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
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
Jackie Bradley Jr. hasn’t exactly been a star so far this year, yet the Red Sox have been just fine without production from him. For all the people who said that he could be the difference between making the playoffs or missing them by a game or two. I think it’s safe to say that that point of view has been proven to be incorrect. Now that leads to the question, was all that trouble even worth it? It’s already started to take it’s toll and it hasn’t exactly benefited anyone. Bradley has gotten a good look at major league pitching and now knows he can’t hit it, but other than that the Red Sox or any of their players have had any benefit from this.
I was shocked when I saw the headline on MLBTR and found out Mauro Gomez had been claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays. A capable Major League bat gone out of the Sox system because of Bradley. This could haunt the Sox especially if injuries start to pile up for the Sox like they have in the past. It also adds depth to the enemy which is never good. It may seem like I’m making a big deal over spilt milk, and that may be the case, but it could turn into something more. With the recent luck of the Sox I’d bet that it will become something bigger. Hopefully I’m wrong, but I’m still a little nervous about this whole situation.
Another issue is the service clock. It has begun for JBJ and it seemingly has gone to waste. I realize he’ll likely be sent down and we’ll still have control in 2019 but these few games could be the difference between him being a Super Two or having just the regular 3 years of arbitration. That could help save a few million dollars in the future which is always nice. Would those few millions be worth the few games he’s played thus far and some September games? I’d say no at this point. Which leads back to the question is it worth it?
Now it’s not all bad. The experience Bradley has gained is invaluable and when he does eventually gets sent back down, he’ll know exactly what to work on to get better and become a great major leauger. Despite all of that we are still left with that underlying question that’ll always remain; was it worth it?
- Red Sox Chill Yanks (wbur.org)
- Red Sox-Marlins Live: Jackie Bradley Jr. to Lead Off As Jon Lester Gets Final Spring Tune-Up (nesn.com)
- Lackey might avoid trip to disabled list (mlb.mlb.com)
- Red Sox honor Jimmy Fund at home opener (mlb.mlb.com)
Buchholz (1-0) v. Chen (0-0)
The Sox held their home opener today at Fenway Park and it did not disappoint. There was a great pitching duel and an exciting finish to the game.
If you’re one of those people you hate pitching duels and only love offense, you would’ve hated this game. Clay Buchholz and Wei-Yin Chen both had their best stuff going for them today and when those guys are on it’s a fun game to watch. I think Chen is probably the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball. Last year as a rookie out of Japan he quietly became the best pitcher on the Wild Card winning Orioles pitching staff. Regardless, he showed all of his best stuff today and showed he has a very bright future. Unfortunately for him, Clay Buchholz matched him stride for stride. After 6 innings the game remained tied at 0-0. Neither pitcher would even blink. In the seventh, Buchholz started the inning off with a walk to Matt Weiters. After that though, he set the side down in order. Then came Chen’s turn to match yet another masterpiece of an inning by Buchholz. It looked like it was going to start well for Chen. He got Dustin Pedroia to ground to short, but Pedroia beat J.J. Hardy’s throw to first. Then Mike Napoli ripped a double off the center field wall that could have sworn was gone. So that left second and third no outs for the Sox’s hottest hitter, Will Middlebrooks. Then on the seventh pitch of the at bat with a 2-2 count, Middlebrooks waved at a pitch way outside. Chen had climbed one huge hurdle, but he was still 2 outs away from getting out of the jam and in stepped Daniel Nava. On the third pitch of the at bat, Nava found a pitch, middle in, that he liked and took a rip. And there it went. Right over the Monster. 3-0 Red Sox. That spelled the end of the day for Chen.
Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth. Sox still hold a 3-0 lead and the closer Joel Hanrahan comes in. Things didn’t start out so well for Hanrahan. Adam Jones took him deep to put the Orioles on the board for the first time. Then he settled in retiring the next 2 batters and was one out away from closing out the home opener. But Hanrahan had to channel his inner Papelbon. J.J. Hardy gave them some life doubling to bring the tying run to the plate. Hanrahan then got Ryan Flaherty to pop out in foul ground and the Sox won.
Player of the Game: Clay Buchholz 7 IP 0 ER 8 SO
7 games down 155 to go
Lester (1-0) v. Dickey (0-1)
I’m back! I doubt you really care but I’m here and ready to do another review. I was away from all technology pretty much Friday and Saturday and missed both games. I was pretty P.O.ed but I watched all of today’s game and I feel much better.
