When Dave Dombrowski was named Red Sox President of Baseball Operations last August, the prevailing notion was that the administrative change was a step in the right direction. Dombrowski has had a long history of building contending teams as a baseball executive, and there was no reason why he wouldn’t be able to replicate his Florida and Detroit success with a team that had more resources than many, if not all, of its competitors. Yet beneath the surface layer of cheers, there were dissenting whispers bringing up the dark side of a Dombrowski reign. “Oh, you like your prospects and organizational depth?”those whisperers said. “Well don’t get used to them. They don’t call him Dealin’ Dave for nothing”. We were warned. This is what Dombrowski does; he cashes in minor league assets for major league talent (leaving the farm system cupboard completely bare), crafts a playoff team full of All-Stars, forgets about the bullpen, and condemns the team to a cycle of near-misses in October. Continue reading
With a 2-2 split against the rival Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox displayed every theme from the season so far. We saw impressive pitching from unlikely sources, catastrophic pitching from seasoned veterans, and insane hitting on both ends. While much of the series was disappointing and frustrating to watch, Mookie Betts and Steven Wright stood out with star performances-hopefully keeping both on track for All Star selections. Continue reading
With two commanding victories over the Indians, the Red Sox won their eighth series of the year. The entire lineup has caught fire at the same time; largely led by Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, and David Ortiz. Similarly, the pitching staff (besides you know who) has found their groove, and been able to turn out consistently good performances. Continue reading
Some thoughts on the Red Sox first series win of the season: Continue reading
When it comes to spring training, sometimes no news is good news. Unfortunately for Red Sox Nation, 2016’s squad is filled with enough divas and personalities to fill an entire Bachelor season. Heading into the first spring game, there were multiple storylines to keep track of, some positive, and some very, very negative. Here’s a recap of the major points, and some ideas of what else to expect in this inevitably turbulent season.
It’s pretty damn fun to dream, isn’t it? During the course of the past two seasons, last offseason and now this offseason, as a Sox fan, I’ve done a lot of it. I constantly find myself thinking, “Man, wouldn’t it be great to go get so-and-so?” and of course, it never happens. Last year it was the dream of signing back Jon Lester and going to get Giancarlo Stanton (before he signed for over $300 mil). Then it was the dream that the Sox would make a playoff push behind the bats of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, and a pitching staff with “a lot to prove.” During the 2015 season, it was the dream that the young guys would exceed expectations and make the Red Sox buyers at the deadline. Then, Boston would land deals for guys like Johnny Cueto, Craig Kimbrel (which ended up working out last month) or Tyson Ross, and somehow find their way into the playoffs.
The Red Sox’s first spring training game was more or less exactly what you’d expect from a team who had yet to play a game against a professional opponent in 2015. There was plenty to be excited about, plenty of sloppiness to go around, and ultimately plenty to mindlessly overreact over. Some quick thoughts about tonight’s 9-8 loss against the Twins:
- Joe Kelly looked like the AL Cy Young candidate that he’s been touting himself as since January by striking out Twins’ lead-off hitter Danny Santana looking with a nasty 2-seam fastball. Kelly then proceeded to give up 6 hits to the next 8 batters, rendering all of the fuzzy feelings from that first batter moot. I’d attribute most of Kelly’s struggles to rust; he struggled to keep his fastball low in the zone and the Twins didn’t hesitate to jump all over his mistakes.
- At the plate, Dustin Pedroia was locked in. He ripped a fastball between the shortstop and third baseman in his first at-bat, doubled in his second AB, and then hit a grand slam in the 4th inning over the left field fence. There’s been so much talk about Pedroia’s free-falling OPS and whether or not the Laser Show is a player in decline, so it was nice to see him come out and rip the ball like he did.
- Speaking of Pedroia, Jackie Bradley Jr. changed his stance yet again and this time it bears a striking resemblance to Boston’s second baseman, as pointed out by SB Nation’s Joon Lee:
- Bradley had a pair of hits including a double off of the wall in right center field, so if nothing else he’s had some good early returns on his change in approach.
- A lot has been written about Xander Bogaerts’ improvement this offseason, and if last night’s action was any indication we could be in for a breakout season from the second year player. Bogaerts’ destroyed a Tim Stauffer offering in the 3rd inning over the wall in dead center field, and flashed some range with a diving stop of a grounder up the middle, though Mike Napoli was unable to scoop the low throw.
- Alexi Ogando, whom the Red Sox bought low on this offseason, got a pair of quick outs before allowing an infield single and a home run. His fastball looked lively enough, but as is often the case in March, the location was suspect and the warm weather helped to carry Eduardo Escobar’s fly ball over the wall.
- ProspectWatch: Catcher Blake Swihart (#1 prospect in the Sox system according to Baseball America) was 0-1 at the plate with a passed ball in the field, shortstop Devin Marrero (#9) also went 0-1, and Matt Barnes (#8) was the only Red Sox pitcher to not allow any runs, striking out 3 over 2 scoreless innings.
- The loss puts the Red Sox a game back in the race for the all important Mayor’s Cup (a race that is not over, no matter how many times the Twins try to pull a Michael Scott during the office-warehouse basketball game and quit while they’re ahead). I’m one of those obnoxious people who takes that kind of stuff way too seriously, so naturally I already have Saturday’s split squad game against the Twins circled in red ink on my calendar because I care too much about baseball.
- Last thing: I’m not 100% sure what’s going on with Napoli’s hair. It was long and greasy, a far cry from his usual buzz-cut. If it wasn’t for that tremendous Viking beard of his I’d say he’d be going full Buchholz.
The Sox play the Marlins tomorrow afternoon, but won’t be televised on NESN until Sunday’s matchup against the Mets, which is a major bummer. Regardless, I’m just happy that baseball is back.
What did everyone else think of tonight’s game?