By Chris Cue
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.
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
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.
By Chris Cue
April 18, 2009
What was it we were saying about hoping the bats would wake up? What a great effort by the Red Sox last night. Down 7-0 in the second inning, Brad Penny tossing up meatballs for the Orioles to clobber and the good guys didn’t give up. The bats came alive at the right time and pulled out a victory from what looked to be a certain defeat. Some stellar pitching from the Bullpen by Manny DelCarmen and Ramon Ramirez helped stop the bleeding. Combined, they pitched 4 scoreless innings allowing only 3 hits from the 4th and into the 8th inning. That proved to be enough for the Boston offense to finally come alive and score the 10 runs needed to rob the O’s from a win.
While this was no “Mothers Day Miracle”, it was a great comeback lead by Jason Bay, J.D. Drew and a clutch hit by Nick Green. Patience at the plate, a walk here, and key hit there and the Sox were in business. That was by all accounts a team win. After Penny’s poor performance, it seemed like everyone took this game on their back and brought it home. Good stuff and great to see the Sox put one together. Now all we need is to see Big Papi come to life. From what I understand, he’s got that well under control….
“Bats, they are sick. I cannot hit curveball. Straightball I hit it
very much. Curveball, bats are afraid. I ask Jobu to come, take fear
from bats. I offer him cigar, rum. He will come.”
(Pedro Cerrano from Major League)
I’ll drink to that 🙂 Today they’ll be looking to add another “W” with Beckett on the mound facing Orioles RHP Adam Eaton. Game time is 7:10pm est and will be shown on NESN.
Let’s go for 2 in a row!
Enjoy the game and GO SOX!!
By Chris Cue
April 16, 2009
Are you a “Give me the bad news first” kind of person? If you are, then what has transpired over the last several days should fall right into line with how you like to deal with things. You’re probably happy that if there is going to be bad news, that you get it out of the way now instead of August or September. You’re also probably right about that. Any team that is going to have to deal with issues regarding players is better off knowing what the problems are early instead of late. In the Red Sox case, the problems may not be long term, but better to deal with adversity now then when it really counts.
Let’s start with Josh Beckett and his 6 game suspension. A case can be made either way on if it was deserved or not, but how the Red Sox played this one is key. The team could have opted to have Beckett begin his suspension immediately and that would have allowed the remainder of the starters to stay on regular rest. Thus, Beckett’s absence wouldn’t really have effected the teams rotation in terms of needing a spot starter or someone pitching on short rest. However, instead of doing that, the Red Sox opted to appeal the suspension. Understand, very few disciplinary judgments are ever reversed on appeal, so not taking advantage of the timing was a bit peculiar on the Red Sox part for the onlookers of this situation. Once again, what appeared to be an odd decision by the Red Sox front office to us, turned out to be a smart decision based on knowledge they had that most others didn’t. If the Red Sox had allowed Beckett to use the timely suspension, where would the team be now considering Matsuzaka’s condition? It’s seems pretty clear that the Red Sox thought something might be up with Dice-K, so delaying Beckett’s suspension by appealing it was the smart move.
It seems that everyone and their Grandmother wants to blame the WBC for Matsuzaka’s “Dead Arm” problem. A word to the wise here: Pitchers get dead arm problems whether the WBC is being played or not. It happens. That’s not to say that the WBC wasn’t a contributing factor, it more then likely was. However, going back to the “Do you want the bad news now or later?” mentality, isn’t it better to have this happen now rather then later in the season when he is really being depended on? Make no mistake about it, this dead arm issue would have reared it’s ugly head not matter what sometime this season. Matsuzaka’s workload last season and his early throwing routine this year simply made the issue appear sooner rather then later. As crazy as it may sound, be thankful it happened now and not in August. Only being 3.5 games back in April is a lot easier to overcome then being 3.5 games back in August or September. There’s plenty of time and the Red Sox have plenty of options. This isn’t a make it or break it time of year, so knock on wood that once Dice-K is back, he’ll fresh for the remainder of the season. He just needs to give his arm time to recuperate and then he should be fine….at least that’s the teams hope.
