Greetings from Fenway Park. The Red Sox appear to be in a far better frame of mind after beating the Angels in three straight games, this on the heels of a three-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Orioles (whom, as you know, the Yankees just swept despite seeing the availability of Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera compromised by injury issues).
The Sawx will go for the four-game sweep of the Angels tonight. They post the AL East standings on the Green Monster scoreboard, and as I type, the 14-14 Sox trail the 20-7 Rays by 6 1/2 games and the 19-8 Yankees by 5 1/2 games.
"They’re going to struggle at some point, too," Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis said of the Yankees and Tampa Bay. "They can’t go the whole season like the way they are now. They’d set a record. If they do set a record, then we’re never going to catch them, anyway."
Actually, just for observations' sake, if the Yankees multiplied their 19-8 start times six - they are at the one-sixth mark - they'd go 114-48, which was their 1998 record.
Which brings us to this observation/spin by Theo Epstein, the Red Sox's GM: Boston went 13-14 for the first sixth of the season. For every season since 2003, with the exception of 2005, the Red Sox have put up a 13-14 record or worse in a sixth of their season (in other words, Games 1-27, 28-54, etc.). The bad stretch is of course magnified because it came in the first sixth.
With the Red Sox's starting pitching living up to its track record, there's much reason to think Boston can make this a three-team race. For now, though, the Sawx need to leapfrog over Toronto (16-13) just so they can get to third place in the division.
--Good Lord, Dallas Braden will not give this "A-Rod walking on his mound" thing a rest. Look, I'm not saying A-Rod is blameless for what happened in Oakland, but enough already. If Braden really wants to go at it with A-Rod, then let the A's know so they can promote the Yankees' return visit in July and sell a few more tickets.
--I meant to mention the Milton Bradley situation this morning. It's definitely good that Bradley is getting help, given how often he has appeared to blame other people for his problems. Finding peace obviously will be easier said than done for him, as it would be for anyone.
--Rest in peace, Robin Roberts. I met Mr. Roberts at the 2003 BBWAA New York chapter dinner, as we honored him. He was a gentleman. We arranged to have the other Robin Roberts introduce the Hall of Fame pitcher, but she had to back out to cover the space shuttle explosion.
So we enlisted Jack Lang, who did a fine job pinch-hitting, Jack noted Roberts' 305 career complete games and said, "That never would've happened if La Russa was his manager." Tony La Russa, sitting right on the dais as the 2002 NL Manager of the Year, chuckled.
--Ernie Harwell received love from Tigers fans.
--Stop by tomorrow for a book giveaway contest.
UPDATE, 10:40 p.m.: The Mariners have placed Bradley on the restricted list.