The Red Sox finished up a four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, and hit the All Star break on a six-game winning streak, and a 55-35 record.

Yesterday’s 8-6 win featured still more ejections (four), as the two clubs continued to snipe at each other, on and off the field.

Things try to get ugly in Boston’s 8-6 win over the Baltimore – Nick Underhill has the Orioles continuing to try to settle their perceived feud with the American League East leaders. More game stories from Michael Vega | Dan Duggan | Brian MacPherson | Mike Fine | Maureen Mullen

Red Sox still can hit historic highs – Scott Lauber says that it is still possible that this The Best Red Sox Team Ever. Joe McDonald says that this team is living up their preseason hype.

Playing it forward – Amalie Benjamin has a mini-feature on Jacoby Ellsbury putting a tough 2010 season behind him. Alex Speier explains why this resurgence is not entirely surprising.

Gordon Edes’ interactive midseason Red Sox report card – The ESPN writer gives you the chance to grade the Red Sox for the first half of the season. Scott Lauber lists out the studs and duds from the first half of the season.

Umpires were out of control in Sox-Birds tiff – Jim Donaldson has the umpires losing control of the series. Rich Thompson  has the umpires with a very busy series.

Middlebrooks has the will, finding way – Nick Cafardo has power hitting prospect Will Middlebrooks looking to find his way to Fenway Park sooner rather than later.

Weiland’s debut is one for the history books –  Tim Britton has the Sox rookie starter becoming only the seventh player to be ejected in his Major League debut. Nicole Auerbach has more on Weiland.

Players hit break, speed away – Rich Thompson has the players heading their separate ways for the break.

Shopping smart at the trade deadline – The Red Sox Journal has Theo Epstein looking at options for the trade deadline at the end of the month. The Herald notebook from Dan Duggan has Jon Lester getting an All Star call, even though he won’t participate. The Globe notebook from Michael Vega has Lester pleased with the honor. The CSNNE.com notes have more on Weiland’s ejection. The Gatehouse notebook from Mike Fine  has more on Weiland.

 

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12 thoughts on “Sox Hit Break After Ugly Series Sweep Of Orioles

  1. Not sure what creative writing class Jim Donaldson took recently but he was definitely scammed – unreadable article.

  2. A few items:

    1) With the exception of a few clear thinking media members, many of the media decided that David Ortiz was the only one to blame for the skirmish Friday night. The insufferable Kirk Minihane was the loudest. A caller tried to say that Kevin Gregg was equally at fault for the incident. Before he could complete his sentence Minihane decided he would put his Gary Tanguay school of broadcasting degree to good use by shouting down the caller and asking why Ortiz had to look at Gregg after the first pitch and why could he have just walked away when Gregg told him to run out the fly ball. Minihane praised Kevin Gregg for being forthright and honest afterwards. Of course Kirk, Gregg spoke to the media after the game while Ortiz did not so Gregg is a much better person. I actually gave kudos to Minihane a couple of days ago. I take that back, immediately. Some of the others who decided to climb their "objective" high horse were the dreadful Mark Bertrand, who said Ortiz was classless for not speaking to the media afterwards. Other culprits were Ryan Johnston, Nick Cattles and Rich Keefe. Keefe thought Gregg's talk of the Red Sox payroll refreshing. I wonder if Gregg would have a problem if he was on the Yankees and Red Sox? Cattles did say that Gregg talking about the Red Sox payroll was bush.I will give Johnston, Cattles and Keefe a pass because I usually enjoy their work. Finally, Dan Shaughnessy, of course, said the issue was all Ortiz fault. Dan also blames the financial meltdown on Ortiz slow trot around bases after a homerun. I love how the media gets on their moral soapbox and says Ortiz should walk away when being yapped at by Gregg. I wonder if the media would heed their own advice if the same thing happened to them? My guess is they would not.

    There were some clear thinking media members who saw fault with both combatants. The one who gets the most praise is Mike Flynn of 98.5 who, in my opinion, is the best personality on radio. Flynn said Ortiz was wrong for looking at Gregg after the first pitch but the said Gregg needed to keep his mouth shut on the pop-up and ripped him for the payroll remark. Flynn said the issue would have been moot had the Orioles had been able to actually record some outs. When he could get a word in, Rob Bradford also said both guys need to take the blame. Lou Merloni and Sean McAdam were also fair in their assessment of the situation.

    2) I would like to know what Jacoby Ellsbury has done wrong lately. He must have done something outrageous. Marc Bertrand at 98.5 said the Red Sox should trade Ellsbury at the break. When asked why by Michael Felger, Bertrand said "instinct" tells him that Ellsbury will not have another season like he is having this year. Well, how can you argue with that logic? Didn't Einstein figure out the Theory of Relativity using instinct? Felger also acts as though the issues of last season will mean the Red Sox will dump Ellsbury. It blows my mind that the so called face of the local media, Felger, has the brains of a pile of wood chips.

    Ellsbury's numbers:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/e/ellsb

    That's right an .867 OPS for a leadoff hitter. What a bum.

    3) Bruce's SBNation article, "Media Roundup: Fill-Ins Rule The Airwaves, Mourning George Kimball And Roger Clemens' Trial" makes a great catch on WEEI mentioning that they have fewer commercials then 98.5. I would have to believe that businesses know how bad WEEI is being beat by WBZ. Advertisers would either want a deep discount on ads or would stop advertising altogether.

    1. I'd certainly listen to offers on Ellsbury. I don't care how he projects in the future, if the Phillies had a brain fart and offered me Halladay, Hamels, and Domonic Brown for Ellsbury and Lars Anderson, I'd break 180mph driving down to Philly to get that deal signed and delivered. Nobody should ever be considered truly untradeable — it's just a matter of how much is offered in return.

      You're also forgetting that Ellsbury's agent is Scott Boras. It's highly unlikely that he will allow Ellsbury to sign an extension that buys out many (or any) of his arbitration or free agency years, which is what the Sox want to do with their young players (see, e.g., Lester and Buchholz). Granted, the Sox have a good working relationship with Boras, so there's less likelihood that they would view him as unsignable or unreasonable with respect to the player. (Compare that to Arte Moreno, who would have probably shipped him off as soon as the ink dried on the agency change.) But if they view him as financially incompatable with the team's long term plans, they're absolutely going to feel out what they could get for him. Maybe not right this very minute, but certainly in the offseason. They've thrown a ton of money at Crawford over the next decade — are they going to throw even more money at Jacoby? Probably not, unless he starts hitting 35 HR a year, which is possible but not necessarily likely.

      Finally, the Sox say all the right things about Ellsbury publicly…. yet in each of the past two off-seasons they've acquired a pricey player via free agency who basically is the exact same "type" of player as Ellsbury projects to be, in Cameron and Crawford. That, to me, says that the front office isn't necessarily sold on him as a long-term Red Sox.

      Felger may be throwing stuff against the wall in an agitative way, but I don't think it's fair ata all to say that he's "dumb" for having this viewpoint. There's a number of signs pointing towards a strong possibility that Ellsbury may be used as trade bait by the team.

      1. Dave, if Philly made that offer then I'm with you. The chances that offer or another that is similar are none and none. By the way, if your lucky, you might get a dozen donuts for Anderson. His stock has fallen off a cliff.

        I also know that Boras is Ellsbury's agent and will not sign an extension. I get it. But Ellsbury is still under control for two more years after this season. Ellsbury has been showing steady improvement, 2009 aside. Right now he is one of the top three leadoff men in the game. If Epstein decides for a baseball reason to trade Ellsbury then fine, but to get rid of him because instinct tells you he has peaked or because of a pissing contest from last year makes no sense. Those were the reasons Bertrand and Felger said.

        With regards to Cameron and Crawford, Epstein has admitted what a bad mistake it was to sign Cameron. In fact, I believe Francona thought Cameron was going to play left but Theo was the one who wanted him to play center. Hell, even Felger thought signing Cameron made no sense and you know what I think of him. Crawford was signed as a left fielder. He has also made it perfectly clear that he does not like the leadoff position. I do not see the issue of have two players with similar skills batting at different parts of the lineup.

        As far as Felger goes, he was at one time the best media personality around. His thoughts were well thought out and not over the top. I enjoyed reading his work in the Herald and listening to him on the Big Show. But he changed and certainly not for the better. Honestly, when you hear him now, how many intelligent thoughts come out of his mouth. I would say less than ten percent. I think part of it is because he believes that more bombast with little knowledge is what the people want. People listen to Felger is because the Big Show has become completely unlistenable. If WEEI had a Tom E. Curran and maybe Rob Bradford or Holley show at 2:00pm (minus Adams, of course) then I'm listening. I will say this, Felger is smart in one aspect. He inexplicably got over 60% of the readers on this sight to give him an approve. It's baffling.

        1. I think you make a lot of good points re: Felger. But I don't think he's unintelligent, or even less intelligent than before. His role has changed — he's now expected to just throw rumors, speculation, and outright fiction out there for the sake of argument (that's, after all, the basic function of a talk radio host), whereas when he was still a beat/feature writer at the Herald he couldn't do that, because it would be journalistically improper.

          I still think the Sox are going to investigate Ellsbury's market value in the offseason. Everything you say is correct in the short term. Ellsbury is under team control for two years…. but as an arbitration eligible player. Boras will go to arbitration in both years unless the Sox give Ells a top-dollar extension, and it's reasonable to expect that as LTD says below, the market has been set at the Crawford level. He likely won't get Crawford money right off the bat in arb, but I bet he'll get at least $8m, and maybe even $10m. Then if he puts up top-line numbers again in 2012, he's in line for a $14m payday. Then, he's unrestricted in 2013. From a long term perspective, there's a good chance that you'll be paying Ellsbury $16-24m or so over the next two years and then watch him walk.

          If you believe that a Ryan Kalish or Josh Reddick would give you 75% of Ellsbury's production in center, but at 1/20th the cost, you have to seriously consider moving him for value. But only for value — they're not going to give him away just for the sake of moving a contract.

          If you're saying that you don't think they will be offered acceptable value for him — I agree 100%. If you're Seattle and you decide to move King Felix, you're going to want Kalish, whom you would control at non-arb levels for multiple years, before you'd want Ellsbury, who would cost you a pretty penny. (And then walk for a big-market payday in two years.) And the teams that theoretically match up the best — the Dodgers, the Cubs, maybe even the Diamondbacks come to mind — don't necessarily have the talent to exchange. I wouldn't be shocked by something like an Ellsbury-for-Ethier swap, but I wouldn't bet money on it ever happening, either.

          1. Dave, I again agree with you on a megadeal. I do not think Seattle will trade Hernandez for the foreseeable future. Maybe 2014, the last year of his contract. When Seattle signed Hernandez, I believe they were making a commitment to improve the team. The Ethier deal would not be that bad but the Dodgers are going to be a mess for quite some time and may not be doing anything until things get straightened out with ownership. I have liked what I have seen from Kalish and Reddick but not enough to deal Ellsbury this year or next.

            With Felger, what is sad is that he could have been the same person he was ten years ago and I believe his ratings would be at the point where I think WEEI would have already pulled the trigger on Ordway.

    2. Another nice post mandb97. regarding your points:

      1) The person I thought made the most sense on the Gregg/Ortiz mess was Curt Schilling when in called in to Mustard and Johnson on Saturday (don't ask why i was listening I have no excuse). He said Gregg was at fault for throwing at Ortiz 3 times and then getting pissed when Ortiz swung at a 3-0 pitch with a 7 run lead. No one else made this point but when you think about it this is what the whole thing boiled down to. Gregg bringing up the payrolls is just a reflection of Buck Showalter's than any real original thought. Ortiz should be blamed for losing his cool and charging the mound from half way down the base path. So a journeyman pitcher was yapping at you…you'll get over it.

      2) I would trade Ellsbury at the All-star break this year. I can't see the Sox giving him $160 mill over 8 and that is approx what Boras is going to ask for (and be justified in getting). The Sox set the market for Ellsbury when they signed Crawford. If they can get Felix Hernandez for him you have to make that deal. its not that I think Ellsbury is bad. Its not that I think he will have other great years. Its that I think he is a high risk physically to break down over time and after last year I am not convinced how hard he is willing to work through an injury to get back on the field. Having said that, you would think some of the media who are calling for his trade could give a better reason than "I have a feeling".

      3) Now that the Bruins run is over and Sox are interesting…lets see what the radio numbers show. I am not convinced either station is putting out quality all day and night. Besides this all gets real interesting in 2 weeks when the NFL labor agreement is signed because football will drive 100% of the conversation in this town this fall because of its absence these last 5 months.

      1. No question late, both guys deserve blame. What got me were the people who put sole blame on Ortiz. It's like they are holding a sign saying, "See I'm not a homer". Yes and they are not very observant.

        As I said to Dave, if you could pull off a megatrade like that sure. If you are Seattle why would you trade the only commodity that puts people in the stands or makes you turn the remote to the game. Seattle also signed Hernadez to big deal with idea of building the franchise around him. Seattle has shown marked improvement from last year. Eventually they could be a winner out West. Two years from now, if Epstein knows he is not going to be able to sign Ellsbury and there is a position that needs to be filled then fine. But with two years left, and a team that looks like it has a great chance at the World Series, then what is the rush?

        I do think Ellsbury got a terrible rap with his injury in 2010. I think he was hurt a lot more then was believed. I believe the medical staff botched his diagnosis and they and the organization got together to make Ellsbury look bad. The medical staff first said the ribs were bruised and fought giving him an MRI. They caved and it was found out the ribs were broken. The medical staff then said, well the treatment is the same. At the same time, the team was leaking about Ellsbury having to be pushed to play when he had some aches and pains. Before his injury in 2010 was his willingness to play in pain ever talked about? I don't remember it. When he was in Portland, Maine he received high praise for his work ethic. Ellsbury was hammered by the media for having the audacity to be prepared for a press conference in Toronto. He wanted to have his t's crossed and his i's dotted. If Ellsbury did not have notes and was off in his timeline how do you think the media would have treated him then? My guess is the media would have crucified Ellsbury.

        1. mandb…Seattle makes that trade because they seem to flirt with it each year. I do not know if there is a disconnect with management and the player, if the player is pushing to get into a more competitive environment, or if the player just realized that the Pacific Northwest is three hours behind the rest of the world and he want to escape that personal bit of hell. Maybe the trade is Ellsbury and Dubront for Hernandez…that one might make both sides think. It also seems to me that when a large market team lets a valuable chip get close to free agency they generally do not get value at the trading deadline of the final year of the contract. Often they are stuck with the player until the end of the year where he “tests” free agency elsewhere. I think there is not so much an urgency to trade him as much as there is an understanding that his value is very high at this moment and I am not convinced they see him in their future plans.As for last year, I think Ellsbury did not do himself or the team any favors with the way the rehab went down. Had his agent been anyone other than Boras then it would have been recommended he not say ANYTHING to the press. As soon as he went forward to “tell his side of the story” he lost me for good. He appeared to be a me first player. He might have been right about the medicine, but he was wrong in his approach. You say nothing, you heal silently, and when you are ready to come back then you talk. Can you imagine a Patriots player saying that he was misdiagnosed in a public interview midseason? It was the disloyalty that was the issue.

  3. With all the trees people killed writing about the Ortiz/Gregg incident, there is one thing not really being discussed — Gregg's insisting that he was just trying to establish the inside part of the plate is a blatant lie. Unlike Youkilis, Manny, or Jeter, Ortiz does not crowd the plate and thus does not need to be backed off the plate. Sure, a pitcher will throw at him to try to make him uncomfortable, but even then it is extremely difficult to hit Ortiz. For a dozen years, pitchers much better and smarter than Gregg have not tried to get Ortiz out by backing him off the plate. It would be nice if a writer could go into more detail about how pitchers get Ortiz out, but that may ruin a storyline or two.

    With this context, and then the O's repeating Showalter talking points after the game, there seems to be a lot of evidence that the weekend of incidents was spurned by Showalter ordering throws at Ortiz to motivate his team.

  4. I completely agree with mandb97's opinion of Minihane. His M.O seems to be the "hey look at me" approach. I guess he figures that it worked for Felger. Maybe you just have to be a first class a**hole to be a sports radio host. When you think about it, moast of them are.

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