May 20, 2013 by
Dustin Pedroia scores from a Jonny Gomes sac fly Friday night.
Last week at this time the Red Sox were losers of five of six and heading to Tampa Bay for a three game set with the pesky Rays. After losing to Matt Moore on Tueday the Red Sox have not missed a beat. Wednesday’s game David Price left early with an injury and the Sox pounced on the Rays bullpen winning 9-2 highlighted by a Stephen, don’t call me J.D. Drew grand slam. Thursday’s game was much more drama filled as the Sox were down to their last strike with the bases loaded and Will Middlebrooks drove a Fernando Rodney pitch to the left field wall to clear the bases and win the game 4-3. Getting to the Tampa Bay bullpen is not an easy task. They always seem to develop great young arms and stockpile them in the bullpen if their rotation is full of other young guns. The Red Sox scored off the bullpen and took the series. Winning series has taken upon a bigger role this season I feel with the Sox. If you can take two of three from a good team you are a good team.
This weekend the Red Sox traveled to Minnesota and had some lengthy games to say the least. All games were over three and a half hours. All games were won by the Red Sox though. Friday night’s game was won 3-2 by a game winning sac fly from Jonny Gomes scoring Dustin Pedroia in the 10th inning. Alex Wilson got his first major league win in relief and Koji Uehara got his first save in a Red Sox uniform. The Red Sox have made Vance Worley owner of a 6.02 ERA look like a Cy Young candidate twice in the last week only being able to get four runs off him in two starts.
Saturday’s game was a game of offense as the teams combined for 25 hits in a 12-5 Red Sox win. David Ortiz homered twice bringing his season total to seven. Daniel Nava also added his sixth homer of the season with a late inning insurance run. Ryan Dempster however only lasted 4 and two third innings walking six. Dempster has had some stinkers lately but, he has been a beneficiary of good run support. Craig Breslow got his first win of the season in relief and has looked good after the first month on the disabled list. Of late him and Andrew Miller have combined to look great out of the pen from the left side and if Franklin Morales comes back as a reliever the Sox will pack some punch in the late innings.
Sunday’s game was interrupted by a three hour rain delay in the seventh inning with the Red Sox leading 3-1. I for one would hate to see my team lose after a three hour rain delay. There were probably less than 400 fans at Target Field when the game resumed. The Sox got some insurance runs after the rain delay from a Dustin Pedroia two run home run off of left fielder Josh Willingham’s glove in the top of the ninth that scaled the wall and just got over and the Sox took the game 5-1 and finished off the sweep. John Lackey gave up only one hit in his six innings of work and got his second win on the season. He admitted to wanting to pitch longer only having 84 pitches after the six innings but when the rain delay struck the Sox weren’t going to throw him back out there after three hours which is the right decision. Lackey won’t have starts like this all the time giving up only one hit but, he has looked good since being sidelined early with a forearm injury.
Fresh off the sweep the Red Sox head to Chicago for a three game set with the White Sox. Andrew Bailey will be activated in time for tonight’s game and expect him to retake that closer role back from Junichi Tazawa. Manager John Farrell does not expect to use Bailey in back to back games right away however until he feels more comfortable. Tazawa will go back to his role of middle relief which is where he was greatly effective early on in the season. If the team needs a big out in the 6th of 7th now they can go to him, without fear of needing someone for the 9th.
Junichi Tazawa will relinquish the closer role back to Andrew Bailey on Monday.
Jon Lester gets the ball tonight opposite of righty Dylan Axelrod. Lester is looking to go 7-0 on the season. Tomorrow is a big start for Felix Doubront. The team is having Franklin Morales pitch in rehab games as if he is a starter. This of course points out that the team might not have too much faith in Doubront. Doubront is 3-1 on the season however he has a 6.02 ERA. Wins and loses don’t always tell the story about a pitcher. Doubront will face fellow lefty Jose Quintana. The marquee matchup of the series is on Wednesday as Clay Buchholz will oppose White Sox lefty Chris Sale. Both have pitched like aces this season and runs will be hard to come by on Wednesday night.
What a difference a week makes as the Sox went from losers of five of six to now winners of five of six. They get their closer back tonight and will look to continue on with a successful road trip. The offense has looked good since John Farrell said he was sticking with his lineup and it was not time to panic. Showing faith in the team must have gave the players some confidence to work with. Every team slumps but it’s how you get out of those slumps that matter. This week the Sox want to finish this road trip the way they started.
May 14, 2013 by
After a DL stint and a slow start Drew has settled in nicely
When the Red Sox signed Stephen Drew in the off-season on a one-year deal it drew quite a bit on skepticism from Red Sox Nation. The Sox remembered his older brother J.D. who made $14 million over 5 slightly above average seasons in Boston. Drew was not the type of player that the Red Sox fans generally embrace, particularly since he was replacing resident dirt dog and fan favorite Trot Nixon. As a result he was a much-maligned player in his time here despite being productive over most of his contract. When the younger Drew signed in Boston it brought back memories, especially since he is making a robust $9.5 million salary in his one year here.
The comparisons to the elder Drew escalated for Stephen in spring training when he suffered a concussion that sent him to the disabled list for the beginning of the season. Stephen was coming off of a serious ankle injury last season and a second injury started to look like a trend. Fans remembered J.D. Drew pulling up lame while running the bases or gliding carelessly in the outfield to catch a fly ball and end up on the 15-day DL the next day. While that perception may have been unfair for Stephen, who was a durable player before his ankle injury last year, it’s hard to blame Red Sox fans for having a feeling of deja vu.
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March 29, 2013 by
We’re just 3 days from the most anticipated Red Sox opening day since the Butch Hobson era and the Sox have set their final opening day roster with one exception. Before the conspiracy theorists start on the lack of a Jackie Bradley Jr. announcement, it is because the Sox have to jettison someone from the 40-man roster to make room for him and they are taking a bit of time to make that decision (which makes since if you can’t trade someone to open up the spot you must put them on waivers and risk losing them for nothing if they are claimed). Here’s a look at the 25 guys that the Red Sox will break camp with and the major league contributors who will start the year on the disabled list.
Lester needs to pitch like an ace for the Sox this year
Starting Pitchers: Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Ryan Dempster, Felix Doubront, John Lackey – If spring training is any indication this unit is headed for a bounce back season. Lester and Buchholz have both put up ERAs under 0.80 in 6 starts each this spring. Ryan Dempster has put up a 3.06 ERA himself. If the top three can carry their weight then the Red Sox should win well more than 69 games this season. The last two spots are wild cards. Doubront pitched well early last season but the workload caught up to him. He was OK in the spring, sporting a 4.15 ERA, but he’s going to have to show more durability and consistency. Then there is John Lackey who we’ve already discussed to death this spring. He had a 5.40 ERA in the spring but pitched better as time went on. He is coming off of a year of inactivity so he should get better as the year progresses. How much better is the question. It’s not hard to evaluate this group – they’ll live and die by the contributions of Lester and Buchholz. If the results are similar to last year’s then the Sox have no chance at competing. If they are their old selves then they should be in the thick of things.
Aceves should be an asset as the long man as long as he doesn’t have a mental breakdown
Relief Pitchers – Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey, Koji Uehera, Junichi Tazawa, Clayton Mortensen, Andrew Miller, Alfredo Aceves – This is an interesting group. There may be concerns about the back end. Hanrahan has a 7.36 spring ERA but he hasn’t given up a hit in his last 4 1/3. On paper athe back end of the rotation should be lights out. Bailey is pitching better this spring but he didn’t exactly light the world on fire after he came back from injury last year. These two guys have the potential to be a lights out duo but that seems like a big if right now. It’s hard not to like the rest of the right handers in the pen. Uehera pounds the strike zone and barely walks anyone (call him the anti-Daniel Bard). Tazawa and Mortensen pitched well in the majors last year. Tazawa had a 1.43 ERA and 0.95 WHIP and Mortensen a 3.21 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Both guys can be stretched out if need be. Aceves is probably more than just a few cards short of a full deck (I’m a bit concerned that he’ll seek revenge on the Canadians by braining the first Blue Jays batter he sees with a fastball) but he’s back in a role where he has performed the best – long and middle relief. Beyond all the craziness the guy is very versatile. Miller is a weak left-handed arm in my opinion but he’s holding a place for Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales.
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March 19, 2013 by
With Drew likely to miss time it’s time for Iglesias to step up for the Red Sox.
David Ortiz is out for Opening Day in New York and most likely Stephen Drew will be joining him on the bench of wounded. Drew who signed a one year deal with the Red Sox this offseason in hopes of cashing in next offseason is not off to a great start. He has not played in a spring training game since March 7th, when he was hit in the helmet with a pitch. He was diagnosed with concussion symptoms what feels to me like a week later. Drew is now in Pittsburgh seeing a specialist for his symptoms with hopes of returning to Red Sox camp by Friday.
Drew, who has battled injuries the last few years with the A’s and Diamondbacks was looking to start off well in Boston and put the doubters in check trying to compare him to his brother, former Sox outfielder J.D. J.D. spent five years in Boston often on the bench with some sort of injury mostly towards the end of his time with the team. No one can forget the grand slam he hit against the Indians in the 2007 ALCS, so if you have one moment in Boston you can be remembered. Now will Stephen Drew be able to have a moment in Boston is the question.
With Drew, a shortstop likely to miss opening day the Red Sox most likely will turn to Jose Iglesias, who has been raved about for his defensive skills, which I’ve seen first hand in McCoy Stadium. Iglesias would bat ninth in the Red Sox lineup, his hitting skills are a bit below average. This spring training however he has driven the ball into gaps and came into camp ready to prove something. We hear from Fort Myers that Iglesias is sticking to one approach at the plate this spring instead of changing per at bat and could pay off in the long run. With the Red Sox trading Mike Aviles as part of the John Farrell compensation, Iglesias seemed to have the inside track on the shortstop job this coming season. One month later the team signs Drew to a one year $9.5 million deal and suddenly looks like Iglesias will begin the year in Pawtucket yet again. Drew only on a one year commitment could be expendable at the trade deadline if the team believes Iglesias proved his worth during Drew’s absence.
While on the topic of shortstops the Red Sox really hope their shortstop of the future is Xander Bogaerts, who just returned to camp after a run with the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. Bogaerts who is only twenty years old will most likely start the year in Portland and move up to Pawtucket before the season is over. Shortstop has been a hard position for the Red Sox to settle on since the trade or Nomar Garciaparra in July 2004. We have seen the likes of Alex Gonzalez (twice), Jed Lowrie, Julio Lugo, Nick Green and Mike Aviles, just to name a few. If Bogaerts has a good year in the minor leagues he may even be called up on September. If Iglesias doesn’t start hitting then his time with the Red Sox may be up after signing a big deal with the Red Sox as an international free agent from Cuba.
There is no question the Red Sox signed Stephen Drew as a stopgap player on a one year deal. The deal could potentially bring the best out of Jose Iglesias, whose time with the Red Sox organization could be running thin. Drew is making $9.5 million no matter how many games he plays in. As a large market team that isn’t big money on a one year deal but that money could have been allocated to other problems on the team, like a better outfield bench presence. Stephen Drew does have concussion problems which are nothing to take lightly in any sports. Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts hasn’t played a full season in almost three years because of concussion problems as well as Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. Bruins fans know about Marc Savard, who may never play hockey again because of concussions. Stephen Drew did not want to be compared to his brother but already fans are jumping ship because of injury. If Drew can make one big play in his time with Boston maybe he can be remembered like his brother in the 2007 ALCS and all will be forgiven.
February 27, 2013 by
No, those are not my hands.
Spring training is finally underway! I think I am one of the few people who actually enjoys spring training and all it has to offer. First of all, all the sports we watch in the winter are indoors and that can really bring a person down. However, spring training means that the sun and nice weather is just around the corner so cheer up everybody!
Spring training is also great because this is where we get to see some of the teams top prospects in action. The Red Sox have a very solid core of young players who could be MLB ready by 2014 if not by the end of this season. Jackie Bradley Jr. has arguably been the most impressive player so far in a Sox uniform this spring. I haven’t been this excited for a Sox prospect since Hanley Ramirez was in the system.
Believe it or not, opening day is only a few weeks away and this has got me thinking about the season. Not just the season, but what we can expect from the Boston Red Sox. So, what should we expect? Here are some of my somewhat bold predictions for the 2013 season.
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February 02, 2013 by
Ellsbury will once again set the table at the top of the Red Sox’ order this year
The Red Sox have recently made the move to sign Mike Napoli official along with adding veteran left-handed hitter Lyle Overbay as protection for Napoli and David Ortiz. Those two moves should fill out the Red Sox’ roster of position players, at least heading into spring training. Here is a primer of how the Red Sox lineup may fill out for the most part this season.
- Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
- Shane Victorino, RF
- Dustin Pedroia, 2B
- David Ortiz, DH
- Mike Napoli, 1B
- Will Middlebrooks, 3B
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
- Johnny Gomes, LF
- Stephen Drew, SS
Bench – Ryan Sweeney, Daniel Nava, David Ross, Lyle Overbay, Pedro Ciriaco
Obviously this is a very early estimate of how the opening day Sox might look but I’d be shocked if I was all that far off. Let’s break the lineup into 3 sections and analyze from there.
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