It’s that time of year again. The final grades are in. The Red Sox beat writer from the Boston Herald, Michael Silverman, has published his 2008 Red Sox regular season Report Card. Who went to the Head of the Class? Who flunked out?
Not surprisingly, Silverman gave the top grade of A to: Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, John Lester, Terry Francona, and Theo Epstein. All 3 of those players had career years this season, and Pedroia and Youkilis are the top canditates for not just team MVP, but AL MVP. Lester has emerged as a potential ace, nicely picking up the slack from Josh Beckett’s performance that was muddied due to injuries. Francona may be the best manager in Red Sox history. He’s lead the Red Sox to the play-offs in 4 of his 5 seasons in Boston, winning it all in 2004 and 2007. I think his grade here stems from the Manny circus he had to manage through and around and how he was able to keep the team focused in the aftermath of that mess. Theo’s grade seems to stem from the results from the Manny trade, along with the key additions of Paul Byrd and Mark Kotsay down the stretch. Let’s take a look at the rest of the grades:
For the most part, I think these are right on. Varitek’s grade appears to be a bit high. He was terrible at the plate. However, most of his grade stems from his handling of pitchers. That is a thing that really can’t be quantified and too me is a bit overrated. Varitek gets a lot of the credit with Lester’s success and catching 4 no-hitters over his career, but when Buchholz didn’t perform this season falls more on Buchholz than Varitek. I’m not saying Varitek takes any credit, just talking about how the sportwriters/”experts” give credit.
Finally, Silverman did take a cheap shot by putting Colon in here with an F-grade. Which he admits in his blurb:
“It’s a good thing Colon appeared in the second half, even it was only for one start, since it gives us an excuse to rip his makeup. Any player who decides he is too big – we will pass on the obvious rip opportunity – to accept a different role (Colon was asked to pitch out of the bullpen) is a small-minded prima donna.”
I don’t really remember too much said about this at the time. In fact, I don’t even remember reading or hearing about the team asking Colon to move to the bullpen and him declining. But, it wasn’t a big deal at the time, and quite frankly I think, based on his performance, that it wouldn’t have worked out with bringing him out of the bullpen.
I can’t wait for Wednesday night. What a long too days with out any Red Sox baseball. Although, back-to-back win to move on baseball games is fun.
While the Sox appeared not to want the regular season to end, defeating the Yankees with a Jonathan Van Every bases loaded single in the bottom of the 10th, the bigger news of the day was Josh Beckett.
Apparently, Beckett suffered a strained oblique muscle while pitching a bullpen session on Friday. In his post game press conference, manager Terry Francona announced that Jon Lester would pitch Game 1 vs the Angels followed by Matsuzaka for Game 2, and Josh Beckett for Game 3.
With the status of Mike Lowell questionable as well, those are 2 big injuries that could potentially hurt the Sox chances against the Angels in this opening round of the playoffs. Hopefully the extra days of rest will be beneficial to both Beckett and Lowell. Meanwhile, all of Red Sox Nations holds their breath.
A little tidbit: This is the Red Sox 6th Wild Card Appearance since it was implemented back in 1994. That is the most in all of MLB.
Ernie Banks would be happy. Well, the
Yankees and Red Sox have been rained out today, so they’ll
finish the season with a day/night doubleheader on Sunday.
Fun! Wonder what will happen with the
Well, the Sox’ dream of winning the AL East were drowned out last
night, literally, as the Yanks spanked a plethora of pitcher in route
to a 19-8 victory. Hey, that score rings a bell to me. Oh, yeah…I
congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays on officially winning the AL East
last night. What an amazing season they’ve had, indeed. It is actually
refreshing to see a team other than the Yankees or Red Sox winning the
AL East. I probably wouldn’t be saying that if the Red Sox didn’t
clinch the wild card, but they did finish third in 2005. The Rays are
actually a team I could root for, except for the 2 things:
1) They play in the AL East.
2) They play in a Dome.
hate domes. For baseball or football, it doesn’t matter, it is just
strange to watch a game in those venues. Basketball is an indoor sport.
