Category Archives: Baseball

With Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox Bullpen Has Chance To Be Great

Craig Kimbrel is the new closer of the Boston Red Sox

Get used to this stance, Red Sox fans. Craig Kimbrel is your new closer.

Since arriving in Boston, Dave Dombrowski has repeatedly told the media that his first priority, to the surprise of many, was to bolster the bullpen. But here we are at the onset of the offseason, and it was a surprise to few to see rumors of the Red Sox trying to go after big name closers.

The Red Sox and Dombrowski ultimately opted to trade for Craig Kimbrel, acquiring him last Friday from the San Diego Padres. In return, the Padres received 4 Red Sox prospects, including the sought-after speedy OF Manuel Margot. 

Only 27, Kimbrel is a proven closer and 4-time all-star with the ability to touch the high 90s with his fastball. The Red Sox now have their long-term closer in Kimbrel, who is under team control through the 2017 season with a $13 million team option and $1 million buyout for 2018. The Red Sox also are less reliant on 41 year old Koji Uehara, who assumes the role of set-up man in the pen.

The acquisition of Kimbrel, also solidifies their set-up man, and seventh inning guy. Koji Uehara assumes the role of set-up man. Koji was able to gain 25 saves, and posted a respectable 2.25 ERA as a closer last year. In a less-pressure role, the Red Sox are expecting Koji to post a similar output to 2015. And if things go south for Koji, and injuries continue to plague the 41 year-old, last year’s setup man Junichi Tazawa, presumably slides back into the set-up man role.

WIth the acquisition of Kimbrel, Koji Uehara slides into the set-up man role in 2016.

Dombrowski may not be done with the bullpen additions. The Red Sox have a need for a lefty specialist out of the bullpen that needs to be addressed. As of now, Robbie Ross Jr. is the only left handed reliever in the bullpen.

The Red Sox are also actively looking for an “ace” starting pitcher this offseason. Assuming they get one through free agency, they may find themselves with an extra starting pitcher, since their rotation from 2015 is under contract for the next year. if the front office does not trade a pitcher away in the offseason, maybe someone like Joe Kelly gets added into the mix. Kelly, who can also reach upper 90s as a starter, would make sense to add to the bullpen as well.

It’s still early in the offseason, and Dombrowski has some tricks up his sleeve. It will be interesting to see how the bullpen progresses and what other pieces he will get his hands on. But Dombrowski is guy that stays true to his word-if he has intentions of building a strong bullpen, he’ll do it. Kimbrel is a pretty significant building block for it.

Red Sox Off-season: Betts, Bogaerts Primed For Bigger Roles

Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts in the 2015 season with the Red Sox

With all of the offseason splurges the Red Sox made on the hot stove of 2014-15 offseason, you would surely think that some good would come from the upcoming season. It has, but not in the way you would think. Not in the immediate future like the organization had hoped.

Yes, the Red Sox finished last in the AL East again, but there is more hope than what last years team had to offer at the end of the year. With a solid final two months of play, the Red Sox, particularly the young players, really morphed into what could be the core future of this team. There is more optimism about the future of the Red Sox going into this offseason compared to last year. Two reasons why? Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts.

The Red Sox are Competing in a Young Man’s MLB

In what seems like more of a young man’s game these days with the likes of Trout, Harper dominating the MLB among other young players, the Red Sox have a few young stars-in-the-making of their own in Betts and Bogaerts. At the age 22, they have both arguably been the best player on albeit, a sub .500 team.

In a way, it was a blessing in disguise that the Red Sox played poor for as long as they had. Sure, it was frustrating to see them lose the amount of games they did after the high expectations of the offseason, especially early on into mid-July. But if you had to pin-point some of the guys who helped them out of the trenches? Well, it starts with the young guys who had been playing consistently on both sides of the ball. That would be Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts.

Betts was one of the better players across the league this year, finishing 7th in the AL in WAR (6.0). Mookie was also the most complete player at the plate (.291 BA, 18 HR, 77 RBI, 21 SB and 92 R) on the Red Sox. He finished third in the AL with 42 2B and in the top 10 in extra base hits. He also hit .333 with runners in scoring position with 54 RBI.

