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Jake Archer

Jake Archer

Jake is a contributor to the CLNS Red Sox beat team. He is passionate about baseball, basketball, football and golf, but can get interested in almost anything competitive. Jake has a lot of strong opinions and will share them through his writing and podcasting. You can also follow him on Twitter @jarcher04 but please be advised, his takes can get hot. 

So a report just surfaced from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand about how the Boston Red Sox are planning to make “major upgrades” over the next six weeks or so. Of course, it is also noted that their priority right now is the third base position, as it should be. My initial thought when I heard this is that it is the right thing to do, although I know some Sox fans will worry.

I get the fact that Dave Dombrowski has depleted what was once the best farm system in baseball to the point that getting rid of more will leave us as a barren wasteland in the minors. Trust me, that’s not ideal and I hate to fall into the way the Yankees used to do things. But at the same time, this Red Sox team we have in front of us right now is pretty special.

 It's not that I mean that they are playing all that well or that they are fun to watch or anything like that. But that’s the point. The Sox are tied for first place in the AL East and remain one of the best teams in baseball despite having quite a few holes. If they go out and make a push by adding some premium talent to this team, they might become a real World Series contender. That’s what we want, isn’t it?

 I am definitely a guy who likes to live in the here and now, especially when it comes to sports. I understand the value of a good young prospect, but I also understand the value of a proven commodity. If the Sox can get rid of a couple minor leaguers for some horses to stack this team not only for this year but the next two to four years, let’s do it. 

 Maybe it's just me, but I’ll take a championship or two in the near future and worry about down the road later. Make moves Davey, it’s time to separate ourselves from the pack.

The Pablo Sandoval Era in Boston has been bad. No, wait it’s been the worst. It has actually probably been one of the most disastorous free agent signings of all time, in any sport. Not one good thing has come out of it and at this point, almost two and a half seasons in, it’s time to bite the bullet and send him on his way.

I’m not under any allusions to believe that Josh Rutledge or Deven Marrero is a better option than Pablo Sandoval. For as bad as the “Kung Fu Panda” is now, he still has more talent and a better track record than most of what the Red Sox have otherwise at his position. But the Sox have lost all faith in him, and if they refuse to let him play they might as well just designate him for assignment. 

When they aren’t starting him anymore and they actually would rather have a catcher like Christina Vazquez play third base than let Sandoval hit, it’s time to just pull the rip cord. When they are putting him on the 10 day DL with an EAR INFECTION, it's time to wake up and realize this is ridiculous. Put your hand up and admit your mistake because all he’s doing right now is taking up a roster spot. I don’t want to rush Rafael Devers out of the minor leagues but at a certain point here you have to think that the kid can give us more than what we are getting at third base. 

The problem is, I don’t think ownership is going to allow Dave Dombrowksi to eat the contract and kick Pablo to the curb. It’s too bad too because there isn’t anything they can do to make this better. There is no hiding from the fact that this was a disaster, so keeping him around will only make it worse. Time to let go guys, Pablo Sandoval is a waste of space.

Monday, 19 June 2017 21:33

Pretty Ricky Looks Pretty Ugly

Well, the Red Sox have a Rick Porcello problem. This is not something I was expecting to be writing again this year after the righty took home the 2016 American League Cy Young Award. Of course, it’s not as though I thought Porcello was immune to struggling, I just did not think it would ever get this bad. But, after he got absolutely racked again on Saturday, this time giving up seven runs on ten hits to the Houston Astros, I think it’s time to worry.

Porcello has not looked anything like what we saw last year, in fact, he looks more like the 2015 version that every Red Sox fan pulled their hair out over. He’s leaving pitches up in the zone and getting hammered night in and night out. His ERA has climbed to 5.05 for the season and 6.02 in his last eight starts. Opposing hitters are just finding it way too easy to barrel up the ball on him right now as he is not only getting taken deep, but he’s just giving up an astounding number of hits in general. 

It sounds like the Red Sox are doing everything they can to figure out the issue with Porcello and apparently it isn’t an injury. He’s working on some changes to his delivery and also may try having Christian Vazquez behind the plate rather than Sandy Leon. In my opinion, I think we’re getting into the territory where you start thinking about skipping a start of sending him to the disabled list. He needs to regroup because right now it all just seems to be snowballing and there is no answer.

The problem is, the Sox need Porcello to regain his form. He doesn’t have to be an ace or anything; he just needs to become a solid, dependable guy out there. Right now, the only consistency he has is getting hammered. He’s given up less than eight hits only five times this year. He’s also walking guys more and you can see that with his lack of location, he can’t succeed. Porcello doesn’t have the swing and miss stuff to get away with mistakes so he’s going to have to find a way to fix his command. 

In my opinion, he’ll right the ship eventually here. He’s too much of a grinder and a competitor not to. That’s one thing that gives me faith in this guy and that’s seeing how he handles himself. Right now, among all this adversity, I’m excited to see how he responds.

I swear this Red Sox season has been a roller coaster ride. Every time you can start feeling good about something, another thing goes wrong. Then when something goes wrong, they pull you back in with something good happening, and around and around it goes.

So now, with the Sox having won five of their last six and moving to just two games back of the Yankees, things were looking up. Yea, I know they haven’t been facing great competition in the Tigers and the Phillies, but wins are wins. They’ve gotten a couple walk offs and Mookie Betts has caught fire. Let’s keep it rolling, right?

Wrong. Speaking of Mookie Betts, reports came out via Jon Heyman that Betts turned down all of Boston’s advances this offseason when trying to negotiate a long-term deal. Apparently, Betts wants to go year-to-year right now like most younger players because the risk is much smaller and he’ll have the ability to change his mind if he pleases. 

This scares me though as a Sox fan. By all accounts, it seems that Betts likes playing here in Boston, but who really knows? What is his relationship like with the front office and the coaching staff, in particular John Farrell? Does he like the direction the team is going or is he not happy with how the organization is being run? No one really knows and that should give Sox fans anxiety. 

Betts is our best player, make no mistake about that. I’ve argued that he might be the best in the league, and I think there is a strong case for that. The Sox need to find a way to get a deal done with him so that they can have him locked up for the future. Give him whatever he wants, because he’s the piece to build around. When David Ortiz retired, he handed the keys over to Betts as the next great Red Sox player. He simply can’t get to free agency, because the thought of losing him is actually excruciating.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017 21:05

Aaron Judge Frustrates Me As A Red Sox Fan

Well, I know what you are thinking. Of course Aaron Judge frustrates you as a Red Sox fan! He’s a Yankee and he’s young and very, very good. He’ll probably be killing Boston for years! Yes, that is one reason that Aaron Judge frustrates me, but the biggest reason is because he is likeable.

The other day, I heard someone compare Judge to Rob Gronkowski and I couldn’t believe it because it made so much sense. He’s a larger than life, cartoon character of a human who has crazy power and moves well for his size. He’s also got an awesome name and has already become a huge fan favorite. From everything I’ve seen from him, he seems down to earth and really cool. I hate it. Yankees are not supposed to be this fun to watch and this appealing. 

But yea, I hate that he’ll be around for a long time and mashing homeruns against the Red Sox. I hate that he’s not only going to steal the American League Rookie of the Year from Andrew Benintendi, but he’ll also probably win the MVP. It stinks and I want so badly to despise him but I can’t. 

The last reason that Judge frustrates me is because the Red Sox had the opportunity to draft him but missed and took Trey Ball. Yea, the Trey Ball that stinks in the minors and will probably never pan out. Of course, it’s hard to hate on a team for missing a guy in a draft because hindsight is 20/20, but still it’s frustrating. I wish Aaron Judge was in Boston, or at least not in the Bronx.

The Red Sox improved to 36-28 on the season as they walked off for the second straight night. Andrew Benintendi played the hero as he drove a ground rule double to right field to win the game.

Today was the day of the third American League All Star voting update and as of right now, the Red Sox are being shut out of starters. In fact, they only three players in the top five at their positions. I wanted to take a look at what Red Sox players might be deserving of a spot on the squad for the midsummer classic, either as a starter or on the bench. Let’s see if anyone is getting snubbed, or if the voting is holding up the right way.

 

Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi

Betts initially was in line to start in the outfield but has now fallen behind the Michael Brantley of the Indians and George Springer of the Astros in recent weeks. Of course, Mike Trout is in line to start for the American League in the outfield and he’ll likely need an injury replacement so Betts is basically fourth among outfielders. Benintendi, on the other hand sits in ninth behind Avisail Garcia, Carlos Beltran and Brett Gardner. 

Neither of these two deserves to start at this point in time but I believe both have a case to be on the team. Aaron Judge and George Springer are definelty worthy to start and that isn’t much of a debate. I believe the third outfield spot, assuming that Trout isn’t playing should go to Aaron Hicks, another Yankee. It pains me to say that, but Hicks has slightly better stats than Betts or Benintendi at this moment. 

When it comes to the backup outfielders, a lot of names can be debated. Khris Davis, Nomar Mazara, Garcia, and Gardner are just a few that come to mind. But I believe Betts and Benintendi are right there. I believe Betts will get selected one way or the other and Benintendi could be one of those “Final Vote” candidates. They have similar numbers, but Betts has a better all around game and more respect around the league, which will probably take him farther.

 

Xander Bogaerts

I hate to say this, but as of right now Bogaerts is probably not going to make the cut for the All Star team. He’s having a great year but I think ultimately he falls short compared to too many others that are also playing very well. Elvis Andrus, Carlos Correa, Didi Gregorious and Francisco Lindor are all outplaying him. Even Jean Segura is on par with him. I’m a huge Bogaerts guy so I would defend his lack of power and throw some other reasons out as to why he should make the team, but being realistic, I know that his chances aren’t good as of right now.

 

Mitch Moreland

Mitch Moreland is not garnering votes at all. He isn’t in the top 5 at his position, but I wanted to mention him here because I feel he’s having a great year. With a .282 average, eight homers and thirty-five RBI, I believe the only American League first basemen that are better are Yonder Alonso and Justin Smoak. But Moreland won’t get a shot and it’s too bad because he’s been a bright spot for this Red Sox team. 

 

Craig Kimbrel

Getting away from the position players whom the fans vote for and moving on to the pitchers, it’s easy to see that Craig Kimbrel is a lock. He’s been the best closer in baseball and is having a historic season. He’ll make the team no matter what and unless he has an awful month before the game, he’ll be trotting out of the bullpen for the American League in any save situation.

 

Chris Sale

I mean, in my humble opinion Chris Sale is another lock for the All Star team and he could be the American League’s starter. He hasn’t even pitched that well in his last month or so, but that’s by his standards. He’s still sixth in the AL in ERA, second in wins, third in WHIP, sixth in WAR, first in strikeouts and second in innings pitched. He’s been simply dominant, even when he doesn’t have his best nights. 

Should he start the game? No, not as of right now. Dallas Kuechel or Ervin Santana would be my pick, but Sale is right there. 

 

That’s it for the guys that should be playing in the All Star game for the Red Sox and the guys that are just missing a spot on the team. Everyone else needs to step their game up because frankly, the stats don’t lie and they haven’t been nearly good enough. Hopefully that will change over the next month or so.

Baseball has a pace of play issue that has been well documented for some time now. Many fans complain about how long the game takes and cite that as a reason for why they don’t watch games that much. I consider myself a bit of a baseball purist, and I like the way the game is for the most part. I don’t hate long games and think too many fans are just impatient these days. I love long baseball games, but I don’t like when games run long because of wasted time.

Last night, the Red Sox and the Tigers played for four hours and six minutes on Sunday Night Baseball. The night before, the same two teams played a three hour and thirty-nine minute game. Both games were examples of why people can’t sit through a full matchup on a regular basis in my opinion. While baseball is trying to make changes to shorten the length of games, they don’t seem to be working all that well. I have one idea in my mind that I want to see put into effect, though it probably never will be.

Mound visits need to be outlawed in baseball. There are way too many of them, either by a manager, a pitching coach, a catcher or an infielder. I don’t understand why they are needed either. Why does a pitcher need someone to calm them down after a mistake? Why do they get a break in the action for someone to talk strategy with them? You don’t see a coach running out to the outfield after a player drops a fly ball to tell them it’s all good.

There are many catchers that feel the need to go out and talk to their pitcher quite often throughout the course of a game, but I can’t think of one that does it more than Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez. I don’t care that he’s going out there to calm down a pitcher that I’m rooting for, it’s still annoying. At the very least, baseball needs to put a limit on how many times this can occur.

On Saturday night, I was at the game and I honestly expected it to go by rather quickly. Chris Sale, a noted fast-worker, was on the mound for the Red Sox and Justin Verlander, an ace in his own right, was pitching for Detroit. The game remained rather low scoring until the eighth inning but it still felt like a long one. The Tigers in particular couldn’t seem to get through a half inning in quicker than 15 minutes and most of this was because of mound visits.

There are other issues in baseball, like how long a pitcher takes to get ready to throw, or batters stepping out of the box as much as they want. Replay reviews are taking too long and fans are flipping the channel to something more fast paced. Like I said, I don’t mind a long game, but let’s have it be efficient at least. Working the count and fouling off pitches takes a while, but it’s a necessity. If it goes to extra innings but there aren’t any unnecessary stoppages, I’ll love it. Just stop with the extra waste that is mound visits, at the very least.

The Red Sox look for the sweep of the Detroit Tigers on Sunday Night Baseball. Drew Pomeranz will take the hill against Daniel Norris.
The Red Sox will try to get back on the winning track against the Tigers as Brian Johnson toes the rubber opposite Jordan Zimmerman. 
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