April 27, 2004

Manny Being Manny. Sunday's home run off Vazquez was a thing of beauty. The replay angle showing Ramirez from the side was fantastic. He strides into the pitch (which wasn't all that bad) as though he's expecting a fastball. But once the ball leaves Vazquez's hand, he realizes it's not a fastball. There is a split-second hesitation in his stride -- adjusting ever-so-slightly to the breaking pitch -- and then he just destroys it. You could tell immediately (from the center field camera) by the angle it left the screen that was a moon shot. Exhilarating.

Manny's website is up and running. ... Here's his comment about the home run from his Game Log: "[Vazquez] fired the fastball away and I fought it off two times, but this time I had a better count. On the last pitch, I was looking inside, but at the last moment something told me the change-up was coming. I held up my swing just a bit, until I saw the ball clearly, and I was right. That's how this game is. He's a very good pitcher and got me the first time, but I was lucky the second time around."

I'm thrilled Manny is still in Boston. I love watching him hit and it's great to see him enjoying himself so much. Gammons notes the transformation. Remember how stunned and amazed he seemed by the Fenway crowd's intensity and energy after last year's wild card clinch? Like he was familiar with cheering crowds, but this was something else. ... It's clear to me that he wants to experience that again and he knows he's got a really good chance this year. I think a lot of the Red Sox players (Manny included) know how much fun this season could ultimately be -- and yet they also know that they truly have no idea how much fun it could be. And that makes everything more exciting.

Byung-Hyun Kim will pitch for Portland (AA) on Thursday before being activated from the disabled list. ... Ellis Burks will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks after arthroscopic surgery today to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. Brian Daubach will likely be called up from Pawtucket. ... The Red Sox pitching staff has the lowest ERA (3.36) in the AL and the 2nd lowest in MLB (after Florida); the bullpen has a 2.15 ERA.

PSF: "Listening to the radio yesterday afternoon, I heard one of the most amazing statistics. Before last nights game, Barry Bonds had seen something in the neighborhood of 250 pitches (I don't remember the exact numbers of pitches and swings, but I'm close). Of all those pitches, he had swung 61 times. Total. ... Of those 61 swings, he has missed the ball 6 times. And he has hit 8 balls out of the park. So he is averaging a home run every 8 SWINGS." ... I'd like to know if this information is out there, without going through Bonds's game logs. Anyone? ... Bonds in 2004:
GM  AB   R   H  BB  K   AVG  OBP   SLG

19 44 17 22 30 5 .500 .703 1.227
Matthew Namee looks at the before/after performances of players who have had laser eye surgery. ... Because of my trip to Toronto, weekend work schedule and the blackout for the seven Yankee games, I haven't watched a game on NESN in almost two weeks (April 15). The drought ends tonight -- Wakefield/Abbott at 7:05 pm.

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