Do or Die Against The Yankees!

By Jack Corsi – @jcorsi11

 

Fresh off of a sweep of the red hot St Louis Cardinals, the Red Sox will welcome the Evil Empire to Fenway Park again this weekend. After taking 2 of 3 from the Yanks last weekend, the Sox look to extend that division lead from 4.5 games to possibly 7.5 games. I’m calling this the biggest series of the season because of the potential shift in momentum we could see from atop the division.

If the Yankees can pull off a sweep of the Red Sox, then it could be catastrophic toward the division title dream. The Yankees could shift the lead down from a handful of games to just a game and a half. Now I wrote this before the Yankees Thursday night game, so it could be 5 games by the start of Friday or 4 games.

Friday night, we get Montgomery vs Pomeranz, a matchup of two guys making their second straight start against the other team. Pomeranz is coming off a great outing in New York last Saturday, I was in attendance and I will say Pomeranz was dominant. He did give up 7 hits, but had a couple of strikeouts of Aaron Judge, that’s a big time start if you ask me. Montgomery was also good in his Sunday start, giving up just 1 run. But Chapman blew it, so that I guess is just too bad.

Satuday? Saturday is Sale Day. Nothing else needs to be said.

Sunday is up in the air for starters right now. I think Boston pitches Pretty Ricky Porcello for sure, who looked great Tuesday against St Louis. While the Yankees could pitch anyone, I really don’t know who they will pitch. For the Sox to win this game, I think Porcello has to be even better than he was on Tuesday. He was good then, he has to be great on Sunday.

No matter what, the Red Sox need to win 2 or 3. You cannot afford a sweep, even if you just win one, then I consider that a massive victory. A sweep, well a sweep would be the best possible option. So gear up folks, we are in for the perfect storm for a 3 game set. Could see some major fireworks, it should be good.

The State of John Farrell

By Terry Cushman –  @cushmanMLB

 

It’s been a typical season for the Henry-Dombrowski-Farrell era.  Full of ups and downs, from one extreme to the other.  The Red Sox are in first place, and arguably a top one or two team in the American League.

John Farrell remains very unpopular with fans, many of whom wanted him fired last off season when the Red Sox were embarrassingly swept in the ALDS by a Cleveland team, who looked too ill equipped to handle a post season run.   From my own polls, around 70% of Red Sox fans have little confidence in John Farrell.

A classic example took place last Sunday when Farrell attempted to remove Addison Reed, his setup man, in the middle of the count.  Not only is this a bad look for Farrell, since such a move shows the entire team and fan base he has no confidence in his talented reliever.   It got even more embarrassing when the umpires disallowed the pitching change to take place due to the fact a mound visit had already taken place.   A dumbfounded Farrell took the walk of shame back to the dugout and waited for the at-bat to conclude.  It was another defining moment for a manager who is unfit to handle his pitching staff, and keep up with the flow of the game.  Kimbrel no doubt should have been ready to enter the game before Ellsbury entered the batter’s box.

The reality of Farrell’s status is that he won’t likely enter next season in the final year of his contract as a “Lame Duck” manager.  That seldom ever happens.   So one of two things will happen:  1.  He gets a 2-3 year contract extension.  2.  He gets fired.   It will be either one or the other.

If the Red Sox win their ALDS series against whom ever it may be, followed by a competitive performance in the ALCS at the VERY least,   it’s conceivable to believe Farrell will in fact get a contract extention.   If they get tossed out in the ALDS, even if it goes five games, it’s almost a given that Farrell will be fired.   Esspecially considering the fact that Dombrowski made a ton of trades to give the Red Sox their best chance to win a World Series since 2013.

Another scenario to consider, is that barring a World Series win, Farrell could be fired no matter what.  Reason being that this organization has suffered several public relations disasters this season under Farrell’s watch in 2017 alone.  It all started out with the Barnes/Machado/Pedroia controversy from an Orioles series this spring.  David Price had two blow ups with Evan Drellich and Dennis Eckersley, the latter of which made national news and was a TERRIBLE look for the team, and it’s perceived leadership.   Farrell also came under intense scrutiny for his usage of Craig Kimbrel which allegedly resulted in a confrontation between Farrell and his coaching staff.   Farrell’s credibility came into question when he was pressed by the media about that incident.   Most notably an extremely awkward interview by WEEI.

