Thursday, April 24, 2014
Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.
Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases
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The Portland Sea dogs open their season tonight - weather pending - in Reading, PA. Several players on the Sea Dogs played last year for Salem - the OTHER team in the Red Sox organization to win a championship. We have a look at the 2014 Dogs.
The Red Sox won with home runs from David Ortiz and Mike Napoli. In another at-bat, Napoli came to bat after Ortiz was intentionally walked to load the bases. Napoli singled in two runs. Jason Mastrodonato looks at Boston's 1-2 punch in the 3-4 spots in the lineup.
Ortiz is so much more effective when there is another power bat in the lineup (see the Manny Ramirez years).
The Red Sox have been staying away from long-term contracts that they deem unwise. There is a reason why Boston did not re-sign Jonathan Papelbon. And the Phillies may discover that this season. In his first appearance Papelbon blew a 2-run lead in a Philadelphia loss to Texas.
The Portland Sea Dogs travel much this week, bouncing from Florida to Maine on Tuesday, and then busing to Reading, Pa. today. We offer a quick glimpse of some of those who showed up at Hadlock, and who didn't.
While the Red Sox were off Tuesday, the Yankees played their season-opener in Houston. C.C. Sabathia, his fastball averaging 89 mph, gave up six runs in the first two innings, in a 6-2 loss. In the words of the New York Post's George King, the Yankees stunk.
Boston is back at it tonight with John Lackey taking the mound against Baltimore and Ubaldo Jimenez.
The Red Sox visited the White House yesterday. While honoring the Red Sox, President Obama mentioned the city's resilience in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing last year. Then the president admirably brought up the names of two real heroes, Boston firefighters Michael Kennedy and Edward Walsh, who recently died while on duty. Here is a link to Obama's text.
The 2014 Portland Sea Dogs roster, just released by the Red Sox, is a mix of prospects and darkhorse hopefuls, as is usually the case.
The roster is headed up by pitcher Henry Owens and catcher Blake Swihart, two of the top prospects in Boston. Both took part in the Red Sox major league spring training, as did reliever Noe Ramirez and shortstop Deven Marrero.
Jon Lester allows two runs over seven innings; the offense totals nine hits as well as a few smashes that might have been home runs on a summer day; and the Sox batters chase Orioles starter Chris Tillman after five innings.
All good signs, but still a 2-1 loss to Baltimore in the season opener.
Key stat was runner left on base: Boston 12, Baltimore 3
New Boston catcher A.J. Pierzynski went 1-for-4, but stranded five. Pierzynski's signing to a one-year deal signaled the need for a fill-in as the Red Sox touted catching prospects mature.
The Boston Red Sox depth, which we cited in Sunday's story, is already being used with the news that outfielder Shane Victorino is going on the disabled list with a strained hamstring muscle, and Jackie Bradley Jr. is back on the major league roster.
JBJ is not in the lineup today: Nava RF, Pedroia 2B, Ortiz DH, Napoli 1B, Carp LF, Sizemore CF, Bogaerts SS, Pierzynski C, Middlebrooks 3B (Lester P)
One note on the Orioles: They have placed Michael Almanzar on the disabled list with a sore knee. Almanzar, a former Sea Dogs infielder, was taken in the Rule V draft and must be on the major league roster (or the DL) all season for Baltimore to keep him.
As the big leaguers are getting ready to play, the Portland Sea Dogs are making their way to Maine. The Red Sox will not announce the roster until Tuesdy. soxprospects.com listed a projected roster which, interestingly, has reliever Noe Ramirez in Pawtucket. That certainly is a possibility.