Results tagged “Yankees” from Who Made You Mirabelli?
Marke Buehrle, who is emerging as the weirdest pitcher of the year (perfect game, followed immediately by six winless weeks), threw another gem against the Red Sox - while a bit down the coast, the Yankees were completing a sweep of the Rays. Moreover, Carlos Pena now has two broken fingers and is out for the season. Couldn't that have happened to someone in pinstripes? No? Too much to ask?
Well, at least we can look on the bright side... Derek Jeter apparently couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, so at least we've got that going.
Forget the six game lead in the Wild Card -- well don't actually forget it, because that's pretty awesome too -- but last night's rubber match against the Tampa Bay Rays showed us something that might be more useful come October: the emergence of Clay Buccholz as a control starter.
This is a guy with a career 1.73 SO/BB average, never knotching a season over 2.20. However, within the last week, Big Play Clay has earned himself a 4.0 SO/BB average. How's that for control? Hitting the spots has always been his biggest problem. His stuff is evident, and it's clear that he knows how to use it. But nibbling at the corners is something that he doesn't have yet... and that's fine. Those are the type of skills acquired by nothing but time and practice.
This trend is not only good for the kid, who very well may be a head case (emotionally... not psychologically... and yes... there is a difference), but it's also good for the team. Things are starting to click all over the place at the exact right time -- which as we've seen with the Rockies in '07 and the Rays in '08, trumps virtually all other skill sets.
Unfortunately, the Red Sox don't have time to stop and think about how nice this is starting to feel. Tonight, the Rangers go up against the Orioles, and Chris Tillman is going to call Scott Feldman his "daddy," after all -- he's practically old enough to be.
Meanwhile, the Yankees have won seven straight -- although tonight's matchup against Halladay and Baby Joba should be one for the ages... or in Joba's case, up until the fourth inning.
But in year's past, the Red Sox always used to dig out those must-win games. This year, things are a bit different. The Sunday night game against the Yankees showed endless money shots of a loose New York Yankees team. But then again, five home runs against the best pitcher on your rivals team might do that to you.
Bottom line is that the Red Sox are in a funk of spirits, and that's leading to poor on the field performance. They need to loosen up, and figure out how to jive better as a team - and the quickest way to do that is to start winning games. Vicious cycle. Let's hope it ends soon.
It's just about that time of year: the Yankees are playing well, the Red Sox are slumping, and the streets of Dorchester are lined with bodies from all of the fans heaving themselves from the tallest building they can find.
The Red Sox are in a free-fall, but this is a road that this team insists on going down almost every single year... and while it may feel like the sky is falling, this is nothing new under the sun.
In fact, this year's pitfalls are certainly better than the ones that Red Sox nation felt in 2006 - a year in which the BoSox missed the playoffs. This year... there is a safety net. So let's calm down a bit, shall we?
Earlier on in the year, the Red Sox went out for essentially every buy-low veteran on the market. Theo has learned well from the missteps in 2006, and gone after inexpensive depth. To have a guy like Josh Reddick who they can call up and send down whenever he's needed is beyond invaluable (note: Jed Lowrie would normally be deserving of some sort of mention in a paragraph such as this... but his crisp .074 since the All Star break is keeping him out of the running).
They even have pitching options, believe it or not. A few of those options aren't exactly that viable, but they're options, none the less. The wheels are, indeed, coming off of Brad Penny and John Smoltz and are now careening towards a crowd of horrified onlookers, but their problems (including, but not limited to, a combined 47 earned runs in 10 starts within the last month) are magnified by the situations the team has been in lately. Keep in mind that the 13-inning jaunt the other night burnt out the core of the Red Sox pitching staff beyond belief. After something like that, a shaky series has to be expected... it's just too bad that such a series had to be against the Yankees... It always has to be the Yankees.
Naturally, when trying to dissect the realistic possibility of a Boston chase down, one has to consider both teams' schedules first and foremost. Upon further inspection, we might be in for some interesting times.
