Monday, November 24, 2014

Red Sox Add Power To Their Lineup

Five times in the 21st Century the Red Sox have advanced at least as far as the American League Championship Series and they have won the World Series three times.  A common theme among those five teams were offenses that dominated their opponents.

In 2003, when the team lost in Game 7 of the ALCS, the Red Sox led the A.L. with 961 runs and did so again in their World Series championship season of 2004 with 949 runs.  The 2007 team was just third in runs scored with 867 but won the World Series.  In 2008, again losing in Game 7 of the ALCS, they finished second in the league in runs scored with 845.  Their 2013 World Series team led the A.L. with 853 runs.

The 2014 Red Sox team - you know, the one that won 71 games and finished last in their division - was eleventh in the A.L. in runs with just 634.

That dramatic drop-off in run production and in wins has led general manager Ben Cherington to be very aggressive in adding offense.  It started at the trade deadline when he dealt Jon Lester to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes and when he dealt John Lackey to St. Louis for Allen Craig.  The team also signed Cuban defector Rusney Castillo.

That trend continued today as they seem to be on the verge of announcing the signings of both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, the two most sought after hitters available in free agency.  These additions would certainly bolster the Red Sox offense while also providing Cherington with enough trade chips to add at least one top of the rotation starting pitcher.

There are many possibilities for Cherington right now.  My uneducated opinion is that he will flip Cespedes and at least one pitching prospect to the Phillies in exchange for Cole Hamels and then also sign Lester, the ace they traded away in July but would, reportedly, be welcome to a return to Boston. Allen Craig is also a probable target to be dealt, possibly for bullpen depth.

Again, that's just a guess.  There will be a multitude of rumors swirling around regarding the Red Sox.  Xander Bogaerts could be dealt.  Maybe Mike Napoli will be traded and they'll keep Craig. Shane Victorino, Mookie Betts and Castillo will also hear their names in trade talks.  Until all the chips have fallen, there's no way to tell what might happen.

However, for the purposes of this ramble, let's assume that Cespedes and Craig are the odd men out. That would make this a likely lineup for John Farrell's team this spring:

1. Mookie Betts, CF (RH)
2.  Dustin Pedroia, 2B (RH)
3. David Ortiz, DH (LH)
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF (RH)
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B (S)
6. Mike Napoli, 1B (RH)
7. Xander Bogaerts, SS (RH)
8. Rusney Castillo, RF (RH)
9. Christian Vazquez, C (RH)

Obviously there are no championships handed out in November and there are many moving pieces in the 2015 Red Sox puzzle but the prospect of seeing that lineup, or one of similar make up, every day is good news for Red Sox Nation as they hope the team can rebuild quickly and once again contend to win the World Series.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Week 12 Football Picks

All picks against the spread and home team in CAPS.

NCAA

Minnesota (+10) over NEBRASKA 
OREGON (-32.5) over Colorado
Missouri (+4) over TENNESSEE 
Mississippi (-3.5) over ARKANSAS 
FLORIDA STATE (-17) over Boston College

Last Week: 4-1
Season: 31-22-2

NFL

Browns (+3) over FALCONS
Titans (+11) over EAGLES
Lions (+7.5) over PATRIOTS
Packers (-7.5) over VIKINGS
Jaguars (+14) over COLTS
Bengals (+2) over TEXANS
BEARS (-5) over Buccaneers
Cardinals (+7) over SEAHAWKS 
Rams (+5) over CHARGERS
Dolphins (+6.5) over BRONCOS
49ERS (-8) over Redskins
Cowboys (-3) over GIANTS
Bills (-2) over Jets (game played in Detroit)
Ravens (+3) over SAINTS

Last Week: 6-8
This Week: 0-1
Season: 77-81-3

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday Football Pick

Chiefs (-7.5) over RAIDERS 

Last Week: 6-8
Season: 77-80-3

Friday, November 14, 2014

Week 11 Football Picks

All picks against the spread and home team in CAPS.

NCAA

Mississippi State (+9.5) over ALABAMA
Louisiana State (+1) over ARKANSAS
Florida State (-2.5) over MIAMI
GEORGIA (-2.5) over Auburn
Michigan State (-11) over MARYLAND

Last Week: 4-1
Season: 27-21-2

NFL

BROWNS (-3) over Texans
Vikings (+3) over BEARS
Seahawks (+2.5) over CHIEFS
Falcons (-1) over PANTHERS 
Bengals (+7) over SAINTS
Buccaneers (+7.5) over REDSKINS 
Broncos (-9) over RAMS
49ers (-3.5) over GIANTS
CHARGERS (-10) over Raiders
Eagles (+5) over PACKERS
CARDINALS (Pick) over Lions
Patriots (+3) over COLTS
Steelers (-6) over TITANS

Last Week: 6-7
This Week: 0-1
Season: 71-73-3




Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Football Pick

Bills (+4.5) over DOLPHINS

Last Week: 6-7
Season: 71-72-3