Saturday, July 4, 2015

Clay 'Aces' Astros With Complete Game Win

(Getty Images)
Clay Buchholz still had his swagger in the ninth inning—and the sign behind home plate said it all for him. 'Ace Ticket' could not have timed its advertising any better—as the tall righty was about to gain a 6-1 complete game victory over the Astros. Buchholz gave up six hits and one earned run while striking out eight. It was a dominant performance—and a needed one for his team. Buchholz has become both ace and stopper. The offense was—once again—keyed by Mookie Betts who knocked in three runs and made a slick catch in CF. Xander Bogaerts—Mookie's 22-year old compatriot—knocked in two runs and moved his average up to .302. Alejandro De Aza knocked in the final run with an incredible hustle infield hit—diving safely into first with the bases loaded. All in all, a solid win for The Carmine Hose—with a chance on Sunday to take a series from another division-leading team.

Red Sox Fall To 'Stros In Master Class Of Futility

(Getty Images)
You need more than ten fingers to count the number of blunders carried out by the Red Sox last night in their failed comeback loss to Houston, 12-8. Attempted steals of third with two out, throwing through to second on a first and third double steal, inserting a raw rookie pitcher into an 8-8 tie in the 10th inning, letting a groundball through the legs to open the extra-inning floodgates. Oh yeah, we almost forgot Justin Masterson coughing up five runs to obliterate a 2-0 Boston lead and Craig Breslow giving up a lead-off HR in the 8th of a tie game. There's more, we're just exhausted trying to remember it all. Mookie Betts, David Ortiz and Pablo Sandoval each had two hits—but do you really care?

Friday, July 3, 2015

It's Clear That The Red Sox "Future" Is Now

Last night, the top three hitters in the Red Sox order were 11 for 18 with 4 RBIs. The average age of those guys—Mookie Betts, Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts—was 23.7. And with 23-year old Blake Swihart's return, four of their starters (you have to assume Swihart is the starter when healthy) will average 23.5. Add in their most exciting starter (22-year old Eduardo Rodriguez), and the average age of this Group Of Five is down to 23.2. All of a sudden, the guys actually playing and producing are a core of youngsters. The future, fans, is already here.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sox Go All 'Canada Day' On Blue Jays, 12-6

(Getty Images)
We'll see you your national holiday and raise you our national holiday. The Red Sox took a page out of the Blue Jays playbook and put a whoopin' on their neighbors to the north, 12-6. Boston emulated the Jays by putting up a big first inning (eight runs), and despite the worst efforts of Wade Miley and Craig Breslow, coasted most of the way. The 19-hit Red Sox attack was led by Alejandro De Aza (3-5, 4 RBIs), Mookie Betts (3-6, 2 RBI), Brock Holt (4-5), Xander Bogaerts (4-6, 2 RBIs), and David Ortiz (3-run HR). Miley went five innings, giving up seven hits and four earned runs. The win moved The Carmine Hose to within 6 games of the AL East lead. The Sox come back to Fenway for an eight-game homestand against the Astros, Marlins and Evil Ones.

Andover's Hanigan Back In Red Sox Lineup

Here is tonight's Red Sox lineup in the final game at Toronto's SkyDome: Mookie Betts CF, Brock Holt 2B, Xander Bogaerts SS, David Ortiz DH, Hanley Ramirez LF, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Mike Napoli 1B, Alejandro De Aza RF, Ryan Hanigan C. On the mound for Boston tonight is quick-working lefty Wade Miley. The Sox come home to face Houston over the holiday.

Lucchino 'A Little Embarrassed' By Sox Play

Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino
It turns out that some of the Red Sox brass are as upset about the 2015 Carmine Hose as most of us fans. Larry Lucchino—appearing this morning on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan Show—admitted that he has been 'embarrassed' by the play of his nearly $200 million team. Said Lucchino, "I would say I am a little embarrassed, particularly by the overall performance. We expected much more, and I wonder what kind of conversation we’d be having today if we had won yesterday instead of lost and I’d come into this conversation with a four-game winning streak and a major uptick. We were six games behind yesterday with more than half a season remaining to be played, yet it still feels frustrating, it’s still disappointing." Lucchino went on, however, to defend the acquisitions of both Hanley Ramirez and Rick Porcello—suggesting that judgement on both should not be made on a half-season of evidence.

