Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Fernando Cabrera’

So much badness happened last night, I’m not even sure where to start.  But no matter where I start, we still lost.  Now, sometimes there are losses that have silver linings.  Maybe a slumping guy hit his way out of it, or a pitcher had a really good outing but it was just a tough night, or we played all-around good ball but couldn’t come up with some extra runs.

Last night wasn’t like that.  Last night was just a fail.

And when I say fail, I actually mean fails.  Plural.  As in two very costly errors.

Doubront tossed four and two-thirds frames.  He gave up seven hits.  He walked two.  He struck out five.  He threw ninety-four pitches.  And two of the four runs he gave up were unearned by his own hand.  Literally.  He made two throwing errors.  When I said in my report card that his inexperience still shows, this is exactly the kind of thing I meant.

Almost all of the badness occurred in the top of the fifth.  Doubront had allowed two runs in the first, one of which was one of his two unearned.  Andrus led off the game with a ground ball that Doubront fired down the first base line.  That one, I can at least understand.  The game barely just started, and he was in a rush.  And two runs is a deficit you expect the offense to handle.  In fact, it was handled almost exclusively by Drew, who, in the bottom of the second, singled in Youk after his double off the Monster and then scored on a wild pitch, which was all we could muster with the bases loaded.  So between the botched leadoff grounder and the wild-pitch run with the bases loaded, something just didn’t feel right.

Indeed, the Rangers tagged him for five runs in the fifth inning.  Two were on base, one man was out, and we had a one-run lead.  Hamilton smacked one right back to Doubront, who thought he had Young at second.  But he hesitated while Scutaro got over to the bag, but his throw was disgusting.  Seriously.  It was disgusting.  It ended up in center field, and both runners advanced to second and third.  So his quick reflexes were great, but if you can’t get your feet under you, it really doesn’t matter.  Maybe he was feeling the one-hour wait during the rain delay; I don’t know.  All I know is that we could have ended the inning right there.  Instead, it was the beginning of the end for us.  Doubront made the mistake, but all of us paid for it.

Doubront left after that, and Fernando Cabrera, freshly called up from Pawtucket, came on.  He proceeded to issue back-to-back walks, the latter of which came with the bases loaded and resulted in a run.  Then Molina’s grand slam, combined with his second-inning single, fourth-inning double, and eighth-inning triple, made him the first visitor to hit for the cycle at Fenway since Andre Thornton of the Indians on April 22, 1978.  His triple bounced off Patterson’s glove and into the triangle, of all places.  Let me tell you, it was not fun to watch.  I don’t enjoy watching us lose, I don’t enjoy the opposition batting around, and I don’t enjoy visitors setting records and completing milestones at our expense.  I just don’t.

That inning was devastating.  It destroyed the game completely.  Think about it.  Beltre just broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth with a towering blast into the back rows of the Monster seats.  It was a breaking ball, he did the kneel, and we had a lead and some momentum, just like that.  We’d score another run in the sixth, when Drew yet again did some manufacturing with a sac fly.  But that was it.  We went on to lose, 8-4.

Some updates on the injury report.  Finally, it’s good news.  Pedroia has now been cleared to start putting pressure on his foot.  He’s out of the boot and into a shoe.  Buchholz finished his one and only rehab start in the minors on Friday.  V-Mart participated in batting practice on Friday from the left side of the plate for the second day in a row.  Beltre, as we know, is back in the lineup; his MRI showed no damage to his hamstring, but he’s still not completely healthy.  And last but certainly not least, Beckett is making a rehab start today in the minor leagues and could return after this.  And he’s been good, too.

So what’s Doubront’s fate? He’s going back to Pawtucket as soon as Buchholz is ready to go.  That could be as early as today, since Buchholz will probably start on Wednesday.  Speaking of Wednesday and therefore the schedule, we have two more games at home against Texas before we take our big road trip to the west coast.  That starts Monday, so get ready for a week and a half of late starts.  We’re visiting Oakland, Seattle and LA.  Then we have an off day before going home.  So we’ll have to gear up and build some momentum in this series before that road trip.  Not to mention the fact that we’re six and a half games out of first, the most we’ve been out since May 29.  We’ve lost seven of our last nine.  We’re regressing, and it’s not good.  The best we can do now is split with Texas, and we need to make sure we do that.  Lackey will face Cliff Lee tonight, so he’s got work to do.  Hopefully he’ll get it done.

