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Projo SoxTalk with McAdam: Back on track in Baltimore »
June 2, 2008
TRIPLE THREAT: Pitching. Offense. Defense. That just about covers it in baseball, and when you have all three working then your problems -- which seemed so insurmountable at times last week -- melt away. Yesterday Bartolo Colon (above) took care of the pitching and his teammates took care of the rest as the Red Sox won their third straight in Baltimore, 9-4. Joe McDonald has the details of an afternoon in which things went so smoothly that even Julio Lugo ("Yes," writes Joe. "That Julio Lugo.") contributed with the glove. The Boston Herald's John Tomase focuses on the field work of Dustin Pedroia, who "made a trio of stellar defensive plays that left his uniform a nice shade of dirt ." They play the series finale tonight and, as the Boston Globe's Gordon Edes notes, a victory will enable the Sox "to break even on a 10-game trip that had appeared to be a disaster in the making when they lost five out of six on their first two stops."
Tomase reports that as Colon was walking back to the dugout after being lifted in the seventh inning, Orioles coach Juan Samuel told him, "You've got your (expletive) back." So, it appears, do the Red Sox.
THE DARK CLOUD AROUND THE SILVER LINING: But it's not all blue skies with the Sox these days, not with David Ortiz sitting on the bench, his left wrist in a brace. He said he felt a "pop" in the wrist when he fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning Saturday night (above) and the pain was such that he couldn't continue the at-bat. Nor, obviously, could he play yesterday. McDonald reports x-rays were negative but Ortiz will return to Boston for an MRI today. The Herald's Rob Bradford talks to J.D. Drew, who had a wrist injury in 2005, and who says, "Hopefully it’s nothing major. Wrists are tricky, man."
HISTORY MAJOR: But the big news of the weekend was Manny Ramirez, who finally reached the 500-homer plateau Saturday night in Boston's 6-3 victory. (projo.com) He'd said he wanted to do it at home, but with so many Sox fans at Camden Yards (above) it was the next-best thing. (When I called McDonald in the press box Saturday night after he'd done it, Joe was laughing. He reported that as Manny took the field in the middle of the seventh after hitting No. 500, the P.A. system starting playing Sweet Caroline and the scoreboard read something like, "Here's a treat for all you Red Sox fans here tonight." And then the music stopped abruptly and the scoreboard flashed: "NOT!") McDonald has many details from the milestone moment, including an interview with the Woo brothers, who caught the historic homer; the reaction of Sean Casey, who's now seen three players hit their 500th homer, and how Ramirez' teammates felt afterwards.
We even got to know how Ramirez felt about the whole thing because -- unlike years past -- he talks to reporters nowadays. And that, reports the Herald's Rob Bradford, is because of a decision Ramirez made over the winter to be more approachable and accessible. ("I decided that talking to the media wasn’t going to hurt.") The result is that the public now sees what only his teammates and friends used to see. Which is, as Kevin Millar told Tomase: "He’s got a uniqueness about him that’s easy to like when you get to know Manny. He’s very soft-hearted and a warm guy. Fans see that side of him now more than they did earlier in his career."
AND NOW? Baseball Musings' David Pinto believes Ramirez can reach 600 career homers, but wonders -- because "the [offensive] falloff we saw from Manny in 2007 appears to be real" --- if he'll still be with the Red Sox when he does.
THE REST OF THE STORY: This news-filled weekend began with a slump-busting, 5-2 win in 13 innings Friday night that, McDonald reports, had many facets besides seven scoreless innings from the bullpen (which he recounts in the game story): The contributions of Mike Lowell, both offensively and defensively; a running attack which set a franchise record for steals in a game, and even a defensive gem -- yes, again -- from Lugo. It wasn't all good, though; McDonald relates a busted suicide-squeeze attempt that cost the Sox a run and, it sounds like, swore Terry Francona off the play forever.
MOVING FORWARD: Craig Hansen delivered a scoreless inning in yesterday's game, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Prior to yesterday he had been the subject of a McDonald profile, in which Joe concluded: "[It] appears the hard-throwing right-hander has finally arrived."
FALLING BACK: Clay Buchholz, on the other hand, is back in the minors for a while, after his second rehab start for the PawSox didn't go too well. (projo.com)
THE VERDICT IS . . . It's old news now, but for the record: Daisuke Matsuzaka has a mild rotator-cuff strain. (projo.com)
REALITY STINKS (OR SOMETHING): The blog Oriole Post notes that the ratio of Red Sox fans to Oriole fans at Camden Yards was something like 80-20 this weekend, but puts the blame for it right at the organization's doorstep. ("[Ten] losing seasons, bad drafts, Peter Angelos, bad ushers at the Yard & horrible baseball have perhaps relegated a lot of Baltimore fans to stay home.")
MY HERO: Canadian high schooler Brett Lawrie, who's projected to go in the top 15 in Thursday's draft, says Dustin Pedroia is his role model. (baseballanalysts.com)
TOOL SHED: Joe Posnanski has a post about "how scouts judge players’ tools (hitting, power, speed, defense, arm) on that famed 20-80 scale" and does a Royals-Red Sox comparison that, ah, definitely favors Boston. (joeposnanski.com)
TREADING WATER: But the Sox, despite their string of success in Baltimore, haven't been able to gain any ground on the first-place Rays, who -- reports Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune -- are riding the destiny train after Gabe Gross' 10th-inning homer gave them their third straight win over the White Sox. Making it especially special for Gross: His parents and grandmother were there to see it. (Tampa Tribune) One reason for the Rays' success, writes the St. Petersburg Times' Marc Topkin, is the team's unprecedented amount of depth.
SLOW DOWN THAT BANDWAGON, I WANT TO JUMP ON: Joel Sherman, writing on foxsports.com, is the latest to declare the Rays are for real.
THINK AGAIN: Ozzie Guillen went off after yesterday's loss, telling the media to expect changes before the White Sox' next game Tuesday because "[if] we think we are going to win with the offense we have, we are full of [bleep]." (Chicago Sun-Times) And, of course, when Ozzie Guillen says something controversial, can Jay Mariotti resist the temptation to unload? (Chicago Sun-Times) (That, folks, is Webster's definition of a rhetorical question.)
BULLET DODGED: It looked far worse than it actually ended up being; when Nick Blackburn lay spreadeagled on the mound after taking a Bobby Abreu liner off the face, you couldn't help but fear the worse. But Blackburn was okay -- he had to come out of the game, but didn't suffer as much as a broken bone (Minneapolis Star-Tribune) -- and the Twins went on to beat Darrell Rasner and the Yankees, 5-1. (New York Daily News) Abreu was relieved Blackburn wasn't hurt badly (LoHud Yankees Blog), as were we all.
CHANGES: When last we saw Morgan Ensberg, he was doing a guest spin on Phil Hughes' blog. Today he's an ex-Yankee, designated for assignment so the Yanks could recall Scott Patterson. (New York Daily News)
MARTYRDOM: Let's see. Scott Proctor threw at Kevin Youkilis' head last June and got away with it. Joba Chamberlain threw twice at Youkilis' head last August and was suspended. Chien-Ming Wang hit Youkilis in the wrist last September and knocked him out of the lineup for over a week. Kyle Farnsworth threw at Manny Ramirez' head in April and got suspended. But the blog IT IS HIGH, IT IS FAR, IT IS . . . caught says the pro-Red Sox/anti-Yankee persecution reaches all the way down to the minor leagues.
MARK IT DOWN: Willie Randolph thinks last month's Yankees-Mets rainout will be made up on Friday, June 27 as a day-night, Yankee Stadium/Shea Stadium doubleheader. (New York Daily News)
I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING, BUT I'M SORRY I DID: Even though Gary Carter continues to insist he wasn't politicking for the Mets' managing job, he says he plays to apologize to Willie Randolph for the controversy his comments caused. (Palm Beach Post)
LATE THUNDER: The Rays weren't the only team to win in their last at-bat yesterday. Both the Angels (Los Angeles Times) and the Tigers (Detroit News) did it, as well.
SAY AGAIN?? According to Cecil Cooper, home runs when you're trailing in a game are rally-killers. (Houston Chronicle) Our friends at Fire Joe Morgan are speechless.
ON THE MOVE: Tigers manager Jim Leyland has decided to shift Carlos Guillen from third base to left field on occasion to get Brandon Inge more playing time. (Detroit Free Press)
HOLLIDAY TIME NEARS: The Denver Post's Woody Paige, declaring the Rockies' season to be over, says the Rox should trade Matt Holliday because if they don't, they'll get nothing in return when he leaves via free agency at the end of 2009.
HERE AND THERE: Mark Prior will undergo his second season-ending shoulder operation in two years. (San Diego Union-Tribune) Pinto believes it's time for Prior to hang up the spikes and start a new career . . . John Smoltz is altering his arm angle and moving to the bullpen because he says that, at age 41, he knows time is running out on his big-league career and these are the only things he can do if he wants to keep pitching (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) . . . The Giants' Shawn Estes fractures the thumb on his pitching hand when he tripped on the stairs between the visiting clubhouse and dugout Friday night, and will be out indefinitely. (San Francisco Chronicle)
-- ART MARTONE
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