What, Us Worry?


Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino spoke with WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan this morning and basically poo-pooed the idea that the team will be prevented from a major trade by their luxury tax problems. Apparently, there really aren’t any such problems–or so Lucchino says. 

Along with the aptly-named Evil Empire (given that appellation by Lucchino, by the way), the Sox are the only teams that will have to pay any luxury tax in 2010. And, no matter what Larry might say, that has got to hamstring their ability to pull off a deal with serious salary implications in this “bridge” year.

In addition to the tax talk, Lucchino defended the much-maligned Sox medical team–who so far have managed to shelve a record 11 players on the DL amid some controversy.

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Opportunity Schlocks

David Ortiz called out at home
David Ortiz called out at home
AP Photo

The Red Sox missed a golden opportunity to gain ground on two division rivals by blowing a 4-0 lead in Oakland, and losing, 5-4 in 10 innings. Tim Wakefield (in what could conceivably be his last start of 2010) was unable to hold the advantage giving up four runs in the 3rd inning.

While the bullpen continued to look better, it is the so-called “meat” of the order that is not doing its job lately. When Marco Scutaro and Darnell McDonald are carrying the offensive load, you’ve got problems. Kudos to Kevin Youkilis, who is the only middle of the order guy holding his own. Youk doubled in a run last night–but a second (and ultimately important) run was cut down at the plate via an ill-advised decision by Tim Bogar to send a huffing and puffing Papi home.

In any event, these are the games you have to win against miserable opponents to stay in contention. Realistically, it looks as if this team desperately needs back Ellsbury, Pedroia and Martinez to bolster a sputtering and inconsistent offense and have any chance to stay in the hunt.

New Dice-K Training Regimen?


The award-winning investigative website (editor’s note: they gavethemselves the award), Boston Dust Mites, is reporting that the Red Sox may be placing Daisuke Matsuzaka on a unique new training regimen.

After the right-hander’s stunning 6 2/3 inning performance in Oakland, the team may want Dice-K to routinely hurl commemorative baseballs into the upper reaches of Fenway as he did on Sunday. The Japanese star flung dozens of ‘600th Sellout’ baseballs into the EMC and State Street pavilion levels on Sunday–the day before his start against the A’s. He gave up only two hits on an uncharacteristically economical 89 pitches.

Stand-Pat Theo?

Thumbnail image for TheoBridge2.jpgBrian MacPherson of the Providence Journal suggests that Sox GM Theo Epstein will be in a tinkering mood this trading deadline–with no blockbuster moves on the horizon. MacPherson suggests that the most likely moves will be to bolster the woeful bullpen (second-worst in the AL), but not involve marquee names.

This, of course, begs the question, “Will this be enough to make the post-season tournament?” (Thank you again, Bill Parcells).

There’s a lot of discussion about how the returning DL All-Stars will amount to a bumper crop of ersatz free-agent acquisitions. The problem is, by the time most of them return and are productive, we could be paying more attention to Tyler Seguin’s workouts at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington. (translation for non-hockey fans: the Sox will be hopelessly out of contention and we will be focusing on the new young star of the Bruins).

In any event, this may indeed be the ‘bridge’ year Theo hinted at in Spring Training. If that’s the case, we should know over the next three weeks–which includes 21 of 30 road games.

At The Break

At The Break
At The Break
Photo at FenwayNation.com

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from readers lately that I’m just too negative about this edition of our Boston Red Sox. First, I’d like to apologize to those readers–but, honestly, I can’t help it. It’s in my Red Sox DNA. I’m a child of the mid-1950s Red Sox teams, a collection so awful, that we hadn’t even arrived at the angst level yet. Once we started to taste the post-season on a semi-regular basis (post 1967), this old mindset held on for dear life. It still festers today. But enough about me.

Now, here’s what I think about the 2010 Red Sox (I guess this is about me, too). Obviously, with all the devastating injuries to key players, it is a minor miracle that this team is still in contention (5 games out of first place at the break). Your Navas, your McDonalds, and your Halls have all been far better than we could have possibly hoped. And, we are poised to get back your Pedroias, your Martinezes, your Becketts, your Buchholzes, your Ellsburys (et al.) sometime soon.

Nevertheless, this team faces 20 of the next 31 games on the road. One of those excursions is a grueling West Coast swing. They open at home after the break against the AL West-leading Rangers (who have just dropped four straight to the Orioles and are not likely to be in a docile mood). Moreover, this team still has not figured out its abysmal middle relief–the guys to go to before Bard and Papelbon. Unless they make a significant move to bolster this weakness, they will not contend. Of course, I’m not even mentioning the still-existing hole in the line-up in the Post-Manny Era (even though they lead the majors in runs scored).

So, all in all, I’d say my pessimism is well-justified in a division that continues to have two powerhouses ahead of us (in more than just the standings). I hope I am wrong, and all those readers can rub my nose in it at the Rolling Rally in November.

The Other Side Of “The Bridge”–2011

Phillies OF Jayson Werth
Phillies OF Jayson Werth
(John Heller/AP)

The Olde Town Team has lost 4 full games in the standings in the last four days–not exactly the way to stay in contention. While there are still 77 games left, it may not be too soon to start looking at the other side of the “bridge”. Namely, 2011.

So, what are the issues that need to be addressed? Aside from the obvious bullpen woes, the Red Sox still lack the big bat that left town with Manny (love him or hate him, the facts are the facts). With the Sox rumored to be lusting after free-agent-to-beJayson Werth and targeting a catcher who can throw people out (Chris Snyder or Kurt Suzuki), how about this for a potent 2011 line-up?:

1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2. 2B Dustin Pedroia
3. DH David Ortiz
4. LF Jayson Werth
5. 3B Kevin Youkilis
6. 1B Victor Martinez
7. RF J.D. Drew
8. SS Marco Scutaro
9. C Chris Snyder


Just sayin’.