RECAP: #RedSox surrender four home runs, drop third straight in 10-4 defeat against Blue Jays.

After losing three out of four to the second-place Yankees, the Red Sox got their three game series against the last-place Blue Jays off to a disappointing start. Rick Porcello was bad again, even though he looked great against this same team less than a week ago. While not even making it through six complete innings, Porcello surrendered SEVEN earned runs on ten hits and a walk to go along with three strikeouts. The long ball is what really hurt the righty though, as the Jays took him deep three times, and those accounted for six of the seven runs. Right from the start, the Red Sox were down by three runs, which has happened a lot lately. Porcello was better after the first, only allowing one run over the next four innings, but then the sixth inning happened. After recording the first out, the next three batters all reached base, with the third, Raffy Lopez, taking Porcello deep and making it a 7-2 game. John Farrell would come to get Porcello after that, but the bullpen didn’t do much to stop the bleeding. I say bullpen, but it was really only Matt Barnes since Brandon Workman, Austin Maddox, and Fernando Abad all pitched well in their 2.2 combined innings of work. When Barnes entered the game in the ninth, the Red Sox were not dead yet, only trailing by three runs. Unfortunately, Barnes let that lead inflate, all after getting the first two outs on strikeouts. Four straight hits, including a home run, allowed the Jays to score three more runs and that pretty much put the final nail in the coffin. Roenis Elias, who has not pitched in the Majors since last August, had to come in the game, and he put an end to the top half of a long inning. Going back to Porcello, he has looked awful in his last two starts at Fenway Park, both against division rivals. He got blown out by the Orioles two weekends ago, and the Jays pretty much did the same against him last night. Somehow, I still have some level of confidence in him, despite the bad season. Hopefully, he can make up for this start with a good one against the Rays next weekend.

Offensively, the Red Sox had a solid amount of opportunities to score more than four runs, but could not capitalize. JA Happ was not great for the Blue Jays, but he definitely limited the damage in the 5.2 innings he pitched last night. Before they even came to the plate for their first AB’s, they were already losing 3-0. Eduardo Nunez made it a one run game in the second, but that was the closest the deficit ever got. Nunez really carried the offense last night, driving in the first three runs they scored, which kept them in the game up until the ninth. Mitch Moreland drove in the fourth run in the seventh, on a fielder’s choice, and that was that. Leaving runners in scoring position is a persisting problem for this team, and a solution may be hard to find. Bryce Brentz, who has around 30 homers with the PawSox this season could be a possibility, but it doesn’t look like he’ll make his way on the 40-man roster this month. Throughout the Red Sox lineup, there is no real threat for opposing pitchers to be afraid of, like I said, there’s no real solution for this season.

Marco Estrada, who has pitched below his standards this season, gets the start against ERod tonight, so hopefully the Red Sox bats can do a lot of damage off of him. For now, the Yankees have moved to within 2.5 games of the division lead, which is a concern based on how each team has been performing lately.

77 down, ? to go. (Probably won’t get to 95.)

RECAP: The #RedSox only scored twice last night and that wasn’t good enough to beat Luis Severino and the Yankees.

Going into last night, I was pretty excited for this game. Sure, the Red Sox haven’t looked great in this series, but they had the chance to leave New York with a 5.5 game lead without another game against the Yankees on the schedule. Another reason to be excited, we had Chris Sale and Luis Severino facing off against each other on national television. Sale was great last time out in Toronto, and has had a good time facing the Yankees this season. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the Bronx Bombers did some serious damage off of the southpaw and Severino looked a whole lot better. In the 4.1 innings he pitched, Sale surrendered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six Yankees. Honestly, I did not see this coming. Yeah, the pitch count was pretty high, but it looked like Sale was going to get through it. Three of those seven hits were solo home runs, two being back to back in the fourth, where the Yankees got all their runs off of him. That’s the first time in his career that Chris Sale has given up back to back home runs, for what it’s worth. Like I said, the pitch count was up, so by the time Sale exited with one out in the fifth, he had thrown about 109 pitches, probably shouldn’t have come out for the fifth, but that’s whatever.

After Sale, the Red Sox baseball was just a mess. Joe Kelly, Robby Scott, Addison Reed, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, and Blaine Boyer were all used in just 3.2 innings of work. The game got away from the Red Sox in the sixth, where the Yankees scored six times. The home plate umpire, Scott Holbrook, certainly wasn’t helpful in this one, and he even got Carl Willis tossed from the game. It was clear to see how tight his strike zone is, but what really hurt was his inconsistency. Sale didn’t seem to make a big deal out of it, but Sandy Leon and some in the dugout certainly made their voices heard. All and all, after the final out of the bottom of the sixth, which took about 40 minutes, this one was over.

Offensively, the Red Sox did not do much, which has been a recurring theme since Thursday. They scored in the sixth on a passed ball, which actually made it a 3-1 game at the time. The only other run they scored in the ninth, on a Sandy Leon RBI single, which did not make any difference whatsoever. What that RBI single did do though is end the 0fer they had going with Runners In Scoring Position.

Nine runs, that’s all the runs the Red Sox scored since Thursday. Averaging less than three runs per game, the lineup needs a spark. Hopefully they’ll find it starting tonight back home against the Blue Jays with Rick Porcello on the mound.

77 down, 18 to go.

RECAP: Masahiro Tanaka outpitches Drew Pomeranz as #RedSox drop third game in series 5-1.

I don’t have many words to describe what I just watched. It wasn’t awful by any means, but at no point, did I find myself really getting in to and enjoying this game. That’s the way it was Thursday night too, and those games went about the exact same way. They lost 6-2 on Thursday, and they lost 5-1 today, so the same run differential. Eduardo Rodriguez was okay in the first game, and Drew Pomeranz would’ve been too if it were not for one mistake pitch to Matt Holliday. You could make the case that John Farrell should have removed Pomeranz before he faced Holliday in the sixth, but that was not the case. In the first five innings, the lefty managed to scatter six hits and one walk while surrendering just one run, a home run, and striking out four. Going into the sixth, Pomeranz’s pitch count was in a good place, so there was no problem there. A leadoff walk was not a great sign, then he allowed Chase Headley to reach on a single. This all made way for Matt Holliday, who launched a three-run shot over the left field wall to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. Pomeranz would strikeout Greg Bird before getting lifted from the game with only one out in the inning. Brandon Workman would come into the game, end the bottom half of the sixth, then allow a run in the seventh before getting lifted in favor of Fernando Abad with one out in the inning. The seldom used Abad would end the inning on a pop out and a fly out, then we got to see Austin Maddox for the first time since July 16th, and he pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Since he got hit with the loss, Pomeranz’s streak of eight straight winning decisions came to an end. Despite a solid month of August, Pomeranz’s ERA is right where it was at the beginning of the month at 3.36. It looks like the southpaw will make his next start Friday against the Rays, a team he has somewhat struggled against this season, so hopefully he can rebound in a positive way.

As the title reads, Masahiro Tanaka was great today against the Red Sox, as he usually is. In the seven innings they saw him, the Red Sox bats could only muster one run off the righty from Japan. That only run came in the sixth inning, when Eduardo Nunez scored from third on a wild pitch with Mookie Betts at the plate. So, not one member of the Red Sox drove in a run today, and only six recorded hits. Andrew Benintendi and Betts were the only ones to reach base more than once, and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Tzu-Wei Lin both recorded hits in their respective returns to the big league club. The run production just has not been there since Thursday, scoring only seven runs in three games and going a combined 0-15 with Runners In Scoring Position. This problem could persist tomorrow, with the ace of the Yankees staff, Luis Severino, on the mound.

To counter Severino. Chris Sale will make the start for the Red Sox in a semi-important game. A win salvages the series with a split and gives the Red Sox a 4.5 game lead over those Yankees with no games left between the two. That game has a special start on ESPN, 7:35 instead of 8:05, should be a good one.

77 down, 18 to go. 

RECAP: Doug Fister stays hot; leads #RedSox to 4-1 win in The Bronx.

First off, I apologize yet again for not blogging Thursday’s loss, that’s on me. The Red Sox lost that game in a pretty depressing fashion, but last night was a whole different story with Doug Fister on the mound. The righty looked great for the third straight time, going back to the start on August 22nd against the Indians. He threw a one hitter in that one, and his performance last night was pretty much on par with that. He got off to a rough start, allowing one run on two straight doubles to start the game, but really settled down after that. In the six innings he pitched after that fiasco, the Yankees reached base a total of three times while not crossing the plate at all and striking out five times. Also, in his first game since August 8th, Dustin Pedroia made a really nice play behind Fister to leadoff the fifth.

That marks his third straight quality start, and over that span, Fister has pitched 23 innings, surrendering only 4 earned runs on 10 hits with 5 walks and 18 K’s to go along with that. Since he arrived in Boston back in June, Fister has gone from end of the rotation starter, to a long relief guy, all the way up to a valuable starter in this rotation. While he’s been on this run, he has made those three starts against three teams that could all be playing playoff baseball in October, the Indians, Yankees, and Orioles. If the Red Sox were to start playing in the ALDS next week, I’d say Fister would have to be the third starter, behind Sale and Pomeranz. He’s been great and he’ll look to continue this success next time out against the Blue Jays back in Boston.

In relief of Fister, Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel locked down the win by pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth. Reed retired the Yankees in order in his inning, and Kimbrel did the same with a strike out in his inning, picking up his 32nd save of the season. After an all around bad pitching performance on Thursday, it was refreshing to see a performance like this out of Fister and the ‘pen last night.

On the other side of things, the lineup handled Sonny Gray better than they did when they saw him August 20th at Fenway. It took until the third, but Eduardo Nunez got the scoring started in style, mashing his 12th home run of the season over the left field wall. This is unrelated to the game, but I feel like Nunez is good at showing opposing pitchers and teams up. Back in Cleveland, he got hit in the back by Corey Kluber for taking a big swing. Next time up, Nunez hit a big home run. On Thursday, Nunez bunted against CC Sabathia, and Sabathia took offense to it. How does Nunez respond? He goes deep in his second at-bat of the game, giving the Red Sox the lead.

Love to see it. The other two runs the Red Sox scored were both home runs and both came against Sonny Gray. Andrew Benintendi hit the first of the two, his 19th of the year, in the fifth.

Then Hanley Ramirez hit his third home run since Monday in the seventh, his 22nd.

Like I said up top there, Dustin Pedroia is back, and not only did he make a defensive play, but he also got a base hit in his first game back. The Red Sox are going to ease him back into this thing so he can be ready to go in October, so his playing time will be limited over the next few weeks. I just read that Tzu-Wei Lin will join the team tomorrow, so I’m pretty pumped that Tzunami will be making a comeback because he was great before the arrival of Rafael Devers.

Drew Pomeranz makes the start against Masahiro Tanaka later this afternoon, would be nice to guarantee a split in the series with a win.

77 down, 18 to go.

RECAP: Porcello, Ramirez, and Moreland cap off sweep of Jays as #RedSox win 7-1.

Hey, remember that series over the weekend between the Red Sox and the Orioles with those weird-looking uniforms that had nicknames on them? Yeah, me neither. Honestly, it looked like the Red Sox could have gone into a full collapse, that’s what some fans were actually thinking over the weekend. Luckily, that is now how things transpired in Toronto, instead, the Red Sox won three games against a last place team that they should beat. Pomeranz was okay on Monday, Sale was great on Tuesday, and Porcello was pretty good on Wednesday. Last night, the righty surrendered only one run, a solo home run, while scattering six hits and two walks in 6.2 innings pitched. He also struck out seven Jays and he easily could have allowed more runs to score. In the fourth, after loading the bases with only one out, Porcello proceeded to get the next two batters out, getting out of the jam without giving up anything. It looked like Porcello was going to pitch seven full innings, but he couldn’t finish it off after getting the first two outs. This made way for Robby Scott to come on and finish the inning. With both Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel unavailable, Joe Kelly would be responsible for finishing the game, and that’s exactly what he did with two perfect innings. By finishing a below average on a positive note like this, perhaps Porcello is now set up to go off during this final stretch, considering he will only make five or six more starts.

Offensively, JA Happ was having his way with the Red Sox lineup early on. It wasn’t until the fifth when he gave up a run, which just so happened to be Hanley Ramirez’s 21st home run of the season, his second in his past two games. That tied the game, and the Red Sox did not look back. The onslaught started in the seventh, when in a pinch-hit AB, Mitch Moreland untied the game on one swing, driving in himself along with Hanley Ramirez with his 18th home run of the season.

The Blue Jays bullpen, simply put, is not good. Every Jays starter the past three days have been pretty good, and the bullpen is given away each game. That was the case last night, and the Red Sox put the pedal to the floor in the eighth, scoring a total of four times. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts each had RBI doubles in the inning, and I think I witnessed the worst double steal that has ever worked out.

Mitch Moreland capped off the scoring in this one with an RBI single, proving he is one of the best pinch hitters in baseball, and statistically, he has been since 2014. On a contending team, that’s awesome to have. I was also thinking about how the Red Sox might have too many good players once everyone is healthy. The infield will be crowded with Pedroia returning, the outfield with Bradley coming back soon, and Hanley Ramirez might be in the midst of a tear similar to the one we saw at the end of last season. Those are good problems to have though, and I like what I’m seeing now going into a not huge, but still important series in the Bronx. The Yankees lost twice today, so the Red Sox gained a game and a half off of them, totaling 5.5 games.

ERod gets the start against CC Sabathia later on tonight, and it looks like Chris Sale will be pitching on Sunday night against Luis Severino, should be a good four-game series.

Also, see you next year, Toronto, thanks for the eight wins.

Image result for mitch moreland gif

76 down, 19 to go. 

RECAP: Chris Sale records 17th game with at least 10 K’s as #RedSox shutout Jays 3-0.

