Wednesday, July 27, 2016

'Slip Sliding Away': Sox Headed Into Troubled Waters?

OK, we've reached our quota of Paul Simon references (two) in the title of this post alone. So, as the Red Sox look to avoid a sweep today at the hands of the surging Tigers, there is a certain foreboding in The Nation. Our beloved team is now in third place—falling behind another surging team in the Blue Jays. And, day-by-day, it's becoming clearer that our prodigious offense (top run scorers in MLB) might not be enough to bring a ninth championship. As it always does, everything comes down to pitching. Losing 9-8 at home (as they did last night) is just not an acceptable result. The pressure is mounting on Dave Dombrowski to make a bold stroke and get a true ace—and maybe give up the future to get him. These are troubled times on Yawkey Way—as the team sails off into the sunset of a 10-game West Coast trip. When they return, we may know the true fate of these 2016 Carmine Hose.

Hanley Out, Aaron Hill In Sox Matinee (1:35 PM) Lineup

Here is the Red Sox lineup for today's matinee game against the Tigers—with the Red Sox trying to avoid a sweep before they head out on a long West Coast road trip: Mookie Betts RF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, Xander Bogaerts SS, David Ortiz DH, Jackie Bradley Jr. CF, Aaron Hill 3B, Travis Shaw 1B, Sandy Leon C, Brock Holt LF. Eduardo Rodriguez will head to the hill for The Carmine Hose.

Red Sox Score Enough, Can't Pitch Enough, Lose 9-8

No Joy In Mudville (AP Photo)
Somebody should tabulate the number of games lost by the Red Sox in which prodigious offensive production is squandered by crap pitching. Whatever that number is, last night was certainly one that qualified. After falling behind 4-0 (on a night when Steven Wright's knuckleball was apparently humidity-challenged), they tied the score, actually went ahead, fell behind again, tied it again, then lost, 9-8. Yikes. Along the way, both David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley, Jr. homered. Mookie Betts also doubled twice and knocked in a run. But it just wasn't enough to overcome—Wright gave up 8 runs and Robbie Ross, Jr. walked in the winning tally. Not good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

VIDEO: Sandy Leon's 'Option' Play To Ump Reynolds

Three Deals The Red Sox Might Make Before Monday

Let's hope Red Sox honcho Dave Dombrowski does not read TheScore.com. Why? Well, one of their writers is urging 'Double D' to make one of three "big" deals. In our view all but one stinks.

Stinker #1: Red Sox get: Chris Sale; White Sox get: Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi, Michael 'Mr. 105 MPH' Kopech, Austin Rei and Travis Shaw. What is this guy smoking? Five players—including the #1 prospect in all of major league baseball—for one starting pitcher (albeit a really good one)? In the immortal words of Dana Carvey (channelling George Herbert Walker Bush): "Na Gaa Happen".

Stinker #2: Red Sox get: Andrew Miller; Evil Ones get: Rafael Devers, Brian Johnson and Trey Ball. This writer cannot possibly live anywhere east of the Connecticut River. If he did, he would realize that sending a potential Brooks Robinson/Mike Schmidt type third baseman to the Bronx—torturing us for the next 15 years—is not a possibility.

Marginally Possible Trade #3: Red Sox get: Jonathan Lucroy; Brew Crew get: Andrew Benintendi, Blake Swihart and Deven Marrero. First of all, this writer misspells Marrero's first name as "Devin". There's your first clue as to his understanding of Boston baseball. Anyway, we would at least consider this deal. It would be a gut-check to give up Benintendi (who could someday approach Yaz-like status), but it might be worth it to get an All-Star-caliber catcher who can play elite defense and hit.

Bottom line: Reject the first two, consider the third. 

Dave Dombrowski Won't "Eliot Ness" The Trade Deadline

Ness (L); Dombrowski (R)
Red Sox chief honcho Dave Dombrowski had a message for the media yesterday: "Nobody is untouchable". That's right, Eliot Ness is not walking out that clubhouse door before the July 31st trading deadline. In the midst of admitting that he'd received five trade proposals on Monday, Dombrowski said this about the "untouchable" idea, "No, I've never really used that phrase. Let's just say you have an All-Star player. He's a very good player. If somebody offers you four All-Star players for him, you're going to trade that guy most likely. But the reality is, what are you asking? In reality, you would listen, and I don't mean that on any particular player because some contribute much more than others. The reality is that's why I never use that label. I think you've got to be open-minded to listen to what's out there. I think that's very important." So, does this mean that Yoan Moncada and/or Andrew Benintendi are headed out of town? We sincerely hope not!

Bullpen And Squanders Spoil Solid Pomeranz Start, 4-2

Bad Omen At Fenway (AP Photo)
If the "bullpen" (specifically Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz) had done its job—namely holding the Tigers to two runs—Boston might have had a chance to pull out last night's 4-2 loss. But, it came down to timely hitting on the part of Detroit and multiple squandered scoring opportunities on the part of Boston that really spelled the difference. Drew Pomeranz had his signature curveball working and delivered six decent innings—yielding just two earned runs on only four hits. But, his one big mistake came to old friend Jose Iglesias—who roped a two-run HR to put the Tigers ahead to stay. This was a particularly stinging loss since the Orioles won again in extra innings. The Carmine Hose are now closer to third place than first.

Monday, July 25, 2016

After Tigers, Red Sox Head On A Ten-Game West Coaster

Savor these next three games at Fenway Park—after those, you won't see The Carmine Hose back home until August 9th. Boston heads out after Wednesday's matinee on a ten-game West Coast swing that takes them to Anaheim (3), Seattle (4) and Chavez Ravine (3). To stay reasonably close to the Orioles, the Red Sox need to take at least six of the ten. Of the group, only the Dodgers are real contenders this year, but West Coast trips (particularly long ones) have historically been nightmares for Boston. When they return to Fenway, they will face the Aroldis Chapman-free Evil Ones and the D'Backs before heading out on another 10-game trip (Baltimore, Detroit, Tampa). The end of July and all of August will be a critical test of whether this team can do something special this year. Oh, and did we mention another West Coast trip in September (6 games)?

Rumors Swirling About 'Something Big' From Red Sox

The latest indication that Dave Dombrowski may not be done dealing is from ESPN's Jayson Stark. He states that clubs talking to Boston say they are "still trying to do 'something big'". Stark speculates that the 'large' target might be Chicago's Chris Sale or Oakland's Sonny Gray. Considering the astronomically-high price in prospects for Sale (starting with either Yoan Moncada or Andrew Benintendi), look for Dombrowski to try for Gray—someone he has lusted after for years anyway. The 26-year-old Gray has pretty much stunk up the O.co Coliseum this year (4-9, 5.49 ERA)—and even leads the AL in wild pitches (14). So, there's a chance he could be gotten for far less (Rafael Devers and Henry Owens?). Say tuned—Double D loves to deal!

Evil Ones To Get Four Cub Players In Chapman Trade

(AP Photo)
UPDATE: DEAL DONE
The Bronx Embalmers are on the verge of dealing flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubbies for four players in the Chicago organization. Multiple reports are suggesting that two top prospects—Gleber Torres (SS) and Billy McKinney (OF)—along with pitcher Adam Warren and an undetermined fourth player will head to the Bronx. This "haul" pales in comparison to what The Pinstriped Posers gave up to get Chapman from the Reds last year. This will significantly enhance the prospects of the Cubbies going forward—and also help re-build the woeful farm system of The Evil Ones. Stay tuned!

Sox Relief Target Robertson Yielded 3 9th Inning HRs

Ex-Yankee David Robertson
Multiple reports indicate that Dave Dombrowski is interested in White Sox reliever David Robertson. The price for the Pale Hose closer may have come down a bit in the last 24 hours—as Robertson gave up three ninth-inning home runs in yesterday's completion of a suspended game against the Tigers. Ironically, though, Robertson got the win in that game and also the second game of the day—getting four outs in the ninth of the nightcap. In that first ninth frame, Robertson also got a blown save by yielding HRs to Nick Castellanos, Tyler Collins and old buddy Jarrod Saltalamacchia. On the year so far, Robertson has a less than stellar 4.46 ERA—but does have 23 saves.

Red Sox Hang On For Series Split With Twins, 8-7

(Getty Images)
The Red Sox nearly blew another late, five-run lead but instead hung on for an 8-7 win over the Twins. Thanks to three HRs (Hanley Ramirez 3-run HR; Travis Shaw 3-run HR; Dustin Pedroia solo HR), Boston was able to stitch together a 'cardiac' victory—and salvage a split of the four-game set with the worst team in the American League. Not good. Rick Porcello pitched "OK"—going 6 2/3 innings and yielding four earned runs. Xander Bogearts continued his torrid hitting against the Twinkies—garnering three more hits and raising his batting average to .333. Tonight, The Carmine Hose take on Justin Verlander and the Tigers.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

SquanderPalooza: Red Sox Blow Late Lead, Fall, 11-9

(Getty Images)
First and foremost it was another bad David Price start. Over just 5 2/3 innings, Price gave up five earned runs on eleven hits. Not what your looking for from your $30 million/year ace—especially against a crappy team like the Twins. In any event, Price left the game ahead 7-5—thanks partly to a monster three-run HR by Hanley Ramirez. But, bad defense by infielders playing the outfield led to a barrage of Twinkie runs and an eventual 11-9 loss. Lost in the shuffle was an amazing four-hit performance by Xander Bogaerts. An Oriole win put Boston 1.5 games out of first. Really bad loss. No biscuit.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Offense Disappears, Wastes Solid E-Rod Start, 2-1

(Getty Images0
You'd think they were facing Stephen Strasburg or Clayton Kershaw. Instead, the previously awesome Red sox offense could muster almost nothing against Kyle Gibsonwho? For the second consecutive night, Mookie Betts led off the game with a solo HR, but on Friday, 12 more runs did not follow. In fact, none did. Not until the ninth inning did The Carmine Hose even threaten—when they loaded the bases with none out. With David Ortiz coming to the plate, victory seemed inevitable. Wrong, rosin bag breath! Papi hit into a double play and Hanley Ramirez lined out sharply to RF in the 2-1 loss. Game. Set Match. Second place.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sox Interested In Trading For Chicago Ace Chris Sale

(Photo By David Banks)
Multiple reports suggest that—despite denials by White Sox brass—left-handed ace Chris Sale is on the trading block. And, according to Jon Heyman of TodaysKnuckleBall.com, the Red Sox are one of the teams talking to The Pale Hose (along with the Dodgers). Both teams may also be interested in another lefty on the Chicago staff, All-Star Jose Quintana. Heyman goes on to speculate that Dave Dombrowski may also covet White Sox closer David Robertson—given the injury-induced disarray at the end of the Red Sox bullpen. Of course, the Red Sox are one of the few teams that could offer the prospect bounty that Chicago would surely be looking for to get a young, controllable ace like Sale.