Dog Days Almost Finished

As the calendar gets ready to flip from August to September, the Sox are now two-and-a-half games up on the Texas Rangers in the American League wildcard race and are in a very good position to secure yet another visit to the postseason.

Last night, Clay Buchholz produced another gem to power our 3-2 win over the Blue Jays and more importantly, to keep the lead in tact.

September is going to be a massive month, in which we play a variety of teams, including the Yankees in a three-game Yankee Stadium series. However, we do not play the Rangers head-to-head again this season, so we will have to rely on other teams to beat them up whilst we concentrate on our own form.

If we can just get the rotation working a little more efficiently and the offense a tad more consistent, then we should be alright to play ball in October.

September is going to be exciting and no doubt a rollercoaster of a ride, lets just hope it ends with a Divisional Series at the end of it.

Sox Complete Rout of Yankees

After getting pummelled by the Yankees in the series opener, the Sox last night struck back with a venegance and defeated the Yankees, 14-1 at Fenway to reduce our defecit to six-and-a-half games in the East, whilst increasing our Wildcard lead over the Texas Rangers to two whole games.

Junichi Tazawa produced his best perfromance yet as a Red Sox, tossing six innings of shutout baseball, allowing eight hits but working himslef out of trouble with a great splitter, deceptive fastball and a curveball that made A-Rod flinch more than once! (He is so used to guarding his face and flinching to avoid pitches that he even does it when it’s strike one on the outside corner, so, so funny)

The offense was right there behind the young Japanese starlet and battered A.J. Burnett around a lot. The Green Monster was peppered with balls all day with endless doubles pounding the out-of-town scoreboard off the bat of the latest Red Sox hitter, but Alex Gonzalez showed that he’s got a little Coke Bottle Power, sending one way out of Fenway for a solo shot.

Youk sent a three-run shot completely over everything in left and followed it up later on with his 22nd home run, to the last row of seats on top of the Monster. Big Papi, who is quielty putting a nice little season together for himself, added RBI number 75 with his 20th round-tripper of the campaaign, which also went into the Monster seats.

It was just a great day to be a Red Sox fan, who says it’s all over in the East just yet, hey?

Buchholz Outduels Halladay

Last night in the horrible confines of Rogers Centre, Clay Buchholz once again came through big time with six innings of one-run ball and was backed up by some fabulous offensive firepower from the middle of the lineup.

Big Papi, who is really heating up at the right time, was first to go yard, hitting a line shot to right field that just got up over the fence, for his 19th of the season. Jason Bay extended our 3-1 lead in the fifth inning when he yet again hammered a fastball out of the ballpark to left field for his 27th home run of the year and more importantly, a 5-1 Red Sox lead.

It stayed that way right until the ninth inning as Ramiro Ramirez and Hideki Okajima pitched two perfect innings. V-Mart then connected with an outside fastball and sent it out towards left field, where it somehow found the seats for a solo jack.

As Saito closed this one out, and as the Rangers got beat by the Twins, 5-4, we now have a one-game lead in the AL Wildcard race.

Thank you so much Buch!


Tied Atop the Wildcard After Wild Win

Last night, the Sox entered a tie with the Texas Rangers in the American League Wildcard race after just slipping by the Blue Jays with a nervy 10-9 win. Josh Beckett had an off-day but the offense was there to pick him up, with home runs from David Ortiz and JBay as well as some aggressive baserunning.

Alex Gonzalez’s sac bunt in the top of the eighth paved the way for a three run inning and Jonathan Papelbon eventually closed it out in the bottom of the ninth.

We are now entering the crititcal stage of the season and it looks as if Big Papi and JBay really have got their games back together just in time for one last playoff push going into September. If we can just get a little more out of the guys in the three,four, five slots in the rotation behind Beckett and Lester, we have got a chance of going real deep in the playoffs.


