This Week in Boston Baseballing, April 18 – 24

The Red Sox continue to have trouble stringing together wins. The offense has been erratic, but more concerning is that front-end pitchers Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz both struggled in their most recent outings this past week. Boston continues to hover below the .500 mark and hopes of a winning April are slipping away. One gets the feeling the team will have a different look by mid-summer…one way or another. Several pitchers in the minors such as Brandon Workman and Allen Webster are likely to contribute before the end of the season and this could be a year in which it makes sense for Ben Cherington to make a significant move for a bat around the July trade deadline.

Boston Gets Blown Out in the Rubber Game Against New York


Farrell Calls Out Michael Pineda
John Farrell decided enough was enough in regards to Michael Pineda’s blatant disregard for the unwritten rule of baseball that a pitcher at least “make an effort” to hide gripping agents like pine tar from plain view. It’s tough to blame Farrell much. Boston’s offense has been anemic in the early going and it showed some early life in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against New York. But Pineda came out for the second with pine tar on his neck and was ultimately ejected once Farrell went to the umps (the assist goes to David Ortiz).

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Buster Olney put the whole thing well on his ESPN blog: “…as Pineda went out to the mound for the second inning, he became the guy who zooms past a state trooper in the left lane at 80 mph.”

Buster offers a good solution that makes sense in light of Wednesday night’s theatrics.

Since Major League Baseball has nothing else going on at the moment — like, say, the implementation of a revolutionary replay system, or a dramatic shift in how umpires interpret the transfer of the ball from the glove to the bare hand, or issuing document retention memos — here’s something for the good folks on Park Avenue to work on. It’s time for them to identify a substance they will approve for pitchers so that they can improve their grip on the baseball, something that can be for them what pine tar is to hitters.

… Once an acceptable substance for pitchers is identified — something that is tacky enough to help with the feel of the ball, but not so thick that it can be glopped onto the ball and affect its aerodynamics — it could be placed on the forearm of the glove hand. It could be preapproved by the umpires, as a pitcher goes to warm up for the first time, in the same way that umpires have given the OK in the past for pitchers to blow on their hands on a cold day.

Boston Marathon Winner Meb Keflezighi Had No Grip Issues…
If a guy who just ran a marathon two days before can throw a pitch on a blustery, cold night why can’t a “major leaguer”?

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The Red Sox / Cliff Lee Rumors Begin Anew…
Another season, another round of discussion about whether the Red Sox could be Cliff Lee suitors in a trade with Philadelphia. After the week the rotation just endured, this discussion doesn’t feel too out of the blue.

Jonah Keri on Grantland:

Once again, it’ll be an interesting call. On the one hand, the Phillies have players who would net a huge return. Cliff Lee, for instance, would be a great addition for a handful of big-revenue clubs, even with a $25 million salary this year and next and a $12.5 million buyout (or $27.5 million salary) in 2016.

The Red Sox, for one, have more than enough money and more than enough prospects to pull off a blockbuster deal that would help Boston this year and help Philadelphia for years to come. On the other hand, the Phillies are trying to hold down their status as an attendance juggernaut.

Daniel Nava Gets Sent Down
The outfielder has struggled mightily this season. On Sons of Sam Horn, a thread asked if we’ve seen the last of Nava. The general consensus seems to be that given the fragile nature of veterans Shane Victorino and Grady Sizemore, someone will get hurt at some point down the line and Nava will get another shot. Nava has been written off before, it feels somewhat surprising he still has one more option left after this latest demotion.

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