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Red Sox And The Walk Off, Why 2017 Is Different

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The Boston Red Sox defeated the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night to the tune of 10-8. The win was a staple of what the 2017 Red Sox have become. A team that never gives up.

Despite a poor start by Doug Fister and being down countless times throughout the game the offense and the team battled back to force the Orioles into another extra-innings affair.

Monday’s game was the 17th time this season Boston has played into extras with the pitching staff tossing 55.2 innings of “free baseball” to go along with it. To put that into perspective through Monday the Red Sox have played 150 games this season. That means roughly 9% of the time their ballgames have gone into extras. And when they go into extras it usually takes awhile with the average game going over by 3.2 innings.

But Boston has been good in these situations. Their pitching staff ranks 1st in ERA, 1st in WHIP, 1st in BAA, 1st in OPBA, 1st in SLGA, and 1st in OPSA (Courtesy of BostonSportsInf on Twitter).

As a team, they are 14-3 in extra-inning games. Their play in these situations has been remarkable with Monday’s win coming off the bat of rookie sensation Andrew Benintendi.

Boston has had their fair share of trouble and uncertainties this season. But their never giving up attitude is a trait that should serve them well heading into October. It isn’t just in extra innings that this pops up though. In 1 run ballgames, this season the Red Sox have a 19-17 record. The only winning record in the AL East besides the Orioles who are in fourth place at the moment. While that number isn’t “elite” it is a different spin for the Red Sox.

In their 2016 division winning campaign, they were dreadful in 1 run games going 20-24. The worst 1 run game record of any playoff team and the second lowest in the division to the last place Rays. Seeing this year’s Red Sox win games late and win them close is a positive sign.

They might not be the high-powered offense of 2016, but in 2017 they have more balls.

Heading into Tuesday’s game with the Baltimore Orioles the Red Sox are 3 games up on the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East. With 12 games to go, it is still a dogfight to the end with no more games against New York who holds the head to head lead if there is a tie. But with Boston’s clutch factor through the roof, confidence levels should be high.

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 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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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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