Sunday, September 30, 2007

Red Sox Beat Twins, Clinch Best Record In Baseball

Well, the Boston Red Sox went out Saturday evening and did what they had to do. They beat the Minnesota Twins by a score of 6-4. That win, combined with Cleveland's loss to Kansas City, guaranteed the Red Sox will have the best record in the AL -- with a tiebreaker edge if they match the Indians at 96-66. That gave them the right to choose whether to start their division series at home against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday or Thursday.
They picked Wednesday, giving them an extra day off during the series, and Cleveland will begin Thursday against the New York Yankees.

Tim Wakefield had a quality start, going 7 innings and only giving up 3 earned runs, 4 in all, on 8 base hits. Javy Lopez pitched the 8th and Hideki Okajima, in his final appearance before Wednesday, pitched the 9th. Boston trailed the Twinkies 4-2 before exploding for four runs in the 7th inning, the big blow being a 3 run home run by the resurging JD Drew, who could not have picked a better time to get hot. He had 3 hits in all, as did Kevin Youkilis. We need their bats tremendously for the October games to come, and right now it seems like the team is jelling nicely, offensively and on the mound. And that bodes well for Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International.

Game one of the AL Division series will be Wednesday evening, as the Angels come into Boston hoping to steal a game on Sox turf. It will be Josh Beckett starting. Curt Schilling was expected to start today, but there has been a change of plans, a smart one if I say so myself. I guess I just did! From the Globe.....

"A couple of weeks ago, Daisuke Matsuzaka had indicated to Japanese reporters he'd been told he would draw the Game 2 assignment, but Schilling's strong performance this September appears to have dictated a change in plans. Matsuzaka, who has never faced the Angels, now figures to pitch Game 3 in Angels Stadium."

Peter here, and that's the smart thing to do. Schilling appears to be pitching as well as he has all season long, and he and Josh will make a great 1-2 punch. Daisuke has had better results when pitching on the road, so he'll start game # 3 in Los Angeles. The best-of-five series will begin Wednesday at Fenway Park, with Game 2 following on Friday. The series will shift to Anaheim for Games 3 and 4 (if necessary) on Sunday and Monday, and will return to Fenway, if needed, on Oct. 10. So be happy, folks, Tito is making all the right moves, providing nice rest for the bullpen between games 1 and 2, and 2 and 3. The rest of the action begins Wednesday, between the lines at Fenway Park, where it counts.

Congratulations, 2007 Boston Red Sox, for finishing with the best record in baseball. Let's keep it going for another, oh, say, 11 wins. And please click on the title of this post for the Herald's Tony Massarotti's look at the upcoming series with those Angels. Enjoy your Sunday, as many of the regulars will get a day off and any pitchers will be limited to 3 innings or less. Care-free baseball, until Wednesday. Then everything changes, and we prepare ourselves for an October unlike any other. Just a feeling, an exciting one, too! Be well, Constant Readers, and thanks. PLEASE REMEMBER, I would love to read and respond to your thoughts or comments on baseball and our Red Sox before the end of the season is upon us. That's today!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

**** The Boston Red Sox Are American League East Champions ****

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-2 last night, and coupled with Baltimore's amazing ninth inning comeback to tie the game with three runs off Mariano Rivera and one in the 10th to win it, clinched their first American League East Division championship in 12 long years. And it was Daisuke Matsuzaka's turn to shine brightly last night. He went 8 tremendous innings for the good guys, giving up only two runs on 6 hits while striking out a commanding 8. He used a devastating breaking ball to fool many of the Twin's hitters, and mixed his fastball and slurve in at the right times. He was in charge from pitch number one, and he was a joy to watch. Jonathon Papelbon recorded his 37th save with a 6 (!) pitch ninth. When word of the Yankees' loss came roaring through the clubhouse, where many of the players had stayed and watched the O's remarkable win, the champagne started to flow, and it wasn't long after that that the players brought the celebration to the field, where many fans had stayed and stood and laughed and rooted, just to watch the Yankee-Orioles game on the big scoreboard. And they were happy they did!

I want to, I HAVE to mention Big Papi. He had another multi-hit night, going 3 for 4 with a double, a double that made history. He set the record for most doubles hit in a season by a DH. Last night was double #52, surpassing the 1995 mark set by Seattle's Edgar Martinez. He has had a phenomenal season, his best so far in terms of batting average and on base percentage, and he's vital to our team. Papi, WE LOVE YOU!!!

So now, with the division clinched, the only thing that matters now is having the best record in the league, and Boston is tied right now with the Cleveland Indians. The Sox own the tiebreaker 5 games to 2, so even if the two teams end up with the same record, the Red Sox will have the playoff schedule option. Two things are certain...the Angels and the Red Sox will play, with the Sox being the home team, and the Yankees will play Cleveland as the away team.

Congratulations to our 2007 Boston Red Sox. This is but step #1 in our magical mystery tour of October baseball, one that very well may end with another World Championship trophy. And needless to say, with so many deliriously happy members of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International saluting their 2007 Boston Red Sox, myself included, front and center.

Click on the title of this post for more about the magic of Friday night at Fenway Park, a night we will never forget. Have a wonderful weekend. I couldn't think of a better way to start it out...the Red Sox did that!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

MAGIC...all around us. I promise

Here's the last paragraph from the LA Times review of the new BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN & the E Street Band's be released this coming Tuesday, October 2, 2007. Access the FULL review by just clicking on the title of this post.....

"Magic" is a record of this moment -- Springsteen makes quiet reference throughout to what he sees as an errant Bush administration and, alternately, to a marriage at sometimes shaky midlife -- but it also aims for timelessness.
It's the way Springsteen injects his American bible stories with the air of disbelief that makes "Magic" a truly mature and memorable album. He knows his fans need that rush, that jump outside their own feelings of disappointment and limitation, that he's given them for so long. Yet more and more, he seems to realize that disappointment and limitation are his métier, and that sometimes a giant saxophone fill and a chorus about hungry hearts can't solve the problem. "Magic" bares its own devices beautifully, providing a kind of transcendence that allows for listeners to keep their feet on the ground. Believe in it, if you choose."

Peter here, and I believe. As he said in 1975's THUNDER ROAD, the first song from BORN TO RUN....."SHOW A LITTLE FAITH, THERE'S MAGIC IN THE NIGHT." And so many years later, well, what can I say? Just believe! Click on the title for the full review, and I hope you buy the CD....I'm lucky that he and the band open their world tour right here, in MY hometown, Hartford Connecticut, on that same Tuesday. I couldn't be happier. I've been going to his concerts for so many years. Timeless, unforgettable...that's BRUCE. Now click on the title. Be well. Always.

Bass Ackwards

On a night of possible celebration, the crowd quietly filed out of Fenway Park, somber, moody. The Red Sox had just lost to the Minnesota Twins by a score of 5-4, and shortly before that the Yankees, using a lineup that rested most of their regular players, bested the Kazmir-led Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-1. Such a lost opportunity. Now, with three games left, the magic number remains at 2. The Sox will have to win two of the three remaining games with the Twins to assure themselves of first place in the AL East. With the Yankees playing the Baltimore Orioles in Maryland, it would be a stretch NOT to think that they will win their remaining games, so tonight looms large for the Red Sox and Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International.

Last night, David Ortiz sure did his part to ensure a victory. He went 4 for 4 with a tater, and was on base all game. But the Twins' bullpen was tough when it counted most, even when the Sox had the bases loaded with only one out in a one run game in the 9th inning. But Minnesota closer Joe Nathan proved up to the task, to the dismay of the Fenway Faithful, by striking out Jason Varitek and Kevin Youkilis. Beckett was subpar, for him, allowing 5 runs and 10 hits in his 6 innings for his last start of the regular season. Each team collected 12 hits, but the Twins crossed the plate one more time than did the good guys.

Tonight, it's Matsuzaka versus Slowey, who has a record of 4-0 and an ERA in his last three starts of just 1.50. But this is a must game for the team we love. If they (and don't even think it!) lose tonight, they'd have to win the last two of the season to guarantee themselves a first place blue ribbon finish. Shades of 40 years ago, when the Red Sox had to win their last 2 games of the season against these same Twins to remain in first place. Those '67 "Cardiac Kids," named so because they ALWAYS found a way to come back and win games, DID win those last two, and went on to the World Series, taking the Cardinals as far as they could go before succumbing to the superior pitching of one of the all-time bests, Bob Gibson.

So it's onward and upward (I hope) for our 2007 Boston Red Sox. Daisuke, we never needed you as much as we do tonight. As always, thanks for reading my words, my thoughts, my ramblings, and I hope those idle ramblings make sense. Please comment and tell me when they don't. I count on you! And click on the title of this post for more on the game that SHOULD have been at the Fens last night. Take care. Always and forever.

