#RedSox Game Summary (July 20) Stumbling into a split. Red Sox starter Doug Fister struggled against the Toronto Blue Jays and a key misplay helped the Jays have a big inning, gaining them the series split. Toronto scored first, after Russell Martin doubled in the 1st and scored on a double by Josh Donaldson. In the 3rd, Fister walked two batters in a row, and after another out, a third, to load the bases for Steve Pearce. He popped up, and it looked like Fister was going to get out of the inning without damage, but the sun was shining directly in the eyes of Brock Holt, who was playing 2nd in place of Dustin Pedroia (Dustin was given a partial day off; he was the DH). Holt lost the ball, and 2 runs scored. After yet another walk, Ryan Goins drove in 2 more runs, for a 4 run Toronto inning. The Jays added to their lead with a solo jack by Justin Smoak in the 5th, and in the 6th, after reliever Fernando Abad walked 2 with one out, Ben Taylor came on to yield a single to Smoak, scoring another run. The Sox did not give up on this, however. They actually had the lead in the 2nd when Xander Bogaerts and Sandy Leon hit back-to-back doubles off Toronto starter Francisco Liriano, driving him from the game, to score one run, and 3 consecutive singles by Deven Marrero, Holt, and Mookie Betts scored 2 more, for a total of 3 (2 were charged to Liriano, and 1 to Dominic Leone, who relieved him). In the 7th, Pedey hit a 3 run smash over the Monster (La Luna!) to bring the Sox within 1 run (7-6). But in the 9th, Justin Smoak hit his 2nd homer of the game, a solo smash to left center off Brian Workman, to ice Toronto’s cake. The boys are still a little off-kilter following the All Star break. Toronto beat Boston, 8-6, at Fenway Park. Record: 54-43. Game 97/65.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 19) Double your pleasure; double your fun. Drew Pomeranz, the master of ground balls, served up 3 double plays in this game, and might have had a 4th, were it not for an error by Dustin Pedroia. Nonetheless, his performance (6 2/3rds innings, 1 run (not earned) on 3 hits and 5 walks with 3 whiffs) combined with some aggressive hitting and base running, made for a big win over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Sox jumped out early, with 4 runs on 4 hits (including a double by Chris Young) and 2 walks off Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez in the 2nd inning. In the 4th, Mookie Betts walked, stole 2nd, and scored on a Pedroia single. The sole Toronto run came in the 5th when Miguel Montero walked, and, on Pedey’s muffed play, reached 3rd, scoring on a sac fly. Boston’s bullpen did their job well. This was a nice, smooth win, with no drama. Boston beat Toronto, 5-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 54-42. Game 96/66.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 18) Han-Ram drops the hammer! The Red Sox brought Brian Johnson up from Pawtucket to fill a gap in the pitching rotation after Doug Fister, originally scheduled to pitch tonight, had gone 2 2/3rds innings in that 16 inning forced march against the Yankees a few nights ago. Johnson did a creditable job, giving up 3 runs over 6 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on 8 hits and 3 walks, while whiffing 4. The 3 runs all came in the 5th, when Josė Bautista doubled and scored on a Justin Smoak double. Russell Martin, who had walked, scored on a Kendrys Morales single, and Smoak scored on a single by Troy Tulowitzki. The Sox had scored in the 4th when Chris Young hammered a solo dinger off Blue Jays starter JA Happ, who was otherwise very tough. He gave up a 2nd solo bomb to Dustin Pedroia (La Luna!), and left with a 3-2 lead after that. But in the 7th, with Jeff Beliveau pitching for Toronto, Brock Holt (so glad he’s back) singled, advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, and to 3rd on a fielder’s choice. He scored to tie it up on a Pedey double. The game remained knotted into extra innings. In the 11th, Toronto’s Steve Pearce doubled off Brian Workman, went first to third on a Kevin Pillar single, and scored on a Ryan Goins sac fly. But in the bottom of the inning, Jackie Bradley, Jr. singled off Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna, reached 2nd on a Sandy Leon single, and was driven in by a Mookie Betts hit, to tie the score at 4. On we went to the 15th, when, with Hector Velázquez pitching, Hanley Ramirez launched a massive shot that went clear over the AAA sign in left to end the game. They’re hanging tough! Boston beat Toronto, 5-4 in 15 innings, at Fenway Park. Record: 53-42. Game 95/67.