Tag Archives: Jon Lester

Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz launch annual Red Sox charity wines

"CabernAce" and "ChardonClay" (Photo by John McGlynn)

On Thursday night in the Foundation Room at House of Blues in Boston, MA, Boston Red Sox aces Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz released their own labels of Charity Wines.

From this initiative, athletes do not profit a single dime. Instead, 100% of their proceeds will raise big league dollars for charity:

Clay Buchholz: “ChardonClay” benefits the Jimmy Fund
Jon Lester: “CabernAce” benefits Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Bob Dougherty, the Director at the House of Blues, made the opening remarks to kick off the evening. Andrew Graff, president of Charity Wines then provided background on his company and all they do for great causes. Suzanne Fountain, Director of the Jimmy Fund, and Michael Rubin with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, both presented what they are doing to help fight cancer. Then Heidi Watney led a Q&A session with Lester and Buchholz, as well as took questions from the audience.

The 2011 wines are produced by acclaimed the Selby Winery located in Healdsburg, California. Both wines are expected to retail for about $14 a bottle, and will be available beginning this week and next across Red Sox Nation in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. For wine connoisseurs and Sox fans out of these states, wines can be purchased online at www.charitywines.com.

The Jimmy Fund
Clay Buchholz can be untouchable, proven by the no-hitter he tossed in just his second big league start. Yet, he reaches back and connects with those in need across the community. Buchholz is a Co-Captain of the Jimmy Fund, an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, and a portion of proceeds from ChardonClay support the Jimmy Fund in the fight against cancer at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, helping to raise the chances of survival for children and adults with cancer locally and around the world. Cheers. Learn more at www.jimmyfund.org.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Jon Lester knows the importance of overcoming barriers in life and on the diamond. Less than two years after being diagnosed with lymphoma, he pitched the biggest game of his life, helping his ballclub win a world championship. That’s why proceeds from Jon Lester’s CabernAce support Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the development of targeted immunotherapies. This pitch helps researchers maximize the body’s own ability to strike out disease so lymphoma patients can win their own games in life.
Learn more at www.fhcrc.org.

Please help spread the word and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Brett Rudy of Charity Hop Sports Marketing & Consulting at !

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Some Concerns Face The Red Sox As Spring Training Begins

By: Alex Reimer

It’s early February, arguably the most desolate time of year in the great city of Boston. So desolate, that a handful of U-Haul trucks driving down to Florida actually excites some people.

But the trucks leaving Fenway Park signifies that Spring Training is right around the corner, and baseball is not all that far away. Sure, actual games that count won’t arrive until April, but in just a matter of days, Jon Lester will be playing catch!

The Red Sox had a terrific offseason, highlighted by the blockbuster acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Though Gonzalez coming to Boston seemed to be a fait accompli ever since Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees in 2008, it was still sweet to finally see all of the rumors become a reality.

Crawford was the top outfielder on the free agent market, and the Red Sox acted aggressively, outbidding everybody with a 7-year 142 million dollar offer. Is Crawford overpaid? Sure. But teams like the Red Sox can afford to overpay dynamic players, and Crawford is certainly that.

With an improved bullpen too, the Red Sox have a stacked roster. It is certainly “playoffs or bust,” and the only bridge this club should be building is one that spans from April all the way to the end of October.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t questions about the Red Sox. These following paragraphs aren’t meant to represent negativity, but more cautious optimism. Every team has some issues heading into the year, and the Red Sox are no different.

Health:
A lot of the injuries players sustained last year would be categorized as potentially “nagging injuries,” which is why health is the number one story to watch as Spring Training begins.

Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis both underwent successful surgery last fall. But it has been reported that Pedroia’s foot still ails him. If Youkilis fouls a ball off of his thumb, that problem could flare up again as well.

Adrian Gonzalez has reported to camp, but due to his shoulder, he may not be able to swing a bat until March 1st.

Marco Scutaro’s agent told the media that Scutaro progressed “very well” this offseason, but that he “may have to manage neck pains for the rest of his life.” Even though Scutaro has been named the starting shortstop by Terry Francona, he will not be out there 6 or 7 days per week.

J.D. Drew’s hamstrings have already become a quasi-controversy, with Drew saying that they still bother him. Jacoby Ellsbury hasn’t spoken yet, but remember, he missed virtually all of 2010 due to broken ribs.

Jed Lowrie and Mike Cameron could prove to be vital to the Red Sox this season, as they should be expected to regularly spell the starting positional players early in the year. Because of course, nobody wants to repeat last summer when everybody was going down with seemingly a snap of the fingers.

Starting Rotation:
Jon Lester is a bona fide ace. It was once thought that both Josh Beckett and John Lackey were too, but alas that was proven to be false last year. Beckett and Lackey have to pitch better in 2011 than they did in 2010.

With a 5.78 ERA, Beckett was simply not competitive on the mound most of the year. John Lackey was kind of competitive, but with 233 hits allowed in 215 innings, he was far too hittable.

As a 5th starter, you can do far worse than Daisuke Matsuzaka. But wouldn’t it be nice if he pitched a little more consistently?

And if you want to be really pessimistic, you can point to Clay Buchholz pitching 79 1/3rd more major league innings in 2010 than he did in 2009 and whether that increased workload will affect him at all.

Catching:
It is unfathomable as to how one could be confident in the catching tandem of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek.

This is Saltalamacchia’s job, because even if Varitek plays more often at the start of the year, he will have to be weeded out of the lineup eventually. At this stage in his career, Jason Varitek cannot be counted on to be an everyday catcher.

