It may be Dustin Pedroia’s team but rumor has it that Ryan Kalish has been approached to be a limited partner and will be named to the board of directors sometime next season. There is just something about this guy that screams …. Breakout.
Yesterday, Kalish came to the plate with a chance to complete a three-run comeback and he delivered in a big way with a two-run rifle shot to left off hard throwing Henry Rodriguez. In the grand scheme of things – and in a not so grand season – this hit won’t be remembered as a big moment but it just seems like this kid is building momentum. Over the past week, he routinely has been hitting the ball hard, he had a couple of hits the night before and it feels like his adjustments are now trumping the book the league has used to get him out. The league will respond with its own adjustments, but I don’t doubt for a minute that pitchers will soon find out that Kalish is a tough out no matter how they pitch him. He can hit the hard stuff, as he proved yesterday. And he clearly can turn on inside stuff. So that leaves changeups and backdoor curveballs away. And when Kalish proves he can rifle these balls the other way, he is going to keep pitchers up at night. The more I see Kalish play, the more I expect him to be playing left field on opening day.
Aside from Kalish, I don’t have a whole lot to say about yesterday. Drew shocked the world by picking up THREE hits off a lefty, Beckett was as ordinary as ever, Beltre stayed in the middle of all the action and the pen came through with three clean innings. All told, it was a nice comeback and with both Tampa and New York losing, it makes one wonder what would have happened if the Sox hadn’t dropped a few of these heartbreakers over the past six weeks. I am not asking for a complete reversal. But give the Sox one of Pap’s meltdowns, maybe a Beckett stinker and something from Lackey and the season would still be alive. I’m not saying it would be thriving. But one thing is guaranteed tonight … either Tampa or New York will lose and if the Sox were five back, rather than eight, a win over the lowly Ms would have them in the game.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
Is there something in the Northern California drinking water that lead to all of these command problems for Red Sox pitchers? Friday, it touched Buchholz as he walked four in a little over an inning. Four was also the big number on Saturday night for Bard. And yesterday, Beckett rounded things off by walking Crisp, Barton, Suzuki and Cust in succession. Of all of Beckett’s many problems this season, walks are not high on the list but they sure were a big deal yesterday.
* Another nice outing for Atchison yesterday. The odds of him being in the opening day bullpen go up every day, it seems.
* The Sox will be missing King Felix this trip to Seattle but they draw Toronto’s big three (Cecil, Romero and Marcum) when they get home and because the Birds went to a six-man rotation, it looks like they will get their friend Brian Matusz next week. That should be good news for Ortiz and Drew who have heart palpatations every time they see Matusz.
* Yesterday marked the end of the season series with Oakland and one guy who will miss the As is Adrian Beltre. Look at these numbers on the season: In nine games, he slashed .447/.475/.737. Beltre hurt a lot of teams this season but none worse than Oakland and that says something as Oakland has good pitching and six of the nine games were played in spacious Oakland-Alameda.
* Fangraphs did a little reader survey on what they thought the market would be for Victor Martinez this off-season and it turns out that the crowd thinks four years and forty-eight million is just about right. I don’t doubt the $12M per year but my guess is that no team will give him that much for four years. So the market is something like 3/36 or 4/42. Whatever it turns out to be, I don’t think the Sox opening offer of two-years suggests they will be involved in a bidding war. If the market doesn’t develop, I wouldn’t rule the Sox out but I just don’t see them pressing, thus leaving Martinez to someone like the White Sox, Tigers, Dodgers or Mariners.