This is a great event and $50 is a steal considering how many players show up! Here's the scoop:
Date: July 21, 2011
The event is a 18 hole mini golf tournament with a celebrity at each hole and slient auction. Past celebrities include; Jason Varitek, Ray Bourque, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, Coco Crisp, Lenny Clark, Tim Wakefield, Trot Nixon, David Ortiz, Mark Loretta, Matt Clement, Gabe Kapler, Doug Mirabelli, Kevin Youkilis, Josh Beckett, Mike Timlin, Alex Cora, Brian Corey, Manny Delcarmen, Kevin Jarvis, Bob Sweeney, Don Sweeney, Travis Roy, Scott Young and Max Lane.
The event this year is being held at Athletic Evolution in Woburn, MA. Tickets are $50 each and they include a photograph with Jason Varitek and a $50 gift certificate to Athletic Evolution. You can purchase tickets at http://www.journey-forward.
Foursomes for the event are still available as well.
In 2003, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was drafted in the first round by the Atlanta Braves. In 2005, he hit .314 with 35 doubles, 19 homers, and 81 RBIs through 129 games at Single A Myrtle Beach - earning him the 18th spot in Baseball America's list of Top 100 prospects.
He's been trying to live up to that billing ever since.
Since being traded to Texas back in 2007, Salty has been bouncing between the minors and majors due to injuries and poor play. The Red Sox have been interested in the switch-hitting former phenom for years and finally made the move to acquire him this offseason with hopes that Jason Varitek could bring out the best in him.
Things looked promising during the offseason and Spring Training, but like the rest of the Red Sox offense, Saltalamacchia struggled in April, hitting .261 (11 for 51) in 16 games. Jason Varitek was actually worse (.111, 13 G), but the starters were clicking with him behind the plate and it looked like the Sox might be forced to start looking at other catching options.
But Salty found his groove during this homestand. He's hitting .389 (7-for-18) with three home runs and one RBI in each of his last four games. Currently at .237, he's a long ways away from the .275 BA we'd like to see, but the power numbers have spiked and 4 RBIs in four games is a bonus when it comes from the 9th spot in the lineup.
Bottom Line: With an opportunity to seize the starting job, Salty is healthy and finally showing us why he was so highly toted as a prospect. Most of his success has come at Fenway (.275 at home, .190 away), so the next step for Saltalamacchia is to keep this hit streak going on the road. The Sox head to Cleveland (.207, 29 AB) and Detroit (.042, 24 AB) this week... show us what you got Salty!
My apologies for the delay in getting rolling here. I started covering Canterbury Park for the Daily Racing Form and also will be contributing to Midwest Thoroughbred magazine and with the season starting up here I have been more than busy. Today I decided to multi-task and write this column from high above trackside in the Canterbury Park press box.
When I put my head down and started pounding on my keyboarda week and a half ago the Sox were still struggling to get to .500 and things were not looking particularly good. The pitching was erratic and the hitting was minimal. Finally getting a breather, I look up and see that we’re not only over .500, but only half a game out of first!
I dared to dream after the Sox took 3 of 4 from the Twins, but after losing the two in Toronto I was pessimistic heading to New York. But the off day came at an opportune time as did a stellar pitching performance from Clay Buchholz and another absolute gem from a resurgent Josh Beckett that set up for a sweeping finale. Then came a win over the O’s, Detroit for two (and another dazzler from Buchholz) and then the Cubbies for a thrashing like it was 1918 until the boys came back to earth last night. Just like that – boom – half a game out of first.
The backbone of the comeback was outstanding starting pitching and finally getting some timely hitting – mostly from the scorching hot Adrian Gonzalez. There are still some pretty serious questions that need to be answered. Lester has been solid, but victimized at times by walks and the long ball. Dice-K is his usual frustrating self, following up a couple of great performances with great control with an eight walk effort and has traveled his now well-worn path to the DL. John Lackey also hit the DL and so far the replacements have proved to be just as lackluster while relief has been hit or miss with Pap being mostly a hit this season but Bard not making many batters miss. Gonzo isn’t the only hot hitter with Jed Lowrie still hitting well, Jacoby Ellsbury heating up and David Ortiz remaining strong while avoiding the slow start that plagued him the last two seasons.
