for May 1-14, 2002
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May 14, 2002
For Start? Here's The Count
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant
Sure, the Mariners cooled off the Red Sox a bit by taking two of three over the weekend. And yes, it will be difficult to play .700 baseball without Manny Ramirez in the lineup the next four to six weeks. But any doubts about how the Red Sox will fare during that stretch cannot erase the first six weeks of the season. It is the best start since the 1946 team - your granddad's Red Sox. ... Here are 25 reasons - one for every victory - why the Red Sox have the best record (25-9) in baseball.
Sox face challenge ahead without Manny
Sean McAdam, espn.com
The first six weeks of the 2002 Red Sox season were a pleasure cruise, about as different from the last six weeks of the 2001 season as possible, which was achievement enough. That the Red Sox got off to their best start in 56 years and forged the best road record to start a season any team has had since 1984 was almost an afterthought. ... But now the Red Sox face a stark reminder that, regardless of morale and attitude, not every bad turn can be avoided. Manny Ramirez, who was leading the American League in hitting and hitting with runners in scoring position, will be lost to the Sox for at least the next four weeks and perhaps as long as six weeks with a fractured left index finger ...
bunch mixes it up for Sox
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald
Throughout the 8-2 road trip, the "Animal Group'' came to life. Whenever the Red Sox came up to bat in the first five innings, Carlos Baerga, Lou Merloni, Doug Mirabelli, Rickey Henderson and Brian Daubach were usually at the top steps of the dugout. If a Red Sox batter were to get a hit, they would keep their order. If the batter got out, they would shuffle the order. It was pure superstition and pure fun, with the goal, of course, of bringing good luck to the Red Sox.
'Test me right now'
Jeff Fletcher, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Barry Bonds has been hearing the whispers -- some not so quiet -- for years. Fair or not, with or without proof, rumors of steroid use have chased Bonds as relentlessly as he has chased home-run records into his late 30s. Bonds has denied the rumors at every turn, explaining that he works out for 4½ hours a day, five days a week, in the offseason to develop his statuesque physique. ... "You can test me right now, and that would end that discussion real quick."
gets the blame
Jat Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times
Kerry Wood is tired of Don Baylor's sleepwalk act. ... In a memorable rant after a limp 3-0 loss to the Cardinals, Wood boldly suggested his manager's tolerance of losing is a major part of the Cubs' problem. ''I'm getting real [bleeping] tired of hearing the same [bleep] when the game is over: 'Keep your head up and we'll get 'em tomorrow,''' Wood said. ''That [bleep] ain't working.''
May 13, 2002
Stories about Pedro's May 12th start against Seattle are here.
a cloudy issue for Rockies
Troy E. Renck, Denver Post
The Colorado Rockies are a bit miffed at the fuss surrounding the way the baseballs are stored at Coors Field. It was learned this past week that the Rockies have been placing their game baseballs this season in a humidity- and temperature-controlled room built near the Coors Field clubhouses.
Major League Baseball has given the club permission to use the environmental chamber, though an official will be dispatched to Denver this week to ensure the balls are being stored properly. Sandy Alderson, vice president of the commissioner's office and a member of baseball's rules committee, told The Denver Post the Rockies should have consulted with the league before beginning the practice, thus eliminating the shroud of secrecy.
humidor takes hit; probe on deck
Mike Klis, Denver Post
Concerned that the Colorado Rockies did not inform Major League Baseball of their baseball humidor until Tuesday, the commissioner's office has sent an official to investigate the controversial storage chamber. Though MLB is satisfied with the humidor's purpose of preserving baseballs to their intended size, and even applauded the Rockies for their pioneering concept, the commissioner's office indicated that it was disappointed that the team built and then used the chamber without taking the necessary steps for approval.
"The secretive nature was unfortunate," said Sandy Alderson, vice president for the commissioner's office and a member of baseball's rules committee. "It contributed to the perception that the Rockies have done something wrong. Had they informed us of their intentions, we would have given our approval because what they are doing is in compliance of what the ball manufacturer would recommend."
