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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hot Stove Needs to Heat Up Again

Last week, the Sox made a couple moves, most notably signing Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino to “bookend” 3-year/ $39 million deals. Is this enough? Are the Sox still in on Hamilton? Do they want Hamilton? Don’t they need pitching… desperately? Here is my take on what’s going on right now in Red Sox Nation.

As previously stated, the Sox signed Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino last week. It seems like the Sox had been circling Napoli for ages, and they probably have. He’s versatile, being able to catch, play first base, and DH. This is something I feel the Red Sox need, since having people in stuck positions and injuries popping up all over the place last year left them with much to be desired. Napoli is a career .259 hitter, but batted only .227 last year with the Rangers (.320 in 2011 though). He did hit 24 home runs last year, which is a welcomed sight for the Sox in order to protect David Ortiz. Plus, he’s only 31 years old, which would put him at 34 at the end of his contract. While 34 isn’t seen as “young,” by any baseball standards, players are still able to produce at 34. Plus, there’s the fact that Napoli crushes at Fenway (in the past three seasons, Napoli has hit .366 with 2 doubles, 6 home runs, and 15 RBIs).

The Sox also signed the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” to the same deal Napoli received. This one makes me scratch my head a little more. Victorino is 32 years and career .275 hitter, though he has been waning downward the past few years (.259 in 2010, .279 in 2011, and .255 in 2012). He has speed (39 stolen bases last year with the Phillies and Dodgers), and he has the ability to play all three outfield positions, though he mostly has played in center field. He’s won 3 Gold Gloves (2008-2010 in the NL) and has lead the NL in Triples twice (2009 and 2011). I’m not necessarily saying that signing Victorino is a bad thing (obviously he has had a lot of uptick over the past few years), but I was certain the Sox would re-sign Cody Ross.

The other, slightly more controversial, signing the Sox did was signing Jonny Gomes to a 2-year/ $10 million contract. I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about Jonny Gomes unless you count interviews I’ve seen with him on “Intentional Talk” and that he was one of the Rays involved in the bench-clearing brawl between the Sox and Rays where we all witnessed Coco Crisp’s excellent boxing abilities. Other than that, I’ve only heard “he’s a great ‘clubhouse’ guy.” So, stat-wise, he’s a career .244 hitter (.262 last year with the A’s). He had 18 homes runs last year and 47 RBIs. He can play both left and right field, though he seems to play the majority in left field. He’s also 32.

Though the Sox have checked in on both Hamilton and Cody Ross, and haven’t ruled either one out (Jacoby Ellsbury trade?), it would appear neither one is seen as a “must have.” The Sox outfield is pretty much set. They have some younger guys (Ciriaco, Gomz, Kalish) that can hang out in Triple-A to get playing time until they are needed. They have an over-abundance of catchers (Saltalamacchia, Lavarnway, David Ross, and Napoli) that can be pieces in a trade (for a pitcher?).

The Sox need pitching. They’re projected rotation at the moment is Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Lackey, and Morales. Lester and Buchholz are set, no matter what whisperings of a trade we may hear (except for maybe a trade for Felix Hernandez, which will not happen). Doubront did fine last year, but he should be a number 4 or 5 starter. Lackey was out all of last season with Tommy John surgery, so no one is sure how he’ll come back. Plus, he’s least than desirable among the fans, no matter if he helped recruit Napoli or not (that’s the rumor). Morales was fine as a long-relief, 6th starter type of role, just not sure how I feel about him as our number 5 guy.

What to do? I’m going to declare right now that the Sox will not re-sign Matsuzaka. The Sox were said to make a 2-year/ $25 million offer on Ryan Dempster, which he declined (he wants 3 years). (Side note- if you’ve seen their interviews with Kevin Millar on “Intentional Talk,” could you imagine a team with both Dempster and Gomes?) Kyle Lohse and Anibal Sanchez are also desirable free agents. These three (Dempster, Lohse, and Sanchez) seem to be the best of the free agent starting pitchers, in my opinion, that are still available. I’m guessing the Sox won’t go more than 3 years on any of them, so not sure if they’d come to Boston (while Dempster is 36 and may not get more than 3 years, Lohse is 34 and Sanchez is 29). Keep in mind that Jamie Moyer (50 years old) has said he wants to pitch again.

Trades are always an option. The Sox are rumored to have checked in on R.A. Dickey with the Mets, but did not want to give up both Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. for 1 year of service by Dickey. It would be nice to have another knuckleballer with the Sox (oh Wakefield, how we miss you), but the team does not need to give up two of their best prospects for a year of service. (FYI- I’m currently reading R.A. Dickey’s memoir, and it is a very interesting read.)

People who know me know that I’m hopeful the Sox will make a trade with the Indians for Justin Masterson. He’d be a great number 4 or 5 starter, has worked with Farrell before, and he’s an “innings eater” (206.1 innings last year, 216.0 in 2011). Plus, he’ll only be 28 at the start of the season, and won’t be a free agent until 2015.

So, that’s just a quick review of what has happened and what may be on the horizon. Basically, the Sox need to make a few more (maybe major, maybe minor) moves in the next two months. Things will start to become clearer by February 1st, I’m thinking. Thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome Back, John Farrell

John Farrell was officially announced as the new manager for the Red Sox at a press conference yesterday.  He’s the man ownership, management, fans, and players wanted to succeed Terry Francona, and they eventually pried him away from the Blue Jays (for Mike Aviles).  Is it too late for this team after the tumultuous past season?  I don’t think so.

John Farrell was the Red Sox’s pitching coach from 2007-2010 and went to the Blue Jays as manager in 2011, when it looked like Francona would never leave the organization (how quickly things changed).  While a pitching coach, Sox pitchers had a different type of swagger to them; they were in control.  For example, in 2007 (when the Red Sox won the World Series), Sox pitchers had a collective 3.87 ERA and a 1.273 WHIP.  In 2012, Sox pitchers had a collective 4.70 ERA and a 1.371 WHIP.

How does this speak to Farrell as a manager?  Well, our starting pitching has been troublesome the past two seasons.  We’ve had 3 pitching coaches since Farrell left (Curt Young, Bob McClure, and Randy Niemann).  Farrell has proved that he has a unique way of dealing with the Red Sox pitchers that has not been duplicated since his departure.  In terms of improvement of the pitching staff, Farrell will understand what is needed of his pitchers and how to deal with them- the team will essentially have two pitching coaches to look for ways to improve the staff.

Also, many of the key position players on the Sox were around when John Farrell was last on the Sox- Pedroia, Ellsbury, Ortiz.  Pedroia and Ortiz are the unofficial “captains” of this team (even if Ortiz isn’t technically on the Sox roster at the moment.  It will happen).  These three players are the keys to getting this team to play the way we all know and wish they can play.  Farrell already has their respect from years past, and the relationship won’t need to be forced.

Farrell has also rumored to have reached out to Cody Ross, a player who was only signed through the 2012 season for $3 million.  There’s been a lot of talk over the past month or two about Ross returning.  If Farrell did in fact contact Cody Ross, after he was signed as manager, then that indicated Farrell would like to work with Ross, as a member of the Boston Red Sox.  Cody Ross is a good player with a great attitude, kind of like how Kevin Millar was for the 2004 Red Sox.  We may need a player like that this year, and Ross would be a good fit… again.

It’s also rumored that Farrell is going to be bringing Lovullo, who was Pawtucket’s manager in 2010, with him as his bench coach from the Jays.  Lovullo will be familiar with some of the younger, less experienced players that have found their way onto this team.  Lovullo was also rumored to be in line for a managerial position last year, so he can only more knowledge to this team that has lost its way over the past two seasons.

Another interesting tidbit about Farrell is someone who will probably not be on the coaching staff (or maybe he will), Jason Varitek.  Varitek was hired as a special assistant to the general manager last month.  Varitek has always been known as a great baseball-mind, and I’m sure he worked very closely with Farrell and the pitching staff in the past.  Could the knowledge between Varitek and Farrell turn this team, and especially the pitching, around?  My guess is Varitek with be a coach on Farrell’s staff at some point in the next three years.

John Farrell commands respect, you can tell by the way he handles himself.  I didn’t watch very much of the press conference yesterday (I do work, afterall), but what little I did see, was a vast difference from what we saw less than a year ago when Bobby Valentine was announced as manager.  Farrell and Cherington were at the podium together, not encased with Henry, Lucchino, and Werner.  Farrell took a picture holding his jersey, not doing the whole “putting the jersey on like a player signing” thing.  There was very much a partnership between Farrell and Cherington, something that was lacking this past season with Cherington and Valentine.

Only time will tell how John Farrell’s tenure will be with the Boston Red Sox.  The team needs a lot of work to succeed into the postseason again, but the Sox may have finally found the man who can help get that done.  To think, the man who many wanted to replace Francona if he was ever to leave the Red Sox is fulfilling that prophecy (with only one, rough speedbump to get over).

Welcome Back... to the Blog!

It has been months since I have updated the blog.  As I posted on my last blog, it was hard to get excited about team that didn’t seem too excited to play.  I did watch (at least parts) of mostly every game towards the end of the season, but it was difficult.  Valentine wasn’t managing the way the players needed him to manage- with passion.  Players were injured, players were returning from injuries, and players so far down on the depth-chart that they seemed to come out of nowhere were starting.

I know these should not be excuses.  I love the Sox; I have always loved the Sox.  Watching and writing about this team everyday was like reliving a nightmare, over and over and over again. 

