So who will it be?

Obviously, the chances for the division are remote. The only way the Sox even get a sniff at the division is if they sweep the Devil Rays while the Twins sweep the Yanks. And even then, it is still an extreme long shot.

The Yanks/Twins series is huge, though. It pretty much determines who the AL East winner will play, and who the Wild Card will play. Should the Yanks beat up on the Twins, chances are pretty good that they win the division, and meet the Twins in the playoffs next week, leaving the Sox to play the winner of the AL West slugfest. Should the Twins do the beating, then whoever wins the Wild Card will most likely play in the Hefty bag.

So who would you rather the Sox face in the first round?

Spoiled Fans

I won\’t lie, I\’ve fallen into the trap as much as anyone. Call it high expectations or misguided hope, or unrealistic fandom. Whatever it is, the 2004 Sox are somehow disappointing.

The team has 89 wins and could still win a 100, but this team doesn\’t seem to have the same spirit or mojo or fan fun as the 2003 Sox. Why? I don\’t know. Is it Tito Francona\’s constant shuffling of the lineup and constant repeated pitching moves in terms of the bullpen? Maybe, to some extent. Is is the off-season crazy soap opera regarding manny, nomar and arod? Did it have some effect on the way we look at the Sox in regards to the rest of the have-nots of the AL? These are legitimate questions.

This team is obviously more talented overall than last year\’s. The addition of 20-game winner Schilling and top save guy Foulke has turned the Sox into a solid WS contender. The bottom line is that since the 2003 Sox got to within 5 outs of the World Series and the city\’s, fans\’ thirst to make it after 17 years of missing out, we as fans have grown impatient. We want 100 wins, we want WS title, we want perfection. Everything else is secondary. The fun is there at times with this team (the 20-2 streak being the high point), but the dramatic comeback victories are not what this team is about.

What is this team about? I don\’t know. There have been several changes due to injuries and trades, and I think the 50-some-odd players that have played this season have most fans twisted and turned around. One second, pokey is the man, the next he\’s not even a consideration past a late-inning backup. One moment, Dave Roberts and Gabe Kapler are the ultimate platoon in right field, the next, they are just backups to one-time regular and now back into the mix before it\’s too late guy–trot. Mientkiewicz is added with the public relations spin of he\’s going to solidify in the infield defense with Cabrera, then he becomes a novelty 2nd baseman, and finally a reserve with ailments. One moment Kevin Youkilis is the answer at 3rd, then the Professional Bill Mueller comes back to play great defense and hit again, then right back to Youkilis with Mueller ailing. It\’s a roller coaster. Who\’s on First? Well, Kevin Millar is Who.

The relievers have come (Adams, Mendoza, Myers, Leskanic) and gone (Dinardo, Malaska, Amartinez, Nelson, Anderson). The starting pitching has had interesting stretches of invincibility and then sheer awful periods from Lowe to Pedro (a few times) to Wakefield, who is now pitching his way off the postseason roster. Schilling remains the Solid Rock, and youngster Arroyo has been amazingly consistent in keeping the Sox staff one of the best in baseball.

I\’m going to say that last year spoiled us all, made us all blood-thirsty for more. It\’s common to feel that way after being so close to Winning It All. Theo decided to go for the gusto this year, and has done a lot to get the Sox to the promised land. I have ripped him for some odd waiting periods for the pitching needs and other areas, and he\’s responded with some key moves. He\’s answered the call. The manager, well, he\’s Tito. And, well, Tito is Tito. He is what he is. He\’s not a great manager, but he has done some things in the grady ilk of keeping players happy. He is more jimy in his ways than grady in my opinion, but 30 games over .500 is going to buy you a lot of pats on the back.

