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Rob Manfred Wants to Eliminate Defensive Shifts

January 26th, 2015 at 7:31 PM
By Sean Penney

Baseball has evolved over the years through various periods that have seen offensive production rise and fall. We've had the deadball era all the way through to the steroid era, with several peaks and valleys in between. As Major League Baseball has worked hard to try to clean up the game of juiced sluggers that have dominated the sport for the past couple decades, we have headed into an offensive decline.

Last year was the first time since the strike-shortened 1994 season that no major league team scored at least 800 runs. The league average for runs scored across the league was 4.07 runs per game, which is the lowest league average since 1981. Cracking down on PED use around the league has had an effect on the number of home runs flying out of ballparks, but that can't be the only factor accounting for this decline in offense. Teams are scoring less runs these days because their opponents are getting smarter.

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Joe Kelly Predicts He Will Win the Cy Young

January 25th, 2015 at 3:37 PM
By Sean Penney

Joe Kelly isn't weird, he's a pitcher. At least that's what the tee-shirt he wore yesterday at the Baseball Winter Weekend suggested, but he did raise some eyebrows during a radio appearance from Foxwoods Resort Casino with comments that some may consider strange. Kelly believes that he will win the American League Cy Young award this season.

That's a bold prediction from a pitcher that has never thrown more than 124 innings in a season and is coming off a year that he posted a below-average 91 ERA+ in his time split between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. An early season hamstring injury and the mid-season trade that sent him to Boston were factors that led to a disappointing season, but Kelly is confident that he's ready to take the next step.

"I just feel like I'm getting better every year. I'm learning new stuff," explained Kelly during the Baseball Winter Weekend. "I feel comfortable with where I am right now. You could ask every pitcher, [they Cy Young's] going to be their goal. But my real goal is to be focused on every single pitch, 100 percent.

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Should Dustin Pedroia Be the Boston Red Sox Captain?

January 24th, 2015 at 12:58 PM
By Sean Penney

The Boston Red Sox roster has seen an infusion of youth since the start of last season, but there are still several respected veterans that remain with the team. Among them is Dustin Pedroia, who exemplifies all the qualities of a leader in the clubhouse with his passion and work ethic. While small in stature, Pedroia has become one of the biggest voices in the clubhouse, which has some wondering if the Red Sox will reward him with the title of team captain.

The Red Sox haven't had a player wear the 'C' on their jersey since Jason Varitek retired following the 2011 season. It's not unusual, considering most teams don't officially name a team captain. The New York Yankees put the symbol on Derek Jeter's jersey for years, often referring to their shortstop as "The Captain." Jeter is retired now, leaving the Yankees without their captain and the team hasn't shown any indication of passing the honor on to anyone else (what, you thought they would hand it to A-Rod?). When Varitek was named as the Red Sox captain in 2004 it was during the peak of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry. Part of the reason for naming Varitek captain may have been an effort to signify a strong leader to match up against what Jeter meant to the Yankees. While slapping the 'C' on Varitek's jersey may not have made an actual impact on the games, that season did happen to be the year the Red Sox vanquished the Yankees in a historic postseason comeback on their way to winning the franchise's first World Series title in 86 years.

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Single-Game Tickets for 2015 Boston Red Sox Home Games on Sale Today

January 24th, 2015 at 11:20 AM
By Sean Penney

You may not be able to tell with all the snow currently piling up outside, but spring is right around the corner. That means baseball season is soon approaching, which makes now the time to get your tickets. Single-game tickets for the 2015 Boston Red Sox regular-season home games went on sale this morning at 10:00 AM.

Tickets are available online at RedSox.com or by phone at 888-REDSOX6 for all regular-season games at Fenway Park – except Opening Day and any games against the New York Yankees. Those tickets, along with the Budweiser Right Field Roof Deck tickets will be made available via a random drawing at a later date. Green Monster tickets will also be made available at a later date.

The Red Sox will also be hosting the Baseball Winter Weekend at Foxwoods Resort Casino, where fans can purchase up to 12 single-game tickets per transaction. Red Sox players past and present will be in attendance to meet with fans, sign autographs and participate in round table discussions covering a variety of baseball topics this weekend.

Boston opens the regular season April 6 in Philadelphia. Their home opener will be April 13 against the Washington Nationals.

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Allen Craig Could See Time at Third Base

January 23rd, 2015 at 12:59 PM
By Sean Penney

Allen Craig will be looking to bounce back from the worst season of his career, but to do that he needs to be in the lineup. He's capable of playing either of the corner outfield spots and has experience at first base. Now the Boston Red Sox may try him at another position – third base.

The Boston Herald's Scott Lauber reports that manager John Farrell has spoken to Craig about playing the hot corner in spring training to increase his versatility. Boston has a logjam in the outfield that will make it difficult for Craig to find regular playing time, while a healthy Mike Napoli is expected to get the bulk of the first base duties.

"I think we're focused short-term with Allen right now," said general manager Ben Cherington. "By that I mean, let's get him into spring training, give him every at-bat he needs and give him a chance to get back into an offensive routine and get back into doing the things he's capable of doing. It's one of the things we'll be able to figure out as it gets closer to Opening Day. He can protect us at a bunch of spots and we know if he's doing what he's capable of doing he can play everyday somewhere, too."

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