I Don’t Like This Proposed Jackie Bradley Jr. for Edwin Encarnacion Trade.

Earlier today, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox have had trade discussions over the winter revolving around outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and designated hitter/ first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. Nightengale did not go into depth on this, but it’s still something to think about. When I first saw this, I immediately was against it. If these two were the only big league players involved, it’s tough to say who wins this trade. On one hand, the Indians are losing their best power hitter, as Encarnacion lead the club in HRs, RBIs, and OBP in 2017. On the other hand, they are getting one of the best defensive center fielders in all of baseball. The Indians lost Austin Jackson to free agency, so it’s understandable why they would want to upgrade at that position. Is that defense worth parting ways with one of the best home run hitters in the American League? Probably not.

From the perspective of the Red Sox, acquiring Encarnacion while parting ways with Bradley creates holes and log jams. If this were to happen, I would need to see some corresponding moves and those moves would revolve around Hanley Ramirez and JD Martinez. First, I can’t imagine Hanley Ramirez would stick around if Encarnacion were acquired, he’s essentially an upgrade. Take Hanley away and replace him with EE, and you’re looking at him as the primary DH and Mitch Moreland as the primary first baseman. With that in mind, a hole is created in center field. Sure, Benintendi or Betts could be moved over there, but there is no other player on the Red Sox 40-man who could play a corner outfield position everyday. Brock Holt, Bryce Brentz, and Rusney Castillo all have positive qualities, but I would not want any of those guys handling a full-time position with the Red Sox. That’s why, ideally, JD Martinez would be brought in via free agency to take over for Benintendi in left field. Although his defense is lacking, Martinez and Encarnacion would be one hell of a power duo.

This is the ideal situation. A “big three” of Betts, Martinez, and Encarnacion would be awesome, but it could have happened sooner, and at a lesser cost. Remember, there was interest between Edwin Encarnacion and the Red Sox last year, but nothing transpired because of luxury tax complications. Now, we’re talking about giving up one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball for a 35 year-old Encarnacion, who will be making much more than JBJ will over the next two years both are under contract. If it were me, and Martinez was not signed yet, I don’t think I would do it. Give me the bargain in Bradley and let me try to plug power into my lineup through other avenues.

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RECAP: Chris Sale gets rocked as #RedSox drop finale to Indians 13-6.

Even after last night’s loss, the Red Sox still won the season series against the Cleveland Indians. There were a couple nice wins in there, like the Christian Vazquez walk off and the win against Corey Kluber on Wednesday. Unfortunately though, two of those three losses against the Indians came with Chris Sale as the starting pitcher. Throughout his career, the Indians have been the team that has given Sale the most trouble, and that was proven yet again on Thursday night. The lefty could only make it through three full innings before being lifted. The Indians scored a season-high seven runs (six earned) off of Sale in those three innings. In his shortest start of 2017, Sale did not look like himself and may have improved Corey Kluber’s case for the Cy Young Award. I don’t know if the Indians have some exclusive information on Sale, but they seem to have his number. Another concerning statistic is the fact that Sale is known to sort of give out as the season progresses into the later months of August, September, October. I’m not going to say I;m worried about Chris Sale, but it’s something to pay attention to.

In relief of Sale, the Red Sox bullpen did not do much to keep the lineup in the game. Heath Hembree, Brandon Workman, Blaine Boyer, and Fernando Abad combined to pitch five innings while allowing six runs on eleven hits. Abad, who has only pitched four times this month, and he was the only pitcher to not allow an earned run. So, not the best series for the ‘pen in Cleveland, a place they’re probably going to have to visit in the postseason.

On the other side of things, Mitch Moreland carried the offense. After the Indians took a 4-0 lead into the third, Moreland responded by launching his first of two home runs on the day. The Indians tacked on another three runs in their half of the third, but the Red Sox responded again. A Mookie Betts leadoff double and a Rafael Devers walk led to Xander Bogaerts driving in both on an RBI triple. Next batter up, Mitch Moreland, drove in his second RBI of the game on an RBI single, making it a 7-4 game. That would be the only real offense until the eighth, where the Indians extended the lead to 13-4. In that inning, Mitch Moreland blasted another home run, his second of the day and seventeenth of the season.

We also got to see Rajai Davis make his Red Sox debut last night. Mookie Betts had to leave the game with a right knee contusion after slamming his knee into the right field wall while trying to make a catch in the seventh. It was cool to see Davis get a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd for his efforts in the postseason last year.

