Category Archives: Adrian Beltre

Deal or No Deal?

Last time I checked in with you, the Sox had just been hit with a wave of injuries. It was series of random events seemingly in the outer six-sigma realm that decimated the team.

Well, nothing has changed.

Still fighting the injury bug that seems determined to slaughter everyone, this team is reaching a depressing level. That sinking realization has set in that the playoffs are a long shot. Even if the Red Sox pull off a Colorado Rockies-esque run (circa 2007), there is little to no chance to make a real deep October run.

The news here, however, is not the disappointing flameout of a potential World Series caliber roster, but more so the trade of Manny Delcarmen.  Delcarmen was traded for 21 year old pitching prospect Chris Balcom-Miller (CBM from here on out), and I like the move. Now, I have never seen CBM pitch, but I still like it. While Delcarmen had his good times here, he was not improving. If CBM can contribute anything in the next few years, the Sox have won in this deal.

This move also gives us an insight into the mind of GM Theo Epstein. Theo has made several big deadline/waiver moves in the last few years, all with the intent of a playoff push. This isn’t that move. This is different. This is a calculated assessment of exactly what I said above, that the injured 2010 Red Sox can’t accomplish the major goal of the season, a World Series ring. We all knew that this year was referred to as a “bridge year” with the short term contracts of a few players bridging the gap to some younger talent and the end of a few big money contracts. Between David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, Jeremy Hermida, Jason Varitek, and Julio Lugo (the Sox paid Lugo $10 mil of his contract in 2010) the Red Sox have a whopping $60 million coming off of contracts. Now, there are obviously priorities to some of that money (like a catcher, more on the importance of signing Martinez later), but this move signals that Epstein knows what is going to happen in the next two years. He knows this team is set to revamp, reset, and make a new run.

CBM may be a part of this new era. Probably not in 2011 due to his age and level, but it’s not out of the question for 2012/2013. Epstein has gotten value in the trading market, recognizing that there is a lost value in this season. By taking a realistic view of the situation, the Red Sox have made a move that has the potential to help down the road at a relatively low cost or risk, and that’s why I like it. Tryouts for the 2011 bullpen begin now.

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Filed under Adrian Beltre, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Colorado, Contracts, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, General Baseball, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Lester, Mike Lowell, Papelbon, Playoffs, Red Sox, Rockies, Sox, Sports, Trades, Uncategorized, Victor Martinez, World Series

A slap on the wrist, ankle, ribs, forearm, back, hamstring, and both feet

I nearly died two days ago when Kevin Youkilis left the game on July 6th. I was ready to sign my organ donor form, jump off a cliff, and give what remaining working body parts I have to the Boston Red Sox, since nothing else seems to work.

The Red Sox have just been swept for the first time since the awkward sweep by the Orioles on April 30-May 2. It seems the injuries caught up to the Sox a little bit for this series, as they just could not catch a break. Now back in third place in the division, 4.5 games out, the Sox head into their final series before the all star break. Fortunately, it is a matchup with the Blue Jays and John Lester is pitching in the series. Winning 2/3 in this series would be a great way to head into the break, all things considered.

There is some light on the horizon though! A faint, candle size light, about 10 miles away but it is there. Dead Red Sox will start returning from the grave soon. Clay Buchholz appears to be on track to make a start in the Texas series immediately following the All Star Break. Josh Beckett is throwing in simulated games and looks to return the week following Buchholz. Having both of these guys back will be a huge help, and a relief on the bullpen. If they are back and pitching like they both can, we can win more games when the lineup, patched together with band-aids and duct tape, doesn’t magically score 5 runs.

Martinez is listed as a probable return after the All Star break as well, which is very exciting. This is not only a huge lineup boost but a return to normal for all the pitchers who have developed any sort of routine with him behind the plate. This is especially valuable since Jason Varitek is out into August.

Also exciting, is that both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jeremy Hermida are listed as possibly returning late July. Now, I am no medical expert, nor do I really know the extent of their broken ribs, but broken ribs are a pretty serious deal. It wouldn’t surprise me if these guys were back in early August instead. If they beat that I can only be excited instead of disappointed. August also brings back the broken feet boys, Dustin Pedroia and Jason Varitek.

Now there is no denying that the most recent sweep hurt, but it in no way hurts the chances of a playoff run. We are half way through the season, and it is certainly not out of the question for this team to make an August/September push for a berth.

Other All Star Notes:

Very classy move by MLB, players, team managers, or whoever else had a hand in naming Dustin Pedroia and Victor Martinez to the all star team, knowing that they would not play due to injury. They very easily could have been skipped over with replacements made right off the bat (pun certainly intended.)

Buchholz will not pitch in the game either, but that was up in the air at the time of selection. I am more or less glad he will not be, as I don’t want to push an injury. As far as the rest of the Sox participating, I am a little nervous about Ortiz in the Home Run derby. The potential for a power outage afterwards is there, but as Prince Fielder showed last year (24 HR post-HR derby 2009) there is no guarantee of one.

