Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Ramblings

Happy Saturday Maineiacs! Lovely day here in Maine, a fine one to be at camp (Barry) or at your 10th year HS Reunion (Brandon), also a fine day to play a couple of girls basketball games in the sweltering gym at Erskine Academy (Me). Anyways, here are some random thoughts that have occurred in the last 24 hours or so.

First the Sox have DFA'D Darnell McDonald to make room for Josh Beckett to pitch this evenings contest. Best of luck to DMac, as despite his ability on the field always seemed like a good guy.

Secondly, what a performance last night by Aaron Cook outstanding! 81 pitches on his way to a 2 hit shutout, a joy to watch and still hit the sack by 12:30. Granted it was the punchless Mariners but Cook probably threw the same pitch (sinker) 75 times last night.

While on the starting pitching front, I read on MLB Trade Rumors last night that RHP Brandon McCarthy of the Oakland A's might be available at the trade deadline for a decent asking price. Granted he is currently on the DL and has never fully lived up to his potential in the bigs, but still I thought this might be a good move for the Sox to look into to come late July. Nick Cafardo also proposed on the Globe website trading Jon Lester and Jacoby Ellsbury for Felix Hernandez. I would might make that deal, but that is probably just the hangover effect from King Felix's domination of the Sox on Thursday night and the fact that Lester and Ellsbury have been underwhelming and injured.

I guess that is all for now, let's hope the Sox keep it rolling tonight in Seattle.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

6/28 West Coast Trip Red Sox vs. Mariners

Hello Red Sox fans!  Tonight the Sox start a seven-game West Coast swing at Safeco Field in Seattle.  The Red Sox will look to keep their winning ways alive as they roll into the great Northwest riding an 11-3 streak.  Tonight the Beantowners throw surprising success story Franklin Morales (1-1, 3.12 ERA) onto the Hill of Thrills against slightly-underachieving-but-still-scary Felix Hernandez (5-5, 3.36 ERA).  Here is tonight's Sox lineup:

Nava LF
La Luna 2B
Papi DH
Salty Dog C
Gonzo 1B
Willie Middle 3B
Big Pimpin' Ross RF
Big 'ol Mr. Ka-lish CF
Aviles SS

One more note:  Big Papi David Ortiz is sitting on 399 career home runs.  It would have been nice to see him get #400 at home, but let's hope he now gets it on the road trip.

If you're staying up to watch this one on the east coast, leave your comments below!

Red Sox Links and Thoughts 6-28-12

Today's post is light on the links and heavy on the thoughts, and also includes a poll results recap.  Here goes:

Another Red Sox Maineiacs poll has come to a close.  This week’s question asked what it is you wanted to get in return for Kevin Youkilis.  Which is timely, since you may have heard he was traded this week.  A starting pitcher and prospects tied 5-5-2-1-0-0.  I suppose all ten of those voters got their wish when we acquired Zach Stewart.  He will be made into a starting pitcher at Pawtucket, despite pitching out of the ChiSox bullpen some this year.  I guess you could still call him a prospect too, although his star has faded considerably since his younger days and several franchises ago.  Funny, no votes came in for a 28-year-old super utility player with a .214 career batting average, but we got one of those too in Brent Lillibridge.  All in all, not a killing by the Red Sox, but at least we have solved the corner infielder cluster and we can get on with the business of winning baseball games.

Speaking of Zach Stewart, he was sharp in his Pawtucket debut on Wednesday night, retiring 12 in a row at one point and holding the Charlotte Knights scoreless through five innings before surrendering three hits and a run in the sixth.  His line for the night:

5 2/3 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 4 K, 0 BB

Remember back on May 10 when the Red Sox fell to seven games under .500 at 12-19? Remember when Josh Beckett should be traded and Valentine should be fired and we should blow up the team for prospects and re-build for the future?  Seems like a long time ago now.  

Today is a bright day in Red Sox nation.  The Sox are five games above .500 for the first time in 2012 and are tied for third place in the AL East with the Rays.  The Sox head out west for a seven game road trip in Seattle and Oakland.  Even though Oakland has played some good baseball (one of only 8 teams in the AL with a + run differential at +3), these are two teams that we should be able to beat up on.  A 5-2 record sounds about right for this trip.  We return home after the trip for a huge series with the Yankees before the All-Star break.

There is a lot of credit to go around for the Red Sox’ recent surge.  We’ve now gone 11-3 in our last 14 games.  We’ve had solid starting pitching, our bullpen has been downright brilliant, we’ve had pop in our bats, and our youthful exuberance has been a sparkplug.  But I think the biggest kudos should go out to everybody’s favorite lightning rod, Bobby Valentine.  I’ve said it once on here and I’ll say it again - he should be the frontrunner at the midway point of the season for AL Manager of the Year.

Further proof that the Boston media wants nobody to be happy, and that there are so many media sharks in the pool that the slightest whiff of blood makes them come running (swimming?) furiously to be the first one to get a story out on the record, comes this report from Alex Speier at the WEEI.com blog So let me get this straight, Buchholz spent five days in the hospital, including two in the ICU, so he’s not going to fly to Seattle with the team.  Seems reasonable.  A friend of his asked him to come to a charity event since he didn’t have baseball games to go to.  Also seems reasonable.  But wait.  Alex Speier wants to be able to print a juicy story so that his Twitter feed blows up and his blog gets a ton of views and he gets invited onto local TV and radio shows and he is solely responsible for this HUGE scandalous story!  So let’s add some juicy tidbits:

The “charity” event was at MGM Foxwoods Casino/Resort, meaning Clay was probably out drinking, gambling, and womanizing until the wee morning hours because that’s what people do at Foxwoods!!!!

There was a pool party as part of the fundraiser that was sponsored by Stoli Vodka, meaning Clay surely got free booze and was partying poolside while fresh out of the hospital and not on the team plane to Seattle!!!!

This is the next Golfgate! This is a scandal! Let’s have a 24-hour media cycle where every Sox media personality gets on their high horse and screams about how these Sox pitchers “don’t get it”!!!!

Garbage.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

6/27 Daytime Baseball: Jays at Red Sox

The Red Sox play a day game today against the Jays, first pitch at 1:35pm.  Today features the rubber game of the three game series.  If the Red Sox win, they will have gone 11-3 in their last 14 games, while if the Jays win they will have gone 8-4 in their last 12 games.  The matchup features two young lefties who are billed as two of the best in the AL: Ricky Romero (8-1) vs. Jon Lester (4-5).  Here is the Sox lineup:


Nava LF
Pedroia 2B
Ortiz DH
Ross LF
Gonzalez 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
Aviles SS
McDonald CF
Shoppach C


Leave your game comments in the section below! Go Sox!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Red Sox vs. Blue Jays Live Chat Tonight at 7:00!

