Boston Globe baseball writer Gordon Edes checks in every week (usually on Fridays) to answer your questions on the Red Sox. Ask yours now, and come back next week to see whether it was answered.
I know you've probably got a thousand of this exact same question, but seriously, how much longer do we have to watch Julio Lugo embarass himself?
Marco C., Chadds Ford, Pa.
A: Marco, He can't possibly be this bad. Keep telling yourself that. The Sox have a pretty long stretch of games at home coming up: seven against the two worst pitching staffs in the league, then a post-break, 11-game homestand against the Blue Jays, Royals and White Sox. Lugo in the past has been a good Fenway Park hitter, you've got to figure the whole lineup is going to pick up the pace, and just as it took one big game to get Coco going, Lugo just needs a couple of good games to build on. Right? You hope? Gulp? If not, Alex Cora figures more prominently in the mix, as he did when Dustin Pedroia got off to his slow start. But Lugo is signed for another three years, so the Sox have no choice but to give him more rope.
Gordon, If Theo thinks this team is going to make a run in the playoffs with this bullpen, tell him for me.....THEY AIN'T. Piniero, Lopez, Timlin, Delcarmen. Are you kidding me? The only way the Sox win is if they outscore you or the starters go 7 quality innings then turn the game over to Oki and Pap. This pen ain't gonna get it done.
Doug Berlin, Jamestown, N.Y.
A: Doug, I'm not as down on Lopez as you are. I think he's been pretty effective in the role he's been used. Delcarmen threw great last weekend against the Padres, and I think he's only going to get better. But I do agree with your overall point that the Sox to make a deadline deal for pitching. If they're not convinced that Lester is ready, then add another starter and move Tavarez to the pen, where he could join Okajima as an eighth-inning option. Or make a deal for a reliever. The Sox have some chips to move in a deal; there's little doubt in my mind they'll make a move.
Haven't heard much about Bryce Cox in a while and nothing about Craig Hansen. Can you give us an update on these guys? Also any idea what the plans are for David Murphy and Brandon Moss? Seems like there is not really a spot for them and that they would b trade bait at some point...
Chris, New York, N.Y.
A: Chris, after 15 hits and 11 walks in 14 2/3 innings in Portland, Cox was dropped a level to Greenville, where he has a 1.80 ERA in six appearances. Obviously, some people got carried away in their projections for Cox; he remains a work in progress. Hansen, I'm told, touched 98 miles an hour the other day, but again, the Sox have elected to take a big step back with him and allow him a more normal developmental track than they did at the beginning. Would they deal him? I think he's far from untouchable, but don't interpret that to mean they've given up on him, because that's hardly the case. As for the outfielders, Murphy and Moss, I suspect you're dead on, that the Sox would willingly move them in a deal.
Why doesn't Theo step up to the problems?? Timlin should retire gracefully; Solve the Lugo mistake; and get rid of Willy Mo so the bench can be better.
Patrick Ryan, Palmyra, Va.
A: Patrick, in order: The Sox really can't force Timlin to retire. That's his call. They could release him, which is always a possibility, I suppose, but they'd better have someone better in place before they do that. How do you "solve" the Lugo quandary? He has three years left on his deal, and as Edgar Renteria has so dramatically proven, guys do bounce back from off years, and Wily Mo probably could be had in a deal but I think the Sox like having his bat around in case something happens with Manny or Papi.
I would like to know why no one has noticed the fact that Wednesday night's game was lost by Crisp. That dive with no chance of making the catch was very stupid on his part. If he had just played the first bounce instead of trying to look good Burke would have been on first instead of second and would not have scored on the bloop single. The game would have been over in nine with a 1-0 win. Some times being smart is better than showcasing. Am I the only one who sees this play last night? Not one writer that I can find even mentions this. Thank Crisp for this sweep. I know he has made some great catches but some times using common sense is more important! Am I in error by feeling this way? Thank you.
Bob, Homosassa, Fla.
A: Bob, I think this was an instance in which Crisp was given the benefit of the doubt, because he's managed to make similar catches this season with astonishing frequency? That attempt proved ill-advised and costly, but that would truly have been a second-guess of the worst kind, given his splendid defensive play this season. And you can hardly assume the game would have ended up 1-0 if he hadn't tried to make the shoestring catch.
