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Posts Tagged ‘San Diego Padres’

There are few better ways to celebrate the Fourth of July than kicking back, relaxing, and taking in a textbook specimen of the national pastime.  I especially appreciated the victory, because losing would have really put a damper on the festive spirit.  I love baseball on the Fourth of July.  It would have been even better to have seen the national pastime played in America’s Most Beloved Ballpark, but the schedule is the schedule.  It was a great game anyway.

Webster got the nod to start and did a great job.  He gave up two runs on five hits over six innings with four walks and as many strikeouts.  He walked Pedro Ciriaco of all people to lead off the third, and he eventually scored on a sac fly.  He gave up his other run in the fifth thanks to a double-single combination.  And he ended his start on a fantastic one-two-three note.

Just as great as Webster’s start was the collective performance of our relievers, who pitched four shutout innings to hold the Padres at two runs.  Bailey got the seventh and miraculously sent down the three hitters he faced.  Wilson pitched the eighth and got the first out of the ninth before Breslow took over.

In the meantime, we didn’t waste time putting ourselves on top.  Ellsbury singled to lead off the first, and then Victorino and Pedroia hit back-to-back doubles, the latter of which scored two.  With one out in the second, Snyder hit a solo shot to right center field.  Napoli led off the fourth with a single and scored on a double by Iglesias.  Pedroia led off the fifth with a single but got caught stealing second; Napoli doubled and scored on a single by Gomes.  Lavarnway, Iglesias, and Ellsbury led off the sixth with back-to-back-to-back singles.  Two outs later, Iglesias and Ellsbury scored on a single by Papi.  And last but not least, Ellsbury led off the eighth with a solo shot to right.

The final score was 8-2.  And that’s the sweep!

Boston Globe Staff/Matthew J. Lee
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We were fortunate that our pitchers were on their game because this was a good, old-fashioned pitcher’s duel. Without their solid performance, all else being equal we may have lost, because the Padres had their game on.  This was therefore a quintessential example of what happens when you put two pitchers who turn it on in the same context.  The kind that’s tied for most of the game.  The kind that goes right down to the wire.  The kind that’s decided by one run.  And the kind that necessitates desperate measures.  Desperately heroic measures.  Desperately heroic walk-off measures.

I believe that Lester just took a page from Lackey’s book.  What? That’s pretty unbelievable, but it’s true.  This is the best start we’ve seen from Lester recently, and I just hope that this is the first step down the road back to his epic supremacy.

He gave up his one and only run in the first, but he sailed pretty smoothly from then on.  With two out, he gave up three straight singles.  He had a one-two-three second.  He gave up a double in the third and fourth.  He had a ten-pitch, one-two-three fifth consisting of three straight groundouts.  He gave up a single and a walk in the sixth but benefited from a double play.  And he had a one-two-three seventh.

So he pitched seven innings of one-run ball.  That’s a total of six hits, one walk, and only five K’s.  That’s low for Lester, but it’s a start.  Besides, he threw only 102 pitches.  That’s brutally efficient, and he accomplished it by securing outs in easier ways like groundouts and lineouts.

Tazawa pitched an extremely successful eighth.  Three up, three down, three swinging strikeouts.  Uehara pitched a solid ninth as well.

We had the bases loaded with two out in the third but didn’t get on the board until the fourth, when Carp singled and scored on a double by Salty.  When Carp scored that run, it felt like we’d just scored ten runs.  In games like these, a one-run deficit can feel as colossal as a ten-run hole.  When runs are hard to come by, they’re always worth more because it’s more unlikely that you’ll score.

So scoring that run was huge, and the game looked so evenly matched for so long that it seemed entirely probable that we would have gone into extras had it not been for a classic ninth.  Classically ridiculously awesome, that is.

It was perfect.  Gomes stepped up to the plate and was fed a steady diet of sliders.  He took the first one for a ball and the next two for swinging strikes.  He took the fourth for a ball.  But when the fifth missed, Gomes read it like a book.  And that ball went right toward the Monster.

