Over the last three days, I have been to
three different Spring Training games in three different
ballparks. I was in Ft. Myers to see Red Sox-Twins, than at
City of Palms Park, also in Ft. Myers for Red Sox-Orioles. I
capped it off today with Red Sox-Astros. The Red Sox won the
first game, with Ryne Miller getting the start over Josh
Beckett, who was ill. Miller got rocked pretty hard. But, he
is just a single-A player. Aaron Bates, my player to watch
this spring, (Last year it was Jeff Bailey) doubled and
scored in the game. I pick a player every spring to watch,
this year it’s Bates and Josh Reddick. Reddick homered in the
home game vs the Orioles. Tim Wakefield pitched that game,
and was pretty shaky. David Ortiz also homered. Mike Lowell
made his spring debut, to an aplauding crowd. Rumor says that
Marlins scouts where in the crowd to watch the newly
converted first baseman. Today in Kissimee, the Red Sox lost
3-0 to the Astors and Roy Oswalt. Jon Lester pitched for
Boston, and looked good. The only negitive of his outing was
a run scoring on a wild pitch. Bates came up as the tying rin
in the ninth vs Wesley Wright, but grounded out to shortstop.
My next game is in Bradenton on Friday to see the Red Sox
play the Pirates.
The Red Sox beat the Cardinals, 7-6. Josh Beckett pitched three perfect innings. The Red Sox no-hit the Cards through seven innings, but they got the bats going vs Randor Bierd. Che-Hsuan Lin got the game winning single in the ninth inning.
The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the San Antonio Spurs, 97-95. Lebron James and Shaquile O’Neal did not play. Delonte West picked up 16 points.
The New York Knicks beat the Atlanta Hawks, 99-98. The Knicks held on after Al Horford’s basket was reveiwed and revealed to be after the buzzer.
The Dallas Stars beat the Washington Capitals, 4-3. The Stars where down two goals to the best team in the NHL and came back to score three in the third period on six shots. Marty Turco had a career best 49 saves.
News and Notes: Marc Savard has been diagnosed with a grade 2 concussion after the devastaing hit from Matt Cooke on Sunday. Savard was cleared to fly and returned to Boston yesterday for further examination. Savard said he did not remember taking the shot or the hit. The real nature of the concussion will be watched over the next 4-5 days. His timetable for return in uncertain.
Jonathan Papelbon pitched an inning for the Red Sox, a perfect inning.
The Celtics Micheal Finley is expected to join the team in Milwakee for tonight’s game. Marcus Landry was assigned to the NBA D-league.
The Bruins have assigned Dany Sabuan to Providence, and recalled defenseman Jeff Penner. That tells me that Andrew Fernece is not ready to return on the roadtrip, and they need a backup defenseman.
The Bruins play Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, and the Celtics take on the
Here is your Sunday recap in Boston sports.
The Red Sox beat the Orioles, 5-4. The Sox where down in the eigth inning, but an Angel Sanchez double and Gil Velezquez single tied it. Mark Wagner homered in the ninth inning to win. Casey Kelly picked up the win and Robert Manuel the save. David Hernandez got the L for the O’s.
The Bruins lost to the Penguins, 2-1. Marc Savard was taken out on a stretcher after a dirty hit from behind by a dirty player, Matt Cooke. Savard took an awkward pass from the left wing and dumped it in, and Cooke came from behind and slammed his elbow into his head. Obvious intent to injure. The NHL says they want to get rid of head shots, but no penalty was called on the play. I expect Cooke to be let of the hook with a two or three game suspension, though he deserves a season suspension in my mind. I’ll talk more about this at news and notes.
The Celtics beat the Wizards, in a comeback win. Down by as much as thriteen in the fourth quater, Ray Allen hit two key three pointers in the comeback. Rajon Rondo missed a free throw down two, and Kendrick Perkins picked up the rebound and passed to Ray who was beyond the arc. He hit it, of course.
The Sabres beat the Rangers, 2-1 in OT. The Rangers gain a point on the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings, and now sit only two points behind them after the Bruins loss.
The Canadiens beat the Ducks, 4-3 in a shootout. Montreal entered the third period down three goals, and came back to tie. Tomas Plekanic sealed it in the SO. Montreal is now two points behind the Bruins.
The Magic beat the Lakers, 96-94. Kobe Bryant could not hit the buzzer beater this time. Vince Carter threw down 25 points in the win. The Lakers have now lost three games in their west coast swing, to the Bobcats, Heat, and now Orlando.
