Tagged: Jon Lester

Busy, Busy, Busy

By Chris Cue
April 23, 2009

     Boy I’ve been busy. Sorry for not posting in a while and thank you to those of you who e-mailed wondering if I’d fallen off the face of the Earth. Obviously I haven’t, but I have to admit, there were a few times when that seemed like a pretty good option. 🙂

     On to Baseball…….How about them SOX huh? Reeling off seven victories in a row! Wow, that’s pretty good. In fact it’s the best run so far this season in all of MLB. That puts the Red Sox tied for 2nd place in the AL East with the NY Yankees.

Speaking of the Yankees…..

     “Hey Mom, look who’s coming to dinner.”

!Sox-yanks.jpg

     That’s right, Baseballs best rivalry gets underway once again starting this Friday night. I don’t want to say that there is a lot of interest generated when these 2 teams get together, but when compared to others, well……

!Bus Stop.jpgI know it’s probably not fair to compare 2 teams that have had an intense rivalry for decades to others, but who cares about being fair? It’s the truth. While we no longer have the Fisk – Munson matchup and seeing how it’s going to be impossible for even a little A-Rod Varitek dust up, what are we left with?

!Youk-Joba.jpgHa Ha! That’s right. A little Youkilis – Chamberlain love-fest! We’ll see how much chin music Joba thinks he can get away with before our first baseman decides it’s time to color up one of his eyes. This mini drama kicks things off Friday night as Joba Chamberlain is the scheduled starter for the Yankees. As hot as Youk is at the plate right now, I can see Mr “I didn’t mean to throw at his head” look to try and cool him off a bit. We’ll see how that works out.

The game times, networks and scheduled starters for this weekend are:
Friday: 7:10pm est – NESN / Lester – Chamberlain
Saturday: 4:10pm est – FOX / Beckett – Burnett
Sunday: 8:05pm est – ESPN / Masterson – Pettitte

     As usual, this looks like it’s going to be one heck of a series. The pitching match ups look good and both teams are playing pretty well right now. Even some of the players appear to be getting up for this one.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
“Obviously, they have a great team and we feel we do too. Anytime you
play those guys, they’re going to be long games and exciting games. I
think everyone is looking forward to it.”

****

“It’s always fun to play those guys,” said Red Sox closer Jonathan
Papelbon. “When you put two competitive teams on the field, it’s always
going to make for an interesting game. We definitely have two teams
that are going to compete, and two teams that have a lot of talent on
them. It should be a fun series like always.”

(quotes taken from Ian Browne’s story on MLB.com)

So, even though we’ll have to endure and off day today, it appears that this weekend will more then make up for it. Regardless of how this series ends up, we’re sure to once again be treated to baseball at it’s best. I for one am looking forward to it!

Let’s try for 10 in a row…..

GO SOX!!

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Home Cooking

By Chris Cue
April 17, 2009

     Man, there is nothing like home cooking, especially when the cook at home can……well, cook. If last year is any indication, then the Red Sox know how to cook. It’s the away food that does not sit so well with them. Last year the Sox had an 56-25 record at home. That’s a .691 winning percent. That’s not bad. Not bad at all. If the Sox can maintain that percentage and do a little better on the road this season, life will be good.

     So far this season (remember how small of a sample this is), the record for the Sox at home is 1-2 and on the road it’s 2-4. Both average out to a .333 win percent. That’s not so good. However, considering how young this season really is, the Red Sox have the opportunity to turn their fortunes around this weekend when they host the Baltimore Orioles for a 4 game series in Fenway. The scheduled pitchers for the Red Sox are: Brad Penny vs Jeremy Guthrie today,  Josh Beckett vs Adam Eaton Saturday, Jon Lester faces Koli Uehara on Sunday and 2 yet to be announced pitchers for Monday’s game (Masterson is expected to get that start for the Sox).

