How did this #RedSox team meet your expectations?

With 2017 in the books, I thought I would share some of my thoughts from this postseason. To keep it simple, I’ll go over the good parts, the bad parts, and the ugly parts. Ready? Let’s go.

The Good:

Chris Sale

Craig Kimbrel

Bullpen David Price

Christian Vazquez

Rafael Devers

Andrew Benintendi

Eduardo Nunez

The bullpen

The Bad:

Xander Bogaerts

Hanley Ramirez

Sandy Leon

Chris Young

Rick Porcello

John Farrell losing his job

The Ugly:

David Price and the media

Apple watches

Manny Machado

Pablo Sandoval

Fan treatment of Dustin Pedroia

Overall, this team fell short of the ultimate goal. From the flu in April, to 21-21 in May, to Pablo Sandoval being DFA’d, to Apple watches, to losing to the Astros in four games. They were built for a championship, but they couldn’t even get out of the first round. That’s part of the reason John Farrell was fired, and that’s why Dave Dombrowski has some work to do this summer. To make things worse, the Yankees are going to the ALCS, yup, a team that was supposed to be in a rebuild made it further into the postseason than the Red Sox. Hopefully, that’s enough to motivate Dombrowski to make some moves. Giancarlo Stanton? JD Martinez? We’ll see.

The #RedSox have decided to move on from John Farrell.

Folks, it happened. At long last, after way too much speculation, John Farrell is no longer the manager of the Boston Red Sox. Recently, I haven’t been too hard on Farrell, I actually think he has done a decent job. That’s the key word, DECENT, not great. Dave Dombrowski has gone out and gotten two of the best starting pitchers of this decade and the Red Sox have yet to get out of the first round of the playoffs. That’s a problem, and I’m not saying Dombrowski has done an excellent job either, but the manager deserves to take some of the blame.

As I have watched this team over the past two seasons, I feel like this team has never reached their full potential. It’s been tough to win the division in back-to-back seasons and I don’t think there is any excuse for this. You see teams like the Astros and Indians clinch in the middle of September, then you look at the Red Sox and how it took until the second to last game of the season to clinch. That should not be the case with this talented of a team. Whoever is next is really going to have to know how to get the most out of his guys, because I don’t think John Farrell did that. 2013 was nice, but John Farrell is not the main reason they won that year, that’s a fact.

So, who will be the next manager of the Red Sox you say? Well, it’s hard to say. In my opinion, Alex Cora is the most attractive option. Not only has he played in Boston, but he seems to be regarded as one of the best baseball minds in the game while coaching with the Astros. Brad Ausmus is another, far less attractive option. The only reason to throw his name out there is because of the connection to Dave Dombrowski. Could they go in-house and hire Gary Disarcina or Jason Varitek? Perhaps. Tek seems to be the fan favorite right now, but I would prefer if it were not him. Say he struggles and gets scrutinized by the media here, doesn’t that dirty the great reputation he had here during his playing career? He might not even be ready to fully commit himself to something like that, I have no idea. Personally, my top choice would be Cora, could do great things here if he can tap into this teams full potential, which is World Series titles, of course.

Image result for alex cora red sox

RECAP: Astros end #RedSox season with narrow 5-4 win.

Well, that’s it, the season is over. What looked so promising just a few hours ago ended in disappointment. The Red Sox had the lead in this game going into the eighth inning, but they could not hold on.

Once again, the starting pitching was abysmal, with Rick Porcello only lasting three full innings before getting saved by Chris Sale. In that span, Porcello surrendered two runs on five hits, three walks, and a hit batsman to go along with four strikeouts. Allowing nine guys to reach base while only being able to record nine outs is far from spectacular, especially if you take into account that he needed 70 pitches to do so. Like I said though, Chris Sale stepped up like David Price did yesterday. He took things over in the fourth inning and was nails until the eighth. Four innings pitched, two walks, and six strikeouts from the fourth until the seventh. Did they stretch him too far? Maybe, but I didn’t have a problem letting Sale start the eighth. Unfortunately, he was running out of gas, and the Astros took advantage of it. Alex Bregman tied the game by taking Sale deep on a 2-1 changeup and the air was taken out of Fenway Park. Craig Kimbrel would come on with two outs in the inning, and that marked the beginning of the end. A George Springer walk put runners on first and second with two outs and Josh Reddick at the plate. The former Red Sox farm hand drove in the go-ahead run on an RBI single to left, essentially ending his former team’s season.

Carlos Beltran drove in another run in the ninth, which proved to make a difference given what Rafael Devers in the bottom half of the inning. All and all, when we needed him most, Craig Kimbrel basically disappeared. The flamethrower did not make many big pitches tonight, nor did he prove effective in his first meaningful action of this series. It was only one run, but that matters too much in the postseason to go untouched.

On the other side of things, Charlie Morton wasn’t too good either. He was charged with two runs in 4.1 innings he pitched, though he only allowed one run while he was on the mound. That run came early for the Red Sox, as Xander Bogaerts hit his first and only home run of the postseason in the first.

The second run was charged in part because of Justin Verlander. Surprisingly, Astros manager decided to make like the Red Sox and roll with his best starter out of the bullpen. Andrew Benintendi introduced him to the new role by taking him deep to right field for a two-run home run, giving his team a 3-2 lead.

I was really feeling it after this. I was already thinking about Game 5 in Houston on Wednesday when I shouldn’t have been. That was the only hit Verlander allowed and he definitely deserved that W he picked up.

The Astros closer Ken Giles came on after Verlander responsible for the last six outs of the game and ending the Red Sox season. He got them in order in the eighth, but the ninth got very interesting. Rafael Devers led off the inning with an inside the park home run in one of the most surprising plays these eyes have seen.

Unfortunately, the next three batters could not do anything against Giles and Dustin Pedroia ended the season with a ground out.

I forgot to mention it before, but John Farrell was ejected from this game arguing balls and strikes in the second. Also, Brian Butterfield pretty much cost the Red Sox a run in the third by sending Mitch Moreland home when he should not have. If these two things don’t happen who knows how this game goes.

With all that out-of-the-way and the season coming to an end, Dave Dombrowski has a lot to consider this offseason. Does John Farrell remain manager? Do they go after Giancarlo Stanton? JD Martinez? Resign Mitch Moreland? Eduardo Nunez? Only time will tell. Should be a long offseason, wish it could have been a little shorter.

As for me, I’ll have a few blogs coming this week recapping the year and what to expect this offseason. Thanks for a great season, I had a lot of fun doing this.

RECAP: David Price comes through in big spot as #RedSox stave off elimination with 10-3 victory.

Win or go home. That was the mindset the Red Sox had to have coming into today’s game against the Astros. Doug Fister got the start, and there were reasons to be confident given how good his postseason numbers are. Unfortunately, that’s not how things went for Fister as he only lasted 1.1 innings before being taken out. In that span, the Astros scored three times, all in the first inning. Once again, Carlos Correa hit a first inning home run, marking the third straight game the Astros had done so.

Honestly, I thought the game was over after that home run. It just got over the center field wall and the first thing I thought was, “here we go again.” Luckily though, things did not spiral out of control for the Red Sox. Joe Kelly picked up the win by getting out of the second thanks to Mookie Betts…

…and pitching a clean third inning. This made way for David Price to pitch for the first time since Friday, and he was really something else. Four complete innings to go along with four strikeouts in the lefty’s most important performance of the season. We all know about the problems Price has had in the postseason, but he looked like a different guy today. I was surprised they stretched him out for so long, and with 53 pitches today, there’s no way he pitches tomorrow. I do love what he had to say after the game, though:

The remainder of the game was wrapped up by Addison Reed and Carson Smith, who bounced back nicely from Friday’s game with two scoreless innings.

Offensively, the Red Sox showed approximately five times more life then they did in Houston. The funny thing is, all the run production came from the bottom half of the lineup. Batters 1-4 went a combined 3 for 18 with two runs scored while batters 5-9 went a combined 12 for 20 with eight runs scored and all 10 RBIs. In an inning where they easily could have scored more runs, Sandy Leon got the Red Sox scoring started in the second with an RBI single. Hanley Ramirez followed this up with an RBI single next inning, and the lead was cut to one run. After Brad Peacock was taken out of the game in favor of Francisco Liriano, Rafael Devers had a moment. On an 0-1 slider, Devers mashed his first career postseason home run into the bleachers, giving his team the lead.

The bats would take a short break, but they really turned it on in the seventh. Hanley and Devers continued their great days with some more RBI hits, and Jackie Bradley Jr. secured the W with a three-run home run off of Joe Musgrove.

One thing I found interesting was how much Hanley Ramirez was into this game. Over the span of this past season, we’ve rarely seen Hanley this fired up, but it’s been much more noticeable since last Thursday. I mean…look at that intensity.

This is what the Red Sox need. They needed their guys to step up and that is exactly what happened tonight. Rick Porcello faces off against Charlie Morton tomorrow afternoon. Another do or die game, I expect them to play just as they did today.

1 down, 10 to go. 

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: Chris Sale gets shelled as #RedSox drop Game 1 to Astros 8-2.

After all the hype Chris Sale was getting, after he said he’s ready to throw his arm off, he goes out and throws a stinker. Did he have a case of bad nerves before his first ever postseason start? Perhaps, but that’s no excuse for a pitcher with the talent he has. In all honesty, I was expecting him and Justin Verlander to go head to head and both throw gems. Instead, neither pitcher was at their best, especially Sale. The lefty opened his outing by striking out George Springer. Great, I thought, right? Nope, because Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve proceeded to mash back to back solo shots and give the Astros an early two-run lead. He would settle down a bit after that by tossing two scoreless innings, but the game got away in the fourth. A Marwin Gonzalez 2 RBI double with two outs scored two more runs, which actually untied the game at that point. Next inning, after recording the first two outs via the K, Jose Altuve took Sale deep for the second team, inflating the lead to three runs. That should have been Sale’s last inning, but he was brought back out for the sixth, for some reason.

A leadoff double followed by a walk led to John Farrell going into the bullpen earlier than he probably wanted to, but Joe Kelly was called on to try and get out of the sixth. Instead, he did just the opposite by loading the bases and allowing two more runs to cross the plate on a Brian McCann single. He retired the side after that, and that made way for rookie Austin Maddox’s postseason debut. Personally, I thought this spot should have belonged to Brandon Workman, but I’m not the manager. He was greeted by Jose Altuve, who took the newcomer deep for his THIRD long ball of the game, joining the likes of Reggie Jackson, Adrian Beltre, and Babe Ruth to name a few, as the only players to do so in a postseason game. In any other circumstance, I would have loved watching this. Altuve is definitely one of my favorite players to watch, it’s just too bad he did this against the Red Sox. Almost forgot to mention this, but, Rick Porcello pitched in this game. Yeah, 2016 Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello pitched the ninth inning of a 8-2 game his team was losing in. That is quite the downfall from grace.

On the other side of things, this game could not have started in a worst fashion. I’m not talking about Chris Sale, I’m talking about Eduardo Nunez. From all the reports this past week, it looked like Eduardo Nunez was going to be healthy enough to play in this series, thus he was put in at DH for Game 1. Well, he could not even run out a ground ball, and he was taken out of the game. See below:

That was ultimately a sign of what was to come for the Red Sox, and it was not good. The lone positive from this game is from when they tied things up at two in the fourth. Sandy Leon drove in the first run in the second on an RBI single, and Rafael Devers drove in the second run on a sac fly to right, scoring Mitch Moreland from third. That was all the scoring they could do, and that’s not going to get it done against a team as good as the Astros.

Drew Pomeranz gets the start tomorrow, and it really is do or die this early. If the Red Sox can win and head home with a split, I’ll take it. But, if they drop Game 2, the series is essentially over. I believe in Pomeranz too, which is the crazy part. Offense needs to sep it up too, which could be tough against Dallas Keuchel.

0 down, 11 to go. 

What I expect from the #RedSox in the ALDS.

With the regular season in the books, the Red Sox will head to Houston to kick off a five game series against the Astros on Thursday. With that in mind, I thought I’d give a preview of the series and what I expect from the Red Sox in the postseason.

Game 1: Thursday, 4:08 PM ET, Chris Sale vs. Justin Verlander

For the first time in his career, Chris Sale will be making a postseason start. And despite not having any experience, I have total trust in him. It’s hard not to when you record 308 strikeouts in a single season. He will be matched up against another horse, and one with playoff experience in Justin Verlander. Since being acquired by the Astros on September 1st, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner has been outstanding. Posting a 1.05 ERA in 34 innings with the Astros, it’s looking like a Game 1 pitching duel.

Game 2: Friday, 2:05 PM ET, Drew Pomeranz vs. Dallas Keuchel.

Back in April, I never could have seen this coming. The 2015 Cy Young Award Winner going up against DREW POMERANZ in a playoff game? No way. Give me Price or Porcello is what I would have said, but not anymore. Pomeranz just completed the best regular season of his career. The numbers may not agree, but if you do what he did in the American League East, that’s a great year. This will be his first career start in the playoffs, coming off of a 2016 postseason where he allowed two earned runs in less than four innings pitched in two appearances. The way I view Pomeranz has totally changed as this season has progressed, from chump to second best starter in this rotation. He’ll be matched up against Dallas Keuchel, who last pitched in the postseason in 2015 and owns a 2.57 ERA in playoff action. Not as shiny as the Sale-Verlander matchup, but still, there is potential here.

Only the first two games’ starters have been announced, but I have a pretty good idea of who we will see from both sides. It depends on the situation, but I expect Eduardo Rodriguez to pitch Game 3, Doug Fister to pitch Game 4, and Chris Sale Game 5, if it is necessary. The key to all this is David Price. He could start, but I like him much more as a weapon out of the bullpen. What he’s done since returning from the DL has been extraordinary, and he has experience doing this in the postseason. I don’t expect him to be Andrew Miller or anything, but I think he could silence a lot of critics in this series.

Offensively, the Astros have the advantage. Correa, Springer, and Altuve is something the Red Sox cannot compete with. Guys like Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, and Dustin Pedroia need to step up. Rafael Devers will be stepping into a unique situation. I’m not positive, but he has to be the youngest player on any team’s postseason roster. I’m also excited to see what a healthy Eduardo Nunez can do for this team and where he’ll be plugged in the lineup and on the field.

It’s never easy, and advancing to the ALCS will certainly be a challenge for this Red Sox team. As expected, the Astros are favorites in this best of five series, but never tell me the odds. Chris Sale is here to play, David Price is here to play, and Mookie Betts is here to play. The Astros may very well win this series, but let’s see if the Red Sox can challenge them.

Well, that’s all I got for now. The series doesn’t start for another few days so this could be updated. Until then, enjoy the Wild Card games.