Tagged: Jacoby Ellsbury

Open Letter to Terry Francona

By Chris Cue

Hey Tito…..

My Man, I’ve got a few things I’d like you to
consider. Let’s start with the everyday lineup. I know you struggle
daily with this, but I’m just trying to help here so hear me out.

ever hear of going with the hot hand? Well, the same applies to “hot
bats”, so let’s say we do this…..for now (depending on who is

Ellsbury – CF
Pedroia – 2B
Martinez – C (Yes, I’ve heard how he doesn’t hit when he catches…it’s BS)
Youkilis – 3B
Bay – LF
Lowell – DH
Drew – RF
Kotchman – 1B
Green – SS

know Papi & Tek are the vets and they may get rubbed the wrong way
and everything, but just tell them that you love them, rub their backs,
pat their heads and sit them the “F” down for a while OK?

       OK, glad we cleared that problem up. Now let’s talk about the
pitching. First the bullpen. Do yourself, the team and us a favor and
don’t put poor MDC in a situation where he might give up a lead. I like
the guy and all, but he doesn’t perform well under pressure. Maybe
think about stretching him out for long relief. I think he’d do well
there. Now, here’s the deal on Daniel Bard. He’s a kid and you have to
expect some adjustment time. I know he’s made you say bad words his
last few outings, but really, give him a break. He’s got great stuff.
He just needs a little time. Leave him and the rest of the fella’s
right where they are.

I know this next topic is a sore spot so I’ll try to approach it gingerly.

Starting Pitching.

Beckett & Jon Lester have done great. Please give them all the
candy and ice cream they want…..heck, take them out and shoot some
pool with them too if you think they would appreciate it. They’ve
earned it.

Brad Penny is a different story. By all means
necessary, keep him away from the candy & ice cream. It’s not that
he’s a bad guy, but let’s be honest, he REALLY doesn’t need that stuff.
However, if you’re determined to treat everyone equally, then I might
suggest a rewards program for him. You know, if he has a 1,2,3
inning….give the slob a Hershey bar. If he has more then one of
those, take him to Dairy Queen where he can watch the fat chicks eat
sundae’s. He may back off on the sweets after that. Oh yeah, if he ever
sees the light of day known as the 7th inning, I think you should give
him the keys to the vending machine and let him have at it.

Incentives Tito….think “incentives”.

Buchholz is easy. Just tell him if he gets the “W” he gets his
Penthouse Magazine back…..other wise keep it yourself….just don’t
let the Mrs. know you’ve got it.

Tazawa…..hmmm He’s kind of a
tough one. You may have to play this one by ear. Just do yourself a
favor and don’t tell him how well his countryman Dice-K has done for us
in the past…..he might try to emulate him. WE DON’T WANT THAT. Dice
is a great guy and all, but really who wants to see the bases loaded
all the time and a magic act that nobody really appreciates. Just tell
him to go out there and strike MFers out. Simple as that. Heck, if it
helps build his confidence, tell him he’s taller then Pedroia.

OK, that’s it for now Tito. Let me know if I can be of anymore help.



Darn it. I knew I’d forget something…

I have this friend of mine that say’s John Henry is cheap, Theo is
inept and that you’re in a coma. I hope that’s not the case, so could
you do me a favor? The wife, kid and I are coming to see you guys this
Wednesday & Thursday. Would it be too much to ask that John Henry
buy us a round? Could Theo arrange parking for us at Fenway? And do you
think you could say “Hi” to us while we’re there?

I only ask because I’d like to prove my buddy wrong.

Thanks again!


Fickle Fans

By Chris Cue
April 13, 2009


     Judging by comments made on articles and chat sites I’ve
read, it appears there is a vocal minority out there that don’t check their
calendars very often. I’m not talking about just Red Sox fans either. Six games
into the season, the panic members of several teams fan bases have begun their
“Sky is Falling” predictions.


     We’ve had these “It’s Early” conversations before haven’t
we? We are 6 games into the season. Let me repeat that. WE ARE 6 GAMES INTO THE
SEASON. Having major concerns at this point is jumping the gun a bit don’t ya
think? It shouldn’t surprise anyone that some players have started the season
Hot or Cold. It happens every year. I’m sure fans all over would like to see
their teams “plans” come together and be firing on all cylinders from
day one, but that rarely (if ever) happens.