The 76ers beat the Raptors, 114-101. Yes, the C’s actully have to worry about the Raptors, who are behind them in the divison. Good to gain a game on them. Expect a Celtics-Raptors first round playoff series.
The Oilers beat the Devils, 2-0. Always a good thing, as the B’s need the Oilers to heat up if they want Taylor Hall in the draft. Can Toronto catch them?
News and Notes: I promised I would touch on this topic again and I will. That hit Cooke had on Savard was the second dirtiest hit I have seen this year. The only worse was Mike Richards on David Booth in an almost identical situation that took Booth out 45 games and he missed the Olympics for team USA. Did Richards get suspended? Of course not. Welcome to the NHL. This is the second time Cooke had handed out a hit like this. It’s time the NHL does something.
I was at the Red Sox game yesterday afternoon. Right behind the Sox dugout. Victor Martinez tossed me a ball! That was sweet. I got to see Casey Kelly pitch live for the first time. That kid has some sick stuff. I can see him in the big leagues next year. Or maybe this year. If Kelly is what they think he is, then they can just let Beckett walk without a problem.
Thanks for all the mailbag questions. It will be back again at it’s reaguler time Sunday. Sorry for no recap yesterday, I was at the Red Sox game, then I watched the Bruins and Celtics. Today the Red Sox play the Cardinals at 1:05 pm. Josh Beckett will face off vs Chris Carpenter. I will be in Ft. Myers Wednesday when the Red Sox play the Rays. I expect to see either Lester or Lackey.
This is a full evaluation of the 2010 Red Sox roster as it stands now. I will look at the lineup, defense, pitching, bench, bullpen, and minor leagues, and try to prove to you complainers that this is a good team.
Lineup: I really like the lineup. I’m not trying to be an optimist, I really like the lineup. I love the combination of speed and power. The bottom of the lineup impresses me with Drew-Cameron-Scutaro. I feel speed is going to come from Jacoby Ellsbury (duh) and Scutaro. Cameron can steal a few as can Pedroia. Don’t even say Drew, I believe he was 2-for-8 in the SB catagory.
On the power side, you got Ortiz, Youk, Beltre, Cameron, Drew, and Victor. Each one of them will hit from 15-30 HRs, maybe more for Beltre or Cameron at Fenway. I feel a big year coming from Youk, I really do.He was hurt a lot of last year, and I think it really affected him. The suspension did not help either.
I also liked the way the lineup is built. I thought last year Pedroia struggled leadoff beacuse he missed the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury. Since he is a base stealer, pitchers are going to throw more fastballs to the next batter in an attempt to pick him off. A fastball gets to the plate fatser, and the catcher can gun it down to second faster. I hope Francona keeps Ellsbury in the lead-off spot, that is where he is supposed to be.
More about the lineup, I would like to see JD Drew bat eighth and Cameron bat seventh. Mostly beacuse it strenghens the bottom of the lineup. Here is the lineup I would like to see:
Pitching: No one can deny this staff. Even if I am wrong and the lineup does suck, the pitching will keep you in games. Defense wins(Look how far the Jets got!). Offense is nice, but defense and pitching is more important(Unless you have Teixeira. And A-rod. And Jeter. And Granderson…..). This is no doubt about it the best staff in the game. You can say Seattle with Cliff Lee and King Felix, and I’ll give you that as the top 1-2 punch in baseball. But Lester. Beckett. Lackey. Dice-k. Buchholz. Wake. They have so much depth! I know this happened last year, and everyone got hurt to the point we needed Paul Byrd, and at least two or three of those guys are going to have to stay healthy. Ok, Lackey, out a month. Fine, Lester and Beckett. Lester out a few weeks? That’s ok, Dice-k/Wake/Buchholz might be pitching good, and Lackey might be back soon. Just theories here.
And either way, I expect some sort of reclamation/Theo Epstein projects like an Erik Bedard or Ben Sheets coming.(John Smoltz!)
Every game we are going to get a six-to-seven inning perfomrance or a quality start. Yes, Lackey has had injury problems. So has Beckett, and Dice-k, and every other pitcher in baseball. You learn to deal with it.
