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Red Sox 2007 Season Report Card

Posted by Brad on November 1, 2007

All right!  It is finally time for the long-awaited 2007 Red Sox season report card.  This is where you get to yell at me the most, where I give the starter for most of the year at each position a grade, and you’ll disagree (it’s inevitable).  I’m going to count the playoffs a little more so than the regular season.  I know its been a while since I last posted, so I might be off my game a little…  Here Goes…

First Base- Kevin Youkilis

Yooooooooooouuuuuuk!  Kevin Youkilis had a really solid season, batting .288 in the regular season and .388 in the postseason, to lead the team.  He played really good defense, with only four errors all year, including the postseason.  In the playoffs, he led this team, especially in the last three games of the ALCS.  Without this guy, we may not have won the World Series.  Although he had a few tough streches, he was consistently one of the better hitters on the team all year. 

The thing that really boosted his grade was his postseason performance, though.  Along with his .388 batting average, he hit four homeruns with ten RBIs (without even playing the last two games).  In my opinion, he should have started at first base in the last two games of the Series.  Grade: A-

Second Base- Dustin Pedroia

This rookie (the clear-cut rookie of the year) definitely got off to a rough start back in May.  And, I wil admit that I was one of the people calling for Alex Cora to be at second.  But, this guy clearly proved me wrong.  He ended up having one of the better seasons on the team, batting .283 in the postseason and a stellar .317 in the regular season.  Really, the only thing that takes away from him is his speed.  For a second baseman, he is slow (his legs are pumping, but he ain’t goin’ nowhere).  It would be nice if he had more speed.

But, he led us to victory, leading off in the last few days of the ALCS against the Indians.  This guy and Youk were integral oarts to our comeback in the ALCS.  He made six errors, which isn’t great, but not horrible, either.  There are a couple things he can improve on in the offseason (speed and fielding), but speed will help his fielding.  He was great in the postseason, though, so….  Grade: B+ (could be A-, but…)

Third Base- Mike Lowell

This guy was clearly the most consistent player on the team the entire season.  He consistently hit the ball hard, even at 33 years old.  He hit .324 with 21 homers and 120 RBI, to lead the team.  He also came up big in the postseason, batting .353 with two homers and 15 RBI.  The only weak spot was his 17 errors, including the postseason.  Although this is understandable considering he is at third, it is a little less than one-fifth the teams total errors, which is concerning (the only guy with more?  Guess who… Julio Lugo).

Despite this, though, he was the World Series MVP and the clear regular season MVP of this ball club.  This is the guy we really need to re-sign to a one or two year deal.  Although he commited all those errors… Grade: A

Shortstop- Julio Lugo

Sighs, why oh why did we sign this guy.  He was clearly the weak spot on the ball club from the beginning of the year all the way through to the postseason.  He couldn’t hit (although he had his moments), he couldn’t field (he led the team in errors) and, the worst part?  We’re stuck with him for a few more years.  After hitting .237 in the regular season, he went on to hit an okay .271 in the postseason.  Also, he led the team in errors with a horrendous 19 errors.  Yes, 19 errors (that’s 23% of the teams total of 81 for you math impaired).  What more do I have to say?

Here is what else I have to say, although he led the team in steals, and did have some big hits in the postseason, the negatives FAR outweigh the positives.  Sorry to do this, Julio, but…  Grade: D-   

Left Field- Manny Ramirez

Manny was, as usual, the best postseason player on the team.  He may go down as the greatest postseason player in the history of baseball.  In the regular season, he batted .296 with only twenty homers and 88 RBI.  Although his regular season numbers were a bit low, he came up big in the postseason, batting .348 in the playoffs with four home runs and sixteen RBI, to lead the team in the playoffs.  Basically, this guy is the greates postseason player in the history of the Sox.  He actually had eight outfield assists, to lead the team in the regular season which boosts his grade.

But, his slow performance in the regular season brings his grade down a bit.  Although Dustin Pedroia got a B+ while playing better in the regular season, he didn’t play at the level of Manny in the postseason, so he is slightly lower…  Grade: A-

Center Field- Coco Crisp

Although the center fielder in the World Series was Jacoby Ellsbury, this guy was the starter for the majority of the year.  This was unfortunate.  He did not play at the high level we expected when we got him from the Indians.  He batted only .268 in the regular season (coming from a guy who was supposed to be a leadoff hitter).  In the playoffs, he hit a disgraceful .182.  But, the thing that makes thios guy a tough choice is his fielding.  He performed at a Gold Glove level in center and made some huge plays (including that last out in the playoffs).

