Monday, October 31, 2011

Red Sox Decline Options For Wheeler and Atchison

Well, I figure I don't need a topic sentence for this post, as you probably got the gist of it from the title. However, two Red Sox relievers may not be coming back for 2012. The Red Sox declined Dan Wheeler's $3 million options and Scott Atchison's option for league minimum. I would say there is about a 50/50 chance that the Sox keep Wheeler, but they probably won't bring back Atchison. Wheeler had a decent year in 2011, but he did not live up to expectations, going 2-2/4.38/39. Scott Atchison bounced between Boston and Pawtucket for pretty much the whole year, but while he was in Boston, he was pretty effective, going 1-0/3.26/17. I would not mind seeing either of these guys back in the bullpen, especially Wheeler, as he's proven to be more consistent over the years. I don't see them bringing back Atchison for any less than his option so he's probably gone; however, if they could get Wheeler at around $2 million- I'd consider it a good move.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Red Sox PIck Up Marco Scutaro's Club Option

I'm going to lead off by saying that I consider myself a big Marco Scutaro fan. However, I don't think that leads to any bias in my conclusion that this was a great move. Over the past two seasons, Scutaro has been a very valuable part of our offense, as well as our defense. Plus, with a barren free agent market this year- it's hard to believe that we could get anybody better than him on the market. Scutaro had the best season of his 9 year career by going .299/7/54 in 2011 after a pretty good season in 2010 which saw him go .275/11/56. Not to mention that in those years, he has had a .968 fielding percentage playing a very difficult position. He also brings many intangibles to the table as he appears to be a big jokester and add some life into a pretty dull clubhouse in 2011. I'm really glad that the Red Sox wasted no time in making this move and congratulations to Ben Cherington on his first move with the Red Sox!

Conor Says... Trade For Jonathan Sanchez

With a fairly weak free agent market for pitchers this season, the Red Sox may have to make a trade to improve their depth. Ben Cherington seems like a very different GM than Theo Epstein, so I don't expect us to be signing C.J. Wilson to a huge contract this offseason. However, we do need to get at least a solid pitcher, and trading may be the best way to do that. A name that may be moveable as well as affordable could be Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez. Sanchez had a down year in 2011, with a 4-7/4.26/102 line. However, he was destroyed by injuries and only made 19 starts coming off a stellar 2010 campaign in which he went 13-9/3.09/205. The Giants have a surplus of pitching, but they are not so well off when it comes to hitting. Because of the Red Sox opposite charges, they could pull off a fairly even deal. The Red Sox may not even have to part with a player of the caliber of Kevin Youkilis and may be able to put together a package of Josh Reddick and Jed Lowrie/Mike Aviles for Sanchez. Comment what you think!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Congratulations St. Louis Cardinals

These guys were 10.5 games out of the wild card in late August. 10.5 games in late August is what I'd consider an easy win for the team in front (which was, more or less, the Red Sox). However, the Cardinals fought back, and on the last night of the season, beat the Astros on a complete game shutout by Chris Carpenter. They ran to 5 games in the NLDS with the Phillies, 6 games in the NLCS with the Brewers, and 7 games in the World Series with the Rangers (the first 7-game series since 2002). David Freese was fantastic the whole postseason- hoisting two MVPS and a .307/5/21 line throughout the whole time. For clarification, that's 21 RBIs in 18 games, a line that would even out to 188 RBIs over a full season. Chris Carpenter was also fantastic the whole time- and both of those players secured the series. So, good job Cardinals in prolonging my obsession with watching baseball just a little longer.

Game 7- 11th Heaven

This was a great game- but for me the excitement is nothing compared to the fact that there is no baseball from here until next March. After the Rangers led off the game with a single and a walk, back-to-back doubles by Josh Hamilton and Michael Young would score them and make it 2-0 early on. However, with two outs and two on in the bottom of the 1st, David Freese whacked a double, which scored two and tied the game at 2-2. For me, that's a big surprise, as David Freese has really done nothing all postseason (wink). In the 3rd, Allen Craig homered just over the wall in right to make it 3-2. In the 5th, the Cardinals were able to load the bases with two outs. A walk to Yadier Molina and a hit by pitch for Rafael Furcal made it 5-2. In the 7th, the Cardinals added an insurance run as Lance Berkman scored on an RBI single for Yadier Molina.
       Chris Carpenter pitched a great game for the Cardinals, allowing 2 runs in 6 innings- settling down supremely. He was followed by an assortment of relievers- including Jason Motte, who recorded the last out- former Red Sox David Murphy flying out on the warning track in left field. David Freese (left) hoisted the series MVP after going 1-2 with an 2-run double in Game 7. Yadier Molina had a great game, going 2-3 with 2 RBIs. Rafael Furcal was also sharp, going 2-3 with an RBI. For the Rangers, Matt Harrison was not particularly good, allowing 3 runs in 4 innings- earning the loss. The Rangers' only offensive highlights were Josh Hamilton and Michael Young- each of whom went 1-4 with an RBI double. There's nothing else to post and welcome to the offseason- the darkest time of the year.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cardinals Freese Rangers, Force Game 7

This was an amazing game- it fits right in there with Game 6 of the 1975 World Series (maybe not that great, but still!). With runners at 1st and 3rd in the 1st inning, Josh Hamilton singled to right to make it 1-0. However, the Cards came back at Lance Berkman hit a 2-run homer to center field in the bottom half. In the 2nd, Craig Gentry scored on a ground-rule double by Ian Kinsler. In the 4th, the Rangers took a 3-2 lead as Mike Napoli drove in Nelson Cruz with a single. However, the Cardinals tied it in the 4th with an RBI groundout by Yadier Molina. In the 5th, an RBI double by Michael Young made it 4-3. However, the Cardinals tied it in the 6th when they loaded the bases with 1 out. Yadier Molina walked an made it 4-4 in the process. However, the Rangers led off the 7th with back-to-back home runs by Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre to make it 6-4, and later in the inning, Ian Kinsler drove in another run. In the 8th, Allen Craig launched a solo home run to make it 7-5. In the bottom of the 9th, with two outs, the Cardinals had runners at 1st and 2nd. David Freese launched a triple into right to tie it at 7-7. However, the Rangers popped right back ahead in the 10th, as Josh Hamilton launched a 2-run homer to make it 9-7. However, with 1 out, Ryan Theriot made it a 1-run game with an RBI groundout and Lance Berkman singled to tie it up at 9-9. David Freese led off the 11th with a home run to center to win the game and send it to a Game 7!
        Neither pitcher was particularly good, and that includes the bullpen. Colby Lewis was ok, allowing 2 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. For the Cardinals, Fernando Salas was good, tossing 2 scoreless innings of relief- but those were about the only highlights pitching-wise. For the Cardinals, one of the biggest heroes was Lance Berkman, who had a great game, going 3-5 with 4 runs scored and 3 RBIs including a 2-run homer. David Freese (left), of course, was the real hero though as he had both a game-tying triple and the walkoff homer in a 2-5, 3 RBI game. For the Rangers, Ian Kinsler had a good game, going 2-5 with 2 RBIs and a run scored. Josh Hamilton also had a good game, going 3-6 with 2 runs and 3 RBIs- including a 2-run homer. For the much-awaited Game 7 pitching matchup , there will be Matt Harrison for the Rangers and Chris Carpenter for the Cardinals.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lackey Lacking A Healthy Arm

About 45 minutes into his press conference, Ben Cherington made his first announcement as Red Sox GM. John Lackey is going to be having Tommy John surgery and is likely to miss the 2012 season. Lackey is the 3rd Red Sox pitcher to fall under the knife this season, following Daisuke Matsuzaka and Rich Hill, whose surgeries fell within a week of each other in late May. This will further kill Lackey's trade-ability after a terrible 12-12/6.41/108 season in 2011; he was the worst pitcher in the major leagues. This is good because we will be without him for a year. However, it will also be bad because it will mean to Sox will probably have to shop for 2 starting pitchers on the market. Hopefully Cherington's judgement is good at finding these pitchers- as he's being put to his first test.

Welcome Aboard, Ben Cherington!

Well, not exactly aboard, you know- since he's been in the organization for 12 years... but you know what I mean! Today, the Red Sox formally announced Ben Cherington as their new general manager and the Cubs introduced Theo Epstein as theirs. Regarding the Red Sox historic September collapse, Cherington stated that there were be changes. He also said that while Epstein was more of a front office kind of guy, he was more of a drafting/player development GM. This strategy could work out well for the Sox, a team whose farm system has been wiped clean multiple times in the past few years. I hope you bring us some championships, Ben, and congrats on the promotion!

Rangers Move To One Win Short Of Championship

Last night was another very close, tight, World Series game as this has been a good one. The Rangers eventually pulled ahead after it being close for much of the game. With runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 out, Yadier Molina singled to left to score one of the runs and give the Cards a 1-0 lead. Then, Skip Schumaker hit a grounder to first and Lance Berkman bolted home to score and make it 2-0. The Rangers got on the board with 1 out in the 3rd, as Mitch Moreland rocketed a ball into the upper deck of the right field stands. With 2 outs in the 6th, the Rangers tied it up as Adrian Beltre launched a homer to left to make it 2-2. With 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 8th, Mike Napoli hit a double into right-center to score two and make it a 4-2 game, the eventual final score.
      Both starting pitchers were pretty good with Chris Carpenter allowing 2 runs in 7 innings, allowing 6 hits and striking out 4. C.J. Wilson was almost just as good, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) in 5 1/3 innings. The bullpen was flawless for the Rangers, but the Cardinals had one major flaw in Octavio Dotel, who allowed 2 runs in 1/3 of an inning. For the Cardinals, the biggest offensive highlight was Yadier Molina, who went 3-4 with an RBI; close behind him with Skip Schumaker, who went 1-3 with an RBI. For the Rangers, two offensive highlights were Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland, each of whom went 1-4 with a solo home run. However, the big one was Mike Napoli (left) who went 1-4 with a huge 2-run double. There is an off-day tonight, but the Rangers will go for it all on Wednesday, with Colby Lewis going against Jaime Garcia.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rangers Send Cardinals Back To Holland

Last night was a good, tight World Series game, which like most of this World Series has been dominated by pitching. After Elvis Andrus singled with one out in the 1st, Josh Hamilton drove him in with a hard double to left to make it 1-0. It stayed like that until the 6th, however, when the Rangers put runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 out for Mike Napoli. Napoli lifted the 1st pitch, a high fastball, high into the seats down the third base line for a long home run.
      If Lance Berkman had not been a member of the St. Louis Cardinals- Derek Holland would have thrown the 2nd no-hitter in postseason history, and the first in the last 55 years. Berkman went 2-3, providing the only two hits the Cardinals had in the game against Derek Holland. Holland was masterful, throwing 8 1/3 shutout innings, allowing only 2 hits, and striking out 7 before handing it over to Neftali Feliz. Elvis Andrus was the catalyst for the Rangers last night, going 2-4 and scoring a run, however, it was Josh Hamilton (1-4, 1 RBI) and Mike Napoli (1-2, 3 RBI) who got the job done. Napoli (left) had the key hit in the game, a 3-run homer to left which really put the game away. Tonight's pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 1, with C.J. Wilson for the Rangers, and Chris Carpenter for the Cardinals.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Conor Says... Make A Run At Mark Buehrle

If the Red Sox were able to sign Mark Buehrle, at the very least it would be one more soft-tossing lefty the Red Sox wouldn't have to face. However, Buehrle is a bit more than just a soft-tossing lefty. In 12 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Buehrle has a career ERA of 3.83, and is coming off a very strong 13-9/3.59/109. Buehrle will be a free agent this offseason and may be looking to leave the perennially disappointing White Sox. You pretty much know what you're going to get from Buehrle- he's a workhorse, who has led the league in innings pitched twice ('04, '05) and games started twice ('04, '08). He doesn't strike out very many people, his career high came in 2004 with 165 strikeouts, and his career average is 5.1 strikeouts per nine innings. However, he walks even fewer people, with 2.0 per nine as his career average. He works quickly, and even though he doesn't throw hard, he shows a great ability to simply get people out. He is coming off his best season since 2005, and I would be very open to signing him for maybe 3-4 years at about $12 million annually. He could become a part of a very formidable rotation with Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, and Lackey.

Mr. October Jr. Takes The Field

Well, for the first time this series, we had a very high scoring game, which was actually close until around the 7th inning. In the top of the 1st, Allen Craig launched a fastball for a homer to left field. In the 4th, the Cardinals put runners at 1st and 2nd with 1 out. David Freese knocked a hard double down the 1st base line to score one and make it 2-0. After an intentional walk to Yadier Molina, the bases were loaded with one out. Mike Napoli made an error on a soft ground ball to score two more and the next batter, Ryan Theriot, singled to right to make it 5-0. Michael Young led off the bottom of the 4th with a homer, however, and after an Adrian Beltre single, Nelson Cruz followed him up to make it 5-3. In the 5th, the Cardinals loaded the bases with nobody out. David Freese grounded out to third to score another and make it 6-3. Yadier Molina then knocked a double into left, scoring two and making it 8-3. After two singles to start the bottom of the 5th, Michael Young doubled to left to make it 8-5. Later in the inning, Adrian Beltre hit an RBI single and Mike Napoli drove in a run with a sac fly to make it 8-6. After a single, a walk, and a strikeout to lead off the 6th, Albert Pujols drove them all home with a homer to left to make it 11-6. Later in the inning, Yadier Molina knocked a sacrifice fly. In the 7th, Pujols crushed a 2-run homer to make it 14-6. In the bottom of the 7th, a sacrifice fly for Mike Napoli would make it 14-7. In the 8th, Yadier Molina crushed an RBI double, scoring Daniel Descalso and making it 15-7. In the 9th, Albert Pujols became Mr. October Jr. with his 3rd homer of the night to make it 16-7.
       The pitchers weren't very good on either side, with both pitchers going 3+ innings and allowing 3 earned runs. However, excluding Fernando Salas the Cardinals' bullpen was pretty good- and that was the difference. They were capped off by a 1 2/3 inning, no run performance by Octavio Dotel (upper right). However, it was Lance Lynn who got the win with a run allowed in 2 1/3 innings. Offensively, the Cardinals' obvious highlight was Albert Pujols, who went 5-6 with 4 runs (3 coming on the homers), and 6 RBIs- plus of course, the fact that he hit 3 homers in a game. David Freese also had a good game, going 2-4 with 2 RBIs and a double. Yadier Molina was very sharp offensively as well, going 2-3 with 4 RBIs. For the Rangers, the biggest highlight was Michael Young, who went 2-5 with 2 runs and an RBI- including a solo home run. Adrian Beltre also had quite a day, going 4-5 with 2 runs and an RBI. The pitching matchup for a very important Game 4 today is Derek Holland for the Rangers and Edwin Jackson for the Cardinals.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

So Long, Theo!

Basically, the announcement that Theo Epstein has officially resigned as GM of the Red Sox and gone to the Cubs is old news. It is an excuse for more news that we already knew. However, as I sit at home and listen to John Denver and type this- I have a melancholy feeling. The "Boy Wonder" is gone- off to Chicago to try and kill another curse. He ended ours in his second year as GM in 2004, after coming oh, so close in 2003. To pinch us, and make sure we weren't dreaming, he won it again in 2007. He brought advanced baseball statistics to Boston- finding potential in players like Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, and David Ortiz. While he made a few mistakes over the past few years, the air in Boston was still "In Theo we trust." All big money GM's make a few mistakes in his day: John Lackey and Carl Crawford were both good players before they came to Boston, same with J.D. Drew and Edgar Renteria. It's hard to predict how different of a GM Ben Cherington will be, but it's too bad that Theo will be gone. I wish him well, and will be rooting for the Cubs- assuming they aren't playing the Red Sox.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exodus Continues As Curt Young Returns To A's

This is going to be one interesting offseason any way you look at it. The Red Sox will have to replace their manager, 1st base coach, trainer, and- most recently- pitching coach. Their pitching coach of only one year, Curt Young, is heading back to the team for whom he coached with from 2004-2010 in the Oakland A's. Many Red Sox fans grew sick and tired of Young due to the Red Sox collapse being mostly because of their pitching, and especially their starters. I don't quite know how much the pitching coach has to do with the pitchers' success, but Red Sox fans like a scapegoat. If you look at him with contempt because of disappointing performances like Dice-K, Lackey, and (later season) Bard, then you would also have to look at him with praise because of bounce-back years like Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon. I think this move was expected and will not cause a huge stir in the Nation.

Rangers Win In The Clutch To Even Series

For the second straight game in this World Series, this game was very low-scoring, and very close. With one out in the 7th inning, David Freese singled, and after a Yadier Molina flyout, Nick Punto did the same. For the second straight night, it was Allen Craig coming in to pinch-hit for the pitcher in a tied, clutch situation. Once again, he delivered, knocking a soft line drive into right field- eerily similar to his hit the night before. However, on a two singles and an error in the 9th, the Rangers were able to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Josh Hamilton came up and hit a sacrifice fly to dead right field to score a run and tie the game at 1-1. Michael Young came up next, and chipped a fly ball to right-center to score the winning run and give the Rangers a 2-1 lead. Neftali Feliz closed it out and the Rangers won to tie the series at 1 game apiece.
      Both starting pitchers were very, very good, but especially Jaime Garcia (right). Garcia went 7 innings, allowing no runs, 3 hits, and striking out 7 in a great effort. Colby Lewis was almost as good, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits in 6 2/3 innings. The Rangers bullpen was once again perfect, and the Cardinals' would have been if not for Jason Motte's collapse in the 9th inning. There were virtually no offensive highlights for either team, as there were 11 hits spread around the board, a respectable number of hits for one team in a game. However, Allen Craig once again came through in the clutch for the Cardinals with another pinch-hit, opposite field single to give the Cardinals a lead at the time. For the Rangers, after some key hits by Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus, it was Josh Hamilton and Michael Young (left). After an off day today, the World Series will continue with Matt Harrison going for the Rangers, and somebody to be named going for the Cardinals.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Red Sox Player Wins the 2nd Straight Roberto Clemente

Last year it was Tim Wakefield taking home honors for the Roberto Clemente Award- an award given to players who were great on and off the field. This year, it was David Ortiz. Not only did Ortiz excel on the field with his best season (.309/29/96) since 2007, but he also was (obviously) a huge factor in the David Ortiz Children's Fund. This fund helps children in his native Dominican Republic get proper medical care. He also holds a partnership with the Massachusetts General Hospital. "I am so incredibly honored to be the recipient of this year's award," said Ortiz in an interview, "It's humbling to be associated with all the tremendous names that have won this award in the past, and I look forward to continuing to do my part to maintain Roberto Clemente's legacy." Great job, Papi, and keep up the good work! Also, come back to the Red Sox.  

Rangers Can't Help But Fish For Carp

Last night was a very important night in the baseball world, as it was Game 1 of the World Series. It was a very close game, and a rare commodity this postseason as it was a pitching game. In the 4th inning, the scoring started as Albert Pujols was hit by a C.J. Wilson fastball to lead off the inning. The next batter, Matt Holliday lined a shot down the 1st base line that fell for a double that would put runners at 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Lance Berkman proceeded to hit a hard ground ball down the 1st base line for a 2-run single that would give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. However, it was short lived as Adrian Beltre singled to lead off the 5th inning. After an Elvis Andrus strikeout, Mike Napoli took a fastball outside and pounded it over the wall for a game-tying 2-run homer. In the 6th, David Freese doubled with 1 out to put a runner in scoring position for the Cardinals. After Yadier Molina struck out, Nick Punto walked to put runners at 1st and 2nd. Tony La Russa then proceeded to hit for Chris Carpenter, a good decision as Allen Craig would single in the go-ahead run in an eventual 3-2 Cardinals win.
      The pitching for both sides was quite good, but especially for the Cardinals, where Chris Carpenter went 6 strong innings allowing only 2 runs. His bullpen would be similarly good, dividing 3 scoreless innings among 5 pitchers. C.J. Wilson was not quite as spectacular, but he was pretty good, allowing 3 runs in 5 2/3 innings. The Rangers bullpen would throw 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief. For the Cardinals, the biggest offensive highlight was Lance Berkman as he went 2-4 with 2 RBIs, both coming on that key 2-run single. However, David Freese had a decent game, going 1-2 with a double and scoring the winning run. Of course, Allen Craig had the key pinch-hit to win the game. For the Rangers, the biggest highlight was Mike Napoli (left) who had a big 2-run homer in a 1-2 game. Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler each went 2-4 to help the Rangers' lost cause in Game 1. The pitching matchup for Game 2 is Jaime Garcia for the Cardinals and Colby Lewis for the Rangers.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This Beer Scandal Is Getting Ridiculous

I expect most Red Sox fans, even casual fans who just watch ESPN, have heard the rumors of beer in the Red Sox clubhouse. The original story is that, during games they didn't pitch: Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Josh Beckett went down to the clubhouse and started drinking beer, eating fried chicken, and playing video games. A couple of days ago, Lester came out and confirmed this rumor; however, he said that the media had blown it way out of proportion. But that's not the weird part. The weird part is: yesterday, all of the three stooges came out and denied the rumor, including Lester, who had previously confirmed it. This was topped off by the fact that Terry Francona said, "In my 32 years in baseball, I've never seen beer in the dugout." My theory is that maybe they had a beer once in a while, and I have no problem with that. If those guys want to have a beer occasionally, why should I care? The same applies to the fried chicken. However, if they were playing video games, then I have a problem. That means they were separated from the rest of the team, and involved in their own thing, which was "more important." I really hope that none of this happens, and it exposes just how ridiculous the Boston media is.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cardinals-Rangers, Another Good World Series

In the Red Sox collapse, it's all about Boston. Nobody cares about the Rays, it's all that Francona couldn't do his job and some pitchers were eating fried chicken. However, in the NL, I've heard nothing about the Braves' collapse, only about the Cardinals' success- and for good reason. They advanced past the 102-60 Phillies in 5 games of the NLDS. Then, they made it through the 96-66 Brewers in 6 games of the NLCS after last night's game. They won 12-6 in a slugfest where the Cardinals hit 3 home runs, hit by NLCS MVP David Freese (right), Rafael Furcal, and Albert Pujols. It was a good game, and I'd be willing to bet that my friend at school (a Brewers fan) will be wearing black. Nevermind that, the Packers won, he'll be wearing his Packers polo. Anyways, I know I said that I favored the Rangers yesterday, and I still do; but, don't count the Cardinals out, these guys have had a hell of a run and why should it stop now?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Conor Says... Take Austin Kirk and Marquez Smith As Epstein's Compensation

The only thing holding Theo Epstein to the Red Sox is the fact that the Red Sox need compensation for the one year left on his contract. It has already been established that the most likely compensation will be some of the Cubs' prospects. So, yesterday, I took a look at the Cubs' Top 20 prospects and I found some names that I like. No, not Brett Jackson. Jackson is going to be a star, yes, but so is Ryan Kalish and probably a few more of the 1,000,000,000 outfield prospects the Red Sox have. I have decided on the names of left-handed pitcher Austin Kirk (right) and second baseman/third baseman Marquez Smith.
      Kirk is 21 years old, and was selected by the Cubs in the 3rd round of the 2009 draft. So far, he has genuinely impressed at the minor league level. At A level Peoria in 2011, Kirk had himself his worst season in professional baseball, and he was pretty good. He was 5-12/4.29/122 in 151 innings pitched. Plus, there's always the good aspect that he's a lefty starting pitcher. Although he won't be ready for the majors until, probably, late 2013, he would be a good pickup that would certainly help this team.
       My other idea was Marquez Smith (left), a 26 year old AAA third baseman/second baseman in the Cubs' system. Smith took a step back from his stellar 2010 season with a mediocre .278/7/36 season in 2011, coming after a .314/17/53 season in 2010. However, his career batting average in the minors is a decent .282, as he's been a good performer with the Cubs and I'm surprised he hasn't gotten called up to the majors. If he was healthy in 2012, something he was not in 2011, he would probably join the Aviles/Lowrie mess on the bench. However, if he outperformed them, he could become a starting third baseman as a bridge before Will Middlebrooks is ready. I think the Red Sox should seriously consider both of these players as compensation.

Back-To-Back AL Titles for Rangers

Well, I don't think anybody expected this. I, for one, thought it was a fluke when the Rangers went all the way to the World Series, but lost in 5 games in 2010. At the beginning of 2011, the Rangers were not the team to beat- the Red Sox were, after a "fantastic offseason." However, the Rangers defended their title brilliantly, coasting to a 96-66 record and AL West championship. They were the only team in the playoffs that did not have a 5-game LDS- they didn't need one, they won in 4. Finally, last night, they won Game 6 of the ALCS to advance to the 2nd World Series in team history, and their second in a row as well. They beat the Tigers 15-5 last night in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to advance all the way. Whether it's the Brewers or the Cardinals who win the NLCS, it's my prediction that the Rangers are going to win the World Series.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Jacoby Ellsbury Takes Home Comeback Player Award

At the beginning of the season, many people doubted Jacoby Ellsbury after an injury-riddled 2010. People thought he was soft, he wasn't ready to play baseball- I consider myself proud that I was not one of them. Jacoby Ellsbury, as many expected, has won the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Not only was Ellsbury the player he was in 2007-2009, but he changed from a speedy leadoff hitter into a full-fledged star. He had a fantastic season, taking home the Sox.Rox Player of the Year Award and going .321/32/105, as it remains to be seen whether he will win the AL MVP as well. He is also the first 30-30 (30 homers, 30 steals) player in Red Sox history- not too shabby. I'm sorry I couldn't get a picture of Jacoby up but blogspot isn't letting me. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cherington Named As New Red Sox GM

Well, so much for the worries about the new general manager and back to the worries about the next manager. The Red Sox promoted Theo Epstein's assistant GM, Ben Cherington, to the legit GM today and announced he would be Theo's replacement. Cherington does not have any experience as the full-time GM of a major league team, but he has plenty of experience in the organization, as he has worked with Boston since 1999. After Theo Epstein's brief departure in 2005, Cherington served as part-time GM with Jed Hoyer. Together, they pulled off the Hanley Ramirez- Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell deal which ultimately helped the Sox win the World Series in 2007. I hope Cherington works out for the team!

Cardinals Fight Back, Rangers Keep Cruzing

Well, the Rangers are just one win away from the World Series after last night's 7-3 win. However, they faltered the night before, falling to the Tigers 5-2. In that game, the Tigers were led by home runs by Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, and Miguel Cabrera; as well as a great outing by Doug Fister, 2 runs in 7 1/3 innings. However, the Rangers went back to their winning ways in Game 4. In a 4-run 11th inning, led by a single by Mike Napoli and a 3-run homer by Nelson Cruz in a 7-3 win. In the Cardinals-Brewers series, the Cards have fought back from a 1-0 deficit to be ahead 2-1 now. The Cardinals took advantage with a 4-run 1st and that would be all they got in a 4-3 win. Jason Motte (right) highlighted the win for the Cardinals with a 4-out save to shut down the Brewers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Epstein Headed to Chicago For Five Years

And they're off, or Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is. Multiple sources have confirmed that Epstein has signed a 5-year deal worth about $15-20 million with the Chicago Cubs to leave the Red Sox. Epstein was a good GM for the Sox, as he loaded the 2003-2004 playoff teams with low-risk high-reward moves like Bill Mueller, David Ortiz, and Kevin Millar; as well as big names like Curt Schilling. However, that low-risk high-reward idea did not work again in 2009, as he failed at moves like John Smoltz and Brad Penny. To your right is a picture of Epstein making the move that potentially shipped him away as Carl Crawford had a dreadful year worth $21 million (Could've gotten the same production out of Ryan Kalish- yes, I do know he was on the DL all year). We'll miss you, Theo, as despite your blunders- you gave us 2 World Championships and ended the curse.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Epstein Very Close To Joining Cubs

Even if you are a casual Red Sox fan, you have likely heard the swirling rumors of Theo Epstein's potential departure to Chicago. Today, it has become more realistic and it appears that Epstein is on the verge of joining the Cubs. A press release will likely come within the next 48 hours, and probably less. While one could argue that many big-market GM's make a lot of mistakes, it appears to me that Epstein has made too many- especially recently. Think Carl Crawford, John Lackey, J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, Mike Cameron, Brad Penny, and John Smoltz (Rule out the last 2, as they were low-risk high-reward moves before 2009). It makes me wonder if his assistant and likely replacement Ben Cherington could do a better job. During Epstein's brief departure after 2005, Cherington pulled off the move that sent Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez to the Marlins in return for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell- a move that positively affected both teams. I find it ridiculous that I find optimism in everything (even this), but I do see a silver lining to this. Just call me a positive Red Sox fan- oxymoron, right?

Rangers Pull To Quick Lead, Brewers And Cardinals Tie

In Game 1 of the ALCS, the Rangers were able to win 3-2. They rode two early runs along with a Nelson Cruz (right) homer in the 4th to a quick victory despite 2 rainouts. C.J. Wilson also pitched very well, allowing 2 runs in 4 2/3, however, it was Mike Gonzalez who escaped a bases loaded jam after the rain delay to stifle the Tigers. In Game 2, the Rangers jumped out to another early lead in the 1st inning. However, the Tigers bounced back, and in the 3rd, Ryan Raburn crushed a ball to left for a 3-run homer to give the Tigers a 3-2 advantage. However, Nelson Cruz tied it up with a homer in the 7th, then gave them a 7-3 win with the first walk-off grand slam in playoff history to left field. In Game 1 of the NLCS, as they often do, they rode Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun, who combined for 2 home runs and 6 RBIs, as well as a key home run by Yuniesky Betancourt to shut the door in a 6-run 5th inning. However, in Game 2, the Cardinals turned the tables, riding a good outing by Edwin Jackson (2 runs in 4 1/3 innings). However, the big man was Albert Pujols, who hit 3 home runs and drove in 5 en route to a 12-3 win to even the score.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Conor Says... Sign Willie Bloomquist

After a spending spree last offseason, the Red Sox cannot be quite so free-spending in the 2011-2012 offseason. However, there are a couple of holes that the Sox do need to plug. They could kill two of those holes with one move- signing Willie Bloomquist. Bloomquist is a very versatile player who can play more or less every position on the diamond. The Red Sox would likely use him to platoon with Josh Reddick in right field and possibly compete for a starting shortstop job. This past year with the Diamondbacks, Bloomquist had a solid year, going .266/4/26, along with stealing 20 bases. Bloomquist would likely be cheaper than more reliable options such as Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, and Josh Willingham, and I think he could be a good fit for the team. Bloomquist could probably slot in around #8 or #9 in the batting order and would add a shot of speed to complement Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, and Carl Crawford. I think this would be a low-risk, high-reward move that would be worth doing; comment what you think!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Brewers and Cardinals Advance to NLCS

Both National League teams advanced in the playoffs in dramatic fashion yesterday. For the Phillies, the dream is over. After a 102-60 season, the best pitching rotation in baseball history, and facing a 90-72 team who had just barely made the playoffs. Nobody expected it to go to a Game 5, but it did. Last night, it was Chris Carpenter. Carpenter silenced the Phillies' bats and season with a complete game shutout, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 3. Roy Halladay almost did the same, but in the 1st inning, a leadoff triple by Rafael Furcal was followed by an RBI double by Skip Schumaker. Meanwhile, in Milwaukee.. The Diamondbacks took off to an early lead as Justin Upton homered in the 3rd inning. The Brewers quickly tied up the game, however, as Nyjer Morgan (left) scored on a sacrifice fly. The Brewers took a lead in the 6th, as Yuniesky Betancourt singled in Ryan Braun. It stayed that way until the 9th, when the D-Backs dramatically tied it with an RBI single by Willie Bloomquist. In the 10th, things happened, though. Carlos Gomez singled and stole second with one out. Nyjer Morgan knocked a hard grounder through the diving infielders and Gomez rushed home to advance the Brewers to the NLCS.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Yankees Season Ends Early, Just Like Everybody Else in the AL East

The Tigers won. The Tigers won! The Tigers won!!! Oh, and they beat the Yankees. Led by Doug Fister, who threw 5 strong innings, allowing just 1 run to the strong-offensively Yankees. He was relieved by Max Scherzer, who allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings. Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde closed out the game in an eventual 3-2 win for Detroit. The Tigers' offense was lifted by back-to-back homers on back-to-back pitches by Don Kelly (a line drive to right) and Delmon Young (crushed to left). The essential 3rd run came on an RBI single by Victor Martinez (oh, how we miss him). Be sure to watch the ALCS tomorrow at a... time... I don't know when... The NLCS will be decided by who wins each game tonight!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rangers Able To Knock Rays Out, Tigers Aren't

Well, rejoice Red Sox fans! We were spared the heartbreak of losing in the first round by the Rays, who lost 4-3 yesterday and were eliminated. Former Red Sox Adrian Beltre (right) hit 3 home runs in a 3-4 day. Ian Kinsler added a homer as well to top the Rays and advance onto the ALCS. It wasn't so simple for the Tigers, though, as they fell 10-1 to the Yankees to tie the series at 2-2 and set up for a deciding Game 5. Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner lifted the Yanks on offense, as well as a stellar outing by A.J. Burnett on the mound; he allowed just a run in 5 2/3 innings. In the National League, the Phillies beat the Cardinals 3-2. In the 7th inning, Ben Francisco hit for the pitcher and delivered a pinch-hit 3-run homer to basically win the game for the Phillies despite a 4-5 day for Ryan Theriot of the Cardinals. The D-Backs held on, lifted by Paul Goldschmidt (2-4, 5 RBIs), they were able to beat the Brewers 8-1 and hold on with the series at 2-1. I'm just so glad the Rays are out!!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tigers, Rangers Take Commanding ALDS Leads Despite Being Down 0-1

Last night was an exciting night for us Red Sox fans as the Rangers and Tigers pulled off dramatic wins over the Rays and Yankees, respectively. The Rangers won 4-3 on the back on Colby Lewis (left), who went 6 innings, striking out 6 and allowing only 1 run. A 2-run homer by Mike Napoli and a 2-run single by Josh Hamilton were enough to overcome Desmond Jennings' 2 home runs for the Rays. The Tigers came back to beat the Yankees 5-4, riding on the back of a great game by Justin Verlander where he struck out 11 in 8 strong innings. The Tigers were helped by a 2-4, 2 RBI day for Ramon Santiago, including a key hit in the 3rd inning. They also were helped by Delmon Young, going 2-3 with an RBI. This was a good day, and the Yankees and Rays are on the cusp of being out!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tigers Hold On, Cardinals Come Back, Brewers Keep Groovin'

This was an exciting day in playoff baseball for us. The Tigers and Yankees squared off against each other and it was Miguel Cabrera (left) who lifted the Tigers over the Yankees in a 5-3 win. Cabrera went 3-4 with a run and 3 RBIs in a fantastic day. Max Scherzer was also good for the Tigers, tossing 6 shutout innings and earning the win over the Yankees. The Cardinals played a heck of a game against the Phillies, overcoming a 4-0 early deficit to win 5-4. They were powered by Ryan Theriot, who went 2-4 with an RBI double, and Jon Jay, who was 2-3 with 2 RBIs. For the second straight game, the Brewers just walked all over the D-Backs, beating them 9-4 to take the only 2-0 lead in MLB. The game was tied until the 6th inning, when the Brewers scored 5 and were able to beat the D-Backs. As he has been all year, Ryan Braun was a force, going 3-4 with 2 runs and 3 RBIs, including a 2-run homer. This was a big day, and we're all rooting for the Rangers and Tigers!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Conor Says... Trade Kevin Youkilis

27 Years Old. That's how old the youngest member of the Red Sox 2011 pitching rotation was. We don't have a prodigy pitcher that's anywhere near the majors right now, and our rotation is hurting big time. What the Red Sox have a lot of, however, are good players who keep getting injured. One of those players, Kevin Youkilis, suffered his worst major league season this year at .258/17/80. Those stats are still pretty good, though, and especially for a team aching for a third baseman like the Cincinnati Reds. Youk is a Cincinnati boy, and has said that the Reds are the only team other than the Sox that he'd even want to play for.
      The Reds have a few of those pitchers at AAA/MLB level who can come up and start for the big club. One of those players is Sam LeCure (right), who has had some major league experience and has been decent in that time. In 2011, LeCure went 2-1/3.71/73 in 43 games (4 starts). In the minors, he has been even better, and he shows great potential to be an Alfredo Aceves or Felix Doubront type pitcher. However, I would not want to trade Youk for LeCure straight up, so I would toss in another thing the Sox need- a shortstop. Zack Cozart is a name I would like to see as part of this deal. Cozart briefly came up to the majors this year and performed nicely, going .324/2/3 in 11 games. In AAA Louisville, Cozart had a great year in 2011, going .310/7/32. He shows potential to be a shortstop who plays average defense, can hit for a high average, and can hit probably 10-20 home runs. I think that trading Kevin Youkilis for two pretty good prospects would be a fair move for both the Reds and the Red Sox. Comment what you think about the first Conor Says!

Sorry, Too Soxy! :p

Early Postseason Coverage

Yesterday, there was quite a bit of postseason baseball as all 8 playoff contenders squared off. For the Rays and Rangers, it was Game 2, after the Rays won 9-0 in Game 1. Rookie Matt Moore was fantastic, tossing 7 shutout innings and allowing just 2 hits. However, last night was a bit different as the Rangers rallied in a 5-run 4th inning capped by a 2-run single by Mike Napoli (right). The Rangers would win the game 8-6 and tie the series at 1-1. After the Tigers-Yankees game was rained out Friday night, it resumed last night and the Yankees would take advantage of a Robinson Cano grand slam and beat the Tigers 9-3, so the Stankees lead that series 1-0. In Game 1 of the NLDS, the Brewers beat the D-Backs 4-1 in the only "pitching game" of the playoffs so far as Yovani Gallardo was very sharp. The Phillies and Cardinals squared off at Citizens Bank Park and the Phillies won 11-6, aided by a 3-run homer by Ryan Howard and a 2-run homer by Raul Ibanez, as the Phillies lead the series 1-0. The first "Conor Says" is coming up later!