Greg Fiume Getty Images

This week, the Washington Nationals were tied up in a 4-4 game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. when MVP candidate Bryce Harper stepped to the plate. Before getting to the at bat it is important to mention some history. This season the Nationals were favored to win the NL East by just about everyone in baseball. Ex-Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was acquired from the Phillies to help do just that two months ago. In the last few months the Nationals have seen the NL East slip away to the New York Mets and any wild card hope has been stomped out by an extremely competitive NL Central with the Cardinals leading the way and the Pirates and Cubs battling each other for a 1-game home playoff to advance to the divisional round. Just this week the Nationals were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Continue reading Ex-Sox closer Papelbon Brawls With MVP Candidate Bryce Harper »

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The Amazing Rich Hill

September 26, 2015 at 11:34am in Featured, Opinion, Red Sox, Top Story
Rich Hill (Mark L. Baer/USA Today Sports)

Friday night’s 7-0 win over the Orioles featured a dominant performance from a Red Sox starting pitcher, the likes of which the team is unaccustomed to in 2015. Rich Hill was dealing at Fenway Park, tossing a two-hit shutout with a walk and ten strikeouts. Hill seemed nowhere near the Red Sox radar even a month ago, but has burst onto the scene in September with three dominant starts, providing the Red Sox with a short-term ace on the month. While that kind of production is unlikely to be sustained over the course of an entire season, Hill has shown a capability to be effective in the Major Leagues (again), and might be earning himself a chance to make the Red Sox in 2016.

Continue reading The Amazing Rich Hill »

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Tom Brady had another tremendous performance throwing for 466 yards and 3 touchdowns in Sunday's victory over the Bills. AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

Just like every year the hype starts up around the other teams in the AFC East with all the geniuses at ESPN claiming this is the year the Patriots get dethroned. With Rex Ryan taking over as head coach of the Buffalo Bills the “experts” laid on the hype thick and often. Rex did what he always does and stuck his foot in his mouth all week (of course it’s a Rex foot joke). Bill did what he always does and took the time to prepare an outstanding game plan that featured the very guy Ryan claimed he didn’t know, Dion Lewis. If you don’t know by now that Belichick will use every single thing he can to his advantage then you haven’t been paying attention for the past 15 years. Yesterday’s game can be summed up simply with Belichick took one series on offense and defense to figure out exactly what Rex’s game plan was.

– What Tom Brady is doing at 38 years old is nothing short of remarkable. Of course, to everyone in New England who has been watching all this time this is just business as usual. Remember how great he was in 2007 when it wasn’t him who was personally targeted all offseason for an absolutely ridiculous investigation? If you don’t here’s a quick reminder. In his first two games in 2007 we threw for 576 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Through two games in 2015 he has 754 yards, seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a completion percentage of %69.2. Brady has played with a chip on his shoulder his whole career and thanks to Roger Goodell and no one in the league understanding how air pressure works, he’s on pace for the best season of his incredible career. Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 2: Patriots Remind Everyone Who Runs the AFC East; Defeat Bills 40-32 »

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Joe Kelly (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

When the Red Sox decided to shut Joe Kelly down for the remainder of 2015, it ended a roller coaster year for the hard-throwing right-hander. This season has included a lot of failure, and a decent amount of success for Kelly, especially recently. Kelly’s past eight starts have been encouraging, and provide some hope for success going into 2016. Whether or not Kelly will still have a shot at a rotation spot is debatable, but there is success to build off of. The most important factor of Kelly’s recent stretch of success is consistency, which he has generally lacked for most of his Red Sox career. Since Kelly will not be taking the mound again in 2015, we can take a look at his season as a whole, and the results might be somewhat surprising. I like to hear bad news first so I’m going to start there.

The Bad

Basically the first four months of the 2015 season. Kelly’s first 17 starts left him with a 6.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, and .284 Average Against. It essentially seemed like every time Kelly pitched, he ended up with as many earned runs allowed as innings pitched, almost always leaving his team trailing. While Kelly maintained decent strikeout (7.54 K/9) and walk (3.36 BB/9) rates, his run prevention was awful at best. Part of that problem was a near-complete lack of command from Kelly. That issue does not really show up in the walk rate, but it was apparent in watching Kelly pitch; he would miss with the first few pitches to fall behind in the count, then leave a pitch over the middle of the plate to get crushed. This kind of performance leads to a high pitch count, exits in the early innings, and a huge burden on the bullpen to finish the game. Kelly would probably like to forget the first two-thirds of the season as much as the Red Sox as a whole.

Continue reading The Good, The Bad, The Joe Kelly »

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Jean Machi (Andy Marlin, USA Today Sports)

Believe it or not this is a serious question: why on the good, green Earth do the Red Sox continually put “Mean” Jean Machi into games in key situations? When Koji Uehara was lost for the season the team tried having Machi replace him in the closer role, which we can say was a resounding failure. Dare one say, it might have even brought back memories of Alfredo Aceves. But even after his demotion, Machi still seems to find himself on the mound in key situations, which might actually be worse for the team than having him start a clean inning in the ninth. It is clear that the Red Sox bullpen as a whole is an unreliable mess, but Machi is basically the figurehead of that inconsistency and should no longer be trusted to pitch any kind of meaningful innings in 2015.

Continue reading Why Do the Red Sox Still Trust Jean Machi? »

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Tom Brady came out firing with four touchdowns three of which to Rob Gronkowski (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Football has returned and our defending champion New England Patriots came out with fire on banner night. Tom Brady came out to an incredible ovation as was expected after the way he was treated for the past eight months. The “Where is Roger” chants were perfect and I was happy they showed up towards the end of the game when the Patriots already had control.

I had the privilege of attending the game (always pays to know a guy) and the fans were genuinely into taking it to the Steelers all night. Roger was an afterthought and that’s exactly how it should have been. Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 1: Brady Nearly Perfect as Patriots Beat Steelers on Banner Night »

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Wade Miley (Bob DiChiara/USA Today Sports)

When the Red Sox acquired Wade Miley in the offseason, they did not expect him to carry the starting rotation. The team was looking for a pretty good/not great innings eater who could be counted on for a quality start virtually every time out. For much of 2015 Miley had underperformed those expectations. Miley has been much better in the second half, and has looked more like the mid-rotation horse the Red Sox were looking for.

It is hard to say what the main reasons were for Miley’s underwhelming first half in Boston. There certainly could have been an adjustment period for a new team, new catcher, and a new league that he had not really pitched to before. Whatever the cause, Miley’s first half line was entirely unimpressive: 6.48 K/9, 3.29 BB/9, .269 AVG against, 4.80 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 4.42 xFIP. The peripheral stats are mediocre, and the estimators suggest that Miley might not have been too awful, but the entire picture is still uninspiring. There is no stat in that line that brings value to the team, making Miley essentially replacement level.

Continue reading The Red Sox Can Now Count on Wade Miley »

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