Tag Archives: Boston Red Sox

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.

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.



Big Papi & Gronk Do Dunks Auto Tune Style (VIDEO)

big papi gronk

When Gronk is not releasing books or Big Papi is not bitching about playing first base, Rob Gronkowski and David Ortiz are getting their “Dunks” aka Dunkin’ Donuts on! In their latest hip hop summer chill classic, “Turn It Up” they give auto tune king T-Pain a run for his money…so turn it up!

Big Papi and Gronk could be the biggest duo in hip hop since these guys….

kid n play

They aint gonna hurt nobody….

Pot of Baked Beans Goes To SI Hot Mustard!

5 Things We’ve Learned About The 2015 Red Sox

Red Sox benefit from Dustin Pedroia hitting lead-off

A lineup change the includes Dustin Pedroia leading-off seems to be best for the Sox.

A quarter of the way through season, and the 2015 Red Sox haven’t looked great, though they have strung together some quality series of late. They certainly have to work through some things. Miraculously, they are still in the playoff hunt in the early-going.

They say you’ll have a good sense of where you are as a team by Memorial Day weekend. Here’s what we have learned about this team so far:

1) The Offensive Approach is too One-Dimensional

David Ortiz fake swing
Through the first quarter of the season the Sox ranked at the bottom tier of the league in many statistical categories as a team, including batting average, runs and stolen bases. What they don’t lack is home runs, which is one of their issues at its core: they can rely on the long ball too much. This team needs to consider a different approach to manufacture runs. You won’t always get inside fastballs to turn on and belt. You’ll need to learn to hit outside curveballs and change-ups. The reason the 2013 Red Sox were dangerous was because as a team, they were dynamic. They hit to all fields, stole bases, did a lot of hit-and-runs, had timely hits and made opposing pitchers throw a lot of pitchers. They need to get back to that style of play. That’s when they’re at their best, and it’s good to see glimpses of that style of play as of late.

2) Don’t Count On The Starting Pitching To Hold Up

Even if John Farrell referred to his staff as five “aces” in spring training, it was obvious the pitching was more like a staff of #3 starters that were expected to hold give the offense a chance to keep the team in games. Really, they have all been pitching like a number 3 pitcher at best. The quality of pitching is erratic, and they may not be able to give the team a fighting chance as much as we’d prefer to see. Sure, I believe in the rotation to string together some quality starts, but from what have seen so far, you don’t know what kind of outing you’ll get from these guys. The unpredictability makes it incredibly difficult to depend on this rotation to consistently provide solid starts every night. It doesn’t seem that they are capable of it.

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