Category: Red Sox

Big Papi rumbles home

David Ortiz crosses the plate after homering in the 7th inning. Fenway Park, September 8, 2009.

Big Papi

The WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon is going on right now, and though I’m a little late in bringing this up, there’s still time to fork over a little bit of beer money to a good cause. I recommend clicking the link rather than tuning in to WEEI, especially if you’re a big softy like me. They’ve got all sorts of kids and their families talking about their experiences with cancer and the amazing care they’ve gotten from Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund, and that always gets me on the edge of crying.

I’ve decided to donate $10 for every run the Red Sox score in tonight’s game against Toronto. I’m a little worried because they’ve averaged over 12 runs a game against the Rangers this week, but if they score 20 runs tonight I certainly won’t complain.

Please join me, even if it’s just a couple day’s worth of Dunkin Donuts (which, for me, is probably more than $10/run!)

UPDATE 9:30: Well, looks like the game got postponed, so there goes my plan. That means I don’t have to donate, right?! Just kidding. Let’s just pretend the Sox beat up Roy Halliday and the Toronto bullpen for a final score of 10-4. Yeah, that sounds good to me.

12:03 – Is there anything better in sports fandom than watching Manny and Papelbon give interviews. Manny said “it’s like I always say, man, you play hard and see what happens.” What?! And Manny looks directly into the camera when he talks. It’s great. Then Good Paper starts yelling at Ken Rosenthal. Dude is insane. The footage of him after the final out is classic, I hope it goes on youtube this week.

11:54 – The crowd is officially belligerent, giving K-Lo shit. Papi is wearing goggles already. Jacoby is diving… DID YOU SEE THAT CATCH COCO MADE?! I love it.

11:51 – You know those Dan in Real Life commercials, where the girl is pulling out onto a main road and almost causes an accident? That’s a block over from our house, and it is kind of a hard street to pull out of sometimes.

11:50 – Our signal dropped out while Youk was up. Did anything happen?

11:44 – Lugo didn’t get it done, but that didn’t stop Pedro from dropping a ball in front of Kenny Lofton to remind him what he won’t be doing next week! 9-2 Sox!!

11:38 – I hope Pap’s not freezing up in the dugout. Though a long ball from Lugo with the bases juiced could make it a moot point. We could bring in Gagne, let him give up 7 runs and still win it.

11:32 – Signs in the crowd: “JD Drew Fan Club: New members welcome” and “Champagne tastes just as good at home” (Thank you Ryan Garko)

11:30 – Beckett’s gotta be the MVP if we pull this thing off, right?

11:28 – I feel like the percussion section in the bullpen hasn’t gotten enough play these past two games. Good stuff.

11:26 – During the last inning, Fox showed the Sox outfielders close up, one by one. Bil (with Ellsbury on the screen): “He looks like he’s 13!” Em (with JD Drew on camera): “He looks like a corpse”

11:24 – Sweeeeet Caroline, OH OH OH…

11:21 – The real question is, who do I love more? Tom Brady or Jonathan Papelbon? It’s tough. After striking out Pronky out (who didn’t see that coming? He’s been terrible this series. I mean, bad.) he gets out of the inning. Three more outs, baby!

11:14 – Em and I call Papelbon “Good Paper” in a mesh of spanish and french. I’m hoping for some really good paper here.

11:12 – Noting kills the comfort of a three run lead in the eighth than bringing the tying run to the plate with no outs. I just pounded the last of my beer. Oh, what do you know, time for another one.

11:06 – Ahhhh… a three run lead, I feel a lot better. What a dagger in the hearts of the Indians after coming so close to tying it up in the top of the inning. Now Papelbon can come in and Riverdance us to the World Series.

11:04 – There are few things better than watching the Sox dugout after a home run. Julian Tavarez is just delightful, and Papi almost took Pedroia’s head off.

11:02 – and just like that, Pedey goes yard. See?!

11:00 – I don’t have stats to back this up, but whenever we start an inning playing small ball (like here in the seventh, bunting Ellsbury to third with no outs), the offense ends up piling it on.

10:57 – Has this been a crazy game or what? So much happening, so exciting. I hate it. Is a nine-run Sox seventh too much to ask?

10:54 – Unbelievable double play! Boneheaded call by the third base coach holding Lofton. If I were an Indians fan I would be ripping my hair out right now.

10:49 – You know who was good? Alex Gonzales.

The funny thing is that Lofton got robbed of a double in the fifth, and now he gets a gift two bagger.

10:46 – Let’s get Gagne into this game.

Yes, I’ve gone insane.

10:43 – After that poor display of “batting” in the bottom of the sixth, Em is starting to get angry. I am starting to pour another beer.

