RECAP: #RedSox split double doubleheader, series with Yankees.

Alright, I’m kind of in a hurry so I apologize if you wanted a long read.

In the first game, Rick Porcello looked good yet again. 6 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 0 BB, and 6 K’s. Only one of those runs was earned though. Two runs scored in the fourth because of a Xander Bogaerts fielding error, and Didi Gregorious took Porcello deep in the fifth. The defending Cy Young Award winner has put together a nice July, despite the lack of offense from his teammates. There were several occasions where runners were on scoring position, and no one could capitalize. Twenty-one runners were left on base in total, leading to the shutout.

In the second game, David Price looked even better than Porcello. He went eight innings, scattered seven hits, walked none, and struck out eight. He has contributed a lot this season considering he started the year on the DL. It looked like Aaron Judge was going to take him deep to cut the lead to one run in the eighth, but Jackie Bradley Jr. came up huge yet again, robbing Judge in that triangle in center field.

Mookie Betts hit a two-run blast in the third, his seventeenth of the season, and Dustin Pedroia drove in Betts on a RBI single in the sixth. Masahiro Tanaka was good, but David Price was better, giving Craig Kimbrel the chance to redeem himself after Saturday’s blown save, and that’s what Kimbrel did.

A series split against the Yankees is good enough. I expect the Todd Frazier move to be happen soon, as the offense has been disappointing thus far in the second half. Four games against the Blue Jays are on deck, starting with the return of Eduardo Rodriguez tomorrow.

On a personal note, I’ll most likely be unable to watch a ton of baseball over the next week. I may be able to watch the games in Anaheim, but it will be tough for me to blog, so don’t expect a lot until next Monday.

52 down, ? to go. 

RECAP Chris Sale pitches a gem in marathon game as #RedSox lose 4-1.

That was as frustrating as it gets for the Red Sox. Chris Sale was nearly untouchable, and they can only score one run for him. Luis Severino was great too, so it’s unfortunate that this pitcher’s duel could not go the Red Sox’ way. In the 7.2 innings he pitched, Sale scattered five baserunners while striking out thirteen holding the Yankees to nothing in the runs column. With those thirteen K’s, it marks the thirteenth time the lefty has started a game and struck out at least ten batters. It was surprising to see Sale come out for the eighth, and he ended up throwing a season-high 118 pitches. It would have been fun seeing him face Aaron Judge again, but I can understand going to Craig Kimbrel for the four out save in that situation. Kimbrel finished the eighth and had to wait what I though was a decent amount of time before going out to face the Yankees in the ninth. The first batter he faced, Matt Holliday, took him deep, tying the game and handing Craig Kimbrel his first blown save at Fenway Park this season. After Kimbrel, the bullpen was great from the tenth through the thirteenth, as Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, Blaine Boyer, and Brandon Workman combined to hurl four no-hit, scoreless innings. There was some controversey in the eleventh, though. When Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to Mitch Moreland with Matt Holliday at first, Holliday retreated and slid into first base instead of going to second. This move seemingly broke up any chance of a double play since Holliday made it impossible for Moreland to cover first. You would figure interference would be called and there would be a double play, but after a long review, it was not called. Luckily, it had no impact on the result of the game so it is not that relevant. Fernando Abad started the fourteenth, did nothing useful, and Doug Fister came in to finish the inning. It looked like Fister was about to have a great relief outing, but Fister gave up the go-ahead run in the sixteenth, and to more after that. I think the only guy available in the bullpen was Matt Barnes, who pitched two innings yesterday, so leaving Fister in was the only option. To summarize all this, Chris Sale was awesome, the bullpen did their job, and things got away late. Rick Porcello and David Price pitch tomorrow, so there should be an opportunity to win both games.

The Red Sox bats went a combined 8-53 tonight, including two walks. They left a combined 21 runners on base, and left much to be desired. Luis Severino was a little more vulnerable than Sale, but the still put together a great performance. The lone run scored came in the third, when Mitch Moreland drove in Mookie Betts on a sac fly, which gave them the lead at the time. Base runners were a plenty and the Red Sox failed to provide more run support for their ace, kind of like they did in April. Andrew Benintendi got three hits, that’s the headline from this one from the offensive side of things. Todd Frazier would be pretty nice right about now…

Double-header tomorrow, will probably be ugly since they basically played two games today. I’ll have one blog covering the whole thing.

51 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox start second half with a walk-off walk from Andrew Benintendi.

