Sunday, August 30, 2009

Baseball is so unpredictable it is almost predictable

What did I say the other day about the finale of the Red Sox - Blue Jays series?

I wrote:

Today Halladay pitches against Paul Byrd.
Wait... Paul Byrd?
OK, it is a good day to go to the beach. The Red Sox aren't winning today.


Yeah. I went to the beach. A 38 year old who hadn't thrown a pitch in the big leagues all year against a front runner for the Cy Young Award?

OF COURSE Byrd was going to throw 6 shutout innings and Halladay would get rocked.

Looks like Paul Byrd found God again.

It's games like this one that make me NEVER bet on sporting events.

I guess Zack Grienke DOES want to win the AL Cy Young Award
























Not long after my wondering if anyone actually wants to win this award, Grienke is doing his best to say "Cool it! It's mine!"

1-0 complete game shutouts in late August tend to help seal the deal.

And with Roy Halladay and Josh Beckett stinking it up recently, it is looking more and more like Grienke will put a tremendous line on his resume for when he goes to free agency and signs with either the Red Sox or the Yankees.

However with Justin Verlander's win today and CC Sabathia lurking, it's not his yet.

But man it is close.

This wasn't the biggest hit in Edgar Renteria's career

When someone hits a come from behind grand slam in late August that puts his team into a tie for a playoff spot... you'd think that would be the biggest hit in that guy's career.

Well Edgar Renteria got a bigger one than his blast today.

Remember he got a walk off single in the 11th inning to win Game 7 of the 1997 World Series for the Marlins.

And I bet you forgot he hit a walk off hit in Game 1 of the Division Series that year against the Giants.

But the Giants swept the Rockies and will go into September tied for a playoff spot... and they will have the best starting pitching of any of the Wild Card contenders.

That maybe be only the third biggest hit in Edgar Renteria's career... but Giants fans are more than happy with the Bronze!

That should have been a blow out... not that I am complaining

Seriously, how many bases loaded jams could the Sox let Ricky Romero get away with last night?

He let up 11 base runners in 5 1/3 innings only 3 scored?

And what should have been a laugher turned into a "Get the bullpen scurrying" tense affair.

But all that matters is the W.

And oh yeah, Buchholz was AWESOME! And it is his 4th good start in his last 5.


It's time to update the tally... and it will be a memorable tally.




DODGED A BULLET GAMES - 22

April 17 - 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 - 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 - 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 - 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 - 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 - 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 - 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard's 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 - 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green's fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 - 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)
July 1 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Sox score 4 in the 9th and Lugo wins in in the 11th)
July 8 - 5-4 win against Oakland. (Wind keeps Hairston's 9th inning go ahead homer in the ballpark)
July 10 - 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Pedroia drives in the only run with 2 outs in the 8th.)
July 30 - 8-5 win against Oakland. (Ortiz tests postive then hits a 2 out 3 run go ahead homer.)
July 31 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Youk's 2 run homer saves Smoltz from another bad start.)
August 10 - 6-5 win against Detroit. (Sox snap 6 game losing streak with 7th inning rally.)
August 14 - 8-4 win at Texas. (Victor Martinez hits a 2 run 2 strike 2 out double to take the lead and make up for Buchholz's baserunning mishap.)
August 18 - 10-9 win at Toronto. (Ortiz homers and the Jays defense collapses, saving Beckett from a bad start.)
August 24 - 12-8 win against White Sox. (Red Sox overcome early 4-1 lead and a bad Buchholz start.)
August 25 - 6-3 win against White Sox. (Red Sox win with 4 unanswered runs despite some sloppy defense.)
August 26 - 3-2 win against White Sox. (Wakes pitches 7 strong and Papi homers twice including a walk off)
August 28 - 6-5 win against Toronto. (Sox come back from early 3-0 hole and Paps wiggles out of a bases loaded jam in the 9th.)
August 29 - 3-2 win against Toronto. (Buchholz dominates but needs help from Paps to finish the 9th)


TEETH GRINDER GAMES - 22

April 14 - 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 - 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 - 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 - 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 - 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 - 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 - 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
June 28 - 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)
June 30 - 11-10 loss at Baltimore. (The Red Sox blow a late 10-1 to the lowly Orioles.)
July 3 - 7-6 loss to Seattle. (Red Sox comeback in the 8th only to lose in the 11th.)
July 4 - 3-2 loss to Seattle. (Saito walks three in the 9th as the Mariners rally to win)
July 9 - 8-6 loss to the Royals. (Bullpen blows early 4-0 lead.)
July 21 - 4-2 loss at Texas. (Beckett loses a complete game and the Yankees take over first.)
July 22 - 3-1 loss at Texas. (Sox are swept for the first time all season.)
July 28 - 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox blow 3 run lead in 9th. A's rally with 2 outs in 9th and 11th.)
July 29 - 8-6 loss to Oakland. (Down 5-0 in the first, Sox comeback falls short)
August 4 - 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay. (Longoria hits 13th inning walk off with first base open.)
August 5 - 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox gets swept in a 2 game series with the tying run at the plate).
August 7 - 2-0 loss in New York. (A-Rod's walk off with 2 outs in the 15 ends a teeth grinding marathon.)
August 9 - 5-2 loss in New York. (4 outs from avoiding a sweep, Bard lets up back to back homers to Damon and Teixeira.)
August 13 - 2-0 loss to Detroit. (Verlander wiggles out of early and late jams.)
August 16 - 4-3 loss at Texas. (Red Sox can't rally and fall behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race)


BREAK EVEN!
For the first time since July 21, they are not in the red.

