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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 »

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 »

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 »