All posts tagged jonah keri

→ Jonah Keri on Dave Dombrowski and the Res Sox

All in all, the Red Sox get one of the best front-office guys in the sport. Given his track record, you can bet on Dombrowski not settling for an army of Justin Mastersons serving up meatballs to be pounded over the Monster. Beyond the Cabrera heist, remember that Dombrowski pulled off the following deals: Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson, and Phil Coke for Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson; Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and a prospect for Rick Porcello. He also acquired Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, and Omar Infante for what turned out to be next to nothing. When it comes to landing quality players without giving up assets his team will regret ditching, few do it better than Dombrowski.

The whole piece is great (not a surprise, since Keri is my favorite baseball writer), but this quoted paragraph gives me some real hope for the future.

→ Jonah Keri on the Red Sox and the World Series

You can be cynical about Boston’s $159 million Opening Day payroll, and about the historic dump trade with the Dodgers, the one that gave the Red Sox enough room to make a bunch of moves over the winter. Just don’t get too swept away with revisionist history. The Sox might’ve spent a bunch of money, and might’ve caught a break when an overaggressive Dodgers team relieved them of some enormous financial commitments. But it’s not like the baseball world lined up in unison to declare the Red Sox preseason favorites this year. No one other than maybe their moms picked Boston to go all the way in 2013. Not with the memory of that nightmarish 2012 season still rattling around in everyone’s heads.

I thought the Red Sox were going to be good. I had no idea they would be World Series Champion good.

→ Jonah Keri on the Red Sox’s Hitting Approach so far in the ALCS

Detroit pitchers nearly threw a combined no-hitter in Game 1, and Max Scherzer had a no-no bid going for a while in Game 2, too. Anibal Sanchez struck out 12 batters in his six no-hit innings Saturday, while Scherzer fanned 13 more in seven innings on Sunday, thus becoming the first pair of starting pitchers to strike out 12 batters or more in consecutive games in major league playoff history.

The Red Sox clearly recognized how devastating the sliders thrown by Sanchez and Scherzer were and even tweaked their lineup to try to fight against that pitch. But like so many Boston teams of recent vintage, this year’s Sox lineup is stuffed with grinders, patient hitters who like to work deep counts and either get a pitch to drive or take a walk. Sanchez and Scherzer showed how dangerous they can be when they get two strikes on a hitter, and Justin Verlander’s history suggests he might do the same in Game 3. Attacking pitches earlier in the count might be the way to go against this strikeout-crazy Tigers rotation.

Verlander is obviously going to be a tough test, but I have a feeling that the off-day is going to allow the Sox to adjust their approach at the plate. I’m not sure Keri’s approach of attacking pitches earlier is the right approach to try, but I think some adjustments have to be made.

→ Jonah Keri on how the Red Sox won the ALDS

If the Sox had one potential weakness in this series, it was what they would do to bridge the gap between performances like Peavy’s and all-world closer Koji Uehara. Here again, Boston overcame a perceived weakness. With two outs in the sixth, lefty reliever Craig Breslow came in to face Loney with a runner on first. He promptly struck Loney out, then followed that whiff by fanning Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and Desmond Jennings in order. A command specialist who had struck out just five batters per nine innings during the regular season, here was Breslow striking out the Rays’ three through six hitters, all swinging, at a pivotal point in the game. For the game, Boston’s relief combination of Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, and Uehara combined to toss 3⅓ scoreless innings, allowing no runs, just one hit, and striking out seven.

The capper came from Boston’s opportunistic offense. The Sox combined to score seven runs in Games 3 and 4, with just one of those coming home on a base hit that left the infield; the rest were the result of errors, RBI groundouts and flyouts, and well-placed 14-hoppers that never reached the outfield grass. After falling behind 1-0 in the sixth Tuesday, the Sox tallied two runs to take the lead right back, using the following sequence: flyout, pinch-hit walk, strikeout, bloop single, wild pitch that scored the tying run and sent the go-ahead run to third when Jacoby Ellsbury took off with the pitch, RBI infield hit. The Sox added an insurance run in the ninth by stringing together two walks, a wild pitch, a hit-by-pitch, and a sacrifice fly. Uehara then set the Rays down 1-2-3 in the ninth, and that was that for Tampa Bay’s season.

A short, sweet summary of what took place last night.

→ Jonah Keri examines the Red Sox’s off-season Signings

I especially like his analysis on Victorino:

The Victorino signing drew arguably the most criticism, but wound up being crucial to Boston’s success. Going by advanced metrics or even scouting consensus, Victorino has made a strong case as the best defensive right fielder in baseball this season, while playing in one of the quirkiest parks for any right fielder to cover. By both Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, Victorino grades out as saving more than 20 runs above what the average right fielder has done this year, while often making spectacular plays. So while multiyear samples are always preferable when looking at advanced defensive stats, this season’s numbers suggest that Victorino has added at least two wins to Boston’s ledger with his defense alone.

