Tuesday, September 2, 2014

David Ortiz Named FN's August Player O' Month

(AP Photo)
The Editors of FenwayNation have named David Ortiz as their August 2014 Player O' The Month. The Red Sox DH hit .342 during last month, with an OPS of 1.034. Big Papi also clouted 5 HRs, drove in 18 and slugged at a .592 clip. His on-base percentage during August was a robust .442. Ortiz led the team in HRs during August and tied for the lead in walks at 15. He joins Mike Napoli (April), Xander Bogaerts (May), Brock Holt (June), and co-winners Jon Lester and Daniel Nava (July) as FN Players O' The Month for 2014. Congratulations, David! You can see the full list of winners and stats HERE.

Dalton Jones Avg. Inexplicably Rises In August

Maybe it was the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes. Maybe it was the play of Mookie Betts. Maybe it was the relatively successful road trip that ended the month. Or maybe fans are just looking ahead to 2015. For whatever reason, FenwayNation's Dalton Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) experienced a slight increase in August—rising 3.0 points to 65.1. This comes after a precipitous 14.3 drop in July. Of course, 65.1 is still a terrible rating for a team that spent $162,041,568 in 2014. FenwayNation offers its readers this monthly assessment of "The Mood Of The Nation" through our exclusive Dalton Jones Industrial Average. Named for the all-time Red Sox pinch-hit leader, the average is a composite index of four key metrics: starting pitching, relief pitching, total offense and total defense. The initial 2014 preseason reading was normalized and set to 100.0 as the benchmark for the remainder of the year. Our readers from all over the world can now 'weigh in' on the state of The Carmine Hose.

Manny Leaves Iowa Cubs On A Positive Note

(Paat Kelly/MiLB.com)
Manny Ramriez left the Cubs' AAA affiliate on Friday due to a knee injury—with three games left on the schedule. We can all speculate as to whether this was a convenient 'near-the-end-of-the-season' malady. But, as far as Theo Epstein goes, that type of speculation is a thing of the past. According to Theo, Manny was nothing but a positive influence on the organization's key young players (Jorge Soler, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez). Said the former Red Sox GM, "It opened my eyes about how people can change. If you had asked me a few years ago, I never would have believed that we would voluntarily put Manny in a position to impact our most important players – and that he would come through." Epstein was astounded when Ramirez gave him a highly-detailed breakdown of every player on the Iowa roster. Manny Being Meticulous! The two-time World Champ wants to return to the majors—at age 43 those odds are long. But, we wouldn't bet against him.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bullpen Melts Down Again; Red Sox Lose, 4-3

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
As we've said before, everything—even the losses—has a Boston connection. Andover High School's Ryan Hannigan led off the bottom of the 10th inning with a double and his pinch-runner scored the winning run in a 4-3 loss to the Rays. Burke Badenhop coughed up the loss by walking two and giving up two hits in a forgettable outing. Yoenis Cespedes had tied the game in the eighth with a two-out single scoring Mookie Betts. Mike Napoli had earlier drawn the Sox to within one with his 17th HR of the year. Rubby De La Rosa pitched well enough to lose—going just 5.1 innings. So, The Valentine Magic Number is stuck at 10 with 25 to play.

Muddy Chicken Likely Out For Rest Of Road Trip

The concussion suffered by Dustin Pedroia on Friday night will most likely keep him out of the Red Sox lineup until Boston returns home from the current road trip. Since rosters expanded to 40 today, there is no need to place The Laser Show on the disabled list (either the 7-day or the 15-day). Said Manager John Farrell, "He's a little bit better, and yet, he still has some of the symptoms. This is clearly a day-to-day thing. We're probably at least another day away from any kind of exertion tests or any kind of ramping up of the heart rate to see if there's still some residual. But he's still sore where the impact took place on the side of the head. As we mentioned the other day, we'll be cautious with this...I think if he returns during the Yankee series, that's optimistic. Not ruling it out; Dustin may have a different view of that right now. But we still have to go through all of the required steps, DL or not. And that's documentation, that's testing, that's examination by medical people, doctors included. So we're in the midst of that."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Rusney Castillo Singles In Professional Debut

After a very long layoff, newly minted Red Sox CF Rusney Castillo has played in an actual baseball game. Castillo debuted for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox and singled in his first professional at-bat. He ultimately went 1-2 with a strikeout. He was also caught stealing. Said the $72.5 million-dollar-man, "I feel great. It was a good day. I’ve wanted this day to come for a long time now. It finally got here...My No. 1 objective would be to be the same player I’ve always been, to play my game and not try to do too much or try to become someone else." Hopefully, this is the first step to stardom.

Feat Of Clay: Buchholz Goes Distance In 3-0 Win

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Clay Buchholz ended the first half of this season with an 11-0 complete game shutout of the Houston Astros. Today, he repeated that feat—going the distance on a three-hit, 3-0 shutout of Tampa. Buchholz was truly dominant—throwing just 98 pitches while striking out six and walking none. If we can count on this Buchholz in 2015, it significantly eases the burden on Ben Cherington to get at least two new quality starters into the rotation. Boston's offense was paced by Christian Vazquez (an RBI single to start the scoring), Mookie Betts (2-4 with an RBI) and David Ortiz (1-3 with an RBI). The win reduced The Valentine Magic Number to 10—with 26 games left to play.

Sox Acquire Jemile Weeks For Kelly Johnson

Weeks
The Red Sox acquired infielder Jemile Weeks from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Kelly Johnson. Weeks—out of the University of Miami—has major league experience with both the Oakland Athletics and Orioles. Over his career, Weeks has hit .259 with 41 doubles, 17 triples, four home runs, and 56 RBIs. The 27-year old Weeks will wear #7. Boston also acquires Ivan De Jesus, Jr. from the Orioles and sends third baseman Michael Almanzar to Baltimore.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Rays 7, Will Middlebrooks & Some Other Guys, 0

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Talk about your embarrassments. The Carmine Hose were one-hit again, as Jake Odorizzi (along with two other pitchers) and the Rays shutout Boston, 7-0. Will Middlebrooks got the only safety—a fourth-inning single—to 'pace' the pathetic offense. By contrast, Allen Webster gave up six runs and five hits in just four-plus innings. Dustin Pedroia left the game after being smacked in the head by a sliding (not stinging) Ray. He is day-to-day with concussion-like symptoms. All in all, a lovely night at Tampa's MostPulpDome. The Valentine Magic Number is stuck at 11.

Teddy Ballgame Would Have Been Ninety-Six

Ted Williams would have been 96 years old today. When 'The Kid' was a rookie for the Red Sox in 1939, he only hit .327 with 31 HRs and 145 RBIs. And, while Williams effectively missed five years to military service (WWII and Korea), he still managed to clout 521 HRs in 19 seasons. Those of us who were blessed to see him play in person will never forget the sight. While his .406 season in 1941 will live forever (and likely never be broken), he left a far greater legacy of playing the game right and developing a true science of hitting. He was the greatest hitter who ever lived.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mookie Slam Powers Red Sox Past Rays, 8-4

A Salami By Mookie
At 21, Mookie Betts is the youngest Red Sox player in 49 years to clout a grand slam. On August 24, 1965, 20-year old Tony Conigliaro also hit a grand slam. The second-inning clout by Betts was enough to power The Carmine Hose past the Rays, 8-4. Newly-recalled Anthony Ranaudo got the win—going six innings and giving up three earned runs. The rookie right-hander out of LSU is now 3-0. Daniel Nava continued his resurgence going 3-4 with an RBI. Yoenis Cespedes raised his average to .262—going 2-5 with two RBIs.

Dalton Jones Industrial Average August Reading

Once again this month, all of our readers can "weigh in" on the State Of The Carmine Hose through our exclusive Dalton Jones Industrial Average Index. The DJIA (honoring the Red Sox all-time pinch-hit leader) gathers four key metrics each month using a simple "0" to "10" confidence scale on: starting pitching, relief pitching, overall offense and overall defense. Each month, FN readers—through a simple one-page survey tool—can assess the fortunes of the team. FenwayNation will publish the DJIA Index Score each month during the season. We invite all of our readers to complete the quick survey, then simply hit "done", which automatically (and anonymously) sends the form to FenwayNation. Here is the survey link for August: DJIA SURVEY LINK (Please complete and send by Sunday, August 31st).

