Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Are we home yet?

I'm not imbued with confidence in this team right now, because I'm just not sure which team the Red Sox are, and yet I'm feeling all this off of a somewhat hard-luck loss that could have been a feel good comeback. Daisuke was only okay, and then he was injured, but four relievers pitched shutout ball until the 9th, when someone other than Papelbon had to pitch (road versus home logic in the 9th of a tie game), and the prime candidate was still ol' man Timlin. Who, sadly, is pretty much done. He was quoted after the game frustrated that he was hitting his spots and still getting hit. That's old age, old man. And that's what happens when you have to get five innings out of your bullpen without a real long man. Can't wait until Masterson's in his likely September place in the pen.

Manny's 499th was something to see, and was absolutely critical in a game where the Sox made Miguel Batista look far better than the adequate pitcher he (sometimes) is, and specialized in putting men on 1st and 2nd with no outs and nothing to show for it. Of course, said home run was responsible for me turning the game back on, losing some sleep I really could have used (especially including the 45 minutes of winding down from the mindstate of "Fuuuuuuuuck!" that comes after losing any game in the 9th), and coming to work in such a delicious mood.

So that's .250 ball so far on this trip, or 1-8 over their last nine road games, with another five games to play on the last unmerciful ten-game road trip of the season. And a blown opportunity to take back first place. And two more 10:05 starts I'm not even fucking with. And one nap couch that my work place must purchase immediately, 'lest I give notice.



Eh, forget it. Hello, bed of keys. rsp;'./D{Dsareu3wq4lasdc

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oakland 7, Boston 1, Bottom of 4th Inning.

Dear Clay Bucholz,

How's Triple-A? Lame, no? Kelsey ain't even visiting you, is she? Guess Pawtucket isn't her kinda town, let alone Buffalo or Indianapolis. Anyway, just wanted to tell you to get better soon. Really soon. At least your sometimes catastrophic starts serve a learning purpose.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Like the Denny's breakfast menu, without the heart-stopping goodness.

Like Don Orsillo said, it's grand slam day at Fenway Park. 11-4 as I write this, thanks to 8 RBIs on two swings by J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell, and it's all almost enough to forget the sloppy, askew, and often wild day by Daisuke.

(C'mon, Matsuzaka, on three-ball counts it's okay sometimes to give a little; to Joey Gathright, anyway.)

What will either be the culmination of a 7-o homestand or cause for murder-suicide, either way, I've enjoyed wasting my work day watching it. The offense is clicking. We'll see if we can hit Rich Harden. If we feel like staying up late to watch it, anyway.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

(Insert some headline involving "Masterful" or somesuch variation.)

Masterful. Mastered. Mastering. Master of the Universe. Mastermastermaster.

Although apparently newspaper headlines will speak of his mastery every time he wins regardless of caliber of start because, you know, name puns, Justin Masterson was very good, albeit with a walk or two more than necessary, and unlike last time, the bullpen was good enough to hold that lead, albeit barely.

Okajima wasn't all there, but getting the second out by strikeout (with a runner on third) was almost as important as Papelbon later getting the third out. (Coincidentally, by strikeout; it's intriguing to see what he can do against righties with creative deployment of this reintroduced slider.) Gil Meche was pretty great, but one inning capped with a Lugo sac fly and a Coco double was enough. And that was that. A losable game won. Nice.

Bartolo returns tonight. No idea what to expect, but at least we aren't exactly throwing him to the...Rangers?...his first start out. I do expect a Craig Hansen sighting at some point, which will both delight me and (if it doesn't come with at least a three-run lead) chill me to my very core.

Most interesting series against the Royals I can recall in recent times, I'll say that much.

Oh, Master of Puppets. Forgot that one. There's a keeper, o weary editors.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cancer strikes out! (And fails to get a base hit!)

First off, wow. That was something, and in all fairness to Jon Lester, that was something I did not expect to see. Pitcher struggling with strike zone and walks hits strike one 20 out of 29 times, giving up 2 walks, pitching his first ever complete game. (Albeit with a dangerous 130 pitches. Tito, what were you thinking?)

And, um, oh yeah. No hits. None. Nine strikeouts, a lot of weak groundballs and popups, one of which nearly dived to the ground:

That was it. That was dominance. And no matter how bitter you want to be about it (see the comments turn tragicomical on Peter Abraham's blog around 9:45 p.m. here; thanks to the 45 King), no one else has no-hit the Royals since Nolan Ryan got his first, and no one has no-hit a major league team since that scrawny kid with the big curve and the Penthouse Pet girlfriend pulled it. Way, way back in September.

But, yeah, it was against the Royals. So what? Do it yourself. Fuck you, stupid bitter Yankee fans. If Wang no-hit the Padres in interleague play, I'd hardly mention that they were the Padres. The luck necessary alone with all the poorly hit balls that can end up in unplayable sections of the field (I remember a swinging bunt breaking up John Maine's no-no bid the next-to-last day of the season last year) or the killer bloop (akin to what Ellsbury somehow snatched) make any no-hitter against any team an accomplishment.

Having pitched a World Series clinching game and a no-hitter, I'd like to again suggest that this might be an opportunity for us to move on from the The Boy Who Lived plotline that the media have tacked onto him, and which Jon Lester himself desires. The first sentence of the Herald article on last night says all:

Ever since receiving word that he had defeated lymphoma a year-and-a-half ago, Jon Lester has been trying to do everything within his power to shed the unsought labeling of being the pitcher who survived cancer.

It says all especially because the fucking sentence does plenty to keep the unsought label on!

The AP's first two graphs:

BOSTON, May 19 -- Jon Lester has survived cancer and pitched a World Series clincher for the Boston Red Sox.

Now he can add a no-hitter to his already amazing list of accomplishments.