A series split isn’t the worst thing, and now the Red Sox will look to take care of the Orioles back at Fenway starting tonight. Rick Porcello makes the start in this one to kick off Player’s Weekend.

73 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz bounces back from back spasms by striking out nine; #RedSox defeat Indians 6-1.

Note: Prior to last night’s game, the Red Sox made a couple of moves. The first, placing Jackie Bradley Jr. on the 10-Day Disabled List because of that hand injury he suffered on Tuesday. Secondly, the Red Sox acquired OF Rajai Davis from the Oakland Athletics for an OF prospect. Deven Marrero and Hector Velazquez have also been called up, but with the addition of Davis and Blaine Boyer coming off the DL, they will both be sent back down to Pawtucket.

After Doug Fister’s excellent performance on Tuesday, Drew Pomeranz looked to continue that last night. Despite coming off a case of back spasms, I’d say Pomeranz was pretty impressive given how long he was in the game. The lefty managed to scatter two hits over 5.1 innings, while also striking out nine Indians. Pitch count was an issue, and that was directly related to the four walks he gave up. It didn’t look like Pomeranz was too pleased with being removed before finishing the sixth, but I respect that move by Farrell given the fact he was at 103 pitches and coming off a back injury. The shutout performance lowered Pomeranz’s. ERA down to a season-best 3.18, while also lowering his ERA in August to 1.66.

In relief of Pomeranz, the bullpen got their first action in two days. Joe Kelly got the first call in the sixth, and he finished the inning while also getting the first two outs of the seventh. Next up, Addison Reed, and he served up yet another home run while pitching the rest of the seventh and the eighth inning. That home run by Edwin Encarnacion could have tied the game, but Corey Kluber’s antics prevented that from happening. Craig Kimbrel came out for the ninth, in a non-save situation, for the second time in a row. Kimbrel walked one, but still struck out the side, securing the 6-1 win, and at least a series split.

Offensively, the Red Sox could not do anything against Corey Kluber, who has been the American League’s best pitcher behind Chris Sale this season. It looked like Kluber was on his way to a shutout, until the top of the fifth. With two outs in the inning, Mitch Moreland took Kluber deep to right field, mashing his fifteenth home run of the season, and giving the Red Sox a very important 1-0 lead. Later on in the eighth, things got interesting with Kluber still on the mound. After getting the first two outs of the inning, Brock Holt singled. Then, with Eduardo Nunez up, Kluber took offense to a big swing, which led to him plunking him intentionally, putting runners on first and second. That led to Mookie Betts driving in Holt on an RBI single, extending the lead to 2-0. Kluber would leave the game with his team in a deeper hole, but at least he got his retribution though, right. What an idiot. I’m more mad about this than I’ve written but I don’t think anyone really cares about that. The game really got away from the Indians as soon as the ninth inning started. A passed ball allowed Rafael Devers to score with no outs, then Xander Bogaerts scored on a Brock Holt RBI double. To wrap the scoring up, Eduardo Nunez got the last laugh, taking Bryan Shaw deep to left for his tenth home run of the season. Just when I thought he was going to go cold, Nunez becomes one of my favorite players on the team, who would have thought.

Shoutout to Brock Holt for this celebration, too.

If the starting pitching hasn’t been good enough for you the past two days, Chris Sale gets the start against Trevor Bauer tonight. I’m interested to see if Rajai Davis will be in the lineup.

73 down, 22 to go. 

RECAP: Doug Fister gives up leadoff home run, proceeds to pitch complete game as #RedSox take Game 2 9-1.

Tuesday night was pretty emotional in both Boston and Cleveland. Prior to the start of this game, the Celtics made a trade with the Cavaliers, sending the likes of Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas along with others, for Kyrie Irving. Isaiah Thomas was beloved in Boston, and I’m pretty certain Kyrie was beloved in Cleveland, too. With that all transpiring, the attention kind of shifted away from the baseball game taking place at Progressive Field, and it was a great one. After the way Monday night went down, Doug Fister looked to right the ship against the Indians, a team he has faced three times since the start of August. The righty gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, Francisco Lindor, and it looked like the game was about to get away quick. Amazingly though, Fister responded by retiring three of the next four hitters and getting out of the inning. He then went on to pitch eight shutout innings while only allowing two baserunners to reach via a walk and a HBP. Fister was highly effective, keeping his pitch count down in order to pitch all nine innings. He’s had a few good starts while with the Red Sox, but this was certainly the best, and it could end up being the most important. With the way the bullpen collapsed on Monday, Fister provided those guys an opportunity to rest and regroup. That could be big as the final full month of the season approaches. It looks like he’ll make his next start against the Orioles on Sunday, so it should be interesting to see if he build on this start later in the week.