As many have said: this team will hit. Buchholz and Beckett are pitching like number ones and Lester certainly has the ability to iron out his recent difficulties
and remain a star but the backend of the rotation needs to be shored up as does middle relief. It’s good to see Saltalamacchia and Varitek hitting a bit better, but teams are still treating the base paths like a merry-go-round against the Sox and that has to improve. The AL East is slowly sorting itself out, but it looks like it’s going to be tight at the top and the Sox will need to plug their holes to prevail. Thankfully, the prevailing has become a bit easier than it was 10-days ago.
With a fifth straight win last night, the Red Sox moved to 22-20 and 2.5 games out of first place in the AL East... but the injuries are piling up and suddenly, we're dealing with a "lack of depth" problem... at the worst possible time.
With John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka down, the Sox will turn to Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves over the next 2-3 weeks. Wake and his knuckleball offer 50/50 results at best and Aceves has 5 career starts under his belt - and 4 of those came in 2008. Josh Beckett looks sharp again and Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz round out a Top 3 that has posted a 12-5 record, a 2.82 ERA anda 144/60 K/BB ratio so far this season, but if any one of these guys struggles over the next month, the Sox could find themselves idling at .500 as we head into June.
Then again, maybe the offense can carry the team for a bit. Or maybe Wake and/or Alfredo will surprise us. Or maybe Lackey will clear his head and come back at the end of May and pitch like the ace he used to be. Who knows?
What we do know is that the Sox are now thin at starter and in the bullpen. Micheal Bowden has pitched well in Pawtucket, fanning 28 batters through 22 innings while posting a 1.59 ERA. He's pitched in the bigs before and now that he's focused solely on relieving, he seems to be thriving. Maybe he can be the guy we hoped Jenks would be...
SP Felix Doubront might have been called up over Bowden, but he's currently nursing a mild groin strain that he suffered last week. He missed time in spring training and struggled because of it in a short stint in the bigs, but he's posted a 1.98 ERA through four brief starts at AAA while building up his arm strength. He'll need to prove he can pitch at least 5 innings before the Red Sox would consider calling him up again, so it looks like we're stuck with Timmy and Alfredo for the next two weeks - a minimum.
Bottom Line: Simply put, we could win 3 of every 5 over the next few weeks if Lester, Beckett and Buchholz continue to pitch well and the offense keeps clicking. But we can't expect those guys to go undefeated... if we want to do better than .500, we're going to have to lean on the offense for a while.
The Sox lead the majors in BA at .286 for the month of May and rank 5th with 75 runs scored... let's hope they can keep it going in June.
Back in late April the Red Sox won 8 of 9 against Toronto, Oakland and LA. The offense wasn't clicking on all cylinders, but the pitching was otherworldly and with a 14 games against Baltimore, Seattle, LA and Minnesota, it looked like they'd be in the middle of a 3-team race atop the AL East by mid-May.
Well... It's May 13th and the Sox are 4.5 games behind the Rays and 3 games below .500. They went 7-6 on the home stand, but let's face it - they choked. They had a chance to beat up on some bad teams and they choked.
But this weekend could be a turning point for the 2011 Red Sox.
The bitterness of the Red Sox v Yankees rivalry isn't what it used to be, but the Spx have a chance to prove something to their fans this weekend. A sweep in The Bronx is unlikely, but if it happened, they'd hit .500 for the first time this season and move within a 1/2 game of the Yankees for 2nd place in the East. It's only May, and no one is running away with this division... but in my opinion, this is an important series.
Bruins fans were hesitantly optimistic heading into the playoffs this spring after last season... and the B's stepped up with a gutsy performance against Montreal and a shellacking of the Flyers in the "Redemption Match." It's time for this Red Sox to show us a little something and it starts this weekend.