If you're reading this early on Friday morning, turn on NBC or NBCHD and watch the Today Show at 7am, for it's Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, ready to start you on a great weekend. It does not get any better!! THEY ARE THE BEST BAND THAT EVER WAS, OR EVER WILL BE. They'll be performing shortly before 8:30am, to the delight of hundreds at 30ROCK and millions of happy people watching their televisions.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lester Falters But Sox Beat The A's

Jon Lester had another mediocre outing, although he struck out nine batters in his too brief 4 2/3 innings. He threw 94 pitches in that span, and gave up 5 runs and 7 base hits while walking 3. That's just too many pitches, not to mention runs, but the Red Sox were not to be denied at this stage of the season, for the end is near and first place and the AL East title are almost theirs. Mike Lowell continued his torrid hitting. Ever since he took over the cleanup spot in the order, he has been nothing short of amazing. Last night he had 3 base hits and 5 runs batted in, giving him 117, a career high. It also established the Red Sox high water mark for RBIs in one season by a third baseman, breaking the record that was set by Butch Hobson (112) in 1977. Congrats, Mike! In all, the Sox offense pounded the A's pitching staff for 17 hits, and it was a good thing because of Lester's ineffectiveness. But all's well that ends well, and it sure did!

So now there are 4 games left in this regular season, and the Sox hold a 3 game edge over the Yankees, who clinched the wild card last night. With the magic number down to 2, a Sox win and a Yankee loss will clinch that elusive eastern division championship. And with Beckett going for Boston and Kazmir ready to pitch against the Yankees, well, it COULD happen today. The only way the Sox would NOT finish in first place is by utterly collapsing, finishing 1-3 or 0-4, and that simply ain't going to happen.

Click on the title of this post for Gordon Edes' look back at last night's Fenway Park festivities. I guarantee you everyone went home happy. I went to bed with a huge smile plastered on my face, and you know what? I woke up with that same magic smile. Have a great Thursday, and go Kazmir, and, of course, GO SOX!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Three Games Up With Five To Go!

Yes, that's right! The Boston Red Sox beat the visiting Oakland A's by a score of 7-3. Curt Schilling proved that he's back, all back, going 6 innings and giving up only 1 run on 6 hits while walking none. I think he should be our number two starter behind Beckett for the postseason. What a one-two punch that would be! But Tito has other ideas, and it looks like he will start Matsuzaka second and Schilling third. Why gamble when the chances are excellent to win the first two with Beckett and Schill? I don't know. But now only an utter collapse would prevent the Sox from being the AL Eastern Division champions. The Yankees blew a 5 run lead and lost to the mighty Tampa Bay Devil Rays 7-6 in 10 innings. They also had to shut down Roger Clemens until the postseason, too. Poor babies.

Big Papi put the finishing touch on the A's with his 8th inning home run. Manny started, batting second, and looked good, stroking a first inning line single. Kevin Youkilis came into the game for defensive purposes and will start on Wednesday. He said this about his wrist.....

"It felt all right, " Youkilis said. "Definitely not 100 percent, but hopefully I'll go out there each day and get better. I can swing, so that's a good thing. It'll progress. Hopefully, over the next five days, it gets better and stronger. Right now, it's a little weak."

So after a productive Tuesday evening, the Red Sox are sitting in the catbird seat. And that's just where I like it. For those of you who've asked me which team I'd rather see the Sox play in the opening round of the playoffs, here's your answer...the Cleveland Indians. Why? Travel distance, nothing more, nothing less.

Click on the title of this post for the Globe's Amalie Benjamin's piece on last night's game, with an emphasis on Curt Schilling and the returns of Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis, both of whom we'll see more and more of as the week progresses. And go Tampa Bay, beat dem bums again! Thanks for being here, and I'd love to read and respond to your comments, as always. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Bruce Springsteen's LONG WALK HOME

The second song from the upcoming Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band's new album, MAGIC, is now out on video, and available for your listening pleasure by simply clicking on the title of this post. So turn up the volume and enjoy. This one will be running 'round inside your head for a long time to come. The new album streets one week from today, Tuesday October 2nd. That's the same exact night that he and the band start their worldwide tour, right here, holy s**t, in Hartford Connecticut. So pump up the volume and click on the title. Thanks, as always.

And Bruce and the E Street Band will be performing LIVE at 30 Rock, this Friday, between 8 and 10AM, on NBCHD..the TODAY SHOW.....where NYC will be rockin' out!

Get Out Your Six Shooters

One bullet in each chamber, the Red Sox are ready to roll into the final 6 games of the regular season. They'll have 2 with Oakland and 4 with Minnesota (shades of that final series of the always magic year 1967!), every one of them at Fenway Park. Their pitching plans will go as follows, from the Hartford Courant......

"Each starting pitcher will take his normal turn, although the length of their outings is subject to the manager's discretion. Curt Schilling will go tonight and Sunday, Jon Lester Wednesday, Josh Beckett Thursday, Daisuke Matsuzaka Friday, and Tim Wakefield Saturday.
Rookie Clay Buchholz, who is a strong candidate for a postseason bullpen role, is expected to piggyback Lester Wednesday, although Francona would not confirm that Sunday, citing competitive advantage.
Probable starters for the Oakland series: Chad Gaudin (11-12, 4.52 ERA) vs. Schilling (8-8, 3.97) tonight; Joe Blanton (14-10, 3.84) vs. Lester (4-0, 4.45) Wednesday."

Manny and Youk, two of the top guns of the Sox offense, took batting practice Monday for an extended period of time. We'll see both of them in the lineup at some point this week, but not until they're ready. And they'll be ready! We all will!

Schill and Gaudin tonight, while the Yankees take on Tampa Bay in the first of 3 in Florida. Toronto and AJ Burnett beat those Yanks yesterday 4-1, so the lead is a solid 2 games in the AL East. Let's hope it stays there! Oh, click on the title of this post for the latest on Curt Schilling and his thoughts on the post season. And go Sox....let's win 6! STRAIGHT!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

One Is The Lonliest Number

Boston 92-64
NYY 90-65

That's right, just one game in the loss column between these two hated rivals. And after today's final New York-Toronto game, a make-up from an earlier rainout, there WILL be no half games involved in the standings. The Yanks and the Sox will each have 6 games left, and the New York club, while they are on the road, have the much easier schedule, with three games against Tampa Bay and three against the team with the worst pitching in the AL, or close to it, the Baltimore Orioles. The Sox have their 6 games at the Fens. They play, starting Tuesday, Oakland and then Minnesota. The edge goes to the Yankees, bigtime. And the reason they're only one game back is because of their record in the past 17 games. 14-3! No wonder they've been creeping steadily up towards the top of the American League East Division. Say what you will about them, and most people have done exactly that, but they've been playing great baseball since a few weeks before the All Star game.

Yesterday was the Tampa Bay season finale, and Tim Wakefield was looking to run his record to 10-0 at Tropicana Field. It didn't happen that way. Not even close. He gave up 7 hits, 3 walks and four big runs in only 5 innings for his first loss there ever, hence the title of this post (as well as the Yanks/Sox standings). Clearly Wakes has not been his dominating self since he came back from his back injury. He'll be our 4th starter in the postseason. Oy vei. Tavarez came in for the 6th, and only lasted 1/3 of an inning, giving up the winning run and 2 hits. Terrible. He hadn't pitched since September 12th, and I don't know why Tito put him in there. But no armchair managing from me, most of the time. Corey and Timlin finished up, and the Sox did mount a comeback, scoring 3 in the 6th and leaving the bases loaded with one out on a killer DP grounder by Eric Hinske. So near but yet so far.

As I mentioned, today is an off day before the final 6, so let's hope the Yanks lose to Toronto's AJ Burnett. They'll counter him with off and on Andy Pettitte. Go Toronto, and then WE'LL TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS. We HAVE to!

Click on the title of this post for Gordon Edes' look at the Boston Red Sox and their upcoming postseason, one we will all remember with fondness and love, I hope. If not, I'll still stand up and applaud, because the club, my club, our club, is doing its best without the power bats of Manny and Youk. And that's tough. But as Bruce said, in 1987, we're "TOUGHER THAN THE REST." And we always will be. Amen.

P.S. A special hello to a big Sox fan and a new friend, my Hartford Courant (the morning newspaper) carrier....thanks for being here every morning, bright and early. I appreciate it so very much.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ninth Inning Home Runs Assure The Red Sox A Win...And A Clinch For The Playoffs!

