|Kevin Millar on M&M: ‘You can’t take away’ from how well Clay Buchholz is pitching||05.03.13 at 12:49 pm ET|
MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar made his weekly appearance with Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the Red Sox’ continued early season success, the Clay Buchholz controversy and the Celtics’ bid to pull off a comeback from a three-game deficit vs. the Knicks that would be similar to the Sox’ 2004 comeback against the Yankees.
Buchholz improved to 6-0 with seven shutout innings in a victory over the Blue Jays on Wednesday, but he was accused by Blue Jays analysts Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris of doctoring the baseball. Buchholz denied the charges, and he was supported by NESN Red Sox analyst Dennis Eckersley, who took some shots at Hayhurst and Morris.
“Bottom line is that I am on Eck’s side,” Millar said. “I like Jack Morris, but the problem is we sit back here and are judging guys. You throw out a ‘Is he cheating’ or something like that. That’s a tough thing to do unless you’ve got some facts. The bottom line is the rosin bag is there for a reason. Pitchers put it all over their hat. … It’s for the pitcher’s grip. When you’re out there with a full-on lather, they all have something. They all lick their fingers off the mound, they all do something, they go to their hair if there’s some gel in there, but it’s just for a grip. But I’ll tell you what, you can’t take away the credit that this kid’s doing right now. I’m on Eck’s side.”
Added Millar: “Let’s focus on the job that he’s doing, instead of always trying to find out how, and some cheating thing. There are guys that know how to use the baseball and pitch the baseball and throw at their spot, and what Buchholz is doing is awesome.”
The Blue Jays are in last place despite an offseason spending spree that landed some high-profile players.
“You have to have a mix that’s going to kind of jell,” Millar said. “I’m looking at that team, it’s not that jelling mix. It doesn’t make sense yet. … I’m not saying it’s not going to happen. I’m just saying right now that team doesn’t like they’re a competitive club.”
Millar, a key member of the 2004 Red Sox, said the Celtics reached out to him about making an appearance at Friday’s Game 6 and, “It would have been pretty cool,” but he already had committed to play in a golf tournament with his father in Los Angeles this weekend.
“How ironic. Same two cities, same situation going on,” Millar said. “You can’t make this stuff up. … It’s going to be an exciting night at the Garden. I wish we were there.”
|Kevin Millar on M&M: ‘I know Papi – he gives you his heart on his sleeve’||04.26.13 at 1:28 pm ET|
Kevin Millar talked with Mut & Merloni Friday about Clay Buchholz‘s historically strong start, what Will Middlebrooks may need to do to break out of his April slump, and Millar’s reaction to David Ortiz‘ speech at Fenway Park on Saturday.
Millar said Buchholz has begun to locate his pitches better this year and work more confidently around the strike zone.
“Sometimes the confidence factor takes a little while, but he’s added a cutter. He’s always had a nice heavy baseball that he throws between 93 and 95. Great straight changeup. … He’s got a great arsenal of pitches along with a great curveball, and now you’re looking at a kid who’s knowing how to pitch and also is locating,” Millar said. “That’s the biggest thing when you’re talking about a pitcher who’s found it. He’s starting to paint stuff.”
Millar has first-hand experience with Buchholz’ array of pitches: He was part of the Orioles team that Buchholz no-hit in his second big league start on Sept. 1, 2007.
“It was a bad scouting report by the Baltimore Orioles,” Millar said of that day. “No one said anything about his straight changeup, and he does throw it to righties, and he had that James Shields-type changeup that day. He just threw a great game.”
Millar also is selling Boston Strong shirts on his website, kevinmillar.com, to benefit the Greg Hill foundation, which has been donating to the victims of the Boston Marathon attacks. While he wasn’t in town for Ortiz’ pregame address to the Boston fans on Saturday, Millar said he knows Ortiz’ words, even the profane ones, came from the heart.
