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
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
I’ve decided this year I’m going to try to review every game this year. Unfortunately, with 162 games, coupled with my laziness, in all likelihood that won’t happen. I’ll try to get off to a good start and we’ll see how far I get. Today was Opening Day for the Red Sox and they were in New York to take on the Yankees. There was plenty of interesting story lines to go along with this game as well. For starters it was Red Sox Yankees which is always exciting, then there was Kevin Youkilis’ first game as a Yankee and first against the Sox as a Yankee. There was also the big league debut of Jackie Bradley Jr. We also got a look at the decimated Yankee lineup and the new look Red Sox minus David Ortiz and Stephen Drew. As you can see there was a lot going on in this game like any other Red Sox Yankees match up.
As for the game, the Sox got off to a hot start and never looked back. They were able to get to C.C. Sabathia early and rallied for 4 runs in the second inning keyed by a Jackie Bradley Jr. walk and hits by Jose Iglesias and Shane Victorino. After that Sabathia was able to settle in and lasted 5 innings giving up just those 4 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks. Jon Lester was better, but not by much. He too only lasted 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks. Most of his trouble came in the 4th where allowed the two runs off of 2 out 2 RBI single by Francisco Cervelli.
With the starters not going deep into the game we got a good look at both teams bullpens. Each team used 5 relievers over the last 4 innings. For the Sox, we got our first look at Koji Uehara and Joel Hanrahan for the first time in a Red Sox uniform. The Sox’s bullpen was phenomenal, allowing just 1 hit in four shutout innings. Unfortunately for the Yankees, their pen wasn’t as great. They allowed 4 runs on hits in their 4 innings of work. The one who really struggled was Joba Chamberlain. He came in in the 9th trying to hold the Sox lead at 3, but he ended up doubling it. He really struggled with his command and when he did get in the zone it was very hitable. He even had to be consoled by his good friend and now teammate Kevin Youkilis.
Every hitter, with the exception of Mike Napoli, got on base. Jackie Bradley Jr., although he failed to get a hit, he still made a huge impact. He walked 3 times, drove in a run, and made a great catch in left. Not bad for his MLB debut. Jose Iglesias surprised with 3 hits, even though he never got the ball out of the infield. The top of the order was very productive, with Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino, and Dustin Pedroia combining for 8 hits and 6 RBIs. If the lineup can produce like this every night the Sox will be fine. Obviously you can’t expect 8 runs every night, but you can expect guys to grind out at bats and get on base.
All in all, the Sox came through with a 8-2 victory in John Farrell’s Red Sox managerial debut. The win went to Jon Lester and the loss to C.C. Sabathia. The Sox now lead the series 1 game to none.
Player of the Game: Jacoby Ellsbury 3 for 6 3 RBIs 1 3B
1 game down 161 to go
It appear Jackie Bradley Jr. will make the Opening Day roster this year. After wowing everyone in what was supposed to be a short stint to get his feet wet he has now gone from AA phenom to major leaguer. It’s still not official but the final two roster spots were down to Mike Carp, Ryan Sweeney, and Bradley and Sweeney has just been released. There’s only one logical explanation which is that Bradley and Carp have made the team.
I’m not a huge fan of this decision, but I understand why it was done. I agreed with the people who wanted to keep him down for the first 9 games to delay his service time from starting. This would give the Sox another year of team control which could be very important down the line, because it would either save the Sox money or prevent his departure for another year. Either way it benefits the Sox. I’ve heard the argument (mostly on the Dennis and Callahan Morning Show) that every game matters and not starting him day would be costly down the line. Although I agree every game is of equal importance, is the potential of winning one or two more games in April worth losing a whole year of a potential superstar? I’d say no, but clearly the Sox are in a win now state of mind as always and are disregarding the future for 9 games in April.
Although thus far I’ve stated my disagreement with the move I do still believe that he is ready to be an everyday major league player. He appears to be a 5 tool player and adds another dimension to the Red Sox offense. He could end being what Carl Crawford never could be the Sox. Although he’s not as fast as Crawford, he does have a lot of speed and may have more power. His defense could also be big for the Red Sox too. If he does indeed start in left field, the Sox would have an outfield made up of 3 center fielders, and 3 very good defensive center fielders at that. With all that speed out they can cover much more ground than any other group of outfielders and that could actually help save some runs. It may not actually play a huge role, but it does have potential to be a big part of the Sox’s success.
All in all I love Jackie Bradley Jr., but the move baffles me a little bit. I do think he will be a vital part of this team now and in the future. He could end up being the X factor that lifts this Red Sox’s team into contention.
- Red Sox decline to purchase Sweeney’s contract (thegazette.com)
- Red Sox roster moves favor Jackie Bradley Jr.’s promotion to the bigs (thefarmclub.net)
- Mike Carp, Daniel Nava Make Red Sox Roster, But Jackie Bradley Jr. Hasn’t Been Told Status Yet (nesn.com)
- Red Sox place Drew on seven-day DL (mlb.mlb.com)
As many of you know there’s a very good chance that David Ortiz will open the 2013 on the DL with a heel injury. This heel injury is said to have nothing to do with the Achilles injury that sidelined him for much of last season. I seriously doubt that that is the case because the Achilles attached the heel to the ankle and it would make sense that a partially torn Achilles tendon would relate to pain in the heel, but I’m no doctor. Anyways, with this injury the Sox are left with an opening at DH and with no concrete way to fill the hole. Some options to take his spot on the roster are Lyle Overbay, Mike Carp, Ryan Lavarnway, Mauro Gomez, Jeremy Hazlebaker, or everyone’s favorite Red Sox this spring Jackie Bradley Jr.
