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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox: Same Team Different Faces



Why should we be so excited over the Red Sox winning the AL East for the second year in a row? After all, we won it in 2016 and we still got trounced by the Cleveland Indians in the first round, without making a whimper of resistance. Same team; different faces. Right?

Hey, at least we’re not in that Wild Card Game skirmish like the Yankees!

The Sox will be taking on the Houston Astros in game 1 of the 2017 ALDS, on Thursday night. They’ll endeavor to defeat one of the best teams in the MLB, in a 3 game series, without the invaluable leadership of Big Papi. This is the season subsequent to David Ortiz’s departure from both the Sox and baseball, so it’s understandable that foreboding and defeatism abounds. Boston has not been in this territory, without Ortiz at the helm, for well over a decade now.

But where we have lost our beloved iteration of “Mr. October” we’ve gained something that many would consider to be more integral to any solid postseason team, something that we really didn’t have in 2016: Starting pitching.

This new component is greatly polished by the talents of ace Chris Sale and his trusty sidekick Drew Pomeranz. Taking sort of a myopic, yet calculated, look at Boston’s path in the 2017 postseason, it’s evident that we should be able to get off to a strong start against the Astros - much stronger than the start that we got off to last year.  

The Hand You’re Dealt

Okay so Houston may have lead the MLB in runs per game in 2017, at 5.33. And sure, they hit about 1.5 HR’s per game, where the Sox barely averaged 1. But believe it or not, this is quite a favorable matchup for Boston. According to the aggregate statistics, we have the Astros’ number. The flare of Houston’s hitting has been historically extinguished by the current members of the Sox starting rotation, namely by southpaws Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz.

Collectively Houston batters have a .227 BA, against the dynamic-duo of Sale and Pomeranz. That stat is derived from a considerable sample size of 217 AB’s. Including sluggers like Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, the Astros have a measly team OPS of .624 against the Sox frontmen. Bear in mind that this is practically .200 lower than their overall 2017 OPS of .823. It’s clear that the Red Sox have an inherent advantage here.

Chris Sale has the more impressive record of the two lefties. He’ll be bolstering an opponent BA of .205 and an OPS of .535, going up against Houston in the first postseason start of his career.

Sale has been scrupulously tested in the regular season. But, as we all know, October is a singular contest.

Getting the Ball Rolling

An impassioned competitor, Sale will be pitching in Game 1 on 7-days rest - a full week. Hopefully, his yearning to win will have festered him to the point of athletic belligerence when it comes time for him to toe the rubber on Thursday. We’ve heard from Sale strong asseverations concerning the postseason, such as “this is what I’m here for”. Well, it’s now or never.

If Chris Sale could secure for the Red Sox a pivotal opening victory, it would inoculate this young team with the confidence that they need to go on a serious postseason run. Such a streak would help to separate Boston from the haunting shadow of Big Papi’s absence.

This is an absolutely enthralling time to be a fan of the Sox. Finally, David Ortiz alone is not the barometer for our potential success in October. We got here without him, and come Thursday night, we should see how we can win without him.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

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Boston Red Sox

Pat’s Back on Track, Sale Lets us Down, Cam’s Big Mouth




There comes a time, but once a year, when the respective schedules of 3 decorated Boston Sports teams overlap. It is the most sanctified of trifectas. One could call it the sports equivalent of a three-way eclipse. When such a thing happens, the real-world is opaqued and overshadowed by it’s importance.

Okay, ditching the bombast now.

On this past Thursday, the Red Sox, the Bruins and the Patriots all participated in very important games. This smorgasbord of sports was served at a most opportune time for New Englanders. We were all starting to get a tad depressed, considering the most recent downward trend of our beloved franchises.

I mean going into Thursday night, the Patriots were tied with the New York Jets in the AFC East. That sentence alone encapsulates just how poorly things have been going here in Boston, as of late.

How will we ever get through this densely entangled mess of Boston Sports? You already know: It’s time for another highly anticipated edition of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Surrender Game 1, Defeated from the Start



Chris Sale was not wearing his usual expression of professional ferocity. His whole body sighed as he stepped back onto the mound, totally deflated. A powerless John Farrell frowned as he gazed from the dugout, his chin resting apathetically in his palm. It was the portrait of defeat.

