RECAP: Chris Sale records 300th strikeout, Betts and Marrero go deep, and the #RedSox leave Baltimore with a sweep.

Chris Sale is a machine, plain and simple. Yeah, he’s had his ups and downs in the second half, but he’s still the most valuable pitcher on this staff, and he proved that last night. Needing 13 strikeouts to reach 300, it was going to take quite the effort to reach that milestone. Lo and behold, he got it done, striking out the last batter he faced in the eighth inning.

With those 300 K’s, Sale joins Pedro Martinez as the only Red Sox pitchers to record 300 or more strikeouts in a single season. Pedro did it back in 1999, and here we have Sale doing it 18 years later. I’m sure there were plenty of people who did not agree with bringing Sale back out for the eighth inning given his pitch count, but I can understand it based off the fact he would have been stuck at #299 had he left after seven innings. Sale is one who will definitely benefit from the off day today, and I think the Red Sox should consider giving him even more rest in preparation for the playoffs. Since he went eight innings, the bullpen was not tasked with too much work, and Austin Maddox ended the game by throwing a shaky, but scoreless ninth inning. He still hasn’t given up a run in his big league career.

On the other side of things, old friend Wade Miley got the ball for the O’s, and he was far from impressive. The Red Sox failed to score in the first three innings despite loading the bases with one out in the third. The fourth inning was a different story, in a good way. Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero, who are the best of friends, both hit two-run jacks, giving the Red Sox a 4-0 lead. Hanley Ramirez tacked on two more runs in the fifth, doubling for the second time while also driving in Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts. A Dustin Pedroia double scored two more runs in the eighth, and Hanley capped things off in the ninth with an RBI single, scoring Betts from third.

Last night was all about Chris Sale, but it was good to see the offense put up this type of performance the night after failing to record a single RBI.

Let’s talk about what the Red Sox have done this month real quick. Since dropping three out of four to the Yankees, they have won 11 out of their past 15 games. Unfortunately, the Yankees have also been playing really good baseball over that stretch so no ground in the division has been gained. They did clinch a playoff spot last night, though.

88 down, 6 to go but I think they might win more than 6.

Also…suh dude.

 

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RECAP: The #RedSox defeated the Orioles 1-0 in 11 innings last night without an RBI.

First things first, the Red Sox have got to stop making a habit out of these games. I know they’re 15-3 in extra inning games, but you have to attribute at least a handful of those, like last night, to luck. Imagine if they were only 10-8 in extras this year? That’s not bad but they would be in second place behind the Yankees right now. Honestly, I was lucky to be able to watch that whole game. Drew Pomeranz and Kevin Gausman really picked up the pace, and they’re the main reason this eleven inning game only took three hours and twenty-seven minutes. A good way to avoid these long games would be to have a game-changing power bat available. Hanley Ramirez was supposed to be that guy, Mookie Betts isn’t going to hit 31 ding dongs like he did last year, and David Ortiz is no longer here. Those were your three biggest power threats last year, and two-thirds of them have not lived up to the expectations they had going into the year. Bryce Brentz hit 31 HR with the PawSox this season, but he wasn’t added to the 40-man roster for whatever reason. What I think this all boils down to is the acquisition of a power bat this offseason. Giancarlo Stanton would be nice, but you’re not going to meet the Marlins asking price, hopefully. I’m really talking myself into JD Martinez of the Diamondbacks. He’s a free agent after this season, he has a history with Dave Dombrowski, and he has hit 40 home runs this year. Sure, he’s thirty and can probably get a deal worth more than $20 million a year, but the Red Sox are going to need a game changing type of bat, and he fits that need. I know I’m getting too far ahead of myself, but it’s something to think about.

Okay, I got that off my chest, let’s talk about the game that was played last night. Like I said above, Drew Pomeranz was matched up against Kevin Gausman in this one, two SEC guys. Gausman outpitched Pomeranz, but not by much. The lefty put up six and a third solid innings, scattering five hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over that span. He got hit pretty hard, but managed to keep the Orioles off the scoreboard with the help of his outfielders. In the third, Andrew Benintendi ended the inning by picking off old friend Manny Machado at the plate with this great throw:

Later on in the fifth, Jackie Bradley Jr. robbed Chris Davis of a solo shot with this very casual catch:

I was hoping Mookie Betts would rob the Orioles of a run, since the other two outfielders made great plays. That didn’t happen though, and Pomeranz couldn’t pick up his 17th win of the year either, despite the great effort. It was surprising to see him come back out for the seventh, but I actually like how John Farrell only had him face Chris Davis, a lefty. He got Davis to fly out, thus ending his day on a positive note.

For the second night in a row, the bullpen was relied on heavily, and they came through yet again. Carson Smith, Addison Reed, Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, and Matt Barnes combined to pitch nearly five innings of perfect baseball. No hits, no walks, nothing for the Orioles, a real shut down. It was a bit nerve-racking watching Road Matt Barnes try and close out the game, but he did it to perfection and picked up his first save of the season. With all the use the bullpen has been dealing with lately, the off day on Thursday will be a good opportunity for rest.

Offensively, Kevin Gausman held the Red Sox in check. It took until the fifth inning for them to get their first hit, a Rafael Devers single, and they could only reach base three other times while facing Gausman. Once he left though, more scoring chances came, but they couldn’t capitalize right away. A leadoff single from Sam Travis in the eighth turned to nothing, a one out double from Andrew Benintendi could not turn into a run, and a one out Rafael Devers single couldn’t be turned into a run. I forgot to mention this earlier, but Devers had a really rough night at third with his throwing error in the eleventh that could have led to the tying run scoring for the Orioles. Anyway, it wasn’t until the eleventh when the Red Sox finally capitalized on a scoring chance. A leadoff single from Brock Holt was cancelled out by JBJ grounding into a fielder’s choice, putting him at first with one out. After Xander Bogaerts advanced him to second, two straight walks loaded the bases. With Mitch Moreland at the plate, a wild pitch from Brad Brach allowed the runners to advance, scoring JBJ from third. Moreland grounded out after that and that was the inning.

The win marks five straight series wins, and keeps them three games above the Yankees. Chris Sale, who owns a 4.25 ERA since the start of August, gets the start in this pretty important series finale later tonight.

87 down, 7 to go. 

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi’s heroics gave #RedSox yet another extra innings victory, this time in Baltimore.

The Red Sox went into Baltimore last night after taking two out of three from the Rays. Their goal for this week had to be the same as it was over the weekend, win the series against a division rival. They got off to a good start on Monday, despite some pitching struggles. Doug Fister got the start in this one, and he looked bad yet again. For the second time in a row, Fister failed to pitch at least six innings and gave up five or more earned runs. In the two plus innings he pitched, the Orioles reached base nine times and scored five times. Marty Foster’s strike zone was off, and that made way for Fister allowing five walks, which is rare for him. It was clear he didn’t agree with the zone, and he was even seen yelling at Foster while heading to the dugout at one point.

In relief of Fister, the Red Sox had to use nine relief pitchers, and they did a solid job from the sixth inning on. Heath Hembree, Fernando Abad, and Brandon Workman gave up a combined three runs in four innings pitched, and that was it in terms of the Orioles scoring. Robby Scott, Joe Kelly, Addison Reed, Craig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes, and Carson Smith went on to pitch five scoreless innings while striking out four. If you look at the bullpen’s final line, 9 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, that looks like a great start for a starting pitcher, so it’s good to see the bullpen is still doing their thing, with Road Matt Barnes coming up big and Carson Smith picking up his first save of the season.

On the other side of things, Dylan Bundy was slightly better than Fister, but not by much. It looked like he was going to have his way with the Red Sox up until the fifth inning. After Mookie Betts drove in the first run in the fourth, he, along with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt, drove in six runs in the fifth. If it weren’t for JBJ’s long at-bat, Bundy may have got out of the inning without giving up anything. Also, Brock Holt’s AB wasn’t even supposed to happen. Dustin Pedroia had to leave the game after taking a foul ball off his nose. So, in the middle of the at-bat, Holt came in and ripped a 2 RBI single. That outpour in the top half of the sixth gave the Red Sox a 7-6 lead, but the Orioles retook the lead in the bottom half. Surprisingly, Xander Bogaerts tied the game with a solo home run in the seventh.