Jed Lowrie was the source of more bad news for the Red Sox this week. Lowrie who looked so good in Spring Training was clearly struggling at the plate during the first part of this season. We now know why. Lowrie was attempting to play through soreness in the same wrist that had given him problems last season. Lowrie showed up Monday and informed Terry Francona of the problem he was having. Tito said: “The more we started talking to him and pushing a little bit, (we) realized we needed to get this thing checked out.“. The team sent Lowrie back to Boston and after visits to several doctors, the decision was finally made to treat the injury with a few well placed shots and a couple of weeks of rest. The Red Sox feel confident that after this rehab period is over, Lowrie should be very close to good as new. Nick Green will fill in for Lowrie until that period of time is over. Green, who is an excellent defender should limit the impact of this injury for the short term. Remember too that Julio Lugo isn’t far from returning either. Once he is up and running the Red Sox should then be stocked and ready to go…..hopefully getting the injury bug out of the way sooner rather than later.
Keep your fingers crossed that indeed is the case. All things being equal, health is sure to be the major factor when it comes to who is and who is not playing into late October.
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?
By Chris Cue
April 1. 2009
This isn’t an “April Fools Day” joke, nor should it be considered one. Both Nick Green and Chris Carter were announced as “probable”opening day members of the Red Sox yesterday. Green would be the temporary fill in for Julio Lugo on the bench and Chris Carter will fill Mark Kotsay’s spot as the 4th OF-1B. Lugo is expected to be back and ready to play within a few weeks of the season opener. At that time, Green will be optioned back to Pawtucket and Chris Carter will likely follow sometime in mid- May when Kotsay returns.
As presently constructed, here is the opening day bench for the Red Sox:
(L) David Ortiz DH
(R) Rocco Baldelli OF-DH
(L) George Kottaras C
(R) Nick Green IF-OF
(L) Chris Carter 1B-OF
Most of the concern this season surrounds Third baseman Mike Lowell and his ability to play after recovering from hip surgery. The Red Sox are well covered there without the need for a bench player to fill a backup role for him. Both Kevin Youkilis and Jed Lowrie are fine defensive Third baseman. Therefore, the only need on the roster is for the bench to provide backup for their positions at 1B and SS. With yesterday’s announcement, it’s clear that Carter will backup Youkilis at 1B in case he needs to move across the diamond and Green will provide depth at SS/2B should Lowrie be needed at Third.
While all of this is certainly exciting for both players, it comes with one caveat. Both Green and Carter were told they would be going North with the team to play the Mets at Citi-Field, but were cautioned that a last minute trade or waiver claim could still have them starting their season in Pawtucket. There have been no rumblings of a pending deal by the Sox, but that’s not unusual considering how the organization keeps news like that from leaking out. So, there still remains the possibility that neither will actually make the team, however at this late date, it seems likely that they will.
The only other position on the Red Sox 25 man roster that is still being talked about is the 5th Starting Pitchers slot. The Red Sox have said all along that position belongs to Brad Penny, however there are indications that Penny may not be ready in time for his April 12th start. Buchholz who had been stellar until yesterday’s outing against the Rays, is still the leading candidate to fill that position if Penny is indeed thought to need more time. So, for now, Buchholz remains in limbo awaiting a decision by Pitching Coach Jim Farrell and Head Coach Terry Francona on his opening day role. Most signs are pointing in the direction that Penny will be given more time and that Buchholz will be needed, but that is far from a certainty at this point. Brad Penny is scheduled to pitch today against the Pittsburgh Pirates. There is no doubt how he fares today, could be the deciding factor in Buchholz’s fate. Will he be the 5th starter for the Boston Red Sox or a starting pitcher for the AAA Paw Sox? He should know which it is going to be shortly after today’s game.
By Chris Cue
January 7, 2009
Heading into the first full week of January 2009, it would be an understatement to say that the Red Sox haven’t made any “Front Page” signings this off season. I would however, like to address what has been done and what has been attempted to be done by this front office.
First, a subject by now most of us are probably sick of, but I continue to read comments about it so maybe I’m in the minority here. Frankly, I’m over the whole Mark Teixeira to the Red Sox issue. I’ve made my opinions known on that deal long before he joined the Yankees. However, there remains a large number of fans that continue to blame the Red Sox front office (mainly John Henry and Theo Epstein) for “not getting it done”. Well, I’ve got news for you.
