Tag Archives: John Smoltz

Josh Beckett Proves My Point

Hes really really good.

He's really really good.

I’ve been saying it since November, an last night was my proof. Jason Varitek is the straw that stirs the drink that is Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, A.K.A. the Boston Red Sox starting rotation. At about four o’clock, just after he had eaten his afternoon live cow, and then ritually burned the amount of strikeouts he was planning to put down on the Jays into Gary Tanguay’s ass, Beckett was shocked out of his OCD routine by the fact that his catcher had neck spasms. For most pitchers this is no big deal. For Josh Beckett, who depends more on routine than the parents of autistic kids to make everything work, this was a catastrophe. John Farrel had already had to leave the club to deal with a family emergency in Cleveland (we send our best wishes and hope all is well), which took out one third of Beckett’s normal pre game meeting, and now he is throwing to an unfamiliar catcher. What happens? Beckett steps onto the mound at skydome and channels John Smoltz (circa 2009, not the good one), giving up seven runs in five and a third.

The Captain.

The Captain.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with Victor Martinez as a catcher. As Beckett himself said, the guy has caught the past two Cy Young winners, so he knows what he is doing, but he is not Jason “I know these hitters better than their own wives” Varitek. Martinez had not caught even one pitch from Beckett before last nights game, and so didn’t have the same knowledge of Beckett’s stuff, but more importantly he didn’t know what Beckett would want to throw.

The past three plus years of working together, plus the fact that Beckett is such a creature of routine, has made Varitek indispensable to him. Lester also feels the same way, having said while ‘Tek was a free agent last winter that his amazing growth last season was partially due to the captain’s tutelage.  If you look at the three worst starts of Beckett’s season, Georgie and Victor caught two of them, both on nights when his routine was disrupted. Jason Varitek is what makes our two best pitchers work, and it’s just too bad that Papelbon is too much of a closer to learn anything from him.

(I’m actually suggesting that we start to use the terms “such a closer” for people who are so empty headed that they act, well, like Papelbon does.)

Theyre vitamins and mangos, mang.

They're vitamins and mangos, mang.

That said it was nice to see the bats come alive, and I’m starting to like the rotting corpse of David Ortiz when he hits in the seven spot. It lengthens the lineup, and since June 6th he has more home runs than anyone in baseball other than Kendry Morales. Bay has four bombs in the past ten games and with Youk back in the lineup we might actually become dangerous again.

Espescially with Dylan Pedroia handling the shortstop duties.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Red Sox Vs. Yankees: Momentum is the Next Day’s Starting Pitcher.

In this case I like our momentum. The Smoltz Experiment has been thrown on the pile with the Wade Miller Experiment and numerous others, and tonight we turn the ball over to the ace. Beckett is ahead of his pace from 2007, when he gave a big f#$% you to all of the writers who gave the Cy Young to Chomping Cheeseburgers Sabathia by dominating in the playoffs. 

Forget about last night, we have still beaten these shitbags eight times this year and our ace is better than their overpriced number 2 (and by that I do mean that he is a piece of shit). We’ve got anger on our side after Dusty Pete got plunked in the late innings last night, and a fight is just over the horizon, hopefully after Beckett has made the Yanks look like the little leaguers that we will be watching next week on NESN. 

No hyperbole, no analysis, no inspirational videos. Just anger, pure and simple. F#$% the Yankees. Pinstripes are stupid.  

Go Sox. 

Done.

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Jim Rice: This Time It Was the Destination.

Rickey and Jim had a blast yesterday.

Rickey and Jim had a blast yesterday.

I’ve always heard that it’s not the destination that matters, but the journey. I figured out a few years ago that this wasn’t in reference to my daily commute, but to those achievements and events that really make differences in people’s lives. The journey is what shapes how we look at whatever goal was ahead of us in the future, and how we look back at those in the past. Most of the time this is right.

But yesterday we all got to witness a time when it was the destination, and not the journey that made all the difference. Jim Rice is a Hall of Famer. It took fifteen years of balloting, the most that was possible, but it doesn’t matter whether he got in on the 15th try or the first (like Rickey Henderson, who went in with him), just that he is in.

