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: Drew Pomeranz allows five runs; #RedSox fall short of comeback in 6-4 loss.

Coming off an amazing road trip, the Red Sox got the final homestand of the regular season off to a below average start. The Blue Jays made their last stop at Fenway this season, and they currently have one of the hottest hitters in the game in The Bringer of Rain, Josh Donaldson. Donaldson made his presence felt early, taking last night’s starter, Drew Pomeranz, deep in the first inning. Since the All-Star break, Donaldson has now hit 21 home runs, making it 31 total in only 109 games this season. Don’t get it twisted, I like Rafael Devers at third, but I would have LOVED Donaldson at third a few years ago, one of my favorite players in baseball.

Back to Pomeranz, he was clearly not at the top of his game last night. Failing to record an out in the third inning, the lefty allowed five runs on seven hits to go along with three walks and three strikeouts. I bet John Farrell would have stuck with him longer earlier in the season, but I agree with pulling him so soon in this game. The bullpen was doing a great job in relief of Pomeranz up until the ninth. Austin Maddox, Blaine Boyer, and Carson Smith were all solid, combining to pitch six shutout innings, scattering only three hits and two walks. As this was happening, the Red Sox bats were attempting to stage a comeback. They came almost all the way back to make it a one run game going into the ninth, but Addison Reed gave that away. Ryan Goins took the righty deep, giving the Blue Jays the two-run lead. Not a great look giving up a run the same day the bullpen wins Bullpen of the Week, but I’m not too worried.

On the other side of things, Brett Anderson did a good job in limiting what the Red Sox could have done off of him. Mookie Betts got the scoring started in the first with an RBI ground out, scoring Xander Bogaerts from first. That RBI marks 100 on the year for Mookie, the second year in a row he has accomplished that feat. Hanley Ramirez did the same later in the inning, scoring Eduardo Nunez from third on another RBI ground out. Taking the lead going into the second looked good, but that was the only time they would have the lead. Betts would drive in another run in the fifth, but would not remain in the game after injuring his left wrist. It’s nothing serious, and taking him out was only precautionary. The same can be said about Eduardo Nunez, who reinjured his knee on a swing in the third. Not great when two of the most impactful players on the team have to leave, hopefully they’ll at least be ready for Houston. Andrew Benintendi, who did not start the game, gave the Red Sox some hope in the eighth with his 20th long ball of the season, but the offense could not do anything against Roberto Osuna in the ninth.

With the Yankees beating the Royals, the Red Sox magic number to clinch the division stays at three. Chris Sale gets the start tonight, though, and he’s coming off a start where he recorded his 300th strikeout of the season.

91 down, 4 to go. 

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi’s heroics gave #RedSox yet another extra innings victory, this time in Baltimore.

The Red Sox went into Baltimore last night after taking two out of three from the Rays. Their goal for this week had to be the same as it was over the weekend, win the series against a division rival. They got off to a good start on Monday, despite some pitching struggles. Doug Fister got the start in this one, and he looked bad yet again. For the second time in a row, Fister failed to pitch at least six innings and gave up five or more earned runs. In the two plus innings he pitched, the Orioles reached base nine times and scored five times. Marty Foster’s strike zone was off, and that made way for Fister allowing five walks, which is rare for him. It was clear he didn’t agree with the zone, and he was even seen yelling at Foster while heading to the dugout at one point.

In relief of Fister, the Red Sox had to use nine relief pitchers, and they did a solid job from the sixth inning on. Heath Hembree, Fernando Abad, and Brandon Workman gave up a combined three runs in four innings pitched, and that was it in terms of the Orioles scoring. Robby Scott, Joe Kelly, Addison Reed, Craig Kimbrel, Matt Barnes, and Carson Smith went on to pitch five scoreless innings while striking out four. If you look at the bullpen’s final line, 9 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO, that looks like a great start for a starting pitcher, so it’s good to see the bullpen is still doing their thing, with Road Matt Barnes coming up big and Carson Smith picking up his first save of the season.

On the other side of things, Dylan Bundy was slightly better than Fister, but not by much. It looked like he was going to have his way with the Red Sox up until the fifth inning. After Mookie Betts drove in the first run in the fourth, he, along with Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt, drove in six runs in the fifth. If it weren’t for JBJ’s long at-bat, Bundy may have got out of the inning without giving up anything. Also, Brock Holt’s AB wasn’t even supposed to happen. Dustin Pedroia had to leave the game after taking a foul ball off his nose. So, in the middle of the at-bat, Holt came in and ripped a 2 RBI single. That outpour in the top half of the sixth gave the Red Sox a 7-6 lead, but the Orioles retook the lead in the bottom half. Surprisingly, Xander Bogaerts tied the game with a solo home run in the seventh.

The bats on both sides went silent for a little bit, until the top of the eleventh inning. Three walks and two ground outs set up a bases loaded, two-out at bat for Andrew Benintendi. On a 2-2 pitch, Benintendi ripped a single to right field, scoring Blake Swihart from third and Xander Bogaerts from second, giving the Red Sox a 10-8 lead and essentially the win.

With that extra innings win, the Red Sox are now 14-3 in games that go more than nine innings. Drew Pomeranz gets the start today, and this will actually be his first start at Camden Yards this season.

86 down, 8 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox surrender four home runs, drop third straight in 10-4 defeat against Blue Jays.

