Tag Archives: Boston Sports

Patriots Pulse: Can Danny Amendola Stay Healthy This Season?

The obvious answer is probably not, look at his injury history. Amendola has only played in all 16 games once in his career, 2010 with the Rams. While with the Rams he played in 14, 16, 1, and 11 games respectively. Last year with the Patriots he played in 12 games, he didn’t miss any of the same games Rob Gronkowski missed down the stretch, but Tom Brady did not look his way too often.

Danny Amendola hauled in 10 passes in last year's opener than was ineffective for much of the year.

Danny Amendola hauled in 10 passes in last year’s opener than was ineffective for much of the year.

Brady did not look his way at all in the AFC Championship Game against the Broncos where Amendola had no receptions as well as no targets. Amendola was brought in to replace the production vacated by Wes Welker but he did far less than expected. Julian Edelman who has had his fair share of injury history as well, stepped into the Welker role hauling in 10 passes in the AFC Championship. Edelman became Tom Brady’s favorite target and was fourth in the league in receptions with 105. Amendola only had 54.

Amendola has grown tired of hearing, as well as talking about his injury history. This offseason during a phone interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones, Jones asked Amendola a few questions relating to his injury history, Amendola was not too pleased and hung up on the phone interview. St. Louis is much different than New England. The comparisons to Welker are really unfair but now in his second year with the Patriots he should be expected to step up.

Amendola had a great showing in last season’s opener against Buffalo bringing in 10 passes for 104 yards, a game he was also injured in. After that he missed the next three games, and was not looked for often in the following games by Brady who was throwing passes to the likes of Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Austin Collie. Amendola did not bring in double digit grabs again until Week 15 against the Dolphins. He is surely capable of being a good receiver, he just needs to looks and to be healthy.

Courtesy of Dirty Water Tees, Amendola was hardly the savior the Patriots offense was looking for.

Courtesy of Dirty Water Tees, Amendola was hardly the savior the Patriots offense was looking for.

Danny Amendola’s injury history is well documented, but is it really his fault? Some might say it is bad luck. With new rules in place for defensive holding penalties, Amendola might be able to break out this season, splitting time in the slot with Julian Edelman while giving newly acquired receiver Brandon LaFell chances to get open. The real key to the Patriots offense has always been Tom Brady needs multiple weapons to throw to because once they double his favorite receiver where will he look? The AFC Championship Game last year was a prime example. Amendola will have to step up this season to silence his critics, myself included.

Red Sox Report: West Coast Struggle, Further Buries Sox

Red Sox Continue West Coast Struggles

The West Coast trips that the Red Sox used to enjoy in June and July the past few years are something of the past. Losers of five of six on the trip so far, the Sox send Clay Buchholz to the mound tonight in Seattle and he will be making his first start off the disabled list. Buchholz was said to have a hyperextended knee, but most feel it was all just in his head and his confidence was down so the team shut him down. He had two rehab starts in AAA Pawtucket which both went well, so the team has to hope he picks up in Seattle.

Clay Buchholz Red Sox

Clay Buchholz returns to the mound tonight in Seattle.

The rotation is now in a state of flux with Buchholz returning. Last night Jake Peavy did not help his case to stick in the rotation surrendering seven runs to the Seattle offense. Brandon Workman will start Friday in New York after serving his six game suspension. Rubby De La Rosa, has looked great in his starts, finally showing that he was the prize of the salary dump deal with the Dodgers in the summer of 2012. Felix Doubront’s return to the rotation last week in Oakland did not go well, as he could not get out of the fifth inning. The right choice right now is letting Workman and De La Rosa continue to take a regular turn in the rotation, but with Buchholz, Peavy and Doubront on the roster, that likely will be tough. Doubront did come out of the bullpen in mop up duty last night for two innings, so his turn in the rotation might be in question as well.

The Red Sox have the third worst record in the American League, is it time to focus on 2015? Today the Sox designated Chris Capuano for assignment, which could fuel a series of moves, riding themselves of veteran contracts in hopes of adding to a full farm system. Trading away prospects at this point, would be a true waste, too many teams are in contention to trade away a valuable bat that the Sox need in the middle of the lineup. Veterans to likely be gone by July 31st are A.J. Pierzynski, Jonny Gomes, and Jake Peavy. All three are free agents at the end of the season and will likely not be back with the team next year.

Koji Uehara and Stephen Drew also could also be dealt, Uehara is an interesting case, whether the team wants to chance resigning him in the offseason and seeing if he can be lights out again at age 40 remains to be seen. Stephen Drew has not been what the Red Sox hoped since the mid season signing. Drew, likely came back too soon and was nursing a sore quad for a few days after his debut. Also, moving Xander Bogaerts to third base has proved to be the wrong decision, as his offense has dipped. Some might say the two do not correlate but the writing is on the wall.

