2018 Red Sox: Best and Worst Case Scenarios

Opening Day has finally come, so it’s time to stop speculating on what may or may not happen in the 2018 MLB season. Before we do so however, I wanted to touch on what a best case or worst case scenario looks like for the 2018 Boston Red Sox. There is definitely a wide range of outcomes with this club. While I think they’ll be on the higher end of them, you never know. Let’s take a look at how things would play out perfectly, or disastrously.

The Best Case Scenario for the 2018 Red Sox

All of the success and good vibes from spring training carry over into April and the teamRed Sox 2018 Best and Worst keeps riding that wave. Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello form a three-head monster at the top of the rotation and the only problem is that they’ll probably all split votes in the Cy Young Award race. Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez come back from the DL and remain healthy while finally realizing their immense potentials and solidifying the back of the pitching staff. The team releases Steven Wright.

Craig Kimbrel pitches like he did in 2017 while Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith are healthy, super setup men. The rest of the bullpen falls in line and with all of the rest they get due to great performances by the starters, they excel.

JD Martinez provides the power the Sox have been missing. Mookie Betts gets back to an MVP-caliber player. Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers continue to thrive despite their inexperience. Dustin Pedroia turns back the clock to when he was actually good. JBJ and Christian Vazquez make strides at the plate to compliment their defense and Xander Bogaerts bounces back to re-join the “best shortstop in the league” conversation. The TB12 Method works wonders for Hanley Ramirez as he has his best season in Boston.

The bench guys play like starters and form one of the best units in the league to give the Sox amazing depth. Mitch Moreland and Eduardo Nunez get back to how they were when they were healthy for Boston in 2017. Blake Swihart’s wild journey ends well as he becomes a valuable utility player and Brock Holt gets back to being an “All Star”. Alex Cora wins manager of the year after he changes the culture in the Sox clubhouse and on the field. The Sox run away with the AL East over the Yankees. They then get through Houston and New York before facing Washington in the World Series. Devers comes up with big blasts to win World Series MVP as Boston takes home the title in 6 games.

Worst Case Scenario

The Sox groove from spring training is cut off and they start the season slow. Chris Sale and David Price either get hurt or stink. The fans start to lose it. Porcello continues to serve up long balls while Pomeranz and Rodriguez can’t stay healthy. The rotation ends up looking like a Triple A squad. The bullpen implodes every time they actually get a lead.

Pressure mounts as the leadership and clubhouse issues persist. Dustin Pedroia still feuds with the media and refuses to do anything but ground out to second base. Xander Bogaerts can’t seem to find his swing and is dangled in trade talks. Benintendi and Devers growing pains become real issues and we wonder whether they will actually pan out like we’d hoped. JBJ can’t hit a breaking pitch and Christian Vazquez becomes an automatic out. Mookie Betts cracks under the pressure of being a leader and an All Star while a divide forms between him and the front office. JD Martinez turns into David Price 2.0 in that he just can’t hack it in Boston and starts lashing out. Hanley Ramirez goes fully in the tank and his attitude gets him shipped out of town for pennies on the dollar.

The bench becomes a total hole as Blake Swihart’s value dips and we figure out that Brock Holt has overstayed his welcome. Nunez does not stay healthy and soon the team is made up of minor leaguers trying to fill in the gaps.

As the summer goes on, we find out that Cora wasn’t ready to be a manager at all. He gets into bad habits and stays stubborn about them with anyone who questions him. The team misses the postseason despite all the talent and the big payroll. The looming offseason is full of uncertainty.

Back to Reality

In truth, it’s not likely either of these things happen. The Sox won’t be perfect all year on their way to a championship. They won’t totally go down the tubes either. Well, at least I hope not. They’ll likely be an improved club that wins ballgames but still has some glaring issues. I like them to ultimately be the last squad standing, but it won’t be without some hiccups along the way. Manage your expectations, Sox fans and enjoy the season. We’re finally ready for the real thing!

 

Pete Rose Denied Induction Into Hall of Fame For Final Time

Pete Rose, the all-time hits king at 4256, was denied eligibility for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame for likely the final time. Many applauded the decision handed down by the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors. In their mind, Rose accepted, and must abide by, a lifetime ban he received in 1989. Others say it’s too stringent. With Pete Rose denied induction into the Hall of Fame for likely the final time, baseball fans will surely become more divided over the issue.

Then-commissioner Bart Giamatti banned Rose in 1989 for placing betts on baseballPete Rose Denied Induction games. Rose denied any involvement in gambling for many years before finally admitting it in 2004. Despite his confession, which he thought would exonerate him, the path to Hall of Fame induction only narrowed. In fact, it’s Rule 3(E) that continues to block Rose’s path to Cooperstown. The Baseball Writers Association of America election rules state that anyone who is permanently ineligible by Major League Baseball may not be considered for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. This is the rule the Board of Directors cited in their decision to shut the door forever on Rose’s induction.

But is the Board of Directors being too stingy? Yup!

It’s Hypocritical To Deny Rose Induction

There’s no denying Rose gambled on baseball. It’s a crappy thing to do. Some say it’s no big deal but keep something in mind. You’re profiting off the hard work of your teammates. Then there’s the whole being illegal thing. But if the writers inducted Rose into the Hall of Fame then he would be in good company. Legendary New York Giants manager John McGraw allegedly threw games after the Giants were eliminated from the playoffs. Rumors about Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker’s connections to gamblers continue to this day.

Then there’s Hall of Famer John Clarkson. Clarkson won 50 games in 1885 (Yes, you read right) for the Chicago White Stockings. He’s in the Hall of Fame despite the fact that he murdered his wife with a razor. Let’s not forget Cap Anson and Kenesaw Mountain Landis, two more inductees who are directly responsible for introducing, and maintaining, respectively, segregation in baseball. So we can let other gamblers in, along with murderers and bigots, but not Pete Rose? That’s definitely a double standard.

Pete Rose Denied Induction For Final Time

Seeing Pete Rose denied induction is disappointing. It’s also somewhat hypocritical. Of course, Rose is no saint. But there are very few in the Hall of Fame whose character can’t questioned (Brooks Robinson comes to mind). This isn’t to dismiss what Rose did. But 25 years is enough.

Let Rose into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Sea Dogs Unveil Two New Hats For 2017

Portland, Maine–  The Portland Sea Dogs are proud to announce two new game day hats for the 2017 season at Hadlock Field. On Saturday, the team will wear State of Maine hats and Sunday will feature a kid friendly Slugger hat.

 The State of Maine hat will cater to our tourist population, featuring slugger over the state Portland Sea Dogs hatof Maine logo.  The hat features a red brim and backing, with blue on the front.
The kid-friendly hat for Sunday home games, features a larger slugger, blue brim and a blue backing, with a red front.
Both hats compliment our primary logo, which has stayed the same since the Sea Dogs first season (1994).
Portland has 11 Saturday games this season featuring some returning promotions and portland sea dogs hatnew concepts for 2017. Our first Saturday (April 8th) is Kids Opening Day featuring appearances by Nickelodeon characters Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob, and Skye and Marshall from Paw Patrol.  In addition, the Sea Dogs Mascot Band the Kastaways performs every pre-game. Other Saturday games include Star Wars Night on August 5th and Fireworks on June 24th.
The Hoods Kid’s Club has a special outing in 6 of 11 Sunday home games this season.  Additionally, kids can run the bases following every Sunday home game.
The official Saturday and Sunday hats can be purchased at the Sea Dogs Souvenir Store online at www.seadogs.com and at (207) 879-9501.

Red Sox Versus Indians: 2016 ALDS Preview

The Red Sox are about to embark on their first postseason run since 2013. More importantly, it will be just the second time in seven years that October baseball will visit Boston. So, what can fans expect in the American League Division Series, and will the Red Sox advance?

Red Sox

Well, it’s perhaps easier to answer the first question. Boston has a first round matchup with the Cleveland Indians, needing three wins to advance. The first two games will be played at Progressive Field, with the next two at Fenway Park. If a deciding fifth contest is needed, the teams will travel back to Cleveland, which has experienced something of a baseball revival in recent months.

Cleveland Will Test the Red Sox

The Indians have a fascinating history. From the days of Cy Young and Nap Lajoie through to Bob Feller and Larry Doby, and on to Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, Cleveland has built some very good teams. However, that effort has yielded just two world championships, and none since 1948. Still, the Cavaliers won an NBA title this year, ending Cleveland’s notorious drought, so perhaps there’s a little magic in the air by Lake Erie.

A familiar friend captains the Cleveland ship. Terry Francona, the mastermind of two World Series championships for the Red Sox, has been the Indians’ manager since 2013. The first few years were rough, but a core of young players has since emerged, with shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jason Kipnis leading Cleveland to its first full postseason series since 2007. Attendance has increased for Indians home games, and this is definitely a team looking to progress swiftly.

The Indians Are Struggling With Injuries

Francona won’t be able to rely much on his vaunted starting rotation in this series, though. The Indians pitched to a 3.86 ERA during the regular season, much better than the Red Sox’ 4.00 mark. However, the Indians have lost Carlos Carrasco to injury. Ace Corey Kluber will return from a scare to pitch in Game 2, but Danny Salazar, the third head of this tremendous trident, has not made the ALDS roster thanks to a strained forearm.

Essentially, the Indians’ biggest strength has been decimated by injuries. Trevor Bauer and his 4.42 career ERA will start Game 1 against the Red Sox, while Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger aren’t exactly petrifying. Nevertheless, Boston cannot take anything for granted, especially given the erratic nature of its own pitching staff.

