Pomeranz Emerges As Unlikely Ace

Despite a less-than-stellar beginning with the Red Sox last season, Drew Pomeranz has become an unlikely ace this season. Pomeranz emerges as a reliable pitcher in the wake of a string of lineup injuries this season. David Price is just now returning. Steve Wright had season-ending surgery a while back. Rick Porcello is struggling to meet this season’s expectations. Eduardo Rodriguez is back on the DL. So with the Red Sox struggling to climb to first, manager John Farrell seems to depend more on Pomeranz’s control. At 5-3 with 64 K’s for the year, Pomeranz is on his way to having a career year.

Part of Pomeranz’s success this season stems from his cutter. A cutter is a fastball thatPomeranz Emerges cuts away towards the pitcher’s glove as it crosses home plate. While it’s been around since the 50’s, Mariano Rivera perfected it when he rose to dominance as a reliever. Another reason behind Pomeranz’s success is that few paid attention to him when the season began so the expectations, and the pressure, were low. All eyes were on Chris Sale and David Price. On top of that, Pomeranz had a terrible 2016 season with the Red Sox. He went 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA after joining the Sox in a trade from San Diego where he’d been an All-Star. No one expected him to perform.

Pomeranz Emerges As A Dependable Pitcher

A sorely missed David Price returned to the Red Sox last week. While he dominated the Orioles in his first game back, he may still not be 100%. Rick Porcello continues to struggle on the mound. Eduardo Rodriguez is on the DL again. Chris Sale is as solid as always. But the Red Sox only benefit by having Pomeranz in their rotation as he continues to develop his artillery of pitches. His National League experience helps too.

Who knows whether the Red Sox will take first place and the division this year. But one thing is for sure. As Pomeranz emerges as an unlikely ace, he’ll benefit the Red Sox as Price and Porcello find their consistency. If all four pitchers can come together to dominate the American League, it’ll be in parr to Pomeranz’s developing abilities.

Red Sox Add Kimbrel, Send Signal of Intent

When the Red Sox traded for San Diego closer Craig Kimbrel last week, shock waves reverberated around the baseball world. Such a trade can be viewed as a defiant signal of intent, a confirmation of Boston’s rekindled commitment to acquiring elite talent.

Red Sox add kimbrel

In Kimbrel, the Red Sox added a genuine star. The bullpen ace will turn 28 in May, but has already amassed 225 saves in five full Major League seasons. Only thirty-eight pitchers have ever saved more games in baseball history, which is indicative of Kimbrel’s prodigious ability. Given his relative youth, Craig figures to have a legitimate shot at 500 saves, a plateau reached only by Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman thus far.

Of course, the Red Sox didn’t want to give up dazzling prospects such as Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, Carlos Asuaje and Logan Allen, but the opportunity to rebuild a woeful bullpen around one of the two best closers in the game was too good to pass up. Dave Dombrowski has often struggled to construct a strong relief corps, but Kimbrel gives him an enviable cornerstone.

Moreover, this trade was highly symbolic. From a philosophical perspective, it indicated that, after years of indifference and indecision, the Red Sox are ready to go all-in and recommit to investing heavily to win now, rather than just stockpiling assets for a tomorrow that may never arrive. Dombrowski is the ultimate win-now architect, and ownership has clearly granted him autonomy to reshape the Red Sox into a powerhouse.

So, what is his next move towards achieving that objective? As every baseball fan on the planet knows, the Red Sox need a bonafide ace, a bulldog to head the rotation. And, as Dombrowski indicated recently, that piece will likely be acquired via free agency. Accordingly, Boston figures to compete heavily in the market for David Price, who seems the perfect antidote to the franchise’s pitching problem. Alternatively, Zack Greinke may be a target, although his advancing age will test ownerships’ resolve, while Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann will also be worthy of consideration.

However, I think the Red Sox need two, not one, additional starters. At present, the perpetually inconsistent Clay Buchholz will start on Opening Day, while Wade Miley or Rick Porcello would likely pitch Game 4 of any potential playoff series. Quite frankly, that simply isn’t viable if the Sox hope to seriously compete for a world championship. Therefore, I expect Dombrowski to finally solve the ace problem before wading into the secondary market for a strong mid-rotation arm like Mike Leake, Doug Fister, Jeff Samardzija, or Mat Latos.

Hypothetically, a rotation of Price, Leake, Miley, Buchholz, and Eduardo Rodriguez would instantly improve the Red Sox beyond measure, and go a long way to redressing the balance between offence and pitching that was so distorted last year. Dombrowski could possibly offset the salary burden by working some kind of trade including Joe Kelly, Porcello, or, ideally, Hanley Ramirez.

At this point, speculation is the lifeblood of baseball fans. A lot can happen between now and Opening Day. However, with one trade, one sacrificing of homegrown talent in order to obtain elite external reinforcements, the Boston Red Sox made a new commitment to their fans, and fired a warning to their rivals. Dave Dombrowski wants to win immediately, and the journey to that end promises to be greatly intriguing.

David Ortiz Will Not Waive Trade Clause

Take one Red Sox veteran off the trade block. David Ortiz has said he will not consent to a trade if the Red Sox try to deal him before the July 31st trade deadline, according to SI.com:

“No chance,” Ortiz said, according to The Boston Globe. “This is the team I’ll be with the rest of my career.”

