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Posts Tagged ‘TBS’

Entering this week, I seriously felt like I was watching the Sox in the middle of the season.  You know, that time when all the aches and pains start to set in.  And it’s not exactly the world’s most comforting feeling to see a team affected like they’ve played eighty-plus games when they’ve only played eleven.

Beckett got sick.  And it showed on Friday, when the Pirates had their way with him while he coughed up a lung between pitches.  Although he’ll probably get the nod to start Opening Day.  Also during Friday’s game, John Farrell got to watch his son get a hit.  I’m not happy that the Pirates made contact off of one of our pitchers, but I have to admit that that must have been pretty awesome for Farrell.

Dice-K strained his neck.  But progress is promising: he threw forty batting-practice pitches on Wednesday, and another ten to a still batter.  The best part is that all of them were strikes.  He’s scheduled to start a minor league game today, so I’m hopeful.  Also, congratulations to him and his family on the birth of his third child and second daughter.

Jed Lowrie contracted mono.  What is this, the All-Star break? It’s only Spring Training, and the team already looked like it was feeling it.  That’s not good news.

And that’s not even mentioning Ryan Westmoreland’s surgery on Wednesday to remove a cavernous malformation in his brain.  (Basically, that’s a mass of tangled blood cells in his brain stem.) He’s only nineteen years old and was in the process of living the dream: being one of his favorite team’s top prospects.  Thankfully, the surgery went well, and he has started his recovery.  But the recovery won’t be easy.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say he’s in our thoughts, and we hope he’ll be better soon.

On Wednesday, Beltre showed us what he’s working with.  He made a play that was basically the exact reason why we signed him.  Cora hit a ball that nailed Lackey in the bottom of his shoe.  It rolled away from him, so Beltre barehanded it while in the air to first, and the throw was a lot more powerful than it normally would have been given the circumstances.  It was one of those critics-silencing, leather-flashing, worth-proving plays you see in Spring Training that finally convinces you that, as usual, Theo Epstein knew exactly what he was doing.  Lackey was fantastic for four (it’s a joy to watch him, partly because works really quickly) but Ramon Ramirez squandered it.  I don’t care if it’s only Spring Training and the results technically don’t count: you never want to hear that your bullpen squandered it.  Ever.  Thankfully, the squandering did not involve Paps.  On the bright side, Big Papi has a hitting streak going, which included a homer on Monday.  I’m telling you, I think he’s going to come back.

Thursday was big.  The Major League squad got the day off, so Buchholz went down the street to pitch in a minor league contest.  He did so to keep on a five-day schedule, to see if he could handle joining the rotation.  Trust me, he handled it.  Forty-five pitches over four innings of one-hit ball with four K’s and no walks.  What this means is that we currently have six options for a five-man rotation.  Folks, this is about to get really interesting, really quickly.

No, seriously.  You might be thinking the decision will be easy because Wake is running out of steam, especially after he got lit up on Monday, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  He threw five shutout innings yesterday and threw another simulated two in the bullpen afterwards.  He is really on pace to put up a fight for that fifth starting spot.  (Delcarmen threw shutout frame.  What a relief, no pun intended.) Having too many starters is a very good problem to have, and this year it looks like that’s more concrete than last year.  Our abundance of starters at the beginning of ’09 didn’t exactly pan out like we thought it would, but this year all six are proven, solid, and capable, and that translates to options come playoff time.  Also, Youk and Scutaro both homered in the contest, which we won, not surprisingly.

John Smoltz has been hired by TBS and MLB Network as an analyst even though he claims that he’s not ready to retire yet.  Yeah, right.  We’ve seen this a million times, and I bet he’ll announce his retirement pretty soon anyway.  We welcome back Alan Embree, who recorded the final out in Game Seven of the 2004 ALCS, with a minor league contract and Major League invite.  Ah, memories.  He had a tough season last year: a line drive broke his leg and that was the end of it.  But if he can bounce back and maybe pitch effectively a bit in Fenway, that’s something I’d like to see during a slugfest or something.  Just for old times’ sake.

So the week did end up improving, with plenty of flashes of brilliance to go around.  And the best part? Opening Day is only two weeks away! And with the weather warming up like it has been recently and the first day of spring yesterday, baseball is definitely in the air.  It’s only a matter of time before we’re tuning in for that first pitch.  (Which will be thrown in the dark.  Thank you once again, ESPN.  And like I said, if I sound bitter, it’s because I am.  It’s Opening Day, not Opening Night, but apparently somebody missed that memo.) And from what I’ve seen in Spring Training so far, I really like our chances this year.  So bring it.

The Bruins lost two and won one this week.  Savard is on the injured reserve.  Thomas has no idea what’s going on.  Meanwhile, we’re four points below the Habs and one point above the Thrashers barely clinging to the last seed in the conference.  Something must be done.

Kelly O’Connor
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That went horribly.  That went horribly, and October is not the time for “horribly.” Lester took the loss.  He gave up three runs on four hits in six innings with four runs and five strikeouts.  I should mention that those three runs scored courtesy of a Torii Hunter home run.  By the way, Lester threw one hundred pitches.  In only six innings.  In October, one hundred pitches should be getting you through the seventh inning.

But wait, it gets worse.  Ramon Ramirez, Mr. Struggle-in-September, came to the mound and proceeded to pitch to three batters and allow two more runs without recording an out.  Saito and Bard were both solid.  Make no mistake: our bullpen is a huge advantage over any opponent we face.

The lineup did nothing.  We got four hits all night, none of which were for extra bases.  The final score was 5-0.  We need Ellsbury to give us something.

We made three errors.  Gonzalez, Bay, and Lowell, all throwing.  It reminds me of that game in October 2004 when we made more errors than we could count.  (On the bright side, October 2004 was, to make the understatement of the century, a really good October.)

And now let’s talk about the umpire, shall we? Let’s start with first-base umpire CB Bucknor.  As the similarity between his last name and a certain someone else’s during the 1986 World Series doesn’t make me uneasy enough.  Both of these calls involved Howie Kendrick at first.  And you can watch replays of both and see that Howie Kendrick was about as out as you can possibly be.  Question mark number one: with two out in the fourth, Kendrick hit a grounder up the middle, which Gonzalez fielded very schnazzily (it was a sliding catch; very nicely done) and fired to Youk at first.  But the throw was wide, so it pulled Youk off the bag.  So Youk applied the tag, but Bucknor called Kendrick safe.  Question mark number two: in the sixth, Kendrick grounded to Lowell, who fired high to first.  Youk jumped up to catch it but came back down on the bag about four feet before Kendrick got there.  And yet somehow Kendrick was safe? Tito had some words for Bucknor, and rightfully so.  Fortunately, neither of those plays cost us runs, the first one because Lester struck out Jeff Mathis to end the inning and the second because Jacoby Ellsbury made an absolutely spectacular diving catch of Chone Figgins’ fly to end the inning.  But that’s not the point.  I don’t want any more of this going forward.

Speaking of defense, it was awesome.  Everyone was spot-on, which was a sight for sore eyes, given all of our recent health concerns.  JD Drew got in on the action and gunned down Kendry Morales at the plate in the seventh.

Byrd is on the roster, and Delcarmen is off because of, you guessed it, the car accident.  Baldelli is also off, replaced by Brian Anderson and Joey Gathright.  The Billy Wagner trade is finally complete; the Mets picked up Chris Carter and first base prospect Eddie Lora.  Don Orsillo did a fantastic job, as always.

Believe it or not, there are some silver linings to last night’s horror show.  First of all, we shouldn’t worry about Lester.  It’s the first game of the playoffs, we were away, he’s got some nerves.  Secondly, the outcome of last night might play directly into our hands.  To borrow some logic from hockey, Andy Brickley said yesterday on NESN that the Bruins’ bad loss to Washington was a necessity for us to remember who we are and how we play, and it facilitated our running wild all over the Hurricanes.  (Brickley said that before we lost to Anaheim, 6-1, which is eerily similar to our good score against Carolina and last night’s outcome against the Angels, but again, that’s not the point.) So last night, in many important ways, was a wake-up call.  It reminded us that October is not all fun and games.  You can’t just waltz into the playoffs and expect the series win to be handed to you on a silver platter.  You have to earn it the hard way, and sometimes, that means you won’t sweep.  So, okay.  The first game is over, the jitters are gone, we’re comfortable in the Angels’ park now.  The Angels is throwing Jered Weaver tonight, but forget that.  Tonight, Josh Beckett makes his first postseason start of 2009.  He threw a bit the other day and says he feels great.  This is what I was talking about when I said I liked the Thursday schedule.  We lost yesterday, but we’ve got another chance right away to remember who we are.  And there’s no pitcher out there who can make you remember faster in the postseason than Josh Beckett.

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Well, that’s a wrap.  That’s the end of the road for 2009.  The regular season is over.  Done.  Finished.  And we made it! Bumps, bruises, trades, designations for assignment; you name it, we did it, and we made it through it.  We made it to the second season and beyond.  The way in which we got in was a little strange, but I’ll take it.  It doesn’t matter what your record was in the regular season, or how you played against a particular team, or who was injured in Spring Training.  Once you get to October, you start with a clean slate.  And if you’re right, you’re right, and you go all the way.  And we, ladies and gentlemen, are right.

Yesterday’s game was good and bad.  The bad was Buchholz.  He gave up six runs on five hits in three innings with two walks and six strikeouts.  And when I say six runs in three innings, I mean one in the first and the rest in the third.  This was his second bad start in a row, and I don’t like where this is going.  The regular season ended just in time; he’ll get some extra rest before his next start.

The good was pretty much everything else.  Ramirez, Bard, Cabrera, and Paps didn’t allow any runs.  Bowden allowed a run but got the win.

The final score was 12-7, so very similar to Saturday, and in more ways than one.  Pedroia hit a two-run shot in the fifth.  Kottaras, who played third base, went two for two.  V-Mart, Varitek, and Dusty Brown each walked.  Ortiz batted in two.  Drew went two for three; two solo shots, one in the fourth and one in the sixth.  Drew is a pretty quiet guy, so it’s been hard for some fans to relate to him.  But one thing everyone can relate to in Boston is a dirt dog, and that’s exactly what Drew is.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, but make no mistake about it.  “Dirt dog” is the only way to describe someone who was out of the lineup due to a shoulder issue and who comes roaring back, with exactly the same swing (and I mean exactly the same), and uses it to belt two out of the park.  Speaking of coming back from injuries, Gonzalez hit a home run in the second, so we know everything’s good there.

And last but not least, we had another grand slam yesterday! Jed Lowrie in the sixth inning.  He only finished the night one for three but when you plate four runs with one swing of the bat that’s okay.  The ball ended up in our bullpen, keeping his batting average with the bases loaded decently above .300, which is uncanny, especially for a young guy.  But speaking of injuries, he did grimace when he hit that ball, something not uncommon for him when batting from the left side of the plate.  So unfortunately, he’s not completely out of the woods health-wise, but you couldn’t help but cheer for him personally when he hit that slam.  It was a much-needed epic ending to a disappointing season.  That’s what I call going out with a bang.  By the way, before V-Mart’s slam on Saturday, our last grand slam was hit on April 25 against the Yankees by who but Jason Varitek.  Just sayin’.

In the fifth inning, Ellsbury reached base on a wild pitch even though he went around.  That puts his seventieth steal in context.  Jacoby Ellsbury is the fastest man in Major League Baseball.  No, really, he’s the leader in steals for 2009.  Carl Crawford didn’t even come close.  And he’s tied for fifth in triples.  (Stephen Drew, JD’s brother, is second.) Pedroia finishes the season second in the Majors in runs and tied for third in doubles.  Bay is tenth in walks, fifth in RBIs, and tied for ninth in home runs.  Youk is sixth in on-base percentage and OPS.  Drew is ninth in walks and tenth in both on-base percentage and OPS in the American League.

So those are our league leaders.  We have a pretty good amount of guys in the top ten of the Majors.  I think we’ll be in good shape against the Angels.  Regarding the schedule, there are two: start on Wednesday and get Thursday off or start on Thursday.  The Yankees have scheduling preference, and they technically don’t have to pick a schedule until after today’s playoff between the Twins and Tigers.  But they’d be crazy not to start on Wednesday since they’d be facing an opponent who had to play full-force the day before.

