June 30, 2004

Tito. According to the Herald's Steve Buckley, the first question posed to Terry Francona after last night's game was: Were you embarrassed by all this? Tito: "I would never say that. Ever. I love these guys. I think we're going to find a way to be a very good team. I also think we have to improve. I think we're going to do that." ... And when asked about why he is sticking with Millar, he said: "I think it's my job, my responsibility, to stand behind guys. I ask them to show up every day and try as best they can to be as good a player as they can be. It doesn't always work out perfectly, but if I bail on them, I don't agree with that."

Dirt Dog calls him Francoma. To me, his blather sounds downright Gumpian. ... Bill Mueller went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Pawtucket last night; Ellis Burks did not play. ... Mark Bellhorn could see some time at first base after Mueller returns. He started 7 games there for the Cubs in 2002. ... Byung Hyun Kim is scheduled to make his third outing for Pawtucket today.

Kevin Kernan, New York Post: "The Red Sox always seem to be chasing the Yankees ... The Red Sox have only wild card aspirations now. If they keep playing the way they've been playing, even those dreams will be shattered. ... Perhaps young GM Theo Epstein is learning that all knowledge cannot be derived from reading the complete works of Bill James with a Moneyball chaser." ... In the words of Dick Cheney -- who was roundly booed during "God Bless America" at Yankee Stadium last night -- "Go fuck yourself!"
Hitting Bottom. ... and here I thought last Saturday's game was the worst game of the year. Can the Red Sox play any worse than they did in last night's 11-3 pasting in the Bronx? I'd like to say No, but I think the correct answer is ... stay tuned.

The complaints during the game and overnight give you a good idea of the level of frustration in the Nation. A post from TheYellowDart5 says it all:
I don't think it's possible to express how frustrated I am right now with this team. Night after night after night, they throw away games with tremendously poor defense, horrible baserunning, a lack of clutch hitting, a lack of clutch pitching, and just about every other conceivable mistake you can make in a ballgame.

This is a team that is close to the top in errors, nearly last in fielding percentage, gives away outs like they were candy, can't bunt, can't run, forgets outs, can't turn routine DPs, forgets to hold runners on (I'm looking at you Derek...), seemingly doesn't read scouting reports, doesn't take advantage of opposing team miscues, and seems to fold if they're behind after the 7th. There is, simply put, absolutely no life or energy or urgency to this team. None.

Blame it all you want on Nomar and Nixon being injured, or not having Kim, or not having Mueller, or whatever. The time has come where this team has to stop hiding behind these excuses and just play ball the right way. ... [T]his team seems to simply believe that they're the victims of bad luck, and that their ship will right itself in due time. They're not trying to fix the problems; they're simply floating on, hoping for a miracle.

I know you can't blame the manager or the coaches for the absolute plague of injuries this year. But you can start casting doubts on his abilities when you see his team playing sloppy baseball and making no effort to correct it. Terry Francona is letting this team play like @#%$, and from what I've seen, has made no effort to fix it. He'd rather take all the blame than start laying down the law, and that's really starting to piss me off.

Should they fire him? Probably not. But if this goes on much longer, I don't see any other recourse.
One thing I have always seen from the Yankees: they concentrate for each and every at-bat. Sure, they pop up and they strike out and they GIDP, but the intensity is there the entire time. I don't see that with the Red Sox and I haven't seen it all season. ... I started seeing them mail it in last night in the top of the goddamn 4th, after the Yankees went ahead 4-2. After making Vazquez throw 26 pitches in the 3rd, Ortiz-Ramirez-Garciaparra went down in order on only 6 pitches (and 4 of them were to Tizzle).

And the Yankees make things happen -- four stolen bases in two innings certainly helped rattle Lowe, though his iron-glove fielders were doing a bang-up job of that on their own. But he did throw a lot of groundballs and it would have been nice to have the best possible infield behind him. Which leads me to ...

Remember the Red Sox/Yankees game in June 1978 (?) when Billy Martin yanked Reggie Jackson from right field in Fenway after Martin thought he loafed after a base hit? It was on national television and they nearly came to blows in the dugout. ... If I was Tito, I would have pulled Dead Bat/Stone Hands Millar in favor of McCarty for the bottom of the fourth. Send what should be an obvious message: "Play like shit and expect to sit on the bench."

But does Tito really need to go on a screaming rant or toss over the buffet table? To that, I'll say what I said when people ripped Nomar during his rehab for not traveling with the team and giving them support from the bench: If these guys need a cheerleader (or a post-game spread all over the carpet) to get fired up, then the season is already lost. ... But something needs to be done.

Yankee blogger Larry Mahnken notes that New York's 6½-game lead is a larger gap than any other division leader has between them and the third place team in their respective division. Greater than Chicago and Philadelphia's leads over the fourth place Indians and Braves, equal the Cardinals' lead over the fifth place Astros. ... He also writes that "the symbolic meaning of [Tuesday's] win is fleeting ... the victory cinches nothing ... The series now turns in Boston's favor, with Tim Wakefield and Pedro Martinez facing off against Jon Lieber and Brad Halsey. ... a series victory by Boston is still very much a possibility, almost even a probability."

Wow -- a Yankee fan has a more hopeful outlook about the Red Sox than I do. ... Wakefield brings it against Lieber at 7:05 pm.

June 29, 2004

Red Sox/Yankees, Regular Season Matchup #1,902. Let's hope that the Red Sox bashing against the Phillies on Sunday -- scoring 12 runs after falling behind 3-0 -- becomes a common occurrence. It is way past time for the Red Sox to get on a long winning streak.

Theo Epstein: "We have scored more runs than the Yankees (404-400) and allowed fewer runs than the Yankees (343-352), but they have been finding ways to win, and that's what we have to do. Two months of playing .500 ball has been disappointing." ... The Red Sox are hitting .275, the Yankees .262; the Red Sox pitching staff has a 3.92 ERA, the Yankees 4.39. ... Nick Cafardo of the Globe asks: "How can a team that is first in extra-base hits, first in doubles, third in runs, first in on-base percentage, and fourth in slugging be last in leaving men on base? ... How can this lineup not be consistent? How can it not be knocking down the Wall all the time? ... [T]he Sox advanced a runner from first 47 percent of the time last season; they've done it just 32 percent this season. ... The Sox have played in nine games in which they have not had one hit with runners in scoring position and 15 games in which they've had only one such hit. Manny Ramirez is hitting .361 with runners in scoring position and two outs; the rest of the team .229. ... The Sox have struck out nine or more times in a game 30 times, 10 more than all last season. They are 14-16 in those games. When they put the ball in play, they're hitting .349."

The Red Sox have also left 602 men on base, tops in the American League. ... It is there inconsistent play that had left them 5½ games behind the Yankees. Boston began May by losing five straight. Then they won four in a row, lost four of five, won nine of 11, lost six of eight, won five of six and lost eight of 14. ... Art Martone on Epstein and his "glass-is-half-empty" attitude and the fact that Boston has scored an average of 11.6 runs in their last 5 wins (12-3, 12-1, 9-2, 14-9, 11-0) and an average of 2.2 runs in their last 5 losses (9-2, 4-3, 4-2, 4-0, 6-4).

Also: Byung-Hyun Kim pitched two scoreless innings for Pawtucket against Richmond, allowing a leadoff single before retiring the next six batters. ... David Ortiz was named AL Player of the Week, batting .440 (11-for-25) with 4 HR, 9 RBI and 8 runs scored in 6 games. ... Bill Mueller could return to the Sox this weekend in Atlanta (Ellis Burks might return also), but Mueller himself thinks that might be difficult. Mueller: "When I woke up this morning (Sunday), I didn't even think about how I felt - and that's a good sign." On Saturday, Mueller went 0-for-2 with a walk for Pawtucket. On Sunday, both Mueller and Burks were in the PawSox lineup. Mueller played third went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Burks went 0-for-2 and scored a run as a DH.

I thought only Red Sox fans were obsessed with The Rivalry and the Yankees and their fans didn't give the Red Sox much thought at all.



Could the media have been lying to me?

Pokey Reese starts at second base tonight against the Yankees. Lowe/Vazquez at 7:05 pm.

June 26, 2004

Incompetent. 1. Boston Red Sox. They outhit the Phillies 14-13 this afternoon, but committed 4 errors and left 11 men on base and lost 9-2. Thank goodness the Mets beat the Yankees 9-3. Don't look now, Tito, but the Devil Rays are gaining in your rear-view mirror.

