Tagged: Jonathan Papelbon

BACK ON TRACK

 

 

Opening Day 134.jpgMaybe it was a “Pep Talk” given by Francona in the privacy of the clubhouse, or Curt Young’s finally bonding with his pitching starters…or maybe the guys just finally CLICKED together, not sure which…..but glad it happened !! The bats are waking-up too, so the little voice in my brain is shouting: LOOK-OUT MLB (the Sox are armed and dangerous)

The boys are back on the east coast for the last leg of their 2nd roadtrip of the season. The Red Sox will take on a stronger-than usual Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday for a 3-games series with Clay Buchholz starting-off on Tuesday, then Josh Beckett on Wednesday, and Jon Lester on Thursday night before returning to Boston.
Both John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka have had great and extremely timely shutout wins this weekend against the Los Angeles Angels. The Red Sox are now in 3rd place in the vicious American League East. After a historically rough start, and the loss of the excessive dead weight of the thousands of bandwagon fans jumping ship for other sports…baseball in Beantown will heat-up and get competitive for the season.
 
With only 7 errors for the 21-game season so far, the Boston Red Sox top the Major Leagues, for the BEST RECORD with the fewest – tied with the Milwaukee Brewers. Whilest some bats still need to wake-up (and you know who you are), the potential for a monster season seems more realistic now, than it did at the beginning series of the month. (Cudos to the guys, and very glad to see it.)
 
 
Yankees 158.jpgJonathan Papelbon is now tied for 3rd in the American League with 5 saves so far this season. And super-hitter Jed Lowrie is 2nd in the AL East (behind Nick Swisher – NYY) against lefties. Jed has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 contests. Jackrabbit Jacoby Ellsbury now has 141 STOLEN BASES tied with Heinie Wagner for  4th  on Red Sox All-Time list. Yaz is 3rd on that list at 168.*
141 games are left in the 2011 regular season, so BUCKLE-UP, it’s going to be a Wild Ride !!
– fenway fruitgirl 2011  “BEHIND THE NET”
R.I.P. Terry White (miss you)

Mother’s Day

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Last Night’s game at Fenway was a fairly short fight between NY and Boston. The Sox had it goin’ on since the very beginning. We scored first…and often. Nice Mother’s Day gift for me, and the many mom-sicles out at the game on such a chilly May night.

Now the Evil Empire’s minions have slithered-out of our city….and life as an extremely fortunate sports town can resume again. Tonight’s matchup features John Lackey on the mound for the Sox vs. Toronto’s Brandon Morrow….leading-off a three game series that could elevate us into third place in the AL East, if played correctly.
Amidst Saturday night’s fiasco at Fenway, there were some noteable milestones and accomplishments worth mentioning.
Terry Francona is now soley in 3rd place in Red Sox record books, historically for managing his 1,004th game as a Red Sox manager, surpassing Bill Carrigan (1,003).
Boston Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez had his 1,000th career hit on Saturday in the 3rd inning…with a Homer !!
Mr. Jonathan Papelbon (Closer Extrordinaire) is tied for 1st place in the American League with 8 saves.
Tonight’s game is at Fenway Park….kicking-off a 3-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. Game # 33 will begin at 7:10pm and be aired on NESN.

PITCHING

 

 


STRIKE.jpgLet me begin by paying proper homage to our most veteran active player…..Mr. Tim Wakefield.

It is possible (but not likely because of injuries & an extremely long season) that our Knuckleballer has pitched his last official start of his career on Sunday April 25, 2010.

For now, he will pitch from the bull pen. And believe me, he’s needed there…and will mess-up our opponents sufficiently after dealing with our starting pitchers’ fastballs….dealing with a slowing, sinking knuckleball mid-game, then onto Bard & Pap’s rockets afterwards.

Wake has had  1,995 Career Strikeouts  (only 5 shy of the Over 2,000 Club who’s active members are: Jamie Moyer, Javier Vazquez & Andy Pettitte).  Tim’s  189 Career Victories place him 3rd among active pitchers in the MLB…175 of them were playing for Boston-3rd in Red Sox records. Not Bad Mr. Wakefield !!

Now to the Sox Bull Pen’s Musical Chairs Saga…

Veteran pitcher Scott Atchison has been optioned to Pawtucket to make room for Fabio Castro to come up and join the team in Toronto. He will wear # 55. Best Of Luck Signor Castro.

 

pap.jpgJonathan Papelbon is tied for 1st place in the AL for saves. He has 275 relief appearances, only 1 shy of Ellis Kinder at 276 (4th place in Red Sox history). Maybe tonight ??

Now onto other things….

Boston is currently tied for 3rd place in the AL East, and is also in 3rd place for Homeruns in the AL. (Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox)

Current best Averages On The Boston Red Sox:  Captain Jason Varitek .379, Darnell McDonald .375, and Kevin Youkilis .372      (very nice guys)

Dustin Pedroia’s 5 Homers are tied for 8th place in the AL, and Most Ever by a Red Sox 2B in the month of April.  (Boston runs on Dustin)

 

 

Kids Day Pedroia.jpgRealistically, Sox fielding is horrendous (Bill Hall Needs To Go Away) and the Bull Pen needs to do better……..and so does our collection of Aces.

Things will get better and more consistent, it’s only April, after all.

Peace, Love & Baseball.

– fenway fruitgirl  (behind the net) 2010

 

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Welcome To Boston Darnell


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After a miserable rainy cold weekend, the Boston Red Sox had a streak going, and it wasn’t pretty. A five-game losing streak that was sinking the ship fast. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was Boston’s worst regular season start since 1932.


Sox GM Theo Epstein was fuming yesterday, and (since poop flows downhill) he expressed displeasure with the team, including coaches & management & whoever else was in close proximity at the time….not holding back on the language or the tone. I can’t say that I blame him (even though he was the one who ultimately chose each and every player there) for being unhinged….I was disgusted to have paid a new high price for my tickets to Sunday’s game, only to see a half-hearted effort and a loss.

It appeared to have had some impact because right from the start the boys were hitting. Tim Wakefield had plenty of hits off his pitches, but the fielding was fair.
There just was no spark, something needed tweaking. It’s no secret that in the MLB, teams know they can steal off our Sox. And steal they did…..a record 9 steals off Mr. Victor Martinez on Tuesday night vs. the Texas Rangers, and that clearly shook him up. Martinez was replaced in the 8th inning by Jason Varitek, who was a calming effect on Hideki Okajima, and walked and Doubled in his short 2-inning stint. 

Jeremy Hermida (new to the Sox from the Marlins) continues to hit the log ball right when it’s really needed…..the kid’s got a wide swing & can send the ball right up into the Monster Seats ! (Great pick-up Theo) And in came the 32-year old mystery man brought-up from Pawtucket and put into the game in the 8th inning to pinch-hit in the outfield. The crowd behind him was loud, and a bit raucus & demanding to the guy on his very first at-bat in Fenway Park. The kid got a bit annoyed, but concentrated on the task at-hand & executed perfectly to make them all shut the hell up ! He sent that ball up into the second row of the Green Monster and took his victory lap around the bases like a champion, also driving-in Captain Varitek to boost the score and tie the game. That’s exciting baseball !!!

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Got through the top of the ninth inning without Texas scoring to break the tie, Pap was on. Then came on bottom of the ninth, in a newly-tied game and the kid is up again…..too much to ask for him to do it again, right? He takes a swing, and pops a hit hard into the Monster Wall driving-in the winning run in the 9th – like a hero. What a magical ending, with the team surrounding him with excitement and child-like glee. I love happy endings. Stay a while Mr. McDonald, we need you.

Show Of Respect:  Mr. Tim Wakefield surpassed legendary Cy Young’s Record Of Red Sox Innings Pitched last night at Fenway Park, in case you were wondering why Terry left him in that game so long without pulling him out. That’s why. Cy Young’s record was 2,728.1 innings pitched, and was in 2nd place until last night…when he was moved to third place behind Wakefield.* 

– fenway fruitgirl 2010


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Deep Breath, Another Season’s About To Begin

 

city-of-palms-entrance.jpgAwoke this morning, a bit earlier than the last, and with a springier step than the previous day. Small changes that mean nothing, when melded-together….mean everything. Spring is on our doorstep, we can almost touch it.

The boys have been down in Florida preparing for the grind of daily games in the most intense media spotlight ever seen in these parts. The 2009 season ended abruptly, and not the way it should have….so the team and their fans have a chip the size of Oregon on their shoulder after watching rival team, the zillion-dollar New York Yankees take home the World Series trophy last fall. Closer and obvious fall guy Jonathan Papelbon re-signed with the Red Sox in the offseason, and returns a humbler, more mature and focused competitor. We have a new starting shortstop Marco Scutaro, who I believe will only help the lineup, and should be a great fielder, with young Jed Lowrie still available for play time also. Ortiz showed-up to the Fort Myers Training Facility early, as did Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and 2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia. They showed-up early to show eachother that they mean business, they want to win (not place or show) in 2010.

 

baseball.jpgVictor Martinez will get the bulk of the time behind Home Plate as lead catcher in 2010, but will rely heavily on direction from team mate Jason Varitek and coach Gary Tuck. Victor is an exceptional bat for the middle of our lineup, but does not throw too many base-stealers out, and does not call a game anywhere near what our Captain is capable of. You can check your stats on that one. But with Varitek only catching 2 of every 5 or 6 games, his strength will be preserved more effectively for the long season ahead. I watched the man play game after game, with hardly a break or day off because Kottaras’ bat was so weak, until he could no longer be effective in his at-bats in August/September of 2009. The man who was hitting home runs like crazy in Spring Training, into April/May/June (including a Grand Slam in late April at Fenway against the Yankees) was not the same man at summer’s end.

The addition of what some consider to be a third Ace in John Lackey, was one of the biggest offseason stories. Lackey has power, and came to Boston to win a championship….and will hopefully be just the addition needed to get us over the large hump and into the final stretch of the post season. You can never have too much pitching. Just ask Theo, he’ll tell you. I am sure that Clay Buchholz was not pleased at the addition of Lackey to the pitching staff, because he felt that he put his time in, and deserved to be lit-up at last. Let’s not forget our very expensive import, Japan’s MVP of the WBC….Mr. Daisuke Matsuzaka….who also needs a spot in the rotation. And oddly enough (and surprising to me) the front office decided to offer a pitching spot to returning veteran Tim Wakefield.

There is lots of talk of young Casey Kelly, the addition of Boof Bonser to the pen and another Ramon Ramirez !! Can’t wait to watch the guys throw for myself. Reliable lefty Hideki Okajima also returned to the team with a contract this offseason. Wagner and Saito are gone, both to the Atlanta Braves. Just hope there’s enough pitching in that pen to last us through a whole season. Any way we can buy-back Justin Masterson ? Young Daniel Bard should be quite effective as a setup guy in the 8th, or as an alternate closer when Papelbon has a night off.

Young Jacoby Ellsbury will become our LF guy, as Mike Siverman predicted in his Boston Herald article way back in late November/early December of 2009. Jason Bay left us for more money from the NY Mets, so we are left with a need that Jack-Rabbit Jacoby will fill at LF, and his previous position of CF will be played by veteran newcomer Mike Cameron. I am not sure if I agree with that move, because Ellsbury was so quick and limber, and jumped and stretched and caught almost everything that was thrown near him in that huge outfield in 2009. How will an aging Cameron do ?  J.D. Drew will return in RF, and be a reliable bat in our lineup once again. I welcome young Jeremy Hermida as a utility outfielder, and effective bat.

2009 3B Mike Lowell is being replaced on an everyday basis by Adrian Beltre. Not a popular move on Theo’s part, but we have to remain competitive, and Mike Lowell’s injuries keep him from playing everyday, whether he wants to admit it or not. Don’t get me wrong, Mikey has a great feel for the game, he is a great 3rd baseman, and an exceptional hitter who knows how to send a ball over the Monster….but he is no longer an everyday player of the caliber that we need to compete for a World Championship title in 2010. The poor guy can barely walk without limping (and he’s not the only one). Sadly, this will be the last full playing year for several of our favorite heroes in the Red Sox uniform.

