Tag Archives: Boston Red Sox

The Sox Take Down the Pirates On Opening Day

Merry Christmas everybody and Happy Opening Day! The Boston Red Sox took the field this afternoon and boy was it exciting. After watching 9 innings of baseball pornography, I have a few takeaways.

  1. Rob Gronkowski looks healthy and ready to make a run at a second consecutive Super Bowl.
  2. Tom Brady is still perfect.
  3. Boston is easily the best city in the world.

Alright, all jokes aside, let’s talk about the game this afternoon…

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Rick Porcello took the bump and looked like the Porcello of last season. This was a great sign to me. Throughout Spring Training, Porcello struggled with his command and finishing off hitters. This was no problem for Pretty Ricky today. Porcello had command of all of his pitches and worked fast through the Pittsburg Pirates lineup. Porcello ended up going 6.1 innings giving up 3 earned runs and striking out 5, ultimately giving it off to the bullpen in the 7th inning.

First out of the pen was Matt Barnes. Barnes struggled this afternoon. The tall, hard-throwing, righty was able to record two outs but allowed two runners to score. Once Barnes left the game, it was smooth sailing from then on.

After Barnes, the Red Sox used Robby Scott and Heath Hembree to record 3 outs in the 8th inning and Craig Kimbrel took the hill in the 9th, recording his first save of the year.

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Another bright spot this afternoon was the Red Sox lineup. The Sox put up a 5 spot in the 5th inning, which proved to be enough. Eight of the nine hitters recorded a hit, picking up where they left off last year.

Andrew Benintendi started the 2017 season off with a bang, by launching his first homerun of the campaign into the Pirates Bullpen. The rookie looked like a seasoned vet as he led the sox to their first victory of the year.

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Though there were many good things to take away from this game, there were several things to be concerned about. One of which is the Red Sox newest addition, Mitch Moreland. Moreland looked like a fish out of water in the batter’s box. The big lefty went 0-4 with two strikeouts. The Red Sox signed Moreland this offseason to help move on from the retirement of David Ortiz, but what I saw from him was not encouraging. One thing that Moreland does bring to the table is an outstanding glove, but even that was nowhere to be seen. Yes, I know the season is early but if this trend continues, don’t be surprised if you see Sam Travis sooner rather than later.

Overall, it was a fantastic start to the 2017 season. Make sure to tune in on Wednesday for Chris Sale’s debut as the Red Sox look to keep things rolling.

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Will There be a Recall on Price’s Elbow Diagnosis?

Last week Red Sox fans around the world held their breath as news about David Price’s elbow spread around the league like wildfire. Price was scratched from his scheduled spring training start on Sunday due to tightness in his elbow and forearm. He was immediately sent for an MRI where his results came back inconclusive. Following the MRI, Price headed up to Indianapolis to visit every pitcher’s worst nightmare, Dr. James Andrews.

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To everybody’s surprise, Price came back from his trip to Indianapolis with a smile on his face. Price stated that the trip “couldn’t have went any better.” The diagnosis on his elbow only requires 7-10 days of rest, but more importantly no surgery or injections were necessary. Dr. James Andrews is one of the most renowned surgeons in all of sports, so I believe that Price may be alright for now. What terrifies me is that since 2012, 35 pitchers have visited Dr. Andrews. Of the 35, 28 needed season ending Tommy John surgery. Out of the 7 that didn’t need surgery, 6 ended up having season ending injuries. The odds are not looking so bright for our $30 million pitcher.

Price stated that he has experienced elbow discomfort in the past but this time it was “a little bit more stiff” than previous years. Price has had an amazing track record for staying healthy over the course of his career. The lefty has made at least 27 starts in 7 straight seasons and has tallied over 200 innings in 6 of those 7 seasons. Remarkably enough, Price even said the doctors were really impressed with his elbow saying that “it kind of heals itself.” Price is no longer 25 years old. Now entering his 30s, the Red Sox need to monitor his innings and usage throughout the season.

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Price will be itching to get out there on the mound again, but the Red Sox need to be careful. Even though his arm is okay for now, it may not be for long. Price is the type of guy who needs to be at his peak medically in order to perform to the best of his ability. He is a routine machine. Everything needs to be done the same way, from his pregame rituals to his recovery methods. Many athletes are like this and if something gets in the way to interrupt their routine, then all hell can break loose.

