You read that right. The man who traded an All-Star (and two other guys) for nothing, who built three last-place teams in four years, who went into 2015 with a starting rotation of Clay Buchholz and four guys who aren’t as good as Clay Buchholz, who steadfastly refused to trade even the fringiest of prospects, and who also kinda built the team that won the World Series two years ago, is gone!
And in his place is Dave Dombrowski, a guy who actually knows how to build and run competent baseball teams, rather than just knowing how to make friends with guys who do. A guy who once found someone stupid enough to trade something of value for Rick Porcello! (Granted, that someone was Ben Cherington, but, details.)
Of course, this doesn’t mean that 2016 is suddenly a bright and shining beacon on the horizon; if ownership won’t let Dombrowski offer David Price all the money in the world, then I don’t know how he’s going to get the frontline starter this staff desperately needs. Or the #2 starter this staff desperately needs. Or the #3 starter this staff desperately needs. Or the…eh, Miley’s okayish.
But what it does mean is that there’s hope for something different. Like maybe not running Joe Kelly out there every fifth day, when it’s clear to just about everyone who has eyes that he needs to be a reliever. Or maybe not handing Jackie Bradley a starting job again, which I was pretty convinced was going to happen this winter. Or maybe not clutching ever so tightly to the likes of Blake “Who needs Cole Hamels when you could have a .633 OPS” Swihart. All of those seem like fairly simple, competent moves, but after four years of Ben Cherington, it’s amazing how great competent looks.
Sportspun might offer a slightly more objective, analytical take at some point. Maybe. For now:
Highest WPA: David Ortiz, .231
Lowest WPA: Mookie Betts, -.114
My, that was delightful, wasn’t it? This is the sort of lineup we were promised and it’s nice that against horrible pitching we actually got it for once. Note to the Tigers: sell sell sell! I don’t think you’ll be passing the Royals any time soon.
Two David Ortiz home runs felt like old times. Good pitching from Eduardo Rodriguez and great hitting from Bogaerts made the future seem a little more rosy. Do I need to overanalyze a blowout win? They’re nice because they feel like your team is firing on all cylinders and nothing can go wrong. We can only hope there are more games like this in the future.
Highest WPA: Xander Bogaerts, .350
Lowest WPA: Pablo Sandoval, -.202
So that losing streak got all the way up to eight games. We finally know this after every media outlet told us so after tonight’s game ended, because I hadn’t bothered counting and was in fact developing a hard outer shell so that I could go to sleep inside of it and ride out the Winter. I’m rambling. What I mean is that the losing streak that just ended sucked and winning for once is really nice. And win for once, we did! It was a heck of a ride though. You might’ve expected that the way Justin Verlander has pitched since his season began he would’ve been easy enough for the Sox to deal with.But it wasn’t because it never can be. Luckily, Rick Porcello continued his improvement, question mark, and the bullpen managed to hold together for once. Then Xander Bogaerts singled home Mookie Betts like we’re all hoping he will for years and years to come and we won on a walkoff. Feels good, right? Watching even when the team’s out of it in July can be fun when they actually win games, honest!
Those rare wins where you’re sure the young dudes are putting it together in front of our eyes are always cool. This Detroit team is definitely hurting almost as bad as the Red Sox are, but a win is a win is a win. I’ll take it because I’m pretty sure I need wins to live at this point. Win withdrawal was getting to me.
Highest WPA: Mike “Way To Waste The Best Game He’ll Probably Have For A Month” Napoli, .437
Lowest WPA: Junichi “Wait, this can’t be right” Tazawa, -.296
I know why I keep watching: I’m too damn stubborn to quit. Okay? I’m like a 29 year-old version of that angry dad you or your friend had who wouldn’t stop nodding off in front of horrible games in the early 80’s or the early 90’s or whenever even though everyone knew the idiots in management had tossed together a joke of a team that you yourself, yes you, could’ve legitimately done a better job of preparing in a single offeseason. Okay? That’s why I watch. I won’t quit until this team wins again. Or after this team starts winning again. I won’t.
Anyway, the team must’ve read what I wrote last night because tonight they kicked anyone who watched straight in the balls. When Colby Rasmus hit that game-tying dinger I probably should’ve broken out my old Game Boy Advance or done something productive with my time, but instead I continued watching as they gave up the lead, then reclaimed it. Then John Farrell left Craig Breslow in too long and the Astros’ best hitter flipped one into the first row of the Crawford Boxes to make the evening complete. Oi.
Well, I can’t repeat last night’s rant about how screwed this team is if management continues on it’s current trend, so I hope you’ll understand why I keep watching in the complete absence of hope. It’s all I have.
Highest WPA: lol
Lowest WPA: lol
I don’t know, they lost. I haven’t even a clue how long this losing streak’s gone. They haven’t won since the All-Star break, and that was a week ago. They’re a billion games behind the Yankees. The pitching rotation consists of you, your grandmother, and Joe Kelly. And your grandma pitches better than Joe Kelly and she’s dead.
So that’s where we’re at. Best pitcher hurt, the rest of the rotation expectedly garbage. The lineup unexpectedly garbage. What to do? Maybe you’re one of those types who likes to pitch a fit when someone rips on the home team for being god awful. I’d like to take this time to tell you to shove it straight up your ass. This is the worst team the Red Sox could’ve possibly put on the field this year and they should’ve known better. Cherington is an utter failure as a GM, outside of the CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR that was largely based on the work of his predecessor. The team’s best starter in in a Cubs uniform. The team’s best hitter is suddenly looking very old. This front office in no way appears qualified to rebuild. What the fuck are we to do? This team fucking sucks from top to bottom and if you’re the sort who hates complaining then go follow the Revolution or something because there is going to be a shit-ton of complaining about them for the next five years or so.
Oh, and the deadline is still upcoming. Can’t wait to see what happens then!
Highest WPA: Xander “Good At Baseball” Bogaerts, .596
Lowest WPA: Hanley “Bad At Baseball” Ramirez, -.188
It’s a testament to this division that a team as bad as the Red Sox can have a good couple of weeks (they have) and be right back in loose contention. Whatever. I’d personally rather see this team win than lose. And win than lose they did, making a late comeback and getting more good pitching (!) to defeat a Marlins team that honestly isn’t that good either. But more wins are always exciting! Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts continued their trend of looking like above-average major leaguers instead of busted prospects. At least for now, it’s exciting to be a fan again!
Highest WPA: Eduardo Rodriguez, .220
Lowest WPA: Tommy Layne, -.152
I, like many of you no doubt, predicted disaster when the team headed to Toronto this week. After all, the last time the Red Sox played the Jays, at home, they got utterly slaughtered. A four-gamer in Toronto wasn’t the sort of followup that any of us might’ve wanted. Any of us who were still watching, anyway. So here they are, having won the first two games of that series. With pitching, no less! I can’t explain baseball some times. Maybe some of those long fly balls shouldn’t have died on the warning track. Maybe Toronto’s pitching isn’t good enough to last them all year. Maybe Jose Bautista has something against the people who sit in the outfield bleachers.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a home run tonight for crying out loud, you can’t expect that. Either we chalk these two nights up to a fluke, accept that maybe Buchholz and Rodriguez are good enough pieces to build around for the future, or just accept that the Jays did something to aggravate the baseball gods enough to keep them out of the playoffs for 21 years running. One of those is probably the answer!