A Red Sox Fan’s Cheat Sheet For The Non-Red Sox Fan: Part II

By @DLittleMLB

Part two of the series. In the following I am going to cover some common vibes we in Red Sox Nation have, as well as some common misconceptions about our team I hear frequently from Non Boston fans. 

Boston is a city of fighters

2004 marked our first sight of the true fight, where a simple statement of “don’t let us win today” was made, and the Red Sox came back in the series to win it all against… the Yankees. I could do a full feature on this incredible run, but please don’t hesitate to type in that quote to Google, whether you know the story or not. Brings back great memories. Then there’s 2013, where some cowards decided to plant a bomb at the finish of the world famous Boston Marathon. And the immortal words by David Ortiz in the wake of this attack, standing tall with his fist in the air, “this is our fucking city.” Again, please Google this stuff, because this story is incredible. We won the World Series that year behind our bearded team, and another aspect of the culture that is Boston was made. This team can NEVER be counted out.

We play for the name on the front, not the back, that’s why we don’t have name plates at home

I have heard many complain about the lack of name plates on our home jerseys, and usually the complainers are not Boston fans. Its said its tradition, but it’s always stood for more then that. It’s simply really. Our players play for the city and the team, not themselves.

Sweet Caroline makes us all dance

It’s a tradition in Boston that during the middle of the eighth Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” is played. It’s beautiful to hear the Fenway faithful all sing along.

The green monster is another one of our loves

We all love the Monster, and you should too. It actually works for and against possible homeruns, by stopping liners and helping pop ups. It’s a doubles producing machine that takes some finesse to play in front of. And it’s unique. What cant you love?

They are extremely active in the community from @shortz27

The Red Sox, from the Jimmy Fund, to their activities with players in the community, are extremely philanthropic. They live for their city, and are crazy about trying to help out and incorporate fans, causes and activities into all their games and outside efforts.

If a ball gets hit off the ladder on the Green Monster, it’s a ground rule triple from @lauraintx19

Little known tid bit for you here.

There are so many reasons why I love this team, and why I truly identify with them as a fan. It’s not just that I liked a jersey, or a bandwagon thing, they truly represent me as a person and the values I try to live by. They are fighters, underdogs, and class acts who always try to do what seems to be the right thing. NEVER count Boston out, it’s the toughest city in the USA, and always plays like an underdog. You just gotta love the Red Sox!

The Future of Boston Baseball!

By Shelby Tavares – @shelbytavares11

In baseball, everything matters. The coaching, the statistics, the money and most importantly, the future. As every series is played and every title is won, the General Managers, the coaches, and even the players are considering their next move.

The Boston Red Sox have had an exceptional season, with a few winning streaks of 6 to 8 games, they held their own. As the postseason has arrived, the Red Sox season appears to be coming to a screeching halt. With a lineup of nonexistent power hitters, an unreliable starting rotation, and an inconsistent bullpen, the Sox need to seriously consider their future and the moves they should take to make the 2018 season, “their” season.

One of the top ideas to better the Red Sox for the upcoming season is to fire John Farrell. It’s been a good run but no matter how hard he tries, he cannot run a baseball club.

 

When John Farrell comes to mind to Sox fans and outsiders in the baseball community, three words come to mind as his biggest failure: pitching. To be fair, Farrell had about three solid bullpen pitchers (four if you consider young star Carson Smith) and maybe two halfway consistent starters.

The three main pitchers of the bullpen are in my opinion from order starting most talented: Craig Kimbrel being number one, followed by Joe Kelly and Addison Reed. The starting pitchers who for the most part were consistently trustworthy are Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz.

With that being said, John Farrell did the absolute least to ensure success when it came to the pitching by choosing to trust pitchers like Matt Barnes to save the game or starting pitchers like Rick Porcello (who has a 4.65 ERA) in games that matter the most.

Another big flaw with Farrell is the development of young players. Rafael Devers was and is the most impressive young prospect in the game. Others would argue Aaron Judge but with the consistency and skill of Devers, he is without a doubt the best rookie player in the league right now. As the postseason has arrived, Farrell made the questionable decision to play Deven Marrero instead of Rafael Devers. Throughout this season, Devers has shown impeccable talent with his swing. Always staying inside the ball, Devers’ swing perfectly caters to Fenway Park to pepper the Green Monster. Farrell puts too much trust in the washed up players and not enough attention to the young prospects.

Taking all of these things into consideration,the firing of John Farrell and replacing someone who might have better judgement could be the secret ingredient to ensuring the Red Sox success in the upcoming season.

With 2017 being the Red Sox’s first season without Big Papi’s home run consistency, the second key to having more wins and better statistics is to find a new power hitter. With Hanley Ramirez coming to a less reliable hitter and the rest of the lineup lacking that home run power, the Red Sox absolutely need a player who can consistently hit over 300 and/or a fair amount of homeruns.

With this being said, I think one of the best options the Red Sox have for this issue is to trade two main players like Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts for Giancarlo Stanton from Miami. Giancarlo Stanton is a consistent home run hitter reaching a staggering 59 this season. As far as in the field goes, he is, for the most part, reliable. Stanton is one of the best options for the Red Sox in need of a power hitter.

As there a many options that the Red Sox organization could do to better their team for next season, I firmly believe that by firing John Farrell first, Boston can find a head coach with better judgement. And with this new head coach, there’s hope in finding more consistent starting pitchers, putting trust into the young prospects, and trading for a power hitter to ensure a better season for the Red Sox.

No Brooms, at least!

By Gerard Lombardo – @wickedlinedrive

Dave Dombrowski has been unjustly accused of making poor personnel moves since his reign of executive supremacy in Boston began. Personally, the most “insider” look I’ve ever had of a general manager wheeling and dealing comes at the hands of Brad Pitt in Moneyball. Watching him as Billy Beane swing a deadline deal for Ricardo Rincon is as close as I’ll ever get to being involved in a major league transaction. But, I can evaluate a trade’s results, given enough time. And DD has improved the club dramatically with the additions of many, but mainly a few:

Chris Sale- 17 Wins, 308 K’s

Craig Kimbrel- K’d 49% of all batters faced

Drew Pomeranz- a legitimate 1A starter

Unfortunately leading up to the October 5th start to the divisional series, those three decided to take us all out for a nice seafood dinner, and never call us again.

Houston hits, and Houston hits well. Boston wasn’t going to outslug them, and on paper the defenses were a wash. So it’s not a leap to suggest in order to defeat the Astros, pitching would have to not just show up, but dominate. As in, possibly enter the unchartered territory known as the “6th inning.” And after the first two Minute Maid whitewashes, Chris and Drew left little doubt that we were watching a remake of the timeless classic, the 2016 ALDS sweep. Both pitchers failed miserably, Sale going five giving up seven earned, and Pom yanked just two innings into his start. Both outings being major contributing factors to the Sox falling into an 0-2 hole heading home to Fenway.

But Boston responded resiliently, raked and boomed their way to a game three win, and set themselves up for yet another possible postseason comeback. The stars appeared to align briefly on Columbus Day, as the hometown heroes actually held a late inning lead, with their ace on the mound, poised to head back to Houston in an anything-can-happen game five. Yet even as the stars alignment faltered when Sale allowed his fourth homerun in his 8th inning of postseason work, optimism was still palpable. We still had Kimbrel, we still had our 14-3 extra innings record, and we still would have Pomeranz, Price, and Kimbrel available for game five after an off day.

But as Sale bowed out, Dirty Craig became the newest Sox scapegoat in a post seasonal defeat, as his inability to throw strikes damaged not just Sale’s stat line, but any hope Boston had at advancing out of the divisional series for the first time since 2013. Clearly not the same closer as he is entering a bases empty 9th inning situation, the Red Sox closer had no rhythm against Houston, and made Rafy Devers’ potential 9th inning heroics nothing more than a cool story for the 20 year old to reminisce over.

This time, it wasn’t Matt Barnes or Heath Hembree out there (rightfully left off the roster) coughing up a late inning lead. It wasn’t Hanley in the middle of an 0-16 drought, or Devers struggling against lefties. Nor can we pin the series loss on the manager. It was the three mainstays of the 2017 season that failed; the 34 combined victories, the 35 saves, the 608 strikeouts combined, and the rock steady trio of arms that steadfastly started and victoriously ended so many games for Boston in 2017.

