Sunday, April 30, 2006

Lumber Lost.....Sox In A Lull (Lull? What's That?) For Now......

From the AP wire....."The Red Sox have lost seven of 10 heading into a two-game series against the New York Yankees."
***Peter here.....'Nuff said on this otherwise beautiful Sunday afternoon. Hopes are high. It's just that reality gets in the way. Say this with me....."It's only a game. It's only a game. There's no place like home".............

At Long Last.......LUMBER! And A Comeback...A Needed One

It took awhile. Five more innings of lumberless lethargic lazy scoreless baseball. But that changed in the sixth inning, and it's a good thing that it did, because our team was down 4-0, and things were starting to get antsy here in the sticks of Farmington. And so it came to pass that the Sox, bouyed by Manny's hot stick, and timely hits by Tek and Wily Mo, came back from defecits of 4-0, 5-4, and 6-5 with two four run innings. Paps made the 9-6 score in the 9th stand up by whiffing the final three batters of the game for his 10th save. Exclamation points each and every one.
Lenny DiNardo gave up 4 runs in the first three innings, something he cannot continue to do and be successful in the big leages. Abe Alvarez, can you hear me? But he settled down after that, and with good but not spectacular bullpen work from Tavarez and Foulke, and the offensive uprising followed by Jonathon Papelbon's mastery, things worked out quite well. It's up to Curt Schilling and the Sox bats to beat Tampa Bay and its tough young lefty Scott Kazmir. After all, the Yankees did just that five days ago. Why should they have all the fun? And anything less than 2 of 3 from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays is just not good enough.
Yanks in town tomorrow. Let's end this mediocre (some would say worse) road trip on a high note, and go home, to the Wall and its adjoining splendor. Tens of thousands of wildly cheering (and booing) fans and the team we love to hate right in our backyard. Sweet.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Give Matt A Pass On This One

He was not feeling well, according to the Globe........."Looking pale and sick, Matt Clement stood by his locker and, in a voice made raspy by asthma, declined to talk to reporters after last night's 5-2 loss to the Devil Rays. It appeared that talking really might be beyond his strength, at least after 103 pitches and six innings of climate-controlled work inside the dome at Tropicana.
One day after an asthma episode -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona wouldn't go so far as to call it an attack -- Clement took to the mound trying to do more things than, eventually, he was able: stop Boston's two-game slide, take to the rubber in the park in which he was beaned by a liner last season, and fight through his own illness."
***Peter here. And we will give Matt Clement a pass on this one. He left his heart out there on the mound, even though it turned out to be an ugly performance. It's what he had in him. And that's alright with me.
Tonight, a game we have no business winning. Ya know what? Those are the kind of games that get won! Ripley, where are you when I need you!! Believe it or not, I need you now!

Lost Bats Lead To Another Ugly Loss

14 runners stranded. 2-19 last night and a .160 average with runners in scoring position for the first 7 games on this road trip. Being made to look foolish last night by the Tampa Bay Devil Ray's pitching staff. That's right. The Tampa Bay staff! Just about the worst there is. There was no clutchness in last night's game, at least not by our guys. What if we were facing GOOD pitching? And with Lenny Dinardo pitching today? Not a portend of good things to come on this beautiful Saturday morning. Not good at all.
I guess it's time to file this 5-2 Friday night loss under things that might have been, if those things weren't so darned ugly. I CAN say something good, though. No Red Sox players were hurt by errant pitches. But it was close. If not for Papi's protective elbow sleeve, there might have been a problem, a gaping "oh-my-God what are we going to do now" problem. Let's face facts. It's time to start winning. After our 6-1 start, we've gone 7-9. Help.

Friday, April 28, 2006

DECEPTION..Not Alfred Hitchcock's Classic Motion Picture, but Our's.......And Not A Mystery At All. Or A Classic

From the Globe.......''Delcarmen came in, same thing [as Beckett] -- fastball, fastball, they're just launching them," Francona said. ''They're getting their arms extended. You've got to pitch these guys in hard and then soft away and we weren't able to throw much soft over the plate."
***Peter here....and Terry Francona's comments encapsulate the way to pitch ANY major league team...fool 'em, change speeds, get them off balance. Anything to make a natural motion (hitting) NOT natural. Outs ensue if done the right way. And the right way will's only April.

And I've Been Slammed, Although Very Nicely.

Faithful reader Cyn, whose blog "Red Sox Chick" (linked at right) should be on everyone's everyday reading list, thought that I was already giving up on Red Sox '06. No no no. I love the make-up of this team, and when Coco is back (2 weeks?), the chemistry that percolated during the first few games of the season shall return, and the run production will be elevated. So any lead will be one that our team can overcome. Right now I'm not getting that feeling, but that's why a baseball season is 162 games and 6 plus months long. Sometimes my emotions cloud my patience, or something like that. Whatever. Today is Friday, a cloudless Spring day where anything is possible. With hope, faith, and ambition, the world is here for the taking. So, let's do it!


Just who was that pitching for the Boston Red Sox last night? Was it Josh Beckett? Nah, couldn't have been. I'm pretty sure it was Saul Beckett. At least it looked that way, and from any angle imaginable. He flat out sucked. In the first 6 games of this ill-fated road trip, the starters have an ERA of 8.53 and have given up 10, yes that's right, TEN home runs.And the bullpen was little better, with Manny Delcarmen, who was absolutely awful, failing to be able to finish it off, leaving it up to Keith Foulke, who had no business being in the game in the first place. Seanez and Tavarez were not much better on this night to forget. I have to be truthful. Once the score reached 6-0, the game was relegated to a little picture-in-picture square on the right bottom portion of my screen, never to return to it's full glory. Glory? Wrong word. Wrong game. This 2006 version of our Sox does not have the firepower to come back from a 6 zip deficit often. Not this year. Not this line up. I was taught that if I don't have anything nice to say about something, then don't say it. With that thought, I'll see you later.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

THE Ball, A Pair Of Shoes, and a Mantel (Not Mickey)

Keith Foulke, who has been pitching SO well, on the infamous World Series ball of '04, and other tidbits. My comments are in brackets And the quotes come from Thursday's Hartford Courant.....CLEVELAND --"The shoes Red Sox pitcher Keith Foulke wore in the 2004 World Series are on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame. He would like to have them back. Still, what he would really like to have is the ball that he threw to first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz for the final out.
Foulke said he still believes he deserves to have the ball. A teammate, who did not want to be identified, agreed." (IDENTIFY IDENTIFY!)
"It's not on my mantel where it should be," Foulke said Wednesday". (POOR BABY)
"As far as I know, I've never heard of a team wanting the ball so badly," Foulke said. "It's one of those deals where I got the last out. I think that's kind of the common practice in baseball [to give the ball to the pitcher on the mound]." (KEITH, YOU'VE BEEN PITCHING GREAT! CONCENTRATE ON KEEPING IT GOING, NOT ON A BALL THAT WAS DESTINED TO BE WHERE IT IS RIGHT NOW, IN THE HALL.)
"Foulke said he had asked Mientkiewicz for the ball over the winter following the World Series but was turned down".(WAH WAH WAH WAH)
"Speaking of the Hall of Fame, do you know where my shoes are?" Foulke asked. "I'm still looking to get back our stuff that went in after last year. We've got to find it. They said they're only keeping it for a year. I would imagine the White Sox got their display in there now. I want my stuff back." (KEITH, I'LL BUY YOU A NEW PAIR. CONCENTRATE ON WHAT YOU ARE DOING, AND DOING SO WELL....AND THAT'S PITCHING. WE NEED YOU!!!!!)
And that's it from here, for now. Thanks for reading, and for Josh Beckett? Rule the night. We need ya!

