|Buster Olney on M&M: Andrew Bailey ‘not looked at as an elite closer’||06.19.13 at 12:48 pm ET|
ESPN baseball columnist Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, following the Red Sox’ doubleheader sweep of the Rays on Tuesday.
In Game 2, closer Andrew Bailey surrendered the tying run in the ninth inning before Jonny Gomes hit a two-run walk-off home run. It was Bailey’s third blown save of the year.
“He certainly at this stage is not looked at as an elite closer,” Olney said. “I’m sure that the Red Sox will be asking the internal questions that all teams are this time of year, is: Do we have spots where we can look for an upgrade? What can we go get? But as we talked about in recent weeks, there’s just not going to be a lot out there for bullpen help. Jesse Crain of the White Sox, maybe. Jonathan Papelbon, if the Phillies decide to sell — but you’d be taking on a lot of money and probably reduce flexibility with other part of the team.
“So, you can understand why the Red Sox are giving him a long leash. They needed to work with him.”
The Sox have been boosted this season by their depth, as players have shuttled up from the minors to help when regulars have gone down with injuries.
Said Olney: “It really is, let’s face it, a byproduct of that great trade they made last summer, which is going to go down in history as one of the greatest trades of all-time, the deal they made with the Dodgers. Because the flexibility it gave them to go out and build the depth, on top of what they had in the farm system, to go get two more terrific pitching prospects in the way that they did.
“And if you look at the sport in general, a lot of the teams, the more progressive teams, are looking for that flexibility. A team like the Oakland Athletics, probably the primary reason why they’re winning is because of the flexibility and the depth. That’s what the Rays’ advantage has always been in recent years, because they’ve always had a lot more options, a lot more pitching, and let’s face it, because they’ve had cheaper options.
“So, I agree with you, I think the Red Sox deserve a whole lot of credit for building the depth that they have. And it all started, to me, with the Dodger deal.”
Looking at the American League East, Olney said he expects the Orioles to eventually overtake the Sox for first place.
“I think the Red Sox are certainly better than I thought they would be. I picked them third at the beginning of the year. … I picked the Blue Jays fourth. I know they’ve had a great run; I still have my doubts as to whether or not they can hold it together. The Yankees have far outplayed what I thought, given what they have. I still think they’re headed for a drift. …
“Before the year began, I picked the Orioles to win the division. I still think they’re going to. I think they also have a lot of depth in their organization. I think they just have to have some of the young pitchers in their rotation pull it together.”
|Red Sox-Angels postponed; doubleheader Saturday||06.07.13 at 12:54 pm ET|
Friday’s series opener between the Red Sox and Angels was postponed by rain. The teams will play twice Saturday, at 1:05 p.m. and the previously scheduled 7:15 p.m.
Tickets for Friday’s game will be valid for the Saturday afternoon game.
Felix Doubront was scheduled to face off against Tommy Hanson in the opener.
|Jason Collins to throw out first pitch Thursday at Fenway Park||06.06.13 at 11:48 am ET|
Jason Collins, the former Celtics center who this spring became the first active player in major pro sports to announce that he is gay, will throw out the first pitch before Thursday’s game at Fenway Park between the Red Sox and Rangers.
Collins, who was traded from the C’s to the Wizards in February, is a free agent.
The Red Sox reached out to Collins after his Sports Illustrated article in April detailing his struggles with his decision to come out. Collins will remain in town to march in the Boston Pride Parade on Saturday alongside his former Stanford roommate, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III.
We salute you, @jasoncollins34 for your courage and leadership. Any time you want to throw out a first pitch at Fenway Park, let us know.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 29, 2013
|Buster Olney on M&M: Phillies unlikely to trade Cliff Lee, Jonathan Papelbon||05.29.13 at 1:55 pm ET|
ESPN baseball reporter Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday, with the Red Sox having bounced back from their mid-May slump and back in first place in the American League East.
