Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Red Sox Recall Six Today From AAA Pawtucket

The Red Sox recalled six players today from AAA Pawtucket. The six are: OF Rusney Castillo, OF Bryce Brentz, C Ryan Lavarnway, 3B Garin Cecchini, P Heath Hembree and P Edwin Escobar.

MLB Suspends Umpire Joe West For PapelGate

(AP Photo)
File this one under: "Man Bites Dog". In a stunning turn of events, Major League Baseball has suspended umpire Joe West (he of the country and western obsession) for "grabbing the jersey of Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon." This whole mess came about after Papelbon grabbed his crotch to salute booing Philly fans and was then ejected by West. The ensuing confrontation showed West clearly grabbing the closer's jersey—which apparently is a no-no. MLB Executive Joe Torre said this about West, "Joe knows that an umpire cannot initiate physical contact with a player just as a player cannot initiate physical contact with an umpire." Cinco-Ocho was suspended seven games for the "grab"—West gets one game off without pay. Oh, the humanity!

Rusney Castillo Era Starts Tonight In Pittsburgh

(Photo By Cliff Welch)
Someday, we may look back on tonight's otherwise meaningless game (at least for the Red Sox) and try to recall what Hall of Famer Rusney Castillo did in his first MLB at-bat. Of course, this is the rosiest of scenarios—he could also wind up being a costly ($72.5 million) mistake. In any event, it all begins tonight, as Castillo suits up for The Carmine Hose and plays centerfield. Fresh off a lead-off HR in last night's Pawtucket loss in the AAA championship Game, the 27-year old Cuban defector will probably not hit at the top of the order—but next Opening Day you can count on him being there. Castillo is quick, explosive and is likely to be an instant fan favorite. We'll have to figure out if it's pronounced "RUZ-knee" or "ROOSE-knee" (not unlike choosing between ISIS and ISIL), but once we nail that down, the chants at Fenway should be fun.

Red Sox Shut Out For Fifteenth Time; Lose, 4-0

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Here are the key take-aways from last night's 4-0 Boston loss: 1.) this is the 15th time this year that the Red Sox have be shut out by an opponent (that's exactly 10% of the games they've played); 2.) they were 0-10 with runners in scoring position; 3.) they left eight men on base. That pretty much sums up the 2014 edition of your Carmine Hose. Anthony Ranaudo lost his third start—going 5.2 innings and giving up three earned runs. In his first six MLB starts, he's coughed up 10 HRs. Xander Bogaerts continued hot in his post-concussion-list surge—getting two more hits. The Valentine Magic Number stays at 4.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Edwin Escobar Goes For PawSox In Title Game

Edwin Escobar
Tonight, the Pawtucket Red Sox will try to become the best AAA team in the nation—as they face off against the PCL champ Omaha Storm Chasers. On the mound for the PawSox will be one of the assets Boston got back for Jake PeavyEdwin Escobar. Only 22, the left-handed Escobar is projected to be a top of the rotation starter down the road, and is ranked #56 among all prospects by Baseball America (#15 in the Red Sox organization). The 6'1" Venezuelan had a 'K-Cup' of coffee with the big club this year—hurling one scoreless inning. But, tonight he will try to prevent the AAA franchise of the Kansas City Royals from nabbing back-to-back titles.

Metropolitans Dissing UN With New Team Logo?

Before (L) and After (R)
Talk about your conspiracy theories! This one should be featured on that favorite overnight talk show of the 'tin-foil-hat' crowd, "Coast-To-Coast AM". Somebody with a lot of time on their hands noticed recently that a "new" Mets skyline logo had transformed the silhouette of the UN building into the Citigroup Center building. Holy Illuminati! Even the respected logo site, SportsLogos.net has weighed in on the controversy, giving a detailed breakdown of the evidence worthy of a paranoid Oliver Stone movie ("Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left"). Of course, it raises the question, why would the Mets want to devalue the UN? Or, an even more important question, who the hell cares?

FenwayNation's '14 All-Under-Rated MLB Team

As our own Carmine Hose sink slowly into the September haze, it occurred to us that it might be interesting to identify the players in baseball who are the most under-rated at each position. After all, one of the tenets of the "MoneyBall" era (to which the Red Sox basically subscribe) is identifying and acquiring undervalued players—much as Ben Cherington did so skillfully in 2013. So, here is our 2014 All-Under-Rated MLB Team:

First base—Steve Pearce, Orioles. While he's moved around the diamond a bit this year, he is now—with Chris Davis' suspension—the de facto first baseman for the division-leading Birds. Pearce has played in 95 games, hitting .294 with 17 HRs and a .373 OBP. His OPS is an amazing .907 and his WAR is 5.5.