Bard's Bad

This one was ugly from the beginning. By 9pm I had already turned to LOST for help.. And even though it was a recap clip show, it was a relief. A relief from 4 more passed balls, giving the Red Sox catcher 10 for the season. 10! Think of it....only 25 more, with plenty of time to go this season, and he will have tied the mark for most passed balls in a season. That dubious mark is held by Geno Petralli, formerly of the Jays and the Rangers, and was set in 1987. For the record, the Red Sox record for passed balls is held by Mike Macfarlane, with 26 of 'em in 1995. Bard has that one in the bag. Done deal. Mission accomplished. Lift off.
Bright spots were few and far between. The relief work by Julian Tavarez. Manny's continued hot bat. Wily Mo's homer. But there was an overwhelming sense of "we have no chance tonight" throughout the long and tortuous 9 innings. Even "Little Manny" Delcarmen could not escape the bad Bard vibes in this one.
Later, I'll have something to say about the famous 2004 World Series ball, and Keith Foulke and his shoes. I know. Important stuff, BS at this time of year, when the games REALLY count.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Nipps Speaks Out On Roger, and The Possibility of Boston Baseball WITH Him

From Edes piece from today's Globe, the speaker Al Nipper.....''Roger is going to do what he wants to do. He's going to do what's right for him and his family. From my point of view, I feel what is right for him is to come to Boston. I'm looking at the whole overall picture. Going to New York, there's nothing to prove there. This is the best fit for him overall, if you look at everything, for him to be here with the Boston Red Sox.
''Duquette is long gone. He's over that. We have new management. He loves Boston, he loves the fans, he still has so many friends here.
''He could come back home here and end his career in storybook fashion. Come back home and do it right."
***Peter here, and hello readers new and old alike. And you know what? Al Nipper just put my feelings about the possible return of Roger to Boston sports and life into those few words. Hey Rocket, you're welcome here. Call Boston your home for the next 6 months. 6 months that include many days in October, playing October baseball right into the teeth of the New England autumn. When the leaves change and the thoughts turn to possibilities of baseball greatness for the ages. Listen. Listen can hear us already. Ro-ger Ro-ger..the sound of love echoing throughout Fenway, your first home. And maybe your last, for baseball at least. Open arms. Thousands of 'em. Right here.

Number Nine, Number Nine

This one was not easy, as Cleveland showed they know how to hit, and hit good pitches, Schilling pitches, at that. But Manny Ramirez came up in the 8th inning with 2 on and 2 out, and hit a long shot that hit the top of the outfield wall for a 3 run homer, the game winner.
Curt Schilling did not pitch that badly. The outside corner was a tough strike call all night for both starters, leading to frustration. Westbrook had problems finding the plate throughout his 5 innings, but the Red Sox squandered many opportunities to score again and again in the early innings. Keith Foulke did a great job finishing the 7th inning, setting up the Manny fireworks. He did get the win while allowing 1 run." GOT MANNY?" is the new tee shirt phrase of the day, and because of him, the Sox entered the bottom of the ninth in chilly Cleveland with a 2 run lead. Guess what! It stayed that way as Paps blew them away quickly, with one strikeout, to record his 9th straight save, hence the title of this post. Red Sox fans all over the country were gently put to sleep by a satisfying win against a really good club, on the road, a win that was in doubt until Mr. Papelbon strode in from the bullpen, sighs of RELIEF washing over this good household, and many others. And there was peace and happiness, if only for a day.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Daily News Has Another Take On This, A Sensible One At That.

Here it is, of course from this morning....." There was nothing to the buzz circulating through baseball yesterday that Roger Clemens has decided to pitch for the Yankees and was close to signing with them.
"Roger's son broke a finger [playing minor league baseball] and that's what he is dealing with," agent Alan Hendricks said. "There is nothing else new."
Koby Clemens, a third baseman for Single-A Lexington of the Astros' organization, is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
Clemens, who has drawn interest from the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros, can begin negotiations with Houston on May 1.
But Randy Hendricks, who along with brother Alan represents Clemens, told via e-mail yesterday that Clemens "does not intend to play in May, so the May 1 date does not mean much."
The Astros make the most sense for the future Hall of Famer. The question is whether they are willing to pay the expected $3 to $4 million a month Clemens likely will command for the rest of the season.
***Peter here. Now this makes more sense. But sometimes rumors, especially well-sourced ones, come true. WISH UPON A STAR SOMETIME. YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED! But here, at my blog, I investigate all the possibles, and let my readers know which make sense, which are bullshit, and which we WANT to come true, the stuff of our dreams.
Schill tonight against Cleveland. His winning streak can grow to 5, with one more starting shot this month to make it 6. One start at a time. GET 'EM Schill. NO MERCY, NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER.


If this is true, he is poised to be the most HATED athlete, hell, person, New England has ever seen. I heard the report on a Hartford radio station (WTIC 1080), and it seemed to be that the report indicated that it was as close to a done deal as possible. The logic totally escapes me. One win away from the club record, Cy Young's, no less. Going to the Hall of Fame in a Red Sox uniform. All that out the door? Surely our FO could match any dollar figure the Yankees proposed. So we wait. I find this so hard to believe, and yet its source is an impeccable one. Oh well.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

3 New Links, And An Old Familiar One Added

The old familiar one is, of course, THE JOY OF SOX. The other 3 are not as well known, but entertaining nevertheless. First, SAWXBLOG.COM and KEEP YOUR SOX ON are two on the spot everyday updates of all things Red Sox. Recommended. Also on my "check daily" loglist is The Jessinatrix 5000, penned by Jess out in Chicagoland. And a Red Sox fan to the core. Enjoy them, my readers, and have a healthy and happy week to come.


After letting the first two batters reach base, a strikeout and a double play grounder to Gonzalez on a splitter end it for the Jays, giving the Sox their 12th victory of the season. 12-7...sounds just about right!
PLAYER OF THE GAME...KEITH FOULKE, for holding them when the HAD to be held.
Enjoy the day off on Monday, and relish the glow. Now if only I could make it a National holiday, so everyone could have the day off. Even I can't do that, but I would if I could.

The 9th Inning, and a Recap of the game

Now it's up to Paps in the botton of the ninth with a 3 run lead, as the Sox have scored 1 (and maybe more) in the top half of the 9th. So far this season, that's an automatic victory. Earlier in the game, Clement went 5 plus innings, giving up a 3 run bomb to Zahn. He departed with one out in the 6th, and Foukie shut 'em down for 1 2/3 innings. Timlin came in for the eighth, and gave up a harmless single in the inning.
Sox are still batting in the top of the 9th, and have scored one run so far, making it 6-3.

8th Inning

Foulkie was impressive in holding the Jays in the 6th and the 7th, and right now the Sox have scored once in the top of the 8th to take a 5-3 lead. Will Foulke come out in the bottom of the eighth, and then Paps at the first hint of trouble? Or will it be Pap at the start. Doesn't matter, but if Francona goes to anyone BUT Paps, he's an idiot. He's the best chance to win this, so we can enjoy our day off. All of us.
And Timlin is warming up in the bullpen. When will Terry learn?? If we lose this one, this is the reason. A day off tomorrow...Paps could go 2. Bottom of the 8th coming, 5-3 Boston.