On the flip side, I do like the idea of him being there, as it could quite possibly be the last All Star Game and HR Derby that David Ortiz ever participates in. Ortiz will probably get two at bats in the game after Vladimir Guerrero gets two at bats in. I hope he puts on a show, gets a big fat smile all over his face, and goes back to hitting well after the break. The other selection I like a lot is Adrian Beltre getting his first appearance. Beltre is less likely to get an at bat due to A-Rod being on the Roster, but could get up to the plate in the late innings if the AL has gone through the lineup a few times. DH, 3B, or pinch-hitter are all places he could fit in, but probably not for more than 1 at bat.

Lester will likely pitch 2 innings of the game; I view him as the most logical choice to replace David Price when he comes out followed by either Cliff Lee or CC Sabathia. No issues there. It’s not a full start so I find it hard to see him injuring himself.

Kevin Youkilis is the wild card here. Voting closes at 4:00 PM. I can go either way on this one. I would love to see the guy honored, but especially with his recent almost-injury I wouldn’t mind Youk getting a rest. The guy plays the game so hard day in and day out it must take a toll on his body. Go lie down, fall asleep for 48 hours and then go get a massage. Rest my friend, we need you.

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Filed under Adrian Beltre, All Star game, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, ESPN, General Baseball, Jacoby Ellsbury, John Lester, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, MLB, MVP, Playoffs, Red Sox, Sox, Sports, Victor Martinez

Boston’s hot streak not to be Tampared with

On April 19th, the Red Sox were a horrid 4-9. They were just fresh off of a 4 game set with the Tampa Bay Rays where they couldn’t win a coin toss let alone a game. The Sox were banished to 4th place for more than a month, if only because the Baltimore Orioles somehow had only won two games to that point. The Rays were off to a torrid start, holding “best in the majors” honors, which they still hold today. The Yankees are the Yankees, who have kept pace with the Rays to some extent. The Toronto Blue Jays have amassed an offense that nobody saw coming, mashing 79 home runs, 14 more than their closest counterpart. They have scored the most runs in the majors, had the most RBI, and have the highest slugging percentage to go with it.

With the best division in baseball crushing the competition, including the Sox themselves, the Sox found themselves in a huge hole with massive obstacles to overcome. David Ortiz couldn’t hit and seemingly nobody could pitch, as several starter’s ERA were well over 5 for several starts. The ESPN power rankings had the Sox at 17th, behind teams like the Nationals. The team just wasn’t right, and was in a funk.

Funk out. This team is playing like they can. Since April 19th, the Sox are 23-12. They have overcome the powerhouse offense that is the Jays to take 3rd place. They have been on multiple mini hot-streaks where they win seven of nine games. The offense has been superb considering all the off season talk about how weak the hitting was. There is one team that is second behind the league leading Blue Jays in HR, RBI, Runs and SLG, and it’s not the powerhouse offense in New York. It’s the “sad pathetic offense that will struggle because they lost Jason Bay.”

After a very shaky start, John Lester has his ERA down to a nasty 3.15, and that’s not even best on the staff. Clay Buchholz has shown that he has arrived, and deserves to be in this rotation. Pitching very well into the 8th inning of several games thus far, Buchholz has a team leading 6 wins. Even Daisuke appears to be coming around, taking a no hitter into the 8th against a potent Phillies offense.

Ten days ago, we looked at the Red Sox as they headed to Yankee Stadium. As one of the toughest road stretches of the season, the Sox had to play two in NY, two in Minnesota, three in Philadelphia, and three in Tampa. All of those teams, except the second place Yankees, lead their respective divisions. (Note:  With the second best winning percentage in the majors, the Yankees would be first in any other division.) After a massive comeback, and subsequent rare blown save, the Sox could have taken both games in NY, but was only able to grab one. Since that blown save they have won eight of nine against those elite teams, including the most recent sweep of the MLB’s best Tampa Bay Rays.

The Sox may be 5.5 games back in the division, but counting them out or underestimating them as a threat would be a large mistake for any major league team. Spread the word, the Red Sox are coming.

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Filed under Adrian Beltre, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, ESPN, General Baseball, Kevin Youkilis, MLB, Papelbon, Philadelphia, Phillies, Playoffs, Red Sox, Sox, Sports, Uncategorized, World Series, Yankees

Lackey Lacking Nothing

For the 2nd time in three games, I had the privilege of going to Fenway Park (Right Field Box, Section 1, Row D, Seat 3.) It was another great game in a completely different way than Monday was. I was able to get down to Fenway much earlier, and enjoy some pre-game excitement. After wandering around a little, we made it to Jerry Remy’s. The baseball gods smiled on me from above as they opened up a seat right at the window in front. It was pretty fun, being able to watch the street action and bar at the same time.

I made it to the park just in time for Nomar’s ceremony. I found it interesting that it meant more to me to see Brian Daubach, Lou Merloni, and Trot Nixon. I was very excited when Trot came out, as was the rest of Fenway judging by the ovation. It was nice to see him (Nomar) honored, and they did a good job at keeping it short and sweet. I expected a long drawn out event, but it was over quickly and they got on with the game in a reasonable fashion. On top of that all, Nomar’s first pitch was classic. That is something I will not forget, as he made it so unique to him and what I remember from his days playing for us.

