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Hey David ! FIGURE IT OUT.

By on July 18, 2016 at 6:57pm

With a chance to sweep the Yankees and pull to within one game of the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the East, the Red Sox had their $200 million dollar man on the mound last night. Coming out of the break, Sox fans (including myself) were hopeful that David Price had figured out the source of his struggles throughout the first half of the year. Unfortunately, it was much of the same for Price and the Sox last night in the Bronx.

Like so many times this season, the big lefty looked sharp in the opening frames. His velocity was excellent, painting the black with a fastball touching 96 mph early and often. That, combined with his ability to mix in his breaking ball saw Price making quick work of the Yankees 19th ranked lineup through the first three innings. But, much like it has SO many times this season, one big inning ultimately did in the Red Sox “ace”.

So often this year, Price’s nemesis has been the long ball. While he didn’t allow a yabo last night, (a small miracle) he did surrender five hits in the fourth inning that resulted in three Yankee runs. Combine that with an excellent performance from Tanaka and the great Yankee bullpen, and that was all she wrote for the Sox and their six game winning streak.

Watching a pitcher with Price’s track record and ability struggle so mightily this season has been nothing short of perplexing. Mowing down lineups for years with the Rays, Jays, and Tigers, no one could have envisioned him sitting on an ERA of 4.36 twenty starts into his Red Sox career. Here’s hoping he can right the ship before the Sox and their playoff hopes disappear in the heat of the summer.

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Jose Fernandez

September 27, 2016 at 3:17pm in MLB, Opinion, Top Story

Jose Fernandez

On September 25, 2016 Major league baseball lost one of the greatest pitchers in the game.  Not only was Fernandez already one of the best pitchers in the game, but he had a very bright future.  Fernandez passed away around 3 in the morning on September 25 due to a tragic boating accident.  I woke up to this news on Sunday and I was completely devastated.  Being that he was only 24 years old, it seemed like he had a lot of great baseball left but now all we can think is what could have been.

Before I talk about how great a person he was, let’s talk about Jose Fernandez, the ace of the Miami Marlins.  In his short four year MLB career, Fernandez had a career record of 38-17 with an ERA of 2.58.  He also posted 538 strike outs.  This guy could throw heat and he was very electric.  In my mind he was easily in the top 5 of MLB pitchers right now.  Some of his career accomplishments, were winning the NL Rookie of the year in 2013 and being named to the all-star game in 2013 and 2016.  Not only did Fernandez bring dominant stuff to the mound but he also brought a great personality.  This guy loved baseball and he was always having fun.  He was also the Marlins biggest cheerleader.  He loved his teammates and his teammates loved him.  Sometimes he rubbed opposing players the wrong way but that was just him showing his emotions.  Fernandez was just a fun, loving player that would express how he felt about his performance or his teammates performance.

Jose Fernandez, the individual, was also great too.  Fernandez tried to escape from Cuba to America and failed three times.   On his fourth attempt, a person fell into the sea, and not knowing who it was, Fernandez, jumped into the water and was able to rescue the person and get them back into the boat.  The person he saved turned out to be his mother.  At only 15 years old, Fernandez, was already a hero for doing that.  Fernandez, his sister and his mother successfully made it to America and relocated in Tampa Bay.  Jose loved his family and his biggest fan was his grandmother.  His grandmother would climb to the roof of her house just to be able to listen to Fernandez pitch on the radio.  After six years apart, his grandmother was able to attend opening day in 2014 and watch her grandson pitch.  Fernandez pitched a great game that day and I believe part of the reason was because of his Grandmother being in attendance.

Jose Fernandez leaves his grandmother, mother, sister, and girlfriend behind.  One of the saddest things about Jose passing is that a week ago he announced on Instagram that his girlfriend was pregnant.  That child will never know his/her dad but will know how outstanding his/her father was not only as an MLB pitcher but as a human being.  The Marlins have already announced that they will retire the number 16 Fernandez jersey and I believe that is the right move.  He will never be forgotten by that franchise and will be watching down on that team.  Baseball will miss you Jose, keep smiling and forever Rest in Peace.

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Red Sox acquire reliever Brad Ziegler from Arizona (Getty Images)

It’s no secret that Dave Dombrowski has been in search of bullpen help as the August trade deadline fast approaches. Last night (or early this morning) the Red Sox acquired 36 year old righty Brad Ziegler from Arizona for prospects Jose Almonte and Luis Alejandro Basabe. Ziegler will immediately help to stabilize a bullpen that has been teetering on the brink of implosion for months. Koji Uehara, while certainly effective at various times throughout the year, has been something of a “choose your own adventure” on the bump this season. You never know if you’re getting the dominant Koji we remember from 2013 who helped lead the Sox to a World Series title, or if you’re getting the guy we saw last night, giving up monster yabos to a less-than-stellar Rays lineup and nearly blowing a game that the Sox seemed to have in the bag. Junichi Tazawa, who has been an extremely valuable bullpen piece for the Sox over the past several seasons, has completely fallen off the rails this year. His ERA has ballooned since a solid start to the season, and he simply can no longer be relied upon in high leverage situations. Add in the fact that Carson Smith was lost earlier this year to Tommy John, and you begin to see why this move was imminent.

