Game 100 Thread – Red Sox (47-52, 4th, 7.5GB) at Blue Jays (7/22/14)

No hug for Papi after he passed Yaz on the all time HR list last night (RLRS Photo).

No hug for Papi after he passed Yaz on the all time HR list last night (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 7:07 PM

Pitchers: Jake Peavy (1-8, 4.59) vs. J.A. Happ (7-5, 4.91)

Notes: As you probably know a Red Sox slugger passed a Hall of Famer on the career home run list last night. I may be late but I will add my congratulations…to Stephen Drew whose 93rd home run pushed him beyond Rod Carew who hit 92 in his Hall of Fame career. Oh, I guess congrats to that other guy who passed that old dude.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Matt Barnes (Syracuse – WAS)
Portland – Luis Diaz (Binghamton – NYN)
Salem – Pat Light (Lynchburg – ATL)
Greenville – OFF DAY
Lowell – Jake Drehoff (Vermont – OAK)

This Day in 2004 – Orioles 8 – Red Sox 3
WP: Rodrigo Lopez, LP: Abe Alvarez

Alvarez’ only Major League start allegedly led to him being called a gangbanger by a “national radio broadcaster.” While it would not surprise me it is odd that no one has ever been stated to be the radio host in question. Legally blind in one eye Alvarez wore his hat crooked (similar to the style of Fernando Rodney) out of necessity and several Sox including Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon wore their hats that way in support. David Ortiz banged out his only career two triple game. Well, so far anyway though I am pretty sure that will stand up.

Orioles 0 – Red Sox 4
WP: Tim Wakefield, LP: Dave Borkowski

The Sox got a three first on an RBI ground out by Manny Ramirez and a two run double by David McCarty. Kevin Youkilis added a fourth inning solo shot for the win. Papi did not have another triple.

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

Updating Prospect Lists

By acclimation he is the Sox' #1 prospect (RLRS Photo).

By acclimation he is the Sox’ #1 prospect (RLRS Photo).

As so many things get updated at the All Star break so too are various prospect lists. With promotions and performance changes both Baseball America and SoxProspects have released updated lists (SP actually updates theirs on a regular basis). Let us take a moment to see how things have changed. While we have not done an update here at RLRS we took a short stab and reviewing our Top 20 last week.

Some General Thoughts

- The Sox continue to have an excellent system. They have had a couple of notable players “graduate” from prospect status with Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley having exhausted rookie status. There is still excellent depth in the system with Betts (12th), Swihart (16th) and Owens (17th) giving the Sox three of the top 20 prospects in the game.

- BA does not do a full top 100 at mid-season but a few of their writers do their own personal 51-100 and Allen Webster and Manuel Margot both pop up on those lists. Webster seems better regarded by BA than I anticipated. They note that he has improved his location which jibes with the big decline in HBPs this year.

- Three 2014 draftees are ranked in the SP top 20; SS-Michael Chavis (14), RHP-Michael Kopech (15) and 1B-Sam Travis (20). BA has short blurbs on each with the most interesting comment that Kopech’s delivery may cause control problems.

- Trey Ball has dropped on the Sox Prospects list and Baseball America lists him as the “Falling” in the system. Alex Speier noted that Ball has been pitching very well lately. To no surprise the “Rising” is Rafael Devers.

- It looks to me like BA is valuing near-MLB readiness over ceiling. That is the only explanation for Devers being off the top ten list and they mention he is “years away.”

Betts is awesome but I have a  man-crush on Swihart (RLRS Photo).

Betts is awesome but I have a man-crush on Swihart (RLRS Photo).

- Baseball America says that Swihart is now an “above-average defensive catcher.” That is easily the most effusive praise I have read of his defense. Between my own visit on Memorial Day, the Sox Prospects guys and Baseball America I am officially geeked up for Swihart and look forward to being bummed when he is traded for Giancarlo Stanton (but not too bummed).

