RECAP: Xander Bogaerts makes final case for All-Star selection; #RedSox drop finale in Texas 8-2.

Well, that’s one way to end a winning streak. Doug Fister, who was more than likely making his last start for the Red sox for the forseeable future, had his worst start of his short season. The 33 year-old failed to finish the fourth inning while allowing nine total to reach base. The Rangers scored six times off of Fister, four of those runs being earned. Despite having a great first inning, Fister could not avoid the long ball, giving up a two-run shot in the second and then a solo shot in the third. After loading the bases with no outs, Fister gave up three more runs while getting two outs before Robby Scott would come in as relief. Scott had his second off night in a row, hitting two batters in a row at one point and allowing two runs to score while pitching one and one thirds innings on Wednesday. Fernando Abad, Heath Hembree, and Matt Barnes would finish things up for the pitching staff, each throwing a scoreless inning. In his three starts with the Red Sox, Fister has been okay, but he has also gotten progressively worse. With that in mind, I am interested to see what he can provide out of the bullpen and what Eduardo Rodriguez can do in Fister’s spot after the All-Star break.

The bats could barely do anything off of Andrew Cashner Wednesday night. Their first hit of the game took until the sixth to happen. In his last game before final voting ends, Xander Bogaerts made a lasting impression by mashing his sixth home run of the season, which cut the Rangers lead to six. Surprisingly, the Rangers bullpen needed to pitch two innings to get the win, but the Red Sox could get nothing off of either pitcher. When Tzu-Wei Lin can’t reach base, you know it’s not gonna be your night.

Chris Sale makes the start later today against a team that can hit it out of the park. Last series before the break, good time to build up that division lead. Vote for Xander!

redsox.com/vote

49 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox can only muster one run against Twins in frustrating 4-1 loss.

After winning two consecutive games for the first time in about two weeks, the Red Sox failed to get to three straight wins on Wednesday night. Rick Porcello was outpitched by 24 year-old Adalberto Mejia, a rookie pitcher for the Twins who was only making the eleventh start of his career. Porcello did not have himself an awful night, it wasn’t as good as his last start, but he wasn’t getting hit around or anything like that. He went six innings, allowed six hits and four earned while walking two and K’ing six. The first inning was rough, the Twins scored half of their runs on consecutive RBI hits, and that was it until the sixth. Porcello got into a nice rhythm, limiting the Twins to two hits over the next four innings he pitched. Similar to the first, the sixth inning was rough for Porcello, as a lead-off walk resulted in a two-run blast off the bat of Max Kepler, which doubled the deficit to four runs. Porcello’s day would end after he escaped the sixth without giving up anything else. Despite all the struggles he has gone through in 2017, I will give Porcello these two things;First, the run support he got last year was outstanding, and it simply has not been there for him this season, which I’m sure has some psychological effect on him while he’s on the mound. Secondly, he has consistently gone moderately deep into his starts, as in only one of his seventeen starts has Porcello failed to at least pitch six full innings. So, at the very least, he is limiting some of the workload for the bullpen in his starts.

Speaking of the bullpen, the group of guys who got the call tonight kept the Red Sox in the game over the last three innings. Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, and Matt Barnes combined to only allow the Twins to reach base three times total from the seventh to the ninth.

Like I said in the first few sentences, Twins starter Adalberto Mejia was great in the 5.2 innings he pitched. He didn’t allow a run, and the only run the Red Sox scored came off Tyler Duffey in the seventh. They had plenty of opportunities, leaving a total of eleven runners on base Wednesday night. In the one inning they scored a run they had the bases loaded with only one out, but could only score once on a Xander Bogaerts RBI ground out. It even looked like they could have done something in the ninth, but left the tying run on deck when Bogaerts struck out to end the game.

With David Price starting to come into his own and pitching tomorrow, the Red Sox have a legitimate chance to win their first series since two Sundays ago in Houston.

43 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz surprisingly not to blame as #RedSox end road trip with 6-4 loss.

