Tag Archives: Ramon Ramirez

Jeremy Hermida is My Spirit Animal.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand  we’re back. After an early season series loss to the Yanks, SMC and I decided that we needed some way to figure out what our path through this season was to be. So we went on a vision quest. While it took us away from you, our loyal and loving readers (all four of you), it helped us to figure out exactly what the hell was happening in Boston Sports.

With help from our Spirit Guides, these are some of the things we picked up:

The Sox should give Hermida a shot at being an every day DH before they give one to Lowell. The team knows that, one way or another, Lowell is gone after this season (even if he is not traded in the mean time, he has said that he is likely to retire). With Ortiz flagging, that leaves Hermida, a former first round pick who is hitting very well in limited action so far (5-14, 1.186 OPS, 3-RBI two out double yesterday) to be the guy who steps in for him. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ortiz still has some gas left in the tank (as evidenced by his 29 homers and 99 RBI in only four months of usefulness last year), but having a backup plan for more than this year is a good idea and that is clearly not Mike Lowell. Hermida should get a shot.

The bullpen will be fine, as long as Manny Delcarmen is not given a larger role. He’s a local guy, and apparently a good guy, but he doesn’t get the job done. While guys like Ram-Ram (who gave up a meaningless three run bomb to some nameless Royal over the weekend) and Oki (who has already walked three) have bad outings on occasion, even bad streaks, they are the exception, not the rule. With Delcarmen it’s the other way around, to me at least, and when he comes in and pitches well, I am surprised. If Francona can use those two guys wisely, along with Schoenweis, without leaning on them too much and overworking them, he’ll be able to bridge the inning or two between the starters and Pap nicely.

Not Ready for Prime Time Player.

Which brings me to my next point. Daniel Bard is clearly not ready. All of you people out there who have been screaming for the Sox to trade Papelbon and his 38 saves last season because this kid throws 100 and is the next big thing are wrong. Yes, he may develop into a first class closer, but he’s not there yet, and he’s definitely not ready to close the door for a championship contender. He throws 100, but without a complimentary pitch to match that, hitters will be sitting dead red and the ball will end up going home with some fan. His changeup hasn’t been fooling people and his curve is not developed to the point where he can get strikes with it consistently. Once he has something else for hitters to be looking for, that 100 mph heater will be a much more effective weapon. The same thing is why Papelbon had some struggles last year (he still only blew three saves). He stopped being able to get his splitter over for strikes and hitters were looking for the fastball.

We were also reminded that there are other sports in the region, though they have all taken a back seat to anything the Sox do. I’ve become convinced that the Celtics are going to make a first round exit this season. They are going to face D-Wade and El Heat in the first round and all season the top players in the league have torched them in big situations. By the way, Wade is the new Allen Iverson (wore a Red Sox cap while talking about practice), without the convictions and off the court stuff.

Taylor Hall will look great holding up another cup in black and gold. Someday.

The Bruins, on the other hand, actually have some things to be excited about. In the last few weeks they have been playing better, acting like a team and even moved up to grab the sixth spot in the playoffs. There is a legit shot that a big performance by Tuukka can steal a round for the B’s, and with the way the rest of the team has been acquitting themselves lately, it will at least be an exciting first round matchup with Olympic hero Ryan Miller and the Sabres. The real excitement comes with the completion of the draft lottery the other day. The B’s are guaranteed to get either Talyor Hall or Tyler Seguin. Both of them are NHL ready and will be a big help next year to an offense that has been the second lowest scoring in the league this year. I kinda know what it would have felt like for the Celtics to have gotten one of the top two picks in 2007 and gotten either Oden or Durant (Oden has been a bust, but it was exciting to be thinking about getting him).

It’s good to be back. Wakefield takes the mound at 1, so fake sick, drink some ipecac, or moon your boss, because we have day baseball and it’s warm and sunny in Minnesota.

Go Sox.

Done.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Baseball

Lackey = Really Good.

