Friday, April 29, 2016

Papi Power! Ortiz Goes First-Pitch Yard To Lift Sox, 4-2

(AP Photo)
Some Hollywood producer has got to get the rights to the 'David Ortiz Story'—and he or she had better get it soon. Big Papi added to his storybook legend tonight as 37,115 fans urged him on at Fenway. With the game tied at two in the bottom of the eighth, Ortiz came to the plate with a man on against Dellin Betances (against whom he was 0-7). The chants of "Pa-pea, Pa-pea" filled the chill night air. On the first pitch, Ortiz launched a two-run HR into the Monster Seats to give Boston the lead and the eventual win, 4-2. In the seventh inning, Jackie Bradley, Jr. had tied the game with a two-out, two-run Wall double—off a previously almost un-hittable Masahiro Tanaka. Red Sox starter Henry Owens was spotty but hung in for six innings—giving up just two earned runs. All in all, a classic win over The Evil Ones (still mired in last place).

Miami's Dee Gordon Claims He 'Unknowingly' Took PEDs

(USATSI Photo)
In the process of accepting his 80-game suspension for testing positive for exogenous testosterone and clostebol, Miami Marlin Dee Gordon says he "unkowingly" ingested something with the stuff in it. Gordon, the son of former Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon, stated, "Though I did not do so knowingly, I have been informed that test results showed I ingested something that contained prohibited substances. The hardest part about this is feeling that I have let down my teammates, the organization, and the fans. I have been careful to avoid products that could contain something banned by MLB and the 20-plus tests that I have taken and passed throughout my career prove this. I made a mistake and I accept the consequences." Gordon is the seventh player to be suspended this year under MLB's drug policy. Last week, Toronto's Chris Colabello (a native of Framingham, Mass.) was also suspended 80 games for testing positive for PEDs.

WEEI Radio And Sox Re-Up Pact For Seven More Years

Entercom—the Philadelphia-based corporate parent of WEEI radio (93.7 FM)—announced a new contract with the Red Sox to broadcast their games. The new seven-year deal will continue the relationship through the 2023 season. Sox broadcasts have been heard on WEEI since 1995. The current network—with WEEI as the flagship station—boasts 55 AM and FM affiliates across New England. Lead play-by-play man Joe Castiglione is in his 33rd year with The Carmine Hose.

Did Mallex Smith Get Some Vibe From Teddy Ballgame?

Smith Clouts A Double Off Buchholz
Just before Atlanta's Mallex Smith roped the first of his three hits in last night's game, Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien told an interesting tale about the young speedster. After noting that Smith was the Braves' top minor league player of 2015, O'Brien noted that the youngster made a point to sit in the famous Ted Williams Red Seat in the Fenway bleachers. While it cannot be confirmed that Smith derived some "mojo" from the encounter, here is his line from Thursday's game: 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored . Even with this outburst, he's still only hitting .188 on the year. You decide.

How Theo Epstein Scared Josh Beckett Back In 2006

(AP Photo)
Intriguing headline, is it not? Well, in the midst of an excellent recounting of the famous 2006 Doug Mirabelli (State Police Escort) Trade, an interesting side story emerged. As Tim Healy of The Hardball Times tells it, then-Sox GM Theo Epstein steeled himself to make the tough call to Josh Bard—telling him that he would be sent to San Diego in exchange for Mirabelli's return to Fenway. After he hit the button for "JOSH B." in his phone contact list, he quickly told the person on the other end of the line, "Hey man, it’s Theo. This is a tough call to make, but we made a trade and I have to let you know that you’re in it." The response was quick as well, "Really?!". Epstein continued, "Yeah, we felt like we needed to get somebody in here who has experience catching Wakefield." The shocked "JOSH B." responded, "Theo, Theo, Theo. This is Josh Beckett. You sure you traded me?" Well, he hadn't, but another Red Sox GM would six years later.

Evil Ones Infest Fenway Park For The First Time In 2016

Thankfully, so far in 2016, The Bronx Embalmers pretty much stink. As they (and their cretinous fans) prepare to invade Fenway tonight, The Pinstriped Posers occupy last place in the American League East. Their 8-12 record is made worse by the fact that they've scored 20 fewer runs than their pitchers have given up. That's the sign of a bad ballclub. Starlin Castro—a cast-off from the rampaging Cubbies—is their leading hitter. And A-Fraud is batting .190. Three of their top four starting pitchers have ERAs well over 4.00. To be fair, the end of their bullpen is solid—and will be even stronger when Aroldis Chapman returns from his domestic abuse suspension. In general, though, they are a mess. Bring 'em on!

Buchholz Derails The "Happy Train", Red Sox Lose, 5-3

(AP Photo)
Clay Buchholz must feel like the Peanuts character who walked around with a permanent cloud over his head. It seems every time the Red Sox get on a little roll, Clay is there to burst the bubble (pardon the mixed metaphor). Last night—after his team had won four straight—Buchholz coughed up five runs in 6 1/3 innings, leading to a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the lowly Bravos. Hanley Ramirez (3-4, 2 RBIs) and Dustin Pedroia (2-5, RBI, run scored) were the hitting stars—but the offense just could not overcome the crappy start by Buchholz. On to The Evil Ones!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Jackie Bradley, Jr. Makes Another Ridiculous Catch

FanGraphs Detects Some Knuckleball 'Hangover' Effect

As Red Sox fans ponder whether Steven Wright (and not David Price) is the true ace of the Boston rotation, Fangraphs.com has come up with an interesting finding about knuckleballers. In a fairly exhaustive review of recent knuckleball pitchers, they've found that there is a slight negative "hangover" effect on hitters in the few days after they face someone like Tim Wakefield or Wright. By the way, so far this year, Wright is 2-2 with a stellar 1.37 ERA in four starts—striking out 25 and holding opponents to a .196 batting average.

