Connect with us

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Third Base Issues Continues To Kill Team

Published

on

Boston Red Sox Third Base Issues Continues To Kill Team

The Boston Red Sox once again showed why their third base position has been an absolute mess. They suffered a  5-4 loss to the Rays on Friday night with their third base position disappointing once again. With Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list and Brock Holt still fighting vertigo, the Red Sox turned to Josh Rutledge at third base.

Rutledge mad a  throwing error that led to two unearned runs in the fourth and was late on other throws as well. He then grounded out with the tying run on third to end the eighth.

“Tough position to play,” Rutledge said. “That’s it. I mean, it’s not like we’re not trying.”

The Red Sox entered Spring Training with no real competition for Sandoval at third base and at this point blaming Rutledge is unfair given the fact that he should be a primary bench player that maybe plays in 2-3 games a week giving rest to starters.

The bench is bottom of the barrel for the majors, in fact their bench resembles a minor league team for the most part.  Rutledge has been thrust into the starting third base starting role, the other options at third are Chase D’Arnaud and Deven Marrero who happen to be big offensive liabilities.

The Red Sox made the decision to trade Travis Shaw for Tyler Thornburg this past offseason, and that trade continues to bite them in the ass.

Rutledge’s error was their league-leading 13th at the position.  Sandoval only started taking grounders on Friday and his timetable is nowhere near a return at the moment. Holt on the other hand is rehabbing in Triple-A Pawtucket but with vertigo you can never truly solidify a return date.

“It’s been a tough position for us, make no mistake about it,” manager John Farrell said of third. “I think we’ve had five different players there. We’ve made far too many errors there as a group. Tonight I thought there were some long transfers on Rut’s part that led to some tardy throws, a throw that falls short to Mitch [Moreland] at first base, so we’ve tried a number of people. Opportunity is there, opportunity is there for someone to step up and grab the job. So while we’re in position where we come into the season thinking we might be in a platoon situation, we haven’t had the combination there all year to try to take advantage of the splits offensively, but defensively, that’s got to improve.”

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox had another option at third in Marco Hernandez, who had been hitting .286 with a .661 OPS. But after leaving a May 3rd game with a left shoulder injury there is no a real chance that he undergoes season ending surgery.

“He’s still feeling some symptoms here. It’s likely this may have to require some additional work to rectify and that would mean some procedure,” Farrell said of Hernandez, whose injury doesn’t involve the rotator cuff. “He’s going to get re-examined. There’s likely another MRI scheduled here in the coming days to comparer against the one done previous, but he has a history of this. Nothing to the extent it was the other day against Baltimore. Things are moving in that direction. Without anything scheduled or defined, that’s kind of the way things are looking right now.”

With Boston having the worst OPS of every team in baseball with .587 OPS at the third base position, Hernandez going down was the last thing they needed. While at best he is a utility player, he was showing production at a position where the Red Sox have struggled.

For now Rutledge will continue to be the primary guy at third until a determination is made on Holt, and a return of Pablo Sandoval. But even with a Holt return he isn’t anything more than the occasional utility player, more permanent than Rutledge but he had a down year last season with a .255 avg and so far this season in 15 at-bats posted a .133/.316/.133 slash line. Even if Holt is able to return early next week you still have the issue of vertigo returning so the team will have to take it easy on the veteran utility player.

Sandoval on the other hand is farther from a return and when healthy this season in 61-at-bats had an abysmal slash line of .213/.269/.377 and hasn’t had a productive season since 2014 season.

Options for Dave Dombrowki at third are running out as his decision to trade Shaw looks worse and worse every day.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Win 5 In A Row, Magic Number Down To 5

Published

on

Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are winners of five straight games in a row. Their last loss came back on the 17th when they lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2. This run that they are on has helped catapult them into a four-game lead over the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.

New York, clinched a playoff spot on Saturday and acted like they had won the World Series. There was champagne popping in the locker room and photos all over the social spheres. The overreaction of baseball playoff-clinching continues. Boston happened to clinch their playoff spot last week. Did any of you see a clubhouse party? Nope. Me neither.

Boston has started to showcase hidden gems like the resurgence of Eduardo Rodriguez, Rafael Devers, and the return of David Price who has been stellar so far out of the bullpen.

Thier latest winning streak is impressive. But it is also important not to overreact to a good team beating a string of bad teams. Getting hot at the right time matters though.

With 8 games remaining their magic number to win the AL East for the second straight season is sitting at 5 games. New York continues to win ballgames of their own keeping this pennant race one that could go all the way to the end.

One more game in Cincinnati on Sunday, then 7 games to finish off the regular season at Fenway Park. A three-game set against Toronto, and a four-game set against Houston, one of the best teams in the American League to end it.

Continue Reading

Boston Red Sox

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Published

on

Boston Red Sox

Can you believe that game last night? Boy oh boy, what a doozy! Now we understand why the NFL insists on, not only scheduling but broadcasting Thursday Night Football games. I mean, the San Francisco 49ers doing battle with the Los Angeles Rams: That’s practically playoff football people. What a treat!

If you haven’t detected the sarcasm that my words are saturated with, you’re probably one of those fanboys who actually appreciate the “TNF” games. To you I say: How? Yes I understand that last night’s game was high-scoring and that it came down to the wire. But that betrays the incompetence of both the 49ers and the Rams defenses. It was playground football!

Even NBC’s Chris Collinsworth has to scrape the barrel to find the enthusiasm to provide commentary for these abominations. They’re so unwatchable; the NFL had to create it’s own television network to find a place that would televise Thursday night games. That’s pushing it man.

But have no fear: Sunday will soon be here. (Pretend that some catchy jingle is playing) which means it’s now time for, everybody’s favorite: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

The Red Sox are rolling right now, with some serious momentum.

Earlier this week, we saw our boys trounced the Baltimore Orioles, taking every game of a 3-game series. This was just part of an inordinate 12-game road trip that the Sox have been on since September 15th – the type of challenge that can make or break any team’s postseason bid.

On this excursion, every element of the Sox has performed indomitably. With October nearing on the horizon, the barometer is certainly reading in Boston’s favor.

The Sox outscored the Bird’s 20-8, over the course of this series in Baltimore. Our offense was firing on all cylinders. Mookie Betts went 4-14 with 6 RBI’s, including a homer and a triple. Crystallizing his role in October, the young Rafael Devers went 4-9 in the 2 games that he played.

Collectively Sox pitching produced a 3.63 ERA with 35 K’s in 29 innings pitched. These stats were greatly padded by the clinics that Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale put on. Big Smooth tossed an impeccable 6.1 innings of shutout ball on Tuesday; while Sale picked up his 300th K of the season, shutting out Baltimore on Wednesday night. Entertaining baseball, to say the least.

Now the bummer is: The Yankees have been able to parallel our recent success. Yes, Boston has maintained it’s 3-game lead over New York, in the AL East, going 7-3 in their last 10 games. But the Yankees are 8-2 in that same span. We cannot take our foot off of the pedal. New York is pressing aggressively on our heels, not allowing any room for error.

The Red Sox head to Cincinnati to face the Reds this weekend, not exactly a late-season crucible. For the Sox, as they wrap up this 12-game road trip, the top priority will be to stay focused and confident. This young team controls its own destiny right now. Boston can’t afford to vouchsafe the Yankees any half-games as the pennant-race comes to a conclusion. For the time being, it’s looking pretty good Sox Nation.

The Bad

After a recent foul-ball tragedy, 4 MLB teams have announced that they will be extending the protective netting in their respective stadiums. What’s bad about this: It’s only 4 of the 30 teams that comprise the MLB.

Wednesday afternoon, at Yankee Stadium, Todd Frazier turned on a pitch and pulled it over the third-base dugout. This ball was a gelid frozen-rope; he dead pulled it. Traveling at a speed well over 100 MPH, this foul-ball violently struck the face of an unexpecting child in the stands. The little girl was severely injured. She was escorted out of Yankee Stadium on a stretcher and is currently hospitalized in critical condition.

There wasn’t any netting or shield to mitigate the force of this projectile. Given the estimated distance from home-plate to where this girl was seated, she had about .68 seconds to react. MLB players are paid millions to anticipate and to field such line-drives. Pedestrian fans do not have the reflexes to defend against professional hitting.

