Patriots Acquire Burgess From Raiders

Pats Sack The Opportunity Of Adding Pass-Rusher

The New England Patriots acquired defensive end Derrick Burgess from the Oakland Raiders for a 2010 third-round and fourth-round pick.  

The acquisition of Burgess, a two-time pro bowler, instantly upgrades the Patriots defense and gives them a dynamic pass rush from the defensive end position.  The 6-foot-2-inch Burgess cost the Pats two draft picks in 2010 and $2 million for base salary in 2009.

Burgess has 47 career sacks and is a eight-year veteran of the NFL. Disgruntled in his past few years in Oakland, a change in scenery and management should brighten Burgess’ outlook on playing, much like that of Randy Moss in 2007.

New England tried to acquire Burgess back before the draft but couldn’t come to an agreement with Oakland regarding draft picks.  However, the two teams kept the lines of communication open and pulled the trigger on a deal just one week into training camp.   

Sox Sweep Blue Jays

Are the Red Sox back on track?

It looks like that train that fell off the track might be repaired and moving forward again. The Red Sox behind Lester tonight won 8-1 and let up only three hits.  The sleeper player that you don’t see in the box score is our new shortstop Alex Gonzalez who probably saved 3 hits and a few runs tonight.  JD drew also knocked in 2 home runs

Consider that in the first inning Lester let the bases loaded with no outs! He then went on to pitch a gem of a ball game. Victor Martinez also homered and the Sox complete the sweep just in time for the Yankees to roll in to town this weekend.

Sox Sign Byrd, Again

Boston Adds Veteran Presence For Stretch-Run

For most people, it’s the early bird who gets the worm, but for Paul Byrd, good things come to those who wait.  
The Boston Red Sox announced the signing of veteran righthander Paul Byrd, who was acquired by the Sox in 2008 from the Cleveland Indians, and went 4-2 with a 4.78 ERA in 49 innings for Boston last year.  This time around, the Sox snagged Byrd who hasn’t pitched at all this season and will most likely be called up to the major leagues when rosters expand on September 1st.
The acquisition of Byrd gives the Sox some more flexibility when it comes to the starting rotation and bullpen.  With John Smoltz and Brad Penny sputtering as of late, the Sox could use another veteran arm to get the job done.  However, issues still arise about how much the 38-year-old Byrd still has left in the tank.  
Nevertheless, Byrd will ease the mind of Theo Epstein and company if one of the Red Sox starters goes down with injury (or ineffectiveness).  On a side note, Daisuke Matsuzaka is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session next Tuesday in hopes of joining the big club sometime before the end of the season.

Sox Can’t Get It Done In Tampa

In a marathon long game that took 13 innings the Sox couldn’t get it done in a game they probably didn’t deserve to win anyway.

Cowbells clanging and fans roaring, what once appeared to be a tidy victory turned into an exhausting 4-2 loss in 13 innings for the Red Sox at their recent house of horrors, Tropicana Field. In the end, amid a contest that started Tuesday night and ended just shortly after midnight on Wednesday, a familiar theme emerged for the Red Sox: It was too much Evan Longoria.

The All-Star third baseman clocked his second homer of the night, a two-run walk-off blast with two outs in the bottom of the 13th against Takashi Saito.-Full Story By RedSox.com

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

Big Papi, Big Problem

 Red Sox Designated Hitter Deals With Allegations

If you had to pick one player, last week, who best exemplifies what it means to be a Boston Red Sox, would it have been David Ortiz?

How about now?

David Ortiz is no longer the pure hitter and person that we thought he was. Big Papi got greedy, stuck his hand in the cookie jar, and got fat off the benefits.  Boston’s slugger has been nothing but clutch since coming to Fenway Park from the Metrodome.  Unfortunately, now, we know that Papi had a little help.

Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are among the 104 major league players who tested positive for performance-enhancing substances in 2003.  Ortiz’ name is the latest to come out, but he wasn’t the first and he certainly won’t be the last.

So what does this recent revelation do for Red Sox fans and baseball fans? Do we change our image and perception of the once feared slugger or do we just look the other way?

These questions will be answered with time but it’s disheartening and shocking to learn that one of our own, David Ortiz, in some way or another, cheated the game of baseball and cheated us.  Big Papi and Manny are not the only two Red Sox players that ever used performance-enhancing drugs, but they are the latest victims to be announced. However, lets keep in mind that the real victims of the steriod era are the players, who stayed clean and kept the game of baseball pure, at least for themselves.

Big Papi, we love you, but if these allegations are true, you have burned a little hole in our hearts and have forever etched a word into our minds.

Cheater.

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)

Sox To Retire Jim Rice’s Number

The Boston Red Sox plan on retiring No. 14 before Tuesday night’s game with the Oakland Atheltics after Jim Rice was inducted into the baseabll Hall of Fame this past weekend.

Rice’s No. 14 will join the likes of Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin, Johnny Pesky, Carl Yastrzemski, Ted Williams and Carlton Fisk as the only numbers to be retired by the Boston Red Sox.

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.