Anyway, I don\’t think we will understand how good this team is until we see a Sox team finish in the pack or 83-79 in the future. We treat this team as a Monster, and we want it to be King Kong on top of the Empire State Building. If the Sox get into the playoffs as the Wild Card (probably the case) and don\’t make it to the 2004 WS, I think most fans will be in sheer dismay. Upset at everybody, players, management, etc. Bob Ryan talks about entitlement. He\’s right, it\’s as if the sox fans feel we are all entitled to a WS title. It\’s just that it doesn\’t work that way in life. Feeling entitled, having things on paper that point to championship, and
having 86 years of no WS titles are not going to lead directly to the 2004 championship.

I hope they win, but we\’re all a little spoiled here in Sox Nation. If they don\’t win, the sky won\’t fall. There\’s always next year. And the year after that.

fred from medford

They\’re Not Done

Oh, boo-hoo.

They lost 2 of 3 to the Yankees in the Bronx. The season must be over. Winning the division is nowhere in sight. Pedro has no heart. Let’s all roll over and piss on ourselves.

Ok, so now it’s harder. And now we’ve seen how definitive the departure of Derek Lowe after this season will be. And we’ve also seen that Pedro must really have done something to his back or side
when he finished off a pitch in Oakland clutching himself (16 straight scoreless innings before, 2 lack-luster starts after). We also got to see what Tanyon Sturtze could do with a widened strike-zone during the middle innings of a game that the umpire was trying hurry through (notice it shrunk again in the last two innings). If you don’t think it’s different for a pitcher to get ahead of a batter 1-2 rather than behind 2-1 then you don’t know much about baseball.

Sure, it was disheartening to lose 2 games by such a wide margin. But this is baseball and anything can happen. We have 3 more games against these Yankees and with Fenway behind us there is a chance to sweep. We’re looking at a re-match of Pedro-Mussina, a Yankee-killer Wakefield vs. 22-0 shelled Vazquez, and Schilling-(Insert Pitcher’s Name Here). A sweep puts us just a game
back in the loss column. You think Minnesota can’t help us with that other game? Even if we take 2 of 3 instead of sweeping we still pick up a game and the Yankees still have to get through Minnesota while we’re dealing with Tampa Bay.

Unless the Yankees sweep us next weekend, which is highly unlikely, we will have won the season series against them. That means the Red Sox did their job when it came to their arch-rival. The
purpose of the unbalanced schedule is to force the teams to have more emphasis in beating their division opponents to win said division. When the Sox win that one more game they would have accomplished this with the Yankees. It just stings a bit more to drop a couple in September. The team they didn’t accomplish this with is the Orioles. If not for the Orioles then the Yankees are chasing the Red Sox.

The players know this and they’re pissed. The general feeling I got after that game was that they wanted to get right back out there and go at it again. With the exception of Derek Lowe, they’re not
laying down. They’re looking for vengeance. This is going to go down to the very end.

So stop whining.

This Humble chatters take on the weekend

First off, I was a tad nasty and testy on Saturday, but I take September and October baseball serious, probably too serious. I am getting older and want to die with one World Series at least in the pine box with me. If I insulted or upset anyone it wasnG??t personal it was frustration of losing to the Yankees again. I do apologize

Well I have to admit I was brought back to earth with the last two days results in the Bronx. Sox played with a little dear in the head lights look to them, usually reliable players failed and everyone seem to crack in the bright lights of the big series

this officially brings a brilliant run over the last few weeks to an end. All evening I have been trying to think of a positive to take from these losses and trust me it was not easy. But one thing that jumped into my mind was a sort of flash back to last October and BooneG??s night in the Bronx, and in this run I had forgotten it. I started to think tonight the sox shouldnG??t forget it and it should drive them to excel.

I also noticed Petey as he walked into the dugout he didnG??t duck from the obscenities being hurled in his direction he paused and looked around and took it all in, I guarantee he thought I will see you in a couple of weeks and things will be different. A pissed off Pedro is a good Pedro for us anyway.

