Keeping the Faith
Red Sox old-timer Charlie Wagner died earlier today of a heart attack at the age of 93, according to the Boston Globe. He apprently died immediately after watching a baseball game.
Reading Police Capt. Francis Drexler said Wagner was found in the passenger seat of his car in the parking lot at FirstEnergy Stadium, where he was a fixture and had earlier participated in an awards ceremony. He was pronounced dead of natural causes at 12:09 a.m. Thursday.
Wagner's Red Sox career was brief, but he spent many more years with the organization off the field. It was Wagner who made the memorable "Let's play ball" declaration before the home opener in 2005, at which the Red Sox received their 2004 World Series rings.
Julian Tavarez is pitching tonight instead of scheduled starter David Wells, lending some credibility to the rumor that His Tubbiness has been traded. WEEI also reports this afternoon that Wells' locker at Fenway has been cleaned out.
In other news, Lenny DiNardo has reportedly been activated off the disabled list, though I have yet to see confirmation of that online.
Blogging has been light, as I figured I'd wait until things settled down a bit. Instead of settling down, they are more uncertain than at any time since the Joe Kerrigan Era.
It started on August 1. Some sports radio callers say the instigating event was the failure of the front office to pull off a blockbuster deal at the trading deadline, implying that the players gave up at that point. Others believe Jason Varitek's injury started the slump because of the absence of his game-calling skills and his leadership abilities. I subscribe to the latter point of view, though I'm sure the players were disappointed. I'm also sure that they were professional enough to recognize that they got through the season thus far as a first-place team and could continue to do so for the rest of the season if they kept a positive attitude. In any event, the team lost nine of 15 games in the first half of the month.
That's called a slump. Every team has them.
But then the injuries started piling up. Alex Gonzalez and Jon Lester joined Matt Clement, Tim Wakefield, Trot Nixon, and Varitek on the disabled list. Manny Ramirez hurt his knee. Wily Mo Peña's wrist started giving him trouble. Coco Crisp hurt his shoulder making a spectacular diving catch. And not only injuries, but also illnesses and medical mysteries. Kevin Youkilis went down for a few days with something resembling a bad flu. David Ortiz had two episodes of cardiac arrhythmia in two weeks, leading to a hospital admission for more tests. The good news is that all the tests were normal. The bad news is that the cause of the arrhythmia is still unknown. Now, just as Big Papi is being discharged from the hospital, Lester has been admitted for tests related to enlarged lymph nodes found in the course of evaluating his back. No one I would trust to know the real story is talking, but the media is using the C-word.
To give you an idea of how many players are unavailable to play, the Red Sox lineup last night included only one regular starter playing in position (Mike Lowell at third base). Let me say that again. Last night's lineup included only one regular starter playing in position. Just two more starters were playing out of position (first baseman Youkilis in left field, second baseman Mark Loretta hitting as the DH). Not in the lineup at all were catcher/captain Varitek, shortstop Gonzalez, left fielder Ramirez, center fielder Crisp, right fielder Nixon, and the best designated hitter in the game, Ortiz. And three starting pitchers (Matt Clement, Wakefield, and Lester) also on the DL along with our only lefty reliever (Lenny DiNardo).
Folks, this isn't because of the Yankees, who contrary to what their fans may claim, have not gone on a tear in August. Even with the five-game sweep of the Sox, the are playing just .586 this month, which is below their winning percentage for the season overall. That means that if the Red Sox had played almost .500 this month instead of .276, they would be two games out of first place right now.
Instead, they're eight games out of the division lead and 7.5 out of the wild card lead. Tonight's starting pitcher, David Wells, has been scratched and has reportedly cleaned out his locker, suggesting he was traded after clearing waivers. Our second-baseman-recently-playing-DH, Loretta, has cleared waivers as well and may yet be traded before the game. Their fifth and sixth outfielders, along with one infielder, are playing the outfield. The infield includes one regular, one bona-fide backup, and two not-ready-for-prime-time minor leaguers. It isn't that this team doesn't have depth; it's just that their bench players are hurt, too.
This has gone far beyond the normal injuries and bad luck spells that befall sports teams every year. Professional athletes, when they get knocked off the horse, brush themselves off and get back on. With this team, the horse keeps trampling them before they can stand up. No wonder they look demoralized. It's more than one group of guys should have to tolerate.
But every dark cloud has a silver lining, as the saying goes. In this case, we're separating the wheat from the chaff as far as fans go. Pop onto eBay and look for Red Sox tickets. You'll find a bunch of listings, many from the legalized scalpers known as "ticket agencies" trying to unload their stock. Auction after auction is ending with no bids. The bandwagoners who decided it was cook to be a Red Sox fan after 2004 are turning their backs. Sure, it's still nothing compared to the mass defections you see when the Yankees are in a slump, but by our own high standards, it's disgraceful. So good riddance to the fair-weather fans. We hope you enjoyed the ride. Now get out of our way so we real fans can get back in. Because we're the ones who will stand with this team even on days when the starting lineup looks like a prospect listing from Baseball America.
I'm at work, sans television, MLBTV, or even a radio that gets any sort of decent reception inside this big old building. But I do have MLB GameDay, the saving grace of obsessed and desk-bound baseball fans everywhere. For those of you who have never availed yourself of GameDay, it's a roughly real-time graphic/text representation of the game, pitch by pitch.
Just because I can, every so often, when I check on the progress of the game, I'll add a quick comment or observation below. You know, something along the lines of what I'd say if you were sitting in my office when I glanced at the screen. (This is not to be confused with live blogging, which I do almost never and am not even very good at. For quality live blogging, I recommend Red Sox Chick.)
1:41pm: David Wells (a.k.a. "Tubby") took a no-hitter into the second inning, then lost it.
1:49pm: Third inning. It would be nice if we got more than one hit.
2:07pm: Top of the fourth, Jeter singles, Abreu walkes (Jeter to second), E-Rod grounds into a
2:26pm: Wily Mo Peña walks to load the bases with two out. Let's see what Javy Lopez, batting next, is made of.
2:30pm: Evidently, what Javy is made of is mush. Way to kill a rally there, sport.
2:31pm: Um, why is Manny out of the game?!?
2:36pm: Sal Fasano may be the scariest looking person in baseball today.
2:49pm: End of the fifth, and it's a pitchers' duel between David Wells and Cory Lidle. If this is a joke, I don't get it.
2:55pm: If I were actually watching the game, I believe what I would see is a 43-year-old overweight boozer carrying an entire team of much younger and better-conditioned men on his aging back. I have to hand it to old Boomer. At this moment, he really is a Red Sox in his heart.
2:58pm: Damn. RBI double by Abreu. It's now time for the Sox batters to take some heat off Tubby.
3:22pm: Bottom of the seventh. Octavio Dotel is pitching. His ERA is 18.00.
3:44pm: His Tubness exits after 7 1/3 innings and 104 pitches. Keith Foulke enters with one out and a runner on third. Let us pause for a moment of silent prayer.
3:46pm: I just noticed that in one-third of an inning, Dotel managed to lower his ERA by 4.50 runs. It's still a stratospheric 13.50, but hey, it's progress.
3:49pm: Wild pitch by Foulke scores a run. I am angry.
3:52pm: The wild pitch is followed by two strikeouts. I am angrier.
3:53pm: Just to clarify, I'm angrier because there was absolutely no reason why that second run had to score. Maybe if our guys can do something against Scott Proctor here in the eighth, I might be willing to forgive.
3:58pm: Wily Mo Peña. Home run. Thank you.
4:00pm: Javy Lopez. Way to kill a rally, again.
4:10pm: There is a God, and She is a Red Sox fan. I know this because why else would Joe Torre pitch Kyle Farnsworth in the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead and move Jeter to shortstop, thereby losing the DH?
4:11pm: Two down and Mark Loretta up. Here's your big chance, Mark.
4:14pm: Damn. Damn. Damn. And several less printable expletives.
1. Wells left to a standing O.
2. Pena's HR would have been a double in Yankee Stadium.
3. Cano barely snared the final out, snow-coning it. It was ripped.
Sadly, none of that matters.
There are no words, except these three*:
WE. NEED. TEK.
Sure, the Sox didn't play great coming out of the All-Star break, but they managed to play .556 ball for the rest of July.