Now that interleague play is over, what is your assessment of Ortiz playing first base? Seems like he was adequate. How many errors did he make? Also, is it just me or are pitchers avoiding Big Papi to get to Manny whose production is down? Is this the cause of Ortiz not having as good an offensive year as in the past?
Russ White, Ashland, Va.
A: Russ, as Papi would no doubt enjoy pointing out to you, in seven starts at first base this season, he handled 40 chances (37 putouts, 3 assists), without making an error. I think "adequate" is an apt description of Papi defensively, but believe me, the Sox would much prefer to keep him in the safety of the dugout between at-bats. And yes, Papi would also likely agree with your assessment that he is getting fewer pitches to hit because Manny hasn't really been Manny yet this season.
I'm starting to think the Red Sox are facing a new curse...the Curse of Cabrera. We haven't had a shortstop perform well since Orlando left here (much to the regret of fans) in 2004. What a huge mistake on the part of management - he's getting better every year and we keep going downhill at that position. I'm not sure all is going to be right in Red Sox Nation until we get him back. Wishful thinking, right? What else can we do here?
A: Carol, the "Curse of Cabrera": I wonder if Dan-o can get a book deal out of that one. It's true that he has emerged as an offensive force this season to go along with his terrific glove, and he's acknowledged as one of the Angels' real leaders in the clubhouse, too. Yeah, it's wishful thinking of the highest order to imagine he'd play here again. What can you do? Light lots of candles.
I loved your write-up of the third Seattle game, but must take umbrage with your implied criticism of inserting Pineiro in the 11th when he had a sprained ankle. I thought he was the perfect choice precisely because of what happened -- he walked a guy, gave up a double, and ended the game. That game needed ending because the Sox were never, ever going to score. The pitching was magnificent, but the hitters, especially the middle of the order, were lost on post.
Creighton Abrams, Springfield, Va.
A: Creighton, it wasn't so much an implied criticism -- Tito didn't have a lot of options at that point-but just getting on the record that Pineiro said the ankle was still sore. Neither he nor Tito said that he couldn't pitch. BTW, how impressed were you by J.J. Putz? We don't hear much about him, but he has been as dominant as Papelbon. I asked Paps if Putz reminded him of himself, and he said: "A little bit. We both have a big ol' butt."
Isn't the real problem with the Red Sox hitting? Their power numbers are way, way down, and their runs per game this month is pitiful. Unless my math is off, they have scored about 106 runs in June and given up 105. Over their last 20 games (ending with the awful 2-1 loss in Seattle) they have scored 82 and given up 78. They have about 18 games this month were they have scored 4 or less a game, and 11 where they have scored 2 or less! I believe something like 38 of their games total this year, they have scored 4 or less. And, while we're focusing on Lugo and Crisp, it's the numbers for Manny, Papi, Drew and Lowell we should be concerned about.
Jim Walsh, Mt. Pleasant, Tenn.
A: Jim, your math is pretty good. I've got 'em scoring 106 and giving up 106. But I think you've got to cut them a little slack. The month included two West Coast trips, and the first one was a killer, after playing a late Sunday night game against the Yanks, then having to play the next day against the A's in Oakland. They played a bunch of games in NL parks, which meant no DH, and faced some pretty good pitching, too. I think you'll see a big spike in the offensive numbers over the next three weeks.
Hi Gordon, after watching another pedestrian lefty, this time the immortal Ryan Feierabend (he of the 8.60 ERA), look Koufaxian against the Sox again I have the following question: Does management ever have them take batting practice off a left handed pitcher who can throw a cut fastball or slider? Please tell me they are doing something to address their inability to hit mediocre left-handed pitching.
Michael Cummings, Austin, Texas
A: Michael, I would quibble with your description of the Sox making Feierabend look like the second coming of Koufax. They hit absolute rockets against him -- eight in the first four innings alone -- but had nothing to show for it. In BP, you don't normally see guys throwing cutters and sliders. The hitting machines have settings for breaking balls.
When does a games get suspended as opposed to calling the game and having a winner, such as last nights Yankee/Orioles game?
James Forrest Sr., East Haven, Conn.
