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Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's Feeling a Little Like 2010

The Red Sox have a lot of players currently on the disabled list:

Carl Crawford (OF): 60-day DL, expected back possibly July (Ulnar collateral ligament sprain in left elbow)
Jacoby Ellsbury (OF): 60-day DL, expected back possibly early July (right shoulder)
Andrew Bailey (P): 60-day DL, expected back late July/early August (right thumb)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (P): 60-day DL, expected back late June (Tommy John surgery)
Aaron Cook (P): 15-day DL, expected back possibly June (left knee laceration)
Chris Carpenter (P): 60-day DL, expected back possibly June (bone spur in right elbow)
Ryan Kalish (OF): 60-day DL, expected back possibly June (left shoulder surgery)
Bobby Jenks (remember him?)(P): 60-day DL, expected back possibly after All-Star Break (recovering from back surgery)
John Lackey (wish we could forget him) (P):out for season (Tommy John surgery)
Darnell McDonald (OF): 15-day DL, expected back possibly today (right oblique strain)
Cody Ross (OF): 15-day DL, expected back possibly June (small left foot fracture)
Jason Repko (OF): 15-day DL, expected date unknown (left shoulder separation, knee)

Plus Dustin Pedroia (thumb injury) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (illness) are day-to-day. Those are just the players on the 40-man roster!

Despite that, they are still finding ways to win ballgames. Last night’s game featured the following line-up:

Daniel Nava- LF
Mike Aviles- SS
Adrian Gonzalez- RF
David Ortiz- DH
Kevin Youkilis- 1B
Will Middlebrooks- 3B
Marlon Byrd- CF
Kelly Shoppach- C
Nick Punto- 2B

Ideally, the line-up would look more like this (by position only, not batting order):

Carl Crawford- LF
Mike Aviles- SS
Cody Ross/ Ryan Sweeney- RF
David Ortiz- DH
Adrian Gonzalez- 1B
Kevin Youkilis- 3B
Jacoby Ellsbury-CF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia- C
Dustin Pedroia- 2B

With all the injuries this season, it’s reminding me a lot of 2010. In 2010, the Red Sox had the following players on the disabled list, followed by the amount of time they missed:

Daisuke Matsuzaka (P): 4/4-5/1 (neck strain), 6/8- 6/24 (right forearm strain)
Boof Bonser (P): 4/4-6/7 (right groin strain)
Jed Lowrie (SS): 4/4-7/21 (mononucleosis)
Junichi Tazawa (P): 4/4-end of season (right elbow ligament sprain- Tommy John surgery)
Jacoby Ellsbury (OF): 4/12- 5/22 (left chest contusion), 5/25- 6/4 (left chest contusion), 8/14-end of season (rib injury)
Mike Cameron (OF): 4/20-5/24 (groin sports hernia), 7/31-end of season (abdominal muscle strain)
Josh Beckett (P): 5/19-7/23 (back injury)
Manny Delcarmen (P): 6/8-6/24 (right forearm strain)
Jeremy Hermida (OF): 6/10-7/22 (ribs fracture)
Mike Lowell (3B): 6/23-8/3 (right hip strain)
Dustin Pedroia (2B): 6/26-8/17 (left foot broken), 8/19-end of season (left foot broken)
Clay Buchholz (P): 6/27-7/21 (left hamstring strain)
Victor Martinez (C): 6/28-7/26 (left thumb bone fracture)
Jason Varitek (C): 7/2-9/6 (left foot broken)
Kevin Youkilis (1B): 8/3-end of season (right thumb adductor muscle tear)
Hideki Okajima (P): 8/6-8/28 (right hamstring strain)
Kevin Cash (C): 8/9-8/24 (left hamstring strain)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C): 8/16-9/1 (right leg infection)
Eric Patterson (OF): 8/17-9/1 (neck strain)

Just wanted to point out the similarities between 2010 and 2012 so far. In 2010, the Red Sox had a 29-23 record as of May 30th. Today, the Red Sox have a 26-24 record. The 2010 Sox finished the season at 89-73 and played competitively throughout the season.
In my opinion, Terry Francona deserved the AL Manager of the Year Award that year because of his players performing despite the injuries.

I’m hoping the recent rash of injuries for the Red Sox is short-lived, our players get healthy and return to playing great baseball. With that said, I’m also enjoying watching players like Daniel Nava and Will Middlebrooks. Let’s hope for a Tiger’s sweep tonight!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pedroia's Injury

 As any even casual Red Sox fan knows right now, Dustin Pedroia has a thumb injury and not playing in games. He was taken out of Monday’s game after making a diving play, but it was later learned he’s been having discomfort in his thumb for about three weeks and aggravated the injury in the at-bat prior to making the play. Pedroia sat out Tuesday’s game, and fans anxiously waited to hear word on whether or not the un- official captain of the Red Sox would be spending time on the disabled list.

After last night’s game, Pedroia revealed he had a torn abductor muscle in his thumb and is trying to avoid the disabled list. Pedroia is quoted in The Boston Globe as saying:

The swelling in my thumb has gone down. The bruising has gone down so we’re just waiting to see if I could play… Yeah, I’m optimistic. We’re still talking about it and if the swelling and stuff goes down, I won’t miss that much time.

I don’t know I’m not a doctor. I just want to be here for the guys. If I can protect it when I hit, we’ll be all right. Hopefully, I heal quick and I can get back out there and soon as I can. My ligaments and tendons are fine. It’s the only muscle in the thumb. I have to wait for it to calm down and see if I can hit with a splint or a brace or something. And we’ll go on from there.

I don’t have to show them anything. I’ve played with injuries before. It comes down to me being able to swing with a brace on. I’ll get something made and see how it feels. If I can’t do it, it’s three or four weeks, so hopefully it’s not that.

I guess if Pedroia says he’s okay, we as fans are supposed to believe him. However, I keep thinking back to 2010, when Pedroia had his broken foot and kept pushing himself to come back sooner. That ended with him missing most of the season on the disabled list, foot surgery, and a screw put into his foot to hold the bone together.

So because of 2010, I decided to do a little research on Pedroia’s torn abductor muscle and what exactly that entails (since so many reports about Pedroia’s injury are bypassing what the injury actually is). So, here’s my research:

According to, an abductor muscle is “Any muscle used to pull a body part away from the midline of the body. For example, the abductor muscles of the legs spread the legs away from the midline and away from one another.” So, to have tear in this muscle would prevent someone from pulling their thumb away from their hand, which is essential for gripping a baseball or a bat.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find much help on the internet for what to do with a torn abductor muscle in the thumb (lots of stuff on adductor muscle in the hip though), which is probably why the reports on Pedroia’s injury haven’t included this. But, unlike myself, these reporters are being paid to get to the bottom of the story, can contact the Red Sox medical staff, and ask questions to Pedroia himself. I, on the other hand, can not.

But, I can give an account of my own experience with a thumb injury. Be forewarned, I did not have the same injury, but I did have a thumb injury. In high school, I severely sprained my thumb (I won’t get into how I did it because it is kind of embarrassing). My thumb immediately turned purple and was hard to move. I thought it was broken.

The thumb wasn’t broken, but instead it was severely sprained. It was so severely sprained that I had to wear a cast for a week, so I wouldn’t move it. This wasn’t the sort of thing that I wanted considering I was working as a secretary at my grandfather and uncle’s insurance business at the time, had schoolwork to do, and had surgery on the same hand only a few months prior (my math teacher made me take a test even though I couldn’t write with my right hand… then took off points because she couldn’t read my work).

But, it was only a week, and I made it through. My thumb was basically as good as new after the cast came off. It was still a little sore, but it was mostly from not being moved for a week.

Even though this isn’t the same thing, maybe the Red Sox medical staff, who I admitdo make my question their decisions sometimes, know what they’re talking about with Pedroia. Pedroia wants to play, and if his injury is something he can play through, then maybe we should just let him. I wouldn’t be that upset if Pedroia landed on the DL because a healthy Pedroia is always best, but Pedroia knows his limits… well, hopefully.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Will Tonight Be The Night The Red Sox Finally Get Over .500?

My guess is no. The Red Sox have had five chances this season to get above .500. They have yet to accomplish that. Tonight, the pitching match-up is Verlander v. Bard. No offense to Bard, but I don’t see the Sox winning this. I don’t think this is going to be a lucky number six sort of thing.

Maybe I’m just overly negative with this team who has been playing very well recently. Players like Daniel Nava, Will Middlebrooks, Felix Doubront, and Scott Atchison have really stepped up this season. But this Red Sox team, even with the players on the roster right now, should be over .500.

Sunday’s game was a heartbreaker, probably the toughest lost for the Red Sox (and fans) this season, even more so than the Yankees’ game debacle. The Sox had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the 9th, and Aceves gave up a two-run home run. Game over. Rays took the series.

Yesterday’s game was both a lucky and deserved win for the Red Sox. Lucky in the fact that a blown third-strike call in the second inning by the home plate umpire became a rally inning for the Red Sox (google Jim Leyland’s reaction’s reaction to the call… very interesting). It was also a deserved win because Felix Doubront, who is the rotation’s best season thus far, pitched a heck of a game, only giving up 2 earned runs (the other 2 runs in the 7-4 win were given up by Aceves, again a two-run home run in the 9th).

