Let’s hand out some #RedSox regular season awards.

I’ll be honest, last night’s game doesn’t seem blogworthy. The Red Sox got blown out by the Astros and there were essentially no positives to take away. Mitch Moreland hit his 22nd home run of the season and Xander Bogaerts drove in his 62nd RBI of the season in the second inning. Those were the only runs scored on one side, while the other scored TWELVE times. Eduardo Rodriguez was awful, the bullpen wasn’t much better, and the Red Sox lost an ugly one. That marks three losses over the past four days, but the magic number is down to one and the Yankees play a 1:00 game today. So, the Red Sox could be division champions before they even take the field tonight.

Okay, I guess I couldn’t resist recapping the game in some way, now let’s move ahead to something more positive: regular season awards. There were a good amount of disappointing performances this season, but still a lot of positives can be taken away. We’ll start with Most Valuable Player, of course.

MVP: Chris Sale

Pretty obvious choice here. The Red Sox are not where they are now if you take Chris Sale out of the picture.

Best season at the plate: Mookie Betts

Not as good as 2016 where he finished his second in MVP voting, but still a solid year for the right fielder. Another season with 20+ home runs and 100+ RBIs.

Most disappointing season at the plate: Hanley Ramirez

Coming off maybe his best year ever, Hanley was beyond disappointing. OBP has been below .400 all year, power numbers are down, has not been a good DH.

Most improved pitcher: Drew Pomeranz

Even with his last start, Pomeranz has been one of the best pitchers in the American League since that start he made in Oakland back in May. I never would have thought Pomeranz would be #2 behind Sale in any rotation, but here we are.

Most disappointing on the mound: Rick Porcello

Coming off a Cy Young Award winning campaign, Porcello failed to live up to any lofty expectations put on him. There were great starts sprinkled in there, and I still felt confident in him, but he just didn’t have it this year.

Most improved at the plate: Christian Vazquez

What a year for Vazqy. Hit that walk off home run against the Indians, has pretty much taken over the starting catcher role, and he gets hits in bunches. BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS are at the best they’ve ever been for the 27 year-old, and it’s too bad he doesn’t enough AB’s to register for the Silver Slugger because he deserves serious consideration.

Best newcomer: Eduardo Nunez

He hasn’t played a lot recently because of knee issues, but he was quite the spark plug when he came over from San Francisco in July. If this team wants to have any success in the postseason, I think they need him in the lineup everyday.

Best out of the ‘pen: Craig Kimbrel

No explanation needed given how dominant he has been this season.

Rookie of the year: Andrew Benintendi

If it weren’t for Aaron Judge, Benny would win AL ROY. For now, he’ll have to take team ROY as consolation. 20 Home runs and hopefully 90 RBIs in your first full season is quite the feat. And he also plays a tough position in his home ballpark. The best is yet to come, but I was really impressed with the way Benintendi played this year.

That does it for the awards. If you think I missed anything let me know.

Twitter.com/brendan_camp

 

 

RECAP: Home runs from Ramirez, Bogaerts and Moreland lift #RedSox to 10-7 win over Blue Jays in season series finale.

The Red Sox silenced a lot of doubters last night. Coming into this one losing the previous two, people were wondering if the Yankees could catch up in the division race. Well, with this win, the Red Sox magic number is down to two with four games left so I’d say that’s off the table. For the third night in a row, the starting pitching was far from what was expected. Maybe not with Rick Porcello, but I was definitely expecting more out of Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale this week. Porcello looked like he has for most of this season, getting hit hard and serving up some home runs. With the two he gave up last night, Porcello tied Tim Wakefield for most home runs given up in a season with 38. In the five and two-thirds innings he pitched, the Blue Jays got him for five runs on seven hits and two walks while also striking out eight times. Similar to Sale, the K’s were there for Porcello, but the results were not. Before the Red Sox had even taken their first at bats they were already trailing by three runs. Jose Bautista took the righty deep in the first, while Darwin Barney did so in the fourth inning. That may have been the last time Jose Bautista plays at Fenway Park, and if it is, what a way to go out at a place he loved over his career.

After that home run to Barney, Porcello was solid, retiring five of the next seven batters he faced until being lifted for David Price with two outs in the sixth. Making his third appearance out of the bullpen, Price was dominant, striking out three of the four batters he faced. I hate to say it, but I really like this version of David Price. I think that he just doesn’t give a dang about what fans think about him anymore. Like they said on the latest episode of the Section 10 Podcast, he’s gone full heel and I kind of love him.