So, with that all said, I have decided I will write in the blog when I choose.  It’s the offseason (well, the World Series starts tonight, but it’s the offseason for the Sox).  The Red Sox have fired Valentine, traded for/hired Farrell as manager, and there’s a new sense of optimism.  Heck, even I, who is very pessimistic with this team at times, have a new sense of optimism after the Farrell signing.  When things come up this Hot Stove Season that I feel the need to write about, I will write. 

Honestly, I need to get back into the groove of writing.  Writing is a passion of mine, as well as the Sox.  I identify myself as a writer, and I need to make it a priority again.  So, without further adieu, welcome back to the blog and enjoy my post about the new Red Sox manager, John Farrell.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lack of Enthusiasm

So, as you've probably noticed, I have not posted in quite awhile.  In fact, it's been almost two weeks.  You  know the sad part?  There's nothing really to report.  The Sox have one 2-3 games since the last time I've posted, and the team seems to be on autopilot.

Unless something major happens with the team between now and the end of the season, I don't think I'm going to be posting everyday, like I had been.  There's nothing really to say. 

The team is in last place.  The only "good" thing they can do at this point is to play spoiler, which I hope they do (they did last night!).  For the record, I'm rooting for the Orioles to take the division, the Rays to get a wild card spot, and the Yankees missing the playoffs.

So that's that.  In the postseason, or "Hot Stove Season," I'll be updating when I find things interesting or the Sox make a transaction.  This season is done for the Sox- they are 14 games below .500, by the way.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Again, it’s a little telling that the remaining Sox players are not as into Twitter these days. When the team wins, the players seem to tweet more. When they lose, they are silent. So, there’s not too many tweets for this week. Enjoy the ones we have:

8/24

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Was good to see @davidortiz back out there… Keepin it gangster like always. lol

8/25

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Wife screams thought she saw a mouse and bam instead Mr. Scorpion was in our fruit dish #notfun #heeeegon pic.twitter.com/ZZmgw9X9

Colin Hanks @ColinHanks
On the day the #SFGiants are FINALLY the Saturday afternoon game here in SoCal, the Dodgers scream “pay attention to MEEEEEEE!”

8/26

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
Wish @adriangon28 @Shredderpunto JB and CC all the best in LA! It was a pleasure being teammates with y’all!!!

David Ortiz @davidortiz
It was great to hang out with one of my favorite Olympian… Aly AZGUkHdd

8/27

Andrew Bailey @AndrewBailey40
Great win today, let’s keep it going on the west coast! #RedSoxNation

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
A tweet from 30000 feet #baffledahockedawesome

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
My spelling is a bit terrible sometimes #baffledahockedawesome

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
@middlebrooks stop fishing for compliments

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
“@Themikeaviles: @middlebrooks stop fishing for compliments pic.twitter.com/

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Hah aim not! Thought it was funny tho lol RT @Themikeaviles: @middlebrooks stop fishing for compliments

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Not @Themikeaviles RT @kkemp_17: @middlebrooks who’s your best friend on the team??

8/28

Chris Carpenter @CCarp66
Gotta luv the random guy walkin n ur hotel room at 1:30am looks shocked n says “am I n the wrong room?” thnx 4 that awkward moment marriot..

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
The only negative to being a man is as you get older hair starts growing where u don’t want it! #earsnoseandback I just pulled out 2 ear hairs

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
“@alannarizzo: @KMillar15- TMI way too early 1-5. “I’m sorry but so damn true! Also cheer up I know ur Rockies won 10-0…”

Ryan Lavarnway @RyanLavarnway
Good to be back home in CA for the Angels series. Let’s keep the wins coming.

8/29

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Taking trash out and can’t stop humming “Baseball apple pie Chevrolet”

8/30

Cody Ross @IamCodyRoss
WTF is this?? @JacobyEllsbury @Themikeaviles Whoever can come up with the best caption gets a RT. Pic.twitter.com/TOVs7oyN

And my favorite quote of the week:

8/27

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
I need to get back out on the field…. I’m not pretty enough to be a cheerleader.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

0 %

The Red Sox have a 0% chance of making the playoffs, according to Baseball Prospectus.  With the big trade this weekend, it's pretty easy to say that the Sox won't be playing with the same drive as some of the contenders.  Instead, we'll be seeing players that we may not have seen or considered in the past. 

Jose Iglesias, the "shortstop of the future," who never seems to be hitting well enough to make it to the Majors, played last night; he went 0-for-4.  RHP Zach Stewart, who the Red Sox acquired in the Kevin Youkilis trade, will make his starting debut today.  The Red Sox's roster now consist of so many players that started the season in the minors, it hardly feels like the Red Sox we've known in the past.

Instead, we are watching the Red Sox of the future today.  These are players who should still be in Triple-A for one reason or another (not enough experience, needs to work on something, etc.).  But, on the other hand, we are seeing players with potential and not just players who are here today or all-stars in the past.  There is hope... just not for this season.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gonzalez, Crawford, Beckett, and Punto Gone

If you’re interested in sports, particularly baseball, I’m sure you’ve heard about the major trade the Red Sox and Dodgers pulled off this weekend. Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto (along with $11-12 million, depending on which source you use) were sent to the Dodgers for first baseman James Loney and four prospects. The Sox shredded around $250 million from their payroll over the next 6 years by doing this.

I would be lying if I said I was happy about the trade. While Gonzalez wasn’t hitting the home runs like people thought he would’ve in Boston, he was a plus-300 average hitter, lead the American League in doubles, was probably the most solid defensive first baseman in the league, and generally had a good attitude (well, there was some debate about that over the last few weeks). But, I feel like the Red Sox gave up too much when they traded the Padres for Gonzalez. Remember, they sent Anthony Rizzo (now seen as a savior-like player for the Cubs), and Casey Kelly (who will be starting for the Padres today).

Crawford got a bad rap in Boston. Last year was difficult for him, and it seemed a lot of his uneasiness came from playing for Francona; the two just never seemed to click. In the limited games Crawford played this year, while injured, he was impressive.

Punto… well, I was happy to see him and his .200 batting average leave.

Beckett’s probably the player that needed to go the most but who I really did not want to leave. I understand his issues with his attitude, his inability to pitch well this year (though, he never seems to pitch well on even-numbered years, if you check the stats), his inability to lead an already dysfunctional pitching staff, etc. But, Beckett’s been there the longest. It’s hard to see him go while someone like John Lackey is still sitting on the Red Sox bench.

I’m not sure what the Red Sox are going to do in the coming months with so much payroll to work with now. Essentially, they’ll the following players for next season: first baseman, shortstop, right-fielder, left-fielder, and at least two starting pitchers (to replace Beckett and Matsuzaka, whose contract is up after this season). Ellsbury status with the team is also in question, as his contract ends after next season and his agent is Scott Boras. Might also be seeing Ellsbury traded in the offseason… and there have been some rumors about Lester being moved as well.

Two things that I think the Red Sox will do this offseason are sign David Ortiz and Cody Ross. Ortiz, I believe, will get a one-year contract. He’s already said that he is planning on retiring after next season, and this year has been an injury-year for Ortiz (rumor is he will return to the disabled list today and could be out the rest of the season). I think Ross should be signed to a 2-3 year deal. He’s proven that he can play in Boston, and he has the type of attitude this team needs.

I was very agitated when I heard about this trade Friday because I felt like the ownership and Cherington were basically saying that they have given up for this year (as they should) and the next 2-3 years. The more I think about it, the more I feel like it was something the team had to do. They had to clean up Epstein’s mistakes (the high-priced contracts of Beckett, Crawford, and Gonzalez). I’m hoping this move turns out well in the end, but it’s still hard to comprehend exactly what the future holds for this Red Sox team.

Below are tweets the traded Red Sox players sent out on Saturday, once the trade was final. I find it a little interesting that Josh Beckett joined Twitter on Saturday as well.

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Thanks to Red Sox nation for everything. You guys are great!

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Excited to get back to Cali and be part of the Dodgertown!

Josh Beckett @beck19bb
Hey this is josh beckett Just set this up to say thanks to the great fans of #redsox nation I enjoyed the good times we had

Josh Beckett @beck19bb
Even in the tough times I ran into so many wonderful people that were so awesome I’m Greatly appreciative to all of you #redsox nation fans

Nick Punto @Shredderpunto
Thanks to all the fans of #Red Sox nation, also thank you to all my teammates, coach’s and staff.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

It’s been a pretty depressing week regarding the Red Sox. I’ve noticed that the players don’t really tweet when bad things are happening (team losing, controversy, etc.). The only player who is on the active-Major League roster to tweet something worthwhile was Andrew Bailey. So, basically here are some tweets more about the Red Sox than from the Red Sox themselves…

8/18

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
The Angels 2002 W.S. team was introduced pre-game really cool ceremony can’t believe it was 10yrs ago. Wasn’t the best looking team!!! #Heeeeem

Ryan Lavarnway @RyanLavarnway
Big win today. Always love beating the Yankees. #RedSoxNation

8/19

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
If any of my tweets upset you tonight, those were the ones Kelly Shoppach told me to write. Just so you know.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
This confuses me. Fan throws back Gonzo’s HR ball. Ichiro throws it to another fan and that guy can keep it? How come?

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
I am devastated… Sat on my glasses doing some serious damage to them… @CCarp66 says he can fix them tomorrow… Until then I mourn

8/20

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Ready to go see what the #Patriots and @Ryan_Mallet_15 are all about tonight!

MLB @MLB
Joba Chamberlain has a hard time finding the plate against Kevin Youkilis: atmlb.com/NCIgIV

8/21

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
All the #redsox will wear No. 6 tonight in memory of Johnny Pesky.

