As you can see, my post shows up on the first page. Since it's well known that everyone Googles their own name from time to time, I'm pretty sure that these authors have read or will read these articles. Makes me kinda happy.
|Kansas City||$47 million||46-82|
Let’s be honest, Sox followers: The Javy Lopez acquisition has been a disaster. Dealt an unfortunate blow with the loss of Jason Varitek, Sox officials acquired Lopez from the Baltimore Orioles on Aug. 4. Lopez has since batted .238 with no home runs and has done little to shed a questionable reputation behind the plate.
This time, we have a juicy conspiracy theory, which holds that Ramírez is annoyed because of an official scorer's decision in Friday night's loss to the Yankees. Manny, who was absolutely scalding the baseball throughout the Yankee series (8 for 11 with nine walks), lost a base hit when a hard hopper clanged off the backhand glove of Derek Jeter in the fifth inning of the second game. In yesterday's Providence Journal, Sean McAdam wrote, "Ramírez was enraged by the call, and was so angry about it the next day that he had to be talked into playing the Saturday afternoon game."
OK, it's Manny being Manny and everything is always forgiven by fanboys and sycophants because the numbers are there at the end of the year. For sure, none of Manny's teammates will call him out now because, like Francona, they know there's no upside to challenging Ramírez. But you can be pretty sure they're wondering what is going on with the savant slugger as he rests his hamstring while the team is freefalling.
You see, Karstens was born without a lower jaw, and he's exploited this feature to his advantage by adopting a deceptive and distracting presence on the mound that keeps hitters off balance. It's been the key to his entire professional career, because he certainly doesn't have the kind of raw stuff on which he can survive alone. That became abundantly clear very early, when he flashed a straight fastball around 91mph, a slider with practically zero speed difference, and a curve that was more eephus than legitimate Major League weapon. Oh, and he threw them all with spotty location, routinely forcing Posada to move his glove a considerable distance to receive the pitch. After walking Chris Snelling, Karstens threw an absolutely godawful fastball to Adrian Beltre that would've crossed the middle of the plate at the belt had Beltre not crapped all over the ball and sent it beyond the left-center fence. Just like that, the Mariners had a 2-0 lead. Richie Sexson followed that with a deep fly out, Raul Ibanez followed that with a double, and Karstens' fate became clear - if he didn't start directing these balls in play towards his teammates instead of the wall, he'd be gone so fast his ghoulish head would spin, and he'd never get another chance in the big leagues again.
So, naturally, he settled down, aided by some unfortunately-textbook terrible approaches at the plate by Mariner hitters.
Karstens was surviving by the skin of the upper row of his teeth, and he knew it. Against any other lineup in any other stadium, he'd have been gone by the third, getting ready to take his Pony League repertoire back to AAA where he'd collect a smaller paycheck and get into arguments over why he has to pay his dentist a full bill for doing half the work. But no, not in Safeco, not against Seattle - in that environment, he was one out away from a quality start in his Major League debut in front of his disgustingly obese and unattractive family.
Francona said Loretta was getting treatment all Sunday night to be ready for Monday's game. You can be sure the Yankee players were just as tired. Manny leaves in the fourth because of cramps. Crisp bangs his hand in the outfield trying to snare Giambi's game winning blast. Melvin Mora leaves a game after stabbing a Posada liner last week at third. David Ortiz never has to face this situation.
Karstens seems destined to start 2006 at Triple-A Columbus after winning 12 games and posting a remarkable K/BB ratio of 3.5 (147/42) at Double-A. He's got the look and stuff of a solid back-of-rotation starter, where his impeccable command would be a welcome addition. With the Yankees crowded rotation, he could fit in as a Tanyon Sturtze type swingman, where his bullpen experience would be a plus. If he continues to improve and has a good year at Triple-A, it's possible he could earn a big league call-up come September. If not, he should see some major league action during the 2007 campaign.
It really doesn't matter what David Wells does today. The humiliation is complete. The Red Sox are now six games behind the Yankees in the loss column, so you can forget about the American League East. And if you're thinking wild card, be advised that the Red Sox are three behind the Twins and four behind the White Sox in that same loss column.
The sorry summation of the story is that right now the Yankees simply do not know how to lose to the Red Sox. They take whatever Boston dishes out and they trump it. If you want to go all historical and compare this to the debacle in 1978, I won't be the one to stop you. But that Red Sox team got back in the race. This Red Sox team has one starting pitcher who engenders any confidence at all, and he has lost two well-pitched games in five days.
And please don't embarrass yourself by referencing 2004, either. Just don't.
"Yeah, conceivably that's an example where we didn't have the resources to take on his salary this year or next year, but we have tremendous resources, don't get me wrong," Epstein said. ``We have fantastic resources; that's just not something we can do with a [luxury tax hit] of $20 million-plus dollars. That's not something we can do. To upgrade in right field is not worth it to us because we have to spread that money around to execute our plan and build the '07 team."
Before you feel too sorry for Boston, consider the A's probably couldn't have picked up either Eric Hinske or Javy Lopez had Jason Kendall or Jay Payton been lost to injury. But the difference is the Red Sox are spending $74 million less than their biggest rival.
"We're not going to change our approach and all of a sudden try to build an uberteam, and all of a sudden win now at the expense of the future. That's not an excuse. (emphasis mine) I'm not trying to throw some sort of a cloak over the clear holes that are on this team by sort of talking instantly about the future. I'm not. Our goals are now and our goals are to put ourselves in a position to win every single year."
Obviously, the last two seasons have been quite a time for the GM of the Red Sox. After winning a World Series in 2004, Epstein was needlessly forced to wait for a contract extension. Then came last offseason’s soap opera in which Epstein resigned and returned. In his absence, the majority of roster moves were made.
At times yesterday, while fielding questions from reporters, Epstein looked like his head might explode. He scowled. He clenched his jaw. And though he answered every question without raising his voice, it is in those moments the competitor in him tries to fight through the layers of skin.
Those are the moments, too, where you cannot help but respect him.
“Anytime you don’t win, the criticism is fair,” Epstein said. “Our job as an organization is to win. The criticism is always fair. We’re extremely critical of ourselves and I’m critical of myself.”
“It’s not fair, man, these guys aren’t playing around,” Ortiz said. “They should have let us win that game to make the series interesting.”
“We had our best pitching and they still beat us,” Ortiz said.
Mariano Rivera pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth and the teams went into extras.