Archive for the ‘Red Sox’ Category

Mike Lowell Hanging it Up

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Mike Lowell is playing his last game of professional baseball, with the Red Sox honoring him yesterday before the second scheduled (but first played because of rain on Friday) game . Ironically, the game at Fenway is against the same team the drafted him in 1995.

(And in another piece of irony to me, the game was intended by MLB scheduling to be the final showdown between the bitter rivals but is now anything but.)

Mike Lowell

Mike Lowell is hanging it up after twelve seasons.

At the crippling age of 36, Lowell probably knows that’s the hips are on the complete opposite end of the Shakira spectrum. He missed significant time the last few seasons of not being able to run or hit without pain.

But looking back there are two things that I will remember most about Lowell:

(Maybe three if you include that he was part of the 2003 Marlins team, along with Josh Beckett, to defeat the Yankees in the World Series. I know most Yankees fans thought at the time that beating the Red Sox in seven in the ALCS was more important than winning the World Series, I just couldn’t stand to see them win yet another since my entrance into the Yankees realm (college 1997-2001 was hell). But there was also some consolation in the fact that the very next year, the Yankees became the first team to lose a series after going up 3-0, and then watch the Sox win two since. Though 2009 had just the reverse effect. But I digress.)

The first was his performance in the 2007 postseason, culminating with World Series MVP honors. Right after that, I was screaming that they should sign him to whatever he wanted. He was only 33 at the time, and hitters and tremendous third basemen don’t come around too often. After turning down woos from Philly for more years and money, he agreed to stay in Boston for three years.  And it was almost right away that he started to show signs of wear and tear.  But his play in that post season to help the Red Sox get their second championship in four years (or second in ninety years, depending on how you look at it) was spectacular, especially after he was considered a burden on the Josh Beckett trade.

And that is the second thing that I’ll remember the most.  In a trade with the Florida Marlins to get ace pitcher Josh Beckett (a trade that was made while Theo Epstein took a break from being the Sox GM), Florida wanted to dump the contract of Mike Lowell.  At the age of 31 (my age right now), he was viewed as too old.  He was essentially a washed up player that the Marlins were looking to lighten their salary for the year.  Yet Boston got anything but that.  The first year, 2006, Lowell looked to be the better player received in the trade.

With Lowell leaving, it will give the Sox $12.5M to work with for next season, as well as a position to fill (third or first, opposite of Kevin Youkilis when he gets back).

So, on his last game played (sitting out the last two games of the season), he went 2-for-2 with a walk which included a 2-run double in the first and scored in the third.  Outside of the “homerun in your last at bat,” I thought it was a fitting ending for the gritty player in Mike Lowell.

Red Sox Officially Out

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

For the last few weeks, the Boston Red Sox were hanging on to the slimmest of hopes to remain in the playoff hunt.  But as the New York Yankees were able to win a few games recently, the magic number has finally reached zero.

With a chance to end up with 90 wins this season, the Sox are going to finish third in the very tough A.L. East.  There record with five games to go in the season has them in a dead heat with the Texas Rangers in the West and five games behind Minnesota in the Central.  But that is the curse of playing in the toughest division in baseball.  Without a doubt the wildcard will be either New York or Tampa Bay as they are half a game apart, and Minnesota also vying for home field advantage.

I know that I’ve stated this before, but it was impressive that the Sox made it last this long.  I thought for sure that they would have been eliminated a while ago after having key player after key player either be lost for the season or have a stint on the DL.  Yes, of course I get the fact that a team like the Red Sox who had $168M in salaries (including players who were on the books but on other teams) should be able to to have other players on their team who should still be better than the more frugal teams.