And that was the game.  That was the whole game.  It came down to the sixth pitch of the ninth inning.  One up, one down, one win.  2-1.  Mob and everything.  Just like that.

Boston Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

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John Lackey, ladies and gentlemen! I don’t know what happened.  I don’t know what he changed or what he didn’t.  I don’t know what snapped.  I don’t know.  Maybe it was just the tone set by the fact that he was in unbelievable shape during Spring Training.  Maybe, in the time-honored Boston tradition, it was just the beard.  But whatever it was, I’m glad it did.  The Lackey that we have seen lately is completely unlike the Lackey that we have been used to seeing.  If you ask me, it’s been long overdue.  I’m glad he’s back.

Lackey is pretty much back.  It’s phenomenal.  I mean, obviously it’s Interleague, so we do have an advantage anyway, but Lackey basically beasted the Padres.  He had a one-two-three first.  He gave up a double in the second, a single in the third, a double in the fourth, and a double and a single in the fifth.  He had a one-two-three sixth and allowed his only blemish in the seventh.  It was the first at-bat and 2-2 count thanks to four fouls.  He threw a cutter, two changeups, another cutter, two four-seams, and finally a curveball.  But he missed, and he gave up a solo shot.  He gave up a walk in the eighth, and that was it.

So, to sum up, Lackey tossed eight innings of one-run ball.  He gave up six innings, one walk, and six strikeouts.  That’s basically as good as it gets.  One more inning, and he would have gone the distance.  And he threw only 103 pitches.  That’s efficiency if I’ve ever seen it! I don’t know what Lackey did to change, but whatever it is, I like it.

We provided some backup in the fourth.  Papi singled, Napoli walked, Gomes struck out, and Salty walked to load the bases.  Snyder then hit a bases-clearing double but was out at third.  Gomes doubled to lead off the sixth and scored on a single by Iglesias.

Uehara had a one-two-three ninth, and that was it.  We won, 4-1.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Honestly, it doesn’t get much more infuriating than that.  I’m just going to jump right in because it’s really tough to deal with it all.

Cook pitched decently.  He only lasted five innings, and he gave up three runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out two.  He went one-two-three in the first and second, and gave up a double in the third.  He gave up a solo shot to lead off the fourth followed by a single and then a two-run home run.  Following  two quick outs, he gave up a single, and then a fielding error put another runner on, but the inning ended there.  He allowed a single in the fifth and a double to lead off the sixth, at which point he was replaced by Hill, who was replaced by Aceves after three batters.

Meanwhile, we reduced our deficit from three runs to two; in the bottom of the fourth, Pedroia doubled with one out and scored on a single by Loney.

Aceves came out for the seventh and gave up a single followed by a two-run home run of his own, which made the score 5-1.  Two outs later, he gave up a double and was replaced by Carpenter, who ended the inning.  In the bottom of the seventh, we made another dent in the score.  Ross began the inning by striking out, but then Salty and Nava hit back-to-back doubles.  The Yanks sent out their third pitcher of the inning, and then Salty scored on a groundout by Gomez and Nava scored on a double by Aviles.  5-3.

Carpenter handled the eighth without incident baseball-wise but with incident drama-wise; when Bobby V. came out to the mound and Aceves saw Carpenter coming in, he walked to the other side of the mound to avoid Bobby V. when he left the field.  In terms of the bottom of the inning, we failed to score.  But it was not without further drama.

Ross ended the inning on a called strike; the at-bat featured seven pitches, all but one of them sliders, and the count had been full.  Ross and everyone else who had a pair of decently functioning eyes could see that that last supposed strike was actually a ball because it was low, and he let home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez know it immediately. So Marquez rejected him; it was only the second rejection in Ross’s career.  Several minutes later, Bobby V., who had separated Ross and Marquez, went back out there to have a talk with him that obviously got heated pretty quickly and was ejected for the sixth time this year, which sets the record for the most single-season ejections by any manager we’ve ever had in our long, illustrious history.  And at some point even third base coach Jerry Royster was ejected for some reason, so bench coach Tim Bogar was managing and coaching third at the same time at the end of it all.  The whole situation was just absurd and could have been neatly avoided had Marquez just done his job and saw reality.

