October 4, 2015

Red Sox Players Salute Don Orsillo At End Of Game

Orsillo's statement:
My first Red Sox game at Fenway Park was June 24, 1978. I will never forget it. My friend Luis Tiant pitched in that game and he won. My friend Jerry Remy played in that game as well. I grew up up in Madison, N.H. Listening to the great Ken Coleman on Red Sox radio, and I was so fortunate to sit next to Ken for his last broadcast in 1989 as his intern, as well as sit next to my friend and teacher, Joe Castiglione. Twenty-six years later, I now broadcast my last Red Sox game, after 15 years as the voice of the Boston Red Sox and just shy of 2,000 total games.

I want to thank my friend and partner, Jerry Remy. For 15 years, we've been through so much together on the field and off the field and I thank you so much for being one of my very best friends. My director and my friend Michael Naracci, who I have worked with for 17 years dating back to the Pawtucket Red Sox, and I thank him so much for everything he has done. And our great crew at Fenway Park, who have been with me for the 15 years.

To my parents, who made my 10 years of minor league work possible. The Orsillos and Nolans, to all of you, from Chelsea to Melrose to Stoneham. My Cathy, my daughters Sidney and Madison, but mostly I want to thank the fans of Red Sox Nation.

I thank you for your incredible support and your loyalty. I heard all of you and never forget your words, as they touched me so very deeply. Thank you for letting me into your homes, into your families for the last 15 years. Last Sunday at Fenway will be my greatest memory of my life. I can tell you that right now. Your tribute to me I will never forget. Ever.

I've been asked many times over the last six weeks how I would like to be remembered. And to be remembered at all is enough for me. Thank you.

2015 Postseason Schedule

American League Wild Card
1006 - Astros at Yankees
National League Wild Card
1007 - Cubs at Pirates
American League Division Series
G1 1008 - Rangers @ Blue Jays
G2 1009 - Rangers @ Blue Jays
G3 1011 - Blue Jays @ Rangers
G4 1012 - Blue Jays @ Rangers
G5 1014 - Rangers @ Blue Jays
American League Division Series
G1 1008 - Wild Card @ Royals
G2 1009 - Wild Card @ Royals
G3 1011 - Royals @ Wild Card
G4 1012 - Royals @ Wild Card
G5 1014 - Wild Card @ Royals
National League Division Series
G1 1009 - Wild Card @ Cardinals
G2 1010 - Wild Card @ Cardinals
G3 1012 - Cardinals @ Wild Card
G4 1013 - Cardinals @ Wild Card
G5 1015 - Wild Card @ Cardinals
National League Division Series
G1 1009 - Mets at Dodgers
G2 1010 - Mets at Dodgers
G3 1012 - Dodgers at Mets
G4 1013 - Dodgers at Mets
G5 1015 - Mets at Dodgers
American League Championship Series
G1 1016 -
G2 1017 -
G3 1019 -
G4 1020 -
G5 1021 -
G6 1023 -
G7 1024 -
National League Championship Series
G1 1017 -
G2 1018 -
G3 1020 -
G4 1021 -
G5 1022 -
G6 1024 -
G7 1025 -
World Series
G1 1027 - NL @ AL
G2 1028 - NL @ AL
G3 1030 - AL @ NL
G4 1031 - AL @ NL
G5 1101 - AL @ NL
G6 1103 - NL @ AL
G7 1104 - NL @ AL

G162: Cleveland 3, Red Sox 1

Red Sox   - 100 000 000 - 1  7  1
Cleveland - 012 000 00x - 3 10  0
Boston finished the season with a 78-84 record (a huge disappointment, but a seven-game improvement over 2014!).

The Red Sox also ended up in fifth/last place for the third time in four seasons.

Rick Porcello / Danny Salazar
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Shaw, 1B
Castillo, LF
Swihart, C
Marrero, 3B
Bradley, RF
And then we came to the end ...

While Xander Bogaerts's chances of getting to 200 hits is remote (he has 195), Gordon Edes notes that Bogaerts "still has a chance to become the youngest player to lead the league in a non-strike season since 22-year-old George Brett led the AL with 195 hits in 1975". (Houston's José Altuve leads the AL with 197 hits.)

John Farrell Will Return As Manager In 2016

Rob Bradford, WEEI:
The Red Sox announced Sunday that not only will John Farrell remain as manager (provided a clean bill of health after his recovery from Stage 1 Lymphoma), but Torey Lovullo will be by his side as bench coach for the 2016 season.

Lovullo has signed a new two-year extension with the team that encompasses the 2017-18 seasons, agreeing to bypass the opportunity to pursue any major league managerial openings during the upcoming offseason. Lovullo was signed through the '16 season.

Farrell signed a two-year coach extension this past offseason, taking him through the '17 season with a team option for '18.
Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston:
According to the statement, the 53-year-old Farrell has been given a "clean bill of health." He has been on medical leave since Aug. 14, and Lovullo guided the team to a 28-19 record as the interim manager.

President of baseball operations David Dombrowski said Sunday that he has been told by doctors that Farrell's full recovery will take an estimated three to six months. Having Lovullo on board protects the club in the event his health becomes an issue, as well as takes pressure off Farrell to rush his return before he is ready.
Edes also wrote a lengthy article on the deep friendship between Farrell and Lovullo.

October 3, 2015

G161: Cleveland 2, Red Sox 0

Red Sox   - 000 000 000 - 0  3  0
Cleveland - 010 100 00x - 2  8  0
Boston managed six baserunners against Corey Kluber (8-3-0-2-9, 107) and Cody Allen:
1st inning: Mookie Betts walked with 0 outs.
2nd inning: Deven Marrero walked with 2 outs.
4th inning: Travis Shaw singled with 1 out.
5th inning: Sandy Leon singled with 1 out.
7th inning: Brock Holt hit by pitch with 2 outs.
8th inning: Sandy Leon singled with 0 out.
Only Betts advanced to second (stolen base).

Craig Breslow (5.1-5-2-0-2, 66) gave up two home runs: Carlos Santana in the second and Ryan Raburn in the fourth.
Craig Breslow / Corey Kluber
Betts, RF
Pedroia, 2B Rutledge, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Shaw, 1B
Castillo, LF
Holt, DH
Marrero, 3B
Leon, C
Bradley, CF
Pedroia scratched because of the wet field conditions.

October 2, 2015

G160: Cleveland 8, Red Sox 2

Red Sox   - 000 200 000 - 2  5  0
Cleveland - 004 030 10x - 8 12  0
David Ortiz slugged his 37th home run of the year, with Xander Bogaerts aboard, in the fourth inning.
Henry Owens / Josh Tomlin
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Shaw, 1B
Castillo, LF
Holt, 3B
Swihart, C
Bradley, RF

"Selfie Girls" & MLB's Ongoing Alienation Of Its Audience

Diamondbacks Announcers' Selfie Shaming Needlessly Alienates Younger Fans
Tanya Bondurant, SB Nation
Major League Baseball has been extremely tone deaf when it comes to how its audience consumes its product. The generation of younger fans are glued to their cell phones, making it silly that MLB cracks down so hard on GIFs and Vines that make their product seem more appealing to a generation viewing everything through a smartphone screen. ...

The older generation seems to think this is somehow detracting from the natural enjoyment of life and take the time to criticize the practice at seemingly every opportunity. It's a generational divide that comes across as bitter and superior. Couple that generational divide with a stereotype that young women are at games to be seen for Instagram, or because their boyfriends dragged them there against their will instead of "being a good fan" by hanging on every pitch and you have the fuel for a mean-spirited rant. Arizona Diamondbacks announcers Bob Brenly and Steve Berthiaume decided to perpetuate this stereotype when they took two minutes to mock a group of women taking selfies at the ballpark during the fourth inning of Wednesday's game.

Having a group of women taken to task by the broadcast booth during a meaningless game in late September for enjoying themselves is pretty silly. ... Ironically, this mockery took place right as the broadcast team was pitching the T-Mobile Fan Photo promotion that encouraged fans to send in their pictures from the ballpark to be used on the broadcast. ... Why would anyone want to participate in this promotion if they know they might be mocked for it?
On "Selfie Girls" And Alienating Your Fans
Nicole Haase, SB Nation
Are those ladies hurting anyone? Are they interfering with anyone else's ability to watch and enjoy the game? Are they interrupting the game of play?

The answer to all of those questions is "NO" and that's the simple answer to why I don't give a flying frog's bottom about how those ladies (or women. But not girls. They're in college, stop being pejorative) chose to spend their evening. ...

When I'm interrupted multiple times an inning for folks to go get food and beer and head to the bathroom - where's Brenly to mock how those folks aren't really actually there to watch a game? ...

Let's be real. The ASU ladies were not initially targeted and broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona because they were taking selfies. Whether it's cameramen or producers, someone behind the scenes of every sports broadcast makes a conscious effort to put young, pretty women both on TV and on the scoreboard. As Justin Bopp put it, this silent objectification of the women who attend their games is odd and uncomfortable. It's totally unnecessary, but unfortunately prevalent.

Female fans have been marginalized, sexualized, objectified and ignored for far too long.

October 1, 2015

With Ramirez Away From The Team, It's "Pile On Hanley" Time

Did a bell go off in the Red Sox press room, triggering some Pavlovian response from the writers who cover the team? Over the course of three days, five different sportswriters weighed in on what a horrible teammate Hanley Ramirez is and has been - and how important it is for the Red Sox to get rid of him this winter. All five articles appeared as soon as Ramirez left the team (with the club's permission) to continue rehabbing his right shoulder in Florida.

It is beyond question that Ramirez was a huge disappointment this season. He had a poor season at the plate (.291 OBP) and was atrocious in left field. But these five stories - which paint a clear picture of a lazy clubhouse cancer who may be faking his injuries - suggest something much more odious.

I expected to read the usual hatchet jobs, but because these stories come mostly from writers who aren't gossipy shit-flingers, I'm left wondering if all this smoke means there actually is a fire burning somewhere. In the case of Ramirez, it doesn't seem necessary for these writers - with a nod from management - to grease the wheels to run yet another player out of town, not that the player needs to be universally loved to get that treatment.

Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston, September 28, 2015: "Hanley Ramirez Goes Home; Will He Ever Come Back?"
There has been nothing about Ramirez's late-summer injury saga that can be easily explained. The injury to his left shoulder? We all witnessed his early-May collision with the side wall in Fenway and the subsequent drastic drop in power. But the right shoulder? No one, by my reckoning, has ever pinned down its cause, with cumulative wear and tear a dubious candidate. It was described as day-to-day for some time, and then the Sox put him on the disabled list, something you don't even have to do in September because rosters expand.

Ramirez continued to work out at first base and had some batting-practice sessions that were epic -- balls crushed with ferocious power in Fenway Park. He told at least one reporter he expected to play as soon as he was eligible to come off the DL. But then? Nothing, soon to be followed by word that Ramirez was being shut down for the season. The shoulder wasn't coming around. Not to mention Ramirez wasn't exactly acing his classes at first base. ...

Perhaps there are some of you who believe this is much ado about nothing, piling on a guy who isn't playing anyway. Perhaps what it really represents is a meeting of the minds: Ramirez thinks he has nothing left to give, and there's nothing the Sox want from him. Best, then, to go home.

And plan on a change of address in 2016.
Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe, September 29, 2015: "Sending Hanley Ramirez Home Is Best For Red Sox"
If there was ever a player who didn't fit the chemistry, the approach, or the future of the Boston Red Sox, it's Hanley Ramirez. There is no positive that could come from Ramirez being around his teammates in the final few days of the regular season. In fact, it's a good thing that he is away.

Why would you want the highest-paid player on the team — who has exhibited no leadership, who has been out of the lineup for extended periods with injuries, who has exhibited "I don't care" body language on the field and off it, who by my count spent two days working on his left-field play during the regular season and really never got better — around the team? ...

Ramirez has carried this reputation wherever he's been. The Marlins loved his talent, but when it came down to deciding whether to center their team around him, the answer was no way.

The Dodgers were awed by the offensive ability, signed him, then couldn't wait to see him go. ...

There's $68.25 million left on his deal through 2018. That's a lot of money the Red Sox need to have go away. But really, it's money well eaten. ...

And he's only 31. Even though he plays like 41. ...

Nothing that has happened this season has changed the perception of him. In fact, everything has been right on cue.

I don't think there's a player on the Red Sox who misses him, other than Ortiz, who seems to be friends with him, but obviously has had very little influence on him.
Michael Silverman, Boston Herald, September 30, 2015: "Pablo Sandoval, Hanley Ramirez Missing And No One Cares"
It's one thing to disappoint from a production standpoint, which both Ramirez and Sandoval did, but it's stunning that the pair of high-priced imports now feel irrelevant to the present and especially the future of the Red Sox. ...

Since Red Sox doctors advised Sandoval to stay in Boston until he got past his pneumonia, there's no reason to second-guess that call. ...

Ramirez feels like a different story. ...

[T]here is still some disconnect about the urgency to have Ramirez return home rather than stick it out with the team and its trainers for just one more week.

First of all, if Ramirez wanted to be with his teammates, he could have squawked about the decision and he'd be here.

Second, if the decision was not left in Ramirez' hands, it speaks pretty loudly and clearly to the Sox seeing little value in having him around as they play out the string.

You can almost hear echoes of what one uniformed member of the team mentioned as an aside in the middle of the summer about how he worried if Ramirez' lack of hustle was going to be a negative influence on all the impressionable young players in the clubhouse. ...
Chad Finn, Boston.com, September 30, 2015: "It's Time For Hanley Ramirez To Go"
The player and club agreed Monday that it would be best for him to rehabilitate his mysterious right shoulder injury at his home in Ft. Lauderdale rather than with the Red Sox. He is not coming back this year. If he comes back next year, it must be in a visiting uniform.

The current scenario would seem odd for pretty much any player other than the enigmatic Ramirez. The Red Sox are saying all the right things about beginning his rehab process, but ... The No. 1 priority this winter – perhaps other than finding a No. 1 starter – is getting him out of here for good. ...

The concept of a coach-killer in professional sports is a familiar and timeless one. The superstar player who is so talented that the all me-first peccadilloes and team-splintering behavioral issues are tolerated is an archetype. It will remain a mainstay so long as a premium – financial and otherwise – is put on victory. ...

Ramirez was once a superstar. A slugger rather than a slug. ...

The decision to move Ramirez to left field should have worked. But Hanley didn't do the work – the commitment wasn't there, ever.
Alex Speier, Boston Globe, September 30, 2015: "How Did The Red Sox Salvage Something From A Lost Season?"
On Aug. 25, the Red Sox announced that Ramirez would start working at first base with an eye toward a possible move there by the end of the season. Ramirez played that night in left field in a 5-4 loss to the White Sox, and hasn't spent a day in left since. (Ramirez served as designated hitter on Aug. 26 and has been sidelined since by a shoulder injury.) ...

Thus ended a failed experiment whose harm extended beyond the field. Ramirez was, of course, a disaster in left, exceeding any worst-case assumptions. When it signed him, the team hoped he would be serviceable in left for perhaps a season or two, then transition to first base or DH.

