Sunday, July 24, 2016

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

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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

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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.

Red Sox Activate Junichi Tazawa From Disabled List

The Red Sox today announced that they have activated relief pitcher Junichi Tazawa from the 15-day disabled list. To make room for Tazawa, the team optioned relief pitcher Noe Ramirez back to AAA. Tazawa went on the DL after suffering a right shoulder impingement on July 3rd. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Red Sox have racked up $35,000 in reimbursable mileage expenses for Noe's nearly daily trips between Pawtucket and Fenway Park.

Red Sox Are Still In The Trade Mix For Starter, Reliever

Multiple reports indicate that Dave Dombrowski is not done dealing. The Red Sox honcho is still in the market for another reliever and another bullpen arm. Said ESPN's Jim Bowden, "According to sources, they're not done. The Red Sox continue to work the phones on both another starter and reliever, and with a farm system as deep as theirs, I would expect them to make at least one more trade between now and the deadline." The starter trade targets are likely to be less than elite—think Jeremy Hellickson, (Philadelphia Phillies) Ervin Santana (the visiting Minnesota Twins) or Jimmy Nelson (Milwaukee Brewers). It's not clear what type of reliever Boston is looking for, but someone with late-inning experience would be logical—given the types of injuries the team has suffered lately. Stay tuned, there are only nine days left until the July 31st trading deadline. And Double D is locked and loaded.

VIDEO: David Ortiz's 440-Foot HR From Last Night

"The Decade Of Clay" Is Likely to Be Ending Very Soon

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He was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft—pick number 42 overall. And now, sadly, Clay Buchholz has been relegated to "mop-up" duty in blow-out games against crappy opponents (like last night's ninth inning appearance with Boston up 13-2). And it seems that even Clay himself is resigned to the likelihood that he will be dealt soon, saying, "I feel like the guys they’re rolling out there, I don’t have a spot. I’m the odd man out." And his manager isn't afraid to throw him under the proverbial bus. Said John Farrell recently, "He's in a tough spot. I'll be candid: I don't want to say it's purgatory, but as far as baseball goes, he's in a difficult spot." How did it come to this? Not so long ago, in 2013, he was a key component of a World Series Championship team. That season he was 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in an injury-shortened 16-start campaign. But he pitched reasonably well in the playoffs and was a real contributor. In 2010 and 2012, he also showed flashes—winning 17 and 11 games respectively. But that's just it, he teases us and then lets us down. Over the decade Buchholz has pitched in Boston, he's gone 76-60 with an ERA exactly at 4.00. Not horrible, but not matching the elite expectations from his rookie season. He was throwing 95 MPH in last night's "mop-up". Maybe he's auditioning for his eventual exit. It could (and should) have been so much better.

Pedey-Pa-Looza Rains Downs On Twinkies In 13-2 Win

(AP Photo)
Dustin Pedroia went 5-5, Steven Wright pitched eight solid innings and the Red Sox pounded out 17 hits in a 13-2 shellacking of the Twinkies. The first pitch of the game was a clear omen, as Mookie Betts launched his 19th HR—and the fun was just starting. David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley, Jr. also went yard, and five Red Sox had multiple hit games. In fact, this offense is now so potent, that the first five hitters in the order are batting over .300. Boston has now scored 529 runs on the year—in just 93 games. Wright gave up just four hits—walking one and striking out nine. This was complete domination in every phase of the game, and the win kept Boston in first place in the AL East.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

