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Buchholz Struggles, Bats Fail Red Sox In Texas Finale

By on June 26, 2016 at 7:48pm

The Red Sox desperately needed a solid start from Clay Buchholz on Sunday; they did not get one. Sunday’s 6-2 loss can be attributed to a lack of timely hitting backed up by completely subpar pitching. It might be easy to say that it’s not surprising that Buchholz struggled against a Rangers team with the best record in the American League, especially with how Buchholz’s season has gone this year. But John Farrell used his faith in Buchholz to justify not bringing up a reliever from Pawtucket a night after Steven Wright did not make it out of the fifth inning, and two nights after David Price didn’t make it out of the third. Most Red Sox fans already knew that faith was misguided, and were not surprised when Buchholz allowed the first six batters he faced to reach base, putting giving the Rangers an immediate lead they would not give up. Buchholz also walked more batters (5) than he struck out (3), further illustrating why he was demoted to the bullpen earlier in the season. Sadly the Red Sox find themselves thin on options as far as starting pitching is concerned, but there really is no reason to send Buchholz back out for another start. He has had more than his fair share of chances in Boston, and he has proven that the only thing he can be counted on to do is under-perform.

A few more notes from Sunday’s game:

  • Bryce Brentz went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, the first of his Major League career. It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox try to get Brentz some playing time in Left Field going forward, as his bat could be starting to heat up. His main competition in Left, Ryan LaMarre, has done absolutely nothing with the bat since coming up from Pawtucket, so there should be plenty of playing time available for whoever is performing at the moment.

Continue reading Buchholz Struggles, Bats Fail Red Sox In Texas Finale »

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Marchands stays a Bruin for 8 more years. (cbc.ca)

It looks like Brad Marchand will remain a Bruin for the considerable future as he has just been signed to a new 8 year contract extension worth $49 million, according to multiple sources. Continue reading Brad Marchand Resigns with Bruins for 8 years $49 million »

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RIP to the GOAT

We all know that Muhammad Ali will go down as the greatest fighter to ever put on a pair of gloves, but he will be remembered for so much more than just his lightning-fast hands and infamous Ali shuffle. Ali transcended sports, and he did it on his own terms. He stood up for what he believed in regardless of consequence, and he did it in a time when men, especially African-American men, dared not challenge authority.

Ali was a three-time world champion, and the best smack-talker to ever pick up a microphone. His opponents were often defeated before they ever stepped in the ring, as Ali had been talking them back into their corner in the weeks leading up to the fight.

Nowadays, every athlete wants to be a celebrity and vice-versa, but Ali truly was both, and boy did he ever know it. I’ll never forget listening to clips of Ali and the late Howard Cosell yucking it up before a fight. Cosell knew what buttons to push and helped to bring us some of the greatest quotes and one-liners ever produced. I’d like to think that the two of them are up in the clouds right now enjoying one another’s company once again.

So RIP to the Muhammad Ali, the greatest of all-time. You turned sport into spectacle. You “shocked the world”.  “Rumble young man, rumble.”


Carson Smith (Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)

The Red Sox were planning to open the 2016 season with a revamped bullpen being a major strength, especially in light of the litany of questions surrounding their starting rotation. The relief corp still figures to be strength of the pitching staff, but it took a major hit when the team announced yesterday that right-hander Carson Smith is going to open the season on the disabled list with a strained flexor mass muscle. This is extremely disappointing, as Smith was likely going to play a hugely important role in getting leads to Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning. The Red Sox do have the personnel to weather the storm until Smith returns, but it will not be as sure as it was just days ago.

Continue reading Red Sox Bullpen to Open Season Without Carson Smith »

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David Price (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Its no surprise to anyone that the Red Sox are planning to play at the top of the starting pitching market this offseason, both in trades and free agency. David Price has been seen as the top available arm, along with Zack Greinke and sometimes Johnny Cueto. Each would be a pretty significant upgrade over what the team currently has in its rotation, but there are legitimate risks associated as well. Those risks seem to make the trade market a more desirable upgrade route for the Red Sox, although Dave Dombrowski has strongly alluded to the free agent market as the most likely option to add a starter. This news came following the team’s acquisition of Craig Kimbrel from the Padres, though it wasn’t entirely surprising.

The story has gotten interesting over the past five days, as reports are now pouring in from reputable sources that the Red Sox are prepared to be the highest bidder for Price’s services. Ken Rosenthal made the first public connection on Monday, though that was allegedly more his own opinion than real speculation. But he then followed with a report of a handful of teams who should have the best shot at landing Price, with the Red Sox included as a favorite. Buster Olney followed by reporting his “high expectation” that the Red Sox would outbid the field on Price, and Tom Verducci concurred. There could be some pack mentality going on, based on the obvious fit between team and player, but that is a lot of agreeing from a lot of different sources.

But the biggest domino fell on Wednesday when Peter Gammons reported that his industry sources agree with the speculation. Not to say that Gammons has never been wrong, but he is one of the more plugged-in reporters in the country, so his opinion should carry a good deal of weight. Nothing appears close at the moment, but with so many people saying the same thing it appears that momentum could be building toward an agreement in the near future. Fans will want to stay tuned to the situation, especially as we get closer to the start of the Winter Meetings in December.

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Craig Breslow (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Whenever the Red Sox decided to go with a “bullpen game” on Saturday afternoon against the Orioles at Fenway Park, they also likely expected some kind of football score to be the final outcome. Red Sox hitters held up their end of that arrangement in scoring eight runs in the contest, but surprisingly seven Red Sox relievers combined to shut out the O’s for the second straight contest. Call it the shock of the century. The bullpen has been the worst part of the 2015 Red Sox, yet still managed to shut out a lineup that included Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Matt Wieters.

This is a bullpen that ranks among the worst in all of baseball:

26th in K/9: 7.76

16th in BB/9: 3.28

28th in Groundball rate: 41.6%

27th in Average Against: .262

26th in ERA: 4.35

30th (dead last) in FIP: 4.59

28th in xFIP: 4.33


Against an offense that ranks among the most powerful in the game:

4th in Homeruns: 204

9th in RBI: 648

6th in Slugging: .418

4th in Isolated Power: .168


It is also notable that veteran Craig Breslow made his first career start after 522 career relief appearances, and also set a new career high with four Innings Pitched. Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, Alexi Ogando, Tommy Layne, Noe Ramirez, and Jonathan Aro covered the remaining five innings, allowing only three hits and three walks to Orioles sluggers. We cannot stress enough how unusual this combined performance was, considering the struggles Red Sox relievers have endured all season long. This is not to suggest that yesterday’s game stands as a huge turning point in the bullpen’s season, only that they came together when needed most and delivered as solid a performance as could be expected, all while their most effective reliever (Koji Uehara) was completely unavailable. In a season that has been dominated by failure and underperformance, this was a fun, refreshing way to be pleasantly surprised.


All stats courtesy of Fangraphs

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Henry Owens (Barry Chin/Boston Globe)

Friday’s win over the Royals at Fenway Park gave the Red Sox their fourth straight win, the last two of which came against the best team in the American League. Just about everything went right for the Red Sox, and they now remain just a win away from taking a series from the reigning AL champs. Henry Owens and Blake Swihart carried most of the load on Friday, with some help from their friends. The contributions from younger players just keep on coming, and are starting to give Red Sox fans hope for 2016.

Continue reading Henry Owens & Blake Swihart Dominate Royals »

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