AP Photo
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Happy Truck Day, everybody! I’m telling you, nothing warms the soul like an eighteen-wheeler pulling out of Fenway Park to head south in the dead of winter.  It’s been an especially long winter this year, so I’m ready to see some ball.  I can’t even begin to describe how psyched I am.  I don’t care how cold it is outside; Spring Training is almost here! Pitchers and catchers on Thursday! Life is good.  Life, indeed, is good.

Non-roster invitees are right-handers Randor Bierd, Fernando Cabrera, Casey Kelly, Adam Mills, Edwin Moreno, Joe Nelson, Jorge Sosa, and Kyle Weiland; southpaws Kris Johnson and Brian Shouse; catchers Luis Exposito and Gustavo Molina; infielders Lars Anderson, Yamaico Navarro, Angel Sanchez, and Gil Velazquez; and outfielders Zach Daeges, Ryan Kalish, Che-Hsuan Lin, and Darnell McDonald.  Keep your eye on Casey Kelly and Jose Iglesias.  They’re beasts.  And I hope Lars Anderson doesn’t disappoint; he’s supposed to be the first homegrown power hitter we’ve had in a long time, and I’m psyched to see him put up some big numbers this year.

Youk, Pap, Lester, and Delcarmen are already down there, which is a good sign.  Pap and Delcarmen could really use the extra training after the badness they exhibited last season.  Youk has stated his intention to spend the entirety of his career in Boston and retire as a member of the Red Sox.  He stays in Boston during the offseason and loves New England.  Way to be, dude.  Way to be.  And Lester will probably be our Number One starter.  Last season he proved to be way more consistent than Beckett, and don’t look now, but he’s basically turned into one of the best southpaws in all of baseball.

By the way, it’s pretty much official that we’re not resigning Rocco Baldelli.  Guess who’s going to hit for Drew against southpaws: Bill Hall.  This should be mighty interesting.

Congratulations to Clay Buchholz, who’s been named the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Jimmy Fund’s Rally Against Cancer Spokesplayer! Nomar made his debut as an analyst on Baseball Tonight and was absolutely horrible.  He said nothing of consequence and made no sense half the time.  I guess that means he won’t be retiring as soon as we thought.

Spring Training.  Baseball season.  Almost here.  What more can I say? Soon it’ll be Opening Day (and by that I mean Opening Night; thanks again, ESPN), and we’ll get this show on the road!

In other news, the Saints won their first Super Bowl in franchise history last weekend.  The final score was 31-17, and let’s not to forget to mention Peyton Manning’s single interception, nabbed by Tracy Porter for a seventy-four-yard touchdown.  Tracy Porter now has the two most important interceptions in franchise history.  Also, let’s not forget to mention the Peyton face.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Boston College won the Beanpot.  I know; I was surprised, too, because I was expecting the U after the B, not the C after the B.  The final score was 4-3; it was a close game, and a good one, too.  Oh yeah, and the Bruins are actually on a winning streak.  You read right.  We’ve won our last four games; a 3-0 shutout against the Habs last weekend, a 3-2 shootout victory against the Sabres, a 5-4 defeat of the Lightning, and a 3-2 shootout win against the Panthers.  With the exception of the Habs win, which by the way was exceptionally gratifying, those were some seriously close calls, but we are in absolutely no position to be picky.  A win is a win, and I’ll most definitely take it.

Boston.com/Steve Silva

Read Full Post »

This week was basically all about options.  If we weren’t busy exercising somebody’s option, we were busy declining somebody else’s.  Hey, why not? They’re basically cheap locks; it’s a good way to keep a guy on board for minimal funds and minimal years.  That translates to flexibility, which is always a good thing.  Plus, it postpones contract negotiations, a solid strategy if you’ve got a lot on your plate during a particular offseason.

Case in point for that last one: Victor Martinez.  We exercised his option to bring him back as our starting catcher.  No surprise there.  And it’s no surprise that locking Victor Martinez for the long run is a top priority.  But that’s going to be a big project, so keeping him under contract until we can hammer out a new one is a good strategy.  The option effectively means that there’s no rush.  Expect Martinez to be back in a Boston uniform for the first of many years in 2011.  Although the arrival of Joe Mauer in the free agent market could potentially make that interesting.  It would probably play into our hands, being that Mauer will likely steal the show that year, leaving Martinez and us to take care of business.

Speaking of catchers, we declined our five-million-dollar option on Tek, but he picked up his three-million-dollar option, which includes another two million dollars’ worth of incentives, so our captain is coming back as a backup for three million dollars.  Not too bad, I’d say.  In terms of the role he plays on this team, there’s no better backup catcher out there for us, and being that he still has something left in the tank, it’s a pretty good deal.

Wakefield is coming back, folks.  Our deadline to pick up his option was Monday, and we agreed to a two-year deal with incentives that could boost the value of the contract up to ten million.  Within those two years, he’ll likely reach two hundred wins and 193 wins in a Red Sox uniform, a total that would break the current franchise record, held by both Roger Clemens and Cy Young.  Make no mistake: Wakefield would definitely be deserving.  How many other starting pitchers out there accept less money in favor of a tenure with a team that hadn’t won the World Series in almost a century, then voluntarily removed himself from the roster of the second World Series that team would go on to win because he felt he wouldn’t perform as well as another pitcher? Not many.  Believe that.

We declined our option on Alex Gonzalez, which was expected, but we’re still interested.  That’s also expected.  Jed Lowrie’s wrist sidelined him for essentially the entire season last year, and we need not just an everyday shortstop, but an everyday shortstop we can depend on.  That’s a luxury we haven’t had since Nomar wrote his one-way ticket out of town.  And with the improvement in offense he showed last year, Gonzalez would be a great fit.  Of course, what this gesture shows is that he’ll have to come at the right price.  Otherwise Theo won’t bite.

That’s basically all the news so far.  The GM meetings ended on Wednesday, so aside from these moves and Jeremy Hermida, we’ve been pretty quiet, but I don’t think that’ll last long.  Before the meetings ended, Theo met with John Lackey’s agent.  Smile, Red Sox Nation; Scott Boras is not John Lackey’s agent.  Free-agent negotiations with other teams start on Friday, so it’s likely he’ll be inundated with offers, but I could see us being a big player there.  We’re also supposedly interested in Dan Uggla; apparently there is potential in turning the second baseman into a left fielder.  Frankly, I don’t see that playing out.  Congratulations to Jason Bay, who won his first Silver Slugger! And that functions as even more of a reason for us to sign him.  I think we’ll focus our efforts there before we start turning infielders into outfielders.

In addition to options, the other big story at this point is arbitration.  We’ve got eight guys eligible: Casey Kotchman, now Jeremy Hermida, Ramon Ramirez, Fernando Cabrera, Brian Anderson, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, and, you guessed it, Jonathan Papelbon.  The arbitration process will probably be more or less smooth sailing for the utility guys and the no-doubts, the players who have clear bargaining power due to their consistently good performances.  I’d put Ramon Ramirez and Hideki Okajima in the latter category.  As far as Manny Delcarmen is concerned, his second half was just bad, so he’ll probably take some sort of cut.  Jonathan Papelbon will be quite the case; I’ll be very interested to see how that goes.  He obviously packs a lot of bargaining power, but there’s also no ignoring the fact that his walk total was up and his postseason performance was…well, let’s not go there.  Let’s just say he’s less able to pull off the I-should-be-paid-Mariano’s-salary routine this time around.  Especially because Daniel Bard is coming on strong and Billy Wagner has stated that he might be open to an arbitration offer that would bring him back to Boston next year.  Let’s face it: he wants a ring, and in this day and age ballplayers who want rings come to Boston.

Nick Green and Joey Gathright have opted to file for free agency rather than accept minor league assignments.  Green had back surgery at Mass. General on Monday, by the way, so he’s facing an uphill battle as far as market value goes.  Dice-K is going to begin his conditioning program early this year.  Thankfully.  Finally.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say that we’re ready to see him ace this year.  Or at the very least spend more time on the roster than on the disabled list.  Theo and Tito are in the throes of their search for a bench coach, and they’ve narrowed it down to four: PawSox manager Ron Johnson, Lowell Spinners manager Gary DiSarcina, minor league field coordinator Rob Leary, and outfield and baserunning coordinator Tom Goodwin.  Promoting from within.  I like it.  Really, there’s no better way to ensure that a new member of the coaching staff knows the franchise and the players; many of the players currently on the team have played for these guys in their younger days.

We’re biding our time but staying in the loop.  I think there’s a potential for a serious blockbuster deal this offseason.  Whether it’s Lackey or Adrian Gonzalez or someone else, I don’t know.  I’ll leave that to the front office.  At this point, so much is kept under wraps that it’s hard to know exactly who we’re pursuing first or what our main focus will be.  But I will say that either of those guys would have a hugely positive impact on our team.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens, I guess.  It’s a long winter; the speculation keeps us going.  That’s just what the offseason is all about.

The Bruins played three games this week.  We shut out the Penguins, lost to the Panthers in a shootout, and lost to the Penguins in sudden death.  The Sabres lead us in the division by five points, but at least we’re ahead of the Habs.  The Pats beat the Dolphins.

 

AP Photo

Read Full Post »

Well, that’s a wrap.  That’s the end of the road for 2009.  The regular season is over.  Done.  Finished.  And we made it! Bumps, bruises, trades, designations for assignment; you name it, we did it, and we made it through it.  We made it to the second season and beyond.  The way in which we got in was a little strange, but I’ll take it.  It doesn’t matter what your record was in the regular season, or how you played against a particular team, or who was injured in Spring Training.  Once you get to October, you start with a clean slate.  And if you’re right, you’re right, and you go all the way.  And we, ladies and gentlemen, are right.

Yesterday’s game was good and bad.  The bad was Buchholz.  He gave up six runs on five hits in three innings with two walks and six strikeouts.  And when I say six runs in three innings, I mean one in the first and the rest in the third.  This was his second bad start in a row, and I don’t like where this is going.  The regular season ended just in time; he’ll get some extra rest before his next start.

The good was pretty much everything else.  Ramirez, Bard, Cabrera, and Paps didn’t allow any runs.  Bowden allowed a run but got the win.

The final score was 12-7, so very similar to Saturday, and in more ways than one.  Pedroia hit a two-run shot in the fifth.  Kottaras, who played third base, went two for two.  V-Mart, Varitek, and Dusty Brown each walked.  Ortiz batted in two.  Drew went two for three; two solo shots, one in the fourth and one in the sixth.  Drew is a pretty quiet guy, so it’s been hard for some fans to relate to him.  But one thing everyone can relate to in Boston is a dirt dog, and that’s exactly what Drew is.  Sometimes it doesn’t seem like it, but make no mistake about it.  “Dirt dog” is the only way to describe someone who was out of the lineup due to a shoulder issue and who comes roaring back, with exactly the same swing (and I mean exactly the same), and uses it to belt two out of the park.  Speaking of coming back from injuries, Gonzalez hit a home run in the second, so we know everything’s good there.

And last but not least, we had another grand slam yesterday! Jed Lowrie in the sixth inning.  He only finished the night one for three but when you plate four runs with one swing of the bat that’s okay.  The ball ended up in our bullpen, keeping his batting average with the bases loaded decently above .300, which is uncanny, especially for a young guy.  But speaking of injuries, he did grimace when he hit that ball, something not uncommon for him when batting from the left side of the plate.  So unfortunately, he’s not completely out of the woods health-wise, but you couldn’t help but cheer for him personally when he hit that slam.  It was a much-needed epic ending to a disappointing season.  That’s what I call going out with a bang.  By the way, before V-Mart’s slam on Saturday, our last grand slam was hit on April 25 against the Yankees by who but Jason Varitek.  Just sayin’.

In the fifth inning, Ellsbury reached base on a wild pitch even though he went around.  That puts his seventieth steal in context.  Jacoby Ellsbury is the fastest man in Major League Baseball.  No, really, he’s the leader in steals for 2009.  Carl Crawford didn’t even come close.  And he’s tied for fifth in triples.  (Stephen Drew, JD’s brother, is second.) Pedroia finishes the season second in the Majors in runs and tied for third in doubles.  Bay is tenth in walks, fifth in RBIs, and tied for ninth in home runs.  Youk is sixth in on-base percentage and OPS.  Drew is ninth in walks and tenth in both on-base percentage and OPS in the American League.

So those are our league leaders.  We have a pretty good amount of guys in the top ten of the Majors.  I think we’ll be in good shape against the Angels.  Regarding the schedule, there are two: start on Wednesday and get Thursday off or start on Thursday.  The Yankees have scheduling preference, and they technically don’t have to pick a schedule until after today’s playoff between the Twins and Tigers.  But they’d be crazy not to start on Wednesday since they’d be facing an opponent who had to play full-force the day before.

The playoff is in Minnesota.  I think I speak for all of Red Sox Nation when I say we won’t be too sorry to see the Metrodome go, but apparently they want to keep playing baseball in it.  As of this season, home field advantage is given to the winner of the season series.  The change was made because, last year, the Twins lost a playoff to the White Sox in Chicago, 1-0, as a result of a coin toss.  That was a ridiculous rule.  So now the Twins can exact revenge.  We obviously have a substantial interest in this game, and nobody will be rooting for the Twins more than me.  I hate to say it, but the Twins are the hottest team in the AL right now, and if anyone is in a good position to steamroll over New York, it’s Minnesota.  And I’d be perfectly happy with the Thursday start.  I don’t think I’d want a day off in there.  Think about it.  If we win the  first game, we have momentum we want to sustain.  If we lose, we have a bad taste in our mouths we’d like to get rid of quickly.  So it works out.

But either way, October is here at last, and Lester has officially gotten the nod to start Game 1.  And Don Orsillo is calling the series on TBS.  Get psyched!

AP Photo

Read Full Post »

I can’t really be upset about the outcome of last night’s game because it was basically Futures at Fenway Part 2, but without fair competition.  All of our starters, with the exception of Big Papi and Gonzalez, got the night off, but Toronto put in its best.  We sent the entire reserve out there to face who but Roy Halladay, and we got shelled.  Show me someone who’s surprised by this outcome, and I’ll show you someone who has no conception of the disparity between skill levels present in Major League Baseball.  Unless something had gone horribly wrong for Roy Halladay, there’s no way a reserve would have bested him.

This game was absolutely necessary.  It was a stroke of genius, and it spoke to our commitment to winning the World Series.  What’s the best way to ensure that your reserve is the best it can be? Give it playing time.  And what’s the best way to do that? Hand it an entire game against one of the best active pitchers in the game.  They may not have done well, but at least they “did.” At least they played.

Halladay pitched a complete game three-hitter.  Gathright hit two of those three, and Baldelli hit the third with a steal.

Wakefield gave up five runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts over three innings pitched.  Three of those five runs were attained via the long ball.  So something’s still not right with him, which is probably why he started.  In all likelihood, his health will keep him off the playoff roster, which means the season will be over for him soon enough and he’ll have all that time to recuperate fully.  So that’s why he started last night.  Fernando Cabrera gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in an inning and pitched to three batters in the next without recording an out.  Dustin Richardson was able to extricate himself from that jam in just eighteen pitches.  Delcarmen’s struggles continued as he gave up two runs on three hits in an inning, allowing Randy Ruiz to hit his second home run of the night.  Hunter Jones did okay.  Hideki Okajima gave up a solo shot.  And Dusty Brown, catcher, gave up a run on two hits in the ninth inning, with a strikeout to his credit.

So while watching this game, all I had to do was remind myself that bench players and minor leaguers were going up against Roy Halladay, and then I’d sit back, relax, and take it in for what it was: a chance to get a glimpse of what we might be seeing this October from the bench and what we might be seeing from our farm system in the future.  Although with Halladay on the mound, the view was somewhat skewed.  Case in point: the final score.  Unhealthy starter plus unseasoned and struggling relievers plus unseasoned hitters equals a final score of 12-0.  I am proud to say that we didn’t make a single fielding error, which is impressive given all of Fenway’s quirks.

If you’re wondering why Tito wasn’t present at the Wild Card celebration, it was because he flew to Virginia for his son Nick’s graduation.

That completes a three-game sweep for Toronto, and now we square off against Cleveland for a four-game set.  This is the final audition for our four playoff starters.  Lester will pitch tonight for the first time since taking Melky Cabrera’s line drive just above the knee, and Beckett will start Saturday after having received a cortisone injection in his back to help with the spasms.  Cleveland isn’t too intimidating, so it’s perfect for getting back in the groove.  Then the regular season ends, schedules are finalized, and the playoffs begin!

In other news, it’s the first day of hockey season today! We open at home against the Washington Capitals at 7:00PM!

Boston Globe Staff/Barry Chin

Read Full Post »