On the other side of things, Carlos Carrasco made the start for The Tribe, and I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I don’t think the Red Sox are a team he has a ton of success against. Hanley Ramirez picked up where he left off Monday, driving in the first run of the game in the first on a RBI single, scoring Andrew Benintendi from third. In the second, Xander Bogaerts, who did record two hits last night, scored from third on a Sandy Leon sacrifice fly. Later on in the fifth, Jackie Bradley Jr. added a run to the Red Sox total by mashing his fourteenth home run of the season 408 feet to center field. Unfortunately for JBJ, he had to leave the game with a hand issue in the seventh, after both he and Sandy Leon scored on a Eduardo Nunez double. Andrew Benintendi drove in Nunez on an RBI double in the seventh, and Nunez would cap this one-off with a three-run home run in the eighth, giving the Red Sox a 9-1 lead. Carrasco still pitched into the seventh inning, but he gave up six home runs, which is something you don’t see too often. It was good to see Nunez break out of his 0 for 13, and Xander Bogaerts seems to be figuring things out as well with his two hits.

Nice rebound performance, hopefully Drew Pomeranz can make his start later tonight.

72 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox surrender lead late as Indians wak it off 5-4 in the ninth.

Yeah, last night was pretty ugly. The Red Sox opened up a four game series in Cleveland on Monday in about the worst way possible. Eduardo Rodriguez made the start, and he was matched up against Indians righty Mike Clevinger. The problem last night did not come from the starting pitching, ERod was fine in the 5.2 innings he pitched. The lefty surrendered three runs, on one home run from Roberto Perez, over that span, while also allowing four hits and two walks with five strikeouts to go along with that. I didn’t necessarily agree with him being lifted with two outs in the sixth inning, but he was, with Joe Kelly coming in to replace him. Kelly had the best night out of anyone in the bullpen, being the only one to throw a complete inning. He finished the sixth, then pitched a scoreless seventh as well. Things turned for the worst when Matt Barnes entered the game in the bottom of the eighth. First off, Matt Barnes is not a good pitcher on the road, as he owns an ERA north of five while pitching away from Fenway Park. Second, I didn’t agree with using Barnes in that high leverage situation, being that the Red Sox were only up by one run when Barnes entered the game. While failing to record an out, Barnes walked the first guy he faced, then proceeded to give up a single. Heath Hembree came in to try and clean up that mess, but he ended up allowing the tying run on an Edwin Encarnacion single. After he only got one out, Robby Scott came through with the clutchest performance out of the bullpen, striking out the only two batters he faced, but it was short-lived. Brandon Workman came in for the ninth, and he too failed to record an out. The first batter he faced, Brandon Guyer doubled to left, and that was followed by a Roberto Perez sacrifice bunt. Brock Holt, who was playing first for what had to be the first time this season, double clutched before throwing the ball to third to try and get Guyer out. Unfortunately, the ball got by Rafael Devers, and that allowed Guyer to score, and the meltdown was complete.

Apparently Addison Reed was not available last night, so that’s why we didn’t see him. It would have been better to see Brandon Workman come in with a lead, but it sounds like Manager John likes using him to start an inning instead of in the middle of one. I don’t know about Craig Kimbrel, but what I do know is that Matt Barnes should stop getting treated like a set-up guy because the numbers prove he isn’t.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox bats definitely could have done more off of Clevinger, given the fact that he walked four in the four and a third innings he pitched. But, it was good to see both Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez go yard in this one. That was it though for the scoring, the Indians bullpen did a nice job despite Andrew Miller getting hurt again.

Doug Fister gets the start tonight, so I’m not expecting much there, maybe the offense can pick him up against Carlos Carrasco, we’ll have to wait and see.

71 down, 24 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox can only muster three solo HR’s as Indians take make-up game 7-3.

The Red Sox were supposed to have Monday off, but a rain out back on August 2nd changed that. The Cleveland Indians, fresh off of taking three out of four from the Rays, made a quick stop at Fenway before heading to Minneapolis. Trevor Bauer made the start for the Tribe, while Doug Fister did so for the Red Sox. Despite pitching a quality outing last time out against the White Sox, Fister was well below average on Monday night. Walks were the biggest problem for a pitcher who is known for not giving up a lot of walks. Four total walks, in the 4.1 innings Fister pitched. Over that span, the righty gave up seven hits, one for a home run, four other runs, and he struck out five. The second inning was the worst for Fister, it was there where the Indians scored three times by reaching base seven times by sending nine guys up to the plate in the inning. After a clean third and fourth, Edwin Encarnacion hit his first of two home runs, breaking the tie and making it a 5-3 game. Fernando Abad would replace Fister with one out in the inning, and he finished the inning. Heath Hembree would replace Abad with two outs in the sixth. The first batter he faced, Edwin Encarnacion, took him deep and drove in his third and fourth run of the game. Hembree would pitch until there was two outs in the top of the eighth, then Brandon Workman came on and finished things up with 1.1 scoreless innings. Those two home runs were pretty demoralizing. The Red Sox climbed their way back up to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth, then the Indians tack on four more over the next two innings. Pretty much took them out of the game.

