Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sox Victims of Cliff Lee's 3rd Straight Shut Out

I don't know what to say here. Josh Beckett had an off night. Cliff Lee was world class. It was a very boring game from a Sox fan perspective. I just sat there waiting for something to happen, and it never did. The Sox had a total of four base runners, and they were scattered around here and there. You can't really point to any instance in the game and say, that's where Boston lost it's chance to make something happen.

Boston is now 6-7 in interleague play. It's hard to complain about the system since it's given the Red Sox huge opportunities in the past several years with double digit win totals each year in interleague play. This stretch of poor performances is starting to get frustrating, especially after the successful run it follows. Can't we just be normal, win two of every three and call it a day? I hate these huge inexplicable swings of the pendulum.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sox Sputtering

After a remarkable month long run, the Red Sox have lost their grip on the AL East with a 6-4 loss to the Pirates today. A four game losing streak, while always frustrating and detrimental, is not a reason to panic at this stage. But their losses to the likes of San Diego and Pittsburgh just always brings the bile to the back of my throat. These are games that the Sox should be handling with relative ease. I'm not asking for a sweep, but you would like to see Boston split these games at least with three games in Philly on the horizon. Who knows. The way things go in baseball I wouldn't be surprised if the Sox swept the Phillies after playing like crud this past week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Beckett Tosses One Hitter

After Kevin Youkilis failed to make a tough throw to first on a grounder to third in the third inning last night, Josh Beckett didn't allow another base runner for the rest of the night. Beckett went the full nine, earning the third shutout of his Sox career. Youkilis would make up for his play in the field later by providing the margin of victory with a three run homer in the seventh. The fact that it came against the Rays, for whom I have the most contempt, makes it all the more sweet.

Beckett is emerging as a Cy Young front runner. These things are always debatable of course, but he is leading the AL in ERA (1.86), batting average against (.174), and is tied for the lead in WHIP (0.92). Now if he can keep from getting a blister or some slight indigestion that puts him on the DL...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Derek Jeter's Injury

As we all know Derek Jeter is out of the Yankee line up for an as yet to be determined amount of time with a calf strain. New York is still debating whether to put him on the DL. What I am posting about is an interesting conversation I heard on ESPN radio last night regarding this injury and injuries in general. It's funny when they put the intelligent stuff on at 8pm when practically no one will be listening to the radio.

The host had a physical therapist specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine call into the show. They discussed the nature of Jeter's injury, possible treatment plans, and the issue of athletes' non-disclosure of injuries in order to stay on the field. The PT (of course I can't remember her name) successfully gave medical explanations in layman's terms, and I left with a clear understanding of the situation. My point is that I wish sports media gave more time to this type of in depth analysis regarding injuries, training, and self-care issues that modern athletes face.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Big Shots Considering Realignment

I could write about the Yankees because they have actually won two straight, but the injury to Bartolo Colon has me slightly depressed. Anyway, it looks as though and age of ignorance might be coming to an end for Major League Baseball. Wel at least sort of.

Buster Olney that MLB and the players union are talking about realignment to balance the leagues out to 15 teams a piece. Of course this would never have been a problem if Selig didn't insist on adding four new franchises to the game during the 1990s.

There is talk of reverting to a singular division that would allow the top five teams to make the playoffs (because they absolutely need that second wild card so fewer people's feelings are hurt). That would make the situation better and allow the AL East to represent the AL in the playoffs every season.

The one point I don't like about the proposed realignment, would be that interleague play would constantly be going on. That means some teams would be playing interleague games that would decide the pennant in September. But at least this is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Good News for Hughes Tainted By Joba's Injury

Word has come out of the Yankee camp that Joba Chamberlain will most likely have to undergo Tommy John surgery which will end his season and knock him out for most of 2012 as well.

The Chamberlain injury is perplexing. Joba hit the DL two days ago with discomfort in his arm that was diagnosed as a strained, then torn flexor muscle. Both of those would have laid him up for a month or more, but news that it is actually a torn elbow ligament is devastating to an already shorthanded bullpen.

