Thursday, July 29

One of the Best Ideas Ever.....

Saw this over at Sox and Dawgs: Heidi Watney Bobble head Night for an upcoming Lowell Spinners game. Needless to say, I was immediately sold.

The question becomes, why didn't I think of this brilliant idea? Talk about a slam dunk money maker!

Not only will the first 1,000 fans get a Heidi Watney Bobble head, she'll also be throwing out the first pitch.

It's all going down this Sunday. It's too bad I'll be celebrating my face off at a bachelor party all weekend, or else I'd be the first fan in line.....Although, I'd imagine this won't be a hard sell to get T Murph to head up there for "coverage".

This is one of the few times in my life where I've deemed it worth it to go to Lowell. Good luck Heidi, don't try to dazzle them with a curve ball, stick with the heater on the inside corner.

Wednesday, July 28

The Video Above Made Me Throw Up In My Mouth

We've all read the articles, viewership is down, radio listeners have fallen off a cliff.....and then I see crap videos like this.

All this does is further confirm my hatred for pink hats (especially the first girl) and fake fans. I'm dragging ass today, and have been since last week because of this West Coast trip, while these women call themselves fans and walk around all motivated and energetic. should have interviewed me (post coffee this morning of course). Unfortunately, it's people like those in this video who buy tickets, go to the game in order to socialize and leave after the 7th inning to go home and watch the Bachelorette.

Bunch of Sallies.

Hump day anger? Possibly.

Lackey to LAA: "Eat It"

ITM hasn't been nice to John Lackey for the majority of the season. To put it simply, he's underperformed.

But the big ugly Texan with a ridiculous wife (above) has turned the corner, he's earning his money and letting his old team know about.

Last night, and for his last three or four starts, he turned into the 1-A starter we thought we were getting back when Joe Murph posted about how much his tail was wagging after the Lackey signing a few months ago.

His stock is definitely rising in my book.

And his post game press conference last night caused it to rise even more.....essentially dishing out a "see how much I poured" to those fake LAA fans on the West Coast:

In response to all the fans booing him at his first return to his old stomping grounds (where for 8 years he was their ace and gave them a ring), he noted "The scoreboard talks the loudest’’...

...AKA, eat it LA, or Anaheim, or whatever other fake baseball town you're trying to represent.

Lackey has found a real team, with a real fan base who cares about the game. He's moved on, and right now, it looks like he's hitting his stride at a time when Boston (and its fans) need it the most.

Monday, July 26

How Hasn't a Red Sox Pitcher Tossed a No-No Yet?

2010 is absolutely the year of the pitcher. It seems like every night there is a no hitter or perfect game watch scrolling on ESPN's bottom line, everyone is doing it.

My question is, one, does the guy in this photo even realize he's holding a sign? He looks amazingly drugged up and incredibly old, good for him for seeing a no-no, but I wonder if he even knows he's at a baseball game. "Victory"? Really? You're not Johnny Drama dude. I'm sure his 15 year old grandson got him to pay for two tickets and convinced him to buy beers after every half inning.

Anyways, my real question is how this Red Sox rotation hasn't thrown a no hitter yet? Lester, Buchholz, Beckett, Lackey and the Dice-man?....How hasn't it happened this year?

For all intents and purposes we've had 6 no hitters this year. 6. It's unreal, it's lost most of the appeal at this point. Garza threw a no hitter tonight, but Dez Bryant tweeted that he wears women's clothes, so that's bigger news at this point.

The Vicino over/under on number of no hitters this season is 8, and I think somehow we'll get there. All I'm saying is that someone from this Red Sox rotation better be among them (surely, it's not Buchholz tonight....)

Sunday, July 25

I Will Not Accept The Idea of Boston Becoming Sellers

Fighting the route three traffic back to Boston this evening there was a lot of sports talk radio discussion about Boston's struggles, injuries, and the upcoming trade deadline....

But could the Sox really become sellers?

