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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.

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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 »

Bring on the Rockies!

Posted by Brad on October 22, 2007

The Sox won Game Seven of the 2007 ALCS yesterday by a score of 11-2, to move on to the World Series against the surprise (understatement) of the year, the Colorado Rockies.  Dice-K pitched surprisingly well in the win.  Jake Westbrook also pitched well, but the bullpen pitched horribly (well, mostly Betancourt).

Dice-K went a solid five innings, giving up two runs on only six hits and struck out three.  Although there were some moments where you could have been concerned that the Indians would break out for a couple runs, he was able to get out of trouble (finally, he has done that).  Then Hideki Okajima (the Okie-Dokie) came in in the sixth and pitched 2+ shutout innings, giving up only three hits.  Then, Jonathan Papelbon pitched a one hit eighth and ninth, do get his first career two out save, and a berth in the Series (not to mention a little jig, afterward).  They walked nobody, meaning they haven’t walked anyone for two straight games.

The Indians pitching staff got a great start from the starter, Jake Westbrook, who went six innings, giving up nine hits and three runs while striking out five.  But, then Rafael Betancourt came in.  He came in and gave up seven runs (six earned) in only one and two-thirds innings.  This is why they lost.  Jensen Lewis gave up one run in one and a third innings.

The Sox bats came alive for the second straight game.  Dustion Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis went three for five, Mike Lowell was two for three, Jason Varitek was three for four (finally he did something) along with a few one for threes.  The game was broken open when Dustin Pedroia hit a two run homer in the seventh inning off Betancourt.  Youk also chipped in a homer in the eighth.  Pedroia had five RBI on the night, Youk had two, and Manny, Lowell and J.D. Drew (finally heating up, alleluia) had on apiece.

The Indians bats got a good amount of hits, but they hurt themselves by leaving seven runners on base in the course of the game.  Every player had a hit except Victor Martinez (very surprising… he’s done well), who was 0-4 and left two runners on base.  They got RBIs from Grady Sizemore and Ryan Garko, who were 1-3 and 1-4, respectively.

Okajima really saved us last night.  His doible play in the seventh inning was a big turning point.  Another was when Kenny Lofton did not score on a double into left field.  He was on second and a double was hit into left.  He was rounding third and did not score, and this was a HUGE mistake at the time.  And, Coco made a nice over the shoulder catch to end the game.  This was a nice way to cap off a great defensive year for him (I don’t expect hime to play much in the Series). 

We are almost spoiled here in Boston, as we all expected them to be able to get this series done.  It was never a matter of “if”, but when.  This team has worked hard and deserves to be where they are (I know, get on with it, but I can’t say how bad someone did, they did great so I have to put something here).  Hopefully they’ll be able to bring home another championship.

I actually hope that it snows during the series up in Colorado.  Wouldn’t it be great if it started snowing and we won the Series in the snow.  We’d see Manny making snow angels (just Manny being Manny), throwing Josh Beckett in the snow and more.  Unfortunately, they’d probably call off the game before that happened (darn it, I thought we’d see that…).  Anyway, congrats to the Sox.

Now, lets take our minds off the thought of snow and back to the weather here in Boston (80 degrees today).  As we prepare to begin the World Series, the Sox really helped themselves yesterday.  Since Beckett didn’t have to pitch, he’ll be able to in Game One on Wednesday.  So, we’ll have the rotation the way it should be for the series.

I think this is going to be a quick series.  Although the Rockies have that home field advantage (of snow) in games 3-5, I think we’ll win all the games here, and we’ll only have to take a few on the road.  This should be a 4-5 game series (at least, I hope, my stress level is only now decreasing).  I expect it to be similar to the Series in ’04, quick with some mistakes from the other team (i.e. pitcher getting caught in rundown at third, *coughs* Jeff Suppan *coughs*).

I think Josh Beckett is a guaranteed win in Game One Wednesday (even though he goes up against a very underrated Jeff Francis), and Schilling should be able to pick up the win in game two, going against Ubaldo Jimenez (who?).  When the series shifts, though, I am worried about D-Mat (as usual…).  Luckily, he should be able to get it done, for the Rockies bats have been bad in the playoffs, their pitching has gotten them through the playoffs.  As for Wake, his knuckle will dance in the snow in Denver, and the Sox should win the series.

The Rockies do have a pretty good offense, though.  They have young players like Matt Holliday, Garret Atkins, Kaz Matsui and Troy Tulowitski.  Although Atkins and Tulowitski have been slow (combined .182) in the playoffs, you have to be wary they will break out of their slump (they ARE good players…).  Although I think we will win in four or five, I am not taking them for granted.  I would NOT be surprised if they make it a series, but I don’t expect it.

So, we believed in the Sox all the way (so we say, lets face it, did we…?) and they got it done for us.  I think they have proven to us they can get it done even when down by a large margin.  So, keep believing and… BRING ON THE ROCKIES!

By the way: BC ranked number two in BCS standings, play Virginia Tech on Thursday night. 

Talk at ‘ya later.

Posted in Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Oriz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sox Falter (again)

Posted by Brad on October 17, 2007

*Sighs*  As I return to you after my day off (sorry, was busy), I bring you the bad news you are already aware of, the Red Sox fell to the Indians, again, 7-3.  Of course, I can’t be angry at Tim Wakefield, for I expected him to do well, nor canI be angry at Terry for pitching him, but I am sure I can find someone to be angry at…

Tim Wakefield threw 4.2 innings (yes, the same happened in games two and three, also).  He pitched well in the early innings, his knuckle danced (like the beautiful bride at a wedding).  Then the fifth inning came.  That is when his knuckle didn’t dance (like me at a dance).  He gave up all five runs in that inning, followed by Manny Delcarmen giving up two (he only had to get ONE out).

The starter for the Indians, Paul Byrd, gave up only two runs in five innings (why can’t we get guys like that for 14.2 million), along with six hits and four strikeouts.  His only two runs that he gave up were in the sixth when he gave up solo blasts to both David Ortiz and Kevin Youkilis (surprise!).  THEN HE GOT PULLED.  At this point, Terry would have left him in. 

As for the Sox bats, they got all their run production from Manny and Big Papi (oh, and Youk, but that’s beside the point).  They went a combined three for eight with two homeruns, two RBI and nine total bases.  Just Dang (crappy) Drew was one for four, Coco 0 for 4, Pedroia one for four and Lugo 0 for 4.  All disgraceful.  We haven’t won a game since JD Drew rejoined the lineup (I see a pattern…).  Bobby Kielty should have been in there.  As for Crappy Crisp, Jacoby should have been in there.

The Indians bats looked really good.  They got seven runs in the fifth inning alone, all of their run production.  Jhonny Peralta was two for four (with another homer, 13 million), Casey Blake was two for four (including their first run on a HR in the fifth, 5.4 million), Franklin Gutierrez was one for two.  This is despite the fact Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore were a combined 0 for 7. 

I do not know what to say (very rare).  This team was just not interested in winning the game.  They seem to have just given up.  The ’03 team actually seemed to care.  This team just doesn’t.  JD could care less, as long as he gets his 70 million dollars and doesn’t hurt his arm.  Lugo seems to care somewhat (at least compared to Drew…).  But he is still horrible and should be gone next year.  As for Dice-K, I think he is trying,but is having a tough rookie year.  I can’t wait to see him next year.  I also hope Jacoby starts next year, not because he doesn’t try (he should win the Gold Glove), but because he can’t hit.

Also, our buddy Theo Epstein hasn’t helped.  He can’t find us a shortstop that can actually produce (he hasen’t done much).  He has brought us Curt Schilling, Dice-K, Eric Gagne, Julio Lugo and JD Drew (all of whom have contributed to our losses).  In 2004, it was his (first?) year with us, it wasn’t his team yet.  If we don’t win this series, I will be calling for his, and Terry’s, resignation (*coughs*, your fired). 

I hope it doesn’t seem like I am putting the Sox to bed (although I very well could), I think Beckett will win tommorrow (see tommorrow’s post), and Schilling has a chance at beating Carmona (okay, a shot…).  The question will be Game Seven.  We can’t start Dice-K, that is for sure.  Do we start Josh on three days rest?  Do we start Lester?  We’ll cross that road when we come to it (IF we come to it).  I just hope I am not writing the season wrap post on Friday night…

By the way, the Bruins (3-2-0) begin their home schedule tommorrow at the Garden against the Tampa Bay Lightning (3-1-0).  They hav ACTUALLY looked GOOD on their five game west coast swing.  God forbid they (dare I say it) make the playoffs!  Of course, we still have a loooooooooong way to go.

Talk at ‘ya later.

Posted in Bruins, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Oriz, Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, Red Sox, Tim Wakefield | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »