Around The Horn- Red Sox Nation Daily Lives!!!

 So it has been awhile since Red Sox Nation Daily has written a blog, more to the point the Red Sox were not worth the time of putting fingers to keyboard.  It appears that the Sox will at least be exciting, and this team so far seems to have a heart, so Red Sox Nation Daily is back for it’s 8th season of blogging, whining, sarcasm etc..

Most of the moves Ben Cherrington and company made this offseason didn’t move the needle and were not very exciting, but so far those moves have paid off big time, to the tune of 18 MLB leading wins.  The Red Sox have won all sorts of ways this year, hitting, bullpen pitching and starting pitching, but more importantly they are WINNING.  This team is very exciting to watch, thus far they play with a lot of heart and gusto, in some ways they remind me of the 2003 Red Sox whom were a very good but not quite good enough squad that played each game until the last out.  It remains to be seen what 2013 will hold for this version of the Red Sox, whether or not there will be an official market correction, or if they will contend all year for some sort of post season spot, but either way they have the makings of a club that will be at the very least FUN to watch.

Hopefully I will stay the course this year with Red Sox Nation Daily, but you can always follow the pain and agony on twitter each night when the Red Sox are playing @RSNDAILY .

Around the Horn – Losing Sucks Edition

Baseball is a team sport…therfore when the TEAM loses..it is hard to blame one person….but when your $24 million dollar “superstar” goes 0-8…striking out with 2 on in the 17th inning…versus a DH….looks like he is the guy thats gonna take the fall.  It seems like Gonzo comes up alot these days..and leaves alot of guys right where they were…or worse…grounds into a DP.  If you are keeping track…and I am…the weak hitting 1st baseman now has 1 rbi in the last nine games the Sox have played.  Gonzo hasn’t hit a homer since April 17th…and worse still he only has 2…which is only 2 more than I have…currently I am NOT a member of the Boston Red Sox 25 man roster.  Worse still Gonzo …when not driving in runs provides the front row with quite a bit of wind…as he now has 20 strikeouts versus 23 hits.  Luckily for Gonzo…the Sox signed Carl Crawford last year…so the title WORST SIGNING OF ALL TIME is currently resting with Crawford…..FOR THE MOMENT.

  It was another tough day at the Fens for the Boston Red Sox.  Clay Buchholtz wishes he had heat like Chris Davis.  A long time ago…when Buchy was a hot prospect…he once no hit the Orioles.  These days…Buchy usually goes 5 innings…giving up a touchdown or so when he toes the rubber.  The good news for Clay Buchholtz is Roidgers Clemens is standing trial in a courtroom in D.C….otherwise the Sox may be tempted to give him a call.  All kidding aside…how long can the Sox keep running Buchy out there every 5th day at the major league level.  He clearly can’t get major league hitters out with any frequency…and he looks like a guy that has zero faith in his stuff.

  Where the Sox go from here is anyones guess…the schedule says the Sox will head to Kansas City…no doubt the Royals have circled these games on thier calender.  On paper the Sox still have enough to compete at the big league level…but it just seems that they are always out of sync.  This team has no ying and yang where the offense and pitching is concerened…and worse yet…it really appears that none of the over paid players give a crap.  Ah yes Red Sox Nation….it appears that the dog days of 2012 have come very early…and it looks like they are here to stay.

 

posted by Jonathan Dunlow

you follow Red Sox Nation during games @rsndaily

The Day the Music Stopped…..

So there was some hope that the Red Sox opponent this weekend would somehow inspire the Sox…fire them up.  That thought has quickly vanished today as the Sox fell behind early….and would go onto defeat 8-2 versus the Baltimore Orioles.  If you are keeping score @ home…the Sox have now played five series in Fenway Park…and have dropped four.

  Todays game was more of the same for the boorish Red Sox.  Poor hitting…poor at bats…and even worse starting pitching.  I will give Aaron Cook a pass…he did recieve 11 stitches after the game….but that begs the question….why was he allowed to come back in…and why was he left out there so long.  Bobby Valentine came to Boston with the reputation of being a manager that knew how to handle pitchers and the bullpen….to that end…I have seen VERY little evidence of that.  With that being said the bullpen has done an ok job the last two games…pitching 20 inning in two days and allowing four runs…three coming in last nights heartbreaking 13 inning loss.

  The Red Sox helter skelter offense is again gone helter.  Some days the Sox look like the 27 Yankees…and they can’t be stopped…the other half of the the time…they look like inpatient pathtic excuses for major league hitters.  The Sox have struggled all year with pitch selection…and not seeing enough pitches.  It also seems that David Ortiz has reverted to some bad habits, as he is now trying to pull every pitch.  “Slugger” Adrian Gonzalez went almost a week inbetween hits…he seems to be getting on base now…however it has been about 2 weeks since he driven in a Red Sox baserunner…and even longer since his last homer.  At the monent it seems like half of the team is struggling…which has been the case since last September.

  Equally disturbing as the Sox recent hitting woes and ALL season pitching concerns…is the NEW problem of rolling over at Fenway.  The Sox have won there just 4 times this season…versus 7 times on the road.  Even bad..horrible …spineless teams play well at thier home ballpark.  Not this band of quitters and selfish brand of Red Sox players…they chose to STINK it up the worst for the fan base that has stuck by them even amidst the worst of allegations.  Ah yes…the season is “still” early….but this team has shown us very little reason to BELIEVE.

Three for the Road…..

  The good news is simple….the Boston Red Sox completed a three game sweep against the Twins…thier first such sweep since sweeping the Mariners back in July of 2011.  It is also the 2nd time this season the Sox have won three games in a row….none small feats to be sure.

  Clay Buchholz took the mound last night…and again for most of the night it was a Dice K-ish highwire act of walks and hits…baserunners scattered all over the place all night.  Through five innings Buchy was able to minimize the damage.  However starting the 6th inning was another story, and he was charge with 5 earned runs. as the bullpen came in…and as ususal the Bullpen was like gasoline on a fire.  Buchholz final line was pretty ugly…5.1 innings pitched…5 earned runs…10 hits and three walks to go with just 2 strikeouts.  Amazing as it is seems…not only did he get the win…he lowered his ERA to a Lacky-esque 8.87 runs per game.  It seems in the early going…that Buchy is not going to be the reliable third starter the Sox are going to need if they have any hopes of making a run at the post-season.

  The offense scored six or more times for the 4th game in a row…so it “seems” maybe they are FINALLY finding some consistancy.  Everyone of the starting nine, with the except Sweeney and Big Papi had hits.  The Sox put up 10 hits to go along with thier seven runs.  The ugly flip side is the Sox continue to put up poor AB.  The Sox walked just twice last night, but struck out eight times…a disturbing early season trend.  Back to the good news side of the ledger…Mike Aviles continues to be white hot as he had hit another homer, and drove in three runs and scored another.

  The Sox now head into the windy city to face the White Sox, who have not been world beaters in the early going.  It is a four game series, so both teams entire rotation will be featured pretty much.  The White Sox are 10-8 so far this season, and the Sox are 8-10.  If the Sox want to continue thier climb back to .500, then nothing except a split will be acceptable in this series. 

Lester-Roo….

 So the Boston Red Sox roll into tonights start with thier 3rd one game win streak of the season.  The good news is..sorta off good news…the Sox have Josh Beckett and his 5.03 ERA on the mound tonight.

  Last nights game had the best of times the worst of times feel to it….until the final out of the game had been recorded…and even that was no small task.  Lester did work 7 innings…thats the good news…however…he did continue to be the same ole helter skelter head case he as always been.  Lester and his loser body langugue was again plauged by the big inning….one he seemingly had wrapped up with two outs.  One thing lead to another quickly…and the Twins lead 4-3 in the 4th and 5-3 in the 5th.  Lester shows flashes of greatness in most of his starts…but’s the flashes of what’s going on inbetween his ears that causes much concern.  Lester really has no out pitch…and it seems like when push come to shove…he gets shoved.

  The good news for Lester and the Sox is the offense made a rare showing and bailed Lester out and got him off the hook.  Cody Ross collected 3 RBI..on two homeruns…none bigger than his 9th inning job off closer Matt Capps.  New edition Marlon Bryd collected his 4th hit of the season…his first as a Red Sox. 

Here is tonights 2 game winning streak line up

RED SOX (5-10)
Aviles SS
Sweeney RF
Pedroia 2B
Gonzalez 1B
Ortiz DH
Youkilis 3B
Ross LF
Byrd CF
Shoppach C
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (1-2, 5.03)

TWINS (5-12)
Span CF
Carroll SS
Mauer 1B
Willingham LF
Morneau DH
Doumit C
Valencia 3B
Parmelee RF
Plouffe 2B
Pitching: RHP Nick Blackburn (0-1, 5.56)

posted by Jonathan Dunlow

Top Ten Rain Out Baseball Movies….

