Results tagged ‘ Jon Lester ’

“Baseball Bubble”

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Today, I realized something– I can tell you more about baseball than I can about global issues– way more. I honestly did not know the name of the North Korean dictator until this afternoon. Is this bad? I remember Jane mentioning a story similar to this in her book. She was reading the newspaper and some kind of headline like ‘The Tribe is Suffering’ came up, and she thought it was about the Cleveland Indians. I’m not going to lie to you, upon reading it, I thought she was referencing the Cleveland Indians as well. I live in my own little baseball bubble as well. 

For example, in math today, when my teacher asked me the scores of the World Baseball Classic from Sunday, I was perfectly able to recite that. When he asked me to find the external arc of a circle, I was clueless. 

During my Life Skills class, we began learning about drugs; so we were each assigned a drug to research and present to the class. I kindly forced asked the student next to me to switch topics with me so I could write about steroids. Don’t get me wrong, I will talk about steroids in my project, but I think I’m going to go on a long tangent about steroids in baseball, and then go on to talk about Pete Rose and how it’s ridiculous that he is not in the Hall of Fame. 
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I had heard about the rumored Jon Lester deal yesterday, but it wasn’t until I was watching Team USA beat up on Team Venezuela that I heard that the deal was finalized. It was a five year deal worth $30 million, with a $14 million option for 2014! This is what the Red Sox have been doing all offseason: locking up their proven young players! We all know that Jon Lester had a breakout year last year. I don’t need to re-emphasize his no-hitter and that great comeback story of his. The bottom line is: he is a good pitcher. He has great command of his fastball, and is even working on a changeup! At this pace, he is on the track to becoming one of the most feared left handed pitchers of the game. 
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A-Rod is officially having surgery, though, not the same surgery that Mike Lowell had on his torn labrum. I think this is “arthroscopic surgery” and they few medical terms that I know are the ones that I have heard of on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. This is not one of them. However, from what I have gathered, this surgery will allow A-Rod to return in 6-9 weeks rather than 12-16 weeks. This was the right decision.
Like I’ve said before, it was painful for me to watch Mike Lowell play last season, and it was painful for him. If it’s already painful for Alex, it was only going to get worse. This surgery will minimize the damage, and he will have the rest of the surgery after the season. Plus, this gives A-Rod some down time. With this steroid scandal, and his inability to keep a straight story, and all Torre’s blows to him– he needs some time off. 
So what are the Yankees to do in the meantime without their cleanup batter? Alright so they have Cody Ransom to fill the void at third base, but that does not fill the offensive void. The Yankees are going to have to totally re-work their lineup. Sure Mark Teixeira has a bat, but other than him, the offense is a tad on the mediocre side. Luckily they have some serious pitching to balance that. 
World Baseball Classic 
The USA is redeeming itself after the 2006 tournament as it did not falter after its first win. They beat Team Venezuela 15-6 thanks to some key hits off of the shaky Venezuelan bullpen, and some strong relief pitching. 
Roy Oswalt had a decent outing, but definitely not the best. The problem is, these games actually matter (in a sense). This is still Spring Training to some of these guys. The guys on international teams have been playing Winter Ball. These guys? This is just the start of stuff for them. 
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The US broke it open in the sixth inning by scoring eight runs. Mark DeRosa hit a triple and batted in a total of four runs. Chris Iannetta had a great bases clearing double and also had four RBIs. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with Ianetta. Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn hit their second home runs of the classic, and Ryan Braun hit his first. Dustin Pedroia had a great play at second base if you guys didn’t get to see it. It was one of those plays that NO ONE should make. 
The bullpen was backed by some great run support so Ziegler’s two earned runs and Bell’s one were not that significant. Matt Lindstrom of the Florida Marlins picked up the win. 
Red Sox Spring Training
On Sunday I had to go to school for an American History catch up day– didn’t mind too much because I love that class. Anyway, the class started at one, and there was a Red Sox vs Rays game at one. Luckily, my friend lent me his iPhone so I was periodically refreshing the play-by-play throughout the whole class. 
Julio Lugo had a great day as he went 3-3 with two RBIs and two doubles. My project, Nick Green, hit a home run, as did Zach Daeges (despite his weird batting stance) and Jonathan Van Every. 
Justin Masterson pitched three beautiful innings of one hit ball and was followed by Jonathan Papelbon, who threw a scoreless inning but allowed two runs. Did I mention that he is working on a slider? Yet another pitch to vanquish victims. Daniel Bard (potential project) struck out the side, and Junichi Tazawa and Michael Bowden each allowed one run. 
I have now set a goal for Michael Bowden: one outing without any earned runs! 
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The Red Sox played an exciting game today against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which the Red Sox won on an RBI double by Josh Reddick in the bottom of the tenth. I watched the first two innings during my Life Skills class while “researching” steroids. I wasn’t just going to pass up that opportunity.
One of my projects, Jeff Bailey, went 3-4 with a double and an RBI. Project Nick Green hit another home run as did Dusty Brown. I remember Dusty Brown from last year’s Spring Training and from a Pawtucket game. I like him, but I need to see a bit more of him to decide his project potential. 
Josh Bard continued to
make his presence known by hitting another home run today and collecting three RBIs. I’m thinking that this whole competition thing is making Lowrie a little nervous. I just want him to be himself, because I know he can do well either starting on off the bench. 

#5: Nomar Garciaparra

Continuing in the tradition started by Jimmy Curran over at Baseball, the Yankees, and Life; I am dedicating my latest ranking, number five, to a former Red Sox player that has a very special place in my heart. 

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Nomar went to Georgia Tech, along with Jason Varitek (who had his number retired), and helped the “Yellow Jackets” get to the College World Series in 1994. He was a first round pick for the Red Sox in 1994, and played three years in their minor league system. He made his Major League debut in August 1, 1996, and his first major league hit, which happened to be a home run, came on September 1. It’s not like he was playing everyday though, John Valentin was the starting shortstop at the time, but not for long. By late 1996, Nomar had taken the job– Valentin moved to second base. 
Garciaparra’s rookie year was 1997, and he hit 30 home runs, and had 98 RBIs, which set a Major League record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter. He also set the record for leadoff home runs by a rookie. Do you guys know who broke it? (Hint: It was another shortstop). He had a 30 game hit streak which also set an American League rookie record. He was unanimously voted Rookie of the Year and even finished eighth in MVP voting. 
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In 1998 he finished with 35 home runs and 122 RBIs, and runner up for MVP. For the next two years, he led the American League in batting average. .357 in 1999, and .372 in 2000. He didn’t even win MVP those years. 
In 2001, the injuries began. His season was ended when he came into Spring Training with a wrist injury and returned in 2002 to bat .310. It was the beginning of the end. 
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Following a dreadful end to the 2003 season (Nomar did okay, but the Red Sox didn’t), the relatively new Red Sox ownership was investigating the idea of trading Manny to Texas for A-Rod, and Nomar to the White Sox for Magglio Ordonez. This obviously upset Nomar, and he became very unhappy. 
He was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2004 for Orlando Cabrera and Doug (not even going to attempt his last name). Nonetheless, he was given a World Series ring from that year. God, I miss Nomar. 
Projects
For those of you that do not know, I have started a tradition of having “project players”. These are players that I see in Spring Training, or who may have a brief stint with the Red Sox, that I really like. Last year, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson were my projects. 
I would now like to declare to you my projects for 2009: 
Jeff Bailey
Lars Anderson
Chris Carter
Nick Green
Junichi Tazawa
All of them are minor league players– you can check out my reports on them in my previous entry. Angel Chavez might make the list as well, he’s been looking great. 
Jacobyluvr asked some questions that are really important to look at right now in my last post: 
Initial Intake on Starting Rotation: 
Thus far, we have seen three out of five of our starting rotation: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield. 
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Josh Beckett has been looking great according to reports. The fact that he may look like his 2007 self is very pleasant to hear. Against Boston College, Beckett fired two innings and two strikeouts and didn’t allow any hits. Against the Twins, he also fired two perfect innings, but didn’t strike out anyone. The main thing for Beckett is to stay healthy. Some years he is incredible, others he is mediocre. Last season, he was always “catching up”– ever since that Spring Training game where he had the back spasms. 
Jon Lester pitched against Pittsburgh and earlier today against the Reds. Against Pittsburgh, he pitched two innings, allowed two hits, and struck out one. Today, against the Reds, he pitched two perfect innings and struck out two in the process. Lester is working on adding a changeup to his arsenal of pitches. He is so young that he can continue to learn and really develop. 
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Wakefield, in his start against the Twins, gave up two earned runs on five runs in two innings. Coming out of the bullpen (after Beckett) in the second game against the Twins, he walked one, gave up one hit and no earned runs in two innings. The thing about Wakefield is that he is either on or off– there is very little middle ground. He basically has one pitch, and even though the knuckle ball may be pretty hard to hit for some teams– all it takes is two pitches to time it down. The great thing about Wakefield is that he goes very deep into games. 
We can’t tell much about Dice-K because he has been training in Japan this entire time for the World Baseball Classic, which is starting this weekend. I hope that they don’t overwork him. I know how much he means to Japan and his country, but there are 162 games in the season, and he has to pitch every five days for seven innings ideally. The thing about Dice-K is that even though he went 18-3, he walked tons of people, but got tons of run support. He needs to cut down on the walks (I know he can get out of jams, but I would rather him to deep into games). I’ll be closely watching him in the World Baseball Classic. Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi say they have some plans to hit home runs off him. 
Brad Penny will most likely be the fifth starter. He has not pitched in Spring Training yet, and he will not be starting against Puerto Rico. The biggest thing for him is also to stay healthy, because when he is healthy, he is great. After all, in 2007 he did finish third in Cy Young Award voting. Justin Masterson did a great job starting though.  
Mike Lowell Situation
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In order for Lowell to be re
ady for Opening Day, he needs to take it a bit slower than everyone else simply because he is coming off surgery. I definitely would like to see him in a couple of exhibition games though because it would be tough just to come back without any practice. That’s kind of what happened to Josh Beckett. If Lowell is not ready for Opening Day, he should not play. The last thing I want is for him to push anything too far. If he is not ready for Opening Day, I have some ideas:
Kevin Youkilis could move to third, and either Lars Anderson, Jeff Bailey, or Chris Carter could come up to play first base. It would not be the end of the world if he can’t start on Opening Day. The main priority is for him to completely rehab. He is working out in Fort Myers right now with everyone else, but I would guess that if he is not ready for Opening Day, he should probably start out in Triple AAA just to get a feel for things. 

I can’t watch Spring Training games, which really upsets me. They’re always during school, so I can only check the score so often. Today, as I checked the score, I noticed that we were losing. Instead of freaking out, I checked the box score and checked out who hit and who pitched. Jed Lowrie had a good day, and Chris Carter got a hit too. As I was scrolling through the pitchers to see who had earned the runs, I noticed that Ramon Ramirez had three of the earned runs and four of the hits. He had looked so good before! Was it just a bad day? 
Thank you all for reading!
-Elizabeth

Instead of Dwelling, let’s evaluate

The Red Sox lost their game to the Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday (2/26) 3-2, and they lost today’s game to the Rays 10-4. Their record may be 0-3, but instead of dwelling on the losses, at this point, it’s probably better to analyze why the Red Sox lost. 

Pittsburgh: 
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Jon Lester made the start, and in his two innings he gave up two hits, and struck out one and gave up no runs. The important thing to know about Lester right now, is that he’s working on a new pitch to add to his “arsenal”– a changeup! As a former softball pitcher, I can tell you that it’s hard enough to pitch: to find the spots, and stay in the strikezone is hard! But I can’t imagine trying to have a changeup. But if Lester can master it, or at least get a good grip on it, it would definitely benefit him in the long run, as Terry Francona pointed out. The reason that Lester didn’t do this last year was because he was still trying to find his fastball command, and that’s important as we all know. 
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Takashi Saito, one of the Red Sox acquisitions of the offseason pitched one inning in which he gave up one hit and struck out two. That’s impressive for a guy just coming off surgery. Hideki Okajima and Wes Littleton (acquired from Texas) threw a combined two innings of perfect relief, each striking out one. 
These next three guys I have admittedly never heard of, but tomorrow (when I get my program at the game) I will be writing notes everywhere! Anyway, “Mills” and “James” did fine, not striking out anyone, but not giving up hits either. It was merely “Lentz” who gave up three runs, in the top of the ninth. 
This is what Spring Training is for. It is the time for pitchers to go out and work on their pitches, without having to worry, and to give a chance to the minor leaguers, to have a look at the future. The record itself doesn’t matter, but in a sense the statistics do. I don’t know if that makes sense. 
At the plate, my almost official project, Jeff Bailey, batted in the two runs that the Red Sox scored on a two run single (although it may have been a double, not sure). If he looks good tomorrow when I’m there, I will officially announce my first project. Nick Green and “Ambres” also got hits. 
Tampa Bay
During eighth period, I demanded my friend’s iPhone to check the score. My face dropped when I realized the score was 10-0 and I started asking rhetorical questions to my friends. ‘Why is this happening?’ I moaned. So instead of why, I should have asked what. What was happening? 
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Michael Bowden, that pitching prospect of ours, gave up four earned runs in 1.2 innings. I’m wondering what exactly happened to him. I would now like to interview him. Maybe all that talk about him went to his head, and he “outthought himself” as I said a long time ago when I was analyzing Lester’s shortcomings in Game 3 (I think) of the ALCS. I’m beyond willing to give Bowden a second chance, in fact, let him pitch tomorrow! I want to see him!!! He needs to focus on placing his pitches, and having command of them. He may have been thinking about the future, being on the Red Sox, making the team. That’s scary. We’ll see how it goes next time. Emily, please help him! 
It did not help much that “Gonzalez” gave up another five earned runs, and the two errors didn’t help much either. In two innings, Hansack struck out four, which was very impressive, and Green had one perfect inning without any strikeouts. Charlie Zink gave up the other two runs. You may remember him from that explosive game against Texas– the one where the Red Sox scored 10 runs in the first inning (Big Papi hit two home runs). I’m pretty sure we ended up winning, but regardless, Zink was pitching. He gave up ten runs in the first inning to the Rangers too! I am almost positive that Zink is a knuckle ball pitcher. 
At the plate, Baldelli got an RBI against his former team, as did Jacoby Ellsbury, and Jed Lowrie. Nice to see Jacoby get a hit, and I hope that he plays tomorrow. 
As you guys know, I will be going to Fort Myers tomorrow. I’m heading out at 8:30 to get to the ballpark at 11 am for batting practice. I would love to get some autographs, and I have so much that I want to say to each and every player. I have tickets for the game against Northeastern University at 1:05, which is where our fellow blogger, Julia, went. And I recently got tickets to the 7:05 game against Cincinnati, which Clay Buchholz will start. 
It would make me really happy if the Red Sox got their first win tomorrow :). It would make me even happier if I got an autograph. And I will die of happiness if something even better than that happens. Do they need me to do play-by-play?? I’ll be carrying a legal pad around, writing down everything that I need. 
You guys can expect full game reports and analyses as well as scouting reports on Sunday. I’ll also share my pictures with anyone who wants them! Just send me an e-mail here, and I’ll get them right to you. 
-Elizabeth

A Brief Look at the Future of the Red Sox Pitching Staff

Yesterday, ‘Jacobyluvr’ posted a comment with some great questions regarding the future some of the Red Sox’s young pitching stars. Here’s my take on them:

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Where might Jon Lester be in the starting rotation? 
Lester really stepped it up last year, and pretty much established himself as the ace of our staff. I think that he would do great in the number one slot. He had great success in the post season as the ace of our staff (besides Game 3 of the ’08 ALCS) and I think that success will carry over into next year. In 2008, Beckett was plagued with injuries so his stats declined a bit, but this could also come from the amount of pressure that came from being the runner up to winning the Cy Young. Since Lester wasn’t in the running for the Cy Young, I think he’ll be okay. If he doesn’t start in the first slot, I can see him in the third slot. For some reason Dice-K seems like a second slot guy to me. 
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What are your thoughts on Clay Buchholz, is he still with us?
Yes, Clay is still with us. The Red Sox were smart to keep him in Double AA Portland after starting the season out 2-9. There is no doubt that Buchholz has talent, after all he did throw a no hitter against the Orioles on September 1, 2007. It was noted by various reporters that Buchholz’s stuff improved in Double AA, as well as in the AFL (Arizona Fall League). Seeing that Smoltz and Penny are only one year deals, I think that 2008 will be a year that Buchholz can really develop and fine tune his techniques so that he is ready to start in 2009. 
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What about Masterson?
The great thing about Masterson is that he is very flexible. Smoltz won’t be coming back until about June, so Penny could either be starting, or in the bullpen. If Penny is in the bullpen, than I think Masterson could serve as a great temporary fifth starter. We know that Masterson can handle pressure, and for such a young guy, that’s impressive, and reassuring to know. In Game 5 of the 2008 ALCS Terry Francona and John Farrell put him in the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead and he put two men on– but after being briefly talked to by Varitek and Farrell, he was able to settle down and close it out. He is also training as a starter so that he can go wherever the Red Sox need him to go. In the long run, depending on how Buchholz turns out, he could be a starter. For now, I see him as a reliever though. 
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Did you see MLB Network’s Prime 9 on short stops? If so, what did you think of A-Rod being ranked second? 
I am definitely one that gives credit where credit is due, but I honestly don’t think that A-Rod deserved to be ranked the second greatest short stop of all time. I think that he can be ranked up there in the top nine, but just not second. Personally, the top three shortstop for me are:
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Honus Wagner
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Ozzie Smith “The Wizard of Oz”
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Cal Ripken Jr. 
I know that A-Rod has accomplished some incredible feats, he is probably one of the greatest baseball players of our time, but just not the SECOND best, perhaps the fifth best.
As we all know, it looks like the Ricketts family is going to be purchasing the Cubs. What I didn’t know until today was how Cubs fans feel about this. Cubs bloggers if you’re out there, please leave your URL because I would love to read your opinions on this. Anyway, I decided to investigate and find out what one Cubs fan thinks about this. Jen, I’m sure you hate him already.
I found William Hector today actually wearing Cubs colors, I wondered if it was intentional but he classified it as a coincidence. William doesn’t keep up with all the names of players and what not, but he loves watching the games. 
Me: William, how do you feel about the Cubs new ownership?
William: I like it! I like it better than Hank Steinbrenner. 
Now Yankee fans this does seem like a low blow to the Yankees, but William is actually a Yankee fan! I neglected to ask him how he felt about Jake Peavy when we got onto the topic of Joe Torre’s new book. He asked me if I was reading it, but I told him I was reading my friend, Jane’s book first. 
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Speaking of Jane’s book, I’ve come up with a few reasons why I’ll be reading hers first as oppose to Torre’s. 
Joe Torre bashes A-Rod a lot in his book. Don’t I already know that I don’t like A-Rod? Does Joe Torre have to convince me to continue not liking A-Rod? Absolutely not! I know Jane is a Yankee fan and all, but she’s still a baseball fan right? Torre is a manager, Jane is a fan (and wicked author). I think I can relate to Jane a bit more than I can relate to Torre. Plus, after reading an excerpt from it on Amazon, I laughed! Torre’s book just reaffirmed my hatred for the Yankees.
I’m not looking to have my beliefs changed AT ALL, I’m fine with hating the Yankees but that doesn’t mean I hate ALL Yankee fans. The Yankee fans here actually are quite smart, and make it easy to actually co-exist with them! 
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I’ve decided to be a conformist and join the fantasy
baseball craze. From what I’ve heard, I have to rally up some friends and start a league on either Yahoo or ESPN. So, here’s an open call to all who would like to start a fantasy baseball team with me. 
Varitek, your deadline is Friday. Funny how Scott Boras was quoted saying that “he has nothing to say”. This is good, as long as he keeps his mouth shut, we’re all better off!
-Elizabeth

A Review of the Red Sox Offseason

Now that there are less than three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, it seems like an evaluation of our teams’ offseason actions would be in tact. The interesting thing about the Red Sox’s offseason, is that it took a while to get started. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. 

It’s not like we had a disappointing 2008 season, not advancing to the World Series “isn’t the end of the world” as Manny Ramirez would say. On the other hand, the Yankees had a bit more of a disappointing 2008 season– let’s just say it wasn’t up to their expectations. So they went out and blew spent $20 million more than they should’ve on CC Sabathia. They made a risky investment on AJ Burnett, and they signed Mark Teixeira (this is probably their wisest investment) to an eight year deal. 
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With all of these investments, the Yankees have spent roughly $422.5 million dollars. As far as I know, none of these contracts involved “incentives”. Personally, I think incentives are the best type of contracts because you set specific goals for the players to achieve, and if they don’t achieve this goal, then you don’t have to pay them. 
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When the Red Sox signed Pedroia and Youkilis, I really didn’t see much of a need to put incentives in those contracts. First of all, they both finished within the top three for MVP voting, and the last time that happened was 1986. A wise investment? I think so. Plus, both players are products of the Red Sox farm system, and both have mentioned that they love playing in Boston. The Red Sox signed Pedroia for six years, $40 million dollars, and the Yankees signed Sabathia for the same amount of years, but $100 more million dollars than that. Pedroia won the MVP and Sabathia wasn’t even in the top three in the National League.
We all know that Mark Teixeira is good, but I feel like with Kevin Youkilis, I’m not even “settling”. Since I’ve established the legality of comparing Youkilis and Teixeira in one of my recent posts, it is needless to say that we are getting Youkilis for one hell of a bargain. 
I know our starting rotation isn’t the best in the majors, but it’s definitely up there. A lot depends on the durability of Dice-K, if Beckett can bounce back, if Lester can stay consistent, the dancing ability of Wakefield’s knuckleball, and new veterans like Smoltz and Penny.
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At first, I was all for signing Derek Lowe (after AJ went to the Yankees), but what I wasn’t thinking about was the future (ironic right?). If we had gotten Derek Lowe, that would have seriously displaced the abundance of our young pitching talent. Lowe would’ve been an overpriced (14-11 with an ERA over 3.00 is not worth $14 mil or whatever he was demanding) three year investment, where as people like Smoltz and Penny are low risks with potentially high rewards. Plus, they have incentive contracts, my favorite!! 
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This gives our young pitchers even more time to develop and fine tune everything in the minors, and since both Penny and Smoltz’s contracts are one year deals, it will give our young stars the opportunity to start full time next year. 
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Then there’s the bullpen. In 2008 our bullpen had one of the highest ERAs in the majors, we went out and signed Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito. Their statistics speak for themselves, but I have a feeling that the addition of the both of them, plus having Justin Masterson full time, will really solidify our bullpen. Plus, we signed Papelbon to a well deserved deal. 
There is still a possibility for that deal to go long term, but I don’t think it necessarily needs to (and neither does Papelbon). The Red Sox could potentially wait until after the 2009 season to sign him to a long term contract, but there is no one else in the Majors I would rather have right now. 
Not to mention the signings of Josh Bard and Rocco Baldelli. It’s nice that Bard is getting a second chance, but the front office is essentially getting a second chance as well seeing that Theo classified the trade as a “short sighted mistake”. Having a player like Baldelli coming off the bench? Need I say more than that? 
Once you look at all of these signings up close, it seems like it all kind of crept up on you. Just the other day, my math teacher asked me: “Since when did the Red Sox bullpen become so good?”. 
It has been reported that the Red Sox have included a deadline with Varitek’s latest offer. Deadline or no deadline, it doesn’t make a difference. Varitek needs to take this deal if he wants to have a job in 2009. That’s how scary the market is, if he doesn’t take this offer, he might not have a place to play. Yeah, it will be a pretty big pay cut, but a lot of players have taken some major league pay cuts. Jason Varitek, it’s up to you. 
-Elizabeth

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
Jon Lester.jpg
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
Coco Crisp Fight.jpg
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
Jason Bay.jpg
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
JD Drew.jpg
“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! 

The bad blood starts to brew (Game 3 NLCS), Game 3 ALCS preview

Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher in history (45) to start a LCS game, but he only lasted 1 1/3 innings; his shortest start in 10 years. He gave up 5 runs in the first inning to an explosive Dodgers team. Hiroki Kuroda pitched seven strong innings for the Dodgers to cut their deficit to just a game. The only other run that the Dodgers scored was on an RBI single by Nomar Garciaparra. There was some bad blood between the Phillies and Dodgers thad had been brewing since the beginning of August when a pitch was thrown behind Manny Ramirez’s head. A couple of pitches were thrown tonight, Martin was hit in the knees, and Manny was hit in the helmet, so the Dodgers decided to retaliate by having Kuroda throwing a ball over Shane Victorino’s head. After he grounded out, they both exchanged some words, enough to clear the benches. Although no punches were thrown, Manny came charging in from left field and was restrained by Joe Torre and some of his other teammates. It wasn’t even about him. There’s a big difference between 3-0 and 2-1. The Dodgers came through in a must win situation.

ALCS Game 3: Everyone knows how disappointing Game 2 was. Both Beckett and Kazmir were disappointing. Beckett denies all the speculations and skepticism’s and claims that he is fine. I suppose that pitchers do go through their ups and downs, but this is kind of drastic. After going 20-7 last year and being dominant in the post season, he has reversed that and went 12-10 in the regular season this year and has yet to win a post season start. Even with all the run support, Beckett couldn’t turn out a win. Let us not forget though, that the man who Beckett lost the Cy Young to, C.C. Sabbathia, did not have a good season either. I know that I still have faith in Beckett to turn it around this post season, he just has to concentrate and make his pitches. He should definitely do an extra practice session with the captain. As far as Game 3 goes tonight, the Sox have Lester on the mound, which is very reassuring. Dustin Pedroia turned it around on Saturday night, so hopefully, the slumping Jacoby Ellsbury can do the same. He was amazing in Game 1 of the ALDS, (going 3-5 with 2 steals, an RBI and a phenomenal catch) and hopefully he can bring that to this game. The best part about game 3? We’re back at Fenway. 
-Elizabeth 

Jed Lowrie with a walk off hit

To start off on an irrelevant note, I was unaware of the fact that they put stars around profane language. I’ll have to watch myself seeing that I curse like a sailor. 

Last night’s game was epic so to speak. Jon Lester pitched out of jams and has yet to give up a run in the 2008 post season. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia both got RBI’s (and with Dustin’s, he also snapped his hitting slump) but it was the eighth inning that almost made me puke my dinner up. Hideki Okajima comes in and walks Teixera and is then taken out. Justin Masterson, the man that the Red Sox have relied on thus far in the eighth inning (postseason that is) came in and gave up two runs. Seeing that he is a rookie in his first postseason series ever and he has been over used, what do you expect? I was sitting on my bathroom floor for five minutes trying not to puke my guts up, I was that nervous.2-2 game four, the Red Sox did not want to go back to Anaheim. . In the top of the ninth, there’s a man on third and Aybar tries to drop a suicide squeeze but misses the bunt so Varitek has the man on third caught! Varitek runs and kind of tackles the man and the out is recorded. When Tek falls to the ground the ball rolls out. Still out! That could’ve saved the game right there. Our captain, leading us to victory as usual.It was the bottom of the ninth inning, and this is what true baseball fans live for. Sitting on the edge of your seats, about to pop a blood vessel Jason Bay hits a double down the right field line and there we have it, a man in scoring position. The next batter is the somewhat useless Mark Kotsay (who groped the umpire earlier in the game if you didn’t happen to witness that awkward moment) and he lined out to the second basemen. Then, the trusty rookie Jed Lowrie comes up. He lined out with the bases loaded the night before and was with a chance to redeem himself. Did he take that chance? Yes, he sure as hell did! He hits another one into right field and Jason Bay is running with his life and he slides across the plate. SAFE!!! GAME OVER! The Red Sox win on a walk off hit by Jed Lowrie! One of only four other walk off hits in major league history hit by a rookie. And the Red Sox are going to the ALCS along with Tampa. See you Friday night folks! 

ALDS Game 3 (I fell asleep with a broom)

Game 3 was quite intense huh? Beckett was obviously off… so we had five innings of hell (or somewhere around five). Mike Napoli… two home runs? What the hell? That was pretty annoying. Lucky for us, our trusty rookie Jacoby was involved in all four runs. Pretty amazing. And by the way, they were not cheap RBI’s, it’s not my fault if Torii Hunter sucks. That one play had three RBI’s and then in the eighth (I really don’t remember this game too well, way too tired anyway) he hit a double right over the right fielder’s head (whoever it is) and then Kevin Youkilis hit another double to score Jacoby. Unfortunately, Jed Lowrie couldn’t produce with the bases loaded and Jacoby struck out even though the ball was CLEARLY AS **** outside. That could’ve cost us the game right there. But then again, that’s the beauty of baseball. Can’t rely on one man to always score the runs for you. Masterson pitched beautifully yet AGAIN. I’m enjoying that I can rely on him in the post season. Him and Papelbon :D. Ironically, the probable MVP is 0-13 (or something ungodly like that) in the ALDS. He is due! We’ll see about that tonight. David Ortiz is also due for some type of home run. Crazy as I am, I was holding on to a broom from the seventh inning on. So I ended up falling asleep with it, holding it very tightly. Kind of disappointing. 

Other than that the NLCS has been locked up. The Philles beat the Brewers and the Dodgers swept the Cubs. Someone bring out a goat, please. Hopefully the suicide rate in Chicago won’t increase. I’m not even sure of who is winning the White Sox-Rays series… I think it’s the Rays. That’d be an epic matchup, the Rays and the Red Sox. Such a rivalry has erupted this year, it’d be great to see another fight. Plus, I’m going to Tampa if it’s the Red Sox and the Rays. That’d be wicked. It’s annoying to see the Dodgers in the NLCS. I’m very annoyed at Manny Ramirez right now, mostly because I miss him, even though I really don’t want to. He was one of my favorite players and he was a total *** about leaving. But I’m kind of in love with Jason Bay (well, not as much as Jacoby Ellsbury) and I want to babysit his new daughter. We’ll see how it all goes down tomorrow. I want to go into school happy (and well rested tomorrow). It’s Lester vs Lackey tonight. Should be great (:
-Mrs. Jacoby Ellsbury (the future one)

A Brief Overview on the Red Sox year and Game 1 ALDS Assessment

Well, coming off of last year, everyone expected the Red Sox to win again. Our roster was the exact same as the World Series roster. We were golden right? Too bad we were continually plagued with injuries or unfortunate mishaps. David Ortiz’s continuous slump throughout the year to produce his worse offensive year ever in a Red Sox uniform. This is pretty much blamable on his wrist which has always been a problem for him. Other injuries included JD Drew, Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Julio Lugo and Clay Buchholz. JD Drew was on fire during the month of June only to be shut down with a back problem, but I am confident in a comeback. Mike Lowell hurt his hip and was out for an extended period of time. Josh Beckett, a candidate for the Cy Young award last year (and was virtually ROBBED of it) did not have a great followup season and was on the disabled list with various injuries (back spasms… etc.). Daisuke Matsuzaka went on for a while and had a great year, but he was really ******* lucky since he only went like five innings half the time -_-. I had so much faith in Clay Buchholz at the beginning of the season, and that faith has slowly dwindled away, to essentially nothing now. However, it is not ALL his fault. Remember back when he hurt that finger nail? Yeah, he went down to the Paw Sox and they changed his pitching mechanics which really threw him off which was why HE COULDNT WIN A ******* GAME (sorry). Manny Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers and was a total ******* about it. Seriously, in that last game against the Angles, the guy stopped trying. Sorry, but that just screams ****** right there. I had defended him COUNTLESS times against the ******** who never let me live it down for being a Red Sox fan, but now, he’s number 99 (wtf) on the Dodgers kickin it. Grr. But look at what we got out of it. Jason Bay. Jason Bay has been absolutely exceptional. He was so underrated merely because he played with the Pirates. But he’s phenomenal offensively and pretty damn solid defensively. I have no complaints. Justin Masterson came up from the Paw Sox upon Dice-K’s injury and proved quite successful and soon returned in the bullpen, which has helped to balance out the incoherentness of David Aardsma and Mike Timlin as well as the struggles of Okajima. Julio Lugo’s injury was ultimately a blessing in disguise since Jed Lowrie came up as a result of it (which I called at the beginning of the year, by the way). Jed has been great at short stop, errorless in the regular season (until last night that is) and is a pretty solid hitter. As for the other players: Jacoby Ellsbury (my future husband) had his ups and downs. He is undoubtedly one of the best fielders in the league because he makes catches that no human should make. However, his hitting was a bit inconsistent but he did make up for it with the American League leading 50 steals. Dustin Pedroia. Do I need to expand on that point? I think I will. Let’s just say: leads in batting average, leads in hits, pretty ******* good fielder. MVP! Gotta love him. Kevin Youkilis is quite literally, the rock of the Red Sox. He is so determined and has such a great mentality. His numbers were consistently great and he truly helped the Red Sox. 

Game 1 ALDS Assessment Time!:
So, the Red Sox entered the playoffs as a wild card team and the division, surprisingly enough, went to the Rays (who, in 2007, were in DEAD LAST). They took Game 1 against the Angels (the best team in baseball) in a very intense game. Jon Lester pitched a gem, he didn’t even have an earned run (the only run scored was due to an error by Jed Lowrie). So we’re trailing 1-0 right? And Kevin Youkilis is on first and Jason Bay is up. Jason Bay has never been in the post season. So I’m sitting there and I call it. I said: Jason, you’re gonna hit your first post season home run tonight and it’s gonna go right in between left and center field. And guess what? Well, you know the story. 2-1. In your face *******! In the top of the eighth inning, Jacoby Ellsbury bats in Jed Lowrie to make it 3-1 and scores to make it 4-1. He is arguably the hero of that game. Not only did he go 3-5, but he had two steals to get himself into scoring position, an RBI and made this absolutely incredible catch to stop the potential rally. Masterson pitched a great eighth inning and Papelbon shut down the ninth. I’ve said it once and I’ll sure as hell say it again: Jon Lester was incredible. Absolutely beautiful.
How’s Game 2 gonna turn out? Y’all will see (but unfortunately I will be unable to). 
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