Sure, they lost a heart breaker today and have fallen 8 games behind the Yankees in the AL East (5 games behind the Wild Card leading Rays).

Despite another solid Dice-K start (you can pick apart the 5 walks as an issue, but all things considered, I'll absolutely take it) the Sox are playing eerily similar to their April doldrums. Of course the offense continues to struggle, Bard can't do it all, and Oki wouldn't be able get T Murph out at this point.

The bullpen is the clear need, I don't care if Chris Iannetta is Italian and from Rhode Island.

However, with all the injuries and Boston's inability to win close games, the question is creeping into some fan's it possible that the Sox will become trade deadline sellers?

I simply won't accept that as an option. I don't care how many injuries this team has had, management has spent over 170 million dollars on this roster, more than any other team in Red Sox history, you can't be sellers with those kinds of resources.

Moreover, as a city, I don't think Boston could come to terms with it. I'd definitely flip a car or two.

It would be an amazingly difficult sell to Red Sox Nation, and would likely bring the consecutive sell out streak to an end.

From an ITM perspective, it's not going to happen, it can' won't. That's what we're telling ourselves at least.

Saturday, July 24

Beckett's Back?

Full disclosure, my brother and I were watching the game last night at a bar, and after the first inning we were ready to leave....

"Beckett sucks, why did I start him on my fantasy team this week?"...

"He's not worth the money on his new contract"...

"His numbers since 08' are more comparable to Dice-K than an ace"...

"I bet he's not even from Texas, he's probably Canadian"

If you sat next to us, that went on for a bit...until Beckett pulled it together and went 5.2 more than solid innings to both shut us up and inject some hope into a nearly defeated Red Sox Nation.

While I'm not ready to give Beckett the ace title back...ever, I am ready to say I have more confidence in this rotation than I've hide all season. Sure it's mainly because of health, but with Dice-K and Lackey in a presumed grove, I haven't felt this good about the rotation since opening day.

I can't wait for the Sox to come home from the West Coast trip, I need some sleep.

ITM note, blogged this while standing in line at Comcast waiting to return my equipment. The move required a switch to Direct TV. The jury is still out on them, but thus far the sports packages and scoreboard features are money.

Big Jon Stud...Go.

Wednesday, July 21

Lowrie Is In Today's Lineup, Everything Is Right Again

In a move that is sure to get more coverage than Clay Buchholz returning to the bump, Jed Lowrie is in the lineup this afternoon. Batting cleanup and at the Catcher position.

Kidding about cleanup and catcher, he's batting second and giving Scutaro a well-deserved off day.

Lowrie has been on the DL since 1997 with an assortment of injuries, most recently suffering from a case of mono....although there are some in management who believe he may just been really bored during the off season.

Either way, Lowrie is back and everything is right again. Nothing can stop us now.


In all seriousness, today's start by Buchholz is huge, I'm excited, regardless of his expected low pitch count.

Here is Boston's fierce lineup...quite comparable to the 27' Yankees:

McDonald LF,

Lowrie SS,

Ortiz DH,

Youkilis 1B,

Beltre 3B,

Drew RF,

Cameron CF,

Hall B,

Brown C,

Go Sox.

Tuesday, July 20

The Sox Will Live or Die With Their Pitching

A 2-1 win. Great starting pitching, solid relief, good defense, and timely hitting. If the Red Sox are going to come out of this West Coast trip alive in the playoff race we're going to need these exact kind of games.

Because let's be honest, we're not going to win any other way.

The Sox are averaging a shade over 3 runs a game over their last 12 or so... I don't care how good Theo's package of run prevention is/was/is thought to be, that's not going to win you many games in the big leagues.

So it's come down to this, praying for the starting pitching (all of them) to pick this team up off the ground and carry them with as many quality and superb starts as possible until the bats return in a few weeks. We've always known that Boston's pitching was their strong suit this year, now they're going to have to prove it true.

Dice-K did his part last night to kick things off. He was surprisingly efficient, allowing only one run on two hits and two walks through 6 and 2/3rds. The game was speedy and lasted just 2 hours and 40 minutes. Word on the street is that's the first time a Dice-K game has ended in less than 7 hours, he likely had a sushi reservation with Ichiro that he couldn't miss.

The are those who believe Dice-K has found his 2007 form. Individuals in the Red Sox organization believe he's found the right pregame routine and warm up over the last three starts that should allow for continued success.

So I've provided you with a little bit of optimism, now, in true Red Sox Nation form, I'll take it away.

I don't believe it. I've been lead on by Dice-K too many times over the past three years to believe in him. Every start I expect him to let up 5 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks while throwing 42 pitches in the first inning. I don't care if he runs the table the rest of the year, he's burnt that bridge to the ground. It's like getting a puppy all excited for a treat and then not giving it to him....tail is wagging, so happy, then extreme letdown and disgust (yes I just compared myself and my love for this team to a what?).

Sunday, July 18

ITM - Going Around The Horn

(I'm not quite hitting it yet, but I'm damn close)

I was talking to my brother earlier today and we both agreed that the plethora of injuries, non-identifiable names on the current Red Sox team, and recent All Star break has caused many of us in the Nation to lose focus.....we need to snap out of it, and so do the Sox.

While the Sox may be getting Beckett, Buchholz and Hermy back this week, the upcoming West coast trip could very well shape the rest of the season for Boston. That said, seeing how it's a Sunday night and I'm still on European time, let's quickly go around the horn:

-VMart played catch today, which is a good sign, but his timetable is not yet defined....I'm not sure how much longer I can stand watching the combination of Brown (who?), one of the seven Molina brothers, and Rube Baker behind the plate for the Sox.

-Boston has won only 3 of their last 11 games, meanwhile the Yanks continue to chug along, extending their lead over the Sox to 6.5 games ( and 3 over the Rays). If the Sox pull a 3-7 road trip, they'll likely be in big trouble upon returning home right before the trade deadline (ITM note: while the Sox are away, the Yanks and Rays have pretty cake schedules, not a good combination)

-With the return of Beckett and Buchholz this week, it means Just for Men Wakefield will probably be headed back to the pen. Let's hope he has one last solid outing in him on Tuesday.

-Mike Cameron is starting to put up the numbers we had hoped for. We'll need a lot more if it while on the West Coast.

-Good for Michael Bowden. After throwing up all over himself against Toronto last year, he's seemingly worked hard to fix his delivery issues and now looks stronger than ever. His slider was absolutely nasty in his perfect 9th inning today. Good sign for the Sox since that's by far their weakest area (once healthy).

-Mike Lowell is getting an injection and starting a rehab start with Pawtucket soon. To be honest, I had completely forgotten he existed or a while. That said, he's had to deal with so much this season, you gotta be pulling for the man.

-Beltre may be over-achieving at the plate this year, but his 15 errors is about 14 more than I expected at this point given all the ball washing we heard about his glove (ITM included).

-Fenway celebrated its 600th straight sellout today. There have been some questionable sell outs along the way, but regardless, it's a testament to a great (and affluent) fan base.

10 days, 10 games on the West Coast, once it's over we'll know a whole lot more about the Sox, their overall health, and their chances of playing baseball in October when they return.

Thursday, July 15

Concern for the Sox in Brooklyn, and in Italy....

The All Star Break has ended (thank god), David Ortiz is back to commanding 2004-like media attention, and I'm still over in the old country (Italy).

The mish-mash combination of Joe and Tim Murph (not related....or are they??) have made somewhat of an attempt to keep ITM from being sued and relatively up to date.

But now, the games count. For real. We enter the second half with an amazing amount of question marks.....more than I can ever remember (save for when all of us couldn't figure out how Scott Cooper made the all star team back in the day).

I don't care how die-hard of a Sox fan you are, but if you say that you know everyone on the current roster YOU ARE LYING. I think we may have picked up Brian Rose off waivers (ITM note, isn't B Rose coaching womens slow pitch softball somewhere nowadays? That's a shame).

Word on the street is Joe Murph is giving tonight's game his all in his Brooklyn home. Sitting in special chairs, cooking special dinners, using vodoo dolls and stuff... While I'm here in Italy he's scared stiff about the second half.

To confirm, here's a GChat convo from earlier today:

Joseph: oh man are we banged up, who the hell is playing anywhere tonight?
me: no f'n idea
Joseph: beltre's out, pedey's out
me: completely lost
Joseph: i think youk's still out, martinez is out
me: i just assume it's Pawtucket out there at this point
Joseph: that's 4 out of 5 infielders jacoby's out is jd out?
me: Gotta just assume he's out with a bad mike lowell dead?
Joseph: probably, mike lowell's still prob dl....though uncertain honestly, we'll be lucky to have 3 position players regulars, and two of our 3 best pitchers are out....

This convo goes on for a while....we're both nervous about the upcoming series against Texas and the West Coast, but Joe Murph (Joseph huh??) is convinced we'll be at least 8 games back upon returning.

Here's hoping he's way off like samsonite.

Alex Gonzalez - Slugger Extraordinaire

I saw this headline this morning when I opened up ESPN: Braves add punch with Gonzalez. That's Alex Gonzalez. The Braves traded for him yesterday in a move that Buster Olney said made them the clear favorite to win the NL East. Alex Gonzalez. Punch. Favorite. Where did we go wrong?

Tuesday, July 13

George Steinbrenner, RIP

George Steinbrenner died this morning, his family has said. As Sox fans, we should remember how much we really do owe the man. If he hadn't poured his passion and his money into the Yankees all these decades, how could we have rooted against them so hard, thought about them so much, and celebrated so long when we finally beat them? How much less fun would we have had? Many, thanks, George. It's been a great run. RIP.

Monday, July 12

Post Home Run Derby Thoughts

Well it appears I owe David Ortiz an apology, and not just because he won the Home Run Derby last night. I, like everyone who watches the Sox, wrote off David Ortiz after a second straight horrendous April. I'm not going to apologize though, because we here at ITM do our best to straddle that fine line that is being a fan and an objective observer of the game and team we love so much. More often then not that line is blurred based on Pap's WHIP that night.

Unfortunately for me, the day I left for the gulf it seemed like Ortiz began to break out of his 6 week slump to start the season. While I don't put too much stock in winning the home run derby, watching him last night brought back memories of the 2003-2006 seasons when he was probably the most feared hitter in the game. Our only hope is last night doesn't mess up his swing for the second half, but too much those looked like vintage Ortiz swings, not too worried about that.

When I left Ortiz couldn't hit a Tim Murphy fastball and I get it up near 67 when I'm warmed up. I really questioned whether or not Tito should be putting Jeremy Hermida in the line up night in and night out, at least he was getting good swings, even if they were misses. As someone who thinks they understand the game of baseball a little bit I sided with nearly everyone else who thought Ortiz was done. As a fan I'm insanely happy that I was 1000% wrong.

Here is where I would typically make a "Ortiz found his eye drops" joke, but I'm not going to (even thought I just did). I'm just going to be happy that Ortiz is the driving force behind the Red Sox number 1 ranked offense this season, an offense we all doubted coming into Spring Training.

Moving on from the reincarnation of Big Papi, the Red Sox sit in 3rd place in the incredibly tough AL East on pace for 94 wins and an early tee time at Pebble Beach watching October Baseball, remember there's only one October. Injuries have decimated the 2010 Sox beyond a point that is considered the normal wear and tear for a regular season. I'm about a week too late in openly wondering if it's possible for the Pawtucket Red Sox to compete with the Yankees and Rays, but I'll reiterate that the Sox need to get healthy in a hurry if they want to be playing October baseball passed my birthday.

Pedroia would probably play tomorrow if the team would let him, Buchholz is scheduled to come off the DL this week, and Beckett is due to make another rehab start in Pawtucket before returning to the bump at Fenway, that's a good start. I'm really at least another 2 nights of drinking with Vicino to figure out where I stand on Ellsbury, seems like we are watching and listening to the beginning of the end of his days in Boston. Probably time for him to nut up and start running through some walls and getting dirty, even if it is in left field.

The Sox come out of the all star break with 4 games vs the Texas Rangers before a west coast trip. We'll see how well they can weather July, but I think come August and September we're going to see some important and riveting baseball.

Final thought, how studly is Hanley Ramirez? I pray to the god that I don't pray to that we somehow get him back one day, maybe to play center once Jacoby skips out of town and Mike Cameron has been put to sleep.

Do you want to know the terrifying truth, or do you wanna see me hit some dingers?


And this one actually had some historical significance for Sox fans. Our longtime hero v. our prodigal son. Big Papi v. The Big One Who Got Away. Ortiz v. Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, I mean Hanley Ramirez. Pretty interesting contest.

After knocking out 8 in the first round, Ortiz went for a cool baker's dozen to get to the final round against Hanley. And then there it was. Actual excitement during the Major League Baseball All-Star weekend. Not NBA All-Star level excitement, with roulette wheels and car-jackings, but still, not bad, you know, for baseball.

Ortiz put out another 11 in the final round, to Hanley's 5. So there you have it. Who'd have believed it? David Ortiz - 18 HRs at the break, 57 RBIs, All-Star, and now, 2010 Home Run Derby Champ. Never count that man out.

Also, good news, I'm pretty sure that this means we get an option to claim Hanley off waivers.

Thursday, July 8

Theo on the Cape, Scouting Anthony Ranaudo

This is an absolute "get me over fastball" type post as I get ready for another business trip across the pond. I've been tied up with moving and traveling of late, hence the lack of posts. However, I was told yesterday that our friend T Murph will be coming off the bench over the next few days to pinch hit while I'm gone...we'll see how that goes. Current odds are 2 to 1 that I come home to a lawsuit.

Anyways, I got this picture from my cousin who was celebrating the 4th of July at a Bourne Braves Cape Cod League baseball game. Our good friend Theo was on the Cape celebrating America's birthday by scouting one of his top draft picks - RHP Anthony Ranaudo.

Now that's a dedicated owner. If I was Theo I would have been on a yacht somewhere lighting off fireworks, but I guess that's why he's the GM and I'm not.

Aside from having an awesome name, Ranaudo has a bright career ahead of him. He stands at 6-7 and weighs 230 pounds. The right hander throws in the mid 90's and has dominated thus far in the Cape League. Remember that name folks, you're likely to hear more of it over the next few years.

Kid is a stud.

For more info on Ranaudo and his night in Bourne with Theo watching, check out the full count blog over at WEEI.

Tuesday, July 6

Who Is Felix Doubront?

With Clay Buchholz joining what seems like the rest of the team on the DL, the Sox send 22 year old pitching prospect Felix Doubront to the mound against the Rays tonight. Given how banged up the Sox are, and tonight's opponent, we're asking for a lot from the kid tonight. With that in mind, we here at ITM thought we'd provide a little more info on the kid who will be under the lights tonight:

  • Age: 22
  • Born: October 23, 1987
  • Carabobo, Venezuela
  • Height: 6-2
  • Weight: 205
  • Throws: Left
  • Drafted: Not drafted - International free agent (July 2004)

Thus far while splitting time between Double and Triple A, Doubrount has posted a record of 7-2, with an ERA of 2.45 over 69.2 innings, striking out 62 batters. Hitters are batting .241 against him. (ITM note: his numbers in Pawtucket are actually better than in Portland, perhaps a sign that he's continuing to grow and mature this year).


Scouting Report: Doubront utilizes a 91-94 mph fastball, a very good 79-81 mph changeup with screwball action, and a developing mid-70s curveball. Flawless and fluid downward pitching motion with excellent control. Deceptive delivery, hitters don't pick up the ball until late, causing his fastball to look a little faster. Used to struggle against left-handed batters, but seemed to fix this issue in 2009. He has a reserved and modest demeanor, but is aggressive and poised on the mound. Sometimes has the tendency to leave the ball up in the zone too much, giving up too many home runs. Athletic and agile in the field. Doubront struggled in 2007 due to numerous injuries, including recovery from a hernia operation.

We're not looking for a gem out of little King Felix tonight, but given the opposing pitcher (Niemann....who remains one of the best under the radar pitchers in the game) and Boston's no-name lineup, he'll need to provide a quality start to keep the chances of winning alive.

Go Felix, Go Sox.

Sunday, July 4

Happy Birthday America, and Go Sox

It's America's birthday, we've got great weather, and somehow, someway, this Red Sox team sits just a half game out of first place and holds the second best record in all of baseball.

The Sox go for the sweep of the O's today at Fenway after Lester continued to make Baltimore cry last night. The man is completely in the zone and better be voted onto the AL All-Star team this afternoon.

America truly is beautiful right now. Let's just hope the Sox can keep this game of smoke and mirrors up until August. Once this team finally gets healthy, expectations will be at an all time high.

Go America, Go Sox.

Enjoy your 4th everyone.

Friday, July 2

Did Tonight's Game Even Happen?

I feel like tonight's game was a blur...and it nearly was, lasting only 2 hours and 7 minutes. I'm not sure if I can remember a faster game in my life. Staying with the idea of brevity, here are some quick thoughts:

-JD is back! Drew got exactly what he wanted tonight, two solo shots and a very fast game. I'm sure that at this point he's sitting in the hot tub showing no emotion, thinking about when his next injury will hit.

-Nava continues to one-up himself, maybe Erin Andrews was in the house tonight. It's Nava's world and the rest of us are just living in it.

-The Sox are now only a half game behind the Yanks for first place in the AL East. Honestly, how is this possible?

-Old man Wakefield does it again. Between all the injuries and the bullpen's recent struggles, Wake recognized the need to go deep into the game and be effective, I know, it's the O's, but Wake seems to always eat innings when they need it the most.

-If the Sox are going to keep themselves in the mix over the month of July, this is exactly the type of baseball they need to play. Great pitching, timely hitting and good defense. They can't get into slug fests.

-The serious injury concern is slightly mitigated by a relatively weak July schedule.

-The Sox are without both of their major league catchers, and apparently both of their catchers up in Lowell got hurt last amazing run of bad luck.

-If Adrian Beltre is not an All-Star, I'm going to consider threatening anyone who'll listen. Or, more likely, I'll just write a pissed off post about it.

Thursday, July 1

Pedey Can't Stand Being Hurt

From today's Globe....

“I’m just keeping my [expletive] ready,’’ Pedroia said. “That’s all I’ve got for you. I’ve just got to keep my arm in shape.’’

“I’m pretty bored,’’ Pedroia said. “There’s not really a lot to do for me right now. I really don’t do much. I just sit down, lift weights sitting down. That’s about it.’’

Can you imagine having to deal with this guy on the bench right now? JD Drew (and his "stiff neck") must be getting drilled with insults as Pedey is in the dugout all game.

I'm sure he's screaming at Tito on how to manage the game as well. My god I love Pedey, but from a clubhouse perspective he might be one of the funniest/most annoying players who could possibly get hurt.

He took grounders from his knees pretty much as soon as he was put on the DL....while JD Drew quietly eats a sandwich in the dugout and Ellsbury works on his tan in Arizona. Take notice gents, this is how a man (and a good teammate) operates.
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