Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sox Lose Another Game—And Possibly Mookie

(Getty Images)
Pedro Martinez (whose #45 was retired at Fenway last night) gave up just four first-inning runs in all of 1999. Wade Miley gave up five earned runs in one inning last night. This difference tells you all you need to know about the 2015 Carmine Hose. Boston lost again—this time a 9-6 drubbing by the once-crappy Chicago White Sox. On top of everything, the Red Sox may have lost CF Mookie Betts—who made a spectacular catch tumbling into the bullpen, which was later reversed into a HR. All in all, a really bad night to honor Pedro.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

REPORT: Papelbon Headed To Nationals?

According to Washington Post reporter Barry Svrluga, former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon may be headed from one of the league's worst teams (the Phillies) to one of the best (the Nationals). While even Svrluga states that the deal could "implode" for various reasons, he says it's "very unlikely it doesn't go through". Stay tuned!

Sox Move Clay To 60-Day DL, Get LH Reliever

The Red Sox made two related moves today—moving Clay Buchholz to the 60-day disabled list and acquiring "lefty specialist" Jean Machi for the struggling bullpen. As we predicted a while ago, this DL move effectively ends the season for Buchholz—who now wouldn't return (at the earliest) until mid-September. Machi is a left-handed reliever with pedestrian overall numbers (5.14 in 35 2015 innings), but he has held lefties to a .120 average.

Don't Forget Shane Victorino's Big 2013 RBIs

Victorino Breaks Down At Farewell Press Conference
Back in 2004, Red Sox fans heaped tons of praise—deservedly so—on Derek Lowe for winning each of the three clinching post-season games on the road to glory. As we say 'goodbye' to Shane Victorino, we should be mindful of a similar feat The Flyin' Hawaiian performed in 2013. Victorino knocked in the winning run in each of the three clinching post-season series games in that magical year. That's pretty special. And something we should never forget. And don't underestimate the positive power of his optimistic walk-up song—Bob Marley's 'Gonna Be All Right (Three Little Birds)'. Fans adopted it as one of their favorite Red Sox sing-along anthems. He was a solid player for most of the time he was healthy in Boston, and it will be tough to find a player who can so skillfully roam the no-man's land that is right field in Fenway. Best of luck, Shane!

Sox Trade Victorino To Halos For IF Rutledge

Just before Monday night's game, the Red Sox traded away a vital piece of their 2013 World Series Championship team—Shane Victorino. Boston sent The 'Flyin' Hawaiian' to the Angels—along with $3.8 million—in exchange for infielder Josh Rutledge. The 26-year old Rutledge is known for both his offensive and defensive prowess in the infield—an area where injuries have recently hurt the Red Sox. Victorino broke down and cried at the press conference announcing his departure and said the following, "It's very emotional, for more reasons than one. I set out, and as I said from day one, I wanted to come here and I wanted to finish my contract here. That's one thing as an athlete, you always strive and you focus on that and when you sign in a place." We'll miss you, Shane!

Sloppy Duel Of Hosiery Ends In Pale Hose Win

Before Tonight's Game At Fenway (FenwayNation Photo)
Sitting through tonight's game at Fenway Park was like watching two 'punchy' boxers flail at each other for 12 rounds—with one boxer not fainting at the end. After exchanging leads back and forth all night, The Pale Hose of Chicago topped The Carmine Hose of Boston, 10-8. After Joe Kelly coughed up four first inning runs to put Boston in an immediate hole, the Red Sox stormed back to tie it at four apiece—partly on a mammoth 2-run HR by David Ortiz. Then it was a see-saw battle of ineptitude until Chicago emerged on top. Mookie Betts did add three hits and two RBIs in the losing cause—the tenth loss in the last twelve games.

Monday, July 27, 2015

US Olympic Committee Pulls Boston's 2024 Bid

The US Olympic Committee today pulled their support for Boston's bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. Millions of commuters in the Greater Boston area gave out a collective sigh of relief—as now we'll only need to contend with normal gridlock. The bid never really got traction from the public—which was apparently part of the reason that the bid was pulled.

MLB Network Has Wall-To-Wall Trade Coverage

Can't get quite enough of a trade deadline fix from FenwayNation? You're in luck! MLB Network has announced a ridiculous (in the best sense of the word) fifty-four hours of live trade deadline coverage this week. The coverage will include an on-screen "Social Media Ticker" that will follow #TradeDeadline on TWITTER.  The network will also feature live updates from the likes of Hall of Fame baseball writer Peter Gammons. So, tune in, turn on—but don't drop out.

Pirates May Be Interested In Napoli & Victorino

(AP Photo)
If Bill West of the Pittsburgh Tribune is to be believed, the Pirates are interested in trading for two of Boston expendable veterans—first-baseman Mike Napoli and outfielder Shane Victorino. Even if Ben Cherington gets only one or two decent prospects in return, he should clearly make this deal. Napoli would give the Bucs a major defensive upgrade over incumbent 1B Pedro Alvarez—and offer the potential at least of revived offensive performance. Victorino can fill-in or start at all three OF positions for the contending Pirates—currently in the top NL Wild Card spot. Stay tuned.

Sox Should Make Two Lesser Deals For Starters

Carrasco (L); Quintana (R)
As the trading deadline looms just four days away, there is renewed talk that the Red Sox are still one of the teams in on Cole Hamels. With Johnny Cueto snatched up by Kansas City, the asking price in prospects has probably jumped on Hamels—not to mention his recent no-hitter. So, in our view, Ben Cherington should not deal away any of the youthful core for a guy who will be 32 next Opening Day—even one as good as Hamels. Instead, we would suggest two "lesser" deals that would net two much younger starters—26-year old José Quintana of the White Sox and 28-year old Carlos Carrasco of the Indians. Both have big-league experience (Carrasco 6 years, Quintana 4 years) and both have decent stats (Carrasco 4.29 career ERA—10 wins this year, Quintana 3.52 career ERA—5 wins this year). Both are considered solid, and apparently available from two clubs that are going nowhere in 2015. Both Cleveland and Chicago could use a re-stocking of young prospects—but the demands would be far less than what the Phillies would ask for Hamels. So, let's still go after talented starting pitching—just younger and cheaper to acquire.

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David Ortiz Now Just 15 Shy Of 500 Home Runs

(Getty Images)
After last night's offensive outburst (two 3-run HRs, 7 RBIs), David Ortiz is now just 15 home runs shy of the 500 mark. Since 2009, only one other player has eclipsed the "half-thousand' plateau—Albert Pujols just last year. Once he hits that milestone, Big Papi could conceivably pass another Red Sox icon—Ted Williams and his 521 HRs. Maybe the booing he got for not running out a grounder on Friday and the emotion of his buddy Pedro Martinez getting into the Hall of Fame have jump-started Ortiz for the second half. This could be fun to watch!

Sox Finally Get Offensive, Beat Tigers, 11-1

(Getty Images)
This is how Ben Cherington envisioned 2015—lots of offense, solid starting pitching, and an effective bullpen in an 11-1 win. Unfortunately, games like this have been as rare as hound's teeth (an odd phrase since there are plenty of hounds and they generally have a mouthful of teeth). David Ortiz went 4-5 with 7 RBIs (two three-run HRs and two singles). Xander Bogaerts also had four hits and scored two runs. Young lefty Eduardo Rodriguez allowed just one run on three hits in seven innings—striking out six and allowing just one walk. All in all, a welcome win—the second in the last eleven games (both against the Tigers).

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Great Pedro Martinez Enters Hall Of Fame

The greatest Red Sox pitcher of our generation entered the Baseball Hall Of Fame today in Cooperstown, NY. Pedro Martinez became just the second native of the Dominican Republic to enter the Hall—along with Juan Marichal, who entered 32 years ago (and also briefly pitched for the Red Sox). Of all Pedro's great moments in Carmine Hose, perhaps the most memorable was in a game that didn't count: the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. Your humble scribe was lucky enough to be in attendance with my Dad on that glorious night. It was 'payback' for my father taking me to the other Midsummer Classic at Fenway—back in 1961. Pedro struck out the first four batters in the National League lineup (Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire)—the first pitcher in MLB history to begin the All-Star Game striking out the side. Perhaps the best example of his dominance was the 2000 ERA title. His 1.74 ERA was almost two full runs better than the runner-up (Roger Clemens at 3.70). Of course, his relief performance in the 1999 LCS against the Indians and his supremacy in the 2004 post-season are the crowning achievements that we remember as well. Congratulations, Pedro!

