Red Sox Cream Sale, White Sox

The Red Sox came back to cream the White Sox in an 8-2 blowout.  The rare thing is, the White Sox were the first to score on a Jose Abreu dinger bringing Adam Eaton home.  2-0 Chicago.  But that was only the top of the 1st.

In the bottom of that very inning, Xander Bogaerts singled on a sharp line drive deflecting off Chris Sale, hurting him, and passing shortstop Alexei Ramirez.    He stole second and went ot third on a wild alpitch.  Ortiz doubled down the right field line to drive him in.

In the bottom of the 4th, it was still 2-1.  Ortiz singled, and Napoli walked him to second.  Castillo grounded into a force out, Napoli getting out and Castillo being safe at first with Big Papi on third.  Then Panda got hit, but swung, so it was strike three called.  Sandoval had to leave the game due to a her and injury (Handoval?) and Josh Rutledge again took over at third.  Can Panda last you 9 inning games?

The Red Sox finally followed through in the 5th inning.  JBJ was hit by the pitch, and Holt grounded into a force out, Bradley out at second, Holt safe.  Then Bogaerts singled as he dashed to third.  Hanley Ramirez singled Holt in, and it was still 1st and 3rd, and even though he looked hurt, he was fine and stayed in.  Then Big Papi singled Bogaerts in, and the Red Sox had themselves a 3-2 lead.

They rallied again in the 6th.  They loaded the bases, with a Castillo single, Rutledge HBP, and Swihart single.  JBJ singled again and the bases remained loaded, but it was 4-2.  Holt hits a 2 run single.  1st and 3rd, 6-2 Red Sox.  Matt Albers comes in on relief.  Bogaerts sac fly.  7-2.  After two outs and a Big Papi IBB, as the inning ends.  Albers was stupid to walk his former teammate.  In the 7th,

Castillo gets his 2nd dinger this season, a solo shot in to dead center.  The game ended with pitchers luck, and Leury Garcia, a member of my Tap Baseball team, pinch hitting for catcher Tyler Flowers and a strike out victim of Junichi Tazawa, who closed the game.

The Red Sox split the series with Chicago, but are stillclear sellers at today’s deadline.  Watch for July Rankings and a deadline recap, for Boston and all blockbuster trades, including Scott Kazmir’s trade to Houston, known to me as this year’s kickoff trade.

Breaking Now: Brady Suspension Upheld

Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension for being accused of DeflateGate has been upheld by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Roger Goodell, are you crazy?  Greg Hardy’s suspension for abusing his girlfriend was reduced from 10 games to 4 games, and Brady’s stays at 4?  Hardy broke not just NFL rules, but the law!!  Brady only broke the NFL rules, and allegedly cheated, but he still has minded the law.  Reduce it to two games at least!!!

Especially being a Pats fan, I am very annoyed by this!!  Not just this though, annoyed with all of Goodell’s stupid decisions.  Replace Goodell with a reasonable commissioner.  One who if they can’t come up with good suspension logic, either ditch suspensions altogether, or don’t let crooks like Peterson and Rice play and leave guys like Brady alone.  OK, it was smart to change the deflation rules but I can’t think of any other smart decision Goodell has made!!!  Fans don’t want to see crooks play football.  Hockey and baseball are managed way better than this.  You might as well call it crook ball.

Back on Brady’s case, I think he should take it to federal court.  Now that it’s going to court, what Brady did or didn’t do will not be discussed.  This case will be all about how Brady was treated unfairly by the NFL.  So, Brady still could have his suspension reduced, to no games because if Adrian Peterson can win his appeal, why can’t Brady? Evidence that he destroyed his phone used from November to March, with over 10,000 texts on it as nothing to do with this case.  He wasn’t going to give up his phone, whether he deleted it or not, so this is not really new info.   I believe in Brady, and the rule change just proves that the NFL admits they had bad rules.  Why should a player get suspended for breaking a rule that was poorly constructed?  Makes no sense.  Things could go in any direction for Brady at this point, but I think he could still get off clean and lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl 50 victory.  Brady has always shown that when people doubt him, he rises to the challenge.  If this DeflateGate circus is not the best motivation he’s had since being drafted, I don’t know what is.