After losing three out of four to the second-place Yankees, the Red Sox got their three game series against the last-place Blue Jays off to a disappointing start. Rick Porcello was bad again, even though he looked great against this same team less than a week ago. While not even making it through six complete innings, Porcello surrendered SEVEN earned runs on ten hits and a walk to go along with three strikeouts. The long ball is what really hurt the righty though, as the Jays took him deep three times, and those accounted for six of the seven runs. Right from the start, the Red Sox were down by three runs, which has happened a lot lately. Porcello was better after the first, only allowing one run over the next four innings, but then the sixth inning happened. After recording the first out, the next three batters all reached base, with the third, Raffy Lopez, taking Porcello deep and making it a 7-2 game. John Farrell would come to get Porcello after that, but the bullpen didn’t do much to stop the bleeding. I say bullpen, but it was really only Matt Barnes since Brandon Workman, Austin Maddox, and Fernando Abad all pitched well in their 2.2 combined innings of work. When Barnes entered the game in the ninth, the Red Sox were not dead yet, only trailing by three runs. Unfortunately, Barnes let that lead inflate, all after getting the first two outs on strikeouts. Four straight hits, including a home run, allowed the Jays to score three more runs and that pretty much put the final nail in the coffin. Roenis Elias, who has not pitched in the Majors since last August, had to come in the game, and he put an end to the top half of a long inning. Going back to Porcello, he has looked awful in his last two starts at Fenway Park, both against division rivals. He got blown out by the Orioles two weekends ago, and the Jays pretty much did the same against him last night. Somehow, I still have some level of confidence in him, despite the bad season. Hopefully, he can make up for this start with a good one against the Rays next weekend.

Offensively, the Red Sox had a solid amount of opportunities to score more than four runs, but could not capitalize. JA Happ was not great for the Blue Jays, but he definitely limited the damage in the 5.2 innings he pitched last night. Before they even came to the plate for their first AB’s, they were already losing 3-0. Eduardo Nunez made it a one run game in the second, but that was the closest the deficit ever got. Nunez really carried the offense last night, driving in the first three runs they scored, which kept them in the game up until the ninth. Mitch Moreland drove in the fourth run in the seventh, on a fielder’s choice, and that was that. Leaving runners in scoring position is a persisting problem for this team, and a solution may be hard to find. Bryce Brentz, who has around 30 homers with the PawSox this season could be a possibility, but it doesn’t look like he’ll make his way on the 40-man roster this month. Throughout the Red Sox lineup, there is no real threat for opposing pitchers to be afraid of, like I said, there’s no real solution for this season.

Marco Estrada, who has pitched below his standards this season, gets the start against ERod tonight, so hopefully the Red Sox bats can do a lot of damage off of him. For now, the Yankees have moved to within 2.5 games of the division lead, which is a concern based on how each team has been performing lately.

77 down, ? to go. (Probably won’t get to 95.)

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz, Christian Vazquez help #RedSox end losing streak with 6-5 win in Toronto.

Going into Monday night, the Red Sox had not won a game since Drew Pomeranz made his last start in Cleveland. The lefty made his regularly scheduled start last night against Marcus Stroman, and neither were too spectacular. With the way things started, it looked like the Red Sox were going to be in trouble, already being down 2-0 going into the second inning. Luckily, Pomeranz settled down after that, despite having some control issues. He tied his season-high in walks with five, but he still limited the Blue Jays to one run on five hits while striking out five over the next five innings. The pitcher who goes by “Big Smooth” is going to go into September putting together terrific numbers in the month of August, going 4-0 with a 2.28 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP in 27.2 innings pitched. Addison Reed entered the game with a very fresh 6-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh, and he retired the Blue Jays in order. Brandon Workman did the same in the eighth, and that made way for Craig Kimbrel in the ninth. He did walk the first guy he saw, which did lead to a two-run home run, but he was still able to record his 30th save of the season, marking his seventh straight season with at least 30.

Offensively, the Red Sox struggled to do much off of Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman. A throwing error by Blue Jays catcher Raffy Lopez allowed Hanley Ramirez to score from third in the second inning, cutting the deficit in half. Next inning, Eduardo Nunez took Stroman deep for his eleventh home run of the season, which tied the game at that point. Later on in the sixth, Kevin Pillar made one of the best catches you’ll see in Toronto.

And all Mookie can do is laugh…

Once Marcus Stroman was lifted, the Blue Jays bullpen really opened the floodgates. A Hanley Ramirez leadoff single in the seventh  led to the second clutchest Christian Vazquez home run of the season.

The Red Sox were down by one run going into the inning, so that two-run shot, Vazquez’s fourth, gave them a 4-3 lead, and they never looked back. A Mitch Moreland RBI single later in the inning scored Nunez from third, and a Xander Bogaerts walk with the bases loaded scored Andrew Benintendi from third. So, Stroman allowed one earned run in the six innings he pitched, while the Jays bullpen allowed four runs in the three innings he pitched.

Losing streak is over and Chris Sale is on the mound later today to start a WINNING streak. Last time he pitched up north, he disgraced the Blue Jays on Canada Day. In fact, in the two starts he has made at the Rogers Centre in 2017, he has yet to allow a single run in a Red Sox uniform.

74 down, 21 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.