Friday, June 22, 2018

FenwayNation Announces The "Best O' Nation" Media Awards For 2018

Once again, we are far enough into the new season to announce our choices for the 2018 'Best O' Nation' Media Awards. This year, the The Springfield Republican (AKA has nabbed the award for Best Overall Red Sox Coverage. This year's award for Best Baseball Writer goes to Christopher Smith of The Springfield Republican ( For the third straight year, Surviving Grady's Red won the award for Best Web/Blog ColumnistTim Neverett of WEEI/Red Sox Radio Network was named the Best Play-By-Play man for the second straight year, while Best Local Sports Radio Personality went (once again, extremely reluctantly) to WEEI'Kirk Minihane. And, WBZ-TV's Dan Roche (not at all reluctantly), was again named the Best Local TV Sports Anchor. Congratulations to all the winners this year!

Best Overall Red Sox Coverage—The Springfield Republican (MassLive) 
Best Baseball Writer—Christopher Smith, The Springfield Republican (MassLive)
Best WEB/Blog Columnist—Red, Surviving Grady
Best Play-By-Play Man—Tim Neverett, WEEI/Red Sox Radio Network 
Best Local Sports Radio Personality—Kirk Minihane, WEEI 93.7 
Best Local TV Sports Anchor—Dan Roche, WBZ-TV, Channel 4 Boston

POLL: Near Unanimous Support For National League Adopting The DH

Early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows almost total support for the idea of the National League adopting the designated hitter rule—effectively unifying MLB rules across both leagues. As the chart shows, fully 94% support the so-called "Unified DH", while a scant 6% oppose making the leagues live by one set of rules—believing there should be distinctions between the Senior and Junior circuits. You can still vote in the poll HERE

Today May Be The Last Shot For AAA PawSox To Remain In "Little Rhody"

On the final day of their legislative session, Rhode Island House lawmakers have scheduled a vote on the funding of a new Pawtucket stadium to house the AAA franchise of the Boston Red Sox. Yesterday, a key House finance committee approved the deal—which would appropriate $38 million of public money to the project. By this afternoon, both the House and Senate must approve the legislation. Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien has stated that if lawmakers do not approve this funding bill, the team will likely relocate to Worcester, Massachusetts—and, presumably, become the WooSox. Stay tuned!

Red Sox Are Nominated For ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team Of The Year

ESPN has announced that the Boston Red Sox are among four teams nominated as the 2018 Sports Humanitarian Team Of The Year. The other nominees are: the Anaheim Ducks, the Chicago Fire and the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team. The nomination highlights the team's efforts with three specific programs: Home Base, Red Sox Scholars and RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)/ Rookie League. Said the ESPN press release: "With an engaged ownership group chaired by Tom Werner, the Red Sox Foundation has a robust strategy that finds creative solutions to ongoing challenges for children, families, veterans and communities in need." Other award categories include: the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, the Corporate Community Impact Award, the League Humanitarian Leadership Award and the Stuart Scott ENSPIRE Award. The awards ceremony will take place in Los Angeles on July 17th—and will be broadcast on ESPN on July 24th at 7PM Eastern.

Mookie Betts Adheres To "Extreme" Shift On Mauer, And It Seemed To Work

In yesterday's win over the Twinkies, there was a fascinating moment when Joe Mauer ripped a ball to right-center field in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mookie Betts barely had to move a muscle and caught the ball in his tracks—perfectly positioned by scouting reports on Mauer. After the play, Mookie playfully waved the little "pocket positioning card" in recognition of its accuracy. Said Alex Cora after the game, "Yeah that was a big topic before the game. It was an extreme one from the analytical department. We looked at the charts and we're like, it's right on, go with it. I know they were happy but I was the happiest guy, like thank God they hit it right there. It reinforces what we're trying to accomplish. You saw it it was very extreme with Mauer. It was good for him to be in that spot and catch it. Hopefully his range factor goes up and defensive runs saved and all that." 

POLL: Should The National League Adopt The DH?

