Monday, June 30, 2008

Came Back For You

First of all, let's be clear about something. Bruce Paine is allowed to get on me for not posting regularly. He's earned the right. Whoever this "anon" character is who accused me of not posting since the blogger night, you are an idiot (can't link to that post anymore, but suffice it to say someone was a moron). And your little dig on that post does nothing but prove your complete stupidity. Is it too hard to figure out to look over at the sidebar and see the list of months that indicate when I have posted, and that they go beyond April 12 when I posted about Bloggers Night at Dodger Stadium? Or, barring that, if you think there's a chance I've been writing since then, did you ever consider clicking on the banner headline at the top, which would take you to the newest version of the page? Have you ever visited a web page before, anon? For the record, in the 79 days since April 12, I have written 54 posts (not including this one). That's not so great compared to my usual average, but it's not completely deficient, either. Thanks, anon, for visiting via Deadspin or one of the many other blogs that picked up that piece, but please don't stop by again. There's no room for a person of your IQ at this site.

Yesterday was my birthday, and I had to put up with reading that crap on my own site. So, yes, I'm going a little overboard. I don't like being pissed off on my birthday.

That being said, yes, I know I have been lax in the regularity of my posts. It's hard when I'm in Chicago, unable to even watch the games on television for either of my teams most nights. It seems dumb for me to write a recap based on something I've read about a game. You can get that anywhere, so I'm trying to provide content and opinions that you might not find elsewhere. And while I'm away from my home and my Extra Innings package and Dodger Stadium, that becomes more difficult. Fear not. I leave Chicago on Thursday, and by July 14, I will be back in Los Angeles. It will be an extended trip home, during which I will probably not get to see a game. But, I will post pictures and stories from the road. Hopefully that will appease my critics for a short time.

Oh, I will be going to Busch Stadium on my way out of town, seeing the Mets play the Cardinals on Thursday evening. I've never seen that park, so this will bring my total to seven. My first ever live baseball game was at Shea Stadium in 1999 (I know that's pretty recent, but I never lived anywhere near a stadium until then) for a divisional playoff game between the Mets and Braves. I've seen the Diamondbacks twice, once when the stadium was called Bank One, and once after it was changed to Chase. I've also been to Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, and now Wrigley and U.S. Cellular. I will be adding to that list, maybe later this season, but definitely in 2009.

Onto the baseball news that I have ignored for a while now. The Dodgers are coming off a surprising weekend series win over the hated (at least by me) Angels. You may have heard about Saturday night's game, which the Dodgers won, despite not getting a single hit in the game. I'm with Jon Weisman over at Dodger Thoughts, who thinks it's stupid that MLB won't recognize it as a no-hitter just because the Dodgers didn't have to bat in the bottom of the ninth. It's a complete game any way you look at it, and the Dodgers are one of only five teams to accomplish this particular feat. What is wrong with calling it a no-hitter? You're not opening up the books to hundreds of new records, and now every time we talk about the game, we have to find new language to describe it. That's no good.

Hopefully the Dodgers will use this Angels series as a big leap forward. The starting pitching was great, holding the Angels to zero runs over the first two games (thanks to Park and Billingsley, along with the bullpen), and one run on Sunday (Lowe, once again, received no run support at all). The offense managed six runs on Friday, then only one on Saturday and none on Sunday, but they were facing great starters all three days. These are all positive signs. What's more, it looks like we'll be getting Rafael Furcal back sometime soon (and Nomar and possibly Andruw Jones, but I don't think that's going to help the offensive woes), and we're only 2.5 games behind the Diamondbacks. This team doesn't deserve to be so close to a division lead, but they are, so let's see what they can do with it.

There's a chance that a certain player's stint on the DL will reap positive rewards, particularly if he's still there when Furcal comes back. That's right, folks. For the first time in his nine-year career, Juan Pierre has found himself needing a trip to the DL. I hope Torre wouldn't be dumb enough to bat Furcal anywhere other than the top of the order, but if he is that inept, it would be nice for him to not have another choice because Noodle Arm isn't allowed to be activated until after the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, if you want a laugh, Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness has a great write-up about quotes Mark Sweeney gave in the L.A. Daily News. Sweeney seems to have delusional fantasies about his role on this baseball team.If this is what we can expect from the "veteran leaders" of this team, I'll take those young kids any day of the week.

The Sox just came from Houston, where they lost two of three. Both losses were in one-run games, but oh well. It's hard to work up much anger about interleague losses like that. Especially when the next two opponents are the Rays and Yankees, which are series that will have a much bigger impact on the playoff race, even if we are still only at the beginning of June. Adding to the drama of the series with the Rays is all that nonsense that happened the last time the two teams met. Even if I get a chance to watch one of these games, I might not, because I'll just be incredibly annoyed at the immaturity I'm sure we'll see displayed on the field.

And speaking of immaturity, Manny Ramirez showed some of his own over the weekend (after Shawn Chacon essentially did the same thing and was released from the team; I think the Astros were just happy to have an excuse to release him), when he shoved the Sox traveling secretary over some sort of problem with ticket requests. There's no way to defend Ramirez on this one, so I'm not going to even try. But it's just one more incident from a prima donna athlete who gets paid a hell of a lot of money to play a game for a living. Sometimes you have to wonder why we expect any more out of them anyway. We're paying them to act like kids, after all. The superstars are catered to everywhere they go, and the word "no" is not in the vocabulary once their paychecks get into the millions. They're a product of their environment, aren't they? I'm certainly not justifying the behavior; I'm merely saying that maybe it shouldn't be such a surprise when this crap happens. Especially not with a guy whose behavior has always been shrugged off with essentially a "boys will be boys" attitude.

David Ortiz is not ready to come back yet, and he will not be playing in the All-Star game. But, all the reports still indicate that his recovery is on schedule. And the Sox have done just fine without him, so if they can keep that up, and Ortiz can come back sometime soon after the break, they'll be in good shape.

And that's that. I'll be back to talk about the Sox/Rays series and the Dodgers/Astros series, assuming I have time and/or anything to say. Just try to hold on until mid-July, when the blog will once again be the way you remember it.




COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: SoSG Orel
DATE: 06/30/2008 09:28:19 PM

Don't let the idiots get you down, Erin!
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AUTHOR: SoSG Sax
DATE: 07/01/2008 01:10:28 AM

Good luck on your roadtrip, if I don't connect with you beforehand. Sorry we didn't get a chance to connect in Chi-town.

Please take pictures from Busch, one of the five current stadiums (stadia?) that I haven't attended for a game...I'm jealous!

SoSG Sax
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AUTHOR: Mike
DATE: 07/01/2008 02:29:53 PM

Happy belated B-Day, Erin.
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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 07/01/2008 06:01:07 PM

The Big Bar at the Hyatt Regency is an expensive place that serves huge drinks. I mention it because they have excellent white russians. About the only thing that would improve them is if they threw a dash of cinnamon across the top of it. happy Birthday.
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Sox Game 79: Live Blog

I'm just going to do a live blog, even though I doubt anyone will stop by. But, if the Sox win this game, they gain a half-game on the Rays, and the Dodgers gain a half-game on the Diamondbacks. So, it's an important one, and I feel like writing about it as it happens. Here we go.

Top 1st:
  • Byrnes, fresh off the DL, pops up on the second pitch of the game. Nice start.
  • Stephen Drew flies out to his big brother in right field. Two down.
  • Hudson takes a fastball and drops it just inside the left field line for a two-out double.
  • Jackson grounds out to Lugo to end the inning. Fifteen pitches for Beckett. And here comes Haren.
Bottom 1st:
  • Ellsbury fouls out, just after ESPN erroneously tells us that his OBP is .254, instead of .354.
  • Pedroia hits the ball fairly hard, but grounds out.
  • Drew gives the ball a ride to center, but not near deep enough, and Haren is out of the first before you know it. And he only needed six pitches. Way to make him work, guys.
Top 2nd:
  • Chad Tracy leads off the second, and gets caught looking at a third strike.
  • Mark Reynolds follows, and strikes out swinging.
  • They really need to figure out a clearer way to determine if a guy checked his swing. To me, it looks like a guy is always swinging, and it's so arbitrary. Chris Young certainly looked like he swung for a strike three, but the first base ump said no. Doesn't matter, though, since he grounded out on the next pitch. 27 total pitches for Beckett.
Bottom 2nd:
  • Ramirez and Lowell fly out, Youkilis strikes out. Haren only needed eleven pitches in that inning. He's making this look pretty easy.
Top 3rd:
  • Holy moly, Lowell makes a great diving catch on a liner off the bat of Chris Snyder. That was one of those plays where the camera couldn't catch up to it in time, so all you see is the end of the play, until you see another wider shot in a replay.
  • The announcers can't stop talking about Justin Upton's recent struggles, and he responds by hitting a double to right field. One on, one out.
  • Byrnes flies out to Ellsbury in right. Two outs.
  • Stephen Drew strikes out swinging. 40 total pitches for Beckett.
Bottom 3rd:
  • Varitek snaps an 0-24 slump with a double off the wall in left center.
  • Haren makes a ridiculous diving catch on a pop-up bunt from Coco Crisp. Have I mentioned how much I hate Crisp? Varitek stays at second, with one out and Lugo up to bat. That's about the worst-case scenario I could imagine.
  • And Lugo does exactly what you'd expect: grounds out to shortstop, failing to advance the runner. Two outs.
  • Ellsbury works a walk (guess he'll increase that .254 OBP), and Pedroia steps up to the plate. He's thirteen for his last 27, so maybe it's time for some two-out magic.
  • Maybe not. Pedroia strikes out on a high fastball. 38 total pitches for Haren.
Top 4th:
  • Hudson grounds out to third to lead off the fourth inning.
  • Conor Jackson gets a 3-0 count, takes a strike, and then grounds out weakly to shortstop. Two outs.
  • Tracy strikes out while admiring a very nice curveball. Four strikeouts for Beckett. 53 total pitches for Beckett.
Bottom 4th:
  • Drew works a full count, then grounds out to first. One out.
  • Manny fouls off a few before swinging at a bad pitch in the dirt to strike out. Two outs.
  • Beckett leads the American League in strikeouts per nine innings, with 9.3.
  • Lowell flies out to center. Inning over. 52 total pitches for Haren. I think we can this a pitcher's duel, huh?
Top 5th:
  • We come back from commercial to some bad news. During warmups between innings, a ball took a bad hop on him and hit him in the eye. He had a shiner pretty much immediately. It was a huge lump, and it made my eyes water just to look at it. It looked like he was going to stay in, but they probably made the right move taking him out, since his eye was barely open. Of course, this is the night Sean Casey dropped his appeal and started serving his three-game suspension, so now Brandon Moss is playing first. This could get interesting.
  • Mark Reynolds strikes out swinging. Just keep doing that, Josh, and it won't matter what kind of skills Moss has at first.
  • Chris Young shatters his bat on a ball to short. Lugo bobbles it slightly, and doesn't get the out at first. Don't know if the bobble hurt, since Young is speedy. But I'll blame Lugo. It's the right thing to do.
  • Chris Synder can't check his swing, and Beckett gets his sixth strikeout. Two down.
  • Upton flies out to right field. 64 pitches through five innings for Beckett.


Bottom 5th:
  • Moss flies out to center to lead off the bottom of the fifth. One out.
  • Varitek bounces one up the middle, but Hudson makes a nice play to just get Varitek at first. Two outs.
  • Crisp flies out to right to end the inning. 65 pitches for Haren.
Top 6th:
  • Byrnes gave me a little bit of a scare, hitting a ball to the wall on the first pitch he sees. Ellsbury keeps his eye on it the whole way, and catches it right at the wall. One out.
  • Stephen Drew strikes out looking on a late call from McClellan, who's behind the plate. Seventh strikeout for Beckett. Two outs.
  • Hudson flies out to center. Beckett threw six pitches in that inning, bringing his total up to 70. This blog may not be indicating it, but this is a fun game. Who doesn't like a pitcher's duel?
Bottom 6th:
  • Lugo strikes out looking. Sometimes it's hard for me to watch him without grimacing.
  • Ellsbury pops up to the outfield. Haren has retired nine in a row.
  • Pedroia grounds out to third, and hustles, but the throw beats him. Haren is killing us. 74 pitches through six. He's only allowed one hit, compared with Beckett's three. Haren has allowed one walk and struck out four. Beckett has no walks and six strikeouts.
Top 7th:
  • And Beckett walks his first batter of the evening.
  • Chad Tracy strikes out for the third time tonight. That was a big one, and it was number eight of the evening. I'm okay with a double play here, just to keep that pitch count in check.
  • Mark Reynolds gets a little bloop hit to left field, which means runners at first and second with one out. This is the only spot of trouble Beckett has seen tonight. Let's hope he works out of the jam.
  • And he doesn't work out of it. Young hits a double off the wall to score a run. Runners at second and third. 1-0, Diamondbacks. Not good.
  • Beckett just doesn't seem to have the best stuff this inning. He's throwing a lot more balls, and he's got a 3-0 count on the batter.
  • And we now see the repercussions of not having Youkilis in the game, as Moss bobbles a grounder hit to him. He thought too much about the throw home, and could only get the out at first. 2-0, Diamondbacks. Yuck.
  • Wow. Upton walks on a 3-2 pitch that certainly should have been strike three. That was a strike, no question. Runners at first and third, two outs. Beckett is at 99 pitches, and John Farrell is out to give him a pep talk, as David Aardsma warms up in the bullpen.
  • 0-2 count on Byrnes, as we learn that Beckett has thrown 32 pitches in this inning alone.
  • Byrnes flies out to center to end the inning, but given the way Haren has pitched, I'd say the damage has most certainly been done. 103 total pitches for Beckett, so I doubt he'll be out in the eighth.
Bottom 7th:
  • Drew works a full count, then grounds out to second base. We're not really putting up much a fight.
  • Another full count, this time to Ramirez. Ramirez fouls off the first full count pitch, then gets hit on the left hand with the second. Runner at first, one out.
  • Lowell swings at the first pitch and gets a hit to right field. Two on, one out, and Brandon Moss comes to the plate. Let's see if he can get an RBI to make up for that bobble earlier.
  • Moss dribbles one up the first base line, which advances the runners, but now there are two outs. No redemption there.
  • Varitek strikes out swinging. What a waste.
Top 8th:
  • Okay, I was wrong. Aardsma is no longer warming up, and Beckett is back out there.
  • Stephen Drew grounds out to Beckett, who applies the tag. One out.
  • Hudson flies out to left. Beckett, why couldn't you pitch like this last inning? Two outs.
  • Jackson pops up for the third out. Beckett has thrown 115 pitches in the game.
  • We have Crisp, Lugo and Ellsbury in this inning. Do I like our chances of scoring? No. No, I do not.
Bottom 8th:
  • Tony Pena is in to pitch for the Diamondbacks. Let's go, Sox. This is your chance.
  • Crisp hits a weak ground ball back to the pitcher. Easy out. Maybe Lugo can get on and we can get back to the top of the order to get something going. It's just two runs! We've scored two runs in a game before!
  • Well, Lugo has a nice at-bat, and works a walk. Let's go, boys. We're getting chances. It's time to capitalize.
  • Okay, now we're cooking. Ellsbury drills an 0-1 pitch up the middle for a base hit. Runners at first and second, one out. Double steal time?
  • Yes, yes, yes. Pedroia gets a hit to left field. Too shallow to score Lugo, but the bases are now loaded for J.D. Drew.
  • Drew flies out to center. Lugo tags and scores. Ellsbury stays at second. Not exactly what I wanted, but it gets us on the board. 2-1, Diamondbacks.
  • Two on for Ramirez. Come on, Manny.
  • Manny is putting up a fight, fouling off a bunch of pitches. The hitter often wins an at-bat like this. Will that happen this time?
  • Holy crap. Manny hits the hell out of the ball, but right at Reynolds at third. Inning over. We've cut the lead in half, but only have three more outs to stop our third home loss in four games.
Top 9th:
  • Aardsma is in, and throwing hard.
  • Lugo tries to show off some defensive skills, but he doesn't have any, so Tracy's line drive goes into center for a hit. One on, nobody out.
  • Aardsma came into this game having struck out the side in each of his previous two appearances. He's given up a hit, and now walked a batter. Two on, nobody out.
  • Whoever was batting (I can't remember) gets a sac bunt. Runners at second and third, one out.
  • Aardsma is intentionally walking Snyder, which will put Upton at the plate with the bases loaded. Dangerous.
  • The strategy has worked so far, as Upton strikes out swinging.
  • Byrnes strikes out swinging. Nice job from Aardsma. Lowell, Moss and Varitek represent our last hope.
Bottom 9th:
  • Mike Lowell is not interested in prolonging this game, I guess. He swings at the first pitch and pops up to right field. In my mind, he was actually our best hope, so that might be the end right there.
  • Moss fouls out, Varitek flies out to right. That was a terrible ninth inning.
We shouldn't have lost this one, but if you look at the three pitching match-ups, this is the only one you'd expect to give Arizona even a little bit of a chance. The Sox should beat up Randy Johnson (versus Wakefield, in the battle of the old guys) on Wednesday, and tomorrow night is Doug Davis (versus Justin Masterson). Johnson is on the downside of his career, and Doug Davis has been good in the National League, but I wouldn't expect him to be able to quiet Boston's bats.
Player of the Game:Josh Beckett (8 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 2 ER, 8 K). And a loss.
Record: 47-32

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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
EMAIL:
IP: 66.41.195.131
URL:
DATE: 06/27/2008 02:43:52 PM
So what's up, you going to go a couple of weeks between posts now?
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sox, Dodgers Avoid Sweeps

I'm not sure I'm ready to continue any discussion on the whole gay issue, but the responses to the made me feel better. I particularly want to thank Rickhouse for doing what he didn't need to do, which is apologize for an opinion expressed by one of his friends. That was nice. I'm also glad Ben, who I haven't seen comment here before, stopped by, along with Karina. And, of course, you all know how I love Bruce Paine. I will maybe one day address some of them, but for now I'll just let them speak for themselves. Bet you didn't think you'd happen upon a Sox/Dodgers blog and end up getting a lesson in Greek/Roman history, huh?

Anyway, onto baseball. Not a great weekend for either team, really. The St. Louis Cardinals showed up in Fenway ready to play, and especially ready to hit. On Friday night, they hit three home runs and held off a Sox rally in the ninth to win 5-4, behind a great performance from Kyle Lohse. Tim Wakefield got the loss after giving up four runs (three earned) in seven innings. I didn't see a bit of this game, but from the line, Wakefield didn't appear to be too great, but not too bad, either. The offense just couldn't quite get going against Lohse, and then couldn't get to the bullpen quickly enough.

Saturday, Matsuzaka came off the DL and did not fare well. He left the game after loading the bases with no one out in the second inning after giving up four runs in the first. A kid named Chris Smith, making his major league debut, came in and recorded a strikeout, but then gave up a home run to Glaus. Hard to blame Smith, though. Matsuzaka's final line: 1 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 7 ER, 1 K. Not pretty. He said he felt fine, so let's hope this is just him scraping off the rust. The Sox couldn't recover from his outing, and they were essentially shut down by a pitcher named Boggs. Funny.

It took a little extra inning magic to finally win one on Sunday. The Sox scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game, but Papelbon blew his fourth save of the season when he gave up two doubles in the bottom of the ninth, and so they went to extra innings. The Sox had opportunities in every inning, but could never score a man from first. But, in the bottom of the thirteenth, after a Mike Lowell single, Kevin Youkilis belted his second home run of the game (thirteenth of the year) into the Monster to give the Sox a 5-3 lead. Good stuff.

The Dodgers also lost the first two games of their weekend series, before winning on Sunday. On Friday night, the Dodgers improbably scored two runs each in the eighth and ninth innings, which tied the game and sent it to extra innings. But Saito, who has been shaky at best this year, came into the tenth inning and gave up three hits and walked a guy. When the dust settled, the Indians were up 6-4, and they won by that score. No one could have expected the comeback, so I guess we can't be too disappointed in the loss, but to me it still felt like one of those wins that could get this team going on a streak. But it didn't happen.

So, Saturday they came out and decided to play extra innings again. Sabathia and Chan Ho Park both pitched well, but Sabathia got the better of Park with a home run in the third inning. Kemp hit a solo shot of his own in the sixth inning, and that's where the score stayed until the eleventh. Cory Wade came out for the top of the eleventh, after pitching a scoreless tenth, and he didn't have anything left, I guess. He gave up two singles before recording an out, and then Torre went to the ever-reliable Scott Proctor (please note the sarcasm), who promptly gave up consecutive singles to score two runs. Then he intentionally walked a guy and gave up another single, which scored two more runs. Troncoso came in and gave up two more runs, which didn't really matter because the game was over at that point. The Dodgers scored a run in the bottom of the inning, but that was it. They lost 7-2.Sunday afternoon, and the Dodgers won 4-3. They scored four runs in the bottom of the first off Paul Byrd, and the cooled down considerably. What I mean to say is, they didn't score again, and just had to hold on after Billingsley gave up three runs in the top of the third. After Billingsley left after five innings, the bullpen pitched four scoreless innings, walking no one and giving up only one hit. Kuo, Beimel, Broxton and Saito each pitched an inning, and Saito got just his eleventh save of the season. Even better, the Diamondbacks lost to the Twins, and so the Dodgers gained a game, and once again find themselves only 3.5 games out of first.

The Diamondbacks head to Fenway next, so a sweep for the Red Sox would benefit both of my teams. It's not often that can happen, so I'll be cheering extra hard. Then the Sox head to Houston. The Dodgers are off on Monday, then welcome in the White Sox (who are on the verge of being swept by the Cubs as I write this), followed by the Angels, as interleague play comes to an end.

COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 06/23/2008 12:59:55 PM

Sorry, I can't help myself.

I get to watch one baseball game a week because i don't have cable and was stuck watching Matsuzaka stink. Every pitch he threw into the strike zone was hit. The Smith kid was interesting in that he struck out his first batter with three straight changes. But, of course, the grand slam put a nasty mark on his day. TV really lets me down. Playing on one day a week, the NFL still gets more games on national TV per week than basketball and baseball. There is tripe on network tv of a week night. Somebody ought to figure out a way to stick a west coast game on a 8 oclock start one night out of the week. I could do without another babyshowerI'mgettingmarriedtoahorriblebitchgivememoney orahousebecauseofmysobstoryIamanidiotanddon'tknowanythinggameshoewatchmedanceandsingbadlyextravaganza on Tuesday, so they could stick one in there.

You know, FOX has almost nothing else on Saturday yet they insist on only showing one game. They show a different game on the west coast. Why not stagger the starts and give me a double header on Saturday afternoon. Is this country so defunct that its people won't watch sports on TV?
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AUTHOR: Dodgers Digest
DATE: 06/23/2008 04:09:53 PM

The Dodgers barely avoided the sweep, winning the series finale, 4-3. In fact, I thought Billingsley would totally blow the Dodgers' four-run lead early in the game. Thankfully, the Dodgers held on to seize the victory.

Anyways, this post has been included in a new feature on my blog highlighting the top stories from around the Dodgers' blogosphere: http://dodgersdigest.blogspot.com/2008/06/around-dodgers-blogosphere.html
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Back With A Vengeance

So, today I got up and threw on my Shooter shirt. I got it a few weeks ago, but today is the first day I've worn it, and it's making me genuinely miss the boys over at Cobra Brigade. So, with them in mind today, I'm going to write a post. I don't have a reason for not writing for the last nine days, except that I just haven't felt like it. I won't make any promises, but I'm going to try to get over myself and just write as often as I used to.


Red Sox:

David Ortiz has been gone since May 31, and in that time, J.D. Drew has been playing out of his mind. In the month of June, he's hitting .441 with nine home runs and 21 RBI. Thanks in large part to those stats, the Sox are 12-5 without Ortiz's bat in the lineup, which bodes well for the team. Ortiz has had the cast removed from his left wrist, and he is now in a soft splint, presumably starting range of motion exercises. I haven't heard exactly when he'll be back, but all reports indicate that the cast being removed is a very positive sign, since it means Ortiz won't be needing season-ending surgery.

Curt Schilling, however, is another story. He will be having surgery, which will be season-ending, and could mean that he won't throw another pitch as a major leaguer. I've never been a huge Schilling fan, at least on a personal level. Obviously, he's a god as a pitcher, and I love him as a player, mostly because of his performance in the 2004 playoffs. But I regard him as a blowhard in any other situation. Now, I'm perfectly willing to admit that my issues with him are largely political. If he had campaigned for Kerry instead of Bush, maybe I'd be willing to give him some more slack when he runs his mouth. But he didn't, and so I'm not. But he'll always be revered in Boston, and I can accept that. If his career as a player is over, though, look out. Schilling is not capable of staying out of the spotlight for long. He may be coming soon to a Senate race near you.

Bartolo Colon is on the DL with back issues that occurred after his pathetic at-bat in Philadelphia. He might have considered stretching first. Or losing 50 pounds. Just a thought. Seriously, though, it's too bad, because until that start in Philadelphia, Colon was doing a nice job for this team.

Matsuzaka is coming off the DL this weekend to start against the Cardinals on Saturday. At the moment, that makes the Sox rotation Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, Wakefield and Masterson. That last name may be somewhat unfamiliar to you, but the kid has done a hell of a job in his short stint in the majors. In six starts, he has amassed a 4-1 record and a 3.00 ERA. You have to figure Colon will get his job back he comes off the DL, but Masterson has definitely been making a case for himself.