We trust you get the metaphorical reference.
Tampa Bay and Boston still have six games against each other remaining on the schedule. That means the Sox could chase down the Rays just in head-to-head matchups, though the parity between the two teams seems to make that pretty unlikely. However, Boston could get some help from some unlikely friends, with the Yankees still slated for six games against the Rays -- there are only three Red Sox-Yankees tilts left (the final three games of the season at Fenway) -- and Tampa facing a three-game set in Toronto in between two series with the Yankees and the two remains sets with the Sox.
That, friends, is a bruising stretch. Granted, the Rays have handled their Canadian counterparts this year, but they've struggled off and on with the Yankees. And, as WMYM has pointed out repeatedly, this is their first stretch run of any significance EVER. Seriously. They've never even been in a position to be significant spoilers in the past, which makes their schedule and the way they approach it all the more significant (by the way, we didn't even mention the four-game slate that the Rays have with Minnesota in the final two weeks, either).
None of this means that Boston will actually be able to make up the ground to catch Tampa. After the current series against the Orioles, the Sox get a weird three-game road trip to Texas -- yes, Arlington really is as hot in September as it is in August -- and then return for the home segment of the six-game Tampa two-step. The other games not played against Rays or Yankees? Ho-hum, just matchups with the Blue Jays, who have alternately infuriated and capitulated to Boston, and the blazing hot Cleveland Indians, who are putting on their best Colorado Rockies impression as we speak (Cliff Lee for Cy Young, anyone?).
But wait! There's still another team out there with a more realistic playoff run in than Cleveland -- a seven-game Wild Card deficit -- and the bats to go on a Rockies-like resurgence: the Yankees. That's right, folks, while last week seemed to deliver a bag-ful of body blows to the pinstripes -- all meticulously documented here and here, it's not completely out of the question that they could charge back into the playoffs. Sure, coolstandings.com has their playoff chances at a measley 1.4 percent, but what would their playoff percentage have been back in 1978?
That's right, they're not dead yet. Well, almost dead, but not COMPLETELY dead. Like that scene with Billy Crystal (appropriate, no?) in The Princess Bride. Add the Yankees into the mix, and we've got a crazy, long month ahead of us.
Three games against Toronto, for most of the season, was a ticket to a winning streak. Now, because of ignominous timing and a bad matchup in Paul Byrd's debut, because of bad weather and then a truly horrendous outing from Josh Beckett, the Red Sox hit the road riding a painful two game losing streak in need of redemption in Baltimore, just as the Orioles return from a demolition of the Tigers and surprising series win.
and Boston is in real trouble. (AP)
It's all part of a rapidly changing AL East which could wreak havoc on the American League playoff races. The interesting thing, of course, is that the three teams who finished on the bottom of the division last year are having the biggest swing effect a year later. Here's how, at least according to WMYM, it stacks up right now:
BALTIMORE: Is stunningly better than the Orioles team that started the season. The notable part of that, of course, is that the Orioles are essentially the same team, their young players are suddenly just significantly more confident. That's a testament to the entire organization, but mostly to 1) Adam Jones, who might be the most dynamic of the division's young center fielders (yes, that includes Jacoby Ellsbury), 2) Brian Roberts (is he ever going to stop producing?), 3) Jeremy Guthrie (has anyone even noticed that he's 8-2 since June 1st?) and, probably most significantly, GM Andy McPhail. We were sure that the walking disaster he created on the northside of Chicago was a product of the "real" McPhail. Evidently we were wrong. Sorry Senor Andy (yes, that is a Weeds joke).
BOSTON: Is this really a World Series team? It's hard to tell, but the fact that the Red Sox keep struggling to track down Tampa Bay, with the Rays mixing their fair share of L's in with the W's, mind you, doesn't necessarily bode well. Sure, the outfield is a hell of a lot more solid defensively with Manny Ramirez gone, and Jason Bay has done his best to reproduce the numbers ManRam was cranking out at the plate, and for the most part he's succeeded. Still, the team as a whole seems to be trucking along and winning by the skin of their teeth. And with outings like the one Joshie put up yesterday, there's a hell of a lot to be worried about.