  So the game has been rained out….this season that counts as good news.  Here is a list to keep handy in case the Sox are rained out again….or you just want a break from the horror show that is the 2012 Red Sox.

10. Fever Pitch- this movie is in the lighter fare variety…but it does give the normal people a glimpse into the crazy side of Red Sox Nation and how some people devotion to the Sox can sometimes cause a lack of what’s important.  In the end crazy Ben gets the girl…and the Sox go home with the hardware.

 9. For The Love of the Game- what can I say really…it is a baseball movie…my wife likes it….and the main character pitches a perfect game versus the Yanks that puts Boston in the playoffs….

 8. You have to be kidding me if you say you have never seen this one….it is a classic that you can watch over and over again….and I do…..

 7. Perhaps one of the most underrated baseball movies of all time.  Stealing Home was released under the radar in 1989.  It was great then…it is even better now…as I am old enough to relate to what the movie was about….def worth a trip to redbox or netflixs for this one.

 6. Whats not to like about this one…and depending on your age….it can be a trip down memory lane you can take with the whole family.

 5. What a great movie this is…for me it takes me right back to my childhood..playing everyday in a field much like the sandlot…with people like the movie….this is another great movie to watch with the family….and if you have seen it…def worth another watch.

 4. Sometimes…this movie could be number one on my list…but not today…as the Bulls are now a Triple A farm team for the Rays.  With that being said this is one of THE best baseball movies you will ever watch about baseball and the players that play the game.  If you have seen it 50 times…might as well make 51…it is that good.

  3. Another romantic movie about baseball set in a time…when the game was still America’s past time. Great flix…great ending… Robert Redford when being interviewed for the Ted Williams HBO special said Ted Williams was his hero and that the character in the movie was in part based on Ted’s feats and abilities.  This one is another must see again if you have already seen it.

 2. Now there is a chance you haven’t seen this one….since it is the newest movie on this list being released in 2011.  The movie based on the best-seller by the same name is an unreal study of a guy’s (Billy Beane) journey though life with the game of baseball.  His character’s passion for the game was at times overwhelming….with many great quotes…my favorite…..” I hate losing…I hate it more than I like winning…thats how much I hate it”….great line….even better movie….even the ladies will like this one…and it doesn’t hurt Brad Pitt has the lead role.

 1. This one for me will always be at the top of the short list for best sports movie of all time and maybe even one of the best movies I have ever seen.  Every time I watch it…it is like the first time..with the exception of knowing every line.  For me this movie seems like it was written for me about me…from the complicated relationship with the father…rejecting baseball….the Red Sox…the girl from Iowa..embracing baseball again.  This movie is unbelieveable…and the magic in how it transends time.  “It remind us of all that once was good and it could be good again. Oh people will come Ray. People will most definitely come”.  Just typing that gave me goosebumps….

Reality Bites….

  There is a good chance tonights game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will be rained out.  Today…April 22nd 2012…this is what constitutes good news in Red Sox Nation…since we all know the Red Sox are undeafeated in games that are rained out.

  In the aftermath of the game that will soon have some clever nickname by ESPN or NESN…we have learned a few things about the 2012 Red Sox.  For starters it appears that this team…like thier 2011 brethern…have no heart…no guts..and no spine whatsoever.  Not one of the marquee players would speak to the media after the game last night…not Pede…not Papi…not Gonzo…all declined..leaving like rats fleeing a sinking sheep.  The problem at large for this team besides no leadership…is no accountability to go along with a side of no heart…plain and simple.  It would easy to leave the offense out of the conversation when discussing the yesterday’s meltdown…however…once again…in key at bats…when the game was in doubt…most of the Boston hitters…were blanks at the plate.  The Sox could have answered with a run in the bottom of the 7th…they had a lead off man at second with no outs…but the boys from Beantown showed thier true colors (yellow) as like the dogs they are ……when petted…they laid down. 

  The problem for this team goes alot deeper than a new center fielder or another bullpen guy…this team needs a heart transplant.  Gone are the days of cowboy up…or why not us…or believe…they have been replaced by cop out artist like Adrian Gonzalez…who points to things so unrelated to baseball and so absurd they defy all logic and reason.  Gonzalez is going to be the face of this franchise for better or worse, he was brought here to restore order and power to the offense…and for the most part…when it matters…the only place you find ole Gonzo is at Eastern Bank…cashing his checks…or plugging his bank.  Gonzalez isn’t the only one to blame….but like a bitter Yankee fan…when the going gets tough…you blame the guy brought in making a SHIT-LOAD of money doing the very least and coming up small when it counts most…in games and against teams that matter.

