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Posts Tagged ‘Roberto Clemente Award’

We’ll start with the biggest news first, which at this point is not really news.  It’s now officially official.  On Tuesday, the Cubs will host a press conference at which they will announce the hiring of Theo, but not as general manager.  As president of baseball operations.  Look for Theo to make a play for Jed Hoyer of the Padres to rejoin him in Chicago as GM.  Also on Tuesday, we will be promoting Ben Cherington.  Well, it’s the simultaneous ending and beginning of an era.  All three of these guys use basically the same strategy, so I don’t think the change will be that drastic.  As I said, though, hats off to you, Theo.  Thank you for all you’ve done.  You’ll surely be missed.

Lester has confirmed that he was, in fact, one of the three starting pitchers engaged in the beer-drinking, fried chicken-eating, and video-game playing between starts in the clubhouse.  He emphasized that nobody was actually getting drunk, that the team was in the weight room doing conditioning, and that the pitchers’ clubhouse shenanigans or the team’s collective September weight gain had nothing to do with the collapse.  He also agreed with Tito that he was losing his influence and that it was time for a new manager.

Then, Lester, Beckett, Lackey, Tito, and even Larry denied that there was ever drinking in the dugout by anyone during games.  The information that beer-drinking was occurring in the clubhouse during games was obtained from two unidentified club employees who claimed that Beckett would instigate the three leaving the dugout around the sixth inning, going into the clubhouse, filling cups with beer, returning to the dugout with the cups, and watching the rest of the game while drinking beer.  However, when two additional employees were contacted, one said he never saw it but heard complaints about it happening in 2010, and another said he never saw or heard about it.  Lester went further to clarify that the players were not taking advantage of Tito’s lack-of-iron-first style but were rather taking advantage of each other.

Apparently, by the way, Lackey is a favorite teammate of the club.  Who knew? Also, who knew that the Padres may be interested in him, provided that we pay most of his contract?

Tek denies that chemistry was even a problem at all.  He said that, when Tito mentioned this as an issue two days after the season, he was surprised.  He said that guys were on the bench and in the gym sufficiently and that the collapse was due purely to a lack of professional results on the field.

We also have to add a pitching coach to our list of people to hire this offseason.  Curt Young is going back to Oakland.  Buchholz says that the pitchers didn’t work as hard for him as they did for John Farrell.  He also said that he joined in the beer-drinking, to whatever extent it actually occurred.

Congratulations to Papi, this year’s Roberto Clemente Award winner! Very well deserved indeed.  By the way, now he says he wants to stay in Boston.

In other news, the Pats edged the Cowboys, 20-16 on Sunday.  And we get a bye today.  And the Bruins lost to the Canes and Sharks but beat the Leafs.

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We celebrated another anniversary this week, also epic, also on a Wednesday.  Six years ago this past Wednesday, we won Game Four of the 2004 World Series.  We swept the Cardinals right out of St. Louis, broke the Curse of the Bambino, vindicated one Nation under Sox, and ushered in a new era of dominance by Boston baseball.  The ALCS victory was the greatest comeback in sports history, but the World Series was the greatest win in sports history, period.  Never gets tired, never gets old, and never gets forgotten.  I still get chills when I think about Foulke to Mientkiewicz.

Meanwhile, we have a problem.  It’s a huge problem.  Congratulations to John Farrell, the new manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.  He’ll be missed.  He’ll be sorely missed.  That’s our problem.  Let’s temporarily forget about the fact that Jays pitching is known to give us trouble in September.  More importantly and urgently, we now need a new pitching coach.  Let’s not kid ourselves; Farrell was awesome.  He was great.  He was one of the best pitching coaches you could possibly have asked for.  He knew the staff inside-out, and he’d worked previously with V-Mart.

We’re looking inside and outside.  So far, we’ve interviewed former A’s pitching coach Curt Young.  We’re going to interview Ralph Truel, our minor league pitching coordinator, and Major League advance scout Mike Cather this week.  We also might be looking at Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson, who worked with Tito when he was in Oakland.  At this point, whether the guy comes from the outside or the inside is not the issue.  The guy just has to be good.  Only two of our starters are home-grown, so it’s not like Truel would have that much of an edge over the other three.  The guy also has to be hired as soon as possible so he can start, because he’s got a lot of work to do.

The front office will also be busy, and not just because the stove is about to get hot.  A new agreement between the players’ union and the owners has shortened the free agent exclusivity period from fifteen to five days after the conclusion of the World Series.  That moves up the deadline for teams to offer arbitration by about a week, and so has the deadline for players to accept.  The tender deadline has moved up by at least a week.  I have faith that Theo is totally on top of his game.  I’m just saying that, with our own, we’re going to have to act fast.  Five days.  That’s, like, no time at all.  So we need to get moving.  We’re also going to have to be very shrewd in managing our payroll so it doesn’t get out of hand.

