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Red Sox @ Angels 5/14- Game Notes

Posted by scoty32 on May 14, 2009

I’m going to be live blogging this, but I’m picking it up in the second inning, so you’ll have to excuse the lack of an exact time for my first comments:

In just the first inning today, I can’t help but notice a few things about Jacoby Ellsbury’s play. First of all, he’s hitting .295 but his on-base percentage is only .327. That’s totally unacceptable for a leadoff hitter.

He’s been the supposed future lead off hitter for this team for three years now, and this is his second full season in that role. You’d think that, at some point, he may have picked up the Red Sox organizational philosophy of taking the walk, making pitchers work, and getting in to hitters counts. But alas, the center fielder continues to frustratingly hack at the first and second pitches almost every time he goes up there. TAKING A PITCH IS OK JACOBY!

The other thing is his outfield play. Ellsbury is great coming in on balls, but my God is he horrific at playing near walls. Even in Fenway, but especially on the road, his inexperience with walls is just astounding. Today he missed a catch on a Torii Hunter fly ball that his glove was no less than 6 inches away from, a play on which he didn’t manage to jump or even extend his glove hand in any way because he was busy running in to the wall.

In Little League, they teach kids to look back at the wall, figure out where it is, put their hands out to feel for it, and make the catch. In the majors, we see players make this sort of catch all the time, especially guys who are supposed to be “Gold Glove caliber” like Ellsbury. What’s more, he has ample time to practice these things with Red Sox coaches, and we haven’t seen any marked development in this area from the youngster.

It would be great if he could start making these catches, instead of what happened, which was an RBI triple for Hunter to score the Angels first run.

In general, it would be great if Jacoby could start to play with his head a little more.

4:07

Julio Lugo with a big base knock, he better keep it up since he’s literally been the worst shortstop I’ve ever seen tos tart the season, and this isn’t hyperbole, look up his UZR numbers.

4:12

What a catch for Jason Bay! I say all the time that his range is the only thing keeping him from being a much better fielder, and his UZR numbers show its still a problem. At this pace, he would cost the Red Sox 29.4 runs more than the average left fielder. Of course, he’s hitting just a little bit better than the average right fielder right now, and those numbers are way outside of his career norms. I would expect him to turn that around.

4:17

The first base ump just missed an easy call on a Dustin Pedroia double down the left field line, calling it foul when it clearly wasn’t. I’m always amazed how umpires miss calls which seem easy for the naked eye while watching T.V. rather than being 30 feet away. And then to defer to another umpire who was further away? What are these guys doing?

Along the same vein, Bill Miller has had a huge strike zone as the home plate umpire all day. It’s been going both ways, but with the Red Sox approach of taking more pitches, and the Angels approach of going after pitchers early and often, its obvious which team this hurts more. Just ‘sayin.

4:23

It sure looks like Pedroia’s groin feels better after he tagged up on a medium depth fly ball with Bobby Abreau, who has a very good arm, throwing, and then scored easily on a fielders choice. Very good news for Boston.

4:35

Brad Penny almost got out of that jam. It just doesn’t seem like the Red Sox can get Hunter out anymore, he’s hitting everything. Penny had been doing a good job bringing his best stuff in the most important spot, but he just left one right over the middle for Hunter to crush.

4:44

Once upon a time I said I liked what I had seen from Jeff Bailey because he’s shown great patience at the plate. I can honest say I haven’t seen that in one single at bat from him this year. After Bailey swung at the first pitch, as I’m typing this, Jason Varitek did the same thing, and both guys flew out to center field.

As Roberts has said several times this game, Ervin Santana is working on a pitch count in his first start this season coming off an elbow injury. This is just really bad baseball.

4:47

I know he got an RBI single, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about with Ellsbury. You’ve got a guy who walked the leadoff hitter and is on a pitch count, so you go up there and swing at the first strike you see? It’s called taking a strike, it’s a pretty standard baseball play. It’s often employed by guys who are (or have been) pretty decent like Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkiliss, David Ortiz, and the OBP machine J.D. Drew.

Give it a chance Jacoby!

4:51

That 0-1 fastball down and in Ortiz just fouled back? Yea, that used to be Ortiz’s pitch. It used to be almost guaranteed he’d rip it, if not deposit it in the seats. Now Ortiz is lucky if he doesn’t pop out foul on it.

5:09

Again Varitek, really? How many first pitch pop outs to center are we going for here?

5:17

Darren Oliver is still alive, good to know. Seems like so much more than seven years ago he went 4-5 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP for the Red Sox. Still looks like he’s tough on lefties though, just ask Ellsbury.

5:28

I mean, Ortiz was probably going to strike out anyway in that at bat, but lets be serious, Bill Miller, that was not a strike. Remember when Big Papi used to get the benefit of the doubt?

5:37

What do we think, can shit talk about Penny like this from Rob Neyer, maybe, possibly stop after this outing?

This makes five of seven possible quality starts, and his best three have been his last three. He’s throwing low in the strike zone, except when he wants to elevate, and he’s able to reach back and throw in the mid 90’s when he needs it.

5:46

I’m glad to see Francona decide to leave Penny in there for the 7th. With a pitch count of only 90 and eight consecutive batters retired going into the inning, there would be pretty much no excuse for him to be taken out. It also gives Penny a chance to get that ugly ERA down (it could be even better right now if Ellsbury had just made that catch in the first).

5:50

Wow. What a shitty pitch call to Eric Aybar right there. I don’t know if it was the genius Varitek’s call (we all know he brings these invaluable intangibles- pitch calling included) or Penny’s, but a first pitch get-me-over two seam fastball to a first pitch fastball hitter, on an aggressive hitting team? That’s just stupid.

5:56

Another great catch by Bay, unfortunately Aybar was able to tag and give Anaheim the 4-3 lead. That’s why you don’t throw get me over fastballs to first pitch fastball hitters in key spots. Just terrible pitch selection.

6:00

Huh, first pitch out from Bailey, who would have thunk it? Hurry back Kevin Youkilis!

6:07

PETEY! That RBI base hit marks the fifth time Dustin’s been on base today. I know he hasn’t hit a home run since the first game, but he followed pretty much the same pattern last year, and that went pretty well for him. The important thing for him is that he’s hitting the ball hard to all fields, and he’s collecting his doubles. Since Pedroia is doing both of those things, Red Sox fans don’t need to worry about him one bit.

Oh, and conversely Ortiz is 0-5 with two strikeouts and seven men left on base so far. Go ahead and worry about him.

6:14

Seriously, Jacoby, the wall isn’t going to come out and punch you in the face or something. You’re a professional ball player. Sometimes, you may run into the wall. Stop being such a pansy, holy crap! I’m going to try not to over react in the heat of the moment, so I’m not going to say Ellsbury is one of the most over-rated fielder in the game. Nope, I’m not saying that at all.

6:17

Huge at bat here against Hunter, lets go Ramon Ramirez!

6:18

Amazing play by Drew to save the game for the Sox! Why is Drew playing so shallow against Hunter? I don’t care! Holy shit what a play!

And what the hell is Abreu doing trying to tag on what was essentially an infield pop up? Also, as Dave Roberts said, great throw on the run by Drew.

6:25

I’m on record as a huge J.D. Drew fan, and he obviously just made a game saving play, but I couldn’t agree more with pinch hitting Rocco Baldelli in this spot. Brian Fuentes is a tough lefty and Drew struggles against all lefties. This is a huge spot, and you don’t lose much/anything defensively with Baldelli out there. And as I type this, he gets a solid base knock into right field. Good move Terry.

6:35

Hey, at least Bailey has been making all the plays at first base today. He’s been awful all day, including the strikeout looking to end the threat in the top of the 9th, but I count at least 5 tough plays he’s made on ground balls at first.

I’m an optimist, what can I say.

6:40

Maybe I’m just being a homer, but generally, when Terry Francona gets tossed from a game, the umpire is probably wrong. He’s not the type of hothead who gets thrown out for no reason or just to get his team going, he generally only does it when he thinks he’s got a legitimate beef. I’m a little surprised that he picked that pitch to Lugo to flip out on, because it was just the home plate umpire, Miller, being consistent with his terrible strike zone. All day long he’s had an absurdly huge strike zone, and I wasn’t even phased by that call as it happened.

If I were Francona, I’d be most enraged if suddenly my pitchers weren’t getting that same big strikezone, but I guess he had had enough of Miller’s “strike zone” for the day.

6:43

I disagree with Roberts, I thought that was a bad baserunning play from Lugo, who makes a lot of them. It wasn’t his usual style of cover-your-nose terrible, and he stayed in the pickle long enough to get Ellsbury in scoring position.

6:49

Great, and important, play from Nick Green keeping the very fast Aybar off the bases to lead off the bottom of the 11th. He hasn’t played third in quite some time, and it looks like he’s made the transition quite easily today. That’s exactly what you need out of your utility man.

6:51

Nice eye black Jeff Mathis. You look like an idiot.

How good is Ramon Ramirez? This is getting ridiculous, he’s now thrown 19.1 innings for the Red Sox, allowing just 12 base runners while striking out nine. That’s just sick. And Roberts said he’s deceiving people because they are unfamiliar with him, which is obviously untrue since he spent all of last year dominating hitters in the AMERICAN LEAGUE, where he remains. This guy is just good, lets not try and take away from it alright?


7:03

I’m usually a fan of pitching your best guys in the most high leverage situation, and with the middle of the Angels order (though I’m not sure Maicer Izturis and his .294 OBP counts) coming up, we’re going to get to see it in action. Here’s hoping we get good Jonathan Papelbon today.

7:08

Steady diet of splitters and sliders from Papelbon today, and one of his earlier fastballs was only 91 MPH. I’m loathe to say it, but is there an injury here, because he seems to have absolutely no confidence in his fastball. I know, there’s good reason for that, because he hasn’t been locating it all season, but this is undoubtadly not the Papelbon we’re used to seeing.

7:16

Varitek has now caught nine of 46 would be base stealers this year, bringing him under 20%. This seems deceptively high, as his throws have actually been much weaker and he’s thrown a number of balls away that have allowed runners to advance. For all the talk about Tek’s improved mobility behind the plate, which I’ll grant is true, he’s taken just as large of a step back with his throwing this year. And it’s not all on the pitchers, he’s throwing some serious lollipops out there to second base.

7:20

That was a great 2-2 slider that Mike Napoli fouled off, and then another great fastball on the black to finally retire him. The best part of it all, though? Lugo didn’t botch the play!

7:28

Five hits today for Lugo, that’s pretty spectacular, even for a guy who can’t field at all. So far this year, he hasn’t been hitting with any power at all, but he’s getting a ton of hits, this is encouraging indeed. Seems like his old habit of trying to pull balls and rolling over it with weak grounders to short, and reaching for balls to produce weak grounders to the right side of the infield, are over. Lugo’s doing a great job of staying back on the ball and hitting it through the middle.

7:30

Ellsbury walks! I guess if you wish upon a star for something enough, it does come true. And Dustin Pedroia is coming to the plate with the bases loaded and one out! Could this be the end to the longest blog post of my life? God I hope so!

7:37

in case you were wondering, Papi is now 0-7 with 11 runners left on base.

7:40

Right as I was about to say it’s great to be able to bring a guy like Manny Delcarmen in in this situation, he goes and gives up a lead off single to Juan Rivera. Reggie Willits is pinch running, and as I type this up Aybar has sacrificed him over to second.

7:45

Game winning single into center by Mathis. What a spectacular waste of an afternoon. I’ll be back later with reaction.

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5/14 Boston @ LAA- Game Notes

Posted by scoty32 on May 14, 2009

The Sox went down to the Angels tonight by a score of 8-4 on the strength of a three run home run by Angels catcher Mike Napoli to put the Angels ahead 5-4. They would never look back.

Angels pitcher Matt Palmer threw a complete game, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits and two walks. The 30 year old rookie retired 19 batters in a row to end the game.

Palmer never threw a fastball over 88 MPH, but his assortment of cutters, sliders, curveballs, and good location proved to be too much for a Red Sox lineup that was missing Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz.

The Red Sox scored two runs in each of the first two innings, and Jason Bay knocked in two more runs, bringing his season total to 37.

Thoughts:

- This was one of Tim Wakefield’s poor starts. The disconcerting thing is that, whether he’s doing terriffic or terrible, they seem to come in bunches. Wake has been dominant so far this year, so lets hope that this isn’t the beginning of an extended downturn like we’ve seen out of the veteran before.

What we know is, at the end of the year, Wakefild will have gone through a number of these swings, both up and down, and they will add up to about an average pitcher who gives the team quite a few innings and does a generally good job of saving the bullpen. For $4MM per year, that’s not a bad thing at all.

- Dan Bard made his major league debut tonight, striking out Napoli on three mid to high 90’s fastballs up in the strike zone while collecting the K on the first batter he faced. He threw hard as advertised, and as we saw in spring training, but what really encouraged me was the explosion at the end of his fastball.

We’ve all seen plenty of guys like Kyle Farnsworth who throw hard but strait, and routinely get knocked around, and we’ve seen guys like Jonathan Papelbon who don’t throw as hard but have great movement on the four seam fastball. If Bard is going to live up to the lofty expectations that Boston fans have for him, he’s going to need an explosive fastball AND the velocity he’s already shown.

- Pretty anemic offense tonight. Beside the contributions of Bay, this team has been devoid of power all season long. With Ortiz struggling, Pedroia and Youkilis out, and Jason Varitek and Julio Lugo generally sucking at the bottom of the order, it’s starting to look like this team may need a bat. I said earlier than Brad Penny could be trade bait later in the season, don’t be surprised if he’s part of a package to go out and pick up a bat for the middle of this order.

The only question is where that bat could possibly fit on this team.

Posted in Brad Penny, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Bay, Kevin Youkilis | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brad Penny- Trade Bait?

Posted by scoty32 on May 14, 2009

With the depth the Red Sox have at starting pitcher, you’ve got to wonder if Brad Penny will be trade bait at any point during this season.

Buster Olney broached the subject on Monday when he said:

Something to watch: Boston’s pitching surplus might lead to an early-season trade. Clay Buchholz has been absolutely dominant in the minors so far this year, and very soon, Daisuke Matsuzaka will return to the big leagues.

Eventually, it figures that Justin Masterson will go back to the Boston bullpen, and that will create the spot in the rotation for Matsuzaka. If the Red Sox want to create another for Buchholz, they would always have the option of taking offers for a veteran pitcher who has had quality starts in four of his six outings. That guy is Brad Penny, who might be a nice fit for a team like the Milwaukee Brewers or the Mets. That’s all speculation at this point.

This isn’t me beating the drum to get Penny run out of Boston, not in the least. I like Penny a lot, I think he’s got a great arm and I’ve been very surprised at his fastball command so far. I think that there’s a pretty good chance that if he sticks with the Red Sox until the All Star break, he’ll have around 10 wins by then and have a lot of value.

If that is the case- if the Red Sox can get a player of at least George Kottaras quality, just like they did a few summers ago when they traded away David Wells, they would be crazy not to.

I know, people will inevitably say that the last time the team said they had too much depth, they ended up trading Bronson Arroyo for Willy Mo Pena, and we all know how that went, but this is a different situation.

At that time, the Red Sox had seven to eight viable starters. Now the Red Sox have nine to ten, depending on if you count Junichi Tazawa (off to a 4-2 start with a 2.82 ERA with 35 K’s in 38.1 innings pitched).

At the same time, the major league club clearly has a depth problem in the middle infield with Jed Lowrie out for indefinitely, Dustin Pedroia nursing a sore groin, and Julio Lugo being terrible.

The Red Sox also still lack a “catcher of the future” unless they believe that Kottaras fills that role or youngsters Luis Exposito (.279/.317/.386 start) or Mark Wagner (currently rehabbing from a hamstring injury) are about to show sudden development. Kottaras’ .154/.258/.231 start would seem to indicate that he isn’t ready, but he has the very difficult job of playing little more than once every fifth day, and clearly his sample size in the majors is not big enough to draw much meaningful information from.

Here’s hoping that Penny keeps going out there and putting up solid quality starts, so he can get that “reliable veteran” status back, and really increase his trade value. One could imagine teams like the Mets and Brewers being very interested.

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Rumors of the Demise of Red Sox Pitching are Greatly Exaggerated

Posted by scoty32 on May 13, 2009

Today, Firebrand is focusing in on the fact that the Red Sox starting pitching staff currently has the second worst ERA in the majors. The collective ERA of their starters- Josh Beckett (6.42), Jon Lester (6.31), Tim Wakefield (2.93), Brad Penny (6.90) and Justin Masterson (5.28) is a dismal 5.81, and this has many fans clamoring for the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is sporting a nifty 12.79 ERA so far.