Boom! BOOM! And just like that, in the ninth inning Saturday night, the Boston Red Sox forged ahead to an 8-6 lead and Jonathon Papelbon started warming up in the bullpen for the bottom of that frame. And 12 pitches later, it was ovah!! SOX WIN, and better yet, they clinched a playoff ifs, ands or buts. They're in. Of course, winning the AL East would be so nice, but that will have to wait as they try to win all seven of their remaining games. Were it not for the ineptitude of the Toronto Blue Jays, who blew a 2 run lead over the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth, the Sox would be up by 3 1/2 games instead of 2 1/2. But an error by the Jays' second baseman let the tying two runs score, and the pinstripers went on to win the game in 10. Oh well, enough about them.

Daisuke Matsuzaka was good until the seventh inning, when he walked Velandia and Iwamura. His night was done, and the score at the time, with 2 on and 2 out, was 5-3 Sox. A quality start, albeit with a ton of pitches for the amount of innings pitched. But Javy Lopez came on in relief and surrendered a 3 run home run to ex-Soxer Carlos Pena. 6-5 bad guys. But things were just getting set up for some much needed 9th inning heroic drama. Jason Varitek homered to deep left to make it a tie game, and Julio Lugo, with Eric Hinske aboard, homered, also to deep left. No cheap shots there, that's for sure! 8-6 Red Sox, and Paps nailed it down. It was a satisfying win, especially after losing the lead after being up 3 to 2 and 5 to 3. This is what hero Julio Lugo had to say after the game...

"We are right where we want to be right now, making the playoffs," Lugo said. "I felt like (Boston DH) David Ortiz going around the bases. It's nice to be able to do something to win and make sure we made the playoffs."

So we have one more game with the Rays this afternoon, and Timmy Wakefield will try to keep his Tampa Bay greatness going in an important game. And after a day off tomorrow, we go home to the Fens. For good! And that's just great!

Click on the title of this post for the Herald's Tony Massarotti's overlook of the AL playoffs to come, and how each of the contenders shape up. A great read. Enjoy your Sunday, Constant Readers, and let's hope the Sox go out and sweep the Rays. A nice way to say "So long, Tampa Bay!"

Saturday, September 22, 2007


For the first time in two years, a pitcher has reached the 20 win mark, and that pitcher happens to play for the Boston Red Sox. Last night in Tampa Bay, Josh "Baseball" Beckett, as I've been calling him all year, went six strong innings, using his curveball in his later innings to move his strikeout total to 8. He only allowed 4 hits...that's a total of 7 in his last 2 starts. Great job, Josh. The bullpen took over for the final 3 innings, and Delcarmen, Lopez and Gagne (we need him to be effective!) all contributed to three scoreless frames. The Sox offense finally awakened from its unfortunate slumber in a huge way. Big Papi, a surprise starter against the lefty Kazmir, banged 3 hits, including a home run. Mikey Lowell hit another tater, which gave him 20 for the second consecutive season, hence the title of this post, 20/20. He becomes the first Sox third baseman to hit 20 home runs in back-to-back seasons. Great job Mike!

The Yankees, at home against the Jays and Doc Halladay, were down 4-0 going into the 9th inning, but rallied to force a 4-4 tie. That tie was broken in the 14th inning on a home run by Greg Zahn. So after 3 straight wins against the Red Sox, the Jays took the first of 4 from the Yankees. May they sweep them.

The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to two. Any combination of a Detroit victory or a Boston win will be cause for celebration. But will the team celebrate when what they really want is the AL East championship? I say they should. Here's what Tito had to say.....

"Terry Francona looked perplexed when asked the question Friday afternoon. If the Red Sox clinch a postseason berth this weekend, while still fending off the Yankees in the division race, will there be a celebration?
"I don't know," Francona said. "I'll have to go ask somebody, because I really don't know. I'll have to see what other teams do. I know in Philadelphia, we didn't. And here was the other way around; we were behind. Maybe we'll have a Coke, or something."
"I've asked around, I think you should celebrate every time," Mike Lowell said. "We're here to have fun. I think we have to be happy about that. There's only four teams in our league going. For us to be one of them, we should be happy about that."

Peter here...I'm happy...are you? Click on the title of this post for Theo and Peter Gammons' thoughts, and have a wonderful Saturday. Comments? I'm here!

Friday, September 21, 2007


The homestretch is here. 9 games in 10 days to wrap up this up and down and WAY down 2007 season. We're still in first place, we have a virtual lock on at least a wild card slot, and the Yankees are just a scant game behind us in the loss column. Manny's return is still somewhere on the horizon, Coco is hurting with back pain and Kevin Youkilis remains days to day after being hit by a Yankee pitch on the wrist. And that's without even mentioning the pitchers and THEIR problems. Hideki Okajima remains in a holding pattern so that he can rest, Gagne, who I wish had gone to the Yankees, has been stinking up the place royally, Wakefield has not won since his unbelievable August scoreless streak and Daisuke Matsuzaka must be continuously reminded NOT to rely on his fastball exclusively. Other than those "hiccups." as Tito Francona likes to say, this is a first place club headed for the playoffs. But it ain't so easy. Nothing is for the Boston Red Sox. Ever. Except for the 2004 World Series romp over that club from St. Louis. But such is life as a member of Red Sox Nation. We revel in the pain and uncertainty while at the same time hope blossoms and grows in our hearts. Month after month, year after year. And that's just fine with me.

If you have time, the sports columnist supreme from the Hartford Courant wrote a great piece today entitled "Red Sox in playoffs, but for how long?" It is riveting reading, although you may flinch a couple of times while savoring it. Just click on the title of this very post. Required reading for ANY Red Sox fan. And here are the pitching matchups for the three game set in Tampa Bay. A key pairing is the first one...Beckett versus Kazmir.

Josh Beckett (19-6, 3.20 ERA) vs. Kazmir (13-8, 3.54) tonight
Matsuzaka (14-12, 4.41) vs. Andy Sonnanstine (6-9, 5.68) Saturday
Tim Wakefield (16-11, 4.73) vs. Edwin Jackson (4-15, 5.99) Sunday.

We need three to officially make the 'bout nine straight? Enjoy your weekend, and be well.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Power Failure Continues For The Red Sox

Another day, another Red Sox loss and Yankee win. The Yankees are consistantly beating the same exact teams the Red Sox play .500 against, and that does not bode well for the postseason. Forget about first place....the Yankees will pass us in 5 days, if not less. I love the Sox, but with no Manny, Youk and Big Papi (just for Friday against Kazmir), too much of the power of the off and on to begin with Red Sox offense will be and has been missing.

Last night, Toronto completed the sweep against the Boston club. And they did it with another MONSTER 8th inning. Mike Timlin entered and exited the game, and in between he loaded the bases. Jonathon Papelbon cleared them by allowing a grand slam home run to Russ Adams. But it wouldn't have mattered. The Sox, held hitless until a JD Drew leadoff homer in the fifth, only managed to plate one run. It was another case of mediocre pitchers facing the Sox and emerging looking like a cross between Cy Young and Bob Gibson. It's depressing. A team wants to enter the playoffs with a little momentum on their side, but the Red Sox are doing the exact opposite. They are falling apart before our very eyes, and it's sickening. The only good news from last night was the Cleveland victory over Detroit, completing their own sweep of the second place wild card team. Because of that, it's a given that the Sox will be in the playoffs as a wild card team. But they're NOT the team that carried Red Sox Nation on it's shoulders and made us all proud. All season long. And that's a shame.

Click on the the title of this post for more of the sad goings on in Canada, and enjoy the off day today. Keep your chins up....hold your heads high. We're still going to the playoffs. It's just that we'll be limping in instead of strutting like a proud stallion, ready to win.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Swiftly Sinking Sox Surrender Suddenly

The Boston Red Sox are clearly not running on all cylinders offensively. Dustin Pedroia put it best after the 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays yesterday.....

"We've got to score more than three runs," said Pedroia, who scored on a David Ortiz double in the fifth for the 2-1 lead. "If we do a better job offensively, we don't have to worry about [the eighth]."

Truer words have never been uttered. The Sox held a 2-1 lead heading into the 8th inning, and Tito called on Gagne rather than Okie to be the bridge to the 9th and Papelbon salvation. The first two outs were routine, and hope blossomed. But then the roof fell in. Frank Thomas walked on 5 pitches, Aaron Hill singled on the first pitch, Matt Stairs also walked, Gregg Zaun walked (I sense a trend here) to score the tying run and Adams doubled on a 3-2 count. 2 runs scored and Zaun was thrown out at the plate. 4-2 bad guys. A Julio Lugo homer in the 9th made the final score 4-3, and coupled with the ever so hot Yankees' 12-0 victory over the helpless and happless Orioles, the AL East lead is down to two in the loss column with 10 to play.