Bogaerts blossomed into one of the best contact hitters in baseball this season- something that not many anticipated him to become. Scouts pegged him as a power-hitting shortstop, but with 7 HR on the year, he was anything but that…at least this year. Still, there lots to boast about including stellar gold-glove caliber defense at shortstop and a .320 batting average to pair with it- good for 2nd in the American League.

Pending any crazy offseason moves in which Dombrowski feels the need to trade either player, these two will spearhead the Red Sox lineup for years to come at the lead-off spot and three-hole. Fans, however disappointed in the record of the team this year, should know that they are in better hands for the future. It appears the baton is starting to be passed next season. What a refreshing and exciting thing.

Do You Think You Could Play 100 Innings of Baseball?

How much do you like baseball? Do you like baseball enough to play a full 100 innings of baseball? The 12th annual “100 Innings of Baseball Spectacular” is in fact the world’s longest baseball game ever, and was hosted at Adams Field in Quincy, MA from Saturday October 10th to October 11th. The good news is you don’t actually have to love baseball enough to play all 100 innings! You can arrive and play as long as you want during the span of the game. This years game lasted 27 hours, which believe it or not, is rather short for an 100 inning game.

With 100 inning games, there are a lot of records that can be broken, includes the few players that stay and play in all 100 innings of the game. Two other players broke records: most consecutive innings pitched – 37 innings in a row, and most innings pitched in a single game – 41 total innings. In addition to the players, 80 umpires volunteered to call the game.

All proceeds support ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) research through The Angel Fund, an independent nonprofit charity that benefits ALS research at the Cecil B. Day Laboratory for Neuromuscular Research at UMass Medical Center in Worcester. The event is coordinated and hosted by chief umpire Walter Bentson. Since 2004, the event has raised more than $650,000.00 for various causes in the fight against ALS.



One of the many, many umpiring crews.


41 total innings on the hill.


Inning 29. 25-18.

Walter Bentson (right) – Coordinator and host of the event.


Rule #37 of Baseball. Be careful how close you park to the field.

The game continues into Saturday evening..


..and into the night.

Me representing the Quincy Pirates, and my friend, Todd.

Me representing the CABL Quincy Pirates, and my friend Todd, who sadly is a Yankees fan.

Sleeping at the baseball field. Every baseball player's dream.

Sleeping at the baseball field. Every baseball player’s dream.

Sun rising at the crack of dawn. The 78th inning is underway!

Final score: 82-75, third base side wins. High scoring game! (Side-note: there is no way there were 0 errors).

For the baseball players in the Boston area that missed the event, be sure to come check out the 100 inning game next year! It was a fun time, and I will certainly be back next year.

Patriots, Inspirational Stories Highlight The Inaugural Globies (PHOTOS)


Hosted by none other than Sean McDonough, the first-ever Globies award show was held at the House of Blues in Boston on Tuesday. Some of the biggest Boston icons made appearances including David Ortiz, Rob Gronkowski, Patrice Bergeron as well as retired legends Doug Flutie, Troy Brown, Ray Bourque and others.

After the professional team MVP awards were given out, many Patriots players prevailed with pretty much any award they could possibly win. Tom Brady alone won six including Patriots MVP. Best moment went to Malcolm Butler for his Super Bowl interception. Julian Edelman won unsung hero, Gronk took home best quote and best social media campaign (with Big Papi), and Belichick won executive of the year and coach of the year. That’s 12 awards total for those of you counting at home. That’s what happens when you win rings.

Toward the end came the awards for inspirational figures who made significant imprints and contributions in the Boston sports culture in one way or another. Tom Menino, Milt Schmidt, little Liam Fitzgerald and Pete Frates were all recognized for their courage, spirit and dedication tied into Boston sports. It was a very special segment of the award ceremony and another reminded reason of what great things propagate through the community and fandom of professional sports.

Check out the pictures below from the event!

Rob Gronkowski at the Boston Globe's Globies award event.


David Ortiz aka Big Papi at the Globies in Boston.

David Ortiz and Rob Gronkowski won the award for best Social Media Campaign

The end of the Globies.

The award show was fun and entertaining and very well done. Big thank you to the Boston Globe and their sponsors for putting this event together. Here’s to many more!


