RECAP: The #RedSox only scored twice last night and that wasn’t good enough to beat Luis Severino and the Yankees.

Going into last night, I was pretty excited for this game. Sure, the Red Sox haven’t looked great in this series, but they had the chance to leave New York with a 5.5 game lead without another game against the Yankees on the schedule. Another reason to be excited, we had Chris Sale and Luis Severino facing off against each other on national television. Sale was great last time out in Toronto, and has had a good time facing the Yankees this season. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, the Bronx Bombers did some serious damage off of the southpaw and Severino looked a whole lot better. In the 4.1 innings he pitched, Sale surrendered three earned runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out six Yankees. Honestly, I did not see this coming. Yeah, the pitch count was pretty high, but it looked like Sale was going to get through it. Three of those seven hits were solo home runs, two being back to back in the fourth, where the Yankees got all their runs off of him. That’s the first time in his career that Chris Sale has given up back to back home runs, for what it’s worth. Like I said, the pitch count was up, so by the time Sale exited with one out in the fifth, he had thrown about 109 pitches, probably shouldn’t have come out for the fifth, but that’s whatever.

After Sale, the Red Sox baseball was just a mess. Joe Kelly, Robby Scott, Addison Reed, Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree, and Blaine Boyer were all used in just 3.2 innings of work. The game got away from the Red Sox in the sixth, where the Yankees scored six times. The home plate umpire, Scott Holbrook, certainly wasn’t helpful in this one, and he even got Carl Willis tossed from the game. It was clear to see how tight his strike zone is, but what really hurt was his inconsistency. Sale didn’t seem to make a big deal out of it, but Sandy Leon and some in the dugout certainly made their voices heard. All and all, after the final out of the bottom of the sixth, which took about 40 minutes, this one was over.

Offensively, the Red Sox did not do much, which has been a recurring theme since Thursday. They scored in the sixth on a passed ball, which actually made it a 3-1 game at the time. The only other run they scored in the ninth, on a Sandy Leon RBI single, which did not make any difference whatsoever. What that RBI single did do though is end the 0fer they had going with Runners In Scoring Position.

Nine runs, that’s all the runs the Red Sox scored since Thursday. Averaging less than three runs per game, the lineup needs a spark. Hopefully they’ll find it starting tonight back home against the Blue Jays with Rick Porcello on the mound.

77 down, 18 to go.

RECAP: Masahiro Tanaka outpitches Drew Pomeranz as #RedSox drop third game in series 5-1.

I don’t have many words to describe what I just watched. It wasn’t awful by any means, but at no point, did I find myself really getting in to and enjoying this game. That’s the way it was Thursday night too, and those games went about the exact same way. They lost 6-2 on Thursday, and they lost 5-1 today, so the same run differential. Eduardo Rodriguez was okay in the first game, and Drew Pomeranz would’ve been too if it were not for one mistake pitch to Matt Holliday. You could make the case that John Farrell should have removed Pomeranz before he faced Holliday in the sixth, but that was not the case. In the first five innings, the lefty managed to scatter six hits and one walk while surrendering just one run, a home run, and striking out four. Going into the sixth, Pomeranz’s pitch count was in a good place, so there was no problem there. A leadoff walk was not a great sign, then he allowed Chase Headley to reach on a single. This all made way for Matt Holliday, who launched a three-run shot over the left field wall to give the Yankees a 4-1 lead. Pomeranz would strikeout Greg Bird before getting lifted from the game with only one out in the inning. Brandon Workman would come into the game, end the bottom half of the sixth, then allow a run in the seventh before getting lifted in favor of Fernando Abad with one out in the inning. The seldom used Abad would end the inning on a pop out and a fly out, then we got to see Austin Maddox for the first time since July 16th, and he pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Since he got hit with the loss, Pomeranz’s streak of eight straight winning decisions came to an end. Despite a solid month of August, Pomeranz’s ERA is right where it was at the beginning of the month at 3.36. It looks like the southpaw will make his next start Friday against the Rays, a team he has somewhat struggled against this season, so hopefully he can rebound in a positive way.

As the title reads, Masahiro Tanaka was great today against the Red Sox, as he usually is. In the seven innings they saw him, the Red Sox bats could only muster one run off the righty from Japan. That only run came in the sixth inning, when Eduardo Nunez scored from third on a wild pitch with Mookie Betts at the plate. So, not one member of the Red Sox drove in a run today, and only six recorded hits. Andrew Benintendi and Betts were the only ones to reach base more than once, and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Tzu-Wei Lin both recorded hits in their respective returns to the big league club. The run production just has not been there since Thursday, scoring only seven runs in three games and going a combined 0-15 with Runners In Scoring Position. This problem could persist tomorrow, with the ace of the Yankees staff, Luis Severino, on the mound.

