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Friday, June 29, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Here are this week's tweets of the week, including players' reactions to the Youkilis trade.

Youkils Tweets:


Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Youk saluted the crowd, blew a kiss, hugged everybody. If he’s not traded now it’ll sure be strange.

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Goodbye to one of my good teammate and friend K. Youk it was a honor being your teammate bro….. Good luck….34

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
It was truly an honor playing with and learning from Youk… He’s the definition of a professional. Played the game right. #RedSoxNation

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54

Brent Lillibridge @BSLillibridge
Truly blessed be apart of the @whitesox and will always love Chicago. So excited for my family’s new chapter in Boston as an @redsox


Lil Wayne Weezy F @LLilTunechi
Hurts to see Youk lave Boston & the White Sox are getting one hell of a player. Red Sox Nation! (Retweeted by Darnell McDonald)

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Just wanted to say Youk was the ultimate professional, teammate and friend anyone could ask for… thanks for being you are!!! #yooooouuuk

Jon Lester @JLester31
Going to miss #Youk, awesome teammate, great guy, and phenomenal player. Perfect send off by the Fenway Faithful. #Gamer #ClassAct

Jerry Remy (RemDawg) @Jerry_Remy
Appears from all accounts it was good for both sides for Youk and #RedSox to part- your guess as good as mine if we play tonight- Jerry

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Jarrod Saltalamacchia was asked last night how young players like Daniel Nava have helped the #RedSox. Salty is 27 and Nava is 29

Nick Cafardo @nickcafardo
Bobby V had a chat with Youkilis that he’ll be sitting for a while and Middlebrooks will play.

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
@RWesty25 you my friend are the epitome of inspiration!!!

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Brody went to get ‘Bucks this morning and rocked out to The Cranberies ‘Zombie’ on @Radio929 FM WBOS (Brody is his dog)

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Great series win! Now enjoying family day.


Lindsay Clubine @LindsayClubine
Thank you for all the prayers! Clay is feeling much better and hopefully will be going home soon! Xoxo (retweeted by Jon Lester. Linsday Clubine is Clay Buchholz’s wife)

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Emails on Friday: “They gotta trade Youk now!” Emailso n Monday: “They didn’t get enough for Youk!” #RedSox

Boston Red Sox @RedSox
Will @middlebrooks named #AL Player of the Week after hitting .625 (10/16) w/ 3 2B, 3 HR & 10 RBI in 6 games #RedSox

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Thanks for all the support #RedSoxNation !!!

ESPNBoston @ESPNBoston
Red Sox blog: Ellsbury to begin rehab Friday

Josh Reddick @joshreddick15
Remember back in the day when a no hitter was being thrown and nobody talked about it? Can’t do that thaws days. @MLBNetwork (talking about Bronson Arroyo’s no-hit bid going into the 7th inning)

Josh Reddick @joshreddick15
That’s why you don’t talk about it (Arroyo lost his no-hit bid in the 8th inning)

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Made my flight @ChrisRose sleep well as u pull the blankets over ur yoga shoulders #studio42 here we come

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Whatta home stand!!! 7-2 gotta love it!!! Off to the west coast. To keep it rolling.

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Sick homestand boys!!! Let’s take this act on the road!! @davidortiz stay fair!!!

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Just landed in the Fort. Looking forward to getting my rehab games started.

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Where is your hair? @FranconaESPN

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Just a look at some of the mountains from the plane, sorry I don’t know which ones!!!

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Flew into Seattle this afternoon. Here’s the mountain we avoided. Good job by the pilot.

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
Hello Seattle …. Hello sushi

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
This sushi doesn’t stand a chance!!!

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
I know this is not breaking news…. I really like coffee. @Starbucks in the hotel lobby. Yea for me!

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
There is nothing like looking at the horizon and seeing mountains to make u feel alive inside.

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Thxs for the messages. Punto said I looked like Mary Lou Retton sticking the landing! Lmao! #catch

And here are my favorite tweets of the week:


Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Attention angry mob: your services will not be required at Fenway Park today. Will Middlebrooks is starting. Please disperse.


Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
@ShopHouse10 really who sleeps like this on a plane?? Sleeping like a kid in a car seat!! Hahaha lmao

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Had to play a whole game #exhausted “@Themikeaviles: really who sleeps like this on a plane? Like a kid in a car seat!”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Let's See How Far We've Come

The Red Sox are currently tied with the Rays for third place in the AL East with a 40-35 record. They are 1.5 games back from the Orioles, 6.5 games back from the division leading Yankees, and 2 games out of the wild card. In the last 10 games, they are 8-2 and seem to be playing their best baseball of the season.

Much like last year, the Sox are really starting to heat up as the temperature rises. The Yankees lost arguably their two best pitchers (Sabathia and Pettitte) to the disabled list. The Orioles are 4-6 in the past 10 games, as are the Rays. With players like Ellsbury, Crawford, and Bailey making progress to get back to game action, it’s hard not to be a little optimistic.

So, before I go and start predicting what’s going to happen for the rest of the season, I thought I would show you where the Red Sox started and where they are now. On Opening Day, the roster consisted of the following:

Pitchers (13)
Rotation: Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard
Relievers: Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Michael Bowden, Mark Melancon, Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla, Justin Thomas

Catchers (2): Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach

Infielders (5): Mike Aviles, Adrian Gonzelz, Dustin Pedroia, Nick Punto, Kevin Youkilis

Outfielders (4): Jacoby Ellsbury, Darnell McDonald, Cody Ross, Ryan Sweeney

Designated Hitter (1): David Ortiz

Obviously, there have been a few changes. The current Red Sox roster is the following:

Pitchers (12)
Rotation: Jon Lester, Felix Doubront, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Franklin Morales, Aaron Cook
Relievers: Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Mark Melancon, Andrew Miller, Clayton Mortenson, Vicente Padilla

Catchers (2): Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach

Infielders (6): Mike Aviles, Adrian Gonzales, Brent Lillibridge, Will Middlebrooks, Dustin Pedroia, Nick Punto

Outfielders (4): Ryan Kalish, Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava, Cody Ross

Designated Hitter (1): David Ortiz

The Rotatation and Outfielders have seen the most change over the course of the season, and it will continue to be that way. Josh Beckett is supposed to come of the disabled list for Saturday’s start against the Mariners, and it’s anyone’s guess when Buchholz comes back. Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford should be back with the team around the end of the July. Obviously, there will be roster moves, trades, and releases taking place in July. It’s incredible that the Sox have a 40-35 record, and it’ll be interesting to see who is on the roster come August 1st.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Random Thoughts

I haven’t done a “random thoughts” post in some time, so I thought I would let you know some thoughts I had on the Red Sox at this point in the season.

* When I came into work on Monday, one of my co-workers asked me if anyone was “sacred” on the Red Sox anymore, meaning Youkilis. As much as I enjoyed Youkilis and was a fan of him, sometimes players need to be moved (Remember Nomar?). I also told him that with the way the Sox are playing lately, Youkilis won’t be the end of the trades for the Sox.

* Ben Cherington has said that starting pitching remains a priority for the Red Sox as the trade deadline approaches. Matt Garza’s name has been floating around for weeks, almost months, now. Do the Red Sox overpay for Garza (since it’ll look really bad on Hoyer and Epstein’s part if they only get one or two prospects in return)? Greinke might be available, but could he survive in the AL East? I, for one, would love to get back Masterson, but the Indians are in the AL Central race at the moment. With Sabathia and Pettitte both going on the DL for the Yankees today, you know the Sox will be competing with the Yanks for pitching.  Should be interesting.

* I had a post awhile ago about something being wrong with Clay Buchholz. Not that his condition went that far back, but something WAS seriously wrong with Buchholz. He spent five days in the hospital, two days in ICU, with esophagitis, which lead to corrosion of the esophagus and an associated bleed (gastrointestinal, by reports). In Buchholz’s word that appeared in The Boston Globe:

It was real scary I never really felt the urge to pass out every time I stood up and I didn't know what was going on. Whenever you got doctors telling you, 'Alright, come on over to my office and we'll check you out,' and you're like, 'I can't get there, I can't walk,' it was pretty scary for about three days.

They were trying to downplay it, but when you're laying in an ICU [intensive care unit], where I'm from it usually means that stuff's not going really well. Once I got out of there, the doctors were pretty upfront about it, saying it wasn't really life-threatening at this point. They just had me in [the ICU] to make sure that I wasn't really losing any more blood.

They were basically giving me medicine to coat my stomach and put it wherever the bleeding was coming from to stop the bleeding. That's when they started doing the tests. I really never cared to know what was going on, I just wanted to get out of there and that's where I'm at now.

I'm sure I'm going to have to go in and do some more tests when the guys go on the road. We might know a little bit more from that. But they still really hadn't put a finger on what happened or what caused it and why it stopped bleeding or when it started, so, yeah, it would be news to me, too.

Buchholz was in the clubhouse before today’s game, but who knows when he’ll return to the mound.

* Josh Beckett is reportedly going to be returning from the disabled list and pitching on Saturday versus the Mariners.

* I saw two videos provided by MLB this week that I am really enjoying. The first is Omar Vizquel’s dancing in the dugout during the rain delay on Monday night to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem.” Here’s the link:

The second is Aroldis Chapman’s somersaults after his save last night. I know there’s been some outrage about it; but really, who does a somersault? Here’s the link:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My All-Star Team Voting Card

I caved and voted for the All-Star Game, despite my feelings about letting the fans vote. I only voted for one reason too, and his name is Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Among qualifying American League catchers, Salty ranks 1st in Home Runs (13), is tied for 3rd in RBIs (34), 4th with Batting Average (.254), is tied for 5th in Runs (29). He has been a clutch performer for the Red Sox, even hitting his first, pinch-hit, walk-off home run against the Rays in May. He’s proven himself an All-Star, and it’s a shame that people are not recognizing this.

Saltalamacchia has a lot to overcome if he’s to be voted in by the fans. Mike Napoli of the Rangers leads with 2,239,047 votes, followed by Joe Mauer (Twins), Matt Wieters (Orioles), A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox), and Russell Martin (Yankees).

Let’s compare the stats of these six catchers:

Saltalamacchia:  .254 BA, 29 Runs, 13 HRs, 34 RBIs, 0 SB
Napoli:                .245 BA, 34 Runs, 12 HRs, 30 RBIs, 0 SB
Mauer:                .323 BA, 34 Runs, 3 HRs, 34 RBIs, 3 SB
Wieters:              .254 BA, 31 Runs, 10 HRs, 34 RBIs, 0 SB
Pierzynski:         .284 BA, 33 Runs, 12 HRs, 41 RBIs, 0 SB
Martin:               .197 BA, 21 Runs, 8 HRs, 21 RBIs, 1 SB

Obviously, Napoli’s votes are coming a lot from popularity votes; he’s the catcher for the Rangers who have made the World Series the past two seasons. He has production, but I don’t feel his performance warrants being the number one choice for catcher.

Mauer has the highest batting average, but he’s spent 32 games at catcher, 17 games at DH, and 13 games at first base. Is he really the best catcher of the bunch then? I like Mauer too and want to see him succeed after his injuries the past few seasons. I also believe he’s a better option at catcher than Napoli.

As much as I do not like Pierzynski, he seems to be the best candidate for starter out of this group. His batting average is the second highest of the bunch, and he’s producing either the best or close to the best in the other categories.

Wieters and Salty’s numbers are pretty much identical in every category- same batting average, same amount of RBIs and stolen bases. The only real difference is Wieters has two more runs, and Salty has three more home runs.

Russell Martin does not deserve to even be considered an All-Star with those numbers. That may sound a bit harsh, but it’s true. The only reason why he ranks 5th for catchers is because he’s on the Yankees. It’s not right.

So, I voted for the All-Star Game. In all categories, I tried to vote for the player I thought deserved the honor the most. Obviously, I did have to make some tough decisions, that I will justify for the American League. For the National League, I looked at the stats that the All-Star Voting website provided and chose the one I thought was having the most productive year.

American League
1B - Konerko, Paul (leads league in batting average)
2B - Pedroia, Dustin (he ranks 3rd in the category, but I couldn’t vote for either Ian Kinsler or Robinson Cano)
SS - Andrus, Elvis (seems to be the best option at shortstop based on production)
3B - N/A
C - Saltalamacchia, Jarrod (please see above reasons)
DH - Ortiz, David (really seems to be the best, legit designated hitter)
OF - Bautista, Jose (batting average is down this year, but he’s still crushing the ball when he hits it)
OF - Hamilton, Josh (do I really need to explain)
OF - Jones, Adam (young star who is producing)
Write-in - Will Middlebrooks (I had to. I was going to vote for Adrian Beltre at 3rd, but he’s pretty much running away with the votes at that position)

National League
1B - Votto, Joey
2B - Hill, Aaron
SS - Tulowitzki, Troy
3B - Wright, David
C - Ruiz, Carlos
OF - Beltran, Carlos
OF - Kemp, Matt
OF - McCutchen, Andrew
Write-in - N/A

As far as Saltalamacchia is concerned, I can only hope that Ron Washington chooses him for the game. Salty came from the Rangers to the Red Sox, so he has a connection. If Salty is not chosen, I fear that the Red Sox will only have one All-Star on the team, being David Ortiz.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Youk No More

Photo from

We all knew it was coming. We knew it was coming soon too. But the shock that Kevin Youkilis is no longer a member of the Red Sox still hasn’t worn off. Kevin Youkilis is now a member of the Chicago White Sox.

Ever since Kevin Youkilis went on the disabled list earlier this season and Will Middlebrooks took 3rd base by storm, I think most fans could agree it may have been time for Youkilis to go. Everyone knew there were problems between Youkilis and Valentine, and Youkilis had been oft-injured the past few seasons (he’d missed 132 of the past 396 games, exactly a 1/3). Youkilis is only 33 though, which shouldn’t be considered “old.”

Kevin Youkilis was nicknamed “The Greek God of Walks” (long before “Moneyball” came out too). He was a “dirt dog,” always playing with grit, scrappiness, and a dirty uniform. He was one of two remaining members of the 2004 World Series team (David Ortiz being the other). On September 7, 2007, he played in his 179th consecutive game at first base without committing an error, breaking the record previously held by Mike Hegan (Youkilis’s record of 190 games was eventually broken by Casey Kotchman, however). In 2008, he game in third in AL MVP voting (behind Dustin Pedroia and
Justin Morneau).

Some of my favorite Youkilis moments and accomplishments:

On August 8, 2005, Youkilis, Adam Stern, and Gabe Kapler set an American League “record” for the most Jewish players to take the field for the same team during the same game. He was also one of three, Jewish players in the 2008 All-Star game (Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler were the other two); and in 2009, he was one of three players to play on the USA WBC team (Ryan Braun and John Grabow beingt he other two).

On being called “The Greek God of Walks,” Terry Francona has this to say: I've seen Youkilis in the shower, and I wouldn't call him the Greek god of anything.

In June of 2008, Manny Ramirez apparently took a swing at Kevin Youkilis in the dugout, and the two had to be separated. When asked about the scuffle, Youkilis’ reply was: We have two different approaches to the game. Winning and losing isn’t life and death to Manny. The next month, Ramirez was traded.

And probably my favorite Youkilis moment was from last year was during the 13-inning, rain delayed game in 2011 against the Angels when we got the great moment of a bunch of Red Sox fans, who we can assume were drunk, at 2:30AM, serenading Youkilis with Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend.” Unfortunately, MLB has taken down the video on youtube. But, you can click on this link to watch a fabulous commercial featuring Youkilis and the song:

Yesterday, I went to Scheel’s with some members of my family. On the way home, my brother told me that he wanted to take all the Youkilis shirts to the front of the store and tell the manager they might want to sell them at a discount. Less than an hour later, Youkilis was officially a member of the Chicago White Sox. (For the record, my brother owns a Youkilis shirt, though he had given it to his girlfriend).

I didn’t get to watch the game yesterday (though GameDay and WEEI’s radio broadcast were pretty much on during the whole drive/shopping experience yesterday), but I did find Youkilis-last-game highlights on youtube, courtesy of NESN. Please click on this link to watch:

The Red Sox needed to get younger, which was evident from the beginning of the season. Will Middlebrooks is clearly the better choice for this Red Sox team at 3rd base, but it’s still a shame a major player of the Red Sox for the past 8 years had to be moved to accomplish this. On Friday’s Twitter-Mania post, I’ll have tweets regarding Youkilis’s departure from the Red Sox.

Even though the Chicago White Sox are my least favorite team (yes, even below the Evil Empire), I might just have to suffer through some of Hawk Harrelson’s commentating to watch Youkilis play one of these days. And for the record, the White Sox go to Fenway in three weeks for a four-game series. I’m guessing Youkilis gets a standing ovation in his first at-bat.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Some of the tweets may be off by a day or two, and I apologize for that. I typically keep track through out the week, but I had to go back and check all the tweets today. Here are this week’s tweets:

Father’s Day Tweets:
David Ortiz @davidortiz
Happy father’s day to all those great dad all around the world in special my dad…..34

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Anyone an be a father and donate, but takes a real man to be a dad!! Thanks dad for everything you’ve done for me!!! #HappyFathersDay #loveu

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there!

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Happy Fathers Day. I wouldn’t be here without mine. I still look up to him.

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
I’m a competitor bc of my dad… He taught me how to work hard. I wish he could be here today. Happy fathers day @TxBoSox. Love you man.

Jon Lester @JLester31
Thanks for all the Happy Fathers Day comments! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! #FathersDay

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Happy fathers day to all the dad’s! All the waffle ball games in the back, line drives up the middle, and the role model we look up to! #dads

Andrew Bailey @AndrewBailey40
Happy Father’s Day to my dad and all the dad’s out there!

Ryan Sweeney @RyanSweeney12
Happy fathers day to my dad an all those dads out there!!

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Great road trip. 4-2. Happy Father’s day to all!

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Happy fathers day to my dad who taught me how to grind and all the other dads out there who are making a difference in there kids lives!


David Ortiz @davidortiz
@middlebrooks My boy u r not a daddy yep but u have a daddy on me son….good looking out34

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
@LarsAnderson26 stop being a fake twitter for Lars… He is sittin right next too me and does not even know anything about twitter

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Headin to the field to get some work in on this sunny #offday!

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Everybody go vote for my teammates @davidortiz #pedey #salty #JLester31 @Themikeaviles for the allstar game. Vote upto 25 times! Thank you!

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Whuuuuppps… You definitely can’t vote for @JLester31 … No pitchers allowed! Haha sorry jonny, I tried!!

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
When was the last time father and son went deep In a game???... last night when @middlebrooks and myself did… proud of you son!!! Lmao haha

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
@Themikeaviles hahahaha

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
It still baffles me watching pitchers try to beat @davidortiz inside with fastballs. #grandslam #396hrs can’t get in there boys! Stop trying!

Ryan Westmoreland @RWesty25
Thanks everyone for the continued support! Heading to Fenway to see the big boys take on the Marlins! GL @Ryan_Kalish @dnavs33 @middlebrooks

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Dear Tweeples, Get online & vote Saltalamacchia for All-Star catcher immediately if not sooner! If u already have… vote again! Thank you

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Soooo it’s gonna bee 100 in Boston today…. Might have to close the roof on Fenway… Oh wait. Haha

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
Great win tonight! @middlebrooks @Ryan_Kalish we’re huge! But I think @RWesty25 might have been the secret weapon for the win!!

Pete Abraham @PeteABe
Settle down, Francis // RT @TheFuturels_Now: @peteable if @middlebroks isn’t in the lineup today, we riot

And this week’s tweets of the week:

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
@ShopHouse10 wanna get me some Starbucks?

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Shouldn’t the rookie be buying me ‘Bucks?
“@middlebrooks: @ShopHouse1- wanna get me some Starbucks?”

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Touche RT Shouldn’t the rookie be buying me ‘Bucks?
“@middlebrooks: @ShopHouse10 wanna get me some Starbucks?”

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
I guess I’ll have to buy @middlebrooks @Starbucks after that homer. Man style though no “fruit-a-lotta-chinos”.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Injury Updates

As I stated in yesterday’s post, Carl Crawford was taking batting practice before the Cubs-Red Sox game Sunday night, and he looked good. When Crawford, Bailey, and Ellsbury all went on the disabled list, it seemed like the term “out til All-Star Break” was being thrown around… a lot. Since my late injury update post, players have come and gone off the disabled list. So, here’s an update on where the injured stand:

Cody Ross (Broken foot): Activated for Tuesday’s game against the Marlins; hit a home run in his first game back from the DL.

Andrew Bailey (Right thumb): Began throwing from 90 feet week of May 27th and threw a bullpen session today and “felt great”; possible late July or early August return.

Josh Beckett (Right shoulder inflammation): MRI results on June 19th showed no structural damage; possible late June return.

Chris Carpenter (Bone spur in right elbow): Began throwing from 120 feet week of May 27th; possible June return.

Aaron Cook (Left knee laceration): Threw four innings in Triple-A rehab game June 18th; possible late June return.

Carl Crawford (Partially torn UCL in left elbow): Traveled to Florida to continue rehab June 20th and is slated to be DH in a game on Saturday; possible July return.

Jacoby Ellsbury (Subluxed right shoulder): Took batting practice on the field June 19th; possible early July return.

Rich Hill (Strained flexor muscle): Told he would not need to undergo surgery; possible mid-July return.

Bobby Jenks (Recovering from two back surgeries): Not sure if we’ll see him again in a Red Sox uniform, as there are reports of a settlement being arranged between him and Red Sox.

John Lackey (Tommy John surgery): Will not see again until 2013.

Dustin Pedroia (Right thumb): Was not in starting line-up yesterday, but is expected to be back at 2nd base today.

Scott Podsednik (Left groin strain): Placed on DL June 19th retroactive June 18th; possible early July return.

Jason Repko (Left shoulder displacement, knee): Played DH in a Triple-A game June 20th; possible late June return.

Ryan Sweeney (Fracture in left big toe): Placed on DL June 17th; possible return date to be determined.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My First Trip to Wrigley Field

I apologize for my delay in posting, but it’s been taking me a little bit to get back into the groove of things. Between my sleeping cycles being drastically changed (I’m very much an early to bed, early to rise sort of person), my eating habits changed (back home, I eat fairly healthy and actually keep track of my calories), and my exercise routine interrupted (I do some sort of aerobic or weight training 5-6 days a week), I just haven’t been myself lately. But, I seem to be getting back to whatever normal is around here.

So, Sunday night, I arrived at Wrigley Field with my family around 5:00, two hours before game time. Our cab driver was pretty funny, especially when he started talking about Ozzie Guillen and how terrible the Cubs were. He said in his thick, middle-eastern accent, “You from Iowa? You have a good football team. Not too good last year though.”

When we arrived at Wrigley, we started to walk around the field. There were statues outside of the park; and in right field, there was a cut-out where you could watch the warm-ups on the field. It looked like Matsuzaka was working throwing the ball around, and the position players were taking batting practice. We then made our way towards the center-field area, where we asked an usher which gate we needed to go in. He replied “Any gate.” I guess this is what happens when you’re used to Fenway Park, where you’re only allowed into a certain area of the park with your ticket.

As we continued to walk, a guy decked out in a Cubs uniformed mumbled something to us about seeing Theo Epstein. We didn’t realize that he meant Epstein was in the parking lot behind him until we saw Theo walk into the park. My brother’s comment was “No wonder the Cubs are so bad; they’re president arrives late to work.” I will not badmouth Theo Epstein for the rest of this post.

When we got into the park, I immediately bought my dad and myself a beer ($7.00 for a draft Bud Light); it was Father’s Day afterall. So, with that beer, I officially had my first beer at a ballpark. Not that I haven’t had the opportunity before, but I’m not much of a beer fan. I much rather prefer the margaritas I had at US Cellular a few years ago or the vodka lemonade I had later that game.

We found our seats, which were much like the seats at Fenway Park- small and old. Luckily, it was seat cushion day, so we had something comfortable to sit on. I also remarked to my brother that we got to put our asses on the Cubs logo. Our seats were not the greatest, as they were the second to last row in the grandstand about midway down the first base line. The only thing we couldn’t see was the center fielder because of a pole and where Ortiz’s home run landed because of a sign above our section.

The Red Sox were taking batting practice when we arrived, and I noticed a few interesting things during this time. One- Carl Crawford was batting, and he looked really good for someone who has yet to play this season. I know he’s close to getting ready to play in games, but he looks strong and focused. Two- Pedroia was switch-hitting while he batted. I’m not sure if this is to build strength or if it’s something he was trying out.

My initial instinct of the inside of Wrigley Field was I didn’t get that nostalgic feeling I get when I go to Fenway. The field just looked old, not old and historic like I was hoping. I could tell from our seats that the bleachers needed to be painted, and they were actual bleachers. The rooftop seats were neat, and I would like to sit there sometime for a game. The grass in the outfield was torn-up and scorched, evidently from a concert that had taken place there. You could definitely tell where they tried to patch certain places, like the pitchers mound.

After all that negative talk about Wrigley, there were some things that I did really like. We ate hot dogs (because that what you do when you go to baseball games) on a patio outside the grandstand. There was a great view of the city from there (find it in my post from yesterday with the pictures). There was also a 25% discount on food and drinks prior to the game, so that was pretty enjoyable as well. My “Chicago dog” was really good, especially with the sautéed onions they loaded on it.

Seeing Terry Francona in the pressbox gave me an eerie feeling, like he didn’t belong there. Sure, I have seen him on Sunday Night Baseball for months now, but it still didn’t seem real. Plus, there were screens mounted on the posts around Wrigley showing the ESPN broadcast, and every time they showed Valentine, he looked like he was relaxed and not really that into the game. Let me point out I’m sure he was into the game and was paying attention, but the difference between Valentine and Sveum, who was seen leaning against the fencing closest to the field most of the game, was drastic.

Unfortunately, Beckett was supposed to pitch Sunday, and he went on the disabled list Friday. So, Franklin Morales took his place. I thought Morales did great that night, only giving up 2 runs in 5 innings while walking 0 and striking out 9. The bullpen followed up nicely as well (besides Aceves, which I talk about later). They gave up only 1, unearned run. Melancon even lowered his ERA to 22.85!

Now Aceves made things interesting in the 9th. I cringed when I saw Aceves take the mound because while I think he’s a reliable member of the bullpen, he does not seem to do well in non-save situations. So, what did Aceves do? He gave up 3 hits and a run, and made most Red Sox fans who weren’t entirely intoxicated question him.

It was kind of cringe-worthy to watch the Cubs and Red Sox’s defense play as well; it was evident that these were both last place teams. As much as I love Pedroia, he really needs to not do so much on the field. It looked like he was trying to play 2nd, shortstop, first, and right-field, all at once. Youkilis (fielding) and Aviles (missed catch) both had errors, though I would’ve given Pedroia an error or two.

The Cubs also had two errors, one being Starlin Castro’s fielding error, his 12th of the season. There’s a lot of talk in Chicago about whether or not Sveum’s going to go through with his threat of benching Castro if he keeps making errors. My opinion is he shouldn’t. Castro and 2nd baseman Darwin Barney are the Cubs’ only two real sparks on the team. Fans like them, and they are really enjoyable to watch. Besides, Castro is only 22; he still has plenty to learn. If Epstein really wants to show the fans he’s ready to take the Cubs in a new directions, he should hold onto these two, young players.

Offensively, it was an interesting night as well. The Sox started with a line-up that didn’t include Nava, Gonzalez, Middlebrooks, or Saltalamacchia. They ended the game with all 13 of their position players having had a chance to bat and 6 relievers used (including Morales, who is still technically a relief pitcher). The only members of the Sox that did not play Sunday night were Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Felix Doubront, Clayton Mortenson, Vincente Padilla, and Clay Buchholz. (A quick note on Buchholz, I think he should have started on Sunday night on 5 day’s rest. Obviously from last night’s game, the extra 2 days didn’t do him any good).

Overall, it was a great experience to see the Red Sox play at Wrigley Field. The Red Sox won 7-4, and they had some pop in their bats with 12 hits. Ortiz hit a home run, and Salty pinch-hit for an RBI single. It was a team effort, which is what this team needed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Photos From Red Sox at Cubs- June 17, 2012

I'll do a more in-depth post tomorrow when I have a little more time, but I wanted to post the pictures that I took from Wrigley Field.  I only had my iPhone with me, so I apologize for the poorer quality.

Chicago Skyline from Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field

Red Sox warming up

Another picture of the Red Sox warming up

Saltalamacchia taking batting practice

Press Box at Wrigley Field... including the ESPN booth
(to the left of the blue one towards the center)

Red Sox on defense

Ortiz at First Base

Aviles and Pedroia

Nava batting, Pedroia by the Red Sox logo

Sunset at Wrigley Field

Friday, June 15, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Here are my favorite tweets from this week:

David Ortiz @davidortiz
The kid bryce Harper is the real deal….god bless him…..34

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Just sat down to watch the CELTICS! Wish game 7 was at the Garden!

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Thanks to everyone who congratulated me on my 200th hr. I appreciate it.

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Morning great sox fans!!! Hope ur all having a great day!! Thanks for all the support #bestfansinsports

Cody Ross @IamCodyRoss
Burst my bubble

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Whatever this is???? (He posted a picture of the home run celebration sculpture thing at Marlins Park)

Josh Beckett’s Performance Could Suffer if Red Sox Offense Keeps Him in Pitcher’s Purgatory.

DKnobler @DKnobler (retweeted by Nick Cafardo)
One scout from interested team went to see Youkilis, sent back very negative report: “For what he costs, he can’t do anything.”

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Thanks everyone for the kind comments. #RedSoxNation #believe #YouNeverKnow

Jon Lester @JLester31
How about Clay last night showing that #NVRQT attitude. Don’t be surprised when Douby does the same tonight.

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Big W last night! Be nice to leave beautiful 305 w/ series win before we head to Chi city to enjoy our off day! #RedSox #Lego

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
I thought Bruce Springsteen was on the Wrecking Ball tour. Then I saw the Nationals go on the road against AL East teams. Wow

Boston Red Sox @RedSox
Sox starters are averaging 9 Ks per 9 innings in 11 June games (69K/69.0IP), best among all AL starter in month #SoxGameNotes

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Hanguing out with my boy weezy after the game in the club house he come to see me going deep…. He said34

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Great series win boys!!! Off day then back at the grind!!! #grindtoshine

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
David Ortiz on Lil Wayne being in the #RedSox clubhouse: “That’s how we roll.”

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
@davidortiz stay fair!!!!!! David Ortiz @davidortiz @Themikeaviles Hahaha my boys in the back of the bus….. STAY FAIR…..34

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Great pitching timely hits series win! Off to Chi-town! S/O @LilTunechi stopping by to celebrate w/ the team #bestrapperalive #RedSox

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
@davidortiz brought my boy weezy to the clubhouse after the game!!! Lol David Ortiz @davidortiz
@middlebrooks You were there son!!!

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Who has more swag? @davidortiz or @LilTunechi

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
This should dramatically cut back on #RedSox fans asking me if the Giants will trade Cain for Lars Anderson and Anthony Ranaudo (speaking about Cain’s perfect game Wednesday night)

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Ready for my off day in Chicago!!! Gonna spend some time with mi amigos. Pool time… Lots of food… And good music with @pgammo tonight!

Chad Finn @GlobeChadFinn
Amazes me how many of you are writing off Carl Crawford

Jon Lester @JLester31
How about Douby last night? How about those bats? Much needed off day today, can’t wait for Saturday! #NVRQT

And my tweets of the week:

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Marlins Park is nice and all. But the tacky sculpture in left center looks like something from H.R. Puffnstuf.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Nick Punto on deck to hit for Beckett. Apparently Will Middlebrooks retired during the game

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Mark Melancon has retired two batters. His ERA is now down to infinity.

Jim Gaffigan @JimGaffigan
I’m starting to feel like the only person who hasn’t thrown a perfect game.

And the last one from my sister-in-law:

Elizabeth VanCamp @libby_vc
@middlebrooks if you run into the VanCamp clan in Chi, say “Hi” to the biggest @RedSox fans you’ll ever meet #AlVanCampsFamily #RedSoxVsCubs

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some Thoughts Heading Into the Big Red Sox-Cubs Series

As I’ve stated a few times, I will be heading to Chi-town to see the Red Sox take on the Cubs this weekend. I’ll be going to Sunday night’s game, which will be broadcasted on ESPN. Theo Epstein, Terry Francona, and the Red Sox will unite for the first time since October. It’s going to be great!

For years, I always went to Red Sox games with my family… my entire family; and when I say entire family, I mean aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, great aunts and uncles, grandparents, the whole shebang. I’ve only been to two baseball games where it didn’t involve multiple members of my family. The first being when I was about twelve years old and went to a Chicago White Sox- Seattle Mariners game with my friends’ family. The second being when I took my mom to the Red Sox- Indians game the last time we were in Boston for her birthday present. Otherwise, there would be no less than 20 of us family members together.

I had an inkling this would happen, but it turns out multiple members of my family are going to at least one game this weekend. My dad’s cousin’s family are going Friday and Sunday, and one of my cousins (who lives in Wisconsin) notified me that he’ll be going to Saturday’s game. Good, the family will be well represented.

But, enough about my family. This is a Red Sox blog, and I am going to proceed with the Red Sox news. First, the pitching match-ups:

Friday: Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20 ERA) v. Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.31 ERA)
Saturday: Jon Lester (3-4, 4.57 ERA) v. Jeff Samardzija (5-4, 3.96 ERA)
Sunday: Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.14 ERA) v. Paul Maholm (4-5, 4.91 ERA)

My dream match-up would have been Beckett v. Garza, but it appears the former “Red Sox Killer” (or if you ask some, “Future Red Sox Pitcher”) won’t be making a starting appearance this series. Being around a lot of Cubs fans, Samardzija is the up-and-comer of the Red Sox rotation. He had great stuff. Dempster is kind of like Beckett of late; his win-loss record doesn’t reflect his performance.

I made a prediction last night that Beckett will go yard at Wrigley Field. It’s Sunday Night Baseball, inter-league, and in a small park; Beckett has the bat. It would be great if he hit the ball into the stands.

The Boston Globe printed an interview Dan Shaughnessy conducted with Theo Epstein. In it, Epstein humbles himself a lot, explaining he didn’t like the “Savior” titled granted to him when he jumped ship to the Cubs (and even mentions that infamous photo of him walking on top of Lake Michigan). He also says that the Red Sox will always be his favorite (AL) team.

I do think that Epstein made some mistakes in his career with the Red Sox (Drew, Lackey, Lugo, Renteria, etc.). He admits that in the article. I don’t know if it was ownership pressure, but it did seem like his management mentality shifted over the course of the years. In 2004, the Sox won the World Series with non-superstar players, at least prior to coming to Boston (Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Mark Bellhorn, and even David Ortiz to an extent). In 2007, the Sox won the World Series with a slew of homegrown talent (Lester, Papelbon, Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Youkilis). In 2011, the Sox had many large contracts they were dealing with (Crawford, Gonzalez to name two) and were unable to make the playoffs.

Personally, I think it might have been the time for Epstein to go, and some will argue that he had already left the Sox at that point. I’ve always like Epstein, so it was hard for me when he did leave. On the other hand, I think some of the offseason moves that Cherington has done were great, particularly with the minor league contracts (Prior, Podsednik, and even Cook to an extent). Change is good, and I need to keep reminding myself this.

I’m excited about the series and even more about the game on Sunday. Aside from tomorrow’s “Tweets of the Week,” I will not be posting again until Monday or Tuesday. I’ll be sure to take pictures and post them when I return to Iowa. Here’s hoping for a series win (sweep would be preferred as I’m surrounded by Cubs fans!).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What Will the Red Sox Do at the Trade Deadline?

The July 31st trade deadline is approximately 7 weeks away. The Red Sox are currently in last place in the AL East, 2 games below .500, 6.5 games back in the division, and 5.5 games back in the Wild Card race. Yes, 6.5 and 5.5 games out of a playoff race with 100 games left of the season, making the playoffs seems very possible. However, with 5 teams above them in the Wild Card Race, 4 teams above them in the division, things may not be as possible as they seem.

There’s been a lot of discussion in the Red Sox circuits about whether or not the Sox will be buyers or sellers come July 31st. The name that keeps being brought up in the trade whisperings in Kevin Youkilis. I think it’s pretty fair to say that Youkilis’s days as a member of the Red Sox are numbered. Though, his stats aren’t impressive (.219 BA, .303 OBP, 4 HR, 13 RBIs), and it’s already been reported that scouts from other teams aren’t impressed with him and the Sox are asking too much.

The Red Sox need to move Youkilis to allow Will Middlebrooks to play everyday. He’s been one of the brightest sparks on the Sox this year, and he needs to play everyday to get used to the Majors and to get his bat in the line-up. Could Youkilis be packaged with another player to bring in a legitimate starter? It doesn’t look like Bard is going to be back as a starter anytime soon as he surrendered a run in relief the other night. Or, could Youkilis be traded for prospects? Which would benefit this club the best?

I’m really on the fence with whether or not I want the Red Sox organization to throw in the towel this early in the season, but I don’t know if the Sox have a real shot at the playoffs. Besides that, making the playoffs wouldn’t really be the much of an accomplishment, as the Sox have not won a playoff game since 2008. The Sox need to start winning and being a dominate club, get the fans excited to go to the games (besides the fans that live and breath the Sox, much like myself), and start to have the baseball analysts discuss good aspects of the team rather than the bad.

Next year, I think we’ll see a team with Lavarnway behind the plate, possibly as a back- up catcher to Saltalamacchia who will teach Lavarnway the ropes like Varitek did for him. Jose Iglesias will be the starting shortstop; the Sox really need an anchor in that position. For years, shortstop has been a non-stop revolving door. Middlebrooks will be at third base, and Ryan Kalish will be the starting right-fielder. Until then, what the Red Sox do with their players is a big question mark.

The Sox need to get younger; and to do that, they need to get rid of their older players. There are some players that I feel are untouchable, besides the up-and-comers I’ve already mentioned: Pedroia, Ortiz, Gonzalez, Crawford, Beckett, and Lester. Pedroia and Ortiz are the heart-and-soul of the Red Sox, in my opinion. Pedroia is the unofficial captain, and Ortiz has already said he wants to retire with the Red Sox after next year. Red Sox- let him. He’s done more for this organization than any other player on the team (besides possibly Pedroia). Crawford and Gonzalez’s contracts are too much and too early into them to trade either; and besides that, Crawford is currently on the DL. Beckett has 10/5 rights and would need to approve any trade, which I don’t think he’d do. Also, I think Beckett’s more of a leader in the clubhouse than he gets credit. The Boston Globe today stated how Beckett taught Buchholz a split-finger fastball before Buchholz’s start on May 16th against the Rays and it’s been working for Buchholz. Lester, while struggling as of late, has been the Sox’s most consistent pitcher the past few years.

With those players mentioned, Ellsbury, Bailey, Lackey, Jenks, Hill, Cook, and possibly Ross are all virtually unmovable because of currently being on the disabled list. Ross is supposed to start a rehab stint this weekend, so he should be back soon. The others are all basically stuck in limbo at the moment.

Players with the most trade value, in my opinion: Sweeney, Saltalamacchia, Nava, Podsednik, Aviles, Doubront, Buchholz, and really anyone in the bullpen. I don’t think the Sox will trade Buchholz, since he’s been pitching well, and they need pitching. I really doubt the Sox will trade Salty, since he’s been outstanding for the team this year and is still relatively young. As much as I don’t want to see them go, Sweeney and Aviles are the key candidates here and could really bring back the most for the Sox, again in my opinion. If the Sox are really wanting to make a go at it this year, Sweeney would be the logical one to part with, as he’s a left-handed outfielder and the team has a plethora
of outfielders at the moment.

The other trade candidates would be: McDonald, Punto, Shoppach, and Matsuzaka. If the Sox trade Matsuzaka, it would be the ultimate admission that the money the organization spent on him was a waste (in my opinion, it was). The other three are dispensable, unfortunately.

The Red Sox have some tough choices to make in the next few weeks. I’m sure much of their decisions will be hindered by which players finally make it off the disabled list, and of those players, who makes a difference (positively) on the team. This is for sure, the Red Sox team we see take the field tonight will not be the same Red Sox team we see take the field in two months.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Making Decisions: Clothes Edition

Okay, I’m going a bit girly in this post, so if you don’t care about clothes and such, please avert your eyes. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m heading to Chicago this weekend and will be attending the Red Sox at Cubs game on Sunday. It will be my first time at Wrigley Field, though I have seen the Red Sox play the White Sox many times before.

Before every trip, it’s always important to plan out what you’re going to wear, especially if you’re a woman. I will be in Chicago for three days, and it’s supposed to be highs around 90 degrees all weekend. For some people, making a decision on what to wear, especially to a baseball game, might seem easy. It never is for me.

First, I can filter out my Red Sox sweatshirts; it’s going to be way too warm even in the evening. Going through the inventory of my closet, this is what I have for Red Sox attire:

Player Shirts
Varitek (blue “C”)
Varitek (green)
Ellsbury (#46)
Ellsbury (#2)

Other Shirts
Red Sox women’s jersey (pull-over)
Fenway Park shirt (blue)
White and navy blue sleeveless
White striped Red Sox t-shirt

So, looking at these options I can already eliminate the “Ellsbury (#46)” option because #46 is no longer Ellsbury’s number. I think it’s safe to say that I can also eliminate the Crawford and other Ellsbury shirt, since they’re currently on the disabled list. (For the record, I received the Crawford shirt the offseason he was signed and have only worn it maybe once or twice.) I can also eliminate the Varitek and Lowell shirts because they have both retired. I do still wear these shirts, but to a game would be like someone wearing a “Crisp” shirt, which was tweeted by Pete Abraham a couple weeks ago.

I also don’t think I’ll be wearing my Fenway Park shirt because they are not playing at Fenway Park. The jersey may be out too because it’ll be too warm for that. I’m not really a fan of the sleeveless shirt either; I mostly wear it with my dri-fit Red Sox shorts. I think I’ll also eliminate the white-striped Red sox shirt because I don’t want to be perceived as a “pink hat,” since it does have a little more “style” than “grit.”

Lester is scheduled to pitch on Saturday, and Beckett is scheduled to pitch on Sunday. So, I’m torn between my Beckett and my Pedroia shirt. The last time I saw Beckett pitch live was in 2010 at Fenway Park, and he was amazing! Beckett’s line that day was: 8.0IP 3H 1R 1ER 0BB 8K 1HR. On the other hand, who doesn’t like Pedroia?

So, there’s the dilemma. Beckett or Pedroia? One of the most frustrating pitchers who has been on as of late (even though he gave up 4 early runs to the Marlins last night before settling in) or one of the most beloved players on the team. Decisions… decisions…

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Optimism is Starting to Leave the Building

What a brutal weekend to be a Boston fan. The Red Sox were swept by the Nationals, and the Celtics lost game 7 to the Heat. One quick note on the NBA- I hope that the Thunder can beat the Heat. I cannot stand LeBron James, and the longer he goes without a championship, the better. If he does win a championship, the comparisons to Michael Jordan will never stop.

Okay, thanks for letting me vent for a moment, and back to the Red Sox and their terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad weekend. I watched part of the game Friday night. In about the fourth inning, my XBox lost its signal, so while I was waiting for it to reboot, I switched the game to my iPhone. In that time, the Nationals took a 4-0 lead. I kept GameDay on my iPhone while I watched a movie, but my heart just wasn’t into it.

Saturday was probably worse. I thought Matsuzaka was on a roll, then in typical Matsuzaka-form, he gave up the home run to LaRoche and seemed to unravel. Again, I was keeping track of the game on GameDay as I was at my cousin’s City Championship game for Little League (he won). When I returned home, I was able to watch the last 2-3 innings and thought the Sox had a chance, especially when Saltalamacchia came up with bases-loaded in the 7th to pinch-hit for Shoppach. Salty got 2 RBIs, but it wasn’t enough.

Yesterday, I made a run to Coralville to the Scheel’s store because my brother wanted to get a new Red Sox shirt for the game on Sunday. I checked the score every once in awhile, saw when they were ahead, saw when it was tied, and saw when the Sox lost… in the 9th… thanks to Aceves. Andrew Bailey can not return fast enough, even if he’s never thrown a pitch for the Red Sox this season. Aceves is great as the “every-man” pitcher, meaning he can fill into any role when needed; he hasn’t been good enough as a starter (Spring Training) or a closer (Season) to justify granting him one of those two positions.

Also, the Sox’s bats need to come back out. For perspective, the series this weekend against that Nats, Pedroia was 3 for 13, Gonzalez was 2 for 13, and Youkilis was 0 for 7 and did not play on Sunday. The lead off hitters (Nava and Podsednik) were 4 for 14. That’s not going to cut it if the Sox want to find themselves out of the basement.

The pitching wasn’t horrendous this weekend, but it needs to improve as well. Rich Hill was placed on the disabled list because of pain in his elbow, the elbow he had Tommy John surgery on last season. Not good. So, to replace him, the Sox pull up Mark Melancon; thee of the 45 ERA (or something like that). I know he’s done well in Triple-A, but that’s Triple-A. There’s a reason why those players are not in the Majors yet.

I’m beginning be get very wary about this Red Sox team. They are so deceiving, having been playing great for about two and half weeks and falling off the face of the earth the past week (they won ONE game in that time span). If they do horribly against the Cubs this weekend, we’ll know how the rest of the season will go. The Cubs are currently the second worst team in baseball with a 20-40 record (the Padres are the worst with a 20-41 record). Here’s hoping the Sox can right the ship, find their grove in the pitching and hitting, and start winning some games for a change. They pretty much have to play .600 ball for the rest of the season to finish with a 90-72 record.

UPDATE: As I sit here and post this, the Sox are losing 4-0 in the bottom of the 3rd inning...

Friday, June 8, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Here are this week’s tweets:

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Happy off day! Thanks for ur tweets while I was in Moose country. Going to see ‘What to Expect When Your Expecting’ today aka The Baby Bible.

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ review… really funny but brought back real pregnancy memories. Had to tell my wife NO MORE BABIES!!!

Ryan Westmoreland @RWesty25
Great day in sports yesterday. Got chills watching @TigerWoods chipping in and winning, then great W for @paulpierce34 and the #Celtics!!

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Woke up with so much extra energy heading to the field for an early work out! #DoWork

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Time to go to work!! No better office than Fenway Park!!! Don’t you guys Agree?? #RedSoxNation

Peter Abraham @PeteAbe
Pedroia is just a little ready. He’s in the dugout in uniform at 2:48p.m. #RedSox

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Good morning! Body is feelin good happy to be back in the grind with my boys! #focused #lego

Darnel McDonald @MacDime54
How bout them Celtics!! #shocktheworld

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
6:15am wake-up calls not so bad for school. Now 7:30am 4 kids attack dad in bed for summer time and want to play! #junglegym #help

Jon Lester @JLester31
Tough loss last night but it’s a new day and a new game. How about @Jarrod_Salty39 showing that #NVRQT attitude last night
(I did some checking, and there isn’t a profile for Saltalamacchia)

Jon Lester @JLester31
I just heard that #Pedey is third amongst 2Bs in votes for the #ASG, we need to fix that! @RedSox Nation where you at? #VOTE4PEDEY

Jon Lester @JLester31
Guys, errors happen in baseball, I’m far from perfect myself. Pls be respectful of my teammates, we win together, we lose together. #NVRQT

Jon Lester @JLester31
Amen! RT @NBarillari33 @JLester31 and #VOTE4SALTY he’s not even top 5! He deserves it

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Time to get back on track!!! #fullspeedahead

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Also to clarify to some people who wrote me nasty messages, I wasn’t sitting in the dugout after the game!! #mistakenidentity

Jon Lester @JLester31
Man, that was a tough one last night, #Beckett pitched his tail off! I know Clay is going to stuff it tonight! #NVRQT

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Fans vote for my boy saltalamacchia to go to his first All star game he is having a great season very well deserve….34

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
Restaurants where u need to use the tables center piece candle too see the menu are not that cool.

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
The little kid that ran on the field w/ me for the anthem yesterday told me w/ a straing face: “I can pitch faster than you” #priceless

And my favorite tweets of the week:

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Playing waffle ball in Backyard and my 7yr old Kash just said he was Nick Punto! What? Front runner? Punto went 3 for 4 last night #showhomer

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
I said what about Papi, Cargo, Hamilton, Stanton, Millar oh sorry he’s retired, but Punto? Defensively yes offensively no #gotheeeem @ChrisRose

Peter Abraham @PeteAbe
So the All-Star Game counts but now MLB players can Tweet during it? How about whichever team gets the most re-tweets gets an extra run?

It was asked of me who I else I follow other than people associated with the Red Sox. Well, not too many actually. But, for a list, here they are:

Paul Pierce, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Rajon Rondo, Boston Bruins, New England Patriots, Pete Loeffler and Dean Bernandini (of the band Chevelle) as well as the band Chevelle, Jim Gaffigan, Jimmy Fallon, Sully Erna, and some family members.

I’m seriously not that into Twitter, but it’s a good way to follow sports.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Injury Updates

There were a few developments with some of the Red Sox’s injured players, so I thought I would post what these are:

Dustin Pedroia- Pedroia played in the game yesterday, June 5th. He went 0-3 with a walk and a sac fly.

Darnell McDonald- McDonald was activated yesterday, June 5th. He did not play in the Red Sox’s 8-6 loss to the Orioles.

Daisuke Matsuzaka- Matsuzaka threw 40 pitches for 1 1/3 innings of work for Triple- A Pawtucket yesterday, June 5th. He allowed one run on three hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. The thought is Matsuzaka will take Bard’s spot in the rotation for now.

Andrew Bailey- Bailey is set to start throwing from 120 feet either today or tomorrow.

Carl Crawford- Crawford started taking batting practice on the field.

Jacoby Ellsbury- Ellsbury has started playing catch from 90 feet and taking swings at a ball on a tee.

Ryan Kalish- Kalish was sent to Triple-A, where he went 2 for 2 with a home run, three walks, three RBIs, and a stolen base.

Cody Ross- Ross began baseball activities, playing catch and taking some swings. He is still not allowed to run.

Bard Demoted to Triple-A

Yesterday, Daniel Bard was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Darnell McDonald to return to the Red Sox from the disabled list. Naturally, Bard did not take this news very well. Sunday’s outing where he gave up 5 runs on one hit in 1.2 innings (which also included 6 walks and 2 hit batters) was the final straw. Bard needed out of the rotation so the Red Sox have a chance at
winning more games.

But, don’t think this is a Joba Chamberlain-like story. The Red Sox will not be messing with Bard’s mechanics and never let him get comfortable in a position, like what happened to the Yankees pitcher (I don’t believe there will be in any “Bard Rules,” like there were the infamous “Joba Rules.”). Joba Chamberlain was supposed to be the ultimate stud-pitcher, but he was forced to be reliever, starter with restrictions, starter without restrictions, reliever with restrictions, etc. Right now, Joba Chamberlain is nursing an ankle injury (which he got jumping on a trampoline and his bone went through his skin), and his return to professional baseball is in question.

Pitching coach Bob McClure and manager Bobby Valentine have both said that they think it is best for Daniel Bard to go to Triple-A and work on his mechanics without the pressure of trying to win ballgames. I agree with this. It would’ve been much easier to demote Bard to a reliever, bring up Matsuzaka as a starter, and option another reliever to Triple-A (my vote would be Vincente Padilla) and called it a day.

Sending Bard to Triple-A, though, provides Bard with experience, lets him work on his mechanics, and continues his transition as a starter. Everyone knew it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing to have one of the games most dominant, reliable relievers transition to a starter. Bard had good games. The game on April 16th in which the Red Sox lost 1-0 to the Rays comes to mind immediately, with the only run coming on a bases-loaded walk to Evan Longoria in the 7th inning. Yes, Bard walked 7 batters, but he also struck-out 7 and minimized the hits to 4.

It’s also been said that Bard isn’t expected to remain in Triple-A for an extended period of time. Once he gets his mechanics (specifically his arm angle back where it’s supposed to be) in check, Bard should be returning. The Red Sox are set on Bard being a starter, and I think that should be encouraging for Bard.

In 2001 at age 24, after a horrible season in 2000, there was a pitcher who was sent to Single-A to work on his mechanics and rebuild his delivery; his 10.64 ERA in 19 games- 13 starts- is the worst season for any pitcher in history with at least 50 innings pitched. His pitches were clocking in around 95 mph, which was good, but the ball had little movement, which was bad, and were left up in the strike zone, which was worse. This pitcher worked on his mechanics and delivery and started to rely on more than his strength. After a month and a half, he was promoted to Double-A, a month later Triple-A, and by mid-season he was back in the Majors. This pitcher went on to win two Cy Young Awards (one in each league), is an 8-time All-Star (twice as starting pitcher), and has lead his league in complete games 7 times.

Of course, I was referencing Roy Halladay. Is it fair to compare Daniel Bard to Roy Halladay? Maybe not, but I did want to show that even one of the greatest pitchers in the past decade needed help in his younger years. Obviously, Halladay was able to work it out; and hopefully at age 26, Bard can do the same.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Potential All-Stars

All-Star voting is underway, with the final day for voting June 28th. I don’t usually vote for the All-Star game because people can start voting in April/May for that year’s All-Star. Someone who is having an “All-Star Season” in May may not be having an “All-Star Season” in June/July. People like Derek Jeter (who I like) and Chipper Jones (who I think should’ve retired years ago) get voted into the game even without any type of All-Star stats. Plus, every year players who were voted in decide not to play the game (which won’t be happening this year, according the MLB officials), and the third-fourth-fifth string All-Stars get put into the game. It’s all politics. I know baseball is a game of politics (even in Little League), but I like the game when it’s pure.

In our local paper this morning, there was an article about our local Single-A affiliate having four All-Stars. I read the headline again because it seems way too early for an All-Star game, but it must be about the time. I started to think about which of the Red Sox players have the best chance at making the All-Star team this year.

David Ortiz (DH)- Ortiz has the best shot out of any player on the Red Sox to make the All-Star team. He’s one of the remaining, true designated hitters. Currently, Ortiz is 7 th among AL hitters in Batting Average (.315), 8th in OBP (.391), 4th in Slugging (.596), 8th in Home Runs (13), and 6th in RBIs (37). He’ll be voted in for the starting DH.

Dustin Pedroia (2B)- Pedroia leads AL second basemen in batting average (.294), and his other stats (HRs, RBIs, runs, SBs) are not as impressive among the other second basemen. Pedroia usually heats up in June/July, but no one knows what his production will be like after coming off his thumb injury. My guess is Pedroia won’t be voted in for the starting second baseman, but he will be an All-Star.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)- I think Salty deserves to be an All-Star this year, but I’m not sure if he will be voted in. Joe Mauer and AJ Pierzynski are both having great offensive years. Those two, and Mike Napoli, are better known catchers too. But, you cannot deny Salty’s production this year, as well as his work behind the plate. I think Salty will be an All-Star (even if he’s selected as 3rd string by Ron Washington).

Mike Aviles (SS)- My wildcard position player is Mike Aviles. He has stepped up mightily this year, and I think he should be chosen as an All-Star because of it. Among vote-able AL shortstops, he ranks 2nd in BA (.265), 2nd in runs (30), 2nd in HRs (8), 1st in RBIs (32), and 4th in SBs (6). His defense has been pretty solid this year as well, and he’s emerged from the black-hole known as Red Sox shortstop. I think he deserves to be an All-Star this year.

As far as pitching goes, I don’t think any of the starters will make it to the All-Star game this year. The only one who has any chance is Felix Doubront. He has 6-2 record and a 3.75 ERA. His ERA seems to be shrinking with every start, and he’s only 24 years old. If he doesn’t make the All-Star team this year, he will make it in the future.

Scott Atchison deserves to make the All-Star team. In 31.1 innings of work this season, he has a .86 ERA and a .926 WHIP. He has been the Red Sox most reliable reliever, and that’s saying something considering the Sox’s bullpen as turned into one of its strengths.

Of course, these are just my opinions. No one will know who the All-Stars will be until they are announced they’re announced in July. We’ll see how many Red Sox players are actually All-Stars this season.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sometimes I Just Have To Shake My Head And Laugh

Did anyone watch “Intentional Talk” last Thursday with David Ortiz? I recorded it and watched it later Thursday night, and I couldn’t stop laughing! If you read my “Tweets of the Week” from Friday, you’ll find a bunch of tweets between Kevin Millar, David Ortiz, and Chris Rose. But those were just the beginning.

The segment started with a bang too! Coming back from a commercial break, the viewers were treated (or rather shocked) to see Kevin Millar wearing only an undershirt. And not just a regular, Hanes undershirt that you might expect to see in a Michael Jordan commercial, but it was an undershirt that looked like it had spaghetti straps. Ortiz was also wearing a tank top, and he burst out laughing when he saw Millar. Millar explained the undershirt and the sunglasses (yes, he put on sunglasses at this time, just like Ortiz) were because of the picture and tweets from Ortiz (again, see the tweets from Friday’s posts). Ortiz told Chris Rose that the show was going to be between Millar and him, and Rose was grateful for this. Ortiz told Millar that his own physique was for hitting “bombs” at Fenway, while Millar’s physique was from eating fried chicken. I couldn’t help but think that the “fried chicken” reference from associated with “chicken- and-beer-gate,” and maybe the whole thing started when Millar was on the team. Who knows.

Rose brought up Kevin Millar and Pedro Martinez’s “toast” at Fenway Park during the 100th Anniversary Celebration, and Rose asked Ortiz why he didn’t stop them when it started to get awkward (i.e. when Millar started saying “stop looking at me!”). Ortiz said that he was “two seconds” away from putting a stop to it, but he was stopped. If you didn’t get a chance to see the toast, please click on this link:

The next topic was Manny Ramirez. Millar started saying how he met Ramirez for lunch, and both Millar and Ortiz were commenting on how cheap Ramirez was. Millar said that Ramirez told him he forgot his wallet, and Ortiz said that Ramirez would always “get a phone call when the check came.” Then they started to discuss Ramirez being forty and needing “Just for Men.” Here’s the picture Millar showed of Manny:

Photo courtesy of

The final topic was the Red Sox pitcher’s hitting. Ortiz was asked which pitcher had the best swing, and since Ortiz has been watching the pitcher’s take batting practice lately, he delivered this analysis: I’ve been watching Bard- Daniel Bard. He looks like Reggie Jackson in (BP), but in the game he looks like Michael Jackson. Wow! Then Ortiz commented on Beckett’s almost-home-run-turned-longest-single-ever-hit against the Phillies.

Personally, I like watching “Intentional Talk” whenever possible because I think Kevin Millar and Chris Rose are hilarious, offer good insight, and their guests always seem to have a good time (during the off-season, there were many MLB players jumping into pools as sign-offs). The exchanges between Millar and Ortiz though were prieless.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Please enjoy this week’s tweets:

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
I definitely didn’t #WakeAndRake today… Thank god my teammates had my back! @RedSox #RedSoxNation

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Let’s go celtics!!!

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Let go Celtics let take it home….go Celtics stay green….34

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Good day to get over 500!!!!! See you guys at Fenway… go sox…34

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Dude I’m hitting 310 this is not Tbal….

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Up and at em today… Tim to get a workout in!

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
@middlebrooks no chance ur up at the field working out already!!

Jerry Remy (RemDawg) @Jerry_Remy
I can feel it- #RedSox will break .500 today- I’m wearing a positive energy bracelet someone gave me and things are looking up already!- Jerry

Ryan Sweeney @RyanSweeney12
It was great to be back on the field again yesterday. Let’s get above .500 today!!

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
I told the lasershow he can pick my walk out song when I come back so let’s see what he comes up with #RedSox

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Good predictions by me facing the best pitcher in the game!!!!!! Go sox 34

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Big win tonight!!! Atta boy @davidortiz with the big night!!!! #stud

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
Great team win tonight!! Off to get some sleep and get after it tomorrow! Be Blessed y’all!

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Exciting win tonight! #RedSox #keepgrinding

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Huge TEAM win tonight. This team plays with heart. #keepitrollin

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
Great win today! Byrdy was ABSOLUTELY clutch tonight!! HUGE HUGE CATCH!!!!

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
Called 24 hours in advance for a cab this morning at 7 15… Called and said wont be here til 7 30… Is it okay I am a little steamy?

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Took my oldest to ‘Bucks before school. She got frappe latte chocolate thing. I clearly don’t understand women.

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Hellow everyone getting ready to go to Fenway and try to sweep the Tigers now or never
go sox….34

Intentional Talk @IntentionalTalk
DH @davidortiz on Daniel Bard’s hitting ability: “He look like Reggie Jackson in (BP),
but in the game he looks like Michael Jackson.”

Andrew Bailey @AndrewBailey40
Thanks for all the Birthday wishes today! #FeelingTheLoveFromBeantown

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
The #RedSox need to find a nice time share for Franklin Morales to stay at when the team is at home. He and Fenway, not a good mix.

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Tough lost but good home stand, now off to Toronto for a 3 game set!! Keep the good baseball games rolling boys #gosox

Here are the tweets regarding Memorial Day from some Red Sox players:

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10Happy Memorial Day!

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
#HappyMemorialDay and thank you to all our soldiers who fight daily for our freedom! “American Soldier” by Toby Keith listen loud and proud!

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
A belated thanks to all the men and women who have n are serving this country allowing us the ability to have the freedoms we do. THANK YOU!

And finally, here are my favorite tweets of the week… they all have to do with David Ortiz and Kevin Millar wearing tank tops:

5/30Kevin Millar @KMillar15
I will give @davidortiz 2 hours to change his picture! Ur not a model, ur not good looking, but ur handsome #$$$$$

Chris Rose @ChrisRose
@KMillar15 @davidortiz says the man with his hand on the captain’s can in his photo.

David Ortiz @davidortiz
@KMillar15 Hahahaha new career after baseball don’t hate bird man

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Ok people I wasn’t trying to be sexy Im trying to show u how beautiful is my country…..lol34

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Ok enough is enough how u guys like this one?

David Ortiz @davidortiz

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Ok my tweeter friends it was great time looking at ur tweet now is time to get ready to go to Fenway and play the… much love 34

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
“@davidortiz: @KMillar15 Hahahaha new career after baseball don’t hat bird man”
There’s the baby face I miss! #MiNino #birdlips not man! Lol

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Sorry people for the under shirt! #badbody if you lost your lunch or dinner during interview I owe you!!! Except you @ChrisRose

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Getting ready for bed and passed a mirror once again in my tank top. My apologies to all who watched the show 2day! #cleanitupmillar #manboobs

Chris Rose @ChrisRose
@KMillar15 Phil Mickelson thought you looked nice in that shirt.

Here’s the link to the segment on “Intentional Talk” from Thursday with David Ortiz:

I highly recommend watching it for a good laugh.