RECAP: Home runs from Ramirez, Bogaerts and Moreland lift #RedSox to 10-7 win over Blue Jays in season series finale.

The Red Sox silenced a lot of doubters last night. Coming into this one losing the previous two, people were wondering if the Yankees could catch up in the division race. Well, with this win, the Red Sox magic number is down to two with four games left so I’d say that’s off the table. For the third night in a row, the starting pitching was far from what was expected. Maybe not with Rick Porcello, but I was definitely expecting more out of Drew Pomeranz and Chris Sale this week. Porcello looked like he has for most of this season, getting hit hard and serving up some home runs. With the two he gave up last night, Porcello tied Tim Wakefield for most home runs given up in a season with 38. In the five and two-thirds innings he pitched, the Blue Jays got him for five runs on seven hits and two walks while also striking out eight times. Similar to Sale, the K’s were there for Porcello, but the results were not. Before the Red Sox had even taken their first at bats they were already trailing by three runs. Jose Bautista took the righty deep in the first, while Darwin Barney did so in the fourth inning. That may have been the last time Jose Bautista plays at Fenway Park, and if it is, what a way to go out at a place he loved over his career.

After that home run to Barney, Porcello was solid, retiring five of the next seven batters he faced until being lifted for David Price with two outs in the sixth. Making his third appearance out of the bullpen, Price was dominant, striking out three of the four batters he faced. I hate to say it, but I really like this version of David Price. I think that he just doesn’t give a shit about what fans think about him anymore. Like they said on the latest episode of the Section 10 Podcast, he’s gone full heel and I kind of love him.

Addison Reed bounced back with a scoreless eighth, and Brandon Workman ended the game, but not before allowing a two-run home run to Teoscar Hernandez. Not having to face Hernandez along with Josh Donaldson is a relief, as the two combined to hit SIX home runs over the past three games. Also, that’s the third straight game the Red Sox bullpen has allowed runs to score. Like I’ve been saying, I’m not too concerned but it’s something to pay attention to.

Offensively, the bats did something they usually do not do, and that’s doing damage against Marco Estrada. Hanley Ramirez got the scoring started in the first, driving in Andrew Benintendi from first on an RBI double. Three more runs crossed the plate in the second thanks to Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, and Dustin Pedroia. The third inning is where the game got away from the Blue Jays. Hanley led off the inning with a 451 foot bomb onto Lansdowne Street, and that was followed by three of the next four reached, including a Rajai Davis RBI single.

Xander Bogaerts decided to try and one-up Hanley by mashing his tenth home run of the season, another one that landed in the Monster seats.

Speaking of Bogaerts, the shortstop has now reached base in six straight games, and eight of the past nine games. This season has definitely been a disappointment, I’m sure Xander will tell you that himself, but he has the chance to end it on a positive note if he can play the way he has recently and bring that into the postseason.

Last not but least, we had Mitchy Four Bags blasting his 21st home run of the season in the seventh inning. Can’t find any video, but it was a good one.

Eduardo Rodriguez welcomes the Houston Astros into town later on tonight, and I am PUMPED. The Red Sox have the third seed all but locked up, that’s fine. What’s not fine is how the Astros and Indians are only separated by one game in the overall standings, that’s not fine. The last thing I want is to face the Indians in the ALDS, I want nothing to do with that team until a potential ALCS, let them stomp on the Yankees or Twins, please.

92nd win of the season, I’ll leave you all with this:

RECAP: Chris Sale records 300th strikeout, Betts and Marrero go deep, and the #RedSox leave Baltimore with a sweep.

Chris Sale is a machine, plain and simple. Yeah, he’s had his ups and downs in the second half, but he’s still the most valuable pitcher on this staff, and he proved that last night. Needing 13 strikeouts to reach 300, it was going to take quite the effort to reach that milestone. Lo and behold, he got it done, striking out the last batter he faced in the eighth inning.

