Seeing Red

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Seeing Red

By Michael Felger

Whats next, the Red Sox forming a partnership with Peyton Manning?

What, A-Rod wasnt available?

Hey, Felger! This is wonderful. I couldn't be happier with the start of the "best team ever." Maybe some of those yahoos will finally shut up and logically, not hysterically, assess the Red Sox. I mean really, besides Gonzo their talent is no better than last year. Maybe worse. They picked up Crawford, who I believe will be a total bust. He will press big time and will never be able to handle it when the Red Sox Nation turns on him. And they will. Solid baseball teams are built up the middle. The best team ever should have a stud catcher, a stud shortstop and a stud center fielder. Saltalamacchia, Scutaro, Ellsbury. Doesn't strike fear in my heart. Pitching. Lester, he'll be good. Buchholz, I think he'll be good. Lackey, stiff. Beckett, bigger stiff. I honestly think Dice K might have the best year of them all. Bullpen? Yeah, right. I don't see Mo Rivera walking out of there. They lost two pretty good offensive players in Beltre and Martinez. I'm not so sure Gonzo and Crawford will even match their production. My prediction is a long, disappointing year for Pink Hat Nation. And management. Love it!SteveChester, NH

Red Sox backlash, anyone? I guess this is what happens when you sell membership cards to become a fan, endlessly promote Sox-themed dating and quiz shows during your broadcasts, over-sell Truck Day, cater to people who more interested in Sweet Caroline than the sport, make sure that 95 percent of the media that covers you is in the bag, subject your fans who do care to Jim Rice after games, and, last but not least, go into business with one of the most hated athletes in New England (LeBron). Did I miss anything?

Hey, FelgerWith all these lineup scenarios, having Ellsbury and Crawford 1-2 is ideal. No. 3 Gonzalez, No. 4 Youk, No. 5 Ortiz, No. 6 Pedroia and No. 7 Drew. I know it screws with his left\right thing, but that's the reality of having a left-handed heavy lineup. What is your best batting order? I'm curious.KenWhitman

1. Ellsbury. 2. Pedroia. 3. Gonzalez. 4. Youkilis. 5. Crawford. 6. Ortiz. 7. DrewCameron. 8. Saltalamacchia. 9. Scutaro.

All I know is that Pedroia is a perfect No. 2, Gonzalez is a prototypical No. 3 and Youkilis is most comfortable bating cleanup. Build everything else around that.

Hey, FelgerIf we only could get J.D. Drew into the game. When he connects, his body should be used for the MLB version of Jerry West, an instructional photo. This year let's try to PUMP-JD-UP instead of always pointing out his good 'ol boy persona.FaithWorcester

Youre right, Faith. I feel bad that weve been so hard on him. From now on, I wont point out plays like the ones from Tuesday, when he soft-footed it into home and was thrown out, and then later held up going after a ball in right field. From now on he gets nothing but support.

Felger,If Jethro misses his first three questions on the SATs, you might not panic because he has a lot more to go, but it's probably safe to say he's not going to the Ivy League. FrankBoston

Interesting analogy. So youre saying the Red Sox are headed to Northeastern?

Mike,Remember this one, "If the Celtics dont win, it wont be because they missed Perkins." Out of the group of Perkins, Kristic, Shaq and Jermaine ONeal, Perkins might be the healthiest -- and thats saying something. If they are using Big Baby and Kristic as centers come playoff time, I think we will need to get in the Delorean and rewrite Celtics media coverage history once again.How could Ainge know Shaq would get hurt again? Well, with J.D. Drew, dont we just assume 40 games off per year, so why would anyone have looked at the recent history and mileage on Shaq and Jermaine and stamped them injury resistant and playoff certified? Its a joke and Im still waiting for the punch line.Peace,JakeBoston

Keep it coming, Jake. And remember, Ainge has had lapses like this before. Ricky Davis. Rasheed. Stephan Marbury. He sometimes makes moves as if he were managing a fantasy team, with no thought with regard to the actual team. It really boils down to this: He traded Perkins because he was relying on Shaq. Im sorry, but thats just plain dumb.

