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
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
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.
Today is one of my favorite days of the year, the MLB non-waiver trade deadline. Today many deals will be made, one was already done, but I’m here to discuss what the Boston Red Sox may do before 4 P.M. today.
Now the Sox are stuck in the in between spot where it could be buy or sell. Someone who could very likely go is backup catcher Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach has blocked Ryan Lavarnway all year, but he’s said to be ready and they want him up now. The Mets and Nationals have been most involved in talks for Shoppach, but other teams could take a shot a great defensive back up catcher. The only problem is that the Sox value his defense, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway being far behind Shoppach defensivelly Salty could be the catcher that’s moved. If Salty is shopped I think they’ll be more interest and a greater return. Either way I expect one of them to be moved and Lavrnway to be recalled today.
Now the biggest name that the Red Sox have shopped around is Josh Beckett. It was said that the Sox called the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves about Beckett, but the Braves weren’t a fit due to salary concerns and talks with Texas are said to be dead. The odds are he’s moved today are very, very small, but trades can still be made in August and Beckett will pass through waivers so watch out for a deal around mid to late August.
Outfielders could be on the market too. Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross, and Scott Podsednik could all be in play today. Last night Sweeney likely took himself off the market by injuring his hand by punching a door which will hold him out for 8 weeks so he’ll likely stay put. Ross is also unlikely to stay as well, because of his huge contributions and he’s also a great clubhouse guy. Now Podsednik is the most likely to be moved, but interest is minimal so he may also stay as a depth guy. Any of the 3 have a chance to go, but I’m not expecting anything. Like Beckett, they may be moved in August especially if the Sox fall completly out of contention for the final wild card spot.
Now on to the fun part, what the Sox could acquire. The biggest need is starting pitching and there’s plenty of it. Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, and Josh Johnson are the best pitchers available, but I don’t think the Sox are in on any of them. But the Cubs say the Dodgers are out on Dempster and the Yankees and a mystery team which could be the Red Sox. Another guy who could be picked up is Joe Blanton, but it looks like the Orioels may have him. Now two guys who I really like for the Sox are Jason Vargas and former Boston Red Sox Justin Masterson. Both are young controllable arms who post quality numbers. They’d both provide a huge boost to the rotation which is desperately needed. The difference between the two is just that Vargas is a lefty and Masterson is a righty. Vargas has been the better of the two this year but Masterson is having a down year, but he could get a boost from a change of sceenary. The Sox have been higher on Masterson probably because he came up through the Sox’s system, but either guy would be huge.
Now this part is pure speculation at this point, but I love this idea. Stephen Drew to the Red Sox. It had been discussed, but nothing has really come together, yet. Drew would be a great piece to add to the lineup which would help propel this team forward. Plus the Diamondbacks are shopping him so something could go down.
So I know I’ve been away for a little while, but I’m back, for now anyways. Since I last wrote a lot has happened, so here’s a condensed version of what I planned on writing about, but never did.
First off, a couple of key guys have landed on the DL. Scott Atchison and David Ortiz have been placed on the 15 day DL for a sore wrist and heel respectively. Atchison (my favorite Sox) was huge for the team out of the bullpen this year. He assumed the role vacated by Alfredo Aceves. He’s thrived in the role, but hasn’t got the praise that Aceves did last year. That hasn’t bothered him though, as he has been one of, if not the most, consistent reliever. Many people believe that the increase in workload is the cause of the injury and he just needs some rest. Ortiz was injured in a much stranger way. On Monday night Papi injured his heel rounding the bases on Adrian Gonzalez’s home run. To replace them the Red Sox called up Junichi Tazawa and Mauro Gomez. Both these guys have played in the big leagues this year, so this isn’t new to them. Tazawa has been excellent this year while Gomez’s bat has outshined his glove by far. They both are depth moves and both will help.
Another big headline is that the Red Sox are aggressively pursuing Ryan Dempster. Although the Red Sox front office denied the rumor it doesn’t surprise me that they are making a push for a quality starting pitcher. The downside to this is that Dempster might not be all he’s cracked up to be. He’s having a career year, but his numbers could revert back to the Dempster of old. Now Dempster has always been a quality starter, but they’d have to pay the price of a top tier starter. Also they’d be negotiating with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, two guys who know the Sox’s farm system very well. The price would be steeper than normal, because neither guy could be tricked. I like Dempster, but I’m not sure how much.
Brent Lillibridge was designated for assignment on Monday. To be honest this move shocked me, because despite his near terrible performance (but a small sample size) he was just acquired and it seems strange that they just gave up on him. I expected them to option Nava, because he doesn’t fit in with the team anymore. At least Lillibridge would provide outfield and infield depth rather than just left field. It makes more sense to me, but Bobby does love Nava so I’m sure it’ll work out somehow.
Darnell McDonald was DFA’d by the Yankees. He’ll likely be released later this week.
Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury both have returned and are fitting in quite nicely. It’s like they’ve never missed a game. Sadly, Crawford has got his name in the headlines for the wrong reasons. He made some comments on how he and Terry Francona never really got along. He thought he was too quick to drop him in the lineup which frustrated him and impacted his entire season. He also has had his name floated around in trade talks including a blockbuster with the Marlins, which I’ll talk about in a full post.
So that’s all I got for you even though I’m sure I missed something, but whatever it doesn’t matter I’ll find out and somehow fit it in somewhere eventually, but if I don’t I’m sorry.