NEW YORK: The Yankees are supposed to be the Yankees, and in truth there's still time for them to become the Yankees. But this team really doesn't like like they're ready to turn on the jets like New York teams in years past, does it? The more you watch, and the more injuries they're hit with, the more it looks like they're being completely held up by Derek Jeter and the ghost of Johnny Damon. Hell, maybe this really is the year that Jeter is finally just worn out and Damon is too injured to shake things up down the stretch. And now that we've just made that pronouncement, WMYM is going to go stab ourselves in the eyes repeatedly for putting out a reverse jinx on our own team.
TORONTO: Easily the scariest team on the schedule, because they can be a world beater one night (see: Sunday in Boston) and can look like a AAA composite the next. We've reached the point of the year where you're not beating Roy Halladay, and A.J. Burnett is going to put on the after-burners because he's ostensibly playing for a new contract. Scott Rolen finally looks comfortable, David Eckstein is still annoying and Cito Gaston is both back and fat. That's enough to make any matchup against them maddening, particularly since Gaston hasn't had time to lock into any discernable, long-term patterns yet. WMYM is already cringing thinking about Fri-Sun, not to mention that four-game Fenway series Sep. 12-14. And the three-game stretch on the 19-21.
OK, glad we're on the same page. (AP)
Where does that put everyone? It means the Red Sox are still not sure if they're the team they're supposed to be, Baltimore currently doesn't know who it's supposed to be so it's playing better than it should, Toronto is finally realizing who it was supposed to be and is playing like it, Tampa Bay is remembering the team everyone thought it would be and is scared and New York is, well, New York is just tired? Maybe we're off base here, but when you cut through all the commotion, that's what it looks like, doesn't it?
Thoughts? And as a result, how important does that make this series at Camden Yards? Sure seems important to us.
Amazingly, Jon Lester is transforming into an ace -- a lefty ace at that -- in front of our own eyes. A day after the pitcher he modeled himself after as a teenager, Andy Pettitte, riddled the Red Sox, Boston's own lefthanded power pitcher turned the tables, holding the Yankees to two runs in seven innings. He got into serious trouble only once, the fifth inning, and limited the damage of a bases-loaded, no outs scenario to the two runs he let in.
fans than this one from last night. (AP)
Beyond that, Lester was in such command that, had the fifth been avoided, he likely could have gone eight frames himself. Instead, he gave way to Manny Delcarmen, who was efficient for an inning before passing the torch to Mike Timlin, who aced his mop-up duty, thank you very much.
To say that the Red Sox had to have that victory is melodramatic. To say that a sweep at home by the Yankees would have been crushing is, too, but it's also probably accurate. Friday night's loss was devastating because it showed that Joba Chamberlain is advancing as fast as Lester. His upside is equally tremendous and, if he can become more consistent Chamberlain is starting to look like an outright Boston menace. Not to mention his penchant for throwing at Kevin Youkilis. That's a brawl waiting to happen.
And that drama doesn't even take the latest Manny Ramirez saga into account. ManRam has officially reached the point of no Red Sox return. Again. Of course, the latest "They can trade me. Sure. Whatever." development could all blow over by the time the Angels leave town if ManRam has a big series. And if he shuts up, either of which could happen and both of which might not. Either way, Sunday night provided a return to normalcy, with ManRam and David Ortiz connecting on key hits -- Big Papi's homer proving some of his power is back -- and Dustin Pedroia comfortable back in the lead-off spot, with Jacoby Ellsbury breathing easier at the bottom of the order.
Will things keep clicking with the Angels in town? They certainly didn't a little more than a week ago in Anaheim, and one out of three against the Yankees didn't help matters. Jon Lester DID help, but he won't get a shot to take care of the Angels. That's up to Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz and Josh Beckett.