For now it is an encouraging sign that Price should be out toeing the rubber every fifth day, but don’t get your hopes up. An impeding catastrophe is in the works and unfortunately, Red Sox fans are not going to like it. My advice to the Red Sox would be to take it slow. The sox have enough arms to get through the first month without Price. There is no need to rush him back. Make sure he is healthy and ready for a playoff run. I know Price feels as if he needs to prove himself this year, but he won’t be able to prove anything when he’s sitting back watching the team without him.

Early Award Predictions

Winter is beginning to fade away and spring is just around the corner. The light at the end of the tunnel is finally approaching and I could not be more excited. Spring Training games have commenced, albeit they most likely bore you to tears after the third or fourth inning, so let’s give you guys something to look forward to. How do predictions for the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, and MVP sound?

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This year there are two distinct favorites for the Rookie of the year award. Dansby Swanson of the Atlanta Braves will run away with this award in the National League. Swanson played just 38 games after being called up at the end of the 2016 season. In his limited time in the Big’s, Swanson showed exactly why he was drafted first overall in 2015. The 23 year old does it all. Swanson is smooth in the field, can hit for average, steal bags, and has shown some pop in his bat. Swanson debuted in the middle of August and still finished with a .302 Avg., 3 home runs, 17 RBIs, and 3 stolen bases in just 38 games. Another year of experience will be extremely valuable for Swanson and should propel him to the next level of stardom.

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From the American league I see Red Sox young stud, Andrew Benintendi taking home the Rookie of the Year award. Most Red Sox fans fell in love with Benintendi last season after his debut on August 2nd. Benintendi hit .295 with 2 home runs and 14 RBIs, in just 34 games. These numbers aren’t jaw-dropping but they show the potential that Benintendi has. At the age of 22, he is poised to take over the everyday role in Left field, with the Green Monster looming over him.

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In 2016 Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello took the league by storm, receiving the Cy Young Award in their respective leagues. This year I see the honor going to Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber. Kershaw is an extremely safe pick, seeing that he is constantly dominant year in and year out. Last season was an enigma for Kershaw. He suffered through a nagging back injury that kept him to just 21 starts. With that being said, Kershaw still finished with a 12-4 record and an outrageous 1.69 ERA. If Kershaw can stay healthy, there is no question in my mind that he can win his 4th Cy Young in 7 years.

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Corey Kluber took the bull by the horns last year, finishing in third place for the Cy Young just behind Justin Verlander and Porcello. Kluber took his amazing statistics into the playoffs where he continued to dominate, leading the Indians to the World Series. Kluber has been a silent killer for the past three years. Staying out of the headlines, Kluber continues to produce amazing numbers as the ace of one of baseball’s best rotations.

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Now the moment you have all been waiting for; the MVP award. It would be a safe choice to pick Mike Trout and Kris Bryant but this year is going to be different. These players will obviously have sensational seasons but in 2017 Nolan Arenado and Jose Altuve will take home the award. Arenado doesn’t get much attention playing in Colorado but has been one of the best players in the MLB for the past two seasons. At 25, Arenado is a 4 time Gold Glove winner and 2 time Silver Slugger. Arenado will be turning 26 this year, baseball players prime. Over his four seasons, his statistics have continued to escalate. This year will be no different. Even though the Rockies are going nowhere fast, Arenado has certainly earned his spot as one of baseball’s best players.

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Jose Altuve has owned the American League for the past three seasons. Standing at just 5’6” and weighing 165 pounds, you would think Altuve would be better suited as a jockey rather than a MVP candidate. Altuve has proven that he is a 5 tool player. Altuve has 600+ hits over the course of the last three seasons and can still hit the long ball, racking up 24 last season. The Astros are poised to have a bounce back season this year, giving Altuve a better chance at winning the MVP award.

Keep an eye out for these players. All of them are stars or stars in the making. This year is going to be a fun one, make sure you strap in for the long ride.

Top Three Questions Going into the 2017 Season

Fort Myers, Florida is beginning to heat up, as the team that was hotter than hot during the offseason reported to Spring Training today. The Boston Red Sox have begun their journey toward their 9th World Series title, but many questions still remain. Throughout Spring Training we will get a better sense of how this team is going to shape up. From top to bottom it looks to be one of the deepest teams that Boston has ever seen. Get your sunblock and your cameras ready as we take a trip down to Florida to examine the biggest question marks for this year’s Boston Red Sox.

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Question Mark #3- Will David Price have a comeback year in 2017?

$30 million…yes, that is right. David Price was paid $30 million to have his worst year of his career in 2016. Boston is not a place where you can be complacent as an athlete. If you get paid and don’t perform there is a better chance than not that you will be booed out of the stadium every time you step on the field. The passion and love for sports that this city shows toward their teams is unheard of in most places.

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Price has pitched in Toronto, Detroit, and Tampa Bay throughout his 7 years previous to playing in Boston. All three cities do not demand nearly as much as fans in Boston do. I am not trying to make any excuses for Price. He did not perform anywhere close to what his salary is portraying he should perform at. But I believe when he stepped under those bright lights at Fenway Park, he faced a huge culture shock, one that he had never encountered before. I believe that this year is going to be different.

During the offseason the Red Sox acquired White Sox ace Chris Sale. Many eyes in Boston will now be fixated on the Sale rather than Price. This will alleviate some of the pressure, as he was expected to jump right into the rotation and become the ace of the staff in 2016. Not to mention the Red Sox also have last year’s Cy Young Award winner, Rick Porcello, who will be toeing the rubber every 5th day. The Red Sox front office noticed that Price felt the weight of 37,949 Red Sox fanatics on him every time he stood in the middle of Fenway Park. Now with the attention off of him slightly, I believe that Price will be able to hold up to his contract and focus solely on pitching. But make no mistake, Price needs to get off to a fast start in 2017 or Red Sox fans will be calling for his head.

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Question Mark #2- Is Pablo Sandoval going to have a productive year?

The past two years for Pablo Sandoval have been a rollercoaster ride to say the least. After having his worst year statistically and physically he followed up his 2015 campaign by spending 159 games out of 162 on the DL in 2016. Regarded as one of the top third basemen when he played for San Francisco, Sandoval is now fighting for a starting spot with the Boston Red Sox.

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Many questions have been asked about Sandoval’s weight issues. In 2016 “The Panda” came in looking more like sumo wrestler than a baseball player. The weight issues clearly affected his play and health. The word around Red Sox camp is that Sandoval has finally slimmed down and is in the best shape of his life. He has also dedicated himself to becoming a better player than when he won three World Series titles with the Giants. Sandoval said

“My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that he had already accomplished.” Sandoval said. “I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be.”

The first step with any problem is admitting there is one. Sandoval has clearly acknowledged his issues and is working hard to achieve some personal goals he has set for himself. All signs point to Sandoval actually having a comeback year in 2017.

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Question Mark #1- How will the Red Sox lineup coop with the loss of David Ortiz’s bat?

As everybody has probably heard, David Ortiz hung up his cleats at the end of the 2016 season for the last time. Big Papi was a Red Sox legend on the field and off. His presence will be missed tremendously as a leader and as a big bat in the middle of the Red Sox lineup.

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The question remains whether or not the Red Sox have a bat that can replace Ortiz’s. Sorry Red Sox fans but the answer to this one is no. Ortiz made other players around him better, simply with his presence in the on-deck circle. Mookie Betts who hit ahead of him in the lineup for the majority of the season came in second place in the MVP voting. In the offseason the Red Sox signed Mitch Moreland to try and fill the void that Ortiz’s bat has left.

Moreland has decent power, usually averaging around 23 home runs a year and 80 RBIs. Moreland’s numbers are nowhere near the production of Ortiz. But one question still remains, will it even matter? The Red Sox have the deepest pitching rotation in the MLB and their lineup will still score plenty of runs without Ortiz.

Don’t worry Red Sox nation, the Sox will still be World Series favorites no matter what.

Beasts of the East

The countdown to the first pitch of the 2017 season is already ticking away. Only 42 days until pitchers and catchers report to their Spring Training facilities, but who’s really counting? Teams around the MLB have begun to solidify their rosters in preparation for the grueling 8 month season just around the corner. With that being said, it is time to make some REALLY early preseason predictions.

