Tag Archives: Franklin Morales

BST&N’s Top 5 Red Sox Moments Of 2013

2013 was a year to remember for Red Sox fans. The team faced adversity right from the start after an emotional month of April after the unfortunate happening of the Boston Marathon bombings. Two experienced closers went down in the Sox bullpen within the first three months and the team turned to high-five king Koji Uehara and there was no looking back. This 2013 team restored the faith in Red Sox Nation. Here are my top five moments of the 2013 season for the Boston Red Sox.

5. July 21st Napoli walks off against the Yankees

In a season full of walk-off hits here Mike Napoli celebrates his eleventh inning home run.

In a season full of walk-off hits here Mike Napoli celebrates his eleventh inning home run.

In a game that was on Sunday Night Baseball, which Adrian Gonzalez might not have liked, this Red Sox, Yankees game fit the bill of drama. The starters for each team were knocked out early, Sabathia for the Yankees and Dempster for the Sox. The bullpens for both teams were huge tossing up zeroes until the bottom of the eleventh, when Mike Napoli hit a walk off home run off the Yankees Adam Warren.  The shot to center field was Napoli’s second of the game and was the Sox 60th win of the season on only July 21st. The walk-off was also the ninth of the season for the Sox in what was a wild season of walk-offs. Drake Britton and Pedro Beato pitched the last two innings of the game and would end up supplying the Sox with some solid innings down the stretch while shuffling back and forth between Pawtucket.



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4. September 20th Sox Clinch the American League East

Jonny Gomes brought out the army helmet for the first of many occasions after the Sox clinched the AL East.

Jonny Gomes brought out the army helmet for the first of many occasions after the Sox clinched the AL East.

Just five months after the first home game after the marathon the Red Sox did something most “experts” did not expect them to even contend for in 2013. The Red Sox clinched the division after their 94th win against the Blue Jays on this Friday night in late September. The hats and t-shirts came out for the first time since 2008 for the Sox and they read “We Own The East.”  Expectations were changed at the All-Star break when the Sox were in contention and they were certainly changed when they clinched the division. Greener pastures were in the future for the Sox. It seemed appropriate that on the night the Sox clinched the division that it was Jon Lester who got the win while turning to Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara to slam the door on the win.

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Red Sox Report: Checking In on the AL East Off-season Moves

While this offseason for the Red Sox has been relatively quiet the American League East has gone through some dramatic changes.  The Red Sox have six, maybe seven capable starting pitchers if you include Brandon Workman and seem to be in no rush to move one. I see where they are coming from as names like Matt Garza and Ervin Santana are still available so the teams losing out on those two will need arms and might be willing to pay a little more. The return the Tigers got for Doug Fister seems to be some the Red Sox would want for either Peavy or Dempster and expect more for Lackey or Doubront, if they go that route.

Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano left the Yankees this offseason for the Mets and Mariners respectively.

Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano left the Yankees this offseason for the Mets and Mariners respectively.

The free agency season has been kind to the wallets of new Yankees players as they have added a slew of players to a team that really suffered with depth issues last season. Gone are Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson which as a Red Sox fan will be good because they always mashed Red Sox pitching. Although it was always good to see great players like Cano and Granderson on the field. The Yankees brought in Brian McCann to be their catcher as last offseason they let Russell Martin go and the catching position for the Yankees struggled last year.  Jacoby Ellsbury got big money from the Yankees and will have a lot of expectations in New York after that contract signing. Some forget that Carlos Beltran also signed with the Yankees so their outfield will have good defense with Gardner, Ellsbury, and Beltran.

The Alex Rodriguez hearing is not scheduled to resume until January so the Yankees might be done spending big money because if his suspension is lifted they will be close to the luxury tax. Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson were brought in to help with infield depth because without Rodriguez, Johnson could play a lot of third base. Mariano Rivera won’t be walking through that bullpen door in the ninth any longer so right now it seems like David Robertson will be closing. Matt Thornton after a short stint with the Red Sox also turned in his socks for pinstripes.

The Rays started early with their usual under the radar moves and not spending big on free agents. They acquired Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell in a trade to fortify the catching position as well as the back end of the bullpen as Fernando Rodney will probably be pitching elsewhere next season. The Rays retained James Loney on a three year deal. He provided the Rays with stellar defense at first base as well as hit for a great average in his first season in Tampa. It is expected that the Rays are looking to trade David Price as his value is at an all time high with two years of control left which the Rays have traded the likes of Shields and Garza in the same position. Price is certainly going to want an expensive contract when he hits free agency so the Rays would be smart to move him now if they can get an impact player like Wil Myers in return like they did last year.

