Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Assembling A Red Sox Lineup That Makes Sense And Maximizes Run Production

Boston Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona is trying to devise a lineup, a lineup he can stick to that will maximize run production and mixes up the righty and the lefty hitters. According to an article by Scott Lauber (thank you, Scott), sports guy from the Boston Herald, Tito has gone as far as consulting with the computer lineup analyzer over at BaseballMusings dot com. The analysis, based on slugging percentage and on-base-percentage last season, suggested that Youk should lead off, followed by Victor Martinez in the two spot, Jacoby Ellsbury third, JD Drew fourth and Pedey Pedroia fifth. Forget about it! A much better lineup, at least in my opinion, whatever that's worth, would keep Ellsbury (lefty) in the leadoff position followed by Pedey (righty), VMart( switch) and Youk (right). They would be MY front four. I'd bat Drew fifth and Big Papi sixth. Of course, this is all conjecture but the first six hitters and the order that they come to the plate is vital for the success of the 2010 Boston Red Sox. Here's the skipper...

“We can make the lineup out any way we want, and I still think I know how I feel about it,” Francona said before yesterday’s. “But I’m always curious what the numbers say. I would prefer to let guys, the way they hit, determine our lineup,” Francona said. “You start making changes, you’re trying to cover something that isn’t going right. If our guys are hitting, we’ll be OK.

I like his last sentence..if we hit, with our pitching, we'll be quite OK. Fantastic, in fact. So let's get it done. My goodness, game number one of the season against none other than the pinstripers is only four (!!!) days away.

It has almost stopped raining here in Connecticut but the rivers are wildly rising and people are being relocated. I'm a lucky guy. I'm dry. I feel for those who do have to leave their homes, literally uproot themselves. I wish them the best.

The University of Connecticut national champion women's basketball team has made it to the Final Four after crushing Florida State University by a score of 90-50, the largest margin in the history of a regional final. If they win two more, they'll be undefeated and be two-time NATIONAL CHAMPIONS. Hey, they've won 76 games in a row, all by 10 or more (much more) points.

I'm done for now. Have a great day and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baseball Is Coming, Baseball Is Coming!

The Boston Red Sox were on the short end of a 9-3 defeat against the much improved Tampa Bay Rays yesterday. Josh Beckett got his work in, however, going six innings and allowing six hits and three runs. He was fine and he said to the assembled media people that he is nearly ready. He better be...the Red Sox play the Yankees Sunday night on a nationally televised ESPN broadcast. Me? I can't wait.The two leftys competing for the final two (?) spots in the Sox pen were not effective. Alan Embree was in there for two ugly innings and surrendured three runs on six hits. Two of those runs were earned. Schoeneweis preceded him and was not any better. I feel for Embee. He really wants to make a one year comeback with his old team. Does he he have what it takes? Hey, if YOU know, let ME know!

The University of Connecticut national champion women's basketball team needs to win one game tonight to be in the Final Four. They will play Florida State University, FSU. They whupped them earlier in the regular season but the NCAA tournament is a whole different thing. The game will be televised on ESPN and ESPN HD at 7pm. I'll be watching...with bells on.
Here the coach of the best team in the land, Geno Auriemma...

"Now, I've been the underdog a couple of times, certainly earlier in my career," the UConn coach said Monday. "I'm not a big fan of the underdog. But we've been the overdog for so long I like the favorites. I root for Tiger to win every golf tournament, I don't care. Freddie Couples I've gotten to know, he just won his third straight senior tournament and I hope he wins 10 in a row. That's kind of how I am. When I was playing high school basketball, I think everybody's favorite team was UCLA," he said. "I loved UCLA, loved everything about them. It was probably the fact that they won all the time, and the way they played. They were exceptional at every position. I rooted for them to win all the time, and I never wanted to see them lose."

That's the way we feel here in Connecticut. The women Huskies give their all, each and every time. I APPLAUD THEM. If you have a few minutes, tune into ESPN or ESPN HD at 7pm. Thanks. You can click on this post's title for more and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Buchholz Adjusts...UCONN Women In The Elite 8

After a dismal first two innings in which Clay Buchholz had to throw 51 pitches, he made on-the-mound adjustments, most notably mixing in his slider, and retired the next eight batters with only 34 pitches. He looked like the Clay we want to see during the regular season. He had stressed that those adjustments were something he would concentrate on this year. Well, he did it! After his outing, he said this...

"During the first two innings I was thinking about negative things before they even happened,” Buchholz said. “If you’re thinking negatively, it’s tough to execute pitches. It was definitely a step in the right direction as far as getting ready for the regular season and getting my confidence up.”

Clay allowed four runs on five hits during those two initial frames and zilch after that. Here's the Boston Red Sox skipper, Terry Francona...

“Sometimes, he tries to be too fine,” manager Terry Francona said. “But when he gets ahead in the count and he’s not thinking about 50 other things, he simplifies it because his stuff is so good.”

His final Grapefruit League start will be this coming Friday against the Washington Nationals. I didn't see the game because I was watching the UCONN women Huskies fold, sprindle, mutilate and DEMOLISH Iowa State by a lopsided score 74-36. They're in the Elite Eight and next will play Florida State. A win will advance them to the Final Four, not a bad place to be. Anything but a national championship, however, will be a disappointment. That's just the way it is. Two teams loom large. They are Baylor with their 6'8" center and Stanford, with a great cast of players. Three down, three to go starting tomorrow night. GO HUSKIES!!

Have a great Monday. It's wet here and will continue to be that way for the next couple of days. Where's the ark, Noah? My driveway would be SO nice, thank you. To my Constant Readers, thanks for stopping in once again and click on this post's title for more Red Sox stuff. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Healthy Lackey Is A Happy Lackey...Beckett...UCONN

So far, so good. John Lackey, who in the recent past has suffered from serious spring training injuries that set back his training regimens and backed up his first regular season starts, is having a GREAT and injury-free spring, his first with the Red Sox. He has been more aware of how his body feels and has adjusted accordingly, toning it down a tad. But you know what? He has been highly effective in retiring opposing hitters. He recently said this...

“I probably toned it back a bit just to make it through spring training,” Lackey said. “I wanted to get to the starts that counted. I probably was a little smarter about things.”

When asked about Lackey's past spring training injury problems, Boston Red Sox manager Terry "Tito" Francona said this...

“I think he’s aware of what’s happened the last couple springs, and so were we. I think he’s come through it with flying colors.”

I love flying colors! And what about Lackey slotted in the third position of the Boston starting pitcher rotation behind Josh Beckett and Jon Lester? Francona said this about that...

“He (Lackey) looked at me and said, ‘That’s exactly what I would do. Those guys have been here,’ ” Francona said. “It was a really good conversation. I guess I didn’t expect it to go any other way, but at the same time, I wanted him to know, hey, I know who you are. It was a big deal for him to come over here.”

It sure was! John Lackey would be a team ace ANYWHERE. I like to think of the Boston Red Sox rotation as consisting of three genuine aces with a super strong supporting cast. That's a recipe for success and post season play in my book.

I blundered upon this from ESPN/Boston. It concerns Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox' take on extending his contract to four years or five. Here is part of the release and then I'll be back with a personal comment...


FORT MYERS, Fla. -- "Talks are ongoing for a contract extension for Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, who is scheduled to pitch the season opener next Sunday night at Fenway Park against the New York Yankees.
But it turns out the benchmark for a new deal will not be the five-year, $82.5 million contract the Sox gave free agent John Lackey this winter, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations. The Red Sox will not go beyond four years in a deal for Beckett, the source said. At 30, Beckett is a year younger than Lackey, but it appears that long-term concerns about Beckett's right shoulder have dissuaded the Red Sox from going to a fifth year with Beckett, whose three-year, $30 million extension he agreed to in 2006 expires at the end of the season."


Four years seems like a great number to me, to tell you the truth. I DO NOT blame the Boston Red Sox. More importantly, having Josh at the head of our pitching rotation this year and for four more seasons is all I could ask for. I just hope Theo and John Henry GET IT DONE! The same thing goes for Victor Martinez, although he's more likely to get a two year deal.