Red Sox Report: Kelly, Bradley Jr. Beneficiaries of Pawtucket Stints


Joe Kelly and Jackie Bradley Jr. both struggled not just earlier this year, but really since the start of their respective Sox careers – that is, until last month. However, Since the beginning of August each of them have turned in outstanding, and frankly unexpected contributions, helping the Red Sox go 21-15 in that span. Their individual dramatic turn-arounds are thanks in part to playing in the minor leagues, which gave each of them an opportunity to work through the struggles they experienced in the majors.

Joe Kelly



In Joe Kelly’s case, the problem was more approach and strategy than it was mechanics and physical ability. This guy has a god-given pitching arm that can touch 100 mph at times. What he wasn’t doing earlier in the year was paint the corners and throw enough off-speed pitches to offset the heaters. Instead, he would leave too many fastballs down the middle and up in the zone. Debating on whether they wanted to move him to the bullpen or send him down to Pawtucket, the Red Sox decided to send Kelly to Pawtucket on June 25, giving him a chance to work on his command. At that time, Machine Gun Kelly was 2-5 with 5.67 era.

After – Machine Gun Kelly has been a baaad dude lately.

Upon call-up, Joe Kelly seemed to struggle. In his first 3 starts he allowed at least 4 earned runs and barely managed to get through 6 innings in his outings. However, since the start of August Kelly has posted a ridiculous 8-0 record with a 2.58 era. He has won all of his starts since then, which something only Pedro Martinez has done with the Red Sox. Now, Kelly strategically mixes his sliders or throws change-ups in the right counts. He gets ahead of batters by spotting his pitches. The command of all his pitches but particularly the slider, have drastically improved.

Jackie Bradley Jr.



Like Kelly, Jackie Bradley Jr. had raw talent but nothing to show for. He had rare spiderman-like abilities in center field, but was struggling with the mechanics of his swing. Most people didn’t think he could hit at the Major League level. Admittedly, I was one of them. Over the past two years, he had hit under .200 (.196) and was by far the worst hitting center fielder in the majors. On top of that, Bradley was reportedly “stubborn” on being coached on his swing and stance before getting demoted to the Paw Sox around this time last year. Early in 2015, Bradley would get brief call-ups from Pawtucket for defensive purposes, but it didn’t seem like it was getting much better at the plate for Bradley. Despite hitting .305 in nearly 300 at-bats with the PawSox, Jackie never brought his batting average up over .150 with the Red Sox through the end of June.


After – Fact: Jackie Bradley has played like a super hero since his call-up.

Bradley Jr. got called up again July 29th, this time to get consistent playing time. He played nearly every day since that time. With a scorching hot August, Bradley compiled an insane .354 average to go along with 23 RBI and 17 extra base hits, which is tied with Big Papi for 4th in the bigs. But what’s more impressive is the sweet stroke that Bradley Jr. found out the plate. Through his stint in the minors Jackie changed his stance, and added a bigger kick-step before his swing which improved his timing. He’s also been able to clean out the inside fastball with ease, something he could never do prior to August.

There is no question that these two look like completely different players and it is more than encouraging what they have been able to do this month. It is truly remarkable. Like many of the Red Sox players, particularly the young guys, you hope Kelly and Bradley Jr. can continue performing like they have been playing through the end of the year. Next year continues to look more and more promising.



Red Sox Report: What is Dombrowski’s Plan?

Dave Dombrowski seems to be a big fan of Jackie Bradley Jr., who has been red-hot at the plate in August.

The Red Sox made big changes on Tuesday, formally announcing Dave Dombrowski as new President of Baseball Operations, and Ben Cherington would no longer be GM for the Red Sox after this season. A lot of change to absorb, but a needed change, and what seems to be a promising one for the organization and the fans.

Dombrowski is a deemed a “baseball guy” through and through, and a guy who is well renown for retaining and acquiring the most talented players. He is an elite baseball talent evaluator, who will have a lot of say in baseball decisions along with the new GM, moving forward.