A Sunday Morning Bright Spot

Bright spot? After Friday and Saturday's games? YES! If the Sox were at home, there would be no baseball today. That's right, the rain is falling and the temps are hovering in the upper 30s. A beautiful day for a victory in Toronto. This one is just a little short of a guarantee. I'll be back later to own up to that prediction, either with self-satisfaction or with a "Gee, I'm so sorry" sheepish shrug. But right now, a little after 7am, I stand by it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Saturday Horror Show

And I was in the mood for a light-hearted comedy. No such luck. And any pitcher with the same name as a former President? Way to go. 'Nuff said about this one. Demotions...promotions....soon to come. And perfect weather here in the Northeast for a game like this....dark and dreary.

Beckett/Timlin Implosion

Looking back on this blown game, the only good thing other than Manny's 2 opposite field blasts was that I left when it was 6-2 to go out to a party, a late one at that. If I hadn't, well, something might have been smashed, hurled against the walls in a furious attempt at vengance. So suffice to say, it's time to TURN THE PAGE. Forget that we should be 12-5 and get used to 11-6. Forget that our bullpen is stretched thin at a time when our weakest starter is going against the Jay's best. Stretch DiNardo today? Yeah, that'll work. I'll put this as tactfully as I can. The chance for a victory today? Slim. Not none, but slim. Prove me wrong, Red Sox, while the bitter taste of an uneeded and unneccesary loss pervades everything.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Largest Crowd Stuff

"The crowd of 36,607 was the largest for a game at Fenway Park in the post-World War II era."
That info from Friday's Globe, and I thought it was worth putting into print. We all remember the days when a sell-out crowd meant 33,000 and change. Oh well, it IS 2006. A year to remember? Too early to say this, but say this I will. "LOOKIN' GOOD!"

Random Thoughts On A Random Friday From A Non-Random Guy: A Weekly Feature

Who out there thinks the ban on amphetamines will have a noticible impact on this 2006 season? I do. And it will present itself with more substitutions, longer games, and some "different" looks from some of the players we know so well. And I'm not talking solely about the Sox. This is an AL/NL thing, and some players out there who know who they are will be tremendously handicapped while trying not to show it. You wait. We will all notice little out of the ordinary quirks and moves. I guarantee it.
And who out there is truly distressed about our Manny's slow start? I say think back to last year, when his average was even lower at this point. Hey, a 10 game hot streak will bring his average and stats close to where they belong, and at the end of the post season, when it counts, he'll have his 40sh home runs and his 130ish RBIs, while providing many orgasms of pleasure for the fans to lap up. I say start lapping NOW!
Enjoy your weekend. I"ll be back from time to time and then more to entertain and educate you. Educate is stretching guys should be getting to know me by now. But I love it that you take the time and stop to read. And you'll never know how much it means to me.
Oh....Josh Baseball...."shut 'em up and then shut 'em down" (as Bruce said in 1978"s RACING IN THE STREET) tonight.
Be well everyone................

Wakefield Outpitched By Kazmir and Tampa Bay Relievers

Tim Wakefield pitched 8 wonderful innings, allowing 4 hits and three runs, one on a passed ball, Thursday night, in a 5-1 Red Sox loss. He had gone 13-1 against the Rays before last night. Tavarez could not get an out in the 9th, giving up doubles and a home run before our effective reliever Keith Foulke ended it. Another quality start for Wakes, who has been the victim of poor run support, with the Sox scoring only 5 runs in his 3 losses. As Francona said, "If he continues to throw like that, he's going to rack up a lot of wins."
On to Halliday and his Blue Jays, with stopper Josh Baseball..err...Beckett going tonight against A.J. Burnett. Knock 'em out, Josh.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

This Is A Shame

From the Globe......"Keith Foulke pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning with a strikeout last night, but said prior to the game that the benefits of the Synvisc injections he received in his knees during spring training have begun to lessen, as he's feeling some of the same aches he felt before the injections were given.
Foulke said the knees are ''still feeling uncomfortable." He said the good feeling he had in the knees not long after the shots has ''regressed over the last three weeks."
***Peter here, and this news surprises me. I was under the impression that the shots SHOULD be effective for months. That's what the doctors originally said in print, and that was also true in the case of my friend and co-worker who had the shots in one knee a few months ago. She is still feeling the relief. She is not an athelete, however. But she does carry around a lot more weight than Keith does, and the knees take the everyday pounding from that weight. And so I thought Keith would be OK until mid-season or so. If the relief is so quick lasting, I would have to spend some time thinking about which way to go if I was Mr. Foulke. I mean, what has it been? Less than a month, for sure. This is the only negative story I've heard since Coco was sidelined. I know Wells went down, but I, as others I'm sure, think that is a blessing in disguise. Here's wishing you the best, Keith. We need you out there, in the 7th or the 8th, to hold on to the slim leads that seem almost daily occurances.

Schill 4 For 4, and the Sox Go To 11-4

For the first time in his carreer, Curt Schilling has won his first 4 decisions. Going 6 pitch-filled innings, he lowered his ERA to 1.61. From Kevin Youklis' first batter home run, to Keith Foulke's last pitch, this one was all Red Sox. The Devil Rays were sloppy, to say the least. Trot Nixon continued his torrid hitting and the trio of Sox relievers, Seanez, Tavarez and Foulke, throttled the visitors from Florida, who I wish we could see more of. We go for the sweep with Tim Wakefield facing the always tough Scott Kazmir tonight at the Fens. Then it's on to Toronto to face the meat of their rotation in what is sure to be a tough match-up. 2 of 3 up there is just fine with me. A tall order? Yes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The First Winner of the Every 14 Game "Peter's Red Sox Forever" Award for Surprising Excellence is........

There is no contest. The winner has been chosen unanimously, the criteria being just who is the player in the last 14 games who has been the emodiment of excellence unexpected. KEVIN YOUKLIS. Batting lead off when needed, and in the middle of the order when Coco is OK, he has exceeded all our expectations. And I'm talking defense, too. Some of his splayed body stretches to nail a batter scurrying for a base hit have caught my eye. Hell, many eyes. So Kevin, congrats! And maybe when Coco is back in 12 days or so, you can bat 5th, behind Papi and Manny, at least against lefties. Nice protection for them. And your quick and powerful (yeah, have you been watching?) pop-filled bat has brought us continual happiness on this, April 19th, an early but important part of the season. No more Pawtucket express for you. You are where you belong, at The Fens, with the big club. And that makes us a better team, hands down.

The Rays' Bullpen; A Tampa Bay Disaster, A Red Sox Delight!

Matt Clement, a quality start. Kevin Youklis, Mr. Clutch. Manny, coming around. The defense, just fine. 6 runs in the 7th and the 8th, nice! And a tumbling, snow cone catch by Adam Stern in short center with the bases loaded in the 9th to perserve Pap's 7th save. A 7-4 Red Sox victory, 10-4 so far this April, despite scoring less runs than any team in the AL except Kansas City. And our hitting strokes stay as elusive as the rains in the Sahara.
One move last night left me puzzled. Allowing Matt Clement to start the 8th instead of having Timlin come in to start a clean inning escaped logic. But because of the inabiliity of the Devil Ray's bullpen to hold the fort, the Sox emerged victorious, their 3rd straight win.
Oh, and that team from New York? Last place. Randy Johnson looked more like Randy Quaid while failing to get out of the 4th inning. He says nothing is wrong with him. All signs point to his back, as the Yankee pitching staff disintergrates even though the team has played 3 games in a row only once. ONCE!
Tuesday wasn't so bad after all. GO SCHILL.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Finding The Hitting Shoes

Manny is starting to come around at the plate. Ortiz stays torrid. Mark Loretta? 'Nuff said. Youk? He's been steady in the field and at the plate. Mike Lowell? He's has his productive spots. I'm not worried, and the leather he flashes brings chills just like the extra base hits that will come more often.. For if this team hits, we'll be quite alright, thank you.
But then there Is Trot Nixon, our fixture "dirt and guts guy" in right field. His field. From the Globe..... "Quite a performance by Trot Nixon after missing five games with a strained left groin. In the second inning he singled to right. In the sixth, he sent a Gil Meche 1-and-1 fastball screaming into the right-field seats on a hop for a ground-rule double. In the eighth, he began 0-and-2 but worked an eight-pitch at-bat, doubling to right with two outs. He came around to score the run that made it 5-5 on Varitek's RBI single."
He was the guy who won this game. And having him in right field makes us a so much better team.

