Busy day today…

Let’s cover the game first, shall we? Against the AAA Tigers, the Sox get 8 strong from Lowe as the offense continues to sizzle…Sox win 7-4. The game was delayed 80 minutes by rain, but they got all 9 in.

Conversely, our ‘friends’ in the Bronx, scheduled to face the probable AL Cy Young award winner at 7:05, called their game at 7:10. Yes, the umpires made the decision because it was Toronto’s last visit to NY. That doesn’t mean they didn’t get heavy influence from the home team. If you’ve ever listened/watched a Yankee game, you’ve heard umpteen times about the superior drainage in the Bronx. I don’t ever want to hear it again.

On the trade front, the Sox shipped off Brandon Lyon for lefty specialist Scott Sauerbeck. They also shipped a AA righty for a AAA lefty. Not the monster trade many Sox fans are looking for, but one that definitely strengthens the pen.

Conversely, the Yanks acquired snicker Jesse Orosco. It may have been a minor victory, but it is the little battles that win the war, right?

Their first choice was Scott Sauerbeck, but Pirate GM Dave Littlefield told the Yankees they didn’t have what it would take to get the lefty reliever, and dealt him to the Red Sox yesterday for two right-handed pitchers.

The second option was Steve Kline, but the Cardinals oddly told Yankee GM Brian Cashman they wouldn’t do Sterling Hitchcock for Kline.

So, Cashman turned to the Padres and acquired antique lefty Jesse Orosco and $150,000 for a player to be named who isn’t close to being a prospect. KING

For those who don’t know it, Orosco is 46 years old and has an ERA of 7+ this year.

Part 2 of the Courant interview with the Sox owners has a bit more to offer today, as they discuss the future of Fenway. Great opening by Matt Eagan:

Few ballparks have had as much written about them as Fenway Park. That odd, little plot of land in Boston has been the subject of countless essays and compared with Camelot or Oz or Never Never Land.

Most of those essays have been written, no doubt, by folks who don’t sit behind the right field foul pole. As charming as Fenway Park is, it can be as confining as Oz. Not that one. The one on HBO.

And finally, here is the final installment on the story of the 1911 heat wave.

Sometimes it isn’t fair

How can the Tigers be such a pitiful franchise? I don’t know this for sure, but I’m fairly certain thet the fine citizens of Detroit ponied up quite a bit for that new canyon of a stadium. Don’t they deserve to have a better organization? A better product on the field?

If you didn’t know, the Sox put this one away early last night. 5 runs in the 2nd, and another 5 in the 3rd. Hell; even Giambi had 2 RBI. It’s funny if you read the postgame quotes. Doesn’t it seem if players aren’t spouting cliches, they are giving uneccesary praise to an opponent?

“Bonderman left some balls up tonight, which he normally doesn’t do,” Walker said. “He’s a great sinkerball pitcher.” HEUSCHKEL

Umm, Todd…Bonderman is what; 20? And you’ve faced him how many times?

Yesterday was some kind of Connecticut Day for the Red Sox…some of the owners were in town with Mendoza and Tiant for some reason or another. There is an interview with the owners, for the most part they talk about NESN and the presence in Connecticut. Evidently there are 2 more parts for the next two days, so I’ll keep you posted.

Following up on yesterday’s heat story, here’s part 3.

Anatomy of a fine Sunday…

The day started off perfectly…my 2 1/2 year old allowed me to sleep in…until 7 AM! I know it doesn’t sound like much, but that’s an hour later than usual, and it was my turn to get up with her. Meandered through some of the Sunday paper, then everybody awake and off for the day. Summer attendance at Mass, so it was mercifully short. Then off to Sunday breakfast with the family. Eating a leisurely meal on the deck while the tot and her 4 cousins run around in the backyard willy-nilly.

The best part of the whole morning/early afternoon preamble is that the kid was dead asleep and wiped out when we arrived back home at 2:00. So I got to watch the beginning of the game in peace. To make things even better, just as my eyelids began to grow heavy, the Sox were up 9-0 and Pedro was pitching very well. Thanks, Red Sox, for allowing me to snooze during the game and not be too worried about the outcome. I saw that the final was 9-4, and then even later discovered that all 4 of those runs came in the 9th…so I’m glad I missed that part.

