Can Alex Wilson Stick?


When John Lackey landed on the DL with a right bicep strain, the Red Sox decided to call up reliever Alex Wilson to add some length to the bullpen with Alfredo Aceves moving to the starting rotation. A lot has changed since then, Lackey has returned, Aceves is gone, Daniel Bard and Ryan Lavarnway have both had brief cups of coffee with the team, and Joel Hanrahan hit the DL and since returned. Through all of that Alex Wilson has been there and pitched surprisingly well. In 6 appearances he’s pitched 6 shutout innings allowing just 4 hits and 3 walks and has struck out 4. Now he hasn’t pitched in any high leverage situations, but still numbers he’s still been impressive. Clayton Mortensen whose been in a similar role has not pitched quite as well. In 7 appearances he’s pitched 9.2 innings allowing 6 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks and has struck out 11. So the question is once the team is fully healthy could Alex Wilson still be with the team? Alfredo Aceves is gone leaving an open bullpen spot and he’s out-pitched another pitcher in a similar role, so I believe he has the ability to remain with the team and contribute in an even bigger role than he’s in right now. We’ll find out soon out his fate with Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales both returning soon. I hope that he will survive the return of the two lefties and continue to contribute to the team.

 

Aceves Optioned to AAA


Following the Red Sox 6-5 win over Oakland today there was some shocking news. Alfredo Aceves had been optioned to AAA Pawtucket. He has 72 hours to report, but it sounds as if he doesn’t have intentions of reporting. MLBTR is reporting that within that 72 hour window the Red Sox will try to trade him. During the spring it appeared like there was a market for Aceves, but that has since disappeared following his behavioral issues and his lack of on field production. One team that’s been mentioned is the Los Angeles Angels, because their struggling bullpen, but they’d still likely have reservations about acquiring Aceves. Another team could be the Detroit Tigers, but that’s unlikely. Regardless, a guy with 8.66 ERA in April is hard to move in April. Also his constant issue would deter anyone trading for him.

To replace Aceves the Sox called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway. This comes as a surprise, because first of all everyone expected a pitcher and secondly with David Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, depth at catcher isn’t exactly needed. Lavarnway has gotten off to a fast start in AAA, hitting with a .310/.423/.452 slash line but has just 1 home run and 7 RBI. This will be his third stint in the majors, but his first two weren’t that successful. In 63 big league games he’s hit just .172/.230/.286. Maybe third times a charm for Lavarnway and he finally puts it all together at the big league level. As for why he was called up, there’s only been speculation. I’ve heard that when Lackey’s activated Victorino will head to the DL with his back issues. Lavarnway would become just an extra bat for the time being in that case. Another reason could be that the Sox are dissatisfied with the production of Ross and Saltalamacchia and with the extra roster spot could be just for a brief tryout. It really just baffles me why they chose Lavarnway but I’m sure we’ll find out soon.

Overall, this move proves the Sox are committed to putting together a team of good guys. While the debate between sabermetrics and traditional stats carries on the Sox will use their own formula of chemistry as their secret weapon. Hopefully this whole plan works out and these good guys actually have success.

Aceves Forcing His Way Out?


Alfredo Aceves

Alfredo Aceves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Tonight’s game did not go well at all. Nothing went right from hitting, to pitching, and even fielding. The starter, Alfredo Aceves, made matters worse following the game with his comments. Aceves refused to take accountability for his poor performance on the field. He blamed the weather, the umpires, and even his own teammates for the loss, but not himself. This goes against the “good guy” mantra that the Sox have been trying to buy into, and as long as Aceves is around they’ll never fully achieve that.

 

This isn’t the first time Aceves has caused a stir. Last year his relationship with manager Bobby Valentine was well documented and by the end of the year he and Valentine were no longer on speaking terms, and I doubt they’ll ever speak again. This year he created problems in Spring Training when he and John Farrell had a misunderstanding when Aceves was throwing BP for someone. That blew over quickly, but he found himself in more trouble when he went to go represent Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. During a game between Mexico and Canada a Canadian batter was hit intentionally after Canada tried to run up the score. A brawl ensued and Aceves was right in the middle of it throwing punches. He was eventually restrained by Larry Walker and Walker said that he, “Saw the Devil in [Aceves’] eyes”. Clearly, he’s had his fair share of mishaps due to his character and attitude. This has always caused rumours about whether or not the Sox would keep him.

 

Personally, at this point in the year Aceves is way to valuable to get rid of. The Sox would be able to net a semi-decent return for him, but it wouldn’t be worth what he provides for the Sox on the field. Having him as a swingman (someone who can be used as a starter and a reliever) is much better than a couple if hit or miss reliever prospects. The swingman has become a bit of lost art as many teams decide to use the spot in their bullpen for another quality arm rather than shoving a starter in the pen, but it comes in handy when your starters back tightens up 30 minutes before the game and can’t pitch. The swingman saves you from a dreaded bullpen game and saves your bullpen as well. What makes Aceves so valuable is that he’s also a very good reliever, and not just a long man. With the Sox injury history in recent years I’d feel more comfortable with Alfredo Aceves as a spot starter then Clayton Mortensen. Although I don’t particularly like Aceves as a person he’s too valuable to this team to get rid of.

 

 

Bard Gets the Call


Daniel Bard

Daniel Bard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The bullpen has been heavily taxed the past few days and could use a fresh arm. Enter Daniel Bard. The troubled righty has made his way back to the big league team after knuckleballer Steven Wright was optioned to Pawtucket. This is exciting, because everyone, including myself, has wondered what in the world went wrong with Daniel Bard. First here was the horrific September 2011, then the failed starter experiment, and then the majority of the 2012 season in AAA. He’s spent this year in AA, so it looked like he was never going to return to the Bard of old. Now he’s back though, so maybe there is hope.

 

Personally, I’m excited to see Bard in action. I think he’ll assume the Alex Wilson role, which will presumably be opened when John Lackey is called up on Sunday and Wilson is likely the one to be sent down. So we’ll see Bard in relatively easy situations just to get his feet wet again. Unfortunately for him, he probably won’t stay up here for very long with the impending returns of Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales. There could be hope for him though with Andrew Miller’s issues and Alfredo Aceves’ attitude. I did talk to Providence Journal reporter, Tim Britton, about this and he told me that Bard stay will be short and where he ends up next ( AA or AAA) will be determined by his performance in the majors.

 

Bard Gets the Call


The bullpen has been heavily taxed the past few days and could use a fresh arm. Enter Daniel Bard. The troubled righty has made his way back to the big league team after knuckleballer Steven Wright was optioned to Pawtucket. This is exciting, because everyone, including myself, has wondered what in the world went wrong with Daniel Bard. First here was the horrific September 2011, then the failed starter experiment, and then the majority of the 2012 season in AAA. He’s spent this year in AA, so it looked like he was never going to return to the Bard of old. Now he’s back though, so maybe there is hope.

Personally, I’m excited to see Bard in action. I think he’ll assume the Alex Wilson role, which will presumably be opened when John Lackey is called up on Sunday and Wilson is likely the one to be sent down. So we’ll see Bard in relatively easy situations just to get his feet wet again. Unfortunately for him, he probably won’t stay up here for very long with the impending returns of Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales. There could be hope for him though with Andrew Miller’s issues and Alfredo Aceves’ attitude. I did talk to Providence Journal reporter, Tim Britton, about this and he told me that Bard stay will be short and where he ends up next ( AA or AAA) will be determined by his performance in the majors.

Nava Should Start


Daniel Nava

Daniel Nava (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Tomorrow David Ortiz is expected to be activated and Jackie Bradley Jr. is expected to be optioned to AAA to make room for Papi. That is exactly how the Sox had planned for this to go. Following those two moves Jonny Gomes was supposed to move from the DH role to left field, but there could be a change of plans.

 

Nobody expected Daniel Nava to get off the start that he has. In 10 games he’s batted .324/.429/.618 and I know it’s a small sample size, but it’s all we’ve got so far and why not ride the hot bat? Nava’s also has 3 home runs this year, 2 more than all other Red Sox outfielders combined. He’s also tied for second on the team with 9 RBIs and tide for fifth on the team with 6 runs scored. So, not only is he getting on base and scoring runs, he’s also driving them in.

 

Compare that to Jonny Gomes whose hit just about as well as Jackie Bradley Jr., so not very good. He has taken his fair share of walks, leading the team with nine, and has a higher OBP than Nava with .433. Other than that though Gomes’ bat has been dead. As long as Nava continues to perform at the rate he’s at and Gomes continues to under perform there’s no reason to start Gomes over Nava.

 

Also Nava’s defense in left has been impressive. He may not be a gold glover, but he plays very well in left field. The thing that impresses me the most about Nava’s defense is how quickly he gets the ball back into the infield. He’s turned a few doubles into singles by just playing the ball off the wall quickly and firing the ball back in. He’s like Dustin Pedroia in the outfield, he never stops hustling  always giving a 100%.We’ve only seen Gomes in left for two innings this year, but from I’ve seen from him, which isn’t too much, he’s not quite as quick as Nava. It may be a minimal difference, but if you can hold a couple more guys at first rather than letting them get a double, it could end up saving some critical runs throughout the year.

 

One last thing in regards to Monday’s attack at the Marathon. The One Fund has been started by Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino  to help those affected by the tragic events. If you’d like to donate you can here. Also 47 Brand has new “Boston Strong” hats with all proceeds going to The One Fund.

 

Game 11: Vs. Rays


Buchholz (2-0) v. Cobb (1-0)

 

Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz during an...

Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

After yesterday’s exciting win that I failed to review the Sox had momentum swinging in their favor. Could it carry over into today’s game? Maybe it did, but maybe it didn’t.

 

Clay Buchholz was as good as he’s ever been. He was dominate in every way possible. There really isn’t any other way to sum  up his performance. He had a career high 11 strikeouts and had no hitter going into the eighth. The no hitter was broken up by a broken bat bloop single by Kelly Johnson. He would give up another hit in the inning, a double to Desmond Jennings, but kept the shutout going for all 8 innings he pitched. Andrew Miller would finish off the game with a strong ninth.

On the other side Alex Cobb was very good, but not great. He struggled in the third and didn’t get much help from the defense which lead to a 4 run third for the Sox. Other than that Cobb pitched very well for 6.2 innings giving up 4 runs with only 3 earned. Jamey Wright finished off the game allowing one run in 1.1 innings of work.

In the end the Sox came out on top with a 5-0 win over the Rays for their second straight win. They’ll have the chance to go for their first sweep of the season tomorrow in the early 11:05 Patriot’s Day game. It’s also Jackie Robinson Day so everyone will be wearing number 42 jerseys.

11 games down 151 to go