The Pedey and Youk show continues, with new players.

  It is official the Red Sox Season has begun. And I love what I see.  It’s proof what we’ve been saying Youkillis and Pedroia are the Red Sox.  They held the team and came up Big.  Tonight the Red Sox had swagger and muscle.  In a team that was all about pitching and defense, they put runs on the board.  The new players jumped right in getting clutch hits and great defense.  Besides the little gimmick play that the yankees pulled the double steal, they were impressive on the routine.  I loved seeing that 6-4-3.  Beltre is all they said he was.  Becket was concerning  but he’ll come around, Bard did a beauty in the eighth.  And Paplebon back to business, and can prove himself on the field. It all ends with a yankee loss, tell me it doesn’t get better than this.  Now it’s time for me to shut up, cause this game is far more fun to watch then analyze. The Red Sox are going to be alright.dustin-pedroia-ap2.jpg

The New Sox- The Acquisitions and the Philosophy.

I had to get some excitement out about the red sox off season moves.  Summarized Pitching and Defense.  The red sox are trying the conservative route, and they are spending a lot of money on it.  Oddly enough the red sox are doing the good old game of good pitching and solid defense, The only difference is the Sox are aiming at the best pitching and the best defense.   the red sox are adopting the oldest strategy in the book, but since they have the money they will try to do it better than anyone else. The Red sox have spent the money, on the best pitcher available, and the best fielders they could afford.  People may not see it,  but this is a whole different Red Sox team,  this team is now almost completely absent of the power home run type  bats,  they will rely on speed, pitching, and defense.  They realize they can’t beat the Yankees at their own game, money on the best bats, so it seems as if they are trusting in some saber-metric theory that defense and pitching wins more games than home-runs, and they might be right.  I love the choice to go to pitching and defense,  but how do we know we got the best defense, apparently it is based on a defensive stat and theory called the UZR.  Seems like a lot of faith in a stat,  but then again Bill James is the man who changed the game when it comes to stats and baseball,  they might be right here.  I think it is still to much faith in a theory, baseball is hard to make into equations.  The red sox have spent a lot of money on mediocre hitters, so they could have great defenders, I’m as exited as I’m worried.  Enough about the theory who did we get and  how good are they.  I gave a letter grade based on price, quality of player, how well I think they’ll fit on the team, and just my analysis.

Jeremy Hermida — Pickup Grade C
Hermida is decent pickup but he’s a backup to Drew.  I think he’s probably going to be about equal to j.d drew and they’ll trade off regularly.  Not a ground shaking move.  But he’s a good guy to fill in.  A good bench is the mark of a good endurance team.  It’s an average pickup
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Marco Scutaro  —Pickup Grade B-
Marco had a great year last year, and the red sox are looking for a repeat from him.  I don’t think he’ll be an amazing player, but he is a good fit for the red sox. An on base percentage guy and a run scorer, this guy is great for the new sox,  but once again no power, but lot’s of money, his defense is good; he ads to a really athletic infield.  He’s better than every-other SS I’ve seen in sox uniform lately, but he’s getting old, and he’s really just there till the prospects rise to the occasion.  The red sox picked a good man for the job, I have my doubts if he’s the right man for the job.  But the Sox proved to us they will spend in the off season, for a position that needed addressing for a long time.
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John Lackey— Pickup Grade  B+
Lackey makes the sox rotation  better,  and possibly the best in baseball, he’s a good middle of the rotation guy he plays with heart.  He’s not an ace, but the sox don’t need an ace, they are paying him to be the middle guy, somewhat consistent, endurance, type of guy.  He’s a fighter  he wants the ball, and I want him to have it.  He could be a surprise this year with the whole  Matsuzaka thing.  His downside is, he won’t win as many games as we think, he was 11-8 last year,  there will be games where he get’s knocked around at fenway park, that’s why he’s an B plus pickup, he’s good for what the sox want, but there will be days when we hate him.

