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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 »

Sox Throw Stones at Rox, Win 13-1, BC Huge Game

Posted by Brad on October 25, 2007

Wow.  That is almost all I can say (okay, not quite).  Wow.  The Red Sox completely destroyed, killed, crushed (insert adjective here…) the Rockies last night, by a score of… 13-1.  No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  The score of a World Series game was 13-1.  I am disturbed by this, the NL is trying to tell us this is the best team in their (lets be frank, jayvee) league?

Where to begin?  Well, Sox starter Josh Beckett pitched yet another playoff gem (am I sounding repetitive?).  He went seven innings, giving up that one run on only six hits and nine strikeouts.  And, he did all of this in just under 100 pitches, at 93.  He struck out the first four batters of the ball game (Taveras, Matsui, [it’s a] Holliday and Todd Helton), becoming the first to do this in the Series since Sandy Koufax fanned the first five in ’63.  The only run he gave up was in the second, when Troy Tulowitski doubled in a run.

Jeff Francis got off to a rocky (pun definitely intended) start in the first inning by giving up three runs in that inning.  He then followed to give up one in the second.  He seemed to settle down in the third, but then gave up two in the fourth, then he got yanked.  His overall line was four innings, ten hits, and six runs, including a leadoff jack to Dustin Pedroia.

The Sox bats were alive last night, as they recorded seventeen hits in eight innings.  Big Papi was 3-5, Manny was 3-4, ‘Tek was 2-4, Lugo was 3-4 (I know, I’m on the verge of tears, too).  Even JD Drew was a solid 2-5 (finally he is heating up).  Pedroia, Ortiz, Ramirez, Varitek and Drew all had two RBI.  ‘Youk, Lugo and Jacoby Ellsbury all had one RBI.  This means the runs were spread out among the team. 

The Rox bats were, well, colder than Coors Field in October (I’m running out of funny puns).  Only Matsui, Tulowitski, Helton, and Garret Atkins recorded a hit in the game.  It’s funny, because a lot of people have said this is a JV team, but this particular one might be considered a Freshman squad in comparison to the Sox.  They just could not get it done.  Brad Hawpe had a hatrick plus one (4 strikeouts).  For the record, Jeff Francis had only three strikeouts.

For those of you who haven’t read this blog before, this is where I usually rant on something or someone, etc.  Unfortunately, the Sox played perfect, so I can’t exactly rant (even GAGne threw a perfect ninth).  Lets talk about more funny anomalies that the Rockies somehow achieved.  Franklin Morales came in and was charged with seven runs in only 0.2 innings.  He now has a 94.50 World Series ERA…  He was also called for the first Series balk since David Weathers in 1996.  Okay, okay, sorry Franklin.  Lets get more serious:

Game Two will be played tonight at 8:00 in Fenway.  Curt Schilling will be going up against Ubaldo Jimenez (good luck…).  This guy Ubaldo was a mid-season callup and was 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA in the regular season.  But, he has pitched well in the postseason, as he has a miniscule 1.29 ERA in two starts.  He’ll be going up against postseason legend (bloody sock, 1.29 ERA in ’02, 1.12 ERA in ’01) Curt Schilling.  Curt knows this will likely be his last start with the Sox, so he’ll likely come up big tonight.  I expect a great start.

The Sox bats are hot, I mean when Julio Lugo and JD Drew both have great games, you know things are going well.  Manny is being Manny and Papi is doing awesome.  I expect Jacoby Ellsbury to break out of his first World Series game awe and play well.  I think 1-9 the Sox will play well tonight.  This team is going to hit Jimenez big time (seriously, this guy couldn’t pitch to NL guys).

As for the Rockies, I think they will hit a little bit better than last night.  As they face a worse pitcher and couple that with them having a game under their belt after their first in a week, they should play a little better.  But, I still expect a blowout from the Sox.  Hawpe is just a rookie, so I wouldn’t expect much out of him and same goes for Tulowitski.  Most of these guys haven’t ever been in a Series, so you can’t be ragging on them (and yet, it’s so fun…).

Tonight, I expect a HUGE win from the Sox as they go into the first ever IceSeries in Denver.  I think they’ll win tonight, 7-2.

Now lets move on to the BC Eagles.  No-one could have thought they’d be ranked number two in the country at this point in the season and they have done it.  But, tonight is the night…  Theis is the first real test as they go down to the campus of Virginia Tech to face the Hokies.  Matt Ryan (Heisman “hopeful”) will be going up against the stingy Tech defense. 

The Hokies have only lost twice on Thursday night football, and both of those times were to the Eagles.  Luckily, the Eagles have a muche better offense and a solid defense.  This is going to be a battle between an elite defense and a unbelievably good quaterback.  As the Eagles hope to keep their National Title hopes alive, I think they’ll be right with the Hokies.

The Eagles have the advantage at the QB, RB, and WR position.  The Hokie’s offense is mediocre at best and the only place they have the advantage in this game is the Defense.  The Eagles defense is solid, but not nearly as good as the Hokies’.

I think this is going to be a fairly low scoring game.  But, the Eagles should be able to prevail in this one.  I predict an Eagles victory, by a final score of 17-14.

And, I’ve neglected to talk about this serious matter.  Although it has little to do with sports, I feel we have to talk about this.  The wildfires in California.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes out there.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, over 1,500 homes have been destroyed so far, and many more remain threatened.

I would just like everyone to take a moment out of their day to pray for those who have had to leave their homes and whose homes have been destroyed.  I would also like top thank God that we do not have to live in that sort of fear here in New England. 

Amen.

Talk at ‘ya later. 

Posted in BC Football, Curt Schilling, David Oriz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, Matt Ryan, Red Sox | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

World Series- Game One

Posted by Brad on October 24, 2007

The Red Sox are playing in Game One of the 2007 World Series against the Rockies tonight at 8:25 (approx. they have messed up times…).  Josh Beckett will be facing off against Rockies ace Jeff Francis in Fenway.  Josh Beckett has pitched as close to perfect as a starter can in the playoffs thus far (seriously, he’s been awesome), and Jeff Francis has a 2.13 ERA in the playoffs thus far.

The Sox come into the game off a big time ALCS victory over the Cleveland Indians, winning three in a row after being down three games to one (blah blah blah).  The Rockies come off of a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS. 

The Red Sox have been led by and have to continue to be led by Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.  Although they had a couple of slow games in the last few, they still led the team (save Kielty and Yoooooooooouk) in batting average, with a combined .394 average in the postseason.  They are also leading the way (again, save Youk) with four and three homers, respectively.  These two players HAVE to play big in the Series if the Sox want to have a shot.  I don’t expect JD Drew to play awfully well (no, the Grand Slam was not a “sign” of things to come).  If these guys play badly, I would tend to think the Sox will lose the Series.

The Rockies are led by hard-hitting Matt (it’s a) Holliday in the playoffs thus far, batting .286 with four homers and seven RBI.  He also has no errors and the only outfield assist on the Rockies.  Brad Hawpe also has helped the Rockies.  This rookie is batting .304 in the playoffs so far.  These guys need to play well along with veteran Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitski, both of whom have struggled mightily in the playoffs so far.

In terms of pitching, the Sox hold the clear advantage in tonights game against the Rockies.  Although Jeff Francis is an extremely underrated pitcher, Beckett is still one of the better postseason pitchers in the game (he’s AWESOME).  He should be able to come up with the win over the Rockies, despite his loss to them earlier in the year, 7-1.  Jeff Francis WAS able to beat the Sox back in June in the same game, but that was in the past.

The Sox have an adavantage at pretty much every position (except right field, of course).  Jacoby is probably better than Tavarez.  Although I might consider Kaz Matsui better than Dustin Pedroia, that one is just too close to call.  Lugo has played just as bad as Tulowitski, but Troy is probably the better player on any given night.  So, the Sox have the advantage at 7 of the 10 (including DH) positions.  The Rockies are just overmatched at nearly every position and just aren’t good enough to face a big time AL foe. 

I do expect this to be a blowout by the Red Sox.  Beckett will completely shut down the bats of the Rox (where did that nickname come from, anyway?), especially after the long layoff (oh, and freezing their butts off during practice).  Although the Rockies do have some confidence after the series victory back in June, that was a different Sox team (remember, Manny and Papi struggled.  Ahhhh, those were the days…).  The Rockies just do not have the experience.  Only Wily Tavarez has ANY World Series experience before tonight.

By the way:  Yaz is going to be throwing out the first pitch tonight at Fenway, which is great (he has got to be my favorite player of Sox history). 

And, God help us.  Terry is an idiot.  He decided to leave Eric GAGne on the active roster for the World Series.  I have no idea why he did this (that is rare).  He has no reason to do this and, if we lose the series, should be fired (oops, I mean asked to resign).  Any idiot could figure out he does not belong on the roster and should have been replace with either Julian Tavarez or Bryan Corey.  Terry, you’d better give us a good reason why this happened. 

Overall, the Sox are just the better team, and I predict a solid 5-1 victory tonight at The Fens.    

And, now lets talk about the Bruins (I know, I’m still talking about these guys!).  They lost to their rivals (okay, so no-one cares about this rivalry anymore), the Montreal Canadians, by a final of 6-1.  In a disgarceful performance by offseason pickup Manny Fernandez (he gave up all six goals), the Bruins were just overmatched.  The real reason for their early season success (5-3-0) is because of Tim Thomas.  This guy should be starting pretty much every night, but Claude Julien (isn’t that a great name?) has tried to give Manny the benefit of the doubt (*coughs* Tito *coughs*).  Please start Manny every night, Claude (what have you got to lose, you aren’t SUPPOSED to be good).

And the Eagles are going up against the VT Hokies down in Virginia tommorrow night.  This is the biggest game of the season so far for the Eagles.  If they win this one, they will certify their place as either number one or two in the nation.  We’ll talk about that tommorrow, though.

GO SOX!

Talk at ‘ya later.

Posted in BC Football, Bruins, David Oriz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, Red Sox | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pats Win 48-27, Sox Game 3

Posted by Brad on October 15, 2007

The Pats beat the Dallas Cowboys 48-27 yesterday, in a game hyped to be one of the best of the year, great game, etc, etc (so much for that).  Despite the fact Brady had his head out of the game (see previous post), he was still able to go 31/46 for 388 yards and five touchdowns (a career high). 

Suprisingly, Kevin Faulf was the leading rusher for the Pats, running for 50 yards on only thirteen carries.  The leading receiver for the Pats was Dante Stallworth who had 136 yards on 7 catches and one TD.  The surprise, though, was Wes Welker.  He had 124 yards on 11 receptions and two touchdowns.  Randy Moss was heldo to six catches for 59 yards and his weekly TD.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, played better in the first half than the second half, which is a typical (did I use that correctly?) for them.  Tony Romo only went 18/29 for 199 yards, two touchdowns and an interception to Junior Seau (luckily, he didn’t hold it out like he was flying this time).  Julius Jones led the way rushing, gaining 51 yards on six carries.  The Cowboys had only FIFTEEN rushing plays in the entire game.

Although the Cowboys did hold a lead for a short time in the first half, it didn’t last long, and the Pats controlled the entire game.  If not for some bad Brady incompletions, the Pats might have been able to double up the Cowboys.  I can’t explain the Brady incompletions, but I just hope it doesn’t happen against the Colts, because they’ll make you pay for it (even though their defense isn’t elite, the turnovers on downs will just give Peyton the ball).  Also, the O-Line seemed to struggle against the Dallas defense.  They allowed three sacks, equal to the number they had allowed up till yesterday.

Nonetheless, it was a great game played by the Patriots.  Although the Cowboys made it interesting in the first half, they just couldn’t stop the Pats in the second half. 

Also, I can’t believe the people who already are talking about the Pats going undefeated this season.  yes, they are looking amazing so far, but ask me AFTER the Colts game.  That will be the true test.  If they can win that game, they’ll have a shot at going undefeated.  Until then, don’t even mention it (*coughs* idiots on ESPN).

Moving on the the Red Sox.  They’ll be playing Game Three of the ALCS against the Cleveland Indians tonight.  Daisuke Matsuzaka will go up against Jake Westbrook.  The series is tied 1-1.  As the series moves to Jacobs Field, I worry about the Red Sox.  After the Terry Little debacle, I worry that Dice-K won’t show up tonight.

Although he has had a good rookie campaign overall (emphasis on GOOD, not great), I don’t have any faith in him to pitch well consistently.  Does that mean he won’t pitch well tonight?  No, but I am not counting on it.  Also, the Indians bats are confident after demolishing Curt Schilling, one of the greatest postseason pitchers ever.   Matsuzaka did not pitch amazing against the Angels, and the Indians are much better.  Look for him to get into an early jam.

As for the Indians, they have all the momentum going into Game Three.  Although this isn’t an amazingly pivotal game, it is still very important.  I do think Wake will get it done in Game Four, but that is not a guarantee.  This is a HUGE game for the Sox.  If they lose this game and Wake loses the next, we’re down 3-1.  If we win, I think we are guaranteed to win the series, as Josh Beckett will be pitching Game Five (an automatic win).

As for the bats, the Indians come into the game fresh off a big eleventh inning in Game Two.  Although I think we would have won the game had Gagne not pitched yesterday (not that I hold a grudge…) they still scored seven runs in the inning, giving them confidence.  They had seventeen hits in Game Two, and every starter except Casey Blake recorded at least one hit.  Also, their biggest power threat has looked good in the series, going three for eight with one homerun. 

The Sox bats looked good on Saturday, as every starter got on base at least once.  Ramirez and Ortiz slowed down a bit, only going two for eight combined (although Manny hit a homer), so expect them to light it up tonight (I mean, only .250 combined in the game, that’s no good).  J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell both went two for five.  Despite that, I’d rather see Bobby Kielty or Jacoby Ellsbury in there in right.

As for Eric GAGne, just don’t use him, Terry (notice my lowered level of criticism).  He is horrible.  I know you can’t stick him on the inactive roster now, but please.  I’d rather see ANYONE.  Anyone at all.  I bet if you asked Fox, almost all of NEw England probably turned the station when he came into the game.  PLEASE.  Use JD Drew if you want, I don’t care, just don’t use Eric.  Thank You.

Talk at ‘ya later.    

Posted in Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Oriz, Manny Ramirez, Patriots, Red Sox, Tom Brady, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »