Champions on Display MLB

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Damon's Fee-Fees Too Hurt To Return

Apparently Johnny Damon is more concerned with competing for a losing team than getting into a playoff race. Damon rejected a return to Boston based on Detroit manager Jim Leyland telling him that he would keep playing. At least that is what he says. But I think, and a lot of people think, Damon turned the move down because of the greeting he got at Fenway when he returned in a Yankee uniform.

If you remember, after Damon said he'd never play for the Yankees and he wasn't in it for the money...he went to the Yankees for the money. Even that fat bastard Clemens had the decency to go to Toronto first. And Boggs leaving for the Yankees was kind of a mutual agreement. Yeah, we hated seeing him ride that damn horse in Yankee Stadium, but Boston fans weren't gnashing their teeth when he left. And if I remember correctly, he didn't get a bad response upon his return the next year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Another Win And Hanging In

As the Sox slowly try to field the lineup they envisioned all year long (dealt another blow by Ellsbury's glass-like ribs), they have fought to keep up with the Yanks and Rays in the AL East. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games, including last night's 7-5 win over the Angels. But Boston still finds themselves 5.5 games back of both New York and Tampa.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Creeping Into Range

With the wheels continuing to fall off the Tampa bandwagon (2-6 in their last eight games), Boston has slowly, steadily, come up right behind them. With Boston's convincing 10-1 win in Toronto last night the Sox are just 3.5 games behind the Rays for the AL wild card spot. And just five back of the Yankees for the AL East lead.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy With A Split

Anyone who is complaining about Boston's split in New York needs to have their head examined. And yes, I have heard a couple of complaints. Here's how I see it; if you are missing your two best position players and your bullpen is in shambles, and you go into the Bronx and take two from the Yankees, the fans should be pretty damned pleased.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good And Bad

Last night was a microcosm of Boston's season. The Sox won a thrilling 3-1 game over the Indians, gained a game on the Yankees, got a stellar performance from Beckett and a great reappearance from Lowell...but lose Youkilis to a freak thumb injury. An injury that could possibly result in a season-ending surgery. The Lord giveth...

Monday, August 2, 2010

On The Upswing?

After surviving what could have been a season-killing 10 game swing out west, the Sox came home to take two of three from the Tigers. Not that they made it easy; both wins came in the bottom of the ninth. But a win is a win is a win, and now the Sox sit just 6.5 back of the Yankees and 5.5 back of the Rays.

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 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.


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


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.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Walking Wounded

So just how many Boston starters can get injured on one road trip? It's great that Lester manhandled the Giants yesterday, outdueling Tim Lincecum with a brilliant complete game win. Lester allowed just one run on five hits to propel Boston to a 5-1 win, giving Boston three wins in their last four games and a .500 record on this road trip.

But the injury bug is getting a little ridiculous here. First Pedroia, then Buchholz and now Victor Martinez. V-Mart fractured his thumb on Sunday, making San Francisco the most dangerous place in the world for a Red Sox player this side of Afghanistan. And while Buchholz may miss just one start, Pedroia and Martinez could be out for an extended period of time. Those are two critical positions where Boston doesn't have a lot of depth. Playing Bill Hall and Tek every day is a very short-term answer. Very short term.

But the Sox get a day off before they return to Boston. I would guess they'll use it to decide what they need to do to cover these positions. We would have seen Dusty Brown or Mark Wagner come up as backup for Tek...but they're on the DL as well. So who knows who the Sox will bring up. I guess we could see Tug Hulett come up from the Bucket to help out at second unless the brass thinks Angel Sanchez can handle it. But are any of these legitimate options if Pedey or V-Mart are out for weeks? Or does Boston have to start looking at trade scenarios so they don't lose the ground they just made up in the AL East?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Clay Hits 10

I'll be honest; I had serious doubts Clay Buchholz would ever tap into his obvious wellspring of pitching talent. I had no problems entertaining ideas about him on the trading block. He looked like the proverbial player who just never quite plays up to his ability.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Knocking On The Door

Does anyone else remember the blind panic back in April? The absolute fear that the Red Sox were done? Finished? Doomed to finish fourth in the AL East? Well, I think we can say that, for now, those fears have been proven hollow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tough Win Is Still A Win

No, Clay Buchholz did not have his best stuff last night, scoreline and K/BB ratio to the contrary. But he did what he needed to do, the batters did what they needed to do and the result was a 6-3 win for the Sox over Arizona.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sox Surging At Half-Power

What has been most remarkable about Boston's recent run of play is that they've been doing it while carrying a lot of injured players. How well would they be playing with a full roster?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Well Lookie Here...

I'm almost asking myself why I am writing this. During my hiatus, the Red Sox basically turned the dial up to 11 and stomped their way up AL East ladder. Now they sit just four games out of first and just two games behind the Yankees for what would currently be the wild-card slot in the post-season. Quite a far cry from the end of April when a bunch of pink hats and airwave bloviators were ready to blow this team up.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Did Ya Miss Us?

You'll have to forgive our long absence. We've been doing a lot of life- and work-related things that have taken us away from SvS these past few weeks.

But that is winding up now and soon we'll be back to talking about the Sox and Yanks. And why the Sox are better than the Yankees.

- Dave

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Catching Some Rays

Where are the doomsayers? Where are the complaining and prostate pink hats? Where are all the voices that were telling us that Boston's season was over before we even had a chance to grill some burgers on Memorial Day?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rolling Through Philly

After Boston's 11-9 loss to New York, people were writing off the Sox. All the pink-hats were bailing, trying to sell off their tickets because Boston has the audacity to not be in first place. Sports pundits were talking about who the Sox should trade for prospects. All before two months of the season were finished.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ace High

Jon Lester showed yesterday that he is the best pitcher right now on Boston's staff and might be the best left-handed starter in the majors. His complete-game, 6-2 win over the Twins was a dominant performance. A performance that reflects the fact that, with 101 starts, Lester has a better win percentage (.719) that any pitcher ever with 100 or more starts. And he's only 26 years old.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Clay Brings It

I thought that last night's pitching matchup was a good one for the Sox. I figured that even if Clay Buchholz got tagged for four or five runs, the Sox could get that off of Minnesota's Scott Baker. What I didn't expect was for Clay Buchholz to pitch brilliantly in a 3-2 Boston win. Over eight innings, Clay made a convincing argument that he is the second-best pitcher on this squad right now, trailing only Jon Lester.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gutsy Win

For the second night in a row, the Sox found themselves in a 5-0 hole against the Yankees. For the second night in a row, the Sox came back to take a two-run lead into the ninth. But unlike Tuesday night, Jonathan Papelbon did just enough to get the save and snag a crucial 7-6 win for the Sox.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Here Comes The Crazy

Get ready for it, Boston fans. After last night's down/up/down tilt with the Yankees that ended with Boston losing 11-9 on two two-run blasts in the bottom of the ninth, all hell should be breaking loose on the Intertubes today. And most of it will focus on Jonathan Papelbon and Theo Epstein.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Motor City Breakdown

I wish I could do a proper post but work has been (and continues to be) hellacious. Suffice it to say, a promising start went south in a hurry.

The bullpen imploded on Saturday (although Papelbon was stellar). But Sunday was worse, with the Sox stranding 10 runners in scoring position against Galarraga and Company while Lackey allowed five runs. And just like that the Sox are stumbling into the Bronx for two games. And God only knows what will happen tonight. It goes without saying that Daisuke has to replicate that great outing against the Blue Jays if the Sox are to stand a chance tonight against Phil Hughes. Who, I will admit, looks pretty damn good and should be the front-runner for AL starter in the All-Star game. A starting pitcher with a .92 WHIP? That's just mean.

One good piece of news? Looks like Ortiz may have rediscovered his swing. Boston will need it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Look At The Youngsters

With the Sox having the day off, I thought it might be nice to see how some of the big names in the system are doing so far. These are guys whom you may have heard mentioned in trade rumors, talked about as future stars and the like.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sox Come Up Short

I don't like it when people complain about an umpire's strike zone as if it cost their team the game. There are always other, larger factors involved. But I think it is fair to say that in Boston's 3-2 loss to Toronto yesterday afternoon, Dale Scott sure didn't do Boston any favors late in the game.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blown Away By Daisuke

Ummm...where has this Daisuke been hiding for the past 1+ years? I like this model; he pounds the strike zone and goes after hitters. He doesn't walk batters. And he makes it very, very easy for the Red Sox to blow past the Blue Jays 6-1 and go two games over .500 for the first time this season.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Walking To A Win

Well, last night's game did nothing to argue against the reputation Al East games have for being long. The first two innings in Boston's 7-6 win over Toronto took over an hour and twenty minutes thanks to control problems from both starting pitchers. But at the end of the day, Boston's pitching was better by just enough to grab the "W".

Monday, May 10, 2010

Patience...Or Panic?

I am utterly grateful to Jon Lester for a couple of reasons. First, he dominated the Yankees and led the Sox to a 9-3 win that they desperately needed. Second, in winning that game and avoiding the sweep, Lester spared me and millions of others a week of "OHMYGODTHESKYISFALLINGFIRETITOANDTHEOWHYDIDNTWESIGNTEIXEIRA!!!!!!" crap on sports radio. I was really in no mood for that.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bigger Than A Win

In a few months, and we hope a few years, when the details of Friday's 10-3 New York Yankees' victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway back fades into the recesses of our memories, it will be remembered vividly by one special kid.

Earlier in the day Nick Swisher visiting the Boston Children's Hospital -- a place that can be described only as special, as Dave can attest to. Swisher told YES' Kim Jones on the postgame show that he was there to brighten the day of a young fan.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Swept Away

It didn't look good at the beginning of yesterday's 11-6 win over the Angels. Daisuke had gotten the pattern exactly backwards, having his worst inning right off the bat. Putting the Sox in 4-0 hole to start the game...I thought he was done. But then, somehow, the old Daisuke reasserted itself and that led to Boston improbably sweeping the Angels in a four-game set and laying the stage for a huge weekend series with the Yankees.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gaining Steam

The Red Sox have now taken three straight from the Angels, including last night's 3-1 victory. In the process, Boston's starters have allowed just six runs in those three games. They've nailed the Angels on two of three steal attempts. The law firm of Delcarmen, Bard and Papelbon have allowed zero runs. And Boston has outhit Anaheim in all three games. They aren't out of the woods yet, but Boston may have finally found the trail.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Case You Missed It ...

We made our Internet radio debut last night on This Call To The Bullpen hosted by Steve Keane of the Ed Kranepool Society blog.

You can hear the interview in its entirety here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Book Review: Red Sox by The Numbers

Red Sox by The Numbers is, as the cover says, "A Complete Team History of the Boston Red Sox by Uniform Number." Written by Bill Nowlin and Matthew Silverman, it takes what could be a very dry topic and turns it into an enjoyable read through Boston's past and present.

A Good Start

Well, you can't complain about too much for one game when your team posts 17 runs. Even if they did get sloppy in the ninth. But compared to the last series, it was a joy to watch the Sox beat up on the Angels 17-8 and begin this critical homestand with a resounding win. Whatever was said in that pre-game meeting was epic.

Radio Nowhere

Video may have killed the radio star, but talk radio is alive and well, especially on the Internet.

Tonight, we will be making our radio debut at 10 p.m. when we join The Ed Kranepool Society's Steve Keane on his Blog Talk Radio show "This Call To The Bullpen."

We will be discussing the Yankees, Red Sox, their upcoming series this weekend and the AL East race.

Be sure to check it out.

A Winn-Winn

Brian Cashman brought in Randy Winn to be the Yankees' 25th man -- a guy who might play a couple of times a week, pinch run, serve as defensive replacement, maybe get 250 at-bats for the season.

The thing is, on a good team, the 25th man is actually important.Winning teams get contributions from everyone on the roster.

Monday, Winn made his contribution.

Monday, May 3, 2010


When your back is against the wall, you either toughen up and get going or you fall down. The Sox haven't fallen down yet. But they are on their knees and with a seven-game stretch against the Angels and Yanks, they have to find a way to get going.

Phil Hughes Growing Up

Phil Hughes entered the season as the Yankees' No. 5 starter.

He's pitched like anything but.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


We've all been there. Things are going along just fine and then -- WHAM! -- something catches us completely unawares and floors us.

Well, that's what happened to Daisuke Matsuzaka yesterday in Boston's 12-9 loss at Baltimore. For four innings, Daisuke looked like the 2008 model that went 18-3 and was a Cy Young finalist. Then the fifth inning showed up and -- WHAM! -- 2009 Dasiuke showed up and cracked him with a 2x4.

Reassessing Priorities

From time to time, life has a way of reminding us what's important.

Sports are not life and death, no matter how devoted we are to our teams. They are a diversion.One that can lift us up and even help us heal. Something that provides us some fun. But nothing more.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Only Second?

Interesting story in the Wall Street Journal the other day about how the Boston Red Sox are the second-most hated team in baseball.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Clay Comes Up Big

Every pitcher has a team he loves to see. Roger Clemens enjoyed destroying the Royals (25-7 lifetime). Pedro salivated whenever he pitched against Seattle (13-1, 1.57 ERA, 0.854 WHIP). El Tiante? A perfect 9-0 lifetime against the Blue Jays.

Which fittingly leads us to Clay Buchholz. In his short career, Clay seems to enjoy pitching against Toronto more than any other team. He made that clear once again last night by leading the Sox to a 2-1 win over the Jays. The win pushed the Sox past Toronto into third place even though they are both at 10-11 (thanks, alphabetical order!) and they are three back of the Yankees for second place. Baby steps...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Slugging For Cover

The most important thing about yesterday's 13-12 win by the Patriots Red Sox over the Argonauts Blue Jays is that they did, in fact, win. They are now 9-11 on the season and sport a winning record on the road (4-3). They are a game back of the Jays for third and 5.5 back of the Rays.

Another good thing is that the Sox finally outhit their opponents for the first time in five games. And wonder of wonders, there were no errors committed in the field. But no one should look at this win and think that everything is better in Boston.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Tale Of Two Games

Two games. Identical 7-6 scores. Boston was outhit by Baltimore in both games. Boston had an error in both games.

Boston won the game on Saturday. Boston lost the game on Sunday. But there was very little difference between the two.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Turning A Corner?

Granted, Boston's three wins in their last four games have been against Texas and Baltimore. And two of them were of the "come-from-behind" variety. But beating Texas or Baltimore is the same as beating Minnesota or New York when it comes to wins and losses.

So last night's 4-3 win over the Orioles wasn't the prettiest game played in Fenway, or the easiest. But it was a win. And that is something that had been in short supply for the Sox at home for most of the early 2010 season.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Who Are You, Dallas Braden?

Yes, I'm paraphrasing Pedro Martinez's infamous rant about Karim Garcia from the 2003 ALCS.

Who exactly are you, Dallas Braden, to be yelling and screaming at Alex Rodriguez about a dubious at-best infraction of baseball's unwritten rules during the Yankees' 4-2 loss to the A's Thursday in Oakland, Calif.?