Will Middlebrooks came into today’s game with half of the teams home runs. He left the game also having half of the teams home runs. The difference was the Sox had 8 homers on the season rather than 2. Middlebrooks had arguably the best game of his career going 4 for 5 hitting 3 homers and knocking in 4 runs. He missed a record tying 4th by what couldn’t of been much more than 20 feet. It was a remarkable performance, but did it lead the Sox to a win?
Robert Allen did not have his best stuff today. Last year the reigning NL Cy Young award winner had given up 4 first inning runs all year. Today he gave up 5. R.A. Dickey struggled through all 4.2 innings he pitched. Along with those 5 first inning runs, he gave up 8 runs (7 earned). The knuckleball just wasn’t working for him today and the Sox pounded him. Dave Bush relieved Dickey but there wasn’t much relief. He gave up 5 runs in his 3 innings of work. Then Brett Cecil saved the day, kinda. He finished the game allowing only a walk but the damage had already been done. Along with Middlebrooks 3 homers Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, and Daniel Nava all homered as well.
On the other side was vintage Jon Lester. He looked like pre-September 2011 Lester and it was a beautiful sight to watch. He shutout the Blue Jays for 7 solid innings. He allowed just 5 hits with 6 strikeouts and no walks. They couldn’t of asked for much more from him and he appears to be backed to his old self. I realize it’s only been 2 games against lineups missing key pieces, but it’s encouraging nevertheless. Clayton Mortensen finished off the game pitching 2 shutout innings giving up just 2 hits and striking out 4
In the end the Sox coasted to a 13-0 blowout victory. It was a great way to end the road trip and got me excited for tomorrow’s home opener against the Orioles. Also the Sox were the only AL East team to win today and hold sole possession of the first place in division for the first time since early September in 2011. We all know what happened after that, but we can forget that and just be happy that we’re back in first. Hopefully we can hang on to the top spot, but it’s early and a lot will change over the next 6 months.
Player of the Game: Will Middlebrooks: 4 for 5 3 HRs, 1 2B, 4 RBIs
6 games down 156 to go.
Clay Buchholz (0-0) v. Hiroki Kuroda (0-0)
Red Sox Yankees
Ellsbury CF Gardner CF
Nava DH Suzuki RF
Pedroia 2B Cano 2B
Napoli 1B Youkilis 3B
Saltalamacchia C Hafner DH
Middlebrooks 3B Overbay 1B
Victorino RF Wells LF
Bradley Jr. LF Nunez SS
Iglesias SS Stewart C
So after my first lame attempt at recapping the game, I’m back at it again! As you can see I’ve added the starting pitchers and the lineups as well. I’ve got 162 chances to make this as good as possible, so I hope to find neat ways to make these reviews more interesting and cool. So without further adieu here is my wonderful review.
The Sox jumped out early against the Yankees tonight, grabbing a 1 run lead off Hiroki Kuroda in the first off of a Jarrod Saltalamacchia single. Then disaster struck for the Yankees in the second when Kuroda took a Shane Victorino line drive off of his pitching hand. Kuroda would stay in the game, but he proceeded to hit Jackie Bradley Jr., load the bases and then hit Daniel Nava to score a run for the Sox. That would end Kuroda’s day after an inning and a third. The Yankees then brought in Cody Eppley who got Dustin Pedroia to ground in to a inning ending double play. It appeared as if they had avoided any danger, but then the the third inning rolled around and Eppley faltered. It looked like it was going to be a quick inning after getting two outs and allowing just one single. Then Victorino singled in Salty and stole second. Then JBJ knocked him in on his first career hit. The Sox would score two more runs that inning off a Jose Iglesias double and a Jacoby Ellsbury single. The Yankees then turned to Adam Warren who ended up going five and a third innings out of the pen allowing just one run.
As for the Sox’s pitching, it started off very well. Clay Buchholz dominated the Yankees for 7 innings allowing just one run. Unfortunately after he departed things took a turn for the worse. Andrew Miller was the first to relieve Buchholz and his command was lacking a bit. He faced just two batters; hitting one and getting the other to line out. Then it was Alfredo Aceves’ turn to take over. He wasn’t bad, but he threw one bad pitch to Vernon Wells and it became a 3 run ballgame. In the ninth Joel Hanrahan came in for his first save opportunity as a Red Sox. It was a stressful inning, probably because of the long at bats and the simple fact that it was ninth inning. In the end Hanrahan picked up the save and the Sox won the game.
All in all it was a good game. Buchholz looked like his old self and the bats came to life. This lineup looks like it could be incredibly efficient and score a lot of runs this year. Maybe it’s the Moneyball get on base theory, maybe it’s the chemistry, or maybe John Farrell’s just a genius. Either way I’m excited for this season.
Player of the Game: Clay Buchholz 7 IP 1 ER 2 BB 4 SO
2 Games down 160 to go