Monday, April 17, 2006


My oh my. Mark Loretta laces one into the Monster seats for a walf-off 2 run home run. And this game was a game of inches through and through, as hit after Red Sox hit fell short of making this one a no sweat victory. And then? Patriot Day magic. Smile. The rest of the afternoon is staring at us in the face. And 9-4. That says it all!

Poetic Justice, or Justice From Above?

This blurb from today's press, and then my brief reaction/comment...."San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds, whose chances of passing Hank Aaron for the home run title are diminishing by the day, no longer is even a lock to eclipse Babe Ruth.
Bonds, who told USA TODAY in February that he will retire after this season, revealed Saturday that he has 10-12 bone chips in his left elbow and will immediately retire if surgery is required.
"I'm going to keep playing until it blows up," Bonds told "If I have to have a procedure, then I'm done. Finished. That would be it."
***Peter here...Well Barry, let it be. Justice from above this might be. And I say three cheers. I never wish or hope for an injury to ANYONE, but I think he is a disgrace to the game, at least this incarnation of bloated Barry. Pre-bloat? He was a talented young player who was all-around fantastic. The man in his post-steroid era is a caricature of all things gone bad. Let the record show that the records should stand. But do I think he'll hang it up? No way no how no anything. And that's a shame.

And Then There Was Nixon. Bye Wily "No Defense" Mo

With a little more than 4 hours until the start of the Patriot's Day game, there is one piece of really good news for anyone taking the mound for the Sox. Trot Nixon is back, starting today, in right field. Richard Nixon would be an improvement over the lug who has been playing there the past few days. Wily Mo will not be insulting and tarnishing the names of all those greats who patrolled our very own right field at Fenway any more, not for a while. Inept is too subtle a word for the way he butchers routine plays. I hope we only are subjected to watching him play defense when we are ahead by 6 runs or more. Didn't he come to the major leagues through the minor leagues, learning as he went through, gathering the experience needed to play at a professional level? It sure doesn't show. And I do not understand how someone could be such a defensive liability on a team that prides itself on pitching and defense. I am utterly flabergasted.
Let's win this one today. As Steinbrenner said before the season started, "We're going for it this year." Hey Georgie, you're going to have to go through us....good luck old man.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Beckett 3-0, Papelbon a Perfect 6 for 6.

And a hold for Mike Timlin in the 8th inning. Wily Mo Pena? His right field defense makes a grown man cry. Close, anyways. But good news abounds. A full game wrap-up before breakfast, and a preview of our one morning a year baseball game, and Jere's first of two. What's that saying? Let's drive two.....and he's doing it. Good job!


The award for the shortest post ever has been won. No more calls, please. And yes, the title of this post is about all I have to say about Saturday's game. Josh Beckett, we need some help today. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt to see a few runs. Maybe 4 more than yesterday? Make sure of one thing. This post in no way takes away from the fantastic 8 innings Tim Wakefield gave us. If Bard had caught the ball better and Pena had broken back, not in, both instances happening in the third inning yesterday, the two teams might still be playing. Way to go Timmy.
Happy Easter to one and all. Silly rabbit.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

One Run, Two Runs, Three Runs, More....

More if we want to win this..........and why this lineup?? I mean, tomorrow is Josh time...."The Red Sox had a makeshift lineup for this one, as Mark Loretta and Mike Lowell both got a breather."
Peter here. A breather from? Oh well, tomorrow cannot come quickly enough. Good job Timmy.

Let It Be So, He Saith

"Wells, who was scheduled to face Seattle’s Gil Meche in Monday’s 11 a.m. Patriots Day game, will most likely see his start go to reliever Lenny DiNardo."
Peter here, and I couldn't let a sentence like that from the Globe, and soon to be common knowledge from Southwest Connecticut to the Notheasternmost reaches of Maine, and all throughout this land we call Red Sox Nation, go without saying something. Here's that something.....Patriots Day 2006 might be remembered for something other than The Race, other than the fact that it is Patriot's Day. And that would be this. Start number one of the '06 season for Lenny DiNardo, on what could become a surprisingly early and successful season as the Red Sox number four member of the pitching rotation. Hey Lenny, give us 6 fine, and wait four days. And on day 5, God said..."Pitch again."

4 Spot Open

And a quick note. David Wells may be headed back to the DL. The waste of space's right knee seems to be troubling him yet again. Is this a blessing is disguise? A masked piece of good fortune? We shall see..............

Schilling And Papelbon Turn Good Friday Into A GREAT Friday

Right now, Curt Schilling is the best pitcher in baseball. Team him with the best reliever in baseball, our very own Jonathon Papelbon, and good things happen. " I feel like I'm better than I've ever been. I have a slider now. I have a change up now. The numbers are showing it." That was the man himself, who has thrown 22 innings so far this year, giving up just 11 hits (3 last night) and 4 runs this season. Opposing batters are hitting at a cool .147. Nice.
The batting star was Alex Gonzalez, who drove in the two runs while collecting 3 hits. Manny is still struggling, but he was last year at this early point in the season, too.
Oh, and Jonathon Papelbon? 13 pitches in his one inning pitched, one hit, and 1 strikeout. Stellar numbers again, keeping his ERA all goose eggs. And we like goose eggs when it comes to a pitcher's ERA.
Now it's chicken eggs time for me, with a side of wheat toast and a glass of skim milk, and of course the sports pages on the side on this rainy but soon to be sunny Saturday. Oh, and that warm glow from last night's victory? Still there.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Freeing Jonathon

How important was Keith Foulke's two inning stint last night? It was important in that it was another step, and not a small one, to regaining his closer status. Sure Jonathon has been ice cold lights out freeze in the headlight you are dead good, as good as it gets. But Foulkie's pitches have the velocity and movement that made him so special in 2004, or they are getting close, better with every outing. Some say he should have been named MVP of the World Series. I have no doubt that he was, not a shred of doubt.
You see, we need Papelbon in the rotation, in the vacant but taken number 4 slot, currently occupied by the hefty lefty, Boomer. Sure, David will have a couple more starts to see if his aging body can catch up and regain his last year form. But once Foulke is ready to retake the closer role, it will be up to the coaches to stretch Papel's appearances until he is able to start a game. This might, no, probably will, take a month. But the aim will be to make the club better, to add to the number of innings the club can benefit from his talent. A lights out closer is a necessity for a championship club. But we don't need two.

