Tag Archives: Xander Bogaerts

This Week in Boston Baseballing, May 23 – 29

The Red Sox snapped a brutal, offense-starved 10-game losing streak in Atlanta on Memorial Day. Boston won the next night as well for only its second series sweep of the 2014 season – both of which have been of two-game variety. Back home in Boston, the Sox won their 10th game of the month Wednesday behind a very strong start from John Lackey and reaped the benefit of a variety of gifts courtesy of the sloppy Atlanta Braves defense. The team’s four-game win streak is its longest of the season.

Boston needed somebody in the lineup to get hot and it appears Xander Bogaerts will do just fine in that role for now.

 

The 10-Year Anniversary of the 2004 World Series Champs
On Wednesday night, the Red Sox held a ceremony celebrating the (almost) 10-year anniversary of the 2004 World Series victory. The highlight of the evening was Manny Ramirez’s return to Fenway. His tenure as a Red Sox was complicated. Fans loved him. Reporters mostly appreciated his talent but were incapable of discussing said talent without bringing up the baggage he’d acquired along the way to becoming one of the best right-handed hitters of his generation.

The severity of Manny’s transgressions depends on who you ask. The Boston media liked to portray him as a clubhouse cancer. There is more than anecdotal evidence that Manny was a malcontent at the end of his time in Boston. However, it’s worth noting that the former general manager of the team, Theo Epstein, recently brought Ramirez on as a hitting instructor for a young, “impressionable” Chicago Cubs team. Perhaps time heals most wounds. Or the wounds weren’t nearly as grave as the talking heads wish to believe. Either way, there’s nothing media members love more than an apology.

Manny came out of the left-field wall…

And Manny threw out the ceremonial first pitch…

And everybody just had a grand time reuniting.

 

Clay Buchholz Heads to the DL
Fans can only hope that the embattled right-hander’s ineffectiveness over the first two months of the season truly is due to some physical ailment. The player and the team had not identified any tangible injury that was contributing to the struggles. That is, until this week. Clay apparently hyperextended his right knee on Monday during his start against the Braves. Tweaking his knee could be a blessing in disguise since it seemingly gives the righty a credible opportunity to actually skip a couple of starts. From the ESPN Boston story:

Buchholz said he’ll spend the next few days watching video and trying to refine his delivery. He thinks he’ll be back on the mound throwing bullpen sessions in the next four or five days. … Buchholz appeared confident that he’ll be able to fix what’s wrong. “I know it’s not an injury to my arm like it was last year, so first and foremost is health of that area of my body and the ball’s coming out of my hand fine; it’s just a matter of getting that little fire that I had last year, as far as throwing pitches in the zone, pitching to contact instead of pitching to swings and misses,” he said.

The bellyaching last year that Buchholz took his time coming back from a shoulder injury is likely to return at some point in June if Clay misses more than a few starts. The difference is the Buchholz many wanted to rush back on the mound last year was a Cy Young candidate during the first two months of the season.

Rubby De La Rosa Gets the Call
With the Sox in need of another starter for at least a couple of weeks, De La Rosa heads north from Pawtucket. Rubby has been impressive in AAA this season. His strong peripheral statistics (sorry, Bob Ryan) suggest it’s fine time to see if the results in the minors may translate to success in the majors.

 

NESN’s Jenny Dell Is Moving on to Bigger, Better Things Maybe
With the high school homecoming dance season a mere four months away, Jenny hath been freed to spread her wings and fly away.

 

Advertisements

This Week in Boston Baseballing, April 11 – April 17

The Red Sox lost three of four in New York over the weekend as the offense continues to sputter. In Chicago, Boston dropped the opener before coming back for two last at-bat wins against the White Sox, including a 14-inning affair on Wednesday night. The team has now managed just 56 runs in 16 games but still sports a 7-9 record and a fairly neutral run differential (-4) thanks to strong efforts like Jon Lester’s one-run, eight-inning performance Thursday night.

The Replay Debate
On Sunday night, the deciding run for the Yankees scored as the end result of a review that overturned a potential inning-ending double play. The galling part of the reversal was that a play that was equally – if not more conclusive on replay – was not overturned the day before because reviewers seemed to be looking at different camera feeds. A frustrated John Farrell cast his vote on the matter.

In the immediate aftermath of Boston’s loss, Red Sox Nation, with thought-leaders like Boston.com’s Eric Wilbur showing the way, hasn’t come around on the whole replay thing.

Replay survey

If baseball weren’t mired in the dark ages in most things technology as they pertain to on-field play, flaws in the system could have been ironed out sometime less embarrassingly late like, say, during the flip-phone era. At some point this year, replay will aid in wininng a game for the Sox and the colors on the map above will look a little different.

