RECAP: #RedSox only need one inning to defeat Cubs in series opener.

Going into the weekend, this Red Sox-Cubs series was the most talked about out of all the others. To kick things off, Drew Pomeranz and Jake Arrieta took the mound for their respective clubs. Surprisingly, the advantage went to Pomeranz in this one. I texted my friend, who’s a Cubs fan, that Arrieta could throw a no hitter, since he nearly did it at Fenway three years ago.

I was at this game, and I was shocked at how poorly Arrieta pitched in that first inning. The Red Sox got things started when Andrew Benintendi hit his second home run of the season to right field. Then, Hanley drove in Mookie Betts on an RBI single. Mitch Moreland continued this by driving in Hanley on an RBI double. Moreland scored on a single from JBJ, and Dustin Pedroia scored on a Christian Vasquez single. This would be all the scoring the Red Sox would need and actually get. Credit to Arrieta for calming things down by throwing three shutout innings before getting taken out in the fifth.

Let’s talk about Drew Pomeranz. I hope the start he had Friday night can be his standard. Going six, giving up six hits, giving up two earned runs, walking two, and recording six strikeouts was nice to see.  Two of his biggest mistakes were pitches to Kris Bryant and Albert Almora Jr. that resulted in solo home runs. Luckily for Pomeranz, these were the only two runs he surrendered to the Cubs. Despite the quality start, the Red Sox bullpen nearly blew it. Robby Scott, Joe Kelly, and Heath Hembree combined for 1.1 IP, 4 H, and 2 R. Certainly not a confidence booster, especially with Matt Barnes being suspended and Robbie Ross Jr. getting sent down to Pawtucket. Credit to Fernando Abad for wrapping up the eighth. Also, Craig Kimbrel recorded his eighth save of the season.

Last note, I was happy to see the Red Sox play a tribute video for Koji, Lester, and Lackey for their contributions while in Boston. It was an awesome moment.

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RECAP: #RedSox let Chris Sale down yet again; lose 3-0.

Chris Sale has a 1.19 ERA right now, yet he only has one win on the season. Sale continues to prove that he can pitch in this market and get the results. After his start on Thursday, Sale has pitched 37.2 innings. In those, let’s just say, 38 innings Sale has pitched, the Red Sox have scored in three of those innings. I feel for Sale, I really do. I didn’t think he’d be this guy for the Red Sox, but that’s what it feels like. I figured, Sale could win around 20 games because of his skill along with that potent Red Sox offense. Unfortunately, that offense that was so impressive last year still has yet to find themselves in 2017. More on that later. Sale joined some elite company on Thursday night, becoming the fourth Red Sox pitcher, along with Pedro, Lester, and Clemens, to record 10+ strikeouts in four consecutive starts. What we’re seeing from Chris Sale right now is Cy Young type stuff, it would be nice if the Red Sox recognized that and put more effort into scoring runs for him.

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka deserves a ton of credit for matching Sale inning by inning. Pitching a complete game shutout while only allowing three hits and striking out three. A true pitcher’s duel is the best way to describe Thursday’s game, unfortunately, it did not go the way the Red Sox would have preferred.

After throwing eight shutout innings, Sale took the mound to start the ninth with around 106 pitches, which I was fine with. What I did not like was how long John Farrell waited to take him out. Personally, I would have taken him out after he gave up that single to Headley, which led to there being runners on first and second. Instead, Sale was left out there to face Matt Holliday, who drove in Aaron Hicks on an RBI single. Sale’s day would be over before recording an out in the ninth. Heath Hembree came in to relieve Sale, and he ended up surrendering a run on a Starlin Castro single that scored Chase Headley.

The Red Sox offense sucks, no way to get around it. Despite getting a good amount of hits and getting on base a lot, they simply are incapable of producing runs at a consistent rate. The only players that got hits were Xander Bogaerts and Hanley Ramirez. The rest of the lineup went 0 for 23 on the night. I think I’m out on Sandy Leon. Another 0-for performance at the plate has his BA at .180. I’m prepared to be all in on Christian Vasquez, he deserves more at bats and he is better than Leon, defensively. Last thing, I’ve been thinking about it and I know it’s early, but I really believe the Red Sox will have to make a move for a guy on an expiring contract like Mike Moustakas. I know it’s early, but I think, with Dombrowski’s history, that could be a real possibility.

