Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Note


I'll be on vacation to many destinations in the next three weeks. When I return, I'll continue to write for the website. Go Sox!

Thanks, Zach

Friday, July 29, 2005


ESPN: A proposed three-team deal involving the Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Tampa Bay Devil Rays "hit a roadblock" Friday night, according to a baseball official familiar with the discussions.

The deal proposed would have sent unhappy Boston slugger Manny Ramirez and Tampa Bay closer Danys Baez to the Mets, with the Red Sox acquiring outfielder/designated hitter Aubrey Huff and outfielder Mike Cameron, and the Devil Rays getting two prospects apiece from the Mets and Red Sox.

A source said the Red Sox felt they could not go ahead with trading Ramirez and two prime prospects -- reportedly catcher Kelly Shoppach and right-hander Anibal Sanchez -- if all they were receiving was New York's Cameron and Tampa Bay's Huff. So they went back to the Mets "for more pieces," the source reported. At that point, the Mets "squashed the whole thing" and talks broke off.

Floyd? Looper? Please Theo, don't do this to us.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Burnett At Fenway?

Some things that Theo may address at the deadline:

- Right Field?

With Trot Nixon probably out for a significant amount of time, the Sox won’t depend on the combination of Kapler, Stern and Hzydu to maintain the gap in right field. There have been some rumblings about Jose Cruz Jr. possibly coming to Boston, as he was designated for assignment yesterday. Cruz’s batting average is really low, but he gets on base a lot. Sort of reminds me another Mark Bellhorn if you reduce the strikeout rate. Bigbie is another option, but he’s in the division. I say the Sox either make a major push for Adam Dunn or grab Austin Kearns for some prospects from the Reds.

-The bullpen?

We all know Schilling will return to the rotation sooner or later, and who knows Keith Foulke’s timetable at this point? The biggest name floating out there is a possible Mueller for Romero or Mueller and Millar for Romero and Mays trade. The problem: the Red Sox don’t like Mays, are not too keen on giving up on Mueller and would rather get Kyle Lohse in the deal. If the Twins offer Lohse instead of Mays, then it becomes possible. Another rumor is that the Sox would trade Arroyo and Sanchez for Burnett, then ship Burnett to Philly for Billy Wagner. I don’t see that happening. It appears that the Devil Rays want too much for Danys Baez, also.

- Another starter?

Of course, Burnett is the leading candidate to be a Red Sock in the next week, especially with Clement going down. But that would mean trading Arroyo, Anibal Sanchez and possibly another player, and Theo may look another way. Mark Redman isn’t a bad alternative, although I can see this turning into another Jeff Suppan situation.

- Second base?

Alfonso Soriano is the big name. Some reports say that Tom Hicks wants to get rid of him, and others say the Rangers want to keep him. Regardless, I doubt the Red Sox would get involved, because it would most likely take Hanley Ramirez or pitcher Jon Lester to complete a blockbuster deal. But is Alex Cora and Tony Graffanino the world championship solution at that position? I don’t think so.

We could see a major makeover of this Red Sox team before the deadline. They have yet to find their identity in 2005, but maybe this will trigger something special where they go on a huge winning streak. Who knows? I just don’t know if I trust this group of guys to take the Sox to the promised land once again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Decisions, Decisions

Conversations between Brian Cashman and his assistant GM before making a big pitching sign/trade:

December 13, 2003

Cashman: What do you think of getting this Kevin Brown?

Assistant: The Dodgers are demanding an awful lot. It would probably take another talent pool from our farm system. At this route, we might not be able to field a team at the AA level, Brian.

Cashman: Why don’t we give them a major league guy? Like Weaver? He sucks..

Assistant: That may be true, but he’s extremely young and has boatloads of potential. Brown is getting up there in age and has a history of back problems.

Cashman: I’m sure he’ll be fine once he puts on pinstripes. With him in the rotation, it will give us an experienced ace that can win that big Game 7 against the Red Sox. What do those bastards want?

Assistant: Weaver, Brozaban and Weeden. A ton of cash, too.

Cashman: Who the hell is Brozaban?

Assistant: Brian, he’s one of our top prospects. Are you even aware that we have a farm system? I bet you can’t name one minor league team, well, maybe you can because all you do is ship them away.

Cashman: All I give a rats ass about is the Yankees. Tell them the deal is done. When this guy wins the Cy Young, you’ll thank me.

December 16, 2003

Cashman: Who should we purchase today, my man.

Assistant: Javy Vasquez is out there. There’s some issues, but with your state of mind, he’ll for sure be in New York by the end of this meeting!

Cashman: What issues?

Assistant: First off, he’s never played in a group of fans as big as 756, and they’re mostly made of Hooters waitresses and Canadian wrenches who couldn’t pronounced "sac bunt" without collapsing in laughter. Um, he started off slow in his career. I just smell a bad situation here.

Cashman: No, you’re crazy. Actually, this morning my scarf told me I should get the bastard. Anyway, he kills left handed hitters, something unusual for a young righty. The kid is a stud. He’s exactly the guy we’d want facing like…Johnny Damon or Mark Bellhorn in a pivotal Game 7. We’re the friggin Yankees, we can’t lose.

Assistant: Your confidence blows me away, Boss. I’ll get him.

Cashman: You know, those 79 Pirates jerseys we’re great.

December 20, 2004

Assistant: Sir, you don’t look too good.

Cashman: Ever since we’ve executed The Greatest, Biggest and Most Colossal Choke In The History Of Modern American Sports all I’ve eaten is stale corn bread and leftover cookies Billy Crystal made for me. I haven’t showered, shaved or seen the light of day. I spend my days watching Saved by the Bell and talking to my invisible cat, Yogi.

Assistant: Ouch.

Cashman: Who’s on the list?

Assistant: Carlos Beltran is the big guy on the market. He’s extremely young, is coming off a monster postseason, and fits the gap in center when Bernie wilts away. I think he’s a perfect fit in New York, and what better way to piss off Mets fans, huh.

Cashman: Don’t like him.

Assistant: What?

Cashman: You heard me. I want Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright.

Assistant: I mean, yeah, those guys had breakout seasons last year. But you have to look at the long term goal of this ballclub. Pavano and Wright will be another combined 16 mil, and they’ve had one good season their entire careers. Wright’s had more shoulder surgeries than my 96 year old grandmother. What, is one year wonder pitchers like your fetish or something?

