Hey David ! FIGURE IT OUT.

July 18, 2016 at 6:57pm in Featured, MLB, Red Sox, Top Story
david price  globe

With a chance to sweep the Yankees and pull to within one game of the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the East, the Red Sox had their $200 million dollar man on the mound last night. Coming out of the break, Sox fans (including myself) were hopeful that David Price had figured out the source of his struggles throughout the first half of the year. Unfortunately, it was much of the same for Price and the Sox last night in the Bronx.

Like so many times this season, the big lefty looked sharp in the opening frames. His velocity was excellent, painting the black with a fastball touching 96 mph early and often. That, combined with his ability to mix in his breaking ball saw Price making quick work of the Yankees 19th ranked lineup through the first three innings. But, much like it has SO many times this season, one big inning ultimately did in the Red Sox “ace”.

So often this year, Price’s nemesis has been the long ball. While he didn’t allow a yabo last night, (a small miracle) he did surrender five hits in the fourth inning that resulted in three Yankee runs. Combine that with an excellent performance from Tanaka and the great Yankee bullpen, and that was all she wrote for the Sox and their six game winning streak.

Watching a pitcher with Price’s track record and ability struggle so mightily this season has been nothing short of perplexing. Mowing down lineups for years with the Rays, Jays, and Tigers, no one could have envisioned him sitting on an ERA of 4.36 twenty starts into his Red Sox career. Here’s hoping he can right the ship before the Sox and their playoff hopes disappear in the heat of the summer.

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BAE

This time of year is usually slow for most sports cities, however Boston is not like everyone else.  The Celtics, Red Sox, and The Patriots all have had a pretty busy week.

The Red Sox

With the all-star break behind us it’s time for The Sox to focus on the second half of the season.  The Red Sox started on the road against their arch rival Yankees who are having a terrible year.  Stephen Wright got the ball in game 1 of the series and was well rested since he wasn’t allowed to pitch in the all-star game, (Which is another story in itself).  The Yankees couldn’t touch Wright until the 6th inning, but with Boston bats hitting 3 Homeruns it was to much for The Yankees to handle.  Game 2 of the series was all about Eduardo Rodriguez, he went 7 innings while only giving up 1 earned run.  Oh, and Sandy Leon hit a 3 run homerun, what a find he has been for this team.  It is important The Sox get all the wins they can now, the end of their season is a gauntlet with more than half of their games on the road.

The Celtics

Trade rumors have been all the talk in Boston.  Blake Griffin? Russell Westbrook? Jahlil Okafor?  Nobody really knows if The Celtics will make a deal, and who it will be for.  As a Celtic fan you have to be excited, there’s hope around this team right now.  If The Celtics are to land one of these players I think they’ll be seeing Cleveland in The Eastern Conference Finals.

The Patriots

Jimmy Garoppolo is the starting quarterback for The Patriots for the first four games of the season.  There has been mixed feelings around if Brady made the right decision or not.  However, taking the suspension now is the smart play, I’d rather have Brady missing the first four then the last four.  This suspension will also be good for this teams future, either the league sees that Garoppolo can be a starter in this league and we trade him.  Garoppolo plays really well and Belichick keeps him around to one day take over for Brady. Or worst case scenario, Garoppolo plays terrible and The Pats start off the season with a losing record.  All and all I think The Pats will be just fine, and that a pissed off Brady coming back is bad for the NFL.

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Petco Park in San Diego.

All Star Weekend was memorable for more than just the 61 home runs that Giancarlo Stanton belted during the Home Run Derby.

This game held special meaning for David Ortiz, the AL DH. In his final season, and final all star game, Ortiz was the starter for the AL at DH. While Ortiz was certainly the man of the hour, it was his Red Sox counterparts that actually outperformed Papi in San Diego.

Ortiz went 0 for 1, with a walk, and was pulled shortly thereafter. Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, and JBJ all had at least one hit, contributing to the 4-2 victory over the NL.

Xander smacked a double down the left field line, Betts singled and scored, and Jackie Bradley sent two singles through the infield.

Eric Hosmer was the game’s MVP, who homered and drove in two runs.