Quite the way to kick off the unofficial second half of the season. The second place Yankees come into town with the chance to leave in first place. The Red Sox have their four best starters for this series, and Drew Pomeranz started the first one on Friday. Though he did not toss a quality start, Pomeranz pitched the way you should expect him to, in my opinion. Six innings pitched, six hits, four runs, two walks, and seven strikeouts. He gave up one in the third, and three in the fifth. The biggest mistake pitch came in that fifth inning, when Gary Sanchez took Pomeranz deep and made it a 4-3 game.  A double play started by Sam Travis got the Red Sox out of the inning, and Pomeranz would pitch a scoreless sixth. When I say Pomeranz met expectations, I mean that’s how I think most of his outings will go. There’ll be times where he goes seven while only giving up two runs, but there’ll probably be more starts that look like the one we saw last night. After he was one, Matt Barnes got the call for the seventh, and he was lights out that inning and in the eighth. I don’t know what it is about Barnes, but he clearly has an easier time pitching at Fenway Park than anywhere else on the road, which is concerning, but still interesting. Robby Scott pitched the ninth for the Red Sox, and he also bounced back from a rough end to the first half by getting the Yankees in order. So, shout out to those guys in the bullpen locking things down and allowing the bats to win the game.

Speaking of the bats, there were plenty of missed opportunities while Jordan Montgomery was pitching for the Yankees. In the four innings he pitched, the Red Sox got on base a total of nine times, and could only score three times off of him. Two of those runs came off the bat of Hanley Ramirez, who drilled his fourteenth home run over the monster in the third, which gave the Red Sox a 2-1 lead at the time. Dustin Pedroia drove in Sam Travis in the next inning, and they struggled to get anything off the Yankees bullpen until Aroldis Chapman entered the game in the ninth. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia both singled and stole a base to start the inning. The Yankees defense helped the Red Sox a lot, as what looked like a ground out from Xander Bogaerts resulted in the tying run, Mookie Betts, scoring from third because of a Ronald Torreyes fielding error. After Hanley Ramirez was intentionally walked, Andrew Benintendi came up in a huge spot, and Chapman walked him, winning the game without a single ball leaving the infield in that bottom half of the ninth.

A wild way to start the second half to say the least. The Yankees are looking less and less like a contender and Aroldis Chapman is looking like a rattled reliever instead of a dominant closer. The Yankees were 37-23 through 60 games on June 11th. Since then, they have gone 8-19, which has to be one of the worst records in baseball over that span. The Rays could be more legit than the Yankees, only time will tell. But anyway, great way to start the second half, I was pumped up, and it’s Sale Day. Also hearing the Red Sox are trying to get Todd Frazier from the White Sox, so that’s a name to pay close attention to.

51 down, ? to go. 

What to expect from the #RedSox in the second half of the season.

In a first half full of illness, drama, slumps, and winning streaks, the Red Sox find themselves in first place in the AL East with a 50-39 record. Throughout the first 89 games, there has been times where it looks like this team could run away with the division, while also looking like a team that might not get the second wild card. The addition of Chris Sale has been huge, Craig Kimbrel has been the best closer in he American League, and the contributions from the outfield have been great. Xander Bogaerts is batting over .300 yet again, Mitch Moreland has had his moments, and Deven Marrero and Tzu-Wei Lin have played a solid third base. All and all, their record could easily be better, but first place is first place.

Now, with 72 games left, starting today against the Yankees, here’s what I expect to happen over these next few months:

Starting pitching:

There’s no need to trade for a starter this year. Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz have been at their best, while David Price has been solid since coming back from the DL. Rick Porcello has been a disappointment, and Eduardo Rodriguez, who should be starting sometime in the next five days, was having another good season before getting hurt in Baltimore. Finding spot starters has been tough, Brian Johnson has been the best up to this point, while guys like Hector Velazquez, Kyle Kendrick, and Doug Fister have struggled. Despite all that, the Red Sox do not need to acquire a starting pitcher. There’s no reason to surrender prospects for a rotation that does not need a ton of help.

Relief pitching:

Like I said, Craig Kimbrel has been great, but other than him, there really are not any guys in that bullpen who are all that trustworthy. Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, and Joe Kelly are the core of that ‘pen. They’ve all had moments where they look great, but there have been questionable moments as well. Tyler Thornburg was supposed to be the set-up man, and Carson Smith was supposed to help as well. Neither of those guys have made an impact since they’ve been here because of injury, so I’d expect Dave Dombrowski to acquire another reliever. Brad Hand, Pat Neshek, David Robertson, and David Phelps are the names I would pay close attention to. Neshek has already been linked to the Red Sox, and those other three guys will most likely get traded before the deadline.

Infield:

Today, Pablo Sandoval was designated for assignment. If he’s not claimed in the next seven days, he’ll probably get released, meaning the Red Sox will owe him more than $50 million dollars. Addition by subtraction is big though, and the Red Sox have a better record with Sandoval not starting then they do with him starting. In Sandoval’s place, Deven Marrero has stepped up. He doesn’t have the bat, but the glove is great. Tzu-Wei Lin has also been good in the time since he got called up. From what I’ve heard, the Red Sox still want to acquire a third baseman, so guys like Todd Frazier, Martin Prado, and maybe Mike Moustakas could make their way up to Boston by the trade deadline.

Other than third base, the Red Sox don’t have anything to worry about in the infield. Bogaerts and Pedroia have been doing their job, while Mitch Moreland has been doing enough in his first season here. Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez have done nothing spectacular, but I don’t get the vibe that the Red Sox want to change anything there.

Outfield:

Mookie Betts has not been playing like he did in 2016, but he’s still having a great year, starting in the All-Star Game for the second straight season. Jackie Bradley Jr. has been one of the best outfielders in the game since the middle of May, and Andrew Benintendi has been impressive in his first full season. Again, I don’t expect Dave Dombrowski to make any additions here.

Anything else:

I didn’t know where to put him since he has primarily been the DH, but Hanley Ramirez is having an underwhelming season. There have been flashes where it looks like he could go off, but for the most part, he hasn’t contributed a lot. He had a great second half of the season last year, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he did it again this season.

Off the field, there have been numerous times where it looked like John Farrell could have been fired, but he hasn’t, and he probably wont. He clearly is not the best in-game manager, and I’ve even heard about how the vibe in the clubhouse has been off this year, but whatever he is doing, it’s enough to keep his job.

David Price has been quite the story off the field, as two separate incidents have made som headlines. It’s not a good look getting in an argument with a hall of famer, and I’d say Price has the most to prove on this team.

So, there you have it. With the talent on this team, I think they should finish in first place. If they could only add one player via trade, I’d want that player to be a relief pitcher. Also, I don’t think Rafael Devers will get called up this season. Big series against the Yankees starts today, including a double-header on Sunday. Good chance to create some space in that division lead. Drew Pomernaz, Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and David Price will all make starts this weekend.

Recapping All-Star Weekend from a #RedSox perspective.

The American League just beat the National League 2-1 in 10 innings. The 88th Midsummer Classic was dominated by the pitching, Chris Sale got the start, Craig Kimbrel got the win, and shout out to Robinson Cano for hitting the go-ahead home run in the top of the tenth.

Now let’s summarize the past three days from the perspective of the Red Sox.

Futures Game:

Image result for rafael devers

Only one representative represented the Red Sox in this event, and that was third baseman Rafael Devers, the 20 year-old prospect currently playing for the Portland Sea Dogs at the Double A level. Devers played the entire game, going 1-4 with a single. Former Red Sox prospects also played in this game. This is the second time Devers has appeared in a Futures Game, so the hype is there. Michael Kopech, Yoan Moncada, and Mauricio Dubon all made appearances for the US and World teams, which was kind of depressing to watch. Moncada is one of my favorite players, so there’s bias there, but watching Kopech throw 100 MPH gas made me upset he was gone. Anyway, the US won 7-6.

Home Run Derby:

Nothing to report here, although Bryce Brentz, representing the Pawtucket Red Sox, won the Triple A Home Run Derby in Tacoma, Washington Monday night.

Image result for bryce brentz

All-Star Game:

Like I said up top, Chris Sale got the start in this one. Sale was a bit shaky, allowing three hits in the two innings he pitched, though he did strike out three. If Cano didn’t hit that home run, Sale could have won MVP, it was looking that way late in the game. Mookie Betts also got the start in center field. Despite not reaching base in either of his at-bats, Betts still had an impact. In the bottom of the fourth, Nolan Arenado tried to tag up from first on a fly out to Mookie Betts. Mookie was not having any of that, as he threw Arenado out from center with ease.

It took a while, but Craig Kimbrel got the ball for the botom of the ninth. Like Sale, Kimbrel was also a bit shaky, walking two in the inning. Luckily for Kimbrel, he got out of the inning without allowing the walk-off hit, and would eventually pick up the win.

It’s been a fun few days, now there’s time for a little rest, and it’s right back to the grind. Yankees up next on Friday, huge series, see you then, probably.

Jeffrey Loria is bad for the #Marlins and he has been for too long.

With the Miami Marlins being the host of the 88th All-Star Game, plenty was written about team owner Jeffrey Loria, who is considered by most to be the worst owner in Major League Baseball. It looks like the Marlins are going to be sold soon, so Loria has gotten a lot of attention, from the media as well as Rob Manfred since the season has started. Last week, it was reported that Loria could wait until next season to sell, when he would not have to give Miami-Dade County any share of the profits he makes from the sale, thus screwing the county of up to as much as $60 million dollars.

