Red Sox Set To Take On First Place Mariners

The Seattle Mariners haven’t been in first place since August of 2003. That was over fifteen years ago. I was a junior in college at the time. America had just invaded Iraq a few months earlier. Pluto was still a planet. The Red Sox hadn’t won a World Series in 85 years. That’s a long time. With the Red Sox set to take on the Mariners starting on Thursday, June 14th, baseball fans will have a chance to see how the two first place teams will fare against each other. Like the Houston Astros before them, the Mariners, who have never been in a World Series before, have a real shot at winning the Fall Classic this year. That would mean defeating the Red Sox in the playoffs though. While October is months away, fans will get a glimpse of what that showdown could look like when the Red Sox travel to Seattle for the four-game series.

The Red Sox went 3-3 in six games against the Mariners last year. Rickred sox set Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez lost two of those games. But Porcello had his worst season of his career last year, and Rodriguez didn’t do much better. Both pitchers are dominating this season though. Porcello is pitching like his 2016 Cy Young Award year, and Rodrugiez is 8-1, leading the league with a .889 winning percentage. With that said, there’s a good chance the Red Sox could sweep the Mariners. While that’s not the most solid logic, it’s easy to argue that the Mariners will have a hard time against the Red Sox pitching rotation.

Red Sox Set To Show Which AL Division is Stronger

The Red Sox are currently in second place in the AL East, but are one game ahead of the New York Yankees, which is sort of confusing. The Yankees have a better winning percentage, but the Red Sox have more wins, so technically the Yankees are behind. Regardless of the standings, it’s a tangle that the Red Sox would like to free themselves from.

The Red Sox will play the Mariners seven out of their next ten games between June 14th and June 24th. If the Red Sox can take at least four of those seven games from the Mariners then they’ll stand a good chance of getting ahead of the Yankees. While the Mariners will play the Red Sox in seven of the next ten games, those three games they won’t face against the Red Sox will be against the Yankees. So between now and June 24th baseball fans could very well see a clear frontrunner emerge in the American League.

Mookie Betts is back in the lineup. The Red Sox have a dominant pitching staff. With that said, it’s very possible that the Red Sox will advance past both the Yankees and Mariners. If not though, well, there’s still the rest of the season!

This article was written a few hours before the first game in the series between Seattle and Boston on Thursday, June 14th. 

Red Sox Can’t Afford to Lose Mookie Betts

The Boston Red Sox felt Mookie Betts’ absence while he was on the disabled list. While the Red Sox were 9-5 while Mookie Betts was out, the Red Sox fell behind in the standings. The Red Sox could have one at least three of those five losses if Mookie had been healthy. Then the Red Sox dropped two out of three to the White Sox last weekend. If there’s one thing for sure it’s that the Red Sox can’t afford to lose Mookie Betts again this season.

There’s not many players like Mookie Betts in the majors. Players like Betts, along withlose rookie Mike Trout, and Bryce Harper, are superstars above your common all-stars today. They’re for-sure Hall of Famers as long as they continue to play the way they do. But history is full of players whose careers were cut short by injuries. As a result, they didn’t make it to the Hall of Fame. Don Mattingly is one example. He was a six-time All-Star, eight-time Gold Glove Winner, and the 1985 American League MVP. But injuries he sustained towards the end of his career cut his chances for induction short. Both Mattingly and Betts are already legendary in their respective communities. But the difference between the both will be whether Betts can stay healthy for years to come.

To Lose Mookie Betts Would Mean Losing Out on a World Series Championship

According to ESPN, Betts is projected to hit a career high 41 home runs and hit .354 for the season. There’s not too many Red Sox legends who’ve accumulated those numbers in their careers. Carl Yastrzemski, David Ortiz, and Ted Williams had better numbers. Each of those three players led the Red Sox to the World Series. Ortiz achieved three championships for Boston during his tenure. Betts will be no different. But he’s got to stay healthy if he’s going to take Boston to the World Series.

Should the Red Sox’s Dustin Pedroia Retire?

Red Sox fan favorite Dustin Pedroia went back on the disabled list this week with knee inflammation. What makes this particularly frustrating is that Pedroia just came off the disabled list after having undergone surgery last October. Pedroia missed fifty-seven games last season and sixty-nine in 2015. As age and injury creep up on the four-time All-Star, many are asking the question: Should Dustin Pedroia retire?

Pedroia hit .318 in 154 games in 2016, and .293 the following year. Injuries, however, havepedroia retire always plagued Pedroia’s career. Broken feet and fingers kept him out of action for much of the 2010-2012 seasons. Since then Pedroia’s suffered from other ailments that have limited his playing time. The short amount time he played in between stints in the disabled list makes this season different from others. The Red Sox activated Pedroia from the disabled list on May 26th before landing back on it again on June 2nd. Peoria’s only hit .091 in three games this season.

Should Pedroia Retire?

Pedroia’s getting up there in age and the multiple injuries he’d suffered throughout his career doesn’t make it any easier for him. But if Pedroia was to retire this season it would come after a long and distinguished career. Pedroia was a 2006 Rookie of the Year. He was also the 2007 Most Valuable Player. In addition to the two World Series Championship teams he played on, Pedroia’s a four-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Winner, and also won a Silver Slugger Award. While his numbers aren’t quite Hall of Fame worthy, Pedroia’s legacy in Boston is strong enough that he’ll secure a place in the Red Sox Hall of Fame at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Red Sox retire his number either.

If Pedroia can’t bounce back after this stint on the disabled list then it’s time for Pedroia to retire. Red Sox Nation would much rather remember him as the player he once was rather than the injury-plagued player he’s become.

