Tag Archives: Major League Baseball

Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox: How Do YOU Spell Juggernaut?

With Crawford and Gonzalez in the mix, this should be a common sight around here soon.

Theo Epstein has given me a reason to write again.

Actually, he has given me two of them.

With today’s announcement that the Red Sox signed Carl Crawford, and last week’s trade for my long time man-crush, Adrian Gonzalez, the Sox are back. They have shifted the balance of power, stolen the thunder from a 10-2 Patriots team (by the way Rex Ryan, did you know that fist can be a verb?) and banished the championship contending Celtics and Bruins to the second page of the sports section. Once again this is a baseball town and the general malaise that had settled in at the end of last season is officially so gone that I have completely forgotten that anything between Papelbon entering in the ninth inning of game three of the ALDS in 2009 and when I woke up to the joyous news Saturday morning.

Now I know what all of you Christians have been saying about Christmas morning, but this was better.

Gone are the injuries, the worries, and watching Eric Patterson and Danny Nava playing in big games for the Sox. Gone is the f@#$%ing bridge year, and gone is the small market mindset. The Red Sox have flexed their muscles and now the rest of the league has to be afraid.

The best part of today was that I gave my students a pop quiz so that I could read all of the coverage, watch the video of Cashman shaking his head and imagining the price tag on Cliff Lee, who the Yankees absolutely must get, and above all, play with the lineup. Just picturing a lineup with a healthy Youk and Pedey, Ellsbury (I still think he’s the king of the Pink Hats) and Crawford terrorizing the basepaths, and Gonzalez chipping paint off the monster on a daily basis is making me smile and count the days to Pitchers and Catchers (66). After many hours of work (while I was supposed to be educating children), I have come to the following lineup:

Ellsbury (LF),

Pedroia (2B),

Crawford (LF),

Gonzo the Great (1B),

The Beard (3B),

Papi (DH),

Drew (only one more year, RF),

‘Tek/Salty (C),

Scoots (SS).

This way there are three on base guys in front of Gonzo and Youk, allowing them to drive guys in, and it keeps a semblance of the right-left pattern that Tito likes to keep in order to prevent other teams from using a specialist on the heart of the order. It is worth mentioning that both Gonzo and Craw (I’m auditioning nicknames, feel free to contribute) hit lefties very well and that Gonzo absolutely crushes everything, including the souls of people named Steinbrenner. There is also potential for Salty to continue to develop and move up in front of Drew in the order, furthering Tito’s right-left desires (both of the catchers are switch hitters).

Oh, and have I mentioned that the three and four pitchers in our rotation are as good, if not better than most other team’s one and two? Yeah, Beckett is looking like he is going to come out pissed off at all the people who said that he shouldn’t have gotten the extension last year and Lackey will be the same way at us (and I say us, because I am one of these people) and come out firing.

The bullpen is the only question left (other than who bats where in the lineup and how many games we win the east by), headed by the nutcase who is in his final year with the Sox and must show up big for the big contract that he wants. Bard is solid and getting better (look at what he did to lefties last season, and that’s as a righthander), and the rest of the pieces…. well…… I trust in Theo.

He’s gotten us this far.

66 Days.

Go Sox.

Done.

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It’s An Off Day, So I Can Forget About The Red Sox for A While.

Did you ever think I’d write that? Me either, but here we are, with three weeks left in the 2010 baseball season, and I need a break. I can’t stop watching all nine innings every night, but it’s more like rubbernecking at a car accident than really watching with any hope. I’m curious about the kids, and trying to figure out what should happen with Ortiz and all of the old guys, but the passion just isn’t there. Basically watching the Sox crumble with injuries to the hitters and inconsistencies among the pitching staff (how ya liking Colorado, Manny?) has made me hate myself.

In an attempt to make myself forget about the pain in the ass that is the slow death of the Red Sox, I have turned to another source of daily entertainment, the NFL. The problem that I have always had with the NFL is that there isn’t enough daily action. So, in the midst of the too-little-too-late beatdown that the Sox were throwing at the Rays last night, SMC and I participated in my first ever fantasy football draft. I’ll say this, it was boring. With a 16 team league and all of the tools that the Mothership (we decided to do it through ESPN) there wasn’t much excitement to it. Either take the best guy available or the best of whatever you need, but the research, analysis, and most of the decision making was already done for me.

