The Red Sox signed utility infielder Nick Punto to a two year, $3 million deal. With the departure of Jed Lowrie, Punto will most likely fill the role of utility infielder with the Red Sox. He’s a little better defensively then Lowrie so that will be a plus.
Punto had a solid season last year with the Cardinals. In 63 games, he finished with an .809 OPS. That was by far the best of his career. Still, Punto is a career .249 hitter and it’s pretty hollow at that so you can’t expect too much from him other then as a fill in. He is a switch hitter, but his OPS is pretty much the same against lefties versus righties. He does have a nice though and last year that helped give him a .388 OBP.
Alright, we’ve already hit up two games in the Greatest Games series so let’s look at one more. Man it would have been awesome to have Red Sox Tickets for this game. This one we have to go way back to 1975. With the Red Sox down 3-2, they went back to Boston and played one for the ages. I know many people thing Game seven in 1991 and now games six in 2011 are the greatest World Series games but Game six of the 1975 World Series is my personal favorite.
White the Reds weren’t to be denied in the series, this game gave everyone pause. The Red Sox jumped out to a three run lead in the first only to see the Reds score six unanswered runs. The Reds then came back, scored three in the bottom of the eighth and then neither scored until the twelfth when you have the Carlton Fisk down the foul line home run that ended the game and forced a game six. Just writing about it here makes me want to go back and watch this one again.
As far as I’m concerned, the 2011 Red Sox season didn’t happen. That’s why I want to go back to a happier time. While 2003 was a horrible backdrop because of that ALCS heart breaker, 2004 was shaping to be even worse. Down three games to zero, the Red Sox faced elimination and had just one inning to go. Dave Roberts was one of the stars and he was just a pinch runner but he scored in the ninth to tie the game up. The David Ortiz hit one of the biggest home runs in Red Sox history in the twelth to push this series to a fifth game. Of course the Red Sox won three more, swept the Cardinals and the rest is history.
Now you can relive this fantastic game three. A&E has put out a “Baseball Greatest Games” DVD and this is rightfully one of them. See the Red Sox fall behind, take the lead, then fall behind again before the ninth inning and extra frames took place. Makes for a great look after this year’s disaster in September. It was just one game but man was it huge. I would have loved to have had baseball playoff tickets that year.
April was a bad month but the Red Sox really turned things around in May. So much so, that they now tied with the Yankees in first place in the AL East. It’s been quite the turn around but there’s still four months left to play.
Josh Beckett doesn’t have the win/loss record to go with it, but he’s been lights out. Take Sunday’s game for example. He went head to head against Justin Verlander and was outdueled in a 3-0 game. Still, he sits with a 1.90 ERA and his 63 strikouts aren’t anything to sneeze at. When you combine him with Jon Lester, you have one of the best one/two punches in baseball right now.
You also have to like David Ortiz’s turn around. Everybody on offense has stepped it up but he leads the team with 11 home runs. Adrian Gonzalez looks like the pick up through. He’s going to contend for a batting title and he’s already knocking on the door of 50 RBIs. There’s definitely some mashers on this team.
The Red Sox dropped their opener against the White Sox but they still have two more to play. Then they get a break before Oakland rolls into town. Next week is what I’m looking at though because the Red Sox hit the road and play the Yankees, Jays and Rays over a nine game, ten day stretch. Now that’s some baseball worth watching.
What’s going on everybody. We’re going to keep this post fairly business-like. I gotta get this thing turned in before the Michigan State basketball game, you know how it is.
1. Jon Lester. 2010 stats: 3.25 ERA, 19-9, 1.20 WHIP. Brief: I heard an interview with John Smoltz recently and to say he has a ‘man crush’ on Lester would be putting it lightly. Smoltz said he would take Lester over every other starter in the big leagues besides Roy Hallady.
2. Josh Beckett. 2010 stats: 5.78 ERA, 6-6, 1.54 WHIP. Brief: Beckett struggled last season with a bad back. Furthermore, some scouts said he fell in love with his cutter instead of sticking with a fastball-curve-changeup regiment. When healthy however, he’s as good as it gets.
