Xander Bogaerts Sinks Rays By Himself

On the night the Red Sox finally got to honor David Ortiz in front of the Fenway Faithful for hitting 500 home runs, it wasn’t David Ortiz providing the heroics—it was Xander Bogaerts. One of the team’s young guns, Xander Bogaerts provided the fireworks on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. Bogaerts provided an 8th inning grand slam last night, which gave the Red Sox an 8-6 lead and proved to be the game-winning hit. Bogaerts ended up with 5 RBI’s in a victory that moved the Red Sox into 4th place in the AL East ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Say what you will about the team’s struggles as a whole, but Xander Bogaerts has beenXander Bogaerts one of the most consistent players this season, with a .323 average on the season, 7 home runs and 78 RBI’s this season. He also has a chance at 200 hits if he finishes this year strong. Currently, Xander sits at 182 hits with 13 games left in the season, so it’s very doable if he continues to hit like he has been. Will he do it? Who knows, but again, Bogaerts has been one of the most consistent players on the team this season. He also should have been an All-Star, but that’s a whole other rant for another time.

More importantly, Xander Bogaerts’ heroics last night lifted the team out of last place by a half game for the first time in what feels like forever. They currently are a half game ahead of the Rays with 3 more games at Fenway to look forward to before hosting the Orioles for 3 at home to close out their final home stand of the season. They will cap off their sseason on the road with 3 against the New York Yankees followed by 4 against the Cleveland Indians to wrap up the 2015 season.

While 2015 is a lost cause, and has been for some time, Xander Bogaerts and the rest of the team’s young core, are giving fans plenty to look forward to next season. It seems that this team is a few good pieces away from being legit contenders in 2016, thanks to the young guys. The team needs to get an ace or 2 and reinforce the bullpen, but that’s about it. They’ve got some good weapons on offense at the moment, but their pitching has been the Achilles heel all year.

Make no mistake, though: The team is so close to being a contender, and it’s thanks in large part to their rising star, Xander Bogaerts.

Red Sox Shut Down Tazawa for Season

Junichi Tazawa has had a rough couple of months for the Red Sox, after seeing his ERA balloon from 2.60 at the end of July to 4.14 right now and blowing 5 saves in his last 15 appearances. The Red Sox have decided that enough is enough and announced Wednesday that they have shut down Tazawa for the season.

This could be a case of Tazawa’s workload becoming too much for him. For most of his Red Soxtenure here, he’s been one of the most reliable options out of the pen, making the majority of his appearances as a set up man for closer Koji Uehara. If the Red Sox ever were in need of outs late in the game, Taz was always the go-to guy, and it appears all those appearances have caught up with him.

Over the Monster also points out that one of manager John Farrell’s worst habits was having him warm up, and then deciding he didn’t need him to pitch in games after all. On top of the games that he actually pitched in, the stop-and-start nature of his warm ups couldn’t have been good for his arm. Eventually, all that throwing can wear down your arm, and it appears that is the case with Tazawa, at least based on his recent appearances. He’s been pretty bad, as I mentioned above, but the Red Sox shutting him down leaves the team short in an area they already need to improve upon in the off-season.

Maybe this will end up being a good thing for Tazawa, but even if he benefits from the extra rest, the Red Sox still can’t get away with leaning on him so heavily next season, as they’ve already seen what happens when they do. The Red Sox still need to go after some bullpen help in the off-season, so they don’t end up in a scenario like this again where they have to shut someone down mid-season.

If this turns out to be good for Taz, then great, but only time will tell.

David Ortiz’s Best Moments in a Sox Uniform

David Ortiz hit his 500th home run over the weekend in one of the few highlights of the Red Sox season to date. This gives new life to the “Should he be in the Hall?” debate, but that’s a separate article for another time. What isn’t up for debate is that David Ortiz had many great moments as a member of the Red Sox.

I’ll highlight what I thought were his absolute 5 best moments in a Red Sox uniform. This listDavid Ortiz is in no way perfect, and it was difficult to pick just 5 because there are so many, like I said. Also, this list is in no particular order, so keep that in mind as you read this.

5.) “This our bleeping city!” I think we all remember when David went on TV before the game against the Royals and said this, which summed up how Boston was feeling a few days after the tragic events of the Boston Marathon a few days before that.

4.) His on-field heroics during the 2013 World Series: That year, he reached base in 19 of 25 plate appearances and hit 11-16 (.688 average) and ran away with the World Series MVP on his way to carrying the Red Sox to their 3rd championship in 10 years. Pretty amazing.

3.) His grand slam in game 2 of the 2013 ALCS: Speaking of 2013 heroics, let’s talk about the grand slam against the Detroit Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS. That tied the game up at 5 when he hit it, and helped the team avoid going 0-2 at home.

2.) His walk-off heroics against the Evil Empire: Back to 2004. David Ortiz helped spark a rally from down 3-0 by first hitting a walk off home run in Game 4, then following that up with a walk off single in Game 5. That gave the team a huge momentum boost that the carried through the remainder of that series and into the World Series that year.

1.) Hitting home run #500: This season hasn’t been memorable, but David Ortiz hitting #500 is a huge milestone, and one of the main reasons fans kept up with the team, even after the season was essentially over.

