2018 Boston Red Sox Q&A with Lou Merloni (@LouMerloni)
I’d like to give a HUGE shout out and thank you to the man himself, Lou Merloni. Lou and I follow one another on Twitter and when I asked him if he would be interested in a quick Q&A for our site, he could have easily ignored me, said no, or said he is too busy. Instead, Lou answered right away and took time out of his day between shows and broadcasts to do me a solid. I have been a Sox fan my entire life and always thought it was cool a guy playing baseball for Providence College wound up playing for our boys in Boston. Lou is one of the better on-air personalities in New England when it comes to talking sports, and brings great insight when talking baseball. Especially Red Sox baseball.
Once again Lou, thank you for doing this….
Now, let’s get this Q&A started, shall we?
Q: How do you see Alex Cora doing with this team and as a first time manager? Do you see him being the long-term solution at the helm?
A(Lou): Breath of fresh air and they needed it. I just think he can relate to the players in a way that John Farrell was incapable of. Communication is key. I also love that Ron Roenicke is his bench coach. His experience will help Alex out especially early in the year.
Q: Which position player and which pitcher will be the key to the success of this ball club in 2018?
A (Lou): It really does come down to David Price. Lost in all the chaos surrounding Price, we forget that he is one the best pitchers in the league. If he can get back to that, The Sox will have the best 1-2 punch in the AL. Offensively, its Hanley Ramirez. The addition of JD Martinez is nice but they need Hanley to be a force in the middle of that lineup like he was in 2016
Q: With the Sox off to a fast start (9-1), which area of the team are you most surprised with out of the gate, and do you think the Sox have this potential all season long and when it comes to facing a more dangerous opponent?
A(Lou): Starting pitching has been outstanding, but I’ve been most impressed with their ability to come back in games and win the 1 run games. It’s tough in April when the weather is brutal. It’s really easy to give up on a game in the cold and move onto the next one. They don’t. My biggest concern continues to be getting the ball to Kimbrel. They don’t have a shutdown 8th inning guy so they will continue to go with matchups late in games. That puts Alex in a tough spot because no matter who he goes with, if it doesn’t work out, he will be criticized. The difference between he and Farrell is that I believe he will explain his reasoning better than John postgame.
Q: Do you see the Sox making a move this year to possibly acquire a more solidified set-up man to get to Kimbrel in the 9th?
A(Lou): They are going to have to. They have guys out there but who do you trust? Smith, Kelly, Barnes and Hembree are all “good” pieces but when you watch the post season and you see the high pressure spots late in games, do you trust any of them?
Q: With Bogey going down with what looks to be a significant ankle injury, who do you see filling in for the time being at SS? Holt, Nunez, Lin (AAA), or do the Sox make a move to grab a veteran to fill in.
A(Lou): We’re not sure how long Bogaerts is out, but short term I think you’ll see Holt at SS with Lin eventually taking over at SS. Unfortunately, you can’t get what Bogey gives you offensively so you need to make sure you put out the best defensive SS to replace him. I think we are a ways off before we start talking about needing to trade for help.
Q: How do you think J.D. Martinez will fare hitting in Fenway? (Let’s keep him off the defensive side by the way)
A(Lou): He’ll be fine and once the weather warms up a bit, you’ll see that RF can’t hold him. He has monster power the other way which will make it difficult for teams to pitch to him at that park. Pitcher’s keep the ball away from most right handed hitters to take advantage of that big RF and to keep them away from the Green Monster. They won’t be able to do that with JD at Fenway.
Q: What is the most memorable/historic moment you witnessed playing in Fenway?
A(Lou): I’ll never forget that 2003 ALCS. Game 3 especially. Roger vs Pedro. Pedro drills Karim Garcia and we all were waiting for Roger to retaliate and he never did. He just poured in strike one and went on to beat us. It was also the game where Pedro tossed Don Zimmer to the ground. It was crazy. We all respected the hell out of Zim. I know he was embarrassed for going after Pedro but honestly, that’s why we all loved him. He cared. He was passionate and he showed it.
(One of my favorite moments as well, nice to hear the insight of someone who was on the field for it)
Q: Your Prediction: Where do the Sox finish, and if you have them making the playoffs, how deep could their playoff run be with a healthy roster?
A(Lou): I had them for 96 wins and I’ll stay with it. But I could see Yanks right there with them. ALCS is a reasonable expectation. They need to win a round in the post season. Not just for this fan base to believe in them but also for themselves. They have a lot of guys on this roster that need to prove they can win in October
That wraps up my Q&A with Lou Merloni on the 2018 Boston Red Sox! HUGE thank you to Lou again, make sure you give him a follow on twitter @LouMerloni and tune in M-F from 10 AM-2 PM on WEEI (103.7 or 93.7).
LETS GO SOX!