Tuesday, June 29

Welcome to Boston Mr. Lackey

Is today the day that John Lackey "officially became a Boston Red Sox"? Many of us have been riding this guy all year for his Dice-K like numbers (i.e., an inappropriate amount of wins given his inefficient performances), but on the big stage tonight, with the Sox facing a tremendous amount of injuries, and a fired up/desperate Rays team in town, Lackey took his skirt off and showed he might just be worth a portion of that mammoth contract.

Seven innings, only one run, while "scattering" eight hits and striking out three isn't a Lester or Buchholz-like gem, but it's the most Lackey-like we've seen yet. And given the circumstances, it may have been one of the more important pitching performances of the year thus far. Sure, Oki proceeded to do what he's been doing best all season, but that's not the story here. Lackey stepped up and put the team on his back tonight, a sight we've been waiting to see all year long.

Lets face it, the Darnells, Novas, and Halls of the world are not going to win games for us consistently, we'll need the team's true strength, its starting pitching, to keep their heads above water over the next 30 games or so.....and if Lackey can go on a run, you've gotta feel good about this team's chances to stay in the thick of things.

ITM note- Finally some good news on the injury front for the Sox as they don't expect Buchholz to miss a start, nor will VMart need surgery to fix his fractured thumb.

On a separate ITM note: did anyone else think catchers always played through these types of small injuries? I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm not calling VMart out at all, TMurph would be on short term disability for this injury, but I just always grew up thinking catchers always played with these issues.

Sunday, June 27

ITM: Going Around The Horn

There is nothing better than coming back from Paris, finishing my Master's program, and finally finding the time to focus on the Red Sox. With that said, let's go quickly around the horn and play catch up:

-I can't believe I didn't witness the Pedroia madness firsthand. Reading his hilarious quotes a day later in Europe on my blackberry just isn't the same.

-The injury bug is biting hard right now, we've got our fingers crossed that Buchholz, Pedey, and VMart bounce back quickly....otherwise, we're dead in the water in the AL East.

-I just typed that...then I read this on VMart....not good my friends.

-I would have liked to see BJ Upton and Longo let loose and go at it today, odds makers favor Longoria in a fight, but I think Upton is something completely nuts in the head. Crazed anger is a tough thing to counter.

-98 percent of Americans can't find Ghana on a map, yet, the US soccer team has been bounced by them twice in the World Cup.....I'm sad for both the team and 98 percent of America.

-Lester's performance today was amazing, and the Sox are going to need a lot more of it given the injuries. Cameron and Ellsbury is one thing, but the recent injuries would sink this ship.

-Eric Patterson isn't exactly the answer at second base, I'd rather run Billy Hall out there everyday.

-I know he's been hurt, and can't play back to back games, but I was still surprised to hear that Mike Cameron hit his first tater of the year for the Sox. So much for ITM's expected 25 jacks huh?

-Thank god for a few off days this week, between Boston's injuries and the Vicino's moving, we all need a collective second to breathe.

-What are the chances JD Drew hurts himself while eating an ice cream on his off day and lands on the 15 day DL? I'd say pretty good.

Damn it's good to be home.

Go Sox.

Friday, June 25

Are You Kidding?

Given the 8:40 ET start and the extra innings finish, I think there's a good chance that some of you are waking up this morning wondering what happened in the Sox game. I don't even want to ruin the surprise for you. All I'm gonna do is put Dustin Pedroia's name alongside two others: 1) Albert Pujols, from May 30; 2) Fred Lynn, as in all-time Sox record for single game total bases. From there, I think you can figure out what may have happened in the 10th.

Daisuke for All-Star game starter!

Thursday, June 24

What Could Have Been

It was quite a day, and the Sox certainly did their part to give the end some excitement.

First, there was the 90 minutes of high tension followed by that 1 minute of glorious release. The headfirst slide into the corner flag. The dog pile that made Kendry Morales, somewhere halfway around the world, flinch for just a minute. Then there was the dog fight that was the Germany-Ghana-Australia-Serbia group, where no one had it under wraps until the final whistle of both had been blown.

