July 31, 2010

Sox Get Saltalamacchia

The Red Sox have traded for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, sending 1B Chris McGuiness, RHP Roman Mendez, a player to be named later and cash considerations to Texas.

Kalish Called Up; Hermida DFA; Ramirez Traded

Ryan Kalish has been called up from Pawtucket and Jeremy Hermida has been designated for assignment.

Kalish -- .294/.382/.502 in 78 games with Portland and Pawtucket -- is batting 8th today and playing left field. Hermida had been in the original lineup.

Ramon Ramirez has been traded to the Giants, according to WEEI. Lefty reliever Dustin Richardson has been recalled from the PawSox.

Also: Felix Doubront, with a 2.88 ERA in 16 minor league starts this year, will be pitching out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season.

G104: Red Sox 5, Tigers 4

Tigers  - 210 100 000 - 4  8  0
Red Sox - 000 000 203 - 5 15 0
David Ortiz's three-run double gave the Sox a walk-off win. Five Boston hitters had two hits, including Ryan Kalish, who singled twice, scored a run and had one RBI in his major league debut.

The Yankees beat the Rays 5-4.
Example
Max Scherzer / Daisuke Matsuzaka

Dice has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his last seven starts.

Rays/Yankees, also at 7
Example
July 31:

1957 - Pittsburgh manager Bobby Bragan is ejected for making obscene gestures, but before he leaves for good, he wanders back on the field sipping an orange soda through a straw and offers the umpires a drink.

1962 - The National League rejects Commissioner Ford Frick's proposal to begin interleague play in 1963.

1972 - Dick Allen of the White Sox becomes the seventh player to hit two inside-the-park home runs in one game.

1998 - Cleveland outfielder Mark Whiten pitches the ninth inning against Oakland. He allows a run, but also strikes out Mike Blowers, Miguel Tejada, and Mike Neill, becoming the only player in MLB history (with at least one inning pitched), to get every out with a strikeout.

2004 - The Red Sox trade Nomar Garciaparra to the Cubs in a four-team deal. Boston gets Orlando Cabrera from the Expos and Doug Mientkiewicz from the Twins. In a separate trade, the Red Sox acquire Dave Roberts from the Dodgers.

July 30, 2010

G103: Tigers 6, Red Sox 5

Tigers  - 110 020 020 - 6 13  0
Red Sox - 000 010 004 - 5 9 0
David Ortiz hit a grand slam in the ninth, but the Sox's rally fell short, as Mike Cameron make the third out with the potential tying and winning runs on base.

The Rays beat the Yankees 3-2, moving 1 GB New York. Boston is 7.5 GB in the East and 6.5 GB the Rays in the WC.
Example
Armando Galarraga/ Jon Lester

Ye olde game threade is here.

Fans following this game may also be interested in Yankees/Rays.
Example
July 30:

1924 - Cardinals reliever Bill Sherdel comes in to face Phillies pinch-hitter Johnny Mokan with runners on first and second and no outs. Mokan bunts Sherdel's first pitch in the air. 1B Jim Bottomley catches it and throws to SS Jimmy Cooney to double off the runner at second; Cooney throws to 2B Rogers Hornsby who is covering first to complete the triple play.

1951 - Joe DiMaggio catches a fly ball hit by Detroit's Steve Souchock. Thinking it is the third out, he starts jogging in. However, it's only the second out -- and George Kell tags and scores from second base.

July 29, 2010

Yet Another Dispatch From The Good Old Days

[T]here is little doubt but that this big money that is being paid to the players has had its effect on the playing end of the game. In those other years every player in the game was in there because he loved the game and liked to play baseball and would rather win a ball game than do anything else in the world, as there was nothing else in those days to attract him to being a ball player. Today, boys are attracted into the game by the money they can make by playing it, and the mere playing of the game or the winning of games is of secondary importance.
Jim Nasium, "The Golden Age of Baseball -- And Those Who Were Born Too Soon", The Sporting News, November 4, 1927, page 3

July 28, 2010

G102: Red Sox 7, Angels 3

Red Sox - 020 000 140 - 7 12  0
Angels - 020 010 000 - 3 6 0
Boston finishes a three-game sweep of the Angels, with each starter going at least seven innings. Beckett: 7-5-3-1-5, 112.

Marco Scutaro hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, the fourth Red Sox dong of the afternoon. Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall, and Kevin Youkilis had the others. With three hits, Scutaro was 6-for-9 in the last two games.

After hitting three home runs for Pawtucket on Tuesday, Mike Lowell had a double, another home run, and three RBI on Wednesday.

The Yankees beat Cleveland 8-0 and the Rays beat the Tigers 7-4. ... In San Francisco, the Giants beat the Marlins 10-9 in 10 innings.
Example
Josh Beckett / Ervin Santana

J.D. Drew was scratched from yesterday's lineup with a left hamstring strain and will be out of the lineup until Friday.

Jacoby Ellsbury played five innings in centerfield for the GCL Red Sox yesterday, singling, walking, and stealing a base. He will have today off and play a full game on Thursday. After that, he may be moved up to Pawtucket for the weekend. ... Mike Lowell hit three home runs and drove in five runs for Pawtucket.

July 27, 2010

G101: Red Sox 4, Angels 2

Red Sox - 000 000 211 - 4  9  1
Angels - 001 000 010 - 2 7 1
Lackey: 7.1-7-2-1-4, 124.

Trailing 1-0 with two outs in the seventh, Darnell McDonald walked, Marco Scutaro (3-for-5) singled and Jed Lowrie doubled over the head of left fielder Juan Rivera to give Boston a 2-1 lead. Adrian Beltre's double in the eighth scored David Ortiz from first ("I'm a speed killer, whenever I feel like it").

The Yankees lost to Cleveland 4-1 and the Rays beat the Tigers 3-2. The Red Sox are 7 GB New York, and 5 GB Tampa Bay in the WC. The Rays are 2 GB the Yankees in the East.
Example
John Lackey/Jered Weaver

And Spiders/Yankees and Tigers/Rays.
Example
July 27:

1904 - Manager John McGraw says the Giants "will not play a post season series with the American League champions. ... When we clinch the National League pennant, we'll be champions of the only real major league." Boston wins the AL pennant. There is no World Series.

1927 - 18-year-old Mel Ott hits his first major-league home run, an inside-the-parker. It is the only ITPHR of his 511 career homers.

1930 - Cincinnati reliever Ken Ash throws only one pitch, but gets credit for a win over the Cubs, as Charlie Grimm hits into a triple play.

1948: St. Louis native Hank Arft triples and homers in his debut with the Browns. Tomorrow's chants of "Arft, Arft" will result in his nickname of "Bow Wow."

1988 - Tommy John of the Yankees commits three errors on one play.

July 26, 2010

G100: Red Sox 6, Angels 3

Red Sox - 011 000 022 - 6 11  0
Angels - 100 000 020 - 3 8 0
Victor Martinez returned to the lineup, David Ortiz hit two home runs, and Buchholz went seven innings (7-5-1-1-7, 114).

Jacoby Ellsbury went 1-for-3 in a Gulf Coast League game.

Also:
Yankees 3, Spiders 2
Rays 5, Tigers 0 (Garza no-hitter: 9-0-0-1-6, 120)
Example
Clay Buchholz / Joel Pineiro

Going To California

We are off this afternoon for California. A couple of days in San Francisco (including a Giants game on Wednesday afternoon!), a family wedding in Sonoma County, and then some time in Yosemite.

Any threads for the next 10 games will be here, courtesy of Ish and Zenslinger.

I have posts G100-G109 scheduled to go up each morning -- feel free to post any news of the day.

We are back on Friday, August 6, just in time for -- Red Sox at Yankees!

MLB To Test Minor Leaguers For HGH

MLB will begin testing for human growth hormone in the minor leagues.

Testing will be limited to players with minor-league contracts (not on teams' 40-man rosters) because they are not members of the players' association.

This news appears to be little more than PR bullshit. NBC's Craig Calcaterra writes that
the test gives almost universal false negatives [and] HGH's duration in the blood stream -- 24-48 hours according to most experts -- is too short for random testing to ever work. ... No one except the most clueless will ever be caught by this test ...
The test MLB will be using has caught one person in six years -- and that success story was because of outside information, not solely the test itself.

Victor Conte, of BALCO fame:
A baseball player could possibly inject HGH as soon as leaving a ballpark and test negative from a blood sample collected post-game the following day. HGH injections are routinely done at night before bed, so a morning blood sample would be the target.
MLB will be doing the exact opposite -- taking post-game samples.

July 25, 2010

G99: Mariners 4, Red Sox 2

Red Sox  - 000 200 000 - 2  7  0
Mariners - 001 000 03x - 4 11 0
Seattle began the eighth inning with six consecutive singles in the span of 11 pitches. The last five of those hits were off Hideki Okajima.