     So, can the Red Sox take at least 3 out the 4 games scheduled? Sure they can. If the offense has truley woken up, then I think it’s safe to assume that Saturday & Sunday are clearly matchups in the Sox favor. Today and Monday may be the toss up games with Guthrie getting a slight edge over Brad Penny today and Masterson (if he starts) being the unknown on Monday. In the hopes of settling “Panic Nation”, the Sox could do themselves a world of good by winning their first series of the season. Taking 3 out of the 4 puts this team back on the winning path and would result in them going from a .333 team to a .461 team. Still not good, but it’s heading in the right direction. Of course the use of some brooms on Monday would be better still, however at the risk of upsetting the baseball “karma” or jinxing something, we shouldn’t even think it. It’s a safe bet to assume the Sox will begin to turn things around pretty soon, so why not start this weekend right? We seem to have favorable matchups and if the balls fall the right way, there’s no reason why it can’t happen.

Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the teams luck begins to fair a little better then it has and that the potential that resides within this team begins to show it’s face as well. This isn’t the start of the season that anyone would have hoped for, but it’s still early enough to believe that the Red Sox fortunes will soon begin to show some promise. Game time today is @ 7:10pm est. What do you say we start this series off on the right foot? The fans are ready. Now let’s see if the team is.
Enjoy the game and GO SOX!!
 

Fickle Fans

By Chris Cue
April 13, 2009

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     Judging by comments made on articles and chat sites I’ve
read, it appears there is a vocal minority out there that don’t check their
calendars very often. I’m not talking about just Red Sox fans either. Six games
into the season, the panic members of several teams fan bases have begun their
“Sky is Falling” predictions.

 

     We’ve had these “It’s Early” conversations before haven’t
we? We are 6 games into the season. Let me repeat that. WE ARE 6 GAMES INTO THE
SEASON. Having major concerns at this point is jumping the gun a bit don’t ya
think? It shouldn’t surprise anyone that some players have started the season
Hot or Cold. It happens every year. I’m sure fans all over would like to see
their teams “plans” come together and be firing on all cylinders from
day one, but that rarely (if ever) happens.

     
So, yes I’m sure Red Sox fans would feel really great right now if Papi was
hitting long ball after long ball, if Ellsbury had an OBP near .500, If Dice,
Lester and Wake had shut out the teams they faced, if Jed Lowrie was 12 for 24
at the plate, if Mike Lowell suddenly found some blazing speed and if the Sox
were 6-0…..but that kind of stuff doesn’t happen right away with some players
or teams. In some cases, it never will all year, but you have to find out what
you have don’t you? You have to stay the course and allow some of these guys to
play up to their norm or potential.

     
Every team has a game plan going into the season, however that exact plan is
rarely still being executed once July rolls around. Teams and players are
streaky. A few get hot and stay that way and some only show flashes of what
they should be. But 6 games into the season…on April 13th….. is not when
Management or coaches should step back and analyze results to either make
changes or not. Can you imagine what the Red Sox lineup would be tomorrow if
they did that? With his current OBP Bay would be our lead off hitter, Youkilis
would be the DH, JD Drew would be batting 8th or 9th and Nick Green would be the everyday SS.

     
I’m not saying that team management should wait 3 months before deciding what
is going to work and what’s not, but after 6 games? It might be different if we
were talking about elite players that are injured and out for the season, but
that’s not the case here. I mean c’mon, it really is a little early to be
overly concerned about much isn’t it? What do you say some of you sit back and
see how things begin to progress to the norm before you start calling for key
players to be benched or replaced? This isn’t your first Major League season is
it? Or is it?

 

Relax.

Ouch!

By Chris Cue
April 9, 2009

     What’s to say? A friend of mine described the Rays as “Pesky”. I have another word that comes to mind, but it probably isn’t something I should write here. All I know is we have some serious payback to deliver to that team and I was hoping we would get a good start along those lines with this seasons opening series. Not to be. While Beckett looked awesome, Lester struggled from the 2nd inning on and Matsuzaka continued to be….well, Matsuzaka.

     I’m seriously getting one of those feelings. I’ve never had any bad feelings towards the Rays since they became part of the AL East, but they are getting under my skin. They haven’t reached the “Pinstriped” level yet, but they have a good foothold on that kind of future.