Felger, You DB!So I took my daughter to the Bs game against the Rangers last month. We both left pretty disappointed as the Bs looked unprepared, lazy and unmotivated until it was too late to salvage the game. Basically, the hockey equivalent of a Charlie Sheen concert. But after Monday nights debacle I asked myself what would have been better: To go to a game where the team collectively looked like it had been roofied during the pregame skate and thrilled they decided to actually try for the last eight minutes of the third period, or getting your hopes up as the Bs were on the verge of blowing out the Rangers, only to be let down yet again as you witness yet another lackadaisical collapse? Im still torn.What I am not confused about is what this team is. If its the same team that fell to pieces last May, why are Bruins fans still shocked and awestruck when this still happens? So is it exactly the same team? No. Lucic has morphed into a Gary Roberts-type impact forward. Horton is absolutely an improvement. Marchand is not only more than what we expected him to be this year, hes also that irritant that we hoped Begin was going to be last year. But the coach is the same, the captain is the same. And the GM is the same. Oh, and they score more and fight more now. But ultimately, it still adds up to a team culture where failure is accepted as the cost for getting better. On other teams, the price for failure is losing your job. But those responsible for the failures of the Bruins have been allowed to skip out on the tab so far. If Mike Vrabel worked for the Bruins he could wheel kegs of High Life into North Station after every game and bring back the empties for a deposit. Thats how bad it is. Failure, choking and games like Monday nights loss should never be thought of as more of the same, expected or acceptable. Forget the results themselves, just that perception is a major problem that needs to be dealt with immediately. But the only person holding people accountable on Causeway Street right now is the freaking Bear in their promos. You know what I want? Chiarelli gone. Remove the safety net for everyone. Everyone will be on notice that results matter. No more deals that look like state jobs. No more pat-on-the-back pressers after chokes. Think it wouldnt work? Calgary gave their GM, Darryl Sutter, the gate after limping to a 16-18-3 record. After that, the Flames went 24-11-8 because they knew that once the GM was axed any one of them could be next. They dont want to get dealt to Long Island or sent to Abbotsford. With one move, everyone employed by that team became motivated by self preservation at the very least. I say give it a try here. This team is long overdue for a major shake up. The best-case scenario is this team and coach get a Jenks-sized fire lit under them and do some major damage in the postseason. The worst that can happen will never be as bad as last season, and at least Cam wont have to take out a restraining order to keep PC from talking to Ryders agent about an extension.MikeAttleboro

Well see, Mikey. I sense that Neely has brought at least some accountability there, but not enough. And I also agree that Chiarelli would be the place to start. Hes the one who picks the coach and picks the players. Just axing Claude wouldnt be enough.

Then again, the Bruins could go all the way and quiet all the skeptics.

Just kidding!

Mikey,Now you're talking right up my alley. My gosh. Between Claude him and Chris Kelly Ive had enough. Mike, why on earth in a "meaningless" game does Seguin only play eight minutes, eight freaking minutes? Really!!! All I hear from the B's media is that Claude is disappointed in the third-line production. No kidding, CLAUDE! Kelly sucks (Wheeler offsides = Kelly trying to shoot). He's Dan Paille, except he's a center. I hope the call comes from CamPeter to have Seguin on the playoff roster. Get him the experience in the playoffs. Its our future cup on the line. You want production on the third line? Move Kelly to the fourth and have a RyderPeverlySeguin or even PeverlyCampbellSeguin combination on the third line. I know this past game was soooo important . . . did I see Chara play 25 minutes? Good job, Claude. You have screwed up this team all year (i.e., the goalie situation). He's an okaygood coach, but I truly believe he is holding this team back. At this point Claude needs to go. I have had enough and yet I am destined to see this team disappoint in the playoffs again! My bet is he wins enough to keep his job, just to drive me crazy for at least another year. DaveWoburn

Ive said it a million times. Claude is a very good coach for a bad team. But I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe he is the right guy for a great team. Too regimented. Too system-oriented. Afraid to turn his players loose. I hope he proves me wrong in the postseason, but Im not holding my breath.

