Tagged: Around The Horn

Lousy Lester and other Tales of the Boston Red Sox……..

 Yet again, Jon Lester was lousy, yet again he was inconsistant, and yes yet again he imploded in an inning, this time to the tune of five runs.  These have all become very commonplace in a Jon Lester start.  Lester will say he felt good, that he was locating, however his 3-5 record and e.r.a. that is north of six are evidence that is indeed not the case.  I have an idea, lets send Lester back to Pawtucket and replace him with Clay Bucholtz, problem solved.

  Just as the Sox moved Big Papi down in the order, the same move needs to be made with Jon Lester.  Lester’s starts this year have all looked pretty much the same, inconsistant.  It was once said by Yogi Berra that half of baseball was 90 percent mental, truer words have never been spoken in the case of Lester.  He has proved time and again that he lacks the courage or the heart to be in a bad situation on the pitchers mound.  He does not yet have the poise that is needed to guide himself and his team thru a tough inning.  Good and great pitchers alike could have gottten out of that inning last night, with the lead at 2-1, not the cowardly Lester though.  Though he is well liked by manager Terry Francona, several teamates that have played along side of Lester have privately questioned his toughness on many occasions.

  The only good news the Sox could take from last nights game is the results from the other American League East teams.  Both the Yankees and Rays and lost last night, so the Sox can keep first place warm just another day longer.

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Def-Con 4…????

 Right now in this picture…Boy Blunder is thinking he may have under prepared the Red Sox offense and starting rotation.  Is there anyone worse at free agent spending than Theo.  Knowing that Papi was a HUGE question mark, and Mike Lowell could be a slow starter, Theo goes out and signs that BIG BAT Rocco Baldelli.  Could have had Adam Dunn, Bobby Abreau and Pat Burrell all on the cheap, not too mention countless others, and Theo ended up with Baldelli and an injured Mark Can’t Play.  Looks like another long summer of second guessing….followed by an even longer winter of our discontent.

 

 This putz, who has never been liked in his time in Boston and who has consistantly under performed his contract needs to step up.  Drew has been the luckiest man in Boston sports history to have flown under the radar this long and suck as bad as he has.  There was alot of uproar when Drew and his bloated 70 million dollar contract came to town.  At the time he was brought to Boston, it was thought Drew would help an ailing middle of the line-up, and hit 5th.  Well in two plus seasons, Drew has rarely hit 5th, and when he has he has stunk on wheat.  Sure Papi is a problem. but this DONKEY HOLE needs to produce as well.  Imagine how well Jason Bay would hit if he had some freaking protection.  Hey Drew, ever heard the expression “better late than never”.  Learn it….Live it….Love it…..Do it…..

 

 Remember the days when Big Papi used to come to the plate and actually drive in runs and occasionally win games for the Sox.  Those days seem like a distant memory, as Papi has morphed into a mediocre singles hitter, I use the term very loose.  Papi seems to have disappeared over night, it is as if his secret powers have gone away….or maybe he forgot where he hid his needles and pills….hey big guy you might wanna give Manny a call…he may know.  The Sox are in deep with Ortiz and the 30 million they owe him.  He is clear his best days are long behind him, and worse yet they can’t use him anywhere but at the DH spot.  It’s going to a long strange trip for Red Sox Nation and the guy wearing #34 who looks alot like David Ortiz, except he hits like ****.

 

 Though you may be a hero in life, and an inspirational figure, on the mound your a great big under achiever.  Since being dubbed the “real ace”, all Lester has done is disappoint.  Lester gagged and wheezed the Sox out of the ALCS last year, and killed thier chances at repeating as World Series Champions.  This year he is trying to make sure they don’t have any chance to make the playoffs.  Lester is 2-4 this season, and he is lucky to be that.  His e.r.a is as big as CC Sabathia’s waistline, and his starts have become painful to watch as he crumbles like a house of cards at the first sign of adversity.  It’s time to grow up and live up to the expectation of being a front line starter.  Who does Jon Lester think he is anyway, Phil Hughes ?

 

  Is there any worse tandem at shortstop in all of baseball than these two ********* ?  It is amazing to me that the Red Sox and thier 122 million dollar payroll ended up with these two.  Lugo platoned with the Dodgers before coming to Boston, and Nick Green played in the Yankees farm system last season, and was never called up.  The same Yankee team that did not make the playoffs last year.  Is it too much to ask for a shortstop that can defend and hit at the same time.  These two do neither very effectively, and more often than not are looking at balls go past them in the rear view mirrors.  Somebody get me Nomar on the phone……..

 We knew going into this season not to expect much from Tek’s bat, and so far he has lived up to that expectation.  He has hit roughly .220 or worse all season, and that number looks to only get worse as the days get warmer.  Now it looks like along with his dead bat, Tek also has a dead arm, and stolen base records look to fall everytime he faces a team with any speed.  It would have been one thing to bring Tek back IF the Sox had picked up a bat and could afford to limp along without his offense…but they didn’t….and now along with Jd Drew and Julio Lugo/Nick Green, Tek and company round out a bottom of the line up that would give the Nationals a run for thier money……

 

 What can I say about the Brad Penny….local vendors are thrilled to have him in Boston….as pizza and doughnuts sales have tripled since his arrival.  Penny on the mound is another story alltogether.  Penny has been ill equipped to handle the rigors of the American League since his arrival to Boston.  His pitching has resembled a bad NFL defense, as his e.r.a has been around a touchdown or so everytime he takes the mound.  The good news for Penny is he looks to shed some of that excess poundage before beach season as he gets a workout during his starts chasing all the baserunners he allows. 

 

BREAKING NEWS……..RED SOX STINK…….!!!!!!!!!!

 Can you call it a rivlary between the Sox and Rays…hardly so, at least not at this point.  The Rays finished off the Sox last season in September, and repeated that again in October.  The Rays collectively went 8-5 versus the Sox last year in September and October.  To start this season, the Rays have jumped out to a 5-2 series lead.  The Rays want it more, they play harder, and are way more prepared to the play the Sox than vice versa.  Clearly they get up for games versus the Sox.  However, Ray fans, if there is such a thing, that is all the good news you get.  the Rays have lost every series following thier series with the Sox, dating back to last September, including the World Series 4-1, to a Phillies team they should have easily dispatched.  This Season the Rays took the opening series of the year with the Sox, and lost the next six, until this weekend.  Enough about the Rays, they are the least of the Sox many problems.

 

PITCHING- This was supposed to the strong suit of the Boston Red Sox, however that has not been the case.  Josh Beckett was supposed to be better than his evil 2008 twin.  However it is time to face facts, that Beckett’s 2007 season was just a fluke.  We have two other bad years on his resume in Boston, and 2009 is shaping up to give his 2009 season a run.

  Jon Lester was supposed to give Beckett a run for his money this year, he has, however not in the way we would have hoped.  Lester has equally awful this season, and has only looked good twice so far.  Lester feels like he is better than his record and his e.r.a. would indicate.  Hey Jon, you are what your record and your e.r.a says you are.

  Dice-K, what can I say, this guy has been the definition of frustration since arriving in Beantown in 2007.  He did win 18 games last season, but none of them were big games, and he usually comes up small when it counts, unless the counting is in the WBC or for Japan.  Should be another long year for Dice-K, I predict a sub .500 record, and around 120 or so innings pitched.  Get ready bullpen, on Dice nights you guys will be doing most of the heavy lifting.

  With the exception of a few Wakefield starts, and a few by Justin Masterson, the back of the rotation has been total **** as well.  This was also supposed to be an area of strength.  Hmm not so much.  The highlight of Brad Penny’s career may have been his relationship with that Dodger blogger that used to be on Who’s the Boss.  However his pitching highlights in Boston will be limited.  It seems that Penny is ill equiped for the rigors of American League life.  Another Theo Epstein re-tread that did not pan out.  Hey Theo, let me know when one of your deals actually pans out.

HITTING-  Okay the hitting has been overall real SPOTTY.  The Sox have done alot of piling on in games they were ahead.  P.S., those runs don’t carryover to the next game.  The Sox have dominated by good pitching all season, a tread that will continue I’m afraid to say.  This weekend they put up, games of 3,2, and zero, while getting pounded on the other end of the scoreboard in those games.

  It is high time that manager Terry Francona takes a long look at his batting order.  It may be that the Sox can fix some of those problems.  David Ortiz’s days as being a good hitter are over ( see Jim Rice and Mo Vaughn’s resume for historical reference).  Papi has been nothing more than the big pop fly, and his ability to catch up to fastballs are a joke around baseball circles.  Papi has become a huge liability with his bat, and skill set.  Good news is,we have one more year of this, since he is owed so much money and sucks so bad, he is virtually untradable.

  Jd DONKEY HOLE RALLY KILLER Drew, has there ever been a player in Boston that has lived up to thier nickname more than this *** clown.  Drew has been total **** this year, not unlike his entire career in Boston.  Drew has ended more rally’s this year, and rolled over into more double plays than anyone else on the Sox combined.  This guy comes up so small at the plate, it has almost become comical to watch.  His play in the field has not been much better either. Pound for Pound, dollar for dollar, one of the worst postion player signings in baseball …EVER.  This piece of **** also needs to be moved out of the five spot.  Drew has been in a position to be a difference maker all year.  He has been, to bad it’s been for the other team.

  There are a few other holes in the Sox offense as well, Jason Varitek and pretty boy Jacoby Ellsbury come to mind.  Although Tek has been better this year, it ain’t by much, and bear in mind, his numbers always tail off.  So his .239 average in May, most likely will be sub .200 by August.  It’s okay to carry Tek if other players would pick up the slack, however the Sox don’t have anyone like that. 

  Jacoby Ellsbury, waiting for this guy to bloom is like waiting for a Yankee prospect to finally come around.  Ellsbury may never reach his full potential in Boston, and we may all wonder allowed, why we kept him, instead of trading for Johan Santana.  Ellsbury is electric when he gets on base…WHEN.

DEFENSE-  Okay here we go again, another strong suit that has not even come close to living up to the hype.  Jason Varitek can’t throw anyone out….EVER.  My grandmother says she would like a shot at testing Varitek’s arm.  You know what, my money is on Granny.  Another armless ******* in a Boston uniform is Julio Lugo.  Does any MLB shortstop have a worse arm, worse range and worse leather than this guy.  Holy CRAP what an adventure he is in the field.

  JD Drew also finds his self on the crappy defenders list as well.  It used to be that his glove bailed out his suspect bat, however in 2009 that has not been the case.  Drew looks lost in right, and he has mis-played alot of balls that have cost the Sox outs and runs.  Worse yet, Drew cannot handle the rigors of playing everyday.

BULLPEN-  Okay the pen has been unreal so far, however they can’t hit or pitch the early innings.  So far only Javier Lopez has been the real pig of the pen, everyone else this year has performed.  Ramon Rameriz has made everyone in Boston say Coco who.  The only dull spot would have to be Jonathan Papelbon’s 30 pitch performance each time he is ask to save a game.  It his closes have shakey by definition.  He certainly bears watching, but it is early and maybe he has not got his control yet.

  Sure the Sox are 15-10, and only a few games out of first, however the numbers tell another story.  The Sox have already won a few flukey games in that 15 game mix, and thier pitching numbers suggest they are headed for a big fall.  The Yanks have held thier own without CC performing and without A-FRAUD.  The Rays of course have the bullets to be good all season, and if the Jays continue to contend, it could be big trouble for the boys in Beantown.  The Sox need to go back to the drawing board before it is too late.  I have seen this act before, it was called 2006.

Lester-riffic………….

Updates from Fenway ...One had to wonder when the 2008 version of Jon Lester would emerge.  Mark it down, April 19th, the day the Jon Lester righted the ship. 

  Lester was just nasty with a capitol K today for seven strong innings.  he was economical with his pitches, and allowed only six baserunners all day, none touched home plate.  His line for today, seven innings pitched, NINE strikeouts, and four hits versus two walks.  For most of this day Lester was very overpowering, and his timing could not have been better, because the Sox hitters also ran into a pitching buzz saw in Koji Uehara.

  The Sox hitters were for the most part were pretty quiet today, with the exception of two, two out rallies, that provided the difference in the score.  For the most part the Sox hitters were dominated by Uehara’s aray of pitches, and pinpoint command.  The offense the Sox could muster were provided by thier pair of MVP’s, Dustin Pedoria and Mike(RBI)Lowell.  In a related note Big Papi continues to be that smell that stinks up the entire ballpark.  He went hitless again today with two strikouts, as he failed to get on base at all today.

