RECAP: Drew Pomeranz, Andrew Benintendi play key roles as #RedSox take the series from A’s with a 6-2 win.

Nothing like some afternoon baseball to lift some spirits right? With the weekend right around the corner, the Red Sox guaranteed a happy flight to St. Pete after taking care of the Oakland Athletics today. Drew Pomeranz got the start in this one, and if you remember, last time he faced the Athletics back in May, his season really turned around after that start. Today, he was much better than he was on May 20th. The lefty allowed only one run while scattering five hits and three walks over the six innings he pitched. He managed to strike out five and really only got into trouble in one inning, the fifth. That was the only inning where the Athletics scored off of him, and he got out of the inning with some help from the guys behind him.

In relief of Pomeranz, the bullpen was tasked with protecting a two-run lead at the time of the southpaw’s departure. Brandon Workman and Robby Scott both faced a batter each to start the seventh, and Addison Reed finished it without giving up anything despite loading the bases. Joe Kelly served up a solo home run to Ryon Healy in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel, in a non-save situation, recorded two strikeouts while pitching a scoreless ninth to secure the win.

Offensively, the bats took a little while to get going, but they hit their stride from the fifth to the seventh. They scored all six of their runs in that three inning span, including a solo shot from Christian Vazquez in the fifth, his fifth, to tie things up at one. It was a big day for Andrew Benintendi, as the left fielder drove in three runs on three hits, two of those being doubles. He does this on the same day his old friend, Yoan Moncada, reached base six times today while also hitting a home run. I thought those two were going to run things up in Boston, but that’s the past. Anyway, Dustin Pedroia and Mitch Moreland also drove in a run a piece today, Mitchy Two Bags got his on an RBI double in the sixth, and Pedroia got his on a sac fly in the seventh. Benintendi put an exclamation point on this one with a 2 RBI single in the seventh, scoring Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts to put this one out of reach.

After starting September a bit cold, Benintendi has started to pick things up again. Since September 6th, the lefty is slashing .423/.423/.654 if I did the math right. With the potential he has to go along with how he has performed this season overall, I personally think he deserved more playing time over Chris Young, who is batting .191 against lefties this season.

A three game series against the Rays kicks off tomorrow with Chris Sale taking the hill for the opener. With all the talk about the Cy Young Award belonging to Corey Kluber, perhaps Sale can remind everyone why he was the favorite to win for the majority of the season.

83 down, 9 to go. 

RECAP: Doug Fister struggles for first time in nearly a month; #RedSox drop middle game to A’s 7-3.

If you haven’t been paying attention, the Cleveland Indians have won 21 games in a row, their last loss coming against the Red Sox. This doesn’t put any pressure on the Red Sox, but it does take away any attention they may get if that streak is not happening. The good thing about this is the fact that the Indians have now passed the Astros for the best record in the American League. That means that if the season ended today, the Astros would play host to the Red Sox in the ALDS. That would also mean that the Red Sox could end up playing the Astros in nine straight games, since their season ends with a four game series against Houston in Boston.

Anyway, the Red Sox had the chance to take this series from a last place team last night, but they came up short. For the first time since August 14th, Doug Fister failed to pitch at least seven innings. The righty could only make it through four innings, all while surrendering six runs on six hits and a walk. The A’s managed to score four times off of Fister in the first, and scored an additional two runs in the third. Old friend Jed Lowrie and A’s forst baseman Matt Olson did the most damage last night, combining for 4 RBIs on 4 hits, including a two-run home run from Olson in the first. I’m not going to say I’m concerned about Fister because last time he was this bad, he went on that great run for four straight starts. In relief of Fister, Fernando Abad, Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes, and Blaine Boyer combined to go five innings, allowing one run on two hits while striking out five. Nothing spectacular, but they kept their team within four runs, which is doable.

Offensively, Jharel Cotton was much better than I thought he was going to be last night. The Red Sox scored once in the first to cut the A’s lead to three, but that’s the closest it got. Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi both had RBIs on this one, while Jackie Bradley Jr. took Cotton deep for his sixteenth long ball of the season.

That was all the scoring they could manage against a team that is ranked 26th in team ERA.

Drew Pomeranz, who was pretty good last time out against the Rays, is making his 29th start of the season this afternoon against one of his former teams. Daniel Gossett, who owns an ERA of 5.02 this season, is making the start for the A’s, so hopefully the Red Sox can capitalize on that.

82 down, 10 to go. 

RECAP: Mookie Betts homers twice, drives in six as #RedSox dominate A’s in 11-1 win.

After an off day on Monday, I was looking forward to last night’s game, even if it was against the Oakland Athletics. The Red Sox looked like a first place team in every aspect last night, while the lowly A’s maintained their last place reputation. Eduardo Rodriguez made his 21st start of 2017 last night, and he was matched up against fellow southpaw, Sean Manaea. If you take away the four walks, ERod was nearly perfect in the six innings he pitched. One hit is all he gave up, and that came in the first inning, along with the only run he surrendered. From the second to the end of the sixth, the Venezuelan was great, only scattering three walks over that span. I didn’t think he’d be able to make it through six given the fact that his pitch count was north of 100 after five, but he did by ending his outing by only facing three batters in the sixth. The last time ERod got a win was all the way back on May 26th, which has to be something to feel good about.