I also now believe this: Whoever the next coach is, that persons top priority should be developing Seguin into a top 10 player. If Claudes not the right guy for that job, then ax him. Unless Seguin turns into a star, the Bs are destined to be playoff fodder.

Felger,After blowing a 3-0 lead by giving up five unanswered goals to the Rangers, it's time for Neely to pull a Lamoriello and fire Julian before the playoffs. It has to happen.Mark Melrose

Not a prayer. Im obviously not a fan, but even I believe thats nuts. Too late. If the Bs go down early in the playoffs again, Mark, youll get your wish. If the Bs fall in the first or second round, I dont see how he keeps his job. A conference final berth would probably be enough for him to survive, but depending on how it ended might still draw some consideration. If the Bs make the Cup Finals, were stuck with him another year at least.

Felger,Don't forget to mention Marchand's Seventh Player Award. He was definitely more than I expected.JamesManchester

Duly mentioned. Now lets see if the little guy can do it when it counts.

Hey, FelgerAs of now the Bruins would be the No. 3 seed in the East and have to play the Canadiens. I think that this would be the worst possible opponent for the Bruins. After all that has happened between the two teams this year I think there would be too many off-ice distractions that the Bruins dont need in their first-round series. I mean, sure, it would be a very entertaining series from a fan's perspective, but for the sake of the team and the goal of a Stanley Cup, is this who the Bruins want to play in the first round?Ryan

Nope. Its a bad matchup, both on the ice (Montreal has won 9-of-12 meetings over the last two years; Tim Thomas has worse numbers against the Canadiens than any other team) and off the ice. The Chara investigation is still on-going, and Pacioretty may return during the series. The fans are going to be worse than usual and thats saying something. Even in victory that series is going to take a lot out of the Bs.

But you know what? Im done complaining about it. Its happening. The standings havent really moved in two months and theyre not going to move in the next three days. Im resigned to it. Rest up. Its going to be a doozy.

--

Yo, Felger,I don't have a lot of time to really delve into explaining my point, but here's the top-line topic: Parents are the reason their kids aren't playing baseball anymore. Baseball is a game that takes time, energy and intelligence to enjoy on all levels. Basketball and soccer is your "weeeeee" thing. There are kids running everywhere, its disorderly . . . and, frankly, fun to watch for 60 minutes. But give me a wall, a tennis ball and my mitt as a kid and I was set for hours, Hell, I'd be set for hours now and I'm a 34-year-old dad.Jeff

A: Jeff is responding to our discussion of this Wall Street Journal article that detailed how participation in youth baseball has gone way down in the past decade. Its my belief that part of the reason is that too many important Major League Baseball games start too late and kids arent able to watch them. I think more day baseball in MLB would help the cause.

But after watching the Sox this week I think MLB should be thankful they've played mostly at night. The last thing you want to do is subject the youth of America to that team right now.

Read Felgers weekly column on Mondays. E-mail him HERE and read the mailbag every Thursday. Listen to him on the radio weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 the Sports Hub.

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was diagnosed with and successfully treated for lymphoma in 2015, today announced a new ticket program, “Farrell’s Fighters,” that invites patients being treated for the disease and their family to a game each month throughout the season.
 
“It was a challenging battle going through the treatment a few years ago, and beyond the support of family and friends, one of the things that helped me get through it was the escape I found in the game of baseball,” Farrell said in a team statement. “I hope this program can provide a positive, momentary break for the patients and their families from the daily rigors of treatment, and for baseball to be a tonic for them, as it was for me.”
 
