|Pedro Martinez among honorees at Writers Dinner||01.21.15 at 4:30 pm ET|
Pedro Martinez will be the guest of honor at Thursday night’s Boston Baseball Writers Dinner, which will be held at Boston University’s Agganis Arena.
Martinez, who was just elected to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, will receive the Judge Emil Fuchs Award for long and meritorious service to baseball.
One of the most colorful players in Red Sox history, Martinez retired with the third-highest winning percentage in modern history (.687). He won two of his three Cy Young Awards with the Red Sox, and with the exception of an injury-shortened 2001, finished no worse than fourth in any of his seven seasons here.
Other current and former Red Sox expected to be in attendance include infielder Brock Holt, outfielder Mookie Betts, general manager Ben Cherington, and manager John Farrell. Bernie Carbo will be on hand to honor the 40th anniversary of the 1975 Red Sox, who lost a classic World Series to the Reds in seven games.
Also expected to be in attendance are Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter of the Orioles, whom the writers voted their Executive and Manager of the Year, respectively, as well as Marlins closer Steve Cishek, the Falmouth native voted the New England Player of the Year.
Boston is one of just three cities left that holds a Writers Dinner, along with New York and St. Louis. This is the 76th annual edition of the dinner, which is presented in partnership with the Sports Museum. Tickets remain available for $200 and can be purchased by contacting Renee Quinn at (617) 624-1231 or by e-mailing email@example.com.
|Shane Victorino still on target to hit ground running in Fort Myers||01.04.15 at 10:09 pm ET|
Back. Hamstring. Thumb. As far as Shane Victorino is concerned, all such worries are in the past.
The Red Sox outfielder reports that everything in regard to his offseason training following back surgery has gone according to plan. Victorino wrote in a text Sunday: “So far full go. Picking up swinging this week. Throwing every day, and lifting, etc. So far, so good.”
There is also some video proof of his progress …
While much focus has been placed on the emergence of rookie outfielders Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts when trying to project the right field and center field for the Red Sox, it should be noted the importance of a healthy Victorino.
On a few occasions — including earlier this offseason – Victorino has proclaimed himself the starting right fielder for the Red Sox. And, even with the promise displayed by Castillo and Betts, if the 34-year-old offers his 2013 offensive and defensive production he could easily be classified as the team’s best all-around outfielder when healthy. (Remember, Hanley Ramirez still has to show he can catch a fly ball.)
During ’13, Victorino claimed a Gold Glove while manning Fenway Park‘s right field. He also finished with a .294 batting average and .801 OPS to go along with 15 homers and 21 stolen bases in 122 regular season games.
If Castillo or Betts finished with those sort of numbers, along with the defensive acumen, the Red Sox would be doing handstands.
While there would appear to be a major logjam in the outfield right now, with Daniel Nava, Allen Craig and Brock Holt joining Ramirez, Castillo, Betts and Victorino, the likelihood is that it is a group that will be paired down by at least one (the guess here is Craig) before Opening Day.
The team’s current thinking is that the collection of the four righty hitters (Ramirez, Castillo, Betts, Victorino) can spell each other — with Nava and Holt matching up potentially in both outfield and infield situations — enough to keep everyone healthy.
There could be a scenario where the Red Sox cruise through spring training without any hiccups, and they feel confident enough in their outfield depth that a trade is made involving Victorino. That, however, would still offer a fair amount of risk considering you would be leaning on two first-time, full-time big leaguers and a newbie outfielder with a history of injury.
There is a ways to go before the Opening Day picture clears itself up. But Victorino’s progress offers a reminder as to exactly when and why he was missed so much during his absence a season ago.
|Report: Pablo Sandoval discussed 5-year deal in $80-90 million range with Giants and Red Sox||11.18.14 at 1:40 pm ET|
Free agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval is in Boston and we now know what type of contract he may be seeking.
According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, via Twitter, Sandoval has discussed deals in the 5-year, $80-90 million range with both the Giants and the Red Sox. He adds, “things could come together quickly,” and the “Red Sox are a very serious player.”
‘ Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 18, 2014
Indications are things could come together quickly with Sandoval and the #redsox are a very serious player.
‘ Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) November 18, 2014
|Ben Cherington: Deven Marrero drawing ‘steady interest’||11.11.14 at 6:01 pm ET|
PHOENIX — Whether by coincidence or design, Deven Marrero talk seems to be gaining steam with each passing day at the general managers’ meetings.
With Marrero excelling in the Arizona Fall League — hitting .333 with a .446 on-base percentage as of Tuesday — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was asked about the status of the 24-year-old, former first-round pick.
