|Pedro Martinez: ‘Boston, I don’t have enough words to say how much I love you’||07.26.15 at 5:40 pm ET|
From 1998 to 2004, Martinez pitched for the Red Sox. In 1999 and 2000, Martinez authored two of the greatest seasons in baseball history on the mound, going 41-10 with a 1.90 ERA and a 0.830 WHIP in 58 starts. He won back-to-back Cy Young awards.
In seven seasons with the Red Sox, he was 117-37 with a 2.52 ERA and a 0.978 WHIP in 201 starts.
“Boston, I don’t have enough words to say how much I love you,” Martinez said during a 30-minute speech that began in English and ended in Spanish, as he addressed a huge Dominican audience that showed up with flags and shirts to honor one of the country’s greatest athletes.
“It’s great honor to be here. It’s great moment not only for me, for my family, it’s a great moment for the Dominican Republic and Latin America,” he said.
Martinez was as grateful to those writers who voted him in on his first year of eligibility as he was the fans who cheered him on.
“In ’99, I had a little stretch when I felt you didn’t like me, but you made it up and showed me you cared when it really matters,” Martinez quipped with his trademark charismatic smile.
|Cuban Missile Aroldis Chapman blows away Brock Holt, AL stars in remarkable show||07.15.15 at 1:35 am ET|
CINCINNATI — The Cuban Missile was deadly Tuesday night.
In the ninth inning of the American League‘s 6-3 win over the National League at Great American Ball Park, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman showed why he is one of the most feared pitchers in baseball, firing 14 pitches, averaging just over 101 mph.
Of the 14 pitches he threw, only two were below the century mark. He struck out the side in the ninth, starting out with Brock Holt, followed by Kansas City’s Mike Moustakas and capped off by a flame-throwing performance against New York Yankee Mark Teixeira.
“I feel really happy. I can’t describe it but I feel like I had so much fun,” Chapman said through an interpreter. “I want to do this. I’m happy I threw the ninth. I had a chance to show the fans and everybody else what they’re used to seeing every night, pitching the way I do.”
The opposing batters may not have felt the same way, at least not Holt, who was making his first career All-Star appearance in the batter’s box.
“As soon as I made the team, I kind of figured I would face Chapman,” Holt said. “I was trying to get mentally prepared for that about a week ago. It still didn’t help me out. I knew I would probably get an at-bat late and he would be throwing late. He’s not fun to face. You want to face the best and he’s one of them. It was fun.”
|Brock Holt: ‘It was an honor to play in this game’||at 1:08 am ET|
CINCINNATI — Who knew Brock Holt would play such a significant role in the All-Star Game?
No, he didn’t win MVP of the contest, won 6-3 by the American League over the National League at Great American Ball Park. But he did come in and replace the MVP, Mike Trout, who became the first-ever back-to-back winner of the Ted Williams MVP trophy.
Holt came on in the seventh as a pinch-runner for Trout, who walked to begin the inning. He stole second base and scored on a Manny Machado double. He caught two fly balls in the ninth, including the one off the bat of Joe Panik to end the game.
“I’m glad someone hit me a ball,” said Holt, who didn’t see any action in left field in the eighth. “I got two there in the last inning. To catch the last out of the game for the win was pretty cool.”
Holt made his biggest impact on the bases, taking advantage of the wildness of reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who bounced several balls in the dirt during his encounter with Manny Machado.
“I wasn’t planning on stealing the base,” Holt said. “I knew he was probably going to go breaking balls in the dirt. I missed one dirt-ball read before so I wanted to be ready for the next one. Yady picked it and luckily I was able to get in there. Not a delayed steal, just looking for a ball down in the dirt and saw it angle down and read it from there.
|David Ortiz, Ted Williams, Pedro Martinez, Carl Yastrzemski chosen as ‘Franchise Four’ Red Sox||07.14.15 at 8:43 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — In a vote that is bound to generate plenty of discussion and debate, Major League Baseball released its “Franchise Four” results for all 30 teams Tuesday night before the 86th All-Star Game.
