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. 

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: 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: Despite Rick Porcello’s awful start, #RedSox win third consecutive game.

After a rain out on Wednesday, the Red Sox welcomed the Chicago White Sox into town for a four-game series. This was a series I usually looked forward to because of Chris Sale, but now he is on the Red Sox. He was actually supposed to see him pitch on Sunday, but John Farrell switched around the rotation so Sale can pitch against the Yankees more. Even though the White Sox are one of the worst teams in baseball, I was still looking forward to seeing Yoan Moncada, who was one of my favorite Red Sox prospects before he got traded last December.

Anyway, Rick Porcello was on the mound against former Red Sox prospect Miguel Gonzalez, and both were pretty terrible. Porcello could only make it through 5.1 innings while surrendering five earned runs on seven hits, including a two-run home run to Nicky Delmonico in the third inning. This was after he was given a 4-0 lead and then a 7-2 lead to work with, too. This start was certainly discouraging, given the fact that Porcello had a great month of July. You’d figure a team like the White Sox wouldn’t give him much trouble, but here we are talking about how bad his start was. The bullpen did pick him up though, as Fernando Abad, Heath Hembree, Addison Reed, Matt Barnes, and Brandon Workman combined to pitch 3.2 perfect innings while striking out four. It was only a three-run game when Porcello left, so the effort from the bullpen was definitely a boost.

On the other side of things, all nine guys in the starting lineup recorded at least one base hit, and six of nine drove in at least one run. Eduardo Nunez continued his great play by driving in the first run of the game in the first. Hanley Ramirez then drove in Nunez on a double, and Rafael Devers hit his third home run of the season to conclude the scoring in the first.

In the second, Mookie Betts drove in Christian Vazquez along with himself on a two-run home run, his eighteenth on the year. Hanley Ramirez then collected his second RBI of the game, scoring Andrew Benintendi from second on an infield single. This was a great play to watch, the awareness of Andrew Benintendi was off the charts, scoring from second on an INFIELD single. After that, the bats would go silent until the fifth, when Mitch Moreland scored on a Benintendi RBI single. The last run of the game crossed the plate in the sixth, when Moreland drove in Xander Bogaerts on his twenty-third double of the season, giving the Red Sox a 9-5 lead and securing the win.

Red Sox have won three in a row, Yankees have lost three in a row, so the lead in the division stands at two. Eduardo Rodriguez is on the bump today, and he’s looking to rebound from a rough start against the Royals.

60 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Chris Sale strikes out twelve; #RedSox drop Game 1 in Tampa 4-1.

The Red Sox played their first game at the Trop this season, which is uncharacteristic of their typical schedules. Chris Sale got the start, matched up against Rays rookie Jacob Faria, who has made a great first impression with five straight quality starts going into tonight to start his career. Sale was not his usual self to say the least, seven hits in seven innings is not like him. Still, the strikeouts were there, twelve total against the Rays, including striking out the side in the first and third innings. The biggest problem Sale had was with the long ball. The Rays took the southpaw deep twice, in the fifth for one run, and in the sixth for two runs. Logan Morrison and Wilson Ramos were the ones who got to Sale the most, Morrison did not record an out against him, and Ramos drove in three runs against him. Blaine Boyer would come in to pitch the eighth, and he pitched a scoreless frame. For Sale, his next start will come in Miami, pitching for the American League in the All-Star Game. It was one hell of a first half, twelve starts with 10 or more strikeouts is something else. Can’t wait to watch how he pitches down the stretch after the break.

For the second night in a row, the bats could not push across enough runs to keep the game close. Like I said above, Jacob Faria may be the real deal and the Red Sox could not do much against him. Big scare in the first with Xander Bogaerts getting hit by a pitch in the right hand, later being removed from the game because of it. The only run the Red Sox could muster against the Rays came in the top of the third, when Deven Marrero drove in Tzu-Wei Lin on a sacrifice fly, which gave them a 1-0 lead at the time. They had a good amount of opportunities, but could not do anything with them. Jake Odorizzi is pitching tomorrow, and he owns a 5.19 ERA over his last three starts, so the Red Sox should have a good chance to snap out of this two-game rut.

Drew Pomeranz is on the mound tomorrow as well, had a great start last time out int Toronto, could lower that ERA some more in St. Pete.