Curt Schilling Lashes Out At ESPN For Political Bias

(38 Studios Photo)
Red Sox legend Curt Schilling appeared on the "Breitbart News Patriot Forum" radio show today blasting his former employer, ESPN. Schilling, who was recently fired by ESPN for sharing someone else's Facebook post, stated that the sports network had an anti-conservative political bias. Said Schilling, "It was apparent to me early on that if you wanted to go off topic as a sports person you had to go off topic left, or you were going to get in trouble. Some of the most racist things I’ve ever heard have come out of people that are on the air at ESPN. They’re some of the biggest racists in sports commentating." This last charge of racism is sure to ignite even further controversy down in Bristol, Connecticut—headquarters of "The Worldwide Leader". Stay tuned!

Welcome To BizarroWorld: Sox Lead MLB In Stolen Bags

For any long-time Red Sox fan, one of the most unlikely headlines would be: "Red Sox lead Major League Baseball in stolen bases." Seriously? Our sloth-like franchise, historically built on station-to-station power baseball? A team whose all-time stolen base leader is Harry Hooper—who last played in 1925? Yet, as of this morning, your 2016 Carmine Hose have swiped 20 bases in 21 games—tops in all of baseball. And, they are thieving at a rate of 90.9%—also best in the MLB. What the heck is going on? Don't worry, it makes perfect sense. After all, back in 1912 (the year Fenway Park opened) they were nicknamed The Speed Boys!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

'Pedey-Palooza' Breaks Out At Fenway, Sox Romp, 9-4

Tonight's 'Dirty Water' At Fenway (FenwayNation Photo)
Dustin Pedroia continued his hot hitting at Fenway tonight (5 RBIs)—clobbering a grand slam, solo HR and a single—to power Boston past Atlanta, 9-4. Also on the 'hit parade' was David Ortiz—who laced three doubles and knocked in two. Travis Shaw and Hanley Ramirez also had RBIs for The Carmine Hose—who are lighting up the pathetic Braves. Steven Wright had another terrific outing—going seven innings and giving up just one earned run. The Red Sox are now 12-9 on the young season—and remain just 1/2 game behind the division-leading Baltimore Orioles. Boston looks to complete the four-game "home-and-home" sweep of the Bravos on Thursday.

They're Baaack! And So Are Your Fenway Parking Woes!

The Red Sox are back home again and you're still trying to find a reasonable parking space around Fenway. You can either spend $50 (or much more) at various lots around the park, or risk getting a $30 ticket in The People's Republic Of Brookline. Instead, try ParkWhiz, and get a guaranteed, no-stress, fairly reasonable space for the game. The Carmine Hose are back and above .500—who knows what could transpire on this home-stand? They even play The Evil Ones for the first time this year. To get a great spot for any game at Fenway, click HERE

Could Edwin Encarnacion Be The Post-Papi DH Solution?

(USAToday Sports)
Edwin Encarnacion seems to like his trips to Fenway Park. In 44 career games, "EE" has clouted 12 HRs, knocked in 37 and hit .296. Now, according to an interview with MassLive.com, he's not exactly discouraging a free agent move to Boston next year. Said Encarnacion, "I see the ball good here in this stadium. I love every time I come to play here. I love to play here because I see the ball good. And I enjoy it." Need more? Check out this, regarding David Ortiz lobbying for him to succeed "Big Papi" at DH: "Yeah, we are good friends. He's a good friend of mine. When it comes from people like David, who's a future Hall of Famer and he's a big guy here in Boston, you hear something like that, you get excited. I feel happy because all the work I've been doing to get better. When people are talking like that, that makes you feel good." Only time will tell whether Toronto ponies up enough cash for Encarnacion to remain north of the border. He is seeking a four- or five-year deal. Stay tuned!

538.Com Says Red Sox Are The Only AL Team In Top Five

According to the influential website FiveThrityEight.com, the Red Sox are the only American League team currently ranked in the Top Five (5th place). In fact, your 2016 Carmine Hose get a cumulative rating of 1531. At 11-9, you'd think that the Sox would more likely be viewed as being on the outside looking in. But, the Blue Jays and Indians are the next AL teams in line at 1526 points—followed by the White Sox (1525), Mariners (1519), Rays (1515), Rangers (1511), Orioles (1509), Astros (1507), Royals (1506), Evil Ones (1505), Angels (1503), Tigers (1499), A's (1498), and Twins (1484). Of course, the "guru" of FiveThrityEight.com (Nate Silver) has been notoriously wrong on his 2016 political projections—so, go out and find a big grain of salt somewhere.

Carson Smith Could Join Sox Next Week On The Road

Good news on the bullpen front! Reliever Carson Smith (acquired from the Mariners in the Wade Miley deal) could join the Red Sox as soon as next week during a series against the White Sox. Smith will pitch for AAA Pawtucket on Friday and Saturday and likely join up with the team while they are on the road in Chicago.