Saturday, October 31, 2009

2009 World Series Game Three Tonight

The World Series begins again with game three from Philadelphia, home of the Philadelphia Phillies and cheesesteaks. If you're going to one of the games and want to try one, hop over to either Geno's or Pat's (I like Genos but I've tried both). They're known for their delectable and cheesy concoctions that melt in your mouth with greasy greatness. The fries ain't bad, either. Oops, I guess I went off on a tangent. Tonight's starting pitchers will be Andy Pettitte ( 14-8 4.14...2-0 2.37 postseason) versus Cole Hamels ( 10-11 4.32...1-1 6.75 postseason). We all know about Sir Andy, the MLB leader in post season victories. Hamels has not been the go-to-guy he was last October when he recorded a post season ERA of 1.80. So far this October, he's 1-1 with a bulging ERA of 6.75. He has allowed 20 base hits and six taters. Opponents have batted .328 against him. Those kind of numbers will put your team behind really quickly. He was last year's World Series MVP, by the way, and the Phillies would love to see him return to that form. His problem, or at least one of them, is that he relies on just two pitches, the fastball and the change. His coaches and manager wants him to develop a third pitch for 2010, a pitch to keep the hitters guessing, maybe a cutter or a slider. Still, the Philly manager has all the faith in the world. Here he is...

"I expect him to pitch a good game,'' Manuel said. "He's still very capable of beating people.''

The first pitch will be thrown at 7:57pm EDT, the evening before we turn the clocks back and begin eastern standard time, but weather in the form of rain might be a factor. I'll have more on that later with a link to the live radar from the city of brotherly love. Look for the festivities on FOX and FOX HD with pregame coverage beginning at 7:30pm EDT. Enjoy, and as always, BE WELL. Click on the title of this post for more Series coverage from SI. Have a terrific weekend. Thanks for popping in. See ya.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Yankees Even The Series At One

The New York Yankees evened the World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies at one behind AJ Burnett's tremendous effort. The final score in the Bronx was 3-1 Pinstripers. Pedro "Petey" Martinez was admirable in defeat, giving it all he had. He went seven innings and gave up six hits and three earned runs, walking two and striking out seven with his assortment of looping curveballs and other off-speed pitches. YES, he'll be back with some team (hopefully Philly) in 2010. What would we do without him? On the other hand, AJ Burnett took a lesson from Cliff Lee, who pitched a gem the night before. Lee spoke of confidence, of establishing your pitches and making the hitters BEWARE. Folks, that's just what he did, establishing his inside pinpoint fastball to induce swings and then using his deadly, and it IS deadly, curve to baffle the 2009 Red Machine (I couldn't call it BIG Red Machine). He was tremendous and went seven innings before Joe Girardi gave the ball to Mr. Mighty, Mo Rivera, who pitched the final two frames, with a little help from a double play, to seal the deal. Yankees 3 Phillies 1. Game three tomorrow night. Here's the Yankee starter, Mr. Burnett, on just about everything that helped him win last night...

“I knew it was a big game, it’s no lie,” Burnett said. “It was the biggest game I’ve ever thrown for this team. But at the same time, you can’t let that affect you and I tried not to let it affect me. Teammate CC Sabathia threw a great game on Wednesday night, you couldn’t ask for anything more. I knew I had a big task ahead of me with Pedro Martinez on the mound and I wanted to go out and pitch the best I could. After Game 1, I wanted to set the tone early and be aggressive."

He did just that and this 2009 World Series is knotted at one. That's what I was hoping for. The Phillies will face Pettitte and the Pinstripers will go against Cole Hamels. Andy was 14-8 with an ERA of 4.16 and Cole's record was a disapointing 10-11 with an ERA of 4.32 in the regular season.

Enjoy your non-baseball Friday and I'll leave you with a link to the World Series coverage from Sports Illustrated. Simply click on this post's title. That's it!

As always, be well. I'll have a full look at game three of this soon-to-be-seven game World Series first thing in the morning. I'll see you...soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Cliff Lee & Chase Utley Show...Philadelphia 6 NYY 1

Great starting pitching and the long ball earned the world champion Philadelphia Phillies a well deserved 6-1 victory over the NY Yankees in the Bronx. Lefthander Cliff Lee pitched a complete game masterpiece, giving up one run (in the ninth) on six base hits. He walked none and struck out ten. He dominated, to put it mildly. Some of the Yankees had words of praise for the Phillies' ace. First up is their pitching coach...

“You have to tip your hat to the other guy,’’ Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “That’s the best pitching performance we have seen all year.’’

And now, first baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Alex Rodriguez speak up...

“He pitched really well; if he is going to pitch like that you aren’t going to score many runs,’’ Mark Teixeira said.

“He threw the ball to both sides of the plate,’’ said Alex Rodriguez, who went 0-for-4 and fanned three times in his first World Series game. “CC pitched well enough to win. We didn’t swing the bats well.’

I watched the entire game and was amazed by Lee's control and his location. He had the feared Yankee hitters guessing all night. Most of 'em guessed wrong. The batting hero of the game was none other than Chase Utley, who became the first batter since Babe Ruth to hit two home runs off a lefthander in a World Series game. Impressive. Sabathia pitched well but the two Utley home runs coupled with the complete game effort by Lee swung the home field advantage over to the world champions. CC said this after the loss...

“We lost and I didn’t pitch well, I had three walks and I was behind everybody pretty much the whole game,’’ said Sabathia, who gave up two runs and four hits in seven frames. “That’s not the way you pitch in the postseason.’’

Sabathia is right...he wasn't as sharp as his last two starts, not by a long shot. But give credit to the Philly hitters. They never gave in and they can bop with the best of 'em. This should be a good series but New York has a stronger top three rotation guys. Speaking of that, tonight's starters will be none other than Pedro "Petey" Martinez (5-1 3.63 ERA 0-0 0.00 playoffs) versus AJ Burnett (13-9 4.04 ERA 0-0 4.42 playoffs). If Petey can pitch a beauty like he did in his last start against the Dodgers, a start that his bullpen imploded, depriving him of a victory, the Phillies will have a nice 2-0 lead going into game three in Philly. Burnett is sometimes great, sometimes shelled, but Pedro is just as much a question mark. He loves to whup the Yankees, though. This one should be fun! First pitch time will be at 7:57pm EDT with television coverage on FOX and FOX HD.

Have a wonderful Thursday and enjoy the World Series in the northeast, or wherever you might be. Click on this post's title for more on last night's action and as always, BE WELL. See you...soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hungry?? Nad's Blog Is Here!!

Simply click on the title of this post to see three or four delicious recipes from my girlfiend Nadia every week. You will not be sorry. I've tried them all.

Click away!!

There WILL Be A Game Tonight In NYC

All you have to do to be zapped to a high resolution radar that will show you any precipitation near Yankee Stadium, live, is to click on the title of this post. It's raining moderately here in north central Connecticut at 4:15pm EDT, way too wet for baseball. But in NYC, the radar looks fine for diamond action. I'll say again...there will be a game one tonight. Who will win? That's a horse of a different color. I'll be rooting for the Phillies. Sabathia has been tough and so has his mound opponent. Go RED.

ENJOY. FOX AND FOX HD will carry the first pitch shortly before 8pm.

2009 World Series Game One...NYC

The 2009 World Series begins tonight with the first pitch thrown at 7:57pm EDT on Fox and FoxHD. The very first pitching matchup will be a real doozy, with the Phillies' Cliff Lee (14-14 3.22...2-0 0.76 postseason) versus CC Sabathia (19-8 3.37...3-0 0.88 postseason). What a matchup it will be for all baseball fans, even for those in Cleveland. Both pitchers hurled for the Indians last year, by the way. The Bronx will be alive and kicking tonight as the baseball nation watches. We here in the northeast and my Constant Readers know plenty about the New York Yankees but maybe not as much about the word champion (yes, that's right) Philadelphia Phillies. They have a power-packed, American League power type of lineup and they WILL score runs. Their rotation is not as solid as the Yankees' big three but Cliff Lee can hold a candle to anyone, including Mr. Sabathia. Pedro Martinez, or Petey, as I call him, will pitch game two, probably against AJ Burnett. If Petey can put together seven innings like he did against the Dodgers against this Yankee lineup, well, anything will be possible. I hope he can.

We all know about the Yankees' lineup and about the postseason Alex Rodriguez has had so far, but don't forget about the Phillies' Ryan Howard, a hulk of a man who can literally smash and crush a baseball, sending it into orbit. Here's the Philadelphia General Manager, Ruben Amaro, Jr...

"Well, if pitchers make a mistake he's going to pound it," says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. of Howard. "Even when he miss-hits the ball, he hits home runs. He's got that kind of power. You can't really teach that. It's kind of God-given."

Howard is hitting .355 with 14 RBI through the first two playoff series. Not bad. Here's one of his teammates with a few words...