But tonight, the Red Sox have Bard, who has been pretty touch-and-go this season, against Justin Verlander, reigning Cy Young and MVP winner. Verlander is one of the best, if not the best, pitcher in the American League. So far this season, he appears to be doing better than last year. His ERA 10 games is 2.15, and his WHIP is .810, which leads the American League. Last year, his ERA was 2.40 and his WHIP was .920.

My predication is the Tigers win 5-2 tonight. Bard will hang in there for six innings, while the score is 2-2. In the seventh, Bard will give up a home run, and Valentine will yank him. Franklin Morales will relieve Bard and give up another two runs. The Sox, however, will win the next two games against the Tigers, and finally be over .500 on May 31st.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Yesterday was hot in Iowa; we even broke a record high (officially it was 94 degrees, but my vehicle registered 96 degrees at 6:30 PM).  My parents have a pool at their house, so I'm pretty much in or near the pool on the weekends all summer long.  On occassion, my mom's brother and his family will come over on Sundays as well.  That's what happened yesterday.

I had hooked up a pair of old computer speakers to my iPhone and was listened to the WEEI feed from the game.  My uncle asked what I was listening, and I told him.  He knew that we've hooked up the laptop to the speakers in the past, so he shouldn't have been that surprised that we would have the game going outside but he was suprised.  He simply shook his head slightly.

Something you need to understand about my uncle is he's notorious for giving other people crap about anything, especially sports, but he doesn't really follow sports, except for the Lakers.  Last year when the Red Sox lost game 162 and missed the play-offs, there was a message on my answering machine from him, but I simply ignored it.  When the Celtics beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals a few years back, our family made sure to leave him a message on his voicemail.  Another thing to know about my uncle is he's pretty much a front-runner when he watches sports, except for the Iowa Hawkeyes (football only) and again the Lakers... or so I thought. 

My dad said something to uncle about the Celtics still playing basketball and the Lakers being out, and my uncle said he was going for the Thunder.  My uncle did say he hoped the Celtics beat the Heat though (which sort of surprised me since they are considered the favorite to win the Finals but then I remembered... Bosh is out.  Thus, the Thunder must be the new favorites). 

My uncle then started to talk baseball again.  He said he hoped the Rangers won the World Series this year.  Since the Rangers have been to the World Series the past two seasons, this didn't surprise me in the least bit.  My cousin, who's ten I think, started saying how much he likes the Rangers.  Then he started to say he liked the Rays and hoped that the Red Sox lost the game.  My dad asked my cousin to name someone on the Rays (playfully, not maliciously since this was a ten-year-old afterall); and of course, my cousin couldn't.  I wonder if he could name someone on the Rangers?

As the afternoon went on, the conversation went away from sports (basically because my family was tired of talking about them), but it eventually came back.  My uncle brought up Josh Hamilton and how great he thought he was.  I agreed and said that I thought he was a great player.  My uncle said something to the effect of how many home runs Hamilton had (I think he said 18 or 19), and I politely corrected him and told him it was 20 and he got there by a walk-off the night before.  I also told my uncle how my brother hoped the Sox would sign Hamilton this coming off-season to plaright-field, but how I didn't think they would because the team appears to be trying to get younger.

That's when the discussion turned to baseball team's and their markets.  My uncle tried telling me Texas was a small market team.  I told him that Texas was mid-market.  He said that Tampa Bay is mid-market, and I told him their payroll is something like $42 million (I'm wrong there, they're spending more this season at $63.2 million, which is still the 6th least amoung.  2011 it was $42 million however).  My uncle argued teams like Texas and Seattle were mid-market and Tampa Bay was large-market.  He said it went by the size of the city and how many people were in the city.

At that point, I was tired of my uncle acting like he was right, so I proved him wrong.  I explained to him in baseball, the size of the market went by how much money the team had to spend.  Teams like Seattle and Texas were mid-market because their payrolls were in the middle.  Teams like Tampa Bay and Kansas City were small-market because their payrolls were towards the bottom of the scale.  Teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, and Angels were large-market because they had the highest payrolls.  Again, my uncle disagreed and said their was too much temptation in Tampa Bay and thus it was large-market.

My parents told my uncle that he shouldn't argue with my about sports, especially baseball.  My uncle seriously just rolled his eyes.  My mom pointed out that I was very knowledgeable about sports and even had a Red Sox blog (shout out from my mom to the blog!).  My uncle then wanted to quiz me on golf, and I informed him I didn't like golf but hoped Zach Johnson won yesterday. 

It was about this time that I went inside (I was starting to burn), and I started to watch ESPN with my uncle.  My uncle came in a few minutes later and asked who won Indy.  My brother told him Franchitti, and somehow we started talking about NASCAR.  I told my uncle that Franchitti used to race for NASCAR, and my uncle told me I was wrong.  I was angry now so I told him to wait a minute and I would bring up my computer and google it.  My brother beat me to it, as he had googled it on his phone, and told my uncle that Franchitti raced in NASCAR in 2007.  My uncle then turned to me and asked how I knew that.  I told him that my dad and I bet on the races every week (my driver's finished 1, 2, and 3 last night!).  I also told my uncle that following sports is what I do everyday.  I think it was finally starting to sink in to him.

My relatives left shortly afterwards; and when my parents came inside, my mom informed me that my uncle told them how impressed he was at my knowledge in sports.  I simply told her that my uncle should know better than to argue with my about sports.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

Here are the tweets of the week:

Joseph Sites @SitesJoseph
@Themikeaviles my 8 y/o David plays LL and said to the other coach, better tell em to backup, bout to give my mike Aviles impression. RT plz (Retweeted by Mike Aviles) I don’t usually post re-tweets, but I thought this one was good.

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Gloomy day out but a great to win a series! #wholikestheidea

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
#WakeAndRake !!!!!!!!!!
@Themikeaviles @MacDime54 @davidortiz @IamCodyRoss @RyanSweeney12

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Starbucks and ‘Springsteen’ by Eric Church. What a start to the day.

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Trying to decide if i should go pick Manny Ramirez up for lunch in Round Rock, TX?  Who pays for lunch? Maybe I shave his head? #tiredhair

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Nick Johnson and Scott Podsednik have hits today. #tweetsfrom2006

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Despite Ortiz’s recent 0 for 9, I have nothing but respect for him, his leadership and his carefully shaven beard.

Jon Lester @JLester31
Great team win today! Looking forward to coming home. #NVRQT

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Big win by the boys!! Great road trip, now some relaxing and family time for the next day and a half!!! #happyflight #gosox

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
“Someone just knocked on our bus, it’s mr. Mo (momentum).” woooooooo –Dustin Pedroia

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Bullpen came up huge today. #keepitrollin @RedSox #wokeNraked

Daniel Nava @dnav33
Huge catch by Lin today!!! #clutch

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Its an Off day…And I think I’m busier than my On days.

And my favorite of the week…

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Funny line from Adrian Gonzalez: “I’m a defensive specialist. It’s not like I can hit.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Off Day... Slow News Day

I apologize for a very brief post today. It’s an off day, and there hasn’t been really anything noteworthy with the Red Sox today. I’m also helping my folks with a garage sale for tomorrow, so this is about all I have time for today. Sorry! Tomorrow, I’ll have my weekly “Twitter-Mania Friday” post, but I’m not sure how much more I’ll get done.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Random Thoughts

* The Sox won today 6-5, taking 2 of 3 from the first-place Orioles.

* For the 8-gam road trip, the Red Sox were 5-3, losing one game a piece to the Rays, Phillies, and Orioles. Not too shabby.

* The Sox are at .500 again and have won 10 of 13.

* Bard wasn’t horrible today; his line: 5.1IP, 5H, 2R, 4BB, 2SO, 1HR. He has to watch the walks. I didn’t get to watch the game live due to being at work today, but I was following it on Gameday. I could be mistaken, but I believe he walked like 3 batters in a row with only throwing 3 strikes in that span.

* Scott Podsednik, who has been in the minors since 2010, hit a home run in the 8th inning. He was 2 for 3 for the day. Incredible!

* Nava and Shoppach also hit home runs today… must have been the day for the unlikely players to rake.

* Youkilis was 2 for 3 today, bringing his average to .243. I’ve heard reports that the Red Sox are showcasing him as trade bait (thus, showing his versatility by putting him at first base), but could Youkilis be out to prove to the Red Sox that he’s more valuable on the team than in a trade?

* I do not like the fact that Valentine is putting Gonzalez in right field to play in non-interleague games. I understand that Gonzalez went to Valentine and said he would play right field, but you don’t put a gold glove winning first baseman in right field. Not a fan.

* The Red Sox’s outfield today consisted of: Daniel Nava in left, Scott Podsednik in center, and Gonzalez in right. Che-Hsuan Lin took over for Gonzaelz in right (A-Gon went to first base) in the 7th. Who would’ve thought at the beginning of the season that this is what our outfield would consist of in May? Crawford, Ellsbury, Ross, Sweeney (7-day), McDonald, and Kalish are all on the DL. Feels a bit like 2010, doesn’t it?

