It speaks to my level of commitment these days that I had no idea today’s Red Sox game was an afternoon one. That isn’t to say I’m not still committed to the team or this blog, I am on both counts, but I will admit that sadness over my grandfather’s passing and the stress of still being unemployed and losing those benefits come the beginning of August have put things like my feelings over the outcome of baseball games on the back burner. Consider this my apology for the blog not being what it should be lately. I’m working toward getting over this hump and am hoping for things (including my attitude) to change soon.
Until then, I really do appreciate the support. Been trying to keep up the Facebook and Twitter pages too since it’s a little easier to give brief updates these days than full blog posts (which, again, doesn’t mean the full blog posts will stop. Not at all. Once other things in my life fall into place, I’ll be working on some improvements to the blog…so you’re not getting rid of me that easily!).
For now I leave you with a quote from Josh Beckett:
“I root for John Lackey more than I root for myself,”
Lackey pitched a heck of a game last night. Unfortunately, he pitched it while his team’s offense was cold and against a team whose pitching is incredible right now. These things will happen. Beckett’s quote tells me, an apparently Rob Bradford too, that this team isn’t falling into some cesspool of negativity, regardless of what you might hear on WEEI or the Sports Hub.
1:05 game this afternoon with Lester on the mound. I’d prefer the Sox don’t get swept but, honestly, I’m just biding my time until interleague play is finished.
After the announcement that Jon Lester would be the starting pitcher on Opening Day, we waited patiently to find out how the rest of the rotation would round out. We have to wait no more!
After Jon Lester the rest of the rotation shakes out with John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
The moment this information was shared with the free world it started: Josh Beckett will be pissed. This is the beginning of the end for him. Tito has no faith in him. The horror. The horror.
Beckett’s a big boy. I think he can take the hit. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t think Lester deserves the Opening Day start, including Beckett:
“It’s a body of work. It’s not just a one-time deal. It’s a sacred thing. It’s a real cool honor to have, especially with an organization like this. It’s something nobody can take away from him. No matter what happens, it’s something that’s special. I’m happy for him. I’ve been telling him for years, ‘Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of Opening Day starts.'”
Sure, I hear you say, but that’s just one guy. Beckett has three in front of him. Well, maybe he’s taking public speaking classes or maybe his new status as married has mellowed him, but according to the same Rob Bradford entry:
“Those are his decisions,” said Beckett, who is scheduled to pitch in the Red Sox’ first game of their three-game set in Cleveland. “Just like I would always feel like he would back me up, I back him up on his decision, as well.”
Not exactly bitter-sounding is he?
Here’s what I think: This team has a unified goal…they want to win. Theo Epstein has put them in an excellent position to do just that. Maybe they are all realizing that little things like number in the rotation is meaningless once the season begins? Maybe they’re all on the same page and just want to win games?
Everything doesn’t have to be a controversy. The fans and the reporters can get their feathers ruffled about Beckett’s spot in the rotation but the only important thing to me is what he does in that spot.
It’s nice to wake up on the morning after a sports night like last night.
Before anything else I have to own up to my Bruins bandwagonism. I consider myself a genuine Red Sox and Celtics fan but my fandom for the Bruins has definitely waned over the years. Don’t get me wrong, as a Boston sports fan I always want the Bruins to win even if I don’t follow them closely. (Heck, I want the Revolution to win and I think I’ve ever watched all of one game they’ve played.) Back in the day (‘the day’ being, for me, the Cam Neely era and earlier) I was a big fan and paid much more attention. Nowadays, I hope they do well and if they don’t I don’t lose any sleep over it. But last night, last night I really wanted them to win.
|Photo day for the Mets was today! Getty Images didn’t disappoint – at least they posted ONE of Kyle and it’s good one! Photo taken by Doug Benc.|
Getting updates today on intrasquad games made me happy and I needed to be made happy. After dodging the illness bullet for as long as I could, today I succumbed just a bit so I needed SOMETHING to get me going.
Kyle Snyder got some real pitching in today. Two innings. His first inning was 1-2-3 (caught Ramon Martinez looking, Ryan Church grounded out and Nick Evans struck out swinging). His second inning he gave up a single to Brian Schneider. So that made me happy as well. (Oddly enough, for all my complaining about not getting Kyle info, when I finally DO get some, it’s incomplete. I have no idea how the three outs in his second inning were made and, yes, this is information I find interesting.) Tuesday night the MLBN focuses on the Mets on their 30 days/30 teams show. So I’m eagerly awaiting that!
|Photo I took off Javier Lopez coming off the mound in 2008|
On Monday, a friend asked what was going on with Javier Lopez. We were tired of trying to figure out what the deal was with Tek and we weren’t holding out hope anything would quickly be resolved with Paps so Javy’s name came up. I started to do some research and then real life got in the way so I was pleasantly surprised to get news on both Papelbon AND Lopez in the same shot.