They will bond as a team this month, and return to us at Fenway Park on Sunday April 4th eager, and powerful, and hungry for another great year. We will cheer, and pray for warmth, and chant as we watch them from our Blackberries, our slingboxes, our expensive HDTV hookups, Direct TV dishes, even 3D televisions !! We will collectively gather on Easter night and each night after in our dens, recreation rooms, corner bars, fancy living rooms, computer screens, backyard radios, social clubs, and everywhere people gather to be amazed and entertained by these amazing and entertaining men….who happen to be in a Red Sox uniform.

 

Panorama.jpgI will make my pilgrimages down to Boston to watch them play, from my little perch behind the net as often as I am able…..because I am a Red Sox fan….and can think of no better way to spend my precious time than to watch them play ball right at my toes, as I scream at the umpire and opposing players….please stop-by and say hello to me whenever you can, you will be greeted with a big smile.

– Fenway Fruitgirl  “Behind The Net” 2010

  

No Happy Ending At Fenway 2009

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Sunday  October 11, 2009  12:07pm  Game #3  ALDS   Fenway Park  Boston, MA

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Anaheim Angels Batting Practice (Pregame) at Fenway Park

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Sox gave a huge round of applause for our Captain Jason Varitek (and justly so!)

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Angels Hero  

Torii Hunter    

At Bat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SP  Clay Buchholz  pitched  Game 3  (Francona’s Mistake # 1) Mistake # 2 was having a frozen bat and incompetant catcher Victor Martinez behind the plate at all 3 games in ALDS!.

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Sox

Mound

Meeting

 

Farrell

Very

Unhappy

 

….. And then, we hear the familiar Thump Thump of the Dropkick Murphy’s Signature tune for our resident Prima Donna Closer….Mr. Jonathan Papelbon !!  The crowd goes crazy in the 8th, seeing a sure-thing walk-off win in just a moment….     (not so fast Boston!)

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And the Anaheim Angels overtook the lead in the end, sweeping the Boston Red Sox and winning the ALDS in 2009 in just 3 games.  Sorry, no photos taken of the Angels celebrating on the Fenway field….was in shock (unfortunately recorded live by tv cameras on TBS!!)

The 2009 Postseason Ended Unexpectedly Early For The Boston Red Sox On 10/11/09.

Now They Can Golf !!   Take Some Extra BP Each And Every Day Of The Offseason Boys!

 

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– fenway fruitgirl 2009             (see you all later!)

 

COMFORT ZONE

 

 

 


BeckTek.jpgThere’s a whole lot to be said about a safe place or a person whom you rely on to guide you or stear you through the right path to victory and salvation. That was taken away from our Ace Josh Beckett a couple of hours before gametime on Tuesday when he was to save the team and bring home a much needed W. The end result of last night’s game in Toronto was 10-9 Red Sox….but it was not an easy win to say the least!

From the start, our un-phaseable Beckett was not quite himself. His timing not quite right, or missing his spots, or Martinez not knowing his intricasies. It seemed Josh was not pleased with the results, and after allowing a steady stream of hits, was removed from the game a bit soon. If that happened to only ONE pitcher last night, it could be chaulked-up to being just an bad day….but our closer Jonathan Papelbon was also visibly shakey on the mound last night. Pap loaded the bases in the 8th, allowing 2 runs, and too many hits and close-calls in the 9th. Why would our prized stallions both be so unlike themselves ? What was missing from last night’s game ? Who ?

Jason Varitek’s name was scratched from last night’s roster because of a neck issue. The man has played about 75% of the season’s games so far and needed a day to heal. Not having him as their backstop removed their “Comfort Zone”. They could not even look to Farrell in the dugout for support, because he was absent from the park.

The hits came, from both sides. It was an exciting game with constant hits, and some of our bats were hotter than usual for a summer evening. In the end, Youkilis caught a pop-up to end the game for Pap, and put us up by 1/2 a game in the Wild Card Race.

Mr. Beckett, Mr. Lester, and Mr. Papelbon have a COMFORT ZONE in Mr. Varitek, and that should NOT be messed with. Every game counts now.

*Yankees won to the A’s and are still 7 games up on us, and Buchholz is pitching tonight against Halladay !*   Cross your fingers…   

– fenway fruitgirl     

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