* Speaking of DL-bound outfielders- Darnell McDonald took batting practice on the field today.

* Andrew Bailey has started throwing in Florida.

* Carl Crawford could start swinging a bat this weekend.

* Ryan Kalish is playing in extended Spring Training games, but it still a long ways from being MLB

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is Something Wrong With Clay Buchholz?

Sunday, I had a quick conversation with my grandfather about the Red Sox.  In that conversation, he asked me if something was physically wrong with Clay Buchholz.  He said that he's noticed how skinny he was and how his eyes seem to be sunken in.  I had noticed this before, but I chose to ignore it.

Why?  Well, to explain this I need to reveal something about myself, which is not exactly what I want to do on a Red Sox blog, but it's related.  I've always been rather thin, and complete strangers have come up to me and asked if I was anorexic (can't make this stuff up).  I've always had a healthy appetite, and my metabolism eventually caught up with me.  I'm still pretty thin, but I'm healthy.

Buchholz doesn't look healthy.  I remember during the Red Sox's episode of "30 Clubs in 30 Days," when Ortiz pointed to a fake skeleton and joked that it was Buchholz.  It was good for a laugh at the time, but maybe there's something else going on there. 

Above is a picture of Buchholz when he threw his no-hitter in 2007.  He still looks thin, but he looks different.  Again, it could just be he's happy in the picture in 2007 and not so happy in the picture at the top in 2012, but something is going on with him.  Something doesn't seem right.

Five years have passed since Buchholz threw his no-hitter.  Most people gain weight in five years (I know I have); some players (Beckett last year) gain weight in a year.  I don't know if something is wrong with Buchholz, but maybe gaining a few pounds would do Buchholz some good.  At the very least, it would get people to stop talking about him like I am (I apologize for it... just concerned).

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Nice Weekend Series Against the Phillies

I have to admit, I was a little worried about the Red Sox heading into Philadelphia to play the Phillies. The Red Sox had been playing great baseball up to Friday, and I didn’t want them to lose their momentum. Even though the Sox were still in last place, they were playing the Phillies, a last place team with a better record than the Sox. Plus, the Red Sox would lose their DH and have to face their former teammate, closer Jonathan Papelbon.

Looking back, I think the Red Sox played great, for the most part. Yes, Friday night’s game was a little dicey. Bard gave up 4 runs in the first inning, five overall in five innings. He also hit two batters and his own catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia who ended up needing twelve stitches near his ear. I always thought it was never good to have blood coming from the ear, but maybe it was good for Salty (he played both Saturday and Sunday going 4 for 8 with two home runs, a double, and four RBIs).

The Red Sox ended up losing Friday night’s game 6-4, and Papelbon got the save for the Phillies. While this game ended in a loss, it showed that the Red Sox still had some heart. Aviles, Ross, and Gonzalez all hit home runs, all single shots. Nava had the other RBI on a sac fly. Ross took a foul ball off his foot, and he’s been out since, though he is hoping to play today (Monday).

Probably the most entertaining aspect in the game happened in the 9th inning when Bobby Valentine was ejected arguing a close play at first base, something I’m sure everyone has been waiting for all season. It was interesting because the umpire “spit” his gum at Valentine (or rather, it flew out of his mouth and hit Valentine). Valentine raised his finger at the umpire, letting him know he didn’t appreciate it.

My question is does the umpire get penalized, by fine or suspension, for his gum hitting a manager? It appeared to be an accident, but what would happen if the roles were reversed? What if Valentine’s gum flew out of his mouth and hit the umpire? I’m sure Valentine would be fined and probably given a suspension of at least a game. This past week, we saw Toronto’s Brett Lawrie get a four-game suspension when he threw his helmet on the ground (in anger, after arguing with the umpire), and the helmet hit the umpire. I highly doubt anything will happen to the umpire though, in this case.

I didn’t get to watch the Saturday game because it was broadcasted on Fox, and we Midwesterners were forced to watch the Chicago series. I did follow the game on the MLB At-Bat and ESPN apps. Lester’s start was a little shaky, 6.0IP, 8H, 4ER, 1BB, 3SO, and 1HR. The relievers; Padilla, Hill, and Aceves, did an okay job, only surrendering one run, but they made it a little too interesting. They gave up a combined 7 hits in 3 innings.

The offense produced Saturday though. Aviles, Middlebrooks, Saltalamacchia, and Ortiz all had home runs. Quick fact, Middlebrooks and Saltalamacchia went back-to-back, and now hold the record for teammates with the longest last names going back-to-back (who comes up with these statistics?). Salty was 3 for 4 on the night with 2 runs. Stranely, no one on the Sox was walked that game.

Sweeney had a spectacular diving catch, which resulted whiplash and concussion-like symptoms. He’s hoping to play today (Monday). Gonzalez started in right field and Ortiz at first for this game, and neither committed an error. The Sox had three double- plays in the 7-5 win.

Sunday’s game was great- a great performance by Beckett, a great performance by the offense, and some great defense (including gold-glove candidate for first base, David Ortiz). When a team plays great, great things happen (sorry, will not say “great” as much anymore during this post). The Sox took the series with a 5-1 win.

I’ll start with Beckett, who seems to by silencing his critics pretty effectively. His line for the game: 7.2IP, 7H (4 were infield singles), 1ER, 2BB, 5SO. He carried a shut-out into the eighth inning. He even had a hit, the longest single I’ve probably ever seen in my life. It was inches away from being a home run, and Beckett just stopped at first base (a wise move, considering he was experiencing a little discomfort in his foot).

The offense produced as well, scoring 5 runs in the first three innings. Aviles started it off with a home run in the first (his third consecutive game with a home run), and Salty also had a home run. Aviles (2) and Salty (3) were the only two players with RBIs. Middlebrooks had a double and scored a run, and only Gonzalez and Aviles had more than one hit (2 a piece).

For the second game in a row, Adrian Gonzalez started in right field and Ortiz at first base. Ortiz had some terrific plays, and I couldn’t help by saying that he’ll win a gold glove (jokingly, of course). I don’t know if it was all the weight Ortiz lost in the off- season, but he was looking good at first.

The Red Sox have now won 8 of the past 10 games and are one game back from the Yankees and a game below .500. They take on the first-place Orioles the next three days, and everything could change in that series. The Sox are playing well, and if they continue to play the way they have been, they’ll start to roll, much like they did at this time last year. I’m optimistic that the Sox can carry this on.

* Just a side note, this is my 100th post on the blog. Thank you for reading because let’s face it, if no one was reading, I wouldn’t be posting.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!!!

So, I’m not sure if it was the great weather that’s been going on around the country or the Red Sox’s good playing, but it seemed that the players were in great moods this week.There’s an over abundance of fun tweets from this week, so this post is a little longer than usual. The first part will be from Mother’s Day, since we all need to honor our mothers. There’s a few bunched together regarding Beckett’s start, which I thought was important to post since he was booed in the start before that. The last few will be my personal favorites of the week. Enjoy!

Mother’s Day Tweets:

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Happy mothers day!!!! @Juliefances61

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Happy mother’s day everyone best day of all time…. Nothing like mother’s day enjoy….. One love 34

Sean Casey @TheMayorsOffice
Happy mothers day to all the great mothers out there!! Thanks for all you guys do!

Andrew Bailey @AndrewBailey40
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there especially my mom and my wife!

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Thankful for @CynaraMac and all of the mothers that do what only y’all can do! #blessings #HappyMothersDayToAll

Ryan Westmoreland @RWesty25
Happy Mothers Day to @robinhuzz !! Love u mothah!

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Happy Mother’s day to all mommas out there!

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Happy mothers day to all mothers!! Without good mothers we would all be a bunch of nobody’s! Enjoy ur day, y’all deserve it!

Jose Iglesias @JoseIglesias_SS
Happy Mother’s Day! Feliz dia de las madres!

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Everyday is mothers day but on this day we celebrate it. Thank you to all the moms who do everything for their children. #HappyMothersDay

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there! Hope you enjoy your day!

Kevin Millar @KMillar10
Happy Mothers Day from the Millar Kids! Without our Mommy’s we wouldn’t be here! #momsday

Beckett’s Performance Tweets:

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Great home stand. Carry that momentum on this 8 day road trip!!! #RedSoxNation

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Josh Beckett is a stud. Was lights out. Great team win. Thanks to all the fans that stayed through the rain! #keepitrollin #RedSoxNation

David Ortiz @davidortiz
My boy Beckett was on fire today is great to see him doing his thing…. 34

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Big win boys!! Beckett is the man!! Time to take this act on the road #soxnation

Other Tweets:

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
Literally stranded at Blu sushi in Florida with @CCarp66 due too massive rain… We chased the storm and it ate us.

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Youk’s rehab assignment will be a two month tour of Europe if this keeps up.

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
My babygirl shares the same bday as @JennyDellNESN @TiffanyOrtiz4 and Bobby V #HappyBirthday

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
@IamCodyRoss the NATION is asking for your! #boss

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Great series win, let’s continue the winning ways tomorrow!

