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For those of you who don’t read backwards, the point of my title (Did Girardi Get Things Backwards) is to ask what the heck he was doing tonight.  I will accept that he wanted to hold Kennedy back because of the rain, but after Bruney went two innings and the umpires showed no signs of stopping the game in the monsoon, why not bring him in then?  Or after Traber went one, rain still pouring, wasn’t that the time?  Or, Farnsworth pitched an inning without giving up a run, (who cares about the rain!) isn’t that the time? 

No, apparently the time was the sixth inning, down 2-0 which in itself is a very odd choice.  Consdier that at most Kennedy was going to pitch four innings (I am assuming a regulation game here) and if the Yankees took the lead, wouldn’t you expect to see Mo or Joba towards the end of the game?  And that means you are using Kennedy for three innings at most.

Now, maybe Girardi’s thought process was with Ohlendorf unavailable, he had no one left in the pen besides Mo and Joba so he had to use Kennedy and he isn’t wrong, but it makes his previous management of the game that much more confusing. 

I don’t get it at all, anyone have a clue?  (Can’t wait for the press conference after the game) 

Things Like This Drive Me Nuts

So, the Yankees have promoted Alberto Gonzalez from AAA and optioned Shelly Duncan to Scranton.  Gonzalez is also going to be the starting shortstop while Jeter recovers.

I just have to ask, why is Wilson Betemit on this team then?  If you don’t trust Betemit to play shortstop when Jeter is out, why do you need him?

I understand the concern that Jeter could be out a week and you want middle inifield depth on the roster, so optioning Duncan makes sense.  You have Ensberg to backup Giambi as needed, no problems there.  But, promoting Gonzalez into the starting lineup is stupid.  Thankfully, Posada is probably going to be back sooner than we thought, but until then 7-8-9 in the lineup is Molina, Cabrera, Gonzalez.  Gonzalez is not an offensive player, he is known for his glove.  If the Yankees want him out there with Wang on the mound, I have no problems, but it doesn’t make any sense otherwise.  

Well, big start for Kennedy tonight, let’s see if he can recover from last Friday.  

Billy Buck

Bill Buckner, doesn’t owe Red Sox fans anything.  There’s no need to apologize and there no need for any forgiveness.  The Red Sox blew the 1986 World Series, not Bill Buckner.

I could not have been happier at the sight of Buckner walking towards the mound from left field to throw out the first pitch.  I was quite surprised he accepted, but I’m glad he did.  For years, Buckner has let it be known that he wasn’t interested in accepting forgiveness because he always felt he didn’t need any, because he didn’t do anything wrong and he is right.

Now before I go too far here, any real Red Sox fan knows that it wasn’t Buckner that caused the Red Sox to lose game 6.  There were many events and bad plays in that game that collectively led to the Red Sox defeat.  Real Red Sox fans know how games are won and lost and realize it is a team sport.

The media, on the other hand, had to take Buckner’s game 6 error and run it up the flag pole for the past 21 years.  They made money off of that play, but they didn’t convince real Red Sox fans.  Buckner has nothing to apologize for.

Yesterday after the game, Kevin Youkilis had some interesting words about Buckner and Red Sox fans.

I’ve probably never almost been in tears for somebody else on the baseball field.  I think it was just the most unbelievable thing.  It shows how great of a man Bill Buckner is.

There’s not too many people that can do what he did today and face thousands of people that booed him, threatened his life.  For a man to step out there on the field, it shows how much of a man he is.  I tip my cap.  I just wanted to shake his hand because that’s a true man in life.

I appreciate his feelings toward Buckner, but I’m not sure I agree about the fans booing him and threatening his life.  Now I have to cut Youkilis some slack, he was 7 years old when game 6 of the 1986 World Series was played, so he really can’t be considered a reliable witness, but if he were to investigate things, he’d realize Buckner never was booed at Fenway Park.  In fact, he played 75 games for Boston in 1987 and returned again in 1990. He didn’t get booed.  Sure perhaps by a select for nitwits, but not as a whole.

The media grew the storyline about him being hated here in Boston, not the fans.  Youkilis needs to research this a bit.

Buckner said as much himself.

I really had to forgive, not the fans of Boston per se, but I would have to say in my heart, I had to forgive the media for what they put me and my family through.  So you know, I’ve done that and I’m over that.

Well Bill, maybe the media will let this one die too.  But if not, who cares, you have always known and will continue to know that Red Sox fans appreciate all you gave to the Red Sox and baseball and you’ll never have to apologize for a thing around here.

Injuries Are Mounting

Connect the dots and the picture doesn’t look good.  Jeter is out until at least Friday and Alberto Gonzalez was pulled out of his game in Scranton tonight.  Jorge Posada is pulled mid-game today and is headed for a MRI.  Posada admits he isn’t helping the team at all and could be headed to the DL.  Worst case scenario, both players hit the DL and the Yankees have some lineup holes to deal with.

Let’s start with what should be the easiest one to fill and that’s Jeter.  Betemit will be fine filling in for him against righty pitching.  But, if the Yankees face a lefty, the sensible thing is to put A-Rod at short.  You put A-Rod at short and you put Ensberg at third when you face a lefty.  If Posada is down too, you need offense and that maximizes it.  The only reason I can think of for why the Yankees wouldn’t do this is because they don’t want to upset Jeter.  Jeter’s feelings on this don’t matter (and I don’t know if he would be hurt) this is about the team and that means the needs of 24 outweigh the needs of 1.

As for Posada, the Yankees can’t replace him.  I have said it for years, but one day the lack of a backup catcher will really hurt the Yankees, unfortunately, this might be that time.  And would that mean Chad Moeller takes Posada’s spot?  Cervelli’s wrist injury certainly came at a bad time and he would probably go on the 60-day DL to make room for Moeller.

As for today, read Mitchell’s comment under "That Didn’t Take Long" for a good take on younger pitchers. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Welcome to Fenway Park

Finally, a Red Sox home opener.  Today marks the 4th time the Red Sox have participated in a home opener of the season.  One in the Toyko Dome, at Oakland, at Toronto and now at Fenway.

Let’s hope an extra cup of coffee can help the home team get on base and score some runs.  The wounded Detroit Tigers are in town and off to an 0-6 start.  The are a bit hurt, but are too good a team to rollover and play dead.

No matter the competition, it is nice to have the local team home.

Expect Coco Crisp in CF today.  As reader blmeanie pointed out, the Red Sox really need Crisp to hit a bit in order to trade him.  If he keeps up his .235/.235/.294 (yes, a whopping .529 OPS) numbers, they’ll have to cut him.  "Time to put some lipstick on this pig."  Either way, time to say goodbye to Coco.  I know, I’m beating a dead horse here.

Play ball!

So Long Snyder and Casey Being Manny?

If seems as if the Red Sox are finally feeling the effects of a 19 day, 3 country and 16,000 miles road trip.  The bats are asleep and the middle relief is missing.  With all of that in mind, the Red Sox designated 6′ 8" reliever Kyle Snyder for assignment.  They have 10 days to decide what to do with him (trade or outright release).  He is out of options, so sending him to Pawtucket wasn’t possible.

Too bad too, Snyder from all reports was a good teammate, but that’s not enough to win/hold a roster spot.  Of course Snyder was moved to make room for Josh Beckett, not just because he had a 21.60 ERA.  Beckett’s arrival couldn’t have come sooner.  The Red Sox are just playing lousy baseball right now.  Perhaps lousy isn’t apt, uninspired baseball?  That sounds better.

One major disappointment for me was the play of Sean Casey on Saturday.  Casey was giving Kevin Youkilis a rest at first and made a big 2-run error in the 4th inning, then pulled a Manny at the plate later in the game.  Casey hit a ball he thought was ultimately fielded in foul territory near home plate and decided not to run to first base.  Well replays seemed to indicate the ball was fielded in fair territory (the home plate ump could not have been closer to the play).  It was a very disappointing display by Casey.  What made it worse was that the throw to first from the catcher was off and pulled the first baseman off the bag and might have allowed a hustling Casey to reach base.  Put your head down and run Sean.  This is Major League Baseball.  Not a very good first impression.

With a day off Monday, the Red Sox can see their families again and get some well earned rest.  They’ll need it because Detroit comes to town for Tuesday’s home opener.

That Didn’t Take Long

It took all of five games for Jason Giambi to suffer an injury, he tweaked his groin today.  While it is supposedly not serious it comes at a bad time, Shelly Duncan starts his suspension tomorrow. I’ve mentioned this a lot, but it is worth repeating, Giambi isn’t going to physically be able to start 100+ games in the field, it’s that simple. 

As for last night and today, Mitchell nailed it with his description of the games as "ugly".  Let’s hope for a better result tomorrow.

Melky Suspended

Melky Cabrera cut a deal today that lowers his suspension to two days.  That means he is out tonight and tomorrow and Damon is therefore in center with Matsui in left.  The interesting thing is that Betemit will DH tonight. Since they are facing a righty, you want Giambi in the lineup, but wouldn’t this have been a good chance to get his glove away from first? 

As part of the Melky deal, Shelly Duncan also dropped his appeal and will begin serving his suspension Sunday.  I don’t know the background on this, but I find it interesting that MLB cut this deal.  Essentially, they said that if you don’t make a stink about the suspensions you can avoid playing down two players this weekend.  Seems a little strange.

UPDATE: Scratch part of the above, the Yankees have decided to put Posada in at DH and Molina in a C.  Posada was originally going to catch, but now he is just DH’ing.  Also, Joe Girardi is so sick with the flu that Rob Thomson will manage tonight.   

What Did I Miss?

The Red Sox are finally going to play a game at a reasonable hour.  Tonight marks the first game in which I’ll be able to watch most, if not all 9 innings.  6AM starts, 10PM, 3:30pm (on a weekday).  Please, I am fairly grumpy that I have had to wait until game 5 to see a regularly scheduled Red Sox game.

I’ve been finding it difficult to post of late, so I’ll try and dump as much in to this one as possible (difficult b/c I’m spending most of my time surfing the channel line-up looking for Red Sox games which start at 6AM…).

MLB announced payrolls for 2008 and the Red Sox are in 4th place with $133.4mm, behind the Yankees – $209.1mm, The Tigers – $138.7mm and the Mets – $138.3mm.  Individual salaries for the Red Sox breakdown like this (taken from the Boston Globe):

Manny Ramirez — $18,929,923
J.D. Drew — 14,000,000
David Ortiz — 13,000,000
Mike Lowell — 12,500,000
Jason Varitek — 10,442,031
dl-Josh Beckett — 10,166,667
Julio Lugo — 9,250,000
Daisuke Matsuzaka — 8,333,333
dl-Curt Schilling — 8,000,000
Coco Crisp — 5,083,333
Tim Wakefield — 4,000,000
Julian Tavarez — 3,850,000
dl-Mike Timlin — 3,000,000
Kevin Youkilis — 3,000,000
Alex Cora — 2,000,000
Hideki Okajima — 1,275,000
Javier Lopez — 840,000
Kyle Snyder — 835,000
Sean Casey — 800,000
Jonathan Papelbon — 775,000
Dustin Pedroia — 457,000
Kevin Cash — 450,000
Jon Lester — 421,500
Manny Delcarmen — 421,000
Jacoby Ellsbury — 406,000
Bryan Corey — 405,000
David Aardsma — 403,250
Clay Buchholz — 396,000

Bartolo Colon had a 5 IP, 1H s, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K outing last night in Pawtucket’s home opener.  I said it before, and Peter said he hoped for it too, that I think Colon will settle in as the #5 (and eventually be the 3 or 4) sometime this season.  The Globe reported that his fastball topped out at 96mph and his last pitch of the night hit 95mph.  Colon was the Cy Young winner just 3 seasons ago and if he is healthy, he could be a significant contributor.  No knock against Clay Buchholz, but I want the best option in there.  It can’t hurt Buchholz to spend some time in Pawtucket this year.

Fenway Park, set to host the Red Sox home opener this coming Tuesday, has had some work done.  Along with a tummy-tuck, it also underwent an "enhancement" shall we say.  Wait, what am I talking about?  With the addition of 975 seats and standing room only tickets, the Red Sox now have an official capacity of 39,928.  Wow, almost at the 40k figure.  Gone are the giant Coke bottles and in their place is an old-timey Coca-Cola sign.  Visit RedSox.com for more details on all the changes/improvements.

Ok, one last item.  Coco Crisp.  I think I wrote something similar last year, but I have no faith in him right now.  He just seem to take weak cuts at the plate.  His defense is not an issue, in fact it is great, but his offense is just non-existant.  Such a major disappointment since his arrival.  Time to send him packing and call up Bobby Kielty or Brandon Moss.

Kevin Cash catches Tim Wakefield tonight in Toronto.  It’s about time we get to see some primetime Red Sox coverage.

Three Games In

Only a fool would try and draw conclusions after three games.  So, with that out of the way, what can we surmize from the series with the Jays?

Well, two things leap out at me, one small one (that I think) is big.

The small thing is the use of the bullpen.  No, it didn’t take much to figure out that Joba and Mo would pitch the 8th and 9th, but I found Girardi’s use of the pen tonight very, very interesting.  Hughes looked great, but 87 pitches at this time of year is probably a good time to quit, so I have no qualms with his removal.  Traber to start off against Overbay makes plenty of sense and that is where things got interesting.

First, it appears Traber is truly going to be a lefty specialist, otherwise, why not let him pitch to Aaron Hill, not exactly a huge hitter.  Ok, so let’s assume that Traber is going to fill the lefty role and just that role, I thought the next move was even more interesting, bringing in Bruney.  Now, I have nothing against Bruney and you can make the case that since Farnsworth and Hawkins pitched last night they were unavailable, but I thought the fact that he came into a 2-2 game was very telling.  To me it really showed that Joe is letting everyone turn over a new leaf.  We shall see….

The bigger thing in my mind has been seeing Jason Giambi out at first in two very close wins.  Giambi certainly showed that his defense isn’t any better Wednesday, but Girardi trusted him with the game on the line in the ninth tonight the same way he did Tuesday.  Joe Torre never would have done that and it makes me thing that the Yankees are really going to put Giambi in the field 100+ times this year.  I have serious doubts that that will be a successful plan, but I think that is the way things are going.  

Two other notes, both from the strange but true department.

According to YES, Phil Hughes is the second-youngest player in the AL right now.  I have no idea if that is right or not, but it is worth remembering that he is still only 21.

A hawk attacked a young girl at Fenway Park today.  I think it is horrible, but the weird part is her name.  They really take this rivalry seriously in Boston, don’t they?