Links 12-1-2010: The plan forming, Victor as a DH, compensation picks, trading Scutaro, Guerrier, Parraz, Spring Training schedule

It’s starting to look like a near certainty that the Red Sox will sign one of either Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford. As I’ve said before, I like the idea of adding Werth as a long-term right-handed bat with some punch, though Crawford would be a good add as well. Werth is pretty good on defense as well, while Crawford is stellar in that category. Signing either would go a long way towards replacing the offense we’ve lost from last year’s team.

Yes, it’s been a slow offseason so far, but before you start complaining about how the Sox never spend money, read this. They are simply waiting it out. Werth is a Boras client, so any offer made now would simply be used as leverage to drive up the price. Werth will almost certainly not sign before Christmas, and may even hold out until late January.

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4-21-2010: Two callups provide the spark over Rangers, 7-6

Wow. If anyone had told me the player of the game would be Darnell McDonald, I would’ve placed as big a bet as they would have taken. But exactly that happened last night, as McDonald hit a tying 2-run Monster Shot off of Darren Oliver, and then a walkoff single off the wall in the bottom of the 9th off Frank Francisco. Two at-bats, two critical hits. Meet the new Mr. Clutch. (I’m joking here, of course). At 31 years old, McDonald has bounced around and toiled in the minor leagues (all of them) his whole career. And don’t forget that Josh Reddick stroked a key two-run double before that, too. These guys were called up on a day when both Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury went on the DL, and a day when everyone expected them to lose. Turns out they were just what the doctor ordered to break out of this losing streak.

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2010 Free agent profile: Vladimir Guerrero

The Red Sox definitely need a contingency plan in case they can’t land Matt Holliday or Jason Bay this offseason. Theo Epstein and company have been thinking outside of the box, even looking at acquiring Dan Uggla to play in left. A right-handed OF with some power who could play left field in Fenway. Hmm, let’s see. How about asking Vladimir Guerrero to move to left?

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2009 Red Sox: RIP

What an utter disappointment. The Red Sox actually showed some signs of life today, but could only watch as the Los Angeles Angels chipped away with two outs in the 9th off closer Jonathan Papelbon. First, it was Willy Aybar with an 0-2 single, then it was a Chone Figgins walk followed by a Bobby Abreu double. Terry Francona elected to put Torii Hunter on, and finally, it was Vladimir Guerrero that sank Boston’s postseason.

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2009 ALDS Game 1: Offense, defense flounder 0-5

Anytime you get shut out in the playoffs, it isn’t good. The Angels got their first playoff shutout ever last night on the strength of a 7.1 inning, 4-hit start by John Lackey. The 6-6 horse came out looking good, and it wasn’t until the 6th inning until we got a chance to do something against him. When he allowed a two-out single to Dustin Pedroia and walked Victor Martinez on four pitches, I was sure that he was falling apart; give him credit, he came back and got Kevin Youkilis to end the threat.

UPDATE: Credit home plate umpire Joe West, rather. That was clearly a walk. I was actually getting from my car to my TV during that at-bat, and I just reviewed the GameDay data.

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2009 ALDS Preview: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Now that we’ve clinched our playoff berth as the AL wild card, it’s time to scout our competition. First up, the LAAoA. If that ain’t a mouthful. The Red Sox have owned them in the postseason, but they are not as weak as they were last year. Here’s a quick look at how we stack up side by side.

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2008 ALDS: Game 4 and Wrap

It was a great game, it was a great series. I had a great view of home plate, and I totally lost my voice, cheering our Sox on to victory. I want to give the Angels credit for their pitching, which was excellent for the most part. A few bad plays in the field, on the basepaths, and at the plate basically cost them this series. I almost feel kind of bad for them, and wonder if they’ll be able to be this good again any time soon. I say “almost” because they’re such sore losers. But on to the game: Read more of this post

2008 ALDS Game 1: Lester shines, 4-1

It was a well-pitched game by John Lackey, but a 2-run home run by Jason Bay would put the Sox ahead to stay. Welcome to the playoffs, Jason. Jon Lester settled down to throw seven strong innings, and the Sox pushed across two more runs against Scot Shields in the 9th to seal the deal. 1 game to none, Red Sox.

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15-7: Ellsbury, Pedroia lead in comeback win against the Halos, 7-6

On the first warm night in Fenway, David Pauley was called in to make an emergency start for Josh Beckett, who was pulled for “neck stiffness”. There isn’t much detail about how serious the injury is, but it is being said that Beckett has the flu bug that’s been going around. On a night when the Sox offense generated 7 runs on 16 hits and a walk, he was good enough that the Sox pulled it out yet again for their 6th straight win, 7-6.

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ALDS Game 3: Sox sweep on strength of Schilling

The Red Sox took game 3 of the ALDS today in Los Angeles 9-1, completing the third sweep of this Divisional round of the playoffs. An inspired outing by Curt Schilling paved the way, and the Sox offense exploded in the 8th to pad the lead late in the game.

Schilling needed 100 pitches to go seven scoreless innings, limiting the Angels to just six hits and a walk, despite rarely touching 90 mph on the radar gun. I think Schilling should definitely pitch second in the next series, not just based on his performance and experience, but also because his style is now in stark contrast to Beckett’s hard-throwing style. He’s making a pretty strong case for why the Sox should bring him back next season. Said Schilling:

As a young pitcher, I had seven or eight more miles an hour than I do now. It’s different now, a different approach.

Jered Weaver pitched well, giving up only two runs on back-to-back homers by David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. But the Boston offense did an excellent job of waiting him out, and he was gone after five innings of work. That allowed us to get into the bullpen early and resulted in the big 7-run inning late. It’s good to see Papi and Manny both raking once again; it feels like old times.

The Angels came into the series pretty banged up, and with an ailing Vladimir Guerrero and a half-blind Garrett Anderson, I don’t know where they could have gotten any punch out of this lineup. Getting home-field advantage was a key to our taking this series so easily, and we now have 9 straight postseason wins over the Angels. I kind of feel bad for them, they had a great season; but I always thought they kind of overachieved this year, too.

The whole lineup got into it, our big guns are swinging well, we came out of this series healthy, Hideki Okajima looked very good again. Maybe the only piece of bad news: Eric Gagne was shaky yet again today, giving up a double to Maicer Izturis, which became the Angels’ only run in the bottom of the 9th.

This is the best possible situation for our Red Sox, giving us a couple of extra days for some players to finish getting healthy and rested, and allowing us to start the next series with a fresh Jason Varitek and Josh Beckett on the mound.

Meanwhile, the Yankees managed to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians today. An offensive surge in the middle innings netted them an 8-4 victory. Roger Clemens did not appear sharp in his return to the starting rotation. With the lead at 2-1, we find ourselves in a strange situation. Whoever the victor, we want the series to go out to a full five games, so that our next victim will be worn out and unable to put their ace on the mound. So does that mean we actually root for the Yankees totake the next one? Well, let’s not go that far.