Tag Archives: Kevin Youkilis

Coming to Grips.

Now We Know How Mets Fans Feel In September.

Just about three weeks ago, I left the country for an amazing vacation in Europe. We drank, we danced and we had a blast. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, it seems everything had gone to shit. The 2010 Red Sox are done like dinner. They had a shot to be really, really good, but injuries, ineffectiveness and all manner of crappy decision making led them to the point they are at now: playing out the string with a collection of old guys, cast offs and minor leaguers.

Sure, the pitching is still pretty good. Buchholz deserves some nods for Cy Young, and Jon Lester is still the man, but Beckett and Lackey are underperforming like it was super cool, and we are learning that no matter how good your pitching is, you still need to defend and score some freaking runs to win games.

Ever since I got back, I have been searching for answers as to how it got this bad. Had Theo tempted fate a little to much by calling this season a “Bridge Year” in the spring and then throwing the team’s highest payroll ever out there? Did we all need a fall free of drama, sleepless nights and heavy drinking? Did the fans (I’m looking at you, Benny Bagels) make this happen by not watching? Did the baseball gods finally decide that injuries had stayed too far away from the Sox?

No matter who it is that we blame (I’m thinking the injuries may have something to do with it though) this season was a missed opportunity in many many ways. The Sox were 36-20 through May and June, dominating everyone (it helped that they were 13-5 against the senior circuit) and seemingly getting ready to put a hurting on the Yanks and Rays. Then the bug hit; Beckett was already on the DL, Victor and Pedey went down within a few days and then, just after the break, when things were looking like they might get back to normal, Youk somehow got an injury that f#$%ing nobody ever gets, and was shut down for the season. (Don’t even mention Ellsbury. He is dead to me and will be so until he returns and steals home again) There were just too many injuries and the outfield of McDonald, Hall and Drew hasn’t exactly been what we planned on.

Don't we all need more Beard in our lives?

The nail in the coffin has really been (amazingly) the goddamn Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles were mathematically eliminated about three hours after pitchers and catchers reported, but they have beaten the Sox to a tune of 7-6 this season. No, you aren’t reading that wrong, the Sox have lost seven of the thirteen games they have played against the Baltimore “33 Games Out” Orioles. They are 11-4 against the Blue Jays, who are at least good enough to be troublemakers this month, but they can’t freaking beat a team that I’m pretty sure dropped two of three to the Japanese Little Leaguers. Last night’s game just proved it to me, this season is over.

With the top four guys in the lineup all missing significant (Read: devastating) time this season, what did we really expect?

Go Sox.

Done.

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The Beard Is On The Shelf.

No more of this for the year.

Just got the email saying that Kevin Youkilis is done until February with the torn abductor muscle in his thumb. Every time we get excited (after the Laser Show put on a, um, laser show in Denver), every time things are going well (Victor comes off the DL to help sweep LAAAAAAA), every time there is a reason to believe this season (Beckett goes 8, gives up one and suggests to Shelly Duncan in no uncertain terms that Fist can be a verb), the Baseball Gods come down to give us one more collective kick in the junk. They are getting back at Theo for suggesting that this was a bridge year by injuring enough guys on an extremely talented team to make it one.

This feels just like Game 7 of the ALCS in 2008, except it’s August. Downtrodden, disillusioned. I hope Daisuke can give us something to make us keep watching tonight….. Is that Pedroia jogging in the outfield?

Go Sox.

Done.

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It Just Never F#$%ing Ends

After getting Bogared again last night (our third base coach cost us the game when he twice sent runners who got gunned down at the plate and then we lost by one), the Sox are fading fast in both the wild card and the division, which both stand at 6.5 games (the Rays and Yanks are tied). The team is really good, unfortunately the injuries, which officially became ridiculous last night, have kept the club in neutral from day 1.

And now Youk might be done for the season. Last night, Youk left the game after jamming his thumb on a soft liner to short. I, along with what must be countless other Sox fans, went straight to the bottle and straight to 2011 in my mind. Today, however, I am reassured, because even with the lack of success against the bottom feeders of the AL (14-14 against the Indians, O’s and Royals ain’t gonna cut it), this team has a lot of time and a lot of talent to get back into things. So Youk joins Pedroia and Ellsbury (who had best becoming back soon) on the DL, we’ll survive.

"hey, look what I found."

The good news is the return of the Lowell connector. Instead of having to go out and find a waiver wire deal to fill the spot, the Sox happen to have a guy who has a World Series MVP, two rings, and an uncanny resemblance to George Clooney waiting in the wings after going 11-22 with a three homer game on a minor league rehab stint. That’s right, Treebeard is back, manning first base for the time being, and stepping on pitchers throats with impunity.

Beckett takes the mound tonight with the guy who was once thought to just be baggage on his deal playing behind him (along with Beltre and the rest of the usual replacements) to continue his reign of badassery.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Why I Love The 2010 Boston Red Sox.

So we’ve been gone for a while. These things happen when real life interrupts blissful Baseball fandom. The time off (which isn’t particularly over, more on that in a bit) has helped to reenergize us and has also reaffirmed our love for the Red Sox, specifically these Red Sox.

C0ming into the season I was confident despite the utterances of such terms as “bridge year” and “transitional period” throughout the off season. I knew that there was no way that the team was going to actually allow a season to go by without making a push for a title, especially with the fact that this season’s payroll ($170 mil) was higher than any in the club’s history. There was a lot of grousing about how the failure to sign Leigh Tiexiera’s  wife in the winter of 2008 had screwed up this team for years to come, and local pessimism was at it’s highest point since the winter of 2002, when everything had gone to shit and we still didn’t have a ring.

I could see where the doubters were looking, and I agreed with them in some way, but I still saw true promise in this club. There was some flash, some personality and some frailty, much more like the clubs that we used to love in the early part of the decade. So far, they have proved me right, and there’s much more to which we should look forward.

He's good again.

First and foremost there are the guys who keep showing up an doing their jobs. As long as we have Kevin Youkilis (seriously, Vote for Youk), David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and (gulp) J.D. Drew going out there every day, the Sox have a chance to win. Without Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Sox have been grinding along, winning the first two of pretty much every series and doing it in every way possible. It is in many ways thanks to these guys.

David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre (both All Stars) have bounced back into form after disastrous 2009s and are both making Theo Epstein look good. Who else thought Beltre was going to hit .340 this deep into the season? Nobody? Yeah, I thought so.  J.D. and Youk, on the other hand are as steady as they come, both putting up the numbers and playing the kind of defense we have come to expect from both of them. Even J.D.’s monthly period pains have been just what we expected (he misses 4-5 days a month with some type of nagging malady. Therefore, he’s either a Werewolf or a chick). And we can’t discount Scutaro’s ability to make the routine play and get on base when necessary.

Then there’s the collection of Minor Leaguers, castoffs and miracles that Theo has found and thrown in to the fire. I was at the game when Darnell McDonald made his debut with a game tying homer and a walk off double, and he has been steady if not spectacular, but definitely better than expected for a guy who had been bouncing around the minors for 11 years. Danny Nava, on the other hand, came from the other end of the spectrum but had just as few expectations, and made his presence known just as fast. Josh Reddick, Felix Doubront (tonight’s starter) and all the rest have also been operating above and beyond. These kids (who are mostly older than me) are kicking ass and taking names, and it is good for everyone.

Granted, there are still issues. The bullpen is an absolute trainwreck. Getting the ball to Daily Daniel Bard and Papelmoose has gotten to be an adventure, as anyone who was begging for Daisuke to make it just one more inning last night should know. The injuries will also eventually catch up to us, because you can’t win a world series with Eric “Corey’s less talented younger brother” Patterson hitting in the second spot in the lineup.

We’ll be gone until Monday, as the Sox limp (quite literally) into the All-Star break. Damn real life and it’s getinthewayish abilitites.

They ain’t prefect, but I love ’em. You should too.

Go Sox.

Done.

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I thought John Lackey Was Supposed to Be Really Good.

This was probably not a good pitch.

John Lackey must love Victor Martinez today. For the first time in Red Sox history, a catcher went 5-5, and four of those were doubles, as Lackey got his ass saved from another crapfest of an outing by the Red Sox Bats. Down 4-0 in the fifth, the offense woke up, in exactly the way that everyone was worried that they wouldn’t ever, and blasted back for a 9-4 win. Lackey struggled through six, giving up four runs on twelve hits (he’s super lucky that the A’s couldn’t get a clutch hit), and having his fourth straight bad outing.

Fear these men.

Fotunately for him, Victor decided that June will be his turn to dominate, going 5-5 with four doubles. This is huge, because if he starts to hit, and he hasn’t really this season, especially as a lefty, then the lineup becomes more dangerous and when other guys (like Ortiz) go on their normal slumps, he will be another bat to take some of the strain. Beltre also continued to be super hot, hitting a three run bomb and going 3-5 to bring his average up to .342. Seriously, for a guy who was brought in to play defense (which has been sparkling lately) .342 with six homers at this point is damn good. He’s been my guy all year and it seems that Boston is a good fit for him. Of course, Youk still couldn’t get out if he tried, going 2-4 and getting another walk. The rest of the boys chimed in doing their parts (including a hopefully slump busting eighth inning double from Pedroia) and the pen was solid.

