Posts Tagged ‘Sean Casey’

Wake really needed this one.  He knew it, the team new it, we knew it.  But he ended up with a no-decision.  It was good and bad.  When he pitched well, he pitched really well.  The knuckleball was dancing and everything.  But when he pitched badly, he really pitched badly.  But that’s how it works.  Sometimes it moves, sometimes it doesn’t, and it fluctuates even within a game.  So you never know, really.  Compared to some of the outings he’s had in the past, this was excellent, but compared to the way he’s been pitching lately, you scratch your head and wonder where this came from.  He pitched eight innings but gave up five runs on ten hits.  He struck out three and didn’t walk anybody, but three of the runs he gave up were due entirely to the long ball.  So good and bad as always with Wake.

In theory, this complicates his All-Star fate.  If he won last night, it would’ve been a lock.  He would’ve already been packing his bags.  In practice, it might not be as bad.  For one thing, he didn’t actually lose.  We were tied, 5-5, through ten.  After Wakefield left, Delcarmen and Paps held the fort.  Then Ramon Ramirez allowed two runs in the top of the eleventh, and we only scored one in the bottom.  So the final was 7-6.  Ramirez took the loss, as he should.  And it’s not like the Mariners lit Wakefield up.  There was no slugfest, really.  So it wasn’t great but it could’ve been a whole lot worse.

And the rest of the team knew exactly how important this was and put up a fight until the bitter end.  Even if Felix Hernandez’s changeup alone is ninety miles per hour, which is just obscsene.  For some reason, it looked like every other ball was heading for the Fisk pole.  Drew went two for six with a solo homer in the seventh.  First pitch he saw in that at-bat and he went for it.  Boy, did he go for it.  A ninety-six mile-per-hour fastball and it ended up over center field.  Drew has made constructive contact on the first pitch twenty-seven times this year, and for those he’s batting .308 with three home runs.  Pedroia hit and scored.  Ortiz walked and scored.  Bay hit, walked, scored, and plated one for an RBI.  And he’s a United States citizen.  Congratulations! Great timing, too, with the Fourth of July.  Kotsay went two for five with a run, and he’s turning out to be quite the player.  The key is his versatility; he plays outfield, he plays first base, and he’s really maximizing his playing time and getting more hits.  He improves every time he’s out there.  Ellsbury hit and stole, as usual.  Green went two for two, plated two, and walked once.  And George Kottaras, who lately proves every time he plays that Theo Epstein was absolutely right to tap him for the job, went two for five.  He hit a solo home run in the eleventh inning.  He was responsible for that late-game run.  And you have to give him a lot of credit for that.

Sean Casey joined Don Orsillo in the booth today, which was great.  Casey has quite the personality.  Affable guy.  Talkative.  And then Lenny Clarke came and made it interesting, as always.  So it was very entertaining.  After having fluid removed and an injection put into his right hip, Mikey Lowell says he feels great.  And he’s got a sense of humor about it too, which is what you want to see from someone chomping at the bit to get back in the field:

I figure we took the junk out and put good stuff in so we had a good oil change.

Dice-K is headed to Florida on Monday to start a Spring Training-esque strengthening program, which pretty much officially affirms that it’s all the World Baseball Classic’s fault.  If he’d participated in Spring Training with everyone else, he wouldn’t be having these problems.  Looks like the construction on the Twins’ new home, Target Field, is coming along nicely.  It’s actually got natural grass.  And a draft of next year’s schedule sees the Red Sox playing the Twins in their home opener.  I’d hate to see them lose their first game at the new field, but hey, we can’t help being that good.

Happy Fourth of July! And to celebrate Independence Day, Brad Penny will take the mound against Garrett Olson.  Penny’s turned out to be one of the most consistent pitchers on our staff.  With consistently short outings.  Which is another reason to appreciate Wakefield’s eight innings of work last night, even if we did end up going into extras, which was also a good thing because it showed we weren’t ready to lose.  Anyway, because Penny’s outings are short, he needs all the run support he can get, and Olson will probably help us out with that.  Should be a good game.