A: James, here's the rule regarding suspended games:
(a) A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons:
(1) A curfew imposed by law;
(2) A time limit permissible under league rules;
(3) Light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club. (Mechanical field device shall include automatic tarpaulin or water removal equipment);
(4) Darkness, when a law prevents the lights from being turned on;
(5) Weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead; or
(6) It is a regulation game that is called with the score tied. National Association Leagues may also adopt the following rules for suspended games. (If adopted by a National Association League, Rule 4.10(e) would not apply to their games.):
(7) The game has not become a regulation game (41/2 innings with the home team ahead, or 5 innings with the visiting club ahead or tied).
(8) If a game is suspended before it becomes a regulation game, and is continued prior to another regularly scheduled game, the regularly scheduled game with be limited to seven innings.
(9) If a game is suspended after it is a regulation game, and is continued prior to another regularly scheduled game, the regularly scheduled game will be a nine inning game.
A: Hi Gordon. A member or RSN in the diaspora here (grew up in Sharon) -- which is part of my point. For my job, I spend a lot of time driving across the beautiful Southwest, and I follow the Sox on the Internet and Satellite Radio. It couldn't be more enjoyable to drive across the desert with Joe and Jerry, er -- Glenn. With this current Sox road trip, esp. to new ballparks, it's been made clear to me that the visiting teams (announcers, that is -- XM airs the home team broadcast) don't get it with respect to the fans the Sox bring out. They think they all travel from Boston to follow the team. They don't understand how much a part of the heart and soul the Red Sox are for every native New Englander, and that it's people living in the local area who circle those dates on the calendar when the schedule comes out. When I lived in Oregon, I drove up to Seattle to watch the Sox. It's such a rare treat to see them live, that displaced New Englanders from 500 miles away make the trip, like a spiritual journey.
Steven Albert, Zuni, N.M.
A: Steve, while the Sox do have a not-insignificant number of fans who plan vacations, long weekend, etc, around the team's road schedule, it's hard to imagine that host clubs don't realize that the biggest percentage of Sox fans on the road are displaced fans like yourself. The one exception may be Baltimore, where I think the majority are fans who have come down from New England.
While watching the Red Sox on Extra Innings this week, the Braves' announcers referred to a game between the media of Boston and NY and that the benches cleared during this game. Were they joking or did something like this really happen?
Ronald, Massapequa, N.Y.
A: Ronald, I wish I could say they were joking. I wasn't there, but there was a bit of a dustup after a villainous New York writer (sources tell me it was Bob Klapisch, a/k/a the Doctor of Darkness) beaned the noble Uri Berenguer, the Spanish-language broadcaster who earlier in the game had been involved in a collision at the plate. The valorous Berenguer rightfully objected to this egregious breach of sportsmanship by the scurrilous Klapisch, and into the fray waded that pillar of rectitude, Carl Beane, who when he isn't serving as the club's PA announcer (he's available for weddings, too) dons a full Sox uniform to serve as manager of the manly Boston media nine. Beane, who is slight of stature, broad of girth, but whose bravery knows no bounds, leaped forth from the Sox dugout and issued a challenge to the entire New York nine, but cowards that they are, they cowered in their flip-flops and, quaking, implored the umpires to allow them to resume play before the mighty Beane sent them scurrying out of the Fens like the rats they are.
I suppose the Braves announcers forgot to supply you with these details. Happy that I could help.
Now that Clemens has again chosen to play with the Yankees, has the Sox front office given up on trying/wanting to ever get him back? I think Clemens has made it clear that he has no "soft spot" in his heart for Boston and has solidified his status as a Yankee. Now, while he still will most likely go into the Hall with a Red Sox hat on, isn't it time to show him that WE HAVE MOVED ON as well? What is the possibility of pulling the # 21 shirt out of the cedar closet and give it to a deserving candidate like Johnny Lester. He will hopefully be the "ace of the future" and it will show Roger that we, too, have moved on. Your thoughts?
Marc Romeo, Los Angeles, Calif.
A: Marc, I can't see No. 21 being put back into circulation until after Roger retires, if then. When his career is finished, he arguably will be the greatest pitcher of all-time, which might give pause to the Sox saddling any youngster with that number.
The summer is upon us and the trade rumours are upon us. Can someone get a message to Theo? Please, please, please don't screw it up! The 2004 honeymoon is over and done and lately I've got the impression that this team isn't a good (or maybe even great) team because of Theo, but rather in spite of him. Right now I'm nervous that he'll make a move if only to justify his pay package and his existence for that matter. Do you think he'll be able to just leave it alone or is he the tinkerman?
