Nice to see the Pirates play like the Pirates for one game

Well it turns out the Red Sox were NOT swept by the Pirates this weekend. Man I have lowered expectations for a successful 3 games.

And it helped matters that the Pirates made 4 errors to help lead to the Sox win.

When I saw the score was tied going into the 7th, I wrote in my mind my “I can’t believe the Sox got swept” post.

But a nice Sox rally gave Andrew Miller a win and the Sox a little dignity.

Let’s update the tally.


April 8 – 9-6 win against the Yankees. (The Sox end their 6 game losing streak with a slugfest. John Lackey stinks but Phil Hughes stinks even more.)
April 10 – 4-0 win against the Yankees. (Beckett and Sabathia duel in a game that was 1-0 until the late innings.)
April 20 – 5-3 win in Oakland. (Red Sox survive a lead off homer and two bases loaded situations and facing the tying run at the plate to win their first road game.)
April 21 – 4-2 win in Anaheim. (The Red Sox stranded 15 men on base and Josh Beckett’s went 8 strong with no decision. But the Sox rallied in the 11th to win.)
April 22 – 4-3 win in Anaheim. (Peter Bourjos makes a 2 run errors and the Red Sox survive a bizarre passed ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia that let a run scored from second.)
May 1 – 3-2 win against the Mariners. (Ichiro loses a ball in the sun that turns into a 9th inning triple for Lowrie. Crawford singles him home for the win.)
May 8 – 9-5 win against the Twins. (Dice-K lets up 3 runs in the first but settles down as the Red Sox clobber Carl Pavano.)

May 9 – 2-1 win against the Twins. (A bullpen breakdown cost Beckett the decision but Cark Crawford ended the game with an 11th inning walk off hit.)
May 13 – 5-4 win in the Bronx. (Youkilis homers off of Joba and Bard and Papelbon make it more interesting than it needed to be.)
May 15 – 7-5 win in the Bronx. (Sox fall behind 4-1 but come back as Youk, Papi and Salty all homer.)
May 16 – 8-7 win against the Orioles. (Down 6-0 after 6 innings, the Sox rally and win it with a 2 run walk off double by Adrian Gonzalez)
May 18 – 1-0 win against Detroit. (With 2 outs in the 8th, Salty doubles home Crawford from first for the only run. Papelbon gets himself in and out of 9th inning trouble.)
May 19 – 4-3 win against Detroit. (Bard blows Beckett’s lead but Carl Crawford wins it with a walk off hit.)
May 24 – 4-2 win in Cleveland. (Varitek throws two runners out and homers as the Red Sox win their first game against the Indians.)
May 29 – 4-3 win in Detroit. (The Red Sox blow an early 3-0 lead but David Ortiz wins the game with a pinch 9th inning homer.)
June 3 – 8-6 win against Oakland. (Buchholz lets up 4 runs in the first but the Sox come back thanks to Carl Crawford’s 2 run single.)
June 4 – 9-8 win against Oakland. (Red Sox blow a 4 run 9th inning lead and trail in the 11th before Ellsbury ties it and Drew wins it in 14.)
June 7 – 6-4 win in the Bronx. (Papelbon strikes out A-Rod to end the game with a runner on base.)
June 9 – 8-3 win in the Bronx. (Down 2-0 to Sabathia in the 7th, the Sox score 7 runs as Papi exacts revenge after getting plunked. A 3+ hour rain delay pushed the game past 1:30 AM)
June 15 – 3-0 win in Tampa Bay. (Youkilis homers in the 7th for the only runs in Beckett’s 1 hit masterpiece.)
June 16 – 4-2 win in Tampa Bay. (Papelbon wiggles out of a 2 on, nobody out jam in the 9th thanks to Youk’s diving catch.)
June 26 – 4-2 win in Pittsburgh. (The Pirates make 4 errors and the Red Sox score 2 in the 7th to avoid a sweep by the Bucs.


April 1 – 9-5 loss in Texas. (The Sox tie Opening Day in the 8th with an Ortiz homer only to have Bard implode and the Sox let up 4 in the bottom of the 8th.)

April 5 – 3-1 loss in Cleveland. (The Sox drop their 4th straight as the bats are dead in Cleveland.)
April 7 – 1-0 loss in Cleveland. (Sox blow a great Lester performance on a squeeze bunt and Darnell McDonald overrunning the bag to end the game.)
April 12 – 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay. (A solid Lester performance is wasted as Kyle Farnsworth of all people shuts down the Sox.)
April 15 – 7-6 loss to Toronto. (Bobby Jenks implodes with a 4 run seventh inning as the Red Sox waste Pedroia and Youkilis homers and a clutch RBI double by Scuatro.
April 19 – 5-0 loss in Oakland. (Pedroia gets picked off, the Sox bats go dead and waste a solid Lackey start.)
April 26 – 4-1 loss in Baltimore. (Buchholz pitches tentatively and the Sox let Kevin Gregg of all people to close out the 9th.)
April 27 – 5-4 loss in Baltimore. (The Sox tie the game with a 3 run 8th only to have Bard lose it in the bottom of the 8th.)
April 29 – 5-4 loss to Mariners. (Bobby Jenks blows a 7th inning lead, wasting 2 Mike Cameron homers.)
April 30 – 2-0 loss to Mariners. (The Sox strand 11 runners and let Milton Bradley double home the go ahead run.)
May 4 – 5-3 loss to Angels. (7 hours with rain delays and stranded runners. Marco Scutaro was thrown out at the plate in the 12th)
May 10 – 7-6 loss in Toronto. (8th and 9th inning heroics, including a homer by Adrian Gonzalez, are undone by a walk off sacrifice fly by David Cooper.)
May 21 – 9-3 loss to Cubs. (Up 3-1 in the 8th inning, the bullpen and defense implode. The Cubs score 8 runs while both teams wear their 1918 uniforms.)
May 23– 3-2 loss in Cleveland. (The Sox blow a 2-1 8th inning lead when the Indians rally with 2 outs. Crawford ends the game on a double play.)
May 29 – 3-0 loss in Detroit. (Verlander keeps the Sox off base and prevents the sweep.)
June 1 – 7-4 loss to White Sox. (Konerko drives in three, spoiling a game tying Ortiz homer.)
June 14 – 4-0 loss in Tampa Bay. (Wakefield’s solid outing is spoiled. Longoria scores on a passed ball.)
June 18 – 4-2 loss to Milwaukee. (The Brewers hit three homers early off of Lester and hang on.)
June 21 – 5-4 loss to San Diego. (Ortiz hits a double play in the 9th to stifle a potential winning rally.)
June 24 – 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh. (The Red Sox strand 7 runners in scoring position.)
June 25 – 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh. (The Red Sox fall out of first as Pedroia’s error leads to a Pirates run.)

Up to +1.

Still not in first place but at least keeping pace with the Yankees.
On to Philadelphia for the World Series preview.

As for the Pirates?
I hope they go on a nice 20 winning streak.

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It could be Justin Verlander’s year

Sometimes during Academy Awards season, a certain actor or director is swept up to front runner status not necessarily because they gave their best work but because they were simply due for an award.

Martin Scorsese’s best film was not The Departed, but he hadn’t won an Oscar and he was due.

Million Dollar Baby was far from Morgan Freeman’s best performance, but he had never won and probably should have won 2 or 3 times before.

Could you even SIT through The Reader? I barely did, but they made up for Kate Winslet’s lack of Oscars.

I have a feeling that something similar with Justin Verlander this year and the Cy Young Award race.

He’s had 4 terrific seasons in the bigs (and one lousy 2008 season.)
He has led the league in strikeouts before, in wins, in innings pitched and consistently chucks 200 innings.

He has a pair of no hitters in his career and already has a pair of top 5 finishes in the Cy Young voting.

He’s never won and frankly he is due. He had another awesome performance today against a tough Arizona team. 8 innings of shutout ball. 14 strikeouts to 1 walk. His ERA is down to 2.38… 1.30 runs below his career ERA going into today’s game. He leads the league in strikeouts, innings pitched and victories at this point.

And he is anchoring a Tigers staff that, as of this writing, is tied for first place in the American League central.

The Tigers are roughly 47% of the way through the season and right now Verlander looks like the man to beat in the Cy Young race. Josh Beckett and Jered Weaver have been lights out. C.C. Sabathia is great and Felix Hernandez is coming back to form. And James Shields is quietly having a terrific year.

But when push comes to shove, I think Verlander might win this.

After all, he’s due.

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The Yankees are the best lousy team in baseball

There are two teams that play Major League Baseball in the Bronx.

I read about one team called The Yankees all the time. One team is an overpaid bunch of underachievers who are no longer an elite team. They have veterans who are breaking down, stars who are no longer hungry, a staggeringly thin rotation and a banged up bullpen.

This team was humiliated by Cliff Lee over the winter, made an insane signing of Rafael Soriano that backfired and saw their two prized home grown pitching stars, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes go down to crippling injuries.

Derek Jeter is hurt, Jorge Posada is a has been and they are clearly inferior to the Red Sox who keep beating them up in head to head match ups.

Then there is another team that plays in the Bronx. That team oddly enough is also called the Yankees.

THAT team is in first place all by themselves in late June.
THAT team has the best record in the American League and only 1 game out of the loss column behind the Phillies, who are the best team in baseball.

THAT team is on pace for 95 wins and a Division Title.

They can’t POSSIBLY be the same team, can they be?
I mean the Yankees are awful, aren’t they?

I’m confused.
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