Again, it was really hard to narrow this down to just 5 with so many to choose from, but there you have it. David Ortiz’s best moments with the Red Sox. Feel free to disagree or suggest your own. There are plenty Papi moments to choose from.

Scout Says Yoan Moncada is Close to Mike Trout

We all know what Mike Trout can do. He is one of the most complete players in baseball right now, and the Red Sox might have the next player who can come close to him in Yoan Moncada, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan quoted one scout as saying in his All-Minor League team article.

So, yeah. Not a bad comparison to draw, and one that should get Red Sox fans excited.Yoan Moncada He got off to a slow start, but picked it up in the last 56 games with the Greenville Drive, the Red Sox Single-A affiliate. He slashed .310/.415/.500 with 45 stolen bases in 48 attempts, according to Jeff Passan, but on the flip side, he also committed 23 errors at second base, including 3 in a playoff game over the weekend.

His defense right now is a concern, but Yoan Moncada is only 20 years old, meaning there’s still plenty of time to fix that part of his game. One thing is clear, I think: Once he does clean up that area, he’ll be on the fast track to be a great major league player. Will he be as good as Mike Trout, as the one scout told Jeff Passan? Maybe not, but if he’s in that ballpark, I think Red Sox fans will be happy. Mike Trout is a special player, and if Moncada becomes even close to Trout, that’s fine with me.

Right now, there’s no reason to rush Yoan Moncada up to the big leagues. Personally, I would rather see him take an extra year or so and come up a more complete player, as opposed to him rushing up before he’s ready. There’s no doubting his talent, but I’d rather him work out all of the kinks in his game before he sees any significant action with the big-league Red Sox. Don’t get me wrong, if Jeff Passan is right, then he should be exciting to watch, but right now, he needs to work through the holes in his game, as I mentioned, before he’s ready. But, at least it’s something to get excited about for the future, right?

Matt Harvey an Option for Red Sox

Since it’s never too early to start thinking off-season trades, especially with the Red Sox out of contention for the 2015 season, here’s an idea thrown out by Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe: Xander Bogaerts for Matt Harvey. It’s an interesting option, and it should be interesting to see how many Red Sox fans will be for it. Yes, Xander is one of the best young shortstops in the game, but Matt Harvey is one of the best young pitchers in the game right now.

So, what are the pros and cons of this deal? On the positive side, Matt Harvey is a Matt Harveytalented pitcher, and he is also under contract through 2019, according to the Globe, and would be a team-friendly acquisition money-wise. Matt Harvey, in my mind, is one of the big reasons why the Mets are where they are right now, 5 games ahead of the Washington Nationals atop the NL East. He’s been that good for them.

On the flip side, the Globe points out that he can be a pain and also very cocky, but they Globe is also right in pointing out that the Red Sox have had success dealing with egos like a Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez, to an extent. You take his innings limit (which is set at 180 right now), for example. Matt Harvey has come out staunchly against being shut down with the New York Mets in the midst of a playoff race, which is understandable. I would hate the idea of being shut down as well in his position. He wants to do what he can to help his team win.

But I digress. My point is, the Red Sox could handle Matt Harvey’s sometimes-cocky attitude well because they have done it well in the past

Is the proposed Xander-for-Matt deal fair? Yes, since the Mets need offense and we need pitching, but how many fans would want to give up one of our best young players? I’m guessing not many.  Along with Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, and now Jackie Bradley Jr., many fans consider Bogaerts “untradable,” even for a talented young pitcher like Matt Harvey.

I would love to see Harvey in a Sox uniform, and they do need an ace, but there are other options that wouldn’t involve trading away one of our future stars. And the Red Sox will explore said other options as well. I don’t think Dave Dombrowksi will let the team go to Fort Myers next year without an ace.

Dustin Pedroia Activated from DL

Red Sox fans got a welcome sight at last night’s game, as Dustin Pedroia was activated from the 15-day disabled list before last night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Pedroia went 1-4 in his 1st game back since July 23rd, when he went on the DL for the second time this season.

Dustin Pedroia’s hit, a double, was one of 4 Red Sox hits last night in a 5-1 loss in 10Dustin Pedroia innings against the Blue Jays. Torey Lovulllo told MassLive.com that Pedroia didn’t argue when he was taken out after the 9th inning, which Lovullo said he was anticipating. Lovullo also said that the team will reevaluate Dustin Pedroia on a day-to-day basis, according to MassLive, but also pointed out that he saw the ball well at the plate.

I fully expect Dustin Pedroia to keep playing for the rest of the season because that’s the way he operates. Dustin Pedroia is a competitor, and I’m sure it killed him to be taken out in a tight game like Tuesday’s game, even if it was a meaningless game for the Red Sox. Even so, you don’t want to lose the face of your franchise for even part of next season, and Pedroia was placed on the DL for a second time this season because he was rushed back from his first injury. There’s no chance realistically of the Red Sox making the playoffs, even though Pedey might feel otherwise (at least that he’s told the Boston Herald), but I would hhate to lose Dustin to a major injury while he’s going after a ball in a game that doesn’t mean anything.

One thing that Dustin Pedroia will be able to do in the last 3 weeks – 1 month of the season is be a mentor for some of the young guys, and start to set the tone for the 2016 season. The 2015 season is lost, and it’s about setting up the team for success next season, and Dustin Pedroia figures to be a big part of the team’s plans for next season.