Red Sox Gaining In American League

Seeing the Boston Red Sox gaining in the American League comes as welcomed news to Red Sox Nation. While the Red Sox continue to battle it out with the Yankees in the American League East, they’re slaying other adversaries. I stated in my June 15th article that if the Red Sox won four out of seven against the Mariners they’d stand a good chance of getting ahead of the Yankees. The Red Sox are .5 game behind the Yankees as of June 25th. So while the Red Sox haven’t overcome the Yankees yet, they’re closer to taking back first place than they have been in recent weeks.

The Red Sox take on the Los Angeles Angels in a three-game series between June 26-red sox gaining28th. The Angels’ pitching staff isn’t the strongest. However, the Angles have Mike Trout, who’s currently hitting .325 with 23 home runs. They also have Justin Upton and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. Trout and Pujols were both Rookies of the Year, and they won the AL MVP award three and two times, respectively. So while the Red Sox have a strong chance of combating their pitching rotation, the Angels’ lineup will be more difficult to overcome.

With the Red Sox Gaining, the Houston Astros Remain a Threat

The Houston Astros, the 2017 World Series Champions, remain the biggest threat to the Red Sox. They have the third-best winning percentage in the American League behind the Red Sox and Yankees.

Don’t get me wrong. The Yankees remain a viable threat. But their performance in the ALCS last year showed that they can freeze up under pressure. Another thing to consider is that both the Red Sox and Yankees have new managers at their helm. The Yankees’ Aaron Boone played in one World Series in 2003. That’s when he was with the Yankees and they lost to the Florida Marlins. Alex Cora has played in four postseasons, compared to Boone’s one. While that might not be the deciding factor, it reflects how little experience Boone has to personally work with verses Cora, who won a World Series with the Red Sox in 2007.

The Yankees will be hard to beat in the postseason but they’ll fall apart. The Astros, however, will be tougher. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Red Sox, with new momentum propelled by Alex Cora, can’t overcome them.

All You Need to Know For Baseball Hall of Fame Weekend

The National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend is coming up quickly. Six former players will be enshrined in Cooperstown on July 29th: Alan Trammel, Jack Morris, Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman. Whether you’re a regular attendee or a first timer, here’s a few things you should know about visiting Cooperstown during Hall of Fame Weekend.

Hotels and Parking During Hall of Fame Weekend

First thing’s first. If you haven’t booked a hotel room by now then you’re not going to get afame weekend room anywhere within a fifty mile radius of Cooperstown. At this point your best bet is either Utica, or Albany, NY. Hotels sell out months in advance, usually the month after the induction weekend, for the following year. Keep in mind there’s only 1,800 people in Cooperstown so hotels are limited. Since 40,000-50,000 people show up for the inductions it’s no wonder the hotels sell out fast. If you’re coming from out of town just for the day you can find parking along most side streets. Residents usually rent out their lawns for parking at $10-20 a day depending on how far away the events are. Be mindful though of where you can and can’t park as the town won’t hesitate to tow you!

Getting Autographs During Hall of Fame Weekend

Tons of Hall of Famers and former All-Stars come to Cooperstown each summer to see their former teammates get inducted, and celebrate the weekend. Many of them participate in autograph shows taking place throughout Cooperstown. The biggest autograph show is at Tunnicliff Inn on Pioneer Street. You can find a full lineup of who will be signing when and how much they charge at this website. Players like Ozzie Smith and Lou Whitaker will be at Seventh Inning Stretch on Main Street. You can find their information here. Then there’s Jack Berke Sports. He usually gets players like Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage (Jack is also a good guy!) You can find his information here. Of course, you can get lucky and run into former players throughout the town but in many cases they’ll be too busy to sign.

The ones you really should try and seek out are the former Negro League players, as well as the women who played in the All-American Girls Professional League (A League of Their Own). They usually show up too and charge very little for their autograph. You can find them set up along Main Street. They’re also a part of history that’s quickly disappearing, so make a point to talk to them!