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Stress can wear you down… Quickkk. Need to catch some z’s… zzz zzz zzz

8/22

Andrew Bailey @AndrewBailey40
Thanks to the @bosoxclub for having me at the luncheon today!! It was great to meet with all the fans that attended.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
The Red Sox now trail Seattle in the wild card standings.

And my favorite tweet of the week:

8/22

Nick Cafardo @nickcafardo
I think the substance Cabrera and Colon have tested positive for are stupid pills. Are these guys for real?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Boston Globe Baseball Quiz

So, I was content with having just the one, two-sentence post for today, until I saw that The Boston Globe had a short quiz on their Extra Bases page. So, here are the questions with my answers:

Question 1: If you could meet any one player in baseball history, who would it be?

My great-grandfather, Al Van Camp. He passed away four years before I was born. I would ask him what it was like to play in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s and what it was like to meet and play with legends like Babe Ruth and Lou Gherig (barnstormers’ teams).

Question 2: Who is your favorite non-Red Sox player in the Majors now?

Well, if I didn’t say Bronson Arroyo, I would be lying; still enjoy watching him pitch and having his leg fly higher than I would ever imagine my own going. For a non-Red Sox-ever-affiliated-player… Josh Hamilton. It’s more because I read his book and was impressed by how far he’s come to achieve what he’s achieved now.

Question 3: If you could pick any active pitcher to start Game 1 of the World Series, who would it be?

Roy Halladay. I had to make sure he was active, since he’s been on the disabled list for most of this season. Halladay’s always been one of those pitchers who I never wanted the Red Sox to face; he’s experienced and dominant.

Question 4: If you could attend one game in baseball history, which would it be?

The barnstormer game on October 17, 1927 in Des Moines, Iowa between the Bustin Babes and Larrupin Lous. My great-grandfather was on the Bustin Babes; and in the picture, he is standing just to the left (viewer’s left) of Babe Ruth.

Question 5: If you could take any player in the Majors to add to the Red Sox roster, who would it be? Take age, salary, and health into account.

Stephen Strasburg. The team needs pitching, and they need young pitching. Strasburg is a Cy Young contender, young (24), and his salary is VERY affordable (signed a 4 yr/ $15.4 million contract in 2009), won’t be eligible for arbitration until 2014, and won’t be a free agent until 2017.

2.3%

Just a quick update: the Red Sox now have a 2.3% chance of making the playoffs.  At least there is still a chance!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Random Thoughts

* MLB blocked the Pesky tribute prior to the game last night, so I missed all of that. What I did see: all the Red Sox players wearing #6, the #6 in the outfield, and the Angels players wearing the patch in tribute to Pesky. I thought the whole thing was very thoughtful and respectful. I know the Red Sox had to get permission from MLB to all wear #6, and I’m glad MLB allowed it.

* I think the Matsuzaka pitching in Pawtucket last night was an imposter. Matsuzaka pitched 7+ innings, threw 102 pitches, only gave up 1 run, walked 4, and struck out 7? I might have to check those stats again.

* Wasn’t it last season the term “bridge year” was thrown about. I think the Sox should call this year the “bridge year.”

* Clayton Mortensen has done a really good job this year in relief, despite being bounced between Triple-A and the Majors. Do the Sox hold on to him in the off-season or trade him?

* I would really like to find the stat of how many times Joba Chamberlain has thrown at KevinYoukilis, and how many times he has actually hit Youk. I read the box-score for the White Sox-Yankees game yesterday and saw that Chamberlain had hit Youkilis. I did a quick Google search for the stats and didn’t find any results. You’d think after all these years, MLB would step in and start fining Chamberlain since it appears to be EVERY at-bat these two meet.

* Youkils got his revenge on the Yankees last night; he hit a grand slam.

* It’s been cooler here in Iowa this past week (short-lived), and the trees are starting to turn colors in my neighborhood. As much as I love baseball and will always be a baseball girl at heart, I’m excited for football season to start. New England Patriots and Iowa Hawkeyes are my teams (and I will root for the Iowa Stat Cyclones when they are not playing the Hawkeyes, since that’s where I graduated from).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bob McClure Out, Randy Niemann In

I guess we’ll have to take this as the Red Sox executives having faith in Valentine. The Red Sox fired pitching coach Bob McClure yesterday and made Randy Niemann, the assistant pitching coach, the pitching coach for the rest of the season. Sox starting pitchers have a combined 4.82 ERA.

Yes, the pitching has been horrendous this season, and it’s really no wonder why the Red Sox are not winning more games. The Sox are 17-29 in games started by Lester and Beckett; that record should be at least reversed. Even if the Sox had won 50% of the games started by their two “aces,” they would be in 2 games above .500 and only 1 game out of the Wild Card race.

However, I believe this change is more of a boost of confidence for Valentine than showing the team and fans that changes are inevitable. McClure and Valentine really hadn’t gotten along well all season. In fact, I noticed many, MANY times when the cameras would pan to the dugout and McClure and Valentine weren’t even in the vicinity of one another. With a pitching staff having one of the worst seasons in recent memory, you would think the manger and pitching coach would be seen talking.

I had a lot of faith in McClure, and I’m not really sure why. It seems that whenever the Red Sox pick up the best pitching coach available (Curt Young last year, who had been the pitching coach for the A’s previously and is the A’s pitching coach again this year), the pitchers just can’t cut it. With McClure, I thought the Sox had a chance. After all, he had been the pitching coach in the Royals organization previously, and a lot of Zach Grienke’s success happened because of his work with McClure. The Sox really haven’t had a pitching coach who has stuck since John Farrell.

With Randy Niemann being promoted to pitching coach for the rest of the season, the Red Sox are essentially saying that Valentine is in for at least one more season. Niemann came to the Red Sox because of Valentine; they had worked together for 5 years with the Mets.

Will the Sox pitchers do better under Niemann than they did with McClure? I’m guessing no. What might be better is the pitching coach and manager talking about what needs to be done and how it needs to happen. At this point in the season, I think everyone is looking on how to improve for next season. Case in point: Carl Crawford is having Tommy John surgery Thursday and will hopefully be ready for Opening Day 2013.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Red Sox in Turmoil

Let’s call it what it is- the Sox’s season is pretty much over. Yes, there are about 7 weeks left of the season. But, the chances for the Red Sox making the playoffs is 2.5%. I think it’s time for the Red Sox to stop pretending and start preparing for next year.

There’s been so much drama for a team that is below .500. I didn’t want to discuss the supposed article about the “Players Against Valentine” meeting that broke last week since the Red Sox hadn’t said too much about it. But, I feel like I need to give my opinion.

Yes, I have been critically of Valentine. There are some things I just don’t agree with (having a reliever pinch-hit in a non-interleague game, his lack of enthusiasm at times, being publically critical of his own players, etc.), but he is not the person playing the games. The players are. The players are the ones who go out every night and try or not to win. That’s that.

When I read that Pedroia and Gonzalez were the supposed “ring leaders” of the “Players Against Valentine” meeting, I was a little confused. First, I could see Pedroia possibly being critical of Valentine, but certainly not in this way. The two really seem to be getting along a lot better than I expected. Second, Gonzalez in the middle of controversy? I couldn’t see that at all. So, I had my suspicions of something else….

My first thought was Shoppach. Why? He was traded to the Mets the same day the article came out. Shoppach always seemed to have a good attitude on the field, and he was always pretty pleasant through his Twitter account. However, there was something off. I had known he had made comments about his playing time and how he thought he deserved to play more. Shoppach should have known he was signed as a platoon with Salty. I made my suspicions known to the Sox fans around me, and while some agreed, others did not.

Then, this weekend, the New York Daily, according to ESPN, reported that it was actually Shoppach who had leaked the story and was the ring leader behind the “Players Against Valentine.” Honestly, I don’t know how to react to this news. The whole things makes me a little sick in the stomach to know that there is/was that much animosity going on in the clubhouse.

Another thing is the story about John Lackey carrying around two beers in the clubhouse while in Cleveland. On the one hand, a player who is injured travelling with the team can be seen as a good thing, since it shows he is still wanting to be a part of the team, work, and is not seeing his injury as a vacation. On the other hand, this is John Lackey. Let’s face it- the fans can’t stand the guy. If he’s wanting to earn brownie points with the fans and have them stop booing him, he really shouldn’t be carrying around beer in the clubhouse, especially after last year. John Lackey needs some good PR, and I don’t know how many babies he’ll need to kiss or how much money he’ll need to donate to get
that sort of PR.

Lastly, the Sox are said to announce today whether or not Crawford will be ending his season and having Tommy John surgery. I think they should just have Crawford get the surgery now. It’ll take about 7-9 months to fully recover. Seven months will be March, which will mean Spring Training. Crawford has done a really great job since coming off the disabled list (.282 BA, 3 HRs, 19 RBIs, and a .785 OPS, all while playing inured).

The team needs to let Crawford have the surgery now; the team is not making the playoffs this season. Next year is a new chapter, and a fully-healthy Crawford is needed. If Crawford can put up the numbers he has in limited playing this season while injured, just imagine what he can do in a full season (and Spring Training to warm-up) while healthy.

I could go on and on with this team and the turmoil it’s going through, but I think you get the picture. Sox need to chalk up this year as a learning experience; a learning experience about adjustments, attitudes, passion, and respect. Next season, the Sox hopefully will try and forget 2012 and focus on being the team we, the fans, know they can and should be.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Here are the tweets from this week:

8/10

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
New day… New opportunities. Make the most of them.

