the calendar hung itself
Okay, I admit it. I am nervous. I am on the proverbial ledge. That sweep at the hands of the Yankees bad touched me.
And if you, my best beloved Red Sox blogging comrades, if you should happen to find yourself feeling the same way, I can offer you one small piece of advice: go read the post you made on this exact day last year.
August 31, 2006: Well, it's reached a point where even fielding a nine-man roster every game is a moral victory.
This post mentions the then-just-recently circulating rumor that Jon Lester had cancer, commemorates the desperation that led to moving Batshit Tavarez to the starting rotation and name-checks the continued existence of Rudy Seanez.
(And if that's not enough, read the post you made the day our starting lineup was:
Coco Crisp (CF)
Alex Cora (SS)
Kevin Youkilis (LF) (!!!!) (#$&$*##@)
The Historic Second Half Swoon of Mike Lowell (3B)
Eric Hinske (RF)
Javy Lopez (C)
Carlos Pena (1B)
Dustin Pedroia When He Still Sucked (2B)
According to our recap, the most exciting thing that happened was watching Manny sitting in the dugout and laboring over eating a piece of gum.)
Crawling out of the Bronx clinging to a five-game lead has to be better than that, right? Right?
that said, i think mike barnicle would be an inspired choice
Say what you want about Clement -- who was signed after the Sox lost both Pedro Martínez and Derek Lowe -- but he's a professional pitcher (from here)
Actually what I want to say about Matt Clement is that he barely qualifies as a professional pitcher at this point. I think, given that he's being paid to be on the DL, he's a professional invalid. Someone get that boy a fainting couch. Another thing I want to say about Matt Clement is OH THANK GOD! he's available for the playoff roster. I mean, they'll probably use him to get Lester or the Mormon or someone on the roster, but some other article I can't find again totally implied that the Coffee Boy himself might be playing in the playoffs. Apparently that author was unaware that you can't pitch in playoff games if you're afraid of baseballs. Small technicality there.
I rant about Matt Clement in order to do something with the rage I've worked up watching this game. It's not quite as bad as last night's game, I guess, but still. Also, re: last night's game, kelly says that she thought there was no one she'd rather see homer less than Jeter and then Damon taught her differently (which, outside of teaching his children that cheating on their mother with a stripper was the best decision he ever made* is possibly the only thing the neanderthal has ever taught anyone). It reinforces the idea that Jeter has intangibles and that Damon isn't a broken man, because at least at this point she's come to accept ARod's homers the way you accept natural disasters. (...speaking of: FUCK! You know what shouldn't have happened? Beckett coming in for the 7th after 118 pitches. You'd think our bullpen was some box of lepers. Ugh.)
But back to tonight's game, two things about the telecast--
1. I love that Remy and DonO talked obsessively about Clemens' no-hitter. Jinx away, boys, jinx away.
2. It's sad that Remy has become the kind of announcer who gets really excited when he actually has something to say that's relevant to the game rather than just claptrap about RSN and the like. When he was analyzing the Varitek-Beckett botched play at first, he was SO enthusiastic it was like he was a different person.
Since the game continues to be abortion, some distractions for you in the form of audience participation:
a. Sometimes we play a game called "Who's your Dontrelle Willis?" where we name the players (usually pitchers) from other teams we secretly fantasize about having on the Sox. kelly's Dontrelle Willis is Eric Bedard (though sadly he was scratched from his next start due to an oblique injury). My Dontrelle Willis is usually Dontrelle Willis, but lately it's been Johan Santana (mmmm...firey!) So, kids, who's YOUR Dontrelle Willis?
b. kelly is worried that our tendency to call JD Drew "Nancy" and make cheap jokes about PMS when he takes his time off is a sign of our latent, socialized misogyny. Please weigh in with either your thoughts on our feminist dilemma or a cheap joke about Nancy's time of the month.
c. MIKE TIMLIN IS HOLDING HIS JACKET IN HIS TEETH. There's nothing for you to do there, just marvel.
d. Please provide your own rant about Matt Clement in either haiku, sonnet, or a foreign language.*To protect me from the rage of Michelle Damon, she may not be a stripper, but he totally did say that she was his best decision in that stupid book about her.
this weekend was the equivilent to sending our offense to a nice spa or something
After a four-game assassination in which the Red Sox offense out-scored the White Sox 46-7, I thought it might be fun to concentrate on the performance of the four starters. When your team scores fourteen runs (fourteen runs on Saturday, and none on homers!) you figure you coulda sent the batboy out on the mound and gotten the win, but there was some good stuff going on there amidst the offensive explosion:
Game 1: Josh Fucking Beckett
Pitching Line: 5.2IP, 7H, 3ER, 1HR, 3BB, 4SO
Probably Celebrated His Win By: skull-fucking a water cooler and listening to some "angry" DMB tunes ("Don't Drink the Water"?) as this was a pretty rough outing. Here's the thing, though -- there's a lot of talk lately about how best beloved Beckett is the "true ace" of the 2007 team, and I actually think this lousy outing cinched it. In the top of the first inning, issuing those three walks in a row, Beckett had nothing, and it seemed like we were in for a 1.2 inning, 7 run nightmare start that would have the bullpen grabbing their collective ankles. But your ace? Your ace is the guy who says, "Okay, I've got nothing today. But now I've got to figure out a way to keep us in the game." So cheer up, Beckett kid, because it's craaaaaazy how you make it aaaaaall alright.
Game 2: Curt Schilling's Hair
Pitching Line: 6.0IP, 3H, 1ER, 1HR, 1BB, 3SO
Probably Celebrated His Win By: looking at real estate in Tampa.
Game 3: Tim "Look Out, Cy Young" Wakefield
Pitching Line: 7.0IP, 3H, 0ER, 0HR, 2BB, 6SO
Probably Celebrated His Win By: balancing his checkbook, doing strength and conditioning exercises with Dougie, drinking a Michelob Ultra, etcetera. Tim Wakefield knows that you doubted that he could dominate a team whose name doesn't rhyme with "Revil Days," and he feels sorry for you. He takes his badassery just like he takes the occasions he gets shelled: in stride.
Game 4: Batshit Tavarez the Carnie King
Pitching Line: 6.0IP, 2H, 1ER, 1 HR, 3BB, 7SO
Probably Celebrated His Win By: rubbing Manny's head for good luck, playing a couple games of Skeeball, buying powdered rhino horn online, showing up late for his part-time gig on the traveling carnie circuit, saying, "Sorry, boss, had to stay late and kick ass at my day job." With Batshit, who knows, it's all fair game.
1: I need to tell you guys a secret. After two weekends of Fox broadcast, the There's Only One October! ad campaign is growing on me a teeny, tiny bit. I'm sorry, but any commercial that includes footage from the 2004 ALCS cannot be all bad. Dane Cook is a huge douche, but what if they'd gotten Dennis Leary instead? I mean, Dennis Leary is a huge douche, too, but he's earned the right to be a douche, you know?
2: Speaking of the Fox broadcast, the tendency toward Jeter ball-washing and giving Tim McCarver a paycheck aside, at least Joe Girardi actually talks about baseball during a, y'know, baseball game. I love Remy and Don-O like my next door neighbors, but the giggle-fests are starting to wear on me, and I think they are in danger of losing their minds a bit early this season, NESN may have to go to the bullpen for announcers who still remember how to speak in complete sentences by mid-September. Blah blah president of Red Sox Nation blah fan sign referencing the air guitar incident blah GYRO BALL BLAH.
3: Ozzie Guillen is obviously in no danger of losing his mind, it's already too late. And I seriously thought he was going to rush the mound while his own team was pitching during the eighth inning on Saturday. If Ozzie becomes the first manager to start an on-the-field brawl with his own team before the season is over, I will not be least bit surprised.
