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.
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’s been a long while since I’ve last updated this blog, but in this snowstorm I figured I might as well write something again. With players starting to show up in Fort Myers it’s time to start talking about the players in camp, and the players that are the most fun to talk about are the ones almost no one has ever heard of. The most interesting of that group of nobodies has to be righty Steven Wright. Wright was acquired at the trade deadline last year from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for former top prospect Lars Anderson. Wright sounds like any other run of the mill prospect being brought into camp, but he has something that makes him very special, the knuckleball. Although he’s never pitched a major league game in his life (and only 5 in AAA) John Farrell said he has a chance to make an impact in the majors this year. Whether or not that means making the opening day roster or even being in the rotation remains to be seen. Regardless, he’s a very interesting case. He could be the next Tim Wakefield or the he could end up being the next Charlie Zink, which is what makes him so interesting Will he be great or will he fall into oblivion without anyone noticing? Odds are it’ll be the latter, but I’m hoping the Sox will get another knuckleballer in the rotation. This year it’ll be tough for him to fit in with the rotation looking set with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, John Lackey, and Ryan Dempster, and even if one those 5 get injured he wouldn’t be the first option with Franklin Morales and Rubby De La Rosa waiting for their shot in the rotation. Even though it’s a long shot how he performs this spring could have him leapfrog over both Morales and De La Rosa and give himself a very good shot to get sometime in the big leagues this year. Despite everything I’ve said though he most likely needs more time in AAA with, like I said earlier, just 5 games there with only 4 of them as starts. Hopefully sometime this year he’ll get his shot, but for now all we can do is watch him this spring.
Yesterday the Cleveland Indians designated former Red Sox starter and closer Derek Lowe. Within the next two days we’ll find out whether he’ll be traded or released by the Indians. It’s pretty safe to say he’ll be traded, because there’s interest from the Red Sox and Orioles. Now his history with the team draws fans to want him, but his numbers scare others away. There has been a need for a starting pitcher and Lowe fits the bill, but is a struggling sinkerballer the right fit. Aaron Cook’s sinker hasn’t solved any problems, so should we believe that Lowe’s sinker could save this season?
As with everything there’s a positive and a negative. I’ll start with the positives. The first thing is that he fills a need. Beckett could miss time, Cook has faltered, and Doubront may need to be shut down so a starter is needed. Derek Lowe obviously fits that, so he could be an option. He would have no problems with the Boston media, because he’s lived with it before. Also he says he just needs a slight tune up and he’ll return to his early season form, which was pretty damn good. If he’s correct about that he’d provide a huge lift to the struggling pitching staff.
Now on to the negative. He might be done. Simple as that. He was one of the top pitchers in Cleveland’s rotation, but then everything went down hill. Guys have been hitting him and hitting hard. Since June 1st he’s had a .350 batting average against him and an ERA over 8 with a record of 1-7. Overall he’s 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA which isn’t good by any means. If he has something left in the tank he could be worth something, but there’s a convincing case against him saying that he’s done.
If I had my say I’d take a shot on a Red Sox legend and try to get him back in shape. I know many fans would disagree, some more strongly than others, but I believe he’s worth something. I don’t think the PR wizards that is the Red Sox front office let this opportunity. So I think there’s a very high likely hood that he’ll be back in Boston very soon.
Yesterday I wrote a post talking about how the Red Sox can turn it around this year. Today I’m going to look at the negative side to it. It’s obvious that there are problems with this team, but can they be fixed is the question. If the answer is no then it would be time to say goodbye to some of your favorite Red Sox players. Now Ben Cherrington has not been one to make a huge move so far, so whether or not he’s ready to do something like this remains to be seen.
To start off this wonderful rebuilding process, you begin with the obvious. Dump off Kevin Youkilis somewhere. There would be a lot of salary eaten and there wouldn’t be a very large return, but it would at least take Gonzalez out of right and get Middlebrooks in everyday. Now this would be a simple trade and could get done really quickly and should be done regardless of where they stand.
