Tagged: Will Middlebrooks

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?

 

Game 6: @ Blue Jays


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.

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

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

It’s Time to Trade Ellsbury


Last year Jacoby Ellsbury stunned the baseball world by going from a slightly above average outfielder to MVP caliber player. His numbers were off the charts, producing a .321/.376/.552 slash line alongside 32 home runs and 39 stolen bases. He provided the Red Sox with something every team dreams of having, a five tool player. Now with all that said, I think it’s best if Ellsbury and Sox part ways.

Now most of you would probably dismiss this as madness. After all he is one of the leagues premier players, but how much has he really proven. Coming off an amazing season his value is at an all time high, but he’s yet to back it up due to his subluxed shoulder. Since he has been unable to prove he can consistently play at an MVP level, his value has not been diminished. This is a huge reason why he should be moved, because I doubt that he’ll be able to have many 30-30 seasons, but he’s currently perceived as a guy who can.

Another reason is he struggles to return from injuries. Back in 2010 he fractured 4 of his ribs, which is a fairly severe injury, but it took him the entire year to recover. He did make 2 attempts at a comeback, but his ribs were sore which is understandable, but recovering from soreness shouldn’t take 4+ months. I do realize playing any professional sport takes a toll on your body, but being sore for several months shouldn’t qualify. You look at Dustin Pedroia and what he’s done this year with a bone bruise which gets re-aggravated whenever he gets jammed and he refused to go on the DL until now where it looks like it needs a full 15 day DL stint to recover, but after that 15 days is up he’ll be right back in the lineup. Also this year with his subluxed shoulder he has been slow to recover. it’s said to take 4-6 weeks to recover, and I know he needs to rehab, but it’s been 12 weeks since he was injured which is ample time to return from the injury. If this continues you can never be sure when he’ll be back from any injury. So it is a major reason why the Red Sox should be compelled to move him.

Now the biggest reason is his contract situation. In a perfect world Ellsbury would have signed an extension following last year eating his final 2 years of arbitration. Sadly this world is not perfect and Jacoby’s agent is Scott Boras. Boras is notorious for not wanting to give up arbitration years, and Ellsbury said that despite his love for Boston he’ll leave his contract negotiations up to Boras. This means he will hit free agency following the 2013 season. He’ll likely demand a 7 year 100M+ contract much like the one given to Carl Crawford. Now many people who were against the Carl Crawford contract said his age could be a factor due to declining speed being a part of aging. When Ellsbury hits free agency he’ll be a year older than Crawford was when he signed with the Sox. Now Ellsbury could end up being like Johnny Damon, who always seems to find a way to stay productive, or a an Alfonso Soriano, who has been a disaster. I doubt he’ll end up like Soriano, but after the Sox have gotten burned by bad contracts several times, they may not want to venture into a long term deal.

Now if the Sox do go through with the idea of trading Ellsbury what would they get. They could make him the center of a deal for an impact starting pitcher such as a Zack Greinke or a Cole Hamels. If they were to go for a pitcher at the deadline, trading Ellsbury would have a lot less long term ramifications than trading a high ceiling prospect like Anthony Raunado or Xander Bogarts. They could also sell him for a huge prospect package. If they were to sell him they’d likely wait until after the season, so that they could try for the World Series this year. If they were do a trade like that, a trade like the one that brought Matt Latos to the Reds would be very good. The Padres received a major league pitcher and 3 major league ready prospects. This would be fantastic for the Sox as you can always use more pitching and an infuse a young talent would be good for the Sox especially to complement guys like Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Kalish. Now a deal for Ellsbury is a stretch, but as the deadline approaches anything could happen.

Dice-K Back to DL; Gomez Gets the Call; Jenks Let Go


A busy day for the Red Sox as they made 4 roster moves. Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the DL with a stiff neck, Mauro Gomez was recalled from AAA, Bobby Jenks was released, and the contract of Justin Germano opted out of his contract.

