Defying the Odds – The Tale of Dustin Pedroia

From the moment he became a major league baseball player, Dustin Pedroia has been defying the odds. Many called him a bust. Many believed that due to his size, he could never cut it in the big leagues. Here we are fourteen years later. The long time second baseman for the Red Sox is taking a leave from the team. It was announced on Monday that Pedroia is going to take some time to figure things out.

Now, what does that mean? Have we seen the last of the Lasershow? Many fans believedefying the odds that he’s about to hang up his spikes and call it a career. Others think differently. It’s a tough situation for Pedroia, who has been the heart and soul of this team from the very beginning.

Defying the Odds Since Day One

Like many members of Red Sox Nation, we take notice when a new player gets called up to the big leagues. August 22nd 2006 was no different. Fans were wondering who this rookie infielder from Woodland, California was. All that they knew about him was that he was doing well enough in Pawtucket to get the call every player looks to get.

Pedroia isn’t your average infielder, but he won the heart of the Nation. He was a dirt dog on the field. Many dismissed him due to his size, but he made them think twice when he was at second base. From his sweet swing, to the flash of leather, Pedroia is the definition of dirt dog. There was something special about that kid from California. Since 2006, Red Sox Nation got to witness Dustin Pedroia’s career.

Pedroia never gave up the fight to be the best. From winning Rookie of the Year in 2007, to MVP in 2008, he was a complete player. A definite force in the clubhouse, Pedroia led the Red Sox to three World Series Championships. This last one, despite not being able to play, he was able to use his voice and lead. That is the reason why he is “Captain” material, and why he is respected in the clubhouse in Boston.

A Proven Leader In Boston

As mentioned, Pedroia is no doubt the heart and soul of the Red Sox. He has been part of this team for fourteen seasons. This also makes him the ultimate veteran player on the roster. Pedroia is one of the few that can say that they have been with the same organization throughout there career. Not many players can say that. Especially players who have been in the game as long as Pedroia has.

What Does the Future Hold For Pedroia?

“I’m at a point right now where I need some time.” – Dustin Pedroia.

Following the announcement that he is going to the 60 day injury list, the Red Sox held a press conference with Pedroia, Dave Dombrowski and Alex Cora. Pedroia, sporting a black shirt and a Red Sox cap, answered questions from the media. You can tell that he was fighting back emotions as questions were being asked. For a guy like Pedroia, who lives to compete, it’s tough to face reality.

With this leave of absence, maybe Pedroia will retire. It’s up to him and his family to determine what comes next. It hasn’t been an easy road for the 35 year old the past few seasons. For young fans, seeing a player who you’ve grown up watching every day retire, it’s a strange feeling. I only hope that when he does officially retire, the number 15 ends up in the right field rafters. Nobody should ever wear that number again.

Red Sox Sweep the Rays thanks to lifts from Moreland, others

You have tremendous foresight if you were expecting to see the Red Sox sweep the Rays after a weekend series in Tampa. With the tabloids barking for the real Red Sox to stand up, the World Champions were facing adversity really for the first time under Alex Cora. That might still be the case, as Boston still sits at just 9-13 AFTER a series sweep. But the Red Sox are finally showing real signs of shaking their funk.

The Red Sox sweep the Rays with a push from Mookie Betts

As has been the case since Betts showed MVP-ability in 2016, the team goes when he Red Sox Sweep the Raysgoes. When he struggles, so does the offense. It’s no secret Betts was scuffling entering play on Friday, going just 2 of 23 in his last seven games. That changed when he smacked a homer and a double to help lift the Sox over the Rays 6-4 to open the series. Case in point, as he went back-to-back with Mitch Moreland on home runs in the series opening victory. He continued that approach into the next two games. He added two more hits apiece in each contest. If the 2018 MVP continues to stay hot, then he very well might carry the Red Sox back to form.

The starting pitching continues to improve, and that starts with David Price

Price has arguably been the rotation’s most reliable thrower to this point in 2019. While the southpaw has tossed just one quality start so far, he has not allowed more than four runs in a start. Price has worked less than six innings only once too. Given the inconsistencies of Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez, Price’s outings have given the team a chance to win each time out. He was at his best versus Baltimore on 4/14 (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 7 K) but worked out of jams and held the Rays to two runs over five innings with 10 strikeouts on Sunday afternoon. With Eovaldi hitting the injured list, and Chris Sale still yet to truly put it together, Price’s importance cannot be overstated to the rotation’s long term success.

Martinez, Moreland, and Benintendi are all off to strong starts

As important as Betts’ oil is to grease the Red Sox’ engine, the team might be off to an even worse start if it weren’t for J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and, most notably, Moreland. Through Sunday, Moreland lead the team in homers (7) and RBI (14), and mashed most of those homers to either tie or give the Red Sox the lead. The former Texas Ranger homered again Sunday to pull the Sox within one. Martinez has been one of the best hitters in baseball, hitting .350 with a 1.004 OPS, including four homers and 11 RBI. He is also one of three players (Rafael Devers and Betts) to appear in every game so far. Benintendi crushed his first career grand slam on Saturday to give Boston an early lead. Coupled with his strong defense in the field, the Cincinnati native figures to continue to break out in 2019.

If you expected to read the headline “Red Sox Sweep the Rays” on Monday, you also see why the team has gotten back on track. If the Sox want to keep winning, it is going to take more than what they have received so far from the roster. But a three-game sweep of the first-place Rays is a good starting point. They can now look forward to the upcoming home stand with three straight wins under their belt.

2019 Boston Red Sox Home Opener Will Be Historic

After starting the 2019 season embarking on an 11-game road trip, the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox will return home to Boston. The Red Sox will host its home opener on Tuesday, April 9th against the Toronto Blue Jays. The team will host a historic pregame ceremony. They will also honor Super Bowl LIII Champion New England Patriots as part of its pregame festivities.

Yet it won’t be the first time this has taken place.2018 Boston Red Sox Home Opener

Who could ever forget the 2005 Boston Red Sox home opener?  The team honored the 2004 World Series champions as they won for the World Series first time in 86 years. It was also the first time that the Red Sox honored the Super Bowl XXXIX Champion New England Patriots; in the same pregame ceremony.

In order to really appreciate what this all means to Boston and New England, one should pause and reflect on the importance of this event. Home openers in Boston symbolize success as Boston professional sports teams have won so much and frequently since 2001.

Red Sox Home Opener Marks an Important Anniversary

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the 2004 Red Sox team that broke the 86 year title drought. It’s remarkable that it has been 15 years since the 2004 Boston Red Sox brought joy to millions across New England. However, 2019 also marks the 15th anniversary of the 2004 New England Patriots. They are the last team in the NFL to repeat as Super Bowl Champions after winning it the previous season.

In a city that’s defined by the success of its teams, the 2019 Boston Red Sox home opener will serve as a reminder to everyone that Boston is the city of champions.  The only question left is: what will the  2018 World Series Championship rings look like? We will find out on Tuesday afternoon.

In spite of the Red Sox’s rough start to the 2019 season, it should not dampen optimism for the season. The home opener will offer one last chance for fans and media to appreciate what the 2018 Boston Red Sox accomplished.  They won a franchise record 108 games while embarking on an 11-3 run in October to capture the franchise’s eight World Series title & their fourth title since 2004. These are truly remarkable times for Boston sports fans.

Red Sox Game 4 Recap

Sunday’s pitching matchup was between Rick Porcello (career-high 190 strikeouts in 2018) vs. Wade LeBlanc (27 starts, 3.72 ERA in 2018). Andrew Benintendi was held out of the lineup for the first time in 2019. Mookie Betts led off for the first time since last year’s World Series Game 5. To begin Boston Red Sox 2019 game-4 recap, let’s see how Rafael Devers scored the Sox’s first run on Sunday.

The Sox scored first in this one. After a ground out by Betts to start the game, Deversgame 4 recap doubled to deep left and J.D. Martinez drove him in with a RBI single up the middle. Eduardo Nunez drove in two more later in the first inning, thanks to an error from third baseman Ryon Healy that loaded the bases.

Porcello breezed through the first with 2 k’s and a flyout. LeBlanc pitched a clean second. Jay Bruce led off the bottom of inning two with a stand up double to right and Omar Narvaez singled right after. Bruce to third. Later in the inning with two outs, Dee Gordon singled in both Bruce and Narvaez. Boston 3, Seattle 2.

Game 4 recap premier moment

In the top of the third, the Red Sox put two men in scoring position (Martinez and Mitch Moreland), but were unable to score. In the bottom half, Mitch Haniger drove a ball to left field and Martinez, who usually DH’s, dropped the ball in the sun. Haniger safe at second. Three batters later, Narvaez belted a three-run home run into the right field bleachers. Seattle 5, Boston 3. Dee Gordon and Mallex Smith added the next two runs via a sacrifice fly and a RBI single. 7-3, Seattle. Porcello was pulled after throwing 73 pitches in 2.2 innings. Brian Johnson came on in relief.

The Mariners still were not done in the third. With two outs, Haniger doubled in two more with a double, past Devers, down the left field line. Domingo Santana flew out to deep center to end the inning after seven runs scored. Seattle 9, Boston 3.

Game 4 recap: Sox strike right back

The Sox struck right back. With two men on (Betts, Devers) and two outs in the top of the fourth, Martinez hammered a ball far and gone, just inside the left field foul pole. The deficit was cut to three.

Jay Bruce responded immediately, though, with a solo shot to right-center off Johnson. The left-hander escaped the inning after allowing another extra-base hit – a double to Healy. Seattle 10, Boston 6.

Betts launched a solo shot in the sixth inning off Mariners reliever Nick Rumbelow to cut the lead back to three. Both teams went scoreless the next two and a half innings.