Then Jason Varitek got hurt and had knee surgery. Without him, the team has gone .316. Coincidence? I think not, as much as I hate to admit it after Joe "Tim McCarver and I Were Separated at Birth" Morgan said essentially the same thing last night on ESPN. Damn, I hate agreeing with Joe Morgan.
Today the Home Towne Team makes one last attempt to defend its honor. You'd think that by now, MLB GameDay would have the starting lineups posted, but NOOOOOOO, that would make my life far too simple. So I'm stuck giving you, one last time, the numbers for every possible batter facing today's starters.
|Red Sox Hitters vs. Cory Lidle|
|Eric Hinske||3-for-5 (.600), 2HR, 1BB, 1K|
|Wily Mo Pena||3-for-6 (.500), 2K|
|Manny Ramirez||8-for-19 (.421), 5BB, 4K|
|Gabe Kapler||5-for-12 (.417), 1K|
|Mike Lowell||9-for-19 (.368), 1HR, 1BB, 1K|
|Alex Gonzalez||5-for-15 (.333), 1HR, 1BB, 2K|
|David Ortiz||5-for-19 (.263), 1HR, 1BB, 5K|
|Kevin Youkilis||1-for-4 (.250), 1HR, 2BB, 2K|
|Coco Crisp||4-for-17 (.235), 1HR, 1K|
|Javy Lopez||1-for-5 (.200), 1K|
|Mark Loretta||1-for-6 (.167)|
|Doug Mirabelli||0-for-2, 2K|
|Alex Cora||0-for-2, 1BB|
|Yankees Hitters vs. David Wells|
|Robinson Cano||4-for-8 (.500), 1K|
|Bobby Abreu||3-for-7 (.429), 1HR, 1K|
|Jorge Posada||11-for-32 (.344), 1HR, 5K|
|Alex Rodriguez||24-for-71 (.338), 8HR, 3BB, 15K|
|Craig Wilson||1-for-3 (.333), 2K|
|Melky Cabrera||1-for-3 (.333)|
|Miguel Cairo||7-for-22 (.318), 1HR, 1BB|
|Derek Jeter||19-for-60 (.317), 4HR, 1BB, 8K|
|Johnny Damon||19-for-62 (.306), 1BB, 4K|
|Jason Giambi||9-for-30 (.300), 5BB, 3K|
|Bernie Williams||16-for-76 (.211), 3HR, 5BB, 12K|
|Nick Green||1-for-5 (.200), 1BB|
|Sal Fasano||1-for-15 (.067), 1BB, 7K|
Although, seriously, it doesn't matter how good Wells is; the bullpen will blow it. Or if the starter stinks, the bullpen will hold after it's too late.* And possibly these seven:
Maybe it's me. Or more specifically, maybe it's my absence. Last weekend, I attended four ball games in a span of 48 hours (Friday night at the independent Worcester Tornadoes, Saturday afternoon at the Red Sox, Saturday evening at the Tornadoes, Sunday afternoon at the Red Sox) and my team won three of the four games. This weekend, I am nowhere near Fenway Park and the Sox have yet to win a game. Of course, I haven't been at Hanover Park in Worcester either, but the Tornadoes won last night. Maybe it isn't me.
Anyway, what is abundantly clear is that historical stats don't necessarily have anything to do with any given game. Nonetheless, I present for your review the batter-vs.-pitcher numbers for tonight's starting pitchers.