I’m having a hard time choosing a grade for Coco, as he played a perfect center field throughout the year.  But, he was even worse in the regular season than the postseason.  This is tough, but… Grade: D+

Right Field- J.D. Drew

*Sighs*  Why did J.D. have to perform so well in the postseason?  If he had stayed like he did in the regular season, he would be failing.  Unfortunately, he hit well in the postseason, including the BIG grand slam.  In the regular season, he was batting .270, which actually isn’t half bad.  In the postseason, he was batting an awesome .314 with 11 RBI and that Grand Slam.  He did make six errors, though, which isn’t great from a right fielder, as it is the outfield.  He was one of the integral parts of the postseason roster, though, which makes this tough.

But, this is the toughest choice fore me to make so far.  But, he just didn’t perform most of the season.  I’m honestly not one hundred percent sure what to choose for this grade, but, I have to choose… Grade: C

Catcher- Jason Varitek+

Oh goodness.  What an odd year for the captain of the champions.  He very quietly had a mediocre campaign for the Sox.  He batted only .255 in the regular season with only 68 RBI.  And, he hit only .269 with 10 RBI in the postseason as the captain.  As usual, though, he was a solid backstop.  But, he is on the decline as a player, and it showed in him this year.  I really wish he could have had a better year, because he is a likeable guy that you don’t want to give a bad mark to.

He had a mediocre season at best for the Sox, and I just can’t give him that great of a grade.  After a raise for leadership… Grade: C+

Designated Hitter- David Ortiz

BIG PAPI!  Although he had a rough year powe-wise, he was injured for most of it, and still played through the injury, which is a plus.  He batted .332 with 117 RBI and 35 homers in the regular season.  In the playoffs, he came up big, batting .370 with three homers. Since he is a DH, he didn’t field, but looked okay in the World Series over at first base.  He is going to have a lower score, though, because of his slow start to the year.

He had a tough, injury-plagued power year by his standards, and did nothing near the beginning of the year.  So…  Grade: B+

Pitching

Overall, the pitchers pitched quite well this year.  Josh Beckett was unbelievable, Curt Schilling was okay, Dice-K had a tough regular season, Tim Wakefield was good by his standards.  Jonathan Papelbon was his usual awesome self, and Hideki Okajima was a very pleasant surprise.  Some of the weak spots?  Well, Eric GAGne was horrible, Brendan Donnely wasn’t grwat while healthy and Julian Tavarez did have a high ERA.  For the most part, though, the pitching staff was quite good.

Basically, the mistake of Eric GAGne was a big one, and brings the score down considerably.  Overall, though, this team had a great rotation and a solid bullpen, overall, though… Grade: B+

Overall Grade

No, this isn’t and average grade, it is looking at the season as a whole, and any time you win the series, it’s gotta be… Grade: A+

And there you go, the 2007 Red Sox report card!  Now, the seaon is officially over!  It’s time to get pumped about the Pats, Eagles, C’s and B’s (well, somewhat at least)!  It’s been a great season, and lets hope these other teams can get it done!

Talk at ‘ya later.

Posted in Clay Buchholz, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Oriz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Ramirez, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Red Sox- 2007 World Series Champs

Posted by Brad on October 29, 2007

How to begin a post about the champion Red Sox…?  Honestly, that’s the best I can do for you guys.  I can’t say “finally” like I could in ’04 and I can’t say “Aaron (insert expletive here) Boone” like in ’03.  No, I am not that creative of a writer (I have as much creativity in me as Bill Belichick has personality).  But, I can sayone thing perfectly, “The Sox are the 2007 World Series Champions (can you believe it?).  They were able to complete the sweep of the Colorado Rockies last night (at midnight, mind you).

In a game in which cancer survivor Jon Lester pitched an absolute gem, the Sox were able to hold onto a 3-0 lead in the seventh to win the World Series (I just can’t stop saying it).  Jacoby Ellsbury was 2-4, Mike Lowell (series MVP, see below) was 2-4 with a big solo shot in the seventh.  Jason Varitek went 2-4 with an RBI, Bobby Kielty had a big HR in the eighth and David Ortiz drove in one run in the first.  Although the big two (Ortiz and Manny Ramirez) were a combined 1-7, the rest of the team was able to get it done.

But, aside from the Sox winning it all, the story of the night was Jon Lester.  Less than one year after being cured of cancer, he was able to start (and win) the clincher of the World Series, in his first career start.  He went a solid 5.2 innings giving up three hits and zero runs.  This guy pitched unbelievable, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving than this guy.  In relief, Manny Delcarmen gave up two hits and a run (he struggled in the postseason, see report card tomorrow), Mike Timlin gave up nothing, Hideki Okajima gave up two hits and two runs and Papelbon closed it out with a perfect 1.2 innings (and he promised a dance tomorrow… see below).

