RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

http://www.espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10964445/mlb-baseball-confusing-contradictory-unwritten-rules

This article is AMAZING. I love the unwritten rules of baseball and this was great because they actually talked to real baseball players who have differing views. Not only is this well-written, but it is well researched. 

How do You Solve a Problem Like the Red Sox?

I don’t know.

Honestly, I have no idea how to help the Red Sox win at this point. As of this writing, they have lost 10 straight games and are just sucking some serious balls. Stephen King tweeted it best, saying “It’s likes watching one of your good friends, normally sober, get drunk and puke on his shoes”.

How does a team who won the 2013 World Series (with ease, I might add) just bomb this badly? There are usually a few things you are able to pin-point that can explain the reason for the slump, but with the Red Sox, it’s more than a few things. Let’s make a list! In no particular order…

1) Offense – As of today (May 26), only ONE player is hitting above .300 and that is Brock Holt, who has only played in 15 games. The next closest is Xander Bogaerts with an average of .284. It is also worth noting that David Ortiz is the only person who has more than 6 home runs this year, which is astonishing considering how lethal the Sox offense was last year.

2) Pitching – In the last 7 games, the collective ERA is 5.29 and Opponent’s Batting Average is .297. Let that sink in: Boston’s opponents are hitting nearly .300 against them. That’s insane. There have been plenty of quality starts from these pitchers, just not in the last 10 games. Clay Buchholz has done a complete 180 from last year. In 2013, he was a likely Cy Young candidate for most of the year. In 2014, he looks like he should be pitching in AA. In the last 7 games, only one starter has made it to 7 innings, John Lackey. That means that the bullpen is bearing the brunt of the load, which is just not acceptable.

3) Injuries – Okay, so Felix Doubront, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, and Will Middlebrooks are all on the DL. Napoli is making $16 million and Victorino is making $13 million, and we should not forget that Napoli still has his dreadful beard. The beard doesn’t have much to do with anything, but I just wanted to point that out. Obviously, all of these are bad news bears for the Sox.

4) Departures – Okay, so we can’t fault Boston for losing some players, but it needs to be taken into account. Clearly the biggest loss comes in one of my new favorite Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury was the best lead-off hitter on planet earth last year, and that has been a real trouble spot all year for the Sox. The defense he provided in center field for the Sox is far better than what Jackie Bradley Jr. had been able to supply this year. They also don’t have Ryan Dempster pitching for them this year, probably because he would be bored without an A-Rod to plunk (that’s my theory, anyway). They also lost catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Marlins in free agency.

As you can see, the Red Sox have more problems than they know what to do with. If I am a team in the AL East, I’ve got to be pretty happy. I would also be looking at this and seeing exactly what their weaknesses are and how the team can use it against them. You also have to be cautious because they are the Red Sox and they can turn things around pretty quickly if they want to. However, Dustin Pedroia shaved his beard and that is a sure sign that things are not going well. If you gotta ditch the beard to get your Boston mojo going again, you know things are bad. Hey! Maybe if they shave Mike Napoli’s beard, they will go all the way again! On second thought, let’s not do that. This Yankees fan is very happy with the sudden spiral of the Boston Red Sox…

What’s a Cub Gotta do to get a Win in this Town?

I feel really, really bad for Chicago Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

This year, he has 1.46 ERA in ten starts, a 1.11 WHIP, and 51 strike outs. He has ZERO wins on the season, and it is by no fault of his own. Actually, it has been 16 starts since he had his last win. Can you believe it? But such is life for a Cubbie pitcher, I guess. He is pitching like an All-Star and if he were on any other team, his win/loss record would look much different. 

I would think Samardzija has to be pretty upset right about now. I am sure he loves his team, the city of Chicago, and Wrigley Field, but something has to give, right? How can a team with talents like Anthony Rizzo, Junior Lake, Starlin Castro, and others be so bad? Honestly, there is really no good answer except that it’s because they are the Cubs. 

You see, I have a theory about the Chicago Cubs and why they always suck: They have to. This team has to suck in order to keep the fabric of baseball in tact. If they suddenly become good, I am fairly certain that will signal the end of times (A family friend once sang this during the seventh-inning stretch: “Root, root, root for the Cubbies! If they don’t win, it’s the same…). Players and managers come to the team thinking they can change it, but they can’t. Think of the Cubs as being a “bad boy” and new players like the girlfriend who says “I know I can change him!”. The Cubs, of course, do not resemble a “Bad Boy”; they are more like the kid who gets picked last in P.E. and eats Mayo in excess at lunch. 

So what is a team to do with the likes of Jeff Samardzija? There have been rumors a-plenty that he will be prime trade-bait at the non-waiver deadline in July. The Cubs figure they can get some good prospects in return for the very good pitcher, and they are probably right. There are a large number of teams who need a guy like Samardjiza, and you can bet Samardjiza is secretly hoping someone snatches him up. He can flourish in an environment that actually lets him get a win. The Cubs should let him spread his wings and fly because that is what he deserves. I can just hear Jeff Samardjiza saying, “It’s not you, it’s me. And by that I mean I need to get the f*** out of here”. 

