Monthly Archives: July 2013

This Week in Boston Baseballing, July 19-25

The Red Sox took two out of three from the scuffling Yankees and lost two of three against the Rays, thanks mainly to a couple of gems by Tampa lefties Matt Moore and David Price. Boston is now just half a game up on Tampa Bay. However, as Dan Duquette would no doubt point out, Thursday night’s rainout (to be made up on Monday) ensured the Red Sox at least one more full day in first place of the AL East.

Meanwhile, a bunch of other stuff happened this week:

Jenny Dell’s Almost Sharon-Stone-in-Basic-Instinct Moment
SS Basic InstJenny Dell returned Friday night after a prolonged vacation (she did not make the trip to the West Coast with the team prior to the All-Star break). During last weekend’s series opener against the Yankees, Dell took to the Fenway Park stands for her “Fenway Fan Stories” sitdown segment with a couple of Sox fans . One of NESN’s cameras was angled upward so that it nearly caught an upskirt shot as Dell began to uncross her legs a la Sharon Stone while she turned from one interviewee to the other. Dell caught herself just in time – and/or a NESN producer was likely screaming in her earpiece. Seemingly aware of the close call, she finished the segment with a sheepish expression and her free hand placed on the outside of her leg as though to guard it from involuntarily falling into a more revealing open position. Welcome back, Jenny!

Dustin! Got A New Deal
Sources confirmed Tuesday that the Red Sox extended Dustin Pedroia’s contract through the 2021 season. The move was applauded by just about every writer and baseball analyst. All told, Dustin’s contract is likely to be an afterthought when compared to other nine-figure deals in the organization’s history (Manny Ramirez 8/$160m; Adrian Gonzalez, 7/$154m; Carl Crawford 7/$142m). The signing is rooted with a perfect balance of business sense and emotional backdrop. Pedroia needs the Red Sox (check out his home/road splits) and the Red Sox need Pedroia (he’ll be The Face of the Franchise after David Ortiz retires).

Clay Buchholz Got Peace of Mind from Dr. James Andrews
Alas, it was a complete waste of time in the eyes of fans and media that moonlight as amateur physicians who could have told Buchholz he has been healthy enough to pitch for weeks.

We can only imagine what these Budweiser-slugging ladies have been saying about Clay’s prolonged recovery…

Former Red Sox Gabe Kapler implored front offices to better educate players about advanced stats not found in USA Today
“At some point, Ben (Cherington) opened my eyes wide when he sent me a study on the sacrifice bunt and the value of the out in major league baseball at the time. I considered myself to be a student of the game, but this was the first time I had a baseball man illuminate such a study. It was at that point that I realized that baseball players are not the most educated people in our game — far from it.”

One would presume Cherington’s has reached out to bunt-loving Shane Victorino on this matter?

Trade Activity Watch
MAG
Guys supposedly on the Red Sox radar like Matt Garza and Francisco Rodriguez were pawned to other teams. John Henry and Larry Lucchino told reporters they wouldn’t necessarily be making any major trades before July 31. Meanwhile, the Sox did have scouts in attendance yesterday as Peavy got a win over Justin Verlander. Several reports went out of the way to say the Red Sox have not discussed trading Will Middlebrooks to the Chicago White Sox for Jake Peavy.

It also seems possible that the Sox could sign Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a long-term deal that pays him a pro-rated salary for 2013 that still keeps the team under the luxury tax. He may or may not be of much use this year, but he would provide depth and also a much higher upside for the future than almost anyone else rumored to be available. If Philadelphia decides to be smart about moving Cliff Lee, the equation may change.

Upcoming
The Sox have three games against the Orioles this weekend in Camden Yards and then the team is back at Fenway for three against the Mariners.

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Screen Grabs from MLB Classics on YouTube: 1999 ALCS, Pedro v. Clemens I

Today we continue our look at Red Sox Classics on the MLB YouTube channel with a recap of Game 3 of the 1999 ALCS. Nine years after the 1990 ALCS marquee pitching matchup between Dave Stewart and Roger Clemens turned into a blowout, a similar result came from a hugely anticipated Clemens v. Pedro matchup. As it turned out, this was only Part I* of what would be several gigantic Red Sox-Yankees postseason games started by two of the most accomplished right-handed pitchers to play in the modern era.

*The 2003 ALCS featured two Pedro v. Clemens matchups — games that wound up being infamous for reasons other than the teams’ starters entirely. Game 3 at Fenway was Pedro’s showdown with an obviously psychotic Don Zimmer. And, of course, Game 7 at Yankee Stadium…otherwise known as Grady Little’s Last Game.

 

00:04: FOX starts off with the blimp shot from the Charles. It really is a playoffs must.

Fenway overhead

00:22: It had been three years since Roger skipped town. Some fans were still pretty bitter. It’s almost like Bostonians hold grudges for longer than most.

Roger Who

00:45: Simpler times for Keith Olbermann. His colleague Steve Lyons calls it the greatest pitching matchup Fenway has ever seen.

Olberman

1:51: A very spikey Roger explains in a pregame interview it’s not “just another game”…

Clemens spikey

5:53: Pedro’s statistics in 1999. Even 14 years later, many Sox fans can come close to reciting these particulars verbatim. His 2000 season was nearly as good, but ‘99 has to be the absolute pinnacle considering what he did in the playoffs – especially five days earlier in Cleveland (as we recently rehashed here).

Pedro 1999 stat box

6:34: And of course, announcers rarely fail to mention the potential impact shadows and setting sunlight may have on batters and fielders. Extra points to Fox and Tim McCarver for mentioning the Lou Pinella play from the 1978 one-game playoff in which he nearly lost a Jerry Remy single behind him due to the sun.

Fenway shadows

9:05: Fans with K signs on a 3-2 count to Chuck Knoblach, who doesn’t oblige and flies out to right field.

Fans K signs

10:31: Jeter singles to left with one out. There is audible disappointment that the chance for a no-hitter is done so early.

Jeter single in first

17:00: After a Bernie Williams strikeout, FOX forgoes a commercial break after the top of the 1st inning in order to air Fenway’s reception to Roger as he takes the mound.

Have donut Roger

19:03: “Sock it to Rocket”

Sock it to Rocket

20:08: With the crowd serenading him with a loud “Rooooger” chant, Clemens badly misses the outside of the plate to Jose Offerman on his first pitch. Offerman would hit a well-placed ball to the right-field corner for a stand-up triple.

Roger misses on first pitch

23:54: John Valentin would follow that up with a two-run homer into the screen on a letter-high fastball.

Valentin HR

26:16: Follow the path of Paul O’Neill’s glove here and you can see where the throw from Chuck Knoblach on a routine Nomar Garciaparra grounder would wind up. Just not even remotely close to the bag…A total of 15 of Knoblach’s league-leading 26 errors that season were throwing errors.

Knoblach's throw

34:39: FOX’s producers were absolutely obsessed with the “sunsplashed Fenway” angle of this game right from the start. They just could not get over it. Meanwhile, those fans who weren’t blinded by the mythological light of the burning sun saw Pedro Martinez strike out Tino Martinez by throwing four nasty change-ups in a row.

Sunsplashed Fenway

37:47: The Pedro vs. Rocket “K” comparison. Martinez would eventually strike out Ricky Ledee for his fourth straight punch-out, ending the 2nd.

Pedro Rocket K comparison

46:33: One out. Runners on the corners. John Valentin at the plate. Jimy Williams in his pants. Valentin would wind up driving in Trot Nixon from third on a fielder’s choice chopper to shortstop.

Jimy hands pants

54:52: Nomar doubles down the left-field line to make it 4-0 Boston.

Nomar double

59:18: Pedro showing off what Tim McCarver describes as “unusually long fingers.”

Pedro's fingers on curve

1:05:25: Jetes does his trademark lunge over the plate to make sure the umpire is paying attention to a perfect backdoor curve.

Jeter K

1:08:17: It appears to blow Tino Martinez’s mind that Joe Torre has decided Roger’s had enough after putting the lead man on in the bottom of the 3rd.

Tino Martinez

1:08:42: Exit Con Man.

Exit Roger

1:08:51: Enter Fat Toad Man.

Enter Fat Toad Man

1:11:27: Brian Daubach would promptly hook a Pesky Pole homer off Hideki Irabu. 6-0, Red Sox.

Daubach HR

1:17:06: Excluding his infamous failure to hit three home runs for a boy on his hospital deathbed in a 1995 Seinfeld episode, this is THE signature image of Paul O’Neill’s career – his head turned so he can argue over his shoulder with the umpire on a called third strike on his way back to the dugout. Seven strikeouts for Pedro. He finished the 4th striking out Chili Davis for his eighth K.

Oneill called K

1:31:32: Nomar gets some extra airtime to catch this liner.

Nomar airtime

Nomar airtime2

1:43:19: Darren Lewis slides safely into home to make it 8-0, Boston, as the Sox begin to make it hurt.

Darren Lewis slide

1:46:33: With Boston up 8-0 in the top of the 6th and Pedro cruising, Fox makes sure it fits in the obligatory “Bambino” curse nonsense, complete with vintage Babe Ruth footage. Joe Buck goes deep with it and brings up Harry Frazee, No No Nannette and Ed Barrow.

Bambino

1:47:58: No true Sox fan misses this nonsense…

Reverse curse

1:49:30 / 2:03:23: Finally, Fox snaps out of the masturbatory “curse” rehash to roll out some useful, relevant graphics after Pedro strikes out Jeter for his 10th K of the game. One can only imagine what Pedro’s 1999 stats would have looked like if he pitched for a National League team. Thankfully, we’ll never know.

 Pedro graphic

Pedro graphic 2

2:07:58: Up 13-0, Boston sends up the immortal Butch Huskey. Huskey wasn’t necessarily just a human victory cigar, though. He actually hit 22 homers with the Mets and Red Sox in 1999.

 Butch Huskey

Martinez would finish the game with a line of 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12 K (105 pitches). The Red Sox offense, meanwhile, set an ALCS record with 21 hits.

The 13-1 Game 3 win would be Boston’s only victory against New York in the 1999 ALCS.The Red Sox simply didn’t have enough of a staff around Pedro to get him another ALCS start on the road in New York. The much-hyped Pedro-Clemens match-up would be the last appearance of his historic ‘99 season.

Final score

Red Sox offering Pedro Ciriaco jersey exchange prior to tonight’s ballgame

ciriaco jersey

Former Red Sox utility man Pedro Ciriaco returns to Fenway Park tonight for the first time since being traded to the San Diego Padres three weeks ago for cash considerations.

In a deft move by club officials, Boston fans feeling scorned by the team’s move to deal Ciriaco, done mostly to clear roster space for better players, can exchange their No. 23, No. 77 and other variations of Pedro Ciriaco Boston jerseys and T-shirts outside Gate B.

Fans willing to part with their Ciriaco tops will be given a voucher redeemable for a free burrito “wrap” sandwich at designated Fenway concession stands.

Associated Press Photo

Associated Press Photo

A press release issued by the team earlier this afternoon described the jersey exchange as “simply the right thing to do.”

A favorite of former manager Bobby Valentine, Ciriaco was an unexpected bright spot – some may say, the only bright spot – in an otherwise disastrous 2012 season. After starting the year hot, Ciriaco even started nine games at designated hitter before finishing with a not-quite-as-gaudy .293 average and two home runs (.705 OPS).

One anonymous team representative confirmed, “Yeah, we don’t really want a bunch of Ciriaco jerseys floating around Fenway Park on a regular basis as we move forward and try to regain the goodwill of our fanbase. While Pedro was a nice fill-in for us, we feel that hanging onto any nostalgia for his tenure in Boston would be somewhat misguided.”

Since the trade, Ciriaco is batting .255 with one home run in 16 games playing primarily at shortstop for San Diego.