Her husband is a pretty good pitcher too.

Another shutout performance from Lackey yesterday has me almost forgetting that the Sox have scored exactly two runs in their last three games and Ram-Ram (A) gave up the bomb that lost it for us. The cupless wonder’s defense was looking pretty sick too.

I hope you are all ready to be part of the $3 billion in lost productivity this week because games start in about 10 minutes. Email MyBallpark@gmail.com to enter the bracket last minute, and you can be forever remembered as a guy who did that thing that time.

Go Sox.

Done.

Leave a comment

Filed under Baseball

The Red Sox Bullpen Makes it All Better.

Paps is excited, you should be too (or he might hurt you).

So after all that hand wringing, here we find ourselves. The Boston Red Sox, once 2-6 on the young season, are now 7-6 after a reacharound (yes, I mean reacharound, not wraparound, because the O’s took it in the pooper in every way possible this weekend) series sweep of the Orioles.

Is there anyone out there who still doesn’t believe that the strength of this team is the bullpen? There have been two games in the past week (the one where The Wiggler came down with Vaginitis, and Penny’s deuce on the mound Friday) where the pen saved us and we had a chance to win the games because of them, one of which we did win.

Here are the Stats:

Pitcher W L Pct G GS S IP H R ER HR TBB K ERA
MDC 0 0 6 0 0 8.1 5 0 0 0 5 5 0.00
Hunter Jones* 0 0 1 0 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Ram Ram 1 0 1.000 6 0 0 8.1 3 0 0 0 1 4 0.00
PapelBeast 0 0 5 0 4 5.1 4 1 1 1 2 4 1.69
Masterson 1 0 1.000 5 1 0 11.1 11 4 4 0 3 10 3.18
Oki* 0 0 7 0 0 6.0 2 3 3 1 4 9 4.50
Javier Lopez* 0 1 .000 7 0 0 4.2 7 3 3 0 5 2 5.79
Takashi Saito 0 0 4 0 1 4.1 6 3 3 1 1 6 6.23

The Bullpen Band heading out for a show.

The Bullpen Band heading out for a show.

In forty-four innings, minus Masterson’s 5.1 on Monday, the Sox bullpen has given up 13 runs and has a 2.65 ERA. Ram-Ram, who makes me not miss Coco at all, is spotless in 8-1/3 and has the best nickname on the team (come on, you have to admit it, whenever you hear some asshole like Jim Rome call Manny “Man-Ram” you think it sounds like what one of the sisters from Shawshank calls his cock). Saito even stepped in for a save (albeit an adventurous one) the other night when Paps was unavailable.

As I said a few months ago, the bullpen is going to be the secret of the Sox’ success this season. The rest of the division is full of  uncertainty after their rotations (which don’t go eight deep like ours does either) and the Sox have a group of guys who all have proven track records and are showing at this early part of the season that they can hold down the back end if the starters can get them a lead. The offense will be fine, there won’t be one guy with 50 HR but there will be about four with 30, and now that the club has some momentum the whole thing will come around. Even Ortiz (so stop bitching about moving him down in the lineup).
Double Headers require special equipment.

Double Headers require special equipment.

Julio Lugo and Mark Kotsay are playing in extended Spring Training games in Ft. Myers, The Wiggler is throwing right now, and Smoltz might be ready to throw a few innings by next week. Oh, and in case you didn’t catch this, there is a double header today. That’s right girls and boys, we get two Red Sox games in one day. Timmmaaaahhhh Riblah takes the mound in the first game and Penny in the night cap. Add that to the Bruins playing with the chance to sweep the Montreal Frogs out of the Molson Centre (has anyone noticed that there were 20,000 French guys waving white flags in the crowd there on Monday?), and the playoffs, tonight and this should be a good day to be a sports fan in Boston.

Don’t forget to vote for us.

Go Sox. Go Bruins.
Done.

1 Comment

Filed under Baseball

Holy Shit! It’s Truck Day and the Red Sox are going to win the AL East.

Truck DayCongratulations Red Sox fans, we’ve made it through the long ALCS hangover known as the off season and we are standing on the precipice of another brand spanking new baseball season.  While not all of us will be able to get over to Fenway at 1:00 today to see off the gear and the flatbed that will lead it out with Wally, Fenway Ambassadors (I hope that means the new hooker service in the EMC club) and some people who paid to be called “official” members of Red Sox Nation, we can all bask in the fact that it is less than a week until the fields of Ft Myers will be teaming with pitchers and catchers. 

This brings me to my main point of the day: The Boston Red Sox will win the AL East this season. The division features the three best teams in all of baseball (yes, all of baseball, Phuck you Phillies Phans), and the rules say that one of them has to be left out. It will be the Sox who rise to the top of the division this season, for these three reasons (among others):

Rotation1. Starting pitching. “You can never have too much pitching,” according to Theo Epstein (our resident genius), but the Sox come close. The starting rotation is led by Beckett, He Who Shall Not Be Doubted, and the Wiggler. Any of those guys can step in and be a stopper on any individual day, and if you add to that the fact that Beckett is cooler than the Fonz in odd numbered years (’03, ’05, ’07) you have three aces. The back end of the rotation is a fluid situation, with Timmmmmaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy, and Mr. Dushku taking the lead and the physical freak (Smoltz, who’ll be available in June), Suchholz, Bowden and Masterson (who’s gonna start the season in the pen) all available to fill in. 

CC Sabathia on his way to work.

CC Sabathia on his way to work.

The Yankees filled their previously struggling rotation out for around $243.5 Million this winter but didn’t get a single actual proven commodity in those two signings. Other than last season and, to a lesser extent, his previous walk year of 2005, AJ Burnett has not been impressive. Yes, he has nasty stuff, buit he also smells a lot more like Carl Pavano than Josh Beckett (all three of them won the Series with the ’03 Marlins). He broke down his first two years in Toronto and only showed up when there were dollars on the line. CC Sabathia, on the other hand, is a horse (and might weigh as much as one once the pressure of pitching in the AL East gets to him). He has thrown nearly 500 innings in the last two seasons and shat the bed in the playoffs both years (2-3 with a 7.92 ERA), not to mention the fact that he sucks against the Sox. Does not inspire a ton of confidence. The Rays had an entire rotation full of career years last year, except for Kazmir, and are adding the truly frightening David Price, so nobody has any clue what they are going to do, any anyone who tells you that they do is full of shit. 

Bad Man2. David Ortiz is a bad man. He is pissed at all of those people who said that he was done, and he knows how to make them hurt. He is healthy, jacked, and has Youkilis’ beard (already taking his cuts at City of Palms) and the Buzzard (it’s my new nickname for Jason Bay), both 30 HR guys protecting him in the lineup. Don’t sleep on this lineup or you’ll end up in worse shape than Squeak after the Beers won the Denslow Cup.

