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Kevin Millar on M&M: Josh Reddick ‘deserves the opportunity’

07.22.11 at 12:39 pm ET
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MLB Network analyst and former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Friday and talked about possible trade deadline moves by the Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

“No, they don’t need to make a big move,” Millar said. “Obviously, if they go out and make a decision where it makes sense to get a [Carlos] Beltran, is that going to enhance their team? Yeah, of course. But do they have to do it? No. They’ve got a bona fide group of stars right now on that squad. They just need to get healthy pitching-wise.”

Added Millar: “I think the Red Sox are fine. They’ve done a great job of mixing and matching, and they’re still in first place. ‘€¦ They don’t have to do a whole bunch of stuff. There’s not a whole bunch of things out there, that’s the thing.”

Asked if the Red Sox can count on 24-year-old Josh Reddick to continue to produce with limited major league experience, Millar said this is the right situation for just such an experiment.

“That’s how you get dirt in your spikes, that’s how you get experience, with the opportunities,” Millar said. “I think Reddick deserves the opportunity. I think he’s a good little ballplayer. He’s done a great job when he’s given the chance. Why not?”

Added Millar: “The Red Sox have enough firepower with Papi [David Ortiz] and [Adrian] Gonzalez and [Dustin] Pedroia and [Kevin] Youkilis. You don’t need Reddick be anybody and carry this club. You just need him to give you a tough little at-bat, play some nice defense, hit the cutoff man and be just a part of that puzzle That’s the big thing about the Sox. There’s not one guy that needs to carry this club.”

As for the oft-criticized J.D. Drew, Millar said: “He is what he is. He’s a nice young man. But there’s just not the oomph in there anymore.”

Touching on Ortiz’ recent slump, Millar said Papi has earned a pass when he’s not hitting well.

Said Millar: “He can hit. It’s funny, it makes me laugh when we doubt him. ‘€¦ I don’t want to hear anything about this guy. This guy will take this team to the promised land.”

Read More: David Ortiz, J.D Drew, josh reddick, Kevin Millar

One year later, a world of difference for Red Sox bullpen

07.22.11 at 11:45 am ET
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As ever, the Red Sox will spend the final days leading up to the July 31 deadline for non-waiver trades looking to upgrade in any way that they can. The team will look to address any weaknesses, whether by internal upgrade or through a trade. Yet even if there is a perceived strength of the club, the Sox will have no hesitation about reinforcing it.

After all, in 2007, the Red Sox had the best bullpen in the majors through the season’s first four months. Yet they still went out and made a deal at the deadline for Eric Gagne, believing that they would benefit by reinforcing a strength rather than risk having some of their relievers — most notably, Hideki Okajima, who was shut down for a couple weeks in order to rebuild arm strength towards the end of the year — run out of steam as the summer stretched on.

That being the case, one cannot dismiss the likelihood of a deal by the Sox to address any part of the team. That said, while virtually every team is trolling at this time to reinforce its relief ranks, the Sox find themselves in a fairly comfortable position, even with Bobby Jenks on the DL for the third time this year. While a trade for relief help cannot be ruled out, the Sox don’t feel like they need to go outside the organization to acquire an arm.

“It’€™s not really often that you can say leading up to the trade deadline that you don’€™t need anyone in the bullpen, but we really don’€™t,” said reliever Daniel Bard. “We have all the pieces covered. If you hand us a lead for four innings, we’€™re going to find a way to get it done. There aren’€™t many teams that can say that. Whether or not we add someone is still up in the air, I’€™m sure, but I think we can be pretty effective all the way through October with the guys we have out there.”

On the surface, the Sox bullpen has put up solid if unspectacular numbers. As a group, it is 15-11 with a 3.53 ERA and 24 saves. The ERA ranks 15th in the majors; the saves total, likewise, is middle of the pack (18th) owing to the significant number of blowout victories that the team has this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, alfredo aceves, dan wheeler, Daniel Bard

Trade Deadline: Tigers interested in Rays’ James Shields?

07.22.11 at 10:52 am ET
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The Tigers sent two scouts to Tampa Thursday night to watch James Shields beat the Yankees, the New York Post’s George A. King III reported Friday. King added that while both the Tigers and Yankees have shown interest in the 29-year-old right-hander, Shields would never be dealt to an AL East opponent.

Though just 9-8 because of Tampa Bay’s weak offense (16th in the MLB in runs, 24th in batting average), Shields has a 2.53 ERA and a .212 opponent batting average. His first-half performance earned him a spot on the AL All-Star squad.

