Wednesday, May 23, 2007

you're motoring - what's your price for flight?

Nothing like starting the day with a little Night Ranger, maybe I should dig out my old Damn Yankees cassette tapes as well (yes, they had two albums!).

The Red Sox are definately motoring. After dropping the first game in the series with New York, the Sox looked primed for a rough patch as the pumped-up Yankees were desperate to make-up some ground in the standings. The first game featured the Red Sox offense once again letting a starting pitcher off the hook early in the game. This has been a common theme so far this season, as baserunners are stranded at an appalling rate.

The good news was that in game two, they struck early and got out to a lead. Julian Tavarez pitched extremely well, getting some big outs when he needed them. Javier Lopez came in and pitched a solid inning plus. Hideki Okajima gave up a run for the first time since his first appearance, but despite a couple of walks, he worked out of the jam well. By then, the Sox bats had chased Mussina and put the game effectively out of reach.

I figured the Yankees would take the first two games and I was hoping Schilling would stop the bleeding Wednesday night. Now, with Schilling in line to give the Sox the rubber-game of the series, it could be a huge step backwards for New York. The Yankees got some innings out of Wang and Mussina, but neither looked dominant. Mussina had trouble ramping up the fastball over 88-89, which could be signs of a physical malady affecting him. Not a good sign for a New York rotation struggling to take pressure off an overworked and overmatched bullpen.

The Yankees needed a sweep. Now, they are in danger of losing even more ground to the Red Sox. The Sox will have to make Pettite throw strikes and lay off junk out of the zone. Manny knocking another dinger instead of staring at third strikes would be nice, as would a vintage Schilling performance. With the Yankees back in Boston next week, this series is not the season on the line for New York, but it definately was an unfulfilled chance to pick up games in the standings.

Frankie says relax

OK, maybe Frankie Goes to Hollywood references are not the best lead-inwhen the Celtics hopes and dreams for the next ten years takes a nosedive eerily similar to the 1997 Rick Pitino draft fiasco.

First the bad news: NO ONE wants the number five pick. I repeat, the damned thing is untradeable. That said, there are really only two options available for the Celtics with the pick: best available big guy, or pocket-rocket point guard take 27.

Ian Thomsen over at SI.com beat the snoozing Boston basketball media (someone wake up Peter May to write another Ainge-bashing column please) about the folly of trading basically rookie-of-the-year Brandon Roy for Sebastian Telfair. Then, with the lottery placement that should have belonged to Boston with a ROY on the team instead of a third-string point guard, the Blazer jump into a top spot. My stomach hurt just reading it.

So the Celtics look at Brandon Wright (will be gone by pick 4), Al Horford (is he a fit in Boston?), Roy Hibbard (another version of Kendrick Perkins), and Yi Jianlian, a Chinese tall and skinny guy who can sit on the bench behind Big Al (this is who Thomsen thinks the Celts will grab). Oh joy. As far as point guards (still an area of need), Mike Conley and Acie Law are the only two expected to go in the top 15, so hopefully Ainge will grab one to go along with Rondo and give the Celtics a semblance of an offense other than the standard "hand the ball to Pierce and stand around waiting for him to shoot".

There is no way to spin this, though the media and the Celtics will try. It sucks. The Celtics were screwed over and lost the chance for one of the two impact players availabe, and there is no Dwayne Wade dropping to them this year. Steel yourselves for another year of mediocrity.

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