Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2 White Sox, 1 Red Sox

First and foremost, classy move by the White Sox by honoring the Boston Marathon victims by wearing Boston Strong shirts in the pregame. I'm sure the whole "Boston Strong" thing has been watered down for most in the country, however, being from here, it does mean something, so thanks Chicago.

Now to the game, Jake Peavy has pitched incredible this whole season and in his homecoming to Chicago he pitched pretty good. He pitched 6 innings, striking out 8 and only letting up one home run to Adam Dunn. Peavy on the year has pitched 18 innings with 20Ks and a 1.93 era, but due to a shitty start from the Sox he has not one a decision. Unfortunately for the Sox Erik Johnson acorss the diamond had just as good of a game going 6.2 letting up 1 run and striking out 9.

I am extremely concerned about the Sox in this early season. I see no urgency, I see no fire and a lot of stuff that made last years team so special and to be honest, I don't know how to fix it. Luckily Pedroia is fine, but this team just seems to have lost some of the clutch gene they developed last year.

I don't know what Farrell is doing, but I'm pretty sick of Burke Badenhop. All he does is come in and let up runs. He has pitched 6 innings this year, while giving up 6 runs. I want him demoted ASAP.

Anyways, hopefully the Sox can turn things around quickly.

So This Maniac

Yesterday this fuck nut decided to make some sort of statement or whatever by running around like a crazy man and putting a backpack down by the finish line of the marathon. The man who was taken into custody, identified as Kayvon Edson, told police officers one of the backpacks had a rice cooker in it that was full of confetti. The other backpack, per WBZ's unnamed source, was full of photo equipment.

Here is a video of him yesterday:

Obviously this kid is a maniac and went through this whole hoax to gain personal exposure to the world however, on the 1 year anniversary of the marathon bombing, it was in poor taste to say the least.

My feelings on what they should do with him. I think he belongs in jail, I think he actually belongs in jail for a while. In this day of self promotion it makes me sick that people have to do this shit to feel they need to get ahead. Meanwhile, Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Sean Collier are dead and many others are severely injured and this asshole feels the need to mock what those two scumbags did.

They should put both Jokar and this shithead in gen population in a prison and let prison justice take care of itself. I hate both of them.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Jacoby Ellsbury: To Boo Or Not To Boo

With that Yankees coming into town in less than two weeks the question has been posed: Will you boo Jacoby Ellsbury when he rolls back into town wearing pinstripes?

The case for booing:

Jacoby Ellsbury has committed the unforgivable sin in the eyes of Red Sox nation. He signed with the Yankees. He was exactly who you thought he was the second you found out Scott Boras was his agent: a mercenary for hire to the highest bidder. Any loyalty to the club that drafted him, developed him and won two World Series with him and the fan base that supported him went right out the window when he saw that dump truck full of money. He resisted all attempts by the Red Sox front office to extend his deal before he hit free agency. Lots of the Sox prospects took the chance to get some security by doing an extension before hitting free agency, but Ellsbury had to squeeze every last dime that he could out of the situation.

The case for cheering:

First and foremost, Jacoby Ellsbury was an important part of 2 World Series winning teams. In 2011 he was the highest voted position player in the MVP voting and won a Silver Slugger award, a Golden Glove, AL Comeback Player of the Year and an All-Star selection. He was also the AL stolen base champion 3 times. Whatever Ellsbury owed the Red Sox, they got their money's worth out of him and more. Even when you consider the lengthy injury problems he was a bargain. Speaking of the injury problems, this team had a doctor misdiagnose his condition and might have threatened his career. When he was slow to get back on the field the media and the fans were critical of his toughness. No wonder he was not eager to stay here. Although there is no way to know for sure, the Yankees beat the Red Sox offer by a substantial margin. The rumored offers were for 5 years/$100M and 6 years/<$120M. At best, the Red Sox were offering 1 year and $1.86M/year less than the Yankees were. Loyalty is one thing, but that's too big of a hometown discount to reasonably expect him to take. I wouldn't have wanted the Red Sox to match that offer. He seems to get hurt often and his particular skill set will diminish noticeably over the life of this contract.It's unfortunate that one of our most hated rivals is on a short list of teams that could afford to hand out such an exorbitant contract, but that's just the way the ball bounces. Let's remember the good times and move on.


Just 5 Days Left Of Tankapalooza

We've mostly ignored the Celtics this season other than to comment on the progress of this year's tank job. Thankfully, this time next week this will all be over. I think about this year's tank job much the same way I think about tearing off a band aid. It hurts to yank it off quickly, but it's better than dragging it out over a long rebuilding process. Maybe it's a bit more like Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta throwing the title fight to Billy Fox to ensure a real title fight later. It's not fun and unsportsmanlike, but you have to think big picture to get ahead.
The Celtics have really managed to step down their game and fallen apart down the stretch going 1-14 in their last 15 games, dropping 9 games in a row in the process. This, combined with two costly wins for Orlando, has brought the Celtics into a tie with the Magic for the 3rd worst record in basketball. The Magic beating the Nets was a nice bonus as it may prevent the Nets from improving in the standings and worsening the Celtics compensation pick from the Nets. If the Celtics have the same record as the Magic there are no tie-breakers, the probability is just split between what the third and fourth worst record would be. Looking at the Celtics remaining 4 games there are two easy losses with Charlotte and Washington, who are still jockeying for playoff positions. Cleveland could be an issue as they have been eliminated from the playoffs. The real test will be Philadelphia. The 76ers have a firm lock on that second worst record and put together that embarrassing losing streak during the season. We'll have to hope the Magic keep up their winning ways as they play 4 playoff teams (Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn and Washington) to close out their season. In related news, Joel Embiid has declared his eligibility for the NBA Draft ensuring that another attractive, top of the round talent is available. This should give the Celtics a better shot at landing a blue chipper or increase the pick's value in a trade. Danny Ainge has all the resources he needs to make big moves this summer to turn this team back into a contender and he knows it. The picks are there, the tradable contracts are there, the trade chip players are there, the exceptions are there and the non-guaranteed contracts are there.
"I’m going to try to blow off some fireworks, but I have to be patient as well and we have to make sure that we don’t do deals just to do deals," Ainge said Thursday during his weekly call to Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub. "We have to do the right deals. Those are a lot harder than most people think or believe or understand. I’m not making any promises, we have a busy summer ahead of us, and there's a lot of different directions we could go." 
This season was a tough one to swallow, but now that it's nearly over I am excited for the potential for the future of this team. LET THE HEALING BEGIN!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dear QB's I Love, Stop Potentially Raping People

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has not been charged, but is reportedly being investigated in connection with an incident in a Miami hotel last week.

TMZ reports that police are investigating an alleged incident at the Viceroy Hotel in Miami this month. Although TMZ reported the investigation as centering on a sexual assault, the incident report made no specific allegations.

Although this seems like a little bit of a Hoes be Trippin situation. It has to be said. With great power comes great rapesponsibility. All the QBs i love or invent seem to be involved in this nonsense. First with Ben, then Jameis and now Kaepernick. Enough is enough. It seems like any college athlete I love somehow gets involved with the wrong girl at the wrong time.

We don't know the whole details but apparently this chick met Colin and some other players, went back to their hotel room. Poured Kaep and others drinks and they said, we will take the shots if you do a bong hit.... the old college trick and the next thing you know, boom..... sexual assault. I'm sure we have to hear all the details, but it is kind of impressive that all my guys may or may not get rapey from time to time.

Red Sox Edge Out Rangers 4-2

This was a strange game. After recording a season high 14 hits the previous night, the Red Sox bats went quiet recording just 4 hits in 8 innings against Rangers pitching. Rangers starter Robbie Ross only gave up 2 hits and 1 unearned run, but he only pitched 5.1 IP and gave up 6 walks. Jackie Bradley Jr. went 0-0 in this game. He walked in all 3 of his plate appearances. How often does a #9 hitter get walked in all of his plate appearances? The only run that scored while Ross was pitching came after Ross surrendered back to back 1-out walks to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jonny Gomes. Dustin Pedroia hit an infield single. Ross tried to make a play at first on an ill advised throw to first base that Mitch Moreland couldn't corral. Even if the throw had been on the mark it would not have been on time to catch Pedroia. This was enough to score Bradley from 3rd and left a tough 1st and 3rd with one out jam with David Ortiz coming up. Ortiz promptly bailed Ross out by hitting into a double play. If Ross had not made a poor decision to throw to 1st the Red Sox may not have scored any runs on Ross whatsoever. This is something that concerns me about this year's team relative to the 2013 team. The 2013 club seemed to get more aggressive when teams made mistakes. They were like a shark that smelled blood in the water. This year it has been the polar opposite. Robbie Ross was handing out free passes and the Red Sox couldn't capitalize on it. They had to be gifted the lone run they did manage to score on Ross. This stretch of ineffectiveness continued until the 8th inning. A leadoff walk to Jackie Bradley Jr., a pinch hit by AJ Pierzynski and a fielder's choice by Pedroia to advance Bradley to third base had Alexi Ogando in a rough spot. Neal Cotts was brought in to face David Ortiz. Ortiz put a 1-1 pitch out of the park to put up 3 crucial runs for the Red Sox. Ortiz was the only player in the Red Sox lineup with a multi-hit game going 2 for 4 with a home run and a double.

Jake Peavy added a second quality start going 6.2 IP, 3H, ER, 4BB and 8K. He worked around a leadoff double and a walk in a shaky first inning, but settled down after that. The 1 earned run came on an 0-2 pitch to Mitch Moreland for a leadoff home run in the 7th inning. Peavy got the next two outs before giving up a 2-out walk to Robinson Chirinos. Junichi Tazawa gave up a single, but got the out to end the inning before any damage could be done. Andrew Miller came out for the 8th and gave up a leadoff double. A ground out moved the runner to 3rd and a sacrifice fly scored the runner from third to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Normally, this performance would put Miller in position to take the loss, but thanks to David Ortiz's heroics in the bottom of the frame Miller got his first win of the year. Koji Uehara came in for his 1-2-3 9th inning to collect his second save of the season. Despite getting no decisions in both starts, we've gotten some nice production out of Jake Peavy early in the season. He's getting deep enough into games, working out of jams and keeping games within reach even when the Red Sox offense is lethargic. Andrew Miller hasn't had a meltdown, but it's clear that he's still working his way back from the injury that kept him out for most of last season.

The Red Sox are headed to the Bronx for the first game of a 4-game series against the Yankees. Clay Buchholz will try to right the ship after getting rocked by the Brewers in his first start. The Yankees will be sending 24-year old righty Michael Pineda to the mound. Pineda had a promising start to his career with the Mariners in 2011 prior to being traded to the Yankees for the 2012 season. Pineda missed the last two seasons with shoulder surgery. Pineda was the hard luck loser in his first start going 6 IP, 5H, ER, 5K against Toronto. The Yankees were shut out in that game so he took the loss.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Doubront, Badenhop Get Knocked Around

Most of the blame here is being heaped onto Felix Doubront. He deserves this blame, but Burke Badenhop was the one who actually put this game out of reach. I didn't watch this game. When I finally had a chance to sit and watch this game it was already 9-1 and I decided my time would be better spent freeing up space on my DVR. I appreciate the fight of the Red Sox offense. They managed to achieve their season high total for runs with 7. In most cases that should be more than adequate to win a baseball game. It's frustrating to see it go to waste in a losing effort like this though. It's frustrating when one part of the team makes the game unwinnable despite strong performances by the team in other areas. This seems to be happening a lot for the Red Sox. When the pitching is good, the Red Sox struggle to provide run support. When the starting pitching is good and keeps the game tight a reliever comes in and gets shelled. When the offense puts up a good number of runs the starter gets knocked around for more. This seems to be happening a lot for the Red Sox so far this season. I suppose it's not just bad luck the way these things happen. Jon Lester is the ace and should be getting matched up against an opposing team's best pitcher if they've played the same number of games and have a 5-man rotation. If the other team has their best guy going as well it makes sense that the Red Sox wouldn't put up many runs. If an umpire is calling a tight strike zone consistently for both pitchers it's going to make it tougher on the pitchers and easier on the batters and now you have a slug fest. This works in reverse with a looser strike zone and now you have a pitcher's duel. When you're trailing by 8 runs in the 4th inning the players are going to swing for the fences to try to close the gap as singles, stolen bases and sacrifice bunts aren't going to get it done.

At any rate, between Doubront and Badenhop they put this game out of reach. The 4 solid innings of relief from Brandon Workman was a nice silver lining for the pitching staff. He stopped the bleeding and preserved the bullpen for today's afternoon game. Xander Bogaerts was the only player in the Red Sox lineup to go without a hit or a walk. Interim 3B Ryan Roberts was hitless in his Red Sox debut, but drew two walks. Napoli, Sizemore, Pierzynski and Bradley all had multi-hit games. The Red Sox had more hits than the Rangers in this game, but they were crushed by double plays as they hit into 5 of them this game. They made a good fight out of it, but 10 runs is too deep a hole to ask any team to climb out of.

The rubber game is this afternoon (4:05 first pitch) and pits Jake Peavy against 24-year old lefty Robbie Ross. Peavy will be looking to build off of the quality start he threw against the Brewers last Friday in the home opener. Like Tanner Scheppers in Monday's game, Ross is a converted reliever making just his second start in the majors. Ross had a solid but short start against the Phillies in his debut as a starting pitcher. He threw 97 pitches and gave up 2 earned runs in 5 innings of work. People felt he benefited from the many left-handed hitters in the Phillies lineup, perhaps the Red Sox lineup will be less hospitable. Ross has a career 2.65 ERA and made 3 appearances against the Red Sox last season. Combining those 3 appearances: 2 IP, 4H, ER, 2K, BB, 3 Holds. Ellsbury had two of those hits and Jose Iglesias had one. Jonny Gomes is the only player to have a hit off of Ross that is still on the Red Sox roster.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Red Sox Stop Skid, Beat Rangers 5-1

The recent 3-game sweep by the Brewers had Red Sox fans uneasy. It was nice that even when Jon Lester's excellent start didn't produce a win John Lackey was able to step up and throw a gem against the Rangers to put the Sox in a good position to win. This game wasn't as easy as the final score would make it seem. This was a very tight game until the Red Sox managed to pad their lead with 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning. John Lackey wasn't dominant. He only had 2 hitless innings of the 7 innings he pitched, but he was effective by working out of jams and limiting the Rangers to just 1 run. That 1 run was unearned as it came as a result of a passed ball by AJ Pierzynski to advance the runner to third followed by a sacrifice fly. He gave up hits, but clamped down as the Rangers were 0-8 with runners in scoring position.

On the flip side, the bats improved their performance with runners in scoring position by going 4 for 13. Three of those hits came from Jackie Bradley Jr. The 11 men left on base for the Red Sox still indicates difficulty in translating base runners into runs scored. 5 runs seems like an impressive total, but not when you consider that Rangers pitching surrendered 14 hits, 2 walks, 2 hit by pitch and their defense committed two errors. Mike Napoli (3-5) and Grady Sizemore (2-4, 2B) both had multi-hit games, but didn't record an RBI or score a run in this hit parade. AJ Pierzynski broke out of his slump with a 3 for 4 night. Daniel Nava and Jonathan Herrera reached base 3 times each; both did so by hitting a single, drawing a walk and getting hit by a pitch. Xander Bogaerts continues to "cool off" going just 1 for 4 in this game dropping his average down to just .360. The only players in the Red Sox lineup to go hitless in this game where ironically David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia still managed to record an RBI on a fielder's choice. Just a strange day at the plate for the Boston Red Sox, but the result was more than adequate to seal this game.

