Posts Tagged ‘Coors Field’

Papelbon’s disgraceful performance last night insults the entire concept of Soxtober on two fronts.  Firstly, it provides a painfully stark contrast to his last save opportunity at Coors Field: on October 28, 2007, he converted the save opportunity that clinched the World Series win.  Secondly, it provides a painfully stark reminder of last October, when he blew it, both literally and figuratively.

When he entered the ninth, his only responsibility was to record the final out of the game.  That, theoretically, can be done with one pitch.  Instead, he dropped the ball on only the second pitch he threw.  A one-run homer on a fastball erased our 6-5 lead, one we had painstakingly built against the best pitcher in Major League Baseball.  Then it was a single on a slider, and then it was a walk-off on a splitter.  That was one of the worst splitters I’ve ever seen him throw.  Really, all of his pitches were just flat and did nothing.  To make matters worse, it was a walk-off two-run home run.  And to make matters unbearable, it was hit by Jason Giambi.

Everything else about the game was fine enough.  Lackey lasted for six and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on ten hits and a two-run shot in the second inning.  He did, however, walk none, strike out seven, and retire ten of his last eleven batters.  He threw 110 pitches total, ratcheting up his pitch count in his first four innings, during which he threw about twenty pitches per inning, but settled down starting in the fifth, during which he only threw nine.  His most effective pitches were his fastball, slider, and curveball, his pitch of choice.  He threw beautiful curveballs last night.  His cutter, his second pitch of choice, wasn’t that great.  He threw a good amount of strikes, though.  He pounded the zone and used all parts of it.  About sixty-five percent of his pitches were strikes.  So he allowed a lot of hits, which happens sometimes when a pitcher relies on power rather than finesse (a finesse pitcher usually has higher walk totals), but he did what I predicted he’d need to do to get the win.  And he would’ve gotten the win had Papelbon not ruined the outcome completely.

Bard pitched perfectly.  He threw thirteen pitches by the time he left, but perhaps if he’d stayed in for the final out, we would’ve walked off with the W.

Meanwhile, was a fantastic night for the offense.  The offense did practically everything right.  We were down by four against the Majors’ best before we got ourselves on the board.  But we came roaring back.

Nava got things started with two men out in the fourth when he smacked a two-run double into right center field.  The Rockies replenished one of those runs when Lackey gave up a single to who but Jimenez.  (You read right.  An American League pitcher gave up a hit to another pitcher.  How embarrassing.) That single scored Barmes from second.  Reddick delivered a fantastic throw to V-Mart, but Barmes ran right through it.

We really got to Jimenez in the sixth, when we scored four.  That was when we officially built our lead.  It was again Nava who started it off, doubling in Beltre.  Then McDonald brought Nava and himself both home with a towering home run to left center.  That’s not easy to do.  Coors Field is a deep park, so McDonald’s power was definitely on display there.  It was fantastic.  Even Lackey got in on the action, avenging Jimenez’s early hit.  He actually grabbed himself a double and then scored on Scutaro’s bloop single.  He finished the night two for three against Jimenez after entering the game one for thirty-one in his career.  How ‘bout that?

Scutaro finished two for five, V-Mart three for five, Nava two for three with Colorado’s only walk, and McDonald two for four.  Twelve hits total, four of which were for extra bases.  It was nice to see offensive contributions from up and down the lineup, and that’s a big part of what would have made a win last night particularly satisfying.  Papelbon may have missed that memo.  The final score was 8-6.  That was his second blown save this year.

So now we’re two and a half games out of first.  Fortunately, Tampa Bay lost yet again.  Tonight it all comes down to Dice-K.  If Dice-K doesn’t win, we’re going to fall father behind in the standings, and we’re going to get swept by the National League team we trounced in the World Series three years ago, which won’t actually be as fun as it sounds.  (Notice the sarcasm.) I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want either.

AP Photo

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Last night was the first time we played a game at Coors Field since October 28, 2007.  We all know what happened on the night of October 28, 2007: we won the World Series and became the team of the decade.  We witnessed many an Irish jig and spilled many a bottle of champagne.

Last night wasn’t exactly what I would call a suitable follow-up to that auspicious moment in Red Sox history.  Because last night two things beat us, neither of which were the Rockies.  We literally got beat first by the National League itself and then by a random rock or something that happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We loaded the bases in the seventh.  We were down by a run with two men out.  And it was Lester’s turn to bat.  Naturally, because we were losing a close one, Tito had to lift him, even though he’d thrown only ninety pitches and was far from running on empty.  Papi stepped up to pinch-hit, so the Rockies turned to a lefty reliever.  On a 2-1 count, Papi hit a ground ball directly to Herrera at second, and that was the end of that.

That was one of a few opportunities of which we conspicuously did not avail ourselves.  For example, with only two outs in the game, we had the bases loaded with V-Mart at the plate with a 3-0 count.  He ended up grounding out on a full count fastball.

He certainly did his part to keep us in it.  It was a pitcher’s duel, and he kept pace with Chacin all the way through.  He tossed six frames of one-run ball.  He gave up six hits, so an average of one hit per inning, all singles, only one hard-hit.  He struck out six.  He located on both sides of the plate but concentrated on the left; he threw all of two balls to the right of the strike zone.  His cut fastball was excellent, as were his changeup and sinker.  He mixed them really well and kept the batters guessing; six of his fifty-nine strikes were swinging.  He threw twenty-one pitches in the fifth during the Rockies’ only substantial rally of the night, which included Lester’s only walk and the first run of the game.  But through between thirteen and fifteen pitches in four others, needing a game low of nine to finish off the fourth.  He had movement.  He had a tight release point.  But he had to take the loss for the first time since April because of the National League’s rules, and I couldn’t help recalling that the opposite was the case on the night of October 28, 2007.

Ramirez got his job done, but Okajima didn’t help things when he allowed what turned out to be the winning run.  Although that wasn’t completely his fault, either.  You can blame that run on Coors Field itself.  With one out and two on, Spilborghs hit into what appeared to be an excellent double play.  Instead the ball careened off of something on the ground and escaped Scutaro.  Delcarmen handled the last out.  The final score was 2-1.

We scored our one and only run in the ninth inning.  Beltre opened the frame with a double, our only extra-base hit of the night, and scored on Cameron’s single.  He finished the night two for three, our lineup’s only multi-hit performance.  Tito then put Lowell in as a pinch-hitter.  He landed one in the hole, but Barmes had, by Lowell’s own admission, ample time to throw him out at first because he’s so slow.

So between the National League and one particular rock or pebble or uneven dirt patch or whatever it was that caused that odd bounce, we lost.  It was absolutely frustrating, infuriating, and unbelievable.  It was painful to watch.  Because we would’ve had it in the bag! Our bats were more or less silent, but we pitched well and perhaps would’ve found a way to manufacture some runs.  Maybe we would’ve gone into extras, when anything can happen.  So as losses go, that was a tough one – especially considering that we’re now one and a half games back, although we are fortunate that Tampa Bay also lost – and an even tougher way to start off a series.  Pure bad luck.  But we’re going to need to gear up tonight if we want to go for the series win because the Rockies are starting Ubaldo Jimenez, whose 1.15 ERA is currently the best in the Majors.  He’ll take on Lackey.  All we need to do is practice patience at the plate; that’s a hallmark of our game, and it’ll help us get a handle on Jimenez early while tiring him out.  Then, after we’ve seen him toss to a few batters and know more or less what to expect, we need to be aggressive and get on him.  We don’t want a repeat of the first-pitch-strike-induced destruction we experienced, ironically at the hands of Lackey, last October.  Meanwhile, Lackey will need to be as efficient and powerful as possible.  If he uses his speed and pounds the zone, he’ll get some early outs and stay in longer.  So we’ll see what happens.

AP Photo

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I predicted about ten days ago that we might find ourselves in first place about ten days later.  I am so psyched to say that I was absolutely right.  The key word in that prediction of course being “might,” because we’re currently tied with the Rays for second, only half a game out! Unfortunately, New York currently occupies the top spot, the key word there of course being “currently.”

We played some excellent baseball all around.  We’ve played better and better baseball every day.  The pitchers and offense lit it up.  Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to point out to all the naysayers out there that they were so incredibly wrong, it’s not even funny.  In Boston, you really do have to keep the faith.  Because, one game at a time, it all works out.

