Sunday, April 4, 2010

Red Sox Open the Season in Style

What a way to kick off the 2010 season! The Sox pulled out all the stops with Pedro throwing out the first pitch, Steven Tyler singing "God Bless America," and Neil Diamond in person to belt out "Sweet Caroline."

Even Nomar and Schilling were in the house thanks to ESPN and LeBron got to see "his Yankees" blow the game after his Cavs got beat by the Cs earlier in the day. Can it get any better than this?

It didn't look good with the Sox trailing 5-1 after 4 innings and much of Red Sox Nation already moaning about the lack of offense and Beckett's big contract (that was me). But there were way too many positives Sunday night that we have to feel good about the new-look Sox.

BOX SCORE: Red Sox 9, Yankees 7

All the new guys did well, the bullpen with the exception of Ramirez was lights out, and team leaders Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis sparked the much-maligned offense as it came through to beat the Yankees at their own game.

We couldn't ask for much more except for a better start out of Beckett, but hopefully he got that bad outing out of the way and will revert to his 2007 form and earn his money as the No. 1 starter.

It was especially nice to see Beltre, Cameron and Scutaro come through with big contributions. Scutaro's 2-out RBI single in the 5th sparked the comeback, Beltre's RBI single in the 6th to tie it 5-5 was huge, and Cameron showed his speed scoring the insurance run in the 8th on Pedroia's RBI single.

Bard and Papelbon could be a devastating combo closing out games this year. With the starting pitching that the Sox will send to the mound every night, if they have a lead after 7 innings it could be all over for the opposition.

It was a tough night for Ellsbury and Big Papi, but hopefully that will change when they're not facing tough lefties.

I would like to see Lowell at DH against lefties though. Ortiz proved last year that he's not the same guy any more, especially against lefties, and Lowell rakes southpaws so why not put him in there? Francona is loyal to a fault though, so that may never happen.

One down, 161 to go.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Should the Red Sox Trade for Roy Halladay?

The hot stove league is heating up and the latest rumor has the Sox going hard after Roy Halladay. Halladay has been a great pitcher over the years -- especially against the Sox -- but is this the move the Sox should be making?

It will cost a lot for the Sox to get Halladay. Last year they reportedly offered a package that included Daniel Bard and Clay Buchholz, but that wasn't enough.

Now ESPN and the Globe are reporting that the Blue Jays want a package that includes top prospect Casey Kelly and Buchholz. I believe that is still too much.

Halladay is now 32 and hasn't been as dominant in the last couple of years as he was earlier in his career. His contract is up after next season and he will be asking for a big money, long-term deal.

A better option for the Sox may be free agent John Lackey. Lackey has been a consistent winner for the Angels for seven seasons, is a year younger than Halladay and will probably be a little cheaper to sign.

The biggest difference though is the Sox won't have to trade for Lackey meaning they can keep their young stud pitchers and other prospects.

When the front office decided to trade Hanley Ramirez for Beckett and Lowell, they made the conscious decision to go with pitching and sacrifice some offense. They have been looking for a shortstop ever since and still don't have one.

Why not continue to bolster the pitching and bide some time with average shortstops while grooming Kelly to take over the position in a couple of years?

It would make more sense to hang on to Buchholz and Bard, and add another potential ace in Lackey to the rotation. That would give the team three aces along with Lester and Beckett. Then if Dice-K can bounce back with a good year and Wakefield or someone else can fill the No. 5 spot the pitching will be solid.

After that they re-sign Bay and add some bench depth and hope Ortiz and Lowell stay healthy for one more year and are productive. This allows the Sox to compete for a championship in 2010 while protecting the top prospects for the future.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sox Cruise Toward Playoffs

After a tough week in which the Sox took 5 of 6 from Tampa and the Angels, the Sox now hit the final stretch of the season and the schedule is very favorable.

With 14 games against Baltimore, Toronto, Kansas City and Cleveland, and 3 at New York left on the schedule, the Sox should easily hold on to their 6-game lead over the Rangers and make the playoffs.

Boston could conceivably still catch the Yankees with 13 or 14 wins over these last two weeks, but that still might not be enough.

Either way, the Sox are playing much better and the Yankees have stumbled a bit lately giving us renewed hope that the Red Sox can still win it all this year.

The lineup has been pretty solid lately with the exception of Varitek. And what's with the two passed balls on strike three the last two games? The first one cost the team a run and the second one may have cost Beckett a win.

We all love Tek and appreciate what he has done for us over the years, but his time has passed. He can't hit and he can't throw anybody out. He shouldn't play in the playoffs and hopefully he'll just retire after the season and bow out gracefully.

The key now is to make sure everyone is healthy. Hopefuly Youk and Paps can shake off their back problems and nothing else happens to anybody over the next couple weeks.

