As discussed in today’s link dump (and on the podcast), the Red Sox bullpen is in a state of upheaval. Both players to serve as their capital-C Closer this season are hurt, with Andrew Bailey on the disabled list and Joel Hanrahan possibly headed there as well.
Because relievers abhor role uncertainty like nature abhors a vacuum, Sox manager John Farrell told MLB Network radio (via Over the Monster) today that Junichi Tazawa will get the nod as the new man in the ninth inning. Tazawa has sparkling numbers, not just this season but last year also. As Dave Cameron notes in his very interesting post on the impact of Asian pitchers, Tazawa has a 65/8 strikeout to walk ratio since the start of the 2012 season.
Tazawa is a fine choice for closer, though the official Getting Blanked candidate Koji Uehara might be better. Uehara is a much older man, one requiring a little bit more finesse in terms of his usage and rest patterns. Junichi Tazawa is much younger (just 26 compared to Uehara’s 38 years-awesome) and should be able to handle the three-days-in-a-row rigors of closing better than the artfully-deployed Uehara.
As stated previously, the Red Sox bullpen will still be fine – losing two good pitchers hurts any team but having two other good pitchers to rely on cushions the blow quite a bit. To the fantasy waiver wire we go!
Dustin Pedroia has been one of the better players in baseball over the last five seasons. Since the start of the 2008 season, Dustin Pedroia is in the top ten for position player fWAR, posting a .304/.373/.467 line with 80 home runs over that time. His .366 wOBA trails just Robinson Cano and Chase Utley among qualified second baseman.
I don’t know if the word “pure hitter” applies to Pedroia but it seems apt to me: he doesn’t strike out very much and he makes excellent use of his home ballpark, crashing doubles into the Green Monster like few Red Sox before him.
Dustin Pedroia is the subject of the latest edition of My Approach, discussing his “make something from nothing” two strike approach, using a high tee and making the most of his less-than-strapping frame.
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According to a story from WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Boston Red Sox had engaged in conversations with the Miami Marlins in an effort to acquire Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson. Both Reyes and Johnson, of course, became Toronto Blue Jays this past winter when the Marlins went into fire sale mode. The two former Marlins were part of a package that also included Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck heading to Toronto in exchange for Justin Nicolino, Jake Marisnick, Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez, Jeff Mathis and Anthony Desclafani.
The discussions between the Red Sox and Marlins, according to Bradford’s source, included Bonifacio (“if needed”), but apparently excluded both Buehrle and Buck. The Red Sox were reportedly unwilling to part ways with super prospect Xander Bogaerts, which effectively killed the potential for a deal to be made.
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Far too often in the early days of the season, you can head over to your favorite baseball blogsite and read the fateful words “small sample size but” in many different forms. It isn’t exactly high treason to base a blogpost on less than stable information but, especially among true stat folks (read: not me) it goes against the entire nature of the beast.
In the early days of the season, it is usually more telling and more informative to look for dynamic differences rather than statistical differences. Things that stand out as changes in process, rather than result.
Jeff Sullivan wrote a very interesting post on Ryan Dempster’s early season strikeout swell for Fangraphs earlier this week. It is Sullivan-ian in its quality and depth of research, keying on many dynamic differences in what Ryan Dempster‘s done since joining the Red Sox.
Ryan Dempster is doing things slightly differently in 2013 but his results are vastly different from previous years. A result of this tinkering and adapting? Perhaps. The product of good fortune in key moments? Absolutely.
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The first place Boston Red Sox have activated right-hander Joel Hanrahan from the 15-day disabled list.
Hanrahan, who was placed on the DL back on April 16th with a sore right hamstring, was expected to regain his role as the team’s closer from Andrew Bailey, who pitched well in his absence, but those plans may have changed.
Manager John Farrell:
“He’s active today. Before announcing what his role is, when he comes to the ballpark we’ll have a chance to sit down. … The one thing Joel is, he’s honest with himself, and he understands what’s going on here.”
On the season, the former Pittsburgh Pirate reliever appeared in six games for the Red Sox, recording a 11.57 ERA, 12.85 FIP, 7.46 xFIP with three saves.
David Ortiz has hit the ball incredibly well since returning to the Red Sox lineup. On top of his strong play, he also cemented his place in local lore during the emotionally charged return to baseball after the Patriots Day bomb incident.
David Oritz was hitting the ball well but hadn’t yet hit a home run in 2013. Then the Astros came to town. Now David Ortiz has a home run in 2013! It’s really that simple.
Alfredo Aceves and the Boston Red Sox put on quite a performance of incompetence in the third inning of Tuesday’s 13-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics. Aceves, who walked three in the inning and was called for two balks, can’t be held responsible for all of the blame for the six runs against in the frame, but he sure did his part to make it easy on the A’s.
The right-hander piled up some excuses in speaking with the media following the seven inning contest, via the Boston Herald:
“It’s hard to explain to you guys,” Aceves said. “You guys just see the errors, the runs, the hits, whatever. It’s really hard to — how can I explain? — to get through that plate. For whatever reason, the strike zone got small. Obviously you guys don’t see it that way. You see the runs. As a pitcher, man, it’s not easy. Also, the weather, whatever weather it is, we should be able to play. Also it don’t matter what score it is. We’ve got to have our backs, not because it’s 10 or 13, I’m going to sit back and relax for the next game. No, there’s no second game. We’ve got to have our backs. Pretty much that.”
Oh, there’s more:
“Also, we got our hacks. Why don’t we hit?”
Yeah, that’s probably not going to go over so well in the clubhouse. Enjoy the above display of inadequate defense, as we may have seen the last of Alfredo Aceves on the mound for the Red Sox.