Portland, Maine – The Harrisburg Senators (32-41) led wire-to-wire and defeated the Sea
Portland, Maine – The Harrisburg Senators (32-41) led wire-to-wire and defeated the Sea
The hometown heroes have won their last five games (as of May 27th). They have scored a whopping 41 runs in those games while opposing teams have mustered just 15. The Red Sox’ record as of May 27th sits at 26-21, which is the highest amount of games over .500 it has been all year. The recent outburst has been an all-around team effort, from the hitting to the fielding and everything in between. The Red Sox’ winning streak has been a proponent of very good pitching, especially starting pitching.
Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched two great games during this 5-game streak. He gave up 3 earned runs over 8 innings in Oakland last Sunday, and beat the Mariners on Friday giving up no runs in 6 innings, (4-1, 2.77 ERA). The Sox were coming off a game that they pitched rather well in too, when they tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a game with a combined 20. Drew Pomeranz pitched a gutty game, striking out 11 en route to the win. Craig Kimbrell struck out 4 in the ninth due to a dropped-third strike, while a combination of Hembree, Barnes, and Scott collected 5 punch-outs. Though Chris Sale was unable to break his own record (in which he shares with Pedro) for the most consecutive starts with 10+ strikeouts, the Sox still won. Sale’s three earned runs over 7.1 got the job done.
The Red Sox are finding ways to win. They have proved in the last few years that they can beat any team. They did exactly that against a hot Texas Rangers team. The starting pitching held the Rangers’ bats in check while guys like Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts collected RBI. Xander left the yard for the first time this season, and is hitting a whopping .335 on the season. This is just the start we needed out of him, and his power stroke may have finally returned. Look for this team to stay hot if they can stay healthy, as the return of David Price will hopefully galvanize the club, as well.
The Red Sox starting rotation has yet to come full-throttle. Sox fans are beginning to grow tired of the team’s inconsistent pitching. Despite Chris Sale’s massive success, the rest of the rotation has been inconsistent to say the least. Drew Pomeranz is the only starter with a winning record, and David Price has not returned from injury. Speaking of injuries, Steven Wright can’t stay away from them. Not to mention, Rick Porcello has not found his groove from last year quite yet. It’s still early, but when will it be time to press the panic button?
If all goes well, LHP David Price is slated to pitch one more simulated game before he goes on his rehab assignment. This is the best news we have heard so far concerning Price’s injury. News broke last month that he was still experiencing elbow soreness during long toss, but now he seems to be making progress. According to John Farrell, Price threw a 50-pitch simulated game on Thursday, maxing his fastball out at 95 mph. Price’s next sim-game will be Tuesday in Milwaukee, and he is expected to make his first rehab start next Sunday. Again, if all goes well, David Price could be back in the Sox rotation at the end of May or in early June.
At this point in the regular season, Chris Sale could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate. With an ERA of 1.38 and 63 strikeouts, he has been nothing short of electric. His average fastball velocity is up from last year, and he has yet to give up more than 2 earned-runs in a game. The problem is that the Red Sox have trouble scoring when Sale pitches. They have averaged 2.5 runs/game when Sale starts. I do not see this as a huge problem; Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and we will win games for him. It has to happen.
If the Red Sox want to succeed as much as they were expected to this year, they have to start pitching like they mean it. Also, David Price has to return to the rotation for them to have a chance of repeating their AL East championship.
I love to collect autographs. I’ve met many Hall of Famers and former Negro League players who graciously took the time to sign my items.They carefully scrawled their name on a baseball in the same way an artist draws in a sketchbook. To me, their detailed cursive signatures are absolutely stunning. Unfortunately, this is becoming a lost art. Current players who take their time to sign an item are few and far in between. Their penmanship is making baseball autographs look worse than ever. As a result, the value of baseball autographs will become more unstable in years to come as collectors question their authenticity.
For some, the increasingly common scribbles make certain baseball autographs undesirable to collect. For example, when a player like Ted Williams signed a baseball, he not only did so with care, but his unique style makes it difficult to forge. Modern advances in forensic science can scrutinize Williams’ signature to tell whether it’s real or fake by examining the consistency of his signature. For example, the loops in the letters “T” and “L” in his name (top right) are details that experts look at to verify its authenticity. But signatures like Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez’s (bottom right) are so sloppy that even if it is real, its authenticity will remain an issue. An autograph will be more desirable (and valuable) if the signature is written more neatly.
Current players who probably didn’t learn cursive have terrible signatures. In most cases they just scrawl their initials. I recently saw an 8×10 photo of the 2016 Chicago Cubs signed by twenty of its players. Most of the signatures looked like a toddler wrote them. They were completely illegible. Unfortunately, the decline in handwriting has been an issue for many years. According to a 2006 College Board report, only 15 percent of students who completed the essay portion of the SAT that year wrote in cursive. For teachers like me, this is a concern. This isn’t an issue that a lot of people care about though. Who needs to write by hand when you have an iPad? It’s difficult to argue with that logic. However, the impact of this decline in penmanship is something collectors should take seriously. It is an issue that’s only going to get worse.
Part of the reason baseball autographs look bad is because people don’t write their names neatly anymore. I rarely take the time to write my full name on a credit card receipt. In fact, if you forged my signature using a credit card receipt I signed a month ago, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell which one is real. Unfortunately, the erratic way players sign today will make it easier for people to forge their signatures because there won’t be as many authentic and consistent examples to measure against ones in question.
