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)

The Red Sox Already Have Most of the Pieces in Place

A good team is like a finished puzzle. All the pieces fit into place, they connect, they work together, and when the puzzle is completed they present a solid, unified masterpiece.  Remove a piece and you have a hole.  Replacement pieces maybe be able to fill the hole, but generally leave gaps or don’t fit in the empty space at all.  Mike Lowell is a missing piece that does not have an adequate replacement on the current Red Sox roster.  Combine Lowell’s absence with Pedroia needing to miss a game or two to be with his hospitalized pregnant wife, and the infield is in shambles.  With the trading deadline fast approaching the team would do well to well to address the need for a quality back-up corner infielder, and possibly take a look at the outfield as well.
Roy Halladay is the current hot and sexy piece of meat up on the trade block, and you can’t really have too much pitching, but the Red Sox do not need another ace.  We also don’t need to sell the farm to get a guy who is in the last year of his contract, will be a free agent next year, and is not likely to stick around Boston after the 2009 season.  Money talks and the Red Sox are not going to give him a blockbuster long term commitment.  We’ve got too much young talent coming up. (And, seriously, lets all take a moment and realize how fortunate we are, not too many teams, if any, are enjoying this position.)  If Theo and company are smart, and they are, they’ll take a good long look at shoring up the bench and maybe, if the right deal comes along, shaking up our suddenly inconsistent bullpen a bit.
It may seem backwards, but having a good bench is an essential foundation for any team.  Of course you need to build a talented and durable starting nine, but if one of them goes down for any reason who’s going to be responsible for keeping the castle on the level?  The back-up guy.  We’ve been spoiled in the outfield for the past few years with Coco Crisp, the guy was a rock, there were no worries about who was going to pick up the pieces when Ellsbury struggled or JD Drew needed a band-aid.  Thank goodness Ellsbury has figured out to hit like a major leaguer and JD Drew been fairly durable so far this year, knock on wood, throw salt over your shoulder and pray to whatever higher being you believe in that this continues. Do you want to see Baldelli or Kotsay responsible for day to day outfield duty?  Didn’t think so.  It begs the question, who is available at a reasonable price?
We need a decent back-up corner infielder, and a solid back-up outfielder.  After watching them play all weekend I’d like to propose  first baseman Mark Teahen and outfielder David DeJesus.  Teahen is currently hitting .294, a solid 19 doubles with 9 home runs. His skills are not going to rock anyone’s world, but we’re not looking for the second coming of Kevin Youkilis, we’re looking for a nice option to fill in for him when and if Youk has to move to 3rd to cover for Lowell.  David DeJesus is hitting a steady .256 with 18 doubles and 6 triples, and would be a nice compliment to the our current starting outfield.  It’s and easy one stop shop would stabilize the infield corners and add some depth to the outfield in one fell swoop.  Who do we send to Kansas City?  Rocco Baldelli, Jeff Bailey, and Julio Lugo, even if they don’t want Lugo, we’ll just pay his contract and say he accidentally got shipped in the same box as the others.  Mark Kotsay gets to stay by virtue of being able to reliably play either outfield or first base.  Depending on how Clay Buchholz performs on Friday the Red Sox can throw him or Brad Penny in the mix as well.  Kansas City needs pitching help and either one of the two would give them a boost.  If they want a prospect how about Anthony Rizzo?  Talented, but unproven, his path to the majors right now is mostly blocked by Kevin Youkilis’ long term contract and the up and coming Lars Anderson. It would be a win all around, we unload some dead weight while sprucing up the bench and the Royals get reasonably talented players in return.
No matter who the Red Sox decide to move or who make a deal with, we easily have enough resources to grab the best of what’s available.  We should be able to get what we need and not lose anyone truly valuable.  And besides, sometimes you just get lucky, Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb anyone?

Beckett Leads Sox Into All-Star Break

                Sox Cruise Past Royals With 6-0 Win

Josh Beckett led the Boston Red Sox with a complete game shutout on Sunday afternoon to lead the Sox to a 6-0 win over the Kansas City Royals as the Red Sox head into the All-Star break with the best record in the AL, 20 games above .500.

With Boston (54-34) now heading into the break and with five Sox members part taking in the festivities in St. Louis, the Sox couldn’t have hoped to end the first half of the season on a better note as Beckett allowed three hits through nine innings of masterful work.

Beckett’s 100th career victory joins him with Tim Wakefield as the only other American League starter to have 11 wins.  The Red Sox jumped on Royal pitching in the first with a Kevin Youkilis RBI single and then in the fourth with three RBI’s from Aaron Bates, David Ortiz, and Jason Varitek.  Bates had his best game in a Sox uniform as the first basemen went 3-for-4 from the number nine spot.

Boston holds a 2.5 game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East. Terry Francona announced that Clay Buccholz will start for the Sox on Friday as Boston takes on the Toronto Blue Jays at the Roger Centre.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

Pedroia To Miss All-Star Game

Red Sox All-Star second basemen Dustin Pedroia will miss Tuesday’s All-Star game to be with his pregnant wife who was hospitalized recently.  Full Story.

Could The Sox Land Garrett Atkins?

            Boston Could Be In The Market For Colorado’s Third Basemen

According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Boston Red Sox could be close to a deal that would land Garrett Atkins from the Colorado Rockies.  The deal is rumored to involve Takashi Saito in return for Colorado’s third basemen.

Saito has also been linked to other trades, most notably with the Texas Rangers in exchange for Hank Blalock.  The Red Sox are exploring corner infield possibilities in case Mike Lowell doesn’t respond well from an injection in his strained right hip as the Sox third basemen has been experiencing discomfort in his hip as of late.

With Boston’s bullpen stockpiled with a plethora of talent and live arms, the Sox could afford to ship Saito away in exchange for protection behind the plate and a solid bat from the bench.

Big Papi Drive In Four Runs To Lead Sox

Boston Takes Rubber Game Of Series With Oakland

On the heels of Josh Beckett’s great performance against the A’s on Tuesday night, Boston’s other All-Star pitcher, Tim Wakefield, looked to follow suit by giving the Sox a win to preserve a three-game series at Fenway Park.

That’s exactly what Wakefield did on Wednesday night as he had his knuckleball dancin’, earning his 11th victory of the season which leads all American League pitchers.  The 42-year-old gave up three runs on ten hits while striking out eight, to win his ninth game in his last 11 starts at Fenway.

David Ortiz homered and drove in four runs for the local nine, with his three-run blast in the sixth inning proving to be a momentum changer for Boston in route to their 5-4 victory over the A’s.

Ortiz homered three batters after J.D. Drew led off the sixth with a blast of his own.  Big Papi grounded out to second in the seventh to provide what would be the game-winning run as Drew scored on the play from third. Jonathan Papelbon was shaky in the ninth as the Sox closer gave up a run but he eventually recorded his 22nd save by striking out Jack Cust.

The Red Sox host the Kansas City Royals on Thursday as Brad Penny matches up against Luke Hochevar.

(AP Photo)

It Takes More Than Just Numbers To Be An All Star

Tim Wakefield is finally an All Star. In the past few weeks a lot has been made of his 1995 season and how he should have gone that year.  Wake had a legendary season in ’95, but didn’t make his first start for the Red Sox and in the bigs until late May. He was pitching well at the break, but the late start cost him and the All Star spots went to those who had pitched well in the almost 2 months that he missed, as they should have. If the All Star game had been in August Wakefield would probably would have started it. This year he is 10-3 at the time of selection and completely deserving of an All Star spot for every reason that has nothing to do with his current ERA or win/loss record.
Until this year, and with the exception of 1995 or that one night in October 2003, Wake has largely labored away under the radar, almost taken for granted. In 15 seasons he’s had good days and bad days, but he’s always shown up and put the team before himself.  He’s never made excuses for the bad stuff and he’s never drawn any extra attention to his best performances. We could argue why his numbers are or aren’t All Star worthy this year, but that no longer matters since Joe Maddon has officially declared them up to par.  In this day and age of steroids allegations and over-priced spoiled-brat professional athletes perhaps we need to really take a look at what it should take to be an All Star. Would you rather tell your kids to look up to Tim Wakefield or Alex Rodriguez?

Tim Wakefield has been nominated by the Red Sox 7 times for the Roberto Clemente Award (given annually by the MLB to a player deemed committed to serving their community and helping others, 1 player from each team is nominated each year).  He’s done everything the club has asked for on the field and never complained.  He’s on pace to reach 200 career wins early next season.  In 2005 he signed a contract unlike any other in sports, the Red Sox have the option to renew it at the end of every season, no tense negotiations over salary or contract length, no media circus, just one more year, yes or no?  $4 million a year every year is certainly nothing to scoff at.  He could ask for more, he probably deserves more.  He doesn’t get a raise, he doesn’t care about a raise, he just wants to pitch for as long as Boston wants to have him.  When Boston says no he’ll quietly enter retirement.  Not long after signing this unique document Wakefield summed up his thoughts about playing baseball in Boston with these words:
“It meant more to me to have the stability to stay here, I’m a firm believer in loyalty, which the Red Sox have been very loyal to me over the last 12 years, and I want to stay loyal to them. The stability and security is more important to me than trying to be a free agent. I’d much rather stay with a team that I’m comfortable with in a city I love, regardless of the money. At this stage of my career, it really doesn’t matter anymore.”
So what if this All Star appointment is partially viewed as a lifetime achievement award?  Hasn’t he earned the right over 17 seasons of pitching to have his moment in the sun?  I will freely admit that if I were a fan in another city I might feel a little differently, but because I am a Boston fan, and privileged enough to have experienced 15 seasons with him, I can say without a doubt that sometimes what it takes to be an All Star goes beyond the statistics and highlight reels.  Sometimes being an All Star means showing up day after day, doing your job without complaint and giving back to those who have helped you along the way.
Statistics and performance should definitely be the biggest factor in deciding who makes the All Star team each year, but what about guys like Wake who have had season after season of consistent success, while being an exemplary teammate and actively involved in their community? Luckily for Wake, his 10-3 record and early season heroics have brought him the recognition he has earned over the years, not only through his actions on the field, but in the dugout and in his charitable contributions as well.   For all of these reasons, Tim Wakefield is an All Star Major League Baseball can be proud of.