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.

Tag: drew pomeranz

The End is Near for John Farrell

Boston Globe

Another year, another #FireFarrell campaign in Red Sox nation. Manager John Farrell has probably spent more time on the hot seat in recent years than in the lazy boy, but are we close to the point when GM Dave Dombrowski will actually pull the trigger? The 22-21 Red Sox are definitely floundering at the season’s quarter-pole and can’t seem to get out of their own way, even against inferior teams like the Oakland Athletics. They pulled out a victory on Sunday to avoid a 4-game sweep at the hands of the lowly As, which likely just delays the inevitable. Although the alternatives aren’t great or obvious, Farrell is skating on a barely frozen pond going into a 6-game homestand.

Farrell’s in-game struggles have been well documented over the years, but many look past that challenge and feel he is a good clubhouse/dugout presence. I’m not sure that’s true anymore. He is losing the clubhouse and still looking lost in on-field decision making. His confrontation with Drew Pomeranz in the Red Sox dugout on Saturday was a bad look for both the player and manager, as Pomeranz just walked away in the middle of Farrell verbally going after him. This was an even worse look after the recent Manny Machado saga, in which Farrell proved he either 1. Has no baseball sense what-so-ever or 2. Has no control over his team.

Given recent struggles, it’s fair to start thinking about who might replace Farrell in the event he is fired. It’s likely that, at least on interim basis, someone from within the organization will take the helm. The most obvious choice is Gary DiSarcina. The bench coach usually gets the first look when a manager is fired (i.e. Torey Lovullo), and DiSarcina seems to be a well-liked person with 4 winning seasons as a minor league manager. He’s spent time at the MLB level as a 1st and 3rd base coach with the Angels and obviously with the Red Sox in his current capacity since November. DiSarcina won Minor League Coach of the Year from Baseball America in 2013. The Malden native has the potential to be a longer-term solution if things go well.

The other interim options include the beloved 3rd base coach Brian Butterfield, who is not likely to get a permanent manager job and 1st base coach Ruben Amaro Jr, who is a far inferior candidate in my mind. Neither excite me in any way and I believe both would be only temporary solutions to try and salvage the season.

The other option is to go outside the organization, but that becomes very difficult mid-season, especially when not many other quality managers have been handed their pink slips yet. When bringing someone in from the outside, you expect that person to be a more permanent solution going forward, making it a tougher decision in May.

If I were Dave Dombrowski, I would pull the trigger on #FireFarrell early, before the season gets out of hand and spirals. Don’t wait too long like the Bruins did this past season when firing Claude Julien. Promote DiSarcina and give him a fair shake the remainder of the season. If he succeeds, give him a deal, if not, you’re not in any worse of a position to dig into what is likely to be a more robust managerial pool in the offseason. The John Farrell experiment has run it’s course and it’s time to end the misery. Players and fans are both ready to move on.

Way To Early Red Sox Spring Training Predictions

Christopher Evans/Boston Herald

After a week of games, I finally had some time to sit and watch the Red Sox play on Sunday. The eye test can be a powerful tool in evaluating players because stats in the spring can lie (see my thoughts on spring stats here). It is still very early in spring training, but I have some quick observations and predictions.

Kyle Kendrick – Mark my words, before the All-Star break the Red Sox will be leaning on Kyle Kendrick in their starting rotation. With David Price‘s status uncertain at best, the Red Sox are already thinning out in the rotation. The three starters at the end of the rotation, Steven Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Drew Pomeranz, have all had injury issues and raise serious concerns around durability. If one of them goes down, then the Red Sox will be looking at the likes of Brian Johnson, Henry Owens, and Roenis Elias to fill the role; or Kyle Kendrick. The Red Sox took a low-risk flyer on him, but with a strong spring training, he may be the next in line to stabilize the rotation.

Mookie Betts – It never gets old watching Mookie Betts swing the bat. He cleans out the inside fastball like very few can and just looks smooth, whether it’s March or September. Betts had an excellent breakout 2016 campaign and I don’t expect him to fall off in 2017. He hit .318 with 31 HRs last year and finished 2nd in the AL MVP race. Betts is poised to be the next in a long line of superstar outfielders for the Red Sox.

Mitch Moreland – When the Red Sox signed Moreland, I thought he was a low-risk bench player. Unfortunately, Moreland is going to play more than he should in 2017. He’s a mid-.200 hitter at best and frankly, my early impression of his defense is disappointing at best. He feels like a roster-filler for a shitty team that just needs bodies, like the Red Sox opponent on Sunday the Atlanta Braves. Instead, a team that is a legitimate contender has him playing first base several times a week.

Deven Marrero – For a few years now Marrero has looked like an excellent prospect waiting for his chance in the big leagues. My prediction: he will be in the Red Sox lineup by mid-season and never look back. For everyone’s sake, I hope he is playing 1st or 3rd base and not SS. Marrero made a few sensational diving catches and showed off his cannon of an arm on Sunday while playing SS. Given the big question marks at the corner infield spots, this might be Marrero’s best chance to break into the majors.

Encouraging Start to the Road Trip for Red Sox

drew pomeranz getty

The biggest issue for the Red Sox thus far in 2016 is winning close games and low-scoring games. On Monday afternoon, the Red Sox checked off both boxes when they beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2. The beginning of a 4-city, 11-game road trip was tight until the final out and despite some scary, heart-stopping moments from closer Craig Kimbrel, the win was extremely refreshing. Before Monday, the Red Sox were an abysmal 4-32 when scoring 3 or fewer runs. That’s an incredibly concerning trend, especially if the Red Sox hope to make the playoffs and have a chance at winning anything. Guess what the postseason is full of? Close, low-scoring games.

This 11-game road trip is pivotal for the Red Sox. The trip includes 2 games against the Baltimore Orioles who are just ahead of the Red Sox in the standings and then 4 against the Detroit Tigers who are nipping at their heals for the 2nd wildcard spot. If the Red Sox emerge from this tough road stretch at 6-5 or better, they will be in great shape as a friendlier September schedules waits around the corner. They need to carry their 4-game winning streak and all the momentum it gives them into Baltimore, because we know the Orioles will be ready for a dog fight.

The other major promising thing from Monday afternoon was Drew Pomeranz. He picked up his first win in a Red Sox uniform and looked strong through 7.2 innings. He allowed just 1 run going into the 7th, but got into a little trouble in the inning allowing his 2nd. To go along with allowing just 2 runs, he had 6 Ks, 5 hits, and just 2 BBs. Monday was just what the doctor ordered and gave fans hope that some strong performances down the stretch are not out of the question from him.

Player Spotlight: Hanley Ramirez

hanley ramirez spotlight 7.20.16

To say Hanley Ramirez had a great night on Wednesday would be an incredible understatement. Hanley had one of the best nights of his career behind the debut of Drew Pomeranz. He hit 3 HRs, one to left, one to center and one to right – a feat that is rarely seen. Missing in his stat line are the several impressive defensive plays he made at first base to save runs, including a nice diving catch in the first inning. Before yesterday, Hanley had just 8 HRs on the season, making the display of power that much more special and fun to watch.

 

 

A Debut to Forget for Drew Pomeranz

drew pomeranz bad getty

After a 13-day gap between starts thanks to the all-star break and a trade away from the San Diego Padres, lefty Drew Pomeranz took the mound at Fenway Park last night for his Red Sox debut against the San Francisco Giants. The first three innings looked good for Pomeranz (1 BB, 2 hits and 4 Ks) as he seemed to be settling in heading into the 4th. In the bottom half of the 3rd, the Red Sox expanded their lead to 8 runs thanks to the 2nd HR in consecutive innings for Hanley Ramirez. Life was good for Pomeranz and the Red Sox. Then the 4th inning happened…

The first 7 batters against Pomeranz all reached base in the 4th, knocking him out of the game after allowing 5 runs on 6 hits in just 3+ innings. He walked the first batter, then gave up a single, HR, single, HR, single and single. His debut went from solid to awful in the blink of an eye and the 8-run lead he was given was vanishing quickly. Robbie Ross got the Red Sox out of the 4th with 3 straight outs, but the much anticipated debut ended with a flop.

This was just game 1, but a rough start for Pomeranz in a Red Sox uniform. It certainly raised some eyebrows, but when you factor in 13-days between starts and his first game at Fenway Park in front of a fan base that actually cares and pays attention (sorry San Diego), I’ll chalk the performance up to pressure and nerves. Hopefully I’m right…

Important Upcoming Stretch for Red Sox

AP Photo/Adam Hunger

AP Photo/Adam Hunger

After taking 2 of 3 from the New York Yankees in the Bronx and winning 8 of 11 so far in July, the Boston Red Sox face an incredibly important stretch if they hope to stay in contention and make a push for the playoffs. After an off day Monday, the Red Sox begin a 9-game home stand against the team with the best record in baseball right now, the San Francisco Giants. The quick 2-game set will be a good barometer for the Red Sox, who have faced some bad teams as of late. Following the 2-game set with the Giants, the Red Sox will face the terrible Minnesota Twins for 4 games and wrap-up the home stand with 3 against the solid Detroit Tigers.

Sitting at 12 games above .500 and 1.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for 1st place in the AL East, the Red Sox need to take advantage of this extended home stand. Hopefully they will stay competitive against the Giants and then pick up a few wins at the hands of the Twins. The Tigers will be a tough series, but if the Red Sox can emerge from this home stand with a 6-3 record, then I would consider it a strong success.

The home stand is also important because we get to see the debut in a Red Sox uniform of Drew Pomeranz. The lefty starter will have a big adjustment moving to the AL East, but will begin his tenure by facing the Giants, a team he has faced 9 times (7 starts). Unfortunately he has a 1-4 record with a 4.54 record against the Giants, but at least there is some familiarity with his opponent and he will have a supportive crowd behind him.

At this point in the season the Red Sox need to be focused on winning series and not worry about standings, but I’m scoreboard watching on a nightly basis. Let the fun begin.

Drew Pomeranz Bolsters Red Sox Starting Rotation

Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire

Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire

On the final day of the all-star break Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski finally addressed the biggest hole in the roster: starting pitching. In a one-for-one trade, the Red Sox let go of a top pitching prospect 18-year old Anderson Espinoza for lefty Drew Pomeranz. Espinoza was the 15th highest ranked prospect according to Baseball America’s mid-season rankings and was drawing comparisons to Pedro Martinez. Pomeranz on the other hand has had a very strong season with the San Diego Padres with an 8-7 record and a fantastic 2.47 ERA and 10.1 K/9 ratio in a career-high 102 innings pitched.

At 27 years old, Pomeranz in a great investment for the Red Sox, but not without some serious concern. Despite incredible numbers against the AL East, .190 opponent batting average and 46 Ks in 16 games, the sample size is very small. I always get a little weary of pitchers with amazing ERAs in the NL coming to the AL East, because pitchers tend to look much less dominant when facing strong lineups every time out and ERAs tend to cimb. Another concern is his workload. He has already eclipsed his career high in innings pitched in the first half of 2016, so it will be interesting to monitor how he handles more and more work down the stretch. It’s a big unknown.

That being said, I am always a fan of giving up a very young prospect for a fairly young established major-leaguer. This move shows me that Dombrowski really is committed to winning now. Pomeranz has proven he can pitch well at the highest level and although Espinoza is drawing some incredible comparisons, he is 18 years old pitching in A ball and is 5 years away from having a direct impact on the big leagues, if he ever gets there. The Padres are taking on future risk, while the Red Sox could potentially improve there team tomorrow (or Wednesday when Pomeranz makes his debut).

With any trade, only time will tell who is the real “winner”, but I like this move for the Red Sox. I don’t think Pomeranz is the answer to all pitching woes, but he certainly gives the team a hopefully reliable starter every 5 days and help the team push towards the postseason. I have a feeling Dombrowski isn’t done yet, with 2 weeks remaining until the trade deadline.