No doubt it was a letdown weekend, a lost weekend, and disappointing end to a great and exciting run. But I take solace in knowing the Yanks only won a battle the war hasnG??t started and we will have two lousy days in mid-September to look back at and help push the express to World Series. Stay aboard Boys and Girls itG??s just a bump in the road not a derailment of this great train.

Well THAT sure was ugly

Isn’t weather a strange thing? I almost feel like I’ve been an amature meteorologist
for the past week, analyzing what was going to happen to the Sox/Yanks series
this weekend. And so far, the weather has done nothing but cause a rain delay…

Yesterday psf.commer Fanatic and I met up in the morning to head to New Haven
and take the train into New York. Based on what the weather was like before
we boarded our train (9:30), we figured we’d be hanging out in the city for
a while, and there would probably be a lengthy delay. We arrived at Grand Central
and scurried over to the subway to head uptown and meet some others (PK, MBF,
and another) before heading over to Yankee Stadium. In what should have been
an ominous indicator of things to come, there was no uptown service on the subway,
so we had to take a cab. We arrive at the bar we were meeting everybody at,
and the five of us stood outside, marvelling at the partly cloudy day we saw
above us.

After waiting a while (the bar wouldn’t open before noon, even though there
were about a dozen people waiting to patronize it..would it have been so hard
to pour a few pints?), we figured that since it looked like the game would start
on time, we would head over. Once in the Bronx, Fanatic and I met up with another
fellow, who had a very generous Yankee fan friend that provided us with just
about the best seats I’ve ever had at Yankee Stadium. Said seats also included
admission to the Pinstripe Pub (which would become key later), where we retired
to have a few quality pregame beers.

Well, as you all know, the game got ugly early. The good thing about that is
at least we were pretty much assured of the outcome before the 2nd inning was
over, so we could have some fun with it. We got to experience just about the
worst service ever at a food concession stand (and poor service was not limited
to Sox fans), saw the end of the no-hitter while hanging out in the Pinstripe
Pub with some Yankee fans (there weren’t many Sox fans in that place, but they
were good dudes..we were buying eachother rounds), and were back in our seats
for the end, trying to communicate with some non-English speaking Matsui fans
sitting in front of us (the Japanese have MUCH cooler cell phones). On the way
home, we made a VERY interesting train transfer from the 4 to the Metro North
at 125th street…I’m glad we didn’t know about this ‘shortcut’ after game 2
of the ALCS last year, because I wouldn’t have wanted to walk that same block
at midnight.

Considering the results, we still had an excellent time. Once again, thank
you very much to everybody who made it possible for us (especially pk and edmund_dantes).
Now let’s go get ’em today!

and DOWN the stretch they come!!!

So here they are. 3 1/2 back with 6 more against the team ahead of them. Realistically,
the Sox need to take 4 of the remaining 6 (which would gain them 2 games) to
have a realistic shot at the AL East. Even if they don’t win the division, I
like the scenario…because it keeps the team attempting to fire on all cylinders
for the rest of the season…rather than clinch the playoffs with a week or
so left and risk the chance of getting just a tad complacent.

If the weather does what they are predicting it to as of 8:00 AM this morning,
this could also help out the Sox. The way it looks, they will have a very tough
time getting a game in tonight. Tomorrow it looks like the game could start
pretty close to on time, and Sunday looks fine. If they make a double header
either day, it would be in the Sox favor if that were Sunday. As it stands right
now, it seems to me that the Sox bullpen and bench are better prepared to handle
a doubleheader, not to mention the fact that they have Monday off. The Yanks
are pretty thin on the bench, and are down to 2 reliable arms in the bullpen.
And due to the rescheduling of the Toronto series to squeeze in the Tampa Bay
makeup, the Yanks now have one offday left this season; the last Monday of the
regular season.

Should the Sox take 4 of 6 from the Yanks, I really like their chances, as
long as they take care of business against Tampa Bay and Baltimore (which isn’t
always a given, is it?). Besides the 6 with the Sox, the Yanks have one more
tough series with the Twins in the last week of the season.