The Orioles I feel have regressed this offseason. Nate McLouth their regular left fielder, left for Washington and the Orioles might have to play the often injured Nolan Reimold in left field. The O’s also traded their All Star closer to Oakland for Jemile Weeks and a player to be named later. Weeks could be the everyday second baseman while Grant Balfour switches jobs with Johnson as he came over from Oakland via free agency. Manny Machado will be coming back from a leg injury and might not be 100% when the season starts. Also starting pitching has always been a problem for the Orioles and they were unable to keep Scott Feldman, who they acquired last year from the Cubs.

The Blue Jays who grabbed all the headlines last offseason with huge trades with the Mets and Marlins have stayed quiet this offseason. Dioner Navarro came over from the Cubs and will be their everyday catcher. R.A. Dickey will most likely have his personal catcher Josh Thole behind the plate to try and replicate the success he had while he was with the Mets, after a down year during his first year in Toronto. If Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion can stay healthy and be a 3-4 combo Toronto was hoping for Toronto may leave the AL East basement next season.

The Red Sox acquired infield Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies today.

The Red Sox acquired infield Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies today.

There is no question the American League East has talent top to bottom. The Red Sox won a World Series last year while the Rays won the Wild Card. Baltimore and New York both finished with 85 wins and Toronto had 74 wins. This was one of only two divisions without a 90 loss team. The Yankees will certainly be better offensively but they need starting pitching and Robertson to figure out the closer role. The Rays will be their usual selves and Maddon will manage to win every game and they will likely be there in the end. I feel Baltimore has taken a step back and their window may be closing if they cannot extend Matt Wieters or Chris Davis. Toronto has to improve with all that talent and they came on late last year. The Sox lost Ellsbury, Saltalamacchia and likely Drew but will have others healthy and ready to take on a bigger role with the team. Ben Cherington just added a bench piece in infielder Jonathan Herrera from the Rockies today for Franklin Morales. Looks for more small moves like this from the Red Sox as spring training is under two months away.

Boston Red Sox: Eighth World Series Championship By The Numbers

Think back to where you were a year ago. Or two years ago. You may have found it increasingly difficult to call yourself a Red Sox fan. Now, just 11 short months after a last-place finish in the AL East – 26 games behind the Yankees, the Boston Red Sox have won their eighth World Series championship. They didn’t do it by the length of the hair on their chins either. They dominated the Cardinals in Game 6 behind some of the guys they brought in for 2013 – guys like Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Koji Uehara, who did nothing but what was asked of them all season long. With old reliable, David Ortiz, having an unimaginable World Series and Jon Lester, looking as good as he did in 2007, the duo quickly turned into bigger postseason legends, while guys like Jonny Gomes, Daivd Ross and (can you believe it?) John Lackey helped this team complete an unbelievable turnaround in its first year under Manager of the Year, John Farrell. They didn’t do it to break a curse. They didn’t do it with the help of a bloody sock. They did it for each other and for a city still recovering from one of its darkest days. Now, after watching the duck boats navigate down Boston streets, no one really remembers what it felt like trailing 5-1 to the Tigers in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the ALCS. Because these guys never quit.

It is time, once again, to take a look at Boston’s latest championship by the numbers – both the good and the bad – or, as you might notice, a look at all that Ortiz accomplished in the series – and it is a lot. Also, find out which two legendary pitchers Lackey can now be mentioned in the same breath with, what noteworthy accomplishment occurred for the Drew family and the new record for Red Sox games played in a season. This is Boston Red Sox: A World Series Championship by the Numbers.

Six years was definitely too long to wait.

0: Lester was the third Boston left-hander to ever start a Game 1 in the World Series. Like Babe Ruth and Bruce Hurst before him, he did not allow a single run.

0: Victorino had been hitless in the World Series coming in to Game 6. But two little pokes made us all forget that.

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Red Sox Report: Napoli Struggling, Middlebrooks Hopes to Stay

Despite losing three of four to the Royals this past weekend the Red Sox now have a three game lead in the American League East over the Rays. The Rays have lost 5 in a row and just were swept by the Dodgers this past weekend. The Orioles are making a surge only 4.5 games back and have a series at Arizona this week. Tampa Bay will be playing home against Seattle as the Red Sox head up to Toronto for a three game set.

John Lackey has received sub par run support this season from the Red Sox offense.

John Lackey has received sub par run support this season from the Red Sox offense.