     Congrats to them and their fans. They have been at the bottom so long that they are due some good fortune. I just wish it wasn’t at our expense. I’d much rather see them keep that “other” team down. Hey, it’s a long season and that may well come, but I have another idea when it comes to the future of that team.

Little Rays.jpgEnjoy it while you can Rays fans.

This season is far from over!

One Down, 161 To Go

By Chris Cue
April 8, 2009

     Nice win for the Red Sox for the home opener yesterday afternoon. Josh Beckett looked absolutely filthy. 7 innings pitched, 1 run, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts. That’s nasty! It couldn’t have happened against a better team either. The Red Sox looking dominant over the Rays kind of puts into perspective what our problem was last season in the playoffs. Pitching. If yesterday’s Josh Beckett had shown up in the ALCS, things may have turned out much differently. No matter, he didn’t so we have to hope that this is just a glimpse of the Beckett we can expect to see this season.

     How about that MVP…..”The Little Engine”……Dustin Pedroia hits a homerun in his first at bat. You gotta love this guy. You just know his teamates got an ear full after the game. Add to that, Jason Varitek…..yes……VARITEK hits a homerun from the LEFT side of the plate. Do ya think he’s out to prove his critic’s wrong this year? I sure as heck hope we see more of that Jason. In fact, everyone in the lineup got a hit yesterday except for Jacoby Ellsbury and his day will come. It was a great start to the 09 season for the Sox!

      Today we have Jon Lester on the mound facing Scott Kazmir.  Kazmir has been tough on the Sox in past seasons. He is 4-4 while pitching at Fenway. His troubles during the second half of last year were because he was having trouble locating that slider of his. If he has that going today, the Sox could be in for a long day. Lester on the other hand may be a much bigger problem for the Rays. He’s  16-2 lifetime at Fenway with a  3.30era. Coming off a breakthough season, much is expected of Lester this season. Hopefully, he’ll have the same kind of start Beckett did yesterday. As early in the season as it is, it wouldn’t stink to go up by 2 games on the Rays to begin the year.

     Game time tonight is 7:10pm and is being broadcast on NESN. Enjoy the game and let’s go SOX!!

What If?

By Chris Cue
March 26, 2009

     Let’s pretend for a second. Let’s take some of what we know as “given” and apply that to a situation most would love to have. That said, the following could be a problem. Granted, it’s a good problem, but a problem never the less.

     We know the Red Sox goal for John Smoltz is to be ready to pitch by June 1st. We also know that Brad Penny is slated to be the Red Sox #5 starter. At the beginning of the Red Sox season, this is what’s expected to be the starting rotation:
Josh Beckett
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Jon Lester
Tim Wakefield
Brad Penny (although Masterson may have to make a start or two until the Sox feel Penny is ready)

     We also know that Clay Buchholz has been very impressive this Spring and Masterson is making a serious bid to be a starting pitcher as well. So, add to the above list Buchholz, Smoltz & Masterson as potential starting pitchers when June 1st rolls around. That’s 8 options the Red Sox have at starting pitching, 6 of which can not be sent down to the minor leagues to make room for the players with major league contracts. All 5 and John Smoltz are signed to Major League contracts.

     Here’s the scenario: It’s now June 1st. Beckett, Matsuzaka, Lester, Wakefield & Penny are all holding their own. They are all healthy and are productive. Where do you put John Smoltz? Do you DFA Penny or Wakefield? Do you opt for a 6 man rotation? Do you make creative use of the DL to give the other guys a break, or does one of the 6 go to the bullpen? This is a great problem to have no doubt, but would be a very hard decision to make. The issue given this scenario is that the Red Sox hold no options with 6 of their potential starting pitchers. They can’t demote someone to AAA Pawtucket. Somebody is going to have to go to the bullpen, get released or they will have to go to a 6 man rotation. Let me stop right here and say that I think a creative use of the DL is probably the first option the club has, but it only prolongs the problem. Using the DL would allow time for somebody to develop the injuries we have to expect, but timing on this is the issue. You can’t automatically tell someone to get hurt before June 1st and neither do you want to. At the same time, you expect injuries, but expecting them to happen at or by a certain time is incredibly optimistic to ensure your game plan works out.

     This scenario is the “Best case” situation. It may never be a problem or ever become an issue, but I wonder what the Red Sox front office has planned…..just in case they get lucky and this plays out to reality. If and that’s a big IF, everyone remains healthy and productive, this is a situation that would be very interesting to watch.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

By Chris Cue
March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to Everyone….
(even if you’re not familiar with “
The Little Dark Rose
” and it’s literary meaning)

(photo courtesy of gifs.net)
Cartoon_painter.gif     You’ll have to forgive me for not writing recently. I’ve been busy painting the interior of my home. I’m sorry to say (and so is my wife) that I’m not done yet, but how could I not have something to offer today? As the transplanted residants from the old county say, “Today’s such a grand Irish holiday in the states.” Please notice that I’m wearing “the green” in the photo to the left. No guarantees on how long it’ll stay green and not become the color I’m painting with, but I’ll do my best to maintain the tradition.
     So much has occured that I’ve failed to comment on that I almost feel like I’ll be redundant bringing any of it up now. No matter. Perhaps I can wrap it all up with just a few sentences.
    
     Let’s see…..how should I say this? OK, I think I’ve got it. Try this on for size. I think it should cover all the news, good and bad that we’ve had lately……the WBC, the injured players, the contract signings and so on and so forth. Here you go…

     “Opening Day could be tomorrow and it wouldn’t be soon enough!!”

     How does that cover it? Oh sure, it’s always fun to celebrate the good news (Lester’s signing, Smoltz almost ready) and to point fingers at the bad guys (Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez), but really, hasn’t enough of that been done? Isn’t it time for us to be reading headlines like: “Beckett Strikes Again” and “Another Walk Off Win by Big Papi!?

I’m ready for it, how about you?

     Well, unfortunately we have a while to go before the games mean anything. At least it’s not mid-November anymore. There is baseball being played again, so I suppose we should be thankful for that. While we’re on the subject of being thankful, I’d like to say “Thanks” to NESN for carrying the Spring Training games that they do. There was a time not so long ago that we would never have been able to see the coverage of the team that’s provided today unless we flew to Florida ourselves. However, being the greedy sort that I am, I’d like to request that NESN do more of it. How about broadcasting ALL of the games ladies and gentleman? I know, I know, not everyone is as fanatical about baseball as we are, but is “Charlie Moore Outdoors” or the umpteenth re-run of “Sports Desk” really a better programing option? No offense to the Mad Fisherman, but given a choice, I think I’d rather watch a live game. Thankfully, today we can. NESN is broadcasting today’s game. It’ll be on at 1:00pm and if the tradition holds true, we’ll all get to see the Red Sox play in green uniforms

(photo: Boston.com)

Green Schilling.jpg

     Big Schill (pictured right) displays the colors our guys may be wearing today. My apologies to my friend Julia of Julia’s Rants, but I’m not a fan. I’m Irish…..virtually 100% Irish and I don’t think these are becoming. Something about seeing the Red Sox play in green makes me think I’m watching the US Army play baseball. Hey, at least it’s only once a year. I can live with that….and afterall it is St. Patrick’s Day.

     Do me a favor today will ya? Join me in a virtual pint and let’s toast the coming of a new season in “Grand Irish Fashion”
                (photo: Guiness.com)
guinness[1](1).jpg

Cheers to you! I’ll leave you with a (not so) Old Irish tale.

st_patricks_day_graphics_04a.gif

Some Guinness was spilled on the barroom floor
when the pub was shut for the night.
Out of his hole crept a wee Red Sox mouse
and stood in the pale moonlight.
He lapped up the frothy brew from the floor,
then back on his haunches he sat.
And all night long you could hear him roar,
‘Bring on that damn Yankees cat!”

 

I’m ready!  Are You?

“Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”
“Erin go braugh!”
and
Go Baseball!!