Here’s some thoughts, reactions, and over-reactions to the Red Sox after twenty three games:
- My god, the Braves are bad. Who’s worse - the 2016 Braves, or the Indians in Major League? Couldn’t you see Mallex Smith waking up outside this spring in Florida, still asleep in his bed, only to get up and win a wind sprint in his pajamas, thus making the team? It’s clear that an entire rebuild is underway in Georgia, but usually teams that are completely rebuilding play a bunch of young guys and see what they’ve got. Not only are the Braves horrible, they’re horrible AND old. Who in Hotlanta is going to watch Nick Markakis, Jeff Francoeur, Jim Johnson, and A.J. Pierzynski this season? They had to have woken Pierzynski up in a Mexican brothel in late February to tell him he was being invited to spring training, a la Jake Taylor. Unfortunately for the Braves, I don’t see Pierzynski beating out an infield single for the pennant this year. It was inexcusable that the Red Sox didn’t sweep that rotting carcass of a roster, especially since the game they lost was at home.
- Speaking of the game we lost to the worst team in baseball, bad Aprils are nothing new for Red Sox fans and Clay Buchholz, but take a look at the following infographic, courtesy of @Joncouture:
After beating the Yankees last night, the Red Sox are now 13-5 in games that Buchholz doesn’t start, and 0-5 in games that he does start (I believe I also heard last night that the Red Sox are 14-5 in games that Brock Holt starts in LF, while he scored the winning run and gunned out Starlin Castro at the plate last night). How much longer do we sit back and wait for Buchholz to figure it out? If Ryan Hanigan can keep working with Henry Owens, does Eduardo Rodriguez replace Buchholz when he comes back, and Clay goes to the DL? Yes, Clay usually figures it out as the weather warms up, but this Sox team is firmly in contention. How many May games do we throw away waiting for Clay to find his rhythm?
- David Ortiz’ two-run blast into the monster seats off Dellin Betances last night was one for the highlight reel. I’m just trying to soak up every last Big Papi at bat, wall banger, and big fly that we get while it still lasts. I mean, did you see that gold medallion he was wearing last night? That thing has to weigh twenty-five pounds and cost over $100,000. And how about Papi motoring it to first base last night to beat out an infield single against the shift? Or after his go-ahead two-run shot when he went and hugged a bunch of kids in the stands? The man does whatever the F he wants. To do what he is doing at his age in a pitcher-dominated era is incredible. And then there was this:
That ball boy is looking for Ray Finkle.....and a clean pair of shorts. We’ll always love Big Papi.
- Henry Owens threw just the fourth quality start in thirteen games started in his major league career last night, which wasn’t a surprise given the Yankee’s struggles against southpaws this season. Alex Speier had the following observation:
Owens is for sure a tall, weird looking, slop throwing lefty. I think the jury is still out on whether or not he’s going to be able to consistently get major league hitters out. Owens is going to have to improve his 2016 39.5% first-strike percentage and overall 53.4% strike percentage.
- It strikes me how many different styles of pitcher the Red Sox currently have in their rotation: you’ve got the aforementioned tall lefty slop-thrower in Henry Owens, you’ve got a knuckleballer in Steven Wright, you’ve got the sinker ball specialist in Rick Porcello, you’ve got a couple hard throwing lefties in David Price and soon to be Ed Rod, and you’ve got a meatball specialist in Clay Buchholz. They may not be the best rotation in major league baseball, but you’ve got to admit there’s a lot of variety here.
- I continue to be encouraged by the Red Sox bullpen. Matt Barnes has now gone four outings spanning 6.1 IP with only 1 ER. Barnes is consistently hitting 98 MPH on the radar gun and seems to be building confidence. Koji Uehara has spun three straight scoreless outings over 3.0 IP without giving up a hit. His season-long WHIP is down to a microscopic 0.677. And Craig Kimbrel came in and shut down the ninth without a problem last night. The Red Sox bullpen outperformed the vaunted Yankees pen last night.
- This oral history of the 2006 Doug Mirabelli trade from The Hardball Times is a delight for Red Sox fans. From Theo’s story about calling Josh Beckett (instead of Josh Bard - wrong Josh B in his contacts list) in the middle of the night to mistakenly tell him he had been traded, to the airplane pilot’s wonder at who Doug Mirabelli was that they were getting airspace clearance over every major American city on the way to Boston. Enjoy!
- Should the Red Sox have re-signed Rich Hill? The lefty’s unbelievable late season performance as a starting pitcher for the Red Sox was widely believed to be a fluke, but to start 2016 Hill has taken the mound for five starts, has compiled a 2.42. ERA, with 37 strikeouts and only 9 walks. He has a 12.8 K/9 rate! Of course, I’m not sure where he would fit in the Red Sox rotation, since it would be hard to supplant David Price, Rick Porcello, or Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright has been good. The Red Sox couldn’t have known Clay Buchholz would be this bad. However, the Red Sox had a starting pitcher who has already racked up half a win by himself this season staring them right in the face and they let him go. Still the right call?
All for now. Let’s win the series against the Bronx Bombers tonight. Stay tuned for another Red Sox Maineiacs live chat for this week’s Sunday Night Baseball game.