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Wednesday, 05 September 2018 10:59

Red Sox Report Card - August 2018

2018 has turned out to be quite a year, hasn’t it?

With one month remaining in the season, the Red Sox look poised to complete one of the best – if not THE best – regular seasons in their long and storied history. They even have an outside shot at the all-time wins record of 116, set by the 2001 Seattle Mariners, although a late August swoon put that record all but mathematically out of reach.

Still – they’ll almost certainly cruise past the century mark, a total surpassed by just three Red Sox teams. And barring a significant losing streak, they’ll probably stroll past the franchise wins record of 105 set by the 1912 Sox.

August certainly helped the cause, with Boston going 18-9. The pitching saw some periods of struggle, but the offense had yet another exceptional month, with a pair of MVP candidates leading the way. All told, this team is a strong September away from one of the highest win totals of all time.

On to the Report Card.

Published in Sports

We’re in mid-August and entering the home stretch of the Major League Baseball season. By the time you read this, teams will have roughly 40 games left until playoff time. It looks like there are some foregone conclusions, but also a few hard-fought races – particularly for some of the squads battling it out for the wild card bids.

The races for MLB’s individual awards are in a similar state. Some of these seem to be all but over, while others feature players going head-to-head with extraordinary performances. Take a look and see what kind of movement we’re dealing with here.

This is Clubhouse Leaders.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 01 August 2018 09:08

Red Sox Report Card – July 2018

We might be witnessing something special.

As we enter into the dog days of August, the Red Sox sit atop the AL East with a nice lead over the division rival Yankees. While it seems unlikely that Boston can maintain this torrid pace for another two months, the truth is that if they do, they will have had a legitimately historic season in terms of wins and losses. They’re basically 30 wins away from their best-ever regular season and not many more than that from one of the best seasons in MLB history.

Obviously, there’s a long way to go before we get there. On-pace numbers are among the trickiest in sports. While there are some trash teams out there, the Yankees are looming; Houston and Cleveland, too. Still – there’s a chance of all-time regular season greatness for this squad.

There’s still a lot of baseball to be played, but as we close in on the three-quarter mark of the regular season, it’s starting to look possible. And with a team possessed of a history as storied as that of the Red Sox, any opportunity to see an all-time best is awfully exciting. They keep playing like this and the sky is the limit.

On to the Report Card.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 14:49

Red Sox Report Card – June 2018

Real talk – there was little chance that the Red Sox were going to be able to match the phenomenal across-the-board performance they put up in the month of May. We had to know that there would be at least a little regression in June.

And that’s what we got – a little regression. A VERY little regression.

As June came to a close, the Red Sox sat atop the American League East with a 56-28 record, the best in the major leagues. In June, they went 17-10 and were among the league leaders in just about every category that matters. And yet … they were just a game ahead of the Yankees, who happen to have the second-best record in the big leagues.

All in all, it looks like Boston is going to have to keep it up if they want to stay ahead of their longtime rivals. But hey – they keep having months like June and they should be good to go.

On to the Report Card.

Published in Sports

Yes, yes, I know. We tend to view the All-Star break as midseason and that’s not for a couple more weeks. However, when you’re reading this, we’re going to be right around the 80-game mark, which is the ACTUAL middle of a 162-game season.

And so here we are with Clubhouse Leaders.

Published in Sports

The Major League Baseball draft is vastly different from those of the other major sports leagues. In the NFL and the NBA and to a slightly lesser extent the NHL, draft picks are expected to join their new teams and start performing more or less immediately.

Not so with MLB.

Due to the sport's massive minor league infrastructure, baseball draftees aren't immediately thrust into the spotlight with the big club. In fact, it's a rarity for a player to have any real impact in the first couple of years after they've been selected. While the other drafts feature names and faces that we're likely to see quickly, we probably won't see our team's baseball selections at the big league level for at least a little while.

Obviously, this makes draft grading an even more ludicrous prospect in baseball than it is in other sports. Predicting the future is already impossible - predicting the future of an 18-year-old high school pitcher with great stuff and questionable maturity is even more so.

Still, it's fun to look at the choices our team makes - even if we won't get the payoff until sometime further down the road.

So what does Boston’s 2018 draft class look like?

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 05 June 2018 16:34

Red Sox Report Card - May 2018

The conventional wisdom says that post-Memorial Day is when we can really start taking seriously the statistical trends that we’ve been watching play out on the field. And so, with the month of May in the rearview, it’s starting to look like this Red Sox team might actually BE this good.

May was certainly kind to the Red Sox. No American League team managed more wins than the 18 Boston put up. Nor did any AL squad top the team’s whopping 50 home runs for the month. Or the 295 strikeouts from the pitching staff. There was a bit of a power outage at Fenway last season, but the lights are definitely shining so far in 2018.

Yet even after two exceptional months, Boston’s 39-18 record is a mere 1.5 games ahead of the 35-17 output of the Yankees. So there you have it – May may have been a monster month, but the Sox are going to have to keep it going to stave off their division rivals.

But yeah – it was a good month to be a Red Sox fan.

On to the Report Card.

Published in Sports

By the time you read this, the 2018 Major League Baseball draft will likely be in the books. The latest wave of players from the high school and college ranks will have been selected, from the blue-chip stars-in-the-making to the bench-riding organizational depth.

Next week, we’ll be doing a look at the entirety of the Boston Red Sox draft class, but for now, it seemed like it might be fun to introduce you to some of the guys from the very tip-top of this year’s crop. These first-rounders will be expected to make an impact at the big-league level.

Of course, that might not be for a few years. MLB is unique among North America’s big four pro sports leagues in that its massive minor league infrastructure (not to mention its service time rules) encourages extended development of players. In the NFL, NBA and to a lesser extent the NHL, top picks are expected to perform at the highest level immediately. Meanwhile, it might be a while before we see any of 2018’s baseball draftees in the bigs.

So there isn’t the urgency accompanying these guys that there is in other sports. So why not learn a little bit more about the players who made the top-10? For instance, it’s the first time in over a decade that the first five players selected all came from the collegiate ranks. Seven of the 10 are position players, with just three pitchers. And one of them is going to be playing football on Saturdays this fall.

Let’s check it out.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:52

Albert Pujols joins 3,000-hit club

One of Major League Baseball’s most exclusive clubs has a new member.

With an opposite-field single off Seattle Mariners pitcher Mike Leake on May 4, Los Angeles Angels first baseman/designated hitter Albert Pujols became just the 32nd player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau. He’s the latest in a run of players to reach the mark – Alex Rodriguez in 2015, the just-released Ichiro Suzuki in 2016 and Adrian Beltre last season – though it’s likely that it’ll be a while before the club gets any bigger.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:42

Saying sayonara to Ichiro

An MLB legend may have played his last game.

The Seattle Mariners announced that they were releasing outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, bringing to an end (at least for now) a playing career that spanned nine seasons with Japan’s Orix Blue Wave and double that number in MLB.

(Note: This means that I, an old, am now younger than exactly one MLB player. I’m dealing with it, but hey - let’s all cross our fingers for the continued good health (for a given value of good health) of the ageless Bartolo Colon.)

Published in Sports
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