(Photo/Elise Amendola)

In the bottom of the fourth inning in a match up against the Seattle Mariners Friday night, David Ortiz hit a home run to deep center field, the 521st of his career. This ties Ted Williams on the all time home run list.

This was Ortiz’s 463rd home run with the Red Sox. His 18th home run this season, tied for fifth in the MLB. Ortiz ended Friday night with an OPS of 1.147, the highest in the majors. The next highest OPS is Daniel Murphy at .994. The 40 year old is one of the best hitters in the league this year.

David tying Ted Williams’ home run record is a historical stat as Ted was one of the best Red Sox players of all time. Ortiz will certainly pass Ted on the home run list as more home runs are certainly to come this season.

Milestones like this make you look back on Ortiz’s career and really think about the legacy he will leave when he retires from the game at the end of this season.

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Roenis Elias’ Time to Shine

June 17, 2016 at 1:13pm in MLB, Now!, Red Sox
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The end of the Red Sox four-man rotation offers Roenis Elias an opportunity.

Instead of Clay Buchholz returning from his relegation to the bullpen, John Farrell announced on Wednesday that Roenis Elias will greet the Mariners, his former team, for the opener of a three game series tonight at Fenway Park. Farrell attributed his choice of Elias, at least in part, to the potent left-handed sluggers in the Mariners lineup, most notably Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager.

Elias, 27, was acquired last off season in the trade that sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners in exchange for Elias and Carson Smith. At the time the deal looked like a steal for the Red Sox, but with Elias in Pawtucket and Smith having undergone Tommy John, Miley sounds pretty good as an inning eater in the back of the rotation. Instead it is time for Elias to step up.

Elias successfully made the harrowing voyage from Cuba to the U.S. in 2010, and in the following year began his career playing in rookie league for the Seattle Mariners before working his way up the minor league ranks to Double-A by the end of 2013. The next year Elias made the big league roster out of spring training as the Mariners fourth starter. That season he pitched to the tune of a 3.85 ERA in twenty nine starts before the Mariners shut him down in mid-September with an elbow strain. In 2015, Elias bounced between Seattle and their Triple-A affiliate, Tacoma, posting a 4.14 ERA in twenty two appearances for the big league team.

In a recent interview Dave Dombrowski noted that out of spring training they wanted Elias to find one consistent release point for his curveball. Instead of employing a breaking ball from three or four different arms spots, the Red Sox asked him to find the best one and throw it on a consistent basis in an attempt to refine his command.

This season on the east coast is a change for scenery for Elias,and he has pitched well for Pawtucket. In ten games, nine starts, he has a 3.54 ERA and 8.85 K/9, and in his last five starts he has been particularly sharp. He has focused on finding a consistent breaking ball this season with the PawSox and will need to use this pitch effectively tonight if he wants to keep the potent Mariners offense off balance.

Roenis Elias is presented with a great chance to prove himself tonight at Fenway and, given the state of the Red Sox rotation right now, can earn himself another start if he pitches well. The Red Sox pitching staff is club’s biggest weakness right now, and an emergence from this Cuban south paw would help the team immensely as Dombrowski tries to patch together a reliable rotation before the August 1st trade deadline.

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Orioles,Sox preview

June 12, 2016 at 6:56pm in Boston, Red Sox, Top Story
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The Baltimore Orioles and The Boston Red Sox are two of the best teams in the American League.  They both have a record of 36-26, and both have a high-powered offense.  These two teams played a few weeks ago and split a 4 game series.  If you remember that series the Red Sox bullpen imploded, they gave up 7 home runs in one game.  The offense played was their normal self that series, they scored at least 6 runs a game and one game put up 9.  The offense will have to hit that well again this week.

The Red Sox are set up good with their pitching for the series, with what I think are their 3 best pitchers in Price,Wright and Rodriguez pitching respectively. The Sox are also set up well with all the off days they’ve had lately, the bullpen is rested and more importantly David Ortiz should be well rested.  Also as we all know this Red Sox offense plays much better at home, they abuse the left field wall and really feed off the home crowd.  All and all it will come down to pitching this series, and Price has to set the tone on Tuesday night.

Taking two games from the Orioles this series will be a really good start the this home stand.

