Thursday, June 29, 2006

Return to Red Sox Nation

It began like this, at lunch, circa 1pm PST.... "This has gone on long enough. Maybe they'll lose tonight and I will be called to account as the jinx. So be it. One man can only give so much."

Since that beginning the Sox have won in spectacular fashion, twelve in a row. As I had already begun writing I will consider myself off the hook, jinx-wise. Thank you Schill, Papi, and of course Coco Crisp. If you have not seen The Catch, as it will be known for the rest of this season at least, go to and check out the video highlights. Youngsters throughout Red Sox Nation will be out in their backyards tomorrow with their buddies, hoping to get that perfect toss so they can emulate their new favorite player, and old favorite cereal. Tonight's game was everything sport can be, and baseball in particular is at it's best: a multi-faceted contest with stories within stories, and to top it all off, a grand finale.

First off we have the pitching matchup of two of the mound's elder statesmen in Schilling versus a red-hot Tommy Glavine (sub-plot: Glavine is a Concord, Massachusetts native). Both showed why they are great; Glavine struggling with his command a little but pitching to contact brilliantly, and Schill looking a little like the power pitcher of yore, being aggressive and missing some bats (6 Ks). Glavine got his pitch count up a little high and left early, after five.

Next, we have the game within the game, as Crisp scores the go-ahead run in uncharacteristic fashion for the Sox. He bunts to get on, then steals second. AGon sac bunts him to third and he scores on a Youks sac fly. Those with more free time can check on this, but I'll wager that's the only run we score in that manner all season.

There is the sub-plot of two exciting rookies; the now-dominant closer Paps for the Sox, and the oddly-named and maybe a little nutty Lastings Milledge for the Mets. One assumes the day will come when they are on opposite sides of the All-Star diamond, but now the ride is still climbing, climbing. If Milledge keeps high-fiving the 'suits' in the box seats who don't know how to score games after he hits dingers, he could quickly become a fan favorite. Papelbon of course already is.

As counter-balance to the story of the two rookies, the Mets started Julio Franco today. Amazingly, after ruling Spain with an iron fist, Franco went on to play in the majors for 32 years. He is still catching up to the occasional fastball, and getting picked off. Good for him. Franco is one my favorite players, because he is so goddamn old that he's getting a pass on the whole performance-enhancing drugs thing. They're like "ah, leave him be, he'll be dead soon". Julio of course won't take this standing up, but he will take it wandering between second and short, wondering if he left the gas on.

Finally, we have the personal story, whereby my fantasy middle reliever Aaron Heilman comes in and takes the loss. This is why I always play my guys against the Sox: if they suck, I still like it. I am crafty.

No matter how you look at it tonight's game was a classic. Well worth the $3.75 to download from (no they don't give me money) and watch over and over again, while your wife makes annoying comments in the background, as if she hasn't seen every Friends episode 14 times. Ah, good times.

So...Twelve in a row. It seems like just a couple weeks ago I was wading through the nightmarish jungle of home buying, watching a Sox team that just wasn't putting it together, and writing that perhaps they weren't built to go deep this year after all. Caviat of course - they needed to replace Clement, who was clearly sucking the life out of every game he started, and causing me to hear angry voices in labrador-ese. Enter Jon Lester, who quite frankly has been better than I expected at this level. I wasn't sure he had the fire, but he looks like he has raised his game. Some guys do. Add Hansen and MDC as full-timers, and this club has an injection of energy and life. These guys have obviously put it together now, and this is as fun a ride as I've had since, oh, October 2004.

Going back a bit further, to the topic I started writing about....Last night was Pedro Martinez's not-so-long awaited, much-ballyhooed return to Fenway as a Met. There seemed to be a lot of debate over whether or not the Fenway Faithful would, or should, boo Pedro. This was a no-brainer. You cannot boo Pedro Martinez. Why not? Let's see:
  • He is the greatest pitcher to take the mound in a Red Sox uniform since Cy Young. Clemens will be greater, career-wise, but some of his Sox years were not his best. This can be debated, of course, but over my dead body will that fat horse's ass get more love than Petey.
  • He did not mail it in, ever (for reference on mailing it in, see Clemens, above).
  • He was entertaining, to the point of being insane (for reference, see Nelson the Good Luck Dwarf).
  • He considers boos to be just as good as cheers - at least we're paying attention to him.
That's the thing about Pedro; he doesn't care about anything except being on the mound, being the center of attention, and having his fans. His relationship with the FO soured because they weren't big enough Pedro fans, hence his angry description of them as "computer geeks". On the contrary though, his relationship to Sox fans will never sour, because of the heaping adulation we gave him during his tenure here. To Pedro, now, if you cheer for him, it's because you still love him, and if you boo him, it's because you are jealous he's gone, like a jilted lover. It's all good. So why not look back on all the tremendous performances he gave us, and cheer your lungs out for a slightly crazy primadonna who at least had the stuff to back it up?