Defense: Joe Maddon called Adrain Beltre the best defensive player he has ever seen, and Maddon knows a damn lot about baseball. He took that team to the world series, and I think we all know who that team is. I don’t get to watch Beltre often, as he played for Seattle, but I’ll take Joe’s word for it. So on the right side of your infeild you got “The best defensive player ever” (I thought that was Darrelle Revis?) and Marco Scutaro, who should have gotten the AL gold glove for shortstop. Then on the left side you have two gold glove winners in Pedroia and Youk. In the outfield is Ellsbury, Cameron, and Drew. Pretty sick. Tell me a better defensive outfield? I think the only team that is in the same class is KC(Gasp!) with Ankeil, Posednik, and DeJesus. Fast outfield. Anyways, we have a good defense basicly beacuse Theo could not find another excuse to have a lackluster offense.
Bench: Solid bench. You got Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall, V-Tek, and either a guy like Josh Reddick, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, or Aaron Bates. That is, unless another Nick Green type magicaly appears again. Hermida is a decent offensive player. He has some wheels and could be a good pinch running guy. He has a little pop. He was a Marlins top prospect for a while but has not really panned ouy yet. Theo was just taking a chance on some player with potential. Hall is what he is. Good defensivly(Shocker) with no bat. You all know about V-Tek. Can’t hit in the second half. look for V-Tek to have a somewhat of a bounce-back year in a limited role. He has hit well in the first half the last two years. And he may have to be Beckett’s personal catcher.
Bullpen: Who is in this bullpen? Papelbon, Bard, Oki, Delcarmen, Rameriz, the other Rameriz, Shouse, Atchison, Dustin Richardson, Fernando Cabrera, Boof. Meh. I like the top three. That’s about it. I wanted to see the Sox go out and sign either Darren Oliver or Mike Gonzalez, but that never happened. I kinda like Richardson. He dominated the AFL this season. Strikeout lefty. Casey Kelly could be up this year, but I doubt he would be ready to contribute. Shouse is no good. I have no clue who Atchison is. Rameriz is what he is. Delcarmen sucks. I never thought Boof was anything. So yeah, maybe improve the pen a bit. And when I say improve I do not mean Mike Timlin, who is looking for a major league job still.
Triple A: The Pawsox may have better players than last year, where they where awful. The Pawsox finished in fourth in their divison and offered no real MLB ready players. That should change this year, as a lot of prospects shoukd be ready for triple A. Here are some: Micheal Bowdon, Angel Sanchez, Gil Velezquez, Josh Reddick, Travis Denker, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson, Aaron Bates, Ramon A. Rameriz, Bubba Bell, Darnelle MacDonald, Jeff Natle, Mark Wagner, Zach Daeges, Randor Beird, TJ Large, Kason Gabbard. Decent triple A roster. Bowdon has seen the big leagues, I honestly don’t think he is anything special. Sanchez is a terrific defensive player. Velezquez is the last minute, desprate, there is absolutly no one else in the world who can help, utility player. I like Reddick, but he’s not major league ready. Denker is a career minor leaguer. Lars is the second most overrated prospect in the system to Bowdon. I have a stupid man-crush on Aaron Bates although he hit around the medoza line in triple A last year. I don’t know anything about the other Rameriz, Bubba Bell did well in triple A last year. MacDonald can run, but that’s it. Natle is a 1B-DH type. Wagner is a catcher who should be on the MLB roster beacuse he can throw out base runners. The only thing I know about Daeges is he killed the ball in Spring Training and I never heard of him again. We got Beird for David Pauly, enough said there. TJ Large had an ERA over 6.00 last year, and Gabbard saved us from trading Lester to Texas for Eric Gagne.
Lower-leval prospects: You probally know most of the names. Jose Iglesias, Casey Kelly, Alex Wilson, Reymond Fuentes, Ryan Westmorland, Ryan Kalish, and Dustin Richardson. Some of these guys may be September callups, the most likley being Kalish. I feel these are the players to watch in the minor leagues next year. Alex Wilson is not really known like Kelly or Kalish, but I feel he has a bright future in the majors. He is a righty, and was the Red sox second round pick last year. He is often compared to AL rookie of the eyar Andrew Bailey. His one down swing, he had tommy John surgery two years ago. Has a hard fastball and his out-pitch is his slider. He spent last year with Lowell and I would be surprised to see him with Salem or Greenville next year.
As my readers may know, I get rather mad when the Red Sox don’t spend their money. And this will come up again when the fail to sign Jason Bay to the New York Yankees. Yes, the Yankees. I know many people say that the Yankeeshave no interest, but I do not belive that for one second. They had no interest in Mark Teixeira either, huh? But Jason Bay will be the Opening Day starting LF for the Yankees while the Red Sox will have Jeremy Hermida or Josh Reddick. And they are the Boston Red Sox, second richest team in baseball, with Jeremy Hermida as the starting LF. Sad, ain’t it?