11 down, 83 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox can’t rally in ninth; lose 3-1.

Well, after two whole days of no baseball, the Red Sox offense is still struggling to score runs. Rick Porcello took the mound on Wednesday, and he put together another solid performance. Porcello pitched 6.2 innings, giving up three runs (two earned), five hits, and four walks. The defending American League Cy Young Award winner also recorded ten strikeouts on the night. Despite the good start, bad luck got to Porcello once again, as the Yankees took advantage of a fielding error from Xander Bogaerts in the second. The Bogaerts error allowed Starlin Castro to reach first on a groundout, which led to Aaron Judge taking Porcello deep right after. Porcello’s day would end in the seventh, after getting the first two outs but giving up a double to Chase Headley and walking Matt Holiday. Robbie Ross Jr. would enter the game, but he failed to record an out and ended up only facing Jacoby Ellsbury and walking him. Joe Kelly would come in to relieve Ross, and he did a good job of that. Recording the last out in the seventh and then recording a shutout inning in the eighth with two strikeouts and only one walk was nice to see. Robby Scott would finish things off for the bullpen by only allowing one baserunner in the top of the ninth and getting all three outs.

Like I said, the Red Sox offense was could not put any runs on the board until the ninth inning. I don’t know if the weather had anything to do with it but they were making Luis Severino, a decent pitcher, look like Felix Hernandez on the mound. Severino was awesome on Wednesday, striking out six and only walking two over seven innings pitched. The most impressive part about this start from Severino has to be that he did not give up a single extra-hit, just three singles. Surprisingly, the only pitcher the Red Sox got to was the flamethrower, Aroldis Chapman. Despite recording his fifth save of the season, Chapman was shaky. Allowing two walks and giving up a run on a groundout from Chris Young. Chapman was able to recover, striking out Jackie Bradley Jr. and Josh Rutledge to end the game.

I don’t know what’s gonna make this Red Sox lineup score more runs at a consistent pace. The lack of home runs is obviously a factor, but I don’t see why the Red Sox still can’t score more often. As of the start of Wednesday’s game, the Red Sox are fourth in the league in hits, first in batting average, and second in on base percentage. Yet, they are nineteenth in runs scored. I know it’s early, but I have a feeling the acquisition of a power-bat will have to be made eventually if the offense continues to produce runs like the way they are.

11 down, 83 to go. 

#RedSox and Yankees series opener gets rained out. Will play double-header on July 16th.

Just when you think it can’t worse. After an off-day on Monday, the Red Sox will have to go another day without baseball. As a fan, it feels weird to not have any Red Sox baseball two days in a row. I mean, we’re used to there being a game pretty much everyday from April until October, and that’s awesome. But, when this happens, with the off-day and then the rain out, that stinks. The players are probably happy to get another day of rest, at least. Rick Porcello and Luis Severino were supposed to pitch today, so we’ll have to wait to see how this rainout affects the rotations. Also, I just got a notification on my phone saying that Dustin Pedroia would have played today, which is great news.

Last but not least, Pablo Sandoval was placed on the 10-day Disabled List because of a right knee sprain. Josh Rutledge will be joining the big league club after being activated from the DL himself. Rutledge has a special place in my heart, mainly because of this GIF. Underrated lettuce IMO.

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RECAP: Benintendi, Ramirez, Betts help #RedSox avoid sweep; beat Orioles 6-2.

( I’m writing this after the Bruins just lost. So, sorry if that has any effect on this recap.)

