Nation STATion: In honor of Henri Stanley

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Nation STATion: In honor of Henri Stanley

By Bill Chuck
CSNNE.com

You know who Henri Stanley is, dont you?

No, hes got nothing to do with the Bruins, Henri couldnt lift Lord Stanleys cup.

When it comes to baseballs trade deadline, Henri Stanley was the key to the greatest steal in Red Sox history.

Still dont know who this career minor leaguer is? Henri Stanley played for nine different minor league clubs and hit .283 with 80 homers in eight seasons. While that sounds unimpressive, it was good enough to enable the Sox to win a World Series. My hope is that in 2014 when the Sox celebrate the 10th anniversary of the World Series championship that broke the curse, that Stanley, who was hitting .299 for Pawtucket in 2004, will run onto the field and stand next to the player he was traded for at the trade deadline: Dave Roberts, who pulled off the greatest steal in team history, the steal that kept the Sox alive in the ALCS.

When the Sox traded for Dave Roberts, all the attention that day was on the deal that sent "Nomah" to the Dodgers for Orlando Cabrera. This year, the Sox major attention-grabbing deal was for Erik Bedard, who was born in Ontario and probably appreciates my reference to the Stanley Cup.

Erik Bedard already has one credential that enables him to fit in with the Sox rotation perfectly . . . hes been on the Disabled List eight times in his career. I guess one way to look at this is that it is an improvement over Rich Harden, who the Sox almost got, and has had 10 stints on the DL. Bedard had three shoulder operations in his three-plus years with the Mariners.

Many people thought that Bedard might have hurt his chances to be traded when he pitched poorly this past Friday night in his return from the DL (sprained knee), but he appeared more rusty than anything else. The start Friday night was his 16th of the season, the most he has had since 2007 with Baltimore. Both in 2008 and 2009 he was healthy enough for just 15 starts each season. He missed all of last season (left shoulder surgery).

But, when Bedard is on the mound (which we are getting the sense is more likely than Clay Buchholtz this season), he has relatively good stuff.

Heres Nine to Know about Erik Bedard this season:

1. In 91.1 innings this season, hes struck out 87 batters. His 8.57 strikeouts per nine innings is almost identical to David Price (8.56) and James Shields (8.59).

2. His ERA is 3.45, and batters are hitting .226 against him. Batters are hitting .227 against A.J. Burnett and Dan Haren, and hit .224 against Dice-K.

3. His WHIP this season of 1.172 is comparable to Gavin Floyd, who also has a 1.172, Doug Fister, who has a 1.171, and Justin Masterson, who has a 1.176.

4. Hes walked 30, which means he has averaged 2.96 walks per nine innings. As a frame of reference, think of Jason Marquis 2.91, Yovani Gallardo 2.93, and Jon Lester 3.03.

5. Bedards Game Score average (for a complete explanation of Game Scores, click here) http:www.billy-ball.com201107the-fun-of-game-scores this season is 55, just like Kyle Lohse, Hiroki Kuroda, and Wandy Rodriguez.

6. You can count on about 94.4 pitches per start for Bedard, although hes thrown over a hundred six times this season. James McDonald also averages 94.4 per start, Madison Bumgarner averages 94.2, and Tim Hudson is at 94.5

7. With the bases empty, batters are hitting just .205 against him, but from the stretch they are hitting .260.

8. Lefties are hitting .239 against the lefty Bedard, but righties are hitting .221. While lefties have hit just three homers, that represents 3.3 of the 101 at bats against him. Righties have slammed eight homers which is 3.2 (249 AB).

9. Bedard throws his fastball close to 58 of the time and batters are only hitting .180 against it. His curve accounts for about 29 of his pitches and batters hit .280 against that pitch. He also throws a cutter and a changeup.

The mainly overlooked deal for Boston this deadline was the acquisition of Mike Aviles from the Royals. Aviles has made 144 appearances at short, 135 at second, and 39 at third. He has already been told to get a glove for the outfield. Defensively, his best position is SS where he has a plus six Total Zone fielding runs above average. He is minus six at second and minus five at third in his career.

