RECAP: #RedSox actually get Chris Sale some run support in 5-2 win.

Without a question, Chris Sale has lived up to every expectation that was set upon him before the season. He has been the gold standard of starting pitching, the bona fide ace of this rotation. The only problem with Sale’s starts have been things that he has no control over, like managing and offensive production. On Tuesday though, the Red Sox offense surprisingly helped Sale out by scoring five, count them, five runs. It’s not like Sale needed all those runs, though. Sale set the mood early, striking out seven of the first nine batters he faced. The most dramatic moment of the game came when Sale was on the mound and Manny Machado was at the plate. We all know what’s been going on recently, and Sale continued that trend by zipping a 98 MPH fastball past Machado’s rear end. This caused a warning to be issued to each bench, and Sale actually struck out Machado that same at-bat. Machado would get his revenge though, in the top of the seventh when he took Sale deep to lead off the inning. It was apparent that Machado took his time rounding the bases, and hopefully that doesn’t add any more fuel to this weird fire. Overall, Sale finished with a line of 8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, and 11 Ks, his fifth consecutive game with 10+ K’s. Craig Kimbrel would come in for the save in the ninth, and that’s exactly what he did, getting the Orioles in order while striking out one.

Like I said, the Red Sox offense actually scored for Chris Sale. The five runs the Red Sox scored in the eight innings Sale pitched is more than they had scored in the previous 38 innings Sale pitched (3). Hanley Ramirez is getting hot, folks. Four home runs in the last four games, including two on Tuesday, is proof that the power is coming back, which is what this offense needs. Mitch Moreland hit another double on Tuesday, giving him his league leading 13th double of the season, so shouts to Mitchy Two Bags. How about JBJ, huh? I love watching him play center field, but he can’t buy a hit right now. Another hitless day has lowered Bradley’s batting average to .184. One of the things I liked about last year’s Red Sox team was the production that came from the bottom of the baiting order. This season though, we got Sandy Leon and JBJ hitting a combined .190, which doesn’t really help this offense. I definitely think Christian Vazquez is capable of taking the reigns of the starting catcher job, but with JBJ, I don’t know if the Red Sox have better options, given the defense he provides.

Now that we’ve talked about the game, let’s talk about what happened after. In the clubhouse, Manny Machado was asked about getting thrown out, and he was not happy about what had happened:

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=19298157

Lot of F bombs in there, and apparently, Machado has lost all respect for the Red Sox organization. So, if you wanted the Red Sox to sign Machado in a few years, I’m sorry, but it’s not going to happen. He’ll probably be wearing pinstripes. When Sale was asked about all this, he responded by saying, “Whatever, man. Not losing sleep tonight.” It will be interesting to see if Buck Showalter, or Machado, or whoever decides to respond to this.

14 down, 80 to go. 

Lastly, it’s not baseball-related but I just wanted to give a shout out to Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas. What he’s been doing in the playoffs has been nothing short of extraordinary, given the circumstances. We just witnessed one of the best playoff performances from a Celtic, 53 points in a double OT win to take a 2-0 series lead over the Wizards. So, keep doing you Isaiah, and stay strong.

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RECAP: #RedSox defense falters in 5-2 loss to Orioles in series opener.

After feeling pretty good about taking two out of three from the Chicago Cubs, Rick Porcello and the Red Sox were looking to take another series, this time, from the Baltimore Orioles. Porcello got off to a fantastic start, only allowing two hits through the first four innings. The Orioles would get their first run in the first, off an RBI double from Caleb Joseph that scored Jonathan Schoop. Porcello’s day would be over after the sixth, where he gave up a solo home run to Manny Machado. Another quality start from the defending Cy Young Award winner, finishing with a line of 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, and 7 Ks. The pitch count was sort of a problem for Rick, and it started when it took 11 pitches to get leadoff hitter Seth Smith to ground out. Porcello falls to 1-4, his fourth consecutive loss, despite throwing three straight quality starts. It comes as a surprise that the Red Sox aren’t scoring for Porcello, especially since he got a lot of run support last year. Obviously, can’t blame Rick for this loss.

Heath Hembree would come in to relieve Porcello, and he did great in the seventh, getting the Orioles 1-2-3 while striking out two. Things would go downhill for Hembree in the eighth. After walking Seth Smith (who was replaced by Craig Gentry), Adam Jones grounded out to Hembree. Having the chance to turn a double play, Hembree threw the ball towards second base. Unfortunately for Hembree, the ball didn’t find a glove and found its way onto the outfield, allowing Gentry to reach third and Jones to reach first. Manny Machado would come up to bat, and he was able to reach first on a Marco Hernandez fielding error, which also allowed Gentry to score. Mark Trumbo would single to left, and Andrew Benintendi’s error allowed Jones to score and Trumbo would advance to second. Fernando Abad would come in for the Red Sox with one out in the eighth, and got out of the inning, but not before allowing Manny Machado to score on a sac-fly from Chris Davis. So, the Red Sox defense clearly has issues. Ten errors over the past four games is unacceptable, especially for a team that finished fourth in the league in fielding percentage last season. I really think the Red Sox are going to need a third baseman who’s not a defensive liability. I don’t know if that would happen via trade or within the farm system but I do think a change will have to be made soon.