Chris Capuano came in to relieve John Lackey in a tight 1-run game. He worked around a leadoff single to Shin-Soo Choo thanks to an inning ending double play by Prince Fielder. Capuano has looked good working out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. He's only pitched 4 innings, but they've been in pressure situations and he's performed admirably so far. Koji Uehara was warming up to close in the 9th. As he was doing so the Red Sox scored 3 runs to make it a non-save situation. The decision was made to send him out despite this. Uehara quickly collected the first two outs before giving up a single to Mitch Moreland and a double to Donnie Murphy. Koji got the strikeout to end the game before they could do any damage to his 0.00 ERA. This was a bit shakier than we are used to seeing from Uehara, but given the 4-run lead and the Rangers being on their last out I am content to write this off as pitching for contact. It seems strange to say that as I feel like Uehara is always pitching for contact with the way he aggressively throws strikes and challenges hitters.

Tonight it's Felix Doubront going up against 23-year old lefty Martin Perez. Perez had a solid outing against the Phillies in his first start going 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 7K, 0 BB. Perez was 10-6 last season with a 3.62 ERA in 20 starts for the Rangers last season after missing the early part of the season with a broken forearm. His only career start against the Red Sox came back in 2012, but the only players still active for the Red Sox from the lineup that day are Dustin Pedroia (0-4) and Daniel Nava (0-0, BB). Doubront will be trying to improve to 2-0 after his solid start against Baltimore. Ideally, he would make it deeper into the game than the 5.1 IP in his last start.

UConn Wins National Championship

Well, I guess I will have to wait for a 2014 Championship team as UConn led by Roxbury native Shabazz Napier beat my Kentucky Wildcats 60-54.

It stinks that Kentucky lost, however, there is only so much a team can do to catch up every game. Regardless of the disappointing outcome for me, this was probably the best tournament I have seen in years. I mean to have a 7 vs 8 seed face each other in the National Championship is ridiculous.

But onto the game, going into it, I assumed that Kentucky's size and strength would simply be too much for the UConn team. However, it worked against them as Shabazz and Ryan Boatwright were too quick for the Harrison's. With Julius Randle being uneffective due to an injury, it was tough to overcome. James Young cemented his 1st round pick by picking up the slack and put 20 up for Kentucky.

But the achillies heal for Kentucky was free throw shooting. The freshman were really clutch with their free throws, but last night was a different story. Kentucky missed 11 free throws and just ran out of magic. Kentucky managed to make it a 1 or 2 point game several times, but just couldn't get over the hump. There were some missed calls, but there is nothing that guarantees Kentucky would have hit the free throws, so I can't be too upset about it.

Shabazz Napier is an incredible player an incredible leader and Kevin Ollie just proved that he belongs in the great coaching circle. Shabazz finished with 22 points, a team high 6 rebounds and 3 assists. I don't know what he will turn into in the NBA but I would be happy to have him on my squad.

As for Kentucky, they will do the same thing. Lose all their players to the NBA and re-up.

fuck.... tough loss. Alabama and Kentucky this year took a lot of years off my life.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Do the 2014 Red Sox Hate Losing As Much As the 2013 Sox Did?

One of the most remarkable things about the 2013 Boston Red Sox season was how well the team did the game after a loss. The 2013 Sox hated to lose, and the sour taste of defeat seemed to motivate them to play better the next day. Over the 162 game schedule they only had 12 two-game losing streaks and a mere 5 three-game streaks. They never lost 4 in a row.

The 2013 Sox were 42-22 after a loss, a blistering .656 winning percentage. In all other games the Sox were 55-43 (.561). The Red Sox finished the season 32 games over .500, 20 of those 32 games were after a loss. The team's ability to rebound from a loss and play better the next day was the difference between a 90 win team competing for a wild card berth, and a 97 win team clinching the division.

In the playoffs they were 4-1 after a loss.