PU...Unsinking Sinker Sinks Clement

What is that smell? Rotten eggs? No, it's rotten starting pitching. Matt Clement came close to duplicating David Wells' preceding night performance, giving up eight hits and seven runs AND walking four in four plus innings. My heavens, this was ugly. In fact, of his 83 pitches, only 45 were strikes. That won't work, not in the big leagues. That the Sox scored 5 runs in the last two innings only made it closer. They were meaningless runs. In fact, Wells and Clement combined? 8 innings, 14 runs and 18 hits. Pitiful.
On the bright side, if you can call it that, Julian Tavarez returned with 2 temper-free scoreless innings, Foulkie contributed two hitless scoreless innings, Papi homered once, almost twice, and Youk and Mark Loretta each contributed two hits at the top of the order. But nothing could be accomplished when you have a starting pitching performance like this one. Clements pitches had no sink, so we were sunk. Tonight is another night, with one of our 2 stoppers, Curt Schilling, ready to get us back on track. And the Yankees face some real competition in Minnesota. I say let's not worry about the Yankees. there are enough troubling things to worry about right here, in the Hub of the universe. Happy holiday weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ups And Downs......

Yes, there are ups and downs out there. In life, yes. That's the first thing that comes to mind. But we ride out the downs and rejoice the ups. And the same is true for blogging, even when the Red Sox are the blog subjects. And the downs can and do come even when our team is winning.
I write this blog for many reasons, but the biggest and bestest is to spread the joy of the Sox around, out there, where anyone might be. There are a few favorite people that I do have in mind when I write in this lttle space of Heaven, and I do hope they won't abandon ship wthout better lifeboat support, support the Titanic didn't have. Wow, talk about spanning nearly a century. But for those out there who do stop by, and do so more than occasionally, I thank you so much. And for any first timers, or once-in-awhile timers, hey, you made me smile just by stopping in. And I mean that from the heart. Go Sox tonight, and to Matt, throw 'em like last time.

Hefty Lefty a Wednesday Night Bust.

Well, it was more like scenario number one in the preceding post, except Skipper Francona decided to let the fat man eat up some more innings as the game was lost. 5 innings. 7 runs. That won't do in the future. On the bright side, home runs by Mohr and Papi. Good bullpen work by Dinardo and Seanez when it mattered little. Or none. Manny is still slumping. Our shortstop is batting .148, but he is invaluable in the field, the anchor of our infield. But he's got to get that average over the .200 mark. Major leaguers do that, ya know.
So, as the cliche goes, you can't win them all. But I have to think that we would have had a tremendously greater chance to win and claim victory number 7 with ANYONE else on the mound. ANYONE. Boomer, get better, or this might be the shortest season in your major league career. Clement tonight, and the atmosphere will surely be different at our Fenway Park.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Boomer Tonight...The Way It Will Unfold

To me, there are two different ways David Wells will dictate how this game goes. In scenario number one, he gets bombed in the first inning with a couple walks and two base hits, but does get out of the inning giving up only two runs. We don't score in the bottom of the inning.
Inning two for Boomer, and he's back to where he was, loading the bases with two sharp singles surrounding a walk, and then a long wall ball double scores two, with men on second and third. The next batter hits one out and Wells is pulled. Sox end up losing 6-5, the bullpen doing its job while the offense had the tying run at the plate in the botton of the ninth.
Now, that's NOT how I want it to go. In scenario number two, what happened in the first inning happens again, with 2 runs scored for the Jays. But the Sox do score, in the first, to tie the game at two. An 8 inning game coming up. Wells settles down, with any mine drives hit, but hit right at us. Through 6 innings, Boomer has given up 9 hits, all singles except for a solo home run. He has given up 3 runs. Sox end with their newly designed high horsepower bullpen shutting down the Jay's while the offense scores 5. SOX WIN.
Like I said at lunch today..."I'll have a number two, please."

Passing Over

I'll be back tomorrow with more thrills and chills. It's the start of Passover tonight, and I'll be too busy to post anything more. Thanks. Go Boomer, he said with a shiver of fear, fear of what might be tonight.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On Center Field, And Youk, Just Because It's Opening Day, With All The Smiles To Come This Afternoon.

"Although Wily Mo Pena has experience playing center field, Francona said Mohr would likely see time in center. The Sox seem uncertain of Pena's ability in center and are wary of moving him there before he becomes comfortable playing right field at Fenway."
***Peter here, and that quote reflects what my last post said. Center field is a territory, not a space. Is Wily Mo up to it? We have the options, so there is no need to find out the "hard" way. Capable players for daunting challenges..that's what these 2006 Red Sox will become, and rather quickly. Jump on. Or if you're like me, having never ever jumped off, enjoy the ride.
And again from the Globe...."With Coco Crisp's fractured left index finger keeping him out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that Kevin Youkilis will be the Sox primary leadoff hitter. Youkilis is batting leadoff today in the home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays.
"I don't want to disrupt [batters] 2, 3, or 4, and Youk is a good on base guy, which we value," said Francona. "We can change it up sometimes, which we might, but we don't want to ask too much of [Adam] Stern and make it unfair for him."
***Peter again, and again this is a smart and calculated decision by Francona and company. Youk has been spraying the ball with uumph to all fields. Lead-off will be good. And on a day such as this, there will be so much good. I don't know about you, but at 12:50 EDT, I am smiling. Wow, just think about 2pm. My goodness. Or as the late and loved Ned Martin said so many times in so many perfect moments, "MERCY!"

Coco News Could Have Been Much Worse

From the Globe......''With a nondisplaced fracture, it should heal fairly quickly," said McCue, who did not examine Crisp. ''Ten days might be too soon, but in three weeks it should heal.
''You protect it. It's sore to a varying degree. It shouldn't cause any long-term problems."
***Peter here. And that quote made me feel much better. In his mid-twenties, Coco should be a quick healer. As one gets older, the healing mechanism is less effective, thereby making injuries such as this, with no ligament/tendon damage, that much quicker to heal. If Coco doesn't rush it and reinjure the undisplaced fracture, he should be OK around or shortly after the end of the month, which is almost half over anyways. And center should be handled quite capably, mainly by Adam Stern, who I hope starts every game that Coco is out. Wily Mo? I'd be scared of his defense and his ability to cover the ground needed to effectively patrol centerfield. Call-ups? Most likely Dustin Mohr. Maybe Willie Harris. The bulk of the work should be handled by Canadian's hero, Adam Stern, with Wily Mo behind, and I hope way behind, him. You see, I haven't developed any faith in the kid (he's only 24) yet. He has to tame his swing and stop trying to hit Ball 4. Bronson, I miss ya. And that feeling will intensify if and when Wells gets shelled from time to time. And we know that's going to happen 6 to 8 times this year. But this year we might not have the power to hack our way out of a 5 or 6 run deficit.
Speaking of ball, today at Fenway should be exactly that. And what's the next best thing to being there? A choice seat in front of the NESN tuned TV, with all the fixins' to make the enjoyment as Fenway-like as possible. Enjoy, everyone, and I'll be back during the game. Drop by if you're at work and have the computer fired up, unless the computer is busy giving you coverage of the game. Oh, I almost forgot. That team from New York also has their home opener, and it's a 1pm start. But the pre-game Sox ceremonies start at 1:30, so there is little time to root for the Royals. GO SOX.

Opening Day Quick Quiz

And I say "quick" quiz because this is an easy one. Josh Beckett will be the 14th DIFFERENT Opening Day starting pitcher for the Red Sox in the last 16 years. Who are the only 2 Sox starters with more than one Opening day start in that span? If there are no comment/guesses, I am the winner by default, by default of no readers! Ooh, that was bad...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Coco Out. Stern In. Peter Out.

It must be said. Papi's deal is done. Congrats. Coco Crisp does have a broken bone. 6-8 weeks out. Adam Stern, play your heart out. We are counting on you. Wily Mo, you need more time to get ready to play center field and not swing at small six legged insects. Be patient. And to all the Sox fans....we are going to be just OK. Wait for tomorrow.

