Boston Red Sox

The Manny Ramirez mood of the day is surprisingly reserved

Sometimes when Manny Ramirez is simply being “Manny” there are no shenanigans or tomfoolery or high jinks involved on his part. Sometimes Manny is literally just being Manny and zaniness occurs around him. Like when the Red Sox went to Seattle to play the Mariners and Man-Ram got a post game lecturing from a cop.

Seems that Boston slugger Manny Ramirez was leaving the ballpark, with headphones on trying to look inconspicuous and quickly get away from the crowds still leaving the stadium. He started to cross South Royal Brougham Way, against the signals of a traffic cop who was directing pedestrians. The police officer demanded that Ramirez open his wallet and show identification. He warned him that he could face a $500 fine and possible arrest for disobeying a police officer.

It became clear to those watching that the policeman had no idea who Ramirez was. He didn’t ask for an autograph or anything, but did ask Ramirez if he’d attended the game. After the brief lecture, and no argument from Ramirez, the police officer let him go with no further trouble.

Wow, Ramirez really is learning to take the high road and curb his behaviors. We thought for sure the incident would get a “Do you know who I am?” outta Manny or at the very least he would have run away and tried to hide inside the nearest wall.


[Mariners Blog]: Lester dominates; Ramirez lectured by traffic cop

MLB General

Bad, bad, bad MLB trades

In the world of sports, there is nothing riskier than making that big trade. Then again, trades can also be extremely rewarding. Just think of how much thought, struggle and heartache goes into each trade you make in your fantasy league and then add the pressure of million dollar salaries, job security and team chemistry. It piles up quickly. So, with so franchises exercising extreme contemplation and deliberation, how do they make such horrible deals sometimes? It’s tough to say, but it happens, and the The Sports Muffin has the 10 Worst MLB Trades in Recent Years to prove it.

10. Texas Rangers trade John Danks, Nick Masset, and Jacob Rasner to the Chicago White Sox for Brandon McCarthy and David Paisano.

9. St. Louis Cardinals trade Dan Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton to the Oakland Athletics for Mark Mulder.

8. Oakland Athletics trade Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals for T.J. Matthews, Blake Stein, and Eric Ludwick.

7. Tampa Bay Devil Rays trade Bobby Abreu to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Stocker.

6. New York Mets trade Scott Kazmir and Jose Diaz to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Bartolome Fortunato and Victor Zambrano.

5. Texas Rangers trade Chris Young…and Adrian Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian.

4. Seattle Mariners trade Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to the Boston Red Sox for Heath Slocumb.

3. Montreal Expos trade Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips, and Lee Stevens to the Cleveland Indians for Bartolo Colon, Tim Drew, and cash

2. New York Mets trade Nolan Ryan, Don Rose, Frank Estrada, and LeRoy Stanton to the California Angels for Jim Fregosi.

1. San Francisco Giants trade Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, and Boof Bonser to the Minnesota Twins for A.J. Pierzynski.

This isn’t exactly recent history, but there is no way we could talk about bad trades without reminding everyone how the Red Sox dealt Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 for $100,000 and a $300,000 loan!


[The Sports Muffin]: 10 Worst MLB Trades in Recent Years

Seattle Mariners

Richie Sexson has a depth perception problem

The benches cleared last night during the Rangers/Mariners game after Richie Sexson took offense to a Kason Gabbard pitch. And we’re still trying to figure out why. Here’s what the apparently nearsighted Sexson had to say.

“I’m 6-foot-8. He can hit corners at will,” Sexson said. “6-8 and all of a sudden he’s up that high? I’m a huge target. How hard is it to hit me? Hit me in the back or thigh. Up near my face is no good.

“I’ve been in the game a long time. I’ve been hit on purpose before. But it’s been the right way. You go to first. It’s part of the game. You know how it works.”

Or you don’t get hit, explode into a fit of rage and start hurtling your helmet at a pitcher. Either way.