And Big Papi and ManRam, of course. After all, some things don't change, including parity in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. This weekend certainly went a long way toward proving that yet again.
Josh Beckett is brilliant, but still loses. Joba Chamberlain looks like a world beater in Fenway Park. The pitching shines, again, but the Yankees -- thanks to Mariano Rivera -- wriggle out of sticky situations with ducks on the pond in the eighth and the ninth.
What can Boston fans say, except !@$(&%&Q@#$&.
Suddenly, a second-straight division title running away is down to a two-game lead. Suddenly, the Yankees are surging while the Boston lineup wilts. Suddenly the tables have turned, with pressure squarely on Tim Wakefield to come through with an enormous outing ... or else.
If that's not the worst possible scenario, WMYM isn't sure what is, all of which goes to prove that some of the worst nightmares still come when you're wide awake.
Oh wait, no it's not.
In case anyone was lost in the blue, the Red Sox and Yankees face off again tonight, the latest adventure in the tet-a-tet warfare that has decided the fate of the AL East for the past decade. While the Rays have made things in the division a heck of a lot more interesting this time around, you may have noticed the Yankees' stunning surge back into the thick of the race. Winning 10-straight at home will do that for you.
So will having a pitcher run headfirst into a renaissance year that nobody -- repeat: NOBODY -- thought could possibly happen. Mike Mussine SHOULD have made the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, no questions asked. He's been positively terrific, emerging as a staff ace with Ching Ming "I'm so quiet it creeps the hell out of my teammates" Wang on the DL and Joba Chamberlain adjusting to a new role as a starter.
Now that Chamberlain seems to be settling in, the entire division dynamic is shifting. The Rays are still streaking ahead, but each blip on the radar screen -- a Thursday night loss, for example -- seems significantly more poignant. Each loss is no longer just a segue back to expectations, but rather a step back from a truly unbelievable run which, quite naturally, becomes a lot more believable every time they lose.
Of course, the divisional flip side of the Rays success has been an overall Yankee malaise, and it seems fair to say that's gone ... completely. It's hard to pinpoint an exact moment when New York snapped back to relevancy and a realization that they were, in fact, the Yankees. If there was one snapshot that captured their moment of their in-season awakening, however, it appropriately came in the last series between these rivals.
According to a variety of New York media sources, Johnny Damon gave a rousing, "we're not playing hard enough, we're not fighting for wins," speech before the game with the Red Sox on Independence Day. Hours later, Damon was lost for weeks because of a headfirst run into the fence that left him looking ridiculous as the ball -- a triple by Kevin Youkilis -- nearly balanced atop the fence and then left him with a serious shoulder injury and a trip to the DL. He hadn't made the play, but his reckless effort had left a hell of an impression.
Needless to say, that would be an inspiring thing for almost anyone, Yankees not excepted. According to some in the clubhouse, it was. Suddenly New York is hitting, at least more than they were before, and they're pitching relatively efficient games.
Of course, with the exception of an abysmal three-game stretch in Anaheim last weekend, the Sox haven't been huge slouches lately either. But there are more glaring concerns in Boston's lineup than at any time previous. David Ortiz makes his return to the lineup tonight, but where will Terry Francona bat him? Does he slot back into third right away? The team's power hitters have increased slugging percentage admirably in his absence, so moving them in the middle of a Yankees series might not be the best way to get Big Papi back in the swing of things. Some of the lineup headache might be mitigated with Manny Ramirez out of the lineup with a sore knee, though that would raises bigger issues, with Ramirez's bat in absencia during an enormous series that could drastically swing momentum in the AL East. Not to mention the issue it raises about how someone could possibly injure their knee jaywalking in the Pacific Northwest.
Most of the scuttlebutt in Boston has focused on a monthlong slump by Jacoby Ellsbury, and the rookie could lose his leadoff spot though, again, that would be an interesting twist to the lineup at a particularly dramatic time to make the change. There's also the question mark that is Jed Lowrie -- can he really keep hitting above .300? -- and Coco Crisp's fleeting productivity.