Here's some more bad news, which seemingly comes in bunches this month of September. Manny tried to do some running in the outfield grass before the game and had to stop because of continuing pain near the oblique. He is NOT CLOSE TO RETURNING. And Kevin Youkilis, who along with Manny represents a good portion of the power in the Sox lineup, is still nursing a very swollen wrist. The ball, thrown by a Yankee, of course, hit near the tendon, which is a very sensitive area. He might be gone for up to a week. So the power drought may continue, and with it any chance of finishing in first place in the AL East. Time will tell, but the 2007 regular season grows short. The magic number still stands at 9. But Detroit lost yesterday, so THAT magic number, for the wild card slot, was reduced. The Sox WILL be in the playoffs, but they might limp in and stagger out. I hope not.

Click on the title of this post for more on last night's heartbreaker. One of too many lately. Enjoy your hump day, and wear your lucky shirt or lucky ANYTHING for Clay Buchholz's start tonight. We need a win in the worst way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Will The Boston Red Sox Win The AL East Championship? Right Now, Who Knows??

I'll answer the above question after a quick recap of last night's game in Toronto. The listless and sleepy Boston team lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1. Tim Wakefield looked better than he did in his last two starts, but he was wrecked by a large gentleman who goes by the name of Frank Thomas. Thomas hit three home runs in the game, two off Timmy. Wakes went 6 innings and allowed 4 runs on 7 hits. Hardly a quality start. The offense, which is still REALLY hurting by the absence of Manny and Youk, whose hand is still very swollen and whose return date is still very much unknown, has been anemic at exactly the wrong times. With 11 games to go, the hitting must improve. Bigtime. Last night there were only 5 Sox hits in the entire game. But the story belonged to Toronto's pitcher Dustin McGowen, who pitched a complete game gem. Said the Sox catcher Kevin Cash.....

"That's about as good a stuff as you'll see," said Cash, who caught McGowan as a member of the Blue Jays organization in 2000-04. "I've caught him throwing 98 mph fastballs, but not down and away when he needed to go there.
"I think the slider is something he developed recently. It was really good. You don't like to say it's the best you've ever seen, but his combination of pitches tonight was as good as I've ever faced. He was tough. When you're throwing 98 in the ninth, that's pretty impressive."

Peter here, and Kevin is right. McGowen was often unhittable. Coupled with another Yankee victory, this time against the Orioles, the lead is down to 3 in the loss column. The Yankees might only lose 3 games the rest of the year. They have 12 left. The Red Sox? Here are some of their problems. I'll start with the starting rotation. Lester and Wakefield are erratic AT BEST, although Wakes could turn it around at any time. Daisuke is now NOT the pitcher he was in the first three months of the season. He has become an up and down, wild six inning hurler who throws too many pitches because of that wildness. Only Schilling and Beckett have continuously shined in this last month of the season. I go on.....the hitting is hurting, literally. Manny won't be back until the weekend, at the earliest, and Youk might be gone at least that long. Papi's knee is bothering him, as is Coco's back. With all that going on with the team that we love, don't be surprised if they finish two or three games behind those pinstripers. I DO NOT WANT THAT TO HAPPEN, but it might. The hitting has to turn around and the pitching must get better. Top to bottom, with the exception of Josh and Schill and the 'pen. Oh, the ''s nice to see Gagne pitching well, but we need the Okie that we knew and loved for the first 5 months of the season to return to form and be "that guy who shuts 'em down in the 8th."

Tonight it's Jon Lester, up and down and all around Lester, versus AJ Burnett, who has been pitching great. On a shining bright note, Clay Buchholz will be the starter Wednesday night. If he dazzles and delights, don't be surprised to see him on the hill in the post season. The Sox WILL get to the games of October, for the magic number for the wild card, with Detroit's loss yesterday, is down to five games. Root for Cleveland tonight, and of course, our team. And click on the title of this post for more details on Boston's sleepwalk in Toronto.
As always, thank you for being here. I couldn't or wouldn't do this without you, and I love ya for that! Comments? Will our Sox win the AL East Crown, or will they be the wild card team and be forced to play the Angels? I want to hear from you. Thanks.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yankees 4 Red Sox 3...The Season Series Is Ovah!

18 games down, the postseason yet to come. The Yankees took the season series 10 games to 8, and last night was a great way to end it in terms of excitement. I would have changed the outcome, but I haven't figured out how to do that, yet. Maybe I will in time for the October games to come.
Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens hooked up in a pitching duel for six innings before Roger had to leave the game. Schill went a wonderful 7 2/3 innings before Derek Jeter spoiled everything with a three run home run. Said Schill.......

"I missed horribly in the most crucial situation in the game," Schilling said. "I can't overthrow the ball late in the game. I can't overthrow my fastball, much less my breaking stuff in big spots. It's about executing pitches. This is an incredibly painful way to have to learn a lesson you already know. I hung it. I was trying to bounce that ball in the dirt."

But this, also from the Globe, about our Curt.....

...."he (Schilling) has to be considered Boston's second-best starter as the Sox prepare for the playoffs. He has reinvented himself as a blogging Greg Maddux and he'd be a lot better than 8-8 if the Sox scored any runs on the nights he works."

Peter here, and those words are SO true. Schill has been better and better with each start since his injury time out. He deserves to be the number two guy for the important games to come. The batting star for the Sox was Mike Lowell, who had 3 of the 5 Boston hits. The bats of Youkilis and Manny were sorely missed, but the season marches on, and the Red Sox are in good shape. No hanging heads around these parts.

We go to Toronto for a three game set, and then after the off day Thursday, we play three in Tampa Bay. Another off day follows, so Tito can and will juggle the starters to set up the most effective postseason pitching order. Beckett and Schilling will be the numbers one and two starters in that quartet. Daisuke will not make his scheduled Wednesday start. Clay Buchholz or Julian Tavarez will take his place. I'd love to see Clay one more time, and I strongly feel he will be the one Tito picks. He gives us a much better chance than Tavy does for a longer outing and a win. Here are the pitching matchups for the series in Canada......

Tim Wakefield (16-10, 4.68 ERA) vs. Dustin McGowan (10-9, 4.01) tonight
Jon Lester (4-0, 4.86) vs. A.J. Burnett (8-7, 3.42) Tuesday
TBA vs. Jesse Litsch (5-9, 4.37) Wednesday

Burnett is a tough pitcher, and this upcoming trio of games against Toronto will not be easy. 12 games in two weeks......that's it, my readers. I hope we can nail down the division THIS week so that players will be able to be rested and ready for the final push towards immortality. Please click on the title of this post for the Globe's Gordon Edes' take on this game number 18. Have a great Monday.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Josh Beckett took a huge step towards earning the 2007 AL Cy Young award by outpitching and outclassing Chien Min Wang for his nineteenth win of the season. He defeating the New York Yankees in a much needed game for the Sox...the final score was 10-1. The lead is back to 5 1/2 games, five in the loss column, with 13 games left to play. He pitched 7 innings, giving up only one run on 3 hits and striking out 7. Wang, on the other hand, went only 5 2/3 innings, giving up 5 runs on 9 hits. No contest! Beckett said this about the two teams......

"We were playing against a tough team," Beckett said. "And I think they'll say the same thing. They knew they were playing against a tough team, also. That's why our games last 12-13 hours."

Well, Josh, they may seem that long, that's for sure! And the tension between the two teams was palpable. Kevin Youkilis, who the Yankees and their fans intensely dislike, was hit on the hand and wrist area. He immediately left the game to have it X-Rayed, and the results were negative. He has a contusion, which is a bad bruise, and will be out for a couple days. Beckett hit Giambi in the upper arm as retaliation, and both teams were warned. Tensions were sustained in the 6th inning when gutsy Eric Hinske, who was 2 for 4, barrelled into Jorge Posada in a vain attempt to score. Posada hung on to the ball but was shaken up enough to have to leave the game and go to the hospital. Thankfully, he's OK.

It's Roger Clemen's return to Fenway Park tonight, and he will face Curt Schilling, who has been pitching great lately. I hope Clemens doesn't try any "funny stuff' out there on the mound, or something bad could and probably will happen. This is the first real test for his ailing elbow, and I expect him to be as or more hittable than the two previous pinstripe starters. Quite a change from the last time the trio pitched against the Sox in Yankee Stadium in August.

So the sting from Friday night is gone, the Yankees are a game farther back than they were, and all is right in Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International. Tonight, at 8pm on ESPN and ESPNHD, the nation will turns its eyes toward that patch of green in the city of Boston. That place is called Fenway Park. They play baseball there. GREAT baseball.

