Weekend Worries in Red Sox Nation?

Opening Weekend in Arlington, Texas was a highly anticipated series as the reigning American League Champs, the Texas Rangers,
hosted the much-hyped lineup and starting rotation of the Boston
Red Sox.

Ace Jon Lester took the mound for the Sox on Opening Day, followed by John Lackey and Clay Buchholz in games two and three. Boston fielded a solid lineup including the off-season acquisitions Adrian
Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, plus a healthy Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin
Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. With the young Saltalamacchia behind the
plate and veteran lovable David Ortiz in the DH spot, along with the
revamped bullpen including Daniel Bard, Jonathan Papelbon, Bobby Jenks,
Matt Albers, Dan Wheeler, Dennys Reyes and Tim Wakefield, the outlook was promising facing the stacked lineup of the defending AL champs.

We all know what happened in this three-game set. The Rangers dominated the Sox pitching, led by the likes of Ian Kinsler
and Nelson Cruz, who were the first pair of teammates in MLB history to each homer in the first three games of their season. Not to mention Adrian Beltre, who captured the hearts of Rangers fans after a monstrous grand slam off of his former
teammate, Lackey, who intentionally walked Josh Hamilton to load the
bases and get to the Dominican slugger. The Red Sox starters gave up 9
home runs in the first three games of the season, and in a combined 15.1
IP, had a 10.56 ERA, a 1.72 WHIP and only 6 strikeouts.

Bard, in 73 appearances last season, didn’t give up more than two
runs in a single inning. On Friday, he gave up 4 ER in 0.2 IP with one K
and 1 BB. In a combined 8.2 IP, the Red Sox bullpen garnered an 8.30
ERA, a 2.08 WHIP and 6 strikeouts.

With all the negativity surrounding the Red Sox after an 0-3 start, I
can only say a few things: First, chill out. This is three games in a
162-game season. I’m fairly certain with 159 games left that we don’t need to worry about either team’s “Magic Number” yet. Second, look at the positives. Ortiz, after a slow start in his previous three seasons, went 4-12 (.333
BA) with two home runs. Also, Gonzalez went 5-13 (.385 BA) in
his first series in a Red Sox uniform. Third, CHILL OUT. Can we take a
look at the 1998 New York Yankees? They started their season 0-3, then
ended the season with a 114-48 record and won the World Series. If this series happened in June, nobody would be talking about it.

Now that I’ve gotten my ranting and venting out of the way, I’d like to
look forward to the next 3-game set starting Tuesday when the Red Sox
take on the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Game one will see
Josh Beckett on the mound for the Red Sox while Josh Tomlin (2010: 6-4, 4.56 ERA) makes his
2011 debut hoping to shut down the Sox lineup. Beckett had a very
disappointing 2010 campaign. In 127.2 IP, he had a 6-6 record with a
5.78 ERA and 1.535 WHIP. “I think his pride took a beating last year,”
said skipper Terry Francona. “I definitely agree with that. I think he
feels like he has a
lot to prove” (via RedSox.com).

So, let’s take a little breather, get excited about some more baseball,
and follow Marco Scutaro’s lead in an old, familiar “Beltre Head Rub.”

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Jenn

P.S. In a totally unrelated, non-Red Sox note, in the 8th inning of the Mets/Marlins game on Saturday evening, the Mets inserted pinch-runner Chin-lung Hu. So I know somewhere Abbott and Costello were smiling, as we all know, “Hu’s on First?”

A New Season, A New Start

General managers have the job of reshaping their team during the off-season by making necessary acquisitions, releases, and changes in staff to ultimately make their team better than the season before. I’ve taken the same approach with my blog, and my life. I’ve made changes that will better suit me in my pursuit of achieving my dreams.

169011_10150104104264065_744854064_6228267_229173_n.jpgSo let me start off by making it clear that I am still a die-hard Red Sox fan, and they have been and always will be my favorite team.

Now, with that being said, I want to explain why I’ve decided to change to a generic blog instead of using my Red Sox one. You may or may not know, but I have always been very firm in my belief that my passion for baseball is first and foremost, and will always come before my love of any specific team. I completely believe to be a fan of a team, you have to be a fan of the sport first. Baseball is something that I grew up loving, and I have decided I want it to be a part of my career. I’m an aspiring baseball writer, which means I need to write about all of baseball, not just one team.

During this off-season, a lot of changes happened in my life that have allowed me to actively pursue my dreams to make it in the sports industry. I worked as a freelance writer and covered a local college basketball team all season, which was able to give me experience and taught me a lot about a different sport, and will ultimately help me in the future. I was also hired by the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves as a scorekeeper, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of professional baseball as an employee, not just a fan.

1300908625-picsay.jpgMy thoughts for wanting to change my blog around was mainly due to my new job. Since I will be scorekeeping at CoolRay Field all the time, I’m sure I will want to talk about what’s going on in the Braves organization, because I do live in Atlanta. I’m also doing fantasy baseball this year for the first time, so I will have to pay closer attention to all of the teams (I’m doing 3 leagues… I don’t know how I’ll have time for it!) I’ve also grown to love minor league baseball even more than before, so I plan on making trips to different stadiums in my area, and I want to be able to share all of my experiences relating to those trips.

I’ve been very blessed for all the opportunities that have been presented to me over the last few months, and I want to take full advantage and make the best of everything I’ve been given.

I’m looking forward to a great baseball season, and I’m very excited about reconnecting with everyone. I hope you all enjoy my new approach and feel free to e-mail me, follow me on Twitter, or add me on Facebook!

Jenn

Prayers for LeRoi ♥

I know this blog is supposed to be about baseball, and the Red Sox. But, this is also my blog, and I needed to post something about an incident that happened in my life. I needed to reach out to as many people as possible, and this was one of the ways I knew how… so here is the story, please take the time to read:

My heart hurts right
now. It is completely broken and I felt the need to vent and get this
off my chest, and writing has always been my outlet so I know this is
the healthiest choice for me.

So, here I sit at 12:30 AM
not able to sleep for the second night in a row—it’s pretty much a
lost cause for the time being. It has been about 30 hours since my
precious LeRoi was hit by a van in front of our house. It was nobody’s
fault, it was just bad timing for everything. I’d rather not go into
details about the actual accident, because I really don’t like thinking
about it.

From a medical perspective,  he is actually
doing remarkably better than anyone expected. Last night they weren’t
sure he was going to make it at all, and they were seriously considering
immediate surgery to check for ruptured organs that could be causing
internal bleeding. But, after multiple tests were done, they came to the
conclusion that surgery wasn’t necessary right away. The bleeding
stopped after a few hours, which showed signs of improvement internally.
Something that wasn’t a serious concern right off the bat, but
certainly something that needs to be addressed, is his back left leg was
broken in two places, leaving his femur in three pieces. Obviously,
surgery is required to fix that but they don’t know if/when he will be
stable enough to go through that.. and amputation is something that
could possibly be considered depending on the severity of the breaks.
The surgeon is scheduled to see him tomorrow to give his opinion on what
he thinks we should do.

Throughout the night last night
and all of today, I have called the doctor to check in on him, and
they’ve kept me updated. He wasn’t stable enough to have visitors or
else I would have been there all day. His vitals have been more steady
and have definitely shown signs of improvement over time. They
completely believe, because of his size, that if there was any ruptured
organs, or internal bleeding, they would have noticed a significant
decrease in his health by now. So, that is very good news. He is heavily
sedated on pain medication, along with antibiotics and “shock
medication” to calm him down from the traumatic stress of the accident.
They have assured me, that despite the broken leg, he is in no pain at
all. They said he even stood up on his own and repositioned himself.
Unfortunately, he is refusing to eat, so they are going to try
everything they can to get food in his system.

For those
of you who don’t know, LeRoi is two and a half years old. When he was
about six months old, on Easter Sunday of 2009, he was tied on our back
deck and jumped off and hung himself. He was in ICU and on oxygen for
three days. They weren’t sure he was going to make it, as he had extreme
damage to his trachea and esophagus, but he pulled through and had a
full recovery. He’s full size at eight or nine pounds. But, he is a
tough little guy, obviously, and I know that he can make it through
this, too. He can definitely be compared to Dustin Pedroia—small but
strong, mighty, and determined. LeRoi isn’t giving up, so neither will
we.

This has been absolutely devastating for my family, to
say the least. He is a part of our family, and we couldn’t stand to
lose him this soon. Max, my brother’s dog, has been moping around all
day because he doesn’t have his playmate around. Although they fight
over toys, and growl at each other sometimes, it’s apparent how close
they are, especially when they’re not together and I can tell it’s
taking a toll on Max, cause he knows something is wrong.

The
doctor gave me his collar last night before we left, and I haven’t let
go of it since. I know it might sound sad, but this dog is my
everything. I have spent all day just looking at pictures of him, and
all I can do is think about him. If you don’t know the origin of his
name, as I know it’s not a common name for a dog, he was named after the
saxophonist for Dave Matthews Band, LeRoi Moore. LeRoi passed away
August of 2008, and I purchased my LeRoi January 2, 2009. Being the huge
DMB fans that we are, we agreed to name him that in honor of the
wonderful LeRoi Moore. As me and my parents were driving to our church
today, a DMB song came on the radio, which is extremely rare. It was
significant to me because it definitely proved to me that the power of
prayer is unbelievable and I know that LeRoi Moore is looking down over
MY LeRoi.

Anyone who has met LeRoi has fallen in love with
him instantly. He is a spaztastic ball of energy who just loves, loves,
loves being around people. He loves to play fetch, chew on bones, annoy
Max, and he loves to cuddle up with anyone. He is the happiest,
sweetest, cutest dog I’ve ever known and he always has a way to make me
happy, no matter what is going on in my life. He’s a fighter, and he’s
going to get through this.

Through Twitter, I started a
hashtag, #PrayersforLeRoi. If you don’t understand Twitter, just know
that it is a way to connect with people all over the world who share
common interests as you. So many people have participated and sent their
thoughts, prayers, love and support out to LeRoi, me and my family. It
is truly remarkable to see people come together to help others who are
in need. Like I said before, the power of prayer has shown me so much in
the last few days.

“God didn’t promise days without pain,
laughter without sorrow, sun without rain. But, He did promise strength
for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”

So,
what I’m asking from all of you who have taken the time to read this,
is your thoughts and prayers as we juggle this obstacle in our life.
LeRoi, as a precious, innocent little dog needs it. I need it, and my
family needs it. We, as neighbors, friends, colleagues, and human beings
need each other. I rely on the people in my life to help me get through
tough times, as we all do. I know God has a plan for all of us, and
these difficult times are His way of testing our strength, courage and
dignity. I will not give up, my precious baby boy isn’t giving up, and I
won’t give up on him. 

Thank you all so much for the love
and support, and I will be sure to keep you all updated on the progress
of my little man. And I’m going to end this with some quotes that I
found and some pictures that have really helped me today.

God bless you all.

I love you, LeRoi.

“He
is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear
above the winds. He is the part of me that can reach out into the sea.
He has told me a thousand times over that I am his reason for being; by
the way he rests against my leg; by the way he thumps his tail at my
smallest smile; by the way he shows his hurt when I leave without taking
him. (I think it makes him sick with worry when he is not along to care
for me.) When I am wrong, he is delighted to forgive. When I am angry,
he clowns to make me smile. When I am happy, he is joy unbounded. When I
am a fool, he ignores it. When I succeed, he brags. Without him, I am
only another man. With him, I am all-powerful. He is loyalty itself. He
has taught me the meaning of devotion. With him, I know a secret comfort
and a private peace. He has brought me understanding where before I was
ignorant. His head on my knee can heal my human hurts. His presence by
my side is protection against my fears of dark and unknown things. He
has promised to wait for me… whenever… wherever – in case I need
him. And I expect I will – as I always have. He is just my dog.” -Gene
Hill

 

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” -Roger Caras

 

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:7

 

“My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet.” -Edith Wharton

 

“Anyone
can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it
together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s
true strength.”

 

And, in the great words of Carrie Underwood:

“The more boys I meet, the more I love my dog.”

Guess Who’s Back?

After a long and agonizing two months, I finally have the
time to sit down and write—and not to mention the day I was able to do this,
I’m literally snowed in after a “blizzard” dropped six inches in North-Atlanta
(which is an absurd amount for Georgia, so everything is shut down).

These last two months have been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for yours
truly, which makes perfect sense because the Red Sox off-season has also sent
the Nation into swirling winds of excitement, hope and utter craziness while we
wait for these last thirty-four days of the “Hot Stove” season to
wind down. With all the recent acquisitions, and my pure eagerness for baseball
season to start, I can’t stop thinking about the potential we have for 2011.

Yes, I understand that everyone is “World Series Champs” in the
winter months, but if you take an in-depth look at our starting line-up (no matter
what order Terry Francona decides on), plus our starting rotation, it is only
right for all of us to think we could be major contenders this upcoming season.

On December 6, 2010, five days after my twenty-first birthday, Adrian Gonzalez
was sent to the Red Sox via trade with the San Diego Padres for three minor
league prospects (RHP Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, outfielder
Reymond Fuentes) and a PTBNL (Eric Patterson). The twenty-eight year old first
baseman, who will be wearing number 28 for the Sox, is coming off an
outstanding season with his hometown team. In 591 at-bats, the lefty hit
.298/.393/.511 with a .904 OPS and belted 31 long balls, with 101 RBIs. The
three-time All-Star (’08, ’09, ’10) and two-time Gold Glove winner (’08, ’09)
knew what to say in his Fenway Park press conference to win over the hearts of
the Nation, stating “I’m ready to beat the Yanks.”

Then two days later on the 8th of December, rumors finally came to
rest when it was confirmed that the left fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays, Carl
Crawford (29), signed a 7 year, $142 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.
The four-time All-Star (’04, ’07, ’09, ’10) and 2010 Gold Glove and Silver
Slugger Award winner is entering Boston in his prime. Last year, he hit 19
homers, with 90 RBIs and batted .307/.356/.495 with an .851 OPS. In this
blockbuster deal, Crawford becomes the highest paid outfielder to never hit twenty home-runs in a season.

151044_484485194064_744854064_5713774_3772116_n.jpg

Happy birthday to me, right?

Although there were plenty of other notable transactions the last few months, I
have to say I’m very excited to see a healthy line-up including Kevin Youkilis,
Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. Our bullpen could possibly see more changes
by adding another lefty in the mix, however, with Daniel Bard, Bobby
Jenks and Jonathan Papelbon ready to step on that mound, I have a very good
feeling about our pitching staff.

February 13th is slowly but surely creeping up on us, pitchers and catchers
will report, and the chilly Hot Stove season will finally coming to an end.
It’s hard to picture myself at a ball game when all I see is white when I look
outside, but I know that very, very soon I will be able to sit back, eat my sunflower seeds, and finally enjoy another memorable baseball season.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and I want you all to know how
great it feels to finally be back!

-Jenn

Yes, I wait for Spring

As many of you
know, I am currently a full-time college student studying communications and
journalism. Something that you might not know, unless you follow me on Twitter,
as I talk about it constantly, is that I also work full-time at a local sports
bar. Between school, work, and moving into my new apartment, I have had little
time to enjoy writing, and more importantly, writing about baseball.

Although it’s a shame that I haven’t been able to post frequently, I never
stopped watching the game that I love most. Despite my Red Sox not being able
to play in the October madness, I still thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the
postseason. I was able to watch live as Roy Halladay threw the second no-hitter
in postseason history, the first being Don Larsen’s perfect game during the
1956 World Series. I attended the unbelievable and heartbreaking Game 3 of the
NLDS — Giants v. Braves at Turner Field, in which the Giants slimmed the
chances of my National League team to make it to the World Series. As I am an
avid Yankee hater, and also being born in Dallas, Texas, I was beyond thrilled
when the Rangers won the American League pennant and shocked the world as they
devastated the “Pinstripes” from competing for their 28th World
Series title. Although most media outlets downgraded this year’s series because
there were no Phillies or Yankees—as a baseball fan, I couldn’t have been
more eager for the history that was going to be made. In a very exciting and
heart-wrenching 5-game series in the 106th annual Fall Classic, the Giants took
home for the first time since they relocated to San Francisco, the first time
since 1954, that beloved Commissioner’s Trophy against the Texas Rangers.

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you
what I do, I stare out the window and wait for spring.” -Rogers Hornsby

A part of me died inside on October 3rd this year, as the Red Sox season ended
short. But, an even bigger part of me escaped when the near-flawless Brian
Wilson (1-0, six saves and 0.00 ERA in the postseason) struck out Nelson Cruz,
honored his late father in his post-save ritual, and turned around to celebrate
with Buster Posey, Tim “The Freak” Lincecum, World Series MVP Edgar
Renteria, and the rest of the Giants team. It was real, then. Baseball season
had ended, and I had to get ready for the most lonely time of the year.

So, here I sit, during my three-hour break between my classes, in the cold and
rainy Atlanta weather which consistently reminds me that there is no more
baseball to be played this year, reminiscing on all the ups and downs of the
2010 season.

From Ubaldo Jimenez throwing a no-hitter in April, to Dallas Braden and Roy
Halladay’s perfect games. From Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game that wasn’t, to
Doc’s no-no in his first postseason appearance. From being able to witness
first-hand Ryan Kalish make an outstanding catch in center field at the Trop
and Daniel Nava’s grand-slam at Fenway Park in the first pitch of his first
at-bat in the major leagues, to Stephen Strasburg, Aroldis Chapman and
“The Freak.” From all the rookies trying to prove themselves, to all
the heroes, the living legends and the players who make this game what it is.
From all the walk-offs, come-from-behind victories, devastating losses, to all
the unbelievable, non-human-like, “there’s no way that was possible”
plays that were made—this year, this season, just proved and reiterated to me
that this game is the greatest game in the world. Baseball will stand the test
of time, it will be safe during a time of crisis, it will give children hope,
and give us all something to live for, it will bring strangers together, it
will form stronger bonds between fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, as we
are all able to enjoy this astonishing pastime…. and be a part of something
bigger than ourselves.

For the next 102 days, all I have are memories of the past, and hopes for the
future as I wait for the day that pitchers’ and catchers’ report. With all of
the free agents, exciting off-season hires, and all the changes that will be
made in all the different organizations in the coming months, I can only look
forward to one thing: that beautiful Spring day in which I hear those beloved
words, “Play ball!”

-Jenn

Memorable Season

April 4, 2010—the Red Sox had their home opener against their biggest
rival and the defending World Series Champions, the New York Yankees.
They came out on top that day, winning 9-7. Dustin Pedroia (2-for-4,
2-run HR, 3 RBIs) and Kevin Youkilis (3-for-4, 2 RBIs) helped carry the
team to victory. Josh Beckett started that game, going 4.2 innings,
giving up five runs off of eight hits, striking out only one while
walking three. This outing for Beckett was just a preview of things to
come this season, while he was anything but dominant all year long.

On
October 3, 2010, we ended our regular season on a high note against
those awful pinstripes, salvaging a W (8-4) over our arch rivals, while
managing to play spoiler and preventing them from clinching the AL East
title. Jed Lowrie went 2-for-3, belting two homeruns with 3 RBIs. John
Lackey, surprising us all, ended his season the way we were hoping he
would have pitched all year. He went 7.2 innings, giving up three runs
on six hits, walking only two, while tying his career high for strike
outs with ten.

I wish I could say that those two wins summed up
our season of positivity and success. However, there were 160 games in
between which messed with our emotions, sent us on a roller coaster
ride, broke our heart, devastated us as Red Sox fans and left us with
little hope that we could make it into October this year. We managed to
stay in contention into the final week of the season, but,
unfortunately, we were right. We didn’t make it to the postseason, the
first time since 2006, and we were forced to start this lonely,
miserable off-season much earlier than we would have wanted. 

There’s
so many excuses that we could use, or so many people we could blame
this season on. But, what’s the point? There are multitude of reasons
for our struggles this year, and we’ve discussed them numerous times
throughout the season. I’ve decided to skip all that nonsense…because
as we all know, I’m all about optimism!

Daniel Bard has definitely proved
himself this year. In 74.2 IP, he finished strong with a 1.93 ERA.
He struck out 76, while producing a WHIP of 1.004. He’s been a great
set-up man, but could potentially take over our closer position.

Clay
Buchholz had an absolutely outstanding season, and has even been in the
discussion for the Cy Young Award. He went 17-7 this year with a 2.33
ERA in 173.2 IP.

David Ortiz, despite having a rough start to
the season, ended with a .270 AVG, .370 OBP, .529 SLG and a .899 OPS. He
had 32 homeruns, and 102 RBIs. While winning the Home Run Derby this
year, he is showing everyone that Big Papi still has what it takes to
produce for our team.

Adrian Beltre had his best season since
2004, finishing with a .321 AVG, 28 homeruns, and 102 RBIs. He had a
.365 OBP, .553 SLG and a .919 OPS. Even though he inflicted some major
pain on a few of his teammates, he deserves a nice head-rub (joking)
after an exceptional season. 

Jon Lester proved very dominant this season. With a 19-9 record, he ended the year with a 3.25 ERA in 208.0 IP, striking out 225 and walking 83. 

Rookies Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish
and Darnell McDonald managed to step up when asked and really helped our
team get through one of our toughest seasons in history.

We were plagued with many injuries this season, so here’s a list of the players who spent time on the disabled list during the year:

Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Mike Lowell
Adrian Beltre
J.D. Drew
Marco Scutaro
Dustin Pedroia
Eric Patterson
Jacoby Ellsbury
Kevin Cash
Hideki Okajima
Jon Lester
Kevin Youkilis
Mike Cameron
Manny Delcarmen
Jason Varitek
Victor Martinez
Clay Buchholz
Jeremy Hermida
Daisuke Matsuzaka
Felipe Lopez
Josh Beckett
Junichi Tazawa
Boof Bonser
Jed Lowrie

Now, let’s look at our Opening Day starting lineup-
Ellsbury LF
Pedroia 2B
Martinez C
Youkilis 1B
Ortiz DH
Beltre 3B
Drew RF
Cameron CF
Scutaro SS

This is absolutely heart-breaking to look at. David Ortiz is the only player from our Opening Day lineup to not have spent any time on the DL. We were given some tough hands to work with, and we still managed to end our season just shy of 90 wins (89-73).

On October 2, 2010, the Red Sox recognized Mike Lowell for an outstanding career, and honored him with an on-field ceremony as this was his final season in a Major League Baseball uniform. The 2007 World Series MVP was not only an exceptional player throughout his 12 year career, but an incredible human being who was well respected by everyone in the baseball world. He is a Tony Conigliaro Award Winner (1999), Silver Slugger Award Winner (2003), Gold Glove Award Winner (2005), 4x All-Star Selection (2002, 2003, 2004, 2007) and a 2x World Series Champion (2003, 2007). He will forever be #25 in the hearts of Red Sox Nation and will truly be missed as a player and person. We love you, Mikey!

Honestly, this has been one of my favorite seasons so far as a Red Sox fan. I know that might sound odd, and as surprising as it might be, I’ve grown to love this team, and Red Sox Nation even more than I used to. The Red Sox have been an important part of my life since I first stepped inside Fenway Park at the age of twelve and I’ve met so many amazing people because of my love for this team, and this game. I’m excited to see what happens this off-season, and I absolutely cannot wait until Spring Training next year. I plan on making a trip to Ft. Myers, FL in 2011, along with a few trips to my favorite place in this world—Boston and Fenway Park!

This sure has been a memorable season, and I’m so ready to see what’s in store for next season…because like they say, there’s always next year!

It
breaks your heart.  It is designed to break your heart.  The game
begins in spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in
the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the
chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.” -
A. Bartlett Giamatti

Jenn

Home Stretch

It is September 21 and the regular season is scheduled to end on October 3. With 12 games left to play, the Red Sox are 83-67. They sit 8 games out of first in the AL East and 6.5 games back in the Wild Card. We have two games left against the Baltimore Orioles, a three-game series this weekend at Yankee Stadium, a four game series against the Chicago White Sox next week and we end our regular season at home in a three-game series against those awful pinstripes.

Me…negativity? Yeah, right!

Most people would say that this year has been somewhat of a disaster. I highly disagree. OK, so we’ve been dealt some tough hands, and we’ve been thrown some nasty curve-balls. But, the success that we have had this year despite the injuries we have sustained is remarkable. We have played the majority of the season without some of our key players and have managed to stay in contention.

We still have 12 games left and Clay Buchholz will be starting tonight in the second game against the Orioles. He’s looking for his 17th win this season and with a 2.48 ERA, he has continually been a starter that we can depend on every outing. He is holding opponents to a .229 average this season and is 7-4 with a 2.38 ERA in 12 starts at Fenway.

Our starting line-up for tonight’s game is as follows:

1. Scutaro, M    2B .272 AVG
2. Drew, J         RF .257 AVG
3. Martinez, V     C .296 AVG
4. Ortiz, D        DH .261 AVG
5. Beltre, A       3B .327 AVG
6. Lowrie, J      SS .259 AVG
7. Kalish, R      CF .233 AVG
8. Nava, D        LF .246 AVG
9. Anderson, L  1B .267 AVG

As important as it is to have an ace on the mound, you can’t win games without scoring runs. The Red Sox, this season, seem to leave runners on base in very critical situations. We need to see more clutch hitting throughout our entire line-up. We can’t continue to count on a few players to drive in runs (Adrian Beltre and David Ortiz lead the team in RBIs with 98 and 92 respectively). Let’s make these last 12 games interesting, and not back down now!

Whether or not we can mathematically come back and make it to the
playoffs really doesn’t matter to me anymore. I love baseball and I love watching my team win games. I just want to see all of our guys succeed and play great baseball. We need to go out with a bang!

What’s
really started to sink in, though, is that we are in the home stretch…
baseball season is coming to an end and I am not happy about it!

Go Red Sox!
Jenn

My Trip to the Trop

At 4:15 AM on Friday morning, I still hadn’t fallen asleep. My alarm
was set to go off at 6 AM and I had a long day ahead of me (much longer than I
could have ever presumed). As I was lying in bed, tossing and turning, I
couldn’t begin to comprehend that in a few short hours I would be in St.
Petersburg, FL at Tropicana Field within feet of my favorite players. Finally,
I dozed off and it seemed like only five minutes later, a loud buzzer woke me
up. I was too excited to realize how little sleep I got, and really didn’t care
that I would be facing my day on two hours of sleep. All I could think about
was a group of guys that consume my everyday thoughts and emotions, and how I
was about to experience what I love more than anything else in this world: Red
Sox baseball.

My dad and I headed to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 6:30 AM and
boarded our flight to Tampa. We sat in our seats and waited patiently for the
rest of the passengers to board. I couldn’t help but notice five or six people
wearing Red Sox hats walk on to the plane and take a seat as well. I’m somewhat
of a social butterfly and love meeting new people, especially ones who share
the same love that I have for baseball and the Red Sox. So, I made my way over
to talk to a couple a few rows ahead of me. They were very kind, and they were
headed down to see the games as well. They go to Sox games every year in
different cities. Last year they went to Fenway and this year they were headed
to the Trop just like me! I talked a little bit with a few other Red Sox fans
and it’s absolutely amazing to me how one little symbol (the Boston
“B”) can bring so many people together. I always find a way to talk
baseball with people and this was no different! During the flight, I was
finally able to start reading “The Teammates” by David Halberstam. It
was recommended to me by a few of my Twitter followers so I had to check it
out. I absolutely love it so far and it was the perfect read to start my
exciting trip.

After we landed (which wasn’t the smoothest landing, I might add), we got our
luggage, ran some errands (we had to buy some baseballs so we could hopefully
get a few autographs) and finally made it to the hotel. We quickly changed,
went to grab a late lunch then finally headed over to the Trop. As we pulled up
to the stadium, I couldn’t believe that we were actually going to be watching
baseball in a dome. I had never been to a dome baseball stadium and it just
didn’t seem right. We arrived around 4:40 and the gates opened at 5:10, two
hours before game time. As soon as we got in, I looked around, certain I was in
a mall. I raced down to the third base wall and stood next to tons of other
screaming Red Sox fans. I was in awe. There’s just something about a baseball
field, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, that truly makes me happy. There’s
nothing else like it. And, to top it all off, the whole team was right there,
stretching and getting ready to start batting practice.  

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Watching BP was fun, mainly because I love watching all the guys warm-up and
joke around with each other. All of the players walked by, a few acknowledging
the fans (Ryan Kalish and Daniel Nava were two that really stood out), but most
were too preoccupied to give us the attention that we wanted. I wasn’t able to
get an autograph the first night, but I really didn’t care because I was just
so happy to finally be there. The game went great, we beat the Rays 3-1 and Jon
Lester and Victor Martinez really stepped up at a very crucial time. Lester
went seven innings, giving up only one unearned run off two hits. He struck out
ten, while walking five on 106 pitches. It was definitely a turnaround from his
previous outing. VMart belted two homeruns that night and caught what Terry
Francona said was “the game of his life.” Daniel Bard came in for the
8th inning to set-up for Jonathan Papelbon who closed the game out and recorded
his 33rd save on the season. After the game, they allowed fans to walk on the
field and exit through center field. My dad and I decided that we wanted to do
that, and we were able to take some great pictures. It was a perfect ending to
a perfect day.

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Luckily, on Saturday, my dad let me sleep in to catch up on the sleep I missed
out on the night before. I wasted a lot of my day by not waking up till 1 PM,
but I really needed it. After I got ready, we ate a late lunch again and then
headed back over to the field. I decided that I wanted to be closer to the
dugout this time so I could watch parts of the NESN pre-game show. I was at the
wall, right next to the dugout and it was great being able to see some of the
behind-the-scenes action of the broadcast. As soon as I reached the field, I
noticed Elizabeth Dreeson (@redsoxgirl46)
was on the field and I had to take some pictures for her! She was able to meet
a lot of the players and even interviewed Darnell McDonald (you can check out
her blog with her latest post about her adventures here)! The next person I noticed
was Heidi Watney. She was getting ready to do her portion of the pre-game show
and was sitting right in front of me. After she finished, a few of the fans
called her over for autographs. She graciously came over and signed for
everyone, including me, and was even nice enough to take a picture with me. It
really meant a lot, because she does hold the position that I would love to
possess some day. It showed me the type of person she is and I was pleasantly
surprised. And to answer the question all of you have been asking…no,
I did not tell her I intend to take her job someday! I truly enjoyed witnessing
that side of the media that I never get to see, and it makes me want to be a
part of it that much more. It was kind of like watching a Red Sox game from a
sports bar, when I could be sitting on top of the Green Monster. 

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Game two of the series was another incredible pitching match-up. Clay Buchholz,
who had a 0.00 ERA in his previous three starts, and is an AL candidate for the
Cy Young Award was facing Rays pitcher Matt Garza. Buchholz went 7 1/3 innings,
giving up four hits and two runs (one earned) while striking out five and
walking two. VMart kept up his hitting from the previous night, hitting another
solo shot in the top of the eighth to break the 1-1 tie and give us the lead.
However, when Buchholz returned for the bottom of the inning, he quickly gave
up that lead when B.J. Upton hit a lead-off, game-tying homerun. A few crucial
errors occurred for the Sox in the bottom of the seventh inning, though. The
first being a bad pick-off attempt by Buchholz that sailed into the right field
bullpen, allowing Carlos Pena to advance from first to third. After that, J.D.
Drew made a mental error by chasing a foul ball down the right field line and
catching it to make the out. However, that was only the second out of the
inning and Pena was able to tag-up and score from third. Pena’s run was the
first run allowed by Buchholz in 26 innings. One incredible defensive play was
made my Ryan Kalish in the bottom of the second, though, when he robbed Upton
of a possible RBI double or triple by making a diving catch in center field
(with a somersault at the end) to end the inning. As a
baseball fan, I was very excited about the bonus baseball we encountered that
night. I’ll never complain about free baseball, although it was heartbreaking
to watch Dan Johnson hit a walk-off homerun to win the game 3-2 against my team
in the bottom of the tenth inning. Being there to witness that was surreal,
bittersweet, but most of all, depressing.

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That picture is me and Jamie Brooks (@jsbsox). I was able to meet her at the game on Saturday!!

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Sunday came way too fast for my liking, but we had all day to waste because the
game was changed to the 8:00 PM ESPN game (which my dad was not thrilled about
because we had to change our flight from Sunday night to Monday morning). We
decided to go to the beach for a little while since we were staying in
Clearwater, which was only a 10-15 minute drive to the shore. I refused to wear
a bathing suit because I was on this trip to watch baseball, not get a tan. We
spent about an hour out there taking pictures and we even got some ice cream.
It was very relaxing (but very hot) and I was just ready to get back to the
field. After the gates opened, I rushed down and decided to try a new spot
during BP and I ended up on top of the dugout, right where the players walk in.
Within the first few minutes, Terry Francona came out of the dugout and started
signing autographs. I was lucky enough to have him point at me so I threw my
ball to him and he signed it and threw it back. A lot of the players
acknowledged us but I knew how focused they were on the final game of the
series. While I was standing there, Dick Vitale, a season ticket holder in the first
row behind home plate, showed up. My dad has always been a fan and talked me
into getting his autograph. It’s kind of ironic that I went to a three game
series to watch the Red Sox and I ended up walking away with two broadcasters
and a manager’s autographs. Oh well, it is what it is and I wouldn’t have
changed it for the world. But, there was a very essential game about to start
and we really needed to win, but the baseball God’s had something else in mind.

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John Lackey was starting for us that night while we faced James Shields. Lackey
went 6 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on nine hits, walking three and
striking out seven. The turnaround in the game was in the bottom of the sixth,
when Lackey gave up three runs, a two-run game-tying homer by Carl Crawford and
then a bases loaded, one-out RBI single from Dan Johnson (the hero from the
previous night). It could have been two runs, however, VMart had a great block
of home plate to prevent the second run to score. But, the damage was done and
the Rays were on top 3-2 and never gave up the lead again. Yamaico Navarro had
his first RBI in the big club in the top of the fifth when he singled to score
Mike Lowell from third. The Rays ended up winning the game 5-3 and took two out
of three at Tropicana Field. It was a very tough weekend for the Sox, as we
fell 6 1/2 games behind the Rays and Yankees in the AL East and the Wild Card
Race.

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Despite losing the series, I had such an incredible time. The cowbells, I must
admit, were a bit obnoxious and I would be perfectly content never having to
listen to them… ever again. A few of the Rays fans even stooped as low
as the World Cup and brought vuvuzela’s. It wasn’t completely

abhorrent, however, I could never imagine having to deal with
that every single home game. I guess being a Red Sox fan isn’t so bad after
all. If I had to choose my favorite part of the entire weekend (which is almost impossible), it would be having the opportunity to watch Daniel Bard warm-up and pitch in two of the three games. He is my favorite player and my dad was amazed at how many pictures I took of him (sorry, dad)! 


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Regardless of the injuries, the disappointments this season, and all the
heartbreak we’ve sustained, it was absolutely worth every penny to be able to
spend a weekend with my daddy, watching my favorite boys. So, thanks dad, for
everything. I had such a wonderful time with you and I know these memories will
last a lifetime! My trip to the Trop was an experience I will never forget, and
I just hope that we can turn this season around and show everyone what we are
capable of!


If you would like to see all the pictures from this weekend, add me as a friend on Facebook! I should have them up very soon!

Go Red Sox!

Jenn

Still Recovering

Well, after these past nine days that I’ve taken to somewhat rest, recover and commence a few rehab starts, I’m ALMOST ready to be reactivated. I’ve started my Fall semester of college and I’m aiming for a 4.0… after two days of class—so far, so good! I’ll keep you guys updated on that, but it will be taking up the majority of my time. Anyway, I’m still in some pain, but I see the doctor tomorrow morning and he’ll be able to give me more precise details as to when I’ll be fully recovered. I’m thinking, by Friday morning, I better be back to normal! I’ve got a long weekend ahead of me full of Red Sox baseball and I need to be in tip-top shape!

Now, enough about me and more about what really matters—baseball!

The Red Sox started their three-game series against the Seattle Mariners tonight and walked off the field with a 6-3 victory. John Lackey went eight innings giving up 3 runs (only 2 earned) off 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out a season high 10 batters. Lackey is now 12-7 with a 4.51 ERA. It was one of his best outings and came at a very good time for the team. Marco Scutaro lead the team offensively going 2-for-4, with a 2 RBI ground ball single to right in the fifth and then again in the seventh inning. J.D. Drew and David Ortiz each helped out, bringing in 2 runs on their RBI singles respectively to give us a 3-run lead. Jonathan Papelbon came in to close out the game, giving off a lead-off single, then retiring the next 3 batters to claim his 31st save of the season.

On to some other news, now, I’ve got to bring up what everyone seems to be discussing, which is the Red Sox claiming Johnny Damon on waivers today. The future is still unknown, and there’s still time for everything to get worked out, however, if it does happen, I think that Damon could be a huge contributor, offensively and defensively, for us and could be that extra drive we need to give us a run for the playoffs. Damon isn’t sure he wants to come back to Boston, but as we all know, if the trade doesn’t get worked out, we have at least kept the Rays and Yankees from being able to get him. Personally, I miss the old shaggy Damon from his Boston years. Most people considered him a “traitor” (including me, at times, I’m not going to lie) after he went to the Yankees, but you can’t deny his talent at the plate. During his career in a Red Sox uniform, he hit .295, with 461 runs, 56 homers, 299 RBIs, 98 stolen bases and a .362 OBP. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind seeing that in our line-up again.

Currently, the Red Sox sit 5.5 games behind the first place Yankees and 5 games behind the Rays who hold the Wild Card spot. I feel very redundant, as all my posts seem to talk about keeping faith and hope that we can make it to the playoffs. But, I want to inform you all of something—until it is mathematically impossible for us to still be in contention, I won’t give up. You will never hear the words, “maybe next year,” come out of my mouth because I will believe, always.

I now have three days to finish up my rehab starts, see my doctor one more time and fully recover before my exciting daddy/daughter weekend starts. I’m really looking forward to seeing my favorite boys up close during batting practice and experience first-hand the games I love to watch every night, no matter where they are in the country. I’ve seen the Red Sox play numerous times throughout my life, in different stadiums, but something tells me this weekend, this series against the Rays, will be one of the greatest weekends of my life. There’s nothing more important to me than family, baseball and the Red Sox—and I get to have all of those in one weekend. How did I get to be so lucky?

Red Sox Doll

Disabled List

I climbed onto the cold, hard surface with surgery lights
beaming down on me. I had doctors and nurses all around poking me, hooking me
up to machines and asking me questions. There was so much going on and I was in
la-la land, not sure what to make of it all. The anesthesiologist asked me one
simple question, “did you decide on a dream?” I remember nodding yes,
and that was the last thing I can recall before they put the oxygen mask on me,
and my eyes closed, as I drifted off into my fairy tale.

I woke up coughing and in so much pain. The nurse handed me a popsicle and
asked how I was feeling. I couldn’t talk and the thought that I had just had my
tonsils removed didn’t help the pain at all. Shortly there after, the nurses
redressed me in my Red Sox shirt I had worn that morning and I was finally able to see my dad. He told me that the surgeon
had come to talk to him after my surgery was over and he explained to him how
the procedure went, but more importantly, he told him about the last words I
said before I went under.

Apparently, after they asked if I had decided on a dream, I went on to tell
them that I wanted to go to my happy place. They asked where my happy place was
and I explained that it was Fenway Park, in Boston, MA so I could see my
Red Sox. They all laughed and that was the last thing they heard from me.

This isn’t shocking to anyone who knows me, and I guess it completely makes
sense. The Red Sox are my life, so, in baseball terms, right along with the
rest of my team (it seems like), my doctor placed me on the 15-day disabled
list with a possibility to be out longer. I have not missed a single game
throughout my entire recovery, though. I have forced my parents to help me
downstairs so I can sit on the couch and watch my boys. Today is the first day
I’ve had the energy to write, though, so I’m taking full advantage and hoping I
make sense (I am still on pain medicine, as I am in A LOT of pain, all the
time).

During my stint on the DL, I’ve now watched the Toronto series and
the first two games of the Texas series. We took two out of three against the
Jays and lost the first game in Arlington (which was the second in two painful
walk-off losses after the first in Toronto the night before). But, to stop
focusing on the negatives, I’m going to talk about tonight’s game against the
Rangers.

Jonny Lester started the game today and was absolutely dominant. He went 8
innings, giving up no runs off 5 hits, striking out 5 and walking none. It’s
really starting to show which pitchers are going to carry us into October, and
that is Jonny, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard. I love watching close games like
the one tonight, which was 1-0 until the 9th inning. We added on some insurance
runs in the top of the 9th to give us a 3-0 lead headed into the bottom of the
inning. I’m not sure why Francona decided to take Lester out of the game, and
not let him close it out. Bard and Jonathan Papelbon were unavailable and
anyone else we bring out of the pen would easily be a suicide mission. Maybe it
was the 100 degree temp in Arlington, and Lester having already thrown 109
pitches. But, Tito decided Scott Atchison was the man for the job and could get
the save. However, with 1 out, he gave up a homer to Josh Hamilton (that kid is
absolutely ridiculous… definitely MVP worthy) and that ended his outing.
Felix Doubront was then brought in and had a lot to prove as a rookie, and this
was his chance. Vladimir Guerrero got on base with one out, but then was gunned
down by Victor Martinez when he tried to steal second. So, now with 2 outs,
Doubront struck out Mitch Moreland looking on a 77 MPH curveball to get the
save. J.D. Drew has been incredible at the plate lately, along with Ryan Kalish
who is really proving himself. Drew scored Kalish in the 5th inning with a
2-out single to put the Red Sox on top. We all say this in Red Sox Nation about
almost every game, but that was a HUGE win and very much needed.

The Red Sox sit 6 games out of first in the AL East to the New York Yankees, and 4 games
behind the Tampa Bay Rays who hold the Wild Card spot. We are 67-51 with 44
games left to play. We end the series in Texas tomorrow, and we really need to
muster up a win. Daisuke Matsuzaka is starting for us and we really need him to
pitch a gem. We also need our offense to keep it going by getting on the board
early, not leaving men on base, especially in scoring position and capitalizing
when we have the opportunities.

Now, back to talking about the Red Sox disabled list, besides your favorite
RedSoxDoll– Jacoby Ellsbury was placed back on the 15-day DL after being taken out of
yesterday’s game in the 4th inning due to pain in his left side (where he had
the broken ribs). Dustin Pedroia started his rehab assignment with Pawtucket
tonight, and if everything goes well, should be back in the starting line-up on
Tuesday. I am SO excited for Pedey to be back, and hopefully he’ll bring the
“Laser Show” with him!

We have to keep winning series from here on out. And, I hope by the end of
August, when I meet my boys in Tampa, we’ll be well on our way to this race for
the pennant. I hope our boys can stay off the DL, and really show everyone our
heart and drive that we have to win. I also hope that I can make a few rehab
starts and get reactivated before my exciting trip to the Trop!

Go Red Sox!
Jenn

Also, thank you all for being so patient and supportive! Y’all are really the best!   

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