Jim Davis/Boston Globe

Throughout the season, the Red Sox have been very inconsistent with the catching and left field positions. In the beginning of the season, Blake Swihart was the starting catcher. Not too long after that he started to lose time to Ryan Hanigan and Christian Vazquez. Soon after Vazquez was thrown into the mix, Swihart was not seen again at the catching position and was dropped down to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox.

For the majority of the season, Vazquez has been the everyday catcher with Hanigan catching a game or two here and there. But on June 5th Hanigan suffered a neck strain and was put on the 15 day DL. So most recently we have seen Vazquez sharing time at catcher with Sandy Leon, who is batting 10 for 16 (.625) on the season. Vazquez has seen significantly more time than any other catcher the Sox have had this year, but I question this. Christian is batting only .221 this year but is a pretty good defensive catcher with a strong arm. I just question why with a guy like Leon who has been hitting very well when he gets in, doesn’t see a little more playing time. I understand he’s only had 16 at bats, but when a guy is that hot coming into his first at bats of the season, you usually keep him in and see what he can do.

The biggest question the Sox face is who is going to be their left fielder. I feel like every time I watch them there’s someone different in left. The Sox started the season with Brock Holt as their starting left fielder. He played pretty much every day in left and performing at an average rate. But when he suffered a concussion on May 20th, he was put on the DL and hasn’t returned since. Holt is recovering from a concussion slower than normally but concussions are taken much more seriously now a days since we know so much more about the dangers of them. Holt is currently rehabbing with the Paw Sox and he is batting 3 for 6, with two doubles in two games. His return date to the Red Sox is uncertain but I can imagine when he get’s back he will be thrown right back into the lineup to see how he performs.

Meanwhile, when Holt was gone, left field saw action from mainly two different players; Chris Young and Blake Swihart. When Swihart was sent down to the minors, he decided that his best chance at playing for the Red Sox would be to switch to outfield and compete for the left field spot. Being the athletic and quick player he is, he transformed himself into a surprisingly well outfielder. Him and Chris Young would split time with each other in left. But Swihart was placed n the 15 day DL when he severely sprained his ankle running into a wall. So this leaves Chris Young alone, who has been playing left almost every day for the Sox and performing fairly well. He is batting .282 on the season and has had some big hits for the Sox this season. He has turned himself into a guy that we could see as an everyday player in the outfield.

But the thing is, when Holt finally comes back the Sox are going to put him back in left to compete with Young. Which is fair because he lost his starting spot due to injury. However it is not a given that Brock will just get his starting spot back because he was only batting .239 at the time of his injury, so it’s going to be a battle between the two. And when Swihart returns from his injury, who knows what’s going to happen because he was also hitting and playing fairly well in left.

Now the problem I have with all of this is that many teams don’t play well when there’s constant changes to the starting lineup. Most teams have the same guys at the same positions for the majority of the games. The Red Sox seem to have a different lineup every night. Whether its the catcher, the left fielder, the second baseman, or Ortiz has a day off; its always different. Having too many changes to a lineup too often can screw up the flow or momentum of a team. I blame a good amount of losses to this problem. John Farrell has made many Sox fans angry this year with his questionable choices in just about any decision he makes. As the season goes on, Farrell needs to make up his mind of who his every day players are because playing musical chairs with these guys all year just isn’t going to work.

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Top 10: NBA Nicknames

June 17, 2016 at 4:38pm in Featured, NBA, Opinion, Top Story
top 10

With LeBron (King James) and Kyrie (Uncle Drew) pushing Steph and Klay (The Splash Bros) to a game 7 last night, I wanted to get into some of my favorite NBA nicknames of all-time. This list isn’t necessarily a list compiled of the greatest players, but rather ones who’s nicknames fit them like a glove. Here we go.

10.) Kevin Garnett- “The Big Ticket”

Back in 1995 when Kevin Garnett broke into the league, Minnesota wasn’t exactly the most sought out destination to take in an NBA game. In fact, before KG arrived, the Timberwolves had never won more than 29 games in a season. Garnett quickly helped to change the fortunes of the franchise, thus earning the “Big Ticket” nickname in the process. The young, skinny phenom was the biggest ticket in town, and he was the ONLY reason to come out to a Timberwolves game 90’s.

