Not always what you expect to see, is it?

Soooo…Pedro vs. Pettite…one would expect a low scoring, well pitched game, no? A 3 spot in the first off of Pettite? PLENTY of runs for Pedro, I’m assuming? And if Rivera was summoned to get 4 outs, it would mean no chance for the Sox, right?

10-7 final, Pedro not sharp, and neither was Rivera (although he proved to be sharp ENOUGH.)

I listened to the majority of the game on the radio, returning home in time to see McCarty’s AB. Anybody else jump up in their living room, thinking that one had a chance to get out?

Well, I’m going today for the rubber match, and Clemens’ last ever Fenway start (regular season, at least). Here’s hoping yesterday’s win ‘means nothing’ according to Jeter:

Derek Jeter said this win would “mean nothing” if the Yankees don’t win today in the rubber game of the series, but most other Yankees echoed Torre’s sentiment that this was the biggest victory of the year. AMORE

Cy Contrares?

Apparantly not. Quick and dirty again today, as I’m on my way out the door to the opening game at UConn’s new Rentschler field. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pull in the Springfield Sox station, as I’m pretty sure that 1080 is doing the football game, and God knows I don’t want to listen to Steiner and Sterling.

Homestand Heat

Facing 17 game winner and Cy Young candidate Roy Halliday, the Sox looked like they could be in a wee bit of trouble down 3-0 early. Burkett’s only real mistake was a bomb given up to Carlos Delgado…and it is tough to get down on a guy for giving up a dinger to one of the more dangerous hitters in the league.

But the offense turned up the Homestand Heat, and scored 6 runs on 3 homers. The Sox bats have been unbelievable during this homestand. In the last 9 games, as a TEAM, they are hitting .336, with 64 runs scored on 14 HR and 34 total extra base hits. 32% of their hits on this homestand have been for extra bases.

And down south, maybe the wheels are falling off a bit…for the second night in a row, a 40 year old starter got knocked around pretty good. Except this time, his coaches and teammates are calling him out:

David Wells’ everyman act is a laugh when he wins. When he gets hitters out, defying his age and physique, his “attitude” plays well with the paying customers.

But Wells is not winning now, he is not getting hitters out, and the act – the work habits, the ‘tude – is wearing thin in the Yankees clubhouse.

“He needs to do more work,” pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre said after Wells took a severe pounding and the Yankees were beaten 11-2 by the White Sox at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night. “He has not been throwing between starts, and it shows. He’s made a lot of bad pitches his last couple of times out.”

Wells allowed 11 hits, nine for extra bases, and 10 earned runs in 51/3 innings. For the third time in a row he skated out of the locker room without talking to reporters.

That left his catcher, Jorge Posada, and his pitching coach to do the talking.

“It gets to you,” Posada said. “I’m trying to call a good game, and the location [of pitches] is not where it’s supposed to be. … I’m angry because I care.”

Stottlemyre said he has “no recourse” if Wells does not want to throw, but Torre has total trust in his pitching coach. If Stottlemyre recommends that Wells not start again without a bullpen session, Torre will back him. “The throwing is part of the conditioning he has to do,” Stottlemyre said. AMORE

You also might notice to the left that I’m changing the rules a bit. Especially after what has happened the past two nights in New York; this 19 game stretch should be considered a 25 game stretch (as some pointed out from the get-go). The six games added to the tail end of this stretch include 3 teams in playoff contention….at Philly (1), at Chicago (2), and at New York (3). Also, to the right, for the rest of the year I will keep track of the 4 teams fighting for 3 playoff spots in the AL.

Wasted effort(s)

Tough game for Wakes. He got knocked around early and often, leaving the game down 7-1. And as you probably know by now, the Sox actually tied it at 7, only to give back a 5 spot in the next inning.

Hopefully not lost in this somewhat demoralizing loss (and it isn’t the first of its kind this year, just the first like this in a while) is the performance of Suppan. Combined with his strong outing last time out, hopefully it is a harbinger of things to come. Tonight will be a tough test against Cy Young candidate Roy Halliday. With the injury to Jones and the use of Suppan last night instead of tonight, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a roster move today as Burkett sometimes has it rough with the Blue Jays.