That's it for this Sunday, March 28th, 2010. Come noon I'll be watching the University of Connecticut national champion women's basketball team as they try to advance to the "Elite Eight," one step away from the Final Four. They've won 74 straight games, all by double digits, and I expect the same today. Pat Summit's Tennessee team, a number one seed and a very hated team here in Connecticut, bit the dust (YES!!) yesterday on national television. To say I was cheering would be an utter understatement. Ever since Summit "chickened out" of her home and home yearly series with UCONN, she's been sh*t in my book. BYE BYE PAT...enjoy the games from the comfort of your living room. By the way, the UCONN game begins at 12:04pm on ESPN and ESPN HD. Enjoy and have a great Sunday. Click on this post's title for more sports and as always, BE WELL. I'll be seeing you.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


The Boston Red Sox 2010 starting rotation has been announced and skipper Terry Francona has opted to use all five of his guys instead of, because of many off days in the beginning of April, just four. As I mentioned yesterday, Josh Beckett will start things off against the dreaded NY Yankees. Timmy Wakefield will pitch game two, followed by Jon Lester, who pitched six stellar innings yesterday. John Lackey will pitch April 9th with Josh Beckett following him on his normal five days rest. Clay Buchholz will debut on April 11th. See, all five with two for Josh. The Sox are not counting on Matsuzaka until he's ready. That won't be until the last ten days of the month. There's no sense hurrying him...he's been fragile at times, too many times. Here's the Boston Red Sox pitching coach, John Farrell...

“I think all five have earned a spot, and the right, to be in the rotation,” pitching coach John Farrell said. “I think we’re pretty comfortable with where we ended up,” Francona said of the rotation.

As for Tim Wakefield, who should become the winningest pitcher in Boston Red Sox history, pitching coach John Farrell had this to say...

“He’s done everything we could’ve asked,” Farrell said. “He’s come in, he’s proven he’s healthy, he’s thrown the ball very well, and it gives us a confident feeling that we’re fairly deep, one through five, in this rotation.”

I'm very happy with the fact that Wakes will start game two. At times, he's devastating against the pinstripers. In fact, I'm happy with everything right now. As I said earlier, Jon Lester looked great on Friday. He went six innings, allowed six hits and two runs, neither of them earned. It was his own error that allowed those unearned tallies and he was unhappy about it but his team scored three in the ninth to pull out the victory. Here's the skipper again...

"He (Lester) was strong," manager Terry Francona said. "Sometimes trying to be too strong. And again we didn't make a couple plays behind him. But I think he's raring to go."

Papelbon, Okajima and Ramirez, the eventual winner, put up three goose egged innings. All in all on a sunny and very humid Florida day, nobody got hurt and just about everybody got their work in. Dustin Pedroia was given another day off, much to his chagrin. He's feeling just fine. He very jokingly said this after learning of his Friday fate...

"I'm not playing today, it's not wrist related. I told Tito he looked like Corrado Soprano. He benched me."

I want to thank JQ for that quote. Thanks John! Funny stuff. A day off in spring training can NEVER hurt. Have a great Saturday and a terrific weekend. You can click on this post's title for more on the Red Sox and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you soon...that's a promise. A promise I intend to keep.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dice K Pitches, Finally. SOX WIN!

The Boston Red Sox defeated the Florida Marlins by a score of 6-4 yesterday in a game that marked the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka. He is still a few weeks away from being completely ready and yesterday he was throwing at about 65%. But he has no pain and no worries. He can tell you that himself...

"If that was 100 percent, I'd be in trouble," he said. "But really with today being my first game I was thinking about how to approach it and I think the most important thing for me was to get into that game mindset and facing an opposing team and facing the live hitters out there today. At this point I want to rejoin the rotation as quickly as possible,” said Matsuzaka. “Training with that goal is the only thing on my mind . . . so I’m not feeling any stress right now.”

Tim Wakefield started the game and was able to go six innings, giving up six hits and three runs. All of the runs were surrendered in the first inning. Timmy said that he ran out of energy a bit in the sixth but that's exactly what spring training is for. Matsuzaka pitched the seventh and eighth, giving up an immediate run before settling down nicely. Let's just hope the soap opera shenanigins are over. Period. By the way, we STILL have a six into five pitching rotation situation. Who will be left out? I don't know but I do know this...Josh Beckett will pitch the season opener against the Yankees. Go Josh. Go Red Sox. Here's Timmy on the six into five situation and the status of his starting job......

“I’m very curious, not knowing,” Wakefield said. “Normally I kind of know what’s going on. They have some decisions to make and we’ll see what happens.”

Terry Francona, the Red Sox skipper, added this...

“We haven’t laid out the starters. We just don’t know," he said. "When we announce something, I want our guys to know and understand why and we just don’t know yet.”

The one thing I know is that Beckett will pitch against the pinstripers in the 2010 season opener followed by Lester and Lackey. Righty, lefty, righty. After that, well, we'll find out. The good thing is that everybody is healthy, including Dustin Pedroia and his wrist. What could have been a calamity turned into something MUCH less serious for Pedey.

That's a wrap for this Friday, March 26th. I hope you have a great day. Click on this post's title for all the Boston Red Sox news and as always, BE WELL. Thanks go out to you, the remaining few, for being here. See ya. Oh, I'll be back tomorrow morning, if not sooner.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Beckett Beauty..Pedey OK!

Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, one of the team's aces, bounced back with a brilliant five innings of work yesterday in a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. In those five innings he whiffed nine, including seven of nine batters in one unbelievable stretch. He allowed zero runners to cross the plate while giving up three hits and two free passes. After those five frames he went out to the bullpen to get his pitch total to 95. Here he is...

"Every day’s getting better and today was by far my best day in two weeks," Beckett said. "I’d like to stick around 95 pitches the rest of spring," Beckett said. "The most important thing today was that I felt good and I finished all my pitches. I felt like I could throw any pitch in any count. That’s the feel you want to get by the end of spring training."

You bet it is. To be able to spot any pitch on your menu whenever and wherever you want is when a pitcher knows he's nearing where he wants to be. I've said this before and I'll say it again right now. The Boston Red Sox need Josh Beckett, and not for just the 2010 season. But the two sides have been working on a contract extension behind the scenes, out of the public eye. That's the way Beckett likes it. I fully expect the Red Sox to make this issue go away soon, very soon.

Yesterday we were all concerned because our Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia rolled his wrist and might be out for a while. Well, that's NOT the case. He's going to be playing on Friday. The X-RAYS were negative and he's feeling OK. I'll let him tell you in his own words. It's much better that way...

"I rolled my wrist. I'll take BP tomorrow, and then play the next day. That's it," he said. "I'm good. There's nothing. It's more spring training. It hurt at the time, and then they just took me out of the game. No big deal. It's sore. I mean I landed, I just landed weird. When I tried to get up I couldn't really get up," he said. "Then I tried to throw it and I almost killed our dugout. But I'm fine. I'll be all right. All the bones are there. They're all there," he said. "I just iced it today, that's it. It's just sore. No big deal. It's OK. We'll be all right. I'm a quick healer. ... I don't have that many bones, so I heal quick."

Pedey, I think you have the same number of bones as all of us but I'm very happy you're feeling better. Hey, it's spring training. Take a couple days off. There isn't any hurry. Here's Sox manager Tito Francona with his short but sweet reaction to the great news...

"It's nice to hear that," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

So it's good news coupled with more good news for that team we love to love. Have a terrific Thursday as we work our way towards the weekend and more NCAA basketball coverage. The UCONN women Huskies are in the SWEET 16 and are 4 victories away from their second consecutive championship. May the force be with them. Click on this post's title for more Red Sox something or other and as always, BE WELL. I'll see you tomorrow, if not sooner. See ya!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

NESN Adds Today's Red Sox Game..Victor Martinez Must Stay

This is from the Boston Globe's EXTRA BASES,with my thanks...

"NESN will air tape-delayed coverage of Fox Sports North’s broadcast of todays’s Red Sox-Twins game immediately following NESN SportsDesk at 10:30 p.m."

I just thought you might want to know. The game will be tape-delayed because of NESN's Bruins coverage. Me? I'll be sleeping.

Now that the Minnesota Twins have locked up the services of the best catcher, hell, maybe the best player in all of major league baseball, Joe Mauer, there will be only one All Star catcher who will be eligible to file for free agency next year. His name is Victor Martinez and he plays for that team in Boston. It's vital that the Red Sox lock him up for more than the year he has left. How about a nice two year deal with an option for a third? VMart has said repeatedly that he DOESN'T WANT TO GO ANYWHERE. Here's Victor himself talking about the possible contract negotiations...