Rubber Game of Texas Series Tonight

Tonight, the Red Sox and Rangers do battle for in the last of a three-game series at the Ballpark in Arlington, with first place in the American League Wildcard race on the line.

Junichi Tazawa will be trusted with the ball for this crucial game, and he goes up against Dustin Nippert.

With the Yankees now seven-and-a-half games ahead in the AL East, I believe that our only hope for the playoffs is once again the wildcard and if we’re going to win it that way, we’ll have to go through the Rangers, starting tonight!


Basebrawl: Fenway Style!

The Sox won their second straight last night with a 7-5 win over the Detroit Tigersat Fenway Park, after a bench-clearing scuffle and a few ejections.

Junichi Tazawa, the 23 year old Japanese sensation, made his first career start for the Sox and tossed five valiant innings and kept us in the ballgame with some gritty pitching. We were 3-0 down when Kevin Youkilis set the place alight and got Fenway buzzing.

After getting hit on Monday and after V-Mart was brushed back in the first inning last night, Youk got hit in the shoulder again and you know what Youkilis is like when he gets fired up and angry, he sees red and just explodes. After shouting a few expletives and removing his padding, Kevin made a dash towards the mound. Rick Porcello didn’t know what to do and was left with no choice but to fight like a man.

Kev whippe off his batting helmet and threw it at Porcello and he actually made it to the pitcher, which is a rare occurance in mound chargings. Youkilis flung Porcello to the ground with an American football tackle and I think he threw a few punches whilst the benches and bullpens emptied all around. A few more squirmishes opened up but after Youk got tossed and Porcello got ejected, things settled down a little.

Mike Lowell came into the game for Youkilis and would prove to be the decider later on in the game. In the first at bat after the rumble, David Ortiz singled to put runners on first and second for Jason Bay, who hit the furthest ball I have seen out of Fenway Park this season. After clearing the monster, it kept rising and came to land near the back of the parking lot at the back to tie the game up at 3.

The following inning, after Terry had been thrown out for arguing a stolen base ,Mikey Lowell sent a fastball into the monster seats for a go-ahead solo shot, making it 4-3 Sox. Tazawa kept it there for two innings before leaving it to the bullpen and in the bottom of the fifth, Mike gave the pen a hand with his second home run of the game and his 13th of the seaon with a moon shot to the last row of the monster seats. So, the pen had a 6-3 lead to work with and held it there all the way until the top of the ninth, by which time we had added an insurance run at 7-3. 

Jonathan Papelbon surrendered a two-run blast to Curtis Granderson to make it 7-5, but settled down and secured the last out, to put us up one-and-a-half games in the AL Wildcard race.  

Unravelling Continues

Different day, same problems for the Red Sox offense.

Last night, we got no-hit for 5 2/3 innings by C.C. Sabathia and eventually took a hugely frustrating 5-0 loss, increasing our defecit to five-and-a-half games behind the Yankees. Our once secure hold on the American League Wildcard position is now slipping and we’re just one game ahead of the Texas Rangers. The Rays are closing in and are now just one-and-a-half behind us in the East.

We haven’t scored in 24 innings and don’t even look like creating any runs any time soon. Everything that could go wrong has or is about to in Red Sox Nation, and it just happens to be when we are playing the hated Yankee brethen. Big Papi is in the worst slump of his life it seems, the DL is overloaded with names and yes, we still have to play another game against those pinstriped bums.

I did get some enjoyment out of last nights game as both Clay and Ramiro Ramirez went headhunting on A-Rod and Texeira. Ramirez got ejected for throwing at Texeira’s head and then drilling A-Rod in his arm in the next at bat. I was laughing my head off for some reason, I just don’t know why.

Tonight, I would let Daniel Bard take aim at Jeter’s ear and Cano’s helmet and then give Papelbon a go at Damon and Cabrera.

This is what we need, a massive Red Sox-Yankees brawl, almost like a proper war on the battlefield. It inspired us in 2004 and last year against the Rays, so let’s go! Although those corporate toffs will be too scred to dirty their uniforms and bruise their faces. This is what we need, a bench-clearing brawl to get all this penned up frustration and heartache out of our systems.

GO SOX!!! 

Heart-Wrenching Extra-Inning Walk-Off Loss

The Yankees make me feel sick.

I just cannot stand them one bit.

After last night, my hatred somehow multiplied, I HAAAATTTTTTEEEEEEE those pinstriped bums.

In an instant classic, the score was scoreless all the way to the fourteenth inning with Josh Beckett and A.J. Burnett matching zeroes through seven innings. Beckett gave us a valiant, gutsy, amazing, outstanding perfromance when the rest of the roster seems to be melting into water.

It remained scoreless as the bullpen kept this classic Yankee-Red Sox game going, somehow. Okajima, Bard, Ramirez, Papelbon, Delcarmen and Saito all put it gutsy efforts and matched zeroes with the hated Yankee relief corps.

Somehow, our all-mighty offense managed to go scoreless for fourteen innings, including five different relievers and it hurt us in the fifteenth inning, when Alex “Bleepin” Rodriguez got the better of newly called-up Junichi Tazawa with two out and one on, sending one deep into the visiting bullpen at horrific Yankee Stadium.

When that ball cleared the fence, I got a sharp shooting pain in my chest, my mind was having visions of Aaron Boone, I was outraged, frustarted and the hatred coursing through my veins was unfathomable. I just dropped down in bed, almost surrendering this series and the division, this offensive slump just cannot go on.

Tonight, I am hurting, my heart is aching again and it’s all because of those pinstriped horrors.

Damn this hurts.

Season Slipping Away

Last night, with appauling Billy Traber on the mound, Kevin Youkilis in left field and John Smoltz in his civilian clothes by the fourth inning, I have to say that it looked as though our season was cracking.

Smoltz has to go.

We have watched eight painful starts and the guy is 2-5 with an ERA north of 8.00, come on! Last night, he went 3 1/3 innings and managed to surrender eight runs on nine hits, two of them rockets into the seats, whilst walking four. This is not the John Smoltz that used to dominate the National League, he has to go if we are to make the playoffs.

As we sink like lead balloon, we have Tim Wakefield (the only starter capable of anything good behind Lester and Beckett) on the DL, accompanied by Rocco Baldelli. JBay is missing for the entire weekend with a bum hamstring and Jed Lowrie had to be taken out of the game last night due to injury. Watching Mike Lowell run is just painful and yesterday he nearly got thrown out at first by Jeter on a slow roller to shallow left, whilst Dice-K and all of his legendary pitches are sitting at home because the guy can’t make an out. Big Papi is now batting .222 and I can’t remember the last time he got a hit, he has become liability. The bullpen is battered and bruised without Justin Masterson to soak up innings and the roatation behind The Big Two just flat-out sucks.

I really think it is time to go back to the drawing board and to the minor leagues. Today, we have signed Paul Byrd again to a minor league deal and he should be ready near September 1 which is going to help immensly.

The rotation we currently includes Beckett, Lester, Smoltz, Penny and Buccholz. If you add up the combined ERA of the last three guys, you get 19.58, something has to be done.

We need to release Smoltz now and Penny once Wakefield is healthy again and we need to get Paul Byrd ready as soon as possible and hunt down on the minors for that fifth starter because Buchholz just isn’t going to get it done. How about giving Michael Bowden a shot or is this the time that we finally see Papelbon moved in to the rotation?

A rotation of Beckett, Lester, Bryd, Wakefield and Papelbon is so much more solid than a rotation with Smoltz, Penny and Buccholz supporting the back end.

Well, tonight, we have Josh Beckett going thank god, against A.J. Burnett at Yankee Stadium.

Rant over, let’s do this, we’re three and a half games back and just two and a half ahead of the Rays, but hey, let’s go to work!