|Connelly’s Top Ten: Bruins Keep Rolling||Middlebrooks Delivers in 9th as Sox Rally in Dramatic Fashion||2013 NHL Playoffs Expert Picks: Second Round||Drew’s Grand Slam Leads Red Sox to Blowout Win Over Rays|
This past week saw some exciting events from the All-Star selections to return of a Fenway favorite for the first time in nearly five years. The Red Sox had a complete homestand this week as they finished their series against the Mariners and had visits from the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals. The Sox finished the week at 5-2.
NOMAHHH! Remember this guy? He was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1997 and all around fan favorite in Boston. Nomar was traded away in 2004 in a deadline deal that saw the arrival of Orlando Cabrera to Boston. The Fenway faithful hadn’t seen Mr. Garciaparra until Monday night when the Athletics came to town and Nomar returned. He was warmly greeted by the fans with a standing ovation that seemed to go on forever. It looked like Nomar was very emotional and may have had some tears in his eyes, but he managed to finish the night and the series with two hits and an RBI.
Smoltz got his first win of the season on Saturday night against the Royals. He pitched well, going five innings with one earned run, one walk, four hits, and seven strikeouts. Hopefully, Smoltz will be able to take the positives from his outing and rack up some more victories.
I mentioned last week how Ortiz seems to be back to his old self, and he continues to prove that. Ortiz hit another four home runs this week and although his average seems to just be sitting around the .220 area, Ortiz appears to have the power back. He now has 12 home runs and 46 RBI on the season.
Youk has been mired in a huge slump that I think has gone unnoticed. Youk’s average has fallen to .296 after being in the mid .300′s earlier this season. This week, Youkilis went 3-25, and those three hits did not come until Saturday night against the Royals. Youk might be playing in the All-Star Game, but he could certainly use some rest and get his groove back.
Called up on Monday from AAA Pawtucket after just recently being promoted from AA Portland, Bates is the newest addition to the Red Sox. He’s filling the spot of Jeff Bailey, who is on the disabled list with a sprain on his right ankle. It was a surprise for Bates to be called up seeing as he was not even part of the 40-man roster. He got his first major league hit on Saturday night against the Royals as a pinch hitter, and added three more in Sunday’s win.
What happened to the Red Sox bullpen? The pen had been one of the best in the majors until recently when they have been giving up runs left and right. The one facing the most trouble is Justin Masterson, who gave up seven runs in just three total innings of work this week. Masterson’s ERA has climbed to 4.98.
Lester has really found his groove lately and grabbed his eighth win of the year on Friday after a pitcher’s duel against Kansas City’s Brian Bannister. Lester also added another 17 strikeouts this week, giving him 131 for the season, which is good for second in the American League behind Detroit’s Justin Verlander.
There is talk about Roy Halladay possibly coming to the Red Sox after the Blue Jays basically gave up in the American League Easy by deciding that they will explore trade options for Roy Halladay. Halladay would most likely be acquired with the loss of several of the organization’s top pitching prospects. Nothing has been confirmed yet, and it is mostly just speculation.
A final congratulations to the Red Sox All Stars: Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Jonathan Papelbon, Jason Bay, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia. The Red Sox have the most All Stars than any other club in the majors, but unfortunately due to family health issues, Pedroia will not be attending the game and was replaced by Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena.
The Sox have a shortened week coming up with the All-Star break going from Monday to Thursday, but then hit the road and head to Toronto for a weekend series with the Blue Jays.
Tags: Aaron Bates, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Bay, John Smoltz, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Justin Masterson, Kansas City Royals, Kevin Youkilis, Nomar Garciaparra, Oakland Athletics, Roy Halladay, The Starting Nine, Tim Wakefield