“Nothing so far,” Martinez said. “I don’t know, man. It’s all up to them. I just worry about myself, just keep working, be healthy and let things happen. I told them through my agent that I was going to be more than happy to do it before the season starts. We’ll see what happens.”

So it's up to you, Theo Epstein and John Henry. Make it happen. While you're at it, do the same for Josh Beckett. There are too many players on this 2010 Red Sox team who are here for the short term. Let's make sure the guys we need who COULD go to other clubs in 2011 a priority, as they should be. Martinez and Beckett. That's the way it is.

I want to take a minute to thank those who are my Constant Readers for stopping back every day to read my words. I don't know what I'd do without you. Right now readership is down but I think it will pick up to normal levels once the regular season begins. No matter what, I'll keep typing away, every morning or more often if Red Sox news warrants. You can count on me. Can I count on you? I hope so. Thanks again, click on this post's title for all the details of the double-sided Red Sox loss yesterday in Florida from WEEI dot com and as always, BE WELL.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Paps Rocked...Daisuke Improves...Papi Will Wait...UCONN Dominates

I guess it takes a severe migraine headache to render Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon helpless. It sure did yesterday. Before the game Jonathon took medication to stave off a mounting migraine. He lay on the floor of the clubhouse and let the meds do their job. They did...with a price. You see, that prescription medication minimizes the migraine but leaves one lethargic, without energy. His club was playing the Astros and he entered in the seventh inning of a 7-4 game. The Sox were ahead, but not for long. He allowed six runs on five hits in the rain-shortened affair. The important thing to him was that he got his work in. Boston manager Terry Francona, who did not know his closer's condition until after the game, said this...

“He took his medication and thought he was going to be fine and really wanted to get his work in,” said manager Terry Francona. “But you could tell just watching him out there he wasn’t himself.”

I'm sure he's OK right now and Francona probably wouldn't have let him pitch had he known how he felt. Hey, it's spring biggie.

Disuke Matsuzaka is slowly improving. Yesterday, he threw 32 pitches against live batters. 18 of 'em were strikes and he allowed no runs. The Sox even manually put some men on base to allow Daisuke to pitch from the stretch. After the outing, he went down to the bullpen and fired 14 fastballs. The Boston Red Sox pitching coach said this after watching him intently. After all, he's the best pitching coach in either league and if he didn't want to stay with the Sox, he could manage anywhere. Here he is...

“I thought he threw the ball with good intensity,” pitching coach John Farrell said. “His arm slot was repeated throughout, not only his warmups, but the two innings out here and then another 14 pitches that he threw down in the bullpen. The intensity was clearly improved over his BP session of four days ago. So it’s another positive step for Daisuke."

Daisuke, Buchholz and Wakefield will be competing for the fourth and fifth spots of the rotation. The way Timmy has been pitching, in my mind he should be a lock.

Lastly, the Red Sox have the option of exercising a $12.5 million option for Big Papi David Ortiz in 2011. They're going to wait so that they can see how Papi performs in 2010 and that doesn't bother David at all. Here he is...

"I’m focused on playing, letting things happen, and at some point they’re going to come to me and say what’s up, you know? That’s how it is. It’s not like I’m going to kill myself because of it.”

The Boston Red Sox need, DESPERATELY need Big Papi to be a force in the middle of the lineup. I think he will do it. Don't you? Let me know.

Have a great Monday as the days of March dwindle down to few and then none. The UCONN women's basketball team decapitated Southern University in the first round of the NCAA championship by a score of 89-35. Southern was only able to score 10 points in the ENTIRE second half. Maybe the women's NCAA field should be trimmed. I don't know but the game was so lopsided, no more than a couple minutes of it was a part of ESPN 2's coverage. That'll change. Click on this post's title for more on the game and as always, BE WELL.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Send Your Best Wishes To Ryan Westmoreland..The Link Is Here!

To send your best wishes to ailing Boston Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland, who just survived serious brain surgery, simply click on the title of this post. PLEASE. Click away. He going to have to go through a tough and extended recovery period. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Alan Embree Returns...Wakefield Is Ready

Yes, you read that title correctly. Old number 43, lefty Alan Embee, will vie for a spot in the Boston Red Sox 2010 bullpen at the age of 40. Boston pitching coach John Farrell spoke about him just a day ago...

"He’s always had a great arm action and the ability to throw the ball with well-above-average velocity and that was indicative in a short bullpen,” Farrell said. “We’ve just got to be prudent about giving him the right amount of repetition and opportunity in minor league games before we get him over here.”

Competition for the remaining bullpen spots just vamped up considerably for the guys unsure of what the future holds. Theo Epstein wanted another lefty in the 'pen and if Embree can still do it, most likely pitching to one batter each appearance, Theo will get his wish.

Tim Wakefield had another great outing yesterday while pitching against the Baltimore Orioles. He went 5 innings and allowed only two hits and zero runs. The Red Sox beat the Birdies by a score of 6-0. He threw 65 pitches and 39 of 'em were strikes. He said this after the game...

“I feel like I’m ready. I felt a lot better than I did last week, was able to throw a lot of strikes again with a little bit better movement than I did last time.’’ Wakefield said. “The only bad thing about today, I think 0-and-0 counts I wasn’t very good, but the 0-and-1 or 1-and-1 counts I was where I needed to be.’’

Where he'll be starting in April will be the Boston Red Sox starting rotation. Daisuke Matsuzaka has been slow in his conditioning process, with an injury here and an injury there. So the Red Sox will start the 2010 campaign with a quintet comprised of Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Buchholz and Wakefield. Not bad, huh? It'll be nice to have a starter in reserve and Matsuzaka WILL get his starts but at least for April, those five are THE five. That's just fine with me.

The University of Connecticut women Huskies will play their first NCAA tournament game this early afternoon to try to defend their national championship and they are odds-on favorites to do just that. There are some "expert-texperts" out there who think number two Stanford has a chance (UCONN defeated them by double digits earlier this season) but this time of year, ANYONE HAS A CHANCE. You see, it's a "one and done" format. Lose and your season is caput, over, finis. All the NCAA women's games will be on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD. The UCONN women, the team I love, the team that has not lost since 2008, tip off at 12:16pm EST. GO HUSKIES! A possible 6 games are in front of 'em all!

Have a great Sunday as you watch NCAA basketball, the men OR the women (or both). That's what I'll be doing on this soon-to-be warm and sunny Sunday here in Connecticut. Click on this post's title for more on the Alan Embree acquisition and everything else Red Sox. As always, BE WELL. See ya.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Westmoreland out of I/C...Beckett Battered

I just read this update from the Boston Globe's EXTRA BASES (Thanks BG-EB) on the condition of Boston Red Sox phenom prospect Ryan Westmoreland. He is in the very first stages of recovery after serious brain surgery. If you want more details, scroll down five or six posts. You'll find it easily. Here is the Red Sox statement which was released yesterday...

"According to Dr. Robert Spetzler, Westmoreland’s neurosurgeon and the director of Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Ryan has been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit and into the hospital's Neuro Rehabilitation Unit, where he will undergo physical and occupational therapy.
"Ryan is right on track and we expect progressive improvement," Dr. Spetzler said
“We are thrilled for Ryan and his family that the surgery went so well,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. “While we recognize that the recovery process is long and complicated, we are excited that all of the early indications are so positive. On behalf of the Westmoreland family, we thank everybody who has expressed concern and support for Ryan."

The Red Sox and the Pitsburgh Pirates engaged in a slugfest with the Pirates coming out on top by a score of 9-7. Josh Beckett made his first start since he missed one because of illness. It showed. He threw 70 pitches over 3.1 innings but he has caught up arm strength-wise. It was said that he looked "spent" in the locker room after his outing but that's what spring training is for...get yourself and your body into a position where you can go at least six innings and build from there in the regular season. He's doing exactly that. Here he is...

"It would’ve been nice to spread those 70 pitches out a bit over two more innings, but the bottom line is I got there,” Beckett said. “Obviously, the numbers don’t look good, but the most important number for me was 70 pitches.”

