And then there was one…

Am I the only one that was getting a little nervous when Colorado scored five runs in the seventh inning? Was anyone else having flashbacks of Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner and Aaron Boone? What the hell is wrong with us?

This is a different Red Sox team. This team is made up of guys that never quit. After seeing their lead cut to one run they could have panicked. Instead, they got back to basics and put four more runs on the scoreboard. I got the feeling during the eighth inning, when Boston responded to the Rockies rally with three runs, that the Colorado players were finally beginning to realize that they were over matched. This was a punch to the gut not only for the Rockie players but also for their fans.

While I am on the subject of the Rockies fans, am I the only one that was a little disappointed in their performance last night? I kept hearing all week that once the series went to Colorado it was going to be totally different ballgame. That the fans were crazy and acted like the 10th player on the field for the Rockies. Instead I saw a stadium of people sitting on their hand the whole game. They didn’t make a peep until the seventh inning when the Rockies finally scored. And when they did they responded with the lamest chant in sports history. “Rockies………………. GO!” They need to (a) change their chant, (b) change their batteries, or (c) buy a metronome. Not to mention the towel waving was pathetic. These fans really need to watch the Cleveland Indian fans from games 3 and 4 in the ALCS for a Towel Waving for Dummies demonstration. Colorado had the tamest 50,000 fans I’ve ever seen.



“Crazy” Rockies fans in action

I thought Dice K looked great last night for the first four innings. He didn’t try to get cute with his pitches and, with the exception of Todd “Chin Beaver” Helton, didn’t get into any really long battles with the Rockies players. These long at-bats have been what’s plagued Matsuzaka this year, driving up his pitch count and tiring him out. When Dice K started to wear down in the sixth inning and walked two batters, Terry Francona did the right thing and pulled him. It was a solid performance from the rookie pitcher that I am sure he will build on for future post seasons.Speaking of rookies, Jacoby “Wonderboy” Ellsbury and Dustin “The Little Engine That Could” Pedroia were awesome. Did these guys not get the memo that they are rookies? Instead of going a combined 7 for 10 with four RBIs, they were supposed to be sucking their thumbs in the corner. But these two are wired differently then most. They have ice water in their veins and play better on the bigger stage. They make something happen in every game they play in. I really look forward to watching these guys play in Red Sox uniforms for the next ten years.

Here are thefoulline.com’s quick hits for game 4:

  • How the hell did the Rockies make it to the World Series with a rotation of Francis, Jimenez, Fogg and Cook? These guys are even worse then I thought. If Aaron Cook can make it past the fifth inning tonight, I will eat my Red Sox hat.
  • What a great time for Julio Lugo to start playing his best baseball of the season. He got on base three times last night and made two great defensive plays. He reminded me of Plastic Man on the run-saving line drive he caught. It was a great play at a pivotal time in the game.
  • Please put Javier Lopez in the same hole Eric Gagne is hiding in. He sucks. Just because he has a funky delivery doesn’t mean he can pitch.
  • How about Big Papi at first base last night? He looked pretty good. Maybe it was the six run lead, but I wasn’t too nervous with him out there.
  • Jon Lester will complete the most inspirational comeback in sports this year when he wins game four for the Red Sox tonight.
  • I’m stuck on who I think is the MVP of the World Series. If Beckett pitched one more game, I think he would win it. But right now I think it’s a two-horse race between Dustin Pedroia and Jonathan Papelbon. I’m voting for Pedroia.
  • Get the champagne on ice.

Cautiously Optimistic

For the first time during these playoffs I am not 100% confident that the Red Sox are going to win a game. Now before people start calling me a fair-weathered fan, give me a chance to explain.

Being up 2-0 in the series, I feel that the pressure is now on Boston. The Rockies are in a big hole to a more experienced team. But unlike most teams in baseball, the Rockies seem to play better when their backs are against the wall. The Rockies can go out and just let it rip. They can be aggressive at the plate and take chances on the basepaths. People are already writing them off, so what do they have to lose?

Colorado has scored two runs in the series. Nobody can really believe that this is the best the Rockies have to offer. This is a team loaded with guys that can play and that are eager to show some offense. And tonight they’re playing at Coors Field in front of 50,000 fans. If this doesn’t give the Rockies the boost they need, nothing will.

Which brings me to Boston. I have been going back and forth since game two on who I think should start at first base for the Red Sox. This was like if someone asked which of my kids was my favorite. Who do you pick? Big Papi or Youk. This had to be a really tough decision for Francona. My initial thoughts were to go with Youkilis. He plays great defense and has been crushing the ball. The defense is particularly important in a bigger park like Coors Field.

Big Papi, on the other hand, is arguably the greatest postseason hitter in MLB history. He may not be a Gold Glover, but he has proven to be a decent first baseman. Every time I think Papi can’t play first base well, I remember the 2004 World Series. Game three, St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Suppan rounded third base too far and was promptly picked off by Ortiz on a great throw. I understand why Francona kept Big Papi in the lineup, but I just know I am going to worry every time he has a ball thrown or hit to him. Francona has stuck by his guns all year with regards to who plays and hasn’t been wrong yet. I’m counting on him that this is the right decision.

Another reason for my concern is Dice K pitching tonight. Although he pitched pretty well in game seven against the Indians in the ALCS, I never know what to expect from him. To make matter worse, Dice K doesn’t like pitching in cold weather, and with the forecasters predicting temperatures in the 40’s for tonight’s game, this could pose a huge problem for Boston. Another point of concern is the thin Colorado air that toys with pitches. Balls don’t break like they are supposed to. Balls that are supposed to break out of the strike zone will come right down the pipe on a silver platter. With a pitcher like Dice K, who relies on off-speed pitches and breaking balls, this could be a big problem. Let’s hope the extra day he has spent in Colorado has prepared him for tonight.

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. The Sox have a two-game lead in the World Series. They have been getting great pitching from the starters and the bullpen and getting a lot of runners on base. As an added bonus, Boston will face Josh Fogg tonight. A light-throwing pitcher that relies on nibbling around the plate, he reminds me of a really poor man’s Jamie Moyer. With a lineup like Boston’s, this has the potential to resemble batting practice.

The key for Boston tonight is not to play “safe” baseball. They need to continue to do the things that have got them to this point: patience at the plate, making pitchers work for their strikes, and capitalizing on mistakes.

If Boston can do these things and win tonight, pull out your broom. The series is over.

Two down… Two to go

Now that felt like a World Series game. Colorado showed a lot of heart, bouncing back from a devastating loss in game one. Unfortunately for them, they lost again and are now down 2-0 in the series.

It looked like it was going to be a long night for Boston’s hitters. Ubaldo Jimenez started the game great for the Rockies. He was pounding the strikezone and making the Boston lineup look ordinary. But like Boston has done all season long, they started taking some pitches, drawing some walks and getting guys on base. Boston has done their homework on the Rockies pitching staff, and they knew eventually Jimenez would lose control and start throwing balls. The Red Sox have shown the patience to wear out a pitching staff and force them to throw strikes.

Colorado, on the other hand, continued their offensive woes. Last night’s offense was brought to you courtesy of Matt Holliday (4 for 4, one rally-killing pick-off). The rest of the team decided to take the game off, combining for one hit, and designated misser Ryan Spilborghs’ World Series drought continued with a three-strikeout performance.

Schilling was pretty ugly in the first inning, giving up a couple of hits and not getting over to cover third base. But, Schilling being Schilling, he settled right in and pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run baseball. I was happy to see Terry Francona have the quick hook with Schilling last night. Too many times this season, Schilling has been allowed to pitch to one batter too many, and the results have been bad.

The rest was history. Okajima pitched the best he has all season with 2 1/3 innings of no-hit ball. This guy is going to go down as the deal of the century. Okajima was followed by the best closer and craziest guy in baseball shutting the door with another great save.

Here are some quick hits about last night’s game:

  • The Red Sox went back to the future last night with both musical acts. James Taylor and Boys II Men may have been the oddest choices to perform. It made me want to put on my Members Only jacket and parachute pants.
  • Tim McCarver is starting to remind me of my drunk uncle at a family get-together, sitting half-comatose in the corner, then waking up and saying the first thing that pops in his head. Listen to him next game. He can’t go five minutes without saying something off the wall.
  • Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better: Free tacos for everyone, courtesy of Wonderboy Jacoby Ellsbury and Taco Bell. This guy does it all: great defense, big hits, feeding the country.
  • J.D. Drew had two hits, one walk, and one hit by pitch. Another solid game by the $14 million man. What surprised me was that Drew stayed in the game after getting drilled. Maybe this guy is tougher then we thought.
  • This series is far from over. Colorado is a different team at Coors Field, which is evident by their 51-31 record.
  • Speaking of Coors Field, I would bench Ortiz and play Youkilis all three games. You can’t take Youk’s defense off the field, especially when playing in that huge ballpark. Plus he’s hitting better than Ortiz is right now. More on this tomorrow.
  • The next two games are going to be a coin flip on who’s going to win, with Dice K vs. Josh Fogg in game three followed by Jon Lester vs. Aaron Cook. Anything can happen in these two. I would be happy with a split, setting up Josh Beckett in game five.

Up 2-0, the Red Sox appear to be in the driver’s seat. Boston has shown they have the talent to win the nail-biter and the blowout. Now if they can only do it two more times.

Rocked-tober

This game was over before it even started.

During announcements of the starting lineups, you could see the nervousness in the eyes of the Rockies players. Colorado’s starting pitcher Jeff Francis had a serious deer-in-the-headlights look going. This was their big-game pitcher, the guy who was supposed to be the one to steal a game at Fenway, and he looked like he was looking for the first bus back to British Columbia. The Rockies “Ace” lasted all of four innings, allowing six runs on ten hits.

Francis wasn’t the only Rockie that was overwhelmed last night. NL MVP Matt Holliday looked lost in the outfield and contributed an 0-for-4 night with two strikeouts. News flash to all Rockie players: You are not playing against another Junior Varsity National League team.

I’ve said this before, the playoffs are a whole different ballgame. Everything is magnified. Some of the best players in the history of Major League Baseball have crumbled under the playoff spotlight (see Rodriguez, Alex). On the flip side, some players embrace the challenge that the playoffs offer. They have the extra gear and can kick it up a notch (see Beckett, Josh). Beckett had another dominating performance last night, with 7 innings pitched, 9 strikeouts, 1 ER, and 7 pissed-off walks back to the dugout. He could have been pitching against the 1927 New York Yankees last night and would have won. This guy lives for these moments.

The Red Sox look locked in right now offensively. They are being patient at the plate and capitalizing on every mistake. Boston crushed the ball last night: 13 runs on 17 hits was historic for the first game of the World Series. But the stat I found interesting is that Boston scored 13 runs and still left 12 guys on base. This actually could have been a lot worse for Colorado.

Apart from the big win, I enjoy games called by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Even though Buck is really smug at times, and I think McCarver may have taken a few too many foul balls off his head, and they both seem to have an unhealthy obsession with free Taco Bell tacos, they do a pretty good job. My favorite part of the game last night came in the fourth inning. Franklin Morales came in from the bullpen. This was followed by Joe Buck going on for about five minutes on how great this guy was. How his pickoff move is the best in baseball, and that his stuff was “electric.” Well, I think maybe someone forgot to plug him in. Morales proceeded to balk a runner to second base and allowed seven runs in 2/3 of an inning. If this is the best the Rockies bullpen has to offer, I like the Sox chances.