We will begin with a division that people are most familiar with, the American League East. In 2016, the Boston Red Sox ran away with the division in late August, beating out the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays by 4 games. Is it possible that the Sox can repeat as division winners for a second consecutive year in the league’s most competitive division? Here is how I see the division shaping up.

  1. Boston Red Sox (95-67)
  2. New York Yankees (90-72)
  3. Baltimore Orioles (85-77)
  4. Toronto Blue Jays (85-77)
  5. Tampa Bay Rays (70-92)

The Bo Sox and the Evil Empire are both primed to take the American League East by the reins. The last time we have seen these two teams at the top of this division dates back to 2009. The MLB is in dire need for this rivalry to be renewed and this may be the season it materializes.

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The Red Sox made the biggest move in the offseason, acquiring former Chicago White Sox ace, Chris Sale in a blockbuster deal that involved 4 Red Sox prospects. The addition of Sale makes the Red Sox the most dangerous team in the American League. The pitching rotation, which was a disappointment at times in 2016, will be the Red Sox strong suit come 2017. On top of the improved pitching rotation, the Red Sox have one of the strongest lineups, littered with young talent throughout. The 2017 Red Sox roster is the most talented that we have seen since 2013. Anything other than a division title will be a disappointment to the fans in Beantown.

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The New York Yankees were one of the most dangerous teams in the second half of the 2016 season. Stud rookie, Gary Sanchez lit up the MLB blasting 20 homeruns in just 53 games. The 23 year old solidified the middle of the Yankees lineup and gave them some much needed power. In addition to Sanchez, the Yankees signed Matt Holiday who at an old age still puts fear into opposing pitchers. The lineup is going to have to carry the Bronx Bombers because their pitching rotation is lackluster at best. In order for the Yankees to be successful they will need pitchers Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka to step up and perform to their potentials. The mission of the Yankees pitching rotation will be to try to get the ball into Dillion Betances and Aroldis Chapman’s hands with a lead. The Yankees bullpen and their improved offense will lead to a Wild Card spot in the American League.

Both the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays have done nothing to improve their rosters. In fact, both have gotten worse. The Jays lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency and the O’s are on the verge of losing the league leader in home runs, Mark Trumbo to free agency as well. Their rosters are not nearly as talented as the Red Sox or Yankees and are poised to be mediocre at best.

In the cellar of the American League East comes the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are the laughing stock of the American League and maybe all of baseball. At this point they should be in the business of selling their talent and stockpiling a farm system that will bring them back to the forefront.

The American League East will be one of the best divisions to watch in 2017. Putting all biases aside, the Red Sox are the most talented team and look poised to be the beasts of the east.

A Rivalry Renewed?

The days of brawls, harsh words, and hatred seem to be a thing of the past between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Images of Pedro Martinez throwing down 72 year old, Don Zimmer by the head and Jason Varitek picking up A-Rod still run vividly through my mind. The animosity between these two clubs was something that I could never forget. But as time goes on it seems like sports’ greatest rivalry has come and gone. So the question begs; will the rivalry ever be renewed?

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Baseball’s glory days date back to the early 2000s, when steroid infused juice-heads ran rampant across the MLB. The product on the field was sexier. Home runs were at an all-time high and games could switch in an instant. During this period, baseball saw its greatest rivalry come to the forefront. The Boston Red Sox, struggled year in and year out to take down baseball’s greatest team, the New York Yankees. The Yankees finished first in the American League East, beating out the Red Sox who came in second for 7 consecutive years, from 1997-2004. The two teams battled back and forth as baseballs unwritten rules would be broken time and time again. Hard slides, brush back pitches, and relentless jeers from the fans made these games like no other. Just the way baseball should be played.

Unfortunately for the MLB and the fans, the rivalry between the two organizations has become nonexistent. Both teams have struggled to stay atop an extremely competitive division, making some of the games between the two clubs seem unimportant. In the early 2000s when the rivalry was at its peak, each game was vital. A four game series at Yankee Stadium in late August could either win or lose you the division. Each pitch you would sit on the edge of your seat as you would watch Rodger Clemens and Pedro Martinez duel it out on the mound. Neither pitcher being afraid to put one under the chin of an opposing hitter.