I have one other Beckett-related item. Josh's agent and the Red Sox have been negotiating on a contract extention, something that is vital for the ballclub. Beckett doesn't want to go anywhere and Boston HAS TO know they will have to shell out "Lackey numbers." That's just fine with me. The Boston Red Sox without Josh Beckett, well, I don't even want to think about it!

Yesterday here in inland Connecticut we set an all-time high temperature record for March 19th. The thermometer peaked out at 72 wonderful degrees. It will be more of the same today and tomorrow before reality once more sets in. Thanks for stopping in and click on this post's title for SI dot com's Red Sox page. Have a great weekend, enjoy the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments (GO UCONN WOMEN!) and as always, BE WELL. See ya!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vin Scully Hospitalized...Buchholz Smooth

I came across this in the LA Times...

LOS ANGELES — "Vin Scully, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ beloved Hall of Fame broadcaster, was hospitalized on Thursday. The West Hills Hospital and Medical Center was planning to release a statement late Thursday night.
Scully, 82, was transported from his Hidden Hills residence just northwest of downtown Los Angeles to the hospital by ambulance, according to NBC Los Angeles, which first reported the story. The station quoted an unnamed family spokesperson saying, "He’s going to be OK."

We certainly hope and pray Vin will pull through and continue his broadcasts of ALL of LA's home games. His voice is etched inside every one of us. Hey Vin, we're pulling for you. Get well. Soon.

Clay Buchholz was able to go 4 smooth and effective innings yesterday against Minnesota Twins single A players. He threw 45 pitches, 31 of 'em for strikes, allowing only one hit and whiffing 4. He then went out to the bullpen for a 15 pitch outing. At day's end, he had this to say...

“I tried to take it as the same outing as if I was pitching against Tampa Bay or New York or whoever,’’ Buchholz said. “Sometimes it’s hard to come out here and pitch when you’re used to the fans and everybody and the big stadium. I felt really good physically, got to use all my pitches, got to four innings, and got some work in.’’

Since his bad year in 2008 Clay has learned to adjust minor flaws WHILE he is pitching without talking to Red Sox pitching coach supreme John Farrell. I think it's a matter of self-confidence mixed with his great physical shape. He gained twenty pounds, most of it muscle, in the off-season. Here he is on that exact subject...

“I’m always going to be working on mechanics stuff,’’ Buchholz said. “There’s times during a game when I feel like I’m doing something wrong, and being able in my own mind to fix it without having to sit down and talk to John Farrell about it and say, ‘Hey, what am I doing wrong,’ I can feel it."

He will vie with Matsuzaka and Wakefield for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. I'd like to see him on the mound every five days. If Matsuzaka can whip himself into top-shelf game shape by the beginning of the 2010 campaign, it would be a tussle between him and Wakes. One thing is set in stone right now...the Boston Red Sox have three pitchers ready or almost ready to fill two rotation spots. That's the way it is.

It's Friday once again and that's a good thing. Enjoy your day, have a great weekend, click on this post's title for more about that team we love to love and as always, BE WELL. Enjoy the warm weather, too!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Daisuke Progresses...Beltre's Defense

The Boston Globe's EXTRA BASES was interesting this morning, very interesting. First up, Daisuke Matsuzaka, who threw 54 pitches on the practice field and looked and felt really good. He's nowhere near where he will be in a few weeks but the important thing is this. He has no pain anywhere. His back and his neck are just fine, thank you. Let's hear from the Boston Red Sox pitching coach, John Farrell...

“No restrictions, no hesitation, he feels good about himself,’’ Farrell said. “How he feels about himself is a huge component at this point, and all those are positive signs. We don’t want to skip any steps along the way here. We want to be sure that he has ample time, and we provide him ample time, to build a foundation that’s going to endure an entire season.’’

And up next, Daisuke Matsuzaka...

“I think I had good life on my fastball and I also felt I had good break and good command on my breaking ball, although there is some work to be done there."

Good news all around but I want to stress this. I expect Timmy Wakefield to be in the starting five at the beginning of the regular season, along with Clay Buchholz. The Sox just might hold Matsuzaka back a little. Being cautious sometimes is the smartest and safest way to go. But a healthy Daisuke will only help this pitching-rich ball club.

Adrian Beltre's defense at third base has everybody talking. Take yesterday's game, for instance. Lackey, who has yet to allow
a run this spring, was hit in the foot by a batted ball hit by none other than old friend Alex Cora. Lacks ran after it but Mr. Beltre waved him off and while he was falling, he bare handed the ball and winged it to first base, nailing Cora. "WOW" was the reaction of all who witnessed the play but Beltre is known for his ability to race in on balls hit in front of him and wing it (literally) to first. You hit a slow roller to Adrian, you're going to be OUT! I can't wait to see him play in a couple weeks. With Scutaro, the left side of the infield will be as solid as the right. Beltre said this after the game...

“I just react to it,’’ Beltre said. “I don’t think about how I’m going to throw it, where I’m going to throw it. I try to get to the ball ’cause I CAN get it, and throw hard where I can. And try to make a good throw. That’s probably my favorite play. I love to make those plays, especially when it’s supposed to be a base hit,” he said. “It’s always nice to know that I can still do that. I hadn’t done it this year yet.”

Yo Adrian, you made a jaw dropping play. The Red Sox skipper, Terry "Tito" Francona, then said this...

“Defensively he’s pretty special. That’s a reactionary play, that’s a great play. He’s got a good arm. If he keeps his feet under him, that’s certainly better. You can tell he’s been throwing the baseball all his life. It’s a natural thing. He can throw it from a lot of angles.’’

OK, to sum up, the biggest question right now surrounding the Boston Red Sox is this. Which five guys will make up the eventual five man rotation? Remember this, though. There will be NO need for a fifth starter until the middle of April. There are off days galore at the start of this 2010 season of baseball. Terry Francona and his coaching staff will have plenty of time to sort out the pieces of the puzzle. Three things are for certain...Beckett, Lester and Lackey. Oh, the Red Sox MUST sign Beckett BEFORE the season begins. The Boston Red Sox without Josh Beckett are just not the same team they are with him pitching every five days. Mr. Henry, GET YOUR WALLET OUT! In March! NOW!!

That's it for this soon-to-be-warm Thursday. Enjoy your day, click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mets 4 Red Sox 2

Boston Red Sox pitcher John Lackey continued his spring training dominance by throwing four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and ZERO runs. Boy, will he be fun to watch in the three spot of the Boston rotation! Papelbon, Okie and Bard continued the scoreless streak until Ramon Ramirez gave up ALL four runs. Shouse and Delcarmen finished with two goose egg innings but Ramirez' damage was enough for the Metsies to win this meaningless contest. I'll have a full wrap tomorrow morning. Have a great night.

Westmoreland Has Surgery...Sox Lose and Lose Again

Ryan Westmoreland got through his brain surgery yesterday. See two posts below this one for what his ailment entailed. Here is the entire statement from the Boston Globe's EXTRA BASES...

"The Red Sox just released a statement saying that Ryan Westmoreland underwent successful surgery to remove a cavernous malformation in his brain today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Robert Spetzler at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.
The procedure lasted five hours, and Westmoreland remains in the intensive care unit, but according to the press release from the Sox "has come through the surgery well."
The release also said that, "Due to the complexity of this surgery, Ryan will face a difficult period initially before beginning his recovery."

We, every one of us, wish Ryan the best in what is sure to be a complete road to health, a journey of ups and downs, sadness and euphoria. A journey to complete good health. Good luck, Ryan. You have a long road ahead of you but we're ALL pulling for you. God bless.

In less important news, the Houston Astros defeated the Boston Red Sox by a score of 3-0 and the Tampa Bay Rays bumped them off 7-0. The bright spot was Jon Lester's one run in three innings against the 'Stros. The "not so good?" No runs in two games for the Boston offense. I ain't worried. Not one bit.

Have a great Hump Day St. Patricks Day Wednesday. My goodness, that doesn't happen for another seven years! Click on the title of this post for all you need to know and as always, BE WELL.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Playing First Base For The Boston Red Sox-MIKE LOWELL...Papi Speaks LOUDLY

The Boston Red Sox played a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Monday and for the first three innings, their man at first was none other than Mike Lowell. Scouts from other teams were there and the general concensus was that he looked good on the field but a little slow on the base-paths. He singled his first time up. Boston ended up losing the game by a score of 8-4. Big Papi David Ortiz commented...

“He looked good."

Ah, a man of many words. Tim Wakefield started and went 3.2 innings. He gave up nine hits and a whopping five runs and said this about Mikey...

"I’m glad that he didn’t get traded to Texas this offseason because, by far, he’s the most professional guy I’ve played with. He’s been a tremendous teammate and a leader in this clubhouse and that’s something that would have been sorely missed had he been traded to Texas.’’

I'm glad he's with the Sox, too, but if he shows he can play first base, it will be easy for Boston to trade him to another club...providing they pick up a large portion of his salary. I personally would like him to stay right where he is. The fans love him, he can sub for Papi as DH, play first when Youk needs a rest and pinch hit whenever necessary. He still has a potently popping bat. Make no mistake about it. WE LOVE MIKEY.

Big Papi David Ortiz hit a home run and stroked a single yesterday against the Birdies but lashed out at the people who have moaned and groaned about his 1 for 19 spring training start. HEY, it's spring training! HELLO!! Here's some of what he said...

“I’ve got nothing to prove,” Ortiz said. “The season, of course, is different. The season is the season. On April 2, who gives a shit what you did in spring training? How many guys have you seen struggle in the spring and then boom, crush the season? And how many guys have you seen crush spring training and when the season starts, struggle like hell? So spring training? I’m going to try to do well and get my at-bats and get my work, but I couldn’t care less about it.”

David is trying to avoid the kind of start he had in 2009 and ya know what? HE WILL! Thanks for stopping in, click on the title of this post for more on the Boston Red Sox courtesy of Sports Illustrated dot com and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Red Sox Pospect Ryan Westmoreland ILL

My thanks to the Boston Globe for making me aware of this. The name Ryan Westmoreland might not be familiar to you but it is to the Boston Red Sox and their players. He is a 19 year old super prospect who right now is in the beginning stages of the fight of his life. After experiencing headaches and other health oddities, tests revealed that he suffers from a "cavernous malformation" of weak blood vessels in his BRAIN STEM. The brain stem is the center of everything that makes us human beings and because of that, the procedure he will undertake today (they're not wasting any time) might, God forbid, be complicated by the malformation's location and serious and severe neurological consequences might result. He's only 19 years old. It's not fair. Boston manager Terry Francona had this to say...

“I’m going to be very respectful of what they (Ryan and his family) are going through,’’ he said. “I would hope that everybody else would be, too.’’

The Red Sox convinced him to join the club with a $2 million signing bonus. Jon Lester and Mike Lowell, cancer survivors (this is NOT cancer), have been through it all and know how much help the Boston-affiliated medical people were. Here's Jon...

“He’s definitely in a good organization as far as doctors and people that’ll take care of him, said Lester, who overcame anaplastic large cell lymphoma. “As far as that goes, we've got a lot of good resources here.’’

That we do, Jon. I'm sure we all wish Ryan the best and we have to hope he comes out of this dangerous foray into his brain unscathed. Good luck and God bless, Ryan.

Josh Beckett was scratched from Sunday's 6-4 Red Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins. Reliever Ryne Miller started the contest in his place and gave up three first inning runs. Hey, the Good Guys won and Beckett will pitch at the end of the week on his normal day. Here's Tito...

''He'll pitch again on his normal day,'' Francona said of Beckett. ''It might cost him getting stretched out by one inning. He wasn't feeling well. He'll just stay right on his schedule. The biggest thing is for him to get himself better.''

Team captain Jason Varitek played in his first spring game after taking care of his ailing wife. It must have been nice to see him back in there. He said this...

''You're getting your body acclimated to playing along with seeing a lot of new arms,'' Varitek said. ''That was a little bit different. You try to kind of be a little more aware.''

The biggest question the club has RIGHT NOW is this...what's going on with Daisuke Matsuzaka and when will he return? But we're in good hands with Timmy Wakefield as our number five guy. Clay Buchholz looked great in his Saturday start and we all know numbers one through three could ALL be aces. We're in good far.

We start another new week with a middle-of-the-month Monday. Make the best of it. One month until tax time. I know I'm not getting a refund so I'll file mine in early April. Click on this post's title to be zapped to the Boston Herald Red Sox home page and as always, BE WELL. Thanks for stopping in and leave a comment if you can. See ya!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daisuke Hurting, Wakefield IN The Starting Five...Buchholz Sharp Yesterday

The six man starting pitching staff for the Boston Red Sox has taken yet another hit, a hit that will allow the unscored upon Tim Wakefield to become a member of the five man opening day rotation. The oft injured Daisuke Matsuzaka had to cut short his batting practice session yesterday because of pain in his neck. Frankly, he's become a pain in ALL of our necks. Neck discomfort, possibly related to his back pain, is the latest ailment. But fret not. Timmy to the rescue! That's the way it should be. Here's Daisuke...

“I didn’t throw live BP today due to stiffness in my neck,’’ it said. “As for my schedule . . . I’m going to see how I feel today, meet with the coaching staff and decide at that point.’’

And the Red Sox skipper chimed in with this...

“We’ll go kind of day-to-day on it,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “We’ll wait and see how he shows up tomorrow, and when he feels good, we’ll repeat what we were going to do. I don’t think it’s anything besides a stiff neck,’’ Francona said. "When something like this does happen, I don’t think we have to panic,’’ Francona said.

My thoughts on this? OK, here I go. Sometimes Daisuke wants to stick with a preparation schedule unlike any other American pitcher. So far, with a 162 game schedule, he has overdone it frequently, not only when he prepared for his role in the World Baseball Classic but THIS preseason, TOO. What has to happen now is physical therapy and care. Boston hopes to see him in the starting rotation before the end of April but if at that time Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz have yet to lose a game, well, where does Matsuzaka fit in?? I know this...the Red Sox will not throw him out there until he is 100%. There is absolutely NO need to. None at all.

After a rainout on Friday, Clay Buchholz put on a show. Last week he allowed three runs over the span of two innings. Yesterday? He tossed one hit ball and struck out two while walking one. It seemed that he had his "good stuff" swagger back. He said this after the game...

“Control the game, that’s the biggest step I’ve taken,’’ he said. “Being able to slow down a little bit when things are getting a little wacky out there, and taking control and throwing a pitch I need to throw at that situation rather than thinking about why is this happening or anything else.’’

With Clay and Wakes in the numbers four and five spots of the rotation, that's a nice combination. Boston should win at least 3 of every five games with that scenario. Maybe more. We can all live with that.

I hope your weekend is going well as we approach sunlight on Sunday. If you'd like, click on this post's title to be zapped to something Red Sox related. I haven't found "it" yet but knowing me, I will. Thanks for stopping in and as always, BE WELL.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Daiske Goes Live...Beltre On Boston

Daisuke Matsuzaka will throw to live hitters for the first time this spring at 11:30 a.m. in the back field directly behind City of Palms Park. Barring any unexpected complications, he will be ready for the opening of the 2010 season. I'd wager he might be the sixth starter at first, behind Wakefield and Buchholz, but I know this. There will be one disappointed pitcher currently vying for a spot in that too-deep sextet. 6 into 5...hmmm. Only the Shadow knows. A mystery...with an eventual answer.

The Red Sox game was rained out yesterday so the scheduled starter, Clay Buchholz, will take the hill today. He'll be vying for a spot to pitch every five days. I hope he makes it, WITH Tim Wakefield. Yes, I know the Sox are paying Matsuzaka top bucks but in my heart I want to see Timmy every five days and be able to watch Buchholz continue to evolve into a first-rate American League hurler. He will, too. I just know it.

Lastly, Adrian Beltre, third baseman supreme, spoke out on a few subjects. First, the Boston pitching staff...

“You face Beckett, you face Lester, I hated facing Wakefield, I couldn’t even touch him,” Beltre said. “It’s not only how they pitch you, but the kind of pitcher that you face. Most of the time we face these guys it’s the kind of guy we face every time, Beckett, Lester, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, those guys really give me a hard time. I’m not going to be facing this pitching staff, which is a plus, and playing with a team that has a really good chance to win. The fact that we’re going to go to a ballpark that’s sold out every day, it gives you a little bit of a edge. Every day it feels like you’re playing for something.”

You are, Adrian, you'll be playing for EVERYTHING. Here's Beltre on the Fenway Park playing field conditions...

“It’s not the best, but it’s been better the last couple of years,” Beltre said. “I haven’t seen it this year yet, so I can’t comment on it now. I hope to learn the first couple of weeks to see how it’s going to play.

Adrian has nothing to worry about. The infield problems have been fixed (mostly) and with his defensive prowess, the Fenway Faithful and all of Red Sox Nation will see a third base defense unparalleled in Boston history, cup or no cup. Yes folks, Beltre does not wear a protective cup. I wrote a post about exactly that a week to ten days ago. Scroll down or page down and you'll find it.

Have a great Saturday and a wonderful weekend. Here in north cental Connecticut, we're going to get wet. Bigtime. Rain and high winds will start this afternoon. Hey, it's the weekend. That's OK. If you wish, click on this post's title for more Red Sox coverage and if you didn't have a chance, click on the title of my yesterday post for a terrific 42 picture retrospective of Nomar. You'll enjoy it. Thanks and as always, BE WELL.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Boston Red Sox 8 NY Mets 2

Boston Red Sox starter John Lackey again was impressive in his start against the Metsies on Thursday. The Sox prevailed over the Mets by a score of 8-2. So far, there have been no signs that this supposedly impotent lineup will fail to be able to score runs. Here's our newest and richest pitcher...

"I'm down in the zone," Lackey said. "I threw a lot of strikes, and I'm happy with the number of ground balls I got. That worked out nice, glad I got it in and be able to move forward,” said Lackey. “I got what I needed to get done, to be sure. I’m on time, I’m not getting too far ahead of myself. My two-seamer was pretty good today, I was happy with that, I got a lot of ground balls.

The bullpen followed Lackey and only one pitcher, Castro, gave up any runs at all. Castro surrendered two runs and two hits in the bottom of the seventh. But the Boston offense made those runs mean absolutely nothing. Just the way we like it. They win again, even if it's only spring training.

I don't have anything more for you right now...I woke up too early, as you can see by the time stamp at the very bottom of this post. I hope you have a great Friday and a terrific weekend. Click on the title of this post for a retrospective picture gallery of Nomar Garciaparra. You'll enjoy it, just as I did. As always, BE WELL. Thanks for stopping in.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nomar Comes Home

Nomar Garciaparra is retiring from his love...the game of baseball. And he's doing it as a member of the Boston Red Sox. The Sox signed him to a one year $1100 a month contract, a contract that equals out to $37 dollars per day. He again was a member of the Boston Red Sox and yesterday, he retired as a member of "his" team. Sure, he left as an unhappy man. A wrist injury late in 1999 changed him forever but boy, his numbers from '97 until that injury were totally amazing. Even after being hit by a pitch that damaged his wrist forever, his batting average climbed to a league-leading .372. Lou Merloni remembers...

“I don’t know if they keep stats on hard outs,’’ Merloni wonders. “But the year he hit .372, he could easily have hit .400. He was doing nothing but getting hits or hitting hard outs.’’

One thing is certain. He loved the Boston Red Sox. He became frustrated when a series of injuries plagued him and he showed frustration with his team and the people who loved him. I want to remember him as the Nomar before the wrist injury. He was probably the most feared hitter in all of baseball. It seemed that every time he put the bat on the ball, he hit it on the nose, screaming smoke-producing line drives. Deep inside, he loved Boston and never wanted to leave. Back then, $60 million was a lot of money. It still is a huge bunch of change. Jason Varitek talks about Nomar's love for the team...

“I don’t want to speak for the man, but I know his heart has been here since he left,” Varitek said. “He’s a Red Sox. He always has been. We unfortunately know a bit of the business side of things. I don’t think any of us know the depth of what goes on behind closed doors. Players just know and understand a player’s heart.”

And here's Nomar as he sat between Larry and Theo at his retirement press conference in Boston...

“This is where the dream to play baseball in the big league started, here with the Red Sox,” Garciaparra said. “Once I got to play in front of all these fans, and the way this city and all these fans embraced me, I mean, I always just felt that connection for me. I always said I truly wanted this to be the last uniform I ever put on, and today I get to do that. That’s why it’s so important to me.”

That quote touched me deeply. I wish his agent had been on the ball and accepted the $60 million deal but sadly, that's not what happened. I will always remember the excitement and anticipation whenever Garciaparra strode to the plate. Just like Yaz. I always will remember...forever.

Click on this post's title for more on this story and as always, BE WELL. Thanks made us all SO very happy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Boston Red Sox 9 Florida Marlins 0... UCONN Women Big East Champs!

Tim Wakefield pitched three scoreless innings to earn the victory in a 9-0 shellacking of the Florida Marlins. All the pre-spring training talk about a lack of offense seems trivial right now. The bullpen looked good, the whole effort looked good. You can't ask for anything more.

Last night at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, the University of Connecticut women Huskies basketball team wrapped up the Big East Championship with a 60-32 thrashing of West Virginia. Kalana Greene was the catalyst to power the strong Connecticut effort. She earned the most valuable player of the tournament award. UCONN is now six wins away (NCAA tournament) from their second straight undefeated season. Remember, every one of those 72 straight victories have come by ten points or more. THAT'S AMAZING! Do you believe in miracles? I do.

That's it...short but sweet on this still dark Wednesday moring. Nadia has come back to town for an eight day (maybe less?) visit. Right now she's sleeping and I'm typing. That's just the way I like it.

Hartford and all of Connecticut was a happy place last night and I'm sure many people just awakening will bask in the glory of another UCONN win. Click on the title of this post for more of something and as always, BE WELL. See ya.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


The University of Connecticut NCAA women's basketball team has done what no women's team has done before. In fact, only John Wooden's men's team has done better. EVER.This is from the Hartford Courant...

"The Huskies defeated feisty Notre Dame 59-44 in the Big East tournament semifinals at the XL Center. The winning streak that began against Georgia Tech on Nov. 16, 2008, one fueled by great players and fattened by double-digit margins, has finally reached historic proportions
Frankly, No. 71 wasn't much fun for the nation's top-ranked team. They had to work 40 minutes for it. Led by Tina Charles, who had 16 points and 17 rebounds, the Huskies (32-0) broke the Division I women's record for consecutive wins set by UConn in 2001-03. Maya Moore had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. But more importantly for a program that values championships more than history, it springboards UConn to its sixth straight tournament title game. UConn has already won 15 championships and will play West Virginia Tuesday night at 7."

OK, I know my blog centers around the Boston Red Sox and always will, but this UCONN team is very dear to my heart and they're a joy to watch. Pure basketball combined with excellence in sports. What a combination! I'll be watching ESPN tonight at 7pm. If you have the time, tune in. It's regular old ESPN, not one of their other networks. Anyone with cable television will be able to watch it. Enjoy. Go Huskies!! Now, on to the Red Sox.

Josh Beckett started his second spring training outing and was effective again. Jonathon Papelbon, Hideki Okajima and Ramon Ramirez followed him and together they held the Cardinals scoreless for six innings before each team erupted for five runs each in the eighth and ninth innings. But Boston prevailed by a final score of 7-6 and that's all that matters. Keep it going, Sox.

I have the UCONN women on my mind. Tune in to ESPN at 7pm EST if you can. Click on this post's title to be linked directly to the Sports Illustrated home page. Guess who's on the title page? As always, BE WELL.

Monday, March 08, 2010

UCONN WOMEN Tie Record With 70th Cosecutive Win, All By Double Digits

The University of Connecticut national champion University of Connecticut women Huskies basketball team improved their record to 31-0 with a resounding 77-41 whupping of Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament at the XL Center in Hartford. It was, unbelievably, their 70th straight double digit win.The record is 70 and they'll have a chance to break that record, their own, at the XL Center in Hartford at 6pm. The game will be on ESPNU so if you have a digital cable box and you want to see history, locate ESPNU on your cable or satellite lineup. You'll be glad that you did.

The Boston Red Sox scored four runs in the eighth and ninth innings to eke out a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Clay Buchholz made his first start of the season but it was a shaky one. That's OK this time of the year because for the most part, pitchers are just getting the feel of facing live bats. The relievers gave up only one other run and the bats came alive enough to snatch the game away from the Birdies. Here's the Boston pitching summary from Sunday's game...