8/11

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Thank you guys for your prayers and thoughts… It doesn’t go unnoticed. #RedSoxNation

8/12

Nick Punto @Shredderpunto
Wife and kids fast asleep…. Off day tomorrow will be tough with zero sleep. Thanks #SharkWeek #cantwaittoseeairjaws

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
“I can’t tonight… It’s shark week…”

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Thanks everyone in Cleveland I love coming back here. Y’all still treat me like one of your own.

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
For the rest of 2012, the team is taking over #WakeAndRake #FelizVeuelo

8/13

Nomar Garciaparra @Nomar5
What a beautiful day here in Boston.

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
____^__\o/___ Shark week…yep

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
#Cowboys starters out. Back to #SharkWeek

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
I see everyone loves shark week but I want to know if anyone watches storage wars?

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
In what’s sure to drive #RedSox fans crazy, Derek Lowe pitched 4 scoreless innings for the #Yankees tonight. 2 hits, 4 strikeouts.

8/14

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
I can’t get enough of @TheGodLight #keepinmeinspiredslashgoing!!!

Ryan Lavarnway @RyanLavarnway
Follow my fiancĂ©e during the season “@CookingInRedSox: My next food quest: The Baseball Bucket List! #baseballfoodie wp.me/p29RUh-rl”

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
This is what makes a grown man happy! My boy Mike Ray from @luccese boots Handmade Gators! #cowboyup #therealonefive pic.twitter.com/mE2zSdKi

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Busy time for me and my family. Thank you to #RedSoxNation and my teammates will be missed. Great guys!

Nick Cafardo @nickcafardo
Dustin Pedroia very upset about being named in Yahoo story about a July meeting with owners. Said he never ripped Bobby Valentine to owners.

8/15

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Ironic that Boston.com is running an ad called “$#*! Pedroia says.” Apparently one of those things is “Fire the manager.”

MLB @MLB
KING OF THE HILL: @RealKingFelix tosses 23rd perfect game in @MLB history, silencing #Rays, 1-0. It’s first perfecto in @Mariners history.

8/16

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
If I were a frog I would have the coolest ribbit @coolyetoddthoughts

And the tweet of the week:

8/15

Chris Rose @ChrisRose
Buzz light year suspended 50 days as well but I had a feeling. Looked bigger than ‘11 @IntentionalTalk @KMillar15 pic.twitter.com/1OxJ5Ttr

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crashing

It seems that the season is crashing around the Red Sox, much like September of last year. The team keeps saying they have a push in them, a streak is coming. I’m starting to think it’s all talk.

The Sox are currently 4 games below .500 and have a 3.1% chance of making the playoffs. They can’t seem to string together a winning streak more than 3, and even when they do that, they lose the next 3 or 4 games. This is a sub-500 team.

Part of me thinks the Sox could still make a push for it; and at the very least, make it interesting for the end of the season. After all, we all know how important game 162 can be. However, the Sox haven’t shown a real spark all season.

At the beginning of the season, I never though I would say I was more confident when Buchholz, Morales, or Doubront pitched than when Lester and Beckett pitched. Lester and Beckett were two of my favorite players for years (by contrast, Buchholz was always towards the bottom of my list). It’s frustrating to watch the “top two” pitchers in our rotation continue to flounder (minus Lester’s masterful performance on Sunday).

This team needs to get united and get a spark going. I think that’s what Gonzalez and Valentine tried doing last night when they were ejected. Gonzalez and Valentine were two of the key figures in all the “player’s only meeting” controversy this past week (if you haven’t read the YahooSports story, read at your own risk). My guess is Gonzalez and Valentine wanted to get ejected together; to show the haters that they are a united front despite what the media has been saying.

I still love my Sox. I still follow the games daily. I still have confidence in this team. But, there comes a time when reality sinks in. I would be happy if the Sox made push to finish at least 5 games over 500 and came in 3rd place in the AL East this season. Even this would be an accomplishment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

5.9 %

5.9%.  That's the Red Sox's chances of making the playoffs this year, according to Baseball Prospectus.  It's not 0%, but it's close.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rest In Peace, Johnny Pesky

Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe from the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park. Standing: Jason Varitek, David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield. Sitting: Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr

Yesterday, the Red Sox lost one of its legends, Johnny Pesky. It seems that almost every Red Sox fan, no matter the age or how long they’ve been a fan, knew who Johnny Pesky was. They knew him as the legend who hooked home runs around the right-field foul pole, which was eventually dubbed “Pesky’s Pole” in honor of him. They knew him as the constant figure with the Red Sox, the one person who remained with the team through all the changes throughout the years (he was associated in some capacity with the Red Sox for 61 of his 73 years in baseball). They knew him as a member of “The Teammates,” along with Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, and Dom DiMaggio. In a way, Pesky was the Red Sox.

Johnny Pesky began his Major-league Red Sox career in 1942. From 1943-1946, Pesky was in the military and fighting in World Ward II. He returned to the Red Sox from 1946-1952 as a player, and he was manager from 1963-1964 and 1980. He remained a staple with the Red Sox until his death yesterday.

I’m not going to pretend that I have some personal story involving Johnny Pesky because I don’t. Instead, I thought I would post the Twitter message from yesterday into this morning about Pesky from people who actually knew Johnny Pesky. Also, there are more messages about Johnny Pesky on The Boston Globe: Extra Bases section from players like Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant, Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield, here’s the link:
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2012/08/ red_sox_players.html.

Rest in Peace, Johnny Pesky (September 27, 1919- August 14, 2012).

Jerry Remy (RemDawg) @Jerry_Remy
Rest in peace Johnny Pesky- he can’t be replaced- my condolences to his family- Jerry

Jenny Dell @JennyDellNESN
Sad day for #RedSox Nation RT @SI_PeterKing: RIP Johnny Pesky. One of the great baseball players and personalities of our time.

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
RIP, Johnny Pesky. One of the all-time greats.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
##RedSox legend Johnny Pesky has passed away at age 92.

Nick Cafardo @nickcafardo
Johnny Pesky’s favorite saying- “I have 2 things to say to the youth of America- grow up.”

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Johnny Pesky was Mr. Red Sox in every way. Until ill health kept him away, he had a locker in the clubhouse. Rest in peace, No. 6

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
This must be awful news for Bobby Doerr, the last of the “Teammates”

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
There are, quite literally, dozens of #RedSox players who Pesky hit grounders to, counseled and befriended over the years.

MLB @MLB
We mourn the passing of @RedSox icon Johnny Pesky, who died today at the age of 92.

Chad Finn @GlobeChadFinn
Johnny Pesky the embodiment of everything good and admirable about the Red Sox and their history.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Can remember my Dad saying, “Go get that man’s autography, that’s Johnny Pesky.” He couldn’t have been nicer, either.

Chad Finn @GlobeChadFinn
Will always remember the mutual admiration between Pesky and Nomar.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Yankees will having a moment of silence for Johnny Pesky, @YankeesWFAN says. Nice touch.

David Ortiz @davidortiz
A very dark today for red sox nation a good friend of mine past away Johnny pesky it was an honor meeting you… R.I.P…34

MLB Network PR @MLBNetworkPR
Gammons on why @RedSox fans loved Pesky: “He was so good to everybody, ever fan. Every fan related to him.”

Michael Silverman @MikeSilvermanBB
Dozens of roses piling up at feet of Pesky statue. RIP, Johnny #RedSox pic.twitter.com/dXpaaPG5

MLB Network PR @MLBNetworkPR
More Millar on Pesky: “He was a tremendous, tremendous human being… Johnny Pesky touched a million people’s lives.”

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Sad as the Johnny Pesky news is, the man served his country, was a heck of a player, made so many friend + lived to 92. What a life.

Jon Lester @JLester31
Just heard we lost one of the good ones today. A great player and an even better man, rest in peace Johnny, thank you for the memories.

Curt Schilling @gehrig38
One of my career memories was hugging and kissing Johnny pesky after we won it all in 04, God Rest and God Bless his gentle soul, I miss you

Mark Feinsand @BloggingBombers (retweeted by Pete Abraham)
Jeter on Pesky: “Every time I’d see him, he would say, ‘I hope you get 4 hits today- and the guy behind you hits into 4 double plays.”

Mark Feinsand @BloggingBombers (retweeted by Pete Abraham)
Derek Jeter was saddened to hear of the passing of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky: “He was always so nice to me throughout the years.”

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Honored to have had an opportunity to meet one of the biggest ambassadors of the Redsox Mr. Johnny Pesky #pesskkkkyy

Tony Massarotti @GlobeMazz
Johnny Pesky? A true gentleman. Dignified in every way. He will be missed.

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
RIP Johnny Pesky. You will be missed in the clubhouse and by #RedSoxNation.

Peter Gammons @pgammo
Pesky used to tell my brother Ned, an Episcopal minister, “you Episcopalians are Catholics who flunked Latin.”

Nomar Garciaparra @Nomar5
Today with a heavy heart I lost a friend. And Red Sox Nation lost an icon. R.I.P. my friend. I will miss you.

Ryan Lavarnway @RyanLavarnway
Red Sox nation mourns the loss Johnny Pesky, of one of its greatest ambassadars.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Random Thoughts

* It pretty much goes without saying that the Red Sox are out of contention for the year. Yes, there is still a slight possibility. According to Baseball Prospectus Playoff Odds Report, the Sox have a 6.7% chance to make the playoffs. The Yankees have a 99.2 % chance; the Rangers 99.9%.