Then, just before the first pitch, MLB announced the results of voting for the greatest four living players. Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Sandy Koufax and Johnny Bench were the four chosen and all were recognized in front of the pitcher’s mound.
The four walked out to the center of the diamond arm in arm, as the All-Stars and fans roared at Great American Ball Park. After Aaron, Bench, Koufax and Mays were introduced one by one, Bench, the Reds’ legendary catcher, crouched behind home plate to catch the ceremonial first pitch from Koufax.
The highlight of Franchise Four unveiling was the final club to be revealed: the hometown Cincinnati Reds. Bench, Barry Larkin, Joe Morgan and Pete Rose were all in attendance and introduced by Thom Brennaman, the son of legendary Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman.
Rose, who has been lobbying Commissioner Rob Manfred to be reinstated after being banned from baseball in 1989 for betting on baseball, was the last to come out of the tunnel, and the all-time hits leader received a standing ovation from the Cincinnati crowd.
There were two notable absences Tuesday. When the Yankees were announced, there was no mention of Derek Jeter, as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were chose the “Franchise Four” for the Bombers. And there was no Barry Bonds, kept out through the vote by the fans.
All-time strikeouts leader Nolan Ryan was the only player to earn a spot on three different clubs: the Angels, Astros and Rangers.
|How rest of AL East views Red Sox at All-Star break: ‘I hope they don’t figure it out’||at 7:25 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — All is not lost for the 2015 Boston Red Sox. Just ask the best players from their competition in the AL East.
When the Red Sox return from the break in Anaheim on Friday, they’ll do so with a 42-47 record, 6 1/2 games behind front-running New York in the division.
They sent just one player to the Midsummer Classic, and he was a utility player in Brock Holt. Certainly Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez could have all made cases, and even Manny Machado thinks Bogaerts should’ve been here.
But when the team reassembles on Friday, those players will be together and have 73 games to figure things out.
The Yankees are 48-40, with a 3 1/2-game lead on second-place Tampa Bay. The Orioles, the defending division champs are treading water at 44-44, four games back in third. Toronto, which blazed to an 11-game winning streak, has cooled mightily since, posting just an 11-16 mark and heading into the break at 45-46. They are 4 1/2 games back.
Then there are the Red Sox.
“I think they’re a good team,” Red Sox killer and Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson told WEEI.com Tuesday. “Obviously, they have pieces there that are well thought of. Honestly, I hope they don’t figure it out because I want my team to figure it out.
“What’s cool about it is every team has a lot of talent. But on the other side of the coin, teams have weaknesses. Certain teams in our division match up better against other teams. With that being said, I feel like it’s going to be one of those things that comes down to the wire. It’s going to be a war of attrition, whoever can stay the healthiest. Everybody is kind of right there in the mix. Every team has the capabilities of going on their stretches, too.”
CINCINNATI — The Yankees are in first place in the AL East and Mark Teieira says embattled teammate Alex Rodriguez is one of the biggest reasons why.
Teieira is one of three Yankees at the All-Star Game and he said before Tuesday’s 86th Midsummer Classic that A-Rod has been exactly what the Yankees needed in the middle of their order.
Rodriguez is batting .278 with 18 homers and 51 RBIs. Only Teixeira has more homers (22) and RBIs (62) on the team, which is leading the Rays by 3.5 games at the break.
“He’s been huge,” Teixeira said. “Without Alex, we’re not in first place. There’s no doubt. What he’s done in the middle of our lineup kind of solidified the DH spot for us. We really appreciate what he’s doing for our team.”
The Red Sox can certainly attest to that. He belted first-inning homers Friday and Saturday nights, with Friday’s coming in a 5-1 win. Rodriguez had an RBI double and scored Sunday in an 8-6 New York win that put the last place Red Sox 6.5 games back.
Rodriguez is certainly among those under consideration for Comeback Player of the Year at the halfway point of a season that comes on the heels of his one-year suspension for his Biogenesis PED transgressions.