Twitter: Giving Media Undeserved Fodder Since 2007
Poor Xander Bogaerts. He’s deleted his Twitter account because a woman sent a sexy photo of herself to him and he accidentally posted the private message to his feed. Dude’s a 21-year-old budding baseballing star and, as is won’t to happen, ladies respond to that kind of thing.

The photo, courtesy of Awful Announcing. (Indeed.)

bogaertslasttweet

The photo isn’t even particularly racy unless you’ve been in a coma since 1985. If so, welcome back. Also, 1984 first-round pick John Marzano never really panned out as hoped. Sorry you had to find out this way.

Red Sox Exercise Caution With Koji
Koji Uehara’s shoulder discomfort led to some extra caution for the team in New York. Uehara went back to Boston and was given a decent bill of health and rejoined the team in Chicago, picking up the save last night and reassuming his closer role. Good seeing him draped over David Ortiz’s shoulder in the duo’s signature celebratory pose.

Ortiz Coming Out of His Funk?
A lot of Boston’s offensive struggles in the early going of 2014 can be explained by David Ortiz’s sub .700 OPS. Papi is the lynchpin of the offense and two homers in 16 games is concerning. Chicago’s Adam Eaton took away a solid bid for a third last night. It may just be a matter of time…

 

This Week in Boston Baseballing, February 1 – 6

The baseball season is rapidly approaching. Pitchers and catchers will begin to show up in Fort Myers in about a week and position players won’t be too far behind. Some guys, like Daniel Nava, Jon Lester, Xander Bogaerts, Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr., have already been down in Florida for a few days.

Unless you have a strong opinion about who should bat leadoff or the relative merits of re-signing Stephen Drew, buzz around the team continues to be fairly minimal considering the Red Sox won the World Series last year. That figures to change in the next couple of weeks.

The Leadoff Hitter Debate
On FanGraphs, Paul Swydan comes to the conclusion that Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia are the most logical candidates to take over for Jacoby Ellsbury vacated leadoff spot in the batting order. Ellsbury’s replacement in center is Jackie Bradley Jr. and, at first glance, may seem like he fits the bill since his on-base rate in the minors was strong. However, Bradley does not have a lot of raw speed, nor is he a notably better baserunner than Victorino or Pedroia. That’s leaving out the difficulties JBJ had getting on base at the major league level during his brief stint with the team at the start of the 2013 season.

As Swydan notes, the youngster who could enter the leadoff discussion isn’t JBJ but rather Xander Bogaerts, who showed an almost shocking amount of poise and discipline during his postseason at-bats.

Bogaerts has a keen batting eye, which make him an ideal candidate to hit at the top of the order. He struck out a fair amount in his very brief major league debut, but a) The Book reminds us to not consider strikeouts when constructing a lineup, and b) Bogaerts’ strikeout numbers in the minors were not egregious, and he should adjust as he gets more plate appearances. If he hits right from the jump, he would probably make for a better candidate at the top of the order than would Victorino, simply from the standpoint of being able to see more pitches. Victorino was right around league average, at 3.83 pitches per plate appearance (the American League average was 3.86), but Bogaerts was up at 4.10.

Victorino would figure to get the first crack at leadoff once the season begins. John Farrell seems to be the kind of guy who appreciates continuity so even if Shane struggles at the start of the year, this argument could be a non-starter if the team is scoring runs. Lineup construction is of limited value to begin with and there is no sense putting undue pressure on Bogaerts if it can be avoided.

David Ortiz Lost Some Weight Maybe
Moronic talk radio fodder: What if he’s gotten TOO SKINNY?

The Stephen Drew Saga Continues
In the Tuesday Boston Herald Clubhouse Insider, infield coach Brian Butterfield fanned the flames of uncertainty:

“Shortstop is so demanding, and they get so many groundballs and there’s so many times they’re handling the ball, consistency becomes so important, especially if you’re talking about a championship-caliber club,” Butterfield said. “If you do have a young shortstop and he’s going to be the guy — and we still don’t have a definitive answer on that — he needs to mature quickly and become a consistent defender in order for us to be successful. The groundball that he can get to on time and on balance, you want to get to a point where you know that runner is out. That’s a consistent shortstop.”

Drew was great for the team last year. But it’s worth asking why the Red Sox continue to be interested. Is it because they’re simply not convinced Bogaerts can handle the shortstop position at the big league level? Or is it that Drew could be had for a salary so far below what his production merits that Ben Cherington just can’t pull himself away? Or are they doing Drew the favor of keeping in touch to aid his market? After all, it’s looking like Drew probably did the Sox a courtesy by declining arbitration and a 1 year, $14m contract.

