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.



Because of the logjam mentioned in the last paragraph and no DH today's line up choices are really interesting for Bobby V.  The Miami Marlins (31-29) send RHP Josh Johnson (3-4, 4.56) to the mound tonight so I look for both Ortiz and AGon to be in there and either Middlebrooks or Youk will be on the bench.  Here is my best guess at what the manager will do.

Podsednik LF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez RF
Ortiz DH
Youkilis 3B
Salty C
Sweeney CF
Aviles SS
Beckett SP (4-6, 4.04)

Watch for Beckett to hit a HR tonight to make up for the lack of run support he's been getting lately and there will be men on base, at least 2 maybe 3. Just remember you heard it here first. Leave your predictions for tonight's game in the comments section.

27 comments:

  1. No update yet on Daniel Nava's status

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  2. Almost nailed it...Bobby V switch Salty and Youk on me. No Daniel Nava again today.

    Podsednik LF
    Pedroia 2B
    Gonzalez RF
    Ortiz 1B
    Salty C
    Youk 3B
    Sweeney Cf
    Aviles SS
    Beckett SP

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  3. Good writeup today Barry. It does seem like this team is ready for a shakeup trade, perhaps something bigger than just Youk. At this point, I don't think they are out of the playoff race by any stretch, so the trade should be to solidify this year's lineup to make a run at the sucker, IMO. I have been touch and go lately with watching the Sox, but just my luck that as I sit down to watch them tonight they are already down 4-0 in the second inning in the monstrosity they call a ballpark in Miami. One angle you didn't mention in your pre-game write-up is the Boston-Miami matchup coming on the heels of the Celtics-Heat series. Between the preening premadonna Heat and the carnival freak show stadium these technicolor blowhards play in, Miami is at the top of my least favorite sports cities right now. Alright, New York still first. Miami second.

    If we don't score 6-8 runs, we don't win.

    Captain Obvious, signing off.

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  4. This afternoon for the first time I heard a new contender in the Youkilis sweepstakes: the Pittsburgh Pirates. As with every else this season it seems, the Red Sox timing is off on dealing Youk. I agree that sooner rather than later would help settle the situation, but the Sox could probably net a greater haul as the July 31 deadline nears, as teams compete to get him and sweeten the pot.

    In Boston.com today Peter Abraham had a sobering stat. With 102 games to go in the season, the Red Sox would need to go 61-41 just to finish with 90 wins. That is a .598 winning pct, not impossible but a tough chore and that is just to get to 90 wins as in Pete Abe's example. 95 wins would take 66-36, a .647 clip.

    To me this further illustrates what I mentioned in yesterday's game thread, from right NOW until the All Star break is the whole ball of wax. And in conjunction with that is each week that passes before any Youkilis deal greatly increases the chance he is dealt for prospects. Unless they come to life NOW.

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    1. The time to pick it up is definitely now, but I don't really put much stock into stats like the one Pete Abe gave today. The reason is that it only takes one great month or one 12+ game winning streak to turn things around in a hurry. I believe it was 2004 after the Nomar trade that the Sox ripped off like a 23-4 stretch. Once this team gets healthy it has the capability to get on a roll.

      I don't think Cherington can wait to the trade deadline to do something with Youk/Middlebrooks. If he's going to wait until July 31st to trade Youk than they should send Middlebrooks down to AAA so he can play everyday. With that being said I don't think they will have to wait that long. Most years there is one big trade that happens before all the trade deadline hoopla i.e. BK Kim for Shea Hillebrand and Bartolo Colon for Sizemore and Co. I think the Youk trade will go down before the end of June. Another reason why the Sox may be able to get a good package in return this year before the trade deadline is the addition of the extra playoff team. Because of that there are a lot more teams and some different teams that are in contention at this point. All that means is that I think the Youk trade is going to go down soon and I think the Sox are gonna get some good players in return.

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    2. When I say "good players" that includes prospects. I think Ben C. will have his chose of getting some major league talent in return or getting prospects. I think he's got some good offers on the table.

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  5. Thinking more about trade talk, if the Sox begin to feel like this season is slipping away, then I wouldn't be opposed to moving Youk and maybe also Beckett, Shoppach, or Dice-K (hey, a guy can dream) for some talent to stockpile at Portland/Pawtucket.

    If they are not ready yet to give up on 2012, which I don't think they should be with the boat of all-star caliber talent returning in July (hopefully), then they should look to acquire a starting pitcher. Wandy Rodriguez perhaps? Matt Garza? Justin Masterson? Any of these guys would be better than Dice-K.

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  6. Thinking back, didn't the fortunes of this team begin to turn around the time of the draft?

    I seem to remember momentum rolling along, with everybody locked in and over-achieving including the Maineiacs on this site. Leading up to and including the draft, Barry and Art had a plethora of coverage and interest was sky-high. Then, by most involved here at RSM, the Sox' draft fell short of expectations.

    Obviously who they chose in the draft has no correlation to how the big-league club performs, but if you believe in karma or joojoo, wasn't that about the time that this ship took a turn to the south?

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    1. I think you just told us when your interest left, but the rest of us (Deacon and I) have still been here going strong since the draft. Certainly it is harder to keep the interest up when the team is not playing up to their potential.

