RECAP: Drew Pomeranz allows two home runs as #RedSox fall to Astros 8-2 again.

On a day they needed to bounce back in a big way, the Red Sox did just the opposite. Drew Pomeranz made his first career postseason start, and he was worse than Chris Sale on Thursday. Like Sale, he gave up a home run in the first inning, this one off the bat of Carlos Correa, and that gave the Astros an early 2-0 lead. Later in the third, the lefty allowed another two runs, the first coming from a George Springer solo shot, and the second run coming on a Jose Altuve RBI single. That would be all for Pomeranz, and the bullpen did not do anything to help in relief. Carson Smith introduced himself by walking the first two batters he faced, and the Astros easily could have scored off of Smith if it were not for Deven Marrero’s great catch at third. The best part of this game was David Price. The lefty came in after Smith and looked great in the 2.2 innings he pitched, only allowing one hit while walking Jose Altuve intentionally. When Price left the game though, that’s when things got away. Eduardo Rodriguez and Addison Reed combined to allow four runs on three hits and a walk in the sixth, and that put the final nail in the coffin for this game.

On the other side of things, the offense could only muster two runs for the second day in a row. Another Cy Young Award winner, Dallas Keuchel, held the Red Sox bats in check in the five and two-thirds innings he pitched. The only run they could score off of him looked meaningful at the time when Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Chris Young on an RBI single. That cut the lead in half, but the Red Sox could not capitalize on the early scoring opportunities that were presented to them. The only other scoring play came in the ninth on another Jackie Bradley Jr. RBI single. So, at the very least, JBJ may be coming out of that slump he was in to end the regular season.

Doug Fister gets the ball tomorrow for Game 3 against Brad Peacock. Last time out against the Red Sox, Peacock only allowed two runs in five innings. With their backs against the wall, I expect to see some desperation out of this team with the best players in the lineup. Not Chris Young, not Deven Marrero, nope. Rafael Devers and Hanley Ramirez have to be in there. It sounds like Mookie Betts is okay after being removed from the game yesterday. They’re going to need the Doug Fister we saw in Cleveland back in August if they want to win this game. Should be interesting to say the least.

0 down, 11 to go.

RECAP: Rafael Devers’ go-ahead, three-run blast in fourth gives #RedSox 5-4 win over the Reds.

For the first time in more than three years, the Red Sox made a visit to Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds have been a last place team for the better part of this season but they are not a team anyone should overlook. If you compare their everyday lineup to that of the Red Sox, you’d see just how many more home runs the Reds have hit this year. Not surprisingly, the only runs the Reds scored last night came on a home run, a grand slam to be more specific. That was served up by last night’s starter, Rick Porcello. The righty was not too sharp in this one, making his shortest outing of the month so far by only making it through four full innings. Porcello was pretty much in trouble right from the start, loading the bases with no outs in the first inning. The very next batter he faced, Scooter Gennett, capitalized on this by mashing his FOURTH grand slam of the year. Note that the Red Sox have hit ZERO grand slams all year.

Despite Porcello’s struggles, the pitching staff actually put together a pretty solid performance from the fifth inning on. Making his first appearance since last Sunday, David Price made his second appearance out of the bullpen, and he looked solid in the 2.2 innings he pitched. Over that span, the lefty scattered three hits and a walk while striking out four. Since pitchers bat in NL ballparks, Price also got his third career hit on a single last night, and he was excited about it.

Addison Reed came on with two outs in the seventh, ended the inning, and went on to pitch a scoreless eighth as well. This all paved way for Craig Kimbrel to come on, do his thing, and pick up his 34th save of 2017. I’m gonna have a blog out soon previewing what I think the ALDS roster should look like, and I think last night’s start pretty much took Rick Porcello off the board, David Price on the other hand, well, his stock is rising.

On the other side of things, I heard a lot about how Reds starter, Sal Romano, was looking forward to facing the Red Sox since he grew up a Yankees fan. Unfortunately, his performance was one that he’d probably like to forget. The Red Sox drew first blood, though that did not last long and they should have scored more. Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, and hometown hero Andrew Benintendi all reached base to lead off the first. Only one run managed to cross the plate, and that came on a Mitch Moreland sacrifice fly. The bats went silent for the next two innings, then scored all their other runs in the fourth. Mookie Betts started the inning with a double, and that was followed by a Moreland walk. Next up was Christian Vazquez, and on a 1-2 slider, he ripped a double to right, scoring Betts. Rafael Devers then decided he wanted to join in and make up for his base running blunder by hitting an absolute moonshot to right field, giving the Red Sox a 5-4 lead, which is all they needed.

With the Yankees loss last night, the Red Sox move to four games up in the division, and the magic number to clinch is down to six. Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start tomorrow, and he should be at the top of his game vying for a spot in the playoff rotation.

89 down, 5 to go. 

RECAP: The #RedSox trailed by three runs entering the ninth against the Rays; they won 13-6 in fifteen innings.

The Red Sox had themselves a pretty good week before arriving in Tampa on Thursday night. They had an off day on Monday, and that was followed by taking two out of three games from the Oakland Athletics at home. Drew Pomeranz looked great on Thursday, and that had me feeling confident about Chris Sale’s start yesterday. Unfortunately, the lefty was not at the top of his game against the Rays. He only gave up four hits, but two of those hits were home runs. The first was good for two runs off the bat of Wilson Ramos, and the second was good for one off the bat of Adeiny Hechavarria. It did not look like it was going to be like this for Sale, though. After a rough first inning, he settled down for the next two, striking out five straight at one point before allowing that home run to Ramos. His day would end with two outs in the sixth, and it was clear that he was not happy about getting taken out. September has not been too kind to Sale, as this start marks the second time in three starts where the southpaw has failed to pitch at least six innings. It looks like he’ll make his next start in Baltimore next Wednesday, if he pitches on regular rest. This may not be a popular idea, but I may consider giving Sale another day of rest next time around the rotation if I’m Manager John. I think it helped him last time it happened and it could be beneficial for the team along with Sale.

The Red Sox bullpen ended up being tasked with a lot. Austin Maddox, Matt Barnes, Fernando Abad, Craig Kimbrel, Addison Reed, Joe Kelly, Brandon Workman, and Blaine Boyer were responsible for more than nine innings of work. Kelly would be my pick for MVP out of the ‘pen. His three shutout innings were huge from the eleventh to the thirteenth. Matt Barnes gave up a home run in the eighth, and Brandon Workman gave up a home run to Kevin Kiermaier that tied the game in the fourteenth. After the Red Sox went off for seven runs in the top half of the fifteenth, Blaine Boyer locked things down with two strikeouts in a shutout inning.

I don’t know where to begin with the Red Sox offensively. The Rays were doing a pretty good job limiting the Red Sox to two runs, one being a Mitch Moreland home run, over the first eight innings. It wasn’t until the Rays closer, Alex Colome, took the mound when they got back into this game. A walk, an error, and a single closed the gap to two runs with no outs in the inning. A Sandy Leon single made it a one run game, then Kevin Kiermaier made one of the most desperate catches you’ll ever see. The Red Sox win this game sooner if this play is not made.

Kiermaier did not stop there, though. Oh no, after the Red Sox tied the game in the ninth, he did this in the tenth.

Him, Kevin Pillar, and Jackie Bradley all play in the same division. Anyway in the fourteenth, Rafael Devers drove in the then go-ahead run thanks to another error from Rays second baseman Brad Miller. That allowed Mookie Betts to score, and it looked like the Red Sox were going to win in the next inning. That’s not how things went, but they did score seven times in the fifteenth inning. I wish they did it sooner, but hey, that’s baseball. There were no big hits either, just one double, a few singles, a HBP, and capitalizing on errors. Xander Bogaerts had his best performance in a long time with four hits and two RBIs. In fact, Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, Mitch Moreland, Rafael Devers, and Deven Marrero all drove in 2 RBIs each last night. Honestly, I did not expect Blake Swihart and Deven Marrero to play any kind of role in this game, but the Red Sox probably lose this game if not for their efforts.

Rick Porcello gets the start against Alex Cobb this evening, special 6:10 start for whatever reason. Red Sox are 7-3 in their last 10 and the Yankees are only three games back, time to pick it up and hold onto that lead.

84 down, 10 to go. 

RECAP: Mookie Betts dominates the first inning, Drew Pomeranz and #RedSox go on to beat Rays 9-3.

After the Patriots lost on Thursday night, attention began to turn away from the Red Sox, who usually take a back seat to the Patriots once September begins. Well, the Red Sox played a game worth watching last night, as they won their third straight over an AL East opponent. Drew Pomeranz got the start in this one, and he looked levels better than Rays starter Chris Archer. In the six innings the lefty pitched, the Rays only managed two runs on two hits and two walks off of him, all while striking out seven times. It took more than four innings for the Rays to get a hit, but they also scored their only two runs of the game in that inning, on a two-run home run. That was all Pomeranz gave up, but he had to exit after six innings with his pitch count well over 100. I know wins are an overrated stat for pitchers, but Pomeranz picked up his 15th win last night, and I believe that is tied with Chris Sale for the most in the American League. Those two, for the most part, have had amazing seasons. With one of them, you kind of expected it, but with the other, his season performance comes as a total surprise. If you thought Pomeranz was going to be this good before the season started, you’re lying.

By the time Pomeranz left, the Red Sox had a 8-2 lead, so the bullpen was not put under any real pressure. Joe Kelly got the first call, but he could only record one out while loading the bases. Addison Reed came in trying to get out of that mess, and that’s what he did as he only allowed one of those runs to score on a force out. He came back out for the eighth as well, and was lifted in favor of Austin Maddox after recording the first out of the inning. Since being recalled on September 1st, Maddox has already appeared in four games and has yet to allow a walk or a run to score in the 5.2 innings he has pitched this month. He got the last five outs of the game, securing the team’s 80th victory of the season.

Offensively, Mookie Betts put the Red Sox on the board in the first, and they never looked back. After making a great defensive play in the top of the inning, Betts took his friend, Chris Archer deep? to right for his 19th home run of the season, his first career opposite field homer at Fenway Park. Here are both of those plays in the same video:

Archer settled down after that for a while, but the Red Sox really got to him in the fourth, scoring five times in total while Arhcer left the game. Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi, and Hanley Ramirez all had RBIs in the inning while Dustin Pedroia and Mitch Moreland drove in two runs without picking up an RBI. Archer was pulled in the fourth inning after failing to record one out, and it shows that pitching in Boston has not treated Archer well. The Red Sox managed to tack one more run off the Rays bullpen in the seventh on a Christian Vazquez RBI double that resulted in this:

Jerry Remy and Dennis Eckersley seemed to take offense to this because of the whole Apple Gate thing, but I don’t think it’s that serious. Anyway, the Red Sox won their third straight game and the Yankees lost last night, they are now 4.5 games back.

Chris Sale gets the start tonight against Matt Andriese as the Red Sox look for their fourth straight win.

80 down, 12 to go. 

RECAP: Doug Fister stays hot; leads #RedSox to 4-1 win in The Bronx.

First off, I apologize yet again for not blogging Thursday’s loss, that’s on me. The Red Sox lost that game in a pretty depressing fashion, but last night was a whole different story with Doug Fister on the mound. The righty looked great for the third straight time, going back to the start on August 22nd against the Indians. He threw a one hitter in that one, and his performance last night was pretty much on par with that. He got off to a rough start, allowing one run on two straight doubles to start the game, but really settled down after that. In the six innings he pitched after that fiasco, the Yankees reached base a total of three times while not crossing the plate at all and striking out five times. Also, in his first game since August 8th, Dustin Pedroia made a really nice play behind Fister to leadoff the fifth.

That marks his third straight quality start, and over that span, Fister has pitched 23 innings, surrendering only 4 earned runs on 10 hits with 5 walks and 18 K’s to go along with that. Since he arrived in Boston back in June, Fister has gone from end of the rotation starter, to a long relief guy, all the way up to a valuable starter in this rotation. While he’s been on this run, he has made those three starts against three teams that could all be playing playoff baseball in October, the Indians, Yankees, and Orioles. If the Red Sox were to start playing in the ALDS next week, I’d say Fister would have to be the third starter, behind Sale and Pomeranz. He’s been great and he’ll look to continue this success next time out against the Blue Jays back in Boston.

In relief of Fister, Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel locked down the win by pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth. Reed retired the Yankees in order in his inning, and Kimbrel did the same with a strike out in his inning, picking up his 32nd save of the season. After an all around bad pitching performance on Thursday, it was refreshing to see a performance like this out of Fister and the ‘pen last night.

On the other side of things, the lineup handled Sonny Gray better than they did when they saw him August 20th at Fenway. It took until the third, but Eduardo Nunez got the scoring started in style, mashing his 12th home run of the season over the left field wall. This is unrelated to the game, but I feel like Nunez is good at showing opposing pitchers and teams up. Back in Cleveland, he got hit in the back by Corey Kluber for taking a big swing. Next time up, Nunez hit a big home run. On Thursday, Nunez bunted against CC Sabathia, and Sabathia took offense to it. How does Nunez respond? He goes deep in his second at-bat of the game, giving the Red Sox the lead.

Love to see it. The other two runs the Red Sox scored were both home runs and both came against Sonny Gray. Andrew Benintendi hit the first of the two, his 19th of the year, in the fifth.

Then Hanley Ramirez hit his third home run since Monday in the seventh, his 22nd.

Like I said up top there, Dustin Pedroia is back, and not only did he make a defensive play, but he also got a base hit in his first game back. The Red Sox are going to ease him back into this thing so he can be ready to go in October, so his playing time will be limited over the next few weeks. I just read that Tzu-Wei Lin will join the team tomorrow, so I’m pretty pumped that Tzunami will be making a comeback because he was great before the arrival of Rafael Devers.

Drew Pomeranz makes the start against Masahiro Tanaka later this afternoon, would be nice to guarantee a split in the series with a win.

77 down, 18 to go.

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: Mitch Moreland picks up #RedSox bullpen in exciting 9-6 win over the Yankees.

Last time the Red Sox saw the Yankees, they took two out of three games from them with the help of guys like Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and Chris Sale. That series began one week ago yesterday, and the Red Sox lost the opener. But yesterday, the Red Sox did the opposite of blowing a lead, they came back from a pretty sizable deficit late in the game. First, I was shocked that the weather did not interfere with this game, even though you’d think so with how long that game took. Second, I hope Drew Pomeranz is okay because over the past few months he’s gone from liability to asset. Pomeranz only lasted 3.1 innings before being removed from the game. While he was warming up for the fourth inning, you could see him grip his back, then on his last pitch, you could see that he couldn’t finish his throwing motion, leading to him being taken out. The diagnosis was back spasms, which doesn’t seem all that bad so we’ll have to wait and see if the lefty can give it a go in Cleveland next week.

In relief of Pomeranz, the bullpen definitely did not put forth their best effort. Despite not being all that sharp, Brandon Workman did manage to finish the fourth while holding the Yankees to nothing in the fifth as well. The Red Sox entered the sixth inning with a 3-0 lead and Matt Barnes served up a two-run home run to Todd Frazier, cutting the lead to just one run. Unable to finish the inning, Joe Kelly came on to do that. The righty started the seventh as well, which was one of the ugliest innings I think I have ever seen. Kelly gave up a home run, then Heath Hembree and Robby Scott allowed an additional three runs to score. So, with four pitchers John Farrell relies on heavily, the Red Sox go from having a 3-0 lead to trailing 6-3. Luckily, Addison Reed stabilized things for the bullpen in the seventh, ending the inning by retiring Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, while tossing a scoreless eighth as well. It was the most impressed I’ve been with Reed since the trade, and he, along with the Red Sox offense, paved the way for Craig Kimbrel to pick up his 29th save of the season, as he made Aroldis Chapman look even worse by striking out the side.

At the plate, the Red Sox had a decent night. Facing Jordan Montgomery for the second time in the past week, they did manage to score more than one run off the lefty this time out. Rafael Devers got the scoring started in the second, blasting his seventh home run of the season into the Monster seats, scoring Xander Bogaerts as well. In the 19 games he has appeared in, Devers is hitting one home run for every 10 AB’s he has. To put that in perspective, Giancarlo Stanton, MLB’s home run leader, has an AB/HR of 10.1 right now. Anyway, Christian Vazquez hit this third home run of the season in the fifth, which seemed important when Matt Barnes gave up those two runs, but the Yankees eventually tacked on more. The four runs the Red Sox scored in the fourth were extremely critical since they were in response to the four the Yankees scored in their half of the inning. In the inning, eight batters were sent to the plate and Mitch Moreland, who was pinch-hitting for Chris Young had the biggest hit in the game. It was a one-run game at that point thanks to Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, and Moreland lined an 0-2 pitch to center, allowing both Eduardo Nunez and Benintendi to score, giving the Red Sox a 7-6 lead. By the way, that seventh inning alone took over an hour to complete. Some insurance runs were tacked on in the eighth, with Jackie Bradley Jr. driving in two off of Aroldis Chapman, who continues to prove he can’t perform against the Red Sox.

After all was said and done, the Red Sox enter today with a five game lead in the division. Chris Sale gets the start today against CC Sabathia, advantage Red Sox. With the chance to go up by six games, today’s game presents a great opportunity for a team to runaway with the division.

70 down, 25 to go.