Xander Bogaerts Red Sox

Xander Bogaerts production has fallen since the signing of Stephen Drew.

Not saying it is over for these Red Sox, but this year’s team is not the team of 2013. The offense is not getting timely hits, the starting pitching is too inconsistent, and the moves Ben Cherington made did not turn into gold. Not every move a general manager makes is gold like his off season of 2012, but not finding another outfield bat is largely Cherington’s fault. Expecting Jackie Bradley Jr. to provide the same production as Jacoby Ellsbury was not happening. Daniel Nava over performed last season so a drop off had to be expected. And Shane Victorino was hurt most of the last season, so they had to expect the same for this year. The Red Sox do not return home until next Monday against the Cubs, the team will look the same as it left, but with many more questions marks on who is staying and who is going.

Red Sox Report: After Winning 3 in a Row, Sox Still Have Work To Do

After the Red Sox lost ten games in a row, a winning streak was in order right? Well tonight the Sox have a chance to sweep a home and home interleague series with the Atlanta Braves. Losing ten games in a row has to deflate a team and the Sunday afternoon happenings in Tampa Bay seemed to be an example. The benches cleared after Yunel Escobar stole third base up 5 runs in the 7th inning. Escobar began yelling into the Red Sox dugout, even taking off his helmet and walking towards the dugout. Jonny Gomes came in from left field and shoved Escobar, both were ejected. The Red Sox needed something to take their losing streak out on; maybe Escobar stealing third sparked the team.

Clay Buchholz might be missing an extended period of time.

Clay Buchholz might be missing an extended period of time.

Monday’s afternoon game in Atlanta, Clay Buchholz had no command of the strike zone. He walked 8 in just 3 innings of work and rumors began to swirl that he was injured during the game. Manager John Farrell even went as far to say that Buchholz lost seven pounds during the start. Yesterday afternoon Buchholz was played on the disabled list with a hyperextended knee. If Red Sox fans know Buchholz expect him to miss more than 15 days, as every June Buchholz seems to spend an extended time on the disabled list. The team might do better without him as he has a 7.02 ERA. The offense came back from a five run deficit, behind David Ortiz’s 4 RBI and went onto win the game 8-6.

Tuesday’s game was something Jon Lester did not enjoy on the mound, but ended up coming out on top. Lester was seen barking at the home plate umpire on multiple occasions yet not getting tossed or even reprimanded. Lester, who has had many problems with home plate umpires strike zones, fought through a strike zone to which he thought he was getting squeezed and the Sox prevailed yet again 6-3. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a huge two run single in the top of the 7th that put the Sox up by 3. Bradley had been really struggling at the plate as of late, so him contributing in a big spot will do wonders for his confidence.

Manny Ramirez emerged again from the Green Monster prior to last night's game.

Manny Ramirez emerged again from the Green Monster prior to last night’s game.

Before last night’s game the Sox welcomed back the 2004 World Series team for a 10 year reunion and all the familiar faces were there. Pedro, Varitek, Wakefield, Damon, even Manny Ramirez made the return to Fenway. The current day team won yet again behind great pitching from John Lackey who went 6 and 1/3 shutout innings striking out 9. Young players Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley lead the offense with 3 and 2 hits respectively. Bogaerts has really come on offensively of late and is now batting in the two hole ahead of Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz. The Sox need those three to carry the lineup Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli are out.

Last night was the first time the Sox won three in a row all year. They were the last team to accomplish that feat. They jumped over the Rays into fourth place in the division but they still have a lot of work to do. Losing ten games in a row puts you in a real rut. They are still 6 games under .500 which seems like they just do not want to go over this year. The Blue Jays lead the division and are ten games over .500, 8 games up on the Sox. If the Sox want to really catch up quickly they will need to avenge last weekend’s sweep in Tampa and return the favor at Fenway starting tomorrow night. Three in a row is nice, but this team still has a long way to go.

Red Sox Report: Pitching, Defense, Fail Sox In Yankees Series

Shane Victorino played his first game of the season last night.

Shane Victorino played his first game of the season last night.


With the return of Shane Victorino to the Red Sox lineup, the pitching staff has to be breathing a sigh of relief that the defensively gifted Victorino with be back patrolling the spacious right field at Fenway. The Red Sox defense has been a problem so far this season and Jonny Gomes was used a defensive replacement for Mike Carp on Wednesday night. When Gomes is used as a defensive replacement, that will make you scratch your head. Daniel Nava had some lapses defensively in the outfield as well, he has since been sent down to Pawtucket mostly to work on his offense. Last year Nava was an on base machine but struggled early this season in 67 at bats with a .149 average and .240 on base percentage.