Fister and the Mariners bullpen retired the last 13 Red Sox hitters, with 11 of those outs in the infield.

The Yankees beat the Royals 12-6 and the Rays beat Cleveland 4-2. Tampa Bay is 3 GB, while Boston falls to 8 GB.
Example
Daisuke Matsuzaka / Doug Fister
Scutaro, SS
Drew, RF
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Beltre, 3B
Hermida, LF
Cameron, CF
Hall, 2B
Brown, C
Drew #2!

Are batters more likely to fist hits to the opposite field against Fister? ... Don Wakamatsu seems like the perfect manager for Dice. ... Speaking of which, why do they call it "walking"? You never really see anyone actually saunter to first base. [veal ... waitress ... all week]

There is a good chance Victor Martinez will be back in the lineup tomorrow night. ... Jacoby Ellsbury is set to begin a rehab stint with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, DHing tomorrow and playing the outfield on Tuesday. ... Mike Lowell played third base and went 4-for-4 for the PawSox yesterday.

At 1 PM:
Rays/Spiders
Royals/Yankees
Example
July 25:

1908 - Future Red Sox pitcher Hugh Bedient, pitching for a semi-pro Falconer, NY team, strikes out 42 batters in 23-inning game against Corry, PA, winning 3-1.

1936 - The Red Sox rout the Tigers 18-3, scoring all of their runs in two innings (6 in the second and 12 in the fifth).

1939 - Cleveland and Philadelphia are tied 3-3 after eight innings. Cleveland wins the game 12-8 after a lengthy ninth inning.

1966 - In his Hall of Fame induction speech, Ted Williams makes an appeal for the inclusion of Negro League stars at Cooperstown.

July 24, 2010

G98: Mariners 5, Red Sox 1

Red Sox  - 000 100 000 - 1  5  1
Mariners - 000 002 03x - 5 4 1
Lester retired the first 16 batters and finished his night with a career-high 13 strikeouts, but he was ineffective in the eighth inning and Terry Francona left him out on the mound far beyond any common sense. Lester (7.2-4-5-1-13) threw a season-high 124 pitches.

For me, this was the most infuriating loss of the season. Losses affect us in different ways. Some can be shrugged off -- everything goes according to plan, but the players are human so there will be poorly located pitches, strikeouts, bad hops, whatever. Others can be stunning (literally) or demoralizing, while others provoke anger.

I haven't been this pissed off while a game unraveled in a very long time. With games like the ninth-inning meltdown last Thursday, there is a helpless -- "why is this happening and will it stop anytime soon?" -- feeling, where everything is in its place, but things do not go well.

Tonight was a game where Francona's decisions seemed to run counter to what he almost always does. When we see the exact opposite of what we have come to know (and respect) about this team occurring, that's when the blood boils.

Lester trailed 2-1, but had allowed only one hit through the first seven innings. Milton Bradley tripled to right-center on pitch #104, but Lester came back to strike out Josh Bard for the 13th K. After a visit from John Farrell, the infield was playing for a possible squeeze -- and that's exactly what happened. Jack Wilson put down a perfect bunt on a 1-1 pitch that was at forehead height -- he even had to hop a little to make good contact. The bunt was too far out in front of the plate for Kevin Cash to field and Lester's only play was to first. Seattle led 3-1. Here is where I would have pulled Lester.

Michael Saunders ran the count full, then lined a single off what looked like Lester's left foot. Tito and the trainer came out, but Lester waved them away. He seemed fine. The injury visit did not count as a trip to the mound, but it was the ideal time to make a move. Manny Delcarmen had been warming up. But Francona left Lester in.

He walked Ichiro on five pitches -- now, Tito? -- then gave up a first-pitch double down the right field line to Chone Figgins. It was now 4-1 and Seattle had runners on second and third.

Finally, in came Delcarmen. He walked Franklin Gutierrez to load the bases, then hit Jose Lopez to force in a run. (He had allowed his last six batters to reach base.) After ball 1 to Justin Smoak, Farrell came back out to chat. MDC's next pitch was crushed to deep right and J.D. Drew caught it maybe 5-7 feet from the wall. A grand slam would not have surprised me in the least.

Why did Francona leave Lester in so long? And if he was so wary of using Delcarmen, then why get him up at all? [Maybe he offered some reasons in his post-game comments.]

Adding to the frustration was the fact that the Yankees had lost to the Royals 7-4. The recent inability to gain any ground in the East has been annoying:
Sun 0718: Yankees win 9-5, Red Sox lose 4-2
Mon 0719: Yankees off, Red Sox win 2-1
Tue 0720: Yankees lose 10-2, Sox lose 5-4 (10)
Wed 0721: Yankees win 10-6, Red Sox lose 6-4
Thu 0722: Yankees win 10-4, Red Sox win 8-6 (13)
Fri 0723: Yankees win 7-1, Red Sox win 2-1
Sat 0724: Yankees lose 7-4, Red Sox lose 5-1
So the Sox lost ground on two days, missed two opportunities to gain ground, and treaded water on two days. The only time they cut into the lead was on an off day for New York.

And so Boston remains 7 GB, while the Rays beat Cleveland 6-3 are are 3 GB.
Example
Jon Lester / David Pauley
Scutaro, SS
Patterson, CF
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Beltre, 3B
Drew, RF
Hermida, LF
Lowrie, 2B
Cash, C
Pauley has pitched only 15 innings for the Mariners this year, three relief appearances followed by two starts. He appears to play in the majors in even-numbered years only, as his other time in with bigs was with Boston in 2006 and 2008.

And:
Royals/Yankees, 1 PM
Rays/Spiders, 7 PM
Example
July 24:

1901 - The Pirates, playing at home, score in all eight innings and beat the Reds 11-2 (112 212 11x).

1979 - Carl Yastrzemski becomes the 18th major leaguer and seventh in AL history to hit 400 home runs.

1983 - Ye Olde Pine Tar Game.

1999 - With Laura and I in attendance at Tiger Stadium, the Red Sox defeat the Tigers 11-4. Boston clubs seven home runs, with Trot Nixon hitting three.

2004 - JoS:
Today's game had it all -- a brawl featuring A-Rod and Varitek, 4 Red Sox errors (including 3 on three consecutive plays), New York taking a quick 3-0 lead, Boston coming back 4-3 (with 4 hits on four consecutive pitches in the 4th), Tito getting ejected, blowing the lead and trailing 9-4, cutting the gap to 9-8, falling back 10-8, and then winning the game 11-10 with a 2-run Mueller home run off Rivera in the 9th. ... And two perfect innings from Ramiro Mendoza. ...

This game could really turn this team around. They played hard Friday, but fell short. Today, they stormed right back after both the fight and the Yankees' 6-run 6th and puts several runs on the board. ... I'm ready for a 20-4 run. I believe! How about you?
It took a little while to get going -- this game was not the instant spark it is remembered as (Boston went 7-6 over their next 13 games) -- but from August 10 to September 4, the Red Sox were 20-4!

Victor Says He Could Be "Days Away"

Victor Martinez said his left thumb felt good after catching Tim Wakefield's side session on Thursday and if his work with Clay Buchholz on Saturday goes well, "I'm just days away". Of course, whenever Martinez returns to the lineup is literally "days away" from today, but presumably he means a small number of days.

Dustin Pedroia's left foot feels normal when walking, but he knows he "can't push it right now until it's really healed". He has been taking batting practice for most of the time he has been out and is not keen on a rehab assignment. "The Red Sox need us more than the PawSox do."

Mike Lowell will play third base for Pawtucket on Saturday.

July 23, 2010

G97: Red Sox 2, Mariners 1

Red Sox  - 000 100 100 - 2 10  0
Mariners - 100 000 000 - 1 6 1
Beckett (5.2-5-1-3-5, 98) was solid in his return, allowing an early run, but working out of a few other jams. Bill Hall broke a 1-1 tie by smacking the first pitch of the top of the seventh out of the park for his 10th home run of the year.

Ichiro Suzuki singled, stole second, and scored on Jose Lopez's two-out double in the first. Another single by Ichiro, a walk and a fielder's choice put Mariners at first and third with one out in the third, but Beckett got Lopez on a pop up and Justin Smoak on a grounder to second.

A couple of one-out doubles -- Michael Saunders in the fourth and Josh Wilson (who was pinch-hitting for Chone Figgins (see below)) in the fifth -- amounted to nothing.

The Red Sox got on the board with two outs in the fourth, when Kevin Youkilis singled and scored on Adrian Beltre's double.

