"Angels of Fenway", "Before This World", "You've Got a Friend", and Storen, Arnie Beyeler, Big Papa, Boston Red Sox, Brian Butterfield, Familia, Fenway Park, Jackie Bradley Jr., James Taylor, Joe Kelly, Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Harvey, Mets, Mookie Betts, Nats, Nieuwenhuis, NY Mets, Papelbon, Red Sox, Rick Porcello, Rivero, Rusney Castillo, Ryan Zimmerman, Sox, The Washington Nationals, Trieinen, Tyler Clippard, Werth, Xander Boegarts
Angels of Fenway
No. I’m not referring to the new Sox outfield of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., and Rusney Castillo, tho “Angels of Fenway” might be an apt way to talk about to those three young, exciting players (see more below).
But I am talking about that Fenway and someone familiar to most Sox fans.
James Taylor has been entertaining us for a long time now, starting with his first hit in 1970, Fire & Rain, and certainly since his 1971 You’ve Got a Friend.
He’s been a frequent visitor to Fenway Park and a long time Sox fan. On August 6, 2015 he performed at a sold out concert at that wonderful temple.
In his newest album, Before This World — his first with all new material since 2002, according to his website — there’s a song entitled Angels of Fenway.
Check it out. I doubt it will replace You’ve Got a Friend as a favorite, but see what you think.
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Meanwhile, if you’ve ‘checked out’ of following the Sox too carefully because of their disastrous season, check back in. And not just the scores. Watch Betts, Bradley, and Castillo. All three are exciting to watch in the field. Their hitting is good too (Betts – BA – .285, Bradley .312, Castillo .284.). Ever since the Sox settled on these three (and got Hanley out of left field), their record has turned around. Too late, of course, but they just might not end up the worst in the AL East.
With Boegarts coming along, fielding and hitting (.318), with Papi ‘warming up’ (31 HRs), and with Kelly (7-0, 2.72 in last seven games) and Porcello (3-3, 2.98 in his last six) finally doing what they were projected to do, the Sox are 13-6 in the last three weeks and on their way for a better 2016.
And one other thought about my Sox. One of the not-so-obvious factors that rarely gets much attention in the press, I think, is the Sox coaching staff, particularly Brian Butterfield and Arnie Beyeler, but others too. They not only know baseball, they know how to work with players, particularly young players. Butterfield, Beyeler, etc., deserve more attention and credit than they receive publicly.
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How the Nats Lost It
It’s not just that the Nats lost last night to the Mets and that they’re rapidly losing any chance to win the NL East or even get into post season.
It’s how they lost.
They started off well, scoring three runs in the first two innings off Matt Harvey, the Mets best starter. Meanwhile, the Nats’ Jordan Zimmerman pitched well, for 5.2 innings, giving up only one run and three hits.
Then the Nats knocked Harvey out of the game with a four run 6th inning (with a bit of help from a Cespides misplayed single). So ‘we’ went to the 7th ahead 7-1. Some Nats fans even left, apparently feeling the game was secure, and the Nats would end the night only four games out of first.
However, if you know much about the Nats this year, you know their middle relief is a disaster. Trieinen, Rivero, and Storen then gave up three hits (including a bases clearing double by Cespides, no longer the goat) and six walks. So just like that, in that half inning, the game was tied 7-7.
The next inning, they did what fans have been wanting manager Williams to do — pitch closer Papelbon in close games prior to the 9th. Yup, he gave up a home run in the top of the 8th to pinch hitter Nieuwenthuis, who was hitting below .200 prior to his home run. The Mets went ahead 8-7 in the 8th.
And true to form, the Nats couldn’t score again, despite having men on first and second with only one out in the 9th. In fact, the Nats out hit the Mets 11-7 but left 6 of 10 runners in scoring position.
Tyler Clippard, formerly of the Nats, got the Hold for the Mets, striking out two in the 8th, and Familia got his 38th Save by getting the Nats out in the 9th.
Storen had his 5th Blown Save, and Papelbon was charged with the Loss.
Werth struck out three times and Harper went 0-4.
I don’t know where Ryan Zimmerman was. He didn’t play.
Nats: No middle relief, resulting in a 7-1 blown lead, plus an inability to come back to tie it or win it with men on base.
Mets: Another big inning and 3.2 innings of no run relief. Now up by six games with 24 left to play.
Sad night (and season?) for the Nats and Nats’ fans.
Tim Malieckal said:
Richard’s words from his Miller’s Time season preview rang in my ears last night – with the discarded Ty Clippard getting a huge hold after Captain Kirk (BA:. 188) drilled the go-ahead homer. Then ‘El Maricòn’ Yunel Escobar came up small in a big spot. Both men were explicitly identified as Nats’ front office mistakes on this blog *months ago*. Prophetic!
One note: Matt Harvey is not the Mets best starter. That title belongs to the 2014 ROY & current Cy Young candidate Jacob DeGrom, he of the flowing orange locks. He’ll toe the dirt tonight.
Tim’s right about DeGrom, and I’m (sort of) looking forward to game three of the Nats v Mets series tonight which I’ll attend with said New Yorker and Mets’ fan Tim Malieckal.
