Life of a Sportsaholic

This blog is intended to be insight into my life as an irrational, stats-driven, obsessive sports fan in Boston. I am a fan of all types of sports with an emphasis on Boston teams and am a proud UConn alum.

Month: June 2016 (page 2 of 8)

Red Sox Tailspin Gets Worse

Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports

Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports

After a 13-7 drubbing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays last night, the Red Sox are spiraling out of control with no end in sight. Eduardo Rodriguez looked terrible once again last night and was optioned to AAA Pawtucket immediately after the game, leaving yet another hole in the already thin Red Sox rotation. Now 4.5 games back of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East and 9-15 in the month of June, the Red Sox are getting close to losing this season all together. What was once promising is now a disaster.

The “Fire John Farrell” conversation is once again heating up, especially after using his three best late-inning relievers (Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel) in a blowout yesterday, which just makes no sense. For a pitching-focused manager to have a struggling pitching staff is hard to swallow. The team struggles are certainly not all on Farrell’s shoulders because he’s not the one out on the field performing, but ultimately the Red Sox need a shake-up and the manager is the easiest solution. Farrell is a solid manager, but his in-game decisions have always been a bit questionable which make him replaceable, even if it is just to send a message to the team.

I don’t have a solution, but know that something needs to happen soon or this will surely be another lost season for the Red Sox. No one wants that…

Grieving a Legend: Pat Summitt

AP Photo

AP Photo

When I heard the news this weekend that legendary Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt was declining and likely didn’t have much time left, I was hit with a sudden gut punch of sadness. For decades I watched Coach Summitt pace the sidelines with her intense stare and unbreakable passion of the game of basketball. She wanted to win every game, every time, with no exception and worked her butt off to achieve perfection.

As a UConn fan, I was conditioned to hate the hideous orange of the Tennessee Lady Vols. UConn/Tennessee was one of the greatest rivalries in sports throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s and without a doubt the greatest rivalry in women’s college basketball history. When Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt faced off, they were must-watch matchups on national TV at a time when very little women’s college basketball was on national TV. They were games you planned your schedule around.

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Grading the Red Sox Pitching Staff

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Another day, another bad outing by a Red Sox starting pitcher. It has become more and more clear that the Red Sox starting rotation is reaching crisis mode. Of the 9 pitchers who have started a game for the Red Sox, just 2 have ERAs under 4 and only 1 under 3.90 (Wright at 2.18). The sheer mediocrity has forced me to take a look one-by-one at the grades each pitcher gets for their performance so far in 2016. Preview: it’s not good.

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ERA Watch

Wright ERA Watch 6.27.16

Despite allowing 8 runs on Saturday, Steven Wright’s ERA remained low thanks to only 3 of those runs being earned. Those 8 runs cost the Red Sox the game and marked the first time since May 13th that Wright didn’t make it out of the 5th inning. It was also Wright’s 2nd straight loss.

My thinking right now and thinking about it in the locker room, I’m done playing with the national team…I tried my hardest. It’s been four finals, and I was not able to win. I tried everything possible. It hurts me more than anyone, but it is evident that this is not for me. I want more than anyone to win a title with the national team, but unfortunately, it did not happen.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi announcing his retirement from international play after a heart-breaking penalty-kick loss to Chile in the Copa America Centenario final

Is Epic Comeback a Turning Point?

When David Price got pulled after 2.1 innings and 6 runs in Texas last night, it felt like another lost night. The Red Sox got 2 runs back on a Hanley Ramirez HR, then Matt Barnes abruptly gave up a HR to make the score 7-2 after 4 innings. With a thin bullpen and a struggling offense, I didn’t think there was any chance of a W. Then the 9th inning happened.

Down 7-4 in the 9th, Jackie Bradley Jr. walked to kick off the inning before Bryce Brentz struckout and Travis Shaw popped-out. Then the Red Sox spark plug, Sandy Leon, stepped in and ripped an RBI double to get the rally started. Mookie Betts promptly crushed a 2-run HR to tie the game.  A Dustin Pedroia walk, Xander Bogaerts single and a wild pitch gave the Red Sox a lead to stay. Koji Uehara shut the door in the bottom of the 9th and the Red Sox walked away with a marquee win.

Last night’s win was desperately needed. It felt like the season was beginning to get away from the Red Sox after losing 12 of the last 21 games and slipping to 2nd place in the AL East. The offense was struggling to score more than 2 runs and the pitching staff looked vulnerable. All problems are certainly not resolved after 1 win, but watching the team pick up a terrible start from their ace by coming back to win against a very good Rangers team is inspiring.

