August 31, 2008

G136: White Sox 4, Red Sox 2

White Sox - 200 001 001 - 4  9  0
Red Sox - 000 100 001 - 2 8 0
A lack of timely hitting spelled doom for Boston today. They left the bases loaded in the first, and left men on second and third in both the second and fourth innings.

Wakefield allowed a two-run dong to Thome in the first and Thome and Konkero hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth. The Red Sox rallied in the ninth, but Pedroia flew out to left with the tying runs at (once again) second and third.

Tampa Bay improved its AL East lead to 5.5 games over the Red Sox by beating Baltimore 10-4. Toronto beat New York 6-2, dropping the Yankees 12.5 GB Tampa and only two games out of fourth place. Minnesota is now 2.5 GB Boston in the WC after beating Oakland 12-4.

***

Gavin Floyd (3.70, 122 ERA+) / Tim Wakefield (3.73, 121 ERA+)

Dustin Pedroia became the first Red Sox player since Wade Boggs (June 8 and 10, 1989) to collect four hits in back-to-back games.

FY batted fourth last night. Terry Francona: "I'll never hear the end of this from Pedroia or Ortiz. Pedroia says it's long overdue and Ortiz says he's retiring." ... Asked after the game if he had created a monster by batting Pedroia cleanup, Francona said: "He already is a monster."

He's 12-for-17 (.706) in his last four games. Since August 12 (16 games), Pedroia is hitting .423/.468/.761. In 25 games since August 1, he's hitting .378/.426/.649.

FY:
I told David he better quit bitching about getting pitches to hit, because he got plenty tonight.
In his second start since being demoted to AA, Clay Buchholz dominated New Hampshire: 8-2-0-1-10.

OOT: Blue Jays/Yankees at 1, Orioles/Rays at 1:30, Twins/Athletics at 4.

East
Tampa Bay   83  51  .619   --- 
Boston 79 56 .585 4.5
New York 72 63 .533 11.5
Toronto 69 66 .511 14.5
Baltimore 63 72 .467 20.5
WC
Boston      79  56  .585   ---
Minnesota 76 60 .559 3.5
New York 72 63 .533 7.0
Toronto 69 66 .511 10.0

Schadenfreude 59 (A Continuing Series)

New York Post: YANKS COFFIN' UP ANY WILD HOPES

Bill Madden, Daily News:
It is fair to say whatever lingering hope Yankee legions held out for some sort of miraculous Colorado Rockies-like comeback charge into October by this underperforming Yankee team sufficiently dissolved in the aftermath of Robbie Cano's fateful flip in the seventh inning Saturday.

There could be no worse, no more disheartening loss than this one. Not when you're leading by four runs going into the seventh inning. Not when you're still leading after the seventh inning - a situation in which the Yankees were 58-1 this season. And even not when you get the first two runners on base in the ninth inning against a clearly shaky Toronto Blue Jays closer, B.J. Ryan.

No, this one was the real season-killer. This is one that will undoubtedly linger in the recesses of Joe Girardi's mind all winter ...
Kevin Kernan, Post:
The charade is over. Just like the parades that ended after the 2000 season.

It was fitting that the Yankees turned sure victory into defeat yesterday when Robinson Cano made a lazy, backhanded flip on what should have been a double-play ball in the seventh inning and the Yankees leading by four. That error helped create a three-run inning for the Blue Jays, who went on to beat the Yankees, 7-6 at Yankee Stadium.

With 27 games to go, the Yankees trail the Red Sox by seven games in the loss column.

Even the dreamers have to realize the Yankees are dead. ...
Joel Sherman, Post:
Yammerin' Hank Steinbrenner vows change. And this is not particularly good for the Yankees. Hank has the same instincts as his father, which is to go famous, expensive and long-term.
Later on, Sherman refers to Hank as "Nut Rockne"!

And Alex Rodriguez, stuck in traffic, got a police escort to Yankee Stadium on Friday. The Daily News put up a poll:


The results are disappointing.

August 30, 2008

G135: Red Sox 8, White Sox 2

White Sox - 011 000 000 - 2  9  0
Red Sox - 320 020 01x - 8 15 0
Bowden: 5-7-2-1-3, 89.

Pedroia went 4-for-4 with an intentional walk. Jacoby Ellsbury had a single, double and triple, and Mark Kotsay also had three hits.

Also: Tampa Bay beat Baltimore 10-9, Toronto beat New York 7-6, and Oakland beat Minnesota 3-2.

***

Thread is here tonight!

Pedroia is batting cleanup!

***

Note: please see wmtc for update on gamethread.

***

Mark Buehrle (3.86, 116 ERA+) / Michael Bowden (Major League Debut)

OOT: Blue Jays/Yankees at 1 PM, Orioles/Rays at 3:45 PM, Twins/Athletics at 9 PM.

August 29, 2008

Michael Bowden To Debut On Saturday

Red Sox pitching prospect Michael Bowden, 21, will start against the White Sox on Saturday night in his major league debut.

Sox Prospects:
Bowden is a big [6-3, 220] righty starter with a top-of-the-rotation ceiling, but likely projects as a solid third starter at the major league level. He is an advanced pitcher for his age, but still has some room for improvement. He has an arsenal of three pitches that could be big-league caliber: a 93-94 mph four-seam fastball which tops out around 95 mph, a very good 12-6 hard breaking curve, and a developing circle changeup with plus potential. His main pitch, the four-seamer, has a late, heavy sinking movement, and he generally keeps it down in the zone. ... His mid-70s curve is pretty sharp and he keeps hitters at bay with it. However, he can telegraph his curve on occasion. Secondary stuff is really coming along in 2008. Overall, Bowden has an excellent command of the zone. ... Delivery is somewhat unconventional, almost 3/4 style, with a leaning motion while dropping his head a bit -- but he's able to maintain it throughout his outings, so the Sox won't mess with it.
Bowden began the season in Portland (AA), where he made 19 starts. In 104.1 innings, he allowed only 72 hits and 24 walks, while striking out 101. His ERA was 2.33. Opposing batters hit .196.

He was promoted to Pawtucket in mid-July. In seven AAA games (six starts), he has allowed 40 hits in 40 innings. He has kept his command, walking only five and fanning 29. He has a 3.38 ERA, and opponents are batting .261. In three of his last four starts for the PawSox, he has pitched six innings and allowed only one run.

This move seems no more of a crapshoot than throwing David Pauley out there. Why not let Bowden get his feet wet? With rosters expanding two days later, he'll stay with the big club through the rest of the season. Sox Prospects has his Boston ETA as mid-2009, but the 2010 rotation seems like a safer bet.

Here is David Laurila's May 2008 Q&A with Bowden.

G134: Red Sox 8, White Sox 0

White Sox - 000 000 000 - 0  2  1
Red Sox - 100 024 01x - 8 15 0
Dice was great (8-2-0-2-7, 104), with an excellent slider and a economical pitch count throughout the game, but Dustin Pedroia will get the headlines.

FY was on base five times, with a single in the first, a double in the third, a single, stolen base and run in the fifth, a walk, stolen base and run in the sixth, and a single and sun in the eighth. He also made a couple of diving stops on grounders to his left for outs.

Jason Bay added a three-run double in the sixth that put the game on ice (4-0 to 7-0). Since coming to Boston, he is 3-for-3 with seven RBI with the sacks full.