So, yes I’m sure Red Sox fans would feel really great right now if Papi was
hitting long ball after long ball, if Ellsbury had an OBP near .500, If Dice,
Lester and Wake had shut out the teams they faced, if Jed Lowrie was 12 for 24
at the plate, if Mike Lowell suddenly found some blazing speed and if the Sox
were 6-0…..but that kind of stuff doesn’t happen right away with some players
or teams. In some cases, it never will all year, but you have to find out what
you have don’t you? You have to stay the course and allow some of these guys to
play up to their norm or potential.

Every team has a game plan going into the season, however that exact plan is
rarely still being executed once July rolls around. Teams and players are
streaky. A few get hot and stay that way and some only show flashes of what
they should be. But 6 games into the season…on April 13th….. is not when
Management or coaches should step back and analyze results to either make
changes or not. Can you imagine what the Red Sox lineup would be tomorrow if
they did that? With his current OBP Bay would be our lead off hitter, Youkilis
would be the DH, JD Drew would be batting 8th or 9th and Nick Green would be the everyday SS.

I’m not saying that team management should wait 3 months before deciding what
is going to work and what’s not, but after 6 games? It might be different if we
were talking about elite players that are injured and out for the season, but
that’s not the case here. I mean c’mon, it really is a little early to be
overly concerned about much isn’t it? What do you say some of you sit back and
see how things begin to progress to the norm before you start calling for key
players to be benched or replaced? This isn’t your first Major League season is
it? Or is it?



1-3 Not to Worry

By Chris Cue
April 11, 2009

     You can bet that the Red Sox didn’t want to start the season in a 1 and 3 hole like this, but even in their losses good things have happened. Last nights game against the Angels was almost a given “L” in the Win/Loss column. With the Angels playing with so much emotion following their tragic loss of Nick Adenhart, I’m not sure how any team facing them last night could have had the desire to win that game. That is truely a very sad story and difficult time for all of baseball, but especially for the Angels. If the Sox had to lose one, it seems quite appropriate that it happened last night.

     We have seen several good signs in these losses. Jacoby Ellsbury putting it together to get on base twice last night was a step in the right direction. Mike Lowell, speed deminished and all, looks as slick in the field as ever and he’s putting good wood on the ball as well. In fact, most of the Red Sox players are squaring up on pitches. It’s just a matter of time before those start to find some holes. For some reason the Red Sox offense always seems to struggle a bit when Wakefield is on the mound. Whether that’s due to the slower pace of the game or just pure coincidence is up to you to decide. Wakefield was not in a fantastic groove last night, but he did manage a quality start. Had a few of those hits found holes, we may have had an entirely different ballgame.

     This afternoon, Joe Saunders will go to the mound for the Angels to face the Red Sox. Saunders, who has a career 4-0 record against the Sox is comming off an impressive start vs the Oakland A’s. His career 2.89era in 6 games vs the Red Sox would appear to spell trouble for the team today. However, you’ll need to factor in the law of averages. In my book, the Red Sox are due for a win. This is however, Saunders most productive month of the season. His April numbers in 2 full seasons are a daunting 8-0 with a 1.94 career era.

     For the Red Sox, Brad Penny will make his team debut. Penny who is sure to be on a pitch count going into today needs to be efficient if he hopes to go deep into the game. Terry Francona no doubt is hoping to get at least 6IP out of Penny today. In the Angels ballpark, Penny has a career record of 1-2 with a 5.68era. He’ll need to do much better then that today if he hopes to come away with the win. If Penny can get a little help from the bats waking up today, that would go a long way to making this one a “W” for the Sox. The team looks primed and ready to have a break out game. Let’s hope it follows as solid effort on the mound by Penny.

Game time today is 4:10pm ET and is the National broadcast on FOX (although regional coverage may affect that in some areas).

Since tomorrow is a day for families, friends and faith, I’ll be taking the day off as well. So, I’ll wish you a Happy Easter today.

Enjoy the games and GO SOX!!

