Tagged: Mike Lowell

Yankees-Red Sox Game 1: My Cup Runneth Over

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I think it was in the second inning. The Yankees had scored six runs off Brad Penny, who, despite a generous strike zone by Joe West, was having trouble getting people out. I said to my husband, “I’d really like it if the Yankees scored twenty runs tonight.”

He rolled his eyes, as if I’d asked for the impossible, and made a crazy face at me.
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I said, “The Yankees can do it,” and made a crazy face right back at him.
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After A-Rod’s almost-homer in the fifth, Penny was pulled for Bowden, a call-up, and Matsui promptly went deep for 9-1. Posada, Cano, Melky, Jeter, Hinske and Tex all got on base, and it was 12-1 by the time the inning was over. I kind of felt sorry for the kid because he was back on the mound for the sixth, gave up three more runs and was clearly taking one for the team. 
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Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte was pitching a decent (if inefficient) game. He benefitted from Jeter’s amazing throw-out of Pedroia at third but was victimized by that lame play when Hinske and Melky couldn’t figure out which of them was supposed to catch the ball. Andy came out and Brian Bruney came in, and the Red Sox started to come back.
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“I’m telling you, the Yankees need twenty runs to win this game,” I said with greater urgency after Bruney walked two and hit a batter.
“That’s ridiculous,” he scoffed. “You’re just saying that because you love blowouts.”
No, I’m saying it because no lead is safe at Fenway.
My wish was granted when Ramirez relieved in the top of the ninth. Matsui homered again (seven RBIs!) and Swisher doubled home Cano. The score: 20-7. I was in heaven. “Who’s crazy now?” I said. “We did get twenty.
I’m sorry I doubted you,” said my husband.
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We made up and watched the bottom of the ninth. Mitre was pitching.
I wonder if he’ll be any good out of the pen,” I said.
I got my answer quickly. Varitek? Homer. Kotchman? Single. Ortiz? Double. Lowell? Homer. Baldelli? Hit by pitch. The score was 20-11 with two outs, but Mitre, who would be shipped to Tazmania if it were up to me, retired Gonzalez to end the nearly four-hour contest.
Feel better now?” asked my husband.
Much,” I said. “But I’m already worrying about tomorrow. I hope Johnny will be OK after fouling that pitch off his knee.”


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“They said he’s day to day.”

“And I hope the Yankees didn’t use up all their offense.”

“They can’t ‘use up’ their offense. It doesn’t work that way.”

“Then how does it ‘work?'”

“Baseball is all about pitching,” said my husband. “If AJ is on tomorrow, everything should be fine.
Right. But twenty runs would still be good.
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“A Chamber of Horrors for the Yankees”

That’s what John Sterling called Fenway last night.

The Yanks’ 4-3 loss to the Red Sox was a horror show of the most painful sort, and even though it’s dreary and soggy in New York right now, I’m feeling upbeat about not having to look at Fenway again for awhile.
Just who were the monsters in the chamber of horrors?
Let’s start with Damon, who inexplicably dropped Ortiz’s routine fly ball
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and turned into him.
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And then there was Nick Swisher, who couldn’t seem to run the bases like a major leaguer
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and played the role of Frankenstein’s brother.
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After a brilliant, valiant outing by CC, exactly what the Yankees needed, Joe turned the ball over to Aceves, who quickly mangled the situation
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and served as Frankenstein’s other brother (seen above and below with Jeter and A-Rod).
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Earlier, Melky struck out looking (yeah, he argued, but still) with two men on, and sucked all the life of the proceedings
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reminding me of him.
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And let’s not forget Brett the Jet who may have had success with his speed
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but reminded me of this guy with that ridiculous throw on Lowell’s fly ball in the crucial eighth.
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Oh, well. On to the Subway Series. As I said, at least I won’t have to look at this for a few months.
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Yanks/Sox Game 3: My Head Wasn’t In It

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Why wasn’t I more engaged during tonight’s 4-1 loss to the Red Sox? What made me sit quietly instead of yell at the TV? How come I was even tempted to change the channel?
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Maybe it was because I was concerned about my car, which I’d stupidly driven into a curb, busting the right front wheel well and necessitating a call to Roadside Assistance.
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Or maybe it was because Girardi put Berroa at third again instead of the more defensively capable Pena, so I was not surprised when Angel made those two errors.
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I suppose my detachment could have been due to the fact that Robinson Cano was the only Yankees batter with a pulse.
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Or that, while Ellsbury’s stealing home must have been a genuine thrill for Red Sox fans, it left me cold.
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I certainly wasn’t amused that Pettitte, despite the walks, pitched another decent game with nothing to show for it except this.
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And while Mike Lowell was an RBI machine, he looked gimpy at third and made me worry how A-Rod will fare when he returns from his own hip surgery. (Please hurry, Al.)
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I was roused from my stupor when Mark Melancon made his appearance, and I was impressed with his two scoreless innings of relief work. 
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But he’s 24. Didn’t he look, like, 40?
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Seriously. I thought I was watching a scene from “Benjamin Button.”
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I was really excited when I got an email during the game from Greg of Red Sox Ramblings. He had an encounter with Dave Winfield while he was working at Fenway and wanted to let me know. Very cool, Greg! I loved it!
In the end, I guess I was just suffering from Yankees-Red Sox Fatigue – all those hours and innings without a single victory. I would be discouraged right now, except that the Yanks are a very good team that ran into a very hot club. It happens. I don’t think anybody could have beaten the Sox this weekend, given the streak they’re on.
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The good news? There are 144 games left. Plenty of time for the Yankees to get hot too.
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(Daily Flip Video Contest Reminder. Great pics are coming in, so add yours!)

Wang Lets Them Hang

This is how big the ball probably looked to Red Sox batters in their 8-4 win over the Yankees.

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Clearly, the Wanger is still searching for his sinker. He was leaving the balls up in the zone and getting whacked.
Not that Wakefield had pinpoint control. His catcher was dancing around trying to keep up with the knuckler, and I kept thinking the guy needed a glove the size and shape of this chair.
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I have no idea why the Yankees left just about every position player back in Tampa, but I’d like to think Mark Teixeira wouldn’t have bungled those two chances in the first inning the way Juan Miranda did.
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Still, there was good news for the Yanks. Brett Tomko and Kei Igawa were actually effective! Yet again! No Bombkos for Tomko and not a single run this spring for Igawa, whom I affectionally refer to as the Iguana.
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I lost interest in the later innings (it didn’t feel like a typical Yankees-Red Sox game except when fans chanted the old familiar “Yankees suck”); it became a contest between Pawtucket and Trenton and I had no idea who anybody was. Still, some random thoughts.
* Terry Francona was very tan.
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* John Rodriguez, the Yankees’ default DH, was no J-Rod.
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* Mike Lowell was in great shape, which gave me hope that players with torn labrums can come back strong.
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* Brett Gardner was hallucinating that he was a slugger.
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He was up with the bases loaded in the third and struck out with a big, stupid, looping swing instead of just slapping or poking the ball the way he’s supposed to.
* Shelley Duncan’s days as a Yankee are numbered.
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* Infielder Ramiro Pena continues to impress me with his smooth hands.
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* Except for the fact that they’re Red Sox announcers, I like the Red Sox announcers.
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They always sound as if they’re having a good time. What’s more, they’re very fair and even-handed, and I appreciate that.
* It’s entirely possible that I’m falling in love with Xavier Nady.
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What One Red Sox Fan Thinks of Her Team and the Yankees