And if Buchholz is pitching well like this and Beckett's slump can end, maybe the this season isn't lost.

Today Halladay pitches against Paul Byrd.

Wait... Paul Byrd?

OK, it is a good day to go to the beach. The Red Sox aren't winning today.

Is this a dagger which I see before the bullpen?

The Red Sox added some depth and literary value to their bullpen by recalling Marcus McBeth.

I have no clue if he will help or not, but I certainly hope he has a better relationship with his wife than the other guy with that name.

(Yeah I know, it is spelled MacBeth... but how often do the Sox bring up a Shakespearean named player? I don't think there's a utility infielder named Falstaff in Pawtucket.)



Saturday, August 29, 2009

Barry Zito can become the Giants answer to J. D. Drew

I know a way to heaven for Barry Zito.

Right now his $126 million contract that he inked before the 2007 season is always brought up as one of the worst in baseball history.

Last year not only did he not pitch like an ace, but as a 17 game loser with an ERA of 5.15, he didn't pitch like a #5 starter.

I saw him pitch at a game in AT&T Park earlier this year with my mother and two kids. He got clubbed so badly that my mother in law felt bad for him when he got booed.

But there is an easy way to make people forget all of that, even with 4 more years left on the deal:

Pitch like he did tonight and win some more big games.

He's let up 1 run in his last 20 1/3 innings.
And if Cain can right his ship, suddenly the Giants would have three aces.

Can you imagine the Giants in a short series against Philadelphia with Lincecum throwing 2 games, Cain throwing a game and Zito pitching like this in game 3?

That would make a lot of people forget 2 1/2 unremarkable seasons.

Post season success can be quite a cure all.

If I, Paul Sullivan, the man who did NOT want J. D. Drew in a Red Sox uniform, could become the founder of the J. D. Drew Fan Club based solely on his post season heroics, then Barry Zito can become a fan favorite in San Francisco.

Falling Angels?

The Angels overtook the Rangers around the All Star break for the division... and since then they had a run where they won 12 of 13, another 5 game winning streak, and in mid August a run where they won 9 of 11.

They built up a 6 1/2 game lead in late August.

Party is over.

Division is theirs.
The Angels were clearly going to win their fifth division title since Arte Moreno took over the team in 2003.

Not - So - Fast!

Have you noticed since August 22, the lead has gone from 6 1/2 games to 4 games?

Have you noticed teams like the Blue Jays and the A's have been giving them fits?

Did you know that they go on a stretch in mid September where they play the Yankees 4 times, the Red Sox 3 times and the Rangers 3 times... then after an Oakland series another 3 games with the Rangers?

Did you know the Rangers are done facing the Red Sox and Yankees?

Did you know the Rangers' September is filled with games against the Blue Jays, the Orioles, the Indians and the A's? Yes they play the Rays and the Mariners, both teams with winning records but the Rangers schedule is MUCH more forgiving!

What I am saying is, the Angels, whose starting pitching isn't bringing back memories of the Braves of the 1990s, might find themselves getting pounded.

And as they play Boston and New York, the Rangers will be playing the A's.

It is not unreasonable that the Angels could drop a few games in the standings before their head to head matches.

Don't just be thinking about the Wild Card, Texas... some Angels wings might be clipped.

Wet, ugly and wonderful

When I saw the Red Sox were down 3-0 early, I slumped on my couch.

Beckett was wetting the bed and this was going to be a long weekend.

And then of course it went back and forth and by the time the Red Sox took the lead, I was in a restaurant with my wife and kids scarfing down sushi.

I snuck a peak at my phone and saw Papelbon had loaded the bases with 1 out in the 9th and had only a one run lead.

I shut my phone off. In my head, I threw this in the loss column. I did some teeth grinding and went back to being a decent father.

So imagine my glee when I checked the scores and saw that Paps did a Houdini act and squeezed a win out of it.

At this point in the season, there are no style points. Wins are wins, no matter how ugly they are... and this one was ugggggly! And yet so alluring.


Kind of like Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The Sox are dodging a lot more bullets these days.
Let's hope it spills over into September and October!