Click on the title of this post for more on Josh Beckett and the weekend series so far, penned by the Globe's Jackie MacMullen. Have a great Sunday, and be well. Go Schill! Put the nail in the Yankees' coffin. Tonight's the night, as Neil Young once sang.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Yankees STUN The Red Sox With A 6 Run 8th And Take Game One Of The Series

At the end of seven innings, the Boston Red Sox held a comfortable 7-2 lead and all was well in the Hub of the Universe. And then the Yankees stepped up to the plate for the top of the eighth, and all hell broke loose. Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Boston starter, stuggled a bit but effectively mixed his pitches well enough to hold the Yanks to two runs. But his control was still not where it should be. He walked five and threw 122 pitches before being taken out with 2 outs in the sixth. Javy Lopez finished the inning and recorded the first two outs of the seventh. Okie was summoned to finish the inning, which he did, and started the eighth. With the Sox holding a five run lead, the Fenway Faithful, including me, was feeling pretty darn good. Damn fine, in fact! But Okie was not able to record another out, and gave up 4 runs before Paps came in to put out the fire. He fanned the flames instead, giving up the other two runs of that 8th inning on three hits. Silence ruled when before there was a kind of quiet jubilation, an inner peace and happiness that ruled the scene. But that changed in what seemed like a mere heartbeat. The Yankees 'pen held that one run lead, and the New York club, the hottest team in the majors since before the All Star break, won the game by a score of 8-7. Terry Francona, who went with his tried and true formula of Timlin/Lopez to Okie to Paps, said this after the game.....

"When the inning started, we have Pap in there (warming up) in case they get something going," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "But second and third, we're still up three. It wasn't the way we drew it up, but we always feel good when Pap's in the game.
"Our bullpen has been really strong. We gave up a lead to a real good hitting team and it's disappointing. But we'll come back and do it again [today]."

Peter here, and now it's a two game series. The Red Sox cannot afford to lose both games. They'd only be up two games in the loss column if that were to happen. We pin our hopes and dreams on our best pitcher, Josh "Baseball" Beckett, who will face Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees' best, in what will be a battle for the AL East crown and for the Cy Young award voters to closely scrutinize. All eyes will be on FoxHD shortly before 4pm edt. Let's win this game and take the pressure off and eliminate the possibility of a sweep. Let's face it, my readers, both of these teams are deserving and WILL be in the playoffs. But after being in the lead of their division for most if not all of the season, finishing second to those who wear pinstripes would be a bitter pill to swallow. So enjoy your Saturday. We've seen the worst. It can and only WILL get better. "It's getting better all the time," Paul McCartney wrote in a 1967 song. "It can't get no worse" was John Lennon's refain and lament. True, John, too true. You speak for all of us. You always did. You always will.

Click on the title of this post for the Herald's Tony Massarotti's look at the state of the Red Sox pitching right now, and as always, thanks for taking a few minutes from your busy day to be here. I wish I could have been writing this post with a happy ending. But no, I can't do that. But there's always hope, and faith. Remember that. And keep smiling, even through the pain.

Friday, September 14, 2007

New York Yankees Versus The Boston Red Sox Sept. 14-16, 2007

Well, we're here, the final Red Sox and Yankees' showdown of the regular season. The Sox have a 5 1/2 game lead in the AL East, 5 games in the loss column, thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays' win last night in Toronto. I predicted that win, although Burnett was not involved in the decision. All the Red Sox want to do is avoid the sweep, but I'm thinking they will take 2 of 3 and be sitting pretty for the last 12 games of the season. Manny might play, probably will, and Clemens WILL start on Sunday. Here are the pitching matchups and my accompanying thoughts........

• Tonight: Andy Pettitte (13-8, 3.78 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (14-12, 4.44), 7 p.m., NESN, YES, ESPN
Pettitte has alway done well against Boston and did exactly that the last time these two teams faced off in August (was it that long ago?). Matsuzaka has been struggling of late, relying far too much on his fastball instead of mixing in his superlative off speed stuff. If he falters early, look for Clay Buchholz to be first out of the 'pen for a long relief appearance, for Tavarez just pitched in relief of Lester on Wednesday. Let's hope Daisuke returns to his dazzling self. Edge: NY, just.

• Saturday: Chien-Ming Wang (18-6, 3.69) vs. Josh Beckett (18-6, 3.27), 3:55 p.m., Ch. 61
A battle of two contenders for the Cy Young award, and quite a matchup. The Sox have to be patient with Wang and his effective sinkers instead of jumping on the first couple pitches of each at bat and grounding out to someone. Josh Beckett has pitched great lately, and all he has to do is be himself. The winner of this one will have an edge over the loser in the hearts and minds of the Cy Young award voters. Sabathia, of course, is still in the mix too, but not Saturday. All eyes will be on Wang and Josh. Edge: Even

• Sunday: Roger Clemens (6-6, 4.45) vs. Curt Schilling (8-7, 3.93), 8 p.m., ESPN
Clemens threw 40 pitches in a side session Thursday and declared himself fit and ready to go. But his season had been an up and down one. Schill has been throwing the ball better with each start and will be fired up and ready to go a quality seven innings. If he has the pinpoint inside and outside on the black control of his fastball he has enjoyed lately, watch out New York. Edge: Boston

That's the way I see it, Constant Reader. Now it's time to enjoy your Friday and let that anticipation grow and blossom into genuine excitement, worry and hope as the hours and minutes slowly tick towards 7:05 PM EDT. I'll be back with a comprehensive and hopefully joyful wrap up of game one first thing Saturday morning. And click on the title of this post for the Globe's Gordon Edes' incisive preview of this, a looming three game battle between two teams that clearly dislike each other. There are other words I could have used, but nah! We'll show those pinstripers which team is best when we're between the lines, on the field of play at our very own Fenway Park. And for those of you lucky enough to have tickets, rain will never be a problem through the entire weekend, with the exception of a few showers Saturday morning which will usher in cooler autumnlike air. Bring a sweater or a sweatshirt for Saturday's late afternoon contest. Or a light jacket. 'Tis the season, and the atmosphere will be very October-like, in the air AND in the minds of the Fenway Faithful and Red Sox Nation as well as Red Sox International, who will enjoy a Saturday morning of our Friday night Sox baseball. Be well, thanks for reading, and I'd love to read your comments on my game thoughts. GO SOX. Forever!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Big Papi Walk Off Wonder

For the first time this year, Big Papi David Ortiz hit a walk off home run to propel the Boston Red Sox to another come from behind victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The final score was 5-4 good guys. It was Papi's 2nd home run of the night. He hit a three run shot in the third inning to pull the Sox within a run at 4-3. Jon Lester had a disastrous outing, giving up 4 first innings runs and only lasting 3 2/3 innings total. In that short span he gave up 8 hits and walked 4 in addition to that crooked first inning number. He's been on and off, good and bad all season, but so have Wakefield and Daisuke. They represent 60% of the team's starting pitching rotation, and that spells trouble for the post season. And with the Yankees winning their 7th straight last night over the Blue Jays, this three game weekend series coming up after today's off day looms large, huge in fact.

Manny Ramirez took BP before the game last night, and if he does not suffer a setback today when he again swings the bat, we'll see him batting third on Friday night. And that's just great to hear. Papi said this.......

"He's still hurting a little bit," Ortiz said. "I talk to him pretty much every day. When he warms up, it starts feeling better. But that injury, the oblique, you have to be careful, because you can go from being OK to getting worse."

Peter here, and Manny, be careful. It would be great to see you in the 3 spot Friday night when the "refuse to lose" New York Yankees come to town. Boston will be dancing with excitement, RSN and RSI will be watching, and the Fenway Faithful will be in for quite the treat. But isn't that what baseball is all about?

Click on the title of this post for Gordon Edes' complete game wrap, and enjoy this off day Thursday as we slide together into the weekend. Oh, and hi Natalie!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Comeback For The Ages

For the first time since September 21, 2001, the Boston Red Sox overcame a seven run deficit and beat the visiting Tampa Bay Devil Rays 14-10. The score was 4-0 Rays after two innings and 8-1 after 3 1/2. But the bats started to speak for the Red Sox, in fact they started to yell! And by the time the 7th inning was history, the score was 16-9 good guys. Gagne eventually gave up a meaningless run in the ninth to make the final score read 16-10. Batting heroes for the Sox? You have an extra hour? Just kidding....every hitter in the starting lineup had at least two hits, with the exception of Cash, who had 3 RBIs. The biggest blow might have been a bases loaded triple by Kevin Youkilis, which cleared the bases, in the 6th inning. By that time the Sox were well on their way on the comeback trail. Or was it the Yellow Brick Road? If it was, they FOUND the Wizard!

Timmy Wakefield is another story. For the second start in a row, he was terrible, going just three innings and giving up a mindboggling ten hits and seven runs in that short span, with a little help from Kyle Snyder letting the inherited runners in the fourth inning all score. But the rest of the 'pen-Lopez, Corey, Delcarmen, Timlin and Gagne were just fine, thank you, and the Sox came away with an important win. Said the starting pitcher.........