4: I'm watching the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast of the Mets/Dodgers game to see if the corpse of David Wells can still get it over the plate, and, uh, I admit I have been frustrated from time to time with the Red Sox with runners in scoring position, but the next time the Sox squander runners on first and third with nobody out, I am going to think about the Dodgers, because, Jesus Christ.
5: I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the absolute highlight of the weekend, bringing in Papelbon just to get some work for the ninth inning of a 11-1 blowout. I can only assume that Papelbon had to inject some of the Carnie King's Red Bull directly into his pulmonary artery in order to get the adrenaline flowing properly -- whatever he did, it worked, because he struck out the side, allowing him to continue to his march toward a space time continuum bending 31K/9.
it's not funny because it's still true
Second verse, same as the first:
also known as every girlfriend josh beckett has ever had
It's been at least a couple weeks since our beautiful best beloved blogsake did something batshit balls-out crazy. But the wait is over! Nick Cafardo wants you to know that Jonathan Papelbon wants you to know that he's got a new pitch. It's called the slutter:
He threw Jonny Gomes a "slutter." That's what Jonathan Papelbon calls his new pitch -- a combination cut fastball and slider.This news narrowly edges out my co-workers and I leaving a get well card for Mike Mussina on our resident Yankee fan co-worker's desk as the best thing that's happened to me this morning. Because: THE SLUTTER.
(It reminds me of 2004, when our household decided that Alan Embree looked like the kind of guy who killed hookers at truck stops for fun, and how this was probably common knowledge around clubhouse, but that young wide-eyed Bronson Cornroyo would say, whenever he heard Embree and Timlin chuckling over Embree's exploints, "What's a hooker? Is that a kind of pitch?" Obviously, in this situation, it would be Jon Lester, peering out from under the souvenir sundae cup helmet he wears as a ball cap, saying, "What's a slutter? Is that a pitch?"
Okay, wait a second … long, tangential story reaching logical conclusion … mental image of Jon Lester with white boy cornrows … central nervous system shutting down …)
In other news, with last night's overpowering four-out effort, Papelbon became the first pitcher in Red Sox history to notch two 30 save seasons. I guess anything's possible when you just concentrate on mowing your own lawn.
about last night
I was really, really nervous about last night's game. Re-arranging the rotation and giving the Carnie King a spot start so that Wake could have his home field advantage at the Trop seemed like a dangerous move, given that merciful Allah seems to kind of hate the Red Sox right now, especially when they do things to try to win ball games. That sort of presumption to tempt fate had me fully prepared for Wake to give up 14 runs in 2 and 2/3rds innings, and never mind what would happen to Kevin Cash, but it would end with him waving a white flag from the visiting dugout, having chased after his nineteenth passed ball.
But apparently there is no stopping Tim Wakefield in the House that Juice Built. Seven shut-out innings on seventy-seven pitches! He appears to have come out after seven because he was bored, or he promised Dougie that they'd do strength and conditioning exercises together or something. [*] If you'd told me at the beginning of this season that there would come a time when Tim Wakefield and Josh Beckett were part of a three-way tie for most wins in the American League? Um. What?
* Yes, I know he came out because he said his back was tightening up. We can't talk about it. GOD MIGHT HEAR YOU.
we now join our weekend v. the angels, already in progress
Gagne: is pwnded.
Dougie: stud who limps home.
Wily Mo: stud who limps off to the Nationals.
But anyway, I mean, I get it now. God said, "You guys can have one bad-ass closer and one guy who's good enough that he'd probably be the closer on most other teams, but you can't have three closers. It's greedy." And now we're being punished. But it's fucking Lucy and the football with Gagne at this point, some kind of bad nightmare that I accidentally keep catching in re-runs and I want it to stop.
Also, I hate K-Rod. The next person who claims that Papelbon showboats after a save needs to be forced to watch 10,000 K-Rod save celebrations. he practically whips it out right there on the mound.
Manny: is pwned for most of the game but then gets jealous and decides he wants to pwn too.
Schill: is old.
Tek: is no spring chicken either, but somehow manages to catch 26 (!!!) innings in 24 hours.