DODGED A BULLET GAMES - 21

April 17 - 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 - 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 - 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 - 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 - 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 - 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 - 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard's 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 - 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green's fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 - 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)
July 1 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Sox score 4 in the 9th and Lugo wins in in the 11th)
July 8 - 5-4 win against Oakland. (Wind keeps Hairston's 9th inning go ahead homer in the ballpark)
July 10 - 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Pedroia drives in the only run with 2 outs in the 8th.)
July 30 - 8-5 win against Oakland. (Ortiz tests postive then hits a 2 out 3 run go ahead homer.)
July 31 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Youk's 2 run homer saves Smoltz from another bad start.)
August 10 - 6-5 win against Detroit. (Sox snap 6 game losing streak with 7th inning rally.)
August 14 - 8-4 win at Texas. (Victor Martinez hits a 2 run 2 strike 2 out double to take the lead and make up for Buchholz's baserunning mishap.)
August 18 - 10-9 win at Toronto. (Ortiz homers and the Jays defense collapses, saving Beckett from a bad start.)
August 24 - 12-8 win against White Sox. (Red Sox overcome early 4-1 lead and a bad Buchholz start.)
August 25 - 6-3 win against White Sox. (Red Sox win with 4 unanswered runs despite some sloppy defense.)
August 26 - 3-2 win against White Sox. (Wakes pitches 7 strong and Papi homers twice including a walk off)
August 28 - 6-5 win against Toronto. (Sox come back from early 3-0 hole and Paps wiggles out of a bases loaded jam in the 9th.)


TEETH GRINDER GAMES - 22

April 14 - 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 - 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 - 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 - 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 - 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 - 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 - 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
June 28 - 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)
June 30 - 11-10 loss at Baltimore. (The Red Sox blow a late 10-1 to the lowly Orioles.)
July 3 - 7-6 loss to Seattle. (Red Sox comeback in the 8th only to lose in the 11th.)
July 4 - 3-2 loss to Seattle. (Saito walks three in the 9th as the Mariners rally to win)
July 9 - 8-6 loss to the Royals. (Bullpen blows early 4-0 lead.)
July 21 - 4-2 loss at Texas. (Beckett loses a complete game and the Yankees take over first.)
July 22 - 3-1 loss at Texas. (Sox are swept for the first time all season.)
July 28 - 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox blow 3 run lead in 9th. A's rally with 2 outs in 9th and 11th.)
July 29 - 8-6 loss to Oakland. (Down 5-0 in the first, Sox comeback falls short)
August 4 - 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay. (Longoria hits 13th inning walk off with first base open.)
August 5 - 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox gets swept in a 2 game series with the tying run at the plate).
August 7 - 2-0 loss in New York. (A-Rod's walk off with 2 outs in the 15 ends a teeth grinding marathon.)
August 9 - 5-2 loss in New York. (4 outs from avoiding a sweep, Bard lets up back to back homers to Damon and Teixeira.)
August 13 - 2-0 loss to Detroit. (Verlander wiggles out of early and late jams.)
August 16 - 4-3 loss at Texas. (Red Sox can't rally and fall behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race)


Down to -1. Almost at break even.

Couple that with the Rangers loss (thanks again Minnesota) and the magic number for the post season is 33.

A strange thing happened at the Dodger game the other day

I'm talking about the August 27th game between the Dodgers and the Rockies.

I was listening to the game in my car and there was a managerial decision that has been bugging me because it made no sense to me.

In this critical game, the Dodgers had a 3-2 lead in the 9th. Torre had already brought in Jonathan Broxton to escape an 8th inning jam. Broxton was in the #5 hole because of a previous double switch.

In the top of the 9th, Franklin Morales was pitching for Colorado. He had thrown a 1-2-3 8th inning and got the first two out in the 9th when Andre Ethier reached on an error. 

Manny Ramirez was up next followed by Broxton.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy walked Ramirez. A no brainer. Who would you rather face in Coors Field? A Hall of Famer or a reliever with 4 career plate appearances?

So Ramirez is put on... and remember Morales has pitched well thus far... and should have been out of the inning because of the error... and now is pitching against a reliever.

And Jim Tracy makes a pitching change.

And more than that... a double switch.

He removed Brad Hawpe from the lineup, brought in Ryan Spilborghs to play the outfield and put Rafael Betancourt on the hill.

Am I missing something?

I checked the Rockies websites, and Morales wasn't injured.

Why the heck did Jim Tracy not trust Morales against a reliever who has only 3 more plate appearances than Eddie Gaedel


Did Morales plead his case?

"Skip! This guy is 0-4 lifetime and doesn't participate in batting practice. I have a plan on how to get him out!"

"What is it?"

"I am going to throw the ball towards the plate and he won't hit it."

He had no problem having him throw to Andre Ethier but was there a scouting report saying "Broxton kills Morales. He takes him deep!"

Maybe he thought Broxton was due.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sully Baseball Salutes... Jody McDonald!

I've been a big fan of Jody McDonald for a while.

He was a great co host on WFAN, first with Suzyn (sic) Waldman and then with Joe Beningo.

I even called in a bunch of times... once after the Red Sox extended the 2004 ALCS and I referenced the Pacino line "Just when I thought I was out... they pulled me back in."

He's now matched up with Rob Dibble on XM. I was always a big fan of Dibble and Kennedy, but Jody Mac has proved to be a wonderful ying to Dibble's yang (or is it the other way around.)

Today they were talking about the mess that has the audacity of calling themselves the New York Mets. 

When the subject of the Mets financial woes tied in with Bernie Madoff came up, they talked about how it affected Omar Minaya from pursuing Manny Ramirez when they needed a left fielder.

