Soft

EDIT: I just saw this today, it was composed on 5/15

1. Let’s face it, a roster spot on this team is a pretty cushy gig. Soft managerial
style and soft player leadership. Absolutely no one is going to get in your face
unless you aren’t sociable. Drop an easy pop fly because the roof was open or
forget how many outs there are, or whine about the schedule, just as long as you
play Playstation and go out to dinner with the fellas and it’s all good.

2. The team has had 4 games rained out and played two double-headers. There
has been no west coast swing. The yankees are the only playoff caliber opponent
the sox have faced up to now. Tough schedule?

3. I’d trade Damon, Kim and cash for Beltran in a heartbeat, even if Beltran
left via FA this winter. Damon is the most overpaid player on the roster and
maintains his popularity with Red Sox Nation because he’s white and teenage
girls buy his jersey.

4. Sox management is clearly going “all in” on this season. In my
opinion, they are prepared to lose four of the five big FA’s. May happen, may
not, but they are ready to roll the dice. Schilling, Manny, Nixon, Wakefield,
Kim, Arroyo, Foulke and tons of payroll cash freed up appears to be a very viable
option for them to go with for building 2005’s roster.

5. The “Fenway is the smallest ballpark in MLB” excuse is already
being perfected. With every possible cent of revenue squeezed out of the facility
and no mention of a replacement or long-term plan, it’s clear where they are
heading.

6. Under no circumstances do you trade for Randy Johnson. None. Nada. Zip.

Hoss has spoken. Read it now, ponder over it in the interim, and discuss amongst
yourselves later.

Hats Off

First off, congrats to Wakes on his 400th appearance, 105th Sox win (ties Pedro
and Lefty Grove for 8th), and a nice outing. Of course, do we expect anything
different when Wakes pitches in Tampa Bay? Oh, yeah, and the kid thing…congrats
on that, too!

Offense showed a little sign of life with Manny going 3-4 (2 doubles), Bellhorn
with a homer, and Pokey Reese going 2-3 with an RBI. A couple things I’ve noticed:

  1. At first glance, Bellhorn seems to be one of those switch hitters who maybe
    should give it up and stick to one side (the left). .253/.404/.460 from the
    left, .179/.373/.256 from the right in 2004. However, his 3 year splits actually
    show that he’s normally better (not by much) from the RIGHT side…these numbers
    somewhat skewed by his breakout (fluke?) 2002 numbers, where he was better for average from the right, but more power (and
    a TON more walks) from the left. What does this mean? Hell if I know; hopefully
    it means his stats as a RHB will level out, and not to 2003 levels.
  2. Pokey has really become less of an automatic out in the past month. So far
    in May he’s hitting .267. Obviously not spectacular…but anybody who has
    watching all season has to admit that he’s swinging the bat OK. Obviously
    the 2 HR game was an anomaly, but he’s making solid contact, and striking
    out a lot less.
  3. In my opinion, Kapler is the biggest regular hole in the lineup right now.
    Granted, he seems to be starting less and less, but he’s really shown absolutely
    nothing all year. And Crespo is following right behind him. The good thing
    is that hopefully these are the two guys that get zero time when Nomar and
    Trot return…now the question of the hour is when will THAT happen.

Also congrats to Randy Johnson on his perfect game. I caught the last couple
innings of this thanks to TBS…unbelievable. The funny thing about it is that
in my roto baseball league, the guy who has RJ gets ZERO points because he had
an illegal roster yesterday. Ain’t THAT a kick in the pants!

Minor League Adventures

So I saw the Sox AA team last night, and pitching was converted knuckleballer
Charlie Zink. You may or may not have heard his story. Here’s a Globe
Story
with his background. Unlike Wakefield, a converted infielder, Zink
was always a pitcher, and throwing the knuckler may or may not be his ticket,
as he evidently doesn’t have the normal stuff to be an MLB pitcher.

Now I only saw this one performance, and having watched Wakefield for the past
9 years I know that knucklers are prone to have bad games…but my snap judgement
is that Zink is no Tim Wakefield. And his manager left him in to get tatooed;
9 runs over 5 innings with at least 5 or 6 balls that bounced off of the tall
outfield walls of New Britian stadium.

Zink is now 0-5 with 8 starts, averaging 5 innings a start, with a 6.08 ERA.
Here’s hoping for a turnaround for you, Charlie.

On the bright side, this is the first time I’ve seen the Sea Dogs in a while…I’m
going to go online today and order one of these jerseys. Is there any question
that this jersey was made for me?

In other news, some Sox players are now publically complaining about the travel
schedule (Shilling commented on it privately about a month ago):

And the schedule has been a tad hectic. The Red Sox just finished a stretch
of 20 games in 19 days. There’s no telling whether fatigue has contributed to
the recent rash of errors.

Then there’s the travel. Several players say it has never been worse for
them.

“You can’t complain about it because you got to do it,” Alan
Embree said. “But you can complain about it because you got to do it.”

Nobody was griping Monday, the first day in three weeks that the Red Sox
didn’t have to be at a ballpark. So the players should be fresh tonight for
the opener of a three-game series against the Devil Rays.

