The Globe's Dan Shaughnessy checked in earlier today to answer your questions about the Red Sox-Rays ALCS. Check out the transcript:
Deedee: Dan, you have been around long enough to know better than to predict the Red Sox to be shoe-ins for the world series. What got into you?
Dan Shaughnessy: as bill parcells and rick pitino always said, that's how i felt at the time.
CTfan: I am shocked that Varitek could possibly feel betrayed being lifted for a pinch-hitter. Upset, yes. Betrayed, definitely not. Is Boras working his usual magic of driving a wedge between teams and players about to become free agents? What is the source of your comment?
Dan Shaughnessy: you'll have to figure that out by yourself. but it's not something that was invented. my information is that that is how he feels about it. and it's not particularly surprising.
Rah: Are the Rays really pitching Scott Kazmir in game 5? What's the rationale?
Dan Shaughnessy: yes. many theories on this. buster olney of espn said that kazmir and umpire darryl cousins have bad history and cousins would be lined up for home plate Saturday in st. pete. also shields apparently is better in dome than on road and clearly kaz was horrid against sox in dome last week. if sox crush kazmir again tomorrow and get momentum going back to fla. maddon could be ripped for overthinking here.
Jamie: For Game 6 (hopefully there will be a game 6) what will the Sox do, if anything, to try and get Beckett back on track? What will they try to do differently in order to avoid what happened his last two starts?
Dan Shaughnessy: nothing you can do except trust your pitcher. unless he's really hurt in which case they made have to do something drastic. lester is on normal rest saturday (game 6) if they choose to go that route, but they're not going to talk about it now.
Jamie: Do you think that the Rays will still carry the momentum going into Game 6, or will the off day cool them off? If so, is it enough to change the outcome of the game?
Dan Shaughnessy: you mean gave 5, right? well, they can't get any hotter. and dice-k stopped them last time.
GoRays: Is ortiz hurt worse than is being let on?
Dan Shaughnessy: we don't know. i still say it's just a slump cuz he's trying to pull everything. shift seems to be really bothering him for the first time.
Sultan_Of_Swat: Dan does any of this make sense? Underperformance, spent players, clutch hitting and pitching lost. They really are an old team and it shows but even then performance wise if you would call it that, entitlement doesn't win games and to me they are a real disappointment thinking they deserve big contracts when this season is over and the sad part is ownership will by it. Thoughts?
Dan Shaughnessy: think you are too hard on the lads. they've had some bad luck with injuries, some people are getting old, and they're up against a hot young team. but try to remember how hopeless if felt last year when they trailed the indians, 3-1.
rocco: do you think the red sox have reasonable chance of winning three in a row from the rays
Dan Shaughnessy: possible, of course. in theory, dice-k, beckett and lester give them a chance in all three games
ae_wellesley_hills: The Rays are young and poised to make a run for a few years, the Yankees will be buying up everything in sight with the new Stadium...what of the Red Sox.. after this series, are we doomed to be relegated to the role of Blue Jays
Dan Shaughnessy: sox definitely need a big hitter this winter. and yes, the division looks tough for years to come
californiaPdentist: Dan, I can't believe I'm asking this, but has Boston become a "yahoo" baseball town. I don't know, seeing TV reporters stand outside Fenway wearing a Sox hat and jacket is kind of "un-Boston" if you ask me
Dan Shaughnessy: postseason always brings out the sox-garbed newsies. nothing new there
californiaPdentist: Did the Red Sox make Lowell's injury worse by clearly running him out there when he was unwell?
Dan Shaughnessy: i don't know, but i don't think so. it certainly looked like he should not be on the field when he couldn't even run
soxfan: Do you think they'll have the fire to come back or are you going to blame the CURSE again?
Dan Shaughnessy: curse was put to be in '04.
Southie_Guy: Do you think the Sox did too much celebrating after beating the Angels and as a result there was a let down for the Rays Series? Without DiceK in Game 1 they would have been swept!
