October 31, 2007

Sox on TV

Bot -- video and transcript!

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Tonight: Jonathan Papelbon on Letterman.

Also tonight on QVC: Papelbon (11-midnight) and Mirabelli (2-3 AM).

Friday: Manny Ramirez on Leno and David Ortiz on Conan.

SI Covers



Time to break out the credit cards for the magazines, books, shirts, caps, DVDs, etc., etc., etc.!

Pumpkin

Dan Tolman, a JoS reader, sent in this picture of the Halloween pumpkin at Connecticut's unfortunately-named Yankee New England Real Estate.

Dan says it was carved by "our amazing pumpkin artist" Laura Frenzel of Winchester Center, CT.

There are also several more Red Sox pumpkins here, including Manny Being Mummy! There is also an early shot of the 2008 World Series Champs banner flying high at Fenway. Yes, 2008!

Schilling Files For Free Agency

Curt Schilling is a free agent for the first time in his career.

If things do not work out with the Red Sox for 2008, Curt Schilling says he would consider playing with a dozen teams next year -- clubs "that have some of the off the field things that are big to us, plus the potential to go into October next year".

Nine of the 12 teams are in the National League:

AL: Cleveland, Tigers, Angels

NL: Mets, Phillies, Atlanta, Dodgers, Padres, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers

So ... no other AL East team -- Curt has said absolutely not to the Yankees, so he obviously believes the Blue Jays are not contenders -- strong teams in the other two divisions, and three teams per NL division.

According to the Globe, when asked if Schilling would be back, "a club source" said that unless Schilling accepts a low base salary with plenty of incentive bonuses
I don't think so. We have such a strong nucleus of pitching with Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz. We'll talk about it. We'll be reasonable. We'll see what happens.
The nucleus is there, for sure, but Lester and Buchholz remain question marks to some degree, as does Tim Wakefield, whose contract the source said the team would pick up for another year. There has been no indication how low the base would be.

(Also, I faintly recall reading something during the second-half of the season about the possibility that, with Dice and old-timers like Wake and Curt, the Sox would toy with a six-man rotation in 2008. Does that ring a bell with anyone?)

What will happen, according to G38:
For the next 15 days I can speak with other teams, and they can contact me, but no details can be discussed. They can only express interest. For the next 15 days the team that remains my first choice, the Sox, have exclusive rights. I guess I'll find out how closely teams follow rules ...
The Dome-Bellied Big Lug is also posting in SoSH's "The Future of Curt Schilling" thread -- e.g., see here.

October 30, 2007

Watch The Parade!

It's official: Jonathan Papelbon is insane.

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SoSH: Rally pictures and links to YouTube videos.

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Check the Providence Journal's main page for the streaming video link.

The ProJo also has a picture of the newest banner on Yawkley Way.

Francona: Greatest Post-season Manager?

It might be too early to annoit Terry Francona as the greatest post-season manager in baseball history -- although his tactical skills have been completely beyond reproach and have led me to rethink almost all of my previous complaints about him.

However, among managers who have managed at least 20 post-season games, he has the highest winning percentage:
                            W   L   PCT
Terry Francona, Bos 22 9 .710
Joe McCarthy, NYY 30 13 .698
Tom Kelly, Min 16 8 .667
Bob Lemon, NYY 15 9 .625
Sparky Anderson, Cin-Det 34 21 .618
Joe Torre's post-season record with the Yankees was 76-48 (.613). He was 4-14 (.222) in his last 18 post-season games with the Chokers. Which means that after Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, Torre's record stood at an impressive 72-34 (.679) -- still not as good as Tito's mark, though Torre obviously managed many more games.

Francona is the 19th manager to win multiple championships and he is the first manager in history to win his first eight World Series games.

CHB: Don't Know Much About History ...

In his October 27 column about newer Red Sox fans, the CHB wrote the following:
The Red Sox haven't clinched a World Series at Fenway since Sept. 11, 1918 (the Series was early that year because of World War I) when Carl Mays beat the Cubs, 2-1, in Game 6. There were only 15,238 in the stands (none in Monster Seats - there was no Monster) when Les Mann hit a grounder to second baseman Dave Shean for the final out.

Babe Ruth was standing in right field scanning the stands for chicks when Shean tossed to first baseman Stuffy McInnis as Joe Castiglione bellowed, "Can you believe it?"

Actually, I made some of that up. Joe Castig wasn't really there, no proof on the Babe, and McInnis did not have the baseball authenticated to set up a college tuition fund for his kids. ...
You would think that the guy who turned the idiotic Curse into a cottage industry during the 1990s -- talk about setting up college tuition for his kids (and grandkids)! -- would know that Babe Ruth was a left fielder during his Red Sox career.

(While the CHB was not the first sportswriter to suggest that the ghost of Babe Ruth was haunting the Red Sox -- that happened towards the end of the 1986 World Series -- it is not altogether incorrect to say that he invented the Curse.)

Ruth also played first base and some center field, in addition to pitching. Hall of Famer Harry Hooper -- the team's captain in 1918 -- was in right field.

Even during his 15 seasons with the Yankees -- imagine thinking that being Babe Ruth in New York City during the Roaring '20s would be some kind of punishment that demanded some after-life spooking -- Ruth played a ton of games in left field: 857, compared to 1,127 in right.

Babe Ruth never played even one inning of right field for the Boston Red Sox. Just another example of Shaughnessy's tenuous grasp of Red Sox history.

Parade


The parade begins today at noon.



Globe:
Jonathan Papelbon is expected to reprise his Irish stepdance to the music of the Dropkick Murphys, who will join him on a flatbed truck in the procession.

"He promised the people he would do the dance, and he will do the dance," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said yesterday.



The Globe also has some pictures from the team's flight home and the return to Fenway.

October 29, 2007

Thank You

Just a quick but heartfelt thank you to everyone for taking the time to come here every day (or however often you click). It's a big internet out there and I appreciate the support.

Special thanks to the growing community of JoS commenters. The game threads didn't get off the ground until this past May, but they have become one of the biggest joys of writing the blog. I'm looking forward to our first full season of game threads -- with the nicknames, pep talks and general silliness -- as we defend our World Series title in 2008!

Only About 15 Weeks ...

... until Truck Day!

There will be plenty of stuff going on until then though -- there is no off-season when it comes to the Red Sox.

The front office will be making decisions on the following players: Mike Lowell, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Mike Timlin, Doug Mirabelli and Julian Tavarez -- as well as Eric Hinske, Bobby Kielty, Brendan Donnelly, Craig Breslow, Matt Clement and Royce Clayton.

There will be a lot of A-Rod talk and questions about the future of Coco Crisp now that Jacoby Ellsbury has arrived. And naturally, there is the soap opera playing out in the Bronx.

So stay tuned.

Fun Facts: The Red Sox .333 team batting average was the 2nd best in World Series history (1960 Yankees, .338); their .411 OBP was also 2nd best (1932 Yankees, .421). ... The Sox's 29 runs were the 3rd best for a four-game sweep, trailing the 1932 Yankees (37) and 1989 Oakland Athletics (32). ... Boston is the first team since the 1927 Yankees to have its starting pitchers win all four games of a WS sweep.

World Champs Newsstand

555 front pages from 54 countries!









Schadenfreude 36 (A Continuing Series)

or I Feel Pretty Good Considering I Am 127 Years Old

October 28, 2007

2007 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS!!!




Red Sox - 100 010 110 - 4  9  0
Rockies - 000 000 120 - 3 7 0

Sweeps by teams in consecutive World Series appearances:
Yankees  1927-1928-1932
Yankees 1938-1939
Yankees 1998-1999
Red Sox 2004-2007
I love these photos:


WS 4: Red Sox 4, Rockies 3

The Red Sox lineup remains the same:
Red Sox                Rockies
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Kazuo Matsui, 2B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Troy Tulowitzki, SS
David Ortiz, 1B Matt Holiday, LF
Manny Ramirez, LF Todd Helton, 1B
Mike Lowell, 3B Garrett Atkins, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF Ryan Spilborghs, CF
Jason Varitek, C Brad Hawpe, RF
Julio Lugo, SS Yorvit Torrealba, C
Jon Lester, P Aaron Cook, P
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Jon Lester / Aaron Cook

If you are worried about Lester starting -- though at this point, why are you worried about anything -- consider that Colorado is pinning its post-season hopes on a guy who has not pitched in a game since August 10.

Game 3 Newsstand









World Series Newspaper Exchange

UPDATE: It looks like the Globe is selling back issues (for example, you can buy a copy of the pennant-clinching edition here). After the series, there will likely be other dates available.

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In 2004, I helped start a big newspaper exchange on SoSH that enabled Red Sox fans in many parts of the country (and world) get copies of newspapers from Boston and New York during both the ALCS and WS.

Now the Red Sox are on the verge of another World Series championship (!!!). Post in comments what papers, if any, you would be able to get for others and what papers you would like to have, along with an email address, and maybe we can do something similar in 2007 at JoS.

At this late date, this would likely be limited to the paper that reports the WS win (Monday if a sweep, Tuesday if in 5 games). Everyone can make their own arrangements with others for payment for the various papers and postage.

October 27, 2007

WS 3: Red Sox 10, Rockies 5

Red Sox - 006 000 031 - 10  15  1
Rockies - 000 002 300 - 5 11 0

Red Sox lead series 3-0
For the first time in World Series history, two rookies had at least three hits each in a World Series game. Ellsbury went 4-for-5, with three doubles, two RBI and two runs scored, while Pedroia was 3-for-5, with one double and 2 RBI.

Lowell singled twice and drive in two runs, Lugo doubled and walked twice, and Matsuzaka knocked in two runs with a single in the six-run third.

Colorado closed the Red Sox's lead to 6-5 in the seventh when Holliday blasted a three-run home run to dead center of Hideki Okajima's first pitch. Jeemer then allowed a single, but got three straight outs to end the threat. Boston answered with three of their own in the top of the eighth -- with one out, Lugo walked, Coco Crisp singled, Ellsbury doubled in one run, and Pedroia doubled in two more.

Jon Lester takes the hill tomorrow night as Boston goes for its second straight World Series sweep. ... (Did I just type that?!!?)

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We have oatmeal:
Red Sox                Rockies
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Kazuo Matsui, 2B
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Troy Tulowitzki, SS
David Ortiz, 1B Matt Holiday, LF
Manny Ramirez, LF Todd Helton, 1B
Mike Lowell, 3B Garrett Atkins, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF Brad Hawpe, RF
Jason Varitek, C Yorvit Torrealba, C
Julio Lugo, SS Cory Sullivan, CF
Daisuke Matsuzaka, P Josh Fogg, P
It's been "a gorgeous day in Denver, with temperatures probably in the mid-50s".

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Daisuke Matsuzaka / Josh Fogg







(I'm/We're out at one of the anti-war demonstrations being held today throughout the US and Canada. Back around 6 PM.)

October 26, 2007

Game 3: Youkilis Sits; Ellsbury-Pedroia At The Top

As reported by Amalie Benjamin at Extra Bases. Tito: "I reserve the right to change that tonight over dinner, but I think that's probably what we'll do."

Now that the Red Sox are up 2-0, David Ortiz says his right knee feels fine.
I have a little bit of swelling, but the pain is not as bad as it gets sometimes. The other day when I was working at first base, when I finished, it felt a little bit crazy. But this is it, bro. After this, there's no other [series].

Ortiz Set To Play The Field

The Red Sox have not made any official announcements, but David Ortiz could play first base for all three games in Colorado. Terry Francona acknowledged that was a possible scenario: "His bat is so important [and] there will be rest time pretty soon. But if we need to [rest him], we will."

Kevin Youkilis would be the odd man out in that case as Yerry said moving Yook across the diamond to third would be "playing two guys out-of-play position, which isn't real good." Youkilis would likely come into the games in the later innings (PH/double switch) and replace Flo at first.

The last time the Red Sox won six straight World Series games? 1915 (Games 2-3-4-5) and 1916 (Games 1-2). All six of those games were decided by one run.

Dustin Pedroia became the third Red Sock to lead off a World Series game with a home run, joining Johnny Damon (2004 Game 4) and Patsy Dougherty (1903 Game 2). Only Damon was the actual first batter in the top of the first, however. The other two were batting at home.

Hideki Okajima became the first Japanese pitcher to appear in a World Series. ... Misters October. ... Teams have taken a 2-to-0 lead in the World Series 34 times -- and won the series 27 of those times, including the last 10 in a row.

Francona, on his early hook of Curt Schilling: The bottom of the fifth
was a long inning. Because of the length of time in between innings and then with the pitching chances [by the Rockies], he was down in the tunnel, trying to stay loose. I've been around him so long, I know his body language so well. He was fighting it that last inning and what we didn't want to do is have somebody give up a run because they were getting stiff or they can't execute a pitch when they need to. So it was time to get him out of there.
Schilling:
This was just the Papa-Jima Show tonight. That was just phenomenal to watch - Okajima was just absolutely perfect every single pitch.
Tony Massarotti, Herald:
So this is what the Red Sox had in mind when they were being swept in Toronto during the middle of last month, when they ... temporarily pulled the plug on Hideki Okajima. ...

The recharged Okajima faced seven batters and retired them all - four on strikeouts ... Okajima has pitched 11.2 scoreless innings since the Sox invoked Operation Shutdown in the middle of September, and in the postseason, he effectively has spun his own shutout (9.2 innings).
Josh Beckett is now the all-time postseason leader in opponents batting average (minimum 40 innings): .159. That tops the list ahead of George Earnshaw (.174), Mariano Rivera (.176) and Sandy Koufax (.180). Beckett's .209 opponents OBP is also the lowest all-time, better than Rivera's .211 and Koufax's .223.

Theo Epstein called resigning Mike Lowell "a priority for the offseason, and I'm sure we'll be able to get something done. We have a desire to keep him here a long time. He's a core member of the organization. It's just not the time to talk about that."

Matt Holliday, on the pickoff:
I was going on the pitch, yeah. I knew he was slow to the plate and I was just trying to be aggressive and get in scoring position. ... He did a good job of holding and coming over. I wanted to cry. ... They defended their home field. Now we'll have to defend ours.
Joe McDonald, Providence Journal:
Ortiz was at his locker following Thursday night's 2-1 victory over the Rockies, spraying on his cologne and packing his back for the trip to Colorado for Games Three and Four of the World Series.

He was just about to turn around and talk with the horde of reporters when he reached back into his stall, grabbed his celebratory protective goggles. "Can't forget these," he said, and he tossed them into his bag.

Game 2 Newsstand











Mark Hale, New York Post:
The title is practically en route. Another banner's soon set to arrive.

The Red Sox were far less dominating last night than they were in Game 1 of the World Series, and, in fact, scored 11 runs fewer in Game 2. But they finished halfway to the championship. ...

[A]fter winning it all in 2004, they're on the verge of needing only three years (and two more games) to do it again.

October 25, 2007

WS 2: Red Sox 2, Rockies 1

Rockies - 100 000 000 - 1  5  0
Red Sox - 000 110 00x - 2 6 1

IP H R BB K BF PIT
Schilling 5.1 4 1 2 4 22 82
Okajima 2.1 0 0 0 4 7 28
Papelbon 1.1 1 0 0 2 4 16
Well, I stand up next to a mountain
I chop it down with the edge of my hand
The Rockies took a quick 1-0 in the top of the first when Curt Schilling's fourth pitch grazed Willie Taveras's left hand, Matt Holliday's line drive glanced off Mike Lowell's glove and rolled into foul terriroty, and Todd Helton grounded out to first.

Boston tied the game in the fourth: Lowell walked, hustled to third on J.D. Drew's single to right (he reached base four times in four trips) and tagged and scored on Jason Varitek's fly to center. The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead with two outs in the fifth: David Ortiz walked, Manny Ramirez singled to left and Lowell doubled into the left field corner.

Holding that 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth, Schilling had trouble getting loose and surrendered a single and a walk with one out. Terry Francona did not mess around -- now in full playoff mode, Tito pulled the trigger earlier than he normally would during the season. G38 was at only 82 pitches, but it was time to summon the members of the Black Pearl.

Hideki Okajima got Garrett Atkins on a grounder to Kevin Youkilis and the runners moved up to second and third. But Brad Hawpe was overmatched -- swinging at strike one, looking at strike two and swinging at strike three. Crisis averted.

Jeemer needed only 11 pitches in the seventh: Troy Tulowitzki popped to right, Yorvit Torrealba grounded to short and Ryan Spilborghs struck out looking. In the eighth, Okajima struck out Taveras looking and Kaz Matsui swinging. With four outs remaining, Francona went to Jonathan Papelbon.

On an 0-2 pitch, Holliday smashed a line drive past Bot that Dustin Pedroia dove and gloved behind second, but he had no play. No matter. Bot immediately picked Holliday off first, catching him napping by some two or three feet to end the inning. In the ninth, Snuffer struck out Helton, got Atkins to line out to Jacoby Ellsbury in center and he fanned Hawpe.

And so the Red Sox are two wins away from another World Series championship. It feels inevitable -- and easy -- and fun.

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Lineups:
Rockies               Red Sox
Willy Taveras, CF Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Kaz Matsui, 2B Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Matt Holliday, LF David Ortiz, DH
Todd Helton, 1B Manny Ramirez, LF
Garrett Atkins, 3B Mike Lowell, 3B
Brad Hawpe, RF J.D. Drew, RF
Troy Tulowitzki, SS Jason Varitek, C
Yorvit Torrealba, C Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Ryan Spilborghs, DH Julio Lugo, SS
The bottom of the lineup returns to its usual form -- with Drew at #6 ahead of Varitek and Ellsbury back at #8, with Lugo at the bottom.

BP's Joe Sheehan believes that Coco Crisp's "knee injury is a convenient cover for the fact that 2008 has come early in Boston. Ellsbury is this team's center fielder right now".

Over their last four games -- three must-wins and the opening game of the World Series -- the Red Sox have outscored their opponents 43-6. They are also the first team in baseball history to score 10+ runs in three consecutive post-season games.

Keep it going.

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Ubaldo Jiminez (4.28, 112 ERA+, Game Log) / Curt Schilling (3.87, 122 ERA+, Game Log)

Schilling is pitching on four days rest for the first time since September 10.