10:40 – Remember the girl in the Red Sox dress that used to come out with the grounds crew and sweep off the bases and mess with the umps? What happened to her? She was awesome. (I’m thinking happy thoughts because Jake Fricken Westbrook is making me sad)

10:36 – Japan 3, Cleveland 2 after 6. That was a big inning for Okajima, broke the Indians momentum. If we can add even one run to the lead here we’ll be in great shape.

10:31 – We have an HD TV but no cable, so we get the game in HD but it comes over the air via antenna. This gives us crystal clear picture interspersed with the occasional pixellated freeze frame when the signal goes wonky. Of course this only happens right after the ball is hit and never during commercials.

10:25 and 30 seconds: Wrong. We’re experiencing some momentum problems here.

10:25 – Manny is due to launch one. Right?

10:24 – Westbrook has some incriminating pictures of Big Papi. That’s the only way to explain what he’s done to Ortiz this series.

10:20 – This is one of the many reasons I love Emily. She just handed me some super tasty hot apple crisp. Unfortunately I scarfed it down in a bout of anxiety eating last inning and barely tasted it.

Apple crisp! Or, as Julian Tavares would say, Apple Crips

10:18 – All things considered, good game from Dice-K. The bullpen is primed to put it away. I’m cautiously optimistic.

10:17 – I just exhaled. Who knew a dude could hold his breath for 12 minutes…

10:05 – That was a huge out at second. Daisuke is done. Getting tight. Argh. Chest… tightening…

10:03 – Do not mess with Manny. (ooh, bad call. Bad break for Cleveland. We know how it feels)

10:00 – At this point, I’m kind of surprised don’t ground into a double play every inning. Four in the books, Sox up 3-1. Now that our “one run per inning” thing has ended, I’m getting a little antsy.

9:56 – I love how the Sox call Pedroia “Pedro” and “Pedey” in the clubhouse. Also, I love his uppercut slap swings over the infield.

9:54 – I probably should have washed this Ellsbury shirt, Em is slowly moving across the room. I believe wearing it will allow him to steal. OR MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN ON THE BASES. Wow, Jacoby just got a hit for Lugo.

9:47 – I had to wait for that inning to end before posting that. I would have thrown myself out the window if Dice blew the lead there. Now he’s ready to cruise.

9:46 – I’d say that Matsuzaka has pitched better than expected so far in this game, though it’s fitting that he’d give up a run in the fourth. Remember earlier in the season when Dice-K would start out looking good and then completely lose it in the fourth inning, only to refind it and pitch well into the seventh? It was like clockwork. I kept saying they should have had him switch uniforms with Okijima for the fourth, who would know the difference?! (I had a Japanese roommate in college which I take as license to make insensitive jokes like this)

9:34 – Sox pitching coach just said Beckett could be available for 2 innings. Cleveland fans just threw up. Beckett for 2, Pap can pitch 2, Okajima is good for at least one… if Daisuke can get two more outs that’s the rest of the game.

9:30 – Is it just me or was Jacob’s field in Cleveland miked up for more crowd noise. Fenway can get loud, and none of these games have sounded half as loud as games 3 and 4 did. The crowd there was so loud, with those effing towels, I don’t think I’ve been that angry all year. I had to listen to game 5 on WEEI.

9:24 – Youk is batting .500? Imagine what he could do with a sweatband around his knoggin (credit: Em’s dad)

9:21 – Just polished off a Paulaner Oktoberfest. That is an awesome beer, and one that almost everyone will like. I’d pick up a sixer next time you see it at the liquor store.

9:18 – Huge. HUGE strikeout for Dice-K. He’s looking great so far. I have a story to share once he gets through the fourth.

9:16 – Little known fact: if the batter steps out while asking for time, doesn’t get it, and the ball is pitched anyway, it’s a strike no matter what.

9:13 – OK, I knew it was too early to hint at a no-hitter…

9:12 – Dice-K is pitching, um, good. Just a normal statement there. Nothing potentially special going on here.

9:09 – I forgot to check whether or not Westbrook threw a strike on pitch #1. I’ll assume he did and that we’re going to win.

9:06 – OK, 1 run every inning is ok with me.

9:03 – Millar said Pedroia is “borrowing” his number. That’s kind of sad, if you think about it. Can’t you just picture Kev-Kev telling his stuffed Wally that someday Theo is going to bring him back?

9:01 – Hold on, I have to go dig my #46 Ellsbury shirt out of the laundry and put it on.

8:59 – Varitek is my mom’s favorite player, and if that rocket he just hit had gone over the wall she would call me up and yell “Jaaaassssssoooooooon!!!!” and hang up. The monster giveth and the monster taketh away.

8:57 – I’m not a huge Dane Cook fan, but I don’t have a problem with all these playoff commercials he’s doing. The way some people talk about him, you’d think he’s killing puppies or something.

