April 30, 2004

Overheard. Tim Kurkjian, in the May 10 issue of ESPN Magazine: "Curt Schilling's all-about-me attitude is already grating on teammates. 'If I had one big game to pitch, I'd take Schill over anyone I've ever played with,' says one. 'But every other day, I want to kill him." ... And SoSHer Harry Hooper writes: "Gammons was on WEEI this afternoon and said some interesting stuff. He said Torre has a great deal of respect for Wakefield. Torre hopes Tim has 8-9 wins by mid-season, so that Torre can pick him for the ASG."

The SoSH Game Thread reports a tornado watch in Arlington, Texas. "Showers and thunderstorms likely [tonight]. Some of the storms could be severe, with heavy rain. Chance for precipitation is 70%. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 62. South wind 9 to 16 mph becoming west." ... Arroyo's start would be the best one to skip, but I hope they can play this one.
All Smiles. Byung-Hyun Kim: "First time out, I felt good. As the number of pitches I am going to get [increases] and the number of starts [increases], I am confident I will get better." The only hit Kim allowed in his 5 innings was an absolute scorcher by Tino Martinez that ended up costing the Rays an out and a baserunner when it grazed Jose Cruz's back, who was running from first to second.

Mirabelli caught Kim: "I hadn't seen him in Florida, so I was a little nervous about it. But as soon as I saw him throw his first fastball -- he kind of threw a get-me-over fastball first to make sure his feet were all right -- but his next pitch was 'foooom,' right where he wanted it to be. ... It was crisp. His problem is throwing strikes sometimes. He gets a lot of swings at balls, but when he's at a point when he needs a strike, it's always kind of been, 'I hope I can throw a strike.' Today it was, 'I can throw a strike whenever I want to throw a strike.' "

The Red Sox -- now 15-6 -- have won six in a row and nine of 10. Their scoreless inning streak ended when Derek Lowe allowed a first inning run in the night game. The longer shutout streaks in team history are:

39 innings -- September 8-12, 1919
34 innings -- June 20-24, 1916
33 innings -- August 24-27, 1990

The bullpen's shutout streak is still alive -- 32.1 innings. It's the longest streak in MLB since the St. Louis bullpen went 34 innings in 2002. ... Also the bullpen has an 0.24 ERA in the last 13 games (1 ER, 37 IP).

Lowe was not sharp in the second game. Carl Crawford banged his first pitch off the Wall for a double; then Lowe made an error on Julio Lugo's bunt. Three pitches and Tampa had runners at 1st and 3rd. A Rocco Baldelli groundout scored one run and Robert Fick's double made it 2-0. Lowe allowed another run in the 5th when Crawford doubled and Lugo tripled. But with no one out in the inning, Lowe got out of trouble with the score 7-3.

Boston answered Tampa with 7 runs in the bottom of the first, in an inning that began to feel like the 14-run explosion against the Marlins last year. Johnny Damon walked, Bill Mueller singled, David Ortiz singled, Damian Moss threw a wild pitch, Manny Ramirez singled, Jason Varitek hit a 3-run home run and David McCarty singled. Mark Bellhorn struck out looking, but Gabe Kapler doubled and Pokey Reese singled in two runs. Damon and Mueller made the final two outs.

With two outs in the bottom of the 3rd, Kapler bunted for a hit. I didn't hear it, but apparently one of the Tampa Bay announcer (Joe Magrane) began whining about how Kapler shouldn't have bunted with such a big lead (7-3 in the 3rd inning). He was pretty much calling (hoping?) for Tampa to bean Kapler in his next at-bat. Since Lou Pinella isn't a colossal idiot like Magrane, nothing happened. Now if Hal McRae was still managing, who knows? ... Lowe didn't have great stuff -- to that point, he had allowed one walk, 2 singles and 2 doubles, as well as a line drive that was headed for the right field corner before Kapler speared it in midair. Did Magrane think the Devil Rays couldn't score four runs over six innings?

Nomar Garciaparra spent 15-20 minutes fielding ground balls between games of the doubleheader. He also sprinted in the outfield. While his Achilles tendinitis is improving, it will likely be June before he returns. ... David Ortiz hit a 3-0 pitch to dead center in the afternoon game, but managed only a single in the nightcap, ending his strike of games with an extra-base hit at nine. ... Johnny Damon grounded into his first double play in 71 at-bats. ... Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram noted that in each of the last four seasons, the Red Sox have been 14-6 after 20 games.

Friday: Bronson Arroyo/Ryan Drese
Saturday: Pedro Martinez/Joaquin Benoit
Sunday: Tim Wakefield/R.A. Dickey

All three games start at 8:05 pm.
Isn't That Cute? The link in the quote is from me, not the New York Times:

"Despite the grave nature of much of the questioning about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, members of the commission said there was frequent laughter during the questioning of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. James R. Thompson, the former Republican governor of Illinois, said the president could be a 'bit of a tease' in his dealing with commissioners and over all praised Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney for 'five-star performances.'

"Mr. Lehman said Mr. Bush would sometimes get a 'twinkle in his eye' to make clear that he was acquainted with some of the more heated moments of past public hearings by the commission, in which Democrats on the panel had harshly interrogated administration witnesses. 'He let us know that he had read some of the more, shall we say, impassioned statements of some of the commissioners, that he was aware of some of the public utterances,' Mr. Lehman said. 'The president got off a couple of good shots. Some of the commissioners got off a couple in return.'"

April 29, 2004

Red Averages 4, Devil Rays 0. The afternoon game is in the books. Boston has won 5 in a row, 8 of 9, 10 of 12; they have the best record in baseball: 14-6. Box.

Red Sox opponents have not scored in 32 innings (and have scored only 4 runs in 48 innings):
0423 New York:  000 000 200

0424 New York: 000 100 100 000
0425 New York: 000 000 000
0428 Tampa Bay: 000 000 000
0429 Tampa Bay: 000 000 000
David Ortiz is apparently close to signing a contract extension. A bit of the Babelfish translation (of this):

"The agents of David Ortiz and the main executives of the Red Averages every time are next to the culmination of a pact that will maintain by several years to the player in the equipment. ... 'Everything shines to indicate that I will remain here by many years in Boston. My lawyers almost are concluding an agreement by several temporadas', said the strong batter. Ortiz is very optimistic of which the multiannual contract by several million dollars will be crystallized in a moment. ... In his race of big leaguer, he has dispatched two quadrangular ones in a party during eight occasions. He has a quadrangular one with the bases full. And in three opportunities leaving to bat of emergent he has shot of home run. ... The year last David Ortiz had a magnificent campaign, mediating for 288, with 31 quadrangular, 101 towed races, with 39 doubles, writing down 79 times. And to the field he returned to play the wonder, just by an error."

Well, there you have it! ... Ortiz belted another quadrangular this afternoon, crushing a 3-0 pitch from Victor Zambrano into the center field bleachers. He also doubled twice (and walked) to extend his consecutive games with an extra-base hit to nine. ... Tampa pitchers struck out 13 Boston batters: Manny (3), Mirabelli (3), Millar (3), Bellhorn (2) Crespo and Mueller. In Ramirez's first 2 AB, he saw 7 pitches (6 strikes) and did not swing at any of them. Yuk.

The day's big story was Byung-Hyun Kim. He looked sharp for five inning (70 pitches), allowing only one walk and one hit -- to consecutive batters in the 2nd inning, Jose Cruz and Tino Martinez. Two other Devil Rays reached on errors, including Carl Crawford, who then stole second and took third on a wild pitch. He was the first batter of the game and the only Devil Ray Kim allowed past first base. ... Tim Wakefield (2 innings), Mike Timlin (1.1) and Alan Embree (.2) carried the Sox the rest of the way, extending the bullpen's scoreless innings streak to 30.2.

Boston has pitched three straight shutouts eight other times in team history. The last time was August 24-26, 1990 when the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays in Toronto 2-0, 1-0 and 1-0.

Lowe/Moss at 7:05 pm.
Schilling, Varitek Deep Six Devil Rays. Excellent outing for Curt Schilling last night. His worst inning was the first, when he allowed two one-out singles. However, Schilling got Robert Fick to pop up and struck out Tino Martinez. Schilling was able to throw his fastball and slider to both sides of the plate and he had his curveball and splitter working. He said it was his best outing of the year. There were at least four pitches in the first few innings that looked like strikes, but were called balls. Schilling seemed to have struck out Carl Crawford in the first, Toby Hall in the second and Martinez in the fourth. Nothing disastrous happened -- Crawford flied to center, Hall singled (but was stranded) and Martinez ended up striking out anyway -- but it did force Schilling to throw more pitches. His last pitch of the night -- #106 -- was clocked at 97 mph.