Thankfully, that's exactly what Fenway did. It made me proud.

I should note here that Captain Cavechrist has some similar personality traits, and obviously was a great Sox player, and probably deserved a warmer welcome than he got. But he did two things that Pedro did not. One, he went to the Yankees. Two, he went to the Yankees scant months after stating categorically that could never play for the Yankees. That is considered bad form in polite company (although in drunken caveman company I suppose it's de rigeur).

At any rate, the Sox themselves were not quite so kind to our jheri-curled former ace, and slapped him around like a rented mule. I myself was hoping for Pedro to pitch well but lose, just for old times's sake. In the end though, I guess I'll take the rout.

Now, ome quick notes on the new guys, from the Small Sample Size Press:

Daniel Bard: Okay, he still isn't signed, but the kid pitched unbelievably in the College World Series, and was victimized by his inability to field his position and some truly retahded baserunning by his teammates. The only thing you need to know is this: he was hitting 98 MPH on the gun in the 8th inning of the game, and he threw nothing but fastballs after the 4th. That's right. Wow.

Zach Daeges: The left-handed hitter from Creighton showed up ready to play. He's hitting .300 in 30 ABs with 6 RBIs, and had his second game winning hit last night in the 12th inning. When you add to that the fact that his name is extremely awkward to spell or say, you've got to love this kid.

Aaron Bates: Another Spinner, Bates is getting on base at a .400 clip while hitting .346 to better Daeges. Amazingly, he's also struck out 9 times, a better than 25% rate. He's a tad too aggressive, but there seems to be little doubt that the kid can hit. And kill women in the shower. That's right - I'm going to beat that joke to death until he makes the Show. So suck it.

Travis Beazley: Beazley is looking very good on the mound thus far, giving up just 3 ER in 11 IP, and striking out 8. More importantly, his WHIP is 0.82. He's still waiting for a Win, of course, but he's doing it in style. It's true he was a D3 pitcher in college, but still, the kid struck out 108 guys in just 88 innings, and walked a mere 18 for a 6/1 K/BB ratio. He has some ability.

High-school pitcher Caleb Clay and JuCo shortstop Kris Negron signed this week, and reported to the GCL. Clay in particular seems to be worth watching, and I'll try to keep this site updated occasionally with his and some of the other young guns' progress.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Movin' On Up

Yes, yet another double entendre! What are the odds.

This is a short post to apologize for the dearth of Sox-related mocking and pseudo-analysis but I am in the midst of moving house, and as everyone knows this process is death.

Today's news of course is the signing of Indians castoff Jason Johnson. Herald has a quick riff here. There are two things of note about Johnson, off the cuff. One, he is diabetic, which means he holds a special place in my heart as my sister is also diabetic and I have the utmost respect for people who deal with the condition. Two, he appears to have a bizarre groundball to flyball ratio this year - 2.53:1 according to That is generally a good thing. His HR/9 is right around 1.1 which is not AWFUL, so I guess I don't know how someone with those peripherals can get beaten up as much as he has in his last eight games (he's 1-7 with a 7.74 ERA).

Oh wait, maybe it's the nearly .350 BABIP opponents are enjoying against him. Granted, Cleveland's infield defense is not spectacular - Jhonny Peralta does look like he's hitting the buffet between innings - but either he's tremendously unlucky or guys are hitting the aforementioned ground balls so hard they are unplayable. I guess we'll see. Historically he looks like your run of the mill #5.

And, um, he's probably better than Snyder or Clement.

Bear with me while I move, and once the Sox lose and I cannot be blamed for jinxing them I'll return with even more caustic wit than ever. Or, failing that, the general rambling you've come to expect.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Sox Trade Riske For LOOGY

It's true. Theo just traded David Riske for a giant ball of phlegm. Oh wait, no, that was an internet hoax. He traded Riske for Left-handed One-Out Guy Javier Lopez (MLB splits here).