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Mike Cameron—-Pickup Grade C
I honestly don’t get this one, the guy is old.  I know he’s go a better arm than Ellsbury,  but he’s not a soluton to me at all.  He won’t hit.  I don’t see him performing well on offense.  And I hope I’m wrong.  But right now Cameron is a big “?” for me.  I’m really hoping he turns into something I don’t know about, cause right now I’m not seeing it.  And moving the bestt center fielder in the game to left(minus the arm),  is a little odd.  But we’ll see.
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Adrian Beltre — Pickup Grade  A-
I like the Adrain Beltre pickup the best.  I think it makes our infield  a force to reckon with.  He is a really great third basemen,  and I think his offense will come with the red sox, I’m confident that he makes the red sox that much better.  They say the Sox picked him up for that stat UZR thing, so he’s apparently the best third basemen in the majors.  I don’t know about that, but he is good.  And he makes our infield athletic and solid.  No more Youkillis field flip stuff.  I love it.  He’s a great fit, and the most important piece in the new red sox acquisitions. His pickup tells us what direction the sox are going.  I don’t expect another 2004 from him, but I do expect flashes of brilliance.  When we think, “oh, that’s why we got him”.
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The Long and short of it is.  The New Sox are going to be fun to watch because they are not going to dominate.  We’ll have to handle the close games, the low scoring games,  and some possible offensive disappointment.  But i t should be more fun to watch, and I think the red sox are going to be better than last year, I know big expectations,  but too many missing peices last year, this year we have a vision and a really solid team.  And if you don’t think teams that are set around pitching and defense and clutch hitting can win.  Look at teams like the twins and the rays.  The twins have two -three bats in the lineup and somehow they win.  Well that’s enough of that here is what i expect for lineups and rotation, I’m sure evryone has the same ones anyway.
1.Ellsbury LF
2.Pedroia  2B
3.Youkillis 1B
4.Martinez C
5. Papi DH
6.Beltre 3B
7. Drew/Hermida RF
8. Cameron CF
9. Scutaro SS
1.Beckett
2. Lester
3.Lackey
4.Matsuzaka
5.Buckholz
Press Photos from  http://www.masslive.com

David Ortiz, trade deadline, and an awkward bubblehead  night.

David Ortiz is now on the steroid suspects line up.  Ortiz was called out by the new york times this week, leaving baseball fans left with questions, doubts, and huh’s?  With ortiz in the steroid mix, I have to admit I’m a little shocked.  I really thought he would be left out of this, but the steroid era continues.  Now, Papi said he wants to find out how this could of happened,  so I’ll withhold judgement until I know more.

  My opinion on steroids is, I hope it doesn’t happen again, but it might be awfully hard to change history.   

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The trade deadline is over and complete teams have changed (Pirates).  The Red Sox made that questionable move with LaRoche, and now they follow it with another questionable move for Casey Kotchman for LaRoche.  But, I do however think it is a better fit, just because kotchman is much more versatile and a contact hitter, a better fit for a bench player.   I love the victor Martinez trade, he is a great hitter, and Justin Masterson was the right piece to move.  The red sox lose a good reliever, solid guy, and a great post season pitcher in Masterson, but they get to keep the two young phenoms,  Clay Bochholz and Daniel Bard.      I think it was a good move. However can I extend my sympathy to Indians fans for losing a franchise player in Martinez, he is crushed(he loved Cleavland), Cleavland is crushed, and the Indians have a whole bunch of leftover Victor Martinez bobble heads that they were supposed to give to the first few thousand fans this weekend.  I want one.  If you get one, wow, what a collector’s item.  Another eventfull trade deadline day. 
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What will the red sox due with Laroche?

 


underrated_baseball_player_adam_laroche.jpgWhat the Red Sox will do with a player like Adam LaRoche?  Here is guy who starts every night, and the red sox will most likely turn him into a bench player for a year then pass him on to another small market club in 2010.  Why do we need a mediocre first basemen, when we have Kotsay waiting on the bench?  Kotsay plays a good first base  (considering he’s an outfielder), and he has received very little playing time this year.  Kotsay has also proved to us he can roll with the Sox in the postseason.  I’m just not sure LaRoche is worth the two prospects.  He is a good hitter(.247 12 HR 40 RBI) not, not a great one. He is not consistant at the plate, but he does have power. I don’t know if I like the trade, but I like things about it.  Now, the good things that come with this  deal: Another Veteran, a good 1st basemen and a strong bench. Baldelli, Kotsay, and LaRoche could be in the starting line up in another club in the majors.  A strong bench and tough bullpen win championships.  The Red Sox got LaRoche for one reason, to deepen the lineup for the post season, we’ll see if it plays out.

Looking forward to another great Midsummer classic.

Last year was a great all star game.  I was watching the game with my grandfather, and it was one of the best memories of my life.  I really hate to get so sentimental, but this is what it is all about, I mean people who get baseball, get that it is family thing.  My grandfather who grew up in urban chicago is a cubs fan, and we have a connection with baseball that could not be manufactured with any other sport in the world.  The game got so late (4hrs 50min!!) we had to call it quits before we could finish, and the back forth finally ended with the american league on top with that last play at the plate with Mourneau, classic, my expectations are way up this year, I can’t wait.     

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PF.jpgOh and congratulations to Mr. Fielder for winning the derby.  It was worth the show.  An Impressive show 503 feet are you kidding me.  Cheers to the man with hardest, strongest, and most violent swing in baseball.

What is a rivalry anyway?