* Will Middlebrooks is likely out for the rest of the season with a broken wrist. I watched the video of the pitch hitting his wrist, and it’s painful to even watch. It’s a shame that a rookie having such a great season has to go out this way, but as mentioned before, there’s only a slight chance the Sox will make the playoffs. Might as well let Middlebrooks fully heal from the injury and come back stronger next year.

* Speaking of injured wrists, Crawford came out of yesterday’s game in the bottom of the 5th inning due to his surgically repaired wrist being sore though he’s expected to possibly getting a cortisone shot and staying off the DL. He went 3-for-5 yesterday with 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, and 2 runs scored. He is currently hitting .280 for the season (25 games). Even in the limited sample sizes, the fans have to be happy with the way he’s playing.

* Valentine thought it was a good idea to have one of the relievers, Mortensen, bat yesterday. Mortensen struck out. I know the 14-1 win was a blow out, but with all the injuries this team has endured, is it really smart to have a pitcher bat in a non-need situation?

* On a related note, Saltalamacchia played first base yesterday. Okay…

* There’s a chance Bailey might be joining the Sox sometime this week. Would he be a reliever or closer? My guess is he’ll start in a set-up role and possibly get to closing out games sooner (if Aceves completely melts down) or later (last couple weeks of the season to get his feel back).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Here are this week's tweets:

8/3

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Don’t sleep on my pocket square! If you look close once again it’s a paper towel #pro

8/4

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Baseball is like life… It’s a game of adjustments #itsnevertoolate #realtalk

8/5

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Crawford 3 for 4 with an RBI. He is 13 of 34 on his birthday the last 7 years. #RedSox

Jacoby Ellsbury @Jacoby Ellsbury
Catching up on my #Olympics

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
@JacobyEllsbury I want to see chief lightning foot vs. bolt! 100m

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
Would you rather be a giraffe or an elephant ??

8/6

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Going to see ‘Total Recall.’ I let u know if Ferrell can live up to Schwarzenegger.

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
‘Total Recall’ was good and not just b/c I got to watch 2 amazingly beautiful women for 2hrs. Beckinsale & Biel whoa, Ferrell is no Arnold.

Ryan Westmoreland @RWesty25
3 years ago I met my best friend, my rock, and the love of my life. Happy 3 years Charlene! Pic.twitter.com/iYoKoyoxO

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Had a great time at the @CitiPrivatePass clinic today. Thanks to everyone who came out! 34 #RedSox #procamps

8/7

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
(Retweeted from Spiritual Truths @TheGodLight) You will not find peace until you follow your heart, it will bang like a drum until you listen to its call.

Ryan Lavarnway @RyanLavarnway
Thanks for all the bday wishes. Looking for a big win to celebrate with #RedSoxNation

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Congrats to U.S. women’s soccer team for advancing to final game! Wish you the best, go for Gold!

Jenny Dell @JennyDellNESN
Nick Punto @Shredderpunto At-Bat music: “Who Let The Dogs Out.” That is all.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Pedroia now yelling from the dugout at the 1B umpire, Paul Nauert, who rung him up. Plenty of umps would have tossed him by now.

Pedroia at the far end of the dugout still yelling. Asking for it at this point.

Pedroia just said his favorite cartoon character was Buck Rogers. I might be wrong.

Calm rules as Pedroia goes out to play second. Not even a glance at the ump. Stay tuned for Expletive Deleted Theater afterward.

Pedroia is going to get run now. Nose to nose with Nauert.

Or at least Bobby will get run.

Pedroia got tossed. Valentine tried but didn’t.

Second ejection for Pedroia. First since 2008.

Back in high school this would have been worth a “Kick your dog, ump. He’s lying.”

8/8

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
#WakeAndRake

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Middlebrooks was asked how hard it is to win when the #RedSox pitchers allow 10 runs. “If you score 11 you can,” he said.

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
Watching a classic, “Waterboy”… slap hands, slap hands.

And my favorite tweet of the week:

 Jenny Dell @JennyDellNESN
Bobby Valentine on meeting with John Henry: “It’s not polite to say it’s none of your business, so I’ll try to be polite and not say that”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pitchers v. Hitters

In yesterday’s game, it seemed as if the Red Sox pitchers were against the Red Sox hitters. Beckett started the game by giving up 3 runs in the 1st, but the Sox hit back and scored 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st. The Sox scored another run in the bottom of the 3rd. Then, Beckett gave up 3 runs in the 5th, but the hitters scored 2 runs in the bottom of the inning. Beckett then gave up 2 runs in the 6th (he was out of the game after this), and Mortensen gave up another run in the 7th. But, the Sox offense came to life, scoring 4 runs in the bottom of the 7th.

The game was tied 9-9 heading into the top of the 9th inning. At this point, Mortensen had thrown almost 50 pitches in relief, but Valentine kept him in. The first batter walked, followed by a single, so runners were on first and third with no outs when Valentine lifted him. Aceves came in and allowed the runner on third to score on a sac fly by Beltre before getting the final two outs. 10-9 heading into the bottom of the 9th inning.

The bottom of the 9th inning started with Gonzalez popping out, and Ross hitting a double. Kalish went in to run for Ross. Middlebrooks and Lavarnway both struck out to end the game.

Throughout the game, it really seemed as if the Sox hitters were trying their best to win the game; they kept scoring runs. The Sox pitchers, on the other hand, kept giving up runs. Yes, Texas has the best offense in the American League, and they’re a tough team. However, the Sox are almost as productively offensively. The season is really turning into pitchers v. hitters.

The Sox had 12 hits in the game, including 3 doubles by Gonzalez, doubles by Ciriaco and Ross, a triple by Crawford, and home runs by Ross and Middlebrooks. Pedroia, Gonzalez, and Ross all had multiple hits. The offense is there, just not the pitching.

However, I think some of the blame has to be put on Valentine for this game. I’m sorry to the Valentine supporters, but there were two big decisions in the 9th inning that should have been done differently. One, Mortensen should have come out after having thrown so many pitches and it being a tied game. Valentine said the only available relievers for the game were Mortensen, Miller, and Aceves. Fine, then Miller or Aceves should have started the 9th. Mortensen is a young player who, while doing great when called up, should have been taken out in the tied game. I would’ve put in Aceves. He’s also able to go more than one inning, if it continued to be a tie game.

Secondly, with a runner on second and two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, Lavarnway came to the plate. Lavarnway, if memory serves me correctly, only has 1 hit in the Majors and is batting below .100. He was the DH yesterday. Saltalamacchia, who has had a few walk-off hits this season, was on the bench. Don’t you pinch-hit for Lavarnway in this situation? I know I would have.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ejected and Dejected

Disclaimer: I was not able to watch the last half of the game live, which means I only saw the yelling and ejection on replays.

Dustin Pedroia, the unofficial captain of this Red Sox team, was ejected last night. In the bottom of the 8th inning, Pedroia checked his swing, but first base umpire Paul Nauert called it a third strike. As much as Pedroia ranted and raved, he was not ejected until after he made comments in the top of the 9th inning. Pedroia was done, but his mouth wasn’t. Here’s the Twitter feed from Boston Globe writer Pete Abraham during the incident:

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Pedroia now yelling from the dugout at the 1B umpire, Paul Nauert, who rung him up.

Plenty of umps would have tossed him by now.

Pedroia at the far end of the dugout still yelling. Asking for it at this point.

Pedroia just said his favorite cartoon character was Buck Rogers. I might be wrong.

Calm rules as Pedroia goes out to play second. Not even a glance at the ump. Stay tuned for Expletive Deleted Theater afterward.

Pedroia is going to get run now. Nose to nose with Nauert.

Or at least Bobby will get run.

Pedroia got tossed. Valentine tried but didn’t.

Second ejection for Pedroia. First since 2008.

Back in high school this would have been worth a “Kick your dog, ump. He’s lying.”

As stated, this is only the second time in his career in which Pedroia was ejected, which is pretty impressive considering how passionate the second baseman is. Bobby Valentine tried his best to get ejected as well, but he was unsuccessful. Here are the comments Valentine made to the media after the game:

“It looked like he checked his swing from our vantage point. Can’t get it back…I was pretty angry and supporting my guy. Probably said more to him than I said other times and gotten thrown out. He wasn’t going to throw me out unless I made a complete fool of myself or punched him or something.”

(I could make a comment about how Valentine can’t even get ejected when he’s trying, but I won’t.) I think the important thing to point out is this team is angry, and they’re fighting. It was obvious the Red Sox were trying to win last night. Lester was great the first 6 innings of the game, but the 7th inning dragged him down and he gave up 4 runs. In my opinion, Lester should’ve been taken out after 6 innings. He was close to the magic “100 pitch” mark, and with the way he has been pitching as of late, it would’ve made more sense to bring in a reliever (not Melancon, like Valentine did though).

The Sox needed to win this game; they need to win every game really. Tonight is the return of Josh Beckett (5-9 4.54 ERA) versus Matt Harrison (13-6, 3.17 ERA). A series win and an winning homestead would be nice… and much needed.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who's To Blame?

Yesterday, it seemed like everyone had an opinion on whether or not Valentine would be fired. He had a meeting with ownership, and some people speculated that that was it. There were rumors going around that a change in coaching was going to happen soon. Instead, the ownership made it public that they were behind Valentine.

Valentine made a comment that he “played for his job every game,” or something to that extent (sorry, saw the comment on television and didn’t write it down). John Henry emailed Red Sox beat writers to explain that he and the rest of the ownership group were behind Valentine, and Cherington as well. He said the blame should not be on the management, as they sometimes get too much credit and too much blame.

If the management isn’t to blame, then who is?

The players?

