Trade Deadline Day

-2:10 p.m. Red Sox in the mix on most deals
-2:11 p.m. WEEI reporting Sox on verge of signing Victor Martinez
-3:08 p.m. Sox trading Masterson & another prospect (Nick Hagadone) for Victor Martinez.  Deal about done

Slumping In July Doesn’t Mean Goodbye, But It’s Still Frustrating

It’s that feeling again. You know, the one in the pit of your stomach? That particular feeling where things are going completely wrong and all you can do is watch the inevitable? Like a car wreck on the highway, you don’t want to rubberneck, but you somehow can’t turn your eyes away from the carnage.  Been watching much NESN lately? The Red Sox have given up the A.L. East lead and then imploded Tuesday night just when the game was in hand and there was a chance to get a game back from the Yankees.  Last night?  You know you faithfully watched all nine innings of that fiasco, hoping for some sort of rally.  We were cruising until the week before the All-Star Break, what in the name of Don Zimmer has happened?  After Tuesday and Wednesday night I’m almost too disgusted to try to figure it all out.
Luckily the answer is fairly easy. We haven’t been hitting.  Earlier this spring it would have been considered sacrilege to criticize Jason Bay, even though he hasn’t really been hitting since April when he hit .324.  After his hot start his batting average dipped to a still respectable .264 in May, but has cooled by 30-plus points a month in June (.230) and July (.192).  His current total on the season is .251.  JD Drew, hitting .092 less in July than his June average of .292, needs to pick it up too.  Unfortunately the problem does not stop there and only gets bigger.  Kevin Youkilis has not been hitting either.  It was an improbability that his .400 start would last for long, but even dependable old Youk has been in a funk at the plate, .244 in June and .230 in July.  Mr. Greek God of Walks himself had four strikeouts last night and only managed a .302 OBP this month.  Not fair to compare it to April’s .505, so we’ll compare it to May’s .441. I’ll leave Pedroia out for now on the grounds that until last night he was the only (ONLY!?) Red Sox hitter currently posting an average above .300, Jacoby Ellsbury has re-joined him at that apparently unreachable level, scraping in at .300 even, but Pedroia has seen his share of struggles this year too.
Sidenote: Nice year Ellsbury has going for himself, he’s been hot, hitting .318 since the All-Star Break, and its been fun watching him develop and put all the pieces together, so what if he’s not a leadoff hitter?
We’ve seen a huge drop in production in the heart of the lineup through June and July. With everyone slumping at once we’d be dead in the water no matter what, but compounding the problem is the fact that the Red Sox lineup is not designed to overpower anyone this year.  Everything has to be ground out, we have to have production up and down the lineup to be successful.  We have a team of great contact hitters, but without replacing Manny with a similarly fearsome hitter and Big Papi just not up to par, there is no one to count on for a towering blast when you need it mosts a solid hit sure, but no reliable, instant game changing fire power.  With the trading deadline upon us it’s time to find a another bat.
On to pitching.  The John Smoltz experiment aside, and his ERA is still under Matsuzaka’s by a full run by the way, we really can’t find all that much fault in the starters. Beckett has found his gear and is cruising with a 2.43 ERA and 7-2 record in June and July.  Lester is turning out Pedro-esque stats for June and July with ERA’s of .185 and .186 respectively with 72 Ks.  Penny has been respectable (lets hope last night was just a hiccup) and the Red Sox need to quit messing around with Clay Buchholz and bring back Wakefield.  Yeah, yeah, he’s “hurt.”  How convenient, Wake goes down just in time to parade Buchholz for the trade deadline.  Buchholz is good trading bait now, get Wake off the DL and back on the mound, he was winning games and giving us innings.  I’m still not convinced we desperately need him, but the way things stand now I’d give up Buchholz and a little more to get that Halladay fellow everyone keeps making a fuss over.  The bullpen, Tuesday night aside, is still doing a solid job.  Papelzaka is putting men on, posting high pitch counts and getting lucky, (we won’t count Tuesday night, and he REALLY needs to clean that up NOW) but overall I don’t think we can hang too much of this slump on the mound.  We should have won Tuesday and had opportunities to comeback last night.  We can’t win if we don’t score runs.
They were boring in Spring Training.  They came out flat in April.  They cruised through May and June with barely a ripple in pond.  The Red Sox are lacking in personality this year.  The quiet, hard-working professionalism displayed by this team has merits, but part of the reason the 2004 Idiots were successful is because they were idiots.  They worked hard, but they played for fun.  Has our team gotten a little too professional and lost sight of the fun and games that made us successful in the first place?  There is no Kevin Millar to remind us all that playing Major League Baseball is living the dream and every day spent on the field should be enjoyed like the childhood fantasy it largely is.  Loosen up guys, relax,  and play with the spirit of the Little Leaguers you all once were.
The good news?  Time is still, just barely, on our side.  It’s not likely that a team can get smoking hot in July and maintain that pace all the way through October.  Calm down New York, July counts for nothing on its own.  We’ve got plenty of time to get back in the groove and hit our stride in heading into September.