Olney said the Red Sox deserve their ranking as one of the best teams in baseball, while the Yankees might be headed for a dip after leading the division for a couple of weeks.
“I do, and I think they’re getting better,” he said of the Sox. “They have a nice baseline with that offense. Because it looks like all year, no matter what happens to the pitching staff, they’re going to be a team that scores runs. On the other hand, I’ve spent the last couple of days around the Yankees. And it feels like they have been this great marathoner, a group that went out early, and they’re starting to sputter a little bit. Some of the guys who have been so terrific for them early in the year are starting to fade.
“What I’m going to be fascinated by in the days ahead — because it looks like Kevin Youkilis is going to play this weekend and come back, it looks like Mark Teixeira is going to come back — is how does this change the culture of what they’ve been accomplishing? Because every day, Joe Girardi, the manager, has walked into his office and been able to — because he’s got so many pieces and parts he’s been working with, castoffs and players like that — on a daily basis, all he needs to focus on is picking the best lineup for that day. Well, now that Teixeira is coming back — I’m not saying he’s a bad player, but he’s going to play every day. Youkilis is going to play every day. So, Girardi is going to be fashioning his lineup in a very different way than he has been.
“And I just thought back to what happened to the Dodgers last year. They got off to a 34-14 start, [Don] Mattingly using all these pieces and parts. And they’re feeling was, hey, once we get [Matt] Kemp back, then that’s when we can get rolling. But what happened was, once they got those injured everyday guys back, they really fell apart. Because there was something about the esprit de corps that had just — it was an important part of what they were doing. And I think that’s what the case is with the Yankees. So, I’m going to be fascinated to see how Joe handles that lineup going forward.”
The Red Sox are heading to Philadelphia for a pair of games against the Phillies, who are underachieving for the second straight season. This has led to speculation that Philadelphia might considering trading one of its premier pitchers, ace left-hander Cliff Lee or closer Jonathan Papelbon. Olney explained why that’s unlikely.
“The Phillies, their owner, David Montgomery, is very conservative. He also is very cognizant of the idea that he’s got a lot of people who bought tickets to see his team play,” Olney said. “He will not necessarily be someone who’s going to be looking in July to blow it up and start over — even though it might make some sense, because Lee, after the next three years of his contract, he’s got a huge buyout of like $10½ million. He’s basically a $28 million-a-year pitcher. If you’re the Phillies, you might think it would make sense to get out from underneath that.
“But their ownership, as I mentioned, is not necessarily a group that would do that. And on top of that, and this is why I keep telling people, look, don’t go to sleep on the Phillies: They have two of the three worst teams in baseball in their division in the Mets and the Miami Marlins. And that’s why I think they’re going to hang around and hang around. We saw it at the end of last year, they made a run at the wild card spot, even though we all thought they stunk for most of the year. So, I don’t think that they’re going to trade Cliff Lee, I don’t think they’re going to trade Papelbon.”
|Nomar Garciaparra on D&C: Jackie Bradley Jr. needs to learn how to respond to failure||05.29.13 at 9:50 am ET|
ESPN analyst and former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday to talk about the Sox’ strong start to the season.
Garciaparra acknowledged predicting the Red Sox to finish toward the bottom of the American League East, but he said that was based on the team’s issues from last season.
“I think it wasn’t a matter of talent. I think it was a matter of the dysfunction they had last year, and could they recover,” he said. “There were a lot of question marks going in. Last year, one of the biggest things, I don’t think it was so much their offense; you knew they could score runs. But the pitching just wasn’t where it was capable of being. I think that left a lot of question marks.
“With [Jon] Lester and [Clay] Buchholz leading the way, capable of being aces on any staff, and obviously didn’t look that way last year, and then this year looking like that, looking like themselves, I think it really set the tone for this ball club. And they’re really doing a great job all the way around, taking it from there.”