Cashman: I don’t see why not.

Assistant: Listen, we got Randy in the bag after choking on our dicks and not getting him in the middle of last season. He’s the ace. We have Mussina, too. I just don’t trust these guys.

Cashman: I know exactly what I’m doing. Our training staff is the best in the game. Wright’s shoulder problems are behind him, and Pavano was one of the best in baseball last year. These guys are solid expenses. I mean, who do you want, some bum like Al Leiter? HA!

Assistant: I’m just gonna go throw up. Be right back.

Cashman: Make sure to wipe around the toilet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Sweet Emotion

That win took balls, heart and pride. That win took determination and the willingness to pull out a game for your teammates. It’s times like that where Johnny Damon decides to step up, make a game-saving catch, then pour seasoning on the chicken by blasting a go-ahead homer. Thank you, Jesus. And it’s Captain Tek never backing down in the ninth, helping lighten the lead with a homer of his own, making it a one run game and keeping me from doing an all-out collapse on the floor. It’s ball-busting moments like Mueller’s double down the line, or Edgah’s hits, or even the "never give up" attitude after Huff’s heart-wrenching salami sandwich. As Tom Petty would say, they won’t back down.

It’s games like these that punch you in the face and make you realize how lucky you were to indulge yourself into the bowels and deep depths of Red Sox Nation. The pitch-by-pitch nervousness, like your life depends on the win and all those guys have to save it. It started with Bucky Freakin Dent, then the 86 Buckner series. You may as well have just shot the Red Sox franchise dead forever. But, no, 2004 came around and it gave up hope. It was the wildest roller coaster ride of any Sox season, counting 1967, just because it ended in the historic choke/comeback, then the clean sweep of the Birds. World Champs, baby. It has a nice ring to it. I’m just happy I became a Sox fan.

Then 2005 came around and the Sox have been through many not so good times. The adventures of Keith Foulke as he jogs out of the bullpen. The complete meltdown of Alan Embree as a dirt dog and Sox reliable pitcher. Manny asking for a trade and hitting around .270. Mark Bellhorn’s struggles, eventually leading to this DL stint. Edgah and Boomah’s slow starts. But there also were the times you want to hug your Billy Mueller statue and jump around. Like Damon’s emergence as the best leadoff hitter in baseball. Or Papi and Manny fighting for the RBI and home run titles. And how bout Teky and Nixon having wicked awesome seasons. You gotta love that dirty water.

Tonight was the best win of the season. Period, no argument. The Red Sox battled through the loss of their Emancipator, Matt Clement, who made it through the Civil War, but couldn’t stand this blast to the head. Our prayers are with you, Matt, and please get better soon. It was just an all out scary play. The ball was roped, smashed and smoked in every way possible and it hit Clement right around the right ear. Apparently, he’s moving, is alert, and in good spirits. Good news.

Manny Delcarmen had a nice debut, leading to a two-run rally in the top of the ninth against solid closer Danys Baez. The two runs in the tenth also came off Baez. But these Schilling closing appearances are bordering Foulkey territory now. It’s never easy with him. Every time he gives up a run he has one of those looks like he just wants to fry his scrotum in a waffle maker. When he gets the job done, like tonight eventually, it’s all good in Sox Nation. But if not…maybe it is time to go to the rotation. Or is he not healthy?

This win may turn around the season. Sure it was against Tampa, but its these wins that unite the team for the stretch run and start off a nice winning streak. That would be like friggin cold medicine for me right now, a nice long streak. Wake takes the hill tomorrow. I expect a blowout.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I Bet You Think It's Funny, Lou

Losing games to the Devil Rays just makes me want to vomit. I realize that’s it’s bound to happen once in a while, but damnit, this is just too much torture. After I heard we had blown this puppy (I was at a movie, yeah, I’m waiting for the lightning bolt) I almost chucked my computer chair across the room. There’s something about losing to the Devil Rays that burns a fire in my chest. I guess I just think the Sox have to win these games, and under no circumstances should they cough it up. Maybe I’m still feeling a little 2004 buzz, but so what.. Losing to the Devil Rays hurts. Real bad.

Another great game from Kevin Millar, though, just great! I really try to love the guy and go along with his whole "cowboy up, Sox nation represent, I love Boston" acting job, really, it almost reels me in daily. But he managed to boot a nice play from Edgah, and breaking news! Timlin lets in another inherited run and the Sox spoil a dramatic Damon pole shot. Where the hell was John Olerud? Was he too busy knitting a sweater in the clubhouse? Engaged in a rough game of Clue with Adam Hzydu? Putting more money in a parking meter? Wake up Tito, we need Johnny O in the game for the seventh, eighth and ninth. At all times. Just like that Eduardo Perez walk off game in April, this loss really stung me inside. All we can do is come out strong with Abe Lincoln on the hill and maybe our friggin offense can break out.

Some stuff brewing from the rumor mill. The Sox reportedly offered pitcher Bronson Arroyo and double-A stud pitcher Anibal Sanchez (who threw a 2-hitter recently) for A.J. Burnett, and Mike Lowell was not included. Can it be any more obvious that nobody in their right mind would take on Lowell’s contract, especially when he’s hitting .234 and his career might be over. Also, Everyday Eddie would wave his no-trade clause to come to Boston, but it appears Seattle wants way too much. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox resort to former White Sox reliever Shingo Takatsu. And RotoWorld reports Manny Ramirez is unhappy in Boston and wants to be traded. Again. Just another Manny mood swing, don’t make anything of it (shuddering with horror).

And I almost forgot, Millar was 0 for 4 with 3 K’s and 4 left on base. Beautiful. And Mr. Papi, please wake up and smell the coffee. We need a huge game out of you tonight.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Lay Off

Note to any doubters of this team: Stop worrying. The Sox are going to be just fine. Their best baseball is still ahead of them, remember that 20-of-22-or-whatever-it-was streak they pulled out of their hats last August? The deadline is soon here, pitching needs to be taken care of by King Theo, then we’re off to another one of those runs where the team comes together and plays great baseball. The Red Sox will win the division and will make a run in the playoffs. Stop doubting these guys.