The playoff is in Minnesota.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say we won’t be too sorry to see the Metrodome go, but apparently they want to keep playing baseball in it.  As of this season, home field advantage is given to the winner of the season series.  The change was made because, last year, the Twins lost a playoff to the White Sox in Chicago, 1-0, as a result of a coin toss.  That was a ridiculous rule.  So now the Twins can exact revenge.  We obviously have a substantial interest in this game, and nobody will be rooting for the Twins more than me.  I hate to say it, but the Twins are the hottest team in the AL right now, and if anyone is in a good position to steamroll over New York, it’s Minnesota.  And I’d be perfectly happy with the Thursday start.  I don’t think I’d want a day off in there.  Think about it.  If we win the  first game, we have momentum we want to sustain.  If we lose, we have a bad taste in our mouths we’d like to get rid of quickly.  So it works out.

But either way, October is here at last, and Lester has officially gotten the nod to start Game 1.  And Don Orsillo is calling the series on TBS.  Get psyched!

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I had to laugh at that headline.  Can you really say a pitcher gave a vintage performance if that pitcher’s only twenty-five years old? Apparently.  Jon Lester’s first two starts were nothing like his third.  If it’s possible to describe a young pitcher’s performance as vintage, now would certainly be the time and yesterday would certainly be the performance.  In his first two starts, Lester had a total of five strikeouts.  Yesterday, he had nine, one shy of his career high.  The cut fastball was on.  Seven innings, two walks, no runs.  He gave up two hits to Robert Andino and two to Ty Wigginton, and that was it.  He continues to be undefeated against Baltimore.  And he even showed off his pickoff move, catching Wigginton at first in the third inning for his third of the year.

I have to say George Kottaras did a great job yesterday.  He started to give Tek the day off, one of quite a few this year as Tito’s strategy will be to rest the captain a little more often.  Kottaras caught Lester once before in Spring Training, which isn’t much preparation, so hats off to the new guy.

Heading into yesterday’s contest, our bullpen gave up only one earned run in nineteen and two-thirds innings and posted an ERA of 0.46 in its last three games.  And the corps did not disappoint.  Ramon Ramirez was spot-on as usual in the eighth.  Needless to say, I’m enjoying the benefits of that trade, and I think Coco Crisp is too, because he’s a starter by trade and starters need to play regularly.  True, Jacoby’s in the middle of a slump right now, but he’s already started to come around, and he’s certainly having no trouble at all in the field.  No errors in 149 games; can we say Gold Glove? Takashi Saito, on the other hand, gave up a run in the ninth, so while Ramirez is still maintaining his 0.00 ERA, Saito’s pushing 6.23.  Paps worked the previous two games, and pitching him three days in a row is pretty much out of the question, so Saito, having been a closer, was the logical choice.  In his career he’s converted 82 of 92 save opportunities, so we know he has it in him somewhere.  I just hope he gets the kinks out so I don’t have to hold my breath every time he steps out there.

The offense was quiet but got the job done anyway.  One RBI for Mikey Lowell and one for Pedroia for a final score of 2-1.  Ellsbury went two for four, the only multi-hit performance, so slowly but steadily he’s getting there.  Drew went hitless, ending his hitting streak at six games.  Papi went hitless, which unfortunately is something we’re coming to expect.  He’s only had one extra-base hit all year.  We know he’ll snap out of it, but when? I think before the series with New York would be as good a time as any.

Beckett’s suspension was reduced from six to five games, so with some creative finagling he won’t have to miss a start.  Honestly, he shouldn’t even have been suspended at all.  Just sayin’.  Brad Wilkerson has decided to retire after an eight-year Major League career.  And David Wells will be getting in the booth for TBS in the next few weeks.  Wells broadcasting baseball? This should be interesting.  I think it’s safe to say Bud Selig will be listening.

So we’re officially on a winning streak! Four games! And we’re tied with Baltimore for third, only three games out of first.  Toronto’s still up there with New York in second and Tampa Bay in last.  It’s only a matter of time before the AL East and the universe at large are made right again with Boston on top.  Today it’s morning ball; the Patriots Day game will start at 11:00AM.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a morning game.  Anyway, Masterson will be starting in lieu of Dice-K, and if we win today we sweep all four against the Orioles.  Nice.

Game 3 of Bruins-Habs tonight in Montreal.  We’ll get it done.  Even if Milan Lucic was suspended for tonight because it wasn’t clear whether it was his stick or his glove that hit Maxim Lapierre’s helmet.  I personally thought I saw his glove.  But the point is we’re good enough to weather it for a game and come out on top.  And there’s nothing quite like showing your arch-rivals who’s boss in their house.

Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis

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Jon Lester pitched his heart out last night.  A seven-inning gem.  He gave up three runs on six hits, walked none, and struck out eight.  He was the only pitcher this series who managed to retire the first five Rays.  But he also picked up the loss.  It’s the first time in his career that he’s lost two consecutive starts.  You know what they say; there’s a first time for everything.  Unfortunately, the Rays also figured that out.  Okajima pitched a perfect eighth, and he, Masterson, and Pap have been golden this October.

The offense was only allowed three hits, and those belonged to Bay; Crisp, who’s been this October’s Jacoby Ellsbury; and Pedroia, who hit a monstrous solo shot in the first inning.  Pedroia also stole and was caught.  We made no errors.

In other news, TBS did not do a good job last night.  At the start of the game, there were a few momentary blackouts followed by the blatantly erroneous comment that Lester has experience with pitching Game 7s because he’d pitched Game 7 against the Colorado Rockies last year.  If I weren’t so depressed and disappointed I’d be laughing out loud.

To be perfectly honest I thought we had it.  I thought we had it in the bag.  We came back from a seven-run deficit; coming back from a two-run deficit should’ve been a cakewalk.  This is October.  We own it.  But apparently this year we’re renting it out.

It’s been one interesting season.  The injuries, the trades, the brawls, the close calls, the would’ves, should’ves, and could’ves.  It was a great ride that stopped short at the end.  What else can I say? I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we’re exhausted.  The Kings of Comeback just got out-comebacked.  But no one can say we didn’t put up a fight.  We put up a huge fight.  This entire season was an uphill battle.  The regular season was a challenge, and in the long run we managed to make it.  The postseason also was a challenge, and in the long run we managed to get ourselves out.  But no one can say we didn’t go out with a bang.

Frank Galasso

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Well, this is a familiar predicament in which we find ourselves, isn’t it? Let’s hope it ends the way it’s been known to end in the recent past.  One more game.  Just one more game.  Lester at Garza.  This, without a doubt, is the most important game of the season.

Josh Beckett redeemed himself as best he could last night.  By traditional Beckett standards, his shift was shabby at best, but after seeing him at his worst we’ll take what we can get.  He pitched five innings, allowed four hits and two runs, walked one, and fanned three.  The two runs were solo homers, and that was it for the Rays’ offense.  Okajima pitched two perfect innings, and he’s been golden this October.  Masterson held the fort in the eighth, and Papelbon did his thing in the ninth.  Lights out, as usual.

As for the offense, it was just like old times.  Two RBIs for Youkilis, who hit a home run in the second to tie it; one for Ortiz, who finished the night two for four with a walk; and one for none other than el capitan, Jason Varitek, who hit a solo shot to put us ahead in the sixth.  I couldn’t believe it.  Deep down, he man’s still got it.  And even before that, in the fifth inning, he caught a Ray stealing second right before Bartlett hit it out of the park.  Tek, who doesn’t through as well as he used to at all, saved us a run.  I couldn’t believe it.  Coco Crisp had a monster night and was perfect at the plate from the leadoff spot, even if he was picked off at first.  And JD Drew went two for four with a walk.  He’s absolutely on fire.  He’s on another level in October.  It’s fantastic.  Forget about the fact that he had a good year this year.  Forget about the fact that he was as good as any elite slugger in the league in June.  Forget about the fact that he just keeps getting better.  The quality of his play in October alone makes him worth every penny of his five-year deal.

In other news, the broadcast of the game last night was delayed by a substantial block of time.  I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that that never would’ve happened if Fox were broadcasting the ALCS.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we are not amused.  Add this to the list of reasons why I’m not a fan of fall ball on TBS.

So, like I said, it’s Lester at Garza.  What more can I say? Let’s get ‘er done and rock it out!

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Once the rain delay was over, it was a great game.  And let’s give a round of applause to the grounds crew, who worked so hard and so well last night.  We weren’t even supposed to start the game last night.  Games were getting rained out left and right across the eastern seaboard, but because of the double-header today we had nowhere to put it.  And it was clearly an affirmation of our status as the best fans in the world.  Nobody left.  It was coming down like nobody’s business and nobody left the ballpark.  There was even a fan wrapped in what looked like toilet paper to keep dry.