The 'Rusney Era' About To Begin For Red Sox

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
He's gotten his work visa. He's worked out on the fields behind jetBlue Park. And, Rusney Castillo is now ready for some game action. The Red Sox may give their new CF the chance to play with a minor league affiliate as soon as this weekend. For obvious reasons (not the least of which is he hasn't played in almost two years), the Boston brass does not want to rush the speedy Cuban phenom. Nevertheless, he is still on track to be with the big club before the end of this season from Dante's Second Circle of Hell. We need him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ex-Sox Danny Valencia Sticks It To Boston, 5-2

 (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Once again, everything—and we mean everything—has a Red Sox gestalt. Even the guys that beat us these days are somehow connected to The Carmine Hose. So it was tonight as ex-Red Sox utility guy Danny Valencia clouted a seventh-inning, pinch-hit three-run homer to bury Boston, 5-2. Valencia played all of 10 games with the Red Sox, and hit a robust .143. Overworked reliever Junichi Tazawa offered up the Valencia blast. So, The Valentine Magic Number is stuck at 12 with just 29 to play. You do the math.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Seven Come Eleven: Sox Rally Late, Win, 11-7

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Boston tallied seven times in the eleventh inning tonight to beat the Blue Jays, 11-7. A two-run double by Dustin Pedroia (who had four RBIs on the night), a three-run monster home run (into the top deck at SkyDome) by Mike Napoli and a two-run HR by Allen Craig (his first as a member of the Red Sox) highlighted the frame. Boston took yet another 3-0 lead in the first, but Rubby De La Rosa could not hold it and the game went to extras tied at 4-4. The win reduced The Valentine Magic Number to 12.

Ranaudo Named AAA Most Valuable Pitcher

Anthony Ranaudo—IL Pitcher Of The Year For 2014
While other pitchers in the Red Sox system tend to get more ink, Anthony Ranaudo just keeps piling up the trophies. The right-hander out of LSU has been named International League Most Valuable Pitcher for 2014. Last year, he earned Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors. For AAA Pawtucket, Ranaudo went 14-4 with a 2.61 ERA—striking out 111 batters in 138 innings over 24 starts. You might also recall that he pitched six strong innings against The Evil Ones in his major league debut earlier this year. Hats off to Anthony—appearing soon in a starting rotation near you!

Buchholz Still Viewed As Most Disappointing

Even after a stellar performance in Toronto last night, most FenwayNation readers still consider Clay Buchholz to be the most disappointing Red Sox player of 2014. As the chart shows, 44% now view the tall Texan righty as the most disappointing, followed by 21% who think Xander Bogaerts should get that label. About the same number (19%) view Will Middlebrooks as most disappointing—while 10% feel that way about Jackie Bradley, Jr. Just 1% think Craig Breslow disappointed the most and three voters chose someone not on the list (at least one of which was identified as Shane Victorino). You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Cespedes Delivers Blown Win As Sox Top Jays

NESN Screenshot
The Red Sox are having such a bizarre year, they should invent stats just to apply to their situation. A case in point was last night's game in America Lite. Leading 3-0 with one out in the ninth, Clay Buchholz (named 'most disappointing' in our FN Poll) loaded the bases. On comes Koji Uehara for the easy save, right? Maybe last year. Uehara coughed up his fourth blown save of the year. Then Boston pushed across the lead (and eventual winning) run in the 10th—and Uehara gets the 4-3 win. Blown Win, right? New stat! The key offensive blows in this game were: a two-run HR by Dustin Pedroia, a solo blast by Mookie Betts and the game-winning single by Yoenis Cespedes in the 10th (preceded by two stolen bases by Brock 'Babe' Holt). Buchholz was magnificent until the ninth—ending up with a no-decision by going 8.1 innings and giving up three earned runs on just four hits. The Valentine Magic Number is now reduced to 13.