The Red Sox are back in action tonight, taking on the Yankees in the Bronx. Eduardo Rodriguez is starting for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox are doing well so far in July. It has been no secret that pitching has been holding this team back. As previously spoken about on SOB, Dave Dombrowski traded Anderson Espinoza, the number one pitching prospect for the Red Sox to San Diego for Drew Pomeranz, who is likely to be the number two or three starter for Boston moving forward.

The Red Sox also managed to sign their first round draft pick, Jason Groome, to a $3.65 million contract, pending a physical.

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Drew Pomeranz

Dave Dombrowski is wheeling and dealing again.  Last night, the Red Sox GM, traded Anderson Espinoza, their top pitching prospect, to the San Diego Padres for All-star lefty Drew Pomeranz.  Dombrowski is clearly in a win-now attitude and is doing whatever he can to make this team better come October.  Many people are upset at Dombrowski because they believe that he gave up too much for Pomeranz.  Although it was only one player, Anderson Espinoza, is what many fans and scouts believe to be their best pitching prospect they’ve had in years.  He is only 18 years old but he was dominant pitching for the both the Dominican Summer League Red Sox and the rookie level Gulf Coast League Red Sox.  He has struggled a little in Low A Greenville and maybe Dombrowski didn’t see as much as other people did and decided this was the right time to pull the trigger.

People are also concerned about Drew Pomeranz.  Pomeranz is a 27 year-old journey man who has been traded multiple times, been sent to the bullpen, and been sent to Triple AAA.   He was the number 5th pick in the 2010 draft but before this year he was never able to find his groove.  In the 2016 season, Pomeranz is having a career year.  He is 8-7 with a 2.47 ERA, which ranked 3rd in the National League.  He’s never pitched over 100 innings, which is a concern, but this year feels different.

I understand why some Sox fans would be frustrated by this move, but I feel like Dombrowski did the right thing.  The Sox want to win this year and in order to do that they need good starting pitching. If Price, Wright, Porcello, and Pomeranz keep on pitching like they have all year than this team will be good enough to win a World Series.  The Pitching market is weak this year and in order to get something you have to give up something.  The Sox did that without giving up either Moncada or Benintendi.  They also have Pomeranz locked up until 2018 so it’s not like they gave up too much for a rental.  I’m sure Ortiz is feeling good about this deal because this is his last year and the ultimate goal for him is to go out as a four-time World Series Champion.

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Sox At The Break

July 10, 2016 at 7:45pm in Red Sox, Uncategorized
ORTIZZZ

The Red Sox are 49-38 at the all-star break, not bad since the last 2 seasons they were out of the playoff hunt at this time.  There are obviously places this team needs to improve before they can be legit contenders this season.  However all of us Sox fans should be happy with our team right now.

Team Grade B+

B+ seems like an acceptable grade to give this Red Sox team.  They have had some timely hitting, good pitching at time, and seems like this team enjoys each other’s company and playing everyday.

Biggest Disappointment

The biggest disappointment thus far has been Craig Kimbrel in my eyes.  Yes, David Price is a solid answer as well, however I really thought Kimbrel was going to be dominant.  Farrell also needs to do a better job using Kimbrell.  I actually think his stint on the DL could be a blessing in disguise.

Biggest Surprise

The common answer in this category is Jackie Bradley Jr, However the answer is David Ortiz.  Really who could have predicted this season from Ortiz?  He is top 10 in nearly every american league hitting statistic, and is hitting for both average and power this season.  More importantly he has been a real leader in the clubhouse and on the field.

MVP

Xander Bogaerts has been the best player for The Sox this season, you could even argue he has been the best player in baseball this season.  Xander is doing it both in the field and at the plate this season.  He is hitting .331 which is good for 2nd in the American League, already has double digit home runs with 10, and most impressively he has been hitting well to all fields this season.  Xander is cementing himself as the best shortstop and maybe player in the Majors.