Brandon Workman would be called upon for the seventh inning, and he struck out the only three batters he faced. Carson Smith, making his third appearance since being activated on September 5th, was not nearly as good as Workman. His control was off, and that lead to him loading the bases while facing five batters. Austin Maddox came in with two outs in the inning, and he got out of the jam with a strikeout, then went on to pitch a scoreless ninth to secure the win. Watching Carson Smith struggle was not very comforting, but you gotta like what you have seen out of Austin Maddox. Since he was recalled on September 1st, the righty has appeared in five games while pitching seven innings, and he has yet to allow an earned run in his young career. Similar to how Robby Scott performed last September, Maddox’s performance this season could really benefit him going into 2018.

On the other side of things, Sean Manaea stood no chance against Mookie Betts and the Red Sox. In his two career starts, Manaea has a line that he probably wouldn’t want to share; 6.1 IP, 21 H, 15 ER, and three home runs allowed. Last night, he managed to pitch a clean first, then things began to unravel. Five of the first six batters in the second reached base, which led to three runs scoring. A two-out, Mookie Betts triple scored the final two runs of the inning, and Mookie was just getting started. In the fourth, Betts went deep for his 20th long ball of the season, scoring Dustin Pedroia and giving his team a six-run lead. Two more runs crossed the plate in the fifth thanks to Christian Vazquez and Jackie Bradley Jr., then Mookie was back on his bs in the sixth. He connected with his second home run of the day and drove in his fifth and sixth runs of the day by doing so.

We haven’t seen a performace like this from Mookie since July 2nd when he drove in eight runs against the Blue Jays. Recently though, Betts has been looking better coming off that month-long slump. In the ten games he has played in this month, the right fielder has already hit three home runs while driving in nine runs. I know more than half of this production came last night but still, it looks like he’ll get to 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

Doug Fister gets the start later tonight, and I believe the Athletics are a team he has had success against in his career. It also helps that the opposing pitcher, former Dodgers prospect, Jharel Cotton, owns a 5.82 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in 119 IP this season. A win guarantees a series win, which would be the third one this month. I’ll leave you with this:

82 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Eduardo Rodriguez pitches eight solid innings as #RedSox take final game in Oakland, 12-3.

Looking to avoid the sweep against the lowly Athletics, Eduardo Rodriguez took the mound on Sunday afternoon. With the bullpen needing some rest after going five innings Saturday, the Red Sox needed Rodriguez to go pretty deep into the game, and that’s just what he did. Rodriguez went eight innings strong, only running into trouble in the second and fourth innings, where he gave up all three of his runs. The Venezuelan native also fanned an impressive eight batters. With six straight quality starts, Rodriguez has really solidified himself as a legitimate middle of the rotation starter. What I find interesting is how Rodriguez could have started the season in Pawtucket, if David Price never got hurt. But, since Price did get hurt during spring training, Rodriguez has capitalized on a great opportunity. With Rodriguez going deep into this game, the only other pitcher who saw in-game action was Matt Barnes, who struck out one while getting the Athletics in order, in the ninth, to end the game.

Offensively, the Red Sox did just about everything right. With the lack of power that is present in this lineup, it makes sense that they have become more aggressive on the bases. On Sunday, the Red Sox kicked things off early, scoring twice in the first, highlighted by Mookie Betts going from first to home on a Dustin Pedroia single. The scoring would halt until the fifth, when Christian Vazquez and Mookie Betts would both score in the inning. Two more runs would be tacked on in the sixth, with Mitch Moreland hitting his third home run in as many days, also driving in Hanley Ramirez. The eighth was highlighted by Jackie Bradley Jr.’s hustle double, reaching second on what looked like a routine single, and also scoring later in the inning. To wrap things up, the Red Sox bats poured it on in the ninth. Five runners crossed the plate, highlighted by Hanley Ramirez’s line drive, 2 RBI double, which scored Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi. Every batter in the lineup, including Deven Marrero surprisingly, recorded at least one hit. It would be nice to see the Red Sox carry any momentum from this win, but with their inconsistency throughout the season, it’s tough to say if that could happen.

22 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Even when he doesn’t suck, Drew Pomeranz still sucks; #RedSox lose to A’s again by a score of 8-3.

That title may be confusing, but, if you look at his final line for the game, Pomeranz only allowed one earned run over four innings and he actually struck out six. The problem here is how many pitches Pomeranz needed to get through 4 innings, or 19 batters. Yes, it took him 97 pitches I believe to get through 4 innings, or get 12 outs. That averages out to 24.3 pitches per inning, or 8.1 pitches per out. In the month of May, Pomeranz’s WHIP sits at 1.78, which is much higher than it should be. After being told by John Farrell his day was over after the fourth, Pomeranz and Farrell exchanged some words, and it got uncomfortable fast.

Look familiar?

Wade Miley and John Farrell had a heated exchange Thursday.

