Thursday, July 29, 2010

Armageddon Interrupted

With Red Sox fans on the verge of a mental collapse and airwave pundits declaring the season all but over, Boston reminded everyone why they cannot be counted out of the post-season race. At least, not yet.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Disappointing Ending Shouldn't Create Blind Panic

After a promising start in Seattle, the Sox saw the final two games slip away to leave them with a split. They stand at 3-4 on this road trip and are now eight games back of the Yankees in the AL East race, five behind the Rays for the wild card.

The Sox are in a bit of a bind now. Their latest glaring weakness - relief pitching - was exploited for all to see. Delcarmen and Okajima were horrendous. And now serious choices have to be made. Rob Bradford from WEEI.com has a great piece on their problem. Put simply, they either have to overpay for a reliever or they hope someone from the minors can get the job done.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Take The Win

That was the ugliest win I have ever seen for Boston. Lackey comes within breathing distance of a no-hitter before Delcarmen and Papelbon combine to blow the win in the ninth (with a nice assist from a Bill Hall throwing error). And then it takes until the 13th inning for the Sox to finally win. But right now, for the Sox, you take any win you can get.

Monday, July 19, 2010

600 And Counting

Yes, the numbers can be misleading. But for the 600th straight home game, the Sox had a sellout.

The streak began on May 15, 2003, and has since surpassed the previous MLB record of 455, set by the Indians between 1995-2001.

...

The longest recorded regular-season sellout streak in American professional sports is owned by the Portland Trail Blazers, who had 744 consecutive sellouts from 1977-95.


Of course, this is partially the product of having fewer than 40,000 seats in a baseball-mad region. Still, better this than the sight of a place like Tampa. How fans can barely half-fill the stadium for a competitive team like that...they should be embarrassed. Or the Rays should be moved to a city that would actually appreciate them.

Limitations

I think we saw this weekend Boston's big challenge right now: generating runs. Against the Rangers the Sox never scored more than four runs in one game. The last time they scored more than four runs was in a 9-5 loss to the Jays on July 10.

And while Boston still needs pitching help in the form of Buchholz and Beckett coming back, it is in the bats where Boston is hurting the most. Expecting guys like McDonald and Hall to play every day and produce every day is simply asking too much of them. Of course the Boston brass knows this, but they simply don't have a choice. Boston basically has to fight for a .500 stretch right now and pray that the Yankees and Rays don't go on a tear. It's that simple and that dangerous. But there really isn't anything Boston can do right now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Remembering The Boss

Aviv may be on here later with a more in-depth memorial for George Steinbrenner. But I wanted to just add my two cents in now on his death this morning.

George Steinbrenner was, to a Boston fan, our worst nightmare. He was the embodiment of our most bitter rival. Worst of all was that, until recently, we could never beat his Yankees when it mattered most. We cursed his name, his team, his lineage.

But the truth is that we were also a bit jealous. Jealous because for the longest time we never had an owner that loved his team the way George loved his Yankees. We never had an owner who invested in his team the way George invested in his Yankees. And that didn't change until John Henry bought the team. Perhaps it is no small coincidence that he once owned a small piece of the Yankees back in the early 1990s.

And there is another truth; Steinbrenner's relationship with Boston, and ours with him, was more tangled than perhaps both cared to admit. Steinbrenner graduated from Williams College. And every year he donated a substantial amount to The Jimmy Fund, the children's cancer-fighting charity that is as much a part of the Red Sox as Fenway Park. That is just a sliver of the overwhelming generosity Steinbrenner had towards the less-fortunate in our society, and one I wish that had been more public. As with most things, the reality of George Steinbrenner was much more nuanced that the image we liked to hold in our minds.

It has been said that a man (or in this case, a franchise or fanbase) can be judged by the quality of their enemies. And while "enemy" is too strong a word here, our judgment has been favorable. Because in George Steinbrenner, we had a rival whose passion, dedication and generosity went unmatched.

God rest, Mr. Steinbrenner. And go easy on the Big Man upstairs. I think he'd like to keep the beard.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Halfway

With Boston's 3-2 win over the Jays on Sunday, the Sox reached the halfway point of the 2010 season. Last year, the Sox were in first with a 54-34 record. This year, they are five back of the Yankees with a 51-37 record. So despite all the injuries and the massive slumps, Boston is just three games off last year's pace. The larger problem is that the Yankees are playing better. And let's all thank the man above that Texas swooped in for Lee at the last second.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Walking Wounded

When Kevin Youkilis went down yesterday with an ankle injury, one that seems to be blessedly minor, were any of you really surprised? This kind of random injury is almost common-place these days.  2010 has been the Year of the Crutch in Boston.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Six Sox Make The Grade

Well, we now have the rosters choices for the All-Star Game. And while no Sox made the starting nine for the AL, six players were named to the reserves. Buchholz, Lester, Beltre, Martinez, Ortiz and Pedroia all made the grade, and all six deserve to be on the team.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Really? Really??

Did the Red Sox collectively kill St. Augustine's cat in a previous life? How else can you explain the latest bad luck to come out of Fenway?

BOSTON -- Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who was supposed to assume everyday catching duties with Victor Martinez on the disabled list with a fractured left thumb, instead is joining Martinez on the disabled list with a fractured foot, a major league source confirmed Thursday night.

WBZ-Channel 4 in Boston was the first to report that Varitek sustained a leg injury and showed footage of Varitek's charity miniature golf event Thursday night, in which the Sox captain could clearly be seen limping.

At this point the Sox will be lucky to field nine guys at one time in the field.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tough Month Ahead

If there is a one-month stretch that will determine the fate of the Boston Red Sox in 2010, it is the month of July. By the time we hit the dog-days of August, we will have a good idea of where this team is going.