Tagged: Fenway Park

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

 

It’s Over


Fenway Park on June 21, 2008

Fenway Park on June 21, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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.

 

 

 

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

Bring Back Bay


Recently Jason Bay and the New York Mets reached a settlement that made Bay a free agent. After leaving Boston, Bay had two terrible years in New York where he was plauged by injuries and watched his numbers decline. Many people were suggesting ways for the Mets to dump Bay’s contract, but the Mets decided just to take on the contract and basically release him. Now this makes Bay available and cheap. With needs in both corner outfield spots, the Boston Red Sox bringing in Jason Bay on minor league deal would not be a bad idea.
Obviously Bay would play left field for the Sox, whether as a starter or as a fourth outfielder would be dependant on who else is on the roster. The Sox look like the favorites to land Torii Hunter right now, so for these scenarios I will assume Hunter is on the team. If the Sox sign a legitimate everyday right fielder, like Cody Ross, Hunter would likely be the everyday left fielder. Since Hunter can play all three outfield spots if Ellsbury (assuming he isn’t traded) or Ross is injuried or needs an off day Bay can slide into the left field spot while Hunter moves to center or right. In this scenario the Sox add a cheap fourth outfielder who has proven to be a great hitter at Fenway Park and knows how to play the Green Monster very well.
If the Sox fail to add a legitimate starting right fielder other than Hunter, Hunter will start right. This opens up left for Jason Bay. I think he’d work well in a platoon role. Bay could start in more hitter friendly ballparks and a better contact hitter, like Ryan Sweeney, could start in more pitcher friendly ballparks. Although I’ll admit Sweeney wouldn’t be the greatest for that role, it’s just a hypothetical and a better player could fill the role. In either of the two scenarios I’ve just mentioned the Sox add a solid power bat either to the lineup or the bench at a cheap price, and if he doesn’t work out he’s easy to dump if he’s on an affordable salary.
Now many people would argue that even if they give him very little money it would go to waste because of injuries and declining numbers. I disagree with them, because in both my two scenarios the workload on him would decreased significantly and not too long ago he had a career year for the Red Sox. In 2009, playing in hitter friendly Fenway Park, Bay set career highs in home runs and RBI, was an All-Star, won a Silver Slugger, and finshed seventh in the American League MVP vote. That was not very long ago and if he only plays in ballparks that play more favorably to his skill set, he will put much better numbers than he did in his time in New York.
To sign Jason Bay would be a little difficult. He said he was open to returning to Boston, but much preferred to sign with a west coast team. In order to land him the Sox would need to offer him an incentive laden contract that could earn a good amount of money if he could hit certain milestones. Also a good idea would be to add a vesting option as well. This benefits both sides because it provides Bay with a little security and if he performs very well the Sox can keep him for another year at a fair price.
All in all I don’t see any downside to bringing Bay back. He could provide a huge lift off the bench or even in the everyday lineup. Also if he fails, the contract would be very easy to get out of and wouldn’t hurt the Red Sox finacially. This move to me sounds like a no-brainer.      

It’s Almost Over


It’ been three weeks since I’ve last posted on here, so I thought I’d do a brief post on the state for the Sox. The best news I got is that this season is almost over. We can finally move on from this train wreck of a season and hope for a good offseason.

This September hasn’t been much better than lasts. The only difference is that the our playoff chances aren’t disappearing right before our eyes. Those were lost awhile ago so it really didn’t matter now.  Ever since that horrid road trip, the Sox have been hard to watch. There isn’t much good going on, but there’s a whole lot of bad. Speaking of bad that pretty much defines Alfredo Aceves right now. When your team loses the last eleven games you’ve pitched in, you know somethings not right.  He’s not the only one struggling, but he struggling more than anyone else right now.

Bobby Valentine’s tenure as the manager of the Boston Red Sox is also almost over. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that his time is up. The teams failures weren’t entirely his fault, but he did play a role in them. All in all, he’s getting way too much of the blame, but when there’s no respect given to you should your time is up. I would of liked to have seen Bobby V succeed, but it wasn’t meant to be I guess.

Well that’s all I really got to say about the wonderful Boston Red Sox.

Reviewing the Return


 

After looking at the final details of the trade that occurred yesterday I’m sure some people were left scratching their heads wondering who were the guys the Red Sox got back. Hopefully this will help clear up any confusion.

James Loney: Loney was once the prize jewel of the Dodgers farm system. When he arrived he played very well for a rookie. He looked like he had a bright future ahead of him. Sadly, the light has dimmed.  He is in the midst of the worst season of his career, and doesn’t appear to be getting any better. He has a career slash line of .284/.341/.423. That’s not too bad, but that’s the kind of numbers you’d expect from a first baseman.

To look at the positives, he’s a good doubles hitter who hits to the opposite field and Fenway is a good doubles park especially to left, which is where a majority of the balls he hits go. Also, he’s a plus defender. He’s not as a good on defense as Adrian Gonzalez, but still far better than average.

Many say he’ll be gone after the season because his contract expires following the season, but I believe that he’ll return. He’s one of the top first basemen on the free agent market next year and there’s very few internal options. He’ll be back unless they believe Mauro Gomez is the future first baseman of the Red Sox.

Ivan DeJesus: Ivan DeJesus is a utility infielder who specializes at second base. He’s played a majority of the season in AAA, but he has spent some time in the majors. He’s put fairly good numbers in the minors with a .297/.369/.389 slash line.

He’s said to be a great defender and has great patience. He doesn’t project to be any everyday player, but a solid utility man. He looks like he might end up being the future Nick Punto of the team.

Allen Webster: Webster may end up being the biggest piece of the trade. He’s 22 year old sinker baller who has never pitched above the AA level. His fastball can reach up to 98 MPH and he also has a curve, change and slider which are all considered to be plus pitches.  One strange thing is that he strikes out a lot of batters for a sinker baller. Over his five year minor league his averaged just under one strikeout per inning. His only issue is he allows a lot of base runners. His career WHIP is 1.357, but it has been inflated by high WHIPs the past two seasons.

The key is that in the minors for Webster is that he has been able to stop those base runners from scoring, but will it work in AAA or even in the majors? One thing that helps him is the sinker. A sinker is a groundball pitch which tends to generate several double plays if kept low in the zone. He projects as a front of the rotation starter who could possibly be an ace, but more likely to be a 2 or a 3.

Rubby De La Rosa: De La Rosa is a power throwing right handed starting pitcher. He throws a fastball, change up, and slider. He primarily throws his fastball which tops out at 100. He’s just coming off of Tommy John surgery and in recent outing has only been able to reach 97, but is expected to get his velocity up once fully recovered. He boasts an impressive 2.75 ERA over his 6 seasons in his minor league career. He also has a nice 9.2 K/9, so we know he has no issues punching guys out.

When looking at the future for him, I can’t see him staying as a starter. His limited repertoire and high velocity fastball make him look like a late inning reliever rather than a starter. Early in his development he should have worked more on his slider and tried to develop one or two more secondary pitches if the Dodgers wanted him to become a starter. The Sox can use the same approach the Reds did with Aroldis Chapman. De La Rosa is very similar to Chapman, except Chapman usually gets a couple extra MPHs on his fastball and has a slightly more developed slider. De La Rosa slider will develop in time, but he’ll never reach Chapman’s velocity. If the Sox follow the Reds’ mold De La Rosa could be come a deadly weapon in the bullpen for years to come.

Jerry Sands:  Sands is a power hitting first baseman/left fielder. With his horrid arm and lack of first base depth in the system he’ll likely be developed as a first baseman, but there really isn’t much developing left to do. He’s spent most of the past two seasons in AAA with seventy games in the show sprinkled in.  In the Majors he has a .244/.325/.376 slash line with 4 homers and 27 RBI.  It’s not great, but for a rookie it’s far from bad. In the minors, however, he has .290/.377/.566 with 118 homers and 375 RBI in five seasons. His power is his greatest asset and that’s about it.

He could be the future first baseman of the Red Sox or even the future DH. Many don’t believe he’ll amount too much, but I see him as a potentially 300+ home run hitter for his career. He’s got the power for it, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.

Just a note Loney is with Major League club, DeJesus is in AAA, and Webster is in AA. Sands and De La Rosa are expected to be used as players to be named later. Sands will finish the season in the Dodgers AAA affiliate. De La Rosa is expected to be shut down for the remainder of the season. Both of them will not be named until after the season and the postseason as well.

 

Johnny Pesky 1919-2012


Yesterday a Red Sox legend passed away. Yesterday Johnny Pesky died at the age of 92. He represented everything great about the Red Sox, and brightened everyone’s day whenever he made an appearance. I remember when I was younger, I got to sit in the Red Sox dugout before a game for whatever reason. A few others were in there with me while others walked around the warning track. So while I was sitting there, a man sat down next to me and we began to talk. We talked about all sorts of things. From baseball to school, we talked for at least 15 minutes, maybe more.  Little did I know that man was Johnny Pesky. A couple of minutes later I was standing in line waiting for his autograph. When I finally got to him again he just looked at me, smirked, and then signed the paper I gave him. I’ll never forget that moment. It felt like I had a special moment with someone I idolized. The Red Sox without Pesky won’t be the same. I think the Sox will rally around this and play for Pesky. He will be remembered as one of the greatest members of the Boston Red Sox.