Monday, April 27, 2015

All 'Betts' Are On!: Mookie Walks Off Sox, 6-5

(AP Photo)
After a bit of a lull, Mookie Betts is back. Tonight, he capped a thrilling 6-5 Red Sox comeback in the 9th inning with a line single to left. It was Betts' third hit of the night. Xander Bogaerts started the 9th inning rally with a one-out single. Andover High's Ryan Hanigan followed with a bullet single to center. After a wild pitch moved runners up, Betts reached down to poke a single through the drawn-in infield. Joe Kelly had another disappointing start—going six innings and yielding five earned runs (and yet he tantalizingly struck out ten). Pablo Sandoval was injured making a dive in the infield—but he homered before leaving the game. Koji Uehara got off the 'schnide' by delivering a clean top of the night to get the win. All in all, a good and needed win.

Nava At 1B, Holt In RF As Sox Host Blue Jays

The Red Sox are 'sitting down' Mike Napoli and Allen Craig tonight as they open a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. Here is the Boston lineup: Mookie Betts CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, David Ortiz DH, Hanley Ramirez LF, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Daniel Nava 1B, Brock Holt RF, Xander Bogaerts SS, Ryan Hanigan C. Joe Kelly will take to the hill for The Carmine Hose.

POLL Redux: Papelbon Back To Red Sox?

Papelbon Redux?

Should the Sox consider a return of Papelbon?

  Current Results

Phillies Re-Igniting Papelbon To Red Sox Deal?

Multiple reports are suggesting that the Philadelphia Phillies are stepping up their efforts to deal Jonathan Papelbon back to his original team—the Boston Red Sox. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has pretty good timing—since current closer Koji Uehara just blew a win in Baltimore. Papelbon has freely expressed his interest in returning to Boston and has been near-perfect this year as the Philadelphia closer. Stay tuned.

Sox Prospect Johnson Should Be In Rotation

Left-Handed AAA Starter Brian Johnson
Red Sox minor league starting pitcher Brian Johnson is now 24 years old. He's a lefty, 6'4" and 230. He is laying waste to AAA batting orders. He's 2-1 with a 0.56 ERA in three starts for "The Soon-To-Be Providence Red Sox". Johnson has struck out 18 batters in 16 innings and owns a WHIP of 0.88. In any other of the 29 organizations is baseball (with the possible exception of the Washington Nationals), he would be in The Show already. Why he isn't in the decimated Red Sox rotation right now is a mystery. Boston has the second worst starter ERA in Major League Baseball (5.35)—and it's only getting worse by the day. It turns out these are five number three starters. If Ben Cherington is still reluctant to trade top prospects for Cole Hamels (which, in our view, is a legitimate position), then at least bring this kid up—before he ceases to be a "kid".

Sox Lose Star-Spangled Slugfest To O's, 18-7

(AP Photo)
If you score seven runs on the road, you should win. Unfortunately, that precept assumes adequate major-league level pitching. The Red Sox now have the second-worst starter ERA in all of baseball (5.35). Ironically, the worst is yesterday's opponents—the Baltimore Orioles (5.52). Yesterday, Wade Miley didn't make it out of the third inning—giving up seven runs. Those that followed didn't do any better—giving up a total of eleven more runs in an eventual 18-7 lossHanley Ramirez hit two meaningless HRs, Dustin Pedroia was 3-4 and Brock Holt kept hitting—but other than that, this was a total embarrassment.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Papi Sits, Hanley DHs, Holt Plays LF Today

A few changes today as the Red Sox try to overcome yet another crushing one-run loss. But, if John Farrell was trying to improve OF defense with this group—why is Craig in right? Here's the lineup: Mookie Betts CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Hanley Ramirez DH, Mike Napoli 1B, Brock Holt LF, Allen Craig RF, Xander Bogaerts SS, Sandy Leon C. Wade Miley will start on the mound for the Red Sox.