It is coincidental that young Red Sox players are starting to really come on late in the season. Guys like Jackie Bradley Jr, Travis Shaw and Blake Swihart have all proving their worth in the majors and are not 4A players so to speak. Along with Betts and Bogaerts, who have been consistent all year, the Red Sox have developed a wave of young players much like the Yankees team in late 90s – strong up the middle of the baseball diamond.


Sox young pitchers Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez have shown flashes of greatness, but have been plagued with inconsistency, as many young players seem to be when they first enter the majors. Since their call-ups from triple A, Owens and Rodriguez have been bright spots in the rotation compared to how the rotation of “all number 1 starters” going into the season have performed, particularly toward the beginning of the year. Dombrowski has made it very clear that pitching, particularly starting pitching, will be the focus going into the offseason.

It will be very interesting to see what Dombrowski’s plan will be, considering the young players are showing a lot of value. It will be interesting to see how many, if any, young players he will move in a trade. It will be interesting to see what he will do about the bad contracts of veteran players. He takes a win-at-all-costs approach and is a big front office figure for a team that needs change, so it may be a busy offseason.

Here is a list of players that Dombrowski (and who is hired as the new GM) could deal:

Hanley Ramirez– At this point, it seems that the Ramirez market is very small, and limited to AL teams that need a DH / lazy LF. Still, there could be a team that would be interested in signing him to be a DH, because he can still rake. What the Red Sox don’t need is his ass-hat-ness in LF, and the league worst plus-minus. I would think the front office would jump at any decent offer with a good return, even if it means eating some of his contract. The big contract doesn’t scare Dombrowski.

Mookie Betts – Chances of trading him are low, but if they can get a Chris Sale or Sonny Gray for Mookie and a package of minor leaguers, I would think the Dombrowski would pull the trigger on this, knowing the Red Sox have Jackie Bradley Jr. in the reserves at CF. This would acknowledge that the team really believes Bradley Jr. is ready to be a two-way player, after a dismal year and a half at the plate.

Jackie Bradley Jr. – He’s finally hitting, but for how long? The Red Sox were in the right in leaving him in Pawtucket to get his swing and approach straightened out. He has come out guns blazing in the month of August (.340, 18 RBI, 4 HR), thanks to his new-found ability to clean out inside fastballs and a much improved swing. His defense is elite, and you could get a team to jump at that kind of talent and promise. Either way, there is a log jam in the outfield. It’s either Mookie, Bradley or Hanley going, and most likely for starting pitching.

Wade Miley

Wade Miley figures to offer the most trade value of any Red Sox starting pitcher going into the offseason.

Wide Miley – Not that he deserves to be traded, but Miley seems to be the best candidate in the rotation. His contract is decent unlike Porcello’s, he is durable unlike Buchholz, and he is not a young pitcher that the Red Sox would want to develop. So he is the odd man out. A team could bite at the veteran and his contract. That way, the Red Sox have room to lure in an ace via another trade or free agency, something that Dombrowski really seems set on doing this offseason.

Dustin Pedroia – A crazy idea to think about with Pedroia being one of the longest tenured Red Sox and a fan favorite, but with Dombrowski, anyone is on the table. Pedroia brings leadership and grit, along with stellar defense and offense at a position that is at a premium. The Red Sox may want deal him because his is injury-prone and they have depth at 2B. Many contenders would be interested and the Red Sox could get a great return of prospects, even with his current contract going through 2021 at $14 million a year.

Blake Swihart – Like Mookie Betts, a Swihart trade would have to be for the right price. And like Betts, the Red Sox are at a premium at Swihart’s position, with Vazquez, who is also a promising young catcher who displays elite defense. It would be hard to trade Vazquez in the offseason because he is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and one of Vazquez’s best assets happens to be his arm. Swihart, who is batting .297 since the all-star break, might be another player that could land a number 1 or 2 starting pitcher as one of the featured player in a trade package. The Red Sox should just be cautious in doing so.

Brock Holt – The Sox lone all-star (should have been Bogaerts) has a high trade value, and could fit into many teams lineups with his versatility. His contract is very low, and Josh Rutledge is another utility guy that the Red Sox could rely on and seems to be playing well since the Red Sox acquired him at the all-star break. Seems like the right time for the 27 year old get dealt. The Red Sox could see a some bullpen help or a lower-end pitching prospects in return.

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