On Monday, it was reported that Loria is in the process of suing a former season ticket holder in order to seize a building worth $725,000. This is not the first time that season ticket holder has been taken to court by the Marlins. Back in 2014, the Marlins sued this holder as well as eight others who backed out of their season tickets because of false promises from the Marlins.

This obviously has nothing to do with the Red Sox, but I want to write about it anyway. I’ve liked the Marlins for a decent amount of time. Miguel Cabrera, Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton (pre-Giancarlo), and Josh Johnson were all players that caught my interest when I was first getting into the game. I invested more when I saw that they would be moving to a brand new stadium and rebranding themselves into the Miami Marlins. Led by Ozzie Guillen and new acquisitions Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, I thought they had a legit shot to contend in the NL East. They had a nice start, but fell off in July and ended up in last place. Ozzie Guillen was a disaster, Reyes and Buehrle didn’t pan out, and Jeffrey Loria had another fire sale. A blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays occured that offseason, sending Josh Johnson, John Buck, Reyes, and Buehrle to Toronto for prospects mostly. You could make the case that the Marlins won that trade if you look at the names they got back, but still, it’s the Marlins. I remember hearing about how Jose Reyes was told by Loria to buy a house that offseason, and two days later, that trade happened.

I’d say it’s hard to really be a bad owner of a pro sports team, but Loria has gotten there. I’m too young to have a real opinion on this, but if he bought the team in 2002, he probably didn’t have a lot to do with that Marlins team that won the World Series in 2003.  Mike Lowell, Josh Beckett, and Miguel Cabrera were traded in a short amount of time, and the Marlins haven’t been to the playoffs since 2003. Marlins Park is mostly funded by the tax payers as well.

Even though they’re not that good, the Marlins have a nice core of young talent right now. Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, and Justin Bour have made this a fun team to watch. The loss of Jose Fernandez hurt the future of this team, and it looks like another fire sale could be coming. With rumors swirling about a sale and the fact that any Marlin who is under contract after this season could be traded, the Marlins are not in a good place. I like Don Mattingly, but the further you go up the executive totem pole, the incompetence gets realer. That front office stinks, and it has for a while. I have seen countless articles about how Loria gets away with too much, and that should be put to an end.

I want to like the Marlins, but it’s hard when they are maybe the most poorly ran organization in Major League Baseball.

End rant.

RECAP: For second day in a row, #RedSox waste great starting pitching in 5-3 loss.

Yesterday, Rick Porcello pitched eight great innings and got a loss out of it. Today, David Price limited the Rays to two runs and he could not get the win. Price got off to a rough first, allowing the Rays to tie the game after the Red Sox scored once in the first. After that though, the southpaw only allowed one run while scattering  three hits and two walks over the next five innings he pitched. Today’s outing marks the fourth consecutive time Price has gone out and had a quality start. Unfortunately for Price, he got hit with some bad luck, from the Red Sox bats as well as the bullpen. In the first six innings, the Red Sox only scored once, but a two-run seventh which gave them the lead made it look like Price was going to get his fifth win. But in the bottom half of the inning, Matt Barnes allowed a walk, a sac bunt, and a single, putting the tying run at third with only one out. Joe Kelly would come in and he would get the final two outs. In the eighth, Kelly’s streak of scoreless appearances would end as Brad Miller took the righty deep, driving in the go-ahead run as well as himself and giving the Rays the 5-3 lead. Not a good day for the ‘pen, for as good as the numbers look, I still find it hard to have confidence in them in any big game situation. Matt Barnes currently owns a 5.91 ERA in 21.1 IP while pitching on the road. I haven’t heard anything about Carson Smith for a while, so I assume Dave Dombrowski will be on the look out for veteran relievers over the next three weeks.

Surprisingly, the three runs the Red Sox scored all came on home runs. The first one came in the first, as Mookie Betts hit his eleventh career lead-off home run, passing Jacoby Ellsbury for most in Red Sox history. The second home run appeared to be clutch at the time it was hit. Trailing by one in the top of the seventh, Dustin Pedroia took Chris Archer deep for his fourth long ball of the season. There were plenty of times when the Red Sox had runners on base with only one or fewer outs, but nothing could be done with the twenty base runners who were left on base.

A frustrating way to end the first half to say the least. Now the Rays are only 3.5 games out of first place along with the Yankees. No more meaningful games until Friday against those Yankees. Chris Sale and Mookie Betts are starting for the American League on Tuesday, so I’m looking forward to that.

50 down, ? to go.