After Deadline: Sox Moves and Starters for 8/1

I did an article a week ago about the Red Sox, as BUYERS.  Look, the Sox are sellers again, lets face it?  But what should they do?  Well, lets start with who to sell.

Napoli needs to find a new team, or get released.  I still think you should sell Napoli and Koji in one deal, but for a young right handed pitcher. I liked the move with Victorino.  Maybe also sell De Aza, but not without an interested team willing to give you wicked good prospects.  They should have some luck finding one after what De Aza’s done.

Well, what do they do without Victorino, Napoli, Koji and maybe De Aza?

Well, lets start with the starting nine.  In the outfield, I’d try a Bradley Jr./Betts/Castillo outfield.  It’s better to experiment now then realize it won’t work next March.   Nava?  If this outfield isn’t reasonable for 2016, bring in Nava to replace the struggling youngster next year.

Now onto the infield.  Keep Panda at third.  Even though first is an easy position, he’s made so many errors, and changing positions could just cause more.  Bogaerts fits great at short.  Pedroia’s got second covered, but while he’s on the DL and Holt’s day to day, try Josh Rutledge at second.  Rutledge was acquired for Victorino.  Holt can also play it when he returns.  First is another issue.  Holt, Shaw, Big Papi, I’d try Big Papi again at first, but if he doesn’t hit well with it, then it’s only temporary.  Train Ramirez at first.  Start the Hanley at first experiment now.  We all know that when Papi retires Ramirez will be best at DH.  The Sox already said they signed him for his hitting, not his fielding.

At catcher, it’s a no-brainer.  Don’t change anything.  Swihart, and Hanigan for now, but Vazquez and Swihart next year.  And Big Papi is a lock at DH, as long as he wants to keep playing.  When Holt comes back, he’s a lock at second by the way.

Here’s my lineup for them.  If Castillo hits well, try him earlier in.  But, really, not much change is required.

Betts CF

Holt 2B

Bogaerts SS

Ortiz DH

Ramirez 1B

Sandoval 3B

Castillo RF

Bradley Jr. LF

Hanigan C

Now for pitching.  The rotation needs a fix.  First up should be Eduardo Rodriguez.  He’s a young starter of the future that needs to be treated like the ace now, with Buchholz on the DL until most likely September.  Second, Wade Miley.  He still has been decent throughout the year, and you have to be able to count on him.  Third, I regret it, but you’re stuck with Porcello.  Pay him $22 million for nothing, and that’s just what happens. Fourth, I’d call up Henry Owens, starting super-prospect.  However he’s doing in Pawtucket, give him a try.  Maybe he’ll be the next Eddie Rodriguez. Give Johnson another try to wrap up the rotation.  But that would be four lefty pitchers.  If that doesn’t work, option Johnson down, and replace him with Steven Wright or the young righty you get for Koji.   The young knuckleballer has a long career ahead of him, and if he can adapt to a complete MLB environment, he might go down as a famous knuckle ball pitcher someday.  And whoever that guy is, you need to consider him.  When Buchholz returns, likely not till mid-September as he was transferred to the 60 day DL, maybe not for the rest of the season, bump everyone down a spot, and send either Wright or Owens to the bullpen.

Lastly, the bullpen.  Justin Masterson, Craig Breslow, Robbie Ross Jr. and Tommy Layne are your everyday relievers.  Then you have Junichi Tazawa, your set up man, Alexi Ogando, a speed thrower, and Joe Kelly, a possible minor leaguer.  Kelly can’t start, but he can pitch an inning or two decently.  Make him the closer.  If he stinks at closer, try out Ogando closing.  Why Ogando?  One, he has an 100 mph fastball, two he’s a former Rangers starter, so it’s not a big move.  If they make those moves, the future is very bright for the Sox in 2016, maybe not until 2017 or 18 if they need a couple developmental years, but the future is bright, with plenty of prospects you can count on waiting to be recalled from the farm system.

