Results tagged ‘ Johan Santana ’

Flares (Flair?) for the Dramatic

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The minute that my exam finished, I was so happy. The main reason being that I could finally get back to watching baseball. The fact that the Red Sox won the night before my exam, and the night of, really helps seal the deal for me. I mean, besides the fact that I forgot to mention the cotton gin in my DBQ (about the expansion of slavery), I think I did fine. 

Plus, the Sox finally won a series against the Rays. That took long enough. In a way, I miss the days where we could walk all over them, but in another sense, I do like the rivalry… a lot. Jason Varitek has been getting some nice, key hits, and it’s not like I need to mention Mr. Clutch-hitter (Jason Bay). You know, I’m sure he did this in Pittsburgh all the time, but with the whole media attention thing, I guess it went unnoticed. 
I’m still calling a home run every time Big Papi comes to bat, but each game he goes without one just represents how special the first one will be. I know he wants it, and I know it’s on his mind all the time, so I think he needs a sports psychologist. Calling Emily… 
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The Red Sox also did what they finally needed to do–letting Javier Lopez go. That guy has given me heart attacks ever since he came to the Red Sox, and this year it has gotten even worse. Every time he came in this year, it was basically saying, ‘We concede to you,’. Whether it be the various errors that result in walk-off wins, or maybe just blowing leads, it was time to go. 
This is the best thing the Red Sox have done since reacquiring Kason Gabbard (yeah, they do good things often). The bullpen is basically impeccable now. I am confident with everyone in there, even though Papelbon has been having a bit of a “flair for the dramatic” lately. Okay, I just lied… I’m not AS comfortable with Hunter Jones (maybe because I didn’t see him much during spring training), but he’s done alright. 
I was happy that the Sox brought up Daniel Bard. You guys should have seen him in spring training. He has a 100 mph fastball and posted a 0.00 ERA during spring training, and his stats aren’t half bad down in Triple AAA Pawtucket either. Speaking of which, I’m planning on visiting the PawSox this summer. I cannot wait. 
I didn’t even drink coffee to keep myself up for the West Coast game last night. I had taken a two hour nap (and thus, avoided homework) and was pretty much ready to go. Justin Masterson was all over the place, but his quote was so funny “A ball here, a ball there, a strike every once and a while”. So his control was a bit off, but he did manage to only give up two runs. 
I really thought that I was in for it when the Red Sox tied it at 3. I was hoping it wouldn’t be too late of a night, because I was still pretty tired. Luckily, Jason Varitek came through with a single, and Pap was to come in to close the ninth. 
This one was not as dramatic as the Mother’s Day save where he put two men on (who then advanced to second and third) and then struck the next three guys out. It was pretty epic. This one ended in a less dramatic fashion, but with the same results. 
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And a special shout out to Dom Dimaggio who passed away not so long ago. He was probably one of the most underrated players ever, but when your brother is Joe Dimaggio and your teammate is Ted Williams, what can you expect? I love the fact that he was called the “little professor” on the team. Dustin Pedroia kind of reminds me of him (or his build at least). Dom also holds the longest hitting streak in Red Sox history at 34 games. 
The Other 29 Teams that I keep up with 
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Ryan Zimmerman and his hitting streak, that’s gotta be great for the miserable Nats (no offense). But in all honesty, I don’t think he’ll catch Dimaggio. That record is going to last a long time. 
The ERAs under one? Zack Grienke and Johan Santana? I have basically awarded the Cy Young to the two of them already. And by the way, I’m not concerned with the lackluster performances that some of the Red Sox starters have been having because honestly, it’s pretty much been limited to one inning. 
If I remember correctly, Jon Lester started out (2-3) last season as well. And then he turned into “one of the best left handed pitchers in the game). 
And I would be remiss if I did not mention Albert Pujols. I think that he has the potential to win the Triple Crown. But how cool would it be if a Red Sox won it? Not because they’re my favorite team, but because the last person to win it was a Red Sox, in 1967…. Mr. Carl Yastrzemski. By the way, I think Yastrzemski should be a spelling bee word, it’s impossible to spell. 

Baseball is Back

Although I am upset that the Rays vs Red Sox game was pushed tomorrow, it is only because I want my real Red Sox baseball back. Believe me, I don’t want Josh Beckett pitching in the rain. He’s already injury prone enough, and who knows, maybe blisters are more common in rainy conditions. Plus, this gives me a chance to provide an offensive breakdown of the Red Sox plus my thoughts on Opening Night/Day.