There is some speculation that this is a knee-jerk reaction to The New and Improved Anti-Christ and Manny "Still Un-nicknamed" Delcarmen giving up grand slams to lefties in back-to-back games. There is some other speculation that they've been looking for a deal on a LOOGY for some time, and had been waiting for a reasonable deal to come along. It doesn't really matter. Riske has pitched about 9 innings this year, and it seemed like Tito didn't have much confidence in him. On the other hand, Tito seems to like same-same matchups late in the game, as we saw with unkillable psychopathic turncoat Mike Myers last year and the year before.

Despite rather unimpressive career numbers (although the lefty splits are fine) Vasquez is pitching quite well in AAA so far this year for the Charlotte Knights, with an ERA of 0.55, and 26 Ks to 6 BBs in 33 innings. Plus, just one dinger. At age 29 has he figured something out? Maybe, let's hope so, who's to say? I'm betting we'll find out soon enough as he appears to be arriving with the big club in Minnesota today.

My favorite thing about this trade thus far is that has listed as one of his (Vasquez's) historically similar pitchers 1950s beanpole Bunky Stewart. As if it weren't bad enough that he went by "Bunky" the guy was 6'0", 155 lbs! Apparently his career was cut short when a comebacker to the mound shattered his body into 17 pieces.

That's all the news for today, no new signings that I've seen. I did find out that Zach Daeges was an accounting major at Creighton and graduated with a 3.31 GPA, so it seems my assessment of him as too serious to mock was correct. Unfortunately for Zach, accounting majors are too freakish NOT to mock, so we are at a standoff that will probably end up leaning towards mock.

I would also like to plug the new forum at (very good site). It's new and doesn't have a messageboard gestapo in place yet, so if you haven't been sharing in the online chatter due to fear of a beatdown by some loser, check this new forum out. Our beatdowns will be gentle and caring.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

2006 Red Sox Draftee Update

Red Sox Draftee Update:

Quick notes on the guys that have signed thus far (lotta help from Google and SOSH)...

#40: Kristofer Johnson, LHP, Wichita State
  • Again, he hates the Yankees. Should start in Lowell. Almost all the way back from Tommy John surgery, already hitting 93 on his fastball. Reputedly high ceiling.
#44: Caleb Clay, RHP, Cullman HS (ALA)
  • Probably heading to the Gulf Coast League if not extended spring training. Children of the Corn-esque name should strike fear into the hearts of opposing hitters
#71: Justin Masterson, RHP, San Diego State
  • When he's not keeping the wild west free of scoundrels, Masterson should be throwing 2-inning stints in Lowell soon. He's 6' 6" with a low-90s fastball and hard slider. Note: "At 6-6, 245 pounds, Masterson also is a presence on the mound. He had double-digit strikeout totals in several starts this season, and against TCU he retired 22 straight batters and took a one-hitter into the ninth inning." Expected to make the Bigs.
#83: Aaron Bates, 1B/C, NC State
  • Bates is a ready-to-play hitter who was listed as the #3 pure hitter in college. He won the Cape Cod HR Derby in 2005, so he brings some of the corner power the team has been criticized (by me, in some places) for lacking. Family owns a ramshackle motel chain.
#133: Jonathan Still, C, NC State [Lowell]
  • Winner of the 2006 MLB Draft Ironic Name Award. Catcher Still is known for his power, and his statuesque (read: monolithic) bearing. He is not fast. Nevertheless, reports are he can hit. SLG .495 at NC State.
#163: Dustin Richardson, LHP, Texas Tech
  • Another giant, the 6' 6" lefty can be dominant or lose his shit. He'll go to Lowell, but will he stay? The advice he was given by a Red Sox official was to "enjoy my time playing". That's some damn fine advice, should help him get guys out. Not a sure thing, apparently, but I'd say it's worth it to take a chance on a giant lefty who looks like Doph Lundgren. I look forward to these exchanges between Dustin and opposing batters:
Dustin: I must break you.
Batter: What?
Dustin: I must break you.
Batter: Dude, I'm wearing a helmet and you're like 100 feet away. I can't hear shit.

