Dave Dombrowski Named Head of Baseball Operations, Ben Cherington Out

Even though Red Sox owner John Henry stated in June that Ben Cherington would be the General Manager for years to come, the end is near for Cherington as the team announced they have hired Dave Dombrowski as the President of Baseball Operations.

Dombrowski has a history with Henry, having worked as the GM of the Florida Marlins from 1998-2001when Henry owned that club. Dombrowski’s experience is deep in dombrowskibaseball operations. He was hired by the Montreal Expos as Director of Player Development in 1987, and then took over as GM when he was 31 years old in 1988.

In 1991 he was hired by Henry and co-owner Wayne Huizenga to lead the Marlins, where he stayed for 10 years, including the World Series Championship in 1997. After Florida, his next stop was in Detroit, where Tigers owner Mike Ilitch brought him in as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2002.  He also assumed the role of GM after a poor start that year.  Up until earlier this month, he was with the Tigers until being relieved of his duties.

Dombrowski’s record is solid. In Canada, he built up the Expos farm system during his term.  In Florida he was the architect of a championship team, and then in Detroit he built a team that went to the World Series in 2006 and 2012, losing both times. He is known to be very adept at scouting, and how to best utilize scouting departments, which is a different way than the heavy use of baseball statistics and computer programs named Carmine that have been used in recent years.

This move marks just another in a season of change and tumult.  President Larry Lucchino will be stepping down after this season.  Manager John Farrell has taken a leave to deal with his recent diagnosis of lymphoma. The team will finish in last place again for the second straight year and third time in four years.  Change had to come, and unfortunately for Cherington it is at his expense.

Cherington has been with the Sox since 1997. He followed Theo Epstein, who left for the Chicago Cubs after the Red Sox collapsed down the stretch in 2011. Epstein, a protégé of Lucchino’s, had served the Red Sox well with a logical approach to analytics, coupled with a deep respect for scouts, and Cherington followed that model.

Cherington was offered the chance to stay on as GM, but he declined, fully realizing that all decisions will come from Dombrowski. The handwriting may have been on the wall last week when the Sox  hired former Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager Jerry Dipoto as a consultant to help in player evaluation and offseason planning.

Red Sox Lose Seventh Straight Game

The Red Sox continued their losing ways last night, dropping their seventh consecutive game with a 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros. It marked their eighth loss in the last ten games, and further cemented their position in the cellar of the American League.

Since the All-Star break, the Sox have been outscored 34-9, and they have a batting Red Sox Astros July 2015average of an anemic .192. They have one home run in this period, while giving up thirteen. The Sox were shut out in the first two games of this trip, and haven’t even scored in consecutive innings yet. Their four total runs in the series against the Angels were their fewest in a series of four or more games since 1965.  Yes, that’s 50 years.

Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, who are supposed to be table-setters, can’t even get a seat at the table.  They are a combined 2 for 42.  Betts is 1 for 20, and didn’t even play last night, while Pedroia finally snapped an 0 for 20 drought in the most recent loss.

Also in the throes of repair at the plate is the $19,750,000 per year outfielder Hanley Ramirez. He is 2 for 21 in the last six, with a team-high seven strikeouts.

How about the starting pitching staff?  They haven’t reminded anybody of Cy Young. Since the break, they are 0-5 with an ERA of 7.31. One upside from the pitchers is that Wade Miley had a solid outing last time out, not giving up a hit through six innings. He’ll try to snap this season-high team losing streak tonight.

Miley actually had a perfect game going through 5 1/3 innings against the Angels and ended up allowing just two hits and one walk in seven innings…but still took a no decision.

Where things go from here is anybody’s guess.  We haven’t mentioned Clay Buchholz getting a platelet-rich-plasma injection into his right elbow. Who knows when he’ll be back, but don’t look for him for at least a few weeks, and if by late August the Sox are 20 games out, or 25, is it even worth it to bring him back?

Kung Fu Panda Sneaks Chic Pix in Can, Benched Thursday

What do you do when you’re getting paid $17,600,000, your team is in dead last place, and you’re barely hitting your weight?  Sneak into the john during a game and start liking pictures of hot girls on Instagram, that’s what you do! Just ask Kung Fu Panda.

Pablo Sandoval did just that during the seventh inning of yet another Red Sox loss onPanda Pablo Sandoval Wednesday, and the result was that Panda sat on the bench last, (without his cell phone.) The Red Sox, by the way, won without him, beating the Atlanta Braves by a score of 5-2. Rookie Travis Shaw filled in for Sandoval, and despite going 0 for 4 was solid defensively. He apparently went the entire game with logging onto Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, Vine, or any other sites.

In 2011, it was fried chicken and beer that symbolized the Red Sox season. It seems that Sandoval would have been a better fit that year, being able to duck in and out of the clubhouse for the all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffets that Jon Lester, John Lackey, and Josh Beckett were a part of. This year the curse could be social media.

Rather than going onto Instagram during games, here are some suggested sites that would much better serve the round mound of the corner bag: weightwatchers.com, jennycraig.com, myfitnesspal.com, mensfitness.com, loseweightandhitbetter.com, earnyoureighteenmillionayear.com, actlikeyoucare.com, gobacktosf.com, or even howdidweletbeltregetaway.com.

One of the few bright lights in this dark season has been Brock Holt. He hustles, hits, and gives 100% each team he puts on the Red Sox uniform. He can play anywhere, and he’s a better bargain than Sandoval.  Holt is making $530,500, and that is $17,069,500 less than Sandoval.  Pound for pound, Holt is a better player.