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Red Sox Pitching Staff: Help Wanted

June 12, 2016 at 4:53pm in Boston, Red Sox
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The biggest flaw with the Boston Red Sox team at this point in the season has been the pitching staff, and help is needed. The heralded ace David Price has been good this season with a 7-3 record and 91 strikeouts, but his 4.63 ERA leaves plenty of room for improvement. Then there is Steven Wright, who has unexpectedly taken over the second spot in the rotation through his stellar consistency. The knuckle ball profile fits more in the middle to back end of a pitching staff, but Wright’s impressive performance and lack of a viable alternative have propelled him to the front in the rotation.

Rick Porcello follows Wright in the rotation. The twenty-seven year old had an exciting start to the season but has since seen his ERA creep over four in June, which lends itself to some concerns. The return of Eduardo Rodriguez is a welcome addition and can help boost the rotation if he performs, but doubts about the overall quality and depth of the pitching staff are imminent.

After Price there are some critical questions that need to be addressed, and it begins with Steven Wright. Is he really a top two starter for a potential division winner? There is no doubt he has been outstanding this year, the most consistent pitcher on the team, but the unreliable nature of the knuckleball is a tad concerning. It would behoove the Red Sox to see an emergence from either Porcello or Rodriguez as consistent performance from one of these two traditional pitchers would help stabilize the top of the rotation and ease any excessive expectations of Steven Wright.

The biggest problem with the rotation is the vacancy left by disastrous seasons from both Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly. Buchholz has the potential to rebound from his demotion to the bullpen if he can find his command, but Kelly on the other hand is a lost cause. Even worse, in his last start with Pawtucket Kelly left the game after four and two thirds innings with an apparent groin injury.

Thanks to the friendly nature of the Red Sox schedule until mid June, John Farrell announced that he will employ a four man rotation until June 18th. At that point he wants someone to grab the role of fifth starter and demand that spot through their performance. This offers an opportunity not only to the incumbents Buchholz and Kelly, but also Henry Owens and Roenis Elias whom have both spent most of the season in Pawtucket.

If these problems with the pitching staff are not addressed from within the organization the front office will have to make a trade. This is potentially problematic because the market for quality pitching at this season’s trade deadline appears minimal. The two top options are Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics and the Atlanta Braves’ Julio Teheran, both of whom will demand a healthy package of top prospects in return.

In an ideal world the team will find a resolution from within the organization, but earlier this week Dave Dombrowski announced he is looking for both starting and relief pitching help before the August 1st deadline. It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold, but pitching is a key element of success for any baseball team and Red Sox could use some help both in rotation and the bullpen as they prepare for a pennant race and playoff run.

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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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Red Sox Draft LHP Jason Groome

June 9, 2016 at 10:13pm in MLB, Red Sox, Top Story

The Red Sox selected left-handed pitcher Jason Groome with the 12th overall pick in this years MLB Draft. Groome is a 17 year old senior from Barneget High School in Barneget, New Jersey, and was the top rated prospect heading into the draft. The lefty stands six feet six inches tall, weighs 220 pounds, and is currently committed to Vanderbilt University, which also happens to be the alma mater of current Sox ace David Price.

Groome’s pitching arsenal is highlighted by his 96 mph fastball, considered his deadliest pitch, as well as a filthy curveball and effective changeup. Scouts applaud his smooth throwing mechanics and praise his natural pitching ability. He is compared to Giants superstar Madison Bumgarner, although some scouts question whether his overall makeup will translate over into the big leagues. This was the most likely reason for his fall from number one to twelve.

Groome’s stats for this year weren’t all that mind-blowing however he did record a 19 strikeout no-hitter in the first two weeks of the season. This was his most impressive outing since he was out of the lineup for 30 days following a suspension he got for violating New Jersey Interscholastic transfer rules.

From the Red Sox perspective, this is a great pick for the future of the team. It’s been quite obvious that the current group of major league starters, and the underwhelming bunch of minor leaguers aren’t going to be enough in order to win a championship. Groome adds an elite arm as well as raw talent to the pool of Sox pitching prospects, and has the potential to be a very special player once he reaches the show.

Former major leaguer Todd Rizzo spoke highly about Groome in a recent interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, “To me, he’s a once-in-a-generation type pitcher. I’ve seen a ton of pitchers in my lifetime. I swear I’ve never seen anybody with the natural raw ability of Jason Groome,” (MLB.com).

The Red Sox will have until August 15th to sign Groome to a pro contract and convince him to forgo his college plans.

Jason Groome (Photo courtesy of app.com)

Jason Groome (Photo courtesy of app.com)

 

 

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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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