Sports, Ticket Sales - The Red Sox have been rolling along on their current homestand, reclaiming 1st place with four straight wins. On Monday night 5-19, John Lester did his part by throwing a No-Hitter, his first and the first of the 2008 baseball season.
On Thursday May 22, the Sox will close out their homestand with a rare Get Away Game, a 1:35pm start time against the Kansas City Royals. Take a half day from work and enjoy the Sox while they are hot. There are great deals on tickets for this game:
Field Boxes $159 and up
Red Sox 5-22 Tickets
Concerts - The fairytale story-like year for Jon Lester continues to roll on as the 24-year old left hander added another feat to his list of remarkable accomplishment by hurling a no-hitter in Boston’s 7-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals yesterday evening. What’s most amazing about this achievement is it probably ranks 3rd on his all-time list. (more)
Sports - After yet another prolonged seven game series, the Boston Celtics are back in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 6 years. Their opponents, the Detroit Pistons, are no strangers to the finals having made it there for the 6th consecutive season. The match up is set, the stakes are high and both teams are prepared for an all out war that will feature the two teams with the best regular season records in the NBA. It doesn’t get much better then this!
Through the first two rounds of the 2008 NBA Playoffs, it’s very clear that winning at home has been the key to most team’s success. For Boston, it has been a necessity. The Celts are 8-0 at home, 0-6 on the road and are clearly struggling to find the identity of the regular season team’s alter ego that had the best road record in the league. Detroit already has captured 3 road wins during the postseason and was the team that handed Boston their first home loss during the regular season as well.
“That’s a big plus for us that we have won there in a season that they won most of their home games,” Chauncey Billups of the Piston said. “We know we’re a great road team in anybody’s building and that’s to our advantage. Our whole mind-set is to go there and win Game 1.”
The Celtics are just looking to continue to win at home, even though they know they are up against a very fierce competitor.
“I think we probably will be the underdog,” Paul Pierce said, “knowing that Detroit has been there. They won a championship with this group and are used to going to the Eastern Conference finals and this is just our first trip.”
What Pierce is referring to is that Detroit returns a group of players that has already been in the big game together while this Celtics lineup has only been playing with each other since November. Guys like Billups, Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince have been here through their run of dominance in the East while all of the Celtics, besides Pierce, have never been in the Eastern Conference Finals for this club.
Both teams come into the series featuring very similar strengths including deep benches, strong defensive units and a balanced offensive attack. The Celtics will be relying on Pierce to step it up during the series the same way he did in Game 7 against Cleveland when he scored 41 points. Kevin Garnett will also be a main option but will have to work a little harder for his points than he had to against the Cavs slower post players. Rasheed Wallace will most likely be matching up against KG creating a great match up of veterans.
Another key match up that could be the determining factor in which team has the edge offensively will feature Rajon Rondo and Billups. The veteran Billups had big games against the Celtics during the regular season while Rondo looked overmatched and timid. Boston acquired Sam Cassell for this reason and over the past two months the duo has worked out very well with Cassell bringing leadership and experience to the table to compliment Rondo’s instinctive and defensive skills.
Look for all of these games to be relatively low scoring. Do not expect to see games in the 100′s, unless you’re thinking about an overtime period, which is very possible with the way these two clubs will battle each other. The Celtics have been holding opponents to 79.2 points a game in Boston during the playoffs. The Pistons have been equally as impressive holding opponents to 85 points a game at home. If either team could steal a victory on the road it would improve there chances of winning the series tenfold.
Ray Allen is looking at the series as an opportunity to do something special, and he doesn’t want to let this chance slip away. After going through two 7-game series, critics are wondering if guys like Allen will be fatigued on the road, but he knows that won’t be the case.
“We’ve learned a lot about each other. It’s good for us because as a team this is our first time together,” Allen said. “Our valleys that we’re going through, seven games, adversity on the road. All that stuff that people say is a reason why we won’t win, it’s a reason why we will win.”
The Pistons have not played since last Tuesday (5/13) when they eliminated the Orlando Magic in 5 games and are very well rested, maybe even too well rested. The layoff is the longest they’ve had all season long, including the all-star break, so some wonder if they will be able to come out tonight and perform at the same level that they did a week ago.
