RECAP: Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon both go deep as #RedSox pick up 9-4 victory over the Angels.

Note: Prior to last night’s game, the Red Sox made some roster moves, adding a few players Dave Dombrowski is familiar with. First, Doug Fister was claimed off of waivers from the Angels. The 33-year-old RHP is on the back-end of his career, but he still has the opportunity to contribute to a team that is in need of a consistent option out of the back half of the rotation. He’ll start on Sunday against his former team. The second move was signing former Cardinals infielder Jhonny Peralta to a minor league deal. Peralta, 35, is also on the back-end of his career, but he too can provide depth at a position that has been a weakness for this team.

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#34ever - #VoteRedSox (@redsox)

On to the game: Friday night was all about David Ortiz. The former Red Sox slugger has had himself quite a weekend, getting a street named after him and taking part in a roast and all. The ceremony before the game was great. Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs, and Pedro Martinez were on all hand to see Ortiz’s number enshrined forever.

The most emotional part of the ceremony surprisingly came from Dustin Pedroia. Those two were teammates for nearly a decade, so they have experienced plenty of highs and lows wearing that uniform. In his short speech to Ortiz, Pedroia called him family:

The reaction out of Ortiz shows how close these guys were during their time as teammates. Like I said, they really have seem it all, from World Series titles to late season collapses all the way down to consecutive last place finishes. Although his style is completely different than that of Ortiz, Pedroia is that dude.

I should probably get on to the game now… Rick Porcello has been pretty awful this season, that’s what most Red Sox fans would tell you. Well, on Friday night, he made the first strides to get back to that 2016 form. Prior to the seventh, Porcello scattered six hits and gave up one run while walking one and whiffing eight. The seventh was a different story, but I’m not going to pay much attention to it because he could have been taken out sooner. The bullpen was responsible for eight outs, and they got all of them without allowing a run. Heath Hembree, new set-up man Joe Kelly, and Blaine Boyer combined to give up only two hits to the Angels, so that’s quality stuff.

The offense scored early and later too. Three runs crossed the plate and the Red Sox only needed one hit, a Xander Bogaerts RBI double, to score those runs. The other two came on wild pitches. In the fourth, Hanley Ramirez hit the 250th home run of the career, a 2-run shot that barely landed over the right field wall. That home run will definitely hold a special place in Ramirez’s heart. A milestone number on the same night his favorite player’s number is retired. Hanley wouldn’t be the only one to go deep though, as a suddenly hot Sandy Leon launched his fifth home run of the year to the bleachers, another 2-run shot that made it a 7-1 game. The Angels scored three in their half of the seventh, so the two runs the Red Sox scored in their half of the eighth were definitely helpful. Those runs came off the bat of Sandy Leon again, a 2 RBI double that scored Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley. Also, how about JBJ? Another multi-hit game has his BA at .272 right now. At the beginning of the month, it sat at .226, so in the month of June, he is hitting an impressive .350.

David Price is on the mound later tonight, I’ll be at the game, so I’m looking forward to seeing Papi’s number in person.

41 down, ? to go. 

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RECAP: Drew Pomeranz surprisingly not to blame as #RedSox end road trip with 6-4 loss.

Who would have thought that the Red Sox bullpen, not Drew Pomeranz, would be who to put the blame on for another tough loss? Well, that’s what happened this afternoon. Pomeranz was not half bad, pitching into the seventh inning for the second start in a row. The only runs the Royals scored off of the southpaw were pretty cheap honestly, a GIDP that scored one in the second, and a sac fly that scored the other in the third. Five strikeouts for Pomeranz too, whose ERA is down to 4.07. The silver lining in this loss was probably Pomeranz, who needs to step up with all the injuries within the rotation. It looks like Drew will be making his next start against the Twins next Tuesday, another chance to lower that ERA.

Like the first sentence says, the bullpen was mostly awful today as they blew the lead and the game. Joe Kelly came in to relieve Pomeranz in the seventh, and despite loading the bases, he got out of the inning. Matt Barnes got the ball for the eighth, and he walked the only two batters he faced. Robby Scott came in, gave up a walk, then served up the go-ahead grand slam to Salvador Perez, who hit that ball with Miguel Cabrera’s bat.

Love that guy… Anyway, Heath Hembree would have to be thrown in the game to bail out the bullpen and stop the Royals bats, and that’s what he did in getting all three outs in the inning. Listen, I like Matt Barnes, he’s a pretty good guy to have out of the pen, but I just don’t think his purpose is to be the setup guy, the eighth inning guy. Last year, you had Koji, Tazawa, and Ziegler later on, so Barnes was really never needed in that role. Dave Dombrowski went ahead over the winter and made a trade with the Brewers for one of 2016’s best relievers, Tyler Thornburg. Well, he’s not going to play this season, and that setup man is still a question until we see what Carson Smith can be. Barnes will probably still pitch in those situations, because it seems like Manager John loves seeing him pitch there.