#193: Zach Daeges, 3B, Creighton
  • Daeges will go to Lowell and I would assume take over 3B. He should do well in rookie ball. It's speculated that he will be moved to the OF, but I guess not right away. He strikes me as too serious to mock.
#373: Ryan Khoury, SS, Utah
  • My current favorite draftee will go to Lowell where he will probably be moved to 2B, and will definitely be shocked by the awesome power of full-alcohol beer. Expect him to lead the league in Missed Groupie Chances as the beer dulls his senses and causes him to mistake the sexually aggressive shouting of Western Mass. women for anger.
#403: Jordan Craft, RHP, Dallas Baptist (CA)
  • The Craft will practice his dark magic in the GCL. He pitched relief for DB, so I would assume he'll do the same at Lowell. His 6' 3", 185 lb. frame is described as "projectible" which is a stupid term baseball people use to make themselves feel important. Really it means "might get bigger/better/stronger/bionic".
#703: Paul Smyth, OF, San Diego State
  • The latest signee will also start in Lowell, likely as a back-up OF. Smyth bears a disturbing resemblance to crazy person Tony Robbins (see?), but perhaps he can use that to motivate teammates during the tough times. On a more serious note, Smyth led SDSU in almost every offensive category, including smell.
#913: Donald Lawson, RHP, University of West Alabama
  • I'll be honest, I don't believe Donald Lawson exists. But if he does, he'll be in Lowell. Actually it appears he might go by the name "Ryne", which makes some sense, since Donald is a crappy name.

#973: Mike Chambers, 2B, Franklin Pierce
  • Mike is another big favorite here since he went to Franklin Pierce like my friend Mel's brother. Not only that, but he's already put a ball over the Monstah! We're all hoping he's this year's Natale. He'll have some trouble playing behind Khoury, but perhaps Khoury will get some games at SS and we'll see what Mike's got.
#1153: Travis Beazley, RHP, Randolph:Macon College [Lowell]
  • A two-way star at Macon College, Beazley was drafted as a pitcher after striking out 108 in 88 IP, and putting up an ERA of 1.94. He once struck out 17 in a single game. He also led the team in hitting, batting .378 for the season. Travis is an inspirational figure, too, having overcome a tough case of "Southern Mouth".
#1301: Jeff Vincent, OF, Niagara
  • Jeff began focusing on baseball in college after claiming an imaginary girlfriend in the "Niagara Falls vicinity" and getting busted since he was actually living there at the time. This proved to be a good move, as Jeff went on to put up some impressive numbers. Note: "The 2006 first-team All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference pick and MAAC All-Tournament selection hit .304 in his career with 177 hits, 125 runs, 35 doubles, 18 home runs and 117 RBIs. He holds school records for triples (12) and stolen bases (54)." Here he is practicing his patented 'awkward high five'. He'll go to Lowell and play OF as a back-up.
#1443: Josh Papelbon, RHP, North Florida
  • At this point Josh needs no introduction. A submarine-style pitcher who closed for North Florida, Josh doesn't have the velocity of his older brothers Jon and Jeremy, but led the family in "noogies" as well as "wedgies" and "swirlies". He was very effective in relief for NF. He held right-handed hitters to a .214 batting average in 41+ innings of work, walked just 14 hitters and allowed only two home runs. He had an 8.64/9 ratio, which is pretty solid, and had 24 saves. He's a longshot, for sure, but he's unorthodox, and a competitor.
That's all we have for now. There are a few more guys we should be signing soon, and a few more we might not (LaPorta, Anderson would be nice though). I'll try to keep this updated with new signings and mockery, so check back.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Newsdesk: Julian Tavarez Is The Anti-Christ

I think we've all been eyeballing this moment for some time now. Julian Tavarez, heretofore known as The Jeep, has taken the mantle from Rudy Seanez. Tavarez is now the Anti-Christ, while Seanez is relegated to nickname purgatory, just another aging mediocre reliever we hope not to notice.

Seanez, who at the beginning of the season was so appallingly awful that I bled from eyes watching him pitch, has actually put together a 10-game stretch with an RA of 2.00 (although obviously he pimped Pauley for the Yankee loss in another game where the bats quit). Tavarez, on the other hand, has an RA of 7.36 in the same time frame, and causes the average Sox fan to self-mutilate each time he warms up. So, he is now the New and Improved Anti-Christ. See below:

The annoying thing about Tavarez's role in the debacle (and by role I mean "chief executor") is that given his craptacular performances over the past couple of weeks, wouldn't you have rather seen ANYONE ELSE on the mound to close out a one-run game? Seriously.

