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: eduardo rodriguez

Reversing the Narrative on David Price

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 season was one to forget for Red Sox starter David Price, on and off the field. He started the year on the DL with elbow issues, not making his first start until the end of May. Then, after 11 starts, at the end of July, went back on the DL until mid-September when he returned as a reliever for the stretch run. In his 16 appearances in the regular season, Price had a 3.38 ERA with 76 Ks in 74.2 innings pitched and had 2 solid relief appearances in the postseason against Houston. Unfortunately for the already vilified Price, his injury wasn’t even the biggest negative story of 2017.

As everyone knows at this point, David Price confronted Red Sox broadcaster Dennis Eckersley on the team plane following a benign comment he made during the broadcast of a game against the Minnesota Twins about Eduardo Rodriguez. I’m not going to rehash the incident, because frankly, it was middle-school level dumb, and once again in his short tenure with the Red Sox, Price shined a negative light on himself. If he wasn’t already hated among Red Sox fans, berating a well-liked, Hall of Fame pitcher certainly didn’t help his image. Add to that his earlier confrontation with a reporter at Yankee Stadium in June and things were just out of control for him.

Now looking towards the 2018 season, there are some positive reports being thrown out there in what appears to be an attempt to reverse the narrative on Price. He faced the media early in an attempt to clear the air and move on from his struggles in 2017 by acknowledging his role in the incident (sort of) and his overall attitude.

I could’ve handled it better last year, absolutely. But I didn’t, and I’ve moved on. I feel like I’ve always been one to lead with my actions, and I didn’t do that very well last year. I know that and understand that, and I look forward to getting back and being that faucet and not being a drain. -David Price

He reportedly reached out to recently signed slugger J.D. Martinez in an effort to convince him to come to Boston and whether he had an impact on J.D.’s decision or not, appears to be invested in the 2018 Red Sox and his role on the team. At this point, he is a veteran who needs to recognize his impact on those around him in the clubhouse.

What’s often lost in all the off-the-field crap and injuries is that David Price is a 5-time All-Star and Cy Young Award winner. That’s the reason the Red Sox signed him to a massive $30+ million a year contract. He has the ability, even at 32, to impact the Red Sox in a significant way in 2018 if he stays healthy and has the right attitude. If he keeps his mouth shut and pitches to his ability on the mound, even Price has the chance for redemption. I’m just not sure he can make it through the year without becoming an unwelcome distraction once again.

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.

Aaron Wilkerson Making a Strong Case for Promotion

Photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Photo by Ben McCanna

The Red Sox rotation has struggled in June and desperately needs some help. Eduardo Rodriguez looked disinterested and pitched terribly on Monday, leading to his demotion to AAA Pawtucket and opening a spot in the rotation. The Red Sox need to acquire a starter if they want to compete for a playoff spot this year, but it appears the trade market has not yet begun to really heat up and the price for a top tier starter will be astronomical. In the mean time, the Red Sox need to fill the rotation slot and one name keeps bubbling to the surface: RHP Aaron Wilkerson.

Wilkerson is a fairly unknown commodity for most Red Sox fans. He turned 27 in late May and hails from Fort Worth, Texas (we all know how much the Red Sox love their pitchers from Texas – i.e. Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, etc.). Wilkerson spent 2013 and 2014 playing independent league ball before joining the Red Sox minor league system. The 6’3″ 190 lb starter began his time with the Red Sox in low-A Lowell in 2014 and then quickly moved up the ranks to A Greenville, high-A Salem and AA Portland in 2015.

He began 2016 in AA Portland and was promoted to AAA Pawtucket after just 8 starts. In 16 starts (and 1 relief appearance) combined between Portland and Pawtucket, Wilkerson is 6-2 with a 2.00 ERA and 97Ks in 85.1 innings. His Ks/9 ratio is 10.9 and has a 4.04 K/BB ratio, both impressive numbers. He has turned some heads and certainly is making a strong case for getting his first shot at a major league rotation.

The stars seem to be aligning for Wilkerson, as his slot in the rotation mirrors E-Rods, so he could be called up to pitch Sunday or Monday on normal rest. He’s not the Red Sox savior, but could provide a nice boost to the back-end of the rotation.

Pat Light Recalled from Pawtucket

pat light elsa getty

Elsa/Getty Images

After Eduardo Rodriguez dropped a stink bomb yesterday, he was optioned back to AAA Pawtucket and the Red Sox called RHP Pat Light for some bullpen help. Light will join the Red Sox for his 2nd stint in the big leagues this year and provide some more depth in the bullpen. He only made 1 appearance in late April for the Red Sox, allowing 2 earned runs in 1 inning of work.

So far this season, Light has looked very strong in Pawtucket. In 20 appearances and 26.1 innings pitched, light has a 2.05 ERA with 32 Ks (10.9 Ks/9 innings) and just 15 hits allowed and 6 earned runs. Light has also picked up 5 saves on the season, which will hopefully prepare him for late-game situations. At this point, an extra arm is just that, an extra arm.

Given the swap of a SP for a RP, I would guess the Red Sox will option Light (or another reliever) and bring up a starter when E-Rod’s spot in the rotation is up. A name to watch is Aaron Wilkerson. Wilkerson has a nifty 2.41 ERA in Pawtucket and is 4-1 in his 7 starts this year. It also just so happens that he pitched Monday, so will be on normal rest for E-Rod’s slot in the rotation this weekend. More on Wilkerson later in the week.

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…

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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