Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Porcello Shines In 3-0 Sox Wins Over Sale And Pale Hose

(AP Photo)
Rick Porcello came off the DL and pitched like he was worth $82.5 million. The right-hander hurled seven brilliant innings—giving up just five hits, striking out five and walking none in a 3-0 win. Porcello had been out with a right triceps strain since July 29th. Boston's offense was paced—once again—by Travis Shaw, who clobbered a two-run HR (his seventh of the year in just 30 games). If the first-baseman played a full 162 games, he would be on pace for 38 HRs. Xander Bogaerts had two more hits, and Josh Rutledge hit a sacrifice fly to plate the third run. The win is all the more impressive given the fact that The Carmine Hose beat one of the best young lefties in baseball in Chris Sale.

Red Sox Blow Yet More Leads, Fall To Pale Hose, 5-4

(AP Photo)
This time, they were up 2-1 and 4-2, and still managed to cough up the lead to Chicago in a another painful 5-4 loss. Instead of the bullpen, it was starter Wade Miley who failed to protect his own lead, yielding three earned runs in the seventh inning. The Boston offense was paced by Mookie Betts (2-4, RBI, 2 runs scored) and Pablo Sandoval (1-4, RBI, run scored). So many of this team's losses this year could easily have been wins—and this one is a perfect example. Frustration continued to reign in The Nation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Red Sox Fire Don Orsillo As NESN Play-By-Play Man

(Boston Herald Photo)
According to a TWEET by Gerry Callahan of WEEI's Dennis And Callahan Morning Show, "multiple sources" report that this will be Don Orsillo's last season as Red Sox TV play-by-play man on NESN. While we have had issues with Orsillo in the past, there is no good reason to 'can' him now. Orsillo did not sign Rick Porcello long-term. Orsillo did not sign Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. If this is Tom Werner's and Dave Dombrowski's idea of throwing their weight around, it's pretty lame. Here's hoping the Northeastern University grad finds a better spot in a network situation—or with another MLB franchise.

Red Sox Fans: Schrödinger's Cat Has Left The Building

The Cat
Here is a description of the Schrödinger's cat experiment: "a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e., a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead." This is a long way of saying that while some might feel the Red Sox are both alive (winners of six out of their last ten and "just" 12.5 games out of a Wild Card spot) and dead (way the heck back in the Division and Wild Card with just 37 games left to play), the fact is the season is indeed over. There is no Schrödinger's cat paradox—the furry creature has left the box (and the building). The Red Sox season is effectively ended. Bring on 2016.

Rusney-Palooza Propels Red Sox Past Pale Hose, 5-4

(AP Photo)
New Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski almost signed Rusney Castillo out of Cuba—but a certain team outbid him. Now, Castillo is beginning to fulfill the promise seen in him by Dombrowski, the Red Sox and many other clubs. Last night, Castillo knocked in all five Boston runs in a 5-4 win at what we still insist on calling The New Comiskey Park (which President Obama, of course, calls "Co-minsky Park"). In any event, Castillo homered, doubled and singled in his most productive game in Carmine Hose. Also, Joe Kelly (and his 1970s mustache) had yet another solid start—going 7 1/3 innings and giving up just two earned runs. A nice win to start a tough road trip.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hanley Ramirez Starts Tonight, Jackie Bradley, Jr. Sits

Jackie Bradley, Jr. will sit out tonight—despite the fact that the Red Sox will be facing the only right-handed starter in this series. Anyway, here is the Boston lineup: Mookie Betts CF, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Xander Bogaerts SS, David Ortiz DH, Travis Shaw 1B, Hanley Ramirez LF, Brock Holt 2B, Rusney Castillo RF, Ryan Hanigan C. Joe Kelly takes to the hill for The Carmine Hose.

Dodgers Payroll May Be The First To Exceed $300 Million

With the acquisition of Chase Utley from Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Dodgers now have a 2015 payroll of $295.5 million. Compare that to the relatively paltry Red Sox payroll of $181.8 million. Most estimates project that—with likely performance bonuses already in the pipeline—the Trolley Dodger's final "luxury-tax" payroll will exceed $300 million. That will be the biggest such baseball payroll ever. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy than Magic Johnson.

Napoli's Numbers Get Him More Playing Time In Texas

(Getty Images)
The Mike Napoli deal had to happen. Let's get that out on the table right away. And yet, it is interesting to see Nap's resurgence since re-donning the uniform of the Texas Rangers. As MassLive.com's Nick O'Malley points out, in just 11 games, Napoli is hitting .318—with a .400 OBP, is slugging .636 and has a 1.036 OPS. He will likely get more starts if this trend continues—as the Rangers are (amazingly) right in the thick of the playoff hunt. It's good to see Napoli reverting to what we came to expect of him during his Red Sox tenure. Maybe we can watch him again in the post-season.

Sox Head Out On The Road To Face Six Tough Pitchers

As the Red Sox head out for a road trip to Chicago and Flushing, they will be facing six straight tough pitchers. Ironically, the easiest of the lot might be tonight's previously daunting starter Jeff Samardzija—who has had a sub-par "walk" year in The Windy City. After that, however, The Carmine Hose face two of the toughest lefties in baseball in young Jose Quintana and veteran Chris Sale. Then, once at Citi Field they get all three of the Met studs—Matt Harvey on Friday, Jacob deGrom on Saturday and Noah Syndergaard on Sunday. So, they had better win tonight!

Cueto Taking Heat In KC For Positive Boston Comments

Johnny Cueto
While the Royals were in town, WEEI.com's Rob Bradford cornered soon-to-be-free-agent Johnny Cueto about the likelihood that he'd land at the top of the Boston rotation next year. At the time of the encounter, Cueto was schmoozing with fellow Dominican Hanley Ramirez—who did the translation duties. While Cueto's responses were quite positive about the possibility of donning Carmine Hose, it wasn't exactly a commitment to buy a condo in Brookline. Nevertheless, the Kansas City media has its spare ribs in a bunch over the matter (sorry, ribs are the only stereotypical Kansas City thing I could think of—any other suggestions are welcome). Said Kansas City's FANSIDED blogger John Viril, "On one hand, I’d like to think Johnny Cueto‘s statements are a whole lot of nothing. A Boston-area reporter asked him leading questions, and it’s a normal human impulse to please the crowd. Certainly, a pending free agent doesn’t want to say anything BAD about a potential suitor—especially when the team in question is a big market club that could drive your price up if they go hard after you.  Even so, Johnny Cueto went a little farther than politeness required on Friday." Probably true—but still blown out of proportion.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

'Vanillas In The Mist', Red Sox Lose Two Leads, Fall, 8-6

(Getty Images)
It was a rainy, extremely wacky loss at Fenway Park today. Up by two runs in the ninth, the Red Sox pulled off one of the oddest plays in years—turning a misplayed wall triple into an inside-the-park-out-at home. That was the first out. Then Junichi Tazawa pitched like he was in the Little League World Series, giving up four earned runs on six hits. Lead gone, Sox down 8-6—which was the final score. Boston blew a 2-0 lead earlier, with sloppy defense and a 'just OK' pitching performance by Eduardo Rodriguez (6 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs, 2 earned runs). Jackie Bradley, Jr. led the way with three more hits and two RBIs—not to mentioned the ridiculous throw on the aforementioned inside-the-park-out-at home. Rusney Castillo and Pablo Sadoval each had two hits and an RBI. But, this was another disastrous loss by a decidedly 'vanilla' team.

Matt Barnes Shelled Again, Red Sox Fall to KC, 6-3

(Getty Images)
Matt Barnes is young guy who throws hard. Unfortunately, he's become one-dimensional in his recent MLB stint with the Red Sox. Major league hitters can handle that—and have in Barnes' last two starts. As a result—after yesterday's 6-3 loss—Barnes was sent back down to AAA Pawtucket. Boston's offense made a game of it, with Mookie Betts (solo HR) and Xander Bogaerts (2-5, RBI, run scored) leading the way. David Ortiz also had two, while both Blake Swihart and Travis Shaw continued hitting as well. Nonetheless, it wasn't enough to take three in a row form the powerhouse Royals.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sox Make It Four In A Row, Beat Cueto And Royals, 7-2

(Exclusive FenwayNation Photo)
If Johnny Cueto was using this start as an audition for the 2016 Red Sox rotation, he blew it. Boston jumped on the Dominican righty—shelling him for six earned runs and thirteen hits in six innings in a 7-2 win. The Red Sox offense was broad and deep—Blake Swihart was 4-4 with two RBIs, Rusney Castillo was 2-4 with two runs scored, Mookie Betts was 3-5 with an RBI, and Josh Rutledge was 2-4 with a 2-run HR. And, Henry Owens tossed one of his best starts of the year—going eight innings, giving up just one earned run on four hits. And, of course, Jackie Bradley, Jr.—in the game as a late defensive replacement in LF—made two more spectacular catches. Boston moves to ten games under .500 with the win (56-66).

Is Koji Wearing A Retirement Fund On His Injured Arm?

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara is out for the year. Back on August 7th, he was nailed by a line drive to his pitching arm—and was eventually diagnosed with a broken right wrist. But, maybe the 40-year old doesn't have to worry about his next contract—considering what's on his injured arm. The bright yellow cast is adorned by autographs by every player on the 2015 Red Sox squad. Now, it doesn't have the panache of a cast with signatures from the 2004, 2007 or 2013 teams. But, it's pretty good, nonetheless. Said Koji on his TWITTER feed, "This is, I wonder, become a treasure...everyone autographed?" Who needs a 401K anyway?