Red Sox Second Half & Trade Dealine Preview

The Red Sox have struggled over the past couple days, and even though it’s hitting struggling, pitching is still the main problem.  They need to make a big pitching move.  

I’d personally trade guys like JBJ, Swihart, maybe throw on Mike Napoli for Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto.  I’d also maybe trade Uehara and possibly Napoli for a legit first baseman like Lucas Duda or Justin Smoak.  Besides, the Jays need a new closer.  

If they can just win the next few, and go on a winning surge, they can transform into buyers at the deadline and make those trades.  From there, they should be able to win some more and maybe get into the playoffs.  I still believe the Red Sox, especially with such a weak AL East.  Maybe they can take the division with not even more than like 85 wins.  

Guys like Eddie Rodriguez, Brock Holt, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts along with vets Pablo Sandoval, Big Papi, Clay Buchholz in his return and Hanley Ramirez and rising stars Daniel Nava, Alejandro De Aza, Rusney Castillo and Shane Victorino will be key to the second half.

Ramirez Does It Again, Red Sox Defeat Yankees

The Red Sox tied up their weekend series versus the Yankees by winning 5-3 last night.  E-Rod gave up one of his two earned runs in the 1st.  A-Rod faced E-Rod, and he homered again over the monster, just like he did off Clay Buchholz.  But after that, things went diferently as the Sox lineup struck.

In the 3rd inning, De Aza simply singled.  Then he stole second, the ball went off hsi helmet, and he just kept on going to third base.  It was a throwing error by catcher John Ryan Murphy.  Hanigan did his job and grounded out to score De Aza and tie the game at 1.  The Sox had blown a 2nd inning first and third off a Big Papi double and Hanley Ramirez single, though. Panda and Napoli blew it, with a pop out, then a double play.  In the bottom of the 4th, Ortiz, Ramirez and Sandoval were due up, their best three.  Ortiz singled.  Then Hanley gave the Sox a 3-1 lead with a 2 run home run, his 19th of the season.  Ramirez is tied for 8th in AL home runs and has as many as Orioles star third baseman Manny Machado.

In the 5th inning, Jacoby Ellsbury homered for the Yankees just like he did at Fenway with Boston, every once in a while, to make it 3-2 Red Sox.  They secured their lead in the seventh inning.  De Aza singled, and he went to second on a ground out by Hanigan.  2 down, 1 on.  What are the chances of scoring two runs in the inning?  Not so high, but the Red Sox went out and did it.  Adam Warren came in, and Mookie Betts tripled off him.  A home run, which was doubtful, and he had the cycle.  Holt then walked.  1st and 3rd.  And Betts scored on Xander Bogaerts’ infield single that made it 5-2 Red Sox, 1st and 2nd, 2 outs.  The Yankees third pitcher came in.  Unfortunately, he was enough to settle down the Sox hitters, even though Big Papi walked the bases loaded.  Ramirez was a strike out victim with bases loaded.  He could of hit a grand slam, for 20 homers and a 9-2 lead.  RISP trouble stopped him and it didn’t happen.  There were two outs though, so what do you expect.  There’s about a 50-50 chance another run will score.  Grand slam?  Like a 1 in 50 chance.  Or, okay, maybe more like 1 in 10, 1 in 15 or 1 in 20.

Rob Refsnyder was debuting at second for the Yankees and didn’t get a hit, so he wasn’t a help when they scored in the 8th.  Yes, the Yankees cut the lead short in the 8th, making it 5-3 on Jacoby Ellsbury’s infield single, and a double by Brett Gardner to score him.  Koji came in.  He gave up a double, but retired the rest of the batters.  The Red Sox tied the series at 1-1 with a 5-3 win.  For some reason, they aren’t on Sunday Night Baseball because they aren’t that great of a match-up anymore.  The Cardinals and Pirates fighting for the NL Central are.  They play the finalke at 1:30.  Don’t miss it, or my recap on it.

