Will Middlebrooks Returns To Red Sox

Will Middlebrooks

Courtesy of espn.go.com

Will Middlebrooks returned to the majors with the Red Sox Saturday, August 10th. People on Twitter questioned why the team brought up Middlebrooks when many are itching to see Xander Bogaerts. Answer, Will is in the forty-man rotation, and has the experience we need right now.

I am sure John Farrell wants to take another look at it Middlebrooks, too. He was a valuable asset for the Red Sox once upon a time. He hit a slump with the Boston team and spent 45 games with the Pawtucket Red Sox. In the last eight games, he went on a hitting streak producing his best batting line of .333/.361/.545.  Now was the time to bring Will back up.

Last night Middlebrooks had much to prove, and prove it he did with 2 hits and 2 RBIs helping the Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals. The two crucial RBIs came during the 4th inning off a single Middlebrooks hit to right field.

Everyone seemed thrilled with his performance last night, but can he keep it up? And if not, what are the Red Sox options for third base beyond Brock Holt? Third base is a large liability that was not addressed before the July 31st trade deadline. The team needs a big bat and defensive prowess on the field in that position.

Xander Bogaerts fits that profile, except he’s never played third base. Fans know this, but still want to see him at shortstop, or third because of his standout performance all season. Perhaps, the PawSox should move Bogaerts over to third for a few games on a trial basis to see what he can do there. Let him practice what may be the position that brings him up to the big leagues. The Sox may need him in September.

Meanwhile, Farrell’s mad scientist tests continue up in Boston. Each day comes with a new surprise, a tweak here, or a major change there. Yesterday’s change was Middlebrooks. Tomorrow, Bogaerts? Tuesday, he’ll take on the world.

Stay tuned.  This season gets more interesting by the day.

In Bad Boston Sports News, Red Sox Are A Minor Issue

boston sports news

When will Clay return? Courtesy of bostonherald.com

I leave town for three days and everything in Boston sports news seems to hit the fan. Come on people, I went away to do some good, charitable work, and Clay Buchholz is on hold for what seems to be the indefinite future. Jon Lester gave us a scare on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Koji Uehara has been named closer and Brandon Snyder got the call up to Boston. And that’s just the Red Sox. Don’t get me started about the Celtics and the Patriots. Thanks Aaron Hernandez for making “chicken-and-beer-gate” look like, well, chicken [bleep]. I was gone for three days.

Are we in trouble? I’m not sure just yet. On paper things look promising. In personnel, and in practice, they are in progress. Now is the time for the players to pull together and prove that the strength of this team is their most valuable asset.  The former minor league players need to make the most of their promotions, too. These players must make good because my journalistic integrity is on the line.  Oh, helping the Sox earn an American League East title would be nice, too.

Pitching poses a greater concern than ever. What do we have left? A few of the starting five, especially Ryan Dempster, are only successful when the offense is hot. Felix Doubront runs hot and cold. Saturday he seemed solid, but the bats didn’t back him up. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. John Farrell is very crafty, so I am sure he will come up with a winning pitching strategy.

Who Is Brandon Snyder and Why are We Talking About Him?

Brandon Snyder

Will Middlebrooks will reportedly get to play again every day, but not in the majors.

Will Middlebrooks has been demoted to Triple A Pawtucket for poor performance.  Lately, I’ve been seeing it and have wondered when the time was going to come. Well, the time is now and he is being replaced by Brandon Snyder.  Or is he? Brandon Snyder, or Jose Iglesias? In any case, who the heck is Brandon Snyder?  All these names; all these players I get so confused most of the time. I can’t keep up. Anyway, after Middlebrooks spent time on the bench when he injured his lower back he just wasn’t the same in his return.  Jose Iglesias stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) and despite his youth his performance has been nothing more than perfect. It was obvious what to do after Middlebrooks spent six consecutive games on the bench and Iglesias fired balls to the outfield.  Something had to give and Middlebrooks had to go.  Brandon Snyder, on the other hand, was recently added to the 40 man roster not intentionally to replace the 24 year old third baseman, but in place of David Ross who was put on the 60 day DL for consecutive concussions. So, where does Snyder fit in in all of this?  Is he a catcher or a third baseman or just a strong hitter?

Middlebrooks has a lot to improve, Iglesias is a star and Ross is currently injured.  Along comes Brandon Snyder. The son of Brian Snyder, a major leaguer, Brandon is a 26 year old rookie.  The Orioles pursued him in 2005 but he remained in the minors, struggling at the plate from then until 2010 when the Orioles resigned him. It was a short lived stint for Snyder for he only played 16 games that season.  He returned to the minors until 2012 when the Texas Rangers signed for him to play corner infield and outfield positions.  In Texas, Snyder played a total of 40 games.  Again, being sent back down to the minors for improvement he remained until now, 2013.  Recently placed on the 40 man roster for the Red Sox Snyder will supersede Middlebrooks at first and third base.

My First Pawtucket Red Sox Game of the Season

pawtucket red sox

Courtesy of wpri.com

On Sunday, May 19th, I went to see my first Pawtucket Red Sox game of the season at beautiful McCoy Stadium. I went with a group of kids and parents and it was a great time. I got to the ballpark early enough that I was able to peek at an old-time 1880s exhibition baseball game. Men were on the field playing with no gloves and interesting uniforms. After killing time peering through the fence and waiting for my group, I danced with both Paws and Sox, the mascots for the Pawtucket team. Sox is a much better dancer than Paws. That girl can really get down!

The players proved just as good as the atmosphere, as they soundly beat the Indianapolis Indians 11-3. The Paw Sox now have a 26-18 record thus far this season. I was there for Jackie Bradley Jr.’s return to center field. He has not been in the outfield since April 27, 2013, after one stint as designated hitter, and then another on the disabled list because of tendinitis around the right bicep. Jackie looked good Sunday. He could have batted better, but I think he is still a bit tentative after coming off the DL. His on-base percentage is still in the .400s. In today’s baseball, getting on base is important. During this game, Bradley Jr. got on base three times and was able to score all three times, thanks to his teammates’ hot bats against a weaker team. His arms were full-on pumping as he bolted by us sitting on the 3rd base line.

I was also impressed with Brandon Snyder’s work. All of the writers were right about him. He gets his bat on the ball, makes great line drives into center field, and is a solid defensive fielder. The pleasant surprise award of the afternoon had to go to Jeremy Hazelbaker who definitely caught my attention. Hazelbaker scored two runs.

A big win became even sweeter, as fans have the opportunity to run the bases after every Sunday game. It was fun to see children and parents run where many greats of the past–and future ran before.  We ran as the day’s sprinkles just began to fall. It was another memorable day at one of America’s finest minor league ballparks.