“Playing well cures all things,” Teixeira said of Rodriguez. “If he were struggling right now, you can imagine the hoopla surrounding him. It would’ve been a mess. But when you play well, that means that your team is playing well and your teammates are appreciating what you’re doing. It’s worked out for him.
“He’s a great teammate. He’s always been a great teammate. I said that in spring training. We’ve never had a problem with Alex as a teammate. He’s proven to everybody he hasn’t changed as a teammate or as a baseball player. When he’s healthy, he’s as good as it gets out there.”
|Mike Petraglia, Ryan Hannable talk thrilling HR Derby, Jonathan Papelbon and Brock Holt||at 12:48 am ET|
CINCINNATI — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable break down a thrilling HR Derby won by hometown hero Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds. They also discuss the news of the day from media availability with both American League and National League All-Stars, including the chances that Jonathan Papelbon returns to Boston in a trade.
|Brock Holt flies the common route to his first All-Star Game||07.13.15 at 8:33 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — No one can ever accuse Brock Holt of getting pampered in his first All-Star appearance, at least not in his travel to the game.
After playing in Boston’s 8-6 loss to the Yankees Sunday at Fenway, Holt flew a regional airline from Boston to Cincinnati Monday morning and joined up with his wife and mother and father, who will be watching Tuesday as the Red Sox super utility player represents Boston at the Midsummer Classic.
“It’s been nice. It hasn’t been as crazy as I thought it would be. We flew in this morning. I got here, checked in, took a little beauty nap upstairs,” Holt told WEEI.com. “I was pretty tired. But it’s been pretty cool. They have everything scheduled pretty nice. It’s pretty easy to know where you’re supposed to be and when you’re supposed to be there. It’s been a lot of fun so far.
“I’m just happy to be here. I’m just going to take the memories with me. A lot of people don’t get a chance to do this. Just being here and being around these guys. It’s just going to be fun. Mom and dad are here and my wife, obviously. Her family is here as well. My sister made the trip as well. My brother is the only one who couldn’t make it. He had to work. We’re enjoying the time we spend with them.”
Holt was chosen by Kansas City manager Ned Yost as one of the reserves last week because of his remarkable versatility that Red Sox have grown accustomed since the start of 2014. This year, Holt is batting .292 with a .379 on-base percentage. In 71 games (64 starts), Holt has played and started at every position except catcher and pitcher. He has more starts in the outfield (24) than anywhere in the infield.
CINCINNATI — Jonathan Papelbon wants out of Philadelphia bad.
And he says he thinks about the possibility of returning to Boston often. But the pitcher who signed a four-year, $50 million (2016 vesting option) contract after the 2011 season knows there are other possibilities for trade partners out there.
“Yeah, of course,” Papelbon told WEEI.com. “Yes, it does cross my mind, but I think this year they’ve got different things to attack and different needs and different necessities to maybe seek out. I’d have to think about it. I don’t know, man. If they made [an offer]. If the opportunity was there, I’d have to think about and weigh that opportunity against another opportunity elsewhere.”
Papelbon is on a Philadelphia team that has just established a new franchise mark for most losses (62) before the All-Star break. But Philly fans can’t blame Papelbon. He is 14-for-14 in save chances with a 1.60 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. Many thought the Phillies would have traded the unfulfilled closer by now, including Papelbon himself.
“Yeah, I’m surprised. It’s just that time where it’s either you-know-what or get off the pot,” he said Monday.
|Mike Petraglia, Ryan Hannable talk Red Sox prospects for 2nd half from All-Star Game||07.12.15 at 10:00 pm ET|
CINCINNATI — WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia and Ryan Hannable talk about the Red Sox‘ first half of 2015 and their prospects from All Star Game in Cincinnati. Prospects Manuel Margot and Rafael Devers both went 0-for-2 with a strikeout in the Futures Game, won by Team USA, 10-1.
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