More important for the team with Victorino’s return is a table settler atop the Red Sox batting order. More often than not the Red Sox have been down early in games leaving the offense to have to come back from deficits. Every starter has had a bad outing now most recently Jon Lester this Tuesday against the Yankees where he did not get out of the fifth inning. Of his 8 runs only 3 of them were earned so some of that can be blamed on the defense but he still did surrender 11 hits. John Lackey’s Wednesday outing was the best performance of a Sox pitcher this season going 8 innings, striking out 11 and only giving up 1 run. His performance sadly will be lost after the Michael Pineda pine tar incident took the headlines.

Last night’s game was nothing to be happy about either as outfielder Mike Carp took the mound in the ninth inning of a 14-5 loss. The Sox committed five errors as a team and Felix Doubront was chased after 2.2 innings. Starting pitching has been a real problem as Clay Buchholz could not get out of the third inning himself on Monday. Relievers Chris Capuano and Burke Badenhop already have multiple appearances of more than two innings. The bullpen has been a real strength so far but that is just to keep the team in the game not stringing together some wins. Time will tell how the bullpen performs with a lead, but Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa have not been used in many games with a lead.

Felix Doubront was yet another Sox pitcher to have a rough outing last night.

Felix Doubront was yet another Sox pitcher to have a rough outing last night.

A weekend series in Toronto is up next for the Sox and Jake Peavy will be sent to the mound tonight. Peavy’s last outing he gave up five runs this past Sunday. John Farrell said he will have a team meeting before the game, which hopefully lights a spark for this team. Will Middlebrooks is expected to be back tonight as well, so the Red Sox will have a healthy lineup for the first time this season. Maybe that will be a sign of good things to come, but if the starting pitching continues to be inconsistent the offense will have no time to catch up.

Red Sox Report: Sox Lose 3 of 4 In Bronx, Possibly Pedroia

Sox manager John Farrell was the first manager ejected for arguing with a replay ruling.


The feelings John Farrell expressed toward the umpires last night seemed to have boiled over from a bigger problem the Red Sox are going through. The offense is struggling without its healthy starters playing every day. Dustin Pedroia seems to have received good news this afternoon that his wrist is not broken but just bruised. Pedroia, who hates missing games period, missed Sunday’s game and might still require a DL stint but not an extended one.

Koji Uehara did not pitch this weekend either with soreness in his shoulder. This made the Sox bring on Edward Mujica for the save in Friday night’s 4-2 over the Yankees, their only win in the series. Home runs from Jonny Gomes and Grady Sizemore were the only offense Jon Lester needed en route to his first win on the young season. The Sox offense did not score over four runs in any of the games this weekend and have only scored five runs in four games this season, with two of them being a losing effort.

Shane Victorino who has not played at all this season, will likely start a rehab assignment in AA Portland on Tuesday. Victorino who has been bothered by hamstring issues, would have likely been back sooner if he did not catch the flu. His return will cause an outfield logjam as John Farrell has been playing Jackie Bradley and Grady Sizemore together in the outfield with Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes seeing more time on the bench. Bradley is better defensively than Sizemore in center and left field might save Sizemore’s legs making him more effective on the base paths. A decision might come as early as this weekend on who Victorino replaces on the roster and Daniel Nava could be on his way out.

The  loss of Pedroia would hurt Sox offense even more.

The loss of Pedroia would hurt Sox offense even more.

With Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list the Sox brought in veteran infielder Ryan Roberts to platoon with Jonathan Herrera. Roberts collected his first two hits with the team in last night’s game and has been playing good defense. He was pinch hit for in the eight by Mike Carp, who struck out with the bases loaded against David Phelps. No timetable has been set on Middlebrooks return, but I expected him to come back strong this season, so hopefully a return is soon.

The starting pitching this weekend besides John Lackey’s start on Friday was excellent. 4,2,7,3 those were the runs given up respectively in the series. With this offense you should win three of those games. Run support has been a problem with the team as the leadoff hitter has been a spinning wheel between Gomes, Nava, Sizemore, and even Pedroia got a crack at it on Saturday. Xander Bogaerts has no RBI but a .283 average, can’t knock in runs with no one on base.

The Sox turn to Jake Peavy for Tueday night’s opener in Chicago against the White Sox. Peavy will be making a return to Chicago where he pitched nearly four years. He has looked good in his first two starts, giving up a combined three runs, but no wins to show for it. The Sox offense has to come around or John Farrell will be yelling at more people than just umpires. Here’s to hoping it comes around tomorrow night with Peavy on the hill.

Red Sox Report: Sizemore Decision Has Impact On Sox Lineup

Grady Sizemore has done nothing but impress the Sox with his bat and glove.