Last year at this time, Saltalamacchia was suffering from a case of the “yips,” a condition where a catcher finds himself incapable of throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Defense has never been Saltalamacchia’s strong suit anyway.

Luckily, Varitek’s knowledge of the pitching staff and of the AL East should ease Salty into pitch-calling duties, but when a pitcher needs to make a pitch, is he going to listen to the unproven 25 year-old?

The Red Sox will be very good in 2011. But there are flaws here. Flaws that will hopefully prove to just be “worries” opposed to “realities” if the Red Sox are to be that 100-win juggernaut that everyone has them penciled in to be.

Alex Reimer is the host of the Red Sox podcast, “Without a Curse.” “Without a Curse” is available on both www.thesportsstuff.com and in the iTunes store. Alex is also the host of “The Alex Reimer Show,” which airs Saturday’s from 3-5 PM EST on 1120 AM WBNW Boston and www.moneymattersradio.net. Alex can be reached at, [email protected]

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Red Sox Have Finally Found Their Groove…Hopefully

by Joseph Kuykendall

Towards the end of April and the end of May, a few boos were heard cascading down from the seats at Fenway Park. While many fans felt the boos were deserved, a select few still had a little faith remaining with them from the improbable 2004 ALCS comeback. With that faith (and many other factors), something in the Red Sox sparked and they completed the month of May going 18-11.
Considering where they started the month, this record shows many signs of hope. And many of the 29 games in the month of May were played with holes in their lineups due to injury. The injured players are slowly coming back into the lineup, making a hot lineup even stronger. Making the most of his return is Mike Cameron as he has hit 6-for-17 (.353) in 5 games since his return. Ellsbury was activated and was able to play in three games before being placed back on the DL due to his nagging ribs. After it seemed the Sox were going to give the DL a break, Josh Beckett went down with an injury. But to fans delight, this injury hasn’t affected the team as much as many people thought it would. Jon Lester has picked his game up by outstanding measures of late, and has really taken control of the pitching staff. He has allowed only two earned runs over his last three starts, which includes 22 total innings pitched and a complete game.

So despite numerous injuries, somewhere, somehow the Red Sox have found life. It can make you only imagine what the team will be like once the whole lineup is back and up to full health.
Creating many, “Who”’s around Red Sox Nation when first introduced, Darnell McDonald did a great job filling in for the likes of Ellsbury and Cameron. Along with his heroics in his first few games, his numbers have stayed pretty consistent (.260 AVG, 13 RBI, 3 HR). Although not great, his stats are pretty good for filling in for players of the caliber of Ellsbury and Cameron.

This recent surge of success has brought the Red Sox back into contention for the American League East crown. Going into the night of June 1st, the Red Sox were only trailing by five games to the Tampa Bay Rays. Five games is exceptional considering where they were earlier in the season. One big factor in shrinking the number of games they trailed Tampa Bay by can be contributed to their 3-game sweep of the Rays last week.

So as interleague (which the Red Sox do pretty well in) and then the All-Star Game approach, the Red Sox can find their way towards the top of the division at the season mid-point. As long as the Red Sox continue to hit well (especially David Ortiz) and generate runs, as well as Lester staying consistent and the other pitchers producing quality starts (and quality relief appearances from the bullpen), the Red Sox will be fighting for 1st place in the AL East in no time.

The way the Red Sox are playing now is what we all expected, and this streak isn’t a fluke, as the Red Sox are definitely capable of playing to the ability they are now. Just take a look at their roster.

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WHO’S GOING TO BE THE ACE?

By Tim Scott

When the Red Sox signed John Lackey to a 5-year contract in the offseason, Red Sox fans became excited for what was to come in 2010.

Now, the Red Sox have three pitchers competing for the #1 spot: Josh Beckett, Lackey, and Jon Lester.

Who deserves it more? Each candidate has a certain distinction which makes them each a valuable asset to the top of the rotation. Whether it be a certain repertoire, clutch pitching in key situations, or good statistics, each pitcher can make the Red Sox a team to beat with what they have.

Beckett has been the ace of the staff since he arrived in 2006 from the Marlins. Since his 20-7, 3.27 ERA season in 2007, he hasn’t really been consistent, but can still pitch very well in tight situations. In my opinion, Beckett has to really fight hard in 2010 to get the #1 spot, and if he does, I see him get numbers similar to 2007.

Lackey has been baffled by injuries in the last couple of years, but remains a key to unleashing postseason power. He has drawn comparisons to Beckett in his last 3 years. In 2007, he dominated batters (19-9, 3.01 ERA), but the last 2 years have not been good (23-13, 3.79 ERA). He hasn’t enjoyed success at Fenway, however. If his performance at a hitter-friendly ballpark causes his stats to take a back seat to struggle, the Red Sox will probably hesitate on making Lackey a #1 guy.

Lester might be one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball. In the last 3 years, Lester has gone 25-14, which has made batters in the AL worried. Lester might endure some crazy competition, but his numbers this year should be dominant enough to put him in the Cy Young chase. He may be the underdog, but he might become a surprise to the other two.

It’s going to be one interesting spring for Red Sox fans, that’s for sure. Trying to watch Beckett, Lester, and Lackey battle it out for the #1 spot in their rotation. Meanwhile, you have dark horses like Clay Buchholz (2009: 7-4, 4.21 ERA) and Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was injury-prone in 2009, that could make a move at a chance to knock those three out of position.

But the truth is that the Red Sox have one of the best rotations in baseball, regardless of who goes out on the mound first. In my book, I don’t care if the #1 spot is taken by some random person; all that matters to me is to see the hometown team win games, regardless of who is pitching.

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