“There’s just been steady interest,” said Cherington of his young shortstop. “These things have a way of working themselves out, but guys who can play that position at a high level and produce a little offensively, those are valuable guys, they’re good bets to have good major-league careers, so we like having them.”
Marrero was deemed major league-ready defensively by the organization during his spring training stint with the big league club. It was his offense which seemingly needed development, having hit .291 in 68 games with Double-A Portland before totaling just a .210 batting average in 50 games with Triple-A Pawtucket.
“Because of who he’s coming after, maybe he doesn’t always get as much attention as some other guys that we have do, but he’s had a very steady progression,” said Cherington, citing Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “You can go back to this was a high-profile guy in high school, always a talented defender at Arizona State, he performed through the minor leagues, he performed in Arizona. A shortstop with really good defensive skills who’s got some ability with the bat. We’re glad to have him.”
|Trying to make sense of Yoenis Cespedes’ situation||10.27.14 at 12:02 pm ET|
October has not been kind to the public perception of Yoenis Cespedes.
Trade rumors. Surfaced concerns over his game. And now a report suggesting that not only would the Red Sox hesitate offering the four- to five-year deal they had been contemplating offering due to Cespedes’ switch in agents, but that (according to a “Red Sox insider”) “he marches to his own drum and the coaches all hate him.” (To read the entire New York Daily News report, click here.)
Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look at the reality of Cespedes’ situation.
When last we saw the Red Sox left fielder, he was catching a bit of heat for some poorly played balls in left field while finishing his two-month stint in Boston with five home runs, 33 RBIs, 48 strikeouts, seven walks, four stolen bases, a .269 batting average, a .296 on-base percentage and a .719 OPS.
His new fan base loved his arm and ability to supply a much-needed commodity for an offense devoid of timing — the ability to drive in runners when it counted, hitting .338 with a .907 OPS with two outs and runners in scoring position (for the season).
Cesepdes also seemingly supplied some additional protection for David Ortiz in the middle of the lineup, while possessing the much-needed skill set of being able to hit a baseball over the fence.
And, as was the case in Oakland, he was a popular figure in the Red Sox clubhouse among his teammates.
But there were other factors that didn’t make a long-term commitment to the outfielder a no-brainer.
The initial issue came when, after the Red Sox publicly gushed about the notion that Cespedes would be using his excellent side-to-side speed in right field at Fenway Park, he never played a moment at the position. Instead, there were a few days of shagging balls next to Pesky’s Pole before abandoning the workouts in right altogether.
|Monday’s Red Sox-Blue Jays matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. J.A. Happ||08.25.14 at 3:40 pm ET|
After posting back-to-back solid outings on Aug. 9 and 15, Buchholz (5-8, 5.94 ERA) took a step back in his last start Wednesday against the Angels. The right-hander started off strong, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced, but fell apart in the fifth, giving up five runs en route to 8-3 Red Sox loss.
“The difference between everything going on this year and last year is a lot of balls finding holes or are home runs or doubles, they were hit at somebody last year and I got a lot of double plays that way,” Buchholz said after the game. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes. You don’t ever want it to be a full season but that’s the way it is sometimes, and I’ve got to keep grinding.”
Inconsistency has been the name of the game for Buchholz this season, as the right-hander has given up at least six earned runs in three of his last five starts.
Buchholz took the loss in his last outing against the Blue Jays on July 23, giving up four earned runs in six innings. In 22 career appearances (21 starts) against Toronto, Buchholz is 10-8 with 3.22 ERA.
Happ (8-8, 4.39 ERA) also struggled in his last start Tuesday against the Brewers, giving up six hits and four runs in just 3 1/3 innings of work.
“I don’t know,” Happ said after the game. “We’ve got to … I don’t know, just find a way. It starts with pitching. It started with me tonight. We got outplayed and it started with me, I guess. In a hole behind early and that’s tough against anybody, let alone a first-place team. Everybody’s gotta do their part and I came up short tonight.”
|Red Sox-Blue Jays series preview||at 1:11 pm ET|
What began with a promising 2-1 start on an 11-game homestand quickly was scuttled thanks to an eight-game losing streak that resulted in a massively disappointing 2-9 mark against the Astros, Angels and Mariners during their season-long stretch at Fenway.
Boston’s last three games were especially deflating, as the Red Sox blew 3-0 leads in consecutive games and left 15 runners on base Sunday en route to a three-game sweep by the Mariners — Seattle’s first sweep at Fenway since the franchise’s inception in 1977.
“That’s just the game. So many things you can’t control,” said third baseman Will Middlebrooks after Sunday’s game, adding: “What are you going to do?”
The remainder of the 2014 season will see the Red Sox mostly taking on their familiar foes in the AL East, as 25 of Boston’s final 32 games will be against division opponents, starting with a three-game set against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays have slumped as of late, posting a 3-7 record over their last 10 games — including a series loss against the Rays that culminated in a 2-1 extra-innings defeat Sunday.
The Red Sox will be looking for a different outcome from the last time they faced off against Toronto on July 28-30, as the Blue Jays outscored Boston 24-4 during a three-game sweep.
Here are the probable pitchers for the three-game series.
Monday: Clay Buchholz (5-8, 5.94 ERA) vs. J.A. Happ (8-8, 4.39 ERA)
Tuesday: Rubby De La Rosa (4-5, 3.69 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (10-12, 4.08 ERA)
Wednesday: Joe Kelly (0-1, 4.09 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (7-5, 4.11 ERA)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
– Yoenis Cespedes was acquired by Boston at the July 31 trade deadline to drive in runs. So far, he’s been doing a great job of it. Since his first game with the Red Sox on Aug. 2, Cespedes has driven in 18 of Boston’s 79 runs — 23 percent of the team’s total scoring output. Despite his aggressive approach at the plate, the Cuban left fielder has more RBIs than strikeouts (16) in his 21 games in Boston.
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Mariners matchups: Allen Webster vs. Hisashi Iwakuma||08.24.14 at 10:12 am ET|
Webster (3-1, 4.73 ERA) has turned in three straight quality starts for Boston, compiling a 3.86 ERA with a .239/.333/.388 line during that stretch.
In his last start Tuesday against the Angels, Webster gave up seven hits and three runs with three strikeouts over six innings of work in what was eventually a 4-3 Los Angeles win.
“When he’s right like for the vast majority of tonight, put the ball on the ground, ground balls,” manager John Farrell said. “It’s good to see him continue to back up outings in a positive way and build some momentum and I’m sure some confidence in his own right.”
While Webster has settled down after his shaky debut this season, the third inning has continued to be a thorn in the side of the 24-year-old. Twelve of the 15 earned runs that Webster has allowed this season have come during the third.
Webster was rocked in his only career appearance against the Mariners on July 9, 2013, surrendering six hits and seven earned runs over just 2 1/3 innings.
Iwakuma (12-6, 2.57 ERA) has been extremely effective as of late, posting a 7-2 record with a 1.63 ERA over his last 10 starts.
In his last outing Tuesday, the 33-year-old shut down the Phillies for eight innings, holding his opponents to just four hits and no runs while racking up 11 strikeouts.
|Brandon Workman’s latest struggle raises questions about rotation future||08.23.14 at 11:43 pm ET|
Although his time in the majors has been brief, Red Sox starter Brandon Workman already has seen his career marked by two vastly different stretches of play.
Through his first eight big league starts, Workman looked like he belonged in the Red Sox rotation, posting a 2-1 record with a 2.91 ERA. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to make eight straight starts of five or more innings and three or fewer runs allowed since World War II.
Unfortunately for the 6-foot-5 righty, the last eight outings have been a far cry from his stellar debut, with an 0-8 record and a 6.75 ERA bloating his career numbers during the second half of the 2014 season. He now has achieved history of another sort, becoming the first Sox pitcher since Red Ruffing in 1929 to absorb a loss in eight or more consecutive appearances.
Workman’s latest outing fit his current trend of ineffectiveness, as the 26-year-old was torched for 10 hits and seven earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Mariners on Saturday in what eventually resulted in a 7-3 Red Sox defeat.
Despite his discouraging box score, Workman began the game on a good foot, holding Seattle scoreless through the first three innings, including a 1-2-3 inning in the third.
“It was a quick inning,”Workman said. “I threw strikes, made some good pitches, got ground balls. … I didn’t execute like that in the fourth.”
However, this collapse came much earlier than the ninth inning.
The culprit Saturday was Red Sox starter Brandon Workman, who was tagged for 10 hits and seven earned runs in a nightmare of a fourth inning that proved to be the difference maker in a 7-3 Mariners win.
The Red Sox have now lost seven games in a row, marking the second-longest losing streak for the club this year, behind only 10 straight contests from May 15 to May 25.
Boston got off to a promising start Saturday afternoon against Seattle, scoring a run off of Mariners southpaw starter Chris Young in each of the first three innings to build up a 3-0 cushion for Workman. Read the rest of this entry »
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