Last time we saw Chris Sale take the mound, the Cleveland Indians gave him a ton of trouble in his shortest and worst start of the season. On Tuesday, Sale looked to bounce back against a team he has owned this year, and that is exactly what he did. In the seven plus innings the lefty pitched, the Blue Jays reached base a total of three times, and two of those were in the eighth. As the title reads, Sale struck out eleven Blue Jays, and one of those were pretty historic. With one out in the bottom of the second, Kevin Pillar struck out looking on three pitches, giving Sale 1,500 career punch outs. He passes Kerry Wood for the quickest number of innings to reach that milestone with only 1,290 needed.

Oddly enough, Sale has yet to face the Jays at Fenway, but in the three starts he’s made at the Rogers Centre, he has been outstanding. Racking up 22 innings in three starts, Sale did not allow a single run on eleven total hits and 35(!) strikeouts. With the work the bullpen has had to do recently, Sale came out to start the eighth, but could not record an out after facing two batters. This made way for Addison Reed, and he got out of the inning damage free despite giving up a single. With a three run lead going into the bottom half of the ninth, Craig Kimbrel came in the day after allowing two earned runs, but he bounced back from that with a 1-2-3 inning, collecting his 31st save of the season. Reed and Kimbrel have both been used in three straight games, so don’t expect to see them anytime tonight.

Offensively, the Red Sox saw Brett Anderson, a good follow on Twitter, make the start for the Blue Jays. Anderson couldn’t even make it through the sixth inning, but he was far from bad. They could have scored in the top of the first, but Jose Bautista threw out Eduardo Nunez at home plate to end the inning. Nunez would redeem himself later though, driving in Rajai Davis from second on an RBI double in the sixth, scoring the only run the Red Sox needed. In the seventh, Hanley Ramirez launched his team-leading twentieth home run of the season, so at least he has that going for him. That made it 2-0, and Andrew Benintendi tacked on another in the eighth, driving in Rajai Davis on an RBI single, his 72nd of the season. Like I said, the Red Sox only needed one run, but it was nice to see guys like Hanley, Davis, and Benintendi get involved as well.

Two wins in a row after a four-game losing streak, and Rick Porcello will look to complete the sweep later tonight.

Also, he’s been here for like a week but welcome to the Red Sox, Rajai Davis…

75 down, 20 to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz, Christian Vazquez help #RedSox end losing streak with 6-5 win in Toronto.

Going into Monday night, the Red Sox had not won a game since Drew Pomeranz made his last start in Cleveland. The lefty made his regularly scheduled start last night against Marcus Stroman, and neither were too spectacular. With the way things started, it looked like the Red Sox were going to be in trouble, already being down 2-0 going into the second inning. Luckily, Pomeranz settled down after that, despite having some control issues. He tied his season-high in walks with five, but he still limited the Blue Jays to one run on five hits while striking out five over the next five innings. The pitcher who goes by “Big Smooth” is going to go into September putting together terrific numbers in the month of August, going 4-0 with a 2.28 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP in 27.2 innings pitched. Addison Reed entered the game with a very fresh 6-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh, and he retired the Blue Jays in order. Brandon Workman did the same in the eighth, and that made way for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth. He did walk the first guy he saw, which did lead to a two-run home run, but he was still able to record his 30th save of the season, marking his seventh straight season with at least 30.

Offensively, the Red Sox struggled to do much off of Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman. A throwing error by Blue Jays catcher Raffy Lopez allowed Hanley Ramirez to score from third in the second inning, cutting the deficit in half. Next inning, Eduardo Nunez took Stroman deep for his eleventh home run of the season, which tied the game at that point. Later on in the sixth, Kevin Pillar made one of the best catches you’ll see in Toronto.

And all Mookie can do is laugh…

Once Marcus Stroman was lifted, the Blue Jays bullpen really opened the floodgates. A Hanley Ramirez leadoff single in the seventh  led to the second clutchest Christian Vazquez home run of the season.

The Red Sox were down by one run going into the inning, so that two-run shot, Vazquez’s fourth, gave them a 4-3 lead, and they never looked back. A Mitch Moreland RBI single later in the inning scored Nunez from third, and a Xander Bogaerts walk with the bases loaded scored Andrew Benintendi from third. So, Stroman allowed one earned run in the six innings he pitched, while the Jays bullpen allowed four runs in the three innings he pitched.

Losing streak is over and Chris Sale is on the mound later today to start a WINNING streak. Last time he pitched up north, he disgraced the Blue Jays on Canada Day. In fact, in the two starts he has made at the Rogers Centre in 2017, he has yet to allow a single run in a Red Sox uniform.

74 down, 21 to go.