To counter Severino. Chris Sale will make the start for the Red Sox in a semi-important game. A win salvages the series with a split and gives the Red Sox a 4.5 game lead over those Yankees with no games left between the two. That game has a special start on ESPN, 7:35 instead of 8:05, should be a good one.

77 down, 18 to go. 

RECAP: Doug Fister stays hot; leads #RedSox to 4-1 win in The Bronx.

First off, I apologize yet again for not blogging Thursday’s loss, that’s on me. The Red Sox lost that game in a pretty depressing fashion, but last night was a whole different story with Doug Fister on the mound. The righty looked great for the third straight time, going back to the start on August 22nd against the Indians. He threw a one hitter in that one, and his performance last night was pretty much on par with that. He got off to a rough start, allowing one run on two straight doubles to start the game, but really settled down after that. In the six innings he pitched after that fiasco, the Yankees reached base a total of three times while not crossing the plate at all and striking out five times. Also, in his first game since August 8th, Dustin Pedroia made a really nice play behind Fister to leadoff the fifth.

That marks his third straight quality start, and over that span, Fister has pitched 23 innings, surrendering only 4 earned runs on 10 hits with 5 walks and 18 K’s to go along with that. Since he arrived in Boston back in June, Fister has gone from end of the rotation starter, to a long relief guy, all the way up to a valuable starter in this rotation. While he’s been on this run, he has made those three starts against three teams that could all be playing playoff baseball in October, the Indians, Yankees, and Orioles. If the Red Sox were to start playing in the ALDS next week, I’d say Fister would have to be the third starter, behind Sale and Pomeranz. He’s been great and he’ll look to continue this success next time out against the Blue Jays back in Boston.

In relief of Fister, Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel locked down the win by pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth. Reed retired the Yankees in order in his inning, and Kimbrel did the same with a strike out in his inning, picking up his 32nd save of the season. After an all around bad pitching performance on Thursday, it was refreshing to see a performance like this out of Fister and the ‘pen last night.

On the other side of things, the lineup handled Sonny Gray better than they did when they saw him August 20th at Fenway. It took until the third, but Eduardo Nunez got the scoring started in style, mashing his 12th home run of the season over the left field wall. This is unrelated to the game, but I feel like Nunez is good at showing opposing pitchers and teams up. Back in Cleveland, he got hit in the back by Corey Kluber for taking a big swing. Next time up, Nunez hit a big home run. On Thursday, Nunez bunted against CC Sabathia, and Sabathia took offense to it. How does Nunez respond? He goes deep in his second at-bat of the game, giving the Red Sox the lead.

Love to see it. The other two runs the Red Sox scored were both home runs and both came against Sonny Gray. Andrew Benintendi hit the first of the two, his 19th of the year, in the fifth.

Then Hanley Ramirez hit his third home run since Monday in the seventh, his 22nd.

Like I said up top there, Dustin Pedroia is back, and not only did he make a defensive play, but he also got a base hit in his first game back. The Red Sox are going to ease him back into this thing so he can be ready to go in October, so his playing time will be limited over the next few weeks. I just read that Tzu-Wei Lin will join the team tomorrow, so I’m pretty pumped that Tzunami will be making a comeback because he was great before the arrival of Rafael Devers.

Drew Pomeranz makes the start against Masahiro Tanaka later this afternoon, would be nice to guarantee a split in the series with a win.

77 down, 18 to go.

How did Dellin Betances not get suspended for throwing at James McCann’s head?

So, in case you somehow haven’t seen or heard about this, there were three major “brawls” in yesterday’s Tigers-Yankees game in Detroit. There were about eight ejections and more discipline was dealt just a few minutes ago. Some notables who got suspended include Miguel Cabrera, Gary Sanchez, and Austin Romine. One player who did not get suspended, who 100% should have been, would be Yankees reliever Dellin Betances.

As you see here, Betances beans James McCann in the head with a 98 MPH fastball. I’m not going to say if it was intentional or not, given the fact the game was tied late. But still, you shouldn’t be able to get away with doing this. If you remember back in April, Matt Barnes threw a ball at Manny Machado’s head in Baltimore, and he was suspended four games.

Like Betances, Barnes said there was no intent behind it. Instead of getting nothing though, Barnes still was punished. That’s in the past, I just wish Betances received some type of suspension for what he did. From a Red Sox fan’s perspective, it’s not a good look for MLB since Joe Torre is the one making these disciplinary decisions.

RECAP: Rick Porcello and JBJ lead the way for #RedSox in series-clinching 5-1 win.

The Red Sox just took two out of three from the second place New York Yankees. I’m jacked up. Last night was frustrating, but the Red Sox certainly bounced back in the right way today. Rick Porcello was matched up against relatively new Yankee Sonny Gray, so there was a real chance of a pitcher’s duel. Porcello was great in the six innings that he pitched, scattering three hits while only surrendering one run while walking three and striking out four. That only run happened to be a solo home run, which came in the fifth inning off of Brett Gardner. Other than that though, I liked what I saw out of Porcello. The three walks were a bit of an issue, given the fact he easily could have gone deeper into the game, but I’ll take it. This time out makes it three straight quality starts for the righty, and he also has yet to lose a start in the month of August.

The bullpen was also good on Sunday, putting together their second straight scoreless effort. Brandon Workman pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, Addison Reed pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and even though it wasn’t a save situation, Craig Kimbrel shut the door on the Yankees in the ninth.

Offensively, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Sandy Leon, the eight and nine hitters, carried the load. They drove in all five runs and recorded a third of the team’s hits. Sonny Gray was tough to watch, not because he was bad, but because he took an average of twenty-eight seconds between each pitch. Luckily, his pitch count was pretty high since he had to leave after only throwing five innings. JBJ got the scoring started in the second, driving in Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon on a 2 RBI triple. The center fielder picked things up again the sixth, driving in Mitch Moreland on another RBI hit, this one being a single. Later on in the eighth, Sandy Leon essentially put the final nail in the coffin, doubling to right field and driving in two more runs, giving the Red Sox a 5-1 lead.

Big four-game series coming up in Cleveland. The Indians have won eight of their last ten games and will probably go on to win their division. With the way the standings are at currently, I believe the Red Sox would host the Indians in the ALDS. Eduardo Rodriguez makes the start tomorrow, looking forward to it.

71 down, 24 to go. 

RECAP: CC Sabathia outpitches Chris Sale as #RedSox drop middle game 4-3.

Leading up to this one, I would have guaranteed the Red Sox would be six games up in the division at the conclusion of Saturday night’s game. Unfortunately for me, that prediction did not age well as the Red Sox dropped the second game of this series in a rather frustrating fashion. Chris Sale, making his 25th start of 2017, was matched up against the longest tenured Yankee, CC Sabathia. Sale was not bad, but that means he wasn’t great either. In the seven innings he pitch, the lefty surrendered four earned runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out nine. Two of those hits were home runs, and that is where the Yankees scored all their runs. Tyler Austin took Sale deep for two runs in the second, and Todd Frazier just sneaked one over the Monster in the sixth. We were so close to seeing Sale notch another quality start, but that Frazier home run really sucked. Although he picked up his fifth loss, Sale did reach the 250 strikeout mark for the season as well. With all those K’s. Sale joins both Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez as the only pitchers to record 250 or more K’s in 25 or fewer starts in a single season. Elite company for sure for Chris Sale. One thing I want to bring up about Sale though is how up and down he has been in August. In two road starts at Tampa and New York, Sale has been fantastic, allowing a total of one earned run over fifteen innings pitched. But, while pitching at Fenway Park this month, Sale has been well below average, allowing eleven earned runs in only twelve innings pitched. I don’t know if it’s anything to be concerned about, but Sale has been known to pitch worse as the season gets into the later stages.

After Sale exited, the bullpen did much better than they did on Friday night. Matt Barnes bounced back with a scoreless eighth inning, then Heath Hembree, Robby Scott, and Joe Kelly each got an out in the ninth. It’s too bad the offense couldn’t pick them up, but the bullpen did do their job in keeping the Red Sox in the game.

Offensively, CC Sabathia pretty much had his way with the Red Sox lineup. It wasn’t until the fifth when the Red Sox scored their first runs of the game. Other than that though, I was pretty surprised with what I saw out of Sabathia, who is way past his prime. The first run of the game came off the bat of Sandy Leon, who drove in Xander Bogaerts on an RBI ground out. Jackie Bradley Jr. then drove in Rafael Devers on an RBI single in the same inning. Later on in the seventh, Rafael Devers, playing in his 20th big league game, mashed his eighth home run of the season right over the Red Sox bullpen.

This cut the Yankees lead to one, and Xander Bogaerts had the chance to give his team the lead in the eighth. With the bases loaded and two outs, Bogaerts looked awful against David Robertson, striking out on three pitches. They had another chance to at least tie the game in the ninth, after Sandy Leon reached on a strikeout. Brock Holt came in to pinch run, and he tried to steal second. I don’t know why, but trying to steal on a 2-0 count seems pretty dumb. Betances was struggling to find the strike zone in that at bat and that caught stealing took any momentum away. The fact remains, the Red Sox are awful on the bases, making more outs than any other team. It did not COST them this game, but still, it hurt.

Rick Porcello is on the mound this afternoon against new Yankee Sonny Gray. Time to take this series and go up by five games.

70 down, 25 to go. 

RECAP: Mitch Moreland picks up #RedSox bullpen in exciting 9-6 win over the Yankees.

Last time the Red Sox saw the Yankees, they took two out of three games from them with the help of guys like Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, and Chris Sale. That series began one week ago yesterday, and the Red Sox lost the opener. But yesterday, the Red Sox did the opposite of blowing a lead, they came back from a pretty sizable deficit late in the game. First, I was shocked that the weather did not interfere with this game, even though you’d think so with how long that game took. Second, I hope Drew Pomeranz is okay because over the past few months he’s gone from liability to asset. Pomeranz only lasted 3.1 innings before being removed from the game. While he was warming up for the fourth inning, you could see him grip his back, then on his last pitch, you could see that he couldn’t finish his throwing motion, leading to him being taken out. The diagnosis was back spasms, which doesn’t seem all that bad so we’ll have to wait and see if the lefty can give it a go in Cleveland next week.

In relief of Pomeranz, the bullpen definitely did not put forth their best effort. Despite not being all that sharp, Brandon Workman did manage to finish the fourth while holding the Yankees to nothing in the fifth as well. The Red Sox entered the sixth inning with a 3-0 lead and Matt Barnes served up a two-run home run to Todd Frazier, cutting the lead to just one run. Unable to finish the inning, Joe Kelly came on to do that. The righty started the seventh as well, which was one of the ugliest innings I think I have ever seen. Kelly gave up a home run, then Heath Hembree and Robby Scott allowed an additional three runs to score. So, with four pitchers John Farrell relies on heavily, the Red Sox go from having a 3-0 lead to trailing 6-3. Luckily, Addison Reed stabilized things for the bullpen in the seventh, ending the inning by retiring Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, while tossing a scoreless eighth as well. It was the most impressed I’ve been with Reed since the trade, and he, along with the Red Sox offense, paved the way for Craig Kimbrel to pick up his 29th save of the season, as he made Aroldis Chapman look even worse by striking out the side.

At the plate, the Red Sox had a decent night. Facing Jordan Montgomery for the second time in the past week, they did manage to score more than one run off the lefty this time out. Rafael Devers got the scoring started in the second, blasting his seventh home run of the season into the Monster seats, scoring Xander Bogaerts as well. In the 19 games he has appeared in, Devers is hitting one home run for every 10 AB’s he has. To put that in perspective, Giancarlo Stanton, MLB’s home run leader, has an AB/HR of 10.1 right now. Anyway, Christian Vazquez hit this third home run of the season in the fifth, which seemed important when Matt Barnes gave up those two runs, but the Yankees eventually tacked on more. The four runs the Red Sox scored in the fourth were extremely critical since they were in response to the four the Yankees scored in their half of the inning. In the inning, eight batters were sent to the plate and Mitch Moreland, who was pinch-hitting for Chris Young had the biggest hit in the game. It was a one-run game at that point thanks to Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, and Moreland lined an 0-2 pitch to center, allowing both Eduardo Nunez and Benintendi to score, giving the Red Sox a 7-6 lead. By the way, that seventh inning alone took over an hour to complete. Some insurance runs were tacked on in the eighth, with Jackie Bradley Jr. driving in two off of Aroldis Chapman, who continues to prove he can’t perform against the Red Sox.

After all was said and done, the Red Sox enter today with a five game lead in the division. Chris Sale gets the start today against CC Sabathia, advantage Red Sox. With the chance to go up by six games, today’s game presents a great opportunity for a team to runaway with the division.

70 down, 25 to go.