Welcome to another edition of Read Sox. This week we’ll look at Hanley Ramirez’s woeful transition to the outfield, David Ortiz’s beef with Jim Palmer and how the Red Sox may have the next Carlos Beltran in their farm system.
Hanley Ramirez’s adjustment to left field took a rocky turn over the weekend as he made a trio of well-documented misplays on fly balls at Fenway Park. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe highlighted these struggles after Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Orioles when Ramirez first let a ball down the line fall for a double, then an inning later dropped a fly ball at the wall that hit the heel of his glove and fell out for a single. Ramirez misjudged another fly ball to left in Sunday’s game, but, as Steve Hewitt of the Boston Herald writes, he’s used his bat to try to overshadow his fielding troubles. Ramirez hit a three-run home run in the first inning Sunday, giving him five homers and 12 RBI for the season. Despite the difficult transition to left field, Ramirez’s .369 wOBA and .313 ISO have been positives early on.
The mania of Mookie Betts’ home opening showcase has seemingly worn off as the center fielder struggled at the plate for the rest of the Sox’ homestand. Betts dropped his TAv to .244 with just five hits in 25 at-bats over the stretch. WEEI.com’s Mike Petraglia writes about Betts, who had a hit, steal and scored twice, finding life again in Monday’s rain-shortened win over the Orioles. Betts’ .250/.353/.244 slash line and 1.7 VORP may be underwhelming, but Sox manager John Farrell said his offensive struggles had nothing to with being left out of the lineup on Saturday.
Brian MacPherson of Tthe Providence Journal looks at Brock Holt’s regular role in the Sox lineup despite not technically being an everyday player. Holt’s played in eight of the team’s 13 games this season, seeing time at second base, third base, shortstop and center field. He’s picked up where he left off last season as a reliable utility player and has swung the bat well enough (.364 TAv) to hit near the top offill any spot in the order.
The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier gave Red Sox fans even more reason to be excited about the team’s farm system. Speier writes that 20-year-old center fielder Manuel Margot is creating a buzz in Single A Salem, drawing comparisons to a young Carlos Beltran from manager Carlos Febles. Febles told Speier he sees Margot, who’s hitting .361/.378/.639 through nine games in High-A ball this season, as a Major League-ready defensive center fielder with the potential to be a 15-20 home run hitter.
Manuel Margot is creating a buzz in Single A Salem, drawing comparisons to a young Carlos Beltran.
No player had a more physically taxing series last weekend than Ryan Hanigan. The Red Sox catcher, as Tthe Boston Globe’s Michael Whitmer points out, took a number of bruising foul tips off his body throughout the last three games of the series. Hanigan also added a hit and two runs in the Sox’ 7-1 win over the Orioles on Monday. As a former Andover High School baseball player who grew up a Red Sox fan, Hanigan, who was forced into the starting catcher’s role with Christian Vazquez requiring season-ending Tommy John surgery, also talked about his appreciation for Patriots Day in Boston.
It doesn’t take much to upset David Ortiz. Jim Palmer learned that the hard way when Ortiz fired back at Palmer for the Hall of Famer’s criticisms of Ortiz following his ejection from Sunday’s game for arguing a strike call in the fifth inning. Palmer clarified his comments in a radio interview with WEEI on Tuesday.
Three Good Game Stories
The Providence Journal’s Brian MacPherson explains how Mike Napoli’s prowess on the base paths contributed to the Red Sox’ walkoff win over the Orioles Friday night.
Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe focused his story from the Sox’ loss to the Orioles Saturday on Clay Buchholz’s up-and-down start. After the game, Buck Showalter and Chris Tillman ripped Buchholz for his slow pace on the mound.
WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable writes about Justin Masterson’s bounce-back start on Monday, and how it’s the first step toward righting the Sox’ troublesome starting rotation.
Photo by Kelly O’Connor, sittingstill.smugmug.com