With the disastrous 2012 campaign still fresh in the minds of fans and prognosticators, the Boston Red Sox will open the 2013 season against the 2012 American League East champion New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Sox, who have missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, are predicted by many to finish no better than the middle of the pack in the AL East; only a few give the team an outside shot at a wild card spot.
With a scheduled off-day today, the Red Sox are just past the halfway point of spring training with a 9-9 record; 17 games remain before Opening Day at Yankees Stadium on 01 April. While Grapefruit League statistics don’t necessarily translate into regular season success, there is always interest in how well players have performed under the Florida sunshine. So, given that batting averages and earned run averages are often skewed at this point, how do you take what is a relatively small sample size and highlight the top performers this spring to date?
With Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox set to square off against reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers at 1:05 PM this afternoon at Comerica Park, manager Bobby Valentine has announced his Opening Day roster (asterisk denotes starters).
Alfredo Aceves, Matt Albers, Scott Atchison, Daniel Bard, Josh Beckett, Michael Bowden, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Jon Lester*, Mark Melancon, Franklin Morales, Vicente Padilla, Justin Thomas
On the disabled list to begin the season are outfielders Carl Crawford (left wrist) and Ryan Kalish (left shoulder) and pitchers Andrew Bailey (thumb), Chris Carpenter (right elbow), Rich Hill (left elbow), Daisuke Matsuzaka (right elbow), and Andrew Miller (left hamstring). Crawford, Hill, Matsuzaka, and Miller begin the season on the 15-day DL, while Bailey, Carpenter, and Kalish are on the 60-day DL.
With great anticipation, the Boston Red Sox will open the 2011 season this afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington against the 2010 American League Champion Texas Rangers.
With great anticipation, the Boston Red Sox will open the 2011 season this afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington against the 2010 American League Champion Texas Rangers. The revamped Sox, who last season missed the playoffs for only the second time under manager Terry Francona, have the baseball world abuzz as they are considered the pre-season favorite by many, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sportsline, FOX Sports, and The Hardball Times, to win the World Series this fall.
The Opening Day lineup includes two of the newest Red Sox players, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and left fielder Carl Crawford, as well as several familiar faces, including second baseman Dustin Pedroia, third baseman Kevin Youkilis, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and designated hitter David Ortiz. On the mound will be Jon Lester, who is another pre-season media favorite as the 2011 Cy Young Award winner.
Here is the complete Opening Day roster for Boston (asterisk denotes Opening Day starters):
Designated Hitter: Ortiz*
The Jimmy Fund announces today that Red Sox Pitchers Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz have signed on again as the 2011 Jimmy Fund Co-Captains. First up: Spokesplayers for the 2011 Jimmy Fund’s Rally Against Cancer. Pitch in against the fight against cancer and learn how to win a visit from one of the players at RallyAgainstCancer.org.
BOSTON — Today, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund announce that Boston Red Sox pitchers Tim Wakefield and Clay Buchholz will continue as Jimmy Fund Co-Captains for the 2011 season. Their first assignment is to be this year’s Spokesplayers for the Jimmy Fund’s Rally Against Cancer.
Buchholz was the 2010 Rally Against Cancer spokesplayer in addition to being Jimmy Fund Co-Captain last year. Wakefield, a strong supporter of the Jimmy Fund for many years, was also a Co-Captain last year, and will be a Spokesplayer for the Rally Against Cancer for the first time this year. Wakefield and Buchholz join the ranks of past Rally Against Cancer Spokesplayers, including Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Trot Nixon.
As Jimmy Fund Co-Captains, the two pitchers will be ambassadors for the Jimmy Fund to raise awareness and build support for cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. They will also lend their support to Jimmy Fund events, visit adult and pediatric clinics, thank donors, and more.
Now in its sixth year, Rally Against Cancer encourages Red Sox fans to partner with their companies and schools, and encourage co-workers, classmates, and friends, to each contribute $5 or more to the Jimmy Fund. In exchange, they “Dress for Sox-cess” by wearing Boston Red Sox gear to work or school on Friday, 08 April, when the Sox take on the New York Yankees at Fenway Park for their home opener. The top fundraising company and school (K-12, college or university) are each eligible for a visit from Wakefield or Buchholz, if located within two-hour travel distance from Boston.
This year’s event adds a new twist: up for grabs are two Wild Card visits. Each team that raises $5,000 or more is eligible to win one of two visits from Wakefield or Buchholz (see full contest rules at RallyAgainstCancer.org).
In five years, Rally Against Cancer has raised $1.9 million to support the fight against cancer at Dana-Farber. This year, the program hopes to raise $500,000. For more information about Rally, please visit www.RallyAgainstCancer.org.
The Jimmy Fund supports Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise funds for adult and pediatric cancer care and research and improve the chances of survival for cancer patients around the world. It is an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, as well as the official charity of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, and the Variety Children’s Charity of New England. Since 1948, the generosity of millions of people has helped the Jimmy Fund (www.jimmyfund.org) save countless lives and reduce the burden of cancer.
BOSTON – Today, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund announced that Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is the fifth honorary Rally Against Cancer Spokesplayer. He joins the ranks of past Red Sox spokesplayers Jon Lester, Trot Nixon, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis.
Now in its fifth year, Rally Against Cancer encourages Red Sox fans to partner with their companies and schools, as well as their co-workers, classmates, and friends, to each contribute $5 or more to the Jimmy Fund. In exchange, they have the opportunity to wear Red Sox gear to work or school on Rally Day, Tuesday, April 6, when the Sox take on the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. The top fundraising company, school (K-12), and college or university are each eligible for a visit from Buchholz, if located within two-hour travel distance from Boston.
In four years, the Rally has raised $1.6 million in support of the fight against cancer at Dana-Farber. This year, the program hopes to raise $600,000. Buchholz will talk about his participation in the Rally at an upcoming press conference during spring training in Fort Myers, FL.
For more information about the Rally, please visit www.rallyagainstcancer.org.
Founded in 1948, the Jimmy Fund is an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, supporting the fight against cancer at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for children and adults with cancer around the world. Unrestricted support from the Jimmy Fund is an integral part of Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer, a $1 billion capital campaign to accelerate cancer research, speed development of lifesaving therapies, and expand the Institute’s signature patient and family-centered care.
The 2009 season begins with second baseman Dustin Pedroia set to defend his title as American League Most Valuable Player, the first since former first baseman Mo Vaughn began the 1996 season in the same position. In team history, only ten Boston players have received the AL MVP award. The first was outfielder Tris Speaker, who received the Chalmers Award in 1912, created as a promotional gimmick by an automobile company owner, Hugh Chalmers, in recognition of a player from each league who proved himself as “…the most important and useful player to his club and to the league at large in point of deportment and value of services rendered.” Speaker was one of only eight players recognized over a four-year span in which the honor was made, which included the awarding of a Chalmers Model 30 automobile for that player’s efforts. (The award was discontinued after the 1914 season due to diminished interest.)
Efforts by the Baseball Writers Association of America eventually led to the creation of the MVP award as it is recognized today, decided by 28 seasoned sportswriters using a positional voting system where each voter ranks his or her top ten players. Jimmie Foxx was the first Boston player recognized by the baseball writers who gave him the honor in 1938, though for him it was his third award after having been recognized twice before with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1932 and 1933. Ted Williams remains the only Red Sox player to have been named twice (1946 and 1949). Other winners have included Jackie Jensen (1958), Carl Yastrzemski (1967), Fred Lynn (1975), Jim Rice (1978), and Roger Clemens (1986). Clemens remains the only Boston pitcher to earn the distinction, though since 1967 only seven pitchers have been so honored.
Of course, due to the subjective native of the MVP vote, Red Sox players have found themselves the focus of controversial outcomes, more often as the odd man out. Though Williams was honored twice in his illustrious career, there were also four instances in which he finished second in the voting where he might have been considered the more deserving candidate. In 1941, he batted .406, the last player to hit .400 or better in the regular season, but lost to New York Yankees outfielder Joe DiMaggio, who has amassed a 56-game hit streak that same year. The next year, he finished second again, this time to Yankees second baseman Joe Gordon, despite having won the batting Triple Crown with more hits in fewer at-bats, twice the number of home runs, and an OPS almost 250 point higher. In 1947, Williams again won the batting Triple Crown, the only player other than Roger Hornsby to win that recognition twice, yet he again lost to DiMaggio by a single point in the vote, again with far better numbers across the board. Finally, in 1957, he won the batting title with an impressive .388 average and hit 38 home runs while setting a modern-day record of reaching base in 16 consecutive at-bats, all at the age of 39, yet finished second once more to another legendary Yankees outfielder, Mickey Mantle.
Other Boston players who fell just shy in the voting include Pedro Martinez, who had one of the best seasons ever by a pitcher in modern baseball history and won the pitching Triple Crown and the Cy Young award. Yet, despite having more first-place votes, he lost to catcher Ivan Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers by a narrow 13-point margin in the vote. It was later discovered that two sportswriters, which included George King from the New York Post, had omitted Martinez from their ballots with the argument that the contributions made by pitchers were not significant enough to earn MVP consideration, though King had included two pitchers on his ballot the previous season. David Ortiz also fell just short of the honor in 2005 as he finished behind Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez in the vote. Though both players finished the season with impressive numbers, the argument was made that Ortiz, as a designated hitter, did not contribute as much to his team’s success as Rodriguez, so much that two sportswriters left Ortiz off their ballots.
On the flipside, Vaughn finished a mere eight points ahead of Cleveland slugger Albert Belle in the 1995 vote, despite Belle having far more impressive numbers on offense, including a higher number of home runs, runs scored, RBI, slugging percentage, and total bases; he had also become the first player in major league history to hit 50 doubles and 50 home runs in the same season that same year. Vaughn, however, had a far better relationship with fans and the media, whereas Belle routinely refused to grant interviews to reporters and had engaged in several controversial incidents with fans both at and away from the park. Ted Williams was also well-known for his sour relationship with the media, whom he mockingly referred to as the “kinights of the keyboard,” and, like Belle, may have been the reason in part for losing several close MVP ballots.
 Deane, Bill, Thron, John, and Palmer, Pete. Total Baseball. HarpersCollins Publishers, New York, 1993.
One year ago, he was American League Rookie of the Year; Tuesday, Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was named the AL Most Valuable Player as the club was well-represented in the 2008 Major League Baseball award season. Pedroia walked away with three major awards while first baseman Kevin Youkilis earned recognition as one of the top offensive performers.
Pedroia earned 16 first-place votes out of the 28 ballots cast by baseball writers, beating Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP, by 60 points, 317 to 257. He also became the first AL second baseman since Nellie Fox in 1959 to win the award and the ninth player in team history to take home the league’s top honor. the first since Mo Vaughn in 1995. Pedroia also took home Gold Glove honors at his position as well as the Silver Slugger award as the best offensive player at his position.
Meanwhile, Youkilis, who last year took home a Gold Glove for playing error-free defense at first base, was honored as the Hank Aaron award winner based on ballots cast by broadcasters, analysts, and fans. First awarded in 1999 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s accomplishment of surpassing Babe Ruth’s career home run mark, Youkilis is the third Red Sox player to earn the honor in the ten years of the award’s existence, the first since designated hitter David Ortiz in 2005. Youkilis also earned consideration for MVP honors, receiving two first-place votes and finishing third in balloting.
He may be better known for his discipline at the plate, finishing second in the 2008 American League batting race with a .326 average, but Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was recognized Thursday for his fielding skills with his first Rawlings Gold Glove honor. Paired on the right side of the infield with 2007 Gold Glove winner Kevin Youkilis, Pedroia appeared defensively in 157 games and made just six errors in 733 chances, one year after making the same number of errors in 625 total chances; he also collected 448 assists and helped turn 101 double plays. Pedroia, who is also a leading candidate for the 2008 AL Most Valuable Player Award, became just the second player in team history to win a Gold Glove at his position; the only other Red Sox second baseman to accomplish the feat was Doug Griffin in 1972. He is also the third Red Sox player to win a Gold Glove in the past four years; besides Youkilis taking home the honor last season playing error-free ball at first base, catcher Jason Varitek earned recognition for his efforts behind the plate in 2005.
Much like Youkilis, who transitioned from third to first in 2006, Pedroia moved from his natural position at shortstop, where he had been named as a first-team All-American by Baseball America playing for Arizona State in 2004, to second to fill Boston’s needs and the change has been near-seamless. Pedroia’s .992 fielding percentage in 2008 was second in the American League only to Oakland’s Mark Ellis and third best in team history behind Mark Loretta (.994, 2006) and Bobby Doerr (.993, 1948). He also became the first Red Sox second baseman since Doerr to finish with as few as six errors in 700 or more chances. At one point this season, Pedroia enjoyed a 61-game streak without making an error, 12 games shy of Doerr’s record 73 straight games at that position, also made in 1948. In the post-season, his defense continued to shine, playing error-free ball in all 11 games for Boston while making 35 assists and taking part in five double plays.
Twice in the span of less than two weeks, the Boston Red Sox, whose pitchers have thrown the last two no-hitters in Major League Baseball, have nearly found themselves the victims of one themselves. On 29 July, Los Angeles Angels pitcher John Lackey came within two outs of a no-no at Fenway Park before Dustin Pedroia ended Boston’s drought at the plate with a single to left; Lackey and the Angels eventually settled for a complete-game, 6-2 victory over the Red Sox Then, on Monday night in Chicago, White Sox pitcher John Danks retired the first 17 Red Sox batters he faced and then surrendered his first hit with one out in the seventh to Kevin Youkilis, as Boston eventually won 5-1 to earn a split of the four-game series at U.S. Cellular Field. In club history, Boston pitchers have combined to throw 18 no-hitters, including a perfect game by the legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young; that is the most thrown by a single franchise. On the flip side, the team has also suffered at the hands of 11 opposing pitchers who managed to keep Red Sox batters from recording a hit over the course of a game.
The first pitcher to throw a no-hitter against Boston was Bob Rhoads of the Cleveland Naps on 18 September 1908. Cleveland actually trailed Boston at one point 1-0 thanks to a walk, a sacrifice, an error, and a wild pitch, but the Naps managed to score single runs in the fourth and eighth to give Rhoads a 2-1 win. The most recent no-hitter against the Red Sox was thrown by Seattle Mariners pitcher Chris Bosio on 22 April 1993. Bosio walked the first two batters of the game, then retired the next 27 Boston batters as Seattle won 2-0 behind his no-no. New York Yankees pitchers hold the mark for the most no-hitters thrown against the Red Sox by a single club; the most recent came in 1983, when Dave Righetti yielded just four walks to Boston batters in a 4-0 for the Bombers at Yankee Stadium on 4 July. The White Sox and the Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) have each managed the feat twice against Boston; one was thrown by Hall of Fame pitcher Walter “Big Train” Johnson on 1 July 1920, the only instance in which the Red Sox lost a no-hitter by a 1-0 score. Also of interest: the last opposing pitcher to manage the feat at Fenway Park was another Hall of Fame pitcher, Jim Bunning, who no-hit Boston 3-0 at Fenway Park in the first game of a doubleheader on 20 July 1958.