Tag Archives: Boston Sports

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.



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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.

Red Sox Report: Rotation Depth Will Be Key To Sox Success

Rotation depth is really what helped the Red Sox get to October and eventually win the World Series. The trade deadline deal with the White Sox and Tigers netting the Red Sox Jake Peavy for the stretch run definitely made a difference. Peavy won four of ten starts once acquired, filled in for Clay Buchholz in the rotation who had been out since early June. The Sox gave the ball to Allen Webster and Brandon Workman at other times across last season. Webster did not have the greatest go at it but Workman looked great in a short sample and eventually was moved to the bullpen and was getting important outs in the eight inning of the World Series. Who will be the pitchers counted on for depth this season?

Jake Peavy, who cut his finger, looks to get back on the mound soon.

Jake Peavy, who cut his finger, looks to get back on the mound soon.

With Jake Peavy having a cutting his index finger due to a fish hook accident, depth might come into play right away this season. With Ryan Dempster announcing he would not play this season the first week of spring training the Sox turned to Chris Capuano who made his first spring start Wednesday against the Cardinals. The extent to Peavy’s injury is relatively unknown but he did throw off flat ground and will look to throw off a mound soon. Peavy has the bulldog attitude that he won’t be out for long but still this seems to be a concern if he doesn’t get in spring games soon. Peavy could be positioned as the fifth starter meaning he wouldn’t start until April 5th.

It seems Capuano would get the first look if a starter goes down this year as he is the most experienced and the young pitchers could use a little more seasoning in the minors. Capuano is experienced in the National League but could benefit from Fenway Park. Webster gave up 3 runs in his first spring start against the Twins only pitching 1 2/3 innings but did shut down the Marlins yesterday with 3 shutout innings. Webster, only 24 was acquired in the Dodgers trade of 2012, could soon be passed in the line with more starters expected to be getting time in AAA Pawtucket this season. Rubby De La Rosa also acquired in that trade did not pitch a great deal last season recovering from Tommy John surgery might be better fit in a relief role. He also did not fare well in his first spring outing giving up 4 runs to the Rays Tuesday.



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My pick after Capuano if a starter goes down would be Brandon Workman. Workman was relatively unknown last season until he was placed on the postseason roster and took the hearts of Red Sox fans getting key outs down the stretch. Workman did not give up an earned run in seven postseason appearances and that was huge for a gutted Sox bullpen from the start of the season. Workman will not be overlooked this season, as John Farrell knows what he has in Workman. Keep an eye on Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes, who will likely start the season in Pawtucket. Ranaudo struck out four Twins in two innings of work in his first spring appearance and was added to the 40-man roster this off-season. Barnes has been shut down for a few days with should fatigue and the Sox are not taking any chances on the fireballer from UConn.

Henry Owens could turn out to be the best Red Sox pitching prospect.

Henry Owens could turn out to be the best Red Sox pitching prospect.

Drake Britton looked good in stretches for the Sox last season and was a lefty out of the pen with the loss of Andrew Miller. With Franklin Morales and Matt Thornton ahead of him on the depth chart he was left off the postseason roster and might fit better as a full time reliever for the Sox. Another lefty to keep an eye on will be Henry Owens who finished the season in AA Portland and could be in AAA by June. Owens a 6’6 lefty is the Sox 4th rated prospect according to MLB.com and might pass all the names I said that is how good he could be.

With double headers and unexpected injuries that occur it is safe to say that Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, and Jake Peavy all won’t make 30 starts for the Sox this season. Buchholz took a while to come back last season from a freak injury. Doubront broke down towards the end of the season in his first season with a full workload. Lester and Lackey were horses down the stretch and into the postseason and will be not pushed too hard early on in the season. Teams with depth in the rotation are usually the ones in October and expect the Red Sox to have even better depth this season.

Boston Sports Blogapalooza Is Back: Join Us On 3/29 At The Harp!

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Your favorite Boston sports networking event is back for it’s fifth year! Boston Sports Blogapalooza AKA #Paloozaspring14 presented by ChazzRock Productions is making it’s triumphant return to The Harp on March 29th at 12PM. This year’s edition proves to be one of the best!

If you have your own Boston sports blog, are a fan, work for the media or have a business that sells to the aforementioned groups, you NEED to be here.

#PaloozaSpring14 (see what we did there with that Twitter hashtag thing?) gives you the perfect relaxed venue to network with your colleagues and forge new relationships whether they be professional or personal. Past attendees have renewed their passion for writing and have landed new jobs, so don’t forget those business cards!

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Be sure not miss the “Turn Your Sports Content Into Cash” workshop presented by title sponsor Avantlink and Fanatics. They will teach you affiliate marketing methods that will help you generate some extra income and who doesn’t need more cash in this economy?

Oh yeah, the Boston Bruins will be battling the Washington Capitals in DC at 1230PM! Win-Win if you ask me? Watch the B’s and shoot the sh*t about sports? You had me at Hello!

There will be raffle prizes and more WICKED AWESOMENESS that you come to expect from the good ole Palooza.

PALOOZA SPRING 2014 Tentative Agenda

12pm – 1pm – Registration

12pm – 430pm – WICKED AWESOME Networking (Bring Business Cards!)

1230pm – 3pm Boston Bruins Vs. Washington Capitals

1pm – 3pm Coors Light Promo

2pm – Food Served By The Harp

315pm – 345pm – Turn Your Sports Content Into Cash-Affiliate Marketing That Works! Presented By Avantlink & Fanatics

430pm – 5pm Raffle Drawing & Wrap Up

Hope to see you all at the Harp on March 29th!

Eventbrite - Boston Sports Blogapalooza Spring 2014 - #PaloozaSpring14

 

Get Ready To Get Your Blog On!

Vintage Athlete Of The Month: John Hannah

John Hannah

The New England Patriots have not only been the most successful NFL franchise of the early 21st century, but they’ve become synonymous over the past several years with a finesse-style offense that places all the pressure on the quarterback. It wasn’t always that way though–the franchise was the only NFL home of the man who tops most career lists as the greatest offensive lineman to ever play the game.

We refer, of course, to John Hannah, and as we get set for this coldest of NFL months, when physical play is at a premium, it seems appropriate to honor “Hog Hannah” as BST&N’s Vintage Athlete Of The Month.

Hannah comes from a terrific football bloodline, with his father and brother both playing in the NFL trenches.  His father, Herb, played a year in the NFL for the New York Giants and younger brother Charley had a 12-year career in Tampa Bay and Oakland.

The signs that John would be an excellent football player were there from the outset in high school, where he was also a national champion wrestler, and participated in track, in the shot put and discus throw. He followed in his father’s footsteps and played college football at Alabama, a path his younger brother would also follow.

Hannah was All-American in his junior and senior year, and Alabama legend Bear Bryant called him the best offensive lineman he’d ever coached. Considering that Bryant won five national championships, is on the short list of the best college coaches in history and built that success around bruising offensive lines, that’s quite a statement.

Even though Hannah was considered a little short by NFL standards, his lower body strength and agility won over scouts and the Patriots took him fourth overall in the 1973 NFL draft. It was a draft that built New England’s running game for the next decade, because seven spots later the Pats grabbed USC running back Sam “Bam” Cunningham to run through the holes Hannah would be creating.

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Patriots Move To 4-0; On To The Next One!

Easy work on Sunday night!

Easy work on Sunday night!

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Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a fantastic 30-23 road victory against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday Night Football. It ensured that the Pats moved on to 4-0 for the third time in Bill Belichick’s tenure and it was the head coach’s 209th win which moved him to joint 5th all-time with Chuck Noel. It was a back to the future performance for Tom Brady who just seems to keep on getting better with age even despite being surrounded by a cast of rookie receivers. The future hall of fame quarterback is pulling off a great achievement with this receiving core and he is helping turn these players in to legitimate NFL wideouts so early on in their careers; Brady finished Sunday night’s game with a season high of 316 passing yards completing 20 out of 31 passes.

Not for the first time this season we saw the Patriots defense come up big with Aqib Talib being the stand out performer versus Atlanta as he hauled in an interception early on as well as the providing the game-sealing defensive breakup in the end zone to stop the Falcons late comeback attempt. Unfortunately Vince Wilfork suffered a season ending injury when he tore his achilles on Sunday night which has come as a massive blow for this Patriots team. The franchise has the ‘next man up’ approach but he will be a big miss. Thankfully for New England its entire defense has been contributing so far this season which has been a big factor in this four game winning streak; they are tied for 6th in forced fumbles recovering 3 out of 5 and are tied for 10th in interceptions with five picks. This defense is for real and despite Wilfork’s absence Belichick will find a way to make things work.

Tom Brady has won 140 games to just 39 losses which is outstanding. He has 45,820 passing yards and a fantastic touchdown to interception ratio of 341-125. With this limited offense people dared to doubt the Golden Boy but he has built up a good rapport with the likes of Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins as well as utilised Julian Edelman and even connected with Mike Mulligan for a touchdown on Sunday night. The running game has looked good with a well-run combined attack which saw Blount rush for 64 yards and a score, Ridley get 53 yards as well as Bolden chip in with 17 from 6 carries.

The offense will get stronger when Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola return from injury; two valuable weapons who Brady can rely on and will help take this team to another level. Tom Brady is working miracles at the moment I mean could Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Alex Smith make things work with this receiving core? No. The Patriots are a Super Bowl contender if they have a healthy roster heading in to the playoffs and after starting the season 4-0 they’re on course for an impressive regular season.

Season Prediction: With the way things currently stand the next chapter of Brady and Manning could be on the cards in a potential mouth-watering AFC Championship game. Picture a Star Wars scenario with Wes Welker as Anakin Skywalker and he has left to join Emperor Peyton Manning on the dark side. Brady, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his young receivers, they can represent Luke Skywalker, will go on the road to Mile High in a high stakes affair with the winner going to New York to play in Super Bowl XLVIII. Regular season: 13-3

Who would prevail?

Who would prevail?

 

 

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