It feels like last night could be the boost the team needs to begin playing better and winning some games. Unlike earlier in the season where it felt as though they could come back from any deficit with their potent offense, lately their team confidence level had dipped. A win like this can only help to improve that confidence moving forward.

Bryce Brentz Gets His Shot

Photo by Louriann Mardo-Zayat

Photo by Louriann Mardo-Zayat

When Chris Young grabbed for his leg when rounding 1st base on Thursday, everyone’s heart sank. It is the quintessential sign of a pulled hamstring and leaves the Red Sox very thin on big-league ready outfielders. Young went on the DL immediately following the game and the Red Sox called-up Pawtucket Red Sox outfielder Bryce Brentz to take his place.

Brentz has seen some limited time in the majors, appearing in 9 games in 2014. This year, he began the season with the AA Portland Sea Dogs and then moved up to Pawtucket. He has a .278 average with 3 HRs and 17 RBI in 38 games with the Paw Sox, including 14 doubles. He has struck out 33 times and certainly hasn’t looked amazing, but he now has a chance to prove himself at the major league level.

Brentz is starting in left for the Red Sox on Friday night in Texas against RHP Nick Martinez and will likely have many opportunities to play over the next few weeks depending on the recovery of Brock Holt and Blake Swihart. For his sake, and the Red Sox organization’s sake, I hope he has a nice stint on the major league roster.

Daniel Hamilton Drafted by the Thunder

AP Photo

AP Photo

When Daniel Hamilton declared for the draft on March 24th, it appeared as though he was going to test the waters before hiring an agent. About a week later, Hamilton set the record straight:

I’m not testing the waters or anything like that. I’m all in.

Although Hamilton had been on the NBA radar for awhile prior to declaring for the draft, many thought he would dip his toes in the water before returning to UConn for another year. That extra year would help him develop his game and perhaps become a high-1st round selection in 2017. When he signed an agent and officially declared for the draft, there was some uncertainty about where and when he would be drafted.

When the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Hamilton with the 56th pick*, his decision to leave UConn after his sophomore year was validated. He will not have an instant impact on the Thunder and will likely need some time in the D-league to mature and muscle-up, but will be earning a paycheck and be able to help support his family.

I had a great experience at UConn. It was a great ride. I’m glad we won the AAC tournament and played in the NCAA Tournament. But after talking it over with my family, I just feel this is the best thing, to provide for my family, help my family out.

Although it is the right decision for Hamilton and I do not begrudge him for leaving, selfishly I would have much rather seen him develop under Kevin Ollie at UConn for 1 more year  and come out as a lottery pick in 2017. I wish Hamilton the best of luck in his next adventure!

*The Denver Nuggets technically drafted Hamilton and traded his rights to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Celtics Make Some Interesting Picks

celtics-logo-1

Let me start off by saying that I am not a big NBA guy. I love collegiate basketball with a passion, but don’t watch much on the professional side. I follow the Boston Celtics, but don’t watch every game. Since college basketball is my jam and I have an opinion on everything, I was absolutely glued to the draft last night. Here are my overall thoughts on the #1 overall pick and the interesting choices the Boston Celtics made.

My first thought is the same as it has been for months: Ben Simmons has the potential to be an absolute bust for the Philadelphia 76ers. I watched a fair amount of Simmons at LSU last year and I was unimpressed. I know he had a terrible supporting cast in Baton Rouge, but he didn’t look like a dominant player to me. That could just be inexperience and in time he will be a superstar, but I’m just not convinced he was “the guy” in the draft this year. He has plenty of potential and I could be wildly off, but I think we are going to look back at this draft in 5 years and think the 76ers should have taken Duke’s Brandon Ingram.

The Celtics picking University of California forward Jaylen Brown at #3 was an interesting choice. After seemingly trying to trade the pick (and overvaluing it) for weeks leading up to the draft, the selection upset a lot of Celtics fans. The C’s need a big man who can score and Brown is not that. He averaged 14.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg in his only year in college, shooting 43% from the field.  He has a big frame (6’7″ 225 lbs) and athletically could be ready to contribute on the earlier side, but he needs to spend time working on his rebounding and offensive game before he becomes an impact player.

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The X-Man Can

image

Photo from @RedSox on twitter

A Xander Bogaerts single in the bottom of the 10th inning salvaged a win in the 4-game series against the Chicago White Sox at Fenway and ends the homestand on a high note.

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