With those 300 K’s, Sale joins Pedro Martinez as the only Red Sox pitchers to record 300 or more strikeouts in a single season. Pedro did it back in 1999, and here we have Sale doing it 18 years later. I’m sure there were plenty of people who did not agree with bringing Sale back out for the eighth inning given his pitch count, but I can understand it based off the fact he would have been stuck at #299 had he left after seven innings. Sale is one who will definitely benefit from the off day today, and I think the Red Sox should consider giving him even more rest in preparation for the playoffs. Since he went eight innings, the bullpen was not tasked with too much work, and Austin Maddox ended the game by throwing a shaky, but scoreless ninth inning. He still hasn’t given up a run in his big league career.

On the other side of things, old friend Wade Miley got the ball for the O’s, and he was far from impressive. The Red Sox failed to score in the first three innings despite loading the bases with one out in the third. The fourth inning was a different story, in a good way. Mookie Betts and Deven Marrero, who are the best of friends, both hit two-run jacks, giving the Red Sox a 4-0 lead. Hanley Ramirez tacked on two more runs in the fifth, doubling for the second time while also driving in Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts. A Dustin Pedroia double scored two more runs in the eighth, and Hanley capped things off in the ninth with an RBI single, scoring Betts from third.

Last night was all about Chris Sale, but it was good to see the offense put up this type of performance the night after failing to record a single RBI.

Let’s talk about what the Red Sox have done this month real quick. Since dropping three out of four to the Yankees, they have won 11 out of their past 15 games. Unfortunately, the Yankees have also been playing really good baseball over that stretch so no ground in the division has been gained. They did clinch a playoff spot last night, though.

88 down, 6 to go but I think they might win more than 6.

Also…suh dude.

 

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: Doug Fister strikes out nine as #RedSox take series from Jays with 6-1 win.

First off, I was very wrong about the weather for this game. Here I was thinking this one would get postponed, and they go out and play the whole thing with no interruption. Anyway, Doug Fister made his eleventh start with the Red Sox last night, and he continued his streak of dominance. For the fourth straight time, Fister pitched at least seven innings without allowing more than two runs. He scattered four hits and three walks last night while only allowing one earned run. What was most surprising from this performance was the nine strikeouts, a season high for the righty. That’s pretty uncharacteristic for him, since he is more of a ground ball pitcher, so you know he really had his curveball working. The first inning made it seem like bad things were to come, but Fister settled down and held the Blue Jays to nothing over the next six innings. In releif of Fister, the bullpen built off their great night/morning in Game 2 and tossed two more scoreless inning. Yup, Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes were both perfect in the inning they each pitched in.

I think I’ve said this before, but the evolution of Doug Fister has been something to behold. When he got here in June, his expectations were low as he was expected to be a depth guy at the end of the rotation and the bullpen. But, because of David Price’s health issues, Fister has become a mainstay in the rotation, and he has proven that he belongs there in October. He’s gone from someone who might have gotten DFA’d a few months ago to someone who should start the second game in a best-of-five series next month.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox actually did not look lifeless with a bat in their hands last night. Joe Biagini is not a quality starter, and that showed in his performance on Wednesday. After going into the bottom half of the first trailing by one, Andrew Benintendi tied it up by driving in Eduardo Nunez on a RBI ground out. They blew this one open in the fourth by scoring four times. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and Jackie Bradley Jr. all had RBIs in the inning, highlighted by JBJ’s 15th home run of the season, scoring Sandy Leon in the process.

JBJ wouldn’t stop there though, as the Center Fielder continued his great series by driving in the last run of the game in the sixth, driving in Rafael Devers on a fielding error. That gave the Red Sox their sixth run and secured their 79th win of the season.

With the Patriots playing tonight, it works out that the Red Sox do not play today. Drew Pomeranz is on the mound Friday as the Tampa Bay Rays come into town for the last time this season.

Also, sup Yankees?

79 down, 11 to go. 

RECAP: Porcello, Ramirez, and Moreland cap off sweep of Jays as #RedSox win 7-1.