But serviceable never happened. At a time when a staff expected to produce tons of ground balls instead ended up having a bunch of pitches belted in the air, the consequences of Ramirez’s deficiencies were severe.

Yet the ripples from Ramirez's defensive struggles had more far-reaching implications, straining clubhouse relations between Ramirez and the coaching staff due to his unwillingness to work to improve. That dynamic contributed to Ramirez being "ostracized" from his teammates, in the words of one source familiar with the situation. ...

The tension was palpable and counterproductive. ...

But the shift to Dombrowski accelerated the timetable. With a new voice willing to state the obvious – Ramirez wasn't an adequate left fielder – and no prior history with Ramirez, Dombrowski could commit to an immediate move, diluting a clot of tension that had restricted the Sox for much of the year.
I should note that Finn has backed away from his column a bit. In a post at the Sons of Sam Horn message board, he wrote: "I was too harsh. Not my best stuff. I actually like him more than most, though you sure as hell couldn't tell from that."

With the Red Sox's outfield set for 2016 - Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, and Jackie Bradley - and David Ortiz still producing as the team's DH, there is no room for Ramirez on next year's team. The only possible place for him is first base, but his chances of success at that position are questionable, at best.

G159: Yankees 4, Red Sox 1

Red Sox - 000 010 000 - 1  7  0
Yankees - 020 000 11x - 4  8  0
Rich Hill / CC Sabathia
Betts, CF
Bradley, LF
Bogaerts, SS
Shaw, 1B
Castillo, RF
Craig, DH
Marrero, 3B
Leon, C
Rutledge, 2B

September 30, 2015

G158: Red Sox 9, Yankees 5 (11)

Red Sox - 301 000 100 04 - 9 13  0
Yankees - 010 031 000 00 - 5 12  0
Mookie Betts's second home run of the night capped a four-run eleventh inning, giving Boston its sixth straight win.

Travis Shaw hit a three-run homer in the first and he and Betts (who had tied the game at 5-5 with his first dong) each drove in three runs.
Wade Miley / Masahiro Tanaka
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Shaw, 1B
Holt, RF
Swihart, C
Marrero, 3B
Bradley, LF
Can the Red Sox go 4-1 over the final five games of the season - two in New York, three in Cleveland - and finish at .500?

September 29, 2015

G157: Red Sox 10, Yankees 4

Red Sox - 600 010 021 - 10 11  1
Yankees - 400 000 000 -  4  7  1
Blake Swihart hit two home runs and drove in five runs. He capped an explosive first inning by hitting a three-run shot and added a two-run dong in the eighth.

Boston - who now has its first five-game winning streak of the season - is in sole possession of third place. ... Since August 17, the Red Sox are 25-14 (.641) - which is a 104-win pace over an entire season.

Rick Porcello: 8-6-4-1-8, 118. ... Mookie Betts homered and doubled.
Rick Porcello / Michael Pineda
Betts, CF
Pedroia, 2B
Bogaerts, SS
Ortiz, DH
Shaw, 1B
Holt, RF
Swihart, C
Marrero, 3B
Bradley, LF
Red Sox Press Notes:
The Red Sox have allowed just 1 run over their last 4 games, matching the fewest runs allowed over any 4-game span in franchise history for the 6th time, and the first since the final 5 regulation games of 1978. They also did it in 4-game stretches in 1903, 1915, 1918, and 1919.

The Red Sox record for fewest total runs allowed in any 5-game stretch is 2 (July 3-6, 1915).
The Toronto Blue Jays (91-65) can clinch their first AL East title since 1993 tonight if they beat the Orioles and Boston beats New York.

In 14 starts since the All-Star break, Jake Arrieta of the Cubs has allowed only nine earned runs for a microscopic ERA of 0.80. Is he having one of the best half-seasons of all-time? (I note that the Top 8 half-seasons according to "wOBA-Allowed" include both halves of Pedro's 2000 season!)