Everything in Its Right Place

Thefoulline.com quick hits:

  • For the record, I wrote a few months ago that the Red Sox should make every attempt to trade for Johan Santana. This included dealing Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, pretty much anyone. Obviously the Sox front office is smarter than I am.
  • In case you missed it, Jon Lester threw a no-hitter against the K.C. Royals the other night. I’ve always figured that Lester would be a solid contributor for the Sox. He’s a guy that I thought could go out and win 12-15 games a year and be a solid #3 guy in the rotation. After Monday’s performance, I think I’ve underestimated his ability.
  • Watching the Sox as a kid, they were always a slow, prodding team that relied on the long ball. They rarely manufactured runs, and stolen bases were nonexistent. The 2008 team with Ellsbury, Coco, Pedroia, Youk and Lugo stealing bases and playing small ball is a lot more fun to watch.
  • Speaking of Lugo, his tenure in Boston may be coming to an end. What kind of message is Terry Francona sending when Lugo gets a defensive replacement four games in a row? Paging Jed Lowrie…
  • Jacoby Ellsbury stole 25 bases in a row to start his career, two short of the record set by Tim Raines. Ellsbury was thrown out on a pitch-out and a perfect strike from the catcher to second base, and he still was barely out. This kid is scary fast.
  • Manny Ramirez stated that he has stopped hitting home-runs on purpose. He said that fans aren’t excited enough about it, and he is going to wait to hit them on the upcoming west coast trip. The reason fans aren’t excited, Man-Ram, is that you’re hitting .178 with 11 strikeouts over the last 12 games. And you’re an idiot.
  • The Sox have had solid contributions this year from their young players: Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Justin Masterson, and Brandon Moss.
  • The Yankees “top” young players have done the following: Phillip Hughes 0-4, 9.00 ERA; Ian Kennedy 0-3, 8.48 ERA; Jeff Karstens 1-4, 11.05 ERA; Melky Cabrera, .252 batting average; Joba Chamberlain, 10 holds, 2.66 ERA, 700 cheeseburgers eaten. Advantage: Boston.
  • Bartolo Colon is wicked fat, but he pitched pretty well last night. He may make his Fantasy debut for the Yankeehaters next week.
  • Joba Chamberlain is joining the New York Yankees starting rotation. This is going to be just the boost the Yanks need to leapfrog the Blue Jays and seize fourth place in the division.
  • Ex-Sox and current freak show Eric Gagne is being sidelined with a shoulder “injury.” Have you seen this guy lately? Not only is he stinking it up in Milwaukee, but he may be the ugliest human on the planet. 7.45 ERA, multiple blown saves, $10 million… money well spent.

Games People Play

This fantasy baseball league is sucking the life out of me. I can’t focus at work. I’m ignoring my kids. I spend too much time making blockbuster trades in my mind. All with the hopes of winning the prestigious title of “Best GM on thefoulline.com.”

I’ve been scouring other teams’ lineups trying to figure out their secret formula for success. Is having seven shortstops a good thing? Can my team win without any Yankees on it? Should I have focused on pitchers? Did I over think, and put too much stock in some potential up-and-comers? Should I have just used the damned Auto Draft?

Please help me if you know the answers to any of these questions.

thefoulline.com quick hits

  • Last night Dice K lived up to his hype. Let’s hope he can do this all year.
  • Has anyone seen the greatest clutch hitter in baseball? He wears #34 and spits on his hands a lot. If found, please return him to the Red Sox ASAP.
  • Attention, Eric Gagne: I guess it wasn’t the city of Boston that caused your woes last year. It’s that you suck.
  • It took all of three games, but I am done with J.D. Drew and his candy-ass excuses for the rest of the year. The Sox should send him down to Pawtucket to “rehab” his back, and bring up someone with heart.
  • I’m not sure how to pronounce Cub’s right fielder Kosuke Fukudome’s name, but he might have the greatest name in Major League history since Rusty Kuntz.
  • Fantasy Baseball causes Attention Deficit Disorder.

Checking in from thefoulline.com

Sorry about the lack of post the last few weeks, but it has been quiet in the world of baseball. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers that writes something everyday, just for the sake of writing. I want to keep this a baseball blog, so please be patient and keep tuning in. Things will hopefully heat up soon. With that being said, here are some thefoulline.com news and notes:

  • How about Hank Steinbrenner doing his best George Steinbrenner impersonation. First, giving the Twins a deadline on the Johan Santana deal. How’d that one work out for you Hank? Secondly, New York has just signed Latroy Hawkins to a one year deal. So let me do the math for the 2008 Yankees: One weak bullpen – Joba + Hawkins + re-signing the aging Mariano Rivera = another lousy season for New York.
  • Only in MLB would a team give Eric Gagne a one year, ten million dollar contract. Maybe the G.M. of the Brewers should have watched some American League baseball last year. Gagne was horrible. He blew every opportunity he had last year in Boston. I wouldn’t have given him a nickel. Although with my luck, Gagne will probably win another Cy Young now that he’s back playing in the Junior Varsity. (N.L.)
  • I’m glad to see the Red Sox haven’t re-signed Doug Mirabelli. I know that he catches the knuckleball well. But there are other guys that can catch it also, and hit higher than .202.
  • How about this week for Red Sox Nation’s favorite player Jacoby Ellsbury. First signing with the anti-christ Scott Boras. Then charging $125 for his autograph. What is he thinking? I would never pay more then five bucks for an autograph from someone with 30 games of major league experience. Now that I think about it, there are maybe five athletes/celebrities that I would pay for an autograph. Here they are in no particular order:
    1. Bill Russell
    2. Ted Williams
    3. Larry Bird
    4. Eddie Vedder
    5. Dylan Hamilton

    Maybe it’s time for Jacoby to stop reading about how great he is, and remember that he is still a rookie.

  • The Red Sox Spring training games are going on sale next week. Have you seen the prices for decent seats? Standing room $10, box seats $26-$46. Why would someone pay $46 bucks for a spring training game? The chances are pretty good that you’ll be watching the 2008 Portland Sea Dogs take the field. I would rather take the $46 dollars and buy season tickets to the Tampa Bay Rays. At least this way I’m guaranteed to see major league players… and the Rays.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned….

Cleveland rocks

Well… that’s five hours of my life that I will never get back. Thank you, Eric Gagne and Javy Lopez. The Sox losing by a touchdown in 11 innings was not what I envisioned for Game 2. This was supposed to be a duel between two big-game starting pitchers. Runs were supposed to be at a premium. Instead we saw two very patient teams at the plate and 19 runs on the scoreboard.

Both teams did a great job of not chasing pitches outside the strike zone, and they were forcing Schilling and Carmona to beat them. We all know how that ended up. Both pitchers lasted less than 5 innings, and this game became a battle of the bullpens. For 4 innings, both teams’ bullpens were on cruise control. It was like every pitcher that came into the game transformed into Mariano Rivera (the good one of 4 years ago, not the sucky one of recent memory) to shut down both teams’ hitters.

This was lining up perfectly for a dramatic 2004ish sequence to end the game. Bottom of the ninth inning, 2 outs. Pedroia draws a walk. Ellsbury comes in to pinch run and steals second base. Youkilis comes to bat with a runner in scoring position. This was supposed to be followed by a line drive into right field. Sox win. Instead, Youk battles for about 47 pitches and ends up smacking a line drive right at Grady Sizemore to end the inning.

Two things bothered me about this AB. First, Youk needed to play for the base hit. He needed to shorten his swing and just make decent contact. Instead he does a full out gorilla swing and drives it right at Sizemore. The second thing was that Sizemore did a cheesy fake dive to catch this ball. He was going all out to make it onto SportsCenter’s Top Ten Plays of the Day. Just catch the ball and get off the damn field.

This was of course followed by Gagne and Lopez making their grand entrances in the most important inning of the series. For me, this was like watching two cars speeding right at each other. I knew it wasn’t going to end well for either one, but strangely I couldn’t look away at the impending collision. We all know what happened next. Gagne gets our hopes up with a quick strikeout. This is the point when I actually thought for a second that Gagne might pitch a decent inning for once. Poof! End of the illusion. A single to Sizemore and a walk to Asdrubal “I have too many consonants in my first name” Cabrera, and Gagne is out of the game. He now has the rest of the night free to scare the children of Boston with his nasty facial hair. Lopez enters and gives up a quick RBI single to Nixon. The flood gates open, and a close, hard-fought game turns into a blowout.

A wise man once wrote, “Said woman take it slow, It’ll work itself out fine. All we need is just a little patience.” O.K. that was Axl Rose, but the point is, I’m out of patience with Gagne. He has been given every opportunity to succeed and has failed miserably every time. Gagne, you were welcomed to the jungle… you can leave now.

How sweep it is!!!

The Boston Red Sox are going to the American League Championship Series. Let’s enjoy this for a day or two, then I think it’s important to reflect on some good things and some bad things that need to be worked out before game one on Friday.

First of all, anytime you sweep a team it’s great, but we need to remember that Boston swept a very beat-up team. The Angels’ two best players were playing with one arm (Vlad Guerrero) and one eye (Garrett Anderson). Their best defensive centerfielder was out (Garry Matthews Jr.), and their only pitcher with playoff experience was left off the playoff roster (Bartolo Colon). Not to mention the Angels had John Lackey pitch at Fenway, which pretty much concedes a Boston victory. I don’t want to sound like “the glass is half empty,” but the point I want to make is that whoever Boston plays in the next round (Cleveland) is going to be healthier, hungrier, and more determined than the Angels were.

In order for Boston to advance to the World Series they are going to need a repeat performance from their pitching staff. Beckett, Schilling, and the bullpen were phenomenal. Francona managed aggressively. He had guys stealing, hitting and running, and going for the extra base. They also had some big hitting from Papi, Manny and Lowell.

One of the bad things I noticed was that it seemed like Boston left a ton of runners on base. As the World Series gets closer, every run is important. These guys can’t be stranded. It also seemed like Boston grounded into a bunch of double plays. They are going to need Drew, Pedroia, and Coco to be more consistent at the plate. They looked lost up there a few times.

Another thing, and I hope Terry Francona finally realizes this: Eric Gagne sucks. He blew Schilling’s hard earned shutout tonight. I was surprised that he was even put on the playoff roster. Gagne has not pitched one meaningful inning since his acquisition. He has been a bust. Theo Epstein needs to eat a little crow and admit he blew it on this one. I personally would have given that spot to Julian Tavarez. Tavarez is much more versatile. He can start, as well as be the long reliever if needed. He has done whatever the Sox have asked of him this year. He’s a goofball, but even when he rolls the ball to first base, it’s still better then when Gagne is out there.

The Red Sox have the players to get the job done and win the World Series, but they can’t count on always getting the clutch home run. Getting the little things right is what is going to take Boston to the next level.