Wednesday, February 29, 2012

RSN Alberta Watch Parties

Last year, the governor of Red Sox Nation Alberta hosted a total of 6 Red Sox watch parties right here in Calgary.   Below is a recap of these 6 games, to show you what you were missing if you didn't make it out to these.   This year's schedule has been posted, so please come on out and cheer our Red Sox on.

The first watch party was on April 16th against the Blue Jays, and this was the FIRST EVER INTERNATIONAL RED SOX NATION event!  That game came when we were still in the middle of a disastrous start, our record being 2-10 at the time.   In the first inning we scored 2 runs before the Blue Jays recorded an out, and that was all we would need as Josh Beckett pitched 7 strong innings, only giving up 3 hits, and we won 4-1.   This was the game that started our 81-42 run that lasted until the end of August.  (I've conveniently tried to forget what happened after Labour Day).

The next watch party was on May 14th in New York, against the always hated Yankees.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

5 Random Red Sox Questions

Ever year, C70 at the Bat which is an excellent baseball blog, mainly about the World Series champion St.Louis Cardinals, gets a feel for other teams around baseball by asking bloggers of those teams a few questions about their squad. This year, I was asked and answered the following questions about our Red Sox. Take a look at C70 at the Bat to see how other Baseball Bloggers Alliance members answered.

1) What was your opinion of the team’s offseason?
I may be the only Red Sox fan to say I was pleasantly surprised. They did not panic and overcommit money to players that they don't or won't need.  This year's team isn't vastly different from last year and they didn't mortgage the future with deals that would handcuff them in future years. After "THE COLLAPSE" it's easy to forget that for 4½ months this was by far the best team in all of baseball.
The top 3 pitchers in the rotation are back, and Buchholz didn't pitch after the middle of June, so the top of the rotation can potentially improve. There's been a lot of talk about not improving the #4 and 5 slots. Despite many rumours, Boston did not sign Oswalt, Kuroda or Edwin Jackson or make a bid on Yu Darvish, or trade for John Danks. But last year Lackey pitched all season with an ERA well above 6. DiceK while healthy contributed an ERA over 5. Wakefield had the 4th most starts on the team, and his ERA was North of 5 as well. Andrew Miller started 12 games and had an even higher ERA. And please don't get me started on Kyle Weiland who would have made any of the above look like Cy Young in comparison. That's a total of 75 games started with a combined ERA of approximately 5.8. I believe that Bard, Aceves and any others that need to fill in due to the inevitable injuries such as Cook, Padilla, Duckworth, Silva, Ohlendorf etc, can'd do any worse. I really see the starting rotation as being a large improvement over last year. Replacing Papelbon with Bailey and Melancon was a very smart move. On the field it may be a slight downgrade, but it never makes sense to overpay for relievers - particularly closers.
On the other side of the ball, the biggest change has been in right field and shortstop. Boston's rightfielders offensively were the worst in baseball. They lost JD Drew and Reddick who were a major part of the position that hit a combined .233. Rumors of signing Carlos Beltran (thankfully) didn't materialize. Instead we now have some combination of Ryan Sweeney, Cody Ross and Darnell McDonald. DMac is an excellent platoon player, who hit .260 against lefties while being on pace to knock 25 balls out of park, if he faced southpaws everyday. Hopefully he'll have an opportunity to be used more, at least against wronghanders. Again, I can't envision any scenario where this position will be worse than last year. At shortstop, we lost Jed Lowrie, who had some early season heroics and was at least a good platoon hitter (a .214 career average against righties isn't going to win you a lot of starting jobs at any position). But he had some defensive "challenges" at short. Losing Marco Scutaro was slightly more troublesome. I hope Mike Aviles can handle the position. I really don't want to see Nick Punto starting any more than necessary. However, this team scored the most runs in the majors last year, out pacing the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals by over 100 runs. If Jose Iglesias turns out to be the only player than can field a ground ball at the position, he can go 0-500 on the season, and this team can still win.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baseball is AWESOME! - Maligned Canadian pitcher closes out Series win

I haven't written a BASEBALL IS AWESOME post in a few weeks, and today's post was a bit of a stretch as I tried to keep some Canadian content in it. It's more of a "Baseball isn't as awful as it could be" type of post.  Read on....