“I couldn’t do that to my family. I couldn’t just go to another team and fit in after all of these years. I want to be here.”

I appreciate David’s loyalty, and I’ve been a huge fan of Papi’s through the years, but whatDavid Ortiz good would a trade do for the team? Probably nothing. It looks like Father Time has finally caught up to him – he’s currently hitting at a .229 clip, which would be a career low for him if he doesn’t improve significantly. That begs the question: Who would take Ortiz, even if he was on the market? Right now, the only team that would take Ortiz are teams that are young and could use a veteran presence to help them develop, or possibly teams looking for a leader to take them over the top. The latter seems less likely, though, as he wouldn’t do much for them in terms of production with the way he’s been performing this season.

The other question is: What could we get in return? I don’t think we would get a lot, unless some team overpays for his reputation. That seems unlikely. Maybe we could a prospect or 2, but I don’t think teams would clear out their farm system or trade their star guy to get Ortiz at the moment with David on pace for career lows in average (.229), on base percentage (.313), and slugging (.408).

His best option would be retirement after this season. Don’t shoot me, Sox fans, but the hard truth of it is that Father Time has finally caught up to Big Papi. As I mentioned above, I’m a huge fan of his. I love what he did for us in helping the Sox win 3 rings, and I’ll always remember when he went on NESN and dropped the F-bomb after the Marathon bombings a couple of years ago, but I think it’s about time to let go. Maybe if he announced it soon, he’ll get a mini-farewell tour like a Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. At least it would fill seats up in a crummy season.

My Thoughts on the 2013 All-Star Game

all-star game

The All-Star game was pretty decent this year, and even better, because Robinson Cano got hit by a pitch and Dustin Pedroia got the go-ahead to play. It was great to see Pedey out there. I was so proud of him, my heart surged. He earned and deserved to be out there with this year’s other greats.

It was also great to see Cano hit by that pitch. There were the typical dramatics from the broadcasters— “Oh no, this could be bad. He’s being seen by the trainer. Nope he’s okay.” God bless the broadcasters, they can create a story line that rivals a Jerry Bruckheimer film. Still, it seems Matt Harvey didn’t help us out enough. We don’t want that juicehead Cano coming to Boston, but he is. (Speaking of Matt Harvey, great pitcher, why don’t we pick him up Mr. Cherrington?) Harvey needs to be a household name; he will not, if he remains a Met.

Yes, it was nice to see the respect paid to Mariano Rivera, but to say that he is the “greatest pitcher of all time,” I am not sure. He is the greatest closer of all time. Yes, I know semantics, but let’s look at this fact. Statistics are inflated because of limited innings he pitches. As I tweeted on Tuesday night, the best thing about Rivera is that he is a Metallica fan. To come out to “Enter Sandman” every night, definitely sets a certain psychological tone to the other team. He is a class act, and I guess, should be a hall-of-fame closer. Did they really have to give him a truck? Please! Yech!

And finally, the respect Joe Buck paid to Jim McCarver was a true tear-jerker. McCarver really got choked up when Buck told him his scorecard would be headed to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was a real touching moment to end, a somewhat memorable, All-Star game.

“Sweet Caroline” Becomes Baseball’s Anthem Cross Country

Sweet Caroline

It was the year 2002 “Sweet Caroline” became the anthem as the bottom of the eighth inning approached for the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park.  Ever since, it has played without hesitation at every Red Sox game.  It has become Boston’s anthem.  But it is now 2013 and tragedy has struck our beloved city. However, that just means stronger camaraderie as a city and as a country. This Tuesday proved just that when Neil Diamond entered the infield at Citi Field, in New York.  It was the bottom of the eighth at the 84th annual Midsummer Classic, the All-star game.  45,000 fans sprung up from their seats and sang along with Mr. Diamond as “Sweet Caroline” resonated the park. It must have been the largest sing-a-long to date.

Mariano Rivera


Called in during the eighth to make sure he would pitch in his final All-Star Game, Mariano Rivera soaks up an ovation. He tossed a perfect inning and was named MVP in the AL’s win.

History was made not only as Neil Diamond entered the field,but also when Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect inning (ironically) at the bottom of the eighth. With only 16 pitches, Rivera retired the side for what would be his last inning in attendance at the All-Star game.  The 43 year old will be retiring after this season. With 638 career saves under his belt, it was only right to have a standing ovation as he approached the mound.   

As for the Red Sox, Clay Buccholz attended the game, but was unable to play due to shoulder soreness.  The DH for the American League was our beloved David Ortiz who went 0-2 as did Dustin Pedroia before he was replaced by the Indian’s, Jason Kipnis.

It was the tragedy that fell upon our city on April 15, 2013 that brought our nation together in every sports stadium.  I remember the Bruin’s shirt on the statue that stands before TD Bank that stood for the 11 year old boy killed in the bombing.  The Celtics also paid homage to the city as their season came to an end, and the Red Sox, of course, paid tribute in their own way.  Nobody will ever forget David Ortiz’ speech.  I don’t think I have to repeat it.  “Sweet Caroline” is not just the Red Sox’ anthem anymore, it’s our entire country’s.  Thank you Neil Diamond for being such a true patriot!

neil-diamond

(PHOTO:YouTubeClip)Neil Diamond at Fenway in Boston.