Arroyo and Miller should have better second halves, considering they don’t get traded first. Tek is smashing the ball, Edgah is playing better and better every day and Trot is still in a groove. And when Manny and Papi get hot at any given time, just watch out. The schedule is also favorable- with six of nine against Tampa and the RoyAAAls and a four series home stretch in late August- early September. Whether the Sox get Burnett, Romero, Wagner, Wickman or whoever Theo manages to trade for, it’ll work out and improve the club. And we have Alex Cora (ha).

I’d also like to see what that hyped first round pick Craig Hansen has to offer. Maybe Jon Papelbon? There are a lot of questions heading into this last week before the deadline. Any requests?

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Proudly Joining The Alex Cora Fan Club

Something about the guy I really like…sure, you can call it a man crush, I don’t care.

Another scrappy win for the Red Sox, beating the best team in baseball 3-0 at the little league park known as U.S. Cellular Field. Is it just me, or does every single flyball to the outfield have a chance to leave the stadium? The outfields look way too small, and its turned into drama every time Konerko or Rowand makes solid contact. Almost as bad as Houston. Anyway, I shouldn’t be complaining, because Manny took advantage of the small park with an opposite field lined shot in the first inning off El Dookie. Actually, Mr. Hernandez would completely shut down the Red Sox offense the rest of the night. Tek hit a solo popup in the ninth, and thank god for that or the Schilling Expirement Part III would have been a whole lot more ball-busting. The Red Sox got a huge double play on a grounder back to Schill, and the curtain closed on a nice Boston win. Yess.

But the real star tonight was Wade Miller. I was getting pretty fed up with his performances lately- shaky first innings with too many pitches thrown, tiring early in the fifth and sixth, getting behind and walking too many batters, and giving up long balls, especially on the road. But tonight Wade only walked a few early in the game, kept his pitch count relatively low and simply dominated. Zero earned runs. Got out a few jams. Great effort from Miller tonight.

As always, Myers and Timlin got out the batters they faced. Even with the offense cooled down on a hot night in Chi-Town, the boys got it done. Supposed to be 100 degrees tomorrow at the field, and quite frankly, I can’t wait.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Manny, You Are The Man

It took a little fight, it took a little heart, it took a little panic, but the Red Sox took down the White Sox in a battle of more than socks. The game was about coming up in the clutch- first Crede’s double tying the game at five, then Manuel Aristides smashing a monstrous homerun to left center, then Schilling coming on for the 1-2-3 save that was much sweeter than the previous inning. I gotta hand it to my guys…everyone played a role in this one run win, and that’s usually what you need in close games. You need every single player to execute properly, deliver in big times and come together at the end for the victory.

The Sox fell behind 4-2 after homers from Konerko and Roward, but took the lead in the seventh on a Kevin Millar sac fly 5-4. Schill strolls out from the bullpen and throws a great full count pitch to Crede, which he drives the other way to tie it at five with a double. Fine. He made a nice pitch, and Crede poked it to right. Nothing you can do but tip your cap and maybe kick some dirt around. But the offense would bail him out. Manny, after nearly fouling out when Joe Crede dropped a catch-able popup (biggest play of the game) got his pitch and killed it. For the entire night, Manny was just waiting and waiting for that one pitch he can hammer. He was talking walks, maintaining a great eye, staying ready for that one pitch he knows will end up in the seats. As Stu Scott would say…BOO YAH!

As the Red Sox play the White Sox, it’s only appropriate for me to rant about the White Sox announcers. I’ve heard these guys numerous times on WGN and Extra Innings, and they just plain suck. They’re so much more like fans than announcers, its not even funny. They spend the entire game openly rooting for their own players (Come on, Joe! Come on, Juan, big hit here!), it becomes sickening by the seventh inning. Then the YOU CAN PUT IT ON THE BOARD….YES!! makes me vomit all over the sofa and have irregular bowel movements. And to top it off, they just complain, bitch and moan about the umpiring every single game. If any borderline call doesn’t go the White Sox way, all hell breaks lose. It just goes to show how important Remdawg and Orsillo are to my life.

Gotta love the one run win.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bon Voyage

After years of loyal service to the Boston Red Sox, Alan Embree has been designated for assignment, marking the end of a nice run for the veteran in a Sox uniform. That is, until this year. Embree has run into a brick wall this season, posting an ERA enormously higher than his career average, and giving up moonshot after moonshot. Every time he runs out from that bullpen, I let out a sigh of frustration and get ready for the lead to be blown. I just sit back and watch it happen. I don’t know what happened to Alan, but this year he didn’t have the confidence or the stuff.

But we’ll always remember him as the guy that capped off the biggest and greatest comeback in American sports history, along with the biggest and greatest choke job. He was standing on the mound with two outs in the ninth, Ruben Sierra at the plate, and the Red Sox with a 10-3 lead and on their way to a World Series while running dead over the Yankees tracks. He delivered the pitch, Sierra grounded out to Pokey, and the rest is history. Tek jumped into Alan’s arms, ending not only the most exciting series in recent memory, but ultimately ending Embree’s joy in a Sox uniform. He’d play almost no part in the World Series, and this year he’s been an afterthought when solid bullpen pitchers are mentioned. His buddy Mike Timlin has taken that role.

And that’s too bad. Embree was always a likable guy with that big wad of tobacco and farmers appearance. He always seemed like he should be planting corn in the middle of an Iowa farm with overalls and a cowboy hat on, not delivering 91 mph fastballs to Sheff and Matsui in the eighth inning. He was intimidating to the hitters with that serial-killer type glance. I wouldn’t want to face him last year, that’s for sure. He was always that reliable lefty that Tito could turn to for a couple outs in a big game.

I bet he finds his stuff and confidence on a new team. I wish him the best of luck, and I’m sure he’ll get his career back on the right track before he goes Donnie Moore and winds up in some prison, eating lunch with a guy named Bubby and sleeping on a cement floor. With a smaller market like Milwaukee, Kansas City or Arizona, he can play looser and have less pressure exerted on him every game. Good luck, Alan.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sox Trade Rumors

-The Phillies have made Billy Wagner available, and the Red Sox are interested in him, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Bill Lajoie, the Sox special assistant to the general manager, was in Philadelphia over the weekend, keeping an eye on the Phillies closer.

Wagner is open to a move, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. "I definitely would be disappointed [if the Phillies are out of it] and I wasn't traded," Wagner told the newspaper. "[GM] Ed Wade didn't bring me here to pitch for a team that's selling. It's unfathomable to think I wouldn't be traded if we don't have a chance for the wild card."