Louis Sockalexis: Baseball’s First Native American

Everyone knows that Jackie Robinson integrated the MLB in 1947. The film 42, as well as Ken Burns’ documentaries about Robinson, clearly illustrate the struggles that he endured in the face of white adversity. But few people know the story of Louis Sockalexis, baseball’s first Native American baseball player.

Sockalexis only played in 94 games with 395 plate appearances over thee seasons. Hissockalexis first season saw him hit .338 with three home runs, quite a feat at the time. Unfortunately, he succumbed to the dangers of alcoholism and his career quickly declined.

Sockalexis is often identified as the first Native American to play Major League Baseball. Others, however, credit Jim Toy, a catcher in the early American Association, as the first.  Chief Yellow Horse, who played in the 1920s, is also often cited as the first Native American to play professional baseball. So why does Sockalexis get the credit? Probably because of his role in another legend about the Cleveland Indians. Can you guess that connection?

Sockalexis’ Impact Lives On In Indians’ Name

In 1915 the Cleveland Naps got a new owner who wanted to change the team’s name. Cleveland baseball writer settled on the name “Indians” in tribute to Louis, who had died two years earlier of complications from alcoholism. While he only played a few years in the majors, his legacy lives in with the Tribe.

Only the biggest of baseball fans would have any idea of who Louis Sockalexis was. In some ways that’s understandable. He didn’t have to endure what Jackie Robinson did in 1947. He also didn’t play long enough to have any lasting impact. But some fans might argue that Louis’ impact on the games does live in through baseball.

If the Cleveland Indians make it to the World Series again anytime soon (and they just might), readers of this article should reflect on Sockalexis’ legacy.

Are We at the End of the Twenty Game Winner Era?

It’s no secret that managers are yanking their starting pitchers sooner than later from games nowadays. The Tampa Bay Rays are using their relievers to start the first inning before moving on to their starter. Middle man pitchers are more in demand. So does this mean we’re seeing the end of the twenty game winner era?

According to calltothepen.com, “From 1886 -1981, there was only one Major Leaguetwenty game winner Baseball season (1981) where an individual pitcher failed to become a 20 game winner. Since 1994, there have already been six such seasons…” What are the reasons behind the decline? An increase in arm injuries is one factor. Since Tommy John surgery is commonplace in Major League Baseball now, many pitchers falsely assume they can throw as hard as they want and just get the surgery later to repair their arm. This is leading to more arm damager and a reluctance by managers to keep pitchers in games longer. The increase in injuries is leading organizations like Little League Baseball to issue guidelines limiting the amount of pitches a player can throw. For example, a Little Leaguer around age seven or eight can only throw a maximum of 50 pitches in a game. Some teams in Major League Baseball are starting to follow suit.

MLB Teams Are Shaking Up Their Pitching Rotations

The Tampa Bay Rays started an experiment this season where one of their relievers pitches the first inning. After the first inning, the pitcher initially scheduled to start comes in. It’s sort of a role reversal where relief pitchers can hammer the opposing team’s starting lineup sooner than later. So what do other baseball writers think of this idea? Sridhar Pappu, author of The Year of the Pitcher, stated that “…the complete game is very much a thing of the past and what the Rays are doing–experimenting with relievers starting games could make traditional starting pitching–much less twenty game winners–obsolete for some teams, should it work.”

We’ll Certainly Never See a Thirty Game Winner Again, Much Less Twenty Game Winner

Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers was the last pitcher to win thirty games in a season back in 1968. Since then there’s only been a handful of pitchers who have come anywhere near winning thirty games. “I think the idea that we would ever see a 30 game winner, given the number of actual starts a pitcher makes and limited pitch counts and innings limits, is going to be something we will never see in the game again,” Pappu added. “Moreover, with the use of advanced analytics, the idea of wins being the primary factor of getting into the Hall of Fame, will fade–and quicker than we might think as new, younger voters begin to grow in influence.”

We’ll certainly never see a thirty game winner again. It’s fair to say too that we are at the end of the twenty game winner era as well.

Tamburro, Lynn Inducted in PawSox Hall of Fame

Fred Lynn and Mike Tamburro were inducted into the Pawtucket Red Sox Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 26th, at a ceremony at McCoy Stadium. Fans were overjoyed to see Tamburro and Lynn inducted into the third ever Pawtucket Red Sox Hall of Fame.

Tamburro, Lynn Inducted

Lynn played one year for the Pawtucket Red Sox in 1974. In 124 games Lynn hit .282 withlynn inducted 21 home runs and 68 RBIs. Lynn made his debut in Boston later that year but only played in 15 games and hit .419 with two home runs. Lynn went on to become the 1975 American League Rookie of the Year, and Most Valuable Player. That’s the same year the Boston Red Sox won the American League pennant before losing the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in seven games. The nine-time All-Star retired in 1990 with a .283 batting average, 306 home runs, and 1111 RBIs.

Lynn’s debut year in Boston was unprecedented. In addition to Rookie of the Year and MVP honors, Lynn became a rookie All-Star. He collected the first of four Gold Glove Awards. Lynn was also a ALCS MVP in 1982, and and a American League batting champion in 1979 with a .333 average.

Tamburro Joins the PawSox Hall of Fame

A 1974 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Tamburro has worked for the Pawtucket Red Sox since 1977. According to milb.com, Tamburro increased attendance from 70,000 fans in 1977 to 560,000 fans or more over a fifteen year stretch. The Pawtucket Red Sox also saw 600,000 or more fans come to McCoy Stadium between 2004 and 2009. Overall, over 18 million fans have come to ballgames at McCot Stadium during Tamburro’s time with the PawSox.

The Pawtucket Red Sox lost to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs 6-3 on Saturday night. Overall the PawSox split the four-game series with Lehigh. The PawSox travel to Norfolk, VA to play the Tides on Tuesday, May 29th for a three-game series.