Before I go on about Lopez, I wanted to point out that Rob Bradford has an interesting take on the Papelbon contract:
But when looking at the first stage of this thing, Papelbon accomplished what he had set out to when first mentioning his payroll progression. He set the standard.
The deal is the largest given to any first-year arbitration eligible pitcher, and is the third-highest agreed to by any first-year arbitration eligible player, behind Ryan Howard ($10 million) and Miguel Cabrera ($7 million).
So when Papelbon speaks, the Red Sox seem to listen. This is something that should make us all very happy. Sox didn’t jump into some crazy, long-term contract, but put it out to Paps that they do value him. So folks can stop worrying that the Red Sox are disrespecting our closer. Yay for putting that behind us.
Now back to Lopez. I spent way too many games in 2008 arguing with seemingly baseball-intelligent people about him. I can’t count how many games I went to where I ended up hearing “Oh no, not LOPEZ!” or “Tito’s putting in Lopez, this game is over” or anything close to either of those. I just have never understood the Lopez hate. And, it seems, neither did the Red Sox. The Sox signed Javier to a one-year contract for $1.35 million. The Sox were so impressed with Lopez that they game him a raise. (Last season he made $840,000.)
In 2008, Javier appeared in 70 games, even winning two of them. In a little more than 59 innings, he gave up 18 runs (16 earned) and struck out 38. Sure he also gave up 53 hits and walked 27 in that same period, but he finished off the year with a 2.43 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and a .245 BAA. Might not be All Star stats, but he was quite solid. It amazes me that people still consider him a detriment to the bullpen. I’m happy Theo sees his worth and signed him up for another year – it’s certainly good for the team.
Now if he can just finish up with a catcher, folks won’t have anything to complain about until the WBC!
Totally pimping my soon-to-be new online boss: Rob Bradford has a video blog (along with Lou Merloni) today from the winter meetings in Las Vegas. Check it out below. Interesting stuff, but the most interesting is the revelation that word is Clay Buchholz is NOT on the table. Nope, the front office wants to keep the kid around.
This pleases me, but doesn’t surprise me. Kelly O’Connor was already talking about this before Rob and Lou ever made it to Vegas. Hearing it from Rob just verified what she had already told me. It’s nice to have friends who are wicked smaht. 🙂
Of course, now I’ll be worrying about the future of Justin Masterson for a while now.
It was a busy weekend and I, obviously, didn’t spend much time writing…and, unfortunately, I’m going to be a little lazy today as well and just throw out some random bits:
* Jason Varitek declined arbitration. So this means other teams get to toss their offers at him. I worry for Tek. I worry that there isn’t anything out there better than what the Sox will offer him – and that he’s going to be made to look the fool thanks to his agent. I hope I’m wrong. And I still want him back in Boston – even if it’s only for another year.
* Alex Rodriguez has decided to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Slappy was born in New York City and played for team USA in the first WBC. I think it’s a little slimy to switch sides this time. He truly seems to be someone desperate for acceptance. He creeps me out more and more each day.
* Also possibly playing for a country he isn’t from is Lenny Dinardo. Rumor has it that he’s been asked to play for the Italian team – again. Lenny pitched for them last time around. I really don’t get representing a country you aren’t from, regardless of your heritage.
*Rob Bradford had a cool piece of trivia: Joe Thurston is CC Sabathia’s first cousin. In this same piece, he mentions that Ken Rosenthal (a writer I will never link to from here) says his best bet is that the Sox are going to get Mark Teixeira and Derek Lowe. I know you’d be crazy to not want Teixeira – but I fear adding him means subtracting Mike Lowell. And Derek Lowe? As long as he can not get drunk the nights before he pitches, I suppose the team could do worse. Still, I’m not jumping up and down about this. Then again, it’s Ken Rosenthal. He’s lost a lot of credibility in my eyes – so I’m not buying into any of it just yet.
* Today is Mike Mussina’s 40th birthday. As you all probably know, Moose has announced his retirement. There goes another MLB player who is older than me.