Should the National League begin using the designated hitter? free polls

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Red Sox Pound Out Sixteen Hits, Rick Porcello Shines, Beat Up Twinkies, 9-2

(Getty Images)
The Red Sox re-discovered their hitting stroke on Thursday afternoon, and Rick Porcello was brilliant, in a 9-2 drubbing of the Minnesota Twins. The Carmine Hose got home runs from Mookie Betts (#19) and Andrew Benintendi (#13) in a blistering 16-hit attack that came mostly at the end of the game. Boston scored seven of their nine tallies from the seventh inning on to end their road trip with a 6-4 record. Pretty much everyone got in on the fun, with seven different Red Sox players having multiple-hit games. Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts led the RBI parade with two each. Porcello hurled seven shutout innings—yielding just one hit and striking out five. It was one of Pretty Ricky's prettiest performances of the year. The win, coupled with a matinee victory by The Evil Ones, keeps Boston two games back in the AL East. The Red Sox will be home for 13 of the next 22 games—before the All-Star Break (July 15-19).

POLL: Most Want A Trade For Jed Lowrie To Deal With Red Sox 2B Situation

Further voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that a plurality of readers (37%) want the Red Sox to trade for former Carmine Hoser Jed Lowrie to deal with the uncertain 2B situation. As the chart shows, the next highest percentage of readers (27%) would prefer to "stand pat" at 2B with internal options like Eduardo Nunez or Brock Holt. Another organizational option (not specifically mentioned in the poll) could be Tzu-Wei Lin. Just under one reader in five (19%) wants to deal for Reds 2B Scooter Gennett, while another 14% would rather make a transaction for Colorado 2B DJ LeMahieu. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

David Ortiz And Torii Hunter To Manage Against Each Other In Futures Game

(AP Photo)
Old Twins teammates David Ortiz and Torii Hunter will square-off against each other as rival managers in the 2018 All-Star Futures Game on July 15th at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. Ortiz, a legend in Boston, was a three-time World Series Champion and a ten-time All-Star over his 20-year MLB career. Hunter was a five-time All-Star who played with Minnesota, the Angels and the Tigers. "Big Papi" will be the skipper of the World Team, while Hunter will manage the U.S. Team. The Futures Game features the top minor-league prospects across baseball. Hunter and Ortiz remain close friends—spending six seasons together on the Twins.

Losers Of Four Of Last Five, Sox Need Matinee Win To Avoid .500 Road Trip

The Red Sox need to get their offense in gear this afternoon in order to avoid a .500 road trip. They are currently 5-4 on the swing, but have also lost four of their last five. Here is today's line-up for the 1:10 PM Eastern start: Mookie Betts, RF; Andrew Benintendi, LF; J.D. Martinez, DH; Mitch Moreland, 1B; Xander Bogaerts, SS; Rafael Devers, 3B; Brock Holt, 2B; Sandy Leon, C; Jackie Bradley Jr., CF.  On the mound for The Carmine Hose this afternoon will be Rick Porcello. After the game, Boston will head home for a six-game homestand against the Mariners and Angels.

Irony Of Ironies: Would Hanley Ramirez Help With Recent Offensive Slump?

(Getty Images)
As the "Raiders Of The Lost Offense" (particularly against lefties) make their ugly return, it begs the question: Would Hanley Ramirez have helped jump-start the Red Sox bats during this slump? It's something worth asking. Hanley's "replacement" (left-hand hitting Mitch Moreland) started out well, but has hit just .247 over his last 30 games and .238 in his last seven. For what it's worth, Hanley hit .333 this year against left-handed pitching—with one HR and 10 RBIs over 42 at-bats. If Alex Cora had the flexibility of inserting Hanley against lefties, would it have made a difference in the outcomes of any games? It's hard to say. But, of course, we will never know. Interestingly, no other MLB team has claimed Hanley—in almost a month of availability—even though he can be had for the veteran minimum.

