Posts Tagged ‘Red Sox’

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 Sox spend a lot of money on two guys.  Never a good sign.  One enjoys too much food.  The other seems tender, nay, delicate.

The idea of trading Xander Bogaerts is idiotic and should be banished from Cherington’s skull.  The idea of trading Middlebrooks is the classic foregone conclusion.  Will’s inability to hit September pitching was his exit from Fenway, not the signing of Sandoval.  If Will could not hit the liberal sprinkling of AAA pitching auditioning during the final month of the year, Will simply cannot hit at the major league level.  For that reason, I begrudgingly accept the arrival of Panda at third.

Panda at third brings a somewhat marginal fielding percentage of .967.  Meh.  Do know that Mr. Sandoval has logged 63 games at first with a much more impressive .991 catch it and throw it percentage.  Which leads me to wonder if Napoli will not join the legion of trade rumor.  Pablo’s bat should achieve full bloom in Fenway.  He has a seven-year average of 36 doubles, 20/86 and .294/.346.  Granted, his former home field was spacious and deep, but as with most power righties, the possibilities of Fenway are forever intriguing.  Since 2009, Pablo has played in excess of 150 games three seasons (’09, ’10 and ’14), thus I want to believe that the Sox will receive their money’s worth regarding Pablo appearing at work.  Finally, Mr. Sandoval’s post-season production of .344/.389 and 6 dingers with 20 rbi should never be far from consideration.

Now for Hanley Ramirez.

Even though I opened with a pinch about his “health”, Hanley has an above average record of playing nine innings. From ’06 to ’09 he was north of 150 games.  In ’12 he played in 157.  Last year featured a return close to normal (128 games compared to 86 the year before and 92 in 2011, thus the reputation as to tenderness).  His error total for a shortstop is noteworthy.  The last four seasons have featured 14, 15, 13 and 16 kicks which is nowhere near disappointing for a starting middle infielder.  Then we consider his bat:  162 games (hold that thought) will yield 40 doubles, 25/87 and .300/.373.  Also include 35 steals.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Regarding all the rumor of positions to play, exiting Red Sox, arriving Red Sox and the lot, these two gentlemen create options galore for Ben (and Larry, who forever lurks in the shadow of decision).  Hanley played 90 games at third base in 2012.  As mentioned above, Pablo is familiar with first base (though I would rather Ryan Lavarnway become full-time familiar with first base in Fenway).  Is 2015 Ortiz’s final year?  If so, Pablo fills (pun intended) the dh spot rather nicely.  Xander should be allowed to continue his journey as the Red Sox starting shortstop.  His potential is considerable.  I’d rather witness Pablo wobble around third for the 2015 season and Hanley in left than endure the bad decision of Xander traded to whomever.  Other than Mookie Betts, the outfield is full of possibility.  Those who scoff at the idea of trading Victorino may want to reconsider the scoff.  Nava proves year after year, he can play, plus at a bargain.  Bradley, Junior finishing in a temperamental huff in Pawtucket gives Ben pause as to Jackie’s time in uniform.  Perhaps a change of scenery would serve Jackie well.  Mookie is the better ball player.  Cespedes seemed eager to speak of other options at the end of 2014.  If his transaction leads to quality starting pitching, transact as soon as possible.  Where does Allen Craig fit?  First?  Left?  Right?  For another team?  If most of these meanderings become truth, Henry Ramos (AA), Derrik Gibson (AA) and Peter Hissey (AA) are a couple of years away to fill any void 2016 forward.  Fear not for the outfield.