Then, after the nap, another meal on the deck while watching the MetLife blimp fly right over my house. No; it wasn’t there to chronicle the extreme excitement going down at Casa De PSF, it must have been doing a dry run before the GHO this week. Rounded out the day by mowing the lawn, and then watching an excellent movie on DVD.

So that’s it. A fine day. Do you care? Probably not, but I just thought I’d share. By the way, yesterday and today have been part 1 and 2 of an interesting 4 part series on a heat wave in 1911. Check it out.

A couple 2 game series with some lesser competition (Tigers and D-Rays) before the Yankees come to town. Here’s hoping they don’t look past any of these games and go on a nice little tear. Raise your hand if you think 3 out of 4 is entirely attainable..

A Nice Win

Mendoza should have a hex put on Trupiano and Castiglione. I was playing poker with a group of friends, and we had the Sox game on the radio. All of the sudden I hear “This is Mendoza’s longest outing as a starter, 5 2/3, and he’s really cruising along…”. I turned to my friends and said, “They just jinxed him”. Then he promptly gave up 3 runs. Still, from what I heard, it was another decent outing for Mendoza.

The offense didn’t come back to life completely, but did get clutch hits from Manny and JEREMY GIAMBI?? Those hits, combined with some agressive baserunning/base stealing got the Sox the tie and then the win.

And once again, the bullpen shines. Todd Jones uses Cliff’s Notes to induce a double play, and Kim breezes through the 10th to keep the score tied. I’m not up to looking it up right now ’cause I’m in kind of a hurry…but has the bullpen allowed more than 5 runs TOTAL since Kim was moved back there?

Well, today looks like a gimme (Pedro vs. Wayback) which means that Wayback regains the form that afforded him a minor league perfect game recently…

EDIT: A poster over at Sons of Sam Horn must have gotten the same idea I did…luckily, he did it all so I don’t have to.

Thus far in July, the Sox pen has an ERA of 2.01…go look for a month by month breakdown.

What a strange turn of events…

Now that the pitching is doing OK, especially the bullpen; it seems that the bats have gone to sleep. Wakes allows 4 runs, the bullpen allows none. And the Sox lose 4-1.

Let’s hope for a good end to this weekend series….I suppose a split will have to do.

Sellout??

No, not really. While it might appear to be so, I’m merely recommending a service that I think people will like. Plus; it can save you a few bucks. Do I get something if you decide to try it? Only if you want me to…read on:

First off; if you don’t have some kind of broadband internet service, this won’t work for you. However; if you hem and haw about GETTING broadband, this might be a reason to try it; as the money you save could negate the extra you’ll be paying for internet service.

Recently, we got our phone bill in the mail from SBC. We have all the bells and whistles on our phone…caller ID, Telemarketer blocking, voice mail, etc. etc. Long distance isn’t really an issue for us, because we don’t make too many long distance calls. So I suddenly realized that our monthly phone bil was close to $60. A pretty penny for a service we hardly use, as we have 2 cell phones with more minutes than we could possibly consider using. So we talked about losing the landline altogether. Then I remembered hearing about this Vonage service, so I thought I’d do some research.

I looked into it, and it looked too good to be true. All the bells and whistles of my SBC account, I could transfer my existing home number, and I would get 500 minutes a month of long distance. All for around $26 a month, even after all fees.

So I did my best to find some impartial reviews online. It took some searching, because many Vonage sites are put up by Vonage customers who are looking for referrals. I did find some seemingly impartial reviews (listed at the left), and decided to give it a whirl. I set up my account and placed my order on Sunday night, I recieved my hardware on Tuesday. Pretty much plug and play; once I hooked it up and plugged my phone into it, it worked.

Calls are crystal clear, the voice mail is much better than the SBC voicemail I had, and I don’t have a single complaint. There is apparantly a way to make it so all phone wiring in your house is easily converted by removing the connection from the phone company, but I haven’t tried that yet. The only thing that is taking some getting used to is the 11 number dialing, but I programmed ‘1860’ into speed dial to get around that.

