Welcome to this week’s edition of Read Sox. This week, we’ll look forward to the 2016 Red Sox and beyond, Owens’ and Bogaerts’ contributions and arguments for David Ortiz to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
It’s that time of the season where both the fans and the team start looking forward to next year. David Ortiz has his 500th, the playoffs are all but out of reach, and there are some young kids on the farm to watch. Over at the Boston Herald, Jason Mastrodonato states that the 2016 starting rotation hinges on how much Henry Owens progresses. While I don’t think that’s entirely true – what Dombrowski does this winter is much more impactful, in my opinion – a big step forward by Owens would go a long way for a Red Sox team that was starving for competent starting pitching in 2015. He’s been inconsistent, but that’s to be expected, and with a team that’ll give him plenty of chances, Owens will find a way to stick, starter or otherwise.
Xander Bogaerts’ breakout this year is one of the most promising things to come out of the 2015 season for the Red Sox, and Fangraphs’ Jeff Sullivan looks at his new hitting profile and offers quite a bit of optimism for the young Aruban. I don’t think anyone saw this one coming. Bogaerts was a dead-pull hitter in 2014, and would whiff constantly on the sliders down and away. Now he hits those into right field. The fact that he can spread it around means he’s adjusting well. He’s actually getting opposite-field hits on purpose now! Just wait until his power finally shines through. That’ll be something to watch.
After David Ortiz hit home runs 499 and 500 this weekend, the old is-David-Ortiz-HOF-bound debate flared up again. Over The Monster’s Marc Normandin has a very good answer to this question, and he didn’t even use Edgar Martinez’s likeness. Now that’s impressive.
Now back to the kids, most notably Travis Shaw – is he someone you can depend on at first base for more than a short-term stint? Alex Speier writes out his thoughts on the subject. While a year or so isn’t bad, anything longer than that is uncharted territory. There’s too much that’s up in the air when it comes to his production.
Late last night, the Red Sox announced that Junichi Tazawa was to be shut down for the rest of the season. It looked like fatigue got to him again this year, and after a failed trial run as the interim closer, Tazawa looked much worse for wear. The Red Sox finally recognized their over-use of the right-hander and did the correct thing.
This interim manager session has been nothing but spectacular for Torey Lovullo. The Red Sox are fun, playing well, and even though it’s months too late, they look like the team fans dreamed about in early 2015. He’s been interviewed by six teams for a managerial job over his career, but he might just be making them all regret their decisions to pass on him, says Rob Bradford.
Three Good Game Stories
Ben Buchanan at OTM describes yet another disappointing Sox loss to the Orioles, this time with much less Joe Kelly than we expected, and a lot more innings than we wanted.
Kevin Gausman got the win, but Eduardo Rodriguez still shined on Monday says Jen McCaffrey, as he struck out nine batters over five and looked in control for the majority of the start.
Rich Hill? Seven innings of one-hit ball? Ten strikeouts? Where did that come from? This isn’t as crazy as Aaron Cook’s Maddux in 2012, but with what Hill’s been through, Sean McAdam notes that it’s a feel-good story nonetheless.
Photo by Winslow Towson/USA Today Sports Images