Sunday, May 25, 2008

We do not accept that Oakland's pitching is actually that good in this house

05/23/08: Red Sox 3, Athletics 8
05/24/08: Red Sox 0, Athletics 3
05/25/08: Red Sox 3, Athletics 6

First, we'd like to thank Big Papi for ensuring that Jon Lester's was the only no-hitter this week. Call us selfish, call us sentimental, call us slightly tipsy after watching multiple hours of "hey, look, the Red Sox can't get a hit" theater, but we kind of wanted Jonny to retain sole Best Pitcher in the World bragging rights for the week.

Plus, you know, we actually wanted the Red Sox to win. Unfortunately, we didn't get that particular wish, and Jennifer's starting to think her latest no-hitter commemorative desktop wallpaper might be to blame.*

But, seriously, this insane home/road split thing is driving us batty. How can this be the same team? It's like, once they leave the friendly confines of Fenway Park, each and every player is replaced with Folgers crystals. Can you tell the difference? We sure can, and we'd like our real players back. Even after adding some cream and sugar, this instant stuff just isn't getting it done. Yes, the A's trio of starters** pitched good games. Yes, Wakefield had a pretty bad start, though at least he went deep enough to save the bullpen. No, Beckett wasn't at his best, but he also only gave up two runs and most other nights the story would be the way he minimized damage and managed to get the A's to strand most of their baserunners, not to mention the sexy, sexy Ks. Lester struggled, but, in the end, the offense didn't get it done (and the bullpen, Not Your Father's Javy Lopez, didn't hold it down).

It just defies explanation how this team can score eleven runs one day and struggle to put one across the board the next. Guys who were hitting everything in sight during the homestand are striking out and grounding into double plays left and right now that they're on the road ('Tek, we're kind of looking at you,*** even though we'll always love you best--what did you do during your two games off that has you looking like the guy we all worried about at the start of the season? We miss the guy who got two hits while catching a no-hitter, and we'd really like to see him back). At least Manny looked good today? He obviously put his day off to good use, and we're hopeful that whatever he discovered watching tape of himself won't come back anytime soon.

Next up: Seattle. Now, we know you guys have had your troubles at Safeco, but--no matter how much Caroline wishes this wasn't true--the Mariners aren't very good this season. In fact, they're almost epically bad. Of course, because the Red Sox always seem to luck out**** when it comes to pitching matchups, King Felix will be toeing the rubber for them the first game up, but we have faith that the Sox will find the missing bag of awesome en route to Washington. Either that, or Manny Being will remind them about the rules of hitting (after all, he just rediscovered them himself, right?), or Papi will pull out the old "bad-ass motherfuckers" speech. Whatever works. Just, please guys, win?

*It's either that or her Yankees-loving mother, who e-mailed to remark upon the fact that the Red Sox were doing well and the Yankees were not, thus setting off a whole chain of games in which the exact opposite has been true. Mothers: can't live with 'em, wouldn't be here without 'em, can't talk to 'em about baseball.

**We, like Tito, are thoroughly sick of seeing Harden on the mound, and Duchscherer, of course, pitched that gem of a one-hitter. Blanton didn't seem all that amazing, but he was certainly good enough to win (which, in the end, is all that counts), and we're willing to admit we were distracted by Clayton Kershaw's debut for the Dodgers on

***We're also, of course, looking at Kevin "0-11" Youkilis, Jacoby "2-13" Ellsbury, Dust--eh, never mind, this is just getting depressing.

****For definitions of "luck" that involve, you know, facing every team's ace (who just happens to pitching "the game of his life" that particular night).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We do not say "no, no" in this house

(Reuters photo)

05/19/08: Royals 0, Red Sox 7

It was apparent early in tonight's game that Lester was pitching especially well. There's a sense about these things, a gradual build that led us from murmuring our appreciation for a ground ball out, to pumping our fists and calling Jacoby "baby," to holding our breath.

In the end, there, one of two things could have happened. We could've died of cardiac arrest and left nothing behind but debt and a memorial 5K, or Lester could've gotten the last out. It came down to the wire. Happily, we are not writing this from beyond the grave!

So, we don't think we can call this guy 'Little Jonny Lester' any longer. As Jason Varitek* pointed out in his postgame, Lester was a youngster and now he has become a man. A big man. Like Nolan Ryan. A man with a pretty line of zeroes floating behind him.

We salute you, Jon. Drink deep from the keg of glory, for today you are the best pitcher in the world.**

*We would be remiss in our duties as your local Tek fanatics if we didn't point out that this gives our beloved blogsake the record for most no-hitters caught by a single catcher. But he'd want us to remember that this is Jon Lester's moment. Still, congratulations, Captain Gameplan. This must be why Brian Cashman wanted to shoot you into space.

**Dennis Eckersley said.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

We do not approve of the rising price of stamps in this house

05/13/08: Red Sox 4, Orioles 5

Congratulations to the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays.

Now that we've got that out of the way, and since it worked so well last time, a plea:

Dear Red Sox,

First of all, let us reiterate that we love you. We love you when you're executing pitches and we love you when you're decidedly not. We love you when you're scoring runs and making it look effortless, and we love you when you're grounding into double plays and stranding everyone on base. So there's that. We may threaten you and throw things and scream and curse up a storm, but that doesn't negate the love. Remember that.

So when we say, "Execute fucking pitches, Pap/Wake/Claybee/Becky," we say it with love. And the pain that comes from watching the other team knock one over the wall or hit another RBI single or laugh with Sean Casey at first base after drawing yet another walk. But there is love somewhere lurking beneath the profanities.

When we say, "Stop with the rally killing, Tek/Mikey/Manny," we say it with love. And the pain that comes from another GIDP or strikeout or failure to advance the runner. The pain that comes from losing. But also love.

When we say, "Oh, god, not another error, Lugo," we say it with pain. Though we haven't said that recently*, so it's probably just unnecessarily cruel for us to mention it here. Oh well. No one ever accused us of being nice.

When we say, "We miss B. Moss," we actually mean exactly what we're saying. And we're saying it with love. We're also saying that we want Theo to continue where we left off with the GBMU project.

And when we say, "Oh, fuck, what's wrong now?", we're freaking out because JD rolled over on his wrist or Coco disappeared (we've been watching without sound for a variety of complicated superstitious reasons that are obviously not working) and is that Youk in right?, but also because we love. And fear.** And love.

However, just because we'll still love you doesn't mean you should give up or anything crazy like that. Do not give in to our new no-longer-Devil Rays overlords, and rage, rage, rage against the stranding of runners in scoring position. In conclusion, please win tomorrow. Pretty please with a cherry on top, even. We promise to buy something shiny the next time we're at Fenway.***

The Ladies of Respect the Tek

*Look, we actually do want you to feel better, Lugey. We just don't particularly want to go through that whole thing where we don't expect routine plays to be made every single time a ball is hit in your direction. So, you know, it's a conundrum.

**There was a moment later in the game where it looked like Youk and Casey were going to collide. They didn't, of course, but we had a brief nightmarish flash of someone saying, "Now playing in right field, Kevin Cash." The loss seemed almost anti-climatic after that.

***Okay, fine, Jennifer's planning on getting a jersey anyway.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

We do not respect the dome in this house

Quick notes:

1. Joe Posnanski is a hero of ours*, and his comments about intentional walks beautifully articulate something we've always felt, namely, that in most situations that shit is lame. As kids, we always thought we just didn't understand the finer details of baseball strategy that made it logical to put an extra runner on base rather than face him. Now we understand enough of the finer details to sound like giant geeks in front of reasonable adults--and it turns out that sometimes, traditional baseball strategy is just kinda dumb.

2. We're looking to expand our blogroll, both inside of and outside of Red Sox Nation. So if anyone out there has a favorite baseball blog to pimp to us, whether it's your own or someone else's, please let us know in the comments. What's your essential daily reading?**

3. Please win tonight, Red Sox. We'll be your best friends. Okay?

*We started doing the asterisk thing independently before we knew of his writing; the fact that the Poz has a similar stylistic quirk to us is entirely coincidental. Of course, he does it much more gracefully. Buzz Bissinger would say it's because he's a professional.

**If you don't mind, ask your friends, neighbors, and random strangers on the Internet this question, and welcome them to this post to comment with their favorite sports bloggery. We're really looking to expand our horizons. Or just procrastinate more efficiently.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

We do not understand why Jed Lowrie isn't the everyday shortstop in this house

05/07/08: Red Sox 9, Tigers 10

Oh, that kooky Julio Lugo. What a character.

Anyway, we're going to try to focus on the bright side a little here. The painful, crazy, "what the hell just happened?" loss allowed Jennifer to vent some of the work-related stress she's been carrying around all month, so, you know, Julio Lugo: still more expensive than therapy, but at least some one else is footing the bill.

And Dustin Pedroia is a pinch-hit RBI midget. Mikey Lowell is still Mikey Lowell. Youk is angry (and the new "Stud Who Hits Bombs," at least in our little corner of the universe). Tek isn't exactly hitting in Detroit, but that strike 'em out-throw 'em out in the eighth was a serious thing of beauty. We're sure there are other things buried in there (Julian Tavarez is still alive: who knew?), too, but the loss hangover has us in its grip.

Never mind that, for a while there, it didn't look like the Red Sox had a chance in hell of winning this one. We'd even resigned ourselves to the loss, repeating, "the worst we can do is split" whenever another Tiger got on base. The very fact that the Red Sox made a game of it, let alone took a brief lead, was an unexpected bright spot in a game that had all the beauty of a slugfest. An ugly, bloody, fight to the pain. So we're going to cling to that. We're going to remember the, "oh my god he- he did!" when Youk hit his second homer of the game; we're going to focus on out impromptu rendition of "guess who's back, back again? Mikey's back, tell a friend" when our muy caliente third baseman also decided to go yard.

Ninth inning? What ninth inning?

Honestly, as bright as the picture's been lately, what with the sweeping Tampa Bay* and the Papi and the Tim "Wonder" Wakefield, this bleak spot just stands out a little too much. The passionate lobbying of Boston fans got Mike Lowell a new contract**--do you think it can get Julio Lugo designated for assignment? Seriously, if we took up a collection at Fenway over the course of one three-game series, we bet we could raise enough to seriously offset his salary. Or maybe we can just borrow Manny's copy of The Secret, and use the power of positive thinking to make Lugey disappear.

We know what we'll focus on for our happy thought***: the flawlessly executed strike-'em-out-throw-'em-out double play that Okajima and Captain Fenway provided.

Please hold while we replay it mentally...

...yeah, that's the stuff that dreams are made of.

*We were at Fenway on May 2 for the cold rain and the Brandon Moss home run--if you were there, you probably heard us howling about how much we loved him. We wish him the best in his recovery from appendicitis. We bet he'll come back hitting like a tiger, and he's welcome to show us his scar anytime.

**Okay, not really, but if we as a society can pretend that our votes for President and American Idol count, we should be able to go with this one, too! Clap your hands if you believe!

***The other happy thought is that as we type this, Beckett is minutes away from starting. Here's hoping he ate his Wheaties and drank his mescaline!