season to Pawtucket.

(Is it bad form to wish various maladies on the Mets starting pitchers to help increase the chances of Kyle’s being put on the 40-man roster and finding his way to Citifield at some point?  Just asking.)

March 8, 2010 Posted by | 2010 | , , , | 2 Comments