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:

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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.

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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.

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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. 

RECAP: Rick Porcello pitches a gem in losing fashion as #RedSox drop game three 1-0.

Yesterday evening, the Red Sox had a chance to get to 51 wins. Instead of capitalizing on that chance, they are left scratching their heads after another game that was easy to win. In somewhat of a surprise, Rick Porcello looked like the guy who won the Cy Young Award last season. His first complete game of 2017, and what does he get for it? His eleventh loss of the season and we’re not even at the All-Star Break yet. Porcello was outstanding, scattering six hits and 2 HBP’s while striking out seven over eight innings pitched. Unfortunately for Porcello, the Rays starter, Alex Cobb, also had one of his best starts this season. Cobb only allowed two hits and one walk while striking out three in his 7.2 innings of work. In relief of Cobb, Alex Colome was shaky, but the Red Sox failed to get anything off of him.

After ending the eighth, Colome loaded the bases while getting the first two outs, including an awful at-bat from Hanley Ramirez to get the second out. In a situation where it looked like Jackie Bradley Jr. would come on to pinch hit for Chris Young, who was 0-3 up to that point and does not fare well against right-handed pitchers. Instead, John Farrell went with Young, and he popped out to short to end the game.

Obviously Manager John does not deserve all the blame for this loss, the Red Sox bats could not do anything against Cobb. Led by David Price, they’ll look to even this series and go into the break with a win while also holding a sizeable lead in the division race.

50 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz tosses another quality outing; home runs help #RedSox even series with Rays in 8-3 win.

Coming into tonight’s game, it looked like the Red Sox had hit a mini skid. Nothing to get overly concerned about, but still, two straight losses. Making his seventeenth start of the season, Drew Pomeranz had the chance to end the skid, and he capitalized on it. The southpaw didn’t dominate the Rays lineup, but he didn’t need to. The only runs he allowed came in the fourth, when he gave up an RBI double to Wilson Ramos and an RBI single to Brad Miller. The Red Sox defense had a pretty significant role in the way Pomeranz’s outing went, as key double plays in the second and fifth kept the Rays off the board. It wasn’t his best stuff, but today’s start lowered his ERA to 3.60, and it is his fourth quality start since that stinker against Detroit on Sunday Night Baseball. The bullpen would be responsible for the final three innings. Heath Hembree had one of his worst appearances of the season, allowing three hits and one run while only recording one out. Matt Barnes ended the seventh with one pitch which turned into a double play, and he pitched a scoreless eighth as well. In a non save opportunity, Craig Kimbrel made his first appearance since the blown save in Texas, and he had a great rebound, striking out the side in order to end the game and get Drew Pomeranz his ninth win of the season. If you told me that Drew Pomeranz would be the second best pitcher in this rotation before the season started, I would have laughed in your face. Truth is, despite all the early struggles, he has been. All the other injuries and the inconsistency of Rick Porcello has put Pomeranz in that spot. I don’t know what Manager John told him after his awful start in Oakland, but whatever it was, it has been effective up to this point in the season.

Besides Christian Vazquez, every one in the lineup reached base at least one time, and even Vazquez drove in a run. The catalyst of this offensive outpour would have to be Dustin Pedroia. After Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi had already driven in two runs, Pedroia takes Jake Odorizzi deep for his third long ball of the season, making it a 4-0 game at that point. I don’t follow the Rays too closely, but I’d say Odorizzi is their best pitcher behind Chris Archer. Compared to what that Faria kid did last night, Odorizzi was awful. He gave up two home runs in the first four innings and walked three straight to give the Red Sox a run and load the bases. Jackie Bradley hit the second home run in the fourth, his twelfth, and he drove in the first run in the fifth on that walk. Vazquez drove in the second run of the inning in the fifth. To wrap things up, Hanley Ramirez went deep for his thirteenth of the season, all part of his three hit night.

I would just like to point out the fact that Andrew Benintendi has 51 RBIs and we’re not even at the break yet. He’s no Judge, but you can’t ignore what Benintendi has done for this team as a rookie. He just turned 23 yesterday, so happy belated Benny.

The big 50 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Chris Sale strikes out twelve; #RedSox drop Game 1 in Tampa 4-1.

The Red Sox played their first game at the Trop this season, which is uncharacteristic of their typical schedules. Chris Sale got the start, matched up against Rays rookie Jacob Faria, who has made a great first impression with five straight quality starts going into tonight to start his career. Sale was not his usual self to say the least, seven hits in seven innings is not like him. Still, the strikeouts were there, twelve total against the Rays, including striking out the side in the first and third innings. The biggest problem Sale had was with the long ball. The Rays took the southpaw deep twice, in the fifth for one run, and in the sixth for two runs. Logan Morrison and Wilson Ramos were the ones who got to Sale the most, Morrison did not record an out against him, and Ramos drove in three runs against him. Blaine Boyer would come in to pitch the eighth, and he pitched a scoreless frame. For Sale, his next start will come in Miami, pitching for the American League in the All-Star Game. It was one hell of a first half, twelve starts with 10 or more strikeouts is something else. Can’t wait to watch how he pitches down the stretch after the break.