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Good morning everybody! Looks like a great day to get Win number 4 in a row! @RedSox #RedSoxNation @davidortiz @Themikeaviles @MacDime54

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Huge win for the @RedSox tonight. @JLester31 is a beast! #keepitrollin

David Ortiz @davidortiz
I want to give a show out to all those who for some reason have family or are fighting cancer..... Do not give up. Stay strong grampa terry34

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Nice ceremony today for a great pitcher but even great man! #49 #RedSox

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Another great win on are way to tampa to give them a lill of something something thanks to the best fans. Go sox..34

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Sick lunch today with the boys @MacDime54 @davidortiz @IamCodyRoss @middlebrooks and twitterless Punto! Time to ball out now #gosox

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Rays play Cotton Eye Joe and show video of an old man dancing. Crowd here loves it, naturally.

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Someone asked me if I’d rather be a pirate or ninja? What would u guys rather be and why? I picked ninja!! #justcurious @stealthmode

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Can some buddy let my boy Papelbon do not make that face if I face him at Philly…34 (I think this is supposed to read “Can somebody let my boy Papelbon know not to make that face if I face him at Philly…34”)

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
Starving… Someone tell @Themikeaviles to hurry up. #HourLongShower

Favorite Tweets from the Week:

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
Guy two rows down has a Red Sox Coco Crisp jersey. May take up a collection in the section to get him something else.

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Did a hard reset on phone and lost most of my contacts last night! Very depressing so if u had my cell # shoot me a text! #Verizongotmeeeee

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Ok I don’t have to choke out the Verizon people just figured out my backup assistant and looks like most are back in phone. #deepbreath

Kevin Miller @KMillar15
Checking my pulse.... Fingers to my neck…. 190 heart rate….That was a serious buzz kill for a while. Didn’t even have Mom and Dad’s #

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
No m&m’s or starburst but we have oh yea protein bars on the plane!! Lmao

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
@Themikeaviles that’s 14g protein #KeepUrChinUp

Will Middlebrooks @middlebrooks
He needs all the protein he can get… #scrawny RT@MacDime54: @Themikeaviles that’s 14g protein #KeepUrChinUp

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
@middlebrooks will works out everyday to look like @MacDime54 @JacobyEllsbury @Themikeaviles…one day you’ll get there #chinup

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Last Night's Game Was Interesting

The Red Sox lost last night to the Rays 2-1, ending their win streak at 5 games. They had 7 hits; Saltalamacchia and Aviles each had two with a double a piece. Nava had the only RBI. When I discuss who did get hits, I have to add who didn’t have hits: Sweeney (leading off), Ortiz, Gonzalez, and Middlebrooks.

Middlebrooks is struggling at the moment, so maybe all the praise he was getting before (including from myself) was a bit premature. He’s currently 6 of his last 32 (.188) with 12 strikeouts. May just be he’s trying too hard, but it could also be he was called up too early. I guess that’s what happens when you’re trying to find bright spots in an otherwise abysmal season.

I’m still not convinced that Buchholz is at 100%; he just doesn’t look comfortable on the mound. Yes, this performance was a great improvement from some of his earlier appearances, especially since he managed to give up only 2 runs in 5 innings. But that’s just it; he only went 5 innings. He never looked comfortable on the mound either, and then you have to factor in the balk.

In the second inning, there were runners on first and third with two outs and Jose Molina at the plate. Molina is hitting .197, by the way. Instead of concentrating on striking out Molina (or getting him to pop out or ground out), Buchholz seemed more concerned with the runners. He bucked his knee trying to make a pickoff attempt and was charged a balk. A run scored. Buchholz also hit a batter (Luke Scott, who “hates” Boston, so not sure if it was “intentional” or not), which also contributes to runners on base.

After his last start, I was convinced that the haircut helped Buchholz; but now, I’m not so sure. Valentine has said that Matsuzaka isn’t ready to pitch in the Majors, so Buchholz needs to step it up. There’s not really anyone left to relieve him as a starter right now. Probably the most interesting and scariest moment of the game happened in the bottom of the eighth inning. Franklin Morales hit Ray’s second baseman Will Rhymes on what appeared to be the elbow. When Rhymes got to first base, he passed out and was coaxed to the ground by the Rays’ first base coach. Rhymes eventually got up and was transmitted off the field by a golf cart. X-rays came back negative, and his passing out was contributed to an “adrenaline rush.”

Just one last tidbit for today. Adrian Gonzalez has guaranteed a home run in tonight’s game. Here’s hoping for that and a win!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let's Keep the Good Times Rolling

The Red Sox won yesterday 5-0 with a remarkable performance by Josh Beckett and an uncharacteristic bunt by David Ortiz. The day started with a great tribute to Tim Wakefield, “Thanks Wake Day.” It was also Beckett’s 32nd birthday. Tim Wakefield was honored during a ceremony before the start of the game. Don Orsillo, of NESN fame, was the master of ceremonies. David Ortiz gave a speech about Wakefield, and former players Mike Timlin and Mike Stanley also were at the ceremony. Wakefield’s family and people who participate in his charity, “Wakefield’s Warriors,”
were also on hand during this.

Wakefield gave a speech after Ortiz, and courtesy of The Boston Globe, here are his words:

I have to thank the Red Sox organization for giving me the best 17 years of my life. I have to thank my teammates, the former ones that I played with. You guys have always had my back and I’ll have yours forever. Thank you for your support. Last but not least the fans, like I said in February, every time I took this mound I gave everything I had and every time I walked off you guys always gave me a standing ovation and I will cherish the memories that we shared together from ’04-’07 and all the 17 years in between. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you guys and thanks for being here today.

It was announced that Doug Mirabelli, who was Wakefield’s personal catcher for years, was trying to get the ceremony but was caught in transit. Then, a Boston police car appeared in Center Field, and Mirabelli emerged. This recreated one of the most memorable moments in recent Red Sox history. Doug Mirabelli was re-acquired by the Red Sox in 2006 to catch Wakefield, and Mirabelli received a police escort so he wouldn’t be late for the game.

I didn’t get to watch the whole game, but I was able to watch a good portion of it. Unfortunately, what I missed seeing was the Wakefield ceremony and Ortiz’s bunt. I’ve been searching on the internet for video of the bunt without any success. I watched “Quick Pitch” on the MLBNetwork, but they didn’t show the bunt either. One of my co-workers said that ESPN showed it, but I’m sure that was a one-time thing for the “World Wide Leader in Sports.” I also searched ESPN’s website without success.

Beckett was the main focus, internally, of the game. He was outstanding! His line for the game: 7IP 4H 0R 0ER 2BB 9SO 0HR. His ERA was lowered to 4.97. I’m not sure if this is the Beckett we’ll continue to see this season (I hope that’s the case), but when Beckett is on, he’s on. It could be his stubbornness or his ability, but he needs to keep pitching this way.

Offensively, Ortiz (bunt single and HR), Saltalamacchia (single and double), and Aviles (2 doubles) all had two hits. Sweeney, Ortiz, Middlebrooks, and Aviles (2) had RBIs. Nava has reached base in every game since being called up. Every player had either an RBI or a run besides Pedroia or Adrian Gonzalez, and we know those two can produce.

The Red Sox play the Rays today and tomorrow before heading to Philadelphia this weekend (to face Papelbon). Tonight’s match-up is Buchholz (who desperately needs another good performance) v. Hellickson (Iowa native). Hopefully, the Red Sox can continue playing as great as they have the past five games.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Random Thoughts

* Jon Lester’s performance last night was great- just what the team needed in “squeeze week.” A complete game with a line of 8H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 6Ks. His ERA stands at a respectable 3.71 for the season, and his WHIP is 1.275.

* Lester also recorded his 900th strikeout last night.

* Dustin Pedroia’s 14-game hitting streak ended last night, but he did score a run off a walk in the first inning.

* Surprise! Daniel Nava is not a one-hit (home run) wonder! Nava recorded his second career, Major League home run last night; his first since his first-game, first-pitch, grand slam in 2010.

* The Red Sox have now won four games in a row (five, according to our local papers since they stated yesterday that the Red Sox swept the Indians). Let’s keep it going, Sox!

* The Red Sox currently rank 1st in the Majors in doubles with 103. Second place is Kansas City with 76. They are second, behind Texas, with 187 RBIs. They are fourth in team batting average with .276.

* On the flip-side, the Red Sox are third from last in team ERA with 4.89, and fourth from last in team WHIP with 1.432.

* Since April 23rd, the Red Sox bullpen leads the Majors with a 1.41 ERA in 76.2 innings.

* Today’s game is being heralded as “Thank Wake Day.” Should be fun to see Tim Wakefield at the game (again).

* Josh Beckett pitches today too. He’ll either be terrific or terrible; there’s really no in- between with him these days. As my mom stated this morning, “Beckett better step it up” after Lester’s performance last night.

* It’s also Beckett’s 32nd birthday….