Addison Reed bounced back with a scoreless eighth, and Brandon Workman ended the game, but not before allowing a two-run home run to Teoscar Hernandez. Not having to face Hernandez along with Josh Donaldson is a relief, as the two combined to hit SIX home runs over the past three games. Also, that’s the third straight game the Red Sox bullpen has allowed runs to score. Like I’ve been saying, I’m not too concerned but it’s something to pay attention to.

Offensively, the bats did something they usually do not do, and that’s doing damage against Marco Estrada. Hanley Ramirez got the scoring started in the first, driving in Andrew Benintendi from first on an RBI double. Three more runs crossed the plate in the second thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, and Dustin Pedroia. The third inning is where the game got away from the Blue Jays. Hanley led off the inning with a 451 foot bomb onto Lansdowne Street, and that was followed by three of the next four reached, including a Rajai Davis RBI single.

Xander Bogaerts decided to try and one-up Hanley by mashing his tenth home run of the season, another one that landed in the Monster seats.

Speaking of Bogaerts, the shortstop has now reached base in six straight games, and eight of the past nine games. This season has definitely been a disappointment, I’m sure Xander will tell you that himself, but he has the chance to end it on a positive note if he can play the way he has recently and bring that into the postseason.

Last not but least, we had Mitchy Four Bags blasting his 21st home run of the season in the seventh inning. Can’t find any video, but it was a good one.

Eduardo Rodriguez welcomes the Houston Astros into town later on tonight, and I am PUMPED. The Red Sox have the third seed all but locked up, that’s fine. What’s not fine is how the Astros and Indians are only separated by one game in the overall standings, that’s not fine. The last thing I want is to face the Indians in the ALDS, I want nothing to do with that team until a potential ALCS, let them stomp on the Yankees or Twins, please.

92nd win of the season, I’ll leave you all with this:

RECAP: Chris Sale, #RedSox bullpen surrender nine runs as division lead shrinks.

Remember that great road trip the Red Sox just had in Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cincinnati? The one where they won 8 out of 9 and 6 in a row? Well, they have looked like a different team since returning to Fenway Park on Monday. Drew Pomeranz looked bad in the first game and the ace was not much better last night. Chris Sale got the start in this one, and I really hope this was his last start of the regular season. The strikeouts were there, but so were the home runs. Yup, the Blue Jays took Sale deep FOUR times. The lefty simply did not have it going on as he usually does against Toronto. He pitched five full innings, allowing eight hits, five runs, two walks, and eight strikeouts. Josh Donaldson greeted him with a solo shot in the first, then hit another one in the third. Dude is just unreal back in his MVP form. He’s going to be 32 by Opening Day next season, but there are not too many third baseman that can do what Donaldson can. He wasn’t the only player to go deep twice though, as outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, former Astros prospect, hit his sixth and seventh home runs of the season as well. Sandwiched in between those two was Kendrys Morales’ two-run blast in the fifth. Like I said, four of those belong to Sale, but the bullpen gave up runs for the second night in a row. Matt Barnes pitched a scoreless sixth while Joe Kelly and Heath Hembree surrendered four runs in a combined two innings of work. Hector Velazquez made his first appearance in three weeks and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, but the game was already out of reach. With all the talk about how great this bullpen is, we’ve seen Addison Reed and Joe Kelly, arguably the two most important guys not named Craig Kimbrel, give up runs in consecutive nights.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox offense did not fare well against Blue Jays veteran JA Happ. One run and four hits is all they could get off of the lefty and they also whiffed nine times. Chris Young tied the game in the first with an RBI double, but that’s all the bats could do until the eighth inning. Having just gone down by eight runs, it looked like this one was out of reach. Sandy Leon led the inning off with his seventh home run of the year, and that was followed by a Rajai Davis RBI double. Next man up, Hanley Ramirez, shrunk the deficit to five runs with his two-out RBI single, but the lineup could do no more.

Having lost the first two games of the series, this will mark the first time since September 3rd that the Red Sox have failed to win a series. With each team having five games remaining, the Yankees trail the Red Sox in the division by three games. In order to give the division away, the Red Sox would have to lose four of their next five games while the Yankees win all five. If both teams finish with the same record, a play-in game will be hosted by the Yankees to determine who faces the Astros in the ALDS and who faces Minnesota in the Wild Card game. If the Red Sox do blow this three game lead, and Chris Sale had to pitch in the Wild Card game, that is a very bad scenario. Yeah, the one game thing is exciting, but it would be very hard to watch if my team was in it. One mistake and the season is over. I know the ALDS has a tendency to go quick, but at least you have multiple chances.