When asked if he’d rather the rest or the quick turnaround, Allen said, “I would rather have the rhythm of regular competition than extra rest, because with the rhythm you don’t have to guess from one day to the next about how you’ll play.”
It all starts tonight. The Celtics quest for Green 17 continues while the Pistons look to bring home their 2nd title of the decade. It’s going to be fun and my only advice for the series, don’t blink.
Celtics Playoff tickets are available for all potential games.
Sports - After an unimpressive 10 game road trip that ended with 4 consecutive losses, the Boston Red Sox happily returned home to the friendly confines of Fenway Park for their weekend interleague match up against the Milwaukee Brewers. Not only have the Sox excelled at home this season, but since 2006 they have dominated the National League. This success continued as the Sox used a balanced offensive attack to sweep away the Brewers in the three game series.
Friday night the rains fell in Boston, forcing the game to be postponed to Saturday. The extra day of rest helped the Sox refocus as they came out and captured the first game of the series 5-3 behind another solid pitching performance by Dice-K Matsuzaka. With the victory, Matsuzaka improves to 7-0 on the season and more importantly the Sox improve to 9-0 in games he has started. Many are starting to look at him as the staff ace, but he isn’t ready to accept the title just yet.
“I want to keep winning,” Matsuzaka said, grinning to an interpreter. “But I think Boston’s ace is Josh Beckett.”
Beckett started out the 2007 season with a 9-0 record before suffering his first loss.
Offensively in the first game, David Ortiz blasted a 3-run homerun in the 2nd inning that would give the Sox a 4-0 lead and all the runs they’d need to hold on for the victory. Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 12th save on the season, shutting the door in the 9th inning.
After Fenway Park was cleared and cleaned, the teams changed uniforms and came back out for the night cap doubleheader that featured a little bit of everything, but the end result was all that mattered in a Red Sox 7-6 victory.
Veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield hurled 5 1/3 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5 in the outing. He left the game with the lead but did not end up factoring into the decision because of some costly errors that led to unearned runs. The Sox made 3 errors on the night, which resulted in 3 unearned runs being scored in the 7th inning giving the Brewers a 6-5 lead at time.
The Sox immediately stuck back putting 2 runs up on the board in the bottom of the 7th, capitalizing on 2 errors by the Brewers infield. The only hit in the inning came on a single by Kevin Youkilis that knocked in the eventual game winning run, scored by Dustin Pedroia. Milwaukee made 4 errors total on the game.
Having pitched earlier in the day, closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable for the save so veteran reliever Mike Timlin was called upon to close it out. He recorded a perfect 9th inning, retiring all three batters on only 8 pitches for his first save on the season. Prior to the outing Timlin had not recorded a save since May 2nd 2007.
Game three of the series featured the long ball, and lots of them. Eight homeruns were blasted in the Red Sox 11-7 win, completing the sweep of the Brewers in their first trip to Fenway Park since 1993.
David Ortiz led the way for Boston, hitting two homeruns and knocking in 4 RBI’s on the afternoon giving him a season total of 10 HR’s and 37 RBI’s. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis also added long balls, their 2nd and 9th respectively.
John Beckett was on the hill for the Sox going for win number 5 on the season. Although he did not very sharp, behind all the offensive firepower, he was able to hold off the Brewers bats just enough to pick up the victory. Beckett lasted 7 innings and allowed 6 runs on 6 hits, 4 of which were Milwaukee homeruns. He struck out 9 in the outing bringing his season strike-out total to 56, 5th best in the AL.
Milwaukee was led by Ryan Braun who hit two homeruns on the afternoon and now has 13 on the season. J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder also homered off of Beckett, who allowed 4 HR’s only for the 2nd time in a game in his career. The previous outing came against the Toronto Blue Jays back on May 30th of 2006.
Since 2006, the Red Sox are now 18-3 against the National League in interleague play at Fenway Park and 31-8 overall. That is not counting the 4 consecutive World Series wins against the Colorado Rockies in their 2007 championship campaign.
The Sox will now welcome the Kansas City Royals into town for a 4-game series. Kansas City currently hold a 21-22 record and is tied for 3rd in the AL Central, but only 2 games out of first place in the division. The teams spilt their 6 games last season, each winning two of three at their home field.