Second base—Howie Kendrick, Angels. While Robinson Cano and Jose Altuve get most of the attention at second base, Kendrick is quietly having another very good season. Kendrick is hitting .292 with 71 RBIs. He has a 5.0 WAR.

Shortstop—Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals. The 32-year old Peralta has been a steady force for the Redbirds this year, hitting .264 with 21 HRs and a .796 OPS. Moreover, he is always among the leaders in defensive runs saved. His WAR is 5.8.

Third base—Kyle Seager, Mariners. For most of the year, the AL West keystone corner player that got most of the ink (and deservedly so) was Oakland's Josh Donaldson. But up the coast a piece, Seager has quietly put together a terrific year. He's hit .274 with 23 HRs and 88 RBIs. He's paired a .342 OPB with an OPS of .808. His WAR is 5.5.

Left Field—J.D. Martinez, Tigers. The Astros let this guy go for nothing, and the brilliant Dave Dombrowski scooped him up. Martinez has hit .310 with 22 HRs (many of them huge) and 72 RBIs. He's slugging at a .562 pace and has a .972 OPS.

Center Field—Marcell Ozuna, Marlins. Ozuna may the best everyday outfielder nobody has heard of. He's played 147 games for the Fish and is hitting .269 with 23 HRs and 85 RBIs. He has a .776 OPS.

Right Field—Kole Calhoun, Angels. Not only is Calhoun the lead-off hitter on the team with the best record in baseball, he's got 16 HRs and 56 RBIs atop the powerful Halo order. He has a .797 OPS.

Catcher—Devin Mesoraco, Reds. Mesoraco has really reached his potential this year, hitting .278 with 23 HRs and 74 RBIs. He has a .365 OBP and an OPS of .901. He has a 4.7 WAR—and is a good defensive backstop to boot.

DH—Chris Carter, Astros. While Carter strikes out a lot (166 times so far this year), he's clouted 36 HRs and knocked in 85. He's also collected 20 doubles and has an OPS of .826.

Starting Pitcher—Corey Kluber, Indians. One of the big reasons the Tribe has stayed competitive for a post-season berth is Kluber. He's already pitched 212.2 innings and delivered 15 wins for Terry Francona. He's struck out 230 and walked just 46. His ERA is 2.45 with a 1.10 WHIP.

Relief Pitcher—Jean Machi, Giants. You've probably never heard of this guy either, but he has been incredibly consistent this year for San Francisco. He's thrown 62 innings out of the pen and posted a 1.89 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP. He's yielded just 39 hits all year.

Rookie—Danny Santana, Twins. Another guy who has flown way under the radar, Santana has complied 355 at-bats in 90 games for the Twinkies. He's hitting .318 with 7 HRs and 37 RBIs and has an .826 OPS.

The Evil Empire Eliminated From AL East Crown

Yesterday's 1-0 loss to Tampa spelled the end of any 2014 AL East Championship hopes for The Bronx Embalmers. And, a whopping 16,000 people were in Tampa to see the historic event. The Evil Ones are a pathetic sideshow—likely missing the playoffs entirely for the second straight year. Over the last six games, the offense-challenged Yankees are 4-for-33 (.121) with runners in scoring position. They are six games out of a Wild Card spot with 13 to play. Music to our ears! Manager Joe Girardi gave his best Scarlett O'Hara impression after the game, "It’s not what you want, we have to respond. Tomorrow is a new day." Not it's not, Joe! Happy golfing!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jon Lester Wins AL Player Of The Week Honors

(FenwayNation Photo)
Why can't we get players like that? Jon Lester—he of the Oakland A's—won the American League Player Of The Week for the period ending Sunday, September 14th. In two starts over that span, the former—and possibly future—Red Sox ace went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA. In 14 innings pitched last week, the big lefty struck out 15 batters. He is almost single-handedly keeping the slumping A's in the post-season picture. Of course, a big part of the reason they are slumping is that they parted with Yoenis Cespedes to get Lester. Anyway, congratulations, Jon!