-According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Red Sox have called the Twins looking for pitching and are believed to be interested in left-hander J.C. Romero, who could help stabilize a bullpen that had a 5.51 ERA entering Monday -- the second-highest in the American League.

The Twins are looking for hitting, and the Red Sox might be willing to deal veteran third baseman Bill Mueller, who is batting .277 with four homers, 36 RBI and a .379 on-base percentage. He is making $2.5 million and will be a free agent after the season.

First baseman-outfielder Kevin Millar also is available, although he has indicated he would prefer to stay with the World Series champions.

-The Red Sox have shown interest in acquiring veteran second baseman Tony Graffanino from the Royals, the Boston Herald reports. The Sox unsuccessfully attempted to sign the 33-year-old as a free agent two winters ago, but the Royals are expected to try to pare their larger salaries (Graffanino makes $1.1 million) in the upcoming weeks.

Graffanino's versatility -- he plays all four infield positions -- and experience make him valuable.

- According to the Boston Herald, the Red Sox might have some interest in reliever Shingo Takatsu, who was designated for assignment by the White Sox on Monday. Takatsu was 6-4 with 19 saves in 20 chances and a 2.31 ERA in 59 appearances last season, but he's 1-2 with eight saves and a 5.97 ERA this year.

-According to the Hartford Courant, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar has made it clear he doesn't want to be traded. "I can't imagine going anywhere else. I really couldn't," he told the newspaper. "I feel like, seriously, I've been here for 10 years. This is it."

Millar, in the final year of his contract, has been the subject of trade rumors since late May. He insists he has never asked to be traded. "You know as well as I know, if I was unhappy, I'd go and tell you I was unhappy," Millar said. "I haven't said one thing. Let me just make it real easy. When I hit, I'm a hell of a defensive first baseman. If I don't hit, I'm below average, I'm a defensive nuisance."

-According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox like Brewers setup man Matt Wise, but Milwaukee reportedly is willing only to trade Ricky Bottalico.

-Miguel Batista of the Blue Jays is available, but Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi is believed to have asked for top prospect Hanley Ramirez in return, the same player Tampa Bay GM Chuck LaMar wants for closer Danys Baez.

-Johnny Damon knows he can expect a call from the Yankees this winter after he becomes a free agent, the Journal News reports. "My first preference is Boston, and they know it," Damon told the newspaper. "But I know how this works. I am not closing the door on anything. I would listen to what anybody has to say."

-Even before Mark Bellhorn suffered a sprained left thumb in the Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Yankees on Sunday, there were signs that his tenure as the team's second baseman was in danger of coming to an end, the Providence Journal reports. There have been inquiries about some utility types (including Kansas City's Tony Graffanino), but the price -- before Bellhorn's injury -- was deemed too high. Alfonso Soriano would be a huge upgrade, and the Rangers are known to be shopping him.

Source: ESPN Insider Rumor Central

Monday, July 18, 2005

Thanks A Lot, Scott

Things are not going too swimmingly in Red Sox Nation. Currently as I type this sentence, I’m electrocuting my nipples and frantically banging my head against the desk. The hellish, devil-spirited, freakin Yankees are in first place, and the Red Sox have stooped as low as tying the Orioles for second. Last night was the biggest roller coaster ride of the season, and I’m not just talking about the Sox game. Things started off well, but Kazmir settled in, and after I had passed out numerous times, the Sox were down 3-1 late in the game. After Lou’s brigade, I woke up and began to pray to my Bill Mueller statue. Didn’t work. Sox lost, and Damon’s hitting streak was snapped.

The night wasn’t over. The Yankees were up 9-5, but a nice two run rally gave the Rangers hope at 9-7 in the sixth. The next batter hits a routine popup to Bernie in center, and my friends and I let out a collective groan in disgust. There goes the rally, and Rivera is already pacing around in the bullpen. But, Bernie drops the ball, and the Rangers tie it at nine. The place went crazy. We were laughing, pointing, jumping, dancing, starting random Yankees Suck chants and putting up Yankees Choke posters outside of my house. After a Soriano single, it was 10-9 Rangers and life was good again.

Thanks to Extra Innings, we also followed the Orioles-Twins game. We watched BJ Ryan blow a save and the Twins tied it at two in the ninth. Sweet, maybe the Sox will remain in first after all. But then the night went downhill, starting with the Orioles winning the game on a Tejada homerun, then Sierra doubling in two as the Yankees took a 11-10 lead. We were on our hands and knees, hoping, praying for a Rangers miracle, but the damn Rivera is just too good. Night ruined.

To make matters worse, it looks like the Orioles have won the AJ Burnett Sweepstakes. They add a nice starter to complement Bedard, Lopez, Chen and whoever else kills the Red Sox every time we meet. But for the Sox, this is a really big game tonight, with Boomer taking the hill against former Sock Casey Fossum. Let’s shake this off and keep the faith. The Sox will be in first place when the night ends.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Recipe For A Heart Attack

The game started off poorly. Posada unexpectedly went deep, but I just shook it off because Wake is the man. Then the red hot Sheffield strolled to the plate, menacing, evil grin and all, and delivered a shot into the Fenway air. Now the Sox are down 4-0, it’s early in the game, and the rejuvinated Al Leiter is pitching the game of his life. Thanks to MLB Extra Innings, I’ve seen Leiter get hammered, pounded and brutally tortured by opposing lineups, and now he looks like the second coming of Luis Tiant. What the hell is going on here? This is 53 year old Al Leiter and the Sox lineup looks about as confused as my dad after the vegetable casserole was placed on the dinner table. This can’t be happening.

I thought it was over. Sure I kept the faith and tried to delve myself in Rice Krispie Treats (shut up) to try and ease the pain, but it was just too much. The Yankees were about to close to ½ game in the standings, doing it in our park, on our turf, in our city. Saying they’re dangerous would be a big understatement. A-Rod goes deep again, and just as Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are about to kiss his ass once more, I turn the television off and walk away. No smashing mirrors or running around the house with a firecracker. No ambulances or praying sessions. Fine, we lost, lets go watch Faith Rewarded.

But, noooo, some internal creature told me to watch the game. That was the right thing to do. Under any circumstances, I promised myself after the ALCS, I would never give up on the Red Sox. With the help of some drugs, the next thing I knew, Manny hit a homer and Rivera was in the game. Psh. No big deal. The fat lady is way past singing. But a Nixon double play turns into a throwing error. Varitek and The Pro single. Wait, what? The bases are loaded? Nobody out? The Sox are down two?