In the fifth, Mike Cameron doubled to left, but Saunders was a little slow to get the ball on the warning track and his throw into second was not fielded by anyone. When it rolled past the bag, Cameron took off for third and made it safely. Vargas (7-8-2-3-3, 101) stranded him, though, by getting Hall to pop to short, Kevin Cash to foul out to first, and Marco Scutaro to ground out to third. Figgins may have been pulled after a confrontation in the dugout with Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez about not hustling after Saunders's wild throw.

Boston had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth, but David Ortiz was picked off third base on a perfectly-executed play by catcher Rob Johnson and Lopez. Vargas reloaded the bases, but Cameron (who walked, singled, and doubled in his other PAs) fanned.

Papelbon gave up a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth, then walked Ichiro intentionally, a wise move even though it put the potential winning run on base. Wilson fouled off five pitches before striking out to end the game.

The Yankees beat the Royals 7-1 and the Rays lost a rain-shortened game in Cleveland 3-1. Tampa Bay is now 4 GB in the East. Boston remains 7 GB New York, but is now only 3 GB the Rays for the WC.
Example
Josh Beckett / Jason Vargas
Scutaro, SS
Lowrie, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Beltre, 3B
Drew, RF
Cameron, CF
Hall, LF
Cash, C
Beckett last pitched for the Red Sox on May 18, against the Yankees. Before the DL stint, Beckett made eight starts and had a 7.29 ERA.

Michael Bowden has been optioned to Pawtucket.

Tim Wakefield has moved back to the bullpen. Francona: "I don't think he wanted to hug me." ... Victor Martinez caught Wake's side session yesterday and will catch Buchholz tomorrow. ... Jacoby Ellsbury took on-field batting practice yesterday in Fort Myers and might play in a Gulf Coast League game next week.

Back in Pawtucket, Daniel Nava belted a three-run home run last night. He also walked to begin the bottom of the 10th inning, moved to third on Mike Lowell's single, and scored the winning run on Lars Anderson's single. Lowell was 1-for-5 as the DH.

At 7 PM:
Royals/Yankees
Rays/Spiders
Example
July 23:

1907 - The Austin Senators (Texas League) steal 23 bases and beat San Antonio 44-0.

1939 - The Dodgers use a "dandelion yellow*" baseball, but lose to St. Louis 12-0. Brooklyn uses the balls in four games, which are thought to be easier for the batter to see against the backdrop of white shirts in the bleachers. (* - see page 23)

1958 - Bob Holbrook, Boston Globe: "[After grounding out in the fourth inning, Ted] Williams jogged part way to first, saw the play was routine and then made an abrupt turn and started back to the dugout. For his lack of fire on this play the Kansas City fans set up a crescendo of boos. Ted bristled and made his dying swan leap, spitting at the fans as he pirouetted through the air." (If only today's players respected the game like they did in the Golden Age.)

2002 - Nomar Garciaparra celebrates his 29th birthday by hitting three homers and driving in eight runs as Boston routs Tampa Bay 22-4 at Fenway. (The Red Sox trailed 4-0 after two innings.)

Proof: Starting Pitchers Are Wimps These Days

Starting pitchers simply do not last as long as they used to 20+ years ago.

In 1988, they averaged 96 pitches per game

In 2009, they averaged 95 pitches per game

Top Of The Order: Drew/Youkilis vs Scutaro/McDonald

With many players on the disabled list -- Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jason Varitek among them -- there has been some grumbling in comments and game threads about Terry Francona's lineups.

(I have tried to avoid doing it myself, and I believe I have been pretty successful. With our previous two managers, however, I was absolutely bat-shit insane about it. (L will corroborate this.) Learning more about lineup construction has helped me no longer act like a raving maniac, but I'll bet winning two World Series has had a greater impact. Like many things during the season, it simply does not stress me out anymore.)

Marco Scutaro has been the leadoff guy for most of the season (83 of 96 games) and Francona has been putting guys like Eric Patterson and Darnell McDonald in the #2 spot in the batting order. (After Pedroia's 66 games at #2, McDonald has 10 starts and Patterson has 8.)

Here is a typical Boston lineup, with each player's up-to-date 2010 on-base and slugging percentages.
           OBP   SLG
Scutaro .344 .379
McDonald .318 .393
Ortiz .370 .518
Youkilis .407 .569
Beltre .374 .554
Drew .353 .472
Cameron .340 .427
Hall .319 .426
Cash .244 .150
While the Red Sox are tied with the Yankees for the most runs scored with 510 and are second to New York with 5.31 runs per game, they are also seven games out of first place and four games back in the wild card race.

The team needs to score as many runs as possible. So why construct a lineup that insures that weak hitters come to the plate more often? This lineup has the 5th and 8th best OBPs at the top of the order. (Which is not as bad as a certain previous manager who saw nothing wrong with batting the #8 and #9 OBPs in the top spots, but it's still mildly annoying at the very least.) After that it makes pretty good sense: 3, 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, with the 3-1-2 guys also the top sluggers.

I played with the Lineup Analysis page at David Pinto's Baseball Musings and that typical lineup could be expected to score 5.15 runs per game. But what if Francona tweaked the order slightly?
           OBP   SLG
Scutaro .344 .379
Drew .353 .472
Ortiz .370 .518
Youkilis .407 .569
Beltre .374 .554
Cameron .340 .427
McDonald .318 .393
Hall .319 .426
Cash .244 .150
Drew batted #2 in 22 games last year and has done it five times this year, so it's not unheard of. McDonald gets bumped down between Cameron and Hall. These guys would generate 5.195 runs per game, an increase of .045 runs per game. Over the course of a 162-game season, that would be an additional 7.3 runs -- not even the equivalent of one additional win (+10 runs is generally seen as the equivalent of one win; and -10 = one loss).

What about this?
           OBP   SLG
Drew .353 .472
Youkilis .407 .569
Ortiz .370 .518
Beltre .374 .554
Cameron .340 .427
McDonald .318 .393
Scutaro .344 .379
Hall .319 .426
Cash .244 .150
Drew batted leadoff 14 times last season and while Youkilis has not batted second since August 2, 2008, he did it for 64 games in 2007.

Expected runs scored: 5.22 per game -- .07 more runs per game -- 11.34 additional runs per season. Batting Drew/Youkilis at the top of the order instead of Scutaro/McDonald would give the Red Sox approximately one additional win in the standings at the end of the year.

The best lineup with these nine players?
           OBP   SLG
Youkilis .407 .569
Beltre .374 .554
Cameron .340 .427
Ortiz .370 .518
Drew .353 .472
McDonald .318 .393
Scutaro .344 .379
Hall .319 .426
Cash .244 .150
5.23 runs per game, barely better than the last lineup. Again, it would amount to one additional win -- which could be the difference between making the playoffs or not, but it would also stir up a bunch of other issues, like dealing with the backlash over batting Mike Cameron third.

And for the curious, this configuration is the worst. Only 4.75 runs per game. At 64.8 fewer runs per season than our original lineup, this abomination would cost the Sox 6-7 wins.
           OBP   SLG
Hall .319 .426
Cash .244 .150
Cameron .340 .427
McDonald .318 .393
Scutaro .344 .379
Youkilis .407 .569
Ortiz .370 .518
Drew .353 .472
Beltre .374 .554

July 22, 2010

G96: Red Sox 8, Mariners 6 (13)

Red Sox  - 003 002 100 000 2 - 8 13  3
Mariners - 010 000 005 000 0 - 6 7 1
Lackey (8-2-1-1-6, 116) pitched 7.2 no-hit innings before Josh Bard lined a clean single to right-center. Seattle's second inning run was unearned.

In the ninth, Manny Delcarmen and Jonathan Papelbon flushed the comfortable lead right down the toilet. MDC faced four batters and got no one out. Bot faced six Mariners, allowing a double and walking two (one intentionally). Boston committed two errors in the inning: Marco Scutaro and Bill Hall (his second E of the game).

Both teams went in order in the 10th and 11th innings. Hideki Okajima escaped a bases loaded/one out jam in the 12th by getting Jose Lopez and Milton Bradley to pop up in the infield on consecutive pitches.

Kevin Youkilis began the top of the 13th with a single. With two outs, Mike Cameron walked and Eric Patterson (who had pinch-hit for Hall in the 11th) lined a double to the gap in left-center. It rolled to the wall, and Boston led 8-6. Ramon Ramirez retired the Mariners in order for the save.

Several hours earlier, the Red Sox had built a nice lead for Lackey on two two-run homers -- by Hall in the third and J.D. Drew in the sixth. David Ortiz also drove in a run in the third and Marco Scutaro bopped a solo dong in the seventh.

Lackey was four outs away from a no-no tonight, but roughly two years ago (July 29, 2008), he went 8.1 innings for the Angels against the Red Sox at Fenway, before Dustin Pedroia broke it up.

