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Pomeranz is Boston’s Dark Horse

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Drew Pomeranz is the Boston Red Sox’s Dark Horse

If Chris Sale is the Boston Red Sox’s ticket-to-ride, Drew Pomeranz is their dark horse bringing up the rear. Including the clinic he put on Saturday night, the 28-year-old has now matched a career-high in wins with 11 (David Price has 5, but I digress). 

In a single season, Pomeranz has gone from an indefensible underperformer to a guy pitching like a solid 2-starter behind Chris Sale. No one could have predicted this.

With a WAR of 2.5, Drew Pomeranz is the reason that the Red Sox are not currently neck and neck with the Yankees in the AL East. It may sound like homer hyperbole, but I assure you it is not. Let’s face it: Chris Sale cannot be the only successful starter this team has.

The Boston Red Sox Sox possess a team ERA of 3.71, which is the 3rd best in all of baseball. After his most recent win, Pomeranz has a well below the mean ERA of 3.36. Remove him from the equation, and this pitching staff is immensely thinner.

But, there is a hook.

No, literally there’s a hook: Pomeranz has a  screwballer’s approach to dissecting the strike-zone. In his most effective season to date, 30% of Drew’s pitches have been his uncopyrighted knuckle-curve. A kid who has plus fastball location and low to mid 90’s velocity, has thrown 30% curveballs.

This visibly betrays just how deceptive a pitch his hook is to opposing hitters. Although it generates whiffs innumerable, his approach to pitching has its downfalls. He’s not exactly attacking the strike-zone here.

In order for Pomeranz to be as potent an arm as he has been in 2017, he has to conservatively dance around batters. This careful choreography makes him an inefficient pitcher, in terms of pitch-count. He’s working with polka-dot sized room for error. He really has to surgically locate this killer hook to stay effectual, namely after his first time through the opposing order. This is something he has done consistently in 2017, and we’re now seeing the product of such precision.

Disputably, Pomeranz has a secret-ingredient here akin to Mariano Rivera‘s cutter. And where do these pitcher’s with specialty pitches truly belong? In the bullpen.

A Reliever In The Making

What amplifies the appeal of Drew Pomeranz is his flexibility. He’s more than willing to pitch in any capacity, be it starting or coming out of the bullpen. If done coherently, John Farrell could leverage this chess-piece as an Andrew Miller type all-purpose reliever.

We saw Pomeranz in this prototypical role, last year against Cleveland in the ALDS. In the 2 games where he had an opportunity to work out of the bullpen, he didn’t exactly perform at the zenith of his ability. He posted a 4.91 ERA in 3 ⅔ innings pitched (but he did have 7 K’s). It’s the pliability and the willingness to conform to the role that the Red Sox need him in, that makes this kid so valuable. With more experience, Pomeranz could surely harness his latent relieving talent. The stuff is so glaringly there.

He’s having a career year as a starter, but if every cog was turning for this rotation, Pomeranz would be better suited coming out of the pen. He could consume innings manifold, and provide needed recovery time for the other bullpen arms. To give him ample adjustment time, he should make the move before October.

Whenever David Price is ready to return, Farrell could comfortably dispatch Pomeranz to the pen. This would allow him to capitalize on the momentum he has already generated as a starter. Regardless of how he’s used, the evolution of Drew Pomeranz is something to behold here in Boston. He’s a suppressed secret-weapon that can no longer be ignored.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Managerial Decision Seemingly Made Up

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Did anyone think that the Boston Red Sox would take their time when hiring their new field manager? According to one report the team is moving rather quickly

According to one report, the team is moving rather quickly to the point where their minds are already made up.

“There is a 99.9 percent chance of [Cora] being named Red Sox leader,” a source told Puerto Rico’s El Nuevo Dia. “They want him for the job. That post is for him. Alex is very beloved there. And he would love to run Boston. They want to make the fast decision.”

Cora is currently serving as the bench coach for the Houston Astros, a team that is battling it out with the New York Yankees for the chance to go to the World Series. Boston isn’t the only suitor for the former player however. Cora is set to meet with the New York Mets on Tuesday and is also expected to be of interest to other teams like the Philadelphia Phillies.