  The hard truth is…the 2012 Red Sox were most likely NOT built to win a championship. Ownership is bored with this toy…and the checks written these days are for thier soccer club across the pond.  The keys were turned over this winter to Larry Lucchino, a man so removed from reality and how to build a winner…he would need a GPS to get back to how building winning baseball teams are done-ville.  Lucchino being a sick twisted old man quickly castrated his new GM privately and publicly.  Cherrington took the low road this off season because of it….and to that end…you are seeing the end result on the field.  There are no quick fixes in April…no blockbuster deals….no waiver wire magic…if the Boston Red Sox are to turn it around in 2012…then someone..somehow is going to have to step up and lead them through the door called winning baseball….

Epic Meltdown…..

  The good news for the Boston Red Sox today is…they will not be the lead story on  ESPN or the MLB Channel….thankfully that spot is reserved for the Chicago White Sox and Phil Umber.  Thats pretty much where the good news ends for the boys from Beantown…as they they drop a game that may haunt them as much as any last September.  I can still hear Bobby Valentine’s comments from his press conference on how grateful and humbled he was for the opportunity to manage the Red Sox….I wonder if he would pass a lie detector saying those words now.

  It all seemed to be going the Sox way today…they “seemed” to finally be clicking on offense…defense and of course the all important pitching aspect of the game.  They had nine runs on the board and a quality start in the books by Felix Doubront today…whose overpowering performance will be lost in this shuffle to be sure.  One would think that an eight run lead with 9 outs to get would be safe….but with this bullpen…it appears no lead is safe…and truer words have not been written.

  It is always shocking to watch multiple pitchers fail this badly in the same game.  For starters I’m not sure why Matt Albers is still on the roster…plain and simple…the bloom is off the onion for Albers to be sure.  In the end though…the Sox still had a lead when they handed the ball to thier closer with no outs in the 8th.  When Aceves left the game…not only did he blow the save…but he had put the game totally out of reach for the Red Sox.  The bottom line here is…the Sox have played 14 games and Aceves has blown 3 saves…he is not a closer plain and simple….more truth…the Sox have no one in thier ENTIRE system that can close games.  So this closing games thing is not gonna go away, because to go along with not being to close…the Sox also lack a set up man as well for the 7th and 8th innings….all compelling problems for a team that went uber cheap in the offseason.

  The bullpen numbers this week have been BEYOND astronomical, and the solution it appears will be as hard to solve as our National Debt.  I will say one thing…I’m not quite sure the fans are booing Bobby V every time he changes a pitcher, for starters Bobby is not doing the pitching.  The fans need to turn thier ire to the ownership and hurt them where it counts…at the gates.

  Where the Sox go from here is anyone’s guess.  I know there will be quotes that they will fine..and tomorrow is another game…but this type of loss is the type that sticks with a team longer than one day.  There are demons that are going to haunt this team for a long time.  it is clear they are leaderless…and that they still have not shaken off last September.  The bottom line though is pretty simple…when you suffer the worst meltdown ever with a team leading by nine games….and your ownership does NOTHING to fix the problems at hand…I’m not sure why anyone would think or assume the outcome would be different.

 

posted by Jonathan Dunlow

you can follow me on twitter during games @rsndaily

Top Ten Reasons…It’s Not Over!!!

  Well if you like me…and you have already purchased the MLB Ticket…you are finacially vested to your hopes the Sox will come back…otherwise that’s $200 buxs you ain’t never getting back….just like bad free agents contracts…MLB Ticket subscriptions are for the life of the season.  Just for this blog…for this instance…let’s say there is 10 reason’s the Sox still have hope…and they aren’t out of it just yet.  Here they are…

 

10.  Talent like this…can’t play this bad for this long.  The Sox have a starting 7 that is better that most of the league…they have a rotation that is on paper better than most teams…at least the top three spots.  The Sox also have pitching depth this season with Dice K and Aaron Cook set to return very soon.  Did you ever think we would want to see Dice K back?

9.  Manager Bobby V has made quite a few mistakes with the pitching staff early….those mistakes are not going to be as frequent…and I assure you his trigger finger will be faster in the future.