Collecting autographs from current players is risky. It won’t matter if you saw the player sign the item yourself. Potential buyers will scrutinize the item carefully even when you know it’s real. If players continue to sign items in a quick and sloppy way, collectors will see their value drop because no one will want to buy them (Then again, maybe players do this on purpose because they know someone will try to sell it?).
Who’d want a badly signed baseball? I wouldn’t. I prefer Ted Williams over anyone else’s any day. That beautiful cursive signature belongs in Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Rodriguez’s, on the other hand, belongs in the trash.
The 2017 World Baseball Classic was one that will go down in history. The combination of flare for dramatics, swag, and genuinely good baseball will make sure of that. The best players in the world getting to represent their country is always a special event. For the fans, their favorite players from their favorite teams don a new jersey. Following Team USA’s exciting victory over Puerto Rico, it officially became time for Red Sox baseball. The team has been playing in spring training games and tuning the roster up for Opening Day. The participants who are also Red Sox players missed time with the team to play for their home country. Let’s see what their WBC performances consisted of.
The Netherlands were a team that did not have much big league talent. Regardless, the team made a push in the tournament to reach the semifinal. They were defeated by Puerto RIco by a score of 4-3 in 11 innings. The team’s best hitter was a man named Wladimir Balentine, who hit a whopping .615 in the tournament. Xander Bogaerts ultimately went 5-22 (.227) in 17 games, scored 5 runs, and drove in 2 runs. He has always been a “put the ball in play” type of hitter, and managed to only strike out once all tourney long. Bogey had a OBP of .419.
Fernando Abad threw 2 & 1/3 innings for the DOminican Republic in the WBC. He got a win for one of the most exciting teams in the tournament. Abad was 1-0, had an ERA of 0.00, stuck out 1 while walking 1, and gave up 2 hits. We’ll have to wait and see if he finds a spot back in the Red Sox bullpen this year.
It certainly would have been interesting to see what Hanley Ramirez could have done in the WBC for the Dominican Republic. Ramirez decided to not partake in the event due to a lingering shoulder soreness. He plans on returning to playing the field for Boston by the end of spring training.
The same goes for Eduardo Rodriguez. E-Rod has been pitching for the Red Sox during spring training, and was on the Venezuelan roster as one of the pitchers they could pick up later in the tournament. The team requested Rodriguez, but he denied the request. The Red Sox will continue to monitor Rodriguez’s situation with his knee, as well as simply watch the young man progress.
No Red Sox players emerged as heroes in the World Baseball Classic like some thought they would. The leadership and determination of Xander Bogaerts had to have played a role in the Netherlands semifinal run. Fernando Abad pitched in one game, while Hanley Ramirez and Eduardo Rodriguez simply did not partake. Now that the WBC is over, it is time for Red Sox baseball.
And then the stove got hotter.
The Red Sox pulled off a nice deal Tuesday morning. They shook the baseball world Tuesday afternoon. In the morning, they acquired a hard-throwing set-up man in Tyler Thornburg, parting ways with Travis Shaw. Then, the rumors Red Sox fans have heard for over a year now have come to fruition and Chris Sale is a Boston Red Sock. The best part of the deal is: they didn’t break the bank.
Don’t get it twisted: Chris Sale is the best pitcher in the American League. That is an indisputable fact. Since 2012, Sale leads the AL in ERA, WHIP, complete games, shutouts, and OPS against. In his sevens seasons, he has made the All-Star team six times and he led the league in ERA and strikeouts in 2015 and complete games in 2016. He has also never been outside the top six in Cy Young voting the last five seasons. Sale led the league in strikeouts per nine innings twice in his career and is the active leader among all AL pitchers.
Dave Dombrowski has now made his starting rotation nearly obsolete. They now have two of the top pitchers in the American League this decade in Sale and David Price along with the AL Cy Young winner in Rick Porcello. They also have Eduardo Rodriguez, who was lethal after coming off the DL and Drew Pomeranz, their best pitcher in the postseason. That being said, Pomeranz is clearly the weakest link in the rotation and that’s a good position to be in. If Steven Wright is as healthy as the management says he is, he could even return to All-Star form.
On the other side of the deal, the Red Sox did also give up two of their top five prospects. They parted ways with the Minor League Player of the Year in Yoan Moncada and their top pitching prospect, Michael Kopech. Moncada has every chance to be an All-Star and Kopech has hit triple digits on the radar gun. Moncada still has some work to do as we saw at the end of the season, but he should be a good player. Kopech didn’t get above Single-A last year and injured himself punching a teammate. The other two prospects were Luis Basabe and Victor Diaz. In the end, you got a perennial Cy Young candidate without touching your Major League roster. That is a deal any GM would be dumb to turn down.
The Red Sox have attacked this season the right way. They have gone for the arms. They added a top-of-the-line starter and a dynamite set-up man in front of Craig Kimbrel. Also, Red Sox fans should know one more Chris Sale stat before they question this trade again. Against the Yankees, Sale has a 1.17 ERA, the lowest in the live ball era (1920) against the Bronx Bombers in a minimum of 50 innings. Finally, it’s very team friendly. Boston will have him under control for three years with an average of just over 12 million a year. In comparison, Rick Porcello gets about 21 million and David Price gets about 34 million. The Red Sox were a contender already. With Sale added to their rotation, they are a favorite…if they have discarded their throwback uniforms of course.