Jody Mac said "When Minaya didn't even call the agent, I knew something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

Folks... Jody Mac dropped a Shakespeare reference during a baseball call in show!
Hamlet, act 1 scene 4. 

It's one thing to drop a "to be or not to be" reference... but for an XM crowd, that was a smidge more obscure.

I wonder if Dibble caught it.

Either way, kudos for Jody Mac for not talking down to the audience!


And maybe with new management the Mets can unleash the dogs of war.

The NL Cy Young Award has been clinched... thanks for playing


























At this point, Chris Carpenter would have to throw three straight no hitters to wrestle the Cy Young away from Tim Lincecum... and even then, I'm not sure he'd earn it.

You want stats?
Lincecum won his 13th game, 4th in the league.
He lowered his ERA to 2.33, 2nd in the league.
He leads the league in innings pitched.
He has the third lowest WHIP.
He has the second lowest batting average against.
He leads the league in strikeouts.
He leads the league in complete games.
He is tied for the league lead in shutouts.

And now you want your ace showing up for the big game?

How's about tonight's game in San Francisco? Colorado coming into town... Giants need to win... and he throws 8 shutout innings and brings the Giants to within 2 games of a playoff spot in late August.

It's his.
He's won it.

He will be a two time Cy Young winner before his 26th birthday.

Nope, I don't think it is too early to be wondering where his place will be among the all time San Francisco legends.

Stay healthy pal... you are getting the hard part of your Hall of Fame resume out of the way early!!!

Will no one rid me of this meddlesome slump?



























I know I am not supposed to complain after a win... especially a late August win in a pennant race. But Beckett! Come on! WTF?

The whole premise for me feeling any hope for October is the following scenario:

Get into the post season... play the Angels... have a healthy Beckett and Lester... move onto the ALCS and take our chances with two aces!

Lester has been doing his share and for what it is worth so is Wakes.

But Beckett has let up 20 runs in his last 18 1/3 innings.

So much for his being a Cy Young contender. Right now I'd like him pitching like Matt Young.

Let's hope it is a Toronto fluke. He has a 6.44 ERA against the Jays... maybe they just have his number.

Either way, I want the Beckett that threw 7 shutout innings at Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago back!


Hey Steve Physioc... knock it off


















Steve Physioc, the former Bay Area sportscaster turned Angels announcer, doesn't seem like a bad guy.

He basically strikes me as Ted Baxter without the gravitas. 

But he did something tonight during the Angels wild comeback against Oakland that simply needs a public flogging.

Kendry Morales, who is having a break out season, hit a go ahead 3 run homer.
Everyone in Anaheim (I'm sorry... Los Angeles) is going nuts.

And The Phys says "K-Mo goes Bam Bam on the A's."

Read that again.

"K-Mo goes Bam Bam on the A's."

I will even allow him to slip "goes Bam Bam"... but K-Mo?

Really? Does ANYONE call him K-Mo?

Or is Phys trying to be cool and coin a nickname. Either way, he must be stopped... or else I will go BAM BAM on the Phys!

Well, if you are going to lose... LOSE

Seriously... I have said I don't want my teams losing 9-8.

And I can live with a 1-0 loss.

But blow outs are my favorite kind of losses. 

And this game was an ideal loss.

Seriously, if my team is going to lose, I want them down 9-0 early so I can give my kids a bath and read them a book without scurrying down stairs to check the score on MLB.com.

If my team is going to lose, I want the best pitcher to be a utility infielder chucking 2 hitless and scoreless frames.

Just lose, give the pen a night off and feel fine with taking 3 of 4 from the White Sox.

Bring on the Jays


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Penny finally shows his worth

Brad Penny wasn't worth his last name as a pitcher for the Red Sox... and he did the honorable thing. He took one for the team and asked for his release.

Basically committed baseball hari kari (not Harry Carey.)

Maybe Theo should have listened to Larry Bowa!

Once Teixeria skedaddled to the Yankees, the Red Sox did the smart thing and not simply throw money at someone else to respond to the Yankees.

They kept their money and their draft picks and went bargain hunting.

And in came Takashi Saito, John Smoltz, Rocco Baldelli and Brad Penny who combined are paid $9 million less than Teixeria is this season.

Saito is a mop up man, Baldelli is a seldom used injury riddled 4th outfielder and Smoltz and Penny got released.

Sometimes you can find something great in the bargain bin, but most of the times there is nothing but cheap crap.

At least Penny knew he was cheap crap. 

Watch him go to the Cardinals and throw a no hitter. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I never thought I'd be saying this but...


THANK YOU YANKEES!

The Red Sox playoff magic number is down to 35!

Now win again tomorrow... and then go on a devastating losing streak. Thanks a bunch

He didn't do it AGAIN did he?

I saw the Pirates scored a run in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game against the Phillies.

I thought "Oh Dear God! LIDGE!!!!"

I checked the game and nope... it wasn't Lidge. It was Ryan Madson.


Man! Repeating is TOUGH, isn't it?


Welcome back Wakes and THANK YOU PAPI!!!!!


Tim Wakefield last pitched for the Red Sox on July 8th when he was named to his first All Star Game and looked like the Ace of the staff. Wakefield won that day against the Oakland A's...

