RECAP: Chris Young leads the way for #RedSox in 11-1 win.

The day after one of the toughest losses of the season, the Red Sox put on their best offensive perfromance so far in 2017. Rick Porcello was on the bump Saturday, matched up against Nick Tepesch for the Twins. It doesn’t take an expert to know who won this battle. Porcello wasn’t great, wasn’t lights out, but he did his job, limiting the Twins to one run, which came on a Robbie Grossman solo shot in the third inning. Other than this mistake, Porcello managed to scatter six hits over seven innings, all while giving up no walks and striking out seven Twins. With Porcello’s day done after seven innings pitched, Ben Taylor and Fernando Abad would be called on for the eighth and ninth respectively. Combined, the two relievers pitched two shutout innings while just allowing one hit total. This really felt like a 2016 start from Rick Porcello, as he had his way with the Twins lineup most of the time he was pitching. He also got a ton of run support, which is what we’ll dive into next.

With all the scrutiny this offense has received from the fans and media, the Red Sox bats broke out on Saturday. Chris Young got the scoring started with a solo shot off Tepesch in the second, his first of the season. After loading the bases with two outs, Dustin Pedroia would drive in Sandy Leon, Josh Rutledge, and Mookie Betts on a bases-clearing double. Andrew Benintendi would then reach third on a 2 RBI double, which scored Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts. After Tepesch got taken out of the game, Hanley Ramirez would single to left, scoring Benintendi from third. The scoring in the second would conclude after Hanley scored on an RBI double off the bat of Mitchy Two Bags, Mitch Moreland. Chris Young would strike again in the fifth, blasting his second solo shot of the day. In the seventh, the Red Sox would tack on another run with Deven Marrero scoring from second on an RBI double from Josh Rutledge. Sandy Leon would put an exclamation point on the scoring outburst, mashing his second home run of the year to lead off the ninth.

This was honestly one of the most satisfying games of the season for the Red Sox, in my opinion. They pretty much did everything right, with all the runs scored and Porcello’s solid outing. This game should set the tone for the rest of the season. The Red Sox have the capability to be as good as we saw them on Saturday for the entire season. With the good news coming in about David Price, you’d like to see this team go on a run in the next few weeks. With tomorrow’s game deciding who the series goes to, we should be treated to a pitching delight. Chris Sale vs. Ervin Santana, 3rd in the AL in ERA vs. 1st in the AL in ERA, should be a good one.

16 down, 78 to go. 

RECAP: Joe Mauer hits his first career walk-off home run as #RedSox lose 4-3.

I’ll make this brief. I’m writing this on a Friday night, and I’m gonna be pretty busy the next six days, so, keep that in mind.

It turns out that Eduardo Rodriguez may be a legitimate starter, whoa. After giving up two runs in the first, which weren’t really his fault, ERod limited the Twins to four hits and zero runs over the next four innings. Rodriguez would be taken out in the sixth, failing to record an out while allowing a triple to Eddie Rosario. Joe Kelly would come in to relieve Erod, and he got the first two outs while allowing Rosario to score off a Joe Mauer double. Robby Scott would finish the inning, pitch the eighth, and get the first out in the ninth. Matt Barnes would then record the second out. With Joe Mauer at the plate, Barnes lost the matchup by serving up a nice home run to the veteran first baseman. Instead of going with Kimbrel, John Farrell made the decision to go with Barnes and paid dearly for it.

The Red Sox offense sucked up until the very end on Friday night. Before that, the only run they scored came on Andrew Benintendi’s fourth home run of the season, which came in the top of the third. With one out int the eighth, Chris Young came in the game to pinch hit for Christian Vazquez, and he came up clutch with a game-tying double that drove in Deven Marrero and Josh Rutledge. This offense really stinks, man. They made Phil Hughes look much better then he actually was. They need a spark of some kind. I mean, I’d eventually like to see Chase d’Arnaud play eventually, that would be nice. I’ve already voiced my opinion on acquiring a guy like Mike Moustakas. I don’t know, try offering David Ortiz a stake in ownership if he comes back? What I do know is that Jackie Bradley, Jr. is in a major slump, and should probably sit for a few days.

15 down, 79 to go. 

RECAP: Kyle Kendrick falls short in Red Sox debut; #RedSox drop series finale to Orioles in 8-3 loss.

With Steven Wright opting for season-ending knee surgery on Thursday, the Red Sox had to look at their organizational depth in order to find a fifth starter. Kyle Kendrick got that call, as his contract was purchased prior to Thursday night’s game. I think it’s safe to say that Kendrick is not the long-term option for that fifth starter spot. It certainly didn’t help any case he could make, as Kendrick got absolutely lit up Thursday. The veteran right-hander actually got off to an okay start, only allowing four hits and one run through the first three innings. However, things would turn ugly in the fourth. The scoring for the Orioles would start with the first three batters reaching base. So, with one out and the bases loaded, Seth Smith would deliver for the O’s by hitting a two-run double to left, scoring Jonathan Schoop and Hyun Soo Kim. After getting Adam Jones to strike out, Manny Machado would have his way with Kendrick, mashing a two run bomb over the Monster, scoring JJ Hardy and Seth Smith, making it a 6-3 game, and that’s how the fourth would end. The Orioles would score two more in the top of the fifth, getting to reliever Ben Taylor for four hits and two runs. It was nice to see Brandon Workman make his return to the Red Sox on Thursday, after coming back from Tommy John surgery and rehabbing last season. Despite giving up five hits, Workman did good for his first Major League action since late 2014, pitching three shutout innings and striking out two. Fernando Abad would also see some action in a mop-up role, retiring the Orioles in order in the ninth.

My expectations were low for Kendrick to begin with, especially after the rough start he has had to begin the season in Pawtucket. I really don’t know where the Red Sox can go from here in terms of starting pitching. David Price appears to be making progress, but there’s still no word on if he’s ready for a rehab assignment or not despite all the simulated games he has been throwing. With the injury history Pomeranz and Rodriguez have, the rotation can be considered the biggest question mark.

Anyway, the Red Sox offense continues to disappoint. They were the team to score first on Thursday, with two runs scoring off a single from Xander Bogaerts. After that, they only scored one run over eight innings, which was actually Dustin Pedroia’s first home run of the season. It will be interesting to see with the Red Sox do at third base. With Hernandez, Sandoval, and Holt out for the foreseeable future, Josh Rutledge is really the only third baseman on the active roster. Some think it may be time to call up #1 prospect, Rafael Devers. Personally, I would not want to rush him. I like the idea of trading for a veteran who will be a free agent after this season, such as Todd Frazier or Mike Moustakas.

Also, these next two series should be interesting. The Minnesota Twins are off to a pretty impressive start. At 14-12, they are only half a game back of first place in the American League Central. After an off day on Monday, the Red Sox travel to Milwaukee for three games. In case you forget, the Red Sox traded Travis Shaw and Mauricio Dubon to the Brewers in exchange for Tyler Thornburg, who has yet to appear in a regular season game for the Red Sox. I think this will be the first time I’ll see the Red Sox play at Miller Park, so I’m looking forward to that.

15 down, 79 to go. 

RECAP: Pomeranz, #RedSox take game three from Orioles in wonky fashion; win 4-2.

After the drama that took place in game two of this series, it kind of persisted on Wednesday night. Drew Pomeranz was on the mound for the Red Sox and he was matched up against Kevin Gausman. After struggling in the first inning despite not giving up any runs, Pomeranz put in another solid performance. Pitching 5.1 innings, giving up five hits, walking two, striking out seven, and giving up earned runs. After that long first inning, Pomeranz pitched four shutout innings until running into trouble after getting the first out in the fifth. Heath Hembree would come in for Pomeranz, with two runners on second and third. Trey Mancini would hit a sacrifice fly to center, which would score Mark Trumbo from third. J.J. Hardy would then single to left, and that would score Jonathan Schoop from third. Hembree would end the inning by striking out Joey Rickard. Matt Barnes came in for the seventh, and got the Orioles 1-2-3. After coming out for the eighth and getting the first two outs while allowing Trey Mancini and J.J. Hardy to reach base on hits, Robby Scott would retire Francisco Pena to end the top half of the inning. To end the game, we got peak Craig Kimbrel, as he striked out the Orioles in order to record his tenth save of the season.

The Red Sox offense obviously outscored the Orioles, even though they got out-hit by them 9-6. Things got testy in the bottom of the second. With Xander Bogaerts at the plate, Kevin Gausman threw a 77 MPH slider that, probably wasn’t intentional, hit Bogaerts. Gausman was immediately tossed from the game by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook, and that was met with an emotional reaction. O’s catcher Caleb Joseph was irate, and he also got tossed for the game, for making contact with Holbrook. After all that, the Red Sox would score their first run of the game on a Josh Rutledge RBI single that scored Xander Bogaerts from third. Forget to mention this earlier, but, Marco Hernandez was starting at third before getting taken out after straining his left shoulder on an Adam Jones ground out in the first inning. That’s why Rutledge was playing. Anyway, the Red Sox didn’t score again until the fourth inning, which began when Xander Bogaerts scored on an RBI double off the bat of Chris Young. Mitch Moreland would then score on a Josh Rutledge fielder’s choice. The scoring would end when Chris Young scored from third on a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice fly. So, you know who the player of the game was? This guy:

Image result for josh rutledge gif

15 down, 79 to go. 

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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