The Red Sox were looking to avoid the sweep on Sunday heading into their off day on Monday. Eduardo Rodriguez took the mound, making his first start since coming back from paternity leave. Rodriguez put on a solid performance, not giving up a hit until the fifth inning. Overall, the Venezuelan-born southpaw went seven innings, allowing only the one hit, while walking five and recording seven strikeouts. This performance out of Rodriguez was nice to see, especially after Steven Wright’s disaster of a start Saturday night. The Red Sox bullpen did an okay job in relieving Rodriguez, allowing two runs in 3 innings pitched. The biggest controversy of the game came from reliever Matt Barnes.

In the bottom of the eighth, Manny Machado came to the plate and, not surprisingly, was thrown at by Barnes. Again, I did not find this surprising at all. Going for the head is a bit much, but if Barnes just hit him in the back, it really wouldn’t be that eye-opening. As Barnes and John Farrell were being ejected, the cameras picked up an interesting exchange between Manny Machado and Dustin Pedroia, who was in the Red Sox dugout. Basically, Pedroia said that hitting Machado was not his idea and if it was, it would have happened sooner. We’ll get Pedroia’s postgame comments later.

Back to the game, the top of the Red Sox lineup put on a show on Sunday. Batters 1-2-3, Bogaerts, Benintendi, and Betts all recorded multiple hits, going a combined 9 for 12 at the plate with one home run and four RBIs. Rookie left fielder Andrew Benintendi had himself a day, becoming the youngest Red Sox player to collect five hits since The Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth. With his performance, Benintendi’s batting average now sits at .347, currently the 12th best in all of baseball. With 11 RBIs on the season, Benintendi is on pace to collect 99 total by the end of the season. Now, that probably won’t happen, but it’s something I like to look at. The biggest highlight of the game came in the top of the first when Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez hit back to back home runs to make it a 4-0 game right away.

Now, let’s talk about Dustin Pedroia’s comments postgame. Here’s what he had to say:
“That’s not how you do that, man,” Pedroia said. “I’m sorry to (Machado) and his team. If you’re going to protect guys, you do it right away. He knows that. We both know that. It’s definitely a mishandled situation. There was zero intention of him trying to hurt me. He just made a bad slide. He did hurt me. It’s baseball, man. I’m not mad at him. I love Manny Machado. I love playing against him. I love watching him. If I slid into third base and got Manny’s knee, I know I’m going to get drilled. That’s baseball. I get drilled, and I go to first base. That’s it.”

I honestly think this came off as unusual. This whole series has been weird. From the way he has looked in the dugout, it would appear that Pedroia has been uncomfortable with what has been going on. We’ll have to wait until next Monday when the Orioles come to Fenway to see how this rivalry plays out.

11 down, 83 to go. 

RECAP: JBJ hits one to the moon; #RedSox drop game two in Baltimore.

The Red Sox took the field a little later than expected on Saturday because of a little rain delay. First pitch was officially at 7:33, instead of the original 7:10 time. Steven Wright started in this one and, unfortunately for the Red Sox, he put up another clunker of a performance. Giving up four earned runs and nine hits in only 3.2 innings of work is the definition of a disappointing performance. I don’t know if it was because of the rain or not, but it seems that Wright can struggle at times with his knuckleball. It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth when Wright surrendered all four runs. Giving up back to back home runs to Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop, then giving up a single to Adam Jones which scored Caleb Joseph. Wright’s night would end sooner than expected, and, once again, a lot of credit has to go to the Red Sox bullpen. Heath Hembree was put in to the game in the fourth and held the Orioles scoreless in 3.1 inning pitched, while striking out five. Robbie Ross Jr. would come in for the eighth and got outs in 1-2-3 fashion. Steven Wright’s inconsistency puts the Red Sox in a unique situation. Wright is out of minor league options, so the only way to send him to Pawtucket would be for him to clear waivers, which is highly unlikely. It’s hard to rely on a starting pitcher when he can only pitch well in certain conditions. If it’s wet, or dry, or humid, you’re getting a different Steven Wright. So, I’m curious to see how that situation plays out.