The crestfallen ace, Chris Sale, had just given up another home run to Jose Altuve. Houston now lead by 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th. At this point it was preordained: The Astros would win the first game of the 2017 ALDS. They ended up shellacking the Red Sox, on Thursday afternoon, 8-2.

It wasn’t the score that was the most disheartening element of this game; it wasn’t the severe underperformance of the starter Chris Sale. No, what was most unnerving about this Game 1 loss was the hopeless atmosphere that surrounded Boston during entire the contest.

Right out of the gate, it was apparent that the Sox did not have the resolve necessary to get the win, nor the tenacity to find it. This can be attributed to the reverberating absence of a leader in the clubhouse.

The only good news: There’s still plenty of time for somebody to step up. A lot can change over the course of a 5-game series.

The Blind Leading the Blind

This question has dogged the Red Sox, like a phantom predator, all season long: Who leads this team? It’s not a matter of statistics; leadership deals with the qualitative not the quantitative. Which one of these guys has the audacity to pick his teammates up when they’re on the verge of surrender?

Dustin Pedroia vehemently asserted that he was “right here”, when the Red Sox were searching for a captain earlier in the season. But he’s certainly not walking the walk, now that October has arrived. In the midst of an “0 for” day, he meandered about the dugout, distraught and abstracted by personal frustrations. Pedroia delivered no inspirational speech. And it didn’t seem as though that any Boston player would have been susceptible to such a turn-it-around moment.


It has become a hackneyed topic, but we now realize what the players meant when they spoke about the “intangibles” of an inveterate leader like David Ortiz.

Without the infallibility of a cold-blooded veteran, this postseason game turned out to be a 9 inning long concession made to the Houston Astros.

Boston: David Ortiz is gone. The guy that we called “Papi” is no longer here to give this team a piggyback ride to the finish line. A personality like his is so singular and so inestimably rare. To expect a player on this Sox roster to suddenly mutate into an Ortiz impersonator is completely absurd. However, it is not too outlandish to hope that someone, be it a pitcher or a position-player, can grab the reigns of this series before the Fat Lady starts her song.

A strong individual performance could be enough to kindle the spark. One pivotal play is all it takes to ignite the fire in the proverbial belly of a team. Presumably, such a play will have to come from a younger guy like Jackie Bradley or Mookie Betts. This Red Sox team has glaring on-paper potential: They just need a heavy-handed slap in the face to materialize it.

If it’s any consolation, every returning member of the Boston Red Sox is currently having nightmares of yesteryear. Hopefully that will prove to be sufficient motivation for somebody to rise up.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Lack True Star Power



Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are playing game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday against the Houston Astros and you know what? Nobody seems to care. Of course, you have the hardcore fans who do, but as a whole, the fans seem to be polarized by what the Boston Celtics are doing in preseason.

So what is wrong with the Red Sox? What has driven away or what has failed to bring the fans in? There are a number of things that could be affecting the lack of hype surrounding the team, some are more relevant than others.

  1. Not replacing David Ortiz
  2. David Price vs Dennis Eckersley
  3. Dustin Pedroia vs Manny Machado
  4. John Farrell no being a fan favorite manager
  5. Stars take a step back

Boston’s star players took a step back in 2017. The players that filled the gap just weren’t as polarizing. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts took steps back. Both are young players who have always projected to be star players. Betts was even an MVP candidate last season, but for some reason, he took a giant leap backward. A player like Mitch Moreland stepped in and helped plug the gap, but he isn’t going to light up the rating box.

Another player that has fallen off is Hanley Ramirez who has failed to step into the shoes of Ortiz and had a down year after a solid 2016 campaign.

The one star you can point to and say wow is Chris Sale. Sale was electric for much of the season despite a late stumble in the month of September. Sale, however, is a pitcher and lacks the excitement of a power hitter or a positional star.

Maybe I am getting this all wrong and there is hype surrounding the playoff baseball Red Sox. But for some reason, a team that has won back-to-back AL East Crowns there isn’t any excitement or chatter surrounding them. NESN ratings were down to start the 2017 season, but those have reportedly picked up in the summer heading down the stretch.

Admittedly this could be the continuation of baseball’s decline in America, but the lack of polarizing stars seems to be a big factor. With the postseason upon us hopefully fan interest picks up, but when a preseason Celtics game has a higher buzz than a postseason baseball series, there might be a problem.

TV ratings for baseball is still high, but the buzz just isn’t there anymore.

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