“He gives you everything he has. Tremendous heart,” Millar said. “When he was holding that microphone, it’s not easy — you’ve got 36,000 people, he’s in the middle of the stadium, there’s no script, and you saw him speaking from his heart. You feel like you’re speaking to the fans, and you don’t realize sometimes that it’s [on television], but you saw the lip quivering when he dropped the curse word, but you knew that was from the passion. And I know Papi — he gives you his heart on his sleeve. It shocked everybody, but he did it, and he did it for the love of the city and the passion that he brings daily.”
|Kevin Millar on M&M: Padres’ Carlos Quentin charging the mound ‘an overreaction and it’s kind of tired’||04.12.13 at 1:39 pm ET|
Kevin Millar joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the brawl that broke out between the Dodgers and Padres on Thursday night and about what he’s seen from the Red Sox so far.
Millar said he thinks Carlos Quentin should be punished harshly for charging the mound and breaking Zack Greinke‘s collarbone. However, he said there’s no way Dodgers manager Don Mattingly‘s proposal that Quentin shouldn’t play again until Greinke returns from the injury will come true.
“It’s a great soundbite, it’s great for Don Mattingly to say that, but it’s not going to happen,” he said. “You’re not going to suspend somebody 30-40 games for charging the mound. A lot of guys get hurt charging the mound, but that’s part of charging the mound. It’s just a typical suspension, you’re going to get fined, but if you overreact — you’re not going to sit out 30-40 games. You’ve got guys that take steroids that sit out 50 games. You charge the mound, you tell me it’s going to be close to that? No.
“There are divers in the game. You know when a guy’s throwing at you, and if Quentin really thought Greinke’s throwing at him? … I don’t think he’s throwing at him. It’s a one-run game, it’s a 3-2 count. It’s an overreaction and it’s kind of tired. … Poor Zack Greinke’s a buck-92 and Quentin’s no small guy. It’s bad for the game when somebody goes down like that, and if you’re a Giants fan you’re over there licking your chops saying, ‘We’ve got a chance to keep going.’ ”
On whether he’s worried about Joel Hanrahan: “No, not at all. His stuff’s too good. It happens early in the season and it becomes magnified, but this guy’s going to save a lot of games for the Red Sox. … He had to get out of that inning [against the Orioles], and it didn’t happen, and they lost, big deal.”
On Jackie Bradley’s recent struggles: “It’s part of growing pains. That’s why I always tell everyone, don’t get so excited about spring training statistics. … The bottom line is, I would like to see the Red Sox somewhat get some consistency with their lineup. I don’t like Jonny Gomes sitting on the bench all the time. This is a threat you signed for 10 million bucks for a couple of years. Let him get in there and get his feet going and start hitting some balls. As far as a young man like Jackie Bradley Jr. who’s going to have a great career — he’s a great kid, the work ethic’s there. He’s going through a little stretch right now.”
|Kevin Millar on D&C: ‘I give the Red Sox a legitimate chance’ in AL East||02.21.13 at 10:30 am ET|
MLB Network analyst Kevin Millar talked with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday to discuss the Red Sox’ chances this season, pitcher John Lackey, the best teammate he ever had, and more Red Sox news.
The Blue Jays improved greatly this offseason and further strengthen an already tough AL East. Millar sees the division as wide open.
“The Yankees aren’t better [than the Red Sox],” Millar said. “The Yankees are going to be good, but the Yankees are definitely older. … The Rays are obviously going to always compete because they throw the baseball. But you did lose James Shields, let’s get that straight.
“The Orioles, great season last year. They’ve still got to come back and prove that to me again. Was this a one year wonder? … Then I look at the Blue Jays. On paper, this is the team that should win the East. But a lot of that team is the Florida Marlins. How’d their year go last year? … The Blue Jays have to prove to people. Yeah, R.A. Dickey, great year last year, don’t discount that. But he’s got to do that again now in the East. So I give the Red Sox a legitimate chance because there’s not a whole bunch of teams that are better than them.”
While the Red Sox were active this offseason, they made most of their moves focusing on improving last year’s “toxic” clubhouse. Millar discussed trying to balance the importance of good chemistry while also having enough talent on the field.
“You’ve got to have horses,” Millar said. “It’s a self-made thing through the media — ‘Yeah, he’s a good clubhouse guy.’ I was perceived a good clubhouse guy. Or, ‘He’s a winning player.’ Whatever that means, we still had Pedro [Martinez], Manny [Ramirez], David [Ortiz], [Curt] Schilling, right? And then you had Keith Foulke coming in there in the back end of the bullpen. We had horses.