Cuban Connection May Produce Another Star

(Photo by Alyson Boyer Rode)
Baseball players are leaving Fidel Castro's prison island at a rapid pace these days. Soon after the Red Sox signed Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million deal, there's now word that the team may be interested in another outfielder from Cuba. The newest target—also reportedly lusted after by the Phillies—is Yasmani Tomas. The 23-year old wide-body (6'1", 230 pounds) clouted 16 HRs in just 69 games in the top Cuban professional league in 2011. Like Castillo, Tomas is exempt from international bonus pool restrictions—so anyone can sign him for any amount. Let the bidding begin!

Papelbon Gets Tossed After Fourth Blown Save

UPDATE: 7-game suspension
Ah, the memories. Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was ejected from yesterday's game after giving up four ninth-inning runs in a blown save at Citizens Bank Park. As he left the field to boos, Papelbon grabbed his crotch in a perverse salute to the fanbase. After that little move, umpire Joe West tossed the big righty. Entering the ninth ahead 4-1, Pap gave up a slew of hits—including a lead-off double to another Ex-Carmine Hoser, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The scenario brings back bad vibes from the final game of the 2009 Division Series against the Angels.

Red Sox Dumped One Carp, Looking At Another

Carp-To-Carp Walleting
According to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (the boring broadsheet now owned by John Henry), the Red Sox may be in the hunt for Hiroshima Carp pitcher Kenta Maeda. The righthander will be available on the international market in November, and Boston (in need of two starters) will likely put up the $25 million posting fee. They will also explore trades with the Phillies for Cole Hamels and the Reds for Johnny Cueto. Look for a solid bid on AL East-tested James Shields as well. This would allow for—as suggested by Cafardo—Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly to be "middle-of-the-rotation" starters. One or two of the "kids" (Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman) could then flesh-out the back of the rotation.

Rusney Castillo To Join Red Sox On Wednesday

The long-awaited big-league arrival of Rusney Castillo will take place on Wednesday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. First, Rusney and the International League Champion Pawtucket Red Sox will play in the AAA title game on Tuesday night—taking on the Pacific Coast League Champion Omaha Storm Chasers (AAA Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals). Castillo will likely be inserted right into the line-up ASAP. Let The Rusney Era begin!

Bogie And Nava Propel Red Sox Past KC, 8-4

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Daniel Nava hit a go-ahead grand slam and Xander Bogaerts added four more RBIs (including a three-run HR) to pace the Red Sox to an 8-4 win over the fading Royals. Boston took three-of-four from Kansas City—at a point when they desperately needed wins to keep alive in the post-season sweepstakes. Joe Kelly weather one bad inning to go six pretty slid innings for the win. Edwin Mujica delivered another cardiac ninth inning. Oh, did we mention that Mookie Betts got two more hits and is now batting .289? Now, The Valentine Magic Number is down to 4.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Gem From Rubby; Red Sox Smoked, 7-1

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Rubby De La Rosa is starting to lose the "Which Kid Pitcher In The Punto Deal Is Better?" debate. One day after Allen Webster delivered a solid performance, De La Rosa laid another egg—going just four innings and giving up five earned runs in a 7-1 loss. Nearly all of Rubby's pitchers were up in the zone, and it seemed like the recently woeful Royals were dying to get to the plate. Boston's offense consisted of two hits by David Ortiz and a sacrifice fly by Yoenis Cespedes. The Valentine Magic Number is stuck at five—with thirteen tilts left to play.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Webster 'Defines' Good Outing; Sox Win, 4-2

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Allen Webster may finally be figuring tings out. The kid who came over in The Great Punto Deal had another solid outing last night—going six innings and giving up just two earned runs in a 4-2 Red Sox win. Looking more poised on the mound than in the past, Webster gave up just four hits (one of which was a two-run HR). Mookie Betts (who has to play somewhere on this team in 2015) had two more hits, and and RBI. He is approaching the .300 mark (.291) for the year. Newcomer Jemile Weeks continued his hot hitting as well—going 2-4 to raise his average to .286. Daniel Nava was 1-3 with an RBI. The Valentine Magic Number is now 5.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A-Fraud Joins LinkedIn—Would You Hire Him?

According to The Wall Street Journal, Alex Rodriguez—suspended by MLB for the entire 2014 season—may be updating his resume on LinkedIn. Apparently, The Fraudulent One has created a profile on the social networking/job seeking site as: "Founder, CEO and President of ARod Corp—based in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area." Said a LinkedIn spokesperson, "All signals indicate it is a real profile." There is some good news—as of yesterday, The Centaur had no connections. Folks, you can't make this stuff up.