Red Sox Sign Two Top Venezuelan Outfielders

New Red Sox Signee Albert Guaimaro
The Red Sox are once again active on the International Free Agent market—reportedly signing two Venezuelan outfielders today. Boston has apparently signed both Albert Guaimaro and Simon Muzziotti—both young outfielders ranked highly by MLB. Guaimaro—a teenager—is ranked #14 on MLB's Top 30 International Prospects List and is considered by some scouts to be the best available player from Venezuela. Muzziotti—also a teenager—has been compared to a "young Jacoby Ellsbury". Boston was able to sign both players at the proscribed $300,000 limit.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Porcello Ruins Holiday Weekend, Sox Lose, 11-2

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
Things were looking up—that is until Rick Porcello strode to the mound today in The Great White North. Poised for their first four-game winning streak of 2015, the Red Sox were instead pummeled by the Blue Jays, 11-2. Porcello at least didn't make us wait around a lot—he gave up five earned runs in the first inning (seven overall in 2.0 innings). On the bright side, after this year, we only owe Porcello $82.5 million. Anyway, the patrons at SkyDome had a lot to cheer about on Canada Day—as their boys in blue went yard five times off Boston pitching. Hopefully, the Red Sox will invoke the dreaded 'Fenway Flu' rule and send Porcello to rehab his "tired arm" in Fort Myers for about a month. Offensively for Boston, Mookie Betts hit his ninth HR of the year and Pablo Sandoval knocked in the other run. A major stinker—although the misery only lasted 2 hours and 19 minutes.

Billy Rohr Nearly Had Own Impossible Dream

Rohr
It's truly hard to believe, but Billy Rohr turns 70 years old today. The lefty started only eight ballgames for the Boston Red Sox—but, one of them was almost historic. A 21-year old Rohr hurled a near no-hitter on April 14, 1967 at Yankee Stadium. And, all he had to do was get one more strike on soon-to-be Carmine Hoser Elston Howard. Instead, Howard lofted a dying quail to right-center that landed for a single. Of course, he got the next guy, and the 3-0 one-hit shutout was his. Ah, what could have been! The game was also memorable for the great catch by Carl Yastrzemski that (at the time) preserved the no-hitter, and the fact that the kid had to face off against Hall of Famer Whitey Ford. Rohr's three-year career, however, saw him post a 5.64 ERA and a 3-3 record. Still, he was an early inspiration in the Impossible Dream year that gave the Red Sox their first pennant in 21 years. Happy birthday, Billy!

Hanley And Marrero In Today's Red Sox Lineup

An injured left-fielder returns and a kid infielder makes his first MLB start today at SkyDome (we are contractually unable to refer to this venue as "Rogers Centre"). It's Canada Day in Toronto (kind of like our Fourth of July, without the revolution part)! Here's the Red Sox lineup for the 1:05 start: Mookie Betts, CF; Xander Bogaerts, SS; David Ortiz, DH; Hanley Ramirez, LF; Pablo Sandoval, 3B; Mike Napoli, 1B; Alejandro De Aza, RF; Deven Marrero, 2B; Sandy Leon, C. Rick Porcello will take to the hill today for The Carmine Hose.

June Dalton Jones Average Drops Slightly (-2.3)

The Red Sox ended June on a bit of an upswing—winning three straight games. Nevertheless, they are still dead last in the AL East. And, they are 2 games further out of first place than they were at the end of May. Perhaps that is why our Dalton Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) participants were not ready to break out the champagne. The June DJIA fell marginally (2.3 points) to 67.3. The drop in the Index was fueled—yet again—by very low levels of confidence in the team's starting pitching (a raw score of 34.2—although up some since May). Relief pitching came in at 48.3—a big drop from the May reading. The offense scored a lot better this month—jumping to 47.2. Team defense, however, dropped to a raw score of 49.2. FenwayNation offers its readers this monthly reading of "The Mood Of The Nation" through our exclusive Dalton Jones Industrial Average—which 'crunches' all of those raw scores into a single Index Value. Named for the all-time Red Sox pinch-hit leader, the average is a composite index of four key metrics: starting pitchingrelief pitchingtotal offense and total defense. The editors invite readers from around the world to weigh in every month on the state of the team. The Index number—and its fluctuation up or down—has proven, over the years, to be a pretty accurate bellwether of actual team status.

