|Jonny Gomes on M&M: ‘I jumped for joy’ when Mike Napoli agreed to return to Red Sox||12.09.13 at 3:06 pm ET|
Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes checked in with Mut & Merloni on Monday to talk about the Red Sox’ busy offseason.
Since the Red Sox won the World Series at the end of the October, they have seen Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia leave as free agents, and they signed reliever Edward Mujica and catcher A.J. Pierzynski and reportedly came to an agreement to retain first baseman Mike Napoli
Gomes said his first season sharing a locker room with Napoli left him with a positive impression of the first baseman.
“I played against this guy for a long time, when he came up as a catcher with Anaheim, then over to Texas,” Gomes said. “I couldn’t really get a good read on him, to tell you the truth. Always focused — whether you’re getting in the box and he’s catching or he’s at first, he wouldn’t talk to you. I was so curious to see what I was going to get out of Mike Napoli when I was sharing a clubhouse with him. I had everything, all doors open. I didn’t want to do anything.
“This guy is truly something else. He is one of the best teammates I’ve ever had, one of the best competitors I’ve ever had, his work ethic, everything. They talk about championship-caliber players. That’s truly all he has on his mind. I’ve never seen someone in such a good mood after a tough 0-for-4 if we won. It’s team first, team second, team third for him.
“Hopefully like all the other Sox, I jumped for joy when this guy came back.”
Ellsbury is being viewed by some in Red Sox Nation as a traitor for signing with the rival Yankees, but Gomes said he doesn’t have a problem with Ellsbury signing the contract he received.
“I’m a firm believer in you are deserving of what someone’s going to give you,” Gomes said. “I’m sure a lot of people want to jump on the salary that he got, but no one wants to jump on some of the CEOs of some of these huge companies that make a lot of money, too.
“I played with Joey Votto for a while, and he did some pretty unbelievable things. I would always break it down to him, too: How many people in the world — in the actual world — can do what he can do? How many people in the world can consistently steal 50 bags in the big leagues and play a Gold Glove center field? What’s the price tag on that?
“I’m happy for him. He’s got security for his great, great, great, great, great grandkids. But we’ve got a spot to fill. At the same time, we’ve got the Executive of the Year on our side [in general manager Ben Cherington]. Hopefully we’ll get that spot filled.”
|Larry Lucchino on D&C: ‘The core of this team will remain’ for 2014||11.01.13 at 9:50 am ET|
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino checked in with Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about the team’s World Series championship.
With the 2012 Red Sox finishing last, expectations were low heading into this season. But as the team proved itself to be a contender, Lucchino said the goals were adjusted.
“There was a kind of buzz about the team that developed all along, throughout the season, and came to a fever pitch at around the postseason time,” Lucchino said. “It was almost like we caught a wave right at the right time. I think the fans, and certainly, I speak for myself, I did realize how important it was to get to the World Series. That’s always the special measurement of a team, getting to the World Series. But sure, I would have been terribly disappointed had we not won, because as the team played, our expectations grew. And our sense of how historic this might be, because of the worst-to-first concept that was at its heart, they also grew.”
Lucchino said he’ll “remember the personality and maturity of the team,” but the front office can’t spend too much time reliving the success of 2013 as “the preparations for 2014 have already begun.”
Looking at expectations for next season, Lucchino said the hope is to make it to the postseason and see what happens from there.
“Our goal from the beginning is to be playing October baseball, so I’d be disappointed if we weren’t playing in October next year,” Lucchino said. “But I know how hard it is for some of the things to come together. I’m constantly talking about randomness and unpredictability of baseball. You could add to that the randomness and unpredictability of the health of our players.
“So many things have to come together so well to win it all. To win in such a magical way, as we did this year in such an appealing way, you can’t expect that every year. But what we can expect every year is to field a team that’s worthy of the fans’ support, a phrase we come back to all the time. So I will be disappointed if we’re not playing in October next year, absolutely.”
Discussions about next season’s roster were taking place even before this year’s title was secured.
“We try to celebrate, we try to remember that we’ve got to be in the moment, celebrate this moment, because we’ve all been in baseball a very long time and we know how rare these moments are,” Lucchino said. “But we must balance the future. I will tell you that on Wednesday, the day of Game 6, we had a couple-hour meeting that afternoon that was all about the topic [of pending free agents].
“It’s important that Ben Cherington, who did just an absolutely extraordinary job this year, that he keep one eye especially on the issues that develop immediately after the World Series. The World Series conclusion is the trigger date for a number of options and qualifying offers and a bunch of things that happen quickly thereafter. So as much as you try to stay in the moment and enjoy the moment, there is a responsibility to look forward. And Ben never loses track of that.”
|For championship-less veterans, World Series title especially sweet||10.31.13 at 4:13 am ET|
Jake Peavy cried.
It was the top of the ninth inning of Game 6 of the World Series, and the Red Sox held a commanding 6-1 lead over the Cardinals. Koji Uehara was entering from the bullpen. The Lansdowne Street fireworks were ready. The game — the season — was all but over.
A lifetime of preparation, the last dozen years of which were spent in the majors, was about to culminate in a celebration and feeling of glory unlike any other.
“Just something that I’ll never forget, that we pretty much had it wrapped up there, especially with our guy Koji coming in,” Peavy said. “Really the ninth inning, those emotions come out of me and I had tears rolling down my face thinking about, just flashing back on 12 years and beyond. … It was very, very surreal.
“It’s what I’ve played for since I’ve played [as a kid] — to be a champion. To do it here, in this city, with this group of guys, with this fan base. It’s unbelievable.”
Peavy is one of a group of veterans on the 2013 Red Sox who despite lengthy big league careers had never reached the sport’s pinnacle, until Wednesday. Until Wednesday, Peavy, Jonny Gomes, Ryan Dempster, Mike Napoli and David Ross and had combined for 59 major league seasons — 3,441 games — without winning it all.
|Gabe Kapler on M&M: ‘Red Sox are going to win this series in seven’||10.30.13 at 1:50 pm ET|
Fox Sports baseball analyst Gabe Kapler joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the World Series as the Red Sox prepare to host the Cardinals in Game 6.
Kapler, a former Red Sox outfielder, predicted the Tigers would top the Sox in the American League Championship Series. He’s going with Boston in the World Series, but he predicts it will take one more day.
“The Red Sox are going to win this series in seven,” Kapler said. “But tonight, [Michael] Wacha‘s going to be too much for the Red Sox to handle. I was breaking down his mechanics yesterday, and this is the reason that this kid is so strong and that he’s not going to falter: His shoulders have zero percent tilt. That allows him to pound the strike zone accurately and not utilize his shoulder tilt for power.
“So, on top of this crazy deceptive delivery, straight over the top, he’s also got really good lower-half and upper-half mechanics. And that’s why — even if the pressure gets to him a little bit — he still is able to maintain that focus and pound the strike zone. And I just think that he’s going to be too much for the Red Sox tonight. But I will take the Red Sox in seven.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell turned some heads by electing to start Jonny Gomes in left over Daniel Nava in Game 6. Kapler said Wacha’s changeup might have played a role in that decision.
“The reason that I think, perhaps, that John Farrell may go with Jonny Gomes over Nava is because of that equalizer changeup,” Kapler said. “Because otherwise, the weighted on-base average for Nava is so significantly better than Jonny Gomes that there’s no other reason or answer why Jonny Gomes would be in the lineup. So I think maybe that changeup equalizing the left-handed bat might be the reason that John is deciding to go with Jonny Gomes.”
David Ortiz has been an offensive force through the first five games, leading to speculation that the Cardinals will try a new approach with him.
“You have to move his feet. If you don’t throw the ball up and in tonight and get him a little bit uncomfortable, you are doing yourself a huge disservice,” Kapler said. “And I understand [Mike] Matheny‘s take, and also [Adam] Wainwright‘s take. He’s like, ‘We want to just go after these guys, we don’t want to show anybody any fear.’ But at the same time, this guy’s been so incredibly dominant. He’s reached base 15 of 20 times in the World Series. That’s unheard of. It’s not like he’s reaching base against the fourth and the fifth starters; he’s reaching base against the aces.
“This guy is as good as he was in 2004. And as we all know, he was pretty good back then.”
ESPN’s Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Wednesday and voiced his opinion on some of Red Sox manager John Farrell’s decisions this World Series, and he tried to explain why St. Louis pitched to David Ortiz in Game 5.
Farrell announced on Tuesday that, with the return of Shane Victorino to right field, Jonny Gomes would receive the start in left field over Daniel Nava in Game 6 on Wednesday at Fenway Park. Schilling said, “No, not at all,” does starting Gomes over Nava make sense to him.
“I love Daniel Nava, I think the kid is just a complete player,” Schilling said. “I think that the Gomes thing is exactly what John said — I think it’s a hunch, and he’s continuing to play it.”
Schilling also questioned Farrell’s decision-making throughout the series.
