Lowe Gone?

An unconfirmed but pretty reliable source tells me that Derek Lowe has been traded to the Padres for Brian Lawrence and Jay Payton. This is contingent on the Padres being able to work something out with Lowe.


My sister in law, Christy, and I have been planning our trip to Seattle since my birthday in February. It was our time to get away from kids and husbands and catch the two Sox games against the Mariners at Safeco Field. She is a born and raised MG??s fan, but was excited to learn more about G??myG?? team. We got to Seattle Sunday afternoon and checked in to hotel situated on Lake Union. We had a great room that gave us a view of the space needle, downtown and Lake Union.

Seattle is a great place to visit. There is lots of family fun stuff to do, and plenty more to do without kids in tow. Puget Sound, Pike Street Market and Pioneer Square are all interesting places, and with a cheap public trans system, itG??s easy to see and do quite a bit in one day. IG??ve been there enough times to know my way around, but we had a tough time finding a place to eat on Sunday night. There were some places she wouldnG??t even get out of her s.u.v. because she thought we might get mugged. Finally, I remember a brew pub near a neighborhood called Queen Anne, just north of the Space Needle. ItG??s a great (and safe) place to eat called McMenamins. She got the house special high pasta, and I got a Philly. Awesome food, highly recommended if you ever get to Seattle. www.mcmenamins.com.

Now I should mention that unless you heard me whine about it in chat, I had gotten stung by a wasp on my right heel and had an allergic reaction in my ankle the day before we left. So unless I had an ice pack to my then baseball-sized ankle, I was in excruciating pain. I wish I was kidding about that, but IG??m not. The doctor had no clue what to do about the pain except offer a tetanus shot (no thanks), allegra (an anti-histamine) and a prescription for hydro-codone (still had plenty of that left over from the car wreck).

Our first game on Monday was an evening one, so we decided to go to IKEA in the morning. IG??ve never been to one, but we easily spent 4 hours there shopping, eating, and shopping some more. I couldnG??t walk, so I checked out one of the handicapped scooters and tried not to run over any small children or elderly men. We figured we had shopped enough when the battery ran out of juice.

We had enough time to get back to the hotel to catch the shuttle to the game. We rode with a bunch of businessmen from Chicago. I tried to ask one of them how the Cubs were shaping up this year and the only two things he knew about them was Sammy Sosa and the goat curse.

We get to the game two hours early in order to look around Safeco and find our seats, etc. We figure weG??ve been looking forward to this for 6 months, so we took full advantage of our time there. The first thing we do after finding our seats was head down the section to stand near the field to gawk at the players taking batting practice and stretch. Our seats were half way between third base and home plate, but all the way up near the concourse. GREAT SEATS with a view of the field, the scoreboard and the big screen, and the bull pins (good enough to see who was warming up at least). Safeco is a beautiful ball park. Lots of room, never felt too crowded even with the sold out crowd, easy in and out, concession stands that we never had to stand in line long.

I know itG??s dorky to go stand near the field and gawk at the players, but IG??m glad we did it. ItG??s not very often that we would ever be that close to them again, so we made the most of it. Johnny Damon actually stopped to sign some things for the kids, and he seemed nice enough. Most of the players pretty much ignored the crowd, even when they were 5 feet away from us. IG??m sure they know that fans have a love/hate thing for most of them, so they donG??t bother. But that day, Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson were also signing, so I asked the teenager in front of me to ask Mike Timlin if he would sign my ticket, and he did. No big deal, but I admit itG??s kind of cool, especially because my son was so excited to hear that I got anybodyG??s signature. He wants me to frame it and hang it in his room. A few notes about the team: Curt Schilling is a big guy, as are Derek Lowe and Mike Timlin. ItG??s very different when you see them on TV, and then up close. Christy couldnG??t get over MannyG??s, JohnnyG??s and PedroG??s hair. But she thought it was great that Damon was taking time to talk to some of the kids. She was hooked after that.

The game finally gets underway, and looking around, the park seems nearly half full of Sox fans. Our section was pretty well mixed, but behind me was a large, loud bosox fan with a slight accent. He was very loud, but luckily left after the 5th inning. There appeared to be a group of drunken girls 10 rows in front of us who rose up with a sign saying, G?Johnny Damon: Could you possibly be any hotter???G? .. This group got an immediate talking to by the security person in our section. It wasnG??t so much that they were loud and cheering, it was that they kept doing it during at bats, while the people behind them were trying to watch the game, and not the ding-a-lingG??s stupid sign. Words must have been exchanged because three of the drunken girls were escorted out about 15 minutes later. Actually, I got a little talking-to from the same section security girl about my video camera. She threatened to have me removed from the game if she caught me recording actually game footage. The guy behind me told her to leave us all alone, and let us enjoy the game… so I just smiled at her and told her there wonG??t be a problem.

