Cespedes’ Home Run Victory

From ABC News:

“Yoenis Cespedes and the Boston Red Sox rebounded from an exhausting 19-inning loss with an energizing victory.

Cespedes hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, Rubby De La Rosa pitched five-hit ball into the eighth and the Red Sox won their first series in three weeks with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.

The teams had to go right back to work about 12 hours after a 6 1/2-hour epic won 5-4 by the Angels on Albert Pujols’ homer well after midnight. Most position players were exhausted, and neither team scored in the first seven innings on a hot day at Angel Stadium.

Cespedes broke it open with his first homer for his new team, driving a pitch from Joe Smith (4-1) into the Boston bullpen in left.

The Cuban slugger went 1 for 7 in the marathon, and the former Oakland All-Star was 0 for 3 in the series finale before he hurt Smith and the Angels again with his first homer in eight games for the defending World Series champions.

“I knew I hit it well, but I didn’t know it was going to be a home run,” Cespedes said through a translator. “(The power drought) doesn’t bother me or make me worry. I’m just putting good swings on the ball.”

Smith has been outstanding for the Angels, but Cespedes has either scored or driven in seven of the 14 runs he has allowed this season. Smith hadn’t allowed a run in 23 straight appearances over 23 2-3 innings before Cespedes connected to cap a rally started by first baseman Efren Navarro’s error.

Smith said he missed his location on the fateful slider by “a lot. About 428 feet, I think. … Every time I miss, he’s on it. That’s what good hitters do. I missed and he got me. We’ll battle again in about a week.”

Mike Trout hit his 27th homer in the eighth for the Angels, matching his total from last season.

Both teams needed strong starts, and both pitchers came through.

Hector Santiago threw six scoreless innings of two-hit ball for the Angels, allowing just one runner to reach third.

De La Rosa (4-4) was even better in his first victory in four starts. With Dan Butler making his major league debut at catcher, De La Rosa had eight strikeouts and blanked the Angels until Trout’s homer on his 110th pitch.

“I had a rhythm, and I was really confident,” De La Rosa said.

Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his 25th save, striking out pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton with a runner on as Boston took two of three from the powerful Angels.”

 

A Stellar Return for Mike Carp

Mike Carp, the 28 year old left fielder and first baseman for the Red Sox, has had a fantastic return to the game this week.

And to be fair, with career stats like his, I guess we all shouldn’t be so surprised. He was a ninth round selection for the Mets in the 2004 drafting, hit 19 home runs out of 313 bats in 2005, then won the Mets’ Sterling Award in 2006 for being the organization player of the year. 2007 was a tough year plagued by injuries, but 2008 he came back strong, setting career highs in average, on-base percentage, OPS, doubles, homers, and walks. For that season, Carp hit .299/.403/.471/.874 (143 for 478, 67 runs, 29 2b, 3b, 17 HR, 72 RBI, 79/88 BB/K.

2009 – 2011 were all good years for Carp, making his major league debut, getting called up several times at critical points, and then being traded to the Red Sox in 2013. It was a lucky trade for the Sox, as Carp hit a go-ahead grand slam which won us a crucial game. He’s continued to be a ballast of the team.

So after spending over a month on the disabled list with a broken left foot, he was finally re-activated this week for the game with the Chicago White Sox. He delivered a pinch-hit single in David Ross’ place in the 10th innings, pushing the Red Sox over the line to beat Chicago 4-3.

Mike’s blaze of glory could really not have come at a better time. The Red Sox have been floundering all season – we won the World Championships last year, but it’s really all been downhill from there, to being in last place in AL East.

This win means we’ll be able to head out to Houston for the three-game series. If we can pull it together for those games, then we could potentially have a shot at making it to the All Stars this year. Time will tell.

 

Sweet Mercy, A Win!

Just when we all thought we were staring down our eleventh (!) consecutive loss for the 2014 season, fate stepped into this last game.

To sum it up neatly:

“With the Sox down by five runs Monday and on the verge of another wrenching loss, Ortiz and Pedroia were there to lead them out of the woods. The duo drove in six runs, five in the fifth inning, as the Red Sox rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves, 8-6.” - Peter Abraham.

Now, Pedroia and Ortiz have a lot to answer for. They’re the frontline guys, the ones who throw down the offensive, and should be the ones leading the team to win after win.

I know it’s unfair to pin a losing streak on individual players – it is, after all, a team sport – but these two needed to get their heads in the game, and now they need to keep ‘em there.

People have got all kinds of ideas about why the Sox have had such a rubbish beginning to the season (and yes, it is still early days, with just 50 games out of 162 done for the season):

1. Too many injuries on the team.

Nope. Not true. While there were 3 injuries last week, that doesn’t account for the streak. For the first 40 games, everyone was perfectly fine – if anyone should be complaining about this, it should be Orioles or even the Yankees. And if they’re all so damn injured, get a physio, get a table, and sort them out.

2. It’s a different team to the World Championship line-up.

Yeah, no kidding. No team is ever exactly the same season to season. But this year it’s only by 5 team members - certainly not enough to dilute the quality of the team.

3. The farm system will save us.

Wake up! The farm system hasn’t given us any big names since Pedroia joined the big leagues in 2006. Bradley’s good, and Bogaerts is shaping up well, but none of our everyday players are from the farm system. It’s the current team that needs to shape up.

If we can pull ourselves together now maybe we have a chance at getting to the end of the season in good shape – but we need a winning streak now, with no more losses.

2013, Now A Distant Memory…

Boy oh boy. I’m usually not a cursing man but the last few games have left me tearing my hair out and running my mouth.