Monday, May 14, 2012

Keep Him or Trade Him?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about whether or not the Red Sox will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Personally, I think it’s way too early to discuss this since it’s only a month and a half into the season, and things will start to settle in another month or so. If the Red Sox continue to play like they did this weekend, they will be buyers. If they continue to play like they have the past week or so, they will be sellers.

But, in the spirit of debate, I thought I would make my own Keep Him or Trade Him post and give my reasoning behind my thoughts on each player. Feel free to chime in if you want because I do like a good debate.

Jon Lester (P)- Keep Him
Lester’s struggled this season (1-3, 4.29 ERA), but he is the Ace of the pitching staff. Even when he struggles, the fans love him (unlike Beckett). The Red Sox are behind him 100%, and he really seems to take responsibility when he doesn’t pitch well. He’s gotten better the deeper into the season, which is what he typically does. The Sox will definitely keep Lester.

Josh Beckett (P)- Keep Him
Honestly, I don’t know how the Red Sox can trade Beckett; he has 10/5 rights, which means he can veto any trade. He’s signed through 2014 as well, and his contract is too much for most of the teams (signed a 4yr/$68 million contract in 2010). Unless the Red Sox eat most/all the contract, there’s no way their moving him. Besides, Beckett can be effective when his mind is in the game, which is what the Red Sox need at the moment.

Clay Buchholz (P)- Trade Him
I don’t know how much Buchholz is worth on the market, but I think the Red Sox need to trade him. The team has Matsuzaka coming in the next week or so, which means they’ll either need to get rid of a starter, move a starter, or go with a six-man rotation. Surprisingly, Buchholz leads the team with wins (4), but he has a grotesque 8.31 ERA. He hasn’t looked sharp in any of his starts thus far. Buchholz needs to be moved either to the bullpen, Triple-A, or to another team.

Felix Doubront (P)- Keep Him
The Red Sox will keep Doubront because he’s effective and cheap ($484K this year). He’s only 24, and if he keeps pitching like he did on Saturday, he’ll become an important member of the Red Sox pitching staff for years to come. He’s a lefty with a 3-1 record and a 4.46 ERA thus far. Sure, he’ll be worth a lot on the open market, but I think the Sox need to keep him.

Daniel Bard (P)- Keep Him
Bard is becoming one of the efficient pitchers on the Red Sox staff. He’s pitched well as a converted reliever (3-4, 4.30 ERA), and he’s filled in as a reliever once this year. He’s too valuable as a starter and a reliever for the Red Sox to get rid of him. He stays.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (P)- Keep Him
Matsuzaka has not pitched in the Majors this year, though he should be coming to the rotation in the next week or two. He’s on the final year of a 6 year contract. At the moment, he doesn’t have much trade value, and he hasn’t really been that great over the years. Matsuzaka could fill in nicely as a #5 starter for the rest of the season (moving Doubront and Bard up a notch, not that it matters). Besides, he’s owed $10 million this year, which is huge.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)- Keep Him
I’m saying keep Salty simply because Varitek pretty much groomed him last year. The pitching staff is obviously suffering without having Tek behind the plate, but Tek taught Salty. They need to keep Salty. Offensively, Saltalamacchia is hitting .250 with 7 doubles, 5 home runs, and 15 RBIs.

Kelly Shoppach (C)- Trade Him
I’m only thinking that the Red Sox should trade Shoppach so Lavarnway can come up. I’ve enjoyed watching Shoppach play this season, and I think he’s done a great job behind the plate. But, Lavarnway is the future, and it might be time for the future to happen. We’ve already seen a resurgence at third base with Middlebroooks, so maybe it’s time for the catcher position.

Adrian Gonzalez (1B), Dustin Pedroia (2B), David Ortiz (DH)- Keep Him
I combined Gonzalez, Pedroia, and Ortiz because I don’t see even trade talks happening about these three players. Gonzalez is in the first year of his contract, Pedroia is the de facto captain, and Ortiz wants to finish his career with the Red Sox. Besides, these are arguably the three most valuable players on the team. Not happening.

Mike Aviles (SS)- Keep Him
I admit, I was a bit wary after the Sox traded Marco Scutaro in the offseason. I wasn’t ready for Iglesias to take over short (and he’s obviously not ready), and I wasn’t sure what Aviles was capable of. Well, Aviles has filled in nicely at shortstop and taken over lead-off for the majority of the season. He’s currently hitting .261 with five home runs. Iglesias is not ready for the Majors, so the Red Sox need to keep Aviles.

Kevin Youkilis (3B)- Trade Him
It hurts me to put that into words, but it may be time for the Red Sox to depart with Youkilis. Middlebrooks has filled in wonderfully for Youkilis in the past week and a half; and though it’s still early, I can’t see how the Red Sox could put Youkilis back in the line-up with Middlebrooks in the Majors. Youkilis stock is obviously down, but in a package with Buchholz possibly, he would be one of the most obvious trade chips.

Ryan Sweeney (OF)- Keep Him
Sweeney has been one of the great surprises on this Red Sox team so far. He’s hitting .333 with 13 doubles, 1 triple, and 11 RBIs. He’s being paid $1.75 million this year, which is very affordable. I think the Sox need to keep Sweeney around until they either have a legitimate right-fielder (when Kalish re-emerges possibly) or see how he does full-time. He’s only 27, and he’s done pretty well leading off lately too.

Jacoby Ellsbury (OF)- Keep Him
If I had my way, I would try and sign Ellsbury long-term before he becomes a free agent in 2014 (though his agent is Scott Boras, so not sure how that will happen). He’s not a viable trade chip right now because of the injuries. When he’s on the field, Ellsbury is one of the most exciting players on the Red Sox team. He’s not good for a quote (like Pedroia), but after last season, his record-breaking steals season, and the steal of home against the Yankees a few years ago, Ellsbury is that piece of the puzzle that the Red Sox can’t afford to lose.

Carl Crawford (OF)- Keep Him
Crawford won’t be trade for a few reason: he’s on the DL, he had a bad year last year, and he’s owed too much on his contract.

Marlon Byrd (OF)- Trade Him
Byrd’s done well since coming over from the Cubs. He’s hitting .281 with the Red Sox and has been a good defender. However, once Ellsbury and/or Crawford come back, he’s expendable. The Sox will need to make room for the outfielders they have, and Byrd seems to be the odd-man-out.

Cody Ross (OF)- Keep Him
Ross seems to be that spark this season. When he hits a home run, he crushes it (over the Green Monster on a few occasions). He has five home runs this season and 23 RBIs. He has a great personality, and the Red Sox got him fairly cheap (1 yr/ $3 million). Again, once Ellsbury and/or Crawford return, Ross and Sweeney platooning at right, like what was supposed to happen, will make his numbers go up even more. Keep him.

Darnell McDonald (OF)- Trade Him
Darnell McDonald is one of my favorite players to follow on Twitter. He has a great and positive personality. McDonald plays Again, once Ellsbury and/or Crawford return, people need to move. Unfortunately, it may be time to see goodbye to McDonald.

Nick Punto (IF)- Trade Him
Punto is a utility player, but he hasn’t done much. He was something like 0-22 before getting a hit this weekend. He’s hitting .147. I’m not sure how much the Red Sox could get for him, but hopefully an effective arm in the bullpen would be sufficient.

Will Middlebrooks (3B)- Keep Him
The Red Sox will be keeping Will Middlebrooks unless they get desperate. The Red Sox need to get younger as a team, and this is the way they do it. Middlebrooks has been a spark on an otherwise dull team this year, and he seems to carry the team at times. The Red Sox will keep him.

Those are the major players in the Keep Him or Trade Him category, plus a few prospects and relief help. My list would be a little too long and meaningless if I went into all those players, since any of the prospects and relief help would be trade bait. We’ll have to wait and see what Cherington decides to do.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday

It’s been a pretty crappy week, in terms of the Red Sox: Beckett-issues, winning-issues, chemistry-issues, and the loss of their PA announcer. So, to cheer everyone up, please find this week’s tweets about and from the Red Sox.

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Tough couple of games and days but God always gives a new day to get back on track! #seizetheday

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
@16WMBrooks Stay fair!

Will Middlebrooks @16WMBrooks
Hows #redsoxnation doing today? We’re gonna get another win for you tonight!

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Hey guys… Wanted to give you an update. My shoulder is making great progress. Can’t wait to get back out there! #RedSoxNation #redsox

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! Wish we would have won to cap off the day!

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Haha clearly coffee doesn’t help me see the ball “@DrTineye:@ShopHouse10 How many coffees per game? Does it help you see the ball better?”

Pete Abraham @PeteAbe
My source tell me Beckett set fire to the USS Constitution on his way to the course and hung a Texas flag on Paul Revere’s house.

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
Does anyone know when twitter officially started?

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
2006!!!!!!! Wow I am so behind and I was in high school then hahahah… #blowingmymind

Jon Lester @JLester31
Looking forward to formally announcing #NVRQT at 3pm today to support @PCRF_Kids. Stay tuned!

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
Can’t believe my first coffee is at 2 but I guess when you don’t get back from the road trip until 4:30 am. You sleep in

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
New day=new opportunity! Time to change old ways! #Persevere

Ryan Kalish @Ryan_Kalish
Wondering how many times @CCarpo66 has moved from the couch since I have been gone

Peter Gammons @pgammo
“Mothers Day at Hooters” is a unique ad campaign.

The following tweets are regarding the loss of the Red Sox’s PA at Fenway Park, Carl Bean:

David Ortiz @davidortiz
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Carl Beane. Stepping up to the plate at Fenway won’t be the same. #VoiceOfFenway

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Sad to hear about the death of Carl Beane Thoughts and prayers for him and his family #RedSox

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Carl Bean R.I.P. my friend. A true gentleman and hard woeker (worker) who loved his job! His voice will be missed in Sox Nation and around the league

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Carl Beane. He will forever be missed by #RedSoxNation

Red Sox @RedSox
Yesterday we lost our friend and voice, Carl Beane. Tonight the PA mic will be silent in his memory. #VoiceofFenway

Josh Kroeger- Davenport, Iowa Native

Yesterday, in my frustration with the Red Sox calling up Daniel Nava, I started to do a little digging into the farm system. Now, I like Nava, and who can forget his debut grand slam? But, Nava was not what the Red Sox needed. They need pitching and/or a spark. Nava wouldn’t provide either.

So, I went to the information Baseball Reference website; and through a few channels, discovered that Josh Kroeger, who is on Pawtucket’s team, was born in Davenport, Iowa. Davenport is where I’m from, if you didn’t know that tidbit. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know this piece of information!

There aren’t too many famous people from Davenport. As far as athletes, Roger Craig (NFL), Michael Nunn (Boxing), and Ricky Davis (NBA) are probably the most famous. Actors Lara Flynn Boyle and Matthew Ashford (actor on soap operas) were also born in Davenport. My great-grandfather, who I’ve mentioned played for the Red Sox, wasn’t even born in Davenport; he was born across the Mississippi River in Rock Island, Illinois.

I tried gathering more information about Kroeger, but I didn’t find too much. He graduated from high school in California, San Diego I believe. I’m not sure how or when he went to California, and I don’t know anyone who knows Kroeger or his family.

And before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am not promoting Josh Kroeger being called up to the Red Sox. In 29 games this year, he’s hitting .239 with 2 home runs and 6 RBIs. He’s not what the Red Sox need at this time; they need a miracle.

But, this blog is about being a Red Sox fan in Iowa, and part of that is finding connections between Iowa and the Red Sox. I have done this with my hometown. If Kroeger ever does make the Red Sox roster (and at this point, who knows with the AAAA players that area appearing on the field), it’ll definitely be cool to think he’s from my hometown.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Red Sox v. Indians

The Red Sox trudge back to Fenway today to play four games against the Cleveland Indians. In doing this, they’ll get to welcome back Justin Masterson, Derek Lowe, and Johnny Damon. I’m hoping that some Fenway Magic happens because being so vested in a team that’s appearing like they don’t care is getting exhausting.

I looked at the pitching match-ups for the next four games, and I think they should be interesting. Here they are below:

Thursday: RHP Derek Lowe (4-1, 2.39 ERA) v. RHP Josh Beckett (2-3, 4.45 ERA)
Friday: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (3-2, 4.04 ERA) v. RHP Clay Buchholz (3-1, 9.09 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Josh Tomlin (1-2, 4.67 ERA) v. LHP Felix Doubront (2-1, 5.29 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Justin Masterson (1-2, 4.89 ERA) v. RHP Daniel Bard (2-4, 4.83 ERA)

The two games I’m looking forward to most (in terms of pitching match-ups anyway) are tonight’s game with Lowe v. Beckett and Sunday’s game with Masterson v. Bard. Essentially, it’s the old Red Sox versus the new(er) Red Sox. It will also be interesting to see what kind of reaction Beckett gets tonight after yesterday’s “bombshell” allegations that he went golfing on his off day (oh, the horror!).

The reception the fans give Johnny Damon will also be interesting. He’s been booed before, but will he be booed again? Personally, I was a huge Damon fan when he was on the team (I have mentioned that before). I bought his book, had his shirt, and even have his autograph ball (well, the family does, not me personally).

When he went to the Yankees, I didn’t hate him or even dislike him. It was like how I feel about Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, or Robinson Cano; I respect them but can’t truly cheer for them. I think when Damon refused a trade from the Tigers to the Red Sox a few years ago he lost a lot more of his fans in Boston. He claimed he didn’t like the atmosphere because the fans had booed him. While I don’t agree with the fans booing him, he was on the Yankees. He jumped ship.

Even though Masterson was only on the Red Sox for a short while (parts of two season), many fans (myself included) were fans of him. He was never great while on the Red Sox, but you could tell he cared. He cared about the fans, and even when he was traded to the Indians for Victor Martinez in 2009, he kept his word to the fans by doing a charity event that was lined up previously. There was also mention that his first trip back to Fenway, his wife baked cookies.

Derek Lowe will probably get some claps, but I don’t see him getting any type of reception like Damon would get. Damon’s reception is going to be loud, no matter which way it goes. I don’t see that with Lowe. He was in the National League for a long time, and some fans probably don’t remember him from the 2004 World Series team (I know, how could they forget?).

Here’s hoping tonight’s game goes better than the last two…. Or really the entire season.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Random Thoughts

* Will Middlebrooks hamstring tightened up during yesterday’s game- in the second inning specifically as he was rounding the bases. But, Valentine kept him in to finish the inning, then substituted Nick Punto to take over third base. If Middlebrooks was hurt, why did Valentine wait until he finished running to sub in for him?

* While I’m talking about Valentine, I have to ask what happened in the eighth inning. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not able to watch the games when the Sox are playing the Royals (they’re considered regional and blacked out, even though Kansas City is 7 hours away). I understand Bard was only in the mid-80s range for pitch count, but why leave him in when his command was obviously down and it was a one-run game? The bullpen’s done well the past few weeks, the pitchers were rested up after Sunday’s game, and the Sox needed to win this game. Valentine doesn’t seem to worry about pitch count too much (see Lester and Beckett’s 120+ pitch games from a week and a half ago), so why leave Bard in?

* Bard had two balks last night- two balks in the same inning for that matter. Because of those balks, the Red Sox lost their lead. The Sox eventually gained it back (only to lose it at the end of the game), but the balks hurt them. I think Bard’s been the Sox’s best starting pitcher this season, but something was definitely off last night.

* Ryan Sweeney needs to play more. He didn’t start last night, and he didn’t start Monday. I understand that Valentine’s trying to match up his players based on which arm the opposing pitcher uses, but it shouldn’t always work like that. Sweeney’s still hitting .360 for the season and is tied with Ortiz with 13 doubles. I’m tired of the politics. I want the best players on the team playing. That’s the end of it.

* Speaking of Sweeney, I was asked if I was going to by a Sweeney shirt this season. I’d like to, but I know he’s one of the first to go for a trade. If Sweeney’s still on the team after the trade deadline, I will more than likely buy the shirt. I was also asked about Middlebrooks. Again, I’m going to wait a bit and see what happens. While I don’t think Middlebrooks will be traded (can’t say the same thing about Youkilis though), I don’t want to buy into the rookie-dream. Middlebroooks might become an elite baseball player of the years, but he’s still young. Now, if Yawkey Way ever has their 30% off sales, like they use to, I might reconsider.

* I think people need to lay off Adrian Gonzalez. There was a lot of fan chatter against him happening on The Boston Globe comment sections. The guy’s still hitting .280 for the season and went 2-3 last night. He’s admitted his swing is a tick off, and he took blame for a game when he struck out in the 9th with the bases loaded. His defense is still impeccable. Just because he’s not in your face and has a lot of quotable saying, doesn’t mean he’s not as invested in the game. He’s a quiet leader, and we, as fans, should embrace that.

* The Red Sox PA announcer at Fenway Park, Carl Beane, was killed in a single car accident today.

* Beckett reportedly played golf on Thursday, an off day for the Red Sox, while having his start skipped on Saturday because of a lat strain. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, Beckett was not on the DL and was playing catch on the field on Friday. He was skipped for precautionary reasons, not because he physically could not pitch. On the other hand, obviously his lat was bothering him while he pitched. Like I said, I’m not sure how I feel about this. It was an off day, and he didn’t have any limitations. Maybe golf was a good way to work through the strain (I don’t play golf nor have every played golf, so I’m not sure on that one). I guess we’ll find out tomorrow
how the golfing affected his pitching.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Good, Not Great, Game

The Red Sox won last night 11-5 against the Kansas City Royals. This ended their nightmare 5-game skid, gave some confidence to a team that seems to be lacking, and rejuvenated a worn down fan-base.

Will Middlebrooks was again the star. He hit a 3-run home run in the 1st inning out past right field, a double to center in the 7th inning, and a two-run home run off the left field foul pole in the 8th inning, combining for 5 RBIs. It’s hard to think that Sunday morning, Middlebrooks had 0 home runs in the Majors. He now has 3. Just for reference, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis have 2.