Why didn’t the Red Sox just keep Alex Gonzalez? I know he would be making $6mm, but your the Red Sox! Keep Gonzo for one year then call up a guy like Jose Igleasias. Just keep Gonzalez for the year, and you are solidifyed at the SS position. Sure, he dosen’t hit much, but if you have Jason Bay, that’s not a problem. Oh wait…. They should have just got Micheal Young anways, Theo Epstein.
Ok, the pitching looks good with a top four of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz. But I tell you, I would really, really like to have Felix Hernandez on this team. A lot. But I know it will never happen, beacuse Theo Epstein does not want to give up his unproven minor leaguers for an ace in Feliz Hernandez. That makes perfect sense. I’ll end the sarcasm here.
Adrian Gonzalez is not happening, people. Period. It’s just not. Theo won’t give up his single A players first off, and having Jed Hoyer as GM of San Diego will not help things. He’s looking to turn around that franchise, and that starts with locking up Gonzalez.
Ok Red Sox fans that are hoping to get rid of JD Drew. Sorry. According to his contract that gives him $14mm a year, if he injures his right shoulder that places him on the DL for 35 days or he ends the 2010 season on the DL and cannot play the outfield in the 2011 season, the Red Sox can buy out of his contract. Not happening, ever. But with Drew, you never know, you can only hope.
Here is the Red Sox Opening Day lineup:
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Kevin Youkilis
LF Jason Bay
RF JD Drew
3B Mike Lowell
SS Jed Lowrie
C Jason Varitek
P Josh Beckett
Here is the lineup on the last game of the season, the last game of the ALDS.
C Victor Martinez
SS Alex Gonzalez
P Jon Lester
Slight difference, eh? Teams change over the course of a season, and boy did the Red Sox! I was wondering what you Total Bases readers think the Red Sox roster will look like at the begenning of 2010. Wiil Bay be the starting LF? Who will be SS? Who will be the opening day pitcher, Beckett or Lester? You guys tell me.
As a Red Sox fan, I am really hoping the Phillies win. Really. I hate the Yankees, but if they win I won’t frett. I have said before that I like the way the Yankees spend money, and I wish my Red Sox did. I think the Yankees will have earned it if they win. They spent the money they had and got a former Cy Young award winner, gold glove winner, and strikeout leader. The Red Sox got a guy with shoulder problems, and a 40-something year old. Any guesses on who went to the World Series? Red Sox, stop pretending to be the Minnesota Twins and that you don’t have any money. You do, use it.
In other news, the Red Sox will meet with Josh Beckett to discuss an extension. This could mean the end of the Felix Hernandez rumors. I like Beckett a lot, but I think signing him to a four or five year extension would be dumb. I say leave Beckett as he is, get Hernandez, sign a Rich Harden, Mark Mulder, and have a rotation of Jon Lester-Beckett-Hernandez-Wakefield/Harden/Mudler- Dice-k. I leave Clay Buchholz out beacuse if they get Hernandez, Buchholz will not be in that deal.
I think the Red Sox should keep Alex Gonzalez. I know he won’t hit like he did last year, but they need his defense. Marco Scutaro is not happening. I just don’t see it. I also don’t see Adrian Gonzalez happening. Just does not seem logical to me. Theo Epstein is not one to empty his farm system full of unproven minor leaguers for a proven 40-HRs-a-year-hitter.
Stop with the trade Papelbon talk. Daniel Bard is not ready to be the closer for this team. I think he will be, but not yet. I think Jonathan Papelbon was shaky last year, yes. Too many walks. But he is still one of the best closers in baseball and I would trust him in the ninth inning over anyone in baseball other than Mariano Rivera. And Red Sox, i don’t care what you told him, pick up Billy Wagner’s option. They need bullpen help. Manny Delcarmen is unreliable, and must go. Ramon Rameriz is shaky. Takashi Saito is gone. All you have is Papelbon, Bard, and Okajima. And whatever happened to Javier Lopez? Where is he? What happened to this guy? He was the Red Sox most reliable middle relif pitcher in 2008, and was absolutly terrable, so bad that Jonathan Van Every replaced him in a game. Think about that, Jonathan Van Every, a 30 year old career minor league outfielder, replaced a career pitcher. I would love to know where Lopez went. They could use him.
Red Sox, why don’t you go out there and spend some cash and get a good baseball player?