And I also know that I have brought this up earlier, but in the end it was the pitching that did them in.  Very highly paid starters had terrible seasons:

Player Salary
(millions)
Starts W L ERA
John Lackey $18.7 32 13 11 4.47
Josh Beckett $12.1 20 6 5 5.77
Daisuke Matsuzaka $8.33 24 9 6 4.72

Jon Lester $3.75 31 19 8 2.96
Clay Buchholz $443K 28 17 7 2.33

The first three cost over $39M this year (add about another $8.5M for the amortized posting fee for close to $48M) and combined for a 28-22 record.  On the other hand, the saving grace hasn’t been the pitchers acquired via free agency or trades, but the two homegrown kids who totaled a record of 36-15 while hardly a burden on the ownerships’ wallets at just over $4M.  Lester will end up around second in the league in wins and fourth in ERA, and Buchholz will finish second with his ERA just a few points behind leader Felix Hernandez.

The bullpen was spotty as well as the season progressed.  When Jonathan Papelbon wasn’t blowing saves (similar to Sunday night against the Yankees), he would make the outing an adventure; there never seemed to be an easy 1-2-3 ninth for him.   Daniel Bard provided some energy in the setup roll, and is apparently the heir to the closing roll.  For the most part, the rest just weren’t good.

To go along with all of these issues were some bad loses down the stretch.  From September 10th, Boston lost two-of-three games in Oakland, to Toronto and to Baltimore (a .395 team they were 9-9 against this season).

But the injuries definitely was thing that kept them out of the postseason.  They played a good chunk of the season with Mike Lowell at first, Bill Hall at second, newcomer Ryan Kalish in the outfield, and a slew of other minor leaguers to fill in.

And we that, the baseball season in Boston will go quietly into the night, with nothing more than gobs of trade and free agency rumors that will over saturate the airwaves and blogosphere… I’m sure I will be writing one soon anyway.

Red Sox Racing for their Tee Times

Monday, September 6th, 2010

With 20 games left in the 2010 season, the Boston Red Sox are limping their way to the finish line of what will be remembered as a miserable season that was marred by injuries but was seemingly within reach until the end.

John Lackey Dejection

John Lackey has underperformed for the 2010 season.

The most frustrating part was that despite it all, it wasn’t the injuries that finished them.  It was the players who were on the field and couldn’t perform that did them in.  Josh Beckett and John Lackey both received large contracts and both shown otherwise on the field.  Jonathan Papelbon will likely end up with stats that will show he was an above average closer, but everyone will remember the save chances that were blown.  And while the injuries forced Boston to use bench players or Triple-A players, hitting seemed flat all season long.

Now on one of those dreaded West Coast trips, the Red Sox have dropped two to the Oakland A’s; the first game getting shut down by surprise started Trevor Cahill while Boston’s own ace this year, Clay Buchholz couldn’t even get an out in the second inning.  The second game Lackey actually pitched well, except he couldn’t hold the 2-0 lead in the seventh, and closer-of-the-future Daniel Bard couldn’t seem to get an out.  One more game in Oakland, three in Seattle, and then a slew of tough games at home and on the East Cost… the Yankees aren’t playing the rest of their games in Texas for anything to change.

While they are not mathematically eliminated, there is no way that the Sox would be able to catch up to the Rays for the wildcard spot nor the Yankees for the division.  And because of this, the roster is mostly made up of Pawtucket players who are looking to get some major league time for the Sox to either a) showcase them for potential trade-bait in the offseason, or b) look to see if these players can help the Sox in the future.

There’s always next year.  Again.

Red Sox Back in Familiar Grounds

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Going into the Fourth of July weekend, the Boston Red Sox had been able to take a very large 8.5 games behind in the American League East and whittled it down to a simple half-game difference with the New York Yankees.

Then starting on the holiday, they rattled off four loses in a row, took two of three from Toronto, rested for the All-Star game (Lester threw one inning, Ortiz won the Home Run Derby and had two at-bats in the game, and that was it for the Sox’s roster), and now have lost the first two games back to the Texas Rangers.

They have been able to allow the Yankees’ lead to ballon back to 6.5 in just nine games.

To be fair, in the past 15 games or so, they have lost a ton of key players to injuries, adding them to a list that was already a few deep.  Two catchers are out, a 10-game winner as well as an All-Star and MVP second baseman.

After Sunday’s day game against Texas to wrap up a four-game homestand, Boston flies out to play ten games against the AL West starting Monday night in Oakland.  Their first seven games are against the bottom dwellers of the division (including four against a Cliff Lee-less Seattle team), but it always seems that the Sox have issues going out on those west coast trips, where you just hope that they play .500 ball.

I think it’s safe to say that unless the Yankees go through a stretch of bad baseball and a slew of injuries, they are going to take the AL East this year.  Thus looking to try to take Tampa Bay (3.5 behind them) is their only option to making the playoffs this year.  I don’t think that there will be any major moves coming to Boston by the trading deadline (and hey, if they are this far below after the deadline, they might be in a position to pick someone off the waiver wire).  But, by the end of July, players like Beckett and Buckholz, Pedroia and Ellsbury (maybe), Martinez and Varitek, and some nice roll/bench players like Lowell and Hermida should be back in the lineup.  These players could be better than anyone else out there for whom they would have to take on more salary or lose top prospects.

Red Sox Always Playing from Behind

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

From the category of “for what it’s worth,” the Boston Red Sox seem to always be playing from behind.

Through the first 15 games, here is the number of runs scored by inning:

That means on average, the Boston Red Sox are going to have a 2-1 disadvantage after the first three innings.  The rest of the games, they seem to score runs on par with their opponents.

The final three games of the Tampa Bay series, in which the Sox were swept in four games, is pretty evident of this.  In these three games, the first three innings of each game (in terms of runs) were 4-0-0, 0-2-2, and 1-0-5 (with 2 more in the fourth on Patriot’s Day).  The Sox score zero.  4+4+6 > 0+0+0.  I do have a math degree, but I don’t think it’s necessary in this case.

Then in the first two games of the Texas series thus far, the Rangers go five runs in the first four innings the first night, and four runs in the first two innings last night.  Yet again, the pitching and defense has put them into the hole where they have to come back from multiple runs.  Thankfully a few lucky breaks (Hamilton overrunning a fly-out, or getting a home-field call on the throw to home) and some clutch hitting from minor leaguers has finally given Boston a few Ws.

It would be nice to see a starting pitcher go seven-plus innings without giving up a run once.  There has still yet to be a sub-three-run game played.

On another note, I think we can just give anyone who gets on base, just let him walk to third, because they’re going to steal the bases anyway.  Tuesday night’s game was disgusting: nine stolen bases.  And it isn’t even the nine that were the worst to take.  It was that two of them were by Vladimir Guerrero.  The man can’t even walk anymore, and he had two.  And those two matched the steals total he had in 2009… All of 2009.

The Newly Defensive-Minded Red Sox

Monday, April 19th, 2010

It is just twelve games into season, and it is very common for teams to start off slowly.  Last year the Red Sox began great and the New York Yankees were struggling with their reformed team, and that seemed to not be the case by the time the playoffs rolled around.

Just twelve games into the season, and a lot of those have been against teams who are supposed to be very good; projected 2010 playoff teams.  Opening against the world champion New York Yankees, out to Kansas City (okay, they should be an easy one), be the first opponents in the new stadium for Minnesota, and then back to Fenway for Tampa Bay.  They took two against the Royals, only one from each the Twins and the Yankees, and have thus far put up a bagel against the Rays in the first three of a four-game series.  Giving the Boston Red Sox a 4-8 record thus far in 2010.

Bruce Jenner - Then and Now; Just as different as the new Boston Red Sox lineup.

There are a lot of new faces to get used to.  Of what was supposed to be the starting line up, there are three new faces: Adrian Beltre at third, Marco Scutaro at the revolving door that is shortstop, and Mike Cameron in centerfield.  If you include Victor Martinez acquired at last season’s trading deadline, and Jeremy Hermida filling in for Jacoby Ellsbury (who was injured last Sunday), more than half the line-up are more of the unfamiliar names compared to the days of olde (like 2008).  It’s as if you remember Bruce Jenner’s face when he was an Olympic Decathlete and then turned on the TV today.

The theory of the direction that general manager Theo Epstein is using is very logical: a run that the defense prevents the opponent from scoring is equal to the run that your offense needs to score.  Why bother trying to pound out five runs, when all you need is three if your defense gives up two.

Twelve games this year; and the runs scored by the Red Sox: 9, 4, 1, 3, 8, 8, 2, 6, 0, 1, 5, 1. That’s 48 runs scored for 4 a game.  Not including the 19 runs scored against Kansas City, that’s 29 runs in nine games for just over 3 runs a game.

Not scoring as many runs on offense: check.

In twelve games this year, the pitching and defense have given up runs: 7, 6, 3, 4, 3, 6, 5, 3, 8, 3, 6, 7.  That’s 61 runs for 5-plus runs a game.  A team that is built around great pitching and defense has never given up less than 3 runs a game.

On top of that, there have been nine errors, seven occurring in the last four games.

And to add to the troubles, whenever there are baserunners, chances are they are going to advance. There have been 21 stolen bases (9 by Tampa Bay already).  That’s 21 stolen bases on 22 attempts.  There have also been a few judgement errors made by the catchers as well: such as the double steal by the Yankees, and the relay throw to the Marinez who threw it back to second against the Twins which allowed a runner from third to score.

Anyone can look like Willie Mays Hayes when running on the 2010 Red Sox catchers.

With twelve games down, there are only 150 left to solve all of these issues.  I think there’s still time.  I’m sure the pitching will finally start to calm down (at least the starting rotation).  And the errors will probably not be as frequent (or as atrocious).  The stolen bases are going to be a problem.  The catching is going to make everyone look like Willie Mays Hayes (the second half of the movie, not when he slides 10 feet short).

After the Monday matinee for the final game against the Rays, there twelve games against the Rangers, Baltimore (twice), and Toronto.  That seems like a nice stretch of games to at least climb back above .500.

Maybe the Beginning of the End

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

I always wondered when the end would come to the Boston sports scene, and I think this past weekend would be a good chunk of it.

Since a nice surprising Super Bowl victory with a young, second-string quarterback in Tom Brady at the beginning of 2002, Boston has pretty much dominated the sports world (well, at least here in the States).  Three Super Bowls (no titles before), two World Series (first in a really long time), and an NBA title (a model franchise that hasn’t been relevant in 15 years).

Every team goes through cycles, a few good years and then lean years in between.  So it stands to reason that with all the collective success of the teams in the past few years there is going to be a decline in production followed by “rebuilding” seasons.

I think the apex was Super Bowl XLII.  The Red Sox just won the World Series a few months before, and the Celtics would go on to win the Championship months later beating their archrivals, LA Lakers.  But that Super Bowl had possibly one of the greatest NFL teams in history, entering the game at 18-0, and they lost it in the way they have been known to win them: by allowing Eli Manning to march down the field in under two minutes to get the go-ahead touchdown.

Not only did a New York team beat a Boston/New England team, but it was maybe one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history (better than XXXVI with the Pats over St. Louis).  Thankfully, the Celtics were able to help remove some of the sting in June.  And let’s not forget the Bruins having a surprisingly good first-round exit against the Montreal Canadiens, by taking them to a game seven after it looked as though the Habs were going to just run right though them.

Then the Red Sox looked to repeat their World Series win, and finally dealt away Manny Ramirez at the trading deadline to get Jason Bay.  Instead of making the World Series though, they lost in game seven of the ALCS to the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays.  It was easy to say that it was a somewhat-successful series, with an injured Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to get that far, and give hope for 2009.

Then there was the 2008 New England Patriots: about eight minutes in the the first game of the season, reigning MVP (with 50 regular season touchdowns the previous) Tom Brady has his knee explode, and Pats season was over.  The one player who everyone states they can’t lose is gone.  And then a 230-draft pick replaced a 199-draft pick, and Matt Cassel learned to be a pro-quarterback taking them to an 11-5 season.  Usually that would have been good enough to get into the postseason, and it looked promising with the team getting better as the season continued. But in a fluke year, the record wasn’t good enough, and so the Pats missed the playoffs after reaching the Super Bowl the year before..

The Red Sox lost to Tampa Bay, and then later on the Celtics lost Kevin Garnett to major leg issues.  The Cs barely beat a young and athletic Chicago Bulls, and took the eventual Eastern conference champs Orlando Magic to seven games before losing.  There was also the number-one seed Bruins who cruised through the first round of the playoffs by sweeping the Habs, only the have a seven-game crushing defeat in the second round to the former Hartford Whalers (the Carolina Hurricanes).

The 2009 Red Sox started of red hot; killing the Yankees in eight games and building a nice lead, only to have it dwindle by the All-Star break.  Then they couldn’t get anything done, losing bad games, and just getting manhandled by the Yankees only getting one win in their remaining games.  The 2009 Patriots started off 3-1, with a fluky win against Buffalo, tough wins against Atlanta and Baltimore (all at home).  The lone loss was on the road against the Jets, after their coach called each and every season ticket holder to make noise and help them to get the win; and it worked.

Which finally brings us to this weekend.

First off for the heck of it, let’s look at the Boston College Eagles: ouch.  Sure Virginia Tech is ranked fifth in the nation, but it would have been nice to put up a good game against them.  The score was 0-34… at halftime.  Finally getting a pair of touchdown in the fourth quarter, they would go on to lose 14-48.

Next on the list and in no particular order, the Pats went out to Denver have Bill Belichick go against another former assistant coach in Josh McDaniels (the problem with winning so often is that the coaching staff will be picked apart by other franchises).  For all the luck that the Patriots had in all their runs in the past few years, there isn’t much left.  After Denver would drive to get a game-tying touchdown, Tom Brady couldn’t drive the field, going 3-and-out, and then fumbling on the next possession.  In overtime, the defense that held Denver to not getting close to the red zone in their final possessions let Denver walk to field goal range and win the game.  Luck wasn’t on the Pats side to call the right side of a flipped coin.

If I was going to use excuses, losing Matt Light and new-favorite-target Ben Watson were injured during the game, but hey, everyone has injuries.

But, one loss on the road against a potential-playoff team is probably not the end of the world.  My buddy Gregg also pointed out that going 2-1 against Baltimore, Atlanta and Denver is pretty good.

The funny thing is that before the game, I told my girlfriend, who thinks I become psychotic when it comes to my teams’ losses, that whenever the Red Sox lose in a day the Pats seem to win, and vice versa.

And this brings us to the most disappointing of all the Boston showings this weekend, starting with Thursday night.  After limping at the end of the season (before a four-game sweep of a Cleveland team in limbo at Fenway once the wildcard was clinched, the Sox went 2-for-10) and backing into the postseason (thanks to Texas shanking some games at the end), the Red Sox were swept by the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles, or whatever they’re called now.

For postseasons in recent history (during the Boston-awesome years), the Red Sox have dominated the Angels.  Setting aside the 1986 ALCS, the ALDS series in 2004 (3-0), 2007 (3-0), and 2008 (3-1) have been all Boston.  Sweeps are great; when your team is the winner.  And when they are the swept party, it isn’t as much fun.

In the first two games, the offense was anemic scoring one run total in both games.  The pitching wasn’t that bad in either game (and I’m not going to complain too much about the umpiring, since it was horrible and inconsistent for both teams; and I would say for the other ALDS as well).  The worst thing is that my friend Tyrone said that Boston wouldn’t go far without Manny Ramirez (a dominate hitter), and I said that they did pretty well without him in 2008 and for the most part in 2009.  And just looking at their postseason lineup on paper (J.D. Drew hitting eighth) seemed like a pretty good chance to produce runs.

Through the first two games, there were 8 hits, 1 run and 4 walks.

Then game three.  Up 6 runs to 4, going into the top of the ninth, usually sure-handed (especially in the postseason) Papelbon entered the game.  While he only had three blown-saves in the season, it seemed as a lot of his appearances have been anything be easy.  It always seemed  like he gave up a home run, or loaded the bases, but usually finding a way to get out of them.  I guess he went to the well one too many times; eventually it would catch up to him, especially against a team like the Angels.  Three runs.

I didn’t expect them to beat Anaheim this postseason, limping into the postseason and definitely after not showing up for the first two games, but avoiding the sweep would have shown a little pride.

And to compound the misery of the Sox fandom, the New York Yankees are showing they are the most dominate team in the playoffs.  After a lackluster start, the Yankees went on an impressive regular season run to finish up with 103 wins.  Even worse is the people producing for them: Jeter (as usual), Teixeira (the guy who the Sox could have signed), and A-Rod.  Rodriguez known for putting up bagels in the postseason, especially when it matters the most (Mr. Unclutch), has been unbelievable (mostly because I can’t believe it).  Six RBIs, game-tying home runs, and all-around clutch hitting.  Is it freedom from his steroids-secret?  Dating Kate Hudson (why Kate, why?)?  Whatever it is, I’m not a fan.

So, maybe this is it.  New York is going to become good while the Boston teams are going to slide.  Giants are good (especially against Oakland’s JV team), the Jets beat the Pats with their screaming fans.  The Sox can’t score a run, the Yankees can’t lose.  The Celtics have one more year with the Big Three, and the Knicks will have enough money to sign LeBron for the 2010 off-season.

Maybe there is something to this Mayan calendar doomsday of 2012.

The Stupidest Win EVER

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Mr. Unclutch strikes again.

Two outs and down by one, with Jeter on second and Mr. Leigh Teixeira intentionally walked to get the righty-righty matchup K-Rod would have more of an advantage, A-Rod pops up to “deep” second.

The Mets were about to escape with the first game of the Subway Series in what could hardly be called a pitcher’s duel.  You could hear the collective groan of everyone (who wasn’t a Mets fan) in Yankee stadium of thinking: “Again?  Really?”

I’m not one to watch much National League games, and I don’t follow the Mets, but I feel like I’ve heard they’ve been plagued by dumb plays for much of the season.  If that’s the case, then I think this one will top them all.

A-Rod was about to not produce again in the last at-bat of the game when second baseman Luis Castillo dropped the ball.

Give credit to Jeter and (more importantly) Teixeira for legging out a game-ending pop-up.  If they didn’t, it would have been one run to tie the game and Tex on 3rd.  And it’s definitely not K-Rod’s fault since he was able to induce the routine pop-up.  It totally sucks that he gets a loss and a blown save on an error like that.

For a team that just got crushed in three games in Boston, losing to the Mets in a game were Joba wasn’t that great would have been another taxing defeat.  Instead, the Yankees get the luckiest win ever.  And luck, for some reason, has a way of working in baseball.

Because a game was not lost in the standings, it would stink if the Yankees ended up winning the division by one game over the Red Sox because of this.

(By the way, I loved the fact that someone, I think it was Melky, jumped on A-Rod’s back and was staying there for a few seconds… a guy who just had hip surgery a few months ago and I’m sure shouldn’t be having to hold up a svelte guy like Melky.)

Good Start to this Yankees Series

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

The only thing that didn’t go the Red Sox way last night was the fact that they didn’t get a chance to bat in the ninth inning against the Yankees.

To keep this train rolling against New York, the best (and obvious) way to do that is to kill their pitching while trying to keep Boston’s staff in good order.  Seems simple enough, I guess.

Step 1: Knock around the starter to get him out of the game early to get into their bullpen.

A.J. Burnett only went 2 2/3 innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on five hits to go along with his five walks.  To say that he wasn’t great is a bit of an understatement, with only 40 of his 84 pitches going for strikes.

Step 2: Spend their bullpen to make it weaker in the remaining two games of the series.

Three pitchers went 5 1/3 throwing 95 pitches.  They will most likely not be pitching tomorrow, except maybe having David Robertson for the “just in case.”

Even with one more inning to pitch, the Sox threw 45 fewer times.

With Chien-Ming Wang pitching tonight, there’s a chance that they could put a little more damage into the bullpen as well.  This will be his second start since his DL stint beginning in April, though he has pitched recently in relief.  Ironically, his relief appearances have been much better than his starts.

In the three starts before the “injury,” Wang had gone a combined six innings with a slew of bad stats including a 34.50 ERA.  In his three relief appearances, he had eight innings with a nice 2.25 ERA.  Then a few days ago, he had another bad start, but at least going 4 2/3 to give up five earned runs.

If he is somehow able to give them at least six solid innings then Wang should be able to help out the pitching staff, especially with the horse Sabathia going tomorrow.  But if he has to be pulled early, and the Yankees have to tax their bullpen even more, that will put even more of an onus on C.C. to try to pitch a complete game.

With all that said, I’m sure now Wakefield will get lit up, Wang will pitch well, and no of this will even matter.

Juiced in Mannywood

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

So, Manny Ramirez has tested positive for a performance enhancing drug, and will serve his 50 game suspension.

And I have been getting some razzing by friends who are Yankees fans: It’s finally time that a (former) Red Sox has been accused of using PEDs; one of their key players on their 2004 and 2007 teams.  In a stretch of bad breaks for their team (Giambi’s admission of something not specific to A-Rod’s, well, everything), it is something that they can come back and say “Ha.”

While it definitely sucks that he was caught, I guess I can take some solace in the fact that he is a LA Dodger and not a Boston Red Sox.  But there is no denying that there could now be the suspicion that he’s been using for a long time.

The fact that Manny is not going to fight this at all is a bit odd, though.  He’s saying that he took a banned substance that he and his doctor didn’t realize was on the list.  There’s a small chance that he might be telling the truth, and it is something weird that a doctor from Florida (they always seem to be from Florida) would have prescribed to Manny because he is looking to become more fertile.  But one would have to reason that he just took his lumps to keep them from looking any further into what was really going on.

There is one thing that I would have to agree with Manny in his brief admission statement: he was tested many times before and has never failed.  While I think that the number 15 is just slightly exaggerated, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a few times that he was actually tested.

This could be due to the fact that maybe they didn’t have the test in place before for this specific drug, HGC.  Or maybe he didn’t start doing steroids until recently.

A 36-year-old ballplayer who relies heavily on his offensive numbers and was searching for a 4-year, $100 million dollar contract at the end of the year would have had to make his second half of 2008 spectacular.  Which it was.  And like Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa in the late 90s when they were hitting bombs and everyone was fawning over them, everyone was saying the same thing with Manny in LA.

Look how he can hit when he wants to hit.  Look at him try.

Outside of the fact that it just proved that he was a quitter in Boston (and I’m shocked that it showed in the lack of interest in him this off-season), maybe it was just evidenced that he started juicing when he got there.  But I imagine if that were the case, and not that I’m an expert in steroids and cycles, but I would guess for him to be productive in the second half of a season, he would’ve had to start long before the trade.

Or maybe he was just using steroids to recover from his hamstring injuries that have plagued him while he was in Boston.  And he wouldn’t have to remember which one it would be.  It would have taken care of both of them.