Sale, Pomeranz and Kimbrel will be here in 2018, hopefully dominating to the extent of this past regular season. But it’s not the stars that need fixing; it’s the additional pieces, the role players, the Ricardo Rincon’s that the roster lacks. The first pitch will fired on March 29th, and starting today, Dave Dombrowski has 25 weeks to rectify the roster situation.

It’s All Over, Johnny!!

By Dave Hill – @dwill517

Well that’s that, guys!  The Sox season is officially over and now the armchair general managing can begin!  Only question is where to start!?

Obviously the entire season can be summed up by two words: Inconsistent Offense

Many games could have been won if the bats could have provided SOME kind of run support!  David Ortiz being gone was not an excuse.  These guys are pros and without Papi…..they could knock the cover off the ball!  They didn’t hit many home runs this season, which is not normal for them either!  So that needs to be fixed and I’m sure there’s not going to be much of an argument there.

Starting pitching was less than stellar, to say the least.  Chris Sale you can’t include in this, because he was his typical dominant self all season.  He proved his worth in today’s game alone just by pitching 4+ innings in relief on short rest.  Whatever it took, he was in for it.  David Price is STILL an enigma and needs to figure out something this offseason.  His career isn’t over, but he may have to learn to be more of a crafty pitcher instead of the one who just tries to throw it by you and then pull the string on an offspeed pitch.

Pomeranz wasn’t bad.  A solid middle of the rotation guy and that gives me hope for next year.  Porcello wasn’t great, but aside from last year he hasn’t really been a shut down guy like he was expected to be.  I mean, c’mon people….even RA Dickey won a CY Young award, so that has to say SOMETHING, right?!  Then E-Rod?  All I can say is meh when it comes to him.  Good sometimes, bad sometimes….never sure of what you’ll get.

Dustin Pedroia was injured and I think at times became a liability at the plate….same with JBJ and Bogaerts.  It’s fixable….but aside from Pedroia, you can’t afford to take Jackie and X off the field because they’re better defensive players.  I just hope they make an adjustment in the offseason!

Above all else, the biggest change this team needs is where we all know it needs to happen.  Farrell must go.  He’s had his time here, had success but he’s not the right guy for this team anymore.  He mismanaged that bullpen many times and cost us games on numerous occasions and I’m sure DD can see that and would be eager to bring in a guy that is the right fit for the kind of team he wants to have.  Possibly a guy who is good with younger players, because they are full of young talent.  As well as someone who can motivate and keep everyone focused in one direction.  Not on stuff like what Dennis Eckersley says or what Pedroia did with Machado at the beginning of the season, throwing the pitchers under the bus for what happened during the beanball series in Baltimore.  It’s juvenile crap and someone with a handle on this team would have never let things get that far!

Okay, that’s my end of year rant.  From here on out, I’m rooting for Tito and the Tribe, because let’s face it….he should never have left and is always going to be my favorite manager no matter where he is!

Have a great offseason guys, and we’ll get back to you in February!

RED SOX END OF SEASON REPORT CARD!

By Jonathan Usher – @madduxman

 

Front Office – ‘D+’

GM Dave Dombrowski –‘I

 Granted, he has decimated the farm system to “win now”.  Many acquisitions have failed and few have succeeded or have a shot at succeeding in the future.  Incomplete until at least post-2018.

MGRJohn Farrell – ‘D

 He may be the worst in-game manager in baseball.  However, the only reason that he does not score an F is because we do not see what he does behind the scenes or in the clubhouse.  He is a “player’s manager”, which, like Terry Francona is vital to the egomaniacal players.  That being said, he should pack his bags and make like a tree, and get outta here.

The Players:

Infield – ‘C’

2Christian Vazquez  ‘A

 Christian may have taken the largest step forward of any position player this season, especially since he was recovering from a major injury.  While most of the other players regressed in the second half, Christian really stepped up and proved that he should start 120+ games next year.  His 43% career CS rate is ridiculous.  A gold glove may be in his future.

3Hanley Ramirez  ‘D-

 Fortunately, his days are numbered in Boston.  He’s not a “3”, or even a DH anymore.  The flashes of brilliance and mammoth homers have become less frequent.  The K’s and GIDP are prevalent.  His vesting option only vests in he can somehow stay healthy or play well enough to generate 1050 plate appearances in ’17 & ’18 combined.  He had a total of 553 PA this season.  That leaves him with 497 PA left before he is guaranteed another 22M in 2019.  He hit a career low .242 this year – awful. He has a feeble 2.5 WAR (0.83 in ‘17) in his 3+ seasons in a Sox uni, compared to 35.1 over 9 seasons elsewhere (3.9 avg.) – ugh. Those are nearly Edgar Renteria or Carl Crawford numbers.  Whomever the manager is in 2018, if they allow him to generate enough PA for that option to vest, then they should also be responsible to eat that money – literally.   Enough said, syonara Han Ram.

4Dustin Pedroia  ‘C+’

 Love him or hate him, he comes to play.  His intensity may be his biggest enemy.  Notoriously nursing injuries, this season he played in the 3rd fewest games since his debut.  He had the worst WAR of his career this year (outside of his pre-rookie season) of 1.7.  He may be done before his contract ends at the end of the 2021 season.

5Rafael Devers  ‘A-‘

 The dude is 20.  Outside of Mookie, he may have been the most exciting player on the Sox this year, but that isn’t really saying much.  A slash line of .284/10/30 in just 240 PA, is solid for anyone this young –  not named Mike Trout.  Hopefully he doesn’t have a sophomore slump.  NOTE to DD, have a backup plan for 2018 (ie: Pablo disaster from ’16-‘17)

6Xander Bogaerts  ‘D+’

 X-Man was one of the huge disappointments this season.  His WAR, BA and H have all steadily declined over the past 3 years.  He is still young, as he just turned 25.  He may be trade bait for pitching this off-season, but his value is too low to trade right now in my opinion.

Outfield – C+

7Andrew Benintendi  ‘B+

 I had hoped for a ROY trophy for this kid. But then the Judge made us ALL RISE, and pounded the gavel down as we all stood in amazement.  However, a 20/20 season with a .271/20/90 slash is excellent. At 23, I think he has a shot at 3000 hits.  That’s how good he may be.

8Jackie Bradley Jr.  ‘C-

 I think he is the best defensive center fielder in the game, and when he is hot, he can carry a team.  However, he may be the odd man out moving forward.  Being represented by Scott Boras, his days are numbered.  He is simply too inconsistent.   Having 3 more years of arbitration eligibility, he may be around for another year or two, but his value will diminish if he puts up another year like 2017, especially since he will be 28 in April.

9Mookie Betts  ‘C

 Probably the best all around player on the 2017 Red Sox.  Obviously his 50+ point BA drop off significantly hurt this team this season, especially in the palyoffs.  But he is not Big Papi.  Nobody is.  It isn’t fair to Marcus Betts to drop that kind of responsibility on him.  Fresh off of his 25th birthday, he still has a shot to be one of the game’s best.  Hopefully he will be around for a while.

 

The Bench – C+

Eduardo Nunez  ‘A

 Well, that was fun.  He gave us a HUGE boost right when we needed it, along with Devers.  We probably would not have won the division without him.  However, he will not be back barring some major trade (Bogaerts, Pedroia or Devers) and a huge 12-15M per season investment.  Adios Eduardo, please don’t re-sign with the Yankees.  I blame John Farrell for the postseason injury debacle.

Brock Holt  ‘F

 Ugh.  How was this guy an All-Star?  Farrell over-used him.  Unsurprisingly.

Chris Young  ‘D

 I simply don’t understand Farrell’s infatuation with this man.  Decent 4th outfielder, and players need their AB’s, but too much here.  I’ll take a 45 y/o Ichiro in 2018, thanks.

Sandy Leon  ‘C+

 Sandy had a solid year considering he is the #2 catcher, but a .290 OBP just isn’t good enough.  He is arbitration eligible, and most likely won’t be back.

Deven Marrero  ‘D+


 Good Glove, weak bat.  Defensively, he solidified an important position when we needed a short term solution.  ‘Nuf said.

Mitch Moreland  ‘B-

 Mitchy Two Bags, he is what he is.  A career .252 hitter with a little pop, and an excellent glove.  Gold glove?  Not in his one season in Boston.  He nearly equaled his WAR over his previous 3 seasons (2.8) – this year (2.7).  He delivered several clutch hits, and 22 bombs, and we really shouldn’t have expected much more than we got from him.  