Offensively, the Red Sox only scored in two innings. They could have won the game with just these runs, but still. Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts mashed back to back solo home runs in the fourth, the tenth for Benny and the fifth for X. In the fifth, Christian Vazquez scored on a Mookie Betts sac fly and Deven Marrero scored from third on a failed pick-off attempt with Mitch Moreland at the plate. Not much to say about the offense today, Xander Bogaerts was the only guy in the lineup who reached more than once. Also, I know he only got one PA, but I just want to point out the fact that Hanley Ramirez’s BA has fallen to .239 and his Slugging % is only at .394, compare that to last year when he finished with a Slugging % of .505. He’s obviously not the guy to blame for the loss, but just wanted to put that information out there.

A 4-4 road trip is far from awful, but you can look at some recent losses as games that got away. At this point last year, the Red Sox had the same record as they do now, 40-32. If you visit Red Sox Twitter, many think this team could be better if Torey Lovullo was at the helm with how good the DBacks have been this year. Me? I think it’s tough to compare two teams in different divisions, not to mention different leagues. This Red Sox team could have a better record now, or they could make an impressive run over the summer. No team is running away with this division, patience is key.

To conclude, let me be the first to wish you a happy David Ortiz number retirement ceremony weekend. Three at home after the off day against a Trout-less Angels team, should be easy enough to take at least two out of three.

40 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Sale dominates Royals as #RedSox even things up with 8-3 victory.

Last time out, Chris Sale was part of maybe the most devastating loss of the season, a 1-0 loss to the one of the worst teams in baseball. He threw a complete game then, and he almost threw another one last night, this time with more help from the Red Sox bats. Sale got off to a bit of a rough start, giving up two hits and one run, a home run, in the first three innings he pitched. The Royals wouldn’t get anything off of Sale again until the ninth, when they scored twice. Not the finish Sale wanted, but still a lot of positives to take away. After a little stretch of mediocre stuff, it looks like Sale has regained his dominant form, as a bad ninth last night was the only thing keeping the southpaw from two straight complete games. Almost forgot to mention he struck out 10 or more batters for the tenth time with another ten tonight. Fernando Abad would come in to relieve Sale with one out in the ninth, and he got Travis Wood (ha) to hit into a game-ending double play.

The offense was far better last night than it was in the opener on Monday. Eight runs on thirteen hits is good stuff. Every guy in the lineup except Hanley Ramirez, whose job is to hit, recorded at least one hit. Sandy Leon, Deven Marrero, Chris Young, and Xander Bogaerts all had multi-hit games. The bulk of the scoring came in the fourth and sixth innings, as seven of the eight runs came in those innings. Good to see Sandy Leon looking good at the plate, also good to see Chris Young perform well in the limited role he has had with this team. Shouts to Deven Marrero for having a good one at the plate in his first game back, and hopefully we’ll never see Pablo Sandoval on the field again.

Drew Pomeranz pitches today on this fine get away day, that should be fun. Also, the Yankees lost their seventh game in a row last night, so first place is back on!

40 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Velazquez pitches into sixth; JBJ homers; #RedSox drop game one in KC 4-2.

After taking two out of three from a very impressive Houston Astros over the weekend, Hector Velazquez and the Red Sox looked to carry that momentum to Kansas City for a three game series against the Royals. No one was expecting the Mexican native to go more than six innings, so it was good to see him make it into the sixth. Velazquez didn’t dominate, allowing five hits and only striking out three in the 5.1 innings pitched, but he did scatter those hits for the most part. The only real mistake he made came in the bottom of the third. With two outs and a runner on, Eric Hosmer took Velazquez yard, giving the Royals a 2-0 lead. Other than that though, not bad stuff from a spot starter at the end of the rotation.

For the second night in a row, the bullpen was rather iffy. Fernando Abad came in to relieve Velazquez, but he gave up a hit and walked a batter before being removed, having failed to record a single out. Blaine Boyer would come after Abad, and he too was rather bad. After finishing off the sixth, Boyer came back out for the seventh, which was a different story. The Royals reached base three times off Boyer in the seventh, scoring twice, the first run being the go-ahead run. Things could have gone differently, as a one out triple from Drew Butera could have been a single if Jackie Bradley Jr. did not dive and miss, but he did. Robby Scott would come in to try and get out of the seventh, and that’s exactly what he did. Austin Maddox made his second career appearance out of the pen, and he pitched a scoreless eighth.

Offensively, the lineup couldn’t do much against the veteran righty Jason Hammel. Like Velazquez, the only real mistake Hammel made was a home run off the bat of Jackie Bradley Jr., his ninth of the season. Speaking of JBJ, he recorded his first three hit game of the year, so it’s good to see him come into his own with the bat again. Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez also had multi-hit games, so those four accounted for 90% of Red Sox hits last night. Those two runs that came off the bat of JBJ were the only runs the Red Sox could score though, as the Royals bullpen shut them down over the last two innings.