May 12, 2002
the word for pros -- Grateful athletes sing their praises
Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe
The Red Sox woke up in the Pacific Northwest in first place this morning, and calls were placed to moms all over the globe. Pedro Martinez, tonight's starter in the nationally televised game at Safeco, called his mom in Hatomayor, Dominican Republic. ... Pedro talks to his mother, Leopoldina, once or twice a week. "She didn't watch us play that much and she never played herself. But she always sacrificed herself for us to go out and play baseball."
ever the showman
Steve Buckley, Boston Herald
To hardcore baseball fans, tonight's Red Sox-Seattle Mariners showdown at Safeco Field represents Must-See TV - the two winningest teams in the game, with ace of aces Pedro Martinez on the mound for the Sox, and a nationwide audience eating it all up on ESPN.
It'll be huge, right? "It'll be just another game," Martinez said yesterday afternoon in the Sox clubhouse. "I'm an entertainer, and my job is to go out and entertain. And that's what I'll be doing (tonight). ... I actually don't like pitching on TV. I don't like being in the spotlight. I have baseball in my heart. But when I'm out there pitching, it's a business ... Would you like to be on TV? All the time? With chicks digging you and stuff?" ...
The Sox ace also reacted with good humor when he was shown an article in The New York Times asking which pitcher is better - Martinez or Arizona's Randy Johnson. "I don't even have to read it. He is. And that's an honest answer. Because he's been more dominant and more durable and has been in the World Series."
[The article was actually in Friday's Wall Street Journal.]
his call: Sox' Varitek has full command of his pitches
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald
On the day he threw the first no-hitter at Fenway Park in 37 years, Derek Lowe put his faith almost exclusively in the hands of his catcher. Lowe threw 98 pitches in methodically cutting down the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but he did not shake off batterymate Jason Varitek a single time. Not once.
"He has a reason for everything. That's why I almost never shake him off," Lowe said recently of Varitek, with whom he has worked throughout much of his minor league and major league career. "Watch Pedro pitch. He rarely shakes him off, too, and he's a Hall of Famer. From your No. 1 guy to the No. 11 guy on the staff, everyone trusts him. That's important."
Sox start impresses many
Garry Brown, Springfield Union-News
[T]he Red Sox have impressed the entire baseball establishment. One veteran National League scout who had occasion to see them play 10 times during spring training said, "Barring injuries, they look solid in every department." Then came word from Seattle's advance scouts, who told manager Lou Piniella that "Boston is the best team we have seen so far."
May 10, 2002
Sox continue road roll -- Club's longest winning streak since 12 straight
Ian Browne, mlb.com
With all of the stats available in this day and age, it is easy enough to pinpoint what a team is doing well when it's on a roll. And make no mistake about it, these Red Sox are not just rolling, but steamrolling. [They have won nine straight and 18 of their last 21 games] ... What are the 24-7 Red Sox doing well these days? Try everything. They lead the American League with a .303 batting average. They lead in ERA, at 3.25. Incidentally, care to guess which Red Sox starting pitcher has the highest ERA? Try Pedro Martinez, at 3.49. He's some fifth starter, right?
break out brooms: Sweep away A's for ninth straight win
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald
Lowe (5-1) won the bout on all scorecards. He pitched superbly for eight innings, handcuffing the A's lineup on just six hits, his sinkerball and changeup helping to create 21 groundball outs. ... Said Sox ace Pedro Martinez: "That's my guy, that's my Cy Young. He was outstanding.''
road for Red Sox -- Lowe & Co. complete sweep of A's
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe
By winning their ninth straight game, the Sox are within one victory of matching the '84 Tigers, '51 White Sox, and '12 White Sox for the best road start in history through 19 games (17-2). They had not swept the A's in Oakland since May 29-31, 1995 ... Derek Lowe induced 21 outs on ground balls, and after the game was leading the league in batting average allowed (.165). Lowe has pitched 66.1 innings over 10 starts since he entered the rotation last September and has posted a 1.90 ERA. He has not allowed a home run.
David Heuschkel, Hartford Courant
When is it the right time to play the Mariners? When you don't have to face Freddy Garcia or Jamie Moyer - and maybe even closer Kazuhiro Sasaki. Probable starters for the series: Frank Castillo (2-2, 3.31) vs. Joel Pineiro (2-0, 2.08) tonight; Darren Oliver (4-1, 3.18) vs. John Halama (1-0, 3.52) Saturday; Pedro Martinez (4-0, 3.49) vs. James Baldwin (3-2, 5.36) Sunday. Sasaki, the Mariners' closer (2-0, 0.00, eight saves) flew to Japan to take care of family business. Seattle hopes to have him back Saturday or Sunday.