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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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Wow. Dustin Pedroia is on an absolute roll. He is clearly the best second baseman in the league. Clearly. And if he doesn’t get MVP I’d say there’s something seriously wrong with this picture. We’re talking CC-over-Beckett-for-Cy-Young wrong. Pedroia the Destroyah’s latest honor is his first career Silver Slugger award. He’s the fourth player in Red Sox history to win a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in the same season; Dwight Evans, Ellis Burks, and Tek were the first three. We’ve had a player on the Silver Slugger team in each of the past eight seasons. Unfortunately, Aubrey Huff of the Orioles snapped Ortiz’s four-season Silver Slugger streak. Understandable, though, considering his injury-ridden season this year. Anyway, the MVPs are announced on Tuesday, and I fully expect Dustin to win it.

Jon Lester won the Hutch Award for courage from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and Jacoby Ellsbury won the James Bell Legacy Award for steals. He led the American League and broke the rookie record with fifty. Dice-K placed fourth in the Cy Young voting. True, his outings this year were on the short side, but I thought he would’ve done a lot better. The winner was obviously Cliff Lee, followed by Roy Halladay and Francisco Rodriguez. Dice-K’s 18-3 record was good for fourth in the American League in wins, his 2.90 ERA was good for third, and his .211 opponent’s average was good for first. He truly perfected his Houdini strategy; opponents finished the season 0 for 14 with the bases loaded. The only drawback? His 94 walks led the American League. That and his short outings did him in.

Baseball Insider of USA Today evaluated all thirty Major League Baseball teams in nine categories over the past five years and ranked us number one overall. I have to say I’m not surprised. I mean look at what we’ve done over the past five years: four postseason appearances and two World Series titles. Not to mention our successes in the regular season, in the offseason, in the front office, and in the farms. So it’s true. It is absolutely true. We are the team to beat, and we are in the process of becoming the team of the decade.

The two-week exclusive negotiation period between Tek and the Sox is over. Theo had some discussions with Scott Boras, but obviously as I said the length of the deal is likely proving to be an issue. Big Papi has stated that he wants another slugger on the team; in my opinion, that would be Teixeira. I would say that Matt Holliday could be an option, but he’s already been traded to the A’s. Of all the teams, it had to be the A’s. Every team has a few teams that, for whatever reason, they just can’t handle. For us, it’s the Jays in September, lately the Rays, and the A’s. The A’s sweep us at least once a season. So of all the teams to which he could’ve been traded, it had to be Oakland. That’s great. That’s just great. As far as the rest of the free agent market is concerned, we’re also probably looking into Ben Sheets, AJ Burnett, Derek Lowe, Sean Casey, and Alex Cora. Rumor has it that we might even be interested in Rocco Baldelli.

In other news, the New York Jets defeated the Pats on Thursday to secure first place. They won it by a score of 34-31 with a field goal in overtime. But I think the Boston sports highlight of the week had to be Thursday’s game between the Bruins and the Habs. We completely crushed them, literally and physically. Our 6-1 rout ended our twelve-game losing streak against the Canadiens. And the fight between Milan Lucic and Mike Komisarek was absolutely epic. I mean that was a great hockey fight. Complete and total domination. Lucic clearly won that one. We did lose to the Rangers in overtime last night, but on the upside we’ve won eight of our last ten, and our 24 points is good for first place.

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In response to yesterday’s post, Saul commented:

The thing about Teixeira, though, is that he’s not a great fielder, which is why he’s been stuck at first. He’s by no means bad, but he doesn’t have the range you need for a third baseman. I think your best bet, if you sign him, is to keep Youk at third while Lowell works his way back – although that doesn’t make sense for one reason: to do either what you suggest or what I suggest, you’re going to have bench either Youk or Teixeira with some regularity, unless you make Youk a shortstop or something, which i don’t see. And you can’t sit either of those guys, not even for Lowell’s D. So if you sign Tex, as I see it, you basically tell Lowell that you’re done with him, because he just doesn’t fit on a roster with Youk and Tex in front of him.

He’s right, and it presents an interesting dilemma.  I think it’s safe to say that Theo will be looking into the possibility of landing Teixeira.  Who wouldn’t? In 2008, he batted .308 with 33 home runs, 121 RBIs, a .410 OBP, and a .552 slugging percentage.  And as a first baseman, he’s a great fielder, posting a .997 fielding percentage for this past season.  Now, this is where we run into trouble.  Teixeira’s only Major League experience at third base was fifteen games in 2003, and for those fifteen games he posted a fielding percentage of .811.  Granted, that’s only fifteen games, and perhaps if he’d played more that statistic would’ve been able to rise, but you also have to consider that maybe there was a reason why he didn’t play more.  When Saul says that you need range to cover third base, he’s absolutely correct.  It’s a very demanding position, and it’s one that requires a lot of dexterity.  Which is what led me in the first place to thinking about what would happen if we signed Teixeira.  Mikey Lowell’s injury turned out to be more serious than anyone thought.  It was so serious that he was taken off the ALCS roster so that he could have surgery.  That’s all well and good until you consider that he’s 34 years old, so even after the surgery there’s no guarantee he’ll be comparable to what he was in 2007.  And if we intend to keep Varitek, we’ll need all the offense we can get.

So we’re going to need someone who can be counted on to start regularly at third and who has quality offense and defense.  For most of this past season that was Youk with Casey and then Kotsay at first.  So, if we consider Saul’s suggestion of signing Teixeira and putting him at first, we commit to putting Youk at third permanently.  But where does that leave Lowell? Contractually, we have him through 2010, but if we’re successful in signing Teixeira what will that mean for Lowell? It’s a question with no easy answer.  But here’s what I’m thinking.

We’re not the Yankees.  We don’t kick one of our own to the curb on a whim, we don’t consider players to be interchangeable, we don’t staff our team with new superstars every season, and we don’t do anything unless it’s for the long-term good of the club as a whole.  Lowell has already done more than he was ever expected to do; after all, the only reason why he ended up with us was Josh Beckett.  The Marlins refused to trade us Josh Beckett unless they could use that deal to unload Lowell.  Turns out they had no idea who they were parting with; Lowell, of course, turned out to be the 2007 World Series MVP.  But here’s the thing.  He’s aging, he’s injured, and he only has two years left in his contract.  It’s unlikely that we’ll re-sign him after those two years are up, but by that time Teixeira will already be in the middle of another contract.  However, if we sign Teixeira now, he can find a place for himself on the team, the new clubhouse chemistry will have a chance to form, and he’d be able to stay with us for many season to come.

Mikey Lowell is one of my favorite players on the team, no question.  His attitude is great, on and off the field.  He’s one hundred percent Boston dirt dog.  His offense is great, and his defense is outstanding.  But if I had to put myself in Theo’s shoes, if the opportunity to sign Teixeira arose I’d take it, and as difficult as it would be (and it would be extraordinarily difficult), I think ultimately I’d have to let Lowell find a home on a team where he’d be able to share playing time with an up-and-coming third baseman.  That would give him the extra rest he’d need while letting him remain in that primary starter role.

In other news, Sean Casey, Alex Cora, Bartolo Colon, and David Ross have filed.  Of those four, Sean Casey and Alex Cora are obviously the top priorities, and I’d say re-signing them would be a good idea.  The Pats couldn’t hold up against the Colts and lost last night, 18-15.  Adam Vinatieri kicked the winning field goal; oh, the irony.  On Saturday, the Bruins blew the Dallas Stars out of the water with a final score of 5-1.  They’ll play again at home against the Leafs on Thursday.

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Sadly, for us, baseball season has come to a close a little too early, and usually when we’re in this situation it’s because something’s not right and we need to fix it.  We ask ourselves what we should do now.  But this year it’s a little different.  The Rays barely hung onto the division and barely made it to the World Series.  We don’t have debilitating flaws.  It makes you wonder how unstoppable we’d be if we hadn’t had to battle injuries and late major trades.

And that’s just it.  We don’t have that many offseason decisions to make because, for all intents and purposes, we’re already golden for next year.  Just like in 2006 and 2007, the injuries piled themselves on this year but next year it’ll be smooth sailing in the health department.  The new guys have gotten used to the city, and now that they’ve tasted October baseball they’ll want more.

But there are still some issues that need to be addressed.  Issue number one: Jason Varitek.  We love the man.  He’s our captain for a reason.  He’s a mentor to the younger players, he handles the pitchers very well, he’s caught a record four no-hitters, he’s a leader on and off the field, and he still has his moments.  Those moments, unfortunately, are becoming more and more sporadic though, and it’s not clear that the offense can afford to simply consider him an “easy out” with the assumption that he won’t hit anything and then be pleasantly surprised when he does.  It’s true that the position of catcher isn’t known for its offensive production, but it’s also true that catchers who can hit do exist.  I see three solutions here.  One is to give Tek something like a three-year deal and also take on a young catcher, and have Tek and the new catcher split playing time, such that the new guy learns from Tek and Tek becomes his mentor and teaches him everything he knows.  That way, when Tek reaches the end of his deal, we’ll have a Tek, Jr. to take the reigns.  A second solution would just be to have Kevin Cash fill the role of Tek, Jr.  He’s got a great arm and his offense has potential.  The third option I’m seeing is to keep Tek, not as a player, but as a kind of coach for the pitchers.  Sort of an assistant to John Farrell.  That way the pitchers as well as the rest of the clubhouse can benefit from his presence and leadership without having to feel pressure to compensate for his lack of offensive production.

Another concern will obviously be Mikey Lowell.  He’s set to have surgery on his right hip soon.  He’s getting old.  He spent most of the second half on the DL, and when he did play this season, he didn’t show signs of being as dominant as he was last season.  I’m not saying his outstanding 2007 was a fluke.  I’m just saying that it’s going to be more and more unlikely that his numbers will be comparable in the future.  We might want to consider taking on another starting third baseman, just in case.  This will allow Mark Kotsay to go back to being a spare outfielder, which is something else we need, and it’ll allow Youk to go back to first and get himself another Gold Glove.

I’d like to strongly suggest that we make Jed Lowrie our starting shortstop permanently.  Since Nomar we haven’t had stability or reliable offensive production from the shortstop position, and signing Julio Lugo to a five-year contract was supposed to take care of that.  We all know how that turned out.  Ironically, he came over from Tampa Bay, and little did we know that it would be a complete disaster.  The differences between the defensive and offensive abilities of Jed Lowrie and Julio Lugo are absolutely staggering, and after spending so much time watching such talent and potential between second and third base I don’t think I can go back to watching error after error and out after out.  I’d also like to strongly suggest that we keep Alex Cora and Sean Casey on board for 2009.  Alex Cora is a great utility guy, and Sean Casey hits line drives like nobody’s business.

In terms of pitching, it’s difficult to say.  Theo Epstein isn’t worried about Beckett, and after his most recent postseason start I think that’s justified.  Next year we’re in line to have three aces on our staff: Beckett, Dice-K, and Lester.  We’ll have Wake, too, and the good news is that as a knuckleballer the quality of his pitching won’t decline.  (The quality of his pitching at present is a completely different story.) But we’re going to need a reliable fifth starter.  I’d like to see Justin Masterson fill that spot.  He made a handful of starts this year and rocked in all of them.  As for the bullpen, let me state first that Mike Timlin should retire immediately.  I don’t even want to count how many games he lost for us this year, and don’t even get me started on Game 2 of the ALCS.  Even if he doesn’t retire, we’ll need at least one more reliever, two if Masterson does go back to being a starter.  The more airtight our relief is, the more invincible we’ll be.  Think about it.  A pitching staff that includes Dice-K, Beckett, Lester, Papelbon, Okajima, and Delcarmen is pretty formidable already.  Some additions and improvements could make us lights-out for the full nine innings.

In other news, Big Papi’s wrist is fine and he won’t need surgery in the offseason.  Tito, however, is scheduled to have surgery on his back.  I give him a lot of credit.  Boston is a tough place to manage, and he makes it look easy.  He is officially one of the greatest managers in the game.  The Patriots completely decimated the Broncos and won on Monday night by a score of 41-7.  And after six games, the Bruins are third in their division with a record of 2-1-3 for a total of seven points in the standings.  Manny Fernandez and Patrice Bergeron are back in action this season, and Bergeron, PJ Axelsson, and Andrew Ference are this year’s assistant captains with Zdeno Chara wearing the C.  Chuck Kobasew is on the injured reserve.  The Red Sox and Patriots have been doing some serious winning lately, and it’s becoming painfully obvious that the Bruins need a Stanley Cup.

I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I congratulate the 2008 Boston Red Sox, the American League Division champions! True, our October didn’t end like it could have or should have, but remember, there’s always next year.  And there’s always last year.

Comcast SportsNet: The Hub

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That’s all, folks.  The regular season is over for the Boston Red Sox.  After all the injuries and trades and predictions and speculations, the second season is finally here.  And we’re in.  Granted, we’re not as solidly in as we’d like to be.  We had to get in with the Wild Card and the Yankees just took two of three from us, but nonetheless we’re in.  And we’re playing the Angels in the ALDS, something we’re very comfortable with.  So I say bring it on.  I want to see us turn it up and show the league what we’ve got.

We lost the first game of the double-header.  It was probably the only time this season that Dice-K’s Houdini routine backfired.  As usual he walked more than his fair share of batters but for some reason the Yankees finally figured out how to act with runners in scoring position.  But that was the least of our problems.  Jonathan Papelbon gave up three runs on four hits in the top of the ninth.  This is now how the best closer in the league should act.  And certainly not right before the playoffs.  That’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen.  We’re going to need him in top form in October, and make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, that what we saw yesterday afternoon was not by any means his top form.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens, I guess.  Anyway, the rest is history.  The final score was 6-2.

The nightcap was much more interesting.  Wakefield pitched five two-hit shutout innings, walked none, and struck out three.  Not a long outing, but definitely one of his more solid outings.  The problem lay in the relief.  Masterson came in and allowed a run on three hits.  Timlin actually pitched a perfect inning for once.  Aardsma came in and allowed two runs on three hits, strengthening the argument that he should be considered a last resort.  A glorified Craig Hansen, if you will.  And Hansack redeemed himself from his last outing with a perfect tenth inning.

RBIs for Carter and Van Every.  Two for Casey.  The only member of the lineup who had a multi-hit night was Alex Cora, who went two for four.  It was a real nailbiter.  It was tied at one until Sean Casey hit a single with the bases loaded in the eighth to score two runs.  Then the Yanks tied it back up in the top of the ninth, but we all know how it turned out.  The final score was 4-3, and it ended with a run in our half of the tenth inning.

I have to hand it to the Fenway Park grounds grew.  They worked really hard this weekend to keep everything in order and make sure the field is dry, so they definitely deserve a hearty “Thank you” for all of their good work.  Keep it up!

In other news, Mikey Lowell might not be playing in Game 1 of the ALDS, an oblique strain has moved Josh Beckett’s start to Game 3 in favor of Lester for Game 1, and JD Drew will be appearing in the postseason.  Dustin Pedroia will finish the season with a .326 bagging average, good for second in the American League.  But MVP is based on more than just stats, and he’s definitely the MVP in my book.  Johnny Pesky’s number was retired, making him the sixth Red Sox player to receive that honor.  His No. 6 now sits between Joe Cronin’s No. 2 and Yaz’s No. 8.  Congratulations to Mr. Red Sox!

Let’s face it: we’re always different in October.  In October, we get a second wind, and it’s all we need.  It’s almost like there’s some kind of reserve that we tap into in the postseason that makes our team have All-Star quality.  Even if we had a horrible season and only managed to snag the Wild Card by the skin of our teeth, we’d still be a formidable opponent because in October something just clicks.  That’s why it’s called Soxtober.  We own it.

The party starts on Wednesday at 10:00PM when Jon Lester takes on John Lackey on the West Coast.  Let’s go Red Sox!

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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!

AP Photo

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