But the interest between Boston and Cora is mutual and a report from Puerto Rico confirms that. Cora played for the Red Sox during his career and was part of the 2007 Wolrd Series team. At the time he was considered an excellent leader on the team that had all the intangible qualities of one daying being an excellent coach. Since his playing days, he has served as an ESPN Analyst, GM of Puerto Rico national team, coach in Puerto Rico’s baseball league, and now a bench coach for Houston.

If the Red Sox are able to bring in Cora it would be seen as if they had been grooming him for years and that he is their guy. With other suitors in tow, it looks like an offer from the Boston Red Sox to Cora is going to come rather quickly. And quite frankly, this is the best decision for the team.

Acquiring Cora is far superior to a long time mediocre manager like Ron Gardenhire or a failed first coach stinter like Brad Ausmus. Cora is both young and has some prior experience to bring to the table. The one real question with him is if he will be too buddy-buddy with the players, a very real possibility.

Red Sox fans seem to be rather torn on this topic, many seem to like the idea of an old manager like Gardenhire, while others favor Cora who was a fan favorite as a player. In reality the true intentions or favorite of the Red Sox is unknown, but for the moment, Cora looks like the lock.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Manager Contestants Stepping Right Up

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Red Sox

On Wednesday the Boston Red Sox fired field manager John Farrell. With the departure of Farrell, the Red Sox must now conduct a full and wide search for their next manager. There are dozens of potential candidates for the job. The one choice that will have to be made is to either to go young or go old.

Fortunately for us, Dave Dombrowski gave a general outline of what he will be looking for in the next manager. In his post-firing presser, he mentioned that the candidate is unlikely to come from within.

That comment seemingly rules out a candidate like Chili Davis or Gary Ddisarcina.

In terms of experience, Dombrowski said “I think managerial experience helps. I don’t think it’s a 100% necessity.”. He also mentioned the importance of being in the dugout as experience. The last time Dombrowski hired a field manager he was in charge of the Detroit Tigers. The coach he hired at the time was Brad Asmus. So maybe that means he will go on the younger side.

If he goes young in terms of experience here is the list of potential candidates:

  • Brad Asmus: Asmus was let go by Detriot after having a rather shaky first tenure as a manager. He was hired by Dombrowski and has plenty of connections to New England. He will land somewhere this offseason.
  • Alex Cora: Direct connections to Boston and knows how the media is here. Well respected by players and has coached in Puerto Rico and is the bench coach for AJ Hinch’s Houston Astros.
  • Jason Varitek: Obvious connections here. But he has no actual experience as a coach in the dugout. He has helped with player development and scouting as a special assistant to the gm in Boston. But chances are he isn’t in the conversation.
  • Hensley Meulens: Speaks Spanish, English (and other languages), has extensive coaching experience and serves as the hitting coach for the Giants. Has coached the Netherlands in the WBC. There has been a rumor that Major League Baseball is encouraging the Red Sox to hire a coach of minority status. Meulens fits that bill.

In terms of an older/experiences option, there are a few. There is an opportunity here for Dombrowksi. That opportunity is to convince the well respected Jim Leyland to come out of retirement. Leyland though doesn’t seem interested in coaching again and decline to come to Boston a long time ago.

Below are few options for an experienced field manager:

  • Leyland
  • Torey Luvullo: Had a 93 win first season at the helm of Arizona. Could be convinced to leave to come back to Boston.
  • Joe Girardi: Could be on his way out of New York. Is a noted good in-game manager.
  • Ron Gardenhire: Former Twins manager and currently a bench coach for the Diamondbacks. This kind of smells to me though.

What way will Dombrowski go with is anyone’s guess. This process can take awhile with the team needing to lock down a list and start the interview process. According to Dombrowski he always has a list of people for every position he might have to hire for. So, in theory, this could happen fairly quickly.

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Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Fire John Farrell

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John Farrell

On Wednesday morning the Boston Red Sox have announced that they have parted ways with field manager John Farrell.

Farrell has been the manager since 2013 and during his tenure, he led the team to 3 AL East division titles and a World Series Victory. The other two seasons happened to be two straight last-place finishes.

Farrell has been constantly criticized for his below average in game management, but being able to win 93 games when your team had turmoil and underperformances all season was impressive. While personally, I am not a supporter of him. I feel as if he often fails to get the credit he deserves.

But when it comes down to it, he is not the future at the helm for the Boston Red Sox.

According to the team, the process to find the next field manager will start immediately with Dave Dombrowski addressing the situation shortly.

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