Tag Archives: Mike Lowell

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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Beckett to DL, But The Rest of The Red Sox Haven’t Given Up.

Try to tell Youk that the season is over, and he might just stare at you so hard that your head explodes.

I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t watch the game either of the past two nights. I was convinced that nothing good could come from two games in the Bronx after the complete failure to show up in Detroit (but hey, at least we aren’t from Detroit), and of course, there was a Pearl Jam concert to distract me. Last night I was simply demoralized after the testicle wrenching manner in which Monday night’s game ended and decided that my time would be better spent watching Lost.

"Excuse me, waiter? This is not what I ordered. Please take it back and don't spit on my food."

So it is with that said that I am actually starting to believe that this team isn’t just better than their record (they are, and they’ve just been sucking lately; by lately I mean all season) but also has some fight in it. Down 5-0 for the second night in a row, the Sox came back again to take the lead, and this time they held on, even if they can’t prevent runs (Marco is not bad, he’s just suffering from the curse of Nomar). They battled back after losing their $68 million “ace” (on the 15-Day DL with Back Spasms/Sand in Vagina) and with the weight of the previous night’s loss hanging over them.

Clutchitude.

Sure, there’s Mike Lowell becoming a child and asking for his release when he didn’t get the start against Sabathia (a fat lefty) last night over Ortiz, who is only hitting .367 this month, and there’s Timmmmmmay Wakefield, another disgruntled elder statesman of this team, who was not happy about being shuttled to the bullpen, but last night showed me that, no matter how disjointed the clubhouse is, Pedroia and company aren’t going to give up on any game, ever. The fact that Jeremy Hermida turns into David Ortiz circa 2004 whenever he comes up in a big spot has definitely helped (imagine where we’d be without him).

It doesn’t get easier, with the Twins in town (anyone for a rain out and double header?) and then trips to Philly and Trampa before the calendar ticks to June. Two thirds of the outfield is still out, the bullpen is about as reliable as Hugh Heffner’s dick without Viagra and the fans are starting to revolt. There will come a point when this team needs to make a run, and a f#$%ing epic one, but just to see some fight from them amongst the carnage is a good sign.

Buchholz vs. the Twins at 7:10.

Go Sox.

Done.

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Another Win, Another Nail in the Coffin for Big Papi

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rotting Corpse of David Ortiz

It’s sad, really. For five years, David Ortiz was one half of the most feared tandem in baseball, a power hitter who pitchers avoided. He hit 54 home runs in 2006, had at least 137 RBI for three years in a row, and was named the best clutch hitter in the history of the Boston Red Sox. Now he is the guy that pitchers hope come up when they are in a tight spot, the guaranteed out, the weakest link. It’s sad to see.

Last night’s game was a huge positive for the Red Sox. They got 8 solid innings from Lester, who seems to be rounding into form, a great defensive play from Pedroia, made no errors (seriously, for a team that was built to play defense, games without errors seem like no hitters this year), and got enough offense to get the win. Hermida’s clutch double (luck) continued his string of timely hits, and Lowell added yet another double, his fifth hit in a row, four of them doubles. They have now won two in a row and are just a game short of .500, and that is without two of their starting  outfielders.

But then there’s the artist formerly known as Big Papi. He is now hitting .154, with three home runs and 6 RBI. He approached the plate four times last night, walking away sadly after striking out twice and hitting into two double plays. The second of those, of course, was the real stomach punch. Bases loaded, nobody out and Ortiz gives all of Red Sox Nation a stomach punch by hitting directly into the shift for an unproductive 4-2-3 double play. I wasn’t even really hoping for a hit, just a productive out. Hell, even if he had hit into another type of double play the run could have score. If Juan Rivera wasn’t a completely inept leftfielder and had caught Hermida’s very catchable ball, we might not even have the positive of a win to temper the disappointment in our former idol. He has become Jason Varitek of September 2008, hitting into double plays, striking out and otherwise turning potential big innings into great big shitburgers like it is what he was getting paid to do.

To add insult to injury, the guy who everybody wants to replace him, and already has against left handers, continued to be red hot, doubling again to score Hermida right after. Mike Lowell, who has shown not only class in this situation, but the ability to thrive, hitting .317 with a .903 OPS. He also has five hits in his last five at bats.

Never Forget.