[]: Rangers, Mariners scuffle in Texas’ 5-0 win

MLB General

The Full Count: Not so wild

1. Masters of the Wild: Usually the wild card races are extremely crowded even at this point in the season, but this year things are different. The Yankees and Padres both have a relatively big lead on the rest of the field, with leads of 4 and 2.5 games respectively. Both teams won on Tuesday. The Yankees won their sixth consecutive game 9-2 over the Blue Jays as Jason Giambi hit a grand slam and Jorge Posada also homered. Phil Hughes gave his second straight quality start after three poor starts in a row. The Padres beat the Dodgers 9-4 as Jake Peavy won his 17th game. Barring a late-season collapse, Peavy will win the NL Cy Young in addition to the pitching triple crown. He leads the league by a huge margin in every major category, giving the National League version of Johan Santana’s 2006. The Padres gained a game on the division-leading Diamondbacks with the win, and are now 2.5 back of them.

2. Low Tide: The Mariners, who were leading the wild card race three weeks ago, have suffered a huge string of defeats since then. They have lost 15 of their last 18 games, dropping them to 9.5 games back in their division and 6.5 back in the wild card. Their offense has cooled down since their early-August excellency, and their pitching staff has the second-worst ERA in the majors this month. The Mariners lost 7-4 to the A’s on Tuesday, as Jarrod Washburn was shelled for six runs and the offense failed to capitalize on 11 hits. The Mariners have played themselves out of the playoff race, though they could be a sleeper team for 2008.

3. Lead Retaken: After being tied with the Cubs as division leaders for a day, the Brewers pulled ahead with a 6-1 win combined with a Chicago loss. They beat the Pirates thanks to great pitching by Yovani Gallardo, who didn’t allow a run for his second straight start. Gallardo has allowed 2 runs in his last 20 innings pitched, and has become one of Milwaukee’s better starters. Prince Fielder hit his league-leading 44th homer in the win, and Ryan Braun had three more RBIs. The Cubs were beat 5-4 by Houston in 11 innings, dropping them to one game back. The Cardinals, now at four back after five consecutive losses, are becoming less and less of a threat.

Player of the Day: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins: 4-5, 2 HRs (28), 3 runs in a 13-8 win over the Nationals. Ramirez is having the best season of any player for a last-place team, with a .332 average, 28 homer, 46 steals, and a whopping .575 slugging percentage.

MLB General

The Full Count: Wins leader is Chien-Ming Wang?

1. The Quiet Winner: Chien-Ming Wang is not a great pitcher, but, thanks mainly to the team he’s on, he’s racked up the most combined wins in baseball the last two seasons. Wang, after going 19-6 with a 3.63 ERA last year, is having a very similar season this year, at 17-6 and 3.68. His 17th win, tying him with Josh Beckett for the major league lead, came in the Yankees’ 12-3 blowout of the Mariners. Wang went 7-plus, allowing one run in his fourth consecutive win. He was supported in a big way by the Yankees’ offense, which pounded Seattle for 20 hits. Jorge Posada went 4-4 with four runs and two homers, raising his average to an elite .337. Bobby Abreu also had four hits and a homer, and Alex Rodriguez went deep again for the 46th time this year. The Yanks upped their wild card lead over the Mariners to two games with the victory. Both teams need the wild card, because they stand at seven games back in their respective divisions. It’s a shame that one of these clubs will be sitting at home during the postseason while a team from the NL Central is guaranteed a playoff spot.

2. Back in Contention: After losing 10 of 12 games in early August and falling as low as fourth place in the division, it seemed like the Dodgers’ season was nearly over. But now, thanks to a 7-2 run, Los Angeles is right back in the playoff picture. They have climbed to 3.5 back in the division and wild card races. The Dodgers continued their success with a 6-2 win over the Cubs on Tuesday. Ace Brad Penny returned to form after a bad start with seven shutdown innings. He improved to 15-4 on the year as the Dodgers received just enough offense for the victory. With David Wells added to fortify the pitching staff, the Dodgers have a legit shot at the playoffs.

3. D-back Attack: The Diamondbacks and
Padres are once again tied for the NL West lead. After San Diego won the first game of their series, the Diamondbacks routed them 9-1. Chris Young continued to struggle against Arizona, allowing 5 runs in 4 innings and losing his third straight decision. Young has a 7.32 ERA against the D-backs this season, compared with a 1.88 mark against the rest of the league. Eric Byrnes and Tony Clark both homered off Young as D-backs starter Doug Davis cruised to an easy victory. Davis, who allowed one run in seven innings, won his 13th game of the season, a career high. Over his career Davis has been the model of an average pitcher, with a 75-74 record and 4.30 ERA. This season, he has been better, and is the D-backs’ second-best starter only behind Brandon Webb. On Wednesday, the final game of this matchup for the season, Jake Peavy will pitch off three day’s rest against Livan Hernandez.

Player of the Day: Paul Lo Duca, Mets: 3-5, 2 HR, 7 RBIs in a 10-7 win over the Reds.

MLB General

The Full Count: Pedro drives Mets to 5 game lead

1. Pedro Returns: The Mets’ Pedro Martinez made his first start since last September, picking up a personal milestone and giving the Mets another win in the process. Working with a 75-pitch limit, Pedro threw five innings, striking out four to give him 3,000 K’s in his career. He became the 15th member of the 3,000 strikeout club, as well as about the twentieth player to reach a major milestone this year. Martinez received plenty of support from the Mets’ offense in their 10-4 victory. Moises Alou went 3-3 with a homer, and David Wright and Carlos Delgado also went deep. With their fourth win in a row and 77th on the year, New York has the best record in the National League and the fourth-best mark in the majors. They now hold a comfortable 5-game lead on the Phillies, who were within two games of New York last week but have lost three in a row. If Pedro can stay healthy for the postseason (which he failed to do last year), the Mets have all the tools they need to win the NL pennant.

2. Santana’s Achilles Heel: Johan Santana would be having a great season if he didn’t have to face the Indians so many times. The two-time Cy Young winner is 14-11, with an 0-5 mark against Cleveland. According to ESPN, this marks the first time a reigning Cy Young winner put up an 0-5 mark against one team. Santana allowed four runs in six innings on Monday as he was greatly outdeuled by CC Sabathia. Sabathia had eight scoreless innings in the Indians’ 5-0 win as he improved to 16-7. Meanwhile, Santana gave up four runs for the third straight start as he continues to uncharacteristically struggle since the All Star break. He is 3-5 with a 4.22 ERA since the break, compared with a 32-3 record and 1.78 ERA after the break the previous three seasons. Santana is still having a great season, as he is second in the league in strikeouts, first in WHIP, and third in ERA. He is just being let down by his offense, which has put up an average of 2 runs a game in his losses. All things considered, however, the Cy Young will probably be headed elsewhere this season.

3. The Struggles of the Rocket: Though the expectations of him were far too high, Roger Clemens has still been a disappointment for the New York Yankees. The $28 million man has been merely average, with a 6-6 record and 4.45 ERA. His problem has been consistency; while he looks excellent in some starts, he seems pedestrian in others. On Monday, Clemens gave up five runs in four innings in a 7-1 loss to Seattle. Ichiro homered off Roger and Felix Hernandez outpitched him as the Yankees lost game one of an important series. The Mariners pulled within one game of New York for the wild card lead, finally snapping a nine-game losing streak. Clemens will undergo an MRI exam on his elbow after feeling some pain in it during the game. The Yankees need Mike Mussina to be back in the rotation and pitching well; otherwise they might not even reach October.

Player of the Day: Mike Lowell, Red Sox: 3-4, HR (18), 4 RBIs in a 13-10 win over the Blue Jays. Lowell became the seventh player this season to reach 100 RBIs. He is also among the league leaders with a .333 average.

MLB General

The Full Count: Oh these divisions races are excellent

1. The Lead is Gone: The Diamondbacks’ NL West lead over the Padres, which was 4 games on August 19, has now disappeared. San Diego has won the first three games of their series with Arizona and 7 of their last 8 overall. The Padres won 3-1 on Wednesday thanks to Greg Maddux’s excellent pitching. Maddux issued no walks for his sixth straight start, going seven innings with one run allowed. The Padres won the game in the eighth with two runs off Arizona relievers. Arizona, which has dropped three of its last seven games, will face the Padres four more times within the next week. Ace Chris Young will take the mound for the Padres in the final game of the series as they try to complete the sweep.

2. Statement Series: The Angels showed the Mariners who’s boss in the AL West division by sweeping them in dominant fashion. The Angels outscored the M’s 24-8 on the series, including an 8-2 win on Wednesday. Jered Weaver was excellent, throwing eight innings with one earned run, five strikeouts, and no walks. The offense backed him up well, with 17 hits. Red-hot Garrett Anderson went 4-5, and Vlad Guerrero hit his 22nd homer on the year. The Angels teed off on Felix Hernandez, who allowed a season-high 13 hits and 6 runs. The Angels won their fourth straight while Seattle lost for the fifth time in a row. The gap in the AL West has increased to 5 games, though it was only one at this time last week.

3. Indian Warfare: The Indians are crushing all opponents and widening their lead over the Tigers at the same time. Cleveland has won five straight and extended their division lead to a huge 4.5 games. Meanwhile Detroit continues to struggle, losing two straight to the Royals. The Indians completed a sweep of the Twins with a 4-3 win on Wednesday. In a matchup of Cy Young candidates, CC Sabathia proved to be better than Johan Santana. Both went six innings, with Sabathia allowing two runs and Santana four. Santana had his second straight below-standard start after that 17-strikeout performance a couple weeks ago. He lost his fourth game since the All Star break, when he usually dominates. Sabathia allowed exactly two runs for the sixth straight start, and has a 2.97 ERA since the All Star break. He became the eighth member of the 15-win club with the victory.

Player of the Day: Aaron Harang, Reds: 9 innings, two hits, no runs, 8 strikeouts in an 8-0 win over the Pirates. The underrated Harang has by far the best winning percentage in the league with a 14-3 record.

MLB General

The Full Count: Rangers’ bats must’ve been tired

1. Not Today: The day after the Rangers’ incredible 30-run outing, they were stopped in their tracks by the Mariners. Seattle, who leads the wild card and is one game back of the Angels, beat the Rangers 9-4. Ichiro had three hits and three RBIs, and Jose Guillen and Jose Vidro both homered in the victory. Jeff Weaver improved to 4-0 this month with another solid outing. Besides Brad Wilkerson (4-4, HR), the Rangers couldn’t get too much going offensively. They have the second-worst record in the AL, above only Tampa. The Mariners now have the third-best record in the majors, thanks mainly to a 41-24 mark at home.

2. Welcome Back: In Joel Zumaya’s second appearance since coming off the DL, he cost the Tigers a game. In a game that was scoreless through nine innings, Zumaya allowed three runs in the tenth, giving the Tigers another loss and putting them 2.5 games back in the standings. Both starters pitched brilliantly, with Nate Robertson and Jake Westbrook combining for 16.2 scoreless innings. The Tigers scored one run in the bottom of the tenth but couldn’t mount anything more. Since they had the best record in the majors on July 21, Detroit is 10-22. Now they have only the eighth-best record in the league, and they are five games out of the wild card chase. Unless the Tigers turn it around now, they will be out of the playoffs this season.

3. Padre Power: The San Diego Padres have held on tightly to their wild card lead. After losing the first game in New York, they won the last two, with their offense as the key component. San Diego won 9-8 on Thursday, in a game where two All Star closers both blew saves. Both Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner gave up runs in the ninth, then the Padres won in the tenth off Adrian Gonzalez’s homer. The Mets stole five bases in this one, including Jose Reyes’ 68th, but still lost. The Padres had 15 hits, including five players with multi-hit games. They still trail the nearly unstoppable Diamondbacks by three games, but it doesn’t matter as they have extended their wild card lead to two games. The Mets’ two straight losses have not affected their division lead, as both the Braves and Phillies have gone on losing streaks of their own.

Player of the Day: Mike Piazza, A’s: 4-5, HR, 5 RBIs in a 12-2 win over the Devil Rays. The A’s have won five straight and are one game above .500.

MLB General

The Full Count: What happened to the Dodgers’ bats?

1. Where’s the Offense?: The Dodgers won’t make the playoffs unless they start hitting the ball right now. They have scored 20 runs their last 11 games, going 2-9 in that span. Roy Oswalt shut them down on Monday, with eight innings, six hits, and one run in the Astros’ 4-1 win. With another loss the Dodgers fell to 6.5 games back in the NL West, a deficit that will be hard to make up with three teams ahead of them. The Dodgers rank 23rd in runs scored this season, 27th in homeruns, and 29th in runs since the All Star break. They are hitting .226 so far in the month of August. If the hitting doesn’t magically improve within the next couple of weeks, the one-time division favorites will be out of the picture.