At least one would think so.

“It feels like July right now,” Johnny Damon said, “and
that’s no good.”HEUSCHKEL

Can’t say I disagree much with this notion…that while travel can’t be used
as a major excuse, it cannot be discounted.

EDIT: Zink is featured prominantly in this New Yorker article titled Project Knuckleball. Props to psf chatter Q for directing me to this article.

My Exciting Weekend (ok; not really…)

Believe it or not, I didn’t watch that much baseball this weekend. Based on
the recaps and box scores, I didn’t miss much.

Friday night we took in the circus.
I think I spent more time watching my daughter than the action in the arena.
She had a great time; especially before the show when you can walk around on
the floor and interact with the clowns and the animals. I got score updates
on the phone, and by the time we got in the car to go home, the game was tied
3-3. By the time we GOT home, the Sox had sent 10 men to the plate and taken
the lead in the 8th, so I was confident enough not to even turn on the game.

Saturday, my wife had to work, so it was a father/daughter day. We made a trip
to Dunkin Donuts, did some grocery shopping, picked up some kid books at a book
fair, did some yardwork…a busy morning/early afternoon. So busy, that the
kid fell asleep for a hardcore nap around 1:00. I turned the game on, but at
the same time I picked up a book
that had been lying around the house. I couldn’t put the damned thing down.
Luckily, the nap was a long one…and I barely paid attention to the game. I
finished the book Saturday night..guess I can read that other hot book by the
author now.

The afternoon nap helped out again yesterday, as I was able to at least catch
the first few innings of the Sox game. One damned mistake bites Petey on the
butt in an otherwise well pitched game. Man, this lineup can be flat-out awful
without some of the key players in it, eh? Oh; and I caught a couple innings
of Clemens pitching vs. the Mets. Not only was he dominant on the mound, but
he had a solid bases loaded single to help out his cause. Man; he looks great
this year.

Today, since the Sox aren’t playing, and it looks great weather-wise…I think
I will go check out the Sox AA squad take on New Britian. In fact, tomorrow
the Sea Dogs and Rock Cats play a doubleheader…perhaps I will play hooky and
take in 3 games in 2 days.

Oh, well…

…that’s a pesky little Indians team the Sox just lost 2 of 3 to. If they
had a halfway decent bullpen, they could probably contend for the Central.

It was mentioned last night on TV that of the Indians 18 losses, 13 of them
had the Indians tied or winning in the 7th inning. That’s unbelievable to me.

A fairly scathing article on Kim in this morning’s Boston Globe:

He is 25 years old with a spinning, vexing sidearm delivery that, when right,
tends to flummox even the best major league hitters. When he’s on, he throws
94 miles per hour, and he throws strikes.

So why, after only three cracks as Boston’s fifth starter, was pitcher Byung
Hyun Kim banished to Pawtucket?

And why was hardly anyone in the Red Sox clubhouse unhappy about it? MACMULLAN

That’s a little troubling…

Bet not too many teams…

…put the left-handed shift on against Ortiz anymore. His homer was nice…but
poking the ball to the opposite field when they put the shift on for him was
a thing of beauty.

Ortiz beat the shift twice Tuesday night by hitting the ball to opposite ends
of Fenway Park. The first time, he turned on a 94-mph fastball and launched
it toward the city's skyline overlooking the right field roof, a majestic shot
that landed about 25 rows deep in grandstands.

"I just tried to say, `What's up?' to my man Ted Williams back there tonight," Ortiz said. "Just kidding."

Ortiz was joking about the storied bleacher seat Williams reached with a 502-foot
homer in 1946.

The Indians weren't laughing in the eighth when Ortiz lined a ball through
the vacated left side and into the corner for a double, the first of four straight
two-out hits by the Red Sox.HEUSCHKEL

And McCarty seems to have responded since I yelled at him from behind the plate
on Saturday afternoon. Yes, I’m taking full responsibility.

From the “I’m not sure how to respond to this” department:

Francona said there's nothing physically wrong with reliever Scott Williamson,
who has not pitched in six games. He warmed up in the eighth and said he was
going to pitch the ninth if the score remained tied HEUSCHKEL
NOTES

Also from the above notebook, Nomar and Trot took live BP at Fenway yesterday,
and evidently looked pretty good.

I didn’t stay awake to watch the Yankee game (they had just restarted when
I went to bed last night), but I see the GD recap in this morning’s paper. Is
it me, or have they had an awful lot of ‘lucky’ wins on this hot streak they
are on? Makes me think what somebody who doesn’t like the Sox felt like last
season when they picked up the paper and didn’t know what happend. “You’re
kidding me? They pulled it out AGAIN?” Maybe it’s just my perception…

TRIP UPDATE: I have 3 weeks before I send money to the Orioles.
I have recieved money from exactly 3 people. Needless to say, I’m slightly annoyed.
If you said you are coming, and you still want to come, pony up the dough.

Un-Kim-Pressive

Arroyo earned his 5 spot back last night…without even doing anything. After
a promising first start this year, Kim’s last two have been less than stellar.

Is Kim Korean for Contrares?

