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.

Matt Harvey an Option for Red Sox

Since it’s never too early to start thinking off-season trades, especially with the Red Sox out of contention for the 2015 season, here’s an idea thrown out by Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe: Xander Bogaerts for Matt Harvey. It’s an interesting option, and it should be interesting to see how many Red Sox fans will be for it. Yes, Xander is one of the best young shortstops in the game, but Matt Harvey is one of the best young pitchers in the game right now.

So, what are the pros and cons of this deal? On the positive side, Matt Harvey is a Matt Harveytalented pitcher, and he is also under contract through 2019, according to the Globe, and would be a team-friendly acquisition money-wise. Matt Harvey, in my mind, is one of the big reasons why the Mets are where they are right now, 5 games ahead of the Washington Nationals atop the NL East. He’s been that good for them.

On the flip side, the Globe points out that he can be a pain and also very cocky, but they Globe is also right in pointing out that the Red Sox have had success dealing with egos like a Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez, to an extent. You take his innings limit (which is set at 180 right now), for example. Matt Harvey has come out staunchly against being shut down with the New York Mets in the midst of a playoff race, which is understandable. I would hate the idea of being shut down as well in his position. He wants to do what he can to help his team win.

But I digress. My point is, the Red Sox could handle Matt Harvey’s sometimes-cocky attitude well because they have done it well in the past

Is the proposed Xander-for-Matt deal fair? Yes, since the Mets need offense and we need pitching, but how many fans would want to give up one of our best young players? I’m guessing not many.  Along with Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, and now Jackie Bradley Jr., many fans consider Bogaerts “untradable,” even for a talented young pitcher like Matt Harvey.

I would love to see Harvey in a Sox uniform, and they do need an ace, but there are other options that wouldn’t involve trading away one of our future stars. And the Red Sox will explore said other options as well. I don’t think Dave Dombrowksi will let the team go to Fort Myers next year without an ace.

Sean Coyle Misses Game After Taking Grounder to Face During Warmups

SEAN COYLE

Red Sox infield prospect Sean Coyle was scratched from the lineup in Thursday’s contest against the New York Mets at Tradition Field, after taking a ground ball to his face during warm ups.

The injury left Coyle needing three stitches, and Jemile Weeks started in his place at third base.Sean Coyle

The 23-year old has driven in one run on a double in three at-bats so far this spring, to go with a walk and a stolen base.

Coyle spent his 2014 season with the AA Portland Sea Dogs, where he hit .295/.371/.512 in 96 games to go with 16 home runs and 61 RBI.

He recently compared his offensive approach to former Red Sox hero, Ted Williams.

“My dad had the Science of Hitting and the pages were falling out,” Coyle said in an interview with WEEI.com. “Me and brother went through it. At first we just liked to look at all the pictures of baseballs and averages. Then we started to read into it. It started there.

“I’m a firm believer in a lot of things Ted Williams had to say about hitting — the hips lead the swing. Everything starts from the ground up, for sure.”

Due to his lack of physical size, Coyle looks to fellow Red Sox infielder Dustin Pedroia for inspiration.

“I look at him as someone who doesn’t need to be seven-foot tall to act like it,” Coyle stated in the WEEI interview. “I really look up to him and how he goes about things and how he’s unfazed and how he’s confident despite what people have to say about him.”

Although every avenue to the Red Sox infield is seemingly blocked at this point in time, Coyle could represent a valuable trade piece later in the season. Coyle has spent considerable time at second and third base, and if he can replicate his offensive performance from 2014, there should be plenty of teams lining up to acquire his services.

Brian Johnson Tosses Two Innings En Route to 6-3 Sox Victory

BRIAN JOHNSON

Former Sea Dog Brian Johnson helped contribute to the Red Sox 6-3 victory over the Mets at Tradition Field on Sunday, pitching two innings while allowing one run on three hits and a walk. The 24-year old southpaw struck out 2013 batting champion Michael Cuddyer on three straight pitches in the bottom of the fourth inning.

“He might not have garnered a lot of the same attention outside of the Red Sox, but we Brian Johnsonvalue him, and he’s a good pitcher,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell according to BostonHerald.com.

Johnson is coming off a stand out year in 2014, one that saw him win the Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award, as well as earn a runner-up finish to teammate Henry Owens in the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year voting.

In 25 starts between the Salem Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs, Johnson compiled a 13-3 record to go with a 2.13 ERA. During one stretch of last season, Johnson held opponents to two runs or less in 22 of 23 starts.

The key to  Johnson’s success was his ability to keep runners off the base paths, owning a miniscule 0.97 WHIP and holding opposing batters to just a .197 batting average, all while striking out 132 batters.

Johnson’s stellar 2014 campaign earned him an invite to Red Sox spring training this year, where he is working alongside two other top left-handed pitching prospects, Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Instead of viewing the situation as a competition, however, Johnson has tried to learn as much as possible from his colleagues, all three of whom pitched in Portland at some point last season.

“You’re always taking notes in your head while you’re watching [them pitch] or charting the game or scouting the game as a player,” Johnson stated in an interview with SoxProspects.com.

All three lefties are presumably slated to begin the year at AAA Pawtucket, but with a lot of uncertainty surrounding Boston’s rotation, it would not be surprising to see one or more of these top young arms at the major league level at some point in 2015.