Okay.  Let’s finish up the series with Cleveland and then start with the series against the Phillies.  We ended up splitting with the Tribe; the lack of win rests squarely on the shoulders of Bard.  With two out in the ninth, Beltre smacked a two-run shot, but Bard blew his save.  It was disgusting.  We had the W in the back, and he lost it completely.  As for the Phillies series, we won it.  We whipped them completely in the first two and barely lost the last game, kicking the three games off right by handing Jamie Moyer what was probably the absolute worst start of his entire Major League career.  It was glorious.  Moyer hasn’t recorded at most three outs since 1998; we got him for nine runs before he left in the second.  Fantastic.  It’s time that dude realizes he’s forty-seven years old.  A season high eight doubles, and Lackey was on the ball; a full seven innings of two-run, no-walk ball.  Lowell hit his second home run of the season in that 12-2 victory.  The second game featured the Major League debut of Daniel Nava, an undrafted prospect from an independent league.  He steps up to the plate and crushes the first pitch of his Major League career out of the park for a grand slam.  He’s the fourth player to hit a grand slam in his first at-bat and the second to do so on his first pitch.  That was one of the most beautiful swings I’ve ever seen.  Pure gold.  Right into the bullpen.  That kid deserved it.  It was one of those moments that galvanizes an entire team.  We all needed it.  So here’s to you, Nava; congratulations and more to come! The third game was lost in the fourth, when Wake gave up four runs.  I guess Fenway really is one of Hamels’s top three favorite ballparks.  I guess I can’t really blame him, though.

Then the D-Backs came to town, and we swept them right out.  While the Drew brothers got reacquainted, Buchholz plowed through mediocrity to earn the win in the first game.  He notched eight K’s, tying his season high, but couldn’t finish the sixth inning.  It was his shortest outing since five innings against New York on May 8.  He was inefficient, firing 113 pitches, but at least he gave up only three runs.  You know you’ve got an elite pitcher on your hands when his bad day is the equal of other teams’ best pitcher’s good day.  His fastball wasn’t so great, but his offspeeds were right on.  We went on to win the second game, despite Lester’s struggle with his command.  He adjusted throughout the game, putting his adaptability on display.  He’s now on an eight-game winning streak.  His two HBPs tie a career high he’s achieved three other times, none coming since 2008.  The third game wasn’t easy for Lackey, either.  That’s three grinds in a row for our starting pitching.  As usual, it was the fastball on the glove side that gave him trouble.  But a win is a win, and a sweep is a sweep, and Buchholz, Lester, and Lackey are now the first three pitchers in the Majors to have won more than eight games this year.

We followed our sweep of the D-Backs with a sweep of the Dodgers, our way of avenging the Celtics.  Friday marked Manny’s first plate appearance at Fenway since his trade.  The response was mixed; he received ample cheers and ample boos.  Red Sox Nation always does it right; we know how to remember an integral part of two World Series championships, but we also know how to remember an unreasonable tantrum-thrower with a bad attitude.  The at-bat came in the second inning and resulted in a flyout to center field.  He did not acknowledge the crowd at all, and after Nomar’s numerous acknowledgements and obvious display of emotion during his first at-bat back with the A’s, that’s something that’s hard not to notice.  Although I have to admit that that wasn’t the highlight.  Felix Doubront started, his Major League debut, earning a win in five innings, giving up five runs (three earned) in six innings, walking two, and striking out two.  That also wasn’t the highlight.  The highlight was our seven-run fifth.  Now that’s a highlight.  The game featured homers by Beltre, Papi, and Drew, who strained his right hamstring after robbing Manny of a line drive and left the game, hopefully to return to the lineup tonight.  His homer, by the way, was a close call.  Inches determined that it fell into the Monster, not off of the monster, and a review was needed.  That was his eighth dinger of the season, the seventh use of replay since Major League Baseball allowed it, and Drew’s first at-bat since opting out of the Dodgers.  The middle game had “Dustin Pedroia the Destroyah” written all over it.  On a 1-2 count with two out in the bottom of the ninth, Pedroia sent a ninety-eight mile-per-hour fastball into right field for a walkoff single, his first career walkoff hit! Thanks to Bill Hall for starting the rally, thereby redeeming his two errors in right field.  And last but most certainly not least, the third and final win confirming the sweep.  Buchholz provided the prevention, with special appearances by Bard and Paps, who held down the fort with a hold and a save, respectively.  The final score was 2-0.  Pedroia hit a single to third base.  No, seriously.  He singled to first, stole second, and hustled to third because of Papi’s shift.