"I'm sure it's something mechanical that I need to figure out," Wakefield said. "The ball felt good in my hand tonight. I was throwing in the strike zone with some movement, late movement, and it just didn't happen when I needed it to happen. Physically, I'm fine."
Before missing his start Sept. 1, Wakefield had pitched 22 consecutive scoreless innings over three starts, including 15 over consecutive starts against the Devil Rays.
"I think missing the start with the physical problem he had seems to have interrupted his good roll," Francona said. "We've got to get him back, starting [today], with that confidence."

Timmy, we need you back on track. We ALL know it. Your next start is with those refuse-to-lose NY Yankees, who again won last night. The lead is four games in the lost column, too slim by anyone's standards.

Night baseball at Fenway features Jon Lester, who has been pitching so well of late, versus the Ray's 4-14 Jackson. Let's go out and win this one from start to finish, Soxers. And with Wakes and Daisuke not going well right now, the future series outcome with the Yanks is a question mark....a BIG one.

Click on the title of this post for the Globe's own Amalie Benjamin's wrap of last night's Fenway festivities. And a good time was had by all at Fenway Park on Tuesday night....or at least for those who were patient. MAGIC AT FENWAY. Does it get any better? Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday September 11, 2007

Today is a somber day, and very eerie because it falls on a Tuesday, just as it did six years ago. For the people who lost their lives, way too many of them, and their families and loved ones, my heart goes out to you and my prayers of peace and happiness are shouting from my soul, my inner being. And I grieve. I always will until my dying day.

So, my readers, never forget, and say a prayer today for the souls lost and for the ones whose lives were devastated by the cruel and cowardly and descipible act those six years ago. Thank you and God bless you always and forever.

Click on the title of this post for a special 9/11 tribute. Be well, be happy, and enjoy life. It's all we have. And hug your loved ones. I have no one to hug right now, so I'm hugging you, my readers. Thank you for being here for me.

A Kazmir KO

Curt Schilling was masterful over six innings, surrendering only one lone run. The bullpen was just as good, too. But the Boston Red Sox ran into a lefthanderd buzzsaw who goes by the name of Scott Kazmir. This is from the Courant......

"After watching Scott Kazmir throw a few pitches, Schilling understood what he was up against. The Tampa Bay lefthander was scintillating Monday night.
"I thought this was the best game I have ever seen him pitch against us," Schilling said after a 1-0 loss to the Devil Rays at Fenway Park.
That's saying something. With his seven scoreless innings Monday, Kazmir is 6-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 16 starts against the Red Sox."

Peter here, and the adjective scintillating is just about a perfect one to describe his dominance. And the Sox did not have Manny in the lineup, who still feels some residual sorenearness near his oblique, nor Big Papi, who rested his knee on a night when a nemisis of his was pitching. With the Yankees' day off, the lead is down to 5 games, but only 4 in the lost column. This weekend's series looms larger than ever seemed possible. But baseball is a game, and it would take a monumental collapse by the good guys to NOT get into the postseason. Tim Wakefield goes tonight against the up and down Sonnastine. We must win both of these upcoming games, and then we can enjoy the off day Thursday before the huge series against the still hot Yankees. Good luck Timmy.

Click on the title of this post for the Globe's Amalie Benjamin's game wrap up. As always, it's well written and informative. She is great! Thanks, and enjoy your Tuesday September 11. I am about to write my 9/11 post, which you will find directly above this one on the blog. Thank you, constant reader, as always, for being here and for your support. Comments....will the Sox stay in first place? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, September 10, 2007


In Hebrew the word chai means "life", and is signified by the number 18. When someone toasts you saying l'chaim, it means "to life." And there's plenty of life in Josh Beckett's 2007 after he stymied the Orioles and beat them 3-2 to record his 18th victory. Hey Josh, L'CHAIM! Here's what Miggy Tejada of the Orioles said about Mr. Beckett.....

"Every time he pitches to us, he throws the same game," said Orioles cleanup man Miguel Tejada, who had five hits (all singles) in the first three games of the series but didn't get the ball out of the infield four trips yesterday. "He's been unbelievable this year. He was throwing the ball wherever he wants, today and every time he pitches against us.
"We were just happy to score two runs off him, and what can we do?"

Peter here, and well said, Miggy. It was a well-pitched game by everyone, as the bullpen revved its engines in the 8th and 9th. Hideki Okajima pitched the 8th and returned to his lights-out form, and Jonathon Papelbon earned his 35th save with a one hit 9th. JD Drew and Coco Crisp combined to push across the go ahead run with a single and stolen base by JD and a super clutch single by the Coco man. 3-2 Sox and the feeling of a coming victory permeated the Fenway Park air and all of the Fenway Faithful. And Oki and Paps made those wishes come true. The Boston Red Sox have a record of 87-57, 30 wonderful games over .500 with 18 left to play in the regular season. The magic number for a postseason birth is 10, and the magic number for clinching the AL East is 14. Three games with the Devil Rays are on the immediate horizon at the Fens, and here are the pitching matchups.......

Scott Kazmir (11-8, 3.79) vs. Curt Schilling (8-6, 4.04) tonight
Andy Sonnanstine (5-9, 5.73) vs. Tim Wakefield (16-10, 4.39) Tuesday
Edwin Jackson (4-14, 6.00) vs. Jon Lester (4-0, 4.47) Wednesday

Click on the title of this post for Gordon Edes' Red Sox Notebook, with the latest on Manny's return and the future plans for Jacoby Ellsbury. Enjoy your Monday, enjoy your week and be well. Always. 3 of 4 from Baltimore...just as I predicted in my Thursday AM post. Great job Sox!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

NO DICE! Again......

Yes, again. Daisuke Matsuzaka, relying almost exclusively on his fastball and slider instead of his dazzling off speed stuff, was battered and bruised in his 2 2/3 (!!) innings of work. It was not a pretty sight, and I turned the game off after the disastrous third inning. With only three weeks to go before the postseason, he has his work cut out for him.

This will be an abbreviated post because I only saw a third of the game, but I linked an article from the Boston Herald written by Steve Buckley. It's title says it all. "Matsuzaka may be pitching his way out of the postseason." I hope not, for his sake and for the sake of the team. The Yankees are lurking 5 1/2 games back. We need to win today, and we've got our best pitcher out there to do the job. Go Josh. Go Red Sox. Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

30 UP! 20 TO GO!!

The Boston Red Sox and Jon Lester defeated the Baltimore Orioles 4-0 Friday night, and now they are 30 games over the .500 mark for the first time in three years. And it was a breakthrough start for the young and healthy lefthander. He went seven innings, giving up no runs and only 4 hits while walking just 2. He wasn't just pitching well, he was IN COMMAND! But the victory did not come without controversy. Let's slide back to the 4th inning last night. BZZZZ....BEEP...BZZZZ (that's what it sounds like to slide back in time). Coco Crisp was on third base, dancing and prancing, and AL Rookie of the Year to be Dustin Pedroia was at the plate. As Coco inched toward home, stepping slowly away from the bag and towards the plate, Danial Cabrera, the O's pitcher, stopped.............just mid-windup. It was correctly called a balk, Coco scored to make it 3-0, and Cabrera took out all of his frustrations on the guy at the plate, OUR guy, Peds. In Coco's words, from the Hartford Courant...........

"Crisp had just sprinted a few steps toward home with Pedroia at the plate, his initial thrust down the line causing Cabrera to balk, which allowed the run to score. Then Cabrera threw his next pitch behind Pedroia's ear.
"I was looking at him like, what are you doing, man?" Crisp said. "Even if you decide for some reason that you are going to hit somebody, you can't hit them in the head, because you could kill somebody, man. A lot of people are going to be hurt.
"It goes beyond being embarrassed or whatever happens during in a game. You could go to court for something like that.
"He throws hard, 100 miles per hour. He was gifted with an arm. You can't use that to hurt somebody and change somebody's life. It's a game. You can't penalize Pedroia. Hit me, if you're mad at me."

The benches cleared, Cabrera was thrown out on his ear (should have been thrown out on his a**), and the game resumed. But the memories are there, and will remain right there in the players heads for the remainder of the season. But Jon Lester kept baffling the O's, and the 'pen, in the form of Javy Lopez and Manny Delcarmen, ended it and preserved the shutout. No, it wasn't a 30 run game, as Baltimore's pitching staff has given up once this year, but it was a thing of beauty. And Paps is well rested, Gagne has been throwing side sessions and will be ready this coming week, and Okie is getting a deserved rest. We'll need him in the playoffs, so I hope Tito will give him a week off. That week started yesterday. Just my opinion. Do it Tito!

