Saturday, April 30, 2011

Game 26: A Nation at RISP

They say hitting a baseball is the hardest thing in sports. The Red Sox continue to prove it, dropping a 2-0 decision to Doug Fister, who Fisted the Red Sox with 5 2/3 blank frames. The Red Sox conspired in their own demise by going 0 for a billion with runners in scoring position.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Game Twenty Five: We Winneth One Of Three?

The Red Sox welcomed the Ancient Mariners to Fenway tonight, and the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight managed to be restored to full vim and vigor against Dice K and the Sox pitchers who looked so brilliant out West. The Sox fell 5 to 4, falling to 11-14 on the year as the enthusiasm from the Left Coast trip drained away swiftly.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Games 23 and 24: In Through The Out Door

Last night in Baltimore, the Red Sox tied the game in the 8th, only to have the Bard of Avon untie it in a 5-4 loss. Tonight in Baltimore, Big Jon Lester slammed the door on the losing, going 8 strong in a 6-2 win, preventing the sweep and sending the Bostons home to greet the Ancient Mariners tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Game 22: Like a Frozen Crabcake

The Red Sox fell to earth last night in the land of Earl Weaver and David Simon, Cowboy Clay getting knocked about a bit while young Zach Britton held the Sox bats in check for a 4-1 loss. The team is now 10-12 on the year, and they play Balmer again tonight.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Game Twenty One: How The West Was Won

The Red Sox won their eighth out of the last nine yesterdat, Jon Lackey standing up strong in a 7-0 win. CC Music Factory homered for the first time in Boston duds. The team returns to the correct coast to face off against Uncle Buck Showalter and the plucky O's in Charm City tomorrow.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Game Twenty: We Blinded Them With Dice K

At the corner of Hollywood and Dicey last night, (an homage to Never Not Funny, season one. Look it up.) Dice K threw 7 one hit innings at the Angles, powering a 5-0 shutout of the Halos. The Nation's eyes look to California once more today, hoping for a series sweep before heading back to more normal time zones.

And, in a statistical oddity from ESPN's Mark Simon, three Red Sox pitchers have now submitted consecutive starts of 7 innings or more with only one hit allowed during the Live Ball (post-1920) Era. Pedro Martinez, Howard Ehmke....and Dice K. I think that has got to be the only question on Earth for which that is the answer.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Game Nineteen: Dirty Deeds Done...Well, Not Cheap, Exactly, But...You Know What I Mean

Big Jon Lester kept the old momentum rolling right along last night in the Entertainment Capital of The World, giving the Angels no fun at all through 6 shutout innings. Leading 4-0, the Red Sox decided to make things sporting, Matty Sweet allowing a tally in the seventh and the Big Man two in the eighth, handing a much narrower advantage to the Lord of the Dance. But Paps nailed her shut, and the red hot Red Sox face off against these Angles again tonight and tomorrow, followed by a set with the frisky Orioles starting on Tuesday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Game Eighteen: The 7-11 Split

Last night in the City of Angles, the Red Sox had to go to 11 frames to put down the Sons of Mike Scoscia, 4-2. Josh Beckett was strong again, powering through 8 innings while his mates proceeded to strand base runners like they were going out of style. Daniel Bard and Big Bobby Jenks held the line from there, Gonzilla finally smacking a double in the 11th to give The Lord of The Dance a lead he could hold down for Boston's 7th win of the 2011 season.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Game Seventeen: Being Gio's Papa

The Red Sox hammered 3 homers, Farmer Jed, Youk, and JD reaching the seats to power a 5-3 getaway day win over the A's and Gio Gonzalez in Oakland this afternoon. The Bard of Avon helped bail Cowboy Clay out of a 6th inning jam, then handed the game to Big Bobby and the Lord of the Dance, who nearly handed it back, Paps getting a pair of popups with the tying run on to seal it.

The Red Sox move on to the City of Angels to play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Los Angeles tomorrow night.

Game Sixteen: And The Rest Is Silence

In Oakland last night, the A's not only put the Red Sox in a corner, they took their wallet, their keys, their hat, their lunch money, and their passport in a 5-0 whitewashing. Lefty Brett Anderson was simply dominant, first, last, and always, and while John Lackey pitched well for the first time in the Obama Administration, (ed. note: not true, just seems true) major league baseball teams historically are 0-20000 when scoring zero runs or fewer. (ed. note: statistic made up for dramatic effect)

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Winning Streak!