“I thought John had made some questionable moves and changes, and I thought got outmanaged a couple of different times,” Schilling said. “They’re playing poorly, but they’re good enough to play around that. I guess they’re one of the few teams that can do that.”
If not for Ortiz, the Red Sox likely would find themselves in a significantly different situation. St. Louis continues to pitch to Ortiz despite the fact he possesses a .733/750/1.267 batting line, with four extra-base hits in five games.
“The problem is that he’s so locked in, it’s very Barry Bonds-like in the sense that when he was going well, he would literally get one pitch, not an at-bat, a game, and when he got it he would never miss it. David is getting a pitch an at bat and he’s not missing it,” Schilling said.
|John Farrell: David Ross, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes in for Game 6||10.29.13 at 5:12 pm ET|
Speaking to the media prior to his team’s workout Tuesday at Fenway Park, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that David Ross would be starting at catcher in Game 6 of the World Series. Farrell also noted that Shane Victorino (back) is expected to return to the lineup, with Jonny Gomes getting the nod over Daniel Nava in left field.
Ross has previously caught Game 6 starter John Lackey twice this season, limiting opponents to a 2.38 ERA (3 ER, 11 1/3 innings).
The catcher is coming off a two-hit performance in Game 5 in which he managed the go-ahead, ground-rule, RBI double in the seventh inning of the Red Sox’ 3-1 win Monday night. For the postseason Ross is hitting .286 (6-for-21). Only one baserunner has stolen on him.
Farrell is also attempting to ride the semi-hot hand with Gomes, who claimed one of the biggest hits of the series when he launched a three-run blast in Game 4. The left fielder was 0-for-4 with a strikeout against St. Louis Game 6 starter Michael Wacha when the pair faced off in Game 2.
More to come …
|Craig Breslow’s Playoff Blog: A huge win and a better night’s sleep||10.28.13 at 1:07 pm ET|
Red Sox left-hander Craig Breslow will contribute regularly to this blog throughout his team’s postseason run. In addition to his work on the mound, the eight-year big leaguer also is the founder and executive director of the Strike 3 Foundation, a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support and raises funding for childhood cancer research. To learn more about the Strike 3 Foundation, and its new Play It Forward program, click here.
This game, especially this postseason, is emotionally draining. It’s a roller coaster. Each game carries tremendous weight, but that simply makes it more important to treat each one as its own event, separate from the next.
The Game 3 loss was frustrating, but we’ve done a good job all season of leaving yesterday behind and worrying about today. Granted, there was a lot of frustration after the Game 3 loss on an obstruction call, perhaps because of a lack of understanding of the rulebook and the context for the outcome, but at the end of the day, it was a loss. We’ve been able to turn the page on losses all season long. We did that again last night.
We knew that Game 4 was a game that we needed. Entering it, there was some curiosity about how many innings Clay Buchholz might be able to pitch inasmuch as it was really difficult for us to know exactly how he was feeling. But in the end, this was a situation where the game situation ended up dictating how long he went rather than his stuff or his health. He left because we needed to pinch-hit for him, rather than due to physical limitations. He could have been throwing 96 or 100 mph, and he still would have been replaced. That being the case, I don’t think you can overstate the importance of him battling, taking the ball without his best stuff, working through hitters, manipulating the ball, getting ground balls and giving us a chance.
Jonny Gomes‘ home run into our bullpen was huge. Off the bat, it was tough to know if it was going to make it to us, because the trajectory is such that it looks like a lot of balls are coming off the bat pretty well but the left fielders have ended up going in on them. Until the ball cleared the fence, it was hard to tell whether it would be a home run. That’s obviously the part of the park where Jonny’s power plays, though, and it was a great swing and an enormous hit.
It was really impressive to see the way Felix Doubront came in and shut down the Cardinals after he did the same thing in Game 3. In retrospect, it’s funny to think that at the end of the regular season, Felix expressed doubt about his ability to contribute out of the bullpen. I wouldn’t speak for him, but I can imagine that there would be some frustration that after being a starter all season long, you don’t have the opportunity to continue in that role in the postseason. Still, as we’ve seen throughout the year, we’ve got 25 guys who make winning their priority. If there’s a chance to help the team win, that’s all that matters. I think the biggest thing was for Felix to understand that he had stuff that could help us. Clearly, he put his stamp on Game 4. He had a pretty significant stake in our win.
I followed Felix into the game with a runner on second and two outs, facing Matt Carpenter for the third straight game. The first two games, I’d felt good about my execution of pitches even if the outcomes — a sacrifice fly in Game 2 and an infield single in Game 3 — had been less than ideal. Read the rest of this entry »
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