US Navy Names New Ship USS Cooperstown

Ray Mabus, the Secretary of the US Navy, announced yesterday at the Hall of Fame that he has named a new ship the USS Cooperstown. Mabus was in Cooperstown to honor those ballplayers who served in World War II. The new ship—a new class called a littoral combat ship—was commissioned to help rebuild the U.S. fleet. Said Jane Forbes Clark, chairperson of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, "I feel very confident, on behalf of Cooperstown, to say thank you Mr. Secretary. Wow." Indeed!

Will Sox Package Margot In Deal For Hamels?

Margot (L); Hamels (R)
One day after Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels threw his first career no-hitter, rumors of his trade to Boston have intensified. Multiple reports suggest that Philadelphia is very high on AA CF Manuel Margot—ranked as the #4 prospect in the Boston organization by the authoritative Margot hit .282 at Single A Salem earlier this year and is currently batting .263 at AA Portland. Margot is rated as having plus power and bat speed for a smaller guy (6', 170 pounds). He also has plus range in CF and can steal a base. It would likely take more than Margot to get Hamels, but he could be the centerpiece. Stay tuned!

Same As It Ever Was: Sox Lose To Tigers, 5-1

(Getty Images)
The Red Sox again avoided a dreaded winning streak by losing their ninth game in ten tries yesterday, 5-1 to Detroit. Mookie Betts knocked in the only Sox run—as the team left five on base. Steven Wright pitched just 4 1/3 innings giving up four runs—two earned. What more is there to say? All we can do is await the Friday trading deadline and see who they can dump from this woeful team. Hopefully, Ben Cherington (if he's still employed by then) will protect the youthful core of Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Blake Swihart.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

FN's Under The Radar Wilson Thrives In Motown

Alex Wilson While In Carmine Hose
Last year, we tabbed Red Sox reliever Alex Wilson as the FenwayNation "Under The Radar" performer of 2014. In an otherwise dismal year, Wilson posted impressive stats out of the 'pen—28.1 IP, 1.91 ERA, 0.882 WHIP, 19 Ks, 5 BB. Then, Boston traded the 28-year old to the Tigers (along with Yoenis Cespedes) for Rick Porcello. This year, Wilson has continued his impressive pitching—51.0 IP, 1.94 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 30 Ks, 8 BB. So, despite being a "throw-in" in the deal, Wilson is making the trade even more lop-sided than it already was.

Muddy Chicken Back On The DL With Hamstring

Dustin Pedroia just pushed it too much, too soon. As a result, The Laser Show is back on the 15-day disabled list with the same hamstring injury that landed him there originally. Pedroia refused a rehab assignment to the minor leagues, which—in retrospect—may have been the more prudent route. Said Manager John Farrell, "I don't have the exact time frame. We felt like a three-week shut-down period was going to suffice, but I can't say it is going to be an additional three weeks. I don't have that time frame right now." So, Boston will have to contend with his loss over the next few weeks—along with a likely rehab stint (no matter what he wants).

Friday, July 24, 2015

BogaSaurus Rex: Xander Walks-Off Tigers, 2-1

(AP Photo)
The Red Sox have had three walk-off wins in 2015—and Xander Bogaerts have delivered two of them. Bogie slashed a single up the middle that plated Mookie Betts (owner of the other 2015 Sox walk-off) for a thrilling 11-inning 2-1 win. Betts got into scoring position via a perfect sacrifice bunt by Brock Holt. The victory ends an eight-game win drought—longest of the season for Boston. The red-hot Red Sox shortstop was 3-5 on the night, raising his average to .310. Rick Porcello pitched perhaps his best game of the year—going seven strong innings and giving up just one earned run. The Boston bullpen—for once—got four shutout innings from Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Justin Masterson (who got the win). Holt knocked in the first Red Sox run way back in the 3rd inning—a characteristic 2-out RBI for the BrockStar. All in all, a good (and long overdue) win.