Hall, Drew and Scutaro homered to help the Red Sox build a 6-1 lead after seven innings.

The Yankees beat the Royals 10-4, so the win kept Boston 7 GB in the East. The Red Sox moved to 4 GB the idle Rays in the WC.
Example
John Lackey / Ryan Rowland-Smith
Scutaro, SS
McDonald, LF
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Beltre, 3B
Drew, RF
Cameron, CF
Hall, 2B
Cash, C
Jeremy Hermida has been activated and Daniel Nava was optioned to Pawtucket.

Royals/Yankees, 7 PM
Example
July 22:

1939 - Boston Bees catcher Al Lopez drops his second foul pop of the game and an angry fan runs onto the field to punch him. (Unfortunately, I don't know if the fan did punch him.)

1960 - Who is the first player to steal a base in four consecutive decades? That Boston speedster, Ted Williams: 2 in 1939, 14 from 1940-49, 7 from 1950-59, and 1 in 1960. Rickey Henderson will match that in 2000 (he debuted in 1979).

1986 - The Mets beat the Reds 6-3 in 14 innings. For the final five innings, New York manager Davey Johnson shuttles relievers Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell from the mound to the outfield. The box score lists the final four Mets pitchers as Orosco, McDowell, Orosco, and McDowell. Stuff about that game and pitchers playing the field here and here; McDowell remembers that night.

Is Nick Cafardo Incapable Of Learning?

On June 6, I wrote:
In this morning's Globe, Nick Cafardo reveals that he now understands being 8.5 games out with 117 games left to play does not equal mathematical elimination. There is, of course, no guarantee that he will retain that knowledge in 2011 or any other future season.
It turns out he couldn't maintain his grip on that bit of knowledge for even seven weeks.

Cafardo, today's Globe:
The Sox have lost five of seven out of the All-Star break ... They needed to start strong, and didn't. The Yankees and Rays both won yesterday. Might as well not even include the Yankees in the discussion anymore, but the Rays need to be caught ...
Boston is seven games behind the Yankees with 67 games to go*. They play each other ten more times.

* By comparison, after 95 games, the 1978 Yankees were in 4th place, 10.5 GB. And I'll bet any other significant comeback you could name would offer a similar example.

And what is Cafardo's idea to get the Red Sox back on track? Theo Epstein has to "make something happen".

July 21, 2010

G95: Athletics 6, Red Sox 4

Red Sox   - 100 012 000 - 4  8  2
Athletics - 012 030 00x - 6 12 0
Example
Clay Buchholz / Gio Gonzalez
McDonald, LF
Lowrie, SS
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Beltre, 3B
Drew, RF
Cameron, CF
Hall, 2B
Brown, C
Buchholz returns to the rotation, making his first start since straining his left hamstring running the bases on June 26 in San Francisco. In his last nine starts, dating back to May 14, he has a 1.59 ERA.

The Red Sox also activated Jed Lowrie (and designated Ryan Shealy for assignment and sent Dustin Richardson to Pawtucket). Lowrie went 11-for-30 (.367) in 10 games with Lowell (A) and Pawtucket (AAA). Of the 11 hits, four were doubles and one was a home run. Lowrie also walked six times.

Peter Gammons says the Red Sox recently offered Lowrie to the Rockies for catcher Chris Iannetta -- and were turned down.

Victor Martinez says "the last couple days have been really a big improvement". He has been wearing a glove and playing catch and is now swinging a bat from the right side. There is a chance he could return for the Angels series next week.

Gustavo Molina cleared waivers and is back in Pawtucket.

This afternoon:
Rays/Orioles, 12:30 PM
Angles/Yankees, 1 PM
Example
July 21:

1959 - The Red Sox become the last team to integrate. Elijah "Pumpsie" Green pinch runs in the eighth inning and plays shortstop. (This is 2½ years after Jackie Robinson has played his last game.)

1988 - Jim Rice is suspended for three games for shoving manager Joe Morgan after Morgan replaced him with pinch-hitter Spike Owen the day before. (20 years later, Rice will forget his own history.)

July 20, 2010

Red Sox Ticket For Tomorrow: $20

Zenslinger has an extra ticket for tomorrow afternoon's Red Sox game against the A's. Clay Buchholz returns to the rotation!

All's it'll take is an Andy Jackson to get you in (as the Del Lords once sorta sang). So if you're in the Bay Area, call in sick, email Zen, and meet him at will call.

(There may also be an extra ticket available for the Marlins/Giants game next Wednesday afternoon (July 28) with me, L, and Zen.)

G94: Athletics 5, Red Sox 4 (10)

Red Sox   - 130 000 000 0 - 4 12  0
Athletics - 004 000 000 1 - 5  6  1
Good news: Jonathan Papelbon will be available for tomorrow's f*#@%in' game.

Why? Because he sat on his ass in the bullpen while Terry Francona decided to let Ramon Ramirez, Dustin Richardson*, and Michael Bowden hand-deliver this game to the A's.

* Richardson struck out the one guy he faced, so he should not be saddled with too much blame, but Tito did go to him. (Papelbon was warming up in the top of the ninth.)

Ramirez struck out Coco Crisp to start the 10th (and Ococ was tossed by Hey Look At Me!! Good God I'm Such A Raging Asshole home plate umpire Bob Davidson. Daric Barton singled to center and took second on a balk (which Davidson seemed to take particular delight in calling). The Sox decided to walk Kurt Suzuki and bring in Richardson for Jack Cust. RH-hitting Adam Rosales pinch-hit and fanned on strike four (what should have been strike three was called ball three by Davidson, and an understandably irate John Farrell was ejected).

Bowden came in and got two quick strikes on Kevin Kouzmanoff. Things looked good, but then he missed with two balls before Kouz singled to right field. J.D. Drew's throw was up the first base line and Barton scored the winning run.

The Sox blew an early 4-0 lead as Wakefield (6-3-4-2-5, a season-high 115) melted down in the third -- with one out: double, walk, double steal, HBP, 2-run double, run-scoring passed ball, sac fly to tie the game -- and then, while Wake, Manny Delcarmen, and Hideki Okajima were retiring 16 consecutive Oakland batters from the third to the eighth, Boston left the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings. In the other innings -- 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th -- they could not get even one runner past first base.

The Yankees lost to the Angels 10-2 and the Rays lost a wild one to the Orioles, 11-10 in 13 innings. The song remains the same: Boston 6 GB and Tampa Bay 2.5 GB.
Example
Tim Wakefield / Dallas Braden
Scutaro, SS McDonald, LF Ortiz, DH Youkilis, 1B Beltre, 3B Drew, RF Cameron, CF Hall, 2B Cash, C
Jed Lowrie might be activated tomorrow.

Cafardo says the Red Sox had discussed bringing back Nick Green (who was DFA'd by the Jays) back.

At 7 PM:
Rays/Orioles
Angels/Yankees
Example
July 20:

1965 - Mel Stottlemyre of the Yankees hits an inside-the-park grand slam off Boston's Bill Monbouquette, the first pitcher to hit one since Pittsburgh's Deacon Phillippe in 1910.

1984 - Trailing 3-1 after eight innings, the Blue Jays score 11 times in the top of the ninth and then hang on to beat Seattle 12-7.

1985 - !

2006 - The Oneonta Tigers (New York-Penn League) beat the Brooklyn Cyclones 6-1 in 26 innings.
OT - 000 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 05 - 6
BC - 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 00 - 1

Matsuzaka Alters Pre-Game Routine

Before his last two starts, Daisuke Matsuzaka has changed his pre-game routine in an attempt to stop allowing so many first-inning runs.

In his first 11 starts this year, Dice allowed 16 runs, with opponents OPSing over 1.000. (After the first, he's fine; in all 13 starts this season, Matsuzaka has allowed only one second-inning run and one third-inning run.)

John Farrell:
Three starts ago, [he] felt like it might be worth changing up how much throwing he did at 6:15 basically for a 7:15 game with about a 12- or 14-minute cool-down period. At that time it seemed like it took him a full inning to really kind of get into the rhythm of the game. So he went back to a pregame routine that was reminiscent of 2007, and it's allowed him to throw early in the day, not as many throws in total long-toss and bullpen work leading up to the start of the game. His warm-ups end about seven or eight minutes prior to the game, so it's allowed him to maintain a rhythm that he develops in the bullpen warming up and carries into the game.
It has worked. He gave up a one-out double against the Blue Jays on July 11 and retired the A's in order last night.

Over his last nine starts, beginning with his no-hit bid against the Phillies on May 22, Matsuzaka has a 2.89 ERA. Walks are still an issue (opponents have a .312 OBP over that time), but they are hitting only .206 and slugging .289.

Matsuzaka threw first-pitch strikes to each of the first nine batters (!) and 12 of the first 14.

Kevin Cash:
He was able to throw strikes with every pitch that he has, he even broke out his changeup [7, according to Brooks] that he hasn't used that much recently and it was pretty effective for him. When he can get that cut fastball in to lefties and then just getting ahead with his fastball down and away to righties, he's going to have good outings.
Since Victor Martinez went on the DL, Red Sox catchers are batting .132 (7-for-53). Cash is 4-for-34 (.118, all singles). FWIW: The Red Sox have a team ERA of 4.20 in the 10 games Cash has started, compared to 4.33 for the season.

The Red Sox have averaged 3.9 runs over their last 12 games -- and that includes a 14-3 win over the Blue Jays. They have scored 33 runs in the other 11 games, and gone 3-8.

Mike Lowell received a cortisone shot in his right hip yesterday and will begin a rehab stint of at least four games with Pawtucket on Thursday. ... Jeremy Hermida went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts for the PawSox last night. He will play again tonight and join the Sox in Seattle.

Since blowing two saves to the Rockies on June 23-24, Jonathan Papelbon has allowed only one hit in 7.1 innings, with six strikeouts. Daniel Bard has not given up a run in his last 12 outings (12.1 innings).

July 19, 2010

G93: Red Sox 2, Athletics 1

Red Sox   - 000 200 000 - 2  8  0
Athletics - 001 000 000 - 1 3 0
So why can't Matsuzaka (6.2-2-1-2-6, 89) do this more often? Working quickly, throwing strikes, setting down batters as quickly as they step up to the plate ...

Dice retired the first seven, gave up a solo homer to Rajai Davis, got the next two to end the third inning. Walked a guy to start the fourth, set down the next 10. Then another walk, an out, a double -- and that was his night.

Daniel Bard needed only three pitches to get Gabe Gross to pop to third and end the seventh. He allowed a one-out single and a stolen base and a two-out walk in the eighth, but escaped trouble. Jonathan Papelbon threw 17 pitches to get the A's in order for the save.

After the A's took a lead, Eric Patterson smoked a ball in the right-center gap and sprinted around for a triple. David Ortiz brought him home with a fly ball to center. With two outs, Adrian Beltre clubbed a ball to deep left-center for his 15th dong of the year. Boston led 2-1.

The Rays scored seven times in the third and beat the Orioles 8-1. Both Tampa Bay (2.5 GB) and Boston (6 GB) gained a half-game on the idle Chokers.
Example
Daisuke Matsuzaka / Ben Sheets
Scutaro, SS
Patterson, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Beltre, 3B
Drew, RF
Nava, LF
McDonald, CF
Cash, C
Dice and Sheets started at Fenway on June 2. Boston won 6-4, and took two of the three games.

Nick Cafardo reports that the Red Sox are asking around about relievers. Clay Buchholz is throwing a bullpen session, and Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek are playing catch (though not with each other, it seems).

The Yankees are off tonight, but Rays/Orioles is at 7 PM.
Example
July 19:

1911 - Walter Carlisle of the Vernon Tigers (Pacific Coast League) records the only unassisted triple play by an outfielder in professional baseball history. With men on first and second base in the sixth inning, he makes a diving catch of a short fly, runs in to step on second, and then runs over to first, doubling off both runners. Carlisle's major league career consisted of three games with the 1908 Red Sox (May 8, 9 and 11).

1915 - The Washington Senators steal eight bases off of Cleveland catcher Steve O'Neill in the first inning. Danny Moeller steals second, third, and home.

1952 - The visiting Fitzgerald club (Georgia State League, Class D) has its 12-year-old bat boy Joe Reliford pinch hit in the eighth inning of a game against Statesboro. Reliford is black, so he breaks the league's color barrier. He grounds out and remains in the game as the center fielder. Umpire Ed Kubick, who approved the substitution, is fired the next day.

2008:

SoSH: Has Theo Been Too Patient?

TheoShmeo:
On the one hand:

- Even with all the injuries, the Sox are only 3 games out of the WC;

- Players are already coming back, and by mid-August, many of the guys on the DL or on rehab will be back on the field;

- If Theo tried to make moves now, opposing GMs would extract a heavy price;

- With so many teams still not eliminated, there aren't many sellers and very few guys the Sox could have actually obtained;

- Had Theo been successful in acquiring quality players, the Sox would have had a glut of starter level players when the injured guys returned and faced some of the difficult personnel challenges that may have contributed to their slow start in April; and

- The downturn the Sox are seemingly in the middle of happened pretty quick ...

On the other hand:

- It was entirely predictable that a line-up filled with the likes of Kevin Cash, Darnell McDonald, Eric Patterson and Daniel Nava would eventually hit the wall;

- The time to make a move or two was when things were still going well, as had Theo looked ahead, it would have been easy to predict that the better teams like Tampa and Texas would handle a team as depleted as the Red Sox with relative ease; ...

- Waiting to the deadline to decide whether to deal does ... make it more likely that the prices for useful pieces will go down, but the Sox may be too far back for any moves to make sense after the West Coast trip is over.

Has the patient, "no panic moves" approach made sense? Or would earlier moves not been out of panic but rather reasonable foresight about what was likely going to happen if no moves were made?
It seems like more than a few comments recently have been around this issue. I say "No" to the question.

The Red Sox are 3 GB in the WC with 70 games to go -- and have many good players on the mend and slowly returning. The amount of injuries this summer has been well out of the ordinary and it makes no sense to disrupt any long-term plans because of it. If the injuries have derailed our chances at the playoffs this year, so be it.

OCD SS makes a good point:
The issue isn't whether or not Theo has been too patient, but can the fan base be patient enough?
Your thoughts?

Red Sox Head West For 10 Games

The Red Sox won 14 of 19 games from June 11 to July 3 -- and were a half-game out of first place. Then they lost four games in a row, losing one game in the standings every day.

Boston has lost eight of its last 11 games and have fallen back to 6.5 GB. The rollercoaster continues
May 17   19-20   8.5 GB
June 17 40-28 2.0 GB
July 3 49-32 0.5 GB
July 19 52-40 6.5 GB
with some reinforcements set to return while the team visits Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim:

Clay Buchholz pitches on Wednesday in Oakland.

Josh Beckett will pitch on Friday in Seattle.

Jeremy Hermida joins Pawtucket tomorrow for a couple of games. He may rejoin the team in Seattle, where the Red Sox begin a four-game series on Thursday.

Victor Martinez says his left thumb is still sore, but he played catch before Sunday's game.

(Down in New York, Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' best pitcher this season, will be out 4-6 weeks with a groin tear and A.J. Burnett is busy perfecting his Kevin Brown impersonation.)

July 18, 2010

G92: Rangers 4, Red Sox 2

Rangers - 000 210 010 - 4  9  0
Red Sox - 010 000 001 - 2 6 1
Wilson (6.2-3-1-5-10, 113) kept a tight lid on the offense -- the Red Sox got one runner past second base in the first eight innings -- and Lester (8-9-4-3-6, 118) was not as sharp as usual.

The Sox took a lead on Kevin Youkilis's single and Adrian Beltre's double, but Texas scored twice after two were out in the fourth (an error by Beltre brought the second run home) and pulled off a double steal to grab a run in the fifth.

Mike Cameron homered to start the ninth and Bill Hall reached on an error, bringing the potential tying run to the plate. But Kevin Cash and J.D. Drew struck out swinging and Marco Scutaro lined out to short.

The Yankees beat the Rays 9-5, so Tampa Bay is back to 3 GB and Boston is 6.5 GB.

The Red Sox fly to Oakland tonight.
Example
C.J. Wilson / Jon Lester
Scutaro, SS
McDonald, RF
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Beltre, 3B
Cameron, CF
Hall, 2B
Nava, LF
Brown, C
Michael Bowden has been called up from Pawtucket and Gustavo Molina has been designated for assignment.

Rays/Yankees, 1 PM
Example
July 18:

1882 - Louisville's Tony Mullane ("The Apollo of the Box") is the first major leaguer to pitch both left- and right-handed in the same game. (He was mostly a right-hander.)

1916 - With the Cubs and Dodgers tied 4-4 in the 10th, umpire Bill Byron forfeits the game to Brooklyn when Chicago pitcher Hippo Vaughn protests alleged sign stealing by baserunners and refuses to pitch.

1975 - Jim Rice hits a home run over the centerfield wall at Fenway Park, to the right of the flag pole. Owner Tom Yawkey calls it the longest dong he's ever seen at Fenway*. It's the 6th time a homer has been hit to the right of the pole: Detroit's Hank Greenberg, on May 22, 1937; Boston's Jimmie Foxx, on August 12, 1937; Yankee Bill Skowron, on April 20, 1957; Boston's Carl Yastrzemski, on May 16, 1970; and Brewer Bob Mitchell, on September 29, 1973.

* Hiyooooo!

1990 - A day after the Twins turn two triple plays against the Red Sox, the teams set a record for most double plays in a game, with the Twins turning six and the Red Sox turning four.

July 17, 2010

G91: Red Sox 3, Rangers 2 (11)

Rangers - 000 002 000 00 - 2  7  1
Red Sox - 100 000 001 01 - 3 6 0
Kevin Youkilis's double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth tied the game and his sacrifice fly in the eleventh brought in the winning run. Marco Scutaro scored the run in both innings.

After Lackey (7-7-2-2-3, 115) left, the bullpen allowed only one baserunner in four innings. Daniel Bard walked Michael Young to start the eighth. but after Ian Kinsler popped up a bunt attempt, Young was erased on a double play. Texas went in order against Jonathan Papelbon (9th and 10th) and Manny Delcarmen (11th).

Lee (9-6-2-1*-6, 105) allowed a run in the first (Darnell McDonald doubled and David Ortiz singled), but Boston could do nothing against him until the ninth. Scutaro singled and McDonald bunted him to second. Ortiz battled through an eight-pitch at-bat and grounded out to second, moving Scutaro to third. Yook doubled to left to tie the game.

* Lee's walk was an intentional pass to Adrian Beltre in the ninth, so his number of non-intentional walks this season (in 121.1 innings) remains at six. Lackey walked six batters in less than five innings in his July 10 start against the Blue Jays.)

Alexi Ogando got the Sox in order in the tenth, although he nearly lost the game on his first pitch, which Mike Cameron nearly hit into the Sox bullpen. Nelson Cruz reached over the short wall to snare it. Ogando walked Scutaro on five pitches to start the 11th. McDonald again bunted and Ogando tried to go to second. His throw was low and skipped into left field for an error. With runners at second and third, Ortiz was walked intentionally and Darren O'Day came into the bases loaded/no out jam. Youkilis lofted a 2-1 pitch to center and Scutaro scored standing up.

Lackey got the first two outs in the sixth, then gave up a single, walk, single, single before getting out of trouble.

The Rays beat the Yankees 10-5 (Reid Brignac had two dongs and 5 RBI), so Boston moved back to 5.5 GB. Tampa Bay is 2 GB.

Game Blog for Beckett's Pawtucket start here.
Example
Cliff Lee / John Lackey
Scutaro, SS
McDonald, LF
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Beltre, 3B
Drew, RF
Cameron, CF
Hall, 2B
Cash, C
Lee has pitched at least seven innings in 13 of his 14 starts this year -- and at least eight innings in 10 of 14.

Meanwhile, Lackey has gone seven innings in only eight of 18 starts, and more than seven innings only once. One of his many problems has been walks:
       IP      BB
2008 163.1 40
2009 176.1 47
2010 113.0 46
Lee and Lackey have thrown almost the exact same number of innings: Lee 112.2 and Lackey 113. However, Lackey has faced 66 more batters (509-443) and thrown 419 more pitches (1,938-1,519).

But first: Rays/Yankees, 4 PM

Bunt!


On this date in 1978, Yankee outfielder Reggie Jackson ignored instructions from manager Billy Martin and tried to lay down a bunt in the 10th inning of a tie game against the Royals. Jackson popped out, the Yankees lost 9-7 in 11 innings, and Martin suspended Jackson for five days without pay.

Six days later, Jackson returned to the lineup and Martin was asked about Reggie and George Steinbrenner. "The two deserve each other. One's a born liar; the other's convicted." Martin was forced to resign the following day.

Larry Keith, SI:
When Munson led off the 10th with a single, Martin flashed the bunt sign to third-base coach Dick Howser. Howser duly relayed the message to Jackson. That was fine with Reggie. Never mind that he had not executed a successful sacrifice since 1972 or that he had felt insulted when Martin had asked him to lay one down in the past -- this time he wanted to bunt. ... So, after taking the first pitch for a ball, here was Jackson trying to bunt and failing.

In the dugout, Martin changed his mind. Third baseman George Brett had moved in. Martin to Howser to Jackson: hit away. But Jackson, who later said he misread the sign, tried to bunt again. Foul ball. Howser walked in toward the plate and summoned Jackson to him. "Billy says to hit away," said the coach. "I want to bunt," said Reggie. "Billy says to hit away." "I want to bunt," said Reggie. Al Hrabosky threw his next pitch, Jackson's hand slipped up the bat and he popped a bunt into foul territory for an automatic out.

Martin was furious. "That's the maddest I've ever been in my life," he says. ... After Kansas City won in the 11th inning Martin went into a rage, smashing a soft-drink bottle against his office wall and heaving his clock radio into the hall. ...

Afterward, Jackson pleaded innocent to outright defiance, and after coming off suspension he detailed his reasons for bunting. "I had not been playing regularly and I wasn't swinging the bat very well," he told a mob of reporters in Chicago. "I thought under the circumstances that bunting was the best thing I could do. Even after Howser spoke to me, I didn't realize exactly what the consequences would be. I didn't consider it an act of defiance, and I don't feel I did anything wrong. I would even do it again if I didn't know what the consequences would be."
Other July 17s:

1903 - Rube Waddell of the Philadelphia A's is arrested for assaulting a fan who had criticized his pitching. Manager Connie Mack bails him out of jail.

1914 - The Giants beat the Pirates 3-1 in 21 innings at Forbes Field. Pittsburgh's Babe Adams goes the distance without issuing a walk, the longest non-walk game in history. Giants outfielder Red Murray is knocked unconscious by a bolt of lightning after catching a fly ball for the final out. He is not seriously injured.

1990 - Minnesota turns two triple plays, but Boston wins 1-0 at Fenway Park. Tom Brunansky (fourth inning) and Jody Reed (eighth inning) are the unfortuante batters; both plays go 5-4-3.

1991 - Baltimore's Sam Horn strikes out in six consecutive plate appearances. Browns pitcher Carl Weilman did it on August 25, 1913. After walking in the first inning, Horn strikes out in the second (swinging), fourth (swinging), sixth (looking), eighth (looking), tenth (swinging), and thirteenth (swinging). He doubles in the 15th.

1993 - Spokane (Northwest League) pitcher Glenn Dishman retires the first 26 Yakima batters. The 27th batter hits an easy grounder to the second baseman who tosses to first baseman Jason Thompson. In his rush to celebrate, Thompson pulls his foot off the bag before the out is recorded and is charged with an error. Dishman retires the next batter for a no-hitter. (SI says Thompson "mishandled a throw".)

1996 -
Yankees - 002 000 324 - 11 19  0
Red Sox - 100 143 003 - 12 12 0

Delcarmen Set To Return; Cabrera DFA

Manny Delcarmen will likely rejoin the Red Sox tomorrow. It could be one of a few moves the team makes tomorrow.

MDC will take the spot vacated by Fernando Cabrera, who was DFA'd after Friday night's loss.

Clay Buchholz threw 60 pitches for Pawtucket Friday night, allowing two runs and four hits in 3.2 innings. He walked one and struck out two. Michael Bowden got the final six outs in the PawSox's 9-5 win over Syracuse. Jed Lowrie (3B) went 3-for-4, with a double, home run, walk, stolen base, two runs scored and two RBI.

Terry Francona said that in
the last four or five days, the light has kind of come on with Jed. He feels like he's turned that corner. We're starting to see that player that we've all talked about. He's not dragging, he doesn't feel fatigued. He feels pretty good about himself.
Dustin Pedroia is not using crutches anymore, but he will not be back in the lineup before August.
I know they told me six weeks, but I thought I could come back sooner than that. ... If I come back too early and that bone breaks off, I'm out for the rest of the year. I've just got to be smart and let it heal.
Jason Varitek's foot is not healing as quickly as everyone had hoped. His timetable is approximately two weeks behind FY's.

July 16, 2010

G90: Rangers 8, Red Sox 4

Rangers - 200 050 010 - 8 12  0
Red Sox - 020 101 000 - 4 8 2
Bengie Molina hit for the cycle!

Both the double and triple glanced off the tips of outfielders' gloves, so he had a little help, but no one fell down or collided or were knocked unconscious. Molina singled in the second, doubled in the fourth (J.D. Drew got turned around awkwardly, reached back, and it hit off his glove), homered to center in the fifth -- a grand slam -- and tripled in the eighth. That last hit caromed off Eric Patterson's glove in deep center, and bounced towards the triangle. At that moment, it became clear that Molina was actually going to do it.

It is the first time in baseball history that a catcher hit for the cycle with a grand slam as the dong.

It was Molina's sixth career triple. The other five:
May 30, 2000:      2-for-4, single, triple
September 7, 2000: 4-for-4, 2 singles, double, triple
August 17, 2006: 3-for-5, single, triple, home run
May 23, 2007: 2-for-4, single, triple
April 29, 2009: 3-for-5, single, triple, home run
For the Sox, Kevin Youkilis doubled twice and singled, Adrian Beltre homered and singled, and Drew singled and knocked in two runs.

The Yankees beat the Rays 5-4 with a run in the bottom of the ninth. Tampa Bay is 3 GB and Boston is 6.5 GB.
Example
9:21: Play resumes after a 60-minute delay. (And the rain starts up again after a few minutes. Looks like it may come and go all night.)

8:21: Rain delay (at the end of three innings).
Example
Colby Lewis / Felix Doubront
Scutaro, SS
Patterson, CF
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Drew, RF
Beltre, 3B
Nava, LF
Hall, 2B
Cash, C
Amalie Benjamin says Fernando Cabrera is in the clubhouse and has probably been swapped for Robert Manuel.

Manny Delcarmen started for Portland last night and got three groundouts for a perfect inning of work. Jeremy Hermida had a single and a double as the Sea Dogs' DH.

Clay Buchholz starts for Pawtucket tonight in Syracuse; Josh Beckett pitches tomorrow. Jed Lowrie is now rehabbing with Pawtucket.

Also at 7 PM: Rays/Yankees
Example
July 16:

1909 - The Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers play the longest scoreless game in AL history (0-0, 18 innings/darkness). Ed Summers of the Tigers pitches a complete game, allowing only seven hits. The MLB record is 19 innings (Reds/Dodgers, September 11, 1946).

1988 - The San Antonio Missions defeat the Jackson Mets 1-0 in 26 innings, the longest game in Texas League (AA) history. The game began on July 14 and was suspended after 25 innings. When play was resumed, the game was over in 13 minutes (total time: 7:23).

J.R. Richard - Another "Softie"

On this date in 1980, the Astros placed star pitcher J.R. Richard (1.90 ERA through 17 starts) on the disabled list after he took himself out of a game complaining of blurred vision, nausea, and discomfort and numbness in his right arm.

Initial tests did not show much of anything wrong and there were strong hints from the Astros' front office that Richard, who was often known to be "moody", was loafing and a malingerer. Or maybe he was using drugs.

Richard began the 1980 season with a two-hit victory over the Dodgers. He left his second start after only five innings, complaining of shoulder stiffness, but pitched only one-hitter of his career his next time out.
After that, though, Richard would begin to take himself out of games early, complaining about a variety of ailments: shoulder stiffness, back stiffness, forearm stiffness, a "dead arm". ...

What started as whispers soon worked its way into the mainstream media. Some accused him of being jealous of Nolan Ryan's new $1 million salary, even though J.R. was making $850,000 himself and had never complained about Ryan's contract. There was also talk that he was "loafing", even though he had not missed a single start in the five years preceding 1980. Some suggested that he couldn't handle the pennant-race pressure with Los Angeles, blindly ignoring the fact that he had gone 11-2 during the 1979 pennant stretch run against Cincinnati. Much of the talk had racial undertones ... It is just inconceivable that this kind of rumor-mongering would have occurred if instead Nolan Ryan had been taking himself out of games early.

Finally, though, J.R.'s career came crashing down. After complaining of dizziness on July 14, Richard was placed on the Disabled List and underwent a battery of tests. Some arterial blockage was found in his right shoulder, but it was not deemed to be serious. In fact, the team doctor suggested that Richard's problems might be emotional in nature. ... [O]n July 30, J.R. collapsed during pre-game throwing drills with Wilbur Howard and was rushed to Southern Methodist Hospital. It turned out after all that he wasn't lying, he wasn't faking, he wasn't loafing, and his problems were not emotional in nature. J.R. had suffered a major stroke and would have died that day without emergency surgery. When reporters asked about the condition of J.R.'s arm, the doctors replied that they were interested in saving his life, not his arm.

After more surgery in September ... he was unable to re-learn the coordination required to pitch effectively. After a partial season in the minor leagues in 1982, he was quietly released by the team. With the loss of his fame and income, J.R.'s personal life spiraled downward as well. He lost over $300,000 in a business scam and almost $700,000 in a divorce. ... [In 1994, Richard was] homeless and living under an interstate bridge.
Richard has turned his life around since then.

The Astros were criticized for their characterizations of Richard. His wife, Carolyn: "It took death, or nearly death, to get an apology. They should have believed him."

Thirty years later, and with many other examples besides Richard to cite (such as Curt Schilling's accusations against Scott Williamson during the Red Sox's 2004 season), too many media and fans remain quick to label various players as lazy, uncaring, or soft.

July 15, 2010

G89: Rangers 7, Red Sox 2

Rangers - 601 000 000 - 7 12  0
Red Sox - 000 100 100 - 2 6 1
The Rangers batted around in the first inning against Wakefield (2-8-7-0-2, 34), rapping six consecutive hits and scoring six runs.

The first hit, a one-out single by Michael Young, came after the home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman blew a call on an obvious strikeout. Dreckman ruled a foul ball, though replays showed that Young missed the pitch by at least a foot. Young also ran to first after the ball got away from catcher Kevin Cash, indicating that he knew he had swung and missed. A correct call would have given Boston two outs and no one on -- and who knows how the game might have turned out?

But even after Young singled, Wakefield could not retire the Rangers, who were swinging early in the count, and making it work. Down 6-0, Wake allowed three hits on three pitches to start the third, and that was the end of his night.

The pen quieted the Arlington bats, but Hunter (6.2-5-2-2-1, 108) and the pen had little trouble with the Sox. Two solo homers -- J.D. Drew in the fourth and Bill Hall in the seventh -- accounted for the runs. Daniel Nava singled and walked twice, but the top of the order was silent. The 1-4 hitters were 0-for-17.
Example
Tommy Hunter / Tim Wakefield
Scutaro, SS
Patterson, 2B
Ortiz, DH
Youkilis, 1B
Drew, RF
Nava, LF
Cameron, CF
Hall, 3B
Cash, C
Hunter is a 24-year-old right-hander in his 3rd big league season. He joined the Rangers on June 5 this year and has made seven starts, allowing a total of only 11 earned runs (2.34 ERA).

Hunter has faced the Red Sox twice: August 14, 2008 (9 R in 1.2 IP) and July 21, 2009.

The Rangers (50-38) lead the AL West, 4.5 GA of the Angels and 7.5 GA of Oakland. They were swept by the Orioles -- four games at home -- right before the break.

No other AL East team plays tonight. The Rays and Yankees start a weekend series in New York tomorrow.
Example
July 15:

1994 - White Sox manager Gene Lamont accuses Cleveland slugger Albert Belle of using a corked bat. The bat is confiscated and locked in the umpires' dressing room. The Spiders know the bat is corked and pitcher Jason Grimsley is sent on a mission: to go through a hatch in the clubhouse ceiling and along the crawl space with a flashlight in his mouth, and hope there is a hatch in the umpires' room's ceiling, as well. There was, and Grimsley switched bats, leaving one of Paul Sorrento's in the room. The switch was discovered immediately, of course, and Belle was suspended for seven games. Grimsley later said: "That was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I've ever experienced. I went skydiving once, and I can compare it to that. ... My heart was going 1,000 miles a second."

Laura and I were at Fenway for Belle's return from his suspension (we had wanted to see some games before the strike). It was the second game of an August 7 doubleheader. Belle got the usual jeers when he came to bat in the first inning -- and then he absolutely crushed Gar Finnvold's 1-2 pitch to left -- over the wall, over the screen, maybe over the parking lot next door. It was a friggin' moon shot! I can't be sure, but I recall a lot of fans standing (because a blast like that lifts you up no matter who hits it), simply shaking their heads and clapping as Belle trotted smugly around the bases. I'd have to say it was one of my favourite moments at any game. The Sox blew a 9-6 lead in the eighth, both teams scored in the 11th, and then Cleveland got five in the top of the 12th, aided by a Mo Vaughn error and won 15-10. The players went on strike five days later.

Rotation And Rehab

Rotation:
Thu 0715 vs Texas: Tim Wakefield
Fri 0716 vs Texas: Felix Doubront
Sat 0717 vs Texas: John Lackey
Sun 0718 vs Texas: Jon Lester
Mon 0719 at Oakland: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Manny Delcarmen starts a rehab assignment with Portland (AA) today. On Friday, Clay Buchholz will start for Pawtucket (AAA) at Syracuse. Josh Beckett starts for the PawSox on Saturday.

More injury updates.

And for what it's worth: Dan Duquette believes "there is more information and evidence that will show that Roger used performance enhancing drugs in a significant way."

July 12, 2010

Best And Worst Games (So Far)

I love this team. They're easy to like. The first month of the season was really difficult for a lot of reasons, but we got through it. ... [T]he level of intensity and trying to do the right thing has been off the charts. It's been a challenge, but one that I think we've all kind of enjoyed.

One fan's list of the best and worst games of the first half [sic] of the 2010 season.

Best

June 12 vs Phillies - Daniel Nava hits the first pitch of his major league career into the Red Sox bullpen for a grand slam! In the next inning, Nava comes to the plate with the bases loaded again -- bringing the Fenway crowd of 37,061 to its feet -- but strikes out. He adds a double later on and the Red Sox -- who were forced to use their bullpen for nine innings when Daisuke Matsuzaka goes on the DL immediately after his pre-game warm-ups -- win 10-2.

April 20 vs Rangers - Both Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron go on the disabled list in the afternoon and Josh Reddick and Darnell McDonald arrive from Pawtucket. The Red Sox, off to their worst start in 14 years (4-9, and already 6 GB Tampa Bay), trail 6-2 after five innings. But Reddick doubles home two runs in the sixth to make it 6-4. McDonald pinch-hits for Reddick in the eighth and crushes a game-tying, two-run homer to left. McDonald then come through with a bases-loaded, game-winning single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Dustin Pedroia dubs him the "Microwave".

May 18 at Yankees - Following a horrific loss the night before (see below), the Red Sox turn the tables on the MFY. Up 5-1 after seven innings, CC Sabathia hands the ball to Joba Chamberlain. Marco Scutaro reaches on an infield error (E-Rod) and Pedroia singles to right. J.D. Drew doubles to left (5-2). Kevin Youkilis's pop fly down the right field line falls for a double (5-4). Joba finally gets an out, but David Ortiz singles to right-center to tie the game. In the ninth, Mariano Rivera gives up a single to McDonald and Marcus Thames muffs Scutaro's pop-up to short right. Rivera retires Pedroia, but the runners move up to second and third, and they both score on another opposite field double by Drew. Jonathan Papelbon needs 28 pitches to navigate the ninth, as he allows one run and strands two RATS for the 7-6 win.

May 22 at Phillies - Matsuzaka is four outs away from a no-hitter when he gives up a single to Juan Castro. He retires the next batter and Daniel Bard breezes through the ninth. Boston wins 5-0. (The starters for the next 3 days: Tim Wakefield eight shutout innings, Clay Buchholz 1 run in 6 innings, and Jon Lester 1 hit in 6 innings.)

June 24 at Rockies - Pedroia goes 5-for-5, with three home runs, a double, a single, a walk, four runs scored, and five RBI. He swings at only 6 of the 19 pitches he sees: his five hits plus a foul ball right before the single. Papelbon blows a 10-8 lead in the bottom of the ninth, but after FY's third dong gives Boston another two-run lead in the 10th, Bot snuffs the Rockies in order for the 13-11 win.

Other good stuff: April 26: Boston edges the Blue Jays 13-12 at Skydome (I was there!). June 8: Wakefield sets a franchise record for most innings pitched. July 2: The Red Sox beat the Orioles 3-2 and are only 0.5 GB in the East (they were 8.5 GB on May 23).

Worst

May 2 at Orioles - The Red Sox lose 3-2 in 10 innings as the Orioles complete their first three-game sweep of Boston at home in 35 years (September 2-4, 1974). The other two losses: 5-4 in 10 and 12-9. The Red Sox fall to 11-14, 7 GB the Rays.

May 15 at Tigers - With Lester on the hill, the Red Sox are up by five in the fifth and lead 6-4 in the eighth. Hideki Okajima coughs that up in a hurry, allowing a home run, walk, single, and double to his first four batters. In the 11th, Boston has runners on first and second and no outs and cannot score (or even get a runner to third). With one out and Tigers on first and third in the bottom of the 12th, Ramon Ramirez issues a walk to load the bases and, after getting a strikeout, walks Ramon Santiago on four pitches to lose 7-6.

May 17 at Yankees - May 15's loss is clearly the worst loss of the season -- for two days. The first six New York batters reach base against Matsuzaka and Boston trails 5-0 after one inning. They claw back, though, thanks to five home runs, including a three-run bomb by Drew and two solo shots from Victor Martinez. Up 9-7, Papelbon allows two two-run home runs in the bottom of the ninth and Boston loses 11-9. The loss drops Boston 8.5 GB the Rays.

June 23 at Rockies - Ubaldo Jiminez has a 1.15 ERA through 14 starts, but the Red Sox hit him for 10 hits and six runs in 5.2 innings. Papelbon is handed a 6-5 lead in the ninth. His second pitch is hit for a game-tying home run by Ian Stewart. Papelbon then allows a single and a sacrifice bunt before pinch-hitter Jason Giambi becomes a True Rockie™ by drilling a 1-0 pitch to deep right for a two-run dong and a 8-6 Colorado victory.

June 25 at Giants - Youkilis hits a three-run home run in the first, but the Giants lead Wakefield and the Sox 4-3 after three innings. Boston leaves: the bases loaded in the sixth, the bases loaded in the seventh, runners at first and second in the eighth, and the bases loaded in the ninth. That's 11 LOB over the last four innings -- and a well-deserved 5-4 loss. Pedroia fouls a ball off his left foot, fracturing the navicular bone. It begins a bad week for injuries: Buchholz suffers a minor hamstring tear, Martinez fractures a bone in his left thumb, Varitek breaks a bone is his foot, and Manny Delcarmen is DL'd with a forearm strain. All the while, Beckett, Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, and Mike Lowell are also on the DL; and Scutaro (pinched nerve in neck) and Drew (right hamstring, stiff neck) have also missed games.

Other bad stuff: April 16: The Red Sox load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 11th against the Rays and cannot score; Tampa wins 3-1 in 12. The Rays finish a four-game sweep on April 19 when they bomb John Lackey for 8 runs in 3.1 innings. May 28: Jacoby Ellsbury goes back on the DL and the Royals crush the Sox 12-5. June 9: Justin Masterson two-hits the Sox, who lose 11-0 to Cleveland; Boof Bonser and Joe Nelson throw a total of 60 pitches in an 8-run eighth.
Example
The Red Sox are 51-37 -- on pace for 94 wins -- 5 GB in the East, and 3 GB in the WC. There are 74 games left in the regular season.

Hurl Your Best Apple, Hurler!

Ian of Blue Jay Hunter collects the "Best Staches of the First Half".

And a comment leads me to this, which I had never seen before:


July 11, 2010

Beckett At The Bucket

Josh Beckett pitched four innings for Pawtucket today, allowing only two hits and one run. He struck out four batters and did not walk anyone. Of his 68 pitches, 42 were strikes. The PawSox beat Syracuse 2-1.

The Red Sox would like Beckett to make another rehab start this Friday before rejoining the team on the west coast. Looking at the rotation:
Thu 0715 vs Tex - Wakefield
Fri 0716 vs Tex - Buchholz [or Doubront]
Sat 0717 vs Tex - Lackey
Sun 0718 vs Tex - Lester
Mon 0719 at Oak - Matsuzaka
Tue 0720 at Oak - Wakefield
Wed 0721 at Oak - Beckett ?
Thu 0722 at Sea -
Although Wakefield will probably be (yet again) the odd man out, Beckett will not pitch on July 20 (only three days after his rehab start). Maybe Wake goes as scheduled or perhaps (if Buchholz pitched on the 16th) Felix Doubront get another start before heading back to the PawSox whenever Beckett returns.

Beckett's play-by-play today:
1st - Boomer Whiting (bbcbf) 4-3. Pete Orr (fbfbb) PF3. Chase Lambin (bf) 4-3.

2nd - Jason Botts (cbfbbf) K-looking. Kevin Mench (bcs) singled to center. Seth Bynum (ccfb) K-swinging. Chris Duncan (bbb) PF5.

3rd - Leonard Davis (b) 3U. Carlos Maldonado F9. Whiting (bcffbffbff) F8.

4th - Orr (bsfb) K-swinging. Lambin (fbsb) F9. Botts (fb) homered to right. Mench (sbsbf) K-swinging.
Pawtucket got its two runs in the bottom of the first. Ryan Kalish singled, stole second, and scored on Bubba Bell's one-out single. With two outs, Lars Anderson and Mark Wagner both singled, bringing Bell home.
Example
Adrian Beltre left the game in the sixth inning with what was first called a "left hamstring strain", but it may be nothing worse than a cramp.
I thought it was going to be worse. It felt like something was going to pop. It just kind of cramped up ... every time I curl my legs it kind of cramps up.
Beltre said he "should be able to play" in the All-Star Game on Tuesday, but he "won't try to risk anything. If I don't feel good, I won't play."