The Sox were 51-33 at the end of that day... 1 game ahead of the Yankees.
They had the best record in the American League and the second best in baseball behind the Dodgers.

Since then the Red Sox are 21-20 and have fallen 6 games back of the Yankees and are scrambling for their playoff lives!

Coincidence?

Well needless to say it was a welcome sight seeing Wakes return. But as anyone who has watched him pitch over these last 15 seasons knows, you need to hold your breath a little when he pitches.

Breathe easy Sox fans! Wakes looked awesome. 7 innings, 1 run and Victor Martinez did OK behind the plate.

But sadly Wakes is no closer to surpassing Clemens and Cy Young for the All Time Wins leader in Red Sox history. Thank YOU Ramon Ramirez for letting up a tater to Scott Podsednik of all people!

Big Papi to the rescue with his second homer... and with the Yanks up 9-2, the Sox could scrape 2 off the magic number.

All I know is I was grinding my teeth when the game was tied, so this must be yet ANOTHER dodged bullet!


DODGED A BULLET GAMES - 20

April 17 - 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 - 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 - 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 - 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 - 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 - 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 - 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard's 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 - 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green's fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 - 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)
July 1 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Sox score 4 in the 9th and Lugo wins in in the 11th)
July 8 - 5-4 win against Oakland. (Wind keeps Hairston's 9th inning go ahead homer in the ballpark)
July 10 - 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Pedroia drives in the only run with 2 outs in the 8th.)
July 30 - 8-5 win against Oakland. (Ortiz tests postive then hits a 2 out 3 run go ahead homer.)
July 31 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Youk's 2 run homer saves Smoltz from another bad start.)
August 10 - 6-5 win against Detroit. (Sox snap 6 game losing streak with 7th inning rally.)
August 14 - 8-4 win at Texas. (Victor Martinez hits a 2 run 2 strike 2 out double to take the lead and make up for Buchholz's baserunning mishap.)
August 18 - 10-9 win at Toronto. (Ortiz homers and the Jays defense collapses, saving Beckett from a bad start.)
August 24 - 12-8 win against White Sox. (Red Sox overcome early 4-1 lead and a bad Buchholz start.)
August 25 - 6-3 win against White Sox. (Red Sox win with 4 unanswered runs despite some sloppy defense.)
August 26 - 3-2 win against White Sox. (Wakes pitches 7 strong and Papi homers twice including a walk off)


TEETH GRINDER GAMES - 22

April 14 - 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 - 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 - 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 - 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 - 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 - 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 - 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
June 28 - 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)
June 30 - 11-10 loss at Baltimore. (The Red Sox blow a late 10-1 to the lowly Orioles.)
July 3 - 7-6 loss to Seattle. (Red Sox comeback in the 8th only to lose in the 11th.)
July 4 - 3-2 loss to Seattle. (Saito walks three in the 9th as the Mariners rally to win)
July 9 - 8-6 loss to the Royals. (Bullpen blows early 4-0 lead.)
July 21 - 4-2 loss at Texas. (Beckett loses a complete game and the Yankees take over first.)
July 22 - 3-1 loss at Texas. (Sox are swept for the first time all season.)
July 28 - 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox blow 3 run lead in 9th. A's rally with 2 outs in 9th and 11th.)
July 29 - 8-6 loss to Oakland. (Down 5-0 in the first, Sox comeback falls short)
August 4 - 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay. (Longoria hits 13th inning walk off with first base open.)
August 5 - 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox gets swept in a 2 game series with the tying run at the plate).
August 7 - 2-0 loss in New York. (A-Rod's walk off with 2 outs in the 15 ends a teeth grinding marathon.)
August 9 - 5-2 loss in New York. (4 outs from avoiding a sweep, Bard lets up back to back homers to Damon and Teixeira.)
August 13 - 2-0 loss to Detroit. (Verlander wiggles out of early and late jams.)
August 16 - 4-3 loss at Texas. (Red Sox can't rally and fall behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race)


-2... including three straight.

Go for the 4 game sweep tomorrow... Magic Number is 36. (35 if the Yankees hold on!)

I don't want to speak too soon but...

Am I the only one to notice the Yankees pitching hasn't exactly been remarkable recently?

Last night was the third time in four games that the pitching staff let up double digit runs.

Joba has been the definition of mediocre.

Since August A. J. Burnett has had two very good starts, one mediocre start and two disasters.

Before everyone starts making parade preparations, keep in mind Sabathia is a rotten post season pitcher and Andy Pettite is 78 years old.

At this point I still think the Yankees are the team to beat... but couldn't this pitching staff make them beatable?

I'm just saying.

Hey Charlie Manuel... I don't think the Lidge thing is a fluke

It's not a bad streak...
It's not a fluke hit or two...

Brad Lidge is having one of those horrific seasons that can not be underestimated!

Let's recap his line from last night:

No innings pitched... three batters faced.... three hits... three earned runs... one walk off homer.

And he did it against the Pirates. The POST TRADE DEADLINE Pirates.

Luis Cruz and his whopping 32 career games led off with a hit.

Career minor leaguer Brandon Moss followed with a hit.