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Opening Day/Night
Okay, so I wasn’t at home when Brett Myers threw out the first pitch of the season. But I was listening to it on the radio as I tried to convince my mother to ignore the speed limit and stop signs. But I was able to see the first hit of the 2009 season– Chipper Jones’ single to left field. I witnessed the first home run of the season, and Jordan Schafer’s first home run ever… in his first at-bat in the major leagues. Little did I know that I was witnessing the first pitching gem of the 2009 season. I thought that Derek Lowe pitched beautifully, and I’m pretty sure that the Braves don’t regret signing him on as their ace. It made me miss him more than I already do, but I understand why the Red Sox didn’t go out and aggressively pursue him. 
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(credit: minor.mlblogs.com– great pic!!)
I got my hair cut today… and I made sure that my appointment was in the morning so I wouldn’t even miss Aaron Harang’s first pitch. I realized that I had gotten my hair cut the day after the Red Sox lost the ALCS. I was blinking back tears at the loss of the season, and the potential loss of Jason Varitek. And today, I was bouncing with optimism, until of course I found out that the Red Sox start would be postponed until tomorrow. Nonetheless, I was still pretty happy about baseball being back. I know, weird how I can remember that but not whether or not the bonds of carbon dioxide are polar. 
I have watched at least a part of every baseball game today, and as I write this I am listening the Cubs vs Astros game. I saw Johan Santana and Kevin Millwood pitch beautifully, I smiled as CC Sabathia struggled against the Orioles, and I saw the incredible Marlins game.
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Emilio Bonifacio had an inside the park home run… and he was so fast! The first inside the park home run on Opening Day since Carl Yastrzemski in 1968. Oh, and Hanley Ramirez… just my number one draft pick on my fantasy baseball team… hit a grand slam! 
A Brief Offensive Breakdown for the Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury: The thing with Jacoby is that his speed can really change the game. He went through some ups and downs last season, but overall he was pretty good for his first full season in the Majors. I think that he needs to be more confident at the plate, he watches a lot of pitches. And believe me he has a great eye and everything, but he could be a little more aggressive
Dustin Pedroia: I am completely confident that this guy can put up very similar numbers again this season. I can’t really critique much with him… he’s doing everything right. 
David Ortiz: The biggest question of course is: can he get healthy? I think so. In fact, I think his numbers will be similar to 2007. I think he feels a lot better this year, and he looks a lot more comfortable when he swings. I think that he also has to stop worrying about having another 30 HR bat behind him. The Red Sox aren’t about home runs this year, I think they’re going to go a bit more down the small ball route this year. 
Kevin Youkilis: Again, with Kevin Youkilis, there’s not much I can critique. He is an all around great ball player, and I love the way he approaches the game. Just one thing though… he could take it a little easier when he strikes out :)
JD Drew: Drew had a great season last year, much better than the 2007 one. I said this a while ago, but I’m pretty sure his son was ill in 2007, and that probably distracted him a little bit (I don’t blame him). I’m pretty sure that his son recovered by 2008, and his numbers really improved. I’m very comfortable with having him in right field as well. 
Jason Bay: I’m not too concerned with Jason Bay either (I love not being concerned). He adjusted to Boston really nicely, and to October baseball as well. In fact, it looked natural for him. Opening Day shouldn’t phase him either :)
Mike Lowell: I am very optimistic about Lowell. As I watched him throughout the Spring, that look of pain on his face was gone. Like Ortiz, he looked much more comfortable with his swing. And he’s really not that old… he’s only 34. I am very glad that the Red Sox decided to pass on Mark Teixeira. When he’s healthy, Lowell is not only a good hitter, but he can also make some crazy plays over at third. 
Jed Lowrie: I think I found him on Twitter… I think. Did you even happen to glance over his statistics this Spring? He was hitting the crap out of the ball, and oh yeah he hit a grand slam at Citi Field the other day. I think that confidence is key for him too since he is still young.
Jason Varitek: I don’t know if you guys realize this, but I had so much fun typing his name just then. It re-emphasizes the fact that he is back on the Red Sox. I think that his bad season last year wasn’t just because he is getting older. I am pretty sure that he was going through a divorce, and I’d guess that it wasn’t that easy. Now that it’s over, I am fairly confident that his stats will increase a little bit. And if he hits .220 again so what? I love having him behind the plate… his experience and knowledge are priceless.
Chris Carter: Now I know that the games against the Mets weren’t REAL games. But they were about as close to real games as you get. And in that game, Chris Carter did pretty well. I honestly think that he will provide better offense than Mark Kotsay will. 
Nick Green: Like Carter, I don’t think that Nick will be phased by the majors beca
use he has actually played in them for a significant amount of time. Granted he didn’t do that well, but he did have an impressive Spring. He is my project, therefore he will do well. 
George Kottaras: So he didn’t have the best offensive season last year in AAA. The fact of the matter is, he can catch a knuckleball, and he can throw to second pretty well. The Red Sox offense is pretty deep, we don’t need catchers who hit for really high batting averages. 
Rocco Baldelli: I really liked this acquisition. He is the perfect guy coming off the bench because I think any team would be lucky to have him as an everyday player if he could play everyday. Since he just can’t play everyday, being a player off the bench is exactly what he needs to do. This will allow him to stay healthy and maximize his skills. 
Overall, we have an offense that can match any team, and the lineup goes pretty deep. Obviously the guys to keep your eyes on are Lowell and Papi. As far as minor league players go, keep your eyes out for Lars Anderson and Josh Reddick (mainly Lars Anderson though). 
I can’t wait for our Opening Day tomorrow! 