Who will be leading off for the Red Sox preparing for the first pitch from Chris Tillman on Opening Day in Baltimore? With ten days from the first game of the 2014 season, signs point towards Grady Sizemore winning the center field job as well as the leadoff spot in the Sox lineup. Not something most fans and writers expected back in February when the team reported to camp. Sizemore, who has not played in a major league game since 2011, has looked healthy this spring and this upcoming weekend will play in three straight games for the first time.

With the health and the timetable of Sizemore’s recovery not being questioned at this time signs point to Jackie Bradley being sent down to Triple A unless another move is made to deal outfielder. The Sox like Mike Carp’s bat off the bench and the fact he can provide help at first base. Carp packs left handed punch off the bench that this team needs, and unless they are overwhelmed with an offer he is here to stay. Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes seem to have the left field platoon locked down with Carp getting the occasional start as well. Sizemore of course needs to pass the test this weekend. Starting Bradley in Pawtucket I feel is the better choice than with the big club just to send him down like last season. He could use some more seasoning and work on hitting pitches inside.

With Sizemore leading off who will follow him? Signs point to Shane Victorino taking hold of the second spot in the lineup once again and Pedroia following in the three spot. Pedroia is more of a number two hitter but is hitting third to better the team. After thumb surgery this offseason Pedroia’s power numbers should be up this year. Pedroia did hit second in the World Series last October, with Ortiz and Napoli moving up as well but unless the team needs a shakeup the lineup with have Ortiz in the cleanup spot with Napoli behind him.

With the first five spots taken, expect Nava or Gomes to hit in the six hole in the lineup and possible switch with Victorino who seems to be giving up switch hitting this season and may move down against right handed pitchers. Xander Bogaerts will likely hit seventh to start the season and in all likelihood move up in the lineup if he shows the plate discipline he did last October and so far in Spring Training. Will Middlebrooks, who started last season hitting sixth in the Sox lineup, is expected to start in either the eight or nine spot flip flopping with the catcher that day David Ross or A.J. Pierzynski, depending on the matchup.
Sizemore is the real wild card in the whole lineup. If he starts the season with the team he leads off. If he doesn’t it is likely Jonny Gomes or Daniel Nava will, which might make the lineup suffer. You can’t expect Sizemore to be like he was in Cleveland but there is no question he is going to try to be the player he once was. With Victorino giving up switch hitting the flexibility might be lost when it comes to matchups but Victorino showed last October he could hit right handed pretty well. Pedroia and Ortiz are going to hit and both will start the season healthy together.

Mike Napoli came to spring training with no worries about his hip this year and just focusing on his hitting and defense. If Napoli cuts down on his strikeouts he could be even more of a force than last season, but the real focus is just continuing to have good at bats and work the counts like he did last season averaging over five pitches per at bat. Nava and Gomes can also work the count if they hit behind Napoli which will leave pitchers giving Ortiz something to hit. Bogaerts is already expected to be a top shortstop and the Sox will likely have an advantage against most teams if Bogaerts shows he can a premier hitter as a primarily weak hitting position.

The Sox are hoping the work Middlbrooks did this offseason will translate onto the field.

The Sox are hoping the work Middlbrooks did this offseason will translate onto the field.

Which Will Middlebrooks will the Sox see this season? The one who suffered through a long slump last year eventually getting sent down to Pawtucket and losing his job or the one who when recalled seemed to focus on grinding out at bats and working on hitting the off speed pitches. No question he has the power, the consistency is what John Farrell and the Sox brass are looking for. Pierzynski has gap power which may lead to many doubles at Fenway and has always been an above average hitting catcher throughout his career. Ross, who will see more time than the prototypical backup catcher, is no slouch at the plate either as we saw in October he was a contributor as well.

John Farrell and Ben Cherington still have to ultimately make the decision on Grady Sizemore within the next ten days but in my opinion he makes the team and Bradley starts in Pawtucket. The Sox will grind out at bats just like last season and try to get to bullpens early. If everything follows suit the Sox lineup on Opening Day look like this:

1. CF Grady Sizemore
2. RF Shane Victorino
3. 2B Dustin Pedroia
4. DH David Ortiz
5. 1B Mike Napoli
6. LF Daniel Nava
7. SS Xander Bogaerts
8. C A.J. Pierzynski
9. 3B Will Middlebrooks

If Sizemore doesn’t pass the test weekend and needs more time in Florida to start the year expect the lineup to look like this.

1. LF Daniel Nava
2. RF Shane Victorino
3. 2B Dustin Pedroia
4. DH David Ortiz
5. 1B Mike Napoli
6. SS Xander Bogaerts
7. 3B Will Middlebrooks
8. C A.J. Pierzynski
9. CF Jackie Bradley Jr.

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