Game Fifteen: Here The Embattled Farmer Jed Stood

Our friend Farmer Jed Lowrie had four hits and four RBIs, and Dice K did his best Roy Halladay impersonation, tossing 7 shutout frames in a Patriots Day 9-1 win over the Blue Jays. The Red Sox now head west to tangle with the Athletiques late tomorrow night in Oaktown. On the plus side, that's three wins in a row. On the minus side, John Lackey pitches tomorrow.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Game 14: We Call This Mutha A Winning Streak

TOR 1 7 2
BOS 8 8 1

Jon Lester was good enough for government work, while Jacoby brought the party that rocked your body with a monster 3 run homer in the second to help power an 8-1 win over the Blue Jays at Fenway Park today. The Salty Dog chipped in with 3 RBI, and the baseball gods finally started smiling on Boston, the wind blowing Boston hits fair and letting a little Mookie Wilson chopper slip past Adam Lind and into right field to help with the piling on.

The enigmatic Dice K takes the hill tomorrow in the Patriots Day game, an 11AM start. Traditionally, this allows Red Sox fans to leave the game and watch the finish of the Boston Marathon nearby. Realistically, the game may be in the fourth inning by then.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Game Thirteen: Come Down From The Bridge, Everyone

TOR 1 4 0
BOS 4 9 1

It was cold, and gray, and weather more suited to Toronto than Boston. But when all was said and done, the good guys had 4, and the bad guys had one. Asses were kicked, names were taken. Josh Beckett pitched like Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford sat like he richly deserved, and the Red Sox Fan Club Meeting on top of the Tobin Bridge is postponed. 3-10 and moving on up.....

Game Twelve: The Fall of the Michelin Man

TOR 7 8 2
BOS 6 5 0

Bobby Jenks, aka Rich Garces 2.0, came into a tied game last night and promptly untied it, surrendering the lead and the game in what became a 7-6 loss. The Red Sox play the Blue Jays again today, tomorrow, and then once more for the infamous Marathon Day game on Monday.

0-3 was kind of sad.

0-6 was pathetic.

2-8 was a joke.

2-10? Yeah, we're in some trouble now. I keep reading that we're only 5 games out, blah blah blah blah blah, but this team doesn't look like a team that has a 9-1 streak in them. And what's worse? If we were to go 9-1? That would make us 11-11.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Intermezzo: The Rain Song

With neither Spahn nor Sain available, the Red Sox have indeed experienced two days of rain. (If somebody wants to reanimate the corpse of Warren Spahn, though, he couldn't possibly pitch worse than Dice K.) The season, if you can call it that, resumes tonight with the Sons of John Farrell, the Toronto Blue Jays, coming to town with their national health care and circular bacon and fondness for hockey and power trios. Cowboy Clay comes to the bump for us, which is only because Jon Lester can't pitch again.

Let's hope this marks the turnaround.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Game Eleven: Party Over, We're Two and Nine

At Fenway tonight, the Red Sox fell before the Naughty Fish from Tampa, 3-2. Getting beaten by the unearthly talents of David Price is nothing to be ashamed of. Falling 3-2 in a game that could have turned at multiple points is nothing to be ashamed of. But there's no such thing as a moral victory at 2-9. At 2-9 you just need wins. Win, after win, after win. Period. End of story. This team needs to start winning, and winning quick, or this blog is going to start covering gardening or something.

Game Ten: Splat.

TB 16 20 0
BOS 5 10 1

They say momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher. They must have meant Dice K, because the Tumbling Dice Man was rocked by the Tampa Bay Naughty Fish last night, unable to escape the third inning on the way to a 16-5 hammering.

Jon Lester goes to the hill against these same Naughty Fish tonight.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Game Nine: Vengeance is Mine, Saith Josh Beckett

NYY 0 2 0
BOS 4 12 0

Sometimes, the line score says it all.

Josh Beckett was utterly dominant. (0 2 0)

The ARod less Yankees were lost in the woods. (0 2 0)

The Red Sox squandered some chances (4 12 0) but managed to win anyway. (4-0)

Some people say this game has become all about numbers, and has lost its soul.