As it turns out, this game was just what we needed.  Exactly what we needed.  We’ve got a tough day ahead today, and yesterday gives us momentum and a fully rested bullpen.  It’s funny; when you have a good season somehow these things just work out.  The baseball gods give you a chance to jump out ahead.  Of course taking advantage of that is another story, but we’ve been doing that lately.  We’re chipping away at Tampa Bay’s lead.  The division is by no means locked up.

Toronto came into last night’s game first in the league in ERA.  Against Toronto this season, we were 4-7 with a .217 average.  We came into last night’s game first in the Major Leagues in batting average at .283.  We won, 7-0.  We out-hit them, 8-3.  And we made no errors, as opposed to their two.

Tim Wakefield was one of the stars of the show.  He pitched eight (count ’em: eight) shutout innings and held the Blue Jays to just three hits.  He walked none and struck out four.  And for once he received good run support.  He improves to 9-10 with a 3.92 ERA.  I think it’s safe to say that this was one of his best starts all season.  And this came after that disaster of an outing in Texas, his shortest since the ’90s.  And that was just sad, because it was his 500th start, but it certainly wasn’t something he’ll want to remember.  It’s just good to see him bounce back so quickly and effectively.  And it really gave the bullpen an extra day of rest, which is a godsend considering we’ve got two games today.  So for all of these reasons, Wake will be pitching for us for a long, long time.  And that’s definitely a good thing.  He’s also a really nice guy.  Vernon Wells, who doesn’t have a home run against Wake, said something funny to him and Wake thanked him and smiled.  That’s pretty unusual for an opposing player.

Manny Delcarmen pitched the ninth and allowed nothing, lowering his ERA to 3.59.  He’s allowed only four hits in his last fifteen innings, or twelve games.  How about that? Whatever he did to adjust himself from his earlier inconsistency has worked like a charm.

Two RBIs for Lowrie, two for Ortiz, and three for Cash.  Lowrie went two for two with a walk, scored twice, and continues to be an RBI machine.  His swing, from both sides of the plate, is just very conducive to getting that runner home.  He’s now six for his last seven, and how about that lengthy at-bat in the eighth? That’s what we need to do, and that’s what we’re good at: being patient at the plate and exhausting the opposing staff.  Ortiz came through with a clutch double.  And as for Cash, he came into last night’s game without an RBI in his last eighteen games.  In the eighth inning he hit a monstrous three-run home run, his fourteenth of the season.  Bay was held hitless but scored the game’s first two runs, and he made a stellar leaping catch on the warning track in the third inning, right in front of the Tampa Bay-New York entry in the scoreboard.  And Coco extended his hitting streak to twelve games.

In other news, Sean Casey is getting close to returning, but Drew could take a little longer.  After his back acted up again, he received another injection, so he’ll need a little more time.  But he’s anxious to get back out there and says he hasn’t thought for a second that he’d shut it down for the season.  I think it’s safe to say his days of long stints on the DL are over.  And it’s good he wants to get back in there, because this time last year his production was off the charts: .393 with fifteen doubles, four home runs, and fifteen RBIs in the last eighteen games of the season.  But sadly that’s not the only thing keeping him away from right field.  He learned yesterday that unfortunately his grandmother passed away.  So I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I offer condolences to the Drew family.  He’ll rejoin the team in Tampa Bay.

Yesterday’s contest was Don Orsillo’s 1000th game.  There was a cake and everything, and Meryl Masterson, Justin Masterson’s wife, even baked him cookies.  Last October, he worked the Rockies-Phillies NLDS, and this year he’ll be working the ALCS.  He’s also signed a new contract with NESN that has him broadcasting the Sox through 2012.  So congratulations, Don! Here’s to 1000 more.

Speaking of this year’s postseason, TBS has the rights to the four ALDS series and the ALCS.  Personally I don’t think that’s so great.  I mean I thought the commentary was a little lacking.  When you’re talking about the ALDS, it’s the first round so it’s not so bad.  But I’d much prefer watching the ALCS on Fox.  TBS wanted to bring in Curt Schilling for one of the ALDS series that didn’t involve us, but the authorities vetoed that, and besides Schilling said he wasn’t interested.

So here’s where we stand.  We’re two games behind the Rays and six games ahead of the Twins for the Wild Card.  We’ve been doing well with good pitching; Toronto and Tampa Bay have lately been No. 1 and 2 in the league in pitching.  And we’re pitching well ourselves.  We’ve got everything going in our direction, so this stretch should be fun.

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