|Red Sox Hitters vs. Mike Mussina|
|Mike Lowell||5-for-9 (.556), 1HR|
|Doug Mirabelli||5-for-12 (.417), 2HR, 1BB, 2K|
|Coco Crisp||6-for-15 (.400), 4K|
|Javy Lopez||8-for-25 (.320), 2HR, 3K|
|Manny Ramirez||20-for-88 (.227), 5HR, 7BB, 20K|
|David Ortiz||10-for-44 (.227), 3HR, 5BB, 17K|
|Mark Loretta||3-for-16 (.188), 5K|
|Gabe Kapler||2-for-12 (.167), 1HR, 1K|
|Kevin Youkilis||1-for-7 (.143), 2K|
|Eric Hinske||4-for-29 (.138), 5BB, 12K|
|Alex Gonzalez||1-for-12 (.083), 3K|
Those numbers don't suggest much hope for our heavy hitters, but you never know. On the other side:
|Yankees Hitters vs. Curt Schilling|
|Robinson Cano||6-for-14 (.429), 1HR, 1BB, 3K|
|Jorge Posada||10-for-27 (.370), 1HR, 3BB, 6K|
|Johnny Damon||5-for-15 (.333), 1HR, 1BB, 2K|
|Bobby Abreu||8-for-24 (.333), 1BB, 7K|
|Bernie Williams||10-for-35 (.286), 2HR, 2BB, 9K|
|Derek Jeter||8-for-36 (.222), 1HR, 1BB, 11K|
|Jason Giambi||5-for-24 (.208), 3HR, 2BB, 7K|
|Miguel Cairo||3-for-16 (.188), 2K|
|Alex Rodriguez||5-for-28 (.179), 2HR, 1BB, 8K|
|Craig Wilson||1-for-6 (.167), 1HR, 3K|
|Nick Green||1-for-7 (.143), 5K|
|Melky Cabrera||1-for-7 (.143), 1BB|
|Sal Fasano||0-for-2, 2K|
In the Red Sox' favor tonight is the fact that Schilling has been solid, going six or seven innings (more often seven) innings per start, thereby allowing us to minimize use of the bullpen. That bullpen, by the way, no longer includes Rudy Seañez, which didn't help yesterday but still makes me smile.
Going into this afternoon's game, I have just one thought:
STOP THE MADNESS!
Seriously, shouldn't fifteen runs in two games be enough for at least a split? No matter, what's done is done, although I reserve in the back of my mind the possibility of bringing a curse upon Mike Timlin, but that's a topic for another time. The matter at hand is this afternoon's FOX (get your "mute" buttons ready now, folks) broadcast of game three. The starting pitchers' ERAs are within one-tenth of one run apart, with Randy Johnson just under 5 and Josh Beckett just over. The batter-vs.-pitcher numbers look like this:
|Red Sox Hitters vs. Randy Johnson|
|Kevin Youkilis||3-for-7 (.429), 1HR, 2BB, 1K|
|Alex Cora||1-for-3 (.333)|
|Coco Crisp||1-for-3 (.333), 2K|
|Alex Gonzalez||7-for-23 (.304), 1HR, 1BB, 7K|
|Manny Ramirez||10-for-40 (.250), 4HR, 3BB, 11K|
|Eric Hinske||1-for-4 (.250), 1HR, 2K|
|Javy Lopez||9-for-39 (.231), 2HR, 10K|
|David Ortiz||4-for-23 (.174), 1BB, 6K|
|Mike Lowell||6-for-36 (.171), 1HR, 3BB, 13K|
|Mark Loretta||6-for-44 (.136), 3BB, 14K|
|Doug Mirabelli||1-for-12 (.083), 1BB, 7K|
|Gabe Kapler||0-for-5, 2K|
|Wily Mo Peñna||0-for-9, 1BB, 6K|
In other words, look for Alex Cora to play second base instead of Mark Loretta, and Eric Hinske in the outfield in lieu of Wily Mo Peña. On the other side of the matchup:
|Yankees Hitters vs. Josh Beckett|
|Andy Phillips||1-for-1 (1.000), 1HR|
|Jason Giambi||3-for-5 (.600), 2HR, 1K|
|Jorge Posada||2-for-4 (.500), 1K|
|Craig Wilson||1-for-2 (.500), 1K|
|Robinson Cano||2-for-4 (.500)|
|Derek Jeter||1-for-3 (.333), 1K|
|Bernie Williams||1-for-4 (.250), 3K|
|Johnny Damon||1-for-4 (.250), 1BB, 2K|
|Miguel Cairo||1-for-4 (.250), 1BB, 2K|
|Melky Cabrera||1-for-4 (.250)|
|Bobby Abreu||5-for-34 (.147), 2HR, 13BB, 15K|
|Alex Rodriguez||0-for-4, 1BB|
|Sal Fasano||0-for-2, 1K|
Tough times coming for young Mr. Beckett. Today may be the day when we learn if he is a boy or a man, so to speak. Hold on tight; it's going to be a wild ride.