John Henry Does It Right!

"The Red Sox have called a press conference for 3 p.m. today at Fenway
Park, at which time they are expected to announce the finalization of a
contract extension for slugger David Ortiz."
***Peter here. And I thought this was coming. Actually, we ALL knew. But it's nice to see the official word that our Big Papi will be a Red Sox beloved team member for a long time. No Manny this. No Manny that. David Ortiz is a Soxer. And hopefully for the rest of his career. Stay tuned for more's Boston, what else could be better?

The First Six Games Bode Well For The Bullpen, and The Club

As our skipper said yesterday, “That’s as good as I’ve seen Foulke throw in a long time. If he throws like that, we’re going to have some kind of bullpen.” Amen to that. Foulkie's velocity was back to where it should be, his fastballs hitting 89 MPH. And tailing in towards right handers. He will join Mike Timlin and Julian Tavarez (after Wednesday) to become a three headed set-up MONSTER in the bullpen, eventually giving way to Paps to close them out. I touched on this huge plus point a few posts ago. It can only lead to goodness and happiness for all of us, ensuring less stress and grey hairs. The bullpen was the human stinkhole of the major leagues last year, as we know all too well. I shudder at the thought. Brrr! Riske and Seanez will be reserved for long relief, when the team is behind and the hope of catching up is neccessary. It is not known as I write this if those two are up to that task or not. But with all four active starters having at least one win, and all but Wakes having gone seven innings, things look good. Some would say better than good, but ask me after twenty games.
We can hit better, and we will. The defense has been superb, with only 2 (or 3?) errors commited. And with a 5-1 start, and maybe an extention for our Big Papi later today, tomorrow afternoon will surely see a bunch of happy fans populate our Vatican, Fenway Park. So let's hope the news on Coco will be better than what the worst possibility would be, and let's be thankful that Adam Stern plays for the right team, ours. Back later if circumstances warrant. And they will. I have a feeling. I believe in those feelings. See my post from Tuesday April 4th for an example. The post is called "Pap's 20th save." Take care. I shall be back. Bet on it.

Coco toast for a month? Papi Extension Announcement Today?

No, NOT a month, not until I hear something official. The last time he hurt his hand, he was told he would be out for a month. He was back in two weeks and hit .303 for the rest of the season.
This possible injury occured on the tail end of his ill-advised unsuccessful 3rd base steal on Saturday. There seems to be swelling at the base of the left index finger knuckle. I'm told tests will be done in Boston today, but in my mind there is just as big a chance that he'll wake up this morning and he'll be fine. I hope so. I'll be back later with a wrap-up of the many goods and the few (if they could be called) bads from yesterday.
And there is a chance that the extention for Big Papi will be announced today. That will make tomorrow all the sweeter.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Here's Our Pitching Line. Sweet!

T. Wakefield 6.0 5 1 0 2 4 0 6.52
M. Timlin 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0.00
K. Foulke 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3.00
J. Papelbon 1.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.00

Papelbon's Stage Is Set. 9th Inning Pitch By Pitch

4-1 Boston over Baltimore. The bottom of the ninth. Relaxed and calm, yes. Here we go, batter by batter by batter.
Matos up. He lines a double to left. Boy, I hope I'm not jinxing him by doing this batter by batter. Nah! Up next is Melvin Mora. Paps falls behind 2-0, now 2-1. Tight strike zone all day. Remarkable for Wakefield to be so successful with that kind of zone. Full count, 3-2. Fly ball to Stern, Matos to third. ONE DOWN. Tejada up. And he is hit by pitch, bringing the tying run to the plate in the bat of Gibbons.Pop up to the catcher Bard. TWO DOWN. Old friend Millar pops up the first pitch to the Snowman. SOX WIN 4-1. A full wrap-up to come early AM tomorrow. Bye everyone.

1-2-3 Keith!!

Foulkie sets 'em down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the first two batters doomed by a fastball and a change-up. The third would be hitter softly lined to Snowman at first. We are a Jonathon Papelbon half-inning (the 9th) away from victory number 5. NICE!

And After Seven, All Good,,,,

Wakefield has gone a strong 6, recovering nicely from his Texas outing. Timlin held them scoreless in the 7th, and the Sox are batting in the top of the eighth. Foulke will pitch the eighth, Papelbon the ninth. If Foulkie holds 'em, this one is ovah!

Papel's Set-Up Men For This Year. A Nice Back End

A back end of our pitching staff that we did not come close to last year. With Timlin and Foulke and Tavarez setting up Papel (that's the way I think it will be for the entire year), that's a nice back end to the pitching staff, one we didn't come close to last year. When you talk Riske or Seanez, you're talking long relief. Because we have a quality 3 man set-up gang who will precede Mr. Electric, Jonathon Papelbon, toward certain victories this year. Get 2 or 4 runs and pitch 7, hand it over to the back end of the pen, and game over time. I like. I like a lot.

Welcome Back Curt, Body AND Soul.

Now we know. After watching Curt Schilling's brilliant two starts this week, we can realize much better how he must have felt last year, when his mind was raring to go but his body did not let him pitch the way his mind knew he could. And boy has he showed us that he still has that intensity, that glaring stare-eyed look of determination as he eyes the catcher's mitt just proir to unleashing something fast, something nasty and unhittable. For all the electricity that crackles through the crowd as Jonathon Papelbon trots in to pitch the ninth, that "I know we're going to win this thing" feeling of joy, there is the Schilling glare, 7 innings of it. He knows now that he can pitch to his potential. Last year he knew he couldn't. It must have been so tough for him, but only now can we realize just how tough. We love you Curt. We didn't know how much anguish was on your plate last year. Now go out and win Friday. Papel will be ready to finish it for you.

38 Special

It looks like our number 38 is back, back with a bullet. Seven strong innings from Schill, set-up relief by the book from Timlin, and a lights out ninth yet again from our young gunslinger Jonathon Papelbon all combined for a 2-1 victory over the struggling Orioles. In the entire 2005 seasons, the Sox were 2-22 in games where they scored two runs or less, so yes, this was a biggie.
With Foulkie rounding into shape sooner rather than later, the bullpen looks good indeed for eighth and ninth inning work, the kind of work expected when your starter gives you a quality seven. And yesterday, it was Tek with the bat and the defensive play of the game by Gold Glove candidate Manny Ramirez who provided the extra spark. And so yesterday, at least at the ballpark, was a rosy day indeed. More please! Now put it over the plate where they can't hit it, Wake, and then it's time to go home. We're waiting, and we'll be on our feet cheering until our voices grow ragged as you take the field Tuesday afternoon. Happy faces? More than 38,000 of 'em.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Yankee Misplaced Worries..As If They Don't Have Enough To Worry About.

For the Yankees to worry about their hitting seems sheer lunacy. Read this, and then I will comment...."What was expected to be their biggest strength has been non-existent, as they have scored eight runs in three games since their 15-2 win over Oakland on Opening Night."
First of all, this came from the Times of Cape Cod. Didn't know there was one, although I have spent time in that beautiful part of the world. But the Yankees should be concerned about their starting and bullpen pitching. After RJ, you have a Mussina who will age, and I mean age DURING the season, being bombed in the first few innings often enough for us Sox fans to have a heightened sense of well being just because of it. And then? Chacon, Wright, Pavano, Small, every one a question mark. We've all experienced the highs of Yankee lows, and it is an addictive feeling. So this comes from the heart."Hey, Yankee players, make me a happy guy. I'm starved for happiness in any form and your woes are what I feed on and exist for. Please don't let me down. My whole summer is in your incapable hands. Signed incredibly heartfeltly, Peter N, who will be watching your stumbling and bumbling rather closely. I have faith in your ability to make my wishes come true, like dreams in the night realized in the brilliant beautiful light of day."