Ziegler will help to spell Sox closer Craig Kimbrel, who has been dealing with some knee soreness in recent weeks. While Kimbrel certainly hasn’t been the dominant closer we all expected coming over from Atlanta in the offseason, he’s still the best relief pitcher on this staff by a wide margin. Dave Dombrowski didn’t bring Brad Ziegler in to take Craig Kimbrel’s job. The move is more of an “insurance policy” of sorts. Ziegler does an excellent job of pitching to contact, and he is a veteran reliever who is comfortable pitching in almost any situation. One of the biggest knocks on Kimbrel this year has been his inability to perform in non-save situations. Ziegler should help to remedy that issue, in addition to taking over the eighth inning role for Koji.

What really gets me excited about the Sox recent acquisitions is the idea that Red Sox front office is gearing up for bigger, better moves as the trade deadline draws closer. Getting a guy like Aaron Hill, who has been a terrific hitter at Fenway throughout his career (.308) to play third against lefties and give Pedroia the occasional day off at second was the first of what feels like many moves on the horizon for Dave Dombrowski and the Sox. Then Ziegler today, instantly fills another void.

In order to make the “big splashes” on the trade market, a savvy GM  first must take care of the leaks and crevices. Getting a big name pitcher the likes of Jose Fernandez of Chris Sale is of no value to the Sox if their bullpen is just going to give up the lead in the 7th or 8th. It’s now clear that the Sox are in it for the long haul, and that Dave Dombrowski has a few more tricks up his sleeve before the August 1st deadline.

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Roenis Elias’ Time to Shine

June 17, 2016 at 1:13pm in MLB, Now!, Red Sox

The end of the Red Sox four-man rotation offers Roenis Elias an opportunity.

Instead of Clay Buchholz returning from his relegation to the bullpen, John Farrell announced on Wednesday that Roenis Elias will greet the Mariners, his former team, for the opener of a three game series tonight at Fenway Park. Farrell attributed his choice of Elias, at least in part, to the potent left-handed sluggers in the Mariners lineup, most notably Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager.

Elias, 27, was acquired last off season in the trade that sent Wade Miley and Jonathan Aro to the Mariners in exchange for Elias and Carson Smith. At the time the deal looked like a steal for the Red Sox, but with Elias in Pawtucket and Smith having undergone Tommy John, Miley sounds pretty good as an inning eater in the back of the rotation. Instead it is time for Elias to step up.

Elias successfully made the harrowing voyage from Cuba to the U.S. in 2010, and in the following year began his career playing in rookie league for the Seattle Mariners before working his way up the minor league ranks to Double-A by the end of 2013. The next year Elias made the big league roster out of spring training as the Mariners fourth starter. That season he pitched to the tune of a 3.85 ERA in twenty nine starts before the Mariners shut him down in mid-September with an elbow strain. In 2015, Elias bounced between Seattle and their Triple-A affiliate, Tacoma, posting a 4.14 ERA in twenty two appearances for the big league team.

In a recent interview Dave Dombrowski noted that out of spring training they wanted Elias to find one consistent release point for his curveball. Instead of employing a breaking ball from three or four different arms spots, the Red Sox asked him to find the best one and throw it on a consistent basis in an attempt to refine his command.

This season on the east coast is a change for scenery for Elias,and he has pitched well for Pawtucket. In ten games, nine starts, he has a 3.54 ERA and 8.85 K/9, and in his last five starts he has been particularly sharp. He has focused on finding a consistent breaking ball this season with the PawSox and will need to use this pitch effectively tonight if he wants to keep the potent Mariners offense off balance.

Roenis Elias is presented with a great chance to prove himself tonight at Fenway and, given the state of the Red Sox rotation right now, can earn himself another start if he pitches well. The Red Sox pitching staff is club’s biggest weakness right now, and an emergence from this Cuban south paw would help the team immensely as Dombrowski tries to patch together a reliable rotation before the August 1st trade deadline.

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Red Sox Draft LHP Jason Groome

June 9, 2016 at 10:13pm in MLB, Red Sox, Top Story

The Red Sox selected left-handed pitcher Jason Groome with the 12th overall pick in this years MLB Draft. Groome is a 17 year old senior from Barneget High School in Barneget, New Jersey, and was the top rated prospect heading into the draft. The lefty stands six feet six inches tall, weighs 220 pounds, and is currently committed to Vanderbilt University, which also happens to be the alma mater of current Sox ace David Price.

Groome’s pitching arsenal is highlighted by his 96 mph fastball, considered his deadliest pitch, as well as a filthy curveball and effective changeup. Scouts applaud his smooth throwing mechanics and praise his natural pitching ability. He is compared to Giants superstar Madison Bumgarner, although some scouts question whether his overall makeup will translate over into the big leagues. This was the most likely reason for his fall from number one to twelve.

Groome’s stats for this year weren’t all that mind-blowing however he did record a 19 strikeout no-hitter in the first two weeks of the season. This was his most impressive outing since he was out of the lineup for 30 days following a suspension he got for violating New Jersey Interscholastic transfer rules.

From the Red Sox perspective, this is a great pick for the future of the team. It’s been quite obvious that the current group of major league starters, and the underwhelming bunch of minor leaguers aren’t going to be enough in order to win a championship. Groome adds an elite arm as well as raw talent to the pool of Sox pitching prospects, and has the potential to be a very special player once he reaches the show.

Former major leaguer Todd Rizzo spoke highly about Groome in a recent interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, “To me, he’s a once-in-a-generation type pitcher. I’ve seen a ton of pitchers in my lifetime. I swear I’ve never seen anybody with the natural raw ability of Jason Groome,” (MLB.com).

The Red Sox will have until August 15th to sign Groome to a pro contract and convince him to forgo his college plans.

Jason Groome (Photo courtesy of app.com)

Jason Groome (Photo courtesy of app.com)



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AT&T Park (photo courtesy of bleachernation.com)

The Red Sox look to rebound from a tough series against the Blue Jays when they face-off against the San Francisco Giants for a quick two game series at AT&T Park. The Sox, (33-24, T-1st in A.L East), will head back to the Bay Area for the first time since 2013, and will go up against a loaded Giants squad, (35-24, 1st in N.L West), who are one of the top teams in all of Major League Baseball.

Tuesday 6/7 @ Giants:

Rick Porcello (7-2 4.00 ERA) vs Albert Suarez (1-1 3.18 ERA)

Players to Watch: David Ortiz and Hunter Pence

Ortiz continues to torch opposing pitchers in his final season with his offensive stats near or at the top of almost every category in the MLB. He is currently batting .340 AVG (4th), with 54 RBIs (1st), and 16 homeruns (T-4th). Pence is having another solid season with the Giants, batting .298 with 36 RBIs and seven homeruns.

Wednesday 6/8 @ Giants:

David Price (7-2 4.88 ERA) vs Madison Bumgarner (7-2 1.91 ERA)

Players to Watch: Xander Bogaerts and Brandon Crawford

Each teams left-handed ace will take the mound for the final game of the series, so expect an all out duel on the rubber for this one. On the offensive side, look for shortstops Bogaerts and Crawford to pace the scoring for their respective clubs. Bogaerts is right behind Ortiz in batting average sporting a .345 AVG, good for third best in the MLB, with 33 RBIs and six homeruns as well. Crawford boasts a .247 AVG with 30 RBIs and six homeruns.

First pitch for both games is scheduled for 10:15pm ET.

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The Return of Eduardo Rodriguez

June 2, 2016 at 2:05pm in Boston, MLB, Red Sox

When Eduardo Rodriguez dislocated his knee cap in spring training it was a shocking disappointment for many fans. He was expected to settle into Boston’s rotation and this anticipation had cultivated an anxious hope that he could build on an impressive rookie campaign. That anxiety boiled for over three months after the injury. The Red Sox front office exercised caution with Rodriguez through his rehab program, and then kept him in Pawtucket for five starts before recalling him. On Tuesday night at Camden Yards,  Rodriguez was finally ready for his debut with the Red Sox and he handled the occasion in stride. He threw 89 pitches over the course of six full innings, allowing just two earned on six hits and no walks.

The offense opened the game with back-to-back solo home runs by Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, and by the bottom of the second inning the Red Sox had a five run advantage. Rodriguez did not relinquish that lead. He used his fastball early in counts and then worked in a sharp change-up to strike out three batters.

The essential aspect of Rodriguez outing was that it quieted worries about his velocity that had risen when he did not feature 95 mph heater during his starts in Pawtucket. Against the Orioles, he consistently sat around 92 mph with the fastball but touched 94 mph and as he continues to regain both arm and lower body strength the velocity should continue to return.

The addition of Eduardo Rodriguez to the roster adds a sense of insurance to a pitching staff that has some holes with neither Clay Buchholz nor Joe Kelly having proven himself capable of retiring MLB hitters. Buchholz was the man relegated to the bullpen in response to Rodriguez’s return and after Kelly’s disastrous outing last night he was optioned to Pawtucket. which leaves a void in the rotation. It remains to be seen how the Red Sox will fill this vacancy but Rodriguez’s presence should help take some pressure off of the pitching staff as a unit.

His return also presents a precarious situation for the front office. Rodriguez activation from the disabled list feels like the prize of a trade deadline deal. As the deadline approaches this acquisition will have to effect the front office’s decision making. While it remains to be seen how this process will unfold but there is no doubt that Rodriguez’s return addresses an important hole in the rotation.

Rodriguez is regarded as one of the more promising young pitchers in baseball and has plenty of time to develop. A role in the middle of the Red Sox rotation this season will serve to curb the lofty expectations of Red Sox fans as the lefty continues to mature, but few question he has the raw talent of a future ace. The camaraderie in the clubhouse should help Rodriguez hone his craft as he learns from the savvy veterans during the playoff push, and fans can expect him to make a solid contribution as the Red Sox strive to stay atop the competitive AL East.

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