Ellsbury(.340, 4 2B, 6 SB in May) and Gonzalez (.362, 6 HR, 14 RBI) are hot. Crawford (.356) and Youk (.294) appears to have turned the corner. And y we've got Buchholz and Beckett going in game 1 and 2. We'll need quality pitching AND some offense to sweep the Yanks, but I'd be happy with two wins before a 7-game home stand next week.
Bottom Line: Last time we played the Yankees, Dustin Pedroia went off (.692, 3 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 4 R). I'm thinking this is just what Pedey needs to snap out of his current funk... and when Pedey gets hot, good things happen.
Entertainment Weekly has a feature called “The Shaw Report” which sums up trends in the world of pop culture in a neat 1” x 3” rectangle. The world is too complex for that, in my opinion, but sometimes it helps to break things down into manageable pieces.
So, here is my Red Sox version of Jessica Shaw’s “The Shaw Report” based on my observances around Twitter. I’m not necessarily endorsing or condemning these views, I’m simply saying what I’ve been noticing among Sox fans.
FIVE MINUTES AGO
Defending John Lackley
Hating John Lackey
Calling John Lackey a “mouth breather”
Liking Jacoby Ellsbury a little
Calling Jacoby soft
Having no clue who do blame for the Red Sox situation
Blaming pitching/bullpen/hitting/Curt Young/Francona (take your pick) for the Red Sox situation
Declaring the Red Sox will play the Phillies in the World Series
As many of you already know, I put together horse racing partnerships as well as blog about the experience. I was also recently hired as a freelancer for the Daily Racing Form to cover the summer season at Canterbury Park here in Minnesota. This time of year, along with the Breeder’s Cup, is one of the busiest times of the year for racing fans – it is Triple Crown season. Racing hasn’t seen a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 and pundits and fans are debating if we’ll ever see one again. However you need to go back another 11 years to the last of baseball’s Triple Crowns achieved by our very own Carl Yastrzemski. How much longer do we need to wait? It could be a lot longer than horse racing.
Tim Kirkjian, baseball analyst for ESPN, posits that it may be a very long time indeed now that hitters tend to hit for power or average, but rarely both. That a Triple Crown wasn’t attained in the steroid era is a bit surprising at first blush. The inflated power numbers put up by good hitters should have put that goal a bit more in reach. But then again, if you were Wade Boggs, George Brett, Tony Gwynn or Rod Carew and were already good enough to threaten the .400 mark, why would you need to bother ‘roiding up? You were among the elite already. Barry Bonds and his bulging ego was close in 2004, but thankfully fell short. It doesn’t have to be Yaz, but I much prefer the idea that the last Triple Crown winner was in 1967 rather than an ‘alleged’ PED user.
As we move into the post steroid era, it’s looking less and less likely that we’ll see another Triple Crown winner – though probably more likely than witnessing a .400 season. Last season in Major League Baseball there were six no hitter and two perfect games , a phenomenal number given the average number of no-hitters a season is two and the record in a season is seven. The other night Fransisco Liriano (he of the 9+ ERA) hurled the first no-hitter of 2011. It wasn’t the prettiest, but is indicative of the ‘Era of the Pitcher’ we live in now. Dice K and Josh Beckett both gave up hits early in games but finished with one hitters already this season. Several others have carried no hitters deep into games already as well – and it’s only the first week of May.
We will wait, watch and hopefully see another Triple Crown winner – in both sports – in our lifetimes. One thing you can be sure of, when it finally does happen, it’s going to be a special moment by a special athlete.no comments
Last night's game suffered from both a rain delay and extra innings. It wasn't pretty and it resulted in a loss. But before that the Sox had put together three wins in a row which is always nice to see.
At exactly 8:12pm Monday night I tweeted “When was the last time the Sox hit a HR?” I had been thinking about all those hits we’d gotten over the last few games without scoring runs and I was getting frustrated. If half the hits had been home runs we would have won those games by a landslide.
Sure enough, later that night David Ortiz hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the seventh. It was so nice to have the instant gratification of a hit equalling a run. There was no worrying about anyone getting stranded on base. There was sinking feeling when you realize that there’s already 2 outs.