Tonight’s starting match up features Jon Lester vs. Luke Hochevar. Both have similar stats, Lester at 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA on the season and Hochevar at 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA.
Tickets are still available for the remainder of the homestand!
Sports - It took another 7 game series, but the Boston Celtics are finally on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics won a great game at the Garden yesterday over Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers by a final score of 97-92. Paul Pierce was the big story for the Celtics, scoring 41 points and matching Lebron basket for basket for much of the game. Lebron put up 45 points in the Cavs losing effort.
The win at home was the 8th home playoff win for the Celtics this postseason. They have yet to win a road game. All home teams combined for a 22-2 record in the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs. If the trend continues the Celtics will be happy as they have clinched home court advantage for the remainder of the 2008 playoffs. The Detroit Pistons are hoping to buck that trend when they visit the Garden for game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday 5/20.
Boston Celtics Eastern Conference Finals tickets are now available.
Sports - In a rain shortened two game weekend series, the New York Mets took both games over the crosstown rival New York Yankees. With Friday night’s game postponed due to rain the matchup of Johan Santana vs Andy Pettite had to wait until Saturday and Santana didn’t disappoint, earning his fifth win of the year in a 7-4 victory by the Mets. Despite giving up homers to Jeter, Giambi and Abreu, Santana was mainly dominant over the Yankees lineup. The Mets got big homeruns out of David Wright and Jose Reyes.
In Sunday’s game two, the Yankees didn’t fair much better against the Met’s Oliver Perez, scoring two runs on a Hideki Matsui homerun. The Mets had another great offensive night, putting up eleven runs on Yankees pitching. Chien Ming Wang took the loss for the Yankees, his 2nd of the year. At 20-24 the Yankees remain in last place in the AL East and are four games below .500. They hope the return of Alex Rodriguez on Tuesday night can jump start their offense.
Sports - The hits just keep on coming, and unfortunately for the Boston Red Sox, they aren’t the club getting them. Jay Payton blasted a 2-out grand slam in the 7th inning yesterday, propelling the Baltimore Orioles to a 6-3 win over the struggling Red Sox. The loss concludes a 10-game road trip in which the Sox went 4-6 on, losing their final 4 games.
Payton had previously been 0-3 on the afternoon with three infield groundouts before delivering the knockout punch to the Sox. Hideki Okajima, who had just entered the game to face Payton, allowed the homerun ball. It was only the second homerun he has allowed all season.
A few bright notes in the game for the Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury had 3 hits on the afternoon. Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell both hit solo homeruns, and Manny Ramirez made an amazing defensive play in left, making an over the shoulder running grab towards the wall, and after catching the ball Ramirez jumped up the wall and reached into the stands to slap a Red Sox fan high-five. He followed it up by spinning around, hurling a dart to the cut-off man to get an outfield assist and double play to end the 5th inning.
The Sox now find themselves in 2nd place in the AL East behind the Tampa Bay Rays. Yes, that is not a typo, the Tampa Bay Rays lead the AL East by half a game on May 15th. This is the latest in a season that the Rays have been over .500 and the first time they have ever led the division in May.
So the big question, what’s wrong with the Sox?
Some will say that it’s a long season and every team has some losing streaks along the way. That right there is the attitude of a loser. The Sox lineup is too strong and their pitching staff too solid to go on 4-game losing streaks, and they’ve already done that two times this season.
Excuses will be made that the lineup hasn’t been completely healthy and the team has faired well considering injuries, sicknesses and leaves of absence by players forcing them to miss games. Only the weak make such excuses. This is Major League Baseball and teams face these issues everyday.
Reporters will begin to slam manager Terry Francona because he’s at the wheel of the ship, guiding the team along the way. That’s why they are reporters and not in uniform coaching. Francona has done nothing but win for Boston. In the 4+ years he’s been head coach the team has compiled a 399-292 record, good for a .577 win percentage during the regular season, not to mention 2 World Series titles. Francona isn’t the problem.
The problem lies within the players. They are the reigning World Series Champions and they’re taking it for granted. Too many hitters are not busting up the line to first base on ground balls, or making the extra effort in the field to back up a play. The fundamentals that got the team their success are slowing washing away and it’s not good.