Other scores: Rays beating Orioles 14-3, Twins leading A's 2-0, and Yankees beat Blue Jays 2-1. ... RHP propsect Michael Bowden gets the start tomorrow. ... Sean Casey put on disabled list before the game.

***

Javier Vasquez (4.37, 103 ERA+) / Daisuke Matsuzaka (2.98, 151 ERA+)

There is nothing but speculation regarding Josh Beckett's right elbow. And until the Red Sox make an announcement -- perhaps this weekend -- all we can do is wait.

Amalie Benjamin, Globe:
All along, Beckett had seemed more concerned about the injury than anyone else. While manager Terry Francona initially attributed the numbness and tingling to Beckett sleeping on his right arm awkwardly before his last start, Beckett said Wednesday, "I think scary is probably a good word for it. I've had some sleepless nights thinking about all kinds of stuff. You generally think the worst."
Tony Massarotti, Herald:
Though the Sox have not specified the nature of Beckett's ailment, recent indications suggest the right-hander has been dealing with irritation or inflammation of the ulnar nerve, which can cause numbness in the pinky and part of the ring finger. The problem can be treated in a non-invasive manner or through surgery, the latter of which requires the nerve to be moved or "transposed" from its existing place in the ulna.
Sean Casey had an MRI on his neck today. ... As this series begins, the Red Sox play 20 of their final 29 games at Fenway Park.

And: Orioles/Rays and Blue Jays/Yankees at 7 PM and Twins/Athletics at 10 PM.

Beckett Placed On Disabled List

UPDATE -- Krasner has more (4:21 PM):
Josh Beckett had his valuable right elbow examined Friday morning by noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews, and the results of those tests were "awesome," said manager Terry Francona.

"Everything came out completely structurally sound," Francona said Friday afternoon. "There was some inflammation. They did a number of tests and he came out with flying colors. That was awesome for us."

Beckett is expected to rejoin the team at some point Friday night and ... could make his next start in a week, on Sept. 5 in Texas ...
And the Globe has video of Tito.

***

Steven Krasner, Providence Journal:
The Red Sox announced moments ago that Josh Beckett is suffering from a strained right elbow and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 18.

To replace him, the Sox have purchased the contract of Pawtucket catcher David Ross, whom they signed to a minor-league deal last week. They will need to make a corresponding move to clear a spot on the 40-player roster for Ross.
Not. Good. At. All.

Ha

Nice double-meaning on the back page:

And:

Josh Beckett To See Dr. Andrews

Josh Beckett has been scratched from his start on Friday night -- and will pay a visit to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama, in the hopes of getting some answers about his right elbow discomfort. The Red Sox say the visit is strictly precautionary.

Theo Epstein:
We don't feel comfortable pitching him unless he is 100 percent because we have to take his long term interests and the team's long term interests into account first and foremost. ... We're pretty optimistic this thing's getting better. It just makes sense. Josh has a great relationship with Andrews, he's an accomplished doctor. Get another opinion here, hoping he comes back and can take the ball pretty soon.
Rob Bradford, in a SoSH thread:
Keep in mind, Beckett had been talking on a daily basis with Dr. Andrews over the last week, but the doctor hadn't witnessed the pitcher's ailment in person. As I pointed out in the story today, there is only one person who is going to give Beckett peace of mind regarding this injury and it is Andrews.

"Some people may say something to you and you may trust them, but you have some of those doubts and still stay reserved," Beckett said. "For me, if Dr. Andrews tells me something I can put it in my head and know, 'This is how it is.' It's easier for me to get closure on something because I have that trust."

August 28, 2008

Contest Entries - Yankee Elimination Day

The Yankee Elimination Day contest is closed and here are the entries (either first name/last initial or JoS commenter name):
                     NY     Last Red
YED Wins Sox Win


Brian B 0912 87 ALDS 4
Jeff D 0912 86 ALCS 6
L-Girl 0912 85 G 162
nixon 33 0912 85 WS 6

Tony L 0914 88 ALCS 6
SoSock 0914 84 WS 6

Matt S 0916 85 WS 6
William S 0916 81 ALCS 5

Peter D 0917 85 WS 5

Jonathan I 0918 89 ALDS 4
Chris M 0918 88 ALDS 4
Chris C 0918 87 ALCS 5
Andrew B 0918 87 WS 5

Leigh B 0919 87 WS 5
Jere S 0919 86 WS 6

Joe Grav 0920 88 ALCS 5
redsauce04 0920 87 WS 5
Bruce B 0920 81 WS 5

Jeff F 0921 89 WS 5
Jeff M 0921 87 ALCS 5
Aaron S 0921 86 ALCS 6
Tim J 0921 83 WS 6

Douglas I 0922 90 ALCS 2

Lewis S 0923 89 ALDS 4
Franco B 0923 88 G 162
Chuck C 0923 88 ALDS 4
Zenslinger 0923 88 ALCS 5
Ofer C 0923 87 WS 6

Tim L 0924 89 WS 4
Matthew K 0924 88 ALDS 2
Jeff R 0924 88 ALCS 5
Steve C 0924 85 WS 6

ish 0925 86 ALDS 4

Wayne V 0926 89 WS 6
Zachary P 0926 86 ALDS 3

JCal76 0927 87 ALDS 4

Nicholas D 0928 86 ALCS 6
Joshua H 0928 87 WS 6
We have 15 of the last 17 days of the regular season covered. No one went out on a limb and picked an October date -- how about that!

G133: Yankees 3, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 000 020 000 - 2  5  0
Yankees - 000 000 201 - 3 8 1
Jason Giambi tied the game with a pinch-hit home run off Hideki Okajima in the seventh, then he won the game with a line drive single to center off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth.

Lester (6.2-5-1-0-8, 119) returned to form, but the bullpen could not hold the slim lead. It seemed like Terry Francona left Justin Masterson in the game in the ninth with runners at first and second and one out to see if he could escape. Having him face a crappy right-handed hitter like Ivan Rodriguez is not a bad move. But Masterson walked him on a full count to load the bases. Then it was Bot vs HGH.

A sweep would have been perfect, but we ended up taking two out of three -- which was all anyone could have reasonably expected on Friday morning. So while they are celebrating in the Bronx, I present the official team picture of the 2008 New York Yankees:
***

Jon Lester (3.49, 129 ERA+) / Mike Mussina (3.45, 123 ERA+)
Because when they finally put you in the ground
They'll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down

Lineups:

Playing in October Not
Ellsbury, CF Damon, CF
Pedroia, 2B Jeter, SS
Ortiz, DH Abreu, RF
Youkilis, 1B Rodriguez, 3B
Bay, LF Nady, LF
Kotsay, RF Cano, 2B
Lowrie, 3B Matsui, DH
Cora, SS Ransom, 1B
Varitek, C Molina, C
Later: Blue Jays/Rays at 7 and Twins/Athletics at 10.

Yankee Elimination Day contest: You must enter before today's game ends.

Did Police Eject A Man From Yankee Stadium For Trying To Use The Bathroom During "God Bless America"?

There's reason we call the ballpark in the Bronx Stade Fasciste.

The Gothamist:
Brad Campeau-Laurion [a Red Sox fan] says a uniformed police officer (perhaps off-duty but working security for overtime) forcibly ejected him from the stadium last night during the Yankees-Red Sox game.