Ryan Hadley, Washington, D.C.
A: Ryan, I think there is some tinkering required, and while Theo's track record is mixed, let us not overlook his triumphs, which include the deals for Okaji and Matsuzaka, the endorsement of Pedroia as top draft pick, the signing of Beckett to a multiyear deal last summer, not to mention the trade for Schill going back a few.
What are your thoughts on the possible Beuhrle trade? It seems to me that the Red Sox have loads of prospects in the minors but they keep getting blocked. We have several potential outfielder that could be in the Majors now and a few good arms. Why keep spending more money to buy players. I would like to see them promote instead of Spending
A: Dave, by now, I suspect you've heard the reports that Buehrle is now close to signing an extension with the White Sox. The Red Sox had definite interest in the left-hander, but not at the expense of Ellsbury and Buchholz.
Gordon, My wife made an interesting observation the other night. She thinks there's a distinct and scary resemblance between Kevin Youkilis and Yukon Cornelius. The names have sort of a nice symmetry, don't you think. Any thoughts?
Dave, Baltimore, Md. (AKA Fenway South)
A: Dave, tell your wife I wish I'd thought of it first. We'll have to get the Dirt Dog on that one!
Are members of the public or Red Sox Nation welcome to purchase tickets to the baseball writers' annual banquet? When is it? How can tickets be obtained?
A: Sue, the writers' dinner is absolutely a public affair. There would be no writers' dinner without the fans. We'll have ticket info in late November/December. I think it ran around $125 last season.
I think that considering 300 wins as an absolute requirement for Hall of Fame induction of starting pitchers in the recent decades emphasizing power hitting and relief pitching is illogical, and consequently Hideo Nomo who starred for the Red Sox in 2001 also definitely should be highly considered for induction for his outstanding performances and unique and global contributions to the game of baseball. Nomo extremely courageously retired prematurely from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in 1995 in the face of intense hostile criticism to become the first East Asian star player to migrate to Major League Baseball (MLB), and dramatically succeeded. As a result, Nomo not only truly internationalized baseball by paving the path to MLB for countless other East Asians including Ohka, Matsuzaka and Okajima to follow (undoubtedly eventually further contributing to staging the very popular World Baseball Classic initially won by Matsuzaka and Japan), however also significantly contributed to salvaging the existence of the game of baseball itself following the near-fatal 1994-1995 strike with Nomomania, his Tornado windup, and his Just Do It attitude. Additionally, Nomo is one of only four pitchers in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in both leagues (including the only one ever at Coors Field and another for the Red Sox), and one of five pitchers (including with the Red Sox)to lead both leagues in strikeouts (all of the others are or will be in the Hall of Fame). Nomo has won 201 career games (78 in NPB and 123 in MLB), etc., all without any suspicion whatever of using performance-enhancing drugs. Do you not agree?
Britt Casteel, Oiso, Japan
A: Britt, I would agree with you that Nomo was a true pioneer and paved the way for the Japanese stars who have followed, and that alone should warrant some consideration for inclusion in Cooperstown. Regrettably, he was a dominating pitcher in the bigs only in his first couple of years with the Dodgers, and kicked around for a few years before having some success, including his no-no with the Sox, near the end. If judged by performance alone, his pitching in the States fell far short of Hall worthiness.
You seem to be so knowledgeable on baseball...have you ever played?
A: Don, I am surprised you have not seen the numerous highlight clips on YouTube of my playing career. It's depressing that circumstances (can't hit, can't catch, can't run, can't wear his socks right) conspired to bring my playing days to a premature end after just one year of Division II Babe Ruth. But when rain is in the forecast, I can still feel the spot where Glenn Stillman hit me in the knee with a pitch in Little League. It's a badge of honor I wear proudly to this day. Fortunately, my powers of observation and my capacity to ask questions of those much more schooled in the game than I have not yet diminishedâ¦though I am starting to worry about my hearing.
Why don't we hear or read any news regarding Matt Clement?
A: Jane, because there really isn't any news per se to report. Matt has been throwing in Fort Myers, and Terry Francona has said he is holding out hope that perhaps Matt will be able to throw in a game, at some level, in September.