In an interveiw with Mike Francessa on WFAN (link HERE), Mark Teixeira made it known that his wife was a huge factor in his decision. “My wife loves New York” he said. What he said he was looking for when trying to decide on a team is the following:
1). Close proximity to his extended family in Baltimore and Atlanta.
2). His family’s happiness
3). A chance to win every year
4). The contract
Mark also said that the Yankees were always in the mix noting that Scott Boras and Brian Cashman had kept an open dialogue all along.
I read an article by Tony Massarotti (a well know Teixeira lover and critic of the front office in this) that Mark had made up his mind that New York is where he wanted to play 2 weeks prior to agreeing on a contract. You’ll remember that the Red Sox met with him 1 week prior to him agreeing to terms with the Yankees.
The link to the Mazz article is HERE and here’s the quote.
“…..let the record show that Teixeira acknowledged that he
all but decided on the Yankees two weeks before Christmas, during a
Dec. 12 dinner with his wife, Leigh, at the cou ple’s Dallas-area
country club. And let the record show, too, that the Teixeiras’ weekly
date came precisely six days before the Red Sox’ fateful and fruitless
visit to Dallas in hopes of closing a deal with the player.”
He made that decision based on the 1-4 criteria mentioned above as described in the Francessa interview. These are no longer rumors, they are facts. Now here’s my question. How can someone acknowledge that Teixeira never intended to sign with Boston, yet still hold the front office accountable for “not getting it done”? You can’t have it both ways here. It doesn’t wash unless you think they should have offered him a contract that essentially was worth 10 years and 220 million dollars. If that’s the case, then you’ll have to excuse me if I think you need your baseball head examined.
The gut feeling I have here is that John Henry’s email he sent to the press after meeting with Teixeira, meant what it said. “It’s clear we are not going to be a factor”. I suspect that the Red Sox contingent that met with Teixeira knew what was going on and bowed out of the race so they wouldn’t be used any further. That’s not a fact, but purely speculation on my part.
The facts are he was never realistically going to play for the Red Sox. So, is it finally possible we can put this issue to bed? I sure hope so. I’m beyond tired of it.
Second on the list is a look at what the Red Sox have done recently. We’re talking about the signings of Brad Penny, Josh Bard and the latest, (yikes!) Nick Green. I think it would be fair of you to say I’m not overly impressed with these signings. However, other then Brad Penny, Bard & (yikes again!) Green may never make the Major League club. Bard was signed to a non-guaranteed contract and (OK I won’t say it again) Green was signed to a minor league deal that included an opportunity to comepete for the middle infielder bench role.
These are not “Front Page” signings. They do however serve a purpose, even if that purpose is only for us to kill more time by asking more questions.
Is Bard really going to try and catch Wakefield again?
Is (omg) Green really here in case we trade Lugo?
Is Penny really our 4th starter?
Call me a “pollyanna” or a “Glass half full” kinda guy if you will, but I really have a hard time believing that those 3 acquisitions are considered by the Theo Epstein to be “The Master Plan” going into the 2009 season. If they are, heaven help us. No, I think we still have some work to do in the “Let’s improve the team” department. I don’t think Theo is quite done yet. I do think that this team as constituted (minus the catching vacancy), is ready to compete next season and keep us close enough by the trading deadline to warrant a significant move at that time if one is not available now. Still, I think a move or two will be made prior to opening day. Stay tuned because this isn’t the final solution (we hope).
Third and finally, as teams begin to firm up their rosters, watch out for all the “Expert” predictions that will follow. You’ve seen it before. Several weeks prior to the season openers, these folks line up and write about who will and who won’t be in the running this year. Take these with a VERY large grain of salt. There is no evidence that any of these people will come any closer then +/-10 games to the final results. In fact, if you want to call yourself an expert and predict how many games the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays will each win, do the following:
Get a dart board and hang it on a wall
Re-label the numbers on it starting with 87 wins and ending with 97 wins
Blind fold yourself
Throw a dart.
What ever number it lands on is as good a guess as any of the so-called experts. Trust me on this one. Sure, you’ll find out by seasons end that one or two blind squirrels were able to find a nut, but it won’t be because they knew something you didn’t. It’ll be more luck then anything else. When you’re looking at a plus or minus 10 game variable in Baseball, that 10 is a HUGE number. The games are played on a field not a chalk board and there’s good reason for it.