Ortiz Leads Red Sox All-Star Team

As David Ortiz leads Red Sox All-Stars to San Diego next week, Red Sox Nation will cheer for an AL victory. Six Red Sox players have been chosen for the 2016 American League All-Star team at Petco Park in San Diego. This will be the first All-Star game for all but two of the chosen Red Sox players. Here are your 2016 Red Sox All-Stars (Player numbers are current as of July 8th).

David Ortiz will be playing in his tenth, and final, All-Star game this year as he closes in onOrtiz leads Red Sox finishing a historic season. Ortiz is leading the American League with 34 doubles and a .429 on base percentage. He’s also hitting .337 with a .677 slugging percentage. Despite pleas to reconsider, Ortiz insists that he’s retiring—stating that he can no longer tolerate the pain in his feet and ankles. Ortiz should be a shoe-in for induction in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021.

Craig Kimbrel has struggled in recent weeks, but has accumulated 17 saves this season. This will be his fifth All-Star game.

Kansas City’s manager Ned Yost chose Steven Wright for this year’s All-Star game, his first. However, Wright probably won’t be the starting pitcher. Wright has developed a nasty knuckleball that rotates slower than planet earth, deceiving batter after batter. He’s leading the league in complete games (3) and has a 10-5 record overall.

Mookie Betts finally made the All-Star team for the first time despite a spectacular 2015 season. Betts currently leads the American League in plate appearances (401), at-bats (374), and total bases (197). Betts has only made one error in 179 defensive chances too.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has revived what was once seen as a floundering career. After hitting .189, .198, and .249 over the last three seasons, respectively, Bradley Jr. is hitting .293 with 14 home runs. In 197 defenses, Bradley Jr. has made only one error. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets the Gold Glove Award for this season’s defense.

After missing last year’s All-Star game by a narrow margin, Shortstop Xander Bogaerts will finally get his chance to show the rest of the league how good he is. Hitting .332 this season, Bogaerts has emerged as a Red Sox fan favorite. While not known for his power, Bogaerts is a clutch hitter who comes through when needed most.

The 87th All-Star Game will take place on July 12th, 2016 at 7:30 Pacific time. Boston will be smiling down on San Diego as David Ortiz leads Red Sox All-Stars on the field to take on the National League.

Brock Holt Makes Impact At All-Star Game

This year’s Mid-Summer Classic ended with yet another win for the American League.  The game was played at the Great American Ballpark in Cincincatti.  The Boston Red Sox only had one representative, Brock Holt, and he did not disappoint for the Sox.

Coming into the game, nobody was really sure about what type of role Holt would have. Brock Holt He was not seen until the seventh inning when he was subbed in to replace Mike Trout as a pinch-runner.  But right when he came in, he made an immediate positive impact.

Holt stole second base on a breaking ball thrown by pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, after seeing the previous pitch put in the dirt.  He then scored on a double hit by Manny Machado.  This run gave the American League another insurance run which helped them to a 6-3 win over the National League.

After being put into the game, Holt stayed in and played three innings in left field.  In his one at-bat, he struck out against the Cincinatti Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

For Holt, this was his first All-Star selection.  As Red Sox fans, we’re all hoping that it is just the first of many.  He may be the most versatile player in the Major League’s, and that showed as he was the first player in history to be selected to the All-Star team who had started at seven positions, every one other than pitcher and catcher.

The Red Sox are starting the second-half of the season in last place in the A.L. East.  Toward the end of the first half, they were starting to turn things around before dropping two of three at Fenway Park to their rival the New York Yankees.  With the American League winning the All-Star Game, this means their World Series representative will have home field advantage.  Let’s hope that Holt’s contributions can help turn the Sox season around and maybe we can see game one of the World Series being played at Fenway.

Brock Holt Named Red Sox Lone All-Star

While the Boston Red Sox have not looked like a great team during the first part of this season, at least they can say they have one great player.  On Sunday afternoon, the Sox outfielder Brock Holt was named the team’s only representative for the 2015 All-Star Game.

Holt has been a great story throughout his career, which started with the Pittsburgh Brock HoltPirates.  He was drafted in the ninth round in the 2009 MLB Draft by Pittsburgh, and now is showing that he deserved to be a much earlier pick.