In a day and age where many fans are abstracted by smartphones and jumbotrons, it’s now more important than ever to revamp fan safety. Will the netting slightly detract from your view of the game? Yes. But we’ll eventually become desensitized to this not-so obstructing obstruction. Bear in mind that the seats directly behind home-plate are already protected by this type of netting, and they’re still the most coveted seats in the ballpark.

As with any sport, safety measures always seem fun-crushing, when they are first implemented. Hockey players didn’t want to wear helmets; baseball players used to catch the ball with mittens. Players adjust and so do fans.

Netting that surrounds the entire perimeter of the field is not what’s being suggested here. After all, baseball is the only sport where it is common for fans in attendance to bring the equipment to catch balls outside of the field-of-play. So catch your accessible fly-balls, that’s great. But the MLB needs to calculate the standard for average “fan reaction time” and set up netting accordingly. There’s a reason why seats directly behind home-plate are protected by such a thing. Fans are not professional baseball players, therefore they cannot be expected to react like one.

The Ugly

On a lighter-note: TNF is an ugly product. I’m sorry, but I still have some rage chambered up from last night’s game between the 49ers and the Rams. We saw garbage against garbage, illustrated by the underwhelming finish to this “shootout”.

The 49ers are on the 50 yard-line, after having recovered an onside kick. They’re down 39-41 with a little over 2 minutes left to go in the 4th. How do they seize the moment? By going three-and-out, punctuated by Brian Hoyer being sacked on a 4th and 20.

It never used to be like this; Thursday Night Football used to be a rarity and something to look forward to. Now it’s an example of the NFL inundating it’s fan-base with content. If we’re going to play these gratuitous games, at least make the matchups appealing. Save for the season-opener, TNF this year has featured discarded small-market underdogs nipping at each other’s throats.

Roger Goodell and his subordinates who create the schedule need to decide what type of contest they want TNF to be. Is it simply a midweek throw-away game, or a hearty appetizer that stimulates the interest of fans going into the weekend? So far, it’s been the former.

Continue Reading

Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox Popularity Decline Overblown

Published

on

Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are officially a playoff-bound team. After a 9-0 win over the Orioles on Wednesday paired with an Indians 6-5 win over the Angels, the Red Sox have officially clinched a postseason spot.

That spot for the moment is an AL Wild Card spot with the game to be played on October 3rd. Just getting to the postseason isn’t the goal for this year’s Red Sox team though.

I think any win  this time of the year given where we are in the standings and what is at stake, any win is important,” Farrell said. “Just getting into the playoffs is not our goal. Certainly it’s a stepping  stone toward other things that we have our sights set on, as many teams do. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

As it currently sits the Red Sox hold a 3 game lead over the never dying New York Yankees. Despite a pennant battle in full swing, the vibe in Boston isn’t focusing in on the Red Sox. Part of it may be the fact that the Red Sox and Yankees have not faced each other head to head in awhile and will not do so unless they meet up in the playoffs.

Even with that, there doesn’t seem to be that much interest in this years team. Ratings have been all over the place. The other night the second game of the series with Baltimore did an 8 in Boston. That is a good number for a weeknight game. But as of last count, ratings on NESN were down big.

But the last reported figure had them pegged at a 20% decline from the David Ortiz retirement season of 2016. That report came out in early July, so it isn’t a true representation of what has occurred over the last four months.That number has likely rised quite a bit. For some reason though, for a division race, this all feels a tad underwhelming.

Part of it could be some of the black eye storylines from the season, or the likeability of the team, or even the gross underachievement by multiple players throughout their lineup. But even with all of that, this years team has grit, and have shown the 2013 Red Sox ability to battle and win in extra-inning games.

Ratings might be down, but that isn’t shocking. A year removed from David Ortiz will do that. Ortiz was a larger than life player who put on a show. Sure Chris Sale is exciting to watch, but striking out 300+ batters isn’t as exciting as Big Papi smashing balls out of the yard 30+ times.

The ratings decline is overblown and the lack of popular interest is understandable. Sports are becoming more and more of a hardcore fan experience. That is especially the case in a 162 game baseball season. Getting the casual viewer or “pink hat” fan to tune into the game is hard to do. In 2017 many of those types of fans seem to have disappeared from the landscape.

With this year’s Red Sox team knocking on a division title, people will watch.

Continue Reading

Most Popular

Copyright © 2017 Trifecta Network