Red Sox Links and Thoughts Youk Edition 6-26-12

I realize I am a bit late to the party to add my extended Youk thoughts to the mix.  However, there are still articles being posted this morning from some of my favorite writers about him, so I thought I would do a links and thoughts post focusing mostly on that ‘ol dirt dog Youk with a few others thrown in.

1.  First off, when I heard the trade first went down, I read the following article from ESPN.com

I have several thoughts about this article, including:
Will Bobby V get some credit from the boston fans for the way he orchestrated Youk’s sendoff?  By all accounts, Ben Cherington informed Bobby V of the impending trade, and instead of just shrugging him off or waiting until the end of the game to give him a nice gesture, Bobby V orchestrated one of the best non-game moments in recent memory at Fenway Park (I would argue it was better than the 100 year anniversary ceremony because it was unscripted and organic and proved the wherewithal of the Fenway Faithful).  This was one of those moments that Sox diehards will remember for a long time, and Bobby V has to be given a lot of the credit for it.  Will this gain points in his favor from Boston fans?  It has from this Maineiac.

And while we’re talking about Bobby V, can I just say I think this guy has done a damn good job this year?  Yes he opens his flap too much, but he has done a masterful job of cementing the bullpen, switching Franklin Morales to the rotation and Adrian Gonzalez to RF, and juggling 275 (approximately) different players between the lineup, AAA, and the DL.  The fact this team sits three games above .500 and only 3 1/2 games out of a playoff spot is pretty remarkable.  In fact, if the Sox make a charge and make the playoffs in 2012, doesn’t Bobby V have to be considered the front-runner for AL Manager of the Year?

2.  Here is the video of Kevin Youkilis’ last at-bat.  Fast forward to the 2:40 mark to watch Youk chug around the bases and then get his memorable send-off:


Here’s another thought that jumped out at me after watching that video again and reading the ESPN.com article:

Dustin Pedroia couldn’t be bothered to speak out when the “toxic clubhouse” s***storm was swirling around his team, but when his good buddy Kevin Youkilis gets shipped out of town, he is the first one out of the dugout to embrace him, and he gives the media his first quote I have read in a long time.  It’s interesting to note that Pede had nothing to say about the divided clubhouse, yet just about breaks down sobbing Youk’s praises.  I know they have played together under the Boston microscope for quite a while now, and they both played the game with similar reckless abandon, but I guess I’m just still bitter at Pedroia for staying quiet, or even perpetuating the toxic clubhouse angle.

Also, I expect Youk to play well in Chicago.  His debut didn’t go so well on Monday night, but still.  He so badly needed a change of scenery.  Interesting quote in the ESPN.com article from White Sox GM Ken Williams:

He said he is very excited to join our club and he has a little bit of edge to him, which I like. I can't tell you exactly what he said, but he wants to come in and prove some people wrong."

Sounds like Youk really wants to stick it to the Red Sox staff and prove that he isn’t washed up.  He probably said something similar to Rick Vaughn’s tirade in Lou Brown’s office after getting pranked by Dorn.  Other than the games the White Sox play against the Red, good luck to him.  

It’s amazing how much venom has been directed towards Youk in recent weeks for his below-average play and lineup-clogging presence (this guy included - I proposed last week that we ought to trade him straight up for a bat boy), and then when he leaves there is a deluge of sentimentality.  It’s like when Michael Jackson died and all everybody talked about was how talented and special he was, and forgot that he was a raging psychopath.  And so there may have been 200 articles written about Youk since Sunday, but I bet I’ve been the first to compare him to Michael Jackson!  Take that Chad Finn!

I really hope there isn’t any residual bitterness towards Will Middlebrooks, even if he struggles, for forcing out Youk.  Sox fans have been crying/shouting for weeks to trade Youk to get Willie Middle in the lineup, and now we have to live with a rookie 3B.  He will have rough patches.  He will have slumps.  But he WILL (no pun intended) be better than Youkilis.  Let the kid play, and don’t jump down his throat and compare him to the dearly departed Youk every time he bobbles a grounder or strikes out.  For all of the sentimentality oozing out of Red Sox Nation this week, this was the right move at the right time.

3.  Joe Posnanski had an interesting take on Youkilis on his blog:

The general premise of his post is to examine Youk’s career based on “out percentage”, which is basically the opposite of on-base percentage.  With the Moneyball/OBP explosion in baseball in the last decade, the idea that a ballplayer’s worth is tied to the percentage of his plate appearances that do not result in outs is somehow a revolutionary idea.  Nevertheless, Youkilis embodied this new fad in baseball perhaps better than any other player, consistently working pitch counts, frustrating pitchers, and finishing in the top five in out percentage.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yoooouuuukkkk

Let it go one more time for old times sake...Yoooooouuuuukkk

Kevin Youkilis was traded today to the Chicago White Sox for Zach Stewart, who is basically another Clayton Mortensen, and utility man Brent Lillibridge. The Red Sox will pay all but one million dollars of the salary still owed to Youkilis.  All in all the deal is not that bad considering it looked like the Sox may have to release Youkilis outright about a week ago when he was in the middle of a long O-fer.  Stewart was a 3rd round draft pick out of Texas Tech and he has now been traded to his fourth team.  He has been a highly thought of prospect at times, but has yet to reach his potential.  He will be sent to Pawtucket while Lillibridge will join the big team.

There are too many great Youkilis memories over the last decade to cover all of them, but here are some of my personal favorites.  Being the Mainers that we are it is worth mentioning that he was one of the first Red Sox prospects who played for the Portland Sea Dogs and make it to Boston to play for the Red Sox, but my favorite Youkilis moment happened when a certain unnamed Yankee fan was watching a game at Fenway Park with me. Youk got a big hit late in the game against the Orioles several April's ago then he received one of the loudest Youk cheers ever.  This game was during the peak of his popularity with the Sox.  The Yankee fan sitting next to me in the bleachers got caught up in the moment (perhaps due to some $7.50 beverages) and screamed "Yooooouuuuuukkkk" more than once.  This is one of my personal favorite Youk moments.  He's had many memorable moments in a Red Sox uniform.  SHARE YOUR FAVORITE YOUK MOMENTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION.