Today is Sale Day, which is good. First place was fun while it lasted.

39 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi play key roles for #RedSox in series clinching 6-5 win.

Looking to wrap up Father’s Day with a series win over the Houston Astros, David Price took the mound for his first Sunday Night Baseball start of the season. The southpaw had an okay night, nothing extraordinary. 5+ innings, eight hits, three earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts. The accuracy wasn’t quite there, but I’m not about to blame Price for the third run he gave up. After a rough fifth, Price came back out for the sixth and gave up another home run immediately. The fact that John Farrell didn’t make a change in between innings is really baffling. It seems like Farrell is really good at leaving a pitcher out there too long and then taking him out the second he makes another mistake. The bullpen got the job done last night, but the streak of 26 scoreless innings was snapped when Heath Hembree gave up a home run in the sixth. The Astros had the chance to tie the game in the eighth. With two outs and bases loaded, Robby Scott gave up a single to Carlos Beltran, which did score a run, but Andrew Benintendi’s cannon of an arm did not let Jose Altuve score the tying run. Great tag by Christian Vazquez too.

The Red Sox offense broke things open early with Xander Bogaerts blasting his first of two home runs in the top of the first. After going scoreless for the next four innings, Bogaerts went deep again, driving in Dustin Pedroia along with himself. Jackie Bradley Jr. also drove in two runs in the inning, lining a double to right that scored Hanley Ramirez and Benintendi. The last run the Red Sox scored came on Bogaert’s third hit of the game, a RBI single that scored Mookie Betts. X was the only guy in the lineup with more than one hit, while also hitting multiple home runs in the same game for the first time in his career.

Injury updates: Dustin Pedroia had to be removed from the game and spent the night at a Houston hospital because a HBP got his ribs. Also, Mookie Betts got roughed up twice last night. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s out of the lineup tonight in Kansas City,

Oh yeah, tied for first place feels pretty good too.

39 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Rick Porcello’s struggles continue as #RedSox drop second game to Astros 7-1.

Losing his last three starts, Rick Porcello came into Saturday’s game looking to end his current slump. Well, to make it short, that is not what happened last night. The 28 year-old got rocked yet again, surrendering six runs in the first three innings he pitched. Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran both took him deep, and they tacked on another run in the sixth. If there’s any positive from this start, it’s that Porcello was still able to get through six innings, preserving the bullpen a little bit by doing so. The season he had last year is looking more and more like a fluke, as this season has been just as frustrating for Porcello as 2015 was. Another positive from this game was the fact that the Red Sox bullpen extended their scoreless innings streak to 26. Austin Maddox made his Major League debut, and he pitched a scoreless seventh inning. Fernando Abad was responsible for the eighth, and he too pitched a scoreless inning. It looks like Porcello will be making his next start against a mediocre Angels team, so hopefully he can begin to turn around his season then.

Offensively, the Red Sox offense was held in check by David Paulino, who scattered three hits over six innings of one-run ball. That only run came off the bat of Chris Young, who absolutely owns Minute Maid Park. Young mashed his third home run of the season in the fifth.

Rubber match is tonight on ESPN. David Price makes his fourth start of 2017 against Joe Musgrove.

RECAP: Mookie Betts comes up clutch for #RedSox in 2-1 win over Astros.

Sorry for posting this so late, I’ll try to make this quick.

In his last start against Detroit, Drew Pomeranz was pretty awful, so awful, he couldn’t even get through five innings. Last night, he had a chance to redeem himself against the best team in the American League. I’m not gonna say he completely redeemed himself, but he definitely made strides towards doing that. The southpaw went the first six innings without giving up a single run. He probably should not have come out to start the seventh after nearly allowing a run, but he did. With one out, Brian McCann took him deep, tying the game and ending Pomeranz’s night. The bullpen continued their scoreless inning streak, upping it to 24 straight innings. Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes, and Craig Kimbrel closed the game out, allowing four total base runners over the last 2.1 innings. It looks like Pomeranz will be making his next start in Kansas City, so he’ll look to build on this start against the Royals.

For the second night in a row, the Red Sox did not need to score much to keep themselves in the game. They scored the first run of the game, which came in the third when Mitch Moreland drove in Mookie Betts on an RBI single. Betts would score the only other run for the Red Sox, also. With the Astros just scoring in the previous inning and a new pitcher in the game, Betts swung at the first pitch he saw from Will Harris and he blasted one into the Crawford Boxes. That would be the only runs the Red Sox would need to pick up the win.

With the Yankees dropping their fourth game in a row last night, the Red Sox find themselves only one game back of first place.

Don Orsillo will be calling tonight’s game on Fox at eight, which is something most Red Sox fans have been looking forward to since it was announced a few weeks ago. Rick Porcello, also looking to rebound, makes the start against David Paulino.