|A.J. Pierzynski on D&C: ‘Do what I need to do to fit in’ with Red Sox||12.05.13 at 9:58 am ET|
New Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss his decision to sign with Boston, his outlook on sharing playing time with David Ross and his reputation as one of the most disliked players in the league.
A two-time All Star, Pierzynski signed a one-year, $8.25 million contract with Boston on Tuesday afternoon. A career .322 hitter at Fenway Park, Pierzynski should be a durable presence both behind the plate and in the batter’s box this season, as the 37-year-old has started in at least 107 games for the past nine seasons.
“It was not an easy decision. It was something that I went back and forth with for a long time,” Pierzynski said. “I had other offers, I had multiple-year offers on the table. … One thing that led me to Boston was the fact that, ‘Hey, it’s not every day you get an opportunity, one, to play for the Boston Red Sox, and then two, to play for the defending World Series champions.
“When given that opportunity and from everyone that I spoke to and talked to, people that I trust, the signs pointed to Boston. … At the end of the day, I decided to go to Boston, and I look forward to it. I actually can’t wait for spring training to get started.”
Pierzynski has carried baggage for seemingly his whole career, as his hard-nosed style of play and abrasive personality has made him one of the most unpopular players in baseball.
“It actually makes me laugh at this point. I’ve been doing this for so long now, and I said yesterday that I won all of those contests and I won all those polls every year, so when I retire and I decided to hang it up, I feel sorry for whoever is next in line, because they’re going to have a rough foot ahead of them,” Pierzynski said.”It’s one of those things where I just laugh about it. Why am I not [liked]? I don’t know. I want to win, I play to win and I’ll do anything to win on the field. Off the field we can be buddies, but I don’t care if I have my best friend on earth pitching against me. I want to get a hit and I want to do damage to him. … It’s about business. It’s about trying to win.”
Added Pierzynski: “According to all the stuff you read, everyone doesn’t like me. … I’m not worried about that. I walked into Texas last year and there was a whole bunch of guys that were like, ‘Man, I really didn’t like you,’ and as the year went on, we became great friends.”
Looking at the situation in Boston, Pierzynski said he won’t change his personality to fit in on a veteran team.
“I don’t think so. I’m just going to come and try to fit in,” he said. “There’s no adjusting. I’m going to do the same thing and go about my business and put my work in and do what I need to do to fit in. Trust me, I know this isn’t my team. I know it’s David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester — these guys have been there, they’ve done it. They’ve won multiple World Series. And that’s what I’m trying to get to. I’ve won one [in 2005 with the White Sox], I want to win another one.
“One thing that definitely helps is being around and watching the way they did it, especially in the World Series, and the way they went about their business. That definitely helps, and it gives myself a little added advantage because of the way — a little bit, at least — how their team works and how their dynamics were.”
While Pierzynski is expected to be the No. 1 catcher for Boston next season, he’ll likely share some duties with Ross, who slugged four home runs in 36 regular-season games while receiving praise for his handling of pitchers.
“That was one of the things that we talked about before I came to a decision is, ‘Hey, I know David Ross is a really good player and I know he needs to get his at-bats,’ and I’m OK with that,” Pierzynski said. “Of course, I’d like to play 162 games, but as a catcher, you have to be realistic, and I think sometimes that playing a little bit less might actually help me. … Whenever I’m out there, I’ll give everything I have, and I can’t control when I’m out there and when I’m not.”
|Chris Singleton on M&M: ‘I definitely don’t love’ A.J. Pierzynski joining Red Sox||12.03.13 at 1:18 pm ET|
ESPN’s Chris Singleton joined Mut & Merloni on Tuesday morning to discuss the Red Sox’ reported acquisition of free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year deal.
A two-time All-Star, Pierzynski hit .272/.297/.425 with 17 home runs last season with the Rangers. Pierzynski has been one of the most durable backstops in the league over the course of his career, as he’s played in at least 120 games in each of the last 12 seasons. Pierzynski has had success in Boston, as the 36-year-old has a career batting average of .322 at Fenway Park.
“I don’t love it, by any means,” Singleton said of the deal. “I thought going to Texas was a pretty good situation. … With the Red Sox, it just didn’t click for me. … I’m not saying it’s going to be a bad fit, but just knowing A.J. for a long time, he’s a guy that I’ve grown to like and I have respect for definitely what he’s done on the field. … He battles at the plate, and especially in late innings, when he just gives you some tough at-bats. That’s great.
“The biggest question … is clubhouse chemistry and how do things flow. … We know that A.J. can have a bit of an abrasive personality or way about him, and seeing what the Red Sox pulled together … It’s just one of those things where you’re like, ‘All right, hmm, let’s see how this kind of works.’ I’m not big on it. I’m not saying it’s going to sink the ship, but I definitely don’t love it.”
While Pierzynski should be a solid presence in the batter’s box, questions have been raised about his impact on the Sox clubhouse, as Pierzynski’s abrasive attitude has rubbed many players the wrong way over the years.