Why? He says all he did was try to go to the bathroom while "God Bless America" was played during the 7th inning stretch. His letter reads ...:
I attempted to get up to use the restroom, rather urgently, during the 7th inning stretch as God Bless America was beginning. As I attempted to walk down the aisle and exit my section into the tunnel, I was stopped by a police officer. He informed me that I had to wait until the song was over. I responded that I had to use the restroom and that I did not care about God Bless America.

As soon as the latter came out of my mouth, my right arm was twisted violently behind my back and I was informed that I was being escorted out of the stadium. A second officer then joined in and twisted my left arm, also in an excessively forceful manner, behind my back. ...

I was sitting in the Tier Level, and of course this is the highest level of the stadium and I was escorted in this painful manner down the entire length of the stadium. About halfway down, I informed them that they were hurting me ... One of them said something to the effect that if I continued to speak, he would find a way to hurt me more.

When we reached the exit of the stadium, they confiscated my ticket and the first officer shoved me through the turnstiles, saying "Get the hell out of my country if you don't like it." ...
Plenty more at the link.

The New York Times wrote about this stay-in-your-seat policy back in May 2007 (my emphasis):
Only the Yankees continue to play "God Bless America" at every home game. They are also the only ones to use chains to prevent fans from moving during both songs, which concerns some civil liberties advocates.
Ahhh, freedom.

***

I almost never stand up for any national anthem in any park I visit. While I have rejected the religion my mother practiced while I was growing up (which discouraged such nationalistic displays), I still choose to remain seated. I am there to watch some baseball -- not to either pledge my allegiance to a particular piece of land or sing about the glory of bombs blowing up.

Laura has written about the abuse she has received for sitting quietly during the anthem at Yankee Stadium.

Schadenfreude 58 (A Continuing Series)


Hank Steinbrenner, before the game:
There's going to be a lot going on this offseason. I promise you that.
And after:
The bottom line is, they sucked.

Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
The Yankees needed a Boston Massacre to get themselves back into the playoff race. Instead, they were victimized in a Bronx bloodbath that has likely ended their playoff hopes.

With Hank Steinbrenner watching from the owner's box for the first time since Opening Day, the Yankees were handed yet another humiliating defeat, dropping an 11-3 decision to the rival Red Sox.

John Harper, Daily News:
The late innings felt like last call at Yankee Stadium. ... Going all the way back to April, the Yankees haven't given anyone reason to believe they are a playoff team. ...

No, the karma hasn't been right all season. Maybe it has something to do with Joe Girardi, and the clenched-jaw vibe he gives off, maybe it doesn't. But these Yankees sure haven't responded to tough times the way they did for Joe Torre in recent years.
Recent years, John? You mean how well the Yankees finished in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007?

Kat O'Brien, Newsday:
And so the 2008 season ended for the Yankees, by any realist's measure.
>George A. King III, Post:
The Steinbrenner family and Jack Nicholson saw last night what a lot of other people have been looking at for a while: The end of the baseball world as a generation of Yankees know it. ... [T]he morgue-like Stadium [will] soon qualify as the world's largest funeral home and be littered with pinstriped coffins.



Joel Sherman, Post:
The thought of October has become preposterous. Here is why: It is hard to believe this team will even play significant games in September. ...

The Yankees are seven games out of the wild card, a number made more daunting because it is hard to identify anything the 2008 Yankees do well. ...

The Yanks are perilously close to being the $200 million Kansas City Royals, spending September thinking about next year. ... This Yankees offense mimics Hank Steinbrenner, more bluster than action. ... The 2008 season is like the Stadium: History.


Tyler Kepner, Times:
The grand slam exploded like a gunshot Wednesday night, tearing out the guts of even the most naïve believers in the 2008 Yankees.

The eighth-inning bullet by Dustin Pedroia was like the opening scene of a documentary, many years from now, capturing the thud of finality to something once so special. The question for the Yankees is what starts next: a glorious renaissance or a painful fall from grace?

In the owner's box, Hank Steinbrenner was making his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since opening day. ... [A]s Pedroia rounded the bases, Steinbrenner hung his head. By the bottom of the inning, he was gone from his seat. ...
Some screen shots from YES:





Behold the majesty of Dustin Pedroia!

August 27, 2008

G132: Red Sox 11, Yankees 3

Red Sox - 200 020 070 - 11 13  0
Yankees - 100 100 001 - 3 8 0
Dustin Pedroia's grand slam capped a seven-run eighth inning, putting the second game of the series out of reach, and putting the toe tags on the Yankees' 2008 season.

Jason Bay drove in four of Boston's five runs, with a double, a triple and a sacrifice fly.

David Ortiz reached base four times for the second game in a row (in 10 PA, four walks, three doubles, and a single):
Tue: BB, 2B, F9, BB, 2B
Wed: 2B, BB, BB, 1-3, 1B
Byrd (6-5-2-2-5, 106) was superb, allowing only a couple of two-out RBI singles and staying out of any serious trouble. After the Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the fourth, the Red Sox stormed back to retake the lead -- and drive Ponson to the showers -- and Byrd retired seven of his last eight batters.

Manny Delcarmen pitched a beautiful seventh (K, K, P5) and Mike Timlin finished up the final two innings.

***

The Rays shutout the Blue Jays 1-0, the Twins edged the Mariners 6-5, and the Orioles routed the White Sox 11-3.

AL East: Boston 3.5 GB & New York 10.5 GB

***

Paul Byrd (4.61, 95 ERA+) / Sidney Ponson (4.67, 91 ERA+)

Ponson has made 10 starts for New York: 56 IP, 68 H, 22 BB, 21 K, 5.46 ERA, 1.607 WHIP. Opposing batters have an .862 OPS (.313/.383/.479).

Back on July 27, Ponson went 4-10-7-1-1 against the Red Sox. Grab your forks and knives, Red Sox batters, it's time to feast on the plump, drunk-drivin', judge-slappin' carcass of Sidney Alton Ponson!

With J.D. Drew on the disabled list (retroactive to August 18), the Red Sox are trying to swing a deal for Atlanta outfielder Mark Kotsay. Several media outlets reported the trade was completed last night, including Rogers Sportnet in Canada, but that appears to be incorrect. WAIT: Now it is done ... maybe.

And: Twins/Mariners at 4:30 and Blue Jays/Rays and White Sox/Orioles at 7.

Kotsay Deal Complete

The Red Sox have acquired 32-year-old center fielder Mark Kotsay (stats) for Lowell (A) outfielder Luis Sumoza.

Kotsay should join his new team in New York tonight. AB says perhaps 6 PM, though he is not in the starting lineup. He will wear #11.

After a couple of gruesome seasons in Oakland, Kotsay rebounded this year in Atlanta (.289/.340/.418, 101 OPS+). He has hit RHP especially well (.305/.361/.457) and certainly more productively than either Coco Crisp (.253/.331/.364) or Jacoby Ellsbury (.262/.322/.366).

Kotsay doesn't hit for much power and doesn't walk a whole lot, but he does not strike out much either. He is still a decent outfielder with a solid arm. His best BR comp is Randy Winn. We could do far worse for a 4th or 5th outfielder.

And he's hit .386/.421/.477 in 20 games/95 PA at Fenway.

Schadenfreude 57 (A Continuing Series)



Mike Lupica, NYDN:
They booed Alex Rodriguez Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium on what was supposed to be the first big night of the rest of the season, booed him as loudly as they have lately, booed him maybe as loudly as they ever have. ... they booed him as if he were Jonathan Papelbon or Kevin Youkilis or even Manny Ramirez, in absentia. They booed A-Rod Tuesday night like he was Boston. ...

