Don’t mess with the Splendid Splinter

I came across an amusing tale that would be pretty cool if true concerning what an umpire is reported to have said to a young pitcher.  Bear in mind that Ted Williams was the greatest player in Red Sox history, probably the greatest hitter of all time, the only hitter in the history of the baseball to bat .400 over an entire season and the owner of an on-base percentage record (.551) that stood for 61 years.  The story goes that a young pitcher was complaining about a pitch to Williams that the umpire called a ball. The umpire allegedly says, “Son, when the pitch is a strike, Mr. Williams will let you know.”

On a more irksome note, after an excellent win on Friday in Yankee Stadium on the back of another very solid performance from Clay Buchholz, Saturday’s and yesterday’s results were frustrating, to put it mildly.  On Saturday John Lackey once again demonstrated his inability to beat teams in the AL East or pitch well in the afternoon, not to mention his inability to admit that he didn’t pitch very well. He coughed up five earned runs in six innings and squandered an early 2-0 lead, resulting in a 5-2 win for the MFY.  Yesterday Josh Beckett struggled similarly and the Sox ended up losing 7-2.  With a bit of luck Jon Lester can improve on his recent struggles – he’s lost four in a row – when he starts tonight.

After tonight’s game it’s on to Toronto for a three-game series where the Blue Jays did the Sox a big and unanticipated favour by sweeping the Rays over the weekend and then on to Texas for three very tough games given how well the Rangers are playing at present.  By that point, however, the Sox should have both Ellsbury and Pedroia back.


Beautiful! My favourite player comes in and tattoos a two-homer over the Green Monster on the first pitch of his first at-bat for a lot of weeks. 2007 World Series MVP and don’t you forget it, Bub.

Additionally we get eight innings from Beckett and a bench-clearing piece of revenge-seeking from a Cleveland reliever resulting in three ejections.  Jennifer definitely didn’t see a dull game.

And, unlike Sunday, Papelbon gets the job done and closes out the win in an economical 12 pitches. Much better.

Another day, another Red Sox injury

I do not FUCKING believe this. Now Youkilis is on the 15 day DL with a torn muscle in his thumb. The run of injuries the Red Sox have endured this year in farcical: four starting pitchers (three together at one point), both catchers, Gold Glove winning All Star second and third basemen (concurrently), starting left, right and center fielders, not to mention the closer on the bereavement list for several days.

I’d estimate the absence of these players has cost the Sox something in the order of five to ten games, enough to place them in a three-way tie with the Yankees and Rays atop the AL East. It’s extremely frustrating, to put it extremely mildly.

In other news my friend Jennifer, a die-hard Mets fan from Long Island is currently on vacation in Boston and is in Fenway Park at this very moment, watching the Sox take on (and beat, I hope!) the Indians. Obviously, this makes me insanely jealous.

Detroit 3, Boston 4

I am certainly not going to knock any Red Sox win, but really, it’s hard to see how Jonathan Papelbon could possibly have deserved to pick up win #3 less. Clay Buchholz pitched superbly and was on a shutout for 8+ innings, but gave up up a hit due to an unlucky bounce and a then a walk before leaving the game. Papelbon came in and immediately gave up a 2 run double to Miguel Cabrera that was 18 inches from a 3 run homer and then an RBI double to blow the save. And yet the winning run gets him the W. Ridiculous. Buchholz must be livid.

Red Sox win for a change

So, the Red Sox beat Texas 7-6 last night.  I didn’t have time to stay up and watch, but it doesn’t look like they exactly covered themselves in glory. However, they got the job done. None of the starting rotation has been pitching well so far this year except for Josh Beckett and this was true again last night. Tim Wakefield gave up six runs in the first five innings and left the game after six innings on the hook for a 6-2 loss.

Darnell McDonald was called up from the minors earlier in the day to make his debut, pinch hit in the bottom of the 8th and promptly put a 2 run homer into the Monster seats to tie the game then hit a bases-loaded 2-out walkoff single in the 9th.  Check out the story here, it’s one of those great tales baseball reguarly throws up.

The other notable news was that Terry Francona sat David Ortiz down during the game when he was 0 for 3 and had Mike Lowell pinch hit, which is a good sign that he’s now prepared to do whatever is necessary when the game is on the line.  The Large Father didn’t exactly look happy. Whatever. It’s a team game and a win is a win.  And the Sox really needed to win after losing five straight including a four-game home sweep by Tampa Bay.

The Giants, A’s and Marlins all lost; Giants 1-0 at San Diego, A’s 7-3 at home to the MFY and the Marlins 5-4 at Houston whom I would expect them to beat considering how weak the Astros looked when opening the season getting swept at home by San Francisco.