49 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: David Price pitches seven quality innings; #RedSox take series from Twins in 6-3 win.

For the first time in exactly two weeks, the Red Sox have won a series. The Twins came into Boston as a first place team, and they leave as a team that is most likely going to be out of contention by September. That’s not a jab at the Twins, it’s just the truth for a team that has one of the worst Run Differentials in baseball. David Price made his seventh start of the season for the Red Sox, and it was another solid outing for the southpaw. Another quality start, Price’s final line looks like this: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, and 7 K’s. Despite that fourth inning, this was clearly one of his better starts. It wasn’t lights out stuff, but I don’t think the Red Sox need that from Price all the time in order to succeed. He had 100 pitches after 6, so it was surprising to see him come out for the seventh, luckily for Manager John, that decision did not backfire. Joe Kelly got the call for the eighth, and all he did was pitch another scoreless outing, his 22nd in a row, NBD. Lastly, you know the drill. Save situation, Kimbrel available, Kimbrel gets the save, his 22nd of the season, most in the American League.

By the time the Red Sox took their first at bats, they were already trailing. By the time they scored their first run, they came into their half of that inning down by three. Mookie Betts got the scoring started with his thirteenth home run of the season. This home run was important for two reasons, first, it’s the three-year anniversary of when Mookie Betts got called to the bigs by the Red Sox, and it could help get him more votes to start in the All-Star Game. (Check out my roster predictions here) In the fifth, the Red Sox took the lead and did not look back. Jackie Bradley Jr., Deven Marrero, and Mookie Betts drove in a total of three runs. Hanley Ramirez tacked on another run in the six when he launched his eleventh home run of the season over the center field wall. Linsanity struck in the seventh, as Tzu-Wei Lin nearly hit his first career home run. Unfortunately, the ball did not go far enough, but Lin still hit his first career triple. Deven Marrero drove him in on an RBI double, and that was all the Red Sox needed. I mentioned JBJ earlier, but I just want to commend him for his three-hit game and how he has turned around his season at the plate. On June 1st, his BA was only at .226, but after today, it’s all the way up to a solid .272.

Big 10 game road trip ahead before the All-Star break. First up, Toronto and Doug Fister is making his first road start for the Red Sox. The Blue Jays looked like they were going to be a bottom feeder the last time the Red Sox were in Toronto, but they have come back and are now more of a mediocre team.

44 down, ? to go. 

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Feelin' some kind of way. 💪 - #VoteRedSox (@redsox)

RECAP: Chris Sale pitches another gem; #RedSox offense does nothing in 1-0 loss in series finale.

Five out of their last six. That’s how many games the Red Sox have won since Friday. Against a pretty bad team in the Phillies, it was looking like a team led by Chris Sale was about to go into Houston fresh off a four game sweep. Since the beginning of May, Sale has an ERA north of 4, which is unlike him. Thursday’s start was peak Chris Sale, as the southpaw pitched a complete game of one-run ball. He also struck out ten batters for the first time since May 19th. The only damage the Phillies did off of Sale came in the eighth, when pinch hitter Ty Kelly drove in Andrew Knapp on a one out RBI double. Sale only allowed four other hits, so this loss cannot be pinned on him, especially since he almost helped his own cause with a bat in his hand. The greatest takeaway from this start is the fact that Chris Sale gave the bullpen a day of rest before an important series in Houston, in which Drew Pomeranz is pitching in today.

As it has already been said, the Red Sox offense did virtually nothing last night. Tip off the cap to the pitcher Nick Pivetta and Howie Kendrick, who both played huge roles in limiting the Red Sox to zero runs and only five hits over nine innings. They had their chances, but strike outs in key situations and bad base running didn’t do any good. The last good opportunity to score any runs came in the eighth, where Chris Sale lined a double to left to lead off the inning and smiled.

He got to third on a line out, but Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts failed to score him. Another chance presented itself in the ninth, with Jackie Bradley on first with two outs, Pablo Sandoval came to the plate representing the go-ahead run. To nobody’s surprise, Sandoval struck out on three ugly pitches, like the waste of money he is.

Next up, the Red Sox spend the weekend in Houston. A decimated Astros rotation should help the cause, but that lineup is still pretty lethal. Eight o’clock start, Pomeranz on the mound, what could go wrong???

37 down, ? to go.