 

 

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Red Sox acquire reliever Brad Ziegler from Arizona (Getty Images)

It’s no secret that Dave Dombrowski has been in search of bullpen help as the August trade deadline fast approaches. Last night (or early this morning) the Red Sox acquired 36 year old righty Brad Ziegler from Arizona for prospects Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe. Ziegler will immediately help to stabilize a bullpen that has been teetering on the brink of implosion for months. Koji Uehara, while certainly effective at various times throughout the year, has been something of a “choose your own adventure” on the bump this season. You never know if you’re getting the dominant Koji we remember from 2013 who helped lead the Sox to a World Series title, or if you’re getting the guy we saw last night, giving up monster yabos to a less-than-stellar Rays lineup and nearly blowing a game that the Sox seemed to have in the bag. Junichi Tazawa, who has been an extremely valuable bullpen piece for the Sox over the past several seasons, has completely fallen off the rails this year. His ERA has ballooned since a solid start to the season, and he simply can no longer be relied upon in high leverage situations. Add in the fact that Carson Smith was lost earlier this year to Tommy John, and you begin to see why this move was imminent.

Ziegler will help to spell Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, who has been dealing with some knee soreness in recent weeks. While Kimbrel certainly hasn’t been the dominant closer we all expected coming over from Atlanta in the offseason, he’s still the best relief pitcher on this staff by a wide margin. Dave Dombrowski didn’t bring Brad Ziegler in to take Craig Kimbrel’s job. The move is more of an “insurance policy” of sorts. Ziegler does an excellent job of pitching to contact, and he is a veteran reliever who is comfortable pitching in almost any situation. One of the biggest knocks on Kimbrel this year has been his inability to perform in non-save situations. Ziegler should help to remedy that issue, in addition to taking over the eighth inning role for Koji.

What really gets me excited about the Sox recent acquisitions is the idea that Red Sox front office is gearing up for bigger, better moves as the trade deadline draws closer. Getting a guy like Aaron Hill, who has been a terrific hitter at Fenway throughout his career (.308) to play third against lefties and give Pedroia the occasional day off at second was the first of what feels like many moves on the horizon for Dave Dombrowski and the Sox. Then Ziegler today, instantly fills another void.

In order to make the “big splashes” on the trade market, a savvy GM  first must take care of the leaks and crevices. Getting a big name pitcher the likes of Jose Fernandez of Chris Sale is of no value to the Sox if their bullpen is just going to give up the lead in the 7th or 8th. It’s now clear that the Sox are in it for the long haul, and that Dave Dombrowski has a few more tricks up his sleeve before the August 1st deadline.

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Kimbrel was selected to the 2016 ASG. Leon Halip (Getty Images)

Six Red Sox players were recently named to the All-Star team, with Dustin Pedroia currently on the outside looking in. Starting for the Red Sox in San Diego will be David Ortiz (DH), Xander Bogaerts (SS), Mookie Betts (OF), and Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF). Pitchers selected from the Red Sox include Steven Wright and Craig Kimbrel.

Five of the aforementioned names should have almost been shoo-ins. Ortiz, at 40, is hitting at an unbelievable rate. Bogaerts is clearly the best shortstop in the AL. Betts and Bradley Jr. have been impeccable in the outfield, and both are exceeding all expectations at the plate. Steven Wright’s ERA is 2.68, second in the AL.

But then there is one more name: Craig Kimbrel, who was acquired by the Red Sox for four prospects in the offseason. San Diego rightly touted him as the best closer in baseball, and at that point in time, it certainly seemed he was. When Boston brought him in, he was portrayed as a bullpen stabilizer and lock-down pitcher in the media.

When Kimbrel is called upon, who shows up on the mound might be based upon the score. From Scott Lauber (ESPN): “In save situations this season, Kimbrel has allowed nine hits and three walks in 18 2/3 innings, with 27 strikeouts and a 1.45 ERA. But in non-save situations, he has allowed 12 hits and 10 walks in 13 1/3 innings, with 21 strikeouts and a 6.75 ERA”.

These stats never shined brighter when Kimbrel faced the Rangers this week with a 3-2 Red Sox deficit. Kimbrel got zero outs, and gave up four runs, turning a potentially winnable game into an unwinnable one for the Red Sox, who are in dire need of wins.

So, is Kimbrel All-Star worthy? Is he worth the four prospects? Maybe. Some would argue that his 17 saves in 19 opportunities is respectable enough for a nod. But not many.

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