Food and Attractions During Hall of Fame Weekend

You’ll have a lot of options for places to eat in Cooperstown during Hall of Fame Weekend.  Doubleday Cafe on Main Street is a great place to get a burger and their desserts are amazing (and huge!). Sal’s Pizzeria in Main Street is also good, and so is “Hey Getcha Hot Dog” on Pioneer Street. If you pop in to one of these places you won’t be disappointed, but keep in mind they’re busy and want to get people in and out. Don’t loiter in there, and don’t use their bathrooms without buying something. That’s just rude. If you like whiskey then check out Cooperstown Distillery on Main Street. If you love books as much as I do then you’re not only probably single like me, but you’ll love checking out Willis Monie Books on Main Street. They have a great assortment of baseball books. Finally, shoot on over to Milford and drink a few at Cooperstown Brewery!

Hall of Fame Inductions!

50-60 Hall of Famers show up to Cooperstown for the inductions each year. On Saturday night around 6 pm there’s a parade down Main Street in Cooperstown that includes most of Hall of Famers. Here you’ll get to see Frank Robinson, Greg Maddux, Rickey Henderson, and Cal Ripken Jr. You can waive to them and take their picture! As for the actual inductions, the Baseball Hall of Fame website states that “The Class of 2018 will be formally inducted and deliver speeches during the event beginning at 1:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, July 29 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown.”

I’ve seen many fans go out to Clark Sports Center on the Friday before the inductions and place lawn chairs on the grass to mark their spots. It sounds strange, but it’s an honor system that seems to work! So if you feel brave enough, take your lawn chairs out to the Clark Sports Center and leave it as close as you can to the stage where the speeches take. Trust me when I say it fills up VERY quickly. If you wait too long you’ll be almost a mile away from the stage and you won’t see much.

Have fun!

Sandy Koufax Was The Greatest Pitcher Ever

The debate over who the greatest pitcher ever was is as old as the game itself. Some say it’s Cy Young because of his 511 wins. Others say it’s Nolan Ryan because of his longevity. But while he’s well known to many, Sandy Koufax doesn’t get the full credit he deserves. That’s partly because he only had six strong seasons. But I argue that those were the greatest six seasons any pitcher has enjoyed in the game of baseball. That makes Koufax the greatest pitcher ever.

Let’s start with just a few of Koufax’s accolades. He was a six-time All-Star. The mangreatest pitcher ever threw FOUR no-hitters, including a perfect game. He was a two-time World Series MVP. He was the 1963 National League MVP when he pitched 11 shutouts. That’s just for starters. Let’s take a look at his actual numbers.

Koufax had 2,396 career strikeouts in just twelve seasons. After twelve years in the majors, Nolan Ryan had 2,686. That’s just 290 more than Koufax had after twelve years. So imagine if Koufax had played for twenty-seven seasons like Ryan did. In fact, while Ryan holds the single-season strikeout record with 383, that’s just ONE more than Koufax’s original record. In other words, only a pitcher like Nolan Ryan could top Koufax, and that’s just barely. While many will argue that Ryan is better, Ryan played twenty-seven seasons in the majors, longer than anyone else. Ryan also never won a Cy Young Award while Koufax won three. So if you put their best years side by side with each other, Koufax edges out Ryan not just quantitatively, but through sheer dominance in the regular and postseasons.

Koufax Was The Greatest Pitcher Ever

According to ESPN, Koufax would have finished a longer career with 334 wins, 4,377 strikeouts, and a 2.76 ERA. And that’s only if he’d played another eleven seasons. It’s hard to tell what he would have done if he’d gotten Tommy John surgery and continued to play (it wasn’t around yet).

There are those who say Koufax’s first six years keep him from standing as the greatest pitcher ever. They have a worthy argument. Koufax only won 36 games in his first six seasons, an average of six wins a season. He was wild on the mound during those first six years too. But how many pitchers can anyone point to and cite the dramatic turnaround Koufax had between 1960 and 1961?

