1. The Red Sox' blockbuster trade last August with the Dodgers was a natural topic to revisit this week, and the consensus seemed to be that it worked out well for both sides. If you're going to call it win-win, as I did, it should probably be noted that it's a huge win in a lot of different ways for the Red Sox, and a win in the We-wanted-Adrian-Gonzalez-and-we're-so-rich-we'll-take-your-expensive-junk-to-get-him way with the Dodgers. The Red Sox are thrilled, and the Dodgers have no gripes as they shrug and count their stacks of cash. But if you want a trade that helps all teams equally, this Red Sox-Tigers-White Sox three-way swap just before this year's trade deadline is starting to take that shape. Jose Iglesias has been everything the Tigers could hope for at shortstop, with Matrix-style defense and an adequate offensive contribution (.284, but just a .680 OPS). Young outfielder Avisail Garcia was hitting .317 for the White Sox before running into a wall the other night. And then there's Jake Peavy, who has been everything Red Sox fans could have hoped for and then some – he's fun to watch as it is, but his rabid Mark Fidrych routine on the mound takes it to a whole new level. It's early, but this looks like the rare trade that actually helps three teams.
2. Brief early impressions of Xander Bogaerts, Major Leaguer: Jittery but capable at shortstop, looking more and more comfortable at the plate with each at-bat. Will Middlebrooks, who had some hiccups in LA after a very nice stretch, had better hit, because Stephen Drew is gradually winning over his detractors (this one is going at the front of my Drew Family Scrapbook and Tchotchkes Collection) and Bogaerts looks like he could be a difference-making wild card.
3. Amazing how statistically similar the seasons of Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino are at the moment. Ellsbury has a .293/.351/.416 slash line with a .767 OPS, 28 doubles, 7 homers, 41 RBIs, and 47 steals. Victorino? He's at .287/.338/.424 with a .762 OPS, 22 doubles, 9 homers, 47 RBIs, and 17 steals. Ellsbury has a bWAR of 5.0, Victorino 4.8. Both have played very good defense. Of course, there's one major separator – Ellsbury has 154 more plate appearances. But what a signing Victorino has been so far.
4. Fun with baseball-reference.com's Play Index, part 1: Here is the complete list of pitchers since 1901 who have made more than 55 appearances in a season with an ERA below 1.40, a WHIP below .75, and a K/9 rate of 11 or higher.
I've written a few times this season that the Red Sox' three most important players in no particular order are Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Koji Uehara. Given that Uehara is having a season that rates among the best a relief pitcher has ever submitted, and given that he is the thread holding the bullpen together, I might have to rank him atop the list.
5. Fun with baseball-reference.com's Play Index, part 2: Here is the complete list of batters in 2013 who have at least 400 plate appearances, 10 home runs, a .290 batting average, .375 OBP, and .430 slugging percentage:
Yes, I would say Daniel Nava's days as a nice placeholder until someone better comes along are long behind him.
6. When I speak of the Mets, I generally don't speak well. "Behind the bag ..." and all of that. But as a baseball fan who enjoyed the hell out of watching Matt Harvey pitch this season, the news that he has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow was as crushing as it was when Kerry Wood or Stephen Strasburg received similar news not long after their electric breakthroughs. Here's hoping he's as back as soon as possible and as good as new.
7. I know, RBIs are overrated, a product of opportunity as much as anything. It's true. Still, it boggles the mind that Miguel Cabrera has one fewer RBI (130) than Joey Votto (61) and Carlos Gonzalez (70) combined, or one more than Bryce Harper (46), Hanley Ramirez (43), and Giancarlo Stanton (40) added together. He's all-time great, and he's still honing his skills. Amazing.
8. Amazing how much is yet to be determined in the American League East. The Red Sox have nine games remaining against the Orioles, seven against the Yankees, and three against the Rays. I believe in this Red Sox team. But pretty much any outcome other than crashing down to Blue Jays basement-level territory is at least somewhat feasible.
9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Yasiel Puig draws comparisons to Bo Jackson for his raw talent and imposing build. He's very similar to Bo as a baseball player and might be better if all the finger-waving ancient sportswriters don't drive him mad with lectures about the unwritten rules. But in terms of physical appearance, he reminds me of someone much more obscure who had a brief flash of greatness. Remember Rudy Pemberton? He hit .512 -- yes, .512 -- in 45 plate appearances for the 1996 Red Sox. Ultimately, though, he didn't play the part quite as well as he looked it, losing the starting job after just 70 PAs early in the '97 season.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.