He carried the Yankees for one first-round series in 2004 against the Twins and has never done it again when the games matter the most.

Now he has numbers with runners in scoring position that are as pleasant to read as a ransom note. the Yankees have not had a worse loss this season.
Tyler Kepner, Times:
It is late August, the Boston Red Sox are in town, and a poor showing by the gurgling Yankees could sink their playoff hopes. This may be the closest the Yankees get to the postseason, and Alex Rodriguez is in October form.

Rodriguez went 0 for 5 with two double plays, two strikeouts and a throwing error ... The Yankees are 11-12 in August, and Rodriguez has grounded into nine double plays in the month while hitting .238.
Kat O'Brien, Newsday:
The Yankees talked big about the importance of these games against the Red Sox to their playoff aspirations. But they whiffed on the field in a 7-3 loss to the Red Sox last night. ... The Yankees choked on most of their numerous opportunities and fell six games behind the Red Sox in the wild- card chase.
Ken Davidoff, Newsday:
We often talk about the game finding a particular player. But last night, it felt like this whole 2008 Yankees season hoisted itself from its hammock and staggered around, tossing aside empty whiskey bottles and half-eaten bags of Cheetos, until it tracked down Alex Rodriguez. ...

A-Rod doesn't deserve the most blame for this playoff-free Yankees season, not with the overall numbers he has tallied. But last night, in the season's most important game, the $275-million man earned the scorn of Yankee Stadium like he rarely has before. ... And at this moment of the season, with perhaps their last real chance down the toilet, it feels justified.
Joel Sherman, Post:
We will remember Rodriguez dallied with Boston, didn't go there, came to the Yankees instead in 2004, and in his time here the nature of the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry has reversed to Red Sox champs, Yankees chumps. Rodriguez is the face of that historic flip-flop. He has bought into that role twice now, first when he forced his trade here, then last offseason when he accepted the largest financial package ever to return through the backdoor. ...

He produced seven outs in five at-bats, stranded seven runners and made an error in the field. He played his worst in the Yanks' biggest game. ... The Yankee season is going extinct. Rodriguez is the face of the failure.
George A. King III, Post:
"We are digging ourselves a big trench to climb out of," Damon said.

That's not a trench already dug. It's a grave. Shortly, the coffins will be shut and the room-temperature bodies will be lowered into the ground.

Kevin Kernan, Post:
In a way, it's better for the Yankees that it ends this way. There is no more false hope, and the road to the future is clearly marked. ...

Big Game Andy is no more. Big Game Yankees are history, too. ... Watching the Red Sox you get the feeling that their players will do anything to win. ...[T]his Yankees team is not a warrior team.
John Harper, NYDN:
[L]et's be honest, Pettitte is starting to look like just another Yankee who is a little too old, a little too past his prime to recapture the glory days. ...

[T]hey're now counting on Sidney Ponson to save their season tonight ...

Schadenfreude 56 (A Continuing Series)

[More in the morning!]



NYP:
Putrid performances by Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez, who were showered with boos from the sold-out crowd, put more nails in the pinstriped coffins that will carry the room-temperature bodies out of The Bronx. ...

The loss dropped the Yankees six games back of the Red Sox ... Pettitte was loudly booed when he left in the fifth, but that was mild compared to what Rodriguez heard.

Slappy:
Tonight, you can put it on me. It was a lousy night. We pretty much screwed it up every way you can screw it up. There's absolutely no excuse.

August 26, 2008

G131: Red Sox 7, Yankees 3

Red Sox - 012 031 000 - 7 14  2
Yankees - 110 010 000 - 3 10 1
Wakefield (5-8-3-1-1, 80) fluttered through five innings before Terry Francona used five bullpen arms to get through the last four innings. The quintet of Javier Lopez, Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathan Papelbon put up a 4-2-0-2-5 line. The lineup presented a balanced attack, as everyone either got a hit or scored a run.

Pettitte walked two batters in the first, but escaped harm. After getting two outs in the second, he allowed a couple of infield hits to third and an RBI single from Jacoby Ellsbury that tied the game at 1-1. After New York got a run with a two-out rally of its own, the Red Sox started the third with three hits: doubles from David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis, and a single from Jason Bay. Red Sox 3-2.

With two gone in the fifth, Boston scored three times on four straight singles (Bay, Jed Lowrie, Coco Crisp, and Jeff Bailey). Bailey's hit was a high chopper to Alex Rodriguez at third. Slappy's hurried throw to first was low and Jason Giambi could not scoop it. Lowrie scored easily from third -- and then Crisp scored, racing around third and sliding in without a throw! That ended Pettitte's night: 4.2-10-6-3-3, 101.

The bottom of the order shined as Crisp singled three times and stole a base, and both Bailey and Kevin Cash singled twice. In addition to his double, Yook walked three times. And Bay, batting after him, singled twice and hit a sac fly. Ortiz doubled twice and walked twice.

A-Rod (0-for-5) had a rough evening. He struck out looking to end the first, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the third, flew out to center in the fifth, grounded into a 6U-3 double play (as the potential tying run) to end the seventh, and struck out swinging to end the game. He also made a throwing error. The boos were long and loud all night (even when he fielded ground balls cleanly).

If this keeps up -- and why shouldn't it? -- things are going to be pretty ugly in the Bronx by Thursday.

Scoreboard: Toronto beat Tampa Bay 6-2, Chicago beat Baltimore 8-3 and Seattle beat Minnesota 3-2.

***

Tim Wakefield (3.67, 123 ERA+) / Andy Pettitte (4.17, 102 ERA+)

Wakefield comes off the disabled list and makes his first start since August 6. In his last 13 starts (back to May 28) before he went on the DL, he had a 2.66 ERA in 88 innings, limiting opponents to a .194 batting average. In his last six starts against New York, Wakefield is 0-5 with a 8.91 ERA. Chris Smith will likely be sent down to make room on the roster for Wakefield.

New York is pretty well buried anyway.

Cool Standings (after simulating the rest of the season one million times and factoring in strength of schedule):
             DIV    WC   POFF
Tampa Bay 76.4 19.5 95.9
Boston 22.4 54.4 76.8
New York 1.1 6.5 7.6
Baseball Prospectus:
             DIV    WC   POFF
Tampa Bay 77.2 20.7 97.8
Boston 22.4 63.8 86.2
New York 0.4 4.5 4.8
Hank Steinbrenner:
If we put on a run here, there's no question we can make it. There's no question with the number of games we have left, it's possible.
NYDN:
If the Red Sox (75-55) play .500 ball over their final 32 games, they would finish the season with 91 victories. At 70-60, the Yankees would then have to go 21-11 to force a tie with Boston, playing 10 games over .500 during the final five weeks. To put that in perspective, the Yankees are only 10 over during the first 130 games, presenting a daunting task, to say the least.
Pettitte:
I feel like it's a must-win series. I don't think we necessarily need to sweep them, but we need to win the series.
NYP:
What Yankees fans have conveniently forgotten is the Red Sox are not the only other team in the AL wild-card hunt. ... Five games back [in the wild card] with 32 left means the Yankees have to sweep three from the Red Sox, then negotiate a brutal schedule across the final 29 games that ends with three games at Fenway Park.
Mike Lupica, NYDN:
Let's see if the Yankees can hit against a real team the way they did against the Orioles in Baltimore. ... And, while we're at it, let's see how much game Alex Rodriguez will bring to his first playoff run since he signed for the $300 million. If he really is going to be the kind of big Yankee he desperately wants to be, now would be a good time to start. ...