And during it all, there was the epic, inconceivable battle going on at Wimbledon. 59-59. That's how it stands as ITM goes to press this morning. The match has been going on for 10 1/2 hours. The 5th set alone is longer than any other tennis match in history.

And then, to top it off, you go home and it's a hot, sticky summer night. The one where you turn all the lights off, crank up the fan, let the mosquitoes swarm the tv, and remember what baseball is about. And you watch the Sox come back against the other-worldly Ubaldo Jiminez, who is putting up pre-WWII numbers on the mound. You watch them do it with guys who've been fighting for just about a decade to finally get a shot in the big leagues. You watch Lackey do what he apparently does - just enough to get them in a winning position, even if it means hitting a double and scoring the go-ahead run himself. You watch all that, and then you watch Jonathan Papelbon come in and you're thinking, 'This has really been an amazing day. This is why I love sports.'

And then, just as Papelbon finishes his warm-up, before the batter steps in, you go to bed. Because you're a sports fan and a Sox fan, and you know that no day could be quite so perfect.

Sunday, June 20

This Guy Can't Be For Real

As some of you know, I'm currently in Paris for both work and play. Well, leave it to me to stumble across this guy the day after game 7. We were in front of the Eiffel Tower when I saw him, naturally I ran over and made ITM Gal act as if I was taking a picture of her, and snapped this photo to document the insanity.

I still have a hard time believing that anyone in France can be gangsta, but this guy is trying to pull it off. Clearly he's got no clue what he's wearing, he probably doesn't even know what the LA on his hat stands for, but thinks he's money....little does he know much I wanted to create an international incident by spearing him right through the little Japanese kid behind him.

Friday, June 18

What a Day

Some mornings you just wake up and it's 70 degrees and sunny and there's a huge soccer game on at 10 a.m. Okay, there are almost never mornings like that, so let's praise this one while we've got it. (I'm assuming weather is equally nice in Boston. I've seen Vicino's photos from Paris and there's nothing like June over there.)

Yes, life is good. The Sox completed a sweep of the D-Backs to push within just 2 games back on the Rays and Yankees. Check this - the Sox have the third most wins in baseball. Did we believe that could ever be just one short month ago? Maybe we did, because we're Boston fans and hope springs eternal and things just always seem to bounce our way.

And where are those wins coming from? Starters, believe it or not. The Sox are now the only team in baseball with 3 starters having 8 wins or more. And they're doing it without Beckett. Lackey might finally be building up a head of steam, too, and said in last night's press conference that he's always felt the second half of the season is where he shines.

And now, as if life weren't good enough, the Dodgers are coming to town. Red Sox West. A good old fashioned rivalry. As if entertaining our guests from LA weren't enough, we've got Slovenians to consider, too.

Yes, some mornings you just wake up a Boston sports fan and life is good. No clouds in sight. Rainbows and lollipops. Rainbows and lollipops. Just keep repeating it and maybe it'll feel true.

A Reminder to Bostonians

Today sucks. No doubt about it. Consider yourself lucky however, at least you didn't go to bed at 1:30am in France, then woke up at 3:30am to watch game seven through the middle of the night. Awful.

But while you were freaking out over Big Baby's drool, the Red Sox have been slowly but surely becoming a baseball power again. They now sit a season high 12 games over 500, and just 2 games behind the Rays and Yankees.

-Pedroia's knee is back to full strength and he's hitting lasers to all areas of the field.

-Ortiz is back, again, batting 500 over his last 22 at bats.

-Lester and Buchholz continue to lead the team out of the pitching disaster of April.

-Lackey continues to be good enough, but at the same time, not good at all (how does he have 8 wins?)

-While Hermy and Ellsbury walk around in near body casts thanks to Adrian Beltre, but our outfield of no names have filled in damn well.