I almost feel bad for the Rockies, as they got caught in an avalanche in this series (so many good puns for this team).  Although they were a great story in the postseason, they just didn’t match up to the Red Sox (period, no debating, end quote).  Todd Helton was 2-4, while Kaz Matsui, Garret Atkins, Brad Hawpe, Aaron Cook and Cory Sullivan had hits, with Garret Atkins and Brad Hawpe drove in runs with homers.

Although their starter Aaron Cook, it just wasn’t good enough to beat the Sox with that crappy (pardon the mild language, as I take pride in my lack thereof) offense of theirs.  He went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits.  Jeremy Affleldt pitched a solid seventh, giving up one hit, Brian Fuentes gave up one run in 0.2 innings and Manny Corpas pitched a perfect 1.1 to finish the game.  This team never had a shot in this one, although they did stage a late inning comeback, the Kielty homer did them in.

All right, now that you are up to date, lets talk about some of the other stuff.  The Series MVP could have gone to pretty much anyone on the Sox (well, Alex Cora and Eric Hinske could be debated…), but it was awarded to Mike Lowell.  This was a pretty good choice, as he hit .400, scoring six runs and driving in four.  I’m okay with this choice, but I would have gone with either Jacoby Ellsbury or Dustin Pedroia, leaning toward the former.  Both of these guys set the table for everyone else, and probably deserved it a little more (nothing against Lowell).  Overall, though, congrats to Mike Lowell, as you are clearly very deserving.

The question now, and I am afraid to write it out loud, “Could this be the start of a dynasty?”  I don’t want to be known as “The Curse of the BoSoxFriends,” but can they do it?  We have a bunch of young talent who could definitely get it done in the future.  Terry is a good coach (see below) and if we can keep the big time veterans, we might have a shot.  Maybe we’ll talk about that more tomorrow.

And, I would like to apologize to Terry Francona for all my rude and unnecessary comments about him.  Although you did make many mistakes (even you can admit that…), you were able to get it done in the end, and that is all that really matters.  Hopefully, you’ll come back next year and do it again. 

As for the 2007 Red Sox “rolling rally” Mayor Tom Menino announced it would be held tomorrow (dang school…).  According to hime, it will begin at Fenway Park and will end at City Hall Plaza.  I have heard speculation there will be a stage at the plaza where Paps will do the dance, but we know he will be on the duckboats during the route.  We’ll see, it should be a fun day (that I won’t be a part of…).  There will also be three Jumbo screens set up along the route (at the Common, Copley and City Hall Plaza).  But, the duckboats will NOT pass through the Charles, so don’t go reserving your seats there.

Anyway, hopefully some of you will be able to go down there and tell me about all the fun things that I missed.  And so, I would like to congratulate the 2007 Boston Red Sox for your World Series (just love saying that) victory.  And, I think we should all be thanking them for an outlet from everything going on in the world and giving a city a chance to bond and agree on one thing… THE YANKEES (insert expletive)!

Okay, a couple more things before I leave you until tomorrow.  Obviously, this is not a day for the Pats, but they destroyed the Redskins yesterday, 52-7.  There has been much speculation that the Pats have been running up the score.  Well, they are.  BUT, Bill is just angry (I would use stronger language, but…) that these idiots found him guilty about “Videogate”.  He is trying to prove we didn’t win those championships by cheating, and I applaud him for that.  They’ll be in a showdown with the Colts next week, so stay tuned to BoSoxFriends for continuing coverage. 

Also, we’ll be doing a Red Sox 2007 season report card tomorrow here on BoSoxFriends, where we will rate the starters at each position and the grad for the season, please check that out for tomorrow.  And you’ll obviously be seeing color changes as the Sox season ends and the Pats is in full swing.

Congrats to the 2007 World Champion Red Sox…

Talk at ‘ya later. 

Posted in Clay Buchholz, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Oriz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Ramirez, Patriots, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, Tom Brady | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

World Series- Game Three

Posted by Brad on October 27, 2007

Allright, we’ve got a big game tonight, Game Three of the World Series as the series shifts over to chilly Denver (why didn’t they put on a roof?).  Daisuke Matsuzaka will be taking the bump against Rockies righty Josh Fogg (add the extra “g” for Game Three loser [sorry, there’s nothing better with a “g”]).  Josh Fogg has a 1.13 ERA in the postseason while Dice-K has a 5.65 ERA in the postseason.