Also, hey! ERIC HINSKE HAS A MOHAWK. Because nothing says "I am totally comfortable with being a new father" like MOHAWK!
UM. CLUTCH, COME-FROM-BEHIND OFFENSE, IS THAT YOU?
eight thoughts before we all settle in for eighteen innings of baseball
1. Katie and I were at Wednesday afternoon's game, and even we don't want to talk about it.
2. Except, okay, one thing: it was quickly forgotten when it was all for naught, but how impressive was Lugo's eleven-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the ninth? I'm knocking on wood with one hand and typing with the other, but could the corner finally be turned?
3. After the game, we were musing about Katie's love of the creepy, Heathers-esque Dawn Timlin/Shonda Schilling friendship:
Katie: Sometimes, I think that when Mike Timlin dies, or when everyone finally realizes he's dead, that Dawn Timlin--4. I've done the math, and Clay Buchholz makes baby-faced Jon Lester look like the zombie Mike Timlin.
Kelly: Will start pitching for the Red Sox?
Katie:No, I was going to say, Dawn Timlin will become Curt Schilling's second wife, like on Big Love.
Kelly: Oh, good point.
5. He's also apparently allergic to ketchup?
6. My other favorite thing about that article is that he and Jacoby are roommates. I imagine that entertainment in that apartment involves Clay throwing his change-up at Jacoby when he's walking from the kitchen to the bathroom and Jacoby sprinting out of the way before the ball hits him in the face.
7. One more story about Wednesday afternoon's game that's not about Manny striking out -- we were there with a rare breed not often seen in the wild, a Devil Rays fan. At one point, I mockingly said, "No, I understand. Some of my best friends are Devil Rays fans. It's not their fault. They were just born that way." And the woman in front of me turned around and said, "You spend a lot of time hanging out with twelve year olds?"
8. But seriously, am I the only one who starts getting PTSD flashbacks just thinking about the Jimmy Fund Telethon double header? Last year's was pretty much the worst day of my summer, and keep in mind, I spent most of last summer attempting to date a Yankees fan. It's a good thing that experiment had run its course by mid-August of last year, otherwise I might have jumped off a ledge or something.
here comes captain varitek!
* Jon Lester throws seven (!!) innings of one-run ball.
* Eric Gagne strikes out the side in the ninth and (irony of ironies) gets the win.
* Manny makes the first out of the ninth, and the game-tying and walk-off heroics to fall to Mike Lowell, Jason Varitek and Coco Crisp.
I LOVE THIS ALTERNATE UNIVERSE.
tonight, the role of the stopper will be played by tim wakefield
2. Lugo? In the ... clutch?
3. Speaking of Lugo, I approve of his continued attempts to maim opposing pitchers with balls put into play. Remember when he broke Jeff Karstens' leg? That and the walk-off error on Mother's Day were the only two things that kept me from trying to have a hit put out on him the first three months of the season.
4. Papelbon pitches a near instructional video styled 9th, effectively saying, "That is how it is motherfucking done in this motherfucking house, Gagne. Now do you think you can find your supposedly filthy stuff or do you need both hands and a flashlight?"
1. I am generally supportive of Tito Francona. You wanna bat JD Drew in the lead-off spot? Fine. You show your confidence in tight spots by wanna rock and forth like Rain Man? Great. You wanna marry Javier Lopez? Sure. BUT WHY MUST YOU CONTINUE TO PLAY ALEX CORA, ERIC HINSKE AND DOUG MIRABELLI ON THE SAME NIGHT? Since July 1, Dazzler's manservant has made nine starts. In four of those games, both Cora and Hinske have also been in the starting lineup. For a team that's been sort of, uh, offensively bulimic, is it really a good idea to effectively wave a white flag with your lineup card? Seriously?