The Red Sox better be careful or people will begin comparing them to their arch rivals, the New York Yankees.
Well for starters, they are going out and spending ridiculous amounts of money every single year to farm a great team. Sound familiar? The Yankees have baseball’s highest payroll, the Sox are currently 4th.
Besides the ever growing payroll, like the Yankees, the Sox have brought in talented players that play uninspired baseball and show no emotion. The front runner for this category for the Sox has to be J.D. Drew. You can never get a read off this guy when he’s playing because he never shows any signs of life. He could strike out 4 times or hit for the cycle and the look on his face wouldn’t change.
As a whole, the Sox look like they are just going through the motions and someone needs to light a fire under their bench to wake them up. Hopefully heading back to Fenway Park for this 7-game home series will ignite something that sparks a little life into their lineup. They’ve played much better at home then on the road this year, going 14-5 in front of the Fenway faithful.
It’s too early to say that the Sox are in trouble, but it’s also time for a gut check. Like it or not, they have their work cut out for them this summer and nothing is going to come easy. Red Sox Nation believes that it can happen again, now its time for the players to believe too.
Sports - Right now the Boston Celtics may not have any answers on the road, but hey, if they continue to take care of business at home, so what! Last night they demonstrated their home court dominance with their 96-89 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, taking a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference Semi-Final playoff match up.
Kevin Garnett led the way with a clutch double-double performance scoring 26 points and owning 16 rebounds in one of his best playoff efforts to date. Paul Pierce also had a big offensive night netting 29 points on 8-19 shooting from the field. Rajon Rondo contributed in a big way dishing out 13 assists and scoring 20 points in 42 minutes of action.
Through 12 playoff games, the Celtics are now a perfect 7-0 at the TD Banknorth Garden. Their road record is a different story, a pathetic 0-5 and as the series now shifts to Cleveland for Game 6, questions will again arise about Boston’s inability to win on the road during the post-season and what adjustments need to be made. It really shouldn’t be rocket science to figure out because during the regular season, these same Celtics had the best road record in the NBA.
So, what happened to that team? Why are they only showing up to play at home? And who told Brian Scalabrine to wear those blue pants out in public last night?
All three are very legitimate questions that Celtics fans may be asking themselves today, but in reality not even the team has any of the answers. If they did they would have swept the Hawks in four games, would be holding opponents to under the 99.6 points on the road which they are currently allowing during the playoffs, and Scal would have been in a suit like every other bench player not dressing for the game.
Seriously though, the Celtics just look like a different team on the road during these playoffs then we saw all year. Coach Doc Rivers has somehow found a way to play every combination of players that during the regular season never stepped foot on the hardwood together. He’s abandoned assistant coach Tom Thibodeau’s philosophy of defense first, and not slowed his team down from the run and gun style they’ve been playing compared to their normal half court set offense that helped them win 66 games during the year.
In Games 1 and 2 of the series, the Celtics did a great job of containing Lebron James, forcing him to take bad shots and turn the ball over. When the King made his way home, that defensive minded mentality went out the window and James had his way offensively, getting to the basket with ease against whomever he wanted. This success continued last night when he scored 35 points in the loss, leading all scorers in the game.
Despite the Celtics recent struggles on the road, the Cavs now find themselves in a win-or-go-home situation tomorrow night,
“Whether we get 35 or 20 (from James), it doesn’t matter at this point,” Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said. “To lose the game … that’s what’s more disappointing than anything else. Whether he gets this or that, I’m not really concerned, because he’s going to contribute in other ways.”
The Cavs will look to Lebron for a big performance that would force a Game 7 in Boston on Sunday afternoon while the Celtics have other plans and intend to pick up their first playoff victory on the road to seal the deal.
Garnett put it well after the Game 5 win when he said, “This momentum, and what we did here tonight, we’ve got to figure a way to carry this on the road.”
Concerts, Ticket Sales - As the weather starts to heat up in Boston, so has the 2008 Summer Concert venue list with some great new additions to an already exciting number of shows scheduled to hit town over the next few months. Tours that will be making local stops include Madonna, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi and American Idols Live.