I am worried for Dice-K in this particular matchup (what else is new?).  He has never pitched in such thin air before, and so I expect him to struggle in the early innings as he tries to adjust to that and the temperature.  The Rockies batters are used to this, and so I expect them to hit him (to an extent…).  I would expect to see Javier Lopez used for a couple innings, as he used to pitch for Colorado and is used to the weather.  I think he’ll be able to pitch well.

As for Fogg, I think he will pitch pretty well.  Since he isn’t exactly an ace (he ALMOST wasn’t the game three starter), I don’t think he will completely shut down the Sox bats.  But, I expect the Sox, who have only had been there a few days, to have some troubles.  But, overall, Fogg will pitch fairly well and give the Rockies a fighters chance to win the game (but remember, the extra “g” doesn’t stand for great…).

You’ll notice I am talking about the weather a lot.  Well, if you ask any doctor, they’ll tell you that it is much harder to breathe if you are not used to it.  This is why I think the Sox could struggle in Denver.  This team has a legitamate home-field advantage, not just the fans.  They had one of the best home records in all of baseball, and that is not a surprise, as they should.

The Sox bats will be quieter than in the first game, similar to Game Two.  I think they’ll be able to get 3-4 runs across, but that is it.  I DO think Manny is going to have a big night (obviously) and Big Papi is not (see below).  I think Pedroia is going to get on base and give Papi the chance to drive in runs, but he’ll leave them stranded.  J.D. Drew is finally going to cool off (it’s just a matter of time) and Julio Lugo is actually going to play well (gotta love the bold predictions).

The Rockies bats are going to enjoy being back at Coors.  This team will be re-energized by the fans (and by the nippiness) and the bats will come alive, to an extent.  Matt (it’s a) Holliday is going to play well and drive in a couple, while Todd Helton will to the same.  I think Yorvit Torrealba is also going to break out of his funk, as he bats a much higher average at home than away.  Unfortunately (for the Rockies), these are going to be the only guys hitting.

All right, I mentioned David Ortiz earlier, and how he is going to have a slow night.  Well, here is why I think Terry Francona should have stuck with Kevin Youkilis at first base as we go into the NL park.  Kevin Youkilis has a higher batting average, more RBI and more HR in the playoffs so far.  Also, I think it is clear that ‘Youk is in better athletic shape than Big Papi.  So, Big Papi is going to have a harder time breathing that Youkilis (no offense, David).  I would rather see Ortiz come in as a late inning pinch-hitter than risk it.  I realize he is one of the greatest clutch performers ever (see, I can be nice, too), but ‘Youk deserves to be in there.  So Terry, I’ll go for it for one game, but David better perform in these three games (or if we lose, “you’re fired”).

Obviously, if we win this game, the series is pretty much over (unless the Rockies pull a Red Sox).  I think Dice-K and Fogg are going to pitch pretty much equally in this game, and it is going to come down to the bats.  The Sox bats are just going to play better than the Rockies tonight.  I’d love to pick the Rockies in this game, but there is a reason why I called this blog “bosoxfriends” (’cause I love the Sox, for you idiots out there), and I predict the Sox will beat the Rockies in a close one, by a final of 4-3.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this one goes into extras (which would stink for me, ’cause I have church in the morning) but we’ll pull it out in the end.

Also, Jacoby Ellsbury will be at the top of the lineup tonight, instead of Dustin Pedroia.  I like this move because Ellsbury es my rapido (very fast, a little espanol).  He can make stuff happen at the top of the order, and don’t think we’ll regret this mistake.

And, I’ve neglected to talk about the Bruins as of late, and so lets talk about their game today against the Flyers, shall we (not really a question, because I’m the writer)?  They lost to the flyers this afternoon by a score of 2-1.  The Bruins record fell to a solid 6-4-0, while the Flyers improved to 7-3-0.  The Bruins got their goal from Marco Sturm, while the Flyers got their goals from Joffery Lupul and Mike Richards.

Tim Thomas played well in this game, recording 26 saves and giving up only the two goals.  But, he was outplayed by veteran Martin Biron.  No-one expected the Bruins to continue playing at the level they had been playing at near the beginning of the season, and I think they have begun their fall from grace (if they ever had grace), as they have lost two of the last three games.  I don’t think they will malke the playoffs, but will (hopefully) stay in the hun the whole way.  I hope I am wrong (honestly, I am a B’s fan, but it’s so easy to make fun of them), but I don’t think they can do it.  Sorry fellow Bostonians.

By the way, I would like to apologize for telling you guys the OSU-PSU game was last night.  Try to keep an eye on that game TONIGHT.

Talk at ‘ya later.

Posted in Bruins, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Oriz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, Manny Ramirez, Red Sox | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »