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I was going to do this in all caps, but then I remembered that would be a bad idea. Anyway, we're in the ALCS, where we're going to kick some ass, and then on to the World Series where we'll kick even more ass. Normal rules apply, no...
I was going to do this in all caps, but then I remembered that would be a bad idea. Anyway, we're in the ALCS, where we're going to kick some ass, and then on to the World Series where we'll kick even more ass. Normal rules apply, no religion, politics or testicles. With all of the postseason celebration going on elsewhere in the site, maybe this is where we should talk about who we make moves for in the offseason? I think we need to do everything we can to retain Salty, he seems like he's the most intelligent catcher on the market, and I think that's a drastically underrated skill in baseball. I'd also like to retain John McDonald as our backup infielder. Thoughts?
about 2 hours ago
John Farrell has confirmed to WEEI what most of us assumed: he will turn to Jon Lester in Game 1 of the ALCS. Farrell on @WEEI: Lead off with Lester in ALCS, but wait on other part of rotation — Rob Bradford (@bradfo) October 9...
John Farrell has confirmed to WEEI what most of us assumed: he will turn to Jon Lester in Game 1 of the ALCS. Farrell on @WEEI: Lead off with Lester in ALCS, but wait on other part of rotation — Rob Bradford (@bradfo) October 9, 2013 So no surprise on Lester, who was excellent for the Sox as they got off to a 1-0 lead in the ALDS. The second half of that tweet deserves some attention, though. The 2-3 portion of Boston's playoff rotation in particular seems quite fluid between John Lackey and Clay Buchholz. Heck, with all the time between the two series, Jake Peavy could even be up for consideration after a strong performance against the Rays Tuesday night. Are any changes going to come, though? Probably not. John Lackey wasn't terribly good against the Rays in Game 2, but it seems like the Red Sox want him pitching at home if possible, and the current setup would ensure that would happen. On the other hand, if the Sox are headed to the massive Coliseum in Oakland, it might make sense to swap him with Buchholz so that Lackey, who has allowed 1.24 homers per nine innings this year, has a bit more space to work with. Read more Red Sox: Sox Prospects releases updated top Red Sox prospect list Current Red Sox vs. former Red Sox: a playoff showdown Rating the Narrative Matchups The MLBPA hates John Lackey 2013 Red Sox MVP debate
about 2 hours ago
Technology is pretty nifty, you know. It wasn't that long ago that all we had to go on in the Arizona Fall League was box scores and the occasional write-up, but now, with streaming video and even short-burst videos available to anyone w...
Technology is pretty nifty, you know. It wasn't that long ago that all we had to go on in the Arizona Fall League was box scores and the occasional write-up, but now, with streaming video and even short-burst videos available to anyone with some social media savvy, it's a lot easier to see some off-season minor-league baseball action. Read More: For Red Sox fans, the worst is past While this isn't in-game -- the season did just start on Tuesday -- it is Red Sox prospect Mookie Betts taking hacks in batting practice, courtesy ESPN's Keith Law: It's just batting practice for now, but give it some time. We'll start seeing some Vine highlights from the AFL once scouts with smartphones see how quick this is compared to uploading full video to YouTube. Not to say the latter should stop, but why stick with one when you can focus on both? With any luck, the next time we a Mookie Betts' vine, it's because he's lacing a hard-hit double in the gap, or making a fine defensive play. Read more Red Sox: Sox Prospects releases updated top Red Sox prospect list Current Red Sox vs. former Red Sox: a playoff showdown Rating the Narrative Matchups The MLBPA hates John Lackey 2013 Red Sox MVP debate
about 3 hours ago
Jake Peavy's performance on Tuesday left little doubt about whether or not the Red Sox came out winners in the late July trade that brought him to Boston. Read more Jake Peavy news
Jake Peavy's performance on Tuesday left little doubt about whether or not the Red Sox came out winners in the late July trade that brought him to Boston. Read more Jake Peavy news
about 3 hours ago
The Extent Of Our ALCS 'Flyover'?So far we've managed to survive as a nation without the PandaCam at the National Zoo, but can we withstand an ALCS opener without a military flyover? With the government shutdown continuing, there's a goo...
The Extent Of Our ALCS 'Flyover'?So far we've managed to survive as a nation without the PandaCam at the National Zoo, but can we withstand an ALCS opener without a military flyover? With the government shutdown continuing, there's a good chance there will not be a Stealth Bomber cruising over Fenway on Saturday night. So what to do? One alternative is to marshall as many traffic helicopters as possible from local TV stations and have them hover over the park in a kind of Fenway Flotilla. Or, we could convince the various blimp companies (Hood, Goodyear, MetLife, DIRECTV) to join together in a wicked slow 'flyover' that might actually delay the game more than multiple visits to the mound. Where is Bud Selig when we need him to break the Washington stalemate and give us our flyover? How long, Mr. Speaker, how long must baseball fans suffer?
about 4 hours ago
Game 1: Jon Lester vs Evan Longoria Jon Lester was excellent in the first game of the series, pitching 7 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out four. A major key to his success was his dominance...
Game 1: Jon Lester vs Evan Longoria Jon Lester was excellent in the first game of the series, pitching 7 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out four. A major key to his success was his dominance over the key righties in the Rays line-up, including Evan Longoria. Longoria was the fourth straight right-hander Lester struck out to start the game. In that at-bat, he offered Longoria nothing but fastballs, throwing four four-seamers and one sinker (by Gameday’s pitch types). Longoria took the first pitch for a called strike then fouled off the second and the fourth pitch, batting the last one into the glove of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Lester was unable to find the zone in the second meeting, walking Longoria with four straight pitches out of the zone after getting a first-pitch swinging strike. Again Lester went with the fastball almost exclusively, adding one change-up in this meeting, but missing with it. Lester then got Longoria to ground out in the third and final at-bat by flipping the script entirely. He threw just one fastball- a 94 mph sinker on the third pitch- during this plate appearance first using his change-up, curve and then getting him on a cutter. Read More: Who was the Red Sox' ALDS MVP? Lester’s work against Longo was reflective of how he approached all the tough righties the Rays stacked against him. He mixed fastballs away and inside to great effect showing TampaBay righties tons of hard stuff early and then went to a greater mix of off-speed pitches in the second and third times against them. Game 2: David Ortiz vs Fernando Rodney The Ortiz-Rodney match-up never happened in Game 2, in large part because David Ortiz completely outmatched David Price. Ortiz hit two solo shots off the Rays lefty, who allowed seven runs in seven innings and completely failed to make this game the low scoring battle I anticipated. While Ortiz never got a chance against Rodney, this game did serve as an important reminder of just how useless player vs player numbers are in projecting performance. In the comments of this match-up article, Ortiz’s career line against Price (.216/.310/.297) came up along with the idea of sitting Papi against Price. Even ignoring the fact that Ortiz’s line is better than the average LHH against Price, it is never a good idea to mistake a 42 plate appearance sample for proof of anything. Ortiz hit LHP slightly below league-average by wRC+ in 2013, but he is still one of the best hitters in the game and he is more likely than almost anybody to exploit the failings of pitcher who has less than his best stuff. Fellow lefty Jacoby Ellsbury also had even bad numbers against Price (.212/.257/.455) but went 3-4 with an RBI double against Price. Photo credit: Jim Rogash Rodney didn’t need to face David Ortiz to be out-matched by Red Sox hitters in this series, however. He was unable to hold the Rays one run lead in the ninth inning of Game 3 and he completely imploded in the final frame of Game 4. He was spared the match-up against Ortiz in Game 3 thanks to Farrell’s decision to pinch run Quintin Berry for Ortiz in the eighth and got Papi’s replacement, Mike Carp, to strike out to keep the game tied but overall his ALDS performance was a negative for the Rays. Control was the main issue for Rodney. He walked three batters and hit another, leading to two runs against him with two hits. He had already loaded the bases in the ninth inning of Game 4 by the time Ortiz reached the on-deck circle and was pulled against Dustin Pedoria in favor of Chris Archer, with Wilber Wright getting the call against Ortiz as TampaBay made their final stand. Game 3: Dustin Pedroia vs Ben Zobrist Both Zobrist and Pedoria factored into this game in major ways on the defensive side, but unfortunately, both players were notable for their mistakes in this contest. Zobrist made a poor throw on the relay to first in the opening frame
about 4 hours ago
The 2013 Red Sox are headed to the American League Championship Series to play for the pennant! And now that we've got three days to spare in-between, it's time to talk about the really important stuff, like meaningless fake awards. Like...
The 2013 Red Sox are headed to the American League Championship Series to play for the pennant! And now that we've got three days to spare in-between, it's time to talk about the really important stuff, like meaningless fake awards. Like the ALDS MVP. We've only got four games to talk about. That's the nature of the short-format Division Series. But those four games proved ample time for some Red Sox to build impressive résumés. Let's go down the list... Jacoby Ellsbury Playing on a broken foot, Jacoby Ellsbury combined good hitting, good speed, and good luck in reaching base ten times for the Red Sox, scoring seven of their 26 runs in the series. His 10-for-18 performance is slightly inflated by bloops, but it all looks the same in the box score, and at the end of the day he was the constant on-base threat the Red Sox needed him to be at the top of the order. He even swiped one base per game, just to drive home how healthy he was. Shane Victorino Victorino has a .429/.556/.429 batting line. He drew exactly zero walks. It's a strange kind of performance that draws so much from the HBP, but Shane does not give ground, and the Red Sox benefited four times from his willingness to take the hit. More than just going 6-for-14 and taking those hits, though, Victorino did exactly what he needed to when not at the plate, running down dangerous fly balls to spare Red Sox pitchers, and running aggressively enough on the basepaths to break up double plays and help the Red Sox score runs even when the man at bat couldn't really get the job done himself. Putting his body on the line for the team, Shane reminded us once again what it is we've come to love about him in 2013. David Ortiz Papi rocked a .385/.556/.923 line in the ALDS thanks in large part to two huge homers against David Price. It wasn't quite the spread-out contribution of Ellsbury and Victorino, but given that David Price had given up two homers vs. LHH all year to that date, and it's certainly worthy of consideration. Jon Lester The man who got it started just right for the Red Sox on the mound. He stumbled in the middle innings, and in the end the Red Sox managed to score 12 on Matt Moore, but his 7.2 innings of two-run ball would have been enough to win any of the four games. If that's what we can expect to see out of Lester going forward, Boston's ALCS opponent is going to have a tough time avoiding an 0-1 start. Peavy's importance on display Jake Peavy Peavy was in Game 4 everything the Red Sox had hoped for when they agreed to send Jose Iglesias to Detroit to secure the veteran starter. While John Farrell took an aggressive approach with the clinching game on the line, keeping Peavy from finishing the sixth, his performance in recording those 17 outs was arguably every bit as good as Lester's, and kept the Red Sox close enough that their pieced-together runs in the later innings were enough to clinch the series. Craig Breslow Who would have guessed it would be Breslow, not Uehara who was most deserving of consideration out of the bullpen? With Boston's relief corps the most questionable part of their roster, John Farrell did his absolute best to avoid turning to the worst half of the pen, putting an unusually high burden on the likes of Breslow, Tazawa, and Uehara. And more than anyone else it was Breslow who was called upon to shoulder that added burden, recording five outs in both Games 2 and 4. And boy, how impressive was he last night, striking out Tampa Bay's four most dangerous batters in order before returning to appear in his third inning, getting Delmon Young to ground out on the first pitch. Only an infield single broke up his perfection. Anyone we forgot? Anyone want to argue for Xander Bogaerts of the 1.000 OBP? Do Dustin Pedroia's 5 RBI do it for you even considering his low OPS? Or maybe Brian Butterfield made all the right choices at third? If so, make your case in the comments below.
about 5 hours ago
I must admit, it was a nerve-wracking Game 4 last night.I did Trivia at The Mad Hatter while the Red Sox-Rays game was going on. By the fifth inning, it was complete and I could keep my full concentration on the game.I thought that line ...
I must admit, it was a nerve-wracking Game 4 last night.I did Trivia at The Mad Hatter while the Red Sox-Rays game was going on. By the fifth inning, it was complete and I could keep my full concentration on the game.I thought that line drive DP that Stephen Drew hit into that ended a big threat in the second would come back to haunt the Sox. It was a marvelous play by James Loney and kept the Sox off the scoreboard.They finally got on the board in the 7th, on a wild pitch that scored Xander Boegaerts, and the second on an infield hit by Shane Victorino that scored Jacoby Ellsbury. The third run came in on Dustin Pedroia's bases loaded sac fly in the 9th.Jake Peavy was...Jake Peavy. 5 2.3 innings, and allowed Tampa Bay's one run. He struck out 3 and didn't walk anyone. It's a shame he didn't get the win.But Craig Breslow did. He was the bridge to the late innings and was phenomenal, especially striking out the side, the meat of the Rays' order, in the 7th.The 8th was Breslow for one out, Junichi Tazawa for one out, and Koji Uehara for one out.And Koji got the last three in order in the ninth to erase the bad memory of Monday night and put the Sox in the ALCS for the first time since 2008.The Sox will open the ALCS at Fenway on Saturday night against the winner of the Tigers-A's Game 5 on Thursday night in Oakland.And here's a cool tribute to the great Koji Uehara, played to the song "Sea Cruise":
about 6 hours ago
Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially American League Division Champions! One series down, two more to go! We are a strong team.  We are a really strong team, and we should feel very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.  But ...
Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially American League Division Champions! One series down, two more to go! We are a strong team.  We are a really strong team, and we should feel very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.  But I have to say, I’m still hungry, so I’m psyched to keep it going. Peavy was an absolute master.  The game was tied at zero until the sixth inning.  Peavy was just mowing right through the Rays’ lineup like they were minor leaguers.  It was awesome. Except for the fact that it was Peavy who cracked first.  It was a double-single combination.  And we didn’t have answer for it.  I just can’t believe we actually lost a playoff game with a final score of 1-0.  That’s rough.  And the series could have been tied. Breslow came on for the inning’s last out. If it were not for the seventh inning, during which Gomes flied out, Bogaerts walked, Middlebrooks struck out, Ellsbury singled, and between a steal, a wild pitch, and a single, Bogaerts and Ellsbury both scored.  And we took the lead.  Just like that. Tazawa replaced Breslow one out and one single into the eighth.  We added insurance in the ninth thanks to two walks, a hit batsman, and a sac fly. And so the final score was 3-1.  Think about how close we were to having the series tied at two.  And then think about how the relief corps and the offense rallied to keep that from happening.  Now the Rays are eliminated and we’re moving on to the ALCS.  Life is good. Boston Globe Staff/Jim Davis Filed under: Baseball Tagged: Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Craig Breslow, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jake Peavy, Jonny Gomes, Junichi Tazawa, Tampa Bay Rays, Will Middlebrooks, Xavier Bogaerts
about 6 hours ago
It's an odd thing to say, but I believe that, for Red Sox fans, the tensest moments of the postseason are over. Generally speaking, the tension is supposed to increase as October progresses and the stakes get higher. Teams are always pl...
It's an odd thing to say, but I believe that, for Red Sox fans, the tensest moments of the postseason are over. Generally speaking, the tension is supposed to increase as October progresses and the stakes get higher. Teams are always playing for their season at this point, but in the ALDS you're playing for an ALCS berth, in the ALCS the World Series is just over the hill, and once you actually get to that greatest of stages, nobody needs to be reminded of what's on the line. Read More: Jake Peavy's importance on display in ALDS clincher So why the ALDS? It's not what the Red Sox were playing for, but who they were playing against: the Rays. As sports fans, we measure our enjoyment in terms of stories as much as anything else. We don't just talk about winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007, but about coming back from 0-3 and 1-3 in the respective Championship Series. 2010 is seen as an enjoyable-if-disappointing year because, while we don't have any playoff stories from that year, we do have Adrian Beltre's head rubs and one-knee homers. Conversely, 2011 is so much worse because, even though they won one more game, they came up short in such horrific fashion. 2013 has certainly been more in the vein of 2010 than 2011, just with eight more wins. This group has been a joy to follow all season, to the point where almost nothing that happened in the postseason could tarnish the great regular season that led up to it. The one thing that could? A loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Don't get me wrong, nothing that happened in October could turn this bunch into the 2011 Red Sox. Even if the Rays had completed their comeback from down 2-0 in the series, looking back at the 2013 team would be a lot more positive experience than any other team since 2007. But that's an asterisk that's impossible not to think about. Beaten by the team that has frankly taken over for the struggling Yankees as Boston's chief rival (if only until the Yankees are back in form), led by the thoroughly annoying Joe Maddon and filled with some of baseball's worst human beings. Photo credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports No, there would be no way to completely ignore that no matter how far in the past we left this season, particularly if it came from a 2-0 series lead. Which is why I'm so very glad that the Red Sox finished the job last night, and are not headed back to Fenway for a decisive Game 5 against David Price. "But wait," you might say, "what about the Dodgers? Aren't they even worse given what happened in 2011?!" Not even close. Yes, our own Brendan O'Toole ranked the Dodgers as the most annoying possible opponent in terms of narrative, coming in at 5-out-of-5 Dan Shaughnessys. The Rays only got a 3/5! But that's just what the media will do with it. As far as the actual annoyance? If anyone, it's the Dodgers who should really be the ones worried. Xander Bogaerts comes up huge, twice And who do we have to thank for delivering us from the Rays? After all, there's no one saying that the Red Sox would be where they are today without the trade that unloaded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett on Los Angeles. The Dodgers, on the other hand, could almost certainly have found a way to get to the playoffs without Gonzalez, Crawford, and Beckett contributing less than 6 WAR for more than $50 million. It would be losing to the team that you bought out last year that would be more irksome than anything else in this scenario. And, really, that's what makes the difference. With the Rays it's a team-wide phenomenon--even Bicep Kissin' Chris Archer and nerd-hating David Price manage to inspire hate. It really isn't something we usually see outside of the Yankees. With the Dodgers, sure, Crawford has three postseason homers already if he hit a few big ones against us in a hypothetical World Series loss it would sting. But the Dodgers aren't Crawford. They're not even Crawford and Gonzalez any more than the 2010 Giants
about 6 hours ago