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The ’16 Cubs vs. The ’04 Red Sox: Who Was Better?

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When the Chicago Cubs at last won the World Series this past fall, it laid to rest the last infamous curse in Major League Baseball, the Billy Goat. It came 12 years after the Boston Red Sox ended their own equally well-known hex, that of Babe Ruth. When added together, the curses of the Bambino and the Billy Goat lasted an astronomical 194 years. Now that both are over, the question has to be asked: what curse-busting team was better, the 2016 Chicago Cubs or the 2004 Boston Red Sox?

Both teams were built by innovative and daring GM Theo Epstein and were pretty stacked, that’s tough to deny. Both bounced back from crushing LCS losses the year prior to win it all. And both had to overcome what were thought to be insurmountable odds to achieve their destiny. Here’s an in-depth look at both teams, with statistics provided by the MLB app. The Cubs are the more recent of the pair, so we’ll begin with them.

The 2016 Chicago Cubs

Pitching: Pitchers are a large reason behind any World Champion MLB team, and last year’s Cubs were no different. Anchored by the veteran grit of stalwarts John Lackey and Jon Lester (who won it all with the Red Sox as well in 2013), this dynamite rotation also featured young studs Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks. Lester and Hendricks were the second and third runners-up respectively to Max Scherzer for the 2016 NL Cy Young Award, which should automatically tell you something. Arrieta’s 2016 season was not as good as his 2015 campaign that won him the aforementioned crown, but it was still a dominant one nonetheless that helped the Cubs win their first NL Central title since 2008. Jason Hammel rounded out the starting five, and while he was not on the same level as the other four, he made for a solid fifth starter.

http://sportshub.cbsistatic.com/i/r/2016/10/21/b38e8b0f-8cc1-4857-b5d8-adadf907fc91/thumbnail/770x433/4f6fb8c7e91aec68eb2277804d8b3026/jon-lester-cubs.jpg

Courtesy of CBS.

The team’s bullpen was also very tough. Starting the season with Hector Rondon as closer, midseason trades brought the team Mike Montgomery and Alrodis Chapman. Though Manager Joe Maddon’s overuse of Chapman almost cost Chicago the Series in Game 7, the rest of pen was able to lock it down, and Montgomery’s first career save later that game won the team its first Commissioner’s Trophy in 108 years. The Cubs as a whole in 2016 pitched to a 3.15 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and a .212 BAA, all three led the majors.

Lineup: Also infused with a great combination of youth and experience, Chicago’s offensive throughout last year was led by eventual MVP Kris Bryant and franchise cornerstone Anthony Rizzo. Ben Zobrist, Addison Russell and Dexter Fowler made sure that the burden on the two men’s shoulders was never too great, while Jason Heyward’s outfield defense was marvelous as always. David Ross and Miguel Montero made for a solid tandem behind the plate, a large reason for the success of the team’s hurlers. Kyle Schwarber tore his ACL and MCL less than a week into the season and, incredibly, returned in time for the World Series, thriving as designated hitter when Cleveland was the host.

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Courtesy of The Sporting News.

Chicago’s team batting average in 2016 was a deceptive .256, which doesn’t exactly seem deadly, but their 199 home runs and 767 RBI certainly were.

Postseason: After tearing through the 2016 regular season and winning 100+ games, the Cubs faced the NL Wild Card Champion San Francisco Giants in the NLDS and won 3-1. They met another NL West team in the NLCS, Los Angeles. Unlike the previous season when they were steamrolled by the Mets, Chicago manhandled the Dodgers and when the Cubs took Game 5, the team won its first NL Pennant since 1945. Their opposition was another historically unfortunate team; the Cleveland Indians.

The Cubbies and the Tribe traded wins in the Series’ first two games, but Cleveland took Games 3 and 4 for a commanding 3-1 lead. All hope seemed to be lost for the Cubs and their tortured fans, but with its back against the wall, Chicago won Games 5 and 6 to force the winner-take-all. Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was an instant classic and one of the best MLB games of all time. Though the Indians rallied late on a dramatic Rajai Davis homer, Series MVP Ben Zobrist gave the Cubs the lead back in the 10th, and Mike Montgomery sealed the deal by forcing Michael Martinez to ground out to Kris Bryant. 108 years of futility was over and Cubs fans around the world rejoiced.