Anyway, Miller and Padilla teamed up to shut out the Yanks in the top of the ninth, and the stage was set for another possible walkoff.  Salty’s leadoff at-bat was exactly the kind of at-bat you hope for most in those situations.  The count was full and he got an eighty-three mile-per-hour slide as his sixth pitch.  He’s a big guy, and he unleashed his formidable power on it and sent it out of the park to right field for a solo shot that only he could have powered out of the park.  We were now one run away with nobody out, and between Salty having made it look so easy and our last-minute heroics of the previous night, we were daring to believe that we could potentially pull it off again.

But we didn’t.  Nava flied out, Gomez grounded out, and Aviles reached on a fielding error.  Ellsbury could have put the whole thing away right then and there.  But he grounded out instead.

So we lost, 5-4.  But no one can say we didn’t put up a fight.  Because we did, both literally and figuratively.  We manufactured our own runs and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps in the face of a deficit and dared to call a ball, a ball.  We just kept going at it all night long, but we came up just short in the end.  It’s just so infuriating.  I mean, I have to think that we’ve lost this way to plenty of other teams this year since clearly we’re in the business of losing every way to every other team this year, but to do it against the Yankees is particularly brutal.  We were almost there; we just needed one more run to tie it, and we could take care of them in extras.  And we couldn’t get it done.  It’s the story of our 2012 baseball lives.

On a more cheerful note, we have next year’s schedule, so assuming that we’re optimistic, it’s a reminder of something to look forward to.  The season starts for us on April 1 in the Bronx; we follow Opening Day with a day off and then conclude the three-game series.  We then head off to Toronto for three games, and then we head home for our home opener against Baltimore, which is followed by another day off.  We then finish our series with Baltimore and play the Rays before spending three games in Cleveland and going back home to face the Royals, A’s, and newly-AL Astros.  Then we have a day off and we go back to Toronto and then to Arlington, our first full series of May.  The Twins and Jays comprise another homestand, followed by a day off and another road trip against the Rays, Twins, and Other Sox.  Then back home we’ve got the Tribe and the Phillies, followed by a series at Philadelphia and then the Bronx, followed by a day off.  That takes us to June, our first full series of which is at home against the Rangers and then the Angels.  Then we head off to Toronto and Baltimore before another day off and coming home to face the Rays.  Then we head off to Detriot before another day off and another homestand featuring the Rockies, the Jays, a day off, and the Padres in July.  Then it’s off to the West Coast for the Angels, Mariners, and A’s before the All-Star break.  When play resumes, we host the Yanks and Rays before a trip to Baltimore and a day off.  The west then comes to us as we host the Mariners and D-Backs at home, which brings us to August.  We then travel to Houston and Kansas City before taking a day off and traveling to Toronto.  We host the Yanks at home after that, followed by a trip to San Francisco, a day off, a trip to Los Angeles for the Blue Sox, another day off, and then a homestand featuring the Orioles, Other Sox, and Tigers, which brings us to September.  We go to the Bronx after that, take a day off, go to Tampa Bay, and return home for the Yanks, a day off, the Orioles, the Jays, and another day off.  Then we go to Colorado for two games, take a day off, and go to Baltimore for the last series of the season.  So we’ve got at least three days off every month except one: May, our most packed month, when we only have one day off.  But it’s a good schedule.  It’s interesting that Interleague is sort of spread out this year instead of being clustered in June.  It’s often a tough schedule, and we have to play some worthy opponents, but if all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to hold our own next year.

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Well, would you look at that! Not only back-to-back gems, but back-to-back wins as well! Is this us turning our entire season around? I’m wary to say, since there have been times when it looked like that might be the case and then it turned out that it wasn’t so much.  As I’ve been saying, let’s just be happy with what we’ve got and hope for the best.