The Top Tens

Sox Prospects
Mookie Betts – Everywhere
Blake Swihart – C
Henry Owens – LHP
Rafael Devers – 3B
Deven Marrero – SS
Allen Webster – RHP
Anthony Ranaudo – RHP
Christian Vazquez – C
Brian Johnson – LHP
Manuel Margot – OF

Baseball America
Mookie Betts – Everywhere
Blake Swihart – C
Henry Owens – LHP
Allen Webster – RHP
Deven Marrero – SS
Manuel Margot – OF
Garin Cecchini – 3B
Brian Johnson – LHP
Anthony Ranaudo – RHP
Christian Vazquez – C

Game 99 Thread – Red Sox (46-52, 5th, 7.5 GB) at Blue Jays (7/21/14)

He has a career 6.75 ERA against the Blue Jays, 9.00 in Toronto (RLRS Photo).

He has a career 6.75 ERA against the Blue Jays, 9.00 in Toronto (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 7:07 PM

Pitchers: John Lackey (10-6, 3.79) vs. Drew Hutchison (6-8, 4.16)

Notes: The next 13 games the Sox play are against AL East foes. At Toronto (4), at Tampa (3), Toronto (3) and New York (3). Despite their best efforts the Sox ain’t dead yet and this represents a great opportunity to make hay.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Allen Webster (Syracuse – WAS)
Portland – Wilfredo Boscan (Binghamton – NYN)
Salem – Corey Littrell (Potomac – WAS)
Greenville – Jamie Callahan (Asheville – COL)
Lowell – Reed Reilly (Auburn – WAS)

This Day in 2004 – Orioles 10 – Red Sox 5
WP: Erik Bedard, LP: Pedro Martinez

Pedro did not have it allowing 8 runs to the Orioles for the second time in his career. David Newhan banged out four hits and Miguel Tejada added five RBI. Gabe Kapler had a three run dinger for the good guys and Kevin Millar added a solo shot as part of a three hit day for the Sox.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, answering machines and whatever rockfords your files.

A Trip To Fenway

ScoreboardOK, if you do not enjoy my photo essays or find them self-indulgent move along because this is a doozy.  I know many of our readers are not local and I wanted to share with you a bit of the Fenway experience.  Saturday night I headed to Fenway and sat in the State Street Pavillion.  It was a lot of fun, the Sox won behind Rubby De La Rosa‘s seven strong innings and Mike Napoli‘s homer.

My day unfolded in great fashion as well.   Because of the number of pictures you will need to click to get into it.  I hope you find it worthwhile.  If not, please blame Matt; Continue reading

Game 98 Thread – Red Sox (45-52, 5th, 8.5 GB) vs. Royals (7/20/14)

First Pitch – 1:35 PM

Pitchers: Jon Lester (9-7, 2.65) vs. Yordano Ventura (7-7, 3.22)

Notes: A tip of the cap to the Red Sox organization. My parents went to the game on Saturday with friends, one of whom is wheelchair bound due to Parkinson’s. The Sox were incredibly accommodating helping my parents to exchange our season tickets for handicap seats, get in to have dinner at the Royal Rooters club and set up parking access.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Anthony Ranaudo (Buffalo – TOR)
Portland – Brian Johnson (New Hampshire – TOR)
Salem – Cody Kukuk (Potomac – WAS)
Greenville – Jason Garcia/Teddy Stankiewicz (Augusta – SFG) doubleheader
Lowell – Aaron Wilkerson (Staten Island – NYA)

This Day in 2004 – Red Sox 9 – Mariners 7
WP: Derek Lowe, LP: Joel Pineiro, SV: Keith Foulke

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez homered and Johnny Damon scored twice without having a hit as the Sox used an eight run fourth to pick up the victory. Lowe and five relievers made the 8-1 lead necessary.

With a 9-7 lead Alan Embree retired Jolbert Cabrera with the bases loaded to end the 8th. In the 9th Ichiro Suzuki and Randy Winn reached to start the inning but Foulke struck out Bret Boone, Edgar Martinez and Bucky Jacobsen to give the Sox survival.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, making the right decision on tickets and whatever thumbs your tack.

Pop Psychology

Red Sox WinI was at the Sox game on Saturday night and enjoyed a very entertaining victory. The Sox got terrific pitching from Rubby De La Rosa, Andrew Miller and Koji Uehara, great defense from Jackie Bradley (and not great defense from Jonny Gomes and Brock Holt) and a Mike Napoli long ball for the win.

What struck me though was the final out. I was sitting in the State Street Pavillion high above the field and the Sox exploded out of the dugout after the final out. It looked like the reaction you might see to a walk-off.

Just engaging in a little pop psychology here this was a team that believes in itself. Hey why not? They have won two close, exciting games in a row and six out of seven. They have done so following a blueprint that has been all too often ignored this season; good starting, shutdown relief and big power.

The opposition lately has not exactly been the ’27 Yankees and ’76 Reds but you takes your wins wheres you can gets them. I am sure this was just a team happy to win a close game but watching it was awfully enjoyable.

Game 97 Thread – Red Sox (44-52, 5th, 8.5 GB) vs. Royals (7/19/14)

From day off to big swing (RLRS Photo)

From day off to big swing (RLRS Photo)

First Pitch – 7:10PM

Pitchers: El Lankador (2-2, 2.89) vs. Danny Duffy (5-9, 2.76)

Notes: On Thursday night while coaching my little leaguers I posted the lineup using position numbers (e.g. “3”) instead of abbreviations (e.g. “1B”). It was fun to see who got it and who did not. The only problem was I did not have a good answer for why shortstop was 6 and third base 5 rather than the other way around. Does anyone know the history of that one?

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Chris Hernandez (Buffalo – TOR)
Portland – Henry Owens (New Hampshire – TOR)
Salem – Cody Kukuk (Potomac – WAS)
Greenville – Daniel McGrath (Augusta – SFG)
Lowell – Simon Mercedes (Staten Island – NYA)

This Day in 2004 – Red Sox 4 – Mariners 8 (11)
WP: Mike Myers, LP: Curt Leskanic

A pitchers duel between Bronson Arroyo and UMass product Ron Villone fell apart in the late innings. A three run homer by Jason Varitek off J.J. Putz gave the Sox a 4-1 lead in the 8th. The bullpen could not hold it as Mike Timlin surrendered a run in the bottom of the inning then Keith Foulke allowed back to back homers to Miguel Olivo and Edgar Martinez in the 9th. Bret Boone’s one out grand slam won it in the 11th.

Off the field Mo Vaughn‘s charity filed suit against Nomar Garciaparra‘s charity for some misuse of confidential information by an individual who worked for each foundation.

Come chat before, during and after the game about baseball, overly aggressive ballgirls and whatever bugs your zapper.

Game 96 Thread – Red Sox (43-52, 5th, 9.5 GB) vs. Royals (7/18/14)

Dustin Pedroia will try to get the Sox cooking tonight (RLRS Photo).

Dustin Pedroia will try to get the Sox cooking tonight (RLRS Photo).

First Pitch – 7:10 PM

Pitchers: Clay Buchholz (4-5, 5.42) vs. Big Game James Shields (9-5, 3.65)

Notes: Saturday night I am free. Do I drive to Fenway and watch Rubby De La Rosa for the Sox or do I drive to Manchester and watch Henry Owens? I am taking suggestions.

Minor League Pitchers;
Pawtucket – Anthony Ranaudo (Buffalo – TOR)
Portland – Luis Diaz (New Hampshire – TOR)
Salem – Pat Light (Frederick – BAL)
Greenville – Trey Ball (Augusta – SFG)
Lowell – Jake Drehoff (Staten Island – NYA)

This Day in 2004 – Red Sox 6 – Angels 2
WP: Curt Schilling, LP: John Lackey

David Ortiz abused his future teammate with a 3 hit/4RBI day including a homer and his first triple of the season. The Sox trailed 1-0 for much of the game before scoring three in the sixth and three more in the seventh while Schilling turned in eight strong innings.

Manny Ramirez missed his third straight game with a tight hamstring. Gordon Edes called it a “test of wills between a manager (Terry Francona) accused of being too soft and a player known to go his own way.”

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