Tuesday, July 25, 2017

POLL: The Nation Has Spoken—Apologize, Red Sox!

Almost nine in ten readers (88%) voted today to send a loud and clear message to the Red Sox organization: "Apologize to Dennis Eckersley!". As the chart shows, just 12% take the opposite view—that no apology is necessary for the tirade by David Price on the team plane.

MLB Power Rankings Keep Sox In Fourth Spot This Week

Despite a pathetic (10-10) July, the Red Sox somehow maintained their fourth-position standing in this week's MLB Power Rankings. As the chart shows, the Dodgers remain on top—despite the crushing, long-term loss of Clayton Kershaw. The Astros and Nationals remain just ahead of Boston at numbers two and three, respectively. The 2016 World Series Champion Cubbies chime in at #5—one slot below The Carmine Hose this week. The Bronx Embalmers moved up two spots this week and now sit at #9 on the list. You can check out all of the power rankings HERE.

Could Cozart Trade Push Bogaerts Back Over To 3B?

(Getty Images)
You may recall that Xander Bogaerts played the 2013 post-season at 3B—and handled it very well. The hot rumor that the Red Sox are interested in trading for Reds shortstop Zack Cozart suggests that the X-Man may be on the move around the diamond again. While Xander started the year with a hot (albeit power-free) bat, he has dropped off offensively since the injury to his right hand. And, while he's a more-than-adequate defensive shortstop, Cozart is far better in the field. And, the former Ole Miss star has never played third base in the bigs. So, it could be that any Xander "demand" to stay at short would be less persuasive than it would have been a year ago. In any event. the Cozart rumors abound—although it's unclear what type of prospects/players would need to go back to The Queen City in any deal. The 31-year-old Cozart is having his best year ever—his first All-Star appearance, a .318 batting average and a .974 OPS. But, he will be a free agent at the end of this year, so he'd either be a rental or a long-term signee at shortstop—making a 3B switch by Bogaeerts potentially permanent. Stay tuned.

POLL: Even More Support For Sox 'Eck Apology Tour'

Further voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll intensified the level of support for the Red Sox organization apologizing to Dennis Eckersley for the David Price plane incident. As the chart shows, fully 86% of readers now think the Red Sox (and John Farrell and Dave Dombrowski personally) should apologize to the Hall of Fame NESN broadcaster. Just 14% believe that no apology is necessary. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

John Henry Has Liverpool In 2003-Like Red Sox Position

(NBC Sports Photo)
Honestly, we are not big soccer fans. When we do watch, it is exclusively the English Premier League. Watching five minutes of an EPL match makes the Revs and the rest of the MLS seem like middle-school junior varsity players. Even to an un-trained eye, EPL is that much better. In any event, your esteemed Red Sox owner John Henry is now on the verge of moving his Liverpool EPL entry back into an elite status—maybe. An interesting article on The Anfield Wrap website suggests that the 'Reds' are in roughly the same position as the 2003 Red Sox—that is, that close to glory. The authors argue that Henry needs a 'Curt Schilling Thanksgiving Dinner In Arizona' kind of moment to bring one or two top winning players into the fold and put them over the top. Somewhat naively, however, the writers feel that Henry and Company have "learned" from their 2011 mega-contract signing spree with the Red Sox. Didn't anyone tell them about The Panda? Anyway, the article is also a reminder of how our owner wastes a lot of his precious time and energy on foreign soccer—and not on American baseball.

POLL: Four In Five Want Sox To Apologize To Eckersley

Early (but spirited) voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll indicates that an overwhelming majority of readers think the Red Sox organization (including John Farrell and Dave Dombrowski personally) should apologize to Dennis Eckersley for what was said to him by David Price on the team plane. As the chart shows, fully four in five readers (80%) think an apology is warranted, while one in five (20%) do not think a formal apology is necessary. You can still vote HERE.

POLL: Should The Red Sox Apologize To Eckersley?

Should John Farrell, Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox organization formally apologize to Dennis Eckersley for David Price's expletive-filled confrontation on the team plane?
 