I leave you with this photo – taken in November. There are two reasons it makes me smile. See if you can find them.
Rob Bradford is reporting that “sources familiar with the negotiations” are sayting that the Red Sox have made an offer to Jason Varitek, and the offer is only for one year.
Of course no one from the Red Sox nor Varitek’s camp are commenting on the story so it could all just be smoke…but if it isn’t – one year? Hell, even I was convinced they’d offer him two. If the one year offer is legit, it speaks volumes to Theo’s thoughts on where the team is going. The folks saying ‘keep him around a year to help him train his replacement’ might not be too far off.
Also, I received an email from someone saying they’re from Sarasota and telling me to keep an eye out for Kyle Snyder news this week. Don’t mess with me on this one, Sarasota. I’m excited for some Kyle news, yet worried what it could be.
Ah, the Hot Stove. Ugh.
On the front page of MLB.com today:
I like it! Congrats to Tim on a well-deserved award! I hope to be writing the same about Cliff Lee on Thursday night!
But for now it’s Lincecum, and I’m really happy for him. I mean, how cute is this:
When I was told, I really said ‘Really?’ I was more shocked than anything,” Lincecum said. But his emotions took over once the phone call ended. “‘Whoo-hoo!’ I literally yelled a couple of times,” he said.
“Whoo-hoo!” See, they’re just like us!
And, for those who have been kind enough to keep asking, Rob Bradford has made it official over at WEEI.com by publishing the “Next Great Sports Blogger Roundtable”. Many of you will be amused to know that some of my “responses” aren’t written EXACTLY in the way they were given. The gist of what I said is definitely there, but in a few cases he changed the wording. “Hey, that isn’t what I said!!”
Dig me, I’m Curt Schilling.
Today is the 24th day since Red Sox baseball ended. Holy hell it’s going to be a long winter!
Mini-game thread in the comments tonight – which was fun. Going to have to do that more often.
Tonight the Sox showed the Yanks they weren’t going to go quietly into the night. A little nerve-wracking what with all the men LOB and how many men the Yanks ended up leaving on base, but a satisfying and fun game to watch, nonetheless.
PawSox kicked some ass in Allentown tonight too! (Unfortunately, Scranton won as well…so they’re still in the same spot they were yesterday.)
The big news is the “the Sox picked up Mark Kotsay”, “No they didn’t” pieces coming out right now. Tip of the hat to KellyO for giving me the heads up on both Edes‘ and Bradford’s takes on this. It’s a battle between my two favorite sports writers and it’ll be interesting to see who is right. (Not really. They both had the original story, only Bradford has the Sox denying it.) Too lazy to click the link? Here is what Edes says went down (and what the Sox are denying):
The Boston Red Sox acquired outfielder Mark Kotsay from the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night pending a physical, according to a baseball source with knowledge of the deal. The Braves will receive a minor-league pitcher in return. (EDITED to Add that Bradford originally reported the pitcher is one not on the 40-man roster.)
The Red Sox acquired Kotsay, who had cleared waivers, as outfield insurance. Earlier Tuesday they placed right-fielder J.D. Drew on the 15-day disabled list with a herniated disk in his back.
Kotsay, 32, is batting .289 with six home runs and 37 RBIs in 318 at-bats this season. The Red Sox will be his fifth team in his 12-year career.
Officials from both teams would not confirm that the deal was complete.
Could be something, could be nothing. I hope Kelly’s prediction that it would only make sense for Atlanta if the trade was for one of the young ones and not, say, a six-eight, right-handed, relief pitcher who might or might not like Pop-Tarts, is accurate. On the other hand, if a trade is the way for Kyle to get back up to the bigs, I’m going to have to suck it up, not be selfish, wish him well and buy a Braves cap.
But I’ll still be selfishly bummed.
Bronson pitched a complete game tonight and got the win. For this, I am very pleased (and Bronson gets the honored spot!). Cliff Lee, pitcher extraordinaire , got his 19th win tonight and Brandon Webb is trying for his 20th (but not doing very well, thus far – losing 6-2 in the fifth as I write this).
But the only news we know is true is the Sox beating the Yanks (and the Jays beating the Rays – woot!). Everyone did their part tonight (short of a rare o-fer for Pedroia and Manny Delcarmen giving us fits again) and it gives me great hope for Wednesday night’s game!
You realize I’ll be up late tonight trying to find out if the Sox traded for Kotsay and, if they did, which pitcher is getting sent to Atlanta, right?