Tagged: Yankees

At least we know it’s possible…

When all hope seemed lost for Red Sox fans, a little bit of light has begun to shine in the past 2 days. As we entered a series against our Wild-Card rivals, the Texas Rangers, our whole team was flushed with confidence and we felt that we could take these guys by storm and regain our position as the top Wild-Card team. Three days later, that has not happened. In fact, we are a game behind the Rangers in this race, after barely winning 1 game in the series on a remarkable 9th inning comeback.

However, in these last 2 days, while we have not shown strength in any way, the Yankees have shown weakness. They have lost two games straight, and have left us a half game closer to first place then we were after the Rangers series. I think that while it is hardly a solution to rely on an other team’s failures, we will take what we can get for now. 

The Yankees have been terrifying teams all over the AL for the past few weeks, with a dynamite offense and some timely pitching. It’s good to see that this team, is in fact, human. Even this guy was held to one hit in the 2nd loss.

How much more reassurance do we need?

Even more exciting is the fact that the Yankees lost those two games against teams that are even less of a threat than us. The Mariners, who beat the Yanks 10-3, are 5.5 games behind us in the Wild Card race, and the A’s who beat them 3-0, are 13.5 games behind us.

This certainly gives Red Sox fans hope, but we will have to start winning before I am totally convinced that we can wreak havoc at Fenway in our upcoming series with the Bronx Bombers.

In other baseball news, top pick of the MLB draft, Stephen Strasburg, has finally signed with the Nationals, and it certainly came down to the wire. Less than 2 minutes before the deadline last night, Strasburg finally came to terms for a 4 year, $15 million dollar contract. It was a record-breaking contract, surpassing the $10.5 million Mark Prior signed for in 2001. Why did the deal take so long to come to, and why did the Nationals finally agree to offer so much? Two words: Scott Boras. ‘Nuff said.

Now that we know the Yankees can be beat, and by teams that are less of a threat than us (sorry A’s and Mariners fans!), we have hope. Time to crank out a few wins of our own to compliment a few Yankee losses. Let’s get ‘er done!

Thanks for reading.

P.S.

As some of you know, I am currently in Maine with limited internet access, so this had to be a quick entry, Hopefully I can write a few more this week. I’ll respond to any comments as soon as I can. Thanks!

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The Meter Tells the Tale

parking meter.jpgSometimes when I’m walking by parking meters in the city, I like to look at the time remaining and wonder about the people parked there. What are they doing as the time ticks away, what kind of people are they?

I think that a parking meter ticking away can sometimes be a good metaphor for a baseball team struggling to stay in the race in late summer. Every opportunity a team gets, they must take, whether it is the chance to to move a 1/2 game up the standings or to sign a veteran that just might have that one little skill a team needs to keep the push going. As the time ticks away on the season, fewer and fewer opportunities like these will arise, and it will become more and more important for a team to capitalize on them.

Today, I believe, the Red Sox had an opportunity. We were one game from sweeping the Tigers, which would have been huge heading into a must-win series against our current wild card rivals, the Rangers. There was also, of course an opportunity involving our own division. The Yankees, with baseball’s best record and going strong, are beginning a road series against the Mariners today.

The Yankees, like most teams (including the Red Sox), are stronger at home than away, probably even enforced by how hitter-friendly the new Yankee Stadium is. This is one of the only two series between our next meeting with the Yankees at Fenway, and it is important for us to gain ground on them before we face them. If the Yankees win today, we are back to where we started after their sweep of us, and we have missed out on what could prove to be an important opportunity. If they lose, we are fortunate and things remain the same as they were this morning.

It is a missed opportunity because of the grim afternoon game we suffered through today. Hope was abuzz in the air before the game, the prospects of a sweep alive in many of our players’ faces. Dustin Pedroia looked happy to be enjoying a day off, and he too seemed excited for the possibilities of this game.

Dustin Pedroia enjoyed a rare day off in the dugout.

The Tigers went up 1-0 fairly early on an infield single. They scored once more on a Ryan Raburn homer in the 7th. Clay Buchholz, our starter, pitched a decent game, going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs, only 1 earned. He has definitely showed talent this year, and has definitely been unlucky enough to be given some unfavorable matchups, as well as a fair share of close game losses. His 1-3 record doesn’t really tell the whole story, in my opinion.

Tonight there is reason for excitement for Red Sox fans, as well as baseball fans. I am sure many people in Boston will be tuning in to the Yankees-Mariners game to see how it’s going for us. I am not always one to wish a loss upon another team, but tonight would be the night to do so. Sorry, Jane and others!

There is also excitement in Houston tonight, as Kazuo Matsui needs just one hit to get his 2,000th pro hit. Only 566 have come in the MLB (the others in Japanese pro baseball), but it is a monumental achievement nonetheless. Good luck to him in reaching this goal!