Arroyo, I must say, did a fine job that night. Better than I or anyone there expected. I donG??t remember much about the entire game (but I got a lot of it on video  ). Cater suggested that I try to keep stats for the game. I was too busy talking with other fans and trying to take pictures that I didnG??t try it for the first game, but did for the next night. The game was very long, and tying it up was just nerve wracking. Many fans left in the 8th inning thinking Boston had this one in the bag. Every single fan in my vicinity moaned when Leskanic intentionally walked Winn to bring Boone up to bat. The crowd was already on its feet, but as soon as the ball connected with his bat, we all just knew. It sailed right into the MG??s bullpen. Christy just looked at me and said, G?I am so sorry.G? then screamed and cheered like a banshee.

The crowd walking out buzzed with excitement. One MG??s fan started chanting G?Go home Red Sox, Go Home!G?. But that quickly died out when the guy realized the he was surrounded with more Sox fans than MG??s fans. Someone turned around and with a wink told the guy, G?At least weG??re above .500.G? That pretty much shut the guy up.

Walking past the new Seahawks stadium on our way to meet the shuttle back to the hotel, we witnessed a short exchange between a guy and a girl who seemed to be on a date. I say that because no woman could say something this dumb without some sort of wise-crack back from her husband. The guy literally did NOT know how to respond:

Guy: G?That was a great ballgame.G?
Girl: G?Yes. Now who did they play against?G?
Guy: G?Oh, it was the Boston Red Sox.G?
Girl: G?Hmmm. But I only saw one guy wearing red socks?G?
Guy: (quizzical look on face)

The next day, we shopped a little more down at Pike Street market, then caught the trolley that dropped us off near Safeco.

Derek Lowe pitched for this game. We got there early again just to sit and relax and talk with some of the people around us. The guys to our right are season ticket holders and were a nice group of people. They gave us coupons for the team store, and his wife gave us their phone number to call us later this year to hook us up with some of their tickets that they sell off. We plan on bringing our sons with us next year. We bought garlic fries (very good!) and hot dogs, and later had chocolate covered strawberry shish-ka-bobs. Great ball park food there, with almost no waiting in line.

Lowe pitched better than expected, with no major meltdowns, it seems. I did take a crack at taking score/stats for this game, but had to quit for part of it when the pain in my ankle got unbearable. Lowe seemed to be behind in the count for every batter, but he continued to shut them down. He lasted 5 innings, and it seemed like the game would be extra long again if we are already going to the pen in the 5th. For this game, we decided to walk around a bit too and watch from different places. SafecoG??s bullpens are out in left field, and has a netting behind it with a bar so you can stand there and watch them warming up and get a good view of the game. We got to see OrtizG??s homer from that vantage point. It was spectacular.

My foot was killing me by now so we thought maybe walking around would get my mind off it, so we took the stairs to the top level and watched the 9th inning from the walkway of the nosebleed section. People were a lot louder and rowdier here, with less Sox fans too. The last half of that inning was nerve wracking, hoping to God there wasnG??t a repeat of the previous night. But it ended great, unfortunately splitting the series with a team with one of the poorest records currently.

Some notes on the MG??s

Ichiro, whether you like him or not, is just flat out a good player. He gets things done on nearly every at bat and every time the ball is hit to him. Impressive player to see. Edgar Martinez, with 1 HR at 1 AB in the first game. I think he even hit it out of there on the first pitch. 18 years in the majors, all of them with the MG??s. I respect a guy who made a team HIS team, and stuck it out. HeG??s loved there, with the whole crowd shouting G?Gar!!!G? when he came up. Boone, the only other G??long-termG?? player there was also fun to watch. They have a new dh named Bucky Jacobson. HeG??s got some power.

Overall, it was a fun and memorable trip.

Handle yo bidness (apologists need not apply)

I’ll lay it all out for you:

At 54-44, there are 20 series left that comprise the 64 remaining games.

The Red Sox have to average two wins per series.

Does that mean they must win every series? No. It just means that with 16 three game series and 4 four game series left on the schedule, they need to muster at least 40 more wins in any way possible.

I don’t want to hear about where they are in the wildcard standings right now or how well positioned they are. We need to see consistency and focus that we have not seen all year long. We need to see them win on the road and sweeping doormats at home. Stop the excuses. Stop being road dogs and playing down to the level of the competition.

It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?

trading deadline

I watched the game live on UK TV (ESPN feed).
I enjoyed Youk G??callingG?? Damon shot off the PeskyG??s Pole.
And John Kerry not liking the DH rule.
And Ben Affleck sitting on the pigG??s seat and G?exchangingG? words with A-Rod.
DonG??t they have good catchers in the Army?
And sorry Bo, but they didnG??t read your mail. Thanks a lot anyway.