After a few years in the minors, Holt was called up to the big league’s in 2012.  Though he only played in 24 games that season for the Pirates, he was impressive at the plate, batting .292 in his short time with the team.  The following season, he came to the Red Sox, but not much was expected of the young outfielder.

During the Sox 2013 World Series Championship season, Holt only appeared in 26 games.  The following season, he was not even seen on the Sox opening day roster.  But in a short time, Holt has proven that he is a great all-around player.

When a few players for the Sox got injured, Holt got the call and took full advantage of his opportunity showing that he has a lot to give to the team.  He ended up playing 106 games last season, and while doing so played every position except pitcher and Catcher.  Since coming to the Sox, his batting average as well as games played has gone up every season, and this year he is batting .295 with 15 doubles and 21 RBI, and also hit for the only cycle in the Major League’s this year.

This will be Holt’s first time being selected to the All-Star team.  The game will be played this year at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.  As the only Red Sox representative, this will give Sox fans more incentive to watch the game, and maybe even give more hope to a season that is actually starting to have some promise in Boston.

MLB Must Fix the All-Star Game Voting

I love the All-Star Game. It’s a timeless and magic event that showcases the very best of baseball. I always remember the excitement of watching the Midsummer Classic as a kid, and being amazed that all my favorite players assembled each July for a contest ripped straight from hardball fantasy. Yet this year, the prospect of watching eight Kansas City Royals start in Cincinnati, as the voting presently dictates, simply doesn’t appeal. In fact, it threatens to make a mockery of the entire process, and consign the All-Star Game to sad irrelevance.

My opposition to the Royals’ domination of voting is multifaceted. Firstly, we must All-Star Gameremember that the All-Star Game determines which league has home-field advantage for the World Series. This came into play last year, when the Giants and Royals met in Game 7 at Kauffman Stadium. Therefore, if the game counts, the best player at each position must be selected. For instance, Omar Infante, possessing the lowest OPS of any qualified hitter in Major League Baseball, should not start the game while Jose Altuve, Jason Kipnis, or even Dustin Pedroia sits on the bench. That nightmare scenario is on the verge of becoming reality. Similarly, Eric Hosmer is currently slated to start ahead of Miguel Cabrera, and, judging by the last vote count, Mike Moustakas is on pace to play third, ahead of Josh Donaldson and his 17 home runs.

Such fundamentally flawed selections not only affect the American League’s chances of victory, but, in a wider sense, they also insult the history and tradition of the All-Star Game, which has always been a sacred opportunity for the greatest stars to assemble on one stage. Some Royals, such as Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez, are undoubtedly worthy of All-Star honors, but others, such as Infante and Alcides Escobar, simply aren’t worthy of the accolade. By voting for such clearly undeserving players, the currency of All-Star Game selection is devalued immensely, and the contest itself becomes cheap and meaningless.

This fiasco comes at a time when MLB is trying to appeal to a younger audience. Baseball, usually slow and ponderous, isn’t hugely compatible with our modern world, typically frantic and hyperactive. These days, kids generally prefer the fast-paced drama of basketball, or the instantaneous excitement of football, over the meandering poetry of baseball. Yet, the All-Star Game, by design, is a prime opportunity for MLB to showcase a different face; a prime opportunity to exhibit the young stars of our game in a more relaxed and vibrant setting. For instance, the Home Run Derby is a great way of engaging young kids. Accordingly, baseball’s brightest stars, such as Cabrera, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton, should play a starring role. They certainly shouldn’t sit on the sidelines watching Kendrys Morales or Lorenzo Cain.

Ultimately, MLB must fix this broken system. Right now, the All-Star Game is a brilliant reminder of baseball’s past, full of tradition and prestige, but also a potentially great vehicle for future progress, full of intrigue and entertainment. Yet, in allowing so many unsuitable players to be part of the festivities, baseball will destroy a once-beloved event, and miss another huge opportunity to develop a global fanbase. Rob Manfred must intervene, to save the players from embarrassment, the All-Star Game from shame, and baseball from slipping further into the shadows of general indifference.