Red Sox holding off Curse
Larry Stone, Seattle Times
"Hereafter, you may not see Pedro ever pitch 98 mph," Port said. "I think he has a different game plan now. You get into the right count, and that 96 mph, 97 mph pitch will still be there. My observation is that he's changed his approach to use more weapons."
Whereas last year brought finger-pointing, recriminations and squabbling within the Red Sox clubhouse, this year has been marked by peace and tranquility. One Red Sox insider laughs when comparisons to 2001 are broached. "It's so different, it's hilarious," he said. "It's the happiest place on earth."
doubts about it: Club is solid
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
Sixteen years later, and Dwight Evans has never watched the tape of Game 6. ''Too painful,'' he said yesterday afternoon. ''Two outs in the last inning, two strikes on the hitter, nobody on base. I happened to glance over toward left field, and there it was on the scoreboard, 'Congratulations Red Sox, 1986 world champions,' first time since 1918.
May 9, 2002
Teammates' suspensions bad calls
Gordon Edes and Bob Hohler, Boston Globe
''I considered that really stupid from whoever is handing out the suspension,'' Pedro Martinez said. ''If they look around, those two guys were hit on purpose. Nomar and Hillenbrand, in a clean way, knocked out Tampa Bay, and then the next day they come right after those two guys. If they had gone after Varitek, or Offerman, or something, it would have been different. From somebody who had pinpoint control that day, it's hard to believe. They're getting stupid with it. ... Frank had to retaliate. We would do that 30 times if we have to. Whenever someone hits one of our batters, we'll retaliate.'' Martinez laughed sardonically when asked what would have happened had he been involved. ''Imagine,'' he said. ''That would have cost me two years.'' ...
The funniest moment of Martinez's outing came when rookie Carlos Pena, the former Northeastern star, thought he had drawn a walk when the count was actually 3-2. With his glove, Martinez gestured for Pena to return to the plate. ''I yelled at him in Spanish,'' Martinez said. ''I told him, 'One is missing.'''
Corner: Facing Pedro Peña says it was three times cool
Mychael Urban, mlb.com
Peña, who spent most of his teenage years in the New England area and played college ball at Northeastern University in Boston, faced one of heroes -- Red Sox ace and fellow Dominican Republic native Pedro Martinez -- for the first time Tuesday. Before Wednesday's game, Peña talked about the experience:
"Facing Pedro was very cool for a variety of reasons, and the first is that he's such a worthy opponent. This man has already had a Hall of Fame career, and it's always an honor to face someone with such great credentials. It was also cool because Pedro is one of the guys who really supported me when I was younger. He likes to keep track of what the young players from the Dominican are doing, and when I was playing at Northeastern he came out to watch me play, and that was one of the greatest thrills of my career so far. ... And the last reason it was so cool is because I'm a Boston boy, and Pedro is a god in Boston. It wasn't just me who thought that -- it was everybody. And he's still a god. He will be forever. ..."
Bonds, Pt. 1
Joe Sheehan, Baseball Prospectus
That’s Barry Bonds's on-base percentage, a figure that is so far off the charts as to be mind-boggling. It's a number that would have been a league-leading slugging percentage for most of the 20th century. ... Bonds is making an out less than 40% of the time he steps to the plate. ... It's only the most staggering of the feats, facts, and figures associated with Bonds to date ... [Barry Bonds, Pt. 2]
blast away on A's: Score early, often in rout of Oakland
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald
The Red Sox needed 15,624 games in 101-plus years, but they registered their 8,000th franchise victory last night. The Red Sox needed just 30 games in a little more than a month this season to confirm that they are off to one of their best starts ever and, even at this point, show nearly unlimited potential. ... Their 23-7 record is the franchise's second-best start ever and their 15-2 start on the road is the best start since the Detroit Tigers went 17-0 in 1984.
Sox fit perfectly -- What a difference an offseason makes for Boston
John Schlegel, mlb.com
The road uniforms are the same, the familiar gray with a red "Boston" across the chest. Even quite a few of the players inside those uniforms are the same. But this is a different team than the one that last visited Oakland in August 2001, make no mistake about it. Come to think of it, these guys aren't the 2001 Mariners in disguise, are they? They're certainly playing like it as we head into mid-May.