Jason Varitek broke an 0-17 string with a long two-run home run over the bullpens in the 4th inning. He also singled home a run in the 7th. ... In a related story, Derek Jeter is now 0 for his last 32; he has gone 8 days without a hit. ... NESN continues its tradition of running too many commercials and causing fans to miss pitches. Last year, they missed a Manny home run during one game because Ramirez pounded the first pitch over the Wall. Last night, NESN failed to show the first pitches in Boston half of the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th innings. There is no excuse for this.

Boston's Alan Embree and Lenny Dinardo extended the bullpen's scoreless streak to 26.1 innings. The Red Sox starters have not allowed a run in the past 23 innings, going back to the seventh inning on Saturday. ... The only first inning run Boston has allowed was by Pedro against the Orioles on April 15. ... Tony Massarotti: "After winning only nine times last season in games during which they scored four runs or fewer, the Sox already have won six such games this year. In their 13 wins, Sox pitchers have a 1.68 ERA." ... The Red Sox recorded consecutive shutouts for the first time since May 17 and 19, 2000.

Also: Nomar Garciaparra did some light running in the outfield Wednesday. ... David Ortiz doubled, giving him at least one extra-base hit in eight consecutive games. ... Schilling's eight strikeouts gave him 2,581, tying Bob Feller for 21st place; he is two behind Warren Spahn for 20th place.

John Harper, New York Daily News: "Convinced that Contreras was somehow tipping his pitches the first time, Stottlemyre had him alter his windup for the second start. It turned out he may have had the right diagnosis but the wrong cure. At least that's how Jeff Brantley, the former pitcher and now ESPN analyst, saw it. On ESPN's Baseball Tonight, Brantley showed via videotape how Contreras was holding his hands in different positions while in the stretch, depending whether he was throwing a fastball or a curve.

"Working last night's game at the Stadium for ESPN, Brantley said he had no doubt it was a factor in the Sox beating up on Contreras in the two starts. 'They knew what he was throwing,' Brantley said. 'I knew that for sure when I saw (Kevin) Millar swing at a first-pitch curveball, a bad one that he missed, and then he stepped out of the box and had this little smile on his face. Then he got another curveball and hit it out of the ballpark. I wasn't surprised. It wasn't hard to see what Contreras was doing.'"

Byung-Hyun Kim reminds us that he is starting the first game today -- at 1:05 pm. To make room on the roster, Phil Seibel was optioned to Portland. ... Derek Lowe will pitch the 7:05 nightcap.
9/11 Dog and Pony Show Hits The Road. Dan Froomkin reminds us that the Bush/Cheney meeting with the 9/11 Commission this morning is taking place in the Oval Office. "There will be no recordings or transcript, just note-taking. No one will be under oath." Also here. ... More Lies: "The White House today claimed that commission interviews with Bill Clinton and Al Gore were not transcribed. But in fact, CBS News has learned, those sessions were recorded and will eventually be transcribed." (video) ... Leno on the Commission meeting: "Right now they're finalizing the seating arrangements, should Bush sit on Cheney's right knee or left knee?"

April 28, 2004

Scenes From A Mall. Here is a better picture of Sunday's march in DC and a short review of how the "liberal media" reported on this huge anti-Bush gathering, which was also the largest demonstration in US history.

More 9/11 Commission Bullshit. The White House will not allow the 9/11 Commission to record the private testimony given tomorrow morning by George Bush and Dick Cheney. The New York Times reports: "The panel said it did not press for a formal transcription of the session, letting the White House decide." ... So for the umpteenth time, the cowardly Commission bows to pressure and allows the White House to dictate the terms of its investigation. Naturally, Bush refuses to explain to Americans (1) why he needs a babysitter during the sessions and (2) why he's deadset against having a transcript.

By contrast, the testimony of both Bill Clinton (4 hours) and Al Gore (3 hours) -- which was given to the Commission in separate sessions, by the way -- was recorded. ... Reuters also notes that "Clinton's appearance before a grand jury in the Monica Lewinsky scandal was recorded on video tape and later released." ... Because true patriots know that lying about a blow job is more serious than what caused the murder of 3,000 people and the total destruction of the two World Trade Center towers.

From the AP: "President Bush's supporters see his and Vice President Dick Cheney's upcoming testimony to the Sept. 11 commission as a form of closure, enabling them to show maximum cooperation and get on with other business. ... The testimony of Bush and Cheney will not be under oath, but they will 'tell it exactly how it happened,' [Bush's chief spokesman Scott] McClellan said. McClellan said he expected Bush -- not Cheney -- to do most of the talking. ...

"Bush first opposed creating the commission and then opposed extending its life. He also initially opposed having Rice testify in public. And he at first said he would only meet with the chairman and vice chairman of the panel, and only for an hour. But he relented on all counts. ...

[Me: Just more Kerry flip-flops. Move along. Nothing to see here.]

"'Unless a president really messes up, the sense that you're being forthcoming I think helps in this case,' [Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute] said. 'If Bush says something really foolish, that could be a negative. But I doubt very much that that's going to happen. And the odds of that happening with Cheney there are less.'"

I'm Getting Antsy. I watched some of Saturday's 12-inning win against the Yankees on tape yesterday -- but it's not the same. I need baseball -- live baseball! ... Tim Wakefield volunteered to skip his start because of the rainout. And while it's not official, Byung-Hyun Kim will start the day game on Thursday, instead of making a final rehab start. Kim will still be on a 75-80 pitch limit, so Wakefield will likely get a few innings out of the bullpen. Then he'll start Sunday night in Texas. ... The current rotation/match-ups:

Tonight: Schilling/Abbott
Thursday Day: Kim/Zambrano
Thursday Night: Lowe/Moss

Against the Rangers: Arroyo, Pedro and Wakefield.

Trot Nixon played for the Gulf Coast Red Sox Tuesday. From the Fort Myers Free-Press: "He play [sic] three innings in the outfield and batted five times. In the informality of these games, Nixon was permitted to bat every inning. He reached base in four of his five plate appearances. He was hit in the shoulder by the first pitch he saw and followed that with a looping line single to center; a hard, one-hop smash to first that was turned into a force out; a fly ball to left; and a walk."

Nomar Garciaparra took groundballs for about 10 minutes yesterday at Fenway Park and is at least two weeks away from returning. ... Brian Daubach is back and will see more action with Ellis Burks out for about six weeks. In 10 games with Pawtucket, he hit .350 with five homers and 11 RBI and 13 runs scored. He'll probably play in the day game Thursday -- he's 6-11 with a .643 OBP against Zambrano.

Nine hours until Curt's first pitch ...

April 27, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 26, 2004

Choice. More than one million people marched on Washington Sunday, protesting the Bush administration's deplorable record on women's reproductive rights. I was proud to be there -- with my partner and Yankee fan Laura. ... There were many baseball caps in the crowd and the majority of the ones I saw were Red Sox caps. Was I just seeing a lot of people from Massachusetts? Are the Sox becoming cool? I prefer to think that progressive people are more likely to root for Boston. ... If you look closely at the photo, you can see me in the middle distance -- wearing my cap and a shirt that says "I had an abortion."

House of Blues. There wasn't much love in Yankee Stadium this weekend. Derek Jeter extended his string of hitless at-bats to a career-worst 25. He's hitting .175 -- which is still better than Bernie Williams, who is in a 2-26 slide and at .167. ... New York (8-11) has a league-worst .217 team batting average and has scored three runs or fewer in 12 of their 19 games. Their longest "streak" of scoring more than four runs is two games. ... The Yankees did not have a lead once this weekend. ... Is it the Curse of Donnie Baseball? ... Beginning Tuesday night, New York will face Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.

Howard Bryant, Boston Herald: "[L]et it be known that Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams ... were booed off the stage yesterday at Yankee Stadium. These weren't boos mixed with cheers, the kind that let you know you still have some support out there. These were the kind of boos that said not only are the Yankees letting their insanely privileged fans down, but that no one is immune. ... Torre said he hasn't felt this low since his first year with the Yankees in 1996, when the Orioles made a run at New York."

Sayeth the Post: "'He doesn't know what to do,' a Yankees insider said of Steinbrenner's mind-set. 'He wants to rant and rave and then he doesn't. But hearing Yankee Stadium booing Derek Jeter was too much for him. He wasn't going to New York, but now he is. He is bothered by Derek getting booed.'" That Jeter was booed yesterday moved Steinbrenner to the point where he changed his schedule. He is due to arrive today in Manhattan."