The Red Sox have really been on a streak lately, and it hasn’t been a good one. In fact, it’s one of the worst streaks we’ve had, made all the worse with the memory of the 2013 World Championships still close at hand. There hasn’t been a crisis like this since the string of losses that got Butch Hobson fired in 1994.

There hasn’t been a run of losses like this from a Championship team since 1998, when the Florida Marlins lost 11 consecutive games. Even worse is the fact that only 2 teams have ever made the World Championships after losing 10 games – the 1951 New York Giants and the 1982 Atlanta Braves.

Our boys really need to pull themselves together and start playing like the champions we know they can be if we have a snowflake’s chance in hell this year.

Speaking to the Boston Globe this week, team manager John Farrell had this to say:

“There’s frustration, we can’t deny that. But at the same time our work ethic and our concentrated work is still consistent with stretches when we’ve been a little bit more on the winning side… We know this: The game’s not going anywhere.”

But with Gomes charging the Tampa Bay Rays’ dugout during the most recent game, you’ve got to wonder where the game is going. Nowhere I want to follow, that’s for sure. And despite Gomes’ apparent regret post-game, saying ““I’d rather win the ballgame than win the arguing match”, he really summed it up when he said “We’ve still got our work cut out for us.”

Damn straight, pal.

5 Historic Moments at Fenway Park

Fenway Park is not just the home ground of the Red Sox. It’s the spiritual home, the grounding point for countless baseball fans and Boston youngsters.

So today I wanted to take some time to honor Fenway Park, and reflect on some of the greatness that has taken place there.

1. The First Ever Red Sox Game

On April 20th, 1912, mere months before World War I broke out, the Red Sox stepped out onto the green at Fenway Park to play their first big league game. It’s more than 100 years ago, and Fenway Park is still just as big a part of the team as it was that day.

2. Ted Williams Set A Home Run Record

Ted Williams is one of the most famous of the Red Sox alumni. In 1946, on June 9th, Ted strode out to the plate, and socked the ball to a whopping 502 feet away. It hit one Mr Boucher right on the crown of his head, and his seat is forever immortalised in a distinct red, instead of the standard green of the other seats.

3. Fenway Goes To Hollywood.

Technically, I suppose this is more than one historic moment, but let’s ignore that. Bostonians are not the only ones that appreciate the glory of Fenway. The Park has been a key feature in several big-time movies. Most notably, Fields of Dreams in 1989, Fever Pitch in 2005, and The Town in 2010.

4. Roger Clemens Strikes out 20

To my knowledge, it has only ever happened 3 times in the great game of baseball that 20 hitters have been struck out in a single game. The first time it happened was at Fenway in April 1986, when Roger Clemens struck out 20 hitters and allowed only 3 hits with no walks. He did it again in 1996, too.

5. The 1999 All-Star Game

Possibly the best game of baseball ever played, the All-Star Game in 1999 featured some of the game’s living legends – Ted Williams, Pedro Martinez, Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Jeff Bagwell. Fenway had its share of glory that day, and for many present, the day will never be topped.

 

A Brief History of the Red Sox

With such a grand season behind us, I thought I’d close up the year’s reflections with a brief history of the Red Sox – I know the team has acquired a lot of new fans since winning the World Series, and it’s good for all you newbies to know the team you’re supporting!

The team was founded in 1901, as one of the American League’s Charter Franchises, the team’s home ground has been Fenway Park since 1912. Having made it to 12 World Series, the Sox have won 8 of them, which is a damn good show.

Legendary player Babe Ruth started out with the Red Sox, and with him they won championships hand over fist. But when they sold him off to the New York Yankees, the Sox crashed. Known as the Curse of Bambino, in 1918 they entered an 86-year championship drought, not making it again until 2004. I tell you, you gotta be a loyal fan to make it through 86 hard years.

However, things have turned around for the Red Sox drastically this century. When they won the 2013 World Series, they became the only team to have won 3 World Championships in the 21st Century (their other wins happening in 2004 and 2007).

Even now, though, the rivalry between the Sox and the Yankees is raging strong. They’ve been fiercely competitive ever since the inception of each club, and it shows no signs of abating.

Among our retired superstars (who have also had their numbers retired) are legends Ted Williams, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Pesky, Jim Rice and Jackie Robinson. Of course, most fans think Babe Ruth should be listed there too.

Welcome to the family, newbies, we’re happy to have you joining us, and I hope this little overview gives you an understanding of the legacy of this mighty club.

An Amazing End to 2013: The World Championship Win

When Bobby Valentine left the Red Sox, I had secret hopes that the future of the team would be starting to look up. When a bunch of overrated players were also moved on for a variety of reasons, my secret hope started to grow and blossom.

I thought that maybe the woes of 2012 would be behind us, and our club to start to grow and shine again. Well let me tell you — the Sox truly outdid my expectations this season.

I thought we would ease back into it, gradually taking ground — not absolutely blitzing the entire season!

Turns out the GM does know what he’s doing after all. Cherrington has copped a lot of flack in the last few years, but getting John Ferrell back in the house was a good move. It also gave him the negotiating power to sign Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and David Ross, as well as the dark horse selections of Shane Victorino and Koji Uehara.

Victorina paid for himself many times over, with 15 homeruns throughout the season, and while other players shone, Uehara really carried the team to glory. He walked just one batter in 29 games  — which I think is a record — and held batters to a .087 batting average, with a WHIP of .31 and ERA of 0.93. These numbers are just insane, out of this world, and he is the reason we crushed it so hard this season.

I never thought we would win the World Series this year, and the fact that we did just makes me so pumped for what’s to come. Bring on 2014 and even bigger wins!