Not baseball. Not football. Not too mention, the game should be played
on REAL grass, definitely not turf. It is one of the reasons I am
hoping the White Sox win the Central instead of the Twins. The
Metrodome is one of the ugliest looking places I’ve seen. Thank
goodness Minnesota is getting a new stadium in 2010.
playoff race is getting great. Twins still lead the White Sox by a 1/2
game after each team lost last night. The Twins have 2 to play while
the White Sox may have 3 to play. The Mets lost while both the Phillies
and Brewers won, seriously crippling the Mets playoff chances. Phillies
need 1 win in the final 2 to lock up the East, or just need the Mets to
lose again which is the more likely scenario. The Brewers took a 1 game
lead in the Wild Card with 2 games to play. Any Brewers win and Mets
loss clinches the post season for Milwaukee.
I wish I had the MLB Ticket today, 4 must watch games, plus Yankees – Red Sox. I will definately refreshing ESPN MLB Scoreboard quite a bit today.
the Sox will send Beckett out today and Matsuzaka to the hill on Sunday
as it appears they will be setting their post season rotation as: 1)
Beckett, 2) Matsuzaka, 3) Lester, and 4) Depends on if Angels pick
“Series A” or “Series B”. There had been a lot of debate on the
airwaves about whether Lester or Matsuzaka should be the #2 pitcher in
the post season. Most of the arugments stemmed from Matsuzaka’s
performance on the road this season and Lester performance at Fenway
while others argued that your 2nd best pitcher should start #2 no
matter the circumstances.
The biggest news, though, is the
status of Mike Lowell. He left last night’s game after he appeared to
be in a lot of pain. So, his status for the post season remains in
doubt. It will be a big blow if he is not on the roster.
not raining right now, so hopefully they’ll be able to get in today’s
game and hopefully we can finish the regular season on a good note.
Jon Lester pitched 2-hit ball over 6 innings in his 20th quality start of the season as the Red Sox took the final 3 of the 4 game series against the Indians with a 6-1 victory. Lester, who took a no-hitter into the 6th inning, allowed 2 hits and 1 run while striking out 4.
The win, coupled with the Rays loss to the Tigers, reduced the Red Sox magic number to win the AL East to 6 games. This means, the Sox must win their final 3 games vs the Yankees AND the Rays must lose their remaining 3 games with the Tigers. Haha, we know that isn’t going to happen.
However, it is nice to see Lester continue to perform like an elite, #1 pitcher. Teamed with Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox have one of the most formidable top of the rotation heading into the post season. With only the weekend remaining, let’s play Red Sox management and put the Sox post season roster together. Obviously, the Sox still have about 4 or 5 days to make this decision and it will depend on if the Angels choose “Series A” or “Series B”, but what the hey.
Pitching Staff (11)
Josh Beckett – S
Daiskue Matsuzaka – S
Jon Lester – S
Jonathan Papelbon – C
Hideki Okajima – R
Manny Delcarmen – R
Javier Lopez – R
Justin Masterson – R
David Aardsma – R
So, that is 9 pitchers so far. We have Time Wakefield, Paul Byrd, Mike Timlin left. Now, this will probably end up depending on if the Sox are going to need 4 starters or not. Which brings us back to what series the Angels choose. If they do need a 4th starter, I think it’ll Byrd on the roster and Timlin. Otherwise it will be Wakefield and Timlin. Especially with Wakefield’s history of being able to come out of the pen if needed. I don’t see the Sox using Chris Smith or Michael Bowden or any other young pitcher out of the pen, so Timlin is pretty much a go. So, I’m going to go with:
Tim Wakefield – S/R
Mike Timlin – R
C – Jason Varitek (S)
1b – Kevin Youkilis (R)
2b – Dustin Pedroia (R)
3b – Mike Lowell (R)
SS – Jed Lowrie (S)
LF – Jason Bay (R)
CF – Coco Crisp (S)
RF – Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
DH – David Ortiz (L)
BN – Kevin Cash – C (R)
BN – Mark Kotsay – OF/1B (L)
BN – Sean Casey – 1B (L)
BN – Alex Cora – IF (L)
We are short one more guy on the bench. However, there are a few questions here. How is Lowell’s hip going to hold up? It will hold up enought to play. How is J.D. Drew’s back? Bad. I don’t think he is going to make the post-season roster because of his back. I haven’t heard much talk about Julio Lugo, but I think he is probably finished for the season. We are a little left-handed leaning on the bench, which may change a bit of Lowell isn’t able to start any games during the season. We are also missing some speed on the bench, which may change if Kotsay starts a game or 2 instead of Crisp or Ellsbury. With Drew being out, it seems the last bench spot may come down between Jeff Bailey or Chris Carter. It’s pretty much a crap shoot with either of the, but I think the Sox may go with the extra RH bat, and choose Bailey. So, the final bench spot goes:
BN – Jeff Bailey – 1B/OF (R)
I don’t think that roster is too bad. I don’t really see the bench being too much of a factor aside from a late-inning pinch runner during the series. I do think the series goes 4 games, with the Red Sox winning.