This 2017 season nearly exceeds the P.R. drama of the Bobby Valentine season in 2012.   It was been widely speculated through the Boston media whether or not Farrell has lost this clubhouse as Valentine did.  Not to mention dozens instances in the last few years of on-field blunders.

As stated above, many fans were stunned when Farrell was allowed to remain at the helm following 2016.  Especially since Dave Dombrowski was initially non-committal just one year earlier over whether or not Farrell would be the manager in 2016.   Once that season unfolded and Dombrowski made the decision to keep Farrell for yet ANOTHER season in 2017, it became very apparent to me that he was simply keeping him as an insurance policy.   Dombrowski needs the fan base to hate another prominent figure on this team more than him, which is obviously John Farrell.   This is designed so that when the pressure finally does get turned up on Dombrowski, he can then turnaround, hit the reset button, and fire Farrell to buy himself more time with a fresher slate.   That’s the only thing that makes sense as to why Farrell is still here.

Dombrowski’s job is obviously safe no matter what happens to the Red Sox in 2017.   If we suffer a similar collapse and miss the playoffs like what happened in 2011 (albeit very unlikely), he would still keep his job.   If the Red Sox flounder again in October like they did a year ago, and Dombrowski STILL keeps Farrell, they BOTH would likely be fired at the end of 2018 should that season not go well.  Especially with all the moves that were made as outlined above.  Not to mention Dombrowski was ordered by John Henry before this year’s trade deadline that he may not trade anymore top prospects from our badly depleted farm.

So with all things considered, this will very likely be the final season John Farrell manages the Boston Red Sox.  Dombrowski’s insurance policy on him expires the first week of November.  Only a World Series Parade can renew it.   And unfortunately for all of us, it would defy nearly all logic if I told any of you that the 2017 World Series parade will take place in any city but Los Angeles.   They’re just too damn good.

Farrell will likely go on a blind date following this season, and it’s gonna be with the Fat Lady.

 

 

 

 

My Take On The Pedroia Injury!

By David Little – @DlittleMLB

 

Prepare for some hard facts. Some honesty. Because I hate doing this as much as you do. After all, we are all Red Sox fans at the end of the day. And that sentence should be all that matters here. So say it with my again, we are all RED SOX fans. But I get it; we all fall in love with the pieces that make an impact on us. I’m sure we all feel the same about David Ortiz. It hits you right in the heart. You watch a guy make an impact on a lineup for years, make an impact on us the fans, make an impact on a franchise.

Terry and I briefly touched on this on the Fire Farrell podcast. Pedroia is injured. There’s a couple of clichés I will use in this writing, the first being an old football adage, “are you hurt or are you injured? Because if you’re hurt, you can play, but if you’re injured, well that needs to be fixed.” Pedroia is injured. He’s been hurt before and played through it, but the reality of the current situation is that he is BADLY injured. He’s not a young 23 year old second baseman. He’s not the second baseman that our love for him and the franchise imagines him to be. He’s a solid defensive player who is a choosey hitter who has now really injured his knee.

So now what do we do? Well he needs to sit. He needs to recover. If he wants to play again this year, he shouldn’t be anywhere near our lineup until playoffs and that’s all right. With Nunez in his spot and Devers now in the corner, we can spell Brock Holt all over and maybe make a Marrero a call up again. But the reality is he has to sit.

And now for the hard reality. If this continues to happen, which I believe it will, it may be the end of the Pedroia era. We can’t DH him. He can’t just sit on the roster. The reality is, the best thing for the franchise is not to accommodate a guy because of what he was. A player plays for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back, and there are a lot more productive players from a DH spot or first base spot then what Pedroia would offer.

So time will quickly tell. I offer up my personal prayers that he recovers and makes an impact for a few more years. I really do. I don’t want to write this as a goodbye piece. But we need to be realistic. Pedroia is declining, and we need to be prepared. So us, as the fan better do that. Be prepared mentally, and with our hearts, because it pains me to say this, but we are looking at the start of the end of a great player, and a great era of baseball for us.

A Pivotal Stadium Series!

By Jack Corsi – @jcorsi11

The last few years, when you saw a weekend series with the Yankees come around and draw a good amount of interest. But this particular series will garner rather high amounts of attention, as it has major division implications involved. So let me set the scene for you. The Red Sox travel to the Evil Empire for a three game set, up 4 in the division, while riding an 8 game winning streak. So not only is there a streak on the line but the divisional lead. Let’s take a look closer a bit, shall we.

The Sox will have Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale on the hill for the three starts. So yes, it will be a Sale Night, instead of a Sale Day on Sunday, as ESPN has the rivalry highlighting Sunday Night Baseball. I think the key for the Sox starters is to be able to work into at least the 6th or the 7th. I am talking about E-Rod and Pomeranz here. As good as Drew has been, I think the Saturday afternoon start could be the biggest start of his career. He could really continue to solidify himself as a major player in the rotation with a 7 inning affair. He could be the number 2 starter for the postseason if he continues the consistency. E-Rod has yet to pitch against the Bronx Bombers so I really don’t know what to say here. He just has to pitch like he did in his last start, which I thought was rather good. Sale is Sale, no other way to put it.

I have tried to forecast the Yankees starters; the only one for sure starting is Jaime Garcia. Garcia has not seen many of the guys in the Sox lineup; the only one who he has really faced is Nunez. So I am not going to try to say how the Sox will go at him. Then I would expect Jordan Montgomery and Luis Servino on Saturday and Sunday, but would not be surprised to get CC Sabathia on Sunday. Montgomery has been rather iffy so I wouldn’t be surprised if Girardi skips him all together. CC vs Sale on Sunday night would be awesome; maybe it’s just the AL Central fan in me who loves it.

My x-factor for the series for the Red Sox will be Eduardo Nunez. Nunez has been hitting opponents with haymakers left and right since he was acquired. He has been the spark to the lineup and has been one of the major reasons, in my opinion, to why the Red Sox have become a likeable team. If you listen to 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston you would know what I mean. Yankee Stadium should be very Nunez friendly; he should continue to stay hot.

Get the broomsticks ready, I like the Sox in a sweep. I’ll be traveling to the stadium on Saturday so they will win on Saturday, I can guarantee that.

Waiver Deadline Explanation!

By David Little  –  @DLittleMLB

So the trade deadline has passed (July 31st) and now we are in what is referred to “waiver deadline” part of the season. We will quickly, for those who may not be aware, explain what this means, then delve into how it impacts our team.

Before August 1st, teams are able to make trades freely, outside of draft picks, as they acquire talent and or prospects as well as cash, future considerations and even spending space on the international marker. We have seen the obvious impact this season with our big additions of Addison Reed and Eduardo “Babe” Nunez. But what happens once the non-waiver deadline has passed? Well, we go into the waiver period. Basically, after July 31st, a team must place a player on waivers if he is to be traded. But in doing so, any team may claim that player. The waiver works in reverse order based on losses, the worst team getting first dibs. If a team claims a player, the team who currently holds him has a couple of choices. You can arrange a trade for the player within two days, you can withdraw the player from waivers, or do nothing and allow him to go. You will not hear about who is placed on waivers as the teams don’t openly advertise that info, but teams will place almost everyone on waivers just to feel things out.

So let’s think about this. Let’s say we place David Price on waivers. If the Padres or whoever is the worst at the time claims him, Dave Dombrowski can either trade him to them, keep him, or let the Padres have him (oh please claim him). In that case the Padres would take over his contract, pay a waiver fee, and have to place him on their MLB roster (as well as deal with a punk for a few years). Wouldn’t this be optimal?

So then, how likely is this all to happen? Not very (right now). But everyone probably remembers the greatest trade, next to Babe leaving, in 2012. We trade Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford and their massive contracts, as well as Josh Beckett and Nick Punto for Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, James Loney and Ivan De Jesus. It was a pure strategy move based on financial implications. It completely changed our financial situation, and allowed us to clear room to add the guys we needed to build my favorite Red Sox team of all time for the next season. (Duck Boats!) It was a massive deal, and you can see that big impact trades can certainly be made post non-waiver deadline.

The two names that get thrown around right now the most for the Red Sox post non-waiver deadline are Jay Bruce and Yonder Alonso. You see these names getting mentioned all over the net.  I personally am not a big fan of either coming here, but both could DH and fill in possibly at first and contribute. I honestly don’t think either is happening though, as we have had a huge boost in confidence from our players and their pesky style of play (more to come later on that).

This is the basic and speedy rundown of one of the more intricate features of the game we love. Keep your eyes peeled, as small names will definitely be moved, and you never know which big names could be moved. How awesome would it be to trade Price though? Thanks for reading and feel free to banter with me on twitter about it!