Posts Tagged ‘Edwin Jackson’

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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It’s there.  It’s right there.  It’s so close you can taste it.  Yesterday’s well-played victory puts us only half a game behind the Rays (the Wild Card’s been locked up for some time).  I’m telling you, the stars are aligning for this series.  We’re starting all our best pitchers: Lester last night, Dice-K tonight, and Beckett tomorrow.  And speaking of Lester, let’s talk about what a bang-up job he did.  He shut out Tampa Bay, pitching almost eight innings and giving up only six hits.  He walked three and struck out nine to tie his season high.  So that means he’s undefeated in seven career starts against the Rays.  I mean, before last night’s game he was 2-0 against the Rays with a 1.46 ERA this season alone.  After last night’s game his stats are so good I don’t even want to know about it.  Last night his cut fastball was absolutely filthy.  He improves to a 9-1 record at home in 2008.

Papelbon came in in the eighth to get the last four outs, and he did so with three Ks and only one hit allowed.  It’s good to see him in there, even if a middle reliever could do just as well, because we’ll need him in top form for the postseason.  Tito worked him a bit in Texas and it paid off; you could tell he was much more spot-on last night.  Besides, Pap’s never been known to let us down when it matters the most.

RBIs for Youk, Ortiz, and Bay.  Youk’s been kind of quiet with the bat lately; currently he’s five for his last twenty.  Ortiz continues to produce (clicking? What clicking?), and Bay went two for three with a solo home run off Jackson with two out in the first.  It’s his sixth in Red Sox letters.  But he also showed some leather last night, holding Zobrist’s high eighth-inning hit off the Monster to a single.  The shock is that Pedroia went 0 for 4.  Lately I didn’t even know that was possible.  I didn’t even know he knew how to swing and not get a hit.  On the bright side, he never struck out.  The real story centers on Coco Crisp.  Last night he went three for three to extend his hitting streak to ten games and is currently batting .291.  He recorded a theft and a CS and was successfully picked off.  But I think this is definitely the Coco we were supposed to see when he came over from Cleveland.  He sparks the bottom half of the lineup, and with Ellsbury having a tight quad it’s good to know his replacement is someone not shy with the hits.  It’s interesting how someone will always take his game to the next level this time of year.  Someone always does.  It never fails.

Speaking of injuries, BJ Upton left the game in the fifth with a strained left quad, and JD Drew was activated before this series, but Kotsay’s been doing fine, last night going two for three with a walk and a run.

In other news, Tom Brady’s left knee was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.  It’ll require season-ending surgery.  Matt Cassel will take his place.  I was hoping for something comparable to last year’s season, but I think it’s safe to say it seems almost impossible.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not counting that out, I’m just saying it’ll be very difficult to do damage to other teams without your stare quarterback.  The Yankees lost, 1-12, to the Angels and got into a bench-clearing brawl to boot.  Pudge and Torii Hunter collided at home, Torii gave Pudge a push, Pudge pushed back, Torii gave Pudge a two-handed shove in the back, and that was it.  Cleared the benches.  Pudge and Torii were both thrown out.

And now for news on baseball’s latest record.  Last night’s contest was the 456th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park! That means that we, Red Sox Nation, broke the all-time Major League Baseball record for most consecutive sellouts! May 15, 2008 through September 8, 2008.  What a run, and it isn’t even over yet.  We’re number one in baseball but fourth overall, behind three NBA teams: the Portland Trailblazers, the Celtics, and the Bulls.  But what a difference it must make.  The team plays for a full house every night, and we’re behind the team 100%, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  All those walk-off wins, the cheering, the sitting in the cold or heat or rain until the last out; it makes a difference in the team’s performance.  Don’t believe me? Check our home record; we’re 49-19.  It’s official: we are the best fans in baseball.  But a lot of credit has to go to the Red Sox brass.  This ownership group has done wonders for Fenway.  They improved it, renovated it, added things to it that blend right in, and generally made it a great place to be.  And they know how to make the team better.  As a fan, I love seeing the money I spend at a baseball game or on a hat or shirt or something go directly to improving the club.  In Boston the fans matter.  It’s that simple.  Without Fenway Park, without the legends and lore, without that Boston atmosphere, and without Red Sox Nation, the team just wouldn’t be the same.  So I’d like to advise a pat on the back for my fellow diehards.  We watch our guys set records, and now we’ve set one of our own.  Nice!

Getty Images

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Ladies and gentlemen, victory is within sight.  After last night’s 7-2 trouncing of the Rangers, we are only 1.5 games behind the Rays, who we play tonight, tomorrow night, and Wednesday night.  Needless to say, this is big.  This is huge.  This could be when we decide what our postseason will be like.

Paul Byrd pitched about six shutout innings and gave up only three hits and three walks while striking out four, and he committed an error on a pickoff attempt.  The two Texas runs were given up by Delcarmen, who allowed a solo homer, and Smith.  Lopez was perfect, and Papelbon allowed two hits during his shift.  I know the concerns: what if it had been a closer game, what if those two runs had been the end of us, and all those what-ifs.  But the fact is it wasn’t and they weren’t.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed it lately, but we haven’t been playing as many close games as we did early in the season, and these days when we do it’s less likely that the bullpen will blow it.  As for Papelbon, he just needs to get his work in.

RBIs for Cora, Crisp, Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Bay.  Crisp went two for three and stole second, and it’s like he’s a whole new man.  Bay went two for five with a solo home run in the seventh.  Big Papi batted in two runs on a fifth-inning two-run shot, his first since August 14, and finished the night going two for five and feeling some clicking in his wrist.  He says the wrist problems have altered his swing but that he feels no pain.  What a relief.  Especially when you consider that, even without hitting home runs, he’s hitting .330 over his last 25 games.

As for tonight, we’re definitely pitching someone we trust.  It’ll be Jon Lester opposite Edwin Jackson.  Lester is 13-5 with a 3.37 ERA.  Edwin Jackson is 11-9 with a 4.07 ERA.  The Rays won’t be easy to beat, because we’ve shown in recent years that we have trouble facing first-place clubs, but at least from the pitching perspective we have the upper hand.  We’ll all be holding our breath for this one.

AP Photo

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