Also lost is an opportunity to gain one on the Yanks, who were absolutely crushed by the White Sox and another strong Cy Young contender, Esteban Loaiza. Clemens was rocked for 9 ER in less than 5 innings of work. But at least he has a sense of humor:

It takes a lot of effort for Bess Clemens to travel. Roger Clemens’ mother has had emphysema for years, but made a rare trip to New York to help raise awareness of the illness and the dangers of smoking.

Bess, 72, walked out between the mound and home plate and lobbed the first pitch to catcher Jorge Posada Tuesday night.

“I was proud of her,” Roger said. “They should have let her stay on the mound. It’s too bad when your mother has better stuff than you do. Don’t think she won’t let me know about that later.” AMORE

Here’s something that might be interesting only to me…

Since the All Star break, the Yanks have been slightly better than the Sox, garnering 2 more wins and 4 less losses. What they have been doing better is getting wins from the non-playoff teams. Sox have had 17 games vs. playoff contenders, winning 10 of them. Yanks have had 16 games vs. playoff contenders, winning 7 of them. The difference is that the Sox have gone 11-11 vs. everybody else, while the Yanks have gone 16-5 vs. the lesser competition.

Just something to chew on.

Well, that answers THAT

14 games vs. the vaunted AL West…final record, 8-6. That’s not to shabby.

Pedro was clearly not 100%, but less than 100% of Pedro is still pretty damned good. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Seattle ran themselves out of an inning. He got out of a couple jams, and actually improved his stellar record vs. the Mariners.

So now 2 vs. the Jays, with an interesting pitching matchup tomorrow night. Burkett will start, and Suppan will come out of the pen. This matches up Lowe, Pedro, and Wakes vs. the Yankees this weekend.

While on the surface, the move looks strange, it does make sense. This lines up Suppan to pitch the makeup game in Philly on Labor Day.

The reason Jeff Suppan will pitch in relief of John Burkett Wednesday is because that allows him to start Monday in a makeup game against the Phillies.

“I’ve got the pitching lined up this weekend the way I want it,” Little said. “And I want Suppan pitching against Philadelphia because he can hit.” HEUSCHKEL

Also from the above column…it seems our affable manager is even getting annoyed:

Fed up with questions about topics not related to baseball, Red Sox manager Grady Little abruptly ended his pregame chat by dismissing reporters from his office.

“I think this conversation is over now,” he said sternly. “You know this is a waste of my time and yours, too. Anybody else have any questions? I mean it’s not even worth talking about, to tell you the truth. We’re trying to win a baseball game here and we’re doing pretty good. Just leave it at that. You guys want to write in the life section of the paper, write all you want.”

Wakes vs. Hendrickson today.

Break out the Swiffer?

I mean; does anybody use a broom anymore? I don’t think we even have one at home. So in a matinee today, the Sox will attempt to swiff the Mariners. Doing so could make things pretty interesting; especially if Oakland wins today. It would make for a tie in the AL west, and a 3 way tie for the wild card.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…let’s take care of business this afternoon, shall we?

And speaking of getting ahead of ourselves…

WBZ’s Jon Miller quoted Martinez as saying he was so outraged by doubts about his honesty that he would not return to the Sox after next season. “I will make $17.5 [million],” Martinez said, according to Miller, “and then I’m out of here.”

Henry said, “That would be tragic,” though Sox spokesman Kevin Shea said Martinez denied making the statement to Miller. Hohler

Even if he DIDN’T say such a thing, I don’t blame him for one second for having such a passing thought. It’s a shame that a few nitwits are the most vocal members of Red Sox Nation. I’d like to hope that the players realize that they are a very vocal and very demonstrative (on talk radio an on their ‘fan’ sites) MINORITY when it comes to how the fans actually feel.

1:05 today, Martinez vs. Meche

Hold the Line

Well, in order to keep pace with the A’s (a rout of Toronto today) and to a lesser extent, the Yankees…Sox need to win in prime time tonight.