2. Baltimore runs out of come-from-behind gas, allowing a walk-off performance from Captain Intangibles. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Must have been the lingering scent of oakmoss and chilled grapefruit.
happiness canceled at camden this weekend
ERIC GAGNE MUST BE STOPPED.
i'm in ur infield fielding all ur balls
I know Katie hates lolcats like she hates Matt Clement, but it's almost two-thirty in the morning, so this is all I've got about tonight's four-plus hour throw down:
I dragged the little twelve-inch television we stash in the dining room into my bedroom for the last of the regular season west coast games, and let the record show that when little Dusty muscled out the go-ahead home run in the seventh, I was sitting up in bed making victory arms. And that was after he'd made at least three big-inning-saving catches, including an unassisted double play. Dustin Pedroia's basically the only thing right now between me and an ulcer. And thank fucking Allah, even with the Yanks loss sometime earlier in this 329-year-long night, this game was starting to sickeningly feel like a line in the sand. But now we can all live to chew our nails another day.
Like most of you, I plan to spend the off-day asleep.
weekend at safeco
I started out keeping a running diary of Friday night's game, figuring it would help keep me awake. Sometime in the bottom of the seventh inning, I wrote "time for me to lie facedown on the couch for a little bit" and never recovered. It ended up being too depressing to post, but salvageable bits include:
* I forget every time, but Ichiro's ass-out batting stance is hilarious. Worse than Jeter.
* Has anyone else noticed how Julio Lugo runs with his arms stick-straight and his fingers pointing toward the ground? He looks like a kid who's been told not to run with scissors who's trying to prove he can run with them safely.
* If you've never been to Safeco Field, the train station really is right across from the ballpark, which explains the frequent train whistling in the background of the broadcast. I spent a lot of miserable hours stuck there when I was in college. Stuck like a member of the Red Sox on base in scoring position.
* This feels like the 1,622nd double play Manny's grounded into this year, Remy assures me it is only the sixteenth. Whoo fucking hoo.
Chad Finn had a great line once about how Derek Jeter deserves a lifetime award for making routine plays look difficult. I'm prepared at this point to give Daisuke Matsuzaka this season's "Making 7 Inning, 2 Run, 6 Hit, 10 K Outings Look Like They Could Dissolve to Getting Completely Shellacked at Any Time" award. But to dwell on this point would mean ignoring the real issue here, which is that Huit-Trois and Cinco-Ocho are clearly locked in some kind of to-the-death competition to see which of them can induce the most heart attacks amongst the fan base in a single inning. I, for one, would very much appreciate it if they'd keep it between themselves and just start playing Russian Roulette in the bullpen or something.
You know, for all my frothing at the mouth about how this team has been running the bases like a bunch of drunk BU sorority girls pretending they're trying to elude the amorous advances of Josh Beckett, and how you can never tell if the third reincarnation of the corpse of Mike Timlin is going to be a good zombie or a bad zombie, and how Jonathan Papelbon insists on using my blood pressure levels for his own personal amusement, it is sometimes important to be reminded that the Red Sox did not end up with the best record in Major League Baseball because the other 31 teams failed to show up for spring training. This game was (eventually) a pretty good reminder.
* Katie passes along that she was in attendance at Wednesday's game, fittingly there for the Julian the Carnie King's (hopeful) last hurrah. Her: "We heckled Nick Markakis a lot." Me: "Why?" Her: "Because we were sitting in right field." Me: "No, why did you heckle him?" Her: "I don't know. He has a stupid name. You know how I can hold a grudge about that kind of thing." Her seatmates also sound AMAZING, including a woman who smuggled nips of Captain Morgan into the game in her bra (!!!) and an Orioles fan who had some kind of epic meltdown, ranting about how if they had a half-decent bullpen, they'd be better than the Red Sox. The depressing thing is that he's not totally wrong. They've already got one on us, their manager looks like Shatner!
* In case you missed it, please to note this article about the blogsake's reaction to the Gagne trade, in which he reaffirms his title as God's Chosen Gift to Hyperbole, and Gordon Edes reminds us that he's still one of baseball's biggest bargains.
* Tomorrow, we get to see how the biggest deal of the deadline -- the Red Sox trade Curt Schilling for … Curt Schilling -- plays out.