For the second night in a row, the bats could not push across enough runs to keep the game close. Like I said above, Jacob Faria may be the real deal and the Red Sox could not do much against him. Big scare in the first with Xander Bogaerts getting hit by a pitch in the right hand, later being removed from the game because of it. The only run the Red Sox could muster against the Rays came in the top of the third, when Deven Marrero drove in Tzu-Wei Lin on a sacrifice fly, which gave them a 1-0 lead at the time. They had a good amount of opportunities, but could not do anything with them. Jake Odorizzi is pitching tomorrow, and he owns a 5.19 ERA over his last three starts, so the Red Sox should have a good chance to snap out of this two-game rut.

Drew Pomeranz is on the mound tomorrow as well, had a great start last time out int Toronto, could lower that ERA some more in St. Pete.

49 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Xander Bogaerts makes final case for All-Star selection; #RedSox drop finale in Texas 8-2.

Well, that’s one way to end a winning streak. Doug Fister, who was more than likely making his last start for the Red sox for the forseeable future, had his worst start of his short season. The 33 year-old failed to finish the fourth inning while allowing nine total to reach base. The Rangers scored six times off of Fister, four of those runs being earned. Despite having a great first inning, Fister could not avoid the long ball, giving up a two-run shot in the second and then a solo shot in the third. After loading the bases with no outs, Fister gave up three more runs while getting two outs before Robby Scott would come in as relief. Scott had his second off night in a row, hitting two batters in a row at one point and allowing two runs to score while pitching one and one thirds innings on Wednesday. Fernando Abad, Heath Hembree, and Matt Barnes would finish things up for the pitching staff, each throwing a scoreless inning. In his three starts with the Red Sox, Fister has been okay, but he has also gotten progressively worse. With that in mind, I am interested to see what he can provide out of the bullpen and what Eduardo Rodriguez can do in Fister’s spot after the All-Star break.

The bats could barely do anything off of Andrew Cashner Wednesday night. Their first hit of the game took until the sixth to happen. In his last game before final voting ends, Xander Bogaerts made a lasting impression by mashing his sixth home run of the season, which cut the Rangers lead to six. Surprisingly, the Rangers bullpen needed to pitch two innings to get the win, but the Red Sox could get nothing off of either pitcher. When Tzu-Wei Lin can’t reach base, you know it’s not gonna be your night.

Chris Sale makes the start later today against a team that can hit it out of the park. Last series before the break, good time to build up that division lead. Vote for Xander!

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49 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi has career day as #RedSox take Game 2 from Rangers 11-4.

Before I get to what Andrew Benintendi did last night, I want to talk about what David Price did. Coming into last night’s game, Price owned an ERA north of seven while pitching at Globe Life Park. With that in mind, I was not expecting his start yesterday to go well, surprisingly, I was wrong. Price managed to pitch into the seventh inning while not allowing a single run. There Were plenty of baserunners, eight in total for Texas, but they could not score a single run off of Price. The southpaw also struck out nine, a new season high. He came out to start the seventh, gave up a walk, and was taken out of the game. It looked like a blister of some sort on his pitching hand was bothering him, and that’s why he was taken out, but Manager John later said that it was because of the pitch count. Blaine Boyer came in to relieve Price, and he ate some innings despite

not pitching all that well. The Rangers scored three times off of Boyer, all in the eighth, and all those runs were driven in on a three-run bomb off the bat of Mike Napoli. Robby Scott would come in to pitch the ninth and end the game, but not before giving up a solo home run to Delino DeShields. Like I said, surprising stuff from Price, it looks like he’ll make his next start in Tampa on Sunday, the last game before the All-Star break.

The bottom half of yesterday’s lineup was responsible for most of the offensive production. The 5-9 hitters, Ramirez, Benintendi, Vazquez, and Lin went a combined 16 for 24 at the plate, scoring 9 times and driving in 10 runs. The biggest star though, is obviously Andrew Benintendi. All the talk about Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge, but you can’t knock what this Red Sox rookie has done in his first full season. Last night, Benintendi did not record an out, reaching base all five times he was up. He nearly hit for the cycle too, but hit his second home run of the game instead. Going back to Monday night’s game, Benintendi has driven in eight runs in his last six at-bats. He also made one heck of a catch too in the fourth, robbing Mike Napoli of an extra base hit and potentially an RBI.

How about the other rookie who has come out of nowhere, Tzu-Wei Lin? A 23 year-old infielder in Portland surprisingly gets called up about a week and a half ago and he can do no wrong. His second three-hit game last night puts his OPS at .949, meanwhile Pablo Sandoval’s career OPS with the Red Sox is only at .646, makes you think.

Almost forgot to mention that Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his eleventh home run of the season last night as well while raising his BA to .284 on the season, a nice turnaround for sure.

Doug Fister makes his third start for the Red Sox today in the series finale. It could be his last start for a while if Eduardo Rodriguez comes back and pitches like he did before he got hurt.

49 down, ? to go.