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Boston Strong

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Monday, April.22/2013

While many people weren't giving the Red Sox a chance in the AL East this season, the Red Sox were just taking a 2 game lead in the stacked division. I have a feeling this is a team you should never count out.

While many people weren’t giving the Red Sox a chance in the AL East this season, the Red Sox were just taking a 2 game lead in the stacked division. I have a feeling this is a team you should never count out.

By Ryan Dana (MLB Reports Writer and Red Sox Correspondent):  with an assist to Kyle Holland (Boston native)  

As I’m sure you can imagine, writing this weeks Red Sox article was a little difficult. Figuring out what to say after a tragedy like what Boston has experienced over the past week is no easy task. I’ll just roll with the theme of the City and the Team over the past week. Boston Strong.

The Red Sox have stuck by their city and the rest of baseball has been great amidst this week’s events. The Red Sox are giving a hurting community something to root for.

Outside of the Red Sox organization other teams have also showed their support for the City of Boston after the tragic events at the Boston Marathon.

Just one example would be the Red Sox’ biggest rivals, the New York Yankees, playing Red Sox favorite “Sweet Caroline.” It doesn’t stop there though.

Other teams including the Chicago White Sox, the Cincinnati Reds,the Oakland A’s, and the San Francisco Giants also played “Sweet Caroline.” A little stranger, but just as meaningful, the Milwaukee Brewers played the theme song from the Boston based show “Cheers.”

And perhaps the greatest gesture of them all, after the Red Sox beat the Indians 7-2 on Tuesday evening the staff at Progressive Field played “Dirty Water,” the song played at every Red Sox win at Fenway Park. That’s not all Boston fans are cheering about: Winning keeps Red Sox Nation cheering night after night.

The team has been off to a strong start this season leading the AL East with a record of 12-4 after play on 4/20 thanks to another masterful performance by Clay Buchholz and a clutch Home run by Daniel Nava. They’re currently riding a 7 game winning streak.

Neil Diamond shows up unannounced to sing “Sweet Caroline” to Boston fans:

Buchholz has always had the stuff to be a front-line starter, but he hasn't always had the consistency or durability of one. He's only topped 100 IP twice and never topped 200 IP. Cross your fingers, but so far this year he looks like an Ace.

Buchholz has always had the stuff to be a front-line starter, but he hasn’t always had the consistency or durability of one. He’s only topped 100 IP twice and never topped 200 IP. Cross your fingers, but so far this year he looks like an Ace.

Speaking of Clay Buchholz. He may be the best pitcher in baseball at the moment winning all 4 of his starts this season with a .90 ERA in 30 IP. One start he even carried a no-hitter into the 8th.

Jon Lester and Ryan Dempster have been off to very good starts too with ERAs of 1.73 and 2.65 respectively. The trio of Buchholz, Lester, and Dempster have allowed just 13 ER in 73 IP.

Unlike last season the pitching staff has been leading the team to many of its victories. The Red Sox have a team ERA of 2.69 which is 2nd best in the Majors only to the Braves. Their Starters ERA is a collective 2.32 which is tops in the Big Leagues.

The bullpen has had a few rough games, one terrible game by Joel Hanrahan which helped inflate their bullpen ERA to 3.55. The most concerning thing I’ve noticed, and I’m sure many others have as well, is the bullpen giving up HRs. They’ve given up 8 in 45.2 IP.

I wouldn’t worry about the bullpen though. It is extremely deep with guys in the Minors ready to step in and contribute, along with guys on the DL who will eventually be back as well. The bullpen will be a strength of the team, it is the hope that the Starters can continue to be a strength for the club as well.

The Red Sox are riding a wave of strong pitching that they hope sticks around, but their offense hasn’t been bad either and it got a huge boost on Saturday when David Ortiz made his 2013 debut. Ortiz started his season off strong with a 2-4 day knocking in a run in the process.

While they sit middle of the pack in many statistical categories on offense, who would have thought they would do that well to this point? I think true Red Sox fans obviously hoped they would, but this was supposed to be a “bridge year,” or that’s at least what I was hearing all offseason.