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 17) Rocky return. Eduardo Rodríguez returned to the Red Sox rotation today, and was greeted rudely with a series of Toronto hits that led to 3 runs. In the 1st, a single by Russell Martin and a walk led to a 2 RBI double by Kendrys Morales that put the Sox in a 2 run hole. That hole deepened when Steve Pearce hit a solo bomb to left. Jays starter Marcus Stroman was pretty effective against the Red Sox, keeping Boston off the scoreboard for 6 innings. But in the 7th, Andrew Benintendi doubled, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. reached on an error by Stroman, setting up a 1st and 3rd situation, which became bases loaded when Christian Vazquez walked. Benny then scored on a Brock Holt sac fly, and Mookie Betts drove in JBJ with a single. A Dustin Pedroia double tied the score, though Mookie ran through Brian Butterfield’s stop sign to end the inning. Still, the score was tied. In the 8th, however, the sometimes inconsistent Heath Hembree walked the leadoff man (Justin Smoaks) and allowed singles to Morales and Pearce for Toronto’s 4th run. The Sox hitters could not respond. Kevin Pillar also doubled for the Jays, but did not score. So, Rodgríguez got a no-decision, and Hembree took the loss. Toronto beat Boston, 4-3, at Fenway Park. Record: 52-42. Game 94/68.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 16, game 2) The tough get going. Vince Lombardi’s famous quote (Google it) is most applicable in reviewing this game. Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. really showed their mettle in this one. JBJ’s jaw-dropping contribution was a home run stealing grab of Aaron Judge’s fly in the 8th as it was sailing over the angled pipe in the center field triangle. Only a perfectly timed jump and catch would to the job, and JBJ did it. Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka was sharp as usual, but did surrender a single to Christian Vazquez in the 3rd inning, and Vazquez scored on a 2 run bomb by Mookie Betts that sailed over the Monster to Lansdowne Street. In the 6th, more clutch hitting came when Mookie singled and scored on a hit by Pedroia. David Price had an exceptional game, pitching 8 scoreless innings, giving up 7 hits and no walks with 8 Ks. The one extra-base hit he surrendered was a double by Garrett Cooper in the 5th. Craig Kimbrel did give up a double to Didi Gregorius, and walk in the 9th, but kept the Yanks from scoring. Boston beat New York, 3-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 52-41. Game 93/69.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 16) Lumber liquidators. Yankee pitching has rendered Red Sox bats fairly useless over the last two games, causing Boston to go 22 innings without scoring a run. This time, it was the veteran CC Sabathia who stifled the Sox, going 6 innings and giving up just 2 hits and 5 walks while punching out 3. The bullpen took over from there to finish the shutout. Rick Porcello had a decent start for Boston, giving up 2 unearned runs in the 4th, and an earned run in the 5th. In the 4th, after whiffing Matt Holliday, he allowed a single by Didi Gregorius. An error by Xander Bogaerts allowed Clint Frazier to reach, moving Gregorius to 2nd, and a single by Austin Romine loaded the bases. Gregorius scored on a sac fly that would have been the third out were it not for the error, and Ronald Torreyes drove in Frazier. In the 5th, Gegorius smacked a solo dinger to right for New York’s third run of the game. Perhaps the Sox were simply tired, but the Yanks played as many innings yesterday as they did, so that’s no excuse. Time to get fired up. New York beat Boston, 3-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-41. Game 92/70.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 15) Prize fight. This game consumed everything both the Yankees and Red Sox had to offer, and in the end, the Bombers ended up on top. Chris Sale pitched a masterpiece, going 7 2/3rds scoreless innings while giving up just 3 hits and 2 walks, and striking out 13. For his efforts, he got a no-decision, as did his initial opponent, Yankee starter Luis Severino, who went 7 innings and gave up the only Boston run. It came in the 3rd inning, when he walked Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia, then loaded the bases with an infield single to Xander Bogaerts. Mitch Moreland drove in Betts with a sac fly. As the game wore on, it looked like the Sox were going to eke out a 1-0 victory, especially after, with 118 pitches under his belt and 2 out in the 8th, Chris Sale came out in favor of the estimable Craig Kimbrel. But Kimbrel surrendered a solo home run to Matt Holliday in the top of the 9th, and we knew we would have to settle in for an epic battle. There was controversy in the 11th, when Holliday walked, and then when Mitch Moreland fielded a high chopper off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury, threw to 2nd to force out Holliday, and the X-Man, who took the throw, lasered it back to 1st. But Holliday, apparently thinking Moreland had touched 1st, or else that he caught the ball on the fly, turned and ran back to 1st, blocking out Moreland as he went to field Xander’s throw, which allowed Ellsbury to reach safely. John Farrell argued that this was runner interference, so the umpires checked the rules with New York, and ruled against the Sox. This was a blunder, in my view. Holliday was forced out, and his presence on the field was illegal. Arguably, the throw could have gotten Ellsbury. It should have been a double play be reason of runner interference. Farrell played the rest of the game under protest, though this probably won’t result in anything. As the game wore on, both teams had their chances, but could not score, and exhausted their bullpens in the process. Finally, Farrell resorted to using Doug Fister, even though he is scheduled to start on Tuesday. Clearly weary in his 3rd inning of work, Fister allowed a double to Ellsbury in the 16th, followed by a pair of singles to give the Yanks the go-ahead run. Austin Romine hit another single to drive in the 3rd New York run, and after a sac bunt and intentional walk to load the bases, a sac fly by Gary Sánchez provided the final Yankee score. The Sox went quietly in the bottom of the 16th, ending this 5 hour and 50 minute marathon. New York beat Boston, 4-1 in 16 innings, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-40. Game 91/71.