Anyway…Rick Porcello gets the ball tonight against Marco Estrada, hopefully the Red Sox can salvage something from this series with a win tonight.

91 down, 3 to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz allows five runs; #RedSox fall short of comeback in 6-4 loss.

Coming off an amazing road trip, the Red Sox got the final homestand of the regular season off to a below average start. The Blue Jays made their last stop at Fenway this season, and they currently have one of the hottest hitters in the game in The Bringer of Rain, Josh Donaldson. Donaldson made his presence felt early, taking last night’s starter, Drew Pomeranz, deep in the first inning. Since the All-Star break, Donaldson has now hit 21 home runs, making it 31 total in only 109 games this season. Don’t get it twisted, I like Rafael Devers at third, but I would have LOVED Donaldson at third a few years ago, one of my favorite players in baseball.

Back to Pomeranz, he was clearly not at the top of his game last night. Failing to record an out in the third inning, the lefty allowed five runs on seven hits to go along with three walks and three strikeouts. I bet John Farrell would have stuck with him longer earlier in the season, but I agree with pulling him so soon in this game. The bullpen was doing a great job in relief of Pomeranz up until the ninth. Austin Maddox, Blaine Boyer, and Carson Smith were all solid, combining to pitch six shutout innings, scattering only three hits and two walks. As this was happening, the Red Sox bats were attempting to stage a comeback. They came almost all the way back to make it a one run game going into the ninth, but Addison Reed gave that away. Ryan Goins took the righty deep, giving the Blue Jays the two-run lead. Not a great look giving up a run the same day the bullpen wins Bullpen of the Week, but I’m not too worried.

On the other side of things, Brett Anderson did a good job in limiting what the Red Sox could have done off of him. Mookie Betts got the scoring started in the first with an RBI ground out, scoring Xander Bogaerts from first. That RBI marks 100 on the year for Mookie, the second year in a row he has accomplished that feat. Hanley Ramirez did the same later in the inning, scoring Eduardo Nunez from third on another RBI ground out. Taking the lead going into the second looked good, but that was the only time they would have the lead. Betts would drive in another run in the fifth, but would not remain in the game after injuring his left wrist. It’s nothing serious, and taking him out was only precautionary. The same can be said about Eduardo Nunez, who reinjured his knee on a swing in the third. Not great when two of the most impactful players on the team have to leave, hopefully they’ll at least be ready for Houston. Andrew Benintendi, who did not start the game, gave the Red Sox some hope in the eighth with his 20th long ball of the season, but the offense could not do anything against Roberto Osuna in the ninth.

With the Yankees beating the Royals, the Red Sox magic number to clinch the division stays at three. Chris Sale gets the start tonight, though, and he’s coming off a start where he recorded his 300th strikeout of the season.

91 down, 4 to go. 

RECAP: In a game they had no business winning, Mookie Betts delivers clutch performance for #RedSox in 5-4 win.

Going into the eighth inning of today’s game, the Red Sox had only scored one time, on a Rafael Devers home run in the fifth. Jackson Stephens, the starter for the Reds, looked good in the six innings he pitched, but the Reds bullpen has been a different story this season. With an ERA of 4.62 going into this game, they proved again just how unreliable they are. Christian Vazquez got the eighth started with a walk, and that was followed by a Xander Bogaerts single. After a pitching change and a Dustin Pedroia ground out, Andrew Benintendi drew another walk. That set up a one out, bases loaded situation for Mookie Betts, and he pounced on it. On a 2-2 slider, Betts ripped a game-tying, 3 RBI double to center field.

Vazquez, Bogaerts and Benintendi all scored, and we had a tied game, but not for long. The very next batter, Rafael Devers, reached on an infield single, all while Mookie Betts was hauling from second to home, and he reached with ease.

That was the go-ahead run and the winning run, as Craig Kimbrel ended the game with a scoreless ninth.

Doug Fister got the start in this one, and although he was not particularly bad, I still think Eduardo Rodriguez is the frontrunner for the third spot in the playoff rotation right now.

Coming off a great 8-1 road trip, Drew Pomeranz gets the ball tomorrow against the Blue Jays back at Fenway Park. The Patriots also won today in comeback fashion, so it was a pretty good day in Boston and New England.

91 down, 4 to go. Magic number is down to 3.

Happy Sunday!

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez’s best start of the season is key for #RedSox in 5-0 win.