Ian Browne, mlb.com
The victory was the 8,000th in the history of the Red Sox franchise. It came in their 15,708th game. The Yankees are the only AL team to reach 8,000 quicker ... It also gave the Sox a 15-2 start on the road this season, the best any team has began a season since the 1984 Tigers won their first 17 away games ... Damon's triple in the seventh extended his career-long hitting streak to 18 games ... Trot Nixon's four walks were a career high ... Damon leapt over the center-field fence to rob Terrence Long of a homer in the ninth. He was rewarded by several plastic cups which came flying from the bleachers behind him ... A streaker charged on to the field while the A's were batting in the ninth, prompting several looks of amusement from the Red Sox. "It was a long game, three and a half hours of good baseball topped off by a little entertainment there at the end," said Little. "Only in California."
May 8, 2002
Stories about Pedro's May 7th start against Oakland are here.
meets his hero once again
Gary Peterson, Contra Costa Times
Carlos Peña was a college junior playing baseball at Boston's Northeastern University when his hero showed up out of nowhere. His hero introduced himself. Said he'd been following young Peña's career. Said he heard young Peña might be a top pick in the upcoming baseball draft. Said he wanted to come see one of young Peña's games. ... "I'm like, 'Yeah sure. Thanks anyway,' " Peña recalled Tuesday. "And then he shows up." ...
"If you are from the Dominican Republic, Pedro Martinez is in your heart at all times," Peña said an hour before Tuesday's game against the Red Sox -- and his hero. "Support, that's all he showed. He said, 'Just keep doing your thing. Don't put too much pressure on yourself.' ... He heard I was from the Dominican Republic. He knew my history. Nobody asked him to come out and meet me. He did it on his own. It shows what kind of heart he has."
and Nixon suspended
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
Nixon also was fined $2,000 and Castillo $1,500, and Tampa Bay pitcher Ryan Rupe was fined an undisclosed amount ... According to a statement released by MLB, Nixon was punished for ''intentionally throwing his bat at Rupe'' and Castillo was deemed to have thrown intentionally at Randy Winn. Watson also ruled that Rupe intentionally threw at Garciaparra and Hillenbrand. ''It's still under advisement right now, so I can't elaborate,'' Watson said by phone last night. ''I'm sure as we get further into the process, I'll share my heartfelt feelings with you about why I did what I did.''
Castillo suspended: Singled out for Tampa tiff
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald
Watson's decision caught the Red Sox off guard for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that he sought no input from anyone on the team about Sunday's game. Both the Red Sox and Devil Rays were surprised that the punishment was so one-sided and that the matter was dealt with at such a high level at all. ... Rupe and Devil Rays manager Hal McRae said they were surprised by the penalties, especially considering there were no ejections or verbal confrontations between the teams.
merely fined after Bosox feud
St. Petersburg Times
The Rays didn't necessarily understand the punishments handed out as a result of incidents in Sunday's game with Boston. But they weren't going to argue. ... "It looks cheap that they got suspended and I didn't," Rupe said. "I don't know why they would get suspended and I wouldn't. Oh, well."
May 7, 2002
Boston's Castillo and Nixon, Tampa Bay's Rupe disciplined
Pitcher Frank Castillo and outfielder Trot Nixon of the Boston Red Sox and pitcher Ryan Rupe of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have each been disciplined for their actions during the Red Sox-Devil Rays game at Tropicana Field on Sunday, May 5, 2002.
Nixon was suspended four games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing his bat at Rupe, while Castillo was suspended five games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at and hitting Tampa Bay's Randy Winn. Rupe was fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at and hitting Boston's Nomar Garciaparra and Shea Hillenbrand.
Bob Watson, Vice President of On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement. Unless appealed, Castillo and Nixon are scheduled to begin their suspensions tonight. If appealed, their suspensions are held in abeyance until the process is complete.
Association appealing both suspensions
Boston pitcher Frank Castillo was suspended for five games for hitting a batter last Sunday and Red Sox teammate Trot Nixon was suspended for four for throwing his bat at a Tampa Bay pitcher.
Both also were fined Tuesday by Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, as was Devil Rays pitcher Ryan Rupe. Watson said Rupe intentionally hit Nomar Garciaparra and Shea Hillenbrand with pitches. The Major League Baseball Players Association appealed, meaning the suspensions cannot start until after a hearing before Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.
Rupe hit Nomar Garciaparra with a pitch in the first inning. In the second, Nixon swung and missed at a pitch, losing his grip on his bat, which sailed to the right of the mound. Later, Rupe hit Hillenbrand.