Who would have thought that the Red Sox bullpen, not Drew Pomeranz, would be who to put the blame on for another tough loss? Well, that’s what happened this afternoon. Pomeranz was not half bad, pitching into the seventh inning for the second start in a row. The only runs the Royals scored off of the southpaw were pretty cheap honestly, a GIDP that scored one in the second, and a sac fly that scored the other in the third. Five strikeouts for Pomeranz too, whose ERA is down to 4.07. The silver lining in this loss was probably Pomeranz, who needs to step up with all the injuries within the rotation. It looks like Drew will be making his next start against the Twins next Tuesday, another chance to lower that ERA.

Like the first sentence says, the bullpen was mostly awful today as they blew the lead and the game. Joe Kelly came in to relieve Pomeranz in the seventh, and despite loading the bases, he got out of the inning. Matt Barnes got the ball for the eighth, and he walked the only two batters he faced. Robby Scott came in, gave up a walk, then served up the go-ahead grand slam to Salvador Perez, who hit that ball with Miguel Cabrera’s bat.

Love that guy… Anyway, Heath Hembree would have to be thrown in the game to bail out the bullpen and stop the Royals bats, and that’s what he did in getting all three outs in the inning. Listen, I like Matt Barnes, he’s a pretty good guy to have out of the pen, but I just don’t think his purpose is to be the setup guy, the eighth inning guy. Last year, you had Koji, Tazawa, and Ziegler later on, so Barnes was really never needed in that role. Dave Dombrowski went ahead over the winter and made a trade with the Brewers for one of 2016’s best relievers, Tyler Thornburg. Well, he’s not going to play this season, and that setup man is still a question until we see what Carson Smith can be. Barnes will probably still pitch in those situations, because it seems like Manager John loves seeing him pitch there.

Offensively, the Red Sox only scored in two innings. They could have won the game with just these runs, but still. Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts mashed back to back solo home runs in the fourth, the tenth for Benny and the fifth for X. In the fifth, Christian Vazquez scored on a Mookie Betts sac fly and Deven Marrero scored from third on a failed pick-off attempt with Mitch Moreland at the plate. Not much to say about the offense today, Xander Bogaerts was the only guy in the lineup who reached more than once. Also, I know he only got one PA, but I just want to point out the fact that Hanley Ramirez’s BA has fallen to .239 and his Slugging % is only at .394, compare that to last year when he finished with a Slugging % of .505. He’s obviously not the guy to blame for the loss, but just wanted to put that information out there.

A 4-4 road trip is far from awful, but you can look at some recent losses as games that got away. At this point last year, the Red Sox had the same record as they do now, 40-32. If you visit Red Sox Twitter, many think this team could be better if Torey Lovullo was at the helm with how good the DBacks have been this year. Me? I think it’s tough to compare two teams in different divisions, not to mention different leagues. This Red Sox team could have a better record now, or they could make an impressive run over the summer. No team is running away with this division, patience is key.

To conclude, let me be the first to wish you a happy David Ortiz number retirement ceremony weekend. Three at home after the off day against a Trout-less Angels team, should be easy enough to take at least two out of three.

40 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Brian Johnson exits early; Mookie Betts homers twice; #RedSox take Game 3 7-3.

After winning the first two games of this home-at-home series, the Red Sox made a visit to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, their first since 2015. Brian Johnson got the start, and Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval were on the field together for the first time in nearly two years. Johnson did not stay in the game long, as the 26 year-old left in the third with left shoulder discomfort. It doesn’t appear to be too severe, but Johnson will be heading back to Boston for more tests anyway. Prior to the game yesterday, Hector Velazquez was recalled from Pawtucket while Deven Marrero was sent down. As it turns out, the Red Sox needed Velazquez to limit the work of the bullpen. The Mexico native finished the third, and then went on to get through the sixth while only surrendering one hit. The bullpen wrapped things up from there, Joe Kelly, Heath Hembree, and Robby Scott pitched three scoreless innings, only allowing three baserunners over that span. With Johnson’s health in question, it looks like Velazquez could make his second start of the season next time Johnson’s spot comes up in the rotation.

Jeremy Hellickson did not stand a chance against the Red Sox offense last night. Five runs crossed the plate over the first two innings, highlighted by RBI doubles from Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts. Speaking of Betts, what a night he had. In the first four innings, Betts already had three quarters of the cycle down, only needing a triple. No more runs would come until the ninth. With Mookie Betts up with the chance to hit for the cycle, he went deep again, his eleventh of the season, giving the Red Sox a 7-3 lead and essentially the win.

