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News & Views

Did the horrible strike three call on David Ortiz by umpire Dale Scott inadvertantly light a fire under the relationship between Big Papi and his manager?

*This week provided some good moments for fans who are grasping to hope for the remainder of the Red Sox 2010 baseball season. Obviously, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees stopped the bleeding a bit, but winning the series against the Blue Jays, who had come in white hot, gave fans some reasons for optimism. I will touch on a few specifics:

1. Daisuke Matsuzaka's performance in a Sox' win. The glass is more than half-full look at his two starts is that he has been very good in all but one inning. He looks a bit more comfortable and no matter how much success he has enjoyed in years gone by, his confidence has to be fragile. He has been humbled to be sure, but one of the great things in sports that fans just love to embrace is a rise from the depths. His is a story to keep an eye on because if he is able to win 13 or more games, the fortune of this team might take a dramatic turn.

2. David Ortiz is showing signs of life in his swing and his demeanor. After being called out on strikes by Dale Scott on a hideous call (more on that later), Papi was emotional. I understand that he is always up for barking at umps on balls and strikes, but this was different. He knew that the outcome of the game was likely decided on that pitch, and he was fired up in the name of the team, not his stats.

3. Terry Francona getting ejected was a nice way to show Big Papi that he still has his back. There is probably some strain on that relationship given Ortiz's reduced role, but I think there was a message being sent yesterday afternoon. I hope it helps ignite a fire in Papi's belly, because as we saw after the strikeout in the 9th, the pilot light is at least on.

4. Even in the loss yesterday, the 9th inning against Toronto closer Kevin Gregg has to give Boston confidence and will hopefully get into Gregg's head. Previously, Gregg was virtually unhittable, having surrendered only two runs all season. In yesterday's, he needed the help of the umpire's call to escape with teh save despite giving up two runs.

*Dale Scott was horrible in yesterday's game. How can Major League Baseball sit back and watch this stuff go on? He looked like LeBron James in Game 5; he was paid to be there, so he showed up, but that is about it. That was a lazy performance.

*I am very happy with the recent performance of former Notre Dame pitcher and current Boston farm hand, Kyle Weiland. He had been struggling in his transition from closer to long reliever to starter, but he has been lights out over the past few starts.

*I have absolutely no problem with the security in Philly who tasered the drunk fan who was running on the field during a game last week. They eradicated a problem with force that in my opinion was appropriate. I am so tired of people trying to get their 15-minutes of fame by pulling stunts like this.

*Oddly, I would like the chance to go see a series in Detroit. There is such a rich tradition there and although the city has fallen on such hard times, I bet it would be a good time. I hope the Tigers lay down this weekend, but generally, I like it when the Tigers are relevant.

*Please raise your hand if you saw the incredible start for Barry Zito coming from anywhere? Zito is conjuring up memories of a deadly lefthanded starter from back in the day named, well, Barry Zito. It has been so long since he was good that I had genuinely forgotten that he was still around. I guess next we can expect Todd van Poppel to win 20 next year.

*Finally, I am looking forward to taking in a bunch of games at Fenway during the next homestand. It has been more than a year since I have had the pleasure.

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