Aviles is not the threat that Roberts was to steal bases (Dave was 33-of-34 when the Sox acquired him LA), but Aviles is 10-of-12 and really, all the Sox may need is from him is to steal one when it counts.

Speaking of steals

On July 31, 1997, the Sox and the Mariners made another trade at the deadline sending the immortal Heathcliff Slocumb out to Seattle for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek.

Bonjour Henri, wherever you are.

Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

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Ramirez, Leon homer, Red Sox beat Angels 9-4 on Papi's night

BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which David Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.

It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.

The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.

Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.

Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.

Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.

This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.

He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

Ortiz: 'A super honor' to have number retired by Red Sox

BOSTON —  The Red Sox have become well known for their ceremonies, for their pull-out-all-the-stops approach to pomp. The retirement of David Ortiz’s No. 34 on Friday evening was in one way, then, typical.

A red banner covered up Ortiz’s No. 34 in right field, on the facade of the grandstand, until it was dropped down as Ortiz, his family, Red Sox ownership and others who have been immortalized in Fenway lore looked on. Carl Yazstremski and Jim Rice, Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez. 

The half-hour long tribute further guaranteed permanence to a baseball icon whose permanence in the city and the sport was never in doubt. But the moments that made Friday actually feel special, rather than expected, were stripped down and quick. 

Dustin Pedroia’s not one to belabor many points, never been the most effusive guy around. (He’d probably do well on a newspaper deadline.) The second baseman spoke right before Ortiz took to the podium behind the mound.

“We want to thank you for not the clutch hits, the 500 home runs, we want to thank you for how you made us feel and it’s love,” Pedroia said, with No. 34 painted into both on-deck circles and cut into the grass in center field. “And you’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend, you’re our family. … Thank you, we love you.”

Those words were enough for Ortiz to have tears in his eyes.

“Little guy made me cry,” Ortiz said, wiping his hands across his face. “I feel so grateful. I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to have the career that I have. But I thank God even more for giving me the family and what I came from, who teach me how to try to do everything the right way. Nothing — not money — nothing is better than socializing with the people that are around you, get familiar with, show them love, every single day. It’s honor to get to see my number …. I remember hitting batting practice on this field, I always was trying to hit those numbers.”

Now that’s a poignant image for a left-handed slugger at Fenway Park.

He did it once, he said — hit the numbers. He wasn’t sure when. Somewhere in 2011-13, he estimated — but he said he hit Bobby Doerr’s No. 1.

“It was a good day to hit during batting practice,” Ortiz remembered afterward in a press conference. “But to be honest with you, I never thought I’d have a chance to hit the ball out there. It’s pretty far. My comment based on those numbers was, like, I started just getting behind the history of this organization. Those guys, those numbers have a lot of good baseball in them. It takes special people to do special things and at the end of the day have their number retired up there, so that happening to me today, it’s a super honor to be up there, hanging with those guys.”

The day was all about his number, ultimately, and his number took inspiration from the late Kirby Puckett. Ortiz’s major league career began with the Twins in 1997. Puckett passed away in 2006, but the Red Sox brought his children to Fenway Park. They did not speak at the podium or throw a ceremonial first pitch, but their presence likely meant more than, say, Jason Varitek’s or Tim Wakefield’s.

“Oh man, that was very emotional,” Ortiz said. “I’m not going to lie to you, like, when I saw them coming toward me, I thought about Kirby. A lot. That was my man, you know. It was super nice to see his kids. Because I remember, when they were little guys, little kids. Once I got to join the Minnesota Twins, Kirby was already working in the front office. So they were, they used to come in and out. I used to get to see them. But their dad was a very special person for me and that’s why you saw me carry the No. 34 when I got here. It was very special to get to see them, to get kind of connected with Kirby somehow someway.”

Ortiz’s place in the row of 11 retired numbers comes in between Boggs’ No. 26 and Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.