3. John Lackey. 2010 stats: 4.40 ERA, 14-11, 1.42 WHIP. Brief: Perhaps it took Lackey sometime to adjust to the AL East last year, as he got off to a slow start. However, as the season wore on, Lackey’s production improved. By the way, seeing the Red Sox starters heights and weights makes me realize that I don’t appreciate how monstrous a lot of big leaguers are. Lester is 6’4”, Beckett is 6’5” and Lackey is 6’6”. That’s like the sickest rec league basketball team ever.
4. Clay Buchholz. 2010 stats: 2.33 ERA, 17-7, 1.20 WHIP. Brief: Nice WHIP and ERA for Buchholz last year, but his strikeout rate (6.9 per nine innings) and walk rate (3.5) were a bit disappointing. Still, if this guy is your fourth starter, you’re in pretty damn good shape.
5. Daisuke Matsuzaka. 2010 stats: 4.69 ERA, 9-6, 1.37 WHIP. Brief: Remember when the Red Sox were pining for the Japanese superstar a few years ago? They handed over crazy amounts of cash to purchase him. He flew over to the U.S. on a private jet and wore one of those winter jackets with the fur hood that you might see a 14-year old girl wear here in the states. Needless to say, we all expected big things. Now he holds on to the last spot in the rotation. It’s been an up-and-down career thus far for Dice-K because of his inability at times to throw strikes.
Daniel Bard. 2010 stats: 1.93 ERA, 32 holds, 1.00 WHIP. Brief: Bard is a great setup man. He can strike batters out as well as he can get them to ground out. If Papelbon struggles in the early going, Bard could potentially fill that closer role.
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon. 2010 stats: 3.90 ERA, 37 saves, 1.27 WHIP. Brief: Papelbon will have a short leash this year if he continues to not be able to locate his fastball. Bard or the newly-acquired Bobby Jenks may see a lot of save opportunities. Which is good ’cause I don’t want to look at Papelbon’s face anymore when he pitches.
Alright see you guys next week.
The pitching is there now the team just has to put it all together. Red Sox Tickets are going to be tough to come by as usual but I think this is just going to be a special year.
When in god’s name did the city of Boston become so freaking cool? It’s seems as though every year, four new movies are set in Boston. The market is officially flooded for Boston in popular culture. You have the smartest people, your sports teams kick butt, you have unique (some may say annoying) accents and now every movie that wants to get an Oscar nod throws a script together and shoots the film in Beantown…ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. But I digress, here are your 2011 Boston Red Sox.
Left field: Carl Crawford. 2010 splits: .307 average, 19 home runs, 90 RBI, .851 OPS. Brief: A great signing for the Red Sox no doubt. Although don’t give the front office too much credit considering only three to four teams in the league could afford to pay for his services. Nonetheless, Crawford is simply a freak who possesses more tools than the Jersey Shore house (sappy joke I know, I’ll pick it up).
Center field: Jacoby Ellsbury. 2010 splits: .192 average, 0 home runs, 5 RBI, .485 OPS. Brief: Go ahead and chalk the 2010 season for Ellsbury, who was injury-riddled since jump street. When healthy, he provides another speed demon to go along with Crawford and another bat that should flirt if not cruise past the .300 plateau.
Right field: J.D. Drew. 2010 splits: .255 average, 22 home runs, 68 RBI, .793 OPS. Brief: If I’m not mistaken, Drew is a player that occasionally makes Sox fans want to scratch out their retinas. With new acquisitions Drew should be able to fall into a more comfortable role which will allow him to do his thing without catching as much flak: produce at an above average rate.
Third base: Kevin Youkilis. 2010 splits: .307 average, 19 home runs, 62 RBIs, .975 OPS. Brief: What a great, consistent hitter Youkilis is. He was a steading force in a 2010 lineup that was up and down for a majority of the season.
Also, what an attractive batting stance. (Which one of these sentences was sarcastic?). How will Youkilis handle the move to third base? Does he have the mobility? Does he have the quickness? Will his Civil War beard block his visibility on sharp grounders to the hot corner? Only time will tell.
Shortstop: Marco Scutaro. 2010 splits: .275 average, 11 home runs, 56 RBI, .721 OPS. Brief: Everytime I see a Scutaro highlight I sing “Su-su-sudio” by Phil Collins in my head, but that’s neither here nor there. Scutaro seems to be a great fit in this powerful Boston lineup. A nice bat that can consistently put the ball in play and good range at shortstop. The dude just needs to find a way to stay healthy this season.