"My bat slipped out of my hands," Nixon said after the game. "They can take it for what it is worth. You are throwing strikes to Nomar and hit him in the back, then you throw strikes to Manny (Ramirez) and then you hit Hilly. It is something Rupe has to answer. The umpires did a good job letting us play ball. Tempers can flare. There is a lot of testosterone out there."
Two innings later, Castillo hit Winn in the hip. Rupe denied intentionally hitting Garciaparra or Hillenbrand.
First of all, the AP has
the sequence of events wrong.
Rupe hit Garciaparra and Hillenbrand in the same inning -- the top of the first.
Nixon's bat went flying in the top of the second inning.
How hard is it to get those simple facts right?
Watson says that Rupe intentionally hit two Red Sox batters --
but that warrants no punishment other than a nominal fine.
Castillo plunks Winn in the ass a few innings later -- and is suspended for 5 games.
The umpires issued a warning after Castillo hit Winn and felt
no need to eject anyone from the game at any point.
So what is Bob Watson
"A pitcher can throw at batters two or three times in one inning, as long
as he does it before the other team can retaliate. Then he's in the clear.
Throw at one batter intentionally -- get suspended for 5 games.
Throw at two batters intentionally -- no suspension."
and Shea talk about the suspension with Joe Castiglione on WEEI
Posted by BigDog 5/7/02 08:44 PM
Providence Journal -- Your Turn Bulletin Board
Trot: "I read the reports and some of the things they said about me trying to hurt someone and what they said wasn't true... It was a brand new bat, I didn't tar it up enough... The players' union will take of things. My focus is on these next three games with Oakland. We're going to keep our focus out here through this tough stretch of games. It's all kind of baffling, all kind of funny how you figure it out. It was a total surprise to me. I know what happened to me, the bat slipped out of my hands... I'm not sweatin' it one bit. They misinterpreted my remarks [not going to push us around]... getting hit by the ball dictates what is going to happen out there. We didn't start it. When you have hit-batsmen, that starts it off... I don't know what Rupe was doing, he had good control out there, only one walk. ... No one intentionally tries to hurt anyone out there, the bat slipped out of my hands."
Shea: "Whether pitches were intentionally thrown at my head or not, I don't know...and I don't care. But it's good that we have a team that will retaliate to these things. Not that there was any retaliation by Nixon or Castillo. I haven't spoken to them about that, it would just be speculation on my part. But it good to know that this is a team that sticks together."
lets a few barbs slip Abernathy's way
Bob Hohler, Boston Globe
"I dislike that boy,'' Trot Nixon said yesterday after he got word of Brent Abernathy's take on the Red Sox right fielder letting his bat fly toward Tampa Bay pitcher Ryan Rupe in Sunday's game. ... ''It doesn't surprise me that Abernathy would open his mouth and accuse me of trying to hurt somebody. He needs to worry about himself and his team instead of worrying about what's going on over in this clubhouse. If he keeps opening his mouth, he's going to get something in the future from somebody, not us.'' ...
Pedro Martinez flew out yesterday ahead of the team to avoid the overnight grind. Martinez is expected to be nearly fully recovered from the flulike symptoms that hampered him in his last start. ... The Elias Sports Bureau was unable to find any other team that had lost three straight games in which it led with two outs in the ninth inning, as the Rays did against the Twins and Sox Thursday through Saturday. However, the last American League team to lose three straight after taking a lead into the ninth inning was the Chicago White Sox, from Sept. 25-29, 1929. The last time it happened in the National League was June 13-15, 1990, when the Cardinals took the triple dip.
Steven Krasner, Providence Journal
Pedro Martinez , who flew to San Francisco early yesterday afternoon so he would be as rested as possible, will start tonight. The sinus problem that affected him in his last start seemed to have cleared up, Little said.
finally draw real test out West
Tony Massarotti, Boston Herald
For more than a month, they have had their way with the weaklings and invalids of the bipolar American League. Now the Red Sox go west to finally pick on someone their own size. Time to tussle with the big boys. ... Over the next three weeks, the Sox will play 19 consecutive games against the Oakland A's (six times), Seattle Mariners (six), Chicago White Sox (three) and New York Yankees (four). The Sox will have the luxury of playing the final 13 games in that sequence at home, but not before the six-game stretch to Oakland and Seattle that begins tonight with ace Pedro Martinez on the mound ...
Damon a force for Red Sox
Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle
Johnny Damon comes blazing into Oakland tonight nothing at all like the player who was batting leadoff for the A's this time last year. In fact, it is because of his dreadful start last season that Damon is batting .370 for the equally hot Red Sox, he said.