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But things are looking up. The Red Sox recently just acquired Chris Sale who clearly puts them as the favorites out of the America League East. Immediately after the signing of Sale, the Yankees took a huge splash into the free agent pool, signing Cuban fire-baller, Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees were one of the best teams during the second half of the year in 2016. With the acquisition of Chapman, the Yankees have become a powerhouse in the American League as well. When the Red Sox and Yankees are at the top of their division, baseball flourishes. It is a real possibility that this rivalry can be rejuvenated.

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Like I mentioned before, Clemens and Martinez were never afraid to get into their opponent’s head. Their competitive nature was apparent and it wore off on their teammates as well. Looking at the rosters of both the Yankees and Red Sox, I can see similar characteristics. Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello have all been in multiple conflicts with opposing teams, displaying their competitive nature. The Yankees have players like that as well. Chapman has been known to brush back hitters with his 100 MPH fastball and Chase Headley has gotten into an altercation with Red Sox pitcher, Rick Porcello.

The possibility that these two teams could fight for a division title may create a spark that the MLB needs. I’m looking for fights, fans screaming, and good baseball. We haven’t seen much of this for the past years but it seems like this rivalry may no longer be a thing of the past.

CHRIStmas Sale

The Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, made a stunning move this afternoon, acquiring White Sox ace Chris Sale. The deal included Red Sox number one prospect Yoan Moncada, as well as their number five prospect, Michael Kopech. In addition, the Red Sox agreed to pay the remainder of Moncada’s $31.2 million salary. The Red Sox also parted ways with two other promising prospects in their farm system in order to finalize the deal. This was a blockbuster deal that left people around the MLB stunned. Now that the deal is completed, it is time to analyze the trade from both sides.

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The White Sox aren’t going anywhere any time soon. After finishing up in 4th place of the American League Central for the 3rd year in a row, White Sox management knew it was time to start selling. Sale was the piece that brought teams from all over the MLB flocking to the White Sox front steps. The Red Sox being one of those teams. For months, rumors had been flying around indicating that the Red Sox were huge contenders in the Sale sweepstakes. For once, those rumors came to fruition.

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The White Sox did an impeccable job getting the most for Sale. Moncada is the number one prospect in all of baseball. He has power, speed, and the potential to be the best overall player in the league one day. In addition to Moncada, the White Sox acquired Michael Kopech who is only 20 years old and lights up the radar, routinely reaching 100 MPH with his fastball. These two players are ones that you can build your franchise around. They have the attributes that put them in a class by themselves. The White Sox didn’t stop there. They also acquired two more prospects from the Red Sox, Victor Diaz and Luis Basabe, who have both shown promising signs in their early stages of development. The assortment of prospects the White Sox gathered today is a win in itself. Sale’s contract expires at the end of 2017 and the White Sox were not going to be able to match the price that Sale is going to demand. The White sox pulled the trigger and are a better team for it.

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As for the Red Sox, I absolutely love this move as well. Sale is currently in the prime of his career at the ripe age of 27. Sale is a potential Cy Young Award winner every single year. The addition of the tall, lanky, lefty has established the rotation as one of the best in the league and makes the Red Sox the team to beat coming out of the American League. The pieces the Red Sox gave up were substantial in order to acquire Sale, but the risk is certainly worth it. Moncada is said to be talented beyond his years, but during his brief stint with the Red Sox last year, he struggled to hit anything off-speed. Pitchers were able to scout him and find an extremely worrisome weakness. In addition, Kopech is destined to be a stud pitcher one day, but he has already shown signs of an injury riddled career, having Tommy John surgery before the age of 20. Kopech also has a long history of being a complete lunatic. In an altercation with his roommate last year, Kopech broke his hand and was also suspended 50 games for taking an illegal substance. Both Moncada and Kopech have potential to become superstars in the MLB but have yet to prove that.

The Red Sox did an admirable job being able to keep the young core of players that led them to an American League East title. Being able to acquire Sale from the White Sox without giving up Jackie Bradley Jr, Mookie Betts, or Xander Bogaerts would have been impossible last season. The Red Sox were patient and pounced on their opportunity.

It is rare to see a trade that works out for both sides. The White Sox have taken a risk to acquire players with immense potential but have yet to prove it. As for the Red Sox, they have established themselves as the bully of the American League and have taken the necessary steps to compete for a World Series title in 2017.