8.  Whether the snap out of it when Carl Crawford returns or when they have thier complete line up…there is no way the offense can be this feeble for too much longer.  The Sox have too much firepower through most of there line up to be THIS BAD

7.  More offense….No way Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez continue to be just large checks written.  Both guys were on their way to Hall of Fame careers when they got to Boston…so it is easy to assume both players will get back on that track.  Gonzalez showed a great deal of power in a pitcher’s park….at some freaking point…his power numbers will return.

6. The catching numbers will improve…if Salty can’t hit…and he can’t throw out runners…and he can’t get on base….the Sox will make a move….they have Ryan Lavarnway in Triple A.  Sure he is a liability behind the dish…but hell Salty is as well…and his offense is flat-lined.

5. The starting pitching will improve….listen the Sox are playing and have played (with the exception of the Rays) the best American League teams they are going to face all season.  All line ups are not going to be as difficult as the ones they have faced to start the year.  The schedule will ease up and the American League’s worst starting rotation will be replaced by some other team not named the Red Sox.

4. The bullpen…whew can I say it with a straight face..that they will be better….gonna try.  Mark Malencon will get it figured out in Pawtucket….I know the NL is not the Amercian League East…but is still the Major’s.  The Sox will soon be adding starting depth…so some of these starters (better be Bard) will be going to the bullpen…therfore the bullpen will get stronger and better.  Not much of an argument…but what can I say really…they do suck.

3. It’s early….I know the Sox occupy dead last in the Amercian League East…but you don’t really believe the O’s are better right.  Also teams do and can start slow….look at the Angels and thier awful start after spending a shit ton of money (deja-vu).  You don’t believe the Angels are this bad right….the Sox have a team very similiar team to the Halo’s….so if it ain’t over for them…it’s not over for us.

2. Teams like the Jays will come back to earth…teams can start out hot early…but gravity always comes into play.  How many times have the Sox started poorly and finished winning 90 games or more.  How many April’s have the O’s started hot…only to be in dead last by Memorial Day….all of em for the last decade or so….things tend to balance out in baseball.

1. Of course the obvious reason it is not over for the Sox…is the addition of the new wild card spot.  As bad as last years ending was…and it was….the SOx would have made the post-season last year if Bud had pulled the trigger sooner on the new spot.  When it all shakes out…there are 3 teams that will win divisions…leaving two spots….and lets face it…only the Rangers/Yankees/Tigers/Angels/Rays/Red Sox look to compete for those spots.  Easy math there….we only have to be better than one team on that list at the end of 162 games.

Dead Sox Walking…..

As I watched the pomp and circumstance of today’s 100 year celebration of Fenway Park…I wondered several things.  One…was how the Sox would play today…would they be fired up…and two…I wondered if Pedro in the Booth was better now…than anyone we have pitching currently.  I gotta tell ya…after today’s outcome…I am sure more than a few former Red Sox players are thinking the same thing.

  It did not take long to see if any momentum from Clay Bucholtz last start was going to carry over into today’s festitivities.  The Yankee’s got to Bucholtz early and often and pretty much had thier way with string bean today.  It was another boorish performance for Buchy who just can’t seem to get it going.  The Yank’s tee’d off today as well…much like the Rangers…to the tune of 5 long balls.  The good news today…was the bullpen managed to pitch three scoreless innings….thats it..thats the list of good things that happened today other than seeing Jenny Dell and some of the former Sox stars and players.

  The offense was AGAIN another no show…scoring a whopping two runs.  The Sox if you are scoring at home have scored three or less runs 8 times this year.  There was a school of thought that the Sox would not pitch well…but would win some slug outs with teams…but thus far we have seen NO evidence of that being the case.  Too many guys getting into pitchers counts…letting starting pitching go way too deep into the ballgame.  I know the Sox are injured…but that excuse does not cover the offense.  The Sox still field a pretty good 7 night in and night out…and that should be enough…the thing is…it’s not.  Adrian Gonzalez continues to produce at a rate that is so feeble…it starts to make one wonder…did the Sox get rooked on his long contract as well.  The Red Sox catcher isn’t much better…but the Sox aren’t paying him to hit…and it is a good damn thing they don’t….since he has only 3 for the season.

  Tomorrow is another day for the Sox and the odds are not in thier favor…it is going to be another long day.  This Sox team is one of the worst constructed I have have seen in 28 years of watching.  The players with the exception of a few seem to not care about the spector that is the season in front of them.  It is early…but as I have blogged many times…all games count once the season starts…can’t clinch a playoff berth in April…but you can certainly make the moutain getting to it to high to overcome.

 

posted by Jonathan Dunlow

you can follow Red Sox Nation Daily during games @rsndaily on twitter.

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