But sometimes, the numbers say it all.


2-7 overall.

4 games behind.

The 1-8 Rays on their way in.

Let's do this.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Game Eight: If There's a Russell in Your Hedgerow...

NYY 9 13 0
BOS 4 10 1

The Yankees got to Cowboy Clay early and often, and Russell Martin (?) clouted 2 homers to power a 9-4 New York win. While 1-7 is not exactly my plate of bacon and eggs, I try to remind myself that the more important statistic is that, despite the wretchedness, the Red Sox are in fact only 5 games out of first place.

Then again, Josh Beckett starts tomorrow, and the Yankees own him so much they put him on their tax return.

Oh boy.

On The Retirement of a Bad Man

Manuel Aristides (Onelcida) "Manny" Ramirez reportedly has retired from professional baseball, as of Friday. News reports say that the MLB Powers That Be informed him that there was an "issue" in regards to his drug testing, and these same reports say that he retired rather than face further discipline under the policy. It is again surmised, though not proven, that Ramirez has tested positive for either a performance enhancing drug or an agent that masks the presence of such drugs.

During what is probably going to come to be called the PED era, there is much that is implied, or asserted to be true, or said to be "known", without a whole lot of actual proof on display. Remember that Barry Bonds, thought to be the king of the steroid users, never tested positive for anything. Also remember that it isn't really clear what benefit steroids provide when hitting a baseball.

It seems to me that every hitter and pitcher from this era is eventually going to be seen as playing In "the PED years"- with future generations lumping those who seem clean (like Ken Griffey Jr.) with those who seem dirty (like Rafael Palmeiro). PED use, if it provides any advantage not available to all, is a violation not only of the law but of the rules of the game, and thus should be eliminated from the game to the extent possible, just like the spitball or the corked bat is.

But PED use is now embedded in the history of the game, just like the spitball, or the segregation that marred the game's first 70 years, or the syndicates that ruled the game in the 1890s, or the shorter pitching distance before 1893. There is no pure baseball era- even the 1960s and 1970s had rampant amphetamine use.

I don't defend what Manny did, if he indeed did what it seems he did. It was mind numbingly stupid- especially doing it knowing that the testing is going on. Like Bonds and Roger Clemens and some others, (assuming their guilt) their talent was so immense that they would have easily cleared the Cooperstown bar without help- tragically, the help they did get may bar them from the Hall of Fame.

After hitting a game winning playoff homer against the Angels in 2007, Ramirez said that when you don't feel good and you still can hit, you know you're a bad man. Manny Ramirez was the best right handed hitter I have ever seen, and has provided me no end of thrills and frustrations in equal measure while playing for my favorite team. Unfortunately, the same drive that made him the Forrest Gump of hitting may have pushed him to break the rules, and has now composed the first line of his obituary. But Manny was a bad man, and Lord, could he hit a baseball.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Game Seven: Our (Well,My) Long National Nightmare Is Over

NYY 6 8 2
BOS 9 12 0

They couldn't lose them all, I guess.

The Red Sox pounded out 12 hits, including 3 from Our Man DP, and 2 from the Salty Dog, JD, Papi, and Gonzilla, to finally hang up a W, overcoming another woeful effort from Sorely Lackey. Fortunately for all concerned, the Yankees' Phil Hughes was even worse.

The same two teams play again tomorrow, in an afternoon game that may just end before the Masters does.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Game Six: Woe and Six

BOS 0 4 0
CLE 1 3 0

Suicide squeeze? Check. Pickoffs? Check. A sixth straight loss to open the season? Check.

The long march that the 2011 regular season has become continued this afternoon with a crisp 1-0 loss to the Indians. The lone run came home on a suicide squeeze, which is the sort of play you would see more often in 1911 than 2011. The Red Sox got the tying run to second base in the top of the ninth, but pinch runner Darnell McDonald slipped and was picked off base to end the game.

Of course he was.

And you say the Yankees are next? Fantastic.

Game Five: Good Thing This Is Still Spring Training........Oh, Wait.

BOS 4 7 0
CLE 8 8 0

Something told us that counting on Dice K to stop a losing streak was a bad idea. Dice K had a typical Dice K outing- 5 innings, 96 pitches, 3 walks, 3 runs- while the "improved" bullpen got hammered once again. The bats remained frozen in amber- although it is a wee bit unreasonable to expect them to score 9 runs.

