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Posts Tagged ‘David Pauley’

January’s winding down, and we all know what that means: moving vans on Yawkey Way headed to Fort Myers.  I’m so stoked.  And we’ve done some good business this week.  We cut a one-year deal with Javier Lopez for $1.35 million and avoided arbitration.  And we neatly avoided arbitration with Paps through a one-year, $6.25 million deal.  It’s the richest contract ever for a reliever in his first year eligible for arbitration, and it makes him the eleventh-highest paid reliever in the Major Leagues.  And his agent isn’t even Scott Boras (he’s with Sam and Seth Levinson).  But he deserves it.  I mean, the man is a beast.  He’s literally the best closer in the game right now; ask anybody.  Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve wanted to lock up a multi-year deal, but this is fine for now.  He’s not a free agent until after the 2011 season, and avoiding arbitration was a good move.  It’s a very ugly process, because you’ve got the player and the team presenting salary proposals to a panel of three arbitrators, who choose one one of the proposals after the player argues for his worth and the team argues against it.  So basically the team talks down its own player in front of a third party.  It’s totally base; let’s say the team and the player emerge from arbitration with a salary in place.  Then what? The player continues playing for the team that verbally destroyed him.  That can’t be good.  So it’s great that we’ve never gone to arbitration during Theo’s tenure.  Yet more proof that he’s a genius.

We dealt David Pauley to the Orioles for reliever Randor Bierd, and we dealt David Aardsma to the Mariners for lefty Fabian Williamson, a nice addition to our minor league roster.  As far as Varitek is concerned, you know how it goes.  Everything’s still under wraps.  But it has been confirmed that there’s an offer on the table, and this time I’d be very surprised if Varitek doesn’t accept.  When Varitek declined arbitration, he gave up an opportunity to secure a salary at least comparable with last season’s, somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million.  I doubt the offer he’s been given is worth that much, but he has nowhere else to go.  Other teams don’t want to give up draft picks to sign him, and Scott Boras epically failed.  I know I said that last week, but it never gets old.  Scott Boras totally, completely, absolutely, positively, epically epically failed.  So, in all likelihood, look for Varitek to return, but at a discount.

I think it’s worth mentioning that Manny Ramirez, one of the great right-handed hitters of this period in the sport’s history and pretty much guaranteed future Hall-of-Famer, hasn’t signed a contract with anyone yet.  I wonder why.  I’m not worried, though.  Boras will figure something out.  It’s just a shame that Manny’s own worst enemy is himself.

Sean Casey is retiring; he’s already accepted a position with the MLB Network.  Good for him.  His personality is perfect for television.  Unfortunate that we won’t get to see him at bat anymore, though.  He hit line drives like nobody’s business last year.  Jon Lester will be honored with the Hutch Award, given for honor, courage, and dedication.  That’s basically Lester in a nutshell.  That, and he’s also very intelligent, which we can see in this quote:

Anytime you can go to Boston and somewhat succeed, if not succeed, you can pretty much play or pitch anywhere, maybe with the exception of New York.

Because who in their right mind would want to play for New York? (With the emphasis, of course, on the “right mind” part.)

Anyway, the end of the offseason is in sight, and maybe we didn’t accomplish everything on our list, but we’re in a good position for 2009.  We saved money while maintaining our flexibility, we secured deals with our home-grown talent, and we fixed last year’s big problem: bullpen depth.  I think it’s safe to say our bullpen is pretty much locked and loaded.

In other news, it was All-Star Weekend for the NHL, and Boston was represented nicely with four of our finest: Blake Wheeler, Marc Savard, Tim Thomas, and Big Zdeno Chara.  All four did Boston proud. Wheeler won the YoungStars MVP, Savard came in second in the Elimination Shootout while Thomas made some unbelievable saves, and Chara defended his title as Hardest Shot with a record-shattering 105.4 miles per hour.  Can you believe that? 105.4 miles per hour! I saw it, and I still can’t believe it.  I’m telling you, I would not want to be on the receiving end of one of those.  And as for the All-Star Game itself, the Eastern Conference walked away with the victory.  The final score was 12-11.  It was a shootout to end all shootouts, and guess who was in net for the winners.  Tim Thomas.  He stopped Shane Doan, winner of the Elimination Shootout, no less, and Rick Nash.  Roberto Luongo stopped only Vincent Lecavalier.  Thomas should absolutely win the Vezina Trophy this season.  Nuff ced.

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When I thought about how we’d start our last series of the- regular season, last night wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.  It was a slaughter, and not in our favor.  In fact, last night’s score was the same score of Game  of the ALCS.  Maybe it’s a sign of better things to come.  But until I see otherwise I’m rather inclined to think that it’s a sign that we were destroyed.  True, October is the second season and it’s largely based on fate and the opinions of the baseball gods, but losing to the Yankees 19-8 at home at this stage in the game is a little embarrassing.

David Pauley made the start after Dice-K was scratched due to a threat of rain, and the deluge began in more ways than one.  Pauley  pitched only 2.2 innings but in that time allowed seven runs on six hits (he gave up a two-run shot to who but Johnny Damon in the second inning.  Ugh.) Exit Pauley, enter Aardsma, who did nothing to limit the damage and instead allowed five runs on three hits over 0.2 innings pitched (Cody Ransom hit one deep in the fourth).  Then Timlin came on and allowed his usual run, another homer by Ransom in teh fifth.  Chris Smith came on and allowed three runs on three hits.  And Hansack came on and allowed five runs on three hits.  So basically what this means is that three of our five pitchers allowed home runs, and Timlin of all people was the pitcher with the lowest total of runs allowed.  Is it just me, or do things like this usually happen to the Yankees and not to us?

We scored less than half the runs New York scored.  That’s a little disturbing.  On the upside, we only recorded seven less hits than they did.  Three RBIs for Jonathan Van Every, so a huge night for him.  Two RBIs for Youkilis on a two-run shot in the first.  One RBI for Lowrie, one RBI for Gil Velazquez, and a completely unreal night for Jacoby Ellsbury.  Listen to this.  Jacoby Ellsbury, the fastest man in baseball, finished the night four for five with two runs, an RBI, and his fiftieth steal of the season.  He’s batting .280.  Now that is what I call a lead-off man.

Sean Casey made a fielding error.  There’s something you don’t see too often.

This loss forces us to accept the Wild Card.  We just handed the Rays the division on a silver platter.  The only upside I can think of to all of this is that we didn’t pull what New York tried to pull last year.  We didn’t kill ourselves for the division and tire ourselves out before the playoffs.  Maybe we did hand the Rays the division because we had our reasons.  It’s better to go into the playoffs well-rested and with the Wild Card than to go into the playoffs in first place and falling over from exhaustion.  In 2004, the Yankees hung on to the division by the skin of their teeth and look where that got them.  Same with the Rays.  So come to think of it it’s not that bad.  It’s bad, but it could be worse.  And even better, we’re guaranteed to face the Angels in the ALDS, and history says we rock that.  So yes, it’s definitely nerve-wracking, but I’m going to look forward to the Division Series and see what happens.  I believe we’ll clean up in the ALDS, and I believe we’ll go all the way.

In other news, Lowell’s injury is causing him problems and his status is uncertain.  Tests on Drew’s back have been showing improvements.

Tonight it’s Ponson at Dice-K.  That’s something else to look forward too.  Besides, we can celebrate.  Ladies and gentlemen, October is around the corner!

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There are eight games left in the regular season and no more days off.  This is big.  This is huge.  This is when it’s most important to bring our A game.  This is when we need to build momentum for the postseason.  We’re looking at the Twins, White Sox, and Angels for starters.  Let’s just hope we get the Angels.  We own them in the ALDS.  Sure, our record against them this season was 1-8, the worst against any opponent, but look at the starters.  Five games were started by either Pauley, Masterson, Wakefield, or Buchholz.  In October we’re talking Beckett, Dice-K, and Lester.  And look on the bright side: no matter how bad our season is or may be, it could never be worse than the season the Yankees are having.  Say hello to the end of an era; the Yankees won’t be invited to October!

The Rays clinched a playoff spot last night for the first time in club history, which is more than I can say for us.  We lost, 6-3.  Lester pitched eight innings, gave up five runs on eight hits, walked three, and fanned four.  All five of those runs were given up in the first two innings.  After that, it was pretty much lights out.  In fact, the third inning was Lester’s 200th inning pitched.  Masterson pitched the eighth and allowed a solo home run for Scott Rolen.

One RBI for Papi, and two for Bay, who hit a monstrous two-run shot with two out in the third.  Bay finished the afternoon two for three with a walk and a run.  Pedroia and Ellsbury, who’s back in top form, both recorded thefts.  Cora made a throwing error.  There’s a shock.

In other news, Curt Schilling blasted Manny Ramirez, and I mean blasted.  But all of it was true.  He said Manny’s “level of disrespect to teammates and people was unfathomable” and that “he was always kind and nice for the most part, but he’d show up the next day and say, ‘I’m through with this team, I want out now.'” I’d say that’s pretty accurate.  Call it tough love.  Meanwhile, it’s possible that Manny could end up being the National League MVP.  You never know.

If we want the Wild Card, there’s no problem.  That’s basically locked up.  But time is running out for the division.  We’re now 2. games back with only eight games left.  Winning the division now will require a major September surge.  Major surge.  It’s doable, but with every game that passes it’s more and more difficult.  We can, though.  We’ve got the stuff to be in first, no doubt.  The problem, as we’ve seen all season long, is actually getting there.

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We’re losing ground here.  And losing ground means losing momentum, losing momentum means losing an advantage in the postseason, losing an advantage in the postseason means increased difficulty in achieving October glory.  Our record at the Trop this season is 1-8.  Even if we tie with the Rays for first place, they’ll win it by the season series.  Tim Wakefield, who’s historically owned the Trop and who was once 9-0 there, got the loss.  His ERA at the Trop is still under 3.00, but you’d never know it from the way he pitched last night.  And the pitching hurt us in more ways than one.

Wakefield pitched 2.1 innings, allowed six runs on six hits, three home runs, no walks, and two strikes.  Maybe we should have a second starter, or maybe a long reliever, specifically for days on which Wakefield and Byrd pitch.  This way, we have someone who can take care of the middle innings until late in the game, and we won’t have to use the bullpen.  So we’re guaranteed solid early and middle relief, and the bullpen is rested for the next game.

After Wakefield left, Hansack allowed two runs on one hit with a walk and a strikeout.  Exit Hansack, enter Lopez, who forgot how consistent and solid he is and pitched to three batters in the third inning without recording an out.  He left, and Aardsma came in and didn’t allow a run, which is a welcome sight because lately he hasn’t been what he used to be before he went on the DL.  He had all the makings of a fixture in our bullpen, and he could still pull it together, but watching him now it’s just not the same.  Delcarmen pitched two solid innings, and he’s someone who’s been pulling it together.  He’s much more consistent now, and he’s really fixed the problems he had in the first half of the season.  Okajima pitched a perfect inning.  But Pauley allowed two runs on three hits before Smith finished things off.  We used eight pitchers last night, and all but three were perfect.  But three was enough.  The Rays won, 10-3, and out-hit us, 12-6.

We made two errors.  Both were attributed to pitchers.  Hansack made a pickoff error (he tried to pick off Willy Aybar at second but the throw went past Pedroia, so Aybar advanced to third), and Lopez made a fielding error.  And in the fourth inning, three players were going after an infield pop-up.  Aardsma had the best chance of catching it, but instead it fell.  It’s very unusual to see all of these errors and mistakes by pitchers in a single game.  All in all, it as very ugly.  I felt like I was watching a blooper reel.

The offense was a one-man show.  Big Papi batted in all three of our runs with a two-run home run in the first and a solo home run in the fourth.  He finished the night two for two.  Ellsbury also went two for two.  Pedroia went one for four, Youkilis went one for three with a walk, Cash walked, and nobody else got on base.  Very ugly.

There were some great displays of leather though.  In the third Pedroia dove into shallow right field to snag a line drive.  In the fourth Youkilis made a spectacular sliding catch on a foul ball.  Unfortunately the ball hit a catwalk before it fell foul so it didn’t matter.  That’s something to keep in mind.  It looks like the Rays will make a postseason appearance.  But their stadium has a roof, and it’s got lots of these catwalks and all sorts of irregularities so that when balls bounce off them they do strange things.  No doubt it’ll be very controversial in October.

Here’s something I really didn’t like.  Coco Crisp was booed by the crowd last night because of that brawl in Fenway.  I mean, come on.  We showed a lot of maturity when the Rays visited us.  Even Jonathan Papelbon, for all his tough talk about unfinished business, handled himself well.  It was the first time that happened in this series, and if you ask me it was a little low.

In other news the Yankees won last night, but it was Brian Bruney who got the win and not Phil Hughes, the starter.  We can be happy about that, because when Phil Hughes first came up he was highly touted as this young upstart who’d make batters shake in their spikes.  But they rushed him through development and he came up and soon he started showing weaknesses.  Then there was that stint on the DL, and that was it.  He was never the same.  The Red Sox have revealed the schedule for next season, and it looks like our first game will be our home opener, and guess who we’re playing? The Rays.  So that’ll add some fuel to the fire, no doubt.

We’ve got the day off today, so it’ll give us a chance to recuperate from last night’s ridiculous displays.  But our schedule doesn’t get any easier, because going to Toronto on Friday.  So we’ve got our work cut out for us.  Still doable, but very difficult.

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Sometimes you have to lay down the law.  Sometimes you have to go up there and bring everything you’ve got.  Sometimes you have to look at yourself in the mirror and realize where you were supposed to be all along.  Sometimes you have to destroy every ounce of confidence the opposition had.

Last night was definitely one of those times.  Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially tied for first place! And we did it on their turf! How about that? Say hello to the long-anticipated Rays fade.  Their time has come; our time is now.  All we have to do is take it.

It was a slugfest.  I felt like I was watching last year’s Rays.  You know, the ones with absolutely no pitching to speak of that only existed to give other teams a boost in the standings? The final score was 13-5.  I kid you not.  With all our road issues this year, and with all our troubles against the Rays, we won, and we won big.  Until last night we hadn’t won a single game in the Trop this year.  It was fantastic.  Definitely one of the highlights of the season.  A good, old-fashioned Boston beat-down.

Dice-K went his usual five innings, but they were a good five innings.  One run on three hits with two walks and seven K’s.  The run was a product of his only mistake to Iwamura in the third, who hit a solo shot out.  Other than that, Dice-K was gold.  It did take 101 pitches for him to reach that point, but who’s complaining? If that’s what it takes for him to protect a lead and if the relief can hold on to it, who are we to judge? And the relief, for the most part, did hold on to it.  Only Chris Smith wasn’t perfect; in two innings he allowed four runs on four hits, two of which were home runs.  But Timlin and Pauley held the fort through the eighth and ninth.  And that, my friends, was the ballgame.

But wait; it gets better.  The offense excelled like nobody’s business.  Scott Kazmir made his exit after three innings.  The spread was four RBIs for Ortiz, three for Youk, two for Tek, and one each for Lowell, Bay, Pedroia, and Ellsbury.  But it should be mentioned here that the way most of these runs were batted in was the long ball.  We hit six (count ’em: six!) home runs in that game.  Six.  That’s unbelievable.  Ortiz went two for four with a three-run shot.  Youk went two for four with a two-run shot.  Tek hit a two-run shot.  Lowell hit a solo shot.  Bay hit a solo shot.  And Ellsbury went two for five with a solo shot.  No outs, one out, two outs, it didn’t matter what the situation was.  If there was a baseball it was out of the park.  I felt like I was drowning in offensive production.

Rare moments of ineptitude featured Ellsbury recording a CS and getting picked off.  Yes, in the same game.  No, seriously.  I know; it threw me for a loop, too.

So all in all we flexed our offensive muscles, we embarrassed a division rival on their home turf, we tied for first place, and we let our A team take a load off in the second half and get ready for tomorrow while the B team enjoyed some playing time with a sizeable lead.  It was a great game and lots of fun to watch.

In other news, Mikey Lowell’s hip is more seriously injured than we thought.  Turns out he’s got a partially torn labrum in his right hip and he’s been playing in pain for two months.  But he says he’s staying in there anyway.  That, my friends, is a dirt dog.  The Brewers fired Ned Yost and hired Dale Sveum as manager.  Yesterday was Mike Timlin’s 1050th appearance, which breaks Kent Tekulve’s record for most appearances by a right-handed reliever.  And unlike his 1000th appearance, I am happy to report that this one actually went well.

The fate of this glorious opportunity falls in the capable hands of Josh Beckett, who’ll be starting tonight opposite Andy Sonnanstine.  I’m so psyched.  Folks, this could be it.

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Unfortunately, this one didn’t exactly go in our favor.  Still, the final score was 15-8, and we didn’t go down easily.  The Rangers had only three more hits than us and left one more man on base.  Basically that means that we didn’t do as well with runners in scoring position, but I’d rather not do well with runners in scoring position than not do well with no runners in scoring position.  At least we had our opportunities, and we did make use of many of them.  And at least the Rays lost, so we’re still only 2.5 games back, and ladies and gentlemen, we’re comin’ to get ’em.

Wakefield only lasted 1.2 innings.  In that span he managed to give up seven runs on four hits with four walks and no strikeouts.  Smith pitched the next two innings but didn’t really limit the damage; he gave up a two-run shot to Nelson Cruz.  Lopez was the only perfect reliever but left after pitching 0.1 inning for Mike Timlin, who gave up his usual four runs on five hits, and David Pauley pitched the last two, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out four.