The next guy I would move may surprise you, but it would be the best thing the team could do. Trade Jacoby Ellsbury. Now that seems radical, but in reality it would be great. Everyone wants Ellsbury locked up after one good year, but why not trade him when his values at an all time high. When his value is this high GMs will turn a blind eye towards his injury history which has cost the Red Sox a lot of games. Also his attitude and commitment to the team have been put into to question before, so there’s also a clubhouse factor in play as well. I good match up would be the Washington Nationals with their search for a center fielder and plethora of prospects would work perfectly.
The next guy yo go would have to be Jon Lester. Lester has been a huge part of the Red Sox ever since he took the mound for the first time at Fenway, but it might be time to say goodbye. He’s a guy who could produce a very nice return and could help almost any contender. There isn’t a true perfect trade partner for him, because he can go almost anywhere.
With a complete rebuild, David Ortiz would have to go too. An impact bat whose off to a scorching start is sure to generate some interest. I don’t think he’d get a huge return, I’m sure at least one impact prospect would be part of the deal. Papi’s loved in Boston, but Boston loves the team itself more, and in a few years they’d be happy with who they got.
Catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach are nice trade chips as well. Salty’s off to an amazing start to what could be a career year for him. That just makes him more valuable. Shoppach has been screwed out of playing time and could be traded for a hit or miss guy which wouldn’t be bad. All in all these 2 guys could pick up 3 or 4 prospects.
Daisuke Matsuzaka could be a name floated around as well. It could be a similar trade with what the Sox got with Erik Bedard. Nothing spectacular, but enough to say you got something worthwhile. He, like Lester could help almost any contender.
Many other guys could sent out also, like Alfredo Aceves, Mike Aviles, Nick Punto, Matt Albers, Vincente Padilla, Cody Ross, and Josh Beckett. Come August Bobby V might be throwing out a line up looking something like this.
DH Daniel Nava
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Adrian Gonzalez
C Ryan Lavarnway
3B Will Middlebrooks
LF Carl Crawford
RF Ryan Kalish
CF Ryan Sweeney
SS Jose Iglesias
All in all it doesn’t look too bad of a lineup. I had to stick Nava at DH, because with a full outfield and no DH he fit in right there and Bobby V always finds a spot for him. Rebuilding could be good or it could be bad we just have to trust Ben to make the right choices.
I wasn’t able to do my first week ahead yesterday, but today I’ll get it done.
Sunday: Loss at Blue Jays 5-1. L:Bard W:Hutchison
Monday: MLB Draft first round. Red Sox have picks 24 and 31 in the first round.
Tuesday: Orioles at Red Sox. Hammel (6-2 3.06 ERA) vs. Lester (3-4 4.79 ERA) A chance for Lester to bounce back and the Sox can close in on a struggling O’s team.
Wednesday: Orioles at Red Sox. Chen (4-2 3.75 ERA) vs. Beckett (4-5 4.26 ERA) Another chance to close in.
Thursday: Orioles at Red Sox. Matsuz (5-5 4.41 ERA) vs. Buchholz (5-2 6.58 ERA) Same as the other two games, trying to move up in the division.
Friday: Nationals at Red Sox. Starters TBD. Second interleauge series of the year; chance to make a statement against a young up and coming team.
Saturday: Nationals at Red Sox. Starters TBD. Another statement game.
This week is a good chance to move into the top 3 in the division. Prediction 3-3 record for the week.
At this moment it feels like the end of world in Red Sox Nation, but with 151 games left that’s hardly the case. It’s not too surprising the Sox have got off to such a slow start. With the exception of Toronto they’ve only played playoff teams’ and Toronto could be headed there this year. I do realize that even with the schedule so far most expected more, but with pitching problems left and right it doesn’t appear that it’ll be resloved quickly. So far my top starter is Felix Doubront, because he hasn’t had a bad outing yet. And the pen isn’t anything special either as Mark Melancon has been nothing short of a disaster and Aceves has struggled so far. Vincete Padilla is the only guy whose shown some level of consistency out of the pen. I think at this point things can only get better, but they need guys to perform how they’ve performed throughout their careers. Any hitting problems will fix themselves, at this all we need to do is fix the pitching.