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. 

RECAP: Chris Sale, Rafael Devers and Andrew Benintendi come up big as #RedSox take series with 3-2 win.

Friday was a disaster, right? I know I’ve made that point clear, but I want to bring it up again because I, along with a whole lot of other people, was interested to see how the Red Sox would respond to that loss. If they get swept, it’s not a big deal, but that would not have been great. Instead of that possibility, this team ends up taking the series from the Yankees, separating themselves by 5.5 games.

To get there, Chris Sale was at the helm for this primetime matchup. As he usually is, Sale was outstanding. The only run he gave up should not have even been charged to him, but it is what it is. The lefty scattered four hits over seven complete innings, surrendering one earned run while walking two and striking out twelve. That only run came across in the fifth. With Chase Headley on first with two outs, Austin Romine hit what looked like a deep pop up to Mookie Betts in right. Instead of making the catch, which did look routine, Mookie missed it, as the ball hit the heel of his glove and rolled away from him. This allowed Headley to score and that tied the game at one. After that mishap, Sale maintained the shutout and exited after finishing the seventh with his twelfth strikeout, which just so happened to be on his 114th pitch, a 99 MPH fastball. In his 24 starts this season, Sale has struck out 10 or more 16 times, three shy of the record Pedro Martinez set in 1999.

After Sale departed, things got messy. Matt Barnes, who has rather bad numbers pitching away from Fenway Park, was inserted into the game to the start the eighth. He allowed three of the first four hitters he faced to reach, loading the bases. Todd Frazier then hit a sacrifice fly, driving in the then go-ahead run. Robby Scott would come in to end the inning by striking out Didi Gregorius. The bottom of the ninth is where things really got weird, with Addison Reed pitching. Reed walked Chase Headley to start the inning, got Ronald Torreyes out on a sac bunt, then prepared to face Jacoby Ellsbury with one out. I can’t remember how this went specifically, but I believe John Farrell tried to make a pitching change after Reed threw a ball to Ellsbury.

Since Carl Willis had already made a mound visit in the inning, Farrell was sent back to his dugout. Obviosuly, this wasn’t a great look and you could tell it rattled Addison Reed with the way he reacted to being taken out after he got Ellsbury out.

Craig Kimbrel, who should have come in much earlier, came in to finish the ninth, and got the Yankees in order in the tenth as well, picking up his fourth win.

If the Red Sox ended up losing this game, John Farrell would have taken a lot of heat. I mean, he still will, but there should be less since he got bailed out again.

Offensively, the Red Sox did not give their ace that much run support. Jordan Montgomery wasn’t great, but he did surrender only one run. They were hitting the ball hard off the rookie, but most of them resulted in outs. That one run came in the fifth, when Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Brock Holt on an RBI single. The bats would go quiet until the ninth, when the Red Sox needed a run to tie the game, and that’s what happened. Aroldis Chapman was pitching with one out in the ninth as Rafael Devers stepped up to the plate for his second AB of the game. On a 1-2 pitch, Devers took the Yankees closer deep, tying the game with his fourth career home run.

Chapman got out of the ninth without giving up the go-ahead run, but Tommy Kahnle wasn’t much better in the tenth. The former White Sox reliever loaded the bases after getting the first out, making way for Andrew Benintendi. The less talked about rookie who continues to get talked about more singled to right, allowing Jackie Bradley Jr. to score the eventual winning run.

It was a crazy Sunday night, and that’s the way Red Sox Yankees should feel with this division race. The Red Sox did their job, leaving with a bigger lead than they had going into The Bronx on Friday. After a make-up game against the Yankees and a two-game series against the Cardinals, the Yankees come right back into our lives with a three game series next weekend.

67 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: Andrew Benintendi drives in SIX runs as #RedSox bounce back with 10-5 win.