A few points before the trading deadline comes.
Asked why the Sox trail the Yankees in the AL East despite having a better ERA and batting average, Theo Epstein replied: \"stats donG??t really matter, itG??s the wins and losses that count\". I really wonder what Bill James thought of that!
I liked the way Lowe settled after the Sox fielders tried to do everything to ruin his outing in a laborious first inning. He is still the starter I am more worried about but I think he is on the right track now, at last. Regarding SutcliffeG??s comment as \"he is not a strikeout pitcher, he should throw more sinkersG?\", Lowe in todayG??s Globe said: \"I didn\’t throw any sinker away,\" Lowe said of his strategy. \"I probably threw five. When you pitch against a team over and over, you\’ve got to make adjustments. Looking at the game tape, it seemed like they were just looking for sinkers away, so we didn\’t give it to them.\" Kudos to him and also to Mirabelli who proved once again that he can call a good game. If the pitchers then give up walks to the likes of Enrique WilsonG?
If we donG??t beat ourselves defensively or by walking people we can beat the Yankees (currently, for what itG??s worth, we are 8-5 against them).
I donG??t see any major problem. Even Millar is hitting again. Belli should get more at bats.
Happy with the starters. IG??d like Randy Johnson, of course, if they can get him.
Bullpen. Foulke, Timlin, Embree, Adams, Williamson, Mendoza. It can be effective in the playoffs, I really think so. Kim is out of the picture, Malaska, Leskanic, Anderson, Nelson, Anastacio are either not ready or not good enough.
Do we need another reliever? Possibly, but if they get one, letG??s get really a good one.
Otherwise I am happy with Williamson coming back and Arroyo in the pen for the playoffs.
Is Nixon done for the season? Should we go after Beltran?
One more thing: Contreras was a very \"committed\" Cuban player and person. Then he fled Cuba. Then he spoke with the Sox, maybe even gave them his word, then he signed with the other team. Possibly he sucks against the Sox because when he face them he feels guilty because he basically betrayed them (for money) going against his \"Cuban\" principlesG?just a funny theory trying to explain his 15.00 ERA against the Sox and 3.50 ERA against the rest of baseball.
I will leave these questions open for debate.
Theo will surely have a busy week trying to answer them!

A Tale of Two Portlands

So today, I was in TWO Portlands. After a long camping weekend in Maine that turned out to be a lot more fun than I expected (and that was WITH rain Friday night), I made my first trip ever to Hadlock Field with a couple of PSF.com members and our families. Surprisingly, two three-year-olds made it to the seventh inning stretch. Mine fell asleep the second I was on 295, and remained so until we were almost back in Connecticut.

Anyway, a nice park…the Sea Dogs lost; but I honestly didn’t pay too much attention to the game. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I probably spent more time taking turns chasing around the kid, and shooting the breeze with my companions.

As for the first two Sox/Yanks games; they were taken in at the campsite via car radio…good times, bad times…

Fire Theo Epstein

The opinions expressed here are not those of PSF, and frankly, I couldn’t disagree more.

It’s simple to fire the neanderthal manager, it’s easy to do so. They are there to be fired. But, maybe it’s time the General Manager get a little heat.

Today’s actions speak loudly about how out of touch the GM is to what the sox needs are. He brought up a left-handed short reliever who has done nothing more than serve up an example of the Sox Eternal Clown Car Revisited–mark malaska. The Sox need a long reliever, naturally bring up malaska. Then, the sox needing a middle infielder, knowing that nomar has been itching to rest his achilles and knowing that with pokey out, the sox have bellhorn as a 2nd baseman, the sox bring back youkilis. A guy who was misused and benched miserably during a hot streak by the manager. youkilis, a guy who plays 3rd and 1st, but not 2nd or short.

These seemingly minor moves are further example of the lack of theo’s experience at doing a very important job. He has already done little by way of helping the pen with the acquisition of waiver wire disaster curtis leskanic, the promotion/demotion of joe nelson, the promotion/demotion/promotion/demotion of anastacio martinez, the DLing of rule 5 dinardo to keep him from being released. And when he might have made a right move, bringing up a healthier ramiro mendoza, he only has his manager to make statements and excuses as to not using him. Again, why was mendoza brought up again? To save him from being released by a team that has no confidence in him?

I have no idea what kind of input theo has on tito’s lineup cards and rotation moves, etc., but i can guess he has not forcefully talked to tito regarding kevin millar, who started about 15 games too many over the last month. The bottom line is the sox are underachieving, and the facts are that the sox bench/pen isn’t all that good. Theo couldn’t get carlos beltran, couldn’t get freddy garcia, couldn’t get anybody of significance to this point to help the sox.