-Word on the street is that Erin Andrews might just be taking Daniel Nava up on his free ticket offer. Good work son.

-Manny's coming back to town, whether he knows it or not, it should provide for some entertaining moments.

So it's perfectly fine to be pissed about the Celtics, call in to work, do what you have to do...but rub some dirt it and pick yourself up, because our real love (baseball) has something good going right now.

Wednesday, June 16

A Boston Casting Call At Fenway Tonight: Die Hards Only

Believe it or not, ITM actually receives a lot of emails like the one below. Most of the time, we immediately hit delete and/or ignore it. However, with the majority of ITM's army of writers (all three of us) traveling for work, this was an easy post for me.

In addition, I have to believe that if I were in Boston this week, I'd go down to Fenway and test my luck...once I got on TV I would rock a blow out and talk like Pauly D from Jersey Shore....that same strategy has lined their pockets.....My last name ends in a vowel, and unlike the members of the Jersey Shore cast, I can actually speak Italian fairly well (especially when drunk). Anyways, check it out and run down to Game On if you have interest.

Either way, the Sox will once again be the true center of attention after Game 7 on Thursday....it's time to refocus.

Did you cry the day Johnny Damon went to the Yankees? Would you travel thousands of miles to see a Red Sox game? Would you go to Fenway Park no matter what the weather?

Boston Casting is seeking DIE HARD Red Sox Fans for a television commercial. We want to know what makes you such a devoted fan!

Come to our Open Casting Call:

Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Time: 5 pm – 8 pm
Location: Outside GAME ON 82 Lansdowne Street Boston, MA 02215

Only DIE HARD FANS will be considered.

If chosen, you must be available Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20 for the shoot.

PS: AKA - Pink hats need not apply.

Monday, June 14

Now This Is How You Get Ejected From A Game: Continued

Again, I hate to re post things from Barstool, but since this is a continuation of an amazingly popular video we talked about a few days ago....I've been left with no choice.

Most coaches get tossed, kick some dirt, then go back to smoke a stogie and soak in the hot tub. Not Wally Backman. He finds his way into the umpire's office after the game and gets in his final words. Way to hammer home your point Wally. Say what you want about this man's unprofessional nature, but he won the argument, I'd want this guy on my team for damn sure.

Word on the street in Alabama is that T Murph is desperately trying to get Backman to coach his slow pitch softball team. Clearly this guy has outgrown his minor league responsibilities....

Keep in mind there is some foul language in this video (which adds to its value in my book). Enjoy.

PS: How money is his player's face when he's coming out of the umpire's office? He knows what's about to happen, and he couldn't be happier. He's got the "yeah, go light him up coach" smile going. Priceless.

Off day for the Sox tonight? What's that about??

Sunday, June 13

ITM: Going Around The Horn

(I'll never pass up the random chance to mention Erin Andrews in an ITM post...this way I can toss up pics of her to keep your interest.....admit it, it works)

-Continuing in a recent theme, Nava is making me eat my words....from a grand slam on the first pitch he sees in the big leagues, to going 2 for 4 and driving in a run in the 9th today, things are going well for Daniel Nava. The shout out he got from Erin Andrews on twitter however? That's bigger than anything he could do on the field. Good work all around.

-Surely Evan Longoria will likely start at third base for the AL All Star game, but Adrian Beltre better be there as well. You can stack his numbers up against any third basemen in the AL and argue he's having a better season. Studly pick up. (PS: Beltre is currently over a million votes behind Longo and in 4th place....which is BS)

-Why can Tim Wakefield never seem to make it through the 4th inning? It seems that every 4th inning he's thinking about the Heidi Watney-Jade McCarthy, beer drinking, jersey shore watching, emotionless picture that I painted a few posts back

-What's the deal with D.O.? I don't mind Eric Freede, but the Rem-Dawg isn't the same without him

-So Big Baby and Nate Robinson are "Shrek and Donkey"...but isn't it more of a spot on nickname for Ortiz and Pedroia? Think about it, it's crazy accurate.