Will Red Sox Surge Push Run Total Past 2014 Levels?

(Getty Images)
With their recent gaudy run production, the Red Sox are on pace to blow away their 2014 run totals. In fact, as of today, they are projected to score 734 runs—exactly 100 more than they did last year. Of course, The Carmine Hose could slip back into another offensive funk, but it still looks like they will easily surpass last year's totals. To put this in perspective, they scored exactly 734 runs in the dismal 2012 season—when The Sons Of Bobby Valentine won just 69 games. And, when they won it all in 2013, they tallied a whopping 853 runs. Still, the current run-scoring spree is a welcome sight.

Baseball Prospectus Writes Off Red Sox Playoff Hopes

Some 'Pollyannas" will look at the standings and see that the Red Sox are "only" eight games out of the final AL Wild Card spot. But Baseball Prospectus knows better—and has them playing golf in October. In fact, the latest playoff probability for your Carmine Hose stands at 0.2%. That's "zero point two percent" for the cipher-impaired. Their negative 'Magic Numbers' are depressing as well—just 30 for elimination from the division and 34 for exclusion from the Wild Card. Of course, those of us who have watched this team know that the likelihood of them making the playoffs is roughly equal to Massachusetts gambling casinos being a net positive to the state's economy. In other words, not bloody likely.

'Muddy Chicken' Not Back In Lineup Until After Labor Day

(Boston Herald Photo)
Remember Dustin Pedroia? You know, the scrappy leader of The Carmine Hose and winner of both the Rookie of The Year and Most Valuable Player awards? Yeah, that's the one. The Laser Show has been out with hamstring issues since July 22nd—after missing 16 games earlier in the season. Now, he won't be returning until after Labor Day—September 10th to be precise. Said interim manager Torey Lovullo, "We don’t want to put any of our guys in harm’s way. He’s one of our best players, our leaders, we’ll be missing him for a while, but it’s giving other guys a chance to play and perform. We need Dustin, we want Dustin, and we know he’s going to be back as soon as possible." Functionally, however, it's 'wait 'til next year' for The Muddy Chicken.

Free Agent-To-Be Cueto Likes Champion-Caliber Sox

(KansasCityStar.com Photo)
Tonight's mound opponent for the Red Sox could very well be a teammate in 2016. Johnny Cueto, the ace at the top of the Royals rotation, could be just the solution the Red Sox need to upgrade their rotation next year. The 29-year old Dominican native was traded by the Reds to Kansas City at the deadline. In four starts for the AL Central leaders, he has a 1.80 ERA. Pretty good deal! Cueto told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford (through the interpretation services of Hanley Ramirez), "... I would like to come here because it’s a championship-caliber team." No problem, Johnny—there's a locker waiting.

Andover High's Ryan Hanigan Could Catch Until He's 40

(AP Photo)
As MassLive.com's Christopher Smith points out, 35-year old Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan has a shot to don the "tools of ignorance" until he's 40. The Andover High School graduate—who grew up rooting for The Carmine Hose—spent some of his years in college and the minors playing other positions besides catcher. Those "lighter" years may help preserve his body for the grueling task of being a major league backstop in his mid- to late-thirties. Hanigan did not make his MLB debut with the Reds until just past his 27th birthday—but he has turned himself into one of the best defensive catchers in the game. His patient approach at the plate has also resulted in a high career on-base percentage of .353 (.351 so far this year with Boston). It's unclear whether the new regime at Yawkey Way will keep Hanigan around for 2016—but he's already made a mark on his hometown team.

Miley, Hanigan, Shaw And JBJ Pace Sox To 4-1 Win

(Getty Images)
The Red Sox are still winning—and now they're playing real teams. Last night, The Carmine Hose ended a five-game winning streak by the Kansas City Royals—the team with the most wins in the entire American League. Wade Miley got his tenth win of the season, going 7.1 innings and giving up just one earned run. Andover High School's Ryan Hanigan drove in two runs, while Travis Shaw (two more hits) and Jackie Bradley, Jr. (RBI triple) also contributed to the offensive cause. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts added two hits apiece in the 4-1 wintheir third in a row.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Brock Holt Sitting Out KC Opener Tonight At Fenway

Brock Holt gets a rare night off tonight as the Red Sox start a four-game set with the AL Central-leading Kansas City Royals. Here is the full Boston lineup: Mookie Betts CF, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Xander Bogaerts SS, David Ortiz DH, Hanley Ramirez LF, Travis Shaw 1B, Ryan Hanigan C, Jackie Bradley Jr. RF, Josh Rutledge 2B. Quick-working lefty Wade Miley will take to the hill for The Carmine Hose.