Dan Shaughnessy: no
francoma: Why do I want to eviscerate David Ortiz and treat Varitek like he was a terrorist?
Dan Shaughnessy: kind of harsh, i'd say. those guys got you two championships.
emerson: speaking of predicting the future, where will Tek be next year?
Dan Shaughnessy: i still think he could be back, but he's going to have to take two and an option. boras won't like that, but not sure what the market will be. he's still worth more to the red sox than any other team. because of his handling of pitchers on this staff. and there's not much below at that position in the system
punisher: Do you think there is something wrong with Beckett? He seems like he is struggling to throw a 90 mph fastball.
Dan Shaughnessy: i agree. his numbers are down on the gun and he needs that power. he's not going to beat you with location, a la pedro. i think he's hurt. but he won't make excuses so we'll never really know. but the hitters are certainly telling us that he's not right.
Ray20Allen: Dan, all i want to say is David Ortiz is no longer himself, I don't care about the wrist or any injuries. He's just no a clutch hitter. Not just looking to game 5 but in to next year can he turn things around. He looks downright awful
Dan Shaughnessy: ray -- don't be ridiculous. how can you say this man is not a clutch hitter? do we really need to remind you of all the clutch hits and walkoffs?
CJ: who leads off tomorrow nite?
Dan Shaughnessy: good question. maybe coco now -- against the lefty you don't want ellsbury or drew. pedroia could be a surprise pick.
uscjg: Hi Dan, how quiet was it at Fenway over the last two games?
Dan Shaughnessy: church mouse quiet
Big_Doog: Dan, a key to me in 2004 was when Pedro knocked down Hideki Matsui with a high, tight fastball. The Yankees didn't hit nearly as comfortably the rest of the series. Daisuke has to do something similar, right?
Dan Shaughnessy: you don't see much of it anymore. and it's not dice k's way. this is when you need a pedro, clemens, schilling, or beckett to make them less comfortable.
roger: dan...how much do you think pai is bothered by the absence of manny, both on the field and in the clubhouse
Dan Shaughnessy: not in clubhouse. they didn't seem to hang much in the later years. but i think he misses manny hitting behind him and i think it's in his head a little now
Pedroukils: Hey Dan, can you tell me how tall Dustin Pedroia really is?
Dan Shaughnessy: i'd say 5-7. you could eat candy off the top of his head
jon: Do you think Wakefield will be back next year, or will he retire? If he goes, he should be remembered as one of the all-time great Sox "team" players.
Dan Shaughnessy: i say he's back. still gives you a lot of starts and eats those innings. but the playoff days are over.
fisk_27: About those moronic cowbells- what effect does that headache-inducing din actually have on the players on the field? Seems to me it must go a long way to unnerve players on *both* teams. The Rays fans are new to all this, and they don't seem to know to only make noise when the pressure is on the opposition. Maybe this is part of what Ortiz was talking about when he say from the Rays' faces that they seemed rattled after Game 1?
Dan Shaughnessy: little impact, i'd say. guys can tune that out.
TJ_Swan: If the Red Sox win Thursday, it will be Lester in Game 6 correct?
Dan Shaughnessy: i'm told tito at his press conference today ruled out lester in six. and again said beckett is not hurt.
Scoop: Do you miss Manny?
Dan Shaughnessy: amend that last answer on lester. tito went on weei to say no lester in six.
Dan Shaughnessy: as for manny, writers all miss him because he was great copy. don't think most of his teammates miss him too much, though.
BOOMER: Are you surprised that the Rays are going with Kazmir in game 5?
Dan Shaughnessy: yes. i don't like it for them. think it's good for the sox, though
fisk_27: And speaking of distractions, why is their goofy mascot, "Raymond", allowed to sit right behind the batter, jump around, and wave his arms to distract the pitcher like that? If you sit behind the Plate at Fenway you can get ejected for the slightest distraction, like talking on your cellphone, much less waving your arms. So how is it that an employee of the Rays is allowed to blatantly raise distracting the pitcher to an art form?