A rotation of Lester, Beckett, Buchholz and a rejuvenated Dice-K might be enough to take us all the way.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sox Hold Ground in Wild-Card Race

Coming home and facing the Orioles was once again just what the doctor ordered for the Red Sox. Two wins over the O's kept the Sox 2 games ahead of the Rangers who swept the Indians in Cleveland.

Victor Martinez came through with a huge pinch-hit 3-run double to break a 4-4 tie in the 7th and lead the Sox to a 7-5 win Wednesday night.

BOX SCORE: Red Sox 7, Orioles 5

He continues to be probably the best pickup that any team made at the non-waiver trade deadline. Vic is hitting .326 with 6 homers and 28 RBIs in 36 games with the Sox.

Jason Bay went 3-for-5 with 2 RBIs and became the 5th Boston left fielder to have 30 homers and 100 RBIs in a season joining Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Manny Ramirez -- not a bad list to be on.

Paul Byrd pitched a shaky 5 innings and Manny Delacarmen was awful in relief giving up the lead by allowing 2 runs in 1/3 of an inning.

Ramon Ramirez gave up a hit to the first batter he faced allowing a run to score. The middle relief continues to be an issue for the Sox, but the back of the bullpen looks pretty solid.

Billy Wagner picked up the win with another scoreless inning. He struck out 2 of the 3 batters he faced and has looked dominant in a Red Sox uniform. I don't think Francona would have any problem using Wagner in a save situation if the need arose.

Although Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon didn't have great nights on Wednesday, they have been pitching well lately.

Tuesday, the Red Sox bashed six home runs, including two by Dustin Pedroia, to pound the Orioles 10-0. Clay Buchholz had his best outing of the season and may be that No. 3 starter the Sox have been looking for.

Now comes the two big series against the reeling Rays and the Angels. The Sox can't let up because the Rangers are on fire.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Beckett Still Can't Get a Win

After a nice win on Sunday it would have been big to get a win from Beckett and split the series, but the offense didn't show up again.

Beckett pitched well enough to win, but at this point I think the Sox would have to start Lester in game 1 of a playoff series.

At least Beckett didn't give up any home runs.

BOX SCORE: White Sox 5, Red Sox 1

Maybe the Sox will have a chance if Lester can continue to dominate into the playoffs.

Jacoby Ellsbury continued his outstanding season going 2 for 4, scoring the Sox only run of the game and stealing his MLB-leading 60th base of the year.

Ells has a 5-steal lead over Carl Crawford. If he holds on to lead the majors in steals he will only be the 2nd Boston player to have that title. Billy Werber pulled off the feat in 1934 and '35 with 40 and 29 steals, respectively.

The Rays look like their done, especially with the Pena out, so it's Texas we have to worry about.

The Rangers have 7 more games with the Angels and Oakland, 6 with Seattle, 3 with Tampa and 3 with Cleveland -- including a doubleheader Tuesday.

I like the Sox chances heading into this homestand (2 with Baltimore, 3 with Tampa, 3 with Angels) and then with games against Baltimore and KC and the final 7 at home against Toronto and Cleveland.

The Sox should win at least 15 of the last 25 games, but I think 13 or 14 will get them in.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Struggles Continue in Chicago

Tim Wakefield could barely walk Saturday but he still hobbled out to the mound and actually gave the Sox a decent outing.

I hope J.D. Drew and some of the other guys who don't play when they have a hangnail were watching.

After it looked like he might not get out of the first, Wake was able to gut it out for six innings and give the Sox a chance -- too bad the offense didn't show up.

BOX SCORE: White Sox 5, Red Sox 1

Why is that the entire Sox offense seems to go into a slump at once? Gavin Floyd is a decent pitcher, but he's not Cy Young. Three hits and 12 strikeouts is a pathetic performance.

Now the Sox have to win the next two games with Lester and Beckett on the mound and then beat up on Baltimore at home before Tampa and the Angels come in.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Byrd Not The Word

There's a reason why Paul Byrd wasn't playing baseball for most of the season. His first start was a nice surprise, but we really shouldn't be surprised that he got pounded by the White Sox Friday night.

If the Sox need to depend on Byrd to get them into the playoffs they are in trouble.

BOX SCORE: White Sox 12, Red Sox 2

Hopefully Wakefield with return for good saturday. Who would have ever thought that Wake would be the key to the pitching staff and his injury would be the one that had the biggest effect on the team.

It looks like Tazawa isn't ready for the majors just yet either. Hopefully this will be good experience for him and not destroy his confidence.

At least everybody got some rest Friday night, but it is a little disheartening that the Sox basically gave up on this game in the thrid inning when Byrd was allowed to stay in for 7 runs.

How about Kotsay getting some revenge on the Sox? Trading him for Anderson and the Laroche for Kotchman trade seem to be mistakes.

I know they made them because the guys they were getting back were younger, but it doesn't make sense to trade a better play straight up for another guy just because he's younger. Money is obviously not an issue with the Sox, so there was no reason to do this.
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