It was recently announced that the Red Sox are going to retire the number former player, coach, manager, ambassador, and legend, Johnny Pesky. There isn’t a more deserving person than him.
To do this, the Red Sox have amended their long standing criteria for retiring a number of which included finishing your playing career with the Sox. This criteria was actually ignored (although they claimed that working in the Front Office was considering “finishing your career”) when they retired Carlton Fisk’s #27 back in 2000. Although, that was done by the previous Red Sox regime.
None the less, this is wonderful recognition of not just a good ballplayer, but a truly legendary and wonderful person. Pesky is to the Red Sox what Pee Wee Reese was to the Dodgers. While, Pesky spent only 7 + seasons with the Sox, he missed 3 FULL seasons (1943-1945) while serving in World War II. He finished in the Top 5 in the AL MVP race his rookie season in ’42 and his second season in ’46. Although he finished his career with the Tigers and Senators he returned to Boston where has remained with the team as a coach, manager, ambassador, and legend.
I have seen Johnny Pesky around the ballpark many times. One of the benefits of being a vendor at Fenway Park is that I can enter the ballpark any time before the gates open. A few years ago, the gates would open only 90 minutes (now it is 2 hours before) before game time, just as the visiting team would be starting BP. While the Sox would take BP, Pesky would be sitting in a seat behind the dugout, relaxing and talking with either Red Sox staff, ushers, reporters, or sitting alone just watching. However, he would always give you a smile and say hello, and even chat for a bit if you so desired.
I remember a day where Johnny came down to the RF foul pole (Pesky Pole) to take a picture with, I think, his grandson or great grand child. The gates were already open to the public and that area was crowded since it is a great spot to get a ball during BP. Anyway, Pesky climbed on the wall next to the pole, and pick-up the child with him to have the picture taken. He then spent the next 30 – 45 minutes afterwards signing autographs for fans and even posing for pictures with them. He smiled the whole time, and truly seemed to be enjoying himself. A truly classy guy.
It appears that this ceremony will take place this Saturday. Congratulations, indeed, to Johnny Pesky.
Go Red Sox!
Well, the Sox came up a bit short tonight against the Tribe. Leaving 12
men on base isn’t a good thing. Thus, the Sox will have to wait until
at least tomorrow to clinch a playoff spot. A win against Cleveland
will get the Sox in or a Yankees loss to the Blue Jays will do it as
well. I much prefer a Red Sox win. The Sox will face Cy Young Winner,
Cliff Lee. It would be nice to do it against him.
Sundays are great days to be a sports fan in New England. You get a dose of the Sox and the Patriots. Last Sunday was great, because you had the Sox at 1:35, and when they finished around 4:00pm it was almost time for kick-off between the Pats and Jets. You can’t beat a doubleheader like that, especially when it’s a sweep. We all know the difficulty of sweeping a twin bill.
This weekend, though, didn’t go quite as planned. While the Sox help up their end of the bargian, and clinched a tie for the wild-card in the process, that Pats fell flat on their face.