Buchholz 2.0 5 3 3 2 1 13.50
Atchison 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0.00
Bonser 2.0 1 0 0 0 3 0.00
Bard 1.0 2 1 1 0 1 4.50
Kelly(W, 1-0) 2.0 0 0 0 1 1 0.00
Manuel(SV, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0.00

It's been an uneventful spring so far for the Red Sox and that's JUST the way I like it. No injuries. I tried to watch the 1-2pm hour of the game on the MLB cable channel but they did not televise it. It really didn't matter because ESPNU had wall-to-wall UCONN women coverage right up until the 2pm history-making game. Don't forget...if you can receive ESPNU on your cable tier of channels, tune in at 6pm as the women try for a new record, the best ever for a women's basketball team in history. Number 71 is in their sights. Click on the title of this post for the Hartford Courant's complete coverage of the game and everything around it in the city of Hartford. There are multiple things to click on so you can get a "feel" of the excitement and anticipation the city of Hartford, Connecticut experienced yesterday. I'm ready for 6pm right now! If any of you saw yesterday's game, please let me know in a comment and as always and forever, BE WELL. Thanks.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lackey Looks Perfect...Boston Splits

The Boston Red Sox played the Minnesota Twins in the "A" game of a split squad doubleheader. They lost the "B" game with Tampa Bay by a score of 6-4 but clearly saved their best for the Twinkies. John Lackey made his first start for the Red Sox and shined even though he said he doesn't feel "100% of anything." He tossed two hitless and scoreless innings and the relievers, save for Mr. Nelson (the eventual winner), kept it up. The $82.5 million dollar man had this to say after his outing...

“I felt pretty good,” Lackey said. "It’s always different when you have to sit down, get back up for that second inning. It was a little bit harder to get loose that second inning as opposed to the first, but overall, I felt pretty good. We’ll keep moving forward.”

DeMarlo Hale, the Boston bench coach who served as the skipper for this split squad game while Tito Francona managed the Red Sox loss to Tampa Bay, critiqued the new Boston Red Sox number three starter...

“I’ve seen him over the last years,” said DeMarlo Hale. “I know what he’s going to bring. That’s exciting. He’s very competitive. I’m glad Lackey is on our side this year, for sure.”

I second the motion. If Lackey can stay healthy, especially in the spring unlike the past two seasons, I project him to be a sixteen to eighteen game winner for the Good Guys. He likes to record out after out in a quick fashion and he has the talent to do it. It's as simple as that. Go John, GO!

The Boston Red Sox game at Baltimore WILL BE TELEVISED today at 1pm on the MLB television network. I'm going to catch the first hour of it before turning my rapt attention to the UCONN-Syracuse women's college basketball game on ESPNU at 2pm. The Huskies, the best team (by far) in the land, will be trying to tie the longest winning streak in NCAA women college basketball's history as they open their play in the Big East tournament. They've won 69 straight games over the last two plus seasons, ALL BY DOUBLE DIGITS. They'll have number 70 in their sights today at the XL Center in Hartford. If they win (they will), they'll try for number 71 tomorrow at 6pm, also on ESPNU. No other team has done that EVER but right now, it's one game at a time. GO UCONN.

Have a great Sunday as you do what you want to do. Thanks for stopping in and please, if you want to, click on this post's title to be beamed to the Boston Globe Red Sox home page. Beam me up, Scotty (Kirk never actually uttered that line on any original STAR TREK episode or movie). As always, BE WELL.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Wakefield Feeling Just Florida Fine

Tim Wakefield and his once ailing back are doing just fine, thank you. Last year he was dragging a leg while walking with the kind of pain that is almost indescribable. He tried to pitch but it was impossible. It turned out he had a bulging disc that was in contact with the sciatic nerve. This causes leg pain, numbness and weakness in the affected leg, all the way up to the buttocks. It's terrible and I know how bad it can be. I went through it thirty years ago. I couldn't even STAND on my tiptoes because the right leg was so weak. I won't even mention the pain. It made going to the dentist without novocaine seem like a picnic. Fortunately, I had a great doctor who removed the disc via surgery. It turned out that in a volleyball fall I had shattered the disc into about eight pieces. One of those was rubbing against that nerve and as soon as ALL of the pieces were removed, the pain relief was instantaneous. But enough about me. Timmy is healthy and yesterday he pitched the third and fourth innings in relief of starter Jon Lester. Jon gave up four first inning runs in his one inning but Wakes shined with two scoreless frames. The Red Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins 5-0. Win some, lose some. John Lackey will take the hill today. The important thing is this...Tim has been able to maintain a normal workout timetable. His manager, Terry "Tito" Francona had this to say...

“I think he’s right where he’s supposed to be,’’ said manager Terry Francona. “There’s a lot of things. He’s got age, he had surgery. When you get down here and you start going every day, you can get beat up a little up. We didn’t want him to get to that point. But he’s answered the call every day. He’s been great,’’ said Francona. “Ball’s all over the place.’’

Here's the knuckleball man himself...

“I’m excited,” said Wakefield. “Obviously this is a test. I’ve been telling everyone I feel fine. I think I proved to myself when I got over here that everything was going to be good and just try to get ready for the long haul of the season.”

When I think of Wakes I think of his long-time dedication to the Boston Red Sox and his ability to flutter the baseball THROUGH the strike zone. He's 40 plus now but that's OK...he's still got it. Have a great 2010, Timmah! We love you.

That's a wrap for this soon-to-be-warm Saturday morning. Once the sun comes up this time of year, warming is an automatic thing. And believe it or not, Daylight Savings time begins a week from tomorrow. Can baseball be far behind? Click on this post's title for the Boston Herald's Red Sox home page and as always, BE WELL. Thanks for popping in.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Boston Red Sox 2 Minnesota Twins 1

The Boston Red Sox, led by their ace, Josh Beckett, defeated the Minnesota Twins 2-1 in their very first spring training game against a major league club. Becks threw 27 pitches in two innings, gave up the Twinkies' solo run and allowed two hits while striking out one. Great start, Josh. He was followed by six relievers who blanked the club from Minnesota the rest of the way. Dustin "Pedey" Pedroia had this to say about Beckett...

“We all look to Josh as a guy that carries us,’’ Dustin Pedroia said. “He does that. He goes out every start and attacks, and that’s kind of our team’s mentality. His role on this team doesn’t change just because we’ve got another ace (Lackey, Lester). He’s still the man. He still goes out there and does what he does. His attitude and the way he carries himself, it’s pretty special.’’

It sure is, Pedey. Here's the youngest guy in the Red Sox rotation, someone with unlimited promise, Mr. Clay Buchholz...

“For us, Josh, he’s the one that likes to go out there with all the weight on his shoulders and beat the best teams and beat the best guys,’’ Buchholz said. “It’s seemed, since I’ve been up the last couple years, that every time that Josh is going well, it seems like everybody else feeds off of him. That’s what you get whenever you have that label as an ace. It’s seemed, since I’ve been up the last couple years, that every time that Josh is going well, it seems like everybody else feeds off of him."

So Boston has won their first three Florida games but the first two don't count...they were playing college teams. They play the Twins again today in Ft. Myers at 1:05pm EST. Lester will make the start with the inevitable procession of relievers to follow. That's the way it goes early in March. Josh Beckett must have a great year, as well as the other members of the six man (5 1/2?) rotation. I have confidence in everyone except, at least for right now, Daisuke Matsuzaka. I hope he can regain his health and have the kind of season he did two years ago.

Here is the entire radio and TV schedule for the games of spring...