In other Sox news today.  Clay Buchholz was put on the DL today to make room for Aaron Cook.  Daniel Bard struggled with wildness again today for Pawtucket.  He may be in need of a Roy Halladay type demotion, when he was a young player for the Blue Jays.  Where he goes down to Fort Myers for a while and then starts all over again at Single A and works his way back up to the majors.  It's seems safe to say now that the move to switch him to the starting rotation, while he showed some potential as a starter, seemed to mess with his mentality and they now have a fragile pitcher on their hands.  IF/OF Oscar Tejeda was designated for assignment today to clear up some room on the 40 man roster.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Red Sox All-Star Prospectus Update

(Updated 6/23)

34 players will make the AL All-Star team to be played July 10th in Kansas City. The 9 Starters and the Final Selection will be determined by the fans. The second release of voting results was announced on Tuesday. Texas Rangers fans continue to stuff the ballot box full as currently Josh Hamilton, Adrian “Don't Touch My Head” Beltre, Ian Kinsler, and Sox killer Mike Napoli are in line to start.

In this post, we will look at the potential for AL All-Stars based on each team needing a representative and estimating who will end up as the top vote getters. We will also discuss the prospects of the Sox to make the squad.

Starters
C Mike Napoli, Texas
Napoli has a lead of nearly 1 million votes over the Twins' Joe Mauer with the Orioles' Matt Wieters in 3rd. At this point Napoli is almost a lock to start the All-Star game.

1B Prince Fielder, Detroit
Prince leads Paul Konerko by 265,000 votes. Interestingly, in the last release Konerko trailed Fielder as well as Teixeira. At that point I believed it would be Teixeira not Konerko who would make a run. It still appears that Fielder will earn the starting nod but the last couple of weeks of voting could be interesting as Yankee fans still have a chance to push Teixeira to the top but, perhaps fans will continue to take notice of Konerko's impressive numbers and get him into the starting 9.

2B Robinson Cano, New York
Ian Kinsler continues to lead Cano but his lead is down to 15,000 votes. I still think that given Cano's fan base and his name recognition from last years Home Run Derby he will vault to the top spot when voting ends. Our own Dustin Pedroia continues to run a distant 3rd.

3B Adrian Beltre, Texas
Adrian has stretched his lead over Detroit's Miguel Cabrera to 382,000 votes with Tampa's Evan Longoria and A-Rod next. I don't see any of the trailing candidates getting enough influx of voters to catch Beltre.

SS Derek Jeter, New York
Jester is a lock to start for the junior circuit yet again with a sizeable 1.35 million vote lead over Elvis Andrus of the Rangers. Still no love for Mike Aviles as he is not in the top 5 as JJ Hardy of the Orioles, Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians, and Alcides Escobar of the Royals round out that group.

LF Josh Hamilton, Texas
CF Curtis Granderson, New York
RF Jose Bautista, Toronto

Hamilton is the leading vote getter in either league. He is currently on pace to break Jose Bautista's record for votes. Granderson has a sizable lead over Joey Bats for the 2nd starting spot. As I predicted in our last installment Bautista has moved into the starting line-up over taking Nelson Cruz of the Rangers who has also been jumped by Adam Jones of the Orioles.

DH David Ortiz, Boston
Big Papi leads Texas' Michael Young by nearly 500,000 votes in this two horse race. It appears as though Papi is a lock to start for the AL in Kansas City.

Back-ups
C Joe Mauer, Minnesota, AJ Pierzynski, Chicago
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Boston
Maude has quietly put up decent numbers and likely will be the Twins lone representative, although Josh Willingham is making a push. Pierzynski, despite his ability to be quite possibly the most annoying player in baseball, has put up solid numbers and just edges Salty Dog as the third catcher. Further reason to root for Josh Willingham, Sox fans!

1B Paul Konerko, Chicago, Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto
Billy Butler, KC, Adam Dunn, Chicago, Chris Davis, Baltimore
Konerko could arguably be the starter on this team based on stats and Encarnacion has great numbers for Toronto although he could wind up being snubbed for a lesser candidate of need. He also could get bumped by Billy Butler of the hosts as he is probably the most deserving Royal. Chris Davis of the Orioles has joined our list of candidates by putting up solid numbers. Adam Dunn has big HR totals but because he doesn't have great secondary numbers and as a DH doesn't really have a position, gets left off the roster.

2B Jason Kipnis, Cleveland
Kelly Johnson, Toronto, Ian Kinsler, Texas, Michael Young, Texas
Kipnis continues to hold onto the backup spot with no real threats to him at this point. The other candidates are fringe at best and Dustin Pedroia with his terrible last month has taken himself out of contention.

3B Miguel Cabrera, Detroit, Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles
Kyle Seager, Seattle, Mike Moustakas, Kansas City, Will Middlebrooks, Boston
Third base in the AL this season is full of outstanding All-Star candidates and getting stronger. Cabrera will be the best player not starting and Trumbo has been having a huge year on the west coast for the Angels. One change from our first post is Mike Moustakas being dropped from the roster in favor of an additional OFer. Also Seager, who could take Seattle's roster spot with another couple of strong weeks, joins our list of candidates along with Willie Middle. Unfortunately for Will though the logjam at 3B hurts his chances.

SS Elvis Andrus, Texas
Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland, Alcides Escobar, Kansas City, Mike Aviles, Boston
Andrus is having a fine season and gets the nod from his skipper to backup Jeter. Right now we will only take one additional SS which is a change from our first post. Thus Aviles is no longer on the roster and is in danger even if two backups are chosen as Asdrubal Cabrera has closed the gap on the Boston SS.

OF Josh Reddick, Oakland, Adam Jones, Baltimore, Mike Trout, Los Angeles
Josh Willingham, Minnesota, Alejandro De Aza, Chicago, Austin Jackson, Detroit, Nelson Cruz, Texas, Alex Rios, Chicago, Cody Rasmus, Toronto, Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay
We have added a third OFer in this installment with Mike Trout joining the roster, as he has put up huge numbers since his call up. There are some other OFer's not listed in our candidates making a push for a roster spot but at this point it appears there are too many worthy IFers to warrant taking more than 3 backup OFers.

Pitchers
SP Chris Sale, Chicago
SP Jered Weaver, Los Angeles
SP Jason Hammel, Baltimore
SP David Price, Tampa Bay
SP CJ Wilson, Los Angeles
SP CC Sabathia, New York
SP Brandon Morrow, Toronto (Injured)
SP Justin Verlander, Detroit
SP Felix Hernandez, Seattle
SP Jake Peavy, Chicago

Felix Doubront, Boston, Brandon McCarthy, Oakland, Matt Harrison, Texas, Wei-Yin Chen, Baltimore, James Shields, Tampa Bay, Ivan Nova, New York, Yu Darvish, Texas
Not a great deal of change on the pitching front, however there has been some shuffling since our last post. CC Sabathia has gone from the outside looking in, to being a selection by virtue of his 9 wins with a decent ERA and WHIP, along with the 3rd most K's in the AL. Brandon Morrow has also made the roster, leading the league with 3 shutouts. However due to an ankle injury Jake Peavy will hold onto his roster spot replacing Morrow. Yu Darvish of the Rangers has dropped off the roster despite his 9 wins. Justin Verlander's numbers have improved since our first post to further solidify his spot in the Summer Classic. Felix Hernandez remains on the roster but his numbers are not outstanding and if the Mariners have a stronger candidate jump forward King Felix might find himself replaced. Matt Harrison with 9 wins, James Shields, Ivan Nova, and Wei-Yin Chen have all joined the list of potential all-stars.

