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But Can He Pitch?

Updated: 2017-04-29T19:08:44-04:00


Red Sox 4, Cubs 7: The Red Sox forgot how to baseball in the seventh


Frustrations abound after the team screwed up on multiple fronts at the end of the game. Well, the first half of this Saturday afternoon game was fun. Then, it took a turn, and it all went downhill very quickly. Let’s start with the positives. For starters, the Red Sox started showing some power and just a general ability to get some runs across the plate in this one with old friend John Lackey being the victim. After starting the game out with four straight ground outs, Boston’s offense finally started showing some signs of life with one out in the second. A walk and a single put two runners on for Jackie Bradley and the Red Sox center fielder came through with an RBI single to put Boston up 1-0. They’d come back in the third with another thanks to a leadoff triple from Xander Bogaerts on an encouraging swing that launched the ball off the wall in right field. He’d come around on a sacrifice fly by Andrew Benintendi. Two batters later, Hanley Ramirez destroyed a fastball left right over the heart of the plate and sent it over everything in left field. Per Statcast, the ball travelled 469 feet and was the third longest homer hit in baseball this season. It was a mammoth. Over the Monster. Out of Fenway: #Crushed— MLB (@MLB) April 29, 2017 I can’t really wrap my head around this one. I wrote earlier this week that the team can’t really survive keeping three lefties in their bullpen with the way they are currently utilizing their weapons. It makes sense that Taylor is the righty to come up to help the short-handed bullpen. He made a hell of an impression in spring training and has done more than enough in his short time with Boston early in the year to be deserving of a major-league spot. The way they made room for him, however, is suspect. In the linked post, I mentioned that Ross had options remaining but mostly dismissed the possibility of sending him down. He’s been one of the more reliable and consistent relief arms in this bullpen for the last couple of years. He can get out both righties and lefties, he keeps the ball out of the air and he gets his share of strikeouts. It’s true that he hasn’t been overly impressive this year, but it’s only been four starts. I still believe the more logical move would have been to designate Fernando Abad for assignment. He just doesn’t have the trust of his manager and is only being used in games that are not close. It doesn’t make sense to keep a guy like that over someone like Ross who can be a real weapon late in games. I understand the desire to hoard as much depth as possible, but I don’t see a ton of value in it when the depth is being kept on the bench unless it’s a blowout. Perhaps this is simply Dave Dombrowski forcing John Farrell’s hand into giving Abad a chance in higher leverage situations. That may be the right call, but it’s coming at the expense of Ross. Hopefully this is just a short-term measure and something else can be figured out soon, because Ross does not deserve to be pitching in Pawtucket. [...]

The best parts of Fenway are the parts no one appreciates


Sweet Caroline and the wave are part of the Fenway experience. I don't have a chance to make it to Fenway as much as I'd like to. Over the last few years, I've become more of a minor-league game attendee than one who makes the trip down to Boston for a major-league game. As someone who doesn't live in the city, it's just not feasible to go down that way as often as I'd like. If I'm lucky, I'll go to one game a year. As I've started going to minor-league games, there are things that I definitely do enjoy. The smaller stadium makes it a more intimate setting. Generally speaking the fans are more subdued, and I consider myself a pretty mellow guy. Plus, there's the beer selection, and since I'm living in Portland now you can't really beat the Seadogs craft brew stands. It's also fun seeing the kids have such a good time playing the between-inning games. (Side note: I once beat our old friend Marc Normandin in a between-timeouts game at the Red Claws. Don't ever let him forget that.) The one portion of the game-attending experience the minor leagues can't emulate, though, is the atmosphere. For all of the hassle it can be for me to get into the city, it's all worth it when you walk into that massive stadium and it's just filled with Bostonians. As I've moved farther from the city and into a different state, I miss those accents and the certain F-U attitude that comes with Boston. It's something that I took for granted while I lived in the area and even actively disliked at times. There's also the part of the games that everybody loves to complain about, but for someone like me is part of the quintessential Fenway experience. I speak, of course, of Sweet Caroline and The Wave. Now, I realize that it's not really cool to be into those things. We're supposed to be diehards who are focused on the game. When the team is winning and Sweet Caroline comes on, sure, everybody gets into it. When the Red Sox are losing, though, there exists a large portion of the fanbase that is wholeheartedly against the song. I do understand where they're coming from, don't get me wrong. At a point when the Red Sox are losing, those who are into the game and are at the stadium on a regular basis aren't really in the mood for singing. And that's fine. You don't have to sing. When you start complaining about other people taking part in the eighth-inning tradition, you come off as something of a curmudgeon. Consider that for people like me, it is a rare opportunity to be a part of this contagious, wondrous atmosphere. Consider that for some people, the night out at the ball game isn't just an opportunity to watch a ball game, but to take in the entire experience at Fenway. Every night, the stadium is filled with people who are casual fans at best and just want to soak in one of the quintessential Boston experiences. For them, signing along to Sweet Caroline -- regardless of the score -- is part of that. The same goes for the wave, which is more spontaneous than Sweet Caroline but can be just as energizing for that same group of fans. I'll admit that I generally do not take part in the wave when it rolls by my sections. I'm far too lazy to be standing and sitting that often. I would never begrudge anyone for taking part, though. Baseball games are supposed to be a fun source of entertainment. We are in a small percentage of the population that lives and dies by the outcome of each individual game. I would venture to say that while most people at Fenway on any given day would like for the Red Sox to win, they aren't going to let a loss spoil their night. They see the excitement on people's faces as they throw their hands up and then watch the rest of the crowd follow suit. Who am I to tell them to sit down and watch the damn game? Take it from someone who doesn't get to enjoy this atmosphere very often. Fenway isn't just a place to go watch a game. It's a place where you can be surrounded by people who may have different levels of interest in the action on the field but who have the same level of excitement to simply[...]