The 2004 Boston Red Sox

Pitching: After Boston’s heartbreaking loss to the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS, the team traded for stalwart Curt Schilling to bulk up their rotation. Putting another ace next to long-time anchor Pedro Martinez gave the Red Sox an instantly legitimate rotation. But things didn’t immediately go according to plan. Schilling lived up to his billing, but Pedro struggled uncharacteristically for much of the season. It wasn’t until the team made a blockbuster mid-season trade that Martinez found his bearings, but he pitched like the three-time Cy Young winner after that. Derek Lowe, Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and Bronson Arroyo rounded out the staff and helped the team win the AL Wild Card after just falling short of the Yankees in the divisional race.

http://baseballhall.org/sites/default/files/styles/fullscreen_image_popup/public/Schilling%20Curt_Mangin-HY6N2184_HoFUseOnly.jpg?itok=5CVF4tNr

Courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The team’s bullpen was also bolstered in the offseason by the signing of closer Keith Foulke. The lack of a true closer is considered by many as the reason that Grady Little didn’t pull Martinez in 2003’s Game 7, leading to Aaron Boone’s now-legendary walk-off homer. But Foulke’s addition assured that this would never be the case again. Mike Timlin and Alan Embree served as setup men and helped lock down late leads while Scott Williamson and Ramiro Mendoza also had large roles. The Red Sox pitched to a 4.18 ERA that season, largely thanks to their summer struggles where the team hovered precariously close to .500.

Lineup: The dynamic duo of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez (who combined for 84 home runs) led the team, with Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, Johnny Damon and Jason Varitek providing depth. Defense was a major problem for the team in the middle months of the season, which led to a trade at the deadline that shook the MLB. Boston traded franchise cornerstone Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs in a three team deal, receiving Doug Mientkiewicz and Orlando Cabrera in return. Though Red Sox fans were devastated to see Nomar leave, the move stabilized the team’s defense and brought its pitching back to life, leading to second-half surge that ended in Boston’s second straight winning of the AL Wild Card.  Boston’s persistent offense lead the majors with a .282 AVG, 912 RBI and 949 total runs, among numerous others.

http://manginphotography.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/JC0R8308-575x552.jpg

Courtesy of Mangin Photography.

 Postseason: The Red Sox steamrolled the Anaheim Angels 3-0 in the ALDS, setting up an ALCS rematch with the Yankees. To the surprise of everyone, the Yankees dominated the first three games convincingly and held a 3-0 advantage as Game 4 commenced, seeming like the suffering was destined to continue. But, thanks in large part to Ortiz, Boston made history and stunned their rival, winning Games 4, 5 and 6 to force a Game 7, something that had never happened in the MLB when a team had a 3-0 lead. Boston won Game 7 in dominant fashion, exorcising the demons of New York.

The Red Sox made easy work of the St. Louis Cardinals, another storied rival, in the Fall Classic. Despite having the better regular season record by seven games, the Cardinals foundered against Boston and never led in the Series at any point of any game. Foulke finished off an impressive sweep by forcing Edgar Renteria to ground out in the bottom of the 9th of Game 4, making the Red Sox champions for the first time in 86 years.

Who was better?

Is there any way to answer that question? I don’t think there is. Admittedly, I am a Red Sox fan, so of course I’m inclined to say Boston, just as a Cubs fan would say Chicago. You can look at the pitching excellence of the ’16 Cubs or the batting dominance of the ’04 Red Sox, but either way you’ll have a tough time making your decision.

One thing is certain, both teams made MLB history.

What team do you think was better? Think long and hard and then let me know on Twitter at @Flat_Manigen74.

I'm glad to have the opportunity to be on this site. Buffalo Sabres and Boston Red Sox fan. I'll gladly discuss both Hockey and Baseball with you. I'm open to differences of opinion.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Take Game 2 in 2018 MLB World Series

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2018 MLB Worlds Series
2018 MLB Worlds Series

Source: Sports Logos News

Last night in the 2018 MLB World Series, it was game 2 between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. After 9 1/2 innings, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2.

it was David Price (BOS) going up against Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) on the pitching mound.

David Price

In six innings of the world series, David Price had an ERA of 3.00 with 3 hits and 2 runs and zero home runs.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

On the LA Dodgers side, Hyun-Jin Ryu was the pitcher for the Dodgers. He only lasted 4.2 innings with 6 hits and 4 runs but zero home runs.