Madonna will be rolling into town on her Sticky and Sweet world tour that begins in Wales on Aug. 23rd. She will be hitting Boston on October 15th for an amazing night at the TD Banknorth Garden before she heads north to put on a few shows in Canada.
Tina Turner joins the list of iconic 80′s pop stars that will be making Boston a stop on their current tour. Turner’s act will be here for two nights on November 16th and 17th and many are already rushing to get tickets to what could be her last tour. Turner who performed with Beyonce at the 50th annual Grammy awards in February of ‘08 received great reviews from critics and decided to officially come out of retirement for this current tour.
Bon Jovi’s Lost Highway tour will rock out at the Garden on July 9th and 10th for two great shows that will feature a wide variety of songs from their older and newer collections and be considered a greatest hits compilation. The band has been touring now since 1985 and always puts on a wild show for their fans.
The biggest hype is around the American Idols Live concert that will be on August 9th at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. The show will feature acts from the 2008 American Idol series including Jason Castro, Brooke White, Syesha Mercado, David Cook and the rest of the talented cast.
Make sure to check out ticket listings for all of these great shows while they are still available. The summer is upon us, so don’t miss the opportunity to see one of these great musical acts while they are in town!
Sports - After nearly sweeping the Tigers in Detroit, the Boston Red Sox came into Minnesota with high hopes to continue a successful road trip against the Twins. Four games and three losses later, the Sox are back at square one and reeling to try and salvage a winning trip now with only two games remaining in Baltimore.
After a Jonathan Papelbon blown save on Friday, a 9th inning rally falling short on Sunday and a 12-hit effort gone to waste on Monday, the Red Sox leave the Twin city shaking their heads, knowing that they could have again easily swept the four game series, but this time walk away with three more games in the loss column.
Last nights defeat came at the hands of 34-year old pitcher Livan Hernandez, who looks to be not only 30 lbs overweight, but hasn’t seen a fastball touch the mid 90’s since the mid 90’s. The Sox clobbered him for 10 hits over 6 innings, but could only muster 3 runs, all of which came on Manny Ramirez’s 498 career homerun in the first inning.
“It’s tough, but you have to give the Twins credit,” Ramirez said. “They have a great bullpen that pitched great, and you have to tip your hat to them.”
Clay Buchholtz saw control problems early on in this one and didn’t make it out of the 5th inning, surrendering 8 hits, 5 walks and all 7 runs in only 4 1/3 innings. Up to this point in the season Buchholtz is 2-3 on the year and been the most inconsistent starter in the rotation, showing spots of brilliance and at other times looking like the rookie he is.
“I don’t know what anybody can tell me,” Buchholz said. “It’s sort of in my hands right now. I was leaving pitches up, and they got hit. That’s what happens.”
Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young all chipped in with two hits a piece in the winning effort for the Twins.
“Everybody’s starting to swing the bats, and it’ll be fun around here when we start to see everyone get going,” said Craig Monroe, who belted a two-run double in a game changing three-run 5h inning.
The Twins improve to 20-17 on the year, which currently is tops in the AL Central by 1.5 games over the Cleveland Indians. After the series, the Red Sox record falls to 24-17, still good enough for best in the AL East where they lead the Tampa Bay Rays by half a game.
Josh Beckett returns to the mound for the Red Sox tonight to try and get them back in the win column. Beckett has logged two wins in a row, and looks to make it three going up against Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie who is 1-3 on the season with a 4.32 ERA has had some success in the past vs. Boston logging 20 2/3 career innings against the Sox with a 2.61 ERA. His most notable performance against Boston came last season on Mother’s Day at Fenway Park when he held the Sox to only 3 hits and 1 unearned run over 8 1/3 innings before he was pulled from the game, only to watch his bullpen blow a 5-0 lead in what is now referred to as “the Mother’s Day Miracle”.
Wednesday’s match up will feature Jon Lester pitching against Daniel Cabrera. Lester is coming off of a no decision while Cabrera hurled a complete game 3-hitter in his last outing for the win.
Following the Baltimore series the Sox will return to Fenway for a 7-game homestand against the Milwaukee Brewers and Kansas City Royals. Tickets are still available for both series!