Tagged: MLB

It’s Caballito’s Team Now

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia
AP Photo

In the early hours of Friday morning, Dustin Pedroia took ownership of the 2010 Boston Red Sox. It was then that the feisty second baseman launched a Houston Street pitch into the Denver night for his third home run of the game. It gave the Red Sox an improbable 13-11 win–improbable because minutes before Jonathan Papelbon had blown his second save in 24 hours. Papelbon then pitched the 10th for the win.

‘Pedey’, as he is called by his teammates, has become the de facto captain of this squad–the leader that characterizes all that is good about them. If ever there was a “jump on my back, boys” moment in 2010 it was last night. In addition to the game-winning home run, all Pedroia did was clout two other round-trippers–going 5 for 5 with a walk, five RBI and four runs scored. Since June 10th, he is hitting a filthy .500. 

As the Red Sox struggle to deal with crushing injuries (Nava, Hall & McDonald sounds more like a crooked law firm than a starting Red Sox outfield), it is Pedroia who has been the glue that has kept things together. Beltre and Youkilis have also been steady, but it’s the little ‘Caballito’ that has taken on the role of a true leader.

Ellsbury Still Hurt; Franco Still Dead

EllFranc.jpg

After visiting with Dr. Lewis Yocum in California, it was revealed that Jacoby Ellsbury’s ribs still hurt and that he needs more rest. So, this is our second opinion? I have no medical training, and I think I could have arrived at the same conclusion.

This whole RibGate thing is getting as vexing as the Mike Lowell Death Watch. Can someone please clear the air? Does Jacoby think the Red Sox doctors screwed up in their initial diagnosis, or not? Is Scott Boars horning in on the process to punish the Sox yet again? Were his ribs ever actually fractured, or not? Where the heck are the reporters who supposedly cover this team on a daily basis to give us some answers?

The bottom line in all this, of course, is that the Red Sox suffer mightily with Ellsbury out of the lineup–both offensively and defensively. If he had been healthy all year, chances are our current position in the standings would be greatly enhanced.

Just get back, Jacoby, will ‘ya? Spare us the Soap Opera!

Red Sox Bench Is Speed-Free For 2010

2004DaveRoberts2004.jpg

Quick, what was the critical turning point of the 2004 championship season? That’s right,Dave Roberts coming off the bench to steal the biggest base in team history. What a luxury Terry Francona had to pull a guy out of the late October cold and set him loose on the base-paths with the utmost confidence that he would succeed. After the steal, Derek Jeter famously asked Roberts, “How do you sit in this cold for nine innings and come out here and do that?”. Roberts just smiled.

Fast forward to 2010. As the Globe’s Peter Abraham points out, Tito will not exactly have a ‘Roberts Option’ this year on the pine.  Mike Lowell,Jason VaritekBill Hall and Jeremy Hermida are the speedsters he can choose from in key base-stealing situations. Does the phrase “piano on his back” ring a bell? All together, this group has stolen 113 career bases. In his stellar career, Roberts swiped 243–including 49 at age 34 for the Padres.

So, come October, if we find ourselves behind three games to none; down a run in the ninth; and in need of an alacrity injection, who comes into the game? Thank God for expanded rosters in September! Until then, close your eyes and hope Varitek doesn’t pull something on the way to second.

Red Sox Heart And Soul HInges On Pedroia

Thumbnail image for pedeystrain.jpg

When Dustin Pedroia injured his right wrist making a patented diving stop, New England’s  Baseball Anxiety Meter surged into the red zone. In a crazy sort of way, we have come to take our diminutive second baseman for granted as the heart and soul of this Red Sox team. He is the personification of its grit and determination, the pesky pain in the butt other teams love to hate. Oh, and did I mention he has been AL Rookie of the Year and MVP in his short 4-year career? Add in two All-Star appearances and a Gold Glove for good measure.

The Red Sox are in their typical “Katie Bar The Door” media outreach, claiming only that there was“swelling” on the back of this wrist and that there is no “problem”. Right. All we really need to know is the other tidbit they threw out at us–El Caballito will undergo X-rays today to determine the real extent of the injury.

Needless to say, this could be the biggest piece of Red Sox news all year–one way or the other. If Pedroia is out for any lengthy period of time, or even if he is hampered in his “take no prisoners” playing style, it could spell doom for this already marginal offensive team.

Let’s hope the Red Sox ‘Ministry of Information’ is telling the whole truth this time and there really is no “problem”.

Red Sox Future On Display In Ft. Myers

Thumbnail image for IgleJacoby.jpg

A lot of us in Red Sox Nation (this writer included) have fretted over the potential power outage in the 2010 Boston lineup. And when Sox GM Theo Epstein floated the term “bridge year” it sent chills up and down our collective spine.

But, the truth is, building a competitive baseball franchise is played out over many seasons. And, if you look carefully at the goings on in Ft. Myers, you can begin to see this team’s future take shape. In fact, the “core” is already in place: Pedroia, Youkilis Lester, Buchholz, Bard and Ellsbury are all homegrown fixtures that can anchor the team for years.

And then there are the kids on the cusp of contributing: Josh Reddick (having his second straight monster spring), Jose Iglesias (finally, the SS of the future), Casey Kelly (another potential dominant arm), and Ryan Kalish (Trot Nixon redux). And, if there is any justice in the world, 19-year old phenomRyan Westmoreland (the organization’s top positional prospect) will fully recover from his surgery and star in Fenway for years.

All in all, Theo’s Grand Plan for keeping this team in the mix over the next decade is firmly in place.

Dice-K’s Time To Deliver For Red Sox

dice_greenhat1.jpg

This writer has always been a big supporter of the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing. The $103 million plus outlay by the NOG ($51,111,111 posting fee; $52,000,000 contract) was bold–and had the added benefit of blowing the Empire’s bid out of the water.
Of course, we thought we were getting a rock solid, indestructible pitching machine at the peak of his career. Not so fast. What we have gotten is a guy who is so wedded to his training regimen and pitching philosophy that he is resistant to adaptation. On top of that, we were subjected to the effects of the moronic World Baseball Classic on Daisuke’s arm and conditioning.
To be fair, the potential for greatness is still there. In his first 61 starts for Boston he won 33 games–not a bad ratio. If he can avoid injury and get back to the 200-inning threshold, he should be as solid a number four starter as there is in baseball (behind Beckett, Lackey and Lester).
His 40-50 batting practice pitches yesterday are a good sign. But, Daisuke needs to step it up and prove that John Henry’s 100 million plus commitment was not in vain.