David Price said:
So, the ‘lights out’ pitching and their inconsistent offense of the Washington Nationals appear to floundering. How predictable
As previously mentioned on these cherished airwaves, there was a real reason why the likes of Scherzer and Fister left Detroit. Some might say the obvious (money) but for me it was purely down to them being on the rapid decline. Scherzer for example is not a 7-year $210M pitcher – he never was. That’s a ‘big boy’ deal exclusive to big clubs not the Nationals. To use his figures from Monday’s outing against the resurrected Mets, for that kind of cash he should not be giving up 3HR’s, have an ERA over 3 and only be pitching 6 poor innings. Immediately I hear the fans scream ‘but what about his no-hitter? Great but his consistency is lacking. Guys, he just isn’t that good anymore!
It should also be mentioned that during this unseasonably hot weather, Strasburg appears to be the none-entity he always was for his struggling side. An ERA of over 4 is not great by any means plus his body language projects a sense lacking in fight or morale fiber. I wonder if they play baseball in Alaska? He might be better suited there you know.
The last few weeks of this terrific baseball season is going to be avid viewing as lots of relative underdog teams (Houston, Mets etc.) are playing great ball and have a serious chance of going all the way. On the other hand, sadly Washington has a chance – yep ‘no-chance’ as they are too far behind to even consider getting into the wild card. All the pre-season talk and apparent obsession by Sports Illustrated and ESPN (to name a few) are woefully wrong. There’s always next year or perhaps the year after or the year after that but until the arrogance diminishes, you haven’t got a hope.
To finish off, an interesting point for all of you Bryce Harper fans out there – BEWARE as your savior has stated that he WANTS to be a Yankee. Although I am not a fan of this petulant but talented child, perhaps Giradi and his staff can make a man out ‘our’ future MVP player. Does anyone think he would fit in at the Bronx? I’m not so sure.
Watch this space!
Those wondering why I haven’t mentioned the Red Sox at all thus far, being a Yankee fan is explanation enough.
Jim Cooke said:
For What It’s Worth….
In the twist of irony that sometimes occurs in the following of professional sports, last night’s heartbreaking loss by the Nationals is certain to galvanize the fan base in Washington, D.C., if nowhere else. This goes with the theory that a fan is not a fan unless he or she has suffered enough to be loyal to the home team no matter what.
This has been a transitional year for the Nationals, although not many would agree with that statement. In fact, with the looming loss of key players to free agency at the end of the year, with the absence of key players to injury, and with new players brought on board to pick up the slack, the team scrambled to find a consistent lineup and dependability in certain situations – middle relief in particular – all season long.
The good news for Nationals fans is that we’ve seen Clint Robinson, Michael A. Taylor and Joe Ross compete as rookies and earn spots on the team in 2016. We’ve seen the resurrection of Danny Espinosa’s career. We’ve seen Ryan Zimmerman make an impact with his glove at first base and with his bat when he’s healthy. We’ve seen the addition of .310+ everyday infielder Yunel Escobar. Most importantly, we’ve seen the emergence of MVP candidate Bryce Harper, even though he is still learning the game at the age of 22 at the Major League level (he has yet to prove himself as a player to be relied upon in the clutch). Jayson Werth is back after injuring his wrist for the third time in his career, and he seems to have found his footing in left field. Starting pitching is still a strength, and now we’ve seen the addition of Jonathan Papelbon, a Hall-of-Fame closer.
There is still a lot of room for improvement. At catcher, we may see the addition of free agent Matt Weiters. In the bullpen, we will probably see a complete rebuilding, and we may even see the re-signing of Tyler Clippard, who is a free agent at the end of this season. If the Nationals resolve their fee dispute with MASN, we will definitely see these and other additions to the club. As Joaquin Andujar – may he rest in peace – was widely quoted as saying, “you-never-know.”
Why don’t you say how you really feel?
Tho I notice a bit of a softer note on your part about Harper. Actually, tho I don’t like Bryce at all, I think Williams (that manager of the year last who fans now want to blame for everything that’s going wrong) may have already had some good effect on Harper. He’s much more patient at the plate, except under certain pressured circumstances when he thinks a HR is better than getting on base or moving runners along. I think that accounts for his higher average, increased number of walks, fewer strike outs and more home runs. But he’s still petulant and pretty obnoxious. So to answer your question, he would fit in with the Yunkees.
Your observations of Scherzer and Strasburg are right on target. You can add Werth into your hall of shame, imho.
Some truth and some not so truth in what you say.
I do agree that joint suffering makes for fans bonding and becoming loyal. I know a good deal about that having followed the Sox obsessively since 1950. However, I’ve noticed that Yankee fans, for instance, haven’t suffered so much and are still equally loyal.
Plus, I don’t know yet if the Washington fans will stick with a losing team. Look at the football, basketball, and hockey teams here. Fair weather fans? Last night lots of fans seemed to head to the exits when the Nats scored four in the sixth and went ahead 7-1, thus not following my teachings to my grand son: “you are there for the first pitch (as the most runs are scored in the first inning) and you stay until the final out.”
But it’s too soon to know about the Nats’ fans. Hopefully your are correct.
As for the rest of you comments, insights, and thoughts, I fear you do what most of us do when our favorite team falters — look for the silver lining. I doubt that the Nats will have for a long time as a good a team on paper as they did this year.
I hope I’m wrong about that too.