Nobody, except for Chad Pennington’s mother (seems we’ve been hearing a lot from QB’s mothers lately, Hi Mrs. Young, Hi Mrs. Jackson), could have expected this. Luckily, I did not really get a chance to full watch this game, as I was preparing for my son’s 4th birthday party. I got to take a detour and avoid seeing the wreckage. All I can really say is that this is going to be a long two weeks for the Patriots.
Last night was the final game at Yankee Stadium. As a baseball fan, I MUST visit the Stadium before they tear it down this winter. Unfortunately, I will never get to see a baseball game from a seat inside the stadium. However, with the history that has taken place there, I am going to do my best to take a tour of it. I’m actually glad the Yankees were able to win their final game, but how strange is it that Johnny Damon almost went down as the last player to hit a home run in the “House That Ruth Built”?
The last week is shaping up to be a fun one for MLB. With the Rays, Angels, and Red Sox all lined up for the playoffs, we get to watch the Twins-White Sox battle for the Central division starting Tuesday. Meanwhile, we have the Phillies-Mets battling in the East; the Dodgers-Diamondbacks battling in the West; and the Mets-Brewers-Astros fighting for the Wild Card. This is why I love baseball.
Also, we have Dustin Pedroia looking up at Joe Mauer in the race for the batting crown. Ever since appears on WEEI’s The Big Show, Pedroia has been in such a slump. He must have chowed down some of the free food that is always in the studio, thus slowing down his swing. I think Big O was trying to morph Pedroia into the same shape of himself, as Big O was a bit jealous of Pedroia being taller than him. Anyway, Pedroia is at .324 while Mauer has taken over the lead with a .330 average. Pedrioa has also seen Ichiro catch him for league lead in hits, both have 204 coming into the final week.
Congrats to Jonathan Papelbon for becoming the 5th Red Sox closer to reach 40 saves in a season. He joined Jeff Reardon, Ugueth Urbina, Tom Gordon, and Derek Lowe. Quite an accomplishment.
Finally, I’ve noticed that Red Sox seem to have a unique starting OF now and again. I am not sure there has been another one like it, and not even sure how to research it. However, when the Sox acquired Mark Kotsay before the end of August, they were able to put out a starting OF where all 3 OFers last name end in the letter Y. Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Kotsay. I wonder if there has been anything similar with rarely used letters. I bet maybe it has been done with U. Oh well, just a random thought.
Final week of the season. GO SOX!
Wow! A month since my last post. Work and vacation can do that to you. To all my loyal readers (all zero of you, I guess), I apologize for that.
However, the Sox were busy in August. Aside from playing .667 (18-9) ball, they acquired Paul Byrd and Mark Kotsay in trades, while signing David Ross and Jason Lane to minor league deals to bolster their depth.
Despite their great August, they went from 3 games behind the Rays to 5 1/2 games behind as Tampa played an amazing .750 ball in August, winning 21 out of 28 games.
With one month left to play, the Sox will definately have their work cut out for them, to catch the Rays. A lot of “experts”, are expecting the Rays to fold under the pennant race limelight. However, I do not think that will happen. The Rays have solid pitching (in both their starters and bullpen) along with a solid defense. Even if their offense does cool down, their all-round ability should be able to carry them through to the end.
The Sox and Rays are pretty much a lock for the playoffs, as I don’t think the Twins or the White Sox will overtake Boston in the wildcard. That leaves just the Twins and White Sox to battle it out for the Central Division and last AL Playoff Berth.
How about Dustin Pedroia. What a month!!! .374 average, 1.060 OPS, 43 hits, 10 2Bs, 6 HRs, 20 RBIs, 5 SBs without being caught. AL Player of the Week, and likely Player of the Month. Clean up Hitter?? Who would of thunk it.
Pedroia on fire. David Ortiz is heating up. Coco Crisp is almost as hot as Pedroia. Beckett and Lowell back soon from the DL. Youkillis, Bay, Kotsay, Varitek all playing well. Going to be a wild September and October.