Through strikeouts, dependability, and sheer dominance, Koufax was the greatest pitcher ever.

Who Will Be The Red Sox All-Stars This Year?

The 2018 All-Star game is still over a month and a half away but speculation about who the Red Sox All-Stars will be is already heating up. Let’s take a look at a few likely candidates for the Red Sox 2018 All-Star team.

2x Red Sox All-Star Mookie Betts

It’s a safe bet that Mookie Betts will make the 2018 All-Star team. He’s hitting .359 with ared sox all league-leading 52 runs as well as 17 home runs. Betts is also in the running for the American League MVP (if he can stay healthy). As someone who sportswriters compare to Mike Trout, Betts will not only make the All-Star team, but he’ll become a Red Sox legend in years to come.

1x Red Sox All-Star J.D. Martinez

Anyone who says Martinez won’t make the All-Star team doesn’t know baseball. He’s leading the league in home runs (20) and RBIs (52) and has a .317 batting average as of June 6th. A modern-day Johnny Mize, Martinez knows how to hit the long ball, and he’s already fitting in better in Boston than Hanley Ramirez or Pablo Sandoval ever did.

Andrew Benintendi

If Aaron Judge hadn’t made his debut last year Andrew Benintendi would have been the American League Rookie of the Year. He hit 20 home runs last year and already has 10 this year as of June 6th. He’s a fan favorite in Boston and it’ll be a surprise to Red Sox Nation.

6x All-Star Chris Sale

While some are concerned about Chris Sale’s performance so far this season, he still has 110 strikeouts for the season. Many are speculating that Alex Cora is pacing Sale this season, hence why we’re not seeing him repeat last year’s numbers. Regardless, he’s an All-Star.

Red Sox All-Star Honorable Mentions

The Red Sox are such a good team this year, which makes it hard to pick more than just a few. But some honorable mentions that are worthy of an All-Star team include Xander Bogaerts, Craig Kimbrel, Mitch Moreland, and Rick Porcello. Bogaerts is hitting below .300 but he’s still a solid hitter. Kimbrel is always good for a save. Mitch Moreland would surely make the All-Star team if he got more playing time. With Hanley Ramirez gone that might happen. Rick Porcello’s performance is reflecting his 2016 numbers. Regardless, the Red Sox seem to finally be playing with the determination and energy we saw back in 2013. That’s the year they won the World Series.

Red Sox Failed To Give Pitchers Run Support

The Boston Red Sox failed to give its pitchers the run support they needed in their series against the Chicago White Sox. Chris Sale absolutely dominated the White Sox Friday night by striking out ten but got the 1-0 loss. The Red Sox won the second series game on Saturday. The third game though ended in a 5-2 loss with Rick Porcello taking the loss. The box score clearly shows that it wasn’t the pitchers’ fault. If anything, it’s clear they didn’t the run support they needed. You know how many runs the Red Sox scored in the entire series? Four. The starting lineup for the Red Sox failed to give their pitchers the support they needed.

Chris Sale dominated Friday night. He took a shutout into the seventh inningred sox fail before giving up a run. He struck out ten for a season total of 120. It should have been an easy win for him. Unfortunately, ESPN is projecting him to go 12-10 this season. That’s not because he’s struggling on the mound. It’s because he’s only gotten four runs in support in his last three starts. Those last three starts were all losses too.

Rick Porcello Is Dominating Again, But He Needs Run Support Too

Rick Porcello is pitching like he did back in 2016 when he won the Cy Young Award. ESPN is projecting that he’ll win twenty games again this season. Unfortunately, the Red Sox’s hitters are playing like they did in 2016 when they’d leave a number of runners on base at the end of each inning.

The Red Sox can’t afford to sacrifice run at this point in the season. The New York Yankees are right at the Red Sox’s heels and they’ll run away with first place if Sale and Porcello don’t get the run support they need. While David Price is projected to go 17-10 this season, there’s no reason why the Red Sox’s number one and two starters should have double-digit losses.

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.