On paper, Boston would seem to have a pitching edge. After all, no matter how strong Chamberlain looks in bursts, Josh Beckett > Chamberlain until further notice. There's no word that notice will ever come, either. Tim Wakefield has also been spectacular despite losses in recent starts. It's hard to blame him when he can't get W's despite limiting opponents to two runs across seven and eight innings. And Jon Lester has been the Red Sox' most reliable starter of all the past month, never clearer than in Seattle, when he settled into another stirring start with more emotional pangs, this time from a homecoming where he's showing what he can do when he really is healthy. Oh, and that Mussina guy WMYM was raving about? He's not pitching (you can exhale now).
What does that mean for the Sox at Fenway? It means pressure could swing wildly. If Boston wins behind Beckett on Friday, they would be in good shape for a strong weekend. If they lose, the pressure will get intense. Fast.
Hold on to your hats folks, here we go again. And this time around, make sure to bring you Madonna wigs and stillettos. If A-Rod thought the blond bombshell treatment was frustrating last spring, he's sure throwing a lot more firewood out for the flames.
That being said, just as we were pining away for a platform after a fairly demoralizing sweep in Tampa Bay -- three losses that highlighted both the shortcomings in Boston's bullpen and the problems of with an Ortiz-less lineup -- the Sox go out and look unbeatable in a pair of wins in the Bronx. OK, unbeatable is a bit strong. Still, Jon Lester was absolutely phenomenal in a five-hit shutout on Thursday night (yes, we know, the Yankees swung at a lot of first pitches) and Josh Beckett was in fine form on Friday, taking care of business before eventually ceding way to the bullpen for a few innings.
In fact, the Red Sox are actually only a failed attempt to get in two runs with the bases loaded and no outs away from being 3-0 through the first three in Yankee Stadium. Justin Masterson wasn't exactly weaving a gem yesterday afternoon on national TV, but his command came to him after a shaky first couple of innings, and he eventually showed why he has kept all the talk about getting Bartolo Colon or Clay Buchholz back into the rotation mighty quiet. Maybe it was the patriot hat that got Masterson back on the efficient track? Maybe. Or maybe it was just the fact that the Yankees lineup hasn't exploded. Yet.
That, in fact, is what has WMYM worried right now. Sure, Johnny Damon is out of the Yankees lineup for the foreseeable future, which ... shockingly ... is actually significant. And yes, A-Rod is mired in the most galling public personal issues this side of Max Moseley, but the last time we checked, that never slowed his ridiculous power hitting pace in the past.
Put all those factors together, and mix in the stunning seven Red Sox named to the All-Star team (remember, Terry Francona is the AL manager), the snubbing of Mike Mussina for the AL squad and the general frustration starting to vent out of the tiny holes in Yankees manager Joe Girardi's hat, and there's plenty of motivation for the Yankees and starter Joba Chamberlain to draw on in the series finale at Yankee Stadium on ESPN.
Of course, Tim Wakefield has had some good nights at Yankee Stadium in the past. Wishful thinking? Sure. But did you see him in his last loss in Tampa last week? Put that on display tonight, and the Sox have a shot.
1) Is there any way that the return of the Bullpen Band on Patriot's Day WOULDN'T be the top clip? We think not, particularly considering the fact that their incessant jug band style drumming sparked another rally. Coincidence? Not likely.
2) In case there was any question, Red Sox fans and Yankee fans still don't get along. Though the bitterness seems to be equally shared down in that New York borough now, doesn't it?
3) Everyone's seen this by now, but it's still worth watching out of sheer Schadenfruede. At least the "cursed" jersey sold for $110K for the Jimmy Fund.
4) More of the bedlam in the Yankee Stadium stands, though shouldn't a New York cop NOT be able to throw a fan's hat off the upper deck?
5) If anything, the World Series titles seem to have made Red Sox Parents even crazier than normal. WMYM is all for teaching the glorious ways of the Sox, but shouldn't Elmo get a little more face time first?
6) Say what you will about the New Hampshire Union-Leader's Sox coverage, but you have to give them this: As with this Masterson video, they often have impeccable timing.
7) Ahh, more of kids, Sox and hating the Yankees. Hard to go wrong with that combo.
8) We have a little credo here at WMYM: When in doubt, finish with a drunken old man dancing in the Fenway stands. The real question is whether he was getting down to Neil Diamond or just an old organ tune that was one of his childhood faves.
That being said, we really ought to start with Lester, whose recent struggles have dimmed the optimism which emerged after a brilliant second start in Oakland and a relatively solid spring training. Quite frankly, 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA is just not going to get it done. And while the Sox seem committed to letting Lester establish himself, Clay Buchholz's progress in recent starts could make things interesting if Bartolo Colon returns in Pawtucket and impresses the way he did before his most recent minor injury setback/round of trips to the buffet table.
So what can we expect from Lester tonight? Well, here's what he's facing. And while it would be easy to write off some concerns with the knowledge that he's facing off against an 0-3 Jason Jennings for the Rangers, that record for the Texas star is misleading, given the fact that he's 2-0 against the Sox in the past (though his last start against Boston was back in 2004).
Nonetheless, Jennings' early scuffles - if you can call an 8.79 ERA merely scuffles - and the sudden hot streak from Boston's bats - they've earned A -es from Inside Edge the past two games - should have things trending in the right direction. You would think. That would be comforting if not for the old baseball truism that momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher. And today's starting pitcher needs a good start. Badly.
Ok, so without further ado, here's what you're watching.
1) If ever there were a product that would make for an easy sale, it's a "Yankees Suck" beer koozie, right? Well, if there was any doubt you needed to purchase one, putting together a montage about everything worth hating about the Yankees isn't a bad way to convince the rest of us
2) Yes, they really do start them young in Boston. And fandom really is passed on hereditarily. Absolutely.
3) Sure it gets annoying after the first few minutes, but listening to a guy who has absolutely no concept of how baseball is played call the season opener is surprisingly entertaining at first. Don't take WMYM's word for it, take a listen yourself.
4) In case you just tuned in, Manny's been proving he's in fine form quite well this spring, thank you very much.
5) Bill James is the godfather of baseball stat heads, but he's also a key part of the Red Sox front office. 60 Minutes sat down with Senor James, owner John Henry and a handful of other front office types for a piece running this weekend. Worth checking out.
6) Everyone hates Mike Francesa from Mike and the Mad Dog, but perhaps you've never had a real concrete reason to, beyond the Yankee fandom. Well, now you have proof that he's a bonafide idiot, as he contradicts his own logic about Josh Beckett's injury within the span of 60 seconds. Truly brilliant stuff.
7) So, they shipped all those weird inflatable wiggle worms to Japan! That's where they went! Well, at least they made for a unique opening ceremony.
8) Sweet Caroline can get beyond any cultural barriers. You can almost see the tear in Neil Diamond's eye.
9) And just in case you were wondering if they'd exhausted memorabilia to emblazon with World Series Champions on it, they officially have.
With only a split in Japan, the Red Sox head back to the states facing one of the longest and most strenous stretches of opening games in recent memory. Actually, forget recent. Just memory, period. After all, when was the last time Baltimore wasn't involved in the opening two weeks of the season? Exactly, WMYM couldn't remember, either.
So, without further ado, let's check out the forthcoming sked, eh?
Well, no sweat then, right? Just three games in Toronto against the Blue Jays with undetermined starters before a return for a home opener against what could be the best 1-9 lineup in baseball since the 1928 Yankees? Oh, and don't forget to factor in the home opener factor in Oakland and what is close to a cross-country flight to get from Oakland to Toronto.
March 28: Red Sox at Dodgers, 10:40 p.m. (Exhibition) -- No TV -- Bartolo Colon
March 29: Red Sox at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. (Exhibition at LA Coliseum) -- on NESN -- Tim Wakefield
March 30: Red Sox at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m. (Exhibition) -- No TV -- Clay Buchholz
April 1: Red Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (Regular season) -- on NESN -- Daisuke Matsuzaka
April 2: Red Sox at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. (Regular season) -- on NESN -- Jon Lester
April 4: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:15 p.m. (Regular season) -- on NESN -- Pitcher TBD
April 5: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (Regular season) -- on NESN -- Pitcher TBD
April 6: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 1:07 p.m. (Regular season) -- on NESN -- Pitcher TBD
April 8: Red Sox vs. Tigers, 2:05 p.m. (Opening Day at Fenway) -- on NESN -- Pitcher TBD
Look, WMYM isn't trying to be overly pessimistic here, but it's hard to look at that slate and the current flux in the starting rotation without wincing just a bit. Clearly, things could all work out, but the Sox could also easily be starting a nasty little 2-6 start in the face. We'll see.
With that in mind, let's look at how things get rolling for the Yankees and Blue Jays, shall we?
Yankees:From the looks of it, the Blue Jays don't have it too easy. Or at least much easier than the Sox. The Yankees? That may be the opening cake walk of the century, no? If New York doesn't build a large divisional lead - what with the Blue Jays and Sox beating each other up - it'd be shocking, wouldn't it?
Mon. Mar. 31 - vs. Blue Jays
Wed. Apr. 2 - vs. Blue Jays
Thur. Apr. 3 - vs. Blue Jays
Fri. Apr. 4 - vs. Tampa Bay
Sat. Apr. 5 - vs. Tampa Bay
Sun. Apr. 6 - vs. Tampa Bay
Mon. Apr. 7 - vs. Tampa Bay
Tues. Apr. 8 - at Kansas City
Mon. Mar. 31 - at Yankees
Wed. Apr. 2 - at Yankees
Thur. Apr. 3 - at Yankees
Fri. Apr. 4 - vs. Red Sox
Sat. Apr. 5 - vs. Red Sox
Sun. Apr. 6 - vs. Red Sox
Tues. Apr. 8 - vs. Athletics
Now, there's always the other side of the coin, that a tough start naturally leads to an easier mid-season and, potentially, stretch run. Indeed, that's all well and good. But if the 2007 Red Sox season taught us anything, it should be that you can't underestimate a blazing start. Using an early slate against the woeful likes of Kansas City and B'more, Boston cruised to an early division lead when the Yankees scuffled, then buttressed it with a couple of midseason runs and held on. It was just more proof that it's easier to get a lead and hold it than come up the rail in a charge. Naturally, there are plenty of exceptions to that rule, but that would certainly be the rule to take exceptions from, rather than the other way around.
So what do people think? Is this a quicksand recipe for disaster, as it looks like? Or is this just granting the Sox a shot at an early season proving ground, which would help essentially build booster jets and lift Boston to another strong regular season?
Only time will tell, though the anticipation is enough to be crippling, isn't it?
Not to mention that it makes it a hell of a lot easier on WMYM, who spent two hours last week trying to format the video frames correctly only to see them cut into the text nonetheless. Gotta love the interwebs.
So, here's what WMYM dredged up this week, all while rowing Tim Wakefield down a river of his own tears after WMYM's personal anithero was released yesterday.
1) Just because it's spring training for players doesn't mean that mascots are lagging behind the eight-ball, too. Just check out Wally and Raymond, of Tampa Bay and crushing Sox dolls fame.
2) The Fort Myers News-Press was looking for the best Red Sox fan to chronicle for a day during spring training games. Needless to say, the "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" renditions aren't winning any spots on American Idol.
3) Hey, manic Red Sox fan is nothing new, but trying to teach a baby named Benjy to confirm season suppositions? A bit much, isn't it?
4) Pedroia hit Jim Rome's "Rome is Burning" show, and while a little distressed that he would make that appearance BEFORE the season, WMYM is nonetheless thrilled that he didn't deem it worthy of turning his hat the right way around.
5) Brokeback Yankees. Will the grill au' Rahgah and Andy ever get old? It's a dish WMYM could dine on every night.
6) It may be an easy target, but what did the Yankees expect when dropping a standup comedian in the leadoff hole? Billy Crystal struck out and ... WMYM's Schadenfruede ensues.
There should be a lot of tipped hats in the direction of Tommy Craggs, who deftly connected the Roger Clemens hearing on Capitol Hill - and the Rocket's alleged illicit steroid abuse therein - and Curt Schilling and his perfectly legal steroid use of cortisone as part of his "conservative" Red Sox rehab program.
Last week, a famous pitcher likely bound for the Hall of Fame was reportedly injected with a steroid in an effort to prolong his career. This news, however, was not greeted with any widespread clutching of pearls. There were no calls for Congressional meddling and no inquiries about any palpable growths on his hindquarters. There was no talk, either, of the sanctity of the record books, and no earnest invocations of The Children, those poor souls sent down a wayward path because Nook Logan might've dabbled with growth hormone. In fact, it was all perfectly legal. The pitcher's injection, according to the Boston Globe, was part of a "conservative treatment plan" laid out by his team's medical staff. The headline: "Schilling receives shot of cortisone."
Sure, it's just another spin on the traditional drug legalization argument, i.e. "why is enhancement through steroids different than lots of Aleve or - the argument holds - Lasik eye surgery? Well, in a way it's not. But in a different way, from a purely legalistic sense, it's completely different.
Craggs uses the Schilling comparison to allege that all the attention being lavished on Clemens - or lasciviously put upon him, as the Rocket might claim himself, is the result of a media hype machine that has spiraled out of control. The interesting thing, of course, is that today, Democrat Henry Waxman, the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee which called the meeting, agreed with Craggs.
"I'm sorry we had the hearing. I regret that we had the hearing. And the only reason we had the hearing was because Roger Clemens and his lawyers insisted on it," Waxman told the New York Times.
That statement, of course, begs the question of just who the hell was in control of this circus. If Waxman and his cohorts - notably retiring Virginia Rep. Tom Davis - couldn't see the partisanship that erupted Wednesday coming well ahead of time, then who could be expected to do so?
And that's the real point of this latest chapter of the ever-evolving, disgraceful steroids episode: If the government can't even rein in its own oversight of steroids, than why is it being trusted to oversee the illegal drugs in the first place? It's a legitimate question, and one that, by its very existence, may indicate that perhaps the government should step back and let baseball police itself. As more and more criticism has zeroed in on MLB, the league has stiffened its drug policy twice. What's more, the man doing so, Commissioner Bud Selig, has all but accepted a significant amount of the onus put on him and the league for its past failings. Does Selig deserve a life's worth of grief for his past inaction? Absolutely. Does he deserve commending for trying to promote tougher standards after the fact? Absolutely.
Of course, there is a solution that Waman, Davis and co. could universally impose that would actually make much, if not all, of this debacle better: They could mandate WADA anti-doping regulations that match the severity of the punishment meted out on professional cyclists and track and field stars. A life of indignity and shame seems to be starting to trickle down and cool the petri dish in which athletes of those sports have been cooking up new, designer steroids and hormones.
If you don't believe it, you don't have to go too far into Capitol Hill's past hearings to see its affect. Or you can visit a Texas prison. There's an inmate there named Marion Jones who'd be happy to tell you she'd do things differently if she got the benefit of a Round 2.
That being said, we couldn't hold back from posting this video, which is the clear highlight of yesterday's proceedings. Not only is Henry Waxman a powerful individual, he's a powerful individual with a gavel, and he's one of the dorkiest looking people on the planet, which makes the following all the more enjoyable.
So, have a nice laugh on Rahgah. It's ok, he deserves it.