PhilSox Blog: July 2007


7/25/07 Boxed Up

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Well! What a night! Not all of it good, but what a night, none-the-less!
Turn about is fair play, they say, but it still stings getting beaten 1-0 after doing the same to the Indians the night before. On Wednesday it was Carmona and Borowski for the Indians and Josh Becket threw the rare complete game loss. The Sox had two runners caught stealing (Varitek and Lugo) late in the game and on thrown out at home (Crisp) after a David Ortiz single.

The Phils, oh my the Phils! I got to watch this game. After leading the entire way, the Phils managed to blow a 2 run, ninth inning lead. So, it's the bottom of the ninth, no one on, two out, when Jimmy Rollins comes to the plate. He launches one to left center, where Church and Logan both manage to miss it! Jimmy, who remembered the little league coach who told him to run hard even when you think your out, was rounding second when the throw came into short stop Felipe Lopez - who boofed it! Rollins sees this and sprints home. He slides head first and the catcher, Schneider, drops the ball. Tie game!!! Cut to the 14th, same 5-5 score. For the fifth inning in a row, the Phils get their lead off man on (four of those were walks, including this one to Utley.) Up comes our boy Ryan Howard who rockets one to right center, second deck, for the walk off!


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7/24/07 Boxed Up

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What we got from the Sox last night was the classic pitchers duel between Dice-K and Sabathia. In the end, neither finished the game, but the relievers did them proud and we got to take the 1-0 victory after Okajima and Papelbon came in.

The Phils took care of the Nats without too much issue. Rollins and Rowand homered, and Rowand had an assist, throwing Jason Bergman out at home.

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7/23/07 Boxed Up

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I was a little worried about the return of Jon Lester and thought that it might be more sentiment than logic. Thankfully, my worries were unfounded. Lester pitched strong last night against the Indians, giving up 5 hits and 2 runs over 6 innings. Sports Center included shots of his mom and dad in the stands. It was a real "feel good" moment.

Chad Finn's TATB post for today talks about the option of using Lester in a trade for Mark Teixeira of the Rangers.

The only home run of the game came from Cleveland's Grady Sizemore, a two run shot that accounted for all of the Indian's offense. Coco Crisp continued his hot steak at the plate going 4 for 5. Also, continuing their hot streak, the Sox bull pen covered 3 scoreless innings, giving up only 1 hit!

Tonight we face Sabathia...GO SOX!!

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Monday, July 23, 2007
With this summers huge increase in my baseball fascination has come a noticeable change in my behavior, or so it would seem. As a result, I’ve been getting questioned about it, both from family and friends. Most inquiries can be summarized into to main questions, so I thought I’d take some time to formulate answers to them, as much for ma as for anyone.

Q1: Why has my interest in baseball grown so much this year?

The most truthful response to this is simply, “I don’t know!” There are many smaller factors that I can point to, but nothing that jumps out as a cause, in and of itself. First, there’s my son, Steven. He’s three and a half and smart as a whip, so I’ve been talking to him a lot already about sports and the teams I like. He already has a handle on the evil versus the good. Penn State, evil. Notre Dame, good. Dallas Cowboys, evil. Philadelphia Eagles, good. I’m trying to keep him focused on the Red Sox and talk about how happy Yanker losses make us. I have told him about the evil Atlanta Braves (here on out, they shall be referred to as the Bravos) and why Mike Schmidt is the greatest third baseman ever! I’m also teaching him that the NBA should be disbanded.

There is my age. I’m now 36 and though I can’t say why, I believe that has something to do with why I’m in love with baseball.

There is MVP Baseball 2005, released the spring after the Sox took the series, with Manny as its main logo boy. That has helped me learn a lot of the nuances of the game. I also have a coworker who is a huge statistics nut and likes baseball a lot. The unfortunate thing is that he’s a Yankers fan, but no one is perfect, right?

Somehow this summer the magic of baseball has suddenly become clear to me. It has been years and years since I went to a game and I’m dying to do so. Even still, my mouth almost waters thinking about sliders and double-plays, and no-nos. I wish I could make it clearer, but I can’t.

Q2: Why the Phillies and the Red Sox?

I touched on this in the opening post of this blog, but let me recap. I grew up a Phillies fan, so they will always have a part of my heart. My father and grandfather were both Phillies fans. The cruel irony of life no more evident than in the fact that my grandfather died during the 1980 World Series! Talk about heartbreak. Obviously, it took all the joy out of it for dad, but I was young enough that I have clear memories of both things and they have somehow stayed separate.

As for the Sox, part of it will always be the under dog thing, although that really doesn’t apply like it used to. But there is just something about the Sox! Those white home uniforms, almost blindingly white! No pretentious pinstripes, no names, just the red and black on that white! The Green Monster! Pesky pole! Tessie! Sweet Caroline! Muddy Water! Talking about it makes we want to drive to Boston tomorrow. (Which would do me no good since they’re in Cleveland for four.)

In rooting for the Sox, there has to be some credit given to the Yankers. I can't stand them and I never could. There's no mystery here, I hate them for the same reasons that most people cite. They have an ass for an owner who not only vomits money out to lure high priced talent, then throws them away when he's done. He cares only about two things: money and winning. That leave out one very important thing...the game. He's borderline psychotic with his tyrranical rants and his obsession to hair (or having very little of it.) The league exists in spite of Steinbrenner, not because of him. So, that make the Red Sox all the more lovable!

I suppose it will become clear from this blog that although I have history with the Phils that began long before when I fell for the Sox*, I am, these days, a fledgling member of the Red Sox Nation and worry about them much more that Philly.

Sorry Dad. Sorry Pop-pop!

*As I mentioned in that opening post, I rooted vaguely for the Sox since just after college when I got the hat from Dad. But I really began to fall for the Sox in 2003. I don’t claim full pre-2004 bragging rights by any stretch, but I refuse to be called a band wagon jumper, either.

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Rainy Monday

Not that it matters to the Phils who have the day off before beginning a 6 game home stand against the Nats and the Pirates. It is raining though, at least in central PA.

What a weekend. Most notable, and a detail that I missed in yesterday's Boxed Up, the Phils scored 4 of those runs against the Pads ace, Jake Peavy.

I'm really glad the the Sox took 3/4 from Chicago. Now they're headed to Cleveland for a four game set with the much stronger Indians. Boston is has called up cancer survivor Jon Lester from AAA Pawtucket to get the start. While his story is certainly moving, having come back from illness, I can't help but wonder if this first game in Jacobs Field is the best idea.

Meanwhile, the Yankers will continue their cake eating, with upcoming series against K.C., Baltimore, and the ChiSox. The Red Sox are going to need to stay sharp to protect the 7.5 game lead while in Cleveland, then we get to go to the anemic Devil Rays, then to Baltimore.

I'm taking advantage of this rainy day to play hookie and read the end of "Faithful", the book about the 2004 Sox written by Stewart O'Nan and (one of my idols) Stephen King. I'm almost done - just finished reading the sections about Game 3 of the WS. This book is a must read for a Red Sox fan. It's so detail rich that I've had to keep reminding myself that we're leading the AL east right now, not 8 games out like the '04 team was around August.

Faithful coverStephen KingStewart O'Nan

7/22/07 Boxed Up

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The weekend wraps up well. Phils rout the Pads for the second straight night. Sox end up taking 3 out of 4 from the lowly ChiSox.

I was gone all day, so I'm catching up on the details, but apparently, Manny and Mike Lowel both hit 3 run jacks for the Sox. Francona still seems to not always understand when his starter is tired. I don't know what his pitch count was, but then Wake came back in in the 7th was when he gave up the last of his earned runs. After that, the pen was strong. Perhaps if Delcarmen had started the inning? Papi did not play again, but Francona insists all is well.

Durbin was HOT for Philly, throwing a complete game, 5 hit shut out. The Phillies' bats were hot, including Rollins who went 3 for 4, including an intentional walk, a triple, and a solo homer. Victorino, Coste, and Rowand combined for 7 RBIs.

7/20/07 Boxed Up

Saturday, July 21, 2007

I told you what you needed to know about the Sox game. Here's the Phillies info...

Eaton gets the win, as one of 5 Phils hurlers to play. Eaton collided with an upm while trying to cover third, but it apparently didn't phase him. Utley gets his 17th jack.

Speaking of the Phillies pen, four guys (Romero, Madsen, Zagurski, Alfonseca) managed only fours hits and one run over 3 1/3 innings. That's what we like to see!

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That's What I'm Talkin' About!

Friday, July 20, 2007
10 - 3 Red Sox over the ChiSox! Lugo slaps a Grand Slam in the 8th to seal the coffin!

I'm living in PA and have no way to see these games (I'm thinking about MLB.TV, which would give me everything but the Yanker games) so I'm "watching" it on MLB Gameday. I'm all alone, wife's at work, kids are in bed. I'm thinking Youkilis might hit the homer with 2 on, but he gets beaned. Lugo comes pitch...GRAND SALAMI!!!!!

I danced around the room.

Plus, Tampa Bay is batting in the 9th at Yanker Stadium, with a 14 - 4 lead.

Plus, according the tomorrows Boston game is supposed to be on Fox.

I love the weekend!

7/19/07 Boxed Up

Good Grief! The Yankers finally dump one and this is what the Sox do? Tank a lead to the lowly White Sox? How mortifying!

Once again, no freakin' late inning offense what-so-ever! Dice-K gives up only two hits, but gets three earned runs. Perhaps it was the 6 walks? Then, while our bats are leaving 9 men on base, Okajima gives up a jack to Konerko. Many takes a shot at what probably would've been the game winner, and he ends up putting in the deepest part of the field and flying out.

In my next post, I'll describe what this is doing to my sleep!

There there's my Phillies. No late inning offense, no early inning offense either? The Padre's Young gave up only 2 hits and 3 walks in 7 innings. Hammels does great for Philly, but with no runs...need I say more?

Same game times tonight: Sox at 7:05, Phils at 10:05 I might be able to watch the Phils tonight if my nerves can stand it!

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Jeter Likes'em Smart

Thursday, July 19, 2007
You can say what you want about Derek Jeter and his ability at short stop, but apparently, he knows how to pick a woman.

Here's a quote from the lovely Jessica Biel, known Jeter babe:

“I didn’t really understand the rivalry until I went to a game [at Yankee
Stadium]…I went to Tufts so… and my friend told me I had to wear Red Sox gear...
It was one of the best New York experiences of my life [being a Red Sox fan in
Yankee Stadium] and I loved it. I had a hat, I had a Red Sox t-shirt, they knew
who I was. It was pretty interesting.” -- 7.19.07, Jessica Biel, Regis and Kelly

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752 and 753

I hate to stand on convention (it has never stood on me,) but I have to weigh in on the Barry Bonds thing. What would a baseball blog be without at least mentioning the biggest story in baseball?

After sitting out for three games with bow legs or shin splints (or whatever), Bonds played today at Wrigley field and hit home runs 752 and 753. He's back on track again and looking to break Aaron's record in the next week or two. So, in honor of this dubious occasion, let me pause to answer some obvious questions as to my thoughts on the whole thing.
  1. Will Bonds break Aaron's record? Without a doubt.
  2. Will I be watching when it happens? If I can. I'm a baseball fan!
  3. Do I think there should be an asterisk on the record? Only if it is proven that he used PEDs.
  4. Do I think he used Performance Enhancing Drugs? Yes, I do.
  5. What do I think, in general, about Bonds breaking this record? I wish it were someone who was a classier guy. Someone who is a little less miserable and mean to teammates and people in general. I will wait patiently for A-Rod to catch him and put this chapter of baseball history behind us.

I, for one, do not believe that alleged steroid use is the worst issue with Bonds. The worst issue is, by far, his attitude. Bonds is not a team player according to many people who have been on teams with him. He jogs to first when he grounds out, but then can steal a base in the next game, which leads me to believe that he dogged it not because of age or injury, but just because he felt like it. He is one of the only players (if not the only) who refuses to lend his name to video games that the Players Association sanctions. He continually blames everyone (fans, media, legal system, etc) for all his woes and never takes responsibility for anything (infidelity, tax evasion, PEDs, etc.) Bonds is one of those athletes who has forgotten the amazing fact that he gets paid to play a game and he should be thankful for that. He should accept his position as a role model for youth even though he did not specifically ask to be such.

At the same time, one cannot logically refute that the man is one of the most gifted/talented individuals to ever play the game. 756 will be an historical moment. I suppose I can put the animosity aside for a night and watch him circle those bases. And I sincerely hope that Bud Selig is there. It is his job!

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Taking a Breath

The Yankers lost to Toronto, 3-2.

*slow sigh*

It seems as though Wang was pitching a pretty tight game for New York up until the beginning of the 7th. All 3 Blue Jay runs were his and New York was blanked after getting 2 in the first inning because Johnny D. and Jeeter walked, then Abreu knocked them in (New York's only extra base hit.)

Sox play at 7:05, at home against the White Sox.

"Go Sox" isn't specific enough, then, huh?

The Phils are done with the Dodgers and are moving on to San Diego for a 10:05 PM (EST) start.

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What, Me Worry?

It doesn't seem like all that long ago I was gloating a bit over a Yankers team that was 12 or so games behind the Red Sox. It's mostly because it wasn't all that long ago. As of today, has the spread down to 7 games. ESPN is saying 6, but there seems to be some issue over a game with Baltimore that got rained out or something. Even my Yanker fan coworkers are stating 7. My questions then:

Is it time to freak out yet?

According to an article on (which I cannot verify the validity of) it is still not time to lose sleep (although that is exactly what I did last night.) Basically, this article talks about how, so far, the Yankers are playing about .500 ball, the Sox .600. Pizza Cutter, the author of the piece, states that the odds of a team that is truely .500 playing .600 ball for half a season is something like 2.5%. Translation: This is the chance that the Sox are playing over their heads. similarly, the odds of the Yankers playing .500 ball when they are really a .600 or better team is about the same. I am not a statistical genius, so I'll have to trust Pizza Cutter when he (or she, I suppose) states that the chances of both of these things being true is something like .06%. This then means that for there to be a reversal of the first half of the year, which is pretty much what needs to happen for the Yankers to end up over the Sox, the odds are less than 1%.

There's lots of talk about the trade deadline, also, and the Sox apparent need for relievers. While One week doesn't mean everything, the last few losses for the Sox have seen pretty steady relief. All but one had relievers shutting out oppoents. This has me thinking that perhaps the issues that needs to be addressed is run production, particularly in the latter innings. When the Sox get a lead lately, the pen holds it (for the most part). When Boston is behind, the bats aren't producing rallies. Now, not only I don't think that the Sox run production is an issue that has to be addressed by trading (though they are apparently looking at Mark Teixeira), picking up the wrong reliever could possibly mess with the mojo of the part of the equation that isn't the problem.

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7/18/07 Boxed Up

What can I say? The Yankers are now only 7 games back. They beat the Jays again!

Manny had a chance to tie or win the game in the 9th when he flew out with a man on base. He did have a nice catch at the wall earlier in the game that would have been more trouble. For a change, he was playing in left as opposed to deep short-stop like he usually does at home. Tavarez had a weak outing, earning all 6 Royals runs in his 4 2/3 innings. The pen held, but they just got no help. The Sox left 8 men on base.

Similar story for the Phils. Kendrick earned all the L.A. runs in 5 1/3. Phils left 7 men on base. Ryan Howard hit his 25th jack.

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Trade Deadline

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
The Phillies are, once again, not close enough to the post season to make us confident, but no so far away that we've given up hope. As I type this, they are 5 games back in their division and 4.5 games back in the WC. So, with the trade deadline approaching, ESPN posted an article that talked about them selling off Aaron Rowand in the hopes of getting pitching help.

Rowand is having a good year. He's one of only Phillies starters batting over .300 (his .333 and Utley's .338) and he doing good in the field. Many seem to think that he's playing a bit above himself. His average is the highest its ever been by about 30 points or so.

Pitching hasn't been the a strong point in Philly, almost ever. My opinion is that for the post-season, if there is any shot at it at all, Phllies need pitching. That leaves two questions. First, do we give up Rowand on the outside chance that we make the post-season? Second, if we are going to get rid of him, what can we get and will it be enough? Aaron Rowand

As for that latter issue, I'm torn. The Phils end up losing the few good players that they get when they can (won't) pay them (Scott Rolen, most recently.) Should we be thinking about holding on to Rowand in the event that his numbers aren't a surge, but more of a maturation? Also, I am not savvy enough to know whether there is anyone out there with a pitcher (starter would be better, reliever might be doable) who needs a hitting outfielder.

Reading some things I could find from White Sox fans, there seems to be quite a few that miss him (particularly with the way things are going for the ChiSox as of late.) Plus, he does play hard. He's darn near killed himself since being in a Phillies uni to make a catch (May 11, 2006 against the Mets).

I'm leaning toward keeping him.

Perhaps I should simply say a prayer?

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7/17/07 Boxed Up

As you can see, my Sox got clobbered last night by the lowly Royals. Wake lasted 6 1/3 innings, giving up 9 hits and 6 runs. We had no homers (the night before, all of our runs were the direct result of three long balls from Pedroia, Manny, and Ortiz.)

In Philly, reversal of fortune. After getting that 10,000th loss to the Cards and then a drubbing by the Dodgers, the Phills came on like a juggernaut last night. Howard had 2 home runs, both two run shots. Burrell and Rowand both had solo blasts. Victorino went 5 for 7 with 2 RBI's. Durbin had a solid outing - 6 innings, one run on 6 hits. This game was on the tube, so I got to watch a little of it, but I got tired and missed most of the good stuff.

The Yankers won an extra-innings thriller on a walk-off hit by Cano to beat the visiting Blue Jays.

Considering this is my first posted set of boxes on PhilSox, isn't it interesting that the first place Sox got drubbed by a crappy team and the struggling Phils wallopped L.A.?

Hey, Alanis! This is ironic.

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Welcome (What's it all About?)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I have become obsessed with baseball. There, I've said it. I feel better already.

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, I was bred to be a Phillies fan. My father was a Phillies fan. His father was to. As for my grandfather, his is an interesting story, one rife with the heartache of watching the Phillies franchise since his childhood...But more on Pop-Pop, later.

I was 9 when the Phillies won the World Series. I can still remember it. Bits and pieces of it, anyway. I have a clear memory of Bob Boone and Pete Rose over by the dugout doing that little juggling act for that ama
zing out. I can remember Tug McGraw on the mound, patting his hand on his heart in an attempt to slow it down after a long drive that, mercifully, went foul. I can also remember him leaping into the air after getting the last out.

I grew up wanting to be Tug, or Greg Luzinski, or, most probably, Mike Schmidt. I have loved the Phillies ever since those boyhood memories were formed. I suppose I will always love them.

Being a Philly fan (both baseball and football) has taught me to love the underdog. Enter the Boston Red Sox! My love for the Red Sox was born out of three facts. #1 I hate the Yankees. Got this from Dad, too, but also because to me, it feels like common sense. #2 Boston is the quintessential underdog. And three, even with inter-league play, Having to choose in a game between the Sox and the Phils is the rarest of rarities.

My first real exposure to the Sox was a cap. My dad picked up a Red Sox cap somewhere and I adopted it. I loved that hat. It fit perfect (which for me is not the norm) it was the right color (I always had a little trouble getting into the Phillies red cap) and I learned right off that they were the Red Sox Nation - the Yankee Haters! I wanted in.

I followed baseball in general very sporadically for most of my adult life. Of course, I was in front of the TV in '93 to see that Blue Jay doofuss Joe Carter hit the home run to steal the Series from Lenny Dykstra, Kruk, Dalton, and the rest of my Phils. But after that I got away from baseball for a long time. I eventually came back in steps. I was watching the night Cal Ripken Jr. broke the consecutive games record. I was watching when Mark McGuire broke Roger Maris's single season home run mark. In fact, I followed the race between him and Sosa all the season. I was drawn in by Barry Bonds (both for his records as well as his metamorphoses.)

Then came 2003. There was a lot of talk about the Sox that year and I was totally sick of having to watch the Yankees winning post-season games. I began to pay attention to the Sox and watched them right up through and including Aaron "bleeping" Boone (son of Bob Boone)! I was hooked going into 2004 because the hype was even greater with all the stuff going on with A-Rod and such. Plus, I have a handful of total Yankee nuts in my office, a couple of which I consider buddies. Being a Sox fan was fun, win or lose.

As you know, they won the Series that year. So I had to let go of carrying that oh-I'm-a-Sox-fan-and-we-haven't-won-since-1918-and-the-curse-of-the-Babino shtick, and just be content to be a fan. A fan with split loyalties, for sure, but a fan! This season, for some reason, I'm almost feverish about it. The wife has noticed. Maybe it because the Sox are in first by like 8 games over the Yanks and the Phillies, while third in their division, are keeping things respectable (a late season surge is unlikely, but not ludicrous.) whatever it is, I find myself checking box scores every morning, watching Sports Center and Baseball Tonight every chance I get. I even bought an MP3 player so I could download podcasts from ESPN!

I'm hooked!

I plan this blog to consist of ramblings, stats, stories, thoughts, and other various things related to the Phils, the Sox, and baseball in general. Mostly baseball though, I think. If I ever have a lot to write about the Eagles or Notre Dame, I'll start another blog.


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