After averaging five runs per game against the Cubs, the Red Sox went back to their usual offensive ways on Monday. Not scoring until the eighth inning, when they were already down 5-0, honestly stinks. Andrew Benintendi has been the most valuable player with the bat, as he leads the Red Sox in just about every offensive statistic besides batting average (Vazquez). It was good to see that Hanley Ramirez finally got a hit after an 0 for 16 slump, even if it was just a bunt single. Other than Leon, I’d say the player to be most worried about offensively is Jackie Bradley Jr. After an 0 for 3 performance (1 BB), Bradley’s batting average now sits at .196. Now, we always knew that Bradley’s bat wasn’t exactly a strength, but it seemed like Bradley put that behind him last year with that massive hitting streak he had. It would not surprise me if Bradley got the day off tomorrow, or maybe even more time off.

13 down, 81 to go.   

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RECAP: #RedSox use eighth inning to take series from Cubs; win 6-2.

On Sunday night, in primetime, Eduardo Rodriguez and the Red Sox were looking to take two out of three from the reigning World Series champions Chicago Cubs. They did just that.

ERod had himself a solid performance on Sunday, pitching six innings, allowing five hits, striking out nine (every batter), all while only surrendering two walks and one earned run. The one mistake Rodriguez made that cost him was a home run in the fifth inning that came off the bat of Kris Bryant. It’s clear that if the Red Sox want to seriously contend this season, they need Rodriguez to perform the way he did on Sunday night. The Cubs are a team that likes to work the count, and unfortunately for Rodriguez, that shortened his start. With around 100 pitches after pitching six innings, Rodriguez’s day was over. The Red Sox bullpen got off to a rocky start on Sunday, with Joe Kelly walking two out of the first three pitchers he faced. A wild pitch would allow Jon Jay to score from third, and Robby Scott would come in with two outs in the seventh and was able to get out of it. Matt Barnes returned from his suspension, assuming set-up responsibilities and pitching a scoreless eighth. Craig Kimbrel would come in to close things out, even after the Red Sox scored four times in the eighth, but that did not affect him. Nine pitch saves are always good to see, it looks like Kimbrel is really pitching his best right now.

The Red Sox offense got things started right away in the bottom of the first, with Hanley Ramirez mashing another home run over the Monster, his third of the season, which also scored Andrew Benintendi. Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks would settle down after the first, pitching five shutout innings. Like I said, the Red Sox scored four runs in the eighth, and I don’t think the ball left the infield once. Old friend Koji Uehara took the mound to start the inning, and he loaded the bases while failing to record an out. After Mookie Betts struck out, Marco Hernandez managed to score on a wild pitch. Xander Bogaerts would then score on a Mitch Moreland groundout, which led to Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez scoring on a Dustin Pedroia groundout that resulted in a fielding error from Addison Russell.

Based on the way the Red Sox scored those runs to take the lead, you can’t say it was pretty but I’d take it any day against the defending Champs. Cubs skipper Joe Maddon said he’d like to see the season end with seven games at Fenway and Wrigley, we’ll see.

13 down, 81 to go. 

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RECAP: #RedSox blow it as Cubs comeback to win 7-4.

 adam sandler billy madison you blew it GIF

Yup, the Red Sox had a two run lead going into the sixth, a one run lead going into the seventh, and they lost. Poor managing, poor defense, and a lack of runs after the fifth all hurt the Red Sox in this one. Steven Wright was the starter today and he faced off against former Red Sox pitcher John Lackey. Wright got off to a great start, only allowing one hit through the first three innings. However, things would go downhill from there, as Wright gave up five earned runs over the next 3.1 innings. Wright finished the day with a line of 6.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, and 4 K’s. The long ball got to Wright on Saturday, as the knuckleballer surrendered two of them, one to Anthony Rizzo in the fourth, and one to Miguel Montero in the seventh. Wright would be taken out with one out in the seventh, relieved by Robby Scott, who would fail to record an out while giving up an unearned run. Rookie Ben Taylor would come in, still with only one out in the seventh, and he was able to get through the seventh and eighth inning without surrendering a run. After getting the first out of the ninth, Taylor would be replaced by Fernando Abad, who gave up a solo home run to Ben Zobrist before ending the ninth. Certainly not the best performance from the pitching department on Saturday. The defensive performance didn’t help either. Four errors from Wright, Bogaerts, Moreland, and Hernandez was disappointing to see.

At one point, it was actually looking like the Red Sox might win this game. Things started in the second when Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Mitch Moreland on an RBI single. In the third, Xander Bogaerts scored on a sacrifice fly from Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez mashed his second home run of the season 469 feet over the monster, on to Lansdowne Street. The scoring would conclude for the Red Sox in the fifth with Andrew Benintendi hitting his third home run of the season. Although he did not drive in any runs, it was great to see Dustin Pedroia go 3 for 4 hitting out of the sixth spot on Saturday.

Earlier, I mentioned how the managing of this game may have cost the Red Sox this game. I’m not calling for John Farrell’s head here, but I never think this team will reach its fullest potential with Farrell as manager. Consistently leaving pitchers in the game too long has been frustrating to watch. Take today as an example, Steven Wright’s day should have been done after pitching six innings. Instead, he starts the seventh, and whadda ya know, he didn’t finish the inning. I doubt he’ll get fired, but John Farrell should be on the hot seat for the duration of the first half of this season.

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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:
Image result for eutaw street plaques

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.
Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 11.21.53 PM

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.