Friday, July 25, 2014

David Ortiz Is "Good To Go" For Tonight's Tilt

UPDATE: Ortiz in
OK, so now our evening is planned. Warm up the TV, because it looks as if The Great David Wars—Part Deux may actually happen tonight. According to CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam, the Red Sox DH has already told manager John Farrell he's "good to go tonight". Even though the lineup has not yet been officially posted, it looks like we're in for a treat! David Price plunked Ortiz on May 30th—which led to a bench-clearing brawl and the suspension of Brandon Workman (for later throwing behind Evan Longoria).

Could Fenway Be Matt Kemp's Next Destination?

(ESPN Photo)
The LA rumor mill is extra stoked today and the object of everyone's speculation is outfielder Matt Kemp. According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the Dodgers are "making calls, and rival executives have the feeling the Dodgers are ready to move on." Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (AKA John Henry's Journalistic Plaything) suggested last Sunday that the Red Sox were one of the teams "intrigued" by Kemp. So, as Thursday's deadline nears, keep an eye out for the possibility of another big deal with the denizens of Chavez Ravine.

Ex-Yankee Knoblauch Held On Assault Charges

(US Presswire Photo)
Former New York Yankee second baseman Chuck Knoblauch was arrested this week in Houston for allegedly assaulting his ex-wife.  Reportedly, Knoblauch, 46, smashed his former spouse's head against the bedroom wall of her home and then threw a humidifier at her. We will resist the temptation of making any comment on his past baseball throwing difficulties. Back in 2010, Knoblauch was convicted of hitting Stacey Stelmach (his wife at that time). The 1991 Rookie of the Year (while with the Minnesota Twins) was named in the 2007 Mitchelll Report as having used HGH.

With Sixty Games Left, Red Sox Hopes Are Slim

Time To Clean House?
They are 6.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. They have scored 31 fewer runs than they have given up. To reach 90 wins, they would have to go 43-17 the rest of the way. They are a .500 team at home. So, what is it that gives anyone hope that the 2104 Carmine Hose have any shot at the post-season? The honest answer is: nothing. This team is actually worse than 2012's 'Dysfunction Junction' crew. Believe it or not, after 102 games, Bobby Valentine's minions were 51-51—four games better than this year's record. So, even if Boston sweeps the Rays at the MostPulpDome this weekend, there is very little hope. It's time to face reality and deal away some of the flotsam and jetsam for anything we can get. At a minimum, that means shipping out some combination of Jonny Gomes, Jake Peavy, Craig Breslow and Mike Carp. Ben Cherington should also consider dealing Andrew Miller, David Ross, and Daniel Nava. And—if the return is good enough—deals should also be considered for Koji Uehara, John Lackey and (if they're not going to re-sign him) even Jon Lester. Also, if the rumored Giancarlo Stanton deal is real (Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and two to three prospects), that should also be seriously considered. Apparently, 2013 was an aberration—not a sustainable model. As such, it's time to clean house, restructure and take a new course.

Tommy John More Likely For Evil Ones' Tanaka

(AP Photo)
Ten days after getting a "platelet-rich plasma injection", Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka is still feeling "discomfort" in his pitching elbow. Earlier this season, Tanaka was found to have a small tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament. The Bronx Embalmer 'braintrust' opted for six weeks of rest and rehabilitation over immediate Tommy John surgery. Pinstripe Poser GM Brian Cashman told ESPN New York Radio, "... it's not good that he's still feeling it at this stage." Ya' think? It looks increasingly likely that Tanaka will need the surgery and therefore not return to the Yankee rotation for a long, long time.

"War Of Davids" (Ortiz-Price) May Have To Wait

(Photos by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
The long-anticipated encounter between Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Tampa ace David Price may have to be postponed to another date. In his final at-bat on Thursday, Ortiz tweaked his back on a check swing and had to leave the game. Reportedly, he's still in pain and may have to miss tonight's David VS. David confrontation. On May 30th, Price hit Ortiz after complaining that the DH had allegedly "admired" one of his two HRs off the lefty in the 2013 ALDS. Tempers flared, benches cleared and Ortiz called Price derisive names. Famously, Ortiz stated coldly, that this was now "war". He went on to say, "Next time he hits me, he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more." That "next" time might have to be "next next time".