The Red Sox do have a considerable advantage in terms of offense. Boston scored 101 more runs than Cleveland during the regular season, and also had a far superior run differential. Those statistics may not play especially well in a short series, but no team in baseball can fully match the Red Sox with regard to a dynamic lineup that can score in multiple ways. If the bats keep producing at their normal clip, and the pitching holds up, it will be really difficult for the Indians to stick with the Red Sox.

Of course, nothing is ever easy in October. All of these teams emerged from the enormous grind of a season to earn this opportunity. But the Indians seem to be falling apart physically at the worst possible time, affording the Red Sox a brilliant chance of advancing.

So strap yourself in. It’s time to get excited. Let’s see if Big Papi and the Red Sox have one more run in them, when it really matters most.

Jackie Bradley Hit Streak Ends at 29 Games

Jackie Bradley showed Sox nation that he’s arrived offensively at the big league level. During the 29 game hit streak, Bradley hit .415 (44-for-106) with 20 extra-base hits, including eight homers and 30 RBIs. All great things come to an end as Sox fans know with this being the final year for Sox great and one of baseball’s great ambassadors, David Ortiz. However, Bradley has many strong years ahead and this hit streak showed that.

Bradley came into this season with just 700 at bats in the big leagues and 238 gamesJackie Bradley played. So while he technically has three years of major league experience, his plate appearances represent less than two full years of experience. Major league experience is commonly misinterpreted if one just looks at years played. So with under two years of actual playing time and exposure to the highest level, Bradley is on track to being a very strong major league hitter.

Following the hit streak, Bradley’s average sits at .341. While this average is unlikely to persist throughout the rigorous 162 game season, Bradley has shown me he can be a .300 hitter with 20-25 homers. The most impressive component to his game that I have noticed this season is his willingness to go with the ball and use the monster as his best friend. Countless times Bradley has knocked a double off the monster. Bradley also can run, stealing 15 bases out of 15 attempts. To go along with his outstanding defense, Bradley is becoming an all star with all of the work he has put in during the offseason. Meanwhile, some people are questioning whether or not he is using PED’s.

Bradley has always had the reputation of being a listener and having a strong work ethic. The improvements in his game are a product of that rather than PED’s. Nowadays, whenever somebody takes off it seems that the PED questions surface. This is an absolute joke and is a disgrace to the game in general, improvement can be made with work being put in. Bradley has put in the work and as a result he is becoming one of the better hitters in the league. What’s next for Bradley?

Bradley cannot improve much upon the numbers he has put up. In fact, he is likely to regress to a fairly great extent. Bradley will probably end the season with a .304 batting average with 22 homers and 93 RBI. That is regression on his current projected stats based off of his performance thus far, 28 homers and 117 RBI. Bradley has been awesome to watch during his streak and that will not change, Bradley has arrived and he is here to stay.

Portland Sea Dogs Win Four-Game Series Against Rock Cats

After dropping the first game of the series, the Portland Sea Dogs were able to win three straight, including a 4-2 victory on Sunday, to defeat the New Britain Rock Cats in their four-game set at New Britain Stadium in New Britain, CT.

Portland responded in a big way after being defeated in the series opener, scoring 13 times in a wild comeback victory on Friday night.Portland Sea Dogs

The Sea Dogs entered the seventh inning trialling New Britain by a score of 10-4, and received a RBI single by Oscar Tejada and a grand slam from designated hitter Tim Roberson to bring Portland within a run. The Rock Cats responded with a run of their own off Sea Dogs’ reliever Kyle Martin in the bottom half of the inning to make the score 11-9, but Portland was able to rally for two more runs in the ninth to tie the score.

Roberson stepped to the plate in the 10th inning with two runners on and needing just a triple to complete the third cycle in Sea Dogs’ history, and delivered with a three-base hit to center field that scored Jantzen Witte and Oscar Tejeda to give Portland the 13-11 lead.

“Just one of those nights, I saw the ball well,” Roberson told Kelsie Heneghan of MiLB.com. “Almost speechless and never expected that, but I’m blessed and happy that we got the win, most importantly. To do it at the professional level, and at the place I’m in here and in this moment, I’ll definitely remember this one for the rest of my life.”

Portland wasted no time in the series’ third game, scoring five times in the first inning and never looking back. They added two more in the second on a Witte home run and a sacrifice fly by Keury De La Cruz, and scored single runs in the third and fourth to win by a final score of 9-4.

Justin Haley took the mound for the Sea Dogs for Sunday’s rubber game, and was able to earn his first victory of the season after tossing six innings and allowing just two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out eight.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the fifth inning, Blake Tekotte hit a two-run homer to give Portland the 3-1 lead, his first home run of the season. Carlos Asuaje added a RBI single in the seventh, to give Portland the 4-2 lead.

The Sea Dogs have an off-day Monday before returning to Hadlock Field to take on the Altoona Curve for a three-game series beginning Tuesday night at 6:00 PM.