Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
yes, i did import the baseballmusings.com day-to-day database into an excel spreadsheet, why do you ask?In honor of tonight's magic number, two things:
ONE: Mike Lowell! This is just your friendly reminder that there is no such thing as a late jumper on the NDRaPRSFftEMRSoML bandwagon. Everyone's welcome!
TWO: Dustin Pedroia! Here is the thing: Pedroia is a table-setter, not a home run hitter. He does, however, have eight homers on the season. He hit number eight tonight, first batter in the sixth inning, breaking a 5-5 tie to give the Sox the lead for good. And as I watched the Mighty Mite ball sail up toward the Monster seats, I said to myself, "Self, why does it feel like we've been here before?"
It's hard to talk about clutch hitting without sounding like a Derek Jeter panty-sniffer, but the fact remains that eight times this year, Dustin Pedroia has hit a home run, and six times he produced either the tying or go-ahead run:
May 8: Breaks a 1-1 tie in the second inning, although the game would later go on to be a rout.
May 27: Solo shot in the top of the ninth to make the score 6-4 (the 234,356 pitch at-bat against then-Ranger Eric Gagne), would later go on to be the difference-maker when Okajima allowed a run in the bottom of the inning.
June 15: Ties the game at 2 in the bottom of the first inning in another game that would end up being a lopsided win.
July 16: Solo shot for the first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth.
August 8: During the epic game against the Angels where the lead changed hands 426 times during the first six innings, is the first batter in the top of the seventh inning, hits a solo shot to take the lead for good.
August 18: Okay, this was pure stat-padding, a solo shot to make a 7-4 game an 8-4 game in the bottom of the eighth.
September 11: The seven-run deficit comeback game against the Devil Rays. First batter in the sixth inning, hits a solo shot to tie.
September 26: Aforementioned tie-breaking solo shot against the As.
So what have we learned here?
1. This is an incredibly small sample size, and should not be taken as an attempt to prove the existence of clutch hitting. I wouldn't want Fire Joe Morgan to try and confiscate my Blogger account.
2. That said, the Red Sox are 8-0 on the season when the Mighty Mite hits a home run.
3. Dustin Pedroia is your AL Rookie of the Year.
another fight to win, another ass to kickOf course, we have all seen the best beloved blogsake on the cover of this week's issue of Sports Illustrated, and of course we all immediately crossed ourselves and said, "Get thee behind me, Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx!" and then, of course, we all ran across the street to the big chain bookstore of immediate proximity to try and obtain a copy to put up at our desks next to infamous stare-of-God Improper Bostonian cover. Uh, okay, maybe those last two parts were just me. However, let's discuss the photographs that accompany the Tom Verducci article, particularly this one:
Unclear who decided that sepia tone was the way to go here, but the resulting effect is that this is the portrait that was painted after Jonathan Robert Papelbon was named our 49th president, a fateful event that I now await with a mixture of unbridled anticipation and unbridled terror.
Oh, also? THREE.
Monday, September 24, 2007
well, the cubs have had a 1.5 game lead over the brewers for, like, three weeks, right?1. Still looking for that pesky "fast-forward reality" button.
2. Well, at least the Red Sox save some of their more maddening losses for Sundays (the bases loaded Big Papi pop-up against Rivera last week, one-run loss to the freakin' Devil Rays yesterday, with a side of Wake's flesh-eating suck disease continuing to rage despite a direct application of the Tropicana Field treatment). If I wasn't able to simultaneously balance those games out with stompings by the Patriots, I'd probably be in jail/passed out in a gutter somewhere. That Randy Moss, he's doing God's work. He helps his own team win games, and he's kept legions of Red Sox fans distracted enough that they haven't started killing themselves en masse.
3. Which is not to say that Josh Beckett is not doing his part to keep me off the ledge. When I think about Josh Beckett getting (extra) cocky and going on a post-season tear, I have to reach for the smelling salts.
4. Throughout the season, I have allowed myself to be soothed with various statistical projections of win percentage. You know, blah blah if the Sox play .500 ball for the rest of the season, the Yankees would still have to go on some kind of crazy tear to catch them. And, well, we saw how that worked out. On Saturday, someone pointed out that if the Sox went 4-3 over their last seven games, the Yankees would have to go 7-1 over their last eight games to tie for the division, and I thought "Hey, that's totally do-able!" I was an idiot. It's clear to me now that the Yankees are not going to lose another game this season. The Sox are going to have to go similarly undefeated or someone is going to have to give Jorge Posada bird flu.
5. I keep telling myself: no matter what happens, there will be baseball at Fenway in October. Sometimes it helps. Especially when I'm also thinking about Randy Moss.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
mujer al borde de un ataque de nerviosDid you know that the Red Sox traded three players to obtain Eric Gagne? That number may sound familiar to you because THAT'S HOW MANY RUNS HE GAVE UP WITH TWO OUTS LAST NIGHT.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
rooting for the red sox: it's like being in a clinical trial where you don't know you're being constantly taken on and off antidepressantsSitting on the couch at Katie's neighborhood bar on Sunday night, a beer in one hand, a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomatoes in the other, watching the Patriots score their first touchdown out of one eye and the Red Sox score their first run out of the other, I thought, "Okay, this is it, I can die happy. This is total sporting nirvana."
Unfortunately, for true enlightenment to be reached, the Red Sox would have had to go on to win their game. Even a fairly mundane win would have been acceptable, they didn't need to produce the kind of definitive steal-your-lunch-money victory that the Patriots put up. But, like many people, I was able to be philosophical about the Red Sox hard-luck loss on Sunday night, probably because the pleasure center of my little sports fan lab rat brain had already been repeatedly pushed by Randy Moss.
Then the Red Sox lost the hangover game to the Blue Jays and the Yankees remembered that they know how to beat the Orioles, and I just -- I've hit the point in the season where I just want to know HOW IT'S GOING TO END. If I could, I would turn a fast-forward button on reality right now, and I don't care if Clay Buchholz throws three more no-hitters, if Big Papi hits a homerun so hard in the sixth inning that it circles the earth in time to produce a walk-off win in the ninth, if Papelbon gets bored with striking out batters and openly starts moose-hunting on the mound, if Manny ever starts playing again, if they call off the AL Rookie of the Year race and just give it to Dustin Pedroia in the top half of the third inning of an afternoon game against the Devil Rays, I would give up being able to see it all and go back and read the highlights on boston.com if I could just fast-forward to Wednesday, October 3 and find out which four American League teams are playing each other and in what match-ups. And maybe that makes me a bad fan of the game, but the GAME IS BAD TOUCHING ME RIGHT NOW.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
all i have on my tv are mannings. no wonder i'm nauseatedLast night, we went to see Superbad instead of watching the game because we couldn't take the stress. Afterwards, we hovered outside the window of the Beantown Pub waiting for a FOX game break to end so we could see the score. Then the game came back and it took FOREVER for them to put the score back up and I think we looked like crazy cokeheads or something. Especially with our jubilant celebrations upon final reveal of the score.
And now I will sit back and enjoy the phrase "first to 19 wins" and "Cy Young contender" while remembering how awesome it is when Giambi gets drilled. Mmmmmm... To help, have the following links.
This utterly wonderful New York Times article which is about both Beckett and Pap and includes the following awesome items:
1. "Josh Beckett gripped a baseball while he relaxed on a couch in the Red Sox clubhouse and watched a show about deer hunting."
2. "While Beckett is the Red Sox’s No. 1 starter" mmmm...suck it Schill. Tito's careful to say that Beckett pitched "like an ace", but the NYT is the paper of record. (Interestingly, I've seen Tito's quote 3 times now in 3 different variations: "like an ace of the staff," (NYT) "like the ace of a staff," (Herald and "like the ace of the staff." (Newsday) I wonder which is accurate.)
The Herald article is a bit disjointed, but has some nice quotes from Beckett in re: Hinske.
And the Newsday article which proves that-- much like his win record-- I care way more about Beckett's status as ace than he does: "That means you start Opening Day," he responded so matter-of-factly that his lips barely moved. "You only do that one time."
Saturday, September 15, 2007
can i ask tito some questions about the chargers now?I have this friend who is a huge Eagles fan, and when they lost the NFC championship game a few years ago, he reportedly kicked a hole in his wall and then stayed in his room for 24 straight hours without leaving to use the bathroom or eat.
I tell this story because it was what kelly referenced to describe her mood when I texted her in the 8th inning last night and also to remind me that it's not only Boston fans that are completely psychotic. Even though, as kelly said this morning, what else are we supposed to do? Get killed by the T? Get shot in Dorchester? Stay inside 6 months of the year? It's no wonder Boston fans look for reasons to be suicidal.
Seriously though, we are angry. I know it's irrational, but we are angry and stressed. kelly barely slept and my first thought upon waking was "6 RUNS! That's canonically not supposed to happen." Because that's the key here-- that's not supposed to happen. Okajima and Papelbon are NOT SUPPOSED to blow a 5-run lead against the Yankees. And if, through some black magic, that actually happens? Well, then ANYTHING can happen.
This weekend was already sports stressful enough-- the Yankees, the importance to us of Josh Beckett having a better win record than Wong, our vital need for the Chargers to get beaten like little bitches so hopefully every game this season won't be a referendum on the Pats "questionable" methods, the issue of Pats-Chargers and Sox-Yankees happening at the same time, etc. If I now have to worry about our dreamy rockstar bullpen blowing leads I may lose my entire grip on reality.
Additionally, losing last night means we can't use any of our really classy "the problem with the Yankees is that suck disease is sexually transmitted" jokes this morning.
What we're mostly hoping is that the Higher Power saw that Huit-Trois appears to be back to form (that scoreless 9th was nice) and, still angry about our 3-closer situation, did something to Okajima's mojo. I mean, this sucks for Oki, but is recoverable for the team as a whole. And since today's game is going to get rained out per all weather reports I've come across (kelly, it may be time to break out that rain dance we did back in 2004), maybe our sadly blown bullpen will get some rest and Beckett can teach Papelbon how to light some drapes on fire to deal with his anger, since as Lowell understated, "I think you can say he probably wasn't too happy." (from here)
On an up note, the New York Times had this little piece on Jacoby, though calling him a cult hero already may be a bit much.
Friday, September 14, 2007
11--obviously, my favorite moment during Big Papi's seemingly slow-motion walk-off performance on Wednesday night was Jonathan Papelbon on the top step of the dugout, looking like a kid who'd stayed up all night on Christmas Eve and actually managed to catch Santa Claus with his hand in the cookie jar (priceless screenshot of Papelbon's wooaaa he does exist expression here).
Best beloved blogging friends, I am full of mixed emotions. I am excited that the Sox were able to make up a seven-run deficit on Tuesday night, and I’m nervous that they allowed themselves to fall seven runs down to the Devil Rays. I'm hopeful that good energy will flow from the Sox having produced a walk-off win and the Yankees having suffered a walk-off loss in each of their most recent games, but I also remember what happened when the Sox swept into New York having just pillaged the White Sox for four games straight. Is this the calm before the storm, or should I put my faith in PECOTA, declare the division fated and recognize that this is actually just the messy debris after the storm? Should I wish for a camera in the visiting dugout so I might see Joe Torre's face should Joba the Hutt finally give up a fucking earned run already, or should I still be wary of the fallout from Tapegate?
I took a career matchmaking quiz yesterday, and quiz said that career that is fourth most appropriately suited to my interests is sports psychologist. I’m really excited about my future prospects:
Kelly: Let's talk about what brings you to anger management counseling today.
Josh Beckett: [lights drapes on fire]
Kelly: What do you think caused your phobia of baseballs, did your father throw a baseball at you as a child?
Matt Clement: [cries]
Kelly: So, uh, what brings you here today, especially given that it's been scientifically proven that you're currently the most psychologically dominant closer in major league baseball?
Jonathan Papelbon: [glares]
Jonathan Papelbon: [collects save]
Jonathan Papelbon: [fist pump]
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
warning: in the bullpen, jonathan papelbon [*]I'm not talking about last night, because it never happened. You hear me? NEVER HAPPENED. When Tito fills out a lineup card that looks more appropriate for a celebrity wiffleball tournament (and not even a high-profile one, but one that was happening in Worcester or something), I can only assume that there was not actually a baseball game last night. No game? No problem!
There was a game on Sunday, and lo, it was awesome. Assorted notes:
 We decided that Mormon boy Jacoby Ellsbury should use "Goodie Two-Shoes" by Adam Ant for his batting music for the "don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?" part.
 Camden Yard was even more overrun with Sox fans than it appears on television, and was every bit a magical wonderland of a ballpark as advertised. It was sort of like the Disneyland of ballparks: everything was clean and shiny, the beer was dirt-cheap, there were crab cakes the size of my head and the air smelled like cotton candy and angel's wings, but it would be weird to live there every day.
 When Guthrie came out of the game with an injury, the curious choice was made to play "Just Like Heaven" by the Cure over the loudspeakers. This may have led us to make up a mean-spirited song that may have started with, "Show me, show me, show me how you do that trick, how you give up thirty runs a game, how you lose by 15 to the Devil Rays," but I can neither confirm nor deny.
 Josh Beckett is a golden god.
 Early in the game, I said that if JD Drew got a hit, I would yell "Yeaaaah, Nancy!" in a really obnoxious Masshole accent. So that went over well, I think.
 Upon learning the final score of the Patriots game from the closed-circuit television: "That's a little bitch score."
[*] The display actually read, "Warming in the bullpen: Jonathan Papelbon." k8 either misread it or uncovered a greater psychological truth about teams doomed to face Cinco-Ocho in the ninth inning.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
at least at gitmo you get to hang out with jerry riceWe're in Baltimore and since leaving Boston, we've seen 5 items of Red Sox apparel and met two plains clothes Red Sox fans. We've seen absolutly nothing to remind us that the Orioles exist.
Tthere was talk of going to last night's game, but we ended up paying people to jab us with needles for an hour or so instead. And, as evidenced by the series of text messages exchanged by kelly and cspan, we're pretty sure we made the less agonizingly painful decision:
Do you think we can start a rumor that Dice K is a terrorist & get him shipped to Gitmo?
8:08PM Sat, Sep 8
According to NESN, Dice K's ERA this month is 12.36?
8:20PM Sat, Sep 8
Before the third inning it was 4-1 Sox. Now it's the top of the 4th it's 8-4 Orioles and Carnie King had to finish the last batter for DK after he loaded the bases, walked in two runs, and Hobbs hits a grand slam off him. Abortion.
8:28PM Sat, Sep 8
Abortion indeed actually kind of glad I can't find a tv.
8:30PM Sat, Sep 8
People aren't supposed to start Dice K. I thought you guys knew that. I'm going to start drinking now.
8:32PM Sat, Sep 8
We are getting tattoos, sounds less painful than this game.
9:41PM Sat, Sep 8
11-5 final. I want to kill something just to watch it die.
Seriously. We are going to today's game and since kelly told me repeatedly that Beckett would think I was a pansy if I backed out of the tattoo, he really better come through for me. And when I say "come through for me" I'd pretty much be equally okay with a win OR a seventh-inning attack on Kevin Millar's head.
Friday, September 07, 2007
if you strike me down, i shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine
* On July 28, Jonathan Papelbon blew a save against the Devil Rays. I was at a bar, attending a going away party for one of my favorite people in the whole world but, because I am a bastard, still monitoring the game out of the corner of my eye, so it was a real struggle to be like "yeah, uh-huh, so when do you guys get the keys to the new apartment?" when what I was thinking was "GOD DAMMIT. FUCKING GOMES. WHAT IF THIS IS THE START OF A SECOND-HALF SLIDE? HOW WILL I FUNCTION? AM I TO DIE IN MY BED?" Fortunately for me (and everyone who has to come in contact with me), Paps appears to have taken this performance to heart. Since July 28, he has pitched 14 and 2/3 innings, during which he has allowed one hit, zero runs, struck out 24 and walked four. Also, he would like to remind you that he is still a fucking Jedi, okay? (See above.)
Continued Conversations with Pap & Tito: September 6, 2007:
Pap: Tito, did you see me tonight? Fourth appearance in five days and I was still gas, man.
Pap: [fist pump x 4]
Pap: If there'd been a double header today, I totally could've pitched both games, right?
Tito: But we didn't have a double header today.
Pap: Yeah, but, I'm just saying--
Tito: Jesus Christ.
Pap: C'mon! Apparently I gotta raise my VORP by 6.4 points if I wanna be the most statistically dominant closer in baseball.
Tito: Do you even understand what you just said?
Pap: Not a clue.
Pap: [fist pumps]
* Clay Buchholtz wants you to know that he will be fetching all of Tim Wakefield's wins for him for the time being. Wake is totally cool with this, by the way, he is going to use the extra time off to help Dougie develop a strength and conditioning routine that is slightly more exhaustive than "pick up chicken parm, deliver to mouth, repeat."
* As Katie mentioned in the previous post, we are taking the Papel-blogging, NDRaPRSFftEMRSoML-supporting, all-singing, all-dancing, all-Miller-High-Life-drinking show on the road this weekend and taking in our first game at Fenway South on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully things will work out better than when we saw a game on my birthday last year.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
unrelatedly, i am about to make some football picks and i am so excitedThings Learned Last Night From the Fans in Fenway, RF Box #92
1. "Mike Lowell is really tearing it up."
This is completely true, as all members of NDRaPRSFftEMRSoML know. Speaking of, members should be aware that buttons will be forthcoming (basic, "contract year? what contract year?", and "muy sexy" (even though kelly thinks bringing sexiness into it lowers the discourse) variety) as soon as we return from Baltimore. Also, here's the latest from The Globe
2. "No one really likes JD Drew."
Also true. On the way from Fenway to Hynes, some hopped-up-on-victory Toronto fan shouted "JD Drew sucks!" and the response was "We all think JD Drew sucks, too!" followed by an impromptu "JD DREW SUCKS!" chant. I could only have been prouder if everyone called him "Nancy."
3. "You're in the same building as Matt Clement."
I don't know, maybe he was working the Dunkin Donut stand? I heard the hot chocolate machine was broken-- maybe he thought it might start throwing balls at his head.
4. "Matt Stairs! Lives in Bangor, Maine!"
The delightful gentlemen behind us were from Bangor and reminded us that Matt Stairs lives there with his every at-bat. I think that Matt Stairs and Bangor, Maine are probably a perfect match.
5. "Curt Schilling is a 5 inning pitcher!"
This line was repeated too many times to actually be funny, but really. I'll just say that when I got distracted by the Yankees going ahead when the score was changed between the 5th and the 6th, it worked out well because it kept me from noticing that they sent the Old Man back in for the 6th. At least he didn't get the W. And yes, yes, I know that hating him makes me a bad person, and I promise to stop doing it as soon as he moves to Tampa Bay.
6. Alex Rios has found a new life partner.
For real, man, this Braves fan behind us was SUPER PUMPED about Alex Rios, categorizing his feelings for him as love. In the bottom of the 9th, when no one was really cheering, he started screaming for Rios and he totally got the acknowledging chest pound in return. With that kind of encouragement, he proceded to shout his love for Rios for a good five minutes straight-- Rios looked a bit uncomfortable with the attention, but I'm pretty sure he was just being coy. He definitely smiled when the guy shouted "You're better than JD Drew."
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
still worked on that 32K/9SEPTEMBER 4, 2007
Tina Cervasio: Jonathan, for the first time this season, you pitched in three straight games. How did you and Terry Francona and John [Farrell], how did you come to that decision?
Jonathan Papelbon: Uh, a lot of begging by me, I tell you what.
APRIL 20, 2007
Pap: Tito, my man! It's Sox/Yankees, man! This is the stuff that gets your blood boilin' and your heart poundin' and you just wanna, you know, it just makes you wanna--
Pap: [starts spontaneously fist-pumping]
Tito: Sit down.
Tito: You pitched yesterday, you pitched two days ago. You know the rules. We talked about this. Besides, it's freakin' April.
Pap: ... C'mon.
Pap: [makes world's saddest little fist pump]
MAY 27, 2007
Pap: So, hey, I was thinking--
Tito: Do you want to end up like Mike Timlin? Do you want to start every season on the DL?
Pap: Dude, that guy's scary.
JUNE 4, 2007
Pap: Tito, listen, I can't do this. It's not me. It's not who I am. I can't sit here and not get into games when I need to get into games. It's like trying to keep a lion in a cage, or make a kid color inside the lines or make Manny wear pants that aren't six sizes too big.
Tito: You can't pitch three games in a row this early in the season.
Pap: So ... you're saying ... later in the season?
Tito: September 1st. Depending how the season goes, on September 1st, we'll talk.
Pap: [fist pumps]
JULY 5, 2007
Pap: Okay, so, I was thinking. I know Jonathan Papelbon pitched last night, and I know Jonathan Papelbon pitched two nights ago, but what if Cinco-Ocho pitched tonight?
Tito: Get out of my office.
Pap: You let Oki pitch whenever he wants!
Tito: Yeah, but throwing so many pitches you think your arm is gonna fall off is like a sport for them or something.
Pap: Man, Oki is so awesome!
Pap: [fist pumps]
SEPTEMBER 1, 2007
Pap: Hey Tito, guess what today is?
Tito: The day you finally let me have my mid-afternoon nap?
Pap: It's September 1st, it's September 1st, it's September 1st!
Tito: Oh, I forgot about that.
Pap: So I'm available tonight? Seventh inning, right? You need me to get nine outs? I'm your dude, right?
Tito: You pitched last night, but before that you hadn't pitched since the 26th of August, of course you're available.
Pap: Yeah, but, what if I went back in time and pitched two days ago, too, then would I still be available?
Tito: [blank stare]
Pap: Well, would I?
Tito: Yes, I suppose that if you went back in time and pitched on Thursday night, you'd still be available tonight. If we need to go to the bullpen tonight, I suppose you're available.
Clay Buchholz: [throws a complete game no-hitter]
Monday, September 03, 2007
bake sale on yawkey way next tuesdayOh yeah, I forgot to mention. I'm starting a club. You guys can join, too:
It stands for: Normally Discerning, Rational and Pragmatic Red Sox Fans for the Emotionally Motivated Re-Signing of Mike Lowell.