Jim Rice is also the only man cool enough to wear sunglasses indoors, on TV.

Jim Rice is also the only man cool enough to wear sunglasses indoors, on TV.

For the last twenty years, Jim Rice has been a statue. He couldn’t do anything to improve the numbers which include three seasons of 35 HR, 100 RBI and 200 Hits (the only player in Major League History to do that). In his MVP season of 1978, he lead the league in HR, RBI and triples. As impressive as those stats are, they haven’t changed one bit over the past fifteen ballotings for the Hall of Fame, or the five years before that. The journey, and how long it took, don’t really matter anymore.

Yesterday, Jim Rice entered the Hall of Fame. It took way too long, and the journey got harder year after year. But as we watched Jim Ed speak on that podium at Cooperstown, the years melted away and we could see the man who walked away twenty summers ago after having dominated the American League for a decade. We saw the smile that I grew up loving, and pitchers learned to fear, and we saw one of our own enter the final stop on his journey, one in which he will be enshrined forever. And where he ended up is what really matters.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Settle Down Children, The World is Not Coming to an End.

Don't Press the Button Yet.

Don't Press the Button Yet.

Sure, the Yanks have swept their last four while the Sox have lost three in a row. Sure, the division is now tied. But this is not the end of the world.

Look at the calendar. Today is July 21, and there are 68 games remaining in the season. The Red Sox do not need to get rid of Peny, Smoltz or anyone else. The whole of Red Sox Nation is looking at a snapshot of the season, where as Theo and the boys in his office are looking at the timeline.

Did you really expect him to be the Smoltz of old after five starts?

Did you really expect him to be the Smoltz of old after five starts?

So let’s all settle down, relax, and realize that the standings on July 21 don’t matter on October 5th. We don’t need to overreact to a bad outing by Penny or Smoltz by blowing up a long standing development plan and bankrupting the minors to land Halladay (unless it looks like the Yanks are going to). We don’t need to throw Buchholz into the mix with the huge expectations on his shoulders that he collapsed under last season. We don’t need to go out and get a bat because a couple of guys have had a bad week.

Everything will be O.K. Beckett is going tonight. The team is coming home on Friday. And the Yankees have been playing over their heads for the last few weeks. Plus, even if the season did end today, we have the tie breaker (in case you forgot, the Sox are 8-0 vs. the Pinstriped Assholes).

Go Sox.

Done.

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Can You Say Anti-Climax: Sox Get Shut Out in Nomar’s Return.

Nomar signing for fans.Well, at least we got one thing right. If the fans of Fenway were going to cheer Nomar last night (against my wishes) they did it the right way. One minute and ten seconds. He stood there at the plate, tears welling up in his eyes, for one minute and ten seconds as the Sox crowd showered him with the adulation that they wished they could have given him as he raised the trophy above his head five years ago. He tried to step into the box a few times, and had to hold up, partially because he was to faklempt to handle batting at that moment, and partially because the crowd would not let up. And then he stepped in.

And promptly stepped out to adjust his helmet, cup and batting gloves.

Enjoy:

After that it was a game to forget. Brett Anderson, who had a fine performance wasted earlier this season when Tim Wakefield, All Star, flirted with a No-No, shut out the Sox on two hits. The lack of Clutchitude® not only led to us losing (the Yanks lost too, so we are still in first by a game), but dropped every single member of the Sox starting nine under the .300 avg mark.

Hopefully Beckett can go out there tonight and set shit straight. What I’d really like to see, which we haven’t seen all year, is a fight. That is what this team needs. Aaron Bates, I know you just debuted last night, and don’t want to give your self a bad reputation, but this may be your opportunity to take one for the team and make people hurt. It seems like the team could use it.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Nomah, Back to the Bean.

The day the 2004 Nomar trade went through Cubs fans were dancing in the streets and Sox fans around the world were an odd kind of puzzled. We were coming off a painful 2003 postseason and our franchise player was on his way out of town, replaced by Orlando Cabrera and a a few odds ‘n ends.

He probably did them.

He probably did them.