RP Chris Perez, Cleveland
RP Fernando Rodney, TB
RP Jim Johnson, Baltimore
RP Jonathan Broxton, KC
RP Joe Nathan, Texas

Alfredo Aceves, Boston, Scott Downs, Anaheim, Ryan Cook, Oakland, Scott Atchison, Boston, Ernesto Frieri, Los Angeles, Tim Collins, Kansas City, Rafael Soriano, New York, Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland, Joaquin Benoit, Detroit
There is no change to the AL relievers on the roster however, Everyday Aceves continues to strengthen his case, with Broxton and Nathan as the most likely to go. Frieri, Collins, Pestano, Benoit with 17 holds, and Soriano all join our list of candidates. While it looks more likely Scratch my Atch will not make the list he has continued to pitch well. Ernesto Frieri of the Angels is making a compelling case by not allowing a run in 21 appearances, in fact he has only allowed 3 hits. All which makes this Maineiacs wonder why the Padres traded him to the Angels.

6/23 Game 2 vs Atlanta

The Atlanta Braves (38-32) snapped the Red Sox (36-34) winning streak last night with a 4-1 win at Fenway Park.  The Sox look to get back to there winning ways tonight when LHP Franklin Morales (0-1, 3.14) takes the mound for his second start of the season.  RHP Randall Delgado (4-7, 4.12) pitches for the Braves.  When the Red Sox take the field it may be without Kevin Youkilis as reports by Fox Sports have him being traded possibly as early as today.  The Dodgers and the White Sox were listed as possible teams with the preference being to trade him to the National League.

Here is a look at a possible lineup for tonight's game

Nava LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ortiz DH
Middlebrooks 3B
Salty C
Ross RF
Kalish CF
Aviles SS

Morales SP

Leave comments here before, during and after the game and check back here for updates on the Kevin Youkilis trade situation.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Red Sox vs Marlins Live Chat Tonight at 7:00!

Welcome to another Red Sox Maineiacs live chat! Come join in as we chat live during tonight's Red Sox and Marlins game, as well as game 5 of the NBA Finals

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

6/20 Red Sox Look for Four in a Row vs. Marlins

I am writing this post during the 4th inning with the Red Sox ahead 7-4.  It is very late to be called a pre-game preview post, but I wanted a place to leave comments about tonight's game, so here it is.  Tonight the Red Sox are going for their fourth win in a row and sixth in their last seven games.  We're off to a good start.  This outfield of Nava-Kalish-Ross is not quite what was expected in March, but it is kind of exciting.  Ross had tonight's big hit - a three-run double off the Monster, and Kalish beat out an infield single for an RBI.

Leave your game comments below and let's hope for the fourth win in a row!

Deacon's Trivia-June is Bustin' Out

Here is the latest batch of the Deacon's trivia.  Good luck.

1. Which Red Sox batter holds the team record for home runs in a single month of June?

2. The last Red Sox player to record an out using the hidden ball trick did so in June.  Who was that player?

3. Seven times the Red Sox have had batters hit three home runs in a game during June.  Who was most recent Red Sox slugger to do this?

4. Six times during the month of June the Red Sox have scored 20 or more runs in a game.  What is the most runs the Red Sox have ever scored in a June game?

Red Sox Links and Thoughts 6-20-12

Here are some interesting links I’ve found this morning while sitting at my desk in a small second-floor classroom sweating my face off:

1.  There were many reports yesterday and today of the Red Sox refuting Olney’s toxic clubhouse report:




 All basically have the same quotes from the same players.  I am most interested in the fact that Josh Beckett features prominently in the rebuttal of the toxic clubhouse report.  I had assumed in my last blog post that Beckett would be one of the malcontents around which this report was based.  This isn’t the first time Beckett has publically claimed that this is a good group of guys and a tight clubhouse this year.  I now tend to believe him – at least the group that he hangs around.  Beckett is a great example of an actions vs. words guy.  He does dumb things and it makes you have a negative perception of who he is as a person/player, and then he says things in his interviews which actually make you like him as a person/player.  Which do you believe?  I have to admit - I have been swayed by his comments about this team going out to dinner together, having family outings together, and breaking each other's balls in the clubhouse.  Are his words speaking louder than his actions?  Well, since I am not in the clubhouse to actually see his actions on a daily basis, yes...I guess they are.  I'm confused.

Of course Valentine is going to say what he said to defend his work as leader of this team.  I found it interesting that Bobby V took a shot at Olney, who only months ago were working together at ESPN.  Maybe they had a feud in the cafeteria in Bristol, CT that led to some of this back-and-forth?

I also thought it was interesting who was not featured in the articles.  There has been nary a word spoken, that I’ve heard or read, from Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, or Adrian Gonzalez.  Pedroia is the guy, by the way, who many refer to as the “de-facto captain” of this team.  I still say he is one of, if not the biggest, malcontent on the roster.  Now it appears as though Pedroia has re-injured his thumb and will be out, in typical 2012 Sox fashion, for a month or so (haven’t actually read this, just speculating on my part).

2.  The absolute best report out there that I read refuting the idea of a toxic clubhouse comes from Joe McDonald from ESPNBoston.com’s expletive-laced interview with David Ortiz:


Here are a few of my favorite gems from the article:

“I run this [expletive] clubhouse right here. This clubhouse has no problem. The last problem this clubhouse had was last year when everything came down to what it was in [September], but since then everybody’s cool and everybody’s trying their best to win games.” 

"First of all, this is the Red Sox right here. This ain’t no [expletive] organization that players just walk in for the first day and start doing whatever the [expletive] they want,” he said. “Players, when they walk into this clubhouse, they look around and they want to adjust themselves to what is going on here, and that’s how things are in this clubhouse.”

“We all get along here real well, I can tell you that,” Ortiz said. “There’s not one guy right here that has a problem with any others. We’ve got a bus that we all have to get on and you should see that bus when we are riding on it. If [Olney] means toxic clubhouse because of the players, I don’t know about that. I’m the guy who is in control of that [expletive], so he’s wrong when it comes down to that. 