 

Starting Pitchers – C+

Chris Sale  ‘B+

 Some say he was mismanaged.  Some say he was overused.  I say he is simply a 1A starter.  He has never had the opportunity to prove himself on the largest stage.  He put up awesome numbers this year – as a whole.  However, he has a career record of 32-36 with a 3.28 ERA after the All-Star break.  That’s right, read that again.  32-36 POST ALL STAR BREAK.  He is not Pedro Martinez or Curt Schilling.  He is Chris Sale.  He is our best starter, and he is signed for 2 more years.  We gave up a TON to get him, so hopefully his 2nd half numbers improve over the next two years.

Drew Pomeranz  ‘A

 Life is too short to hate.  However, I HATED the trade that brought him over from the Padres.  Don’t get me started on the logistics behind his injuries that got their GM in trouble, or (unrelated) losing the best play by play man in the current world of baseball in Don Orsillo.  But everything about trading our #1 pitching prospect in Anderson Espinoza, struck my core like Randy Johnson’s fastball struck that bird back in 2001.  Pomeranz was a solid A, even though his high pitch counts prevented him from pitching more innings.  Finishing at 17-6 with a 3.32, he did WAY more than anticipated.

Rick Porcello  ‘D-

 Rick Porcello is RICK PORCELLO.  He pitched like Roy Halladay in 2016.  But he is not Roy Halladay, he is Rick Porcello.  Hopefully he is somewhere between THIS Rick Porcello and THAT Rick Porcello in 2018.

David Price  ‘F

 Hopefully, we can dump this dude to Derek Jeter’s Marlins with Bogaerts and JBJ for Stanton. We, (and Eck) deserve better.

Eduardo Rodriguez  ‘D

 Yo, Eddie, I know you’re only 24, but it’s time.  If not, adios amigo.  You (too) may be a piece for Stanton.

 

BullpenA-

Craig Kimbrel  ‘A+’

 Kimbrel put up the best and most consistent season of any current Red Sox.  After a borderline disastrous 2016, he returned to HIS status quo, which is in the conversation as the best closer in the game.  Team option for 2018 @ 13M.  He will be back.

Addison Reed  ‘A-

 Solid setup man.  Excellent acquisition.  After a horrendous start, he was awesome down the stretch.  Too bad he is a free agent, and won’t be back.  

Joe Kelly  ‘B

 This dude can bring it. Unfortunately, if he is throwing strikes, some ML batters can hit it.  He finally lived up to expectations this year. Arb eligible for ’18, gone in 2019.

Carson Smith  ‘I

 FINALLY, this guy appears healthy.  He is under control through 2020.  Personally, I think his ceiling is top tier MLB material.  

Random Thoughts: Game One vs. Astros!

By: David Little – @DLittleMLB

This will be quick recap and some random thoughts on the game that took place.  We lost 8-2, due in part to inconsistency AKA our biggest weakness all season.  We have a couple issues that need to be fixed quickly if we expect to remain in the playoffs for any length of time.

The reality of the situation and the reality of this playoff series and any potential series beyond this one is we NEED Chris Sale to pitch at his level. Not at the level he was at to end the season, not at the level he pitched in this game. But its not all on Chris. Joe Kelly also was all over the place. Austin Maddox has been pitching well but simply got hit.

The call that went against Bradley was both abnormal and it hurt us. Basically, he dove for a hit, and it looked like he came up with it, but he actually trapped it under his glove. That allowed Gattis to move to third. The catch probability was only 4%, so the fact that he even made a play is incredible. Tough break for us.

Nunez is out, and although it was a valiant effort to even try to play, his knee is not ready. And those are his own words. I don’t expect to see him back, and that’s a big loss of a spark plug base runner for us.

It will be lefty on lefty, with Pomeranz making his first post season start against Keuchel on Friday. That’s a really tough matchup, but lets hope he can come out and make a difference for us. On the optimistic side, I love the Red Sox first and foremost because they have always been fighters. I expect them to come out hard and make a series out of this. I really do. Lets hope our guys have it in them.

That’s pretty much all I have to say. To state that this was a disappointment does not do it justice. We are all hungry for a win, after losing 4 straight playoff games.