Better than Hootie and the Blowfish3. But the real reason that the Sox are the class of the division, and therefore the league is the bullpen. Who would you rather have: a fading Mariano Rivera (still the best closer ever but at the end of his time on top of the mountain), Dan Wheeler (no, seriously, they expect Dan Wheeler to be a shut down closer, ha), or the Papelbeast? I thought you’d say that. Not only do the Sox have the clear advantage in the closer department, but the rest of the guys playing the drums out in right field are a formidable force themselves. Since Masterson stepped into the seventh inning role last summer, Delcarmen (2.35 ERA in the last 35 games) became more reliable as a shutdown reliever and should be able to hold down the sixth and seventh, He's excitedOki got more comfortable and bounced back from his slow start, and Javier Lopez became one of the better lefty match up guys in the league. They will be joined by fireballing young righty Ramon Ramirez (2.64 ERA last season) and former Dodgers closer Takashi Saito. The group goes seven deep with two players who can effectively close on nights when the Papelbeast is unavailable (hungover). The Rays have problems at the back end of their bullpen, where Wheeler was exposed last fall and David Price stepped in. Price, who is still a rookie, is going to be moving into the rotation, leaving a hole in the late innings. JP Howell and former Sox righty specialist Chad Bradford, both had career years last season but are middle relief guys, and nobody really knows what Grant Balfour (who is still nuttier than elephant turds when he is on the mound) is going to be able to do. There are too many question marks here, as in their starting rotation, to be confident about much.Mo-No! I blew another save! The Yanks on the other hand, have Mariano Rivera at the back end of the pen to shorten games. He is coming off of a scope of his shoulder and is already starting to fade at age 39 even though he posted 39 saves last season with a WHIP of .665 and and ERA of 1.40. Beyond him there are a lot of empty spaces and question marks. Damaso Marte was great at the end of the season, but we have yet to see if he can duplicate that on the big stage and after AL hitters have gotten a better look at him. Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez are both middle relief guys and have had control problems in the past, so neither can be expected to step into the set up role. Brian Bruney, Phil Coke and some minor leaguers round out the group but none of them has a proven track record at anything and leave the Yankees depth in question. Of course, they’ll probably pick up somebody from a struggling club at mid season, but for now their bullpen is a real concern. The Sox go seven deep, and only have one real question mark out there in the form of Saito, who has been very successful in the past but is coming of an injury plagued season. The less uncertainty the better and the Boston bullpen ranks last in the number of question marks. 

Be happy. The Boston Red Sox will win the AL East. They have a stronger pitching staff than their competitors and the lineup is going to be better than all of the worrywarts think. Of course, you don’t have to score many runs when your pitchers are this good. The long dark teatime of the soul is over. It’s Truck Day, the sun is shining and somewhere, on green fields, under blue skies and with B’s on their caps, people are going to be playing baseball really really soon. Anyone wanna have a catch?

Go Sox.

6 Days. 

Done.

1 Comment

Filed under Baseball

Dominos Falling into Place

dominosThe Major League Baseball off season is a long and arduous process. It may be a more exhausting time for the front office teams than the season itself. During the off season, teams have to revamp their rosters to make them stronger while dealing with budget, projections (usually from Bill James’ Handbook) of how players will perform in the future, the minor league system, the loss of free agent players from the previous season, and figuring out what they can give up to trade for new talent without putting a hole in their own line up. It is a daunting task, and depending on your view of things, at least 22 teams fail (miserably) each year. The off season is like spending 110 days setting up a string of dominos. The effect that each move made by a front office will not be seen until April at the earliest, and each time a domino is moved, replaced, or removed there is the possibility of greatness or complete and utter failure. 

After a full week of free agency in what promises to be a very busy off season for our Sox, not much has happened. The Yankees have thrown $140 Million at CC Sabathia (fat guy) and have also stated their interest in AJ Burnett and Derek Lowe, the other two big name free agent pitcher on the market. They also lost (the always infuriatingly effective against the Sox) Mike Mussina to retirement. mooseMussina was one of those guys who I hated to see take the mound against us, because even in the seasons when he wasn’t at his best (don’t forget, he was an Oriole before joining the empire) he was effective against the Red Sox. Losing out on signing him in 2000 was also the reason that we ended up with the Old Left Fielder, so in that case I’d say we got the better deal (for the first seven seasons at least).

Love the Powder Blue Jerseys

Theo and his disciples in the Boston front office have only made one move that directly affects the Major League club so far this off season, but it is the first movement of dominos that may lead to yet another World Championship (I still smile every time I write that) when the whole thing starts to move on April 6th. The long awaited trade of Covelli “Coco” Crisp changes the look of the bench and bullpen with the addition of Ramon Ramirez, a young, hard throwing right hander who can take the seventh inning duty that Justin Masterson filled so effectively at the end of the ’08 season.  A bullpen with Papelbon, Okajima, Manny, Ramirez (where have I heard of that combination before?) Aardsma and Lopez, along with whatever minor leaguer they throw in there to round out the group (David Pauley?) looks like it may be pretty good.

justin-masterson-red-sox This puts Masterson into a state of flux where he can join a starting rotation that already features Beckett, Lester (who some people still doubt can be an ace. Seriously, haven’t we gone through all of that already?) Daisuke, and The Elder Statesman. I’m pretty happy with that set up, and that is without any added guys like Lowe who wants to return to the city where he saw his greatest glory (and also can nail more college girls than most other places). You can never have too much starting pitching.

29millarThe bench can be shored up with the expected return of Alex Cora, and the much awaited return of Kevin Millar (who can back up at first base and both corner outfield spots and would just be entertaining to have around again, giving college girls STDs). Along with Salty and another outfielder, these two give the Sox a serviceable bench that can withstand the rigors of the 180+ games in a contender’s season.

Crisp’s departure also sets in motion the changes to a lineup that was diminished at the end of last year without Mike Lowell in the lineup due to a torn hip labrum. Ellsbury is now the starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter. There is no more platoon and it is time for Jacoby to sink or swim in a position (leadoff) that has seen more change than the batteries in A-Rod’s buttplug since Johnny Damon’s mysterious disappearance at the end of the ’05 season. RANGERS ROCKIES BASEBALLThe next step is to throw money at Mark Teixeira like it is going out of style. Seriously, this guy is as sure a thing as you will find in these days. The big, switch hitting, first baseman is the ultimate prize of this free agent class (I don’t trust pitchers who get more than $100 million) because he will put up 35, 115 and .300 every year for the next 8 seasons at least, can do it from both sides of the plate, and plays a gold glove first base. Theo needs to show him (and his agent, Satan) what $200 million and 10 years in Boston would look like. The addition of Teixiera will move him into the three spot (behind Ellsbury and the 2008 AL MVP), bump Youkilis across the diamond to his natural position, place Ortiz into the fifth spot with Bay, Drew, Lowrie and The Captain (who will end up in a Red Sox Uniform for the next two seasons) rounding out the order. Ortiz should have a bounce back year with a healthy wrist and a whole season against Major League Pitching will make Lowrie the run producer that he showed the potential to be in the middle of last season. 

lowell-79953080324367EG046_Detroit_TigerThe odd men out in this situation are the beloved Mike Lowell and the barely acknowledgeable Julio Lugo. Lowell, as much as he has been a great “throw in” to the deal that brought Josh Beckett to the Sox, becomes a movable chip in this situation, and a valuable one at that. He is owed $25 million for the next two seasons and can still be a very productive member of a lineup. That lineup should hopefully be in Texas, where they can move Hank Blalock to first base and fill Lowell into an always potent lineup (anyone who saw Charlie Zink’s first major league start can attest to that) and send us back an important piece to the future of our ball club, Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Give him two years to sit behind Tek and he will learn how to take his place properly (though Pedroia will be the captain by then). Lugo, they can give to Texas or anyone else for all I care. 

p1_epstein_getty

No matter what happens it will be a more interesting off season than the last one. Here’s to hoping that Schilling takes the honorable way out and retires, Lugo takes the honorable way out and goes away, and Teixeira holds winning championships in a place where he will be a god over 100 extra bucks to go to the Nationals. 

Believe in Theo, Go Sox.

88 Days. 

Done.

Leave a comment

Filed under Baseball

Coco to Royals

Super-Secret MLB Sources confirmed that Coco Crisp has been traded to KC. In exchange, The Good Guys will acquire Ramon Ramirez, a 27 year old right handed reliever.

In 2008, Ramirez posted a 2.64 ERA in just over 71 innings with 70 K’s.

Thank you for everything, Coco.

Had about 9 of the greatest catches weve ever seen.

Coco: Had about 9 of the greatest catches we've ever seen.

2 Comments

Filed under Baseball