“Everybody is on the same page -- bullpen, outfielders, infielders, me on the bench, the starting pitchers -- we’re all cool with each other. I don’t know what Buster was pointing at, but it’s something I would like to know because he could be confused about something.”

I mean, wow.  I love these quotes so much, I might print them out and frame them.  What more could you want a leader on a team to do when somebody attacks his clubhouse?  Talk about accountability – Ortiz mentions multiple times that “I run this f****** clubhouse right here” and “I am the guy who is in control of that s***”.  I love it!  I don’t remember ever seeing so many Papi interviews that are laced with expletives as much as I have this year.  The guy has just stepped up in every way imaginable – at the plate, defending his teammates, and putting himself out there as the clubhouse leader to deflect criticism from this teammates.  I also loved the part where he said “First of all, this is the Red Sox right here…”  Here is a guy who says what all Sox fans believe: that the Red Sox are special.  Even if they have been nearly a .500 team over the past calendar year (81-77), here is a guy who still believes being a part of the Red Sox and taking the field at Fenway Park is still something special.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Red Sox Links and Thoughts 6-18-12

Here are some links and thoughts I compiled while sitting at my desk watching students finish work they should have done during the school year:

1.  This is the most interesting/enthralling/compulsively-readable piece I have read in a long time:

http://www.si.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1083748/1/index.htm

Titled "Return From the Dark", it is written by Tony Conigliaro himself (with help from Jack Zanger) and published in the June 22, 1970 edition of Sports Illustrated.  I was thoroughly impressed by a ballplayer’s ability to describe the experience and pain of having his face destroyed by a pitched ball.  I have heard of Tony C’s beaning, of course, being a Red Sox fan, but never before have I heard about all that went into that night, that season, and Tony C’s story.  A must read.  There is also a part two that I have yet to read.

2.  The hot Red Sox topic of the day in the Twittersphere is a Buster Olney blog published today titled, “Boston Red Sox Deep in Dissension”.  Here is the link:


I haven’t read the entire article/blog post because I am not an ESPN Insider.  If you are, have at it.  If you are also not an Insider, here is what I have been able to dig up about the post’s contents:

- There is rampant unhappiness and frustration throughout the Red Sox clubhouse on the part of players and staff.  They are frustrated about the way their situations have been handled and they have been sounding off about their unhappiness to friends, family, and agents.

- Some Sox players (and staff I guess - I’m not sure if this refers to coaches, grounds crew, peanut vendors, bat boys, or who exactly) have already started talking about leaving town as soon as they can to play elsewhere

- Some players have been exhibiting poor body language during games, which can be openly seen “for those aware of the problems”

- “If they don’t win – if the Red Sox don’t make the playoffs – there will be a time when all of the exasperation and frustration is going to spill out spectacularly.”

- “It doesn’t take long to ascertain that the Red Sox are a splintered group, with a lot of players and staff unhappy for a lot of different reasons.  If they do come back and make the playoffs, it’s not going to be because of a united clubhouse.  It’s toxic.”
The timing of this blog post seems a little strange considering the Sox have won 4 out of 5 to climb back to .500, but I suppose it is because Olney happened to be covering the Sox for Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN. 

It’s not like it is a shock that the Sox clubhouse is toxic.  I don’t think anybody fainted with disbelief when this post was made public.  I do think it is interesting that the post is full of harsh rhetoric, yet it is extremely vague on who exactly is doing all of this bellyaching within the Sox clubhouse.  I found it interesting that he repeatedly used the phrase “among players and staff” instead of just “among players”, leading me to believe that somebody on the coaching staff (or the guy who washes the jockstraps for all I know) unloaded some serious dirt to Olney over some brewskis at the Cubby Bear in Chicago over the weekend.


Poll Results 6-18-12

It’s time once again for some poll results.  First off, Daniel Nava’s 2012 performance was voted as the biggest surprise of the season in a resounding 5-1-1-0-0-0-0 victory.  If I’m not mistaken, this was a guy who wasn’t even invited to Spring Training with the 2012 team.  If anybody told you that they thought Nava would have even played for Boston at all this season, they would be lying to you.  While a recent hand injury has slowed his impressive production, his season thus far as a whole must be seen as a shocking success.  So much so that it might be worth it for the Red Sox to look into trading him.  He has clearly shown that he can be a productive major league player.  Once the Red Sox begin filling their outfield back up with the players who were forecasted to play there this season (Kalish, Ross, Ellsbury, Crawford), there won’t be room for Nava.  Maybe he could be included with Youkilis in a trade to the Dodgers or Pirates.  If you included Franklin Morales in that package (right now quick before he makes another start and walks six batters and lasts 1.2 innings!), you would be talking about three proven major leaguers – the Pirates or Dodgers don’t need that infusion to chase down their division crown?

As far as the rest of the poll is concerned, Salty Dog’s All-Star candidacy and Doubie’s emergence as staff ace each received a vote.  Taking another look at those three vote-getters, you get an idea of just how wacky this 2012 Red Sox season has been.  A lot of fans weren’t convinced that Salty could be a major league player, let alone an all-star caliber one.  He continues to grow into Jason Varitek 2.0, if you exchange V-Tek’s thunder thighs for Salty’s perm-curls. 

We all believed heading into 2012 that we had a young, hard-throwing lefty in our rotation who was capable of striking out 8 or 9 batters per outing and give the Sox a good chance to win every time he took the Hill of Thrills.  It’s just that we thought it was Jon Lester, not Felix Doubront.  Doubie has exceeded everyone’s expectations (if someone out there expected this, e-mail me at you'refullofcrap@gmail.com), and has emerged as a bright spot in a season full of murkiness.

None of the other options, including Scratch my Atch and Andrew “Cast Away” Miller’s pitching and Gonzo’s RF defense garnered any votes.  While these are surprising developments, the mind-blowing productivity of Nava rendered them vote-less.

As far as our second poll goes, Father’s Day has come and gone, and the Sox are still in the basement.  Probably not so deep in the basement that they can’t find the bulkhead and climb on out into the sunshine of playoff contention, but still down there in the dank cellar for now.  Nobody voted that this is where they would be by June 17.  Either we’re a bunch of optimists, or the Sox sucked us in with a brief stint above .500 when the poll was posted.  Three of us thought they would be in 3rd, two of us thought they would be way up in 2nd place, one of us thought they would at least be in 4th, and none of us were correct.

New polls coming out soon.  Until next time, poll results recap, out.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Live Chat Tonight at 8:00!

Welcome Red Sox fans and Happy Father's Day!  The Maineiacs are holding a chat tonight at 8 for Sunday Night Baseball.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Market for Kevin Youkilis

I have chosen June 15th for this article on a possible landing place for the oft-rumored trade candidate, Kevin Youkilis.  From 1923 ( okay I looked it up) until 1984, the major league trade deadline was June 15, before moving to July 31 in 1985.  This is also prompted by Youk's current 0 for 18 skid.  I believe the Sox might get a little more for Kevin by waiting until near the deadline, but I am afraid they need to make a move, shake things up sooner than that to save the season.

There are 29 other big league teams as theoretical landing spots.  I eliminated ten right off the bat, for three different reasons.  The first two are the Yankees and the Rays.  There is no chance the Sox trade Youk to the divisional rivals.  If the nation is frustrated with Youkilis now, imagine if he joined either of these teams and caught fire!!

I then eliminated seven more teams that are all ready too far out of the 2012 races to have interest in Youkilis (many also do not have the payroll to take his contract.....assuming the Sox do not have to eat a majority of the money to move him).  These teams are the Royals, Twins, Mariners, Astros, Cubs, Padres, and Rockies.  The only possible semi-exception may be the Cubs, who would not want to end up with Youk.  But Theo loves his three ways,  so the Cubs could be involved as the middleman in a trade.

The last of the ten teams taken off the list is the Detroit Tigers.  They have Prince Fielder at 1B and Miguel Cabrera at 3B.  Enough said. ( They do not really need a DH, either).

That leaves nineteen teams on the list, so I have pared four teams off as " not impossible but extremely unlikely".  They are the Orioles, Blue Jays, Angels, and A's.  The Orioles if they were in any other division, or in the NL, may be the leading candidate.  The could use the veteran presence as they try to contend, and their corner infielders are dreck like Chris Davis, Mark Reynolds, or worse.  The Sox could be competing with O's for a Wild Card, all but eliminating Baltimore.  Toronto with their recent rash of rotation injures are nearly in the previous category of out of the race/do not need him.  I read today the Jays may deal Edwin Encarnarcion at the deadline they will not be adding Youk.

The Angels all ready have own 1B/3B/OF/DH rectangle like Boston's, and Pujols and his megadeal hold down first base.  No trade partner in Anaheim.  The A's are not in the cheap payroll, out of race list above, because of Billy Beane's long fascination with the "Greek God of Walks" and secondly, who the hell knows what the A's do.  Last winter with their entire OF on the free agent list,  Beane began trading all of his good young pitching.  But then he re-signed Coco Crisp and scooped up an aging Manny. Then he shocked the baseball world by grabbing Yoenis Cespedes, who was expected to go to a bigger market team.  So mark the A's down as unlikely, but ???

That leaves fifteen teams.  Here are those teams and their starting 1B/3B:

White Sox           Paul Konerko                Orlando Hudson/Brent Morel

Indians                Casey Kotchman           Lonnie Chisenhall

Rangers               Napoli/Moreland           Adrian Beltre

Nationals             Adam LaRoche              Ryan Zimmerman

NY Mets             Ike Davis                       David Wright

Braves                Freddie Freeman            Chipper Jones

Marlins               Gaby Sanchez                Hanley Ramirez

Phillies                Wigginton( Howard)     Placido Polanco

Reds                   Joey Votto                      Todd Frazier (Scott Rolen)

Pirates                Matt Hague/C. McGehee  Pedro Alvarez

Cardinals            Allen Craig(Berkman)    David Freese

Brewers             Corey Hart ( Mat Gamel)  Aramis Ramirez

Dodgers            James Loney                    Juan Uribe/Elian Herrera

Giants               Brandon Belt/ A. Huff    Pablo Sandoval

D'backs            Paul Goldschmitt             Ryan Roberts


6/15 Historic Series at Wrigley Field

For the second time in history the Boston Red Sox will play an interleague series at Wrigley field vs. the Cubs.  Old Friend's Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are rebuilding the franchise and it's going to be a long project.  The Cubs are a terrible team currently and the Sox should have sweep on their mind.  Today's game is at 2:20 EST check back here for updates throughout the game.  Go Sox!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Just Hit the Effin Ball!


As this column is written the Red Sox currently sit at 30-32. I have always used 95 wins as the benchmark for making the playoffs. Given those numbers the Sox need to play .650 baseball the rest of the way to reach my benchmark! While much of the banter in the Boston and local sports media circles always seems to be around pitching and Boston's seeming lack of it, I am apparently in the minority of believing the problem with this team is the hitting. Except for you Tim Britton, who made a similar argument in today's ProJo Live Blog, thanks for the validation!

If you look simply at the statistical evidence so far this season, the Sox hitting seems to be doing very well as they are ranked near the top of the AL in most categories. Meanwhile, statistically speaking the pitching rank near the bottom in most categories. However, if you take an in-depth look at these statistics you will find some interesting nuggets. For the months of May and June, the Sox are 2 games under .500. During that time the staff ERA is 3.79 with a respectable WHIP of 1.25, both numbers under the AL average. The hitting however, has fallen off dramatically, ranking near the bottom in both runs (41) and average (.235) for the month of June. In my eyes, the reason for the Red Sox continued struggles to gain momentum and get out of last place lies solely on the fact that they cannot score runs. A month and a half of your pitching staff giving up less than 4 earned runs per game (4.2 total runs per game) and this team could only manage 19-21? Included in that time was a 1-8 and 1-7 stretch. So let's use 5 runs scored as the goal for this vaunted line-up. Next let's look at the Sox record when scoring 5 or more runs: 25-4. When scoring fewer than 5: 5-28. I know what you are thinking, any team that scores 5 or more is going to be very successful. How about this tidbit, the Sox are 21-13 for the year when the opponents score fewer than 4 runs, good for a .618 clip and 14-9 in the last month and a half. Granted these numbers do not really support my point.

Here is what it boils down to, the Sox top 5 hitters in the month of June are Nick Punto, Daniel Nava, Kelly Shoppach, Scott Podsednik, and Darnell McDonald! If this team is going to play itself back firmly into the Wild Card race let alone the AL East race, the hitters on this team need to step up.

In the last month and a half here are the numbers:
AVG (H/AB) BB/K Total Bases TB per Hit
Dustin Pedroia .254 (35/138) 14/23 50 1.4
Adrian Gonzalez .255 (41/161) 9/31 67 1.6
Kevin Youkilis .219 (14/64) 7/18 23 1.6
* As a side note in a Tweet by Danny Knobler, a scout observing Youk stated “For what he costs, he can't do anything.” Well Now!
David Ortiz .241 (35/145) 22/24 70 2.0
Will Middlebrooks .300 (36/120) 7/33 64 1.8
*Another side note in the Trade Youkilis saga, in a Tweet by a Phillies blog site “Phillies prefer Middlebrooks to Youkilis. In other news, I prefer a night of lusty passion with Kate Upton to Winona Ryder.” Who can argue with that?
Mike Aviles .242 (39/161) 3/23 57 1.5
Ryan Sweeney .261 (24/92) 6/22 30 1.3
Jarrod Saltalamacchia .269 (29/108) 8/35 58 2.0
Kelly Shoppach .295 (13/44) 3/16 27 2.1
Daniel Nava .298 (28/94) 19/21 46 1.6

Those numbers are average at best and they have turned into a bunch of singles hitters, if they make contact at all. As a group, the Sox have hit 42 HR's since May 1st and stikeout at a rate above the league average. Understandably injuries have hurt the line-up with constant shuffling and trying to win with secondary players in big roles but, the pitching staff has picked itself up by the boot straps, time for the hitters to do the same. Time to earn your paycheck Dave Magadan and get these guys going. Time to stop bitching about the umpires, time to stop using the excuse that we have faced good pitching. As Will Middlebrooks, arguably the best hitter the last 6 weeks, likes to Tweet time to #wakeandrake!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Live Chat Tonight at 7:00

Monday, June 11, 2012

6/11 Red Sox vs. Marlins Game 1

The Boston Red Sox (29-31) are back in last place and two games below .500 again.  The most recent disappointing homestand has basically ruined any good feelings that this team and it's fans had at the end of May and early June.  All the work that they did to get over .500 made it seem like we had finally turned the corner only to now take two steps back.  Perhaps we can take a bit of consolation in the fact that the baseball season is known for having it's ups and downs and we are surely going to have another upswing, hopefully sooner rather than later.

I can't help but shake the feeling that Ben Cherington is about to pull a trigger on a trade.  Kevin Youkilis is the obvious trade bait, but I think he's working on something bigger.  The Sox certainly have other players that would be attractive to teams.  I think that the reason why the trade hasn't happened yet is that there is a lot of interests from other teams and Cherington is using that to get the best deal possible.  What would you be looking for in return, prospects or proven big league players? Answer in the comments section.  With the Sox back in last place the trend seems to be that they will look for prospects in return, but I'm not so sure.

One thing is clear to me, the unsettled lineup spots for AGon, Youk and Middlebrooks is starting to have an impact on the team and could be a reason for their poor play recently. Plus, it will only get worse now that they are on the road for interleague play and can't use a DH.  This team turned things around in May when Daniel Nava solidified the OF and the line up, but now the line up seems to be in disarray again, because of the constant revolving door at corner infield and right field.  Once the trigger is pulled on a trade, or once Middlebrooks is sent back to Pawtucket the team just may get hot again.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

6/10 Sox Look to Salvage a Game vs Nationals

For one second this morning I thought about researching how the Red Sox have done on the day after a Game 7 played by the Celtics since '08...for one second.  After the disappointment of yesterday the Red Sox (29-30) look to get back to .500 and avoid getting swept by the Washington Nationals (34-23).  As long as it took for the Sox to claw back to .500 and get over it, it feels extremely disappointing to be back below the .500 mark.  However, on the bright side the AL east is so bunched up and with one more team making the postseason this year no team in the division is out of the running yet.  With that being said you don't want to fall to far behind.  

Perhaps the Sox have reached the point where the players who are filling in for the injured starters are now playing at a level more like their career averages.  Players like Mike Aviles, Will Middlebrooks, Scott Podsednik and Ryan Sweeney are not producing quite as much as they were in May.  The time has come where we need the injured players to start coming back and help this team win games.  Players like Cody Ross, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford and Andrew Bailey can't get back soon enough for me.  The hope is that once they do get back the team can get on a role.  

I'm tired of talking about Jon Lester's (3-4, 4.64) need to step up, so I'll just say that the team needs to win today and they're going to need to score about 6 runs to do so.  They will try to do that against Jordan Zimmerman (3-5, 2.82) who has an excellent era but has not received great support resulting in his 3-5 record.  Here is a look at a projected lineup that may face the Nationals today. 

Nava LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ortiz DH
Salty C
Sweeney RF
Middlebrooks 3B
Aviles SS
Podsednik CF

Lester SP

Check back here for updates throughout the day and feel free to leave your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below. Go Sox!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Red Sox Results When Celtics Play Game 7


May 4th, 2008- Celtics beat Hawks, Red Sox beat Rays
May 18th, 2008- Celtics beat Cavs, Red Sox beat Brewers
May 2nd, 2009 W- Celtics beat Bulls, Red Sox beat Rays
May 17th, 2009 L- Celtics lose to Magic, Red Sox lose to Mariners
June 17th, 2010 L- Celtics lose to Lakers, Red Sox beat Diamondbacks
May 26th, 2012 W- Celtics beat 76ers, Red Sox beat Rays
June 9th, 2012  L- Celtics lose to Heat, Red Sox lose to the Nationals

The Celtics latest Big 3 of KG, Pierce and Ray Ray are 4-2 in game 7’s. Let’s take a look at the results of the Red Sox on these dates in recent history when the Celtics have played in a game 7 since 2008.  Special thanks to baseball-reference.com and boston.com 

Sunday, May 4th, 2008 the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 behind Jon Lester (6IP, 1 R) and Kevin Youkilis (3-4, HR, 4 rbi’s). Papelbon got the save.

Two weeks later on Sunday, May 18th 2008 The Red Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers in Interleague play 11-7.  Josh Beckett was the winning pitcher. 3 current Red Sox Pedroia, Ortiz and Youkilis went a combined 9-14 with 8 rbi’s and 3 HR’s with a combined 22 Total bases.   Let’s hope for a repeat of this performance today.

May 2nd 2009 The Red Sox defeated the Rays again 10-6.  Tim Wakefield was the winning pitcher.  Pedroia was 2-3 with 3 BB’s, 2 R’s and Youk was 1-3 with 3 rbi’s

May 17th 2009 15 days later the Celtics lost to the Magic and the Red Sox lost to the Mariners 3-2.  Justin Masterson was the SP and went 6.1 and gave up 9 hits but only 2 R’s.  Pedroia is the only currently active player to play that day and he went 1-3 with 2 BB’s.  Jacoby Ellsbury hit lead off that day and went 1-5.

June 17th, 2010 One year and a month later the Celtics lost game 7 of the NBA finals to the Lakers (The one that got away).  This is the first result that wasn’t the same for the two teams.  The Red Sox beat the Diamondbacks in interleague play 8-5 and John Lackey was the WP. Current Red Sox phenom Daniel Nava was 3-4  with 2 R’s and 1 rbi David Ortiz was 2-3 with a 2 run HR. Pedroia, Youk and DMac combined to go 1-10.