Hmmmmmm. This afternoon's game didn't go as planned. After first inning struggles, it seemed as if Jason Johnson had settled down. Then came the 5th inning implosion that gave way to Kyle Snyder. Snyder's line wouldn't have been so bad if young Manny Delcarmen hadn't allowed some inherited runners to score. And the Sox finished with Rudy Seañez. Chien-Ming Wang was adequate for the Yankees, whose pitching combined to allow ten hits and five walks. But nothing good can come from pitching Johnson, Snyder, and Seañez in the same game, as evidenced by the 12-4 final. Johnson was designated for assignment after the game, his roster spot filled by Keith Foulke who was just activated from the disabled list.
I then proceeded to take a nap to alleviate a headache (game-induced?) and didn't wake up until 10:00. If I had been awake earlier, I'd have posted the following stats showing batter vs. hitter history for this evening's matchup:
|Red Sox Hitters vs. Sidney Ponson|
|Coco Crisp||2-for-2 (1.000)|
|David Ortiz||15-for-34 (.441), 2HR, 7BB, 3K|
|Alex Gonzalez||2-for-5 (.400), 1HR, 1K|
|Manny Ramirez||17-for-45 (.378), 1HR, 7BB, 7K|
|Eric Hinske||7-for-21 (.333), 2BB, 2K|
|Javy Lopez||1-for-3 (.333)|
|Mark Loretta||1-for-3 (.333), 1K|
|Doug Mirabelli||1-for-3 (.333)|
|Kevin Youkilis||1-for-3 (.333)|
|Gabe Kapler||5-for-16 (.313), 1BB, 1K|
|Mike Lowell||0-for-4, 1BB, 1K|
Jon Lester had never faced any of the Yankees hitters before tonight, but now we have an idea of how he does against them: pretty horribly. Lester threw 95 pitches in only 3 2/3 innings, allowing seven earned runs. The good news is that the Yankees haven't scored up a run since the fourth inning. Meanwhile, Sox hitting drove Ponson from the game after three batters in the fourth inning and proceeded to beat up on Ron Villone and Brian Bruney. The current score is 10-7 after six innings.
With the game more than three hours old and still only two-thirds over, I'm off to listen to the rest of it on the radio. More thoughts and tomorrow's pitcher vs. batter stats tomorrow morning.
The Red Sox have limped through August and the Yankees just got whacked by the Orioles. That alone should tell us that whatever happens in this weekend's pivotal five-game series shouldn't be a surprise.
This afternoon's extra game, a make-up of the May 2 rainout, looks on the surface to heavily favor the Yankees, if only because the Sox have Jason Johnson on the mound and he's been pitching like, well, like Jason Johnson. He has a 6.26 ERA with a WHIP of 1.72. In five starts since coming to Boston, the ERA is 7.20. Compare that to Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang, whose ERA is 3.84 and WHIP is 1.32, and it looks like the Sox are toast this afternoon.
But a closer look reveals reasons to hope. Wang's last two starts were poor, lasting 5 and 5 1/3 innings respectively. His ERA in those two games is 7.84. Some fans over at the Yankees MLB message board aren't expecting him to be much better here.
Head-to-head stats between Wang and Red Sox hitters also bodes well for our offensive chances, with six Sox (including the newly acquired Eric Hinske) hitting over .300 lifetime against Wang.
|Red Sox Hitters vs. Chien-Ming Wang|
|Manny Ramirez||8-for-12 (.667), 1HR, 2BB, 2K|
|Eric Hinske||6-for-11 (.545), 2HR, 1BB|
|David Ortiz||6-for-12 (.500), 1HR, 2BB, 2K|
|Kevin Youkilis||3-for-7 (.429), 3BB|
|Alex Cora||3-for-8 (.375)|
|Mark Loretta||3-for-9 (.333)|
|Coco Crisp||2-for-7 (.286), 1K|
|Mike Lowell||2-for-9 (.222)|
|Wily Mo Peña||0-for-2|
|Javy Lopez||0-for-7, 1K|
Of course, the Yankees' stats against Johnson aren't much better.