In addition to VIP seats at the game, the program will include a meeting with the Red Sox manager, a tour of the ballpark, the chance to watch batting practice, and lunch or dinner in the EMC Club restaurant.
 
“Farrell’s Fighters” will launch with patients from Massachusetts General Hospital, where Farrell was treated in 2015, but will expand to include other area hospitals. The first patient to take part in the program is Nate Bouley, 42, of Sudbury, Mass., who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015, and is in remission for the third time. Bouley, his wife, and two children will attend the Red Sox-Mariners game Sunday.

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

Red Sox' seven-run rally in seventh keys 9-4 win over Rangers

BOSTON -- Chris Sale was perfectly happy to sit back and watch the Red Sox hitters do the work this time.

Sale cruised into the fifth inning, then was rewarded in the seventh when the Boston batters erupted for seven runs on their way to a 9-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Sale (5-2) struck out six, falling short in his attempt to become the first pitcher in baseball's modern era to strike out at least 10 batters in nine straight games in one season.

But he didn't seem to mind.

"It was fun," said the left-hander, who received more runs of support in the seventh inning alone than while he was in any other game this season. "You get run after run, hit after hit. When we score like that, it's fun."

Dustin Pedroia waved home the tiebreaking run on a wild pitch, then singled in two more as the Red Sox turned a 3-1 deficit into a five-run lead and earned their third straight victory. Sam Travis had two singles for the Red Sox in his major league debut.

"I was a little nervous in the first inning," he said. "I'd be lying to you guys if I said I wasn't."

Mike Napoli homered for Texas, which has lost three of four to follow a 10-game winning streak.

FOR SALE

Sale, who also struck out 10 or more batters in eight straight games in 2015 with the White Sox, remains tied for the season record with Pedro Martinez. (Martinez had 10 straight in a span from 1999-2000.)

After scoring four runs in support of Sale in his first six starts, the Red Sox have scored 27 while he was in the game in his last five. He took a no-hitter into the fifth, but finished with three earned runs, six hits and a walk in 7 1/3 innings.

"Guys pulled through for me when I was probably pretty mediocre," he said.

NO RELIEF

Sam Dyson (1-5) faced seven batters in relief of Martin Perez and gave up four hits, three walks - two intentional - and a wild pitch without retiring a batter.

"Martin threw the ball really well and I came in with two guys on and couldn't get an out," Dyson said. "Sometimes they hit them where they are, and sometimes they hit them where they aren't."

Asked if he felt any different, he said: "Everything's the same.

"If I get my (expletive) handed to me, it's not like anything's wrong," he said. "Any more amazing questions from you all?"

SEVEN IN THE SEVENTH

It was 3-1 until the seventh, when Andrew Benintendi and Travis singled with one out to chase Perez. Mitch Moreland singled to make it 3-2, pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge singled to tie it and, after Mookie Betts was intentionally walked to load the bases, Moreland scored on a wild pitch to give Boston the lead.

Pedroia singled in two more runs, Xander Bogaerts doubled and Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dyson was pulled after walking Chris Young to force in another run.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx got Benintendi to pop up foul of first base, but Napoli let it fall safely - his second such error in the game. Benintendi followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 8-3 before Travis was called out on strikes to end the inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor was shaken up when he dived for Betts' grounder up the middle in the third inning. He was slow getting up. After being looked at by the trainer, he remained in the game.

Red Sox: LHP David Price made his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket, allowing six runs - three earned - seven hits and a walk. He struck out four in 3 2/3 innings, throwing 89 pitches, 61 for strikes, and left without addressing reporters. 3B Pablo Sandoval also played in the game, going 2 for 4 with two runs.

"He felt fine physically," said Red Sox manager John Farrell, who added he would talk to Price on Thursday morning to determine how to proceed. "We had a scout there who liked what he saw."

UP NEXT:

Rangers: Will send RHP Nick Martinez (1-2) to the mound in the finale of the three-game series.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (3-3) looks to snap a personal two-game losing streak.