As it turns out, the later rounds get kinda thin (though it did allow me to pick up both the Law Firm, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and LeGarret Blount, who I can depend on to get some points for punching people) but over all my asst. GM (MVPork) and I are pretty happy with the way things turned out. Maybe this will keep my mind off the fact that it is still about five months until baseball gets exciting again (the Hot Stove is too intermittent).

Today is an off day, so enjoy tonight (good yontif to those members of the tribe out there) and I’m taking the Saints (-5) over the Vikings to start the season tonight.

Go Sox.

Done.

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CC Sabathia is Fat.

An old favorite:

Go Sox.

Done.

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Javy Vazquez is My Homie.

That’s right. I love the guy.

Awesome

The Sox go into a weekend series needing to win three of four to stay afloat in the playoff race, and the Yanks are throwing Javier “Gave up the grand slam to Johnny Damon which officially killed the curse” Vazquez to start out against Buchholz. Could there be any situation better? Vazquez is 3-7 against the Sox lifetime and sucked so bad at one point this season that he almost got Joba’d back to the minors (or worse, to the NL).

As I said before, this is the best possible way to start the reacharound series, our most consistent guy against their crappiest. After last night’s domination by Dice-K, and the timely awesomeness of Adrian Beltre (my preseason pick for AL MVP), the momentum is with the Sox and if Earl Weaver was right when he said “Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher” you gotta feel pretty good right now.

The apocalypse is upon us again and you can be sure that SMC and I will be hanging on every pitch.

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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Now Giving Lessons In Clutchitude: David Ortiz.

There wasn’t much to say about Friday night’s baseball game between the Red Sox and Tigers. Even Ortiz’ best attempt to play 2004 with a grand slam in the ninth wasn’t enough to recover from the bullpen, and the Sox lost 6-5. See, not much to say, because that’s it.

Yesterday looked to be more of the same, as the Sox kept stranding runners, over and over again. They had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth, and Ortiz struck out. Then they had them loaded after scoring two runs in the seventh, and Ortiz struck out (anyone sensing a pattern here?). They couldn’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position and it looked like the slow death of the season was upon us.

That’s when Jim Leyland decided that he feared Youk with runners on second and third in the ninth more than he did Ortiz with the bases loaded. Apparently he didn’t watch the game the day before. Anyways, we get a double to the gap, three runs score and the Sox walk off in style 5-4. Take notes, managers, don’t pitch to David Ortiz with the bases loaded in the ninth.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Sox finally got Jarrod Saltallamacchia at the deadline so that he can spend the next few months absorbing everything that Jason Varitek has to tell him. It’s a good thing and having a real catcher with potential in the system makes me a lot more comfortable.

We’ve got one more with the Tigers this afternoon. Sweet.

Go Sox.

Done.

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This Is Where It Gets Interesting.

Wasn’t that the way this season was supposed to look? In three games the Red Sox starting pitchers (Buchholz, Lackey and Beckett) threw 21 innings, gave up six runs and the Sox won all three games. There was some good defense, timely hitting and a whole lot of badassery emanating from the mound in Anaheim (not L.A.).

Yesterday was Beckett’s turn. Making his second start since returning from the DL, and getting his first win since my birthday (April 10), Becks was solid, throwing seven innings and giving up just the three. It should have been only one, but Jeremy Hermida’s injury was probably to his head, because he misplayed another out yesterday, extending the second so that the Angels could score twice (he also has seven more strikeouts than hits since he got back). Then again if Scutaro (totally unsung hero of the season) hadn’t shown some clutchitude in hitting an eighth inning slam, Dan Shaughnessy and Boston Dirt Dogs (my two favorite flip floppers) would still be declaring us dead.

This team is starting to look like the one that was tearing people second assholes through much of May and June, until both our catchers dropped off the face of the earth and things went all shitty. The defense still sucks, but the pitching is good enough to power through (maybe yesterday was even a sign that MDC and Ram-Ram are joining the party, as the Sox actually won a game without Paps or Bard) and the winter’s fears about the offense are obviously completely unfounded, as the Sox are second in the league in both runs and homers.

So all you bandwagon fans who haven’t been watching the team and therefore driving down revenues and making it harder for them to spend on more players for next year, it’s time to hop back on. The Sox are going to make this interesting, and I can only hope that the Angels get in Lackey’s way again. (scroll down to the comments by Lackey)

Go Sox.

Done.

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