Now a season best nine games over .500, The Red Sox have the best record in Major League Baseball since they won that finale in Oakland. Last year at this time, they actually had the same record as they do now. So, for as frustrating this season has seemed at times, it’s not that bad.

37 down, ? to go. 

 

RECAP: Rick Porcello gets rocked; #RedSox fail to score in 8-0 shutout loss.

Nothing like a nice punch to the gut after a three game winning streak, right? You should’ve known things were going to bad when you saw the lineup prior to Wednesday’s game. The two guys who probably should have been in the lineup but weren’t? Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland, who went deep three times total on Tuesday. Benintendi has the better case, especially since it appears he is coming out of that slump, but still.

It didn’t look like Rick Porcello was going to struggle the way he did last night. The New Jersey native only needed like 22 pitches to complete the first two innings, and he didn’t even give up a hit. The third through seventh were a different story, though. Over that stretch, Porcello allowed eight hits (2 HRs), two walks, and six runs (five earned). Blaine Boyer would enter to relieve Porcello with one out in the sixth, and he finished off the inning and pitched the eighth despite surrendering two runs on four hits and a walk. It’s quite clear now that Porcello is not in Cy Young form right now. Adjustments need to be made, I don’t know what else to say.

Nothing to talk about offensively, just the fact that Josh Rutledge completed 50% of hitting for the cycle with a triple and a double. It’s embarrassing that this team got shut out by a 36-year-old CC Sabathia. It’s also embarassing that Chris Carter, batting in the 9 hole, got three hits off Red Sox pitching last night. David Price takes the mound tonight, matched up against Michael Pineda. Can’t take first place from the Yankees, but you can still leave the Bronx with a series win and a 6-4 road trip.

32 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Drew Pomeranz pitches seven quality innings; #RedSox take series with 4-1 win.

After his awful start in Oakland and an argument with the manager, things weren’t looking all that great for Drew Pomeranz. Ever since he came here last July, it’s been a disappointing experience, riddled with mediocre and pretty bad starts. But, over his past two starts against the Rangers and White Sox, Pomeranz has looked like the guy that made the NL All Star team last season. The 28 year-old southpaw pitched into the seventh inning for the first time this season Wednesday night, going a total of seven innings while scattering seven hits, surrendering one run, and striking out eight. Over his last two outings, Pomeranz has pitched 13 innings, given up 11 hits, 3 earned runs, only walked one batter, all while striking out 19 total batters. With a healthy David Price returning to the rotation along with this version of Drew Pomeranz, this rotation has the potential to be lethal, one of the best in baseball. The Red Sox bullpen didn’t need to do much last night, as Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel finished the White Sox off. Barnes got them in the eighth, and Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth, picking up his fifteenth save of the season.

Offensively, the Red Sox bats couldn’t do anything against journeyman starter Mike Pelfrey Wednesday night. Through the first five innings, the Red Sox reached base a total of four times, that’s it. Apparently Pelfrey has awful numbers when he faces a lineup for a third time, so the White Sox took him out after five. That decision really benefited the Red Sox, as they scored all four of their runs in the sixth. After loading the bases with only one out, Josh Rutledge got his chance to give his team the lead. Unfortunately, he grounded out to short, but the double play was avoided thanks to Rutledge’s speed, and that tied the game at 1. Pablo Sandoval would be next, and he drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single. After getting the lead, Christian Vazquez almost immediately increased that lead, driving in Rutledge and Sandoval on a double to left center. That would conclude the scoring for the Red Sox in Chicago. I mean, it’s not all that encouraging that the Red Sox could only score in one inning, but I’ll take it, especially since they took two out of three from the White Sox.

Next up, the Orioles in Baltimore. Four games against a team that just had an awful May. ERod, Porcello, Price, and Sale are all expected to pitch, so I think 3 out of 4 would be a nice goal to reach.

29 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox rally in seventh leads to 9-4 victory.