Accomplishments? That's survival you're fucking talking about, not an "accomplishment." Cancer didn't give him a trophy. He didn't get a Most Valuable Player Who Had Cancer trophy last year. (Mike Lowell would have deserved it more anyway.) To the Globe's credit, they did not mention cancer until paragraph 3, and again, in the "he wants to be remembered for more" context.

So, yeah, respect his wishes already and stop talking about his near-death experience so cavalierly and unendingly, Author. I mean, Arthur. Lester's pitched well enough to be more than a human interest story, okay? Find a boy in a well.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Did it have to be Jay Fucking Payton?

I'm not watching the rest of this fucking game, and I'm not watching the Baltimore Orioles get a mini-sweep over a team that is finding ways to lose. Especially since that way to lose had to be a fucking grand slam by asshole #1 Jay Payton, who knowingly/tragically took a reserve OF role with us in '05 before crying/moaning/bleeding/sucking his way out of that. Not Jay Payton. It's too much. Goodbye cruel world. (Until tomorrow.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Julian Tavarez, RHP, Boston Red Sox (2006-2008)

Oh, Pizzaface, if only I could say I'm really going to miss you. Outside of the clubhouse (and especially your best friend, Manny Ramirez), I may be among the few coming almost sort of close to (but not really) missing you. It's hard to do so when it's hard to know how exactly to eulogize you, or what sort of disappointment your Sox years really were.

It's not fair to compare you to a seemingly savvy veteran bullpen pickup that somehow rode their way to a World Series win like Ramiro Mendoza, because you contributed a surprising amount as a 5th starter, pitching winnable games more often than not and helping to make the AL East race a seeming non-starter.

It's not fair to compare you to a seemingly big bullpen pickup that fizzled out like Eric Gag-ne because only nerdish folk like me had followed you closely enough beyond the bouts and bouts of insanity to expect something from you beyond pure inning-eating, though it seemed to take about three months in 2006 before inning-eating was your irrevocable role. You seemed a vaguely promising signing at two years (no one noticed the dread option year, and after the 2007 postseason, where you were left off the rosters for every round, no one expected you to take it), and quickly, you weren't. But you were never a major waste of resources.

Rather than figure your failure, Julian, I'd like to remember my favorite moments of you. In no particular order.

Julian v. Joey

Joey Gathright, car jumper and general lunatic. Julian Tavarez, man of many brawls. Spring 2002. Sweet, sweet violence.

That's a good Tavarez

The peak of Manny-Julian madness. My sitcom idea, Barry and Gary, is still based off of Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield's now friendship because the comedy of chef-stealing and any situation that makes Gary Sheffield the straight man (??) is pure gold. But if I couldn't get that one through, a Ramirez-Tavarez show would be pretty solid as well. It would be like Meth and Red with slightly less weed and more guys getting randomly knocked the fuck out, to Manny's delight.

Still better than Rudy @%$(ing Seanez

I went to this game and stayed for all 19 innings because, when do you get the chance to stay at a baseball game for 19 innings? It was one of Papelbon's few blown saves of the year, and one where the whole bullpen was emptied out (the All-Star break awaited, so there was no fear of day-after fatigue to be had), including Tavarez for a season-high 4 innings, no runs allowed. Tavarez was unfortunately the ticking clock because everyone at the stadium knew if Rudy Seanez made it into this game, the White Sox were going to win.

But defeat aside, this is my sweetest in-person memory of Julian Tavarez. I wish him well in Colorado or wherever he may land. I also hope someone incites him to brutality again. His wasn't the best Sox career, but he's welcome to drink free here any time.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

GAME THIRTY SIX: @#*#$@)(#*@#*(@ with your @#(@(ing *(@@#*.

I'd never seen someone blow a save without being the pitcher, but I can definitively say I have now. Julio Lugo did it in the midst of the luckiest come-from-behind game imaginable:

Accidental check swing bunt single.
Bobble on possible double play ball by Julio Lugo.
Sacrifice bunt runners to second and third.
Groundball to second plates one runner, advances other to third.
Broken bat single gets over a leaping Lugo. (No, not even Ozzie Smith with the wings of a bat could have caught this ball, but I'm just noting detail.) End of game. (Lugo, B, 1.)

Let's recap: That's one semi-genuine hit, and two fucking runs, ruining what would have been a great come from behind game in which the Sox dug out of a 4 run deficit, then a 3 run deficit. Bad luck is a part of baseball. Bad defense is a substantial part of Julio Lugo. Drinks on the house if I don't down every bottle first. No chasers, no ice. Let it BURN.

Monday, May 5, 2008

GAMES THIRTY ONE- THIRTY THREE: That's more like it.

Back to the top of the league. Now let's see if it can continue on the road; the Sox schedule has been home-heavy, and the Tigers have come a long ways from their start.

No more for now. Sorry, it's one of those days I've gotta, y'know, keep my day job.

Friday, May 2, 2008

GAME THIRTY: With apologies to Harburg and Gorney

They used to tell me we were powerful
And I watched us pile up scores
Where there were runners on, we ran them off
Five, six, seven, or more
They used to tell me we could hit
Wins and pennants had came
Why should we scrap for four runs in five whole fucking games?

Once scoreboards ran out of numbers
Under Fenway nights, or sun
They say it’ll get better in summer, but,
Brother, can you spare a run?

Once we laid more pipe than plumbers
So many ways to get it done
Now, who will save poor Timmy Wakefield?
Brother, can you spare a run?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

GAME TWENTY-NINE: Lower the mound! Lower the mound!

Winning's good, winning walk-off style is fun, but the offense is bothering me, and quick solutions always work. You know what to do.

Wakefield on the mound tonight. I'm guessing it might be good to score, um, three runs, at least.

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