The bats on both sides went silent for a little bit, until the top of the eleventh inning. Three walks and two ground outs set up a bases loaded, two-out at bat for Andrew Benintendi. On a 2-2 pitch, Benintendi ripped a single to right field, scoring Blake Swihart from third and Xander Bogaerts from second, giving the Red Sox a 10-8 lead and essentially the win.

With that extra innings win, the Red Sox are now 14-3 in games that go more than nine innings. Drew Pomeranz gets the start today, and this will actually be his first start at Camden Yards this season.

86 down, 8 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox look lifeless yet again; fail to win one game over Players Weekend.

First off, sorry for not posting a recap blog of the game yesterday. I was getting ready for the fight and I figured it wouldn’t be worth it to blog about a 7-0 loss. Anyway, Doug Fister made the start in this one, coming off his best start in a Red Sox uniform last time out in Cleveland. The righty put together another solid performance on Sunday despite a rough start. The Orioles managed to score twice off of Fister in the first, but couldn’t do anything after that. After getting those two runs on three hits in the first, Fister limited the Orioles to two hits and two walks over the next six innings. There were really no times after the first where Fister found himself in any real trouble, and he also tied a season-best with seven strikeouts on the day. He kept his guys in the game, and so did the bullpen. Even though the Red Sox were trailing, we still saw Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel pitch the eighth and ninth innings, and they both looked good with scoreless innings.

Before today, the Red Sox have scored a combined three runs in eighteen innings against a team that owns the third worst team ERA in all of baseball. Unfortunately, this trend continued Sunday afternoon. Old friend Wade Miley held the Red Sox to only one run, despite allowing seven hits and three walks in the five plus innings he pitched. They loaded the bases in two consecutive innings, the fifth and the sixth, and could only score that one time. I feel the need to single out Mookie Betts here because he struck out to end the sixth on a full count without taking his bat off his shoulders. In total, the Red Sox went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position today. Definitely something that needs improvement as they go on this big seven game road trip in Toronto and New York.  Continue reading “RECAP: #RedSox look lifeless yet again; fail to win one game over Players Weekend.”

RECAP: Mitch Moreland throws a scoreless ninth in ugly 16-3 loss for #RedSox.

In what is supposed to be a fun weekend for the players and the fans, the Red Sox did just about everything to kick off the weekend in the worst way possible. I’m not going to give you a typical blog because it’s honestly not worth it. Two days after the Red Sox looked like they have finally proven themselves against Corey Kluber, they drop two games in a row in ugly fashion. The Orioles are far worse than the Indians, but they have done the most damage in the past seven days. Rick Porcello made his start, and he was having a pretty good August, winning his last five starts. Well, on Friday night, that version of Porcello was nowhere to be seen. The righty was bad, but he cannot take all the blame. The defense behind him was the sloppiest it has been all season, committing five errors total. Porcello ended up surrendering eleven runs, but only four of them were earned. He did get hit hard though, and that led to him exiting the game with two outs in the fifth inning. The bullpen was atrocious, so bad in fact that MITCH MORELAND and Robby Scott were the only pitchers to throw scoreless innings. Scott pitched the eighth and Moreland the ninth, and he was pretty much the only bright spot of the night. Here he is striking out Caleb Joseph:

Offensively, Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run home run in the second to make it a 5-2 game, and it looked like the Red Sox were about to get back in this game. That’s not what happened though, and the only run the Red Sox scored came in the fifth, when Rafael Devers scored on a Sandy Leon sacrifice fly. Xander might be back, which is a positive, but there is not much good to take away from this one. Eduardo Rodriguez makes the start this afternoon, and the Red Sox need a good one, desperately. 

At least the Yankees lost, though.

73 down, 22 to go. 

RECAP: Chris Sale and Andrew Benintendi help #RedSox split series with O’s in 7-3 win.