Right now, my inclination is to let Ortiz work it out. He may be driving me to want to punch babies, but we can never boo the guy, after all he has done for us. Last year he was just a little better at this point and then had the best final four months of the season in the AL. His teammates have his back, as evidenced by Dustin Pedroia’s comments after the game, and Tito is notoriously loyal to his players (and he knows more about his team than you do), so they’re probably going to let this one ride for a while.

If Lowell keeps tearing the cover off the ball though, the end of the month might have people singing a different tune.

Enjoy Cinco De Nomar.

Go Sox.

Done.

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So That is What Baseball Season is Supposed to Feel Like.

Yesterday I woke up with a bad taste in my mouth. It wasn’t the usual bad taste, from a combination of Narragansett and lack of sleep, it was worse. It may have been the water, but it was more likely the fact that my Boston Red Sox were now 11-14 and had suffered a weekend sweep at the hands of the Baltimore f#$%ing Orioles. It was too late to say that they were still finding their groove, and that there was plenty of time to dig themselves out of any early season hole, and reports from the Herald that there was unrest in Tito’s house did nothing to assuage my fears.

What happened last night at Fenway, however, did make me feel better. It may be a sign that things are turning around, but it also may just be a righteous beatdown that erased memories of the sad end to the 2009 ALDS. Either way, it was great. The Sox got on the board early and often, pitched well and generally went all Paul Revere on their asses (quote the Beasties: I did it like this, I did it like that, I did it with a wiffleball bat). J.D. “I’m awake, promise” Drew continued his quiet return to life, going 4-5 with three RBI to bring his once anemic average up to .247, Mike Lowell continued to prove that he should at least get a shot as an every day DH by going 4-4 with three doubles, four knocked in and a walk (say goodbye, Papi), and even Beltre and Bill Hall finally got into the act by hitting their first home runs in a Red Sox uniform. To top it all off, old reliable Youk and Pedey chipped in with homers of their own.

Victor Even Chipped In By Nailing a Base Stealer.

Was it a sign of things to come? We can sure hope so, because I am sick and tired of seeing sub-.500 numbers and the (Roy Halladay-less) Toronto Blue Jays ahead of us in the standings. I don’t know if this was brought on by one of those players only meetings, if the hazing of the new guys ended or if the old guard was just so pissed about what happened last fall that they put everyone else in line, but something happened. It got so bad for the Angels (17 runs, 20 hits) that when Delcarmen took the mound, and looked absolutely dominating (sorry about blaming you for everything, you have been the one truly solid reliever these past few weeks), in the seventh inning, he and Victor were practicing calling pitches the way that they do when there is a runner on second. Practicing. That’s how much they want to win.

There are still warts, and who knows if this was a step in the right direction or just a blip on the radar, but it was good. Schoenweis gave up four in the ninth, continuing his lack of effectiveness, and Buchholz actually had his worst outing of the season (5-2/3, 4ER) but a win is a win. Now they’ve pulled me back in.

Is it 7:10 yet?

Go Sox.

Done.

P.S. This is the song I got in my head every time Lowell came to bat.

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Jeremy Hermida is My Spirit Animal.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand  we’re back. After an early season series loss to the Yanks, SMC and I decided that we needed some way to figure out what our path through this season was to be. So we went on a vision quest. While it took us away from you, our loyal and loving readers (all four of you), it helped us to figure out exactly what the hell was happening in Boston Sports.

With help from our Spirit Guides, these are some of the things we picked up:

The Sox should give Hermida a shot at being an every day DH before they give one to Lowell. The team knows that, one way or another, Lowell is gone after this season (even if he is not traded in the mean time, he has said that he is likely to retire). With Ortiz flagging, that leaves Hermida, a former first round pick who is hitting very well in limited action so far (5-14, 1.186 OPS, 3-RBI two out double yesterday) to be the guy who steps in for him. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ortiz still has some gas left in the tank (as evidenced by his 29 homers and 99 RBI in only four months of usefulness last year), but having a backup plan for more than this year is a good idea and that is clearly not Mike Lowell. Hermida should get a shot.

The bullpen will be fine, as long as Manny Delcarmen is not given a larger role. He’s a local guy, and apparently a good guy, but he doesn’t get the job done. While guys like Ram-Ram (who gave up a meaningless three run bomb to some nameless Royal over the weekend) and Oki (who has already walked three) have bad outings on occasion, even bad streaks, they are the exception, not the rule. With Delcarmen it’s the other way around, to me at least, and when he comes in and pitches well, I am surprised. If Francona can use those two guys wisely, along with Schoenweis, without leaning on them too much and overworking them, he’ll be able to bridge the inning or two between the starters and Pap nicely.

Not Ready for Prime Time Player.

Which brings me to my next point. Daniel Bard is clearly not ready. All of you people out there who have been screaming for the Sox to trade Papelbon and his 38 saves last season because this kid throws 100 and is the next big thing are wrong. Yes, he may develop into a first class closer, but he’s not there yet, and he’s definitely not ready to close the door for a championship contender. He throws 100, but without a complimentary pitch to match that, hitters will be sitting dead red and the ball will end up going home with some fan. His changeup hasn’t been fooling people and his curve is not developed to the point where he can get strikes with it consistently. Once he has something else for hitters to be looking for, that 100 mph heater will be a much more effective weapon. The same thing is why Papelbon had some struggles last year (he still only blew three saves). He stopped being able to get his splitter over for strikes and hitters were looking for the fastball.

We were also reminded that there are other sports in the region, though they have all taken a back seat to anything the Sox do. I’ve become convinced that the Celtics are going to make a first round exit this season. They are going to face D-Wade and El Heat in the first round and all season the top players in the league have torched them in big situations. By the way, Wade is the new Allen Iverson (wore a Red Sox cap while talking about practice), without the convictions and off the court stuff.

Taylor Hall will look great holding up another cup in black and gold. Someday.

The Bruins, on the other hand, actually have some things to be excited about. In the last few weeks they have been playing better, acting like a team and even moved up to grab the sixth spot in the playoffs. There is a legit shot that a big performance by Tuukka can steal a round for the B’s, and with the way the rest of the team has been acquitting themselves lately, it will at least be an exciting first round matchup with Olympic hero Ryan Miller and the Sabres. The real excitement comes with the completion of the draft lottery the other day. The B’s are guaranteed to get either Talyor Hall or Tyler Seguin. Both of them are NHL ready and will be a big help next year to an offense that has been the second lowest scoring in the league this year. I kinda know what it would have felt like for the Celtics to have gotten one of the top two picks in 2007 and gotten either Oden or Durant (Oden has been a bust, but it was exciting to be thinking about getting him).

It’s good to be back. Wakefield takes the mound at 1, so fake sick, drink some ipecac, or moon your boss, because we have day baseball and it’s warm and sunny in Minnesota.

Go Sox.

Done.

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NESN’s First Reality Sitcom?

Unfortunately for fans of hard drinking backup first basemen/outfielders, Kevin Millar was cut by the Cubs yesterdat in his attempt to continue his career into a thirteenth season. Though it is sad for Millar, and all of the Chicago college girls who he was going to “pleasure,” It brings up a new opportunity for those of us who love an miss Millar in Boston (just not in the lineup).

For one he could do as I’ve always hoped and join NESN as a sideline reporter and analyst. He is the natural successor to Remy and would be hilarious on the set with Jim Rice’s suits and Dennis Eckersley’s hair constantly reminding him that they are in the hall of fame and he’s not. They could also send him out on the road to do live check ins with fans in the bars as he gets drunk and see how many innings it takes until he gets incoherent, throws up on air or pulls a Joe Namath with some random college chick he’s interviewing. Eventually, when Remy decides to leave the booth, he and his bottle of Jack Daniel’s would be the guy to step in along with Donny O.

Imagine him picking up strange, on TV....... Hilarity Ensues.

He could also try to extend his “career” which to everyone else peaked when he was one of the 25 guys on the roster when we won in 2004. Texas may have some interest, as it seems less and less likely that they will take Lowell off Theo’s hands without the Sox picking up the entire $12 million tab, even though he has been hitting on all cylinders lately. Millar would fit the bill of a back p first baseman/DH who could hit for some power off the bench and serve as insurance for when Vlad Guerrero inevitably goes down.  It’s a shot to extend his playing days, which is what he really wants to do and also kinda screws the Sox at the same time.

The best option is to redefine reality TV by giving Millar his own show. It wold basically be a reality version of Cheers, but the bar would be in the Sox clubhouse, and the part of Diane would be played by DeMarlo Hale. Every night, when the game ends, the guys would come back to their lockers to find Millar set up behind he bar, serving drinks and spitting old timey bartender wisdom. The players would be able to come to Millar to talk about their issues, work through a rough day on the field, or just to see what Northeastern girl he was trying to give his special brand of love to that night.