Shields has a career winning record and a 4.33 ERA against the Indians, Royals, Twins and White Sox. However, he is 1-5 lifetime against the Indians, who are the Tigers’ chief rival this year in the AL Central.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, james shields,

Trade Deadline: Yankees reportedly sign ex-Dodger Marcus Thames

07.22.11 at 10:33 am ET
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The Yankees signed former Dodgers outfielder Marcus Thames to a minor league deal, the New York Post’s George A. King III reported Friday.

Thames was designated for assignment after 36 games with the Dodgers in which he hit just .197 with two home runs and seven RBIs. Thames enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career in 2010 with the Yankees, batting a career-best .288 with a .350 OPS, also a career best. He hit 12 home runs and drove in 33.

The 34-year-old righty hitter brings versatility to the Yankees, having played left field, right field, first base and DH in his career.

King wrote that Thames will work at the Yankees’ minor league complex in Tampa, then be assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, George A. King III, Los Angeles Dodgers, marcus thames

Jerry Remy on D&C: ‘You have to go for the production’ from Josh Reddick

07.22.11 at 9:44 am ET
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NESN color commentator Jerry Remy checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk Red Sox. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Remy called Felix Hernandez, the Mariners‘€™ starting pitcher Friday night, ‘€œone of the top pitchers in all of baseball.’€

‘€œIf he’€™s on his game, it could be a very tough night for Red Sox hitters,’€ Remy said.

Remy said that John Lackey, Hernandez’€™s opponent, is trying to pitch with consistency and string together multiple quality starts.

‘€œHe’€™s facing a club tonight in Seattle that’€™s a poor offensive ball club, so hopefully that works in the Red Sox’€™ favor,’€ Remy said.

Remy also said that, based on his recent play, Josh Reddick should continue to play every day.

‘€œYou hate to sit veterans like [J.D.] Drew, but there comes a time when you have to go for the production,’€ Remy said. ‘€œThe production right now is with Reddick, and I don’€™t see any reason why [Terry Francona] won’€™t put him in the lineup tonight against Hernandez.”

Remy credited Reddick’€™s success to his increased plate discipline and ability to hit the ball to all areas of the field. He added that Reddick’€™s performance might decrease the Red Sox’€™ interest in Carlos Beltran.

Said Remy: ‘€œI don’€™t think they’€™re going to give up the house to get Beltran. … If the team is healthy, they’€™ve got enough as it is to do what they want to do.’€

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, felix hernandez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jerry Remy

The big Friday Nuggetpalooza!

07.22.11 at 9:39 am ET
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I’ve got 16 nuggets for you today. But if you factor in the humidity, it SEEMS like 22!

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* – The Red Sox have now hit multiple home runs in eight of their last 11 games, clubbing a total of 25 bombs in that span. The Padres have hit multiple homers in a game just nine times all season.

Note this: Boston has 35 games with 2+ home runs this season, third most in the majors behind the Rangers (39) and the Yankees (38).

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* – After 28 games, the Red Sox run differential was minus-1 and they went 14-14 in that span. Over the last 68 games, their run differential is plus-119 and they’ve gone 45-23.

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* – Jacoby Ellsbury on Wednesday became the fifth Red Sox player since 1950 to hit multiple home runs from the leadoff spot more than once. Johnny Damon did it five times, Nomar Garciaparra four, Bernie Carbo three, and Wade Boggs had two such games.

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* – Wednesday was the third time this season that the Orioles have allowed 15 or more baserunners and two or more home runs but wound up allowing four runs or fewer (non-extra innings games only). They had only five such games in the previous 11 seasons combined.

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* – David Ortiz‘ .998 OPS against left-handed pitchers would be a career high for any season where he’s had 100 or more plate appearances vs. southpaws. He currently leads all AL lefty batters in OPS vs. lefties (min. 100 such PA):

.998 – David Ortiz, BOS
.940 – Curtis Granderson, NYY
.909 – Robinson Cano, NYY

Note this: Ortiz is bidding to become the fourth Red Sox left-handed batter to lead the AL in OPS vs. lefties since 1974. He would be joining Wade Boggs (1987, .948), Mo Vaughn (1997, 1.047), and the 2006 version of Big Papi (.988).

—————————————————————————————————————————– Read the rest of this entry »

Friday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: John Lackey vs. Felix Hernandez

07.22.11 at 9:00 am ET
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The Red Sox aren’€™t in Baltimore anymore.

Under literally any scenario, that would mean that they would face tougher pitching than the Baltimore staff that ranks dead last in the majors in ERA. But when the Sox face the Mariners for a three-game set starting Friday night, they’€™ll find themselves facing a staff that’€™s at the other end of the spectrum. Seattle ranks second in the AL and seventh in the majors with a 3.39 team ERA, thanks to All-Star performances by Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda, who will take the hill Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Red Sox will counter the M’€™s 2010 Cy Young winner with John Lackey to start the series.