I had faith in Alex Cora. Sure he was hitting .200 and may have been clipping his toenails in the clubhouse just a few innings ago, but…you know, he can do it! I figured that Damon was coming up next, and he’d win it for the Sox, so just try to avoid the double or triple play. That’s right, I had already assumed Damon would win the game and was pondering the possibility of a triple day. Speak of the devil, Cora grounds into a 5-2-3 double play. He was probably safe.

At that point, I was beyond dizziness. My knees had given out, I sunk to the ground, let out a moan, and just stared at the floor. It wasn’t over, right? But all of a sudden the Yanks have the confidence back. One more out. Damon curiously swings at the first pitch, grounds it softly to Cano, and the game is over. The AL East is closer than ever.

Hey, look at the bright side, we get Lou and his D’Rays for a little home cookin’. Niiiice.Just another day in the life of a Red Sox fan.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

While The Lead Slips Away...

Doesn't that just make you sick.

Yesterday, the boys executed a nice ass whooping on those Yankees. That’s all fine and dandy, until you stink it up the next day. I couldn’t wait for the game to start. It seemed perfect. Nice day, Sox coming off another 17-1 thumping, maybe a winning streak on the way? Of course not. Finally, the Emancipator came out sloppy and somehow lost any clue of where the strike zone might be, then the Yankee bats pounced on him for good. He cut down on the walks this season, but today his normal flaw became evident.

Back to last night, which was probably the most satisfying game of the season. It was at Fenway, against the Yankees, and the Sox won by sixteen runs. Not too shabby. The best part of last night? Seeing the Yankees follow Tim Redding in the second inning with some guys named Proctor, Anderson, Groom and Whoever. You’d think with a 208 million dollar payroll they could afford a solid bullpen. Jeez, Tanyon friggin Sturtze is their man before Flash and Mariano. After Nixon’s inside the park job (which by the way was a sharp-hit ball which zoomed away at the last second, and was not entirely Melky’s fault), Papi made a salami sandwich of his own just for good measure. You think Yankee fans enjoy that man’s presence?

Today was a little different. After Clementine got that 3-0 pitch on Bernie to be called an extremely low strike, and then he eventually K’d him later in the at-bat, I thought today would go our way. Clement had thrown 270,000 straight balls before that pitch, but with the help of Bruce got that strikeout, then retired the next two batters on strikeouts. But the third inning didn’t turn out so well. The Yanks poured six on, and that was pretty much the ballgame. The Sox rallied to cut it to 6-4 during a nice effort by Jeremi Gonzalez, but the Yanks won 7-4 in the end. Perfect day ruined.

The Yankees did pick up Al Leiter to start tomorrow night. Ha. Sox = kick major pinstripe ass.

(Johnny up to 28!!!!)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Expirement Gone Wrong

It’s never a good sign when:

A) your team scores four in the first inning, but you know the opponent will eventually make it a game
B) your starter is pulled with a one run lead, but yet there’s a pretty good shot you won’t win the game
C) the opposing team ties it at six in the eighth inning, and you know your team is going to lose

Who gives me these shocks of insecurity and woefulness? Who makes me look up to the sky, throw out a few expletives and go read a chapter from Faithful? When that bullpen door opens, the fans, the crowd, the drunk retired garbage men sitting at home- they all let out a collective “yelp.” Not the kind of yelp you hear when someone blows a horn in your earlobe, it’s the kind of yelp that you hear a six year old scream in those horror movies. I swear, they can’t make a scary movie anymore without a little girl screaming.

To make it even worse, it doesn’t help when the manager has absolutely no clue how to use the bullpen. In the top of the seventh inning, Embree came in and gave up a screaming line drive out to Sheffield, then a sharp deep groundball out to Giambi under the shift. Fine. Bring in Timlin to START the inning, where he’s been nearly perfect this year, and whatever you do, DO NOT LET ALAN EMBREE THROW ANOTHER PITCH! Whadyaknow, Embree comes on to start the eighth and surrenders a double to Posada, then Tito wakes up from his nap and brings in Timlin, who would eventually let pinch runner The Artist Formerly Known As Tony Womack score.

Move to the start of the ninth inning, where Timlin has only thrown eight pitches and has, by far, been your most reliable pitcher out of the bullpen this season. You’ve got two righties coming up in Sheffield and A-Rod. Timlin has to be the guy, right. Nope, he goes with a pitcher who hasn’t thrown a major league pitch since April. Bingo! Great move Tito! Bring in a guy who’s used to throwing to guys named Jimmy Knevel and Marko Blatcher and let him go after Sheff and A-Rod. In the ninth inning. In a tie game. You all know what happened next.

I’m not blaming the loss on Tito. I’m just saying that he could have prevented the game from getting worse, but it was the players performance that blew the game. Arroyo letting the lead back on ten hits. As mentioned before, Timlin letting that runner in and Embree not doing the job. The offense calming down late in the game, besides an Ortiz homerun. Props to Damon for extending his hitting streak, though.

Tim Redding vs. David Wells tonight. Go Sox.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Red Sox vs. Yankees...'Nuff Said

Heading into this series against the Yankees, I have mixed feelings. I’m probably not alone in Red Sox Nation when I say that. Sure, I feel confident that the guys will come through, I just realize how hungry and determined the Yankees are to take back the division. Before the break, we were the ones reeling and they were the ones winning. With their pitching staff and aging bullpen that hasn’t helped one bit, I think it’s miraculous that the Yanks are only 2.5 games out of the division lead. Same with the Orioles staff, it’s surprising that they are only 2 games behind the Sox. So now is the perfect opportunity so create some ground, beat our rivals on our home turf, and make them realize that these Sox really can win this thing.

For the Red Sox to take this series, the bottom of the order must step up. This is vital. Guys like Bellhorn, Mueller and Millar have to start hitting the baseball, because Manny, Ortiz and Damon can’t do all the work against the Yankees. If one of them struggles and the bottom guys are not doing the job, we could be in serious trouble. Also, it’s time for Alan Embree to have a solid series because he’s done it before in big situations. Maybe Schill out of the pen will turn out to be a disaster. Maybe it will turn out to be a gold mine. We may find out this weekend.