"I learned a lot from last year," Damon said by phone from Florida, where Boston played the Devil Rays the past four days. "I learned how to adjust in this league after moving to a new team, which has made a big difference. And I'm doing a lot of extra work, making a conscious effort to be a better ballplayer. I've dedicated myself more than I have in the past -- and that's because I pretty much embarrassed myself last year. I didn't feel comfortable with the fact that I struggled."
Always Too Early for the Red Sox
Murray Chass, New York Times
Don't say it's early, the caller told Larry Lucchino. That's the easy way to duck comment on a positive development, the trite view adopted by every conservative, overly cautious person associated with a team off to a good start. ... Five weeks into the season, they simply have the best record (21-7) in the major leagues, better than the Seattle Mariners, better than the Yankees, much better than the Yankees. ... The Red Sox haven't been this much better than the Yankees since the end of the 1995 season, which they finished in first place, seven games ahead of the team all Boston views as the Evil Empire.
are strangers in a strange land
Jim Baker, ESPN Insider
The Yankees find themselves in an unfamiliar position and how they react to this "crisis" should be interesting. For the first time since the close of the 1997 season, they are five games behind another team in their division. This leaves them with two choices:
1. Understand that these things sometimes happen, even to teams with payrolls over 1.1 billion dollars and that, with time, faith in the players they counted on from the outset will be rewarded. Know that the Red Sox -- the team they trail -- are just now getting to the meat end of their schedule.
2. Panic and start making moves.
How much activity we see from their owner, George Steinbrenner, will give us some indication as to which of these two paths they are following. The more involved he becomes in day-to-day operations, the more they are, then, hitting the panic button.
May 6, 2002
Sox handle Rays' frustration
Paul C. Smith, mlb.com
Trot Nixon was asked to describe the undercurrent of Sunday's game between the Red Sox and the Devil Rays because he was just the man to do it. "There was a lot of testosterone out there on the field," Nixon said. ...
"First, [Rupe] is throwing strikes, then he hits Nomie in the back," Nixon said. "Then he strikes out Manny and then he hits Hilly?" Garciaparra also said he thought the pitches were intended to send a message. ... One inning after the Boston batters were hit, Nixon's bat flew past Rupe on the mound after a hard swing. Rupe had a delayed jump-out-of-the-way reaction, but Nixon just stood and stared as the bat was retrieved by a batboy. ... "Oh, my bat slipped out of my hands," Nixon said. "They can take it for what it's worth."
aim hit a nerve
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
[T]he short-yet-turbulent history of bad blood between the Devil Rays and the Red Sox added another chapter yesterday, and even though they'll be playing inside a dome, a chance of storms is in the forecast for tonight's series finale. ... The word inside the Devil Rays' clubhouse is that they thought Garciaparra was stealing signs from second base after his ninth-inning double during the Sox' winning rally Saturday night....
Tampa Bay second baseman Brent Abernathy, who fielded Nixon's bat after his long toss, went on the offensive after the game. ''I think they thought because their quote unquote star player and the guy who hit the home run last night got hit in the first inning, it was intentional, so Nixon decided to be the hero and take it upon himself to try and hurt somebody. ... I think that the worst part of it was that he went back and got pine tar and tried to play it off like he didn't do it. Everybody in the place knew what happened.''
unfazed by Devil Rays' scare tactics
Bill Ballou, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
What's next for Devil Rays' manager Hal McRae -- bringing in the Hanson Brothers to goon it up? ... Red Sox starting pitchers have keyed the team's recent surge. They have allowed only 12 earned runs in the last nine games, working 64 innings in that span. The rotation ERA for those nine games is 1.69. Boston starters have walked seven and struck out 49 during this stretch. ... Red Sox pitchers have issued just 12 walks in the last 10 games. ... Nixon's double in the eighth made it 21 straight games in which Boston has had at least one double. The Sox have 42 in that span. ... Red Sox baserunners are 10 for 11 stealing in the last 12 games. ...
May 5, 2002
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove has seen Pedro Martinez pitch against his team three times this season. Hargrove also was in the opposing dugout for Martinez's epic game in the 1999 playoffs, when he relieved and no-hit the Indians for the last six innings. The night before that game, Hargrove said, he was in the Capital Grille on Newbury Street, having dinner with his wife, when he ran into Joe Kerrigan and his wife. "I asked him, 'How's Pedro?'" Hargrove said. "Joe told me he wouldn't be able to pick up a ball for three weeks. That game cost me my job."
