There Is No Need To Worry About David Price

Boston Red Sox new starting pitcher, David Price, has drawn a fair amount of criticism following his first seven starts as the ace of the staff. Playing in Boston can be very tough for a new player, especially one of Price’s magnitude. With such lofty expectations from a fan base that always expects the best, Price has been a major disappointment so far. Price is the first true ace this team has had since former Sox starting pitcher Jon David PriceLester left for the Chicago Cubs. Adjusting to a change of scenery can be tough for a star player and Lester’s first season for the Cubs, a 3.34 ERA with 207 strikeouts in 205 innings, should be the measuring stick Sox fans are using for Price’s first season in Boston. However, Sox fans may not be aware of the start Lester had in a Cubs uniform. Lester’s first seven starts in a Cubs uniform were only a tad bit better than Price’s have been for the Sox.

Through Lester’s first seven starts in a Cubs uniform, he had a 4.10 ERA with 40
strikeouts in 41.2 innings pitched. This performance certainly didn’t live up to the 6 year, $155 million contract he signed, and World Series hungry Chicago was also very concerned about their aging new ace. Similar to Lester, Price’s 6.75 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 41.1 innings pitched have not lived up to the 7 year $217 million contract that he signed this offseason. Both pitchers stumbled out of the gate for their new teams and Lester’s turnaround last year should be the expectation Sox fans have for Price. Lester and Price are very similar pitchers as well.

Both Lester and Price feature four pitches, a fastball, cutter, curveball and changeup, relying primarily on the fastball and cutter, throwing them over 70% of the time, according to FanGraphs. The main difference between the two is with their off speed stuff, Price relies on his changeup more and Lester puts more trust in the curveball. Both pitchers throw around the same speed at this point in their respective careers, Price’s average fastball velocity is around 92 mph, while Lester’s fastball sits around the 90-93 range. Location of pitches is the key for both of these pitchers in the latter stages of their careers. Price’s inability to locate his pitches have been the reason for his struggles. Luckily for Sox fans, this can easily be fixed.

David Price: Location Issues Are The Reason For His Early Season Struggles

Although he has showed strong command, allowing just 12 walks, the issue has been more of where he’s leaving the ball in the strike zone, in places hitters can destroy a pitcher. For example, in his last start he threw a pitch down and inside to Carlos Beltran, a guy who has killed that pitch during his long career. As a result, Beltran doubled in two runs. Price has the experience to know that this is the real issue, not his velocity.

With the pedigree Price brings, Sox fans should not be concerned but rather have faith in Price turning it around and performing as the ace. The baseball season is long and to critique a pitcher of Price’s caliber just seven starts in is not justifiable. His strikeout rate and the limited walks are elite and when he figures out his location, everything else will be elite as well. This Thursday’s start against the strikeout prone Astros in front of the Fenway crowd will provide him with a great opportunity to show off his still great stuff and silence the early season criticism.

Star Spangled Fenway Saw Rise of Anthem’s Fame

When my love for baseball started around the age of 12, I initially thought that playing “The Star Spangled Banner” was boring and unnecessary. The minute and a half long piece felt like an eternity to me as I waited for the game to start. As I grew older and more mature, however, I recognized its importance to the game. The Star Spangled Banner is not only astar spangled form of bonding that helps the crowd feel more unified and less unruly, but recently, I found out that its origins are a part of Red Sox history.

Historians trace the playing of The Star Spangled Banner at a baseball game during the Civil War era. A band supposedly played the tune at the opening of the Capitolene Grounds in New York before a game in 1862. But what gave the song its prominence was when it was played at the first game of the 1918 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs during World War I. As a band started playing the song during the seventh inning stretch, Fred Thomas, the Red Sox third baseman who was on leave from active duty in the military, stood and saluted the flag. Other Red Sox players followed his example by placing their hands over their hearts. Red Sox fans did the same. While it would be years before The Star Spangled Banner became more popular in baseball, many historians agree that Fred Thomas’ patriotic gesture paved the way towards the song becoming a staple of baseball.

Respect for Red Sox History and Star Spangled Banner Go Hand in Hand

Some fans might believe the playing of The Star Spangled Banner is an outdated practice that should no longer continue. Personally, I can’t make anyone take his or her hat off and observe the flag. After all, we’re Americans and have a right express ourselves. But it is important to recognize that the Red Sox and the famous song go hand in hand. If Fred Thomas hadn’t saluted the flag at the opening game of the 1918 World Series, then The Star Spangled Banner may not be an important part of baseball games as it is today. Its performance is not just a tradition; it’s a link to the past. It’s a glimpse back to a time that saw 18 million people, including 117,000 Americans, die in World War I. So when you take your hat off before The Star Spangled Banner is played, you’re not just recognizing sacrifice, you’re showing respect for the Red Sox and The United States of America.

Red Sox Fans Now Chicago Cubs Fans

For one month, and one month only,  much of Red Sox Nation has jumped on the Chicago Cubs bandwagon. Why? Because the Cubs have suffered longer than Red Sox fans, going 107 years without a championship. After the Red Sox waited 86 years in between championships, most of Red Sox Nation can empathize with the Cubs, and were quick to jump on their bandwagon.

And when you look at the Chicago Cubs, it’s not hard to find reasons to root for them. For Chicago Cubsstarters, ex-Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, part of 2 championships, and ex-GM Theo Epstein, who built the team who broke the “Curse of the Bambino,” are both with the Cubs now. Not to mention Manny Ramirez, who won the World Series MVP in 2004, and David Ross, who was one of the leaders of the beard movement in 2013. Second, the Cubs are loaded with young talent, notably Jake Arrieta and Kris Bryant. Those are just a couple of the things the Cubs have going for them.

But the main thing? Empathy. For 86 years, the Red Sox were in the same boat as the Cubs. While our curse involved a questionable trade, being unlucky in the World Series, a missed ground ball, and a few ill-timed home runs by the New York Yankees, we eventually broke it after 86 years. The Cubs are cursed in a different way; theirs involving a goat, a tavern, and an unfortunate case of fan interference back in 2003 in the NLCS against the Florida Marlins. So, the Red Sox and Cubs are similar in that they were both cursed for long periods of time.

Personally, I really hope the Cubs finish the job. They need to break their curse, since they’re the only team left with a “curse”, and they need to win it all. They’ll face the New York Mets in the NLCS. Go Cubs.

Manny Being…a Consultant?

manny ramirez

Manny Ramirez has joined the Chicago Cubs as a hitting consultant and will help mold the minds and skills of the young Cubs prospects. Team President Theo Epstein also hired another former member of the Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis, to his staff as a scouting and player development consultant.

Theo must be stockpiling ex-Red Sox players and personnel.  Manny and Youk join General Manager Jed Hoyer, Director of Scouting Jason McLeod, and ex-players DarnellManny Ramirez McDonald and Ryan Dempster as former Red Sox personnel working in the team’s front office.

Then there are the half-dozen former Red Sox on the Cubs’ spring training roster, headlined by Jon Lester, as well as outfielder Ryan Sweeney, catcher David Ross, first baseman Anthony Rizzo (a one-time Sox prospect,) and pitchers Felix Doubront and Drake Britton. Let’s not forget Eric Hinske, who played parts of two seasons (2006-07) for the Sox and is now the Cubs’ first base coach.

It’s Manny, though, that is most intriguing. What advice will the twice-suspended slugger impart on the Cubs kids? Apparently one of the first things Manny did in the Cubs Mesa, AZ, spring training camp was meet with all of the minor leaguers and “shared all the things I went through so they don’t go through that” according to reports.

That must have been one lengthy meeting.  What was discussed first?  Being suspended not once, but twice for PED use? How to deal with 65 year old ball club employees with diplomacy, as opposed to assaulting them when your ticket requests aren’t to your liking? How not to be accused of quitting on your team, or will he profess how to force your way into being traded? Maybe he’ll share fashion tips, on how to make baggy pants look good at Wrigley Field.

We all know he could hit, and hit like nobody else.  Maybe, though, he’ll help the young outfielders in the ChiSox system deal with the lesser known facets of playing left field, such as where to take a leak during the game.  With no Green Monster to walk into in the Windy City, the ivy might be a logical target. Then of course, Manny can teach the kids how to make cut-off plays in the outfield when they aren’t needed.