No matter what happens, Kevin Millar will always hold a special place in the hearts of all Red Sox fans, and he likely won’t be able to buy himself a drink in the city of Boston. If you’ve got any ideas of your own, feel free to share them in the comments section.

Go Sox.

Done.

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The Treebeard Problem and Other Things On Theo Epstein’s To Do List.

Mike Lowell with Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia.

We all know how it works. As soon as you get comfortable, you realize that there is a whole crapload of stuff that you still need to do. It’s the same even for Theo Epstein, whose arrival at spring training isn’t the end of his winter’s work, but just a change in location. Other than deciding on the two or three spots on the bench and in the bullpen that haven’t been settled yet, Theo has plenty to do. Fortunately for him, I’m here with some solutions.

It's About This Big.

1. The Treebeard Problem. Seems like no matter how hard he tries, Theo just cant get rid of that damned Mike Lowell. After 2007, when he was a free agent, Theo tried to lowball him in the hopes that he would go to the Phillies and break down physically there. Didn’t work, and Lowell took a shorter deal to stay in Boston ( I really can’t blame him). After 2008, hey attempted to sign Mrs. Leigh Teixeira (does it surprise anyone that the Yankees keep finding douches to sign?), which would have sent Youk to third and made Lowell the odd man out. We all know what happened there. This winter Theo tried to send Lowell to the Rangers (along with $9 million) for Max Ramirez, but his injured thumb got in the way of that one.

He Can Still Hit, And He's Excited About That

He was severely limited defensively last season, but hit 17 home runs and had .811 OPS in 119 games. He is still a viable offensive force, and if his hip and thumb can get healthy he will still be able to catch the ball with the best of them (not Beltre, but all the others). The real problem is that he simply doesn’t have a spot on this team unless the Sox want to carry two DHs (or something terrible happens). Not a bad idea, considering Ortiz’ struggles in the first two months of 2009, but not something I can see them doing. The most likely move is another trade, possibly the same one as before, but not until Lowell can prove he’s healthy, and according to reports, not likely before the regular season. If the move for Max Ramirez is still on the table at that point, and no better deal is out there, Theo should definitely go back to that well.

Wow, He Got Huge This Winter.

2. The Captain and his replacement. Jason Varitek is no longer the starting catcher for the Boston Red Sox. His body has broken down to the point where he can no longer lead the team the way that he did on the field for so many years. Fortunately, the Sox already have a more than viable replacement on their roster in the form of Victor Martinez. Once the Lowell situation is a bit more under control (and even before that) locking up Martinez needs to be a top priority. He has already stated that he wants to stay here for the rest of his career, and will be the best catcher on the free agent market next season if it gets that far (Mauer is a pipe dream, he’s staying in Minnesota). The Yankees would love to be able to replace a 37 year old Jorge Posada with Victor, and you can bet that they’ll pony up the cash if it gets to that point. The best solution is to not let that happen, lock him up for five or six years while guys like Mark Wagner, Tim Federowicz and Luis Exposito develop into what we need them to be (preferably under the tutelage of Varitek after he retires next winter with his third ring). Just make the effing deal.

No Matter How Hard You Push, The Wall Won't Get Any Farther From The Plate.

3. The Best October Pitcher on the Planet (sometimes).  It’s Josh Beckett’s contract year, which means he’s probably going to destroy everything in his path. It’s also 2010, and even numbered year, which means that he will have a sub par season (for him) and people will be disappointed. One of these two things will happen, but either way, the Sox have to start thinking about either resigning or letting the pitcher go. The starting point for any deal will be the five year, $82.5 million contract that both Lackey (who has almost identical career numbers) and A.J. Burnett got in the past two years. Beckett’s contract situation is going to be a focus for the media the entire year, and if it becomes a distraction for the pitcher, he will end up with a far smaller contract than the Beckett of 2007 would have gotten. This is a wait and see opportunity, but a deal could be made midseason like it was in 2006

The job of a Major League GM is never done, and there are a million smaller issues to handle that you and I have no clue even exist, but these are three biggies. Trust in Theo, and know that he’s on the right track, even if this is a f#$%ing “bridge” year. Today is the first full squad workout and the skies are blue in Ft. Myers. Enjoy.

Go Sox.

Done.

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