Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci was a guest of the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about the Red Sox' prospects for 2010. "I like what they did here, but what people have to remember is that this is Plan B. They went to this because they had to go to this," Verducci said of Boston's focus on pitching and defense. "I think they didn't have a choice. I don't think they sat down and said, 'Let's switch gears here, guys, and now we think that defense wins games.' I think they had to do it. In that sense, it was a very smart thing to do, They are going to be a very good defensive team, there's not doubt about that, it will help them a lot.
"The downside is they're very vulnerable against right-handed pitching, and I don't think they're going to be much better as a team that hits on the road. They're probably a middle-of-the-pack offensive team, which could be good enough if their pitching holds up and their defense is as good as we think. But any right-handed power pitching, sinker, slider-type pitchers, I think that's a problem for the Red Sox," he added, noting that Tampa Bay's pitching staff is a "bad, bad matchup for the Red Sox."
Verducci said right now he gives the pitching edge to the Yankees, although the Red Sox staff has the potential to be "dynamic." The key, he said, is "You've got to stay away as much as you can from getting down into that inventory where you're running out your No. 7, 8, 9 starters. That's going to catch up to you, especially in the American League East." Verducci also warned that the Rays should bounce back from a disappointing 2009. "We spend a lot of time talking about the Yankees and Red Sox, but I can tell you there's a lot of people who think the best team down here in Florida right now, at least the way they look on the field in spring training, are the Tampa Bay Rays. Do not discount them from this discussion, either."
Regarding Mike Lowell, Verducci said he expects the veteran to stay and try to contribute. "If he buys into that, I think they have a very valuable guy coming off their bench," Verduci said. "I don't know whether he's there mentally or not. That's a very tough downshift for any guy who's been playing as an everyday player."
Looking around Major League Baseball, commenting on the recent rumor that the Phillies were exploring the possibility of trying to trade Ryan Howard for Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, Verducci said the trade would make no sense for the Cardinals, especially considering the way Pujols is viewed in St. Louis. "I think he's the most popular Cardinal since Stan Musial," Verducci said.
Regarding the revelation that Rangers manager Ron Washington used cocaine last year, Verducci said: "It's shocking. It doesn't make any sense. I don't know who's buying the story that it's the first time he tried it."
To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Peter King of SI.com join the show to talk about the latest news surrounding deflate gate.
Mike Westhoff joins the show to talk about deflate gate and the Pats innocence. Also what would have happened if he worked with Bill Belichick.
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Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out of hardware, and give their Finals predictions
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Mut and Rob are in on the Hot Stove Show this week and they're taking calls and talking about the Red Sox pitching as we are 5 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training.
Pierre McGuire talks about ways hockey players skirt the rules in the NHL and the development of Dougie Hamilton.
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Buck talks with Dino, Gerry and Kirk about his trip to media day and his choice to go to Marshawn Lynch's podium.
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Chris Mortensen, ESPN, joined the show to talk about all the reports regarding "Deflategate." He thinks that people are making too big a deal out of it. He also hints that he's skeptic of Bill Belichick's attempt to blame science on the balls dropping in pressure.
The Rogue Ball Boy Theory picks up steam...then dies. Is the Rogue Ball Boy the fastest ball deflater ever or is he simply someone with a healthy prostate who probably doesn't even wash his hands. Also, Ted Wells says the investigation will take a while. And Robert Kraft demands an apology if the investigation finds no wrong-doing by the Pats.
We dive deep into some of the shadier things the Patriots have done over the years from a personnel standpoint.
Mike Florio and Peter King talk about some of the latest news surrounding deflate gate and whether the Pats knowingly did something wrong.
Mike Westhoff joins the show and explains other cheating scandals and if he thinks the Patriots are guilty of deflate gate.
A caller named Jumbo from California raises a question that hasn't been talked about too much, what happens if it's determined that the Patriots aren't found responsible for the deflation of the footballs?
Mut and Lenny continue talking and taking calls on deflategate, as well as hearing the sound from Kirk Minihane's appearance on the O'Reilly Factor.
Mut and Lenny are talking deflategate and what impact it could have on the Patriots organization.
Chris and comedian Mike Mulloy recap the final Raw before the Rumble and preview the Rumble itself.
Would you rather watch important games in the stadium or on TV? Also we discuss our worst experiences at stadiums.
Ben and Sam discuss ways to improve the NBA All-Star weekend, hand out some hardware, and give their Finals predictions.
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