Tonight we’ve got what should be a pretty good Matsuzaka on the mound, seeing as he stunk out the joint in his last outing. Over his last few starts he has literally been almost unhittable every other time out, and looked like Hideki Irabu the rest of the time. It’s that other time, so I’m looking for good stuff. Either way, I’m not going to be sober. Wogga Bear, CutFromLittleLeague, Jimmy Junk and I will be in attendance (right next to the visitors on-deck circle – this won’t be pretty) so he’d better be good, or it might get kinda drunk out.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Lackey’s Turn To Strap On Some Awesome.

Let's hope the good is catching.

So, somebody forgot to tell the Red Sox that April counted this year. Since their 4-9, heart attack and ulcer inducing start, the Sox are 22-12 and have started to make Theo Epstein Look really really good. They are hitting (which was everyone’s fear) at a greater clip than last year, ranking second in home runs and, most importantly to Theo, fourth in OPS and OBP. David Ortiz, after his horrible April (he really didn’t know that it counted), is hitting .359 in May and has 8 homers in the month. I know I keep harping on this fact, but I am super happy about it and since the start of Spring Training, the status of David Ortiz and his (sometimes) mighty bat has been one of the turning points of the season. If he is going good, then the team is hot; if he’s on a down swing, there is nobody to truly fear in the middle of the lineup (he’s hitting third tonight for the first time in about a year). Then again, with Youk treating the baseball like it’s the guy who hurt his little sister lately, there is definitely reason to fear the Beard That Should Not Be.

You will fear this man.

The bats are nice, but what it will really come down to for this year’s Sox is the pitching. Most specifically, the starters. The past two weeks, a string of games against teams at or close to the top of their respective decisions, has finally seen this group deliver on the promise of their collective histories. The starters have gone 6-1 and the team is 7-2 against Minnesota, New York, Philly and Trampa. Lester and Buchholz are making like Koufax and Drysdale, shutting down everyone they meet with impunity (even showing us the definition of effectively wild last night). The one (healthy) guy who hasn’t held up his end of the bargain is the new guy, the $82.5 million dollar John Lackey. After seeing sixteen innings of shutout ball from Matsuzaka and Wake, the fifth and six guys in the rotation), it’s time for Lackey to pretend someone on the Rays insulted Texas and show that he’s not the guy that should step out of the rotation when Beckett decided that he’s angry and ready to pitch again.

This ain’t southern f#$%ing California and we need to see the angry bulldog we thought we were getting when Lackey came to town. Get your ass in gear.

Oh, remember who has two thumbs and loved Beltre from the beginning. This guy. (I say as I give myself two big thumbs up).

Go Sox.

Done.

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They Should Make T-Shirts That Say “I Survived Bizzarro Weekend.”

First Daisuke freaking Matsuzaka comes within 5 outs of a No-Hitter against the “NL team with an AL lineup,” then Timmmmmmmay Wakefield, recently restored from the bullpen, dazzles that same lineup for eight innings, and then Lost ends. This was one clusterfuck of a weekend.

First of all, as much as SMC and the others I was with want to blame it on me, I have confirmed that more than one person who was watching the Red Sox game on Saturday night uttered the words “No-Hitter” before Juan Castro’s hit dropped with two outs in the eighth. So it wasn’t just me and that makes me feel slightly better. Otherwise the most important thing to take from the game is that we really have no effing clue how good or bad Daisuke Matsuzaka can be this season or beyond. He has been a shutdown ace twice this season and otherwise been a tremendous failure. The way that the defense, other than Scutaro, came together behind the Wiggler was also encouraging.

Hustler. In all senses of the word.

Of course, the Celtics game was also entertaining, as they went up 3-0 in an absolute destruction of everything that the Magic hold dear. I am both excited that Stan Van Gundy is going to be able to go back to his thriving Porn career, crying, and terrified that the Celtics are going to joint the Bruins as teams that have pulled a Yankee (and if you think I’m not happy to be able to use the term “pulling a Yankee” as something negative, you have not been reading very carefully). It was incredible and Rondo’s play on the floor has to go down as one of the ultimate hustle plays in postseason history. The Lakers should legit fear KG because they are holding his trophy.

Making them regret it.

The best part of the weekend, other than the Lost finale, which I loved and understood completely (this is where I imply that those who didn’t get it or are angry about it are either not smart or were just looking for things to complain about), was Tim Wakefield basically throwing a big middle finger at Theo, Tito and company for his move to the bullpen while his teammates made Roy Halladay (still can win 30 games in the NL) look like Charlie Zink. That makes four out of five games with the Sox starter going eight, which is what we expected to see all the time when the season started.

The Sox are three games above .500 for the first time all season, their hitters are hot (I think Youk might never get out again) and most of the pitching staff looks unhittable. Not a bat time to go visit the 32-12 (on pace to win 118 games) Trampa Bay Rays, who could stand to be taken down a notch. 7:10.

Go Sox.

Done.

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