It was a very quick game, especially since I had just been calibrated to the near four hour slugfest that was Monday night. This game had a brisk pace to it, as Lackey was moving through hitters very efficiently. Lackey certainly deserved a win for this one only allowing 2 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings of work. Lackey just dominated his old team, and made them look silly on quite a few swings. Lackey got his ERA under 4 in this outing (3.89) which is very nice to see after some of the big ERA’s we saw early this year. Lester was able to accomplish this in his last start as well.

Dustin Pedroia had his typical scrappy fantastic defense, and David Ortiz hit a home run, keeping me from calling for his benching for just a little longer. Beltre also had a HR, his second of the season, both of which were at my games this week! Bard and Papelbon were forceful in their slamming of the door, always nice to see.

I was awfully surprised to see Pinero come out for the 6th, as the Sox did a great job of getting his pitch count way up. For 8 hits and 3 walks, he did a good job (or the Red Sox did a poor job) in only allowing 2 runs.

The Red Sox are back to a .500 record, and look to have gained some momentum going into the Yankee series this weekend. ERA’s are sinking, and the offense has picked up a little. This team still has a lot of work to do but I do feel like they are coming together. Before that ugly sweep in Baltimore the Sox were in a 7 of 9 run. Now they have won 3 in a row. There is talent and promise on this team and there is no reason to think they can’t do something big in 2010.

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Filed under Adrian Beltre, Angels, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, General Baseball, MLB, Playoffs, Red Sox, Save, Sox, Sports, Uncategorized

Lowell and Behold – Offense!

What a wild game! I was present at the ballpark last night and it was electric. (Box 69, Row E, Seat 3; 3 rows from the Angel Dugout.) In a night where both the Celtics and Bruins won their respective playoff games, the Sox came through with a big win of their own. It was not just a big win in stopping a 3 game skid consisting of an Orioles sweep, but it was a big night for the bats. 20 hits, 17 runs, and some beautiful swings.

I saw great things in all aspects of this game. Not only did every member of the starting lineup have a hit, but everyone except Dustin Pedroia and Marco Scutaro had multi hit games. Pedroia had a 3 run HR to make up for it. Mike Lowell and JD Drew had 4 hits apiece, and Adrian Beltre and Bill Hall both hit their first in a Sox uniform. The offense was a team effort, with everybody going off. All 4 home runs (Youkilis, Hall, Beltre, and Pedroia) were absolutely crushed over the Green Monster. They were beautiful swings, and no doubt about it right off the bat. More than one of them cleared the Green Monster seats all together. Kevin Youkilis could have had a second home run, but his double in the 6th was a few feet to the left of the vertical home run line in center field. Several of the doubles in the game, Lowell’s hits come to mind, were also very well struck. It seemed like everyone saw the ball well last night.

Clay Buchholz did very well in my opinion. He had a bit of a hiccup in the 4th inning, but to be fair it was right after he took a ball off his ankle. Maybe it affected him, maybe it didn’t, but shortly after being struck he allowed 2 walks out of only 3 the entire game. This had him in bases loaded trouble, and some runs were very likely to score at that point. He rallied with a groundout and a strike out to get out of the inning with minimal damage. He only allowed one other run and it was on a sacrifice fly as he was up over 100 pitches. I was a little surprised when I saw his final hit total of eight, when my personal feeling was he did better than that.

On top of all of that, Buchholz did his job preventing the stolen base. He picked off Tori Hunter in what could have been a worse 4th inning for him, and between him and Victor Martinez, Maicer Izturis was caught stealing in the 6th. This is certainly an aspect of the game the Sox have been weak in, and it’s great to see them come out on this end of it.

Most of all, I think what I was most happy to see last night was Mike Lowell’s offensive effort. He went 4/4, 4 RBI, and a walk. Three of those hits were doubles, where most of his RBI came from. One particular double I was very impressed with. In the 6th inning, he hit a double off the Green Monster just above the scoreboard. The ball must have hit an edge, because it took a funny bounce straight at Matsui. Matsui barehanded the catch, much like I remember Manny Ramirez doing many times. Manny generated several of his outfield assists due to this quick turnaround and the short wall. It is a very deceptive hit, and runners get caught trying to get into second. This was my first thought when I saw Matsui barehanded the ball, Lowell was in danger at 2nd. Matsui threw to the cutoff man in an attempt to cut down Drew at home (mistake), and Lowell took advantage, he rounded second with a sly fox look on his face, and as soon as the ball was released towards the plate Lowell took third easily. I was very happy to see this awareness, even though it wound up not mattering at all as Beltre hit his home run 2 pitches later.

All and all it was a very exciting game, and I am glad I was there. The Sox are now 1-2 in my trips to Fenway this season, and I will try and improve on that record tomorrow night (Wednesday) when John Lackey faces his former team for the first time. I’ll make sure to let them know that they need to win so I get back to .500. I’m sure they will cooperate for me.

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Filed under Adrian Beltre, Angels, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, General Baseball, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Lowell, Red Sox, Sports, Uncategorized