Second base: Dustin Pedroia. 2010 splits: .288 average, 12 home runs, 41 RBI, .860 OPS. Brief: Hard to match his MVP season in 2009 and this year, with the potent lineup, he won’t have to. He’s coming off of foot surgery so it should be interesting to see what kind of start he gets off to. Still, the little man is one of the best in the business.
First base: Adrian Gonzalez. 2010 splits: .298 average, 31 home runs, 101 RBI, .904 OPS. Brief: Another newly minted superstar acquisition for the BoSox. They desperately needed another power hitter and the Red Sox got one in Gonzalez. The question all the blow hard baseball writers will ask is how will he do coming to the American League? I think this is an overrated statistic. Then again, I could have no idea what I’m talking about.
Designated Hitter: David Ortiz. 2010 splits: .270 average, 32 Home runs, 102 RBI, .899 OPS. Brief: Remember at the beginning of last year during Big Papi’s struggles when ESPN and the like made us feel like the sky was falling and that Ortiz couldn’t make contact playing tee-ball? Please, people don’t overreact, the baseball season is a marathon. One day you’ll wake up in the middle of July with a broken air conditioner and sweat soaked sheets that make you feel like you wet the bed and you’ll turn on the TV and see Ortiz is yet again putting up monster numbers…and you can run tell ‘dat homeboy.
Catcher: Jared Saltalamacchia. 2010 splits: .167 average, 0 home runs, 2 RBI, .625. Brief: I have a special place in my heart for Salt. I read a story last year that the only reason he was stuck in the minor leagues is because he struggled mightily throwing back to the pitcher. Now this conjures up memories of Rube Baker repeating Playboy articles to himself in Major League II. But, as a former high school catcher and neurotic head case, I can tell you that, that mental block is real and it can be one of the loneliest feelings on earth. Can I have a hug please?
Ok, we’ll be back next week for a report on starting and relief pitchers. PEACE.
In May, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester will look back on the previous month and yell “April Fool’s!” or at least Sox fans hope.
Lester had another rough outing on the mound Monday as the Twins cruised to a 5-2 victory in their opening game at Target Field. Lester was wild again, throwing 48 of his 107 pitches for balls. When he wasn’t wild he was hittable, allowing nine hits and four runs over five innings.
History shows that Lester likes to turn April Fool’s Day into an entire month. He has started 14 games in April throughout his career and is 2-5 with a 5.08 ERA. Fantasy owners beware of selling this guy cheap. While he might cost you a few points in the beginning, Lester tends to breakout in the months following. The past two years he has went 28-10 in the months following April.
The Sox two runs came from a deep double (which was almost caught) to left field, scoring Kevin Youkilis from second. The other was a sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia. Overall, the atmosphere of the new outdoor stadium propelled the Twins to a big victory over a struggling pitcher.
Don’t be the fool, Lester will find his control and push 15 wins wins 200 strikeouts once again.
After losing their first three-game series to the New York Yankees, things got even worse for the Red Sox (1-2) on Friday night. They got off to an early 3-0 lead on a David Ortiz double and a J.D. Drew two-run homer. However, the Red Sox failed to hold the slim lead for the second consecutive game.
Despite Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield being the oldest player on the field, he out-dueled the Royals young-gun, 26-year-old Kyle Davies. Wakefield left the game in line for the win even after he gave up back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning. The home runs came off the bats of Royals’ Billy Butler and Rick Ankiel.
Ankiel wasn’t about to settle for just a solo home run. The Royals’ center fielder got greedy and smacked a broken-bat single into left field, which scored the game tying and go-ahead runs. The one-run lead proved to be insurmountable for the Red Sox and they lost the game 4-3. Their record is now 1-3 and they are tied for last place in the American League East.
Of course it is way to early to push the panic button, but the underlying problem with designated hitter David Ortiz will need to be addressed sooner rather than later. It is heart breaking to any Red Sox fan who has followed the club since their amazing 2004 World Series run. Any Sox follower knows that Ortiz proved to be one of the most clutch batters in Red Sox history after hitting two game-winners against the Yankees in the ’04 ALCS.
Times have changed and players around the league are growing older. David Ortiz seems to be leading the pack. His early struggles last season lead to many questions from the media. Now, Ortiz faces these questions everyday, and after getting ejected in the fifth inning of Friday’s game, it is obvious the frustration is settling in. If the Red Sox continue this losing streak they will be forced to make some changes, and the first one will likely be Ortiz. If this does happen, it will be a painful day for every member of Red Sox Nation.
The Boston Red Sox opened the 2010 Major League Baseball season with a bang Sunday night after making a late-inning comeback against the New York Yankees.
The Yankees got off to a quick 2-0 lead when catcher Jorge Posada and center fielder Curtis Granderson hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning. Any speculation about how Granderson would fit into the Yankees powerhouse lineup stopped abruptly when he homered in his first at-bat and followed it by making a catch while slamming into the green monster.
However,Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia answered for the Red Sox. Youkilis hit a deep off-the-wall double off of C.C. Sabathia and eventually came in to score after a sacrifice fly by Adrian Beltre. Pitcher Josh Beckett continued to struggle and was pulled midway through the fifth inning. He allowed five runs and only recorded one strikeout.
Sabathia continued to cruise through the game allowing only the hit to Youkilis until the fifth inning, where he allowed three more hits and another earned run. The excited opening night crowd at Fenway was silent going into the sixth, with the score 5-2. After a Pedroia walk and Victor Martinez double to put men on second and third, Kevin Youkilis stepped into the batter’s box and took the form of a superhero. He tripled off the monster, driving in two runs and later scored on a Beltre single. The game was tied at 5 and the Red Sox bats were alive.
After struggling against Beckett, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez got his first hit, doubling to left field in the seventh. A ground out from Robinson Cano scored another Yankee run and a single from Posada added their last. Heading into the seventh the Red Sox were trailing 7-5.
Yankees pitcher Chan Ho Park stepped to the mound and allowed a quick single to Macro Scutaro. After striking out Jacoby Ellsbury, who finished the game hitless, Pedroia came to bat once again. He crushed a pitch from Park over the monster and tied the game at 7. Youkilis then doubled for the second time. The stage was set for David “Big Papi” Ortiz to hit in the go-ahead run for the Sox. However, he was walked and held hitless for the night. Instead, it was two wild pitches that resulted in Youkilis scoring the run.
Red Sox center fielder Mike Cameron added one more run in the bottom of the eight to make the score 9-7 and give Jonathan Papelbon the chance for the save.
Papelbon did just that. The win belonged to Red Sox relief pitcher Hideki Ojamia (1-0). The loss credited to Chan Ho Park (0-1), and the save to Papelbon (1)
The Red Sox will play the Yankees again on Tuesday night.
Red Sox starting pitching has gone from great in one game to gruesome in the next two. No surprise, the Sox are two losses from beginning their winter vacation.
Jon Lester’s surprisingly poor and ineffective start at home in Game 3 of the ALCS led directly to a 9-1 Red Sox loss yesterday. The Rays lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1.
Tim Wakefield will get a chance tonight to turn the tide, with the unpredictable flight of his knuckleball the perfect image for the out-of-nowhere performance of Lester, who allowed eight hits and five runs (four earned) in 5 innings. The left-hander’s Fenway Park dominance this season (11-1, 2.49 ERA) meant squat on a day when the Rays jumped all over his offerings.
Tampa Bay scored the game’s first run on a second-inning groundout and pushed the lead to 5-0 in the third on B.J. Upton’s three-run home run and an Evan Longoria solo shot.
Rays starter Matt Garza thoroughly outpitched Lester, stifling a Red Sox lineup that looked thinner than ever with Jacoby Ellsbury going 0-for-3 from the leadoff spot and slumping David Ortiz turning in an 0-for-4 out of the No. 3 hole. Ellsbury (0-for-14) and Ortiz (0-for-10) are hitless in the series.
Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a Game 1 gem (seven scoreless innings, four hits), but Game 2 starter Josh Beckett (4 innings, eight runs, nine hits) and Lester have let the team down big-time. To have Lester be the culprit counts as a shocking development to a team that was hoping to get on a roll at home.
The Rays pitched and hit a lot better than OK. As a result, they have four more chances to do that just two more times.
Relatively speaking, the Red Sox starting pitching has been really bad the last two games. There are not that many opportunities remaining to turn that around. Wakefield will try to do just that tonight when he starts Game 4.
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