|Yankees Hitters vs. Jason Johnson|
|Robinson Cano||2-for-3 (.667)|
|Alex Rodriguez||10-for-23 (.435), 3HR, 6K|
|Bobby Abreu||3-for-9 (.333), 1HR, 7BB, 2K|
|Andy Phillips||1-for-3 (.333), 1HR|
|Melky Cabrera||1-for-3 (.333)|
|Johnny Damon||12-for-37 (.324), 2HR, 3BB, 4K|
|Derek Jeter||14-for-44 (.318), 1HR, 3BB, 4K|
|Nick Green||2-for-7 (.286), 1K|
|Jorge Posada||8-for-29 (.276), 1BB, 5K|
|Jason Giambi||7-for-31 (.226), 1HR, 12BB, 6K|
|Bernie Williams||9-for-40 (.225), 4HR, 7BB, 4K|
|Miguel Cairo||1-for-6 (.167), 3K|
|Sal Fasano||0-for-3, 1K|
Based on these numbers and the potential for volatility on behalf of both pitchers, the game may come down to how hard each lineup can hit the opposing starter before he gets pulled, and how well the bullpens do. Considering yesterday's romp of the Yankees at the hands of Baltimore and the Red Sox' day of rest, I give the edge to the Sox, who have a rested bullpen available for both of today's games.
For those of you who missed it, comedians and die-hard Red Sox fans Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke were at Fenway Park Wednesday night. Television announcers Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy had them in the NESN broadcast booth for a couple innings to talk about Denis' upcoming fundraiser for the Leary Firefighters Foundation. They talked a little about the event and the foundation, but mostly they talked baseball and, well, other things that came up.
If you haven't seen it, check it out here (until someone has it removed for copyright infringement). It's an absolute riot. In case the video disappears, here's a transcript, courtesy of yours truly.
Denis Leary: Now Youkilis, is he a Greek kid? Is he?
Jerry Remy: I don't think so.
DL: What is it, Irish? It's not Irish.
Don Orsillo: No, he is Jewish.
JR: I think he's Jewish, yeah.
DL: Is he?
Lenny Clarke: Oh good, that's great.
DL: That's fantastic.
LC: We've got Jewish catchers...
DL: That's one bottle of whiskey away from being a, like, Irish Catholic, you know? They got the Manischewicz, we've got the Jameson's, you know? It's the same guilt, the same bad food. That's fantastic, we've got a Jewish first baseman. I didn't know that. This is fabulous.
LC: We got a Jewish first baseman and Javy Javy ooo-eee behind the plate.
DL: Javy Lopez.
LC: Not tonight, we got Mirabelli back there.
DL: HHHHHHHavy Lopez.
DL: I'm so proud to have a Jewish first baseman, I didn't even...
LC: So am I. I hope Mel Gibson doesn't come into this park. We'll run him out of here on a rail.
[Youkilis makes a ground ball play at first]
LC: Get it! Nice!
DL: Yeah! Where's Mel Gibson now? Where's Mel Gibson now, huh? He's in rehab, and Youkilis is at first base! Alright Mel? You happy, Braveheart? Huh? Did you see that grab, Mel? Huh? I hope in rehab they're showing a replay of that.
DL: The Jewish first baseman makes the play, Mel Gibson. Good luck when you come out.
LC: He'll be shooting heroin... [Cross talk]
DL: Call Jeffrey Katzenberg and ask him for a job when you get out, Mel.
LC: The Jewish first baseman and he's good... [Cross talk]
DL: I want a whole Jewish infield when he gets out.
LC: That's right.
DL: Bring back Sandy Koufax, Mel Gibson. Huh? Braveheart, my ass.
LC: That's what they oughta do.
DL: Thatta boy, Kev.
LC: They ought to have Sandy Koufax pitch at Mel's head.
DL: That's right.
LC: Fix him good.
DL: That should be his community service. Get into the box. Sandy Koufax is gonna pitch. Guess who's at first? Kevin Youkilis.
LC: Now what other Jewish players are there, because I'm not aware.
JR: Gabe Kapler, I think.
DL: Gabe Kapler! Gabe Kapler! We got two Jews on this team, Mel! Where's your father now, Mel, huh?
LC: Huh? How about that, Mel?
