Tag Archives: Carl Crawford

First Half Recap

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The Red Sox will begin the second half of their season tonight in Tampa Bay. Their first half was disappointing to say the least. Here’s a brief recap of what we have seen so far in 2012:

  • Record: 43-43, 4th place in AL East
  • Pythagorean W-L: 47-39 (What their record should be based on their runs scored and given up)
  • Runs Scored Per Game: 5.02 (2nd in AL) [4.46 League Average]
  • Runs Given Up Per Game: 4.52 (9th in AL) [4.37 League Average]

So what do these numbers tell us? The Red Sox are hitting well but their pitching has underperformed immensely. With Beckett, Lester, and Bucholz having sub par seasons thus far, we can at least hold onto some hope that they will get better. The team has also fallen victim to a little bit of bad luck based on their Pythagorean W-L record being 4 games better than their actual record. With some good luck in the second half they should be able to close that gap and make a run at the playoffs.

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Adrian!

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What is wrong with Adrian Gonzalez? As of today Adrian’s OPS checks in at .707, a whopping .170 below his .877 career average. In fact, he had not posted an OPS below .900 since 2008. His season is looking more and more Carl Crawford like every day (Crawford posted a .694 OPS last season).

Let’s look a little deeper at his season so far. His BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) is .299, below his .320 career average and not even close to his .380 last season. So he’s been the victim of some bad luck on balls he’s hit in play. He’s also not walking or hitting home runs. He’s posted a 7.3% walk rate (11% career) and is only hitting home runs on 6.2% of his fly balls (16.3% career). Interestingly though, he’s leading the league in doubles with. Without those double his season would be even worse.

So what should we expect going forward? Adrian is a great hitter, he should improve based on how he has hit for the majority of his career. He’s also been better in the second halves of seasons: .857 OPS in the first half vs. .903 in the second. The Red Sox have still managed to score the second most runs per game in the AL (5.19) without Adrian hitting. So his likely turnaround combined with the returns of Crawford and Ellsbury should bode very well for the Red Sox.

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Top 5 Reasons To Be Excited About The Red Sox This Summer

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The Red Sox are still in the basement of the AL East but there are 5 reasons to be excited about this team as we enter the summer.

5) Bad Luck: The Red Sox have been the victims of some bad luck this season. Their record currently stands at 35-33 but based on their runs scored and runs given up they should be 38-30. So if they hit and pitch the same as the season goes on their record should better reflect their performance.

4) The Bullpen: The Red Sox bullpen was a disaster in April posting a 6.10 ERA. However, since then they have been great, posting a 2.37 ERA in May and a 1.59 in June. Alfredo Aceves has been particularly good. Since his implosion against the Yankees in mid-April he is 15 of 16 in save chances with a 2.84 ERA and is averaging more than a strikeout per inning.

3) Returns: The Red Sox are awaiting three returns: Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, and Jon Lester. Ellsbury and Crawford are returning from injuries and should be back mid-summer. We are waiting for the REAL Jon Lester to return. From 2008-2011 Lester posted a 3.33 ERA with 8.7 K/9. This season he has a 4.53 ERA with only 7.2 K/9. History tells us he is much better than he has been so far this season.

2) Young Players: Will Middlebrooks and Ryan Kalish are already here and we could eventually see Ryan Lavarnway. It’s always fun watching young players come into their own.

1) David Ortiz: Not only is Ortiz 3rd in the AL in OPS, he is 4 home runs away from 400. Only 48 players in history have more than 400 home runs. He has been on a mission this season and is making everyone (including myself) who thought he was washed up look foolish. He is already the greatest DH of all time and he’s now making his case for Cooperstown.

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The Byrd Is The Wyrd

Marlon Byrd made his Red Sox debut last night going 1 for 4. Byrd was acquired from the Chicago Cubs for Michael Bowden and player to be named later. Bowden is a name we are all familiar with but even after some decent seasons in AAA he has not been able to earn a permanent spot on the Red Sox roster. With the Cubs paying $6.1M of Byrd’s $6.5M contract, the Red Sox did not give up a lot of get him here.

With Ellsbury and Crawford on the DL the Red Sox needed another everyday outfielder and the 34-year-old Byrd should be able to fill that role. He is a career .278/.337/.415 hitter with an OPS+ of 98 (making him essentially average at the plate). He has primarily played centerfield in his career but can play the corners if needed. His career 10.9 UZR means he’s once again average and will not hurt the Red Sox in the field.

A Cody Ross, Marlon Byrd, and Ryan Sweeney outfield might not excite you but should be good enough until Crawford and Ellsbury are ready to come back.

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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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Is Valentine Losing Control of Team or Just Josh Beckett?

So yesterday loud mouth Curt Schilling threw Josh Beckett and Bobby Valentine under the bus on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight. Schilling said, “The big story yesterday was that Josh Beckett took a limo home from the game [from Bradenton], but the first week of spring training, Bobby V said that everybody has to take the bus.”

This raises the question; Are the players already revolting against Bobby V? I’ve read that sources close to the team have stated that several Red Sox have already expressed their displeasure with the new manager. Obviously no one can prove the validity of those sources, but it does raise eyebrows.  Valentine has already singled out and spoken publicly against Josh Beckett’s behavior last season, something Terry Francona would’ve never of done. Valentine also spoke against Beckett’s slow pace while working as an Espn broadcaster. “That’s a half-hour added to this game of him standing around and us sitting around watching him do nothing,”

Valentine  also has a bad history with OF Carl Crawford. This was taken from the Boston Herald.

[In May 2010, Valentine called a Rays-Angels game for ESPN and criticized then-Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford for having to dive to make a catch on what turned out to be a sacrifice fly. Word of Valentine’s comments got back to Crawford, who told the St. Petersburg Times, “First inning, just getting warmed up, I definitely couldn’t have caught it standing. Everybody knows if I can catch a ball standing, I’m going to do it because I don’t want to get hurt. I can’t believe he said that. Obviously, he don’t know what it’s like to have this kind of ability.” A few days later, Valentine, a standout amateur player whose major-league career was derailed by a compound leg fracture in 1973, returned the jab by telling the same newspaper, “I was probably a little faster, at least a half-step faster, than Carl, maybe a full step.”]

And look out if Valentine mocks another player like he did Mark Melancon after his poor inning. (“I thought he backed up the bases really well. He had that down.”)

It will be interesting to see how Bobby meshes with the team as the season plays out. As of right now everything is fine, but a bad start could change all of that real quick.

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Red Sox Injury Report as of 3/12/12

Shortstop Jose Iglesias is nursing a minor right groin injury, and manager Bobby Valentine might hold him out of the lineup until Thursday

Daisuke Matsuzaka continues to impress in his recovery from Tommy John Surgery. The righty threw a 40-pitch side session and should be on track for a return by midseason, if not sooner.

Andrew Bailey (lat strain) has been cleared to make his Grapefruit League debut on Monday.

Lefty Andrew Miller (elbow stiffness) will resume throwing on Saturday.

Carl Crawford (left wrist) was cleared to start throwing again and should get back on a hitting program within the next couple of days.

*Updates found via Rotoworld and Ian Browne

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