Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

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

Put the plow in the ground until the daylight's gone

I'd say Clay accomplished his mission last night.  Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

I'd say Clay accomplished his mission last night. Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor/ and used with permission.

The last five games the Red Sox have participated in have been won by one run.  The last SIX wins the Red Sox have behind them have bee won by one run.  (Baltimore messed things up by beating the Sox by one run on Sunday.)  I’m not sure how much more anxiety my body can take this month.  Good thing it’s almost over.

What do you say about Buchholz short of the kid knew he had to pitch well and actually DID?  I’m not surprised HE pitched well.  His last appearance was pretty damn impressive too.  It’s just a little surprising to finally see a starting pitcher this season step up so hugely when the team really needs him to.  It was suggested on Twitter last night that the team should tell Clay that Bard, Okajima and Papelbon are unavailable to pitch before every appearance – maybe that’s not such a crazy idea?  He took the pressure of knowing the team really needed a good (and preferably long) outing from him and responded with giving up seven  hits in eight innings along with two walks and four strikeouts.  He ended his outing with a career-high 117 pitches (which, admittedly, worried me in the moment) and of those pitches, 80 of them were strikes.  His performance last night defines “stepping it up”.  I only expect more of this from Clay.

Before the start of last night’s game, JD Drew was batting .286 over the last five games.  Last night he went 0-2 with two walks and a strikeout.  I’m sufficiently convinced that this means he’s working his way out of his April of suck.  I hope the rest of the team keeps up.  I think they will.  Just felt the need to give JD a shout out since he’s been taking a lot of grief online lately!

Also, I need to give Ramon Ramirez a mention.  I certainly did not feel comfortable watching him enter that game in the ninth and he gave me and many others the finger by pitching an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 ninth.  Didn’t anticipate that at all.  My apologies Ramon!

Tonight we get Jon Lester going up against Brett Cecil.  If there is any player on the Sox that I really feel needs to get off their ass and out of this funk, it’s the mad bobcat killer.  His last outing was relatively encouraging…let’s hope we get more of that tonight.

Special thanks to everyone who dropped by for the chat tonight.  You folks always make the chats enjoyable and I appreciate it!

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

I'll follow your bus downtown

God, I love good pitching! Photo of Daniel Bard taken by Kelly O’Connor/ in April 2009 and used with permission.

When Ramon Ramirez came in and, essentially, erased all the good Jon Lester did last night, I realized how much I wanted the team to win. (Mind you, I’m not blaming Ramirez here. I wanted Tito to go with Bard in the ninth instead of the 13th. If for no other reason than it seemed like they needed to just shut down the Phillies right there or the bullpen would end up depleted. And if we have to now start saving Masterson every game that comes before a Daisuke Matsuzaka start because the team might need him for long relief, I’m failing to see the point of having Daisuke in the rotation right now. Okay, I’m done with the complaining.) Unless it’s a must-win (or against the Yankees), I don’t usually get so worked up about the first game in a series. But the adrenaline from the Yankees series must have still been coursing through my veins because I REALLY wanted this one.

As an aside, I was also watching parts of the Yankees/Mets game. Both games gave me equal amounts of agita at certain moments but I wasn’t really invested in the New York game as much as I might have been, given the tense nature of the Sox game. Which is a good thing since I missed Luis Castillo drop an A*Rod pop up to end the game. Game would have been over, Mets would have won. Had the Sox lost I might have felt worse about this. As it is, I have friends who are Mets fans and I honestly just ache for what they’re going through right now. The Mets have lost three in a row to walk-offs…all three against rival teams. To lose so cheaply last night must be a dagger in the heart. Here’s hoping they come back and ground the Yankees into dust for the rest of the weekend.

Last night the Sox gave up 5 hits over the course of that game. Five hits and only 2 runs…along with twenty strike outs – 11 coming from Lester while Masterson struck out the side once (to be fair, he also gave up a double and an intentional walk in that same inning) and Daniel Bard struck out his side in the 13th freaking inning (after hitting a batter). Short of Ramirez’ hiccup in the ninth, the pitching was great and the bats hammered out 11 hits once all was done. (Okay, 5 runs on 11 hits might not SOUND great but the bottom line is the team won.) How impressive have our pitchers been lately? Even with Ramirez’ struggles this week, I still look into the bullpen and never once think that there is someone in there I don’t want to see come out. And when the starters needed to come up big, they all have.