Here are Hargrove's current impressions of Martinez, which he shared before Martinez's last start against the Orioles, when he worked only five innings because of a head cold: "I don't know if he's changed. I think people's perspective of him has changed just because of the injury he had last year. Then that first outing, which I saw on TV and looked like there were a lot of cheap hits, well, the seed of doubt was planted in everybody's mind - will he be the same? It's kind of when you look for something, you'll find ways to find it. But the first two times we've seen him, he's been as dominating as any time I've ever seen him.
"The velocity may be a little different. One start he was 90 to 92 early, then by the third inning he was 94 to 95. Yes, he threw a lot of changeups and curveballs against us, but he still throws that elevated fastball. There's almost an arrogance on his part - and I don't mean that in a negative way - that he has a belief in himself that he can throw any pitch in any situation. I've seen him throw eight changeups in a row, eight curveballs in a row, go two innings throwing nothing but fastballs, then suddenly switching to changeups. He's got a changeup from hell, the way it drops, a nasty curveball, and there's a certain amount of deception in his delivery. Most guys pitch downhill, and Pedro does the same thing, but it looks like he's throwing uphill, the way his fastball elevates. I'll take him."
May 3, 2002
Sox start strong
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald
After a 15-run effort from his teammates salvaged a poor start Wednesday, Pedro Martinez was perfectly satisfied to let the sluggers take the spotlight. He knows that four-homer and 16-hit evenings are eye-popping, but he, like his teammates, knows the real reason why the Red Sox are sitting atop the AL East this morning with a 17-7 record. ... It is all the starts the Red Sox pitchers have made that have added up to success. ...
"I was hoping you guys wouldn't ask that because we just want to sneak by,'' Martinez said with a bashful smile after his start. "Let the offense take all the credit, and then at the end of the year whatever we come up with, we come up with. Let the offense do the job, do the dirty work, and we'll do the little things that we have to do under the table.'' ... The Red Sox starters' league-leading 2.97 ERA is nearly two points lower than the league average, and they lead the league in opponents' batting average against, winning percentage and hits, home runs and walks allowed.
Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant
Leftover from Pedro Martinez's start against the Orioles Wednesday: His first strikeout was the 1,044th as a member of the Red Sox, moving him past Bruce Hurst for the fourth spot on the franchise's all-time list. Only Roger Clemens (2,590), Cy Young (1,341) and Luis Tiant (1,075) have more.
to run from Rickey
Johnny Damon, mlb.com
Johnny Damon is in his first season with the Boston Red Sox. Already, the dynamic center fielder has become popular among the team's rabid fan base. Damon is doing an exclusive diary with MLB.com every two weeks for the entire season. In this latest installment he talks about a variety of subjects, including dealing with injuries, playing with Rickey Henderson, and his team's upcoming road trip. [First installment]
Lowe named American League Pitcher of the Month for April
Lowe went 4-1, 2.04 in 5 GS in April (35.1 IP, 15 H, 8 ER, 9 BB, 23 K), highlighted by pitching the 16th nine-inning no-hitter in Red Sox history April 27 when he defeated Tampa Bay, 10-0, at Fenway Park ... Lowe allowed two hits or less in three of his five April starts ... Lowe tied for the league lead in April with four wins and led the league with a .129 opponents batting average against. He ranked fourth with a 2.04 ERA and has not allowed a home run in his last 56 IP dating back to last season. ... Lowe, the current AL Pitcher of the Week, is the first Red Sox pitcher other than Pedro Martinez to win a monthly award since Erik Hanson was honored in August 1995, with Martinez winning six times with the Red Sox in-between.
May 2, 2002
Stories about Pedro's May 1st start against Baltimore are here.
action or I'm gone, warns unhappy Henderson
Steven Krasner, Providence Journal
Not everything is hunky-dory in every corner of the Red Sox clubhouse. Mercurial Rickey Henderson is unhappy with his sporadic playing time, and he hinted after last night's win that he'd like to play for another team if he doesn't get into more action soon.