The Sox are coming off a road trip on which they went 4-2. Admittedly, three of those games were against Cincinnati, but the other three were against Philadelphia, which is not a bad team. Now it's time to go back home for some more interleague play, starting with the Cardinals.


Dodgers:

This is one heck of a frustrating team, let me tell you. They lost five in a row, then swept the hapless Reds in Cincinnati, but now they head home to take on the Indians and White Sox. This is quite a test for a team that just hasn't quite been able to figure it out this year.

Brad Penny and Hiroki Kuroda are both on the DL. That means the rotation is Kershaw, Park (who is starting in Kuroda's place on Saturday), Billingsley and Lowe and Stults, who started against the Reds on Thursday and did a great job. Kuroda is eligible to come off the DL on June 28, and the powers that be seem to think his injury is not that serious, and he should be ready to come back that day.

It's looking like Furcal may never come back this season. Well, not really, but it feels that way. The best news we've heard thus far is that he'll be back after the All-Star Break. I don't want the guy to be seriously injured, so I hope this time off will help. But he hasn't played since May 5, and going into yesterday he was still tied for first on the team in runs scored. That says a lot about what Furcal was doing before going down, but it says more about what the Dodgers as a team have been doing since he left.

On that note, how about hitting some home runs, Dodgers? Please? This team has hit 48 home runs, which is good for 29th in the league (remember that there are only 30 teams), and dead last in the National League. And they're near the bottom of the pack in most other offensive categories as well. There are a lot of factors involved in the offensive woes, but I love to blame Juan Pierre for most everything, so I'm going to. He shouldn't be batting leadoff, period. He has a .336 OBP, which has just been steadily declining for the last month. That puts him 104th in baseball. And he's the leadoff guy. I don't know exactly what number I expect from the leadoff guy, but it has to be more than that. When Furcal was at the top, his OBP was .448. Granted, that was likely to go down some as he continued to play, but his ability to get on base was obviously a big part of the Dodger offense. With the hole that is Juan Pierre at the top of the lineup, the Dodgers have no chance.

Now for something entirely different.

Coming off a short debate I had over at TUP, I feel the need to write a little something about homophobia. I've spent some time this week reading opinions about California gay marriage at CNN.com, so I have been sufficiently riled up, but I'll try to not go on a rant.

The bottom line is, it's just not okay to be a homophobe, and I don't care what the circumstances are. When you make jokes, calling some guy a "fag" because of some characteristic of his you don't like, you're implying that being gay is one of the worst possible things that person could be, and you're crossing a line. You know why? Because you may think
that you're just being funny, and you joke with all your friends all the time, so everything is okay. But there are people out there whose sole purpose in life is to be as hateful as possible to the gay members of this society, and those fools are using the same words you are. Don't believe me? Go to CNN.com and read the "iReport" section on gay marriage. Better yet, go here.

Go ahead and call me overly sensitive. Maybe I am, but maybe I also see that little gay jokes are only indicative of a society that thinks it's okay to demean and discriminate against an entire group of people. Perhaps if things were going differently in this country -- if the current president didn't believe that being gay is a sin, if anti-gay amendments to state constitutions weren't being voted on in every election -- then I could see just what exactly is so funny about saying that if you go to Wrigley Field, which is in a gay area of Chicago, you'll be forced to insert a butt plug. But you'll have to forgive me if I don't find it all that humorous, since I seem to be spending a great deal of time these days defending something the government wants to call a "lifestyle," but I just call my life.

It's almost laughable to refer to my reaction over at Tremendous Upside Potential as "sensitive," now that I think about it. You tell me how I'm supposed to react when faced with discrimination on such a level, when I walk down the street in Las Vegas and someone yells "dyke!" out the window, even though I was doing literally nothing but walking next to another woman. When I hear people giggle and joke about being gay, all I hear is that woman yelling out her car, and all I see are the people of the Westboro Baptist Church picketing funerals with signs reading "God Hates Fags."

If I let the "innocent" jokes roll off me like they don't matter, that merely serves to perpetuate the idea that it's okay to treat people like they don't matter. Don't tell me to relax when you make those sorts of jokes, because the nature of this debate in this country means that I absolutely cannot relax. Do you think women were being "sensitive" when they were fighting for their right to vote? Would you have told Martin Luther King, Jr. to "relax" while he was marching in Selma, or being thrown in jail for his protesting? I doubt it. And if you don't think the issues are entirely similar, you're crazy.

Too many people are convinced that being anti-gay is acceptable, even if those same people would never do anything that would be considered racist or even sexist. For that reason, the only way for me to believe I have a chance to make a difference in this war is for me to fight every instance of homophobia that I see, even if people are convinced that they're just being funny. The stupid jokes (and there a lot of them in the sports and blogging worlds) can't be considered okay, because every battle counts, and I want to win.

Thanks to BobbyStompy, who wrote a nice comment on my last post.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Ben
DATE: 06/20/2008 08:58:11 PM

Erin, nice post. I hope you find satisfaction.

I'd like to offer an observation. Not all bigots are of the same stripe, and I wonder if varying tactics based on type might yield good results. There seems to me to be three major types. 1) haters. Standing up for your rights against these fools should be strong and hard. It won't help, but is the right thing to do. These people won't go away until a new generation replaces them. 2) people our age (30's I assume) who use 'gay' and 'fag' off-handedly because the usage was common when we were growing up. This is a group that can certainly change, usually a few strong rebukes makes these people realize that the slang they have been using is offensive. 3) evangelicals, who use 'gay' as a code word. For example, dude is chatting with a new acquaintance. Acquaintance tells a tragic story, and evangelical responds, 'dude, that's gay'. This is code for 'man, thats too bad, and by the way, are you an evangelical, too?' Depending on how the person reacts, the evangelical has his answer. 'Yeah that is gay' vs. 'uhh huh'.

This is not my own theory. My bro works at a high school, and noted an increased use of the word 'gay' the last few years. He was wondering about this, in light of the generally tolerant nature of the modern campus. His observaion is that 'gay' has become a code word evangelicals use to feret out other evangelicals.

I bring this up, because if the idea is to effect change, I suspect a nuanced rebuke may be in order for this type of person. Evidently, these people are using the word, while offensive, for an off-target purpose. In this case, a strong backlash may only increase a predisposion for homophopia. However, a rebuke that emphasizes respect, equality, and rights might go farther with these types.

Anyway, I hadn't seen this observation discussed before and thought to get it out there. All the best with your efforts.
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AUTHOR: Rickhouse
DATE: 06/21/2008 12:56:25 AM

So after I woke up and saw all the nonsense that went on, I sent you an email. Not sure if you got it, but I sent it at 1 or 2ish Central time. I wrote an email to Brian saying "URGENT, WHAT'S ERIN'S EMAIL! and he actually called me on the phone to give it to me. Can you believe that? New York to Chicago. His wife is going to kill him.

I hope you understand that those were the views of one person, one of my friends, and not mine. Still I take responsibility because I posted it on my site. I should have read it more closely and edited or cut it. Beau's views are certainly not my own, and I want that to be clear. I already talked to him about it.

Of course you aren't being overly sensitive. It was a stupid joke by a friend that i should have cut. Sorry. It probably made my site look dumb and when I don't agree with the view point in the first place, it makes it even worse.
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AUTHOR: SoSG Orel
DATE: 06/21/2008 01:40:53 AM

Quite a post, Erin. Keep fighting the good fight.
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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 06/21/2008 01:47:48 AM

Awesome, I put my Shooter thong on for the occasion. It would fit a lot better if I didn't have...you know.

Your concerns about being gay in this country have been voiced before, and i will advise you now as I did then. Get gunned up. Outside of that I would offer this. As I recall, and I may be wrong because I only remember skimming over this in the paper and don't pay very close attention to CalifornIA, but the Cali Supreme Court has struck down the gay marriage ban which is good sign for you. As for the the everybody else, fuck em. I don't know much about TUP, but i believe Rickhouse is a youngish, single college kid and that the readers over there are much the same. I wouldn't expect much from young guys who fit that kind of description. The modern American male is very much a failure, he has not grown or matured or learned from history in an effort to avoid the mistakes of his past. He is a shadow of what could have been great. He was founded on solid principals but when given the choice of his path, he went the route of ease and comfort, forgoing the advancement of challenge. He, the American Male, is ignorant, crude, corrupt, lost, overly feminine, overly one-sided and poorly motivated. He is insecure because his father never taught him how to be a man. His father was a BabyBoomer and living a soft life bought with the blood of his father. He never stood a chance.