Of all of the option I mentioned the only one who projects to make the Opening Day roster is Mike Carp. If he does take over the DH spot in Papi’s absence then the most likely candidate to take the open roster spot would be Lyle Overbay. Overbay would serve as the backup first baseman behind Mike Napoli and a left-handed bat off the bench, the same roles Carp is projected to have now. Carp and Overbay could also split time at DH especially if Carp struggles early on, but that’s unlikely. I think Carp would be the best option, because, aside from Overbay whose far pat his prime, he’s the only one whose had success at the big league level. It may not have been much success but putting up decent numbers in limited play time at Safeco is better than anything else the Sox have.
Ryan Lavarnway is an interesting case. When the Red Sox signed David Ross it appeared that Lavarnway would be the odd man out, but Ortiz’s injury has given him some hope of making the Opening Day roster. Unfortunately, his numbers this spring aren’t helping his cause at all. He has just 5 hits in 33 at bats with only one of them being an extra base hit. Another thing working against him is he’s right-handed. In an already right-handed heavy lineup, Ortiz provided power from left side, but Lavarnway would just add another righty to the lineup which would make creating matchups fairly easy for opposing managers. One thing he could do is be a right-handed complement to Mike Carp, but other than that I don’t see any way of Lavarnway getting the job.
Mauro Gomez got a chance to showcase his ability in last years debacle and actually played rather nicely. He fits the mold of a DH, but has the same issue as Lavarnway, he’s a righty and his spring numbers are very similar. I can see him as a much more likely candidate to platoon with Carp. This is because the Sox aren’t concerned with him getting playing time and consistent at bats like they are with Lavarnway. Also Gomez is more versatile as he can play both first and third. I definitely think Gomez will be given serious consideration for the job.
Jeremy Hazelbaker is the longest of long shots, but I’ve heard his name mentioned in the discussion. He’s a lefty, so that’s one positive. He’s got some power and a lot of speed, in 2010 he stole 63 bases in 80 attempts. The big issue is he’s already been sent to minor league camp and I doubt they’d bring him back up, but the more I think about it he does seem like a good fit, but his lack of experience (7 AAA games) is a strong enough case against him to say it’s not going to happen.
The scenario that everyone is talking about is Johnny Gomes DHing and Jackie Bradley Jr. starting in left. Bradley is having a monster spring and it seems as if everyone believes he’s ready to be an everyday major leaguer. He’s expected to take over center field after Jacoby Ellsbury departs, if he actually does, following this year, but people are saying his time is now. This situation has created a very convenient situation for Bradley, but I don’t see it happening, at least not right away. The first issue is he’s never played a game above the AA level, but it wouldn’t be the first time a players skipped the AAA level. Also at some point in late April, the date I’m not sure of, the Red Sox gain extra year of control over Bradley. If they wanted Bradley on the major league roster they’d most likely wait for that date because a few early season games in April isn’t worth a year of service. This seems to be the scenario that’s being talked about, but I still believe it’s a long shot for Opening Day.
These aren’t the only option the Sox have to choose from , but they seem the most likely. Who knows though, they could decide to rotate players in the DH slot or pick a guy who I never suspected. All things considered I think on Opening Day we’ll see Mike Carp as the Red Sox DH.
- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz deals with frustration over setback (boston.com)
- Red Sox’s DH position up for grabs with Ortiz sidelined (kcra.com)
- Red Sox’s DH position up for grabs with Ortiz sidelined (wyff4.com)
- Tracy’s Take: Is Ortiz The Achilles Heel Of Red Sox? (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Papi determined to get healthy for long haul (mlb.mlb.com)
In the past two days there’s been a flurry of roster moves made by the Red Sox in the past couple days. Yesterday the Red Sox said in a press release:
“BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox today placed outfielder Ryan Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his left hand and recalled both outfielder Ryan Kalish and right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen from Triple-A Pawtucket. Kalish and Mortensen will be active for tonight’s game against the Tigers at Fenway Park. Additionally, the club today activated right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket.”
Sweeney is likely done for the season if the Sox miss the playoffs, but he may return for the final games of the season. Kalish is returning to the Sox after a brief and largely unsuccessful stint in the majors earlier this year. Mortensen was called up to fill the open spot Albers left, until Craig Breslow arrived which was just a few minutes ago. Chris Carpenter has missed the entire year with a right elbow surgery. He was the compensation received by the Sox for Theo Epstein.
Now on to the trades. Yesterday the Sox made two trades. The first was the Sox acquiring lefty Craig Breslow from the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik. This move was made to give the Sox bullpen flexibility, so that Franklin Morales could be put back into the starting rotation. I like this move, because Morales had been very effective as a starter and I love that he’ll be returning to this role. Also the bullpen doesn’t lose anything, because Breslow is a great left reliever. I am a huge Albers and Podsednic fan, but there wasn’t a need for either of them (although you can never have enough pitching.)
The other trade was between the Cleveland Indians and the BoSox. The Sox acquired righty, knuckleballer Steven Wright for first baseman Lars Anderson. This a great move, because it brings everyone’s favorite pitch, the knuckleball. Also, Lars needed to be moved, because he had been blocked for a long while now and I’m glad they got a good return for him. Another great thing is that Tim Wakefield will work with Wright, so he’ll be taught well.
Today there were a few more roster moves that took place. Daniel Nava was placed on the DL with a sprained left wrist and able to be activated on Sunday August 12th. Ryan Lavarnway was recalled from Pawtucket to take his place. Clayton Mortensen was optioned to AAA to make room for Craig Breslow who was added to the 25-man roster.
And with that, that’s all the Red Sox have done the past two days. Ben Cherrington is a very busy man.