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Category Archives: Boston Red Sox

Gelb: Looks like Sandberg is staying in Lehigh

(Yong Kim/Inquirer)

As the Inquirer‘s Matt Gelb points out, it looks like Ryne Sandberg will not be taking his managerial talents to the Windy City or Bean Town.

Sandberg, who managed the Phillies AAA affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs to their first post season appearance last season, could very well be back in Allentown, PA next season.

There are only two managerial vacancies left: the Cubs and the Red Sox. Chicago’s newly appointed GM Theo Epstein said he wants a manager with Major League experience as well as not wanting to have to fire the franchise’s HOF second baseman some day. As for Boston, they never even interviewed Sandberg.

The only other major team in the fray was the St. Louis Cardinals. They did in fact interview Sandberg but they went ahead and signed former catcher Mike Matheny as their new manager.

Also as Gelb points out, which was also pretty talked about when Sandberg was signed last year is the possibility to replace Charlie Manuel. By having Sandberg in the system for next season, the Phillies could continue to groom him as a manager, find a spot on their bench for the 2013 season and possibly hire Sandberg as their next manager once Manuel’s contract is up after 2013 and likely retires.

There are still a ways to go for this ultimate scenario to take shape. But for now, the IronPigs will have another season under a great manager.

Papelbon inks four-year deal with Phils

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

It looked as though the Phillies were going to resign closer Ryan Madson but the deal seemed to fall apart.

Instead they plucked former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon off the free-agent market. The deal is believed to be worth $50 million over four years.

It also includes a vesting option for a fifth year. The contract could reach $60 million when it’s all said and done.

The deal is the richest in MLB history for a closer. It will surpass the five-year, $45 million pact that B.J. Ryan signed with the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2005.

Papelbon was 4-1 with a 2.94 ERA with 31 saves in 63 appearances this year. He has a career 2.33 ERA and 219 saves over his big-league career.

But did the Phillies sign the right closer?

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Boston to interview Phils bench coach for manager

Mackanin

Phillies bench coach for the last three years, Pete Mackanin, is apparently on the Boston Red Sox’s radar as their new manager, reported the Philadelphia Daily News earlier this morning.

After Terry Francona resigned almost a month ago, the Sox have been desperately in need to find themselves a viable manager to replace Francona, who was a player’s manager and helped lead the Red Sox to World Championships in 2004 and 2007.

Mackanin is scheduled to have an interview today, new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington confirmed yesterday to the Boston Globe.

Mackanin has been a Major League interim manager twice: Pittsburgh in 2005 (12-14 record) and Cincinnati in 2007 (41-39). He managed 13 years in the minors as well.

Mackanin has always wanted to be a full time Major League manager and the opportunity couldn’t come any sooner.

“I’ve always hoped that somebody would at least give me an interview,” Mackanin told the Daily News during the NLDS. “Hell, I’m 60 years old, so sooner or later it’s bound to happen. It’s the top of the industry. There’s only 30 jobs like that. I’ve managed my whole life, so it would be great. It would be fun to have the chance.”

The greatest night of baseball: Phils, Manuel set franchise records

Atlanta's Martin Prado and Dan Uggla sit in the dugout after their loss to the Phillies cemented one of the biggest collapses in baseball history. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

How do you recap such an incredible night of baseball?

Records, drama, comebacks, chokes. It’s all a part of what makes the game of baseball special, and that all happened in one night.

Atlanta, GA: The Philadelphia Phillies trail the Braves, 3-2, in the top of the 9th. Rookie closer Craig Kimbrel was three strikes away from guaranteeing at least one more game of Braves baseball. The first batter, Placido Polanco, ripped a lead off single into right field. Two batters later, Ben Francisco and Jimmy Rollins worked back-to-back walks to load the bases with one out. Chase Utley followed with a sacrifice fly to score pinch runner Pete Orr and tie the game…

Houston, TX: The Cardinals just blew out the Houston Astros, 8-0, to win their 90th game of the season, putting them 1/2 a game ahead of the Braves for the NL Wild Card. Sitting in their clubhouse, they anxiously waited for the Phils and Braves to end…

Atlanta: In the 13th inning, Hunter Pence drove in Brian Schneider to give the Phils a 4-3 lead. They would go on to win a franchise record 102 wins and give Charlie Manuel a franchise record 646th win. It completed the Braves miserable choke. The Cardinals were in, the Braves were shut out.