In his usual display of grit, it turns out Pedroia’s been playing with a right knee injury since May 15, which obviously jives with his slump.  Since that date, he’s batted roughly .190, his season average dropping by about forty points.  But an MRI shows he’s good to go, as his recent stunts have shown.  During this last homestand, he’s batted .484.  Youkilis exited a game with back spasms, only to return to get hit in the right elbow with a pitch and exit again.  He’s now good to go.  Scutaro got a day off due to a nerve-root injection, and he’s good to go.  Dice-K landed himself on the DL with a right forearm strain but has now been cleared to start Thursday against the Rockies.  Cameron is back to seeing time in center field.  Beckett is making great strides in his recovery from his back pain.  Hermida has five fractured left ribs and is not so good to go.  He’s on the DL.  That is one powerful right knee Beltre’s got.  Speaking of which, Ellsbury continues to serve time on the DL, now with a different fracture in his left ribs, which he probably sustained on May 23 with a diving catch.  No baseball activities for two weeks and then a slow but steady rehab.  Don’t expect to see him back before the All-Star break.  Wow.  Our outfield situation is now terrible.  Seriously.  This is why it pays to have an abundance of reserves.  Paps was reactivated from the bereavement list, just in time to prevent any more blown saves.  Nelson and Bonser were designated for assignment, Atchison was recalled, and Doubront was called up but then sent down in favor of Robert Manuel.

Well, that’s a wrap.  If we thought we were in a good place before, we’re in an even better place now.  We’re poised to take the AL East by storm.  At this point, one win is all it takes.  Lester faces the Rockies tonight at Coors Field.  Let’s do it.

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A quality start from John Lackey just in time to sweep the Rays.  Right on schedule.  And now we have five quality starts in a row.  Lackey completes the puzzle.  We’d been waiting for a start like that from him.  It was a little short and could’ve been better, but I’ll take it.  Believe me, I’ll take it.

Now is the time to revel in the fact that we just avenged our terrible April performance against the Rays with a sweep of our own.  It’s time someone brought them back down to Earth.  We were the right team for the job.  We owned.  We swept them in their house for the first time since 2002.  Thankfully, the Trop didn’t rear its ugly head in any defensive plays.

That was as decisive a third game as you’re ever going to get.  The final score was 11-3.  So when I say owned, I mean that as literally as possible.

Lackey picked up the win and improves to five and three.  He pitched one out beyond the sixth inning, but those were some solid six innings.  He gave up two runs on eight hits with four walks on a strikeout.  So no wonder he didn’t last as long as he could have. Yesterday, I said that Lester had a harmless location issue.  Today, I’m saying that Lackey had both a location and a hittableness issue, and those together aren’t so harmless.  He lucked out here that the Rays didn’t do much with anything he gave them – they left twelve on base – but it’s a habit he needs to lick.

He fired 115 pitches, to drive that point home.  His fastball stayed in the low nineties, and he actually threw his cutter faster.  He threw mostly cutters and curveballs.  His slider, fastball, and as usual his changeup all need work.  His lowest pitch count in an inning was eleven, but he needed sixty-two to finish the first three.  He varied his speeds nicely, but his location left much to be desired.  He got a little wild at times above and below the zone.  So last night wasn’t the end of his struggles.  He’s still having the same recurring problems that have resulted in mediocrity up to this point.  The difference last night was that the opposing team just didn’t do anything with it.

Why that was exactly is hard to say.  Sometimes a lineup just can’t read a pitcher that well.  Lackey came from the AL West and the Rays don’t have much postseason experience, so they really haven’t seen him much.  That could be one reason.  Another reason is the more obvious and more convincing one: even though Lackey didn’t fire off a Lester-like start, he still fired off a quality start; he may have been inefficient and his command may have been mediocre, but he still hit his spots at important times against important guys.  So even though this wasn’t necessarily what we’ve seen from him in the past as an Angel, it was still a good effort, and it was enough to stymie the Rays.

Okajima worked around a hit to finish off the seventh.  Ramirez handled the eighth.

Which brings me to tonight’s man of the hour: Adrian Beltre, ladies and gentlemen! He hits well against Garza, but I don’t think anyone was expecting a night quite like that.  He went four for five with two home runs, a triple, and six (count ‘em: six!) RBIs! All he needed was a double and he would’ve hit for the cycle.  (He beat out the throw to first in the sixth for his single.) That is huge.  That is an absolutely huge night.  Those six RBIs tie a career high that he achieved against the Rockies at Coors Field in 2000.  His offense was incredible.  He peppered all fields.  He exercised his power.  He made aggressive swings.  With runners on base.  It was absolutely fantastic.