The lead is still 6.5 games, as the Yankees pitched their way to a 3-2 victory over the KC Royals. George Brett was not in the lineup. He'll be back in the batting order for that Kansas City team tonight. Pine tar or not. And the magic number keeps dwindling as Manny keeps healing. Both are good things! Is that why I'm smiling? I think so!

Tonight it will be Daiske Matsuzaka, hoping to rebound after three disastous starts, versus the O's Leiscester. Fathy (my Baltimore Orioles good friend and a BRUCE FAN, who will be at the game on Sunday), forgive me for saying this, but if Daisuke cannot contribute a great performance against YOUR team, the O's, then something is wrong. His delivery? His mechanics? I don't know, but I'm hoping for the best. And the best is what we, members of RSN and RSI, have gotten so far from our guys. And that's sweet.

Please click on the title for Michael Silverman's Red Sox Wrap Up, including more info on the Cabrera fiasco. Enjoy your weekend, and be proud of our 2007 team. THE BOSTON RED SOX. I know I am.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Comeback With Clay And Papelbon

Tim Wakefield did not have it last night in Baltimore, giving up 6 runs on 9 hits in just 3 2/3 innings. I wondered if anything was wrong with him physically. It was either that or something else. It was something else. He said this......

"I felt fine physically," Wakefield said. "I'm not making excuses, I just didn't make the right pitches when I needed to."

Peter here, and I was happy to read that. The Boston Red Sox, down 6-5 after 4, tied the game in the 5th on the strength of a Big Papi solo shot. It was 6-6 after 5 with young Clay Buchholz coming in to make the first relief appearance of his young career. The first three batters reached base. WITH NONE OUT. But he settled down and induced a double play grounder by Miggy Tejada and then proceeded to strike out Kevin Millar, making him look a little foolish. Two perfect innings followed, and his day was done. Said catcher Cash....

“Not many 23-year-olds can do what he’s doing. Forget the no-hitter,” said Cash, who caught Buchholz. “He will throw a 3-2 changeup, if he needs to.”
Buchholz will throw his pitches with “conviction,” as a starter or out of the bullpen, this month or in October. The Red Sox are finding that they will take Buchholz any time and any place."

And then, and this sounds like a fairy tale, but it's true, it was time for the captain to step up, and he did. After a Coco Crisp single, his third hit of the game, and a stolen base, 'Tek smashed an RBI single. And then it was Paps time. 11 pitches and 2 strikeouts later, it was GAME OVAH! The lead is up to 6 1/2 games and the magic number has dwindled to 16. And with three more games to go in Baltimore, well, you draw your own conclusions. If the Sox get to their bullpen they win the game! At the same time, the Yankees play 3 in KC, and then face Toronto, which will be a much tougher series for them.

Clay will prove to be an invaluable presence in the Red Sox bullpen for the balance of 2007. He could pitch the 8th as a bridge to Papelbon, giving Okajima some needed rest between appearances, or he could go long relief, such as his 60 pitch outing yesterday. Next year, there's one thing for sure....look for him in the rotation, a rotation that probably will NOT include Curt Schilling.

Click on the title of this post for The Globe's Red Sox Notebook, which includes Baltimore Hall of Fame Pitcher Jim Palmer's thoughts on the young righthander. Enjoy the weekend as the Sox try to win every time in Baltimore. GO SOX. Forever.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Late Inning Letdown

Curt Schilling pitched well enough to win. He left with a 4-3 lead after pitching through the sixth inning, giving up 3 runs on 8 hits. But the bullpen, without the services of Gagne and Papelbon, who worked the three previous games, was not up to the task. Corey pitched a clean 7th, but Manny Delcarmen let in the tying run in the 8th and a tired, bruised and battered Hideki Okajima gave up a two run tater to Vernon Wells to lose the game. Coupled with another Yankee win over Seattle, giving them a 3 game lead in the wild card, the Sox have a six game bulge in the AL East. That's good, but I like seven better. With four games coming up at Baltimore, maybe that will happen, for the Sox will take 3 of those 4 games. I know it....the O's pitching staff is in shambles and ripe for the taking. Here are the pitching matchups........

Tim Wakefield (16-10, 4.16 ERA) vs. Garrett Olson (1-3, 7.22) tonight
Jon Lester (3-0, 5.26) vs. Daniel Cabrera (9-14, 5.06) Friday
Matsuzaka (14-11, 4.11) vs. Jon Leicester (0-1, 12.60) Saturday
Beckett (17-6, 3.30) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (7-5, 3.65) Sunday

We have to hope that Wakefield's injury interruption does not cool him off, for he was white hot before his forced break. We need you Timmy. The magic number stays at 17, and the earlier the Sox can clinch the division, the more time some of the players, one example being Okie, among others, will have to rest. To heal. To rejuvenate. And it will give Tito and John Farrell the needed days to set up the post season rotation and to use the 5 starters for, say, 5 innings instead of 7 or 8. That's why these upcoming games with a team in trouble (Baltimore) are so important to the team. And to RSN. To us all.

Click on the title of this post for Tony Massarotti's article about our newest sparkplug and future All Star, Jacoby Ellsbury. Great stuff! Have a wonderful Thursday, and I'd like to hear your comments on Massarotti's piece. And you think the Sox are NOT going to hold onto their lead? Are they in trouble? I'll answer each and every one. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Edge Of Seventeen

Josh Beckett earned his 17th victory by pitching eight great innings. His only mistake was a belt high changeup to Matt Stairs, who hit it out for a three run home run in the fifth. But he settled down until it was time for Jonathon Papelbon, and Paps shut the door on the Blue Jays, needing only seven pitches to earn his 33rd save. It was the Red Sox' 4th win in a row.

The hitting star was Jacoby Ellsbury, who had three hits and was only a double away from the cycle. In the last three games he is 8 for 12. He is becoming a star right before our eyes. And it's been a pleasure to see. It's also nice because it gives Manny time to heal and heal completely.

Tim Wakefield has been cleared to make his Thursday start, and Clay Buchholz will be available out of the bullpen. He and Okajima will make quite the bridge to the ninth inning and salvation in the form of Paps. Gagne has been playing toss, but is a few days away.

The Red Sox are 84-55 and 7 games ahead of the Yankees with 23 to play. Roger Clemens says he will only miss one start after getting a cortisone shot in his elbow, but elbows are tricky and he's no Doctor, so the jury is out on that one. But there's nothing questionable about the state of the Sox...they're cruising towards the AL East Division title. And that's so sweet.

Click on the title of this post for more on Beckett's gem, and enjoy your Hump Day.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

RADIO NOWHERE..The New Bruce Video, For Free, For You!

Just click on the title right above AFTER turning on the sound...way up!!!! The link will direct you to Amazon dot com, and right there, after scrolling down, you'll see this song, and his newly (9/24) released single LONG WALK HOME. They both have a hook that you'll never forget. I hope you enjoy. I KNOW you will. I'd love your Bruce comments. Thanks!!!!!!!!!

Sox Beat Bluebirds Despite Matsuzaka Woes

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 13-10 in a game that was needlessly too close. They had a 10-1 lead, but Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has given up 20 runs in his last 23 2/3 innings (gulp!), imploded in the 6th inning, an inning that the Jays eventually scored 8 runs. But the bullpen, with the exception of Javy Lopez, quieted the fire and allowed the Sox to remain ahead. For good. Dustin Pedroia had another multiple hit game (3), Jacoby Ellsbury, batting leadoff, had two hits and another highlight reel catch in left-center, and Mike Lowell, doing such a great job batting fourth in the place of rehabbing Manny, had three safeties. It was a great night for the Red Sox offense.

Now, on to Daisuke. He pitched only 5 1/3 innings and gave up 7 runs on 10 hits. Troubling numbers. I hope Farrell, 'Tek and Daisuke can get this sorted out.....he was lucky to get the win. Paps pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 32nd save. Game two of the series is tonight at Fenway with a marquee pitching matchup. It will be Doc Halladay versus Josh Beckett, who will be gunning for his 17th win. Maybe this time we can score more than 2 or 3 runs for him. And yesterday's victory, coupled with another Yankee loss, increased the AL East lead to 7 games. But one more loss was the least of the Yankee worries, for Roger Clemens body seems to be letting him down. In addition to blisters on his feet, he experienced right elbow pain, pain severe enough for an MRI to be scheduled. The results have not been announced yet, but when they are, you'll read about them right here. And their best fielding firstbaseman, Andy Phillips, is out for the season with a broken bone in his wrist. It's because of this that I have to say that NOW is the time to clinch the division as early as possible in order for the team to rest the players, heal them and set up the rotation the exact right way.