2. The Mariners’ Magic: Given the tough league they’re in and the teams they’re competing against, the Seattle Mariners should not be tied for the wild card lead right now. But they are at the top along with the red-hot Yankees, despite having scored 130 fewer runs than the Yanks and allowed 15 more. Looking at the expanded standings, two things stand out. The Mariners have the best record in the league against lefty pitchers (22-8) and are among the best against losing teams (39-24). They won in both of those situations on Monday, as they faced lefty Johan Santana and the 58-60 Minnesota Twins. The Mariners blew a lead in the seventh inning, but then won off Richie Sexson’s walkoff homerun. They are 66-50 now with a 12-4 record in their last sixteen games. The Mariners are certainly the surprise team in the American League this year.

3. Another Record Down: On Sunday Placido Polanco tied the major league record for consecutive errorless games at second base. On Monday, he was perfect again, breaking what was a very impressive mark. Polanco is one of three perfect American Leaguers in the field this year (excluding pitchers), along with Kevin Youkilis and Ichiro Suzuki. Obviously, with second base being one of the toughest positions to field, Polanco has been far more impressive than the other two. However, the Tigers still lost on Monday, 7-2 to the A’s. Oakland pitcher Chad Gaudin ended a personal five-game losing streak and set a career-high in strikeouts with nine. The Tigers couldn’t get anything going, besides two more RBIs for Magglio Ordonez (104 on the year). They are tied with Cleveland, but that will change today as the two teams face each other.

Player of the Day: Tim Wakefield, Red Sox: 8 innings, two hits, no runs, six strikeouts in a 3-0 win over Tampa. Wakefield (14-10) has registered a decision in each of his 24 starts this season, which is approaching the top all-time in that category according to

MLB General

The Full Count: Mariners take the lead

1. The New Wild Card Leaders: The Mariners just keep on winning, and that has put them above the Yankees and Tigers for the wild card lead in the American League. Seattle just swept the Orioles to improve to 63-49, one game above those other teams. They won the series with offense, with 31 total runs and a 13-8 win on Thursday. Ichiro went 3-6 with 3 RBIs and had three hits in every game of the series. Rookie Adam Jones also joined in the fun with 3 hits and 4 runs. Starter Horacio Ramirez won despite allowing seven runs and five walks in five innings. Ramirez is 7-3 on the year despite a 7.12 ERA. Seattle is still close to the Angels, at 2.5 back, though if they make the playoffs it’s more likely they would do so via the wild card. And if the season ended today, that’s exactly what would happen.

2. Willie Saves the Day: The Braves were about to blow another game against the Mets. With a 7-3 lead entering the ninth inning, they allowed a two-run homer to David Wright and another run that put the Mets within one. The Carlos Delgado came up and hit a shot to leftfield that would have been a game-tying homer, but Willie Harris stretched over the wall and made a magnificent catch. The catch saved the game for the Braves, and now they are 3.5 games back in the division and just a half-game back in the wild card race. They continued their dominance of the Mets this season, with an overall 8-4 series lead. Atlanta has won every series against the Mets 2-1 this year. Thursday’s win was also fueled by their potent offense, as Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira hit back-to-back homers in the fifth. The Braves are the third-highest scoring team in the NL, behind only the Phillies and Rockies.

3. What an Embarrassment: The Tigers were supposed to get back on track with a four-game home series against the pitiful Devil Rays. With a 2-0 series lead, they blew the last two games, keeping them behind in both the division and wild card races. Jeremy Bonderman allowed five or more runs for his fourth start in a row, with 7 runs in 6 innings. He lost all four of those starts, and is now 10-5 with a 4.75 ERA. Meanwhile, Scott Kazmir of the Devil Rays shut down the Tigers’ offense, with six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts. Kazmir is now 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA since the All Star break. Also hot on the D-Rays is Carl Crawford, who went 3-4 with a homer and has six straight multi-hit games. The Devil Rays, though, are still far and away the majors’ worst team.

Player of the Day: Jacque Jones, Cubs: 4-5, 4 RBIs in a 10-2 win over Colorado.