The Red Sox only scored three runs, but I’d be lying if I said those weren’t some of the funnest runs they have scored all season. The rookies, Rafeal Devers and Andrew Benintendi accounted for all three runs scored on Monday night.

Devers hit his first in the second:

Then, Benintendi hit his in the third:

Lastly, Devers went bridge again in the fourth:

Three runs on eight hits total. Eduardo Nunez seems to like Fenway Park, racking up another three hits, and Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts also got a hit.

Pretty disappointing night overall, especially since the Yankees won too. Next up, two games against the St. Louis Cardinals starting tonight. Rick Porcello is on the hill later, then we get ERod on Wednesday. 

67 down, 28 to go. 

RECAP: Christian Vazquez walks it off for the #RedSox in one of the more bizarre games I’ve ever seen.

Wild, ugly, bizarre. Those are some good words you can use to describe last night’s victory over the Indians. In a game where Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco are pitching, a slugfest should be the last thing you would expect, but that’s what we got on Tuesday. Sale was bad, he’ll be the first to tell you that. The lefty gave up a season high seven earned runs while going five innings deep. Sale is usually caught by Sandy Leon, but a right knee issue kept him out of the lineup. That being said, Christian Vazquez was behind the plate, and I’d be interested to know if there were any chemistry issues, at least in the first few innings. Despite the bad start, he did rack up five strikeouts and I am glad he only pitched five innings, lessening his usual workload. If he got out of the fifth without giving up that home run to Edwin Encarnacion, then he probably would have come out and started the sixth. Looking to rebound on Sunday, Chris Sale will play his former team, the White Sox. I’ll be there, and I’m pretty excited about it. In relief of Sale, Blaine Boyer loaded the bases, but did not allow anything else while pitching a scoreless sixth. Matt Barnes struck out two while pitching a scoreless seventh, then we got to see the new guy, Addison Reed. Just acquired from the Mets, Reed gave up a solo home run to the first batter he faced, after that though, got the Tribe out in order. After all this, the Red Sox had a one-run lead, making way for Craig Kimbrel to try and get his 26th save of the season. Like Reed, Kimbrel gave up a home run to the first person he saw, Francisco Lindor. Kimbrel then proceeded to load the bases, and a wild pitch allowed Jose Ramirez to score from third, giving the Indians the lead. So, in a night Sale and Kimbrel are way off their game, the Red Sox still find a way to win. With just over two months to go in the regular season, resilience can be huge for a team in the middle of a pennant race.

On the other side of things, you could make the case Carlos Carrasco was even worse than Sale last night. After the Indians scored three times in the first and twice in the second, the Red Sox answered with five of their own in their half of the second. Mitch Moreland, who is getting hot again, took Carrasco deep for a three-run home run, scoring Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts in the process. Brock Holt drove in the fourth run, scoring Christian Vazquez from third. With two outs, Eduardo Nunez stayed hot by lacing a RBI double to center field, scoring Mookie Betts and tying the game. Brock Holt was a part of that play, and for the second night in a row, he was called out at home. Hanley Ramirez nearly had himself a home run in the fifth, but Austin Jackson made an outstanding catch to rob him, jumping over the bullpen wall and still securing the catch. Might be better than any catch JBJ has made this year.

In the sixth, Mookie Betts drove in Mitch Moreland on a RBI single and Eduardo Nunez drove in Christian Vazquez, Betts and Chris Young on another double. After heading into their half of the ninth down by one, Rafael Devers singled and Mitch Moreland reached first on a strikeout, setting the table for Christian Vazquez. On a 3-1 fastball, Vazquez homered to center field, walking it off and giving the Red Sox the 12-10 win.

A wild one for sure, and the Red Sox have secured their first series win since they were in Texas. With the Yankees dropping one to the Tigers, the Red Sox find themselves back in first place. Rick Porcello is on the mound later tonight with the chance to sweep.

59 down, ? to go.