As for this weekend, it seems hard to predict. Can El Douche possibly continue
his incredible run? He’s 8-0, but let’s take a closer look at that. The only
team he beat that is over .500 is the Rangers. The Yanks won his start vs. the
Twins, but he gave up 5 runs in 6.1 IP. I’m guessing that he gets exposed just
a bit by the Sox this weekend…we just have to hope that Arroyo is on his game.
I don’t know what to think about Lieber, but I like the way Lowe has been pitching
of late. And Pedro vs. Moose is also a tad unpredictable…if Moose is on his
game, it could be a real pitchers duel.

Well, it’s time to let the nerds on websites stop playing guessing games, and
time to let the teams decide it on the field.

Whose mojo is stronger?

This year, I’m 9-1 in Sox games attended. The one loss, I left early because I didn’t think they would continue (Nomar’s return game vs. the Padres), and I’m convinced that had I stayed, they would have pulled it out.

Well, Wakes has been on a little bit of a bad streak lately, so tonight I head to Fenway to try to help him snap out of it.

EDIT: Evidently Mine is. By the way, a daily funny read is Jose Melendez’ Keys to the Game, which I only discovered just today thanks to Q: LINK

Tough way to end the stretch…

…but it was still an impressive stretch. The 13 game run that was supposed to bring the Sox back to earth, which included a 7 game West Coast road trip, saw the Sox go 10-3. Not to shabby at all. Now the Sox play the Orioles, the Devil Rays, and the Yankees. And that’s it…

Playoffs are looking very, very likely…and the East pretty much depends on the 6 games left versus New York. Nice way to end the season, especially considering where the Sox seemed to stand in the middle of the summer.

Who was the cancer?

I must admit that I am on a high. We are all on a high it seems, even dannycater doesnG??t rant more than 25 minutes (or 250 posts, whichever comes first) anymoreG?he keeps it at 15 minutes max these days. WhatG??s going on?
But again who was the cancer?

Before the trade
Record 56-46 .549
Hitting .280
Errors 0.76 per game
Runs per game 5.6
IP starter 6.2
Steals per game 0.38 (67% success)
HR per game 1.39

After the trade
Record 26-8 .765
Hitting .301
Errors 0.50 per game
Runs per game 6.3
IP starter 6.8
Steals per game 0.47 (66% success)
HR per game 1.33

A 34-game sample starts to be significant.

And from MondayG?? Boston Globe: G?Starting pitchers who have faced the Sox this season are 32-64 with a 6.17 ERA, the highest in the majors and three-quarters of a run worse than anyone else (the Yankees are 5.43). At Fenway, opposing starters are a staggering 14-38, with an ERA of 6.83. Just as important, the Sox make certain those starters don\’t stick around long, an average of 5.37 innings, the fewest in the majors. In Fenway, the showers are turned on even earlier — it\’s 5.10 innings on average.G?
which is the approach Theo likes and that I had mentioned it in a previous post.

Again pitching and defense. There are tough series ahead but a 100-win season is now insight (currently projections are at 98) and the Sox have a team ready for a long and successful postseason play.

Keep it going!


Thanks to Nomar for all those years in a Sox uniform. He got it a bit wrong at the end.
Thanks again to psf for creating this website.

The Wheels on the Bus

Go round and round…

Or in the case of the Yankees, they may be falling off. This is from George King in the New York Post this morning:

A selfish and immature act by the most self-centered man in baseball may have cost the Yankees the AL East last night at Yankee Stadium.

That may be going a bit overboard, but if Brown needs surgery and is out for an extended period of time…while he hasn’t exactly been lights out for the Yanks of late…let’s just say they don’t have any viable options to replace him down the stretch.

And on a Red Sox note; how about Wayback Wasdin last night? Am I the only guy that expected him to be knocked out by the 3rd or 4th inning last night? And did everybody catch the ‘show’ during the last at bat behind home plate last night?