Category Archives: Red Sox Rants

Who Is The Biggest Disappointment Of The First Half?

After dropping 3 of 4 to the Yankees in the most important series so far this year, the Sox limp into the All-Star break at an even 43-43. The Sox seemed to have turned a corner last week, going five games over .500 after trudging through the first few months of the 2012 season. But at 40-35, they split with the Mariners and got swept by the Athletics, scoring just 14 runs in 7 games out west. This was a horrible stretch of games, dropping five out of seven to two of the worst hitting teams in the MLB.

After a disastrous road trip, Boston returned home to get slugged around Fenway by the Yankees. The final first half series against the Bronx Bombers highlighted the biggest disappointed for the Red Sox since last year’s September collapse, the starting pitching. Despite all the injuries on the offensive side of the ball and Adrian Gonzalez’s continued power outage, the home town team still stands 2nd in the American League in both hits and runs scored.

Coming into this season the Sox rotation looked pretty formidable, featuring Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Dubront, and Bard. Daniel Bard then went all Rick Ankiel on everybody and cannot find home plate with a gps anymore. Beckett is a coin toss for every start on whether he goes seven strong innings or is out after four and given up six runs. Buchholz was terrible in his first six starts (despite his record) allowing at least five runs in all six games. Just when Clay started pitching well and getting his act together, he goes down with a somewhat freak injury (esophagitis) and misses the final few weeks of the first half. Dubront has been decent, and would be considered a pleasant surprise to this rotation had the top three played anywhere close to their potential.

But the biggest disappointment in the 2012 season so far has got to be the man at the front of the rotation. People in Boston have been waiting for Jon Lester to finally have that one break out season where he was in the running for his first Cy Young and carried this team on his shoulders. Lester so far this season, is 5-6 with a 4.49 ERA. Since 2008, Lester has not won less than 15 games (including winning 19 in 2010) or lost more than 9. In those four seasons, his highest ERA was 3.47 (2011). Even more telling this season are his strikeout and walk numbers. Since 2010, Lester’s K/9 has dropped from 9.74 to 7.53 and his BB/9 has increased from 2.71 to 3.13. Just using the eye test with the “Ace” of the staff can tell you how much Lester has struggled this year, routinely throws 20+ pitches in the first inning and rarely in the game past the 7th inning (twice all season).

The Sox are currently 4th in the AL East, 9.5 games back from the Yankees. However, with the new second wild card added to baseball this season the Red Sox are still in the running for a playoff spot. They sit only 2.5 games back from the Orioles for the chance to play their way into a Divisional Playoff Series. If the Red Sox are going to contend in the second half, they are going to need the offense to tread water until healthy and for Lester, Beckett, and Buchholz to step up their performance and win games for their team.

But what do you think?

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This Is Unbelievable

No Bobby, thumbs down.

Kelly Shoppach and Darnell McDonald were in the lineup for tonight’s game until about 5:00PM when Bobby V swapped them out for Jared Saltalamacchia and Ryan Sweeney. Why was this change made? Because Bobby V made the original lineup thinking that the Twins starting pitcher tonight, Liam Hendriks, was left-handed. Hendricks is right-handed.

The backbone of the Boston Red Sox baseball operations is statistical analysis and the manager of this team can’t even figure out which hand the opposing starting pitcher throws the baseball with. Are you kidding me? Bobby V has every baseball metric imaginable at his fingertips and he can’t even be bothered to read the most basic information about his opponent? If this isn’t an indication of how out of touch and inept Bobby Valentine is, I don’t know what is.

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Francona In, Melancon Out

Two pieces of news broke today regarding the Red Sox.

1 – Terry Francona will indeed attend Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary celebration on Friday. Francona told ESPN on Wednesday that he believes he owes it to the fans to show up. I think this is the right move for Francona. I’m not saying that he should be coaching the team this year nor should he be seen shaking hands with Red Sox ownership on Friday afternoon, but the fans deserve a chance to acknowledge him after not having a chance after last season.

2 – Red Sox reliever Mark Melancon will be optioned down to Triple-A Pawtucket after one of the worst relief appearances in Major League Baseball history. Melancon was shelled for four hits and six runs while not recording an out in the inning. In just 2.0 Innings this season, Melancon has allowed 10 Hits, 5 of those being Home Runs, 11 Earned Runs, and has a comical ERA of 49.50. Melancon only gave up 5 Home Runs in 74.1 Innings last season and had a 2.78 ERA while saving 20 of a potential 25 games. Not sure if it’s just a better league with better hitters, or if he just lost his stuff, but whatever the problem he can not work it out at the Major League level.

Peter Abraham  reports that the Red Sox have recalled RHP Junichi Tazawa to replace Melancon on the roster.

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Potential Call Ups

Taken from Pete Abraham-

Kevin Youkilis (6 for 34, one extra-base hit, 12 strikeouts) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2 for 24, 7 strikeouts) are struggling so far this season.

If 2011 taught us anything, it’s not to get too wrapped up in April statistics and certainly Youkilis has earned the right to play his way out of his slump. But it’s worth noting that third base prospect Will Middlebrooks is hitting .333/.347/.583 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 12 games for Triple-A Pawtucket.

Middlebrooks is an excellent third baseman, too. Now is not the time for rash moves, but Middlebrooks is starting to bang on the door and you can’t ignore that forever.

Keep an eye on his walks and strikeouts. Middlebrooks has walked once and struck out nine times. The Sox would like to see him control the strike zone a little better.

Ryan Lavarnway is hitting only .231 but has a .388 on-base percentage thanks to 10 walks. He is another alternative that the Red Sox will have to consider if Salty isn’t able to turn it around.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

 So let me ask you guys, do you think Will Middlebrooks or Ryan Lavarnway will be starting in the bigs this season? I do not think Middlebrooks will start over Youk this season. The only scenario in which I think he will start is if Youk is dealt at the trade deadline. If Youk remains on the team I don’t see Middlebrooks replacing him. I don’t think Youk would take the demotion well and would create chaos in the clubhouse. That being said if he is batting below .240 in June he will deserve to be benched. I think Ryan Lavarnway will be starting in the bigs this season. I don’t think Valentine is really invested in either catcher and would have no problem starting Lavarnway. The back part of the Sox lineup is thin after the Ellsbury injury and Lavarnway may be the guy called on to pick up the slack.

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Maybe That Works In Japan

Cute Little Riding Outfit Bro

Two years, that how long Bobby Valentines contract is and that is how long Bobby V will be warming John Farrell’s seat. Two years is a long time when 9 games into the season Bobby V has alienated Youk, Pedroia, Crawford, and Beckett. To name a few.

I honestly don’t mind how he manages games. Yesterdays issue with Bard, leaving him in too long in the sweltering heat was a bad move but in a 162 game season coaches make many mistakes, I can give him that especially if he owned up to it right after the game. Other than that I love how aggressive he has them on the base paths, I like the hit and run plays, I like the way he manages a game.

But his management of the players is atrocious. They billed him as this hard ass coming into town to clean up Tito’s mess, OK I guess they had to keep up that charade for a while but Bobby V let that get to his already massive head. Managing a Major League club, you’ve got to be able to deal with prima donnas that’s just how it is they have been babied their whole lives. Therefore, you can’t yourself be a freaking egotistical prima donna talking shit about half the team to the media. That’s not cool.

He first pissed me off in February, when he was trash talking the Yankees. OK dude, yeah we have arguably the biggest rivalry in sports with the Yankees but you don’t go picking fights with them before pitchers and catchers even report you friggen clown shoes. That was one of two things. It was either the owners saying “Red Sox Nation (a term I do not love) eats it up when you hate on the Yankees. You’ll have Boston in the palm of your hand if you start off on the right foot and make fun of a play in the playoffs that happened over 10 years ago.” Or it was Bobby V taking the initiative, all giddy that he’s finally back in the majors and not in Japanese baseball and was just talking out of his ass. Both scenarios are totally believable.

Then there’s the well documented feud between Beckett and Valentine, I won’t revisit that saga right now I’ll just wait for the next story to break because that feuds not over, they’re like the Hatfields and the McCoys right now. If you want to revisit it, Wolfie wrote about Beckett and the Limo ride not too long ago.

But now Bobby V goes and questions Youks heart of all things. Listen, even thought I made a quip that Youk was still on his honeymoon; I was joking. Bucky wrote about whether or not we should be worried about Youk, and I agree with him it’s too early in the season to get worked up when the guys in a slump. Hitters go through stretches when they can’t hit the ball at all, that’s one of the toughest parts of baseball that mental aspect. So when your manager goes and tells Channel 7 that he thinks Youks heart isn’t in it, what do you think that does to Youk mentally? It sure as hell won’t motivate him.

Well Pedroia gets it, and it’s good to know there’s players on the team that will step up and have their teammates back. Here’s some quotes courtesy of the Boston Herald.

“Maybe (that works) in Japan or something, but over here in the U.S. we’ve got a three-game winning streak and we want to feel good and keep it rolling.”

He then added, about Youks play and desire, “We’ve got Youk’s back. He’s played his ass off for us for a long time. Anytime he steps on the field, he’s a great player. We’re here to win and win with him.”

I get the argument that you don’t want players speaking out about your coach, some people are saying Pedroia’s out of line. Well here’s my opinion, he’s not. Not in the least. These guys are professional athletes this isn’t Little League, they’re adults. With that said, you don’t show up your players in Little League let alone the majors so cool it dude, they’re playing fine. The fact that Pedroia lashed out about the comments shows me he’s a team leader and a good spokesman for the team when Bobby V talks out his ass.

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Luke Scott Keeps Running His Mouth

Rays DH Luke Scott told MLB.com he thinks Fenway is “a dump” as the Sox are preparing for Fenway Parks 100th year anniversary and the teams 2012 home opener.

“As a baseball player, going there to work, it’s a dump,” said Scott, whose Rays play the Red Sox on Friday in their Fenway opener. “I mean, it’s old. It does have a great feel and nostalgia, but at the end of the day, I’d rather be at a good facility where I can get my work in. A place where I can go hit in the cage, where I have space and it’s a little more comfortable to come to work.

“You’re packed in like sardines there. It’s hard to get your work in. … You have to go to their weight room if you want to lift. From a fan’s perspective, it’s probably pretty cool to go see a game at a historic park. But from a player’s point of view, it’s not a place where you want to go to work.”

There is probably a lot of truth to what Scott has to say. Fenway is notoriously small and I have heard the visiting teams amenities are less than impressive. That being said the thing that irks me about this quote is that it is the second time in a month that Scott has taken a shot at the Red Sox.  During spring training, he said keeping Boston out of the playoffs was even more pleasing because of his disdain for its fans.

“Just their arrogance,” Scott told MLB.com at the time. “The fans come in and they take over the city. They’re ruthless, they’re vulgar, they cause trouble, they talk about your family, swear at you. Who likes that? When people do that, it just gives you more incentive to beat them.

“Then when things like [the last game of last season, a 4-3 walk-off Orioles victory] happen, you celebrate even more. You go to St. Louis — classiest fans in the game. You do well, there’s no vulgarity. You know what? You don’t wish them bad.”

Luke Scott will not be starting today as he is suffering from a hamstring injury. That being said I don’t think he needs to worry about Red Sox fans “wishing him bad”. The reason why no one will wish him badly is because no one knows who he is. Listen Luke Scott, no one in Boston takes a career .265 hitter seriously. Like the great Pedro Martinez would say, “Who is Luke Scott”

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Who is the asshole that had Muhammad Ali throw out the first pitch?

I know I’m a few days late with this one but I can’t let this happen without talking about it. Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria’s decided to have Muhammad Ali throw out the first pitch of the season, trying to make a magical moment like the 96 Olympics in Atlanta when the greatest lit the torch.

The magical moment turned awkward when the crowd went from a roar to silence in a matter of seconds watching the painful scene. When the PA announcer tried to move some deck chairs around on the Titanic after the berg hit by chanting Ali! Ali! in a feeble attempt to get the crowd into it I almost vomited. Thank God Hanley Ramirez took the ball from Ali in the first ever opening hand-off.

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible. I never thought I would say this, but that was more disrespectful than Ted Kennedy with one foot in the grave and the other on the rubber throwing the first pitch at Fenway. Jim Rice, also on the mound was catching a mere 4 feet away.

But every cloud has a silver lining and it got me thinking about the worst opening day pitches ever, here’s a few. Ted and Muhammad don’t count, they can’t help it. The following people, they just plain suck at throwing a baseball.

1. Carl Lewis – As an athlete, you should never look like this. He was god awful singing the national anthem but this is even worse.

Here’s his singing, I just watched it for the first time in years and I now think it’s a toss up. This may be worse than that first pitch. Dude’s gotta stick to track and field.

2. Mariah Carey- Terrible.

3. Joan Steinbrenner – George’s wife would have been fired so fast by George had that been a regular season game and not the grapefruit league.

4. John Wall – This is awful, another athlete that can’t throw. Decent bounce pass from the point guard. On the bright side it was a Nationals vs Orioles game so more than likely he wasn’t as bad as the birds.

5. Obama – He’s had some pretty bad ones. This is one of them. He should stick to ceremonial first free throws or something.

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