Archive for the ‘Josh Beckett’ Category

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction

Thursday night’s come-from-behind win for the Red Sox was amazing, series altering, life changing and whatever other hyperbole that the national media is throwing around these days. So why is it that I feel like Teddy KGB, so unsatisfied?  Boston’s win to force a game 6 was dramatic, but it’s not like they just won the series. Tampa Bay still holds a 3-2 series lead with the next two games at Tropicana Field. Don’t get me wrong, I feel infinitely better that Boston was finally able to string a few hits together, and David Ortiz had some resemblance to his 2004 version, but there is a lot of baseball left to be played.

Going into tonight’s game, I really wish that Josh Beckett’s ERA was sub-10.00 this postseason. I also wish that James Shields threw his shoulder out in June when his left cross missed Coco Crisp by three feet. But I guess we’ll just have to deal with this match up. Shields is the one guy on the Rays staff that scares me. He didn’t get his “Big Game” moniker from his deer hunting ability. This guy is a stud that rises to the occasion and relishes the pressure.

Shields is going up against some guy that has a striking resemblance to Josh Beckett, but without the 96 mph fastball and the pinpoint control. There is obviously something wrong with Beckett. He’s going to need to channel his inner Curt Schilling and make the adjustment from strikeout pitcher to a control pitcher that keeps the hitters guessing. But Beckett is a fierce competitor. Whichever version of him shows up tonight is going to be pissed off and spitting nails. This will be fun to watch.

As for the hitters on both teams, now that Boston has seen how productive it can be when they get consecutive hits, I really hope that they try and do that again. It was fun to see them scoring runs again. The Rays, on the other hand, are obviously taking steroids and corking their bats. There is no way that they can hit that many home runs. I’m calling for George Mitchell to reopen his investigation.

But seriously. Rays players have to be thinking that they have just woken a sleeping giant. They had Boston on the ropes and let them back in it. It will be interesting to see if the Rays hitters are squeezing their bats a little tighter and trying for the long ball tonight while playing in front of the home crowd.

Up a touchdown in the 7th inning. Champagne on ice. The smell of the World Series in the air. Only to blow it.  This has the potential to crush the confidence of a young ballclub. This is a must-win game for Tampa. With a potential game seven match up of baseball’s best story, Jon Lester, vs. headcase and chronic spitter Matt Garza. This is the biggest game in the history of Tampa Bay baseball. Again.

The Rays are still in the driver’s seat, but they have to be keeping a close eye on the rearview mirror.

Josh Beckett got hosed

The Cy Young award is officially the biggest joke in baseball.

Leave it to a bunch of sportswriters to screw it up. How can these guys vote on this award before the season is over? Isn’t the postseason when people see which pitchers shine, and which pitchers wilt on the big stage? If these dumbass sportswriters waited two weeks they would have seen the glaring difference between C.C. Sabathia and Josh Beckett. Instead they made their choice based on the regular season.

If you did a head-to-head contest based on the regular season it was a close race. Sabathia pitched more innings and had a lower ERA then Beckett. Josh Beckett on the other hand led the majors in wins with 20 and proved to be the ace of the staff.

Now let’s talk about the playoffs, where Josh Beckett went 4-0 and had 1.29 ERA and was the second coming of Don Drysdale. Beckett dominated every game he pitched and was hands down the best player on the field. Sabathia, on the other hand, looked like the second coming of Calvin Schiraldi, touting a 10.45 ERA. This guy was in a neck-and-neck competition with Fausto Carmona to see who could look worse on the mound. But looking bad on the mound is nothing new to fat-ass Sabathia.

This guy needs to take a long look in the mirror, provided that he can find one big enough, and realize that he stole this award from Beckett. It’s easy to play in relative obscurity when you play in Cleveland, but when the ALCS rolls around it’s time to bring your A-game. Sabathia had the deer-in-the-headlights look throughout the series with Boston and it showed in his horrendous performances.

This is a bullshit award. The writers got it wrong.

Fair or Foul results are in!!

What started out as a close competition on who was the team MVP has turned into a commanding defeat by Mike Lowell. First a career year, then a World Series MVP award, and now most importantly Mike Lowell has won the Fair or Foul question of the week as voted on by thefoulline.com readers.

This was a really tough decision, as both players played great this season and were the backbone to the team’s success. But like he has done all year, Lowell came through in the clutch to win this prestigious award.

All year long, Mike Lowell has been a great clubhouse guy and a team leader. He is universally respected by the Red Sox players and management, which was reinforced during the World Series parade when several Sox players held up signs to Re-Sign Lowell!! Lowell is also active in the community and has proved to be a great influence on the younger Red Sox players. Mike Lowell is a great player, but I’m starting to think that M.V.P. might stand for Most Valuable Person.

My top 5 favorite games of the 2007 season.

Here are my five favorite games from the Red Sox 2007 season.

  1. The Mother’s Day miracle: Boston rallied from a five-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-5. What I remember about this game was Josh Beckett left the game early with a “finger” problem, and suddenly everyone’s thoughts turned to the blister problems that have plagued Beckett his entire career. Also, Jeremy Guthrie of the Orioles was shutting the Boston bats down all game, allowing 0 runs on three hits. Being that it was Mother’s Day, I turned the game off in the top of the ninth inning to take my wife out to dinner. I was shocked when I came home and saw that the Sox won.
  2. Schilling throws a one-hitter: 4o-year-old Schilling was one out away from throwing the first no-hitter of his Major League career against the Oakland A’s. After the game, Schilling admitted that he shook off Jason Varitek’s sign on the Shannon Stewart single. I may have jinxed this one. With two outs in the ninth and the no-hitter still intact, I phoned my buddy Dylan to make sure he was watching. Before he could even pick up the phone, Stewart singled. End of the no hitter. Sorry about that, Curt.
  3. Clay Buchholz throws a no-hitter: In only his second Major League start, Buchholz dazzles the Baltimore Orioles and gives Red Sox fans a glimpse into the future. I was working at the fire station during this game. It seemed like every time I tried to sit and watch the game, I would get dispatched for a call. In between taking patients to the hospital I would check the box score. I finally made it back to the station and watched from the seventh inning on. I found myself wishing for two things: not to get another alarm and for this kid to make history. Both wishes came true.
  4. Game 5, ALCS: Josh Beckett keeps the Red Sox season alive with another dominating post-season performance. This was the game that solidified Beckett as one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time. The Red Sox were able to put a stop to Cleveland’s three-game winning streak and seize the momentum heading back to Fenway.
  5. Game 4, World Series: Jon Lester starts game four after beating cancer, allowing 0 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. A gutsy performance from the 23-year-old. Bobby Kielty homers on the first pitch that he’s seen during the entire World Series. Mike Lowell further endears himself to Red Sox fans with a double and a home run, leading to his World Series MVP award. And Papelbon closes the door with five outs to help capture the second Red Sox World Series in four years.

These were my favorite games. Please post your comments and tell me which games were memorable for you.

Fair or Foul Question of the Week

With the ALCS still a day away, I thought that it would be a good time for the always popular Fair of Foul Question of the Week.

Last week I gave you guys a no-brainer. Everyone knew the Red Sox were going to sweep the Angels. This week, I’m hoping you get your thinking caps on and make a tough choice.

So without further adieu, the Fair or Foul Question of the Week: Who was the Boston Red Sox MVP this season?

This is really a two-horse race, Beckett or Lowell. Both of these guys had monster seasons. I can also appreciate the irony that they both came to Boston in the Hanley Ramirez/Anibel Sanchez trade. After a decent season from both of these guys last year, they have turned it on, and have played unbelievable baseball. Do you think the Florida Marlins are looking for a do-over?

In this corner… Josh Beckett. 20-7, 3.27 ERA, 194 strikeouts, AL All-Star game, 4-hitter in the ALDS. This guy was the ace of the staff. He was the guy that consistently won the big game, and will be the guy the Red Sox look to to lead the team going into the World Series.

In the other corner… Mike Lowell. .324 batting average, 21 home runs, team-leading 120 RBIs. During a season where Manny was an offensive no-show and Big Papi had injured knees and shoulder, someone had to step up and carry this team. Who would have thought it would be Lowell? This guy has always been a great defender and had above average offensive numbers. It’s like he found the fountain of youth, and he may have played his way into a new contract with Boston.

This is a good spot for Sox fans to be in… a team with two legitimate MVPs.

God loves the Red Sox

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this Red Sox/Angels match-up? I really feel that Boston dodged a bullet by missing Cleveland in the first round, and being able to host the Angels. The Angels are a beat-up team right now. Vladamir Guerrero is stuck DH’ing due to a triceps injury. Which is good news for Sox fans. Keeping Vlad and his rocket arm out of rightfield will be a nice change of pace. Garry Matthews Jr. is also ailing with a knee injury. To make matters worse, Angels lead-off hitter Chone Figgins is in the midst of a 0-22 slump at the plate. Do you think facing Josh Beckett is going to help that number? Not to mention, John Lackey is pitching game one. This just proves that God is a Red Sox fan. Lackey has pitched at Fenway twice this year. He’s lasted 9.2 innings total, given up 20 hits and has a 8.38 ERA. Is this really the best Mike Scioscia could come up with?
People have been talking and writing about the Angels speed and aggressiveness on the bases. The key to this theory is actually getting on base.

"Yankee Pride" is an oxymoron

The Yankees were hoping to clinch the wild card last night. Unfortunately, Boston and Tampa Bay didn’t cooperate, so I guess we’ll have to play a few more.

The Yankees were up partying early into Thursday morning after their epic playoff-clinching win. It was so bad for New York, they elected not to show up in Tampa for batting practice. To reinforce that the Yankees were content to just make the playoffs, Joe Torre sat A-Rod, Jeter, Abreu, and Posada and replaced them with big game players Wilson Betemit, Alberto Gonzales (the crappy backup shortstop, not the disgraced Attorney General), Bronson Sardinha, and Jose Molina. Can you imagine buying tickets to a Major League baseball game and finding this lineup? Why didn’t New York just trot out their AAA team from Scranton Wilkes-Barre?

Boston, on the other hand, decided to show some pride and play their everyday lineup in hopes to win the AL East. Although the spirit was willing, the Red Sox just didn’t have it last night. Beckett looked un-Cy Young-like, leaving his fastball in the middle of the plate and overthrowing the ball. Mike Lowell hit into two double plays, killing two Boston rallies. And Boston left 12 guys on base. I’m giving Beckett and Lowell a free pass on last night’s loss. They have been the two best Red Sox players this year and are entitled to one bad game. Let’s hope that it’s now out of their systems, and they will go back to carrying this team on the way to the World Series.

The Yankees play in Baltimore tonight, if they weren’t at Mons Venus too late last night celebrating another win against the AL East cellar dwellers.

Cy of relief

It is so much easier to write this blog when the Red Sox are winning. What makes it even more enjoyable is when it coincides with a Yankee loss. The lead is now at a whopping 2 1/2 games, with 8 left to play.

What else can be said about Josh Beckett that hasn’t already been said? This guy is a warrior who never backs down from a challenge. His last two starts, he has put the team on his shoulders and stopped losing streaks. Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he finds a way to win. And to be the first 20-game winner in the big leagues since 2005 makes it even sweeter.

Varitek, Papi and Lowell hitting the long ball was a nice change. It’s good to finally see some offense after the debacle in Toronto. Even with Mr. “It takes me 3 times as long as anyone else to heal from an oblique injury” Ramirez on the bench, Boston still was able to score 8 runs. Maybe the Sox play better in America.

Jacoby Ellsbury going all out for a foul ball was once of the best catches I’ve seen this year. Not only did he have to contend with the Boston pitchers and bullpen chairs strewn about, but he tripped over one of the pitching mounds and still made the catch. This reminds of the time Manny hustled and made that great… uh… never mind. Anyhow, it seems like Ellsbury does something significant every game. Whether it’s a great catch, stolen base or timely hit, this kid has been really enjoyable to watch.

I have to admit that seeing Boston’s lineup before the game wasn’t making me very confident that they were going to stop this losing streak. Anytime I see Bobby Kielty batting fifth, I get a little nervous. But even after striking out 17 times last night, the Sox still came up with a huge win.

Quick note: The Yankees lost in a marathon game to my favorite Canadian team last night, with both Mariano Rivera and Joba the Hut pitching, which should make them unavailable for today’s game. They now need to wake up early for a 1 o’clock game today against Toronto and noted Red Sox killer Dustin McGowan. I hope they enjoyed their 4 hours of sleep.

Don’t push the panic button!

Things don’t look good for the Red Sox right now. The last couple of weeks has taken their AL East lead to a measly 1 1/2 games. They have Youk, Coco, Okijima and Man Ram on the bench with injuries. Tim Wakefield and Dice K have looked tired their last three starts. To make matters worse, their bats have gone cold.

So why am I not worried yet? Here’s why: the Sox have a lot of character on this team. Guys like Varitek, Youk, Pedroia, Pap, Lowell, Papi, and Beckett have shown me a lot this year. These guys have carried the load day in and day out. These guys will pick up the slack and turn this thing around. This is a bump in the road. Every team goes through at least one during the season. What magnifies this current stretch, is that unfortunately it’s happening in September. If this were June no one would care. Also New York is playing good ball at the most opportunistic time. They can’t keep this going.

They may have taken 2 out of 3 last weekend in Boston, but they were not the better team. The first game they had one good inning. The second game the Yankees had their asses kicked. The third game, Schilling pitched one inning to many and gave up the Jeter home run. The Red Sox outplayed them that weekend. It’s unfortunate it didn’t translate into wins.

This team is going to be great for years to come. They’ll have a rotation of Beckett, Dice K, Lester, and Buchholz going into next year. All young guys, all character guys that will be part of this team for years. Youk, Pedroia, Ellsbury, and Papi aren’t going anywhere any time soon. This team is only going to get better. This team is set up to start collecting AL East crowns.

The final thing that the Red Sox have going for them is the best fans in the world. Fans that aren’t fair-weathered like Yankee fans. Fans that know baseball. Fans that stick with their team, through good times and bad.

Let’s remember this during the final games of the season and into the playoffs.

And the people that keep bringing up 1978…. can kiss our asses.

Rock out with your Wang Out

I’m feeling much better after the Red Sox manhandling of the Yankees yesterday. The Sox showed a lot of character in this game, especially after Friday’s nightmare. Here are some of my highlights and lowlights from yesterday’s game.

  1. Josh Beckett was awesome. Anytime you can limit that offense to one run, it’s special. 7 innings of 3-hit ball, 1 earned run, 7 K’s. Also, standing up for his team and plunking Giambi was great. Yankee pitchers have taken too many liberties with Red Sox players this year. Just a tremendous game for Beckett. Whoever makes the Cy Young plaque, remember there are two T’s in Beckett.
  2. In a highly touted match-up of potential Cy Young winners, Chien-Ming Wang looked bad. 5 innings pitched, 9 hits, 5 ER. He is supposed to be the Yankees’ best pitcher. Now there is talk of Wang not even starting IF New York makes the playoffs. That’s hilarious.
  3. “Super Sub” Eric Hinske. This guy is the ultimate team guy. He never bitches when he sits on the bench for weeks at a time. He can play 4 positions. Hinske hit a double and a home run in yesterday’s game. Also, anyone that blows up Jorge Posada turns into my new favorite player.
  4. Jacoby Ellsbury: 2 for 2, 3 RBIs 1 stolen base. All this is in only 4 innings. This kid is a freak.
  5. Big Papi being Big Papi. 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 RBIs. What a perfect time of the season to get hot.
  6. J.D. Drew, 2 walks and the game winning RBI. Also it was nice to see his reaction after driving in Ellsbury. Maybe the Tin Man finally found his heart.
  7. When did Jason Varitek turn into Doug Mirabelli at the plate? 0 for 5, 8 runners left on base. That is one ugly line. At least he called a great game behind the plate. Varitek usually plays well against the Yankees. I look for him to make a big contribution tonight.

Tonight: Schilling vs. Clemens
Schilling has pitched well recently. Clemens is coming off a bad start and cortisone shots in his elbow. Clemens is an old bastard. Let’s hope the Sox can get to him early in the game. Nothing would please me more than to see the “Rocketman” walking off the field to a mock standing ovation in the 3rd inning after getting lit up.

Let’s Go Sox.