pedro and papi
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It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. Since I’m a Red Sox fan I am starting a new series with them. Here’s the All-2000 to Present Red Sox Lineup.
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C – Jason Varitek
1B – Kevin Youkilis
2B – Dustin Pedroia
3B – Mike Lowell
SS – Nomar Garciaparra
RF – Trot Nixon (Until Mookie Betts plays more)
LF – Manny Ramirez
CF – Jacoby Ellsbury (Just Barely over Johnny Damon)
DH – David Ortiz
SP – Pedro Martinez
SP – Jon Lester
SP – Curt Schilling
SP - Josh Beckett
SP – Tim Wakefield
Closer – Jonathan Papelbon
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Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees

david-ortiz-in-dugout
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Big Papi is off to a great start. The guy that has struggled to start the past few seasons is hitting .292 with 18 runs, six home runs, 18 RBI, and a .865 OPS. It’s hard to sit someone that is producing like Ortiz is, but this may be a good time to.
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While he is hitting .333 (12-36) against lefties this year, he hit just .222 against them last year, .212 against them in 2009, .221 in 2008. You get the point. For his career he is hitting .259 against them with an OPS of .799, as compared to .290 and .968 against right-handed pitching.
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This isn’t just ordinary left-handed pitching either. We’re talking C.C. Sabathia. He is one of the most dominating pitchers in the game.
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Big Papi, like most lefties, has had his struggles with Sabathia. His lifetime average is .237 (9-38) with two HRs (.714 OPS). Papi was one for three against him earlier this year, but was one for nine against him last year.
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You carry guys on your bench for a reason. It’s not just for Mondays and Thursdays when the baseball schedule is light. If you are locked in a close battle for batting average (weekly leagues), you probably have someone with a better probability to succeed.
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I’m not saying Big Papi can’t get it done against C.C. After all, he is one of the few guys that has had regular success (8-24) against Mariano Rivera. I just think if you have a solid option on your bench, you might as well let Papi sit this one out.
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My son got an early birthday present when his favorite player, Big Papi won the HR Derby over Hanley Ramirez. Both Ortiz and Ramirez entered the final round with 21 HRs. Papi exploded for a record-tying 11 HRs in the final round to Hanley’s 5. It was the first time a Red Sox player has ever won a HR Derby. Corey Hart jumped out to an early lead with 13 first round HRs, but Papi never relented hitting 8, 13, and 11 HRs.

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Papi Pause

16 May 2009

david-ortiz-in-dugout
Image courtesy of Icon SMI

The Boston Herald is reporting that David Ortiz will miss the entire series against the Seattle Mariners in the wake of his 0 for 7, 12 LOB game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  He was 3 for 25 (.120) in the series after going 29 for 81 (.358) against him the previous three years.

The Red Sox are hoping the long break will allow him to clear his mind, stop pressing, and do what comes natural to him–hit the baseball.  Big Papi is hitting .208 with o HRs and 15 RBIs.

Despite his struggles, along with starters Josh Beckett, Dice-K, and Jon Lester, the Red Sox have the third best record in the AL at 21-15.  They are two games behind the Toronto Blue Jays and two games ahead of the Angels for the Wild Card lead.

Fantasy Perspective
Obviously keep Big Papi out of your lineups over the weekend.  Personally, I’m keeping him on the pine until he shows signs of life.  I would not recommend dropping him.  If you like to take risks, his value has never been lower, making it a great time to Buy Low on him.

Fantasy Baseball Generals asked me to provide the top five stories of the Red Sox season.  Without further ado, here are my top five stories.

1.  Manny Ramirez -  How could anything be bigger?  I suppose if we waited until the end of the year and had the same outcome as the last time they traded a superstar (Nomar), it would be bigger, but Manny was the story this year.  Manny being Manny got old.  Sure, he can mash with the best of them, but when he starting shoving personnel around and not giving it all, he had to go.  It’s hard to part ways with the #5 HR hitter, #6 RBI producer, and #9 Batting Average holder in team history despite only playing in 1083 games for the Sox.  In the end the petulant star wore out his welcome.  So far so good for his replacement Jason Bay.  After 23 games he’s hitting .347 with 22 Runs, 10 extra-base Hits, and 24 RBI

2.  Chasing the Rays - I know, this isn’t exactly a Red Sox story as much as it’s a Rays story, but you cannot mention the Red Sox season to date and overlook the Tampa Bay Rays.  I didn’t imagine the Red Sox not being in first place for the majority of the season.  However, if I had two guesses as who would unseat the defending AL East Champs, I would have guessed New York and then Toronto.  By no means did I envision a Worst-to-First run for the Rays.  The Red Sox still have 30 games remaining and are sitting at 3.5 back so I’m not ready to hand over the division title just yet, but for Tampa to take First Place into September is impressive.  Even though I am a Red Sox fan, I am happy for baseball for this surprise.

3. Injuries – Papi, Lowell, Drew, Beckett, Dice-K…the list goes on.  Every team deals with injuries, but this year it seems the Red Sox have been asked to swallow more than in years past.  What amazes me is the Red Sox sit with the fourth best record in baseball despite sub-par seasons from Big Papi (.267, 17 HR, 65) and Josh Beckett (11-9, 4.34 ERA).  When you consider the Red Sox two best offensive forces have either missed 50 games or have been traded and their top Pitcher has been highly ineffective, you have to have admiration for the rest of the Red Sox scrappers.