In other Sox news, Theo traded complaining Jay Payton to the Athletics for submariner Chad Bradford, who could come off the DL and pitch for us sooner than later. Bradford is a Moneyball product that’s spent his career in Oakland, but probably would not mind switching to a contender. And poor Youk is back down to Pawtucket. Maybe they’ll trade Millar and Youk can come back up, he’s definitely major league ready.

Theo recently came out and said that he wants to keep many of his top prospects to build a solid team for the future, something that I completely agree with. He doesn’t want to get rid of talented prospects for players he can rent for four months and quickly lose to free agency. It’s much more soothing to know that the Red Sox will be in the hunt for a long time, partly because of their money situation and partly because of the depth in the minor leagues. It may not be one of the best, but we’ve sure got some talent down there. I just wish we could get that Craig Hansen guy signed.

Bronson vs. Mussina tonight. I’m scared.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hey Now You're An All Star

Is it just me, or did Damon look drunk off his ass last night during that interview with Sam Ryan? Varitek was in his usual professional state of mind, but holy crap, I kept waiting for Damon to ask Ryan for a kiss. Good old Johnny.

Portland Sea Dogs pitcher Jon Lester struck out 14 in a complete game one-hitter last night, totaling his strikeouts to 25 over the last two games. That’s so very impressive, Theo may call Lester up to AAA Pawtucket and a possible trip to the bigs this season could be on the horizon. Lester has been talked about as one of the best players in the Sox organization, but it seems he’s catching fire right about now. This could ultimately mean he is the big key to a trade for either bullpen help or another starter. Right now, I hope he stays on the club.

Big Papi finished fourth in the home run derby last night. He put up an amazing 17 on the board in the first round, but in the second he looked tired and fatigued. It’s okay, Papi’s 17 was the second most all-time in a single round. The most? Abreu’s 24 last night, including a tape measure rope that reached 517 feet in the thick air and big ballpark in Detroit. It was also fun to see Tejada, Vlad and other Dominican friends (then again, who doesn’t love Ortiz) jump around and playfully feed him water during his first round performance. I still hate Tejada, sorry.

The All-Star game is tonight, in case you haven’t heard. And oh yeah, IT COUNTS! Tito put Damon in the leadoff spot, and rightfully so. Manny and Ortiz are the 3-4 hitters, and Tek gets the #8 spot. Let’s represent the World Champs tonight and get us some more home cookin’ this October. But more than anything else, I hope Clemens gets his head beaten in like last year. I love this game!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mojo Mentality

If that doesn't lighten up your day, I don't know what will.

On Saturday and Sunday, I came home at night, took a shower, grabbed a snack and headed over to the computer. The next thing I knew, I was blankly staring at the scoreboard on, clearly showing that the Red Sox had faltered in Baltimore once again. The house of horrors. Fenway Park South, somewhat of a cursed building in the last few years for the Sox, as they continue to struggle against those Orioles. But this year is different. This year the Orioles are not flailing around .500, barely staying alive, and getting just pure joy in beating the Red Sox for fun. This year they want and believe they can win the AL East.

At this point in the season, I think the Red Sox should be at least six games up. If not for the friggin bullpen, that might be the case. But with the Yankees running on a rotation where Cheing-Ming Wang is their third reliable starter, and Pavano, Wright and Brown are all on the DL, it’s scary to think they’re only two and a half games back. And the Orioles now have the momentum, with Miguel Tejada driving the horse and carriage to another winning streak. This series upcoming against the Yankees is absolutely and positively humongous. We can’t let them get any closer, or I’ll start dry heaving once again.

Maybe Curt will provide a spark. Who knows? But these lovable bastards better wake up, hit the alarm clock and go out and play first place baseball. Enough of Millar going 0 for 3 game after countless game, or Trot Nixon throwing in the occasional 0 for 5 game with an error. Johnny Damon might win the batting title this year, let’s feed off his tremendous year and win some ballgames. He’s the best catalyst in baseball. I don’t give a shiznit if he’s playing for a massive contract.

Papi in the Home Run Derby tonight. Can’t wait.

Friday, July 08, 2005

KFC Sucks Anyway

There’s not many players on the Boston Red Sox that I dislike. Actually, I love them all like my brothers, even though they don’t know me and all. But really, I wish them the best at all times, live and die with their at-bats and miscues, yell and scream at the television after Mark Bellhorn strikes out, and I even installed that new window glass so my fist doesn’t hurt as much when I give it a nice slug. Really, I’d do anything for these guys. Mostly with this likable bunch of idiots, it seems my love affair has only gotten stronger. Back on those Jimy Williams teams, there were plenty of players I’d rather see dumping garbage into a blue truck than pitching in the September race. Now, I just adore the entire pack.

But, there’s a slight hindrance. I’ll give you a hint: his first name is Kevin and his last name is Millar. This guy is looking more awful and delusional at the plate every night. It’s sickening to see a rejuvenated and defensive star in John Olerud sit on the bench while Millar half-swings at fastball right down the middle and tiptoes his way back to the dugout. What the hell, didn’t he gain 15 pounds of muscle over the off season? Isn’t he supposed to be improved after getting the nod over Minky over the winter? Millar ranks near the lower portion in the league in both on-base percentage and slugging. His 33 RBI’s are pitiful for a guy that hits after Ortiz and Manny. He has four homeruns in more than 250 at-bats. He’s supposed to be a power hitter, right? Or are the Brandy Alexander’s starting to kick in?

I was arguing with a Millar-lover tonight, and he brought up the fact that I was ranting about Millar, but not Bill Mueller, who has only four homers and 34 ribbies. After looking at the stats, I noticed Mueller has more runs, a better batting average, slugging, on-base, more doubles, triples and is an improvement defensively. The biggest mind-scratcher is that Mueller hits eighth in the order and Millar hits fifth, after Ortiz and Manny. How does the eighth hitter in the order out-slug, out-hit and complete out-play the number five hitter, who sees his fair share of pitches with the RBI kings of the league in front of him. Shouldn’t he be seeing the fattest pitches of his career right now?

To get me even more fired up, I read today that Millar, after Theo picked up Olerud, asked to be traded because of A) he was sucking and didn’t want any competition and B) he’s a whiny, crybaby loser at times who holds too many grudges, He said on WEEI that he only talks to reporters that practically “make friends” with him and don’t write any negatives words about Kevin. Pretty lame, I think. The Cowboy Up, 2004 Believing and all that other good stuff is quickly being washed down the toilet. So, I say, trade Millar and his unproductive behind and let him rot in Oakland.

Even with those reasons, you may think my fuming is a bit juvenile. Not needed. Stupid. Senseless. But look deeper than this. When the ownership tries to improve the team, he becomes threatened and does something he may regret. They’re just supposed to watch you flail around at pitches every game without taking some action? I love what Kevin brings to the clubhouse every day, and how he lightens up the team with his humor and joking. It’s really good for the team. What’s not good for the team is his performance on the field. It’s starting to get ugly.

One of the main reasons I hoped we’d keep Millar over Minky in the off-season was because of how he belongs in the center of the team chemistry, and how he always has something funny to say. But who cares about that anymore, really. We’ve got enough of those guys. When he opened up his mouth and said that the Sox took shots of Jack Daniels before the ALCS games, the ownership was already pissed. And if this “asking for a trade” rumor is actually true, then he’s already got one foot out the door.

Any first basemen on the market?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cooperative Curt

It looks as though Curt Schilling, the big man with the bloody sock, the guy who always has a distinct and clear opinion on issues fluttering around our universe, will pitch from the bullpen for as long as the regular season. Yes, you read that correctly. Curt Schilling, last years twenty game winner and playoff hero, will hang out with the farm boys in the pen, chew some tobacco, sign autographs for hot chicks and warm up next to Mike Timlin and Alan Embree. Sounds a bit out of the ordinary. The pandemonium and yelling when Schill enters a game for a possible save would be life-threatening, especially if they play Enter Sandman to go along with it. This could be a fun experiment.

And I completely approve of the decision. There’s not a particle in my noggin that believes this may not go down too well. If he wants to be the next John Smoltz, then word on that G. Tito and Theo figured that Schilling’s ankle, mental and physical state were probably not ready to maintain the strength and toughness it takes to pitch seven or eight innings in the big leagues- at least for right now. He’s very rusty, isn’t having enormous success in his rehab starts, and pulling a bona-fide major league starter from the rotation isn’t exactly a great offer on the table. Whether it be Miller Time, Wake or Cornroyo.

Did I mention that Curt Freakin Schilling is pitching in the bullpen? Do you have any idea how much this improves our biggest need? I don’t care if he’s connected by screws and his ankle isn’t anywhere to major league ready, even though it is, it’s still an improvement from “Suicide” Embree and “Plaster My Walls With Foulke Sucks” Keith Foulke. Petey Gammons said on SportsCenter today that he might end up playing the role as big game closer, something that leaves me beaming. Maybe I’m a little bit too high on this situation, but whatever. We’re four games up.

That reminds me, the Sox did play tonight, and came out on the victor side again. The roadies have won nine of ten away from the Fens, Damon extended his hitting streak to 22, Papi provided us with another “holy shiznit, he did not hit the ball that freakin far” homerun, and Manny and Sveum even added some comedy over a base running issue. I love this team.

To put icing on the cake, Jeter and Matsui both lost out on the last All-Star vote. I also learned that Ortiz will participate in this years Home Run Derby. Huge series coming up with the Orioles this weekend, lets get Boomer massive run support early and grab the momentum.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lowe And Behold

Dear Stupid Diary,

Why did I leave those guys? Huh, can you give me a friggin explanation of how money and stupidity overrode friendships and fun. I’ll face it, I sucked last year. My ERA was imploding, the fans were extremely impatient with me, and those trips to the clubhouse bar in between innings didn’t help one bit. But hey, who can pass up a good shot of gin just before Dave Wallace lectures me about arm angles and how to perfect my slide step. Like I need his bull. I’m making more money than he ever will.

But couldn’t Theo have at least given me another chance with a solid offer? Why wasn’t I more aggressive and why did I think that another city would be better? The entire Dodger team is going down the toilet. First Milton Bradley, whose great, great uncle invented Monopoly. Then Gagne, the Canadian idiot, now J.D. Drew. That’s a massive chunk of the club right there, folks. Check, please.

My ERA is lower than last year (if it wasn’t, I’d probably find myself waiting tables at Brandy Liverpool’s Bar and Grill), but I’m 5-9, getting minimal run support and the Dodgers are losing. Dodger Stadium is kinda crappy too, I’m not gonna hide that from anyone. But, damnit, I miss the hugs and Papi and the pressure and Fenway and the city and the billboards and believing and the playoffs and really good seafood. Hell, L.A. is a great place to live, but I want to see the guys. Badly.

Even some of these precious Dodger fans booed me after I got roughed up recently, while one of the reasons I left Boston was because of the non-stop pressure of performing on a high level. But now I find myself needing that push, needing that extra hop in my step, needing Gabe Kapler to take his shirt off and his custom-made spotlight to shine on his right nipple.

Nine losses before the All-Star break means that I’ll probably…um…well, half of….plus nine…I’m on pace for seventeen, no, eighteen losses. EIGHTEEN! Star Jones hasn’t been able to drop eighteen pounds without at least one Mars bar. Billy Joel hasn’t even gotten into eighteen car crashes yet. And there’s not even eighteen Starbucks on my block. But yet, I may have eighteen losses.

That would be absolutely demoralizing to me. I haven’t been this anxious since before Game 4 of the World Series. Man, that was a time. When the fans greeted me during that wicked awesome ring ceremony back in April, well, I felt a special bond between me and the Boston fans that can only be divided by John Kruk. Sorry if I sound like my usual crybaby ways, but this sucks.

With a frown,
$7 Million Dollar Man Derek Lowe

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bitter Defeat

At my cousins house, Red Sox baseball isn’t exactly a number one priority. Why these people don’t indulge in the beauty of being a member of Sox Nation is beyond me, but last night I found my lonesome self pacing around the room while Keith Foulke introduced my head to the nearest wall. I got to the crib and flicked on the tube, much to the dismay of my fellow family members, and began rampaging around the place, twirling my hand around my head and telling my crew to do the “wave” when Manny hit one to deeeep center. Then it all went downhill from there.

Timlin gave up a run, and quickly Foulke entered the game and blew it. Good times, but more bad times with Foulkey this season, who seems to be lashing out his anger more on WEEI than on the mound. Sadly, he may be losing his job faster than originally thought, as he keeps piling on the bad performances like Ben Affleck. I’d really like to pick up that
Danys Baez from Tampa, even though he is a Devil Ray.