Let's see A-Rod do it to the Red Sox the way Manny and Ortiz did it to the Yankees for years. It's not just on him, of course. But he said how much he wanted games like these, much more than he did all the money. Here they are.
If J.D. Drew cannot play tonight, he may be put on the disabled list. ... Clay Buchholz pitched for Portland last night: 7-5-4(3ER)-0-8.

***

For me, Sunday's 11th-inning win over the Blue Jays was the first butterfly-inducing, sweaty-palmed must-win game of the summer. A loss would have been very tough to handle. It could have dropped us 6.5 GB the FKR -- though they ended up losing to the White Sox.

We are 4.5 GB in the ALE and 1.5 GA in the WC with 32 games to go.


And: Blue Jays/Rays and White Sox/Orioles at 7 and Twins/Mariners at 10.

Memories of Yankee Stadium

The Red Sox will play what is likely their last three games in Yankee Stadium this week. For a park that has been in existence for only 33 years, it has a lot of history.

SoSHer PortlandSoxFan began a thread on Monday morning -- "In the Belly of the Beast: Yankee Stadium Memories" -- and asked people to "share your favorite in-person memories".

I posted a few times. Here is most of what I wrote:
I was also at the Mel Hall game and the Greenwell/Guy on field game. In the latter, I had moved down to an aisle seat only a few rows from the field on the 3B side. The guy who ran on the field ran right past me. Shoulda tripped him.

My last time at the Toilet was the second game of the 2005 opening series. The game with the Tek and CI home runs. I was up in the right field upper deck, alone. I was getting up to leave after CI had won it and a bunch of shitheads a few rows down see my cap and start right in with the bullshit.

I say nothing. I just open my jacket to show off my brand-new 2004 Champs t-shirt. Their faces turned from delight to pure hatred in an instant. They looked like they were going to have a stroke. Probably good for me there were thousands of semi-normal people around.

Before a Yanks/Jays afternoon game many years ago, my wife and I were in the RF bleachers and I got up to get beers. Sox cap on. Bleachers were half-full maybe and at least 75% of them started in with chants of "asshole, asshole". That was kind of funny, actually.

For one O's/Yanks game, some guy in LF was standing up and threatening to drop his pants. Crowd egging him on, him teasing for about an inning. He finally does it and within 0.3 seconds, cops are there with the cuffs!

Was in the LF bleachers for Game 2 of the 1999 ALCS. Some MFY fans had taken a Sox fan's cap and lit it on fire in an aisle. Cop down aways just watching the scene, flames burning away, doing nothing. Only after the cap has completely burned and the fire is out does even move his fat ass. No one was ejected, obviously. Ahhh -- NY's finest.

Waited outside the park for a game in September 1999 for a guy to come up from midtown with tix. Fucker worked very late and without cell phones, we had no idea what had happened. We finally gave up and went home to watch on TV. Can't even remember if he showed up at all. ... Pedro's 17 K game. FUCK.
soxfaninyankeeland said: "When I started going there regularly, 1988-1992, attending Sox games at the Toilet was like going to Camden Yards for a Sox game today. Biggest crowds of the season, and mostly Red Sox fans." I replied:
Yep. I moved from Vermont to to Brooklyn in January 1987 and for years, we went to every single Sox game (it took years for the novelty to wear off). We could always get nice main reserved seats behind the dugouts on walk-up. Sox fans at the opening games of any series were always loud -- it did seem like 50-50.

My first game was in September 1986 -- before I moved. It was the game Rice went into the stands to get his cap. I missed that -- was out buying beer.
Turns out that was someone else's first game too! He was 11. (I was almost 23.)

And:
I'll say one thing -- there was nothing like walking down the ramps from the upper decks after a close loss to those dushbags. Especially before 2004. The "Boston Sucks" and "1918" chants were deafening.

I was decked out in Sox stuff for that 2005 game, but for a number of years, I just stopped wearing my Sox cap. I'd still clap and cheer for good things, even stand for HRs, but the hassle was just not worth it. I wanted to see a fucking game, that's all, not hear the same three taunts all day long.

I said I was at the Mel Hall game. We were near the back of the grandstand in the first level behind 3B. Sox get an early run and this loud, probably-drunk Red Sox fan, starts in yelling "ONE RUN! THAT'S ALL WE NEED!" over and over. Gets the usual response. He must have fallen asleep after the 3rd inning or so and woke up late in the game. Hall bangs his dong and my partner -- who was a Yankees fan then* -- dances over to him and starts pointing at him and laughing. (This was when they played "Shout!" after a win.) All around us, MFY fans are laughing and the guy just looks sheepish. What could he do? It was a shitty loss, but I always thought that whole scene was pretty funny.

* - A number of things soured her on the MFY and over the course of the first half of the 2003 season, she began to drift over to the Sox. For years, I would watch or listen to the Sox on the computer and she'd watch the Yanks on TV. She's on our side now. I love it, but honestly, it's still a little strange.

Also, 17 years later, I almost always say "There's our run! That's all we need!" when the Sox get a 1-0 lead.
I am amazed at the high number of SoSHers who were at any given game in New York, especially non-playoff games.

I was trying to think of my favourite game and I realized I have no idea. If nothing jumps out, maybe I don't have one. I would have to look at my scorecards, I guess.

One game I did not mention at SoSH was a game against Oakland at which fans in right field were throwing all kinds of shit at Jose Canseco (while he flexed his biceps at them). I saw him retrieve a full head of cabbage at one point. He also picked up a fully inflated blow-up doll from the field.

Also: At dinner last night, L reminded me of a game we saw in which Don Mattingly hit a grand slam. He hit six of them in his career, all of them in 1987. We saw #6 -- which set a major league record for one season -- off Bruce Hurst on September 29. Earlier in the season (July 8-18), he hit dongs in eight straight games, tying Dale Long's record (also matched by Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993). I said I thought the score was 6-0 -- I was right. L said that at the time I said I had never heard a crowd at a park be so loud.

August 25, 2008

Something Else #18: DLR Vocal Track

If you were following along in Saturday's game thread, you saw my link to today's off-day fun. While the Red Sox were getting routed, I surfed somewhere (???) and found a link to this Chunklet post.

In January 2008, an mp3 of David Lee Roth's vocal track for the 1978 Van Halen song "Runnin' With The Devil" popped up online. A post-Chunklet Google search led me here and then here. Several posters at Something Awful had created and uploaded remixes, which I have collected (with the Roth original) here -- the Chariots of Fire mash-up is quite good. (And for those who like poop humour, click here.)

Also: Black Cab Sessions -- musicians in the back seat of a cab, one song, one take. ... The Roots cover Bob Dylan's "Masters of War", singing the first part of the song to the tune of "The Star Spangled Banner".

Contest: Yankee Elimination Day

Pick the day on which the Yankees' 2008 season will end and win a brand-new, unopened 6-DVD set of "The Essential Games Of Fenway Park"*.

The Yankees are 70-60 -- 9.5 GB in the East and 5 GB in the WC. They have 32 games remaining. They could be eliminated in September during the regular season. They could make the playoffs and be eliminated sometime in October (if so, nailing that date will be tricky, with the many off-days). If they win the World Series, the clinching date would be the "elimination" day.