There is some good news for the Rockies. They have Ubaldo Jimenez, a rookie pitcher who has trouble throwing strikes, facing the most patient lineup in baseball for game two. He’ll be going up against some no-name guy named Curt Schilling. Maybe they’ll have better success tonight. Then again, probably not.

Thefoulline.com World Series preview

I’ve already stated the obvious: the Red Sox are going to win the World Series. In fact, they are going to sweep. It’s easy to say they are going to win. Here are thefoulline.com facts to back it up.

Starting pitching: Red Sox: Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Dice K, and Jon Lester; vs. Rockies: Jeff Francis, some other guy, Mr. No-Name, and Who Cares. Advantage: Boston. The Sox have two of the greatest postseason pitchers in MLB history in Beckett and Schilling. Mix in Dice K and the wildcard Lester and you have a formidable staff. The Rockies have one decent pitcher and three guys that should be working mall security.

Team Defense: Red Sox: Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury; vs. Rockies: Troy Tulowitzki, Kaz Matsui, Todd Helton, and Matt Holiday. Advantage: Colorado. The Rockies led the league in fewest errors. The Sox play consistent defense. Youkilis hasn’t committed an error at first base all season. Lowell and Pedroia are always solid, but I give a very slight edge to Colorado.

Team Offense: Red Sox: Big Papi, Manny, Lowell, Youk, Pedroia, and Drew; vs. Colorado: Holliday, Helton, and Atkins. Huge Advantage: Boston. The reality is that anyone in the Sox lineup can come up big and hurt you on any given night. One night it’s Papi, the next it’s Pedroia. Colorado cannot possibly prepare for everyone in the Sox lineup.

Mascots: Wally vs. Dinger. Wally the Green Monster is a stroke of genius for Red Sox marketing. To incorporate Fenway Park’s most famous feature into a mascot works brilliantly. Dinger the purple and yellow dinosaur is a leftover from the Barney show. What does a dinosaur have to do with Colorado? I have a better idea for a mascot. How about Coorsy the Friendly Bandwagon Jumper? Advantage: Wally in a landslide.

Fans: Boston has the most die-hard, loyal, passionate fans in all of sports. Fenway Park has sold out hundreds of games in a row. Colorado is well known for charging five bucks for tickets to get fans in the stands, and even then they can’t sell out Coors Field. In a recent poll in Colorado, 63% of the residents were unaware that there was a baseball team in Denver. Advantage: Boston.

So you see, it all adds up. Colorado is overrated, ill-prepared, and undermanned to possibly handle the Red Sox in the World Series.

Fortunately for them, it will be quick and painless.

Swept Away

I was planning to write “A Tale of Two Cities, Part II” and talk about how much better the city of Boston is compared to Denver. I could have taken some cheap shots about the quality of fans in New England and the fair-weathered bandwagon jumpers in Colorado, but I would just be preaching to the choir.

I have never felt so confident that the Red Sox are going to win the World Series as I do right now. Boston has big-game pitchers, clutch hitting, and more playoff experience than the Rockies. I don’t mean to insult both of Colorado’s season ticket holders, but these are the facts.

It’s not just the Rockies that the Sox would pound, it’s every team in the National League. The NL sucks. The best teams in the NL would be lucky to make the playoffs in the American League. But I guess Colorado already got lucky once and were able to back into the playoffs thanks to a stupid tie breaker. And I don’t want to hear about the Rockies winning 21 out of their last 22 games. Who cares? This just proves that they are the best out of all the mediocre teams. Now that is truly a great accomplishment. Rockie fans, be proud. You made the World Series. Unfortunately for you, there are only four games left in your season. Boston is going to sweep!

Check back tomorrow for the World Series breakdown of both teams.

Crocktober

Sign #3 that your baseball team is new to the playoffs: Not allowing your fans to purchase tickets to the World Series.