"We've seen Ryan go on tears where he's doing this with home runs," says Jimmy Rollins. "He hasn't gotten to that point yet, and that's a good thing. That means it's still coming."

Almost every Boston Red Sox, make that EVERY Red Sox fan hopes that his home run barrage will come soon, but if Howard can keep that average at or near .355 and add to his fourteen 2009 postseason RBIs, well, everything's going to be all right, especially with the power hitters who surround him in that potent Philly lineup. This series should be a great one. I pick the Phillies in seven even though many scribes are picking the pinstripers in seven because they have the home field advantage. It should be that close.

Enjoy your Hump Day Wednesday. It's raining here in north central Connecticut, 100 miles northeast of the Big Apple, but by gametime, the precipitation should be spotty at best. How's that for the latest info? They'll play ball...count on it.

You can click on the title of this post for SI's World Series coverage and as always, BE WELL. If you'd like to leave me a comment with your pick for the next world champion, I'd love it! See ya.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PETEY Comes Back To NY

I have always loved Pedro Martinez, well, almost always. When he left Boston I had moments of, ah, dislike, but all in all, I like the man and I admire his talent and ability. After spending time in his native Dominican Republic and fielding many offers from many MLB teams, apparently none near the five million dollar per year salary he desired, he decided to join the Philadelphia Phillies for roughly one million dollars. He picked the right year and the correct team, that's for sure. He'll be one of the four Philadelphia starters in the 2009 World Series. On October 16th, he pitched one run, two hit, no walk baseball for seven wonderful innings before his bullpen imploded and Philadelphia lost the game. He didn't have his blazing fastball...that's a thing of the past. He used guile and deception to confound the Dodgers and the world champion Phillies hope he has one (or two) more magic starts in him. I'd love to see it and he'll be going against the team he loves to hate (me too), the New York Yankees. Here he is...

“I knew there were doubts in me,’’ Martinez said. “But I did not doubt myself. I knew I could still pitch. But I was willing to wait for the right situation.’’

He found it, that's for sure. Ex-Red Sox teammate and now Yankee Johnny Damon had this to say recently...

“I’m happy for Pedro,’’ said Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon, Martinez’s teammate for four years with the Red Sox. “Not too many teams bid on him to pick him up during the offseason. But he waited, picked the right team, and now he’s back in the World Series. It’s a strange thing, facing guys from that team because we were like brothers,’’ Damon said. “But I’ll always hope the best for Pedro. What a great teammate. I was fortunate to play with him and against him for all these years.’’

I'll always hope the best for him, too. Petey will be just one part of what is shaping up to be an unforgettable series. Both teams know that their opponent is far better than the two teams they previously faced. So tomorrow, it's WORLD SERIES TIME! Bring it on. It'll be televised by Fox and Fox HD.

Click on this post's title for more World Series coverage ala Sports Illustrated and as always, BE WELL. I'll be back first thing in the morning with a more detailed look at the Series itself. See ya.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Yankees Will Play The Phillies In The 2009 World Series...NYY 5 LA 2

Last night in the rain-free Bronx, the Yankees proved they are the best team in the American League by besting the LA Angels by a score of 5-2. In one of my posts before this ALCS series began, I said New York would take it in six, and lo and behold, that's just what they did. Now we're faced with a World Series consisting of the two best teams ( this year ) in major league baseball. It will be a seven game series with the Phillies pulling it off if, and that's a BIG IF, they can defeat World Series MVP CC Sabathia at least once. The Red Sox were able to do just that a few years ago and look what happened. Good luck to them.

Yankee starter Andy Pettitte had all that New York needed. He went 6 1/3 innings and gave up a harmless earned run on seven base hits. He walked one and whiffed six. The 'pen took over with Joba Chamberlain in for the balance of the seventh (two outs) and the best reliever in baseball, Mariano Rivera, took care of the eighth and the ninth. Case closed. As I said before, CC Sabathia earned the MVP award for this ALCS, deservedly so. The Angels helped the Yankee cause by commiting two errors and walking 9 (!!!) men. Sloppy, guys. When NY scored four runs in the fourth frame, that was all they needed. Good pitching from the starters and their bullpen propelled NY to the 2009 World Series. There's no other way to analyze their advancement to American League champions.

The 2009 World Series will begin on Wednesday evening and will be televised by FOX and FOX HD. I'll have the first pitch times and the starting pitchers tomorrow. You can click on the title of this post for all the updates, SI style, from last night's action. Until then and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

ALCS Game Six...Take Two (We Hope)

OK, it's take two time tonight shortly after 8pm EDT at the new Yankee Stadium. Because of a steady moderate Saturday evening rain that promised to turn into a monsoon (it eventually did), the umpires called the game and rescheduled it for Sunday night. Hey, that's tonight! Again, it will be Andy Pettitte (14-8) versus Joe Saunders (16-8). The pinstripers lead the best of seven series three games to two. An Angels victory will force a deciding game seven. Yankee manager Joe Girardi has already stated that, if needed, his starter will be CC Sabathia for that final game. What he really wants is for CC, who's been virtually untouchable in this 2009 postseason, to pitch game number one against the Philadelphia Phillies. Girardi wants to end this ALCS mistake about it. GO ANGELS! Here's the Yankee skipper...

"Our focus is completely on Game 6. Does it give one team an advantage or not? I don’t know,’’ Girardi said. “Maybe the extra day helps us more. I’m not really sure. I’m sure there will be a lot written about it. But I don’t know.’’

And here's tonight's starting NY pitcher, who was the only player to take the field before the game was correctly (!!) called at 6pm EDT...

“The worst part of it is just the wait,’’ Andy Pettitte said before embarking on his soggy workout session. “This was the longest day ever. And I was just about to start getting in my routine and they come walking in there and tell me it got canceled."

Hey Andy, there was NO way the game could have been played last night. You'll pitch (and lose?) tonight. The game will be televised on Fox and Fox HD with the pregame beginning at 8pm EDT. Enjoy it. The weather will not be a factor in the Big Apple, not tonight. No way, no how, very impossible. So let's PLAY BALL!

Click on the title for SI's full playoff coverage and as always, BE WELL. Leave a comment if you'd like. I read and answer every one of 'em. Thanks.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

ALCS Game 6 Or A Rainout?? LIVE NYC Radar Right Here

The California LA Angels will do battle tonight, weather permitting, shortly after 8pm EDT at the new Yankee Stadium. Slated to pitch are Andy Pettitte (14-8) for the pinstripers and Joe Saunders (16-8) for the Halos. Right now in north central Connecticut, there is an intermittent on and off rain. A warm front that has already reached New York City, where the temperatures at 6am are hovering around sixty degrees, will pass through here early this afternoon, driving our temperatures now in the low forties up to sixty to sixty five degrees. But then a strong cold front will drop those temperatures and be accompanied by heavy rain, wind and possible thunder. In a nutshell, it'll be a very stormy night. Depending on the time of the cold front's passage, the game might be postponed or delayed. The only way to tell would be to monitor a radar screen of the Big Apple. You're covered...just click on the title of this post to see the latest live enhanced-view radar screen from Mt. Holly, New Jersey. It might take a few seconds to load but it will give you a birds-eye view of what kind of precipitation is going through the city and any more future rain heading easterly from the city's west. Just click on that title and see for yourself. Ta-da!

The Yankee starter, Andy Pettitte, the Yankee career leader in post season victories, had this to say about the confidence of his team, the future World Series opponents (I'm fairly certain) of the Philadelphia Phillies. My thanks for the quote go out to the NY Daily News. Thanks, guys...

"I don't think anybody feels like we're pinned up against a wall right now," said Andy Pettitte, who will make his 38th career postseason start at the Stadium tonight. "We're back home, we love playing here, and I think everyone is extremely comfortable and confident with where this club is. I can't say it enough, they're a good team. This was not going to be an easy series."

So we go to a game six while the Phillies watch intently. A huge part of me knows they'd rather play the Angels rather than the Yankees but I don't think it will happen that way. But it'll be fun watching, won't it?

Enjoy your Saturday and tune in to Fox and Fox HD at 8pm EDT for what promises to be an entertaining game. Don't forget to click on this post's title before gametime to see what kind of weather is in store for the Big Apple as gametime approaches and as always, BE WELL. Thanks. See you soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Soupy Sales Dies At 83

The "pie in the face" comedian Soupy Sales passed away yesterday at the age of 83. Soupy, you will be missed...

"If President Eisenhower would have walked down the street, no one would have recognized him as much as Soupy," Usher said.

"I'll probably be remembered for the pies, and that's all right," Sales said in a 1985 interview.

Yes, it's all right. It always will be. Rest in peace, funny man.

Angels Hold Off The Yankees And The ALCS Heads To New York City...LA 7 NYY 6

The California LA Angels scored four runs off AJ Burnett before he recorded a single out but the Yankees, as they do so often, made it verrrry interesting. With a four run plush leather cushion through six innings, Halo starter John Lackey was cruising...until the seventh inning. It was then that the Yankee bats awakened with a six spot. Could they record nine more outs and keep their World Series appointment with that team from Philadelphia? Torii Hunter, the Halo's centerfielder, said this...