Betts And Buchholz Share June Player O' Month

Betts (L); Buchholz (R)
For the second time this season, the editors of FenwayNation have named shared 'Player Of The Month' honors. Mookie Betts and Clay Buchholz have been named co-winners of the title for June. Betts was spectacular in a break-out month—hitting .330 in 26 June games. The 22-year-old CF notched 32 hits during the month—including 8 doubles, 3 triples and 3 HRs. He also stole 4 bases. Buchholz had one of the best months of his career (and June is historically his best month)—going 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA. The tall rightly walked just 7 batters and struck out 34 in June. Congratulations to Mookie and Clay—co-winners of the FenwayNation Player Of The Month Award for June 2015.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sox Do Yard Work To Aid E-Rod Win Over Jays

(Getty Images)
David Ortiz likes him some SkyDome. The Red Sox DH lofted a mammoth blast off the third-deck facade in Boston's 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. Jackie Bradley, Jr. also went yard and Eduardo Rodriguez found his form again—going six strong innings. E-Rod gave up just one earned run on four hits. The kid is now 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA on the road. Mookie Betts had two more hits in his breakout month. This was a huge win for The Carmine Hose—who could move to within six games of the AL East lead.

Swihart Back Behind The Plate For Sox Tonight

Here is tonight's Red Sox lineup at SkyDome: Mookie Betts CF, Brock Holt 2B, Xander Bogaerts SS, David Ortiz DH, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Mike Napoli 1B, Alejandro De Aza LF, Blake Swihart C, Jackie Bradley Jr. RF. Eduardo Rodriguez takes the hill tonight for Boston.

Red Sox Sign Top Pick Benintendi For $3.6M

(Photo by Andy Shupe)
According to multiple sources, the Red Sox have signed their top pick in the 2015 MLB Draft for a full slot bonus of $3,590,400. Andrew Benintendi, out of the University of Arkansas, was taken by Boston with the number seven overall pick in this month's draft. Only two other draftees in the Top Ten were signed at the full slot bonus— Tyler Jay (Twins) and Cornelius Randolph (Phillies). Benintendi—the Collegiate Player Of The Year—possesses power, speed and athleticism that many equate to another Sox CF draftee—Jacoby Ellsbury. The dismal showing of the 2014 Carmine Hose may someday bear fruit with Benintendi.

POLL: Most Want To Keep Buchholz At Deadline

Very early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll indicates a preference to keep Clay Buchholz at the trade deadline. As the chart shows, more than six in ten readers (61%) think the Red Sox should not trade the Texas righty, while just under four in ten (39%) think the team should take advantage of his current high value and deal him. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Sox Face Watershed Game Tonight In Canada

It might seem a little silly to put so much emphasis on Game #79 in a 162-game season. But tonight, the Red Sox have a chance to show their competitors in the AL East that they have not given up just yet. The Carmine Hose have won two in a row. More importantly, they've taken eight of their last thirteen games—a .615 winning percentage that far outshines their 2015 norm (.449). Tonight, they have 22-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound and—despite a few recent bumps in his rookie road—he is still an impressive young hurler, poised beyond his years. He can do this. A win could move them within six games of the AL East lead, a loss could push them eight back and put them again on the 'treadmill to oblivion'. So, it's a big game tonight. As big as they've played all year.

FenwayNation Poll: Time To Trade Buchholz?

Buchholz Trade?

At the peak of his value, should Boston trade Buchholz?

  Current Results

Buchholz Delivers A Beauty, Sox Top Jays, 3-1

(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) 
Look up 'enigma' in the dictionary, and there will likely be a picture of Clay Buchholz. At once, the most talented (sometimes) and frustrating (nearly all the time) starter in the last decade, Buchholz put on a show last night. Going eight strong innings, he gave up just one earned run in Boston's 3-1 win over Toronto. Buchholz used his entire four-pitch arsenal to stymie one of the most prolific offenses in all of baseball. On our offensive side, the first three hitters in the Boston order were dynamic—Mookie Betts went 2-4 and scored two runs, Brock Holt went 1-3 with an RBI and Xander Bogaerts went 1-4 with two RBIs. Boston has crept to within seven games of the top-spot in the AL East—and has won 8 of their last 13. Could it be the start of something good?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Red Sox Lineup Tonight Versus The Blue Jays

Here is tonight's Red Sox lineup for tonight's game at SkyDome (erroneously re-named as Rogers Centre): Mookie Betts CF, Brock Holt 2B, Xander Bogaerts SS, David Ortiz DH, Pablo Sandoval 3B, Mike Napoli 1B, Alejandro De Aza LF, Sandy Leon C, Jackie Bradley Jr. RF. Clay Buchholz will take the hill tonight for The Carmine Hose.