The stat has been tossed around that no team has started 0-4 and won the World Series. This seems impossible- after all, there are 158 (now 157) games left! How could four losses that come at the beginning of the year make all that much difference? The answer is, of course, they don't- it just seems that way.

The long march continues with a getaway day game this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Game The Fourth: Meet the New Josh, same as the Old Josh

BOS 1 4 1
CLE 3 5 1

One would think that a quality baseball team like the Boston Red Sox would come off of a severe beat down deep in the heart of Texas, and they would come up to poor Cleveland and take out 3 games worth of hurt and embarrassment on their poor LeBronless selves. One would think that. One would be wrong.

The Red Sox went down like grain before a thresher, letting young Josh Tomlin have his way with them to the tune of 7 innings with only 3 hits and 1 run allowed. Josh Beckett pitched adequately for Boston, allowing 3 runs over 5 innings, but, just like Buchholz' efforts down south, too little, and too late.

If I were billionaire Red Sox owner John Henry, I might be asking myself why exactly I am paying Carl Crawford American money, because Josh Reddick, and perhaps even Josh Groban, could hit .133.

I know that's irrational, and I don't care. I'm frustrated.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Game The Third: Cowboy Clay, the Nation turns its lonely eyes to you...

BOS 1 5 0
TEX 5 9 1

The Red Sox were rode hard and put away wet in the series finale today in the yellow rose of Texas, where the Rangers continued their circuit clouting ways, hitting four more off of Cowboy Clay Buchholz on the way to a 5-1 win. Oft injured Matt Harrison stymied the Sox bats, the big lefty making the Bostons look like they had never played baseball before, never mind seen a left-hander pitch before.

I do have to take issue with one thing- Boston had the bases loaded with one run already in in a 4-1 game. Jacoby Ellsbury was up, who had looked helpless against Harrison, who was finally struggling for the first time in the whole game. Seated somewhere on Boston's bench was Mike Cameron, a veteran right handed hitter who happens to play a fair center field his ownself. I think a computer manager would make the move. A tabletop manager would. Terry Francona did not. However, Terry Francona has two more World Series wins than I do.

Game The Second: Sadly Lackey

BOS 5-8-0
TEX 12-15-1


No woulda-coulda-shoulda today. After a not quite catch by Jacoby Ellsbury with two outs in the fourth inning last night, (Ells ran way into right center, almost catching the ball on the dead run, but it ticked off his glove for a hit) the Walker Texas Rangers erupted with vengeance and furious anger, beating John Lackey about the head and the neck for 6 runs, including a grand slam from out old buddy Yo Adrien. (Lackey walked Josh Hamilton to get to Beltre, which was the right play, even though it looks horrific in retrospect.)

Resolved: John Lackey is no longer a high quality starting pitcher in the major leagues, and we have to watch him pretend to do this for another 14 years or so while he gets paid eleventy billion dollars.

In other news, there is no Easter Bunny.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Moral Victories?

Yesterday just left a bad taste in my mouth. The Red Sox loss in the afternoon, combined with the Celtics loss in the evening, both close, aggravating games that could have gone either way.

It seems funny in retrospect to say this about a 9-5 game, but a couple of plays, the Napoli homer he golfed around the pole and the Murphy double that kicked up chalk a little later in the game, could have easily gone differently.

Maybe this is just rose colored glasses syndrome, but against a tough team in a tough park, a 9-5 loss isn't all bad.

Then again, we are 0-1.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Game The First: Not Exactly How They Drew It Up

BOS 5 7 1
TEX 9 10 1

Well, that's not exactly the way they planned it. The Walker Texas Rangers are still a formidable bunch, even after losing Bad Vlad and Cliff Lee the Yankee Killer, and they proved this in a quite rude 4 run uprising against poor Daniel Bard, who looked like he was being catheterized by the end of the game.

RIP, Mr. Gorman

As the Dirt Dogs tell us, former Red Sox GM Lou Gorman died today. While not the GM who brought the team to a world title, and responsible for some cringeworthy words and decisions, the man loved baseball and tried like hell to build a winning team. RIP, Mr. Gorman.