It was Beckett this time who, despite his recent struggles and soreness, has delivered.  He didn’t pitch a complete game like Lester did, but his performance was of extremely high quality.  In fact, it was easily one of his best starts of the year, and he just looked better during this start than he has in others.  And it resulted in our fifth straight win in as many quality starts! That’s the longest active winning streak in the American League, believe it or not.

Beckett pitched seven shutout innings during which he gave up four hits, walked two, and struck out nine, a season high so far.  He threw ninety-three pitches, sixty of which were strikes.  He went one-two-three in the first, second, third.  He gave up two singles in the fourth.  He walked one in the fifth.  He gave up a single and a walk in the sixth.  And he gave up one single in the seventh.

He struck out one in the first, the last of which was a changeup that induced a swing-and-miss.  He struck out two in the second; the first was a called strike ending with a curveball, and the second was a swinging strike also ending with a curveball.  He struck out two in the three; the first was a swinging strike ending with a fastball, and the second was a swinging strike ending with a fastball.  He struck out one in the fourth on three pitches that ended with a curveball.  He struck out two in the fifth; the first was a foul tip that ended with a cutter, and the second was a swinging strike that ended with a fastball.  He didn’t strike out anyone in his last two innings.  As you can see his curveball was exceptionally deadly.  Interestingly, his strikeouts that ended with fastballs were his longer strikeouts of the night.  Still, his mix of pitches, change of speeds, and precision, accuracy, and execution left absolutely nothing to be desired.  In addition to his curveball, his changeup, cutter, and fastball were truly excellent.  He was even efficient!

Beckett picked up the win, and fortunately Hill and Aceves both were able to pitch with a decent lead.  We had two baserunners on in each of the first two innings but failed to do anything with those opportunities.  Papi corrected that in a hurry in the third, when he blasted a solo shot into the bullpen with one out.  You could tell from the sound of the impact that the ball wasn’t going to stay in the park.  In the fourth, after Salty flied out, Ross walked, Nava singled, Ross scored on a double by Aviles, and Nava scored on a groundout by Sweeney.  In the fifth, Papi singled and scored on a single by Middlebrooks.  (He’d moved to second on a groundout by Gonzalez and then to third on a wild pitch.) We scored our last run in the eighth, when Salty doubled and scored on a double by Aviles.

Thus, we won, five-zip, on a day when it was particularly fitting to do so.  Not only was it Beckett’s birthday, which he appropriately celebrated with a performance as winning as the win itself, but it was also Thanks, Wake Day at Fenway; Tim Wakefield was honored in a pregame ceremony and then threw out the first pitch.  And who caught that first pitch but none other than Doug Mirabelli himself, right after his own heart in 2006! In 2006, Mirabelli was given a police escort to Fenway so he could catch Wakefield after he was traded back to us from the Padres; yesterday, Don Orsillo, ever the entertaining master of ceremonies, claimed that Mirabelli would not arrive in time due to a flight delay which was obviously untrue, as Mirabelli again arrived in a police car, this time in center field, where the grass contained an enormous Number Forty-Nine, before preparing behind the plate to receive a classic Wakefield knuckleball.  (He actually warmed up for it.  Incidentally, it would have been a ball.) Wakefield deserved every bit of honor and recognition and applause that he received.  As always, it was so good to have him back.  And as always, Wakefield, we salute you!

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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.

AP Photo

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Just so you know, this is not going to be a happy post.

First of all, it’s pretty much unofficially official.  Theo is going to take over the Cubs.  It’s a five-year deal, and the only thing left is for the two clubs to agree on compensation since Theo is technically entering the last year of his contract with us.  The deal is currently worth twenty million dollars, which reportedly includes said compensation.  As of late, Theo’s title within the Cubs organization is unclear, but it supposedly is something higher up.

The bottom line is that he’s leaving us, so we’ll have to find a first-base coach, a manager, and a general manager.  Here’s an understatement: this offseason, we’ve got some serious work to do.  With any luck, we won’t actually have to find a general manager and will instead be looking for an assistant general manager; I wouldn’t mind having Ben Cherington take the helm.  That’s where it looks like we’re headed, anyway.  He’s been included in all club dealings so far during the offseason.  He’s been Theo’s right-hand man for years, and the two of them started with Larry Lucchino in San Diego anyway.  It obviously won’t be the same, but it’ll be pretty close.