Hey, remember that series over the weekend between the Red Sox and the Orioles with those weird-looking uniforms that had nicknames on them? Yeah, me neither. Honestly, it looked like the Red Sox could have gone into a full collapse, that’s what some fans were actually thinking over the weekend. Luckily, that is now how things transpired in Toronto, instead, the Red Sox won three games against a last place team that they should beat. Pomeranz was okay on Monday, Sale was great on Tuesday, and Porcello was pretty good on Wednesday. Last night, the righty surrendered only one run, a solo home run, while scattering six hits and two walks in 6.2 innings pitched. He also struck out seven Jays and he easily could have allowed more runs to score. In the fourth, after loading the bases with only one out, Porcello proceeded to get the next two batters out, getting out of the jam without giving up anything. It looked like Porcello was going to pitch seven full innings, but he couldn’t finish it off after getting the first two outs. This made way for Robby Scott to come on and finish the inning. With both Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel unavailable, Joe Kelly would be responsible for finishing the game, and that’s exactly what he did with two perfect innings. By finishing a below average on a positive note like this, perhaps Porcello is now set up to go off during this final stretch, considering he will only make five or six more starts.

Offensively, JA Happ was having his way with the Red Sox lineup early on. It wasn’t until the fifth when he gave up a run, which just so happened to be Hanley Ramirez’s 21st home run of the season, his second in his past two games. That tied the game, and the Red Sox did not look back. The onslaught started in the seventh, when in a pinch-hit AB, Mitch Moreland untied the game on one swing, driving in himself along with Hanley Ramirez with his 18th home run of the season.

The Blue Jays bullpen, simply put, is not good. Every Jays starter the past three days have been pretty good, and the bullpen is given away each game. That was the case last night, and the Red Sox put the pedal to the floor in the eighth, scoring a total of four times. Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts each had RBI doubles in the inning, and I think I witnessed the worst double steal that has ever worked out.

Mitch Moreland capped off the scoring in this one with an RBI single, proving he is one of the best pinch hitters in baseball, and statistically, he has been since 2014. On a contending team, that’s awesome to have. I was also thinking about how the Red Sox might have too many good players once everyone is healthy. The infield will be crowded with Pedroia returning, the outfield with Bradley coming back soon, and Hanley Ramirez might be in the midst of a tear similar to the one we saw at the end of last season. Those are good problems to have though, and I like what I’m seeing now going into a not huge, but still important series in the Bronx. The Yankees lost twice today, so the Red Sox gained a game and a half off of them, totaling 5.5 games.

ERod gets the start against CC Sabathia later on tonight, and it looks like Chris Sale will be pitching on Sunday night against Luis Severino, should be a good four-game series.

Also, see you next year, Toronto, thanks for the eight wins.

Image result for mitch moreland gif

76 down, 19 to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz bounces back from back spasms by striking out nine; #RedSox defeat Indians 6-1.

Note: Prior to last night’s game, the Red Sox made a couple of moves. The first, placing Jackie Bradley Jr. on the 10-Day Disabled List because of that hand injury he suffered on Tuesday. Secondly, the Red Sox acquired OF Rajai Davis from the Oakland Athletics for an OF prospect. Deven Marrero and Hector Velazquez have also been called up, but with the addition of Davis and Blaine Boyer coming off the DL, they will both be sent back down to Pawtucket.

After Doug Fister’s excellent performance on Tuesday, Drew Pomeranz looked to continue that last night. Despite coming off a case of back spasms, I’d say Pomeranz was pretty impressive given how long he was in the game. The lefty managed to scatter two hits over 5.1 innings, while also striking out nine Indians. Pitch count was an issue, and that was directly related to the four walks he gave up. It didn’t look like Pomeranz was too pleased with being removed before finishing the sixth, but I respect that move by Farrell given the fact he was at 103 pitches and coming off a back injury. The shutout performance lowered Pomeranz’s. ERA down to a season-best 3.18, while also lowering his ERA in August to 1.66.

In relief of Pomeranz, the bullpen got their first action in two days. Joe Kelly got the first call in the sixth, and he finished the inning while also getting the first two outs of the seventh. Next up, Addison Reed, and he served up yet another home run while pitching the rest of the seventh and the eighth inning. That home run by Edwin Encarnacion could have tied the game, but Corey Kluber’s antics prevented that from happening. Craig Kimbrel came out for the ninth, in a non-save situation, for the second time in a row. Kimbrel walked one, but still struck out the side, securing the 6-1 win, and at least a series split.