"Everybody thought we were down," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said.

They weren't, that's for sure. The Angels scored three in the bottom of that seventh inning to go ahead by a score of 7-6. The top of the ninth was a real postseason nailbiter. Johnny Damon started the inning off with Brian Fuentes on the mound. He hit a scorched line drive right at first baseman Kendry Morales. One out. Next up was Teixeira, who popped up on one pitch. Two outs, one to go. The score was 7-6 Halos and they were within one out of winning the game and sending the series back to the Big Apple. AROD strode to the plate with the bases empty, devoid of runners...and Angel's manager Mike Sciosia intentionally walked him. Yes, the tying run was on first base. AROD was immediately replaced by pinch runner Freddy Guzman. Man on first, two outs. One pitch could end it. But nooooo. Guzman never even took a big enough lead off first to hint at a steal. He watched the battle between Fuentes and Matsui that resulted in a walk. First and second, STILL two outs. Fuentes hit Cano with a pitch and the nervous Yankee Stadium buzz became a capital letter BUZZ. Nick Swisher approached the plate in a one run, two out, bases loaded situation. The following is from Sports Illustrated dot com, with my thanks. Remember, the bases were loaded and the game was on the line...

"So they (Fuentes and Swisher) battled -- the hard-hat closer and the lunch-box hitter ... a chopper that was just inches foul ... another foul ... a change-up way outside ... another foul ... a high fastball ... an outside fastball. And then the count was 3-2, and the tension had hit its crescendo, and Fuentes simply threw the challenge pitch, his best fastball (91 mph) right down the heart of the plate. Swisher swung and hit a pop-up to shallow left. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar ranged back and caught it."

Phew, wow, holy you know what. This was playoff baseball the way it was meant to be, uncertain until the final pitch. Now, the two teams travel east and the Angels will have to take two games from none other than Andy Pettitte and the so far untouchable CC Sabathia. It's highly doubtful but it will be fun watching them try. This also gives to National League champion Philadelphia Phillies a chance to rest their aching bones for a few days as Saturday's contest might lead to a Sunday game seven battle. We'll see but on the scale of WOWness, not much could beat last night's drama. FOX must be thoroughly thrilled by their viewing numbers even though I haven't seen them yet. I'll pass them on to you when I do.

I hope you enjoy your getaway Friday as we await game six at the new Yankee Stadium Saturday night. Rain might be a factor as it's supposed to begin raining here in north central Connecticut late tonight (Friday). I don't know how long it will last but I'll have the full weather outlook in my Saturday morning post. Promise.

Click on this post's title for full coverage of last night's game and as always, BE WELL. See you...soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wakefield Surgery News...Phillies World Series-Bound...Yankees Try To Join Them Tonight

Tim Wakefield had successful back surgery to remove a herniated disc that was split into many fragments. Some of those tiny pieces were pinching the sciatic nerve, causing intense leg pain and weakness. I speak from personal experience. Back in the good old days, a bunch of us were playing volleyball on a half sand, half harder than sand backyard. I lunged to make a shot and hit the ground (not sand) hard on my right side. As I dusted myself off, I knew I had hurt myself in some way, but I felt fine and resumed play. Flash forward about two weeks. It was in the morning and I had to get up for work. NO WAY. The most tremendous pain was traveling from my rear all the way down the right leg. It was the worst pain I had ever experienced, accompanied by weakness in that leg. Holy you know what! After many examinations which didn't show where the disc was hitting that same nerve, they decided to open me up (gulp!) and remove it. Like Timmy's, it was shattered into many pieces, most the size of REALLY big peas. When the anesthesia wore off (a local from the waist down), the first sense I had was NO PAIN. It sounds like our Mr. Wakefield went through the same wonder he had so much trouble pitching. The man is a bundle of courage and I love him. He is rehabilitating now and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the number five rotation spot. Good for him. Here's Theo...

"Wake is someone that is in our plans," general manager Theo Epstein said after the Sox lost to the Angels in the ALDS. "We hope he makes starts for us next year as well and is a member of the rotation. We haven’t sat down and finalized anything. We obviously want to wait and see how the surgery goes and then both sides will sit down and talk."

It went well, thank God. Over in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies completed their five game whupping as they eliminated the LA Dodgers with a 10-4 victory last night. Their offensive star was Ryan Howard, and here he is...

"I think it was just everybody's mindset," said Ryan Howard, who was named MVP of the NLCS. "It was that little underlying expectation that we had for ourselves that, hey, we know we can get back there and try and win it again. The AL is supposed to be a slugging league, but this offense fits right in. Playing AL-style won't be too tough for us, but it might be tougher for an AL team being without the DH."

True. Once again, the better team won. The same thing will happen tonight as the Yankees, with AJ Burnett, face off against the LA Angels, who will put first game starter John Lackey on the mound. Look for the pinstripers to win and play the Phillies in what should be a great World Series. The two best teams in MLB in a seven game series? It doesn't get any better. The difference-maker could be CC Sabathia. We'll see but first NY must win one more game. When, and I said when, they do, I'll be rooting for the team from the City of Brotherly Love. Hey, I'm a Red Sox fan!!

I hope your Thursday will be a terrific one and you can click on this post's title for more coverage of the Phillies' clincher. As always, be well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Yanks One Win Away From World Series

The New York Yankees are one win away from their first World Series appointment in six years after they clobbered the California Anaheim LA Angels by a score of 10-1. And yes, it was CC Sabathia, pitching on three days rest, no lest, who again was able to go eight innings as his team racked up a lead. He was brilliant. He said this after the game...

"This team's good. We have great players, Hall of Fame players," said Sabathia, who has won three of the Yankees' seven playoff games. "We've got all the confidence in the world. We've still got a little ways to go, but I've been feeling good," Sabathia said. "I never had any doubt about me being able to perform on this stage and to pitch well late in October, but it seems like people did. But I feel great. You know, hopefully I can keep it going."

If he keeps it going, the pinstripers might find themselves as 2009 World Champions...I don't see anyone beating them but the Philadelphia Phillies are clearly the other "great" team in the equation. If the two meet, it should be a memorable six or seven game series. Face it, the Dodgers are as good as gone and Manny was up to his old tricks, taking a shower after he was pulled from the game in the eighth inning on Monday night without staying in the clubhouse to watch his team fall apart in the eighth inning. LA ended up losing to Philadelphia that night while Manny was soaping himself, maybe even singing. The media is calling the incident "Showergate." I call it "Manny Being Manny"....again. Either way, it sucks, HE sucks.

Tonight, the Phillies try to put away the team from California with Cole Hamels (10-11 4.32) going against Vincente Padilla ( 12-6 4.46). The game will be televised at 8pm EDT on TBS and TBS HD from the city of brotherly love. Enjoy. Obviously, it's a must win for the Dodgers. Hey, they had a great 2009 but they're not as strong in SO many ways as Philadelphia is. The Yankees/Angels series resumes on Thursday where New York will try to wrap it up with AJ Burnett. I wouldn't put it past 'em. Not even a little. They're going to win it all this year. I wish it wasn't so, but it will be.

Have a great Hump Day Wednesday and enjoy tonight's baseball if it suits you. And for complete SI coverage of last night's playoff game, simply click on this post's title. It's easy! As always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon. Leave a comment if you wish and I'll answer every one. Thanks for sticking around. I appreciate every single one of you. I really do.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ALCS And NLCS Inch Closer

Both the American League and the National League Championship Series inched a little closer as the teams that were behind in their respective battles both emerged victorious. First up, the Yankees and the Angels. After many curious and questionable moves by Yankees skipper Joe Girardi, most of which worked well until last night, one finally caught up to him in the eleventh inning. Even though it would have been righty versus righty, he brought in Aceves to pitch to Howie Kendrik after Robertson had easily gotten the first two outs of the frame. Needless to say, Kendrik drilled a single and the next guy to step to the plate, Halo's catcher Jeff Mathis, pounded a double which plated the winning run. Hey skipper Joe, maybe one too many moves? The Yankees are still up 2-1 in this best of seven series and they'll have their ace, CC Sabathia, going against Scott Kazmir in game four today starting at 7:57pm EDT (7:30pm pregame) on Fox and Fox HD. The NLCS will take a day off. Speaking of that series...

In the NLCS, the Dodgers, who were down two games to none, made it a little closer with a 5-4 win over the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, who are still, like the Yankees, my strong pick to advance to the World Series. Jimmy Rollins clubbed a walk-off run scoring double to end it. It was quite an exciting way to finish a baseball game, a playoff one at that. Now it's two games to one in favor of Philadelphia and anything can happen. I still expect the Phillies to advance, as I said before.