What a great idea by Rockies management. They finally have a decent team and are playing in their first World Series, and they reward the fans by only “selling” tickets online. I should say trying to sell tickets online. The Rockies, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t prepare for more than seven fans getting on the computer at the same time in an attempt to buy tickets. So of course the whole system crashed. So, no tickets for you Rockies fan.

Here is a novel idea for the Rockies owners: Open the ticket box office at the stadium. This way, both of your fans that have been following the team all year can go to the game. Instead of spending all of your time coming up with your fantastic playoff slogan, learn how to sell a ticket. I realize that this is your first time in the playoffs and you might be a little unsure of the proper protocol, but at this rate, in the event you happen to make the playoffs again, there might not be any fans left to attend.

thefoulline.com quick hits

After a few days at Disney World with the family I am back at thefoulline headquarters ready for Game 5. It’s game time, so this is going to be quick.

  • Manny is an idiot. His comments contradict what every Boston fan is thinking. Every year matters. See my post Manny being Manny from September 4th for more thoughts on him.
  • Signs your team and its fans are surprised they made the MLB playoffs
    1. Coming up with a stupid slogan. Example: “Rocktober.” I know that Colorado was amazed they made the playoffs with five no-name pitchers and a starting 9 that couldn’t be picked out of a police line-up, but this is really the best they could come up with? How about this one instead: Colorado Rockies: If we were in the AL, we would be watching the playoffs.
    2. Free towels to every fan that attends the game. Example: Cleveland’s “It’s Tribe Time Now.” This is without a doubt the dumbest thing they could have put on a free towel. It would make more sense for the Cleveland Indians owners to not only supply a towel to their fans but some soap and shampoo as well. This might help the bugs from swarming all of their stinky fans again.
  • If Fox Sports shows that moron in the outfield playing the drum another hundred times tonight, I am flying to Ohio and punching that guy in the face. How does this guy play the Wizard Master in his bi-weekly Dungeons & Dragons game and still have time to play the drums at every Indians game? Oh, I know. I’m betting that he doesn’t have a girlfriend.
  • How great is it to be a Red Sox fan? Down 3 games to 1 and nobody has pushed the panic button. Four years ago, people all over New England would be on suicide watch. Now, we are like, “they’ve been there before, they can come back.”

That’s all for now. I will be back first thing in the morning for the Game 6 preview.

Go Sox!

TheFoulLine live from Disney World

Well, I guess this would be a good time for the Red Sox to shake things up a little bit and win some games. I can’t really elaborate on this. The Sox have not been playing Red Sox baseball the last three games. It’s time to play desperate ball. They are capable of turning this thing around. After all, they’ve done it before.

With that being said, here are some baseball tidbits.

  • I was walking around Disney World today with the family, and I could not believe how many people were wearing Yankee hats. There were quite a few Red Sox hats, but we were outnumbered at least 2-1. Don’t these guys know that their season has ended? Have they been working too many shifts at K-Mart to notice? Or could it be that there are some actual “real” Yankees fans out there. I will continue my investigation of this tomorrow. Stay tuned.
  • The funniest thing I saw today was a guy wearing a Colorado Rockies hat. It was the old purple design. Now this hat must have been at least ten years old. What made this funny was that the hat looked brand new. It was like he remembered that he bought this hat on a family vacation to Colorado and threw it in his closet. Now that the Rockies are playing well, what a perfect time to jump on the bandwagon. Just like the rest of the fair-weathered fans in Colorado.
  • Speaking of the Rockies, does anyone know when the NLCS starts? I can’t wait to see pitchers try to hit the ball.
  • Being that I am on vacation from my “real” job for the week, I’ve decided not to shave. I asked my 3-year-old daughter what she thought of the beard I was working on. She replied that I look like Kevin Youkilis. Now I don’t know if I should spank her or buy her some ice cream.

That’s all for now. I’m saving myself for the next 3 games. Thanks for reading.

Go Sox!