In the ninth inning with the bases loaded, M’s reliever Chasen Bradford walked pinch-hitter Blake Swihart to score Martinez. The tying run moved to scoring position at second base. Christian Vazquez then struck out and Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out to end the game. Final score: Seattle 10, Boston 8.

Some things I liked from Sunday’s game were the three runs scored in the first inning, J.D. Martinez knocking in four runs, hitters going 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and the strong finish by Brandon Workman, Colten Brewer, Ryan Brasier in relief. Things I did not like were a costly error by Martinez in the outfield that helped fuel a seven-run inning, hitters leaving ten men stranded on base, and Porcello’s inability to pitch 3 innings.

Game 4 recap: Opening Series takeaway

The Red Sox finished their first series of the season with one win and three losses. Spectacularly, each of their starting pitchers (Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Porcello) allowed at least six runs. Martinez and Devers combined for 13 hits. Andrew Benintendi had just one hit. Martinez had two home runs. The most effective relief pitchers were Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree. Combined, the two allowed 2 hits and 2 walks in 4.1 innings.

Boston starts their next series tonight against the Oakland Athletics. First pitch is at 10:07 PM/ET.

Red Sox Update: Two Days Until Opening Day

With two days until Opening Day in Seattle and with ample activity occurring in the past week, here is a quick Red Sox update. Chris Sale signed a 5-yr/$145 million contract on Saturday to remain with the team through 2024. Also on Saturday, the Red Sox made the final cuts to their bullpen. Darwinzon Hernandez was sent to Double-A Portland, while Bobby Poyner and Marcus Walden were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager Alex Cora stated that Jenrry Mejia would not make the Opening Day roster as well.

Bullpen is set…for now

The Sox bullpen will consist of Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Heath Hembree,Red Sox Update Brian Johnson, Tyler Thornburg, Hector Velazquez and Brandon Workman to begin 2019.

On Monday, Sandy Leon, who had been with the Red Sox since 2015, was placed on waivers. Later that day, Rick Porcello was hit in the head with a ‘comebacker’ by Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. He “laughed” it off and stayed in the game. What?!?

Arguably the most substantial news happened last Wednesday. In an interview with reporters, reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts was asked about Angels outfielder Mike Trout’s new record breaking contract. “I love it here in Boston. It’s a great spot. I’ve definitely grown to love going up north in the cold. That doesn’t mean I want to sell myself short of my value.”

Also in this Red Sox Update

It was announced very early this morning that reigning World Series MVP Steve Pearce will begin 2019 on the Injured List (IL) due to a left calf injury. Sam Travis will serve as Boston’s backup first baseman in Seattle.

Just over a week ago on March 18, Cora announced that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will also begin the season on the Injured List. Pedroia could make his debut on April 9th on Boston’s first home game of the season versus Toronto.

The Underappreciated Mitch Moreland

Mitch Moreland is an all-star. Yep, that is right. Whether that says more about the lack of first-base production in the A.L., or not, you can’t discredit what Mitch has done for the Red Sox thus far. Moreland’s numbers aren’t ungodly by any means, but he is incredibly consistent. Moreland currently sits at a very respectable .282, with 11 home runs and 45 runs batted in. Looking around the league, he more than deserves to be wearing that American League jersey next week.

Time and time again, when Boston needs a clutch hit, its often “Mitchy 2bags” thatMoreland delivers. While batting 4th, Alex Cora can count on him to drive in runs routinely and expect him to have game-altering at-bats. Moreland also is a great team leader, very durable and plays gold-glove defense, somewhat anchoring the infield with his almost non-existent errors.

Players and coaches acknowledge Moreland’s humble, yet steady baseball approach and awarded him with his first appearance. Around the league, Moreland has always been just a decent hitter with a stellar gold-glove. Now playing every day, he is putting up the numbers he is capable of. He will back up White Sox first-baseball Jose Abreu for the American League next week in the summer classic.

Mitch Moreland Is More Than Earning His Paycheck

This winter, Moreland became a free agent. Many thought that Dave Dombrowski would stay away from offering him a contract considering Hanley Ramirez was slated for first-base. Additionally, the inevitable mega J.D. Martinez contract was looming. Dombrowski acted quickly, however, and signed Mitch to a two-year 13 million dollar contract. Considering the lack of first base production around the league, the fact that Hanley was cut from Boston and his ability to be an underrated cleanup hitter for this potent offensive club, that contract is an absolute steal.

Moreland is making 6.5 million a year. When 2017 free agency opened, it seemed nobody had him in the same upper echelon of free agents in the likes of say Eric Hosmer or Carlos Santana. San Diego shelled out an immense 144 million dollar contract to Hosmer. Hosmer is hitting .253 this year, that seems underwhelming for that deal. Meanwhile, Philadelphia has to pay Santana 20 million annually for the next 3 years. Santana is currently hitting .214  I would have to say that the Red Sox like their underappreciated first-baseman just fine.