Looking for their third win in a row, Chris Sale was matched up against Martin Perez on Wednesday night. I was actually at this game, and it was pretty exciting being there. The hype behind Sale Day is real, and it is fantastic. Also got a Craig Kimbrel bobble head, which they were giving out for free. Anyway, Sale did not have his most dominant start Wednesday, but he was far from bad. The Rangers failed to record a hit through the first four innings, even though they managed to scored in the fourth. After a two run fifth, Sale was able to get through two more scoreless innings. He was able to get the first out in the eighth, and his day would be over after allowing a double. I’m sure Sale convinced Farrell to put him back in for the eighth, because the Red Sox offense was on the field for an extended period of time in the bottom half of the seventh. Farrell handed things off to Joe Kelly in the eighth, and he finished that inning while also pitching a scoreless ninth. I hate to say it, but, I was a little disappointed Sale wasn’t dominating Rangers hitters on Wednesday. It would’ve been nice to see him strikeout 10, but that streak came to an end.

Offensively, the Red Sox were stagnant to start things off, only scoring once in the first six innings. Martin Perez wasn’t even pitching at his best, but he did limit the damage. Luckily for the Red Sox, the Rangers left Perez out there for way too long. After giving up two hits while only recording one out, Perez was relieved for Sam Dyson, who, luckily for the Red Sox, sucks. Dyson gave up four hits and five runs, including the go-ahead run, which was scored on a wild pitch to Dustin Pedroia. When he left the game, Dyson’s ERA had increased all the way up to 11.93. The crazy thing about that seventh inning was that the Red Sox did not hit a home run, which proves how their power is lacking. After scoring once again in the top of the eighth, the game was pretty much in their hands.

It’s funny how when Farrell’s seat gets its hottest, the Red Sox win three in a row, hopefully Drew Pomeranz doesn’t screw it up today, if they even play with this weather.

Also, shoutout to Sam Travis for getting his first two career hits. Welcome to the show.

24 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Chris Young and #RedSox bullpen comes through in 13 inning victory.

This team might be on the come up. I know it’s only been two games, but the Red Sox have done it all right over that span. On Tuesday, they had maybe their most complete victory of the season, and on Wednesday, they came all the way back from a 4 run lead. Rick Porcello made the start last night, and he got off to a rough start. In the first, Dexter Fowler led things off with a solo home run. In the second, Porcello’s worst inning, the Cardinals managed to cross the plate three times on four hits. Luckily for the Red Sox, Porcello settled down, pitching four shutout innings while scattering four hits. Like the title says, the Red Sox bullpen was borderline incredible on Wednesday night. Robbie Ross, Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly, Robby Scott, Craig Kimbrel, Heath Hembree, Fernando Abad, and Ben Taylor combined for a final line of 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, and 6 K’s. This performance by the bullpen was great to see, while also being a key part to this victory. Rick Porcello could have pitched longer, as he only threw 87 pitches through the first six innings, but with his spot in the lineup coming late in the game in the seventh, John Farrell swapped him with Hanley Ramirez, which resulted in nothing.

The Red Sox offense was stagnant the first six innings. The Cardinals starter, Mike Leake, did a great job on Wednesday night. The first runs of the game for the Red Sox did not come until the seventh, when Jackie Bradley hit his second home run over the past two days, driving in himself along with Mitch Moreland. In the eighth, they tacked on two more runs. With Dustin Pedroia on first, Xander Bogaerts tripled to right, scoring Pedroia. Andrew Benintendi would come up next, despite going another game without getting a hit, Benintendi still found a way to contribute, driving in the tying run on a sacrifice fly. Probably time to move Benintendi down in the order, for what it’s worth. The Red Sox would not score again until the thirteenth, when Chris Young singled to left, scoring Mitch Moreland, giving the Red Sox the lead and ultimately the win.

Besides the first two innings, the Red Sox played another solid game to sweep the Cardinals in St. Louis. With Hector Velazquez making his first start for the Red Sox today in Oakland, it will be interesting to see how short his leash is.

21 down, 73 to go. 

RECAP: Pomeranz, #RedSox take game three from Orioles in wonky fashion; win 4-2.