We in Red Sox Nation should be happy and content, not sad and angry. It's just a matter of time. And with only two consistant pitchers in their 5 man rotation, I don't see the Yankees as more than a .500ish team. And that's just fine with me!

Have a great Tuesday (it IS Tuesday), and click on the title for more on Daisuke and what, if anything, might be wrong with him, from the Boston Herald's Steve Buckley. Must reading for any Sox fan. Thanks for stopping in, and please, I love to read and respond to your comments.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Youth Is Served

The joyful parade of youth continued at Fenway Park Sunday afternoon, and the Red Sox beat the visiting Baltimore Orioles by a score of 3-2. Jacoby Ellsbury, starting in center to give Coco a rest, smacked two hits, including his first big league home run, and made two outstanding plays in centerfield. He dove headfirst to catch a ball hit to shallow center by Jay Payton in the fifth, and the Fenway Faithful went nuts with a standing ovation. A well deserved one, I must add. Two innings later, he wowed the crowd again by running down Ramon Hernandez' drive deep in the right centerfield triangle. Quite a game for the 24 year old. Mike Lowell had the other two RBIs, and Dustin Pedroia (AL Rookie of the Year!) had his usual two hits. His average stands at a robust .324. Please give me ONE reason why Dustin should NOT win that award!

Jon Lester, just back from his single start for Pawtucket on Monday, pitched 6 strong innings, giving up 2 runs and 6 hits. Javy Lopez, Okie and Paps did the rest with shutout ball for the last three innings. A textbook 2007 Red Sox victory.....six plus good innings from the starter and then the bullpen takes charge. And yesterday Tito (manager Terry Francona) said the reigns, which have kept Jonathon Papelbon's shoulder stronger than ever, are off. If he is needed for MORE than one inning, the green light is there. We all know green means a win, a victory, and Hideki Okajima, my Darkman, who in the past few days has experienced a little discomfort, is feeling JUST FINE!
Coupled with the Yankees 8-2 loss to the Devil Rays, the lead in the AL East is back to a comfortable 6 games. The pinstripers start a three game series with the slumping Mariners, while the Red Sox host the still tough Blue Jays for a three game set. Here are your pitching matchups.........

Jesse Litsch (5-6, 3.40 ERA) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-11, 3.88) tonight
Roy Halladay (14-6, 3.87) vs. Josh Beckett (16-6, 3.29) Tuesday
Shaun Marcum (12-5, 3.75) vs. Curt Schilling (8-6, 4.02) Wednesday

And Tim Wakefield will throw a side session to see if his back has improved enough for his Thursday start against the Orioles. If not, the O's, and ALL of us, will see a familiar smilng face....Clay Buchholz. Not a bad backup plan, I'd say.

Happy and healthy Labor Day, my Constant Readers, and click on the title of this post for a complete wrap of the Sunday Fenway sweetness. And thanks for being here. You make this all worthwhile in a huge way. Comments??

Sunday, September 02, 2007

No Runs-No Hits-No Errors...NO HITTER!!

WOW! Clay Buchholz, in his second big league start for the Boston Red Sox, threw a no hitter in an undescribably exciting game at Fenway Park Saturday evening. Utilizing pinpoint control with his fastball to set up his devastating off speed stuff, he totally mesmermized the Baltimore Orioles. The final score was 10-0 in favor of the good guys. And it was a team effort, with huge base hits by Big Papi, Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis and sparkling defensive plays by Coco Crisp and Dustin Pedroia, who ranged behind the second base bag, sprawling and snaring the ball, quickly getting to his feet and throwing to Youk "as hard as I could." The bang bang play at first was just in time to nail the headfirst sliding Miguel Tejada, who gestured wildly in the direction of Peds, not believing what had just happened. Hey Miggy, BELIEVE! That play came in the 7th inning, and from that point on, everyone knew something special was happening, and the air became even more electric. Great job Clay Buchholz, future star pitcher for that team from Boston. Oh, there will be a REPLAY of the entire game immediately following the post-game show tonight!

The lead over the Yankees stands at 5 games after their 9-6 victory over the Devil Rays, but the eyes and hearts of Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International are clearly basking in the glow ignited by Clay's wonderful Saturday evening. I have to tell you, I watched the game highlights this early Sunday morning on NESN, and the tears of joy came yet again.

Click on the title above for more details of this remarkable night, and scroll down for the entire game box score. I'll end this post just as I started it, the ONLY way. WOW!

AB R H RBI BB K LOB Season Avg
B. Roberts 2b 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 .302
C. Patterson cf 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 .269
N. Markakis rf 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 .293
M. Tejada ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .304
K. Millar dh 2 0 0 0 1 2 0 .260
A. Huff 1b 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .269
S. Moore 3b 3 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000
J.R. House c 3 0 0 0 0 2 1 .167
J. Payton lf 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 .257
Totals 26 0 0 0 3 9 6
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - J Payton 1.
Team LOB - 3.
Base Running
Picked Off - B Roberts (1st base, C Buchholz).
PB - J House.
DP - 1 (M Tejada-B Roberts-A Huff)

AB R H RBI BB K LOB Season Avg
J. Lugo ss 5 2 2 0 0 0 3 .237
D. Pedroia 2b 5 2 2 0 0 0 0 .322
D. Ortiz dh 2 1 1 3 3 0 1 .320
M. Lowell 3b 5 2 3 1 0 1 2 .329
K. Youkilis 1b 4 2 2 3 1 1 2 .291
J. Varitek c 4 0 0 0 1 1 6 .259
B. Kielty rf 4 0 2 0 0 1 0 .262
J. Ellsbury lf 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 .350
C. Crisp cf 4 0 0 1 1 0 5 .266
B. Moss lf-rf 3 1 1 0 1 1 0 .200
Totals 37 10 14 10 7 5 19
2B - D Ortiz (41, G Olson); J Lugo (31, R Cherry); M Lowell (34, R Cherry); J Ellsbury (2, B Burres).
HR - K Youkilis (15, 6th inning off R Cherry 2 on, 2 Out).
RBI - C Crisp (49), D Ortiz 3 (93), M Lowell (95), K Youkilis 3 (75), J Ellsbury 2 (3).
2-out RBI - D Ortiz 3, M Lowell, K Youkilis 3, J Ellsbury 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - C Crisp 2, J Varitek 1, M Lowell 1, J Lugo 2.
GIDP - C Crisp.
Team LOB - 10.
Base Running
SB - C Crisp (22, 2nd base off G Olson/J House)

G. Olson (L, 1-3) 5.1 7 4 4 5 4 0 7.22
R. Cherry 0.1 3 4 4 1 0 1 108.00
B. Burres 2.1 4 2 2 1 1 0 5.59

C. Buchholz (W, 2-0) 9.0 0 0 0 3 9 0 1.80
HBP - N Markakis (by C Buchholz)

Pitches-strikes - G Olson 104-59; R Cherry 27-15; B Burres 46-24; C Buchholz 115-73.
Ground balls-fly balls - G Olson 5-7; R Cherry 1-0; B Burres 1-5; C Buchholz 6-11.
Batters faced - G Olson 27; R Cherry 5; B Burres 12; C Buchholz 30.
Game Details
Umpires: HP--Joe West. 1B--Ed Rapuano. 2B--Ed Hickox. 3B--C.B. Bucknor.
Time: 3:02.
Attendance: 36,819.
Weather: 75 degrees, clear.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Turned Two By Four

Double play. Double play. Double play. Double play. THUD! That sums up last night's Baltimore Oriole Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Four double play balls hit by the foundering Sox prevented them from making a remarkable comeback. Tim Wakefield was scratched becuse of reoccuring back pain. Julian Tavarez started and was sparkling for three innings before the roof fell in. On top of him! Javy Lopez followed, and then Mike Timlin, in his 1000th appearance, and congrats to him for that milestone, put the Sox in a hole that they couldn't climb out of. Not that they didn't try. After Timlin thankfully left, the score, which was 2-0 Sox, was 9-3 O's. Any and all comeback attempts, and the Sox DID score 3 in the 7th and 2 in the 9th, were thwarted by those DP's. Final score.....9-8 O's. The Yankees lost to the Devil Rays, so the lead remains at 5 games. But this team needs to remember how to win. Last night, they had 15 hits, but the lack of the timely hit NOT to an infielder doomed them to their 4th defeat in a row.

Today, it will be Olson versus Clay Buchholz, a promising young righthander who will be a future star for the Boston club. But with 27 games left to go in this season of 2007, the Sox have to string together some victories.....and DO IT STARTING NOW!

Click on the title of this post for more details from last night's frustrting loss. This is not the end of the world, but the injuries are starting to pile up. Just when we don't need them. A win today will ease the fear, anxiety and worry of Red Sox Nation. Bigtime.