8:55 – How can you not love Mike Lowell. The Marlins FORCED the Sox to take him when we picked up Beckett. That’s like your girlfriend forcing you to make out with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johannsen at the same time.

8:52 – Dice-K drives me crazy with that face. He can overpower someone or give up a three run homer and he always makes that same goofy face.

8:47 – That’s more like the JD we know. My boss only refers to him as “Soft-as-cream-cheese-JD-Drew”

8:47 – If JD Drew hits another granny, my brain may explode. It will be worth it.

8:43 – Wow, big break for the Sox on Manny’s shot to short. Jhonny Peralta is getting eaten up these past two games. That’s what happens when you spell your name J-H-O-N-N-Y.

8:40 – It would be so, so huge to take an early lead and give Dice-K some room to breathe. Papi goes down, but there’s a bad man coming up…

8:38 – Yoooouuuukkkk!!! God I wish I was there. Speaking of Youk, I didn’t watch NESN this year, so I didn’t know how much he sweats. I mean, wow.

8:35 – Pedroia was huge yesterday. With him, Pap, Ellsbury and Youk it’s a good time to be a PawSox fan. And Peddy keeps it going with a leadoff hit! Do I smell another Drew grand slam?

8:31 – Pronk strikes out! Daiskuke is DEALING.

8:30 – Travis Hafner, who has been A-Rod-esque this series, is called “Pronk” by his teammates. It’s a cross between “The Project” and “Donkey,” and most likely the worst nickname in the majors.

8:27 – I have a theory that is easily testable and probably wrong, but if our pitcher starts by throwing a ball and the opponent starts with a strike, we win. Daisuke throws pitch one for a ball but gets the first two easily.

8:25 – Rob joins in.

8:24 – Kevin Millar throwing out the first pitch… brilliant! He is a weird, weird dude. I miss him. (Jacob Ellsbury?)

8:22 – I’ve never been so jealous of 37,000 people at once. There’s absolutely nothing like being at Fenway during the playoffs.

8:20 – Tim McCarver: “Scoring runs is important to winning baseball games.” (not an actual quote, but would you be surprised if it was?)

8:17 – Just checked the fridge, we’ve got Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, Smuttynose Brown, and Paulaner Oktoberfest. There’s ONLY ONE OKTOBERFEST!

8:14 – Crap. Fox “analysts” are picking the Sox to win.

8:10 – Let’s do some predictions. Matsuzaka goes 6 shaky but effective innings, gives up 3. Westbrook turns into a pumpkin and gets knocked around for 5 or 6 runs. Papelbon pitches 2 innings and gives up a run, which will be bad for my heart.

8:08 – Did the Pats win today?

At Rob’s suggestion, I’m going to try to post a bunch while watching the Sox play themselves into the World Series. Dice-K, Jacoby, the Large Father, Tim McCarver… come along for the ride!

Liveblogging the 2007 ALCS Game 7

Clearly this post is looking bad now.

However, while I’m not happy with the sad state of affairs in Red Sox Nation this week, I think everyone needs to take a step back. The Sox are going to make the playoffs, unless they somehow lose every remaining game this season. It’s possible the Yankees will win the division. That’s ok.

Yes, it’s ok.

This is tough to internalize, but it really, really doesn’t matter how you get to the playoffs. Momentum doesn’t matter. In 2002 and 2003 the wild card team won the World Series. You may remember the 2004 wild card team won it all, too. Last year the Tigers blew a huge division lead and limped into the playoffs as the wild card after getting swept by the hapless Royals. Then they got to the World Series.

Would I rather the Sox win the division? Of course. And with nine games left I still think they will pull it off. But if we end up getting the wild card then I’ll be glad they rested our banged up regulars at the end of the season, and the only thing that matters is how Josh Beckett pitches in game 1.

Perspective

Sick:

In his last three starts, Tim Wakefield is 3-0 with a streak of 22 scoreless innings. His 16 wins match Beckett for most in the majors. Since June 12, Wakefield has 11 wins, most in the majors, and has a decision in all 26 of his starts.

Sicker:

In his last nine appearances, Papelbon has pitched nine scoreless innings in which he has struck out 17 and allowed just one hit [on] Aug. 17. He has now recorded at least one strikeout in 20 of his last 21 appearances. His average of 13.69 K’s per nine innings (71 K’s/46 2/3 IP) is the best among big-league relievers.

I’m getting giddy.

Pitching wins championships

The Red Sox are in Chicago this weekend, and today someone asked me why the games are starting at the seemingly random time 8:11pm. Well, in the Central time zone those games are starting at 7:11, which might remind you of a certain convenience store chain. Yup, 7-11 paid the White Sox $500,000 to start their games 6 minutes later than usual.