He got the ball rolling with a towering and very powerful home run to left in the second on a fastball.  He followed that with the exact same thing in the third but on a breaking ball and with the important difference being that there just happened to be two men on at the time.  Papi got in on the action with a two-run shot to right in the fifth.  The spotlight returned to Beltre in the top of the ninth, when he smacked his triple off the right field wall to score two.  Hermida singled him home.  And McDonald added another two before Nelson surrendered a solo shot in the ninth, which would have been so much worse if it weren’t for the eleven runs we’d put together.  And that was the ballgame!

That was the last game of our road trip, during which we went five and one.  That’s our best six-game road trip since May 2007.  We only gave up seven runs in those six games, only three of which came from the Rays in this series.  That was also the last game of our particularly grueling thirteen-game schedule, during which we posted a record of nine and four.  We’re now only five and a half games out of first place.  We’re the proud owners of a five-game winning streak and, perhaps most significantly, we’re sixteen and seven since May 3.  That’s the best record in that time in the entire American League.  To repeat, we’re the best in the American League since the beginning of May.  That’s huge.

And the best part is that it really was a truly complete team effort.  Every night of those thirteen games featured someone else leading the team to victory.  You had Dice-K’s no-no bid.  You had Wake’s complete and total domination.  Last night, Adrian Beltre was without a doubt the man of the hour.  And we hope that Dice-K will assume that position tonight and build on his last incredible start to best the Royals.  It’s Bannister, not Greinke, which helps.

On behalf of Red Sox Nation, I’d like to express condolences for the death of former pitcher Jose Lima.  You’ll certainly be missed.

Boston Globe Staff/Yoon S. Byun

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It’s time to say goodbye to Mike Lowell; have fun in Texas.  Let me say this: it’s been one seriously great ride.  He was the 2007 World Series MVP for a reason, but unfortunately age happens.  He was the epitome of professionalism.  Talk about classy guys.  Mikey Lowell, ladies and gentlemen, was just about the classiest guy you could find, and his presence in the clubhouse will surely be missed.  Get ready for a standing ovation.  But like I said, age happens, and Theo does have a job to do.  It’s unfortunate that we have to send him off like this, but what other option do we have? The trade would give us catching prospect Max Ramirez, who’s leading the Venezuela Winter League in home runs.  But he’s had some wrist problems, so we’ll have to wait for his medical records to clear.  Then the question becomes, who will replace him? Or conversely, who’ll play first base, being that Youk can move over to third.  And as a result, Youk could save us a lot of money; the market doubles for us because of that flexibility, so we have the freedom to pick and choose someone who’s right for us and who comes at the right price.  I’ve heard we’re talking to Adrian Beltre, but believe me, I would be infinitely more enthusiastic about us talking to Adrian Gonzalez.

Remember Manny Delcarmen’s tragedy of a second half? Turns out he had shoulder fatigue for three months and didn’t say anything about it until September 30.  That’s just infuriating.  I mean, I don’t really know what to do with that.  Theo had him receive a cortisone shot that same night, but after the car accident he was dropped from the postseason roster anyway.  But that’s not the point.  Either you want to help your team win, or you want to help your team win.  If something’s going on, your team has a right to know, no matter how badly you want to play.  As a fan, it’s hard not to play what-if in these situations; with a healthy Delcarmen down the stretch, who knows what would’ve happened.

In an attempt to cover the holes in our bullpen made by the Braves, we signed Scott Atchison to a one-year deal with two options.  He spent the last two seasons in Japan and previous pitched for the Giants.  He had an ERA above four that year.  Whatever; he’s another option, and a bullpen built around options and flexibility is a bullpen poised to win a championship.  Besides, we still have Paps, Bard, Ramirez, and a hopefully healthy Delcarmen.  I think we’ll be okay.

We also acquired Boof Bonser from the Twins for pitching prospect Chris Province.  Bonser isn’t great.  He has a career ERA above five and missed all of last season due to labrum and rotator cuff tears.  But he adds depth to the staff; he’ll have a chance to try for a depth spot in the rotation.  But more likely, think of him as 2010’s Paul Byrd but with one conspicuous difference: the name.  The Boston Red Sox now have a pitcher named “Boof.” Add this to Red Sox Nation’s to-do list for the offseason: preparing to take Boof Bonser seriously come April.

The Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson.  Let’s remind ourselves that this was no feat of business managerial genius.  The Tigers, affected by Detroit’s suffering economy, couldn’t carry his salary anymore.  That’s the theme of this offseason for them; they lost Edwin Jackson, too.  They got four players in return who aren’t as good as either and probably never will be.  It’s a sad situation, but one the rest of the baseball world is taking note of.  Point being that if you’re in need of some talent but want it on the cheap through trade, talk to Detroit.  I’ll bet they’d be willing to listen.

And perhaps most importantly, the Jason Bay plot thickens.  Our offer of four years worth sixty million dollars was rejected because he wants a fifth year.  But we’ve publicly stated our commitment to not offering a fifth year; in fact, we’ve said that if someone else offers him a fifth year, we’re just going to assume that he’s leaving Boston and that’s it.  So far, the Mets haven’t done so; their offer was comparable to ours.  The Mariners are also unlikely to offer the fifth year; they’re more interested in keeping Beltre or signing Lackey.  The Angels have more or less dropped out in order to focus on pitching.  And the Yankees just acquired Granderson.  So more waiting seems to be in line.  Bay wanted to test the free agent market, and he’s testing it.  He’s looking for something specific and good luck to him trying to find it.  I’d rather watch him walk away than break the bank.  In fact, if he doesn’t take a more flexible approach, he could find himself in a bind, because guess who’s also a free agent: Matt Holliday.  And guess who the Red Sox are also interested in: Matt Holliday.  Holliday played pretty well for Oakland.  He struggled at the plate initially, which is to be expected from a guy coming over from not only the National League but Coors Field, with all that thin air.  (Which is something you have to keep in mind when looking at Holliday’s career stats, by the way.) In the end, I agree with Curt Schilling: I’d go with Bay because he’s been tested and proven.  All I’m saying is that the presence of Holliday, who unfortunately is represented by Boras, could soften Bay up a bit (in addition to jacking up his own paycheck because until Bay cuts teams some slack, Holliday would effectively be considered the only available elite left-fielder).  So could our reported interest in Mike Cameron, who would be more than happy to switch from center to left for us.  That’s not likely, but it’s a possibility.  But we’d only seriously consider him after both Bay and Holliday become unavailable, and something tells me that may not be an issue.

Casey Kelly has made a decision: he’s going to pitch.  No more shortstop for him.  I completely agree.  The mound will write his one-way ticket to the big leagues; if he decided to play short, we’d be talking a two-way.

Welcome to NESN, Peter Gammons! He signed a multiyear contract as a regular studio analyst and reporter.  This is fantastic.  Personally, I always thought it was funny that such a prominent representative of Red Sox Nation reported for ESPN, which doesn’t have a major presence in Boston.  Well, the world rights itself eventually, I guess.  And I’ll tell you one thing: Peter Gammons must be thrilled, because any television network is better than ESPN for baseball analysts.  I mean, have you seen “Baseball Tonight?” (If you have, let me applaud you for somehow finding out when it’s on TV.) It’s over by the time it starts, so the analysts never have time to convey any real information.  It really makes you appreciate NESN.

Congratulations to Bill James, who’ll receive the Judge Emil Fuchs Memorial Award for “long and meritorious service to the game.” He’ll be in good company; Hank Aaron and Jim Rice have also received it.  And Bill James definitely deserves it after revolutionizing baseball with his sabermetric approach.  I’m telling you: this game, let alone our team, wouldn’t be where it is today without him.

The Bruins beat the Leafs, 5-2, but lost to the Isles in sudden death.  How we can score five goals against the Leafs and lose to the Isles is beyond me.  The Leafs and Isles are comparable teams, with the Isles only two points ahead.  (Can you believe that? The New York Islanders are third in their division.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m thrilled that the Flyers are at the bottom of the barrel, but I never would’ve expected the Islanders to be anywhere but under the whole conference.) We’ve dropped to second, by the way.  Two points behind the Sabres.  We should get back up within the coming days.  The Patriots lost to the Dolphins by a point.  A point! The final score was 22-21! It was just awful.  That’s our fourth loss this season and our second in a row.  It pains me to say this, but the Pats are officially on a losing streak.  That must be stopped.


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