Note: I probably should not admit this but I had to look up the first name of all three Phillie starters this weekend.
In June the Red Sox drafted a bunch o’ guys to play baseball in vacation spots like Lowell, MA, Ft. Myers, FL and Greenville, SC. Let us catch up on what is happening with some of those folks;
1st – CF – Andrew Benintendi – .299/.407/.531
Wooo!!! Ben Cherington’s parting gift to the Red Sox’ organization is off to an incredibly exciting start. After spending about a week getting used to wood bats Benintendi has been hammering the baseball and was rewarded with a promotion to Greenville.
With ten home runs the switch-hitter is fourth in the Sox’ system in home runs despite not swinging a bat in anger until July and has managed more walks than strikeouts. He has a little Hanley Ramirez thing going on with only 3 doubles but he has stroked 4 triples and stolen 9 bases in 10 tries.
Many more draft picks follow… Continue reading
So far the results have been very good. The Sox have gone 11-6 and leading the league in runs since Lovullo took over on August 14 against Seattle. On the mound things have also been better with the Sox ninth in runs allowed after having been worst in baseball prior to that date.
The Sox have kept playing hard for Lovullo. It would have been easy for the team to roll over. It is highly unlikely that he will be the manager in 2016, they had the distraction of Farrell’s illness and shortly after that they had the additional distraction of the Ben Cherington ouster/Dave Dombrowski hiring.
To me the ability to keep a club balanced is probably the most important job a manager has. That Lovullo seems to be adept at it is a real check mark in his favor.
On the flip side I have been unimpressed with Lovullo on the tactical side. I mean really unimpressed. I thought he did an awful job Friday and Monday recognizing that his closer needed to be out of there. Having Mookie Betts sacrifice in the fifth inning on Monday was a puzzling decision to say the least.
We are dealing with a terribly small sample. Reaching any sort of conclusion is impossible. I find myself surprised though. I expected Lovullo to be a bit more tactically savvy. Maybe what we are seeing here is just how difficult being a Major League manager can be and the benefit of experience in making in-game decisions.
This is not meant as a salute or a criticism of Lovullo’s managing acumen. It is too early for either. Right now it is just an observation of what we have seen so far.
Oh and by the way, the Sox are closer to the second Wild Card than the Tampa Bay Rays were to the Sox at the same time in 2011.
With all the focus on Don Orsillo’s ouster this week (#saveOrsillo) I think some discussion of who Dave O’Brien’s partner will be is in order.
I imagine Jerry Remy will be back in some capacity but I would not be surprised if his schedule were dramatically reduced. NESN seems to have many options to partner with O’Brien. Here are a few;
Dennis Eckersley – It seems that Eck is the guy most people want. I think this is a case where less is more. Don’t get me wrong, the Eck is a hoot, he’s passionate, he’s knowledgable, he’s top shelf. I fear that in a regular dose Eck would go from “wacky and candid” to just a guy doing schtick.
Steve Lyons – Kill me now. I think this is the guy NESN wants in there and man, I am going to drink Drano if that happens. For a guy who was generally a clown throughout much of his MLB career Lyons is a big “respect the game” guy as an analyst. There isn’t a cliche he hasn’t been willing to use and he just seems to take any it personally when players don’t perform well.
Rob Bradford – Bradford would be a very different pick. A quality writer at WEEI.com he has filled in on WEEI broadcasts (mostly with Joe Castiglione) and I enjoy his work. As a beat writer he brings a level of insight that others don’t necessarily have.
Bradford is not a particularly dynamic fellow. Unlike a lot of writers he does not act like he knows the game better than the players and when he shares information he shares what he has been told rather than pretending he invented the wheel. I like him but he might be a bit dry for 162 games.
Pedro Martinez – There is a less than zero chance of getting Pedro to commit to this but wouldn’t it be wonderful if he did? Pedro is intelligent, opinionated, funny…putting him in the booth 100 times a year would take a lot of the hurt of losing Orsillo away.
Bob Montgomery – OK, probably not. I miss him and Sean McDonough’s signature bit though;
Sean: “Tonight’s game is brought to you by Pepsi, you’ve got the right one baby”
Bob: “Uh-huh.” (if you remember the old commercials you get it).
Ironically if Remy is moving to a shorter schedule, and I have not seen anything conclusive on that yet, the guy who would be best suited to handle a rotating cast of analysts is the guy they just fired.
Just a thought on Dave O’Brien. He is a known quantity so that will help but I hope fans give him a break. O’Brien is similar to Orsillo, fairly dry (usually) but solidly competent. He will be a good continuation of a long run of quality announcers the Red Sox have had in the booth dating back to Curt Gowdy.
So Dennis and Callahan broke the news and Chad Finn is confirming…Don Orsillo is out at NESN at the end of the year (at the latest). I have to say I find this really disappointing. I realize he is not everyone’s cup of tea but he is mine and the camaraderie between he and Jerry Remy sounds authentic. I do not think you can fake that 140 times a year.
NESN has a track record of not keeping announcers too long. Remy is an oddity but Ned Martin, Sean McDonough, Bob Kurtz and now Orsillo have moved on. I would not be surprised if Orsillo follows a McDonough like path and goes to a more national profile.
His tenure started in the worst way possible, Hideo Nomo‘s no hitter against the Orioles. As great as that must have been the poor guy had to strike a balance between excited and professional in his first MLB broadcast (he left out the “excited”). Over the years he has been a part of the Sox broadcast night in, night out.
He strikes me as a “professional announcer.” He may not be a superstar but he seems adept at working with all types of; Remy, Dennis Eckersley, Mike Timlin, Derek Lowe, Frank Viola and others have joined him in NESN’s booth. When he shifted to TBS for seven years of post-season baseball he seemed to be comfortable and accommodating. If I were a national broadcast I would scoop him up yesterday.
There are three big questions here though; Continue reading