Game 3 is set for Friday, October 26, 2018 at 8:06 on Fox

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Yankees, Red Sox Negotiating London 2-Game Series

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The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox  are closing in on an agreement to play a two-game series in London in June 2019, according to Bloomberg’s Janet Perkins and Scott Soshnick.

Reportedly the games will be held at London Stadium, which played host to several events at the 2012 Summer Olympics, if a deal is made official.

The stadium can hold up to 65,000 fans for sporting events and if a deal is made official it will continue MLB’s trend of playing regular season games in other countries such as Japan, Mexico, Australia and Puerto Rico over the years.

The Yankees and Red Sox are easily among the top MLB franchises in terms of global recognition and their storied rivalry and rosters of elite players will be an easy draw for the series as MLB looks to penetrate the European market.

It could also present quite the online betting opportunity for both US and European betting sites, especially as the series kicks off. When it does, this LVbet bonus code could come in handy, especially if it will be the first time you try your hand at something like this.

“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make,” Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics. MLB has not played any games in Europe before, however, the Red Sox have played overseas in the past, including to Japan before the 2008 season.

“It’s a shorter trip than to California, right?” Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, who has never been to London, commented. “Let’s get the royal family out there. Maybe the queen can make an appearance.”

“It’s following the leader — the N.F.L.,” said Allen Adamson, a branding expert and an adjunct professor at N.Y.U. “It’s good for the Yankees, it’s good for Boston, and an attempt to inject some topspin into the sport, but I don’t think it mitigates the need to revitalize baseball in the United States.”

Adamson added: “It would be more interesting to play in Havana.”

The Yankees are in a business partnership with Manchester City F.C, so they are very familiar with the European sports landscape and the audience, and fans, that attend events across the pond.

MLB is trying to follow in the NFL’s footsteps, as both are chasing the NBA who have spearheaded the efforts to globalize their game.

 

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The Waiting Game Continues For The Red Sox And JD Martinez

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The Boston Red Sox haven’t made any significant roster moves this offseason with Spring Training less than a month away. Sure, they’ve revamped their coaching staff and have a new manager, but as far as players go? No new names; essentially the same roster as 2017.

A good way to describe Boston’s offseason would be the sound of crickets chirping.

However, things could change at any moment for the Red Sox and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. He’s waited this long; he can wait a little longer. Everyone knows that there’s only one man Dombrowski’s after; and that is- of course- free agent slugger JD Martinez.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney this afternoon, the Red Sox have offered Martinez a deal “in the range” of five years at $100 million.

At the start of the offseason, Martinez’s asking price was reportedly in the range of $200 million; Boston’s offer is half of that.

Boston needs a power bat in their lineup, and Martinez fills that void. The Red Sox finished fourth-to-last in the majors and last in the American League with 168 homers in 2017, a year that saw MLB set a new record with 6,105 dingers; it was also the first time since 1993 that the Red Sox finished last in the AL in homers. A total power outage!

Long story short, Dombrowski needs to acquire Martinez. Considering he’s yet to make a move to respond to the New York Yankees landing Giancarlo Stanton, the pressure is starting to build up for Dombrowski to show Martinez the money.

Image result for show me the money

Martinez, 30, recently said he’s willing to wait until Spring Training to sign a deal with a new club.

The 6’3” Martinez bashed 45 homers in just 432 at-bats in 2017- one every less than 10 at-bats to go along with 104 RBIs. Not even a full season! His slash line was .303/.376/.690 split between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Had Martinez finished with enough plate appearances to qualify, he all but certainly would’ve finished first in MLB in slugging percentage and OPS.

Those type of numbers in a contract year? Nothing but basic economics; that’s how you get PAID!

If Dombrowski doesn’t land Martinez- and assuming no blockbuster trade will be made before the season starts- it will be a wasted offseason for the Red Sox. They’ll have the same mediocre lineup which isn’t good enough to win in October. There will be no Stanton, no Carlos Santana, or no Eric Hosmer for that matter. Those three weren’t good enough for Dombrowski this offseason, and so Martinez is what’s left- not counting other current free agents like Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Todd Frazier- none of whom are on Dombrowski’s radar.

The time is now for Dombrowski to make a move. And by move, I mean sign Martinez. He’s in the prime of his career, made for Fenway Park, and made to give a lackluster Red Sox offense a spark that it so badly needs.

Tick-tock, Dave!

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