This will be a continuation of a bloggish thing I did at this site. My other website is dedicated to the 1918 Red Sox and the book I wrote about that team and season.
Four days ago, Pedro Martinez lay in a hospital bed receiving intravenous fluids for dehydration while running a 101-degree fever; he also had severe pharyngitis, abdominal discomfort, and an elevated white blood cell count (30% above normal). On Monday afternoon, he threw 87 pitches over 6 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 walks and a run. He lowered his league-leading ERA to 2.29 and (despite his time missed so far this season) reclaimed the league lead in strikeouts. But that wasn't enough for some mediots, because Martinez didn't cure cancer between innings or figure out how to bring peace to the Middle East while sitting on the can. ... "Calling in sick?" Sean McAdam noted that "one of the first things Martinez told team physician Bill Morgan early Thursday morning was that he had to find a way to make his scheduled start against the Oakland A's that night."
Kevin Millar is apparently "keeping a list of writers who disparaged the team." Now this is what the players should have been doing for at least the last 3 seasons. Identify the a-holes and simply shut them out, and give the fair and balanced© writers a scoop or two. That way, you punish the idiots, you show that being an objective journalist has its rewards and the players can still connect with the fans through the daily papers.
Two observations: First, if Martinez is sincere about not talking to the media, he shouldn't talk to the media -- at all -- on the record or off. Because at some point, he'll say something that is simply too hot for a reporter to keep under his hat, like "I'm getting the hell out of this town." Second, I don't think it's a coincidence that the two of the three players (Pedro and Manny; Nomar is probably considered "white") giving the media the cold shoulder have dark skin. ... If anyone doubts Martinez's guts and willingness to play in pain, they should remember his performance on October 11, 1999 against Cleveland in ALDS Game 5: six no-hit relief innings with his back hurting so much he said later that he wanted to cry out after each pitch.
Todd Walker is back in the second spot because Grady Gump thought "the swapping of lineup spots helped neither batter." I looked at the box scores -- and he's dead wrong. Mueller played in all 16 games and reached base in 25 of his 74 plate appearances. Walker played in 13 games (11 starts) and was on base in 8 of 46 plate appearances. So I'm supposed to believe there is no benefit to the Red Sox if its #2 hitter has an on-base percentage of .338 or .174? (Further Futility Note: Three of Walker's times on base came in one game; in the other 12 games his OBP was .119. That is not a typo.) The move of Mueller to #2 helped the Red Sox increase its chances of scoring runs, which I maintain is fairly important, especially at this time of the year.
Yankee Match-Ups: Lowe/Contreras, Pedro/Pettitte and Wakefield/Clemens. Because of an extra day of rest due to an off-day, Martinez will also open the Yankees series in New York on September 5.