I wonder how I can get in on some of that action…

I’ll probably regret this, but I’m feeling good tonight.

Since it’s still way to early, no one has put this out there yet, but the Red Sox’s magic number is now 32. For non-baseball fanatics, this means that the Sox need to win X games and the Yankees have to lose Y games, and if X + Y is 32 or greater, the Red Sox will (finally) have unseated New York from the top of the American League East division. After today, there are 36 more games.

The Yankees have made a pretty incredible run since the All Star break. Still, the Sox are sitting on a 5½ game lead (and I’m listening to the Yankees losing right now). A lot of people were either panicking or rediscovering their annoying arrogance this week (depending on loyalties) when Boston’s lead dipped to 4 games (down from a 14½ game lead earlier this year). I’d go so far as to predict it could get down to 3 games in the next few weeks.

But here’s the thing: this race is over. O-V-A, over. It’s been over since the end May. It might get tight, but it’s always been in the bag. And when we look back at the 2007 season, it will seem like one big great run of leading the division and an easy ticket to the playoffs.

So if you’re in the glass half empty camp, top off your pint with some good beer and enjoy the last month of the season, and worry about whether our bats will be hot heading into October.

Here’s how it’s going to go

Ah, nice to see the Sox in the win column. Pitching looked pretty freaking good (though I did miss some middle innings to watch Lost) and JD Drew is leading a nice bit of early season offense. Sweet.

The only thing that spoils a solid blowout win on the road is the morons who think that chanting “Yankees suck” during the second game of the season in Kansas City is somehow, in some insane universe, an appropriate way to cheer on their team. Revoke their Red Sox Nation citizenship, I say!

(And speaking of Yankees, please don’t tell me Mike Lowell is going all Chuck Knoblauch on us. Three errors in one game?!)

Now I can’t wait until tomorrow afternoon, when we can all say konichiwa to the Matsuzaka era. Yankees are second class!

Knocking off an hour early from work to watch the Sox, free coffee from Main Street’s UN-pretentious coffee shop, homemade salsa and Red Hook’s spring beer waiting at home. It’s a good day.

And while I write this, Big Papi’s first RBI of 2007. A really good day, indeed.

UPDATE: ok, well the whole “good things” stuff didn’t continue, but still, tough to argue with the benefits of a tasty brew, the Red Sox back in my life, and I even saw some buds on the trees today. All good things.

A good day

I’m watching the Sox game, and it’s 1-1 going into the bottom of the ninth in Minnesota. What a game! I hope Boston wins, of course, but even if the Twins pull it out, this one was worth the price of admission. Johan Santana striking out 13! Curt Schilling matching him out for out. The home runs, the double plays… what a great game.

Watching games like this reminds me of the 1999 season, where every five days felt like history in the making when Pedro took the hill. I remember thinking that this might be as good as it gets (thankfully I was proven wrong about that in 2004), and just soaking it all in. I managed to see three Pedro starts that year (including one where he struck out the first six batters, only to leave the game in the third inning) and every time it was electric. I imagine that’s what it’s like to be a Twins fan now. Wow.

As I typed this up, it looks like the Twins are going to win it, even against Papelbon. Let me wrap this up so we can get into extra frames…

Classic

Baseball is a weird sport. Remember when, only two or three years ago, the Sox couldn’t buy a win against the Baltiore Orioles? When, despite a terribly average team, the O’s would take three out of every four games we played against them? Man are those days over!

Even the suddenly terrible Curt Schilling couldn’t give away last night’s game, the 13th win in the last 13 contests between your Red Sox and the Orioles. I love it! Boston’s won nine of its last twelve. That’s, like, awesome. Too bad tonight’s the last game of the series, I wish we could stay in Baltimore for another month.
Of course, now it looks like the Blue Jays have been handed the baton for owning the Red Sox. Stupid birds…

(And while we’re on baseball, how the HELL does a team come back from being down 10-1?! Gah. Effin Yankees.)

Birds on a Wire

The good news: normal bedtimes, lower blood pressure (once the rage subsides), less Tim McCarver, no more Kevin Millar, and being able to watch Lost without flipping channels.

The bad news: resurrection of the perception that 2004 was an outlier and ugh, Ozzie Guillen.

Oh well. It’s not like anything could have topped last year, so it’s just as well that now we can squeeze a little more productive time from our days (more blogging, perhaps?) Wait til last year.

Now all we can do is root for the Halos and ‘Stros. And if this idea hasn’t been put out there, I’d like suggest that an infamous 86 year old curse wasn’t actually broken last year, just transferred to a certain $200 million dollar team of choke artists. So buck up, Yankee fans, anyone can have a bad century.

Anyway, go Pats! (oh, wait…)

Down without a Fight