Congratulations to Wakefield, who won the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award for his community service.  He does it all, from local hospitals to the Jimmy Fund to Wakefield’s Warriors, where he invites children from the Franciscan Hospital and the Jimmy Fund to Tuesday home games to meet him and watch batting practice.  If you ask me, he’s been due for a long time now.  This was his eighth nomination.  But, ultimately, he gets exactly what he deserves.  Nobody deserves that award more than he does because, not only does he do a lot in the community, he does all of it quietly and without any thought about recognition for it.

Peter Gammons is convinced it’s going to be Carl Crawford, not Jayson Werth.  Papi wants an extension rather than just an option pick-up; no surprise there.

Good news: ticket prices will basically stay the same for 2011.  Bad news: it doesn’t matter much since most of us don’t purchase our tickets at face value anyway.

Other news: we shut out the Leafs on Thursday, two-zip.  Thomas made twenty saves.  Then we shut out the Sens yesterday, four-zip.  Krejci had a goal and an assist, and Thomas made twenty-nine saves.  Love it.  And the Pats beat the Chargers with the same final score we used to beat the Ravens: 23-20.  It was close, but it was still a win.  We’ve got the Vikings today.

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The definition of a quality start is a start that lasts for more than six innings, during which the starter gives up no more than three earned runs.  If we go by that definition, Josh Beckett’s outing barely made the cut.  He pitched six innings, gave up four earned runs on seven hits, didn’t walk anybody, and struck out nine.

But the definition of a Beckett-esque start is a start that lasts for more than seven innings, during which the starter gives up no more than two runs, earned or unearned.  And if we go by that definition, it’s hard to see whether Beckett made any improvements at all last night.  He didn’t walk anybody, but he allowed two home runs, both solo shots.  The four earned runs is double the amount the vintage Beckett usually allows, and the seven hits and three-run second inning have to go.

John Farrell made a point of saying that Beckett’s problems can be fixed in short order.  It’s now officially September .  The playoffs begin in thirty days.  That’s roughly six starts.  I have to believe Farrell can fix it before the start of October, but how many more starts will it take? Losses aren’t exactly helping us here.

To be fair, the bullpen didn’t exactly help our cause, even if it did help Beckett’s.  Ramirez pitched the seventh and two batters into the eighth (without recording an out) and gave up two runs.  Delcarmen pitched an out’s worth of the eighth and gave up one run on a two-run shot by Evan Longoria.  Saito pitched the rest of the eighth.  Ramirez, not Beckett, took the loss, because the Rays scored three more runs in the eighth.

The lineup performed less well than it has been recently.  That’s an obvious statement, but I’m going to say it anyway because it’s true.  The final score was 8-5, so the runs had to come from somewhere, but only about half the starting nine got hits, let alone a multi-hit game.  V-Mart singled in a run and walked twice.  Youk went two for four with two doubles and a fielding error, and when Youk makes a fielding error, you know something’s gone wrong.  Bay hit an RBI triple.  Drew batted in a run.  Gonzalez doubled.  And that was it.  Ellsbury and Joey Gathright both stole second base.  And in the bottom of the sixth, with two out on a 3-2 count, Ellsbury made a diving catch to end the inning.  Yet another play of the game.  Basically as a rule if Ellsbury makes a catch, it’s the play of the game.

Congratulations to Youk for being nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award! Apparently, Curt Schilling has expressed some interest in Ted Kennedy’s senate seat.  Oh, boy.  Brad Penny, San Francisco’s newest Giant, threw eight shutout innings yesterday.  I’m telling you, there’s nothing like a move to the National League to get a struggling pitcher going.  Speaking of which, John Smoltz was tipping his pitches while he was here.  The Cardinals figured that out and brought it to his attention, and he stopped doing it and is now suddenly solid for St. Louis.  If only he’d realized that sooner.

That’s pretty much all, folks.  It wasn’t a great game pitching-wise, and I’ll take the five runs even though we’ve done better.  It’s not that five runs is such a small amount.  It’s more that we have it in us to score more, so if it’s necessary to score more, we should’ve scored more.  Conversely, you can also make the argument that five runs is enough and it’s the pitcher’s fault for not being able to work with that.  Ordinarily I would agree, but because of Beckett’s string of bad outings, I’ve essentially stopped depending on him to work with any amount because you never know just how bad the outing is going to be.  (There’s something I thought I’d never say.) Obviously baseball doesn’t always work like that and it’s not that simple, and obviously the lineup did its best, but I still would’ve liked to see more.  But it is what it is, and we lost.  It happens.  Besides, at this point I’m more concerned with Beckett’s performance than with the loss itself.  Tonight we’ll win.  Buchholz at David Price.

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