-The Red Sox are clearly banged up, but the Yanks and Rays are not exactly playing great baseball right now. Any ground they can make up at this point has to be considered gravy.

-Jerry Remy can now be rented out for birthday parties? Is there anything this guy doesn't do at this point? He needs to be careful not to jump shark like Peyton Manning. I love Remy, but don't need to see his mug everywhere I turn.

Thursday, June 10

Now This Is How You Get Ejected From A Game

I don't like to repost items I see on Barstoolsports or Deadspin, but this video is an instant classic. Talk about making the most of an ejection. Thumbs up all around.

Best line has to be "Let's go get a beer Doc"....right after yelling at the opposing team's catcher to get out of the way so he could chuck as much equiment on the field (Bobby Knight style) as possible.

I watched this video as the Sox handed a 4-0 lead to Big Jon Stud Lester in the 1st inning. Safe to say this one is in the bag....unless they put Boof Bonzer in the game in the 9th....

Between this video and the Sox...if the Celtics can follow through with a win tonight, all will be right in the world.

PS: Ten points to anyone who can name the teams in this video and where they're from....Wally Backman refers to it as "professional baseball", but it looks like they're playing on a crappy Cape Cod League field.

Wednesday, June 9

Getting To Know Jade McCarthy....Kind of

As a heads up, this post is quick and has nothing to do with the Red Sox on the field performance. Instead, we'll take a quick look at a recent off the field acquisition: Jade McCarthy.

We've dropped her name a few times on ITM this season, as she keeps giving us small glimpses of her talent on NESN, but I've yet to figure out her actual TV time schedule.

A few buddies and I were recently at a bar discussing her, um, talents, and they said ITM should do a profile on her. A little, get to know you type post.

Well, I did a little research, I won't bore you with the details, but in the end, here is what you need to know:

-She's a Newton native

-She spent time in the dirty South (that's what she said), as well as Philly before coming back to Boston at the beginning of this year.

-Her and Heidi Watney are best friends, hang out all the time by the pool, like to drink beer, and don't care about feelings or emotions.

...Ok, I made that one up, but I like to think it's a fact and that's what's I'm sticking with....

-She, like ITM, suffers from sleepless nights after a significant loss by any of the Boston teams, but baseball is her true love.

-Perhaps most importantly, she used to take part in competitive horseback riding, and still enjoys horseback riding to this today. If I could figure out another way to wrote horseback riding, I would. Interpret this one however you'd like to, but it's awesome (think Betty Draper).

Either way, welcome to the team....

Monday, June 7

Dice-K Is Showing ITM UP

Did tonight really happen? I blame grad school for keeping me in and out of the game, but I had to do a double take at the final line for Dice-K:

-8 shutout innings, 4 hits, only 2 walks, and 5 K's?

But wait, doesn't that make it 4 quality starts in his last 5 outings? Doesn't he know that he was overdue for a Dice-K blow up" (I know, I'm jinxing his next start). He extended a scoreless inning streak to 15 straight tonight by continuing his strategy of attacking hitters and not falling victim to the big inning.

I must say, I'm starting to eat my words on the Diceman. Maybe Tom Verducci was indeed right....and between the two of them, they're giving ITM a big "hey, see how much I poured?"

Either way, I'll stop asking questions and take it. His ERA is 4.59, but if you exclude a two of his complete shellings from early in his return, and it's closer to 3. Regardless, his current ERA is still lower than both Lackey's (4.72 ), Wakefield's (6.02) and Beckett's (7.29).

Given Beckett's continued injuries and Lackey's crap show, Dice-K may just end up being the X factor that I completely dismissed from Verducci. See how much he poured?

Sunday, June 6

ITM: Going Around the Horn

The Sox fumbled away a very winnable series ending game in Baltimore this afternoon, but overall, we should be pretty upbeat with their recent play. As the weekend comes to a close and reality gets ready to slap us in the face tomorrow, let's go around the horn:

-I feel like every start Lackey has had this year has been a complete struggle. While I was impressed with his grit today to keep his team in the game and go deep into the game, I'm very much concerned with average stuff (anyone else notice he was only touching 89 or 90 on the gun?)