RBIs for Bailey, Lowrie, and Casey, who’s back in it off the DL.  Kotsay had two.  Youkilis had three; he hit a monstrous three-run blast in the third inning with one out.  It really was a valiant effort; we scored four runs in our half of the ninth.  Only three members of the starting lineup had multi-hit games; Lowell went two for four and Lowrie and Crisp both went two for three.  In some weird and twisted phenomenon of nature, Dustin Pedroia was held hitless but still managed to get on base with a walk.  You can’t help but marvel at the kid.  Even when you keep him off base, you can’t really keep him off base.

In other news, David Aardsma and JD Drew should be making their returns pretty soon.  I’m telling you, everyone’s coming off the DL at the right time, and everyone’s coming off renewed, refreshed, and ready to fight.  And that’s what we need this time of year.  And as we’ve seen Sean Casey and Kevin Youkilis are back in it too and doing their usual damage.  Youk’s back is better now and his personal issues are all cleared up, so that’s good to see.  It’s amazing how it’s all coming together at just the right time.  The Rays aren’t at their best right now, and that’s a mistake first-place clubs make, especially those that’re inexperienced.  All it takes is a few losses here, a few losses there, and what do you know, they’re knocked off the top, which is where they shouldn’t have been all along.  I mean, who would’ve thought? But that’s how it is, and we’re definitely coming.  Count on that.

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Now that is what I call a blowout.  Firing on all cylinders.  Demolishing the competition right out of the gate.  Basically the 2007 season crunched into nine innings.  Even though we were missing some key guys, including Kevin Youkilis who winced during warm-up sprints and wasn’t in the lineup due to back spasms, we still pulled it off, and with flying colors.  That has to be reassuring for a team that’s been as injury-ridden as ours: look at how formidable we are even when we’re not 100%, and imagine how formidable we are when we are 100%.  If I were the opposition I’d be afraid.  I’d be very afraid.

Lester got the win, pitching five and giving up a run on six hits with four walks and five strikeouts.  He’s never lost to the Orioles in his career, and he improves to an impressive 13-5.  In the early innings he actually cranked his fastball up to 96, 97 mph.  Manny Delcarmen and Chris Smith were in top form for the sixth and seventh, and despite allowing a run in the ninth David Pauley did a decent job.  You know you’re in good shape when the relief is strong.  That means your starters are going deep and that you’ve had a good amount of big leads.

And now for the offense.  One RBI each for Kotsay, Ellsbury, and Van Every, the first Major League RBI of his career.  Kotsay went two for four, and Ellsbury stole his 44th base of the season.  Two RBIs for Lowrie, who was pretty busy at third base.  It’s so nice to watch him work the leather over there; it’s pretty refreshing to see a baseball headed to that part of the diamond and know that someone’s going to be there to make the play almost every time.  Four RBIs for Ortiz, who didn’t strike out all night.  He went three for three with a walk and two runs.  Now that is good old-fashioned Papi-style baseball.  Crisp went three for five with a steal, and Varitek went two for four with good blockage of the plate to get Hernandez out at home.  The bottom half of the lineup is really stepping up, and I think that’s part of why the top half of the lineup is doing so well.  It eases the pressure.

Last but certainly not least, five (count ’em: five!) runs batted in for that fixture at second base, that shoe-in for Most Valuable Player, Dustin Pedroia.  The man went three for five with a run.  One of those hits was a monstrous home run he absolutely crushed out of the park in the fourth with one man out and two men on base.  Did not strike out once all night.  Not once.  His batting average is now .330.  After a whole season of ups and downs, varying lineups, issues on the road, and so many other details, Pedroia is batting .330 in September.  That average is so high you’d look at it and write it off as some rookie who just got called up and started to hit.  And don’t even get me started on how good the man is in the field.  He’s got MVP written all of him.

So all in all that makes for a four-run third, a six-run fourth, a one-run fifth, a two-run seventh, and a one-run eighth.  Not bad for a blowout.  Not bad at all.

In another strange turn of events, we were all rooting for the Yanks last night and it paid off.  The Rays lost by five runs, decreasing their lead over us to four games.  I see no room for error on the Rays’ part, because if they give us an inch we’ll walk all over them.  Needless to say, the upcoming series with them at Fenway is going to be crucial.

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