Evil Ones Scoop Up Another Ex-Red Sox Pitcher

(Boston Herald Photo By: Christopher Evans)
UPDATE: Cap starts
You might want to get used to this. After all, Jon Lester may be wearing the dreaded pinstripes in another few months. Anyway, word is that The Bronx Embalmers have acquired former Boston lefty Chris Capuano from the Rockies for "cash considerations". What makes this even worse is that Capuano is a native of West Springfield, Massachusetts. In his brief stint with The Carmine Hose, Capuano pitched 31.2 innings, posting an ERA of 4.55. He did have flashes of effectiveness at times, but Andrew Miller was ultimately viewed as the more effective lefty out of the 'pen. We're sure flags will be at half-mast at Capuano's alma mater—Springfield's Our Lady of Hope Cathedral High School.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sox Suffer One-Hit Humiliation; Fall To Jays, 8-0

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)
Remember that small glimmer of hope you felt when the Red Sox showed some life coming out of the All-Star break? OK, dash that glimmer. Boston lost for the third time in four games in America Lite, falling 8-0 at SkyDome this afternoon. Being shut out is bad enough, but being one-hit by a 23-year old rookie is downright humiliating. Shane Victorino tallied the only safety in the contest—in which Rubby De La Rosa pitched poorly enough (4 innings, 6 earned runs) to make you wonder if the Dodgers might have known something after all. In any event, Boston now heads to Tampa for three games that will decide nothing more than who winds up in the AL East cellar. Need a cherry on top of this one? David Ortiz left the game in the ninth inning with a lower back injury. Goodnight, everybody! Drive safely. Tip your waitresses. Try the veal.

Lucchino: "We Will Be Active" At Trade Deadline

Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino appeared on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan Morning Show and spoke about the team's likely behavior in the run-up to next Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline. Said Lucchino, "We’ve never been in this position in our 13 years. We have never been in a position where we haven't been anything but aggressive buyers because we’ve always, even in the catastrophic years of 2011-12, we were well over .500 at this stage of the season, so this is relatively new to us. … I do think that we will be active. … We're always active." Rumors have been swirling in the last few days about possible deals involving starter Jake Peavy, left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, outfielder Jonny Gomes and even a mega-deal for Miami's Giancarlo Stanton.

Giancarlo Stanton To Red Sox Rumors Re-Ignite

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
We know, we know, you've heard all this before. And the Marlins have promised they would never trade Giancarlo Stanton—their lone matinee idol. Then again, Governor Deval Patrick promised a drop in your property taxes—seen that yet? We digress. The persistent rumors of a Boston-Miami deal for the 24-year slugger are simmering again. This time, the talk is that it would take Will Middlebrooks, Jackie Bradley, Jr. and two or three top prospects to get Stanton. A move this big wouldn't even depend on whether the Sox were in contention or not. This is a franchise-changing player—and, as a right-handed power bat, he represents the biggest missing piece in the entire Red Sox organization. There is nobody like him in the system—an no one in the pipeline. Does the deal make sense? We say you have to seriously consider it. The only "untouchable" players in our view are: Xander Bogaerts, Deven Marrero, Mookie Betts, Henry Owens and Blake Swihart. If they are not in the deal—and the deal actually exists as a real possibility—we make it.

The A-Rod VS. Varitek Brawl: One Decade Later

It's an iconic image burned into the brain of every Red Sox fan over the age of 10—Good versus Evil incarnate. Ten years ago today, Jason Varitek squared off with Alex Rodriguez in a classic brawl that can legitimately be called the watershed moment of the 2004 Championship season. When the game ended on Bill Mueller's walk-off home run, The Idiots had been galvanized. They were a team—a Championship-Calibre team. Bronson Arroyo drilled The Fraudulent One with the Sox trailing 3-0 in the third inning. Rodriguez started to first base—while shouting an expletive-deleted tirade at Arroyo. Varitek came to his battery-mate's defense—big time. A few shoves, a catcher's mitt in 
the face, and the brawl was on. Later, Mueller's two-run HR off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth gave The Carmine Hose an improbable 11-10 victory. I distinctly recall driving to a meeting in northern California and listening to the game on my car radio. When Mueller went deep, my fellow travelers on the freeway must have wondered why this nut in a Red Sox hat was shouting and pumping his fist. It was indeed a watershed—a watershed to history.