In his four games in the Majors, Middlebrooks is 8 for 21 (.381) with 3 doubles, 3 home runs, and 9 RBIs. Youkilis, who Middlebrooks is replacing at 3rd base, was 14 for 64 (.219) with 2 double, 2 home runs, and 9 RBIs. Granted, Middlebrooks has only played in four games, but he’s made a big difference in those four games. In fact, his 9 RBIs in his first four games ties an MLB-record.

The rest of the offense also did pretty well; all of the starters had at least one hit. Pedroia went 2 for 3 with a home run, double, 2 RBIs, and 3 walks. (Ryan Sweeney’s cousin caught Pedroia’s home run ball.) Ortiz had another big night, going 3 for 4 with a home run, 1 RBI, and 3 walks- 2 of his walks were intentional. Kelly Shoppach hit a triple. Yes, that is not a mis-type; he hit a triple. So far this year, Kelly Shoppach has his first Major-league steal and triple. Unbelievable!

Doubront didn’t do terrible either. He went into the 7th inning, which was much needed after Sunday’s marathon game. He game up 5 runs, 4 earned, 7 hits, 3 walks, while striking out 2 and giving up 0 home runs. Vincente Padilla came in with one out in the 7th and pitched the rest of the game, not giving up a run.

It’s only one win, but it was a much needed win. It was around this point last year that the Red Sox started to get hot, and I’m hoping it’ll happen this year as well. They are currently 12-16, 6.5 games out of first, and in last place in the AL East.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What Can We Do?

Have you ever watched a friend or family member make a big mistake (or a bunch of smaller ones), and you can’t do anything to help? It doesn’t matter how much talking, strategizing, listening, encouragement, or ice cream (I am a woman after all, ice cream solves a lot surprisingly) we give to that person, nothing seems to work. That person is the one who has to make the decisions about his/her life.

Well, that’s about how it feels with the Red Sox these days. It doesn’t matter what we, the fans, do. It’s ultimately up to the Red Sox players to win games. We can’t play the games for them.

Sure, it’s easy to yell at the television/computer screen every time we see one of the players, or a combination of players, make a mistake. It doesn’t matter how many times you say “Please get a hit. Please strike out this player. Please get a double play,” it doesn’t work.

I’m hoping the Red Sox players get something going. It’s kind of sad that individual players (most notably Adrian Gonzalez and Darnell McDonald lately) seem to be taking the blame. Yes, those two players need to own up to some of the blame (A-Gon striking out to end a game, McDonald going 1-4 yesterday then giving up a 3-run blast to end the game- the latter should not be his fault though), but two players do not make a team.

Collectively, as a team, the Red Sox are starting to look like an old group of players stuck in the glory days. The seem to have a mentality that the fans will keep coming because they have been good in the past. While this might be true for some, it’s really sad that there are front-running fans, and they seem to be flocking away from the Sox.

Now, I don’t encourage fans being front-runners, but the sad truth is these are the fans that really spend the money. They’re the fans that keep buying shirts, hats, and other memorabilia. Ultimately, they’re the ones who keep buying so the Red Sox can afford those hefty salaries.

Other fans, like me, have bought their apparel and such. Yes, we still buy the occasional item, but it’s not a big rush. We wear our old hats and shirts proudly because we have watched this organization for so long.

But, getting back to the topic, the Red Sox players need to start playing more. If they don’t, management is going to kick in to get something going themselves, whether that be through releases, trades, or sending players back to the minors. A shake-up might happen, like in 2004 when Nomar was traded. No one ever thought they would’ve seen Nomar traded, but it happened.

There’s really nothing we, the fans, can do besides sit back and watch the Red Sox. As much as we feel like a part of the game, we’re not the ones playing it. They are. They are the ones that decide their fate.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hitting Rock Bottom Again?

I was at the grocery store semi-early this morning, around nine o'clock.  I was wearing my Nike, Red Sox dri-fit shorts and a Majestic Red Sox shirt (both had very minimal logos and representation on them).  I wasn't thinking too much about my appearance because Sundays are truly my day of rest... meaning, I usually throw on shorts and a t-shirt and piddle-paddle around the house all day.

Anyway, I was in the produce section when a guy approached me.  He looked at me and simply said "The Red Sox are killing me this year."  He was with another guy who was wearing a Patriots jersey (I'm 99% sure there are less Pats fans in Iowa than Red Sox fans).  I shook my head sadly at these two guys and agreed.  We said a few choice things about the Red Sox and the game yesterday (notably losing Cook to the DL) and went on our ways. 

When the Red Sox lost to the Yankees two weeks ago, 15-9, blowing a 9-run lead, Bobby Valentine said the team had hit rock bottom.  They then went on to win 6 games in a row on the road.  However, the troubles seem to be haunting the Red Sox again.  In the 6-game homestand, they lost 5 to the A's and O's.  In fact, they have now lost 5 in a row... and this was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule.

As my brother put it today, the Red Sox need to be shaken up.  Something needs to happen to get the team cracking.  Of course, his proposal wouldn't fly.  He suggested that the Red Sox get beer after the games when they win.  If they win three in a row, they get fried chicken. 

Something needs to happen though.  It's gotten to the point where it's almost painful to watch the games anymore.  Today's game started out painful (Buchholz... again), had some great moments (Middlebrooks game-tying grand slam, some great defensive plays by Pedroia in extras), but it never looked like the team was having fun or enjoying themselves.  They seem to get exciting about good things happening, but they need more.

I don't know if they're still in the adjustment periods with Valentine (who is on my list, let me tell you- he should've kept Miller and Aceves in longer today), they're carrying over from last year's problems, if there's a problem in the clubhouse, or what.  Something needs to happen.  I know I keep repeating that, but the Red Sox need to get going.  We're more than a month into the season.  They need to get going and play like the team everyone knows they can play.

I understand that there's many of the starters on the DL (Crawford, Ellsbury, Youkilis, Bailey), but the Red Sox had a much worse time in 2010 with injuries (Ellsbury, Pedroia, Youkilis, Varitek, Drew).  The 2010 team still played much better than the 2012 team.  They had a sort of intensity and excitement to them.  Even though they came in 3rd in the division, they still made it competitive and won 89 games.  They were second only to the Yankees in runs scored, RBIs, and home runs.

Again, something needs to happen.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Twitter-Mania Friday!

So, as you might have guessed, I’ve decided to have every Friday (or the Fridays I’m able to post, since there will be a few this summer that I won’t have access to a computer because of Vacation) be Twitter-Mania. Like last week’s Twitter-Mania post, I will post my favorite tweets from Red Sox players and tweets about the Red Sox. So, without further delay, here are this week’s “Twitter-Mania!”

David Ortiz @davidortiz
Come play poker with me Wake & Tek go to

Mike Aviles @Themikeaviles
Family days are always fun!!! Whish my oldest was with me too!!! #lovemywifeandkis

Jose Iglesias @JoseIglesias_SS
Got the call to the Majors! Thanks to all for your well wishes. Looking forward to help the #redsox put up more W’s.

Will Middlebrooks @16WMBrooks
Thanks for the support everyone! Today was a dream come true. #RedSoxNation #redsox

Kelly Shoppach @ShopHouse10
May have bit off more than I can chew. Aquarium then Check E Cheese. Whew! Some off day, but when you’re a dad there are no off days. #TRUTH

Jacoby Ellsbury @JacobyEllsbury
Pitchers duel tonight, both pitched great! Nice to come away with the W! #RedSoxNation

Kevin Millar @KMillar15
Mamma just got this snake on our patio! #redneckwoman

Ryan Kalish @Ryan-_Kalish
Growing up is some wild stuff

Adrian Gonzalez @adriangon28
Great to be back in Beantown! Great road trip. Time to carry it to the homestand!!!

Darnell McDonald @MacDime54
Congrats to my boy @16WMBrooks 2 hits in @MLB debut! 2,998 more to go!

Peter Gammons @pgammo
Four of the five AL East closers are disabled—Rivera, Bailey, Farnsworth, Santos

And my favorite tweet of the week:

Chris Carpener (aka the guy the Sox got from the Cubs for Theo) @CCarpo66
Scouting out the next Hungergames site aka 6 mile cypress with @AndrewBailey40 and @Ryan_Kalish…

Could This Be an End to an Era in New York?

While shagging balls during batting practice yesterday, Mariano Rivera tore his ACL in his right knee. He is done for the season and possibly his career. As a Red Sox fan, I was conditioned from an early age to dislike the Yankees with a passion. While I can dislike a team, there are still players on that team I respect. Mariano River is on the top of that list.

Rivera was reportedly going to announce whether or not he would retire at the end of the season around the All-Star break this year. He said that he wanted to give the fans their last chance at seeing him pitch. At the time, I took this as both admirable and cocky; but now, I wish this would’ve happened. I wanted to see Rivera throw his last pitch, go out in glory (even as a Yankee), not end his career with a freak injury.

I know it’s not official that Rivera’s career is over, but it sure appears that way. He’s 42 years old, and there has been speculation in the past that he was going to retire. It seems inevitable that this is the end. On the bright side, in five years, we should be seeing him being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Mariano Rivera truly is a class act. He’s had a long career (this was his 18th season) and all with the same team, a true rarity these days. His career ERA is 2.21, which is the highest among active pitchers, and he has a record 608 career saves. He was an All-Star 12 times and finished among the top-five for Cy Young five times. He had 10 seasons where his ERA was below 2.00 and his WHIP was below 1.00; his career WHIP is .998.

I know this is a Red Sox blog, and Red Sox fans are supposed to “hate” the Yankees. But, I think we all can respect Mariano Rivera (even while remembering game 4 of the 2004 ALCS). If he has it in him, I would love to see Rivera make a comeback next year.

UPDATE:  Rivera is vowing to come back.  He tweeted: Thank you fans, friends and family for your prayers, well wishes and support.  I will be ok.  I will be back.
If not, he truly was one of the best pitchers I will ever see in my life.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Peak into the Future

Will Middlebrooks made his Major League debut last night, filling in for DL-bound Kevin Youkilis. While his debut may not have been the most exciting for a Red Sox rookie in recent memory (Daniel Nava’s grand slam, anyone?), it was a boost for the Red Sox as a whole. Middlebrooks went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, and a steal. Not to shabby.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Red Sox bringing up Middlebrooks this season, especially with Youkilis struggling so much. In 24 games with Pawtucket this season, Middlebrooks hit .333 with a .380 OBP and .677 SLG. He had 9 home runs, 1 Triple, 3 Doubles, drove in 27 runs, and walked 7 times. He was successively in 3 out of 4 stolen base attempts. With numbers like those, it’s a wonder why the Red Sox called up Jose Iglesias a game before Middlebrooks (Middlebrooks reportedly had a “minor” thumb injury).

With the arrival of Middlebrooks, there’s been some speculation that Youkilis will be traded this season. The Red Sox hold a $13 million team option or a $1 million buyout on Youkilis’ contract for 2013. I’ve heard most predictions, if Youkilis is traded, is for Youk to be traded to the Reds (for Arroyo, is what my brother predicted).

Personally, I don’t think Youkilis will be traded. Besides the fact that Youk is Boston Royalty (he recently married Tom Brady’s sister), I don’t think an agreement could be made for Youkilis. He’s had a few injury-ridden seasons in a row, and he started off slow this year. He hasn’t played more than 136 games since 2008. And before that, the most games Youkilis played in a season is 147, in 2006.

I like Youkilis; I honestly do. I think he’s got a fight in him that the Red Sox need, but I also think that it may be time to pass the reigns on to someone younger, like Middlebrooks. Granted, Middlebrooks has a lot to prove, and he’s not going to do that in one game (though some comments I’ve read on The Boston Globe’s website seem to think that he’s already done that). If anything, I think Middlebrooks should remain on the Major League roster this year, play when he can, watch Youkilis, and next year, if he proves himself, third base belongs to Middlebrooks.

It’ll be interesting to see how much time Valentine allows Middlebrooks to play third base while Youkilis is on the DL since Nick Punto is also on the roster and is being paid more. A player’s salary really shouldn’t determine the amount of playing time a player gets; but unfortunately, I think it does (see Ryan Sweeney). So, we’ll have to wait and see how much time Middlebrooks plays while he’s up and how well he does.

A few other tidbits:

* Speaking of Ryan Sweeney, he leads the Majors in Doubles with 12. Ortiz is second with 11. Last year, Sweeney’s season total for Doubles was 11.

* The Red Sox signed Mark Prior to a minor-league deal. Living in the Midwest in “Cubs Territory,” I’ve heard a lot about Prior over the years. He hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2006, and he’s been with the Rangers and Yankees organizations since then.

* Josh Beckett will be missing his next scheduled start, which is Saturday. The Red Sox are bringing up Aaron Cook to start this game.

* If you watch the NESN broadcast of the games, you may notice that Jerry Remy’s been gone. He is recovering from a sinus infection and will be out for at least the next week. Dennis Eckersley and Peter Gammons are filling in for those games.

* I’m already tired of the Bryce Harper hype. I watched an interview he did with Harold Reynolds, and Harper actually said that baseball players need to be cocky (or something to that effect). I’m sorry, but I can name plenty of players who don’t appear cocky on the field. There’s a difference between cockiness and confidence.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No Love For Reddick?

The Boston Globe has an article today about Josh Reddick feeling he’s getting ragged on by the Red Sox fans at the games. In the article, Reddick said that he felt like he would get a better reception from the fans, since he has played with the Sox for parts of three seasons. However, the fans were giving him the same ragging that they give most every visitor player.

Reddick was traded to the A’s in a package for Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney this offseason. I think it worked out for all (major) parties involved, Reddick, Bailey, and Sweeney. Reddick is now the everyday right-fielder for the A’s and is batting third in the line-up. Sweeney’s been playing great (when he actually plays) baseball in this first month. While Bailey’s been injured this season, I believe the Red Sox still have him under contract for next year as well (will have to double-check that).

Reddick’s stated in the article:

I didn’t get a whole lot of love from the fans. I mean, they’ve been on me pretty good the last two days. I thought I was liked a little bit more than that. But they’ve been ragging me pretty good out there.

I may be a little biased because I’ve always like Reddick. When he would get hot at the plate, he was able to carry the Red Sox, even for just a short time. Granted, in his three years with the Red Sox, Reddick batted .247. I’m not saying that deserved a standing ovation or a great round of applause (which I think Beltre still gets with Red Sox fans, even if he was only on the team for a year). But, a nice gesture would’ve been to applaud him like they would… Nick Punto, maybe.

I follow Reddick on Twitter, and I happened to look at recent Tweets this morning at 4:30 as I waited for the “Severe Thunderstorm” that we had a warning for to roll in (it never did). I noticed that Reddick was re-tweeting a lot of tweets about what people thought of him, all positive. I notice this every once in awhile and usually just pass over them, but there were quite a bit in a row from Reddick(there was even one comment about Reddick’s dad being a baker and him having nice buns. Really, who says that?).

On the other hand, I read some of the comments to this article. A few comments stated that at Reddick’s first at-bat, he did get a nice applause. Is it possible that Reddick feels he should be loved like Pedro Martinez, Nomar, Masterson (he still gets applause, right?)? Or even players like Beltre?

Reddick isn’t even on the same level of “Red Sox hate” as Johnny Damon. Damon does get booed at Fenway Park, and while I’m not sure he deserves all of it, there is a reason. Damon, afterall, went to the Yankees on his own and refused to be traded to the Red Sox from the Tigers because he had been “booed.” I’m sorry, Damon, but you signed with the enemy. Red Sox fans are not going to be happy about that.

Essentially, Reddick was a stop-gap. He filled in for the oft-injured JD Drew, was a holdover for Ryan Kalish, and had a Darnell McDonald-type of role. The right-field outfielder role was never handed to him, nor did he ever “earn” it. I never thought Reddick was in the long-term plans, but I do think he was well-liked. He may have been a bit eccentric (he does own an official WWE belt, after all), but he wasn’t a great player, by any means.

So, I guess I don’t really know where I stand on this issue. If it’s true Reddick was getting the same ragging from the fans as any other player on the A’s, then that’s because he’s on the opposing team. He never played a significant role with the Red Sox, but he was well-liked. If I was at the game, I would applauded for him the first time he was up.
I would not have booed him or told him he sucked or whatever else fans say to get on the opposing team (I’m a fan of baseball), but I probably would not have applauded for him every time he came to the plate. I am a Red Sox fan after all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Goodbye, April

April is now behind us. The Red Sox finished the month at .500, going 11-11, which I think is pretty respectable considering how the month started. However, the Red Sox are still in last place in the division, a half-game back from the Blue Jays and 3 ½ back from the division leading Rays.

Everyone who knows baseball knows that the AL East is considered one of the best, if not the best, divisions in baseball (the top division is typically the NL East). Even just looking at the standings as of today, if the Red Sox were in any other division in the American League, they would not be in last place. In fact, they would be tied for second place in the Central with the White Sox and Tigers (behind the Indians) and in second place in the West, behind only the Rangers.

With that said, I’m glad to see April gone (though I flipped my Red Sox calendar today to be greeted by John Lackey’s picture. Not what I wanted to see). It seems like the Red Sox are starting to hit their stride, much like they did last year. By comparison, the Red Sox went 11-15 in April last year.

There are definitely some things the Red Sox need to work on: like Buchholz pitching (though you can argue that 5 of his earned runs from last night may have been do to Valentine keeping him in too long), Youkilis needs to start hitting more (he has done better lately), the bullpen needs to work out a few more issues (Aceves’ ERA is still over 10, but has come down drastically), among other things.

Hopefully today, we should hear what the Red Sox decided to do with Aaron Cook. He has a May 1st opt-out clause and will surely be swiped up by another team (Yankees?). Ellsbury has been reportedly slowly getting better, but there still is no timeline when he should return. The same can be said with Crawford and Bailey, though Bailey’s looking like around the All-Star Break.

What will this team accomplish with the pieces it has now? What will the team accomplish with the pieces that will hopefully be coming back (Matsuzaka, Crawford, Ellsbury, Bailey)? Let’s hope things just keep getting better for the Red Sox this year.