Tag Archives: Boston Redsox

Red Sox Bandwagon Has Plenty of Open Seats

If September of 2011 didn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth as a Red Sox fan, then you just weren’t paying attention.  I’m sure there were plenty of fair-weathers (the old school term I prefer instead of pink hat) turning on their flat screens on September 30th wondering what the hell channel the Red Sox game was on.  My bet is those are the same fans that jumped off the bandwagon and are currently trashing the team whenever prompted today.  Truth be told I don’t really care if those fans come back.  Sure they may have had something to do with the Red Sox payroll ballooning up over $150 million, but it has been proven time and time again that it doesn’t take that kind of money to have the honor of raising the Commisioner’s Trophy so I am good with the faux-fans disappearing.

As I read content from other blogs and sports websites, there seems to be a great deal of Red Sox bashing going on.  I am not going to sit here and defend what happened in September, but what I will say is this team is still stacked.  I will be doing plenty of roster posts during spring training, but for a quick pragmatic synopsis; the Sox had to replace their closer, number 7 and 8 hitters, and number 4 and 5 starters from opening day last year.  I wouldn’t say that is completely detrimental to what was being touted as possibly the greatest team ever assembled going into last season.

Sure the bandwagon had to stop for gas and everyone had to get out and stretch their legs, however when it came time to get rolling again it seems a large number of folks decided not to continue the voyage.  I’m okay with this, it gives all of us die-hards a little more leg room.

Even the greatest of Red Sox fanatics’ patience was tested  last fall.  Nobody liked what went down, but the fact of the matter is the team as constituted is still very talented.  There are questions with health, the bullpen, and the back end of the rotation, but find me a team in baseball that doesn’t have any of these issues…you can’t.

So sign me up for another 162 game grind.  The AL got stronger in the off-season, so it will be a battle for the Sox, but that doesn’t mean the season is lost.  Hell Vegas has them at 8-1 only behind the Phillies, Yankees, and Angels.

Maybe with the fair-weather Red Sox fan population decreasing I can actually buy a weekend game ticket for a June game without having to go to the secondary ticket market.  Unfortunately they will be crowding up The Cask N’ Flagon again by then if the Sox are in first place.

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Kevin Youkilis Back In The Red Sox Lineup

 

This picture was just tweeted by the Boston Red Sox Twitter account, stating that Kevin Youkilis will back in the lineup against the Royals tonight.  Youk apparently did not hurt his hammy as badly as most thought.  It did look really bad when he pulled up lame legging out an infield single the other night. Stick to the wall balls Youk.

Great news for the Sox!

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Trade Deadline Looming; What Should The Red Sox Do?

Take a look at the Red Sox active roster today:

Lester

Beckett

Lackey

Miller

Wakefield

Bard

Albers

Paplebon

Wheeler

Aceves

Morales

Williams

 

Varitek

Saltalamacchia

Gonzalez

Pedroia

Scutaro

Youkilis

Crawford

Ellsbury

Sutton

Reddick

Navarro

Mcdonald

Ortiz

Where in that 25 man roster do you see a reasonable, substantial upgrade.

Now remember you have Lowrie (swinging a bat) and more importantly Buchholz (Just threw 30 pitches of a mound but did feel soreness afterwards) coming off the DL.  With Reddick as hot as he is, he is not coming out of the lineup.  Unless the Sox can make a blockbuster for a guy to play right field for the remainder of this season and years to come I do not see anything terribly exciting on the horizon. 

Carlos Beltran is really the only premier outfielder on the market.  Reports say that no one is biting on the Mets high demands for what is said to be at least two if not three top tier prospects.  All things are pointing to him entering free agency in the off season so he is just a rental without any compensation picks, which explains the lack of desire from teams that could use him, but do not want to pay that price.

 Here is the list of guys that may be on the move at the end of July:

Player Team
Brad Ziegler  Athletics
Andrew Bailey Athletics
Derek Lowe  Braves
Aramis Ramirez  Cubs
Carlos Pena  Cubs
Kerry Wood  Cubs
Geovany Soto  Cubs
Hiroki Kuroda  Dodgers
Ricky Nolasco Marlins
 Leo Nunez  Marlins
Jason Isringhausen  Mets
Carlos Beltran  Mets
Ryan Ludwick  Padres
Heath Bell  Padres
Ubaldo Jimenez  Rockies
Wilson Betemit  Royals
Jeff Francoeur  Royals
Melky Cabrera  Royals

 

As far as the Red Sox are concerned, I would think they are looking at middle relief and utility/back-up players.   

That is of course if they are content with Reddick’s play.  Theo has been tentative in saying that he is ready to call Reddick his everyday starter.  That position is understandable since this is the best Reddick has played in his professional career at any level.

Some Sox fans may covet a right handed bat like Cabrera(switch hitter), Francoeur, or Ludwick.  All three of those guys would certainly be capable defensively in right field and offer some pop from the right side.  The big question with those guys would be how much do they cost and then how much do they play.

Middle relievers are always available, but the cost can be steep.  And if you ask me I don’t really see any major issues with the Red Sox middle relief.  They are in the middle of the pack for ERA and anyone you bring in here is going to be a crap shoot.  Jenks and Wheeler’s starts to the season, to go along with the performances of Atchinson and Okajima, are large factors that weigh down that ERA.  Of late the boys in the middle have been pretty filthy and, if you go on track record, that should continue.

With Iglesias in the wings for the SS position I really do not see the need for the Red Sox to make a splash.  I know that sounds boring, but you tell me where they have a major need. 1-6 in the lineup at this point are set before the sunrises every day, and 1-4 in the rotation is locked in for the next 3 years. 

I hope Red Sox nation does not have too high of hopes come July 31.  In all reality I would suggest that the Sox will get a bigger name via the waiver period than before the non-waiver deadline.  But, you never know, there is always that possibility that you can get a name off that list at a reasonable price, or someone that has yet to be mentioned.

No matter what happens I like composition of the 25 man right now, especially considering that there are still internal options to get lefties out, fill top of the rotation slots, and field multiple positions more than serviceably. 

It’s hard to improve on a team that has performed at 109 win pace deep into July.

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The Boston Sports List Weighs In On The DH Interleague Play Debate

As we get set for the Red Sox to embark on a 9 game road swing compiled of three, three game sets, vs. the Pirates, Phillies, and Astros lineup composition has become a hot and heavy topic.  The main concern is how do the Sox keep their two biggest boppers in the lineup together?  All of this talk naturally spurs conversation of the merits of interleague play along with debate on the two sets of rules for two leagues competing for the same crown.

I know my opinions on the leagues and the rules fall into the minority for the most part as I am known in my circle of friends as a purist.  Sometimes it seems as though the word purist may as well be murderer, devil worshiper, or heretic, although I think so called purists get a bad rap. But, rather than wax poetic on the ins and outs of national league play and the beautiful asymmetry of the two leagues, I decided to confer with the other listers for their thoughts on the topic.

Cheese immediately responded to the suggestion of banter on the topic with “Disclaimer: I completely despise watching a pitcher bat, especially an al one that only does it a few times a year.”

My response “I don’t think that there are enough good pure hitters that can’t play a position to fill out 30 slots.  If both leagues went to the DH it would become a day off rehab position which I am not sure is any better for the game.”

Cheese: “Yeah, baseball is one of those sports that has so many of the purists left they’ll never get rid of the pitcher batting. I don’t like it. I’d rather see a hitter bat, then a pitcher fumble through the motions.” (Which reflects my second paragraph in this post)

Brophy: “So Tom, you would propose simply abolishing the NL rule? When
would that begin? I hope you’re prepared to watch Matt Stairs and Russell Branyan get 500 Abs”

Size then interjected with some nostalgia: “Funny you mention Branyan Broph.  I remember being in the bleachers years ago with Stanish (a mutual great friend) and he predicted 50 dingers for Branyan in the future.  He was a huge prospect at the time I believe for the Indians.  It was one of his first games in the show maybe even his first.”(It was his 9th)

Cheese: “Would you rather watch Matt Stairs or Mat Latos hit?  He has one hit on the season.  Not only is it embarrassing but it inflates NL pitchers stats. “

Size: “I think the rule should stay the same for intra league play,ALteams use the DH, NL teams hit their pitchers. However, in interleague play I think the DH should be used regardless of what park the game’s being played in.  It doesn’t make sense to me to haveALpitchers up at bat and running the bases as there is a decent chance of injury. I’m not saying they’re incapable of hitting as many were the top athletes on their respective HS, college teams but they are out of practice. When you go years without hitting or taking (batting practice), a few weeks of BP can not get you ready for major league caliber pitching. Its not as if the NL teams lose on this deal either as many have solid hitters on the pine due to the use of the double switch.”

Brophy: “Tom I would rather see Latos up there. You see way fewer head hunting balls in the NL than you do in the ALbecause there is a different
respect garnered. As far as using the DH in inter league play I would have the same argument, howeverAL pitchers are certainly more lame due to lack of reps. Intra league play you generally see 4 pitching ABs combined at most. If pitchers were not hitting you may as well say goodbye to sac bunts and even more intricacies of the game. Not to mention add a double play a game and I am not sure the Ks would decrease that greatly.

DH Stats for 2011

Player
TEAM AB R HR RBI BB SO OBP SLG AVG
M Young TEX 287 29 3 45 19 47 .346 .429 .307
J Damon
TB 277 34 8 33 20 35 .322 .419 .271
V Guerrero
BAL 260 24 6 28 7 31 .316 .400 .288
D Ortiz
BOS 260 47 17 48 34 33 .402 .604 .323
B Abreu
LAA 256 26 2 30 46 52 .399 .379 .289
B Butler
KC 255 32 6 32 43 34 .403 .443 .302
A Dunn
CWS 213 20 7 29 41 89 .319 .329 .178
V Martinez
DET 213 31 6 39 19 23 .373 .498 .324
H Matsui
OAK 207 19 6 29 21 40 .289 .357 .222
J Cust
SEA 182 16 2 19 40 63 .359 .319 .214
J Posada
NYY 179 15 6 21 24 44 .317 .374 .223
T Hafner
CLE 123 18 6 26 15 28 .414 .561 .341
S Duncan
CLE 81 5 2 17 2 22 .247 .370 .222
J Thome
MIN 76 7 4 12 17 20 .372 .447 .237
M Stairs
WSH 42 3 0 0 7 12 .245 .143 .119
E Thames
TOR 42 7 0 4 4 15 .362 .381 .286
R Branyan
LAA 34 1 0 2 3 11 .211 .147 .147
M Carp
SEA 23 0 0 0 4 9 .357 .261 .217
M Ramirez
TB 17 0 0 1 0 4 .059 .059 .059
C Woodward
TOR 4 1 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000

That’s a K per every 5 ABs and this year is an aberration with guys like V Mart,Butler, and Damon who are all very capable fielders.

Cheese: “He’s batting .045. You enjoy having an automatic out every third inning? Changes the way the 7, 8 and top guys bat; changes the dynamic of the game. It’s fucking dumb.”

Elias: “I like Sizemore’s (Size) argument for interleague play.ALpitchers shouldn’t have to hit. Screw the NL. Let them do what they want. Just don’t drag the al down with them.”

Brophy: “Adam Dunn isn’t even hitting his weight and has already struck out 89 times. So he’s an automatic out in the middle third of the lineup, I think that’s fucking dumb. Probably changes the way the 3-4 guys hit in that lineup huh?

While we are at it, we should DH for 75 percent of the catchers in the league because they are black holes too.

I think you are on to something Tom. Maybe we should have expanded rosters and hit for everyone. Have 9 great fielders and 9 great hitters, now that’s an idea.”

Cheese: “HaHa, what a bust Dunn has been with that contract.

And if you’re actually serious (a) you’re an idiot and (b) show me all these DHs batting below .100.  It’s garbage and I don’t want to see it.  I want to see my 9th hitter going toGapCity….60% of the time, every time.

Brophy: “Or maybe pitchers should take some fucking pride in their hitting. Swing the bat once in a while.  Unfortunately it starts in high school and sometimes earlier with taking the bat out of some phenom pitchers’ hands.”

Cheese:  “You could be on to something there. If they were to change the rule so all pitchers bat there’d be more of an emphasis at the Babe Ruth level all
the way up through college / minors.”

It seems that here the BSL it is not so different than the sentiments of the seam-head population out there.  We took this conversation into A-Gone, Ortiz Red Sox lineup stuff which I will post over the weekend.

I am not sure that there is a definitive solution to either of these situations, but there are certainly some interesting opinions being floated.

– Brophy

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Francona Targets Houston For Carl Crawford’s Return

Injuries can kill a baseball team’s season…but if they do not kill the team, they truly will make it stronger.

There are certainly a number of factors involved in this hypothesis.  Obviously it is difficult to survive injuries to the top third of your 25 man roster.  Essentially a team would like to see 145+ games played out of any player in the lineup to be considered a top 8 roster talent, or 150+ games active as a reliever, or 28+ starts for a pitcher.

That being said, my premise is that sporadic DL stints by anyone in the starting lineup, rotation, or bullpen can gain experience or just PT(playing time) for the 24-30 spots on a team’s roster.  These can be crucial innings; see Dave Roberts (2004) or Jacoby Ellsbury (2007).  Guys need to see the field to stay comfortable, and if that means spelling someone with an ailing hammy then that is okay.

That is where Crawford is at.  Crawford tweaked his hammy when he pulled up lame legging out a single  in the first inning last Friday night against the Brew Crew.

Crawford topped out his average at .248 on June 5th after going 8 for 23 on a 6 game home stretch.  I was thinking he had been a great deal better at home than on the road but after looking it up there was not that big of a discrepancy.( BA .252 at home .236 away).

Where he had been going well was in the last 28 days where his batting average was .305 and his OPS was .907. Crawford had cooled off a little bit going 8 for his last 37, before hitting the DL.

The good news is he his rehabbing well and Terry Francona thinks that he might join the team inHoustonwhen he is first eligible to come off the DL.

I think it is good for Reddick, McDonald, and Cameron too.  These guys need innings during the season to stay sharp.  Getting them some ABs in the show could potentially turn in to a stolen base that sets up a game tying run to keep your team alive in the playoffs.  The guy called upon to execute that play is more likely to do so with some reps during the regular season.

There are definitely injuries that would pose a difficult if not impossible hill to climb like Pedroia and Youkilis large parts of 2010.  A Carl Crawford hamstring strain and a Clay Buchholz sore back are good injuries for the depth of the baseball team.

So don’t fret Sox faithful.  The boys are still the hottest team in the game and they are getting stronger by strengthening the back end of the roster.

-Brophy

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