I mean, 16 starts since the last win? That’s preposterous.

 

 

RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/police-finish-probe-into-theft-of-alex-rodriguez-documents-051114

Has anyone else missed seeing A-Rod in the news? No? Okay, so maybe just I have missed it, but this is actually a pretty interesting article. It’s not super thorough, so if you are curious, you should look more into it, but it just goes to show how messed up (in my mind) the investigation was. MLB did not do a good job here. But again, I love me some A-Rod, so I will always take his side. Okay, I will take his side, like, 81% of the time…

An Error Yu Won’t Soon Forget

On Friday night, I was rooting so hard for Yu Darvish. I was watching a game on my TV, laptop, and I put the Rangers/Red Sox game on my phone once I got wind of a potential perfect game. He was a few innings away from a perfect game when the worst person you can think of came up to the plate.

Godammit Big Papi. 

I said that twice last night.

Of all the people you don’t want to come up to the plate, David Ortiz is at the top of my list. Frankly, he is the hitter I fear the most (as a Yankees fan, you understand why, and as a baseball fan, I respect the crap out of him). Whenever he comes up to the plate, I hold my breath because I know he is going to mash some baseballs into the middle of next week.

Everyone is talking this morning about the hit Big Papi had in the top of the 9th inning. He was the last hitter standing between Yu Darvish and a no-hitter. My first thought was “intentionally walk him”. If they did that, he would face the much-less intimidating Mike Napoli. But, they had the shift on Papi, so theoretically they should have gotten him out. But nope. He’s Big Papi. Big Papi don’t care about no shifts to cause maximum damage. 

But, it was Ortiz who was able to break up the perfect game a few innings earlier. On any other day, during any other game, his bloop to shallow right field would be ruled a hit. But it wasn’t. This hit fell between the right fielder Alex Rios and second baseman Rougned Odor (sweet name), both of whom had shifted for the Ortiz at-bat. As I was watching this ball fly towards them, I sighed a huge sigh of relief because I knew it was an easy pop-fly and Darvish would keep the perfect game going. And then the ball fell. Goddammit Big Papi.

So, we were all sitting here, knowing that Darvish’s perfect game and possible no-hitter was no longer intact. But hark! What’s that I hear? The scorer ruling the play an error? For reals? On what planet would that have been an error? This planet, apparently, and I am sure glad it was called an error. 

I have seen so many of those hits over the years, the kinds of hits that could have easily been caught, but no one did. These balls are not hard to catch, so I like to think of this situation as a Team Brain Fart, or a “TBF”. TBF’s are a hilarious thing to watch because of the over-riding stupidity on the part of the players. I would rather see two players run into each other trying to catch the ball than have two or more players run to a perfectly catchable ball and just let it drop. Need I remind you how funny it was to watch Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright watch a sky-high pop fly drop between the two of them in front of the mound? (Here’s a link to a slo-mo video. Pay attention to the look of pure disappointment on Wainwright’s face: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mViXPYhgBNg)

People have been debating since last night as to whether or not this Big Papi blooper should have been ruled a hit. Not surprisingly, all of the Red Sox think it should have been. Also not surprisingly, baseball journalists and experts all think it should NOT have been a hit, but an error. So, I think the official scorer got the call right. It can be hard to assign blame for TBF’s, which is why I think they are not called errors very often. However, that should not stop officials from calling TBF’s errors. 

Over the course of the coming off-season, I think MLB should look at this. They have a gazillion other rules to potentially re-evaluate this year, so why not add one more? If a number of players could have made a play but they didn’t, guess what, that should be an error. TBF’s are errors, and should be scored as such.

So, while Yu Darvish can blame his teammates for breaking up the perfect game, the Red Sox cannot blame the Rangers for not allowing a “true” hit. The Sox didn’t get a hit, they got lucky. They were lucky that the Rangers had a TBF in the 7th and that Big Papi can hit against a shift. Other than that, the Sox were the Rangers’ and Darvish’s bitch last night. 

And as a Yankee fan, it made me really happy to see that. But it made me even happier to see some of the filthy stuff Darvish can throw, because he is a very fun pitcher to watch. He’s gonna have his no-hitter soon and with any luck, a perfect game is not far off.

 

Here is a link for Buster Olney’s take: http://insider.espn.go.com/blog/buster-olney/post?id=6140

RECOMMENDED ARTICLE

Remember long ago I was talking about free agent signings? No? Well, it was a couple months ago so I don’t blame you. Well, the always-awesome Rob Neyer wrote a great article about why teams should not wait to sign Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. He makes some really solid points and does a good job of figuring out which teams need them most. 

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/stephen-drew-kendrys-morales-free-agent-contracts-yankees-051014