9.) Kobe Bryant- “The Black Mamba”

Only Kobe could give himself his own nickname and actually have it stick. The black mamba is the second largest venomous snake in the world and it is also the fastest. In his prime, Kobe exemplified all the qualities of this deadly reptile. He was cerebral, fast, and could strike at any moment.

8.) Allen Iverson- “The Answer”

When AI first came into the league in ’96, he surprisingly donned only one tattoo. The tattoo was a bulldog with the words “The Answer” etched above it. The number one pick was exactly the answer that basketball fans of a different breed were looking for. He didn’t conform to the cookie-cutter image that most players were forced to portray in the mid-90’s, and people either loved him or hated him for it. AI wore baggy clothes, spoke his mind, and constantly walked the line between edgy and insane. He truly was “The Answer” for the city of Philadelphia, as he helped to turn the team into a contender and eventually led them to an NBA finals appearance in 2001.

7.) Dominique Wilkins- “The Human Highlight Film”

Dominique will go down as one of greatest dunkers to ever lace them up, so this nickname fits him to a T. Anytime he stepped foot on a court, you knew that Dominique was going to do something special. He had a way of making a dunk look effortless and violent all in one amazing, jaw-dropping package. “The Human Highlight Film” provided us with a reel of dunks and athletic plays that we will be watching for years and years to come.

6.) Paul Pierce- “The Truth”

I may be showing my bias here, but Paul Pierce and “The Truth” nickname just does it for me. I grew up watching Pierce carry the Celtics on his back through the late 90’s and 2000’s until KG and Ray finally arrived to help take the load off. He actually earned the nickname from none other than Shaquille O’Neal after torching the Lakers for 42 points on 13-19 shooting. As Shaq famously said “My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the motherfucking truth. Quote me on that and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is The Truth”.

5.) Pete Maravich- “Pistol Pete”

Pistol Pete was Steph Curry before Steph Curry. His handle was untouchable, his court vision was unparalleled, and he could shoot the lights out from anywhere on the court. If the three point line existed during Pistol Pete’s era, we would remember him as the greatest shot maker in the history of the game. When he got going in transition, it was as if he had been shot out of a pistol.

4.) Karl Malone- “The Mailman”

Karl Malone was know as “The Mailman” because he always delivered (except for championships) for his team. He was a rebounding machine, and he and John Stockton were virtually unstoppable in the pick and roll. Growing up I knew two things: The real mailman was going to bring me my SI for Kids every month, and the Karl Malone mailman was going for 20 and 10 every time he stepped on the court.

3.) Julius Erving- “Dr. J”

Julius Erving was one of the smoothest athletes in the history of sports. Everything about his game seemed so effortless. From his ability to glide down the court it what seemed like three giant steps, to his unreal leaping talent that helped him to glide through the air and throw down some of the most legendary dunks in NBA history. He was known as “The Doctor” because his dismantling of opponents was like an operation. He’d put you under, and before you know it, you’d wake up and it’s all over.

2.) Earvin Johnson- “Magic Johnson”

Earvin Johnson was simply…magic. Never before had we seen a ‘6″8 point guard who could do literally everything on a basketball court. His height, vision, passing prowess, and basketball IQ helped make him one of the greatest players in NBA history. Much like an audience at a magic show, fans oohed and awed at Magic’s unreal talents as he led the Showtime Lakers to five championships.

1.) Glen Davis- “Big Baby”

The reason why Big Baby comes in at number one on this list is because his nickname has become his actual identity. He looks like a big baby, he whines and cries like a big baby, and his play at times is reminiscent of an infant who doesn’t quite have fully developed motor skills. I remember watching KG berate Big Baby on the bench and bringing him to tears when they both played for the C’s. Big Baby couldn’t hold back his tears, and in that moment, he was no longer Glen Davis. He was now Big Baby.

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Jason Groome (Max Preps/CBS Sports)

The Red Sox selection of amateur lefty Jason Groome was a case of extremely good fortune and timing. The pick was almost universally regarded as a steal, as many writers felt that Groome was a top 2 prospect in this draft, and was at one point considered the favorite to go first overall. That Groome fell to the Red Sox with the 12th pick is an example of how the Red Sox should be approaching the draft. While the draft pool system makes it harder to just throw big signing bonuses at amateur players, there are still cases like Groome where a team like the Red Sox can take advantage of their spending capacity and add a premier talent.

Continue reading Red Sox Benefit from an Opportunistic Draft Strategy »

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Credit: Sportingnews.com

David Ortiz, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. are among the leaders in the AL all star voting as of Tuesday. Jackie sits comfortably in the number three spot (over 937,000 votes) right behind Mike Trout and Lorenzo Cain. He is expected to be a starter in the All-Star game. Meanwhile Ortiz and Bogaerts both lead the AL with votes in their positions. But these are not the only three Sox players that may make the All-Star game this July.

Potential Sox Players to Make ASG:

  • DH David Ortiz
  • SS Xander Bogaerts
  • OF Jackie Bradley Jr.
  • OF Mookie Betts
  • 2B Dustin Pedroia
  • 1B Hanley Ramirez
  • 3B Travis Shaw

The Sox have a chance a pretty good chance to bring a decent amount of players to the All-Star game, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The Red Sox are the best hitting team in the MLB. They are first in runs (342), hits (610), doubles (152), total bases (1015), RBIs (329), AVG. (.290), OBP (.355), SLG (.482), and OPS (.837). They lead in almost every major offensive statistic so it wouldn’t be a shocker if half of the starting lineup ends up All-Stars this season. At one point during the season, six of the nine starting players were batting over .300 which is ridiculous. These guys are proving that they are a dominant force on the offensive side and they are really trying to make a name for themselves this year.

Now their pitching is another story. Everyone knows that Boston’s weakest part of their game is their pitching. But they do have some solid pitching from David Price, Rick Porcello, and Stephen Wright. If any pitchers from the Sox were going to make the All-Star game, I would have to say it would only be Porcello. He is 7-2 on the season with a 4.04 ERA. But I honestly don’t think Porcello will make it. If he had another win or two and had a lower ERA then yes he probably would make the team.

This time of year is looking very different from where the Sox were last year. The only player from Boston to make the All-Star game was Brock Holt. Now Holt has been hurt for a while with a concussion so we haven’t seen him so he’s out of the question for this year’s game. But to go from one All-Star to potentially four, five, maybe even six All-Stars in one year is a huge improvement.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the voting ballots end up and who leads in each category. I want to see our players at the top of the food chain come July. But its up to YOU Boston fans to cast your vote and get our boys to the All-Star game. So head on over to MLB.com and vote! You can vote a total of 35 times total and five times a day. If I could vote 35 times a day I would but I also have no life so that’s just me.

Happy Voting

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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.”


Photo courtesy of sportspyder.com

The Boston Bruins fell short of expectations when they failed to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs for a second straight year. Although many recognize the B’s need a shakeup on defense, one superstar has been connected as a possible offseason signing for the Bruins and his name is Steven Stamkos.

It’s been widely speculated for much of the season that Stamkos will leave Tampa Bay, the team that drafted him first overall in 2008, and pursue work in another, more passionate hockey city. Rumors have linked the Bruins as a potential destination for Stamkos, particularly because of his relationship with head coach Claude Julien when they represented Team Canada in previous Olympic Games. However, the likelihood of this happening is slim-to-none. Continue reading Don’t Count On Stamkos Signing In Boston »

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Joe Kelly (Elsa/Getty Images)

The honest truth is that Joe Kelly struggled against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night. It was a bit of a strange start for Kelly, because while he did struggle, he also showed some encouraging sings that suggest the potential for future success. Kelly lasted 4.2 innings while allowing 5 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks. Kelly did also strike out 8 Blue Jays in his outing, which provides the basis for confusion. The initial reaction is that Kelly allowed too many runs in too short a time frame, but seeing the high strikeout total gives pause for reconsideration.

Kelly’s return was met with solid optimism, as he had been racking up an impressive strikeout total in Triple-A Pawtucket while on a rehab assignment as well. It is easy to think that a Major League quality pitcher should easily strike out a good number of Triple-A hitters, but that is not a guarantee. It is encouraging to see that Kelly has carried the strikeout ability to the Major League level, because it will allow Kelly to get out of tough situations, especially if he keeps allowing baserunners at a similar rate to his last start.

Continue reading Kelly Struggles Against Blue Jays, Leaves Room For Hope »

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