"I'm a little frustrated," said Henderson, 43, a 23-year veteran who has appeared in 10 of the team's 24 games. "If I don't do much the next couple of days, I might as well help someone else." ... Does Henderson plan to be with the Sox? "Friday, yeah. Saturday, you might not see me. I'll have to see what the organizational plan is for me.... I know he's trying to get everyone in. But I'm tired of sitting."
creature comforts -- Henry is right at home in bleachers
Paul Harber, Boston Globe
If you think Red Sox owner John Henry gets everything he wants, you're wrong. For his brief excursion to the Fenway Park bleachers during last night's game with the Orioles, Henry was hoping to sit in one particular place: section 42, row 37, seat 21, the famous red seat that commemorates where Ted Williams's Fenway-record 502-foot homer landed in 1946. ''But they told me it was sold. So I had to find another place to sit,'' said Henry, who settled for section 42, row 14, seat 4 - just 20 feet behind the Orioles bullpen.
is in that groove -- He's swinging and having ball
Gordon Edes, Boston Globe
In his own way, Manny Ramirez is the total package. ''The best swing I've ever seen,'' Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said ... Ramirez has knocked in multiple runs in nearly half (10 of 24) of the Sox games this season. He's ahead of the torrid pace he set last year in both home runs (nine) and RBIs, and at this rate would finish with 61 homers and 209 RBIs. Don't even think of trying to get him out with runners on base and fewer than two outs. He's batting .714 (10 for 14) in such situations, including last night, when he hit a three-run home run into the left-field net in the first and a two-run home run that curled around the Pesky Pole in the fourth.
Boston, Damon starts out hot for a change
Mel Antonen, usatoday.com
Johnny Damon won't have to hear those never-ending questions about his miserable starts this season. Aside from a strained hamstring, the Boston Red Sox outfielder has had the best April of his career. "I've never doubted myself, but this is the first time I've been able to go out and be myself," Damon says. "I'm enjoying everything about this team and how it gets ready for every game."
still burns in Boston brains
Don Wade, Memphis Commercial Appeal
It is nearly a quarter of a century after the fateful fact. And Bucky Dent, that pixie of a Yankee shortstop who ripped out so many Red Sox hearts with an improbable home run at Boston's Fenway Park on an October afternoon, is now a mild-mannered, middle-aged, minor-league manager. Bucky Dent is 50. Bucky Dent - and doesn't the very name sound like he should be a kid forever? - has gray hair and wears reading glasses.
May 1, 2002
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald
Darren Oliver's fourth career shutout gave the Sox five shutouts in April, the first time they've recorded five shutouts in a single month since August 1974. ... Rey Sanchez, who ended a streak of 1,094 at-bats without a homer (April 12, 2000), has now driven in runs in six consecutive games for the first time in his career. ... Grady Little said that Pedro Martinez will be adhering to a 105-115 pitch count when he makes his sixth start tonight.
shuts out Orioles: Lefty looks like real deal in 4-0 victory
Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald
Oliver continued his amazing turnaround last night by pitching a complete-game eight-hitter to lead the Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. He struck out four batters, walked none and became the first Boston lefty to toss a shutout since Frank Viola blanked the Chicago White Sox, 4-0, on April 18, 1993.
Phil O'Neill, Worcester Telegram & Gazette
The Red Sox finished April with an impressive 16-7 record (.696) ... Boston's best Aprils were 18-8 for wins in 1998 and an .846 winning percentage (11-2) in 1918.
cronies as self-destructive as Strawberry
Fran Blinebury, Houston Chronicle
Darryl Strawberry, a tragedy with legs, walked off toward the penitentiary, all the while insisting, "My life is going in the right direction." Which speaks volumes about either his life or his compass, telling us, in quite different ways, Strawberry would never have made a good Boy Scout. ... the trail of wasted opportunity and squandered second chances goes back so much further. Just like with Major League Baseball. Bud Selig, another tragedy with legs, continues to walk his game to the brink of annihilation or, worse yet, indifference with a display of so-called leadership that is equally as lost.
strange and the unusual
Tom Tippett, espn.com
From 1978 to 2001, there were 10 innings in which a team banged out five doubles and one inning with six. ... On seven occasions, a team had three triples in one inning ... Twenty-three four home-run innings have been recorded in this stretch ... On August 3, 1989, Cincinnati recorded 19 official at-bats in the bottom of the first against Houston ... the Oakland A's of 1979 walked eight Angels in one inning on the 4th of July ... this period also saw seven seven-walk innings, 33 six-walk innings, and 193 five-walk innings. ... 14 teams elected to issue three intentional walks in one inning ... There have been 29 [4 strikeout] innings since 1978. ... We found 23 innings in which a team made four errors ...
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