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That’s KP holding a ball she caught on top of the Green Monster in 2004. 
Who’s KP, you ask? She’s my friend and the very talented woman who designs and manages my web site. She also happens to be a diehard Red Sox fan, born and raised in MA and living in CA like me. We give each other benign little jabs about our rival teams, but we’ve avoided any name calling or hair pulling.
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We were working on a site update today when I started asking her about the Sox and how she first became a fan. I also wanted the answer to the burning question: What’s up with all the Yankee hate?
Here’s my interrogation. I hope she’s still speaking to me afterwards.
She-Fan: Let’s get right down to it. Have you always hated the Yankees?
KP: “Hate” is such a strong word. I’ve always despised them. (Laughter) It’s probably more about the fans – they’re so pompous with their “we’re better than you” attitude. The team itself was easy to hate since it seemed like they always stood in our way, but the 2004 championship took care of that.
She-Fan: How did you stand being around the Yankees when you lived and worked in NY?
KP: It was hard. My first year there coincided with the Yankees’ winning years of the ’90s. I had to take Metro-North past the Stadium every day. I went to a Yankees-Orioles game, and it was Yankee umbrella night. I still have the umbrella. I feel good knowing that whenever it rains, it rains on the Yankees.
She-Fan: That’s so wrong. Is there one Yankee in particular that you loathe?
KP: Could I hate Bucky freakin’ Dent? Can’t blame him for our team’s collapse. Aaron Boone? After that game I accidentally ripped the passenger side mirror off my car. Does Jeter ever do anything that’s not incredible? Yawn. I have this irrational thing about how Mussina bends and rolls up his body before a pitch. And I’d appreciate it if Joba could stop throwing at Kevin Youkilis’ head. Oh, and I have a framed photo of Varitek’s glove in A-Rod’s grill. It was a gift from my dad.
She-Fan: Is there a Yankee you grudgingly respect?
KP: I really liked Joe Torre. Still do. And Mariano Rivera. Hall of Famer. Good sense of humor.
She-Fan: Do you think Varitek will re-up?
KP: The Sox recognize what he brings to the team, but they want him at a discount. So if he’s willing and the market plays out, he’ll re-sign. I’d support that happening so they can use the funds to bring in a catcher of the very near future.
She-Fan: Were you disappointed that the Sox didn’t sign Teixeira?
KP: I didn’t covet him, so I’m not disappointed. I figured he’d go to the Yankees. I just didn’t figure they’d spring for everyone else too! Are there a few extra bucks in the bank for Manny?
She-Fan: Glad you brought him up. Do you miss him?
KP: I miss watching his incredible ability, but I don’t miss feeling “played” by him and his agent.
She-Fan: Who’s your favorite Sox player?
KP: I loved Carlton Fisk and Eck and Mike Greenwell. I have Dwight Evans’ autograph. I was a Nomar girl. While I admit to rooting for Clemens back in the day, he wasn’t my favorite pitcher; it was Bruce Hurst. I love Papi. I love everything that Jon Lester stands for. Papelbon and Pedroia are just flat out entertaining. But right now, I would love to have a beer with Mike Lowell.
She-Fan: Have you always been into sports?
KP: Sports were all around when I was growing up. My cousin was a Patriots cheerleader, so we watched all their games. And the Bruins were so hot in the ’70s. I had a sweet teddy bear with a Bruins shirt and a Bobby Orr pin.
She-Fan: What’s your earliest memory of the Sox?
KP: Before there were seat belt laws, people had no problem with an eight-year-old stuffed in the storage area of a two-seater. I vividly remember being in the hatchback of my dad’s Datsun 280-Z in the fall of 1978 listening to a game. In 1986, he took me to Game 3 of the World Series, which was the coolest thing ever for a high school girl.
She-Fan: Do you remember your first impression of Fenway?
KP: I can’t tell you who we played or even what year it was. I can tell you it was breathtaking to climb the ramp and see all the green unfold in front of you. It’s one of the most striking differences between Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. At Yankee Stadium you descend into the park, but at Fenway you ascend.
She-Fan: How would you assess the state of the Red Sox going into ’09? Do you approve of the moves Theo has made?
KP: It depends on everyone’s off-season rehabs. How’s Papi’s wrist? How’s Mike Lowell feeling? How’s Beckett? Penny? Baldelli? Smoltz? Smoltz is a good veteran presence.  Baldelli and Kotsay strengthen the reserves. Penny is low risk/high reward. Theo and crew operate with extreme flexibility. If you’re flexible, it’s easier to turn the boat when things aren’t going in the right direction.
She-Fan: What’s your prediction for the AL East?
KP
: With all the talent you have, the Yankees should win the division. On paper, the Red Sox can certainly be as good as last year but it comes down to injuries and rehab. Tampa will either be blissfully ignorant of their achievement and challenge the Sox/Yankees, or they’ll press too hard to duplicate and struggle. Toronto was supposed to be a challenger in ’08, but can they pull it together? And poor Baltimore.
She-Fan: One last question. Can you understand why fans of other teams think the whole “Red Sox Nation” thing is a little over the top?
KP: Over the top? Ha ha. This from the sainted Yankee Universe?
She-Fan: (To self) Uh-oh.
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KP: Give credit where credit is due. The new ownership has done wonders marketing this team – from the “idiots” of ’04 to Remy as president of Red Sox Nation. Surely, you understand this. You’ve had a Reggie bar, haven’t you?
She-Fan: No, but go on.
KP: I like the term. I like what it stands for. And I like being part of what’s referred to in our household as “my people.” I like going to my local watering hole to watch a game with my fellow citizens and feeling a little closer to home, even though I’m over 2500 miles away.
She-Fan: Oh. (Long pause) Well, I guess I do understand now. It’s hard being a Yankee fan in California too.
And that’s when it hit me. The emptiness in the pit of my stomach. The ache. The void.
I want “my people.” I want a watering hole where I can watch Yankees games with my fellow citizens and feel closer to home. I want a group to chant with and boo with and sing “New York, New York” with. What I guess I’m saying is I want a Yankee Universe to join.
Sigh.
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