Boston Red Sox

To Bobby, Thanks for everything. Love, Larry

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To Bobby, Thanks for everything. Love, Larry

In case you missed it, Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino was back at the keyboard this morning. But this time, instead of addressing the season ticket holders, Lucchino had a message for manager Bobby Valentine. Here's a copy of Larry's recently leaked letter.

Dear Bobby:

As our 2012 campaign reaches its conclusion, I want to thank you for your loyal support, as well as your role in this landmark season in Red Sox history.

You were there when we opened our new home in Fort Myers. You were there as we rang in Fenways 100th Anniversary. You were there for every plaque unveiling and the sale of every brick. Through it all, we gave our fans so much to be proud of, we touched them inside and out, and we could not have done that without you. Once again, a hearty thanks from everyone here on Yawkey Way.

They said I was a genius for hiring you, Bobby. Damn it, Lucchino, you sly fox. Youve done it again! was the commonly used expression. And judging by our attendance numbers, its hard to disagree. You know, I cant help but chuckle when I think back to the day Benny told me we should hire Dale Sveum. As if Red Sox Nation would give a heck about a team managed by Dale Sveum. Ha! You cant blame Benny, I guess. A man can only spend so many years around Epstein without some of that new fangled stupidity rubbing off. But I digress.

Not only did you help us sell tickets and stay in the headlines, but Bobby, I cant say enough about the work you did for NESN. The postgame interviews with the cheerful Jenny Dell, the banter with Tom Caron the friendliest studio host in the business and of course, The Bobby Valentine Show. By seasons end, TBVS was viewed weekly in more than 350 households, making it the highest rated original program in our networks history. We did it, Bobby. Or should I say, YOU did it. (Just kidding, I did it.)

However, while there's no doubt that you should be undyingly proud of everything you accomplished this season, at this juncture, I believe it's also an important time for self-reflection. For you to take a good look in the mirror, and ask the tough question:

How does is it get any better? How can I possibly top this season? How can I make ol Larry look any smarter than he does right now?

And once you given it some thought. Im sure youll come to the same conclusion that I have. Which is, that its impossible. It doesn't get any better than this. At least not here. And that's why I've decided that it's time for you to move on from the Red Sox. I'd be doing you a disservice by keeping you around. There are too many other avenues for you to conquer, so many new life experiences to be gained.

You can do anything you want, Bobby. And I know you will.

However, as you move on to bigger and better things, it's important to realize what you're up against. Thanks to your legendary season here in Boston, you will be under a microscope, the magnitude of which you've never imagined. When people grow as tall as you have, others can't help but try to bring them down. You'll have many enemies out there, Bobby. If there are any skeletons in your closest, they will be exposed, and you must be prepared to deal with the aftermath.

On that note, just so there are no surprises, I've taken the liberty of running a background check and reading through a year's worth of e-mails sent from the computer in your office. I also hired a private investigator, who's had you on 24-hour surveillance for the last six weeks. Over this time, we've compiled a pamphlet of information that could downright destroy you. (Truth be told, you might not even remember doing many of things that we know you've done. But that's understandable. After all, it was a stressful year).

Bobby, I've decided that the best way to handle this is for us to leak some of the information to the media. (It's not a big deal. We do it all the time; no one ever suspects a thing). Not the big stuff, per say. But a few of the much smaller hiccups. This will divert their attention from the serious issues, and in the long run make your life much easier. I know, I know. We didn't have to go to these lengths to ensure your safety. But what can I say? Call it another Red Sox Act of Kindness.

And I think that just about wraps it up. I really am so excited for this next chapter of your life, and I don't think you should waste any time in getting started. Please have your office cleaned out today, and please leave nothing behind. I'm not sure how the players would be able to cope with any lingering signs of your time with this team.

Also, we're doing some e-mail maintenance over these next few months, so if you'd like to respond, please don't write to me here. Send any reactions, suggestions, or ideas to fanfeedback@redsox.com, and I'll get back you as soon as possible. Granted, I can't promise I'll get back to very quickly, as I'll be very wrapped in our aforementioned media smoke screen. I know you'll understand.

Lastly, I know it's early, but we hope youll consider joining us for the sixth anniversary of the 100th anniversary celebration, tentatively scheduled for September, 2018. It won't feel right without you. We'd love to have you back.

Good Luck and Keep the Faith,

Larry Lucchino

Princeton '67
Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Drellich: Pomeranz, league's second-best lefty, knows how to be even better

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Drellich: Pomeranz, league's second-best lefty, knows how to be even better

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz may not actually be the No. 2 starter for the Red Sox in this year’s presumed American League Division Series. Maybe the Sox will mix in a right-hander between Pomeranz and Chris Sale.

Still, everyone knows which pitcher, in spirit, has been the second-most reliable for the Red Sox. A day after Chris Sale notched his 300th strikeout and on the final off-day of the regular season, it’s worth considering the importance of the other excellent lefty on the Sox, and how much he’s meant to a team that’s needed surprise performances because of the lineup’s drop-off.

Per FanGraphs’ wins above replacement, Pomeranz is the second-most valuable lefthanded starter among those qualified in the American League (you know who's No. 1). He's one of the 10 best starters in the AL overall.

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Pomeranz, 28, was a first-round pick seven years ago. But he didn’t exactly blossom until the last two years. He has a 3.15 ERA in 165 2/3 innings. His next start, if decent, should give him a career-high in innings after he threw 170 2/3 last year.

Pomeranz is a 16-game winner, just one win behind Sale. The value of wins and losses is known to be nil, but there’s still a picture of reliability that can be gleaned.

Is this the year Pomeranz became the pitcher he always envisioned he would be?

“I don’t know, I mean, I had a pretty dang good year last year,” Pomeranz said, referring to a 3.32 ERA between the Padres and Sox, and an All-Star selection. “I think these last two years have been kind of you know, more what I wanted to be like. But I still, I don’t think I’m done yet, you know what I mean?”

Most pro athletes say there’s always room to improve. Pomeranz, however, was able to specify what he wants. The focus is on his third and fourth pitches: his cutter and his change-up. 

“My changeup’s been really good this year,” Pomeranz said. “That’s something that still can go a lot further. And same with my cutter too. I still use it sparingly. I don’t think me just being a six-inning guy is the end of it for me either.

“You set personal goals. You want to throw more innings, cover more innings so the bullpen doesn’t have to cover those. Helps save them for right now during the year.”

Early in the year, Pomeranz wasn’t using his cutter much. He threw just nine in April, per BrooksBaseball.net. That led to talk that he wasn’t throwing the pitch to take it easy on his arm. He did start the year on the disabled list, after all, and cutters and sliders can be more stressful on the elbow and forearm.

That wasn’t the case.

“The reason I didn’t throw it in the beginning of the year was because half the times I threw it went the other way,” Pomeranz said. “It backed up. Instead of cutting, it was like sinking or running back. I mean, I pitched [in Baltimore] and gave up a home run to [Manny] Machado, we were trying to throw one in and it went back. So I didn’t trust it.

“Mechanical thing. I was still trying to clean my mechanics up, and once I cleaned ‘em up and got my arm slot right, then everything started moving the way it was supposed to and then I started throwing it more.”

Pomeranz’s cutter usage, and how he developed the pitch heading into 2016, has been well documented.

The change-up is more of an X-factor. He threw five in each of his last two starts, per Brooks, and it’s a pitch he wants to use more.

“It’s been good,” Pomeranz said. “I think I could throw it a lot more and a lot more effectively, and ... tweaking of pitch selection probably could help me get into some of those later innings too.”

Well, then why not just throw the change more often? Easier said than done when you’re talking about your fourth pitch in a key moment.

“I throw a few a game,” Pomeranz said. “Sometimes you feel like you don’t want too throw it in situations where you get beat with your third or fourth best pitch. I mean it’s felt — every time I’ve thrown it it’s been consistent. It’s just a matter of, it’s something me and Vazqy [Christian Vazquez] talk about, too." 

(When you hear these kind of issues, which most pitchers deal with, it makes you appreciate Sale’s ability to throw any pitch at any time even more.)

Speaking on Wednesday, the day after Pomeranz’s most recent outing, Sox pitching coach Carl Willis said he thinks the change-up’s already starting to have a greater presence.

“He’s kind of always had a changeup, and he hadn’t had any trust or conviction in that pitch,” Willis said. “I was really excited last night that he used the changeup more. He threw it. He doubled up with it on occasion. Something that’s not in the scouting report.

"It’s his fourth pitch and he seldom threw it in a game and he’s in a situation where, OK, the change-up’s the right pitch, but location of whatever I throw is going to outweigh [selection]. Now he’s starting to gain that confidence [that he can locate it]. 

“I think that’s going to make him an extremely better pitcher. I thought it was a huge factor in his outing last night. Because he didn’t have his best velocity. He really did a good job of changing speeds with the changeup, and obviously with the curveball and being able to give different shapes of the pitches.”

The Sox already have the best left-hander in the AL, if not anywhere. The AL's second-best southpaw happens to pitch on the same team, and has tangible plans to be even better.

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Werner criticizes Price for Eck incident; says Sox' relationship with Yanks is 'frosty'

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Werner criticizes Price for Eck incident; says Sox' relationship with Yanks is 'frosty'

BOSTON — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the the Yankees, MLB disciplinarian Joe Torre, and players who can’t take criticism from broadcasters.

In a spot Thursday with WEEI, Werner made clear David Price’s handling of Dennis Eckersley was unprofessional.

“Boston is a tough place to play,” Werner said on WEEI’s Ordway, Merlonia and Fauria. “Some players thrive here, and some players don’t. Get a thicker skin. My feeling is, let the broadcasts be honest, be personable, informative, and get over it if you think a certain announcer took a shot at you.”

“I thought there was a way of handling that. It wasn’t handled appropriately. If I’ve got a problem with Lou [Merloni], and I hear something he says on the radio, I’ll say to Lou, ‘That wasn’t fair.’ ”

Werner also called the team’s relationship with the Yankees “frosty” following the public sign-stealing saga that resulted in fines for both clubs.

“The fact is, I do think this was a minor technical violation,” Werner said. “I start with the fact that this was unfortunately raised to a level it never should have been raised to.”

Werner also insinuated he did not approve of how MLB and Torre handled the disciplining of Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who receieved a four-game suspension for his part in a fight against the Tigers (reduced on appeal to three games).

“Do you think Gary Sanchez got an appropriate punishment?” Werner asked.