A Year in Review

Well to start off, I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas. Santa brought me some wonderful Red Sox artifacts to decorate my room and car with. I’m pretty sure my room looks like a mini-Red Sox gift shop, which is perfectly fine with me, and not a big surprise to my friends. As far as my car goes, I’m pretty sure people will know who drives it when I park near my school next year (if possible). So if anyone is seeking vengeance on me, all they have to do is look for the Red Sox license plate. And now, to salvage the lack of baseball, I have the amazing 2007 Red Sox playoff run (and special moments). That might be able to carry me through to Spring Training (or at least another week to it). 

Anyway, when I was on the Sox site yesterday, Aiden Gonzalez posted a nice Red Sox Year in Review type article highlighting the major events of each month. Here are some of my favorite memories from each month of 2008.
January:
I’m pretty sure it was January when the Sox were in the Johan Santana sweepstakes with the Mets. I was so nervous during that because I really didn’t want Johan Santana. Sure he’s an incredible pitcher and what not, but we would’ve had to give up guys like Jon Lester, Justin Masterson and Jacoby Ellsbury. Think about how much that would’ve changed the season without those guys! Lester wouldn’t have become the ace of the Red Sox, there wouldn’t have been that beautiful no-no on May 19; Justin Masterson wouldn’t have been able to give the Red Sox life in the late innings of the tight playoff games; and we wouldn’t have the future star center fielder on the Red Sox, who makes incredible catches almost on a daily basis, and can steal any time. 
February:
The Sox signed Youkilis to that one year $3 million dollar deal during this month. That was a relief for sure seeing that he finished third in the MVP voting, batted an incredible .312, and was so helpful when he showed his versatility when he moved to third base. I sure hope that the Sox can sign him to a long term contract. 
Also, one of the most important men during every game, Terry Francona, received a three-year contract extension with options for the next two years. 
During this month the Sox also signed the good guy Sean Casey, who gave us laughs when he tripped over second base, then crawled back; Bobby Kielty, who made an incredible catch during one of the Spring Training games I was at; and Bartolo Colon, who wasn’t much of a help at all. 
March:
The beautiful Spring Training month, in which I was lucky enough to go to two glorious games at City of Palms Park. I met some really great people, and after the games, I would walk down to the player’s parking lot to try and get an autograph. I only got one, but I ran out into the middle of the street to stop Jed Lowrie’s car! It was at these Spring Training games that I knew that Jed Lowrie would come up and be a great help to the Red Sox. It was also at the first Spring Training game I went to that Beckett first started having back spasms. 
April
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One word: Japan! Those games were not at the most convenient times. I made the mistake of getting up at 5:30 am because I thought there would be pre-game. Apparently not. I remember the first game perfectly, at school we had assembly, but a few of my friends and I were sitting in the very back on my friend Nick’s iPhone, watching Game Day very intensly. We had to hush ourselves when Brandon Moss hit the home run and when Manny Ramirez hit the double. Then, we all ran to the closest room with cable (conveniently my next classroom) and watched the game. I led the five minute rebellion in which I refused to let class begin until the last out was recorded. 
A couple of good games I was reminded of while reading this article was the ninth inning go-ahead home run in Clevland by Manny, battling back from five runs to beat the Rangers 6-5, and Youk’s walk off single that ended Roy Halladay’s shutout. 
One thing I remember quite vividly was when David Ortiz came up with the bases loaded in that Rangers game, and I called it. I knew he would come out of the slump right then and there, placement and everything.
May