One Down, 161 To Go

By Chris Cue
April 8, 2009

     Nice win for the Red Sox for the home opener yesterday afternoon. Josh Beckett looked absolutely filthy. 7 innings pitched, 1 run, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts. That’s nasty! It couldn’t have happened against a better team either. The Red Sox looking dominant over the Rays kind of puts into perspective what our problem was last season in the playoffs. Pitching. If yesterday’s Josh Beckett had shown up in the ALCS, things may have turned out much differently. No matter, he didn’t so we have to hope that this is just a glimpse of the Beckett we can expect to see this season.

     How about that MVP…..”The Little Engine”……Dustin Pedroia hits a homerun in his first at bat. You gotta love this guy. You just know his teamates got an ear full after the game. Add to that, Jason Varitek…..yes……VARITEK hits a homerun from the LEFT side of the plate. Do ya think he’s out to prove his critic’s wrong this year? I sure as heck hope we see more of that Jason. In fact, everyone in the lineup got a hit yesterday except for Jacoby Ellsbury and his day will come. It was a great start to the 09 season for the Sox!

      Today we have Jon Lester on the mound facing Scott Kazmir.  Kazmir has been tough on the Sox in past seasons. He is 4-4 while pitching at Fenway. His troubles during the second half of last year were because he was having trouble locating that slider of his. If he has that going today, the Sox could be in for a long day. Lester on the other hand may be a much bigger problem for the Rays. He’s  16-2 lifetime at Fenway with a  3.30era. Coming off a breakthough season, much is expected of Lester this season. Hopefully, he’ll have the same kind of start Beckett did yesterday. As early in the season as it is, it wouldn’t stink to go up by 2 games on the Rays to begin the year.

     Game time tonight is 7:10pm and is being broadcast on NESN. Enjoy the game and let’s go SOX!!

Spring Training: Francona, Epstein News and Notes

By Chris Cue
February 13, 2009

     When Terry Francona and Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein sat down with reporters yesterday, they had a few updates on players yet to report to camp and each shared his feelings on several subjects involving the team and individual players.

Regarding where Mike Lowell currently is health wise….
Epstein: “(The reports we hear have) been pretty good. We just got an update yesterday that he’s not
experiencing any pain or any symptoms and he’s doing some baseball
activities. He hasn’t really run yet full-fledged, and that’s going to
be an important step for him, but he’s hitting and doing some other
baseball activities. We’re going to take it slow. We’re going to hold
him back. We’re not focused on what he looks like on the report date or
when the first exhibition date happens. The whole rehab is built around
the proper timetable, which happens to coincide with getting him ready
for opening day.”

Regarding the amount of Minor League players in camp this year….
Francona: “I love it. We just went through our second day of meetings. Today it
was the pitchers. We probably have a unique amount of young guys in our
major league camp this year, and that’s by design. It probably makes
for a more exciting camp for me and the coaches. There are some younger
kids that are going to see some time in games that don’t need to be
ready to make our ballclub, but that still doesn’t make camp less
exciting. If anything, it will be fun to watch their progression, how
they handle themselves.”

Managements thoughts on Jacoby Ellsbury and what the expectations are for this year….

Epstein: “I think Jacoby’s already an impact defender and an impact baserunner,
and I think based on his track record in the minor leagues this is a
guy we all feel is going to hit and get on base enough to be a real
weapon offensively, more so than he already is. The league adjusted to
him last year. They found a hole and really exploited it, which is
really common with young hitters. Now it’s his turn to adjust back.
He’s got the talent level and I think the drive to make the adjustment.
It will be fun to watch him play. We also I think have a roster that
can protect him a little bit, where maybe he’s ready to take that next
step. If he’s not, I don’t think it’s going to sink our club either.
We’re pretty bullish on Ellsbury long-term. He needs a chance to play.”

Regarding the clubs long term plans for the Catching position….
Epstein: “We have a number of good young catchers in camp, George Kottaras, Dusty
Brown, Mark Wagner. That said, we’ve been up-front that it’s an area
where we’re still probably out there looking for our catcher of the
future. One of these guys in our camp, one of the young guys, wants to
step forward and prove that he’s that guy, that would be great. We’re
always open to opportunities to improve outside the organization.”

On information contained in Manny Ramirez’s new book “Becoming Manny”….
Francona: “I was asked last night about it and I saw some excerpts. In what little I did see, it sounded like (it didn’t belong) in the non-fiction area of Barnes & Noble. My recollection of
some of that isn’t anywhere close (to what is in the book). And that’s disappointing. I think it was obvious over the years we bent over backwards to be fair not just with Manny, but with all of our players while at the same time having them understand that they need to be
accountable for their actions. I don’t apologize for anything that
happened. I thought we did the best we could.”