2. George W. Bush. According to Irish journalist Carol Coleman: "The policy of the White House is that you submit your questions in advance, so they had my questions for about three days." ... Three full days to practice before every press conference -- and he still can't form a coherent answer to anything.
Highly Offensive. Manny Ramirez homered, doubled twice and drove in five runs and received a curtain call -- for his defense. (Manny was robbed of a second HR when Abreu reached over the bullpen fence in right-center in the 6th.) Ramirez ended the 7th inning by sprinting towards the left field line and diving flat-out to nab Mike Lieberthal's liner. It was an amazing catch -- one of the best of the year -- and one that I (like Pedro Martinez) didn't think he had any chance of catching. ... I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but I am so glad Manny is still with the Red Sox. And hearing Pedro's NESN comments about being a "Bostonian" and wanting to do everything he can to stay with the Red Sox also made me very happy.

Speaking of El Rey, he was in excellent form last night. No first inning worries -- the Phillies went down in order on 10 pitches. A hit batsman (Lieberthal, 3rd inning), a single (Polanco, 4th) and a walk (Bell, 5th) were the only Philadelphia base runners in six innings. After Boston batted for 30 minutes, scoring 8 runs, in the bottom of the 6th, Pedro came out a little cold.

He allowed an opposite field home run to Thome and walked Burrell, but got the next three hitters (Manny's catch was the third out) to end his night: 7 IP, 2 H, 1R, 2 BB, 2K, 99 pitches. Now 8-3, he lowered his ERA to 3.73 -- which is actually good enough for 14th in the AL (only 18 AL pitchers have ERAs under 4.00). ... Curtis Leskanic made his debut in the 8th, retiring the Phillies in order. The game was called after a 49-minute rain delay with Boston batting in the 8th.

On Thursday, Tampa Bay beat Toronto 19-13. According to Redbird Nation: "[I]t's the first game in modern baseball history with that exact final score. There have been four 19-12 games (the most recent in 1999) and one 19-14 game (in 1930), but no 19-13 games ... If you discount games in which teams score 20 or more runs, there is now only one final score that has never been achieved in any game: 19-18. Every other score is covered."

How about if the Red Sox beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS by a 19-18 score? Wouldn't that be something? Of course, long before the game got to that point, I would have died from the stress. ... Arroyo/Wolf today at 1 pm.
Hitler Reappears in '04 Campaign, This Time in Bush Ad: "Suddenly, Adolf Hitler has become a bit player in the 2004 presidential campaign. President Bush's campaign Web site is featuring an advertisement casting Senator John Kerry and his allies as a 'coalition of the wild-eyed,' blending clips of former Vice President Al Gore, former Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont and the filmmaker Michael Moore shouting about Mr. Bush. Interspersed twice are images of a shouting Hitler, drawn from a Web spot that MoveOn.org, the Internet advocacy group that runs anti-Bush advertisements, briefly posted months ago in a contest for advertisements about the president."

The Bush ad is here. It's an amazing commercial -- it actually quotes Bush saying God "instructed" him to go to war against Iraq. I can hardly believe this got past the initial brainstorm stage, let alone actually produced and released. These people have truly lost their minds. Dear Bush Campaign: please show this ad everywhere. Thank you. ... You can see the two MoveOn "Bush in 30 Seconds" contest entries that used Hitler here. I'm willing to bet the Bush campaign did not obtain legal permission to use those ads.

Remember the fuss the Republicans made over the MoveOn ads? Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee called them "the worst and most vile form of political hate speech" and unfit for television. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) called them "hate-mongering," adding "I'm disgusted by the casual use of Hitler by liberal Democrats and groups such as MoveOn.org."... I wonder when Messers. Gillespie and Cantor will express their disgust over this new Bush ad.
The F Word. Dick Cheney told Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy to "fuck off" on the floor of the Senate this week, but when asked about it, Cheney couldn't even admit it (he said he "probably" had done it). ... Republicans and their supporters forgave Cheney immediately, of course, saying it showed him as a man who stands "forceful in the face of unwarranted criticism." ... But when John Kerry used the same word awhile back, the Bush administration reacted with indignation. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card: I'm very disappointed that he would use that kind of language. I'm hoping that he's apologizing at least to himself ..."

An anonymous 22-year CIA veteran (and author of the new book "Imperial Hubris") states that the US is losing the war on terror. From a long Q&A: "Bin Laden saw the invasion of Iraq as a Christmas gift he never thought he’d get." ... The AP reports that Colin Powell wants the "terrorists battling US troops [to] lay down [their] arms and help the new Iraqi government" because "This is costing the American taxpayers a great deal of money and it is straining our armed forces considerably."

Finally: "Medicare is planning a lottery later this year for people with cancer, multiple sclerosis and several other diseases. For the 50,000 winners, the government will start helping pay for their medicine, but more than 450,000 others must wait until 2006." ... This is not from The Onion, it's a real story.

June 25, 2004

Kim and Mendoza in Pawtucket Thursday Night. Byun-Hyun Kim started for the PawSox against Richmond and pitched one inning. He threw 15 pitches (12 strikes), allowing one hit and striking out one. According to reports at SoSH, Kim was throwing in the high 80s. ... Ramiro Mendoza pitched the second inning, throwing 16 pitches (11 strikes). He also gave up one hit and struck out one. ... Pawtucket lost the game 10-5.

Pedro v. the Phillies at Fenway tonight.

June 24, 2004

This Is Not A Slump. Another disappointing (but sadly, typical and not unexpected) loss this afternoon -- and Boston has now lost three straight series. Tim Wakefield pitched well. He kept the team in the game until they rallied in the 7th inning, but Nomar's two-base throwing error in the 10th inning led to a 4-3 loss. Three of the four Twins runs were unearned. ... Outside of a few players (including Ortiz, who drove in all 3 of Boston's runs), this team is not playing with any sense of urgency. Yes, key players have been missing, but the Red Sox have been treading water for 50 games; since April 30, they are 25-25.

When Pokey Reese showed up at Fenway Park this morning, he did not have an inordinate amount of swelling in his right thumb. Francona: "He's very sore, but I think there's less swelling than he thought or the trainers thought ... maybe this thing is manageable in a couple of days." Team doctor Bill Morgan: "His MRI showed he has a partial tear of his collateral ligament of his thumb, the inside of his thumb, which is good. We can treat it non-surgically." Morgan: "Given the injury, I would be surprised if he missed a week." (Also here and here)

While the bone bruise on Curt Schilling's right ankle is improving, he will have a fourth MRI after his start against the Phillies on Sunday. ... Bill Mueller might begin a minor league rehab assignment late next week. ... Ellis Burks resumed running on Tuesday and had "minimum swelling." ... Both Byung-Hyun Kim and Ramiro Mendoza were scheduled to pitch for Pawtucket tonight.

In noting that the 3-4-5 spots will be Ortiz-Ramirez-Garciaparra for the foreseeable future, Ron Chimelis reports that in 70 games, Red Sox hitters have seen 11,316 pitches -- an average of 161 per game -- which leads the majors. Tampa Bay, which ranks last, has seen nearly 2,000 fewer pitches.

Sean McAdam looks at what impact Carlos Beltran would have on the Sox. Beltran will apparently be dealt "no later than next weekend" and that Boston's chances of landing him are "fair." McAdam writes that Beltran "would represent a dramatic upgrade on several fronts. Because his arrival would mean alternating Manny Ramirez and Trot Nixon at DH and left field -- with Beltran in right and Johnny Damon remaining in center -- and would push Kevin Millar out of the lineup. Millar hasn't produced since June of last year. Since last season's All-Star break, he has just 56 RBI in 140 games."

June 23, 2004

Infuriatingly Inconsistent. The Red Sox had their chances, but couldn't do a damn thing with Carlos Silva and lost 4-2. (In Baltimore, the Orioles battered New York 13-2.) Lowe actually pitched pretty well, despite giving up 2 first-inning runs and a 2-run bomb to Hunter in the 6th. Two leadoff home runs -- Bellhorn in the 6th and Nixon in the 7th -- accounted for Boston's runs. Wasted opportunities:

1st inning: 1st/3rd, 1 out -- Ramirez 4-6-3 DP (first pitch).
5th inning: 1st/2nd, 1 out -- Damon 4-6-3 DP.
7th inning: man on 2nd, 1 out -- Youkilis popup, Damon fly out.
9th inning: man on 2nd, 0 outs -- Nixon popup, Millar groundout, Varitek groundout.

Pokey suffered a severe sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb in the second inning (the same ligament he tore last season). X-rays taken at the park were negative and he was sent to St. Elizabeth's Hospital for an MRI.
Addicted to AIDS? George W. Bush spoke this morning at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia: "HIV/AIDS, you see, is a challenge, it's a direct challenge to the compassion of our country ... This disease leaves suffering and orphans and fear wherever it reaches. Every man and woman and child who suffers from this addiction, from the streets of Philly to the villages of Africa, is a child of God who deserves our love and our help. ..."

Two questions: Why is Bush calling AIDS an addiction? And what's up with "from the streets of Philly to the villages of Africa"? (Is that Repub code for "darkies"?) The White House's website had the speech as given here, but sometime between 2:30 and 3:15 this afternoon, it changed "addiction" to "affliction". The White House has a long habit of doing this to Bush's misstatements. ... You can read the actual speech that Bush gave here, here, here, here or here. ... We deserve to know what Bush actually says, not what he should have said.

June 22, 2004

Dirty Water. An Ortizzle bomb in the 1st, a Ramirez blast over everything in left in the 6th, a grand slam by Nomar (on the first pitch, of course) in a 6-run 7th and seven strong innings of 4-hit ball from Schilling equal a breezy 9-2 victory. ... The Yankees win big (10-4) in Baltimore, as the Orioles perfect their Washington Generals impersonation, so the Sox remain 4½ back.

June 21, 2004

About Schmidt. He's good. Very good. 9 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts, 133 pitches. An ERA down to 2.26. (box). ... Kevin Youkilis doubled to start the 6th for Boston's only hit.

The bottom of the 7th was the difference. Arroyo began the inning by getting Durham to ground out to first. He had thrown 113 pitches; his previous highs this year were 112 and 100. Embree and Timlin were up in the pen. (Francona was playing with fire in having Arroyo start the inning at all; I expected him to have a very short hook).

Tucker got ahead in the count 3-1 and doubled to right. With the game still scoreless, Francona could have brought in Timlin to face the RH Grissom (although that probably would have been his only batter, since Embree would likely face Bonds, but Williamson and Foulke were still available). He let Arroyo continue. The Grissom AB: foul, ball, ball, foul, ball, ball.

Embree came in to face Bonds, who popped a 0-1 pitch to short left. Youkilis went out and Millar came in. The ball (which was absolutely catchable, probably by Millar) dropped between them. Millar picked up the ball and fired to third, hoping to force Tucker. He did -- Tucker was clearly out -- but the umpire called him safe. Francona argued and was ejected. Timlin came in to face Alfonzo, who hammered a 1-1 pitch to deep left for a grand slam.

Timlin is prone to allowing a gopher ball now and then, so I'm not sure why Francona didn't have either Williamson or Foulke warming up and ready for that spot. This was clearly the most important part of the game and Boston should have had its best pitchers ready. ... Instead, after the Giants had a 4-0 lead, Timlin got the final two Giants and DiNardo struck out the side in the 8th.

Millar was 5-for-6 with 2 walks against Schmidt coming into this game and it appears that was the only reason he started instead of Manny (1-for-4 against the Giants ace). Francona has surely heard of the phrase "small sample size" and Millar hasn't been hitting consistently since last July. With a day off today, Manny could have pinch-hit for Arroyo in the 6th (after Yook's double) and the pen could have pitched the last 4 innings. Arroyo had thrown 97 pitches through 5 innings and allowed only 2 hits. ... The 6th inning ended with Millar on deck and had the Sox not gone 1-2-3, Ramirez may have batted for him. Even if he didn't, Tito could have double-switched and gone to the pen and put Ramirez in left. He probably could have played better defense.

The good news? The Yankees lost to the Dodgers, so the Red Sox remain 4.5 game behind. Both clubs are off today.

June 20, 2004

Dump Truck. With one out in the 9th yesterday afternoon, trailing the Giants by two runs, David Ortiz singled down the right field line -- and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. With Manny Ramirez on deck, it's hard to overstate the stupidity of this play. Even if Ortiz had made it safely to second, the Giants likely would have walked Ramirez intentionally to face the decidedly less-dangerous Kevin Millar (though Nomar Garciaparra might have hit for him). Referring to himself as "a big dump truck" with no brakes, Ortiz said: "When I was going around first base, the ball was still going down the line, but it hit the wall and bounced out to the guy. If I didn't come out of the box the way I was supposed to and I got caught, that's a different situation, but I was hauling ass as soon as I came out of the box."

Pedro Martinez had a horrible first inning, allowing 4 runs and 5 hits. But he rebounded, allowing only 1 hit over 5 shutout innings. Martinez has a first-inning ERA of 7.80 (15 IP, 13 ER) and batters are hitting .359 (23-for-64) against him, with 5 home runs. From the second inning on, the numbers are 3.20, .224.

Terry Francona was quoted in Saturday's Herald as saying he had no plans to rest either Nomar Garciaparra or Trot Nixon during the weekend. But yesterday, Garciaparra, Nixon and Johnny Damon all began the day on the bench. Francona cited the quick turnaround from Friday night's game and Saturday's 12:15 (PST) start. ... Players need days off, but why rest all three players at the same time? Boston had last Monday off and they have this Monday off as well. I don't get it.

Nixon: "Baseball's tough. This game's not peachy and rosy all the time. [It's] not nice to you all the time." ... As a Red Sox fan for almost 30 years, I can't argue with that. But is having the Red Sox use their heads and put up a fight for 9 innings too much to ask? Too often, it seems at-bats and innings are being quandered.

Tony Massarotti has some stats on the Red Sox batting with the bases loaded. While the Sox are #1 in at-bats with the bases loaded, they are 26th in batting average. "Through their first 65 games, the Sox were 18-for-87 with the bases loaded, a .207 average that was well below the major league average of .268. Of the Sox' 18 hits, 11 were singles. And nine of the 18 hits came from either Pokey Reese or Johnny Damon, meaning the rest of the Red Sox were a miserable 9-for-68, a batting average of just .132. More numbers? Even with Reese (5-for-10) and Damon (4-for-9), the Sox had more strikeouts (22) than hits (18) ... eliminating the possibility for something so basic as a sacrifice fly."

Random stuff: Bill Mueller began a running program recently and hopes to rejoin the team in two to three weeks (All-Star break). He said he has been secretly swinging the bat in his in-laws' backyard and has been watching the Sox on the Extra Innings package. ... Ramiro Mendoza will make a rehab relief appearance Sunday for Pawtucket. ... Byung-Hyun Kim threw on the side in Lowell Thursday and in Pawtucket Saturday. ... Sean McAdam says the the Red Sox are close to signing RHP reliever Curtis Leskanic, who was released by Kansas City last week and cleared waivers Friday. ... Johnny Damon on Carlos Beltran.

June 19, 2004

I Guess It's Freedom Checkers Now. "The United States would do itself and the world a huge favour by establishing a closer relationship with reality rather than wrestling with its own version of the truth ..." (China Daily)
Standings. On the morning of June 1, the AL East standings looked like this:
New York  30  19  .612  --

Boston 31 20 .608 ½
Here are the daily results from June 1-18 (x = day off):
New York  W W W W L W x W W W L W W x W W L L  42-23

Boston L L x L W W x W L W W L W x L L W W 39-27 3½ GB
Red Sox on days Yankees won: 4-7
Red Sox on days Yankees lost: 4-0
Some Joementum For The Yankees? The Yankees and Dodgers were tied 3-3 after 5 innings last night. In the top of the 6th, LA starter Jeff Weaver had thrown a total of 27 pitches after he intentionally walked Miguel Cairo to load the bases with two outs. Javier Vazquez was scheduled to hit, but Joe Torre did not opt for a pinch-hitter. Vazquez made the third out -- he lined out to second, but I don't know if it was hit hard or softly.

Back out on the mound, at 86 pitches through five innings, Vazquez allowed a leadoff single to Adrian Beltre. Two of his first three pitches to Juan Encarnacion were wild and Beltre was able to advance to third. On a full count, Encarnacion doubled to left and Beltre scored. When Alex Cora dropped down a bunt, Vazquez's throwing error allowed Encarnacion to score. ... That was the end of Vazquez's night. The Dodgers added a run in the 7th and won the game 6-3.

By welcome contrast, Terry Francona had Mark Malaska warming up with the Red Sox down 7-2 in the 5th. When Boston rallied (thanks to some fielding straight out of the Bad News Bears) and took a 9-7 lead, Francona tried to buy an inning with the already-warm lefty. It didn't work. Two of the first three hitters reached (walk and single) and Tito quickly went to Mike Timlin. ... Excellent move. Almost immediately, Timlin got a 4-6-3 double play to end the Giants rally. Then he pitched the 6th and 7th, throwing only 21 pitches in his outing. When Alan Embree faltered in the 8th, Keith Foulke got up and ended up pitching the 9th.

It was a great (and fun) win. Kevin Millar drilled a pinch-hit three-run home run (in the same inning that David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez went back-to-back). Ortiz's HR was an absolute bomb, just to the right of dead center. Boston got consecutive home runs from Trot Nixon and Doug Mirabelli in the 9th.

I had to listen to the Giants announcers on Fox Sports Net last night. And honestly, they weren't that bad. But they were a little confused in the early innings. In the bottom of the first, as second batter Michael Tucker swung and missed, one of them said that the Giants hadn't hit even a foul ball off Wakefield yet. Now, Wakefield had just thrown his 5th pitch of the game -- so big deal -- but leadoff man Ray Durham had fouled Wake's 3rd pitch down the first base line. ... And when Mirabelli took a strike to open the 3rd, we were told that Jerome Williams had thrown first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 18 Red Sox batters. But only 16 Boston batters had come to the plate at that point -- there had been a first-pitch strike to 13 of them.

Pedro/Noah Lowry at 3:15 pm.
Bonds against Pedro: 11-for-30 (.367) with 3 doubles, 1 home run, 10 walks and 7 strikeouts.
Un-Fucking-Believable. Reuters: "In publishing a report that cited no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, the Sept. 11 commission actually meant to say that Iraq had no control over the network, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Friday." [emphasis mine]
Put Up Or Shut Up. The 9/11 Commission has "called on Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday to turn over any intelligence reports that would support the White House's insistence that there was a close relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. ... 'It sounds like the White House has evidence that we didn't have,' [Vice Chairman Lee] Hamilton said in an phone interview. 'I would like to see the evidence that Mr. Cheney is talking about.'" ... Spencer Ackerman, filling in at Talking Points Memo, has a great piece on who said what when. Then go here for Ackerman's Unconnected Dots and Feedback Loops: The Best of the Iraq-Al Qaeda Link, Vol. 1.
25 Runs In 2 Games. What's not to like? The lead shrinks to 3½. ... And Pedro tomorrow, err, later today.

June 18, 2004

New Day Rising. Well. What a difference an 11-0 rout (and a Yankees loss) makes. Let's hope the good hitting vibes continue in San Francisco. It wouldn't hurt to pick up a game (or two) this weekend in the standings, either, though what are the odds of Jeff Weaver shutting down the Yankees tonight in Los Angeles?

Trot Nixon has looked fantastic at the plate, hitting the ball hard (so has Nomar, although several line drives have been caught). I'd like to see Nixon higher in the lineup right away. ... Mirabelli will probably get the start tonight and Francona has said he's not moving Manny out of the cleanup spot, but I'd still like to see this lineup as soon as possible:

Damon CF
Nixon RF
Ramirez LF
Ortiz 1B
Garciaparra SS
Varitek C
Bellhorn 3B
Youkilis/Millar/Kapler DH
Reese 2B

In fact, Nixon ought to leadoff against RHP -- his OBP against them last year was .423. Some other Sox: Manny .411, Ortiz .404, Damon .350, Varitek .335, Nomar .330.

Friday: Tim Wakefield (4-5, 4.46) vs. Jerome Williams (6-4, 4.30), 10:15 pm
Saturday: Pedro Martinez (7-3, 3.77) vs. Noah Lowry (0-0, 6.43), 3:15 pm
Sunday Bronson Arroyo (2-5, 4.96) vs. Jason Schmidt (8-2, 2.50), 4:05 pm
Meeting With Psychiatrist Shrinks Lowe's ERA. In his 100th career start, Derek Lowe threw his second straight outing of 7 shutout innings. He relied heavily on his sinker, throwing only one curve ball in the thin Colorado air. Of his 21 outs, Lowe got 17 on the ground, 3 by strikeout and just one in the air. Lowe has not allowed a run in 14 innings and has gone 18 innings without giving up an earned run. ... Lowe has been meeting regularly with sports psychiatrist Dr. Harvey Dorfman, author of "The Mental Game of Baseball."

Pedro Martinez told Nick Cafardo of the Globe that he regrets making comments (back on April 30) about becoming a free agent. "I said some things that I should never have said. At that point I probably should have just shut my mouth. A lot of people misjudged that, the media fed on that. Some of the comments that were made gave it a different meaning. I'm actually all about winning, and instead of thinking about myself and my future, I should have just not said anything."

Nomar Garciaparra was whining early in the week -- "[A]pparently what I've done over the past eight years obviously means nothing. What counts is the end of last year or the offseason. ... I can't win - 21 ABs (for Pawtucket) but no, 'You're faking it' and 'Cmon, what are you waiting for?' Then I come back, they are still going to say 'See - he sucks. He's not good. ... It's a no-win situation. They should just be glad I'm back." (more here) ... You're right, Nomar, it is a no-win situation. That's why you have to ignore all of the print and radio mediots. ... Pedro is convinced Nomar wants to stay in Boston.

Francona: "[Walking Bonds intentionally with no one on base] goes against the grain of how I feel about putting runners on base. We may do it sometimes, we may not sometimes. ... [H]e is the one guy that sometimes you may change up and do something different. There are also times where you have to get him out." (also here). ... Bonds speaks out: "Boston is too racist for me. I couldn't play there." Wheeee! Let's play ball!
Schilling MRI. Statement from Red Sox medical director Dr. Bill Morgan: "The MRI performed on Curt Schilling this morning in Boston showed the condition of his ankle appears stable. We are making no changes in his treatment. We will continue to observe his symptoms and act on any changes." ... Schilling is expected to pitch Tuesday night at home against the Twins.
Shooting Fish In A Barrel. Bush, June 17, 2004: "This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda."

Bush, in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, dated March 18, 2003 (link at the White House website): "Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that ... acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." [bolding by me]

Well, to be fair, he didn't use the word "orchestrate." I guess he's not lying.

June 17, 2004

From This Altitude, It Will Come Back To You. The Colorado Rockies had won two consecutive games only twice since April 20. Last night made it three. ... While it may or may not be time to panic -- for now, I'm opting for equal parts frustration and exasperation. Wednesday's almost-but-not-quite comeback was just another in an ongoing series of wasted evenings, complete with sloppy fielding, clueless at-bats, possible managerial dozing and a derth of timely hitting.

Curt Schilling did not have his A-game (no word yet on his ankle) -- allowing 9 hits and 7 runs in 6 innings. And when he started losing it in the 6th inning (at 100+ pitches), I don't think Francona had anyone warming up. MLB-EI carried the Fox feed and they made no mention of activity in the Sox bullpen, though that doesn't mean there wasn't any. Either way, Francona let Schilling stay in the game too long.

Indeed, a good argument can be made that he should have been pulled after 4 innings (having allowed 6 hits and 4 runs on 87 pitches). At that point, Boston trailed 4-3, but had the bases loaded. Colorado starter Jason Jennings had had a strange 5th inning. He hit Manny Ramirez on a 3-1 pitch, got Nomar Garciaparra on a first-pitch liner to left, walked Trot Nixon on 4 pitches, struck out Jason Varitek on 3 pitches and walked Kevin Youkilis on 4 pitches. ... Even with two outs, it may have been time to try to get at least one of those runners home. Francona let Schilling bat, however, and he tapped Jennings's first offering back to the mound for an easy force at the plate. It was the second consecutive inning that Boston left the bases loaded.

Schilling retired the side in order in the 5th (with 2 strikeouts) -- his only 1-2-3 inning. But in the 6th, he allowed a leadoff single to Jennings (who went 2-for-3). After a sacrifice bunt, Royce Clayton reached when Garciaparra made a very poor (and low) throw to first. Todd Helton brought both runners home with an opposite field double down the left field line. Colorado led 7-3.

I don't know how many games in which Boston has almost come back but simply run out of innings/outs -- I should look -- but last night was the merely the latest. Varitek, who has looked horrible lately, drilled a solo home run in the 8th. After Johnny Damon singled with 2 outs, sidearming lefty Javier Lopez came in. He got Mark Bellhorn lunging at outside pitches and struck him out -- and with David Ortiz leading off the 9th, I fully expected Lopez to start the 9th -- and wondered what in the hell Tizzle could do with his delivery.

And yet Rockies manager Clint Hurdle did NOT keep Lopez in the game. He brought in his closer Shawn Chacon -- and I use the word "closer" in the loosest possible sense -- look at these stats -- can you imagine relying on this gas can as your closer?

Chacon got Ortiz anyway, after he fouled off 4 pitches (trying to hit a 7-run homer) and then chased some crap in the dirt. Ramirez lined a single over shortstop and Nomar banged a hanging slider into left center. Nixon -- who had had a hell of a night -- a long fly ball to deep right center, a home run to deep right, a walk and a well-hit ball to shortstop -- and he was now the tying run.

I don't know how accurate the Fox gun was (I'd guess it was about 2-3 mph too fast), but Chacon hit 95-95-97-94 as he struck out Nixon. Varitek went the other way, dumping a single into left and bringing home Ramirez. Youkilis (3-4 with a BB) hit a one-hopper off the third base bag that bounced out into left; Nomar scored and tying-run Varitek scampered to third. Pokey Reese ran for Yook and stole second, but pinch-hitter David McCarty (after falling behind 0-2 and taking 3 straight balls -- he probably struck out on ball 2, but with the Rockies coming out of the dugout to celebrate their win, the first base ump said he checked his swing) flew out harmlessly to right to end the game.

Meanwhile, out in Arizona, the Yankees battered the Snakes 9-4 and now lead the Red Sox by 5.5 games. ... Yankee blogger Larry Mahnken: "The Yankees have been ten games better than Boston since 'The Sweep', in less than two months. But it's not Boston's doing -- they've been a solid 25-21 since then, it's the Yankees who have earned their standing, going an incredible 34-10 ..." I disagree. 25-21 is not solid -- it's a .543 winning percentage or an 88-74 record.

Boston tries to avoid an embarrassing sweep at 3:05 pm. I fear the thin Colorado air will bring on multiple appearances of the Derek Lowe Face.

June 16, 2004

One Final Thought Before Tonight's Game.

It's Not Early Anymore. Colorado came into this series with an eight-game losing streak and the second-worst record in baseball. They had spent the weekend being swept by Tampa Bay. Bronson Arroyo pitched 6 innings last night and allowed only 4 runs (3 earned). After losing the lead in the 3rd inning, he retired 8 in a row. It's a performance I'll take with a smile.

But the Red Sox lost in frustrating fashion, because of their continued inability to hit consistently with men on base (they left the bases loaded in the 3rd, 5th and 9th innings). Joe Kennedy escaped a bases loaded, no out jam in the 5th and the quartet of Allan Simpson, Steve Reed, Tim Harikkala and Shawn Chacon shut Boston out over the final 4 innings.

Boston has a strong team, but have been unable to play consistently for any stretch of time. Maybe it's because of the many AAA players they have been forced to use this season; more often, it seems to me like a lack of concentration at the plate from night to night from everyone.

The team's longest winning streak is 6 games (April 23-29); they followed that by losing 5 in a row. They won five straight in late May, then dropped six of their next eight. They are 22-20 in their last 42 games and that simply is not going to get it done, even if the Yankees weren't busy ripping off a 33-9 run of their own over the same number of games. ... Boston has the 3rd best record in baseball, but are languishing 4½ games behind New York.

And yet, I will remain positive. Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe have begun pitching quite well. Nomar Garciaparra is back (and was stinging the ball last night). Scott Williamson (and his nasty slider) has returned to the bullpen. Keith Foulke has been everything we had hoped for. Manny is being Manny. Trot Nixon starts tonight. Bill Mueller is taking batting practice and may be only 2-3 weeks away. ... By the All-Star break, Boston may finally have its regular lineup on the field for the first time. And in August, the schedule gets soft -- Tampa Bay (6 games), White Sox (6 games), Blue Jays (6 games) and Tigers (7 games). That will be the time to make some serious hay.

For now, the job is to stay close to New York. And considering all their missing pieces, and the fact that it is not "early" anymore, I'd say Boston is doing it. Laura, my Yankee Loving Partner, keeps asking me if I'm worried, or rather she keeps telling me that I (or the Red Sox themslves) ought to be worried. But I'm not. The fresh (and uncommon) burst of optimism I got from last year's team has carried over to this summer. This team's best moments are still in the future.

Based on their runs scored/runs allowed, you would expect the East standings to look like this:
         W   L   GB   RS   RA

Yankees 35 27 -- 338 294
Red Sox 35 28 ½ 329 294
Obviously, they don't look like that in reality, but I'm more than ready for luck to start balancing out.

Schilling/Jennings at 9:05 pm.
Bloomsday.



Thursday, June 16, 1904. Here is the complete (searchable) text of James Joyce's novel. Check out Jorn Barger's amazing website for all things Ulysses.

June 15, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11. Michael Moore's upcoming movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" -- it opens June 25 -- is going to be HUGE, an unavoidable topic of conversation during the presidential campaign. The trailer can be viewed here. ... There are links to at least 17 reviews at Rotten Tomatoes. ... What I'm posting here is from Fox News -- yes, that Fox News -- which calls it a "brilliant piece of work":
"As much as some might try to marginalize this film as a screed against President George Bush, F9/11 ... is a tribute to patriotism, to the American sense of duty, and at the same time an indictment of stupidity and avarice. ... [F9/11] relies on lots of film footage and actual interviews to make its case against the war in Iraq and tell the story of the intertwining histories of the Bush and Bin Laden families. ...

"[I]n the end, not seeing F9/11 would be like allowing your first amendment rights to be abrogated, no matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat. ... The most indelible [moment] is President Bush's reaction to hearing on the morning of September 11, 2001, that the first plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. Bush was reading to a grade school class in Florida at that moment.

"Instead of jumping up and leaving, he instead sat in front of the class, with an unfortunate look of confusion, for nearly 11 minutes. Moore obtained the footage from a teacher at the school who videotaped the morning program. There Bush sits, with no access to his advisers, while New York is being viciously attacked. I guarantee you that no one who sees this film forgets this episode." [emphasis mine]
The footage actually shows Bush being told about the second plane. He knew about the first plane crash before he arrived at the school ... You can watch five minutes of Bush being told "America is under attack" and then sitting on his ass reading about a goat here and read the most comphrensive look at his entire day here.
Nixon Set To Return Wednesday. Trot Nixon's rehab is complete. All reports indicate that he will be activated for the second game of the Colorado series. LHP Joe Kennedy will face the Sox tonight, so the team will wait until Nixon can face a RHP -- Jason Jennings -- on Wednesday. ... Slowly, the team is returning to full strength.

The Wednesday game is also important because of Curt Schilling's right ankle. After his start, Schilling will undergo a third MRI and if the "bone-bruise problem is found to be worsening, the Sox probably will have to shut him down by placing him on the 15-day disabled list."

More on Pokey's Catch: John Tomase called it leaping grab "the defensive play of the season." Theo: I was sitting behind home plate. I was already checking where the baserunners were going to be. Then my jaw dropped." Tito: "When it was about halfway there I'm looking down at my card for the next hitter. I saw it on the replay. It's unbelievable. He has no business making that play." Pedro: "I thought the ball was in the outfield already. I thought the ball was going to drop. I was ready to run behind the plate." ... Reese admitted after the game that he's able to dunk a basketball -- he's listed at 5-11 -- "but I don't try to go out and jump like that everyday."

Byung-Hyun Kim returned to Fenway Park yesterday. He has a side session scheduled for Saturday in Pawtucket and may pitch in a minor league game about a week later. ... Bill Mueller will begin taking batting practice with the team this week, but is not expected to return to the lineup for 2-3 weeks. ... Ramiro Mendoza pitched for Sarasota (A) Sunday night. He went two innings (26 pitches), allowing one run on three hits while striking out one.

Mark Bellhorn and Kevin Youkilis will begin practicing at first base. ... Bellhorn has a 12-game hitting streak and has reached base in 20 straight games. ... A statistical look at Coors Field. ... Still no luck finding Babe Ruth's piano in Sudbury's Willis Pond.

Evil Empire: Joe Torre says Mariano Rivera "had a little tightness in his back" this weekend. By the way, Rivera, Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon are 1-2-3 in most appearances this year. Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina will both miss their next start. Jose Contreras goes tonight in Arizona, followed by Tanyon Sturtze on Wednesday and TBA on Thursday.

Colorado Match-ups:

Tuesday: Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 5.01) vs. Joe Kennedy (4-4, 4.06) -- 9:05 pm
Wednesday: Curt Schilling (8-3, 3.03) vs. Jason Jennings (5-6, 6.94) -- 9:05 pm
Thursday: Derek Lowe (5-5, 5.83) vs. Shawn Estes (6-3, 5.81) -- 3:05 pm

June 14, 2004

Thirty Years Ago Today. On June 14, 1974, the California Angels beat the Red Sox 4-3 in 15 innings (box score). ... Nolan Ryan of the Angels lasted 13 innings, struck out 19 batters, walked 10 and threw 235 pitches (Boston's Luis Tiant pitched 14.1 innings). And it clearly had no adverse effect in his next few outings. Ryan said that back then, he averaged between 160 and 180 pitches per outing. ... Bill James: "It obviously ruined his arm because he had to retire 19 years later."

Last night at Fenway, the Pedro and Pokey show led the Red Sox to a 4-1 win over the Dodgers. Good thing, too, because Boston needed the victory to keep pace with the Yankees. Check out this linescore:
San Diego  001 000 100 003 - 5 12 2
New York   000 000 002 004 - 6 12 2
Unbelievable. The two runs in the bottom of the 9th came on two solo home runs with 2 outs. ... Both Boston and New York are off today. Tuesday night, the Red Sox visit the Rockies and the Yankees are in Arizona.

June 13, 2004

State Of The Nation. So despite Saturday's 14-5 thrashing, things are looking up. Nomar Garciaparra and Scott Williamson are back, Trot Nixon is "close to being activated," Ellis Burks is making "steady progress" in physical therapy and the team is talking about a Pawtucket rehab, BH Kim has returned to the US, and Bill Mueller may take BP with the team during the west coast trip. Pedro Martinez looked great in his last start and Derek Lowe seems to have turned a corner ... What's not to like? ... Well, let's start worrying about Curt Schilling's ailing ankle.

Schilling will make his next start -- Wednesday in Colorado -- but the team is being "extremely cautious" and "if he shows any further changes on his MRI," Sox doc Bill Morgan says he may have to go on the disabled list for 2-4 weeks. ... Bob Hohler of the Globe: "The Sox already have tried numerous treatments, including bracing the ankle, targeting it with a high-density ultrasound stimulator, and administering non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Schilling received one steroid injection, which provided little relief ..." All parties insist that surgery is not an option during the season. ... The bone bruise is technically called a "tissue impingement."

Since Andy Dominique was sent down to make room for Williamson, Boston has 12 pitchers and will stay with that number for the Colorado and San Francisco series. ... Art Davidson on Kevin Youkilis. ... Not good: In his 15 games with the Sox, Mark Malaska has allowed nine first-batter hits.

Dodger's manager Jim Tracy on Friday's game: "Manny Ramirez standing in the on-deck circle. No balls and two strikes to Ortiz. You get him out, you walk Ramirez, you put Mota in, you pitch to Varitek and try to induce a groundball. Very simple." ... Except Martin -- who has been killed by left-handed hitters this season -- couldn't put Ortiz away. The smarter move might have been to walk Ortiz and have Gagne come in and face Manny. But Gagne never even warmed up -- I guess because LA did not have the lead and The Book says you should save your closer to protect a lead in the 9th. In this case, The Book is horseshit. An unhittable pitcher like Gagne should be used when the game is on the line -- he should be killing lead-threatening rallies rather than protecting 2- and 3-run leads in the 9th.
Shit, Meet Fan. Telegraph: "New evidence that the physical abuse of detainees in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay was authorised at the top of the Bush administration will emerge in Washington this week ... [F]our confidential Red Cross documents implicating senior Pentagon civilians in the Abu Ghraib scandal have been passed to an American television network, which is preparing to make them public shortly."

LA Times: "A group of 26 former senior diplomats and military officials, several appointed to key positions by Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, plans to issue a joint statement this week arguing that President George W. Bush has damaged America's national security and should be defeated in November. ... Those signing the document, which will be released in Washington on Wednesday, include 20 former US ambassadors, appointed by presidents of both parties ..."
Why Isn't This Common Knowledge? "Under the successive presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the USA sold nuclear, chemical and biological weapons technology to Saddam Hussein. ... These included two batches of anthrax and two batches of botulism ... one batch each of salmonella and E.Coli ... West Nile fever, brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene. The shipments even went on after Saddam ordered the gassing of the Kurdish town of Halabja, in which some 5000 people died, in March 1988. ... Other items which were sent by the US to Iraq included chemical warfare agent precursors, chemical warfare agent production facility plans and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment, biological warfare-related materials ..."

And during his time as chairman and CEO of Halliburton, Dick Cheney held "stakes in two firms that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq" from 1998 to 2000, when Cheney accepted the Republican nomination for Vice President. ... The deals were legal, but they run counter to the Bush/Cheney claims that Saddam is/was Evil Incarnate.

June 12, 2004

Shades of Ground Zero. "American administrators have lost track of dozens of detainees inside Abu Ghraib ... With no clearinghouse for missing-person reports and technical errors in the intake process, families ... can do little but wait outside the tall prison gates in hopes that someone recognizes the missing men pictured on their photocopied flyers."

Also: "The top US commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, issued a classified order last November directing military guards to hide a prisoner, later dubbed 'Triple X' by soldiers, from Red Cross inspectors and keep his name off official rosters. The disclosure, by military sources, is the first indication that Sanchez was directly involved in efforts to hide prisoners from the Red Cross." ... Seymour Hersh says he has seen all of the Abu Ghraib pictures. "You haven't begun to see evil ... horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run."

Republican Jesus looks a lot like Johnny Damon. ... Leno: "According to the New York Times, last year White House lawyers concluded that President Bush could legally order interrogators to torture and even kill people in the interest of national security - so if that's legal, what the hell are we charging Saddam Hussein with?" ... Little known fact: Bush has a blog.
October 9, 1916. In 1916, Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth won 23 games with an American League-leading 1.75 ERA. He set a new record for lefties with nine shutouts (it would be tied in 1978 by Ron Guidry). Ruth allowed the fewest hits per nine innings (opponents batted .199 against him), was second in winning percentage and third in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts. Boston met the Brooklyn Dodgers (or Robins, after their manager Wilbert Robinson) in the World Series. From my book "Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox":
Dark clouds hung over Braves Field before Game Two on October 9, 1916, as 41,373 fans watched one of the greatest battles in World Series history. It was Ruth’s first World Series start and the crowd was roaring from the first pitch. Hy Myers hit an inside-the-park home run in the first inning, but Boston tied the game in the third when Everett Scott tripled and scored on Ruth’s ground ball. Brooklyn’s Sherry Smith struggled as the game went on, but Boston couldn’t break the 1-1 tie.

In the fifth, Chet Thomas was awarded third base on a hotly contested interference call against Brooklyn shortstop Ivy Olson. Batting with two outs, Ruth looked at strike one, then whiffed on the next two. Babe kept the game scoreless in the eighth by covering home plate during a rundown and sustained a bloody nose after a collision with Dodger Mike Mowrey. Then Ruth retired the next batter by leaping straight up to snare a high bouncer and throwing to first.

Ruth retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth. He gave up a two-out walk in the tenth, and was perfect in the eleventh and twelfth innings. A Brooklyn runner reached base on an error to open the thirteenth, but was stranded at first. In the fourteenth, the Dodgers went down on only nine pitches and when Boston finally scored a run in the bottom half, Ruth completed the marathon, throwing 147 pitches for a 2-1 win. Over the final seven innings, Ruth allowed no hits and only one walk. The game is still the longest World Series contest by innings.

Boston split the next two games in Brooklyn, then returned home, where Ernie Shore’s three-hitter gave the Red Sox its second straight championship. New York sportswriter Hugh Fullerton suggested that since the American League had won six of the last seven titles, the World Series should be abolished, as the National League was too weak. ...
According to Marshall Smelser (his book "The Life That Ruth Built" is an excellent biography of Ruth, overshadowed by Robert Creamer's "Babe: The Legend Comes To Life"), the 147 pitches Ruth threw broke down like this: 54 balls and 93 strikes (47 swinging or called, 5 foul balls, 6 hits, 23 ground outs, 12 fly outs). Smelser says the most pitches Babe threw in an inning was 16, the fewest was 8; in six of the 14 innings, he needed only 9 pitches each. ... However, the Boston Traveller reported that both Ruth and Smith finished the game with a pitch count of 148.
Saddam Will Miss Old Buddy Reagan. That was the headline on a wire story posted at Yahoo. It was quickly removed from Yahoo's website (damn that liberal media!), although you can find the story here or here.
"Reagan took the first step in November 1983 when he removed Iraq from the U.S. government's official list of 'nations that support international terrorism.' That opened the door to full diplomatic and economic cooperation between Iraq and the United States. The next month he sent an emissary to Baghdad bearing a personal letter for Saddam. That emissary was none other than current Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. A declassified official note at the time read: 'Saddam Hussein showed obvious pleasure with the President's letter and Rumsfeld's visits in his remarks.' ...

"Through this time the Reagan administration largely ignored reports that Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons against the Iranian army and against domestic Kurdish insurgents. ... 'Everything we did was checked with America,' [retired Iraqi Brigadier-General Zekki Daoud Jabber] said. 'They knew our policy was to use chemical weapons on the Iranian army when they entered our territory. We told them that and they continued to help us.'"
The original URL was: "http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/oneworld/20040612/wl_oneworld/6573880421087037788&cid=655&ncid=1480."

June 11, 2004

Faith Is Fun. No worries. Derek Lowe throws seven shutout innings, David Ortiz homers in the 7th (off a LHP!) for a 1-0 lead, the Padres are winning easily in the Bronx and Keith Foulke is in for the 9th.

Encarnacion? K. PH Grabowski? Ground out to first. 2 outs on 8 pitches. Then Cora singles; Bellhorn dives to his right, but the ball ticks off the end of his glove. PH Saenz lofts a 1-0 pitch to left. Ramirez moves to his right, then comes in, then cuts back over to his left. He tries an awkward basket catch and the ball falls untouched. Cora sprints across the plate and the game is tied 1-1. ... Izturis flies out to center for the 3rd out.

Bottom of the 9th: I'm not worried. I'd rather have won 1-0, but the Red Sox have the top of the order up and I'm thinking Manny can drive in the winning run and atone. He never gets the chance.

Damon gets ahead 3-0, takes a strike and then walks. ... Bellhorn has an amazing at-bat. After a called strike and a foul, he's down 0-2 -- and he leads the AL in strikeouts. But he battles: Ball 1. Foul. Ball 2. Ball 3. Foul. Foul. And then he rips a pitch into the left field corner for a double. Damon stops at third. ... Ortiz steps in with Manny on deck. After 2 big cuts, Ortiz is down 0-2 (he's second in the AL in Ks). But he turns on an inside breaking pitch and drives it down the right field line. It's a fair ball -- Damon scores -- Boston wins 2-1.

And in New York, where Mussina was pulled after only three innings because of a tight groin, San Diego adds 5 in the 9th and beats the Yankees 10-2. ... Boston is now 2½ back.
Scott Williamson Activated. Andy Dominique sent down to Pawtucket.
Dodgers Debut At Fenway Tonight. Gordon Edes has a long feature on Eric Gagne in today's Globe. The Dodgers closer says he learned how to throw his changeup as a teenager watching Pedro pitch for the Expos. "I would always get there early to see him warm up. I'm a visual guy. I'd look at him, how he was throwing his changeup, how he was holding his changeup. When I started my changeup, I started exactly like Pedro, with the same grip, which I also saw on TV. Because my hand and his hand are totally different, I've adjusted my grip, but the way he throws it -- he turns it over really late -- I do the same thing."

Pokey Reese went 3-for-4 and scored three runs on his 31st birthday. In his first at-bat in the third inning, Reese belted a solo homer into the Monster Seats. "First home run ever on my birthday and my mom was in the stands, so it was extra special." He also played second base for the first time this season.

Terry Francona has an "outline" in mind on how to rotate the middle infielders, "but it's not etched in stone." Pitching matchups and past histories will play a part. Nomar gets tonight off; Pokey moves back to shortstop and Bellhorn is at second.

Schilling discussed his ankle trouble: "I'm concerned because it hasn't gone away. It's been around for four of five weeks." ... Schilling receives a shot of Marcaine, a numbing agent, before each start. The shots kill the pain for about 2½ hours. Last night, they did it a little later than usual, "just to make sure it didn't wear off." ... The pain occurs only when Schilling throws a fastball. "I rotate my foot on the rubber. It's half on and half off. My foot is inverted. The only pitch that I actually drive off the rubber and push off the rubber with is my fastball."

Trot Nixon played for Pawtucket last night, collecting a double and a walk in three appearances. On the double: "From the batter's box to second I thought my leg really responded fairly well. The biggest discomfort I've felt has been on the basepaths, and from the box to second I didn't feel any pain. When I rounded first I tried to turn it up a little bit just so I could get into second without a close play."

Matchups:

Tonight: Odalis Perez (3-3, 3.20) vs. Derek Lowe (5-5, 6.55)
Saturday: Jeff Weaver (3-7, 4.24) vs. Tim Wakefield (4-4, 3.71)
Sunday: Hideo Nomo (3-6, 7.33) vs. Pedro Martinez (6-3, 3.98)
Fuzzy Math. "The State Department acknowledged Thursday that it was wrong in reporting that terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding the Bush administration had pointed to as evidence of its success in countering terror. Instead, the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply ..." ... Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and former deputy director of State's counterterrorism office, on the compiling errors: "Even a third-grader could have found this."

Washington Post, June 11: "US intelligence personnel ordered military dog handlers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to use unmuzzled dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees ... a plan approved by the highest-ranking military intelligence officer at the facility ... two dog handlers at Abu Ghraib were 'having a contest' to see how many detainees they could make involuntarily urinate out of fear ..."

And: The March 6, 2003 report from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel stated that, in detaining al Qaeda and Taliban members, the US was not bound by prohibitions against torture in the Geneva Conventions. Asked whether he has seen the memos, Bush replied, 'I can't remember if I've seen the memo or not.'"

June 10, 2004

Notes. Brian Daubach's departure means the only left-handed hitter off the bench is Cesar Crespo. Francona: "This way we have a third catcher. It frees up Mirabelli to maybe hit in a game against a lefty, which I think we need to at least think about doing." ... Trot Nixon will play right field for five innings tonight for Pawtucket. ... Scott Williamson was encouraged after throwing 10 minutes of batting practice (26 pitches) to Andy Dominique and Crespo -- ignore obvious joke -- and he could be activated from the disabled list today. ... During last night's rain delay, fans were ushered out of the Monster seats because of concerns about lightning.

Shorting before the Padres series began, Johnny Damon asked: "Does anyone know who plays for San Diego this year?" The Padres, led by David Wells apparently, were annoyed and taped the clipping to their clubhouse wall. ... Damon explained: "I don't know who's on any team. I don't look at box scores. I don't watch the highlights. I'm sorry if I offended anyone, but if I played for San Diego, I'm sure I wouldn't know who played for the Red Sox. I didn't know Tino Martinez got traded (from St. Louis to Tampa Bay) till three months after the fact."
The Rollercoaster Ride Continues ... Sky high after a stupendous Pedro performance on Tuesday, muttering obscenities to ourselves after an ugly loss last night, and now expecting a solid performance from Schilling (and maybe more than one measly run from the bats) tonight ...

So ESPN broadcasts the Red Sox/Padres game last night (thus making it unavailable on Extra Innings). Padres are up 4-0 in the middle of the 6th inning when the rains come. After a lengthy delay of 2:21, the game resumes. However, the game is nowhere to be seen on ESPN. In fact, ESPN2 is now showing the Reds/A's game -- which is also being shown on one of the Extra Innings channels. ... Note to ESPN: There are these people known as "diehard fans"-- they want to see their team finish playing the game you were showing even after a long rain delay. "Season of the Fan," my ass.

ESPN's Gary Thorne said the entire Red Sox organization has NO idea where BH Kim is -- "He may be in Korea, he may be in the US, they have no idea." Does Thorne know he's just making shit up -- and being exposed as an unprepared idiot by the tens of thousands of fans who actually know which end is up -- and does he (or his employer) care?

As far as Andy Dominique playing first base, I go back and forth. It sounds something like this: Tito should put the best 9 on the field every day; Dominique belongs on the bench (or in Pawtucket). ... But the best 9 cannot play every single day -- are you advocating the Gerbil's 1978-grind-them-into-the-ground approach? ... Alright, but what about McCarty? He would have likely scooped Nomar's throw in the 4th. Or Daubach, if he hadn't been sent to Pawtucket? ... Dominique's last at-bat was on June 1, and if he's going to get some pinch-hitting opportunities during interleague play, he can't be totally rusty. ... And so on ...

One amusing note from the SoSH game thread, after Ramirez singled in the 4th: "Jerry [Remy] reports that Manny tapped Nevin on the back to tell him that Bochy was signaling Nevin not to hold Manny on base." ... Who says Ramirez doesn't pay attention?

June 9, 2004

Another "Wacky Conspiracy Theory" Proven 100% Correct. I've lost count of how many "crazy" stories have been verified beyond question since 9/11.

St. Petersburg Times, June 9: "For nearly three years, White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have insisted the flight never took place and have denied published reports and widespread Internet speculation about its purpose. But now, at the request of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, TIA officials have confirmed that the flight did take place and have supplied details." ... For those of us paying attention, this is not news (here). ... Ahem -- LIARS!

Also: Ron Reagan Jr.: "[M]y father crapped bigger ones than George Bush. ... George W. Bush is simply unqualified for the job ... What's his accomplishment? That he's no longer an obnoxious drunk?"
Moves. Nomar and Mark Malaska up; Brian Daubach and Jamie Brown down. ... Garciaparra is batting 5th tonight. ... And Andy Dominique is playing 1B (?).

Ugh. Extra Innings is not carrying the game because it's on ESPN. I wonder what broadcasting idiots will be inflicting upon us tonight? Maybe Chris Berman. He can crack us up with his hilarious, Boston-accented pronunciation of "No-mah!" five or six times. ... That guy is so ready for the glue factory.

Edit at 7:01: Just turned on ESPN. It's Gary Thorne and Jeff "Wet Look" Brantley. The third word I heard out of Thorne's mouth was: "No-mahh!" I am not kidding.
Nomar Will Play Shortstop Tonight -- In Boston. The wait is over. Nomar Garciaparra will play shortstop in the Red Sox's 58th game of the season. ... Last night, he played six innings in Pawtucket, going 0-for-3.

Pedro: "The way the weather is going, and the way I'm feeling, I don't see why I can't build on this. ... I'm going to look at video, go down to the bullpen between starts, and work even harder to be even better." That is a good sign. The Herald reported last Saturday that Martinez had not pitched even once between starts since April. However, after noticing a flaw in his delivery -- Dave Wallace: "It was one of those idiosyncrasies you see sometimes, a very slight mechanical thing the average person wouldn't see" -- he worked on it during a bullpen session.

And he pitched brilliantly last night, showing off a nasty curve in the early innings and a fastball that consistently hit 93/94, even in the 7th and 8th innings. ... I'm sure that correcting the flaw in his delivery helped, but it also seems like the bullpen session played a part. ... Game story from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Scott Williamson (DL since May 19) says the tendinitis in his pitching elbow has disappeared. "Right now, I'm at about 90 to 95 percent. All it needed was rest." He may be activated this weekend. ... Trot Nixon made his rehab debut with Sarasota last night; he hit a run-scoring single to center in the first, lined to short in the second, and doubled to right in the third (and later scored). Nixon played right field for five innings. ... Byung-Hyun Kim returns from Korea this weekend and will eventually report to Pawtucket. ... Ramiro Mendoza -- remember him? -- may pitch for Sarasota on Monday.

Bronson Arroyo gets the ball at 7:05. Tim Wakefield, whose start was pushed back to Saturday so he avoids pitching in Colorado, is expected to come out of the bullpen tonight.

June 8, 2004

He's Back! A filthy curve in the first two innings, then a biting fastball consistently at 93-94. ... Boston's first 1-0 victory since he shut out the White Sox back on July 23, 2000 (9 IP, 6 H, 15 K). ... This is good.
            IP   H  R  BB  K   BF  PIT
Martinez     8   2  0   1  8   27  115
Nomar In Pawtucket Tonight. MLB reported this afternoon that Nomar Garciaparra will play for Pawtucket Tuesday night. The PawSox began a long homestand last night. Nomar will be re-examined Wednesday. ... Boston Dirtdogs had the scoop on its site early this morning.

When Nomar returns and Pokey Reese moves to second, Mark Bellhorn will get time at both second and third. The team does not plan on sending Kevin Youkilis down to Pawtucket. ... Trot Nixon's first rehab stint with Sarasota (A) was rained out Monday; he is expected to DH today in at least one game of a doubleheader. ... A list of Red Sox 2004 draft picks, including Dustin Pedroia, a shortstop from Arizona State.

Pedro Martinez on tonight's match-up with David Wells: "Two old goats trying to throw some doo-doo around the plate." The match-ups (all games 7:05):

Tonight: Martinez (5-3, 4.40) vs. Wells (2-4, 3.78)
Wednesday: Bronson Arroyo (2-3, 5.33) vs. Brian Lawrence (7-3, 4.06)
Thursday: Curt Schilling (7-3, 3.07) vs. Dennis Tankersley (0-2, 2.35)
"A Dictatorship Would Be A Heck Of A Lot Easier, There's No Question About It." WaPo: "In August 2002, the Justice Department advised the White House that torturing al Qaeda terrorists in captivity abroad 'may be justified,' and that international laws against torture 'may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations' ... [The memo] added that arguments centering on 'necessity and self-defense could provide justifications that would eliminate any criminal liability' later. ... 'It is by leaps and bounds the worst thing I've seen since this whole Abu Ghraib scandal broke,' said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. 'It appears that what they were contemplating was the commission of war crimes and looking for ways to avoid legal accountability.'" ... A complete copy of the report is expected to be published on the Internet soon.

Monday's Wall Street Journal (no link): "To protect subordinates should they be charged with torture, the memo advised that Mr. Bush issue a 'presidential directive or other writing' that could serve as evidence, since authority to set aside the laws is 'inherent in the president.'" ... Did you catch that? These criminals claim that "authority to set aside the laws is 'inherent in the president'" ... Josh Marshall: "That claim alone should stop everyone in their tracks and prompt a serious consideration of the safety of the American republic under this president." ... Some discussion and many other news links here.

[Title quote, George W. Bush, Business Week, July 30, 2001]

June 7, 2004

2 Out Of 5 Ain't Bad. A losing record on a road trip shouldn't be anything to crow about, but since the Anaheim/Kansas City trip began 0-3, I think a cheer or two is in order. Derek Lowe pitched well on Sunday and a vicious collision helped the Red Sox gain a 5-3 win. ... X-rays on Jason Grimsley's right jaw and left forearm and Ken Harvey's right wrist and forearm were all negative.

Lowe made it through five innings before a blister emerged on his right thumb, which would have prevented him from pitching the 6th even if the Red Sox had not spent 30+ minutes scoring five runs. ... Mike Timlin threw three perfect innings -- on 27 pitches -- and Keith Foulke pitched the ninth.

Lowe started poorly -- allowing a leadoff double to Graffanino and a long, one-out home run to Sweeney -- but then settled down. With a sharp curve and a good sinker, he retired the next nine batters. ... Lowe was consistently behind in the count; he walked only one, but had eight 3-ball counts among the 20 batters he faced (including 4 of the first 8 hitters). Only 48 of his 84 pitches were strikes.

1st Inning: After Sweeney's home run, Lowe fell behind Harvey 3-0 before striking him out.

2nd Inning: Fell behind Randa 3-1, got him to ground out to first; fell behind Berroa 3-1, got him to ground out to shortstop.

3rd Inning: Fell behind Graffanino 3-0, got a called strike, then a ground out to shortstop.

4th Inning: Allowed a one-out single to Harvey, but retired both Stairs and Randa on first-pitch grounders.

5th Inning: Walked Stinnett on 4 pitches; Fell behind Gettis 3-0 but got him on a force play; fell behind Beltran 3-0, but came back to strike him out.

Beltran was his last batter. As to whether Lowe was lucky or good, it's a toss-up. The good news is that he did not melt down when he fell behind any of the Royal batters.

Also: Nomar Garciaparra will work out today at Fenway Park and a decision will be made whether to activate him. If he's back in the lineup tomorrow night, either Cesar Crespo and Andy Dominique would be sent down. I'd love to see Crespo dumped for good, but his versatility in the field does give him an advantage. ... Trot Nixon may start his assignment today for Sarasota (A). He took batting practice Sunday against Ramiro Mendoza and would love to join the Red Sox for next week's trip to Colorado and San Francisco. ... In Sunday's original lineup, Kevin Youkilis was batting third before Mark Bellhorn was scratched for "flu-like symptoms"; Youkilis was then bumped up to the #2 spot and Varitek moved from #6 to #3.

When told of the Marlins' interest in him, Doug Mirabelli said: "I want to stay here. I love being the backup here." However, he did note that if the Sox decided to trade him, "They better get Beckett." ... David Wells returns from the 15-day DL to face Pedro tomorrow night (he cut his right wrist when he "tripped at home" back on May 18). ... LA's Odalis Perez requested and received permission to postpone his next start one day so he could pitch in Fenway Park this Friday instead of in Toronto. Note to Perez: Be careful what you wish for.

June 6, 2004

Pedro Update. Pedro Martinez threw a successful side session before Saturday's game and said that even with an inflammed wrist, his curveball felt "a lot better, perfect." Martinez said the wrist had been sore for the last month, though he seemed annoyed that it had become a topic of conversation. "It's not a big deal. It never has been, so why would it be now?" ... Uh, because your ERA is 4-freaking-40? Which is like 12.00 for a non-deity?

Dr. Joe Chase of St. Elizabeth's Medical Center: "It's been looked at in the past. There's nothing internally going on with it. This is something that's been going on for years. It's generally in this time frame, in the middle of the season type thing, so it's not all that unexpected." (More Pedro here and here.) ... Chase also said Scott Williamson threw 25 pitches on Saturday at "100 percent [and] felt great." ... After sprinting on two days while in Anaheim, Ellis Burks had some swelling in his knee.

Nomar Garciaparra went 2-for-4 for Pawtucket Saturday night, hitting a double and a home run. He'll be in Boston on Monday, meeting with medical personnel; it's still possible he could play Tuesday. In 5 games with the PawSox, Nomar was 5-for-18.

Gabe Kapler and Pokey Reese hit back-to-back triples in the fourth inning on Saturday night. The last time the Red Sox did that was with Trot Nixon and Jose Offerman on August 18, 1999. ... SoSH in the Globe. ... A feature on Red Sox radioman (and author) Joe Castiglione. ... The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the Marlins have asked about Doug Mirabelli and Byung Hyun Kim.