WINNING WHEN YOU LOSE2 Oct | '2015
Greeting Loyal Airmen, with the regular baseball season coming to an end and the start of the play-offs just around the corner, we thought we’d look back on this season and the up and down struggles of our beloved Red Sox. If you aren’t into sports, feel free to skip this week’s entry and we’ll see you back here next week.
XANDER BOAGEARTS & BROCK HOLT
After last year’s disastrous season, it was general accepted it was the Sox lack of hitting that doomed them thus over the winter months between 2014 and 2015, management set about bringing in more sluggers and thus picked up Hanley Ramirez and Pedro Sandoval to join Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino in backing up its regulars ala David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia. What was obvious from the start was the fact that no real focus was put on going after super Ace Pitchers. It became a regular debate in Spring Training. Could the Sox bat their way to victory with a mediocre pitching squad.
MOOKIE BETTS & RUSNEY COSTILLO
When April came along, the mixture of old players with new was almost 50/50. Xander Bogaerts returned to play short-stop with the hopes that this season his hitting would improve. Brock Holt returned as a super utility player who could play most of the outfield and infield positions. In fact the only two positions he didn’t play that first half was pitching and catching. He would ultimately get picked to play in the All Star Game. Mookie Betts, the speedy outfielder also returned along with Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Unfortunately Jackie was in a hitting slump and sent back down to Triple A soon. Of course as all of us know, the season start was an abject failure, as the pitchers just weren’t up to winning games and all too soon the Sox were dropping to the bottom of the AL East. Then they lost Pedroia to the Disabled List and their primary catcher, Vasquez for the entire season.
BLAKE SWIHART & JACKIE BRADLEY JR.
Blake Swihart was brought up from Trip A to be the new catcher and he delivered. Not only could he play in the big leagues, but his hitting was great. By the All Star Break Victorino was let go and Napoli soon followed and Ramirez, a total failure in left field was injured and sidelined. So Bradley Jr. was brought back from Triple A and he was a totally different player. Now the outfield was guarded by three of the finest young players in baseball, Rusney Castillo in left, Jackie in center and Mookie in right and just like that the outfield was one of the finest in all of baseball.
And with Napoli gone from first base, as yet another rookie was brought up. This time it was power hitter Travis Shaw who would be put in the line up after Ortiz and there deliver constantly. When Pablo Sandoval came down with pneumonia, Brock Holt was set there thus giving us an infield of Hold, Boagearts, Pedroia (back from the DL) and Shaw. Again, top notch, super talented young players. And somehow the enthusiasm these seven rookies brought to the team was infectious as the lackluster pitching also started turning around with both Porcello and Miley at long last finding their groove.
Thus for the second half, we Red Sox watched a team with absolutely no hopes of making the play-offs go out night after night with nothing to lose…play their hearts out. And guess what, they started winning…against the top tier teams. Night after night putting such amazing displays of hitting and jaw-dropping defensive catches to make us once again cheer and smile. Yup, the losing first half of this 2015 season was certainly brutal, but its end result, with these Magnificent Seven rookies has been so much fun to watch. We only pray Red Sox management is paying attention and will hold on to this roster for next season, while being smart enough to go out and find some Ace pitchers to deliver solid outings. If they can do that, then, if only by sheer whimsy, they’ll have taken victory out of defeat. GO SOX!!
Ron – Over & Out!