     It would be safe to assume that Tito thinks Manny is full of……..well, Manny.

     Real baseball activities begin tomorrow with scheduled workouts for the Pitchers and Catchers that are on hand. I’ll update this blog with any new information that may come out during the day.


Tito Talks Shop Heading Into Spring Training

By Chris Cue
February 4, 2009

     Terry Francona sat down for a little question and answer session with MLB.com’s Ian Browne recently. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read it, you’ll find the complete interview HERE.

     There are a few answers that Tito gave that I’d like to put my 2 cents in on. The first is his response to the Short Stop position heading into Spring Training.

Francona: Well, I would say right now it’s pretty wide open. I’ve never really been in that situation here. It’s kind of a unique situation. You’ve got a guy who you give a four-year deal to for a lot of money and he gets hurt. A guy comes in and plays really well for a while and then he kind of tails off — but again, he handled himself really well and I think his future is really bright. He was also injured, to boot. Saying that, I don’t know if I believe in competing in Spring Training. What we’ll do is we’ll sit down with both of them the first day, we’ll explain to them how we feel. And we’ll try to put the best team out on the field. I’m also a firm believer that things take care of themselves. We’re not going to look at their batting average every day and things like that. We’re just going to try to put our ballclub in the best position to win. However that ends up, it will be my responsibility.

My take: I think I would rather have heard him say something along the lines of “It’s Lowrie’s position to lose”, but knowing Tito, he gave the politically correct answer as usual. I’m fairly sure that the job is indeed Jed’s to lose, however Tito wouldn’t have said “It’s wide open” if Lugo didn’t have a shot at winning his spot back. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. Either way, you can expect Lugo to get a fair amount of playing time. $9 million sitting on the bench isn’t easy to trade away. He’ll have to see action if the club intends to explore trade opportunities for Julio’s services.

Tito also had this to say regarding Jason Varitek’s possible reduced role in 2009:

Francona: I’ve heard all the talk but I’ve never had anyone ask me before. I think it’s unfair to say that before the season starts. Knowing Tek, he works so hard. Just for me to come right out before the season starts and say, yeah, we’re going to do this or do that … you know what? That’s not the case. The season will take care of itself.

If Tek needs rest, that’s my responsibility, to know that he needs rest. But again, that’s like saying you’re going to pinch-hit for a guy in February. I really don’t want to. That’s like saying a guy is going to have a tough year before the year starts. We’re talking about the captain of our team, and he means a lot. I just have to be a believer in him so we’ll let it play itself out. If he needs rest, we’ll give it to him. And again, you have to realize, he will be 37 years old. I understand that. I don’t want to run him into the ground because I’ve probably done that before because we rely on him so much. We’ll try to use good judgment.

My take: Again, I think we’re seeing the politically correct answers from Tito regarding Varitek. Reading between the lines here is what I think is important. Tito wouldn’t have brought up his age, pinch hitting for him or the fact that they have used him too much in the past if it wasn’t a concern. What is clear is that Tito is willing to let the season and Jason’s play dictate what he will and won’t do. If Varitek is batting .280 into July, I’m pretty sure Tito isn’t going to be thinking about pinch hitting for him. The converse of that is if he’s batting .220 at that time. If that’s the case, then I think the Captain will need to sit down during the late innngs of close games.

     The entire Q&A is worth reading and I would encourage you to do so. Tito also covers other topic’s and players such as: John Smoltz, David Ortiz and Mike Lowell’s health concerns, Jacoby Ellsbury’s need for consistency, Clay Buccholz and Michael Bowden’s possible 2009 contributions, Daisuke’s involvement in the WBC, the addition of Rocco Baldelli to the club and he discusses his own health situation as well.

     Just as a side note: Truck Day is this Friday and Jon Lester is already in Ft. Myers!

     Go Baseball!!

Odds and Ends

Even during this slow news time for baseball there are a few rumblings and rumors that caught my eye. Nothing earth shattering as of yet, but I suspect the trade news and deals will begin to get underway relatively soon.

The first tid bit of information is along these lines and it’s an excerpt from this Boston Herald article posted today by Sean McAdam.

