Five Thoughts On The Red Sox Heading Into The 2014 Season

No more talk of what happened last season; the Red Sox must now focus on reaching October this season.

The slate has been wiped clean and, save for Friday’s pregame ceremony at Fenway Park that will celebrate Boston’s 2013 championship season one last time, the Red Sox must now focus on the task at hand, which is to navigate through another 162-game schedule in the hopes of making the postseason for a second consecutive season.

It was a relatively quiet off-season for the local nine. The one notable subtraction was the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency, who agreed to sign with Boston’s division rival, the New York Yankees. Also gone from the team are two other key cogs from last season’s machine: catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (signed with the Miami Marlins) and shortstop Stephen Drew (currently unsigned). There were also a few notable additions, too, including catcher A.J. Pierzynski, outfielder Grady Sizemore, and reliever Edward Mujica, all of whom made the Opening Day roster.

Otherwise, the team taking the field this afternoon at Orioles Park at Camden Yards is for all intents and purposes the same one that we saw playing for postseason glory this past October. The starting rotation carries over from last season, as does the right side of the infield, the corner outfielders, and the key bullpen components.

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2013 Red Sox Opening Day Roster Set

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.

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Top Red Sox Grapefruit League Performers – Mid-Season Analysis

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?

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2012 Red Sox Opening Day Roster Set

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).

Pitchers (13)
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

Catchers (2)
Jarrod Saltalamacchia*, Kelly Shoppach

Infielders (6)
Mike Aviles, Adrian Gonzalez*, David Ortiz*, Dustin Pedroia*, Nick Punto, Kevin Youkilis*

Outfielders (4)
Jacoby Ellsbury*, Darnell McDonald, Cody Ross*, Ryan Sweeney*

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.

Boston Red Sox Star Pitcher Josh Beckett, Local Stars & Athletes Throw Strikes for Children at Fifth Annual Beckett Bowl

Boston Red Sox star pitcher Josh Beckett will throw strikes of a different kind on August 29, when he trades in his cleats for bowling shoes at his fifth-annual Beckett Bowl, a celebrity-studded bowling tournament at Lucky Strike Lanes in Boston benefiting Children’s Hospital Boston, the nation’s top pediatric hospital.

BOSTON — Boston Red Sox star pitcher Josh Beckett will throw strikes of a different kind on August 29, when he trades in his cleats for bowling shoes at his fifth-annual Beckett Bowl, a celebrity-studded bowling tournament at Lucky Strike Lanes in Boston benefiting Children’s Hospital Boston, the nation’s top pediatric hospital.

Beckett Bowl features an impressive lineup of athletes and celebrities joining local corporations and individuals who will bowl to raise funds for children in need. The roster of VIPs will include current and past Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, and New England Revolution players, along with actors, comedians, musicians and celebrity chefs with New England ties.

Local corporations and philanthropic individuals are invited to sponsor four-person bowling teams for the event. Each team will be joined by a celebrity teammate and will compete for unique prize packages. For information on sponsoring a team, please call 617.338.2766. A limited number of tickets to attend the event are available for $250 by emailing events@ammteam.com.

Beckett Bowl has continuously attracted some of Boston’s top professional athletes and celebrities, including Beckett’s Red Sox teammates Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Wakefield; HBO’s Entourage star Adrian Grenier; performer Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of legendary hip-hop trio Run DMC; stand-up comedian, actor, stuntman and performer Verne Troyer (aka “Mini-Me”); country music stars Pat Green and Jason Aldean; Boston Celtics 2008 Finals MVP Paul Pierce and teammate Glen “Big Baby” Davis; Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins; current and former New England Patriots Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Adalius Thomas and Steve Gostkowski; New England Revolution stars Matt Reis and Taylor Twellman; and many more.

“We’re thrilled by the tremendous support we’ve received from the local sports and business community,” said Beckett. “As a result of everyone’s tireless efforts, we’ve raised funds that have made a positive impact on the lives of kids served by Children’s Hospital Boston. This is something that’s close to my heart and a cause I truly believe in. Any time you can touch other people’s lives, your life ends up being touched just the same.”

The annual fundraiser is organized by The Josh Beckett Foundation, which supports community-based programs that improve the health and well-being of children, especially those who are seriously ill, disabled, poor, or otherwise disadvantaged. Since its inception, the Josh Beckett Foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Children’s Hospital Boston from the proceeds of the Beckett Bowl. Monies from these efforts facilitated the 2009 opening of The Josh Beckett Cancer Treatment Room at Children’s Hospital Boston which features a miniature Fenway Park scene, giving patients the opportunity to cherish a ballpark-like atmosphere.

“Thanks to the support and dedication of Josh Beckett and everyone at the Josh Beckett Foundation, Beckett Bowl has been throwing strikes for the nation’s top pediatric hospital since 2007,” said Children’s Hospital Boston CEO James Mandell, MD. “Support from generous individuals like Josh allows us to address the hospital’s most critical needs and essential programs including our cutting edge cancer care and research center.”

The Josh Beckett Foundation is also hosting the Beckett Bowl Ultimate Jeep Raffle presented by AFTER FX CUSTOMS, where fans will have a chance to win prizes including an authentic jersey autographed by Beckett and two “Monster Seat” tickets to the Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays game on September 17. One Grand Prize winner will drive away in a 2011 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport 4-Door, fully customized by AFTER FX CUSTOMS, including: full JL audio sound system with Alpine DVD/navigation head unit, 20-inch KMC wheels with Nitto tires, multiple exterior upgrades, and much more. Winners will be drawn at Beckett Bowl.

Computer World, After FX Customs, Liberty Bay Credit Union, Reebok, Cooley LLP, ProPrint, Improper Bostonian, NESN-TV, and WAAF-FM among others, are working with the Foundation in support of Beckett Bowl.

About The Josh Beckett Foundation

The Josh Beckett Foundation is a charitable organization established in 2007 by Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett to support community-based programs that strive to improve the health and well-being of children, especially children that are seriously ill, disabled, poor, or otherwise disadvantaged. The Foundation provides Beckett with an opportunity to have a direct and permanent impact on the lives of children throughout New England.

About Children’s Hospital Boston

Children’s Hospital Boston is the nation’s top pediatric hospital, ranked first in more specialties than any other, and the only one in the top three for all 10 areas rated (US News and World Report Best Children’s Hospitals 2011). We’re number one in: cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, kidney disease, orthopedics, and urology. Learn more at http://www.childrenshospital.org/usnews.

In 2009, Children’s Hospital Boston unveiled the Josh Beckett Cancer Treatment Room which features Boston Red Sox imagery including Beckett and his teammates, crowd scenes and the historic Fenway Park sign.

Contacts

Keith Gainsboro, Elevate Communications, 617-861-3650, keith@elevatecom.com
Colleen White, Elevate Communications, 617-861-3679, cwhite@elevatecom.com
Katie Largay Dean, Children’s Hospital Trust, 857-218-3193, Katie.dean@chtrust.org

Red Sox Set for Opening Day and the 2011 Season

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):

Starting Pitchers: Lester*, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka

Relief Pitchers: Matt Albers, Daniel Bard, Bobby Jenks, Jonathan Papelbon, Dennys Reyes, Tim Wakefield, Dan Wheeler

Catchers: Jarrod Saltalamacchia*, Jason Varitek

Infielders: Gonzalez*, Jed Lowrie, Pedroia*, Marco Scutaro*, Youkilis*

Outfielders: Mike Cameron*, Crawford*, J.D. Drew, Ellsbury*, Darnell McDonald

Designated Hitter: Ortiz*

Ellsbury, Cameron to be Honored with NLBM Legacy Awards

Red Sox outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron will be honored by the Negro League Baseball Museum when the 10th annual Legacy Awards are presented at the Kansas City Convention Center on 30 January 2010.  Ellsbury, who set a new single-season mark for the franchise last season with 70 stolen bases, will receive the Cool Papa Bell Award as the 2009 American League Stolen Bases leader and Cameron, a recent free-agent pickup by Boston, will receive the Pop Lloyd Award in recognition of baseball/community leadership.  Tickets for the event are $150 each, which include a one-year membership to the museum, and can be obtained by calling 816.221.1920.

Comeback Complete – Lester Pitches No-Hitter

Less than two years after being diagnosed with cancer, Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in Boston history Monday night, blanking the Kansas City Royals 7-0 with just two walks allowed while striking out nine at Fenway Park. Lester’s gem comes over eight months after fellow starter Clay Buchholz threw a no-no against the Baltimore Orioles last fall in the rookie’s second major league start, the first time since the California Angels in 1974 and 1975 that a single team has recorded back-to-back no-hitters – in that instance, both were thrown by Nolan Ryan. Lester, who was the winning pitcher in the final game of the 2007 World Series for the Sox, threw 130 pitches, 86 for strikes, in his first-ever complete game effort and became just the fourth left-handed pitcher to throw a no-no in team history, the first since Red Sox Hall of Fame pitcher Mel Parnell threw one in July of 1956.