Tonight Adrian Gonzalez, Ortiz, and Marco Scutaro all hit home runs. It was glorious! The bottom of the eighth was a dream come true. (The top of the ninth was slightly unnerving, but Papelbon got through it with only 2 runs on 3 hits.) The Sox ended up winning 7-2 for their third win in a row.
Before last night, the pervious home run had come on April 27th. I know a 5-day home run drought isn’t very long, but when it’s coupled with an epidemic of LOBs it equalled major frustration.
Now that the long ball has returned to the Red Sox box score, I hope that it makes an impact. The staring pitching has been phenomenal. The hitting appears to be heating up. If we can get the bull pen under control we could be in for an exciting summer of baseball!no comments
He did... throwing 102 pitches over 6 2/3 innings, while holding the Angels to 2 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. He wasn't super sharp, but he got the job done... and I feel obligated to point out this little tid-bit:
Yesterday we showed you that Buchholz' decision to replace his slider with a cutter wasn't working out so good. Last year the slider helped Buchhy induce tons of weak hits and ground balls, but the cutter wasn't giving him the same results. I suggested pitching coach Curt Young, make a change and get back to using the slider. Well, Buchholz didn't dust off the slider last night... but he did throw the slider less (8 total) and relied on heavily in the fastball, both the 2-seam (21) and the 4 seam (41), and the change-up (28).
This is a more aggressive approach and while he did hold the Angels to two runs, Buchhy did allow 8 hits, including three doubles and a homer to Vernon Wells... who was hitting .170 before last night. Couple that with just two strikeouts and I wonder if he just got lucky. Thankfully, the Red Sox offense woke up in the 7th and exploded for 6 runs... or this might have been a much closer game.
Buit enough wit hthe negativity! The Sox won for the second night in a row and have a shot at getting within 2 or 3 games of the Yanks before heading to The Bronx next week.
Bottom Line: I still want to see Buchholz make the switch back to the slider. He'll get another chance to regain his 2010 form on Saturday with the struggling Twins in town, but right now, he's set to face the Yankees in New York after that... hopefully, he's turned things around by then.
Tonight we get another great pitching matchup with Jon Lester (3-1, 2.52, 35 K) and Dan Haren (4-1, 1.23, 38 K)... should be a doozy.no comments
Tonight, Clay Buchholz will share the mound with the AL's best pitcher:
Jared Weaver (0.99 ERA, 6-0, 49 K).
In 2010, Buchholz was among the best, with 17 wins and the leagues 2nd best ERA at 2.33... but 2011 hasn't looked so good. With five starts in the books, Clay has one win and a 5.33 ERA. He looks okay against one of the leagues weakest offenses in Oakland, but need 102 pitches to get through 5 1/3 innings.
In short... he just hasn't been the same guy.
So what's he doing or not doing that he did in 2010? Sometimes this can be a tricky thing to answer, but in this case, it looks pretty obvious. A quick look a Fangraphs shows that Buchholz had dropped his slider in favor of the cut fastball (or cutter). In 2010, he threw the slider 18% of the time and it was a very effective pitch... hence the .226 BAA and the 50% ground ball rate. This season, he's replaced the slider with the cutter, perhaps in an effort to tally more strikeouts, but the result have not been good.
I'm not a pitching coach, but I do play one here at The Bottom Line, and I think it's time Buchhy went back to the slider. Tonight, the Sox need Buchholz to pitch his ass off if they want any shot of handing Weaver his first loss of the season... and I don't see that happening if he continues using this new approach. I don't know how many more bad games Buchholz and pitching coach Curt Young want to see before they make a change... but with the offense in a funk and the opposing starter lighting up the league, tonight seems like a good time to me.
Bottom Line: The Angles lineup is full of savvy hitters that know how to work the count and put the ball in play. When you're facing a team like that, you mix things up with the curve, the change-up... and some sliders in the dirt. You don't try to mow them down with fastballs and cutters.