At least he’s only the 5th starter. But to lose a slugfest with the Indians
just isn’t good. And those that have known me over the years know that I’m not
a huge manager basher, but Francona has made a handful of questionable decisions
over the last couple of days. The good (well, not THAT good) news is that a
few of them can be explained if we hear that there is something wrong with Williamson,
who has not pitched since 5/5.

I’ve not seen or heard anything regarding Williamson, but I can’t understand
why he hasn’t pitched for 5 days.

Didn’t help last night that in addition to missing Nomar and Trot, the lineup
was missing Manny yesterday. And with a lefty starting, Ortiz might as well
have been missing as well. One thing that was also consistantly horrible was
the game called behind the plate. I haven’t seen that many questionable 3rd
strike calls in some time.

Here’s hoping that Pedro/Sabbathia has simliar results as last week. It’s going
to be warm tonight…I’m curious to see how the weather effects Sabbathia, with
his size and all. Wonder if he gets tired later in the game.

Even Bob Ryan Got It Right Sunday

I\’m here in defense of a member of the sox known as the ace, and no i\’m not talking about the other quality ace curt schilling, who has begun his sox career in fine fashion and is one of the top 5 in the game in my opinion.

I\’m here to defend one clubpedro or ramonabe jr. While people are busy worrying about his comments and his supposed greediness and I-me attitude, one should only look at statistics for the 2004 season. It\’s a month and a week into the season, yet there is this frayed, fragile and twilight of his career pedro with a 4-2 record, top 4 in the league in innings pitched, top 3 in the league in strikeouts.

But hey, he was responsible for the team\’s 5-game tailspin due to his…his what? his comments? that\’s what a lot of dimwitted sox fans said. Others, who in some cases are supposedly more intelligent of the fandom, said \"i\’d like to see two straight good starts from him before i pass judgment.\"..I\’m thinking, you got to be kidding. The guy is a hall of famer, his overall record and era are legendary compared to others. Give him two starts to determine if he is \"slipping\"? Oh brother, that\’s just idiotic.

On the ESPN Sportsreporters, bob ryan of the globe commented on the possibility that pedro could leave boston after this season. He said, \"let\’s concentrate on 2004, let\’s enjoy that now.\" He\’s right and i\’ve been saying that for a long time. Who cares about pedro in 2005, i don\’t. By then, maybe the team has won it all, maybe pedro has again been toasted as the 1-2 punch of the league\’s power tandems. Not many of them, i might add. Schilling and pedro will be in the top 3 in the league in era, k\’s and innings pitched by the end of the season. That\’s not even a prediction, it\’s almost likely to happen by even their past performances. And still, some people want him traded now. Trade that cancer now! (ugh).

Pedro will have some bad starts this year, he will give up some more home runs, and he will win 18-22 games and be an all-star. I\’m a little tired of hearing about all these sox stars who will leave after 2004. Enjoy 2004, because a team that is leading the AL East with basically middle-of-the-road hitting overall is nearly a full run in front of the rest of the AL in ERA. the team that was .83 runs behind them going into saturday\’s play gave up 15 runs last night–Texas.

Finally, pedro nation is the best pitcher i\’ve ever seen pitch for the sox not named luis tiant or roger clemens. he is a clutch pitcher despite last year\’s over-hyped blowup v. yanks. he will continue to be one of the greats, whether he throws 90 or 80. Enjoy clubpedro now, because he\’s worth the enjoyment, and he\’s worth every penny he asks for or the sox have given him over the years.

sincerely,
fred from medford

The Streak Continues

…actually, a couple of different streaks.

1. Sox are 4-0 in games I’ve attended

2. Sox/Schilling are undefeated when I wear my Schilling t-shirt on a day that
he pitches. Sox have never won when he pitches and I don’t wear said t-shirt.

What a game yesterday. Schill was dealing, I got to see an offensive explosion
from Pokey (the two people I was with both missed Pokey’s inside the parker),
and just after I yelled "McCarty, you suck..do something here!", he
jacks one. And he could hear me from where I was sitting (not that he actually
DID hear me..but he could have.)

PSF.commer Fanatic is the luckiest bastard alive. Not only does he not get
beaten to a pulp for wearing an ugly Sox hat while at Fenway, he hit the jackpot
yesterday.

1. He was able to convince his wife to go to today’s game (on Mother’s Day),
and is sitting in the seats I used yesterday.

2. He snuck into the park for free yesterday, and was able to walk around and
see the game.

3. In the 2nd inning, he used TODAY’s ticket to come down to where we were
sitting, and watched the whole game from 8 rows behind home plate. For free.

Good times at Copperfield’s before the game for the SoSH bash. It was great
to be able to put faces to so many of the names over there. And I got a nice
surprise….longtime psf.com chatter pk is actually also a SoSH member (somehow
I never made the connection), and he also came up and said hello. Of course,
it wasn’t unti the ride home that I remembered just how long he’d been coming
in…it was the lightbulb in the head when he mentioned being in Alaska last
year.

Sam Horn was actually at the bash, but I missed him…we didn’t get there until
about 11:45.