That is, if you like the job Theo did.  Sure, he made some huge mistakes.  Eric Gagne and Dice-K were the most notable of those; if Jenks doesn’t recover properly he’ll be another, and if Crawford and Lackey don’t turn it around they’ll be a third and fourth.  But I would argue that his good so epically and completely eclipsed his bad that this discussion isn’t even necessary.  His drafting and farming decisions were legendary and include Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youk, and Lester.  He is the youngest general manager to be hired, and he is the youngest general manager ever to win a World Series.  After almost delivering us in 2003, his first season, he lifted us out of the Curse of the Bambino in 2004 and reminded us that we weren’t dreaming in 2007.  His acquisition of Gonzalez was absolutely masterful.  He brought sabermetrics to Boston and made it feel at home here.  He wasn’t just a professional removed from everything; he was a baseball guy and, worth noting, a Red Sox fan.  He’s from Boston, specifically Brookline about two miles from Fenway Park, and that’s something Chicago will never change.  Chicago’s dysfunction as an organization goes well beyond any single position that Theo could possibly fill.  Make no mistake; he won’t simply waltz in there and have them winning World Series left and right.  If he could do that in Chicago, we would have been winning every single World Series title since his takeover of our team, and clearly that didn’t happen.  And if it didn’t happen here, it’s not going to happen there.  But that’s neither here nor there.

This is about what Theo did for this city in his nine memorable years here.  He brought a new approach to the game and put the pieces in place for us to win.  He established a winning culture here.  He’s a genius and will be sorely, sorely missed.  Here’s to you, Theo.  Here’s to everything you’ve done for us and for the game of baseball.  Here’s to the good, the bad, and the ugly, and here’s to smiling through all of it because, all along, in Theo we trusted.  We know that other fans in other places rooting for other teams will be trusting in you from now on.  But we also know that you can take the general manager out of Boston but you can’t take Boston out of the general manager.  We just hope that the great things you’ll accomplish will not be at our expense.

Secondly, all of the pieces to the devastation puzzle are now coming to light.  It’s an ugly story.  Here goes.

It wasn’t one pitcher responsible for the beer-drinking between starts.  First of all, it wasn’t just drinking beer; it was also ordering in fried chicken and playing video games.  Secondly, it wasn’t just one pitcher; it was three.  Beckett, Lackey, and Lester.  I never thought I’d see Lester on that list, although I should point out that the degree to which he actually participated in these goings-on is highly speculative, and it’s possible that he wasn’t really a mainstay.  Apparently they not only drank beer but ordered fried chicken and played video games, all at the expense of working out, and they were starting to get more players involved.  All I know is that when we needed them to deliver most, they didn’t, which is unusual for them so something must have been going on.  We knew they were health, so that should have tipped us off, but I never thought I’d see the day when such people would actually knowingly put on pounds and thereby sabotage everything the team worked for.  It’s sacrilegious. Pedroia probably couldn’t believe his eyes and must have been seething.

Meanwhile, Tito was losing influence with both old and new guys, he was having health issues, and he was living in a hotel due to marital issues.  He insists that the former wasn’t due to the latter two, but I’m also sure that Beckett, Lackey, and Lester insisted that their very visible extra fat and subsequent tanking wasn’t due to their clubhouse habits either.  I’m actually inclined to believe Tito, though; he’s focused, dedicated, and committed, and we can’t just assume that he doesn’t know how to handle personal issues in his life and balance them with his job.

Then, apparently, the team accused the brass of caring about money more than results when they scheduled the doubleheader in response to Hurricane Irene.  Then the veterans on the team, including Tek, started pulling back on leadership.  Wake exacerbated this problem by calling for a return next year so he could break the all-time wins record; neither the time nor the place when you’re days away from playoff elimination.  And Youk, as you can imagine, was more of a clubhouse pain than usual, which we all knew but didn’t feel because all of these other issues weren’t present before.  At least, if they were, we didn’t know about them to this extent.  Youk was the only player to call Ellsbury out for his time on the DL last year due to his rib injuries.  And it’s obviously admirable and dirt-doggish indeed that he played through his injuries this year, but doing so apparently brought the worst out of him socially in the clubhouse.  And when you’re hanging on by a thread in the standings, that is so not something you need.  Gonzalez, of all people, joined in the pettiness by complaining about the late-season schedule.  I honestly thought he would be much more Pedroia-like than that.

Ellsbury, by the way, is officially the American League’s Comeback Player of the Year.  I can’t think of anyone who would deserve it more.  He earned every last bit of that honor this past year, so hats most definitely off to him.

Add to that the fact that the signing of Crawford was largely a push from Theo over which the brass was divided.  If you ask me, I would have said it was the other way around.  Crawford’s strengths, both in practice and in numbers, aren’t that compatible with sabermetrics, the philosophy used to build the team.  So I thought that we would all find out that it was Theo who was against it, and it was the brass who was pushing him to sign Crawford because of the wow factor of bringing in a star or something.

All in all, the team this year turned out to be one big, dysfunctional family on every front.  Nobody, from the players to the brass, was spared.  Everyone who had issues let them loose at exactly the wrong time and in exactly the wrong ways.  Players on whom you depended to carry your team through the stretch in the clubhouse either withdrew or sunk to the level of the players you never thought would sink to that level in the first place.  It seems like it was just an awful atmosphere completely non-conducive to anything positive or constructive.  Obviously you’ve got to consider sources of this information when you read stories about this, but I guess now that we know the end story, we saw the signs all along.  That’s true of Theo’s departure as well.  At the time to us on the outside, all of the signs were too subtle for us to keep putting two and two and two and two together to come with what is clearly a very elaborate set of social circumstances that spiraled out of control and led to our painful and epic downfall.

Organization chemistry, both in the clubhouse and in the front office, is a very difficult thing to fix and cultivate.  It’s organically grown, and you either have it or you don’t.  You can’t force it.  Now Papi is claiming that he’s seriously considering free agency as a way to escape all the drama.  It’s all been meshing so well recently; how, in such a short time, could we become “that team” with all the drama? It’s like a soap opera.  Seriously.

John Henry even drove down to 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday completely on his own because he felt like he had some records to set straight.  He said that Crawford was not signed to boost NESN ratings, although he confirmed that he did oppose it but ultimately approved it because baseball operations were for Theo and Larry to govern.  Henry also implied a confirmation that Theo is going to Chicago while saying that he wishes that Theo would stay.  He said that, during the season, he let the brass know that he was all in favor of picking up Tito’s options and that the only time he thought that that maybe wasn’t such a good idea was when Tito told the brass that he didn’t want to come back.

Significant changes to the organization could potentially be afoot, and that’s either good or bad.  There’s no way to know who’s on the radar or what we should expect.  There’s nothing to do.  No amount of speculation would ever shed any light because this organization keeps everything under wraps, as is appropriate and right even if it is annoying for us fans hanging in the breeze.

The whole situation is crushing.  Make absolutely no mistake whatsoever about that.  It’s crushing.  It’s devastatingly epically crushing in every conceivable sense.  We’ll get through it because we’re Sox fans and we always do, but it’s just so remarkably and epically depressing and crushing.  I can’t even believe that this whole situation is happening.

Ultimately the big question is short and sweet and simple but revealing of the trepidation that’s currently racking all of us.

What’s next?

Also, Scott Williamson is auctioning off his 2004 World Series ring.  Why in the world would you ever do that? That’s completely sacrilegious.

In other news, the Pats summarily disposed of the Jets, 30-21.  Would I have preferred a blowout? Obviously.  But hey, that score is a lot better than the score we put up against them the last time we played them last season, so I’ll take it.  And the Bruins, since beginning their season on October 6, have beaten Philly, Colorado, and Chicago and have been beaten by Tampa Bay and Carolina.

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