O's "Demonstrate" Inadequacy Of Sox Pitching

(AP Photo)
Amid a "lock-down" of Camden Yards due to nearby protest demonstrations, The Orioles took advantage of crap Red Sox pitching to gain a 5-4 comeback win over Boston. This time it was "reliable" Koji Ueara who could not hold  4-3 advantage in the 9th—delivered by a Xander Bogaerts solo HR in the top half of the inning. Boston had trailed 2-0 early, comeback to tie it, lost the lead and tied it again, gained the lead and ultimately blew that. Not exactly the makings of championship team. Mike Napoli clouted hist fist HR of the year in the loss (a 2-run foul pole shot to right), and Justin Masterson pitched "OK" through seven innings (3 earned runs). New call-up Matt Barnes did well (2 shutout innings), but something drastic needs to get done to revamp this pitching staff.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Considering The Case Of One Brock Wyatt Holt

by Mark Lawrence, International Editor

Some years back, I opined that John Farrell was pretty much the best and only choice for Red Sox manager and his performance in that role has – to this point – been exemplary.  But, as the 2015 campaign gets off to a pretty good start, I’m sitting down here wondering why that young Matt Damon lookalike and team phenom Brock Holt is not getting a lot more playing time.

It would be very easy for me to shoot my fat mouth off about the intricacies of managing a major league ball club, but as I grow older and – astonishingly – more serene about these things, I realize that there’s got be a very sound reason for this situation – after all, this is genial John Farrell we’re talking about, not the ego-driven inventor of the wrap sannitch.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Brock Star Saves The Day; Red Sox Beat O's, 7-5

(AP Photo)
Brock Holt has played in just 10 of Boston's 17 games. And yet, he is the odds-on favorite to win FenwayNation's April Player Of The Month. "BrockStar" is hitting .424 on the month—with a HR and eight RBIs. Tonight, he clouted an eye-high fastball over the wall in RF for a three-run HR—putting Boston up 7-4 at the time. Moreover, after switching from SS to LF in the 9th, he held two runners to singles—and, more importantly, out of scoring position. Earlier David Ortiz also had a three-run HR, followed by a Hanley Ramirez solo shot. All Boston's runs came with two outs—and all came on HRs. Rick Porcello struck out the first five batters of the game, but had nothing left in the seventh (walk, single)—eventually resulting in a 4-4 tie. The Red Sox now have ten wins on the year, and stay tied for first in the AL East.

FenwayNation To Review Book On O's History

As the Red Sox head to Camden Yards, we are happy to say that we'll soon be reviewing a new book on the Baltimore Orioles franchise. The book, "60 Years Of Orioles Magic", is an authoritative visual history of one of baseball's greatest franchises. After morphing from the horrific St. Louis Browns in 1954, the Birds have won three World Series Championships—a team with a legacy of great players like Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell and Jim Palmer. Your Editor-In-Chief's "dirty little secret" is that—for a brief time—he abandoned The Carmine Hose (in the pre-1967 era) and rooted for the Orioles. After the O's won it all in 1966 (sweeping the mighty Dodgers in four games), he re-stated his un-dying loyalty to the Red Sox. Anyway, we look forward to reviewing this new book for our readers.

Shane Victorino Again Out Of Red Sox Lineup

The Red Sox look to rebound from two brutal losses in the Land Of Pulpy Orange Juice with a three-game set in Charm City's Orioles Park at Camden Yards. Tonight's Sox lineup is: Mookie Betts CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, David Ortiz DH, Hanley Ramirez LF, Mike Napoli 1B, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Daniel Nava RF, Brock Holt SS, and Ryan Hanigan C. Rick Porcello takes to the mound for The Carmine Hose.

So Far, MLB Pace-Of-Play Rules Are Working

Believe it not, the new MLB 'pace-of-play' rules (such as they are) are having an impact. According to an analysis by USA Today Sports, 2015 games have been shortened by eight minutes compared to the same period in 2014. The result is that the average MLB game this year is running 2 hours and 54 minutes. Even the players are noticing the difference. Said the estimable Ian Kinsler, "The big difference you see is all of the antics being cut out. You used to see the pitchers come in from the bullpen, walk around the mound, grab the rosin bag three times and then warm-up. Now, all that extracurricular stuff is wiped out. It's like, 'Let's go.'" Give new Commissioner Rob Manfred credit—this is something Bud Selig talked a lot about but never implemented.

Odds Good A-Rod Bests Mays Mark At Fenway

Perhaps the low-point of the 2015 season would be if Alex Rodriguez breaks Wille Mays' home run mark at Fenway Park. It could happen, folks—he has 658 HRs right now. In fact, the odds-makers at say it's 4-1 that The Fraudulent One gets HR #660 (which would tie him with Mays) at Fenway. The upcoming May1-3 visit by The Evil Ones to Boston could also see The Centaur pass Mays with HR #661. Signs and wonders.

Sox Executive Kennedy Says, "No, Canada!"