This a true OFF season

 (link HERE)

“…..of the 223 players eligible for free agency – most via standard free agency and some who weren’t tendered contracts last month – fewer than 60 had agreed to terms by the end of business Friday, leaving about 70 percent of the market unemployed as we head into the first full week of the new year.”


The sheer number of available players still remaining would seem to suggest that we are in for a very active January. Stay tuned….


Another peice of information worth noting is in regards to the inquirey the Red Sox made on Hanley Ramirez. This time, the info comes from Nick Cafardo’s normal Sunday contribution to the Boston Globe.

The most improved players

(link HERE

“…3. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins: The Marlins made it very clear to the inquiring Red Sox that Ramirez was not available. According to a source familiar with the talks, the Sox were quickly rebuffed and word is there was never mention of players the Red Sox could offer to entice the Marlins.”


If this is to be believed, then it’s clear there was never a mention of Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Justin Masterson, etc, being offered in exchange for Hanley Ramirez. It sounds like the Sox inquired, but were politely told that the Marlins had no interest in trading Hanley, so players names never came up.


The final tid bit isn’t really a rumor or a rumbling. It’s more of an observation then anything else.

I’ve been checking RedSox.com to see when the remainder of the regular season game tickets go on sale. No word yet, but I know it’ll be soon.

Anyway, while trying to decide which games I’d like to go to this year, I noticed that June & July seem to be the softer part of the Sox schedule this season. I only mention this because if for some reason we get off to a slow start, then these 2 months should allow us to gain some ground or if we’re doing well, perhaps pull ahead depending on our situation.
There are more road games in June then July, but we’re into inter-league play then. Here’s the schedule.

June Schedule:

Detroit for 3 – away
Tex for 3 – at home
NYY for 3 – at home
PHI for 3 – away
FLA for 3 – at home
ATL for 3 – at home
WAS for 3 – away
ATL for 3 – away
BAL for 2 – away

July Schedule:

BAL for 1 – away
SEA for 3 – at home
OAK for 3 – at home
KC for 4 – at home
TOR for 3 – away
TEX for 3 – away
BAL for 3 – at home
OAK for 3 – at home
BAL for 1 – away

September is going to be a tough month….2 off days and 17 road games. That’s a pretty rough way to wind down the season. However, rosters expanding and having plenty of call-ups should help as long as we’re not in a fight for our lives for a playoff spot.

A link to the season schedule is HERE.

Enjoy your Sunday!


The 2009 Red Sox Batting Order

By Chris Cue
December 14th, 2008

The 2009 season is months away, the off season acquisitions haven’t been completed by the front office yet and people are already debating what the batting order should be. I’ll assume it’s just boredom setting in, but if you’re hungry for talk about your team, it’s as good a place as any to start up a discussion, so here we go….

Before we get into this, let me hook you up with something that’s usually worth looking into. When the season gets much closer to starting, David Pinto over at Baseball Musings (Link HERE) does an analysis of every Major League team using what is believed to be their starting nine. His analysis calculates every possible batting order possible for the team, projects what each could theoretically do and factors in several variables to determine which batting order has the potential to produce the most. It’s interesting to look at if only for the fun of it. I view projections on future performance based on history as a nice betting tool…nothing more. In real life, they’re not as accurate as some would have you believe. I think a monkey actually beat some of the so-called “experts” on projections once, so take it for what it’s worth.

Getting back to the discussion of the Red Sox and their batting order, I’ve seen opinions that go from “It does not matter because you either have good hitters or you don’t” to others saying “It’s crucial to have the right batting order”. I suppose that there is a little truth in both cases. The way I see it, a teams batting order is important only to the extent that you want to see your best hitters get the most plate appearences. After that, it becomes more of a strategy as to where they should hit in that order.

I have several idea’s I’d like Terry Francona to try, but Tito does have his preferences. That would most likely rule out some of the idea’s I have, but I’ll offer up one and let you counter with thoughts of your own.

There’s a method to my madness. Let’s see if you can figure out what it is. Here ya go.

My 2009 Red Sox Batting Order:

This obviously assumes that Varitek will return and that no other changes will be made. If the team adds Teixeira, you can throw this right out the window. If we go with what we have, this is a lineup I think Tito would consider and one I’d like to see him try.
What’s yours?