After going 36 years between Dave Morehead’s no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park in 1965 and former Japanese sensation Hideo Nomo’s feat in 2001 at Camden Yards against the Orioles, Sox pitchers have thrown four in the past eight seasons. Following Nomo’s performance in his first-ever start for Boston in the second game of the season, Derek Lowe threw Fenway’s first no-no in 37 years; five seasons later, Buchholz tossed the third one of the decade for Boston to begin the month of September 2007, only the third pitcher in major league history to throw in a no-hitter by his second career start.

Veteran backstop Jason Varitek also made history by catching his fourth no-hitter, the most ever in a career by a catcher, and it marked the fourth different pitcher that he has helped accomplish the feat. He even helped Lester’s cause by hitting a two-run home run to the grandstand in right field to plate the final two runs of the night for Boston. Lester’s command was near perfect in his bid, throwing first-pitch strikes to 19 batters, and the only threat by Kansas City came with two outs in the fourth, when Jose Guillen’s sinking line drive was caught by a diving Jacoby Ellsbury in center field to end the inning.

Been Caught Stealing – Ellsbury SB Streak Ends

Caught stealing on a pitch-out in the fourth inning of Sunday’s 11-7 win over the Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s streak of stolen bases to begin his career was stopped at 25, two shy of the major league of 27 set by Tim Raines in 1979. Through Sunday, the rookie flycatcher has 16 steals in 40 games this season; counting the nine he stole in 33 games played last season, his 25 is still the most by a first-year Boston player since “Leaping” Mike Menosky in 1920. Ellsbury still has a ways to go beat the franchise single-season record of 54 stolen bases set by outfielder Tommy Harper in 1973, who was also caught in 14 further attempts; at present, factoring in the number of games played versus the number of games played by the Sox, he is on pace to steal 56, which would be just enough to move him into the number one spot in club history.

If Ellsbury eventually wants to claim the franchise record for career stolen bases, it may take him a few more years. Former outfielder Harry Hooper, the only starter to play on all four World Series championship teams between 1912 and 1918, stole 300 in his 12 seasons in a Red Sox uniform, putting him first place all-time with the club. Hooper’s teammate for two of those championships, Tris Speaker, sits in second place with 267 over nine seasons, and another former Boston outfielder, Carl Yastrzemski, stole 168 over 23 seasons. Only 12 former players have managed 100 or more steals with the traditionally slow-footed club and most of the top base-stealers set their marks prior to World War II; since that time, Boston has relied more on the strength of its bats rather than its speed on the base paths.

Red Sox Are World Series Champions!

With Jonathan Papelbon blowing a 95 MPH fastball past pinch-hitter Seth Smith on a 2-2 count, the Boston Red Sox won Game Four of the 2007 World Series over the Colorado Rockies 4-3 and earned its second World Series title in four years. Third baseman Mike Lowell, who batted .400 with a home run and four RBI in the Fall Classic, was named series MVP, less than two years after coming to Boston as part of the deal that brought American League Championship Series MVP Josh Beckett to the club.

Boston only trailed for three innings in the entire series and, after taking Games One and Two at Fenway Park by scores of 13-1 and 2-1, the switch to the high altitude at Coors Field seemed to make little difference to the Red Sox, who won Game Three by a score of 10-5 before closing out the series Sunday night in gritty fashion. Rookie outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who started all four games of the series after starting the last two of the ALCS, got Boston on the board first with a double followed one out later by a David Ortiz RBI single on the drawn-in infield. Boston got another run in the fifth on an RBI single by catcher Jason Varitek as Lowell slid home ahead of the tag, and the club got two more runs on solo home runs by Lowell and Bobby Kielty in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Colorado made it close with a solo home run by right fielder Brad Hawpe in the seventh and a two-run shot by third baseman Garrett Atkins in the eighth with one out, but Papelbon recorded the last five outs for his third save of the series.

The Sox have now won eight straight World Series games dating back to its Fall Classic sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2004, when Boston won its first title since 1918, a span of 86 years. It marks the seventh World Championship in franchise history, and the Sox are the first club to win two titles in the 21st century as it ends a seven-year streak of seven different teams winning the title, which began in 2000 with the New York Yankees.