LISTEN CAREFULLY! Your entry must contain answers to all three of the following questions. If you answer only one or two of the questions, you have not entered the contest.

Send me an email with your guesses of:
Q: Date on which the 2008 NYY season ends?

#1 Tiebreaker: Number of 2008 regular season NYY wins?

#2 Tiebreaker: What will be last game the 2008 Red Sox win? (examples: G160, ALDS 4, WS7)
If someone submits the exact same entry as someone else, I'll email the second person to let them know. The contest is open until the end of this week's Red Sox-Yankees series (end of game on Thursday afternoon, August 28). Have fun and good luck!

[*: As I posted here, this set is far from perfect. But it's certainly worth an email!]

August 24, 2008

G130: Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 5 (11)

Red Sox   - 004 000 100 01 - 6  9  0
Blue Jays - 200 102 000 00 - 5 9 0
Coco Crisp's home run tied the game in the eighth, Jed Lowrie's second career dong gave the Red Sox a lead in the 11th and Manny Declarmen got the save -- though he needed 26 nerve-wracking pitches -- striking out Jose Bautista with a man on first.

Vernon Wells -- a one-man wrecking crew this weekend (6-for-9, with 3 home runs) -- hit a two-run shot in the first; he also added an RBI double in the sixth.

Burnett had made quick work of the Sox in the first two innings, throwing only 19 pitches, but Boston forced him to throw 32 pitches in the third. With one out, Burnett walked Alex Cora and Crisp, the two guys at the bottom of the order. He got Jacoby Ellsbury on a pop-up for the second out, but Dustin Pedroia blasted AJ's first pitch -- a high and inside 96-mph fastball -- to deep left for a three-run home run.

David Ortiz doubled and Kevin Youkilis singled him in and Boston led 4-2.

***

Daisuke Matsuzaka (2.77, 163 ERA+) / A.J. Burnett (4.51, 94 ERA+)

Nick Cafardo, Globe:
Your starting shortstop, third baseman, right fielder, and No. 1 pitcher are out with injuries. One of your young starters was so bad he had to be demoted to Double A. You lost to a division rival, 11-0, yesterday as your other top hurler, Jon Lester, was pummeled and lasted 2.1 innings. Your wild-card lead is teetering.

How are you feeling right about now?
David Ortiz:
We'll be fine, bro. We go through this shit every year. At the end of the day, we'll take another ring with us.
***

Dice vs Toronto on April 30: 7-2-0-2-4

Burnett vs Boston on May 1: 7.2-3-0-5-5

Also: Yankees/Orioles at 1:30, Rays/White Sox at 2, Twins/Angels at 3:30.

We are 5.5 GB in the East, .5 GA of Chicago for the WC.

August 23, 2008

Aardsma Back On DL

Rotoworld says David Aardsma is back on the disabled list with a strained right groin and will undergo an MRI. The Red Sox have called up David Pauley to take his place (at least until Tuesday, when Tim Wakefield is supposed to return).

***

Tampa Bay scored four runs in the eighth inning this afternoon and beat Chicago 5-3. The Rays' win dropped the Red Sox 5.5 GB. The FKR have the best record in baseball (79-49, .617) and their magic number is down to 29.

Carl Pavano (5-7-3-1-5, 91) and New York beat Baltimore 5-3. The Yankees remain 10.5 GB in the East (Tampa's magic number to eliminate them is 24) and are 5 GB the Red Sox for the wild card.

Los Angeles beat Minnesota 7-5.

G129: Blue Jays 11, Red Sox 0

Red Sox   - 000 000 000 -  0  4  1
Blue Jays - 214 220 00x - 11 16 0
Lester (2.1-8-7-2-2, 78) turned in his shortest outing of the year. He had pitched at least seven innings in each of his last eight starts (dating back to the end of June) and in 11 of his last 12 starts.

Lester:
Nothing was really working. I was rushing through my delivery, not a good tempo. When I did get the ground balls that I needed, they weren't at people. It just wasn't my day. Basically everything you don't want to do, I did today.
***

Jon Lester (3.17, 142 ERA+) / Jesse Litsch (4.20, 101 ERA+)

Josh Beckett has inflammation in his right elbow. The Globe says Beckett's next start is now moved up to this Friday against the White Sox. Terry Francona says Tim Wakefield will come off the DL and pitch on Tuesday in New York.

Also: Rays/White Sox at 3;45, Yankees/Orioles at 7, and Twins/Angels at 9.

Jason Bay And Playing In Canada

MLB.com:
For Jason Bay, Friday's game against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre represented a homecoming of sorts. Bay, a native of Canada, was playing his first Major League game on his home country's soil.
There was some debate over this, however.

Last night, I quoted a post from a Blue Jays game thread (linked by ish here) insulting Buffy for repeating that info:
Campbell: "This is Jason Bay's first big league game in Canada. Hard to believe since he was in the majors in 2004 when the Expos were still around. You have to trust the information the Red Sox give you."

Do you, Jamie? You could do that, or you could also go to a series of tubes called "The Internets" and find that his first big league game in Canada was July 9, 2004 against the Expos.

Crack work, JC
BR lists that series as being played "at Montreal"; Bay went 4-for-5, with two home runs and a double in the first game.

However, upon further inspection, we learn that those games were played at Estadio Hiram Bithorn in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Expos did not play all of their 2003 and 2004 home games in Montreal.

So it's true -- Jason Bay played his first major league game in his native country last night.

August 22, 2008

G128: Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 4

Red Sox   - 100 410 020 - 8 11  0
Blue Jays - 200 200 000 - 4 8 0
Byrd (6-6-4-2-4, 86) hung in there, despite allowing two two-run home runs and not recording a 1-2-3 inning. With two outs in the sixth, he allowed a single and a walk -- putting the tying runs on base -- but got Zaun to ground out to second.

Pedroia hit a bomb to left in the first and the first five Sox reached base in the fourth. Bay singled, Lowrie walked, Varitek walked, Cora was HBP, and Crisp singled. Ellsbury's grounder scored a run, as did FY's sac fly (it also ended Marcum's evening).

Varitek hit a solo home run to start the sixth and was HBP and scored in the eighth. He reached base in four of his five plate appearances and scored three runs. ... Crisp singled three times from the #9 spot. ... Okajima pitched a clean eighth.

Elsewhere: Tampa Bay beat Chicago 9-4, Minnesota beat Los Angeles 9-0, and New York beat Baltimore 9-4.

***
Paul Byrd (4.55, 96 ERA+) / Shawn Marcum (3.36, 126 ERA+)

Byrd makes his third straight start against Toronto.
              IP    H  R ER BB  K  PIT
0809 at Tor 9 6 2 2 0 2 94
0816 vs Tor 7.1 10 4 4 0 0 96
0822 at Tor ?
Marcum's last start was against the Red Sox -- last Sunday (5-5-1-4-4, 95).

The Red Sox have lost their last six games at Skydome. We need at least two wins in these three games.