Red Sox Executive Vice President and COO Sam Kennedy has turned down an opportunity to interview for the top spot in a Canadian sports empire. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. (MLSE) is a mega-conglomerate that owns (among other things) the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA's Toronto Raptors and the MLS's Toronto FC. Kennedy was granted permission to seek the CEO position by Red Sox ownership, but ultimately declined to even interview for the job. Kennedy is a bright star in the Sox organization—although he did dream up the awful "dynamic pricing" system that charges fans lots more money for "marquee" games.

Lone Sox Fan: Yoan Moncada 'Might Be Ready'

(AP Photo)
According to Big League Stew's Chris Cwik, Yoan Moncada's US debut was seen by one—that's right one—fan. The 19-year old phenom played in his first state-side game yesterday at the Red Sox complex in Fort Myers, Florida. Boston gave the Cuban infielder a $31.5 million signing bonus, and a lot of big things are expected of him in the years to come. So far, so good. In his first US at-bat, he hit a stand-up triple. Said the one Red Sox fan in attendance (Tony Medina), "With that bat, he might be ready." From Medina's lips to you-know-who's ear.

Lucchino May Become New 2024 Olympics Guru

Maybe all the rumors about Larry Lucchino being on the "outs" with others in Red Sox ownership are true. The team's house organ (The Boston Globe) is reporting that Lucchino may become the 'face' of Boston's 2024 Summer Olympics bid. The bumbling and hugely unpopular efforts by the front group (Boston 2024) have resulted in calls for new leadership. Lucchino would bring a highly visible and experienced spokesperson to the effort. He has rich experience bringing new, invigorating venues to second-tier towns like Baltimore (Camden Yards) and San Diego (PETCO Park). Considering the global competition for the 2024 games (Rome, Hamburg, Paris), Boston could be considered second-tier on this score. Part of Lucchino's job, of course, would be to punch up Boston's 'world-class' image—although recent experiences with the "T" and past epic debacles like 'The Big Dig' hardly suggest we could handle an international event. Oh, did we mention traffic? Good luck, Larry!

Sox Team Batting Average Worst Since 1992

Many observers—including us—have focused on the serious deficiencies on the Red Sox pitching staff this year (both starters and bullpen). But, just as vexing is the woeful offensive production from a team that was expected to bash the ball this year. As's Gordon Edes points out, after 16 games, Boston's .230 team batting average is the worst (16 games into a season) since 1992. We're talking the Bush I administration. Mo Vaughn was a rookie on that 1992 squad that featured immortals like Bob Zupcic—who (amazingly) was leading the team at that point with a .276 average.

Varvaro Is Latest Sox Hurler Implosion; Fall, 2-1

(AP  Photo)
Another gut-wrenching loss at the pathetic MostPulpDome puts the Red Sox in a three-way first-place tie with the Yankees and Jays. The 2-1, ninth inning walk-off was due to—you guessed it—crap relief pitching (Anthony Varvaro). Clay Buchholz turned in a gem for six innings—giving up just one earned run on two hits while striking out ten. But, tonight, it was a lack of offense that also killed the Sox—managing just three measly hits off Rays pitching. It's the first series loss for Boston and—at 9-7—they go into Baltimore for a big three-game set.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Nava, Craig And Leon In Tonight's Sox Lineup

The Red Sox will try to erase last night's ugly loss by sending out a slightly different cast of characters. Here is today's lineup: Mookie Betts CF, Dustin Pedroia 2B, David Ortiz DH, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Mike Napoli 1B, Daniel Nava RF, Allen Craig LF , Xander Bogaerts SS, and Sandy Leon C. Clay Buchholz will take to the hill for Boston.

Today's PawSox Game In Scranton Snowed Out!

Spring, Schming! Tonight's AAA game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders has been postponed due to snow. There really isn't much else to say about this except maybe that it's not surprising. Son of a Gun, and it was 'Beer & Pepsi' Night, too. Clearly, there is no justice in the world.

Red Sox And M's To Celebrate Negro Leagues

On May 16th at Safeco Field, the Red Sox and Mariners will don throwback Negro League jerseys to honor the players who were barred from playing in the major leagues. The game will be part of a four-game set between the two teams. The Mariners will wear the jersey of the Seattle Steelheads—a Negro League franchise of the mid-1940s. The Red Sox will wear the jersey of the Boston Royal Giants. Over the years, the Royal Giants played games at Medford's Playstead Park, Boston's Lincoln Park, Braves Field and Fenway Park.