After a disastrous Friday night, the Red Sox were in need of a rebound performance, and that’s exactly what happened on Saturday. Making his twenty-third start of 2017, Drew Pomeranz put together yet another solid outing for the Red Sox. The lefty managed to scatter seven hits and two walks over 6.2 innings while racking up five strikeouts. Despite the quality start, there were avoidable moments in this game for Pomeranz. Such as the two-run home run he served up to Gary Sanchez in the first, and loading the bases with no outs in the fourth. Luckily, the Yankees only got one run out of that and none after the fourth. Pomeranz was pulled in favor of Brandon Workman with Aaron Judge coming up and two outs in the bottom half of the seventh. Workman retired Judge, then went on to pitch a scoreless eighth inning as well. Returning from Pawtucket, Robby Scott got the call for the ninth. Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury both took him deep to start the inning, but Scott retired them in order after that.

Everyone in todays lineup reached base at least one time. With ten runs crossing the plate, you would think there’d be enough RBIs to go around but only three guys, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, and Rafael Devers, recorded at least two RBIs. The scoring began in the third, with Mookie Betts at the plate. Before that, a critical error committed by Todd Frazier allowed Eduardo Nunez to reach first, which loaded the bases. With the bases loaded, Mookie Betts singled to left, allowing Christian Vazquez to score from third, and Jackie Bradley Jr. to score from second. The next man up was Andrew Benintendi, and he took Luis Severino deep to shallow right, giving the Red Sox a 5-0 lead.

From being down 2-0 to taking a 5-2 lead, all thanks to Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. Benny Biceps didn’t stop there, though. Moving forward to the fifth, Eduardo Nunez and Mookie Betts started the inning with a single and double. This paved way for Benintendi to take Severino deep AGAIN for another three-run home run.

Later in the inning, with one out, Rafael Devers lined a double to center field, scoring Mitch Moreland from third and Xander Bogaerts from first. With the lead inflating to 10-3, things were kind of on cruise control for the Red Sox after their half of the fifth.

Since the start of August, Andrew Benintendi is slashing an outstanding .484/.540/.968 if I did the math right. He also has four home runs and 11 RBIs this month.  If he keeps up this pace, he’ll for sure win AL Rookie of the Month.

Today is Sunday, the Red Sox are 4.5 games up on the Yankees, and Chris Sale is pitching later tonight. That’s a pretty positive outlook right there.

66 down, ? to go. 

RECAP: #RedSox bullpen implodes as winning streak comes to an end in The Bronx.

I’m writing this at 11:01 PM so excuse me if this becomes altered in any way. For a team that has had so much going their way, Friday night did not feel quite the same. Eduardo Rodriguez made the start for the Red Sox, and he was solid. Six shutout innings, two hits and two walks, while also striking out seven. A thirty pitch first inning didn’t help things, but it was good to see ERod get through six full with only 107 pitches. He definitely deserved the win, something he hasn’t gotten since May 26th. Unfortunately, the Red Sox bullpen had other plans. Shout out to Matt Barnes for doing his job, pitching a shutout seventh inning while facing four batters. Now, this is where things get messy, starting with Addison Reed. Since that home run he gave up against the Indians, Reed has been used lightly and mostly in the seventh inning, but he’s looked good in those appearances. Friday night was a different story though, as Reed started the inning by hitting Brett Gardner on the foot. The next batter, Aaron Hicks took Reed deep for a cheap Yankee Stadium home run, bringing the Yankees within one run. After giving up a single and a walk, John Farrell went with Joe Kelly, who was not much better. Kelly allowed both the tying run and go-ahead run to score while also allowing a third to score. After facing six batters and getting two outs, Kelly left the game in favor of Fernando Abad, who recorded the final out. So, a bullpen that leads the majors in ERA blew a lead in a pretty important game, a winnable game to say the least. Addison Reed is making the case to not be used in any high leverage situations at all, and Joe Kelly got rocked in his second game off the disabled list. All and all, the Red Sox had a three run lead going into the bottom of the eighth and ended up having nothing to show for it.