An interesting tidbit…the only mention of Pedro in the Boston area articles (Globe, Herald, and even ProJo) is that he is a little weak, and may or may not pitch on Tuesday.

The Courant has this:

Pedro Martinez looked peaked and sounded incensed. He’s furious that some doubted he was really sick.

“You think I’m [expletive] lying?” said Martinez, who walked past a group of reporters in the Red Sox clubhouse earlier and refused to acknowledge them.

Martinez wasn’t in any mood to talk about his light workout. Yet the few words that came out of his mouth were tinged with anger.

He is irritated by accusations that he should have made his last start despite spending about six hours in the hospital that day. He was diagnosed with severe pharyngitis, inflammation of the throat. He also had abdominal pain and a fever.

“I’m only [expletive] human,” Martinez said. “Can’t I get sick? I’m not [expletive] fine. Can you see I’m not [expletive] fine? I would have been in that [expletive] game if I was fine.”

Can’t say I blame him too much. Although what media outlets really killed him for missing the start? I know he was getting killed on some fan sites and message boards; the only thing I can think of is maybe talk radio was a little harsh; but I don’t have access to that…

Soup’s On!

After finding a fly in it the first few times, I’d like to order last night’s version for the next several starts, please.

Just put it on my tab.

An all-around nice game last night. Except for the theatrics in the 9th, that is. A couple more like that and maybe switching Williamson and Kim wouldn’t be such a bad idea, eh?

Tough news for Oakland, and decent news for the Sox. In case you haven’t heard, Mark Mulder will likely miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his hip. That’s too bad; and it brings up an interesting point: If it wasn’t for ‘macho athlete play hurt’ attitudes, could this have been avoided?

Mulder said he began experiencing pain in his right hip in a start at Minnesota on July 19, and it particularly bothered him against the Yankees in a complete-game win on Aug. 3 and the following start, a complete-game loss in Chicago. He thinks the problem might have begun in Florida way back on June 3, when he took a hard, jarring step off a mound that he thought was too tall.

Because of the painful hip, Mulder hasn’t been able to cover first or back up home plate for the past three starts. He also hasn’t been throwing bullpen or side sessions between starts to save wear and tear on the hip, and he said it had begun to feel better.

Tuesday, after the third inning, Mulder barely could stand up to get off the bench. SLUSSER 8/20/03

I’m no doctor, but it seems to me that this sounded serious enough to check out a while ago. You can’t compare it at all to ‘strep-throat-gate’ that hit Boston over the past couple of days because Mulder’s is an actual pitching-related injury…but I know I’d have some serious questions if this happened to an important Sox starter.

Sox on Fox again today…although there are 3 1:00 games, so if you aren’t in the Boston or Seattle area, it could be a crap shoot. Garcia vs. Burkett.

NO PEDRO??? No problem…

Panic swept through Red Sox Nation yesterday afternoon. As they were all finally just starting to come to terms with the previous two losses and realizing that a Pedro gem would put them only 1 game out of the Wild Card, the news hit like a lightning bolt:


Well, the kid was all right. He wasn’t spectacular, but he kept them in the game. And Jobu must have taken a trip through the Sox locker room, because the Sox bats woke up. And I’m not saying that Harden won’t turn out to be a very, very good pitcher…but he sure has come back to earth his last few starts, eh?

That, the fact that Mulder was placed on the DL, and the fact that Hudson may or may not be hurt can only help the Sox chances in their hunt for the playoffs.

I’m generally not a huge Jeff Jacobs fan, but his column this morning is pretty decent, and gives you a snapshot of what happened on nitwit radio yesterday afternoon.

Update: Over at Bronx Banter, believe it or not a very good Yankee fan website, there is a good interview with Jim Bouton. I first read ‘Ball Four’ 5 years ago, and I absolutely loved it. Here he is discussing his latest book, “Foul Ball” Give it a read.

UPDATE 2: Today is the WEEI Jimmy Fund marathon. I watched 5 minutes of it on NESN, and I’m moved to donate. Please do the same; whatever you can.

Is there a more noble cause than the Jimmy Fund?