Will Red Sox ace Josh Beckett turn it around?

Will Red Sox ace Josh Beckett turn it around?

But are they really this bad? After all, Beckett has looked dominant for stretches this year, as has Lester, and Wakefield has been one of the best starters in the league.

As Firebrand points out:

The FIPs for Lester and Beckett are extremely encouraging. It goes to show that they’ve been rather unlucky as of late. Beckett and Lester’s BABIP are both at .394. Pitchers normalize around .300, so they’re both due for serious regression at some point.

In addition, during the Lester/Garza match up with Tampa Bay the other day, Lester induced three ground balls that Julio Lugo couldn’t get to, channeling Forrest Gump with his wooden movements. It’s rather obvious that Lugo isn’t fully healed from his hamstring problems (although he is hitting rather nicely).

FIP is a measure of a pitcher’s “true” ERA, independent of things like fielding play behind them. And what it shows is what’s been apparent to the naked eye all season- mainly that the Red Sox pitchers have been better than their numbers show, and we should expect them to come back to their norm soon.

I think this expectation is about right, and honestly I’ve been waiting for one of these guys to go out and throw a gem and get the ball rolling on another successful season. For pitchers, it’s the stuff that matters, and nobody can argue that it hasn’t been there for any of the Red Sox critical pitchers, save possibly Brad Penny at times early in the season, when his fastball was lacking velocity.

Other than that, though, Beckett has retained the ability to throw mid 90’s heat with a ton of two-seam movement, a 90 MPH changeup that only he could get away with, and a devastating curveball.

Lester has still been able to get his mid 90’s fastball in on the hands of right handed batters to go along with his devastating cutter/slider pitch and the occasional slider in on righties and away from left handed hitters.

Posted in Jon Lester, Josh Beckett | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Kevin Youkilis added to 15 Day DL

Posted by scoty32 on May 13, 2009

Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis has been added to the 15 day disabled list, according to league sources.

The first baseman had sat out a number of games after a pair of pitches hit him in his already tender oblique, causing further inflammation.

The injury was deemed sufficiently serious to merit a two week stint on the disabled list

Gil Velazques
has already joined the team, and Jeff Bailey will continue to fill in for Youkilis at first base while last year’s All Star and runner up for the MVP award recovers.

Youkilis, obviously frustrated, told reporters that, “There’s nothing to talk about. When I’m in the lineup, I will play. That’s pretty much the story. It’s coming along.”

Terry Francona was slightly more open to questions:

“watching him take BP, and then sitting talking to him . . . it looked like we were going to be rushing him, I didn’t want to do that. I think he actually agreed. We keep day-to-daying it, but what we don’t want to do is put him in for an at-bat and turn it into a three-week or four-week, [when it could have been] 10 days. We’re trying not to react too quickly. It’s not cut and dry. We’re just trying to use patience. If we ever make a mistake, we want to react on the side of caution.”

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Ortiz Still Struggling, What Are the Red Sox’s Options?

Posted by scoty32 on May 12, 2009

After a few signs of early last week, David Ortiz has returned to his struggling ways in the three hole for the Boston Red Sox. Although he’s still getting on base at a decent .338 clip, he has batted .224 with a .338 slugging percentage.

Basically, Ortiz’s power has been totally sapped from his bat, and anyone that’s looking can see that his bat speed is down. He’s having trouble catching up with fastballs, especially high ones. While he was always a low fastball hitter, the fact that he can’t deal with the belt high fastball, usually the bread and butter of major league hitters, even when it’s only being thrown in the mid to high 80’s, is very troubling.

Ortiz cloeseup

So the question has to be- what are the Red Sox options with Ortiz? How long are they going to give their star slugger to turn around until they move him down in the lineup, and how long until they look for a replacement.

Obviously I can’t answer these questions for the Red Sox, but I can say what I think the team SHOULD do, and what I think they WILL do. Luckily, the Red Sox have done a good job making those two vastly different categories match more often than not over the last several years.

I think the team needs to stick with their star for much longer than this, and much longer than a lot of former Ortiz die hards are giving him right now. As many have said, Ortiz was struggling at this time last year, and he was still able to turn things around and have a decent season.

Sure, he had more power numbers than this at this point last year, and it was easy to see his bat speed was better, but one can certainly envision a scenario in which Ortiz turns it around. Whether it’s a recovering wrist or knee, or simply some sort of mental block, Boston can’t be sure that Ortiz is done and won’t return to form, so they can’t cut bait on their DH.

In a related note, its important to note that Red Sox fans who are calling for the team to get rid of Ortiz almost surely have it wrong. If Boston has to ship off its star, there’s almost no way they will be getting in return a player who can offer them what even the Ortiz of last year did. Those players just aren’t avaiable, especially to a team that has shown an aversion for giving up young pitching talent.

Lastly, on the question of moving Ortiz down in the order, I think the team should be mindful of Ortiz’s psyche. I realize that he has the capacity to do a lot of damage to the team by remaining in the three spot in the order and sucking like he has so far, but he could hurt the team even more if he is dropped in the order, loses confidence, and truly has a disastrous season.

At the moment, the Red Sox have the third best record in baseball, trailing only Toronto (who as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow will fade by August) and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who just lost some guy for 50 games or something.

This team is OK, they can afford to be patient with their struggling star, and that is what they can and should do. When I say patient, I mean actually patient, not the “we’ll wait two more games then bring it up again” patience a lot of Red Sox fans are showing, but instead the “it’s a 162 game season” type of actual patience that Terry Francona and Theo Epstein have shown the discipline to follow in recent years.

Calm down everyone, David Ortiz needs more time. I’m not going to say he’s going to be OK, but lets give him time so we can be sure.

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Red Sox at LAAAAAA- 5/12-5/14

Posted by scoty32 on May 12, 2009

The Red Sox will travel to Anaheim to face off against the Angels. Angels stadium has not been a kind place for the Red Sox of late. The matchups look like this:

Masterson v. Weaver
Wakefield v. Palmer
Penny v. Saunders

Game One

Justin Masterson has thrown out two carbon-copy starts in his last two times out. He has looked very strong to start, and then faltered in the middle to late innings, eventually giving up six runs each time. There have been quite a few people clamoring for the return of Daisuke Matsuzaka to facilitate Masterson’s move to the bullpen, and tiring late in starts only adds fuel to that fire.

Masterson Release

Jered Weaver has been very strong lately- he’s coming off his first complete game ever, a game in which he faced just three over the minimum. Weaver also beat the Red Sox in the teams’ first meeting this year, holding the Sox to one run in 6.2 innings. For his career, though, he has a 2-2 record with a 4.46 ERA against Boston, and I’m sure Red Sox fans can remember many long nights with Weaver on the hill.

Game Two

Tim Wakefield has been the Red Sox best starter this season, and he’s their only starting pitcher with a season ERA under 5.00. In his first start against the Angels this season, he allowed three runs on six hits in six innings. It’s always difficult to tell which Tim Wakefield will show up, and following the Tampa series Boston will be looking to gain some momentum.

Thirty year old rookie Matt Palmer has been a huge surprise this season. He mixes in a cut fastball, sinker, and several off-speed offerings, and has been able to keep batters off balance up to this, his seventh start. In his last start, Palmer held the Royals to one earned run on two hits and three walks in 5.1 innings. It will be interesting to see how Palmer pitches to what is likely to be the most patient lineup he has faced in his young career. I would expect to Red Sox veteran batters to take a patient approach to this young guy who has a walk rate of 4.1 this year, and a terrible 9.2 last year.

Game Three

On Thursday Brad Penny will take the hill for the Red Sox, trying to extend his streak of good starts from two to three. In his last start, Penny threw 6.1 innings and allowed just three runs to the Rays. The big righty has done a much better job keeping the ball down of late, as his mid 90’s heat can be nearly impossible for batters to handle when it is down in the strike zone.

Left handed pitcher Joe Saunders will get the start for the Angels, and he has been a Red Sox killer over the last several years. Over his career, Saunders is 4-1 with a 3.25 ERA against Boston, but he did suffer a loss to them earlier in the season. Saunders has a fastball, cut fastball, slider, and changeup, and he throws in the low 90’s with his best fastball. He does a good job getting the fastball and cut fastball in on the hands of right handed hitters and then dropping the curveball outside, as has become a necessity for non-power right handed arms.

Things to Watch

- This could be a big series for determining the health of the Red Sox. Is Dustin Pedroia going to be out for a few days or longer than that? Is Kevin Youkilis going to return soon? Will J.D. Drew get over his tight quad? Will Daisuke Matsuzaka come back on this road trip?

Lots of questions about the Red Sox health will probably be answered in the next 3-7 days.

- Daniel Bard: The tall right handed prospect will undoubtadly make his debut very soon. For those that haven’t seen him, Bard comes from a three-quarters arm angle and throws easy gas up in the strike zone at nearly 100 MPH. He also has a biiiig looping curveball and a tighter slider. He has the stuff to be absolutely dominant, but he, like everyone will have to be able to locate within the strikezone. Keep an eye on if he is able to at least keep the ball out of the middle third of the plate.

- Can Jason Bay continue carrying the Red Sox offense? So far this year he’s gone .324/.468/.687- good for an OPS of 1.134 with 9 home runs and 34 RBI’s. He’s hit a number of clutch home runs for the team, but he’s hit early home runs and drawn walks too. With Ortiz struggling and Pedroia and Youkilis out of the lineup, the Red Sox are going to need more production from Bay if they are going to have a successful road trip.

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Finals!

Posted by scoty32 on May 11, 2009

It’s finals week.

I’ll be writing nonsense papers for the foreseeable future, and probably won’t be able to do very much posting at all.

On the bright side, I’ll have much more time to post in about 10 days.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Dustin Pedroia Leaves Sunday’s Game With Leg Injury

Posted by scoty32 on May 11, 2009

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia left the Red Sox game tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays with a strained right groin.

Pedroia injured the groin after he fouled a ball past third base early in the game. According to Red Sox manager Terry Francona, the groin had been bothering him for around a week prior to tonight, and grabbed at him following the swing.

Here’s hoping Pedroia is better soon, because a middle infield of Nick Green and Julio Lugo (playing every day), with Gil Velazquez backing up, is a very, very scary prospect.

Posted in Dustin Pedroia, Julio Lugo, Red Sox Injuries, Red Sox Transactions | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Red Sox Purchase Bard’s Contract

Posted by scoty32 on May 10, 2009

Rotoworld just broke the news that the Red Sox have called up tall right handed reliever Dan Bard. Bard, who was the team’s first round pick in 2006, will join Boston’s bullpen tonight as they face the Tampa Bay Rays.

Red Sox fans- meet Dan Bard

Red Sox fans- meet Dan Bard

Bard struck out 29 batters in 16 innings, saving six games. He should immediately become a late-inning option in a Sox bullpen that has struggled as of late. No word on the corresponding roster move, as the Sox will have to not only make room on the 25-man roster, but the 40-man as well.

There are a couple of issues here: 1. It’s pretty surprising that the team would call Bard up this soon, and 2. Who are they going to be clearing off of the 40 man roster?

On this first issue, I’ve got to say I’m very surprised that they are calling Bard up this early in his career. Bard was struggling as recently as 2007 with very bad command issues, and they’ve seen how important command can be for a young reliever. If they have a situation where a young reliever, filled with promise, fails to command the ball in the majors and loses confidence like they did with Craig Hansen, I think they will be very disappointed, and blame will have to be assigned to the front office for not learning from their previous mistakes.

Add on top of this the extreme success that this bullpen has had to start the season, and therefore the fact that they didn’t really NEED to call Bard up at this point, and I’m very surprised by this transaction.

On the question of who will be booted from the roster, I’d like to make the suggestion of Javier Lopez. I know, there’s room to put a guy like John Smoltz on the 60 day DL and move Hunter Jones back to Pawtucket, but that will simply be delaying an inevitable roster move. Lopez, at some point, is probably going to be designated for assignment. Despite some recent struggles form Jones, I say the Red Sox keep the more talented player on their roster, give him Lopez’s job plus a little more responsibility, and let go of Lopez.

Posted in John Smoltz, Red Sox Transactions | Leave a Comment »

 
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