The Team Announces a Stacked 2014 Red Sox Hall of Fame Class
The primary news of the week coming from official team releases was the announcement of the team’s 2014 Hall of Fame Class: Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Nomar Garciaparra and radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione.

Standards for induction are relatively lax:

To be eligible for nomination, players must have played at least three years with the Red Sox and must also have been out of uniform as an active player at least three years.

But let it be known that the team hasn’t had any inductions since 2010, a year that included inductees such as John Valentin, Jimmy Piersall and Don Zimmer. Pedro, Clemens and Nomar all go in together.

Curt Schilling Announces Cancer Diagnosis
Here’s hoping Schilling is able to kick this as quickly as possible and that he gets a fair chance to show what he has as a color man in the ESPN Sunday Night baseball booth.

Terse Predictions: ALCS Game 6, Detroit @ Boston

1. Boston will record three hits in the first two innings in which the batter swings at the first pitch dealt from Max Scherzer.

2. Another Xander Bogaerts start – another game in which the rookie reaches base safely multiple times.

3. Ryan Dempster will pitch two innings in the ballgame.

4. Clay Buchholz will run up two full counts in the first inning.

5. Dustin Pedroia will hit a home run.

6. So will Prince Fielder.

7. Joquin Benoit will not record another out this season.

8. One of the teams will top the series-high seven runs scored by Detroit in Game 3.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, October 4 – 10

Much to the chagrin of local media yahoos who declared the Best of 5 Division Series “over” after two games, Boston did indeed travel to Tampa Bay and it actually took the Red Sox four games to take care of the Rays to advance to the American League Championship Series. Boston will face the Detroit Tigers in ALCS Game 1 at Fenway Park on Saturday night.

Kudos to NESN’s Jenny Dell, who broke the news first on Twitter mere minutes after last night’s deciding ALDS game against Detroit and Oakland went final at the Coliseum last night.

 

Big Papi and Koji Uehara: Two Heterosexual Guys Celebrating A Playoff Series Win
Look, let’s all be adults about this here. For one thing, somebody sped up the footage here to make it appear more suggestive….

Click to enlarge, be horrified

(GIF courtesy of OvertheMonster.com.)

And for another, Koji could be seen earlier celebrating with catcher David Ross in a similar fashion, complete with a similar fist raise. Koji!

Koji celebrates with Ross

Ticket Prices Remain Reasonable for ALCS Games 1 and 2
The secondary market for tickets to the first two games of the ALCS Saturday and Sunday was relatively soft as of Friday morning. Strangely, upper-tier bleacher seats were listed on Stubhub for around $150.00-$200.00, right around the same going rate as unobstructed infield grandstand seats behind home plate.

Stubhub ALCS G1

The “Most Expensive World Series” In History Won’t Happen
A Forbes article from Wednesday broached the possibility that if the Pirates and Red Sox had advanced to the World Series, tickets to the games at Fenway Park and PNC Park would have reached historic peaks.

It would be the first World Series in Pittsburgh since Three Rivers, and the first world series there in a real baseball stadium since Bill Mazeroski walked off against the Yankees….If that were to happen, it could be the most expensive World Series in history, with two teams with average prices above $1,500.

It would also be the first time that an American League team from Boston played a National League team from Pittsburgh in the post-season since 1903. That was the year that the Boston Americans of the newly-formed American League beat the favored Pittsburgh Pirates in a best-of-nine series. It was the first ever World Series and neither Forbes Field or Fenway Park were even a twinkle in the eye of the baseball Gods. Forbes Field opened in 1909 and Fenway Park opened in 1912.

Xander Bogaerts Draws Two Huge Walks, Proves He Belongs
In his first postseason at-bat, 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts fell behind in the count 1-2 before working a key walk that spurred Boston’s series-clinching, two-run rally in the sixth inning in Tampa on Tuesday night. Earlier that day, Farrell had insinuated Bogey was perhaps still not quite ready for prime time when explaining why he’d not pinch hit for Stephen Drew against a lefty in Game 3 the night before. Well, a day later Farrell exercised his right to change his mind. Just in case there was any question that it was a fluke, Bogaerts worked a second full count before drawing another walk two innings later. He would score an insurance run prior to Koji Uehara’s dominant ninth inning.

Jake Peavy Comes Through
Right-handed veteran Jake Peavy gave the Red Sox 5 ⅔ key innings in the clincher in Tampa in what was by far the best postseason start of his career. While he was a more accomplished pitcher earlier in his career, Peavy could still very much be in the process of penning his ultimate legacy.

In an interview posted on Fangraphs earlier this week, the former Cy Young winner remarked about his transformation, which has included changes to his arm slot and the development of a cutter in the wake of diminished fastball velocity and a lower ground-ball rate compared to his peak.