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 14) Walk off walk. This was a tight game, and with Aroldis Chapman coming on in the 9th for New York, and a 1 run deficit, it looked bad for the Olde Towne Team, but patience and a key error made the difference. This was a solid start for Drew Pomeranz until the 5th. The Sox were leading 3-1 at that point, but a leadoff double by Chase Headley, followed by a Brett Gardner single and 3 run bomb by Gary Sanchez put the Sox in a 4-3 hole. The other Yankee run came in the 3rd, when Headley singled and scored after 2 more singles by Ronald Torreyes and Sanchez. Boston’s runs came in the 3rd, when Hanley Ramirez hit a 2 run blast to center, and in the 4th, when Boston loaded the bases off Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery on a walk, a Christian Vázquez single, and and error by 2nd baseman Ronald Torreyes, setting up an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia for the 3rd Red Sox run. The Sox were trailing in the bottom of the 9th when Chapman allowed an infield single to Mookie Betts and another to Pedroia. Xander Bogaerts reached on a second error by Torreyes, allowing Mookie to tie the game. Then, Chapman intentionally walked Hanley Ramirez to load the bases for Andrew Benintendi. But Chapman could not find a way to get Benny out, and walked in the winning run. By the way, the Sox designated Pablo Sandoval for assignment today. Just as well. Boston beat New York, 5-4, at Fenway Park. Record: 51-39. Game 90/72.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 9) Fallen from the tightwire. This was a taut game, a real white knuckler, until the 8th inning, with masterful performances by both Boston’s David Price and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer, who both ended up with no-decisions. Mookie Betts got things going, by leading off the game with a solo bomb to left center. The Rays came right back in the bottom of the 1st, when Steven Souza, Jr. doubled and scored on a hit by Evan Longoria. The Rays went ahead when Souza walked, advanced to 3rd on a Corey Dickerson double, and scored on a sac fly, to make the score 2-1. In the 7th, Dustin Pedroia rescued the game with a 2 run homer to right, giving Boston a thin 3-2 lead, and ending Archer’s day. But in the bottom of the inning, the Rays tied it up when reliever Matt Barnes walked Mallex Smith, who reached 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, got to 3rd on a Souza single and scored on a sac fly by Dickerson. Score is tied; time to reach for the Maalox. Meanwhile, the Rays bullpen was keeping Boston hitters stifled. Finally, in the bottom of the 8th, fireballer Joe Kelly, who had gotten the last 2 outs of the 7th, was on the mound, and we hoped for a 3 up, 3 down inning. Not so much. First, he walked Logan Morrison. Walking the leadoff hitter is always bad. Then after 2 outs, he hung a curveball to Brad Miller, who lofted it just over the fence in center field. Done, and done. The Sox now enter the All Star break having seemingly lost all their recent momentum, giving up 3 out of 4 to the Tampa Bay Rays. Let’s hope they get their mojo back when play resumes on Friday. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 5-3, at Tropicana Field. Record: 50-39. Game 89/73.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 8) Cans of corn on Cobb. Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb is not an overpowering pitcher, and his stats are only average, but today he was dominant. Not a big strikeout guy, he was putting the Red Sox away on routine ground balls and cans of corn. But he gave up just 2 hits and 1 walk over 7 2/3rds scoreless innings while whiffing 3, and Alex Colomé’s late breaking sliders for the remaining four outs were enough to shut out Boston at the Trop. Rick Porcello actually had an excellent day himself, giving up just 1 run on 6 hits and no walks over 8 innings while striking out 7, but that one run was all the Rays would need. It came in the 2nd inning, when Steven Souza, Jr. singled to lead off, reached 2nd on a subsequent single, and third on a fielder’s choice. He scored on a sac fly by Jesus Sucre. Evan Longoria doubled in the game, and Mallex Smith tripled, but neither scored. Outstanding fielding plays by Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Dustin Pedroia helped keep the Rays in check. Mitch Moreland also doubled in the game, off Colomė. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 1-0, at Tropicana Field. Record: 50-38. Game 88/74.