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Red Sox Shut Out For Ninth Time, Fall to M's, 4-0

Three times this month and nine total times on the year, your 2017 Carmine Hose have been skunked. Last night, it was a 4-0 whitewashing by the Mariners—who limited Boston to just four hits. Eduardo Rodriguez was once again mediocre—going 5.1 innings and giving up all four runs on another high pitch count (99 pitches) night. There was no offense to speak of—although Jackie Bradley, Jr. did get 50% of Boston's hits. Speaking of percentages, Boston has been shutout 8.9% of the time. The nine blankings is an MLB record this year. The loss cut Boston's lead over the idle Evil Ones to just two games.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Chicken And Beer II: Are Sox Set Up For '11-Like Fail?

First of all, the Red Sox are in first place with a week left to go in July. By any objective standard that is a good place to be. Having said that, many observers (like the sometimes insufferable, but mostly interesting Bill Simmons) are raising the spectre of another epic collapse. According to Simmons, The Carmine Hose—Post-Papi—have no "alpha-dog" bat. He sees Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon all slumping badly. Then, there's the problem at third base, the over-used bullpen and the One Stopper Syndrome (Chris Sale). While Simmons may be over-stating things a bit, his fundamental premise is sound. We all remember how the "Best Team Ever" tanked in 2011 amidst chicken, beer and ineptitude. On July 24th, the 2011 team was up by three games in the division—eerily similar to their position six years to the day later. As late as September 1st, they were still in first place (albeit by only 1/2 game). You have to think that this team is enough different—packed with athletic young stars—to avoid a similar collapse. But the cheering of David Price's 'diss' of Dennis Eckersley on the team plane is a disturbing sign that "Chicken And Beer" may be replaced by "Mock Eck And Cheer".

Nomar Was 44 Sunday: Can We Finally Appreciate Him?

(Getty Images)
Yesterday was Nomar Garciaparra's 44th birthday. Twenty-one years ago next month, he made his MLB debut as a member of the Red Sox. The way he departed Boston—no matter who you blame for the way it all happened in 2004—has somehow tarnished his overall contribution to the Red Sox. It should not have. By any measure, his contribution was epic. Full disclosure: Nomar was our favorite player of the era—he bled Red Sox red. He always hustled, was a hitting machine, and was the heart and soul of the ball-club. But, in fairness, let's take an objective look at his nine-year tenure in Carmine Hose. Garciaparra hit .323 over 966 games for Boston (getting him batting titles in 1999 and 2000). His on-base percentage as a Red Sox player was a ridiculous .370—and he slugged .553 and carried an OPS of .923. He collected 1,281 hits for Boston—including 178 HRs and 690 RBIs. He had exactly as many walks for the Red Sox as doubles (279), and led the AL in two-baggers in 2002. He was Rookie-Of-The-Year in 1997 and a five-time All-Star while with the Red Sox. His .372 average in 2000 was frighteningly close to the "un-reachable" .400 mark. In his total 14-year career, he hit .313 with an .882 OPS. Pretty damn impressive. Thanks, Nomar—and a belated Happy Birthday!

POLL: Three Of Four Favor Devers Promotion By Sox

Early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that about three-quarters of readers (76%) favor the Red Sox promotion of top prospect Rafael Devers to play 3B for Boston. As the chart shows, just under one-quarter (24%) oppose moving the 20-year-old to the big club. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Thirteen Years Ago Today "The Nation" Was Re-Born

It was the seminal moment of the 2004 regular season—a campaign that would end with the first championship ring in 86 years. Thirteen years ago today, Jason Varitek—protecting Bronson Arroyo—gave Alex Rodriguez a shot upside the head and a magnificent brawl ensued. It was one of the best Yankee-Red Sox skirmishes ever. When the dust cleared, Boston was down by a run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bill Mueller—who in October would plate the biggest RBI in Red Sox history—launched a two-run HR into the bullpen off Mariano Rivera, giving Boston an 11-10 win. It set the tone. Then-manager Terry Francona presciently stated, "I hope we look back a while from now and we’re saying this brought us together. I hope a long time from now we look back and say this did it." Indeed it did. I remember listening to this game on a rental car radio heading up the I-5 to a client meeting in California. Obviously, I didn't see the famous A-Rod-Tek confrontation—so the Mueller HR was what made me pump my fist in the air 3,000 miles away from the action. But it was the totality of this game that truly re-ignited the flame. We should all remember this day.