The Red Sox weekend in Kansas City was not terribly bad from a pitching sense. On Sunday, John Lackey pitched a good game and got no run support yet again. Lackey gets the worst run support of any Red Sox starter and he has to be frustrated. This year has been a good year for Lackey as wins and losses do not really tell the story. He has the best ERA on the staff besides Clay Buchholz who has pitched since June. He has three less strikeouts then Jon Lester in three less starts and goes out for seven innings almost every start. Lackey’s next start will come against the Yankees this weekend which promises to be exciting, with A-Rod making a return to Fenway and will certainly receive  a great amount of boos.

Mike Napoli’s struggles continued into this weekend as he was dropped to sixth in the lineup and struck out three times on Sunday bringing his season total to 155 and will most certainly break the record set by Mark Bellhorn in 2004 with 177. Much was made of Napoli’s contract with the Sox this offseason as it took forever to get done. He got $5 million guaranteed instead of the $13 million that was originally reported, but he will reach the $13 million because of the games he has played in. Sure he has remained healthy but his recent struggles with the high fastball have been well documented and now pitchers know he can’t catch up to it or lay off it. The Red Sox will need for Napoli to get hot again down the stretch and provide protection for Ortiz in the lineup. Who’s to say he can’t find his stroke like he was mashing the ball in April?

Will Middlebrooks was brought back up to the big league club Saturday and it looks like third base is his job to lose for the remainder of the season. Brandon Snyder hit the disabled list and Brock Holt will provide backup infielder duty for the time being. Middlebrooks has been on base four times in the two games since the call up and was batting out of the nine spot, leaving the pressure off him. If Middlebrooks can be anything like last season down the stretch he will be certainly moved up in the lineup. The second year adjustment has been tough for him and he admitted he put too much pressure on himself. If he does help this Sox offense it will be against left handed pitching as they just cannot hit lefties well this year except C.C. Sabathia.

The three game series against the last place Blue Jays can certainly help the Red Sox and the off day yesterday will give the bullpen arms a chance to rest as Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa were used across the beginning of the trip in Houston and Kansas City. The young arms like Brandon Workman and Drake Britton have showed they can pitch in the major leagues but as they get put in more high leverage situations it’ll be interesting how effective they will be. Franklin Morales returning will certainly help as he has not pitched much this year so his arm should be fresh but he needs to stay healthy.

Ryan Dempster, Jon Lester and Jake Peavy in that order will start in Toronto. Dempster has gotten great run support from the offense and has performed what it expected from a number five starter. Jon Lester is not having a great season but seems to continue to battle every start and maybe a start against the Blue Jays will help. Jake Peavy has struggled on the road both with the White Sox and Red Sox and maybe a trip to the north of the border will help get him on track before they take a trip out west to San Francisco and Los Angles next week as he will face familiar opponents from his days in San Diego.

Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Dustin Pedroia spent their day off at the Blue Jays game yesterday.

Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Dustin Pedroia spent their day off at the Blue Jays game yesterday.

A three game lead in the division as we creep towards the halfway point in August is something this team has to be happy about but with divisional games across the month of September it is time for the Red Sox to string together a winning streak and get that lead to something more comfortable. Also on a day off Monday Jonny Gomes, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Dustin Pedroia were seen at the Blue Jays game seated behind home plate.  Baseball players on their off day watching baseball, what a world.

Red Sox Report: Sox Hope to Race to All Star Break Without More Injuries

Two closers,  the starting right fielder, the backup catcher, and the designated hitter  have spent time on the disabled list this season for the Red Sox.

Joel Hanrahan is out for the season after the team thought he could straighten out the back end of the bullpen after last year did not go so well without Jonathan Papelbon.  Andrew Bailey who was acquired last year in hopes of replacing Papelbon, went on the disabled list and then performed poorly and was removed from the closers role.  Shane Victorino who got a nice big contract this off season has been a great character guy but has had some trouble staying on the field and was limping last night after tracking down a fly ball.  David Ross who was brought in to help the pitching staff has unfortunately had two concussions and is on the 60 day disabled list.  Ross may be able to help the staff in September.  David Ortiz, the only injured player of the bunch who started the season on the disabled list, has hit the cover off the ball since his return and leads the team in RBI even after missing nearly the whole month of April. With his next hit he will have the most hits all time as a designated hitter.

Injuries are a part of baseball and it really tests the depth of an organization and the general managers job.

David Ortiz had a four hit performance last night in Seattle.

David Ortiz had a four hit performance last night in Seattle.


If two months ago you told me Brock Holt and Jose Iglesias would be the Red Sox left side of the infield I would have laughed in your face.  The bottom two in the lineup have performed well and played well defensively.  Holt who was a middle infielder did not play all that much third base until Xander Bogaers got called up to Pawtucket so he slid over to third.  Holt, the other piece acquired in the Joel Hanrahan trade had a rough April in Pawtucket but has been performing much better of late which landed him a call up.  It seems he will get the starts against the right handed pitchers for the time being with Brandon Snyder getting the starts against lefties.  Snyder, who made a costly error at third in Saturday night’s game in Anaheim, might be on the bench for a while because of his defense at third.  These two of course are playing third because opening day third baseman Will Middlebrooks was demoted to Pawtucket.  Last week he hit two home runs and had eight runs batted in one game.  The Middlebrooks problem is his consistency.  He may have two home runs in one game but then go o-4 the next three.  At bats every day is what he needs and I feel he will be brought up after the All Star Break if he can prove something this upcoming weekend.  Stephen Drew who may always be compared to his brother, which I feel is unfair, is on the disabled list as well and might not have a job when he comes back because of Iglesias performing so well.

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Has Felix Doubront Figured It Out?

Felix Doubront has gotten out of the funk he had to start the season.

Felix Doubront has gotten out of the funk he had to start the season.

At the start of this season I said Felix Doubront was the most important young player on the Red Sox.  After a sub par April, I still felt the same way.  He may have been 3-0 in the month but he was throwing too many pitches and wasn’t going deep into games which was taxing on the bullpen.  His month of May started much of the same giving up six runs in each of his first two starts and not getting out of the sixth innings.  Since Franklin Morales began rehab as a starting pitcher Doubront has performed the way I thought he could.  In his last four starts he has surrendered no more than two earned runs while facing the Yankees and Indians along the way.  Maybe the thought of him losing his job in the rotation had a positive effect.  Since he was put in the bullpen for a game in which he was used quickly after Allen Webster couldn’t get out of the second inning against the Twins, he has looked like a man on a mission.

With John Lackey performing well after a year off from Tommy John Surgery, Doubront should have some extra motivation not to be the under performer of the staff.  Even Ryan Dempster after a few rough starts had a good night on Monday with seven solid innings against the Rangers.  The Rangers offense might not be what it once was with Josh Hamilton but they still pack some punch.  Speaking of Hamilton, Doubront’s next start comes against his new team the Angels on Friday night at Fenway.

Every starting pitcher has some bumps in the road during the season, let us Sox fans hope Doubront’s bumps are now out of the way early.  Jon Lester is going through somewhat of a tough time right now giving up four or more runs in his last three starts and eight walks combined.  We know Lester is somewhat of a nibbler when it comes to the strike zone and when he doesn’t get the calls he wants it takes a toll on him.  He is on the mound tonight against the Rangers opposite fellow lefty Derek Holland.  Maybe this will be the start Lester turns it around as this month is a tough stretch and the team will need Lester to be a stopper.

1.62. That is the ERA of Red Sox righty Clay Buchholz.  We knew Buchholz had the talent going into the last few seasons.  After all this is a pitcher who threw a no hitter in his rookie year.  Some pitchers throw no hitters and disappear from the radar.  Sure Buchholz had his ups and downs but now he has settled down with a manager he apparently fears in John Farrell.  He goes out there and pitches and pitches effectively.  What more could the Red Sox ask for? Just stay healthy.


With the Sox starters going into the sixth inning and beyond the bullpen has had time to rest after a busy month of April.  Andrew Bailey has only pitched in four games since his return from the disabled list.  This could be good and bad as he has only had one  save opportunity to get himself back into the closer role he was doing well with before his trip to the disabled list.  Junichi Tazawa has looked good back to his setup role.  The Red Sox now have three lefties in the pen with Andrew Miller, Craig Breslow, and Franklin Morales. John Farrell will have plenty of pitchers to play with matchups in the later innings if the opposing manager wants to get into a game of left/right.  Alex Wilson after a successful stint with the club was sent down to Pawtucket being the odd man out when Morales returned and having options.  Clayton Mortensen’s time may be running out giving up runs in three of his last five appearances.

The Red Sox have a tough stretch coming up with series against the Angels, Rays, Orioles, Rays, and Tigers over the next three weeks.  If they can finish over .500 during that stretch they will be in the drivers seat to closing out the month June.  June is an important month on the calendar as winning teams begin to separate themselves from the other teams and some team begin to make moves to their club hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.  If Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino can return healthy and be effective the Sox will be one of those teams at the top of the American League.

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