-Every time I think Manny Delcarmen has finally reached that next level we're all waiting for...he struggles for an extended period of time. Perhaps I should reduce my expectations.

-Despite today's loss, the Sox have still won or split 12 out of their last 15 series

-Boof "you completely forgot about me, didn't you?" Bonzer touched 95mph on the radar gun during a bullpen outing. There, I just wasted 10 seconds of your life.

-I realize he's just a kid, and it's early, but I was surprised to hear that Casey Kelly got his first win of the season in Double A Portland the other day. He's now, 1-3 with a 4.57 ERA. Joe Murph and I were ready to facebook poke the guy after watching him in Ft Myers.

-Apparently Ortiz is fine after taking a fastball off the hand this afternoon.....although he was 0-12 in the series....anyone concerned?

-I remain somewhat surprised with the Sox offense, consider the following: 4th in batting average (.274), 2nd in taters (79), 1st in RBI (304), and 1st in hits (556). Studly?

-Asked what he could add to the lineup upon his return from another lower abdominal issue, center fielder Mike Cameron joked, “Sexiness and color.” I can respect that, now produce for Christ's sake.

Now I gotta get back to screaming at the Celtics, not sure how they can look so good and so bad the same time.

Saturday, June 5

Remember When People Wanted Wakefield in the Rotation Over This Guy?

Tied for the AL lead in wins (8-3),

Nearly leading the league with an ERA of 2.39,

5-0 in his last 5 starts, with a .99 ERA,

The Globe had the great stat this morning that since August of last year, he's 14-4 with a 3.38 ERA. Two months ago, people were arguing that Clay Buchholz should be held out of the rotation in favor of Tim Wakefield. How dumb do they look now? (same could be said for those of us (including myself) who wrote off Ortiz)

Right now (knock on wood), it's Clay Buchholz and David Price in a battle for who is starting the AL All-Star game. He's been that good.

Going into 2010 we all hoped Clay Buchholz would continue to progress and mature. Turns out, he's blown our expectations out of the water. Now, he's set the bar at a near irrational level, and us Bostonians are amazing at having irrational expectations.

Buchholz continued to add to his 2010 resume last night with his economical 101 pitch complete game shutout of the O's. If it wasn't for Lester's studliness, Buchholz would have to be Boston's go-to arm at this point (and he still may be).

In my mind, it's all about his confidence, and at this point, it's at an all-time high....leading to his outright dominance.

And for anyone who says we should trade him now should be hit over the head with a hammer and left for dead. He and Lester are the only arms keeping this rotation together.

Friday, June 4

Batter Crushes A Walk-off Tater, Then Starts a Brawl

File this under the "too good not to post" category. This is the Rangers' Class-A affiliate Bakersfield Blaze ball club where the batter (Engel Beltre) admired his 10th inning, walk-off tater for a good 15 seconds before moving out of the batters box. After that, he doesn't touch the plate before all hell breaks loose. I don't think I've ever seen a tater turn into an all out brawl before.

Also, it sounds like there are 20 or 30 drunk spectators in the stands who don't even know what's happening in front of them.....as if they're not paying attention at all. That's what you get when you charge three dollars for a ticket and 2 dollars for beers.

Some serious punches were landed, and I'm a big fan of the emphatic home plate stomp at the end. Gotta love the minor leagues.

Buchholz tonight....pumped. Go Sox.

Thursday, June 3

Bring Back Wendell Kim

The bullpen had been so good lately, just not today. I guess you could say they were due for down day. Even the king of Hyde Park, Manny D got lit up in this afternoon's get-away game (ITM note, he began the day as the AL leader with a .128 batting average by opponents).

The Sox were playing catch up the entire game as both teams beat the crap out of each other's pitching.