For right now the burden of setting up Mariano Rivera will fall to Dave Robertson, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Robertson has excelled in higher leverage situations this season and while his walk numbers are still worrisome, his strike out rate is more than impressive. However, this now means that relievers in the class of Luis Ayala and Boone Logan... Yikes.

The Yankees can be somewhat optimistic about another young hurler, as Phil Hughes seems to be progressing well in his rehab. Today he throw 30 pitches in extended spring training where he touched 90-92 on the radar gun. It will be important to see how he bounces back tomorrow and the next time out. Hopefully he will get into a minor league game soon and then into the rotation by the Fourth of July.

Things look bad right now, but not as bad as the media may make it out to be. The Yankees just need to survive until the return of Hughes and they need to start testing some of their young arms to see if they are ready to compete in a big league bullpen. Jeff Marquez is not the answer and neither is Ayala or Logan. Time to perhaps expand the role of Hector Noesi or give Kevin Whelan and George Kontos a shot. Both are having exceptional years as relievers at Scranton so why not give them a shot. Hell, even Tim Norton would be a good option at this point.

Hopefully once the rain subsides CC Sabathia decides to go into beast mode and allay the fears of Yankee fans for one night.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sox Take Fourth Straight from Yanks

Last night Boston didn't waste anytime as they scored three runs before New York's Freddy Garcia even recorded an out. I haven't watched a whole bunch of Freddy Garcia in my life, but he looked bewildered. He tried to stick with his soft stuff, presumably because he had no faith in his fastball that was topping out at 85 mph. In the end, spurred on by a David Ortiz two run homer in the fifth, the Sox held on for a 6-4 victory, their fourth in a row against the Yanks, all at the Stadium.

Lost in the story of the big free agent signings and the slow start followed by resurgence, is the excellent play of David Ortiz. He is now hitting .324/.390/.602 for the year. He has 14 HR's and 16 doubles. The biggest difference is that he's finally remembered how to take the ball the opposite way. The past two seasons or so he was constantly looking to turn on an inside pitch. That kind of pitch proved so irresistible that he was literally swinging at pitches up around his eyes and striking out with great frequency (he had a career high 145 last year in the same amount of games). This year he's hitting to all fields therefore nullifying the absurd shift most teams play against him. Perhaps he's learned a thing or two from his new teammate, Adrian Gonzalez.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Our long national nightmare is over. The report is that Daisuke Matsuzaka will undergo Tommy John surgery thereby ending his Red Sox career. And what did we get for a quadrillion dollars and our first born child, two halfway decent seasons and a prescription for Zantac for all of the indigestion. Good riddance.

Now, what happens with the back end of the rotation? Clearly, Aceves, while great to have in the pen can't keep starting every fifth day. John Lackey is still on the DL and was ineffective when he pitched anyway. It's not like the back end needs to pitch like Bob Gibson. They just need to be .500 or so. It also doesn't instill me with a lot of confidence when the Sox start their home stand by getting swept and are now down 4-0 to the A's with Buchholz, a supposed top line guy, pitching. The Sox are working very hard to undo the progress they made in May.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yanks Sweep/Sox Swept

Clearly this is no good. I don't know what it is about the White Sox. At first I thought it was just my imagination that Chicago always beats Boston. However, I learned today that Chicago has won six straight in Boston.

Now the Red Sox have lost four in a row, three at home. I suppose the pace Boston was on wouldn't keep up for ever. After going an AL best 19-10 in May they were bound to cool off a bit. I won't start to get too concerned unless they continue to falter over the weekend.

Yankee fans and the rest of the media are making it sound as if they're playing horribly and the season is doomed. I don't know what team they are watching. Although they've been inconsistent and not all the parts are working at the same level all the time, I would not expect the Yankees to go quietly... not by a long shot.