DL: [Sigh] That felt good to get that out, didn't it?
LC: We've got quite a team. [Laughter] Are we in trouble?
DL: No, we're not in trouble. Mel can't even hear it. They don't have TVs in rehab.
LC: Oh, I don't care about Mel.
DL: I love watching Schilling pitch.
DO: Your web site's here.
DL: www.learyfirefighters.org, and when you go to that site, if you go to the Jerry Lucey fund, that'll help all the New Orleans firefighters. And if you didn't know, the New Orleans fire department, not one member of that department quit between the time that Katrina hit and right now, a year later. Not one member.
LC: That's right.
DL: Boy, I'm so happy about that Kevin Youkilis thing.
LC: Me too. And Kapler. I didn't even know.
DL: Well, you know what's gonna happen. Gibson's gonna get out and make amends, "Ooh, I love the Red Sox, I love the first baseman, I love Gabe Kapler." Yeah, sure you do. Sure you do, Mel.
LC: If I were Youkilis and Kapler, I'd say, "Well, are we in the next movie?"
DL: Can we put some blue paint on our faces? Come on, Braveheart, alright? Look, I don't know Mel, you know. It was a tough time for him. Why are we jumping all over him, you know what I mean? It was a little bit of tequila, Lenny. You know those days, you were there.
LC: No, wait a second...
DL: You never said the things he said.
LC: No, no I didn't.
DL: You never got personal like that.
LC: No, I never went for religion.
DL: No you didn't. You always went with the face and the ugly and the fat...
LC: Yeah, yeah...
DL: ...and the nice dress and your girlfriend...
LC: But religion, it doesn't matter what your religion, you treat me good, I'll treat you better.
DL: That's right.
[Youkilis makes a pickoff at first]
DL: Mel Gibson, take a look at that!
LC: Mel Gibson, eat your heart out! And look at that, he gave the ball away to a fan. That's more than Mel Gibson's ever done!
DO: Thank you, good seeing you guys.
DL: I hope we didn't get you in trouble.
[End of clip]
The most raucously-funny NESN Booth, I've heard in a long time:
It was a Dandy & a Half.
So good I had to post it again.
An Irish Catholic defending Jewish pride, that's what America is supposed to be all about.
Rescue Me on FX, is my favorite show, it's easily the best written show on TV, the only thing close is Deadwood on HBO.
Nice plug for the New Orleans Fire Department (NOFD), Leary wears one of their shirts on an episode of his show.
Dennis Leary rips on Mel Gibson
According to WEEI's Dale Arnold, the Red Sox will announce this afternoon that they have acquired infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske from the Blue Jays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash consideration. Expect the deal to ultimately be resolved with a minor leaguer, since the Blue Jays reportedly agreed to pay half of Hinske's salary for 2007, according to an earlier Boston Globe report.
Theo Epstein just talked to WEEI about his and other matters and said the following, according to my extemporaneous notes:
We got Hinske heavily subsidized...He has really good at-bats against right-handed pitching...We've become pretty right-handed because of injuries...The [terms of the] deal is really for Toronto to get a little bit of payroll flexibilitiy next year...We expect [Trot Nixon] back fairly soon, Hinske is primarily a corner infielder...[A roster decision to make room for Hinske will be made] before tomorrow's game...
[Regarding the current roster] Ideally you want to carry 11 pitchers, but given some of the struggles we've had, we've had to go with 13 at times...We'll get down to 12 sometime tomorrow...
Our philosophy in terms of trade exploration is to be very aggressive, look at all 29 other clubs for fits, and try to build a roster that makes sense for now and for the future...The best moves are the moves that make sense for now and for the future...Some of the reaction to us not making a move at the [July 31 non-waiver trade] deadline has been a product of not understanding what was going on...We like a lot of our prospects, but we're certainly willing to move any of them in the right deal...We don't believe in having "untouchables"...We were turned down on a lot of deals...There were only a handful of deals we turned down; it would have been irresonsible to make them...I thought we came close a couple days ago to making a deal for a reliever, but it's hard, every team is looking for pitching...The pitchers who are available now are available for a reason...We keep looking...
The Carlos Peña signing occurred about 12 hours before the hinske deal...Carlos was signed to go to Pawtucket and come up sometime this year...