If you are a baseball fan, the whole article is wort a read.1

  1. As is pretty much everything Jonah Keri writes. 

→ Jonah Keri’s Take on the Jake Peavy Trade

Mostly positive. Interestingly, he thinks the Sox should call up Bogaerts.

→ Jonah Keri reminds us that it is a Really Great Season for Baseball Fans

It’s easy to become disheartened if you’d like to see players operate on a level playing field, and if you’d like to root for players without fear of their reputations getting tainted down the road. It’s easy to get swept up in PED hysteria when it’s being shoved down our throats, when all the baseball stories we consume seem to lead with tales of more players implicated, more looming suspensions and pending appeals, more disputes that seem to tarnish the sport’s image. It’s easy if you ignore this:

You shake your head at Mike Trout. As a 20-year-old rookie last year, he triggered comparisons to Mickey Mantle, the kind of proclamations that would normally be regarded as ridiculous and overheated, but seemed just right in this case. Whenever anyone does anything that extreme in baseball, we wait for the inevitable regression to the mean, the blast of ice water that reminds us how greatness is fleeting, and that extraordinary performances are bound to fizzle out. Only Trout is not cooperating, not when his offensive numbers this year are a carbon copy of what he did last year (.326/.399/.564 in 2012, .321/.400/.559 in 2013). He has silenced the skeptics, adding more preposterous feats to his résumé all the time. It’s 12:21 a.m. on a Tuesday night, you’ve got to be up in six hours to get to work, the underachieving Angels are playing some lousy team … and you watch the game anyway, hoping to catch Trout doing something amazing, because your dad and your granddad told you stories about The Mick, and Mantle 2.0 is alive and well and there for your viewing pleasure.

I picked my favorite paragraph, but Keri also talks about Puig, McCutchen, and Cabera. Of course, my favorite story this baseball season is probably the first place Boston Red Sox.1

  1. Well, first place until they face David Price and the Rays again tonight. 

→ How Will Possible PED Suspensions Affect MLB Teams?

Jonah Keri breaks down some of the names affiliated with the Biogensis scandal. I would not be sad to see some of them go.

→ Jonah Keri ranks the MLB teams

I thought the Red Sox would be better than most people were saying in the pre-season, but I never would have thought they would be ranked as the best team in baseball at the beginning of July.

→ The Murky Waters of MLB’s Latest Steroid Case

An excellent piece on the developing Biogenesis story by Jonah Keri.

Baseball shifting from a see-no-evil, hear-no-evil approach to PED use in the ’80s, ’90s, and early aughts to a more vigilant method today is generally a welcome change. There’s certainly merit in fostering an environment in which everyone, from fans to non-using players, can feel confident that some players aren’t seeking some kind of forbidden competitive edge. But as I wrote in January, there’s a difference between respectable vigilance and taking unsavory shortcuts in an effort to mount players’ heads on the wall. The lawsuit that MLB filed against Biogenesis alleged that the clinic had caused harm to baseball’s finances and its reputation by supplying PEDs to major league players. There’s no evidence to support either of those claims. Rather, the suit was a naked and specious attempt to get Biogenesis and Bosch to turn over the documents it reportedly had linking various players to alleged PED use. That’s leaving aside the merit of testimony from a man who appears to be rather unreliable, if the sequence of events reported by various media outlets is accurate.

I encourage anyone who is a baseball fan to read the whole thing.

→ Jonah Keri’s 2013 Baseball Predictions

Not a lot of surprises here. I wonder if the Reds have enough quality pitching to actually win the World Series, but I can see why Mr. Keri would like them.

→ Jonah Keri on Jackie Bradley Jr.

But the highlight of Bradley’s day came in the bottom of the third. With two outs and a man on second, Robinson Cano smashed a drive to deep left. Bradley, who came up through the minors as a center fielder and had little experience playing the slices that come with being a corner outfielder, raced back to the track, and in a near dead run, made a leaning, lunging catch to save a run, ending the inning, and squelching what might’ve become a game-changing Yankees rally.

Jonah Keri has it right, the catch was awesome to watch. I am trying to keep my expectations in check for Bradley, but, I admit, I am getting caught up in the excitement. That said, they are going to send him down for 20 days to get a whole extra year on his contract, right? Right?

→ The Best Thing You’ll Read on the Hall of Fame Vote

Jonah Keri writing at Grantland:

The announcement that no players from this year’s Hall of Fame ballot netted the 75 percent vote needed to gain enshrinement has triggered outrage in baseball circles, and will surely bring more of the same for the Hall and the people of Cooperstown. With the Pre-Integration Committee inducting three people into the Hall who’ve been dead for decades, upstate New York can look forward to something it hasn’t seen in half a century: a Hall of Fame induction with no living inductees to honor. That’s scary news for an institution that lost more than $2 million in 2011 and has posted losses in eight of the past 10 years.

This piece is excellent. Mr. Keri breaks down the the problems with the process and gives some solid recommendations for how to reform it. Really well done.