Over the past few weeks, any starter not named Chris Sale or Drew Pomeranz has pretty much been auditioning for a third or fourth spot in a postseason rotation. Today, Eduardo Rodriguez got his chance to shine, and shine he did. The lefty pitched into the eighth inning, scattering three hits, two walks, and six strikeouts over that span. That first hit didn’t come until the fourth, and it didn’t even matter thanks to Andrew Benintendi’s arm.

At no point did it appear that ERod was struggling. However, I wasn’t too excited about him coming back out for the eighth inning with 101 pitches. If he’s gonna be the third guy in the ALDS rotation, then you probably don’t want him throwing 112 pitches in a game the Red Sox had a grip on. He exited with two outs in the inning, and Carson Smith came on to finish it with a strikeout. To wrap things up, Joe Kelly pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out the side along with two walks. Nothing to complain about in the pitching department.

Similar to last night, the Red Sox scored five runs, four of those came against another inexperienced starting pitcher. Robert Stephenson, 24, made his tenth start for the Reds, and like Sal Ramano, he got off to a pretty good start. The Red Sox scored once in the first on a Brock Holt sac fly, but couldn’t score again until the sixth, where they scored three times. That rally was also started by Holt, who reached on an E1 to start the inning. Andrew Benintendi walked, and that set up a great situation for Mitch Moreland. 0 for his last 19, Mitchy Four Bags blasted his 20th long ball of the season over the center field wall, giving his team a 4-0 lead.

That was a thing of beauty, but the scoring didn’t stop there. With two outs and two on in the seventh, Andrew Benintendi put the exclamation point on a great day with an RBI single that scored Xander Bogaerts from second. That RBI gives Benintendi a grand total of 88 on the year. I don’t know how it’s possible, but Ted Williams holds the Red Sox rookie for RBIs with 145. Obviously, he’s not going to get there, but ending your first full year in the bigs with 90+ RBIs is still pretty nice.

Doug Fister gets the ball tomorrow afternoon, and he’ll have to be much better than he was against the Orioles if he wants to start in the ALDS.

90 down, 5 to go. 

Also, second straight year with 90+ wins calls for this:

RECAP: Rafael Devers’ go-ahead, three-run blast in fourth gives #RedSox 5-4 win over the Reds.

For the first time in more than three years, the Red Sox made a visit to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds have been a last place team for the better part of this season but they are not a team anyone should overlook. If you compare their everyday lineup to that of the Red Sox, you’d see just how many more home runs the Reds have hit this year. Not surprisingly, the only runs the Reds scored last night came on a home run, a grand slam to be more specific. That was served up by last night’s starter, Rick Porcello. The righty was not too sharp in this one, making his shortest outing of the month so far by only making it through four full innings. Porcello was pretty much in trouble right from the start, loading the bases with no outs in the first inning. The very next batter he faced, Scooter Gennett, capitalized on this by mashing his FOURTH grand slam of the year. Note that the Red Sox have hit ZERO grand slams all year.

Despite Porcello’s struggles, the pitching staff actually put together a pretty solid performance from the fifth inning on. Making his first appearance since last Sunday, David Price made his second appearance out of the bullpen, and he looked solid in the 2.2 innings he pitched. Over that span, the lefty scattered three hits and a walk while striking out four. Since pitchers bat in NL ballparks, Price also got his third career hit on a single last night, and he was excited about it.

Addison Reed came on with two outs in the seventh, ended the inning, and went on to pitch a scoreless eighth as well. This all paved way for Craig Kimbrel to come on, do his thing, and pick up his 34th save of 2017. I’m gonna have a blog out soon previewing what I think the ALDS roster should look like, and I think last night’s start pretty much took Rick Porcello off the board, David Price on the other hand, well, his stock is rising.

On the other side of things, I heard a lot about how Reds starter, Sal Romano, was looking forward to facing the Red Sox since he grew up a Yankees fan. Unfortunately, his performance was one that he’d probably like to forget. The Red Sox drew first blood, though that did not last long and they should have scored more. Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, and hometown hero Andrew Benintendi all reached base to lead off the first. Only one run managed to cross the plate, and that came on a Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly. The bats went silent for the next two innings, then scored all their other runs in the fourth. Mookie Betts started the inning with a double, and that was followed by a Moreland walk. Next up was Christian Vazquez, and on a 1-2 slider, he ripped a double to right, scoring Betts. Rafael Devers then decided he wanted to join in and make up for his base running blunder by hitting an absolute moonshot to right field, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead, which is all they needed.

With the Yankees loss last night, the Red Sox move to four games up in the division, and the magic number to clinch is down to six. Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start tomorrow, and he should be at the top of his game vying for a spot in the playoff rotation.

89 down, 5 to go.