There is a rumor "roaring through baseball" that the Yankees are going to trade Jason Giambi to the A's for Tim Hudson. When told about it, all Hudson could do was laugh: "It's probably somebody from Boston starting it, trying to get turmoil going before we go there." ... Another rumor has the Yankees pursuing Pittsburgh's Kris Benson.

A SoSH thread asks: "Should the MFY be in panic mode?" Most posters said No; some thought the whole idea might offend the mojo gods. But if we don't believe in a curse, we can't (truly) believe in mojo (though it is fun in the game threads). The idea of gloating now actually affecting Boston's chances in September and October is absurd. ... I'd say the Yankees should panic. Yes, it's only April, but they are losing these games and nothing is going right. So let's have some fun:

Tyler Kepner, New York Times: "Almost a month into the season, the Yankees have built a tower of misery. They lost yesterday to Pedro Martinez, capping a dreary weekend at Yankee Stadium in which they batted .152 ... This weekend, the Red Sox were not so much ancient rivals as bystanders to a roadside wreck."

Jack Curry, New York Times: "Martinez has been scrutinized this season because he has not had his usual velocity of about 95 miles an hour and has been throwing a fastball that averages about 89. But Martinez also throws a changeup, a curveball and a cut fastball, and he is extremely savvy. ... He began the game by tossing modest fastballs, but Martinez spotted them so crisply that the Yankees did no damage. Once the Yankees looked for fastballs, Martinez incorporated his breaking pitches ..."

Ian Browne, MLB: "The last time the Red Sox had swept the Yankees, Pedro Martinez started the fun with perhaps the most dominant start of his career. He was magnificent on that night of Sept. 10, 1999, striking out 17 and pitching a one-hitter in the first of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium. Nearly five years later, Martinez was Boston's finisher as they broke out the brooms Sunday afternoon with a 2-0 victory in the Bronx."

John Harper, New York Daily News: "More than anything, you noticed the looks of surprise and even disbelief from the Yankee hitters. As much as any team in baseball could make such a claim, the Yankees have owned Pedro Martinez over the years, even at the height of his dominance. Yesterday they looked as if they'd never seen the guy before. Five times Yankee hitters struck out looking against Pedro, a few times in critical situations, all of them when they were fooled by his curveball or changeup. So much for the notion that Pedro can't dominate without his 96 mph fastball."

Ken Davidoff, Newsday: "There is gloom in the clubhouse, anger in the stands, dread in the front office. To throw Pedro Martinez into that equation, as the Red Sox did yesterday, was like tossing a piano to a drowning man."

Joel Sherman, New York Post: "In the final 23 innings of the Red Sox's three-game sweep, Rodriguez was 5-for-8; the rest of the Yanks were 4-for-68. ... Boston should be bolstered by being more resourceful, poised and emotional than the Yanks. The Red Sox won the past two days despite going 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position, and not even scoring a runner on the lone hit. Torre showed his desperation to win this finale by not only starting Javier Vazquez on short rest, but using his three best relievers to protect a 2-0 deficit after Mariano Rivera (46 pitches), Tom Gordon (30 pitches) and limping Paul Quantrill (16 pitches) all pitched Saturday. ... The Red Sox did walk, run, hit and defend all over the Yanks. Boston left the Yanks looking slow, old and emotionally distant. Heck, even the presence of Martinez did not spark them. This is all great for the Red Sox. The Yankees? Maybe they need to Cowboy Up."
The 5th Starter. Kim threw 60 pitches in four scoreless innings Saturday for Pawtucket. Kim struck out two, walked one and allowed two hits against Syracuse. His fastball topped out at 88 mph in his third rehab appearance. Francona says when he's healthy, he'll replace Arroyo as the #5 starter.

Mueller got his first day off Sunday. ... Bellhorn drew his league-leading 19th walk. ... Ramirez hit his 20th career home run at Yankee Stadium, which ties Rafael Palmeiro for the lead among active Yankees opponents. ... The other other team in the last 30 years to go 0-19 with runners at second or third (as Boston did on Saturday) was the Pirates, who lost to the Padres 4-1 on June 11, 1977.

Manny Speaks: "I ain't going to think, 'Oh, they put me on waivers, they don't want me.' ... It's not that I have any problem with the media. Like I always said, maybe like me, Pedro (Martinez) and David (Ortiz), our English is not that good and we don't know how to express ourselves that good. So that's why I'm like that, almost quiet. I don't like to talk or whatever. ... I never think (the Red Sox) didn't want me. I just go out there and play the game. I don't care what people say about Manny this or that. ... Everywhere I go, I want to be good."

Boston has beaten New York in six of their first seven games, something they have not done since 1913. From Retrosheet, here are the results of all the Red Sox/Yankees games that season:
 Date      #    Opponent  Result   Record   Starter    Opposer

4-14-1913 Vs NY W 2- 1 1-2 Wood Caldwell
4-15-1913 Vs NY L 2- 3 1-3 Hall Keating
4-26-1913 At NY W 8- 5 5-8 Leonard McConnell
4-30-1913 At NY W 8- 1 6-8 Bedient Schulz

5-24-1913 At NY T 3- 3 14-19 Wood Keating
5-26-1913 At NY W 3- 1 15-19 Bedient McConnell
6- 2-1913 1 At NY W 4- 3 17-22 Leonard Fisher
6- 2-1913 2 At NY W 8- 6 18-22 Wood McConnell

6-25-1913 Vs NY L 2- 5 31-28 Wood Ford
6-27-1913 1 Vs NY W 10- 3 32-28 Leonard Keating
6-27-1913 2 Vs NY W 6- 4 33-28 Bedient Fisher
6-28-1913 1 Vs NY W 9- 6 34-28 Collins McConnell
6-28-1913 2 Vs NY L 6- 7 34-29 Hall Schulz

9- 1-1913 1 Vs NY W 6- 0 60-61 Moseley Schulz
9- 1-1913 2 Vs NY W 4- 3 61-61 Collins Ford
9- 2-1913 Vs NY W 4- 2 62-61 Bedient McHale
9- 3-1913 Vs NY L 4-11 62-62 Anderson Caldwell

9-29-1913 1 At NY L 1- 3 76-68 Bedient Keating
9-29-1913 2 At NY L 1- 5 76-69 Anderson Fisher
9-30-1913 1 At NY W 3- 2 77-69 Leonard Ford
9-30-1913 2 At NY W 3- 0 78-69 Moseley McHale
Red Sox/Devil Rays:

Tuesday: Tim Wakefield/Paul Abbott
Wednesday: Curt Schilling/Victor Zambrano
Thursday: Derek Lowe/Damian Moss
Shooting Blanks. The Red Sox bullpen has not allowed a run in 24.2 innings over its last eight games. In the last 10, opponents are hitting .086 (8-93).

Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican realizes that the "committee" approach is alive and well. "Fast-forward to Saturday. Scott Williamson escaping a jam in the seventh. Alan Embree facing right-handers in the ninth. Keith Foulke in a non-save situation. Mike Timlin getting the save. A huge, 12-inning win over the Yankees. And yesterday, a two-inning save for Williamson. Isn't this what bullpen by committee was supposed to be all about? ... [F]or all the derision it received, there was always logic to bullpen by committee. To do it, the relievers must be able -- and willing -- to be versatile, since they may not be used the same way (setup, closing, lefty-lefty) each night. You need that one closer who stands above the rest [Foulke], whether he's used in the ninth inning or not. You also need a manager willing to embrace this new concept. Last April, the Red Sox had none of the above. This year, they seem to have all of the above. What seemed like an ill-advised experiment now looks doable, even preferable."

Francona: "We have four guys who have been in ninth-inning situations. The concept is to win. I don't believe in saving a guy if we have a chance to win now." ... The Herald offers some remarkable numbers.

April 25, 2004

Red Sox 2, Yankees 0.

Manny detonates a 4th inning bomb, Pedro throws 7 strong and Swilly finishes it up. Boston sweeps three in the Bronx and leads the season series 6-1. Next meeting -- June 29.
            W   L   PCT   GB

Boston 12 6 .667 --
Baltimore 10 7 .588 1.5
New York 8 11 .421 4.5
Tampa Bay 7 10 .412 4.5
Toronto 6 12 .333 6
As Dylan nearly sang about El Rey: "He's got everything he needs, he's an artist, he don't look back."

April 24, 2004

Red Sox 3, Yankees 2 (12 innings). I was at work and had to follow along via MLB and SoSH, but it was still quite a nailbiter. The media has referred to these games as "October in April" and today's battle was certainly worthy of the hype. I look forward to watching the tape on Monday. ... So many wasted opportunities and blown chances in the late innings for both teams. Boston left a man on 3rd in the 9th, a man of second in the 10th and the bases loaded in the 11th. New York left two on in the 9th and the bases loaded in the 10th.

Boston went 0-19 with runners at second or third and scored all three runs on sacrifice flies to center. The last one was hit by Mark Bellhorn and scored Manny Ramirez, who had opened the 12th with a double to deep center. Recaps here and here. ... Bronson Arroyo allowed only 1 hit (a solo Rodriguez home run) through six innings. He faltered at the start of the seventh, but the bullpen of Scott Williamson, Alan Embree, Keith Foulke and Mike Timlin threw six no-hit innings. The pen has not allowed a run in its last 22.2 innings.

The final out of the game was made by Derek Jeter, who has zero hits in his last 21 at-bats and last 23 plate appearances. His average has dropped to .184 (Pokey's hitting .216). Yankee blogger Larry Mahnken writes that perhaps "Jeter is trying to lower his regular season rate statistics to make his postseason stats look more clutch."

Pedro/Vazquez at 1:05 pm tomorrow.
Red Sox 11, Yankees 2. It's nights like Friday that make me wonder if Theo Epstein made a big fuss over Hideki Contreras knowing he might well turn out to be a bust for the Yankees. Probably not, but in their first trip to Yankee Stadium since last October, the Red Sox once again treated Contreras like a batting practice pitcher. The Cuban Con Man: "Of all my outings, this is the worst I've felt after one because aside from the fact I usually work hard, I worked extra hard and prepared myself." ... Could he still be tipping his pitches? Maybe he just sucks.

He pitched well to the first four batters -- six batters, if you're feeling charitable. In the first, he struck out Damon and got Mueller to pop to third and Ortiz to fly to center. He caught Manny looking to start the second, allowed a single to Burks and made a nice play on Varitek's little grounder to the far side of the mound. Burks had stolen second base (!), so at that point Contreras had two outs and a man on second. He walked Millar on five pitches and surrendered an RBI-single to Bellhorn on another 3-1 pitch.

In the third, Contreras walked Damon (who realized if Burks could steal a base, so could he (Reese swiped a bag in the 4th)). He walked Ortiz, but retired Ramirez and Burks to keep the score at 1-0. By this time, he had thrown 69 pitches. Contreras began the fourth by striking out Varitek (after falling behind 3-0). Then he fell apart. Millar clubbed an inside fast ball over the left field fence and Bellhorn followed three pitches later with a liner over the right field wall. Reese singled to right and stole second, and Damon walked. And that was that. ... Donovan Osborne came in and Mueller pounded his 1-1 offering to deep left for a 3-run homer and a 6-0 Boston lead. The Red Sox added a run in the 6th when Damon and Ortiz both doubled. Reese drove in two runs with a double in the 7th when Crosby fell down in center; Damon added a run-scoring single. Manny hit an opposite field solo homer in the 8th.

Contreras allowed 5 runs in 3.1 innings and actually lowered his career ERA against Boston -- from 20.24 to 18.00. He has pitched well against Tampa Bay and Detroit, but when it comes to top-tier lineups, Contreras has shown no evidence he can consistently compete. If batters recognize and avoid the splitter -- and Boston has done that every time out -- they can sit on the fastball. Also, with men on base, Contreras is less inclined to use his splitter, fearing a passed ball. The Yankee media can't stop talking about what great "stuff" he has, but I've never seen it. Maybe it's mental; maybe he is unable to shut out past performances (whether his last outing or the last batter) and push forward. All I know is that he is lousy against the Red Sox.

Lowe needed one inning to get into a groove. Crosby led off by grounding to second. [Torre has Jeter, Rodriguez, Giambi, Sheffield, Matsui and Williams in his lineup, but he bats Bubba Crosby at the top. Amazing.] Jeter lined to right, A-Rod blooped a double down the right field line, Giambi walked on 4 pitches and Sheffield lined out to Damon in left center. Not a very Lowesque inning, but he settled down. After Sheffield's liner, there were no outfield putouts until the final out of the seventh. In his last 4.2 innings, Lowe got 12 groundball outs and 2 strikeouts. ... In the sixth, Jeter struck out on four pitches, Rodriguez grounded out to shortstop and Giambi grounded out to first. All three players were heavily booed.

Boston led 10-0 after 6½ innings and it was raining. Lowe had thrown only 92 pitches, so Tito sent him out for the seventh. Sheffield singled and Matsui homered into the right field bleachers. Mike Timlin came on and retired the next 3 hitters. Timlin, who did not work in Toronto because of an upper respiratory condition, also pitched the 8th, allowing one single, but notching two strikeouts.

Lenny DiNardo made his major league debut in the 9th. Sheffeild grounded to third (Bellhorn, who had moved over in the 8th, made a strong throw from the foul line), Matsui struck out swinging and Williams grounded to third. ... DiNardo: "I can't even describe what I'm feeling right now. I come to ballpark and it's not even like a job. It's like fantasy camp for me, hanging out with all these guys. It's a dream come true."

New York is now under .500 (8-9) after 17 games for the first time since 1997, when they were 7-10. Because the Yankees have an off-day on Monday, Javier Vazquez will oppose Pedro on Sunday afternoon on three days rest, something he has done only once before in his career. On September 25, 1999, while with Montreal, he allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits in six innings to Atlanta.

Trot Nixon faced both left-handed and right-handed pitching yesterday in Florida and could begin his minor league rehab assignment in Sarasota (A) next week. ... Nomar Garciaparra did some running and will rest today. ... Ramirez may DH today, with either Kapler or Crespo in left. ... Arroyo/Brown at 1:05 pm.

April 23, 2004

Sox In The City. The match-ups for Round II:

Tonight, 7:05 pm: Lowe/Contreras
Saturday, 1:05 pm: Arroyo/Brown
Sunday, 1:05 pm: Pedro/Vazquez or Osborne, but not Leiber

Derek Lowe loves pitching in Yankee Stadium. "I don't know if I'd say that if I didn't play for the Red Sox. ... You know if you go in there as a Boston Red Sox pitcher and you win, you pitched a great game. It's a great feeling to beat them, especially there. ... Once you get out there, it's going to be electric from the time our bus rolls up to Yankee Stadium. Pitching in these games is kind of hard to explain what it's like because it's a feeling. It's not just work. It's a completely different feeling when you step out at Yankee Stadium than any other stadium."

Lowe has posted a 4.33 ERA in 6 games at Yankee Stadium in 2001-03, allowing a .308 batting average in 27 innings. ... In an effort to get back into his regular routine, Lowe threw twice in between starts. "Hitters take extra (batting practice). I needed the work. Last time, I struggled to find a consistent arm slot. I think I figured some things out."

Howard Bryant: "Think about it: Jose Contreras started it all. Think about the battle between Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman back in December 2002, about Epstein buying up all the rooms on Contreras' floor in the hotel in Nicaragua, just to make sure the Yankees couldn't get to him. Remember how the Yankees and Red Sox played musical chairs back then, jousting and elbowing for Bartolo Colon, Kevin Millwood and especially Contreras, the jewel of the three. Think about George Steinbrenner -- after Cashman passed on acquiring Millwood -- threatening to fire his GM if the Red Sox signed Contreras. ... Nearly 18 months later, that $32 million might be the best money the Red Sox never spent. Contreras, for all his frightening velocity and movement, is teetering on the brink of being the biggest Yankees pitching bust since Kenny Rogers. He is, right now, a project, unable to be counted on when these two teams meet."

Monday's New York Times: "Yanks Still Believe Contreras Is Too Good to Be This Bad" ... Newark Star-Ledger: "Wednesday's bullpen session with Contreras went so well that Stottlemyre could barely contain himself. He said he wouldn't get specific, but he spoke in general terms about adjustments -- both mechanical and psychological." The Yankees also believe that Contreras may be tipping his pitches and so Stottlemyre has apparently tweaked Contreras's delivery to remove any advantage Boston may have. ... Also here, here and here. ... And although the Daily News cautioned "Hey, Boston, It's Only April!" after the Red Sox took 3 of 4 last weekend, Joe Torre called New York's lone victory an "important win" and Alex Rodriguez called it "big".

Phil Mushnick, New York Post: During last Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox game, "Michael Kay noted that Gary Sheffield said he was left stunned in right, the night before, by the profanities screamed at him all game by Red Sox fans. Kay then wondered aloud how people can behave so badly in front of kids." ... Kay apparently kept whining about this all weekend long. Is it possible he has no idea that fans at Yankee Stadium also sometimes yell unpleasant things at opposing players, especially outfielders (and especially Red Sox)? If he wasn't so recognizable, I'd love to watch Kay walk around the Stadium tonight (or sit in the bleachers) wearing a Red Sox shirt and cap. I wonder if any people would behave badly and shout profanities.
Gump 2.0? Probably not, but more than a few fans had a twinge of deja vu when Terry Francona left his starter in last night's game way past the point of effectiveness. David Heuschkel wrote: "All the signs were there that Curt Schilling was on fumes. His pitch count was up and his velocity was down. And he was leaving pitches up in the strike zone, clearly an indication he was tired." Then Schilling hung a splitter to Toronto's #9 hitter and Chris Gomez hit a grand slam that gave the Blue Jays their first win at home this season. Heuschkel adds that the Boston bullpen "didn't get a chance to do its job despite not having allowed a run in 13.1 innings over four straight games."

I saw both of Boston's wins at Skydome (the 19th major league park I've been to) this week. Pedro looked great and had exceptional control on Tuesday. The Skydome gun had him at 87-89 all night with a few at 91-92. Varitek thought Martinez threw harder than that. Pedro: "I felt a lot better inside here than I did last time. I felt looser. I didn't have a hard time warming up. I had my breaking ball back. I had my normal routine back. That was the difference." ... Martinez threw 42 of his first 59 pitches for strikes (his first five innings); he faltered in the 7th inning, walking his only two batters of the night and throwing 30 pitches.

Hohler: "It turns out there is a reason beyond baseball why Pedro Martinez has been less outgoing than usual. His uncle, Florencio Paulino, died suddenly last month while he was returning home to Providence on a flight from the Dominican Republic. Paulino, 67, left 12 children, including Franklin, who is Martinez's right-hand man, and Nelson, who is manager of the Sox team in the Dominican Summer League. Martinez also lost another uncle about the same time. 'He's been kind of down because Franklin's dad died,' Manny Ramirez said after asking Martinez why he has been reluctant to talk to the media. 'That really [affected] him a lot.'" ... Don't count on this fact stopping some Boston mediots from acting like dicks when it comes to Pedro's refusal to answer their cliched questions.

Other stuff from the week: During the team's photo day last weekend, where fans were allowed onto the field before the game, Ramirez hung out for more than 30 minutes, signing autographs, posing for photos and chatting on one kid's cellphone. "I spoke to his mom. I said, 'Hi Mom, how you doing?'" ... Nomar's recovery remains slow and his initial return time of early May seems unlikely. Nixon is making much better progress and Kim will make another rehab start for Pawtucket this weekend. ...

"Thursday morning, he was sitting in a hotel room in Rochester, 'just minding my business,' and preparing to make his start that night for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Yesterday, in the sixth inning at Fenway Park, he was summoned from the Boston bullpen snd asked to get out Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui. ... Meet Phil Seibel. 'Yeah, the last few days have been a little ... crazy.'"

The Red Sox acquired 26-year-old LHP Brad Thomas from the twins. In 2001 and 2003-04 with Minnesota, Thomas was 0-3 with a 9.89 ERA in 11 games. In 891.1 minor league innings, Thomas is 53-51 with a 3.87 ERA. After posting a 16.87 ERA in three appearances with the Twins this year, he was designated for assignment on April 13. Theo: "If things click, he could be an effective lefty in the big leagues in a variety of roles. He definitely has big-league stuff. It's just a matter of improving his command." Ortiz: "The guy is nasty. He's got good (stuff) but his fastball was all over the place at the beginning. I think he'll make it."

Tito plans to use Monday's off-day to give all five starters an an extra day of rest.

April 19, 2004

Back On Friday. Off to Toronto. Seeing Pedro on Tuesday and Wake on Wednesday. ... Should be able to listen to most of today's game on the drive from Buffalo. Go Bronson!

April 18, 2004

Yankees 7, Red Sox 3. Bleech. ... Every pitcher, except for 1999-2000 Pedro, has at least one stinker every season. I'm putting Lowe's Sunday outing in that category. I don't know whether it's fair or accurate, but there it goes.

This was simply one of those games where the team couldn't get started. After the disasterous third, they roared right back with two runs, but once Contreras was gone, the bats fell asleep. Three hits and one walk over the next (and final) 6.2 innings. Bellhorn was sore from being hit on Saturday, so Boston was stuck with Crespo/Reese in the 8-9 spots.

As I mentioned on Opening Night, the Red Sox are going to lose around 60 games this summer. That first game in Baltimore was one of them and we saw another one today. ... Malaska did well and although Seibel walked two guys in both the 7th and 9th innings, he didn't crumble and allow himself to get beat. And who would have figured he'd pitch the most innings (3.2) of anybody on either side? ... Manny continues to smoke the ball (his blast to the triangle on a 3-0 pitch in the 3rd brought home two runs) and Mueller had two singles and a walk.

Outside of that 3rd-inning burst, the Yankees struggled. In their other 8 frames, they went 4-28 (.143); Jeter's single with one out in the 5th was their last safety. And although they were also given nine walks, they scored only one additional run. Rodriguez is 0-12 in the series and his average has dropped to a Pokey-esque .156. ... The Yankees play one more game in Fenway (Arroyo/Brown at 11 am tomorrow) and then go to Chicago before meeting up with the Red Sox for three games in the Bronx beginning on Friday night.
Dontrelle Willis. I meant to mention him yesterday, but he probably deserves his own little note. In addition to pitching 12.2 scoreless innings in two starts against the Expos (9 hits, 5 walks and 12 strikeouts), Willis is also 6-6 at the plate. On April 8, he singled three times (once each to left, center and right) and on April 14, he singled, doubled and hit a 3-run homer. Willis faces the Phillies on Tuesday.
Odds And Ends. The Boston Herald reported that of his first 90 pitches aganst Baltimore on Thursday, Martinez threw only one fastball that resulted in a swing and miss. Why did the Herald stop counting at 90? Maybe because Jay Gibbons swung and missed pitches 91 and 92. And why only fastballs? Here's Pedro's called, swinging and foul strikes, balls and balls in play, by inning:
      C  F  S   B  IP

1 5 5 1 10 3
2 2 2 0 9 3
3 3 3 1 3 4
4 6 3 1 7 5
5 3 3 4 12 5
Tot 19 16 7 41 20
      After 3 starts    End of season

2002 1 0 6.91 20-4 2.26 (led AL in ERA)
2003 0 1 5.12 14-4 2.22 (led AL in ERA)
2004 1 1 4.82 ?
Manny Ramirez's home run yesterday was his 350th, tying him with Chili Davis for 68th place on the all-time list. ... Giants pitcher David Aardsma has ended Hank Aaron's 50-year reign atop the alphabetical list of big league players. ... Tony Massarotti wonders if the Sox starters perform better with four days of rest or five. He posts their 2003 stats:
            Four days   Five+ days

Martinez 6-2 2.19 8-2 2.92
Wakefield 6-5 3.94 3-2 4.23
Schilling 4-7 2.92 4-1 1.52
Lowe 9-2 4.86 6-5 4.00
Schilling's and Lowe's "four days" stats should be Exhibit A in "Why Run Support Distorts W/L Records".

Mel Stottlemyre doesn't usually whine: "I think there were two strike zones out there today. That's all I want to say about that. Moose was at fault partly, of course, but I can't blame it [four walks] all on him." ... Schilling: "I would love to tell you four walks were due to a bad strike zone, but they weren't. The guys that I walked, I walked. I thought Mark was consistent. That's what you ask for from an umpire -- big or little [strike zone], I want consistency. I don't want ball one to be strike three, or vice versa."

Memo To Sox re Contreras: "Keep doing what you're doing. Lay off the splitter and pound the fastball."
2003   IP  H   ER  BB  K   ERA    AVG

0520 1.1 2 5 3 1 Loss, Sox 10-7
0829 3.0 6 7 3 6 Loss, Sox 10-5
4.1 8 12 6 7 24.92 .421 Both games at Fenway
Sox hitters v the Cuban Con Man:
        AB   H   

Damon 3 0 3K
Mueller 2 2 HR, 4 RBI, BB
Ortiz 3 2 double, 3 RBI
Ramirez 0 0 BB
Millar 2 0 2K
Varitek 2 0 BB, K
Kapler 2 1 double, RBI
Michael Holley, Boston Globe: "You know we're going to hear from him soon. I say George Steinbrenner emerges before the first runner leaves Hopkinton tomorrow morning. How long before he releases one of his breathless memos? The ones where he quotes General MacArthur and assures all that the Yankees will not go down without a fight?"

Lawrence Rocca, Newark Star-Ledger: "Okay, okay, it's only 11 games, but what if the Red Sox really did win the winter? What if these first two games up here aren't just prelude to the same old story? What if A-Rod is going to struggle all year and Curt Schilling is going to win the Cy Young Award and, well, at what point is it no longer too soon to be more than just a hunch? ... You can bet the big guy in Tampa was thinking that yesterday, no matter how many 'it's not how you start, it's how you finish' press releases he's got planned for this week."

Jeter on the Fenway jeers: "You hear most of it, unless you're deaf." ... Late inning chant: "Po-key's better!"
Why Does The Truth Hate America? AP: "Following an important meeting on Iraq war planning in late 2001, President Bush told the public that the discussions were about Afghanistan. He made no mention afterward about Iraq even though that was the real focus of the session at his ranch. 'I'm right now focused on the military operations in Afghanistan,' Bush told reporters after talks on Dec. 28, 2001, with top aides and generals. ... In a Washington speech last month, Franks said he discussed with the president on that day the 'growing storm' and the need to revise a long-standing military contingency plan for Iraq."

Also: "Franks presented a list of assumptions that were behind the plan. They included that Iraq would be the main effort of the United States and would get priority on resources, and that the Afghan operation and the global fight against terrorism would provide a noise level under which Iraq operations could proceed." ... In other words, divert everyone's attention with Afghanistan, which was only a smokescreen for their real plan. How can anyone still support these war criminals?

"The first part of April has been the bloodiest period so far for US troops in Iraq. There were 87 deaths by hostile fire in the first 15 days of this month ... The last time US troops experienced a two-week loss such as this one in Iraq was October 1971, two years before US ground involvement ended in Vietnam." ... European Union external relations commissioner Chris Patten: "The comparison ... that Iraq could become as difficult an issue as Vietnam is misplaced, because I think it is arguably much more serious." ... I found these quotes last night. The April death count is now 93. Number of US dead since Bush cried "Bring them on": 488.

"If You Said to Me, Name 25 Million People Who Would Maybe Be President ... He Wouldn't Have Been in That Category" ... How To Build a Watch.
Bush Knew, Part 573. Re David Schippers, conservative Chicago lawyer and the House Judiciary Committee's chief investigator in the Clinton impeachment trial. "On Sept. 13, 2001, in an interview with Pittsburgh radio station WRRK, Schippers alleged that federal authorities had received information about Middle Eastern involvement in the attacks at Oklahoma City and plans to strike buildings in lower Manhattan. He had tried contacting Attorney General John Ashcroft, the White House, even the House managers with whom he had worked. But nobody returned his phone calls. ... "'I was trying to get people to listen to me because I had heard that the terrorists had set up a three-pronged attack': an American airplane [TWA 800, according to Schippers], the bombing of a federal building in the heartland and a massive attack in lower Manhattan, he said.

"'People thought I was crazy. What I was doing was I was calling everybody I knew telling them that this has happened,' he said. "I'm telling you the more I see of the stuff that's coming out, if the FBI had even been awake they would have seen it." Schippers' intelligence indicated the original plan was to set off a 'dirty nuclear bomb,' a bomb containing conventional explosives and nuclear waste material, in lower Manhattan." ... Schippers said (in an October 2001 interview) it was FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota who told him about an upcoming terrorist attack in lower Manhattan.

April 17, 2004

Red Sox 5, Yankees 2. Haven't had a chance to watch the tape of the game, but although Schilling put up a decent line (6.1-6-1-4-8), he'll likely be pissed at his performance. He didn't want to come out of the game in the 7th, but he had thrown 122 pitches. His count rose because of several long at-bats: 11 pitches to Matsui in the 4th, 8 to Giambi in the 6th and 9 to Jeter in the 7th (his last batter). He threw at least 5 pitches to 12 of his 28 batters.

Timlin came on and after a walk to his first batter, he got five quick outs. Foulke pitched the 9th. ... When he needed outs, Schilling got them:

2nd inning: Two outs. Matsui walks. Posada doubles to right. Clark is caught looking on a 2-2 pitch.

3rd inning: With two outs, Williams doubles down the right field line. Rodriguez strikes out on 3 pitches (called, swinging, called).

4th inning: Schilling strikes out Giambi, but walks Sheffield and allows a single to Matsui (11-pitch AB). He then gets Posada to hit into a first-pitch, 4-6-3 double play.

5th inning: Clark homers to open the inning, but the next 3 hitters (Wilson, Jeter, Williams) go out on 12 pitches.

6th inning: Schilling strikes out Rodriguez to begin the inning, but he walks Giambi on 8 pitches and after Sheffield fouls out to third, Matsui singles to left. Schilling falls behind Posada 3-0, gets 2 called strikes, but ends up walking him. Boston is up 4-1 and Clark (who homered last inning) is the go-ahead run at the plate. He grounds out 3-1 on the first pitch.

Boston was extremely patient with Mussina and forced him to throw 71 pitches through the first 3 innings (14-38-19). Three walks, a HBP and a single added up to two runs in the 2nd and another Jeter error, singles by Varitek and Bellhorn and a Kapler FC brought home a run in the 3rd. ... Manny hit a bomb to center to start the 5th (I am so glad he's still in Boston!) and Damon doubled home Pokey for the fifth run in the 8th. ... The Red Sox also lined into two double plays: Bellhorn in the 5th and Varitek in the 7th. Fortunately, they did not blunt any necessary rallies, and so merely offered more evidence that the team is hitting the ball well.

Bellhorn was on base in 3 of his 4 trips (walk, single, HBP), raising his OBP to an even .500 -- higher than the Yankees' winning percentage! ... A-Rod went 0-4 for the second consecutive game, though he did manage to hit a ball out of the infield today -- a fly to deep center to close out the first inning.
Coming Tomorrow. Sunday Times: "The attacks of Sept. 11 seemed to come in a stunning burst from nowhere. But now, after two weeks of extraordinary public hearings and a dozen detailed reports, the lengthy documentary record makes clear that predictions of an attack by Al Qaeda had been communicated directly to the highest levels of the government."

As it becomes obvious that the 9/11 Commission will be finding plenty of fault with the Bush Gang and knowing how thin-skinned they are to even a whiff of criticism, I'm not surprised to hear Delay and others trying to smear the Commission as partisian, hoping to pre-emptively blunt the impact of the Commission's report. The wing-nuts have apparently forgotten that AWOL appointed a majority of the Commission's members, including its Chairman, and set most of its rules.
Red Sox 6, Yankees 2. Was Tim McCarver crying? Some highlights:

The first inning. After Wakefield set down the Yankees in order on only 8 pitches, the Red Sox bat around and score four runs. Two errors (Giambi and Jeter), two home runs (Mueller and Manny) and a 4-pitch walk to Mark "OBP" Bellhorn spelled trouble for Vazquez. ... Bellhorn drew another walk in the 8th (he now has 14); his OBP is .476.

The catcher. Tito says he won't fall into the trap of having Mirabelli catch only/all of Wakefield's starts, but he was in there last night. And he reached base in all four plate appearances, inluding a 1st-pitch home run in the fourth and a RBI double into the left field corner in the 6th. The double came on a 3-0 pitch. In the previous inning, Vazquez had gone 3-0 on Ortiz and then poured in a mid-80s fastball that Ortiz took (but was drooling at). I can only assume the Sox felt Vazquez might do the same thing with Mirabelli. Green light -- good call.

The Empire. Rodriguez went 0-4 and did not hit the ball out of the infield. He looked particularly bad on a strikeout in the 4th, waving at a 61 mph pitch that was way outside. He also was gunned down on an ill-advised attempted steal of third in the 6th. Sheffield was the tying run at the plate at the time -- with only one out and Posada (who had already homered) on deck. But Mirabelli caught Rodriguez and then Sheffield stared at strike three and the inning was over. ... Lofton made outs in all five of his at-bats, hitting the ball (in order) to shortstop, third, second, first and the pitcher.

I listened to the Yankee radio broadcast while watching Fox on mute. McCarver and Buck were apparently as horrid as usual. The visuals were also pathetic. Coming back from commercial for the bottom of the second inning, Fox posted the score as 5-1 Boston and 1 out. It was actually only 4-1 and there were no outs -- Damon was leading off. It took two batters (and 7 pitches) for Fox to finally figure out what was going on. ... And I'd be shocked if even one person watching thought that talking cartoon baseball was a good idea (explaining what a fastball is??). Just horrible -- and when Fox ran one of the animated bits for the second time, they completely missed Wilson's ground out in the 3rd. ... The stop light-colored bar showing a runner's lead at first was equally useless.

Anyway, the radio. Charlie Steiner made a couple of comments about the poor Red Sox defense -- this after two first-inning errors on extremely playable balls by the Yankees. Just the idea of a Yankee announcer criticizing another team for poor glovework is absurd. Also, Steiner and Sterling kept wondering if the cold weather would affect Wakefield's knuckleball. It didn't. Wouldn't it affect pitchers who rely more on breaking stuff -- one reason why Pedro has had so much trouble with his curveball in two of his three starts? The cold may have bothered Vazquez, particularly in the first inning, but S&S never mentioned it. I guess the Yankees are impervious to intemperate weather. ... Finally, Sterling referred to a Red Sox bench player as "Felipe Crespo."

Notes: Byung-Hyun Kim will pitch three innings for Pawtucket on Monday. Nomar is expected to play catch over the weekend and possibly take some grounders. Nixon will be reevaluated Monday and could begin working out at the Fort Myers facilities. ... ... Ramirez has hit safely in seven straight games at a .419 (13-31) clip. ... Schilling/Mussina at 1:00 pm.

"And as to whether or not I make decisions based upon polls, I don't. I just don't make decisions that way...If I tried to fine-tune my messages based upon polls, I think I'd be pretty ineffective." George W. Bush, April 13, 2004

"One [White House] adviser said the White House had examined polling and focus group studies in determining that it would be a mistake for Mr. Bush to appear to yield" and apologize for mistakes. New York Times, April 15, 2004 [Also, Bush's obsession with polling]
Illegal. Bob Woodward: "The end of July 2002, they need $700 million, a large amount of money for all these tasks. And the president approves it. But Congress doesn't know and it is done. They get the money from a supplemental appropriation for the Afghan War, which Congress has approved. ... Some people are gonna look at a document called the Constitution which says that no money will be drawn from the treasury unless appropriated by Congress. Congress was totally in the dark on this." ... "Powell felt Cheney and his allies [including Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith] and what Powell called Feith's 'Gestapo' office -- had established what amounted to a separate government."

One Sentence, Three Lies. Bush in his press conference: "They could still be there [WMD in Iraq]. They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm." ... Afterwards, the White House announced that the actual figure was 26 tons, they were found at various locations (not at a turkey farm) and there was no mustard gas at all. ... As Reagan once said, "Facts are stupid things."

"But there was nobody in our government, at least, and I don't think the prior government that could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale." George W. Bush, April 13, 2004 ... In the same press conference, Bush said "part of [the reason I requested the PDB] had to do with the Genoa G-8 conference I was going to attend" in July 2001, where he was warned that bin Laden-connected terrorists were plotting to fly airplanes into buildings. Bush spent the night on a military ship because of the danger.

April 16, 2004

Oh, It's On.

Yankees Media
New York Post
New York Daily News
New York Times
Bergen Record
Hartford Courant
Newark Star-Ledger
Staten Island Advance

Other non-Rivalry news: Byung-Hyun Kim pitched two perfect innings in his first rehab start for Sarasota (A). He threw only 14 pitches and struck out two. ... Lenny DiNardo threw 48 pitches in three innings for Pawtucket, giving up 3 hits, no runs and striking out four batters. ... Terry Francona says LHP Phil Seibel, who made his major league debut last night, will be an innings-eater rather than a LOOGY. ... Trot Nixon's batting-practice session on Wednesday at the University of Miami went very well. ... In preparation for his Patriots' Day start on Monday (11 am) Bronson Arroyo is going to bed as early as possible the next few nights, possibly around 11 o'clock, with a wakeup call set for 8 a.m. "I have to get my body used to it. If I don't do that, it will feel like I'm pitching before breakfast."

April 15, 2004

Sunny Day, Sweeping The Clouds Away. Pedro/Ponson go in the one-game series at 7:05 pm. And then ...

Fri 4/16 Wakefield on 7 days rest
Sat 4/17 Schilling on 5 days rest
Sun 4/18 Arroyo on 9 days rest
Mon 4/19 Lowe on 10 days rest

Francona: "[W]e're all in agreement that this is the best way for our ball club to move forward and have success. ... We actually talked about moving (Martinez) back and he was fine with that, too, but with the way we're set up, I think our rotation sets up better if he pitches (tonight)." ... This way, Pedro stays on his normal rest, Schilling sticks very close to his schedule, Wakefield is able to be slipped in between Martinez and Schilling (which Francona wants to do), and Lowe doesn't have to pitch on the carpet in Toronto. ... It sets up Lowe, Arroyo and Martinez for the following weekend in New York.

Trot Nixon's herniated disk is improving. "It's more of a nag. On a scale of one to 10, it's about a 1-1½ right now." Nixon is determined to not rush his return, but he believes he'll be back in Boston in late April or early May. he is taking some batting practice today

Bobby Jones and Brian Daubach were optioned to Pawtucket. Daubach will join Pawtucket in Syracuse tonight and lefty Phil Seibel is expected to be fill Jones's spot in the pen. ... Byung-Hyun Kim will make his first rehab start tonight for Sarasota (A). If all goes well, he'll pitch in Pawtucket on April 23. ... This weekend's series gets some play in Gotham.
More Lying Liars. So why did CIA Director George Tenet lie under oath in front of the 9/11 Commission? ... He told the Commission that he never met with George Bush in August 2001 because Bush was on vacation in Texas. Now the word is that Tenet misspoke and did in fact travel to Crawford on August 17. Looking at the White House website, Tenet was apparently also there on August 24, but I haven't seen that mentioned in the news yet.

Why would Tenet lie about something so easily verifiable? Beats me. One big reason would be to avoid the obvious follow-up question: "What were those briefings about?" ... I keep saying "lie" because I refuse to believe that George Tenet, making his second public appearance before the Commission, at a time when the August 6 PDB and the threats/warnings have been all over the news, would "forget" that he briefed Bush in Texas. ... The idea of fewer briefings would imply less urgency, but that's hard to spin at this point, since the now-famous "hair on fire" comment was used to describe Tenet himself.

I think the administration believes if they can control the tickle of truth and let it seep out reeeeallllly slowly, most people (getting no help from the media, of course) won't be able to remember all the corrections (or even know the corrections were made). (The mustard gas in a turkey farm being a brand-new example.)

Slate reports that another story has changed. "The official story about the PDB is that the CIA prepared it at the president's request. Bush had heard all Tenet's briefings about a possible al-Qaida attack overseas, the tale goes, and he wanted to know if Bin Laden might strike here. This story is almost certainly untrue. On March 19 of this year, Tenet told the 9/11 commission that the PDB had been prepared, as usual, at a CIA analyst's initiative. He later retracted that testimony, saying the president had asked for the briefing. Tenet embellished his new narrative, saying that the CIA officer who gave the briefing to Bush and Condi Rice started by reminding the president that he had requested it. But as Rice has since testified, she was not present during the briefing; she wasn't in Texas. Someone should ask: Was that the only part of the tale that Tenet made up? Or did he invent the whole thing -- and, if so, on whose orders?"

The Bush Administration's Top 40 Lies About War and Terrorism. ... No Turkee for Time.
Art. A photomosaic of Bush using snapshots of Americans who have died in Iraq. Rumsfeld too. ... Ashcroft's face made entirely of porn. ... And Bush again, this time with pictures of human sphincters. Thanks to TMW

April 14, 2004

Wednesday Notes. Johnny Damon and Scott Williamson would have been set to play Wednesday, but the Red Sox were rained out for the second straight night. ... Byung-Hyun Kim is scheduled to make his first rehab start in Sarasota tomorrow. Trot Nixon is ready to take batting practice. ... How Terry Francona makes decisions. ... On baseball blogs.

More reasons to hate Fox: "For its nationally televised game between the Yankees and Red Sox from Boston Friday night, Fox Sports will introduce Scooter, an animated, talking baseball [using the voice of 'SpongeBob SquarePants'], to explain the types of pitches to young viewers. It also will utilize enhanced graphics that will trace the arcs of pitches and hits and use changing color zones for runners' leads."
More Rain. I think the rotation looks like this:
Thursday  Orioles Pedro     ( 4 days rest)/Ponson

Friday Yankees Schlling ( 4 days rest)/Vazquez
Saturday Yankees Arroyo ( 7 days rest)/Mussina
Sunday Yankees Lowe (10 days rest)/Contreras
Monday Yankees Wakefield (10 days rest)/Brown
I want baseball, dammit!
9/11 Timeline. The latest update is here. The Timeline's main page is here.
Damning. Headline: "Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings":

"By the time a CIA briefer gave President Bush the Aug. 6, 2001, President's Daily Brief headlined 'Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US,' the president had seen a stream of alarming reports on al Qaeda's intentions. So had Vice President Cheney and Bush's top national security team, according to newly declassified information ...

"In April and May 2001, for example, the intelligence community headlined some of those reports, 'Bin Laden planning multiple operations,' 'Bin Laden network's plans advancing' and 'Bin Laden threats are real.' ... It noted that operatives might choose to hijack an aircraft or storm a US embassy. Without knowing when, where or how the terrorists would strike, the CIA 'consistently described the upcoming attacks as occurring on a catastrophic level, indicating that they would cause the world to be in turmoil...'"

[During his press conference last night, Bush explained how he was kept appraised of the terrorist threat: "I was dealing with terrorism a lot as the president when George Tenet came in to brief me. I mean, that's where I got my information. ... I wanted Tenet in the Oval Office all the time. And we had briefings about terrorist threats. ... I met with Tenet all the time."]

Again from the 9/11 Commission: ''Reports similar to these were made available to President Bush in the morning meetings with Tenet."
Sticking To The Script. Mike Allen, Washington Post: Mr. President, why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9-11 commission? ...

Bush: ... because the 9-11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.

Allen: I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.

Bush: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9-11 commission is looking forward to asking us. And I'm looking forward to answering them. ... I've got some must-calls. I'm sorry.


Q: In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you'd made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. ... After 9-11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have learned from it?

Bush: I wish you'd have given me this written question ahead of time so I could plan for it. ... You know, I just -- I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, with all the pressure of trying to come up with answer, but it hadn't yet. ... I hope -- I don't want to sound like I have made no mistakes. I'm confident I have. I just haven't -- you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.

April 13, 2004

Blog Watch. A new one: Red Sox Cup. ... Dirt Dog has posted these Yankees match-ups:

Friday: Wakefield/Vazquez
Saturday: Schilling/Contreras
Sunday: Arroyo/DePaula
Monday: Lowe/Mussina

Info here. ... That means I'll see Pedro and Wakefield in Toronto.

At 9:03 am on the morning of September 11, 2001, George Bush was told a second plane had hit the World Trade Center and "America is under attack". What did he do for the next five minutes? Click here. In a Wall Street Journal story published on March 22, 2004, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett says that Bush remained in the classroom for seven minutes after being told of the second plane. Some reports filed by journalists in the classroom say Bush stayed for as long as 9 minutes. The WSJ confirms that video exists of the entire photo-op.
Red Sox-Orioles; Rained Out. Tonight's game has been rained out and will be made up later in the season. The rotation now looks like this:
Tue April 13 vs Baltimore  Rained out

Wed April 14 vs Baltimore Lowe
Thu April 15 vs Baltimore Pedro
Fri April 16 vs Yankees Wakefield
Sat April 17 vs Yankees Schilling
Sun April 18 vs Yankees Arroyo
Mon April 19 vs Yankees Lowe
Tue April 20 at Toronto Pedro
Wed April 21 at Toronto Wakefield
Thu April 22 at Toronto Schilling
Fri April 23 at Yankees Arroyo
Sat April 24 at Yankees Lowe
Sun April 25 at Yankees Pedro
Upon Further Review. Bobby M. Jones threw only 8 pitches and walked two batters in the 11th inning of Sunday's game, but he did not pitch badly. Watching my tape of the game this afternoon, I'd say Jones threw 4 balls and 4 strikes (maybe 3 and 5).

His first pitch to Hudson was right over the plate and low; the exact same pitch was called a strike on a Red Sox hitter an inning or two earlier. The second pitch was a ball. With a 2-0 count, Jones threw a great pitch that caught the outside corner, but was called a ball. The count was 3-0, but it should have been 1-2. Ball four was again over the plate and just a wee bit lower than his first pitch to Hudson; the call could have gone either way. ... Jones's first two pitches to Gomez were definitely balls -- inside and low. His last two pitches, however, were strikes: another pitch that grabbed the inside corner and another strike at the bottom of the knees.

Home plate umpire Tim Tschida's judgment on at least half of Jones's pitches were about as accurate as his call on Knoblauch's non-tag of Offerman in the 1999 ALCS.
"Japanese Determined to Attack the United States in the Pacific" Jim Pinkerton of Newsday: "If you knew that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had received a memo a month before Pearl Harbor [with that title] and that he had done nothing about that information, would that knowledge change your perception of FDR as a wise war leader? Roosevelt received no such memo, of course, but President George W. Bush got a blunt warning five weeks before 9/11 and he did little or nothing. He even presided over a stand-down in preparations, concentrating on other concerns."

The warning came on August 6, 2001. News reports at the time say Bush quit work early that day and went fishing (he was on a month-long vacation after all). What did he do the following day? He went golfing at the Ridgewood Country Club in Waco, Texas. The Washington Post: "Bush seemed carefree as he spoke about the books he was reading, the work he was doing on his nearby ranch, his love of hot-weather jogging, his golf game and his 55th birthday. ... His staff said at the time that by far the biggest issue on his agenda was his decision on federal funding of stem cell research, followed by education, immigration and the Social Security 'lockbox.'"

Bush: "[The Aug. 6 PDB] included the fact that the FBI was conducting field investigations, which comforted me. You see, it meant the FBI was doing its job, the FBI was running down any lead. And I will tell you this, Scott, that had they found something, I'm confident they would have reported back to me. That's the way the system works. And whoever was the Acting FBI Director, had they found something, would have said, Mr. President, we have found something that you need to be concerned about in your duties to protect America. That didn't happen."

Amazing. Simply amazing. ... Also at that link: "Only George W. Bush could study a memo titled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in US", and then blithely assert that it "said nothing about an attack on America." Note to the President: "US" is a common abbreviation for "the United States of America", the country we live in and of which you are the highest elected official, a country also often referred to in shorthand as "America." Good luck with that whole national security thing from hereon out."

One of my new favorite political blogs is by David Sirota, who also does work for the Center for American Progress. Go now.
Two New Blogs. Lost in Sox and A Red Sox Fan in Pinstripe Territory.
One Week In. The Red Sox have a 4-3 record after the first week of the season, which is good enough for a share of first place in the AL East. And considering that they are playing without Nomar and Nixon, and missed Damon for two games, that's pretty good. And while I recently suggested laughing at people who rely on small sample sizes, today's papers are full of to-date stats, so I'm posting some of them.

Boston's team batting average is .236; only the Blue Jays (.217) and Yankees (.208) are worse. Boston's slugging percentage of .364 is 13th in the AL (.001 ahead of Toronto) and the team's OBP is .336 (10th). Some numbers:
          AVG   OBP   SLG

Manny .414 .469 .621
Ortiz .304 .467 .739

Mueller .182 .229 .182 (0-last 19)
Varitek .190 .433 .333 (9 BB, 2nd in MLB)
Bellhorn .174 .424 .348 (10 BB, leads MLB)
The Red Sox pitching staff has a 3.56 ERA -- 2nd best behind Oakland's 3.11 and 1.45 points lower than the Yankees, who are 10th at 5.01. The starters are 3-1, 3.20 and the bullpen is 1-2, 4.24. Theo: "We'll be OK if we don't play two 12-plus-inning games a week the rest of the year. If we do, we might have to go with a 15-man staff." ... The Red Sox staff has issued 32 walks and one-quarter of them have come from Bobby Jones -- in only 3.1 innings.

Theo on the first week: "There have been lots of injuries and atypical performances in some respects. But the bottom line is we're only going to play better as we go forward. ... We haven't been able to develop a rhythm yet with our personnel or with game situations. ... It's been an unusual set of circumstances. The first week of the season, we have seven guys on the DL and another unavailable."

Gerry Callahan on the pulling of Pedro: "Ped-ro! Ped-ro! they chanted, and you couldn't help but wonder if he would finish the job. ... He wouldn't get the chance. Not this year. Not with this manager. ... Francona signaled to the bullpen before he reached the mound ... A funny thing happened on this night, though. No one seemed to mind. ... 'I told him he pitched a whale of a ball game,' Francona said, 'and Foulke will finish up for him.' ... The Red Sox made a number of upgrades in the offseason, and this is certainly one of them. Francona doesn't have to be a genius. He just has to make sense."

Mussina and Contreras could be flip-flopped on Friday, in which case Mussina would face Schilling. ... Alex ".172" Rodriguez heard some boos on Sunday in Yankee Stadium.

Pitchers for the Orioles series:
Tuesday: Lowe/Kurt Ainsworth
Wednesday: Wakefield/Sidney Ponson
Thursday: Pedro/Matt Riley