Looking back, there were two plateaus of knowledge in the bottom of the 12th tonight. The first occurred when The New and Improved Anti-Christ took the mound, and you knew the Sox had lost. The second occurred when he loaded the bases, and you knew the Sox had lost with great ignominy, via a rookie grand slam. This second plateau was infinitely more painful, watching and waiting for Kubel to hit it out. And there was no doubt in my mind that he would hit it out.

So, in the past 72 hours the Sox have lost a game to John "Way-Back" Wasdin (I can't decide, but I think this is less palatable; I mean at least Santana pitched tonight), and lost on a walk-off granny in a game during which they struck out 16 times. Statisticians who don't believe in the concept of "clutch" must be ecstatic right now - Manny and Papi combined for an 0-10 line with 6 Ks between them. Only Crisp's 0-6 with 2 Ks and 7 LOB compares.

The silver lining, again, was Schilling's simply massive performance on the mound for the Sox. He doesn't make batters look ridiculous like Santana can, but this was just him stepping up and saying "you know what, you guys can't hit this kid, fine - I'll keep you in it". Just amazing. he deserved better, but certainly Santana deserved the win too, so basically they're both in the same boat. Well, almost. Tomorrow Santana gets to say "at least we got the win", while Curt gets to say "I don't know what the hell is wrong with this team - they suck".

Right now, that is a very real problem. This team kind of sucks. It's getting painful, and it's unnecessary. There is more than enough talent in this lineup to score enough runs to win, even with their ofttimes terrible pitching staff. But they just don't do it. At some point Tito is going to have to kick these guys in the ass.

Regardless, unless a late-season youth movement is far more successful than anyone could predict, it appears this team just might not be prepared to go to the playoffs. New York refuses to give ground despite their injuries, Toronto is for real, Detroit and Chicago are obviously damn good, and really the Sox are a team that just doesn't win games they should. According to their expected win percentage they should be 33-29 right now instead of 36-27, and if that normalizes over the course of the year, they are looking at somewhere in the vicinity of 87 wins. That won't get it done, most likely.

Now, there is a ton of baseball left to be played, and truth be told the Red Sox teams of the past 4-5 years have limped into the All-Star break, including the 2004 team. So the sky is not exactly falling, but it's pretty safe to say there are some storm clouds on the horizon.

The fun part of the Olde Hometown Team going into a funk is all the wild imaginings about the younger guys down on the farm. Lester, Hansen, Pedroia, Murphy - at any moment one of them could ride in like young Jon Papelbon and save the day! And that would be great, and maybe it'll happen. Right now it's a sub-plot that's enjoyable to watch and on which we speculate over beers at the local watering hole. Pretty much just like everything else about baseball season.

I guess that's why even when your team loses on a rookie granny in the bottom of the 12th, with the Anti-Christ on the mound, you're still glad it's baseball season.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Couple Bites From The Sox Draft

Blogger pimped me yesterday, but today we shall try again. Will I be able to recreate all my painstaking research? Probably not. But I'll make up for it with even more mockery than ever. I'm kidding of course, the mockery bar has been set so high that it cannot even be approached.

First a quick note on tonight's Sox hammering of the Yanks. It was way overdue. End of story. Well, not totally end of story. I just want to point out my favorite incident of the night, which was happy-go-lucky Coco Crisp going batshit in the dugout after grounding out with the bases jacked in the sixth. I was pretty surprised to see him get so fired up, but I am a bigger fan of his than I was before. His coming back to drive in two RBIs with two outs his next at-bat was huge, and I think that fire will serve this team well. I've been on Coco somewhat since his return because he's been finding his way a bit, but regardless of the slow restart, you have to love Coco. Coco is a ballplayer.

So, as promised, some quick hits from the Red Sox shopping day in the 2006 MLB Draft. It should go without saying that I will avoid talking about first rounders Bard and Place: that's why you have the Globe.

The next two picks are far more interesting to me anyway: pitchers Kris Johnon at #40, a lefty, and Caleb Clay at #44, a righ-hander (we got a lot of those).

Johnson is intriguing because he a) hates the Yankees and b) is not media-savvy. Just about his first quote after being drafted? "Hopefully, maybe someday I'll get to Fenway (Park) and pitch against that evil empire of the baseball world known as the Yankees," he said Tuesday outside Eck Stadium. "I've never really liked the Yankees. Not one bit. The whole money deal -- they just go out and buy All-Stars every day. That's not how baseball should be done. This just couldn't get any better right now." Haha! He already has Schilling's charm, now if he pitches half as well he'll be a fan favorite. The article is here.

Clay is a big position player turned pitcher, and has shown a great work ethic. Good article on that here. The short version is the kid is new to pitching with a fresh arm, works hard, and throws 94 mph. Bueno. His high school coach seemed to take a real shine to the kid too..."Caleb is as good a high school talent as I've seen," Bowen said. "His raw skill, his ability to hit, throw, run and of course pitch. He has all that athleticism and I think he'll go high in the draft. Three or four years from now, if it's his goal and it's something he wants to do, he has a good shot at being in the big leagues." Caleb Clay is a big league name, so here's hoping he gets it done.

Jumping up to pick #193 we grabbed one of our few positional players in
Zachary Daeges, a 3B from Creighton. Daeges improved at the plate steadily throught his playing years and his senior year was something to write home about. An average of .350, OPS of 1.053 and 61 RBIs in just 214 ABs. That's pretty impressive folks. MLB has a scouting video of Daages, but this video of a single pure swing is better by far. The kid made You Tube! Like 5 times! I don't know what that means but I'm a little impressed.

Another prospect who made the internet on his own is Columnes JC Player of the Year Kris Negron - shortstop chosen at #223. He has a My Space page that he updated (he made it private after the draft; wonder why) immediately upon being drafted by the Sox with a giant Sox logo. He also refers to himself on the page by a term I assume people call him at school, "That One Brown Dude", which I thought showed a pretty healthy ability not to take himself too seriously. The kid can play some ball though - check it out. He is perhaps my favorite draftee.

My next favorite (or perhaps favorite, they're neck and neck) is another shortstop by the name of Ryan Khoury who we got at #373, the Utah Utes all-time hits leader. He is basically Dustin Pedroia, at least thats the impression he gives when he says "I've always been a small little runt kid that's running around out there trying to figure out ways to get stuff done". This is the article, and Khoury has put up some pretty impressive stats as you can see. I look forward to he and Negron battling it out in rookie ball. Good times.

Last for today is high-schooler Devin Foreman of Hales Franciscan, pick #883. Good Sun-Times article on him here. The highlight is this quote: "The way he hit the ball just stopped traffic," Thornton said. "The sound of the ball coming off his bat was just unbelievable." I haven't been able to figure out his signability, but it's easy to get excited about a kid when you read things like that. Especially at pick 883.

Next blog I'll try to take a look at some of the stretch signings, and we can follow the negotiations. The ones that got away can leave a mark of course (see Pedro Alvarez who escaped us laast year, and who is going to just be a beast), so we should identify them now to maximize our future angst.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Red Sox Draft Notes - Part One

Most people, normal people, don't even know when the MLB amateur draft is. Disturbed people like me watch MLB draft tracker whenever the opportunity arises during the day, then recap it at night. Why? To some degree because Jason Schmidt is so unhittable right now that I don't have to really pay attention to the Giants, my adopted west coast team. To a larger, more accurate degree, because following the kids up the ladder is infinitely more satisfying than watching the big league club drop should-win games to lacklustre teams.

The amateur draft is one of the great crap shoots. First you gotta navigate "signability" which is an amalgam of the kid's willingess to sign a contract within reason (versus for example going to college or having Scott "Satan" Boras as an 'advisor') and Selig's office's determination of what the slot's bonus money should be for his draft position. Occasionally Bud will give you a ring if you're looking to overpay, and will whine. Good overview of how this last part plays out here. Next, the kid has to have a true major league ceiling. Most won't make it. Lastly, especially for pitchers, they have to stay healthy. I tend to believe this gambling element is what makes it so much fun. They're all underdogs.

Anyway, a quick recap of the Sox picks today with a great heaving sigh of thanks to The Boomer over at SOSH for doing the keystrokes for us:

(1st) 27. Jason Place -47
(1st) 28. Daniel Bard -15
(supp) 40. Kris Johnson -45
(supp) 44. Caleb Clay -90
(2nd) 71. Justin Masterson -24
(3rd) 83. Aaron Bates - 99
(3rd) 103. Bryce Cox
(4th) 133. Jon Still
(5th) 163. Dustin Richardson
(6th) 193. Zach Daeges
(7th) 223. Kris Negron
(8th) 253. Rafael Cabreja
(9th) 283. Ryan Kalish -95
(10th) 313. Kyle Snyder
(11th) 343. Brandon Belt -67
(12th) 373. Ryan Khoury
(13th) 403. Jordan Craft -119
(14th) 433. Matt LaPorta -38
(15th) 463. Jorge Jimenez
(16th) 493. Ty Weeden
(17th) 523. William Reddick
(18th) 553. Lars Anderson -41

The numbers adjacent to the names indicate their Baseball America ranking. These rankings are much-debated from what I've seen, but nevertheless, the Sox have 10 guys in the top 100 here. That's good. When you see a guy go in the 18th round but he was ranked #41, it's a pretty good indicator there is a signability issue - this is the case with Lars Anderson, a well-liked high school bat. Ditto with LaPorta at overall pick #433. These are guys that most teams feel they won't be able to sign, so they fall to the uber-rich teams who can afford to take fliers on them, like the Sox. Still, in most cases these guys will be elsewhere than rookie or A-ball next year.

There are a lot of interesting draftees to look at, and I'll cover a few of the ones that interested me tomorrow or the next day. Meanwhile, take a look at the MLB Draft Tracker and enjoy! You can go to the Teams tab and select the Red Sox via their icon links and get a good listing and some commentary on each pick. Good times for the whole family.

Steinbrenner Calls In Favor From Anti-Christ

Well, I think we all learned a valuable lesson tonight - the two wrongs don't make a right lesson I've been ducking all these years. I thought perhaps that on 6.6.06 The Anti-Christ might be able to use his powers for good, but this was not the case. Rudy Seanez was seen talking to an elderly horned gentleman who smelled of bryl-cream and tapioca and was sporting an oudated turtleneck, and shortly thereafter he coughed up the ballgame by walking famed cheater Jason "HGH" Giambi.

Say what you will about DJ Juicy G, but he's got the best eye in baseball. The Anti-Christ kind of needed to throw strikes there. Of course, if in fact the conspiracy theory is accurate, maybe he didn't. So hard to know the inner workings of the anti-christ.

All we Sox fans know is there goes another disheartening loss against a team that we know in our hearts and minds is inferior. When will it stop? I honestly can't say. I keep waiting for this team to show some sack, and it keeps chucking me. This might be a simple mid-season identity crisis, though. We could still be waiting for the right catalyst to energize this new group of Bosox. The Arod bitch-slap has been used, but it's a classic, so who knows?

I'll briefly address the most glaring incongruity we're seeing right now - Youks batting eighth while a mis-firing Crisp hits leadoff. Tito likes to go optimist, but Crisp just isn't seeing the ball that well right now and the added pressure doesn't seem to be helping. Given that he's a reasonable guy and a team player, I think you have to look at moving Coco down in the lineup. Youks has earned the right to hit up top: until he loses that right it seems the smart move is to keep him there and let Crisp work his way back into hitting shape.

Coming soon: Some Red Sox draft notes from a pretty good day.

Yankee Farm Team Crushes Red Sox Ace

If I actually wrote a newspaper column that would be my headline. Only the good lord, and maybe Dave Wallace, know what the hell is wrong with Josh Beckett, but when you have his stuff and you give up a home run to Andy "I Must Swing As Hard As I Can At Every Pitch Or I'm Not Satisfied" Phillips, you are 'teh suck'.

Every Yankee and sub-Yankee got a hit last night. This list includes the aforementioned Phillips but also such superstars as Miguel Cairo, Melky Cabrera, and the taxidermied body of Bernie Williams, operated by strings from the mezzanine. Almost all of these hits occurred before the 4th inning no less - the tin lining is that Riske, the Jeep, and MDC only allowed three hits between them.

Beckett sucking is pretty tough but last night's loss is a killer in a lot of ways beyond that.

First off, we had a perfect opportunity to put a shiv in the side of our arch-rivals last night. Ace on the mound, Mussina not looking great this year, and the Yankees trotting out as crappy a team as we've seen in the Bronx in a decade. Even Captain Intangibles, "Brokeback" Jeter was out. The Sox should have been the ones pounding on the Spanks, not the other way around. They just haven't shown the killer instinct yet this year, and it's troubling.

Then, the 'pen. Van Buren, who has actually pitched pretty well when not utterly pimped as he was last night, is now done, and will probably be sent down. We also blew through three other relievers the night before our AA stalwart Dave Pauley has to take the mound for his first trip to the Toilet. I'm thinking this means the call-up to replace Van Buren will need to be capable of throwing a few innings, but it terrifies me to think of Alvarez pitching to the Spanks. Maybe we will see Breslow or Hertzler, who have both pitched well. Still, no matter how you slice it, Wednesday's game does not shape up well on the pitching front. Foulke and Papelbon are available, if we get that far.

Next: Ortiz and Varitek continue to struggle and the hits aren't coming in bursts for the team as a whole. Papi is now hitting .257 for the season, and looks positively disgruntled at the plate. I don't know how else to describe it. As much as he's walking already, I tend to think he is perhaps too eager to swing, to get in the game. Varitek hit into two murderous double-plays last night, and then got shamie-shamed by Mirabelli who went yard! Overall, we saw a lot of tentative at-bats last night. Mussina was not throwing hard, was missing spots, and guys were not hitting pitches they should have - in short, an exact replica of the Sox' last game against Moose. For some reason, hitters seem to give him credit for being better than he now is, and guys are not teeing off on his just-better-than-mediocre stuff the way they should.

You have to believe this team is playing hard, and we know this team wants to win. The pitching is suspect, and there have been some unfortunate injuries, but the Sox have got to beat a poor Yankee team like the one that suited up last night. They have to. Tonight's game is going to be an uphill battle, as Pauley will undoubtedly struggle, and the Sox don't tend to score bunches of runs against Wang (he just bought some property at the Great Wall of China - on the good side), but somehow they need to find a way to get it done.

Here's what I'm thinking: today is 6/6/06. If there were ever a night Rudy Seanez, here known as the Anti-Christ, should be strong, tonight is the night. If push comes to shove, and he has to cause Yankee batters to burst into flame, so be it. We need the win.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dave Pauley, okay!

The stat line wasn't impressive, but you have to feel pretty good about Pauley's start last night. He got in and out of trouble a couple times, and had some trouble throwing strikes, but a lot of it was nerves. Even the terrible final inning could have been avoided if Loretta doesn't bobble the double-play ball, and Manny makes any kind of attempt to catch the pop fly ball. All things being equal, for a kid to make the jump from AA and pitch against a Jays lineup that is impressive even without Red Sox cannibal Vern Wells, and keep the team in the game for 5 innings - shit, I'll take that. I'd rather have Pauley on the mound instead of Clement anyday.

The big story of last night: Dougie Mirabelli gets a hit! An extra base hit, no less. Since the "big" trade, Doug Mirabelli was hitting .130 with one extra-base hit and 2 RBIs (now .167 with two XBHs!). His slugging percentage was .174. He is still striking out 25% of the time. In short, he is the just about the worst hitter in all of MLB, with only Edgardo Alfonso and maybe Rondell White keeping him from the distinction.

Josh Bard in 46 ABs in a pitchers park has 5 HRs, 15 RBIs, and is hitting .391 with a slugging pct. of .826 (that's an OPS over 1.200). What the...?

Defensively, Josh Bard with one month's prior experience with Wakefield (53 innings, mostly Timmeh) had 10 passed balls and had to be traded. In his 46 innings (of which about a dozen were not Timmeh) Dougie has 4 passed balls, in spite of two full years catching Wake. Essentially, Dougie is about 2 passed balls better. I hope those 2 PBs have saved about 3 wins so far...cuz.....ummm....yeah.

Oh, I forgot - we also gave SD a decent relief prospect in Cla Meredith, because Mirabelli was worth it. I was all for fixing the Bard defensive issue at the time of the trade, and lord knows I wasn't too high on Bard when we got him, but this is not working out too well so far. Perhaps everyone should have been more patient?

Obviously Bard cannot keep up his hitting, but Dougie needs to get nearly 2X better to prevent this from becoming a pretty lopsided deal. We have no decent young catchers in the system either, which makes it worse, given that with Dougie's fitness/fatness level he won't last long in the bigs period. I guess on the bright side Cincy has three back-up catchers, and they must be looking forward to doing another deal with us, so there's that.

Further good news! Wily Mo is out for 6-8 weeks, and will be at less than 100% for the remainder of the year if Big Papi is to believed. Ugh. That just sucks. The Craig Wilson Brigade on SOSh is already clamoring for the acquisition of the big lug, and I have to say, it makes some sense.

These are the dog days, no doubt about it. For today I am just going to ride the win.

Note: Off to New Orleans for a wedding, so if this ends up being my last post, it's been real.