D'Backs Find Themselves Defending Trade Of Ziegler

An odd firestorm has broken out over the trade that sent now-closer Brad Ziegler to Boston. As Jon Heyman of TodaysKnuckleBall.com points out, a few teams are charging that they offered Arizona better prospect packages for Ziegler than the Red Sox (who sent Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe westward). There are even anonymous charges that Arizona honcho Tony LaRussa engineered the 'sweetheart' deal with his old White Sox buddy Dave Dombrowski. This has resulted in an angry response from Diamiondbacks GM Dave Stewart, who stated, "Tony would not compromise the organization by settling for a player who doesn’t make sense. You’re talking about the integrity of the man. And I’m the GM, so you’re talking about the integrity of two men." The D-Backs insist that Boston's two prospects are legit and other teams did not offer anything better for Ziegler. An interesting sidelight to this controversy is the theory (mostly on the Internet) that Arizona mistook Basabe (a second baseman) for his twin brother is the Sox organization Luis Alexander Basabe, a switch-hitting outfielder, who might actually be better than his twin. Gotta love it!

POLL: Majority Want Top Prospects Staying In Minors

An update of results to our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that a majority of respondents (52%) now support the idea of keeping Boston's top two prospects—Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi—in the minors for the entire 2016 season. As the chart shows, one-quarter of voters (25%) want to promote both players to the majors this year, while about one voter in seven (15%) wants to have only Benintendi move up to the big club. A scant 7% of the voting sample of readers want to only promote Moncada to the major league roster.

Hanley Ramirez Catapults Sox Back Into First Place, 11-7

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OK, which do you want first—the good news or the bad news? Bad news? Of course, you're Red Sox fans! New rotation "stud" Drew Pomeranz was anything but on Wednesday night—going just three plus innings and giving up five earned runs. It was a clear disappointment, and a shocking realization that Boston had given up one of the game's top pitching prospects (Anderson Espinoza) for what could be a big question mark. OK, now the good news. Hanley Ramirez is red-hot! Last night he clobbered three two-run HRs (#s 9, 10, & 11—one to each field) in Boston's 11-7 slugfest win over the Giants (who have still never won at Fenway since they moved to San Francisco). Ramirez drove in six of Boston's eleven runs and raised his average to .285. Mookie Betts also had three hits, while Sandy 'Babe' Leon continued his offensive surge—going 2-4 with two RBIs (along with his 3rd HR of the year). The win propelled the Red Sox back into first place in the American League East after The Evil Ones beat Baltimore.

Koji Uehara Will Be Out For At Least One Month

While there is the typical confusion over a Red Sox medical diagnosis, the consensus seems to be that Koji Uehara will be sidelined at least a month with what is now being called a "torn" pectoral muscle. First, manager John Farrell said there was no timetable for Koji's return, then the pitcher tweeted that he'd be out a month. So, in a crucial period when Boston will be almost constantly on the road, they will be without two closers. Yikes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

PowerRankingsGuru: Sox Move Up Three Spots To Sixth

This week's rankings by The Power Rankings Guru website (which tracks and averages all of the major media rankings) shows that the Red Sox moved up three spots this week to the #6 overall position on the list. The Washington Nationals have taken over first position from the Cubbies, who find themselves in the #3 spot. The Giants—who the Red Sox beat last night 4-0—are in second place this week. The Carmine Hose come in with an average score of 6.2—and were placed as high as 5th by some. The Orioles remain one slot ahead of Boston, while the Blue Jays are now ranked 9th. And, The Bronx Embalmers are still comfortably ensconced in the number nineteen position. The Twinkies and Rays are now tied for the honor of worst team in the American League.You can see all the Week Sixteen rankings HERE.

Red Sox Trade Target Ervin Santana Wins Again Today

Ervin Santana Pitching Today (Getty Images)
Multiple sources have reported that the Red Sox are talking with Minnesota about a trade for starter Ervin Santana. Today, the 33-year old righty turned in another solid performance—going seven innings and giving up just one earned run as he out-dueled Tiger Justin Verlander. Santana is 3-8 with a 3.93 ERA this season for the woeful Twinkies. Even with the acquisition of Drew Pomeranz and the recent good start by Eduardo Rodriguez, the Red Sox have to be viewing the #5 starter spot as 'up in the air'. Santana—who would not cost a whole lot in terms of top prospects—still has two seasons left on his contract (at $13.5 million per year).