Um… hooray?

The Red Sox clinched a playoff spot last night… so I should be celebrating, right?

Maybe that is a bad way to phrase it.
The Rangers were eliminated by the Angels.
That’s more like it.
The Red Sox didn’t win ANYTHING last night.
They haven’t won a game in nearly a week.
I know that in the end it doesn’t matter. They did what I wanted them to do. 
They have a playoff spot with nearly a week to go. They can line up their rotation anyway they want. They can have their bullpen rested and ready and give anyone in their lineup  a day to catch their breath.
But it’s hard to fist pump in the middle of a 5 game losing streak.
It’s hard to say “Woo Hoo!” when the team seems to be going through the motions.
I wanted a clinching game. Was that too much to ask for?
Well, I am going to call this the last teeth grinder of the year… because the rest of the games of the regular season are literally meaningless.
The Sox are the Wild Card team. 
The Yankees are the top seed in the AL but they can’t play each other in the Division Series.
The Angels will have the second best record, ergo play the Red Sox for the 83rd year in a row.
If the Sox win all of their games or lose all of their games, nothing will change that scenario.
The only games that matter are the Twins and Tigers games… and figuring out which one has a better shot against the Yankees.
So here we go… the final Dodged Bullet/Teeth Grinder tally.


April 17 – 10-8 win against Orioles. (Overcame 7-0 deficit.)
April 24 – 5-4 win against Yankees. (Bay homers off of Rivera in 9th to tie it.)
April 25 – 16-11 win against Yankees. (Overcame 6-0 deficit.)
April 29 – 6-5 win at Cleveland. (Overcame 5-0 deficit.)
May 12 – 4-3 win at Anaheim. (Down 3-1 in the 8th.)
June 11 – 4-3 win against Yankees. (Down 3-1 in the 8th. Rallied against Sabathia.)
June 12 – 5-2 win at Philadelphia. (Overcame Ryan Howard’s 9th inning shot to win in 13)
June 21 – 6-5 win against Atlanta. (The wind turns Nick Green’s fly ball into a walk off shot)
June 27 – 1-0 win at Atlanta. (Masterson and Papelbon wiggle out of late jams.)
July 1 – 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Sox score 4 in the 9th and Lugo wins in in the 11th)
July 8 – 5-4 win against Oakland. (Wind keeps Hairston’s 9th inning go ahead homer in the ballpark)
July 10 – 1-0 win against Kansas City. (Pedroia drives in the only run with 2 outs in the 8th.)
July 30 – 8-5 win against Oakland. (Ortiz tests postive then hits a 2 out 3 run go ahead homer.)
July 31 – 6-5 win at Baltimore. (Youk’s 2 run homer saves Smoltz from another bad start.)
August 10 – 6-5 win against Detroit. (Sox snap 6 game losing streak with 7th inning rally.)
August 14 – 8-4 win at Texas. (Victor Martinez hits a 2 run 2 strike 2 out double to take the lead and make up for Buchholz’s baserunning mishap.)
August 18 – 10-9 win at Toronto. (Ortiz homers and the Jays defense collapses, saving Beckett from a bad start.)
August 24 – 12-8 win against White Sox. (Red Sox overcome early 4-1 lead and a bad Buchholz start.)
August 25 – 6-3 win against White Sox. (Red Sox win with 4 unanswered runs despite some sloppy defense.)
August 26 – 3-2 win against White Sox. (Wakes pitches 7 strong and Papi homers twice including a walk off)
August 28 – 6-5 win against Toronto. (Sox come back from early 3-0 hole and Paps wiggles out of a bases loaded jam in the 9th.)
August 29 – 3-2 win against Toronto. (Buchholz dominates but needs help from Paps to finish the 9th)
September 1 – 8-4 win at Tampa Bay. (Papelbon enters the game with the bases loaded, nobody out and go ahead run at the plate… and gets a 2 innings save.)
September 9 – 7-5 win against Baltimore. (Martinez’s double gives the Sox the lead and Papelbon wiggles out of two jams.)
September 13 – 3-1 win against Tampa Bay. (Pedroia’s 8th inning homer off of Matt Garza breaks a 1-1 tie)
September 16 – 9-8 win against the Angels. (Red Sox make three comebacks including a rally with 2 outs and nobody on in the 9th.)
April 14 – 6-5 loss at Oakland. (Sox blow early 3-0 lead. Lose in 12)
April 28 – 9-8 loss at Cleveland. (Sox blow early 5-1 lead. Lopez drops 3rd out.)
May 14 – 5-4 loss at Anaheim. (Ortiz goes 0-7 stranding 12 runners.)
May 15 – 5-4 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox blow their second 4-0 lead in three days.)
May 17 – 3-2 loss at Seattle. (Red Sox strand two in the 9th. Lose in the bottom of the 9th.)
May 23 – 3-2 loss to the Mets. (Papelbon lets up a 2 out 2 run homer in the 9th to Omir Santos)
June 18 – 2-1 loss to the Marlins. (Rain washes out a tight game after 5+ innings.)
June 28 – 2-1 loss to the Braves. (Tying run on base in the 9th. Solid Penny outing wasted)
June 30 – 11-10 loss at Baltimore. (The Red Sox blow a late 10-1 to the lowly Orioles.)
July 3 – 7-6 loss to Seattle. (Red Sox comeback in the 8th only to lose in the 11th.)
July 4 – 3-2 loss to Seattle. (Saito walks three in the 9th as the Mariners rally to win)
July 9 – 8-6 loss to the Royals. (Bullpen blows early 4-0 lead.)
July 21 – 4-2 loss at Texas. (Beckett loses a complete game and the Yankees take over first.)
July 22 – 3-1 loss at Texas. (Sox are swept for the first time all season.)
July 28 – 9-8 loss to Oakland. (Sox blow 3 run lead in 9th. A’s rally with 2 outs in 9th and 11th.)
July 29 – 8-6 loss to Oakland. (Down 5-0 in the first, Sox comeback falls short)
August 4 – 4-2 loss in Tampa Bay. (Longoria hits 13th inning walk off with first base open.)
August 5 – 6-4 loss in Tampa Bay. (Sox gets swept in a 2 game series with the tying run at the plate).
August 7 – 2-0 loss in New York. (A-Rod’s walk off with 2 outs in the 15 ends a teeth grinding marathon.)
August 9 – 5-2 loss in New York. (4 outs from avoiding a sweep, Bard lets up back to back homers to Damon and Teixeira.)
August 13 – 2-0 loss to Detroit. (Verlander wiggles out of early and late jams.)
August 16 – 4-3 loss at Texas. (Red Sox can’t rally and fall behind the Rangers in the Wild Card race)
Setpember 2 – 8-5 loss at Tampa Bay. (The Red Sox recover from a bad Beckett outing to tie the game in the 8th, only to give back the lead the next inning.)
September 17 – 4-3 loss to Angels. (Tek allows tying run to score on a wild third strike. Sox lose in the ninth.)
September 21 – 12-9 loss in Kansas City. (Sox blow an 8-2 lead in the rain.)
September 26 – 3-0 loss in New York. (Sox waste terrific 7 inning performance by Dice-K)
Setpember 27 – 4-2 loss in New York. (Yankees rally to clinch division and Sox fail to win the season series.)
Setpember 29 – 8-7 loss to Blue Jays. (Youk strikes out with the winning runs on base, spoiling the chance of an on field celebration.)
So it finishes up at -2.
Which means of the 91 regular season wins, 26 of them were games they pulled out of the fire and 65 of them were not exactly suspenseful.
And of the 66 losses, 28 were games they should have won and 38 of them were no brainers.
I wonder if other teams have a similar ratio.
Something to ponder in 2010.

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10 year veterans in search of their first World Series ring

The Sully Baseball “Who Might Get A Ring” obsession continues with a look at which veterans have a shot at a ring after 10+ seasons.

Which ever team wins in any year, there is inevitably a veteran who put in long years who finally won the big one… and it is hard to not smile when you see them win.

I remember being thrilled for former Red Sox hero Don Baylor when he got his ring in 1987 with the Twins.

It’s hard not to have goose bumps when you see Dave Winfield drive in the World Series winning runs in 1992… or Paul Molitor score on the Joe Carter homer… and even though he was hurt and not available, the White Sox win in 2005 must have been especially sweet for Frank Thomas.

And it isn’t always for the superstars. All time journeyman Mike Morgan finally got his ring in 2001.

And last year Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs won it all with the Phillies.

Who will get the sentimental attention when the champagne pops this year?

Which player who made their debut at least 10 seasons ago will really cherish the final out, all the while looking at the rookie on the roster and think “You have no idea how lucky you are!”?

My criteria for this list is the following:

The players had to make their Major League debut in 2000 or sooner. (Sorry Hideki Matsui and Takashi Saito… I’m not counting the Japanese Leagues.)

If they missed some time due to injury, that’s fine, as long as their debut was 2000 or sooner. Rick Ankiel is on the list even though he had to go back to the farm to become an outfielder (and find an extra boost.)

They need to be in the organization now, even if they are hurt or won’t play. Lest we forget, Matt Clement and Royce Clayton got World Series rings in 2007 even though Clement played in as many games as I did that year and Royce Clayton’s only contribution was the funny “I didn’t get my taco” exchange with Coco Crisp.

There are four fomer MVPs and no shortage of former All Stars. The Dodgers have the most… the Twins have the fewest.

So let’s see who the sentimental favorites will be…


Tim Hudson – 11 seasons (Debut in 1999)
Greg Norton – 13 seasons (Debut in 1996)
Javier Vazquez – 12 seasons (Debut in 1998)


Paul Byrd – 14 seasons (Debut 1995)
Billy Wagner – 15 seasons (Debut in 1995)
Chris Woodward – 10 seasons (Debut in 1999)


Jason Giambi – 15 seasons (Debut in 1995)
Todd Helton – 13 seasons (Debut in 1997)
Matt Herges – 11 seasons (Debut in 1999)


Carlos Guillen – 12 seasons (Debut in 1998)
Aubrey Huff – 10 seasons (Debut in 2000)
Magglio Ordonez – 13 seasons (Debut in 1997)
Placido Polanco – 12 seasons (Debut in 1998)


Bobby Abreu – 14 seasons (Debut in 1996)
Kelvim Escobar – 12 seasons (Debut 1997)
Vladimir Guerrero – 14 seasons (Debut in 1996)
Torii Hunter – 13 seasons (Debut in 1997)
Gary Matthews Jr – 11 seasons (Debut in 1999)
Darren Oliver – 16 seasons (Debut in 1993)
Justin Speier – 12 seasons (Debut in 1998)


Brad Ausmus – 17 seasons (Debut in 1993)

Casey Blake – 11 seasons (Debut in 1999)
Juan Castro – 15 seasons (Debut in 1995)
Rafael Furcal – 10 seasons (Debut in 2000)
Mark Loretta – 15 seasons (Debut in 1995)
Eric Milton – 12 seasons (Debut in 1998)
Guillermo Mota – 11 seasons (Debut in 1999)
Vicente Padilla – 11 seasons (Debut in 1999)
Jason Schmidt – 14 seasons (Debut in 1995)
Jim Thome – 19 seasons (Debut in 1991)
Randy Wolf – 11 seasons (Debut in 1999)


Ron Mahay – 14 seasons (Debut in 1995)
Joe Nathan – 10 seasons (Debut in 1999)


A. J. Burnett – 11 seasons (Debut in 1999)
Jerry Hairston, Jr. – 12 seasons (Debut in 1998)
Alex Rodriguez – 16 seasons (Debut in 1994)


Paul Bako – 12 seasons (Debut in 1998)
Raul Ibanez – 14 seasons (Debut in 1996)
Chan Ho Park – 16 seasons (Debut in 1994)


Rick Ankiel – 7 seasons (Debut in 1999)*
Mark DeRosa – 12 seasons (Debut in 1998)
Ryan Franklin – 10 seasons (Debut in 1999)
Trever Miller – 11 seasons (Debut in 1996)
Joel Pineiro – 10 seasons (Debut in 2000)
Dennys Reyes – 13 seasons (Debut in 1997)

*Ankiel missed the 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006 MLB seasons.

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Rings for Don Mattingly? Terry Pendleton?

Were there ever two players that had worse luck for winning a World Series ring than Don Mattingly and Terry Pendleton?
I wrote last year how Mattingly’s career was perfectly wedged between two great Yankee eras.
Terry Pendleton’s career was no less agonizing in terms of getting a ring. He was part of two Cardinals teams that lost game 7 of the World Series, including the Don Denkinger game of 1985.
And as a member of the Braves he was the MVP of their miraculous 1991 pennant run. But they lost THAT series in 7 games… and lost the World Series in 1992 and the NLCS in 1993. Pendleton went to the Marlins in 1995 as the Braves won the World Series. He returned to Atlanta the next year, only to see the Yankees pull off one of the great upsets in World Series history… the year after Mattingly retired.
Well guess what?
Both of them are coaches on teams that might very well be playing deep into October.
They can get their belated World Series rings THIS year!
If the Dodgers win it all, Mattingly would finally have a ring.
If the Braves win it all, Pendleton would get his at long last.
And there are other ringless veterans on almost every coaching staff that has either clinched or is in contention.
Glenn Hubbard was played 12 seasons but was cut from the 1989 World Champion A’s team in midseason.
Tony Pena would have been the 1987 World Series MVP if the Cardinals could have held onto their game 7 lead.
Andy Van Slyke not only was on that same 1985 Cardinals team with Pendleton but also played for the Pirates team who had their World Series dreams dashed by Francisco Cabrera.
Interestingly, each member of the official Cardinals coaching staff have already won a World Series ring as a player or as a coach (or in the case of Hal McRae, both.)
Coaches don’t get the attention that the players nor manager get… but for sentimental reasons let’s take a look at which former Major Leaguers currently on coaching staffs might finally earn that World Series ring at long last.


Glenn Hubbard – 12 year career (1978-1989)
Terry Pendleton – 15 year career (1984-1998)


Tim Bogar – 9 year career (1993-2001)


Bob Apodoca – 5 year career (1973-1977)
Tom Runnells – 2 year career (1985-1986)
Jim Tracy, Manager – 2 year career (1980-1981)
Jim Wright – 2 year career (1981-1982)
Jeff Jones – 5 year career (1980-1984)
Gene Lamont – 5 year career (1970-1975)
Lloyd McClendon– 8 year career (1987-1994)
Andy Van Slyke – 13 year career (1983-1995)

Mike Butcher – 4 year career (1992-1995)
Orlando Mercado – 8 year career (1982 – 1990)


Don Mattingly – 14 year career (1982-1995)

Scott Ullger – 1 year career (1983)
Jerry White – 11 year career (1974-1986)
Dave Eiland – 10 year career (1988-2000)
Mike Harkey – 8 year career (1988-1997)
Mick Kelleher – 11 year career (1972-1982)
Tony Pena – 18 year career (1980-1997)

Pete Mackanin – 9 year career (1973-1981)

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