Perhaps Panda will be remorseful, and this will be the turning point in a season that is apparently on a road to nowhere. Sandoval brought this on himself, so it’s impossible to feel sorry for him. The one I feel sorry for is whoever had to use the bathroom after big ole sweaty Panda got done with his seated performance on Wednesday night.

Wade Miley Gets Yanked After Four, Has Acidic Reaction To It

This insufferable summer has taken another bizarre twist.  Thursday night in Baltimore, Red Sox starting pitcher Wade Miley was informed by John Farrell in the dugout following the fourth inning that he was done for the night.  Miley immediately threw a fit, showing up his manager and then storming out of the dugout, with Farrell in tow. Miley later resurfaced and watched the rest of the game with his teammates.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxVzR4ysGP0

What right did Miley have to be upset?  He threw four innings, gave up nine hits (three of them home runs) and five earned runs.  His ERA is now 5.07, which is good for 89th overall in the American League. In his last three starts he is 1-2 and has given up 12 earned runs. Not exactly the second coming of Cy Young here.  Additionally, he’s making $3,666,666 this year, and will make $6,167,000 next year and then in 2017 he’ll pocket $8,917,000.

So Miley’s mad that his manager yanked him? C’mon! The Sox were only down by two at that point, and not completely out of the game, even for the. Farrell was trying to avoid being swept. Miley Cyrus could have probably pitched better last night than Wade Miley, and she wouldn’t have thrown a temper tantrum in the dugout, she would have waited until later to get in trouble with the law.

Farrell’s reaction after the game was that Miley’s a competitor and it was his day to pitch. Lame, yes, but did you expect Farrell to state that Miley stunk and probably should have been yanked earlier?  Miley also pulled a similar stunt in Arizona last year when he was pulled in the third inning of a game and threw a hissy fit with manager Kirk Gibson.  Too bad Gibson didn’t just lay him out.

The only highlight that came out of last night was when Dennis Eckersley, during the post-game show, wondered aloud if Wade Miley was on acid when discussing his outburst.

Mike Napoli Awakes From His Slumber While Hanley Naps

When Hanley Ramirez went on his April tear, Red Sox Nation optimists everywhere thought the next five months would be just like the 10HR, 22RBI performance he debuted with. Little did anyone expect that as we near the end of May, we’d still be waiting for his first home run of the month, and it took 20 games for him to collect his first RBI.

Fortunately for the sub-.500 Red Sox, Mike Napoli has warmed up from his April Mike Napolihibernation and is having a month of May close to what Ramirez did in April. So far, the $16,000,000-a-year first baseman has hit 7HR and 17RBI, after hitting just 1HR and driving in 4RBI in May. He has seen his batting average climb from an anemic .162 in April to .257 this month.

Although Napoli is still halting a paltry .211, he is pacing to hit 24 home runs, which would be his most since donning a Red Sox uniform in 2013. Ramirez, meanwhile, batted .293 in April, but has cooled off to .230 this month (which is a world away from his National League leading .342 of six years ago in Miami.)

The Red Sox need Napoli to stay hot. We haven’t even addressed David Ortiz and his woes yet. Big Papi is off to his worst start in six years. He has 6HR so far, and isn’t even hitting his weight, batting .221. Maybe if Napoli cools off in June, Big Papi will cowboy up and put the team on his back for a month.

Finally, the right field position is clearly the Red Sox Achilles Heel. The position as a whole is only hitting .199. Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava and Allen Craig are hitting .255 and .159 and .135 respectively. So far, it doesn’t appear Rusney Castillo will be confused with Dwight Evans. The team needs more than 2HR and 12 RBI from that position.

I guess the point of all this is means that we can’t blame the pitching, at least not for all of the teams woes.

Are the Red Sox Better Now Than a Year Ago?

With 41 games played, we are just past the quarter pole of the Major League Baseball season, and what many had envisioned as a season of hope and change is proving to be any but that.

A year ago, after 41 games played, the Red Sox were 20-21, and 2.5 games out of first Hanley Ramirezplace.  This year, they are 19-22 at the 41 game mark, and 3.5 games out of first place. Not much of a difference really, right? WRONG.

Last year the Red Sox had two pitchers on the staff in late May that were capable of winning a game each time out. Jon Lester and John Lackey weren’t going to be confused with Cy Young last year, but they combined for 11 wins through April and May of last year. Lester was 5-5 and Lackey was 6-6.  So far this year, the ace of the staff is Rick Porcello, and right now his 4-2 record looks pretty good.

Many assumed Clay Buchholz would be the new ace, but at 2-5, he has similar numbers to a year ago, when he was 2-4. The one saving grace this year is that his ERA is only 4.58 right now, as opposed to the 7.03 a year ago. As an aside, Buchholz’ next win at Fenway will be his first this season.

The pitching can’t be all to blame, even though only two teams in all of MLB have given up more run than the 199 the Sox have allowed. The hitting is less than stellar, ranking 27th in batting average in the major leagues. Only three teams are hitting worse than the .233 average the Red Sox need to improve on. As hot as Hanley Ramirez was last month, (10 HR, 22 RBI, .293 average) his numbers have been anemic this month (0 HR, 0 RBI, .213.)  Brock Holt hit .358 in April, in May he’s batting .158.

If one looks hard enough, they can find fault and flaws with the performances of virtually all of the players on the roster.  At what point will the scrutiny fall upon the manager?  The team relieved pitching coach Juan Nieves of his duties earlier this month. Who will be next? With a payroll creeping near $200,000,000, that focus is on John Farrell.