“Instead of the big blow that’s just an outburst, let’s say like guys we’ve seen in the past that have had issues, let’s say a Milton Bradley or somebody like that — it’s not like that,” Singleton said. “It’s more of a daily, kind of just going to eat at you. Sometimes it’s good, because players need a little bit of an edge or to be a little angry, but I think over time it can be hard for a team to absorb that over time.”
While Pierzynski should be an upgrade defensively over Jarrod Saltalamacchia and can call a good game behind the plate, David Ross remains the top defensive catcher on the roster.
“Just look at last year, how many times did Yu Darvish have near no-hitters and A.J. was behind the dish?” Singleton said. “That says something. … I think he can be solid and good, but it’s just a matter of will he keep that up, because he’s a hitting catcher.”
|Curt Schilling on D&C: ‘I can’t imagine’ Red Sox will sign Jon Lester to long-term deal||11.14.13 at 11:46 am ET|
ESPN’s Curt Schilling joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the MLB offseason, the Red Sox’ World Series title and the results of the Manager of the Year vote.
The AL Manager of the Year was announced on Tuesday, as former Red Sox and current Indians manager Terry Francona narrowly edged Boston manager John Farrell, with just 16 points separating the two skippers.
“It was hard,” Schilling said. “I thought the American League one was incredibly challenging, because I thought you had a bunch of guys that had phenomenal seasons. … I thought either one of them could have won it. I think the job that they both did was amazing.”
The offseason is in full swing, as the annual GM meetings have kicked off in Orlando. The Sox already have been linked to multiple players, including Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz.
One storyline that has been discussed is what the Sox will do with pitcher Jon Lester once he enters free agency after the 2014 season. If Lester is able to post another great campaign in 2014, the southpaw could command a long-term deal worth over $100 million.
“I think if [Ben Cherington] is allowed to do the things that baseball ops people should be allowed to do and there’s no interference from people that shouldn’t be interfering, I think he’ll stick to [his previous offseason plans],” Schilling said. “You’re not going to see another eight-year, $240 million deal out of this organization, and rightfully so. … There’s literally almost maybe two or three guys in the history of the last 25 years that would have played to [$200 million-plus contracts]. He can’t do it.
“I can’t imagine they would [sign Lester to a six- or seven-year, $100 million-plus deal]. I don’t think you’ll see any team other than probably the Dodgers with [Clayton] Kershaw turn around and give their homegrown player six or seven or eight years, I don’t see it, not from this team anyway. You saw what happened when they tried to go down that path, and I think that is going to be fresh in their minds as long as these guys are still making decisions here.”
|Best of the best: Top 10 plays of 2013 World Series||10.31.13 at 4:22 pm ET|
After sweeping both the 2004 and 2007 World Series, the Red Sox needed a bit more time to dispatch the Cardinals on the way to their third championship in 10 years, eventually defeating St. Louis in six games.
The 2013 World Series was an instant classic, filled with great plays, clutch moments and unpredictable finishes.
Here’s a look back at the top 10 plays of the 109th Fall Classic.
10. Game 5: David Ross’ double gives the Red Sox a late lead – After Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s poor performance in Games 2 and 3 (0-for-6, four strikeouts and a poor throw to third in Game 3 that led to a St. Louis victory), Sox manager John Farrell opted to go with the veteran Ross behind the plate for the remainder of the Series.
While Ross continued to call a great game throughout the series, it was Ross’ bat that arguably had the biggest impact against the Cardinals. Ross stepped up to the plate during Monday night’s pivotal Game 5 with the score knotted up at 1-1 in the seventh inning. With Xander Bogaerts on second and Stephen Drew at first, Ross yanked a hanging curveball from tiring Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright into left field, where it bounced up into the stands for a ground-rule double. Bogaerts scored from second on the play, giving the Sox a lead they would never relinquish.
9. Game 4: Felix Doubront holds the Cardinals at bay in a relief appearance – Before the Sox postseason even started, Doubront indicated he didn’t feel like working out of the bullpen would be the best thing for him.
He certainly seemed comfortable with his role in the ‘pen in Game 4, as he held the Cardinals lineup for 2 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit and one run while striking out three. Doubront’s solid appearance helped bridge the gap between starter Clay Buchholz‘s four innings of work and the back end of the bullpen, led by Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara.
8. Game 4: David Ortiz rallies his teammates with a dugout speech – Plain and simple, David Ortiz dominated this World Series. The 37-year-old slugger posted an incredible .688/.760/1.188 line during the six-game series on the way to earning the World Series MVP award.
However, Ortiz’s impact goes far beyond what he’s done at the plate. With Game 4 tied at 1-1 through five innings, Ortiz gathered his teammates in the dugout and gave them a rousing speech.
“He got everyone’s attention pretty quick,” Jonny Gomes explained after the game. “It was like 24 kindergarten kids looking up into the face of our teacher. We’ll keep to ourselves what he said, but the message was pretty powerful.
Ortiz’s speech seemed to work, as the Sox would score three runs in the top of the sixth inning to grab a 4-1 lead.
|Sox fans set to pay big money for Game 6 tickets||10.29.13 at 2:18 pm ET|
The Red Sox will have the opportunity of a lifetime on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, as they have the chance to claim their third World Series title in the last 10 years. If they succeed, the Sox will secure a championship on their home field for the first time in 95 years.
For reference, the last time Boston clinched a World Series at Fenway in 1918, Woodrow Wilson was in the White House and World War I was still raging in Europe.
After winning the 2004 World Series in St. Louis and the 2007 Fall Classic in Denver, the Sox could celebrate a title in front of a packed Fenway, and that has Boston fans breaking the bank for a chance to see the game in person.
As of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, the average price for a Game 6 ticket is $2,186, according to TiqIq.com, making Wednesday night’s contest one of the most expensive sporting events in Boston’s history.
The cheapest seat in the house for Game 6, a right field standing-room ticket, costs $849 on Stubhub.com. The most expensive ticket listed on Stubhub is a field box seat listed at an incredible $42,079.
Perhaps due to the fact that most fans simply cannot afford to shell out that much money for a single game, there still plenty of tickets available, as Stubhub still has 2,048 seats left to sell.
It may cost a pretty penny, but if the Red Sox are able to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy in front of over 37,000 rabid fans on Wednesday, there surely won’t be many regrets by the end of the night.
|Monday’s Red Sox-Cardinals World Series Game 5 matchups: Jon Lester vs. Adam Wainwright||10.28.13 at 10:17 am ET|
Jon Lester will be looking for a repeat of his performance from Game 1 of the World Series as he takes the mound for the Red Sox in a crucial Game 5 at Busch Stadium on Monday night.
It will be the final baseball game in St. Louis this season, as the 109th Fall Classic will shift back to Fenway Park for its conclusion.
Lester was brilliant in his last start on Wednesday, as he held the Cardinals to five hits and no earned runs over 7 2/3 innings. Red Sox fans have gotten used to Lester dominating opponents this postseason, as he is 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts.
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Lester (15-8, 3.75 ERA), as the southpaw had a lackluster first half with a 8-6 record and a 4.58 ERA prior to the All-Star break. However, after July 16, Lester reverted back into the ace pitcher that the Sox had gotten used to seeing from 2008 to 2011.
In his final 13 starts of the season, Lester compiled a 7-2 record with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP.
Lester is no stranger to postseason baseball, as he is one of 60 pitchers to start in 10 playoff games. Lester’s career postseason ERA of 2.06 ranks as the third lowest of any pitcher in MLB history, trailing only Christy Mathewson (0.97) and Waite Hoyt (1.85). The 29-year-old lefty has been able to step his game up to another level when pitching under the bright lights of the World Series, as he has not surrendered a run in 13 1/3 innings over two career starts.
Lester will be opposed by Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.91 ERA), who will be looking to rebound after an uncharacteristically sloppy start in Game 1.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Cardinals World Series Game 3 matchups: Jake Peavy vs. Joe Kelly||10.26.13 at 9:14 am ET|
The Red Sox will look to take a 2-1 series lead on Saturday night in St. Louis, as they face off against the Cardinals in Game 3 at Busch Stadium.
Jake Peavy will get the call for Boston in the first World Series start of his career, while 25-year-old Joe Kelly gets the nod for St. Louis.
Playing in front of their fans should provide a huge boost for the Cardinals, as they posted the second-best home record in baseball this season at 54-27. The switch to a National League ballpark obviously will have a big impact on the Sox lineup, as manager John Farrell announced that David Ortiz will start at first base over Mike Napoli in Game 3.
Peavy (12-5, 4.17 ERA) originally was slated to pitch in Sunday’s Game 4, but he was pushed up one day in order to give Clay Buchholz, who is battling a case of fatigue in his throwing shoulder, another day of rest.
Peavy will be looking to rebound from his previous postseason start, as the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner was shelled by the Tigers in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
In that game, Peavy only lasted three innings, surrendering seven earned runs on five hits on what ended up being a 7-3 Detroit win. It was a far cry from Peavy’s earlier postseason start, as he only allowed one run over 5 1/3 innings during Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Rays.
“Everything is fixed, fixable. It wasn’t too much to read into it, really,” Peavy said Friday. “Just a small, small adjustment … can make all the difference in the world. And there’s absolutely no excuses tomorrow night. This is what I’ve lived for my whole life is to — my whole baseball career, I should say, to have this opportunity to go out there on the biggest stage and have a chance to help your team win a World Series game and a World Series title. I’m as prepared as I’ll ever be, physically, mentally, and we’ll go out there tomorrow night and see if we can execute pitch by pitch, and find a way to win.”
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