Tagged: Dustin Pedroia

Red Sox Extend Dustin Pedroia for 8 Years


English: Dustin Pedroia bats against the Balti...

English: Dustin Pedroia bats against the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Today the Boston Red Sox announced an 8 year $110 million contract that runs from 2014 to 2021. The Red Sox said in a press release today:

 

The Boston Red Sox today signed All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia to an eight-year contract beginning in 2014 and continuing through the 2021 season. Executive Vice President/General Manager Ben Cherington made the announcement.

 

Known for his gritty style and dirty uniform, Pedroia, 29, joins Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Thurman Munson, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Albert Pujols as the only players ever to have won a World Series and Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and Rawlings Gold Glove awards. He is the Red Sox’ most accomplished second baseman since Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr.

 

This shows commitment from both sides, the Sox taking a leap of faith giving Pedroia a contract that runs through his late 30s, Pedroia not forcing the Sox to break the bank like many other franchise players would. Pedroia is the perfect guy to give this kind of deal to. He’s a grind it out player who will give 100% effort day in and day out. His game isn’t based on power or speed, which deteriorate over time. As long as he is able to stay healthy he should be able to maintain a high level of play throughout the life of the contract. Obviously when he’s 38 he won’t be playing like he is now, but there’s a good chance he’ll still be a top second baseman in the league. This deal benefits both sides, and appears to be a near perfect deal for all parties involved.

 

 

 

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What’s Up With Will?


Middlebrooks at the plate

Middlebrooks at the plate (Photo credit: timaoutloud)

Will Middlebrooks

Will Middlebrooks (Photo credit: timaoutloud)

Another thing, although unlikely, is that he’s hiding an injury. This wouldn’t be the first time a Red Sox player had hid an injury to stay on the field and suffered for it. In 2009 Daisuke Matuszaka hid a groin injury and pitched poorly due to the discomfort in his groin area. Now I doubt Middlebrooks would try to hid something from the Sox, but he is the kind of guy who wants to be out there everyday, so I wouldn’t be stunned if that were the case and it would also give us an explanation for his performance.

Even we don’t know exactly what is wrong with Middlebrooks, we can try to figure out what should be done about his performance. The Sox could always take the irrational overreaction route and send down Middlebrooks and call up someone like Xander Bogaerts, but I would like to think the Sox are smart enough where they wouldn’t to something that far out of the box. A more realistic route is to give more playing time at three of Ciriaco, since he has slightly outperformed Middlebrooks, until Middlebrooks starts to perform in limited playing time until he’s eased back into an everyday role. Despite the fact that that is more realistic than the first option I still don’t see that happening. I think the Sox will just stick it out with Middlebrooks until he figures it out. What do you think the Sox should do about the struggling Middlebrooks?

 

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 7: Vs. Orioles


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

Game 3: @Yankees


Dempster (0-0) v. Pettitte (0-0)

Just a warning going into this, I am extremely tired and not in the greatest of moods, plus all my energy went into the Iglesias article, which you should probably read over this, so this may be complete garbage. After all I just started off with a run on sentence so odds are my prediction will be correct. If only  my baseball projections were this good. I also realize I don’t have the lineups. That is because I’m too tired and lazy to find them and make sure I have them correct. It also adds to the overall crappiness of this review which is what I’m striving for today. Anyways, you can forget my rant and just read the review.

Ryan Dempster made his first start as a member of the Red Sox today. He started off a little shaky, getting into a lot of deep counts, but he was able to settle down I the later innings. During his shaky stretch was when the Sox fell back. After giving up a lead off single to Travis Hafner, it appeared Dempster was going to get out of the inning without any damage. Then he allowed a two out ground rule double to Eduardo Nunez setting up second and third with two outs for former Red Sox Lyle Overbay. Overbay came through with a bloop single that scored both runners giving the Yankees their first lead of the season. The next inning Dempster would give up a solo shot to Brett Gardner to put the Sox down 3-0. After that Dempster really settled in, only allowing one more hit for the rest of his outing. Dempster would end up lasting only 5 innings giving up 3 runs on 5 hits with 4 walks and 8 strikeouts. One good thing I picked up watching Dempster, was that his splitter is filthy. More than once he got guys to chase it in the dirt. Next into the game was Junichi Tazawa. He pitched a scoreless 6th allowing just one hit. After him Clayton Mortensen came into the game. He pitched decently over two innings. He only made one bad pitch which ended up becoming a solo shot for Francisco Cervelli. Overall the Sox pitching wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad either.

Andy Pettitte looked like vintage Andy Pettitte. He dominated the Sox for 8 innings allowing just 1 run on 8 hits. The key for Pettitte was the 3 double plays he got the Sox to ground into. It killed any momentum they had each time. He did have one blemish on his otherwise great outing though. In the 7th, Will Middlebrooks strated a little two out rally with a single. That was followed by a Jackie Bradley Jr. double which scored Middlebrooks. At first sight it looked like he had his first bug league homer, but instead he settle for his first double. Then came David Ross with a chance to cut the Yankees lead to 1. He hit a shot to left center field and I was sure the game was tied. Then the ball fell harmlessly into the glove of Brett Gardner and the inning was over. In the 9th Mariano Rivera took over in his first appearance of his farewell tour. He started off with a rare walk to Dustin Pedroia but he got Mike Napoli to fly out next. Then things got interesting. Johnny Gomes  ripped a double into left setting up second and third with only one out for the tying run, Will Middlebrooks. Unfortunately, Middlebrooks would ground out to first, but it did knock in a run. This left the game in the hands of Jackie Bradley Jr. And on the 0-2 pitch Rivera caught him looking to end the game.

All in all it was a disappointing game for the Sox because they missed so many chances. Had they just come through on one more then they could’ve pulled it off, but you can’t change things now.

Player of the Game: Andy Pettitte 8 IP 1 ER 1 BB 3 SO

3 games down, 159 to go

Tough Decision Looms For Sox


It’s no secret that Jose Iglesias has surprised some people this year and been one of the most productive hitters in the Red Sox lineu

Jose Iglesias

Jose Iglesias (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

p in these first 3 games. Unfortunately for him he appears to be the odd man out going forward. With Stephen Drew close to returning from his concussion, the Sox need to make space on their roster. Obviously they’d like to replace an infielder with another infielder. The Sox won’t send down Pedroia, for obvious reasons, that leaves Pedro Ciriaco or Jose Iglesias to be sent down. But why would the Sox send down Iglesias, the starter, over Ciriaco? There’s more than one reason why.

The big issue here is options. Each player receives 3 minor league options when they make the big leagues for the first time. The first time someone is sent down in a season it uses an option. Any time after that, for that season, doesn’t use an option, but that rule took effect last year. Once a player is out of option they have to pass through waivers to be sent down and be claimed by any team. Pedro Ciriaco is out of options; Jose Iglesias is not. That alone is the biggest reason to send down Iglesias. It’s because they can send him down without the fear of losing him. Now you might say that Ciriaco is an unimportant part of the team, and you may be right, but he adds depth to the roster. He’s really the only guy on the team who fits the utility man role and losing him could leave a gaping hole on the bench especially if the injury prone Stephen Drew goes down again. You might wonder why isn’t Iglesias isn’t a good fit for the utility role. That’s because he just doesn’t have as much experience at any position other than short. Had Ciriaco not had broken out last season, sending him down, likely, wouldn’t be a problem, but then again had he not broken out he probably wouldn’t have made the team.

Another reason is that Iglesias needs at bats. His struggles at the plate have been well documented, and despite seeming to get over them, nothing will cause him to revert back to his old self more than not getting regular at bats. Iglesias’ bat is finally showing signs of life and the Sox would like to ride the hot streak for as long as possible. With every hit he should gain more confidence in his ability at the plate. If he is indeed sent down, then he can take what he’s learned from his short stint in the majors and refine it in the minors. If the Sox just bury him on the bench he’ll just lose the confidence he’s gained and could just turn into the Jose Iglesias that has disappointed us all for the past few years.

Now this isn’t to say Iglesias has no chance of staying on the team when Drew returns. After all, as the Red Sox have shown with Jackie Bradley Jr., they are wiling to make a decision that doesn’t make the best sense for the future, but to keep the best 25 guys on the roster. The Sox may even decide to start Iglesias over Drew if he proves to be more effective than him. All in all I think the best idea would be to go back in time and never sign Drew, but I don’t think that’s exactly plausible. But then again the Sox owners have a lot dough, so anything’s possible.

Game 2: @Yankees


 

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