4.  Youth is Served – The Red Sox avoided the temptation of depleting their farm system to acquire Johan Santana to start the season.  Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make.  Jon Lester has rewarded them with a 12-5, 3.49 performance to date.  They have also got strong play from SS/3B Jed Lowrie.  He’s hitting .299 with 19 Runs, 16 Doubles, and 32 RBI in 53 games.  Defending Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia has avoided the Sophomore Slump by hitting .316 with 101 Runs, 173 Hits, 40 Doubles, and 68 RBI.  Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t hitting a strong clip at .262, but he’s scored 74 Runs and terrorized the basepaths to the tune of 41 Stolen Bases. 

5.  Tito – I would be remiss to discuss the 2008 Red Sox and not mention Terry Francona.  The skipper has not only guided the Red Sox through the injuries and distractions to one of the best records in baseball, but he has displayed some amazing class along the way.  The way he handled the All Star Game in Yankee Stadium was a perfect example of that class.  He treated the stadium, the fans, and the players with the dignity that comes with sharing the same Pinstripes as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and countless others.  He let Derek Jeter hit in his customary #2 spot.  He made a defensive switch for A-Rod so he could receive a standing ovation (where was that this week).  He saved Mariano Rivera for his Closer.  The moves he made just oozed class. 

There you have it.  For the top stories for the rest of MLB, swing over to Fantasy Baseball Generals.

Sunday, July 27th
MIke Jacobs
went 3 for 4 with 2 Runs, 2 HRs, and 5 RBI.  Geoff Blum hit a couple of HRs and had 4 RBI.  Ivan Rodriguez and Brad Ausmus went 4 for 4.  Fred Lewis also had 4 Hits.  Billy Butler and Shane Victorino each had 4 RBI.  Raul Ibanez, David Wright, Fernando Tatis, Scott Podsednik(2 SBs), Jeff Baker (3 Runs), Guillermo Quiroz (3 RBI), Ryan Braun, Alfonso Soriano (3 RBI), Gerald Laird, Kurt Suzuki (3 RBI), Mark Kotsay, Conor Jackson (3 Runs), David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Stephen Drew each had 3 Hits.  Garrett Atkins, Hank Blaylock, Martin Prado, Manny Ramirez, and Miguel Tejada each had 3 RBI.  Dan Uggla scored 3 Runs.

Johan Santana tossed a Complete Game giving up 1 Run on 6 Hits with 5 Ks to improve to 9-7 with a 2.93 ERA.  Jarrod Washburn gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 8 Innings to improve to 5-9.  Nick Blackburn (7 Innings, 1 Run, 4 Hits) and Jeremy Sowers (8 Innings, 2 Runs, 3 Hits go no-decisions.  Zach Miner gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings with 5 Ks to improve to 5-3 with a 3.65 ERA.  Ubalod Jimenez tossed 6 scoreless Innings to improve to 7-9 with a 3.80 ERA.  Garrett Olson gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings to improve to 7-5.  Jake Peavy gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings with 10 Ks to improve to 8-6 with a 2.67 ERA.  Paul Maholm gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings with 9 Ks, but got a no-decision.  Clayton Kershaw tossed 6 scoreless Innings allowing 4 Hits while striking out 5 for his first career Win.  Randy Johnson tossed 7 scoreless Innings to improve to 8-7.  It was his 292nd Win.  Jon Lester gave up 2 Runs in 7 Innings with 8 Ks to improve to 9-3 with a 3.17 ERA.

Sunday, May 18th
Big Papi and Ryan Braun each hit a pair of HRs and drove in 4 Run.  Mike Napoli hit a pair of HRs with 5 RBI.  Orlando Cabrera hit 2 HRs and drove in 3 batters.  Paul Janish, Dustin Pedroia, Yunel Escobar, Albert Pujols, Maicer Izturis, Ray Durham, Brian Giles, Mark Reynolds each had 3 Hits.  Jose Gullen drove in 4 Runs. Adam LaRoche, Casey Kotchman, Jose Lopez, Chris Young, Jose Reyes, Moises Alou and Todd Helton picked up 3 RBI.  Ryan Church scored 3 Runs.
Randy Johnson fired 7 scoreless Innings for hi 288th win.  He’s 4-1 on the year.Edwin Jackson allowed 1 Run in 5-1/3 Innings with 7 Ks in a no-decision.  He beat Kyle Lohse, who gave up 2 Earned Runs in 6 Innigns.  Jason Marquis gave up 2 Runs in 6 Innings to improve to 2-3.  Edison Volquez allowed 2 Runs in 6 Innings to improve to 7-1 with a 1.33 ERA.  Jeff Francis gave up 2 Runs in 6-1/3 Innings with 7 Ks for his first Win of the year.  John “Rubber Soul” Lannan gave up 1 Run on 4 Hits in 7 Innings of work to even his record to 4-4 with a 3.40 ERA.  Jeremy Guthrie, 1 Run in 7 Innings, and he took the loss. Felix Hernandez (2 Runs in 6 Innings) and Shawn Estes (6-1/3 Innings, 1 Run, 2 Hits) earned no-decisions as the dueled.   Oliver Perez gave up 2 Runs in 7-2/3 Innings to improve to 4-3

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