Dice-K’s returning right back where his 2012 season began, the DL. This time it’s for something a lot less serious, just a stiff neck. Still it’s another set back in the up and down career of Daisuke Matsuzaka. In all honesty though, I think this is best for the team as he became the least reliable member of the pitching staff. At this point I’m sure  everyone would rather see Franklin Morales and Aaron Cook take the mound, then see Dice-K at this point. With a somewhat under performing and overcrowded pitching  staff you can’t have mediocre performances like Dice-K was giving, so I truly believe that the team is better with Dice-K not on it.

Now to replace Dice-K the Sox added some needed infield depth with corner infielder Mauro Gomez. He’s a true first basemen, but has a little experience as a third basemen and that’s where Bobby intends to use him with Middlebrooks’ health in question. He’s more depth for a short  bench that only has Brent Lillibridge and Kelley Shoppach. Gomez  signed as a free agent with the Sox this year. Aside from a quick stint with the big league club he’s been in Pawtucket all year and has played exceptionally well. With a slash line of .311/.366/.614 and 19 home runs and 55 RBI he earned the starting DH role in the International League All Star Game. He probably won’t play much, because he’s there for a worst case scenario. He’s a good hitter, but his lacking defense will keep him away from the starting lineup.

Probably the most surprising the news of  the day is the release of Bobby Jenks. The only reason it is so surprising is, because I forgot we even had him. Bobby Jenks’ tenure with the BoSox is the definition of a good idea gone bad. The deal was universally praised by baseball analysts from far and wide. The bullpen looked unstoppable with a 7,8,9  combo of Daniel Bard, Jenks, and Jonathon Papelbon what could wrong? The answer was everything. As you know none of those 3 are with the team anymore and now Bard is only one left in the entire organization with Pap in Philly and now Jenks getting cut. Everything with Jenks as Red Sox was a disaster. From his terrible outings, to the injuries, and then the surgery death scare, and lastly the DUI, he could never get his life together. I do feel terrible for the guy though. He went from a dominant closer to almost out of the game. I’ll be amazed if he gets another chance anywhere, but I sure hope he does. He doesn’t deserve the fate given to him, but he may never get another chance again.

Lastly, Justin Germano has decided to exercise his opt out clause for his contract. The Sox now have 48 hours to decide whether they want to add him to the 25 man roster or let him go.  Some people believe Clayton Mortensen may be sent down to make room for the reliever. I doubt a move will be made, because Mortensen’s been effective in his time with the team. He’ll likely be let go on Thursday and become a free agent, and I wish him the best.

Youkilis Changes His Sox


Lately the blog as been pretty inactive, but I have a legitimate reason for it.  I’ve been in Chicago the past few days (fittingly enough) but I thought this was big enough story to attempt to write about it.

Yesterday after the Red Sox 9-4 win against the Braves, Kevin Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Zach Stewart and Brent Lillibridge. Youkilis ended his Red Sox career in style. He hit an RBI triple and left for a pinch runner. He walked off blowing kisses and giving hugs to all the players. He was 2-4 overall on the day in one of his best games of the year. He’ll definitely be missed, but we couldn’t keep juggling the lineup around and Middlebrooks needing ABs something had to be done.

Now to talk about what we got in return. The guy whose going to have an immediate impact is Brent Lillibridge. Lillibridge is a poor mans Nick Punto, but he provides something that the Sox have shown they need, depth. With Dustin Pedroia hurting another infielder off the bench has been needed and Lillibridge will provide that. Will he play much? No, but he’s there for precautionary reasons.

Zach Stewart is the more valuable guy in the trade. He’s a 25 year old swingman who Cherrington has decided to make him a starter. The White Sox had the opposite idea. They wanted him to be a reliever. He made 15 appearances for the South Siders including one start with a 6.00 ERA before getting sent down. He’s going immediately into Pawtucket’s rotation and we’ll see if he can make his way back up to the majors. He could be an asset down the line or just a bust. We’ll see. But what makes Stewart so valuable is the fact that he has two options left.

Overall I think its a decent trade that adds much needed depth.