I hope that the missed opportunity for the Red Sox today will turn into a lesson for the team in the future, so that we can turn any upcoming opportunities like it into sucess!

Thanks for reading. 

 

 

Familiar Face in Philly

Last night marked the return of one of the great pitchers of all time- Pedro Martinez. In an eventful game, he got the win vs. the Cubs in his first outing in nearly a year.

But first things first. The Red Sox beat the Tigers 8-2 to complete the sweep. Our ace Josh Beckett was on the mound and once again he delivered a strong performance, going 7 innings and allowing 2 runs. He’s become almost automatic when on the mound, as he has gone 7-1 in his last 10 starts and gone 7 or more innings in all but one of them. I think he is definitely in the top 4 pitchers in the AL right now, and possibly behind only Greinke and Halladay.

The other guy acquired in that trade with Florida back in 2006 also shined last night- Mike Lowell. He hit a homerun in the 2nd inning and didn’t look back from there, going 3-4.

Mike Lowell was congratulated by teammates after he hit a solo home run in the second inning.

We have made great progress in recovering from the Yankee series, almost completing a sweep of our own now! I have faith that we can ride this hot streak through this series and into what will be an important one against our wild card foes, the Rangers.

Now on to the Pedro news. Martinez started against the Cubs, throwing 5 good innings, with 3 runs and 7 hits allowed (in the same game, Shane Victorino was hit by a beer cup from an unruly fan, check out mlb.com for video) I, for one, am happy to see Pedro back in the game. Last year, before his father died, he asked Pedro to continue playing the game of baseball. It is heartwarming to see Pedro back in the game and still going strong because of this. I was always a big fan of him, even though he had his occasional issues.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Pedro Martinez delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009, at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Since Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, two other legends trying to return to the scene, have already made their sorry exits from this season (and probably the game), it is good to see that the one legend closest to Boston fans’ hearts still has a chance. And we had some good memories, didn’t we Pedro?

 

pedro.jpg

Thanks for reading.

 

Back in Boston!

Last night the Red Sox were glad to be back in Boston as we beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in the comfort of Fenway. Our bats came alive, as Nick Green, Jason Bay, and Dustin Pedroia all hit homeruns. Pedroia crossed home in the first inning, putting us on the board early.

Dustin Pedroia brought the Fenway fans to their feet early when he belted a two-run homer, driving in Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning.

It was especially nice to see Bay hit his shot, as just a few days ago he was out with an injury. Overall, it was a nice, not-too-stressful win. It feels good to be back in the swing of things, and I feel like that game was a decent first step to rebounding nicely from the Yankee series.

The win over Detroit came with an added bonus: a 5-4 win for the Blue Jays over the Yankees. That means that we’re one game closer to first place in the AL East, only 5 1/2 games back right now. Things aren’t so bad in Beantown, Sox fans!

Another good piece of Boston sports news, Tom Brady has told reporters that he’s ready to play on Thursday in the Patriots’ preseason opener vs. the Eagles. Today he said, “I’m ready. I think everybody is ready. We’ve had a good camp. I think guys have really been working hard, trying to do what Coach Belichick has asked.”

Brady: 'I'm ready'

Also of note in baseball last night, Troy Tulowitzki hit for the cycle and Jason Bartlett came within a single from hitting for it as well.

Although several players have hit for the cycle this year, I found Tulowitzki’s especially awesome because he had accomplished 3/4 of it (all but the triple) by the end of the 4th inning. Usually players get the 4 hits more spread out in the game, because a player doesn’t always hit 3 times in 4 innings.

Jason Bartlett’s effort was a little hearbreaking, because he came within a single of the cycle, which is usually the easiest part of it to accomplish. It’s always annoying to see a player come so close to something special like the cycle, even when you’re not a fan of them.

All I can say is that we’ve been through the storm, and now we have to keep fighting until the end of the season.

 

Let’s take a break

Maybe a little break is needed for all fans of the Red Sox. After the painful game 4 loss in Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Bombers have completed their first 4 game sweep at home in 24 years. It was a grim picture in NYC for the Sox, as was well illustrated on the depressed faces of our players.

Home plate umpire Bill Miller calls Jason Varitek out after swinging and missing on a third strike pitch by Andy Pettitte. Pettitte went seven innings, giving up just five hits.

Bard went on to walk A-Rod in five pitches after giving up back-to-back home runs. After that, Red Sox manager Terry Francona had seen enough, pulling the fast-throwing righthander. The Sox bullpen had an ERA of 8.22 in the sweep with 32 base runners in 15.1 innings.

Our boys don’t look so happy about the way they played last night, and for the whole series. Needless to say, no one is really happy about the way we played.

