Shane Victorino is a valuable and expendable player for the Red Sox to trade before the deadline.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

What exactly was the 2013 season for the Boston Red Sox? A miraculous journey from Spring Training underdogs to bearded kings of October? A triumphant year of destiny inspired by the tragic events of the Boston Marathon? Hardly. The reality is that the 2013 World Series was purchased by the Red Sox, as free agents like Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Koji Uehara, and even David Ortiz fueled their tremendous season.

Heading into last year, Boston was attempting to build a bridge to the future with these free agents. Players like Napoli and Victorino would only be sticking around for a few short seasons until the future of the organization established itself and prepared the Red Sox for long-term success–the true formula for the creation of a sports dynasty. Continue reading Red Sox Should Invest in Youth; Look Beyond 2014 »

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After a tough win on penalty kicks, Argentina moves on to meet Germany in the Finals for the third time. (http://upstreamonline.com.cdn.bitbit.net/)

The Semifinals are complete, and the two games could not have been more different. Germany put an unprecedented beatdown on Brazil, while Netherlands and Argentina couldn’t get anything past each other until Argentina took advantage in a penalty kick shootout.

Certainly, nobody saw Germany’s explosion coming at all, though it was easier to get a point here and there with the other low scores. It’s a close race for the Pick ‘Em’s lead entering the final round.

So check below for the updated results, and be sure to check back on Saturday afternoon for the final picks. Continue reading 2014 FIFA World Cup Expert Picks: Semifinals Results »

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Brady unanimous top 5 choice for CBS writers, opposingviews.com

Naming 100 players in the NFL could be a daunting task for some, but most everyone would agree that ranking the 100 best players is a difficult task for anyone. Any list that tries to rank the best players in a sport will likely meet with contention and debate but at the same time people love lists. They are simple, easy to read, and most importantly they get the competitive and analytical juices flowing.

Two people could have very different takes on what it means to be a top player which is likely why when two CBSSports.com writers compiled recent lists, there were a disparate number of Patriots on each. Pete Prisco included four current Patriots while his colleague Pat Kirwan was able to squeeze in six from New England. Continue reading Several Different Patriots Crack Top 100 Lists »

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The Red Sox need to let Xander Bogaerts work through his slump in the major leagues. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

In the first game of the doubleheader with the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, Xander Bogaerts booted a routine ground ball at third base that cost the Red Sox two runs, and he went 0-4 at the plate with three strikeouts. The game may have been the low point of the year for the 21-year-old shortstop turned third baseman, though the team bailed him out on this occasion with a walk-off victory.

Since June 2 when Stephen Drew became the full-time shortstop, Bogaerts’ batting average has dropped from .300 to below .250, which includes a slide that had him hitless over 27 at bats. His place in the batting order has dropped all the way to ninth, and an anonymous Yankees pitcher was even cited as saying that the projected superstar can’t handle the slider. Continue reading Time in Big Leagues will Heal Slumping Xander Bogaerts »

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The signs point towards Koji Uehara joining Jon Lester as the only Red Sox in the 2014 All-Star Game next week. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The announcement of the rosters for the 2014 All-Star Game included just one member of the Red Sox–pitcher Jon Lester. In recent years, usually a group of Boston players would make the trip, including regulars like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. Yet after fans and players gave their opinions on who will get to make the trip to Minnesota next week, Ortiz along with other Sox candidates such as Koji Uehara and Brock Holt were nowhere to be found.

Offensive struggles, competition keep Ortiz off roster

After finally getting the Red Sox to bite on a two-year contract, Ortiz has put up his worst numbers at the plate since 2009 when it seemed like his career was over. While there’s no doubt he remains the most dangerous hitter in the Sox lineup with an impressive 19 home runs before the break, Big Papi has been hitting closer to .250 than .300 for the majority of the year.

Additionally, the competition in the American League at the designated hitter position actually exists this season. Nelson Cruz has played DH in about half of his games this year for Baltimore and made the roster as a starter and earned his position on the team from the fan vote, even after recently dealing with his PED suspension.

The American League has four potential backup first basemen; Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion, Victor Martinez, and Brandon Moss. Of the bunch, Moss’s numbers are most comparable with Ortiz, but at the end of the day the 2014 season has belonged to Oakland, and they will be well-represented at the game with six All-Stars. Ortiz would be the first to admit that he doesn’t belong in this mix of players, and will probably benefit from a few days off for a change.

Uehara will be first alternate roster option

Closer Koji Uehara seemed like a serious candidate for the All-Star Game, and he is the first option to replace a pitcher who is injured or ineligible to pitch, so he’s certain to end up joining the roster eventually. The 39-year old has been close to flawless in 41.2 innings this season, striking out 52 batters while walking just six and maintaining a 1.30 ERA.

When comparing Uehara to the other right-handed relievers elected, it does seem like he should have been initially chosen. Kansas City Royals reliever Greg Holland has been terrific but less effective than the automatic Uehara, who deserved his spot on the roster, especially since the Royals are already represented with both Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon attending.

Unproven Holt doesn’t belong in Minnesota

As for Brock Holt, the super utility rookie extraordinaire has played unbelievable on both sides of the ball this season, by making the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury at the top of the batting order relatively painless and by playing nearly every position in the field. While his numbers are crawling back down to Earth, only playing in 55 games to this point in the season prevents Holt from being realistically considered, especially given how little his great play has impacted the success of the Red Sox.

Ultimately, the Red Sox are going nowhere in 2014. The bridge is in full effect as the team and the media focuses more on the upcoming Jon Lester free agency than the actual standings. It is unusual for the Red Sox to be out of a playoff race before the All-Star Break, especially for the defending World Series champions, but the future remains bright and it’s fair to expect multiple All-Stars from this promising franchise in the years to come.

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Germany has done well so far, but can they keep it up against the host country? ("Balls of Fury," 2007)

The final four teams in the World’s most prestigious soccer tournament are ready to duke it out. Perennial powerhouses Brazil and Germany start the round off, to be followed by last World Cup’s runner-up Netherlands taking on Argentina.

With Brazil and Germany being ranked third and second in the world respectively, that should be a good game. And Netherlands vs Argentina should have plenty of intrigue as well. In that respect, neither game’s winner was unanimously picked. Even the scores of the game had differences in predictions.

As before, choosing the winner of each game is worth two points, while picking the goals scored by each team is worth one point.

So check below for everyone’s predictions, and come back once the Finals are set for the results. Continue reading 2014 FIFA World Cup Expert Picks: Semifinals »

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Behind home-rain-forest advantage, Brazil was the only team to score twice in the quarterfinals. (http://at-web.org/)

The Semis are set, and it was a tough battle all around. Upstart Costa Rica forced Netherlands to penalty kicks. All other games were decided by one goal as well, two of those by the score of 1-0.

That made extra points tough to come by for our experts, who all unanimously picked the winners of all four games. Still, with four more games in the tournament, there’s plenty of time to make up room.

So check below for the updated results, and come back Tuesday evening for the Semifinal selections. Continue reading 2014 FIFA World Cup Expert Picks: Quarterfinals Results »

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