Andrew McCutchen, the rookie in his 70th game, hit the walk off. 

It's one thing when Tazawa lets up a walk off to A-Rod.
It's another thing when a World Series veteran gets schooled by rookies and quadruple A players.

His record is 0-6.
He has blown 9 saves.
His ERA is 7.33.

This isn't an April 7.33 ERA where you can blame it on one shellacking! This is a "Holy Crap! We may need to fake an injury soon!" situation.

Let me put it this way... let's say he throws 20 more innings this year.
And let's say he throws 20 scoreless innings to end the season. 

His ERA would STILL be 5.13, unforgivably high for a closer!

The Phillies are going to make the post season... and if Cole Hamels pitches well, they could have a solid shot to repeat.

Which is why there is NO WAY Charlie Manuel can use him as a closer in the playoffs.

None. Zilch. 

Now I heard on XM Home Plate this morning Seth Everett talking about "Well, who do the Phillies have in their bullpen who can close?"


How could having Ryan Madson throw the 9th inning be worse? Lidge is literally letting up 7 runs for every 9 innings he pitches. If he is constantly brought into 1 run games, he would on average let the other team tie the game 7 out of 9 times.

Can Ryan Madson do better?
Hell, I think Ryan O'Neal could do better!

Did the Cardinals know what they had when Adam Wainwright was suddenly thrust into the closers role?

Or last year when Joe Torre decided to use Jonathan Broxton instead of Saito in the late innings?

There's talk about having Brett Myers, who has been out with a torn labrum since May, taking over the closer's role in the playoffs.

If that isn't a red flag I don't know what one is.

Seriously... I know just a year ago he was on the bottom of a pile celebrating the World Series. But that was the past. The Red Sox stayed with Keith Foulke a little too long in 2005 and it cost them the division title in the end. 

They tried Curt Schilling and Mike Timlin in the closer role, all the while not being sure what to do with this young whipper snapper named Papelbon.

Have Madson close games NOW! Have him get used to the roll. Right now the Phillies have a 7 game cushion. 

When the playoffs come around, the standings are thrown out the window and Lidge is bound to let one slip away.

Charlie Manuel was asked about this situation on MLB This Morning on XM. His answer was so evasive and round about, I am convinced he was coached by Sarah Palin.

Thanks a LOT Yankees!


The first day I root for you and what do you do?

You give me a teeth grinder?

I NEED you guys to win and help the Red Sox get some breathing room... and you guys rally they way you ALWAYS do and Michael Kay is getting ready to explode and John Sterling is about to make TWO Melky puns.

Then the Melk man delivered a line drive that doubled off Jerry Hairston Jr who evidently was still gazing at the huge stadium.

Normally that would have me jumping up and down for joy and ready to call Eddie Pepitone and taunt him.

But instead I am sitting here grumbling that the Yankees couldn't win.

WHAT'S THE MATTER YANKEES?
Don't you know that you play for the pleasure of Red Sox nation?


FINALLY someone wants the AL Cy Young Award!

I've been wondering if anyone actually WANTS to win the Cy Young Award in the American League.

Well evidently Zack Grienke wants it... and with the way that Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander have been underwhelming, a dominating game like last night's might be enough to push him over the top.

It's kind of like when studios release their Oscar bait around Christmas time... they are fresher in people's minds and they vote for them.

His 15 strikeouts were the most ever by a Royals starter... and the Royals have had some good pitchers in their history!

Plus he has a 12-8 record for a team that is on pace to go 62-100.

If he finishes with 15 wins and the league lead in ERA, WHIP (he is .01 behind Jarrod Washburn), complete games (he is tied with Halladay) and finish in the top 3 of innings pitched and strikeouts (he currently is) then the Cy Young should be his.

What I am saying is this:

CC, Beckett, Verlander and Halladay... if you want some hard ware on your mantle, you've got your work cut out for you!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Red Sox win... despite their best efforts to lose

My beloved Red Sox seemed hell bent to hand this game to the White Sox.

The Red Sox let a tying run in when an inning ending strikeout got away from Varitek.

The very next batter hit a ball in and out of the usually reliable glove of Mike Lowell, allowing Chicago to take the lead.

Hideki Okajima allowed a little infield pop up to land fair.

Victor Martinez threw the ball back to the pitcher and missed, allowing the runner to advance.

And yet despite all of these Lupus-esque plays, the Red Sox somehow, someway actually won the game.

I have no clue how they pulled it off... but I have no problem calling this a dodged bullet.


DODGED A BULLET GAMES - 19

April 17 - 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 - 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 - 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 - 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 - 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 - 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 - 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard's 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 - 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green's fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 - 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)
July 1 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Sox score 4 in the 9th and Lugo wins in in the 11th)
July 8 - 5-4 win against Oakland. (Wind keeps Hairston's 9th inning go ahead homer in the ballpark)
July 10 - 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Pedroia drives in the only run with 2 outs in the 8th.)
July 30 - 8-5 win against Oakland. (Ortiz tests postive then hits a 2 out 3 run go ahead homer.)
July 31 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Youk's 2 run homer saves Smoltz from another bad start.)
August 10 - 6-5 win against Detroit. (Sox snap 6 game losing streak with 7th inning rally.)
August 14 - 8-4 win at Texas. (Victor Martinez hits a 2 run 2 strike 2 out double to take the lead and make up for Buchholz's baserunning mishap.)
August 18 - 10-9 win at Toronto. (Ortiz homers and the Jays defense collapses, saving Beckett from a bad start.)
August 24 - 12-8 win against White Sox. (Red Sox overcome early 4-1 lead and a bad Buchholz start.)
August 25 - 6-3 win against White Sox. (Red Sox win with 4 unanswered runs despite some sloppy defense.)