After the drama that took place in game two of this series, it kind of persisted on Wednesday night. Drew Pomeranz was on the mound for the Red Sox and he was matched up against Kevin Gausman. After struggling in the first inning despite not giving up any runs, Pomeranz put in another solid performance. Pitching 5.1 innings, giving up five hits, walking two, striking out seven, and giving up earned runs. After that long first inning, Pomeranz pitched four shutout innings until running into trouble after getting the first out in the fifth. Heath Hembree would come in for Pomeranz, with two runners on second and third. Trey Mancini would hit a sacrifice fly to center, which would score Mark Trumbo from third. J.J. Hardy would then single to left, and that would score Jonathan Schoop from third. Hembree would end the inning by striking out Joey Rickard. Matt Barnes came in for the seventh, and got the Orioles 1-2-3. After coming out for the eighth and getting the first two outs while allowing Trey Mancini and J.J. Hardy to reach base on hits, Robby Scott would retire Francisco Pena to end the top half of the inning. To end the game, we got peak Craig Kimbrel, as he striked out the Orioles in order to record his tenth save of the season.

The Red Sox offense obviously outscored the Orioles, even though they got out-hit by them 9-6. Things got testy in the bottom of the second. With Xander Bogaerts at the plate, Kevin Gausman threw a 77 MPH slider that, probably wasn’t intentional, hit Bogaerts. Gausman was immediately tossed from the game by home plate umpire Sam Holbrook, and that was met with an emotional reaction. O’s catcher Caleb Joseph was irate, and he also got tossed for the game, for making contact with Holbrook. After all that, the Red Sox would score their first run of the game on a Josh Rutledge RBI single that scored Xander Bogaerts from third. Forget to mention this earlier, but, Marco Hernandez was starting at third before getting taken out after straining his left shoulder on an Adam Jones ground out in the first inning. That’s why Rutledge was playing. Anyway, the Red Sox didn’t score again until the fourth inning, which began when Xander Bogaerts scored on an RBI double off the bat of Chris Young. Mitch Moreland would then score on a Josh Rutledge fielder’s choice. The scoring would end when Chris Young scored from third on a Dustin Pedroia sacrifice fly. So, you know who the player of the game was? This guy:

Image result for josh rutledge gif

15 down, 79 to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox can’t rally in ninth; lose 3-1.

Well, after two whole days of no baseball, the Red Sox offense is still struggling to score runs. Rick Porcello took the mound on Wednesday, and he put together another solid performance. Porcello pitched 6.2 innings, giving up three runs (two earned), five hits, and four walks. The defending American League Cy Young Award winner also recorded ten strikeouts on the night. Despite the good start, bad luck got to Porcello once again, as the Yankees took advantage of a fielding error from Xander Bogaerts in the second. The Bogaerts error allowed Starlin Castro to reach first on a groundout, which led to Aaron Judge taking Porcello deep right after. Porcello’s day would end in the seventh, after getting the first two outs but giving up a double to Chase Headley and walking Matt Holiday. Robbie Ross Jr. would enter the game, but he failed to record an out and ended up only facing Jacoby Ellsbury and walking him. Joe Kelly would come in to relieve Ross, and he did a good job of that. Recording the last out in the seventh and then recording a shutout inning in the eighth with two strikeouts and only one walk was nice to see. Robby Scott would finish things off for the bullpen by only allowing one baserunner in the top of the ninth and getting all three outs.

Like I said, the Red Sox offense was could not put any runs on the board until the ninth inning. I don’t know if the weather had anything to do with it but they were making Luis Severino, a decent pitcher, look like Felix Hernandez on the mound. Severino was awesome on Wednesday, striking out six and only walking two over seven innings pitched. The most impressive part about this start from Severino has to be that he did not give up a single extra-hit, just three singles. Surprisingly, the only pitcher the Red Sox got to was the flamethrower, Aroldis Chapman. Despite recording his fifth save of the season, Chapman was shaky. Allowing two walks and giving up a run on a groundout from Chris Young. Chapman was able to recover, striking out Jackie Bradley Jr. and Josh Rutledge to end the game.

I don’t know what’s gonna make this Red Sox lineup score more runs at a consistent pace. The lack of home runs is obviously a factor, but I don’t see why the Red Sox still can’t score more often. As of the start of Wednesday’s game, the Red Sox are fourth in the league in hits, first in batting average, and second in on base percentage. Yet, they are nineteenth in runs scored. I know it’s early, but I have a feeling the acquisition of a power-bat will have to be made eventually if the offense continues to produce runs like the way they are.

11 down, 83 to go.