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 to minors (cbssports.com)
- Red Sox Option Aceves To Triple-A (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Alfredo Aceves Optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, Corresponding Roster Move to Be Made on Thursday (nesn.com)
- Aceves Forcing His Way Out? (thebestsoxblog.mlblogs.com)
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.
Buchholz (2-0) v. Cobb (1-0)
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
Aceves (0-0) v. Tillman (0-0)
In the series finale Aceves was making his first start of the year. It didn’t start off so well for Aceves. He gave up a run in the first, but the Sox were able to respond in the third scoring 2 runs to take their first lead of the night. Aceves had seemingly settled in until the fifth where he gave up a two out single to Adam Jones which scored Manny Machado from second.
After that the bullpens took over for both teams. Clayton Mortensen came in for the Sox and got on a roll. He retired the first 5 batters he faced, but the sixth batter was different. He allowed a 2 out single to Manny Machado. With the lefty Nick Markakis coming up, John Farrell did the logical thing and brought in the lefty Andrew Miller. Miller would end up walking Markakis and that would be all for him. Farrell then turned to Koji Uehara to face Adam Jones. Jones would get another 2 out RBI single to give the O’s the lead. The lead would hold and the Orioles would win 3-2.
It was a dissapointing game. They had a some opportunities that they could have cashed in on, but all they were just beat by good pitching tonight. And when the other teams pitching is on, there isn’t much you can do except pitch better. Unfortunately the Sox were unable to do this and ended up on the losing end of this game.
Player of the Game: Adam Jones 2 for 5, 2 RBIs
9 games down 153 to go
Dempster (0-1) v. Arrieta (0-1)
Today was Ryan Dempster’s first home start in Fenway Park. Unfortunately the weather didn’t want to cooperate much. The game didn’t start off too well. He gave up a single to start the game and miscommunication between Ellsbury and Victorino led to second and third with no outs. Dempster got out of the jam only allowing a run, but it put the team behind nevertheless. He then looked to settle in until the fourth when he gave up a homer to Nick Markakis and Adam Jones scored on a Jackie Bradley Jr. error. Dempster’s day would end after the fifth due to a rain delay.
On the other side Jake Arrieta struggled with his command. His pitches were all over the place, but he was able to get outs with his pitches that did find the strike zone. His first issues arose in the second after he gave up a 2 out walk to Daniel Nava, Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled off the Monster to score Nava from first. The Sox would then strike for 2 more the next inning to take the lead, but that was short lived as the Sox faltered in the fourth as I mentioned earlier. All in all Arrieta walked 4 and gave up 3 runs in 5 innings. His start was also cut short due to the rain.
Coming out of the rain delay, the game was tied and former Oriole, Koji Uehara, took the hill. He delivered a solid 1,2,3 inning. Then Tommy Hunter took over for Arrieta and proceeded to let up back to back homers to Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia giving the Sox a 5-3 lead that would until the ninth.
In the ninth Farrell handed the ball to closer Joel Hanrahan, who was looking for career save 100. He started the ninth the same way he did on Monday, with a home run. I was sitting there thinking, “Is he trying to do his best Papelbon impression and give us all a heart attack every night?” He then got the next two batters out and I relaxed a bit. Then Ryan Flaherty stepped up to the plate looking for his first hit in his 18th at bat. Of course he pokes it through the hole between short and third. Then pinch runner Alexi Casilla stole second and Nolan Reimold walks. Then Nate McLouth stepped in and on a 2-2 count Hanrahan threw a pitch in the same spot that had been called a strike earlier that at bat, and it was called a ball. I was outraged. It was clearly a strike. Then the next pitch could of gone either way, but unfortunately it went in favor of Baltimore. Then phenom Manny Machado comes to the plate bases loaded in a one run game. Then the worst possible thing that could have happened, happened. Wild pitch. Game tied. Now Hanrahan just needs to get us to the bottom of the ninth, but the next pitch is crushed for a 3 run homer to make it an 8-5 game. Andrew Miller came in after and finished the inning. Jim Johnson would come in for the O’s. He has a 1,2,3 inning and the Orioles win.
This was the biggest disappointment thus far, but these games happen, but Hanrahan worries me. I fear this could be a trend and that’s the last thing we want. Hopefully I’m wrong and he’s as dominate as he was in 2011.
Player of the Game: Jarrod Saltalamacchia 3 for 4, 2 RBIs, 2 2B, HR
8 games down 154 to go
Today the Red Sox have made 4 roster moves. John Lackey and Jose Iglesias have been removed from the big league roster and Alex Wilson and Stephen Drew have taken their place. Lackey was put on the DL due to a right bicep strain he suffered in his start against the Blue Jays. Iglesias was sent down to AAA Pawtucket in order to make room for Stephen Drew whose coming off the DL. Both these moves were expected, but some were hoping that neither would.
The most controversial move is sending down Iglesias. I mentioned the pros and cons on the subject the other day.
Stephen Drew is making his Red Sox debut today. I’m excited for him. He’ll be an interesting story line to follow throughout the season. I hope he has more success staying on the field than his brother did and more success in general for that matter.
John Lackey was thought to have a slim chance of staying off the DL, but was put on for precautionary reasons. It’s unfortunate that this has happened after coming all the back from Tommy John surgery and coming into the year, in what appeared to be, the best shape of his life. It’s a sad set of circumstances, but also just the nature of the game.
I was surprised when I heard it was Alex Wilson taking Lackey’s spot on the roster. I wasn’t too familiar with Wilson, but I had heard good things about him, but I had to do some digging myself. Wilson was a starter when he was drafted out of Texas A&M in 2009, but last year he converted to a reliever making 37 relief appearances for AAA Pawtucket, but also made 3 starts. He’s never put up spectacular numbers, but he has been remarkable consistent throughout all levels of the minors. He’s been able to keep an ERA around 3 and a K/9 around 8 even when starting or relieving in all levels of the minors. He did miss the 2008 due to Tommy John surgery, but that doesn’t seem to be a concern. According to Sox Prospects, his ceiling appears to be a 7th inning reliever. I can’t wait to see his debut and hopefully he’ll be successful in what appears to be his short stint here.
- Red Sox’s Lackey to DL; Aceves gets spot (espn.go.com)
- Red Sox place pitcher John Lackey on disabled list; right biceps strain (gantdaily.com)
- Red Sox Place Lackey On DL, Call Up Alex Wilson (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Red Sox activate SS Drew, demote SS Iglesias, place RHP Lackey on DL, call up RHP Wilson (timescolonist.com)
The controversial Fenway sellout streak has ended at 794 games (820 if you count Postseason). It was expected to end in early April and indeed it has. The recent Red Sox struggles have led to lack of interest which led to the end of the sellout streak. The sellout streak had recently caused some controversy due to the fact that there were unsold tickets. That was because a sellout is considered selling the maximum seating capacity which doesn’t account for standing room only tickets. I’m kind of glad the streak is over because it puts all of the years of the Red Sox where they belong, the past. Although those years were great, it’s a new era, the John Farrell era, and I hoping it’ll be equally as great if not greater.
- Red Sox’s Fenway Sellout Streak Ends at 794 Regular-Season Games – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Sox sellout streak done at 794 games (tracking.si.com)
- Boston Red Sox Sellout Streak May End as Industry Leader CheapSeatsTickets Announces President’s Day Discounts (prweb.com)