Our relationship with Nomar began to sour after the A-Rod talks fell through (thank god) and by the time the 2004 trade deadline came around, Tito said articulately that Nomar was “Bostoned out.” Leading up to that point however, Nomar had made repeated claims that he wanted to spend his whole career in Boston. Apparently the Brass felt otherwise.

For the majority of Nomar’s tenure, he was a hustle player. Home grown talent that came up through the Cape League, he was solid in the field, a threat at the plate but quiet in the media. Garciaparra’s media shyness was a part of his undoing. Boston fans need to connect with their players, we need to feel like everybody’s is on the same page and everybody wants to win. When the end came for Nomar, the public outcry was minimal because even after eight seasons as the Sox short gapper, we really didn’t connect with the guy.

Cue the greatest 1/2 season in Red Sox fan & team history.

Idiots.

Idiots.

Cabrera comes to town to start, Doug Mientkiewicz enters the scene as a ball-stealing defensive replacement, Keith (I remember not hating him) Foulke turns it on as one of the best closers in baseball and Manny & the Idiots slug their way to a World Series championship. The streets were covered in tears of joy… and teargas.

The 2004 Sox season ended just in time for everyone to be Patriots fans again. The year of the Dynasty. I was wondering aimlessly around my apartment last night (very long weekend) and I stumbled upon the NFL Channel’s account of the Patriot’s super bowl run and it just reminded me how awesome Boston really is.

We got Smoltz on the hill tonight and the he’ll be throwing to a couple big swinging bats, ala Giambi and Holliday… but the matchup I’m looking forward to this evening is at bat number one for the A’s 6th-hitting DH, the king of the 48 minute at bat. Stop messing with your freaking batting gloves, you’ve already screwed up every little game in the country. Thank God Dice-K isn’t toeing the rubber tonight.

So stand and ovate, or sit and boo. Nomar is probably a steroid guy and definitely slinked his way out of town… but no matter what side of the fence you’re on, it will be a hell of a game.

Go sox.

StartMattCassel

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Blame It on the Rain, or Go Eff Yourself, It was a Crappy Tuesday Night in Baltimore.

You Suck Tonight........Next!

You Suck Tonight........Next!

Yeah, that was not a fun game. It was a complete meltdown by our bullpen in a game that we lead 10-1 and ended up losing. But other than the fact that I’m not going to watch SportsCenter today or read the globe other than the, you know, “real news,” it’s not going to affect me that badly. The bullpen, which, I remind you, is the best in the Majors, melted down on a night when they were asked to pitch five innings and when they were tired from two weeks of goddamn interleague. That plus we lost our third baseman to the DL for the next two weeks. Blame it on the Rain.

Smoltz looked great, not dominant, but better than anyone else's fourth guy

Smoltz looked great, not dominant, but better than anyone else's fourth guy

Of course, there were bright spots (and I will enumerate them because I am such a cheery person). First and foremost was our new friend, John Smoltz. He had thrown 53 pitches through four innings of one run ball and seemed to be getting stronger. His command was there, and he was pitching just as well as we had hoped when we signed him last winter. If not for the rain, he wouldn’t have had to come out, easing the strain on the bullpen and lessening the chance of a meltdown, as well as leaving them fresh for the rest of the week. Blame it on the Rain.

Jeff Bailey, who replaced Lowell on the roster, was 3-4 with three runs scored and a triple in his return from the minors. Youk was 3-5 with a double and a homer. Ells had his fifth homer of the year. Even Lugo had a decent game, getting on base in the ninth with a chance to tie the game, but it’s still his fault for even being in the lineup (I’m serious, I get the Rudy Seanez feling every time he plays, and we just win when Green starts). But it was all for naught.

But just relax all of you people who are going to comment on here that the Sox aren’t as good a we think. It’s not football, or any other sport with a short season. This was one game out of 162, we are still leading the best division in baseball with the best record in the AL, and we have done all this without hitting on all cylinders for a single game all season. Does anyone want to face this team in October? No, because the pen is (normally) unhittable, the starters are deeper than even we thought, and we have one of the top four lineups out there.

Don’t worry, just Blame it on the Rain

Best. Video. Ever.

Go Sox.

Done.

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