May 26th, 2012 While the Celts were beating the 76ers in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals the Red Sox beat the Rays (for the 3rd time) 3-2 behind Salty’s 2 R walk off HR in the bottom of the 9th off Fernando Rodney.   Pedroia was 2-3 with 1 BB and Will Middlebrooks was 2-4 with 1 rbi.  Josh Beckett pitched 7 solid innings that day with a no-decision and Rich Hill picked up the win in relief.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Live Chat Tonight at 7:00!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Deacon Trivia- Feelin' a Draft Edition

Time for another round of trivia from the Deacon.  With this year's baseball draft concluding this week we have four draft related questions.

1. The Red Sox have never picked first in the MLB draft.  Only one player who was taken first overall in the draft by another team has played for Boston,  Who is that player?

2. Who was the first player ever drafted by the Red Sox after MLB established the draft?

3. In 2010 the Red Sox drafted LSU pitcher Anthony Ranaudo in the supplemental round of the draft.  Which free agent did the Sox lose to gain this extra pick?

4. In this year's draft the Sox first pick in the first round was Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero.  Who was the last shortstop drafted by Boston with their first pick in the first round?

Red Sox All-Star Prospectus


34 players will make the AL All-Star team to be played July 10th in Kansas City. The 9 Starters and the Final Selection will be determined by the fans. The first release of voting results was announced on Tuesday. Texas Rangers fans are stuffing the ballot box full as currently Josh Hamilton, Adrian “Don't Touch My Head” Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, and Sox killer Mike Napoli are in line to start.
In this post, we will look at the potential for AL All-Stars based on each team needing a representative and estimating who will end up as the top vote getters. We will also discuss the prospects of the Sox to make the squad.

Starters
C Mike Napoli, Texas
Napoli has a sizable lead over the Orioles' Matt Wieters with the Twins' Joe Mauer in 3rd. I do not foresee Napoli losing this lead based on the Orioles and Twins being smaller markets, however if one of these two will make a run at it I think Mauer on name recognition has a better shot.
1B Prince Fielder, Detroit
Prince leads Mark Teixeira by 330,000 votes. While Yankee fans will probably make a large push in the final month of voting, I think Fielder can hold him off. Paul Konerko of those other Sox, arguably has the best numbers of any first baseman in the AL is only 350,000 votes back but probably doesn't have the fan support or name recognition to make a run at the starting spot.
2B Robinson Cano, New York
Ian Kinsler currently lead Cano by 280,000 votes. I think however that given Cano's fan base and his name recognition from last years Home Run Derby will vault him to the top spot when voting ends. Our own Dustin Pedroia is a distant 3rd, currently being doubled up and then some by Kinsler. Come on Sox fans stuff that ballot box for Pedey!
3B Adrian Beltre, Texas
Adrian currently leads Detroit's Miguel Cabrera by 293,000 votes with Tampa's Evan Longoria and A-Rod next. I don't see any of the trailing candidates getting enough influx of voters to catch Beltre.
SS Derek Jeter, New York
Shocker here in that Jeter, with the 2nd most AL votes overall, leads by almost 700,000 votes over Texas' Elvis Andrus. J.J. Hardy (Baltimore), Alcides Escobar (KC), and Asdrubal Cabrera (Cleveland) round out the top 5, and combined barely would edge out Andrus for 2nd. No love for Mike Aviles, come on?
LF Josh Hamilton, Texas
CF Curtis Granderson, New York
RF Jose Bautista, Toronto
Hamilton is the leading vote getter in either league. That should hold true through the end of voting. Granderson has a sizable lead over Nelson Cruz for the 2nd starting spot and Joey Bats trails Cruz by 62,000 votes. I see Canadian baseball fans and the HR prowess of Bautista being enough to get him into the starting line-up.
DH David Ortiz, Boston
Big Papi leads Texas' Michael Young by 150,000 votes in this two horse race. The fact that Rangers fans have already been stuffing the box is somewhat concerning but, that Papi is still leading leads me to believe that he will remain the starter.


6/6 Game 2 vs. Baltimore

The Red Sox (28-27) lost one of their most disappointing games of the year last night in game 1 of the series vs. the Orioles (31-24) and there's a long list to choose from.  Jon Lester has to improve.  He has been far from an ace so far this season.  Despite a clutch 2 run homer from Salty the Sox couldn't find a way to win this one.  If they are going to win the series than they need to win tonight's game.

The pitching matchup is RHP Josh Beckett (4-5, 4.26) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (4-2, 3.75).  The Sox need Beckett to step up big tonight, just like Salty needs Sox fans to step up and vote for him in the All-Star balloting.  The line up tonight should look like this:

Aviles SS
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez RF
Ortiz DH
Youkilis 1B
Middlebrooks 3B
McDonald LF
Shoppach C
Podsednik CF

Beckett SP

Big win for the Celtics last night in Miami...Let's hope they close it out in game 6 on Thursday night!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Live Chat Tonight at 7:00!

Hello Red Sox fans! Welcome to another live chat.  Tonight we have the Orioles in Fenway Park and Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Come chat with us!

6/5 Game 1 vs. Baltimore

After yesterday's off day the Red Sox (28-26) look to get back on track when they play the Baltimore Orioles (30-24) tonight, weather permitting.  It looks as though the game will start on time, but some time between 8 and 9 pm they may have some showers, but hopefully not enough to ppd the game.  This series with the Orioles is a big series as the teams are only separated by two games.  With the division being separated by only 3 games every game and series is important so the Red Sox need to get back to playing well.  Hopefully we'll get Dustin Pedroia back tonight and he can give the team a lift.

Tonight would be a good time for Jon Lester (3-4, 4.79) to turn in his best performance of the season.  Is 8 innings of 2 runs or less too much to ask? Maybe.  Jason Hammel (6-2, 3.06) pitches for Baltimore. Hammel has been a great pick up for Dan Duquette and the Orioles when they got him from Colorado.  He pitched really well against the Red Sox earlier this year in their only match up of the season.  It's fair to say that Hammel has been pitching above his ability at least slightly so tonight would be a good time for him to come back to reality.  Here's the lineup that I expect Hammel's to be facing tonight:

Nava LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez RF
Ortiz DH
Youkilis 1B
Salty C
Sweeney CF
Middlebrooks 3B
Aviles SS

Lester SP

One of the best parts of the last stretch for the Red Sox has been the play of Salty behind the plate.  Here is a great story from boston.com today outlining some of his success.  It's got some real interesting behind the scenes stuff about Salty catching or not catching Beckett.  It's worth the read.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2012/06/05/jarrod_saltalamacchia_takes_charge_of_the_red_sox/

Check back here for comments throughout the night. Go Sox!!