Porcello Bounces Back, Red Sox Sweep Marlins

The Red Sox won their fourth in a row last night against the Marlins.  They started out defensively, but rallied in the third.  Ryan Hanigan walked and Mookie Betts went to second on a throwing error by starting pitcher Tom Koehler, and Ryan Hanigan went to third.  Then Holt grounded out, scoring Hanigan and getting Betts on third, scoring first and making it 1-0.  Then Xander Bogaerts got another all star quality infield single to score Betts.  But they weren’t done.  Big Papi crushed and opposite field 2 run homer over the monster to give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead.  Ortiz had his fifteenth on the season, and is only nineteen shy of the 500 home run club.

Porcello was caught in another middle inning jam though.  It was first and second from singles by Dietrich and Michael Morse.  Realmuto knocked in a run with a third single.  1st and 3rd.  Cole Gillespie hit a fourth straight to knock in a second run.  1st and 2nd, 4-2 Boston.  But Miami wasn’t done, although they almost were.  Suzuki’s single loaded the bases, but Porcello got two clean outs to end the inning and got some strike outs in the other middle innings of the game.

In the 6th, Ortiz led off with a ground rule double.  Hanley Ramirez singled as he advanced to third.  Then Sandoval grounded into a double play, but that didn’t stop the Sox.  Ortiz scored, emptying the bases and extending the Sox lead to 5-2.

The 7th inning brought more offense.  Dyson had a throwing error, causing Alejandro De Aza to reach.  He went to second on the first out.  Then Mookie Betts struck out, and De Aza took off, and the third baseman couldn’t catch it, and De Aza scored on the left fielder’s throw.

Michael Morse homered solo in the 8th to make it 6-3.  But the Red Sox held on, and Uehara earned his 21st save of the season.  Breaking 20 saves is big for him, bringing him close to the best of closers.  The Red Sox swept the Marlins in a mini series.  They need to take at least 2 out of 3 from the Yanks to be for real.  Can they, with Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Miller, former Sox returing from the DL?

Hanigan Goes 3-3, Red Sox Top Astros

The Red Sox took their third straight series yesterday for the first time since the very start of the season, beating the Astros 5-4. Hanley Ramirez’s go-ahead homer over the monster boosted the Red Sox in the 7th inning, giving them the 5-4 lead. They did score first though, and were up 3-1 until the 7th inning. 
It all started in the 2nd inning. Hanley Ramirez led off walking. Then, Pablo Sandoval singled, and Ramirez was out at third. Sandoval did advance to second on the throw though. Alejandro De Aza followed with another walk. 1st and 2nd. Then Ryan Hanigan got his first of three hits and a walk in the game, a single to score Panda and get De Aza to third base.  
In the 4th, the Astros tied it back up for E-Rod’s only earned run. Rodriguez also went a good 5 innings. Only twice in his career has he given up more than one run in a start. Luis Valbuena walked and Marwin Gonzalez singled him to second. Jake Marisnick singled to score Valbuena and send Gonzalez into scoring position at third.  
In the 5th, the Sox had 2nd and 3rd. Hanigan had singled, and Betts doubled him to third. Bogaerts grounded into fielder’s choice and Hanigan was out at the plate while Betts kept running, making it safely to third. But he didn’t score either. Very disappointing RISP trouble. 2nd and 3rd, no outs. Seriously?  
In the 6th, they finally scored again, not just once, but twice. Ramirez was safe at first on an error by the shortstop. Then Sandoval doubled and Ramirez came all the way around to score. Shane Victorino bunted to the pitcher, advancing the Panda to third. Ryan Hanigan got a third single to score him. Betts walked, and it was first and second, but with two outs, and a third came fast on Brock Holt.  
But in the top of the seventh, everything changed. It had been 3-1 Red Sox. Then came trouble. Jose Altuve led off with a singled. Kevin Correa came up with one out.  

Altuve stole second. Then thirty seconds later, the ball was in the monster seats. The Astros had tied it 3-3 with a 2 run homer by Correa over the monster, scoring Altuve. In another thirty seconds, the Astros had back to back homers and a 4-3 lead. Evan Gattis knocked the second straight over the monster, all off poor Alexi Ogamdo, who came out after one more batter got out. 
But Hanley Ramirez changed everything in the bottom of that very inning. Frustrated supposedly from playing first base, Big Papi walked. Then Hanley Ramirez came up. In another thirty seconds, he blasted the ball over the monster for a go-ahead 2 run homer that gave the Red Sox the 5-4 lead.     
Even while using six pitchers, two only facing a batter each, one E-Rod, one gave up back to back homers, and Tazawa and Uehara got the job done, Uehara earned the save for the Sox and they won 5-4. They face the Marlins the 7th and 8th in a two game interleague series, with rest tomorrow and the day after the series.
They play these at Fenway Park, and play two more in Miami August 11th and 12th. I’m attending the 11th game with family while vacationing in Florida. We’re staying in Boca Raton with my grandparents and going to Miami with my grandpa, uncle, cousins, brother and dad.
Then, before the all star break, the Sox have a chance to gain in the division as they host the Yankees at Fenway. Will they gain some games on the AL East and turn it around? I still am a Sox believer. Admit it, they were worse last year, even if they spent all this money for a fourth or last place team SO FAR this year. Meaning they could change and get better, or just get better coming in to the all star break. Besides, because they’ve not been so hot, the players aren’t all stars and they get plenty of rest before their west road trip to Anaheim and Houston.  

My All Star Picks: AL

Well, there are plenty of guys in the AL who have done well, even though the NL is taking some of the good starters. Sonny Gray will have to represent the Athletics as they have a lousy lineup. Although he has a stomach flu, he started the season with an ERA under 2.00 and kept it until June. It now hovers at about 2.05. King Felix hasn’t been dominant, but will take a spot. Chris Archer is in his prime years as well and he deserves a spot. David Price should also get a spot. I have Dallas Keuchel as a fifth guy, and sleeper. He’s an out breaker going 10-3 with the AL for the first year. Ervin Santana is out of it because he just returned from an 80 game season starting suspension, and Chris Sale is below his s expectations. So my final list is
1. Sonny Gray OAK

2. Felix Hernandez SEA

3. Chris Archer TB

4. David Price DET

5. Dallas Keuchel HOU
Darren O’Day should definitely earn one spot as a reliever. His sidearm form is one of my favorites by a pitcher. Glen Perkins earns the second spot. He has 23 saves, the most in the AL, and closed last year at Target Field. The final spot is a tough one, but I’d say Sean Doolittle as a sleeper. He is underestimated by fans, and I think it’s time he shows the world what he can do.  
My List

1. Darren O’ Day BAL

2. Glen Perkins MIN

3. Sean Doolittle OAK


My Vote Was: Russell Martin TOR

It Was: Salvador Perez KC

If anyone reserves at catcher, it should be Russell Martin. Martin got the second most votes of all stars and unlike most catchers, bats second, and he can hit too. It’s not his defense, but also his hitting. Rookie Stephen Vogt has also shocked everyone, but I’m not a big fan of Vogt. A third candidate is Kurt Suzuki, who took over as starter for Joe Mauer, now at first base.  
First Base

My Vote: Miguel Cabrera DET

Actual: Miguel Cabrera DET 
Cabrera’s Reserve
I believe Rangers Prince Fielder will take over for Miggy. He has an average over .350 and occasionally also plays DH, but was categorized as first base in the voting. Eric Hosmer of Kansas City is also a candidate, but I think he might be a better reserve.  
As I said earlier, Hosmer and Fielder. Albert Pujols is another candidate as he joins the 500 HR club this year. Jose Abreu isn’t as dominant as last year, so I don’t think he can. Mark Teixeira also is a home run champ after struggling for years following an injury.  
Second Base

My Vote: Jason Kipnis CLE

Actual Starter: Jose Altuve HOU
Dustin Pedroia would be a choice if he wasn’t hurt, leaving room for guys like Jason Kipnis. Ian Kinsler is also a sleeper pick of mine. Why else would the Tigers trade Prince Fielder for him, if he’s not good. Kipnis has put up the better stats though. And with the Royal overload, I don’t think Omar Infante should be mentioned. Slugger Brian Dozier is a third option after the derby last year and Robinson Cano was never even thought of, he’s a candidate too.  
My Pick: Jose Reyes TOR

Actual: Alcides Escobar KC
OK, Reyes would overload the roster with Jays guys, so I would say Asdrubal Cabrera is first choice, a sleeper. He’s been helpful in replacing Ben Zobrist and is a good slugging partner for Evan Longoria. Xander Bogaerts is another candidate, and they need a Red Sox representative. I also like Elvis Andrus as a second Rangers guy. Their lineup, including Andrus is dominant. 
Third Base
My Vote: Mike Moustakas KC

Actual: Josh Donaldson TOR

I definitely think Mike Moustakas can still make the roster even with Royals overload. Evan Longoria, Rays star is another option for the roster. Manny Machado of Baltimore is another legit candidate. And there may be room for Adrian Beltre of Texas, former Red Sox player. David Freese of the Angels is also a candidate, but not all star worthy. I even think Kyle Seager is an option. Third base is tight as even Pablo Sandoval of Boston has been hot.  
Designated Hitter
My Vote: Nelson Cruz SEA

Actual: Nelson Cruz SEA
Kendrys Morales is good, but out of the picture. I think David Ortiz definitely has a chance, in what might be his last year. Edwin Encarnacion is a second AL East candidate, but I think Alex Rodriguez has the biggest shot, retiring strong from a steroid suspension and proving he has power without steroids. Victor Martinez of Detroit, an ex-Sox catcher and first baseman is a fifth option. Evan Gattis of Houston is even pretty good. Even Billy Butler’s OK.  

My Votes: Mike Trout LAA, Michael Brantley, CLE, Jacoby Ellsbury, NYY

Actual: Mike Trout, LAA, Alex Gordon, KC, Lorenzo Cain, KC
Jose Bautista is a clear candidate for the outfield, and Hanley Ramirez is a Red Sox sleeper. Adam Jones should get a spot though. Ramirez, Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Rios, Melky Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Josh Hamilton, Ben Zobrist, Colby Rasmus and even Austin Jackson are candidates that could take second, third, even fourth spots.
Final Roster
Name. Position Team Representative? Starter? 

 Jose Altuve. 2B. HOU. Yes. Yes

 Elvis Andrus. SS. TEX. No. No

 Chris Archer. SP. TB. Yes. No

 Jose Bautista. OF. TOR. No. No

 Adrian Beltre. 3B. TEX. No. No

 Xander Bogaerts. SS. BOS. Yes. No

 Asdrubal Cabrera. SS. TB. No. No

 Lorenzo Cain. OF. KC. No. Yes

 Yoenis Cespedes. OF. DET. No. No

 Nelson Cruz. DH. SEA. Yes Yes

 Josh Donaldson. 3B. TOR. Yes. Yes

 Sean Doolittle. RP. OAK. No. No

 Edwin Encarnacion. DH. TOR. No. No

 Alcides Escobar. SS. KC. Yes. Yes

 Prince Fielder. 1B. TEX. Yes. Yes

 Alex Gordon. OF. KC. No. Yes

 Sonny Gray. SP. OAK. Yes. Yes

 Felix Hernandez. SP. SEA. No. No

 Eric Hosmer. 1B. KC. No. No

 Adam Jones. OF. BAL. No. No

 Dallas Keuchel. SP. HOU. No. No

 Jason Kipnis. 2B. CLE. Yes. No

 Manny Machado. 3B. BAL. No. No

 Russell Martin. C. TOR. No. No

 Victor Martinez. DH. DET. No. No

 Mike Moustakas. 3B. KC. No. No

 Darren O’ Day. RP. BAL. Yes. No

 Salvador Perez. C. KC. No. Yes

 Glen Perkins. CL. MIN. Yes. No

 David Price. SP. DET. Yes. No

 Colby Rasmus. OF. HOU. No. No

 Alex Rodriguez. DH. NYY. Yes. No

 Kurt Suzuki. C. MIN. No. No

 Mark Teixeira. 1B. NYY. No. No

 Mike Trout. OF. LAA. Yes. Yes

Buchholz Pitches Complete Game, Red Sox Top Astros

Buchholz Pitches Complete Game, Red Sox Top Astros

The Red Sox easily edged the Astros 6-1 and Clay Buchholz pitched a 7 hit, 8 strikeout complete game. In the nine starts before this one, Buchholz had put up a whopping 2.13 ERA. That’s nearly as good as Sonny Gray’s seasonal ERA.  
It was also Shane Victorino’s first game back, and he turned a 6 game hitting streak into seven games. He had come Inuit before hitting the 15 day disabled list for the second time in May. After giving up a ground rule double and giving up nothing with a man on third, the Red Sox struck.  
Mookie Betts even got the lead off hitter out on a leaping catch against the wall. Betts led off walking. Brock Holt singled him to third, and Bogaerts singled to score the lead off. Unfortunately, RISP trouble held them to just that one run.  
In the second, they struck again. Shane Victorino singled, and Sandy Leon singled to get him to third. Mookie Betts then hit a sacrifice fly and Victorino scored. Buchholz gave up nothing more until the fifth inning, not one hit.
The Red Sox rallied in the fifth. Holt advanced two bases on a throwing error by the catcher. Then Xander Bogaerts doubled to score him. In the sixth, they did it again. Sandy Leon singled, and Mookie Betts doubled to score Leon.  
In the eighth, Buchholz was still in and strong, with 5 H, 8 K and 0 ER. Then the Red Sox had an even bigger rally. Victorino singled, and he went to second on Sandy Leon’s single to shallow left. Then Mookie Betts did it again with an RBI double down the third base line, and it was 2nd and 3rd with no outs. They scored one more with two outs. Big Papi was intentionally walked to load the bases. Then Alejandro De Aza reached on an infield single to score Leon, and keep the loaded bases. But Sandoval popped out to end it. Still, it was 6-0 with only one inning to go.
Buchholz finished what he started, but struggled in the ninth. They wanted to keep him in the whole game, but he was getting tired. He just might have enough to complete the game. Jose Altuve singled, and went to second on a wild pitch. He advanced to third on fielder’s indifference. Luis Valbuena singled him in, with two strikes and two down! 6-1 Red Sox. Buchholz finished and got the next batter out to end it.
The Red Sox had a blowout over the Astros, the top and bottom of the lineup doing most of the work. Shane Victorino came back strong and Sandy Leon got two hits. Betts, Holt and Bogaerts also helped. See them play this weekend series’ finale.  
Also, I’d like to say happy birthday to my closest friend Joe, today, my brother Ryan, July 5 and my mom, July 10. Also, it’s my parents 25th anniversary of their first kiss, at the Boston Pops Fireworks. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that day. Congratulations to them. We’re trying to relive the moment, except Ryan and I are going. Happy fourth to all!!

NFL 2015 Preview & Draft Recap by Division: NFC East

This year, I am doing a 2015 preview along with draft analysis, doing one post per division and one playoff preview post.  I have started with the NFC East.  Do you have NFC East predictions?  Comment on it at the bottom of the post.

Overview of Records Projected


NFC East

Philadelphia 11-5

Dallas 10-6

NY Giants 8-8

Washington 5-11

Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)


Round   Pick   Player                       College   Pos.  Grade

1           20       Nelson Agholor         USC       WR      B

2           15       Eric Rowe                 Utah        CB      B

3           20       Jordan Hicks            Texas     ILB       B

6           15       JaCorey Sheperd     Kansas    CB      B

6           20       Randall Evans          Kansas State   CB  B

7           20      Brian Mihalik            Boston College  DE   C

Overall: B

This new squad traded quarterbacks with the Rams, which means they have injury prone Sam Bradford as a starting QB.  They dropped star running back LeSean McCoy, but brought in former Cowboys even bigger star, DeMarco Murray at running back.  The defense could still use some improvement, but the offense is a complete powerhouse that can boost them a couple of games beyond the past two years’ 10-6 record.

My Pick: 11-5

Dallas Cowboys

Draft Results & My Grades

Round   Pick    Player                 Pos.   College     Grade

1            27       Byron Jones      CB      UConn        C

2           28        Randy Gregory   OLB   Nebraska    A

3          27           Chaz Green       OT     Florida        C

4         28            Damien Wilson   ILB    Minnesota   C

5        27             Ryan Russell      DE     Purdue       C

7       19             Mark Nzeocha    OLB   Wyoming   C

7       26             Laurence Gibson   OT  Virginia Tech  B

7     29                Geoff Swain         TE      Texas         C

Overall: C

Acquiring Darren McFadden as No. 1 running back will never make up for the loss of DeMarco Murray.  However, the receivers and tight ends Tony Romo has access to makes up for it.  The defense also has increased its power since the start of the 2014 season.  So really, their only holes are some defensive positions not currently filled, and running back, so feel okay about your team Cowboys fans, the rest of the Cowboys’ depth will make up for losing Murray without getting an all star running back in return.

My Pick: 10-6

New York Giants


Round   Pick    Player                     Pos.    College    Grade

1           9       Ereck Flowers        OT       Miami (FL)    A

2           1        Landon Collins       S        Alabama       A

3           10     Owa Odighiwuza   DE           UCLA       D

5            8      Mykkele Thompson  S         Texas        C

6           10     Geremy Davis         WR      UConn       C

7            9        Bobby Hart           OT      Florida St.   C

Overall: B

The team is very similar to last year, but there are a few aspects that will make them better.  First, Shane Vereen will take the role as passing back.  Also, Odell Beckham Jr. has improved greatly from last year to this year.  Also, the new defensive picks will definitely improve the defense.  The defense will be a lot better this year.

My Pick: 8-8

Washington Redskins

Draft Picks

Round       Pick     Player                          Pos.   College               Grade

1                  5        Brandon Scherff          OT       Iowa                      A

2                  6        Preston Smith              DE       Mississippi St.      C

3                31        Matt Jones                   RB       Florida                  C

4                 6         Jamison Crowder         WR      Duke                    B

4               13         Arie Kouandjio              OG      Alabama              D

5                 5         Martrell Spaight          OLB      Arkansas             B

6                 5         Kyshoen Jarrett               S      Virginia Tech       C

6                 6         Tevin Mitchel               OLB     Arkansas            B

6               11          Evan Spencer                WR    Ohio State         B

7                 5          Austin Reiter                     C    South Florida     B

Overall: B

They are very similar to last year, but have the added pressure of the carefully chosen rookies.  They lucked out in the draft, making up for trading their No. 2 2014 pick after going 3-13, and being the worst team in the NFC in 2013.   Only the dreaded 2013 2-14 Texans of the AFC were worse then the Skins in the entire 2013 NFL.  I expect a similar record to 2014, maybe raised by a game or two, even without Roy Helu as backup for Alfred Morris.

My Pick: 5-11