If you read up on it, you’ll see there are other benifits that I don’t take advantage of. There is a $40 plan that includes unlimited calls to US and Canada. For an additional $5, you can set up a number in any local exchange (say your parents live in California, and you live in Connecticut…for $5 a month they can call you all they want without paying at all). Plus, international rates seem to be excellent.

So check it out. Peruse some of the research I have gathered and see if it will work out for you. If you think it would, make sure you use the link above to sign up for service, as not only will YOU get a free month, but so will I.

Feel free to leave comments below; and if you have any other questions drop me a line at psf@portlandsoxfan.com

Tough start…

To the second half, facing arguably the best pitcher in the AL right now. Still; the Sox had their chances. I only listened to bits and pieces, but the part I DID hear was Trot being thrown out at the plate with 0 out and down only 1-0. That irked me a little as I drove down the road.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Guess I missed a heckuva game…

I watched the first 3 innings…but I honestly couldn’t have cared less about the game last night. Read this morning it turned out interesting. And whatever AL team makes it to the World Series needs to pool together and get Hank Blaylock a gift certificate to Ruby Tuesdays or something.

According to reports this morning, Benitez to the Yanks is a done deal. He goes across town for a couple of minor league arms.

Some Yankees people pooh-poohed early reports that they may become so desperate as to try for Benitez, 3-3 with a 3.10 ERA and 21 saves in 28 chances. After considering other relievers such as Felix Rodriguez, Jose Jimenez, Billy Koch and Mike Williams, Yankees executives ultimately concluded Benitez is the best of a very questionable lot. As one Yankees executive said the other day, ”Who’s better?”

Unless he has complete meltdowns, this deal makes the Yanks pen better.

And am I the only one disgusted with Gorden Edes? Yesterday, a completely uneccesary article on the future of Nomar Garciaparra complete with overblown quotes from ‘sources’ (read: agent), and today, Manny is taken to task. I’m not even going to dignify it with a link.

All-Star Shame

Ok, that may be overstating it. Yes, you can make an argument that Clemens should go to the game because it his last year and all. But if he was so popular and loved, don’t you think his fellow players would have voted him in based on this? Instead (I’m sure at the urging of Fox Sports), the Commish has to come up with a way to get Roger to Chicago.

And if Zito was pulled from the game by his team, why Clemens? I’m not going to even bring up a certain Dominican who an argument could be made for, because it is just as well he’s not there. But how about the fact that there are TWO starting pitchers on the Yankees that are more deserving of the berth than their teammate?

On a somewhat related trade note, the Dodgers got Jeremy Burnitz from the Mets and Rickey Henderson from the Newark Bears of the Independant League. So that may take them out of the trade market. Sure seems like a stopgap move, though.

EDIT: And in a STARTLING trade rumor floated by Peter Gammons on BBTN last night, there was talk of a 3 way deal between the Yankees, Mets…and Sox??? Yanks get Benitez for Weaver, Mets flip Weaver over to the Sox for somebody. I have no link to confirm this, evidently it is what was said on ESPN last night.

Similar position…

…let’s hope for different results.

Well, at the start of this trip, I was hoping for at least an 8-5 trip. And after a disastrous 1-2 start with the Devil Rays, I said that I thought they would have to go 7-3 on the rest of the trip to make it worthwhile. I was not optimistic about that prediction, but I was right on the money, I suppose.

The next very important stretch, the one that will make or break this team, is the 25 game stretch between August 11th and September 7th. 20 of 25 games vs. the A’s, Mariners, and Yankees. So hopefully the Sox come out of the gate in the second half like a ball of fire and put themselves in a good position before that series of games.

There was an interesting chart in the print edition of the Hartford Courant that showed the last 4 years and the Sox position at the All-Star break. Last year they were 2 back, 2001 they were 1.5 back, and 2000 they were 4 back. So all in all, a familiar pattern. Let’s hope that the 2nd half doesn’t follow that pattern.