I did catch that All-Star selection show to learn that Clement hadn’t made the team, all because of the rule that every team has to send one player. As a fan, I want to see the best players from any team battle it out on one field, not a guy like Justin Duchsshshshser (even though he is having an impressive season) over a guy like Sammy Sosa or Ken Griffey Jr. or even Barry Bonds on crutches. Unless Mr. Rogers is dealing with his appeal and can’t make it, looks like
Abe will be watching from his Springfield estate.

Congrats to Johnny, Manny, Papi and Tek for making the starting squad. And after a tough loss in Texas last night, I’ll try to watch most of the contest tonight. Also, take a look at this midterm review (thanks to Surviving Grady for the image):

Friday, July 01, 2005

Representing The American League

I’ve spent way too much time wavering back and forth between certain All-Star candidates, deserving players and possible snubs. I’ve looked up the stats, considered possible scenarios in the actual game, and even followed the skewered rules. First, you have to select one player from each team, only a deaf monkey wouldn’t know that. Second, the fan votes for starters on the team will be automatically added, followed by the players and manager additions and the final vote of five choices on Here it goes:

American League Starting Lineup (based on the fans vote):

1. 2B Brian Roberts, Orioles (.365, 13 HR, 44 RBI, 1.054 OPS)

He gets the leadoff role, even though Damon might get it because Roberts can drive in some runs lower in the order. And Francona is the manager.

2. RF Vladimir Guerrero, Angels (.351, 14 HR, 54 RBI, 1.016 OPS)

This guy is a machine. He was out for, what, three weeks and he’s got those numbers?? Are you kidding??

3. 3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (.329, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 1.013 OPS)
4. DH David Ortiz, Red Sox (.304, 19 HR, 66 RBI, .960 OPS)
5. LF Manny Ramirez, Red Sox (.276, 19 HR, 68 RBI, .909 OPS)
6. SS Miguel Tejada, Orioles (.322, 19 HR, 60 RBI, .968 OPS)

Tejada gets more votes than fan-favorite Jeter, something that baffles me. Everyone loves Jeter.

7. 1B Mark Teixeira, Rangers (.291, 22 HR, 64 RBI, .930 OPS)
Wow, the Rangers have a bright future. If only they could get some pitching.

8. C Jason Varitek, Red Sox (.310, 13 HR, 33 RBI, .934 OPS)
9. CF Johnny Damon, Red Sox (.339, 3 HR, 41 RBI, .846 OPS)

Johnny’s not in Kansas City anymore. The Caveman inches past Ichiro on the last day (according to and gets the last starting position.

And for the reserves (my choice):

C Ivan Rodriguez, Tigers (.295, 5 HR, 29 RBI, .758 OPS)

Seriously, there’s nobody at this position. NOBODY! The Artist Formely Known As Jorge Posada was my second choice.

1B Paul Konerko, White Sox (.246, 19 HR, 53 RBI, .842 OPS)
2B Alfonso Soriano, Rangers (.282, 20 HR, 50 RBI, .870 OPS)
3B Melvin Mora, Orioles (.300, 14 HR, 46 RBI, .870 OPS)

Mora inches past Blalock and Farmer Shea for this backup role. The deciding factor was his versatility and availability in many positions, even a ninth inning catcher, if necessary.

SS Michael Young, Rangers (.325, 11 HR, 40 RBI, .863 OPS)

One of the great up-and-coming players in the league.

OF Gary Sheffield, Yankees (.300, 13 HR, 55 RBI, .898 OPS)
OF Kevin Mench, Rangers (.297, 15 HR, 42 RBI, .933 OPS)

Really made a strong case for himself with that three-homer game. Nice looking OPS, too.

OF Emil Brown, Royals (.297, 8 HR, 37 RBI, .840 OPS)

You try to pick a Royal.

OF Garrett Anderson, Angels (.308, 10 HR, 59 RBI, .798 OPS)

Besides driving in 59 runs, he’s my favorite non-Red Sock on the planet. Therefore, he gets the nod over Nixon (sorry), Ichiro (he’ll win the fan vote), Hunter, Dellucci and Scotty Po.

DH Travis Hafner, Indians (.296, 13 HR, 49 RBI, .943 OPS)

Obvious choice for the backup DH (that doesn’t sound right). He’s been red hot lately.

Pitching staff (my choice):

Mark Buehrle, White Sox (10-1, 2.42 ERA, 1.04 WHIP)
Jon Garland, White Sox (12-3, 3.25 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (11-4, 2.40 ERA, 0.94 WHIP)
Bartolo Colon, Angels (10-4, 3.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
Johan Santana, Twins (7-4, 3.78 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)
Matt Clement, Red Sox (9-1, 3.33 ERA, 1.25 WHIP)
Chris Young, Rangers (8-4, 3.33 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)

Since Rogers is suspended for 20 games, I’m leaving him off the list and replacing him with teammate Chris Young. Buehrle gets the nod for the start, he’s got the least amount of losses and lowest ERA. Seems like the obvious choice. Santana gets in mostly for reputation and the low WHIP, and Colon has come on very strongly of late.

Mariano Rivera, Yankees (4-2, 0.91 ERA, .150 BAA)
B.J. Ryan, Orioles (1-1, 1.72 ERA, .194 BAA)
Justin Duchscherer, Athletics (3-1, 1.31 ERA, .208 BAA)
Francisco Rodriguez, Angels (2-1, 2.57 ERA, .180 BAA)

Rivera and Ryan have been completely un-hittable this season. Period. F-Rod gets the spot over Timlin and Jesse Crain (0.99 ERA) because A) Timlin’s BAA was .275 = way too high and B) Rodriguez’s nasty stuff gives the AL the best chance to win the game.

And for the last fan vote, the candidates are:

Derek Jeter (.304, 10 HR, 35 RBI)
Ichiro Suzuki (.294, 6 HR, 27 RBI)
Richie Sexson (.241, 17 HR, 57 RBI)
Grady Sizemore (.306, 8 HR, 37 RBI)
Hideki Matsui (.305, 10 HR, 59 RBI)

Ichiro and Matsui both have large fan bases, so one of them gets the final vote. I’ll go with Ichiro.

I won't be writing for a while as I'm currently on vacation. Go Sox.