Posts Tagged ‘Boston Red Sox’

We had no business playing past game 162. Seattle, Oakland and Toronto were more deserving by playing better baseball the entire month of September. Contrast the Sox’ anemic hitting and bullpen explosions. Yet, we beat the Evil Empire and somehow squeezed past a superior Tampa team before falling to the Astros. Not bad.

What did we learn in 2021? Alex Verdugo is one of the few, and I do emphasize few, hitters who hits opposite the shift. He loves left field and left field loves Alex. J.D. Martinez is a guaranteed whiff on low and away breaking balls. At his age with his success, I find this malady ridiculous. Hunter Renfroe is indeed one of the better right fielders in MLB. Christian Arroyo injures himself while waking up. Rafael Devers is Yaz II with his back breaking swing. While successful, far too many pop ups. Bobby Dalbec should receive a 10-year deal and play first base and only first base. Xander Bogaerts is an 81 game offensive wonder, then becomes an 81 game offensive shoulder shrug. Kiki Hernandez can play almost anywhere. Christian Vazquez needs to lay off 3,000 calorie days. He is a chunk by the end of May and his defense (mainly too many passed balls) suffers into the the late summer.

The following should never wear a Red Sox uniform again and if found in Boston immediately escorted to the city limits: Adam Ottavino (at times, I thought he would weep after a difficult 2/3’s of an inning), Darwinzon Hernandez (I cringed when he would stand in the bullpen), Phillips Valdez (he hit 7 batters in 40 innings) and Austin Davis (why did Chaim Bloom trade a living baseball player for this guy?).

The 2021 Winter To Do List includes saying good-bye to J.D. Martinez, Kyle Schwarber (he is a defensive travesty at first base), and Eduardo Rodriguez, acquiring a large bat (preferably Kris Bryant or Jose Ramirez) and at least one starter of import and not necessarily a free agent. Trades are nice, especially one including Matt Barnes. As for my focus on Mr. Bryant and Mr. Ramirez, I want to see Rafa gently nudged off third base and become more of a dh. Sure, he can play third every now and then, but his true talent lies with a bat in both hands rather than a glove on one hand. 2022’s starting pitching should feature Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck and a couple of guys who didn’t play in Boston in 2021. The 2022 bullpen has Garrett Whitlock closing. Hirokazu Sawamura and Hansel Robles need a lot of company.

Have a swell winter.


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.