Muddy Chicken Sits, Holt Leads Off In Matinee

The Red Sox will sit the somewhat slumping Dustin Pedroia (he still leads the team in WAR) in today's matinee in America Lite. Brock 'Babe' Holt will return from his odd exile, lead off and play second base for The Carmine Hose. Shane Victorino will hit second and play right field, while Christian Vazquez will be back behind the plate and hit ninth. Rubby De La Rosa will take to the hill for Boston. The weird Canadian start time is 12:37 Eastern—go figure.

Sox Lighting A Candle For "Wick" In Peavy Deal

Cardinals Prospect Rowan Wick Homers
Rowan Wick is a 21-year old Canadian OF/C out of North Vancouver, B.C.—and he is the apple of Ben Cherington's eye. That is, he's the guy BenCher is asking for from the Cardinals in any swap for Boston starter Jake Peavy. Apparently, St. Louis is balking and wants to send cash and a meet-and-greet with a really polite Cardinal season ticket-holder. Ben wants more. Wick is currently splitting time between two Single A Cardinal affiliates—the State College Spikes and the Peoria Chiefs. So far, Wick (a left-handed batter) has hit .371 with 15 HRs and 41 RBIs in just 36 games. He was a ninth round pick by the Cards in 2012. As the St. Louis starting pitching situation continues to deteriorate (Adam Wainwright is getting hit lately and Michael Wacha is still out indefinitely), Ben should hold out for this "Wick"-ed good deal.

John Henry: Lester Talks Off Until After Season

John Henry Surveys His Empire (Rick Friedman/Polaris)
In an email sent to The Boston Herald last night, Red Sox principal owner John Henry revealed that contract talks between the team and ace Jon Lester are off until after the season. Wrote Henry in the email, "I’m not going to discuss Jon’s situation out of respect for both Jon and Ben other than to say that both sides have put further discussion off until after the season. It’s clear that both Jon and our organization would like to see Jon back next year if possible." In our view, the key words in Henry's statement are the last two: "if possible". Not "when we get the job done and re-sign him", but we'd like to see him back "if possible". After their pitiful 4-year, $70 million offer, the team is now clearly signaling that Lester is history. Apparently, the only things "friendly" at Fenway these days are foreign soccer matches. What a shame.

Buchholz "Walks" His Way Into A 6-4 Loss

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Well, The Carmine Hose pretty much have to sweep the rest of this road trip (one more afternoon tilt in America Lite and three more at the MostPulpDome in Tampa) to have any realistic chance at the post-season. Clay Buchholz put one nail in the 2014 coffin with six lifeless innings in which he surrendered 3-0 and 4-3 leads. He coughed up five earned runs and walked four—all coming back to haunt him. Not exactly ace material in the 6-4 loss. With Brock 'Babe' Holt inexplicably riding the pine, Boston's offense was led by David Ortiz (24th HR), Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts (who also made another costly error). When a visiting team takes a 3-0 lead before the opposing pitcher records an out, good teams win those games. 'Nuf Ced.  Rubby De La Rosa will be asked to halt the two-game skid this afternoon at SkyDome.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nation Is Outraged As Brock Holt Sits Out

(FenwayNation Photo)
After 59 straight starts, Brock 'Babe' Holt is being "rested" tonight—just when the Red Sox desperately need his juice at the top of the lineup to win tonight's critical Game 3 of the make-or-break road trip. Manager John Farrell justified the decision thusly, "We never like to take any player out that’s doing extremely well. And yet we feel like he’s played every inning since sometime back in May and felt like the last couple days were starting to see it a little bit in his play." Since taking over the top spot in the Boston lineup on May 23rd, Holt leads the major leagues in hits (77). And, did we mention? He's played seven of the nine possible positions on a baseball team. Sure, bench him. Why not?