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    2. Wow, okay. Just trying to generate some discussion. My bad, I guess.

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  7. After 6 innings 4-1 Miami. Beckett had two bad innings to start the game, but has settled down, but the problem continues to be the lack of timely hitting by the offense. They're getting baserunners, but they just aren't getting big hits with runners on base.

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  8. Get ready for the return of Melancon. I will be rooting for the guy. He deserves a few breaks after how bad things were in April.

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  9. Well, Podsednik is doing his job. Who else wants to step up?

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    1. Mark Melancon...1-2-3 8th inning in his return to the Red Sox. Hopefully this outing can be the start of a good stretch for him out of the bullpen.

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  10. Nice job by Melancon. You know he had to be nervous. A meltdown there and his career may have been in jeopardy (hyperbole? probably). It was nice to get his first appearance in a low-pressure situation. I just would have preferred they were ahead by about 6 runs rather than down 4-1.

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  11. If Melancon can pitch half as well as his expectations were coming into 2012, the bullpen is another place where the Sox may be able to include a piece to make a bigger deal than just Youkilis.

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  12. This club desperately needs a big ninth inning rally here, not only for this game but to jump start them.

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    1. But instead, after a leadoff walk three of our best veteran hitters all strikeout. And all this bitchin' about the umpiring means they are gonna screwed even more from here on out. Umps are human and they will get pay back.

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    2. You bring up a good point here Deacon. The bitching is getting old for many reasons. It certainly doesn't help them in the eyes of the umps which will catch up with them, but it's also a losing mentality. What I mean by that is that a losing team blames other people for their failures instead of looking for the next opportunity to win the game. You can't change bad calls so they need to get over it and move on to the next pitch or they are hurting themselves mentally.

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  13. Damn this team can put together an 1-8 stretch like no other team I've seen. They have an uncanny knack for having everything fall apart at once. Some teams could survive an offensive slump with good pitching and defense. Some teams can make up for bad SP with good offense. For this team when one thing goes everything goes.

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  14. When this team gets in a funk, they get in deep.

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  15. I love how the Boston media always wants it both ways. If Youk feebly walks away to the clubhouse, the horde would bellow, "he's not emotionally invested in the game! Show some fire! Where is your intensity! You should be blowing up!" (this was me a lot back in April/May btw), but when he does blow up at an ump, it's "stop yelling at the umps and just play better baseball!". I agree we don't want to antagonize the umpires, and we probably have over the past couple days, but these guys can never win no matter how they react.

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  16. Here's a trade thought for you, it came to me during the pregame show yesterday when NESN showed video of Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia hanging out during bp. Would the Marlins be interested in trading Ramirez for Youk and a RP or a prospect? At first look it sounds crazy, but Hanley's numbers have been declining and he gets paid a lot of money. Youk is more of a veteran presence which the team seems to lack. The Red Sox front office has always been infatuated with getting Hanley back, perhaps now is the time. One of the major questions for the Sox would be whether or not Hanley can still play SS. He has definitely bulked up, but he's only been a 3B for about 3 months so you've got to think he can go back there and be effective defensively. For the Marlins the biggest draw back may be the fact that they are in Miami and trying to draw from a Latin American fan base which obviously would relate more with HanRam than Youk.

    What do you think should the Sox try to get Hanley Ramirez back from the Marlins?

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  17. HanRam is an interesting target. On the one hand, he has underachieved mightily these last two years. On the other hand, there is potential that he would bust big time in the Boston fishbowl. From the outside looking in, he doesn't seem the most mentally tough player who would succeed in Boston, but I guess I don't have a whole lot to base that opinion on. I doubt he would be thrilled to leave the perks of living in Miami to go live in Boston (to a last place team) and the pressure-cooker that goes along with it. I would certainly like to have Middlebrooks and HanRam on the left side of the infield to pair with Pede and Gonzo on the right side.

    But if I were to look at it from Miami's point of view, it would probably take a pretty big prospect to pair with Youk to give him up. This is a five-tool player who in 2010 was probably the best all-around player in all of baseball. I know he makes a lot of money and wasn't thrilled to move to 3B, but he still has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone for years to come, unlike Youk. If I were Miami it would probably take a name like Brentz or Bradley Jr. to make me sit up and take notice.

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  18. Good points about the Miami point of view. I just wonder if there isn't more going on behind the scenes that would make them more likely to move him. He seems like a prima donna who isn't Ozzie Guillen's type of player, but again that is just my opinion.

    I believe that Ramirez would fit in nicely in Boston as long as he has Big Papi to mentor him. After Papi is gone then maybe not so much. Interesting thought though

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    1. First off if Miami is trading H Ramirez to Boston to play SS, the Sox might as well start by adding Iglesias to Youk as a starter, if you are committing to HanRam at SS ( assuming Middlebrooks at third) you have no need for Iglesias. To me Hanley smells like a guy whose career is all ready in decline, but maybe a change of scenery helps.

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    2. I think he could have a revival if paired up with Big Papi. It would be a less extreme case of buying low a la Jarrod Saltalammachia.

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