However, in my opinion, the bullpen wasn't the story of the game, nor was the 18 hits for the Sox. It's the third base coach who had two runners thrown out at the plate in back to back innings.

I should never be blogging about the Red Sox third base coach, staying out of the media's attention is his job. Instead, he gives the banged up V-Mart a green light to try to score on a Youk double with 0 outs in a 2-1 game. He then pulled a "send him in Wendell Kim" move in the next inning, again, with no outs. Unreal.

I'm not going to call his job easy, it's not, but today's decisions seemed obvious. I thought the Eck was going to shave his mullet in anger during the post game.

On a separate topic, and I kind of hate myself for saying this, but I can't stand games when Wakefield is on the hump. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy, and think he's had an amazing career with the Red Sox, but I just hate watching him pitch. Maybe it's because every other time I have tickets to a game, it's Wakefield who I see pitch, and he usually gets roughed up.

With Beckett on the shelf for at least another month, are we just stuck with a struggling Wakefield for a while?

Wednesday, June 2

Fire Jim Joyce!

I can't believe this just happened. I know this isn't the best quality video, but regardless, it shows the outright need to fire Jim Joyce and fire him now.

I'm not sure if I've seen a bigger blown call in my life. How did the Tigers not go completely ballistic after this? Safe by a full step and you get a perfect game taken away from you? It would have defined Galarraga's career, even if he did nothing else.

I would have found the nearest steal chair and gone Macho Man Randy Savage on him.

If Bud Selig doesn't fire Jim Joyce he should at least allow Armando Galarraga one free punch to the man's face.

You know it's been when the runner himself was upset about the call. I have to assume that even Joe West would have called the runner out, and that guy is full of fat and evil.

Joe Murph and I had a quick chat on this, he's going nuts about this....to the point where he just stopped IMing me, but here's what I got out of him:

"that's so terrible. It wasn't even close, how can you not just give the benefit of the doubt? what kind of a person are you if you're rooting so hard against the perfect game that you're ready to make that call? That's the *&*%ing umps again, wanting the game to be about them"

continued...."I'm really angry about that. They should just get rid of umps. Have it all be like the lasers in tennis that can tell where the ball was.....yep, all k zone and lasers"

That's the last I heard from him, I have to assume he's gone out on a search mission for a good laser to preserve the integrity of the game.

Side note: How the hell have there been so many perfect games of late (by the way, this one counts in my book). There have been what? 20 all time? With essentially 3 happening this year and 1 last year? I guess that's what happens when the hitters are tested for PED's.

Tuesday, June 1

Hermy and Cameron to Platoon in Left?

Joe Murph continues to pick through SI.com and emailed me an interesting topic from John Heyman, who wrote today that:

The unstated reason why Jacoby Ellsbury is reclaiming his center field job once his ribs heal is that he will be an everyday player while free-agent pickup Mike Cameron might be sharing time with Jeremy Hermida in left field.

With our boy Hermy in the middle of a 2 for 21 slump at the plate (now batting .208), this might be a tough sell, but I certainly don't dismiss Heyman here. It's a well-known fact that Theo loves the potential upside of the 26 year old Hermida. Hermy has seen more playing time than expected throughout the early part of the season, but that was expected to change if and when Jacoby returns from his prolonged rib injury.

Hermy's production numbers help the cause, especially as it seems to the viewing eye that the vast majority of his 25 RBI have come in close and late situations. With Cameron coming off an injury and fighting father time, this move may make sense....so long as Hermy can figure out how to play the wall in left (ITM note: if Manny can figure it out, anyone can).

To my knowledge, this is the first I've heard of possibly platooning Cameron and Hermy. The idea may have legs, it may not, either way, I think it's worth some consideration.

"Ahhhhh, Hermida?"

PS: If this were to happen, would it be the first time a team had a major press conference to announce the signing of a part time player? I always thought the media event of Mike Cameron signing with Boston was a bit much.
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