That’s from 2015, but still. It wouldn’t shock me if Farrell downplays this incident, probably just say Pomeranz is competitive, and he likes that. Truth is, Pomeranz might have to move to the bullpen, because he clearly can’t handle being a starter in this rotation. Speaking of the bullpen, how about Ben Taylor! Surprisingly, the Red Sox had a lead in this game, and in the fifth, Ben Taylor came on to protect it. Unfortunately, he did just the opposite. Taylor gave up three earned runs, all of which came on two home runs. Noe Ramirez came in to relieve Taylor, and he too did a poor job. Ramirez allowed two runs on three hits in three innings of work. Pitching wise, this game puts the Red Sox in a bad position. Outside of Sale, Porcello, Rodriguez, Scott, and Kimbrel, there’s no one you can really rely upon in key situations.

Offensively, I don’t have much to say. Hanley Ramirez hit his sixth home run of the season in the second. Josh Rutledge and Dustin Pedroia both drove in runs on separate occasions on Saturday. The Red Sox also managed to leave nine runners on base, after leaving 20 on base Friday. Andrew Benintendi probably should have been rewarded with his sixth home run of the season, but the umpires overruled it in the ninth, saying the ball went foul even though it didn’t. Overall, just a really frustrating game. I don’t have any screen caps but man, just watching Pomeranz pisses me off. Guy has zero confidence, looks like he doesn’t even want to be there. Looks like the type of guy who would tell you that it wasn’t his choice to play for the Red Sox. He belongs in the National League. 

This team isn’t winning 94 games.

RECAP: Sale K’s 10; JBJ makes outstanding catch; #RedSox still lose 3-2 in extras.

What a difference in quality of starting pitching between Hector Velazquez on Thursday and Chris Sale on Friday. Sale was matched up against Kendall Graveman, and to nobody’s surprise, Sale put in the better performance. He got things started right away, striking out the first batter he saw, Rajai Davis. After going the first four innings without allowing a run, Sale would run into some trouble over the next two innings. In the fifth, the Athletics managed to get one run across the plate, while reaching base twice. In the sixth, they scored another run, while also recording three hits. Those would be the only runs Sale would surrender in the seven innings he pitched. There was a bit of drama in the seventh, when Sale only had eight strikeouts with one out in the inning already. With his streak of starts with at least 10 K’s on the line, Sale struck out the last two batters he faced, getting to 10 strikeouts and extending his streak up to eight consecutive starts. With the way he pitched Friday night, Sale deserves a win for that performance, even when he’s not at his best, he still gives you solid outings, he deserves more in return for his efforts. Before the game went into extras, Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel held things down in terms of giving up any runs. In the ninth, just when it looked like Ryon Healy hit a walk-off home run, Jackie Bradley Jr. made one of the more outstanding home run robbing catches you’ll see.

Absurd, to say the least. Unfortunately, this play really didn’t matter. In the tenth, Mark Canha made sure he got all of one from Heath Hembree, as he put the nail in the coffin with his first career walk off home run, winning the game for the A’s. In the month of May, Hembree has an ERA north of 7, so I don’t have much to say about him.

Offensively, it would be nice if the only runs of the game didn’t come when Mitch Moreland launched a two-run home run to right field in the fourth, which also scored Xander Bogaerts. Kendall Graveman is no scrub, but that A’s bullpen is pretty awful and the Red Sox only managed to scatter four hits against three pitchers, which is disappointing.

Chris Sale obviously makes this team better. Without him, they’re probably under .500. If this the time the Red Sox are going all in to win a World Series, then they need to stop underperforming as much as they have.

21 down, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox drop opener in Oakland; still need a 5th starter.

Hector Velazquez made his first career Major League start on Thursday, and the expectations probably weren’t that high. Well, Velazquez was pretty awful in his debut. After taking the mound with a two run lead in the first, Velazquez went on to give up three runs in the bottom half, including a solo home run off the bat of Khris Davis. When the Red Sox tied the game in the fourth, Velazquez followed that with giving up another three runs in the bottom half of that inning. The Mexican League veteran finished with a line of 5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, and 4 K’s. With rumors circulating that the Red Sox have been scouting different players on the White Sox, like Jose Quintana and Todd Frazier, rotation depth may become less of a problem. More on that later. Back to the game, the Red Sox bullpen basically put the game out of reach. Robbie Ross completed the sixth, but not before giving up two runs on two hits. Matt Barnes pitched the seventh and eighth, and he managed to strike out five. With the back-end of this rotation being a question mark, I’d like to see Brian Johnson get another shot. Personally, I’d rather not give up more prospects to acquire Quintana. I’d be fine with Frazier or Moustakas, since they would require less.

Anyway, the Red Sox offense didn’t do much. In the first, they scored twice. The first run coming when Mookie Betts scored from third on a Hanley Ramirez single. The second run came when Dustin Pedroia scored on a Chris Young sac fly. After not scoring in the second and third, the Red Sox scored their final run of the game when Mitch Moreland hit his third home run of the season to left center. With Chris Sale on the mound tonight, the Red Sox will need to capitalize in Oakland.