“Everybody in the world has a way they throw a baseball. They start that from the time they’re a youngster and go from there. You can look at guys who people say have the best mechanics in the world, and their arms may not last. You have other guys who throw in an unorthodox fashion and never have an arm injury. I don’t think anybody has it down to an exact science. But I also don’t think anybody is going to watch me and say, ‘Hey, son, watch the way Jake Peavy throws. Let’s mimic that.’ Not too many people are teaching their kids to throw the way I throw.”

Craig Breslow May Be Pitching Even More Than Usual
The left-handed reliever threw 3 ⅔ scoreless innings in the Rays series and demonstrated no difficulty getting right-handed hitters out (1 for 9). Breslow was in fact better in 2013 against righties (.205 AVG) than lefties (.253) and, overall, threw the equivalent of almost 10 more innings against right-handers (34 ⅔) than lefties (25 innings).

Going into the ALCS, John Farrell’s confidence in Breslow seems to be at its peak. Detroit’s 3-4-5 hitters are Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez (righty, lefty, switch). Cabrera’s power has been sapped in recent weeks by groin and abdominal strains. It would not be a surprise to see Breslow face the likely AL MVP once or twice as his ability to get strikes on outside breaking balls could prove a key asset.

This Week in Boston Baseballing, August 16 – 22

Boston dropped two of three to the Yankees at Fenway last weekend before heading to the West Coast. The Red Sox blew out the Giants, 12-1, on Wednesday afternoon to win their three-game series in San Francisco. Boston outscored the Giants, 22-4, in the series. The Red Sox begin a three-game series against some familiar faces tonight in Los Angeles.

Xander B

From SFGate.com

20-Year-Old Xander Bogaerts Gets Called Up
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts made his major league debut on Tuesday night in San Francisco, playing shortstop and batting seventh. He went 0-for-3 before being lifted by John Farrell in the bottom of the 6th as part of a double switch. The most memorable moment from the debut was his charging in to field a chopper just to the left of second base. The play was not exactly routine and required a quick transfer and hard, accurate throw to first that bailed Peavy out of a leadoff triple in the fifth inning.

Prior to that, Xander almost made a highlight reel catch on a blooper to shallow left-center:

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Boston held off on calling up Bogaerts long enough that he won’t reach 130 at-bats in 2013, thus he’ll maintain rookie status for 2014 while enjoying the status as the third youngest player in the league. In the meantime, Boston media will likely achieve veteran status deploying tired puns like “X-Factor” well before October.

Ryan Dempster: Vigilante
Sunday night’s Ryan Dempster vs. Alex Rodriguez showdown renewed some of the fervor lost in the Boston/NY rivalry. The Sox and Yankees play seven times during the month of September and Dempster, at the very least, has probably guaranteed that the Bombers will remain interested even if they continue plummeting in the standings. Meanwhile, the Improper Bostonian points out that Joe Girardi’s two-day crusade against Dempster for throwing a dangerous projectile at one of his players was a bit hypocritical since the main reason for his ire was that his team was robbed of the reasonable opportunity to retaliate with a similar dangerous projectile aimed at a Red Sox player.

Maybe the worst part of the whole thing is that Dempster spurred a series of A-Rod as sympathetic anti-hero columns. Former ballplayer Doug Glanville gets some:

…the most righteous Red Sox player will never be more of a friend than the most egregious rule-breaking Yankee to the Yankees. You hit our teammate, even as wrong as my teammate may be, we will fight for him.

Anyway, all parties can settle down a bit now: Dempster received a five-game suspension on Tuesday and likely won’t make his next start until August 30. Justice hath been served, etc., etc.

A 2004 Red Sox Has A Fun ‘Where Are They Now?’ Moment
Old friend Doug Mientkiewicz got his name in the local headlines by participating in a minor league brawl as a manager. The 39-year-old, who the Red Sox got from the Twins as part of the four-team Nomar Garciaparra deal, was mostly known for his defensive prowess during his playing days. He was one of those media darlings whose uniform got dirty even on his off days, so maybe this development doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

Fenway Park Screens A Baseball Cinema Classic, 1993’s ‘The Sandlot’
The Red Sox celebrated the 20th anniversary of the baseball movie The Sandlot with a screening at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. Earlier this season, some characters from the movie hung out with Red Sox players in Minnesota. At the time of the photo op, several sites ventured comparisons of Sandlot characters to Red Sox players. But is there really any debate? Dustin “Ham” Pedroia just has more ring to it and fits a whole lot better than Muddy Chicken ever will.

From NESN.com

From NESN.com