TEETH GRINDER GAMES - 22

April 14 - 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 - 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 - 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 - 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 - 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 - 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 - 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
June 28 - 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)
June 30 - 11-10 loss at Baltimore. (The Red Sox blow a late 10-1 to the lowly Orioles.)
July 3 - 7-6 loss to Seattle. (Red Sox comeback in the 8th only to lose in the 11th.)
July 4 - 3-2 loss to Seattle. (Saito walks three in the 9th as the Mariners rally to win)
July 9 - 8-6 loss to the Royals. (Bullpen blows early 4-0 lead.)
July 21 - 4-2 loss at Texas. (Beckett loses a complete game and the Yankees take over first.)
July 22 - 3-1 loss at Texas. (Sox are swept for the first time all season.)
July 28 - 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox blow 3 run lead in 9th. A's rally with 2 outs in 9th and 11th.)
July 29 - 8-6 loss to Oakland. (Down 5-0 in the first, Sox comeback falls short)
August 4 - 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay. (Longoria hits 13th inning walk off with first base open.)
August 5 - 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox gets swept in a 2 game series with the tying run at the plate).
August 7 - 2-0 loss in New York. (A-Rod's walk off with 2 outs in the 15 ends a teeth grinding marathon.)
August 9 - 5-2 loss in New York. (4 outs from avoiding a sweep, Bard lets up back to back homers to Damon and Teixeira.)
August 13 - 2-0 loss to Detroit. (Verlander wiggles out of early and late jams.)
August 16 - 4-3 loss at Texas. (Red Sox can't rally and fall behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race)


-3... A few more like this and it will be dead even.

Wakes is back... and the magic number is down to 37

I AM ROOTING FOR THE YANKEES! And Giants Fans Should Root For The Dodgers!

























You read that right!
You pal Sully... a classic Yankee hater... is pulling a Johnny Damon and putting on pinstripes!

For the next three days I am rooting for the Yankees.

I see the pinstripes and I think PRIDE!
TRADITION!

And I feel a little teary eyed when I think of all 26 of those titles... like a little part of me helped win each one of them.

Heck, I might even pop in Pride of the Yankees to get myself pumped up!


And Giants fans tending to their wounds after tonight's brutal loss to the Rockies...

It's time to bleed Dodger blue.

It's time to think of the heroism of Jackie Robinson.

It's time to think of the artistry of Sandy Koufax.

It's time to think of the magic of Fernando, Orel and Gibson!

It's Dodgertown! It's Mannywood!

High five Lasorda and know that Monday isn't just a day of the week... it's the guy who homered in 1981!

Why would I suggest two preposterous notions as Sox fans cheering on Jeter and Giants fans saluting Manny?

Big picture, folks!

The Red Sox aren't catching the Yankees. It's not happening. The Yankees are a full week ahead of the Red Sox and there are only 6 weeks left.

Even if Boston makes up a game a week, they'll fall short of the division.

And the Yankees are on a rampage these days... so might as well have them rampage over the Rangers and carve a few games off of the magic number.

Same thing with the Giants who are also 7 back of the Dodgers. Yeah it is sexy to think of passing the Dodgers for the Division, but it is even sexier to get INTO the playoffs with a rested and ready Lincecum and Cain! And after dropping the last 3 gut wrenching games to the Rockies, they are 4 out.

They need the Dodgers to help do what the Giants bullpen couldn't manage... stop the Rockies. Or at least throw some strikes.

The only thing that matters are wins... and if we need to switch sides momentarily when it helps our team, then think of it like Clint Eastwood in Fistful of Dollars.

It was necessary at the time for Clint to switch sides and in the end, he was the only one to survive.

So GO YANKEES! And my dad better be saying GO DODGERS!

Sure the Wild Card may bring about some strange bedfellow... but I want a fistful of World Series rings!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wins are wins... even ones this ugly


When the Red Sox fell behind 4-1 early to the White Sox, I started muttering in my car.

This might be it, I thought.

This might be the 2006-esque collapse that puts the Red Sox out of their misery and gives me a productive October.

It took a brutal 3-0 swing by Papi and an equally brutal butchering by Jose Contreras to wake the Sox bats up... and they needed every run because evidently Clay Buchholz's role as an ace is still in the future!

Either way, it's nice to get an ugly win and because I waved the white flag early, I need to call this a dodged bullet!

With pleasure I update the board!