[Keith Foulke] is just about ready, there's a pretty good chance you'll see him this weekend...People forget that in late April/early May, he was probably our second best reliever...That would help us out to no end if he were able to recreate that this time of year...
WEEI and all the fans barking at us for not doing something [big at the deadline], they have the right to do it, but we've trained ourselves to ignore it because otherwise we'd be making moves for the right reasons...
Two ninety year old men, Moe and Sam, have been friends all their lives. It seems that Sam is dying, and Moe comes to visit him every day.
"Sam," says Moe, "You know how we have both loved baseball all our lives, and how we played minor league ball together for so many years? Sam, you have to do me one favor. When you get to Heavenand I know you will go to Heavensomehow you've got to let me know if there's baseball in Heaven."
Sam looks up at Moe from his death bed and says, "Moe, you've been my best friend for many years. This favor, if it is at all possible, I'll do for you." And shortly after that, Sam passes on.
It is midnight a couple of nights later. Moe is sound asleep when he is awakened by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calls out to him.
"Who is it?" says Moe, sitting up suddenly. "Who is it?"
"Moe, it's me, Sam."
"Come on. You're not Sam. Sam just died."
"I'm telling you," insists the voice. "It's me, Sam!"
"Sam? Is that really you? Where are you?"
"I'm in Heaven," says Sam, "and I've got to tell you, I've got really good news and a little bad news."
"So, tell me the good news first," says Moe.
"The good news," says Sam, "is that there is baseball in Heaven. Better yet, all our old buddies who've gone before us are here. Better yet, we're all young men again. Better yet, it's always springtime and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play baseball all we want, and we never get tired!"
"Really?" says Moe, "That is fantastic, wonderful beyond my wildest dreams! But, what's the bad news?"
"You're pitching next Tuesday."
A Classical Bit of Humour, to keep us smiling during this time of Crisis:
Exceptionally well-put, Kelly;
It is a pattern that began in spring training, before the first regular season game was played. And it's been downhill from there.
To summarize, at every point this season, the Red Sox have had at least one starting pitcher or starting position player on the disabled list, and most of the time more than one starter. Currently it's two starting pitchers, the starting catcher, one starting outfielder, the closer, and a middle reliever. And that's not even to mention the day-to-day status of Doug Mirabelli (backup to the already disabled Varitek), Mark Loretta (starting infielder), and the on-again-off-again status of Mike Lowell (starting infielder). These aren't insignificant losses or easily replaceable bench players.
It must stop. I propose a new team policy. From now until the end of the season, any player who misses playing time due to injury must make a large monetary contribution to a charity and perform one of the following penitential acts:
That should be incentive enough to stay healthy for the next two months.
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." I don't know if Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek is a Nietzsche devotee, but he evidently wants the Red Sox to get really, really strong. Toward that end, the Captain will have arthroscopic surgery today to repair a torn cartilage in his left knee, leaving the team to struggle without him for awhile.
Varitek hits the disabled list with teammates Matt Clement and Lenny DiNardo (both on the 60-day DL), Keith Foulke, Tim Wakefield, and Trot Nixon (all on the 15-day DL). While the news on Trot is better than we thought a couple days ago, just about everyone else is a big question mark. Wakefield still can't throw; Foukle is suddenly unable to even warm up for a rehab assignment without hurting; Clement seems to be lingering in limbo; and DiNardo, even when he does make it back, is unable to replace any of them.
Meanwhile, Ken Huckaby has been brought up from Pawtucket as backup to Doug Mirabelli in Varitek's absence. That's a good thing, because without him, we were looking at Mike Lowell as backup catcher:
Third baseman Mike Lowell and utility infielder Alex Cora held a "squat-off" in the locker room earlier yesterday to decide who would back up Mirabelli last night if no help arrived from Pawtucket.
Lowell, who hasn't caught in 14 years when he was in high school, called the competition a blowout. "It was kind of like Carl Lewis and Doug Mirabelli," he said of his "victory."
It's going to be a very long August.
When it rains, It pours:
It's our Cross, I believe;
I despise Yankee "Fans";
Their idea of suffering is to make everybody else miserable.