Red Sox Possible Representatives for All-Star Game

The Red Sox have had a terrible start to their season.  The team has a record of 27-34, and after a great come-from-behind win against the Oakland Athletics last week that gave them their first sweep of the season, the Sox have already went back to their losing ways after being swept by the Baltimore Orioles Thursday night.  But, even with the team looking as bad as they have been, this does not mean that there are no individual players who could be heading to Cincinatti for this years All-Star Game.

It will be hard to find a player, whether it be a pitcher or a position player, who is deservingall-star game of an All-Star bid on the Sox this year.  Some of the teams bigger name players, such as David Ortiz and Clay Buchholz, are really struggling this year.  At this point in the season, Ortiz is only batting .220, with 7 home runs, and 22 RBI.  For someone who does not play in the field against American League teams, these are just not All-Star numbers, so we’re going to say it’s a no for Ortiz.

Buchholz came into the season as the Sox number one starting pitcher.  He has not lived up to that title at all this year, to say the least.  During the off season, Sox fans were very skeptical about having him as the top starter.  He typically is a solid pitcher, but just a solid pitcher should be a number two or three starter, not number one.  Now, about a month away from the All-Star break, Buchholz is only 3-6, and he’s proving that the skepticism that Sox fans had before the season was valid.

But, it hasn’t been bad for all of the Sox players this season.  There are definitely some players that can be looked at as being on the fence for next month’s All-Star Game.  Xander Bogaerts had a rough start to the season, but he has been picking up his play over the past few weeks.  Overall this season, he is batting .295 with eight doubles and 22 RBI.  I wouldn’t say these are All-Star numbers, but crazier things have happened.  Also, Hanley Ramirez is batting .272 with 13 home runs and 32 RBI.  Again, maybe not All-Star numbers, but also pretty solid stats.

Now let’s get to the players who have the best chance at representing our beloved Red Sox in the All-Star Game this season.  I think that there are two players who have shown just enough this season to deserve a bid, Dustin Pedroia and Junichi Tazawa.  Pedroia leads the Sox with a batting average of .310, and has also driven in 23 runs with 11 doubles and eight home runs.  He is also known as being possibly the best defensive second baseman in the Major Leagues.  Tazawa has also been good this season.  Opposing batters are only hitting .179 against him, and he has a 1.33 ERA and has only allowed 4 runs on the season.  It’s possible that we will be seeing one or both of these guys in All-Star uniforms this season.

In a season that has had many more downs than ups, it can be hard to see anything as a positive.  But maybe for the Red Sox this season that positive will come from seeing one of their own compete in the All-Star Game.  And hopefully that one positive will create many more.

The Unfortunate Inconsistency of the Red Sox Offense

Red Sox offense A.J. Pierzynski

The Red Sox offense lit up the Yankees on Sunday night, giving us hopes that it would continue on Monday against the Cubs. Well, that could not have been further from truth. After a night of 12 hits and eight walks, the Red Sox were almost no-hit by Jake Arrieta, ending up with two hits and one walk.

The addition of Mookie Betts to the lineup provided hope for a potential spark to the poor offense, however he has looked a bit shaky in the outfield. With Shane Victorino’s rehab stint shut down, it appears that Betts will have some time to prove himself in the majors both at the plate and in the outfield.

It seems that pretty much every time the Sox start hitting, they can’t carry it over to the next game. There were only two occasions in the month of June where the Sox scored five or more runs in two consecutive games and seven games total. Their 84 runs in 28 games last month equals exactly three runs per game, which is nowhere near where it needs to be.

There are about two weeks left before the All-Star break and the Red Sox have to figure things out in that period. With the Orioles, White Sox, and Astros on their slate, it would be a great time to pick up some wins and gain some more ground in the AL East race.

It has been rumored that some Red Sox might be dealt at the deadline, including big names like Jon Lester and John Lackey. If the Sox work their way back into the thick of things, I don’t see them being moved. There is a chance that A.J. Pierzynski may be moved though, but that all depends on whether he gets the bat going. He has been relatively productive compared to the rest of the team, but with two catching prospects on the rise in Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart, he could be expendable.