The team’s improved chemistry has been cited as a key to the turnaround. Garciaparra said he recalls being welcomed to the Sox his rookie year by veterans such as John Valentin, Bret Saberhagen, Mike Stanley, Tim Naehring and Mo Vaughn.
“I remember times coming up as a young rookie when the veterans were willing to take me out, and we’d go out to the dinner. … I learned so much from them away from the game, being able to be in that environment, really asking questions, and them being willing to share it with me,” Garciaparra said.
Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has rediscovered his stroke in Triple-A after a brief stint with the parent club, and he’s a candidate to rejoin the Red Sox in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
“The talent is there. That’s first and foremost. There’s no question about that, from his athletic ability,” Garciaparra said. “I think what he’ll have to learn is how to fail. I think he felt that a little bit early on. What I mean by that is when you learn how to fail, you also have to learn how to make what the adjustment is you need to get out of it. To make sure that failure doesn’t snowball into something big and doesn’t affect you something big. It seems like nothing really fazes him anyway, so I think he has that mental aspect. But now from a physical [aspect], knowing what adjustments he has to make is what he’s going to learn.”
|Dustin Pedroia acknowledges playing through torn UCL in thumb||05.29.13 at 9:09 am ET|
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia revealed Tuesday that he has been playing with a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.
In an interview with the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman, Pedroia said he was told he had a complete tear. He injured the thumb sliding into first base in an Opening Day win over the Yankees, although he said it was impossible to determine if it could have been a pre-existing tear. Doctors told him he could play through the injury without risk of long-term damage as long as he could deal with the discomfort.
“People shouldn’t know if you’re 100 percent or not. It is what it is, and it’s my responsibility to perform well,” Pedroia told the Herald before Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to the Phillies. “My mindset is if I’m nicked up, I have to find other ways to perform. That’s the way I think about it. Maybe I’m crazy.”
The general recovery time for such an injury is eight weeks.
“You go and come back in eight weeks — that’s a lot of ballgames without one of the team’s best players, so my job’s to go out there and do the best job I can to help the team win. That’s the way I look at things,” Pedroia said.
Pedroia’s toughness impressed owner John Henry.
“It would have taken the heart and soul out of that club on Opening Day,” Henry said. “We already had lost [David Ortiz] and we didn’t know when he was coming back. It just meant so much to that club to have Dustin in the lineup every day.”
Added Henry: “I had two or three talks with him during the time about what he should do. I kept talking about it’s a long season and he kept talking about not missing a game. The guy played through the pain, through the swelling, the discoloration. He played through it, and no one ever knew. And he’s hit what, .330?”
|Kevin Millar on M&M: ‘That was a very, very low blow to David Ortiz from Dan Shaughnessy’||05.24.13 at 12:47 pm ET|
MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar checked in with Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the Red Sox, who dropped a 12-3 decision to the Indians on Thursday night.
One of the topics Millar discussed was the recent controversy involving David Ortiz, who fielded questions about performance-enhancing drugs from Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy.
“That was a very, very low blow to David Ortiz from Dan Shaughnessy,” Millar said. “You can’t just throw out stuff. I know he’s got a job to do and create some story and everybody’s going to buy papers and Dan Shaughnessy got his name in the paper, and he does a good job at what he does. But let’s get something straight: This is one of the good guys in the game. Let’s stop with, if you have a bad year you’re off the juice; if you have a good year you’re on the juice.
“David Ortiz takes tests just like everybody else. He’s negative in his tests. So why do we have the audacity to throw this man’s name on Front Street because he came in after an injury and is on fire. That’s disturbing to me. That’s not fair. That’s why players put up a huge shield now to the media. That’s why at certain times players are jerks. Because you just can’t trust anybody.”
Added Millar: “David Ortiz is one of the good guys. … He’s a happy young man. And to go ahead and throw a dark cloud over him during a hitting streak and all of this success, it doesn’t make sense to me. There’s too much hate in this world.”
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