March 4, Minnesota, 7:05 (WEEI)
March 6, Twins (SS), 1:05 (WEEI)
March 7, at Baltimore, 1:05 (WEEI)
March 10, Tampa Bay, 1:05 (WEEI)
March 13 , Pittsburgh, 1:05 (WEEI, NESN)
March 14 at Minnesota, 1:10 (NESN, WRKO)
March 16, at Tampa Bay, (SS), 7:05 (WEEI)
March 17, Mets, 1:05 (WEEI, NESN)
March 20 , Baltimore, 1:05 (NESN, WEEI)
March 21, Houston Astros (SS), 1:05 (NESN, WEEI)
March 23, Minnesota, 7:10 (WEEI)
March 27, at Baltimore, 1:05 (WEEI)
March 28, Minnesota, 1:05 (NESN, WEEI)
March 29, Tampa Bay, 7:05 (NESN, WEEI)
March 30, at Tampa Bay, 1:05 (ESPN)
April 1, Minnesota, 1:05 (ESPN)
April 3, at Washington (Nationals Park), 4:05 (WEEI)

I hope you have a terrific Friday. Click on this post's title to be zapped to the Boston Globe's Red Sox home page and as always, BE WELL. Live long and prosper, as Spock would say. Logical.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Red Sox Double Dip

The Boston Red Sox defeated Northeastern and Boston College handily but that's what we all expected. The real spring training schedule against major league teams begins today when Josh Beckett and relievers will face off against the Minnesota Twins, who are also based in Ft. Myers. Here are yesterday's scores...

Boston 15 Northeastern 0
Boston 6 BC 1

This is from the Associated Press...

FORT MYERS, Fla. - "David Ortiz hit a two-run homer, and top prospect Casey Kelly made his spring training debut with a scoreless first inning as a Boston Red Sox split squad beat Northeastern University 15-0 on Wednesday in the first game of an exhibition doubleheader. The Red Sox defeated Boston College 6-1 in the second game. Boston pitchers surrendered only two hits. Manny Delcarmen, who followed Kelly to the mound, pitched one inning and picked up the victory."

Kelly only needed ten pitches to retire Northeastern in the first inning and he looked great doing it. Here's the man he threw to, Victor Martinez...

“He has great stuff. He did great. He spotted his pitches. He has a pretty good change up. The stuff he has was amazing for the limited time he’s been pitching.”

Just wait a year or a year and a half to allow Kelly to blossom and mature. He has unlimited potential. The games were only seven innings long but everyone looked good and no one was injured. That's the way it should be. I'm sorry I couldn't find the box scores but the scores suggest what they would look like. And that's good.

You can click on this post's title for more articles about the Red Sox. I'll have all the details of today's game against the Twinkies WITH a box score first thing in the morning. I'll see you then if not before. As always, BE WELL. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

It's Time For Red Sox Baseball!

The Boston Red Sox will start their 2010 spring training schedule with a day/night doubleheader today. Yes, it's that time! Casey Kelly will pitch the opening game against Northeastern at 1:05pm est and Boof Bonser will take the hill at 6:05pm ready to face Boston College. They will each pitch only one inning and 16 relievers will follow them for an inning each. That sounds like a plan. Here's the skipper of the club, manager Terry Francona...

“It’ll be fun. It’s that time,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “We’ll get comfortable and get in that routine.’’

Now that's a routine I can get used to very easily. The Sox will face major league competition starting on Thursday. Bring 'em on.

Mike Cameron took his swings yesterday so it seems he is almost fully healed. He was bothered by a sore groin for the past few days. He will not be in the lineup until Friday just to play it safe. And now, more "down under" news...

Here's a delicate subject. Boston Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre does not like to wear a protective cup. If the ball hops up on him unexpectedly, well, OUCH! Asked why he eschews a cup, he said this...

“That’s a good question,’’ Beltre said. “I don’t know yet. I’m going to try it in spring training and see how it goes. I should, but it just doesn’t seem comfortable. I tried to wear it before, but I just don’t feel right. It just isn’t comfortable. When I came through the Dodger camp, they forced me to use it,’’ Beltre recalled. “But I told them I can’t play like that. I feel like I can’t move, so I never had to wear one until last year. I never wore one again until last year after I got hit. It was the first time I was hit. They say I’m crazy not to wear the cup. But I say, if the ball’s going to hit me there every 11 1/2 years, I’ll take my chances.’’

Youk chipped in...

“Outfielders don’t wear them,’’ said Kevin Youkilis, who has spent significant time at both corners in the infield. “A lot of people don’t wear them. I think a lot of pitchers. You’re always taking a risk. The first week wearing one is not very comfortable, but you get used to it. To me it’s habit. I don’t go out there without it. Ever. Mine’s definitely been hit a couple of times.’’

Pedey also chimed in...

“Once you get hit there, you want to wear one,’’ said the second baseman. “Beltre is probably the only one here that doesn’t. That’s risky business. Sometimes those hard-hit balls that hug the ground, you try to get in front of them, but they hop up on you and they’ll hit you underneath. If you don’t wear a cup, it’s going to do some damage and it makes you talk funny for a while.’’

I've never been hit "down below" before, thank goodness, but I've seen guys who've been nailed there up close and it seems the pain goes on and on and on and on. Good luck, Adrian. You're the best in the business at your position and we need you. Badly.

That's all I have for you this early Wednesday morning but don't fret. I'll be back first thing in the morning, if not sooner, with all the details of the first two spring training games. Click on this post's title for more Sox stuff and as always, BE WELL.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Red Sox Spring Training Pitching Assignments...UCONN Women Finish 30-0

The Boston Red Sox have released their starting pitchers for the first week of spring training and I have it here for you. It all begins on Wednesday, when Casey Kelly will face Northeastern. The nightcap against Boston College will be handled by Boof Bonser. The real Grapefruit League season begins on Thursday, March 4th. The ace of the staff and should-be opening day pitcher Josh Beckett will take the hill at home against the Twinkies. John Lester will start the Friday game against Minnesota with Timmy Wakefield handling the middle innings. On Saturday, the Red Sox split squads will play two. The home game against the Twins (once again) will showcase John Lackey and it'll be Felix Doubront starting the road game in Tampa. Last but not least, Clay Buchholz will toe the rubber against Baltimore in Sarasota, the O's new training center.

The University Of Connecticut women's basketball team, current national champions and gunning for one more, beat Notre Dame IN Notre Dame Monday night by a score of 76-51. Their center, Tina Charles, passed Nykesha Sales to become the all-time UCONN scoring leader and also passed Rebecca Lobo's all-time rebounding mark. She is the queen of the collegiate court. UCONN has now won 69 games in a row, ALL BY DOUBLE DIGITS. Think of it! Heaven on earth. Now it's on to the Big East Tournament, and then the Big Dance. One more UCONN victory will tie their own record of 70 wins in a row. Simply amazing.

That's all I have for you today. Have a great Tuesday, click on the title for all the details of the UCONN game and as always and forever, BE WELL. See ya.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mike Cameron Hurting...Number Changes

Boston Red Sox centerfielder Mike Cameron is hurting. He has a sore left groin and has been receiving treatment. Dont worry, it's only March 1st. Here's Mike...

"When I went out and stretched, it just wasn't getting loose like I wanted it to," he said. "I guess it's the first sign of me getting a little older. I listened to my body," Cameron said. "That's the smart thing to do. It’s fine, I’ll be fine. I’ll just slow my pace down a little bit and let my body catch up, that’s all,” he said. “I just felt like I couldn’t get it loose today and I didn’t want to push it too much.”

Terry Francona stressed the team's correctly cautious approach to this not serious injury...

"It's not something we want to make worse now," Francona said. “I can’t imagine we’ll have him go full speed,” said Francona. “I doubt if we’ll play him in the Wednesday doubleheader.”

I'm just happy Cameron spoke up about his discomfort before he made it worse by going through his full workout. He was being smart, that's for sure. In a couple days, he'll be just fine. After all, he's the literal centerpiece of the Boston outfield trio.

Three major Boston players will have new uniform numbers this season. Here they are...

Jacoby Ellsbury has gone from 46 to 2.

Clay Buchholz has gone from 61 to 11.

Daniel Bard has gone from 60 to 51.

Our left fielder speaks up about it...

“I’d always wanted No. 2,’’ said Ellsbury: “I’d asked for it when I got called up, but I didn’t realize it was bench coach Brad Mills' number. It’s his number. Every year I’d ask for it again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. I told Pookie, the assistant equipment manager, if the number ever became available, I wanted it. So when I found out Millsie got the promotion as manager of the Astros, I called Pookie and he said it was already taken care of.’’

So Ells will be number two. That's just great! I have to wrap up this Monday morning post, the first day of, believe it or not, March. Rabbit rabbit rabbit good luck, as I always say on the first of every month to those who I care about. Hey, that's you! It's supposed to bring you good luck. Click on this post's title for the last of the Olympic coverage and as always, BE WELL.