Sox Walk All Over Woe-rioles Despite Seanez 8th Inning Nightmare

Matt Clement just plain ran out of gas with 2 outs in the 7th, but we all have to be madly happy with his performance last night. And the Red Sox backed him with 16 hits and countless runs, helped by 14 free passes, one shy of the record for both clubs. Manny and Youk each had 3 hits to help the cause.
But it was the 8th inning that disturbed me. I'm sure I'm not the only one. It was a nightmare, the kind where you awaken in the dark of night, sweat-drenched and shivering with unremembered fear. Well, I remember all too well the 4 runs scored on SIX (yes,6!!) pitches. Fat pleasing delicious Rudy Seanez pitches that I never want to see again. In fact, it will disturb me anytime I see Seanez standing in the bullpen, much less warming up. Turn the page? Yes. But act like his fiasco never happened? No way possible.
So yes, the positives outweighed the negatives, Foulke had an uneventful and blessedly quick ninth inning, the rain held off, and the Yankees lost. There is your summary. Oh, did I mention the Yankees lost? I guess I did, but it needed saying twice. Good job Mattie. Pitch like that and this club is going somewhere. Schill on the hill later today. Nice.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Warning...This Post Is Non-Sox Related...But Superb..BOOKMARK!

I must have lost my train of thought. Either that, or...I came across something special. I hope you will let me know. The link follows... Maybe some of you are familiar with this..I found it delightfully full of everything you do and do not want to see in ONE link. So copy and paste, if you so wish. Maybe even bookmark, as I did. I'm out of my element....I'm in a Red Sox state of mind. Plus it's time for lunch. Enjoy. You deserve it....Peter here.....I just followed my own link (see above) and this site was even better than I thought. I should read more of myself, I guess. Try'll like it.

I Could Not Have Put This Any Better!

From SG (link on the right) comes this one sentence GEM. "Josh Beckett + packed house at Fenway is gonna equal unstoppable awesomeness."
***Peter here. And I cannot wait for Tuesday. Hell, I can't wait for tonight, but Josh Beckett and the Fenway Faithful are going to establish some kinda bond! Electric Kool-Aid electricity.

A Big Start For Mattie, And The Club, Tonight.

From the Herald...."Baltimore has had little success against Matt Clement and now the Orioles are going to have one more thing to worry about when they face the Red Sox right-hander tonight in the first of three games at Camden Yards.
Clement, 4-0 lifetime against the Orioles and 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in three starts at Camden Yards, has reincorporated a sinking, two-seamed fastball into his repertoire."
***Peter here. And let's hope Baltimore's anemic past success against Matt Clement continues tonight, for it is a big start for him. It is his opening start of this season of 2006. A quality start at this point in his season would be a boost to his confidence and a jump start to what we all hope is a successful two half season. Unlike last year's first half quality and second half suckiness. And post season dreadfulness. Time to reverse that curve. And Baltimore has had their hitting shoes on so far this newborn season. So go get 'em Mattie. And stay out of the way of any baseballs heading for your head. We need you as our quality number four. Right after Josh, and before the big guy. And then there is Schill, and a "not-in-Texas" effective Wakes.
Have fun this weekend, readers and friends. Opening day at dear Fenway looms just over the horizon, much like the first amber hue of sunlight minutes before the dawn.

Rollins' Streak Ends At 39. Great Job.

Jimmy Rollins' streak is over, but sincere congratulations go out to him for a job well done. There will be no controversy that a two season hitting streak is a valid one. For the record, I think that what he accomplished, having a whole off-season between at-bats, is much tougher than a single season mark. Hey Jimmy, doesn't this look good in print?

Longest hit streaks since Joe DiMaggio's 56-gamer in 1941
44 Pete Rose 1978
39 Paul Molitor 1987
38 Jimmy Rollins 2005-06

Jimmy, number three is nothing to hang your head about. A standing ovation to you from this corner!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Foulkie: "All That Matters Is That We Win." Get Back, Keith!

From the Globe, and then my comments....."Francona, before the game, approached Foulke and told him that if Beckett went seven, and Timlin pitched an inning, Papelbon would probably close the game out, because he's the best arm the Sox have out there at the moment. Foulke, afterward, said he's fine with that.
''Hell, when I get my stuff together and go back to that spot, so be it," Foulke said. ''All that matters is we win."
***Peter here. And what a great attitude. I didn't want my first post of today to reflect my initial excitement that Foulke was out and Papel was in. But if it plays out that way, so be it. With the unselfish attitude that Keith Foulke showed when he made the preceding comments, this is a no-lose situation for our club. And when, not if, Foulkie regains his form and returns to the role of closer, after some work that was not accomplished when it usually would, during Spring training, we will be all the better for it. So the hope remains, although the alternative is crazily tempting, that Keith Foulke gets himself back to where he was before 2005. Back to where he once belonged, as Paul McCartney said in the 1969 Beatles' song, Get Back. Go for it, Keith. And there is no hurry. Get back to the domination of '04. We would all be so happy.

A Nail Biter Until The Ninth

That's right. UNTIL the ninth, when Jonathon Papelbon, in the closer's role, made the Texas Rangers' hitters look like a Little League Team. But it was tough going until then. Josh Beckett was adequate through the first four innings, giving up a run and throwing 81 pitches. Too many. But then he went to cruise control for his last three innings, right up until the checked swing called third strike by Michael Young. With a pumped fist and a shout of joy, he walked off the mound, thanked the umpire who wisely checked with one of his mates on the last pitch, and went into the dugout to receive the congratulations of his teamates. Deservedly so, I might add. He might have heard ME shouting encouragement at that point.
Mike Timlin almost ruined the game, as well as the whole night, as he allowed runners into scoring position as if they were paying customers. But a ground out by D'Angelo Jimenez ended the inning and set the stage for Papel's "electric" stuff. But not before a Manny to Lowell to Tek throw nailed Mark Teixeira at the plate. You want drama? Suspense? Sheer kick the wall frustration turning into jump for joy glee? Well, the 8th inning had it all. The ninth inning was filled with sit back and smile, you guys are doomed confidence. Thanks to our CLOSER, Jonathon Papelbon. Thank you Mr. Francona, for not waiting to make this move. I'm proud of you. And so very happy.
The king is dead. Long live the KING.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Town Without Pitney

Rest in peace, Gene Pitney. You left us too soon. You will be missed.

"Bonds On Bonds" Is Just That, With Help From ESPN.....

The so-called reality show in the making, "Bonds On Bonds," is just that. Sure, the video quality is good. And the audio quality borders on great for the 60 minute premiere of the "road to home run" greatness. Repeats of this first show will be on ESPN 2 at 1am Monday night, 2am Tuesday night, with a new, 30 minute episode at the delicious time of 2am Wednesday. And all times are Eastern daylight. At least, that's what my TV GUIDE on-screen guide says. Self-promotion. Yeah! And with the help of Connecticut based ESPN, I'm sure as the road takes BB past the Babe (oh, the horror), viewership will grow and the in-print publicity will flame the potential viewers into tuning in. And just in time to see a cherished forever record be broken by a bloated superstar. The transformation is Michael Jackson-like. And all the negativity is meant. From my heart.
So sure, tune in, just like rubber neckers on the highways turn traffic into traffic jams whenever something "juicy" to look at is within vision range. After all, Bobby Bonds is a curiousity now. How can we NOT watch.