As I was scrolling through these pictures on Boston.com, I noticed some depressing stats as well:

“Brace yourself for these numbers: in the series the Red Sox went 25-142, a .176 average. Boston scored just eight runs on the Yankees and struck out a total of 40 times in four games. They went scoreless for 31 innings and with runners in scoring position the Red Sox batted .079 – 3 for 38.”

As I was trying to keep from screaming, I remembered who we were. We are Red Sox Nation, our motto is “Keep the Faith” and “BELIEVE!” We are the diehard fans who kept that faith and believed in the Red Sox in ’04 and since whenever things looked bad. There’s no way we were going to give up yet, right? Wrong. There was also this poll on Boston.com. With my false belief that as a nation we would not give up yet, I voted for the obvious “Red Sox fan” answer. I must say, the results did shock me.

How are you feeling about the Red Sox?

It’s over. Stick a fork in this team, there’s no playoffs for the Sox. When does Patriots season begin?
58.6%
It’s OK. This team is still a playoff contender when it’s healthy and this is just a bump in the road to the playoffs.
41.4%
Total votes: 7586

Really?!

Okay, so maybe some Yankee fans voted on this, but it made me sad to see what kind of faith we had been keeping.

So today, I want all of you Red Sox fans to take a little break. If you’re feeling really down in the dumps, don’t even turn on the game. If you’re a sports fan, check out some other sports news. It’s a day to recharge and get ready for the final haul to the playoffs ahead of us. Let’s get through the bad times and keep believing and keeping the faith.

“It ain’t over ’till it’s over.”

A special thanks to Julia of Julia’s Rants for giving me the idea to write this (I hope I didn’t steal her thunder too much). As usual she is one of our biggest believers!

Thanks for reading.

See ya in August!

Tomorrow I am leaving for camp for the next month. I will be without internet access throughout that time, so I won’t be able to write anything on my blog. I will miss a lot of things in the MLBlogs world and in the MLB itself. Among those baseball events are: the All Star game, a Sox-Yanks series, and the continuation of a race in the AL East that is seriously heating up (no need to remind me if I forgot anything!).

Unfortunately, I have to leave right when a lot of people are starting to read my blog. I hope that all of you will check back in starting August 12 and won’t forget about my blog. I really appreciate everyone’s support and I am grateful to everyone for reading and commenting. Thank you very much!

See ya in August!

Big Papi hits milestone

Yesterday Red Sox fans had to take the bitter with the better. As usual in life, with good things always comes bad things as well; nothing can ever be entirely perfect.

In the 3rd inning, David Ortiz connected on a Luke Hochevar pitch and sent it deep for his 300th career homerun. Big Papi has hit safely in 25 of his last 30 games now, and it seems he has recovered from his troubling start to the season. The joy of seeing Papi get #300 didn’t last for long, though.

We came into the game expecting it to be an easy one. Kansas City is a below .500 team, and they were a dismal 3-6 in their last 10 coming into the game. Their starter Luke Hochevar hadn’t pitched in Fenway since facing Jon Lester during Lester’s no-no last year.

Luke Hochevar actually didn’t pitch so bad, though. He threw 6 innings, and allowed 5 runs, but nevertheless got the win after our relievers once again blew a lead. Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson both let up 2 runs, making the score 7-5 Royals in the 6th .

It had been 4-3 when Penny left in the 5th, and he later said that he had felt confident after leaving the game. “Anytime you have the lead after the fifth, I’m happy as a starting pitcher,” said Penny after the game.
 
We ended up losing 8-6 as  the Royals’ ace closer Joakim Soria squandered a threat in the 8th and put us away in the 9th.

http://stateoftheline.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/soria.jpg

Even Jacoby struggled, and he rarely struggles, especially in the field. It was a disappointing game once again, and it exemplified the troubles that have become commonplace for our bullpen.

 Jacoby Ellsbury

Even worse, the Yankees beat the Twins 6-4 to complete the sweep, tying us for first place in the AL East.

“It shows how well the Yankees have played,” said Jason Bay. “We haven’t played that badly. Except for the Seattle series,
we’ve been winning series.” Okay, but c’mon J-Bay, just take a look at the bullpen…

I can almost see this guy laughing as we struggle to understand just what it is that has suddenly put us in a tie with a team we led by 5 games on June 23rd.

Amid all this disappointment as we head towards the All Star break, I did find something to put a smile on my face at the grocery store this morning. An ad for Kevin Youkilis endorsing B & M baked beans. This is an older ad, but there is a new contest to meet Youk at meetyouk.com

By the way, Youk is officially the man.

In closing, I wish good luck to all the players going to the All Star game and congratulations to the winners of the final vote, Brandon Inge and Shane Victorino. Both are deserving winners and are good additions to both the AL and NL teams.

Thanks for reading.