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Four teams splash big at the deadline

Phillies OF Hunter Pence. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The final week leading up to the trade deadline makes for some of the most exciting and exhausting news in baseball. Beat writers, fans and owners dread the July 31 date and breath a huge sigh of relief when 4:00 PM passes.

This year was no different. With teams like the Phillies, Giants and Braves looking to bolster their offense and the Yankees and Red Sox looking to make splashes in pitching, the deadline can get hairy for the serious competitors and first timers.

Here are a handful of teams that made the biggest splashes at the deadline, hoping for that final push into the post season and baseball greatness.

THE WINNERS

Cleveland Indians – Ubaldo Jimenez: The Indians made a huge splash at the deadline, trading for Colorado’s ace Ubaldo Jimenez. Jimenez is one of the game’s best young starters and will have an immediate impact on a team that could be one good starter away from winning their first AL Central crown since 2007.

A year removed from winning 19 games and posting a 2.88 ERA, Jimenez is struggling this season. He’s been mediocre at best, compiling a 6-9 record and 4.46 ERA on a Rockies team that is 10 games behind any chance at the post season. But the Indians are 2.5 behind the Detroit Tigers and Jimenez’s presence is a significant upgrade.

The only interesting thing that remains to be seen is if Jimenez will be effective in the American League. He’s been struggling this season and is now walking into a tougher hitting league. This move could prove to be a huge step forward for the Indians or a monumental bust.

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Bull pen falls apart after Hamels’ early exit

Cole Hamels and Jon Lester were cruising through what appeared to be a pitchers duel.

Cole Hamels left the game after the 4th with a right hand contusion. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

But a line drive off the bat of Adrian Gonzalez changed the pace of the game, ending Hamels’ day. The rest was history as Boston won, 5-2, and prevented the sweep in Philadelphia.

Gonzalez’s liner rocketed off Hamels’ glove hand. The left-hander had the presence to finish the play and the inning but was immediately yanked after four innings. He had x-rays during the game which were negative and Hamels was diagnosed with a right-hand contusion. He will make his next start.

David Herndon replaced Hamels and allowed three runs in the next two innings and Boston was able to get themselves out of a pitcher’s duel and get Lester his 10th win of the season.

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Ibanez powers Phils past Boston

Phils left fielder Raul Ibanez watches his 7th-inning homer leave the park. He broke a 1-1 tie with his blast. It was his first home run since May 30. (Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

For almost a month, Raul Ibanez had failed to hit the ball out of the park.

But the 39-year-old snapped an 87-at-bat homerless streak with a solo home run as well as tally three hits in the Phils 2-1 win over Boston, winning them the “World Series Preview” series.

Ibanez’s power couldn’t have come at a better time. With John Lackey (7 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, BB, 5 K) on his game for the night, the Phils offense had a hard time plating the guys he put on.

But Ibanez’s RBI single in the 2nd got the ball rolling for Philly. Boston tied it up in the 5th when Lackey ripped an RBI double. Ibanez answered back in the 7th with his solo home run, his first long ball since May 30, to make it a 2-1 game.

Ibanez finished the night 3-for-3 with a double, homer and both of the Phils’ RBIs. He fell a triple shy of the cycle.

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Cliff Lee is wicked hardcore

Phils pitcher Cliff Lee finished his third straight shut out in the Phils 5-0 win over Boston. In 42 innings during the month of June, Lee allowed only one run and 21 hits. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

June is a good month to throw a baseball if your name is Cliff Lee.

Pitching in his final start of the month, Lee pitched another clean slate, his third straight, as the Phils went on to shut out the Red Sox, 5-0.

After tonight’s match-up, Lee has pitched 32 straight shut out innings. In five starts (42 innings) during the month of June, Lee has allowed only one run and 21 hits.

But the game was won before Lee even got rolling. In the bottom of the 2nd, Domonic Brown scorched his fifth home run of the season to the bull pen in right-center, a two-run blast.

Brown finished the night 2-for-3 with a double, home run, two runs scored and two RBIs. Shane Victorino also hit a two-run home run in the 6th inning to blow the game open at 5-0.

Lee went the distance, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three. It was his third straight shut out and fourth of the season.

Lee carried a no-hitter into the 6th before Marco Scutaro’s lead-off single wiped it out. Boston’s only other hit came in the 8th when Damien McDonald doubled to the corner in left.

Boston starter Josh Beckett was hit hard for five runs on five hits (two of them were two-run homers) and a walk while striking out only one.

2B: Brown (7). HR: Brown (5), Victorino (9).

WP: Lee (9-5). LP: Beckett (6-3).

Boxscore.

Series Preview: vs Boston Red Sawks

PHI: 49-30, 1st in NL East; BOS: 45-32, 2nd in AL East

When: June 28-30
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Tuesday: Cliff Lee (8-5, 2.87) vs Josh Beckett (6-2, 1.86)
Wednesday: Vance Worley (2-1, 2.83) vs John Lackey (5-6, 7.36)
Thursday: Cole Hamels (9-4, 2.49) vs John Lester (9-4, 3.66)

Broadcast Info
Tuesday, 7:05, PHL 17
Wednesday, 7:05, CSN, ESPN 2
Thursday, 1:05, CSN
All Games on 1210 AM

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The inevitable bad start

Look what the media and the fans in Philadelphia created: a God-like atmosphere surrounding not just the team but the starting rotation.

Baseball fans all over the country expect to see the Phillies starters to go 20-5 each with sub-2.50 ERA’s and seven innings each.

This is why I laughed at some of the reactions from Phils fans and even fans of opposing teams after the Phils 6-3 loss to Atlanta on Friday: “I thought Cliff Lee was an ace? Isn’t your rotation unbeatable? Over rated!”

One tweet earlier read: “Cliff Lee standing next to Cole Hamels? How have they not collapsed into the vortex of suck that is swirling between them?”

Lee was bounced in the fourth, going 3 1/3 innings while allowing six runs on 10 hits, one walk and striking out three. It was his worst start since September 4, 2009 at Houston when he lasted three innings, allowing nine hits, 6 runs and a homer while striking out three.

So far this season, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton and now Lee have been rocked for a lot of runs and early exits. It’s April, guys. The Boston Red Sox are 1-6. Does this mean Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez were huge wastes of money?

Flyers fans are crapping themselves with one game left in the regular season and their team playing with as much heart as the Islanders. But that’s justified because very soon, they will be in a do-or-die scenario.

But with a 5-2 record and 155 games to play, the fact anyone is taking three bad starts for the Phillies rotation seriously is a joke. Here, I’ll leave the door open on the back of the wagon so you can easily fall off.

It’s the beauty of baseball. You see crazy things happen all the time, especially in the opening month. You see unexpected players tear it up and you see super stars struggle.

What makes baseball so special is it’s unpredictable. You don’t know what’s going to happen because there are 162 games in a season.

But there can be one thing guaranteed.

Lee will bounce back. Hamels, who struggles badly on day games, may not do it immediately on Sunday but will do it this season. Blanton is a much better pitcher than the fifth inning imploder we saw on Wednesday.

Will Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt have bad outings this season? You betcha. Will Hamels, Lee and Blanton struggle in an inning or two? Of course.

It’s day seven, folks. Just enjoy the season. Great things will happen. I guarantee it.

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