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Notes Around The League: Boston Blizzards

Boston BlizzardsBy Boston Herald Staff (10/10/2007)

* 2007 saw a lot of team records set by the Blizzards.  Unfortunately, most of them were on the wrong end of the record book.  Losses (104), Losing Streak (16), Team ERA (5.88), and Losses by a pitcher (Mark Redman, 18) to name a few.

* Boston rookie starter Jon Lester received a Player Of The Block honorable mention in 2007.  For block 4, Jon was 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA and allowed only 14 hits in 24.1 innings.  The last Blizzard pitcher to receive an honorable mention was A.J. Burnett in block 9 of the 2006 season.

* Boston continued to have bullpen woes in 2007, especially at closer.  Jorge Julio blew 16 save opportunities and lost 10 games.  Julio seems destined to another role in the bullpen next season.

* Rookie Ian Kinsler was made the starting second baseman out of spring training after Tadahito Iguchi was traded in the offseason.  Ian had an impressive debut, hitting .284 while playing solid defense (10 errors).

* There will be a lot of competition in 2008 for the starting rotation.  Boston has many youngsters looking to make the starting staff (Scott Baker, Matt Garza, Jason Hirsh, Jon Lester, Brandon McCarthy).  There are rumors Boston is looking to sign a veteran free agent to anchor the young staff.

* Coco Crisp, acquired in a trade prior to the season, disappointed at the plate (.265 BA), but recorded 13 outfield assists and 22 steals in 2007 to lead the team in those categories.  He still appears to be the top choice for the centerfield job in 2008.

* Boston Pitcher Of The Year:  A.J. Burnett.  Burnett led the starting staff with his 4.38 ERA and recorded 145 strikeouts in 158 innings of work.

* Boston Offensive Player Of The Year:  Adam LaRoche.  Adam led the offense in Home Runs (32), RBIs (106), and OPS (.885).

* Boston Defensive Player Of The Year:  Ian Kinsler.  The rookie had a fielding percentage of .982 at 2B, with only 10 errors on the season.

From the Minors:

* With Jason Varitek entering the final year of his contract, Boston is looking upon catcher Kurt Suzuki to possibly make the team out of spring training as Jasonís backup.  Depending on his development, he could replace Jason as the full-time backstop in 2009.

* Boston is not rushing the development of prized prospect Jay Bruce.  The 20-year old outfielder will not receive a spring training invite and instead will start his 2008 in AA.

By Boston Herald Staff (7/02/2007)

BOSTON (AP) Ė Boston Blizzards manager Carlton Fisk announced on Sunday he was resigning, effective immediately.  "The energy and passion needed to lead a young team into the future is just not in me any longer.  This season has been frustrating for the fans as well as myself.  I truly hope the Blizzards can find a manager who can turn things around." the 59-year-old said in a statement.  The Blizzards had just endured a 16-game losing streak during which team pressure was building.   

Fisk has been in charge since January 2005 when he was named the first manager the Blizzards ball club.

Bench coach Butch Hobson will succeed Fisk on an interim basis.  No decision has been made by team officials on when a permanent manager will be named.

Fisk had a 175-231 record with the team and was struggling with a 25-57 record this season.

By Boston Herald Staff (10/06/2006)

* Boston closer Ugueth Urbina had a horrible start to the season, but it was followed by some amazing numbers the rest of the season.  Through May 6th his line: 9.2 IP, 14.90 ERA, 2.90 WHIP, 7 HRs, 0-4.  After that point his line: 43.1 IP, 1.66 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 3-0/26 Saves.

* A few of Bostonís September call-ups from AAA made an impressive contribution.  Tike Redman batted .357 in 18 games along with 15 RBI.  Jason Dubois batted .306, hit 6 HR, and batted in 22 in September.  Added to the starting rotation, Denny Bautista went 3-2 with a 3.77 ERA in his 7 starts.   

* Boston had some success late in the season, but it was too late to make a run for wild card.  After July 28th Boston went 36-23 (.621).

* Bobby Abreu led the league in doubles in 2005, and again in 2006 was the AL leader with his 56 doubles. 

From the Minors:

* Cuban Yuniesky Betancourt is reported to be looking forward to competing for a starting job with the Blizzards in 2007.  Yunieskyís impressive glove should give him the edge over Angel Berroa, who led the league in errors at shortstop. 

* Tadahito Iguchi was impressive in his rookie year (.273, 18 HR, 62 RBI), but will face some competition with youngster Ian Kinsler looking to make the team in 2007.
 

By Boston Herald Staff (8/24/2005)

* Attendance has been slumping at Fenway Park after popular Blizzards Moises Alou, Keith Foulke, and Greg Maddux were traded shortly before the trading deadline.  Bostonís record since the trade deadline is 8-12, dropping them to 6 games back in the hunt for a wild card playoff berth.

* Boston is currently leading the league in doubles (273) and is 8th in runs scored.  Unfortunately, Bostonís starting pitching staff has been a disappointment in 2005 and often unable to hold early leads.  They have recorded an ERA of 5.35, while the bullpenís ERA is only 3.61.

* Clubhouse favorite Gabe Kapler has been doing a stellar job off the bench all season, which has led to increased playing time since the trade of Moises Alou.  He is hitting .364 with 7 home runs and 28 RBIs in only 132 at bats. 

* Cristian Guzman has solidified Bostonís infield.  At shortstop he has only seven errors and has contributed to turning 67 double plays. 

* Veteran backup catcher John Flaherty was not speaking to the media after the Blizzards placed him on waivers on August 10th.  He has one year remaining on his contract and his future with the team is in question.

* A.J. Burnett returned to the rotation in August after being on the DL since May 15th.  He is 2-1 since his return and has reported no problems with his pitching arm.

* Boston had success in Interleague play this season, going 15-9 against a tough NL East division. 

From the Minors:

* Japanese second baseman Tadahito Iguchi is reported to be looking forward to competing for a starting job with the Blizzards in 2006.  Miguel Cairoís agent has been informed that the Blizzards will not be making his client an offer after the end of this season.  That leaves the position up to Willie Harris and Tadahito.

* Boston is excited to add the young arm of Brandon McCarthy to its much needed minor league pitching depth.  He was acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Stars for Brendan Donnelly.  McCarthy has been pitching well in AA and may be a year or two away from making the starting staff.

* Starting pitcher Gustavo Chacin impressed the Blizzards fans with 2 solid spot starts this season and has pitched well in the minors.  He has a good chance of making the rotation in 2006.

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