Lackey’€™s struggles (7-8, 6.70 ERA) are well-known to anyone who has listened to sports radio, picked up a newspaper or watched TV in the Boston area over the last three months. But there are some encouraging signs heading into Friday night’€™s start. The big right-hander shook off a difficult first inning (three runs allowed on four hits and an error by Marco Scutaro) in his outing last Saturday against the Rays to eventually last 5 2/3 innings of the 9-5 win. For the second start in a row, he had a season-best strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7:1 and now has only allowed three free passes over his last four starts after walking four on June 22.

In his lone start against Seattle this season on April 30, Lackey allowed just two runs in six innings but racked up his third loss when the Red Sox offense put up a goose egg on the Fenway Park scoreboard. Friday night, he will face Ichiro Suzuki for the 101st time, the most he’€™s seen any major leaguer.

Hernandez (8-8, 3.26 ERA) hasn’€™t faced any big leaguer that much, never mind anyone on the Red Sox, but he does have some experience against this Boston squad. On May 1, he held the powerful Sox offense to just two runs over seven innings and retired as many as 12 consecutive hitters at one point. But like Lackey, Hernandez’€™s win total was not a beneficiary of that performance as the M’€™s totaled just two runs before Carl Crawford hit a walk-off single up the middle to give the Sox a 3-2 victory. The hard-throwing All-Star would seemingly be used to such a scenario, however. The Seattle offense averages just 3.61 runs in Hernandez starts, and believe it or not, that number is actually higher than its MLB-worst average of 3.24 runs per game regardless of who is on the mound.

The Red Sox offense itself may have its own struggles though with Hernandez pitching. Every Red Sox hitter with substantial experience against the righty has struck out multiple times with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and J.D. Drew leading the way with 7 K’s each. However, expect Drew to be playing in right field Friday because his .360 average, 1.067 OPS and two home runs against Hernandez are team-highs.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: felix hernandez, john lackey,

Trade Deadline: Yankees reportedly interested in Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie

07.22.11 at 8:57 am ET
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Add the Yankees to the list of teams interested in Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie, at least according to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman on Twitter. Guthrie, a 32-year-old right-hander, is 4-13 with a 4.35 ERA.

Some of Guthrie’s appeal may have come from his last start, in which he held the Red Sox to two runs over seven innings and picked up his first win in July. He also shut out the Red Sox over six innings in April and held the Rays scoreless over eight in April as well. Guthrie is 2-4 with a 3.64 ERA against the AL East this season.

Heyman added in his tweet that while the Yankees may want Guthrie, they also know that Orioles owner Peter Angelos will not trade with them.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Baltimore Orioles, Jeremy Guthrie, New York Yankees

Trade Deadline: Jason Isringhausen latest Met getting looks

07.21.11 at 5:54 pm ET
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Reliever Jason Isringhausen joins Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and even R.A. Dickey as Mets who have been rumored to be potentially on the trading market as July 31 fast approaches. FoxSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi tweeted that the Reds and Diamondbacks have expressed some desire in trading for the right-hander while the Cardinals also seem interested in bringing him back to St. Louis, where he played from 2002-08.

However, there are some conflicting reports on just how available Isringhausen is on the trade market. Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jon Heyman tweeted earlier in the day that New York has “decided to keep” the reliever and use him as a teacher for 26-year-old Bobby Parnell. That would mean he’d join Reyes and Dickey as Mets who will probably stay in the Big Apple after the trade deadline comes and goes.

Regardless of where he’s playing come the end of the day on July 31, the 38-year-old will definitely provide some value given his age. In 38 starts in 2011, Isringhausen has a 2.76 ERA, his lowest ERA over the course of a full season since 2007 when he had a mark of 2.48 and saved 32 games for St. Louis.

Read More: Jason Isringhausen, Rumor Mill,

Trade Deadline: Jason Giambi garnering some interest

07.21.11 at 5:14 pm ET
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No, this is not the 2001-02 MLB offseason. This story is actually coming from the 2011 trade deadline rumor mill.

FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Rockies are “drawing interest” from potential suitors in first baseman Jason Giambi. The former MVP and five-time All-Star quietly has a  nice line of .278/.377/.667/1.044 while working mostly as a pinch-hitter for Colorado this season. With those numbers, he could certainly be enticing to an American League team looking for an upgrade at the designated hitter spot in the lineup.

Rosenthal reports that Giambi would rather stay in Colorado rather than be traded and that because of his unwillingness to leave, the team would “consult him before making any move.”

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, jason giambi,
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