Game 138 Thread – World Champion Red Sox (60-77, 5th, 19.5 GB) at Yankees (9/2/14)

John Farrell's team will look to impact the pennant race from the wrong end this month (RLRS Photo).

John Farrell’s team will look to impact the pennant race from the wrong end this month (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 7:05 PM

Pitchers: Joe Kelly (2-3, 4.14) vs. Shane Greene (4-1, 3.09)

Notes: It sounds like Dustin Pedroia will not play in the Bronx this week. Most of the reporting has suggested that while he may be cleared as the week progresses it is not a certainty. Given the standings I cannot imagine why the Sox would push things with Pedroia.

Minor League Update:

The Red Sox minor league affiliates have all had their regular seasons come to an end. Pawtucket, Portland and Salem are all going to be playing playoff games starting tomorrow.

This Day in 2004 – Angels 3 – Red Sox 4
WP: Derek Lowe, LP: Bartolo Colon, SV: Keith Foulke

The Sox made it nine in a row and squeezed a stranglehold on the Wild Card by polishing off a sweep of the Angels to open up a 4 ½ game lead. All the scoring came in the first three innings with Bill Mueller homering and hitting a sacrifice fly on a night the Sox left 14 men on base.

Brandon Puffer sat in the bullpen in this game and was sent down afterwards. It was the only day he spent on the MLB roster all year, he never warmed up yet he received a World Series ring. Unfortunate circumstances led to him pawning the ring.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, having a case of the Mondays on Tuesday and whatever taps your dance.

Since The Deadline – The Batsmen

As some left, Yoenis Cespedes arrived (Concord Monitor photo).

As some left, Yoenis Cespedes arrived (Concord Monitor photo).

Since late July Ben Cherington has been aggressively using his friends and families discount to remake the Boston Red Sox.  Some of the deals traded popular stars and prospects like Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy and Michael Almanzar while smaller deals involving players like Jon Lester and John Lackey were also made.

At the time the discussion was “blowing it up.”  I think it is worth taking a short look at how it has gone since then.  Today I am going to look briefly at the overall performance and we will touch on the pitchers later this week.

While I used Baseball-Reference for splits my primary source here was Baseball Musings’ indispensable Day by Day Database for these numbers.

The Record:
Pre-deadline: 48-60 (72-90 pace)
Since-deadline: 12-17 (67-95 pace)
Runs For: 3.8 before, 3.9 since
Runs Against: 4.3 before, 4.6 since

I think it is fairly encouraging that the offensive output has increased a hair.  The Sox are likely to head into next season with a large part of the offense dependent on players currently on the roster.  I think it is worth noting that they were 14th in the AL in runs pre-deadline and they are 9th since.

The pitching is disconcerting but as I will note in a moment when I get to that group there are some positives.  You cannot deal away your top two starters and expect to maintain the status quo.

The glovework has been great, the batwork not so much (RLRS Photo).

The glovework has been great, the batwork not so much (RLRS Photo).

The Kids:
Mookie Betts: .286/.385/.464
Xander Bogaerts: .130/.198/.182
Christian Vazquez: .205/.286/.219
Brock Holt: .248./.308/.281
Will Middlebrooks: .182/.217/.239
Jackie Bradley: .143/.205/.143

So yeah, that kinda blows.  Betts is awfully encouraging with two pieces of good news.  First he has taken his minor league plate discipline with him and second he has looked much improved defensively since his August 18th recall.  Plus I love that the Day by Day Database lists him as “Markus.”

The rest of that not so much.  Holt I think is being exposed a bit but this is a utility player, not a star.  He has been a great story all year but I think if we accept him as a utility player and not a regular we can all enjoy him.

Middlebrooks is toast.  He needs to be someone else’s problem next year.  Bogaerts is flat out horrifying.  Enough virtual ink has been spilled on this subject.  I keep telling myself he is just 21 and I still believe he is hiding an injury but he has not “struggled”, “slumped” or been disappointing.  He has been abysmal.  I still think/hope he will be a star but it is hard to justify that numerically.

Vazquez is the funny one.  He is a much more pleasant hitter to watch than A.J. Pierzynski or his similarly tooled good glove/no hit brethren Bradley but he ain’t hitting so far.  The Sox can carry one of these guys in the future but not both I think.

Lots of this since the deadline (RLRS Photo).

Lots of this since the deadline (RLRS Photo).

The Oldsters
David Ortiz – .342/.442/.592
Yoenis Cespedes – .275/.296/.450
Dustin Pedroia – .297/.333/.414
Daniel Nava – .267/.330/.349

Big Papi…damn.  That’s all I got. We really are fortunate to have watched this great hitter for so many years.  Cespedes is doing what he does.  In a perfect world he bats sixth and you let the slugging carry the painful OBP.  Defensively his arm has been as advertised but the glove has been a bit terrifying.  I have a feeling seeing him in right field would be a nightmare.

Pedroia may not be the laser show of years passed but he is still a solid offensive contributor.  When combined with his glove he is still a very good baseball player who is going to wind up around 5-5.5 WAR this year.

Nava is a guy like Holt.  I think he is a good player when he is not asked to play every day.  He had a great 2013 but he needs to be a fourth outfielder.

Ultimately I think the Sox are getting some clarity at least.  My fear is that they might sell low on Bogaerts (what closers can Cherington trade for?).  I would like to ride him and if he busts he busts.  Middlebrooks is doing precisely what the Sox need him to do playing himself conclusively out of a job.

We will get to the pitchers later.

Game 137 Thread – Red Sox (60-76, 5th, 19.5GB) at Rays (9/1/14)

The unconcussed half the Sox' keystone combo was keyed the victory (RLRS Photo).

The unconcussed half the Sox’ keystone combo was keyed the victory (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 1:10 PM

Pitchers: El Lankador! (4-5, 3.81) vs. Drew Smyly (9-10, 3.31)

Notes: Sunday was the blueprint for the future wasn’t it? Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts sparkled offensively and Clay Buchholz was dealing. I think we can all agree that anytime the Sox get a complete game three hit shutout they have a good chance of pulling out the victory.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – TBA (Rochester – MIN)
Portland – Luis Diaz (Harrisburg – WAS)
Salem – Heri Quevedo (Wilmington – KCR)
Greenville – Ty Buttrey (Lexington – KCR)
Lowell – Kevin McAvoy (Connecticut – DET)

This Day in 2004 – Angels 7 – Red Sox 12
WP: Terry Adams, LP: Aaron Sele

Who cares about the game? This was the day I filmed my major motion picture debut! My mother and I attended this game and after the game the Farrelly brothers’ film “Fever Pitch” shot the climactic scene with Drew Barrymore racing across the field. We stayed with about 5,000 fans and were instructed to make lots of noise.

Poor Drew then ran from center field, circled Johnny Damon, then raced all the way to the seats behind the Sox’ dugout. One of the Farrellys then yelled “cut” and she had to go out behind second base and do it 2 or 3 more times. She looked like she needed oxygen by the end.

This game received the highest TV ratings in NESN history. I do not think my mother and I were responsible for that.

In a massive and frankly offensive oversight neither my mother nor I have an IMDB page.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, interesting twitter feeds and whatever millers your time.

Game 136 Thread – Red Sox (59-76, 5th, 19.5 GB) at Rays (8/31/14)

Starting today we get to see what the buzz is about (iSportsWeb.com Photo).

Starting today we get to see what the buzz is about (iSportsWeb.com Photo).

First Pitch – 1:40 PM

Pitchers: Clay Buchholz (5-8, 5.77) vs. Alex Cobb (9-6, 3.06)

Notes: Cuban signing Rusney Castillo is expected to make his debut today for the Gulf Coast Sox.  This will be Game One of their playoff series against the Gulf Coast Yankees for the Gulf Coast League title.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Henry Owens (Rochester – MIN)
Portland – Eduardo Rodriguez (Harrisburg – WAS)
Salem – Simon Mercedes (Wilmington – KCR)
Greenville – Daniel McGrath (Lexington – KCR)
Lowell – Jeffry Fernandez (Connecticut – DET)

This Day in 2004 – Angels 7 – Red Sox 10
WP: Curt Schilling, LP: John Lackey, SV: Keith Foulke

Lackey’s Fenway nightmares continued as his ERA ran to 10.13 in three starts in America’s Most Beloved Ballpark®. Manny Ramirez had two homers before the end of the second inning and hit a foul ball off the face of a fan who lived in Babe Ruth‘s house as the Sox built a 5-0 lead. Lackey balked in a run the next time Manny batted in the fourth and Dave Roberts‘ first Red Sox homer made the score 10-1 after seven.

A fatigued Schilling gave up two in the eighth and then Mike Myers allowed the Angels to go; single-single-single and then an Alfredo Amezaga grand slam made it 10-7. Keith Foulke wrapped it up without any further tension.

The big news in baseball was the stunning destruction of the Yankees in the Bronx. The Indians obliterated the Yankees 22-0 for the worst defeat of a Yankee team at the Stadium in history.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, and whatever your .

Red Sox Trade Almanzar, Johnson

Kelly Johnson's Red Sox career was marginally longer than Adam LaRoche's (RLRS Photo).

Kelly Johnson’s Red Sox career was marginally longer than Adam LaRoche’s (RLRS Photo).

In case you had the same reaction I had the Johnson in question is Kelly Johnson.  The Sox dealt him, and eternal prospect Michael Almanzar, to the Orioles for infielders Jemile Weeks and Ivan De Jesus.  You may remember DeJesus from former trades like the Punto Trade and the Hanrahan Trade.

Weeks is also 27 and like DeJesus was at one time a hot prospect.  He has never really put it together in the Majors but has been a steady on base guy in the minors.  His career minor league OBP is .380 with a .391 OBP at AAA Norfolk this year.

In reality the likelihood is this will be a completely meaningless deal with both players having their Red Sox tenure end roughly 17 minutes after the final out on September 28th.  Weeks is mildly interesting though as he is young enough and seemingly talented enough to carve out some kind of late blooming career as a utility player.  He has played second, short, center and left this year in the minors.

Game 135 Thread – Red Sox (59-75, 5th, 18.5GB) at Rays (8/30/14)

He has shown some power on this road trip (RLRS Photo).

He has shown some power on this road trip (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 7:10PM

Pitchers: Allen Webster (3-2, 5.81) vs. Jake Odorizzi (9-11, 4.23)

Notes: Baseball is a funny game. Last night I thought I would start my long weekend watching the great Felix Hernandez-Jordan Zimmermann pitching duel. Well, I saw history as King Felix gave up four homers (all in the first four innings) for the first time in his career.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Matt Barnes (Syracuse – WAS)
Portland – Justin Haley (Harrisburg – WAS)
Salem – Pat Light (Wilmington – KCR)
Greenville – Trey Ball (Lexington – KCR)
Lowell – Reed Reilly (Aberdeen – BAL)

This Day in 2004 – DAY OFF

The Sox enjoyed a well-deserved day off. In the previous 22 games they had gone an outrageous 18-4 and climbed from 10.5 games back to 4 games back in the division. They had also moved from 2 games out of the Wild Card to a game and a half in front of with their closest pursuers, the Angels, headed to town on August 31 for three big games.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, sleeping in and whatever bakes your beans.

Game 134 Thread – Red Sox (58-75, 5th, 18.5GB) at Rays (8/29/14)

It's a Trop! (AndrewClem.com photo).

It’s a Trop! (AndrewClem.com photo).

First Pitch – 7:10 PM

Pitchers: Anthony Ranaudo (2-0, 4.50) vs. Chris Archer (8-6, 3.09)

Notes: The last pitcher to win his first three MLB appearances as a starter was Vaughn Eshelman in 1995. Don Aase in 1977 is the only other Red Sox pitcher to do this in my lifetime. Apparently this is not a guarantee of long term success.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Brandon Workman (Syracuse – WAS)
Portland – Mike Augliera (Harrisburg – WAS)
Salem – Jacob Dahlstrand (Wilmington – KCR)
Greenville – Teddy Stankiewicz (Lexington – KCR)
Lowell – Aaron Wilkerson (Aberdeen – BAL)

This Day in 2004 – Tigers 1 – Red Sox 6
WP: Tim Wakefield, LP: Wil Ledezma

The Red Sox continued their torrid stretch winning their sixth in a row. Two out singles by Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Kevin Millar plated four runs for the Sox in the fifth and Mark Bellhorn sealed things with a two run homer in the seventh.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, long weekends and whatever labors your day.

Linking To Labor Day

Allen Craig has a story that is worth reading about (RLRS Photo).

Allen Craig has a story that is worth reading about (RLRS Photo).

Happy Friday before a long weekend everyone! Just a few links to guide you smoothly into the end of summer.

The Allen Craig Story (Full Count)

This is a really interesting story of how Allen Craig went from being a “skinny shortstop” to a World Series hero. It is not quite the Daniel Nava story but I found it awfully interesting.

Yusmeiro Petit – MLB Record Holder (Stats.com)

So there is a headline I never thought I would write. Yusmeiro Petit broke Mark Buehrle’s MLB record when he retired his 46th consecutive hitter (over eight appearances). My initial reaction is that Buehrle, doing it in two starts, is more impressive than Petit doing it over eight appearances.

However, I kind of wonder if what he did is at the least less likely. A starter just needs to be on his game in back to back starts. A reliever needs to be able to come in and be sharp regularly over an extended period.

I also found it interesting that the other two guys to have streaks over 40 batters were Jim Barr (Giants) and Bobby Jenks (White Sox). There is something interesting to me about two teams monopolizing the top spots on this list.

Dominican Sox Throw Combined No Hitter! (Sox Prospects)

Daniel Gonzalez (6 IP), Algenis Martinez (2.2 IP) and Carlos Caceres (0.1 IP) combined to give the DSL Sox a 1-0 lead in their playoff series with a no hitter. Gonzalez issued three walks while the Sox were flawless defensively en route to the 3-0 victory.

Scout Acts Like Jerk (SB Nation)

Every headline I have read on this story mentions Jesus Montero but it seems to me the scout is the one who acted unprofessionally. This from the MILB.com story on the matter;

Montero was coaching first base, and at the end of an inning, the unidentified cross-checker yelled at him to hustle off the field, according to Boise official scorer Liza Safford. Montero then headed to the AquaSox dugout on the third-base side.

According to a game offical, the cross-checker then ordered an ice cream sandwich and had it sent to Montero in the dugout.

It did not end there. Montero then “approached the stands with a bat while screaming profanities and threw the sandwich at the cross-checker.”

OK, so Montero did not cover himself in glory here either. To me the scout is the one who pretty clearly crossed the line first. Two wrongs do not make a right and all that but in what possible universe is the scouts behavior even remotely acceptable?

Montero likely will be disciplined for this and he deserves to be. The scout should receive harsher discipline in my opinion as his behavior was incendiary rather than reactionary.

Is Manuel Margot Injured? (Over The Monster)

I have only seen this in Joon Lee’s tweet. Sox Propsects does not seem to be reporting anything substantive. The message boards there note that Margot walked off the field under his own power, played the next inning then left the game. He was not in the lineup yesterday.