At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Archive for the ‘Tampa Bay Rays’ Category

What Will You Do in the Off Season ?

Posted by athomeatfenway on September 22, 2011

Big Papi's Body Langage says it all.

Well, the Sox gave away another one last night.  They could have gained 1.5 games vs. TB for the Wild Card but they blew a 4 – 1 lead.

Ho-hum.

The hopeful & forgiving part of my brain, the part that gives Jose Canseco the benefit of the doubt, the part that voted for O’Bama, the lobe that reluctantly acknowledges that Jeter and Cano are outstanding players, that part of my brain is looking past the end of the season and asking, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WHEN THE SEASON ENDS NEXT WEEK ?

Well, I have been meaning to research a historical list of Baseball players with the most anatomical names.  Ed Head and Bill Hands to name two. And there are the lighthearted citations of Johnny Dickshot and Nippy Jones.

The list explodes when nicknames are mixed with proper surnames

Like Footsie Blair. Clay Barfoot.  Barry Foote.  Footer Johnson.  

Jerrod Head. Ralph Head.  Chase Headley.

Bird Eye Truby, Eyechart Mientkiewicz, Human Eyeball Lord, Eagle Eye Hemphill, Camera Eye Bishop.  Wagon Tongue Adams.

 

Iron Hands Sullivan, Handy Andy Pafko.  Brad Hand. Rich Hand.

 

 

There are 3 HOF’ers. Rollie Fingers, Three Finger Brown and Shufflefoot Boudreau.

 

Piano Legs Hickman, Piano Legs Gore.

 

Three Finger Newkirk.

 

Jim Hearty, of the 1894 San Fran Hot Peanuts.  What a cool name.

 

Derek Livernois.  Gary Tongue.

 

Ears Mossi.

And my personal favorite, Walt “No Neck” Williams.  The hustling little man on The 70’s ChiSox who well matched his nickname visually.

Who did I leave out ?

BACK TO UGLY REALITY

Even though the team has lost 6 in a row, 8 of 9, 13 of 15, and 18 of their last 26 games, the mission has not changed.  The Sox have got to put their best team on the field 6 more times.

The Probables haven’t been fully announced.  Here is what is on the team sites:

Fri, Sat, Sun at NYY:  Lester v TBD, Wake v TBD, TBD v TBD

Mon, Tue, Wed @ BAL: all TBD.

I expect they will start Beckett & Lester as per the norm in the final 2 BAL games.  That means they have to pick two guys to start on Sunday and Monday.  It’s a crap shoot.  Lackey and Miller are the worst of the remaining choices.  Bedard is a Box of Chocolates.  The rotation should round out as follows:

Fri  @ NYY  7:05    Lester vs. TBD.

Sat @ NYY  4:10    Wake vs. TBD.

Sun at NYY  1:05   Bedard vs. TBD

Mon @ BAL  7:05  Lackey vs. TBD 

 Tue @ BAL  7:05  Beckett vs. TBD

 Wed @ BAL: 7:05  Lester vs. TBD.

Lackey could swap days with Bedard but The Sox will probably see if an extra day of rest helps the most flawed starter on the team.  God only knows who Baltimore will start.  Now that the Yankees have clinched, expect them to rest CC, Nova and Colon.  Expect they will throw AJ at us this weekend with some minor leaguers, which is all in our favor, my fellow Sox fans.

I have never been and will never be a supporter of the New York Yankees.  But I must say something here.  After beating the hell out of Tampa this week, the Empire may further ingratiate themselves to Sox fans by starting poor pitchers and September call-ups all weekend against us.  In so doing, the Yankees may do more to help the Sox at season’s end then the Sox themselves are doing.

What a crazy flipping upside down year.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz, NEW YORK YANKEES, RED SOX, Tampa Bay Rays | 1 Comment »

Sox Streaking, Stinking, Sinking

Posted by athomeatfenway on September 20, 2011

The Rays are playing loose.

 Red Sox fans do not give up until our boys are mathematically eliminated.  We give nothing.  Anything can happen in baseball.

I hope it happens soon.

The tenants of the Tampa Ray bullpen strode slowly from the dugout, tall and lean, chatting and taking long, relaxed strides in the sunshine.  Leading the parade were two rookies.  One carried a pink parasol in one hand, a matching pink suitcase in the other.  His colleague walked beside him, a girlish white boa adorning his neck.

It was a rookie hazing seen in progress.  These are the loosey-goosey Joe Maddon Rays.

What else should we expect from a Manager who has Pajama Day and Letterman Sweater Day ?  These are days in which the team dons the aforementioned thematic garb and poses for photos.  Go google “Tampa Ray Pajama Day”.  See what you get.  These guys are having fun.

The Rays are the opposite of my Sox, who are playing tight, making errors, swinging and missing under the pressure of a September with a 4 W – 13 L record.

I had a great field box seat for the Sept. 18 game.  It gave me a perfect view of Mike Aviles’ TWO errant throws from third base.  I had a clear line of sight for the knuckler that bounced off Salty’s shinguard on an uncaught strike 3, allowing that run to reach 1st base.  I saw to perfection Mr. Connor Jackson, who appears to be afraid of the Left Field wall, misplay a pop fly into a double.  Four men reached base in these fielding misadventures.  They all scored.  The Red Sox lost by 3 runs.  8 to 5.

There are many reasons why the Red Sox have lost 13 of their last 17 games, blowing a 9 game Wild Card lead and a small lead atop the Division —  since September 1. 

There’s been an absence of hitting in critical situations.  The middle relievers have performed poorly.  Fielding is going down the chute.

But how about the most important performers of all, i.e., the Starting Pitchers ?

Here is how each starter has fared in the 17 game slide.

Josh Beckett:  Made 2 starts.  Sox won 1.  2 Quality Starts.  1.86 ERA.  Give him a A+.

Jon Lester:  Made 4 starts.  Sox won 1.  Made 3 Quality Starts.  3.52 ERA.  His grade is a B+.

Erik Bedard: Made 1 start.  Sox won it.  Made 1 Quality Start.  4.50 ERA.  Grade him a solid B.

John Lackey:  Made 3 starts.  Sox won 0.  Made 0 Quality Starts.  8.79 ERA.  Give him an F.

Andrew Miller:  Made 2 starts.  Sox won 0.  Made 0 Quality Starts.  15.71 ERA.   F minus-minus.

Tim Wakefield:  Made 3 starts.  Sox won 1.  Made 1 Quality Start.  6.19 ERA.  A D performance.

Kyle Weiland:  Made 2 starts.  Sox won 0.  Made 0 Quality Starts.  9.00 ERA.  He gets an F.

Thus, Sox starters gave the team a chance to win in only 7 of 17 starts.  Never mind the bullpen.  Forget that Daniel Bard coughed up 3 leads and lost 3 games in 7 days.   Or that Matt Albers brought his little gasoline can to the mound with a 9.44 ERA in this slide.  Before we blame the relievers, a starting rotation made of Beckett, Lester, and a few pretenders is shooting the Sox in the foot.

Miller, Weiland and Lackey’s performances have been an abomination, but it is Shellackey that elicits the upchuck reflex. 

Money isn’t supposed to matter.  I don’t get hung up on salaries.  But in John’s case, the money is making a difference.  Theo signed him to a 5-year, $79.5 Million deal.  He is making $15 Million in 2011, the same sum he will be paid in 2012, 2013 and 2014. 

Nice job, Theo.  You’ve given us two World Championships but only one successful big fish free agent signing (Curt Schilling) in 9 years on the job. 

To underscore the point, at this moment John Lackey has left his start today vs. Baltimore after just 4.1 IP.   He allowed 8 Earned Runs.  The Sox may yet win this game.   They lead 18 to 9 through 8 innings.   But if they win, it will be not at all due to the most overpaid and underperforming man on the 2011 Red Sox roster.

The game on Sunday was mostly devoid of fan energy and noise.  There were a few feisty moments, such as when Wake became the first pitcher ever to throw 3,000 innings for the Beantown 9.

Such highlights did not alter the mood.

The radio broadcasters hit the note repeatedly.  “This crowd is nervous.  Worried.  I’ve never seen a Fenway crowd like this one.”, said Dave O’Brien.

The fans are as tight as the team.

Posted in BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, RED SOX, Tampa Bay Rays | 1 Comment »

HAIL TO THE RAYS

Posted by athomeatfenway on October 20, 2008

Lucky at Love, Lucky at the Baseball Wars, too, evidently

As much as it hurts to see Dustin, David and Jon go down with the rest of the Sox, I am compelled to tip my cap to the Rays.

The Sox were zotzed in game 7 by a measley 2-run margin by a team that is every bit as good as they are.

The Rays infield, though star studded w Longoria & Pena,  is no match for ours.  They can hit with us.  They can’t field at our level.

Their catcher is better than ours.  Send me a fish wrapped in a bullet proof vest if you must, but accept the fact that our beloved 36-year-old leader is not as well rounded as Dioner Navarro.

Their starting pitchers are equal to our own.  No question.

Their outfield isn’t as good as ours is in the corners, but what they lack in fielding they make up for in power hitting that our outfielders do not have.

Bullpens ?  I love them both.  How in the hell did two so talented bullpens get assembled and located in the same division ?

Even-steven in many ways, there was certainly a tie breaker:  Matt Garza.

This talented guy is a major pain in my ass.

Matt Garza is a major pain in my ass.

Matt Garza whipped the Sox, period.  Yes, he could not stop Pedroia from reaching base 6 times in 9 at bats.  Yes, he walked some, hit some, and wiggled out of self-created jams.

But overall, he made terrific pitches to places on the black (or just off) at high speeds with movement.  In the jazz lexicon, he is a bitch or a monster.

He grabbed his axe and put a fork in us.

He slew us with bordello music.

But Jazz isn’t his thing.

He’s a Tupac fan.

I guess we should have BELO for his bammer.

Posted in ALCS, BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, RED SOX, Tampa Bay Rays | Leave a Comment »

ALCS: Now even, Sox will take 3 of 4 next

Posted by athomeatfenway on October 12, 2008

Oct. 12, 2008

 

Tacky Tampa Fans Will Not Taste The Bubbly

Tacky Tampa Fans Will Get Zero Bubbly (AP photo)

 

 

The ALCS is now a best-of-5 Series. 

First team to take three games this week goes to the Series.

 

Let’s review what we learned from the six head-to-head games played in September by the new-look Mannyless Sox vs. never-say-die Rays

 

 

·        There will be low scoring games

·        There may be extra innings

·        Put Timlin in late with risk

·        There will be strong starting and relieving from both teams

·        There may be stretches of no hitting by the Sox with RISP

·        David Ortiz should continue to hit at .250 and he may power up

·        Jason Bay will star

·        The Rays are resilient

·        Every Game is pivotal

 

 

 

Rays take September 4 games to 2

 
 

rays.com

Andy Sonenstine (rays.com)

Sept. 8 to 10 Boston 

 

TIGHT GAME:  EARLY RUNS MAKE DIFF

 

Sept. 8 – For the 13th time in 13 games between Bos & TB, the home team wins..

Lester and Papelbon shine.  Edwin Jackson sparkles, too, only losing as the Sox get a walk and two hits including a Bay HR to score 3 in the first.  After that, Jackson and Howell are lights out.  We win 3 – 0.

 

PAP BLOWS IT:  CLOSER NULLS BAY’S 8th Inn HR

 

Sept. 9 – Dice K labors but again yields little, giving the Sox a chance to rise up.  And it happens !  After Kazmir allows just 2 runs in 6 IP, Wheeler yields a 2 run HR to Bay in the Bottom-8th to take a 4-3 lead.  And Pap, the automatic, needs only to record 3 outs in the 9th.  BUT, he fails.  Pap gives 2 runs and we lose, 4 – 5.

 

 

TIMELY HITTING FAILS:  TIMLIN ENTERS WITH GAS CAN

 

Sept. 10 – The Sox fail to score.  They strand 5  (3 in scoring pos.) in innings 10,11 & 12.  Then, Timlin enters & allows a 3 run HR.  Sox then load the bases in the Bottom-14th, but squander the opportunity.  The bullpen shined and Beckett was very good.  Sonenstine sparkled.  Sox left 16 LOB.  We lose, 2 – 4

  

 Sept. 15 to 17 Tampa

 

 

SOX BITCH-SLAP KAZMIR

Sept. 15 – Had Chris Smith not given up two 2-run HR’s to The Rays in one inning, this 13-5 laugher would have been a 13-1 shellacking.  Dice-K and the bullpen (other than Smith) are terrific.  Sox hit 4 HR’s.  We win 13 – 5

 

BOTH STARTERS GEMS:  MASTERSON YIELDS LOSING RUN

 

Sept. 16– A flat out gem is tossed by both Beckett and Sonenstine.  At the end of 8 Innings, it’s a 1 – 1 tie.  Masterson victimized in ninth by a soft fisted single, a BB after a recalled strike call, and a HBP.  We lose, 1-2.

 

WAKEFIELD DOESN’T HAVE IT

 

Sept. 17 – Three HR’s allowed by Wakefield gave TB all they would need since the Sox would muster only 6 hits and 3 runs, all 3 on 2 hr’s by Ortiz.  Sox trot out Hansack, Smith, even Pauley in relief.  That’s the bottom of the barrel.  A default.  We lose, 3 – 10.

 

 

 

These two teams are evenly matched.  For the Sox, it’s the second consecutive series of playing a postseason opponent just as good as they are.

 

The Rotation

 

Sure, we don’t know this for sure, but the starters could be as follows:

 

Fri  Shields v Dice K  (win)

Sat  Kazmir v Beckett  (loss)

Mon Garza v Lester

Tue Sonnenstine v Wake

Thu Shields v Dice K

Sat Kazmir v Lester

Sun Sonnenstine  v Beckett

 

 It comes down to Lester & Matsuzaka

 

Speed against speed.  Solid starters & effective relievers on both sides.  Youth is just a tad on the Ray’s side.  There are no dominant power hitters on either team.  Lady luck has been with the Rays in the close games, but luck is a pendulum.  Stealing one in Tampa on Friday the last is a real advantage.

 

 

Expect the Sox take it in 6 on Saturday Oct. 18 as Lester wins 5 – 2.  Lester and Dice-K contribute all 4 of the Sox wins in this Series.  No game 7.   Our #1 & #2 starters MUST provide quality starts for the Sox to have a chance.  And both of them are hot right now.

 

And our hitters have to produce against Sonenstine, Shields and Garza.  I’m confident they will hit Kazmir.

 

All that said, I wouldn’t preclude Wakefield from disrupting this prediction by shutting the Rays down on Tuesday.

 

What do you think ?

Lester now at the Height of His Game  (AP)

Lester now at the Height of His Game (AP)

Posted in ALCS, BASEBALL, Boston Red Sox, RED SOX, Tampa Bay Rays, Terry Francona | Leave a Comment »