DODGED A BULLET GAMES - 18

April 17 - 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 - 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 - 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 - 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 - 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 - 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 - 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard's 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 - 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green's fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 - 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)
July 1 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Sox score 4 in the 9th and Lugo wins in in the 11th)
July 8 - 5-4 win against Oakland. (Wind keeps Hairston's 9th inning go ahead homer in the ballpark)
July 10 - 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Pedroia drives in the only run with 2 outs in the 8th.)
July 30 - 8-5 win against Oakland. (Ortiz tests postive then hits a 2 out 3 run go ahead homer.)
July 31 - 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Youk's 2 run homer saves Smoltz from another bad start.)
August 10 - 6-5 win against Detroit. (Sox snap 6 game losing streak with 7th inning rally.)
August 14 - 8-4 win at Texas. (Victor Martinez hits a 2 run 2 strike 2 out double to take the lead and make up for Buchholz's baserunning mishap.)
August 18 - 10-9 win at Toronto. (Ortiz homers and the Jays defense collapses, saving Beckett from a bad start.)
August 24 - 12-8 win against White Sox. (Red Sox overcome early 4-1 lead and a bad Buchholz start.)


TEETH GRINDER GAMES - 22

April 14 - 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 - 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 - 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 - 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 - 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 - 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 - 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
June 28 - 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)
June 30 - 11-10 loss at Baltimore. (The Red Sox blow a late 10-1 to the lowly Orioles.)
July 3 - 7-6 loss to Seattle. (Red Sox comeback in the 8th only to lose in the 11th.)
July 4 - 3-2 loss to Seattle. (Saito walks three in the 9th as the Mariners rally to win)
July 9 - 8-6 loss to the Royals. (Bullpen blows early 4-0 lead.)
July 21 - 4-2 loss at Texas. (Beckett loses a complete game and the Yankees take over first.)
July 22 - 3-1 loss at Texas. (Sox are swept for the first time all season.)
July 28 - 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox blow 3 run lead in 9th. A's rally with 2 outs in 9th and 11th.)
July 29 - 8-6 loss to Oakland. (Down 5-0 in the first, Sox comeback falls short)
August 4 - 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay. (Longoria hits 13th inning walk off with first base open.)
August 5 - 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox gets swept in a 2 game series with the tying run at the plate).
August 7 - 2-0 loss in New York. (A-Rod's walk off with 2 outs in the 15 ends a teeth grinding marathon.)
August 9 - 5-2 loss in New York. (4 outs from avoiding a sweep, Bard lets up back to back homers to Damon and Teixeira.)
August 13 - 2-0 loss to Detroit. (Verlander wiggles out of early and late jams.)
August 16 - 4-3 loss at Texas. (Red Sox can't rally and fall behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race)


-4... Bit by bit... moving closer to even par.

The only thing that matters is the post season! And right now the magic number is 38.
(In 2007 I honored WSBK when the magic number got to 38.)

NOBODY WANTS THE A.L. CY YOUNG AWARD!!!!!














Halladay got thumped tonight and his ERA is now over 3.00.

Verlander won but it was a subpar outing.

Beckett let up 98 home runs last night.

Was I right in thinking nobody wants to win the Cy Young award?

Will Sabathia sneak in and win it?

It's odd... someone of Sabathia's size generally won't sneak up on anyone.
Maybe he's like Ghost Dog!


The Lingering Stentch Of The Giants Bullpen

For obvious reasons, the Giants bullpen brought back memories of this clip from The Kentucky Fried Movie.






A Polo Mallet To The Crotch

This was the game of the year.

And by the way my Facebook page exploded with comments, you'd think the Giants/Rockies 14 inning marathon was the most watched TV program since the last M*A*S*H.

The Giants needed this win in the worst way... and it would end in the worst way.

Here's how bad that bottom of the 14th was:

The walk off Grand Slam wasn't the worst part!

Dexter Fowler fouled a ball off of his leg leading off in the inning with the Giants up 3.
He was on the ground. It looked like they would have to amputate his leg.

But Fowler limped back to the plate. Now he could barely stand and I am guessing couldn't get much power in his swing.

And if he hit it on the ground, Fowler wouldn't have been able to beat out a hit to the outfield.

So what does pitcher Brandon Medders do? He walks him!

What harm could he have caused if you threw it right down the heart of the plate?

Next thing you know the bases are loaded, Justin Miller is pitching and he is treating the strike zone the same way I am treating this G.I. Joe movie... total avoidance.

And Miller does the unthinkable and the thing that is more head scratching than a walk off grand slam: He walked the pitcher with the bases loaded.

That's right, Jim Tracy let the pitcher hit in the 14th inning because he ran out of players... and Justin Miller decided to nibble.

After that, the end of the game was a formality. Even though the Giants still had the lead, it felt like it was over. And then Merkin (some of you sick bastards know why that first name is funny) Valdez coughed up the walk off to Ryan Spilborghs and suddenly the Giants, who were on the verge of being only 2 out of a playoff spot, are sitting 4 back.

All because their relief staff wouldn't throw a strike to a one legged man and a reliever.

So in review... the Giants scored 11 runs on Saturday and lost... had Lincecum pitch with a lead in the 8th on Sunday and lost and had a 3 run lead in the 14th inning tonight and lost.

That's not going to get it done.

Don't think I am going out on a limb there.