This One Was Over Early

This one was over in the first, REALLY over after four. Wakes couldn't find the strike zone with his knuckleball. Hell, he couldn't find the strike zone with his fastball! And when he finally did find it, the knuckler came in high, letter high, over the fence on a line high. So quicker than you can hiccup, it was four zip. An appetizer later, it was seven zip, and lights out time for me, and the club. Josh Bard had three passed balls, half of Doug Mirabelli's total in 309 innings last year. "Big" Riske gave up a 2 run shot in the seventh. Actually, no one who came in from our bullpen shined. The only good thing about last night was that the Yankees, with Procter pitching the ninth, lost. Ya dee do.
Tonight, Josh baseball will pitch. He'll pitch our home opener on Tuesday (thank you Mr. Smith), the next "during the week" day game that I shall watch. Beer, popcorn and Hi-Def at 1pm, if anyone cares to be in the area and wants to enjoy. I mean it! And don't forget the free parting gift!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Dizzying Flutter, Catchable But Not hittable.

Tuesday, April 4
Tim Wakefield (Red Sox) vs. Vicente Padilla (Rangers)
May the wind be blowing in your face, Timmy, and may the flutter be with you. A wrap up, of sorts, first thing in the morning. To all, enjoy tonight's game. May we score more runs than them in this, what I think, upcoming slugfest. Just a hunch. I hope I'm wrong. 4-1 sounds just fine to me.

Papelbon's 20th Save....Just Fiction, For Now.......

Jonathon Papelbon toes the mound, peering in to see Tek's sign. Outside fastball. He nods, starts his windup, and paints the outside black of the plate for a called third strike. The top of the ninth inning is over, the Sox win 2-1, and Papel secures his 20th save. It was not easy. Josh Beckett went the first seven, allowing a third inning solo shot to right. The Sox answered in the bottom half of the inning, with a sharp double to the gap in right by Big Papi, and a first pitch home run to dead center, his 18th, by Manny Ramirez. And that was all the scoring for Texas and Boston on this sunny humid Sunday June 11th. The Rangers were defeated in this 64th game of the season at Fenway Park. Tavarez pitched a 1-2-3 8th, setting the stage for Papel's 14th straight save. The crowd went home hot, dazed, but happy. The Sox were in first, with a record of 39-25, 5 games in front of the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Now this, of course, is just a little slice of my imagination. But it is a scenario that could come true if Keith Foulke's fastball does not regain it's pre-2005 zip, making his off speed stuff wicked once more. If, however, we continue to see the Foulke that we saw yesterday, with a fastball reaching, but not breaking, the 86MPH barrier, it will be up to Jonathon to shut 'em up and then shut 'em down at the back end of these type of games, where one run means disaster. I hope Foulkie can do it. Oh, and by the way, the records of the three teams mentioned are based on fact. Time will have to play out to see if I am accurate. Let's hope so. If I am, then it's on to the Lottery.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sox Win, Shaky Style Thanks to Foulkie...

8th inning, bottom of, and Jonathon was just super fine. But Keith "Parkinsons" Foulke made us all edgy. Edgy?? Suicidal might better describe the mashing of his pitches by the Rangers offense. But in the end, we scored more runs, and holy crap, won the game! Player of the game? Curt Schilling. And that's my wrap for today. But those 9th inning thrills and chills were so out of context compared to the 8th inning soft calm provided by JP. Just a thought......Papel would have breezed through the 9th. But he's ready for tomorrow, already, if needed. Phew...... Score it a victory for Schill, and a s-s-shakey hold for Foulke.

After 5............

5-0, the Good Guys ahead. The last of the 5th was a 25 pitch half inning for Schill, but ANY game we're ahead 5-0 should result in a win. Next post after the game. If a mid-game post is any kind of a jinx, this will be the last one you see. EVER. Still, 5-0.....Schill will be good for 7, and then.....the b-b-b-bullpen. I like it.

Rocket Leaves The Door Open..........But What Else Would He Do.

Meetings took place this day, OPENING DAY, down in that foreign land known as Texas, which is the home state of Rocket Roger, who met with the "Sox authorities" in the visitor's clubhouse. Our clubhouse, at least for three days. Those meetings were lengthy, but nothing is expected to happen. I just had to jot this down before lunch, and then LIVE BASEBALL. Enjoy everyone. Mid-game thoughts are a sure thing. Hell, "every time a run is scored" thoughts. Fun to come. Please....

Red Sox Will Break 5 Year Opening Day Jinx With Victory Today

If that sounds like a prediction, OK. Maybe I meant it as such. But what it is is a statement of fact. 5 straight opening days and 5 losses. Well, that's changing. It's changing today. 2pm from Texas. On ESPN. On NESN. Everyone in every state can see this game. No needed, unless you want to hear the hometown announcers, depending on the feed ESPN uses. But the important thing? A 1-0 record by dinnertime. I'll be back before first pitch. This game counts!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Sox Finish Losing Spring..Ready To Turn It Around. We Hope!

Not the best way to end the Spring, losing 5-0 to the Phillies in the City of Brotherly Love. 6 scattered hits by the Sox, with Philly pouncing on Clement for 3 first inning runs. Here is the pitcher's part of the box score. The rest is needless reading, because people were rested for the long and soon to start trip to Texas. All aboard for baseball tomorrow? See you at 2!! Clement(L,0-3) 2 3 3 3 2 2 0
J Tavarez 2 0 0 0 0 3 0
M Delcarmen 1 1-3 1 1 1 2 1 0
J Van Buren 1 2-3 0 0 0 0 1 0
T Bausher 2-3 0 0 0 0 0 0
M Bumatay 1-3 1 1 1 0 0 1
***P.S. I cannot remember the last time Little Manny came in and held the opposing team. He was much better the first half of spring training, but maybe the pitchers got a little used to him, a little bit more familiar. Well, it all starts FOR REAL tomorrow, same Sox-time, same Sox-channel.***

This Would Make A Great Tee Shirt.

Under a picture of the bearded ex-centerfielder for the Red Sox would come this:
Johnny Damon
Looks Like Jesus
Sounds Like Joseph
Throws Like Mary

Saturday, April 01, 2006

This JUST IN.....

Tavarez will not appeal ban. Phew. That is soo nice. I would bet the club had to talk him into this move, but it's the right one. By a long shot.

Important? How About VITAL.

From the Herald, and then I must comment.....FORT MYERS - "The more you think about it, the more you come to the same conclusion. For all of the emphasis being put on Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke this spring, the two most important members of the 2006 Red Sox are Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon."
***Peter here. Boy, are those two sentences an understatement, for if we get great things from Josh and Jonathon, the Sox will not only win the AL East, but they might end up with the best record in the league. Think about it. Beckett nearing 20 wins. Wow, and doable. And Papel? He could anchor the set-up position for the bullpen, assuring that things go well right into inning number nine. And if needed (please don't be needed), he could be our closer. I hope it does not come to that. Because trouble would be the only possible cause of that particular change in his status. And by trouble, I mean Foulkie being more like '05 Foulkie, rather than the '04 version that we knew and loved. No more ninth inning nail biting. No more pacing around the room, wearing holes and tread marks into the carpet and ragged blotches on the botton of those white tube socks. That would be nice. So the puzzle that is Jonathon Papelbon, Josh Beckett, as well as Foulke and Schill, has yet to be put together, the pattern not yet established. But it will. And our fortunes will follow that puzzle's pattern. A smiley face puzzle? I hope so. I really do. As do we all.