Posts Tagged ‘2015’

The easy subtitle is “Why Are We Awful?”.

Catching:  Other than Hanigan’s .378 obp, he and his soul mates, Swihart and Leon, are largely unproductive with bats in hand.  The three have a combined 11 doubles, 2 homeruns and a whopping 22 rbi (as of 7/7/15).  A below average trio.  Perhaps Christian Vasquez is near health.

First:  Napoli must go.  I was hopeful that after the Angels’ series, he would remain hot, alas, not so much.  The .192 batting average is indicative of a man who can’t hit a mlb fastball.  Time to move on at the end July.  Thanks for the beard and memories.  Daniel Nava and Travis Shaw can share the spot and offer twice the production of Mike.

Second:  Pedroia reaching 281 ab before landing on the dl is true dirt dog.  .306/.367.  Sounds good.  Return as soon as possible.

Third:  Sandoval’s numbers (.270/.313) are awful.  And all that money in exchange.  7 homers and 29 rbis is as woeful as his ba/obp.  Time to play ball in the second half.  Stay off your phone during game time.

Short:  Bogaerts driving in 40 by and large courtesy of his 19 doubles is a tribute to the patience of Farrell and Cherington.  Change nothing.

Left:  Hanley Ramirez plays the ugliest outfield since his namesake Manny and Jonny Gomes.  Wince, close both eyes, pray.  But, 18 homers and 43 rbis make for a lot of understanding.

Center:  Mookie, oh, Mookie.  You and Xander must stay forever.  The future is bright up the middle.

Right:  I’m lumping Victorino, De Aza (initially, I despised the acquisition, but .317/.364 convinces me otherwise) and Castillo as proof that Ben does not have a well thought plan in right field.  Shane complains when he does not play.  Castillo is an underachiever to date.  Trade Shane to lessen the moan and groan.

DH:  Ortiz hitting .226 is as glaring as Napoli’s .192.  But, with 14/41 in the power category, I trust David will enjoy the true heat of summer and warm his bat.

Special Mention:  Brock Holt.  Enjoy the All-Star game.  May your second half be your first half.

Starting Pitching:  Since dismissing Nieves, the starters have improved.  Granted, Porcello seems to be as much a bust as Kelly, but I’m hopeful one of the two can return to form in August/September.  Buchholz is enjoying a lot more than simple consistency.  He is one of the better A.L. pitchers the last four weeks.  Rodriguez is a welcome addition.  Any lefty who can throw strikes is the same as finding a hundred-dollar bill on the sidewalk.  Smile.  If Masterson remains healthy, at the very least, he should eat 100 innings in the second half.  Miley needs to reduce the walks, thus his whip (1.44.  Far too high for an effective starter).

Bullpen:  Uehara, Tazawa, Ogando and Layne need company.  Ross and Hembree have disappointed.  Breslow may be less of a puzzle to the opposition.  Steven Wright needs more innings.  Just ask Wakefield.

Second Half Prediction:  The A.L. East is awful this year.  Remember the ice cream falling off the cone.  Landing with a plop in the dirt.  That’s the A.L. East . . . and the Red Sox.  If Ben can solve first base and right field as well as land a #2 or #3 starter plus one more proven arm for the seventh/eighth inning, the Sox can make a run because Toronto, Baltimore, Tampa Bay and the Evil Empire aren’t any better.

 

The Boys from Boston will hit in 2015.  Will they pitch is the question?

Ramble:  While the off-season additions to the offense are to be applauded (though the money spent was ridiculous), the bats will center around David Ortiz.  If Papi is healthy, thus productive, the Red Sox thrive.  Sandoval, Ramirez, Pedroia, Betts, Bogaerts and Napoli will prosper with Ortiz in the middle who will create a sizable secondary effect for Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez.  Sandoval and Ramirez in Fenway could post better numbers than ever before, especially Sandoval.  Napoli, who seemed to just miss lofting that deep fly ball over the Monster countless times in 2014, will have a better than average year as he ends his contract with Boston (and, no, Ben better not re-sign him).  Chili Davis as the hitting coach should spur on the boys through thick, thin and long road trips.  However, no media relationship advice will be offered.

Outfield:   Jackie Bradley Jr had his chance in 2014, but t’was not to be.  His behavior issues in Pawtucket, post-Boston, should earn him an opportunity elsewhere.  Thus, Mookie Betts.  Mookie in center is a good fit.  He covers ground, and Lord knows he will need to with Hanley Ramirez attempting to absorb a quick learning curve in left.  As opposed to Bradley Jr., Mookie was a quick study at the plate.  Shane Victorino in right is not definite.  Shane, along with Allen Craig, are the two veterans without a guaranteed position.  If Victorino hits, he plays.  If he struggles, he’s traded, and traded quickly.  The mystery man is Rusney Castillo.  Victorino stands in the way of required at bats.  Rusney needs to play.  And, as always (well at least the last few years), Daniel Nava stands in the shadows waiting for somebody to ask him to dance.

Infield:  Set.  Naps, Pedrioa, Sandoval and Bogaerts.  Napoli has developed into an above average first baseman.  Dustin is the ultimate dirt dog.  Xander needs to continue to master the small things that make a great shortstop (moving him to third is ill advised).  Pablo, with little range, plays a smart hot spot, less the occasional dirt flop as the ball scoots into left.  Brock Holt brings value at a great price.

Catching:  Ryan Lavarnway went from heir apparent to first baseman/dh suspect for untold reasons.  Christian Vasquez, without David Ross, has a lot to learn in a short time.  The Blake Swihart succession talk must stop.  Blake needs at least one more year riding buses, maybe two.  Ryan Hanigan, given half a chance, may well give Vasquez a challenge for playing time.  Who, oh who, will gather the starting pitching’s confidence?

DH:  Ortiz in the batter’s box is always a sight to behold.  Think Santa down the chimney.  Never gets old.  As rest is required, look for Allen Craig, Napoli and possibly Castillo (get those at-bats)  to find Sunday time as the designated hitter.

Starting Pitching:  Otherwise known as What Makes 2015 A Boom Or Bust.  Buchholz is the number one starter.  When reading the Globe, I marvel at the inability (refusal?) to acknowledge that Clay is the number one guy.  Who else?  The guy who listens to the radio via headset a few rows from the protective netting?  In no particular order or until John Farrell and Juan Nieves are ready to say:  Joe Kelly, Wade Miley, Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson, Brandon Workman will form the two-five spots.  A deep group from which to choose.

Relief Corps:  Perhaps Koji Uehara closes.  Perhaps implies perhaps not.  Alexi Ogando was a quality signing.  Granted, he struggled in 2014 with Texas, but the numbers prior bring hope.  Craig Breslow is testament to why lefty pitchers are reluctant to retire.  Nice to be wanted.  With Junichi Tazawa, Robbie Ross Jr, Tommy Layne, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree the bullpen will be a strong point through the never ending test of 162 games.

AAA/AA Help:  Blake Swihart (c), Sean Coyle (inf), Derrick Gibson (of), Henry Ramos (of), Henry Owens (starter), Brian Johnson (starter), Eduardo Rodriguez (starter), Miguel Celestino (relief).

Prediction:  First in the A.L. East, A.L. Champion, World Series Champion.