It looks far from it to this point. While it would be hard to do any better than they have as a team, they are only getting stronger offensively with their cleanup hitter returning from injury.

The offense is getting it done in ways we’re not used to in Boston. I wouldn’t call it a “small ball” style, but John Farrell clearly has them playing a different brand of baseball than from past years.

Daniel Nava's game winning HR. He has had an interesting journey in baseball, and only had 7 ML HRs prior to this season in 148 Games played, but he already has 4 HRs in 12 Games this season.

Daniel Nava’s game winning HR. He has had an interesting journey in baseball, and only had 7 MLB HRs prior to this season in 148 Games played, but he already has 4 HRs in 12 Games this season.

It’s not all about slugging these days in Boston, Farrell has the team 2nd in the Majors with 15 SB. They have relied a lot less on the longball, they have just 15 HRs on the season, about half that of the league leader. Leading the team in HRs, is Daniel Nava and Will Middlebrooks with 4 apiece.

Coming into the year I thought the offense had enough to get it done at every position, but I was a little worried about the OF if anything. I will admit I have been proven wrong to this point. Shane Victorino has proven he can still be a top of the order hitter with his .311/.377/.705 3 Slash Line.

Jacoby Ellsbury has played well as I would have expected, but the Left Field platoon of Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava is looking better than I would have thought. I’ve been a huge Nava fan, but he has greatly surpassed even my expectations for him so far this season. His slash line is an absurd .342/.460/1.144 Add in his 4 HR and 14 RBI and he looks like an All-Star right now.

Gomes has just 5 Hits in 25 ABs on the season (.200 BA). Considering one of those hits was a wall ball Double to start the Game Winning rally in Saturday’s game, and the fact that his OBP is .412, hitting at the Mendoza line isn’t too concerning yet. he is a great Right-Handed option for the OF or even DH if Ortiz has any more injury trouble.

Jonny Gomes has to be becoming a fan favorite already. He has bounced around the league having up and down years with varying amounts of playing time, but I love the idea of him platooning with Nava in LF this year for the Boston Red Sox. Welcome to Boston Jonny.

Jonny Gomes has to be becoming a fan favorite already. He has bounced around the league having up and down years with varying amounts of playing time, but I love the idea of him platooning with Nava in LF this year for the Boston Red Sox. Welcome to Boston Jonny.

So why are the Boston Red Sox strong in 2013? Thus far it looks like their strength lies in the way this team was constructed. When this team was being constructed this off-season I thought the Red Sox were just pigeonholing their draft picks and going after Free Agents that wouldn’t cost them any, but apparently they have put together a mix of players that is really working.

How can you not love this Red Sox team? Every time you watch them, you see the passion they play with. Koji Uehara throwing some vicious high fives around the dugout after pitching one of his many flawless innings, or Jonny Gomes flexing after a huge hit. And who can forget Daniel Nava’s fist pumps after his clutch hit this Saturday? That is why Boston is strong. They have a group of players whose number one goal is to win.

The sellout streak might be over, but I’d rather see this team play than any other Red Sox team since the “Cowboy Up” days of nearly a decade ago now. The definition of passion is Strong and barely controllable emotion.” That is where Boston’s strength comes from.

David Ortiz'  pregame speech on Saturday was awesome! His .318/.415/.611 slash line with 23 HR and 60 RBI last season in just 90 games shows his importance in this lineup. The team did a good job in his absence, but now it's time to score some runs!

David Ortiz’ pregame speech on Saturday was awesome! His .318/.415/1.026 Slash Line with 23 HR and 60 RBI last season in just 90 games shows his importance in this lineup. The team did a good job in his absence, but now it’s time to score some runs!

Red Sox Tribute to Boston Marathon Victims Set To Jeff Buckley’s Version Of “Hallelujah”

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to our baseball writer Ryan Dana for preparing today’s featured article.  Ryan is junior studying physical education with a concentration in coaching at Bridgewater State University. He has been playing baseball since he was 7 and coaching since he was 14. Ryan wants to be a college baseball coach once he graduates. 

Ryan is, and always will be, a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. Secondary to baseball, he is a big health and fitness enthusiast. You can find Ryan on twitter. .

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Posted on April 22, 2013, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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