That said, I was surprised you chose that post to light up. Though I am glad you did it, because it was that kind of guy that was screaming and yelling at us being gay for each other when CB was jumping on Kelvin Sampson. Where is that guy now? How did that turn out? If being right about Kelvin Sampson means I am gay then the first thing I am going to do is find a guy that looks exactly like me because I am BEE-utiful. So I don't begrudge you jumping that fellers case, I was just surprised that the case you jumped was such an elementary one. He was just some Chicago dumbass spouting off about losing to the Cubs. I got my fill of that type when they infested Indiana University. I assure you, they are beneath you.

For my fourth paragraph, I would comment on the you feelings about voting for gay marriage. I would just say this, from my ultra Constitution point of view. We are a not a democracy, and were not designed to be. We are a republic of states. As such, those states (at least for the time being) are given their autonomy to make their own laws. If a state decides that they are going to ban gay marriage, it isn't really our business. States sanction marriage so it is state business. Your state allows it so you should be happy, other states don't allow it and since you don't live there, you should ignore that state. You are free to raise Hell with them if you want, and I encourage it, but it is poor form to ask for blanket allowance on a federal level. You may want it, but if you are yelling for it then it is just another issue where a bunch of uppity folk from CalifornIA are making laws everyone else has to live under. There are more states in the Union than New York and California and they get to make their own decisions. If they make the wrong one then it is their burden. You can completely avoid them if you like. You seem to be a enterprising and talented sort, I bet you can find work someplace that isn't Kansas. Homophobia is one of several cultural scourges humanity could do without, but you can't legislate social change.

For my fifth paragraph, I will expose a bit of myself that I didn't get into during the run of Cobra Brigade. In my little country school in my little country town I had many hobbies and activities. Outside of doing my chores on the farm, playing a little basketball, and shooting guns, I participated in my high school's performing arts department. For most little country schools, that isn't saying much, but our school was an exception. We had and exceptional choir and theater department. I don't want to talk about whether or not I was good or what sort of things I did, but I could easily say that it wouldn't bother me to sing a few songs in front of few thousand people because I have done it before and it wouldn't bother me to get up and deliver a monologue in front of a few thousand people because i have done it before. They don't do Friday lunch karaoke at The Great Wall on north Walnut in Bloomington anymore because Bruce Paine raped that machine. Those little Chinese waitresses never knew what hit em. Anyway, a big part of the department was a fellow by the name of David Wade. He was the director and choreographer for the theater dept. He is a heck of a guy and I was lucky to have him as one of the adults in my life as a young guy. He and his partner Stephen own a little cooking supply shop on the square in Bloomington. I was laying up a stone wall one day when I knocked off early and went to my French class. I grabbed the student newspaper and this is what I saw.
http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=32378&comview=1
I nearly crapped my pants. This kind of thing deserved an ass beating as far as I was concerned. So, having just arrived at class, I promptly left to go over to the store and see what was going on. It is an important place place in my life as all of the women in my life cook and all of their gifts are bought there. So I get over there and talk to Dave, and he tells me, "When I got here on Monday a six-year old girl told me Satan was going to ass rape me in Hell." Now that is some terrible stuff right there. I know these guys and they are good fellers. They live generous, quiet, creative lives and they are good to their friends and go to church and treat strangers nicely and the whole bit. They have never harmed anyone enough to deserve that kind of treatment. The only newspaper in Bloomington that covered the story was the student paper, the two dailies you have to pay for never said a word about it. I don't know why I told this story. Perspective maybe or because I don't write anything anymore and my fingers were anxious. I couldn't say. I will say this, though. I am a mind your own business kind of guy. That said, I guess one could claim that I am telling you that you shouldn't go around jumping these idiots for being homophobic. That isn't true, I am just asking you not to legislate it. Its the principal of the thing. I love confrontation and want you to cause as much as possible. But I think the real eightballs of the world that are homophobic to the degree of setting you off are beyond the salvation that you seem to hope for them. The only endgame left is to eliminate them or wait them out. Since you don't like the idea of brassing these yahoos, I think you may have to ignore them and be patient. Raise your kids different. Help your neighbors raise their kids different. Let the people around you know that fag, homo, and whatever are words you don't appreciate and natural selection will run its course. Before I go let me say this, I had never heard the term "bull dyke" until I was about 26, but when I did I was startled by it. I am as confused by the run of the mill butch girl as the next guy, but that particular term seems awful mean to me.

P.S. Yes, I sang in the choir and came out straight. I have a harem full of women who can attest to my stamina. Choir does not make you less of a man in bed.
-----

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 06/21/2008 01:54:13 AM

Post Script:

My comments about Chicagoans and college dudes were generalizations and not specific to Rickhouse. I have corresponded with him to a small degree via CB and he has never shown himself to be a marker of the kind of douchebag I was referring to.

Is "raping" a karaoke machine too insensitive for this thread? If it was I apologize. The same goes for "douchebags" and "eightballs"
-----

AUTHOR: karina
DATE: 06/21/2008 03:45:47 PM

Erin, as always you give insightful-very elaborated baseball info.
In the other side, i don't think you overreacted with the homophopic "boy" in the other blog. This kind of behavior has to be stopped at all levels, even if it is a random blog on the net or anti-gay protests in shops.

First of all, that guy didn't respect you when he replied to your post, that statement "get laid" is a very unrespectful remark. He called a sort of drink as "HIV", like suffering from such disease is a walk in the park (not to mention the fact lots of people still see HIV as a "gay" disease)
It always amazes me how homosexuality is an issue in the world today, specially when in Greece and Rome (the so- called cradles of western civilization) wasn't an issue at all.
We're all humans, being a girl who is attracted to girls, a boy who's attracted to boys, someone who is attracted to both or if you like wearing other gender's clothes, at the end of the road, those facts don't make anyone different: we ALL feel, act and react the same with our sexuality, regardless of our preferences.

Why the hate then? why insult someone for his/her sexuality?why the discrimination?
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AUTHOR: karina
DATE: 06/21/2008 03:46:27 PM

It's even worse for female homosexuals. For somewhat reason, there is much more acceptance for the male homosexual than his feminine counterpart. Lesbians are way more ridiculized: they often are used as cheap porn flags for heterosexual men, they are perceived as having the worst traits of a man and a woman together, their lack of feminity is already taken for granted and the mockery they are subjected to is way more cruel and hurtful.

As a woman, i found insulting we all, no matter if we're heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual are constantly scrutinized by the way we handle our sexuality. It's like whatever we do, it's automatically wrong (even when we do give life).

We have to stop this. With little actions like you have done, i do feel we can change this ignorant attitude.
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AUTHOR: karina
DATE: 06/21/2008 03:46:56 PM

About marriage, if everyone reacts the same way to his/her sexuality: why not can't everyone just get married , if they feel like it. More important: married people have lots of benefits that single people don't, so even if two people who love each other and share their lives under the same roof want to get married just to have access to better health insurance, protect their common properties and pay less taxes, let be it.

I saw something in the news this week that really moved me: the marriage of those lovely elderly ladies, who were living together for more than 50 years. It is inevitable all the prejudice these ladies had to silently take but they stuck together due to the love they felt for each other. You could tell they breathed affection for each other, you could see they were really an item. In spite of their age and the obvious health problems they face, they still got married so their love is legal. I bet most people live and die without knowing the pure love those ladies share.
So, let's support love and fight hate.
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AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 06/22/2008 03:59:22 AM

In Greece and Rome homosexuality was an issue, and not very well looked upon. I don't say this to disagree. Rather, i expect it should be used as support to the greater theme of unacceptable persecution.

The tides of history often shift over generations to support this or that and this is a common theme that has suffered under those notions. Many characters in history are recorded as having homosexual relationships or as being homosexual, and I cannot say that they were or weren't. I can say that primary texts support the idea that it was often viewed as a luxury of fame and as a by-product of the close relationship between mentor and student or between two warriors driven closer by their shared experiences of battle. Achilles and Patroclus, Alexander and Haephestion, and Suetonius suggests that Julius Caesar may have had a homosexual relationship with Nicomedes, the king of Bithynia. These are some of the highlights. One thing that is unanimously shared by these men (Achilles, Alexander, Caesar and countless other heroes of the classical age) is that they were married to women and had children with them.

Acceptance is something of an issue as well. In primary sources that still exist, Roman men often accuse each other publicly of participating in homosexual acts as a method of attempting to focus scrutiny and ridicule on the masculinity of their opponent. A Roman man often had to fight off such accusations. Masculinity was certainly a concern in those days and the notion of homosexuality was certainly an affront to it. In Roman culture in particular it was acceptable for a Roman noble to only participate in such activities if he were the dominant (pitching) member of the relationship and he was open to tremendous shame if he was found to be the subservient partner.

Alexander was often ridiculed for his relationship with Haephestion as it was perceived as distracting him from his "duty" of producing a biological heir. Though none of these sources can be taken at 100% bonded truth. It can be legitimately held that the issue with homosexuality was alive and well and only accepted if its formative physical elements were kept behind closed doors and if the emotional element did not prevent him from performing his "manly duties" with a wife first, such as producing a male heir. The Greeks seem to accuse each other's societies as being made softer or unnecessarily decadent by the infusion of homosexuality. Alexander was unable to defeat the Spartans, and they were rather standoffish having little contact with the rest of Greece and not participating in the Greek traditions of formal education and literature (the Spartans did not write down their own history as a rule, they were literate but somehow decided not to do it). They were often the subject of smear campaigns when they would not participate in wars with the other city-states. A big part of those campaigns would be accusations that the mentoring habits of older men with younger Spartan boys was a pederastic relationship. It is entirely plausible that it existed, but there is almost no real proof. By design the Spartans educated their young men and women with mentors rather than with written texts so there was a close bond. What kind of relationship it was is almost entirely left to guess. It is claimed as a pederastic relationship by enemies of Sparta, so the information cannot be trusted because of the source.

In medieval history, and de facto Christian history, the sources for the views on homosexuality are more clear. It was pretty much ignored by the church until the church started becoming more politically active. When the church starts trying to codify marriage is the moment when its starts becoming an issue. It is difficult to nail that down but one excellent source is the history of Montaillou. Montaillou was a village in France and one of the last stops of the tour for the Inquisition in its reckless crusade against the Albigensian heresy. The reason it is such a great reference is because of the Inquisition being meticulous about its record keeping. They even have verbatim transcripts and such. A fella wrote a really nice microhistory of the inquisitorial period that is a watershed work for medieval historians. Anyway, the nutshell is that the locals in this small village generally regarded homosexuality as a bad thing because int eh small village a few people deciding to participate in exclusively homosexual relationships could seriously effect the viability of the village as a whole in future generations. One of the main perps in the eyes of the Inquisition was an Albigensian priest who is making the rounds and hooking up with everybody. One thing that it seems to indicate at this time homosexuality creates a practical fear in the village folk but is generally accepted in the cities as an eccentricity. Eventually the Catholic church would get that turned around too and eventually they habit of claiming that homosexuality was anti-Christian would become mainstream in the cities.

I suppose, after all that, my point is that histories great societies have viewed homosexuality as an issue and often a negative one. Greece and Rome seem to apply the notion that any sexuality, being it hetero or homo, is something of a choice and that a person can move back and forth. Labeling and social connotations seem to be more directly applied to the role one plays in the relationship, the dominance and power one can project in that role, and whether or not it impedes with the necessary social duties one was expected to carry out. It seems rather evident, though, that one was not pleasantly looked on if they participated exclusively in such a relationship. It should also be noted that very little information exists regarding lesbian relationships in this time-period as women were widely considered property and not worth recording in history. Ahh. The good old days.

In the early Christian days, we are exposed to the working class a little more and we get a better picture of the overall view of homosexuality. I am not much of a historian and cannot say at what point people came around to the idea that homosexuality is more than a preference or choice and something more like a state of being, but certainly it is supposed at the turn of the 14th century during the Montaillou Inquisition because of the practical fear that homosexuals may not feel the need to reproduce. I say this because they would not fear that if it was a simple preference or a dalliance but they would if the couple showed an emotional bond and desire for monogamy that overwhelmed the desire to procreate. Given that summation, it is my belief that people may have understood, though not stated, that homosexuality was more than just sexual preference. That could probably be considered a significant leap in academic circles, so don't tell anybody.

Anyway, all I am saying is that Homosexuals have had to put up with a lot of shit throughout history. That said, it is probably more of an outrage that it happens now because we have the opportunity to be so much more as a society. That the Greeks and Romans and medieval Europeans could not find a place in their minds to open up to this is one thing, but why can't modern American society? We ought to be able to see a little farther than that. What is the benefit of persecuting homosexuals? What burden does one displace by laying that sort of thing on someone else? I think there are enough of us around that we don't have to view homosexuality as a threat to our population. If it gets to be that close of thing, call Bruce Paine. I have spent my life waiting to be put out to stud.

-----

AUTHOR: Ben
DATE: 06/23/2008 11:53:23 PM

Erin,
I thought you might like to know that your post inspired me to contact my first boss, from about ten years ago, who was a positive influence on my life. He was the first openly gay person I knew and helped knock down preconceptions from my childhood. I hadn't talked to him in years, due to moving on to different companies. But your post reminded me that a kind word can help when persons face trials. So I wrote him an email to tell him what a positive influence he had had on my life. Perhaps your trials may become another persons good will. And maybe, that good will will find its way back to you.

BTW, I am a lurker and haven't commented here before, as you noticed. I follow many blogs, and several newsgroups, but comment only rarely. I suspect that you bloggers don't realize how much readership you really have, based solely on comment totals.
-----

AUTHOR: Erin
DATE: 06/24/2008 02:30:27 PM

Ben,

That's easily one of the nicest things I've ever read. Thanks for coming out of the shadows to tell me that. It really made my day. You can go back to lurking if you want. I don't mind, though so far I've liked everything you've had to say.
-----

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dodgers Game 64: Dodgers 7, Padres 2

This is the sort of game you expect when the Dodgers play the Padres this season. The Padres this year are just not good, and while the Dodgers' record would indicate they're not so great either, they have a whole lot more potential than that team from San Diego.

But, still, with these Dodgers, you never know what you're going to get, and so a 7-2 win just feels good when you get one. Especially when it's the third win in the last four games for the team. That's a start, I guess. Maybe things are looking up.

The hits came when they needed to, and that tended to be when the Padres made bad mistakes to continue innings and give the Dodgers another chance. The Dodgers scored in the first inning after Pierre led off with a single, stole second, and then scored on a two-out Martin single. The Padres would tie it up in the third, thanks to Kershaw walking a few guys and throwing a wild pitch.

Kershaw pitched well, though he did walk a few guys more than you'd like to see. Still, though, he only gave up one run, and he went 5.1 innings. He left with two guys on in the sixth, and Torre inexplicably brought in Proctor to keep the Padres in check. I wondered at the time why Kuo wouldn't be called in, and apparently I wasn't the only one wondering. Proctor lived up to my expectations when he immediately threw a wild pitch that allowed the go-ahead run to score from third, then committed an error on a grounder hit back at him. He managed to get out of the inning after that, but still.

The seventh inning was a good one for the Dodgers. Maddux left the game, replaced former Boston pitcher Bryan Corey, and Young, pinch-hitting for Proctor, hit a one-out double, which apparently could have been caught but Giles lost it in the lights. Hampson came in for Corey, and gave up a single to Pierre, which landed behind the Padres' outfielder when he, too, lost it in the lights. Hampson then walked Ethier to load the bases. Cla Meredith came in for relief and got Kent to ground out to third. Young was thrown out at home, and the Padres brought in their fourth pitcher of the inning, Heath Bell. With two outs, it sure looked like the Dodgers were going to squander the opportunity, but Russell Martin made sure that didn't happen when he singled to right, scoring two. Loney was intentionally walked, then Kemp hit a grounder to Greene at shortstop, but beat the throw to get an infield single. Kent scored easily, and Martin came around from second and just beat the throw at home. I didn't see this, but here's what Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts had to say about it:


The way Russell Martin dashed home from second base on an infield single by Matt Kemp in the seventh inning tonight, you might have thought it was 1988 all over again. It was enough to just about make you believe.

Sounds good to me. Maybe this is a turning point in the season for this club. The Dodgers added two more runs in the ninth inning, to win the game 7-2.

Just a good game all around, and in one of those weird situations that could only happen in baseball, Proctor, the guy that gave up the go-ahead run in the sixth ended up getting the win. Makes his record look good, I guess, but it sure doesn't mean he pitched well.

The Dodgers face Randy Wolf on Wednesday night, for the first time since Wolf signed with the Padres. I kind of don't like Wolf (I'm not the only one, right?), so I'd like to see the Dodgers' offense pin him down and give him a beating, while Chad Billingsley stifles the Padres' offense.

Player of the Game: Russell Martin (3-5, 2 R, 3 RBI). Honorable mention to James Loney (2-2, 3 BB)

Record: 31-33





COMMENTS:
AUTHOR: BobbyStompy
DATE: 06/20/2008 12:17:43 PM

Erin, I actually did an anti-Cubs post at TUP after the original one was posted, and (this was before I read your comments) I actually addressed the homophobic side of the rivalry.. so yeah, I agree with your side.
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Sox Game 67: Orioles 10, Red Sox 6

This one looked bad in the beginning when Josh Beckett allowed four runs to put the Sox in an early 4-1 hole. But the bats did their job and came back to take a 6-4 lead heading into the seventh, and it seemed Boston would win another game at home.