Offensively, the Red Sox could not do anything against Corey Kluber, who has been the American League’s best pitcher behind Chris Sale this season. It looked like Kluber was on his way to a shutout, until the top of the fifth. With two outs in the inning, Mitch Moreland took Kluber deep to right field, mashing his fifteenth home run of the season, and giving the Red Sox a very important 1-0 lead. Later on in the eighth, things got interesting with Kluber still on the mound. After getting the first two outs of the inning, Brock Holt singled. Then, with Eduardo Nunez up, Kluber took offense to a big swing, which led to him plunking him intentionally, putting runners on first and second. That led to Mookie Betts driving in Holt on an RBI single, extending the lead to 2-0. Kluber would leave the game with his team in a deeper hole, but at least he got his retribution though, right. What an idiot. I’m more mad about this than I’ve written but I don’t think anyone really cares about that. The game really got away from the Indians as soon as the ninth inning started. A passed ball allowed Rafael Devers to score with no outs, then Xander Bogaerts scored on a Brock Holt RBI double. To wrap the scoring up, Eduardo Nunez got the last laugh, taking Bryan Shaw deep to left for his tenth home run of the season. Just when I thought he was going to go cold, Nunez becomes one of my favorite players on the team, who would have thought.

Shoutout to Brock Holt for this celebration, too.

If the starting pitching hasn’t been good enough for you the past two days, Chris Sale gets the start against Trevor Bauer tonight. I’m interested to see if Rajai Davis will be in the lineup.

73 down, 22 to go. 

RECAP: Mookie Betts saves the day; #RedSox defeat Cardinals 5-4.

Tuesday night was fun, last night started out pretty bad, then it got really fun. This game looked like a lost cause going into the ninth, then things got a whole lot better. With all the frustration and excitement, we also got a great ceremonial first pitch out of it.

Eduardo Rodriguez was making the start for the Red Sox, coming off a solid start aginst the Yankees last Friday where he deserved a W. The bullpen let him down in that one, but this time out, the bullpen kept the Red Sox in the game. ERod retired the Cardinals after facing four batters in the fourth, unfortunately, the second inning was nothing like this. With the first four batters all reaching, the Cardinals went on to score all four of their runs in the inning. They could have had five, but Jackie Bradley Jr’s cannon prevented that from happening.

If you look at his final line, 5 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 K, and 6 K’s, then you’re probably thinking, “Not great, could’ve been better.” Well, you would be somewhat correct but things could have gotten a whole lot worse. Luckily, ERod rebounded after that second inning and was able to pitch into the sixth.

With one out in the sixth, Matt Barnes was inserted into the game. He struck out the only two batters he faced in the inning, then pitched a scoreless seventh while surrendering one hit. Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel were both used after that, and they both pitched scoreless innings. So, the bullpen definitely did their job keeping the lineup in the game.

On the other side of things, Lance Lynn looked a whole lot better than Mike Leake did the other night. The only runs the Red Sox got off him came in the second, on a Eduardo Nunez RBI single and a sac fly from Mookie Betts, that cut the lead in half. That’s all they got off Lynn though, but they did miss on a good amount of scoring chances. The Cardinals bullpen wasn’t as good though, and that’s where the Red Sox did most of their damage. Seung Hwan Oh and Tyler Lyons both pitched scoreless innings, then things got messy in the Cardinals bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal was first up in the ninth, and he served up a solo home run to Xander Bogaerts and a walk to Mitch Moreland before exiting. Zach Duke would be next, and he allowed another walk, to JBJ, while also striking out Brock Holt. So, he exited the game in favor of John Brebbia, and this is where the momentum shifted. A long pause before pitching to Eduardo Nunez caused an uproar from the Cardinals bench, which led to Mike Matheny getting ejected. A pop out from Nunez paved the way for Mookie Betts. On a 3-2 pitch, which was extremely important to the outcome of this game, Mookie lined a double off the Monster, driving in Chris Young as the tying run and JBJ as the winning run.

A wild win to say the least. I did not expect Xander Bogaerts to go deep in the ninth, and I did not expect the Red Sox to win this game back in the seventh inning. But, they kep finding a way, which is important since the Yankees have won three in a row.

A day off today before welcoming in those Yankees for three games over the weekend. Drew Pomeranz, Chris Sale, and Doug Fister or Rick Porcello are lined up for this series, should be a good one.

69 (NICE) down, 26 to go.