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. 

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#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:
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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.
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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.  

 

RECAP: Chris Sale records 13 K’s; #RedSox rally late to beat Jays 4-1.

I love Chris Sale. I loved him in Chicago and I love him now. I know that I kind of did this on Saturday when Sale made his last start and I’m gonna do it again. He’s just so fucking good. Eight shutout innings while getting 13 strikeouts, what more can you ask for? And he did this while scattering four hits and only giving up one walk. Chris Sale is a machine. With 102 pitches through eight innings, you’d expect to see Sale come out for the ninth, but did he? Nope. Instead, John Farrell decided to go with closer Craig Kimbrel, who has been on a nice hot streak. The Red Sox scored in the ninth, so I’m not gonna harp on this move too much. I mean, the ninth inning is Kimbrel’s inning. He didn’t pitch on Wednesday so it makes sense to insert him into that situation. Instead of closing out the game, Kimbrel showed flashes of his old(?) self by giving up a solo home run to Blue Jays DH Kendrys Morales. I believe that’s the first time Kimbrel and Morales have ever faced each other in a game, so, credit to Morales for coming up big in a clutch situation. Luckily for Kimbrel, Mookie Betts and the Red Sox would answer back (more on that later) in the tenth, which allowed Kimbrel to pick up the victory by getting the Jays 1-2-3 with 3 strikeouts in the bottom of the tenth. Hopefully, his first blown save of the season won’t do anything to effect Kimbrel’s confidence going forward.

It appears that the Red Sox offense is not in favor of scoring runs for Chris Sale. Once again, they gave him absolutely nothing in terms of run support. It’s certainly frustrating that this pattern is staying persistent. In his four starts, the Red Sox have scored a combined three runs when Sale is the pitcher of record. Before Thursday, the Red Sox ranked 16th in the Majors in terms of runs scored, with 65 runs through 15 games. The team also ranks dead last in home runs with a total of 7 on the year. I can understand the lack of power, but this lineup needs to step up. Sooner or later, the luck will run out and they’ll start losing more close games. I remember reading something about how the 2016 Texas Rangers finished with the best record in the American League, but only had a run differential of +8. Look at the Rangers now, currently with the second worst record in the American League. I don’t think anyone wants the Red Sox to turn into that team. After Thursday’s game, the run differential for the Red Sox sits at +3, besides the Blue Jays, that’s the worst run differntial in the division. If the offense continues to struggle into the summer, I wouldn’t be shocked if Dave Dombrowski makes a move for an expiring contract who is having a good year at the plate. It’s too early to give names, but it’s something I’ll be paying attention to.

Anyway, after taking the lead in the top of the ninth on a Xander Bogaerts single that scored Mitch Moreland (league leading 11th double), the top of the lineup got the job done in the tenth. It started when Sandy Leon walked with 1 out. After swapping Leon for Marco Hernandez at first, Brock Holt got a single that moved Hernandez to second. Dustin Pedroia popped out to third baseman Chris Coghlan to make the second out, then Andrew Benintendi walked, which loaded the bases. This led to Mookie Betts, and oh boy, did he come through. On a 2-0 count, Betts smoked one down the third baseline that nearly landed in foul territory. Mookie’s double cleared the bases, scoring Hernandez, Holt, and Benintendi. Overall, this was a great series for Mookie. Getting his first home run on Tuesday, then delivering in the clutch on Thursday has to have him feeling great.

10 down, 84 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox bats go silent in Toronto in 3-0 loss.

After his worst start since 2015, Rick Porcello was looking for a bounce back performance on Wednesday. Once again, the Red Sox were down early, as the Blue Jays scored three times in the second. Porcello can’t be blamed for those runs, all three runs he gave up were unearned. Errors from Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland along with RBI hits from Darwin Barney and Ezequiel Carrera led to the Jays scoring those runs. Porcello would settle down after the second, finishing his outing with five shutout innings. Porcello gave up six hits, one walk, and five strikeouts while surrendering three unearned runs in seven innings pitched. It certainly wasn’t an outstanding start, but getting a quality start after giving up eight earned runs to the Tampa Bay Rays is pretty good. The only other pitcher to appear for the Red Sox in this game was actually Eduardo Rodriguez, who just came off the paternity list. A 1-2-3 inning is good to see as Rodriguez prepares for his next start on Sunday in Baltimore.

The Red Sox offense could not get anything going on Wednesday. Pablo frickin Sandoval was the only player in the lineup that got more than one hit. Sadly, Mookie Betts struck out for the first time in the regular season since last September, going 129 Plate Appearances in between strikeouts. The Red Sox also failed to record an extra base hit tonight, which would not be surprising to me if that was the first time this happened all season. Catcher Sandy Leon has cooled off, going 0 for 3 tonight watching his batting average dip to .243 on the season. It will be interesting to see how the catching situation continues if Leon continues to struggle at the plate. With Christian Vazquez still hitting .563, John Farrell may look to give him more opportunities at the plate.

9 down, 85 to go.