Perhaps Hideki Okajima should not pitch against the Orioles again for a while. Okajima has given up nine earned runs so far this season, and eight of them have come against the Orioles. And that's not including the three inherited runs he let score when he came into a bases-loaded situation and promptly gave up a grand slam. Okajima's ERA right now is 2.89. Without his appearances against the Orioles, it's 0.39. Obviously, they've got his number.

Okajima only put the Sox in a one-run hole, though. Craig Hansen did the rest of the damage when he came in to relieve Delcarmen (who got out of Okajima's mess in the seventh, then pitched a scoreless eighth). Hansen gave up three runs (only two earned, thanks to a Pedroia error) to put the game much more of out of reach for the Sox.

As for the starting pitcher, Beckett was once again not that sharp, though he did settle down nicely after giving up those four runs (all of which came in the second inning). Still, though, he needed 113 pitches to get through his six innings of work.

J.D. Drew and Manny Ramirez went back-to-back with home runs in the fifth inning. The jack from Drew gave the Sox a 5-4 lead, and Ramirez added the insurance run. After that, there really wasn't a reason to suspect that things would go badly for the Sox the rest of the evening. But this one unraveled quickly, and I think it's best we all just put it behind us and move on. Colon takes the hill on Wednesday, looking to rebound from his last start against the Mariners, which was just ugly.

Player of the Game: J.D. Drew (1-2, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB)

Record: 40-27


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 06/11/2008 06:40:38 PM

Nice to be able to lose Papi and bring in JD Drew. Watching any basketball?
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Broken Promise?

I don't know how many times I can tell you guys I'm lazy, then write one post and promise to be more consistent, and then go days without posting. But let's try it again anyway.

The Dodgers took two of four from the Cubs over the weekend, and now head down to San Diego. Arizona still holds a 3.5-game lead over the Dodgers, and we're still probably about a week away from getting Rafael Furcal back. The good news is that LaRoche was called up, though he is not starting Tuesday's game. Hu was sent down, but we are still holding onto Mark Sweeney for unknown reasons. A sweep in San Diego is entirely doable, thought you can't really expect anything from this team. Just sit back and see what they do.

As for the Sox, well, they're doing all right, although Okajima just gave up the lead (again) to the Orioles in the seventh inning. But, the Sox swept Tampa Bay and then won two of three against the Mariners. We're looking for a late comeback win here against the O's to continue the winning ways at Fenway, but we'll see.

If I can stay on top of these posts, then I won't have to worry about forgetting things when I am forced to recap several days at once. I think I'm going to another Cubs' game this week, so I'll have more pictures, too. It's a weird time to make a New Year's resolution, but that's what I'm doing today. I will post more often, I swear.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Coco Crisp Is A Moron

Okay, so I already told you what happened on Wednesday to lead up to Thursday's shenanigans. So now it's time to talk about Thursday. It was the second inning, and Coco Crisp was leading off. He took one pitch, then the second pitch hit him on his right leg, in the thigh area. He turned as though he were going to be a grownup about it and head to first base, but then suddenly raced toward the mound, ducked a punch thrown from starter James Shields, landed one on Shields' shoulder, and then got fully planted into the ground by Rays' catcher Dioner Navarro.

The benches cleared. Bullpens emptied. Johnny Gomes and Carl Crawford jumped on Crisp while he was being held down, and got in some pretty good punches. Crisp, Shields and Gomes were ejected immediately, and you'd have to imagine there will be some lengthy suspensions for all of them. Crawford wasn't ejected, but it would be hard to believe MLB could ignore his role in the fight when it comes to handing out suspensions. No word yet, but it was a big brawl. League officials have a lot of rewinding and pausing to do. And if you haven't seen the video, Texas Gal has plenty of it for you.

I do not like Coco Crisp as a human being. I've mentioned that on this blog before, and I stand by it. After Wednesday, I thought he was being an idiot for getting himself all 'roided up about something so inconsequential. And now, after Thursday night, I'm pissed at him on an entirely different level. I've also gone on record as saying that I hate beanball and everything it brings to the game of baseball. I understand it's been around for a long time, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's right, does it? There's talk of protecting your players and whatever, but that wouldn't be needed if someone didn't start throwing at people in the first place. You can protect the plate and brush a guy back without hitting him. After all, the job of a major league pitcher is to throw the ball with precise control.

Regardless of that debate, when Crisp charged the mound on Thursday, he immediately got his teammates involved in his insane fight. Their job is to protect him, which they did, and which could have led to injuries, and will certainly lead to maybe a few suspensions. So, good job, buddy. The team is doing well without Ortiz in the lineup, but you may have caused a few key guys to lose playing time. Crisp will definitely not be playing for several games (after seeing Kemp get suspended for four after the fracas in Los Angeles, it seems easy to imagine Crisp getting ten). And Ellsbury injured his wrist later in the game, causing Youkilis to have to play right field. So thanks for helping to screw up the outfield, Crisp. You idiot.

And please don't ask me about the Youkilis/Ramirez fight in the dugout. I don't know what it was about, and it worries me a little, actually. Rumor has it that Youkilis said something to Ramirez about the latter not getting involved too quickly in the fight (though I, for one, don't blame Ramirez for that in the least), and Ramirez responded by slapping Youk. Texas Gal has video of that as well.

All of this overshadowed a series sweep for the Sox over the Rays, as well as a walkless pitching performance from Lester. He went 6.1 innings, gave up one run on eight hits, and struck out five for his fourth win of the season. Ramirez hit a three-run home run in the first inning, and the Sox added a run in the second before scoring three more in the fifth. Chris Carter, making his major league debut, was 2-3 with two runs scored, and Sean Casey added two hits of his own. But the night belonged to Ramirez, who also hit a two-run single in the fourth, giving him five RBI on the night. The Red Sox ended up winning 7-1, and outscored the Rays 19-6 over the three games.

Hopefully all this fight nonsense wears off by the time we next see the Rays in Tampa Bay on June 30. I doubt it, but a girl can dream. Meanwhile, now Seattle comes to town, and the Red Sox look to avenge the series loss on the west coast last month.

Player of the Game: Manny Ramirez (2-3, 1 HR, 1 BB, 5 RBI, 1 R)

Record: 38-25

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Sox Win Again (Twice), Take Lead in East

This series against the Rays was billed as a big deal because it would be Tampa Bay's chance to prove that they belong with the big boys in the A.L. East. Going into the series, the Rays had a 1.5-game lead over the Sox in the division. Now, with two of the three games out of the way, order has been restored to the world, and Boston currently holds first place, a half-game over the Rays.

Tuesday was the first game back at home after a bad 4-6 road trip. It was also the first game the Sox played after learning that Ortiz would be out for a while with his left wrist injury. The team had to be wondering how they would get their runs without such a potent bat in the lineup, but they didn't wonder long. Every batter reached base at least once, and the Sox banged out two home runs en route to a 7-4 victory over the Rays.

Justin Masterson, making his third start of the season, wasn't great, but he wasn't too bad either, and he really only got himself into trouble with a couple of pitches, both of which went for home runs. Iwamura led off the game with a homer, but Masterson settled down and allowed an additional run in the fourth, then Pena's two-run jack in the sixth.

The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead on a Mike Lowell home run, but the Rays answered in the top of the fourth to tie the game. Drew hit a solo shot in the bottom of the inning to tie it, and then the Rays took a 4-2 lead with Pena's homer in the sixth. But the Sox rallied in the bottom of that inning to score four runs and take the lead again, this time for good.

On Wednesday, the game was marred by some controversy, mostly generated by Coco Crisp's imagination. Crisp attempted a steal in the sixth inning, and was angry when shortstop Jason Bartlett put his knee in front of the bag to block Crisp's headfirst slide. Deeming this move shady (but probably more just pissed that he hurt his thumb doing something every little league coach would tell him was stupid), Crisp stole again in the eighth inning and took out second baseman Iwamura, who was covering the bag. It was the kind of slide you'd see from a guy trying to break up a double play, but it was definitely not necessary on an attempted steal (and Crisp was thrown out, to add insult to injury). Joe Maddon had some words for Crisp when he came out to the mound after the next batter, and Crisp kept flapping his gums after the game, saying that if the Rays wanted to retaliate, they should go for him, and not for anyone else on the team.

Crisp was wrong on all counts here. Bartlett's move wasn't great, but it's pretty common, and as Jerry Remy, the Sox broadcaster, said, Crisp could have avoided everything if he had slid feet first. Nobody wants to take a spike to the thigh or knee. Regardless, it was all much ado about nothing, but since I'm writing this in the midst of Thursday night's game, I can safely say that the issue has still not been put to rest. More on that in the recap for Thursday's game.

Offensively on Wednesday, the Sox continued to roll. They pounded out eleven hits and got five runs. J.D. Drew continued to swing a hot bat, and after scoring three runs in the third, the Sox were in control the rest of the game. Beckett didn't seem particularly sharp, but he went six innings and only gave up a run, despite pitching in some trouble spots throughout the game. He gave up one run on seven hits, didn't walk anybody, and struck out five, to get his sixth win of the season.

The Sox have now won twelve straight at Fenway.

Thursday is Lester versus Shields. I'll tell you right now that Shields doesn't last long. Again, more on that later.

Tuesday's Player of the Game: J.D. Drew (2-3,1 HR,1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB)

Wednesday's Player of the Game: J.D. Drew (2-3, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB). No, that is not a typo. He put up the same line both nights.

Record: 37-25

Quick, Someone Give Me Another Word for "Suck"

I'm just at my wit's end with these Dodgers, I'll tell you. With losses to the worst team in baseball on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Dodgers dropped to three games under .500 and again failed to take advantage of an Arizona loss. Oh, and the Mariners now officially have the worst record, thanks to this Colorado winning streak.

In the Dodgers' last five games, here are the runs scored, respectively: one, one, eight, zero and one. That will not win you ballgames, so I'm sure it won't surprise you to learn that the Dodgers went 1-4 in those games.

There's just not a lot to say when this is all a team is giving you. Matt Kemp got ejected from a game (and now is suspended for four, pending appeal) for an overreaction that I don't even have the energy to write about here. It certainly didn't pump up his team, that's for sure. And now guess who's coming to town? The Chicago Cubs, fresh off a nine-game winning streak (though they did lose Wednesday night in San Diego to end that streak). Things are just not looking good at ol' Chavez Ravine.

It's frustrating because we, as fans, can do nothing to right the ship. The players have to help themselves, and it becomes doubly frustrating when it appears that the players are unwilling (or, worse, unable) to do anything to get things going. There is no word on when Furcal will be coming back, so if this team is waiting for him to provide a spark, then we will be in for some (more) brutal games ahead. It's time that someone else steps up, holds a closed-door meeting, quits shaving, whatever it takes. The season is not out of reach, but it will be soon if things don't change. So let's go.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: SoSG Orel
DATE: 06/06/2008 01:10:06 AM

"Dodgers"
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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Dodgers Win, Beat Up On Rockies

The Colorado Rockies are currently, at least in terms of their record, the worst team in baseball. The Dodgers could not come home after a terrible road trip and lose to the worst team in baseball. That just could not happen, and I'm glad the boys in blue agreed with me on that matter.

By the time I was able to check into the game, the Dodgers were already up 5-1. They would eventually win 8-2, and Kemp, Kent and Ethier would all hit home runs in the game. Yes, you read that correctly. Three home runs in the same game for the Dodgers. We can't suddenly think that the offense has found its groove, though. After all, we were just beating up on the Rockies' pitching. Eight runs is the minimum we should have scored against that team, frankly. But I'll take it.

Every starter, with the exception of Hu and Lowe, had at least one hit. Matt Kemp was a monster, scoring three runs and driving in one on that home run. Derek Lowe put together his third consecutive quality start. It looked bad in the beginning, when he gave up one run in the first, but he settled down and went eight innings, giving up just one run on five hits and a walk, striking out three. Scott Proctor came in for the ninth and struggled, giving up a run on two, but managed to strike out the side anyway.

Perhaps beating a team like the Rockies will have a positive effect on this team, reminding them that they can hit the baseball and score runs, and that the starters can have run support in their superb outings. Even if it is the Rockies, maybe a sweep here will give a little boost of confidence, which will be exactly what the Dodgers will need. Why? Because coming up next, the Chicago Cubs, who just look unbeatable right about now.

Of course, the Dodgers actually have to keep winning against Colorado. Last night's win does not guarantee a sweep. It'll be Brad Penny taking the hill tonight. Yep, Brad Penny, who hasn't given up fewer than four earned runs in a start since May 2 (and has only given up fewer than three in three of his twelve starts this season). Will Penny take a page from Lowe's book and figure out how to right his ship? We need Penny to do well, because it will be the unproven Kershaw on Wednesday going against the ace of the Rockies' staff, Aaron Cook.

One win is a start. Arizona lost on Monday night, so their division lead is back down to 3.5 games. Let's take this one game at a time and see what happens. For now, let's just say the goal is to get back to .500, which would happen with a win tonight.

Player of the Game: Matt Kemp (3-5, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 3 R)

Record: 28-29



COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 06/03/2008 09:05:04 PM

For anyone interested the Dodgers offer ticket discounts on their facebook group.
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Red Sox Lose Game, Ortiz

Not a great night to be a Red Sox fan. Sure, Manny hit a home run in his third consecutive game, lending credibility to my theory that he'd go on a tear now that #500 is in his rearview mirror. The Sox could only manage three runs against Jeremy Guthrie, but Tim Wakefield only gave up two runs in his seven solid innings, and so Boston went into the eighth inning with a 3-2 lead. Okajima took the hill, and in the blink of an eye, he had given up four runs to make it a 6-3 Orioles' lead, which they would not relinquish.

In the midst of that inning, the report started to circulate that David Ortiz would be placed on the DL, and would likely be out for at least a month with a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. If it's not healed properly in that time, he'll need surgery. None of those words sound good to me. Ortiz had been hitting well, and he's obviously a big part of the lineup, so this could be a rough month in Boston. Perhaps Paine was right in the comments of the last post--maybe it's time for me to start lowering my expectations.

The Sox are finally heading home, and they start a reason against the Rays on Tuesday. Justin Masterson, who has been just great in the two starts he's made, has been called up to take Ortiz's roster spot, and will start the first game of the Rays' series. He'll be followed by Beckett and Lester. The Sox won't have to face Kazmir in this series, which I suppose is good news. But the Rays are scary this season, and they now hold a 1.5-game lead over the Sox in the east. So, a sweep would be nice.

Player of the Game: Manny Ramirez (2-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R)


Record: 35-25

Monday, June 02, 2008

Two Roads Diverged

I'm coming back with more regular postings now, I swear. For now, all you need to know is that the Dodgers continue to suck, losing even when the starter gives them seven strong, or losing when the starter has a killer inning in which he gives up five runs. In short, the Dodgers are losing in every way possible, basically trying to hand the division to the Diamondbacks. The crazy thing is, the Diamondbacks have refused to take it thus far, though they did finally extend the lead by a game over the weekend. The Dodgers are 4.5 out of first in the west, only 3.5 ahead of the Giants. They are six out of the wild card race, so they might not want to be focusing on that prize.

I have no analysis about the team. I've been watching, but there's nothing to say. They win one 9-5, and the offense looks great, then they can only scrape together two runs and end up losing 3-2, and then can only manage one run and lose 6-1. Nothing pretty about it. I'll be back with regular game recaps today, though, as the Dodgers are home again to face the Rockies. It's Lowe versus Reynolds (who?). We'll see if Lowe can extend his string of quality starts.

The Red Sox are going the opposite way of the Dodgers. After a miserable beginning to the road trip, they have now won three in a row in Baltimore, and look to go for the sweep today, before heading home for a big showdown with the Tampa Bay Rays (crazy, right?). A win tonight would put their road record at 15-19, which sucks, but is better than the 12-19 it was before this series with the Orioles started.

Oh, and hey, in case you didn't hear, Manny hit #500 on Saturday, then followed up with #501 on Sunday. I have a feeling he's going to go on a bit of a tear here, now that the pressure to get the big one is over.

Wakefield versus Guthrie tonight. I like our chances for a sweep, but it should be noted that Ortiz is back in Boston getting an MRI after spraining his wrist on Saturday night. Keep your fingers crossed that it's nothing too serious.


COMMENTS:

AUTHOR: Bruce Paine
DATE: 06/02/2008 09:09:49 PM

Patience is a hard thing to have. My girlfriend is playing in a softball league now, and she hasn't really played the sport. I try to be patient. I really do. She does thing wrong, she does things right. She does something right one day she does it wrong the next day. This game is fickle. You hope for the best but you must expect the worst. I suggest you lower your expectations. It works for me. Its tough, you don't want to watch something you love with the expectation of failure, but sure saves on the beer bill.
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AUTHOR: Smeghead52
DATE: 06/02/2008 09:35:47 PM

Oh well at least the Dodgers arent as bad as the mariners. Poor Ichiro deserved better for his mlb career.
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