Red Sox Put Offer To Halladay On Table

According to Gordon Edes the Red Sox have made a strong offer to Toronto for Roy Halladay.  The deal includes Bucholz, Michael Bowden, and outfield prospect Ryan Westmoreland.  Stay tuned folks!

Beckett Spins A Gem, Improves To 7-0 At Fenway

Red Sox Offense Comes Alive Against Cahill

Josh Beckett struck out ten in 7+ innings of work on Monday to give the Boston Red Sox a 8-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics and Beckett his 12th win of the season.

Boston’s right-hander becomes the first 12-game winner in the American League as the Boston bullpen continued it’s dominance with Daniel Bard and Manny Delcarmen each pitching an inning of scoreless relief to help secure the Red Sox victory.

Jacoby Ellsbury led the offensive charge with three hits and Dustin Pedrioa homered in the first inning to spark the night for Boston’s offense as newcomer Adam LaRoche continues to impress, going 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI.  

Clay Buchholz takes the mound for Boston on Tuesday as he will square off against Vin Mazzaro of the A’s.
(AP Photo)

Adrian Gonzalez Coming To Boston?

Sox Pursuing San Diego First Basemen

It has been no secret that the Red Sox offense has sputtered for the better part of June and July, so would the Sox try to land a middle-of-the-order bat to help solidify their lineup?

Sources say that the Red Sox are in on the Adrian Gonzalez chase, who could be shipped from San Diego for a the “right” package of prospects.  Gonzalez, 27, would move Kevin Youkilis across the diamond to third and most likely spell the days of Mike Lowell as Boston’s third basemen.

Adding a dynamic bat like Gonzalez would help solidify the Red Sox offense for 2009 and beyond and the left-handed hitting first basemen comes at a relatively cheap $4.75 million.  For more on this story.

Jim Rice: Hall Of Fame Status

Former Red Sox Outfielder Inducted Into HOF

Jim Rice had to wait until his final year of eligibility to be selected into the Baseball Hall of Fame but it didn’t matter for the former Red Sox outfielder as Rice was inducted into the Hall alongside Rickey Henderson on Sunday.

Rice is the only player in baseball history with at least 35 home runs and 200 hits in three consecutive seasons as Rice had a career .298 average with 382 homers and 1,451 RBIs. The Red Sox legend also will have his number retired by the Red Sox after spending his entire career in a Sox uniform.

(AP Photo)

Reelin’ Sox Swept By Rangers

Buchholz & Boston Embarassed By Texas 

The Texas Rangers swept a series with the Boston Red Sox for the first time since the 2004 season with a 3-1 victory over the Bo-Sox on Wednesday night.

With Clay Buchholz on the mound, Boston hoped a fresh face could turn Boston’s luck around but a strong outing from Texas’ Dustin Nippert rubbed dirt into Boston’s wounds as the Red Sox have now lost five straight and stand two games back of the New York Yankees.

The Red Sox have a day off before arriving back at Fenway Park to take on the Baltimore Orioles.  Boston looks to Brad Penny to set straight the Red Sox ship on Friday as Penny squares off against Brad Bergesen of the Orioles.

(AP Photo)

Sox Acquire LaRoche, Trade Lugo

Busy Day Of Trading For Red Sox Front Office

In an effort to help bring security and insurance to a slumping Red Sox offense, Theo Epstein pulled the trigger on two trades on Wednesday landing Aam LaRoche from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chris Duncan from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Boston acquired first basemen Adam LaRoche for two prospects, Agenis Diaz and Hunter Strickland.  Both midlevel prospects figured never to play any role with the big club and LaRoche had worn his welcome in Pittsburgh amongst the Pirates reshuffling of players.  

Later on in the day, Epstein traded Julio Lugo to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Chris Duncan who is batting .227 on the year with five home runs and 32 RBIs for the Cardinals. With the Red Sox lineup scuffling as of late, the Red Sox decided that the addition of two bats to the bench could help shore up some offensive problems and improve the mojo of a lackluster lineup.  

The trading deadline is looming on July 31 and Theo Epstein has made it no secret that the Red Sox are going to be actively pursuing any opportunities that make this 2009 ball club better.

Smoltz Scuffles As Sox Lose Third Straight

Boston The Victim Of A Five Run Sixth From Rangers

All things looked to be going considerably well for John Smoltz and the Boston Red Sox heading into the sixth inning, but a lead off home run from Michael Young and back-to-back shots from David Murphy and Jarrod Saltalamacchia sent Smoltz to the showers and the Sox to the loss column.

Boston held a 2-1 lead before giving up five runs in the sixth inning.  The Red Sox put up one run in the eighth on a Kevin Youkilis, 2-for-4, single but couldn’t muster enough hits to mount a comeback.  Kevin Millwood took the win for Texas with C.J. Wilson recording his eighth save.  Smoltz is now 1-3 with the Sox since joining Boston a little under a month ago.

The Red Sox have now lost three straight and are scuffling at the plate.  It will be interesting to see what Theo Epstein and the Red Sox do between now and the trading deadline to address their hitting woes.  Josh Beckett will look to right the ship on Tuesday as he takes the mound for Boston.
(AP Photo)

Sox Can’t Agree To Terms With Bay

                                   Contract Talks Called Off With Left Fielder

After failing to sign Jason Bay to a contract extension in Spring Training, Theo Epstein and company tried pursuing Bay again in the late June but talks have come to a halt by the end of the All-Star break and it looks like Sox fans will have to wait until after the 2009 season to see if number 44 will return to Boston.

Bay is set to become a free agent after the season and it seems as if Sox management and Bay’s agent cannot come to a common assessment on the market value for elite outfielders like Jason Bay.  

Boston will certainly have to ante up J.D. Drew type money if they want to keep Bay manning the green monster for years to come.  Of course, that will be up to Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino, so for Sox fans, in Theo we trust.

Injury Update: Two Sox Ready To Return

Lowell And Lowrie On The Comeback Trail

The Boston Red Sox went into the All-Star break firing on all cylinders, leading the AL East by 3.5 games over the New York Yankees.  So with everything going so well, how could things get better?

With the return of Mike Lowell and Jed Lowrie.

According to Terry Francona, Mike Lowell will start for the Sox on Friday and Jed Lowrie should be back with the big club by the weekend.  So, with things going so well without the two infielders, Sox fans have even more to look forward to with the return of the injured. Here’s more on what Francona had to say.

Show me Yoooouuuk?

This was sent to us from a friend who attended the home run derby last night.

I am a little confused by the slogan “Show me Yoooouuuk”?

I think Nike could have done a lot better on this one.  Cool poster, bad slogan.

(Thanks to Joe T. for submitting this)