The only runs the Red Sox scored came on a two run home run from Jackie Bradley Jr. in the top of the third. As it says in the title, JBJ hit an absolute rocket to right field. The ball ended up landing on Eutaw Street, which means that JBJ will get his own plaque, since that’s how the Orioles commemorate those long home runs. This marks the 89th time in Orioles Park history where a ball has landed on Eutaw Street. Jackie’s plaque will look something like this, with the correct information, of course:
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As I said, those two runs were the only runs the Red Sox got across all game. With Dustin Pedroia out of the lineup with that calf issue, Xander Bogaerts led off while Marco Hernandez patrolled second base. Six hits in nine innings is a shame, really. It appears that the Sandy Leon craze is starting to falter, as a 0-4 performance puts his batting average just above the Mendoza line at .205. There’s a good chance that Leon’s struggles could lead to Christian Vasquez seeing more playing time and getting more at bats. The biggest disappointment right now is Hanley Ramirez. Hanley has yet to hit a home run this season, and his batting average is only .211. After the season he had in 2016, you’d expect more out of Hanley, I might even drop him from my fantasy team. With Kevin Gausman coming off his worst start of the season, hopefully, the Red Sox can continue that trend Sunday afternoon.

10 down, 84 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox loss gets overshadowed by Manny Machado’s late slide.

I’m gonna be honest here when I say that I am not the biggest fan of Manny Machado. I used to like him, and even today I appreciate what he does on the field. But, man, some of the stuff he’s done during games is really questionable. The first time I saw this was in 2014 during a game between the Oakland Athletics and the Orioles.

Then, in the same series, he does this:

The point should be made that this was from three years ago and it does appear that Machado has done some growing up since then. There was another incident last season between Machado and Yordano Ventura (RIP), but I didn’t think Machado was in the wrong for that one, so we’ll move on to the game.

Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz was looking for back to back quality starts on Friday night, facing the Orioles for the second time this season. Pomeranz was not awful, as he kept the Red Sox in the game the entire time he was on the mound, going 5.1 innings and giving up two earned runs and five hits while walking two and striking out four. Again, this was far from a great start, but it certainly wasn’t terrible. With Pomeranz’s ERA currently sitting at 4.60, the type of start we saw on Friday might be his standard. The Red Sox bullpen was able to shut down the Orioles offense, as Joe Kelly went two scoreless while Fernando Abad finished off the bottom of the eighth by getting the last two outs.

The star of the game had to be Orioles starter Dylan Bundy, who pitched seven scoreless, scattering six hits, and only walking one. The Red Sox offense came up short in a game they could have won. The only players that reached base more than once were Marco Hernandez and Dustin Pedroia. Despite leading the league in hits with 162 in 17 games, the Red Sox are only 14th in runs scored, with 69 (nice). This correlation can most likely be attributed to the lack of power in the lineup, since they have only hit 7, which is the worst total in all of baseball. In fact, Brewers first baseman Eric Thames has hit more home runs (8) than the entire Red Sox team. Hopefully, as the weather gets warmer, the balls off the Red Sox bats will travel further, leading to more home runs.

Now, let’s talk about the biggest moment of the game. In the bottom of the eighth, with Manny Machado reaching first on a single, Mark Trumbo grounded out to Marco Hernandez. While Hernandez flipped the ball to Pedroia, Machado slid into the bag. During the slide, Machado’s foot caught the calf of Pedroia, leading to Pedroia being taken out of the game. On Twitter, there was a lot of bickering between Red Sox and Orioles twitter debating if the slide was dirty or not. The beginning of the slide looks fine, but then Machado raises his right leg, which leads to that right cleat going into Pedroia’s left calf.
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With Machado’s history, it’s hard to say this was not a dirty slide. After it happened, it looked like Machado was genuinely upset about what he did, as he tried to keep him up on his feet after. Most of the team was not happy with Machado. Joe Kelly was seen yelling at Machado, and then Brian Butterfield got ejected for arguing with the third base umpire. Anyway, my verdict is…dirty slide.  After the game, Pedroia was asked about the slide, and his response was classic Laser Show:

10 down, 84 to go.