“But the bottom line is you need good guys. You need guys that pull for each other. You need guys to sit there, because there’s energy. In life, there’s energy. … But you have to have good players. If Jon Lester doesn’t pitch for the Red Sox, you guys aren’t going to win. If [Clay] Buchholz goes on the DL for three months, you’re not going to win. If Ryan Dempster doesn’t step up in the [AL] East, you’re not going to win.”
|Jonny Gomes on D&C: ‘There’s no sabermetrics for chemistry’||02.14.13 at 10:59 am ET|
New Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes talked with Dennis & Callahan on Thursday about his clubhouse presence, hitting against righties, and comparisons with Kevin Millar.
While not always putting up All-Star numbers, Gomes is well-regarded for his reliability and positive clubhouse presence. He said it’s important to have good chemistry on a team.
“I don’t care what profession you are in. If you are working with your friends, if you are working in a healthy environment, if you’re working in a fun environment, the performance kind of shines a little bit,” he said. “I always go back to a little metaphor. When you’re 12 years old on the sandlot, 12 years old on the basketball court, you’ve got two captains, you’re one of the captains, who do you pick? You don’t pick the best player, you pick your friend. … That’s how it needs to be at the big league level. When you’re playing Little League Baseball and your best friend’s pitching and you’re in the outfield you’re diving and catching that ball, 100 percent.”
Gomes has gone through much adversity in his lifetime, suffering a heart attack at 22 years old among other tough times.
“If you had to check off a heart attack, I guess I’d do it at 22 vs. 62,” Gomes said. “But yeah, I’m grateful for everything I have. … Therefore I don’t take it for granted. Can it be exhausting ‘living every day like it’s your last and playing every game like it’s your last?’ Absolutely. But at the same time, from the road I’ve taken, nothing is a guarantee.”
The Red Sox starting nine will feature many new regulars, including Shane Victorino, Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli. Many view Gomes as a platoon player due to his struggles vs. right-handers (.209 last year) and he understand that perception, but he’s not settling for anything.
Said Gomes: “Do I expect [to play full-time]? No. Am I ready for it? Yes. Whoever else is in competition for left field, expect to get 500 [at-bats]. That’s like me saying I expect to win the World Series. Are we? I don’t know, but you’ve got to set your goals and shoot high for them.”
|Steven Wright takes stock (sort of) of ‘The Next Knuckler’||at 10:09 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Steven Wright couldn’t watch it.
The Red Sox right-hander, in spring training as a newly minted member of the 40-man roster, does not have The MLB Network channel at his residence in Fort Myers. As such, he was unable to watch Wednesday’s premier of “The Next Knuckler,” the reality show that features former Red Sox knuckleball practitioner Tim Wakefield (with co-host sidekick Kevin Millar) judging the efforts of five former quarterbacks (including Doug Flutie) to learn how to throw the pitch that made Wakefield a 200-game winner.
Wright’s curiosity about the program has been elicited by the promos he’s seen. After all, he’s now entering his third year as a full-time knuckleballer. Though a relative newcomer to the pitch, he’s shown enough promise that the Sox didn’t want to expose him to the Rule 5 draft for fear of losing him as a starting depth option to another team. Read the rest of this entry »
|Tim Wakefield to teach knuckleball to Doug Flutie, other former QBs on MLB Network reality show||02.07.13 at 8:03 am ET|
Former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield is the star of the MLB Network’s new reality show called “The Next Knuckler.” Wakefield will attempt to teach the pitch to five former college quarterbacks, including Boston College Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, and the one who demonstrates the most ability will get to pitch in a spring training game with the Diamondbacks.
Flutie, 50, still plays in an amateur baseball league in his hometown of Natick. He’ll compete against Josh Booty, who played football and LSU and had a cup of coffee in the major leagues as a third baseman with the Marlins, former USC quarterback John David Booty (Josh’s brother), former Georgia signal-caller David Greene and ex-LSU QB Ryan Perrilloux.
Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey are scheduled to make goes appearances on the program. Former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar will help decide the winner.
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