Dan Shaughnessy: is a sports epidemic. part of "game presentation.'' maybe wally should do the same
Swingbattabatta: Dan, Coco blew it in a pretty big spot to get the Red Sox back in the game last night hitting into that double play. Do you think Francona will put Ellsbury back in tomorrow night despite there being a lefty on the mound?
Dan Shaughnessy: coco hit the ball hard there -- too hard. but i don't like struggling ellsbury back at the top against a lefty
jon: Do you think a (most likely) disappointing finish to this year, combined with the economy, will deter Sox brass from raising ticket prices again next year?
Dan Shaughnessy: doubt it. sox have been recession proof. fans willing to pay more. it'll be interesting to see how this evolves.
Chris: is it over yet?
Dan Shaughnessy: no. just feels that way. it's 3-1
Sue: dan don't you think that how the season started (japan>oakland>toronto>home) along with the sickness early in the season, injury after injury that all of this is starting to catch up with the rs?
Dan Shaughnessy: let's not blame japan on being down 3-1.
whywakefield_: did anyone honestly expect more from wakefield last night?
Dan Shaughnessy: sure. could have been a two-hitter through seven. you never know with him
jb: I'm really surprised that Tek feels that way. Is it ego, or does he really believe in a do-or-die situation he is the best person to have up there?
Dan Shaughnessy: players all feel that way. that's what makes them good in the first place. you don't want a guy who's happy to yield.
yowoody: manny is gone. you won. please stop talking/writing about him. it reflects badly on you. it is as if he personally attacked you and you can't let it go.
Dan Shaughnessy: nothing evil about manny in his interaction with us. but he quit on his team twice in three years and now he's being rewarded for it. needs to be said when national media (or manny) try to paint this as something boston or the sox did to him.
commave: Is Papi's problem physical (wrist) or mental (worried about wrist and misses Manny)?
Dan Shaughnessy: we don't know. i don't think it's missing manny. he's missing his pitch a lot. that's what he's missing. and, as stated, i think he's trying too hard to pull everything. hasn't gone the other way like in the old days
CJ: assuming we win game 5, i don't think beckett is a good choice, i think masterson should go, what do you think?
Dan Shaughnessy: that's drastic. only if beckett is really hurt. masterson was a starter til this summer, though
chris77NH: Dan, why is everybody so upset? I might not be your typical Sox fan, but I think we had a "good" year and are dealing with some major injury challenges... Lowell, Beckett... no need to tear this team apart!
Dan Shaughnessy: you must be new to things around here
Kellzo: Hey Dan, thanks fo the constant flow of good stuff over the years. Do you think Dr. Bill Morgan can stitch Beckett's abdominal muscles to his skin, and get him back out there, like Big Schill to the rescue?
Dan Shaughnessy: good stuff. you should write for us
capedoggie: What's happened to Sean Casey?? Will he get any playing time??
Dan Shaughnessy: no. 1 ab in postseason. strikeout looking. he is a singles hitter who can't run or play defense. good guy, though.
FreddieMercury: Do you think Schilling will attempt to come back again next year?
Dan Shaughnessy: no.
JimEdHOF: if you were a baseball player, would you want to play in Boston and answer to you and your column?
Dan Shaughnessy: they don't care about us. this is a great place to play -- 35,000 every night. baseball matters.
travlun: What are the chances of the sox bidding for mark teixeira? we could use his bat and his glove is stellar maybe move youk to 3rd and trade Lowell
Dan Shaughnessy: lowell untradeable now. could move youk to the outfield if you do this
cedric: What did you think of Rosenthal's article about Race and the Sox?
Dan Shaughnessy: i think it's a stretch.
Larry: Where's Millar when you need him?
Dan Shaughnessy: good point. he was the inspiration for comeback from 3-0. he predicted it.
Dan Shaughnessy: okay, time's up boys and girls. thanks for chatting.