On the other side of things, the offense deserves some blame for this loss as well. Before the top of the ninth, the only three runs scored came on home runs. The first, a two-run blast off the bat of Hanley Ramirez in the first, his eighteenth, and the second being a solo shot off the bat of Andrew Benintendi in the fifth, his fourteenth. There were more opportunities to get some runs on the board, but the Red Sox couldn’t capitalize. Yankees starter Jaime Garcia loaded the bases in the top of the third, which led to nothing. If we can fast forward to the ninth, Aroldis Chapman was awful. He walked the first three guys he saw to load the bases again. Things got ugly after Andrew Benintendi hit a sacrifice fly to Aaron Hicks in left. A run did score but the man who was at second, Eduardo Nunez, tried to advance to third.

He failed in doing so, recording the second out in the process, and basically ruined any momentum the Red Sox had. Mitch Moreland then flied out to Jacoby Ellsbury, and the bail out of Chapman was complete.

This could end up being the worst loss of the season, but it might not even matter come October. It all depends on how the rest of the series goes. Drew Pomeranz is pitching later today, and Chris Sale is pitching Sunday night, so the outlook looks good for the remaining two games.

65 down, ? to go. 

#RedSox get Addison Reed, Yankess get Sonny Gray, and more from Deadline Day.

At 3:06, the Red Sox officially announced the acquisition of Addison Reed via the team’s Twitter account. Reed, a 28-year-old reliever who has been with the Mets since 2015, owns a 2.57 ERA and a WHIP of 1.12 so far this season. The righty has been in the bigs since 2011, racking up 125 saves over that span. This will be Reed’s fourth big league team, and this is most likely the only addition that will be made to the Red Sox bullpen. He does have big game experience, as he pitched in five games during the 2015 World Series. In exchange for Reed, Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox are trading three pitching prospects. Jamie Callahan, Stephen Nogosek, and Gerson Bautista are all part of the deal, Callahan probably being the most well-known out of three. I don’t think there’s enough evidence to really judge this trade yet, but if there was one thing, I would have to say it’s the fact that the Red Sox have traded five pitching prospects in the past week. I know none of them were that highly regarded, but it’s just something to consider. Reed is essentially a rental, but with the uncertainty Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith will bring going into next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if an extension is considered.

At 3:15, the Yankees officially announced that they have acquired Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics. Gray, who was on the trading block for what seemed like an extensive amount of time, finally gets traded. Before David Price and Chris Sale made their way to Boston, Sonny Gray was definitely a pitcher sought out by the Red Sox, fans and executives alike. In return for Gray, the Yankees are giving up three of their best prospects, Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo, and James Kaprielian. With Clint Frazier in New York, Fowler was the best outfielder in the Yankees system. The value of both Mateo and Kaprielian has diminished a bit since the start of last season, mainly due to injury and other trades the Yankees made. All and all, the Yankees got a controllable arm and the A’s got three of their top prospects in return. With the additions of Gray and Jaime Garcia, the Yankees look like they have a legit rotation for a pennant race.

This was the biggest move as the day, everything else has been smaller, mostly. Tony Watson is going to the Dodgers, Francisco Liriano is going to the Astros, the Marlins aren’t moving Dan Straily, the Tigers aren’t moving Justin Verlander, the Orioles have yet to trade Zach Brittion, Brad Hand is still a Padre, etc.

I’m pretty positive the Red Sox are done making moves. Trades can still happen after today too, can’t forget that.

It is now 4:09 and nothing big is happening.

UPDATE: The Dodgers got Yu Darvish. A 74 win team has gotten a whole lot better today. Darvish, Tony Cingrani, and Tony Watson. I would say they’re not going to have any trouble getting to the World Series, but they haven’t been in one since 1988.

UPDATE AGAIN: The Nationals got Brandon Kintzler from the Twins. So they go from having a weak bullpen, to now having Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle, and Kintzler, which is not half bad.