Theo’s choice of manager, tito, was to appease the 12-win schilling…I guess the lesser evil–get the ace starter who must have his pushover manager. Anyway, i can talk about the kim contract, and the nixon contract, and the bottom of the barrell roster bench that included cesar crespo, but not tony womack.

He got foulke, who has 15 saves in 20 opportunities, not exactly stellar work. How long will theo live off his no. 1 move–signing david ortiz to a low money contract, and figure out he got about all he could out of the batting champion (back to normal, defensively and offensively) and the japan free agent (has not hit since last year’s all star break). Damon, manny, nomar, varitek, mirabelli, pedro, lowe, wakefield were already in place when he got in charge.

Fire Theo Epstein, He’s done little to keep his job.

fred from medford

The worst of both worlds

For those of us that stayed awake Monday night, that was an absolute kick in
the pants. A GREAT pitching performance by Arroyo (wouldn’t that be nice if
that was closer to the norm for the rest of the year?), not a huge amount of
offense, but enough timely hitting to put the Sox in a great position to win.
Leading in the bottom of the 9th. With ace closer Keith Foulke on the mound.
Whodathunk that Keith Foulke would have morphed into Keithcliff Foulkeum (blatantly
stolen from a BSMW poster)
and given up back to back shots in the 9th? And a walkoff grand slam by the
OTHER Boone brother? Jeez.

And Tuesday was probably the worst WIN of the year, if there can be such a
thing. Lowe was so-so, evidently left because of a blister after 5…and the
Sox struggled to hold on to a 7 run lead. And they had to use Foulke again in
the 9th. On one hand, that’s not so bad because he somewhat redeems himself…but
with 4 games in the next 3 days, and Foulke throwing around 70-80 pitches in
the past two games…well; let’s just say we hope we don’t need him every day.
Although if Tito treated him the way he does Embree and Timlin, he WOULD be
out there every day.

All in all, 3-3 on a West coast trip isn’t terrible, and they have won 8 of
their last 12. So let’s hope for a decent homestand before they are kicked out
of Boston for the Democratic convention. 4-3 would be nice, 5-2 would be better.

I\’m back

After a week of vacation, and not much Sox (although the fact that it concided with the All Star break means I didn’t miss much). Watched last night for the first time in a week…and went to bed at 5-0. So they go for a split with Schilling today…gonna be a long second half if Lowe doesn’t get his shit together.

All is Well in Sox Nation–Finally

See what a few wins do for the team?
It\’s hard for the media to find anymore trash to throw out at players (except for the Mental Gidget boy). It\’s hard for overanalyzers (like dannycater for instance) to attack the woefully non-impressive manager nor his actions.

You see, that\’s what a 4-game win streak does. It reawakens or bandwagons if you will the rabid fan into thinking \"my god, this team is good.\" Hey, the team is good. They have three guys absolutely having all-star seasons–ortiz, manny, damon. They have one starter who could start the game if not for injury–schilling, a second who should be there but was ignored on the first selections–pedro, a third who is a lot better than his 5-5 record–wakefield, and a fourth–who is a lot better than 3-7–rookie along came bronson pinchot not rolando implojo arroyo. They have a slumping closer who really is a pretty damn good pitcher–foulke, and a couple of setup guys who can either be great or awful on any given assignment–timlin and embree.

When you look at the rest of the team, you see one guy who is having a fine season based on the fact he wasn\’t even supposed to start fulltime–bellhorn, you have a rightfielder and a shortstop who may not actually find their regular hitting stride until august–nomar and trot–due to recovery time from injuries. Others have contributed some things–kapler some timely hits in a backup role, plus some good catches in the outfield, mccarty with gold glovesque first base defense (no hitting, 1 walk-off home run game doth not make a season). You have pokey reese, who was sensational defensively and showed his stick when nomar was out. But unfortunately his lack of stick and what appears to be some nagging injuries (foot on a leap, thumb jammed) of late has sent him to bench. And of course the admirable play of rookie greek god youkilis, who did a nice job in place of mueller. mueller is starting to hit like the batting champ of last season.

You put all this together and you have a pretty formidable team, especially if 5 of the guys are hitting in any given game. Unfortunately, the team hasn\’t performed up to sox nation\’s expectations and i think they deserve all the criticism they have received overall. But now, the sox are showing signs of life, signs of a team that wants to make the playoffs. The wild card is sitting there and it has \"Boston Red Sox, Official Annual Wild Card Champions\" on the t-shirts.

Oh yeah, even that yeahhhhhhhhhhh! (hip thrust, point) guy has hit a little of late and made some nice defensive plays at 1st. I don\’t want to be accused of not acknowledging a guy\’s play when he is doing well, when i have shown how poorly he has been since last year\’s all-star break.

Well, enjoy the ride, sox nation. Lots of baseball to be played, and lots of francona actions to be grilled.

fred from medford