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Where to begin but Lester’s beautiful no hitter against the Royals on May 19? I was studying for my finals (while watching the game of course) but when I realized it in the seventh inning, I put the books away, to see one of the most beautiful performances of the year. The Sox won on my birthday in a late West Coast game (which I stayed up for of course even though I had finals the next day), and Manny hit number 500 at my little get together with some friends. 
June
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I was away for the last half of June at camp, but I was able to see Jacoby break the rookie record for steals, and see half of JD Drew’s incredible month, and of course most memorably, the Coco Crisp fight. I had seen things get heated the night before, with Iwamura, and I knew that as soon as Shields hit Coco (purposefully of course) that Coco would go after him. 
July
We all saw Josh Hamilton’s memorable Home Run Derby which was absolutely incredible. And we all saw the All-Star game, appropriately at Yankee Stadium. Did any of you get to go? It was so nice to see JD Drew be named the MVP of the All-Star game for helping to lead the American League to victory. Probably the saddest part of July for me, was the Manny Ramirez trade. I was upset at him for being a d-bag the past couple of weeks, but I still loved him to death. He still waved to me at Fenway Park, and he was still Manny! I found out when I arrived at my cousin’s house in Delaware, I didn’t cry though– I was in shock, and I realized that it had kind of been inevitable. 
August
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I came to love Jason Bay. I remember the walk-off run he scored in his first game, and the home run he hit in his second.He
was really a team player and I loved that about him. I hope the Sox sign him to a long contract. The injuries hit hard this month: Lowell, Drew, Wakefield (even though it was the best month of the season), and Lester got AL Pitcher of the Month honors.
September
My favorite part of this month was September 15. My father and I took the second half of the day off, drove four and a half hours to Tampa to see the Red Sox and Rays. It was nice to see the Red Sox win. What I found funny is that upon walking in, Sweet Caroline was playing! So of course the cluster of Red Sox fans were belting Sweet Caroline! We got back at 3 in the morning, and I had to take a Geometry test the next day. It was all worth it though. 
On September 23, a win against the Indians, the Sox assured themselves a playoff spot, which is always special to watch, and even though we didn’t win the division, the Wild Card was just as good. 
October
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“There’s only one October!” as October Gonzo puts it. This was the month I joined MLBlogs, and I’m sure glad that I did. I’ve met so many great people (more on that next entry). One of my favorite parts of the year, the high stress playoffs! I was in the Bahamas with my friend for the first two games, but luckily we got the games in our room, so I was up late watching them of course. I remember I fell asleep during Game 3 with a broom, and watching the magical Game 4. Jason Varitek making that beautiful play down the third base line, the suicide squeeze, Jed’s walk-off single, and Jason Bay sliding into home! That was so exciting.
The ALCS was even more stressful. Dice-K pitched beautifully at the Trop in Game 1, but it went downhill during Games 2-4. I was so scared during Game 5, especially when it was 7-0. But as soon as Pedroia got that first RBI, I knew. And we all know the miracle that happened. Game 7 was somewhat of a disappointment, but it was still a beautiful season. 
November
Pedroia snagged a couple of awards: a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and the AL MVP Honors. A great first two seasons for him. Coco Crisp was also dealt to the Royals, and I miss his feistiness, but I think we all knew that Jacoby is the future. The Sox also picked up Wake’s option, and signed Wes Littleton. Jacoby Ellsbury finished third in ROY voting, and Francona finished fourth in the manager of the year award. 
December
Pedroia got his six year contract extension, which was a very happy day in RSN seeing that Pedroia essentially “embodies a Red Sox player” as Epstein put it, and Junichi Tazawa was signed. 
It was a great year for the Red Sox, and I hope 2009 is as well! 
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