If you look up “The Balls” in the dictionary, there should be a photo of our pitchers next to it. S’all I’m saying. Here’s hoping Daisuke got the ballsy memo.

It felt like it took forever and it wasn’t pretty (well, some of it was) but at least the Sox still came out on top. With Daisuke on the mound, tonight, I fear it’ll be a long, frustrating game. I still have faith that the Sox will win. 7 innings from Daisuke would be nice, though, wouldn’t it?

I can’t stop now…

Win, Daisuke. Just win. (And some runs would be nice too, fellas!) <–Even though Lester didn’t GET the win…I’m still considering it a streak.

June 13, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Born high forever to fly

Thank you, Red Sox! (Globe Staff Photo / Jim Davis)

One of the difficulties in writing a blog such as mine is how to cover the “bad” times. I’m not Amalie Benjamin. I don’t just report what happened in the game without any commentary on my feelings about it. My feelings come through in everything I write; that’s the benefit of writing a personal blog. But there’s a level of believability that needs to be kept. People won’t keep reading if they don’t think you’re honest in what you write. So if there’s a lousy game or two and I haven’t written something like “Theo should blow up the entire team” some folks wonder if I’m being genuine.

I received an email yesterday from someone who only started reading my blog when I came over to The gist of it was that he didn’t believe that I don’t get “angry” (his word) when the Red Sox play poorly. He thinks that I purposely put on a happy face just for the sake of NOT upsetting anyone. (His belief seems to be that I write this blog as if the players are reading it. Which made me laugh out loud as I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be at the top of the reading list for the Red Sox.) This belief encouraged the writer to send me an email saying I should stop writing because nothing I wrote was real. He also suggested I should write more like Dan Shaughnessy because “that’s what people want to read”. (I’d quote the entire email here but it was, in a word, long. I appreciate the feedback as always but I was amazed at how emotional this person became in writing about how upset he was that I don’t get more upset at the Red Sox.)

So I’m going to put this out there in the event that there are more folks reading me who might feel the same way this fella does. It isn’t an act. I absolutely don’t die with every Red Sox loss.

Well, not any more.

Continue reading

May 31, 2009 Posted by | 2009 | , , | Leave a comment

And so it begins

Coco celebrating better times - Photo by Kelly O'Connor

Coco celebrating better times - Photo by Kelly O'Connor

(Sidenote to MLB…thank you for making this official just as I was taking a lunch break so I didn’t have to wait until tonight to write this!)

So, aside from Free Agents (who I’m not counting just yet), we have our first casualty of the 2008 off-season:  Coco Crisp.  The Red Sox Hen is not a happy woman, I don’t mind telling you.  My niece Madison will be pretty damn bummed as well.

Me?  It’s fair to say I’m sad for Coco.  It can’t be fun to be traded.  It ESPECIALLY can’t be fun to be traded from the Red Sox to the Kansas City Royals.   But I don’t hate this trade.   Ramon Ramirez could very well be a fantastic addition to the bullpen.  I’m going to let Alex Speier take it from here:

That development seems to have transpired today, with the Sox bolstering the back-end of their bullpen with a right-hander whose changeup acts like a split-finger fastball, and generates ample swings and misses. Ramirez went 3-2 with a 2.64 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 71.2 innings this year while holding opposing hitters to a miniscule .222 average.

There are ancillary benefits to the addition of another bullpen arm, particularly one who is not yet arbitration eligible. Ramirez will allow the Sox greater flexibility either in the potential usage of Justin Masterson in 2009 or in using some of their pitching depth in a trade this offseason.

I like shoring up the bullpen and I especially like having the flexibility to use Masterson however they see fit.  I’ll definitely miss Coco – hell, in 2008 the guy sucked up wanting to be a full-time player, didn’t pull a Jay Payton on the team and just played his part all season long.  He had a good season, probably got more playing time than he anticipated, and no one voted him off the island!  I wish Covelli nothing but luck in Kansas City and hope the Royals fans take good care of him!

I wonder how Ramon Ramirez feels about pirates?

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Players, Trades | , , | 5 Comments