Yes, some players are under performing. Pedroia hasn’t gotten on a roll all season. Saltalamacchia has been sliding as of late. Aceves is a heart-attack-waiting-to-happen when he closes half the time. The entire starting rotation has been bad at points to most of the season.

Some may say Gonzalez is under performing because he only has 11 home runs, but he has 30 doubles, a .307 batting average, and has only grounded into 8 double plays (he grounded into 28 last year). I’m sure there are others who say that Crawford is under performing, but realize that he’s been hurt most of the season. In 19 games, he has a .292 batting average, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 3 stolen bases, and 13 RBIs. Not too shabby.

But, there have been players that have seemed to blossom this year: Middlebrooks, Aviles to an extent, Morales, and a case can be made for Shoppach even. We’ve seen Podsednik flourish before he was hurt, Sweeney lead the league in doubles before he was hurt the first time, and Nava crawling back into the Majors.

Is the pitching coach, Bob McClure, to blame? In terms of ERA, Boston is below the League Average of 4.08; they have an ERA of 4.29. Boston’s WHIP is 1.306, while the League Average is 1.310. So, to say that the pitching coach is to blame, I’d say no. While the rotation has been lacking; overall, the bullpen has done a good job.

Is it the hitting coach, Dave Magadan? The Sox are in 4th place in the league for batting average, with .268. They are above the league average of 120 home runs with 126. They are second in the league with 512 RBIs, only to Texas’s 532 RBIs. They lead the league in doubles with 243.

Is it General Manager Ben Cherington’s fault? Cherington didn’t make too many moves at the All-Star Break. The “big” moves he made during the offseason are questionable. Josh Reddick to the A’s for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney? Who would’ve thought Reddick would’ve flourished in Oakland? Bailey should be returning soon, and Sweeney is probably done the rest of the season after breaking a knuckle. Jed Lowrie to the Diamondbacks for Mark Melancon? Let’s call this a wash. Trading away Marco Scutaro and making Mike Aviles the everyday shortstop? I think this might have been the best thing Cherington did in the offseason, even if I was critical of his choice when it
happened.

Are the injuries to blame? Well, of course they are. When you have players like Pedroia, Ross, Ortiz, Bailey, Crawford, and Ellsbury all spending significant time on the disabled list, of course injuries are to blame. However, the Yankees have significant players always going on the disabled list, and they are still in first place… by a large margin. I don’t want to compare the Sox to the Yankees, but
obviously the Yankees are doing something right.

Personally, I think there is plenty of blame to go around. The players seem to be playing in neutral these days, Valentine doesn’t seem as animated on the bench as he did in the booth, the ownership doesn’t seem as visual as they claim they are, and Cherington, I feel, could have done more. Yes, these people needed to “fix” the mistake that Epstein, and in some cases Francona, created, but they have to tools to do it. Maybe they all just need to do some big PR stuff to get the fans to have some faith in them? Remember, faith is rewarded.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Random Thoughts

* The Red Sox lost 3 of 4 to the Twins this weekend. Friday and Saturday’s losses were the toughest, as the Sox had a chance to win and blew it. Friday, Lavarnway hit a double in the bottom of the 9th with two outs, but Middlebrooks grounded out. On Saturday, the Sox were up 4-2 heading into the 9th inning when Aceves blew the save, and the Sox loss 6-4.

* Crawford and Gonzalez were the stars of the weekend. Crawford went 7/18 with 2 doubles, a home run, a stolen base, and 5 RBIs. Gonzalez went 6/14 with a double, a home run, and 5 RBIs. Fans- lay off them.

* Saltalamacchia now reminds me of Adam Dunn from last year. It seems he either hits a home run or strikes out (I know that is not literally the case, but it appears to be that way).

* Both Ciriaco and Aviles had home runs this weekend. Who would’ve thought?

* I really don’t understand why Twins, Royals, Brewers, and Cardinals games are blacked out on MLB.TV. I understand Chicago, since that’s the closest team. I didn’t get to watch a single game this weekend.

* Can we call this team cooked yet? I’m beginning to think that the season is over for them. Yes, they are not in last place, but they are close. Unless the Sox go on some dramatic run the next two months, I think it’s safe to say the Red Sox will not be making the playoffs this year. I’m still a tiny bit optimistic that the Sox can pull something off, but the team is not consistent and hasn’t been all year.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

The Twitter-verse was a buzzing this week with trade talks, inspirational quotes, encouragement, and information.  Here are this week's tweets:

7/28

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Finally out of the fetal position! Wow pneumonia ain’t no joke

Ryan Kalish @Ryan­_Kalish
And by sleep @CCarp66 means this in them idle of the airport #ThingsNotToWearInPublic pic.twitter.com/foI2xui7

7/29

Ryan Lavarnway @RyanLavarnway
First stolen base of the year today. Going to break my season high and try for another one soon. #speeddemon

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Is this bad that my 2 yr old is already shop lifting? #gotherrrr pic.twitter.com/GevzzGUz

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Still going! Try to get her dad arrested! Help me! pic.twitter.com/YkqCyK13

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe (Series of tweets)
Middlebrooks obviously got hit. Umpires may not think so.

Nope. Umpires saying he didn’t get hit. BV could get run here

If you’re Bobby V here, you gotta get the thumb

And there it is

This could cause Bobby to talk to one of his coaches.

The ball hit him right in the forearm. Couldn’t be more obvious

Somebody else got tossed. Might be beckett

Justice is served as middlebrooks gets a single

Yes, Beckett was tossed. Second time in his career

Can’t blame the plate umpire, he got drilled, too. But one of the base umps needs to see that

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Needed tonights win, big one. Heading home to keep it rolling!

7/30

David Ortiz @davidortiz
At fenway for the @cocacola PLAY campaign promoting healthy living… can’t wait to get back to action…34 say.ly/MbM3S360

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
This Carl Crawford fellow playing for the Red Sox tonight is very good. When did they get him?

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Shoppach has two triples this season. That’s two more than he had in his previous seven years in the majors

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Mark Teixeira left the Yankees game with an injury. Vicente Padilla, in bullpen at Fenway, seems to have an airtight alibi

7/31

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Breaking news @MLBNetwork has just traded the back hair of @TheMayorsOffice in exchange for the hamburger meat chest hair of @ChrisRose

Billd1530 @Billd1530
@KMillar15 @MLBNetwork @TheMayorsOffice @ChrisRose Just in… Millar’s frosted hair for Trump’s rug and caterpillar eyebrows, and a PTBNL.

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Well played @Billd1530

Chris Rose @ChrisRose
@KMillar15 @MLBNetwork @TheMayorsOffice hey, I just woke up, where did my chest hair go? And why is my back so itchy?

Ryan Sweeney @RyanSweeney12
I just want to apologize to my teammates, #RedSox, and fans. II don’t normally loose my cool and this was not an intentional action.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Just spoke to new #RedSox pitcher Steven Wright. “I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met,” he said.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Wright also said, “I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn’t park anywhere near the place.”

Craig Breslow @CraigBreslow
Excited to head to the @RedSox, but first thank you to the @Dbacks fans, my teammates, and coaches who made my stay in #AZ so enjoyable.

8/1

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Headed to the hospital to put some smiles on some faces!!! This is what it’s all about!!!
@SFXBaseball @RedSox

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Wow. Had a blast with everyone at the childrens hospital! You guys are the real hero’s!!

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Lmoa “@Adam Russell36: Heard @ShopHouse10 has 2 triples this year. Pretty sure this is what the Mayans were talking about. #shoppacalypse2012”

8/2

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Anyone have a good bedtime story? I can’t sleep… Again. #zzzzzzzz

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Haha you guys are awesome. You keep me laughing. Goodnight everyone!

Ryan Kalish @Ryan­_Kalish
Starbucks coffee or dunkin donuts???

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
I am not gonna say either way way what kind of coffee I have right now but I just spilt it all over my shirt #blackshirtshidestains!!!

Ryan Lavarnway @RyanLavarnway
Great to be back in Boston. Ready to get to work.

Nick Cafardo @nickcafardo
David Ortiz is running like David Ortiz. Achilles seems better.

Ryan Lavarnway @RyanLavarnway
Tough loss tonight. @JLester31 threw great. Appreciate all the love from #RedSoxNation

Craig Breslow @CraigBreslow
Getting traded for one’s number-sake sure does make things convenient. Thanks for the socks Matt Albers. #redsox #32

And my favorite tweets of the week is an update on Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland.  If you recall, Westmoreland went through his second brain surgery this summer... and he's only 22

8/2

Ryan Westmoreland @RWesty25
Thank you for your support. I’m back and not giving up!!!!! #beyondblessed pic.twitter.com/zjQKXtne


Ryan Westmoreland @RWesty25
He pulled me through again. #2for2inlife & batting 1.000 in brain surgeries pic.twitter.com/ns2YqbUv

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Could Derek Lowe Be An Option?

The Cleveland Indians designated Derek Lowe for assignment last night. Which means, he is done with the Indians unless he clears waivers and is reassigned to Triple-A, which I’m guessing won’t happen. I’m not saying that Lowe won’t clear waivers; I’m guessing that a 39 year-old won’t want to be assigned to Triple-A.

As most of you know, Derek Lowe was already a member of the Red Sox, from 1997- 2004. In one of the most lopsided trades in the history of the game, the Red Sox acquired Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek from the Mariners for Heathcliff Slocumb in 1997. Yeah, that deal worked out pretty well for the Red Sox, I’d say.

Since departing in 2004, Derek Lowe was with the Dodgers from 2005-2008, the Braves from 2009-2011, and he signed with the Indians this past offseason. He was very good in Los Angeles, never having an ERA over 3.88. In Atlanta, he had never had an ERA below 4.00. This season, Lowe has a 5.52 ERA, an 8-10 record, and a 1.689 WHIP.

So the question remains; could Derek Lowe be an option for the Red Sox? As a starter, I’m going to have to say no. Yes, the rotation needs help, especially if these team is serious about making a playoff run. But, I think the Sox would benefit from looking internally (Franklin Morales) more than externally.

However, Derek Lowe was once a reliever for the Red Sox, a closer in fact. While I don’t think Lowe has closer material anymore, he could possibly be an option for a reliever, a long reliever or mop-up guy even. If the Sox want/need to move Morales into a starting role (which I see them doing… soon even), then the Sox would need another reliever.

Scott Atchison, who is arguably the Sox’s best reliever this season, is likely done for the remainder of the season and is on his way to Tommy John surgery. While the Sox still have Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa, Clayton Mortensen, Vicente Padilla, Alfredo Aceves, etc., they could use another arm in the bullpen. (Personally, I’d rather see Mark Prior come up from Triple-A. Yes, I am talking about THE Mark Prior of Cubs-lore. He’s pitched 20.1 innings this season, has a 2.66 ERA, and is holding opposing hitters to a .121 average.)

If the Sox think they can attain Derek Lowe for cheap, I think they should give it a try. I’d love for them to release a guy like Melancon and his 8.34 ERA or Vicente Padilla and his scary demeanor and even scarier pitching performance. If things don’t work out with Lowe, they could release him and bring up a guy like Prior or Mortensen.

My guess is the Sox balk at the idea of signing Derek Lowe. It’s an interesting thing to think about though, bringing in a guy who had helped the franchise win a World Series, their first World Series in 86 years. But, the Sox need to think strategically. They didn’t do much at the trade deadline, and they’re supposedly comfortable with the players they have. We’ll see what happens this month, when most players are put on waivers and then retracted.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Booing of Beckett

Be fair-warned, this is going to be a rant.

Last night, Josh Beckett was taken out of the in the 3rd inning with a back injury. Beckett had been breezing through the Tigers line-up until there were two outs in the 3rd. He then gave up a single to Omar Infante, hit Austin Jackson, and walked Quentin Berry. Next, Beckett walked Miguel Cabrera on five pitches, and a run scored. That’s when Bob McClure, an athletic trainer, and finally Valentine. Beckett was done for the night because of back spasms.

And then the boos came.

The “Fenway Faithful” booed Beckett, loudly. Beckett had been performing very well last night, despite the rain, and tried fighting through back spasms when he was finally taken out. You could tell he was trying, and the fans booed.

Beckett’s reaction was, “It is what it is.” Valentine commented, “I don’t think he deserved a boo at all… Those who were booing will probably take it back today when they figure out what the situation was.” I hope so.

I don’t care who the player is, fans should not boo a player when they are injured. I don’t care if it’s Joba Chamberlain, Alex Rodriguez, Luke Scott, Johnny Damon, Barry Bonds, etc. The fact that it was Red Sox fans booing their own player is despicable to me.

Yes, I am aware I may be in the minority with my support for Beckett. I do think he has what it takes to be a great No. 2, possibly No. 1, pitcher again. The way he was pitching the first two innings last night, in the rain and wind, proves my point that Beckett still has it.

But, seriously, why would the fans boo him? He had one bad inning last night, which was the inning he was taken out. He’s definitely not the worst pitcher the Red Sox have had in recent memory (John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka anyone?). Can’t the fans give the guy the benefit of a doubt?

I get that fans are frustrated with Beckett this season. He hasn’t had a great year, the revelations of chicken-and-beer-gate are still fresh in everyone’s memories, he doesn’t like talking to the media, etc. But, come on? The fans seem to have forgiven Lester and Buchholz (I don’t think Lachey though, but that’s for other reason).

Even the next day, I still feel a little sick in my stomach that the fans at the game booed Beckett. Just watch, Beckett will land on the disabled list, Morales will be in the rotation and won’t be as effective. Then, the fans will be wishing for the day when Beckett gets off the DL.

Trades

The Red Sox made two trades yesterday. They sent Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik to the Diamondbacks for Craig Breslow. They also sent Lars Anderson to the Indians for Steven Wright.

Craig Breslow is a left-handed reliever who has had a good season thus far. He has a 2.70 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 rates. He’s also pitched 43 1/3 innings thus far this season. Plus, he also won’t be a free agent until after next season. The thought is that by acquiring Breslow, the Red Sox are now able to move Franklin Morales back into the rotation.

Breslow has already had a stint with the Red Sox, back in 2006. He pitched 12.0 innings then, with a 3.75 ERA, a 9.0 K/9 rate, and a 4.5 BB/9 rate. He didn’t give up a home run while with the Sox then, but he has given up 5 this season.

Steven Wright is a 27-year-old knuckleballer who has been in Double-A this season. He has a 2.49 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9. He’s also pitched 115 2/3 innings this season. The addition of Wright gives the Red Sox more starting pitching depth. Plus, since Wakefield has retired, the Sox need a knuckleballer that will be with them for the next 20 years.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Trade Deadline Today

The trade deadline is today. It could either feel like Christmas (landing someone of value to put an optimistic spin on the season), purgatory (nothing of significance happens), or hell (the team becomes “sellers). I’m hoping from anywhere between purgatory and Christmas. Do I see a huge deal happening for the Red Sox? No.

MLBNetwork is having live coverage for most of the day. Unfortunately, I will be at work during this time. I will be relying on Twitter, MLB Trade Rumors, and probably my brother for information. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my brother would love to be a GM, especially for the Sox. Today is his favorite day of the season because he loves watching the transactions take place.

MLBNetwork has already had some fun with the trade deadline today. Look at the tweets that have already transpired:

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Breaking news @MLBNetwork has just traded the back hair of @TheMayorsOffice in exchange for the hamburger meat chest hair of @ChrisRose

Billd1530 @Billd1530
@KMillar15 @MLBNetwork @TheMayorsOffice @ChrisRose Just in… Millar’s frosted hair for Trump’s rug and caterpillar eyebrows, and a PTBNL.

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Well played @Billd1530

Chris Rose @ChrisRose
@KMillar15 @MLBNetwork @TheMayorsOffice hey, I just woke up, where did my chest hair go? And why is my back so itchy?

So what could the Red Sox possibly end up doing today? I think we’ll probably see some shuffling of the bullpen, for one. That seems to happen with every team at the trade deadline. Relievers need to be moved around so opposing players aren’t too comfortable with them.

There has been a little chatter about the Indians looking to trade Justin Masterson, and the Red Sox are supposedly interested. Masterson’s had a down year: 7-9, 4.47 ERA, 1.381 WHIP. But, the Sox are supposedly interested in a 3-4 starter. Wouldn’t Masterson fit that category? Heck, he’d be close to the “Ace” of the team with his ERA!

In all seriousness, I do hope that the Sox can pull off a trade for Masterson. Not only has he become a workhorse since he was traded to the Indians (remember, he was the key piece in the Victor Martinez trade), but he won’t be a free agent until 2015. Plus, he’s relatively cheap, only having a $3.83 million contract this year, his first arbitration eligible year.

There’s been quite a bit of talk about Beckett being traded. Cherington has said that Beckett will not be traded, and I believe him. Billy Ripkin on MLBNetwork last night was saying he doesn’t believe Beckett will be making his start tonight for the Red Sox, that he will be traded. Not buying it. I’ve said it before, Beckett has 10-5 rights and would have to approve any trade; he won’t unless it’s to the Rangers, most likely.

Kelly Shoppach’s been the other player who keeps coming up in trade talks. It makes sense, trade away Shoppach to make room for Lavarnway. However, it appeared that the Mets and Rangers were the two teams most interested. The Mets have seemed to drop out.

It should be an exciting day; and hopefully, the BoSox can pull something great off.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Interesting Turn of Events

I’m not sure who all watched the ending to the Red Sox-Yankees game last night. I, myself, wasn’t planning on watching it after Albers gave up the run in the 7th (credited to Doubront). I really wasn’t planning on watching the game after Miller gave up the tying run. I’ve seen how these sorts of events have gone in the past, and I wasn’t ready to watch the train wreck unfold in front of me.

However, I continued to watch. Aceves pitched a perfect bottom of the 9th, and the game headed into the 10th inning. Salty walked. Middlebrooks squared for a bunt (why he was bunting, I do not know), and was hit on the wrist/forearm area. He crumpled to the ground in pain, and the umpire turned away in pain as well since the ball had hit him in the shin.

During all the commotion, my brother, his girlfriend, and I watched replays to make sure that Middlebrooks was hit on the wrist/forearm area and not the hand, as the hand is part of the bat. It appeared the ball hit the wrist/forearm area, but the homeplate umpire called that the ball hit the bat. How the homeplate umpire could see that when he turned AWAY from the plate when the ball hit him, I do not know.

So, a hit by pitch became a strike in a matter of seconds. Tempers flared, and Valentine was ejected. Truthfully, I think Valentine needed to get ejected from a Yankees-Red Sox game. He’s been going about this season all-too-calm for my liking. Why hasn’t he gotten so upset, especially when his team has straddled mediocrity all season?

After Valentine was ejected, the Red Sox bench erupted. It was very odd to see Adrian Gonazlez, Mr. Cool-and-Collected, going off on the umpires from the dugout. Cody Ross, who’s also seen as a positive influence on this team, was also yelling. Beckett was jawing at the third-base umpire as well, and he was eventually ejected.

Could the Sox response to the call be contributed with Pedroia calling out his teammates for their playing? Pedroia is the heart and soul of the Red Sox, no doubt about it. He’s the leader, even if he doesn’t want to be. He’s the guy the media goes to, even when he’s had a bad game. He’s the player the little kids want to grow up to be like, even if he has a vocabulary like a sailor. Pedroia is the fire, and he might have passed on part of the torch to the rest of the team (nice Olympic referenced, huh?).

The Red Sox eventually won when Middlebrooks hit a single, moving Salty to second. Sweeney hit into a fielder’s choice, moving Salty to third, and Pedro Ciriaco hit an RBI single. Sox win 3-2.

I see this game, and the series at that, as a turning point for the Sox. They are now at .500 again, still 9.5 games back in the Division and 4.0 games back in the Wild Card. However, there is still 2 months left of games. The Yankees are flailing, having lost 7 of the last 10.

In 2004, the turning point of the season seemed to coincide with the Varitek-ARod incident. The Sox reaching .500 against the Yankees in 2012 might be what the team needs at this time. They are still considered “sellers” with the trade deadline approaching tomorrow. Maybe the Sox needed to prove to themselves (and upper management) that they are winners.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Here are this week's tweets:

7/20

Nick Punto @Shredderpunto
Nash wants to be covered in Gatorade like @IamCodyRoss but had to settle for bubbles #wishhehadashirttoshredd pic.twitter.com/qjUtdtji

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Cody to the moon!!!

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Can’t even enjoy a movie now a days!!! What is wrong with people!!! Thoughts and prayers to those families involved in the Colorado shooting

7/21

Daniel Nava @dnavs33
“he once ran a marathon because it was on his way”….love “The Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials!! #hilarious

7/22

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Bedtime! ZZZZ excited to see all my friends and family the next few days!

7/23

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Therapy day getting close to where I want to be feeling better… I can’t wait to be back… 34 pic.twitter.com/Xi1OfVZ3

7/24

David Ortiz @davidortiz
@MacDime54 Hang in there homie nothing is free anymore

7/25

David Ortiz @davidortiz
New york here I go to meet up with my boy for the weekend series vs the Yankees…..34

7/26
Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
@Themikeaviles and I made a stop at Mr. Softee’s!!! lockerz.com/s/228494824 lockerz.com/s/228494864

7/27

Chad Finn @GlobeChadFinn
Kind of glad to be away from the Red Sox right now. Can’t smell the stench of the season over here.

And the best tweets of the week:

7/26

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
At @MLBFanCave today to play #MLB12TheShow against the dwellers. Winner get control of the loser’s twitter account!


Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
I just beat A-Gon in The Show #HRDerby. Now he’s gonna plan with me (@iBlogBetter) #PlanBros #FanCaveHacked @MLBFC pic.twitter.com/qRZIawx


Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
So @KyleOKC beat me in #HRDerby, & then made me shred! Fun in the @MLBFanCave! RT & follow! #FanCaveHacked #MLBFC pic.twitter.com/In1xJoXj


Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
@adriangon28 Um, @smashleychavez just stole my phone… !! #FanCaveHacked pic.twitter.com/1bMLX00J

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Change Would Do Them Good

Quick post today as I’m frustrated with the team at the moment. Here’s the line-up from last night with their batting averages:

Ellsbury- CF- .282
Ciriaco- DH- .333
Pedroia- 2B- .267
Gonzalez- 1B- .291
Ross- RF- .261
Middlebrooks- 3B- .297
Crawford- LF- .219
Nava- LF- .250
Shoppach- C- .270
Aviles- SS- .257

Aside from Ciriaco, Gonzalez, and Middlebrooks, no one else really strikes fear into opposing pitchers from this line-up. Gonzalez, who has been hot lately, went 0-for-3 last night. Ciriaco and Middlebrooks are rookies. Everyone else needs to step it up.

I don’t want to make excuses for Beckett’s loss either, but the man really doesn’t get the run support. Yes, they played the Rangers this past game. Here’s a look at Beckett’s last 7 starts this season:

June 6th- Baltimore- L,1-2: 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR
June 11th- Miami- L, 1-4: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR
June 30th- Seattle- L, 2-3: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR
July 6th- NYY- L, 8-10: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR
July 15th- TBR- W, 7-3: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR
July 20th- Toronto- L, 1-6: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0 HR
July 26th- Texas- L, 3-5: 7.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR

With the potential that the Sox have (on paper at least), the games when Beckett gives up 4 or less runs should be wins for the Sox. In 6 of the last 7 games, Beckett has given up 4 or less runs, and he’s only won 1 of those games. Even if you took out the games when he gave up 4 runs, there are 3 games when he gave up 3 or less runs and only won 1 of those games. Plus, I don’t want to jinx him, but Beckett hasn’t given up a home run since May 10th.

The Sox need a shake-up, but I don’t know if it’s coming.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Less Than a Week Left Until the Trade Deadline

First, I apologize for taking almost a week off from the blog. It was a packed vacation away, and I had a great time. Even if I had decided to take my laptop with me, I don’t think I would’ve had time to write anything. So, for those who follow daily, please accept my apologies.

Second, I am refusing to write about the catastrophe the weekend series against the Jays was. I had very limited cell phone service where I was staying, but the few times I did check the scores to the games, I was a bit embarrassed to be a Sox fan. When the Sox fell below .500 after Monday’s nights’ game, I think the realization for the rest of the season became clear.

A few of my friends and family members who are Red Sox fans are still holding out hope that the Sox can get it going again. They are currently 4.0 games out of a wild card spot, which seems doable with more than two months left. However, there are 7 teams in front of them for the spot, and only three teams in the AL have a worse record (Seattle, Kansas City, and Minnesota). The Sox are currently tied with the Blue Jays.

Yes, a lot can happen in two months. The Sox could go on an amazing winning streak. Our pitchers can remember how to pitch consistently well. Ortiz can heal quickly and hit .350 for the rest of the year. Ellsbury and Crawford could both start hitting around .300 with a combined 50 bases. I think I’ve already posted all this as wishful thinking.

The truth is, the Sox need to make adjustments to this team. Having players come off the DL isn’t enough anymore. There needs to be some changes, and I don’t know if the Sox are willing to make the changes at this point.

The Sox were said to be in on Dempster, Garza, and Hanley Ramirez at one time or another. Ramirez was just traded to the Dodgers. A deal to send Dempster to the Braves is reportedly in place, though he would have to agree to it. Every team seems to be in on Garza. It was reported that the Sox had a scout to watch Greinke last night, but a pitcher with anxiety issues isn’t what the Sox need right now.

The Sox did end up trading Brent Lillibridge to the Indians for right-hander Jose De La Torre. This return may be decent considering De La Torre is 26 and had a 2.91 ERA with 9.4 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 55 2/3 innings for Cleveland's Double-A and Triple-A affiliates this year. There’s at least potential there.

Supposedly, the Sox are scouting Josh Johnson as well, though I haven’t heard a lot of serious talk regarding the Red Sox and Johnson. It seems like the Rangers and the Angels have the most interest.

Personally, I don’t know if the Red Sox have the pieces to make a huge trade that would send them to the play-offs this year. Their talented young players like Middlebrooks and Lavarnway seemed destined to become permanent fixtures at Fenway. Ciriaco and Nava seem to the be two players most likely to go, but I think they’ve both lost stock in the past week.

With less than a week left before the trade deadline, there will be more rumors flying around about who the Red Sox are willing to deal and attain. How many of these rumors will prove to be true is the real question.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!! (on Thursday)

Here are this week's tweets of the week:

7/13

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Back to work let have a monster finish so we can go to the playoff god bless every one….34

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Back to work!!! 2nd half starts today #getonthatgrind

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Excited to be back in the lineup against the Rays tonight!

7/14

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
I get a kick out of watching people walk in airports. Fast, slow, nevous, cool, and some people got dressed in the dark #badoutfits #gotheeeem

7/15

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Eat a waffle RT @richie_kipp: @middlebrooks what am I supposed to do AFTER I wake?

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
I want to say thank you to all my old rays fans who still root for me even though I play for the #redsox. Y’all are good people.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
As I listen to heavy rain fall on the roof at Tropicana Field, I hope my umbrella enjoyed the afternoon back at the hotel.

7/16

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Woke up feeling really good… iced coffee… music… yep..

Colin Hanks @ColinHanks
Packed for Boston last night & discovered I seemed to have lost a red sox hat I’d had. I’ll just ask @IamCodyRoss if I can borrow his (for those who don’t know, Colin Hanks has been one of my favorite actors for about twelve years)

Nick Punto @Shredderpunto
Let’s keep our fingers crossed @Themikeaviles @IamCodyRoss @adriangon28 @RyanSweeney12 @bflo88 that our big papi will feel better soon!!!

7/18

Chad Finn @GlobeChadFinn
Can’t believe the Marlins’ interest in Carl Crawford is anything more than a chance to add some intrigue to “The Franchise.”

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Took the kids to the aquarium earlier today and daddy and the girls had a blast!! #lovemydolls

David Ortiz @davidortiz
2 week of watching baseball during the season; that’s suck but only god know….. I’ll be back34

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Nice win boys!

7/19

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Can’t make this up once again but on way to golf course this morning and a freaking big bear just chilling in the yard! Pic.twitter.com/JN023VaX

And the best tweet this week:

7/17

Nick Cafardo @nickcafardo
Darnell McDonald had to cut his dreads for what, a little over a week? He was DfA’d by the Yanks.