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I hate the yankees.  But I Love Yankee’s Fans.
Ok now that we got that out of the way.  Why do I hate the yankees, because they are the Yankees.  If I hated them for any other reason except that they are the yankees, it would be a pervasion of a good thing.  I don’t hate the Yankees in the  lunatic way, I mean, I don’t want to kill them, far from it.  If I met a fan or player, I’d treat him/her with the respect he/she deserves as good guy/gal.  A rivalry is not real hate.  And  when it slips into real hate it crosses a line.      
    A sports rivalry fills that strange need for an enemy that is not really an enemy.  An enemy that doesn’t really do anything to harm you.  A real enemy is terrifying, dangerous, and unpleasant.  While  the sports rival is not wrong, unsettling, or evil.  It is lovely thing to have a distaste that isn’t wrong, it is somehow very diverting.    Baseball is wonderful that way.  I love that the yankees are around, I’m glad the Sox get to play them, and I’m certainly glad they are so accomplished.  So thank you New York Yankees for being so wonderfully “hate-able”  Yankees Suck GO SOX!

Pedroia is the man!

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If you aren’t on the Pedroia train yet, you better jump on, this young man is one of the best things to happen to baseball within the last few years. He is one of the hardest working players in the league, he plays big for his small stature. And now he takes time off from the all star game to be with his wife and unborn son. This guy has turned it on again right before the all star game. He has jumped his average up to .303 and he his hitting doubles and homers like he did in his MVP year last year. Just when people said he didn’t deserve the All star title, he proves them wrong. Then he impresses us all with his responsibility to his new forming family, this guy is a man’s man. Pedroia, best of luck
you’ll be missed at the midsummer classic, but Red Sox Nation respects your decision.

John Smoltz, what do you take form his fist start as a Red Sox?

Expectations ran too high for the future hall fame pitcher last night, when he pitch 5 innings giving up five runs. Don’t read to much into his performance last night. The Nationals were out there giving it every drop, just to save face. They were flat out embarrassed, and they had something to prove They were aggressive and they made every single red sox pitcher pay for there mistakes. Smoltz first inning was a great example of that. The nationals were aggressive early in the count, and john Smoltz had little time to adjust.
Come the fifth inning Smoltz, adjusted and he looked good. I think we have a lot to look forward to just because he is so smart, he can adjust and just outwit batters. He’ll be a nice third fourth spot in the red sox strengthening rotation. So hold on just a bit, I wouldn’t read into last night too much, I think you could see the Red Sox weren’t too upset about losing. After Francona threw in all the bench players, we could tell that they got what they wanted out of that game. They took their hats off to the nationals for just out playing them, and took Smoltz first start in stride. So don’t get too upset, I think there is only good to come.

Finding ways to fix the Dice.

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Dice-K is currently out of the starting rotation. Now what? He is pitching terribly. I saw him pitch recently in Minnesota, and even though I was 30 rows up I could still see we do not have last year’s Dice-K. He gives up walks, but not the calculated walk he use to. He’s missing his spots badly, and his stuff is almost non-existent. His last start against his Japanese counterpart Kawakami was an absolute joke. He got hit by nearly every batter (or so it seemed). If I could make a prediction we will not see the old Dice-k in 2009. It will be a while before he is back to form.
The Red Sox say it is health related, I’m not so sure. Japanese pitchers start out with tricky stuff the first couple years, then they get figured out and they get worn out by different pitching schedules and systems. I think Dice-K should get some rest on the DL and then be put in the bullpen, or if the Red Sox can handle it and it doesn’t hurt his ego send him to the Pawsox (this seems like a last resort option) I kind of like the suggestion of Bob ryan, Get him into a japanese pitching mindset, accommodate his background and style, after all the Red Sox have loads of money invested in the guy.
But Dice-K is gonna be long story not just an overnight problem. We will have to wait if we want to see the old Dice-K. Time will tell if it is worth the wait.

In the Nick of time.

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Excuse the bad pun. But Nick Green is really picking a good time to get hot. I know everyone one wants to talk about Big Papi, but Papi is doing what we expected from him. He wasn’t performing at the beginning, now he is. Red Sox nation is thrilled, so am I, but I like to point out the players who aren’t expected to anything and yet help out the team.
I think it is fair to say Nick Green has replaced Julio Lugo at shortstop right now. He is playing good defense and seeing the fast ball really well. For a cheap utility guy, he is worth every penny right now.
At the beginning of the season, I just wanted Lowrie back. Lowrie’s defense was amazing and his offense very surprising. And I remember holding my breath every time a rutiune ball was hit to the shortstop, because I just wasn’t confident in Green’s abilities. That has changed, and if he continues to play like he has been this last week, Lowrie can take his time.
I don’t like the shortstop situation right now, who does?, but I like at least what little good is coming from the six spot in the infield.

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