Now it's time to see how the 2014 Red Sox play after losing compared to the 2013 team. The Sox were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend. It's the first three-game losing streak of the season. If the Sox extend that streak to 4 against the Rangers Monday night, it will be the first four-game losing streak since the 8 consecutive losses at the end of the 2012 season.

Losing 4 in a row isn't the end of the world, certainly not the end of the season. However in baseball the difference between wild cards and divisions is exceedingly slim. If the Sox had gone 36-28 after losses last year instead of 42-22, they would have finished the season tied with Tampa Bay. Keeping losing streaks to 2 and 3 games is why the Red Sox won the division and then the World Series in 2013.

The 2013 Red Sox hated to lose. They played better when they had the foul taste of defeat in their mouth. They played hungrier, more tenaciously. That was part of the character that everyone praised them for demonstrating. Monday night against Texas we'll see if they show the same hunger to win and the same disgust toward losing.

John Lackey faces Tanner Scheppers, who got lit up for 7 runs in 4 innings in his first start against the Phillies.

-The Captain

Photo Credit:
Steven Senne/Associated Press

Brewers Sweep Red Sox In Weekend Series

Just six games into the 2014 season the Red Sox have matched their season high losing streak of 3 games. Getting sweeped at Fenway Park is another incident we did not see in the 2013 season. It's a troubling development, but still much too early in the season to start panicking. Let's take a look at some of the good and bad points we saw in this series.

 If Uehara, Tazawa and Mujica can stay healthy I think this bullpen could be lights out this season. I'm excited to see Andrew Miller and Craig Breslow when he comes off the 15 day DL.
 Another bullpen story that's getting minimal buzz going into the season is Edward Mujica. He had an all-star season with the Cardinals last season as the closer before getting burnt out before the playoffs. With guys like Uehara, Tazawa and Breslow available, John Farrell should be able to manage Mujica's workload to avoid a similar burnout. If managed correctly, Mujica will be an important part of the Red Sox bullpen this year. Between Mujica and Uehara, Ben Cherington will look like a genius when it comes to signing free agent relievers.
The two above statements are both brilliant analyses of the Red Sox bullpen situation and newly acquired reliever Edward Mujica. He immediately had an epic meltdown against the Brewers Friday night in a tightly contested 2-2 game. He couldn't get an out to save his life and the game quickly got out of hand in the 9th. He wasted 8 solid innings of work by Jake Peavy and Burke Badenhop. He was the victim of a bad call at third base on a tag where the runner appeared to lose contact with the bag with the tag still being applied, but that doesn't excuse all the other hits he let up. Andrew Miller looked rusty following up Mujica's implosion as he walked the next two batters to load the bases before collecting a strikeout to end the inning. Mujica allowed an inherited runner to score in last night's game in another shaky outing. Miller looked better pitching an uneventful 9th inning.

Clay Buchholz answered my question about why he has been dropped to 5th in the rotation by getting shelled for a career high 13 hits and 6 earned runs in just 4.1 IP. He lost some velocity on his fastball when he came back from injury last season and the offseason and spring training haven't allowed him to regain his form. If he can't figure it out soon we might see a promotion from the minors. Henry Owens, the Red Sox top pitching prospect and #42 in Keith Law's Top 100 prospects, threw a 6-inning no hitter for AA Portland Sea Dogs before the game was called due to rain. If the opportunity presented itself, I would love to see what he can do against a big league lineup.

Jon Lester continues to perform like an ace, but has gotten a single run of support in his two starts. It's hard to know where to place the blame. The Red Sox lineup went 1 for 4 at every spot in the lineup. Maybe it's Ross and Nava for the errors that allowed two additional unearned runs, but that doesn't matter if the Sox can't score any at all. The offense as a whole needs to step up when they have their ace on the mound.

John Lackey will try to stop the skid in Arlington against Tanner Scheppers and the Rangers. Scheppers is a converted reliever making his second start in the major leagues. He was shelled by the Phillies for 7 runs in 4 innings on opening day.