Also: Yankees/Orioles (7 PM), Rays/White Sox (8 PM) and Twins/Angels (10 PM)
East 
Rays 77 49 .611 ---
Red Sox 73 54 .575 4.5
Yankees 67 60 .528 10.5
Blue Jays 66 61 .520 11.5
Orioles 61 65 .484 16.0

Wild Card
Red Sox 73 54 .575 ---
Twins 73 54 .575 ---
Yankees 67 60 .528 6.0
Blue Jays 66 61 .520 7.0

Drew Has Herniated Disc In His Back

Joe McDonald of the Providence Journal has the scoop:
The Red Sox received an unpleasant surprise Friday afternoon when they learned outfielder J.D. Drew is suffering from a herniated disc in his back.

Drew has suffered from chronic back pain throughout his career and had a flareup last Sunday at Fenway Park against Toronto. ... There's no word on how long he'll be sidelined.

The problem is similar to an injury he had earlier in his career with the Cardinals. While in St. Louis, Drew tore the sheath three-quarters of the way around his spine in the same area where he now has the herniated disc. The Red Sox are expecting a full medical report sometime Friday evening.

Drew Getting MRI In Toronto

Globe:
J.D. Drew is currently at a local [Toronto] hospital undergoing an MRI on his back.

Drew was originally in the Sox lineup, but his back, according to Sox manager Terry Francona, has gotten progressively worse as the day progressed. Drew has missed the last three games since leaving Sunday's game in the third inning and it doesn't appear he'll be in the lineup anytime soon.
Damn it.

Hank: "Most Of The National Media Is Full Of Yankee Haters."


Hank:
"Most of the national media is full of Yankee haters. ... That's why I have to point out the injuries. Because the media sweep that under the rug and say we're playing poorly. But next year, in a new stadium, we'll be much better. ... We'll add players. We're gonna be very tough [next season]."

Schadenfreude 55 (A Continuing Series)

"Any combination of Rays wins and Yankees losses totaling 23 eliminates the Yankees from the AL East race. Any combo of Red Sox wins and Yankees losses equaling 24 kills the Yankees' wild-card hopes."

Daily News:
At least the Rays and Red Sox didn't win Thursday night.

That was about the only consolation for the Yankees, who were blown out, 14-3, by the Blue Jays in embarrassing fashion to drop yet another series.

Since winning eight straight games after the All-Star break, a run that finished with them taking two of three from the Red Sox at Fenway Park at the end of July, the Yankees have won just one of their last seven series, going 9-14 over that stretch. Thursday night's defeat was the worst of the season for the Yanks, who suffered a 12-2 home loss to Baltimore on May 20.
Maybe Carl Pavano can stop the skid.

August 21, 2008

Your Vote Is Needed

The December Sound -- the unofficial band of JoS (listen) -- is one of the choices for The Deli Magazine's next "Artist of the Month".

None of those other bands read this blog, but TDS does! So vote for them here!

Both the Red Sox and Rays are off, but there's a raging battle for third place in the AL East: Yankees/Blue Jays at 7 PM.

Something Else #17: Neil Young


Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Ragged Glory Outtakes
Recorded at the Broken Arrow Ranch
June-July 1990
1 - Mansion On The Hill        9:02
2 - White Line 3:37
3 - White Line 1:00
4 - White Line 3:39
5 - Love To Burn :19
6 - Love To Burn 9:51
7 - The Days That Used To Be 4:48
8 - Love And Only Love 9:56
There is also an original song titled "Born To Run" that is sometimes included with this set, but I do not have it.

P.S.: I mentioned during a recent game thread that I'd post some outtakes from the Brian Eno/David Byrne album "My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts". But I discovered that almost all of what I have was released in 2006 on an expanded version of the CD.

DVD Review: Essential Games Of Fenway Park

Billed as the "Essential Games of Fenway Park", the six games included in this collection were determined from fan balloting last October. The games proposed for inclusion are listed here. Only people who purchased MLB's Red Sox Nation membership cards were allowed to vote.

Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912, but there is almost nothing in this set from before 1967. The obvious limitations of available video mean we don't get footage of the Joe Wood/Walter Johnson showdown from September 6, 1912 (though it's highlighted in one of the extra segments -- The Origins of Fenway Park), the clinching game of the 1918 World Series or the Red Sox's 29-4 rout of the Browns on June 8, 1950, but even so, the six games in this set are a huge disappointment.

Two of the games are available elsewhere and three of the remaining four are highly debatable choices:

September 30, 1967 - Carl Yastrzemski leads the Red Sox to a 6-4 win over the Twins in the next-to-last game of the Impossible Dream season. Boston clinched the pennant the following day. This complete game can also be found on NESN's "Impossible To Forget" DVD.

October 21, 1975; WS 6 - Carlton Fisk's 12th inning home run beats the Reds 7-6 and forces a Game 7. This game is part of the 1975 World Series box set, also produced by MLB/A&E.

April 29, 1986 - Roger Clemens strikes out 20 Mariners and Boston wins 3-1 before a small crowd of 13,414. Excellent choice!

July 13, 1999; All-Star Game - Pedro Martinez strikes out five batters in two innings. The title of the set is "Fenway Park Games" and not "Red Sox Games", but I still don't think this one belongs. The extras include Ted Williams throwing out the first pitch.

October 16, 1999; ALCS 3 - "Where Is Roger? In The Shower!" There was plenty of hype for this Pedro/Clemens showdown, but Clemens was pulled one batter into the third inning and the Red Sox won easily 13-1. It was Boston's only win in the five-game series. A questionable choice.

April 22, 2007 - The Red Sox hit four straight home runs against the Yankees. This half-inning is the very definition of "bonus footage". Indeed, it can be found as an extra on the 2007 World Series box set. It does not belong here.

The extras include (copied from the DVD box, errors and all):
Ted Williams: Fenway's Hometown Hero
Vintage Clips:
Yaz 1968 World Series Highlights at Fenway
Yaz 400th HR and 3,000th hit
Red Sox Clinch 1986 ALCS in Fenway
Brunansky's amazing catch clinches 1990 AL East Crown
Last inning of Derek Lowe's No-Hitter (4/27/02)
Red Sox score 10 runs before making their first out (6/27/03)
Bill Mueller walk-off HR vs. Mariano Rivera (7/24/04)
Dave Roberts: "The Steal" 2004 ALCS Game 4
Big Papi's 2004 Postseason Walk-off Hits
Last inning of Clay Buchholz's No-Hitter (9/1/07)
A few notes on the extras (some of which, like Buchholz's last inning, are available elsewhere):

The entire first inning of the June 27, 2003 game is not included. Only the first 11 batters are shown (with the radio broadcast audio), since the 12th hitter made an out. Thus, we don't get to watch the final eight Red Sox hitters of that historic inning. Johnny Damon became the first player to ever hit a single, double, and triple in the same inning, but his single (as the inning's 19th batter) is not shown.

Dave Roberts's steal is shown, but not the single that scored him. Also, only the final pitch (ball 4) to Kevin Millar is included.

Of David Ortiz's three game-winning hits in the 2004 post-season, only his ALDS-winning home run is shown in its entirety -- because he hit his bomb on the first pitch. Only the final two pitches of his four-pitch at-bat to end ALCS 4 are shown and we get only the final pitch of the epic 10-pitch at-bat that ended ALCS 5.

I can't believe there was not enough room on the DVD to show these entire innings and at-bats. It feels like they were copied in a hurry and haphazardly slapped together.

The metal case is sturdy, but when you open it up, all you see inside are six red discs. There is no booklet, no box scores of the games, no pictures, no information about these games at all except the dull one-sentence descriptions on the back of the case. In fact, I have given you more information on the games (such as the final scores) in this post.

A set of essential Fenway Park games is obviously a great idea -- and if it was reconfigured to be "essential Red Sox games", we could relive Pedro's 17 K, one-hit masterpiece in Yankee Stadium from September 1999 -- but this collection is decidedly unessential. MLB, despite all of its resources, has failed baseball fans yet again.

I cannot recommend anyone spending $50-60 for this, but if you are a completest and find it laying in a cut-out bin, grab it.

[Note: A&E sent me two free copies of this 6-DVD set. I'll be giving one away as part of the Yankee Elimination Day contest (details on Monday).]

Red Sox Sign Ross

The Red Sox signed catcher David Ross to a minor-league contract and sent him to Pawtucket. Ross had a .381 on-base percentage in 52 games with the Reds this season.

Tim Wakefield says his shoulder is pain-free. He'll throw another side session on Sunday and Terry Francona would not rule out using Wakefield in the Yankees series next week. That may depend on what happens with Josh Beckett, who will throw on the side tomorrow.

SoSH TaLK on the Buchholz demotion. Since May 7, Buchholz has pitched in 10 games, including nine starts: 42 innings, 62 hits, 27 walks, 39 strikeouts, 9.21 ERA and an opponents batting line of .343/.427/.536. HH:
When I put one guy on base, it feels like the bases are loaded. Instead of gritting my teeth and saying, "Let's get these guys out," I'm thinking, "Now what's going to happen?" I don't have a very high confidence level and something has to change.
Laptop will be reunited with Portland pitching coach Mike Cather, who also worked with Buchholz in Wilmington (A).

Julio Lugo, looking forward to beginning a rehab assignment in Pawtucket next week, reinjured his left quadriceps yesterday while running sprints at Camden Yards.

Buchholz Demoted To Portland

After another horrible start tonight in Baltimore, Clay Buchholz was demoted to AA.

August 20, 2008

G127: Orioles 11, Red Sox 6

Red Sox - 220 010 010 -  6 13  0
Orioles - 034 310 00x - 11 9 1
Boston took a quick 4-0 lead, but Buchholz lasted only 14 batters (2.1-3-5-3-0, 60) and the Orioles then battered David Aardsma and Javier Lopez to blow the game open by the end of the fourth.

Scoreboard: The Angels scored a run in the top of the ninth to beat Tampa Bay 5-4. The Yankees beat the Blue Jays 5-1.

The Rays lead the Red Sox by 4.5, the Yankees by 10 and the Blue Jays by 12.

***

Clay Buchholz (6.35, 71 ERA+) / Chris Waters (4.32, 101 ERA+)

John Farrell and Buchholz think they may have discovered a flaw in the young right-hander's delivery. Rob Bradford:
What they uncovered was that Buchholz was drifting forward upon beginning his approach to the plate with runners on base, causing problems with the location of his pitches.

"It's more like a drift in my delivery," Buchholz explained. "When I'm in the windup I'm fine, but when I'm in the stretch, I go to my balance point, I pick my leg up and I'm already going forward. It's not allowing me to get the ball out of my glove and really be on top. ..."
This will be the fourth start of Waters's major league career. Waters, who turned 28 last Sunday, is a left-hander. His minor league stats are here.

Tonight's Game Thread will be over at ish's blog.

Also: Angels/Rays and Yankees/Blue Jays at 7 PM

Yaz Has Triple-Bypass Surgery

Carl Yastrzemski, who turns 69 on Friday,
underwent emergency triple-bypass surgery yesterday at Massachusetts General Hospital after being diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

Yastrzemski, the folk hero of the 1967 Impossible Dream season that forever changed the franchise's fortunes, emerged from the operating room at 8 p.m. after a six-hour procedure to reroute the flow of blood around blockages in three arteries to his heart.
The Globe reports it was a six-hour procedure, while the Herald states it was two hours.

In 1997, Yaz talked about how hard it was at times to play baseball in Boston: "I remember when there was some talk that I might be going to the Yankees and ... you almost welcomed it to get out of there."

Josh Beckett's next start has been pushed ahead three days from this Saturday to next Tuesday (the opening game of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium). He has been experiencing tingling and numbness in his right arm since Sunday morning.

David Ortiz (without Manny Ramirez)
               PA   AVG   OBP   SLG    OPS
First 7 games 33 .107 .242 .107 .349
Last 9 games 41 .406 .537 .813 1.350
In his last seven games (32 plate appearances), Ortiz has struck out only twice.

Schadenfreude 54 (A Continuing Series)

Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports, calling the Yankees' season "a cornucopia of meltdowns, implosions and snafus":
The New York Yankees are dead. They are not merely tapping the bucket with their tootsies, sampling the dust with their teeth, booking refundable tickets on the Stygian Ferry. They are on Line 1 with Dr. Kevorkian asking for the soonest appointment possible, please.
Daily News:
The Yankees held a players-only meeting less than an hour before Tuesday night's game in an attempt to reinforce the sense of urgency that filled the visitors' clubhouse at the Rogers Centre. ...

Damon dropped what would have been the third out in the eighth inning, allowing the winning run to score from first base. ...
Post:
Another small nail was driven into the Yankees' pinstriped coffin last night by a leather hammer that was Johnny Damon's glove. ...

The Yankees' ninth defeat in 14 games dropped them 11 games behind the Rays in the AL East and left them 6½ lengths back of the wild card-leading Red Sox [with 37 games remaining]. ... So, a six-game road trip that can only be described as critical started with a disaster.
AP:
Former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was arrested Wednesday for allegedly assaulting a bartender after drinking 20 mugs of beer, a police official said.

Irabu, 39, became angered after his credit card was rejected. He then allegedly pushed the bartender against the wall, pulled his hair and smashed at least nine liquor bottles at a bar in Osaka, western Japan ...

August 19, 2008

G126: Red Sox 7, Orioles 2

Red Sox - 210 030 010 - 7 15  1
Orioles - 002 000 000 - 2 9 1
Dice (5-6-2-5-6, 105) stranded nine base runners in his five innings, Jason Varitek homered for the second straight night, and Kevin Youkilis homered and singled twice, driving in three runs.

Yook's dong was the key hit, as it increased Boston's lead from 3-2 to 5-2. Everyone in the lineup helped out: the first nine Red Sox hits were spread out evenly -- one each for batter in the order.

Jacoby Ellsbury singled twice, stole two bases and scored two runs. Justin Masterson pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

We're doing our part. Keep winning and hope that eventually the Rays lose a couple games in a row ...

Tampa Bay scored three times in the bottom of the eighth to rally from behind and beat the Angels 4-2. Toronto scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to squeak past New York 2-1, dropping the Yankees 11 GB the Rays. The Blue Jays are in 4th place, 12 GB.

***

Daisuke Matsuzaka (2.74, 164 ERA+) / Daniel Cabrera (4.78, 91 ERA+)

In his last nine starts (since June 27), Dice has a 1.91 ERA.

In his wins and no-decisions this season, Dice has an 1.87 ERA (115.2 IP, 95% of his innings)! In his losses -- only six innings -- his ERA is 19.50.

SoSH discusses a possible aspect of his pitching philosophy -- would Dice rather walk a guy than "give in" and allow a hit? Are his high walk totals more of a strategy than a lack of control? The many walks -- and the subsequent higher pitch count -- mean more work for the bullpen, however.

And: Angels/Rays and Yankees/Blue Jays at 7 PM.