Bad Omen? Not One Red Sox Player Was Ever Born On First Day Of Summer

They are supposed to be "The Boys Of Summer". And yet, not one single person born on Summer's first day has ever played for the Red Sox. Think about it, in 112 seasons, nobody who ever wore Carmine Hose was born on June 21st. The Pinstriped Posers have had five players born on the first day of Summer—and the Cubbies have had five as well. There is a Luis Rivera born on this day—but, alas, it is not our Luis Rivera, but some pitcher. Now, we have to say—the cast of MLB characters who have been born on June 21st is not all that impressive—in fact, not one single Hall Of Fame player. The best of the lot is probably Rick Sutcliffe—who at least was a Cy Young winner, Rookie Of The Year and three-time All-Star. But, again, not one single Red Sox player. This does not bode well for the remainder of this season—with Boston already two games out on the Summer Solstice itself. Come on, they're "The Boys Of Summer", we're supposed to have multiple players born today. You may call this silly superstition—but, hey, this is the Red Sox we're talking about, folks.

Red Sox Might Have Their 2B Solution Right Under Their Noses At Pawtucket

(Getty Images)
There's been a lot of talk lately about the Red Sox trading for a second-baseman that can be slotted in until Dustin Pedroia's return (if that ever comes to pass this season). Names like Jed Lowrie, Scooter Gennett and DJ LeMahieu have been tossed out as targets in any deal. But, aside from Eduardo Nunez and Brock Holt, there may be another internal organizational option—Tzu-Wei Lin. In 39 games so far this year for AAA Pawtucket, Lin is hitting .295—with 4 HRs and 13 RBIs. He's getting on-base at a .349 clip and is slugging at .449. Not bad for a second-sacker—and he performed well each time he was promoted to the big club. As Matt Collins of Over The Monster suggests, maybe Lin should be on the roster instead of an 8th reliever (especially one named Robby Scott, we would add). Adding Lin—and not giving up any talent for an external option—might be the best way to go for both the short and the long term.

'Raiders Of The Lost Offense' Re-Emerge, Price Mediocre, Red Sox Fall, 4-1

(Getty Images)
Last night, the Red Sox went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. In the series so far against a pretty crappy Minnesota team, they are 2 for 22 on that 'metric'. They had four hits last nigt—four hits. In addition, David Price was a little off his form—coughing up a home run to the first batter of the game, and then another two-run shot that broke a 1-1 tie. Still, he went six innings and delivered what is today called a "quality start", so he—and the team—should have won this game. Instead, the Twinkies took it 4-1, and have already won the series. Mookie Betts did get two hits—so maybe he's back on track. But, otherwise, this was a bad loss—dropping Boston two full games behind The Evil Ones in the American League East.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Would Red Sox Trade Jackie Bradley And Blake Swihart For Billy Hamilton?

Bradley (L); Hamilton (R)
A hot rumor is circulating the baseball world that the Red Sox are willing to part with both Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Blake Swihart for Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton. The 27-year-old Hamilton is a speedster who has swiped 256 bases over parts of six MLB seasons. Like JBJ, Hamilton is an elite defender. Both Bradley, Jr. and Hamilton are inconsistent offensively—sporting .233 and .243 batting averages, respectively. That said, Bradley has more power—61 career HRs versus just 20 for Hamilton. Swihart has also been inconsistent (hitting .251 in an injury-plagued career). So, essentially, the Red Sox would be giving up a smooth, Gold-Glove center-fielder for one who is almost as good defensively. They'd also be giving up a still-promising Swihart—although he is getting virtually no playing time this season with the Red Sox. The big pick-up for Boston would be Hamilton's base-stealing ability. Stay tuned—this deal could materialize very quickly.

POLL: Seven In Ten Readers Would Trade For A 2B If Pedroia Hurt Long-Term

Very early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that a total of 70% would trade for somebody to replace Dustin Pedroia at 2B—if The Muddy Chicken is out long-term. As the chart shows, while 30% want the Red Sox to "stand pat" (Eduardo Nunez, Brock Holt) at 2B, the vast majority want some sort of trade. For example, fully 30% would favor a trade for old friend Jed Lowrie, while another 21% would opt for a deal brining DJ LeMahieu from Denver to Boston. Almost as many (18%) would favor getting Scooter Gennett from the Reds to man 2B. So far in the polling, no readers have selected the option that would name some other player (besides those listed) to be acquired. You can still vote in the poll HERE.