It's another baseball night and I have to tell you that I'm rooting for Scott Kazmir to spin a beauty so the Angels/Yankee game will stay close into the later innings. After all, he'll be opposing Sabathia and even though CC will be pitching on three day's rest, he's one tough customer. To be honest, I didn't even think the Halos would take a single game from the pinstripers. They proved me wrong yesterday and if they win tonight, and that's a BIG if, the series will be knotted and super glued at two. Easier said than done, however.

Have a great Tuesday, click on the title of this post for Sports Illustrated's tremendous and terrific playoff coverage and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you here tomorrow, if not before. Now click on that title. I'll preload the post title link to go directly to the SI baseball page. You can take it from there. See ya!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Phillies & Lee Romp...ALCS Continues

Cliff Lee has proved to the Philadelphia Phillies that he was worth every penny they paid for him as he pitched eight wonderous innings in the 11-0 Philadelphia romp over the LA Dodgers yesterday. His manager hit the proverbial nail on the head when he said this...

“Cliff Lee, what can I say about him? He was absolutely outstanding,” Manuel said.

And Joe Torre espouses his west coast version of "turn the page." Here it is...

“You never want to get your rear end kicked,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “But you don’t toss and turn and wonder if you made the right move. It’s still only one game and we’re in position to tie the series tomorrow.”

Game four will begin in the City of Brotherly Love shortly after 8 pm EDT and it'll be televised by TBS and TBS HD. OK, that's it for the NLCS, where Philly leads the series two games to one. Now, let's go to the ALCS, where the NY Yankees have firm and total control over the California Angels. They're up two games to none and have lefty Andy Pettitte, who was 14-8 in 2009, going against Jared Weaver, who had a gaudy 16-8 record. The Yankees are up two games to zippo. This will be game number three in the series and the first one played in California. It's also a must win for the Halos, that's for sure. Pregame coverage begins at 4pm EDT on FOX and FOX HD. After last night's NLCS game, my dream of seeing Joe Torre march into the new Yankee Stadium is getting more and more remote, but in the game of baseball, ya never know. Clearly, the two best teams out there are the Phillies and the Yankees and they are the probable World Series adversaries. If so, it whould be a great best of seven series that MIGHT take all seven games to decide. That would be terrific, wouldn't it?

I hope you have a great Monday and you arrive home in time to watch a little baseball, doubleheader style. Click on the title of this post for more playoff coverage from Sports Illustrated, leave a comment or two and as always, BE WELL. That's the most important thing. I'll see you soon.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Delicacies By Nads IS BACK!!

Yes, she's back with all the food you'd want to cook. Just click on the title of this post! I love it...I love her. Please click away. Thanks.

Yankees Prevail In Thirteen Innings & Take Commanding 2-0 Lead...NYY 4 LAA 3

Alex Rodriguez hit the home run that tied the game at three and finally, in the bottom of the thirteenth inning, the New York Yankees pushed the winning run across the plate. The final score was the Yankees 4, the Angels 3. LA is down two games to none in this best of seven series and are in deep dog doo. Here's how it happened...

It was the bottom of the thirteenth and the teams were knotted at three and down to their last handful of players. Girardi called on Jerry Hairston to bat for back-up outfielder Freddy Guzman and he quickly hit a line drive single to center. Backup outfielder Brett Gardner sacrificed him to second and, after an intentional walk to Cano, Cabrera scorched a grounder to second baseman Izturis (who?). The ball was thrown past the shortstop Aybar, who was covering second, and Hairston, running for his life, scored the winning run. It was an unearned run that won it for the pinstripers, but a win's a win. Alex Rodriguez, who has been a monumental force in this 2009 postseason, tied the game with an eleventh inning tater and the game went on to its happy (for Yankee fans) ending.

The series resumes on the left coast tomorrow. I'll have the pitching matchups tomorrow. Meanwhile, back in the National League, the Phillies and the Dodgers, tied at one game apiece, resume their best of seven series with the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda (8-7) ready to face the Phillies' Cliff Lee (15-13). I give the edge to Philadelphia in this one for two reasons...they're back home and Lee is pitching. The pregame begins on TBS and TBS HD at 8pm EDT. Enjoy it. I'm still rooting for the Dodgers just to have a chance to see the reception Joe Torre would get in the new Yankee Stadium. Anything OTHER than total respect and a standing ovation would astound yours truly. Not even Yankee fans would do that. No way, no how.

I hope your Sunday will be a terrific one. Here in north central Connecticut, the day will feature moderate to heavy rain and cool temeratures, a perfect day to sit back, light a fire and put on some HD football. There's no afternoon baseball so what's a guy supposed to do? I'll tough it out, believe me, and there's plenty to eat and a few cold beverages here, too. Click on this post's title for full Yankee/Angels coverage from last night and as always and forever, BE WELL. Thanks.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Petey Shines But Lifted Too Soon...CC Dominates Halos

In Friday playoff results, the NY Yankees and pitcher CC Sabathia stifled the California Angels by a score of 4-1. Sabathia was downright dominating, going seven innings and allowing only four hits and one run. The Angels and John Lackey never had a chance in this one. It'll be AJ Burnett (13-9) facing the Halo's Joe Sauders (16-7) at the Stadium beginning at 7:57pm EDT. I can't see the pinstripers losing this series, much less any series on their way to a world championship. Admit it, they're just too strong in all aspects of the game, especially with Joba in the bullpen, where he should stay forever. The Angels would love it if they could get outta town with a two game split.

Over in the NLCS, the LA Dodgers prevailed by a score of 2-1 over the Phillies, evening up the series at one as the teams move east to the cheese steak city of Philadelphia. This was a game where many eyes were on Philadelphia starter Pedro Petey Martinez and he did not let anyone down. Instead, he was outstanding, bringing back memories of the late nineties and early two thousands. Manager Charlie Manual made the monumental error of lifting him after seven innings of one run, two hit and no walk baseball. He never allowed a runner to touch the third base bag and threw only 87 pitches. Manuel's move backfired spectacularly when his bullpen, SO effective the night before, ended up walking in the winning run. Charlie must have been kicking himself all night long with sleep elusive. Petey used guile and his brain to confuse and confound the team from California and I, for one, am very proud of him. He should have been left in to pitch the eighth and the Phillies then would have gone to their ace closer. But the manager called it a different way. Shame.

Again, the ALCS game starts at 7:57pm EDT and it'll be televised by Fox and Fox HD. The Halos are in a must win situation...being down 0-2 to this 2009 Yankee team would not be a good thing, to put it mildly. The Phillies and the Dodgers have a travel day off. Click on this post's title for all the playoff coverage you'd want SI style and I hope you make your Saturday a good one. Your comments would be great to read and fantastic to answer. As always, BE WELL. See you soon.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halos And Villians

Today marks the beginning of the American League Championship Series in the new Yankee Stadium. That's what the title of this post pertains to. For the Yankees, it'll be CC Sabathia and for the Angels, John Lackey will take the hill. Sabathia is one tough customer but if Lackey can pitch the way he did against the Red Sox, well, anything can happen. Game two will be tomorrow and weather might be a factor for the first two games in the Big Apple. Maybe, maybe not.

Last night, the world champion Philadelphia Phillies, with a LOT of help from their bullpen, hung on to beat Joe Torre's LA Dodgers by a score of 8-6. They will play game two today on TBS and TBS HD with coverage beginning at 4:30pm EDT. The Yankee/Angels game will be televised on Fox and Fox HD. That coverage starts at 7:30pm EDT. My picks? The Phillies in six and the Yankees in five. That's just the way I mental research was done, believe me.

What will the Boston Red Sox do with the "old guard," guys like Big Papi, Mikey Lowell and the captain, Jason Varitek for the 2010 season? I'm fairly certain, almost positive, the 'Tek will be back as the back-up catcher, working behind the plate two, maybe three times a week. Victor Martinez will be our everyday catcher if everything works out JUST so. As for Big
Papi David Ortiz, after a hideous beginning last year, he came on strong and was a valuable hitter, the kind of basher we all know. I think he will be back as the Boston DH, although he will probably bat something like sixth. He'll be there...I know it.

Now we come to third baseman Mike Lowell, who was still a potent force at the plate but had a limited range in the field because of his sometimes sore hip. Unless the Sox corral a first baseman, moving Youk to third, or they get their hands on a new third baseman, expect Mikey to be back knocking in runs as he always does. 2010 WILL be his last year...that's for sure. Will the same be true for Papi and Varitek? We'll have to wait and see.

We all know that Boston has a gaping hole in leftfield if future free agent Jason Bay decides to go elsewhere. The Red Sox have no control over what will happen in this case, they can only prepare for any contingency. They will, that's for sure. Shortstop is another dilemna. Do we stick with Gonzo? That's for Theo & company to decide and for me to write about. Jacoby in center and JD in right are locks. So that's it. Tomorrow I'll address other this's and that's and all the goings on in the ALCS and the NLCS. For the one game that has been played, the Phillies have the victory. I'd like to see another team make it to the World Series in their place, and that would be the Dodgers. Tonight, the Phillies' Pedro "Petey" Martinez will face ex-Soxer and now Dodger Manny Ramirez. That's worth the price of admission alone. For complete coverage of last night's game, simply click on this post's title. You'll enjoy the SI playoff coverage. And remember, as always, BE WELL. Thank you for being here and your comments are always welcome and always answered. See ya. Go Halos (not villians).

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. BFW (BoSox Fan In Wichita), a faithful everyday reader and friend, scolded me for jesting about Ted Williams' head in yesterday's post, entitled YAH BOO. If I offended any of my Constant Readers or Constant Visitors, I sincerely apologise. I still think it was a legitimate news story and reported as such. Thanks, BFW.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I've just finished a two hour phone call to yahoo dot com for my DSL service. Finally, the process is finished. My computer is connected to the internet after what seemed like a week. I had to reconfigure the modem and computer settings and that was just the start. As you can see (read), I'm back on, for better or for worse. I hope it's for the better.

The LA Dodger-Philadelphia Phillies NLCS series starts today with the Yankees-Angels ALCS series beginning on Friday. I'll have a full post about both of 'em in the morning. I'm rooting for the Halos against the Pinstripers but part of me would LOVE to see Joe Torre march into the new Yankee Stadium just like a conquering General. I love the man.

On another more bizarre note, I heard this the other day from a valid news source. The frozen head of Ted Williams, the "Splendid Splinter," was attacked by an attendant at the storage facility where "he" is stored with a blunt instrument of some kind. A Yankee fan? Who knows? It sounded like an April Fools news story...but it wasn't. Rest in peace, Ted, not pieces.

Spookily yours, Peter. As always, BE WELL.

P.S. I was serious!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Ah, The Pitch, one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes with one of my favorite returning actors, Mr. Ed Wynn. He plays a pitchman, these days called a salesman. He's good, too, but he must to come up with his finest pitch, a "pitch to end all pitches" in order to save the life of a sick little girl who lives in his building. Who does he have to make that pitch to? Why, Mr. Death, of course. I won't give anything about it away but if you can get your hands on it, watch it and remember I told you so.

I told you that to tell you this. I wanted to go over the current state and the possible future needs of the 2010 Boston Red Sox pitching staff. Let's start with, oh, the starters. Numbers one through four should be a lock with Beckett and Lester as co-aces followed by Buchholz and Matsuzaka, who has communicated to the team that he will report to spring training in tip-top form. That'd be nice. They would make up a great quartet, wouldn't they? There is a need for a number five slot starter. Timmy Wakefield probably will be back after possible back surgery to aleviate his leg problems but he will remain a big question mark until the 2010 season nears. The Red Sox will not take any chances and will acquire a starting on it.

The bullpen, for the most part, was great last year. For the most part. The memory of the Papelbon implosion is still crystal clear but it will be just that...a memory, not a nice one at all. Billy Wagner has departed and he said yesterday that he is considering retirement. While pitching for the Sox, he amassed an ERA of under two so there are teams out there who would want him. But if that inner drive isn't there, he will retire. He did say yesterday that he has no reason to return because he's done just about everything other lefties have done in the past. I still think he could be a force for someone next year in his preferred role as closer but that's entirely up to the man himself. Daniel Bard, the future Boston closer, will take over that critical eighth inning role, and he'll do it well. I'm sure of that. We'll see what Theo comes up with for other areas of the bullpen but there are no urgently pressing problems.

Tomorrow I'll address the inner core of aging veterans, guys like 'Tek, Lowell and Big Papi. Tough decisions may have to be made but I'll go into that Thursday. I'd still love to read your comments about this pitching post and you can click on the title of this post for more Red Sox coverage. Remember, cheat Mr. Death and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baying At The Moon

The Boston Red Sox must address some issues before the 2010 season starts. I'll go through them one at a time, once per day for the rest of this week. I'm going to start with leftfielder Jason Bay. His 36 taters and 119 RBIs would be sorely missed. He would be crazy if he did not test his worth in the free agent market and that appears to be the way he's leaning...right now. He'll do it. He'd be crazy if he didn't. As to his relationship with the Boston Red Sox, Theo Epstein, the Boston MVP of the off season, had this to say, first about the team itself and then about his leftfielder...

“I think it can go a number of different directions,’’ said general manager Theo Epstein. “We’re always open to change because you need change to improve. It’s part of the natural cycle in baseball and life. Sometimes the market doesn’t bear that out. Sometimes there aren’t the right fits. Sometimes it’s not the right free agent market. Sometimes you end up with more status quo than you want. f that’s the case, if we look back three or four months from now and say, ‘Wow, there weren’t major changes,’ then I think next year will be perhaps the last year of this main group of players ('Tek, Papi, Lowell) - we have a lot of players going into contract years next year. It might be one more chance with this group to go out and win the whole thing. I still feel the core elements are in place in that we really want Jason Bay to be a member of the Boston Red Sox, and Jason Bay really wants to be a member of the Boston Red Sox,’’ Epstein said. “We’ll just rely on those two strong elements of the deal and talk again and see if we can work something out. We want the relationship to continue, and we’ll see if it does.’’

I took excerpts of Theo Epstein's many comments with the help of the Boston Globe. My thanks go out to them. What does Bay think? Well, he hasn't come out and really said ANYTHING specific but here's a brief something for you. He was asked if the Red Sox are at the very top of his list...

“I’m not going to say that,’’ Bay said yesterday, after cleaning out his locker at Fenway Park. “I’m not going to state that. But, yeah, I think ultimately it just boils down to I’ve gotten to this point. I’d do myself a disservice if I didn’t look around. I’ve said all along, I’m a pretty levelheaded guy. If something comes up that makes sense, tough time saying no."

Believe me, there's more than one team out there who will offer him what he wants. I can only hope that the Boston Red Sox are among his top choices. It would be SO great to see him back beside the Green Monster.

The world champion Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Colorado Rockies last night and the league championship matchups are all set. The Yankees, in what will be a very entertaining series, will face the LA Angels and those Phillies will be pitted against Joe Torre's LA Dodgers. Will Joe triumphantly return to Yankee Stadium II? Time will tell, starting Thursday.

Have a great Tuesday and I'll be back tomorrow with a question about what the Red Sox should do about their aging veterans. As always, BE WELL. I wish we were still playing. We all do. See ya.

Monday, October 12, 2009


It was as swift and savage as a skull-shattering brick to the head. Jonathon Papelbon, who had never given up a single run in the postseason in his seventeen career appearances, allowed three, yes, THREE EARNED runs in the top of the ninth inning and the LA Angels went on to win the game in true comeback fashion by a score of 7-6. The three run rally, after Papelbon allowed two Billy Wagner inherited runners to cross the plate the inning before, occured with two quick outs by the Boston closer. To say he and the Fenway Faithful were shellshocked would be an understatement of the highest order. Jonathon had this to say in a gut-wrenching postgame meeting with the media...

“I think things happened quick more than anything - I wasn’t able to stop the bleeding,” Papelbon said after a long moment in front of his locker, his ceaseless stare boring a hole through the back of the clubhouse couch after his 26-inning postseason scoreless streak ended. “Your team fights to put you in that situation, to call upon you, you let them down, it’s a feeling of there’s a lot of weight on your shoulders because your team expects you to pull through and deserve that win from you and when you don’t, it’s definitely not a good feeling.”

His manager had this to say...

“The season doesn’t wind down, it just comes to a crashing halt,” manager Terry Francona said. “You go into the top of the inning excited because you think you’re going to keep playing. Half an inning later, you’re going home.”

And here's Theo, who has his work cut out for him in the postseason...

“I think we got outplayed in this series,’’ Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. “We didn’t play our best baseball. We didn’t play all that well, all things told, over these last three games. And they certainly did. They deserve it. They outplayed us fair and square and deserve to move on. You have to be a really good team and play really well to win in the playoffs. We didn’t play well in this series.’’

Theo is correct...the Boston Red Sox did not play well enough to defeat this very good LA Angels team. They didn't hit in the first two games and yesterday...well, we all know that shoddy play and porous pitching was our undoing. I do not want to take anything away from starter Clay Buchholz. He pitched well and left with the lead in a game he should have won. He never left the dugout and was featured on many "between pitch" camera shots by TBS. Well done, Clay. We'll see you next year as our number three (or four, with Daisuke) starter. I don't think Wakes will be the number five guy but there's so much time for that discussion, too much.

I enjoyed this 2009 season. At times, the Red Sox overperformed, earning multiple game winning streaks. At other times, they did not play up to their capabilities and lost needlessly. Unfortunately, Sunday, Ocober 11, 2009 was one of those days. What might have been ain't going to happen, so we'll live with it. We'll survive and wait for next year when it starts all over again. That's the nature of this game called baseball. God willing, I'll be here for every day of the upcoming season and you'll hear from me just about every day for the rest of the fall and winter. Then, talk turns to spring training. I can't wait, but I'm getting ahead of myself. It happens.

I want to thank all my Constant Readers and every one of the "once in a while" people who visit my blog, my place of refuge at times. I wouldn't want to do it without you. Frankly, I plain old wouldn't do it at all! I owe you SO much and I hope you can leave a few 2009 comments before our eyes turn to 2010 and the accompanying bright hopes and shiny dreams. I'll be there...with you.

Click on the title for SI's complete coverage of yesterday's MLB playoff comings and goings and as always, BE WELL. See you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Red Sox Score Three In The Third But Their Season Is OVER...7-6 LA Angels

The Angels, against Buchholz, score one in the top of the fourth. More to come. More crooked Boston numbers, PLEASE! 3-1 Good Guys going to the bottom of the fourth. I'll be back.

Buchholz can't pitch more than five and leaves the bases loaded but BARD GETS OUT OF IT! 5-2 SOX going into the bottom of the sixth. Now it's 6-4 Good Guys.

Papelbon self-destructs and the darn score is 7-6 LA. He's out after giving up his first runs (three) in the postseason...ever.

Computer off until it's over. Jonathon, we hardly know you!!!!! You ain't the same...all year long.

One pitch by Okie and we go to the bottom of the ninth. It should have been over. Heroics needlessly needed.

Halo closer Fuentes in. One out...still 7-6. Two...three. Boom, that's it!

Game Three : Red Sox & Angels...Will There Be More In 2009?

Hello and good Sunday morning. It's cold and dark here in north central Connecticut with a temperature of 33.5 F. The LA Angels and the Boston Red Sox resume their best of five ALDS series shortly after noon today. That's a good thing because if this game had been scheduled at night, it would have been cold! There are freeze warnings up for interior Connecticut, which is about 92 miles southwest of Fenway Park. Fenway is near the ocean and its warm water (this time of year) influence will keep the temperatures around 50 degrees tonight, but that fact is meaningless when you play at 12:37pm EDT. It'll be so nice not to have to yawn through a playoff game as Scott Kazmir, who absolutely pitches well at the Fens, will face Clay Buchholz. Is Mr. Buchholz up to the challenge of extending Boston's season for one more day? Here he is...

“This is where you want to be,’’ Buchholz said. “This is a make-or-break situation, where you have to give your team a chance to win. You have to go out there and throw pitches with conviction and go after them. I was really confident in college. It’s all coming together up here, too. I’ve always liked pitching under pressure and all that stuff,’’ Buchholz said. “I think every pitcher does. It’s the nature of being competitive. You want to be put in a situation where when you succeed, you know the feeling is that much better. I can’t put any added pressure - nobody can put any added pressure on themselves."

Jason Bay, the Red Sox leftfielder who we all hope will be back next season (doubtful), summed it all up briefly but perfectly...

“Bottom line is, he’s our guy,’’ left fielder Jason Bay said. “I don’t think anyone is worried.’’

Yes, he's our guy. If the bats awaken (a BIG if) and if Buchholz can keep the Halos' crooked numbers to a minimum, there will be a game four on Monday. So get ready for Sunday baseball. Refreshingly, the contest starts at 12:37pm EDT at Friendly Fenway and will be televised nationally on TBS or better yet, TBS HD. So GO SOX!

You can click on the title of this post for full playoff coverage from Sports Illustrated dot. Scroll to the bottom of the SI baseball homepage (you'll start there automatically) and click on the Red Sox team emblem. That'll zap you to the Boston Red Sox homepage, filled with everything Red Sox.

As always, BE WELL. Enjoy the game and let's all hope there will be another Red Sox tomorrow. See ya.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Boston Red Sox Play Brinkmanship Starting Sunday At Fenway Park...Angels 4 Red Sox 1

The Boston Red Sox are in a hole, a familiar hole. They are down two games two none to the Angels in the American League Division Series. Game three will be at Fenway Park Sunday. They must win three games in a row or it'll be time to watch the rest of the playoffs at home on Hi Def television for the players and fans.

Josh Beckett pitched well into the seventh inning, at which pont the game was knotted at one. Yes, the Boston bats were again sleeping. But a three run triple hit by Erik Aybar changed everything. Boston failed to score in the eighth or ninth frames and that was all she wrote. Final score? 4-1 Halos.

(Wow, I wrote a complete post which was inadvertantly deleted. I'll make this short. So sorry).

Clay Buchholz will face lefty Scott Kazmir Sunday afternoon in a 12:37pm EDT contest, televised on TBS and TBS HD. It'll be so nice to see a Red Sox game while the sun is shining.

Hey, you missed a great post but it's early and I made a major boo-boo. Call me Yogi, I guess. It's idiotically early, even for me. Have a great Sunday, click on this post's title for more on the Sox loss and the Yankee win last night and as always, BE WELL.

Friday, October 09, 2009

**Angels Blank Red Sox 5-0**

John Lackey and the California Anaheim LA Angels bullpen were too much for the Red Sox hitters last night and the Halos took game one of the best of five series by a score of 5-0. Lackey was opposed by Boston's Jon Lester, who threw a big mistake pitch to Torii Hunter in the fifth inning, who slammed it into the rockpile in left centerfield for a three run home run. The game had been scoreless until that point. Lester summed up his very shaky fifth frame...

“It wasn’t the best inning I ever pitched,” said Lester of the fifth. I’m happy with my thought process and the conviction I had with my pitches. With Hunter, I tried to throw a two-seamer down and away but I left it middle and up.”

It was in Hunter's power zone, let me tell you that. Boston leftfielder Jason Bay added this...

“Lackey shut us down to four singles and we made three errors - I think we can do better,” said left fielder Jason Bay, who had one of the club’s four hits. “The first couple of innings we got his pitch count up, but then he settled in. Jonny pitched well other than that one pitch to Torii. People forget that that’s a pretty good team over there. It’s not going to be like last year where we came in here and won two games. We’ll get Josh out there and hopefully come home with a split.”

Let's face it...when you're limited to four hits, all singles, you ain't going to win many ballgames. A split would be very, very nice, to put it mildly. But LA deserves all the credit and the important victory. They outplayed, outpitched and outperformed the Boston Red Sox, so there are no bitter feelings in my house. Sure, the umpires made a couple of curiously deranged calls but in the end, they really didn't alter the scheme of things. Here is the Boston pitching line to give you a better idea of what happened...

Player................IP H R ER BB K HR BFP Pit B-S
J. Lester (L 0-1) 6.0 4 3 3 4 5 1 28 100 39 - 61
R. Ramirez 0.0 1 1 1 1 0 0 3 10 5 - 5
T. Saito 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 0 3 11 3 - 8 9.00
D. Bard 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 12 3 - 9 0.00

So it's turn the page time as Boston pins its hopes on Josh Beckett, who has always thrived in the postseason. He'll be opposed by Jared Weaver in this upcoming MUST game for the Good Guys. Boston does not want to go home down two games to none. I don't care who'll be pitching games three, four and five, coming back from a 0-2 hole is damn near impossible. I'm pretty sure the Angels set out to prove that their past postseason failures against Boston were exactly that, in the past. They sure showed it last night. Oh, it's another 9:37pm EDT start tonight. That'll change when the series moves to Fenway although the specific starting times have not yet been announced.

In other Thursday playoff games, the Dodgers put the Cardinals in a hole. They're up two games to none. And the Phillies-Rockies series is now knotted at one. Good stuff all over the country. That's October for you (and me).

I hope your Friday will be a great one and don't forget to click on the title of this post for SI's full playoff coverage of all the teams lucky enough to still be playing. Enjoy the game tonight as the Red Sox lumber will awaken and Josh Beckett will do what he does Bruce would sing, "we'll shut 'em up and then we'll shut 'em down." AMEN to that.

As always, BE WELL. Thanks. GO SOX. TONIGHT!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


That's right, eleven victories are all that stand between the Boston Red Sox and another World Championship. They go for number one tonight at 9:37pm EDT. It'll be Jon Lester ready to face John Lackey and should be a good one. Boston made their final roster decision, jettisoning Manny Delcarmen, who is still hurting from his serious car accident last week, and adding Paul Byrd, who will be used in a long relief role. Let's just hope he won't be needed, not at all. Red Sox skipper Terry Francona had this to say about that...

“I just think all that’s happened, it’s probably not in his (Delcarmen's) best interest,” manager Terry Francona said. “It would probably be rushing it a little bit. He (Byrd) has to have a legitimate chance to help us,” Francona said. “That’s basically what it is. I think it’s more realistic to cover your pitching. If something happens bad, maybe you have a bad game. It doesn’t mean the series is over.”

One more thing on this still pitch black Thursday morning. The Red Sox have released their complete five game pitching schedule for the first two games on the left coast, the next two (if two are needed) at Fenway Park and the last, if needed, back in Anaheim. And yes, Daisuke will get a start, as he should. Here you go...

10/8/ LA...9:37 PM ET...TBS...Lester (15-8) vs. Lackey (11-8)
10/9/ LAA...9:37 PM ET...TBS...Beckett (17-6) vs. Weaver (16-8)
10/11/2009...LAA...TBA...TBS...Buchholz (7-4) vs. Kazmir (10-9)
10/12/2009...LAA...TBA...TBS...Matsuzaka (4-6) vs. Saunders (16-7)
10/14/ LAA...TBA...TBS...Lester (15-8) vs. Lackey (11-8)

In my opinion, Byrd over Delcarmen is a good move because Manny is still hurting, backwise and neckwise plus he had not been pitching well for the last two or three weeks of the season. I just hope we won't see a situation where Mr. Byrd will be needed. In an ideal Sox world, the starters would go six or seven innings and the Boston 'pen would take it from there. I hope it's that easy but the Angels are the Angels...they're tough and they know too well that Boston has literally mopped the floor with them in postseasons past. Time will tell. One game at a time.

That's it from here now. Enjoy the game, a game I wish was starting a couple hours earlier. But it was up to the television network "gods" to make that decision and we have to (yawn) live with it. Have fun, go SOX, click on this post's title for more baseball news and as always, BE WELL. That's the most important thing. By far. Bye.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Minnesota Twins To Play The Yankees...Boston Red Sox Are READY!

The Minnesota Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers in a 12 inning comeback battle by a score of 6-5. Early in the game, they were behind the Tigers by a score of 3-0, but the Motor City team could not hold down the home team. They will play the Yankees with no days of rest starting tonight. Good luck to them...they'll need it. Boy, will they! CC is going for the pinstripers, not that he has a stellar postseason record.

The Boston Red Sox, who will spend their second day on the left coast, will play two night games in Anaheim and will be at always friendly Fenway Park early next week. Let's hope we can take two of the first three. Remember, this is only a best of five series. The first team to take three games moves on to the American League Championship Series. Yes, the Sox have had great success in past postseasons against the Halos but every year is different. Here are the pitching matchups announced by Boston skipper Terry "Tito" Francona for the first two games in Anaheim...

10/8/ LAA...9:37 PM ET...TBS...Lester (15-8) vs. Lackey (11-8)
10/9/ LAA...9:37 PM ET...TBS...Beckett (17-6) vs. Weaver (16-8)

I'll have the games three and four pitching matchups at Fenway tomorrow, right here. The times have not yet been set. But here's a question that's been on my mind...where does Matsuzaka fit in? I'll tell you even though I might not agree with Tito's thinking process. He will be the first one out of the bullpen if a starter falters unless a fourth Boston starter will be needed. We'll see him toeing the rubber, that's for sure. The Boston Red Sox are pumped up and more than ready to try to win another World series. I have you?

Click on this post's title for SI's full Red Sox homepage and as always, BE WELL. GO SOX!!!!!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Recommended Book Released Today..."THE FIRST FALL CLASSIC."

Yes, today, Tuesday October 6, 2009, marks the release of a very special book about our baseball history. It's called "THE FIRST FALL CLASSIC" and is available at Amazon dot com and all the usual booksellers as soon as they open. Amazon already has it listed and you can click on the title of this very post to be directed to the order page. Now, about the book.

The year was 1912, the month was October, a scant six months after THE TITANIC had too quickly sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. The teams were the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox and they were to play an eight (!) game World Series. THE FIRST FALL CLASSIC chronicles the momentous battle between those two teams. As the cover of Mike Vaccaro's book says, "The Red Sox, The Giants, and the cast of players, pugs and politicos who reinvented the World Series." Quite simply, you will love it. Published by Doubleday, it is available NOW. Simply click on this post's title to be zapped to the Amazon order page or look for it at your local bookseller. I heartily recommend it. Click away! PLAY BALL!!

Red Sox Downtime...Matsuzaka Postseason Rotation Status...Minnesota/Detroit Playoff Game Today

"The waiting is the hardest part," Tom Petty wrote, played and sang oh so many years ago and that still rings true. The Boston Red Sox, American League Wild Card winners, jetted to California to begin the preparations for their Thursday (?) game one contest against the Anaheim California Los Angeles Angels. Boston manager Terry Francona has named his three starters and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was brilliant in his last three September starts, was not among them. Leading off the series will be the ace of the team (YES, he IS the ace), Jon Lester. He'll be followed by Josh Beckett in the two slot and Clay Buchholz, who was shaky the last half of September, VERY shaky. at number three. Why the Lester/Beckett flip-flop? Let's see what the skipper has to say...

“What it really came down to is the fact that when you look at how our rotation was set up - and Beckett knows we feel this way - because for us to get where we want to go we’re going to have to lean on both of them,’’ manager Terry Francona said

Here's Josh being diplomatic as always. He is very aware of what is best for his team...

“I want to do whatever helps us win,’’ Beckett said after his start Saturday. “That’s the key to the whole postseason is to put yourself in the best possible position to win, whether it be a five-game series or seven-game series. We’ve discussed everything, and I’m OK with whatever they decide to do. That’s Tito's job. I’m glad I don’t have that job.’’

Lester/Beckett, Beckett/Lester, I could give a sh*t as long as both are our games one and two starters. What puzzles me is the selection of Clay Buchholz over Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Halos will probably pick this ALDS series to begin on Thursday. What that means is that a four man rotation might not be needed if Tito wants Lester to come back on short rest for game four. Lester could do that, Beckett probably could not. That was part of Francona's thinking process. I'm sure Daisuke will be the first guy out of the 'pen if Clay falters in any way, or if ANY starter is yanked early. Let's just hope that won't happen. PERIOD.

Don't forget that there is a "for all the marbles" game today at 5pm EDT at the Ugly Minnesota Metrodome. My girlfriend Nadia is from there and I'll STILL call it that. But seriously, it should be a great contest that will be televised on TBS and, better yet, TBS HD. Enjoy...when I think of a one game tiebreaker, I shudder as I think of 1978. More need not be said.

I'll read and respond to any and all of your comments on anything and I'll be back with more pre-series comings and goings first thing in the morning. Thanks for stopping in and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Red Sox End The 2009 Regular Season On A Winning Note...Boston 12 Cleveland 7

Despite another sub-par outing from Clay Buchholz, the Red Sox bats came alive and they clubbed the Cleveland Indian pitchers once again, winning by a score of 12-7. The big blow was a grand salami hit by Jed Lowrie, and from the left side, too. Oh, JD Drew had a multi-home run game, the fifteenth of his major league career and leftfielder Jason Bay completed an error-free season, joing Yaz, Ellsbury and Hawk Harrelson as the only Red Sox players to do that almost impossible accomplishment.

Now, on to Clay. He was off once again, but he HAS been named number three starter for the playoff series with the Halos. Jon Lester will open the postseason, opposed by John Lackey. He'll be followed by Beckett and Buchholz. If I were Tito, I would slot Daisuke into the number three slot, hands down. Clay said this after his outing...

“All my fastballs have been up in the zone, causing them to not have any movement,” Buchholz lamented. “That’s been it the last two times out. The fastball has been up. Everything has been up. I’ve been getting hit in situations that in the past I’ve been getting outs.”

Keep 'em down, Clay. Red Sox skipper Tito Francona further explained the last two mediocre outings by Clay...

“I thought he was up too much,” Francona said. “I thought he made it a little harder than he needs to. He shook off Victor Martinez too much and I think he was just thinking too much. After he came out of the game, he got a chance to talk to pitching coach John Farrell. When he made his pitches, he was fine."

I hope he'll be fine for his next start. He has to be. No matter what, it's on to postseason play, beginning Thursday on the left coast.

My congratulations go out to the 2009 Boston Red Sox, the American League Wild Card team. I'm proud of them. So are you, I'd wager.

You can click on this post's title for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL. I'll have a peview of the upcoming post season a little later in the week and don't forget, Minnesota and Detroit finished tied for first in the AL Central with identical records. They will play a one game playoff (remember 1978?...oy) on Tuesday. Exciting stuff.

That's a wrap for this Monday, October 5th, 2009. Postseason, here we come. YES!!!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Seven Run Second Inning Calms Beckett...Boston 11 Cleveland 6...Delcarmen's Car Crash

Victor Martinez slammed a second inning grand slam home run to help fuel a seven run second inning for the Boston Red Sox Saturday night. The home team beat the Cleveland Indians by a score of 11-6. Josh Beckett started out emotionally unfocused, giving up four runs in the first two innings. After that Boston crooked number second frame, he goose egged the Tribe for his last three innings of work in what was his final start until the American League Division Championship begins. Red Sox Nation learned that he needed three (!!) cortisone shots in his ailing back last week, far more treatment than I had imagined. Once he settled down, he found his rythym and breezed. He said this to the assembled media after his seventeenth 2009 victory...

“I definitely needed to get some emotions in check,’’ said Beckett. “Every pitch I tried to throw harder than the one before that. It caused me to miss location. want to do whatever helps us win,’’ Beckett said. “That’s the key to the whole postseason is to put yourself in the best possible position to win, whether it be a five-game series or seven-game series.

In all, he allowed seven hits and four earned runs while walking three and striking out five. Byrd followed him and pitched through the eighth inning, giving up a pair of earned runs. Richardson mopped up with a clean ninth inning as Boston won its third contest in a row. They finish the 2009 regular season this afternoon with Buchholz ready to face Ohka. The Red Sox then start the postseason against the Los Angeles Angels, probably on Thursday. The start date of that is determined by the team with the better record, in this case the Halos. GO SOX.

Boston dodged yet another bullet when reliever Manny Delcarmen lost his Hummer's left front tire in an I-93 blowout/crash while doing a left to right three lane swerve. The car (truck) was severly damaged but thanks to the Big Guy upstairs, he emerged unscathed. That's what seat belts will do for you... always wear 'em. There are NO excuses. Little Manny said this after arriving at the ballpark, still mentally shaken up...

“I was going like 55, 60 in the fast lane,” said Delcarmen. “The car in the middle, I saw him brush to the right a little bit and spook the guy in the slow lane - the guy in the slow lane lost control, swerved across two lanes and was coming towards to me at an angle. The only thing I could do was go straight at him and hit him or slam on the brakes, which I did, and go left-right into the median, which ended up clipping his car. There’s no breakdown lane but there was nobody behind me and nobody in front of me. What was funny was that his car spun out and went back into the slow lane and no other cars hit him. My back was a little banged up with a little stiff neck but no biggie,” said Delcarmen. “We’ll see how I wake up today.”

We all hope he'll wake up feeling just fine. Since the Red Sox won't be playing competively until Thursday, he has time to heal any bumps or bruises, thank goodness.

Well, my Constant Readers, I hope you have a great Sunday. It's the final game of the season and it feels great to know that the team we love will keep on playing, one of only eight teams permitted to do so. I'll be back first thing in the morning with the final game wrapup of this 2009 regular season. Click on the title of this post for more Sox news and as always, BE WELL.

It's been fun, hasn't it? The fun has JUST begun.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Two Down, Two To Go...Boston 7 Cleveland 2

By the title "two down, two to go," I meant that after another outstanding Daisuke Matsuzaka start Friday night, we've seen two of the four Boston Red Sox postseason starters excel. And with the bullpen the Red Sox have, the team COULD go far into the postseason, which begins in Anaheim probably on Thursday. In four starts since September 15th, Daisuke has gone 3-1 with a sparkling ERA of 2.22. We could not have wished for anything better. Last night was a good example. He went six full innings, giving up two runs on five hits, walking three and bafflingly whiffing seven. He was dominant. Here's what he said after game's end...

“Throughout those four starts I was able to work on points that I felt were going to be important going into the playoffs, and “I’m not sure yet what my role will be during the playoffs but I’m looking forward to them. The most important point was being able to battle with runners on base and I think that’s my real strength. Even in a jam, being able to make the pitch I need to make, and I was able to get a feel for that.”

Red Sox skipper Terry "Tito" Francona had praise for Boston's number three (four?) postseason starter...

“I think every game he’s pitched, it seems like his slider has become not only maybe more consistent but certainly (has) more depth to it,” manager Terry Francona said. “It’s the pitch that we’ve kind of become accustomed to enjoy to watch. It was a pretty good pitch.”

Wagner, Ramirez, Bard and Saito goose egged the helpless Indians into submission, making it two down, two to go for the Sox. What Red Sox Nation would like to see starting shortly after 7pm EDT tonight is a dominating start by Josh Beckett and another one on Sunday by Mr. Buchholz. They comprise the four man "wrecking crew" that could wreak havoc on opposing teams...all the way to the World Series and beyond.

Tonight, it'll be Josh Beckett facing Aaron Laffey. We need a vintage Beckett outing. He'll start game two after Jon Lester. For more Red Sox news and notes, simply click on this post's title. Have a great weekend and as always, BE WELL.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Lester Goose Eggs The Indians And Rights The Red Sox Ship...Boston 3 Cleveland 0

Jon Lester, showing absolutely no ill effects from being hit by a line drive two starts ago, was cold and efficient as he zipped through the Indian's batting order time and time again Thursday night at Fenway Park. The final score was 3-0 Good Guys, breaking the six game Sox losing streak. Lester pitched 6 1/3 innings and could have gone one more, giving up zero runs and only two base hits. He walked not a soul and struck out seven. He was at his dominating best, just the way we like it. Bard, Wagner and Papelbon completed the goose egg whitewash. Jon left to a standing ovation and with only three games left in the regular season and Lester slated to start the first game of the ALDS against the Halos, all is good in Lesterworld. Here's Red Sox skipper Terry Francona on his co-ace...

“We were really happy,” said Terry Francona. “I don’t think that we thought it was an issue. We wouldn’t have let him pitch. But it was really nice to see him pitch as well he did - for a lot of reasons. He was good. He used all his pitches, he didn’t overextend and it worked out.”

And here's our Mr. Lefty...

“I don’t see any reason why it (the Thursday start) wouldn’t be like any other start,” he said. “After my side day Monday, all the questions that were kind of out there about my knee, I really didn’t have any more. I treated it like a normal start, like the other 31 I’ve had all season.”

Whew, that's a relief!! Daisuke Matsuzaka will go tonight and try to produce similiar results with Josh Beckett to follow on Saturday. The final game of the 2009 season will feature Clay Buchholz on the mound. They will be the quartet of hurlers who will try to catapult Boston to a world championship. Boy, that'd be nice, wouldn't it?

On a side note, we might have seen the last of Tim Wakefield. It would be a long shot, to say the least, for him to be on the playoff roster and another long shot for the Red Sox to resign him to another four million dollar one year contract. We'll see him in the dugout during the postseason, cheering on the team he loves and the team he always gave his all to. There's another standing ovation or two waiting in the wings for Mr. Knuckleball. What a first half of the season he had...don't forget his All Star game selection, too. He'll be a Red Sox All Star forever. We all know that.

You can click on the title of this post for more Sox coverage from the Sports Illustrated Boston Red Sox homepage. You might want to bookmark it for full coverage of the postseason action from everywhere in Boston and from their opponent's media outlets. They do it all. If you'd like, leave a comment. I read and respond to every one of 'em. Most importantly and as always, BE WELL. What could be more important? See ya...soon.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Doc Halladay Takes Care Of Boston Subs...Toronto 12 Boston 0...Wakefield's Last Boston Start, EVER?

The Boston Red Sox fielded a team of subs Wednesday night and were forced to face one of the best pitchers in the world. His name? Roy "Doc" Halladay. Halladay handcuffed and goose egged 'em...there's no other way to put it. The final score was Toronto 12 Boston 0. Tim Wakefield, in what have been his final start in a Red Sox uniform (or ever?) gave it his all and every one of us in Red Sox Nation should thank him personally. He was asked if he will be on the postseason roster after last night's game...

“I don’t make those decisions,” Wakefield said when asked how realistic his place in the postseason was. “Those decisions will come down in the next couple days. I’ll deal with it when the time comes. If I’m on the team, great. I’ll give them everything I have, whether it’s in relief or a start or whatever. If I’m not, I’ll be the biggest cheerleader in the dugout.”

We all know Timmy will be there, hands held high, no matter if he's on that roster or not. One person we could do without for THIS postseason is Manny Delcarmen, who lost it a month and a half ago and has been terrible ever since. But with him or without him, it's important to win a few games (there are 4 left) before October play comences...Boston has lost six straight games. Here's Theo Epstein on THAT subject...

"It's important that they finish the season in good health and we've had good news lately in that regard," Epstein said. "Beckett threw a really good side, he felt great. Lester caught a huge break and the ball just missed his knee. That's important. It feels better when you finish strong. I want to finish strong. We all want to finish strong. It feels better. But the difference between how you feel and what actually matters ... there's no correlation. So we're not going to pull our hair out about it."

Here are the four game pitching matchups for the final regular season series against the Cleveland Indians, whose manager was fired just yesterday...

Carlos Carrasco (0-3, 9.00) vs. Jon Lester (14-8, 3.52) tonight; Jeremy Sowers (6-10, 5.09) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-6, 6.08) Friday; Aaron Laffey (7-8, 3.91) vs. Josh Beckett (16-6, 3.78) Saturday; TBA vs. Clay Buchholz (7-4, 3.74) Sunday.

That's a wrap for this early morning Thursday. Let's hope that Lester, Matsuzaka, Beckett and Buchholz look good in their last regular season starts of 2009. I thank you for stopping in once again, my dwindling Constant Readers, and as always, BE WELL.