Things didn’t look great for the Red Sox on Friday night. The Sox had just dropped their second consecutive game to the Orioles, who seemed to be hitting their stride after a rough May. Luckily for the Red Sox, David Price and Chris Sale were there to salvage the series. Price pitched eight quality innings Saturday, and Sale pitched six solid innings on Sunday. There probably weren’t many people who thought Sale could go six after the first inning he had, but here we are talking about. The southpaw allowed three runs in the first, although I don’t completely blame him for all those runs. With one out in the inning and runners on first and second, the Orioles decided to try a double-steal, and it looked as if Sandy Leon picked off Joey Rickard at third. However, a challenge from Buck Showalter would show that Rickard’s hand touched the bag before Pablo Sandoval tagged him, resulting in runners on second and third with only one out. This play just says everything you need to know about Pablo Sandoval’s tenure as a member of the Red Sox thus far, just about worthless in every aspect of the game. If Deven Marrero was at third, that’s an out and that’s a fact. Instead Chris Sale gives up a double to Chris Davis, which allowed those runners to score. The Orioles would score their last run of the game in the first, when Jonathan Schoop drove in Davis on an RBI double. Sale really grinded his way to another quality start, only allowing three hits over the next five innings while striking out nine total. The Red Sox bullpen held their own on Sunday, as Blaine Boyer, Robby Scott, and Matt Barnes combined to pitch three innings while giving up three hits, zero runs, and striking out two. I saw a stat saying that Sale has like a 4.30 ERA over his past three starts, but I’m not worried about that, no Red Sox fan should.

The Red Sox offense recorded nine hits for the second day in a row Sunday afternoon. Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to break out of his early struggles, as he drove in two runs on a single in the first. Andrew Benintendi had his best game as a Major Leaguer, reaching base four times, including two home runs and a single, which drove in a total of three runs. With those two bombs from Benintendi, not only was it the first multi-home run game of his career, yesterday’s game could be the first step to getting Benintendi out of this slump. The other two runs the Red Sox scored came on a fielding error in the sixth, when Francisco Pena, the catcher, overthrew Manny Machado, and that allowed Mitch Moreland and Jackie Bradley to score.

To me, it feels weird to say this, but, if the Red Sox sweep the Yankees this week, they could have sole possession of first place going into next weekend’s series against the Tigers. No game today, FWIW, off-day.

31 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: David Price pitches into eighth inning; #RedSox avoid O’s late rally with 5-2 win.

Looking to build on his 2017 debut, David Price took the mound to face the Baltimore Orioles for the first time this season. Price was great, while also being very effective with his pitch limit. The 2012 Cy Young Award winner went deeper into the game than he did in Chicago, pitching 7+ innings, surrendering three hits and only one run, while striking out seven Orioles. The only real trouble Price ran into came in the bottom of the seventh, when Manny Machado took the southpaw deep for his twelfth homer of the year. I was surprised to see Price come out for the eighth, but as it turns out, he would only face one batter before his day was over. The funny thing was that Price struck Jonathan Schoop out, but because of a passed ball by Christian Vazquez, Schoop was able to reach first. I think it’s safe to say this is what Red Sox fans wanted to see out of David Price. Through his first two starts, Price’s ERA currently sits at a solid 3.00. Both of his starts have come on the road, so I’m interested to see how he will perform when he makes his first start of the year at Fenway.

John Farrell only needed two other pitchers to secure the win, but Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel were not at the top of their game. Kelly came in to relieve Price in the eighth, and he was able to get J.J. Hardy to hit into a double play right out of the gate. Unfortunately for Kelly, the next two batters he faced reached base, setting up Craig Kimbrel to come into the game with the chance to get a four out save. Kimbrel got out of the inning easy, but the ninth was a different story. I’m not trying to defend Kimbrel too much here, but I really think he was affected by the fact that the Red Sox made it a four-run game in the top of the ninth. Anyway, Kimbrel gave up his first run in forever, but that didn’t stop him from picking up his sixteenth save of the season.

The Red Sox offense didn’t need to score a ton of runs thanks to David Price. Hanley Ramirez was the star of the game, potentially breaking out of a power struggle by going 2 for 3 with a home run, a double, a walk, and three RBIs. It was also nice to see Mookie Betts get two hits and an RBI since he has been struggling recently. Xander Bogaerts also drove in a run Saturday, scoring Mookie Betts from third on a fielder’s choice in the eighth.

Chris Sale gets the start today, looking to rebound from his worst start in a Red Sox uniform that took place in Chicago. With the chance to leave Baltimore with a split, I expect Chris Sale to be lights out Sunday.

Also, shout out to Mitch Moreland for this catch on an awful throw from Pablo Sandoval:

30 down, ? to go.