  The Sox bullpen continues to round into form, as they picked up the save without Jonathan Papelbon being available.  Ramon Rameriz continues to be lights out as he pitched yet another scoreless inning.  It may be early, but this guy looks like the real deal, and he may settle in nicely as the 8th inning set up man.  Saito had a shakey 9th inning, that provided some excitement to a game that seemed to be in hand, however after giving up a run, he settled down, and got Greg Zaun to strike out to end the game.

  After a rocky start the Boston bullpen seems to be taking shape into what we thought it would be, LIGHTS OUT.  As a group, they have only given up three earned runs in thier last 21 innings pitched, no small feat.  This past week they had an 11 inning outing, and a six inning outing in that resume.  If the Sox are going to continue to string together wins without a high powered offense, this group is going to play a huge role in thier team success.

Blue Monday…..

Swings don't go Sox' waySo I woke up this morning, and checked the Boston Globe for some good news.  For instance, J.D. DONKEY HOLE RALLY KILLER Drew had fallen in the shower, or he twisted his ankle, or he just sneezed funny and hurt his back.  No such news, no such luck, so I guess I have to find a silver lining to the last week’s play somewhere else.

  The only good news I can find is this, it’s still early, and the Sox played a tougher schedule than all of the American League East Foes, so one or two or three games out after one week ain’t so bad is it ?  While the Sox got the two best teams in baseball last year, the Yanks were feeding on two of the worst, and all they managed was a 3-3 split.  The Rays also only managed a split in there first six games as well.  As for the O’s and Jay’s, who do they think they are kidding, this is a three team race, and there are no more invitations to the American League East race being sent out.  If either the Jays or the O’s are this side of .500 in a month it would be a miracle.

  It’s tough to take much from a few games, however there may be some tough tea-leaves that are hard to ignore.  For instance, maybe the Sox bullpen is not as good as advertised.  Thru six games this season, the bullpen has been scored upon in everygame, except one.  This type of production is hardly inspiring, especially in  three of those games, the runs the pen gave up was the difference in the final score.

  It’s also tough to ignore how bad the offense has been thus far as well.  The Red Sox are 2-0 when they score five runs, and 0-4 when they don’t.  There were alot of questions about this teams run producing abilities coming into this season, and so far they have only been answered with more questions.  For instance, is Big Papi really done as a power hitter ?  Is Rally Killer Drew the worse number five hitter in all of baseball, and if so, will someone get Rally Killer the phone number to 1-800 gutless piece of **** hotline.  Also, is someone going to inform Jacoby Ellsbury that his job as a lead-off hitter is to get on base occasionally ?

  The starting pitching, which was supposed to be one of the bright spots of this squad has also failed to live up to expectations.  One week into the season, and every Sox starter except Brad Penny has suffered a loss.  Jon Lester looked like a mess in his home debut, so I guess we will see what he has today before dialing 1-800 panic.  Dice-K looked pretty good in the WBC, however he must have saved it for his home country, because he also look pathtic in his home loss last week as well.

  Is it too early to panic, most would say yes it.  However if you recall, last season the Detroit Tigers were a heavy favorite to win the American League last year.  The Tigers stumbled out of the gate, and never recovered, failing to ever contend, and finishing well below .500 in the very weak A.L. Central.  Only time will tell about the Red Sox and 2009.  However the American League East race should be tightly contested, and game given away in April, may come back to haunt you in September.

The Penny and Bay Show…………..

Bay, Sox snap skid  It seemed like it had been a month since the Sox had won a game.  Interesting first week of the season, every Red Sox pitcher got a decision, either a loss or a win.  Today Brad Penny joined Josh Beckett as the lone winner on the Sox staff.

  Penny like Wakefield yesterday did everything that you need from a bottom of the rotation pitcher.  Penny allowed only three earned runs and five hits over the six innings he pitched today.  Penny also struck out two to go along with two walks, all in all not a bad outing.  He was very economical with his pitches as well, throwing only 86 pitches over his six frames pitched.  It was certainly the type of outing the Sox needed to get today, especially since they were facing a top of the rotation pitcher in Joe Saunders.

  The bullpen was a better today, allowing only one earned run over three innings.  Ramon Ramirez continues to be impressive, as he threw 1.2 innings of scoreless relief today.  Jonathan Papelbon’s relief appearance was a tad more exciting, not sure if that is quite the right word to use.  It seemed when the Sox grabed an insurance run in the top of the 9th, that this game was OVAH!  However Papelbon did not have his best stuff today, and the 9th got really interesting to say the least.  Torri Hunter hit a solo homerun and that was followed by a double by Kendry Morales.  It got even more interesting when Papelbon walked the bases loaded with two outs.  After what seemed like a 100 foul balls, Papelbon finally got Howie Kendricks to fly out to right field.

  The offense was again very dreadful and pathetic looking.  The Sox collected 8 hits today, but three players accounted for six of those hits.  Jason Bay, Rocco Baldelli and shockingly enough Jason Varitek all had multi hit games today.  Jason Bay’s two hits were homers though, that accounted for three of the Sox five runs scored today.  The heart of the Red Sox order today combined to go 0-7, needless to say Kevin Youkilis had to cool off at some point.  Big Papi again looked  lost at the plate, as he had another awful 0-ffer day.  Papi was not alone in his stink-feast, Jed Lowrie was there with him, arm-in-arm.  Lowrie has to wonder what he is doing in a big league uniform, and not in Pawtucket somewhere.  Lowrie may have a big league glove, but he is packing a little league bat, as he has started this season with a .056 batting average.  Never thought I would utter these words…but when is Julio Lugo coming back….

We Stink….The End………..

So I guess the starting pitching was better last night.  I mean what do you expect from a number 4# starter but a chance to win.  Tim Wakefield was not especially sharp last, however luckily for the Sox the damage was pretty limited in the first six innings, despite six hits and five walks thru his six innings of work.  I guess this qualifies as a good nights pitching, after the last two starts we have seen by Red Sox pitching.  As is the case when Shakey Wakey pitches, the Sox’s bats were virtually silent during his time on the mound.

  For the third time in four games, this vaunted bullpen was way less than stellar.  This time the offender was Justin Masterson.  Masterson took any chance the Sox had of winning away with his lackluster performance in the 7th inning.  His line last night, 8 batters faced, three earned runs, four hits, and a walk.  Not his finest hour to be sure, luckily the pen had to only pitch two innings last night, or the score could have really got out of hand.  Last night brought the bullpens innings pitched up to 10.  In those ten innings, the Sox bullpen has given up seven earned runs, meanwhile in four games, the Sox entire offense has only score 8 runs.  Something has to give with the this bulllpen that was supposed to be the best in baseball this season.  Even if the Sox had an offense, which they don’t, they could not overcome this lousy of a pen.

  Well the elephant in the room all off-season and spring training was how this offense was going to perform.   Four games in, it’s safe to say the Sox would have earned a grade of an F.  With the exception of Kevin Youlilis, no one is hitting.  Big Papi looks really slow, and really lost at the plate, and with the exception of last night, Jacoby Ellsbury looks lost at the lead-off spot.  Another dull a spot in the Sox offense has been Rally Killer Drew. I know Drew was signed to be the Sox number 5 hitter.  However in his time in Boston, he has spent little time occupying that spot.  Drew has been a complete train wreck in three games this season, going 1-11, with no r.b.i’s, and a ton of batters left on bases.  To make matters worse for Drew, is that most of his failures have come in critical times, with men in scoring position.  If the Sox offense is to have any success at all, Rally Killer is going to finally have to do what he was brought to Boston to do, get on base and drive in runs, not end innings.

  The Sox are the Fox game of the week today, yippee.  For all those who don’t have the MLB ticket, today will be your first chance to witness the stink up close.  The Sox will send Brad Penny to themound in his Red Sox debut, and the Angels will counter with thier ace Joe Saunders.  Advantage Angels in this one, a 1# type starter, versus a guy that nobody in baseball wanted to sign.  Let’s all enjoy this one, at least Joe Buck and Tim Mcarver will take it easy on us.